Sunday, 30 December 2012

On the privilege of politeness:

Or rather the privilege of defining "politeness".

As a person with autism, I am often accused of being "impolite" for not expressing in the same way as neurotypical people, as a minority and a social justice advocate I am often accused of being "impolite" for pointing out an issue, whether that be the racism in the white feminist movement or how sexist and not funny a rape joke is.

Ever notice it is always the privileged person who defines politeness and deems the minority not to be polite enough?

That's because choosing what is polite and having the social power to enforce that choice is a function of privilege.

Whether it's "you pointed out my racism, you're rude" or "you didn't behave as I expected so you're rude", privilege affords privileged people the power and the "right" to define politeness and rudeness.

Minorities are constantly policed not just by the majority but also intersectionally. The amount of times I've been told that pointing out problematic behaviour from a fellow minority who is privileged in a different area to the one we share is "rude" and "divisive", are many.

Whether it be white feminists getting pissy because talking about the racism in feminism and feminist spaces is "divisive", or able bodied feminists getting pissy because asking them not to use slurs is not working in "solidarity" or is "racist" if you're asking a WoC feminist not to use them.

My point? Next time you go to call someone impolite or to support someone who is calling someone impolite? Be sure to check you're not calling them impolite because they pointed out your privilege/bad behaviour/brought up something you feel guilty about and make sure the "impoliteness" isn't actually coming from inside you.


My twitter account is currently suspended, because when a feminist self declared ally of WoC fucked up and I politely explained that the stuff she said was problematic, she repeatedly blocked and unblocked me and reported me for spam at the same time so the automatic suspension flagged my account and suspended it. I'm not sure if that was on purpose because she was pissed as being called out or if she just didn't think about it.

So I'm going to write an open letter to people who come out with the same problematic stuff as she did. I'm concentrating mostly on WoC issues but this can apply to any minority group who identify as or who are seen as female. This btw, was what she responded problematically to:

Dear self declared white feminist Allies to WoC and other minority groups,

No matter how wonderful you think you are as a white feminist ally to Women of Color, racism and ignorance of the issues women of color face is still a rampant issue in feminism due to the overwhelming domination of white privileged feminists who are to be candid are frequently ignorant and unaware of their impact on minorities. Others commenting on this and similar lack of inclusions that happen to women with disabilities and GLBTQ people who identify as women or who are seen as women is not a personal criticism of you. You are not the entirety of feminism; So you really need to stop getting personally offended when WoC and those of us who are listening say that white feminism has a bad habit of getting it wrong when it comes to issues women of color face.

No, this is not a fringe problem like many of you think. Racism in feminism is still a massive mainstream issue. Yes, feminism has improved from the days when leading feminists like Sanger said the most dreadfully racist things, but it's still not fully inclusive of women of color nor does it always respect the issues women of color face. We've still got a long way to go before it is. Much like we have a long way to go before we will no longer need feminism.

If you're expecting credit for the fact that feminism sucks slightly less for Women of color now? You're doing it wrong. If you're getting offended because in a discussion of white women not getting WoC issues, you didn't get credit for how wonderful you think you are? You're doing it wrong. You don't become an ally to minorities for credit, you become one because being one is being a decent human being. If you're an ally? You don't need a pat on the back, because being a good person is it's own reward.

Also women of color do not need or even want you to fight on their behalf, they're more than capable of handling their own fights. You are not being a great ally by trying to lead the fights of others for them, especially given your lack of insight into what women of color really need. Being a great ally to women of color is about including women of color and their voices in the mainstream fight, it's about making women of color welcome in feminist communities, it's about supporting their voices, not supplanting them, it's about backing our sisters up, not standing on their shoulders to shout for them.

Also, no you do not get what it is like to be a Woman of color, a woman with a disability, or a GLBTQ female identifying person if you are not one. This is why you should not be fighting for any of those groups because you probably don't know what is really needed for them, it takes personal experience to know that. Not only that but it's bloody offensive to women of color when you try to be the great white feminist savior of them, and yes, you "fighting on their behalf" often comes off like that and sometimes it is obvious that you do have an unacknowledged savior complex.

Also no lacking class privilege will not change that you are not a woman of color. Being poor doesn't erase your white privilege. Seriously, don't try to argue you don't have privilege in terms of skin color, it's dreadfully ignorant, especially when you've just pulled a privileged move and been told please don't do that.

Trying to empathise with WoC is not the same as having direct experience of racism and direct understanding of the issues WoC face. You really need to face this and to learn to listen to what Women of color say, not splutter in outrage because a Women of color said you weren't listening.

Also "inclusive" doesn't mean "white feminists get to weigh in on WoC issues without being told they're wrong/ignorant/fucking up when they mess up". Seriously, inclusivity isn't an argument for getting it all your own way.

Also WoC and their allies pointing out this crap? Isn't a threat to solidarity, the fact that white feminism is choc-a-block with this sort of shit is a threat to solidarity. White feminist racism is far more alienating to community members who are WoC or simply not assholes than requiring white feminists to do better could ever be.

In it's own way, me writing this is problematic and I acknowledge it as such, this could easily go into speaking for women of color even though I do not intend to do so. I am writing this to support them and because as a white feminist even if I don't actively try to add to the racism problems in feminism? I am still responsible because I am part of it. I am responsible when I remain silent, I am responsible when I do not speak up in the face of your ignorance. I am responsible when I stand by and let you treat our sisters like you do. So I am taking my responsibility and doing something with it.

I wrote this because as a white feminist it is my job to make our movement a better and more inclusive place. I want to be be part of the answer as well as part of the problem. I can't discard my white privilege which benefits me in feminist circles, but I can speak up and tell you that it is not acceptable that we treat women of color or any minority covered under feminism the way we do. It is not acceptable to sideline their voices, it is not acceptable to get in a snitfit because they say things that make us personally uncomfortable, it is not acceptable that we take out our guilt at our white privilege on them.

Part of being for social justice is learning to deal with personal discomfort. It's been looked at like you're mad and disliked because you "ruined the fun" by pointing out the rape joke, the misogyny, the racism or whatever casual bigotry someone just displayed. It's becoming aware of our place within intersectional privilege and oppression. It's learning to deal with things we didn't ask for or deliberately do but are still complicit in without letting guilt overwhelm and paralyze us. For white people, It's understanding that we are complicit in racism but letting go of the guilt response, our guilt helps nobody, our actions, our willingness to listen, to learn, to grow does.

If we wanted an easy life, we would have remained ignorant, so don't tell me the discomfort of addressing the racism in white feminist responses to Women of color is too much and too far, because if it's too much for you, then so is feminism.


Don't just take my word for it though, here's a round up of awesome WoC bloggers and non-WoC posts addressing the problem. (Chock full of WoC posts on the subject, excellent starting point). Awesome WoC blog on this problem/

To the others who defend the sort of attitude and thoughts I'm addressing and especially to the folks who defended it last night,

People we like can still say ignorant things. We can respect them for being a good feminist in one way without ignoring that they tripped up over their feet in others. There are plenty of big name feminists who don't get minority issues at all never mind all of the time, it's a big issue, and people we like are still growing, still learning, the fuck up they make today, they will learn from if they're as good as we think they are.

Also intention is not magical, your friend was whining that the woman who died in India was "being used to attack white feminists" there's no way that could not be inappropriate as hell. Feminism has let down Women of color, disabled women, queer women, trans-women, trans-men and many more minority groups. Stating so is not an attack on white feminists, standing up and saying that feminism can and should be better is not an attack on white feminist.

Also privilege does not function differently in America, where the fuck did that claim come from? Especially since much mainstream social justice writing is coming from the US.

Also don't complain to me that I wasn't "tactful" enough. Really, given the seriously personal discomfort and immediate guilt many white feminists experience when it comes to the cognitive dissonance of the reality of racism in feminism and what they think feminism and racism is like, it's ridiculously common for white feminists to get majorly upset and to see it as a personal attack on them when first told about it. Been there, done that myself, and people were much meaner to me about it. One person told me to go kill myself for example when I didn't get it.

Your friend is not just ignorant, they're actually racist. In between their "I'm color blind" crap and "wah saying I have white privilege is the same as saying I didn't struggle" is a racist subtext that they ignore, just because they don't call someone a n***** doesn't erase their racist assumptions and thoughts.

Friday, 28 December 2012

Being a monster is a choice:

We really need to bring an end to the myth that monsters are sick/victims themselves, or indeed anything other that entirely normal people who choose to do monstrous things.

The vast majority of abuse victims do not become monsters and many people who become monsters have perfectly average non-abusive child hoods.

The myth that a monster is sick/a victim hurts actual victims in several ways.

The assumption of mental illness/sickness, it stigmatizes people who are mentally ill.

The assumption that abuse leads to the creation of monsters not only fuels stigmatization of actual victims/survivors since it's easy to assume that it is only a matter of time before we snap, it also undermines the self belief of the victims/survivors. Imagine being told that what you went through turns people into monsters, do you have any idea of the kind of fear and terror of the idea that you will automatically become a monster causes?  Btw, it's pretty awful, just so you know. As if we didn't have enough to deal with, we suffer abuse, and then there's victim blaming and this shit. Which also lets our abusers off the hook by blaming their actions on abuse/sickness instead of on the real reason for most abuse.

What really makes a monster? The choice.

When you get down to it the majority of abusers? Are self entitled assholes. They think their violence and abuse is justified because they feel entitled to treat others like that. The majority of the time when people do nasty things to other people, even if it's not outright abuse? They do it because they think they are in the right. Self entitlement is the most toxic of human viewpoints, and it is one that is chosen.

Self entitlement is a function of privilege, so it's little wonder that, violence, murder, rape, and domestic violence is primarily committed by men. It's little wonder that the majority of spree killers are white men.
Anyone can choose to harm others. Anyone can self justify harming others. Those are not functions of being mentally ill or being abused, those are functions of being human with the ability to choose how we act and treat others. We can choose to be self entitled about our privilege, or we can choose not to be. It is that choice that determines if we are a monster.

We need to be talking about the role privilege plays in monsterhood, not playing "monsters aren't normal" because they bloody well are, they simply make a choice to be a monster. Monsters are normal people, they aren't mentally ill, they aren't abused victims most of the time, they aren't abnormal, they're just self entitled and capable of self justifying what they do.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Fucking up, it's what Penny Arcade does:

For the uninitiated, Penny Arcade is a comic that has a problematic history of being completely ignorant, including rape jokes, dismissing what people are telling them. Recently they weighed in on the gun control debate.

Evidently the dickwolves fiasco didn't educate them on how not to fuck up. Why is this a fuck up? It's simple.

The argument they're "arguing" against is a massive fucking red herring.

For starters? The idea that video games cause violence by themselves is complete bunk, however, if it was true?

1. The first amendment does not allow everything anyone wants to do.

There are many legally prohibited behaviours that one may not do, for example shouting fire in a theater, making threats, hate speech. If the first amendment was absolute? It would be okay to use racial slurs on TV, since it is not? It is not absolute license.

Also we would not have things like defamation laws.

Ergo, if video games did cause violence, then prohibiting whatever part of them caused it would not necessarily violate the first amendment.

2. Secondly, if video games did cause violence, it does not follow that new laws would be the logical answer to that.

Most of the ratings systems the TV and game industry uses now? All voluntary. Supposing that video games did cause violence, it would be well within the industries power to tighten those guidelines or to up the rating based on violence.

Games that don't make money don't get made, ergo if video games caused violence, and we could isolate the reason? It would not be hard to convince much of the public to not buy (cripes look at how effective the vaccine autism bollocks is, a similar campaign could devastate the games industry) such games.

No new laws? No possible violation of the first amendment.

3. Last but not least, the constitution is a living document, it's meant to evolve. By setting themselves up as champions of the first amendment? They are apparently arguing that this living document and how we interpret it should remain set in stone because red herring arguments are scary.

Fact is there are plenty of counter arguments to such claims. By even bothering with the red herring argument, they grant it validation and distract from the real point, which is to do something about spree killing.

Penny Arcade could have brought up that the majority of spree killers are white males, or tackled the fact that guns are often advertised in ways that tag gun owning with manliness. The weapon used in the Sandy Hook killing spree actually comes with a "man card", as if owning the gun somehow makes a man a man. They could have brought a legitimate argument to the table to counter the ridiculous distraction techniques of the NRA. They did not. A comic based on the ridiculous idea that a piece of metal that shoots other pieces of metal makes one a man could have been hilarious.

Instead they fucked up, and the gross part is they totally erased the victims in their zeal to argue against regulating the media as if there was a serious threat to media (which there is not, Thompson proved that!). There are 20+ people and families that will never be the same, but Penny Arcade has nothing to say about them it seems.

Penny Arcade's comic comes off as sensitive and as informed as the wailing tantrum of a three year old who has overheard the adult's discussing presents for children who do not have any, and assumed that they intend to give his toys to the children who do not have any. The comic is self involved, short sighted, poorly written and generally lives up to the stereotype of the selfish manchild geek.

Yet again, I'm not impressed with the privileged ignorance of the owners.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Pitting the minorities against one another:

Why do we let them do this to us? Why do we do it to ourselves?

Do we really fear that there isn't enough equality to go around and that granting it to someone else will mean less for us?

Why are feminist circles so often a toxic mix of Disabilism, homophobia, cissexism, racism, classism and other oppressions?

Why are spaces for people of color so often reeking of disabilism, homophobia, cissexism, misogyny and other oppressions?

Why are GLBTQ groups often full of toxic cissexism and misogny?

Do people really think that not using slurs that hurt others groups in minority spaces will somehow lessen their equality? Is that the equality you want? The equal ability to be an oppressive bastard just like any other majority, while also getting your rights?

I am tired of safe spaces that are not actually safe spaces.

I am tired of safe spaces that say "you must be one of us" where one of us means "you must tolerate the bigotry of people who share one minority in common with you because calling them out is not being one of us".

I am tired of safe spaces that give lip service to some minority rights. It's one thing to say isms are unacceptable, but when you don't enforce it, you might as well not say it.

As a disabled, impoverished, bisexual, genderqueer, female bodied person, I want a space where I don't have to put up with disabilist slurs to be with my female bodied peers and to talk about misogyny. I want a space where I don't have to leave parts of my identity outside and suffer micro-aggressions.

I'm tired of seeing my peers pull "we're oppressed, so we should be allowed to say things that hurt you/others". You'd think they'd all know better, if only because being subjected to that shit themselves, they should know what it feels like when people think they're entitled to say whatever shitty hurtful things they want.

I am tired of people who rather than going "okay, I won't use that slur again" instead argue that someone else's privilege (given most of us have a mix of privilege and oppression) means that person calling them on the slur usage is oppression itself.

The fact that you suffer from sexism/racism/disabilism/homophobia/transaphobia/classism/any other ism does not make it acceptable for you to perpetuate other isms in minority spaces, and I am tired of people who think it does make it acceptable.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Peter Lloyd: Bigot without a bra:

Peter Lloyd of the Daily Mail just had to open his mouth today and sexism spewed out and onto his keyboard and then onto the web.


"This week, Esther Walker - wife of celebrity food critic Giles Coren - wrote a lacerating opinion piece about her casual sexism towards men and boys."

Dear Peter, women cannot be sexist. Prejudiced yes, sexism however requires institutional power, which only men have. Furthermore given the fact that we live in a patriarchy with rape culture and all that crap? There are very good reasons why women may feel ambivalent towards men at best.

"As a men's issues writer, and an activist for greater compassion around male-specific problems - including father's rights, the 90 per cent of homeless people who are men and our soaring suicide rates - this baby bias is no different."

 Prior to this he quotes some of the "offensive" article seemingly without realising that many of the things complained about are male behaviours encoded into patriarchal expectations of men. As if women shouldn't complain about undesirable male behaviours that basically we're expected to put up with constantly from when we are young.

Fathers rights? See MRA. See probably fairly ignorant of why the system works that way and how it is men that have largely caused it, because it's not like making child raising women's work socially doesn't affect father's rights, oh wait, it does.

The 90% of homeless are men? Bollocks.

80-88% are the highest numbers and they are highly disputed because it's considered that much female homelessness is concealed homelessness, and those figures are before this happened: The number of women who are homeless has soared in the last decade.

There's a whole load of issues with him using that statistic I could go into. It's not as simplistic as he's making out.

"In fact, it might be worse - because here we've reached a new low in the socially acceptable hatred of men and defenceless boys."

You're kidding me right? Socially acceptable hatred of men and boys? Yeah because women being perceived as being mean about men who enjoy a level of privilege and advantage women don't, and men existing in a framework that makes their lives easier at the expense of other groups is socially acceptable hatred of men. Cripes, it's like watching a small boy complain his mother hates him because he only got nine sweets and he wanted ten.

"Her opinions are a towering, crass example of misandry (the male equivalent of misogyny) which is so embedded in our societies, schools, music charts, television programmes and newspapers that it frequently goes unnoticed." 

Misandry, about as feared as the Toothfairy and Santa Claus. See we live in a Patriarchy Peter, if there's anything in society, schools, music, TV or papers that hurts men? It's a side effect of misogyny. Misandry doesn't exist, it's a made up concept perpetuated by MRAs who are seemingly jealous that they don't get to be victims.

"As someone who isn't sexist (I worked on a feminist magazine for three years) and have a father who is the best man I know, I find her comments particularly cringeworthy." 

Someone who isn't sexist? Peter, just so you know? If you have to say it, you definitely ARE sexist. Also working for a feminist magazine doesn't make you not sexist, especially not when you spout sexist shit.

"Like all the boys I know, my nephew is a loving, caring, intelligent, funny and innocent person. But wider society will rarely tell him this. In fact, outside his family circle, he will be told he's clumsy, bashful, emotionally stunted and brutish.
As he gets older he'll be told he's developing much slower than girls; a low achiever in the making.
Unfortunately, this is only the basics. The entire system is at risk of letting him down: schools across the western world are failing boys because curriculums are so heavily feminised, women are earning more money than men per hour and also living longer."

Really? No, he'll be told he's a brute because as part of rape culture, society holds that men are not inherently responsible for their actions, that's misogyny. Also curriculums being "feminized" is fucking bullshit of the highest MRA degree, all that changed was women being more encouraged to show off our intelligence. Also women earning more then men? Only before they have kids (if they do) and hit the glass ceiling, on average women make 80% of what a man does once you aggregate it all. Also women living longer is just biology.

"Most university graduates are women, they benefit from better NHS funding and frequently enjoy legal leniency over the same crimes. Still not convinced?" 

They're still paid less than male university graduates. Also I don't know where the bollocks about better NHS fund came from but it's bollocks, women are more likely to die from many preventable conditions. The leading cause of death in women is heart attacks but women are TWICE as likely to die from one because we're more likely to have our symptoms dismissed as "anxiety" and "overemotionalness".

As for legal leniency? On average women tend to perform less violent crimes, and the primary reason for leniency is that they are often the main care providers for children. Perhaps if you changed the assumption that babies = women's work, that might change. That's a function of misogyny.

"One in six victims of domestic violence are male - but are ignored - and many male victims of female-on-male sexual assault are laughed at."  

 So are the other five women. Again, misogyny in action, except Peter's too ignorant and sexist to recognise it so blames women for it.

"Society is happy to trash males or see them fail because, in an eagerness to 'get' feminism - even the radicalised, extremist strands - male success is now misconstrued as gender advantage, not hard work or a human right to thrive. " 

Seriously how does one get to be a journalist and remain this fucking completely unaware, especially after working on a feminist magazine for years? A: society isn't eager to get feminism, it is and still is an uphill struggle. B: Men do have a gender advantage that makes it easier for them to succeed because we live in a patriarchy.

"I, for one, won't take it lying down. I'm about to launch a legal battle with my gym, the Kentish Town Sports Centre, because it bans all males - including young boys and pensioners - for several hours every week to make it a 'safe' area. "  

Because heaven fucking forbid women have space and time where they know they're not going to be subject to rape culture, the male gaze and many other creepy issues men often bring with them into such spaces?

"The fact that women are not in danger for the rest of the time is an aside; it's a sexism which reinforces that myth that men are born in a dormant state of 'wrongness' and must be controlled. We're not."  

Not in danger? How wonderful that you, a man apparently get to decide what is danger, cos nobody ever has followed you around the gym making gross comments right? So it can't possibly happen to us women. Finally he gets one thing a tiny bit right, the belief that men are mad rapists is sexism, but it's sexism created by men and rape culture. So if you fucking tackled that women wouldn't need safe spaces!

"No, we don't know each other, but we do live a few streets away from each other in North London. Perhaps, after an impromptu chat on the treadmills, she would exercise her brain as well as her body"  

Peter's totally not sexist. But he'll still tell a woman via his column that she's stupid after spouting the most appallingly sexist ignorant shit himself. Cripes, no wonder she doesn't want a boy, it might grow up to be just like Peter Lloyd and that would be an embarassment.

 "Then, in 25 years time, when their son leaves home with an intelligent, balanced wife, Esther will have every reason to be very, very proud of her son - not least because he was smart enough to choose a woman who's nothing like her."

Because of course if she has a boy he has to be a straight and Peter once again has to make a jab about Esther's intelligence.

Congratulations Peter Lloyd, you're sexist as hell. 

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Trans dismissal.

Don't get me wrong, Cis women who say that Trans women aren't really women need to shut the fuck up and sit their bigoted asses down.

I also think the notion that Trans women are a threat to cis women if they have a penis to be absolutely fucking ridiculous.

However, could trans women please stop dismissing the concerns of female bodied women when it comes to sexual predators?

And could you please realise it's an intersectional issue, while I do respect that you are in fact a woman and most certainly are not a threat to me, I want you to respect in return that having a female body means we are subject to constant gender violence and therefore have been taught to be afraid of cis men in ways you're only just discovering. I want you to understand that female bodied people have very few safe spaces where they don't have to be hyper alert to the sexual violence of cis men, and to understand that the safety of female bodied people needs to be balanced with the safety and rights of trans women.

These are examples of cis male sex offenders who have dressed as women in order to access spaces where they would be able to see, touch or even assault female bodied people and children while those people were unclothed or vulnerable. <== in this one the guy basically admitted that was his intention.

And do remember these are only the ones who got caught, the catch and conviction rates on cis male predators is low.

Here's the thing Trans women, cis male sex offenders, they don't come with a handy dandy label identifying them. That's why female bodied people are so scared and protective of their spaces, because we are taught it is our job to protect ourselves and to be constantly vigilant. We live with paranoia because anything less is dangerous to us. I don't care if the trans woman in the changing room with me has a male body, because she's a woman, I do however care if there is someone who is a cis man in the room with me who is pretending to be trans in order to view women and children naked or who may be planning to sexually assault someone because I have to care about the latter, it's a very real threat to me.

I also cannot understand why you don't find these cis men to be a concern as well. Do you think you would magically be immune if a cis male sex offender came into the bathroom dressed as a woman with the intention of assaulting someone? Do you think you're not at risk of violence and sexual assault from these cis men somehow?

I don't know what the answer is, until rape culture, cis male sexual violence and transphobia come to an end, there is no perfect solution that will keep us all safe. I'd just appreciate it if you'd remember our safety as well as yours.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Dear Trans women:

With all due respect?

While you are a woman and belong in women's spaces?

You experience sexism only once you transition. You however prior to this have been raised with full male privilege, and you need to remember this. You may not have wanted it and undoubtedly if you could have changed it you would, that however does not negate the fact it existed.

Being born with a female body is not the same as being born a trans woman. We're both considered women but we both have received different treatment because of our perceived physical gender. That changes somewhat if you transition but it does not erase the differences in experience.

1. You probably were not raised with casually bigoted attitudes towards your perceived gender. Chances are nobody thought your ambitions were stupid or wrong simply because you were seen as a boy and boys don't tend to get made fun of for being ambitious.

Being told one is stupid and wrong for wanting more has a profound impact on the psyche of young female bodied people. Male bodied people are pretty much encouraged to dream as high and as far as they want to.

2. If you chose to play rough, to be loud, or to be assertive, you were probably not scolded for it, and conditioned to be meek, because those who are considered boys are expected to be rough, loud and assertive.

Again, this is behaviour modification overwhelmingly aimed at female bodied people. Male bodied people are given far more leeway with behaviour, this results in more confidence in self expression.

3. If you got angry, people probably took your anger seriously, they probably did not find it funny, because people take it seriously when someone they consider to be a man is angry, but they find someone they consider to be women being angry hilarious/cute/insert belittling adjective here.

Being taken seriously is a massive thing, it's very important to the development of self confidence and self advocating.

4. Chances are nobody made sexual comments about your body when you were still a child, because people don't generally do that to children who are male bodied. Your first encounter with sexuality and awareness of your body changes probably won't have been numerous adult men sneeringly offering gross comments or adult women branding you a whore because you dared to grow up.

I'm not saying you didn't have body issues, however this is unlikely to be one of them. You probably did not receive the message early on that only your attractiveness mattered and that you should only aspire to be pretty, and to accept the sleaze as part of your life.

I could go on, the point is these early messages have a profound impact on the psychological development of female bodied people. Trans-women do not as a whole experience these early sexist messages. Please remember this.


Unless science produces a goddamn miracle some day? You still will not have the equipment to become pregnant yourself. You are at no risk of reproductive coercion, being forcibly impregnated and forced to give birth, you absolutely cannot die in child birth. Please remember this if you wade into discussions of reproductive rights. There's nothing more fucking infuriating than a trans-woman who will never get pregnant, getting all up in my face about how they think I shouldn't have the right to choose whether to be pregnant or not, or worse being "pro-life" in a safe space.

Also? Your inability and desire to get pregnant? Not fucking relevant to my rights. I don't care if you would have a thousand children if you had a Uterus, you still don't get to tell me or anyone else who can get pregnant what we can do with ours. I won't tell you what to do with your body, so don't presume to tell me what I can do with mine.

Shit like this:

Not cool. The idea that we might be able to tell if a fetus is trans in future (fairly unlikely I'd think), does not entitle you to be against the rights of people with Uteri, if you're worried that people might abort Trans fetuses in the unlikely event that a test is developed, work on education, not on banning abortion. Btw, I have the same fucking issue with disabled people who want to ban abortion because some people abort disabled fetuses. Anyone who advocates forced birth can fuck right off.

The other thing is? Displaying misogyny in women's spaces? Not cool either.  Jennifer McCreath is rather fond of slut shaming, telling one transphobic woman that "clearly she had no issue putting Penises in her mouth/vagina" and commenting on how many times she'd been married, cos hey why call someone transphobic when you can call them a slut amiright? There's a billion and one insults that aren't based in misogyny, but often it's the misogynistic ones trans women go for.

There's other examples:

This was going so well, until the last line, because hey attacking Cathy's looks that's totally not misogynistic or based on the idea that only the outside matters. Cathy Brennan is a transphobic douche, but that doesn't make this misogyny okay.

More examples of Jennifer McCreath being misogynistic: She totes doesn't judge "slutty behaviour" but zomg "don't ask the taxpayer to pay for your abortion", cos hey supporting forcing people with uteri to give birth if you think they're slutty is so not misogynistic.

According to Jennifer the following people do not exist:
Trans men who are Gay.
Trans women who are Lesbians.
Bisexual female bodied people (I thought the B in GLBTQ gave it away).
Gender queer people who have a uterus.

And clearly rape never happens to female bodied people who are GLBTQ. Also there is absolutely no history of Trans people being forced to accept being sterilised in order to be entitled to be legally recognised as their gender. Nope, never happens at all.

Because of course since reproductive rights aren't relevant to her, our rights shouldn't be focused on as part of the LGBTQ fight. Cos hey, forcing a trans man to give birth, making a Lesbian cis woman carry a rape baby to term, ignoring bisexual female bodied people, forcing sterilisation on trans people, that isn't a problem for GLBTQ people, except yeah, it totally is unless you're Jennifer who doesn't think GLBTQ rights really matter unless they're relevant to her.

Hear that trans men? Your right to decide what to do with your body isn't a trans right, in fact it doesn't overlap at all according to Jennifer, and she thinks GLBTQ groups should not protect that right for you as a result of her belief that your right to control your body is not a trans right.

I know women's spaces can be transphobic, and that needs to change, but just because someone is pissed at societies bigotry doesn't mean it's okay for them to shit all over female bodied people. So let's see less misogyny, less telling people with Uteri what to do with them and more recognition that having gender privilege has had an impact on you even if you didn't want the privilege.

Oh and Jennifer McCreath can screw off with her "I don't give a shit about issues that don't affect me" crap, and misogyny towards female bodied people.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Tony Harris depicts women is sexist ways.

Tony Harris, you might be familiar with his recent attack on attractive women cosplayers in the comics community, he labelled them fakes, apparently being attractive makes one not a geek and all geek girls are ugly.

During it, he claims not to draw women in sexist ways, this is total f'ing bollocks. Let's take a look at some of his work and the very few women in it.

First we have this:

Because hey, nothing says cool character who happens to be a woman like getting groped while pseudo masturbating on a cover. Not to mention the outfit or lack thereof; the man gets full coverage, she gets boob windows, multiple cut outs, short shorts, and pony tails, because you can't be a woman without having long hair and showing it, never mind that it would make an excellent handle in a fight.

Then we have this: There are two women here, decent dressed, but they're right in the background and largely covered up by men.

Tony likes to shove women into the background a lot, most of his females are overshadowed by male characters.

Here's another example of women in the background: this time wearing very little and "posing" "sexily".

How about: Even when it's a headshot, women are required to pose "sexily", because hey, I totally go around pointing to my mouth for no reason whatsoever because men find it attractive.

Or: The men again get swords and something to do, the women gets to be naked and passive.

Or:  All the men get weapons or action poses, while Leia who is kick ass just sits there looking like she's having a massive sulk fit.

Or: Cos hey, nobody would ever pose a man in chains with his legs spread like that, and he'd probably be wearing pants!

Or: When was the last time you saw a male character in a comic book or on the cover wearing see thorough clothing? I'd be guessing -never-.

Or: Tony says boobs and butt is a pox, but breaks the spines of women anyway, this is one of the few images in which a woman is doing something in this gallery, and yet she's still required to pose absurdly.

Or: A woman with a weapon, but what the fuck is up with that pose?

Or: and because fog is a practical clothing choice for women. The second has an especially fucking ridiculous pose, apparently she decided to hold a gun fight while posing for playboy!

Or: Batman looks competent, the woman looks like she's posing for playboy again and has no fucking idea how to use that sword.

Or: Here she is again, yet another boobs and butt pose, what happened to those are a pox? Again, he makes her look incompetent by the random grasp on the pole, any competent fighter would be rolling with Batman's strike, not grabbing random bits of scenery to pose "sexily".

Or: Two strips of fabric are enough to hold up boobies right?

Or: Conan gets a dramatic pose, the women gets a "post orgasmic half naked flopping" pose.

Or: This is a bit better, but she might as well be posing for a catalog company for all the dynamicism she shows. She's a wooden prop.

Or: Chick with guns check, lack of proper fighting clothing check, stupid way of holding said guns, check. If she was a guy, she'd probably be striking a dramatic pose, perhaps aiming her guns at the viewer, instead she's slouching off balance, peering over her specs at you and impotently waving them in a manner that is supposed to be "sexy" but just looks silly.

Or: The men get full outfits, she gets mesh boobtube top and two pasties, cos hey, I'd totally go into a gun fight with most of my upper half exposed entirely. Fuck armour, boobs clearly repel bullets.

Or: Cos it's not like there's a problematic history of basically making Sue Storm, someone with awesome powers into a male accessory, oh wait, there is.

Or: Impractical and stupid pose go! Seriously, nobody jumps like this, the only reason for this stupid pose is to show her boobs and butt at the same time. Again, what happened to "it's a pox".

Or: One woman and she's shoved into the background and covered up by the sausage fest, not to mention naked. I mean seriously, you'd think wearing clothing got in the way of super powers given the amount of naked to near naked women in comics.

Or: Oh look, it's pseudo masturbation and groping again. I know vampirella is supposed to be sexy, but sexy doesn't mean stupidly posed. Not to mention the random boobies  in the background, cos clearly those are the only important bits.

Or: see thorough top, check, bland "demure" uninteresting pose? Check. A man wouldn't be drawn like this? Check.

Or: Don't forget women are background decoration at best.

Or: Everyone else gets to be moving, Sue storm gets to stand off balance and stare moodily into nothing in the name of the sexy.

Or: Porn face? Check, ridiculous boob and butt pose, check.

And these are just a few of the worst offenders. Fact is Tony Harris does depict women in sexist ways, his claim not to is a lie. He's also pretty fucking crappy at drawing women, the anatomy is often poorly done, freakishly so in some cases, especially when it comes to anything that isn't tits, pelvis/vag or their head ( and sometimes even the head isn't spared from the fact that Tony Harris doesn't look at women as people but as cartoon blow up dolls).

Monday, 12 November 2012

Everything positive is a symptom of Autism:

Everything positive that is considered a negative in the eyes of neurotypical people it seems.

The following are because I'm autistic it seems.

My ability and willingness to disagree with people.
My ability to state what I need and willingness to expect to get my needs fulfilled.
My refusal to be considered a second class citizen.
My refusal to be bullied or abused by "normal" people.

Of course the people who blame my autism for these use different terms. They say I am nasty, stubborn, entitled, or state that my care team need to come sort me out as if me having an opinion is somehow unfair or not allowed. Funnily enough nobody ever suggests that being an asshole is a function of being NT, despite the fact that neurotypical people often act the asshole towards people like me.

Being assertive is considered a bad thing, it's bad enough if you're perceived as female and you assert yourself, add in autism and other people knowing about it, and you land up being labelled "bad" for doing the things neurotypical people do everyday.

No non-autistic person would be expected to:

Be silent all the time.
To completely suborn their needs.
To tolerate being treated as a second class citizen.
To put up with abuse.

Yet routinely I and people like me are expected to, and when we "fail" to act as expected, aka we refuse to be a doormat, we are considered "bad" and that "badness" is considered symptomatic of our autism, even though speaking up, expecting your needs to be fulfilled, expecting to be treated decently overall has nothing to do with autism and is not a bad thing, it's a human thing that we are all entitled to do.

Some days it seems to me that being neurotypical and being able to navigate social waters comes with a lot of tolerance that will never be extended to people like me. From what I've seen an non-autistic can be a total asshole, frequently cruel, hypocritical and generally outright nasty but so long as they cosy up to the right people and play the social game, the reality of their behaviour will never be acknowledged, and god help any autistic who blurts out "Cripes, you're an asshole" to said non-autistic asshole because said asshole is being an asshole. That's considered mean and bullying.

We are held to a higher standard, even the smallest slips are reason why we're an "asshole", meanwhile many nasty NT folks can be as mean and as cruel as their shriveled black hearts desire and will never be called on it so long as they don't do it to someone who is socially higher than them.

I've seen this happen so many times, a NT person will harass the hell out of an autistic person and the minute the autistic dares to criticise the behaviour? The Autistic is the bad guy, even if the autistic just told the person to stop hitting them.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Why giving "equal time" isn't equal at all:

Recently I read this article: The author doesn't seem to understand why there is an issue with their whole "men should have a say as well" in the first part of the article, so I'm going to explain why it's extremely problematic.

"men should be able to openly defend a woman's right to an abortion, without being given backlash by those they're defending."

This is assuming that the man is actually defending it and not talking over women or presuming to tell women about their rights in a condescending fashion, which is what many men and privileged people in general do mistake for advocacy. There's nothing like having someone argue with you that they know your oppression better than you do and they're not even part of your group, especially when they're getting shit wrong.

It is also assuming that they're not saying something bloody offensive and ignorant like "I'm all for women having the right to choose, but abortion shouldn't be used as birth control!". That will get you backlash.

The right to have an opinion is not the right to have it taken seriously.

"Furthermore, I stated that reproductive rights in general, not specifically abortion, are human rights according to the World Health Organization, meaning everyone being able to decide when and if they had children."

Problem: If a woman is pregnant, then it would be a violation of her rights to force her to have an abortion/carry to term against her will. That is just one reason why male bodied people are not going to be able to decide when and where to have kids if they accidentally get a female bodied person pregnant despite using protection. Biology is against you on this one if you have a penis, so either develop artificial wombs or build a sex bot.

"I was saying in a movement that seeks equality, the supporters of that movements should give men equal respect when speaking on abortion, because it sets a good precedent for the movement."

 Problem: Demanding respect is a privileged fucking move, especially since men do not necessarily support us. Cis-men can have an opinion and have it respected when and only when it is their body that a fetus occupys. Unsurprisingly the author is a cis-man, and he clearly hasn't examined his privilege.

"However, while I took away a different viewpoint from some of the criticism, some criticism I received was aggressive, condescending, or just outright personal attacks, where all I took away was a sick feeling in my stomach."

Translation: Women were mean to me.

To be blunt, much of the time when women are "aggressive" "condescending" or outright "attack" a guy, either the guy is twisting what's said negatively because he's butthurt, or the guy has just shoved his foot so far down his throat that he can scratch his arse with his toes.

This is a tone argument, we should not have to be 'nice' for you to listen. Especially given the amount of provocation would be feminist men often blunder around dispensing, and which is seem clear this author dispensed.

" I was told I didn't understand feminism, that I was sexist, and that my right as a human to have an opinion on abortion should not be respected. I felt as if I was being compared to Rush Limbaugh, Todd Akin, or Ann Coulter of social issue writing, which is as far from the truth as you can get."

Maybe because you don't understand and because you are? Hence why you're trying to lecture women on how to do feminism "right" aka "don't be mean to me!11!!!" That is the action of someone who is ignorant and sexist.

Having your opinion "respected" is not a human right, it's not in any human rights act. You don't have a right to respect within feminist spaces, trying to demand it is seriously privileged. You get the "respect" everywhere else simply for being a man. Learn to let someone else speak for a change.

If you want to be equal in women's safe spaces in order to be an ally? You suck at allyhood. They're women's safe spaces for a reason, women's voices are more important within them. Unless you're a trans/cis woman or a female bodied person, your voice needs to be modulated. Women's safe spaces are about women, they are our place to have our say.

"But I soon began to understand that these feminists were very different from the feminist friends and teachers I knew and loved."

Cos we don't see enough "I know a feminist so I can't be sexist/condescending/offensive" arguments.

"They do not paint a representative picture of today's feminists. In this article, I'm going to reveal a little bit more about these feminist's ideology, discuss some of the things they said and criticize some of their ideas, in the hope that tomorrow's potential allies understand these feminists are different then today's majority,"

See Jay Todd, See Jay Todd Mansplain about how he a man gets to pick and choose who is a feminist and who is doing it right. See Jay Todd speak over women's voices to assert his opinion on women without realising how incredibly sexist it is to do that.

He has a point about the trans-a-phobia in feminist groups that he later criticises, but at the same time, wow, did this guy take a big smelly shit and demand a cookie for it in his first part. That said personally I'm not sure a trans-woman should be accorded any more respect for their opinion on abortion than a cis-man, a trans-woman will never risk pregnancy or their life via pregnancy, it's a non issue for them, just like it is for cis-men. Nobody is going to force a trans-woman to carry a baby to term after all. Unless you are capable of getting pregnant, well you aren't the ones whose voices should be prioritised.

"I can still say this: all these particular feminists have done is form an extremist separatist group where, rather than trying to further a discussion of fighting institutionalized sexism, all they have succeeded in doing is antagonized possible allies, such as Peter Jenkins, me, and others"

Why hello thar tone argument.

Transaphobia in feminist groups sucks, but "you're alienating men" sucks as an argument as well.

" in the feminism I knew, based on the advocacy or women on the basis of equal rights, I would have been allowed to speak on the issue of abortion, or any other issue, and be given creative criticism without being personally attacked; in their form of feminism, I was not allowed that respect, strictly because I was a man."

The problem Jay is you're speaking OVER women, you're demanding your voice be respected, be privileged, you're not checking your privilege and you're ignoring the central fact. You will never be pregnant. You will never face reproductive coercion that risks your life, you will never be forced to give birth. You having an opinion about abortion, something you will never need personally, makes about as much sense as cis-women having an opinion about testicular cancer and how it should be treated, then demanding men respect their opinion no matter how offensive or wrong they are about it.

"And this seemed, for lack of a better term … sexist."

Women can't be sexist, you need power to be *ist, has nobody explained this to you? They can be prejudiced, but telling you that you can't demand your opinion on a matter that doesn't affect you be respected and considered equal to the opinions of the people who the matter directly affects is not prejudice, it's merely pointing out that you need to check your privilege.

You can point out transaphobia in feminist circles without being privileged about it, Jay Todd however apparently was throwing his privilege around from word one. This is why cis-men cannot have "equality" in women's spaces, they pull this fucking shit.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Social justice barrier mode activate.

Superficially many social justice communities appear to be for the rights of disabled people, right up until those people are autistic.

Barriers in social justice if you have autism are numerous, here are a few.

1. Most social justice stuff is written by neurotypical people for neurotypical people.

It contains all those delightful unspoken/unwritten and generally unexplained assumptions that so frustrate the average autistic in my experience. It operates assuming the reader is neurotypical. I find sometimes this means I have no idea what the person is on about, and I get a lot of the stuff others don't. To some of the others and to me before I learned through a lot of fucking up? You are writing in a language we don't have a dictionary for.

This barrier is chronically ignored, and downplayed by a largely NT social justice crowd.

2. The default assumption and working behaviour is that everyone is NT or that NT behaviour should be expected of them even if they're not.

I'm not kidding. I've been told so many times to "stop using your autism as a shield" by so-called social justice advocates who think not getting whatever concept they're not explaining is somehow being a bad person.

I can count on one hand with fingers to spare, the amount of times my difference has been taken into account, I've lost count of how many times I've dealt with "You should become NT right now! you're just not trying hard enough!11!!!1". For a movement that is supposed to be all about barrier dismantlement, that's one people like to ignore.

It's also privileged fucking behaviour.

3. Many "bad" reactions on the learning curve? To be blunt, are widely found in autistic people.

I've seen so many people go into one at an autistic person who doesn't understand or who has been misunderstood trying to explain themselves to a social justice advocate who just jumped all over their ass screaming and shouting about something.

Basically explaining yourself is treated like you just said "I'm an asshole". Even when people know you are autistic.

The reality is that as a result of living in a world where the majority of people operate on unspoken assumptions and go ballistic if you operate on different ones or fail to respond in the "right" way to their social manipulation? Many Autistics as a result do end up with a "explaining themselves in the hope someone gets it" reflexive action.

Also when every fucking person going is criticising everything you do, ie you breath too loud, because you're just different to them, and when people claiming to be for social justice act just like the ablist assholes, it's a bit hard to separate out "This is an incorrect harmful belief" from "warblegarble, you're a horrid fucking person because you're different to me, and I hate everything you do as a result" which is the constant background radiation of the lives of many of my compatriots.

If you're going to behave exactly like the ablist assholes, why would you expect to be treated any different? You're just another obnoxious person shouting at us for something you've never bothered to explain and which we cannot access.

4. The ends justify the means.

One of the biggest issues I have with social justice groups is their tendency to foster a "Anything I do is okay if it is in the name of social justice".

I fucking missed the memo that "We shouldn't have to be "nice" to be treated like human beings" translated into "We should have the right to be assholes to anyone we deem as part of the problem", this is especially infuriating when many of the people jumping up and down screaming at people are straight, white, cis-gendered, middle class and generally privileged as fuck.

To be honest, I feel unsafe that a movement that is supposedly about the rights of people like me has it seems no issue with some ablist fucking able bodied person screaming at autistic people for being autistic.

5. Explanations? Not only aren't designed for autistic people, they're often aggressively inaccessible and people often actively refuse to work with us.

See the whole "Assholery in the name of social justice is acceptable".

Seriously, if I'm asking you a question about an oppression I don't get? It's not because I expect you to educate me, it's because I need an accessible explanation, in a movement full of inaccessible explanations.

It isn't your job to educate me, but it is not your right to assume that the explanations given as adequate when they clearly are not and to fucking blame me and others for needing accessibility. Don't want to provide accessibility? Then give us some fucking consideration for the fact that we're working with a system not designed for our needs.

Or do you expect people who use a wheelchair to get up steps and then complain they're being too slow if they crawl up it?

6. NT social behaviour is often demanded within social justice spaces and the penalties for failing are extremely punitive.

Needless to say if we tend to flounder in normal society, floundering socially in social justice spaces is like dumping two tonnes of blood into shark infested waters and jumping in after it. It gets you ripped to pieces and people never forget either, even if you're know as autistic and go on to become a major campaigner, you will always be "that asshole" for the one time you didn't act NT or didn't get something that was shittily explained.

7. You are expected to be constantly on the ball 24/7 if your social standing and skills are not 100%.

I'm autistic, I have different "functional" levels, something I might get tomorrow, might baffle me today. Another day brain fog and pain may result in a crabby response that is deemed unacceptable.

Social justice groups often expect 100% perfection, all the time and right away from many autistics. Anything less? Well you basically get treated like you're running around lynching minorities.

Would it be nice if we got it right all the time? Yes. It would.

However, everyone fucks up, and we often don't have the "people like us" social NT privilege that NT people get to their fuck ups. If I and an NT person say the same fucking stupid thing, them because they didn't think and me because I'm having an autistic day and just not getting it, the NT person is much more likely to get a nice explanation, I'm much more likely to get screamed like I just murdered and ate 100 babies for breakfast.

Even if I twig, apologise and don't repeat it? I will forever be treated like an asshole by groups simply because I'm often disliked or not popular due to not having the social skills of others. Meanwhile privileged NT might go do the same shit later, but because NT people like NT people, their fuck up will be probably be forgiven and forgotten even if it took them six months to get why it's a fuck up and to stop fucking up in that way.

8. Social justice spaces tend to end up as tight knit groups of friends.

Autism as you may well know, tends to impact social skills. Needless to say, I often get rejected by whole groups because I hurt the feelings of one person. This is of course typically after a good dozen or so have trampled mine without consequences because they're integrated members of the group already.

As you can see some days I look at social justice and see a fortress designed to keep people like me out and which often puts privileged people on the rampants with the boiling oil which they tip over people for anything deemed bad behaviour, including just being autistic.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

The race card:

Yes, we've all heard the tired old saw that comes out everytime PoC object to racism "You're just playing the race card".

Do I think we have a responsibility to recognise, acknowledge and be aware that racism is a big issue? Absolutely.

At the same time, just because something happens to a non-white person doesn't mean it involves racism. Currently many people are complaining about Gary Mckinnon's reprieve on the ground of mental health reasons because another person Talha Ahsan who also has Asperger's is being extradited.


Autistic doesn't mean alike, yes, some of us cannot deal with the massive upheaval such a thing would cause, then again most autistic people don't allegedly hack the pentagon computers to find proof of little green men or allegedly run groups that support terrorist activity.

Your armchair opinion of "Well if one can't be, then he's the same and can't be" is damaging to efforts to get us treated as individuals. If Talha Ahsan would be endangered by extradition? That's a call for experts to make.


Just because Talha Ahsan is Muslim doesn't mean his case is exactly like Gary Mckinnon's only with non-white skin. It is entirely possible for two cases to have two outcomes because of many and varied reasons. One of those may be racism, we should question it, but trying to erase differences is not questioning.

 The two cases are entirely different apart from a few things like autism, both male, both wanted by the US. They should be judged on their own merits, not stuck together with the bad glue of assumptions and their differences ignored.

Am I glad Gary isn't going to be extradited? Absolutely. Do I think if Talha Ahsan is likely to face the same issues, his extradition should be reconsidered? Absolutely. I still however find much of the behaviour going on to be irresponsible and harmful to autistic people as a whole.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Inconsistent attitudes towards ablism in social justice spaces:

We it seems can all agree on sexist statements being a bad thing, the use of "Nigger" being a bad thing. (Except in reclaimatory ways by PoC)

But when it comes to disabilist or ablist language people flip the fucking hell out over being asked not to use it. Please note I am going to draw comparisons to racist terms here, not because I think they're comparable, they are different oppressions, but to highlight the completely different reactions and expectations there often are to requests not to use stigmatising and offensive language in safe spaces depending on the minority affected by it.

If a poster on most feminist websites came out with "Nigger", there would be nobody defending and excusing them. It would be considered a ban worth offense, but use ablist slurs and watch the apologetics begin, up to and including the use of social justice tools to silence and shut down people who like PoC and feminists want a safe space as well.

Apparently only Women and People of color are allowed safe spaces in feminist or indeed in many so-called social justice groups. Got a disability? You don't have a right to enjoy the same rights as your peers in a safe space because of it.


A feminist blogger who likes to use and defend ablist slurs on feministe. FYI for the unaware, feministe explicitly bans ablist slurs and ablist language in it's rules, not that you'd think it from all the times it's been allowed by mods, defended by most of the commentors. Evidence:
Ablist views have even been aired by the mod in some of her posts such as the time she argued that it was okay to question women on GF diets because "they might have an eating disorder", because it totally isn't sexist as fuck to question women about their eating and to assume that a specialist diet = ED, and it totally isn't ablist as fuck to claim that people eating GF as a "fad diet" is a legitimate concern that trumps every woman's right to fucking privacy, and then to defend it when celiac posters and other poster who have GF diets for medical reasons explain that they'd rather she didn't fucking encourage people to continue their habits of being inappropriately fucking nosy about what we eat and why we eat it. For the curious.

Needless to say Feministe has a history of being full of ablist fucking people and allowing ablism. I thought I'd highlight one of the fails and go through and explain what total fucking bollocks the defending arguments for why Ablism is okay are.

Here Tori asks a guest blogger not to use idiot an ablist term. If he'd used "Nigger" or similar slurs relating to racism or sexism, that post wouldn't have been posted. If somehow it had gotten past the censors like that? He would have been expected to change it. No ifs, buts or maybes about it.

But when it's an ablist term? Roll out the defending.

Straight off Diane leaps to defend the use of the slur: Basically saying that the objecting person is a dumbass. Could you imagine if the response on a feminist site to a poster complaining about racist or sexist language was "you're a dumbass"? The net would ring with outrage, but since it's disabilism in this case, it's apparently okay.

Back comes the guest blogger with defensiveness:

Argument 1: Omg don't we know it has other meanings?

Yes, it does. But other meanings don't magically erase that the word is part of an inbuilt belief system about disability, any more than the reclaiming of derogatory words by minority groups changes that when a privileged person uses it? It's still fucking derogatory.

The overriding meaning behind many disability related slurs is disability stigma and bigotry. A few other uses doesn't really change that the root of these words is disabilism.

Argument 2: Omg but everyone uses it!

Just because a word was widely used and accepted doesn't mean it has to remain so, there are words that were not offensive or demeaning to a minority group from only 50 years ago that most people wouldn't have even heard of. Words go out of fashion like many things do, when was the last time you saw someone drinking Mercury like they did quite a while back? I'd guess never since it's bloody toxic. 50 years ago lead was in a lot of things, then we figured out it hurts people. 100 years ago Uranium was a common component in watch dials to make them glow in the dark, I highly doubt you are wearing one with uranium paint today.

Argument 3: How do you function if this offends you!1!!!!!

This argument assumes that we are obliged to spend 24/7 educating people. It's bullshit because like any minority group we pick and choose our battles, sometimes we speak up, and sometimes we don't have the energy or the patience to deal with yet another round of bawling from ablist people.

Nobody would think to ask a person of color on feministe how they function and talk to people if the word "Nigger" offends them. 

Argument 4: Omg you'll drive people away from your cause if you point out that their language is problematic.

To be blunt, if I have to turn a blind eye to the ugly shit you say for you to be my ally? You not only suck as an ally, you suck as a decent human being. Allies don't feed this shit and decent people don't demand an exception from being asked not to do things in return for saying they're our allies.

Nobody fucking complains that it's the fault of people of color if a white person won't listen because he or she still wants to use terms like "wog" or "nigger", because we recognise that people of color shouldn't be required to tolerate racist terms to have their voice heard.

Not to mention taking that comment as a whole it's incredibly fucking patronising for a privileged person to lecture a minority on "you're tackling your oppression wrong by asking people not to say shitty things because they might not listen if they have to stop that". Nobody would tolerate that shit said to a woman and/or a person of color on many feminist sites, yet it's often considered fucking fine to say to it to disabled people.

Diane returns with:

Argument 5: But if we change it, then we're encouraging them.

Cos heaven fucking forbid we encourage people to speak up and ask for a safe space, heaven fucking forbid we make an effort to consider the feelings and oppressions of disabled people when in a safe space.

We might actually encourage people to think they have rights and god only knows where that would stop!11!! Extreme sarcasm btw.

This is a shitty fucking argument, nobody would consider it okay to argue that not using "spic" as a slur was encouraging Hispanic people to expect it not to be used as a slur, so why use it about disabled people and our slurs?

Then Florence chimes in with:

Argument 6: I'm disabled and I don't find it offensive.

Well hoofuckingray for you. Your disability =/= the right to decide if other disabled people can find it offensive. Nobody cares if you don't find it offensive, the point is the rest of us do.

Argument 7: Intent is magic.

You are not harry fucking potter okay?

Genderbitch wrote a far more rocking rebuttal to this crap:

I don't care if you're a fucking lost angel who has no mean intentions, you can still say hurtful and harmful shit even if you don't intend it. You wouldn't argue that you didn't intend to step on someone's toe if you did so, you'd apologize and look where you were putting your feet in future, what you say is not magically exempt from the same rule of intent doesn't stop you from hurting someone.

Argument 8. Calling this crap out is power and privilege.

Admittedly, I used to believe this crap, but I was wrong. It's a boneheaded belief.

A: A minority person cannot have privilege in an area they are a minority. B: Asking someone not to do it is not the same as forcing someone.

C: Asking people not to say shitty fucking things that add to the oppression of a minority group is in no fucking way comparable to reaping a systematic benefit from society because of you are white/able bodied/a man/rich/cis-gendered/heterosexual.

Diane comes back with:

Argument 9: Omg but we need negative hurtful words! We can't talk without them.

The English language has some 600,000 words. No more than perhaps about a hundred or so feed directly into the oppression of people. If words were rice grains, I doubt being a hundred or so rice grains short of  600,000 would cause someone's immediate starvation.

In short, if you make this argument, you either speak English so poorly that you have a limited vocabulary or you're just too damn lazy to find alternatives.

The language is evolving, why not make up new words? Or just get them from other languages, it's not like it's anything new for the English language to "acquire" terms from other languages, we've been doing that for centuries for fucks sake. In the last ten or so years we pinched schadenfreude from German because English doesn't have an equivalent term.

I find it hilarious that Diane also argues that people asking David not to use ablist slurs are "unable to accept the evolution of language" since her argument here is that language can't change because she won't have words.

Diane is back with:

Argument 10: If you say someone said something ablist, that's the same as calling them a bigot.

Contrary to popular opinion, I and everyone else do not spend our lives calling people bigots, asking someone not to use a slur =/= calling them a bigot. You can say shitty things without actually intending to be bigoted, you can say them without being overtly bigoted towards others.

In fact overt bigotry is less of an issue that social accepted and inbuilt bigoted beliefs are. It's easy to call the guy being explicitly racially hateful a racist, but it's harder to deal with the vast majority of people who hold and reinforce harmful beliefs about minorities but who insist that they aren't part of the problem because they don't go around being overtly hateful.

You might not be a bigot, but if you say something bigoted, asking you to stop using the word in a safe space is not the same as going "omg I hate u I wisH you deaded you hatefull bigod!111!".

This is a red herring argument, used to derail and force the people asking for positive change to stop and to assure everyone that we didn't call so and so a bigot and we don't think he's a bigot, we'd just like him to stop using the slur. An assurance that will never be accepted because to do so would mean people like Diane giving up this red herring argument.

Diane comes back later with:

Again a hark back to argument 3 and partially argument 11: Omg you're oversensitive, you're the problem.

This argument is a straight out belittle. It basically paints the objecting party as being unreasonable, it's also pretty fucking ablist, because it assumes that anyone who has an issue with triggers is inherently unable to function in society because they have an issue while basically absolving everyone else of the responsibility to not fucking trigger people in safe spaces.

Youmei comes out with:

Argument 12: omg nobody uses it as a derogatory term for a minority anymore.

It's only been about 20 years, less in some places since the term in question was being used as a medical term. It is in fact still widely used colloquially to refer to people with cognitive impairments.

Florence comes back with:

Argument 13: You're being unreasonable.

Here it takes the form of calling people out as condescending and ridiculous for being upset about a word. This argument is basically a form of "There's no problem at all, you're just being unreasonable and making a big fuss", it's belittling and offensive. It's all about the other party being pissy because us unreasonable disabled people ruined all the fun by objecting to such language.

Argument 14: But we always end up talking about this, it's not fair to us to have to put up with your complaints.

This argument basically argues that the problem is it being brought up rather than the fact that if it has to keep being brought up? It's because people keep fucking doing this shit. No more ablist language? No requests for it to cease. No defense of ablist language? No complaints about said defense.

In short the ones keeping the problem alive are those who fucking persist in using and defending ablist bullshit. Bonus assholery is had in the put down of complaints about this language as being complaints about a "piddly problem", could you imagine if someone said that to a PoC who asked someone not to use the N word?

Argument 15: Waaaaaah you're trying to control and manipulate us.

When everyone else asks for slurs about their gender, class, sexuality, race or anything else to not be used, that's social justice. But when a disabled people does it? It's manipulation. This is a common gaslighting tactic used on disabled people, I've been subject to it as an autistic person, when NT people use tactics to get me to behave in ways that please them? That's therapy. When I ask them to please not do something because it bothers me? That's manipulation.

Apparently asking people not to use slurs and explaining why they're harmful is maladjusted shitty rude behaviour.

Argument 16: Omg you're trying to keep language from growing and evolving.

This is a ridiculous fucking argument coming from people who are basically arguing against certain terms going out of acceptable use like many others. If anyone wants to keep language and social involvement static it's actually them.

Argument 17: omg you're abusing us.

This is a really fucking shitty argument to use against people who are asking you not to abuse them. How is it abuse to ask you not to use a term? Nobody is going to show up at your house and kneecap you if you keep using it. The argument is a form of abuse, it's an emotional manipulation technique used to force someone on the defensive.

Florence again:

Argument 18: It's your responsibility to protect yourself in a safe space.

Let me make this fucking clear, feministe? Is supposed to be a safe space. Visitors should not be fucking obliged to assume it's just as fucking bigoted as the rest of the world if they happen to be disabled.

Argument 19: It's off topic to complain about ablist words here.

How the fuck is it off topic to complain about social justice issues on a site about social justice? Is it off topic to talk about women's issues on a PoC site? Is it off topic to talk about WoC issues on a feminist site? Fuck no. Same thing applies to ablist comments that affect women being talked about on a feminist site!


Argument 20: It's derailing to protest my refusal to listen.

Let's make this fucking clear, if people didn't use ablist terms, nobody would fucking object. If people didn't defend and excuse ablist terms, nobody would object. If there is a derail, it exists because David and co decided to be assholes.

Argument 21: Using alleged feminist allies who support you as backup for why you aren't being shitty.

Just because someone agrees with you? Doesn't make them right, and secondly, there's something fucking gross about a MAN arguing on a feminist site that lots of women agree with him so there's not a problem.

Argument 4 also rears it's ugly head again.

Sarah J comments:

Argument 22: You're belittling my thoughts as a disabled person by complaining about something I don't think is a problem.

This is partially a resurgence of 6 but it deserves it's own category because Sarah went the extra step of calling the complaints of others "so-called" and "arrogant" while complaining that they shouldn't say it's offensive because it's "telling her what she can find offensive".

Hypocrisy in action.

Lascaramouche just has to let everyone know:

Argument 23: You're going too far.

As if asking for ablist language to not be used is somehow a jump right off the end of a slipper slope. Again we come to the notion that ASKING for people not to do something many members of a minority find hurtful is somehow fucking unreasonable and completely unacceptable! In a fucking safe space?!

Kelsey chimes in with:

Argument 24: Don't you have bigger problems?!

Yeah, because somehow little things like the use of slurs in a fucking safe space isn't a problem. This is another belittlement argument.

David comes back with:

Argument 25: But other words are MORE offensive.

Typically when people use this argument, they mean other words without a history or a connection to social marginalisation. Because asshole is far 'more' offensive than ablist slurs, but we still use that so ablist slurs should be okay, when really it's like comparing oranges to apples.

Argument 26: You don't speak for all of your group!

This is as ridiculous as complaining to a person of color that they can't object to you using the term "Nigger" because they are not the spokesperson for every single person of color ever.

People shouldn't have to parade every single disabled person ever through and have them say "I agree with them" for you to accept that some people do find it offensive and to be a considerate person.

Not to mention the thoroughly nauseating way he used a woman to oppress other women, or him accusing women of being "manipulative" on a feminist site. David, you fucking fail so hard even the fail sites are jealous.

Back to argument 4 again as well, as if a man has the right to tell women what is "healthy for feminism".

There are others, but going through the thread has exhausted me, none of these arguments would be acceptable in response to issues with sexism, racism, classism, heterosexism, transaphobia, homophobia, or any other bigotry in a safe space, yet they are all it seems acceptable in response to people having issues with ablism in safe spaces.

Feministe and similar sites are basically wastebins of this shitty kind of behaviour.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Honesty is not an excuse to hurt others:

Hello there to all my readers,

What's my post on? Well, as an Autistic, people often say that I'm blunt. I can be brutally honest, and yes, I can be hurtful without realising that what I said would be hurtful. However, being honest is not mutually exclusive with being nice. I may not bother lying to you about my opinion, but I won't say something I know be tactlessly cruel and I do listen if told I've hurt someone instead just of getting bent out of shape, I may disagree, but I do listen, and sometimes that shifts my position a lot over time, I am not the same person I was just a couple of years ago, I have grown a lot during that time, mostly because when people called me on the shitty hurtful things I said, I listened and thought a lot about them.

Sometimes people say when I explain my difficulties that I just want a license to be an "asshole". Nothing could be further from the truth, I just want folks to remember that I don't get what may seem obvious to them, and often just require an explanation not being treated like I'm being deliberately clueless to hurt people. I also want them to respect that I look at the world in a completely different way so won't make the connections they will, and for them to understand that and to listen carefully to me in turn to understand me.

Fact is, I hate being told I've upset someone, because I feel bad for being that asshole. Even if they're clearly being a drama queen, I feel bad for possibly hurting them. A little me-centric I admit, but the point is just because I'm often blunt doesn't mean I'm an asshole by default. I do try not to be after all. Also it brings up the issue that people often manipulate me by crying victimhood.

Odd thing is, I've come across plenty of neurotypical people who really do use "I'm being honest/speaking my mind" as a reason for why they shouldn't be responsible for what they say.

Seriously, there is no requirement of being "honest" and "speaking your mind" that turns you into someone who doesn't even consider other people have feelings, emotions, difference viewpoints and might genuinely find your "honesty" to be upsetting.

Also even if you are being "honest" and "speaking your mind", it doesn't mean that what you say can't be ignorant, ill informed, hurtful, bigoted or otherwise harmful to others.

I find too many people who trumpet "freedom of speech" really mean "I want the freedom to say things without being challenged or having it pointed out that I'm saying harmful things". Freedom of speech does not mean "freedom from being responsible for the intentional or unintentional impact of what you say".

Also you don't get to demand control of how others feel, think or see what you said, because you don't like how they responded to it. If you want freedom of speech, you also have to grant freedom to others to have their own thoughts, feelings and responses without trying to censor them by calling their responses inappropriate if you don't want to be responsible for the impact what you said had.

Your intentions are not magical and do not control what happens and how other people react once what you said leaves your mouth/is posted online. You can do harm even if you do not intend to do so.

How is it that an autistic gets this when some Neurotypicals do not?