And it is all about shark teeth
And it is all about shark teeth
Apparently my blog comes up when googling “jezebel is the fucking worst” or something, so I appreciate all the feedback I’ve been getting on that. I have not been to jezebel.com in probably a year, but from the titles of the links people on fb post, I assume it is still just awful racist ableist misogynist garbage.
Since law school’s over and I’m not a real lawyer, I have tons of time for righteous indignation, and, more relevantly, writing about it, so look forward to upcoming hate on the fat acceptance movement, and people who can’t stand ethnic ambiguity (looking at you, NYC boys of okcupid) and the identity crisis that would accompany their questions if I weren’t so annoyed (that identity crisis accompanies other things, I assure you).
die alone with me,
It seems as though 75% of the time I call out privilege or oppression on the internet (which, in my “talking to people on the internet” life, exclusively means facebook), someone (usually the oppressive person) tells me I “should be nicer, and try to educate people nicely, or they won’t listen to you because you made them mad.” (I am going to use ableism as an example in this post, because people get really mad when I won’t take my time to teach them about ableism beyond a link to google)
This is seriously not my job. Just because I try not to be oppressive, and do not stand for expressions of it, does not give me the burden to make your life easier. I am not always trying to “convert” you. Sometimes I think you’re just being such a horrible person that I can’t stand letting you get away with saying stuff like that. I do not have a responsibility to make the world a better place all the time, enabling people’s personal growth every time I speak, just because I think this world is all kinds of messed up.
You really need to educate yourselves, people. I know it’s hard. It takes like four whole minutes to read the ableism wikipedia page after I tell you “ableism isn’t funny” “‘dumb’ is ableist” or “did you seriously just use ‘retarded’ like that” (TRUE LIFE STORIES WHERE PEOPLE GOT ALL MAD). I cannot overstate how much it is your job, not mine, to make yourself a better person. I am completely willing to provide resources to people who are interested, or elaborate on how the more accepted, and therefore less known to be ableist, ableist language is problematic, provided you ask, and don’t have a defensive fit when I call you out.
When I do this, I am doing you a service, a kindness, if you will, not fulfilling an obligation.
(But seriously, if anyone thinks using “retarded” as a negative slur is anywhere near okay, what the hell is wrong with you? That is one of the most generally accepted to be ableist words in America)
Just because I am angry or abrasive about your ableism doesn’t let you off the hook for you language or behavior. Guess why I’m angry? Because you said something grossly offensive. I have a right to be angry, particularly about that. Being critical of our oppressive society does not diminish my right to still have feelings, or to express them. I’m a person, not an encyclopedia. You being an ass affects me. There’s a problem with people who aren’t angry about unapologetic ableism.
I am not in the wrong because I wasn’t “nicer and nicely told you what you did wrong,” you are always in the wrong for making fun of people with developmental disabilities.
Niceness, in general, is not an obligation. Neutrality should be perfectly acceptable (but is not for women and we will discuss that in the future). I don’t call individuals ableist. I call their language or behavior ableist. I do this very deliberately.
People also seem to conflate my responses to them on their friends’ facebook posts with how I interact with people in real life, and call me unemployable or say I will never affect change with that attitude. You know what doesn’t happen to me in person when I call someone out for ableism? THE PERSON SCREAMING AT ME AND CALLING ME A BITCH. That has never happened when I told someone in person “that was ableist.” I don’t even get people screaming at me in person over racism, and that is absolutely the worst thing you can call a racist white person, in their minds.
Additionally, something supremely problematic is asking people to educate you about certain kinds of oppression only because they experience it. You, hypothetical white person, are essentializing your friends of color when you ask them to explain all the racism to you. Read a book. For crying out loud, read Wikipedia. If you know your friend’s into studying racism, I think that’s generally okay; I assume that is why I get so many questions at this point.
So this blog is starting rather negative, but when all you think about is things that are wrong with the world and funny things your almost four year-old niece told you, that’ll happen. Also I don’t have time to do my massive heteronormative relationships post with horrifying internet pictures/quotes.
So jezebel.com fails as a feminist website and here’s why:
My issues with it primarily center around its claim to be feminist, and people defending it as feminist, when it is oppressive as hell. I mean, it got some award for best website for women’s issues or something, which is positively enraging. If they aren’t doing some half-assed job of calling out racism, they’re letting racism slide. As a regular (non-feminist) website, I don’t care as much, because so many websites have problems. I also don’t care if you enjoy it. We all like problematic things to some extent; it’s kind of inescapable. Just link to wherever the actual content comes from when you’re reposting it, and don’t try to sell me on the fact that it’s “soooo feminist it talks about politics that hurt women!!!!!!” No, it posts a link to another article with a title that facetiously calls birth control “whore pills” so you’ll click on it.
*I do believe that men can be feminists. I do not think that their voices should be better heard in feminist circles than women’s voices. In general society men can be better feminist advocates because of their gender privilege; however, in feminist spaces it’s generally accepted that we all think feminism is a good thing, so a man making an effort to use his privilege in that space is essentially anti-feminist
In the feminist community, there is this inexplicable idea that you can’t police people’s identity as feminists. Sure, I can’t keep them from saying they’re feminists, but just because you call yourself a feminist, it doesn’t mean you are one, or that you’re a good one.
For my own judgmental opinion, good is supporting the destruction of kyriarchy, with emphasis on the ways in which it affects women. Bad is choosing bits and pieces of that to support.
Anti-choice. You cannot say that you support women without giving them bodily autonomy. You cannot privilege a zygote over a living person with a uterus; it fundamentally says “I believe you are less human, and have fewer rights, than this non-person.” If you do believe a fetus is a person, you are giving something unborn more rights than someone living and breathing. You go straight from bad feminist to not a feminist.
Transphobia. For a group of people who believe that gender is socially constructed, feminists say some truly horrible things about trans* people. Women are women if they so identify. This isn’t like feminism with an ideology. It is exclusively an identity. Bad feminists say trans* women are not women. This is one of my issues with radical feminism. I have had a radical feminist say to me, with agreement from other radfems, that trans* men are just women trying to take gender privilege for themselves, and trans* women are just men trying to oppress women by stealing their gender. Horrible bigotry is bad feminism.
Not considering intersectionality. This is my primary issue with radfeminism. Gender oppression intersects with other oppression, and none of these can be picked apart in an individual person to determine the way in which they are being oppressed. This is why we have stereotypes of women of different races and ethnicities: their gender is so linked to their race. Dismissing other forms of oppression as not being of feminist concern is something only people with immense privilege can do, because everyone else has to live intersectionality every day, and puts gender above all else, which it most certainly is not. Because of this, it is bad feminism. Patriarchy is not our only problem. This is why I favor fighting kyriarchy over patriarchy. (For potential clarification: feminism is primarily about women’s concerns. Given the default lack of gender privilege, this can be used as a baseline, with other forms of privilege intersecting)
Privileging male voices in feminism over women’s voices. Like they don’t have enough privilege already, that they need to be heard over women in a movement that centers around women’s oppression. I believe in man feminists. I do not believe that good man feminists want to speak over women. Women who privilege man feminists are also bad feminists.
These are four of the most common ways in which I am supremely irritated by people calling themselves feminists.
Check your privilege!