The Wednesday Weigh-In: When feelings and feminism collide

It’s time for the second weekly Wednesday Weigh-In! And I want to talk about feelings, you guys!

This week, in the aftermath of Osama Bin Laden’s assassination, there’s been a lot of debate around the “appropriate” reaction to the news. As Joan Walsh noted, “Battles raged Monday not so much over whether the U.S. killing Osama was morally or legally justified, but over the right way to feel about it, and the right way to express those feelings.”

I personally didn’t feel any happiness about Osama’s death and basically agreed with the many progressives–including Cord Jefferson, Mona Eltahawy and Tim Wise–who criticized the nationalistic, “frat boy,” USA! USA! reaction. But my disgust for that response was more about the crass militaristic patriotism, not the rejoicing. Claiming that our government’s ability to kill Osama somehow makes the U.S. great is one thousand kinds of fucked up (as Kai Wright so powerfully said), but I don’t believe that feeling happy about Osama’s death is automatically wrong. And I think it’s possible–and necessary–to separate our criticism of the act itself and the public discourse surrounding it (its morality, justice, implications, etc.) from the varied, personal reactions of complicated, fallible human beings.

Which is all to simply say that we don’t always feel the “right” way. Sometimes our emotions even fly in the face of our deeply-held political beliefs. And, sometimes–dare I say it–the feminist/progressive blogosphere isn’t the most forgiving of that fact. So, in that vein, today’s question is:

When was the last time your feelings didn’t line up with your feminism? And how did you reconcile that?

St. Paul, MN

Maya Dusenbery is executive director in charge of editorial at Feministing. She is the author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick (HarperOne, March 2018). She has been a fellow at Mother Jones magazine and a columnist at Pacific Standard magazine. Her work has appeared in publications like,, Bitch Magazine, as well as the anthology The Feminist Utopia Project. Before become a full-time journalist, she worked at the National Institute for Reproductive Health. A Minnesota native, she received her B.A. from Carleton College in 2008. After living in Brooklyn, Oakland, and Atlanta, she is currently based in the Twin Cities.

Maya Dusenbery is an executive director of Feministing and author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm on sexism in medicine.

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