Thursday, 21 March 2013

Pretending to be disabled does not enlighten you.

You've all done it at some point, probably in school, the teacher has produced a battered wheelchair and instructed you to take turns pushing each other around in it so you can see what it's like to be "wheelchair bound", problem is these "learn about what it's like to be someone with a disability" exercises don't actually teach you what it is like. I'm using a wheelchair as an example, but there are many different exercises.


1. You still can do whatever you're pretending not to be able to do. If your wheelchair gets stuck? You just clamber out and unstick it. At the end of the exercise, you get to climb out of the chair and go home. There's a difference between choosing not to do something, and not being able to do it. The former will not teach you about the latter.

Even if we tied your legs so you couldn't use them? You would still know that you could and would use them in future. It's simply not the same. I know that I will still be disabled when I wake up tomorrow, you know you will not be. No amount of sitting in a wheelchair by you will change that.

2. It's a very limited experience.

There is a very big difference between being wheeled up and down a corridor and living with using a wheelchair.

2A: Everything in shops is basically set up for people who are 5ft plus, imagine having to constantly ask for help. You won't do that while being pushed down a corridor.

2B: No matter where you do these kinds of exercises? Nobody is going to accost you and abuse you, they will not demand personal medical details from you like you are a self narrating exhibit. They will not patronise or pity you, most of these exercises never even take place in public. In short, you will never experience being treated like an object.

2C: It cannot teach you about the reaction of friends and family to a disability. Remember, you are not disabled. Your parents won't cry about how you'll never do anything they can be proud of, your friends won't stop coming around or drift out of your life.

2D: It cannot teach you about the low employment rate for disabled people, nor how we get treated by employers.

2E: It cannot teach you about the other effects of disability, if someone is in a wheelchair because of joint problems, they may be in pain you cannot imagine. Being wheeled down a corridor does not show that, and hitting you will a sledgehammer to show you would be frowned upon. :P

In short, these exercises are a feel good "I did something" moment to improve your ego, not an actual teaching tool. If you want to know what it is like to be disabled? Listen to disabled people. We do talk about it, and that's knowledge you cannot get sitting in wheelchair.

Problem with not calling out "calling out":

skepchick on calling out.


This is based on the idea that the person calling out or tackling the issue is always that minority and that the response is negative because of that.

As some of us have seen more and more generally privileged people are jumping on the social justice bandwagon, not necessarily to improve the lives of minorities but to expiate their guilt at being part of the issue/prvileged and/or because it gives them a ready excuse to bully, abuse and look down on others in the name of doing good.

Calling out isn't always a minority educating a majority and facing push back. Sometimes it's a majority abusing a minority because the majority person thinks the minority said something unacceptable to another minority. We need to have a discussion about this, it does not further our cause or voices to have them hijacked by privileged people. It does not educate people when those privileged people who are supposedly our allies appropriate our anger and treat them like dirt and then justify it with the tone argument like they're the ones actually suffering.

Social justice is becoming the playground of the straight cis able bodied well off white bully. This needs to stop. It's also becoming more about what "allies" want than what we want, such as the times when allies demand that we be okay with bad depictions because zomg it's a depiction and any is good!

This sort of shit is why we get examples like the time a load of white cis straight "allies" defended a fanfic written by a white cis straight self declared "ally" to PoC and jumped on anyone who disagreed bullying them and decrying them as racist for objecting to a portrayal of a person of color. Problem? The PoC original female character was one dimensional as fuck, and that one dimension? Was the biggest "PoC's are so racist/cry racism wrongly/misuse the race card/unfair to white people" stereotype walking. (and they actually wondered why people saw the character that way).

Call out culture is becoming toxic, because the privileged people are moving in on it, and we need to call out their jackassery because it hurts us.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Why all the how to have good sex advice we get is often Toxic:

Warnings for discussion of sexually explicit nature.

I'm going with this example: Coincidentally me pointing out the problematic elements of this caused a bout of discrimination on the part of a feminist. More on that later.

Primarily the issue here is that it presents itself as the definitive guide to what gets a woman's rocks off. Women being defined as cis gendered and straight by default. Most supposed guides on how to have great sex for women do this. They however often only perpetuate stereotypes and certainly ignore a lot of what we know about female bodies.

Firstly it basically claims that women as a default do not like rough sex. I know quite a few women who would explicitly disagree. It also basically insists the woman be the passive recipient only, not an active participant, to this person, sex is something done to women, not done with them.

Then it goes into "women like a gentle touch" crap. Women are not made of glass.

Then there's the assumption that only the breasts and genitals are erogenous zones. There's an entire body there, and some women's boobs are not sensitive and touching them basically does nothing for the woman.

Then it's straight to the clitoris/genitals, guess kissing, cuddling or exploring elsewhere isn't on the cards.

Then we hit the whole "all women orgasm through penetration" which is total bullshit btw, for many women penetration does nothing what so ever. For other's it's nice but it won't give them an orgasm no matter how long you go on.

If the stereotypes and erasure of GLBTQ women/people with female bodies weren't bad enough, it then goes into kink shaming. Apparently kink is okay unless it's too kinky, then it's bad.

The basic message is all women are cis, straight, have the same erogenous zones and like sex one way, orgasm from penetration, are passive objects who sex is done to rather than living participants, oh and kink is bad and not normal.

This is typical for a "sex advice" column or article. A one size fits all stereotypical erasure session.

As for how a so-called feminist reacted when I pointed out it was problematic and why it was problematic? She lost her rag because it worked for her and zomg, I was being hostile and mean. She tried to argue that she had degrees (Degrees are an always right voucher don'tcha know?) tried guilt tripping me by announcing she was a survivor (Because her past is so relevant to the fact that article is problematic) and basically dismissed the idea that anyone was allowed to have a different opinion before banning me from because saying I feel erased as a gender queer female bodied person by an article that is problematic is hostile. Saying that I did not appreciate it due to the shaming of women who are not in the narrow group it's applicable to, that's hostile. In short, disagreeing with a cis straight privileged feminist is hostile.

Welcome to why people have such problems with white straight cis feminists.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Why it sometimes sucks to be some people's ally...

As a person with privilege in one area, namely race, I do my best to be an ally to people of color, I try not to tone police, I do remember that people of color have a right to be angry and that I'm really lucky that I don't have to deal with racism. I don't always get it right, but I try to learn from my mistakes and fail less in future.


It still hurts when a person of color says that my skin color makes me manipulative, an awful evil person by default or similar because they're saying that all white people are like that.

It still hurts when I have the living daylights beaten out of me because a rich able bodied straight cis gendered male of color decides my impoverished disabled bisexual gender queer seen as female white ass is a safe target for his anger over racism.

I'm still scared when a able bodied cis gendered straight male of color threatens me with violence because of my race and because he knows his male cis privilege means he'll get away with it.

I get it, the people who do this? They're angry at the world's bigotry and they're lashing out. I don't blame them for being angry. But I am sick of what is a small but loud group of minorities who insist on justifying what is basically shitting all over people with "but I'm oppressed". So am I, it's a reason to be angry, it's not a license that allows you to do everything you want to do to others.

I'm not arguing for anyone to be nice to majority people or to tone down your anger at isms. Just that there are days when I do get tired of it being basically shat all over especially given that often when I need allies, those same people are either part of the reason I need them or tone policing the fuck out of me, and yet they'll probably got fucking ballistic over this post.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

How Buggy causes problems:

The primary effect of what Brennan does causes harm to trans people in general, the secondary effect is what I'm going to discuss today, which affects trans men and gender queer female assigned at birth people, plus cis women.

The secondary effect of what Brennan does? It stops us having discussions about the problems that do exist within the trans women community regarding their attitude towards anyone who was born with a vagina whatever our gender actually is. There's a lot of misogyny within the trans woman community, we don't talk about it though because everyone is too busy with shitty stuff Brennan and her ilk said.

It stops us talking about the body shaming comments that pour out from some trans women activists who unfortunately choose to reconcile their own body issues by attacking the bodies of anyone who has the body they should have been born with.

It stops us talking about efforts by some trans women activists to put a spanner in fighting for reproductive rights because they can't get pregnant, and to systematically erase female assigned at birth bisexual, trans men and gender queer individuals from the GLBTQ grouping.

It stops us talking about the violent rhetoric directed at anyone with a Uterus by some trans woman activists who feel that the existence of transaphobia is akin to a license to dish it out onto others.

It stops us talking about the problems with stereotypes being the go to expression for trans women because some don't seem to realise that being a woman is being themselves and are pressured to meet a stereotype to justify themselves, and it stops us incorporating that discussion into gender discussions and what we can do to tackle those stereotypes so nobody is pressured.

It stops us talking about the red flags for violence sometimes present in how trans women talk about people who are considered biologically female. Seriously, sometimes I'll be reading something and wonder if I somehow was redirected to an MRA website due to the venom dripping off the page at anyone with a Uterus cis or not.

It stops us talking about the effect that male socialisation clearly does have on people who are not men, and stops us talking about the fact that all the convicted trans rapists and predators caught doing things like trying to take photos of people in bathrooms share something in common? They're all trans women who transitioned later in life after being raised as male.

It stops us from talking about the real issues that the trans community needs to address in favour of an endless screaming match with Brennan. Nobody is ever going to convince Brennan not to be a transaphobic douche, but will you please stop fucking using her as a shitty excuse not to tackle these problems? I am tired of being told my rights are not GLBTQ rights, I am tired of being erased, I am tired of having my body called nasty and disgusting, I am tired of being misgendered at best, entirely erased or even threatened.

Most of all I am tired of the fact that trans women do this to me. I get this fucking shit enough from cis men, I don't need it from those who should fucking know better.

Monday, 4 March 2013

Privilege = fucking up.

No exceptions.

I notice white feminists get criticised a lot, which makes sense, we do fuck up a lot. However, what kind of irritates me is the persistent failure of the people criticising other groups to examine the same fucking shitty behaviour on the part of themselves and their own group in areas where they are privileged.
In short, some people are often too busy pointing fingers to make sure they're not part of the problem as well for others.

If you have privilege? At some point, you have been that fucking person and part of the problem.

If you have privilege, then at some point you have erased other groups, harmed them, contributed to stigma against them.

No exceptions.

When dealing with a social justice advocate who has a mix of privilege and oppression, often I get the impression that many are so busy focusing on just the oppressions that harm them, that they basically forget to check their own privileges or to critically examine their own behaviour towards groups they're privileged over.

It's like people think "I'm oppressed, so I cannot oppress". Bullshit, you completely can.

If you have one or more privileges? You can oppress people.

No exceptions.

Working to not oppress others, to not be that person, to not be part of the problem? Is an active role. You need to work at it.

Also note, the fact that other people suck? Not a get out of shitty stuff you did card!

In short, damn well do criticise people that do this but also check you aren't doing it and tackle it if you are!

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Oscars, racism and other issues.

Just five days ago theonion called Quvenzhané Wallis a "cunt" in a baldfaced display of racism and sexism. Just five days ago Seth Macfarlane sexualised Quvenzhané Wallis during what should have been a moment of triumph for her both as a woman of color and as a woman. Quvenzhané Wallis is a nine year old person of color, I have not seen her act but it no doubt was amazing given how hard women and particularly women of color have to work to be considered half as good as men and white men in particular.

Just five days ago, the patriarchy acted to remind women of color that their success is not allowed, not without consequences. To remind women of color that their bodies are objects, not those of women. To remind women of color that as far as we have come, men especially white men still feel so secure in their male privilege that denigrating a child isn't something they see as unacceptable.

Just five days ago I watched people defend the verbal abuse of a nine year old child of color because how dare we criticize privileged white males who claim to be comedians.

I witnessed outrage, not from those who should have spoken, but from those who should have been silent. I witnessed the defense of white male privilege and people approving of fully grown men picking on a child because of her skin color and gender.

This is the Oscars and yet it feels like a schoolyard where white boys run wild under the approving eye of mama society and papa bigotry. This is what we are excusing? And why? So some very very small minded white men can remain secure in what is a cocoon that stifles society to secure them.

Worse still are the white feminists who lent their defense to such boorish sentiments or who ignored it entirely.

Marginally better are the ones who while they reacted also tried to erase the fact that Quvenzhané Wallis is a person of color and ignore the role that race played in what happened just a few days ago.
It's fine apparently to some white feminists to speak up when it's a woman being attacked but if it's a woman of color, only the woman part matters, not the of color part, as if you can separate race and racism from a woman of color like an old cloak and look at sexism against them as if it was nothing to do with race.

A woman of color cannot be separated from her race, any more than anyone else who is of two or more minorities can be, our existence is a whole thing, it is not split into segments like an orange, it is a whole that works together to shape our world and how people treat us. Minorities stack, oppressions stack. An attack on women of color is not just an attack on women, it's an attack on race as well.

This is why we have the notion of intersectionality, and all groups really need to start paying attention to it and stop pulling the "we're all *insert one minority* and nothing else" crap.

Quvenzhané Wallis deserves better than she received from the onion and Macfarlane, she deserved better than the half assed support she received from white feminists and women of color in general deserve better. We all deserve better.