Is sexism still acceptable when racism isn’t?

I’ve seen this sentence used numerous times in the past few weeks in feminist blogs and online discussions and it horrifies me. The idea that racism is no longer acceptable comes from such a place of privilege that I struggle to understand how someone could genuinely believe this. UKIP have increased their membership and won a local election. They dominate the media. The Tories anti-immigration policies are inherently racist and are getting stronger because they are appealing to racist voters. This is with discussing the lack of representation of Black* people in the media and the higher echelons of business and industry. To claim that racism is no longer acceptable is to perpetuate white supremacist culture. It completely erases the experiences of Black people and actively implies they are making shit up when they point out racism. It is an asinine statement to make and those making it need to do some self-reflection on their own racist behaviour.

Setting up racism and sexism as a dichotomy also completely erases the lives of women of colour. It assumes that the experiences of white women with sexism are qualitatively worse than Black men with racism. It ignores the fact that Black women experience both racism and sexism and these cannot be separated. It also completely negates any discussion of class – both within and outwith racism and sexism.

Feminists need to stop using the phrase “why is sexism still acceptable when racism isn’t” and start reflecting on their own participation and privilege within white supremacy culture. We need to challenge women who believe this and we need to start acknowledging that racism and sexism are not separate entities: that they work together and that all white women have privilege over Black women and that poverty does not erase this privilege. An analysis of women as a class requires understanding how classism, racism, misogyny, and lesbophobia work together to oppress all women but that those oppressions are experienced very differently for individual women. Misogyny was the first form of oppression but that does not mean it exists outwith other forms of oppression now – or that there is a hierarchy of oppression.

The theory of intersectionality is important and it needs to be reclaimed from those who have not bothered to read Kimberle Crenshaw’s work.

 

*I’m using Black as a political category with the understanding that racism is experienced differentially within/ outwith specific communities.

Sexism in the Media Shocker

 

 

This tweet from Claire Phipps speaks for itself:

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Footlocker EU helpfully reminds us what sexism looks like

In the kindness of their hearts, Footlocker EU has helpfully reminded us poor women exactly what sexism looks like and that even women who play football aren’t really allowed to play unless they also pass the patriarchal fuckability test.

Being an athlete, of any level, is unbecoming for women.

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Thanks to @LynnCSchreiber for bringing this to my attention.

Josh Homme’s wife plays music.

The New Statesman is running an article today on the wife Josh Homme, he of Queens of the Stone Age and Eagles of Death Metal. It is very important that you know that Josh Homme has a wife who plays music, especially in an article about Her.

I mean, married to Josh Homme!

It’s not like she even needs a name: we can refer to Her forever as that “punk singer married to Josh Homme”! And, we can even make sure an article about Her references Homme’s music repeatedly. Because, Homme is way more important than Her.

For the record, Her name is Brody Dalle and she is a brilliant fucking musician.

“Parody” accounts attacking women are a sign of the truly desperate and pathetic.

There has been a recent proliferation in the number of ‘parody’ accounts created with the deliberate intent of harassing, abusing and silencing women. These accounts directed at women who challenge heteronormativity, hyper-masculinity, and the objectification and pornification of culture are not ‘parodies’, nor are they satire. They are abusive and violent attacks on the work of individual women and the deliberate silencing of all women. These are not made by people who care about women’s safety and health. They are made by the utterly pathetic willing to sell out other women in a desperate attempt to get male approval.

If your ‘parody’ account uses racism, homophobia, classism, disablism or misogyny in order to attack a woman, you aren’t engaged in either satire or parody. What you are doing is replicating the same patriarchal, white supremacist structures which actively harm women. An excellent example of this is the utterly pathetic UK Feminist twitter account set up as a ‘parody’ of radical feminism by a group of deeply abusive people which included a tremendous amount of racist language and theory, including a rather vicious smear of the work of Kimberle Crenshawe and bell hooks. Now, they can whinge all they want that it was a ‘joke’ but ‘jokes’ which replicate white supremacist language are nothing of the sort. They are racism.

There is a huge difference between critical engagement with a woman’s politics and abusive behaviour. Setting up ‘parody’ accounts to insult and denigrate women you disagree with is abusive behaviour. It’s also sigh of how piss-poor your own politics are, if the only way you can think of to engage with a woman you disagree with is by being an asshole.

And, if you are too dim to decide for yourself what crosses the line between personal attack and satire, perhaps you may want to rethink your presence on social media.

The epidemic of no-platforming.

No-platforming has gone from a powerful tool to prevent people who spew hate to be given public platforms to the silencing of anyone who was rude to you once in a queue in Tescos. About 30 years ago. And, more times than not, it’s the no-platforming of someone who was rude to your third cousin, five-times removed baby-sitter’s hamster breeders next door neighbours cousin who you’ve never actually heard of being no-platformed for crimes as yet unspecified. The no-platforming requires mass twitter harassment which, for those who continue to be incapable of understanding, is actually a CRIME.

Personally, I think Jonathan Ross is sexist bellend. I find his television program beyond embarrassing: he doesn’t want to be there, the guests don’t want to be there. I can’t begin to fathom how it constitutes entertainment. And, despite the bookcases devoted fantasy and science fiction in this house, I’ve never heard of the Hugo awards. I’m going to assume this is because they very rarely have female winners and there are very few books written by men in this house. I wouldn’t want to attend anything Ross presented at but, then, I feel that way about most award ceremonies: mostly white men congratulating other white men on being white men.

They are dire.

But, this no-platforming Ross because of a twitter campaign by a bunch of people who have never heard of him is dangerous territory. The comparisons with McCarthyism are apt. No-platforming is no longer about preventing hate speech but assumed crimes without evidence or basis in law. And, is deeply hypocritical when people who actually promote hate speech, like David Irving and Nick Griffin, aren’t banned from major platforms.

By all means, object to sharing platforms with people who you believe promote hate speech but, first, you should check you actually know what you’re talking about. Because, twitter is full of nincompoops who’ve got the political acumen of a hamster with late stage rabies who think they’re the shit. Mostly, they just are shit.

Twitter mobs must not be allowed to dictate policy when huge swathes are involved just for the sake of a ruck rather than politics.

And, honestly, when did it become acceptable to allow people who threaten violence to dictate what social justice is? I mean, come on.

Dear MET, you need to learn the definition of the word mistake.

I’ve just seen the appearance of Commander Graham McNulty (Specialist Crime Investigative Unit) on Channel 4 News. It was appalling.

You did not “make a mistake” in investigating the multiple rapes committed by John Worboys. Nor, are there any “complexities” in rape cases because they happen in private. Oddly, burglaries also happen in private places and we don’t think it’s “complex” to investigate them.

Your officers made a decision not to investigate rapes reported by women. They failed in their duty to investigate appropriately.  The High Court judgment awarding compensation to two victims of Worboys uses the word “systemic” when referencing your failure to investigate Worboys.

Frankly, McNulty’s appearance on Channel 4 News leaves me less faith in your organisation to support rape victims and investigate the crimes involving sexual violence.

You have a problem within your organisation and women don’t trust you. You need to recognise this and actually do something about it. Otherwise, I’m going to assume you still don’t care about women.

Dumbass man claims being denied a bread roll makes women as sexist as men

Seriously, some dude actually makes this comment on an article called “What’s so safe about feminist, women-only space” after claiming to be a supporter of women.

This is so clearly an example of male entitlement and missing the point completely that I genuinely can’t believe he actually read the article. No one can be this self-centred that they equate women’s daily experiences of silencing and violence at the hands of men to once being denied a bread roll. I mean, how utterly fucking privileged and dim do you have to be to make this kind of statement?

I responded to his comment with this:

I posted this and thought no more of it until I was sent a link to the response by a woman who has called me rude and bullying for responding with this comment. 

Here’s the thing, I think equating being denied a bread roll once to the systemic silencing and violence women experience daily at the hands of men is rude. His comment basically implies that women are hysterical with an extreme tendency to over-reaction. And, that our need for a safe space in order to gather our thoughts and feel safe is sexist and exclusionary. 

Feminism needs real allies: men who listen and support women’s activism; who challenge misogyny everyday; who call other men out on rape jokes. We don’t need to waste our time on men who so fundamentally miss the point that they can claim that being denied a bread roll once is the same level of sexism as women experience daily. 

Jezebel reminds us that its absolutely HILARIOUS to publicly humiliate a distressed woman

I’ve been busy all week so I missed this truly spectacular piece of humanity in action. I’m not surprised people think this is funny; after all Bradley Wiggins thought it was oh-so-hilarious to suggest someone “suck me off” at a Barnado’s charity dinner. I’m hardly shocked some entitled fool on Twitter thought it was hysterically funny to harass an already distressed woman trapped with him on a plane. I’d like to say I’m shocked and surprised that Jezebel thought it was funny enough to link but I’m not. Participating in the public humiliation of women being an anti-feminist act has somehow passed them by completely. Jezebel has moments of absolute brilliance but they frequently resort to lazy stereotypes about women – and that’s without getting into the whole hiring the obviously abusive Hugo Schwyzer.

Jezebel supporting a man publicly humiliating and sexually harassing a woman who was upset is disgraceful.

What Elan Gale did was not funny and it wasn’t clever. It was the exact same manipulative and abusive behaviour women experience from men on a daily basis. Sending a woman alcohol when they are trapped on a plane with you isn’t a compliment at the best of times; sending a woman, who is in distress, alcohol to wind her up is shitty behaviour. Naming her, taking photos of her seat and then tweeting out a description of her is frightening behaviour. Telling a woman to “eat your dick” is sexual harassment. Frankly, if I were in this situation, I would assume the man was a sexual predator and I would be scared shitless on the plane. Gale’s “defence” of his behaviour, by suggesting it’s the woman’s fault for being annoying, is classic deflection and victim-blaming. It’s precisely the defence I would expect of a man with a history of violence against women.

It’s obvious the woman on the flight was upset and distressed at missing Thanksgiving. And, come on, we’ve all been there. We’ve all been distressed, angry or whatever and taken it out on someone who didn’t deserve. It’s not acceptable but it happens. And, yeah, as a teenage single mother, I’ve been in those dead-end jobs where people shout at you for things which are neither your fault nor something you have control over. I still remember being 15 and working in an in-store bakery in a huge grocery chain and a woman yelling at me for 20 minutes because our hot cross buns didn’t taste like her grandmothers. Did it make me feel like crap? Yup. Hell, if it didn’t, I probably wouldn’t remember it. It’s also the least abusive shit I’ve had to put up with at work (try being a teenage girl in a bakery for constant sexual harassment from customers who think they are the first person EVER to make a joke about buns and your ass).

A passenger on a plane being in distress and annoying the flight attendants (and other passengers) isn’t uncommon. It’s the number one reason why I believe alcohol should be prohibited on planes and trains. But, no matter how inappropriately someone behaves through distress, it is never acceptable to publicly humiliate, abuse and sexually harass them.

What Elan Gale did was clearly abusive. He targeted a women in distress and harassed her. Repeatedly. He made a threat of sexual violence and then he followed her off the plane to harass her further. The flight attendants were complicit in allowing him to further abuse this woman. She was a victim and the male flight attendant supported the abuser.

This isn’t funny. It’s male violence.

Shame on the flight attendants who colluded in helping a male passenger abuse a distressed woman.

Shame on Jezebel for claiming that the abuse of women is hilarious.

And, shame on Elan Gale for being an abusive asshole.

Comments: My policy on comments is here. If you get deleted for abusive or offensive comments, you lose the right to have any comments kept on this blog.

Girls Can’t Have their own magazines because it’s "sexist"

I’ve been spamming every Facebook group I’m in with links to JumpMag which is an utterly brilliant advertising-free magazine aimed at young girls from 7-13 and has no make-up tips or free lip gloss or OMG look at Justin Bieber’s hair!!!! articles.

I love JumpMag as both a mother and a radical feminist. It combats harmful gender stereotypes and cultural femicide which are two issues which greatly concern me. JumpMag publishes lots of articles, poems, and reviews by girls themselves. The silencing of women’s voices begins in childhood so having an online space where girls can share their lives, their stories, their art and their dreams without being told to be quiet or make space for boys is so very, very important to destroying the patriarchy. 

I’ve been awed by the support of women for JumpMag. Today, I shared it again and the support was amazing.

Yet, that one niggly question rose up again: isn’t JumpMag sexist because it excludes boys?

I mean, seriously? Does every single fucking thing have to include boys? Can’t girls have one little thing just for them in a culture which is dominated by men’s voices? 

Where are the men whining about Ben 10 and Young Justice excluding girls? Or, Harry Potter having to be written about a boy and by an author with a non-woman name so that boys would read it? Where are the men whining about girls being excluded from footballl? Or, the music industry?

Nothing is gender-neutral in our culture. JumpMag is trying to eradicate this by showing girls that there is so much more to life than what the media dictates is acceptable for girls. 

This is JumpMag’s official statement on inclusivity:

From time to time, we are asked, ‘Isn’t a magazine aimed only at girls sexist?’ 

Jump! Mag was founded to offer girls something that boys already have. Magazines aimed at their gender, which neither patronise, demean nor make them feel inadequate about their body, their minds or their feelings.

We did consider a gender-free magazine, but there are other magazines on the market already, which cover this sector for preteens, such as the excellent Anorak Magazine. 

Jump! Mag aims to inspire girls to be more than they ever thought they could be. To aim high, and to never stop believing in themselves. If we inspire some boys along the way, then that is a bonus.

See, JumpMag doesn’t exclude boys. It just focusses on girls. How fucked up is our culture that the first comment about a magazine aimed at girls is that it’s “sexist” considering the sheer amount of television, books, films and video games aimed at boys?


Frankly, if you are worried about boys feeling excluded by one measly online magazine for girls you’ve got some seriously fucked up values and internalised misogyny. 

I’d suggest you start working on that instead of belittling a magazine aimed at teaching girls that they have the right to be whoever they want to be.