“It is reported that about 30% of the world’s population is unemployed. That’s worse than the Great Depression, but it’s now an international phenomenon. You have 30% of the world unemployed, a huge amount of work that needs to be done just rebuilding the society alone. The people who are unemployed want to do the work, but the system is such a catastrophic failure that it cannot bring together idle hands and work. This is all hailed as a great success, and it is a great success - for a very small sector of the population.”—Noam Chomsky (via socialuprooting)
“As feminists, we don’t want to participate in the use of oppressive force or reproduce any system that legitimates this force. As white people born in the U.S. who work at a university, we’ve benefited enormously from this very system we oppose. These contradictions will not be resolved in silence and, unless we work on recognizing and addressing them, we don’t expect for it to be easy for anyone who hasn’t shared our experiences to work with us”—
~Theresa Warburton and Joshua Cerrett, “What We Aren’t Talking About When We Talk About ‘White Privilege’” on The Feminist Wire
Dear followers, teachers, and the Tumblr #education community,
My name is Ray Stoeser and I am a second year English teacher at Crockett Technical High School in Detroit, MI. This year I had the amazing opportunity to be the AP Language and Composition instructor for our school. I work with some of the most amazing students you could meet. Their hunger, passion, and dedication to their education is truly special.
At the beginning of the year, the school told me they would be covering the cost of the AP exams. We are a high poverty school and even the reduced $57 fee per exam is hefty for some of our students’ families. When the time came to order the exams, I was informed that the school was out of funds and would be unable to pay for the exams. I was heartbroken. How was I going to tell my 22 students that they were not going to take the exam for which they had worked so hard to prepare?
With less than 24 hours before we had to order the exams, I told the administration to order all 22 exams. College Board wasn’t going to send the bill until mid-June so that gave me some time to find some donations.
On May 16th the students took their exams and returned to my class excited and confident about their results!
That being said, we still need to pay the bill. My class and I are accepting donations and/or sponsors for the exams. I have 22 students and the exams are $57 each. We would graciously accept any denomination. Also, if you would like to pick one of the 22 students and sponsor their individual exam with a $57 donation that student would be happy to send you a personalized “thank you.”
“The law will remain in force only until July 1, 2013. The short duration says it all. It amounts to a temporary suspension of certain liberties and allows the government to avoid serious negotiations with student leaders. And it grants the authorities carte blanche for the abuse of power; just hours after it passed, police officers in Montreal began to increase the use of force against protesters.”—
Bill 78 says that, “Anyone who helps or induces a person to commit an offense under this Act is guilty of the same offense”. It also fines student organizations huge amounts of money ($25,000 to $125,000) if their members participate in the protests.
“Many women of color, like their Anglo counterparts, eschew the term ‘feminism’ while agreeing with it’s goals (the right to an abortion, equality in job hiring, girls’ soccer teams). But women of color also dismiss the label because the feminist movement has largely focused on the concerns of middle-class women… . Attempts to address the racism of the feminist movement have largely been token efforts without lasting effects. Many young women of color still feel alienated from a mainstream feminism that doesn’t explicitly address race… . Feminism in the United States has stagnated in part because it has largely neglected a class and race analysis.”—“Feminism’s Future Young Feminists of Color Take the Mic” Daisy Hernández (via brazenbitch)
It’s a perspective that makes men feel better about ogling, about demanding. If it’s flattery, there’s no ugly undertone to it, no sense that the person you’re telling to take it off owes you, that you could turn on them if they don’t comply. But when a man experiences, gets driven crazy by it, it’s not really “some Kate Moss shit” anymore, and it’s not complementary. So much of pop culture is like this. When a man experiences objectification, or stays at home with his kids, suddenly, this arena that women have been playing in for decades is a revelation. How does it feel, indeed?
“Each one of us in this room is privileged. You have a bed, and you do not go to it hungry. We are not part of those millions of homeless people roaming America today. Your privilege is not a reason for guilt, it is part of your power, to be used in support of those things you say you believe. Because to absorb without use is the gravest error of privilege.”—Audre Lorde (via lavender-labia)
In a groundbreaking decision late last week, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said a refusal to hire or otherwise discriminate on the basis of gender identity is by definition sex discrimination under federal law.
1. Mainstream feminism hasn’t even accepted race as a factor for analysis yet.
We are still having race problems; the Slutwalk sign fiasco is notable. Mainstream feminists like Naomi Wolf and Jessica Valenti getting away with barely mentioning intersectionality (or non-white authors) in their work is another. Or, you can just open up the pages of Ms. Magazine and see how very white it is. When Women of Color are mentioned, we are tokenized or have colonial and racist ideas projected onto us. Two decades ago, Elizabeth Spelman’s Inessential Woman critiqued mainstream feminism for hoisting sexism over all other oppressions, and even suggesting that it was the “root” or precursor to all other oppression. That was in 1988, and people still think this is the truth.
If feminism can’t even handle racism against Black people— a racism that has been consistently studied and tracked, and which has an overarching narrative in the West, then it’s no surprise that it can’t handle disability, which has no overarching narrative and which has only come to public awareness and study in recent decades. Feminism can barely handle a rigorous analysis of oppression against Latin@, Asian, and Middle Eastern peoples as they intersect with sexism. Even fewer people have questioned colonialism or even know what it is; one example of this is how there are still white feminists out there who see the hijab as something “oppressive” and Muslim women as people in need of their “rescue”.
2. Mainstream feminism has not accepted class as a factor either.
In fact, it has an investment in ignoring class analysis.
The commodification of feminism has turned it into middle class, white women’s activism. This is why talks about contraception and abortion focus exclusively on “rights”, without much discussion on being able to actually afford those rights (for more on this, see Andrea Smith’s Conquest). This is why there is almost no push for food stamps and other welfare programs in mainstream feminism, despite study after study showing how poverty has disproportionately affected Women of Color and their children. If mainstream feminism was concerned about class, it would be pushing to free the disproportionate number of imprisoned Women of Color, or finding ways to fund and support survivors of domestic abuse and sexual abuse, with specific emphasis on more marginalized groups. Instead, these fronts are conspicuously silent.
With the commodification of feminism, white feminists have written about the dangers of sexism without ever having to question their own privilege and how that protects them from many of the things WoC have to deal with. Some of them have even gone as far as to piggyback on the work of other Women of Color, using their ideas verbatim without credit, and profiting hugely from it. Mainstream media publications like Jezebel will question sexism while simultaneously refusing to “believe in” trigger warnings. Others like Shakesville talk about how women are not “crazy” without ever questioning why “crazy” is a bad thing to be called in the first place.
3. Mainstream feminism is still invested in the gender binary.
Full stop. Many prominent feminists are still openly transmisogynistic. Others still have the idea that biology is destiny. If feminism can’t get past an either-or western dualism, then it definitely can’t handle intersectional analysis of disability, which often does not present clear choices.
4. Mainstream feminism is not teaching history in a critical way.
Women’s Studies as a whole is still dominated by a white, middle-class, thin, able-bodied, neurotypical, and cisgender analysis. The majority of WST students also fall into this worldview. These students (and casual feminists) are never taught about the racism, cissexism, and heterosexism throughout the history of feminism, much less “privilege” as a concept. Reading lists are still overwhemingly white and middle class— many of these students haven’t even heard the word “intersectional”.
The wave model for feminism is also problematic, in that it prizes physical activism— activism that was only possible for (educated) white women who did not have children, or who had enough money to get someone else (read: Women of Color) to take care of their kids for them. This capitalistic model of success and failure completely ignores analysis, thought, and the mundane but necessary background work that made these things possible. It also prizes a western-centric historical view without acknowledging work done by others.
5. Disability, unlike other oppressions, lacks unifying factors.
There is no underlying dynamic which influences all disability experiences. Disabled people themselves are split along lines of class, race, gender expression, and sexuality. Even the other, “less complicated” axes like race and class are still infinitely complex. But disability is a huge range of experience that even disabled people don’t understand completely. You could be disabled in one way but never understand how another person with a disability experiences the world.
On the outside, ableism is regularly joked about as a non-existent axis of oppression, while inside, we form our own disability hierarchies and try to judge who has a “legitimate” disability and who doesn’t. A middle class white, cisgender woman with a disability experiences a very different reality from a poor Black trans woman with a disability. We have also been raised to believe that things like race and gender take priority over other identities.
In mainstream feminism, where an individualistic, capitalistic, success-based ideology is touted as the way to go, there is no room for people who literally cannot work. There’s no room for disability when women— that is, able-bodied and neurotypical white women— are supposed to be succeeding in the same way that men do.
My Conclusion: If you are a person who deals with disability issues, don’t rely on feminism for it. It’s not going to happen for a long time.
I am reposting this because I had made it slightly private before. I think we need to share our stories, our rage, our passion and our fight for women’s rights with each other. Send me your story at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will post it on my tumblr. Write me about the process, what you felt, who supported you, why you took advantage of your right to choose.. anything. We need to make it known that we are not alone!
Thursday, May 3rd:
I recently discovered that I am four weeks pregnant. At first I was shocked, then I was scared, then I felt ashamed.. and now I am enraged. I think that unwed pregnancies need to stop having such a fucking taboo attached to them. I don’t know how our culture can shove sex in our faces through food and clothing ads, television shows, movies and the like.. and then shame us when we .. what? get pregnant? the result of having sex.. which is encouraged in so many aspects of our lives. I need to talk to other women about this. Other women need to talk to other women about this.. Today at planned parenthood I learned that 1 in every 3 women will have an abortion. 1 IN EVERY 3 WOMEN WILL HAVE AN ABORTION. I was so fucking shocked to hear that because YOU WOULD NEVER GUESS. PART OF TEACHING PEOPLE ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS IS LETTING OTHERS KNOW WHO IS TAKING ADVANTAGE OF REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS. I want to call my dad and say, “Yo, I’m getting an abortion. A vote for Romney is a vote against me having the future I want.. are you ready to be a grandfather?”
Everything is pretty fucked up, but I am so grateful that I am able to have choice. It is time for me to fight back against this shame, speak out about what I am going through and teach others that they are not alone in this experience. Lezzzdoooit together.
*if you don’t have a story but want to support the women who do, please reblog and pass this on.
Sometimes when I take in the latest news about the ongoing debate surrounding the moral and legal status of abortion, I’m tempted to ignore it altogether. For fleeting moments I want to tuck myself underneath my covers and pretend there’s no debate of any consequence and that any threat to women’s right to choose is minimal. Then I practice some magical thinking, imagining that the situation will resolve itself soon, in my favor, because good will prevail and those who are anti-choice will be outvoted, or just come around to my way of seeing things. Or maybe, I think, all the powerful folks out there — the pro-choice politicians, the grass roots activists, the celebrities — they’ll fight the fight for me. Thank goodness for them!
And then I wake up. I realize that I have resources within me to make a difference.
I believe that as women, we must commit ourselves to sustaining the progress made by our foremothers who fought so hard for women’s equality and liberation. Together, as a powerful and multigenerational sisterhood, we can stand up, speak out, hold hands and be the creators that women ARE. We must create both unity and action to ensure that every woman and girl is safe, protected and free.
Tumblr is like this really great party where you’re hanging out with all your friends and everything is really chill and then Racist Rob walks in and you’re like goddammit who let Racist Rob into the party and he starts fucking everything up and you kick him out but his girlfriend Cissexist Cindy shows up and is like omg why are you so mean to Racist Rob and then Misogynist Mike is like don’t listen to her she’s a women and Racist Rob is like don’t talk to my girl that way and then they start fighting and breaking shit and then Homophobic Hank is like guys stop wrestling that’s gay and then you kick them all out and they just sit outside of your house throwing bricks with anonymous hate messages through your windows and you call the police but then the police arrest you instead.
“Black history is taught like this: you started off as a slave, then white people felt bad and decided to free you, then civil rights legislation made you equal, and finally you achieved victory with Obama’s election. The end…. Of course, that is ridiculous. That is the White Supremacist version of black history. The end result of this mis-education is that black children are separated from their own people’s legacy and historical achievements.
Everybody in the world has the right to draw inspiration from their own people’s legacy, and this right is robbed from black children because their history is actively hidden, distorted, and replaced with make-believe.
“Rape culture is a culture in which people who have survived a violent crime are asked to laugh about it because other people think it’s funny.”—(i wish i could put this on a business card and hand it out to people who make rape jokes. the flip side would say FUCK YOU)