exactly that

And, basically sometimes Jill just cracks my shit up.

 

But, seriously, I keep seeing all of this mud slinging among feminists, or refusals of conversation b/t feminists, all based on the “my feminism is better than your feminism” and “that makes you a bad feminist” argument.  Seriously, people, knock it the fuck off.  We have enough dividing us, stop pissing in your sandbox.  Labels suck, especially when it prevents us from being productive.  It feels as though too many of us are doing our damnedest to silence each other for not adhering to their labels.  When we silence each other we lose.  When we turn on ourselves the patriarchy/kyriarchy (thanks, whatshername!) wins.

For example, I see that whatshername from The Jaded Hippy tried to point out transphobia, and was silenced.  I applaud her for not being silenced, and using her voice in her space to make more people aware that transphobia is not a part of feminism.  

If you want to tell me that I am othering those who do not believe that being a trans* ally is part of feminism, fine.  I respectfully disagree.  Being a trans* ally is as essential a part of feminism/womanism to me as being a feminist/womanist is an essential part of being progressive.  I am not willing to accept a version of feminism that does not acknowledge that their struggle is our struggle.

 

And I can’t put it better than this post by ‘Liss at Shakesville:

 

Realistically, the breadth of allies in a comprehensive challenge to the patriarchy is vast and varied. Though all of us, sans rigorous philosophical exertion, are hapless conduits for every limiting and oppressive archetype upon which the patriarchy depends, conveying the bars of our own cages, very few of us are its unconstrained beneficiaries. Even the average straight, white, middle class American man exchanges privilege for severe limitations on his personal expression and emotional life—and he is encouraged never to examine that devastating trade-off too closely, lest the veneer on the alleged bargain prove thin enough through which to see. We all serve the same callous master, and there’s little to celebrate in being the favored slave—especially compared to a life of freedom.

It is foolish to believe that there is more feminist, gender-queer cisgendered straight women, lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, and the Ts don’t all have in common culturally and politically than that which we do, given the particular restraints and prejudices of the patriarchal structure and its rigid notions of sex, gender, and sexuality conveyed in all its aspects. We struggle to achieve and/or maintain, to varying degrees, autonomy over our own bodies, and, crucially, freedom of choice with regard to what we want to do with those bodies. Life- and identity-changing events hang in the balance for us all—parenting, marriage, gender reassignment, being legally able to keep a job in spite of prejudice.

 

So, just stop it already.  There is enough piss in my sandbox.

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Comments on: "This is the “Othering” I Was Talking About" (11)

  1. I like to look at it this way- is what I’m doing making more people free and equal and with access to power and resources? If yes- then I am most likely doing something feminist and/or progressive.

    If what I am doing restricts people or even just keeps current limits in place, then I am doing it wrong.

  2. pretty much what I was going for. Yea. And more concise.

  3. Great post!!

    I agree with Lilla on this one…

    “If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.” Lilla Watson (Australian Aboriginal Activist & Organizer)

  4. I know I do “word” comments all the time, but massive “word” to this post.

  5. I so completely agree with you and see this desire to silence trans women as just asserting a form of hierarchy wherein some bodies matter and others are cast off. As a WOC who has been subject to my own degree of silencing within feminism I certainly will always stand in unity with the marginalized body.
    Good for you for calling it out and telling it true. It is a difficult think to recognize the humanity of another when so many pressuring the exact opposite. The more people stand up against such obvious tyranny it is my hope that this hate and ignorance will dissipate! Tell it my sister, tell it true!

  6. All that arguing over who’s feminism is better or who fits the definition of progressive is just the reason I don’t bother claiming any titles like humanist, MRA, feminist, or otherwise.

    I think part of the reason some of those arguments start up is because people get so into their activism that somewhere along the line (without realising it I believe) they appoint themselves the sole arbitor(s) of things like peace, equality, fairness, and justice. The supreme and unchallengable authority you may say. Once that happens anyone that offers the slightest variation is labled as an other.

  7. Danny, As long as no one is trying to bring MRA rhetoric in here, b/c that is a giant no no. I don’t like labels, but I remind readers that I am in fact a feminist/womanist. I just prefer not to be boxed into categories like “sex pox” or “rad fem” or anything like that. But you are right, I have stopped interacting on a few sites I used to love (like Feministing, although I still adore Jessica et al, I find the community hostile at times) b/c the commenters get a little self righteous for me.

    I guess that is a gentle warning?

  8. Not trying to bring any “MRA rhetoric”. The only reason I mention it is because just like any other label, like feminist, some people have a tendency to act as if they are the only ones qualified to speak on behalf of said label. And they will do this while daring anyone to challenge their assesment of other labels.

  9. Understood…and thanks for clearing that up. I welcome other opinions, but I have to draw the line in order to keep this a safe space.

    I so agree w/ your point. Thank-you for reading!

  10. Robyn Sheppard said:

    Ah, yes. The balkanization of feminism. Ever hear of divide and conquer? A house divided against itself? These aren’t just words but hard-learned truths. It’s not about sex, gender, men, women, but rather *people*.

    As long as any of us is oppressed, we’re all oppressed. As a transwoman, I’m tired of being forced to the back of the bus. You know the bus–the one Barney Frank threw us under. It’s as if the 1964 Civil Rights Act guaranteed equal rights to all Americans–except for the really dark-skinned ones.

    Look, sex is what’s between your legs; gender is between your ears. So are we going to define feminism based on gender or on sex? If it’s gender, then you have to count me. And if it’s sex, you’re just building the wall higher and stronger.

    Don’t identify me by your own limited understanding, and I won’t do the same to you.

    • Thanks for bringing your thoughts here Robyn, on an older post. Sadly, much of it still applies, and I don’t see things improving. Even though much of the principles I identify with (I am struggling with the “feminist” label, for example these days over much of the reasoning that I wrote about here so long ago) are things I am not sure how to grapple with these day, the ideas still apply. What you say rings very true.

      Thanks for reading, and I hope you will continue to do so.

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