Blog of Feminist Activism

The feminist activism of charliegrrl and co

Time for a change

Posted by charliegrrl on May 22, 2008

This blog will be changing. I’m not even sure if anyone will care, as I have no idea if people actually read this blog or if they just stumble acoss this blog in search for pornography.

Anyways, time for a change. I’m fed up of living my life as a feminist through the internet. I’m fed up of putting energy into an online feminist community that is not real. I’m fed up of the blog wars, the radical feminist elitism, the secret clubs and the attacks on women for not agreeing 100% with the party line.

For the past few years I have been involved in what I would describe as extremism. This is not the same as radical feminism, only the way in which it is applied. Extremism is when you live your whole life for a political vision, you spend all your time campaigning, you ex-communicate yourself from all your friends who do not share the same vision as you or who offend you, you only hang about with people who think the same as you, you think that all men are oppressive, you assume that any man you meet watches porn, has raped a woman or child and wishes to oppress you, you are extremely intolerant of any person who does not 100% share your vision, your only socialising is at feminist meetings, you stop liking male musicans, authors and thinkers who you loved before, you stop taking care of yourself, you’ve forgotten how your life was before feminism, you are angry, stressed and bitter most of the time.

So here I am, on a new path. This blog will from now on be less about feminist activism and more about the struggles I face being poor and being a lesbian. I’m not involved in any feminist activism at the moment as I’m too tired and live in the middle of nowhere where not much goes on. I spend my time going to my allotment, meeting up with local anti-climate change people and going to my local lesbian group, rather than going to feminist protests. And I love it. The truth is that I do not feel a sisterhood with all women- as a person who was born working class, I feel more solidarity with working class people even if they are men, as opposed to a solidarity with all women. I don’t have the money nor the energy to go to feminist protests and meetings around the country; in these difficult financial times we live in, I need to focus on myself in keeping my head above water, as well as looking out for my friends and family in the same boat.

Anyways, we’ll see what happens. I do feel concerned about the feminist activist scene at the moment- it’s a problem that so much communication goes on via blogs and mailing lists rather than in real life. Setting up a Facebook or mailing list will do nothing for women’s rights, if it does not translate to genuine change. Having lots of Sisters online to talk feminism with is fine, but that don’t mean they will be there for you in times of need.

Will the internet be the downfall of the third wave feminist movement..? Hmmm… I hope not.

I’m tired of sitting infront of a computer screen.

‘Get off the internet, I’ll meet you in the street’ Le Tigre

Shit video, just close your eyes and listen to the song.

See ya’ll sometime x

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38 Responses to “Time for a change”

  1. Lara said

    Yes I do read your blog. I am sad that you think solidarity with other women is not as important. It’s because of this attitude that “radical feminism failed us” that we cannot find ways to convene in “real life” and have to use the internet instead. Because everyone is being lead to believe that radical feminism is not “applicable” to real life. Radical feminism came from women meeting together in their homes, making a change. We are being isolated from each other more and more, and frankly, saying you don’t identify with feminists or women anymore only adds to the problem, no?
    I hope you will do better soon with your financial situation. I hope you find good men to protect you in the working class’s rights movement, since you will be getting a lot more validation from our culture for standing beside men instead of women.

    “The truth is that I do not feel a sisterhood with all women- as a person who was born working class, I feel more solidarity with working class people even if they are men, as opposed to a solidarity with all women.”

    Strange, since you were born female…

    Good luck and take care (and I am not at all saying that in a passive-aggressive or sarcastic way, I mean that with sincerity).

    -Lara

  2. Debs said

    Hi Charlie, I’m the same – poor, living in the middle of nowhere. Facebook etc is just a way of making contact with the world and the people in it. I agree with what you say though, and I hope you’ll be happy. There comes a time in everyone’s life when they have to do what makes them happy. I hope you’ll keep in touch, though? xxx

  3. Laura said

    All the best Charlie, take care 🙂

  4. […] Inspiration, Language, Me, Patriarchy, Respect, Sisterhood, Women-Only by Debs on May 23rd, 2008 Charlie’s had enough and Allecto is no longer a feminist.   I am in full agreement with what both of these women […]

  5. I never said I’m no longer a feminist. I mean that my struggles with being a lesbian in a hetero-patriarchal dominated world and being poor mean that I often feel more solidarity with other poor people and lesbians rather than all women- cos lots of women are middle class and straight and don’t have the same struggles. I also feel that I have been burnt out by the emphasis on online feminist activism and the constant arguing over theory, hence why I am retreating from the internet to find positive projects to get invovled with in my local town. I used to feel that being a radical feminist had to mean also excluding all men from my life and their energy and only associating with other radical feminists. I think differently now and realise I can change more minds by being more tolerant of others yet firm in my stance as a feminist, rather than retreating into a feminist online bubble.

  6. Polly Styrene said

    I think it’s actually quite insulting if you’ve been involved in activism with people to then describe them as man hating extremists.

  7. I have not called anyone a man hating extremist. I’m talking more about the way I have been living my life as an activist.

  8. h2281n said

    Charlie, this is really sad. When I first became interested in feminism a couple of years ago yours was one of the first blogs I found, and I have always enjoyed reading what you have to say. To stand up against pornography is a very brave thing, since all anti-porn bloggers seem to come in for a huge amount of abuse, and eventually want to call it a day (Stormy and Biting Beaver spring to mind). I am surprised to hear you describe yourself as being so anti-men as you never struck me this way; anti-troll maybe, but not anti-men. Nor did I realise you were a lesbian until recently when you mentioned it in passing, as it never seemed to be important to your blog, though it has clearly had an impact on the way you have been treated.
    It sounds to me like you need a break and I hope that your new direction in life works out really well for you. You should be proud of what you have achieved on your blog and I shall miss reading it. Enjoy that allotment!

  9. Woo an allotment – good one! Seriously Charlie you’ve done a hell of a lot of work over the past 2 years. Have a rest, have a change and as I have said before, it’s all just a “journey” anyway.

    Take care x

    (ps I was one of the first people to comment on your old blogger site)

  10. Hi Charlie. I read your blog too and I would love to read about your struggles as a lesbian and as a working class woman. I think it’s OK to identify with other people as well as with radical feminists and to work with them.

    If you want to write about other stuff, I’ll be “listening”. I’m poor as well and I am just starting to read about “class wars” and all that.

    I also wish we could all get together in real life and carry on good old fashioned meetings. The internet can only be an aid for that, never a substitute.

    Anyways, take care and keep in touch!

  11. stormy said

    Charlie, there is no need to apologise for taking a break, or closing your blog; hell, I’ve done it!

    The blogwars were stoopid. Even more stoopid is the belief that the pro-pornies were ever feminists in the first place (well, the big overlook on the abuse that most females face in ‘the sex industry’ was a bit of a giveaway).

    What does stick in my craw (I’m not sure I have one, but anyway) was your comment:
    I do not feel a sisterhood with all women- as a person who was born working class, I feel more solidarity with working class people even if they are men, as opposed to a solidarity with all women.

    No one of us ever feels ‘sisterhood’ with all females. That is a fallacy. To set yourself up with that, is to set yourself up with inevitable failure. It is not possible. You can feel solidarity for the female condition/circumstance, but certainly not all females. I am a separatist, but there is still the odd exception to the rule. But a rare exception nonetheless.

    You have done well with your activism work, but it is tiring. Bear in mind that women have been waging their struggle against male oppression for centuries, so it is unlikely to be resolved tomorrow. As much as I would like it to be.

    You sound as if you need a time out. And that is perfectly OK.
    Come back stronger and more determined. Later. Whenever. It’s up to you.

    I think that Sparkle’s, Charlie’s and Biting Beaver’s were about the first radfem blogs that I came across when I entered the blogosphere. Prior to that it had mainly been muttering to myself.

    Good grief h2281n, please put BB before me in a sentence!

  12. witchy-woo said

    You’ve done some brilliant work in the last couple of years Charlie and I hope you’re proud of yourself for what you’ve achieved – crikey, you even made the Guardian! But burn-out is burn-out and it sucks so I’m pleased that you’re looking after yourself and following your own path.

    I wish you well and hope to see you again at some point – RTN, perhaps?

    Take care
    xx

  13. Philomela said

    I’m fed up of the blog wars, the radical feminist elitism, the secret clubs and the attacks on women for not agreeing 100% with the party line.

    Yeah this is why I moved my blog, I never was very good at being “pure” and I felt I couldnt be totaly honest on my old blog and I think honesty is both politicaly and personaly important.

    And yeah some of my favorite singer/songwriters and favorite poets are male and denying that is being dishonest.

    I think protests are masisvley problematic anyway because often people just do the protest and feel like they have acheived something and so they dont need to work on the issue. I also feel the same about blogging, while its good because it makes conections If all we do is blog it sucks because blogging itself doesnt change anything. I am geting more into practical activism such as working for womens aid and working with refugee children.

    Also I think working with the climate change group is just as important as any work that is labled “feminist”

  14. ispower said

    Good luck with your community projects Charlie, and whatever else you want to do.
    I read your blog reguarly and I liked it, by the way. ❤

  15. Hi Charlie,

    I’m one of your ideological opponents/fellow feminists (funny how that works), popping in to wish you luck. I got a real sense of sadness from your post. I hope this sadness passes. Wherever it is that you decide to go from here, be well.

    If I don’t see you on the barricades, I’ll see you elsewhere. 😉

  16. Kate the Great said

    I’m sorry to hear this, Charlie Grrl, as I’ve always been a fan of your blog.

    I too am not a completely radical feminist, though I have always seen the sense in the radical interpretation of the pornography issue, hence why your page was so enjoyable. Your writing was easily accessible for many people.
    I admire that went out there and did your thing.
    I also understand the need for a break – I have taken a break a few times because it gets overwhelming. Facing the kinds of comments and resistance can be incredibly draining and isolating after a while, and you need to take care of yourself.

    However, I hope you won’t ever give this up. There are already too few women invested in this cause, and you’re great at what you do. Take a break, integrate slowly, and adapt your approach for sure if you need to.

    This was never about hating men, it was about asking the ones that invest their time and energy into things that harm women, to stop. Underlying it is a belief that it is indeed possible – that biology does not doom some men to perpetuating these cycles, since indeed there are some who conciously choose not to, and if we believed it was inevitable we wouldn’t bother challenging it.

    Just hope you don’t turn your back on everything because some of the people involved have made you feel excluded in some way. I don’t fit neatly into a category but I still feel like this is an issue of importance.

    Take care, Charlie grrl. I look forward to your new writing.

  17. hexy said

    I don’t read here often, but I used to. And wow… it sounds like you’re going through something huge. You’re in my thoughts.

    Don’t feel bad for needing change. It happens. Whether this is burn out that will pass or a genuine and permanent change of direction for your life, you need to take care of yourself first and foremost. Focus on those causes and people that are keeping your heart happy, and maybe the ones you’re moving away from will one day be the cause of pride again, rather than resentment.

    As for anyone who wants to criticise you for your honest words and feelings… to hell with them. It takes strength to announce something like this, and I admire you.

    Good luck, Charlie grrl. I’ll pop in and see what the new direction of your blog looks like.

  18. […] Charlie’s had enough and Allecto is no longer calling herself a feminist.   I am in full agreement with what both of these women say.  It is in the nature of women to change and to cause change.  “She changes everything she touches, and everything she touches changes,”is one of my favourite chants from Starhawk’s Spiral Dance, mainly because it is so true.  In a trivial way, I have changed much, changing servers, changing templates, it’s the way I am, and I have noticed that in life, when I am around, things change.  I’m sure it is the same with many women. […]

  19. Pip said

    I am sad you are leaving the net. Your voice and opinions have meant a lot to me. I have been a feminist since i was 18 and i am now 45. I have educated my 3 boys and 1 daughter to be feminists, and i fight women hatred and porn where ever i go. I have 2 grand daughters and I am scared for their future. I have been married for 26 years to a man. I do believe though that we are all bi sexual and that we love whom we love.

    I have put Lads Mags onto the top shelf in my local supermarket by complaining, have entered many shops to complain about Porn, offensive advertising etc. I sign petitions and teach everyone that listens about what is happening to our society, and its pornification, under our very noses.

    I have suffered from Agoraphobia since i was 8 so getting about is difficult at times, but I am in Manchester often with my partner and I have often thought of contacting you.

    I just wanted you to know there are others out here that are doing ‘there bit’, i want to do more, and I am working on it.

    You sound tired and sad and angry and i can understand.

    Thankyou for all your internet work, i have appreciated you and it has really helped me to know there were others that feel the same.

    Good luck in all you do.

    Pip x

  20. Debs said

    Pip that’s such a great comment – and Charlie’s activism has been really influencial on my own in the past too. She’s a star.

  21. Linda said

    Charliegrrl

    During the time you describe as “your only socialising is at feminist meetings” I seem to recall going to clubs, bars and quite a few social events with you that were not feminist meetings. On a few of these occasions you stayed at my house. However now I know that this only because you wanted to ‘hang about with people who thought the same as you’, I’ll know to choose my friends more carefully in future.

  22. Cat said

    Really hate to see you go, you’re a huge inspiration to lots of women. I empathise with you about the problems with feminist thought at the moment, it often seems that everyoone is quick to criticise any work that takes place, often without providing their own alternative. It makes me feel sad and dispirited.

    Hope that you’ll still be round and about and writing because you’re writing is fab, whatever it’s about 🙂

  23. Deja Moo said

    hilarious. H2281n didn’t know you were a lesbian. or why the word “stereoype” was invented coincidentally.

    And now after claiming you’re not a man hater you come out and say how you’ve been living as man hater.

    i think you should apologise to those you have deleted as “trolls” seeing as they were right after all.

    Plus, didn’t you already pull this stunt before, only to re-emerge about three weeks later after you’d received enough ego massages?

  24. Errr, you’re obviously an avid reader of my blog Deja Moo, but no I cannot recall such a time.

  25. Dannysh said

    Change? Will it turn into a pro-porn blog?
    My blog has the highest score on “cild porn” since Anders Gravers from Denmark was involved into that porn school scandal last year.

  26. Clare said

    Sorry to see you go Charliegrrl – I’m new to radical feminism and stumbled across your blog by chance. It gave me the opportunity to think and marshall my thoughts as to why I found porn so hateful and where my gut reactions were coming from. Otherwise, I would probably have ended up adopting all that faux cutesy-pie rubbish, defending it as “free speech” and “choice” and ignoring my own feelings on the matter. Thank you.

  27. sinless69uk said

    Does this mean you think that men who like porn and go to stripclubs might not be rapists or womanhaters?

  28. PJ said

    As an occasional reader, I will miss your intelligent insights and attitudes. But I wish you luck and hope that you can share thoughts from time to time. No need to apologise, you were always straight with us.

  29. pisaquari said

    My best to you Charliegrrl.
    I’m just a lurker but lurking has done my brain a lot of good so far. I imagine whatever you do will be done with the same brilliance and sharpness as demonstrated here.

    Do take care.

  30. Jennifer-Ruth said

    Charlie –

    I’m not a massive commenter, usually a lurker, but I have to say that I really hope you will come back. I have often found your words inspiring and have helped me form coherent words for what I found so distasteful in lads mags/porn.

    As for the internet not being a real community – yes, you are right. But I rarely have the chance to discuss feminist issues in real life. I definitely have no opportunity to talk about radical feminisim or the patriarchy that wouldn’t involve me explaining a whole bunch of basis 101 concepts. Here, on the internet, I can have a discussion with people who already get it. The world can be very tiring so it is nice to have somewhere to come where you can talk to people about feminist issues without having to get them to believe there is an issue in the first place. So I think the feminist blogsphere is important. And I hope you will come back.

    But we all need a break!

  31. Laurelin said

    Good luck with your next projects, Charlie 🙂

  32. m Andrea said

    I am always late to the party, even the “farewell and thanks for all the fish” ones. Coincidently, it has slowly dawned on me that all this disagreement and strife among feminists (even the bruhaha over Obama vs Clinton) boils down to the assumption that we all are supposed to march in lockstep with one another, and that is simply not a reasonable expectation.

    But I have to echo the others above who say marching in lockstep with men is no better then marching in lockstep with women. It’s not the group you choose, it’s the marching-in-tandem bit which is the problem. It’s control-freaky, and I’m done with that.

    Let’s quit arguing among ourselves and find some common ground. It’s easy enough to identify obvious things which we can agree to work towards, and then agree to disagree respectfully with what we don’t.

    If I’m going to tell someone what I think is important, for example, I clearly delineate between what is an opinion backed up by nothing but my feelings, and REASON, which is backed by EVIDENCE. If someone doesn’t immediately grasp the distinction between an opinion and a reason, they are not likely to attain a sensible conclusion. That failure to identify opinions promptly is one of the reasons people keep insisting “oh you should do things MY way”. Okay, baby, gimme a REASON.

    Anyway, thanks for all the tuna, Charlie. lol And peace on your journey, wherever that may take you.

  33. m Andrea said

    I’m back!!

    “Every white feminist woman on the internet has a fabulous job, egalatarian husband, above-average children, 401k, and a vacation cottage on the lake.”

    Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeze.

  34. Kath said

    Sorry to see you go Charliegrrl, this blog has been a real inspiration. I can understand some of your feelings towards sisterhood. Class is still such a huge issue and I have had arguments for years with other women which often came down to oppression based on class rather than being born female – I’ve had upper class women in group meets where they simply don’t feel they have similar experiences than me. Its frustrating, but the very real fight goes on against all that is unjust in societies.

    I used to try and be active out there but that all changed when I fell in love with another woman, who later came out to me as having been born male. I don’t believe that makes me any less of a radical-aligning Feminist, but it has forced me to re-visit some of the what I used to profess, and what other radical Feminists around me assert.

  35. Charlie D said

    Hi Charlie,

    I have recently started reading your blog, when I am not busy on my own allotment! I would be really sorry to see you go. It is people like you that inspire me to keep campaigning. Every little bit helps. Every letter I write, every paper or mag I turn over, I know will make a bit of difference, somehow. Don’t give up. I also know the exhaustion you feel, it’s really hard when your own female, intelligent friends argue against you too. Sometimes I feel like I am not doing enough and have no-where to turn. That’s when I turn to you and your fellow bloggers.

    Best of luck with the other bits too.
    Charlie (girl)

  36. Level Best said

    I’m a working-class woman from working class roots, and I have been reading you from across the seas and will continue to do so and wish you the very best! Sometimes the “irl” part has to take precedence.

  37. Gwen said

    I for one look forward to reading your new blog immensely.

    Great entry – you’ve described the complete hopelessness I feel sometimes. The feminist groups I’m still involved with are those where I’ve always felt that no matter how strongly I disagreed with other members, we all liked and respected each other. It’s a complicated world, and people of good will can genuinely disagree with each other and still be basically on the same side. Meanwhile, I’ve also branched out to other forms of activism, esp. No Borders stuff.

    I do think that it’s important to integrate a feminist perspective into other activisms, i.e. No Borders or environmentalism, and for feminism to integrate a No Borders and environmentalist perspective. Don’t ask me how to do this though.

    Email me if you feel like it, it would be nice to hear from you.

    Good Luck.

  38. don’t go … x

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