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.
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.
Are you writing a book? Are you shopping a manuscript or just interested in the publishing industry?
Then this report published yesterday is a must read. From the link:
Choosing which way to publish is becoming a difficult choice for the modern author. This choice has only grown more challenging as options have expanded and as conflicting reports have emerged on how much or how little writers can expect to make. Our contention is that many of these reports are flawed, both by the self-selected surveys they employ, the sources for these surveys, and, occasionally, the biases in their interpretation. Our fear is that authors are selling themselves short and making poor decisions based on poor data. That is the main purpose for fighting for earnings transparency: helping aspiring writers choose the path that’s best for them.
Now, let me be clear on one thing: this report might be biased in favor of self publishing or indie publishing. However, I still think this is important data to keep in mind, especially for so called “niche” authors (genre, certain areas of non fiction, etc). If anything, I think the value of this report is in adding to a set of tools so that unpublished writers can make better informed decisions.
Meanwhile, underneath the prevalence of the public apology is a great public wrong. And so we, the public, we want someone to do something. We want the offending column fixed, the black woman comedian hired, the bill to pass, banks to lend safely, clean drinking water, health care, a job, even just a book recommendation we can count on. We want action on whatever it is, and we go to Twitter for it, feed fatigue and all, because there, unlike just about everywhere else, we still get what we’re after. Twitter, for all the ridiculousness there, is one of the few places where there’s accountability at all for any of this. While it may feel dangerous that no one is above being taken down by Twitter, it also means that in its way, it is the one truly democratic institution left. It may be terrifying that it is the one place you have to be more careful than most, but that is also why, for now, it still matters.-
I really recommend clicking through and reading in its entirety. It’s a great counteranalysis to all the “Twitter wars” nonsense.
The Postcolonialist welcomes contributions in fields including but not limited to language and literature, visual and performing arts, film, political science, media, anthropology and sociology. While most contributions are in English, submissions are welcome in French, Spanish, and Portuguese.-
The Postcolonialist is a new inter-disciplinary, multi-lingual publication on postcolonial studies where scholars, journalists, writers, and artists from around the world can collaborate and engage in dialogue. Click through the link to read their submission guidelines and contributor’s notes.
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.
I love how @redlightvoices was having a discussion about Penny Red’s piece, Penny barged in, and now Flavia is the bully. Give me a break.— Imani ABL (@AngryBlackLady)January 28, 2014
So, this happened last night. Since I write a lot about media analysis and how media represents (or not, as the case might be), our interests, I have storified this whole debacle. The reason I have storified this entire conversation is because it ties down to Sarah Kendzior’s piece from last week about media exclusion and how public discourses are created and promoted. Let me be clear here: I am not documenting this because OMG I WAS SO BADLY TREATED. Fuck that noise. I am interested in how those in charge of platforms and access to publishing in mainstream media build a narrative and how that narrative becomes accepted and the “truth”. Then, in turn, these narratives feed accepted notions of how women of color are “mean” to white feminists and how we “divide” the movement, etc. These myths are then used as excuses to leave people out and erase them as valid knowledge producers, as sources of information, etc.
So, this is a rather long Storify but if you are interested in media production, it might be worth a read.
Today, at Al Jazeera, Sarah Kendzior wrote one of the most sensible media analysis I’ve read in a good while: When mainstream media is the lunatic fringe. I don’t have anything to add to this so, rather than comment, here are a few choice quotes but I highly recommend clicking through and reading the whole thing.
But is the mainstream media any different in its biases and cruelty? It does not appear to be. Mainstream media cruelty is actually more dangerous, for it sanctions behaviour that, were it blogged by an unknown, would likely be written off as the irrelevant ramblings of a sociopath.[…]
It is not surprising that people lack empathy. What is surprising is that unbridled antipathy toward innocent people continues to be sanctioned in an era where fatuous arguments - and terrible ethics - are called out en masse. For critics of mainstream media cruelty, social media is a means to prevent lunacy from being accepted as logic. To the mainstream, it is mere “snark”.
Mainstream media cruelty targets those who lack power. Their crime is daring to exist. Along with cancer patients and transgender individuals, racial minorities are a frequent focus.[…]
In the American media [ED: word by word this applies exactly to Dutch media and I’d venture, European in general], white people debate whether race matters, rich people debate whether poverty matters, and men debate whether gender matters. People for whom these problems have no alternative but to matter - for they structure the limitations of their lives - are locked out of the discussion.
Reading this paper, Intersections: The Simultaneity of Race, Gender and Class in Organization Studies by Evangelina Holvino (originally published by the Center for Gender in Organizations at the Simmons School of Management), this quote stood up:
As early as 1974 the Combahee River Collective recognized that the struggle of Black women was a uniﬁed struggle against race, gender and class inequality articulated in ‘A black feminist statement’:
[W]e are actively committed to struggling against racial, sexual, heterosexual, and class oppression and see as our particular task the development of integrated analysis and practice based upon the fact that the major systems of oppression are interlocking … we see Black feminism as the logical political movement to combat the manifold and simultaneous oppressions that all women of color face.
But, as Sandoval documents, a hegemonic feminist theory based on the experience of white women had developed. This theory, liberal feminism, suppressed, intentionally or not, the theorizing and practice of women of colour and the recognition of the contributions of ‘an original, eccentric and coalitional cohort of U.S. feminists of color’. One outcome of both ‘ﬁrst wave’ US feminisms in the 19th century and the ‘second wave’ women’s movement, which grew during the 1970s and 1980s, was that women of colour were rendered invisible and their concerns and experiences were disappeared.[…]
Important differences between white women and women of colour’s theories emerged, which led to different paths in the theorizing and practice of gender at the intersection of race and class. The scholarship documenting these differences is extensive, particularly from Black and Chicana feminists. While some, in particular socialist feminists, tried to respond to this critique, the white feminist movement overall failed to successfully address it. This failure, in turn, overdetermined the lack of attention to the intersections of race, class and gender in organizational theory and research, even when feminist analyses have been deployed, for most of these analyses were drawn from white women’s feminist theorizing.
And I believe these few paragraphs succinctly synthesize why Black feminism and womanism and other Feminisms of Color do not come in “waves”. They are, in most cases, divergent and oppositional to them. So, while white feminist history has been written as “waves”, feminisms of color emerged as a number of forces that had to stand in opposition to both these “waves” that were erasing and exclusionary and the pull of white supremacist, heteronormative, cissupremacist capitalism. The paper also contextualizes a number of issues in regards to WoC’s relationship to labor and white feminist demands around careers and inclusion in the market.
I do wish the author had not glossed over the misogyny experienced by WoC within communities of color, though. This is a dynamic I often see reproduced in social media and other environments related to media production as well (tumblr, blogs, etc). Namely, when WoC create a space for self actualization or self empowerment, they sometimes become targets of men of color who seek to delegitimize their work but do not necessarily go after white men with the same degree of virulence. Moreover, I’ve seen the work of intellectual Black women and other WoC disqualified by men of color who later on have nothing but praise for the intellectual production of white men and women. Yet, in spite of this minor critique I have, I did find myself nodding in agreement with the author here:
Others have referred to this unique perspective of women of colour as a third gender category, multiple consciousness, triple jeopardy, oppositional consciousness, mestiza and borderlands, a bridge, a crossroads and interstitial feminism. I liken this position to a kind of belonging and not belonging, a ‘both/and’ orientation that allows women of colour to be members of a particular group (of colour, women) and at the same time stand apart from it as the ‘outsider within’. Hurtado calls it a shifting consciousness […], the ability of many women of colour to shift from one group’s perception of social reality to another and at times, to be able simultaneously to perceive multiple social realities without losing their sense of self-coherence. This position, in turn, creates a specific relationship to knowledge and knowledge production. It is informed by knowledge that expresses and validates oppression, while, at the same time, it also documents and encourages resistance to oppression. This places women of colour in a unique position to document ‘the maneuvers necessary to obtain and generate knowledge: [a] unique knowledge that can be gleaned from the interstices of multiple and stigmatized social identities’. Theory itself comes to be questioned, partly as a challenge to the apparatus and institutions of theory-making that silence the perspective of women of colour and partly as a way of connecting to their communities of origin, which are in many instances working class and non-academic. Feminist writing by women of colour is different in style and content. For example, there is a mixing of different genres such as poetry, critical essays, short stories, letters, memoirs, and the production of knowledge itself is less tied to the academy. The call is to create theory that uses ‘race, class, gender, and ethnicity as categories of analysis, theories that cross borders [and] blur boundaries — new kinds of theories with new theorizing methods’.
I believe this paragraph, right here, puts the finger exactly on the issue I’ve been talking about for the past few weeks (and even before when I was derided for not using “simpler” words or ideas); specifically, the above highlights some of the reasons for the systematic erasure and lack of recognition for the intellectual productions of Women of Color. As I stated before, it’s not that there aren’t any “feminist intellectuals”, it’s that this hegemonic definition of “intellectual” needs to be questioned, unpacked and, I’d dare say, dismantled. There is as much intellectual work in writing a paper like the one I am quoting here as there is in writing a short poem for one’s blog. After thinking this topic for weeks, I now reject the premise entirely: the question is not “where are the feminist intellectuals”. The question is “why does white feminism continue rejecting our knowledge production and hegemonizing the very definition of what it means to be an intellectual”.
I want to document this once and for all. Here’s a Storify on how I feel about decontextualized and erasing quotes of my work used as a white supremacist strategy. Now, QUOTE THIS!
I see things. I read things. I watch social media and the internet at large pass by and I see a lot. I am both interested and deeply invested in seeing these things, in observing and understanding. I thrive to understand not only my life but larger issues at play that affect me. This is why I spend so much time reading and observing how people discuss, how they talk, what they believe in. I always hope that by understanding these discussions, essays, news items, etc, I will come to an understanding of how larger political and cultural issues operate through ideas/ ideology. I hope that by learning how they are expressed I can be better equipped to resist them and dismantle them.
Seeing things comes with a weight of sorts, though. A call to a follow up action or reaction. You can see and acknowledge; you can see and remain silent; you can see and roll your eyes (or, as Sara Ahmed calls it “feminist pedagogy through eye rolling”); you can see and side eye; you can see and comment. Side eye has always been my go to “feminist pedagogy”. “Mirando de reojo” as my mother used to point out when I was the child with a tendency to impugn through the eyes. But then I became “a writer”. One of multiple, of many, of a sea of others. And then “side eyeing” wasn’t enough to convey a reaction. I needed words to do so. The problem is that by “finding words” and “using words to side eye”, I also became painfully aware of the consequence of “side eyeing through publication”. I could now only choose to either “observe and remain silent” or “observe and side eye through what I write”.
In the list of “things I observe”, feminist media or women centered media takes a big chunk of the attention. Mostly because I am a feminist but also because I am deeply interested in how this “feminist taxonomy” of sorts behind “woman” is created. Who is allowed to “become woman” in these discourses? Who is represented and spoken about? How does feminist (or woman centered) media propose that we understand “woman” and the issues pertaining to “woman”? Those are the questions I seek to answer when I observe media and feminist discussions. But then comes the side eye. Side eyeing is the moment I have to decide whether I will be the public killjoy or if I will move on and “let it go”. That is the precise, pinpoint moment when I am left in the unattainable position of “pointing out the harm” or “eating the harm on my own”.
A common idea pushed lately by many mainstream white feminists is that denouncing within feminism is somewhat “anti feminist”. We should, apparently, “side eye in silence”. Even though this is the political ideology that writes the definitions of “woman”, the one that decides on what it means to be “woman” and the one that assigns value to “woman”, we should just accept what we see and not say anything. Saying something is to be the bearer of “division” and “abuse”. You then become not only the killjoy but the oppressor itself. You, with your act of “public side eye” are the one “abusing women”. The fact that this white feminism is defining what it means to be a woman and perpetuating ideologies that explicitly leave you out, you are not to say anything. “You are not a woman by our definition”, you are now “the abuser” that divides the movement and creates “bad atmosphere”. Not a woman, not a feminist, not “one of us”.
Yesterday I saw a great number of white feminists “discussing things”. And I am purposefully being vague here because I am trying very hard not to play into the stereotypes that will later on be hurled at me for being “divisive” and for not “praising what deserves praise” and for not “acknowledging efforts”. All these things will be either insinuated or said openly if I choose to “side eye publicly”. I might even lose friends or support from people for doing so. Because “I can never be happy” with what is done. So, instead of denouncing something concrete, I want to write about the pattern. The repetition of these issues. These discussions were never meant to “leave me out”. Of course not. It’s just that they were never mindful of how the “things that bring me in” should also be contemplated. When white feminists “discuss things” and those “things” never mention any issue outside white, cisgender and of a certain class or education, those “things” that they are discussing explicitly leave people out. When discussing “things” and the words “racism” or “transmisogyny” or “ableism” are not mentioned once, then those “things” that are discussed fail at conveying the experience of being “woman” for a great number of people. That’s when side eyeing comes in. That’s when feminism harms me. Because it forces me to either remove myself from this narrowly defined category of “woman” they have created or, it forces me to erase the specific ways in which “the things white feminists discuss among each other” affect me differently. When white feminism “discusses things” and those “things” do not involve a single mention of the “things” that women like me experience, I am left with no representation in the “things” they discuss. Protesting this lack of representation is, I insist, “divisive” and “abusive”.
So, instead of engaging in a discussion of “things that affect white feminists”, I am going to quietly side eye and use my words to establish the pattern. This, the discussions that do not include women like me, is the concrete way in which feminism specifically harms us. And I got nothing but a massive eye roll for it.
This here Tumblr by Hana Riaz who you should also follow on Twitter. She writes a lot about self care and love, two topics we should hear more about every day and she’s involved in some great projects about self image.
(I’ll update the list as well but didn’t want the edit to get lost for people who have already reblogged)
schrbk-deactivated20140307 asked: hi, do you have some recommended reads/books on feminism/politics/immgration specific to the situation in the EU? I'm from Belgium myself
Rather than giving you a book or a list of books (though this one here would be a good one to read), I’d do something better, create a list of Euro folks who regularly comment on books, media and intellectual production.
Since you are in Belgium but I am unsure whether you prefer English, Flemish or French, then I’ll do the next best thing, direct you to people who cover all three languages!
Again, a couple of caveats:
1. I am only including People of Color who are based in Europe in this list not because there isn’t any white person doing good work but because I want to center our voices in relating our experiences and multitude of differences as well as similarities. As I’ve said many times, I am very interested in “a choral, shared history” and I hope this list would reflect that.
2. This is not a complete list and it is certainly not meant to encompass everyone doing awesome work. These suggestions are based on interactions I have through this space, Twitter and/or people I know personally. As I said yesterday on the Latina feminist reader, I am very happy to continue expanding this list with other suggestions. I am focusing this list on feminism of color/ womanism and migrant experiences only. I insist, this doesn’t mean there aren’t other people doing great work in Europe, offering political analysis or commentary. It’d be impossible to list them all so, instead, I am only centering the specifics of the question received: gender, politics and migration/ race.
For Flemish/ Dutch language, I would recommend Tamghrabit’s blog on this here Tumblr. She is also on Twitter and again, if you use the platform, I strongly recommend you follow her. Incidentally, she is the editor of Alert Magazine which publishes in both English and Flemish/Dutch. Link here.
Another Netherlands based Tumblr I would highly recommend is Queerintersectional. I won’t reveal anything about this person’s identity because I don’t know how comfortable they are with details of their lives being on the internet (a topic we actually never discussed) but suffice to say, I consider this person a dear friend and their politics are deep cutting, sharp and smart as hell.
Mieke’s blog here, Samblabelanda is a project to document her Indonesian heritage and family history within the Dutch colonial past. And a link to Twitter. It’s mostly in English but with a strong focus on Dutch history.
Sara Salem, who is Egyptian/Dutch blogs in English about colonialism, post colonialism, race and Marxism. Here’s a link to her Twitter where she is very active sharing news and commentary.
If you can read Dutch, head over to Roet in het Eten, Quinsy Gario’s blog for the eponymous radio show (which you can also listen to online, the team regularly posts soundcloud files, - they haven’t yet uploaded the show I was a guest at a few weeks ago when they do, I’ll share a link so that you can all listen to me raging in Dutch). Also, if you are on Twitter, follow Quinsy Gario there, he regularly shares info about events, shows, conferences, etc on his stream. Roet in het Eten is also a great place to read regularly because they post links to other blogs and media in the Dutch language.
A must read, Sara Ahmed’s Feminist Killjoys blog. She is London based and one of the most prominent intellectual voices within European feminism. Her Twitter is also a must follow for those who use the platform.
This here Tumblr and The Body Narratives by Hana Riaz who you should also follow on Twitter. She writes a lot about self care and love, two topics we should hear more about every day and she’s involved in some great projects about self image.
Bonus Euro Women of Color on Twitter:
Judeinlondon, as her name suggests, London based. She shares links and commentary on current events and media and she always has sharp observations about culture and politics.
Ylva Habel, Stockholm based academic who shares her experiences and insights on issues pertaining to People of Color in Sweden.
Aniqah, a London based Queer WoC feminist Muslim journalist who regularly shares news and commentary.
Carol Roper, UK based, decoloniality, radical Black history, general awesomeness.