Apropos of Hugo Schwyzer’s arrest for DUI, Amadi called the county jail and since arrest records are public, they informed her that indeed, he had been arrested.
Because I am posting this from my phone, I cannot link to a post that mentions being upset that I didn’t link to the student that came out as having a relationship with Hugo Schwyzer. There is a reason I didn’t link to this woman: I don’t know the degree of exposition she wants or if she is even OK with it being discussed openly. I am very, very wary of linking to any of his victims who have been abused and attacked by his supporters. This is not something I take lightly. It is a double edge sword, on the one hand, it is worth making it public, on the other, it risks exposing the victims, who are already vulnerable, to more abuse.
I’ll give an example: I have thousands of followers on Twitter. I am resilient to a lot of online asshatery. Yet, today (not last week but today), I had to endure a feminist with a significant following attacking me for not being “nicer” to HS enablers. I am very quick to deal with that nonsense mocking it first and subsequently blocking it but I am not going to inadvertently expose others to that kind of potentially triggering harassment. I know that what I write can be amplified and I try to be responsible about it even if some people might prefer that I do link to stuff and make it more visible. Not everyone wants the exposure. Some people have blogs that they write for themselves or their friends, just because something is online it doesn’t mean it should be treated as public goods.
When in doubt, I’d rather err on the side of protecting people who neither deserve nor need further harassment. And if there is one thing I did learn from Schwyzer is that his supporters will not stop at anything to make themselves heard, even at the expense of his victims and those he abused.
Early this morning Pasadena City College history instructor and internet-famous male feminist Hugo Schwyzer, who has been conducting a slow-motion self-immolation all summer, interrupted his online hiatus to offer yet another admission of wrongdoing. This one is likely the most significant yet. In a brief middle-of-the-night blogpost, Schwyzer admitted that a pseudonymous accusation posted on Tumblr a few days ago was true, and that he has been conducting sexual relationships with students for several years-
Presented without further comment. I mean, what could one possibly have to add to this except from abject disgust?
Jezebel’s Coen let Hugo go in April 2013 because, as he said, “I wasn’t getting the page clicks I was before.-
1) He is reaching out to MRAs now, giving interviews to the “manosphere” and criticizing male feminists for “only” speaking about violence against women.
2) if you thought Jessica Coen let this asshat go because of ethical concerns or because she finally realized or was willing to admit what some people had been saying all along, the answer is a resounding NO. He was let go because he didn’t bring in the page clicks.
3) Mamma told you so. That’s got to be my new byline.
and to be clear, before anybody starts. what i said: hugo is where he is today because of white feminists. they created, nurtured, supported him. the relationship between them was mutually beneficial. this is a pattern of institutional feminism. friendship=solidarity through resource sharing.
i don’t care if it was deliberate, i don’t care if they hate us all, i don’t care if they all have mustaches that they twirl and go oooh, i will kill another WOC career today! it doesn’t matter to me. what matters is the politicization of that friendship/relationship. some of us need to “just do it ourselves.” others of us have “friends.” and that deserves to be interrogated and challenged.
#i do enjoy making everything a summit about race #this is an example of me doing just that.
And then a few other things I’ve been thinking about, especially in relation to these tweets from last night:
You have a block button fuckin’ use it. I’m just sick of how this has turned into a bizarre teachable moment on race.— Hugo Schwyzer (@hugoschwyzer)
Good editors got played. That has nothing to do with whiteness.— Hugo Schwyzer (@hugoschwyzer)
This whole #solidarityisforwhitewomen thing is an abusive cudgel to be used against a lot of people who are really working at inclusivity— Hugo Schwyzer (@hugoschwyzer)
- It IS about race in so far as race informs and permeates the administration of resources and access to said resources. Race has been at the forefront of how whiteness relates to the “Other” and the places this Other is allowed to fulfill and the narratives s/he is allowed to participate in. For many of us, race is at the center of exclusion and political maneuvering in regards to our survival. Race is about being tokenized in spaces that are coded white but attempt to offer a veneer of inclusivity while pushing ideologies that perpetuate the very same white supremacy that leaves us out of the resource distribution.
- It is also about race in so far as Hugo Schwyzer wrote stuff like this and in spite of this being public and known, Jezebel, The Atlantic and all other venues gave him a space to publish in the name of feminism:
The names of many young men — particularly young Chinese from Hong Kong — are often rather touchingly quaint. This summer, I have — these are first names, mind you — a “Fitzgerald”; a “Woodrow”; three “Benedicts” (my middle name); two “Henrys”; one “Maxwell”; and, my favorite, one “Colfax.” It sounds like a parody of the membership roster of my grandfather’s fraternity, circa 1926! And at the risk of sounding horribly classist, it strikes me as a rather naive attempt to deliberately appropriate WASP cache.
I mention the ethnicity of the folks involved because there seems to be such a clear cultural component to seeing jealousy as acceptable. No, I’m not trying to reinforce a stereotype of Latins or Middle Easterners as particularly “hot-blooded” and thus more prone to misogynstic fits of green-eyed rage than “calm” WASPs. But it’s clear that certain ethnic groups — in this case, Armenians and Salvadorans — are more willing than others to associate male jealousy with evidence of love and care.
- This IS about race when the white editors that published him either did not bother to do basic background research to see how he had systematically picked on non white women or, if they did the background research they decided that these women were disposable and a fair price to pay in exchange of the click bait and page views he brought.
- I’ll grant him one thing, though. This is not just about race. It’s also about corporate feminism or, the appropriation of feminist politics for corporate profits. Just like it has become a culturally ingrained practice in the corporate world where businesses have eschewed long term goals for short term profits, this corporate feminism that depends on the page clicks and visibility and immediate results has not a single care for long term reputation or integrity. It’s all about the page views NOW, not in a year or a decade. It’s not about long term political change but about instant outrage and viral page views. Hugo Schwyzer became part of this culture because his schtick is extremely effective at these short term profits. When Jessica Coen grieves for her relationship with him, she conveniently forgets to mention the page clicks and outrage and publicity he brought for the site she manages. Since the internet has more or less promoted an ahistorical and context free environment, there are no long term material consequences for the editors that enabled him. They paid a price that was not theirs to pay: the reputation and well being of every woman he trashed and bad mouthed.
- It still is about race. Because in spite of this going on for almost a decade, he still managed to weasel his way into some of the biggest publications in the English language. He still managed to use his white, cis male privilege to gain access to places that gave him a platform and insert himself in networks that are not open to just about anyone.
He would like us to believe this is not about race because he still wants to make this about him and his awesome powers to manipulate us. He would like us to conveniently forget centuries of history and the behavior of white, cis men and how said behavior has always been rewarded. Super Hugo, our very own Professor Feminism, wants us to believe that race played no role in any of this. It was all his magnificent cock getting him the stuff he needed. He doesn’t want anyone else to be held accountable because that would detract from the attention he thinks he deserves. But this is about race and it is about the white feminism that enabled him.
So, Twitter is outpouring with discussions about a white cis man’s mental health issues and whether current depictions of his behavior are ableist or not. They might be ableist, I wouldn’t know because I haven’t been following the way his mental health diagnosis or its manifestations are currently being framed. And here’s the discussion that is not happening: how years of abuse might have impacted the mental health of Women of Color. Here’s another discussion that is not happening: feminist community response to the possible mental health issues of the WoC in question. And here’s yet another discussion that is not happening: who is accountable for the well being of the community and the members that are cast away.
But you know, even when we denounce an abuser we are still going to be erased from the subsequent discussions in the aftermath.
Please stop patronizing us. We know as well as you that the redemption narrative has already been written. Look, you obviously owe a number of people very heartfelt apologies for trampling over their critiques for the past several years. I’m not expecting this to happen, but you might at least dispense with the half-assed attempts to make us think you’re joining our ranks and getting yourself some “consciousness-raising.” Not gonna happen. Not unlike Hugo, you’ve been pretty predictable all these years.- An Open Letter to Big Feminist Media Regarding Hugo Schwyzer by Kristin Rawls at Global Comment
I need to put this one last thing in writing as an addendum to my previous post about Hugo Schwyzer. In the interview posted in NYMag, where he talks about his behavior as “off brand” he also states that he thinks of Jay Smooth and Ta-Nehisi Coates as examples of male allies for feminism.
Well, isn’t that surprising Professor Feminism considering these are the two names I mentioned in this here interview in The Atlantic where I carefully explained why you are not fit to speak about feminism? This was in February 2012. That more than one and half year later you still haven’t been able to come up with your own ideas is testament to what a poor hack you are.
You can try to write your own history within feminism. Some of us still keep archives and bookmarks.
I have stopped blogging, haven’t I? It wasn’t planned and it certainly doesn’t feel definite. Yet, I have a grand total of 5,678 unanswered emails. No hyperbole, this is the figure accumulated in all 4 of my mailboxes that I stopped checking a couple of months ago. In the past week I’ve gotten half dozen or more media requests about Hugo Schwyzer. Did I have something to say? What did I think about him quitting the internet? I wasn’t even aware he had quit until the emails started coming in. I had to google and trace back the footsteps of the writers who had been covering the on going debacle. I stared at the screen trying to muster some reaction other than “Oh, it has come to this”. And then, I started to frantically search for the apologies, the accountability, the mea culpas. I searched in vain because I am not interested in his apologies or his accountability (LOL as if there was going to be any to begin with). No, I wanted to find the apologies from every editor in a major publication that gave him a paid gig so that he could become the “Hugo Schwyzer brand” (LOL again, he called sexting and dick pics “off brand”). I wanted the media that celebrated all the page clicks his filthy faux feminism brought in to publicly acknowledge their role in creating the toxicity that enabled his rise to fame. I wanted Jezebel’s Editor in Chief, Jessica Coen, to acknowledge how she contributed to this disaster every time she banned commenters protesting his presence. I wanted her and his editors at The Atlantic and Jane Pratt from xoJane to look at us in the metaphorical eye, and say “I am sorry”. I was expecting some sort of ethical acknowledgement of the role that the media they manage played in his systematic abuse of any dissenters. Women like Blackamazon, like brownfemipower and countless others he systematically belittled and demonized deserved the public apology. The women, and it is no coincidence he systematically picked on Women of Color, whose lives he insulted and put down deserved this apology. Even I deserved better considering how he went through back channels to have me removed from blogs and publications where I contribute to because I dared criticize his posturing and tales of redemption.
I despise his ideology. This is no news to anyone. However, here’s where things get murky and difficult and not easy to express coherently (mostly because it is difficult to put into words the source of so much of my anger and disappointment): even more so than despising his ideology, I despise the culture that enabled him. I despise the TMZ of feminist media that “reports” our issues and sells us a lip gloss version of our politics and gives space to people like him so that he can shit on us and tell us how we should take it in the face while he puts Women of Color in “their (our) places”. This is how White Supremacy works and I am pointing all my fingers at Jezebel and xoJane and The Atlantic and every other publication that paid him to publish his repulsive opinions. The shame is on each of you and not merely on his cock shots or pathetic sexting. The shame is on every editor that thought selling women like Blackamazon or brownfemipower (or even my fucking self) for page clicks was a worthy trade off. Each and every one of those editors that knew what he was, how he acted and how his misogynist racism operated behind the scenes has played a part in this. And you get to “represent” feminism. You are the filters of who gets published and who doesn’t. You are the ones that hold the doors and set the agendas. The dick pics are also on you. You helped create the monster, now I hope you enjoy the money shot. And don’t say you weren’t warned. Countless others aside from myself had extensively documented his antics, his skeevy politics, his racism, his misogyny. But he brought the page clicks. At our fucking expense. Sisterhood! Yay!
Herein lies another problem with this toxic media environment that supposedly represents feminism: if you protest too loudly or not using the right platitudes or if you go after the gate keepers, you can forget to be included. You can forget mainstream gigs, book deals, mentions, promotion. You become “a loose cannon” (something he apparently called me for writing about him). You will never know this because other people won’t tell you in your face. They just stop talking about you or your work does not get promoted or you are confined to a very small niche, left to the “discontent bunch”. You are “difficult”. The fact that Hugo Schwyzer, white knight extraordinaire, defender of the likes of Amanda Marcotte against a “horde” of mean Women of Color was paid to write about feminist issues while someone like brownfemipower was confined to the category of “trouble maker” is testament of these dynamics at play. I insist, the media that paid him to write, plus every gig, speaking engagement, interview, authoritative quote, TV appearance he did on behalf of feminism is a slap on the face of every Woman of Color he belittled and worked against.
There is no justice in him leaving the internet (LOL as if, mark my words, he will be back and probably with a book deal). It would have been justice if those who make money under the banner of feminism had not given him a space to begin with. Justice is when we collectively acknowledge that someone’s ideas are not fit to represent our politics and we do not reward them with celebrity and promotion. It would have been justice if, instead of giving him a space, those publications would have hired Women of Color to amplify the voices he worked so hard to silence. Leaked dick pics and grimy sexts are not justice, they are just a sordid confirmation of what many of us already knew.
I stopped blogging a couple of months ago because I felt like a merchant of pain and death. I can only write about those topics that I know first hand and they almost always come with pain. I wrote about my own dead, the dead I carry on my shoulders. I always write about the pain that we experience on a daily basis and then, one day, I felt dirty. I felt that all this death and pain, in the culture we live in, is not honored but turned into a commercial affair. I felt I was selling my dead for the opportunity to become a “brand”. I never wanted to be a “personality”. I wanted to change the world. I wanted no other undocumented migrant to ever have to carry another dead on her shoulders. I wanted to make it better. Then I realized that we live in a culture that celebrates the smut brought to us by the likes of Hugo Schwyzer and my pain has no place in that culture. This feminism, these politics of the left that have been co-opted by the mere commercialization of our grief. “Take it up a notch! Drive the page clicks!”. Those of us who write and have bills to pay are forced to partake in this culture of death. Some of us delude ourselves thinking that one day we won’t have to write about the pain, we will be able to write about whatever we want because we are now a “recognizable brand”. We buy into the myth of bootstrapping our way up the media food chain so that we can become the gatekeepers and then “things will be different”. But they are not and the price becomes too high to pay. In my case, I felt the trade off was the memory of everything I hold dear and sacred: life and my loved ones. I couldn’t do it anymore, at least for a while. Now, I write this and realize that Hugo Schwyzer’s popularity is a direct cause of our pain. He got to be a protagonist in the history of feminist blogging, even celebrated by some; Women of Color get to fill the supporting role of killjoys and discontents. His leaving the internet (no matter for how long) is no justice for us because our lives, our pain and our dead are still not honored.
I blame Schwyzer for the ineffectual, whitewashed, lukewarm feminism that is incapable of producing substantial change
A while ago, everyone was talking about Anne Marie Slaugher’s piece “Why women can’t have it all”. Back then I wrote that the reason why women cannot have it all is because feminism has stopped being about dreams and utopia and revolution and instead, it has become a movement set to compromise with patriarchy. We are supposed to want to have better positions at capitalist exploitation (women should aspire to be CEOs, earn more even at the expense of other women who are subjugated across racist poverty, exploitation of resources in the Global South, etc.). And now, of course, I have also spoken out about Schwyzer’s attempt to silence me (which as it is rightfully noted here, is not the first time he does to a Latina blogger).
Meanwhile, Schwyzer continues to have a place on the feminist table. He continues to be interviewed, his “side of the story” is made to matter, he is allowed to continue forcing himself into feminist spaces, he gets paid to write about women’s issues, for women, in mainstream media publications, etc. AND THEN WE WONDER WHY PATRIARCHAL POLITICIANS A LA ROMNEY DO NOT TAKE FEMINISM SERIOUSLY?! Then we wonder why the erosion of women’s rights across all the Western world continues unabated? Then we have round tables, talks, conferences, dissertations, seminars, paid writing gigs, debates, to discuss why women’s rights are on the first line of attack when racist, heteronormative patriarchy needs to be enforced? How can we even dare to wonder about the root cause of this when the most mainstream form of feminism allows a guy like Schwyzer to “represent” women? Have we been made so submissive by virtue of capitalist consumer culture that we misguidedly believe we need to “negotiate” our own fucking spaces with a guy like Hugo Schwyzer? Have we been collectively beaten into compliance that a White, cisgender, American man is “approved” to speak on our behalf and then we wonder why our interests are not well represented?
And while Schwyzer, individually, cannot be held accountable for the complete demise of feminism, I believe him to be a very good metonymical representation of the movement’s failures. The failures represented by compromise, lukewarm attempts at “change” that only serve to further subjugate women, that continue to keep Women of Color “in their place”, boxed in an asphyxiating structure of White Supremacy, relegated to the role of “trouble maker” to be silenced, to be demanded “proof of her own oppression”. Schwyzer, allowed to be the executing arm of this White Supremacy, in the name of the very same ideology that is supposed to “liberate” women.
For as long as a man like Hugo Schwyzer can silence Women of Color and “groom” White women to act as his shields against our “mean anger”, no woman will be allowed to have it all. We have gotten to a point where the most revolutionary thing feminism can do is say NO. Just that. No. A white, cisgender American man can never have a woman’s best interests in mind. A feminism that gives Schwyzer the benefit of the doubt while he demands that we “prove” our oppression, is nothing but a sham. When white, cisgender, male politicians come for our rights, let’s not forget who kept the door open for them.
A feminism coated in a permanent “it takes two to tango” rhetoric/ apologia is not feminism. It’s called “victim blaming” and I thought we stood against that as a matter of principle.