#womenwrites: misogyny, women blaming, women shaming, and racism

An open letter on the Hypatia controversy via @FeministCurrent

We, the undersigned, are writing to express our deep concern and outrage over both the recent demand for the retraction of Rebecca Tuvel’s article, “In Defense of Transracialism,” which was published in Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy on March 29th, and Hypatia’s temporarily acquiescing to this demand by removing the article in its online form for a period of time.

The open letter to Hypatia (published on April 30), which garnered over 800 signatures of academics from universities within the US and elsewhere, in addition to a handful of writers, was a mean-spirited mischaracterization of a scholar’s work that was conspicuously lacking in any attempt to engage with the primary argument offered therein. Instead, the letter demanded a retraction based on spurious and, in some instances, demonstrably wrong assertions regarding the content of the work. We agree with Jessie Singal’s overall assessment in his article, “This Is What a Modern Day Witch Hunt Looks Like,” and we share his suspicion that despite calling for its retraction, many of the signatories had not read Tuvel’s article before adding their names to the letter. In fact, one must wonder if some of the signatories had even read the open letter to Hypatia given the petition’s absolute defiance to critical inquiry and academic deliberation. …

Nothing says misogyny like defining feminism as equality for all, by Marcie Bianco  via @qz

The women’s movement has an “equality” problem.

Last semester, I asked my college students to define “feminism.” Everyone bandied about the word “equality”—“equality for women,” “equality for all genders,” “equality in the workplace.” But the class grew quiet when I asked what equality meant, and what it looked like. The word has become an empty signifier, underlying a larger definitional problem in regards to the mainstream women’s movement.

My students knew that strict hiring quotas aren’t an effective, long-term solution to sexism, just as they understood that equality under the law does not ensure the equal treatment of women. In New York City, for example, women can legally walk around topless, but not one of my female students said they would ever take advantage of this legal equality—they didn’t want to risk harassment or assault. …

Tiffany Dufu’s ‘Drop the Ball’: Women Blaming Themselves, Again via @LucyAllenFWR

A quick post, in irritation. Today, I read in the Guardian that women should expect more of their partners, and less of themselves. Not terrible advice (though not really a revelation either). The article is a puff piece for a book I never plan to buy, written by new mother and bringer of epiphanies to the oblivious, Tiffany Dufu. In her book, so we are told, Dufu describes her revelatory experience navigating the return to work after her first child’s birth, and her growing realisation that her partner would have to do some of the work around the home, since they both had full time jobs. The experience that brought on this revelation sounds depressingly familiar. Back from a full day of work, while struggling with breastfeeding difficulties, Dufu heard her husband return home to the meal she had prepared, past the dry-cleaning she had picked up, only to dump his dirty plates in the sink for her to clean. …

How academia uses poverty, oppression, and pain for intellectual masturbation by By Clelia O. Rodríguez http://buff.ly/2rtRUWJ

The politics of decolonization are not the same as the act of decolonizing. How rapidly phrases like “decolonize the mind/heart” or simply “decolonize” are being consumed in academic spaces is worrisome. My grandfather was a decolonizer. He is dead now, and if he was alive he would probably scratch his head if these academics explained  the concept to him.

I am concerned about how the term is beginning to evoke a practice of getting rid of colonial practices by those operating fully under those practices. Decolonization sounds and means different things to me, a woman of color, than to a white person. And why does this matter? Why does my skin itch when I hear the term in academic white spaces where POC remain tokens? Why does my throat become a prison of words that cannot be digested into complete sentences? Is it because in these “decolonizing” practices we are being colonized once again? …

Child abductions and torture: Northern Uganda’s forgotten war by Karen Williams  via @WritersofColour

Uganda’s north was the inexplicable war that I first heard about during my London days in the early 1990s.  Reporting on it from Britain, it seemed an unfathomable conflict: bands of children marauding through the countryside, killing people, setting buildings and refugee camps alight and kidnapping other children.

Years later I made my way to Kampala, but there were no explanations there, either: after President Yoweri Museveni ended his war against the previous Ugandan government in 1985, Ugandans outside of the north benefitted from the dividends of peace and the country boomed.  And for many of them, the northern war was elsewhere, over there: the Acholi people were seen as largely animist people with strange customs, who couldn’t rein in their fellow Acholi, Joseph Kony, and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).  The northern Ugandan war went on for more than two decades, invisible to all but its victims. I spent years in northern Uganda, following the LRA war, drawn back again and again. It was another trail in a lifetime of following mass atrocities and broken children. …

 

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