Thursday, 17 February 2011

Aesthetics, Lifestyle and survival strategies

Ten years ago I was attending a reunion of a Women's liberation group, as an observer. It was an incredible experience and an honour. And on the first day, in the first session, one of the women got up excitedly and said "I just want to say look at all the people wearing trousers, when we first met, every one of us would have been wearing a skirt, Isn't it fabulous."

She was an awesome, friendly, loving woman. She had the best of intentions.

And over the next two days I heard pretty much every woman who was wearing a skirt talk about what she'd said. She'd made them feel self-concious and judged. And other women who were wearing trousers that day felt the same way.

By celebrating one form of dress within a feminist space, a well-intentioned woman had alienated many of those there. And I don't think that she ever knew the effect her words had.

*************

I have been misquoted pretty consistently as arguing that The Wellington Young Feminist Collective 'should' take issues of aesthetics/lifestyle/survival strategies off the table. I didn't say that. What I said was this:

This is the reason I wrote my post: "I used to think I couldn't be a feminist because I like looking a certain way and I am interested in certain things."

I think this is a real danger - equally the inverse - that women can feel that they can't be a feminist because they don't look a certain way and aren't interested in certain things. And I think the easiest way to avoid that is to make aesthetic/lifestyle/survival choices off the table for feminist discussion.


Now I want to talk about why I think that, what I meant by it, and why I think it's important.

*************

I'm going to take as a basic assumption of this post that it is not OK to criticise another woman's aesthetic/lifestyle/survival strategies in the name of feminism.* I know that this isn't a universally held belief. This post and the discussion at Boganette's makes that clear. But I think it also makes it clear why other women's survival strategies should not be open to criticism.

Why isn't it OK to use the language of feminism to judge other people's decisions?

Because it's alienating, none of your business, and the survival strategies other people choose has nothing to do with your liberation.**

I am happy to argue about this in the comments, but I am going to spend the rest of the post speaking to people who don't support criticising other people's aesthetic/lifestyle/survival strategies in the name of feminism, but don't understand why they should be off the table. I'll try and explain why I think celebratory, or supposedly neutral comments about aesthetic/lifestyle/survival strategies can be damaging in feminist spaces.

*************

I opened with a story, here are some more.

My friend was at a feminist action. She had been given free razors as part of a promotion. She didn't shave her legs. She gives them to someone and says "here you shave your legs have these". Later, much later, the person she gave the razors too tells her how shit she felt in that moment, how judged. My friend doesn't even remember it happening. [Please respect this story. I'm not going to accept any second guessing of it in the comments]

------

It had been advertised as a feminist meeting, but it was actually a clothes swap. Indeed it wasn't really a clothes swap at all, but one woman giving her clothes away. People tried on clothes, and they mostly didn't fit . One woman, who was probably half my size, put her hand on her hips and thighs and said "They're huge, that's why this is never going to fit."

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An older feminist is running a feminist workshop. She makes frequent references to where she does and doesn't shave. She was trying to put us at ease. In fact it just made me feel like this mattered.

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I could give many more examples like this. Think of the effect of celebrating a particular aesthetic/lifestyle/survival strategy in the name of feminism has on those who for whom it is financially impossible, or for those for whom it is inaccessible because of the way society disables their bodies.

When you're celebrating a particular survival strategy it still has nothing to do with anyone else's liberation, it's still alienating, and it's still none of anyone else's business.

In particular, in my experience, discussions about aesthetic/lifestyle/survival strategies take on more meaning and become more fraught when they happen in feminist spaces - and even more so the larger the feminist space.

This is just an observation. It may not be true in all feminist spaces, but it has certainly been a consistent experience of mine. I'm just guessing, but I think this is a result of the impossibility of women to win with their choices - they're always too much something, and are juggling so many different expectations, as well as their own and other people's needs. Therefore any kind of expression within a feminist space about these issues becomes a whole nother axis of pressure.

You'll notice that I only feature as an observer and the one excluded in these stories. This is not because I have some magic non-alienating super power. It's because what these stories have in common (as does the Trousers one I mentioned) is that the people who have made others feel alienated and excluded by discussing survival strategies have no idea that they've done unless someone tells them.

***************

I stand by my statement that the easiest way to solve the problem that I have now explored in quite some detail is to make discussions of aesthetics/survival strategies/lifestyles off limits in feminist spaces.

Let's consider a different way of dealing with discussions of clothes shops on the WYFC feed. Another way of doing it would be to post "Hey we all know clothing yourself can be super difficult. I just found this neat boutique called Emma's which works for me for [x reasons], but it might not work for you. What are your favourite clothing shops?" That's less universalising and I would have made no comment on a post like that.

Would people feel posting that they liked City Chic? The Warehouse? Hallensteins? Glassons? Supre? Each of these spaces provide different types of clothes at different prices for different people. Is this a space where people would be able to say, actually I can't afford to shop for clothes. Or I don't go to the clothes shops because of anxiety. If those things don't get posted how do you know why?

So what if someone comes a long and all the shops seem to them super-femme, or expensive, or don't cater to bodies anything like hers, and she's think "oh", and feels like feminism is a bit further away. My experience suggests that this is not just a hypothetical. This is a likely outcome.

The reason I say that I think the easiest solution is to take these matters off the table, is because I think having a good conversation about survival strategies/aesthetics/lifestyle is really fucking difficult. (for ones that go badly see any number of discussions on Feministe) If you want to initiate these sorts of conversations you have to know what you're doing and take the responsibility really seriously.

Can it be done? I was very interested in some of the conversations they had a FWD. They put a lot of effort into making sure that different experiences were heard. But who knows if people felt alienated by the way they did it.

***********

I know how useful discussion with people, those who share your experiences, about your aesthetic/survival strategy/lifestyle can be. They're useful for understanding why you do things the way you do, what meaning you've given to them, they can help making you stronger. I know what a difference it's meant so much to me having not just a name for the set of things that I found hard (dyspraxia) but someone who finds some of the same things hard.

I think spaces which tell individual women's stories and describe their aesthetic/lifestyle/survival strategies are really awesome and important. I follow a lot of blogs about women's lives, with their experiences and their analysis all rolled around. And then it's really clear 'this is me'. Locally, I love, and learn a lot from Letters from Wetville and Tales of a Redheaded Devil Child

The discussions which are useful for one person - will be unbearable for another. A description that one person finds really speaks to them is super alienating for another. There is value in creating spaces for all of us where we can feel comfortable, relax and socialise, but they won't be the same spaces.

***********

And I know, many people have said, that it can seem ridiculous that when I've caused so much division to be so concerned about alienating people. But to me divisions based on ideology - 'what is feminism' are necessary and important. And if I write a follow up post - a response to all the people who asked me "Who the fuck are you to say what feminism is?" I'll try and explain why.

Alienating people who are wearing trousers, or who shave their legs, or who can't use the products you promote when you don't even mean to, that's completely unnecessary and avoidable.

* Just to be clear I differentiate betweens survival strategies and the use of power. So, for example, if you take a job that gives you management responsibilities then you can and should be criticised for the way that you use that power. However, almost all survival strategies don't involve the wielding of power over someone else.

** The other exception I would lay out to when other people's survival strategies become other people's business is if you cross a picket line, but I don't think that applies here.

53 comments:

V said...

Here you go alienating trans women again.

I think the easiest way to avoid that is to make aesthetic/lifestyle/survival choices off the table for feminist discussion.

You do realise that a major part of the transfeminine narrative surrounds appearance, passing and lifestyle?
Take those of the table and I am effectively gagged from talking about many of my important issues.
And that, quite frankly, would suck balls.

You keep talking about alienating people, yet you continue to perpetrate the very act you're speaking out against!

Maia said...

V - read the whole post. I wasn't saying that discussions about appearance and lifestyle shouldn't take place. I was talking about why I think it's problematic when they take place in general feminist spaces.

V said...

Yes, I read the whole post (patronising much?) and as I pointed out, I don't like being effectively gagged in general feminist spaces!

Maia said...

V - the reason I thought you hadn't read the post is that you just quoted the bit at the top where I was quoting what I'd said in a comment and didn't engage in any of the next material which explained what I meant by that comment.

If you think not making comments celebrating or condemning particular aesthetic/lifestyle/survival choices would gag you from talking about the things that are important to you as a feminist, then obviously that's a problem with my solution. And I'm not wedded to it (hence my suggestion that it is the easiest not the only or the best).

I'm not sure the conversations you want to have are the sorts of conversations I object to (which is why I used the examples to be more clear about the sort of events that I found problematic).

V said...

Why don't you object to the kind of conversations that I want to have?

Maia said...

Well because they're hypothetical conversations, and I'm not sure what you mean when you say "the transfeminine narrative surrounds appearance passing and lifestyle" is the same as what I mean when I say "aesthetics, lifestyle, and survival choices."

I've gone into a bit of detail about what I mean and what I see as problematic. Do you see the sorts of conversations you want to have as being like the examples that I used?

V said...

Better idea: How about you educate yourself about trans women and their issues?

Yes, I do see the sort of things I would raise as being virtually identical to the examples you used.
(I brought one up in a previous post).

Maia said...

V - I guess a key to what I'm arguing (which I've only just figured out or I would have put into the post). Is that I think discussion about how we survive in this world are fraught (obviously I've said that bit), and therefore should only happen in spaces where everyone involved wants to be part of that conversation.

So a post about where to find clothes that fit cock and balls is fine in a space set up for people to talk about how they survive (and there are many ways that that could happen). But I think someone who is sick of hearing of stuff that is out of her reach financially, shouldn't have to avoid broader spaces.

I'm sorry if I've given you the impression that I want you to explain trans women's issues. I know that's not your job.

Anonymous said...

This explanation does make a bit more sense to me.

I reacted to your first post because the title 'Is this what feminists look like?' led me to think you were questioning whether some people were real feminists based on the sort of posts they put on the internet and their interests.

I'm still not sure I agree with your argument, but I think this second post is a lot clearer and doesn't come across as judgemental like the last one did.

V said...

Well, that's VERY problematic, Maia, because then I could only ever talk about the bulk of explicitly transfeminine topics 'in a space set up for people to talk about how they survive.'
Because my LIFE is survival. There isn't that much room for anything else.
So as I illustrated earlier, in any general space, I would feel gagged.
Basically I just see this as another exclusion tactic from someone in the cis world.
Or, more simply, your solution sucks.

Anonymous said...

It is difficult being a young feminist in today's society. Everyone criticises you. Many young women and men laugh at what you believe in pushing aside feminist concerns as irrelevant.

I find many older feminists to be particularly abrasive towards younger feminists and to be honest I have found your posts around this issue quite offensive, and I usually enjoy this website.

I presented at the NZWSC last year and felt alienated and ignored by the many of the older feminists there. When I spoke to one older feminist at the conference introducing myself, before she even introduced herself she stated "oh and I suppose you are one of those younger feminists who thinks they are doing a better job than us." My other younger feminist friends were also alienated at this conference. I walked out of that conference taking myself off the Association's website and feeling very different in my identity, no longer as a feminist but instead as a young feminist.

No wonder so many women do not identify as feminists in today's society! The women in the community are too busy trying to crush each other.

How about offering support for WYFC instead of criticising them before their important work has even begun?

Nausea said...

This reminds me of a feminist workshop I was at, where the older (than me) woman who was facilitating was complaining about young women who wear miniskirts and heels. It made me feel so excluded and judged, because I love wearing miniskirts and make up and fishnets and cleavage revealing tops, and it's not because I have a false consciousness or 'don't respect myself' or am trying to pander to men. I think most of the women at WYFC would probably agree with me that it's antifeminist to judge women's gender expression, and that feminism shouldn't be about creating new standards women have to measure up to instead of the old ones. So I totally get what you mean about not positioning some fashions/aesthetics/interests/hobbies as feminist or antifeminist.

Nausea said...

Also, I think V's made an important point. Feminist spaces aren't neutral and there's a difference between what's said by someone who's marginalised in that space and what's said by someone who's dominant in that space. When a transwoman posts something to a feminist feed she's aware that (unless it's an explicitly transfeminist feed) many if not most of the audience will be ciswomen. When a ciswoman posts something to a feminist feed there's a good chance she'll assume she's only talking to other ciswomen like herself. If someone posts abut clothes that fit transwomen and a ciswoman feels alienated by it, it's probably because of her own sense of cisprivilege and entitlement, and that's not something we should respect. If someone posts about clothes that don't fit transwomen and a transwoman feels alienated by it, it's probably because she is used to being excluded and marginalised in so many other spaces too. It has a totally different effect. Also, if someone had posted about a shop that only sells size 20+ clothes, I don't think that's as problematic as posting about a shop that only sells size 14- clothes. because women who fit 14- clothes don't have trouble accessing clothes that fit the same way that women who fit 20+ clothes do.

I think talking about survival strategies can be really useful, as long as we're careful to do it in a way that doesn't place a moral value judgement on the strategies people choose. I agree with you that it's hard, but so is everything else feminist do.

Boganette said...

Maia is not an 'older feminist'. I'm sorry if I'm speaking for you Maia but it's just this bullshit about Old vs Young feminists is shitting me no end.

It's fucking imaginary. One blogger who is not 'old' or 'older' on The Hand Mirror talking about a post on the Wellington YOUNG feminist collective does not equal some fucking huge debate over young vs old. Jesus fucking christ.

V said...

The difference, Boganette, isn't 'old feminists' vs 'young feminists' - it's second wave feminism vs third wave feminism. Third wave is more evolved and inclusive.
It just so happens that the bulk (but not all) of the second wavers tend to be older and a good whack of the third wavers are younger peeps.

The difference between second and third wave feminism is most certainly NOT imaginary - I've been on the receiving end of second wave's transphobia on countless occasions and consequently I can't stand second wavers, who are generally easily identifiable from the ideologies they follow.

Boganette said...
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Boganette said...
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Boganette said...
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Boganette said...

I think separating people into waves and putting labels on feminism is fucking stupid. My feminism doesn't have or need a title. So we'll have to just agree to disagree.

Sorry for all the deleted posts. My computer fucked out and did duplicate posts.

V said...

Whether you like or not, whether it is stupid or not, these different waves of feminism unquestionably exist.
As for labels; 'feminist' is a label. 'Atheist' is a label. It's a bit silly to complain about labels when you freely apply them to yourself!
Or are you one of these people who balks at labels like 'cisgender'?

Maia said...

Just a reminder to those commenting anonymously that we need a consistent handle. I haven't deleted any comments now, but will have to with any more comments.

Anonymous 1 - Thanks heaps for your comment. I'm glad this post made sense to you. I have noticed a real disconnect between what I was trying to say, and how people have paraphrased me. And I've been trying to figure out why that was, so it's useful to hear from people. I was thinking of the title with an emphasis on the singularity of 'this' - but I can totally see the 'this' could have been understood disparagingly.

Anonymous 2 - I think that response you received from women and the WSANZ conference really sucks. I've only had positive experience from older feminist (from when I was a very young feminist - the generosity of the group that allowed me to go to the reunion is an example). But the way you were treated was not OK.

I think the issues in these posts I've been writing about are important. I think the disagreements are based on different theoretical difference rather than age, so hadn't seen it as a young/old issue (and as I've said I'm 32, so don't see myself as an old feminist).

But like I said to the other anonymous, I know a lot of people got a different thing from this post than what I intended and I'm trying to figure out why that was.

Nausea - I can see that argument, and I absolutely agree that posting something that specifically meets the needs of women who face structural marginalisation is different. But the thing is just because your marginalised in clothing in one way, doesn't mean that there aren't people who don' face this marginalisation who are also marginalised in another way. As I said on the other thread, I have found spaces which are set up to talk about fat clothing really alienating, because there's an emphasis on putting together outfits, which I can no longer do than fly (because I'm dyspraxic).

On the other hand my solution to the 'how to clothe my body' problem is to throw money at it. And while I'm on a low income, I do have a high disposal income for my actual income (mostly because I'm not a parent, and because of my class position).

V - Actually the 'waves' model of feminism is based entirely on marginalising the struggles of large numbers of women, particularly poor women and women of colour.

In the 1970s, those involved in feminist movements called themselves 'the second wave', because they thought that nothing had happened since the struggle for the vote. They were very, very wrong.

However, they also did not represent a single position. There were more differences among feminists in the 1970s than there are between feminists in that movement at feminists calling themselves 'third-wave' (a term that has always bothered me because it was deliberately marginalising 50 years of struggle).

V said...

V - Actually the 'waves' model of feminism is based entirely on marginalising the struggles of large numbers of women, particularly poor women and women of colour.

What do you mean by using 'actually'?
I'm 100% aware of what the waves model is based on, since I'm one of the women being marginalised - and whom you IGNORED (I'd argue that trans women are sadly more marginalised than poor women and women of colour).
I pointed out that second wave views are often held by older feminists - not that the age CAUSES them to hold these views.

I'm also starting to get really pissed with you constantly ignoring trans women - it's really marginalising.

Maia said...

V - By actually I mean that you described second-wave feminism as a set of ideas, and it's not. It's a model of the history of feminist activism, and a very inaccurate one at that.

If 'second-wave' describes anything it describes a certain time period of feminism. So yes by definition all second-wave feminists must be of a reasonable age at this point.

To describe people holding about 'second-wave' views is meaningless because the range of different views held by people in the 1960s and 1970s varied so greatly. To look at some local fighters for feminism in that time - I don't think Anne Else, Ngahuia Volkering/Te Awekotuku, Donna Awatere-Huata, Christine Dann, Di Cleary, Therese O'Connell, Andree Levesque, Connie Purdue, Miriam Dell and Judith Aitken had a coherent ideology (and even if you could find some aspect of feminism that they all agreed upon, which would be a a pretty up hill battle, there would be others who disagreed).

V said...

Actually, I said "Third wave is more evolved and inclusive."
But you've fixated on the fact that I can spot second wave ideologies from a mile off. As soon as I hear someone touting Germaine Greer as their hero, I know what sort of person I'm dealing with - someone who is not inclusive.

Would mind ACTUALLY addressing my point about you ignoring trans women?
Or do you think that trans women are not 'real' women? Because your exclusion of them is implying exactly that.

Maia said...

You are still using the phrase 'second-wave ideologies'. What on earth can you possibly mean by that? There was more to the 1960s and 1970s than Germaine Greer. A younger feminist who likes Germaine Greer is no more part of the second wave than I am because I think everyone should read Carol Hanisch's 'Personal is Political'.

While I think it is possible to be deeply affected by some part of an author's work, without agreeing with everything they say (particularly in Germaine Greer's case, because although I've never been able to finish anything she writes, my understanding is she contradicts herself). I would agree that it is anti-feminist to promote her trans-phobic ideas (and I'm nowhere near familiar enoughh to know how entrenched in her work they are - it could be fundamental, my vague memory of the first chapters of hte female eunuch were that they were pretty essentialist).

I make no commitment to respond to everything people say. But I didn't respond to the rest of that comment because i"m not a fan of discussions that invoke oppression olympics about who is more oppressed than who.

I wasn't making a general list of marginalisation (which would have more than two names on it). Just listing groups whose history of struggle was erased by focusing on our understanding of feminism as having a first and a second wave. I know that other groups history of struggle is also erased by that process, but I listed those two because I am familiar with struggles that they were involved in between the struggle to get the vote and the 1960s that had been marginalised, so I could give examples if the discussion developed that way.

I don't think there is a category called 'real' women. Trans women are women.

stargazer said...

thanx maia for bringing up the oppression olympics thing, because it really bothers me when anyone says that x group is more oppressed than y group. no-one wins with that framing. it's so much more productive to try to understand the various issues that arise from each form of marginalisation, so that we are supporting each other rather than competing against each other.

Boganette said...

"Or are you one of these people who balks at labels like 'cisgender'?"

Sure, believe what ever you want to believe about me. It's not going to shame me into believing in this bullshit 2nd/3rd/4th wave hive-mind fuckery that you swear by.

V said...

To start with, it's transphobia. Not 'trans-phobia'. There's no requirement for a hyphen, just as no other *phobia word need a hyphen.

Secondly, you're doing exactly what you accused the WYFC of doing - excluding and othering people by omission!
You failing to include trans women is no different to Coley failing to mention other dress sizes/body types.

How come when you do it, it's fine, but when others do so, it's not okay?
There's some pretty vicious hypocrisy going on here, Grace.
It's about time you recognised it.

Boganette; have a read of this:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feminism
You'll note that the three waves of feminism are clearly detailed.
If you don't want to believe that they happened, that's cool with me. I know people who still believe in Santa and that's okay too :-)

Maia said...

V - Sorry no Wikipedia is not the be all and end of all of feminist history. The 'wave' model of feminism was taken apart as untenable as soon as women from the women's liberation movement started studying feminist history and realised how much of it there was.

On top of that just because a particular time period of feminism is called 'second-wave' doesn't mean that there was only one version of feminism at htat time. As I've said over and over again (and you've ignored) there was huge diversity, divergence and conflict in the feminist movements of hte 1960s and 1970s, so to talk of second-wave ideologies or to say that third-wave is more evolved shows your ignorance of the range of views represented in those movements.

I get that there are feminists that you are opposed to, and share your opposition to transphobia in the name of feminism. But to label what you are opposed to 'second-wave' is nonsense, and bears no relationship to either the ideological development of feminism, or hte hisotry of feminism as a political movement.

As for your other point - No I don't think it's hypocritical to talk about why I htink certain modes of discourse in feminist space are alienating, if my writing isn't always inclusive. I think expecting perfection before engaging in critical discussoin leads to paralysis.

For example, I think that you marginalised the experiences of working-class women and Women of Colour (particularly transwomen who are working class or WoC) in your previous comment. But I don't think that makes what you say about the alienation of transwomen in feminist spaces any less valid.

V said...

If you expect others to be held to a certain standard of inclusiveness, then you must expect to be held to the same standard too. Your previous arguments against Coley's post now apply to you.
Please go argue with yourself.

Boganette said...

Oh it's on Wiki? Well fuck me! I stand corrected!

Except it's kinda weird how on that page it doesn't describe "Second Wavers" as "anyone who V disagrees with on anything". You better race off and edit it.

V said...

Actually, I described seconds wavers as people who regularly discriminate against me.
But you wouldn't know anything about that, would you, cisgirl?
Bask in your privilege.

Julie said...

Ok chill pill time - perhaps if those warring on this thread could back off for 24 hours that would be a good idea.

V said...

Er...Julie, you might want to look at the date/time stamps of the posts before yours.

Julie said...

Thanks for that V, I can tell the time. You might want to consider that there was at least one comment deleted off this thread yesterday by moderators for being transphobic. You weren't to know that, because we made it disappear. Which is why my comment about a 24 hour chill pill looked odd.

V said...

Thanks for explaining Julie.
Who made the comment? I'd like to know in order to, well, protect myself.

Maia said...

V - On the other thread you said "I shouldn't be surprised that a blog which refuses to identify transphobes also deletes posts which point out ableist behaviour." I just wanted to address that here rather than cluttering up stargazer's thread. You were arguing that because Julie, who has made it clear that she is incredibly busy at the moment, didn't reply to you, the blog as a whole is refusing to do something? I think that shows an sense of entitlement to her time which is staggering.

Unless they have comments e-mailed to them (which I have only just started to do). Moderators would have no idea who had made the deleted post once it has been deleted. So most of the moderators on this blog wouldn't have been able to answer, even if htey had the time to do so.

I have now taken the time to look up and discover the person who posted the transphobic comment we deleted used the handle 'the truth'. They have not, as far as I know, posted before or since on this blog.

V said...

I didn't realise that it took two weeks to post a username.
My abundant and overenthusiastic apologies for so egregiously intruding on her time with my obviously challenging and time consuming request!

Maia said...

V - Your response is really entitled. It took me about five minutes to find the name and post it. Julie, who you addressed your request to, has had very few sets of five minutes for the blog recently (and doesn't necessarily have the computer access to do those steps easily). To demand five minutes of another woman's time on your terms is to devalue her labour.

By writing a feminist blog we undertake to write when we can, moderate to our ability to create the sorts of spaces we promise (something that I put very little time into and leave far too much to my fellow bloggers). We don't undertake to research any question asked of us.

V said...

You're right.
My right to protect myself from transphobia is outweighed by 5 minutes of a cis person's time.

Maia said...

In this case that is a ridiculous statement. How does knowing the one-off handle (not as you state the user name, the person did not have a user name) offers you any protection at all from transphobia? The only protection those who run this blog could offer was delete the post and we did that.

But as a general principle, I actually do believe in people's autonomy and that demanding other people's personal resources in the name of solidarity leads to drowning people fighting over non-existant life rafts and holding each other down in the process. I don't think we ever have a 'right' to other people's personal resources such as time. If your safety can be got through Julie's time, that doesn't mean you have a right to that time. The rights of the people all over the world (at the moment on top of my mind is Wisconsin, East Christchurch, Libya, Egypt and the LGBT anti-violence organising meeting in Wellington) could be assisted through me offering my resources as solidarity, and I have to distribute them in a way that also takes into account my needs.

Your request took research, and research is work, and you are not entitled to other people's work.

I didn't go to the Libya solidarity demo a few weeks ago because I didn't hvae the time. Does that mean that I think Libyan's have less right to self-determination than I have to an hour of my time? No it just means that time is a limited resource in my life.

V said...

How the fuck was I supposed to know that it was a one-off handle when no-one would give me the dignity of a response.
Sorry Maia, but you can't retroactively claim that I can't feel unsafe when I didn't have the information required to make that determination.

The rest of your post is bordering on cisplaining.
As I said, a trans person's safety concerns isn't worth 5 minutes of a cis person's time.
It's nice to know how worthless I really am :-/

Maia said...

Or to put it another way - if you think Julie had an obligation to spend her time doing work that you'd asked of her - then explain why as a general principle.

Under what circumstance do we owe each other specific work?

I say we don't, but if there's a principle about when you think we do I'd be interested in having the discussion.

Maia said...

V - I posted my last post before I saw yours. Again I reject your framing, and don't think it's sustainable as a general principle. There are people all over Wellington and the world who you could make safer with your time and your money (sometimes even a very little bit of it). If you're not doing that is that because you don't think they're worth it? Or is it because you have limited resources and you need to decide how to use them?

Suddenly you've said that 'nobody' gave you a response. You asked a question of Julie. Someone who has neither commented nor posted on this blog since then. That is what I find so arrogant about your demand.

V said...

Nice dodge.
You're rather a champion at totally ignoring points that you don't want to address.

Anyway, to address your last:
Personally, if someone was calling for help outside my house at 3am, I'd go out and try to assist. I wouldn't lie in bed and think "Harumph! How dare they demand WORK from me!"
But I guess we're very different people in that respect.

Anonymous said...

do you think it's possible Julie was busy and didn't see your comment as it was taken over by other cmments on this busy blog. or do you think it was a deliberate act where she decided you were not worth her time and she felt it was not worth trying to make you feel safe. two different things there do either matter to you
-J

Anonymous said...

do you think it's possible Julie was busy and didn't see your comment as it was taken over by other cmments on this busy blog. or do you think it was a deliberate act where she decided you were not worth her time and she felt it was not worth trying to make you feel safe. two different things there do either matter to you
-J

Maia said...

That's not a general principle, it's an example (and not at all analagous - the point isn't whether you'd go out at 3am, but whether the person who was asking for help would be able to make it a statement about their worth if you didn't go out at 3am).

If someone says "I need X from Jane Doe for my safety." I think the best person to determine whether X is something that Jane Doe can do is in fact Jane Doe. That's what autonomy means.

If you think someone other than Jane Doe is the best decision maker of whether or not Jane Doe can and should do the thing asked of her, then express that as a principle.

I don't know what you think I'm dodging. I should have acknowledged that you had any way of knowing that the transphobic comment was only a handle until it was posted. Of course whatever makes you feel unsafe makes you feel unsafe. However, since you were still talking about needing the information for your safety and describing it as a username after I had given you that information I was really confused about what you meant.

Psycho Milt said...

After having a quick squizz through these comments, I'm not feeling any "transphobia," but am feeling pretty intense "ill-tempered-and-obnoxious-phobia."

V said...

Oh look, another CIS person policing what transphobia is and isn't and telling trans people how it is!

I'm out. This place stinks.

V said...

And I find it hilarious (in a sickening, ugly way) that 'Psycho_Milt' is arbitrating what transpobia is and isn't when he is a mother fucking transphobe himself!

Direct quote from Psycho_Milt:
I don't believe it does. Sex is not gender, and trying to use language to conflate them only degrades the meaning of the words used. My sex is male; I might do things like have my genitals removed/altered, take female hormones, acquire breasts etc - however, these things would not change my sex from male to female, merely disguise it as female. That isn't something that can be altered by language or influenced by power dynamics.

Link: http://tinyurl.com/4kyanzx

Whatever would us trans folks do without cis males around to cisplain our identities to us?

Maia said...

Psycho milt - If you'd actually read this thread, you would have seen that, as Julie said, the transphobic comment was deleted.

As V says I don't think you're an expert on fighting transphobia, so your comment isn't helpful.

Tim said...
This comment has been removed by the author.