Tempest In The Wi Spa: A Case Study In Mass-Gaslighting

“If you are concerned with other people’s genitals, that is a *you* problem.”

Girl And Wheat

As if we could have one conversation that doesn’t somehow come back to your dick!

So concludes a response to women’s discomfort with men in our spaces. This was the first justification I saw trotted out in the aftermath of the Wi Spa viral video. Since then, the narrative has hopped from victim-blaming to saying the incident was staged, and finally to insisting OP made the whole thing up!

The latest coverage in the Los Angeles Blade wants to be conclusive: “Anonymous sources within the LAPD tell the Blade they have been unable to find any corroborating evidence that there was a transgender person present on that day.”

“Treatment at the Spa is by appointment only, and a source at the Spa told the Blade there’s no record of any of its usual transgender clients on its appointments guest list on the day in question.” 

But I hear so many of them pass so well! Maybe no one noticed, right? 

“Cubaangel’s Instagram account is almost exclusively Christian memes, which begs the question why she chose to go to a spa well known for being LGBTQ friendly.” This doesn’t neccessarily follow. Some people cite their Christian faith as their motivation for being more tolerant – imagine, following Jesus’ example! And this woman lives in LA, not exactly a conservative town.

But her religion and her failure to film inside a nude sauna means we can disregard the whole thing. “No transgender person can be seen, and no other witnesses have come forward to confirm the allegations made.”

To obscure the very similar and more detailed story another woman wrote in 2018, the Blade throws the link to her complaint in here: “It’s also not the first time Wi Spa has been targeted for catering to transgender people.” 

Let’s see what ‘catering to trans people’ meant in 2018.

“I would give this place five stars a week ago but…. Last night I had the most disturbing experience in the women’s locker room.

“Upon checking in, the clerk advised us that “there was a transgender male in the women’s locker room” … Ok… No problem, I’m not the type to discriminate people, but once in the women’s area, I saw the mentioned “transgender” individual naked in all his glory, and he still had a male organ hanging there…ok…no fuzz… That surgery is very expensive

“Anyways, so I go on my routine and I get to the shower room, he was almost next to me showering too when I start to overhear hearing the conversation that he is having with a lady that was also in the shower area.

“I clearly heard him say that he has had sex with probably one hundred women and that he was looking for a female girlfriend to share his time with…. He also mentioned that he uses cocaine and LSD to “relax” … Ok…not my business what he uses to relax…”

This woman wrote this in a Tripadvisor review, and doesn’t mention informing the police. The man in her story acts totally inappropriately, but his behavior just triggers the No True Trans subroutine in her programming.

Haunted Bed

I feel a presence watching me!

“But hey, a transgender person does not act like a guy around women nor they state how much they like women nor how much they like having sex with them! This guy is Not transgender, he seems to be just a “pervie” and given his accent he is from another country, Europe I believe.”

Oh yeah, those dirty Europeans, amirite? American snobbery aside, this man’s bad manners are what qualifies him as male in her eyes.

“I heard from other ladies there that he goes there quite often.” They must feel like the luckiest ladies in LA!

“I have nothing against gay people or transgender etc. but every gay guy I know uses the men’s locker rooms when in the spa.” Most female impersonators are straight, just twisted.

“Management said that according to the Law there was nothing they could do.” And this is where we find ourselves in 2021. “Yes, they can reserve their right to provide services to anyone, that’s not against the law. They can deny entrance to this person based on his behavior, not on his gender.”

How exactly this Picasso portrait of the Marquis du Sade doesn’t get him the boot I can’t quite wrap my head around. Our intrepid author has a hard time with it, too.

“I enjoy going to the Wi Spa and it is not fair to me or other women to be put in this position where you basically have to leave the Spa because you feel uncomfortable in such situation. I wouldn’t have minded the situation at all if that guy was really transgender, but obviously he is not.” Because transgender people are all delicate flowers!

But isn’t gatekeeping transphobic?

“I’m concerned about my safety and the safety of other women in the spa.” TERF! “Like I said, I wouldn’t have minded if he was really truly transgender, and preferably without that wig he took off to wash…

Oh for fuck’s sake. That man had no right to make those women watch that.

“This is a call to the owners of the Spa to protect their valued customers, thank you.” They have apparently less than zero interest in doing this.

And the Blade has no interest in objectivity: “After the alleged, unconfirmed incident, Wi Spa was deluged with 1-star Yelp! and Trip Advisor reviews.” Oh, the humanity! This writer takes great pains to downplay any possibility of such a thing having ever happened, anywhere, ever.

But if this is what qualifies as ‘catering to transgender people,’ it’s obvious why women are upset!

Unfortunately for us, since white nationalists are also angry about the trans movement for their own reasons, no woman has any reasonable objection, ever. “The video quickly made the rounds in far-right, and Trans-Exclusionary Feminist (TERF) sites. Anti-trans ‘feminist’ websites like Mumsnet, Ovarit, and Spinster were sharing content by far-right provocateurs known for disinformation, like Ian Miles Cheong, by June 27th.”

The shoutout is nice (complete with links!) but I spend probably too much time on Ovarit and ‘TERF’ Twitter and have no idea who this person is.

However, a few prominent feminists have been getting chummy with the right, home to fundamentalists of every flavor. In a game with only two teams, falling out with liberals doesn’t make flirting with conservatives suddenly a good idea.

Eve

He says he’ll keep me warm!

Because those people are still nuts! When a suspect in the latest incident was floated, the worst elements took aim: “She received multiple death threats and harassment, including a picture of a masked man brandishing an assault weapon threatening to shoot her.”

And this is where hanging with conservatives comes back haunt us. The picture and accompanying caption are terrifying, a lot like things I have received from self-appointed TERF-hunters. The line between Mainline Republican and Conservative Nutjob has been washed away in wave after wave of corruption and pandering. Is this who we want to be seen with??

“All of this fits into an emerging pattern of the alt-right, anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists,” Woa, where did this come from? I have dug into how they connect the dots from radical feminists to white supremacists, but the logic is strained and this reference comes out of nowhere.

And our Blade writer runs with it. “Violent far-right groups like the Proud Boys, the religious right, and anti-trans ‘feminists’ are collaborating and coordinating as they share the same media streams.”

As evidence for this, the Blade links to a Dame Magazine articleThe Far-Right And Anti-Trans Movements: An Unholy Alliance. This in-no-way-clickbait title heads a pile of interesting data points, such as, “violent white nationalists are separate from, but adjacent to, the Christian right.” I think we’ve all seen enough evidence in the past year’s news cycles that they are two sides of the same coin. They’ve been pretty blatant about it for a while now.

Then there’s this chestnut: “At the 2017 Values Voters Summit hosted by the Family Research Council, Meg Kilgannon outlined the religious right’s plan to co-opt anti-trans feminist groups, and use their feminist-sounding language to seem more secular while hiding the true motivation behind their animus.”

This is an unflattering paraphrase of a mutual agreement. But has it ever occurred to us that the religious right are not coming into this blind? Those who tend the flame of Colonialism are not the simple folk they present themselves as.

Considering how anti-religion radical feminism is, and its absence from pretty much all radfem spaces, it doesn’t seem like this has had much internal, practical effect. But when the opposition stubbornly refuses to look into things, optics become vital to communication.

Back to the LA Blade: “Rhetoric against transgender people in popular right-wing media like Fox News has grown both more frequent, and more extreme. In April, Tucker Carlson (who serves as a gateway to the far right) declared that transgender people are a threat to the “perpetuation of the species.”

Tucker Carlson’s populist gibberish is only a gateway to anything if you pretend he’s not heir to the Schwann’s Frozen Foods fortune. And it’s recently come out that he’s a well-known source for dirt on his colleagues, apparently an open secret among reporters.

Wink

Snitches get stitches, right Tucker?

Most of the radfems I know are leftists, and not the kind of person who watches Fox News.

But the LA Blade quotes Dr. Joe Mulhall, head of research at the UK’s anti-extremist watchdog group Hope Not Hate, “If you talk about trans issues it opens the doors to the mainstream.”

Who knew you could run a watchdog group from under a rock? Fox may have the best ratings in cable news, but that’s the penthouse of a burning building.

Feminists appearing on right-wing platforms to defend women’s existence only to be undermined and reinterpreted shows how the left has abandoned us. These days, speaking up against anything Trans is the fastest way to lose your job, your friends and even family members.

Still, Dr. Joe insists, “The far-right are saying things they know will be echoed in the comment pages of the right-wing press.”

Plenty of things in this situation are still confusing, not least of which is this comment. Since when is there a right-wing press? What happened to the liberal media??

Rich governments, Amazon, The New York Times, The LA Blade, the World Health Organization, The Olympics, GLAAD, libraries and school boards and the stuffy old BBC are all behind this. Still, they see enemies everywhere.

Regardless of right or left, things are moving forward quickly: “Flyers are circulating online advertising a second protest against Wi Spa on July 17th. “

Hey, that’s today! Police are mobilizing to prevent a repeat of last time, and I’m still not convinced that the first protest wasn’t a TERF trap.

But we can all look forward to continuing unbiased coverage in the LA Blade: Robert Lansing is a pseudonym for a long-time investigative trans researcher and writer-journalist.” 

I have my own biases, of course, but sharing a sex phenotype with half the planet is not a mental illness. Biases born of material reality are stubborn things. They don’t stop being true just because you don’t like them.

Such as women’s objection to males in our private spaces.

“It does not matter AT ALL if the person peeing next to you is doing so with a penis. If you are concerned with other people’s genitals, that is a *you* problem.” How we wish this were true! Right ladies?

Dreamy Seamstress

If only the world were perfect!

It would be wonderful not to worry whether any men were around. To just go about our business and pay them no mind. What bliss!

But of course, we’d have to be ignorant of all of human history. How men decided their penis was a weapon and wielded it to terrible effect. How they systematically raped us, locked us up as broodmares, and killed many who disobeyed.

Ignorant of how, to this day, night jogging is not a good idea. How the leading cause of death for pregnant women is murder. How ‘rough sex’ is a common defense for it.

To suddenly insist that an uninvited penis is not a flashing neon warning sign is to deny the entire history of civilization. And the most ambitious gaslighting play of all time.

Women Out In The Cold: Hey Ohio, You Decent?

As much as I hate to admit it, I grew up in Ohio.

Classy Dame

A classy dame like me? Weird, I know!

For a long time people called it America’s Weathervane. A hub of midwestern culture, Ohio picked the President every election from 1960 until this last one.

Despite my six years in Tennessee, I watched with great interest as  State Representative Jena Powell spoke before the Ohio Legislature in defense of women’s rights. She’s a Republican, of course. Representative Powell may not be the best feminist spokesperson, but the aggressive, frightening reaction she triggered made my blood run cold.

She was given the floor to introduce an amendment called the Save Women’s Sports Act, “a fairness issue for women to be able to achieve their dreams in athletics in our state, and is crucial to preserving women’s rights and the integrity of women and girl’s sports.”

As she talks about the girls losing out on opportunities across the country, the first objection is heard from the room: “Point of order!”

Before she finishes her sentence, someone begins banging loudly, could be a book on a table.

“This amendment will require schools that are part of the OHSAA – “

More shouting, each word punctuated with another thunderous bang, “Point! Of! Order!”

” – to designate separate teams – “

The shouting and banging become continuous, making Jena fight for every word.

” – for the biological sex. No school inters…” She only pauses briefly, long enough to shoot a withering look at whoever is interrupting her. “No school interscholastic conference or organization – “

The banging continues, but I guess he needed to catch his breath.

” – that regulates interscholastics shall permit biological males – “

The banging quickens, the same voice braying over it now in short, wordless bursts.

” – participate on an athletic team or in athletic competitions designated only for biological female participants.”

The howling carries on, there’s some shuffling and maybe one or two others begin banging on tables. Eventually, the Chairman is forced to stop her and address the issue.

Grownups Were Talking

The grownups were talking, darling! What is it??

The video isn’t very long and cuts off before we learn more. What was the Point of Order?? I need to know!

Extra info is scarce but, according to the local ABC affiliate, Representative Powell tacked her amendment onto a bill that had already passed the State Senate. Their bill was aimed at giving college athletes the right to profit from schools’ use of their likeness.

Jena’s amendment looks a bit out of place, but her own bill has been stalled in committee. And time is running short.

ABC says the Ohio Senate went around her the very next night, attaching the college profit scheme as an amendment to an unrelated bill. I guess they can’t be mad at her for that! But shouldn’t legislators be expected to show relevance like lawyers do? This kind of agenda-juggling erodes a lot of confidence in government.

And the sound of the baboon-level freakout coming from the State Representative off-camera is harrowing for a couple of reasons. The mental image is conjured up of a red face, gnashing teeth, books and papers flung here and there as you listen to them thrash around.

Aside from the unhinged nature of this performance, it’s even scarier if this is coming from the so-called ‘liberal’ party. All because a woman spoke up to defend our rights!

We know we can’t depend on conservatives to stand firm for women outside of our right to do Girly Things. Their moral panic working in our favor for once doesn’t mean they will suddenly support our bodily autonomy.

Chasing A Fantasy

Hey Judy, how you been? Still chasing that fantasy, I see!

The fight over abortion and birth control is still raging, and Ohio is one of the worst offenders. Abortion is illegal in Ohio before many women even know they’re pregnant, thanks to the infamous Heartbeat Bill.

Representative Powell might want to ask them about that, too.

Because with Dems completely beholden to gender activism and few progressives in sight, being a woman is a pretty embattled position at the moment.

We’re going to visit family in Ohio over the July 4th holiday. It’s been a while, the kids are in for a treat. I’m nervous for lots of reasons, but that’s nothing new. It’s strange to be going home and leaving it at the same time.

Beyond politics, life goes on. A lot has changed in the last six years, but some things never do. As the culture war imitates the Summer weather, checking in with a few of them is sounding better all the time.

Feminists On Fox: Suicide By Optics

There’s been a lot of discussion in Radfem spaces about whether cooperating with conservatives is a good idea.

Leopard

What? He’s tame!

Plenty of writers and activists have stepped up to remind us why conservatives don’t make good allies. Just because Sky Daddy agrees the sky is blue and talks real sweet, doesn’t mean we need to go back to him. He’ll only hit us again sooner or later.

But with such a complete media blackout, with social platforms banning us for nonsense like ‘misgendering,’ it’s not hard to understand why some feminists choose to take advantage of the few opportunities on offer to get the word out.

It’s easy to see how I ran across a Christian News article on Ovarit this morning about a little girl standing up to her school system, that devolved into her mother talking about Jesus.

Most of us are well aware that Jesus is not our friend. Regardless of presentation, anyone who preaches absolute life roles is not a feminist. But it’s getting lonely in Leftland lately, and conservatives are the only ones even calling women by name anymore.

Defection is possible because each side has a point, in its own way. But each side is getting too much mileage out of demonizing the other to ever admit this, making real answers impossible. Any admission of nuance is cast as ideological creep, asking questions risks slipping into no-man’s land.

But this pressure to conform tends to have the opposite effect, of course. The forbidden fruit looks even sweeter, and eating it makes you a rebel. You’re halfway to being a Revolutionary / Rugged Individualist already, depending on your perspective.

Most feminists traditionally thought of ourselves as liberals. But our leaders have abandoned us, and our organizations have shunned us. A few people here and there of various liberal pedigrees are peeling off and ‘leaving the left.’

Lesbian YouTuber Arielle Scarcella is a great example of the ideological creep that can happen when, instead of questioning things, someone just goes looking for alternative answers. Defection doesn’t solve anything, because the same problems exist across the political spectrum.

Read To Sleep

All this heavy thinking really takes it out of me!

Conservatives believe women are private property, liberals believe women are public property, remember? Misogyny is always recognizable, regardless of the motivation behind it.

But feminists have been arguing with conservatives and winning for a long time. They feel familiar, even safe, in a weird way. The old values have been defanged by modernity. Jesus might not be our friend, but he’s mellowed a lot with age.

We know that church attendance has been dropping for decades, and conservatives have needed to invoke all kinds of tricks to stay relevant. We can talk to The Heritage Foundation or Tucker Carlson, confident in our ability to walk away whenever we want.

The thing is, it doesn’t matter if walking in was our fatal mistake.

Too often, the truth just doesn’t matter. You know how humankind has been writing the same story over and over and over, about how the Good People win the day just by Doing What’s Right? I wonder if that’s our favorite fantasy because that’s almost never how it really works out.

Barbarella2

Being the Good Guy means I’m bullet proof, right??

We’re naive if we think we can simply walk in, present our rational arguments, and win most people over that way. Optics are everything because they’re what we use to bring the picture into focus. Most people in the US are either looking through a red lens or a blue lens.

If you’re sitting across from Tucker Carlson, you will be seen through that red lens. Conservatives will mostly agree with you anyway, and liberals will ignore you out of habit.

Which is fine by the Trans Lobby, by the way. They are happy to have us all corralled in one corner where they can disgrace us all at the same time.

Accepting the conservative invitation is climbing aboard a sinking ship. Unless we’re talking about legislation that supports women and girls, it’s nothing but a photo-op for those looking to slander us.

And it’s working! I think the comparison of feminists to Nazis was metaphorical at first, Nazi was a byword for fascist for a minute there. Rush Limbaugh first used ‘Feminazi’ back in the last century, deftly condensing decades and centuries of resentment toward bossy, uppity women into a metaphor for the ages.

But it was a long time before the comparison became literal. Even Limbaugh wasn’t that absurd.

I laughed it off at first, but things have turned darker these past few years and Nazis aren’t metaphorical anymore. Anxiety is cranked up to 11 and loyalties are being questioned.

Add in generalized economic stress, and most people are too busy to look very deeply into much, and too tired to absorb it anyway. All most people are going to see is the Radfem sitting next to Tucker Carlson, in the clip their favorite YouTuber is smirking at.

No Way

Don’t make me come out there and see what’s making all that noise!

More people are finally waking up to just how upside-down most conservative, old-school ‘family’ values really are. Associating ourselves with them in a social setting implies agreement. Once upon a time, feminists would be on Fox News scowling over the latest challenge to abortion access. Now that they’re the only ones who will have us, we feel pressure to behave ourselves.

It’s not just that we’re talking to them, we’re being nice to them. On camera!

And when the new world sweeps away the last traces of the old, the New Religion will be only too happy to push Women’s Liberation into the past right along with it. A quirk of early Modern History. A quaint movement based upon outdated understandings of things, for a group of people we don’t recognize anymore.

It won’t matter how many of us are Marxists or lesbians. It won’t matter what the true history of women is or how hard we worked to escape it. Because history is written by the winners, and the old ways are on their way out, one way or the other.

Flirting with conservatism is helping to discredit feminism. Failing to address this sacrifices our integrity for short-term visibility. It’s participating in our own smear campaign. It’s handing live ammunition to our enemies.

I don’t think we should sacrifice feminism for views.

Opposing Choice Feminism Doesn’t Make Me Anti-Choice

The current model of Choice Feminism is riddled with problems.

Dumbbell

I’m gonna feel the empowerment any minute, right?

In radfem and GC spaces, we take them as a gimme. We understand that many of the alternatives we throw around are older than any of us, that radical feminism is not a reaction to Choice Feminism.

In our sheltered enclave, it’s easy to forget how confusing it is out there.

French YouTuber Alice Cappelle takes on some meaty subjects with a laywoman’s perspective. She lays out details and liberally quotes others, while admitting she doesn’t always know where she stands on things.

Critical analysis is like any hobby – Easy and fun with the right tools and a little practice. But no amount of skill can fill in one person’s limited toolset. No one can see everything, and education takes time.

I sympathize a lot with Alice’s intuitive approach, and she gave me something that I haven’t found anywhere else.

She quotes Meghan Murphy, “‘I believe we are beginning to forget where choice came from, and what it means.'” Alice sums up Meghan’s point, “I think what she means is the concept of choice in feminist movements used to be much simpler.

“It was about choice over marriage, choice over divorce, choice over career, choice over [our] bodies.

“Now a lot of feminists – usually white feminists like Murphy,” An interesting digression, from one white lady to another. I guess she’s contrasting Meghan with the subjects of her video, Cardi B and Emily Radakovsky. Two WOC who utilized self-objectification to escape poverty.

Because white women never do that.

The urge to virtue-signal is strong, I guess. Just another example of how identity politics divides us.

But her next point was what really got my attention: A lot of feminists … see the situation right now as a reversal of those gains, a subversion of what choice really means.

Alice does show us a little of her thought process, “And that implies that we need to restrict that choice.”

Long Underwear Better

Not exactly the perfect fit!

It seems the linguistic link between ‘opposition’ and ‘opposite’ isn’t limited to English. This is the kind of invisible mental bias that can trip up anyone.

“Or act in a way that there is not even a choice, so regulate self-objectification or the ways in which female sexuality is represented in the media.”

Her rebuttal is as fleshed-out as her straw man, “The problem is that, without choice – as flawed as it is – we’re perpetuating this idea that women cannot decide for themselves.” But… choice good!

“Which is a very patronizing attitude!” Could not agree more. And I have never seen a GC feminist say any such thing.

This is the factual opposite of what feminism is about.

This is the definition of a conservative mindset. Personally, I don’t like it when conservative women call themselves feminists, it’s claiming to be an oxymoron. But with identity politics, anything is possible!

Feminism is pro-choice in its essence, recognizing women’s agency the only real entry fee. But I think we’ve found another node in the TERF connect-the-dots game! 

I’m not sure how the meaning of feminism became so diluted. I know none of the older women in my family knew or cared much about it. They were Modern Women with a midwestern conservative bent, leaving my sister and me easy pickings for liberal social movements.

Radical feminism gives us a third way, firmly rooted in material reality. Setting us free from the two-dimensional false choice of Liberal vs. Conservative.

Alice goes on to address race in her video. I’m still working out the details, but hingeing analysis on personal identity atomizes the large groups that political movements need to be effective. Your personal identity is beside the point.

Taking race out of the equation actually evens out application of social programs. Educating and feeding poor children should have nothing to do with their race. 

Cardi B becoming a stripper to lift herself out of poverty is a sad story for me. And once the floor is open to identity talk, someone will make the point about how ‘ableist’ beauty standards are – Our narrow definition of ‘hot’ is the real problem! – and distract from the issue. I have been around this block so many times!

Elegant Conversation

Ramps in strip clubs would go a long way to achieving equality!

Cardi B has no interest in escaping her identity. She performed as a human sex toy to escape from poverty.

But Alice turns to infamous race-baiting tome American Apartheid for context. She describes how even Woke sociologists insulted black people’s humanity, and the collective middle finger they got in return. “Yes, it’s true, using self-objectification doesn’t sound super-feminist. 

“But it also sends another message, that you can rise in society and earn as much money as the people who oppressed you or the men who neglected you.”

This is actually a good articulation of something else that’s been bugging me: Cultural subversion is a powerful tool for social change, even if it doesn’t immediately change anything.

There’s some debate about how social change drives political change, but it’s definitely the more organic route. Feminism as a social movement needs women being unapologetic in public.

Feminism as a political movement has forgotten why she started all this in the first place. What is a woman, anyway?

We Need To Talk About Separatism

I’m embarrassed to admit this, but I had no idea what separatism was.

Doing some long-overdue digging, I learned it’s at the root of the weed that’s choking modern politics.

Weeds

Ugh, I should have pulled these ages ago!

Research Is Safe And Fun!

I quickly found myself lost in a dense, dry old bramble. Kathy Rudy’s tale of joining a ‘radical feminist’ group is littered with breadcrumbs along the trail into the political wilderness.

She describes the lesbian community she joined in North Carolina in 1980. They put separatism first, theorizing among themselves about an ‘essential female nature’ that inevitably reflected their own experience.

The fate of their community is a perfect example of the destructive potential inherent in building our politics on identity.

This snapshot of separatist lesbians is a portrait of the familiar cultural character: “People dressed mostly the same, ate the same foods, cut their hair the same, had the same social activities.

“The strength of our community was built on the very vulnerable assumption that being lesbian was enough to hold us all together.” 

A Case Of Mistaking Identity For Reality

But right from the beginning, their pool was impossibly shallow – “By claiming the shared status of victim in male, heterosexual culture, we thought we could overlook or deny racial, ethnic, religious, class, geographic, and many other differences.

“It became clear very quickly that fractures and problems existed at many different levels.” 

No one’s identity can be completely contained by one label. Political movements should not try to define people this way, because it doesn’t work!

A movement without roots in physical reality (lesbian is more something you do than something you are) has no external definition. Founding your politics in subjective identity is sowing seeds in sand.

“The first signs of these fissures … manifested themselves in conversations about what counted as a real radical feminist.” This sounds very familiar. The quickest way to reinforce a social group is to draw a big, black line between Us and Them. 

Both sides of the larger political argument have been preoccupied with this for ages.

“We started asking each other to declare primary or even sole allegiance to ‘the women’s community.’ We began policing ourselves in order to guarantee that our members were faithful to the principle of putting women first.”

Modern liberal feminism and Queer theory! The parallel is uncanny.

As the torrent of difference continued, smaller tributaries overwhelmed their shallow unity: “It had become clear that most generalizations about women did not hold true, especially across racial, class, or ethnic lines.

“African American lesbians and other lesbians of color told white radical feminists in no uncertain terms that the female nature they had theorized did not represent difference.”

I never caught how exactly they defined this ‘female nature,’ but I may have missed it tangled in the bramble. Maybe she didn’t think it was worth including, since apparently the existence of black women shattered it completely!

“Thus, throughout the 1980s, the lesbian feminist idea of a unique female nature slowly began to grow thin, to lose substance and texture.”

Pink Bouquet

I don’t get it – Every time I isolate them in this bowl, they die!

This is what happens when you behave as if what you want overrides what is. As if observation is what makes the world. It strikes me as pretty narcissistic, but that flows with every stream from that period.

The extreme version of individualism that was fashionable at the time put blinders on the psyche. How else do you explain such jaw-dropping naivete? “The writings of these women demonstrated beyond a shadow of a doubt that the special attributes we had associated with womanness actually described only the womanness of whites.”

I cannot imagine how they managed this but, their amazing trick exposed, the community crumbled pretty quickly. Kathy went to grad school, and spent some time having what had happened figured out for her.

She lists many books from the late 1980s and early 90s and quotes them extensively.

First, Kathy brings in Alice Echols as her adversary, saying Radical Feminism Is Dead. Then, without realizing it, she tells us how radical feminism died.

How Radical Feminism Classic Died

“Echols argues that in focusing their politics on lifestyle issues, feminism after 1973 was void of serious structural potential.

“By the early ’70s, radical feminism began to flounder and, after 1975, it was eclipsed by cultural feminism” – The creation of women’s communities like the one our author joined.

“Although this woman-only space was envisioned as a culture of active resistance, it often became an end in itself, where patriarchy was evaded rather than engaged.

“The focus became one of personal rather than social transformation.”

Yep, that sounds like pretty much every insular group ever. A distant threat becomes a memory, and the urgency fades. But Kathy identifies with none of it.

“Echols comments on … the late 1970s, ‘More than ever, how one lived one’s life, not one’s commitment to political struggle, became the salient factor.'” Political struggle meaning push for material change in the physical world.

This turn inward sucked all the life out of RadFem Classic.

Kathy defends RadFem Lite by describing their shallow isolationism, We were not socialists, because we believed that too much focus on things like workers and owners would suck us into the muck of patriarchy.

“We were not Marxists because we believed that true liberation accompanied the transcendence of men and the material realities they had created.”

No shit! But how does turning your back on the problem solve anything?

Black Pussy

Don’t worry, Lady Ravenclaw – We don’t need anybody!

“We were not interested in building coalition with men. We wanted only to organize our lives to be free of their patronizing dominance.” Politics is hard! Let’s skip to the good part!

But she brings in her favorite writers as backup. “In her later works, Mary Daly explicitly challenged the validity of materialist and socialist politics from a radical women-centered point of view.

“For her, feminist activism should be centered on the poetic quest of finding a female reality deeper than that created by men.”

Ok, I think I’m starting to see what those black women were talking about.

Personal Identity Excludes Everyone

Which brings us to the spot where feminism intersects with the larger political world.

I am definitely not black, but I have spent my life bobbing in and out of the working class. I recognize the blind privilege of insisting the most important thing women can do for our liberation is to search for female reality.

Female reality is the reason liberation is necessary! Kathy does a great job describing the problem without ever recognizing what she’s looking at.

“The introduction of difference between women pointed out the weaknesses inherent in building a politics on a cross-racial, cross-cultural, unified identity of ‘woman.'” Introducing race and culture into the equation is the mistake, not the woman part! Blunting the edges of material analysis with personal identity padding turns a scalpel into a club.

Politics shouldn’t be about your personal background, no matter how big your group is. Political movements need to focus on the material effects of the system.

Material Reality vs. Personal Reality

Many black people live in poverty, but many of them don’t. They are not even the majority of poor people, but ‘poor’ has become code for black.

Set aside for now how this completely ignores poor people of any other shade –  This is the kind of confusion that grows from rooting your politics in what kinds of people are affected by the system instead of what’s happening to them.

This gives asshole politicians language to rile up poor whites against their black neighbors. Harping on the differences (which are only sorta real) while distracting from the uncomfortable truth of their own situation.

And coding social issues along racial lines causes an overall decline in civic engagement.

To cultivate real change, we need to draw a hard line between the identity politics salting the ground of public discourse, and material politics rooted in quality of life.

The Physical World vs. Our Perception Of It

We can see the difference between the physical realm of politics and the mental realm of social movements in the persistence of their effects.

Dandelion

Observing cause and effect without personal judgement lets us manipulate things!

Something like race only affects your life as much as people think it does. Race doesn’t actually make a person smarter or stronger. Science has shown race to be a phantom of the human mind, a lot more cultural and not as real as people once thought.

The material aspects of our lives, on the other hand, don’t depend on how people perceive us. Class has measurable effects on intelligence and health. Sex obviously has a big impact on our lives, and its existence is definitely not subjective.

But Kathy is unable to find a straight path, so her studies only lead her further into the weeds.

“These feminist theorists prodded us to question our attachment to radical feminism’s stable category of woman.” Then you should have thrown them away! Woman is such a stable thing that we all came out of one!

We clearly exist, and this woman did not get her money’s worth from her graduate degree.

“To think of women’s liberation as an event involving ‘women only,’ they said, was not only to miss the complexities of oppression, but it was also to assume and posit the very category that itself perpetuates injustice”

Way to blame the victim. Kathy went from lesbian separatist to queer theorist in a decade, and it’s really fascinating.

Radical Feminist, Political Lesbian, Or Queer Theorist? …Who Can Choose?

One of the most interesting things is that she describes radical feminism and political lesbianism as basically the same thing! “Marilyn Frye captured the sense in which this turn to women was … [how] a new world would be built … becoming a lesbian is a reorientation … a kind of conversion.”

But this sexy diversion was extremely important: “Rather than squelching mobilization, we see lesbian feminist communities as sustaining the radical feminist tradition and bequeathing a legacy to feminists of the future.”

She tries real hard to link her experience to the blooming Queer community ten years later, but all of it begs the question – Who is making these future people?? 

Other women, of course! But we’ve seen how alternative perspectives are too much for her to handle.

The end of the story is sad, but very instructive: “For many, the outcome of these struggles was often segregation.

“Additive identity politics allowed us to feel comfortable only when talking with people from our own ethnic, racial, class, sex, and gender backgrounds.”

True Unity For Real Progress

But class cuts across all the others. Like sex, it touches everyone. It physically, literally shapes our lives, whether we like it or not. The resources available to us growing up have a cascading effect on our entire lives.

But like race, class is only as real as we make it.

The blurring of ‘poor’ and ‘black’ created cover for nurturing hidden racism. Desperate people have been lied to for generations, and robbed while they yell at their neighbors. But give poor kids better food and the differences between them and their richer peers start to disappear.

Give the world better food, healthcare and living conditions, and the stratifications begin to erode. But comfortable people have time to start talking about Justice and stuff.

Identity politics destroyed Kathy’s isolated lesbian community because that’s what it does. Dividing us up into smaller and smaller niche categories until we are each an Army of One.

Building our politics on material change is how we unify the movement. It’s also how we shield ourselves from Woke woo. It streamlines our message and simplifies our goals.

And separatism can be a useful tool for this.

What Is Separatism, Really?

Separatism is not living away from all men and centering everything on our identity as women – Because each of us will experience that a little differently. Separatism is establishing strong boundaries that keep men out of certain physical spaces.

You know, like we already do.

Important Meeting

Well, now that’s settled… Where were we??

The completely reasonable and practical approach outlined in Jocelyn MacDonand’s 2015 Feminist Current article is to broaden and strengthen this.

She also quotes Marylin Frye, “Frye explains that feminism is a philosophy, not for, but against inclusion.

“The dominant paradigm says, ‘Men have a right to women’s bodies, to women’s labor. Women are invited to participate in public life to the degree that we, men, decree.’

“Feminism says, ‘No. That is not the natural or inevitable order of life on Planet Earth.'”

This is a pretty good summary – We want our say in the world as equals. “And here’s the really important part: “This separation being initiated or maintained, at will, by women.”

“It’s not about advocating for an island of lesbians cut off for eternity from half the human race,” No, apparently this pesky vine has its roots in the disintegration of politics over the past 50 years.

“Rather, it means we say when the walls go up and for how long, who passes through the gate and who waits outside.”

This is power. This power wielded by women is feminine power, no special costume necessary.

Because when we focus on the material world, our course of action becomes clear. We need to build a wall between the political movement of women’s liberation and the many social movements we’re invested in.

Your experience of womanhood is as integral but distinct as the rose on the bush. Watering blossoms isn’t going to get you anywhere.

If radical feminism is about getting at the roots of female oppression, let’s be clear what we’re digging for. Just one of many tools, separatism is elemental to our liberation.

Regressivism: Let’s Call Them What They Are

Tribalism has really gotten out of hand, hasn’t it? Everything must be on one side or the other in the Culture War, no front line is too remote.

Flaming Cross

Oh, no – They found me!

But tossing everything in two huge piles throws together things that have no business anywhere near each other.

The simple dichotomy of Conservative = RepublicanProgressive = Democrat has shown itself inadequate for a while now. For one thing, a ‘conservative’ is someone who wants to conserve things as they are. But this makes the Biden administration’s Back-To-Normal schtick a little weird, doesn’t it?

Repulsive as they are, Republicans are the ones getting creative. They filibustered more bills during the Obama years than in all of US history up to that point put together. Not exactly traditionalists.

No, the Dems are the ones pretending it’s 1996 forever. Bernie Sanders’ offer to bring us into the modern world was crushed, then swept aside as if we didn’t all see it happen.

But words mean things. A ‘progressive’ is someone who works for progress toward an egalitarian ideal. To create a new world, you have to shoot for the moon – Even if you miss, things will improve here on earth.

The US doesn’t have a Progressive party, the Democrats have made sure of that. Those who are agitating for change don’t want progress.

The so-called ‘conservatives’ are dragging us backward. Who would have guessed we’d be going up against actual Nazis 80 years after they lost? The MAGA slogan calls back to an imaginary time, yes, but Progressives can only imagine a safe, democratic world.

MAGA’s mistake is looking backward – If only we could return to our ignorant past, things would be better! is an absurd statement on its face. That hollowness is the ring of fraud. We all know what returning to the 19th century would mean for most of us.

Things like progress and conservation are pretty self-evident when the sheen of Marketing is scoured off. ‘Progressive,’ ‘socialist’ and ‘liberal’ have become dirty words in some places, but these are just descriptors for schools of thought.

Modern life has forged eager students.

Candelabra

I hear these woods are haunted, but someone salted the field!

It’s time to call out those who want to strip us of our hard-won rights for what they are: Regressivists. They don’t just want to conserve the status quo – They’re talking about a pre-modern era, winding the clock back over 100 years!

For our own good, of course.

Naming a problem shines light into dark corners. A Regressivist is anyone who clings to the Neoliberal ideals that have burned up the beating heart of our society.

The Regressivist is the one torpedoing change with Culture War firebombs. That social safety net might help someone you don’t like!

Regressivists are the ones so wrapped up in their identity – Be it Trans, Christian, Libertarian, Marxist, whatever – that they lose touch with material reality. 

They’re the bad-faith debater with the preconceived notion that somehow always comes back to women’s subjugation.

Most importantly, calling a Knave a Knave walls them off in their own toxic little corner.

Not everything about modern western culture is garbage, and change for no reason isn’t progress. Some things are worth conserving. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

But with only two categories, this kind of talk gets you the side-eye even from your friends. You’re not secretly Conservative, are you?? Fear echoes in the chasms of relentless political earthquakes. These days, you never know who’s gonna say something crazy next.

Even questioning any of the cascading changes can get you accused of heresy, but not all change is good.

And no one trying to roll back abortion and voting rights is conserving anything!

Let’s call Regressivists what they are! Let’s claim some space to discuss what actually needs to change, along with what’s already working. It shouldn’t be controversial to say I don’t think society needs to abandon everything that existed before 1960.

This will also make it easier to tell who’s who – Drawing a line between vanilla-lovers and chocolate-haters makes the difference obvious. Preferring a traditional lifestyle doesn’t have to mean judging how anyone else lives.

But having only two categories makes shallow details feel deep. It pits people against each other based on personal choices that are actually irrelevant to collective debate.

Ladies In Masks

Oh come on, since when did collective action ever help anything… right??

Those of us who want to move forward can come together in mutual hatred of Regressivism. Let’s wall the reactionaries off, away from the rest of civilization where they belong.

The US is lost in a funhouse of corporate prisons, lobbyists and apathy. I’ve heard that insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results but, as the American Dream slides into myth, eventually frustration will spill over into action.

Unless the egalitarian left pulls itself together, that action will take the form of more authoritarian power grabs. The quickest way I know to unite a group is against a common enemy.

We’re facing off against people who use language as camouflage.

Calling them what they really are lets us see who we’re really up against, as well as who we’re not.

US Counterintelligence Plays Divide&Conquer With The Left

Ever wonder why so many of the people arguing with you seem brainwashed? Wonder no more!

Artemis

I have tons of practice hitting a moving target!

Gabriel Rockhill lays it all out, but his article isn’t getting the attention it deserves. That’s probably because it’s a slog to read, but it’s as important as it is wordy.

He tells us about a declassified CIA report that describes exactly how the Agency helped to mastermind the current mess:

In recognizing it was unlikely that it could abolish [the left] entirely, the world’s most powerful spy organization has sought to move leftist culture away from resolute anti-capitalist and transformative politics toward center-left reformist positions that are less overtly critical of US foreign and domestic policies.”

After all, who better to mount an all-out assault on leftist thought than the biggest counterintelligence agency on earth?

The link is dead now, I guess the report got moved to a more convenient location. Rockhill’s post is four years old, and his eloquence clearly didn’t ring the alarm bells it needed to.

It’s no coincidence that our progress feels hollow, and we find ourselves grappling with ghosts of enemies past. A philosopher at The Sorbonne himself, Rockhill describes the Agency’s “cultural program of coaxing the left toward the right, while discrediting anti-imperialism and anti-capitalism.”

The CIA seems to have planted operatives everywhere to push this agenda – “the Congress for Cultural Freedom (CCF), which was headquartered in Paris and later discovered to be a CIA front organization during the cultural Cold War, was among the most important patrons in world history, supporting an incredible range of artistic and intellectual activities.”

A CIA front organization was among the most important cultural patrons in world history. Let that sink in. Give an artist a gallery – Voila! Instant capitalist. Even art galleries need to pay the bills.

Eve

His forked tongue is a protected disability!

The agency for US counterintelligence obviously takes this part of its job just as seriously as the more glamourous stuff like coups and assassinations. It had offices in 35 countries, published dozens of prestige magazines, was involved in the book industry, organized high-profile international conferences and art exhibits, coordinated performances and concerts, and contributed ample funding to various cultural awards and fellowships, as well as to front organizations.”

And it gets worse! Not content with consumable media, the Agency has boldly wrapped its tendrils around the pillars of modern thought.

The CIA’s program of psychological warfare … has always been keen on understanding and transforming institutions of cultural production and distribution.”

This makes a lot of sense. Anyone can tell you what to think, but culture tells you how to think. It’s pretty logical that an organization set on bending the world to its will would be manipulating cultural institutions.

“The Agency went behind the back of the McCarthy-driven Congress in the postwar era to directly support and promote leftist projects that steered cultural producers and consumers away from the resolutely egalitarian left.

“In severing and discrediting the latter, it also aspired to fragment the left in general, leaving what remained of the center-left with only minimal power and public support (as well as being potentially discredited due to its complicity with right-wing power politics.)”

Sound familiar?

Rockhill specifically mentions the influence of French theory in Academia: “In descriptions that … should invite us to think critically about the current academic situation in the Anglophone world and beyond, the authors of the report foreground the ways in which the precarization of academic labor contributes to the demolition of radical leftism.

A liberal professor is only as liberal as the job market will allow. Because we’re all chained to capital, given more or less slack as the Market sees fit. 

Not only does their program mirror the issues blossoming in Trans ideology, the report specifically cites our old friend Foucault!Foucault … is specifically applauded for his praise of the New Right intellectuals … reminding philosophers that ‘bloody consequences’ have ‘flowed from the rationalist social theory of the 18th-century Enlightenment and the Revolutionary era.'”

Head On A Platter

Alas, King Louis! What an asshole…

True enough! The Enlightenment taught people to think for themselves. Dynasties were toppled and the old world order eventually came crashing down at the beginning of the 20th century.

They managed to put some structure in place to replace it before the Great Neoliberal Experiment knocked the whole thing off the rails.

Not everyone wants a peaceful, democratic world.

“Foucault’s anti-revolutionary leftism and his perpetuation of … the claim that expansive radical movements only resuscitate the most dangerous of traditions … are perfectly in line with the espionage agency’s overall strategies of psychological warfare.

Rockhill reminds us how French intellectuals earned a cutting-edge reputation through challenging mid-century conformist impulses, but points out it came at a price: “The theoretical practices of figures who turned their back on … the tradition of radical critique – meaning anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist resistance – surely contributed to the ideological drift away from transformative politics.”

It sure looks that way. The lameness of the left has been a topic of conversation for derisive right-wingers and disappointed liberals alike for a long time. These days it’s pretty hard not to notice there are basically two lefts, especially in feminism.

Just last month, Professor Donna Hughes published on 4W,The American political left is increasingly diving headfirst into their own world of lies and fantasy and, unlike in the imaginary world of QAnon, real children are becoming actual victims.” Her university denounced her as ‘anti-trans,’ of course.

Because Trans Rights forms a perfect muzzle for independent thought, radical or otherwise.

Baking Weirdness

Something definitely feels very wrong here!

We’re all sadly familiar with how crazy things have gotten. The CIA sure is. But the best part about that report perfectly describing it all? It was published in 1985! That’s right – The biggest counterintelligence apparatus in the world actually seems to have set about creating this insanity on purpose!!

So, if you can’t shake this nagging feeling that Something had to be behind how quickly all this has happened, Congrats! You’re probably right.

It’s hard not to be cynical with some of the things we have learned in recent years. Formerly famous so-called conspiracy theories proven true. Governments overthrown and regions disrupted by disgusting backroom deals and horrifying murders. That’s just the stuff we know about, and very little has been done about any of it.

Socialist thought has been marginalized my whole life, thoroughly smeared as authoritarian by decades of propaganda from all sides. Just because the Soviets weren’t really socialists wasn’t going to stop the US from seizing a golden rhetorical opportunity.

This is not to discount Rothblatt and Pritzker’s contributions, and everything Jennifer Bilek has uncovered over at her 11th Hour blog. No, I’d wager the Agency has lent a helping hand here and there, whether the Transhumanists know it or not. Considering the different ways the Agency was undermining the left 35 years ago, it’s clear that Trans Rights fits the bill perfectly.

Trans ideology has proven to be very effective at splitting and discrediting the left.

Leopard Kisses

He’s only looking after my interests!

Why wouldn’t an agency dedicated to fostering bullshit liberalism to torpedo the left actively support Trans Rights?

Their size, influence and resources would explain how it was able to pop up all over so fast and effectively. But the most important question is – Why?????

Seems not everyone is cool with the idea of The People running things. We are easier to exploit for money and power if we’re ignorant and fighting. Some among us actually prefer a world where ‘Despot’ is a potential career path.

A savage world works for savage people.

Top 5 Women Bloggers I Love

It’s funny how putting yourself out there is a great way to meet people.

Definitely more effective than my old favorite method – Keeping to myself and hoping to be noticed.

Along my journey at Brazen She I have met some really cool people. I want to give back to this great community.

Here are my top 5 favorite woman bloggers who I’ve met during my time here. They are a diverse group of voices each of whom enriches the world using her unique perspective. These ladies are brazenly themselves.

Women Bloggers Breeta

Breeta – A Voice

Breeta – A Voice

Breeta shares her experience and perspective with infectious enthusiasm. She shares her struggles, her insights and, more than anything else, her favorite songs.

Sometimes just coming along for the ride is not to be missed. In a post under the hashtag #Drunkposts, she writes,

And watching Heath Ledger as Patric, all young and bright-eyed and sweet and… alive, with those 90s pop in background…I mean I am an Indian kid and those exact songs were never part of my 90s days but the musical vibes… you can’t miss…

I am a hot mess now and fighting really hard to not drunk-text my old high-school crush and feeling like banging my head and crushing skull or break at least something…

I love the cultural perspective – I am always falling in love with new songs or revisiting old favorites. I feel a kindred spirit with her whimsy, wistfulness and wry humor.

She also has a gorgeous Instagram where she posts her photography. Truly a voice from another corner heard loud and clear.

Women Bloggers Claudette

Claudette – Writer of Words, Etc.

Claudette – Writer of Words, Etc.

Claudette is someone I can see myself getting coffee with while we vent and laugh about our kids.

While I rolled out the dough I made them sweep, vacuum and de-clutter the entire open concept area around me.

I will spare you the various antics that ensued to get them to conform to my wishes pleads expectations, but I will say this:

Their dad avoids confrontation.

Me?

I’m half Italian…BRING IT ON.

Sigh

What I mean by this isn’t that I *want* a fight, certainly not. I was quite sick with a nasty head cold all day, didn’t even make it out to food shopping due to all the sneezing.

Soul sister! Pity she lives in Toronto. But I still love reading her stuff, she’s so prolific I’m jealous and inspired all at the same time.

Sometimes she is very personal, after a while it starts to feel like you know her.

I am my own worst enemy.

I go up and down and sideways with my internal turmoil that it mostly leaves me mentally exhausted rather than inspired, or focused on the here and now.

Just reading her posts helps remind me to be brave, but she has also made the leap to try fiction.

Women Bloggers Justine2

Justine – OK Vibes

Justine – OK Vibes

I’m just going to let Justine introduce herself:

Justine Monikue is a chocolate-covered 80s baby, born abroad in Germany to military parents.  She spent a good chunk of her childhood in the Mid-Atlantic region of the USA (hence why she refers to submarine sandwiches as hoagies)

I relate very much with Justine’s philosophical tendencies. This lady can squeeze meaning from the simplest things:

Though I’ve been callenging myself not to dwell on the past, I find myself questioning my life choices when my life plans aren’t manifesting in the way I’d hoped, or an inconvenient event surfaces.

Omg I am right there with you! Justine helps me feel a little less crazy about looking for growth opportunities under every rock.

She shares her struggles and also gets creative with flash fiction,

Mei Fan was alone at the local beach, waiting on her bestie, Chandra, to show up. Chandra was always late, which irritated Mei Fan since she prided herself on being punctual. She checked her phone, no texts or missed calls from Chandra. Maybe she forgot to charge her phone again? Wouldn’t be the first time.

….Mei Fan’s phone rang, she grabbed hastily and answered without checking the caller ID.

“Sorry I’m running late, traffic is crazy as fuck today! Plus my mom wanted me to grab flour for roti, she called as soon as I started heading to the beach. Forgive me?”

Mei Fan sighed, “Always, I know how your mom is. That’s why you gotta start leaving earlier C!”

And poetry

Juicy warm and ripe

in fitted denim so tight

pits of flesh will rise

Hot stuff.

Women Bloggers April

April – Anxiously Imperfect

April – Anxiously Imperfect

April is the kind of blogger who posts when the mood strikes but when it does, watch out!

Her blog centers on living with anxiety and depression. Two of the most common mental health issues and two things that need talked about much more. While describing what it’s like with aplomb, April takes you right into the center of the storm. Her goal is to remind others that we are not alone:

Yesterday was a bad day for me, ….I didn’t realize it through my haze of anxiety, but I had scared my boyfriend.

….Later after my anxiety haze had faded and I could think more clearly.
I started thinking about who I am as a person in spite of my anxiety.

….I AM MORE THAN MY DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY!!!
Please remember that the bad days don’t last forever!
Don’t give into the stigma and seek treatment if you need it!

I love April because so few people really capture the feeling of a panic attack. Most of us wait until the storm has passed. The raw emotion in some of her writing grabs you by the collar and doesn’t let up –

I’m sorry that going out was just too much for me today!
I’m sorry that you are tired of hearing about my mental illness!
I’m sorry that I embarrassed you when I had my panic attack!
I’m sorry that I made you uncomfortable when I “lost it” today!
I’m sorry that I shrieked at you when you told me to just “lighten up!”

Although April is a personal friend of mine this list would be incomplete without her. She has been instrumental in keeping me motivated, directly and indirectly.

Women Bloggers Tamla

Tamla – 12 Raisins

Tamla – 12 Raisins

Last but definitely not least, Tamla explains the title of her blog,

At the stroke of midnight, I ate 12 raisins, one at a time, each one representing one wish for the New Year…Wishes fulfilled, I embark on a new journey. A journey of writing, motherhood and reflecting on this thing called life.

And reflect she does, with a calm intelligence that guides readers through events with a firm hand,

I knew class was coming up, and because he’d walked out on us after the first class we had to ‘catch up’ and had double the readings (which was A LOT). Not only that, he assigned an extra reflection for us to complete…there was no way I was going to get it all done….. This is a guy who only alotted 5% for participation but expects you to be in every class and never late.

I was reminded by my loved ones… “When someone shows you who they are, believe them.”

Personally, I would have been livid but she deals with frustration with inspiring composure.

[My little guy] used to eat vegetables back when he ate pureed food, now he wants nothing to do with them. As such, I’ve resorted to sneaking them into his meals. Nowadays, if I can even get him into the high chair, mealtimes are often filled with negotiation and bribery (other big no-no’s in all of the literature for feeding a toddler). It’s exhausting. I worry about him becoming a fussy eater but know that I have to be patient and his fussiness is likely, as they say ‘just a phase’.

Toddlers are so difficult! And adorable! Tamla writes a lot of great material about mom life, with a steady hand and an eye out for life lessons. She’s also a teacher and you definitely get the sense that this lady is a rock. She knows how keep her balance on life’s choppy seas, something I could definitely use more of.

Like the rest of our group, Tamla is also unafraid to tackle the meatier topics that come her way –

For my second last course I took “Decolonizing Education” which turned out to be one of my absolute favourite courses out of all my years in school.

For our last class we were asked to create a piece of poetry using the final chapters of our readings. Essentially, summarize decolonization.

She published her impactful poem in its entirety. It begins,

Language. Expression. Relevance.

Clearly.

To see ourselves.

In relationship to ourselves.

And to other selves.

What a thought. What a concept.

Of course she immediately begins to find practical use for this experience to enrich the lives of others,

What a beautiful way to ask learners to be thoughtful and creative while synthesizing a final unit or theme of study and inquiry…. I can imagine this task working with a wide range of students of varying levels and abilities and am excited to one day try it out in my own classroom(s).

Reflectively yours,

Tamla

Reflecting on these fellow travelers fills me with excitement for the future of literature and cultural dialog. Knowing there are so many other women out there pondering life and all its facets is some of the best motivation there is.

Love you gals!