On Feminism, Call Out Culture, Intersectionality and Being a Hypocritical Cunt.

Far too much has been written recently on the phenomenon of call-out culture on twitter. I’m rather bored of writing about it and I’m sure most people are bored of reading it. I’ve come to the conclusion that call-out culture, as is practised on twitter rather than anywhere else, is about being badly behaved and rude for the sake of it.

It isn’t about calling out someone on offensive language or being misogynistic, racist, homophobic, classist etc. Frequently, call-out culture is the preserve of middle class white women on twitter desperate to prove that they are cool and, by default, not middle class or white. 

Mostly it makes them look like dipsticks. 

The most annoying factor of call-out culture is that most people [Z] don’t actually call out the person [X] saying something offensive. Instead, Z takes the chickenshit route of calling out someone X talks too [Y]. Y is then required to call out X as [insert term of oppression here] despite not actually having any evidence that X is in fact [insert term of oppression here]. When Y makes the obvious mistake of pointing this out, Z gets all their mates involved in a pile on of Y, who is in fact innocent of any wrong-doing. 

This is clearly the behaviour of bullies but you can’t actually say that to Z or they start screaming about their own oppressions. This will almost inevitably be something like anxiety or depression. Of course, Z doesn’t actually give a shit whether or not Y equally suffers from anxiety or depression or that they are completely triggered by Z’s abusive bullying behaviour. In this, only Z matters and anyone they hurt is irrelevant and the fault of the person they hurt.

Z then gets to swish about twitter rewriting what actually happened in order to continue their narcissistic belief that they are somehow actually nice people.

If you are not willing to call out someone for offensive behaviour yourself, you have NO RIGHT whatsoever to demand that others do it for you. You can ask someone politely but unless you know every intimate detail of that person’s life, you have no right to ask them. If someone refuses, you have no right to ask them why. You have NO RIGHT to know the intimate details of peoples lives. You have no right to know if they suffer from depression or anxiety or are triggered. If someone says no, you have to respect that. If you don’t, well your boundaries are pretty much fucked up and that isn’t the problem of anyone but you. 

The use of the theory of intersectionality as a silencing tool has now reached epic proportions of hypocrisy. Oddly, not by anyone who actually seems to understand what intersectionality actually is and hasn’t learned it from one 140 character tweet. In fact, truly intersectional feminists are fairly obvious to spot: they can be angry but they are not abusive. Far too often on twitter, abusive behaviour is ignored and minimised by, frequently white, women claiming to be intersectional. Being oppressed has never been an acceptable reason to be abusive to others. It is that simple.

It’s not enough to add “intersectional feminist” to your twitter bio. You actually have to practise it. And, just to be clear, at no point has Kimberle Crenshaw ever suggested that it’s totally okay to threaten to rape or kill someone who is defined as an “oppressor”. If you believe it’s okay to threaten to burn women at the stake because you think they are oppressing you, then you’ve completely missed the point of intersectionality. Frankly, you’ve completely missed the point of being an adult human being. 

In one recent case of the hypocrisy of those claiming to be intersectional, a middle class white woman who self-defines as cis and claims to be intersectional, approached a well-known feminist twitter account and demanded the right to tweet on behalf of sex workers and Trans*women. Despite being neither a sex worker nor a Trans*woman. And, oddly, this particular well-known feminist twitter account already has sex workers and Trans*women tweeting for them. Turns out, actually practising intersectionality by refusing to allow a middle class white woman to tweet on behalf of two oppressed groups that they do NOT belong to is anti-intersectional. You genuinely can’t make this stuff up. 

The total lack of self-awareness and the arrogance of assuming you can speak on behalf of a group that you do not belong to is breath-taking and it would be hilariously funny if it weren’t so damaging. 

The premise of intersectionality isn’t all that hard to grasp: multiple oppressions are non-hierarchical and  exist on praxis wherein relative issues of privilege and oppression are contextualised in specific moments and one instance where an individual is oppressed can be followed by an instance where that person has relative privilege. The obvious example here is that Black-British men are an oppressed group within a white supremacist society but that they also have a position of privilege over Black-British women or Black-British men who are also disabled.** Many people live with multiple oppressions without threatening to set fire to women they disagree with.

The obvious joke about the most oppressed person ever being a disabled, poor lesbian woman of colour and a single mother to boot is trite and meaningless. It has no reflection in the actual lived experiences of women wherein it is perfectly possible to be oppressed in one moment and privileged in another. Trans*women are an oppressed group but within the group there are multiple intersecting oppressions which make some Trans*women more privileged than others: Trans*women with disabilities for instance. A white Trans*woman who transitioned late in life and is financially secure experiences very different oppressions from a very young Trans*woman of colour who is not financially secure and living in an area where transphobic violence is common. 

How many times have people had  a conversation interrupted on twitter by a woman who identifies as cis calling someone in the conversation transphobic? And, every time an uncomfortable silence lands whilst everyone tries to think of how to politely point out that the person labelled transphobic is in fact trans*? I cannot count the number of times I’ve seen a cis-identified person refuse to back down when accusing a Trans*woman of transphobia with the excuse that they’ve got Trans* friends who totally think the other Trans woman isn’t good enough [whatever that means]. How is this intersectional feminism? Mostly, it makes the cis-identified woman look like a complete nincompoop. 

And, let’s be perfectly honest about this: having access to the internet and having the skills to be able to communicate on social media is a position of privilege that the vast majority of the world will simply never experience. So, complaining that your “platform” isn’t good enough is a teensy bit ridiculous. Yes, you may personally not have your own column in the New Statesman or the Guardian but do you really think that editors will commission you to write for them when all you do is shriek at them for being white and middle class. 

There is a real problem in the media with the over-representation of white, generally male, middle classes. Racism, homophobia, ageism, misogyny and disablism are issues that huge swathes of the media would like to pretend don’t exist. Jimmy Savile was allowed to run free for decades abusing vulnerable children because he was a white man. The number of people of colour working within the media is conspicuous because of their absence as it is for older women and people with disabilities. These are also issues that people of colour and people with disabilities and older women and Trans* should be leading the conversation on: middle class white women ranting hysterically on twitter and insulting Helen Lewis every ten minutes aren’t engaging in discussion. They are actively silencing the very people they claim to be “speaking for” [and the fact that they don’t see how hypocritical that position is speaks volumes about their lack of self-awareness].

Let’s face it, nobody chooses to be born white and middle class and an accident of birth is hardly something that people should be ashamed of. If said middle class white person is an asshole with no empathy or sense, then by all means call them out. But to dismiss every single white person who is middle class because they are white and middle class is utterly ridiculous; particularly when the “intersectional” feminists screaming about the privilege of white middle class feminists are white middle class feminists themselves. And, no, choosing to squat does not make you a member of the oppressed classes. Having a choice to squat is not the same as being forced to squat because of poverty. 

It is also possible to be middle class, white and have a physical disability or suffer from crippling depression. It is equally possible to be a white middle class feminist who was a victim of incest as a child, suffers from PTSD and is living in a violent relationship. These do not make one privileged. 

Lesbians get raped for being lesbians. This does not make them privileged even if they also happen to be white and middle class.

There is no shame in being born white and middle class. There is shame in being an asshole. Now, assholes are over-represented in the middle classes because of lack of awareness of privilege but, equally, sometimes people make mistakes. Holding someone accountable for one stupid thing they did ages ago does not challenge privilege. Mostly it makes you look dickhead. 

I’ve gotten to the point where I see a white middle class woman claiming to be intersectional and my first instinct is attention seeking, whiny-pants.* 

If you actually want to be intersectional, then you need to shut the fuck up and actually listen to intersectional feminists instead of insisting on the right to speak on their behalf. 

There is nothing intersectional about speaking on behalf of a group you do not belong to: mostly that’s the same old patriarchal silencing bullshit and it’s incredibly tedious watching the same group of white feminists congratulating themselves of being intersectional all the while demanding the right to speak over the voices of other women. 

And, yeah, part of this rant is because I am angry at being called a hypocritical cunt by a badly behaved teenager but mostly I feel sorry for those white, middle class women so desperate to be accepted that all they can do is scream obscenities at any woman who dares to step outside their Rules. And, let’s be completely honest here, if you call another woman a “hypocritical cunt”, you’ve pretty much lost the right to whine about no one being nice to you. Using misogynistic language against another woman is never acceptable. 

It comes as no surprise that not only do this group refuse to actually call out anyone themselves, they also never really challenge men, except for celebrities. 

These white women who claim to be intersectional feminists spend more time trashing other women than they do fighting the patriarchy. It’s pretty obvious why they don’t support the twitter report button, despite all being on board with the twitter blockbot, the hypocrisy of which never fails to amuse me: it’s because they are afraid. They know that their behaviour is so appalling that they will get banned if  twitter ever starts to take bullying behaviour seriously. 

All things considered, I’m okay with being a hypocritical cunt if it means I don’t spend my days trashing other women, verbally abusing and bullying vulnerable women and generally having tantrums when other women don’t do exactly what I say.

Being born with lots of privileges doesn’t make you an asshole as much as being born with multiple oppressions makes you a good person. What makes us good people are the fact that we learn from our inevitable mistakes and treat others with kindness and respect. Name-calling fails that on every level.

[This was all inspired by several conversations on twitter over the past few days. I have not credited anyone because I don’t want the inevitable shitstorm to blow back on them].


*Obviously it’s possible to be a white middle class intersectional feminist. It’s just the ones I see on twitter telling everyone that they are intersectional feminists in literally every other tweet are the ones who aren’t. Those white women who are actually intersectional feminists aren’t the ones banging on about it since they are too busy LISTENING to other women rather than demanding the right to shout louder than other women.

** I highly recommend the blog Gradient Lair for their excellent discussions of this.

#DickheadDetox : Rolf Harris and the Problem with White Men

Rolf Harris has been charged with nine counts of indecent assault and four counts of making indecent images of children. According to the BBC

Six offences relate to the indecent assault of a girl aged 15-16 between 1980 and 1981 and three relate to a girl aged 14 in 1986.
The indecent images of children were alleged to have been made last year.

Harris was arrested as part of Operation Yewtree which was created in the wake of the allegations of serial child sexual violence and rape by Jimmy Savile, although Harris’ charges were not in relation to those against Savile.

The media, who remained silent over Savile’s well-known child abuse for decades, have been rather silent on the obvious common denominator between all the men arrested in Operation Yewtree.

They are all white men.

Now, this party reflects the racist construction of our media which is predominantly white male. However, the fact that the vast majority of people working in high-ranking positions in the media are white men does not account entirely for the fact that the majority of perpetrators of serial child sexual violence are white men in positions of trust. 

These men are allowed to continue abusing children for years, decades in the case of Savile, because no one wants to believe that we have a problem with white men sexually abusing children. Does anyone seriously believe a Black-British man working as a DJ like Savile would have been allowed access to as many vulnerable children as Savile despite being known as a child rapist? 

Really?

Because Operation Yewtree isn’t just about the cover-up of decades of child sexual violence and rape by male celebrities, it’s about the fact that we refuse to believe that child rapists are anything but fallacious stereotypes of men with low intellect and low prospects living on council estates. We ignore, dismiss and blame children who are abused by powerful white men: whether these be teachers or celebrities. 

Operation Yewtree might be bringing a few cases to light but unless we place these serial cases of child rape within the context of our white supremacist patriarchal culture, children will continue to be raped. And, people will continue to blame them for being raped.

We need to start acknowledging that we have a problem with white men in positions of power. 

These aren’t isolated cases. These are simply the few cases that we know about. 

How many children are currently being sexually abused and raped by white men and those around them refuse to help under the belief that rich and/or powerful white men don’t rape?

End Online Misogyny Will Be Attending Women’s Aid Cyber Stalking & Harassment Conference!


A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog about my support for the activism of End Online Misogyny and my distress at a woman’s work being caught in a much larger political disagreement that they did not know existed before starting the campaign. End Online Misogyny was created in response to the rape and death threats Caroline Criado-Perez received on twitter in the wake of her victory against the Bank of England’s cultural femicide. It was a spur of the moment campaign to highlight the abuse on twitter which became a huge thing very quickly, much to the shock of the women involved. 🙂

A rather large number of people loathed the blog I wrote and were very, very vocal in their hatred of the piece. I actually lost a few friends because of it, however the response I received also made my support for End Online Misogyny turn from helping with the blog to being a fully-fledged member. 

Next week, End Online Misogyny will be attending Women’s Aid Cyber Stalking and Harassment Conference in London. Along with one of the founders of End Online Misogyny Alison Boydell, I will be speaking at the conference. We are very excited to be joining Ikamara Larasi and Lia Latchford from Imkaan, Nimko Ali from Daughter’s of Eve, Rachel Griffin from the Suzy Lamplugh Trust and Caroline Criado-Perez from The Women’s Room UK.

We have been shocked by the level of misogyny that is tweeted out on a daily basis from telling women to kill themselves, threats of rape, doxing and threatening to rape women’s children. Despite having my own trouble with certain men’s rights extremists and their violence, I genuinely did not realise just how constant the abuse directed at specific women was and the sheer amount of stalking that happens online. 

We would like to thank Women’s Aid for inviting us and I will be blogging my notes from the conference next week.

You keep using Humanism. I do not think it means what you think it means.


I have written this rant a thousand times. My children can recite it word for word. Heck, given the power of speech, I bet the first words out the cat’s mouth would be: For the love of catnip, stop squawking about humanism.

Nothing annoys me more than people disavowing the political theory of feminism because they want to be “humanists”. Honestly, does no one google anymore? Humanism has an actual political definition which is predicated on the notion of rational thought; and that “rational thought” excluded women because we’re all emotional and hysterical and shit. In fact, dating of the humanist movement usually starts around the Renaissance which is a period not known for its feminist writers. How anyone who grew up in a “Western” country with access to free secondary school education can get confused about the definition of humanism is completely beyond me.


For the last freaking time, and the welfare of my children:

HUMANISM DOES NOT MEAN EQUALITY BETWEEN THE SEXES.

It just doesn’t. It doesn’t matter what celebrity is babbling on about how they aren’t feminists because they are humanists and humanists believe in equality. They are wrong. And, frankly, their agents need to have a chat with them about their knowledge of history. 

These are the very basic definitions as outlined in Collins’ School Dictionary which I’ve borrowed from my primary school child:  
  • Humanism is the belief in mankind’s ability to achieve happiness and fulfilment without the need for religion.
  • Feminism is the belief that women should have the same rights and opportunities as men.
    See: THEY ARE NOT THE SAME THING

    Not even close. 

    This is the definition of humanism as taken from the Oxford Dictionaries Online:

    A rationalist outlook or system of thought attaching prime importance to human rather than divine or supernatural matters.

    • (often Humanism) a Renaissance cultural movement which turned away from medieval scholasticism and revived interest in ancient Greek and Roman thought.
    • (among some contemporary writers) a system of thought criticized as being centred on the notion of the rational, autonomous self and ignoring the conditioned nature of the individual.

    If you feel the need to quibble with this definition of humanism, do feel free to google yourself. Wikipedia’s got a pretty decent history of humanism. Or check out the British Humanist Association definition:

    • trusts to the scientific method when it comes to understanding how the universe works and rejects the idea of the supernatural (and is therefore an atheist or agnostic)

    • makes their ethical decisions based on reason, empathy, and a concern for human beings and other sentient animals

    • believes that, in the absence of an afterlife and any discernible purpose to the universe, human beings can act to give their own lives meaning by seeking happiness in this life and helping others to do the same.

    Not a word about feminism anywhere on their website.

    Because humanism is NOT feminism.

    Feminism, at least liberal feminism, is about equality between men and women. If you don’t want to use the word feminist, use equalist. That term sets my teeth on edge but by using you won’t be publicly embarrassed of your poor knowledge of history. [My feminism is about the liberation of women from male violence since we technically already have equality before the law in the UK but those laws are never enforced].

    To be clear, you can be a feminist and a humanist but not a humanist because you’re afraid someone might think you hate men if you call yourself a feminist. And, come on, if feminism is about equality between men and women, then men who think feminists are “man-haters” are clearly misogynistic losers.

    Do you really want to be taking the advice on your political beliefs from a man who thinks women are inherently inferior to men and lie about rape? 

    Really?

    This is a hate crime:


    I know some mansplainers’ going to come along and tell me I’m over-reacting and I’m too stupid to understand the law on this issue. I’ve been blocking dudes all day who think sharing images of a 17 year old, who is legally too young to consent to an image of her engaged in fellatio, is a ‘slut’ who deserves all the abuse directed at her.

    I’m sure they will agree with the Crown Attorney of Ontario that sending death threats to an autistic child is rude but not a hate crime.

    Here’s the thing: I don’t actually give a shit what the law actually states in either case. Recording images of other people engaged in sexual acts, even if both are adults, without consent is sexual violence. Telling the family of a child with autism to “move away or euthanise him” is a hate crime. The fact that the law is on the side of violent, abusive arseholes is disgusting.

    The law has been created by men to protect male interests. 

    We need to rewrite our legal codes to protect victims of crimes and vulnerable people. 

    Anyone who sends a letter like the above to a the family of a child with autism deserves to prosecuted to the full extent of the law as a hate crime.

    Anything else is simply not good enough.

    #slanegirl and why this isn’t about female sexual desire

    The #slanegirl hashtag refers to photographs of a teenage girl performing oral sex on at least two men in the audience of the Eminem concert at Slane Castle in Ireland. I do not know the exact details since it’s hard to shift through the rumours, of which there are many, and I do not want to accidentally come across the images. I do believe that photographing anyone without their consent is wrong: I don’t care if this is a child skipping in puddles, a celebrity picking their nose or Prince Harry naked. Taking photos without consent and then distributing them is unacceptable and feeds into bullying culture, particularly since most of the images shared without consent are of people in embarrassing situations.


    This situation isn’t just the sharing of embarrassing photos: it’s sexual violence. Sharing photos of people engaged in sex, even if they are in public venue, is sexual violence. I don’t care if that isn’t the position of the law. It’s what the law should be.  The distribution of images of sex without the full consent of all participants is sexual violence.

    The fact that the photos are of a teenage girl makes this crime child sexual abuse since a teenager cannot legally consent to sex with an adult nor can they consent to their images being shared publicly. If it were images of an adult woman performing a sex act, it would still be a case of sexual violence. This is without investigating the issue of consent due to substance misuse or the fact that these images have been shared online.

    Every single person who has shared or retweeted these images has committed sexual violence. The people who first put the images online deserve to be prosecuted, as does every single  person who has shared them including the people who claimed to be sharing them to demonstrate their “moral outrage” at the images being placed online. 

    I hope every single person who has helped to repeatedly sexually violate this young girl gets prosecuted and ends up with a criminal record. 

    That said, I am equally concerned about the positive discussions of the article #Slanegirl and the shaming of female desire on Twitter.* The article claims to be a challenge to the shaming of female sexuality but that’s not quite what is happening in the piece. Ignoring the deliberate misrepresentation of radical feminist discourse of female sexuality**, which is disgraceful, the piece assumes that the young girl was an active participant in the act. As yet, we have no confirmation of this ‘fact’. In fact current media reports put the young girl below the age of consent which would make this a story of child sexual abuse. It doesn’t matter if the young girl was an active participant, the fact that adult men were involved makes this a crime. The Irish Independent is also suggesting that the young girl was sexually assaulted at the concert in an attack separate to that which is seen in the photos uploaded. This is a story of the sexual violation of a young girl. It is not the time to ‘celebrate’ female sexual desire.

    Shaming women for enjoying sex is misogyny. It is about reinforcing patriarchal control of women’s bodies and creating a dichotomy of good and bad women. However, whether or not individual women enjoy specific sexual acts cannot be separated from a political analysis of the treatment of women as a class. The bodies of women and children are objectified and pornified daily. Suggesting that adult men using the body of a teenage girl for their sexual gratification is something we should celebrate as an example of female sexual desire completely decontextualises sexual violence. It ignores the reality of women’s lives and it belittles the pain this young girl is experiencing due to the abuse. It is rape culture.

    Teenagers exploring their sexuality together is a different situation to adult men preying on young teenage girls. It is a constant in our culture and it occurs daily. The only difference now is that the authorities seem to be taking the abuse seriously. This is not to say that teenagers engaged in public sexual acts aren’t problematic but that this situation involving a young child is not a celebration of female sexual desire. It’s just another story of the abuse of a young girl by men and those who seek to minimise the responsibility of sexually abusive men.

    This is rape culture.

    A child has been sexually violated. Repeatedly. 

    It is not a story of female sexual desire. This is a story of sexual violence.

    * The comments underneath the article are a disgusting display of male violence, misogyny and the shaming of women. 

    *This particular blogger has an obsession with radical feminism and has been caught on numerous occasions making outright lies about radical feminist theory. 

    Marks & Spencer’s uses Womanism to Sell Knickers: Or, why Google is your friend


    Here’s a hint to all those folks working in advertising: before you launch a new campaign, you should probably google just to make sure that new word you’re “inventing” doesn’t already mean something else. It’s really not that hard: go to www.google.com and type in the word. Then hit search. 


    This simple piece of information prevents all kinds of embarrassing booboos: say, for instance, using the term “womanism” to describe your company.


    You could even go straight to Wikipedia and type in, for instance, womanism and discover that it’s already an actual thing.

    Even if you don’t have a history of tokenism when employing non-white women in your advertising campaigns, it’s probably best to stay from using a term that’s existed for a couple of hundred years but whose current definition involves the acknowledgment of the erasure of women of colour from mainstream 1st and 2nd wave feminism. Not to mention their current marginalisation from media representations of feminism [see: Guardian’s coverage of UK Feminista Summer School which focuses only on white woman as if no women of colour were involved].

    Really, it’s not that hard to double check to see if you’re making a huge fuck-up in your new campaign. Surely, there’s an unpaid intern running about with a smart phone who could check for you if you’re too busy being a super-important advertiser to check whether or not you’re supporting the White Supremacy. 


    And, Vagenda, whilst I thank you for raising awareness of this disgraceful event, I do think the swipe at intersectional feminism was a tad unnecessary.

    Proud to be an Extremist Feminist Activist


    I had completely forgotten I wrote this response to a dreadful piece in the Huffington Post on the “Modern Face of Feminism“. I wrote the rant in my joural whilst on the train to the best feminist weekend I’ve ever had [soon to be published as RadFem Couch Surfing]! It’s a month late but I’m still so cranky at it so I’m publishing it anyways: 

    This is the delightful conclusion to a rather dire attempt to start a debate on what it means to be a feminist in the newly emerging 4th wave [if you actually believe this is a thing]:

    Modern-day feminism has multiple facets – from populism and pop culture to new-media and new activism – but it would seem the common denominator is inclusivity. No longer the preserve of extreme activists and intellectual theorists, feminism is shedding its stigma and going mainstream.

    Feminism’s apparently going Mainstream and dumping the extreme activists and intellectual theorists.

    I just have a few, shall we say, quibbles here. What, precisely, is an “extremist activist”? Is it a feminist who campaigned to make rape in marriage illegal? Or, the feminists who campaigned for refuges for women fleeing violent male partners? Or, the feminists campaigning for rape crisis centres? Equal Pay? Affordable childcare? Maternity pay? 

    Were suffragettes extremists for fighting for the right to vote? They were certainly labelled as such a 100 years ago. Feminists fighting for the Equal Pay act were considered as extremists by many, as were the feminists campaigning to raise the age of consent to protect children from adult male sexual predators. Hell, Caroline Criado-Perez has been described as an extremist for forcing the Bank of England to recognise already existing legislation. I can’t quite work out what ‘extreme’ means when campaigning to force the government to recognise its own legislation.

    What makes an activist an “extremist”? Is it their methods of activism or their goals? Who gets to decide what feminist activism counts as extremism? The men who denied women suffrage? The men who created a legal system which didn’t recognise rape in marriage since women’s number one duty as a possession was to fulfil their husband’s every ‘need’.  If feminists are extremists for fighting for the legal rights of women within the law, what does that say about our culture? Why are still perpetuating damaging myths labelling feminists as “extreme” when feminists have never campaigned for anything more than the legal recognition that women are human too and deserve to live a life without being subjected to male violence.

    As for the brief snide attack on feminist academics and theorists, well, that was clearly written by someone who hadn’t bothered to read much of their own university required reading. A lot of academic writing is drivel: see almost every book on history written by white men and pretty much the entire genre of post-modernism which seems to be predicated on an inability to use words with less than 7 syllables. Feminist academics are researching domestic violence, rape, women’s history, genocide, maternal mortality. They aren’t exactly The New Adventures of the Famous Five and I’m not sure the Dr Seuss’ Tales of Women’s Experience in Genocide is, shall we say, the kindest way to write about women’s lived experiences. 

    I honestly get so bored of these articles on feminism which are either shrieking about how we live in a post-feminist world [because 2 women a week in the UK who are murdered by their male partners don’t count at all] or are yowling about a New Wave of Feminism. It would be nice if the media stopped publishing this drivel as “news” and started publishing factually-correct articles on feminism. It’s not like the Huffington Post would have to look hard for great feminist writers. They’ve already got Soraya Chemaly.


    So, I’m proud to be an Extremist Feminist Activists since I believe that universal suffrage and whiny men no longer being allowed to treat their wives and children as chattel are, you know, positive improvements in humanity. 

    White Male Commits Sex Crime but We Should Feel Sorry For Him:

    A male teacher at a Sidney high school has been arrested for filming up the skirts of several of his female students as well women at the local train station.  

    Yet, according to the principal of the high school where Robert Emmett taught, we are supposed to feel compassion for Emmett and his family. Not the women Emmett sexually assaulted by taking sexual photographs without permission but the man who committed the offence. We are supposed to have sympathy for the “emotional devastation” Emmett feels at being arrested for illegally filming at least 3 of his teenage students. 

    The only people I have any sympathy for are the women and teenage girls that Emmett sexually assaulted and his children who have to live with the knowledge of their father’s crimes.

    Frankly, if a teacher at my children’s school was arrested for such a crime and the principal was wittering on about the “emotional devastation” of the perpetrator, I would be removing them from the school immediately.

    A principal who absolves a male member of staff of personal responsibility for sexual violence is not a man who deserves to keep his job, nor is he a man who should be trusted around teenage girls. 

    I have to wonder about what the principal believes is acceptable behaviour with female pupils if he is so willing to ignore the safety of his female students.

    Hugo Schwyzer is not a Feminist Redux:



    Last Friday, Hugo Schwyzer, the so-called feminist, had what appears to be a very public meltdown on Twitter having claimed to be leaving social media forever because of mean, nasty feminists holding him publicly accountable for the violence he has perpetrated against women. I did not write about Schwyzer because I am still not sure that he genuinely had a meltdown or if the past two weeks have been nothing more than his normal manipulative, sociopathic behaviour. I didn’t write about his recent behaviour because I didn’t want to give him any more attention.

    I was wrong. 

    I was guilty of that which I railed against last year [below]: of ignoring Schwyzer’s racism. And, it never even occurred to me that that was what I was doing. 

    Yesterday, I witnessed a number of women of colour, including @thetrudz, calling out the white feminists who have supported Schwyzer over the years. And, I witnessed the silence of those very feminists. Those who did answer said what I had thought: that writing about Schwyzer just encouraged his manipulative behaviour. I made this about Schwyzer without thinking of the women who Schwyzer has hurt. They are who we should be writing and thinking about: the women who have been manipulated and abused by Schwyzer. I ignored the racism inherent in the worship of Schwyzer and I ignored my own role in perpetuating the white supremacist patriarchy by supporting the silencing of my sisters voices.

    In ignoring Schwyzer, I had ignored the lives of women he has abused, many of whom are women of colour. For this I am sorry.

    @thetrudz has storified her tweets here.

    I wrote this last year and I stand by it. 

    Normally, I’m not one for telling people whether or not they can self-define as feminists. I think it’s rude and pointless. We all come to feminism from different perspectives and are all at different points of our feminist journey. It’s counter-productive to insist on the right to label, or not, others. That said, there some pretty basic tenets of feminism that aren’t negotiable. Perpetrators of domestic violence, rape and other forms of MVAW aren’t feminists. I do think it is possible for men who express anti-feminist statements to change. I don’t think violent men can change enough to ever be feminists. 

    This is why I am genuinely perplexed by the fawning that Hugo Schwyzer receives. He has consistently minimised his history of violence against women. Schwyzer writes of being an “accidental rapist” and“accidentally endangering” a former partner in a murder-suicide attempt.

    I have no time for men who seek to minimise their personal history of MVAW by claiming personality disorders or drug addiction. Being a feminist means taking responsibility for one’s actions and the consequences therein. Claiming that an episode of MVAW was “drug-fuelled” isn’t taking responsibility. It is minimising one’s responsibility. There is a huge difference between the statements “I am a recovering drug addict but my addiction does not minimise my culpability for the violence I committed” and “it was accidental VAW because I was stoned”.

    One is forgivable because it involves genuine remorse. The other is not.

    Real male feminist/ feminist allies get this. They understand that their behaviour has no excuse, that it would remain unforgivable for many women and they don’t insist on trying to get women to forgive them. They take responsibility for their actions and words quietly and without requiring cookies and blowjobs for being good boys. 

    Hugo Schwyzer needs to start listening to women. He needs to start acknowledging that there are valid reasons that women find him frightening and then he needs to stop trying to intimidate them into silence. When he stops trying to silence women, I might be willing to engage with his work. As long as he continues to embrace the silencing of women who disagree with him, Schwyzer will never be a feminist. 

    And, let’s be realistic here, if Mike Tyson, who has a similar history of domestic violence and rape, were to start referring to himself as a feminist whilst blithering on about hegemonic masculinity, no feminists would be lining up behind him to stroke his ego and insist on his admittance to feminist spaces. We’d be laughing our asses off at him. Schwyzer is allowed in because he’s white. That’s a huge problem that white feminists need to address because we are silencing our sisters by allowing Schwyzer to continue pontificating as if he were the Messiah of Feminism.