Bulkhead Statements

Public perception, like nature, abhors a vacuum. Any time people become aware of a new movement, community, political group or cultural "scene" of any kind, they will scramble to supply missing details in accordance with imagination or predilection. In such cases, actual reality is not their chief interest; they are more concerned to fill the blank space on their MAP of reality. For them, this alleviates the vexation of not knowing. 

Other times,  where knowledge might  prove unassimilable to an existing worldview, it serves to actively suppress knowing.

If you get caught on the wrong end of any such process, you are apt to find yourself "branded", or categorized, as something which isn't necessarily you at all. So the lesson here is, "define yourself or be defined." The more you leave the details of your movement to the public imagination, the more "imaginary" the end result will be. But the worst of it is, that you will be trapped in this product of somebody else's imagination. Imagine that!

The main problem is conflation, which means the tendency to "lump" you with groups that you might agree with only on a few points. The similarity might be superficial at best, but it's enough to make you "just like them" according to people who won't bother to look any deeper. This will erase and ignore crucially important differences.

In your non-feminist activity on campus, your adversaries will try to conflate you with all manner of people past and present, and your only hedge against that will be a clearly written prior statement of some kind, to put your adversaries on the defensive. Again, the maxim is "define yourself or be defined".

The more carefully you define your position, and your mission, the harder it becomes for your adversaries to conflate you, or to shoehorn false imputations into what you say or do. They simply won't have as much room to operate.

This practice of defining yourself so as to control political identity, is called bulkheading. This term is metaphorical, referring to the containment walls inside the hull of a ship which divide that space into cellular compartments. Each compartment is self-contained and isolated from such outside influences as shifting cargo, or a breach of the hull which lets the ocean in. 

In a political sense, bulkheading means any process which builds a wall around your political identity so that you will be insulated from the influences of those who somewhat resemble you.

Like anything, bulkheading can be done either well or poorly. Many people will bulkhead in a sloppy, primitive, instinctive way, but we advise that you do it in a deliberate, highly crafted way. Your clearly written prior statement of political identity is called a bulkhead statement, and we will now discuss how you ought to compose such a statement.

A bulkhead statement, if properly done, writes the ticket for you. It puts control of the script, and the entire narrative, in your hands. It clears the deck. It gives you the edge.  It sets the initial terms for any drama that might go down later - and that is what you want. A bulkhead statement is the initializing act of political self-definition which you can always fall back upon when your adversaries try to misrepresent you. One thing is for sure - having a bulkhead statement beats the hell out of not having a bulkhead statement.

We lay particular stress upon these points because we know that the failure to properly bulkhead was a cardinal mistake of the early pioneers against feminism -- a mistake with stubbornly persisting legacies. It is better to bulkhead on day number one, than to bulkhead belatedly after the consequences of early omission become apparent. But still, better late than never.

In the end, the feminists and their allies must be made to understand that the non-feminist sector is not a moral or political collective. We are not monolithic. We are diverse, and it is incumbent on any feminist to treat any non-feminist man or woman as an INDIVIDUAL.

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