In which I ramble and lay-out some objectives for Tea & Strumpets

Sorry about the silence of late. I have a  whole series of half written blog posts*, but it turns out balancing a full time job, a blog, and those few final grad school projects is somewhat tricky. I’m really committed to carving out this space on the internet, so please bare with me through any moments of silence that may arise in the beginning.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want this space to be. Obviously, you’ll be subjected to my various interests around gender and sexuality, which include politics, popular culture,** and religion. In addition to general commentary on gender and the news, I’m hoping to address certain absences I see in feminist spaces–namely, the way we talk about personal stuff and the way we talk about academic stuff.

In the 70s there was a lot of conversation about how the “personal is political,” and I think that’s certainly an important and valuable message, but one side-effect of how that slogan has been read is that we spend a lot of time talking about the political implications of “private” gender issues. I don’t think there are a lot of spaces, however, to talk about the really personal side of being a feminist today.*** Internet feminism, for example, doesn’t always have dedicated space for discussing things like: learning that someone you work with is a total misogynist and deciding what to do about it, changing or not changing one’s name upon getting married (if you get married),  learning how to be assertive when the whole world tells you to be agreeable and nice. What does feminism look like in our everyday world? How are we putting theory into practice?  I’d like to spend some time really focusing in on the personal, because it is political, and a whole lot of change can be affected in the space of how interact with the world on the micro-level.

I should also share that I’m a total nerd about feminist theory. I felt all warm and fuzzing inside when I realized Caitlin Moran’s book, How to Be a Woman, is titled after a Simone de Beauvoir quote (and not the post-feminist crap I originally feared). I have a tendency to head straight for the Gender/Critical Theory section in my bookstore,**** and swoon over the selections. And I think people are doing a lot of really interesting things in their study of gender and sexuality in academia, bigwigs and graduate students alike. Unfortunately, I think that the all those brilliant ideas don’t always make it far beyond the “Ivory Tower.” There are many reasons for this, including the incredible anti-intellectualism of this country, and the snobbery of certain academics. I also think that we just don’t have enough places established to have conversations between academics and non-academics about gender, so we’re stuck with this sort of trickle-down theory. I’d love to try to make this one of those spaces.

I’m not 100% certain about how to accomplish these goals, especially the latter, but I have a few ideas (one of which includes podcasts! a personal favorite). Suggestions more than welcome.  Here’s to carving out the spaces we’d like to see in the world.

Apparently this is the post of  footnotes: 
* I have a few remaining thoughts on the DNC, specifically Elizabeth Warren’s speech, so I might put those up here, even though I’ll be decades late in internet-time
** For all that I am invested in discussing gender and popular culture, you should know, my knowledge of celebrities is so poor my friends’ have at times suggested I am an alien. I grew up in one of those houses that banned MTV and sugary cereal, and I’ve never quite made up the resulting knowledge gap. 
***I think Meg, over at does a really great job of this (This whole week is dedicated to feminism over there!), and I think she’s had a real influence on the way we talk about weddings in America. She pushes the envelope to talk about marriage, relationships (with family, friends, and partners), and careers within the context of gender expectations, but there’s still a lot of ground to cover when it comes to personal feminism. 
****I live in a college town, so bookstores have sections like this. 

2 thoughts on “In which I ramble and lay-out some objectives for Tea & Strumpets

  1. whereishere says:

    I’m glad I came across your blog, and I’m looking forward to seeing what you do with this space. I’m particularly interested in how practical your plans are, and I like the idea of talking through the problems of academia and gender politics in our everyday lives. It’s hard to do, and often I just feel defeated as I try to bridge the enormous chasm between what I know, intellectually, and what I do day-to-day.

    • Tea & Strumpets says:

      Thanks! It seems daunting, but then I think we sometimes forget to take credit for the things we are already doing. Also, on a personal level, I’m mourning having left academia behind (perhaps for good, thanks job market) and so it’s really important for me to find ways to keep it a part of my life. I didn’t stop being a feminist outside of grad school, so I figure I can find ways to be a feminist theorist out here too.

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