Some tips for white feminists

Hope everyone is having a nice holiday! I am, except for the whole issue of my new laptop refusing to turn on so now I can’t play FFXI until it’s fixed. My only solace is that my old laptop works, so it’s coming back to Japan with me so I don’t have to be sans-computer.

Anyway, I came across a post called How to Stop Being an Ignorant/Indifferent White Feminist… from a blog that’s new to me, Leftist Looney Lunchbox. I’ve added it to the links, but I thought it deserved a highlight as well.

Here’s just one of her many great points:

4) Don’t use us as tokens. This rarely happens in blogistan, but it does happen more often than not in the ‘real world’. Many of you feminist bloggers are quick to point out that ‘your blogs are not educational resources for men’, instead men should take it upon themselves to educate themselves about their own privilege. Likewise, you as white women need to do the same. We are not your token pieces. We are not ‘obligated’ to ‘educate’ you about race relations or anything else for that matter.

She also talks about being more analytical regarding news stories involving people of colour, not just reading white feminists but all kinds of feminists, stopping defending one’s white privilege, and, well, not saying racist things.

Via feminist LJ.

Another post to read

Still on blog break, but since the others are busy I may as well do some more link blogging. Here’s a post I came across today that deals with misogyny in geeky fandoms.

Here are some exerpts:

And that ironic, self-aware misogyny is still misogyny. You have to make a point of actually criticising it before “it’s ironic” is a servicable defence.

But this “geek space” we’re in… It isn’t taken seriously by the mainstream, which gives us a certain amount of free agency to do whatever, because standard reaction is “Oh, those crazy undersexed geeks and their weird fantasy women!”. In response, we have created a psychological space in which it’s not just OK to treat women like shit, it’s awesome. We have then endlessly justified it using every lame excuse in The Big Lame Book Of Big Lame Excuses. Handily, this means we don’t even need make apologies, because blah blah ironic blah blah parody blah blah she shoots the guy after he rapes her so she’s the real winner! You just can’t take a joke!

All “irony” and “parody” are doing, in this context, is creating a safe space for misogyny. They aren’t real irony or parody, because they never challenge the stuff they’re supposedly mocking.

New Blog: Anti-Racist Parent

Just a quick post to highlight a new-ish blog, Anti-Racist Parent. From their introductory post:

Thank you for visiting us here at Anti-Racist Parent! This is a blog for parents who are committed to raising children with an anti-racist outlook. If you’re a parent who is tired of having your child learn about race and identity through the mixing of neapolitan ice cream 🙂 , playing dress-up with national costumes, and absorbing the same handful of sanitized historical facts every single Black/Latino/Native American/Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month, this blog is for you.

Via other blog.

New Blog: The Silence of Our Friends

The Silence of Our Friends seems to have come about because of the recent Clinton blogger lunch debacle. Personally, I’d call this blog the silver lining to a dark, dark cloud.

An excerpt from Donna’s most recent post:

One example is when discussing racially divisive issues a white person will pipe up that we should leave behind identity politics and concentrate our efforts on the greater good. But the greater good generally means that white people determine what issues are important and in our collective best interests, and this may be of very little service to POC. We think that the collective good should be working towards ALL of our interests, not just yours. You can not find out what we believe is in our interest if you aren’t even willing to listen to us, and instead dismiss us. This does not mean that we expect to only work on our issues, we expect to discuss and compromise; it is the white person who expects to only work on what they choose as important while we are expected to be quiet and go along to get along.

One other thing, when white people do recognize institutional racism many times they do not speak out. They think it’s not their problem and look the other way. This is why there was so much anger expressed over the Clinton blogger lunch by POC. Our allies abandon us when we need them. The bloggers there did not make it a priority to find out why diverse voices weren’t included and explain to their readers. And the blogosphere in general either did not see a problem, or were afraid of the reaction of their peers if they sided with POC, for instance by delinking or banning them.

Link Blogging: AA and Multiracial Reading List

First off, sorry for the lack of posting recently. School has just stepped up a notch and I’m struggling to readjust. Next week my part-time job starts, too, but I’m hoping to get some quality posting time in this weekend. Anyway, onto the main event.

Claire of SeeLight has posted this excellent reading list for people interested in learning more about racial/ethnic issues. In the introduction, she says this:

All of these are sources of my knowledge and understanding, sources of my vocabulary. But, of course, I’ve done some study and reading as well, and I should be able to share some print sources with you. And because it’s amazing how difficult it is for a google search to occur to the ignorant (I’m complaining about myself as well; I’ll go halfway around the world to ask a friend a question before I’ll sit down and do a google search about something I’m ignorant of) here’s a non-threatening reading list of things that might help you share the current common understandings that shape the activist Asian American and Hapa spaces in the US today. Basically, I’m providing this (as my last post for IBAR) so as to give no one who reads this an excuse for not knowing. These are my reading recommendations. You can start here and let the reading itself guide you on.

She actually has a lot of great things to say in her introduction, so don’t just skip it and check out the books. Read the whole thing. I guarantee you’ll be glad you did.

"Nice Guy Post" Link Roundup

So, my Nice Guy post is making the rounds, just like I always wanted it to. Downside is that I have to actually think about commenters who disagree and look into improving the list.

But, hey, I’m all about spreading the love, so here are discussions on the Nice Guy List (in no particular order):
Hot Links

From They’re just words

Personalised expansion from something stolen from terajjin

From Sunbeam’s Scrawls

granny’s link fest.

From random blatherings and collected snark

Newsflash: Enlightened Modern Men Can Still Be Dicks. [July 15, 2006]

Better a fair-weather ally than not an ally at all?

In response to the “nice guy” controversy that Hugo has sparked in the feminist blogsphere, Mickle has made an excellent post titled Masquerade. She talks about politeness, sincerity, and what it means to be an ally.

These paragraphs really resonated with me:

I can’t help but think of this when people argue for politeness for politeness sake and I wonder about the people he was polite to – in public. Did they suspect? Would they rather have known the truth? Could they sense it anyway? Did they resent the fact that the mask of politeness my grandfather hid behind made it that much harder to fight his bigotry? Were they sometimes grateful that his mask made theirs that much easier to wear? Did they apprecraite the irony that it was their honest anger that forced him to adopt the masquerade they had always been forced to be a part of?

I understand that you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar, I just think people need to remember that allies gained under false pretenses tend to make shitty allies. Individuals for whom the deciding factor in their political and ideological beliefs is the number of times they may get laid do not make good feminists. Being bluntly honest may be a bit “off-putting” but it’s still more likely to result in a useful ally. After all, non-violence may have been a hallmark of the civil rights movement, but “polite” discourse was not. “Polite” conversation doesn’t include discussions about race to begin with – and “polite” sure as hell doesn’t describe the act of holding a lunch counter hostage. I rather think a hell of a lot of people considerd it downright rude at the very least.

Feminist Dating Woes

Over at her blog, Mary has a rant about being a heterosexual feminist in a world where men just don’t get it:

So yeah, it sucks and it’s hard blah blah blah fishcakes. And I’ll never be the girl who does anything for a man, and I’ll never be that girl who thinks her man can Do No Wrong, for He Is Man. That’ll suck some of the (twisted, unhealthy, movie-style) “romance” out of your life. And maybe I’m worse off for not being able to feel that way, for not being able to “love” in that sense. Except I’m not. I expect more from my partner, and he will give it to me, or I will walk away. I expect respect and consideration, and he will give it to me, or I will walk away. I expect thoughtfulness, and he will give it to me, or I will walk away. I expect a man to have as much anger at the patriarchy as I do, and he will show it to me, or I will walk away. He will prove to me that he IS the exception, or–you guessed it–I will walk away.

Since I’m mostly confined to looking at men as potential parnters at the moment, I am really feeling her pain. I’ve never been the “normal” kind of girl. Even when I believed in the concept of “true love”, I was never into that romantic bullshit. I always thought it was off, and when I was with my first boyfriend I finally understood why: because it’s about abuse and control, not love and partnership. Even when I find a guy who genuinely likes women — a rarity among heterosexual men, unfortunately — that doesn’t mean he likes a girl like me.

It’s annoying, but at least I have a great life going for me. A partner would be an addition, not the thing that makes or breaks my happiness. Yay feminism.

Recommended Reads

Today has been a day for posts that really resonate with me. Since I don’t feel well (hence me being home right now instead of at class) and therefore don’t want to work on a real post, I’ll share the words of wisdom from the other bloggers.

First off, a post (inspired by my Gaming While Female post, how special am I!) over at Guilded Lilies about the genderdization of gaming labels, entitled Hardcore Vs. Casual: It’s A Woman’s Prerogative:

The term “hardcore” when applied to gaming brings up the immediate image of a young male player, most likely with a game controller tightly gripped in his hands. For many, this idea of the “hardcore” gamer defines gaming – it is the standard by which all other gamers are measured. Any approach to gaming that falls outside of this parameter is not given the same status as being serious enough to be considered a real gamer. Using this standard alone “casual” gamers fall short, and since female players are the ones being identified with the “casual” gamer classification, women are often seen as not being real gamers.

Next up we have a post from Killer B of Modern Feminist, a geeky feminist new to me, where she “vlogs” (video blogs) about facing sexism in the vlogsphere. I don’t have a quote for Follow up thoughts on the vlogosphere because, well, it’s a video (only audio for me, ’cause my quicktime had problems), but it’s well worth the 6+ minutes it will take to listen to it.

And, finally, over at The Bipolar View, Spotted Elephant calls the popular picture blog Cute Overload out on its objectification of women in her post, Face the Facts:

Treating women as the cats ‘n’ racks photos do causes real damage. They show that’s it’s ok to view women as sex objects. They perpetuate the belief that women exist for the pleasure of men. All of these beliefs protect the status quo: men are human but women serve as decoration and sexual outlets.

Where do you suppose violence against women comes from? Why are women battered, raped, and murdered by their male partners? […] When a man gets angry at work, does he punch his boss? No, he needs his job, so he controls himself. Why do some men control themselves with their bosses, but beat their wives into a bloody pulp?

Because they can.

Attitudes and beliefs inform behavior. You don’t batter, rape, and kill someone you view as your equal. But when you view women as being less than men, all kinds of terrible behaviors become acceptable. The ubiquitous message that women are worth less than men matters. When violence and hate are everywhere, there’s no such thing as acceptable objectification.

I’m glad that she reminded me that it was past time to take Cute Overload off of my blogroll. It’s not like they need whatever paltry traffic I may give them, anyway, and their response to criticism about their “Cats ‘n Racks” section was… unacceptable, is the most charitable word I can think of. Misogynist, dismissing, the same old bullshit of men justifying their bad behaviour are probably more accurate.

Carnival of Feminists Issue 13 out now!

Issue number 13 of The Carnival of Feminists is out now!

Hosted by Terry of I See Invisible People, this issue offers up a diverse collection of writings from feminist blogs.

Well done Terry. Do stop by and leave a comment if you think she’s produced a good issue – comments are like manna from heaven for those hard-working Carnival Hosts.