Thursday, September 14, 2006

White Girl.

There are some issues I will never quite understand. I can rant and rave about poverty and racism all I like- but the fact is, I'm a rich white girl born into an ideal situation.

A lot of women in third wave feminism have pointed out that second wave feminism, for all the good that it did, was dominated by middle-class white women. This makes sense, when you think about it- discrimination towards their sex was, for the most part, the only discrimination they faced.

Should I feel guilt because I'm white and rich and American? Throw myself into "helping the less fortunate?" The former doesn't make any sense, and the latter is patronizing.

It's not as if I haven't have difficulties in my life- everyone has. I don't think creating a "my life sucked more than yours" contest makes anything better. And, there were lots of kids in the well-off area that I was fortunate enough to grow up in that had it better than I did- and lots who, I'm sure, had it worse. It's hardly my fault that things happened the way they did.

Should I keep silent about my background? Or should I even talk at all? How dare I speak about activism and change when there are so many others who are more qualified and "get it?" Isn't even writing this an insult to others?

It's a privilege, it's a background.
It's everything that I own,
It's thinking I'm the hero of this pretty white song,
It's thinking I'm the hero of this pretty white world.

-Heavens to Betsy.

Photography by John, August 2006.


Daniel Haughton said...

Candy, you're starting down a road I've gone down a hundred thousand times... It leads nowhere.

Self-doubt and self-recrimination eventually leads to self-hatred, and that's an ugly place to be. I'm not saying you should be blindly optimistic and self-assured, but be sure to doubt yourself in moderation.

You are what you are. You were born into what you were born into. Some things you can change, those things you cannot. And you should not. Here is a hard lesson that most people never come to understand: All Men (and Women) are NOT created equal. It's okay to have a better life than others just as it is okay to have a worse life than others. You can still care about those who have it worse and envy those who have it better.

To do otherwise is to fight against what you are... human. And in my never-humble opinion, fighting against one's humanity has led to far more misery than joy and happiness.

Of course, I could be wrong.

2:36 PM  
B said...

Feminism on a national or international scale?

It seems like a lot of women worldwide need all the help they can get.

Apparently, women have such a low status (and are considered such a burden by their parents) that female babies are aborted on a huge scale, even though selectively aborting female fetuses is illegal. Here was a statistics that blew me away:

"Female feticide in the Punjab state is an age-old and diffused practice, and the region has the lowest sex ratio in the country: 76 girls for every 1,000 boys in the state up to the age of six years."

Is there anything a rich white feminist in America can do about something like this half a world away?

12:12 AM  
Daniel Haughton said...

Is there anything that can be done? Yes. Is any of it easy to do? No. You have to be deeply dedicated to the cause of changing that sort of thing to have any effect whatsoever, and even then, your chances of success are extremely low. Situations such as that in India are usually culturally entrenched on a near-elemental level. You'd honestly have an easier time convincing a Southern Baptist that pedophilic homosexuality is a good idea than you would of changing the situation in India.

I'm not saying you shouldn't still try, I'm just giving you the goods up front so you know what you're up against should you choose to do so.

2:50 AM  
B said...


I definitely understand what you are saying. I talked with my wife about this, and I think the situation (in that region) will probably resolve itself -- painfully. You will have many boys/men of marrying age who will not have a mate. I would think that you will then have a situation where women are valued by virtue of their scarcity -- men's families will have to provide a dowry, instead of the other way around. Am I crazy for thinking this? China faces the same situation also....

8:46 AM  

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