Friday, July 25, 2008

My Anger Is Valid, Your Running Away Isn't

There's a woman whose first name is Heidi who wrote an article about Feminism that was full of shit, in my opinion. This entry is not about her. It is somewhat about me going to her blogsite today because I came across a link that claimed she'd tried to clarify what she'd meant in her original article. Clarification #2. But there was also a clarification #0. So that's three entries to clarify an editorial put up on a news site. But this post also isn't talking about that.

The Point:

There's a community on LJ called feminist. On said community a certain bittercat posted a one-liner concerning Ms Heidi Schnakenberg's article. Her one liner was: "I thought this was a very good article on race and feminism". That's all she said.

Given that said article ended up needing three separate posts (not on the original news site even) to clarify itself, one would think that bittercat would have more to say about the issues, especially when people commented asking her what she meant by that. And was she planning to elaborate or did she NOT see the racism and classicism and a whole bunch of other mess going on in the article.

Two pages of discussion and bittercat only posted three times. Once to say thank you to someone else who'd written a long nuanced comment about what they thought the original writer of the article might have been trying to say and what they got out of it. bittercat's second comment, was a response to someone asking why she hadn't written, tried to write/explain herself along the lines of the commenter she was thanking. In that comment she made the claim she was in a hurry and she's not eloquent or a college level scholar and that she didn't respond sooner because she doesn't like to contribute to nurturing hostility. So even though people were clamoring for her to explain herself, she viewed their anger and upset and confusion as hostility.

She told folks to 'have a good day' and she left the community.

Which leads us to today. And me going to read Clarification #3. And scrolling to find Clarification #2 and see if it's the entry that I'd read before. And I saw someone responding to Schnakenberg as if they were indeed bittercat and this is what they had to say:

It was a LOT of women, and I don't know if they were WOC or not. I just know they were very angry.

I ended up leaving that community over that. Not because I am a coward, but because I was overwhelmed by the sheer negativity that came out of my post. I am very sensitive and don't react well to such hatred. I also, like yourself, did not know about the particular events--which your friend so kindly posted about--that led up to the current divisiveness.(Have not had time to read those links, but I am going to.)

I just can't be a part of a "Feminist" community that is so...hostile. I can't stomach the idea that, because I am white, to some women, my oppression does not exist. For me, all women's oppression exists, so the divisions along race lines are just foreign to me. I was not raised that way, and I will not play into it now.

I have linked to your blog from mine, because no matter how much I read on the subject of interesectionality [sic]--what it has become--I STILL agree with you.

I am an I-Feminist and an Eco-Feminist. We tend to--on the one hand--see every individual woman's struggles as equally valid--and on the Eco side, we tend to see the big picture--the global implications of the oppression of women and girls. Those philosophies are just not amenable to nor compatible with this "new" intersectionality. In EcoFeminism, intersectionality (the traditional meaning) is a given.

Bless you.

If Cyber Hippie is not bittercat and is someone else from another community who posted the article and received a huge outcry in return; Then I feel a bit better about the state of things on the internet that somewhere else there was a huge outcry.

But if Cyber Hippie is bittercat then I'm wondering if it's perfectly functional for her brain and sensibilities to write out her thoughts and beliefs if a) she finds herself in a position of agreement, or b) she knows the person reading and replying to her is not a Woman of Colour.

I won't link to Schnakenberg's response to that comment. It's easy enough to erase up until the .html and read the entry and all the comments. But I do find myself wanting to say this:

"Calling something divisiveness and hostility doesn't mean you're not claiming reverse discrimination. And it certainly isn't being inclusive of all women when there's mutual patting on the back and indulging in WWS.

All women are NOT delicate snowflakes who've never faced opposition of any other sort in their life and can have the privilege of not engaging because it would nurture hostility. And this 'divisiveness'? It's not recent. Even in #2 (entry 3) of her clarification Schnakenberg does not bring up the WoC First and Second Wave Feminists she left out of her original article.

More importantly, maybe most importantly; The discomfort of white women when faced with the reality of WoC dealing with multiple oppressions is not more important than those oppressions. The fear of white women is ALSO NOT more important than those oppressions. Because what else could be it but fear to feel the need to pop up and declaim every ten seconds "But White Women Are Oppressed Too!" as if WoC will somehow leave White Women standing on the corner as they move forward to tackle said oppressions. We are the ones who got left by the wayside in all the beginnings. We aren't the ones who throw a problem overboard in order to get just what we want. We aren't you."

Steel Magnolia Note: Karen Healey's Post on the lack of WoC/CoC in Buffyverse? The ass showing in her forums was truly reprehensible. Karen and Betty might have missed some things but they fully recognized excuses, racist tropes and lack of critical thinking when they saw it.


  1. I sigh at the part where she says intersectionality is incompatible with her brand of feminism, and then that it's always been a given in that brand of feminism.

    As for intersectionality as a "new philosophy"... that's pretty darned insulting; like it's something people either believe in or not, with the implication that if you don't believe in it, it's not really real.

  2. So 150 years after Sojourner Truth's "Aint I a Woman" speech, intersectionality is a new idea?

    Toubab, please.

  3. Delux:

    No no no, apparently the intersectionality that WoC are speaking about is the new intersectionality, vs the old intersectionality.

    Though I guess that would make the new idea still 150 years old.

    A.. bah...

    My brain: [ I'm sorry, the brain you're trying to reach refuses to connect to WWS. Please check your privilege and dial again. This brain refuses to be broken. ]

  4. 'Lux:

    I think that may be what she was getting at with her whole "I'm not educated and eloquent" schtick: Sojourner Truth may have been around 150 years ago, and she may have been famous enough amongst second-wave feminists that Sojourner magazine was named in her honor, but if no one's spoonfed it to her it's brand new. She is the world, after all.

  5. Wait, Cyber Hippie calls herself an i-feminist? That lot, if I recall correctly, uses a male columnist who also writes for Ladies Against Feminism. Sorry, I ought to comment on the egregious racism. This is another takedown of it, though not as strongly expressed as yours. Ms Schnakenberg seems to have taken existing oppression--and decided that the worst prejudice of all is people who call her racist. When she's only trying to help as a feminist, really, it's okay to dismiss other women.

  6. Wow reading thru the forum discussion of Karen's post hurt my brain :( Esp the trolling and sockpuppeting and racism and OMGWHATABOUTTHEPOORWHITEPPL going on there :(

    Karen and Betty did a good job as mods tho :)

    I think that IS Bittercat (And I wondered why she was like.. not responding even tho she wrote the post saying that the article was a "very good article on race and feminism" >:\

    Also her arguments are EXACTLY the same types of arguments that were used on transppl in the comments of a post about trans issues re: feminism. >:\ The idea that by saying somebody has cis privilege or white privilege you're saying their oppression as a WOMAN doesn't exist.. some.. how...

    b/c we all know that they are oppressed for BEING white and cis >:O

    And argh -_-;;

    Found it hilarious too that she thinks that intersectionality is NEW, and this crazy thing ppl just came up with! Also how Heidi and her supporters are now saying that OLD intersectionality is FINE, CLASSIC intersectionality is FINE, but modern ones fail b/c well THINGS ARE FINE re: race now! Modern intersectionality is just useless and complainy!

    Funny that their heads dun explode from the irony b/c that's what anti-feminists say about feminism, "oh classic feminism was good, when they needed to fight for the vote and stuff, but sexism is dead now, and modern feminism is just too complainy!" -_-;;

    *head desk*

    I like how Heidi speaks for WoC outside of America too claiming that they're all supportive of her idea of feminism and stuff >.>;; Plus the whole ranking of privilege thing. "Well we have white privilege, but it's like.. not rly much of a privilege and it's so small compared to male privilege that rly.. it shouldn't matter when we're fighting male privilege" >.>;;

    *head f-ing desk*

    if that's not her white, able-bodied, hetero, cis privilege speaking (to believe that the one oppression that directly affects her is the MOST POWERFUL OPPRESSION IN THE WORLDDDDDD over ALL OTHERS), I dunno what else it could be :\

  7. Also, can we talk about this thing where whenever women of color get angry at white women it becomes all about our ZOMG SEARING HATRED OF THEM EVEN THOUGH THEY ARE TRYING SO HARD, etc?

  8. Delux:

    You just made me think of Tamora Pierce. I should so send you to a corner. 'Cause I don't know why that slave-time reaction is the only thing they can come up with.

    "He looked at me wrong! Lynch him!" was for the menfolk. But for the womanfolk it becomes "The burning hatred in her eyes!"

    Maybe white woman have known all along that the negroess (if not the negro) was NOT docile or lazy or easily led. And they've been afraid of our power ever since. I just don't know. I'm just fed up with the BS.

    I do find myself wondering if NDN women also get this reaction. "But I'm trying, to get better/to help you, OMG why do you hate me?!"

    BRAIN FLASH: Is it perhaps a form of crocodile tears? They manipulate their men by crying and acting quivering and contrite and it's their one note reaction?

  9. In some quarters, there is a theory that this is in fact the case.


  10. Delux:

    I don't think that poem gets enough play. I had no idea it was longer.

  11. Oh, I'm so glad I quit reading KH's Buffy column halfway through. Granted, it's more because I'm behind on my comics, but I was wondering if she was going to say something about Renee. I won't go into the forums, though. I quit those for a reason, it's not worth my aggravation (when there's so much else to get aggravated about).

  12. Lea:

    It's not actually a bad essay, all told. It's the reactions to it that were incredibly stupid and short sighted and bigoted to an extreme. There was an immediate up-cry about how Karen was indulging in self-hate in order to be popular.

    But I can understand avoidance of the forums. I don't go there unless Karen's huffing over something and points out particulars to me. My experience on the boards has never left me and I don't comment.

    You're right, there is so much else to be aggravated about - why go somewhere that uses up all that energy within a group(broadly speaking) that seems disinclined to change.

  13. Loved this and linked it along with some other great links on the issue.