8.06.2009

On Teaspoons and Teaspooning

So it occurs to me that, of late, I've made several references to teaspoons and teaspooning, plus added a tag to that effect. Any readers coming across from Shakesville, or who have hung out there much, will understand what I mean by it. But for those who are from other places on the web, or who have come here after meeting me in realspace, an explanation might be in order.

The beginnings of the term originate from Melissa McEwan, blogmistress of Shakesville, in a post where she said:
Today is the final day of the 16 Days of Action Against Gender Violence, during which I suppose I have blogged exactly as often as always about violence against women, in America and abroad. Sometimes it feels like it's all I ever write about; sometimes it feels like I can't possibly write about it enough to do the issue justice; often, those feelings exist within me simultaneously. All I ever do is try to empty the sea with this teaspoon; all I can do is keep trying to empty the sea with this teaspoon.


But the idea has taken on a life of its own and grown since that inception. Teaspoon Theory is one of the defining codes by which I live my life. I define Teaspoon Theory for myself as thus:
On their own, the little things we do each day to fight the forces of injustice, hate, and bigotry, are as futile as trying to empty the ocean with a teaspoon, one scoop at a time. But each person has a teaspoon they can wield, for good or for ill, and if we can inspire enough people to use enough teaspoons...eventually, the ocean will be a lake, then a pond, and eventually a slightly damp valley. Teaspoons will be what saves the world.


An email I send to my Congressperson is a teaspoon. A reply to an obnoxiously racist forward that lands in my email box is a teaspoon. A comment on a beauty blog, asking the blogger not to review AHAVA products, is a teaspoon. Being the visible feminist in class, drawing ire away from those whose feminism is still nascent and too delicate to withstand ridicule, is a teaspoon. Asking my brother for the nth time not to say "That's so lame" is a teaspoon. Each and every post I put up on this blog is a teaspoon.

Some teaspoons are easy to deploy, like a letter to a Congressperson. Some are terrifying, like calling your father out over a racist joke. Teaspooning is exhausting, often, and sometimes I wonder why I do it still. But then I remember. My teaspoon is small, but it is not alone. And in conjunction with the Law of Non-Neutrality (aka All In), choosing not to raise my teaspoon is choosing to uphold the status quo. How can I do anything but rally and teaspoon forth again?

Teaspoons ho!

2 comments:

CaitieCat said...

As I said recently on my own blog, the sea is large and I am small, but my body will give out before my teaspoon will. o.oP

WitchWords said...

I saw that actually as I was writing this post. I like that phrasing of it; you always have a great way with words!

o.oP

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