My feminism will reject misogynistic screeds, or it will be bullshit

A number of feminist writers, myself included, were attacked and defamed online (yet again) in an abhorrently hateful and misogynist diatribe today. Many women spoke out, naming the vitriolic words as sexist, ad hominem attacks, professional jealousy, and manipulation.

We were called “media whores” and “turds” who had no ethics, humanity, or compassion (an ironic accusation when stated within a completely unethical post maligning female writers and journalists, dehumanizing them, and calling them a bunch of hateful, misogynist names). We were accused of selling out and of the crime of *gasp* being paid for some our work.

The author writes:

I hate you all Glosswitches, booblediboops [sic], Laurie Pennys, Louise Penningtons, Julie Bindels, Megan Murphys [sic], Michelle Goldbergs and your ilk. The B Classes of white feminism fighting tooth and nail for a place at the table. At our expense. With your writing commissions, the coins tossed in your direction by the men who own the media you so desperately want to be part of.

Not all of the women she lists are paid writers or journalists, for starters — and the author seems to have a completely deluded understanding of how much money one makes doing freelance writing (hint: not very much!). Beyond that, it is pretty appalling to attack women for being paid for their work. Is that not the very opposite of what we are fighting for? Are we all independently wealthy in the feminist movement and don’t need to work? Are progressives now fighting for writers and journalists to work for free, despite the fact that they are, for the most part, ridiculously underpaid to begin with? As women, should we find someone else to support us in order to avoid being accused of “selling out” by being paid a pittance for our writing?

When Sarah Kendzior, who has written at length about the unethical practice of hiring unpaid interns (and who has a weekly column which she is paid for — and that’s OK!), supports an abhorrently misogynist piece that attacks women for daring to have and publish opinions, ideas, and arguments publicly, and to (sometimes) be (minimally) compensated for the work they do, it is unacceptable. It is unacceptable to call a vicious, unfounded, hateful, slanderous attack, “a powerful critique.” It is unacceptable for progressive and/or feminist writers to encourage and celebrate this kind of behaviour. No excuses.

Does getting paid to write only count as “selling out” or “whoring” if the writer says things we don’t agree with? Or is it just if the writers are women? What are the rules, here?

To be clear (though it shouldn’t have to be said), this is not about “righteous anger” nor is it about people “speaking out” nor is it about “critique.” There is NO critique here. There are no politics here. These are sexist, unethical, manipulative attacks and I am sick to death of fellow progressives or feminists defending them. This is indefensible.

When, all in one breath, one states their deep hatred towards women, calling them “pieces of shit” and “whores,” and in the next assures us that, no, they don’t hate the abusive white man who ripped apart the feminist community — causing us us all to viciously attack our sisters in an effort to decide which terrible feminist was most to blame for the abusive, sociopathic, manipulative behaviour of a man for fuck’s sake and tear her from limb to limb (as a means, let’s not forget, to draw attention away from ourselves, throwing meat to the wolves in the hope we manage to avoid attack ourselves)  — the illusion that this kind of attack is politically justifiable or is happening in the name of progress, feminism, or freedom, ceases to be credible.

Contrary to popular belief, I do not hate Hugo Schwyzer, though. I feel deeply sad for him. Sad at the wasted potential of a man who obviously had the capacity to write and communicate and network and connect with people but became haunted by his own mental health issues and addictions. But I do not hate him. Sure, addicts make a choice to act on their addictions but how many choices do we have when there is a crowd that benefits from enabling the addict? What choices are out there when so many are fighting for the coins thrown at them to enable the addict, to give him rope, to let him hang, to push him further for page clicks and outrage. Like Jessica Coen, among many others, did for him. His actions are his alone but there is a point when people marred by mental health are not always in control of those actions. I can empathize with that. I would never be his friend. I would never share a drink with him. I don’t want him writing about anything that implies getting coins at our expense like his enablers do. But I do not wish him bad. If anything, I hope he can find peace.

Sure, he’s only human — the rest of us “whores” deserve nothing but hate and vitriol.

I am tired of this shit. And I am embarrassed. I am embarrassed that this is what people see when they look at feminist “discourse” online — this woman-hating nightmare. This toxic pit of mean girls-style screed — disagreement used as defense for silencing and verbal abuse. I am appalled that fellow journalists and progressives would support this behaviour and I am amazed to the point of almost finding it funny that people are still desperately trying to frame this behaviour as purposeful or political in any way.

And if people are supporting this behaviour out of fear, it’s time to look at that. Because if you are afraid and staying silent out of fear, something is wrong. Because, as the ever-on point Glosswitch wrote, “my feminism is not about being afraid.” Because you know who rules and controls and silences women through fear? Abusive men. Met any? Recognize that feeling of walking on eggshells, never quite sure when you will become the target of an attack? Yeah. That’s what the patriarchy does. It forces us to live in fear and stay silent because of it. It teaches us to take up as little space as possible in the hope that we will go unnoticed and, therefore, safe from attack. This shouldn’t be the goal or outcome of feminism.

Both Glosswitch and I have said it before, and who knows how many more times and how many more of us will need to say it again, but if your activism is focused on vicious, concerted efforts to silence women, you’re not doing feminism, you’re doing misogyny. And I promise you — I fucking guarantee you this — supporting bullies won’t protect you. It will not save you from being bullied yourself. Because some day you’ll step out of line and become the target yourself.

And if people are supporting this behaviour out of professional jealousy they may want to think about that as well. If you had a writing job would it be ok for others to attack you in this way? Simply for having a job? (And, friendly reminder, I don’t have a writing job — but I certainly don’t hate women who do. And I certainly would like to HAVE A FUCKING JOB. And I certainly will not be ashamed of that. I am not making anything resembling a living from freelance writing. I am not making anything resembling a decent living or stable income, period. And I would like to be able to pay my fucking rent. Does that make me a whore and a turd?) Would you be a sellout and a “whore” because you were paid for your work? Would you deserve the abuse hurled at you? Or would you be safe, somehow? Would you be the magical unicorn woman who writes about feminism — who writes that which is unpopular — who challenges the status quo — and isn’t subjected to abuse and isn’t made to believe you didn’t deserve to either speak or be compensated for your work? I think you know the answer to that one…

Is there nothing ironic in demanding that women work for free? Lest they be lambasted? Because women’s work remains underpaid or unpaid today, for the record. And it is unacceptable to expect women to produce work for free because they are feminist. We should be advocating for our sisters to be paid for the work they do. Not tearing them apart for scraping by in what is an extremely difficult, unstable, and unlucrative industry.

Time to stop fooling yourselves. This is not politics. This is a sick, sexist, joke.

This is not politics, no. This, in the words of Flavia Dzodan herself, is bullshit.

 

 

*UPDATE, 02/23/2014:

(The author of this attack, for the record, is not someone I can recall having ever engaged with, nor have I written a single thing directly about her (it was brought to my attention, today, that I referenced an article of hers in a post I wrote back in 2012, though the post was not “about” her, per se, nor was it an attack on her, at all), despite the fact that some are defending this behaviour with more lies about how we “targeted” her, and she is simply responding to that. Never. Never have I “targeted” her or attacked her, spoken ill of her, or so much as addressed her on Twitter. My perspective on her work was that, while I may not agree with it, she was doing her thing and I was doing mine. No need to attack her or try to silence her. Saying “what did you think would happen” strikes me as a rather dishonest attempt to defend verbally abusive, misogynist behaviour à la “you had it coming.”)

Meghan Murphy

Meghan Murphy

Meghan Murphy, founder and editor of Feminist Current, is a freelance writer and journalist. She completed a Masters degree in the department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University in 2012 and lives in Vancouver, B.C. with her dog. Follow her @meghanemurphy

  • http://thearcticfeminist.wordpress.com nuclearnight

    I was pretty horrified at the article where all of you very different women were lumped together and shat upon for daring to get writing gigs. Its totally unacceptable. Pretty ironic that someone who calls themselves redlightvoices and has such shitty politics when it comes to sexual exploitation would turn around and call women they don’t like “whores”. Way to fight stigma!

    • Meghan Murphy

      Really ironic.

  • http:www.suppressedhistories.net Max Dashu

    The impulse to silence women, and especially feminists, is in full cry now. This is nothing more than misogynist abuse. Thank you for speaking out.

    • Meghan Murphy

      It feels desperate to me. Desperately trying to shut women up by any means necessary.

      • latte

        What race is Flavia? Oh the pathos. Is there anything more tragic than a loser and failure who has to fall back on “you mean white girls stopped me from being the success I’m meant to be”.

        • NitroGirl

          Holy Christ this is some Tim Wise shit right here. Calling Women of Color “failures” and assuming they’re eating sour grapes for not being as well known as White Feminists is to ignore the concept of White Supremacy and Privilege itself. This is a garbage,racist ass post and whoever “liked” it needs to reevaluate why they’re Feminists in the first place.

          • latte

            Ahh noi I called THAT particular screed writer a failure and a loser.

            And for your information, I ain’t white.

          • xel

            @Latte. Who cares if you’re not white? I’m not white. That doesn’t give you the right to essentially state that woc are crying because they’re failures!! You’re really not understanding why woc are so angry. All of your posts below reflect how uncritical your positions are.

      • http:www.suppressedhistories.net Max Dashu

        Worst of all, women trying to shut women up in the name of feminism.

        • http://djupgron.wordpress.com Henke

          Yep, as a male ally this gets so weird. It’s like these women are doing what, I suppose, many would suspect from a typical male. Someone that sees me without knowing me might very well think I could write/talk/act like that before I get a chance to show that I am not like that.

  • Poseidon

    All of this uproar caught me by surprise as I have never heard of Flavia Dzodan before. Out of curiosity I just spent an hour researching what I could of this issue online. Its sad to see someone so filled with hate receiving even 5 minutes of “airtime.”

    • http://ewinsor.wordpress.com lizor

      On the frontier of trolling for hits.

  • Avery

    Every time I have ever ventured a respectfully stated trans critical opinion in any mainstream feminist forum, it has been met with vitriol and illogical blowback. Every time, it feels like being in an abusive relationship with someone who has narcissistic personality disorder. Let me be clear, I’m not a radical feminist. I am a liberal feminist and a lifelong LGBT (yes t) advocate. I just have a slightly different approach to the civil rights argument that balances the needs and concerns of females along with those identified as transgender. Mainstream feminism has drunk the gender kool-aid to the point that no discourse is allowed.

    • https://www.facebook.com/misslaurarae Miss-Laura Rae

      “Trans critical” = polite for “trans misogynistic.” Misogyny against trans* women is sexist and misogynistic. It seems ironic that you would comment on an article about misogyny and complain that you meet with it, when the opinions you’re professing are in fact misogyny against another group of women.

      • Ness

        I’m pretty sure this is the exact type of response Avery was referring to.

      • http://twitter.com/StopBlaminWomen Stop Blaming Women (@StopBlaminWomen)

        LOL how lovely of Miss-Laura to illustrate Avery’s point w/in 24 hours

      • Meghan Murphy

        I’m not sure I can get with that. I think “trans critical” just means being critical of the discourse — not hatred of individual trans people? Perhaps this is relevant:

        “As a friend pointed out to me, the accusations of ‘whorephobia’ and ‘transphobia’ function as analogues of ‘homophobia’. That is, they are claims that someone’s position is entirely motivated by moral disgust, and that therefore, they, and their position, can be categorically dismissed. On the one hand, it is evident that moral disgust towards prostitutes and transgender people is a very real phenomenon, and is ethically and politically unacceptable. On the other, it is not true that ethical discussions about the possible harms of prostitution or gender-critical discussions within feminism are necessarily motivated by moral disgust. There are a number of major issues (sex work, porn, sex/gender to name the most significant) where feminists have good-faith disagreements. But to reduce such disagreements to an issue of ‘phobia’ relies on the conflation of moral disgust and ethical harm. (And to be utterly clear, I am in no way suggesting that a transgender identity is an ethical harm, or questioning people’s right to exist. What I am suggesting is that wanting to ask if the reification of gender represents a harm to some women can be distinguished from moral disgust. Which is to say that it is possible to ask that question in good faith.)” http://sarahditum.com/2014/02/23/bad-faith-justice-ethics-of-the-call-out/

        • http://therearesomanythingswrongwiththis.wordpress.com Miep

          Megan, has anyone ever considered the possibility that people who identify as transgender actually have genetically dictated personality traits that are not sex-linked, but are rigidly gender-policed by the culture? Because that would be a bridge in the transgender debate.

          Mothers often say their children have different personalities from birth.

          • Meghan Murphy

            Hmm… I’m really not sure. Research shows there’s no such thing as a “male brain” or a “female brain,” but certainly people must be born with personality traits? Otherwise how do we explain twins who are very different, personality wise? I’m sure it’s a combination of socialization and biology and as someone who is not a scientist, I probably shouldn’t speculate too much….

          • Me

            There is disagreement on policy that can’t be seriously discussed, because it’s all portrayed as an attack on identity or some other purposely meaningless abstraction.

        • Maureen Master

          I’m actually uncomfortable with the use of the term “trans-critical” in radical feminist discourse. I can’t comment on its use in liberal feminist discourse as Avery has used it above, because I just don’t know enough about that. But in radical feminism it seems a bit odd to me in that we are gender-critical across the board. We believe in the abolition of gender — man, woman, intersex, trans, whatever. But we don’t say we are man-critical or woman-critical. However, gender-critical has been interpreted by some to mean calling for the extermination of trans people or saying trans people don’t have a right to exist, and so on. (In all honesty, I think that interpretation is disingenuous and I think those who make it do so for their own purposes, but that’s beside the point for this comment.) It seems to me we have adopted the term “trans-critical” in response to those accusations, when in fact it might be more accurate and productive simply to stick with the term gender-critical and point out that if being gender-critical means you want to eliminate trans people, then it must also mean we want to exterminate everyone else. I’m quite sure that there are people who would then start accusing radical feminists of wanting to wipe out the human race, but others might be a bit more reasoned. It also leaves the focus where it should be — on gender generally, not on transgender specifically. This is just a thought and I’m very open to other views.

          • http://djupgron.wordpress.com Henke

            Thank you for those words.

            However, I would like to point out that there seems to be two groups within the transcommunity
            One is transsexual activists, who advocate for trans women and trans men but not at the expense of people assigned female/male at birth, and the other is transgender activists, who want the world to revolve around them.

            I have no interest in the latter, because they seem to just “identify” in to gender dysphoria without any particular reason to do so. I can’t imagine the harm they’re doing to anyone who’s biologically female, or any young trans people who get sucked up in their misogynistic whirlwind of spite, jealousy and anger.

          • Maureen Master

            Good and important point. I have also observed that. Of course, it’s not surprising that it’s the latter group that gets all the attention. They reinforce the status quo. People in the former group seem to be much more supportive of females and feminism, which is almost certainly why they’re pretty much erased from the wider conversation on trans issues.

          • http://djupgron.wordpress.com Henke

            Hi!

            No, its not that weird at all. In this postmodern liberal, global world, where everything is about “me me me” you can get away with almost anything these days, even if what you are doing comes at the expense of others.

            Every human culture that has existed (or exists) have a social compact, rooted in codes of conduct. The modern, Western, individualist, capitalist, code of conduct is that there can be no such thing as a code of conduct other than what benefits an individual the most.
            In other words, the dominant culture says that the whole world is entirely made up by individuals acting in their best self-interest with other humans acting in their best self-interest and toghether we create society, a society located in a larger world with other individuals that also is made up by individuals acting in their best self-interest, located in an even larger world that… yeah you get the point I guess :)

            This is the “norm” of our society so its no wonder that these transgender activists get away with so much and so few questions them.
            It’s downright creepy and I don’t know if they got any planned agenda or anything but what they are trying to do, that seems obvious to me, is to try and hide male violence and male power within the transsexual movement.

          • Meghan Murphy

            Hi Maureen,
            I totally hear that. I really hadn’t thought it through much before, and just assumed that “trans-critical” meant critical of the discourse. Certainly I can see how it could be interpreted as being critical of trans people and agree that the issue is really (I would think?) about talking about gender in a critical way. I’ve never actually used the term “trans-critical” before, but my understanding of the pushback against some of the discourse that surrounds transactivism is simply that it naturalizes gender binaries at times and demands women accept certain labels and mantras that don’t always logically make sense? I’m sure others have some thoughts on this…

          • Maureen Master

            I agree entirely with your analysis. I believe that’s exactly what’s happening and when I first started hearing the term “trans-critical” I didn’t think much of it. I think I’ve been thinking more about this lately because of all the silencing of radical feminists that has been going on in the name of opposing transphobia (which, of course, is not the real reason that they are being silenced, but anyway…) and it got me thinking about the discourse around this issue and if there’s a way to bring the focus more onto what radical feminism is really about. Also, I’m sure I’ve been influenced by comments like “trans-critical is just another way of saying transmisogyny” and I think, no, no, no, that is not what radical feminism is about and for many radical feminists a word like transmisogyny has little or no meaning, anyway. There is gender. There is misogyny. We want to eliminate them. That’s pretty much it.

          • Meghan Murphy

            At the end of the day, I think transphobia exists because people want other people to fit into a gender binary/hierarchy, and trans people don’t. Of course, women and men are forced into this hierarchy as well — men placed at the top of the hierarchy and women on the bottom. Radical feminists want to eliminate this system entirely and destroy that binary. I think the trouble comes in when trans discourse argues that there is such a thing as ‘natural’ masculinity or femininity or that simply because one performs femininity that makes a person female? Which is problematic, of course, because feminists don’t want to attach “femininity” to femaleness. Am I getting this right? Feel free to add what I’ve missed or correct me…

          • latte

            Of course they fit into a gender binary. They just change one stereotype for the other.

            I make no aplogoy for being transcritical, when I see men who are MtT making supportive statements about children being prostituted. Read about Janet Mock’s enthusiasm for child prostitution on Gender Trender. Thank goodness for radcial feminists and others who are Transcritical.

  • http://becomingwriters.wordpress.com becomingwriters

    I commented on your facebook page, but thought it better to say it here. Megan, your critique is really off. You need to check your privilege in a major way- all the time, but right now, especially. The notion that those feminists listed are being attacked for being paid for their work is a willful misinterpretation of the initial critique. It’s not the fact that you’re getting paid – it’s anger directed at a system that privileges a certain brand of (white) feminism over all others. It’s a critique of WHO gets paid and who doesn’t, who the (white, male) media lets speak, and what we’re allowed to say for our own profit and to further build our own platforms and reassert our own privilege. Versus whose voices are silenced or marginalized to their own unpaid (lesser seen) platforms. Instead of leaning into the criticism, which invites a conversation about race, privilege and social responsibility on the part of those of us that have been allowed a platform upon which to speak (on the backs of those who haven’t), you cannot see past the personal attack or do anything more useful than coalesce support for yourself and your own wounded feelings.

    “Is there anything more tragic than a loser and failure who has to fall back on ‘you mean white girls stopped me from being the success I’m meant to be.’” Just, wow. GREAT ANALYSIS HERE.

    I’m disgusted by this. Really.

    I’ve had sex for money. And I’ve written for money. And there is NOTHING more degrading than turning in a story to my white editor — I’ve written for DOZENS of publications: Daily Beast, Huffington Post, Salon, Jezebel, xoJane, Hairpin, NY Magazine, etc etc and I have NEVER worked under a person of color— and seeing how my story is reframed to fit a white, middle class heteronormative sensibility at the expense of a more authentic, socially-just narrative. When we ARE allowed to posit a more nuanced analysis, it is usually a culmination of analysis we have gathered from lesser heard writers — through facebook or by reading their blogs. We white feminist writers educate ourselves by listening to people of color, LGBTQ individuals, people with marginalizing or stigmatizing experiences without platforms of their own (or lesser heard platforms) and then we repackage that knowledge and present it as our own, crediting the initial writer or not. I see this all the time. I do it myself. We all do this. (Eh, and if you’re NOT doing this, than what exactly is informing your brand of intersectional feminism???).

    The writers that don’t do this are not losers and failures. Oftentimes, they are writers unwilling to reenforce a system that favors certain voices over others. They are unwilling to colonize other people’s experiences or points of view. Or, they are of identities, experiences and points of view that are just not allowed in. I’m not surprised that they’re angry.

    That lesser-heard feminist writers are angry with the state of the media and the gatekeeping that occurs— and that they are directing that anger at feminists like yourself (and myself) that choose to play this game to the extent that you and I are “successful” makes a lot of sense. Can you make sense that? Or is this really the best that you can do?

    Melissa Petro

    • Meghan Murphy

      You know what, Melissa? If that was the “critique” she had written, that would be something worth engaging with. But she did not. And you know what, Melissa? I’m really glad that you’re a successful writer and that you’re making a living from writing. I really am. But I am not making my living from writing. Part of my income comes from writing but most does not. And I have been struggling financially for as long as I can remember. There are different versions of success, and I’m grateful to have this space and I’m grateful to be published in the places I am and I’m grateful to have a voice, but it is BECAUSE of my politics that I can’t make a living from writing. Because most American liberal and/or feminist publications will not publish my work or the arguments I and my sisters make. Most American, liberal progressive and/or feminist publications refuse to publish critiques of the sex industry. Read them. You practically have to trick people into publishing anything that isn’t pro-porn, pro-legalization, but usually they just ignore you and go on publishing bullshit attacks against abolitionists and the Nordic model. My sisters — Julie Bindel and Lierre Keith and others — are being no-platformed because of their politics (but really, not for anything they actually stand for — rather they are lied about because people are too lazy and hateful to come up with an honest critique…). Do they need to “check their privilege?” Are they part of this sell-out, “white feminism” you speak of? Fuck this bullshit. Honestly. Get a clue.

      Last time I wrote something about prostitution outside this blog, I had to do it for free. And it was a lot of fucking work. And writers should not have to write for free AND, in fact, we’re called unethical when we do! But I wrote it for free because I felt it was important to make the voices of the women I included in the piece heard — because usually they are misrepresented or erased. Is that the privilege I need to check? Writing 1800 words for a publication that pays it’s other writers because otherwise the perspectives and voices of these women would continue to be erased and misrepresented? Because otherwise actual feminist voices will not be heard? Smothered by the pro-sex work lobby?

      “Media whores” my fucking ass.

      Beyond that, I find it really odd that you’re suddenly engaging me after a hateful screed is written about me — I have always made an effort to be kind to you and supportive of your work despite the fact that you have not shown me the same and have, at times, been outright hostile towards me. I don’t know what personal (or political) grudge you’re holding against me but it seems it isn’t just my imagination or paranoia anymore based on the fact that you would respond in this way out of the blue and that you have never engaged with me or my work ever before.

      Did you even read Flavia’s post? It says NONE of what you have written here. It says “hate” and “whore” and “coins” over and over and over again, though. How have you managed to translate that into a critique of the system?

      There IS a problem with whose voices get heard. And there IS racism in the media. Big time. White male voices have ALWAYS been privileged over marginalized voices. But that’s not the critique Flavia wrote. What she wrote was a hateful, misogynist attack on individual women — some of whom have jobs in media, others who do not.

      Do you have any fucking idea how little I make from my writing? Do you have any fucking idea how hard it is to try to get ANYTHING published ANYWHERE and how much work goes into pitching and pitching and pitching and being ignored 90% of the time? Do you have ANY FUCKING IDEA how hard it is to get writing published that is critical of the sex industry? It’s hard. And it is not lucrative.

      And, at the end of the day, if SOME DAY I do manage to piece together a reasonable living *just* from writing, I will be shocked and I will be grateful and ecstatic, in fact, and I WILL NOT FUCKING APOLOGIZE FOR THAT. Shaming women for being paid for their work and trying to survive is simply beyond the pale.

      This “brand” of “white feminism” you speak of — what is it? Because it seems my politics differ from the vast majority of white feminists who publish in mainstream media. My politics differ even from some of the women I was grouped in with on Flavia’s list.

      There is no universal “white feminism.” The women I ally with are diverse and we work together because of shared goals and politics. You have no clue what you’re railing on about here and the fact that you would defend this kind of sexist, unfounded attack and try to pass it off as political shows me you either lack in reading comprehension or that this response is attached to some kind of personal grudge.

      You want to defend women being attacked for trying to make a living? You want to defend women being called “whores” and “turds?” Great. Good to know where you stand (hint: it ain’t in the feminist movement).

      Either way, I’m not into this “check your privilege” mantra. It’s meaningless and apolitical. Take it somewhere else and use your brain before responding with knee-jerk, third wave, empty bullshit next time.

      • http://www.montrealcyclechic.com lagatta à montréal

        We think in particular of the many women of Indigenous origins who have spoken and written time and again about how girls, women, and sometimes boys in their communities are used, bought, discardered, murdered and disappeared by the racist, sexist, colonialist commercial sex industry.

        They are denouncing murderous, genocidal racism x sexism…

      • http://becomingwriters.wordpress.com becomingwriters

        I don’t make a living off my writing either. I make a living off teaching, and just barely. I don’t think anyone makes a living off their writing except maybe staff writers, and then only sometimes, but that’s besides the point. When I talk about “success” I’m talking about platform- visibility, influence, etc. You’re right: there is no universal white feminism, and there is not a huge market for feminist thought of any variety. We’re all scrabbling for limited visibility, compromising our nuanced ideas to communicate with a general audience, and fighting for coins- and you and I have a great advantage of being successful that is entirely to our identities as white, cisgender women. If you can’t see that, and own that… well, there’s nothing more to say.

        I’m genuinely surprised by your response. I realize you get attacked often. I honestly wasn’t attacking you. I don’t agree with most of your politics but I don’t discount your work – certainly not its impact- and I’d never attack you (or anyone) personally. I teach writing and media critique and I’ve written about criticisms of my own brand (no need for scare quotes – all of us writers have one) and the responsibilities we have towards less privileged voices. I don’t begrudge them for being angry or for articulating that anger without articulating its causes in the way that I am able to. It’s not oppressed peoples responsibility to constantly educate us about oppression. I responded to this post because I’m genuinely interested in having these sorts of conversations and I felt a responsibility to speak up when I saw the kind of things being said here. I gave you a benefit of the doubt that you would be able to hear what I had to say but it seems I was wrong in doing so. There is a lot of straight up racism happening here in the comments and your defense of it says a lot about your character.

        • Meghan Murphy

          I have not defended racism anywhere, Melissa. And when you write a comment saying you are “disgusted” by what I’ve written and order me to “check my privilege” and “lean in” to being called a turd, a whore, and attacked for trying to piece together a living and be paid for my work, I’m not sure how you expect me to respond. You’ve defended a misogynist attack based on nothing. I’ve done nothing to Flavia and her post was hateful and unfounded. It’s not about my “wounded feelings” (and don’t you think that attacking women FOR HAVING FEELINGS is a little fucking sexist??) — my “feelings” are fine. What I responded to was the sexism in Flavia’s post (and to people’s defenses of her attack).

          People can be angry all they like. I am often angry and that anger comes through in my posts. You’re completely manipulating my argument and you seem totally deluded about what Flavia wrote and the responses to her. Being angry and articulating anger is not the same as misogynist name-calling, verbal abuse, or straight-up lies.

          This “check your privilege” stuff is empty third wave rhetoric that has nothing to do with actually addressing a system that oppresses and marginalizes certain groups and privileges others. I’m not interested in engaging with thoughtless, apolitical buzzwords invented by a bunch of Gender Studies students who have zero interest in ending patriarchal oppression or in movement-bulding and are obsessed with identity politics and post-modernism. Ending oppression is going to take a lot more than yelling at people to shut up and “check their privilege.” And lest you twist my arguments around again, that’s not the same as denying privilege. It’s about this new language of the third wave making everything about individual identities and erasing systemic oppression, in turn, discarding the notion of (and any chance of) collective liberation in favour of individual “choice.”

          Here’s some further reading on the vocabulary issue I’m trying to get at: http://publicautonomy.org/2014/01/27/the-rise-of-the-post-new-left-political-vocabulary/

          And, on an aside, pretending that attacks on people like me and other women who criticize the sex industry and include a radical feminist analysis in their work is about “privilege-checking” is bullshit. The sex work lobby is run by white men and women who’ve twisted the discourse around with the intention of silencing and marginalizing feminist pushback. That’s what the vast majority of attacks on me are about and it’s likely that’s what Flavia’s apparent hatred of me is about too. It’s no coincidence that the more I speak out about this stuff, the more concerted the attacks get. Between that and women defending their personal choice to be empowered by selfies, burlesque, and pornography (which are ideas that are promoted CONSTANTLY by “mainstream/popular feminism”) I’ve become persona non grata in many feminist circles. There is a lot more that those who love “Twitter feminism,” for example, and Flavia and her fans have in common with those circles than I do.

          • http://www.montrealcyclechic.com lagatta à montréal

            The sex work lobby silences the scream of Indigenous women used, sold, and too often killed ih the sex trade.

          • Meghan Murphy

            Indeed.

      • xel

        While I agree with Meghan, I also kinda agree with Melissa. I’m a Latina feminist and though i have many white feminist ally friends, I also generally feel alienated by them. I think white feminists have a really really hard time understanding how privilege operates. It’s really difficult for white feminists to understand how they can contribute to the oppressive conditions for woc. So, the obvious reaction is to get angry, defensive, and to maybe even feel hurt [which makes sense], but that doesn’t mean the oppression you emit isn’t real.

        Also, it doens’t mean that you can’t share your experiences, or have your own blog. Seriously-congrats to you bc of feminist current. I like what you generally have to say because you’re more critical than most white feminists; however, your blog is occuring at the same time that white feminists are finally being held accountable

        As woc [not all of us, but a lot of us], we’re not saying that you don’t also experience oppression as a woman, you just have to simultaneously recognize how you have particular racial privileges that you don’t even see. That’s all. The feminist climate is THAT MUCH HARDER for us. you think it’s hard for you to get a writing job? Imagine being a black woman now.

        I’m sorry you’ve been experiencing so much hatred online. I really do think flavia could have worded her piece much differently, but I do understand the intense frustration she has. White women tend to dominate almost all spaces of activism at this point [in a mainstream sense] and it’s really frustrating. So, some of us get angry and write posts because we can’t stand it. It’s ironic bc alot of you have good intentions, but you don’t see how you reify the problem you hate. you TALK about woc being excluded, while you and tons of other white feminists keep rising in popularity. It’s like the trendy new thing to talk about us to get more followers or more page views.

        In fact, i think its about time we, as woc, tell white women to shut up and listen. Just stop writing to defend yourself. It will only make you look worse, like you’re protecting privilege. This isn’t the whole, “we’re all women. we’re all oppressed. we’re all in the same boat. we ALL make less than men when we work.” No–this is about you screaming victimhood when out of all women, white women get the most privileges. why are your voices the loudest? Let us talk. Let us write. Liisten to us, or else you will inevitably keep reproducing your privilege, and you will keep being joked about all over the internet. You keep talking about how you’re a victim. Just stop. You’re not.

        Helping woc doesn’t mean you control the platform and allow them to share their short stories, or use them as a citation. That’s bullshit. That means you’re using as a props to look intersectional.

        Feminism, especially white feminism online, just feels like it’s all about individual white women trying to make their mark, while using brown women to get there. that’s it. I just think you need some moments of self-reflection at this point. Check yo privilege!

        • Meghan Murphy

          Well, I agree with many of your points here. White privilege exists everywhere — including within the feminist movement. And I completely agree with your point that a lot of white feminists use intersectionality as a way to raise their own profiles and build a career, which is bullshit.

          That said, I’m not going to take abuse or sit back and say, yeah, I deserve to be called a whore and a turd. And when I see people saying, like, oh Flavia’s been a target and she’s just responding, I mean, it’s just not true. Your critique is valid, but what Flavia wrote is not, nor are the defenses of her.

          I would never say that we are all equally oppressed. Women experience different kinds of oppression based on class and race. Obviously. But I’m not going to shut up and take misogyny and verbal abuse because I’m white. I don’t see how does anything for anyone.

          I have very different politics than Flavia. Her politics are, in fact, more in line with many mainstream, liberal, American feminist/progressive media outlets than mine. I think it’s very weird to lump in people like Julie Bindel or myself with this ‘mainstream white feminism’ thing. Particularly in a time when radical feminist voices are being silenced like crazy.

          • xel

            I totally agree with you. I don’t think you should just sit back and take the abuse; however, I think a lot of your posts have started to focus only on yourself.

            When many woc say “white feminism”, i think we’re referring to the “it’s all about me. let’s focus on me feminism.” I mean, you keep getting sucked into this and feeding it and writing blog posts defending yourself which takes up even more time and space where you’re just literally talking about yourself.

            As I said previously, I don’t condone Flavia for saying half of the things she said because it just came off immature and is sparking more tensions than anything else. I think most critical people get that she’s just trying to get page clicks as well, but there IS something to her overall message (minus all of the misogyny and bullshit shoved within it).

            I think in reality, this is all in response to your twitter feminism piece which was saturated with whiteness…meaning “it’s all about me, it’s about me.” No-that doesn’t mean you can’t share your experience, it just means that you were talking about twitter in a negative way while tons of woc feminists were starting to embrace it as an activist platform. Then you just happened to release that piece. While many woc were celebrating, you were going on and on about you and how bad it’s been for you and i think it just sat the wrong way with a lot of people. It was a good piece, it just occurred at the wrong time because it didn’t recognize the current context surrounding twitter with woc.

            Personally, I think you just need to start focusing on what you usually focus on, and stop responding to criticism or else it will start to define your work. It will seem as though you are devoting posts to your reputation, rather than other things.

            I get that radical feminism is being critiqued now but you need to also understand that many radical feminists use woc to get ahead. There are tons of woc feminists who are radical, but they are forced to the margins because all white women want to blog and talk about how they’re oppressed. I get it, it’s just getting dull. I seriously wish you luck because I do understand you’re in a tricky space right now and you have to find a way to reclaim your image or else I think your reputation will be damaged.

          • Meghan Murphy

            Yes I think you’re right that too many of my posts have been focusing on myself lately and I appreciate your critiques here and pointing that out to me. It’s very difficult to not defend yourself when you feel like you’re being lied about or misrepresented but, at the same time, it’s not possible to control what others say about you.

            When I wrote the piece about Twitter feminism, I was not thinking about how some woc of colour use it (a blind spot, admittedly). I was thinking about the people that DIDN’T use twitter (i.e. who is represented there), I was thinking about the way that I behaved on Twitter, the way I was seeing other people behave towards one another, then way people behaved to me, as well as how productive the whole thing is and how quickly lies are spread around and how people get piled-on, etc. I honestly do think Twitter feminism is toxic and, at the same time, I realize that it is a valuable and important space for some people and while I did try to acknowledge that in my piece, I could have emphasized it more.

            It’s not like it’s all one thing or the other, but I still think that Twitter isn’t going to build movements. It’s a useful tool for communication and sharing information, but we need more than Twitter to take down systems of oppression and when I see it used as a way to shit on people or spread malicious lies, it’s hard to see it as a useful tool for feminism…

            When you say “you have to find a way to reclaim you image or else I think your reputation will be damaged” — it’s hard to know how to respond to that because I feel like people lie about me and my arguments a lot and I have trouble figuring out how to deal with that without trying to correct them. AND I think those efforts are politically-motivated and an attempt to silence and discredit women who’s arguments they don’t like… So what is the best way to deal with that? I clearly have no idea — ignore it and move forward with your work? Point out that this is what they are doing? Correct them? Address the attacks? I don’t know. I go around and around on this issue all the time.

            All that said, most of my work is not “about me.” It’s about other women or about looking at various issues that impact women and the feminist movement. That’s why I do the podcast, for example (which, I assume everyone knows, is something that takes A LOT of work and is something I do uncompensated, aside from donations I get through the site, I guess, which help support some of the work that goes into running this site, etc. and I am very grateful for this support…) — to elevate the work and ideas of other women and to advance feminist discourse or cover events and issues. It seems like most of my body of work goes unnoticed by those who decide to hate me. Which is frustrating. But, again, that’s not something I really have much control over, so maybe I should just ignore it.

            Anyway, again, I appreciate your comment. It has given me a lot to think about.

          • xel

            @Meghan.

            Thanks for taking the time to respond. Don’t feel defeated Meghan because this will eventually work out. At least your name is known enough to have it trashed, lol. I know that sounds really weird now, but in reality there are tons of feminists who are dying just to make it to the place that you’re at.

            As I said before, I don’t think you’re exactly like the other white feminists who just don’t get it, because I definitely think you do. Your work speaks to that, and that’s why I think there is only so much that you can really defend yourself.

            There are awesome critical woc feminists, but there are also some uncritical ones [that I even know personally] who are looking for a white feminist to fuck with because of our anger towards white feminism, so the more you respond [even if your critiques are brilliant], the more they are going to just distort what you’re saying. Because you’re reacting, they’re going to paint you as a psycho privileged fool. You already know this though, which is why its frustrating blogging in the first place.

            I think you have a really strong body of work, and I think there are different ways of responding to these critiques without literally targeting the other person because they won’t get it anyway. Find a more general way to talk about building community between women because if you keep responding to attacks individually, people are just going to think you’re “negative.” [which i know…is prob super frustrating for you].

            I think the reason why i’m reaching out to you is because I think you are critical and smart and I don’t want uncritical feminists to tarnish your reputation. As I said, your work speaks for itself. I think you’re doing the natural thing, which is defending yourself, however, I think there is a more strategic, political way to do it. Instead of targeting each person and organization who wants to hate on you, just keep pumping out awesome ass, intersectional work so that when people click on your page to check out how “white” and “privileged” you are, they will see that you’re actually very critical and inclusive of racialized discussions.

          • Meghan Murphy

            Yeah and while most of my anger was around the fact that people were defending and supporting (what I believe to be) toxic, misogynist crap, rather than being angry specifically at Flavia, it’s possible that my responding to it just feeds into the “infighting.” Anyway, again, appreciate your critical response and thoughts. It’s important to remember to look at the big picture which, as you point out, would involve “responding” in a more “strategic, political” way rather than directly responding to attacks. If people aren’t interested in doing feminism and just want to spew toxicity and hate into the movement, maybe they aren’t worth addressing at all?

          • xel

            @Meghan. No problem. I agree with you 100%. I would never suggest that you “ignore” attacks. I just think that it’s really easy to get caught up in a way where you can’t “win.” Engaging with people who are not critical will only make you feel frustrated, and can only result in you being labeled a “racist.” As soon as you get that label, no one will even take the time to read your material.

            So yeah, I think there’s a strategic way to get through this. It’s really easy for people like Flavia to take advantage of the fact that there’s a rift between some white and black feminists. It’s easy to get support by throwing white feminists under the bus because it’s pretty trendy right now [despite the fact that there are legitimate reasons for some woc to be angry].

            I think a lot of women sympathize with your current position; however, like I said, think more strategically and politically. I know it’s sad that we have to do that in a movement where we’re supposed to feel safe, but I think that’s the only real way around all of this mess. Good luck Meghan.

        • Laur

          “You keep talking about how you’re a victim. Just stop. You’re not. ”

          Is being a woman not enough to count as being a victim of structural oppression? Although maybe you meant Meghan is not a victim in the blogosphere, although I would argue differently.

          I do think it’s super-important to have WOC as the majority in as many groups (and I don’t just mean feminist groups) as possible. At a very basic level, WOC are the largest group of people.

          I’m getting tired of hearing how there isn’t enough discussion of how feminism has been historically white dominated and is still white-dominated. I do think whiteness, and what it means socially, both now, and in the past, is absolutely imperative to discuss. I don’t see how it helps to say, “you’re a white woman. I’m not going to listen to you.” I generally find people who say this come up with reasons not to listen to WOC in their lives, as well.

          I have attended both community college and a four-year college. As a WMST minor, in both of those schools, the majority of content we read was by WOC, as it should be. In multiple classes, if not every WMST class I took, we discussed second-wave feminism, as well as feminism today, as leaving out the voices of WOC. I don’t know this is the way it is everywhere, but this was my experience. I liked this. And I agree that WOC should be the most listened-to voices. I also think that white women shouldn’t have to be silent or feel they have to agree with everything a woman says just b/c she is a person of color–and their not.

          I see frequent blog posts, by both WOC and white women trashing feminism, especially its radical variety, as being all white woman. It seems it is okay to put down white women, dismiss everything they have to say, just for being white. Certainly, a man can never fully understand my experience as a white woman. Nor can a white woman fully grasp how it is to interact with the world as a WOC. But just as they are some (a few) men out there who have really taken the time to learn, so are there white women. I don’t understand how describing someone’s whole essence as a “cissie white whore” is in line with feminism at all.

          • Meghan Murphy

            The trouble with this kind of discourse, too, is that so many white, liberal, feminists adopt the language in order to position themselves as “good” feminists and join in on attacks in order to avoid being attacked themselves (I’m being a little repetitive here, I know). These are generally the women who put out the most boring, white-washed, thoughtless, tepid material ever — they play it safe, have zero class analysis, are obsessed with identity politics and policing language above all else and say little to move discourse or the feminist movement forward except when it’s time to rail on “white, rich/privileged feminists” (who are generally not rich and/or necessarily white, but radical or socialist feminists) who they shit on in the hope that maybe no one will notice that they are actually white, privileged and well-off themselves. I think xel kind of got at that a bit already — the feminists using “intersectionality” to build a platform.

            These are the same women who consistently talk about the sex industry as though it’s an individual choice and about bodily autonomy/empowerment because they’re terrified of having their own b.s. words (whorephobic/SWERF, etc.) used against them and can’t manage to see through their pomo blinders that it is THE EPITOME OF FUCKING PRIVILEGE to see/represent prostitution as just a personal, individual, empowered choice some women just happen to make in their lives.

            (I’m not actually sure if that comment made much sense outside my head…)

          • lizor

            Makes wonderful sense, Meghan. Especailly this bit: “…can’t manage to see through their pomo blinders that it is THE EPITOME OF FUCKING PRIVILEGE to see/represent prostitution as just a personal, individual, empowered choice…”

            Thank you.

    • Laur

      Saying that radical feminism is white feminism erases the voices of the many women of color who have been and are radical feminists.

      Meghan is a woman. Feminism is about ending the oppression of women. Why doesn’t Meghan have a right to write a feminist blog?

      • Meghan Murphy

        Many of the abolitionists I know and ally with are women of colour. The majority of Native women’s organizations in Canada are abolitionist. The Asian Women Coalition Ending Prostitution are women of colour. NWAC, AWAN, IWASI, etc. Never mind the individual women of colour who are a part of and have long worked within the feminist movement. Labeling our feminism as “white feminism” is inaccurate and offensive and, I believe, anti-woman. It’s a tactic used to silence radical feminist voices — by saying they’re all rich white women. BULLSHIT. Absolute bullshit.

      • xel

        @Laur

        I think your missing the main point here. Think of Mikki Kendall’s hashtag #solidarityisforwhitewomen. She’s not literally saying that only white women are in feminism, she’s merely stating [in a tongue-in-cheek way] that white women have hijacked feminism and because of this, the MANY MANY woc feminists are being silenced.

        Woc focusing on white women hijacking feminism doesn’t mean we’re stating that woc feminists don’t exist, obviously. That’s like saying, in talking about racism in feminism, we’re distracting from the main point which is gender oppression. part of gender is race as well.

        Most feminists understand that feminism is about “ending the oppression of women” however the problem is white women have NO CLUE how they’re contributing to woc’s oppression. They’re so focused on patriarchy and the “white man” that they don’t see how they too are part of the problem. All women are oppressed, but some classes of women perpetuate the oppression of other women.

        • http://therearesomanythingswrongwiththis.wordpress.com Miep

          This discussion seems a little circular. I don’t see anyone claiming WOC don’t have the right to critique white feminists. I see Meghan being upset about name-calling. There is no valid defense for name-calling, it’s all cheap shots no matter who does it. And to say it’s okay for WOC to do it is simply racist, as it implies they are too ignorant to form sophisticated critiques and must be tolerated in their ignorance.

          • Paula

            If WOC participate in “name-calling”, it’s RACIST? And that got multiple likes?? Jesus, no wonder women of color find white feminist spaces toxic!

          • Meghan Murphy

            That’s not exactly what Miep said, Paula. Please try to make critiques without manipulating words.

          • http://therearesomanythingswrongwiththis.wordpress.com Miep

            Total straw man on your part. I said that excusing WOC for name-calling specifically because they are WOC is racist. I hold everyone to the same standards. Name-calling is toxic.

          • Paula

            Um, okay, even so. . . do you know what racism is?? Giving WOC a pass for name-calling in the context of this discussion ( calling out whiteness and how it props up certain women in feminist spaces, radical or otherwise) is the exact opposite of racism. Saying “I hold everyone to the same standards” erases the differences between groups of people and their motivations for why they might engage in certain behaviors.

          • http://therearesomanythingswrongwiththis.wordpress.com Miep

            If you’re referring to calling women whores or excrement, I cannot agree with you. This just reads like internalized misogyny to me.

            I do understand that people need to express their anger and it may not be pretty, though.

            I find efforts to insult people by calling them whores especially offensive. Whores are to a great extent victims and members of an oppressed class. Using “whore” pejoratively is discriminatory.

          • latte

            Here’s an idea. Go get your own blog. Write.

            That’s what Meghan did.

            WordPress is free.

          • Nicole

            I should go write my own blog because I noticed that someone here IN THE CONTEXT OF A DISCUSSION ABOUT WOC AND FEMINISM used the term ‘racism’ in the wrong way??? No matter how petty it is to call someone a ‘media whore’, defending such a person when she is OF COLOR and feels marginalized by WHITE WOMEN, is actually anti-racist.

          • Meghan Murphy

            I’m sorry but calling women “media whores” isn’t *just* petty. It’s completely sexist and hateful. There are no excuses or defenses for it. I don’t care who’s doing the name calling.

          • xel

            @Nicole. I totally agree. I think that’s what some of these white feminists are NOT getting. They’re focusing so much on “media whore” being sexist without actually centering their analysis on the fact that the whole entire Flavia piece was about white feminists being racist.

            They’re focusing only on the “media whore” part but not the rest of the whole piece. Furthermore, the comments here are *super* raciast because thye’re totally glossing over everything woc feminists are saying.

          • xel

            @Miep.

            I hear you, I’m just saying to focus on you being a victim of “name-calling” when woc are pissed about being EXCLUDED feels really irrelevant and arrogant. The reason WHY *some* woc are name-calling is because we’re invisible, and some white feminists are sky-rocketing with fame and visibility simply because our culture favors white feminist voices….because we live in a white supremacy.

            I get why meghan is upset, as I have stated earlier, but I just think it looks really weird to write a whole post about how pissed you are at someone calling you a name, when Flavia is irate that woc are STILL being excluded. That should be the primary concern. Yes, she called a few women “media whores”, however, all of the white women listed are responding in a cliche way, where they’re being hurt for being called a media whore, instead of focusing on the REAL issue, which is the exclusion of woc from feminism.

            Also, it’s not “racist” for woc to name call….and what do you call a “sophisticated” critique???? That is SOOOO problematic Miep. Seriously, you’re only making Meghan look worse because you keep saying the most racist shit in all of your comments.

          • Meghan Murphy

            I didn’t “write a whole post about how pissed [I am] at someone calling [me] a name.” I wrote a post pointing how misogynistic Flavia’s diatribe was and how indefensible it is. As I said before, I think your critique is valid, but that’s not the critique Flavia articulated. What she said was sexist, hateful, toxic, and unproductive.

          • lizor

            Hi xel,

            Would you mind clarifying a couple of things for me that I can’t quite see clearly?

            When you say “some white feminists are sky-rocketing with fame and visibility simply because our culture favors white feminist voices”, I assume you are including Meghan in that group, given that she was named in the blog post under discussion here.

            If that is the case, then Meghan’s white privilege as a blogger would pre-exist the response to Flavia blog.

            What I am honestly unsure of is if you are saying that the fact that Meghan is white (disconnected from the ideas articulated in her writing) is the reason her blog has a high profile or if her whiteness manifests in the blog posts she writes here. If it is the latter, can you point to examples of her writing that demonstrate that whiteness and how the writing has the effect that you refer to above when you wrote:

            “white women [I assume you mean white feminist bloggers, including Meghan] have NO CLUE how they’re contributing to woc’s oppression.”

            and how she contributes, via her writing, to the oppression of woc?

            I am not asking as a challenge to your position. You say you see something here in the writing on this blog – and I can only assume that your criticism extends beyond your objection to Meghan’s response to Flavia’s blog post. I am talking about the body of writing on this blog – that I am unable to see.

            I understand that pointing out people’s blind spots can be annoying, so I am asking for your patience in showing this to me.

            Also, how do you see Aphrodite Kocięda’s contributions to this blog fitting in with your critique?

          • Aph

            @ Lizor…

            This is actually Aph. If you don’ t mind, I would personally not like to be brought up in this comment section….especially when woc are talking about their exclusion from the online space. I don’t want to be used as a prop to make Meghan look intersectional.

            I think that when woc are talking about their exclusion, it is slightly inappropriate to bring up one black person who has contributed posts to the blog. I think that’s uncomfortable for me, lol. I personally think some of the comments in this thread have been slightly racist, and I don’t want my skin color to “silence” the woc who have real complaints.

            While I appreciate having a space to contribute some of my thoughts, I definitely think we should listen to some of these voices, rather than trying to silence them by bringing up my few posts.

          • ozzie

            Please. You don’t think it’s at all relevant that the fact that she has given you a platform and a voice in one of the most well-read and respected feminist blogs is at all relevant when people are smearing her as a Hitler of the highest order? Some unity and solidarity when a fellow woman and an ally is needlessly under attack would be nice.

          • lizor

            Hi Aph,

            I apologize. I must admit it never occurred to me that by mentioning your writing here that I would be doing what you describe.

            I regretted posting my questions, which were honest and not rhetorical in any way (it’s so frustrating trying to write intention into words on a blog forum sometimes) later in the day when I had time to reread the thread.

            I think that I misinterpreted xel – mainly from reading comments that display on my browser in a column of 3 letters only and doing so in a rush on a short break from working. I mistakenly understood xel to be saying that this blog was an example of un-self-aware racist writing.

            I was not challenging that, but rather was experiencing the dizzying feeling one gets when there’s something right in front of your nose and you just can’t see it. I thought that she was pointing to some problematic content that I was unable to see. And I want to be able to see those things and not be blind to them.

            On a reread, I don’t think xel was saying that about Meghan and this blog, so I owe xel and Meghan an apology for muddying the waters.

            I asked about the place of your writing because I was honestly confused about where the racism was on this blog. It was not my intention to hold you up and say “so there” or something to that effect.

            I sincerely apologize for that.

            I often feel very isolated in my world because of my feminist politics and I feel impatient and frustrated with the power and of the backlash of straight white male supremacy that we are living. This is a space that I come to for respite and relief from feeling alienated in my day to day life.
            Sometimes that means I post my responses too quickly. This was one of those times.

          • Meghan Murphy

            (On an aside — I’m sorry about the formatting when those comment threads get so long… I’m trying to figure out a way to fix that…)

    • latte

      (…T)here is NOTHING more degrading than turning in a story to my white editor — I’ve written for DOZENS of publications: Daily Beast, Huffington Post, Salon, Jezebel, xoJane, Hairpin, NY Magazine, etc etc and (…) seeing how my story is reframed to fit ….”

      Welcome to the club. You’ve just described what every working writer (and you were paid, right,.better than Meghan has managed in most cases) has to put up with. Did you think they hire us to write what WE want to write? Nah. Just like the rest of us. You’re a hack for hire.

      That’s what Flavia and you are missing. If you want to write what YOU want to say, do what Meghan and every other women writer of any color has had to do. Take it to the blogs. Your hits and readership will be the measure of your merit.

      I could list a long, long string of names here of women of colour who made it. They did it that way.

      Are you up for it?

      • xel

        @Latte,

        You’re TOTALLY missing the point!!! I wish the solution really was that easy–just pick up and start writing a blog like Meghan. The problem is that our culture favors WHITE feminists voices. What don’t you get about that? That’s why Jezebel and Feministing are so popular. They are predominantly created by white women. You’re completely missing the context.

        That’s like telling women in a patriarchy,where male businesses are favored and prized, to just go open your own business if you’re so pissed off about it. That’s the stupidest thing I’ve heard yet. You’re placing all of the responsibility and burden on woc to go and labor harder because we’re already excluded. That’s fucked up.

        • Meghan Murphy

          Just for purposes of accuracy, Jezebel was started by a woman of colour and Feministing has had and continues to have a bunch of women of colour contributors, executive directors, and editors…

          This isn’t to say that you are wrong that our culture favours white voices, but just to say that I think sometimes these conversations actually end up erasing women of colour rather than pointing out the ways in which their voices are erased.

          • SK

            Anna Holmes has been critiqued for being a woman of color that reproduces and encourages reproducing content for white audiences (see Jezebel). I think the type of content feminists like Flavia and other black feminists want to put forward is black feminist content, which is the content that would find no acceptance in this very white movement because white women refuse to incorporate white privilege in their feminist activism or analyses. Anna Holmes is the equivalent of ladybros in Hollywood who, despite being women, are simply reproducing male formulas and narratives for film content. If anything, that one of the few blogs started by a WOC popular in feminist mainstream culture is Jezebel (the whitest, most uncritical mess of celebrity worship) is proof that WOC can only gain visibility when they capitulate to whiteness.

          • Meghan Murphy

            Hey, I’m not here to protect Feministing or Jezebel from critique. We’ve been very critical of both here in this space — I was just pointing that out for accuracy’s sake. Also, I just want to point out that every single person who hates me and pretends like it’s because of racism or classism (which is such a fucking joke, honestly, I’m working class and a socialist) or some kind of popular/invented bigotry such as “whorephobia” or who calls abolitionists “anti-sex work” (as though that’s a bad thing???)is also pro-porn, pro-sex industry, and generally articulates a “choice feminism”/third wave/liberal/queer studies/post-modernist/individualistic version of feminism that imagines burlesque and self-objectification to be empowering — both white women and women of colour alike.

            I’ve been bullied and silenced since the moment I started writing about prostitution, it’s just that now it’s happening at a higher frequency and feels more intense: http://feministcurrent.com/4024/who-gets-a-say-the-sex-work-lobby-the-silencing-of-feminist-voices/

            I am not denying that what you are saying is true, but I think that it would be disingenuous to ignore that fact.

          • ozzie

            @ Sk
            Vapid, unchallenging, consumerist, celebrity-worshipping ”feminism” is not the strict purview of white women though. As someone mentioned, many woc write fluff pieces for Jezebel-type sites and Racialicious, which stemmed as a response to the unchecked white privilege of Jezebel’s readers, produces equally vacuous, boring, pop-culture driven pieces. TL;DR: lack of critical thinking is what’s wrong with ALL current third-wave, mainstream feminism, not just white feminism.

          • xel

            @Meghan…thanks for pointing that out because that proves even further how black feminists only make it when we cater to white culture or talk about white culture. There’s a reason why it’s so popular. There’s a reason why a lot of people [myself included] think Jezebel was started by a white woman, lol.

            Look at how many likes Jezebel has on fb, and then look at how many likes Crunk Feminist Collective has or Black Girl Dangerous. There’s a reason why.

        • latte

          It’s not alalagous at all. You need money to start a ‘business’. You just need to be a good writer to get gigs. Get on a blog and start writing. If you’re good enough and unique enough, have something to say and develop a following you’ll get offers. But expect that IF they (MSM etc) are hiring, it will be men. Black, white, brown. Men. First. Feministing writes what men want women to write. All about how women can please men. They’re doing the same thikng Cosmo does. That’s why they get ad coverage.

          To do what Meghan is doing, and a very few other writers who want to say something worthwhile, you probably have to get a blog. But when they see your flash and and offer you gigs, it will be to use your gift for THEIR purpose. Even the women of color writing as Feministing are being used, and so are the white women for that matter. The operative word is, woman. Sell you sex and make bucks for the man.

          If you’re willing to live in poverty EVEN THOUGH YOU”RE WRITING, you too can do what Meghan and most woemn writers do. Color no bar.

          The business doesn’t care what color you are. The business will pimp you.

          The Meghans with integrity are few and far between.

          Get a blog. Be another.

          • SK

            I’m not sure why you think suggesting “get a blog” is the answer to what WOC are claiming to be the problem. There are dozens of excellent feminist blogs run by WOC that analyze issues from the black feminist perspective. WOC are pointing out that bloggers’ whiteness affords them visibility in the blogosphere (paid or not!) and, as such, props up white women’s issues over and above issues that affect women who are not white and inappropriately imposes the way in which we think about white women’s issues onto all other women. (This is not to mention the appropriation of WOC works and ideas to appear “intersectional”.) Suggesting that black women like Flavia write better (my god. . ) or stop writing with so much “anger” (dragging out the ol’ angry black woman trope) as some of the comments in this thread suggests below ignores the reality that in a space governed by whiteness- like the feminist blogosphere- black perspectives, black writing, black critical thinking will *never* be good enough. And I think it speaks volumes that when WOC do put out a piece that many other WOC strongly agree with- such as Flavia’s- OTHER FEMINISTS WHO ARE WHITE latch onto literally two words in the piece (“media whore”) and write about their poor white feelings while they completely disregard the entire rest of the piece, which was precisely about this phenomenon.

          • latte

            You come HERE and hurl intersectional at US?

            You’re talking to radical feminists.

            We don’t play the intersectional card, and we don’t answer for what Jezebel, Feministing, Feministe and those poseurs do and say. Go take it up with them.

          • http:www.suppressedhistories.net Max Dashu

            Just because “intersectional” has been misused as a weapon doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with the original concept. Go back and read Kimberle Crenshaw. She describes multiplier effects of oppression piled upon oppresion, a political reality. It did not originate with queer theory or gender identity.

          • http:www.suppressedhistories.net Max Dashu

            What planet are you living on?!? “you too can do what Meghan and most woemn writers do. Color no bar.” The level of denial here is colossal. Just like there’s a level playing field for women as for men, somene might say with similar illogic.

          • latte

            Color no bar …to misogyny. Read what I said. What you just did is allow your prejudice to put words in my mouth.

            Let’s get back to the thugs who came her to beat up on Meghan who has it oh sooooooo much easier than they do.

            And by the way, in response to a comment I read elswhere here, answering politely and ‘intelligently’ doesn’t work with thugs. They aren’t here for dialogue.

          • latte

            I think you’ve misread me, but I’m not surprised. What I said is:

            Sure, you too can do what Meghan did.

            What Meghan did is open a blog where she can speak her mind. She’s not making her living off it. She asks for our help to keep it. Donation. Living by donation Max.

            It’s the same for any other woman in publishing … color no bar…women generally not wanted and hired only if there isn’t some man they can hire instead. Black, brown, white. They don’t care. The most talented woman, the best writer, is not going to get but a cursory nod, and that only if she’s *uckable.

            I’m speaking about what I’ve lived. And again, I’m not white.

          • xel

            @Latte. I LOVE how you referred to Meghan’s critics as “THUGS.” OH.MY.GOSH. I think you proving the woc on this thread right, actually.

            SK made a brilliant point the ways in which white women’s voices ar e prized over woc’s [regardless if they are paid or not]. You keep thinking the problem is individualized,where woc will automatically be prized and “feel better” if they pick up blogging, even though you are ignoring the MANY MANY blogs that currently do exist that are made by woc. perhaps there’s reason why you keep telling us to blog when we already do! You don’t even know about us either.

            That is not the solution to the systemic favoring of white women. I can only imagine how difficult it would be for us to be heard considering you are not referring to us as “thugs.” that was a really, really bad move.

          • latte

            I’m a WOC actually, and so are several of the radical feminists I know and work with. We disagree with you coming to Meghan’s blog and slandering and attacking her, and us by extension.

          • latte

            Blog as in verb. Get a blog, and blog. Of course I know about your sites. I would never drop in and attack you and expect you to pull out a chair for me.

            That would be thuggish.

          • xel

            @ Latte

            Can you say anything other than “blog.” The fact that you are conflating critiques from woc [WHO ARE NOT A MONOLITH, OBVIOUSLY!!!!] with attacks and slander is just plain stupid. Also, referring to WOC as “thugs” IS racist…even if you are a WOC. Get it?? Seriously, i feel like i can already see the response from you, “blog.” You are a racist. Keep flaunting your race to make Meghan feel better.

  • Rosemary

    Love your blog, and Glosswitch’s blog. Looks like now I have a handy list of blogs worth checking out! Keep up the good work.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Thanks Rosemary! I love Glosswitch’s blog too!

  • Rusty

    In the interest of accuracy in your update: You have engaged with her writing before – http://feministcurrent.com/6182/feminism-not-a-zero-sum-game/

    • Meghan Murphy

      Oh thank you! I had completely forgotten that I quoted her in that post. Appreciate the correction.

  • http://twitter.com/SexAngelsUnited Laura

    Reading this reminds me that sometimes people just plain can’t win. You can get grief for being paid and for not being paid for all kinds of things. I go against the unfair blanket statements, stereotypes, etc., about women who purposely don’t charge money for sex so find it ironic to see women getting grief for getting paid for various things. Getting grief for being paid or not paid is a sad state of things.

  • Rosemary

    I think some of this is just old wine in new bottles. There’s somebody out there who doesn’t like feminists. Nothing new here, nothing to see here, folks . . .

    • xel

      @ Rosemary. You’re right–the wine is called racism…….woc are tired of being excluded, and every time we speak out, whether we’re calling names, or not, we’re still viewed as crazy, irrelevant, jealous bitches. These comments make this blog look racist. Half of the comments on this piece are totally racist.

  • http://djupgron.wordpress.com Henke

    Thank you for this piece Meghan!

    It’s horrifying what happens out there on the web (and what that results in in the real physical world).
    This shows how important radical feminism and other forms of feminism that puts females first actually is. And I would say that it also says that you are a force of change. This truly feels like reactions from people that are troubled by this movement getting more and more voices.
    Patriarchy don’t want change. Patriarchy don’t want females to actually break free…

    And every good servant to the dominant culture seems to be fast nowadays to engage in intimidation and/or spread lies to whip up hatred among others, simply because you are actually engaged in speakingfor females (everywhere) in a culture that is patriarchal from top-to-bottom, bottom-to-top.

    Sane voices in an insane culture is needed!

    Thank you.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Thank you Henke.

  • 740TAO

    I feel like acknowledging them only encourages their abuse, reinforcing that the message has gotten through. They aren’t entitled to your response, simply for disagreeing. You shouldn’t have to defend your work or justify your existence. I understand feeling the need to protest the libelous claims, but ultimately it is a distraction. These people seem to be of little consequence, and represent only a sliver of voices with a decidedly anti-feminist slant. This discourse is below us, and only interferes with women’s liberation. Haters gonna hate. They can have tantrums all day for attention and praise, but that does not address or change the material reality of women’s lives. Underprivileged and disenfranchised women will not be fooled by these tactics. To accuse the radical feminism of excluding voices, while simultaneously blacklisting radical feminist voices, seems ironically hypocritical, even for 3rd wavers.

    • http://therearesomanythingswrongwiththis.wordpress.com Miep

      They are difficult to ignore. But I agree that falling into a defensive mode is to fall into a trap.

      Better to call them out on their lies.

    • http://therearesomanythingswrongwiththis.wordpress.com Miep

      Meghan, not Megan. sorry.

      • Meghan Murphy

        No big deal :)

  • http://therearesomanythingswrongwiththis.wordpress.com Miep

    NO NO YOU BAD UPPITY UPPITY BAD WRONG BE QUIET ALL YOUR FAULT SUBMIT STFU YOU!!!

    Sorry. I just feel the need lately to respond to this sort of harassment (in this case, reports of such) in all caps.

    What I really want to do is draw it on walls.

    • Me

      Have you tried facebook? I hear expressing your opinion while female gets you the bans quickly.

  • CD

    I’ve come across Flavia Dzodan’s writing before, and am not a fan. To be fair, I feel like she has very good points about some issues (e.g. immigrant rights). However, she writes with a lot of anger, and goes off on some really strange tangents. It’s not that she shouldn’t be angry, or that her anger shouldn’t be a source of inspiration for her political opinions and writings, but it makes her writing totally incoherent at times. My eyebrows were raised towards the end of her article, where she implies that she is a talented writer who could be making good money writing for mainstream media, but that she is too dignified to do so, and that there is some conspiracy against her. …?!?

    I get that her intention was to recommend that feminists use non-mainstream media outlets for their writing, and that white feminist writers let women of colour have a say, but …why not just say that? Why use misogynist language to try and silence white feminists? And why the hell would anyone portray a violent and abusive white man as a victim, but white feminists as people who “enabled” him?

  • AnotherBloominOwl

    I read this piece with interest over the weekend: I have to say, Meghan, that I’m not at all surprised (but yes, disappointed) that this attack occurred.
    Because while passionate arguments around the sex industry are a thing, shaming women for their sexuality is a thing, and even the issue of inclusivity within feminism (and so-called ‘White Feminism’) is a thing (as seen in the story a few weeks back about ‘OMG there’s a black woman in my yoga class’) – using abusive language, accusations of racism/transphobia/whorephobia/privilege to silence women is also a massive thing.
    I suspect much of it’s to do with the rise of social media – it’s clear that people find it easier to pile on the vitriol online. However, it’s also true that it makes activism easier. Instead of actually responding to arguments, why not just accuse the person making them? If there are newbies reading, perhaps they’ll believe it when they’re told that person X or Y is a massive racist.
    In the sex industry lobby it’s particularly marked: anyone who disagrees at all MUST be a Christian, conservative, Puritan, sex-hating, woman-hating, man-hating shamer of sex workers, and preferably a rich white woman judging from on high. Even when this is patently not true.
    I was discussing the career of anti-trafficking journo Lydia Cacho sometime last year: I was told ”Oh, another white woman wanting to save women of colour from immorality”. It almost hurt pointing out that Cacho is Mexican, and used to be pro-sex industry, until she realised its connection to trafficking.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Yes for sure. “Twitter feminism” (and, more generally, third wave discourse/choice feminism + neoliberalism) is used as a way to slander and silence feminist voices who are critical of the sex industry. If they can paint us all as bigots, then it invalidates our work and critiques. It’s lazy, manipulative, and unethical.

    • http:www.suppressedhistories.net Max Dashu

      That kind of aggressive ignorance is so far off-base. Lydia Cacho Ribeiro is a Mexicana, and not only that, she is one of the most courageous women on the planet, who has faced death threats, and several attempts to assassinate her, as well as a rape and severe beating in retaliation for her investigations of abuse and violence against women. These attacks were because she dared to publicize and document the crimes that powerful men (esp in the sex industry) committed against girls and women. Puebla police went all the way to Cancun to arrest her and drive her 900 miles to Puebla, where they imprisoned, verbally abused, and threatened her with rape.

      “On 14 February 2006, several telephone conversations between Nacif Borge and Mario Marín, governor of the state of Puebla, were revealed by the Mexico City daily La Jornada, creating a media frenzy. In these conversations, before Cacho’s arrest, Marín and Nacif Borge discussed putting Cacho in jail as a favour, and having her beaten and abused while in jail to silence her.”

      Cacho took the case of her arrest to the Supreme Court, becoming the first woman in Mexico’s history to testify there. When it ruled against her, the United Nations Human Rights Council advised her to leave the country, recommended that she seek political asylum in another country, and offered her legal assistance and assistance in gaining access to international courts… In May 2008, a few days before she was scheduled to testify at Kuri’s trial, Cacho was almost killed when the lugnuts on one of her car’s wheels were loosened.

  • morag

    But but Meghan, it’s whorephobic to say you don’t want to be called a whore! It’s *exactly* like murder.

    Are we living in some kind of bizzaro land? How is Julie Bindel like Jessica Valenti? I don’t understand how radical feminists are considered just as powerful as white men. This is what’s frightening about liberal (dare I say red light?) politics. Maybe Flavia should check her privilege since I never saw her come to the defense of the women at AROOO when they were threatened with rape b psycho males. Oh that’s right transwomen are more oppressed than those scary lesbians. Feminism: it’s not about women anymore.

    As an aside, I will ignore any responses that chastises me for calling transwomen men. I am a radical feminist and my loyalty and sympathy is reserved only for females, especially lesbians. That’s my point: so called feminists like Flavia throw women under :he bus in the name of feminism when in the end it’s plain dick worshipping.

  • marv

    Here is a stinging woc indictment of white imperialist sex positivity.

    http://www.gradientlair.com/post/77712084306/sex-positivity-white-supremacy-violence-paternalism

    • http://djupgron.wordpress.com Henke

      Thank you for that link! That was a great read!

    • lizor

      Thanks for that link, marv!

      • marv

        Henke and Lizor. The author’s rebuke of white mainstream feminism is well received by me. But I still have grave reservations about her facile use of “consent” and her acceptance of certain kinds of sex work and porn.

        • lizor

          I didn’t see those in that post. Are you referring to other work by this writer?

    • mh

      Honestly, I have to say, that if you see this piece as something to recommend, you are stuck within the suffocating framework of identity politics yourself. It’s the same method and approach of the original attack piece. The only difference is that is says some things you agree with. That’s not good enough. It’s not analysis. It does nothing to help anyone understand why this shit is happening or how to stop it. There’s a reason why the author, who happens to be a very active attacker of radical feminists right along with Flavia and Mikki Kendell, sees no connection between her own experiences being bombarded with the “sex-positive” BS and how we live in a world in which women AS A WHOLE, are subordinated, abused and enslaved in pornography and prostitution (both of which she supports). She doesn’t want change. She just wants MORE, a bigger share, a better position, more respect, in this fucked up world the way it already is. It’s understandable because that’s how people, including the most oppressed, are trained to think and be in this society–especially the U.S.–but it’s not what’s needed.

    • Meghan Murphy

      This person labelled me as ‘classist’ and ‘anti-sex work’ as a way to dismiss my work and so I don’t take her very seriously, I’m afraid… And, as others have mentioned already, she spends an inordinate amount of time attacking and slandering other feminists. I have a hard time taking seriously critiques of ‘sex-positivity’ from someone who shits on feminists who are critical of the sex industry…

  • jo

    That is really shitty and misogynist behaviour and I’m sorry you”ve been a target, Meghan. It’s simply not OK to call women whores, while expressing sympathy towards a notoriously abusive man. It probably means you’re doing something right though, since they get scared of you actually being a feminist and attacking. Still, I wish outspoken women didn’t have to experience that.

    White, as well as cis, seems to be the current trendy words to hit feminists with. They’re trendy because calling out others on their privilege is trendy. They mean: Shut up you’re to privileged and you’re supposed to be shamed and obey. Which is darkly funny when the person who is supposed to shut up is not white, not middleclass/rich, not gender conforming etc

  • mauritia

    While I generally agree with your politics and think the attack on you was excessive and unwarranted, Meghan, I don’t know if this is reply is productive. Flavia Dzodan and feminists who agree with her clearly don’t like you, and I don’t think any rebuttal will change that, but rather anger them more and let the arguments get more and more out of hand. You can’t expect everyone to like you and agree with you, and because of the culture that exists on the internet I’m rapidly beginning to believe that you can’t really expect anyone to be civil about it either. I’m not saying that your own anger is unjustified, but if I were you I would feel it more productive not to engage in internet flame wars and focus your attentions towards writing about something else.

    More and more I see feminist writers online spend so much more of their time criticizing other feminists and so much less the patriarchy. Women who agree with each other on 9 points out of 10 practically wish death on each other because of their one disagreement. Women who ultimately want the same thing act like those who want to achieve it in different ways are idiots. I don’t agree with sex-positive feminism, but complaining about the dumb “empowerful sex-pozzies” is not much better than complaining about those antiquated ciswoman 2nd-wavers.

    I also feel that white feminists should not get too defensive when certain WOC call them out on subtle or virtually non-existent racism. Some POC can see white people as naturally hostile just because they have experienced so much racism throughout their lives, in the same way that women can see men as naturally hostile because of the oppression that they have felt. I don’t expect you to agree with the likes of Flavia Dzodan that you are racist (nor do I think that you are) but I think it is important to acknowledge where this anger and these accusations can come from.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Yes, all good points. Thank you mauritia.

    • http:www.suppressedhistories.net Max Dashu

      The substantive issues have to be addressed, and it’s important to not allow reactivity over the insults to dominate the responses to those raising them. Speaking as a veteran of several waves of intense struggle over all these axes of oppression, we are all responsible for being accountable on the issues regardless of whether or if those raising them express them well or contemptuously. If the person is being hateful and unreasonable, the dialog isn’t likely to happen there (and i’d put in this category the hurling of cruel epithets without reference to, say a woman’s actual class history or gender variance, in attempts to dismiss her because of disagreements over gender or the sex industry). These broadband blowouts can shed tremendous heat without much light, especially because of assumptions made because those involved have never met or talked or worked together. That is the level where real change happens, and where trust is earned. There’s little potential for that where someone is just being reviled, or on the other hand, if real concerns are getting dismissed. I’ve learned that it is not necessary to put up with bad treatment. It’s not what is required of a real ally, which is listening and commitment and and being responsive where it counts. Sometimes i get frustrated because the net brawls make it seem like no multi-ethnic feminist community exists, only all-white or all-woc, or that the women in the multi-ethnic alliances only subscribe to one camp in the wars over gender vs. sex. It’s like all that us old-timers have built, the ties between us forged in multiple struggles and undertakings, among women from diverse ethnic backgrounds, do not count at all, do not even exist. Or that intersectionality is something new to feminism that primarily relates to trans or queer theory. I see the same mistakes being repeated, like the idea that change is primarily about making confessional declarations acknowledging privilege, or that intersectionality necessarily involves dismissing oppression on the basis of sex. It’s our actions that make a concrete difference in the world, and our track record will be the basis of creating alliances. So don’t give up, keep going.

      • Meghan Murphy

        I think you’re a genius, Max Dashu.

  • SuzieTampa

    For those who don’t know the history of intersectionality: The concept was based on the idea that a black woman, for example, faces discrimination in which ideas of race and gender are intertwined. In other words, she isn’t perceived just as a black person or just as a woman, but as a black woman.

    These days, most people stop there. But dividing women into white ones and WOCs is antithetical to intersectionality because individuals are more than race and gender. This split tends to erase other differences, i.e., other intersections.

    But this simplistic division benefits women like Mikki Kendall, who has made money by criticizing white feminists in stereotypical and inaccurate ways. This is great for liberal/leftist men in the media who prioritize race over gender and who like seeing feminists taken down a notch. I don’t say “white feminists” because taking down white feminists takes down much of feminism as a whole in countries in which whites predominate.

    For example, Kendall has said white feminists have never done anything to help WOCs. This is crazily ahistorical. A number of white feminists were critical in the abolition movement, the Civil War and the continuing fight for African-American rights. In modern times, white feminists almost always support equal rights and opportunities for WOCs. Kendall’s criticism also feeds into the idea that women must put the needs of others first, although, in this case, this only appears to apply to white feminists. Why shouldn’t Kendall and any other WOC who get paid to write be told to step aside for less privileged WOCs? This isn’t my argument, but it seems like the logical position for people who believe that those with privileges should make room for others with fewer advantages.

    I’ve given up on feminism for the time being and focus on volunteer work that benefits women. (For those who are going to accuse me of being a privileged white woman: I’m white, but am low income and live on Social Security Disability.)

    • Meghan Murphy

      Kendall also focuses much of her ire on women she calls “anti-sex worker,” which is frustrating for a number of reasons — one being that it’s disingenuous because feminists are not “anti sex worker” they are anti sex industry/anti-oppression… But also because to then frame that as an issue of white feminists vs woc feminists is totally messed up. Not all woc feminists are pro sex industry. What that positioning does is say that women who are abolitionists are racist when, in fact, most women are abolitionist because they see the sex industry as being racist, as well as sexist and classist. I just find the whole thing to be very politically manipulative.

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  • latte

    This is all very boring, watching (presumably) adult women defend bashing and trashing, and coming HERE to do it, with more of the same.

    There is woman’s work to be done for women. I have no more time for this.

  • Meghan Murphy

    What’s even more weird is that now Flavia is trying to make this about the “mainstream media” vs. “indie blogs.” How and when the fuck did I stop being a blogger and start being the “mainstream media?” Sorry but this whole thing continues to be garbage. https://twitter.com/redlightvoices/status/438600608317468672 https://twitter.com/redlightvoices/status/438600762592362497

    • Donkey Skin

      I see that one of Flavia’s supporters in those twitter convos is female MRA Elly Tams, aka Quiet Riot Girl, who has guest-blogged at A Voice for Men and was last year convicted of harrassing gay men online with homophobic and abusive messages. Says it all, really.

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eden-walker/elly-tams_b_4375774.html

  • ozzie

    Hi Meghan! I’m a young feminist that has been reading your work for a long time and I wanted to drop by and say that as an immigrant and a person of ethnicity, I’ve found people’s treatment of you appalling, embarrassing, and completely out of line–especially when this abuse and hostility is supposedly levelled in the name of ”intersectionality” and the ”inclusion of marginalized voices” . You really don’t have to bow down to it and I’m glad you’re responding. First of all, it’s painfully transparent that people are attacking you for your radical and socialist take on prostitution and masquerading themselves as anti-racist freedom fighters. Second of all, Flavia’s exaggerated messiah complex as radical, anti-institution renegade is laughable when considering that her politics are very much in line with the weak and diluted politics of the white, mainstream third wave–if her writing included 21% more celebrity worship, it would fit right in at Jezebel. Third of all, the demographics of big-name ”feminist” sites like Jezebel, Feministing, XoJane etc are split nearly 50/50 between white women and woc, so no one can claim race-based silencing and speech repression. It seems like the only qualifier for scoring one of these cushy jobs as a mainstream feminist is writing an endless stream of unchallenging, petty, unimaginative, uninspiring, insipid pieces that threaten no institution or power structure. Lastly, there definitely is a phenomenon of ”feminist” women with large platforms in mainstream publications throwing other women under the bus–for example Camille Paglia, Tracey Egan Morrissey, and Katie Rophie, who have done everything from mocking rape victims, mocking feminists, defending prostitution, insinuating ‘rape culture’ is hyperbolic hysteria, calling Polanski’s viclim a ‘slut’ etc and if Flavia had taken a step back and taken the time to crystallize her ideas into a valid, sophisticated critique on the ways in which male-dominated media hires such women as sock-puppets to further the oppression of women, I would have had more respect for her. She needs to realize you’re not one of these women though. Lastly, this whole thing reminds me of an amazing Shulamith Firestone quote I saw somewhere that is highly relevant here: “It seems rather futile to argue about who is the most or more oppressed. If you’re being stepped on, you don’t stop to argue about whether the foot on your neck is heavier than the one on the neck of somebody else. You try to free yourself. And where it’s the same foot, you work together. There may be several things holding you down at once. If you’re a woman, it’s men and the capitalist system. If you’re a black woman, it’s also racism.” I hope people think about this before attacking you.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Thanks for your comments and analysis, ozzie. Very astute.

  • morag

    Flavia’s writing kind of reminds me of when Kola Boof wrote for the anti-feminist blog Womanist Musings. Kola referred to a rape victim as a “whore with the semen of 3 men in her panties,” and anyone objecting to it was chastised because don’t you know that she was making like a totally deep statement about white women’s privilege? It was bullshit then and it’s bullshit now. Oh and I don;t care how anyone “identifies,” Flavia is white and I bet she doesn’t get read as a Latina woman on her way to her marketing job in Amsterdam. I bet she passes women on display like meat in the red light district and doesn’t even bat a perfectly mascara covered eyelash.

    I also find it quite hilarious that those who always bring up intersectionality act on the assumption that WOC means just black women. I guess it’s too much work to realize that maybe a trafficked Thai woman has different needs than an African American female academic who creates hashtags for a living. Women come in more colours than black and white, and I wish that there were East Asian and Indigenous women given the kind of platform that Mikki Kendall has been given. I never saw Alice Walker get called out for her anti-semitic comments either actually….

  • http://unsettledvoyage.blogspot.com/ Lyndsay

    If only irony could be harnessed as a source of natural energy. A typical attack on feminism could probably power a small country for a day. “Feminist” attacks on feminism could go even further.

  • Dana

    Coming in late on this:

    Mikki Kendall *engages in* verbally abusive, misogynistic behavior. Yes, she also sometimes has brilliant things to say and sometimes stands up for quite worthy causes (from what I have seen, her defense of her sister women of color is always on point). But it’s possible for brilliant and shitty traits to exist in the same person. I was aware of and at one point online-acquainted with her well before she got famous. I’ve seen it over and over.

    So I’m not surprised she defended another verbally abusive misogynist.

    Even if all of you did pile up on redlight, the appropriate response if she was going to throw a public hissy fit would have been for her to call you all out on your piling-on. Whether you get paid for your work has NADA to do with your personal history with her.

    But Kendall isn’t real good at nuance. I guess redlight isn’t either.