Terry McAuliffe's Conversation with Virginians

Causes and candidates supported by Heidi Li

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December 21, 2008


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In part, infighting in social injustice-oriented organizations arises from regarding injustice as a personal problem, rather than a flawed concept, whose reach is pervasive throughout a society. It is easier to focus on the particular, in the form of daily discomforts, rather than to set aside one's own woes and beliefs in the name of the common good. Perhaps such behavior results from not recognizing that changing a concept from flawed to true, encompasses not only one's personal situation, but the situation of each person facing that type of injustice.

With respect to misogyny, it is one of the most insidious injustices because it affects more than half of the human race; yet it is viewed by many as only affecting a special interest group. There need not be agreement on how to fight it, just agreement among those affected that one must fight to change it, not compromise. Fighting in modern American society means casting aside political correctness, and focusing on effecting change. As with any battle, there will be casualties, uncertainties, and disagreement. But, come what may, those of us who demand change must be willing to press on in the face of adversity and not allow nitpicking and name calling to stand in our way.


Once again, Heidi, you have hit one out of the park. This is yet another "keeper" post.

Stray Yellar Dawg

"For my own part, I would rather take ten million baby steps toward the good without losing my footing in conscience than take a great leap and risk losing my moral compass. I will march with as wide a cohort as I can - even when we disagree on some things - in the name of reaching my goals."

Such wisdom in that one statement! Thanks for being so eloquent.


Timely post Heidi Li. With the "infighting" I also see a lot of throwing out the baby with the bath water. If someone is not properly dismissive of the President-Elect, they have no value and nothing they ever did has value. I am referring to all of those who have fought for women's rights and effected great change since the 60's when women's roles were still primarily teacher, nurse, homemaker. Yes, we need to move on. We need to take the next steps. But do we need to dismiss those who came before us in order to take those next steps? Perhaps, as Malcolm X and his followers needed to distance themselves from MLK. We have the luxury of appreciating the contributions of both now.

That said, I greatly appreciate your leadership Heidi Li. Your reasoned stances and call to doable actions have and will continue to make a difference.


Selling out is a bigger problem in the fight for women's human rights than in other struggles. It's the only one in which all sides also love each other and don't want to be separate. There are so many "good" excuses to sell out.

The toxicity of selling out in this movement especially needs to be front and center early and often. Great post.

Not Your sweetie

I so needed today to read something like this - thank you so much for doing it.
here's my longer response


Thank you for another excellent post.
In the end, selling out won't even get you what you think you are selling out for. Particularly with the new Dem and old GOP. ANY compromise is seen as weakness, as another place to push for more Until we push back , we will continued to be pushed under the bus.


I strongly believe it's because, as opposed to any other "minority", most women are intricately tied to the "oppressor". Most women are straight, so they are dating/married to men, raising boys, so even on the most intimate level in our lives, they are connected.

They have no separate sphere in which to be "free" of the "oppressor", so that affects how much they can "be a group" with others like them. It affects to what extent they can form an "identity" as a group.

If you take blacks for an example, if they choose, they can marry another black, live in a black commnunity, work for a black boss, join a group that is only for blacks, etc. On every level, they cement their identity as a group. Even if they don't do that on every level, the fact that they can do it on the most intimate level (in the household) solidifies their identity, I believe.

I really believe that because most women are intimately connected to the "oppressor" (no matter how wonderful their individual husband is), it affects their ability to form the same type of group identity as other "minorities". I don't believe most straight women are actually "woman-identified". Their identity many times tends to be very tied into the approval of men, even if they seem "liberated". IMO.

Just as a superficial example off the top of my head, you don't see black people wearing certain clothing or taking a certain kind of "black job", in order to please white people. But many, many women wear shoes that are bad for their back, wear makeup that is bad for their skin, spend ALL kinds of money to be attractive to men, take "feminine" jobs, and learn to psychologically react to events in a "feminine" way - all to please men, so that men will find them attractive and validate their worth.

It's often unconscious, but it's there. And that makes for an identity that isn't very woman-identified, which affects how much women will bond with each other and share a common "identity", in order to get group power and affect political change. This is not to say that all women should "become" lesbians - but I do think that women's relation to their "oppressor" is what makes them less powerful than other "minorities" in their own struggles..


Lorac, I agree with much of what you've said. Straight women can't cohere as other 'minorities' do because often their closest associates are male. Except in an abusive relationship, you can't see your spouse or son as a villain (and of course those individual males are usually NOT villains in what is happening on a larger scale).

Which may be a good thing in many ways. Demonizing another race as 'Whitey' may be good for cohesion but not good for harmony in the nation. If we women do ever figure out how to use our 51% power, it will probably be in some solution that is good for everyone.


lorac says it well. And yet women have made great strides especially in career choices and breaking barriers. Women who understand the importance of standing up for themselves and other women can and do influence their children and others. It does make a difference that all women (even lesbians) are intimately tied to their oppressors - fathers, husbands, brothers sons etc. But it will not stop us. We may not entirely follow the pattern of other oppressed groups in seeking liberation, but we will succeed in our own way and, perhaps unfortunately, at our own pace.

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