Friday, 26 April 2013

The flaw I see in how we talk about intersectionality.

There are two discussions about how intersectionality works. The first is how multiple minorities intersect in singular people who belong to multiple groups, the second is how multiple privileges intersect.

So where's the conversation where we talk about how individuals with different oppressions and privileges intersect?When it does crop up? It seems to chiefly consist of one side being all "my oppression is the worst ever so my privilege doesn't matter".

Recently this link has been making the rounds: It's a good demonstration, the whole intersecting groups not being intersectional is a big issue, but the thing is? Intersectionality isn't as simple as having one privilege and one oppression or being all oppressed/privileged. It's all shades of grey, and privilege matters in terms of intersecting issues, especially when it comes to very privileged individuals asserting their oppression is the worst and they suffer far more than other multiple oppressed individuals who don't experience that oppression.

The result is much of the time we talk about how oppressions intersect, how privilege works but not how privilege and oppression can intersect as well to cause harm to some of us. We talk about the worst harm being caused by privilege/power + prejudice, but we also assume that such an equation has to always match, ie cis privilege/power + Prejudice against non cis individauls. As if people have somehow become magically incapable of leveraging power in one area to oppress a weaker individual in an area they usually can't.

My personal metaphor for Oppression/privilege is a set of scales, one side is devoted to oppression, the other to privilege, we stand under the oppression side with it resting on our shoulders. With each oppression, weight is added to our shoulders, weighing us down, each privilege however weighs down the opposite side lifting some of the weight of our oppression off of our shoulders. Prejudice is lighter than full oppression, and it gets stacked on the oppression side as well, people with more privilege are more easily able to bear the added burden, those with less? Find it weighs far more heavily on them. Ergo prejudice is far more devastating to those with few privileges than it is to those with multiple privileges, yet it is often treated as having the same impact in intersectional terms.

This is the flaw, that we see certain aspects as self contained and not as intersectional as others.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Why the hell is this fucking sexist MRA drivel in the female section?

Peter Lloyd ignores the obvious to be a sexist shit.

"When I became a member of my local gym, it was to exercise my body - not my human rights. But that's exactly what I'm doing with the Kentish Town Sports Centre in north London."

Reality: That is why women and other people join the gym. But if you have tits/a Uterus then you spend most of your time at the gym being sleazily propositioned by some greasy nick who thinks that the gym is an excellent way to meet women and fuck their desire to left the fuck alone.

This is why gyms often have women only hours, so women and people perceived as women can get a fucking break from the constant sexual harassment they endure that doesn't stop even in the gym.

One time I was in the gym I got propositioned three times in as many minutes.

"But not everybody is equal."

Indeed, I bet nobody leans over Peter Lloyd shoulder and leers down his top, smacks their lips and makes obscene propositions.

"Because, in an age of political over-correctness, they ban all men and boys for 442 hours every year - simply because they are male."

No because MEN HARASS WOMEN. This is not fucking rocket science you MRA toad. Women only sessions exist because men HARASS women. Women just want to work out without some creep standing behind them staring at their ass and making comments about how they would totally ride that.

"Adding insult to injury, they still charge them the same full-price membership fee as women, but refuse to offer the equivalent option of male-only sessions."

Do men get fucking harassed? Do men have people walk up behind them and leer? Are men subject to a constant atmosphere of sexual harassment? No? Then there's what you're paying the "extra" for, because unlike you Peter Lloyd women do not get to work out in the magical privileged zone that means you don't get harassed, so it fucking has to be created!

"Fair? I think not. But, because we live in an age of acceptable misandry, most people are too polite to say anything."

No, everyone else is just smarter than Peter Lloyd who continues to write sexist drivel on subjects he has no fucking clue about.

  "After all, if demand for women-only sessions is so great then the gym should put their money where their mouth is and fund it themselves."

 Or men could you know NOT HARASS WOMEN and there wouldn't be any need for women only sessions.

I'm not even going to quote the shitty bit where he compares women's bodies to dirty faces, as if that doesn't have seriously sexist connotations.

"It also assumes that all men in the gym are straight, when many of them are gay and have no interest in the female aesthetic. In fact, if they really wanted to, these men could be voyeuristic in the showers. So what next - gay and straight hours? And what about lesbians - can they attend women-only sessions, or would it make their straight sisters uncomfortable? Gimme a break."

 Yeah, cos stereotypes will get you so far. Fact is, Gay men harass women as well as straight men. Only difference is Gay men do it by making catty comments about our bodies instead of sexually harassing us. Also last time I checked Lesbians weren't harassing women. It's not the looking, it's the comments, I couldn't care less if a Lesbian is checking me out, she at least isn't going to lean over my shoulder, look down my cleavage and suggest "alternative ways to get hot and sweaty" or make "sex is exercise, why don't we work out together" comments.

"If these women have issues with their bodies, I truly sympathise - but it's their problem, not mine. Nor is it any other man's."

Then persuade other men to stop harassing us. This is hardly fucking rocket science! No sleazy comments or leering? No need for women to have safe spaces. 

"But, finances aside, the Kentish Town Sports Centre has a social responsibility to encourage equality as well as physical health. Forcing men - whether 70 year-old pensioners or 13 year-old boys who attend with their mothers - to leave a room because of their gender, rather than their behaviour, is degrading. It's also eerily reminiscent of when African Americans were separated from their caucasian peers in 1940s America."

The fucking problem is male behaviour! Also men are not an oppressed class! Privileged men not being given opportunity to harass an oppressed class is not the same as society wide oppression against people of color that still has consequences for that oppressed community. The most privileged group you can belong to is cis male, and white cis male even more so. But what do I expect from Peter Lloyd but racism, he's a sexist MRA.

"Because, currently, the staff at my gym are telling our young men they're dangerous by default."


This is not a hard fucking concept even a complete embarassment to journalism like you should get it Peter Lloyd, women only need safe spaces because men are sexually aggressive and harassive towards anyone they see as a woman. If men stopped fucking harassing women and just worked out like you claim to want to do? Then there would be no need for women only sessions. 

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Race and sexism:

Disclaimer: Different does not mean better or worse, it simply means what it says on the tin. This post is about my experiences and what I have learned from them and what these men said, your experience may vary widely from this.

Basically in my experience? Racial stereotyping and tribalism has an impact on how men are sexist, not as much as racism but it's a definite difference, and sexism is perceived differently based on race.

Let me give an example of how tribalism can make sexism a different flavour, there's a local community here. The boys born inside the community are born into a tight knit community that largely keeps to themselves and keeps others at arms length, they largely go to community run mono-racial schools with boys of the same group. They have their own entire shopping center all run by people of the same background. In short, if you belong to that community, you can live there and go years without ever seeing a person who is an outsider outside of a TV.

Sadly some of these boys will be taught some pretty horrible sexist ideas about women of other races. In a culture bubble, they apparently never hear anyone disagree with those ideas. So they grow up, and if they don't stay in the bubble? They go out in the world and most likely sexually assault and harass women based on those beliefs. I have been attacked several times by men raised this way, the difference between them and others? Most me raised in white misogyny treat the entitlement to a woman's body as something implicit rather than explicit, other men get pissed at you for objecting to the boob grab or call you unreasonable. These guys however I have known to stare straight at you and state outright that you can't possibly have a problem with the fact that they just grabbed you because everyone knows women of "insert race here" are all whores, and that's one of the least offensive things said to me by such men.

This is not to say that their race makes them more misogynistic, it is to say that their justifications are more explicit than implicit in my experience. A white man might get angry with me for turning him down for a date because of the implicit assumption that I owe him my time because he see's me as female and therefore lesser, these guys will get angry because their world (I've had this outright said to me in as many words) explicitly promised them that my race identified me as an easy whore who would do anything they want willingly and eagerly.

What men are taught about women of other races flavours their misogyny. That's why racism and sexism are a doubly toxic mix, and racial prejudice/stereotypgin and sexism are just a remix of sexism. Same record, side b if you will.

Why I think white women often noticed misogyny by men of other races more:

In a white society, white led misogyny aimed at women is inbuilt and systemic from the day we're born. We're submerged in it. WoC often complain we don't talk about it, which we don't, because it's like privilege, so built into our lives, sometimes we don't even recognise it. So when a white woman encounters misogyny that isn't part of the white controlled narrative, it stands out in stark relief from all the white misogyny on a white background she's lived with.

It's easy to see that forcing women to wear certain garments under threat of serious social punishment in other cultures is misogynistic, harder to see that the fashion industry for western women crawls with misogyny, and that our clothing choices are made in the same toxic "dress how we demand or face social punishment or worse" environment.

Not that it excuses us from noticing and tackling it, it's just easier to see things you aren't swimming in is all. We do need to talk about how oppressive fashion is, and how women are set up to fail, one one hand society touts wearing very little as being "equal" and "freedom" on the other, it uses victim blaming and slut shaming to basically feed the idea that women who embrace the "freedom" deserve to be punished for it.

There are several things I think we need to address. I think white feminists need to do a better job of deconstructing white culture sexism instead of going for the easy target of criticizing MoC misogyny towards WoC. Us pointing out how badly MoC treat WoC is basically us batting at the thing we can see instead of addressing the harder to see issues that affect all women, WoC can address their own fight, we've got our own, what we need to do is to support them, not just go "Oh Men of color are so much more barbaric than white men are" because that claim is bullshit, slightly different misogyny is not worse misogyny.

Also included in this is white FAAB disclaimers about how much worse WoC have it. Yes, we know we have laptops and live in major world countries and we're not being forced to wear a burka in some other country. But put down the false flails and for fucks sake fellow white FAAB stop positioning women of color as the ultimate helpless victims who don't even have voices. WoC are stronger than that, when we position them as such, we are looking down on them instead of supporting them.

You do nobody any favours when you go for tiresome sack cloth and ashes bawl about how lucky you are. So your life sucks a bit less than someone elses? Doesn't mean your problems aren't real and doesn't mean you need to belittle her strength and erase her voice to support her.

So get down off the damn cross and pass the wood to those who actually need it.

The second thing is, I think we need to have the conversation about how racial prejudice interacts with sexism, instead of fucking shying away because zomg we don't want to be racist. How does that fucking help anyone? Because do you know why it happens? Because we other people, because we keep those we other locked out and locked down, and we help build that culture bubble by walling it in from the outside while others built it from the inside. So we need to have the conversation about making it possible for the society we all need to exist, we need to talk about integration, and yes, that includes minorities and minority voices because privileged people cannot do it without those who lack privilege.

In short, I think race does impact on sexism in more than one way, and it's not as simple as what white men believe.

Monday, 1 April 2013

Hijab or not Hijab:

Why don't white feminists listen to Muslim women who choose the hijab and don't feel oppressed?

Do you suppose it might have something to do with the arguments often employed to explain why the hijab is not oppressive?

You want to wear the hijab and assert your right to choose to do so? Go ahead. But please don't use the following arguments:

1. That rape is caused by western clothing. A veil is not an anti-rape device. To state that clothing prevents rape, is to state it also causes rape, that's victim blaming. Not to mention that erases the countless women raped while veiled.

2. That it's some sort of moral choice that makes you better than other women. You want your choice respected? Then don't persist in telling the rest of us that we're basically sluts and whores because we didn't choose what you choose.

3. That other clothing is somehow us giving permission to others to treat us as lesser or badly. My dress is no more an agreement to shitty treatment than your Hijab is a yes to discriminatory treatment.

4. Any argument that compares women to food. I am not a lollipop, meat or anything else. My clothing is not the equivalent of leaving food uncovered, and men are not slavering dogs or children.

and please do recognise that no matter what a woman wears, she does not do it in a vacuum ever. We are all subject to cultural and social pressure about our clothing, you do not escape this.

In summary, choose to wear one, or choose not to, just stop judging people who don't and stop dressing it up as a special badge of super modesty.