Bitter LaughterWhy can't they see that this is the same thing they do to us? Over at Feministe: OMG Teh Hysterical Feminists Again!
From the first paragraph,
It’s a classic example of how concepts like rationality and logic become gendered, with men automatically assumed to be exercising them when they’re challenging women, and women automatically assumed to be bypassing them when we challenge men or widely-held assumptions.Hmmm, I've seen and heard something similar before. Maybe you have too, let's try a little exercise for those who don't know what I am talking about and change a few words here and there.
It’s a classic example of how concepts like rationality and logic become racialized, with middle class white feminists automatically assumed to be exercising them when they’re challenging women of color, and women of color automatically assumed to be bypassing them when we challenge middle class white feminists or widely-held assumptions.
...Now, despite my series of posts picking on him, Matt is actually not an asshole, and I really don’t think he put up that post to stick it to feminists...he seems to think that we’re saying something we’re not...he’s misinterpreting what we’re saying about it...benefit of the doubt...It's the same with the flamewars regarding race, unless it's a continuation of the same bad behaviors over and over on the part of the white liberal blogger. Otherwise what makes the white liberal blogger and/or commenters assholes is the reaction, which follows a pattern parallel to male privilege vs feminism flamewars.
Here’s what I think is really interesting: When feminists responded to Matt’s post, the self-appointed Logical White Men stepped in and started to put us in our place. For example, the third comment over at Matt’s place:This reminds me of the thread at Pandagon about Amanda Marcotte's King Kong Book cover. Check how quick the Logical White People step in and put the POC and anti-racists in their place.
What’s this? A man using logic and facts to qualify the assertions of Jessica Valenti! Get ready for a world of libtardsphere circle-jerk disavowals.
There were many exasperating comments made but this one in particular was a punch to the gut for me:
zuzuThe furor over Jessica's book cover was mainly from WOC bloggers, Zuzu apparently thinks we had no substantive issues with the cover, there's just no pleasing us. It doesn't occur to her that maybe, just maybe, if these middle class white feminists would stop using racist book covers we wouldn't be complaining.
August 22, 2007 at 11:55 pm
Hello! Welcome to The Furor Over Jessica’s Book Cover, Part II!
A/k/a, You Can’t Please Everyone, Part the MCVIIth.
“There’s a small group of self-identified liberal bloggers who are young-ish, male, white, and horribly offended by “identity politics.” They’re pretty well supported by a handful of the Big Liberal Bloggers. A few of them link here all the time in order to demonstrate what a deep disservice feminism and anti-racism and queer rights are doing to the Democratic party and to good white male liberals. I’m sure they’re decent enough guys, but it’s irritating, and so I usually ignore them. But they’re just so over-the-top on this one, I can’t resist.”Problem here is that this makes it seem like only white liberal men are offended by "identity politics", in fact, most of the feminists are too, unless we are talking about their particular identity and their particular politics. Civil rights and basic human rights are serious business when it affects white liberal women, not so much for the rest of us.
I’ve been at the point where I’ve said, “Gosh, they say they want me to cover [whatever issue] and then when I do they rail me for it. What do they want from me?”
We want the same thing you want from the men. How would you feel if a male blogger wrote a book and it was titled, "Liberal Bloggers: The Definitive Guide to Progressive Politics on the Internet" and had a picture of a group of all men, or maybe just one white mans six pack abs representing all liberal bloggers on the cover? What if it was all about what men think and want but a few pages said, "In the past politics and society ignored women, especially the old dudes, but us younger guys are concerned and stuff. Women are fucking oppressed! They have it bad and are like victims, I shit you not." And had maybe a handful of quotes from liberal women and feminists, no analysis, just comments saying things like, "That Susan B Anthony was awesome!" I wonder if the white middle class feminists would feel "included" in this book, that it's about them and for them. I wonder if his effort would be good enough to get a pass and no criticism, because how is he supposed to write a book integrating women, he's not a woman!? It would be easy for that imaginary man to integrate women into his book and if he didn't then he should call it -The definitive guide to liberal MEN on the internet-. Not only would he include a chapter about issues of particular interest to women, in other chapters, say on economics, he would be sure to mention how certain policies impact women differently then men and listen to and interview women and quote them in the book. He would also be sure the book was inviting to women, that they felt he was speaking to them, instead of having a section where he tells his male readers to gather round while they talk about women and women's problems.
Or how would you feel if male centered blogs introduced a female co-blogger or two, or had female guest bloggers, but over time you saw that these female bloggers weren't comfortable posting about feminist issues or other woman centered issues and stuck to mostly male centered posts or general interest. The few times these women did write on the topic of feminism there was either no interest, or a firestorm of criticism with the woman and the few female commenters getting little or no support from the male blog owner/male co-bloggers? Wouldn't you wonder if the male blogger only brought in the female blogger as cover for any charges of sexism? He'd be supportive if he actually cared about women and their perspectives, he'd encourage discussion by commenting on her threads, he'd at least understand what she is talking about, and he would certainly smack down the sexism and misogyny in the comments.
This is the way that I and many other WOC see the white middle class feminist blogosphere. These women do not see us as women too, we are a subsidiary group, an auxiliary to the "real" women with real important concerns. It isn't important enough to them to actually read our words and understand them. They bring in a WOC or two but don't take them very seriously, offer little support or enthusiasm for what they write if it pertains to concerns particular to their situation as a WOC, or if they write about race relations they allow all kinds of trolls to overrun the conversation and disrespect the WOC blogger in favor of those "widely held assumptions" about race. Widely held assumptions/status quo/conventional wisdom; this is white supremacy and white privilege as much as it is male privilege or homophobia or classism or ableism or colonialism or a whole host of isms that allow people to view others as inferior.
You know you hate it when these men you disagree with go to their corner licking their wounds, more determined than ever to ignore you and feminism. They can't talk about it without misunderstanding and you getting pissed off, so they won't talk about it at all. How childish. And yet, you do the exact same thing with us. You know that you want those men to have the courage to come back, to listen, to question, restate, make mistakes...and care enough to really learn so that they can talk about these things in an intelligent way. Those cowards are worried you will bite their heads off for saying the wrong thing, but, the ones who actually care and engage, funny thing, they rarely get their heads bitten off. Women have the patience to explain to the ones who really want to know and but are harsh with the fools who swoop in for a one off slam against feminism. If you cared enough about us to read our blogs and see the interactions, you would see the exact same thing, but instead you do that swooping in thing and wonder why we keep getting pissed off at you.
BlackAmazon wrote a post entitled, "Don't include me". I doubt if these white feminist bloggers read it, or if they did, they didn't understand what she meant. She was not speaking about herself alone, she was speaking for all women of color. Don't include us if you are only doing it to make yourself look progressive, to use us as cover against charges of white privilege/racism. You know that men say, "But I link to one or two women in my extensive blogroll!" or "But I had that (short, no analysis, did not encourage discussion in any way) post about xyz feminist issue!" as cover to pretend that they give a shit. Don't you want to tell those men to stuff it, you see through the ruse, and you think, don't include me bud just to use me. You middle class white feminist do the exact same thing to us. We see it when you have your WOC co-bloggers who are strangely silent on race issues, or your WOC guest bloggers and you are all but completely absent in the comments with maybe a, "Good post!" in there. Why is it a good post, what moved you, or are you so clueless that you aren't sure what they are saying because you aren't really reading. Just making things look good so that you can call yourself progressive.
I have a prediction about how things will eventually go with that thread at Feministe. Some and perhaps all of the men being criticized will act conciliatory and may even apologize. But they will be resentful and hold that grudge, they don't really mean it. They are pissed that a woman or group of women showed them up and will look for an opening to pull this same bullshit again. I know this because it's what the middle class white feminists do to us. They don't mean their apologies either, it's just to get us to shut up for the time being while they regroup and work on their memes about how we're just jealous, or they debunked what we said when no such thing happened. Although in this circumstance, the definition of debunking is, all us privileged people got together and decided to ignore and redefine what those feminists/WOC/etc said.
I just posted about the post itself, go read the comments and you might want to read the comments at the liberal men's sites too. If you are astute you will see a multitude of parallels between the bullshit POC get from white liberals there too.