This is an amazing, honest anthology on the tensions in a movement that’s partly institutionalized in the academy and non-profit world, and partly emergent from the lived experiences of oppressed peoples. This sustained critique analyzes the academic systems that produce knowledge about Othered bodies, and engage in what other authors have claimed “imperial feminism.” As Yee says in the beginning… “It is not a hate-on of academia. It is not a hate-on of feminism.” It’s a “truth telling” about feminism as it’s become institutionalized in the Western academy, and the role of “gate-keeping” has in determining who gets to claim feminism and who doesn’t. This is an excellent introduction to the politics behind intersectional work, indigenous feminism, and a tonic to those of us who busy being brown and feminist in the academy.As I finished Feminism for Real, I was left with the really… powerful… feeling that I was reading a new version of All the Women are White, All the Men are Black, But Some of Us Are Brave, a book by black feminist academics.
There’s a wide range of ages represented in Feminism for Real, as well as many types of writers, scholars, and activists. Some use an interview/collaborative style to talk about their experiences working with the white feminist movement. Others highlight that when one is facing multiple types of oppression, men don’t look like the only enemy (“Introduction,” Jessica Yee). Shaunga Tagore’s poem, “Slam on Feminism in the Academy,” deeply resonated with me, as did Megan Lee’s “Maybe I’m not Class-Mobile; Maybe I’m Class-Queer,” both of which question the role academic credentials play in who has the power to speak for particular groups… and what they get to say. Other authors highlight the ways in which the mainstream feminist movement often penalizes women of color for their anger, or survivors of eating disorders for being “weak.” Also included are accessibly written how-to’s for engaging in solidarity work, and really honest reflections on privilege in the academy.
What I wanna do now is also highlight how the very academic industrial complex these authors are so critical of appears in the comments to the reviews. Please notice how the Racialicious link has comments using phrases like “intelluctually lazy” in describing how a Native person talks about their experiences, and how the comments here at Feministe police the book’s TITLE, of all things. These are examples of the kind of policings that this book is speaking against in the first place. Sadly, we are living in a sociohistorical moment where marginalized bodies are discursively silenced, and where this kind of epistemic violence is ignored by the mainstream feminist blogosphere.