If I had known Jezebel was going to try and fuck me again, I would have put on a prettier dress. Once you can forgive, but two times is making it a habit ladies. Apparently, the fact that I don’t cream my panties over Jessica Valenti is truly a sin, or at least Irin Carmon writing for Jezebel thought so.
Is it possible to be successful without making yourself generally insufferable, or maybe loathed by a few? Well, supporting your peers and mentoring the next generation, including other women, helps, as does having something tangible to contribute to the world beyond yourself. But even when you’ve been widely acknowledged as doing those things, as say, Jessica Valenti has, success will always bring someone accusing you of being in it for yourself, as seen in this piece of unvarnished, unearned nastiness. (“She is like every other professional feminist, dedicated to promoting herself.”) It’s a shame that rising through mainstream channels or getting paid are things that induce knee-jerk sniping from other women, notwithstanding actual substantive criticism.
I am many things, but the one thing I am not is shy. If you have shit to say about me, say my name and stop playing passive aggressive games. I stand behind what I write, especially when it comes to Whiteness. Instead of focusing on the argument that certain bodies continue to get ahead, while others labour in obscurity based specifically on isms, Jezebel once again circled their wagons and went into great White lady defense mode.
I get that blogging, like anything else is about politics. One does not put the kind of work into a blog that I do, without hoping to have a large impact; however, I am not willing to allow my professional aspirations to over take my principals. In many ways, blogging is like being in high school again. You have your cool kids who think they run the school, the geeks standing on the outside trying to break into the inner sanctum, the jocks who don’t have the sense God gave cabbage, and the rebels who just don’t give a fuck. One guess which group I fit into.
I suppose I could just play a good ole fashioned house negro and congratulate these White feminist bloggers for their successes, while I watch bloggers who are far more talented struggle because they don’t have the right colour, or the class privileges, or physical ability, or the cis gender status. We all know that for dominant bodies to continue to function and rule, they need the consent and aid of marginalized bodies. Unfortunately for them, house slave is a role that I have never played well. Not being part of the in crowd works for me, and therefore; putting your fingers in your ears and yelling I can’t hear you, is not going to make me shut up, especially when you write posts about me, proving that you did hear — even if you did not listen.
White women have benefited more than any other minority from affirmative action programs. They continue to edge ahead, leaving marginalized bodies behind. There is absolutely no doubt that they continue to lag behind their White male counterparts, but to deny the ways in which they have done so on the backs of other marginalized bodies is ridiculous. As I said in the original post, were Valenti a WOC, the success that she had engineered would have been ten times more difficult, if it was even possible. This is further problematized by the fact that feministing has on many occasions perpetuated the very same isms it claims to be fighting against. If it were a matter of a learning curve and apologies were issued for the various fuck ups, I think that people would be a lot more tolerant, however; many of the various criticisms have yet to be publicly acknowledged. It takes some kind of massive privilege to think that you don’t have to be accountable for your mistakes.
I can see why Jezebel wants to erase the mistakes of Feministing and Valenti, they have after all participated in fuck ton of erasure themselves. Circling and the wagons and denying that WOC are making a valid complaint, when we charge erasure, or outright racism, is not going to make the issue go away. Ignoring when trans women complain of cis sexism, or disabled women complain about disableism, or WOC complain about racism, has become standard operating procedure, because it ensures that the only voices that are heard are dominant over privileged bodies. No matter how hard we fight back, the truth is that our spaces are smaller and therefore have less power — and so it easy to pretend that we don’t exist. It is however important to note, that the very desire to silence stems from a desire to pretend that injustice is appropriate, because you benefit from it personally. So obfuscate if you must, but know that you have already been seen for what and who you are.