An Open Letter To Tom McLaughlin And Joshua Sealy-Harrington

15 Apr

We need to talk about your recent article in the Globe and Mail.

Specifically, we need to talk about the fact that you have cast yourselves as allies and yet are doing far more to hurt the causes that you claim to believe in than you are doing to help them.

First of all, let’s get a few things straight here:

1 You are not being silenced – and the fact that you try to claim that in a column published in a nationally syndicated newspaper is sort of sublimely ridiculous

2. Not everyone’s perspective can “positively contribute” – for instance, I do not think that the KKK’s perspective can “positively contribute” to discussions on race, nor do I think that the Westboro Baptist Church’s perspective can “positively contribute” to discussions on sexuality

3. You are being bad allies

That being said, I want to ask who, exactly, you imagine to be the target reader for your piece. Is it your hope that anti-oppression activists, specifically those who are marginalized, will read what you’ve written and realize how wrong their approach has been? Because if that’s the case, then unfortunately you’ve missed the mark by quite a bit. On the other hand, if the group you are writing for is one made up of privileged people who feel distressed by what they perceive to be deliberate silencing and disenfranchisement, then congratulations, you’ve succeeded! If your goal was to confirm what privileged people everywhere have long suspected – namely, that “equality” means that their voices should always be heard on par with everyone else’s, even though their voices have long dominated nearly all forms of discourse – then you’ve done a great job. If what you were trying to do was make sure that the oppressive status quo – you know, the one that so many of us are trying to tear down – is maintained, well, mission accomplished. You only need to read the comments on your article to know that you’ve done exactly that.

I also want to ask you how, exactly, you consider yourselves to be allies to any kind of social justice cause when your main message is that oppressed groups need to make room for the voices of traditionally oppressive groups. You write about this dynamic as if the opinions of the privileged aren’t already culturally dominant, and as if privileged groups don’t already have an excess of places to spout off about their beliefs. I mean, look at the platform you’ve been given – an enormously popular newspaper with a huge reach. And yet you have the gall to worry that your voices aren’t being heard? Because I promise you that your voices are being heard.

And yes, sometimes your opinions will be discounted because of your identity – because you know what? In the context of social justice, lived experience trumps everything else every time. When you are speaking, you are not speaking from a place of knowing or understanding, and that means that your arguments, no matter how well-crafted, do not count for as much as the arguments of someone who has experienced oppression and marginalization firsthand. Oh, and by the way, comparing an oncologist who has never had cancer to a male doctor treating a female patient is probably one of the worst pieces of rhetoric I’ve ever read. Cancer is a disease; being a woman is not. An oncologist may someday develop cancer; chances are good that a doctor who lives as a man will not experience life as a woman. People who have cancer are not marginalized by a pervasive oppressive force that systematically silences and discredits them; people who identify as women have lived with that force their entire lives.

You say:

The use of terms such as “mansplaining” (and its racial counterpart, “whitesplaining”) can cause disengagement. These labels are sometimes used to dismiss arguments when men and white people simply disagree. But if a man or white person makes a poor argument, why not just refute it? 

And somehow you don’t seem to understand that marginalized people spend so much time coming up with intelligent responses to poor arguments. In fact, sometimes it feels like that’s all we do. If I were to reply to every bad piece of logic that came my way with a lengthy and intelligent response, that is literally the only thing I would be doing, all day every day. And you know what? If I were to do that, the vast, vast majority of what I had to say would fall on deaf ears. It is both impossible and just plain not worth it to engage every person who says something problematic and thoughtfully explain to them why they are wrong.

It’s not worth it, and it’s also just plain not my job.

If you really want to be good allies, then you need to understand that your job is to amplify the voices of marginalized people. Your work here isn’t to tell traditionally oppressed groups that they need to be more open to the opinions of privileged folks like yourselves – and by the way, this isn’t exactly a new or radical message, though I get the feeling that you think it is. As an ally,  your work is in educating yourself and maintain your engagement. Your work is to help educate other privileged folk. Your work is to get to the back of the room and sit down and let someone else take the stage for a hot second. That is what an ally is supposed to do. That is what you should have used your platform to do. Instead, you used it to castigate already oppressed groups for not participating in activism in the way you think they should

And for the record, being sweet and nice and engaging has never done much for social justice activists. Making room for the thoughts and opinions of oppressive groups has never gained us anything. Women weren’t granted the right to vote because they valued the opinions of the men who didn’t think they had the mental capacity to participate in democracy – they won the right to vote by fighting for their beliefs, by being imprisoned for them and sometimes even dying for them. Their refusal to engage misogynists did not stifle progress – in fact, it hastened it. The sad truth is that it’s only when privileged groups realize that their voices can no longer fully dominate the discourse that we begin to see real change. Otherwise, if marginalized people continue to “make room” for the privileged, if they continue to stroke their egos and promise them that their thoughts are valued – in part because too much time is spent licking the master’s boots to actually get anything done, and also because if privileged voices are given free reign in a discussion about marginalizing forces, then they will almost always take over. Because that’s how privilege works.

Look, I get it. You’re both young guys, and maybe this is your first taste of not having your opinion automatically valued simply because of who you are. And I’m sure that the backlash to your article has not been a nice experience – no one, especially not someone who believes that they are an ally – wants to believe that they are hurting or oppressing other people. But you are being hurtful and oppressive, and until you sit back and listen to what we’re trying to tell you, you will continue to be so.

Also I truly believe that someday you will be deeply embarrassed by this tweet:

Screen Shot 2014-04-14 at 11.17.08 PM

 

30 Responses to “An Open Letter To Tom McLaughlin And Joshua Sealy-Harrington”

  1. annkantx April 15, 2014 at 4:07 am #

    Continue writing. Holding people accountable is an important part of democracy.

  2. joshuasealyharrington April 15, 2014 at 5:13 am #

    Thanks for your comments. As a fan of open dialogue, I’m happy to respond to your main criticisms (this reflects my personal views, as opposed to the views of both authors):

    1) Pointing out that our opinions have been dismissed, on specific occasions, and exclusively on account of possessing privilege, is not equivalent with claiming that we are in a constant state of being silenced. We never state that. We realize that publishing in the Globe and Mail means that the opinions we wrote in a national newspaper are far from silenced. I don’t know why this point keeps getting made.

    2) Indeed, the KKK probably bring a poor perspective on race relations in the U.S. The fact that THAT is the example you use to respond to our two anecdotes – reasonable non-militant socially progressive individuals being dismissed based on identity – is about as non-engaging as it gets. Further, I think it’s important to recognize that the exercise of picking groups who are and are not worthy of consideration has been a device used throughout history to marginalize dissenting opinions. I’m glad we can agree that the KKK doesn’t get racism right. But actually controversial examples are not so easy to navigate, and electing to ignore alternative opinions is likely to leave some important opinions out.

    3) Why are we “bad allies”? I think it’s because you disagree with us, and I think that is a poor metric for alliance. Our post is explicit in recognizing that marginalized voices have gone unheard and deserve a platform, and that privileged individuals should strive to recognize their privilege. Arguing that the ideal forum for discourse includes all voices doesn’t fail any ally test that I would choose to follow. I’ve read a lot of blogs about how good allies rarely contribute and only listen to members of the group engaged by the issue they are discussing. There are two flaws in that model: (1) members of that group inevitably disagree. Negotiating, as an ally, between those disagreements inevitably brings in personal discretion. As a consequence, allies might as well listen carefully, and contribute, to constructive discussions; (2) not all of these issues only engage marginalized communities. As an example, sexual assault engages questions of gender roles that both men and women need to deal with. Further, experiences of assault, while they inordinately occur against women, occur to all groups in society. I think a policy of uniformly barring men from such discussions would undermine progress (though I am totally fine with creating “safe spaces” for discussion; I just don’t think that the discussion should NEVER engage men).

    As for lived experiences of discrimination – those are precisely what we talk about when we describe the process of privileged experiences colouring viewpoints, and how privileged individuals should strive to be attuned to this. I agree that personal experiences are important, but it’s also important to recognize how the relevance of personal experience varies with context. In Tom’s case, the relevant “personal experiences” are the very studies his peers discounted – that’s the basis for evidence-based medicine. In Josh’s case, the discussion didn’t include lived experiences, but rather, the scope of racism in an academic sense. Again, the discussion as it unfolded hardly engaged with lived experiences, and yet, my opinion was still disregarded.

    I also want to note something which I have really not appreciated in the discussion of this article, and that is the complete disregard for my identity as a POC, presumably, because of my legal training and because I am a man. For all these advocates purporting to fight for marginalized voices, you would think the exclusion of a POC from a discussion about racism (and at times, exclusion by white opponents), might pique their interest.

    4) Who is our target reader? Actually, it’s both privileged AND marginalized communities. Our purpose is progress, and we think that it is hindered when marginalized voices go unheard, and when privileged individuals are disengaged from discourse.

    5) We are not arguing that every individual needs to take on every ridiculous argument that a racist/sexist man makes to them. We never mandate that all minorities should register an account on “Return of Kings” and invest every waking moment fighting with people who are clearly closed minded and likely not worth arguing with. Again, that is the point of the anecdotes we raise. It is not just absurd bigots who are being dismissed by terms like mansplaining and whitesplaining, it is concerned social justice advocates who happen to not see eye to eye with you on your exact conception of the best way forward. Without those discussions, the best way forward may never be found.

    6) As for civil discussion never resulting in progress, I think that is a complex historical claim that deserves far more discussion than a paragraph asserting that civil discussion never leads to anything good. Debates about the relative merits of conflicting approaches adopted by Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. have been going on for years, and in all honesty, while I am a huge fan of Malcolm X’s writings and his passionate advocacy, I do think that civil and inclusive approaches are often more constructive than divisive ones.

    7) The “backlash” against our article has actually been almost uniformly positive (at least within my own social network), but thanks for checking in!

    8) If disagreeing with divisive and unproductive discourse is “oppressive”, then so be it. I am writing for progress, and I don’t think we achieve that through ignoring the opinions of vast swathes of society and disengaging them from productive discourse.

    9) Finally, I will NEVER be embarrassed by that tweet. It is SARCASM. Us arguing about instances of people dismissing our opinions is not refuted by us arguing those opinions on large public forums (as Anne seems to think). Racism IS still a problem in the U.S. despite Obama being the president, and gender parity on the judiciary IS still a problem in Canada, despite the Chief Justice being a women. THAT is my point.

    • Alex April 15, 2014 at 2:33 pm #

      How dare you come here to try to mansplain yourself.😛

    • Sherwin Arnott April 22, 2014 at 8:48 pm #

      I read the G and M article. It seemed off to me.

      Their very first anecdote relies on this research (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23836411) which, if you actually read the summary, is *way* more tentative and cautious than Tom and Joshua describe it to be in their article. Which is interesting.

      Also, Tom and Joshua’s medical story is told in a way that suggests that the other students *challenged* it on the basis of identity. I actually think this is warranted in a field that has suffered, and continues to suffer, from systemic bias on the basis of gender. Challenging research is a really important part of science.

      But then Joshua and Tom suggest that the research was not just challenged, but *dismissed* on the basis of identity. If that’s true it’s a problem. But is it true? Reading the very tentative summary of the research, I see other possible reasons to be cautious about this research, especially since we don’t really know the fuller context of the medical school conversation. In fact, we know very little about the entire medical school story which lacks detail and seems skewed towards supporting Tom and Joshua’s narrative.

      Is it true that the research was being dismissed solely because of their origin, as Joshua and Tom claim? It seems highly unlikely. I would like to hear the perspective of the other medical students that were there.

      Overall, I would have preferred if Tom and Joshua’s article sounded less like a Margaret Wente rehash.

      • troublemakingpunk April 22, 2014 at 11:16 pm #

        I agree. It’s so important that we are rigorous in doing our own inventory if we are going to operate as allies while attempting to give a critique of oppressed groups member’s behavior.

  3. Sarah April 15, 2014 at 9:15 am #

    GEEZ need some ointment for THAT burn!!!

  4. justme3362 April 15, 2014 at 1:55 pm #

    Wow.

    All they have are these little anecdotes where they weren’t listened to, and they got their feelings hurt, and they take to the Globe and Mail?!?!

    ‘Discrediting’ their opinions because they are male and white doesn’t make them systematically oppressed, their overall credibility as men and professionals in their fields disregarded or questioned. Their characters aren’t called into question every single time they speak to an authority figure.

    All I can really say to this manplaining is: walk a mile in my shoes. And maybe they will learn that they’re missing one huge component in their argument: being frightfully aware of how the rest of us are systematically discredited every single day and in situations that are much more important than Facebook ‘discussions’.

    Thanks so much for sharing this!

    • joshuasealyharrington April 15, 2014 at 3:08 pm #

      Hey “justme3362”, I just wanted to clarify one thing. You said:

      “‘Discrediting’ their opinions because they are male and white doesn’t make them systematically oppressed.”

      I am not white. I am black.

      I said that in the Globe and Mail article. I also said that in my comment above. My deracialization in social media critiques of our article is a troubling indicator of (1) the struggle by those critics to recognize the many different ways privilege can exist (race, sex, gender, etc); (2) the unconscious and problematic assumptions of those critics that a law graduate is presumably white; and (3) the narrow mindedness of those critics who think that any alternative opinion to their own views must come from a white person, despite myself being black, and many people who have supported the article online also coming from myriad positions of marginalization.

      Maybe we should reframe the discussion – as a POC, my comments both here and in the Globe and Mail article reflect how I would want MY allies to conduct themselves. I like my allies engaged, involved, informed, and constructively contributing. Rather than responding to my views by asserting that I am a misguided ally, maybe you (and Anne) could engage with me as a fellow member of a marginalized community (though I have many of my own privileges) and we could get to the substance of why your conception of the ideal ally (a silent machine that mostly regurgitates the views of those marginalized individuals around them) is superior to my own (an engaged and thoughtful person who weighs various opinions, particularly those of marginalized communities, while contributing and benefitting from constructive dialogue).

      • Alex April 15, 2014 at 3:27 pm #

        Forget it, Josh, it’s Chinatown. On the internet, your gender and skin color are determined by your opinions. When I’ve written on women’s issues, people assume I’m a woman. Because I don’t regularly write on latin american issues people assume I’m not latin american. Because you are a man on the internet not writing specifically about ethnic issues, everyone will assume you’re white.
        Because you’re a man who is trying to explain a position, you’re “mansplaining”, and any reasonable argument will quickly be shouted down as people try to stomp your groin from across the internet.

      • justme3362 April 15, 2014 at 4:02 pm #

        Hi Joshua,

        Thanks for your comment. I hadn’t seen you had commented to the post, but I still think your message continues to miss the point. Your self-identification as a black man does not necessarily reinforce your role as an ‘ally’ who has been subjected to a lifetime of the same structural biases others experience.

        I say this all with complete respect, but your tone continues with an inwardly-directed narrative. To me that’s the essence of privilege. To me that’s not thoughtful to others’ situations and the reasons behind their marginalization.

        I get that it’s tough to write about greater societal issues without backlash. I try to avoid these and only speak about my own experiences. I will tell you that my perspective reading your article is influenced by my frustration at (1) having been wrongfully imprisoned without legal recourse or the kinds of connections that would shed light to this; (2) having been subjected to years of abuse, only to be gaslighted and discredited by my abuser and the system; (3) having to face each day in public getting physically and verbally pushed around; and (4) knowing that my story is not unique, that it’s shared by millions of women, and that we don’t have this kind of forum in which to air our grievances with the same kind of legitimacy.

        From where I’m standing, your world doesn’t seem all that bad to me, and from where I’m standing I don’t think you’ve given much thought to what it means to experience my brand of marginalization, or others’ in far worse situations than mine.

        I’m glad you’re listening and engaging. I am too.

    • Lara Nicole Forbes April 15, 2014 at 6:44 pm #

      Wow indeed. Your making massive assumptions:

      1. that they are male and white and do not encounter oppression
      2. that their characters are not called into question on occasions when they speak to an authority figure
      3. that you, by virtue of your gender and/or race, are actually being systematically discredited every single day (like, every time someone disagrees with you?)

      Try to open your mind to the possibility that males and whites can also be subject to abuse. Try to open your mind to the fact that they do face character assassinations. And, finally, try to open your mind to the possibility that people disagree with you simply because they hold a different opinion, not because you are a certain gender and/or colour.

      I think that if someone goes around expecting to be systematically oppressed on a daily basis they project that unconsciously on every interaction they have and, voila! Oppression. Be open to the possibility that people are entitled to disagree with you and its not oppression; its diversity.

      • bellejarblog April 16, 2014 at 2:32 am #

        Go back through and read what I wrote again. I never once said that the writers are white. In fact, I quite specifically did not say that because I knew from reading the article that they are not both white men.

  5. Read&Write April 15, 2014 at 11:47 pm #

    These guys are too young to write a comprehensive and logical article let alone understand the Women’s Movement. I bet their mothers are screaming!

    • Why? April 16, 2014 at 1:49 am #

      What’s so illogical about it? As a victim of gendered violence I believe that men do need to be brought into the dialogue if we want to protect other people from suffering through what happened to us. The Don’t Be That Guy campaign is a great example of a step in the right direction. Education is a powerful tool. http://www.theviolencestopshere.ca/dbtg.php

      • The Jolly Feminist April 16, 2014 at 3:26 am #

        If, as you say, “…men do need to be brought into the dialogue if we want to protect other people from suffering through what happened to us…” This is exactly what Feminists have been trying to do for centuries! Just replace “men” with “women” in your statement. From what I’ve seen, the “Don’t be that guy” campaign is creepy. And the “Don’t be that girl” campaign suggests what patriarchy has told women all along: Don’t be the girl that reports rape! Women already under-report rape and feel guilty about being raped. They don’t need to hear that the “guys” don’t want them to report it. And what’s so illogical about it? The writers are complaining that their message isn’t being heard when their message is in a widely distributed newspaper! The point is, men are always heard, by default and women (feminists) want to be heard too. The authors are already in privileged positions when compared to most women (and most working class men, for that matter) and now they complain that the privilege they enjoy is not enough.

  6. Steve April 16, 2014 at 2:37 am #

    Anne,

    Many of your blog followers have presumed the authors of the Globe and Mail article are white men. This is a problem for two reasons. First, it means they jumped to conclusions without actually reading the article (infuriating!). More importantly, it means they presumed the authors were white men simply by virtue of writing articulately and having professional degrees as doctors and lawyers. I’m reminded of when Barack Obama said we need to eliminate the slander that holds that a young black man with a book is acting white. I only wish you were as enthusiastic about naming and shaming the blatant racism of some of your readers as the alleged sexism of the authors.

  7. Tom McLaughlin April 16, 2014 at 2:53 am #

    Hi Anne! Thanks for your posts on our article. I’ve been unable to respond because of work for the past day, but Josh has done an excellent job of summarizing most of what I’d like to say. Only a few points to add:

    Firstly, there’s an important difference between the medical underpinnings of a specialty and its application to real patients, and this is where empathy and lived experience are really important. I can (and do) totally respect if a young woman wants to be interviewed or examined by a female doctor. I can’t comprehend how her experiences might make her uncomfortable opening up to a man, especially in areas that relate to sexual and reproductive health. I’ll do whatever’s best for any patient, trying my best to take into account her (or his) unique life and social history.

    However, in terms of actual medicine (ie: diagnoses, treatments, etc.), women’s health is indeed a medical discipline just like oncology. And much like oncology, the great strides we’ve made in women’s health in recent history stem from diligent scientific research and the application of facts and evidence to medical practice. Treatments for disease entities (e.g. post-pregnancy urinary incontinence) flow from this research, and are by and large independent of social constructs like oppression and marginalization. I don’t think that a woman’s pelvic floor muscles are aware that she may or may not have experienced a pervasive oppressive force that systematically silences and discredits her. With a real patient in front of me, this evidence base has to be applied to a unique individual, and sure, it doesn’t always apply perfectly. If a woman didn’t want to use weighted vaginal cones because she thinks they’ll be more difficult to use than the women in the various studies, or she finds them gross, or violating, I wouldn’t argue with her.

    The scenario in the article, though, wasn’t a patient encounter. It was a group of medical students discussing the research behind various treatments for a women’s health condition. Research studies on actual women are, as Joshua noted, an amalgamation of thousands of women’s real lived experiences, and presumably include within them the sum of those women’s experiences of oppression and marginalization. So, yes, I thought it was odd to dismiss the research out of hand. If I’m supposed to not even offer evidence-based treatments to women because another woman once told me I couldn’t understand their implications on account of being a man, well, that’s just absurd. I’m going to go with the thousands of women in the actual studies, and then I’m going to see what my actual patients think.

    Which leads on to my next point, about the lived experiences of marginalized individuals:
    “In the context of social justice, lived experience trumps everything else every time. When you are speaking, you are not speaking from a place of knowing or understanding, and that means that your arguments, no matter how well-crafted, do not count for as much as the arguments of someone who has experienced oppression and marginalization firsthand.”

    I have a couple issues with this statement. First off, what if someone’s lived experience of marginalization leads them to an absolutely crazy opinion? Should I just check my privilege and go along for the ride? I’m guessing your response is that I’m unable to judge what would actually count as crazy on account of the lack of lived experience of marginalization, and I should really try to listen, etc., and then we could go around in circles with this for a while. My point is that at the very extremes there must exist a point at which someone genuinely speaking from a position of marginalization/oppression are possibly wrong. No? Never?

    Secondly, the statement seems to assume that particular lived experiences lead to some sort of common conclusion. What if two people with similar experiences of oppression end up having radically different opinions based on their experiences? As a good ally, which do I listen to? Just like Josh said, the most reasonable conclusion from that seems to be to actually listen and critically evaluate what people are saying. I totally agree that privileged groups shouldn’t rush the mic, and the focus should be largely on listening and understanding different perspectives, which is what we said time and again in our article. But our goal is societal improvement, and engagement of privileged groups without drowning out marginalized voices is a much better vehicle for social progress than telling vast swathes of the population to blithely sit back and “listen”.

    Finally, I think Josh has said most of what I wanted to say regarding the value of engagement versus other tactics to achieve social progress. This is certainly a complex issue. My perspective is that history has shown us that strategies of engagement and dialogue are far more successful at achieving social progress than strategies of disengagement and radical opposition. Josh raised the example of Martin Luther King Jr versus Malcolm X. For an example from the Canadian suffrage movement, I’d say that getting some lawyers, petitioning the federal government and successfully appealing to the British Privy Council to clarify that the Canadian Constitution includes women as persons (“The Persons Case”) seems to me like a great example of successfully engaging very privileged groups.

    Once again, thanks for reading our article!

    • troublemakingpunk April 18, 2014 at 2:47 pm #

      As a white male who has been in the struggle for close to a half century, I am happy that we are having this discussion again. We need to keep having it. I have to say that I have rarely felt unheard because of my whiteness or my maleness. That doesn’t mean it’s never happened, but it hardly rises to the level of a worrisome issue that is interfering with the dialogues needed for liberation, in my experience. Perhaps in an ideal world, our voices and our individual perspective would be given adequate respect. Unfortunately, in a dysfunctional patriarchal system, that’s not the case for most of the “others” most of the time.

    • Mary Virginia Cooley (@marycooley) April 21, 2014 at 7:07 pm #

      “And much like oncology, the great strides we’ve made in women’s health in recent history stem from diligent scientific research and the application of facts and evidence to medical practice. Treatments for disease entities (e.g. post-pregnancy urinary incontinence) flow from this research, and are by and large independent of social constructs like oppression and marginalization.”

      Perhaps you’ve forgotten the inventor of the speculum you probably use almost daily and how “independent” his research was “of social constructs like oppression and marginalization.” His name was J. Marion Sims, and he performed gruesome experimental surgeries on 14 black slave women, with up to 30 surgeries per woman, all without anesthesia. After a year of practicing on black women’s bodies he operated on white women – with anesthesia, of course.

      It seemed like a glaring factual omission worth correcting.

  8. unbelivable April 16, 2014 at 10:26 am #

    I hope one day your embarrassed by this article you wrote, condemned so widely it had to be taken off the HP front page within an hour of being put up.

    If you are considered to be one of the champions of feminism in this day and age, its no wonder that so many do not want to be labeled as one.

    • Alex April 16, 2014 at 2:27 pm #

      I know. She should probably check her privilege. And then maybe read the autobiography of Frederick Douglas and realize she’s doing it wrong.

      Remember that time he told William Lloyd Garrison to take a backseat and hashtagged him #fuckwhitey?

  9. This is bonkers April 16, 2014 at 2:29 pm #

    I’m wondering if Madame Belle Jar actually read the article in the Globe and Mail, or if maybe she’s responding to a completely different article. Because her ‘Open Letter’ seems to criticize a whole slew of things the Globe and Mail article does not say. Including but not limited to:

    -‘You are not being silence.’ When did the authors claim they were being silenced? That just, like, didn’t happen – ever.

    -‘Your main message is that oppressed groups need to make room for the voices of traditionally oppressive groups.’ ?!?!?! You thought that was the ‘main message’ of the article. Did you really read it?

    As for ‘backlash’ – aside her own criticisms as an internet blogger, what backlash are you referring to?

    This is really quite lazy, façile argumentation.

  10. Jaime April 18, 2014 at 3:40 pm #

    Anne-
    Will you ever be embarrassed by your tweet? Because you don’t know the difference between ‘irony’ and ‘hypocrisy’. Maybe English isn’t your thing.

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  12. Julie April 20, 2014 at 4:17 pm #

    One of the biggest issues that I have with your letter is the way it assumes that being a woman give automatic merit to anything one says. It doesn’t. While being in the position of the oppressed does give on a better understanding of questions pertaining to misogyny in our society, it also isn’t this magical shield that you can use whenever someone says something that you don’t agree with. Believe it or not, you too can be wrong. THAT’S where legitimate discussion and debate come in.

    Oh, and the opinion of a doctor who spent months studying a certain subject in depth does have more value than someone who feels that they are an expect solely because of their gender. It sounds just as ridiculous as a man saying that he is right simply because he is a man.

    Unfortunately, you seem to enjoy screaming out your oppression at every chance you get and then proceeding to shut down anyone who disagrees with you because they do not understand and will never know what it’s like to be you. And that just seems like childish petulance at best.

    Speaking from the perspective of another woman, I certainly wouldn’t want an ally who mindlessly regurgitates what I say. You act as though only people who think just like you do can have anything valuable to contribute to a conversation.

    Maybe one day you will also be deeply embarrassed of what you wrote.

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    […] more harm than good, like this guy would.) Good male allies understand that their place is at the back of the room. Men who want to be allies need to study the behavior of failed allies and learn how not to be […]

  4. James Deen, Charles Clymer, and the role of Feminist Men. | contagiousqueer - December 11, 2015

    […] allies and there are so many ways for them to act in support of gender equality and justice without centering […]

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