Feedonia Woolf

January 2002

Seminole Still

Chapter 1
The Manifesta of Fredonia Woolf
Outline:
1. The Problem: Woman's Place in the Global Economy
2. Free Woman: A Definition
3. Patriarchy: A Definition
4. Ways to Combat Patriarchy: Their Advantages and Disadvantages
5. One Free Woman's Solution: Warfare From the Margins, Including:
a. Tactical Maneuver #1: Claiming Your Self
b. Tactical Maneuver #2: Claiming Your Space
c. Tactical Maneuver #3: Renouncing the System That Exploits You
6. A Brief Cost-Benefit Analysis
7. How Many Battles Win the War
8. Fredonia Woolf Prepared to Fight

1. The Problem: Woman's Place in the Global Economy
The world offers few, if any, safe places to be a free woman. In most African, Asian, Latin American and Middle Eastern countries, a woman's life is often cheap but rarely free. In North America and Europe, freedom is merely rhetorical tool, a seductive advertisement to get you in the door before they stick you with the price of admission. The worth of a woman's life in the global economy? Ha! If your XX chromosomes are allowed to survive full term, and you escape being drowned in the local river at birth, then the mutilation process begins. Only the literal minded still use scalpels and stitches; those groups claiming to be more advanced prefer psychological instruments. They tell you that your body is foul yet tempting and must, at all costs, be covered and regulated. Or they tell you that your body must, at all costs, be an object of beauty and therefore displayed and decorated: its claws painted pink, its bottom side ruffled, its ears pierced, and its head Velcroed to tiny doo-dads. Any sense of personal freedom that you manage to hold onto throughout childhood must be obliterated in adolescence. You will be lucky to get past this stage without being raped, abused, sold into prostitution, put to work in a sweatshop, starved (through external or internal pressures), or at the very least, reminded continually of the many flaws you possess or the limits you face because you are female. That is fe-male/wo-man, something extraneous to and, therefore, lesser than male/man. In adulthood, assuming that you make it, your inferior status will be confirmed by the laws of your god and your government, by the family you will serve as maid, cook, laundress, nurturer and sexual plaything, and by the job (assuming you are allowed one) that will pay you approximately two-thirds the amount that it will pay a man. This number, not coincidentally, is one calculated by America's so-called founding fathers to determine the population and value of their chattel slaves, each equaling two-thirds of a man. Such is the place of woman in our modern global economy.
The world's various feminist movements have made many advances to be sure. The United States, considering itself the most enlightened, allows women to vote and to access a (somewhat limited) range of educational, occupational, and reproductive choices. Yet even here, few safe places remain, if any, in which to be a free woman. The political sphere most certainly is not one. Laws protect us only when we have the money, connections, or proper skin color to make sure they are enforced. Our elected officials still constitute an old boys' network that lets women in only when they don red suits as markers. If you doubt me, survey the gallery in the next state of the union address. The public sphere? Forget about it! A woman can barely walk down the street without being pawed or undressed by probing eyes. Airbrushed T&A impales us from every newsstand and television screen. Radio waves fire insults and violence at us, calling them "free speech" and "true love." Even cyberspace, that supposedly democratic, relational web, remains in control of males and their fantasies. Try searching under "woman" as a key word and see what you get.

 

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