*a phenomenon reported by prisoners confined to dark cells and by others kept in darkness, voluntarily or not, for long periods of time; related to phosphenes: an entoptic phenomenon characterized by the experience of seeing light without light actually entering the eye, aka seeing stars
I’m straddling multiple milieux and not sure where I stand, or where I want to stand. I observe the rich who have crunched numbers and have boldly disclosed their inflated aggregate. You assume you are worth $(x) yet the system has created arbitrary values built on exaggerations that maintain the system you now want to stand against. It’s not about this magical number that puts you within a false dichotomy, it’s about the choices you’ve had access to and the consequences of those (non)decisions on others. It can be seductive to join the chorus and perform survival. Are you prepared for how personal these politics will hopefully become?
The digital divide is wielding an analog medium. The poster and marker are the tools that are dismantling the master’s house. I want to feel the weight of the paper in my hands and experience the conscious deliberation of choosing the right words for such a finite space. What message will I display that identifies, defines, and separates me?
Audre Lorde states, “For the erotic is not a question only of what we do; it is a question of how acutely and fully we can feel in the doing. … In touch with the erotic, I become less willing to accept powerlessness, or those other supplied states of being which are not native to me, such as resignation, despair, self-effacement, depression, self-denial.”
After reading The Absence of a Gender Justice Framework in Social Justice Organizingby Linda Burnham, I looked up the definition of framework because I hear frame/framework used so often that its meaning has been dulled into phrase-yawning jargon. That curiosity led me to a crumb by the name of Isaiah Berlin and his infamous essay, The Hedgehog and the Fox. Berlin exhumed the ancient Greek allegory of the hedgehog (monolithic, focused) and the fox (multiplicitous, decentralized) which re-adjusted my personal feminist framework, just a little.
Burnham argues, rightly and simply, that “social justice activists operate with a woefully inadequate understanding of how the society they are trying to change actually functions.” She outlines that the danger in playing “oppression Olympics” coupled with feminism’s “tainted” reputation means gender is delegated to making the coffee not policy. A salient quote by an interviewee eloquently demonstrates that if you don’t practice gender justice at home (i.e. every day), you won’t have a framework that will survive the fox’s pursuit of complexities. “I find that in personal relationships it’s important to create a language and a platform to discuss problems. Then you reach a threshold and eventually it becomes easier. It becomes part of the fabric of the relationship.”
Finding space to practice justice in a culture that is polarized and marginalizes for the sake of profit and protest, leaves me desperate for passion, for creation, for joy. To quote Margaret Kilgallen, “The obsession with imperfect perfection has changed my work.”