Moving Day Requires Procrastination … but not too much

So I’m moving on Tuesday, and it’s been very hard to write anything for the last 10 days because of the upcoming move, but rest assured, we’ll be getting back to important topics soon.

In the meantime, I was reminded of Helen Pluckrose’s work at Aeromagazine by someone whom I will not blame, because I’m taking the high road here.

As a result, I feel compelled to write about how wrong Pluckrose is about certain important aspects of intersectionality. And yet, I don’t actually have time right now, plus I have an aversion to giving Pluckrose’s thoughts any more specific attention (such as might occur during an actual critique of any specific article).

Thus, I will limit myself to saying that the metaphor/theoretical model of Intersectionality was introduced by Crenshaw in the late 80s, but not the concept. The concept of intersectionality is at least as old as, “Ain’t I a woman?” as anyone questing for Truth might easily find.

I will also say that Crenshaw’s metaphor/model of intersectionality was not invented as a way to encourage listening. Nor was it crafted because she was opposed to the idea of a future society devoid of power structures that encourage scrutiny of race or gender. Intersectionality was crafted as a response to a practical problem in lawsuits seeking remedy for discrimination against Black women in the workplace:

If it is not completely obvious, what the courts have constructed, and what Crenshaw decries, is a series of justifications that both protects those who discriminate on the basis of (legal) sex if it just might be that the bigots discriminated against a particular plaintiff on the basis of race and also protects those who discriminate on the basis of race if it just might be that the bigots discriminated against a particular plaintiff on the basis of sex. Of course, Black men were not required to prove that their discrimination was racial only, not a combination of race and sex, vice versa for white women.

If you haven’t already, go back and read some of the other articles in my series On the Corner, so you don’t end up having conversations just as misconceived and misinformed as those of Pluckrose.

Off to make lunch and do more packing and cleaning!

 

 

 

Not in the Form of a Grenade

Some of you may know that I spent many years actively pushing forward conversations within anti-rape and anti-domestic violence organizations and activist circles in ways that would make us better able to respond to the needs of victims/survivors and the challenge of stopping rapists/abusers in a world that of much more complex sexuality and gender than those movements had previously considered.

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For Your Enjoyment: To Save the Life of the Slut

Sam Bee is at it again, chronicling the most recent house bill to abort scientific inquiring in the name of protecting unarmed fetuses everywhere. Although this bill ignores research on the neurological development of human fetuses in order to ban abortion after 20 weeks when the sense of pain is not developed until approximately 29 weeks*1 (according to some “doctor” who went to “medical school” or something), it is not as restrictive as some other legislation Republicans have proposed:

The bill makes a few token concessions to women. It allows exceptions for rape, incest, and the life of the slut.

Have I mentioned how much I love Samantha Bee?

Nonetheless, there is at least one major bit of misinformation in Bee’s video. An interview by Melissa Harris-Perry of Dr. Willie Parker who gave us information on fetal neurological development includes a chyron featuring the statistic:

58% of women have abortions in their 20s.

Well, no. Of all abortions performed, 58% are performed upon women in their 20s. That’s a little different than saying that not only do 58% of women have abortions, but 58% of women had abortions just during their 20s.

If that MSNBC fail doesn’t turn you off of Samantha Bee for not doctoring the video before playing it, then you should truly enjoy her entire rant:

 

Happy Feminist Friday, everyone.


*1: for Republicans: 29 is actually a larger number than 20. That means it’s better. 99 is even larger. You’d be really manly if you banned abortion after 99 weeks. Why don’t you try that next time? I’m even sure you could find a scientist to say that kids can feel pain after 99 weeks of life. IF another Republican tries to out-man you, you could always propose banning abortion after 999 weeks – that will show them.

Rapists’ Lives Matter. Oh, and Fuck the Poor.

As has happened many times and in many places, a Michigan rapist has been given parental rights and joint custody over a child born from one of those rapes. Though this particular case happened in Michigan this bullshit has received media coverage before. And before that. And before that.

Should I go on? Probably not. Samantha Bee did, and that still hasn’t helped.

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Feminist Friday: Feminism’s Forgotten Name

Maxine Hong Kingston is one of many feminists engaged in what we would today call intersectional theorizing, though she was writing in that mode at least two decades before Crenshaw would give activists the term intersectionality. Her book of fables and thought, The Woman Warrior (1976), has gone on to be a university staple in many different disciplines. The Woman Warrior is taught so widely, in fact, that the Washington Post includes in a piece about the book and its prominence:

It gained a following that seems, if anything, to have increased over the years.

Thus, for example, Bill Moyers has reported that “The Woman Warrior” and Kingston’s second memoir, “China Men” (1980), are the most widely taught books by a living American author on college campuses today, which echoes a claim made by the Modern Language Association. This rather astonishing information no doubt reflects the various categories of political and cultural opinion to which Kingston’s work appeals, but it also means that “The Woman Warrior” is probably one of the most influential books now in print in this country — and certainly one of the most influential books with a valid claim to literary recognition.

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On the Corner: Intersectionality is Not Feminist

By which I mean that it is not inherently or always feminist. Unlike other posts, I think I can keep this point short:

If intersectionality is an examination of how two experiences/identities interact, then when neither of those experiences/identities is woman and/or female, it is difficult to see how one might guarantee that the examination is feminist in any meaningful way. Remembering that intersectionality is not only the examination of marginalized experiences and identities, we could read a meaningful examination of any of the following without encountering feminism per se:

Black and Christian

Jewish and immigrant

Disabled and heterosexual

Asexual and queer

As I have explained elsewhere, intersectionality was born of Critical Legal Theory, which discipline has its origins in anti-racism, not feminism. Although the originator of the term, metaphor, and theory (Kimberlé Crenshaw) did so while examining legal cases of specific import to Black women and thus is as feminist in its birth as it is anti-racist, still intersectionality is something else. It could not be intersectionality if it was only about gender and sex, nor could it be intersectionality as we’ve come to understand that term if it was always inclusive of gender and sex.

The essence of intersectional thought is looking at how membership in one category affects one’s experience of belong to (or existing within) another category. It is liminal thought, as Gloria Anzaldúa might say. Too often we speak of intersectionality as a theory that “belongs” to feminism, but this notion both relies on a simplified, frequently erroneous history as well as a drastic limitation of intersectionality’s scope and potential.

Feminist Friday: Countdown

Feminist waves have been endlessly debated, and wave theory has been perpetually (and perhaps deliberately) misunderstood amongst the public generally and anti-feminists specifically. To give feminists the credit they are due and also to help clear up consistent misunderstandings, I have encouraged you all, my wonderful readers, to name feminists about whom you’d like to know more.

My series on the ethics and thought of various feminists will (I hope) be a regular Frigga’s Day feature here, but for various reasons it will not start until next week. In the meantime, I hope that you celebrate this Friday by reading (if you haven’t already) my post on the Seneca Falls convention which gave contractarian feminisms their initial shape, the document produced by the Seneca Falls attendees, my writing on why Crenshaw first elaborated the metaphor of intersectionality and how it is/was useful, or my thoughts on the limits of her initial articulation of intersectionality.

Or, perhaps, you could simply give me more ideas for which feminists deserve the attention of Pervert Justice in the comments of this post or the original announcement of this effort.

In the meantime, have a good Friday and a good weekend!

Happy 169th Birthday

Declaration of Sentiments

When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one portion of the family of man to assume among the people of the earth a position different from that which they have hitherto occupied, but one to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes that impel them to such a course.

We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights governments are instituted, deriving their powers from the consent of the governed. Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these rights, it is the right of those who suffer from it to refuse allegiance to it, and to insist upon the institution of a new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.

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Was There Ever Such A Dreadful Revolt?

One hundred sixty-nine years ago today, after a lengthy planning period totaling ten days, a group mostly consisting of Quakers (including the visiting Lucretia Mott and a number of Seneca County locals) held a convention to discuss the state of women’s political and social rights in the United States. They were largely inspired by a local non-Quaker Elizabeth Cady Stanton who was an important part of the organizing team and the lead-off speaker.

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…And a Suffragist To Be Named Later

Pierce R Butler, a regular reader of this blog and the author of many thoughtful comments around FtB, recently asked an important question about Margaret Sanger, one which I answered in the comments of Killing Black Agency. But it also got me thinking about a project in which I’ve been interested for some time: writing about individual feminists’ philosophies and ethics.

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