a brief window into why, again, I don't trust feminists. not even trans feminists
November 17, 2012
So, while reading, Five Ways Cis Feminists Can Help Build Trans Inclusivity And Intersectionality, I wasn’t able to get past point 1.
To a certain extent, I agree with the basic point that ‘allies’ shouldn’t necessarily be exercising moral outrage and anger on behalf of oppressed groups they don’t belong to. Sure. And maybe their is a greater onus on ‘allies’ to be more patient and take on educational roles when confronted with an -ism they don’t experience. I’m with her on this point.
But why is it that I almost exclusively only see white feminists invoking and criticising ‘callout culture’ in this fashion? She actually writes “I’ve got nothing but contempt for it.”
The first time I heard this type of critique was during the big blowout between racialicious and feministe over Feminism for Real (this link will take you to jill’s post about it). The situation, briefly, was that a book was published about the experiences of woc and/or Indigenous women. And it wasn’t covered by any of the major _F_eminist media blogs or whatever. Some people got upset. And then we get this reactionary post from a big name _F_eminist.
Why is it that I often see white feminists invoking this critique of callout culture? (yes, I’ve seen woc criticisms too but they often take a very different tone and use different arguments). And it is interesting how this critique, largely unrelated to the point that cis people have no right to be outraged on behalf of trans people, derails her more understandable criticism.
Instead. We are given to understand that she doesn’t like calling out. It is bad. And if you do it, you are being unproductive and not helping. Regardless if you have cause to be angry or hurt. (i mean, she is ‘understands’ it but doesn’t understand why people think it is an effective strategy for fighting oppression).
But, like all feminists, she is essentially assuming that everyone has, or should have, the same goals and organizing principles for what they do and why they do it. She writes
Again, I understand expressing and owning one’s anger for its own sake, and the sake of self-empowerment, but I don’t understand anyone who regards the “call-out” as a genuinely effective, long-term strategy for dealing with oppression. I also mistrust their motives, given how the majority of call-out culture seems to have nothing to do with actually making anything better for anyone.
Who said anything about ‘long-term’ and I assume the ‘anyone’ she is referring to is a generalized group of individuals sharing an axis of oppression.
If, when, I call someone out. The goal isn’t necessarily long term. Sometimes it is short-term: get this asshole to stop being oppressive in this moment. Because sometimes it is about surviving and getting past that moment. And sometimes I do it by getting angry and raging. This leads into the next point.
Callouts help me. I don’t really give a fuck about other people. There is no real moral obligation for me to behave in ways that benefit all trans women (or, worse, trans people generally). She is basically arguing for organizing and operating within a politics of respectability. And this is definitely something I see most often coming from white women.
Because the politics of respectability is always, always racist in a world that consistently tells me that I will never be respectable because I exist.
But, please, do go on about how respectability politics is an effective long-term strategy for overcoming oppression?
I swear, this is why feminism has been so freaking ineffective.
But so we are clear. My goals are not your goals.
I do not want understanding. I want freedom.
I do not want kindness. I want freedom.
I do not want discussions (nuanced or otherwise). I want freedom.
I do not want apologies. I want freedom.
I do not want tolerance. I want freedom.
I do not want acceptance. I want freedom.
My long-term goal for overcoming oppression is the liberation of me and mine. And so we are clear, this is not necessarily inclusive of white trans women.
Freedom is my goal. And my strategy? Whatever it takes.