Kara Passey (Seriously)

-- image by Kara Passey click on image to visit Tumblr

Please see our “About,” “Why Radfem?” and “The Gears” pages for additional information about this project.

Common themes represented here:

Handmaidens of the patriarchy.  Calling people out for doing problematic shit is all well and good, but who exactly do women normally call out, and why?  Handmaidens of the patriarchy frequently or exclusively “call out” — meaning policing speech, values, behaviors, dress, or life choices — other women, and not men.  Calling out men is dangerous and likely to lead to a violent confrontation, and women know this: the facts of male violence against women and male politics and positions being backed up by the threat of male violence is the sum and substance of patriarchy, and the foundation of women’s oppression at men’s hands.  It’s much easier to “call out” other women, even though women are not the source of women’s oppression; thus, calling them out is unlikely to radically change patriarchal values or women’s political standing in relation to men.

This comic is not clear about the who, but when taken in the context of this artist’s other work, it becomes clear who she regularly calls out, and it’s not men.

Images from here.

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5 responses to “Kara Passey (Seriously)”

  1. luckynkl says :

    It’s a lot safer to kick the master’s dog than to kick the master.

  2. witchwind says :

    thanks for this post, you explain very well how it works.

    Just yesterday evening I was having a discussion with a friend about how this policing behaviour affected my life. I realised recently how politeness rules are only mostly meant for women or subaltern people. My mum didn’t teach me much about politeness and girls/ women in my surroundings made me pay a lot for it. Female “friends” could shame me or punish me by stopping to talk to me because I didn’t ask something in the right way, or because it was implied I was meant to do something this way but I didn’t (and I should have guessed it).

    Many women would judge me very harshly or even shout at me because i’d say things honestly and straightforwardly rather than indirectly, even though I was careful not to be disrespectful. Men and women alike judge my choices, dress and tone ALL THE TIME.

    My brother, on the other hand, is really disrespectful, contemptuous, always moaning and shouting whenever we ask him the slightest thing (please clean this it’s you turn), wants to work in the military, but he doesn’t get a single judgement for it. He’s even much respected.

  3. Sargasso Sea says :

    Many women would judge me very harshly or even shout at me because i’d say things honestly and straightforwardly rather than indirectly, even though I was careful not to be disrespectful.

    Oh, yes. I used to be on a discussion board for exiting fundamentalist women and I was routinely policed because I didn’t qualify every single thing I said: It’s just my opinion but,… Well, I don’t know… Do you think… I may be wrong but…

    They were upset with me because I *talk like a man* and they’d plead with me, yell at me and even delete my comments to try to force me to use those damn qualifiers! Until I pointed out WHY they thought I *talk like a man* – men are allowed to have thoughts and express them. Women are not. Simple.

    Turned out to be a powerful illustration of how patriarchy extends past the church and into the culture-at-large. Some of the women even tried it out and found some personal strength there 🙂

  4. FCM says :

    Feminist spaces and projects fail because of this dynamic. We need to do better.

  5. rahelle says :

    The recent internet scandal over HBO’s Girls comes to mind. Not that the show and the writers’ comments aren’t problematic, but the way most of the women calling them out online were completely ignorant of this dynamic and kept claiming a male-run show would be treated exactly the same (of course they couldn’t think of any examples of that actually happening, even though problematic male-run shows are 99% of TV programming).