Tuesday, March 7, 2017

On Feminists "Owing" People Things

I reject sexist attacks against Kellyanne Conway.

Her behavior and statements are abominable and should be attacked on their substantive merits without resorting to attacking her on the basis of looks or any of the myriad ways female public figures are disproportionately attacked. 

Some of the conversations about sexism against Conway, and against conservative women in general, are always ....something though, right?

While Stassa Edwards, in the cited Jezebel piece, suggests we should let sexist attacks against Conway ride because to do otherwise is to "protect the integrity of white women like Conway," I argue that we should oppose such attacks. Whatever weapons we employ in politics in furtherance of our aims - hacking, leaking, doxxing, sexism, racism - we explicitly or implicitly legitimize their use against our movements as well.

In the case of sexist attacks, if we support their use against women like Conway, we legitimize their use as weapons against all women - even if that's not our intent. Because, trust me, misogynists won't grasp the "nuanced" take of "Oh wait, when I called Conway an ugly bitch, I didn't mean you should call Hillary Clinton one!"  The misogynist sees calling one woman a bitch as a license to call any imperfect woman one, as well. And also trust me on this, the misogynist thinks a lot of women are imperfect!

Also, note the horrendous title of the Jezebel piece. Namely, the notion that it might be feminists who uniquely "owe" Kellyanne Conway something.  It's this same entitlement to feminist work that lets MRAs demand our time, effort, writing, and advocacy for their pet issues.

But, where is this mythical place where feminists have pervasive power to halt world misogyny if we just, I don't know, tried harder for all these various ingrates whom we owe our work to?

The truth is, well, don't the people writing these takes ever notice that it's feminists who are constantly maligned, harassed, and abused by the political left, right, and center for demanding that the political left, right, and center treat women decently?

In light of these conditions, at what point does the question become: What exactly do non-feminists owe women?  And if your answer to that is "nothing," then you should at least have the decency of leaving us alone and getting out of our fucking way while we do this work.

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