E. Miller on Mon, 16 Oct 2006 10:36:12 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> On brouhahas and battles

Hi Martha, thanks for your thoughtful reply.

I think we'd agree on most of the issues, actually. Especially the
wage gap, which is inexcusable and needs to be addressed. I intended
my point to be more about tactics, now that the baby boom generation
is on the way out of the workforce and a younger generation with
different experiences steps forward.

I think my point still has validity -- much of what I've heard in this
debate sounds to me like refighting the battles of 40 years ago rather
than facing current issues in context. Lumping my perspective in with
that of Playboy is an example; who reads it any more? When was the
last time they were relevant, maybe 35 years ago? They're a joke now,
a pop-culture punchline, silicone kitsch, an airbrushed museum piece.
To me it's an inappropriate rhetorical device for comparison because
Playboy is so clearly irrelevant nowadays. It undercuts the point.

I feel comfortable saying that my generation is lucky enough to
take for granted a baseline assumption of gender equality. In
practice, yes, there are huge problems -- witness the wage gap. But
to my perspective, those seem like structural issues that are being
addressed by generational change and changed expectations, and aren't
best tackled by 'to-the-barricades' rhetoric, or castigation of other
supportive voices because they don't toe the ideological line.

So Nettime's collective tarring and feathering of people like Alan,
who is clearly sympathetic to current gender issues, strikes me as
hugely counter-productive. Saying by association that people like me
are "anti-woman" and are "part of the problem" is counter-productive.
Concocting lists of 'demands', using the language of 'us versus them'
that sounds to younger ears like a historical documentary about
a student union sit-in in '67, that's counter-productive. While
technically/argumentatively there may be merit to the dogged pursuit
of these points, tactically it ends up being counter-productive when
the net result is the perception of a movement obsessed with political
correctness, framed in the radical language of 40 years ago. Win the
battle, lose the war.

Again, it's a tactical suggestion that I'm making to the gender issues
activist community. The war is clearly closer to being won, it's
time to lay off the rhetorical carpet bombing. Take advantage of
generational change. Don't shit on the people that would otherwise
be inclined to be your allies. Don't pick fights if you can avoid
it. Don't declare a moral crusade when quieter, more administrative
actions might be more appropriate. Don't be tone-deaf to the way that
different audiences hear the message. Hey, speaking of US foreign


> Date: Sat, 14 Oct 2006 17:53:41 +0200 (GMT+02:00)
> From: martha rosler <navva@earthlink.net>

> Women's wages are still nowhere near par with men's and more people
> like youare repeating the Playboy-promulgated remarks from 40,
> countem, 40 years ago about victorian corsets and fainting spells
> the last time women became uppity and comp(see articles with titles
> liek the new woman or the new girl) . And did we mention the so
> called double day of work plus maintenance and reproduction of
> labor?


> I repeat what i sugested above, we are in a moment of anti-woman
> sentiment and retrenchment of commitments to all kinds of
> inclusiveness and one in which


> not to be rude, but your post, in all good faith, literally
> reiterated the precise points made by men of good will in the late
> 60s and early 70s: All around me I see strong women, including
> in leadership roles, so what is the problem! The answer is begun
> precisely with the remark that part of the problem is that you don't
> see the problem.

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