So Jill has a post up defending Ann Coulter because Maxim decided that the best way to “zing” her for her anti-Semitism would be to call her, in so many words, an ugly tranny. First off, good on Jill and the other posters who are calling that crap out as not cool.
But, for those of you who think it’s “fair game” to use those misogynist and transphobic insults on Coulter because she spouts sexism and misogyny? Shame on you. The “she started it” line didn’t work in kindergarten and most certainly doesn’t work within feminism.
sophonisba points out exactly why it’s wrong to use bigotry against a person, no matter who it is:
Really. I will spell it out, then. You can’t use misogynist premises (women shouldn’t have human faces, human throats, or human hands–all those things are for boys only) against an individual women without using it on all women. Answering sexism with sexism? Well, see, that’s bad, because sexism is bad. Not bad unless we use it on someone we hate. Just, you know, bad. In itself.
Think, if you will, of what it would mean if someone responded to Coulter’s “perfected Jews” spiel with remarks about she has a pretty Jewy-looking nose herself.
I also threw my own clarification into the mix:
The point is that we, as feminists working to end oppression, have an obligation to ourselves and other women to speak out against sexism no matter who that sexism is directed against. I definitely do think that it’s worth pointing out, as you did, that the attack on Coulter is a logical product of the kind of world she’s working to create, but that does not mean that we, in turn, should endorse that result, even if that endorsement is simply silence on the matter. Sexism is sexism, even if the person who is being hurt by said sexism has endorsed it. And I think that one thing that we, as feminists, can agree on is that sexism is wrong and should be combated.
As feminists fighting for the end of oppression, we don’t have the luxury to avert our eyes because the target of sexism is someone morally repugnant to us. We don’t have the luxury to pick and choose who is “worth” defending and who isn’t. If we are truly committed to ending oppression, then it is our responsibility to fight bigotry wherever it rears its ugly head. Even if it means standing up, in a limited capacity, for someone who is actively working against us. Because saying “what they did to her was wrong, sexist, and should not be tolerated” is different than saying “what she does is right”.