Tag Archives: Acadmic Industrial Complex

Feminism For Real: Deconstructing the Academic Industrial Complex of Feminism

by Latoya Peterson

Our multi-talented homegirl Jessica Yee just edited and published her first anthology.  Called Feminism for Real: Deconstructing the Academic Industrial Complex of Feminism, Yee and her contributors (including myself and Andrea Plaid) keep it raw by illuminating the some of the issues people of color (particularly Indigenous people) encounter when entering feminist spaces.  In honor of International Women’s Day, we are going to share short excerpts of some of the essays in the book.

Jessica Yee: “Introduction”

[W]e’re not really equal when we’re STILL supposed to uncritically and obediently cheer when white women are praised for winning “women’s rights,” and to painfully forget the Indigenous women and women of colour who were hurt in that same process.  We are not equal when in the name of “feminism” so-called “women’s only” spaces are created and get to police and regulate who is and isn’t a woman based on their interpretation of your body parts and gender presentation, and not your own. We are not equal when initatives to support gender equality have reverted yet again to “saving” people and making decisions for them, rather than supporting their right to self-determination, whether it’s engaging in sex work or wearing a niqab.  So when feminism itself has become it’s own form of oppression, what do we have to say about it? [...]

[I']ve lost count the amount of times I’ve been asked by others and asked the question myself, what is now the main title of this book, “But what is feminism, for real?”

The responses I received when putting this very question out there to create the book demonstrated resoundingly that people did want to talk about this notion of “the academic industrial complex of feminism” – the conflicts between what feminism means at school as opposed to at homer, the frustrations of trying to relate to definitions of feminism that will never fit no matter how much you try to change yourself to fit them, and the anger and frustration of changing a system while being in the system yourself.

Krysta Williams and Erin Konsmo: “Resistance to Indigenous Feminism”

E & K: What does it mean for an individual to be considered “liberated?”  What does it mean for indigenous communities to be “liberated?”  I think the pictures we think of as Native women are very different than the end goals expressed in a lot of feminist literature.  In other words, there needs to be more space given to community-based solutions and the hard work that everyone, especially women in our communities do every day.

In academia (and in general) there’s still the problem of tokenism.    Including one article or person of colour, or Indigenous person into feminist curriculum is not enough.  This needs to be fully integrated into all women’s studies curriculum (which is still inherently racist).

E: One crucial element that non-Indigenous academia needs to accept is that no matter how much you read the journals of Columbus, a Native Chief, or through interviews of Native people, you do not have the blood memory that we have within us.   Sorry, if this ruins your PhD on Native people but you don’t have the blood memory experiences that I do and so the internal “validity” of your research will never compare!

K: Internal validity has never been so literal…It also needs to be said that including folks after the fact just doesn’t cut it.  White supremacy exists within institutions and this can’t be changed  by just putting Indigenous bodies in chairs.  There are structural changes that we have been calling for since forever!

Shaunga Tagore: “A Slam on Feminism in Academia (poem)

your ideal graduate student is
someone who doesn’t have to experience community organizing
because you’ve already assigned them five chapters to read about it

your ideal graduate student is
someone who can’t talk about positionality or privilege
without referencing some article

your ideal graduate student is
rich enough
white enough
straight enough
able-bodied and -minded enough
to be given luxury of enjoying sitting in a corner reading 900 pages a week
(with their fair trade starbucks coffee in hand and their lulu lemon track pants on ass)

your ideal graduate student
IS NOT ME

so WHY did you let me through these doors in the first place
if you were just gonna turn around and shove me out?

to fill some quote for affirmative action?
to appear like a progressive program without putting in the effort of actually being one? Continue reading