Posted at 2:15 PM Apr 27, 2010
By Andrea Grimes
Last week, a group of women dressed in black took to the streets in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, smashing car windows, throwing garbage cans through the fronts of businesses, chanting "Take back the night!"
They call themselves "Crazy Bitches," and they appear to be an anti-capitalist feminist group who have resorted to violent measures to get their voice heard. Bryce Covert over at the Lady Finger has some details:
"Tired of tamely shouting slogans," the group stands against capitalism and the oppression of women, which they see as interconnected. I see a lot of merit in the fight to reclaim "a right to the streets," working for "advertisements that do not objectify women," and ending rape. Their anger is justified as women continue to be objectified, harassed, raped, and intimidated. All of these are important issues that women should continue to address vigorously.
But this group is "refus[ing] the violence that continues to force us to be housewives and fuck-toys and mothers and daddy's girls" without specifying how and what violence has turned us all into passive objects while stealing any meaningful alternatives.
Like Covert, I am confused and miffed by this group's violent behavior and unclear reasoning. Covert, again:
The group conflates capitalism and the oppression of women without explaining exactly why they feel that these two forces are the same and should be fought in tandem. If we lived in a world of socialism or anarchy, would women be free from "the structural mechanisms that create rapists?" They don't go into details. The press release claims a woman stopped the group and asked why they do this. The response: "Because we have grown tired of rape and makeup." It is amazing that they can jump from rape to makeup in the same sentence, implying that the two are equal and related evils, with a straight (albeit masked) face.Given that women around the world, in all countries, regardless of those countries' politico-economic systems, are raped, I'm opposed to arguing some kind of causal relationship between capitalism and rape. And while I am plenty tired of rape, I'm not plenty tired of makeup, and I'm going to need to hear some seriously convincing stats that suggest the two are similarly secularly sinful.
I understand the frustration and anger that comes from realizing that women are everywhere oppressed and that everywhere feminism is given short shrift as an ideology. I don't understand committing illegal and violent acts against what are most likely innocent citizens, businesses and bystanders because of this frustration and anger. It seems like a childish tantrum--and the last thing I want is for feminists and women generally to be more infantilized than we already are.
Unfortunately, these "femininjas" appear to take pride in being "crazy bitches" without actually presenting an image of a "crazy bitch" who is righteous and worthy of attention. This kind of resistance doesn't invite thoughtful conversation or even productive anger--it paints feminists as actually crazy bitches who can't be reasoned with. And productive, effective feminism is full of good, nay wonderful, reasoning.