File spoon-archives/french-feminism.archive/french-feminism_1998/french-feminism.9812, message 13


Date: Tue, 29 Dec 1998 20:43:43 -0500
Subject: FWD: Russian feminism


dear french-feminists....
any comments to the text below? i'd love to read them.
tina


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Moscow-based magazine "Radek", dedicated to theory, art and politics
continues the project "mailradek in english". The information about the
magazine is available on the Website:
        http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/Coffeehouse/1457.
Everybody who doesn't receive it can send a "subscribe english mailradek"
e-mail to radek-AT-glasnet.ru, and we'll include him into the mailing list.
        Our address is: Russia 117333 Moscow, Vavilova 48-237, for O.Kireev.
tel./fax:(095)137 71 31.

text no. 66:  Russian G.I.Janes
26.12.1998

        "Bill Clinton's personal crises -- the campaign-funding scandals,
        an impending trial for sexual harassment, his various legislative
        and domestic failures -- require him to look strong, determined
        and "presidential" somewhere else, and where but in the Gulf
        against Iraq has he so ready-made a foreign devil to set off his
        blue-eyed strength to full advantage."

        Edward Said


As a Russian feminist I have always felt puzzled looking at American and
British enchantment with Clinton's "blue-eyed strength". He is
especially popular among American feminists, as CNN insists. I guess, mostly
among those, who would strive to become as "G.I. Jane". Just like the
heroine played by Demi Moore, they too would be able to exterminate
REPRESENTATIONS of "primitive" faceless Arab men who oppress "their" women
in the most barbaric manner (e.g. clitoridectomy).

Why "representations"? Because the war today (and the previous one) is
entirely fought and won "on screen" for American women - on TV or on
ship/plane or on their computer screens off the net. These women do not
situate themselves "face-to-face" and "body-to-body" with the Arabs. They
only kill these "villainous" Arabs in their female phantasies. An
international sexual division of labor. Probably, some of them actually
think that by destroying Saddam Hussein despite some adverse effects on the
Iraqi economy and a "few" other unfortunate casualties who "were inevitably
caught in the crossfire", they are ultimately helping Iraqi women to free
themselves from "barbaric" trends in their own patriarchal culture.

Why do I feel puzzled as a "Russian" feminist? When the war in Chechnya
started, a lot of Russian women supported this "show" of Russian military
might and potency to those "Chechens and other blacks from Caucasus". Even
today, one of my friends, a Russian feminist, genuinely believes that
Muslims are "barbaric" to women, and my sister thinks that Chechens and
other Russian "blacks" in Moscow reproduce like rats, posing a threat to
Moscovite population. The virtual absence of any sort of civil protest
against a deeply entrenched Russian racism and ethnocentrism towards
Russian Muslims and "other blacks" shows that they are not alone.

In its orientalism and racism Russian culture is not that "asiatic"
as many Russophobes have claimed. Let's face the fact that it is pretty much
Western/Christian too -- at least, in its "civilized superiority". Thus I
must be "optimistic" -- Russian feminists have all chances of sisterhood
with their American girlfriends, provided both of them are white,
middle-class and have a precise idea of what is right and wrong for Muslim
women:

"White Feminists Of The World - Unite To Fuck Muslim Men!"

                                                        Irina Aristarkhova
project: Anatoly Osmolovsky and Oleg Kireev
realization: mailradek
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