Becca German FP

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Return to Feminist Praxis

Reading Responses

Week 1:

bell hooks: "Language is also a place of struggle." Helene Cixous: "I write woman: woman must write woman."

I'm interested in what seems to be a conflict between writing as a woman/of a woman experience/from a woman perspective, and existing in a space of linguistic failure, due to phallologocentric language. I'm thinking about what it means to be writing as a woman; writing being a generative process that inherently implies speech/the act of speaking/ being spoken aloud. I'm also thinking about how I don't do a lot of writing.

Cixous: "Flying is a woman's gesture...It's no accident: women take after birds..." Thinking about our discussion last week and my own work, this reminds me of the Ovid story of Tereus, Procne, and Philomela: Kidnapped, raped, silenced, Philomela ultimately transforms into a bird. A nightingale.

Week 2:

Alternatives to Alternatives: the Black Grrrls Riot Ignored

“The two islands in a sea of penises had finally found each other.”

“Talking to Bikceem, I felt her frustration at having to be the Black One, both in dealing with racism at the time and in retrospect. At one point during our conversation, she sighed and said, "I just hesitate to talk about Riot Grrrl like this because I become a footnote all the time, for reference." But Bikceem and GUNK are more than an obligatory example of "diversity in Riot Grrrl."

I am thinking about an anxiety that arises when we trying to create an inclusive space: being aware of inclusivity/ being made aware of inclusivity without falling into the lazy habit of turning race into a diversity quota.

This turned into a conversation about the anxiety that people have over proving they're not racist and erasing the experiences and race of an individual in an attempt to assure themselves and others that “we are equal”. The “I don’t see color” problem. I think we have this idea that to be equal to another person means to relate to them, so in order to get around the discomfort of not being able to relate to someone’s race, we fall back on the “we’re all the same” argument: we all bleed red, we’re all human, etc… Which, while true, is largely irrelevant to the conversation/situation and ends up erasing race/experience instead of accepting it. I think we are afraid to admit we are different from one another or we are unsure of how to recognize both our equality and our differences. Which makes me think about what inclusivity looks like, because I’m not sure I know.

It seems important that Sista Grrrls was created distinct from Riot Grrrl. Or it seems really significant that Sista Grrrls created that space for black women in the punk scene, regardless of Riot Grrrl. It would have been great if Riot Grrrl had already been an inclusive enough space for the women of Sista Grrrls, but at the same time it seems like it was important for these women to have created this space separate from Riot Grrls because of the role it played specifically for black women. “That night, they could just play music, for once. As women, as black women, and, most of all, as unapologetic punk rock musicians.”

"I was just like, 'I have to survive. I have to defend myself.' Riot Grrrl felt really playful, and I wasn't playing," Brown said, again underscoring the friction between being forced to identify as black before being allowed to identify as a woman.”