Feminism(s) and Rhetoric(s) presentation

One week from today, I'll be at the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival. I want to take photographs and notes that will accompany a material rhetorical analysis of the festival that I've done for one of my classes. My professor said that for a more grounded analysis, I will need to attend the festival myself, which I had planned on doing anyway. It will be a much-needed vacation...I'm done with teaching, but I have to turn in grades by Wednesday, and I have lots of other stuff to do between now and the time I leave too. Here's an abstract of the paper:

Since the mid-1970s, women have been gathering every summer for the Michigan Womyn


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This is going to get me in trouble, but...

To tell you the God's honest truth, the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival has always disgusted me to my very liberal core. To fight exclusion and oppression with exclusion and oppression not only doesn't work, but it taints whatever good that you are trying to do with your statement. I think the Pope probably has more liberal views about sexuality and gender than do the organizers of this festival. And I wonder if Ann Coulter is attending, as she will be in good company.

Also, to view "womyn-ness" as only a biological fact and not as a social construct is just spitting in the face of gender theory and modern thinking, and stands in direct contradiction to the logical end of radical feminist theory from which the festival emerged. That gender is a construct, that our six inches or so of genital flesh do not determine our fate or our career or our lifepath is paramount to these theories, for if not, if biology exclusively determines who we are and our lot in life, feminism is suddenly made invalid and is dead. And if it cannot mature enough to take into account that gender and the current social environment in 2003 is not what gender and the social environment was in 1963, it is about as valid as the hateful rhetoric spouted by fundamental late-night televangelists on those channels that we never watch.

I'm a gay man, and I would never EVER EVER (caps) want our pride celebrations, our venues, our clubs, or our societies exclusive of anyone who was not a gay man. I do not want to live or celebrate or listen to music or cook or drink coffee in a vacuum, surrounded by virtual carbon copies of myself. Bring on the drag queens, bring on the lesbians, the straight girls with pretty hair (or the straight girls with ugly hair), the uber-hets, the homophobes. I want to be challenged by them, to be made angry by them, to live in peace with them. But to exclude them, that's just unrealistic. To exclude people from your event (or from your life), to tell people that aren't like you that they don't belong is to utilize the same cruel and unjust power structures that have been used against African Americans, women, queers, and (lately) Muslims. To align yourself with that company makes you evil in my eyes--not to mention invalid, mean, and just downright nasty. A KKK rally, with nudity and better music.

Oh, yeah...

I should have put my disclaimer in: I'm going to the festival in order to improve my paper, not because I agree with their policies. I don't. I agree with what you're saying. I'm going to the festival to take photographs and notes, that's it. I'm going to spend an equal amount of time at Camp Trans. I guess it has sounded like I'm aligning myself with Michfest's policies (apologies for that) because I've said that I'm excited about going. I am, but just because I've been working all summer and this is the first chance I've had to go anywhere at all. :-)

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