Tag Archives: international women’s day

Shit White Feminists Need To Stop Doing

8 Mar

I’m a white feminist, and let me tell you something: white feminism* is pretty bullshit. It’s exclusive, oppressive, and serves to further marginalize the people who are most impacted by misogyny. Unfortunately, white feminism is also the western status quo of feminism, meaning that white feminists have the biggest platforms, have increased access to resources and media, and are generally considered to be The Voice of Feminism. In theory, someone truly interested in equality would use these assets to amplify the voices of women of colour. In practice, white supremacy is a real thing and white feminists often seem to forget that their white privilege makes it easy as hell to trample over women of colour as they work to dismantle the patriarchy.

So, in honour of International Women’s Day, here is a non-exhaustive list of Shit White Feminists Need to Stop Doing:

1. Believing Their Experiences of Marginalization Are Universal

White feminists like to pretend that they get it. They get it because they’ve been there. They’ve experienced sexism. They’ve experienced misogyny. They’ve been passed over for promotions, whistled at on the street, and had to listen to boring dudes at parties who require approximately ten years of your time in order to explain how fascinating they actually are. These white women have been down in the feminist trenches for years, and like your world-weary Grandpa, they’ve seen it all. They understand the oppression of all women, ok?

Except not. Intersecting forces of oppression mean that women who are queer, racialized, disabled or trans will experience misogyny in very different (and frequently more deadly) ways than white women do. Saying that just because you’re a woman you totally understand all different ways that women are marginalized is not only wildly inaccurate, it’s also just plain ignorant.  Just because you don’t have male privilege doesn’t mean you aren’t the proud owner of a whole host of other types of privilege. And whether you like it or not, those various forms of privilege influence how people treat you.

White women don’t own womanhood, and they don’t get to explain it to women of colour. End of story.

2. Crying About How We’re All On The Same Team

Also known as: “Why are you being so mean to me?”

White feminists tend to have this fantasy that we’re going to tackle this giant, slavering beast called The Patriarchy, and then once that’s done everything will be magical and all of the world’s problems will be solved. They’ll vaguely explain that destroying The Patriarchy will also end racism, transphobia, homophobia and basically everything other societal ill, but they don’t seem to have any clear idea of how exactly that will happen. It just will! Because science.

These feminists will choose specific causes to back – often those that most benefit straight, white, cis-gender women – and will balk if anyone questions why they’re ignoring other types of marginalization that have a greater impact on, say, Black women or trans women. But we’re all on the same team, they’ll tweet frantically. I thought you were on my side. We’re all women, right? The subtext is: you should help me now with the things that directly hurt me, and then maybe one day I’ll help you.

They never seem to wonder why they get to be the ones who delineate the borders between “sides,” or why they get to constantly call the shots about who’s on what team.

3. Talking About Hijabs (Or Burqas, Or Sex-Selective Abortion, Or Anything, Really)

Literally I just want to see all the white feminists take a back seat when it comes to hijabs. It’s amazing that these women will talk up the idea of pro-choice when it comes to pregnancy, but flip out if a woman chooses to cover her hair.

Look, I get it. You think those women are being oppressed, even when they very kindly and patiently tell you they aren’t. You know better than them, right? Because you’ve thrown off the shackles of … something? You think their culture or religion is forcing them into something they don’t really want, and if they believe differently, well, that’s just their internalized misogyny talking.

White women: you literally aren’t more enlightened than everyone else. Stop talking. Go to bed.

Also, explain to me exactly how telling a woman that she shouldn’t wear a specific article of clothing is “empowerment.” It seems to me that limiting women’s choices is the opposite of feminism.

4. Thinking That All Sex Workers Are All Miserable Wretches Who Hate Their Lives

This one isn’t really white women-specific, but I’m going to include it because I’ve seen a lot of white feminists pull this shit and frankly it’s garbage.

Like, this is literally what you’re saying: “I believe women have agency and can make decisions about their lives except for when it has to do with sex work, at which point I will assume that either someone is exploiting them or else they are self-hating gender traitors only interested in the male gaze.”

So just to clarify, you think that women can make choices except when it’s a choice you disagree with, at which point you’re pretty sure she’s being coerced. You also think that sex workers need to be “rescued,” even if they’re happy with what they do. You would rather see women further marginalized by anti-prostitution laws than find ways to keep sex workers safe.

Again, explain to me how this is a pro-woman stance?

5. Arguing That All Other Forms Of Oppression Are Over So We Need to Focus On Women

I’M LOOKING AT YOU, ARQUETTE.

Look, I know that her Oscar speech has been critiqued and analyzed to death, so I won’t dwell on this too much, but – come the fuck on. First of all, saying that we need “all the gay people and people of colour that we’ve all fought for to fight for us now” kind of insinuates that none of those gay people or people of colour are women, no? Second of all, literally read a book or something because racism and homophobia and transphobia are far from over. Third of all, you are a white woman who has benefitted from enormous privilege her entire life. You don’t get to tell other marginalized groups what to do.

I know that her remarks were well-intentioned. I get that. But that’s a huge part of the problem – white feminists toss this kind of shit off the cuff, then get huffy when they’re called out, and then we’re right back to number two on this list. Just own your privilege for a hot second and stop bleating about how mean everyone else is being when they point out how you’ve rightfully fucked up.

White feminists: this is a call for you to get your shit together. The point of equality isn’t to claw your way to the top so that you can treat other people just as badly as white dudes have treated you – we need to elevate each other, amplify each other’s voices, and maybe let someone else tell us if we’re allowed to be on their team. Because, as per Flavia Dzodan, if your feminism is not intersectional, then I’m sorry but it’s complete bullshit.

solidarity___intersectionality

* by “white feminism” I mean a certain demographic of white women who are straight, cis and able-bodied and view their brand of “feminism” as being better and more “real” than that of anyone else’s.

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St. Jude’s Home For The Nasty (Lady Songs Part II)

10 Mar

You can find part one here

Title inspired by this Hark A Vagrant comic

26. Janet Jackson – Nasty

27. Solange – Losing You

28. M.I.A. – Pull Up The People

29. The Knife – Heartbeats

30. Poliça – Leading To Death

31. Charli XCX – You’re The One

32. The Organ – I’m Not Surprised

33. Friends – I’m His Girl

34. Worriers – Cruel Optimist

35. Anna Calvi – Blackout

36. Rilo Kiley – Wires and Wave

37. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Maps

38. Tegan and Sara – You Wouldn’t Like Me

39. Grimes – Rosa

40. Frankie Rose and the Outs – Little Brown Haired Girls

41. Eleanor Friedberger – My Mistakes

42. Zola Jesus – Lightsick

43. Florence + The Machine – You Got The Love

44. Daughter – Landfill

45. Basia Bulat – Tall Tall Shadow

46. El Perro Del Mar – God Knows (You Gotta Give To Get)

47. Alabama Shakes – Hold On

48. Neko Case – Man

49. Giant Drag – This Isn’t It

50. Lissie – Pursuit of Happiness (Kid Cudi cover)

Lady Songs Part I

9 Mar

Nathan and I were sending each other favourite songs this morning. This is a thing that we do fairly often – pretty much anytime one of us thinks of something the other should listen to, and then it’s impossible to avoid the rabbit hole that is Songs Nathan Knows – but today we were only sending songs with female vocalists, in honour of International Women’s Day.

And then I had a genius idea.

Me: OH MY GOD NATHAN CAN WE PUT A WOMEN’S DAY PLAYLIST TOGETHER ON MY BLOG PLEASE

Me: Pleeeeeeaaaaasssse

Nathan: I think I can manage that, but we have to include an Against Me! song.

We were originally aiming for fifty songs, but we somehow ended up with nearly three times that number. So you get SIX DAYS worth of posts about lady music instead of just one. Aren’t you lucky?

But why songs sung by women? I mean, International Women’s Day aside, what’s the appeal?

Personally, I’ve always preferred female musicians, probably at least in part because it’s easier for me to sing along with them. I’m also far more likely to identify with what they’re singing about – I’m a sucker for a good song about struggling to get through tough times, or a weepy hymn to heartbreak, or an empowering lady anthem. There’s something else, though, about a woman’s voice that’s hard to articulate. It gets right down into you, and it’s hard to shake loose. Women’s voices have teeth.

Nearly all of my earliest musical memories are of female musicians. My father had an extensive record collection, and I found my first favourites there – singers like Tracy Chapman, Cyndi Lauper and Michelle Shocked. I memorized all the lyrics to Whitney Houston’s I Wanna Dance With Somebody, and my parents found it hilarious that I sang, “I wanna feel the heap with somebody,” instead of “I wanna feel the heat with somebody.” Listening to music meant time with my father, and it was an activity that he took very seriously. To this day, I can count on one hand the number of people who listen to music as thoughtfully and as deeply as he did – my grandfather is one of them, and Nathan is another. Even I’m not on this list because, as much as I love music, I don’t seem to have quite the same ability to become as thoroughly absorbed in a song as they do.

Listening to music with my father was a sort of transcendent experience. He always had a stick of incense burning while we listened, so my memories of these times are all wrapped up in a thick, sweet, smoky smell. His record player was in the basement, so it was always cool and dim, a perfect sonic atmosphere. I would watch reverently as my father placed the record on the turntable and carefully placed the needle. The two of us would sit in silence through the static hiss of the first few seconds, and then once the music came on we were immediately both lost in it. I think that listening to music was the closest my father, a lifelong atheist, ever came to having a religious experience.

Here are the first twenty five songs. Enjoy!

1. Haim – The Wire

2. Against Me! – Transgender Dysphoria Blues

3. Howling Bells – Low Happening

4. Torres – Moon & Back

5. Marnie Stern – Every Single Line Means Something

6. Le Tigre – Deceptacon

7. Blonge RedHead – Falling Man

8. Lykke Li – Sadness Is A Blessing

9. Yuna – I Wanna Go

10. Waxahatchee – Dixie Cups and Jars

11. Heartless Bastards – Mountain

12. Dum Dum Girls – Coming Down

13. St. Vincent – Save Me From What I Want

14. Russian Red – Cigarettes

15. London Grammar – Wasting My Young Years

16. Joan As Police Woman – How Come You’re Solid Gold

17. CHVRCHES – Recover

18. Bat For Lashes – Prescilla

19. Azure Ray – Scattered Like Leaves

20. Coeur De Pirate – Place de la République

21. Postiljonen – All That We Had Is Lost

22. Broadcast – Subject To The Ladder

23. Lianne La Havas – No Room For Doubt

24. EMA – California

25. Slow Club – Beginners

(BONUS – DANIEL RADCLIFFE IS IN THIS VIDEO)

An International Women’s Day Alphabet

8 Mar

A is for Austen, the Regency hellion

B is for Boudica, who raised a rebellion

C is Cleopatra, fierce Queen of the Nile

D is Diana, whose voice does beguile

E is for Ella, breaking down barriers

F is for Franklin, who made DNA merrier

G is Gloriana, anything but conventional

H is for hooks (lower case is intentional)

I is Isadora, who loved modern dance

J is Jo March, who wrote and wore pants

K is for Kennedy, who understood duty

L is Lamarr, who mixed science with beauty

M is MacPhail, political and proud

N is for Nellie, strident and loud

O is for Olave, keen about guiding

P is for Parker, whose wit was so biting

Q is Quvenzhané, who lights up the screen

R is for Rosa, who sat like a queen

S is Suu Kyi, the political prisoner

T is for Tubman, slavery abolitioner

U is Uhura, who kicked ass in space,

V is Victoria, who kept a stern face

W is Wollstonecraft, vindicator of rights

X is Xiang Jingyu, who fought the good fight

Y is Yousafzai, who refused to be rattled

Z is Zoë Washburne, ready for battle

We Can All Do It by Soirart

We Can All Do It by Soirart