I hate you all media vultures

Edit: It seems I have deeply hurt some people for using the words “media whore” to define white people who sell us for a profit. I apologize without reservations. My points on the ethics of this media stand, though. The fact that racism, transmysogyny, white supremacy and every other “tactic” are valid to generate outrage at the expense of our wellbeing remains. I am sorry for calling people “whores”. It wasn’t my intention to feed into the sex workers stigma which, coincidentally, much of this same media also promotes.

Last night I became aware of Amy Wallace’s feature on Hugo Schwyzer for LA Magazine. She’s been contacting people who chat with me on Twitter asking for their permission to quote them because she has claimed she intends to use me for her story. Tabloid clickbait bullshit at its best. I hate you Amy Wallace.

I hate you Ross Wolfe for stalking me and talking about me and trying to raise your profile at my expense. I hate your white man tactics of instilling fear. Your past affiliations with Platypus, that parody of political group that endorsed NAMBLA and promoted eliminating age of consent laws. And now, when obviously promoting NAMBLA hasn’t been enough for you to get the attention you think you so richly deserve, you stalk me and talk about me. You enlist white feminists like Gia Millinovich to “discuss” me because you are convinced I am a “white impostor”. You are not actually convinced of anything. You don’t even care about any of this. You just want all the media profile you can scratch at my expense. You think it’s all valid. You are a piece of shit and I hate you as well.

I hate you Helen Lewis. I hate you for promoting clickbait tabloid tactics at the expense of political ideas that mean something for people. I should have listened when people said that during your tenure at the Daily Mail a gay man was driven to suicide and you were part of the editorial team that made it happen. Rumors, people said. Seeing how you manage New Statesman on social media and how you clearly profit at everyone’s expense, whether you participated in that team is irrelevant. You certainly learned well, if anything, a man’s death was a didactic experience for you. And you do this all in the name of feminism. You are a piece of shit as well. And I hate you.

I hate you all Glosswitches, booblediboops, Laurie Pennys, Louise Penningtons, Julie Bindels, Megan Murphys, Michelle Goldbergs and your ilk. The B Classes of white feminism fighting tooth and nail for a place at the table. At our expense. With your writing commissions, the coins tossed in your direction by the men who own the media you so desperately want to be part of. And we pay the price of your success. You are not even good enough to be in charge. You pick the dirty cents that they drop and you will sell us all for the chance of picking the most no matter which ethics, which principles, whose lives you need to shit in the process. You also want your portion of media attention. You will soil anyone that gets on the way of your climbing. You have aspirations! The fact that now you are low level media whores edited by people who would gladly throw you into the lions if it meant they can pocket the change is irrelevant for you. We are the bootstraps you pull in the hopes of raising to the top. And raise to the top you will. The top of a vat of turds floating in your own media shit. No ethics, no qualms, no compassion, no humanity. I hate you all for that.

Contrary to popular belief, I do not hate Hugo Schwyzer, though. I feel deeply sad for him. Sad at the wasted potential of a man who obviously had the capacity to write and communicate and network and connect with people but became haunted by his own mental health issues and addictions. But I do not hate him. Sure, addicts make a choice to act on their addictions but how many choices do we have when there is a crowd that benefits from enabling the addict? What choices are out there when so many are fighting for the coins thrown at them to enable the addict, to give him rope, to let him hang, to push him further for page clicks and outrage. Like Jessica Coen, among many others, did for him. His actions are his alone but there is a point when people marred by mental health are not always in control of those actions. I can empathize with that. I would never be his friend. I would never share a drink with him. I don’t want him writing about anything that implies getting coins at our expense like his enablers do. But I do not wish him bad. If anything, I hope he can find peace.

As I sit here facing a potentially lethal diagnosis for my health issues, I want to be clear on one thing: I HATE YOU ALL MEDIA WHORES. I hate that I am the price you are willing to pay to raise to fame. I hate that you want us to believe you are doing this in the name of liberation. I hate that you have co-opted our language, our ideas, our freedom so that you could have a fighting chance at getting those coins. Fuck you. Fuck your media and your tactics. Fuck everything you stand for. When I intuitively removed myself from this competition more than a year ago, I wasn’t sure why I was doing so. I only knew one thing: I wasn’t going to crawl for coins like you do. I wasn’t going to accommodate my message and my ideas so that I could be more like you. You have nothing to offer me that I would want. You can pick my carcass but you will never have my dignity.

Amy Wallace’s ethics writing about me in relation to Hugo Schwyzer for LA Magazine

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I was alerted that Amy Wallace has been reaching out to people with whom I usually have conversations on Twitter because she is writing a story about Hugo Schwyzer. When they have denied their requests to be quoted, she has hidden behind the “but Twitter is a public platform” disclaimer. This is, of course, technically true. However, I haven’t been afforded the same option as those who responded to me in conversations. She just plans to use my words as she sees fit.

I do not care if she is writing a story in favor or against Schwyzer. I just refuse to be part of it but obviously I have no choice in this. In this vulture journalism whatever we say or don’t online is a potential click bait fodder where we can be discussed, dissected or analyzed without any input. She may or may not have Hugo Schwyzer’s cooperation for this story but again, the implications of writing about an addict in recovery for her are irrelevant. She has click bait to produce and we are just carcasses to picked up apart so that she can raise her profile.

I have been seriously considering deleting my Twitter account due to this. Between this new “story” being written at my expense and the constant harassment I experience online from white men and women alike for the mere fact of existing online, I am not sure this is worth it. Unlike people like Amy Wallace, I don’t get paid to produce click bait. But she certainly can make money out of discussing me.

deanwhochester asked:

Can you explain why she put those words in quotations?

Why should *I* have to explain her actions? Aren’t your questions best directed to the person who made those statements? The onus is not on me to explain the reasoning when a white, wealthy, well connected feminist decides to have intellectual exercises in the public eye at the expense of trans people’s lives.

I provided links to her statements and, in fact, to the whole conversation. I provided a link to another post that further discusses these “ethics of eugenics” musings. You could read by yourself and, eventually, go and ask the white woman in question. When people in positions of authority or with significant media platforms discuss topics with a long history of harm at the expense of vulnerable groups of people, the burden is not on the rest of the world to prove the person’s intentions. As a matter of fact, intentions are completely irrelevant in this case. Was it “just a joke" as some were claiming last night on Twitter? Was it just "a discussion to consider all possibilities" as others contended? You know what? Fuck that noise. People’s lives and survival are not open for “debate”. “Debate” as it is conceived by these foul ideologues is a tool to further instill fear and promote harmful ideas in the public eye. Not all opinions are “equal” and deserving of consideration. Especially so when one does so in the name of feminism. There is a centuries old history of white people condoning the mass sterilizations of Women of Color, the experimentations on the bodies of Black enslaved women and the “disciplining” of indigenous women across the Americas (and probably in other places as well but I cannot speak with direct knowledge of those). No, eugenics is not something I would have to “explain” to anyone to see why these discussions are disgusting.

But you know, I will throw another link in this mix where she further ponders whether “birth defects” should also be “fixed”. Eugenics, the “twitter entertainment” for white, wealthy women who otherwise have to combat their ennui by hanging out with Hugh Grant.

Today, Gia Milinovich, as mainstream and well connected a white feminist as a white feminist can be ponders out loud whether it’d be ethical to “abort trans people” to “save them from a difficult life”.
For the past few days she has been insistent on “mammal biology” to define womanhood (rather than reading her awful TERFist trite, read Aoife’s excellent analysis and rebuttal here). However, Gia does not seem content with merely promoting TERFism. Now she is openly discussing eugenics as a possibility, as if there was ever “an ethics of eugenics” and more importantly, as if feminism should get on board and ponder on “a feminist ethics of eugenics”.
For white feminists like Ms. Milinovich, people’s lives are simply an intellectual exercise, their extermination just “a discussion” to have in the name of feminism. 
Oh, did I mention she’s presented TV shows for the BBC, Channel 4 and Sky? Yeah, this is not the fringe. This are the people who are behind the media.

Today, Gia Milinovich, as mainstream and well connected a white feminist as a white feminist can be ponders out loud whether it’d be ethical to “abort trans people” to “save them from a difficult life”.

For the past few days she has been insistent on “mammal biology” to define womanhood (rather than reading her awful TERFist trite, read Aoife’s excellent analysis and rebuttal here). However, Gia does not seem content with merely promoting TERFism. Now she is openly discussing eugenics as a possibility, as if there was ever “an ethics of eugenics” and more importantly, as if feminism should get on board and ponder on “a feminist ethics of eugenics”.

For white feminists like Ms. Milinovich, people’s lives are simply an intellectual exercise, their extermination just “a discussion” to have in the name of feminism. 

Oh, did I mention she’s presented TV shows for the BBC, Channel 4 and Sky? Yeah, this is not the fringe. This are the people who are behind the media.

A traditional environment had some problems, but it’s better than today where women act like men, men act like women, everyone’s confused and they’re making things up like they’re “pansexual”; they’re this they’re that, gender’s a “binary construct,” cis, trans, even I’m confused! Every year there’s another gender I don’t know about, that’s just chaos.

The Daily Dot - [A Mystery Interview Guest]

Before you click on the link, I invite you to play a game of “Who Said it?”

( ) TERFs

( ) New Statesman feminist blogger

( ) Roosh (MRA officially classified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as hate speech)

But TEDWomen and feminism are not synonymous, and we’re in trouble if we start to think they are. The corporate interpretation of feminism has more to do with cheerleading all women’s accomplishments than ending patriarchy and pushing for equal rights. Sometimes it will even cheerlead for women when their accomplishments roll back other women’s rights.

The Empowerment Elite Claims Feminism | The Nation

At The Nation, Jessica Valenti writes about the ongoing efforts to rebrand feminism and corporate models passed as “female empowerment”. I am quoted in the article and so is Imani Gandy, senior legal analyst for RH Reality Check (who is always so brilliant and on point).

This account led to me withdrawing my support and co-operation with the organisation, which had begun in 2009. I believe that V-Day has done some vital work and continues to make great progress in Congo. But there have been some very serious mistakes too, which have resulted in me and other women questioning future involvement with them.

The day Ensler crucified herself | Feminist Times

Jude Wanga, who is a human rights campaigner, activist & freelance writer from Congo writes about Ensler’s account of examining the body of a Congolese woman who was undergoing a fistula operation. This is a must read piece. Also, follow Jude on Twitter. Her observations and analysis are always on point (if you cannot tell, I love Jude!).

10 reasons why Joyce Carol Oates should be named the Patron of White Feminism

1. While Michelle Goldberg at The Nation needed more than 10 thousand words to write the ultimate guide to fear of Women of Color and “mean masses” on Twitter, Oates can achieve the same result in 140 characters or less

Shadows gathering at edge of property. Full moon, when ominous threatening twitterers come to life.

— Joyce Carol Oates (@JoyceCarolOates)

February 9, 2014

2. Godwin’s Law? What’s that? Wasn’t Godwin the Earl of Essex? Zoo guards, on the other hand, are as bad as the NAZIS. AS.BAD

Still can’t comprehend why the Danish zoo killed the beautiful young healthy giraffe. Yes, they had “reasons”—so did Nazi doctors.

— Joyce Carol Oates (@JoyceCarolOates)

February 11, 2014

3. Islam is bad and women need to be saved from it. Also, Muslim men are savages.

Where 99.3% of women report having been sexually harassed & rape is epidemic—Egypt—natural to inquire: what’s the predominant religion?

— Joyce Carol Oates (@JoyceCarolOates)

July 5, 2013

If 99.3% of women reported being treated equitably, fairly, generously—it would be natural to ask: what’s the predominant religion?

— Joyce Carol Oates (@JoyceCarolOates)

July 5, 2013

4. It’d be worse if I was racist!

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Quote via

5. She has meaningful Olympics commentary 

So glad not to be in Sochi! & I am not even gay, or Russian.

— Joyce Carol Oates (@JoyceCarolOates)

February 8, 2014

6. Woody Allen is just a misunderstood genius… like Nabokov

Though Woody Allen has been much denounced, very likely many of his denouncers greatly admire Nabokov’s “Lolita.” No contradiction?

— Joyce Carol Oates (@JoyceCarolOates)

February 8, 2014

7. And those “piling on Woody Allen are just like a lynching mob”

Very likely studies have been done of the psychology of the lynch mob—probably not original to suggest that it is thrilling to “bond”…

— Joyce Carol Oates (@JoyceCarolOates)

February 9, 2014

Perhaps the object of the lynch mob isn’t important: it’s the passion of righteousness that bonds the mob. Intervene at your own peril.

— Joyce Carol Oates (@JoyceCarolOates)

February 9, 2014

(Oh if you think this is not what white feminists are saying about Allen, check this piece by Susan Moore at The Guardian. After reading Moore’s piece, head off to this gem from Oates about “the court of public opinion”)

8. In “Other cultures” young girls are also courted by older men (notice how the cultural relativism is only deployed in so far as it benefits white supremacy. When it’s about judging Islam, “all those men are savages”; when it’s about defending a child abuser “in other cultures it’s normal”).

Predilection of older—(could be elderly)—men for young girls is not uncommon in all cultures. See Kawabata, “House of Sleeping Beauties.”

— Joyce Carol Oates (@JoyceCarolOates)

February 8, 2014

9. Art, art matters above all ethical issues or even human decency

Woody Allen may have behaved unconscionably as a person/ step-father—but it isn’t clear what this has to do with his often brilliant films.

— Joyce Carol Oates (@JoyceCarolOates)

February 2, 2014

All things being equal, one would prefer to give an award to the “nicer” of two artists. But the quality of the art itself is what matters.

— Joyce Carol Oates (@JoyceCarolOates)

February 2, 2014

10. When in doubt, side with the victim… except when the perpetrator is a white man you respect. (any similarities with white feminists siding with a white man when he abuses “lesser” women is a mere coincidence)

When in doubt, side with the victim.

— Joyce Carol Oates (@JoyceCarolOates)

January 28, 2014

Why I do not support the European Parliament recommendations on undocumented women migrants

I will start by doing something that I usually steer clear from which is to “explain” the European Union in a couple of sentences. This is, I am aware, reductionist and possibly erroneous in the sense that one cannot quite describe a system of government in simplistic terms. Yet, I believe it is necessary to do so in order to frame my ideas around certain resolutions.

The European Union is a governing body that is based in Brussels. The closest comparison I can draw from existing political systems is akin to the Federal Government in the US. The different European countries, in this set up, can be loosely compared to the different States in the US. Again, this is a facile comparison and there are many differences but the centralized nature of EU administration (especially in relation to the European Parliament or European Court can somewhat be compared to “Washington” as the central administration of US politics).

So, the website of the European Parliament has published a resolution they passed on January 6th with a list of recommendations regarding undocumented women migrants in the EU. Here are the key points of these recommendations: (emphasis mine on some key points)

The Committee on Employment and Social Affairs calls on the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions in its motion for a resolution:

1. Notes that the irregular status of undocumented women throughout Europe makes it virtually impossible for their fundamental human rights, including the rights to education and health, to be respected, thus making these women particularly vulnerable to all forms of exploitation, low wages, unstable working conditions and social exclusion; considers that the best way of permanently improving their situation is to bring them within the legally established systems, since their irregular situation deprives them of social security and other employment benefits; notes that they may be further disadvantaged by furthermore, illiteracy and by language and adaptability barriers;

2. Calls on the Member States to take the following action: to put an end to discriminatory practices; to fight undeclared work and labour exploitation, inter alia by means of labour inspections; to recognise undocumented women as victims and allow them to access basic health services, employment and education; to enable them to have access to the legal system and to confidential advice in emergencies without fear of this resulting in measures to terminate their residence; to ensure that such action also involves the European Platform against Poverty and Social Exclusion, as well as networks of existing aid organisations, churches and civil society organisations; and, where necessary, to establish specific forms of data protection for the women concerned;

Note: victims of what? Because surely in order for a victim to exist there must be a victimizer. I consider the State to be the victimizer in the case of undocumented women migrants in the sense that the situation is part of a long history of inequalities related to Europe’s colonial past, corporate interventions in the so called Global South and neoliberal globalization that deprive migrants of a livelihood in their countries of origin.

3. Calls on the Member States and the Commission to recognise undocumented women migrants explicitly as a vulnerable social group, exposed to trafficking, discrimination and exploitation on the labour market;

Note: I would urge anyone interested in the mechanisms that the State uses to further violate the rights of undocumented women under the guise of “fighting trafficking” to read this article by Molly Smith in The Guardian. Alternatively, follow her on Twitter. Another woman that has many important things to say about this topic is Laura Agustin. Her blog (with plenty of material) can be found here and she’s also very active on Twitter here.

4. Calls on the Member States and the Commission to focus on the working conditions of undocumented women migrants, as a crucial step towards defining and recognising the difficulties to which they are exposed on the labour market and in order to ensure that their fundamental rights are respected;

Note: Oh really? Focus on the working conditions like that time undocumented women domestic workers who were neither trafficked nor working against their will were reported by the bus drivers who cooperated with the police and immigration authorities to have them deported because the women (all of them visibly of color) “looked illegal”?

5. Encourages the Member States to work actively to extend the possibilities for undocumented persons to become legal, in order to facilitate their access to the labour market and improve their inclusion in society;

6. Stresses that undocumented women in particular are often the victims of precarious, isolated, unhealthy or working conditions, are very often employed below their education level, in some cases experience abuse and violence, and are prevented by extreme dependency on their employers from asserting their fundamental and labour rights; calls on the Member States and the social partners to help undocumented women be brought within the legally established systems, thereby enabling them to better exercise their rights - including through the application of Directive 2009/52/EC providing for minimum standards on sanctions and measures against employers of illegally staying third-country nationals - respecting labour law and collective agreements;

7. Calls for the implementation of ILO Convention No 29 on forced labour; calls for consideration to be given to the special situation of women involved in forced labour – including not just forced prostitution but all involuntary work, the domestic sphere included – and for protection to be given to the undocumented migrant women concerned;

8. Stresses the need for the Commission and the Member States to strengthen labour inspections in order to combat the exploitation of undocumented women migrant workers and the violation of their fundamental human rights;

9. Calls for the creation of special forms of data protection for undocumented women, including victims of human trafficking, who turn in such situations to hospitals, doctors, the authorities and NGOs seeking for help or guidelines, to women’s shelters, counselling services or religious counsellors and for the protection of workers in such establishments who acquire information about irregular residence; believes help and support should be given in accordance with Directive 2011/36/EU on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings and protecting its victims, and calls for this directive to be implemented in all Member States; stresses the need for women with irregular or unclear residence status to be able to access medical care without risk of expulsion;

10. Condemns all forms of violence, human trafficking, abuse and discrimination against undocumented women; stresses the need to ensure access to the help on offer in such situations without fear of this resulting directly in measures to terminate residence;

Note: again, notice how much emphasis there is on human trafficking which completely erases the agency of the undocumented women migrants. As if the only reason a woman would migrate is through trafficking and not because of structural conditions in their home countries.

11. Calls on the Commission and the Member States to provide sufficient female contact staff, care professionals, officials, assessors and other staff; calls for such measures out of respect for other religions and cultures and the need to protect against discrimination;

12. Stresses that undocumented women are vulnerable to abuse, and that barriers for them to engage in legal procedures are often to be found in the fear that their safety is not guaranteed, arising from a lack of shelters and procedural obstacles; calls on the Member States to ensure that such women are able to report any abuse suffered and are protected from any form of reprisal; believes that measures should also be introduced to assist such vulnerable women, including provision of shelters; calls on the Member States, accordingly, to take the necessary measures to identify such abuse and to guarantee access to justice;

13. Draws attention in particular to the situation of undocumented women who are pregnant or have children; stresses that they need special protection and a legal entitlement to healthcare and have the right to a birth certificate for their children in accordance with Article 7 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child; emphasises that they must have access to appropriate medical care and to registry offices without having to fear that this will result in measures to terminate their residence; calls for special forms of data protection for women who in such situations turn to doctors, clinics and registry offices;

Note: my face, I wish you could see it right now.

14. Calls on the Commission and the Member States, through more extensive and integrated research, to close the gaps in reliable data and existing knowledge on the number and situation of undocumented persons in Europe, to draw the attention of the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound) to the situation of undocumented women, and to take greater account of women in this category when implementing the inclusion targets of the Europe 2020 strategy;

15. Encourages the Member States to grant the children of women with irregular or unclear residence status access to the education system without the threat of this leading to prosecution and/or deportation;

16. Calls on the Commission and the Member States to reduce inequalities in employment between migrant workers and EU workers by offering secondary education and vocational training so that women, especially migrant women, can acquire new skills and are thus not restricted to low-paid jobs;

17. Calls, in the context of efforts to prevent migration by providing development aid to the migrants’ countries of origin, for the focus to be placed on women’s education and rights;

Note: neocolonial interventions under the guise of “aid” for “women’s empowerment” while the European Union continues promoting and pushing for European corporations to drain resources and exploit the very same workforces that eventually seek migration as a solution to their structural problems back home. Not a word about how H&M (a Swedish corporation) or Zara (Spanish), to use two examples though there are dozen similar ones, contribute to the exploitation of textile factory workers in Bangladesh. In the same breath, the Austrian Minister of Home Affairs calls Bangladeshi undocumented migrants “farm animals” and accuses Greece of “letting the barn door open” to allow them to come into the EU.

18. Asks for the opinion of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs for the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality on gender aspects of the EU Framework for National Roma Inclusion Strategies to be taken into account in this context.

I have spoken before about the fact that I do not support gendered recommendations or legislation that are solely based on benefiting undocumented women. To begin with, and going back to my simple explanation of the European Union as a governing body in the first paragraph, the reason I do not support this kind of legislation, even though it might seem contrary to my feminist politics is that the EU member States have very rigid and exclusionary definitions of “woman”. In most of the EU, woman = cis. That alone excludes the very specific ways in which trans women, gender queer and/ or other gender variant people are not part of these recommendations. Yesterday, I shared on Twitter this link about the appalling track record of Denmark in regards to the treatment of trans people (Content warning at the link for terrible language and cissupremacist explanations). Member States such as Denmark (to use this example, though Denmark is not the only EU country where trans people are subjected to State violence) do not need to expand their “legal definitions” of woman in order to comply with the recommendations above. They can continue promoting a cissuspremacist view of gender and the EU Parliament (just like the Federal Government in the US) cannot force such changes. I won’t quote from the article because the language used is quite dehumanizing and possibly triggering but to sum it up: Denmark only recognizes trans people in so far as they have undergone surgeries that render them sterile/ infertile and only after they have gone though extensive medical treatments including therapies, medications, assessments, etc. And this is just one example of how State definitions of gender operate solely within a cis binary (there are cis women and cis men, anyone who does not fit these narrow categories is effectively not considered worthy of gender based protections).

Another reason I do not support these gender based recommendations is because there are myriad ways in which men are affected by State violence that are very closely tied to stereotypical ideas around manhood and masculinity. To use again, another relatively recent example, the rights of an undocumented African father were violated by the State when his child was given for adoption in the UK. The mother’s rights were violated due to her alleged mental health issues (she is an Italian citizen) but the rights of the father were equally destroyed because as an undocumented man he was unable to travel across the continent to attend the Court’s hearings of the case. Children, regardless of their gender, have a right to a family life that contemplates the rights of both parents equally. The rights of an undocumented African man to be a father to his child are equally important to the rights of any woman to be a mother. More importantly, children have a right to both without State violence getting in the way of their well being.

Last but not least, rape culture manifests in very specific ways when the bodies of People of Color are on the line. Men of color have been historically subjugated through rape and sexual abuse. Their centuries old dehumanization has hinged on simultaneous ideas of hypersexualized behaviors and rape as “corrective” tools to further dominate them. I have written before about the sexual violence experienced by undocumented migrant men and how this seems to be an invisible topic within migrant rights discourses.

While undocumented women face unspeakable violence that is very gender specific, I cannot get behind more “white savior” narratives that single us out as “deserving” of protection while the definitions of gender, womanhood, parenthood and family rights are left in the hands of a State that continues to use colonial ideas on our bodies. Moreover, I cannot support definitions and codifications that erase violence that perpetuate these very same colonial histories and violences to this day. The same State that coded us as “less than” is not the best qualified to create the legal frameworks that supposedly contain the “solution” to these historical wrongs.

Feminist critiques vs charges of criticism

Part of the discussions in the past week or so, especially in the aftermath of The Nation article have been centered on how Women of Color are never “happy” with anything and “attack” work done by white feminists unfairly. One thing I believe is important to further unpack these discussions is how often critique is confused or conflated with criticism. To wit:

Critique

a detailed analysis and assessment of something, esp. a literary, philosophical, or political theory.

Criticism

the expression of disapproval of someone or something based on perceived faults or mistakes.

A lot of what WoC bloggers, writers, social media analysts and activists do is critique and not necessarily criticism. Events, news, projects, initiatives, etc are used as starting points to analyze and understand broader implications of said events or news. This is closely tied to the issues of epistemic justice I often write about: since we are not considered valid/ legitimate knowledge producers, our critiques are presented as criticism rather than as cultural analysis in their own right. Since criticism is seen as a destructive force (see charges of “trashing”), then what better way to delegitimize our critiques than by presenting them as “mean criticism”?

I attempt critiques. I might not always use academically approved language to do so or coat them in rhetoric of civility and politeness. But make no mistake, everything I speak about and write is intended as an indictment of the culture we live in and the history that positioned us where we are now.

Next week, Makers is hosting a three-day conference where Sheryl Sandberg {Author of Lean In], Eric Schmidt [CEO of Google], Tim Armstrong [CEO of AOL], and others plan to “reset the agenda for women in the workplace in the 21st century.” Where does one gather to hit the restart on the stagnant wage gap and institutionalized sexism for the next 86 years? At “the picturesque Terranea Resort, located on a breathtaking stretch of Pacific coastline,” of course. The revolution also has time for “Sunrise Yoga” classes in the morning. Work-life balance, ladies and billionaires.

Invite-Only Oceanside Conference Vows to “Reset the Agenda for Women”

Do you have a headache already? No? OK, let’s try this detail then:

Obviously no one’s resetting any kind of agenda without a late night talk show host and the CEO of an accounting firm. That’s just Feminism 101. But Washington Monthly points out that Makers might have missed a spot:

But funnily enough, do you know who was not invited to lollapalooza that’s going to like, totally, revolutionize women’s working lives? Labor unions, that’s who!

Click through to read more details of this “resetting the women’s agenda” event. 

Dame Shirley Bassey and The Propellerheads - History Repeating

If you are somewhere where you can listen to music I invite you to hit play before you continue reading. “It’s just a little bit of history repeating” in the voice of Dame Shirley Bassey is the perfect soundtrack for this post.

The word is about, there’s something evolving

Whatever may come, the world keeps revolving

They say the next big thing is here

That the revolution’s near

But to me it seems quite clear

That it’s all just a little bit of history repeating

The newspapers shout a new style is growing

But it don’t know if it’s coming or going

There is fashion, there is fad

Some is good, some is bad

And the joke is rather sad

That its all just a little bit of history repeating

And I’ve seen it before[…]

Some people don’t dance, if they don’t know who’s singing

I am going to go back in recent history to 2008. In order to do that, I am going to quote from Jezebel, of all places. Mostly, I am picking this article as a source because one of the usual charges when Women of Color produce media analysis is that we use “biased” sources or that we “see things” where there are none. So, what better place to quote from than a source that I have pointed out numerous times as problematic (to say the least). This article, from 2008, talks about how brownfemipower had been writing about US immigration issues for a long while (years) when a white feminist, Amanda Marcotte suddenly went mainstream with the exact same topic and focus. Hugo Schwyzer got involved (LOL) to be the “arbiter” of the “harm” done to white women by “mean women of color” who saw through the content appropriation. bfp sustained a consistent attack where she was painted under the most cruel light and eventually closed her blog. 

Jezebel quotes brownfemipower (link to her current blogs can be found here). 

"I never said that it’s important to recognize that I had the idea first. I don’t give a shit who came up with the idea first—even if it WAS me. I don’t give a shit who thought of what first. I don’t fucking want credit for anything outside of existing. (For those who care, what I really said: There’s a lot of women of color (and men of color!) who have talked about immigration. There’s a lot of women of color and men of color who have examined how sexualized violence has been the foremost result of the "strengthening" of borders. There’s been a lot of us who have insisted for a long time now that immigration is a feminist issue, goddamn it, get your head out of your ass."

Fast forward to 2014. Hugo Schwyzer is back on Twitter (LOL x 1 million) endorsing the article at The Nation which yet again, stigmatizes “mean Women of Color” on social media/ Twitter. I blogged about being called “a bully” by the Deputy Editor of New Statesman and about the corporate and financial interests of the publication. And on Thursday evening, this was published at NS “Why we must end the detention of female asylum seekers in the UK” written by a white feminist.

I do not own this topic. However, I will refer to my quote above from bfp:

I never said that it’s important to recognize that I had the idea first. I don’t give a shit who came up with the idea first—even if it WAS me. I don’t give a shit who thought of what first[…] (For those who care, what I really said: There’s a lot of women of color (and men of color!) who have talked about immigration. There’s a lot of women of color and men of color who have examined how sexualized violence has been the foremost result of the “strengthening” of borders. There’s been a lot of us who have insisted for a long time now that immigration is a feminist issue, goddamn it, get your head out of your ass.

If you know what I write about, you’ll know women of color feminists, womanists and mujeristas (myself included) have been writing and talking about immigration in the European Union for years. As Dame Shirley Bassey sings it “it’s just a little bit of [feminist] history repeating”.

In case you need a quick refresher of my approach to immigration policy (or because you don’t feel like reading years of archives), I had a few things to say on Twitter. Here’s the Storify with the gist of it. In the meantime, I’ll just sing along with Dame Shirley Bassey.

It’s not clear what people understand when they say Twitter – they think of Twitter as a network and say it’s not representative and compare it to polls, for example. That is the wrong way to look at it – look at it as an information platform and then you start looking at what influential people who create the news are saying. The media, and I do not simply mean mainstream media, does influence public opinion. From a communication and a policy perspective that’s very, very valuable. It’s less about the representativeness of the platform as a whole; it’s more about the representativeness of the expertise and the influences within whichever topic you’re interested in. Because obviously you can’t poll the population from Twitter; but let’s say you want to understand the views surrounding a health issue then you have a great opportunity to gather the opinions of experts on that specific topic by monitoring Twitter data. That can be valuable evidence to inform policy.

SOCIAL MEDIA AND PUBLIC POLICY (Link to PDF)

After you read the article at The Nation about the “mean WoC” on Twitter click the link and read this paper. Then I invite you to chew on how this think tank produced the research, funded by the British government to spell out how social media influences not only policy but public discourses and civic engagement. After you’ve thought about that, consider what all these pieces about “mean people on Twitter” are really about. Especially, keep in mind these points vis a vis who owns the media that publishes them.

“Misogofeminists” and the white men who profit from silencing critiques

Yesterday social media was ablaze with a post making the rounds in feminist/ woman centered spaces. The post in question was about the neologism “misogofeminists”. No idea what that means? No problem, New Statesman Deputy Editor Helen Lewis explains it succinctly:

Brilliant coinage by @Glosswitch: misogofeminists. Women (and allies) whose primary form of feminist activism is trashing other women.

— Helen Lewis (@helenlewis)

January 28, 2014

The link in Lewis’ tweet directs to the personal blog of Glosswitch, another New Statesman contributor. You know, Lewis does her part to promote the house talent’s efforts. In the article, Glosswitch launches a tirade against “critics” and “bullies” who harass white women. She goes on to quote transphobe extraordinaire Catherine McKinnon in what is a template of white supremacist thinking. Glosswitch, never one to miss an opportunity to decree that intersectionality is bad, says: 

Of course, if you think about it for half a second, there is no point in even attempting to analyse intersections of gender, race and class if you’re not prepared to include an examination of your own misogyny

To be clear on who is truly oppressed, she quotes from this McKinnon article

Unlike other women, the white woman who is not poor or working class or lesbian or Jewish or disabled or old or young does not share her oppression with any man. That does not make her condition any more definitive of the meaning of “women” than the condition of any other woman is. But trivializing her oppression, because it is not even potentially racist or class-biased or heterosexist or anti-Semitic, does define the meaning of being “anti-woman” with a special clarity. How the white woman is imagined and constructed and treated becomes a particularly sensitive indicator of the degree to which women, as such, are despised.

Lewis, promoting this analysis is not merely “someone sharing a link among friends”, though. Not even 48 hours have passed since I Storified this genesis of “Flavia is a bully” because I initiated a conversation centered on experiences of Women of Color and hair.

Here we have a Deputy Editor of a mainstream publication equating critiques from Women of Color to bullying, harassment and now codifying all this behavior under a new umbrella term: misogofeminism. Or, to put it in layman terms, when uppity Women of Color and other marginalized minorities complain that mainstream publications contribute to their marginalization. However, this “stirring the pot” of feminism in social media spaces is not neutral. It is not merely “passing time” or “sharing information”. Lewis is a paid employee of New Statesman, working for her employer’s visibility on social media; she is not just “a woman with an opinion”. When she promotes posts like the above, she is also raising the online currency of her own bloggers (since Glosswitch is a contributor as well). And these tactics work. They have finally put New Statesman out of a consistent cycle of financial loss. As reported here in The Independent in April 2013, Ian Burrell: By embracing feminism, the New Statesman beat its old rival. From the article: 

Last Thursday, at Conway Hall in London, it hosted an event called “The Future of Feminism”, at which the magazine’s “crack squad of feminist bloggers” – many of them in their twenties – held forth before a sell-out audience.[…]

Lewis has been integral to growing website traffic to a record 1.4 million unique users last month.

Jason Cowley, the New Statesman’s editor, has observed these developments with some satisfaction.[…]

Today, the New Statesman website comfortably beats that of The Spectator, against which its success has long been measured.[…]

The editor says the magazine, with its compact staff of 15, will come into profit this year, which should please its benefactor, Mike Danson, who bought out former owner and Labour MP Geoffrey Robinson in 2009.

One could argue that Lewis is just doing her job. She is, after all, paid to work social media outrage and generate page clicks. However, I do take issue with the well being of Women of Color, trans women, queer folks, etc, becoming fodder of tabloid tactics for profit. Ms. Lewis job should not come at the expense of our silencing and further marginalization, especially, when said profits are to further fund a multimillionaire white man, Mike Danson, the owner of New Statesman.

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In 2009, Mr. Danson, whose net worth is valued at £310 Million, acquired New Statesman. 

Prior to Mike Danson’s acquisition of New Statesman, when the publication was not profitable, they published features such as this one, None deadlier than the Mail, a blistering indictment of Daily Mail tactics of coercion and silencing of oppressed groups. From the article (emphasis mine): 

A specialist writer with many years at the paper told me: “You become so inculcated with all of the doctrine that you know instantly what you are supposed to write. You forget the extent to which you are blinkered. It is hard to put your finger on it. You probably do get chemically changed by the experience.” One former news reporter said: “On 60-70 per cent of stories, you are not aware of it; but, on touchstone issues, you knew that the headline had been written before the story came in and your job was to make the facts fit.”

The Mail’s quest to reflect the moral and political values of its lower-middle-class readers frequently goes beyond mere reporting, taking on the shape of a punitive campaign against anybody who says or does anything that challenges those values.

Lady Brittan, wife of the former Conservative home secretary Leon Brittan, found herself a target when, in August 2002, as chair of the National Lottery’s Community Fund, she approved a grant for the National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns. The Mail, high on its anti-immigration horse, denounced her as “queen of the loony lotto grants” and “a quango queen”; her husband as a “fat cat”; her colleagues on the Lottery board as “sanctimonious politically correct twits”, “unelected quangocrats” and “politically correct do-gooders”; their decision as “offensive beyond belief “, “a disgrace”, “bizarre”, “outrageous” and “scandalous”.

Four times in ten days, the paper encouraged its readers to “vent their justified anger” by writing to Lady Brittan; and each time, it published her address at the Community Fund’s office. She then received a torrent of what she described as “hate mail”.

I insist on this paragraph:

The Mail’s quest to reflect the moral and political values of its lower-middle-class readers frequently goes beyond mere reporting, taking on the shape of a punitive campaign against anybody who says or does anything that challenges those values.

Do these tactics sound familiar already? They should because at the time of this New Statesman article, Helen Lewis was a subeditor of The Daily Mail. There isn’t that much information available of her exact role in the tabloid but, this press release posted at Press Gazette (yet another media industry publication owned by Mike Danson) places her working at The Daily Mail at least as far as August 2007.  And this feature at The World Editors Forum interviews her in her role of Daily Mail subeditor in July 2008.  Back then, New Statesman named these tactics “punitive campaign against anybody who challenges those values”. Any similarities with charges of “misogofeminism”, “bullying” and/ or “harassment” are not a coincidence.

When Danson took over, this supposedly left leaning publication not only started using outrage tabloid tactics but also refused to recognise the National Union of Journalists, the trade union to which almost of all its journalists belonged. 

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In this return to profits at the expense of feminism there is another link worth considering: Jason Cowley, editor of New Statesman. While Lewis role is to generate outrage and attention on behalf of the publication, it is Cowley who is in charge.

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This is the same man who, in 2007, wrote a detailed article at The Guardian expressing his disappointment at “the dirty masses” (not a metaphor). In “This popcorn and burger society is making me sick”, Cowley wrote: 

There are always sullen teenagers hanging around, and when they are not sledging you, you are forced to wade through the trash they carelessly scatter: the cans, the bottles, the burger cartons.

It is little better inside, where you are assaulted by the hard sell of the concession stands, with their popcorn and oversized confectionary bars. Why must everything be so big, overlit and gaudy? Why must the intention always be to rip you off?

Our high streets bring little relief, with their drab uniformity. At night, especially at weekends, inane drunks invariably overrun our town centres.

And then this gem, right at the end of the article:

I have long felt that Margaret Thatcher was misunderstood when she spoke of the supremacy of the individual and the family over the abstraction of society. Thatcher was a stern Victorian moralist, formed by the virtues of Christian nonconformism and the financial probity she learned from her father. She believed in setting us free from government interference. She wanted us to take more responsibility for our destinies.

What she didn’t think hard enough about were the broader social consequences of her reforms, of how too much freedom may be not what we need at all.

She did not believe in the state; she believed in the family, believed that it would restrain our more atavistic and anti-social desires, and show us how properly to behave, in private and public. No doubt she is appalled by how coarse and hedonistic we have become. No, she must say, as she switches on the television or reads the paper, this isn’t right; this isn’t what I had in mind at all when I dreamed the bourgeois dream of the great, good place.

Ah there you have it. A Daily Mail tactician and a Thatcherite sitting in a tree, admonishing misogofeminists, fending off “dirty masses” and “bullies”. What could possibly go wrong?

Trudy at Gradient Lair and Blackamazon have written about the conflation of white women with white men to marginalize women of color. They have both traced the historical roots and patterns that this association has followed throughout centuries. It seems that now, we are to believe that a feminism that reproduces this exact same patterns of marginalization is in our best interest. Any protestations are met with further discipline and silencing. The “dirty masses” should not have a say in how they are represented, after all. We are just to nod silently while white millionaires and the white feminists who assist them make money from our oppression. Media cruelty at our expense is obviously a profitable enterprise.