Brief and disjointed thoughts:
This article, “Dark, Zero Feminism” by Zillah Eisenstein (http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2013/01/2013120121530123614.html), says something that I should, by inclination, agree with. That is, Zero Dark Thirty‘s “story and its telling was corrupt”; that the narrative “exposed US thuggery with no critique of it” and thereby reinforced the “revenge narrative of post 9/11 with no regret, or hesitation, or ambiguity” about doing so.
These are all, to me, disturbing things about American — and, if I am to be honest, increasingly about Canadian — cultural narratives. “[T]errible things are allowable because they are doable. A courageous telling of the US anti-terror narrative would demand critique and defiance.”
Kill the terrorists.
Canada doesn’t have a colonial history.
You all know the story, because even if we don’t tell it ourselves, we hear it every day.
But here’s my point: I am, because I have pacifist leanings (I’ll joke about kicking someone in the shins, but I wouldn’t actually do it) and because anger and revenge are, on a fundamental level, abhorrent to me, my instinct is to agree with the headline, to agree that there is no room for revenge in feminism, none at all.
I was thinking through the film – if they hate us, they do so because we are hateful. I am sad to know that this film will be seen across the globe. It will be read as another story of imperial empire with a (white) female twist. How unfair to all the people in the US who do not choose revenge and murder. How unfair to my Pakistani friends who are also US citizens. How unfair to most of us across the globe.
I was hoping that maybe no nods would be given to Jessica Chastain for her role as Maya at the Golden Globes. I was hoping that no one would give a feminist nod to Kathryn Bigelow for directing ZDT. I was just hoping that maybe feminism would not get mucked up in the conversation about torture and the murder of Osama. But that was not to happen.
Again, I agree with that. Except, it’s always more complicated. Except sometimes your well-meaning friends take you aside and ask if you want them to break your attacker’s kneecaps. (“Where does he live? Where does he work? Just say the word.”) But kneecapping someone isn’t justice.
It would be good to remember that there is no worthy feminism without justice and if there is no justice, there is no peace.
I’m thinking of two different kinds of justice here, of personal justice and cultural justice, and, while the two examples I cite are disparate, I’m thinking that the two kinds of justice may not always intersect.
I’m also thinking about how we police each other’s thoughts, how we call each other out as being not x, y, or z enough because of a, b, or c. It would be easy to say let’s not do that; in fact, it’s instinctive to say let’s not do that. Today, I’m not going to. I’m just going to think about these ideas and examples, and let you think yours.
And then I’m going to point you to Greta Christina’s Fashion Friday post (http://freethoughtblogs.com/greta/2013/02/01/fashion-friday-high-heels-and-feminism/) for an antidote.