Wednesday, February 13, 2008

On Burnout, and Bigger Pictures

Warning: Personal Rantiness Ahead

I've been on a road trip for a week with limited internet access. For a few weeks before that, I found myself not wanting to blog about feminism. And now that I'm back, I'm trying to ease back into it, but I'm finding myself still feeling burned out on it all.

Immediately I feel the pull of privilege--when I think about taking an extended break, my first thoughts are about how I 'get' to do that more easily than some others do, in part because I'm a guy, in part because I'm middle-class, in part because I'm not a person of color. But then I realize that I haven't stopped thinking about feminism, about class, about race (and their intersections). I have stopped feeling like I'm contributing to something that helps the world. Instead of being inspired by others, instead of inspiring myself, instead of feeling part of a larger movement, all I seem to be able to focus on lately are the hurdles in front of us, the infighting that is so prevalent so as to seem inevitable, and the mountainous pile of work to do to just stay in one place as regards equality, not to mention trying to move ahead.

I know that a lot of these feelings come to anybody committed to social justice. This is what burnout does--it narrows your focus to the negatives, for a time. But I also know that, for a few years now that I've been reading and writing feminism online, I'm not feeling any progress. That includes progress (or lack thereof) on a macro level, but also includes the lack of progress in my own ideas about feminism, class and race. Mostly I feel like there's a lot of pointing to sexism, and not enough analysis of the whys of sexism's pervasiveness. As much as I think it's important to keep pointing out sexism--silence is permission to whatever degree--I've definitely found myself stuck in pointing-mode, without much analysis to make my pointing useful, or interesting. Also, I find myself parroting the 'talking points' of feminism, without incorporating more of feminism(s) into my larger world-view.

So, if anybody is still reading, I'm going to ease back into writing, probably with some posts on gender in the comics, but with an eye toward also analyzing why I think pop-culture stuff is central to understanding social inequalities. But I'm not ready quite yet. Hopefully I come up with enough interesting stuff that people will come back and read. If not, I'll still feel better that I'm not just reiterating what others are saying, but contributing something to (at least) my own world view.
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