On Being a “Media Whore”

I’ve been debating whether or not to write this. It didn’t seem worth writing a response to something so full of hate: labelling women as “media whores” for trying surviving in a Capitalist-Patriarchy which hates women.

This isn’t a feminism I signed up for: attacking other women. Most of us are struggling to pay our bills. We are all doing the best we can and, yes, it’s fucking hard trying to make a living as a writer. I certainly don’t make a living as a writer. After all, everyone knows the Huffington Post doesn’t pay it’s bloggers. If they offered me a paying job would I take it? Absolutely! I’d write for the Daily Mail too. If it comes down to feeding my kids or writing for Brendan O’Neill, well, it’s not really a choice is it?. Having principles doesn’t feed your kids.

Having principles and refusing work because of them is only possible if you are financially secure due to family money or winning the lottery. It’s not practical for the vast majority of women living on the planet and it’s inherently anti-feminist to blame women for taking work to pay their rent or feed the kids. The assumption that women you’ve never met are in a financial position to turn down work is classist. It erases the experiences of working class women and those living in abject poverty.

I’ve been pretty open about being a disabled, single mother whose work possibilities are severely limited by both. If they world were fair, my dream job would a lecturer at a university teaching undergraduates women’s history and supervising postgraduates. But, the world is not fair and, short of winning the lottery, there is no way I will ever be able to afford the training to achieve my dream job.

This is why 3rd wave “choice” feminism is so dangerous: it allows people to make assumptions about women they have never met and genuinely know nothing about. It assumes all women have inherited money from their parents and are completely free of being held accountable for the consequences of their decisions. Anyone who thinks that women make choices without constraint is either a nincompoop or completely incapable of empathy.

The reality is that the world is a pretty shit place for many women: we live with sexual and domestic violence, unequal pay, inadequate housing,  and living in a country where the economy benefits from the unpaid work of women and then labels us lazy despite us doing the majority of the work which keeps the economy afloat.

Blaming women for surviving is neither fair nor kind. It’s precisely the same type of abusive behaviour that women experience from men on a daily basis. The patriarchy already tries to divide women into categories of “good” and “bad”; we need to stop replicating that and stop demanding perfection from women.

We also need to learn to express our anger and hurt without trashing, denigrating or libelling other women. It is never acceptable to call another woman a whore. It is never acceptable to attack any woman using misogynistic language and it is certainly anti-feminist to police other women’s friendships, acquaintances or work colleagues.

You have no idea whats going on in the lives of complete strangers online and it’s time to stop pretending that we do. And, it’s time to stop excusing abusive behaviour because of “anger” or “hurt”. Anger is understandable. Abusive language and behaviour is not.

2 thoughts on “On Being a “Media Whore””

  1. It wasn’t surprising that Flavia Dzodzan attacked a disparate group of feminist writers for no reason. This is what Flavia does on the regular. The feminism practiced by Dzodzan is about one-upping everyone else. Its that competitive feminist approach that is so far removed from actual feminism. Shouldn’t every woman who writes be compensated for the work she does? Why are women held to an impossible standard of saintly purity and ennobled impoverishment when male writers can say pretty much anything they want without fear of reprisal or fear of lack of compensation?

    I actually found myself feeling bad for someone like Laurie Penny, whose work I totally detest and even read to make fun of. No one should be dehumanized, even if you totally hate their work and think they’re a “sell out” or some such shit.

    Anyway here’s hoping you all make tons of money and never have to compromise on anything.

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