OK, so we can all agree that there is a lack of women in positions of power in the tech industry, right? Right. Well, according to Douche du Jour Michael Arrington, it's our own damn fault. In his piece for TechCrunch (charmingly titled "Too Few Women in Tech? Stop Blaming the Men.") earlier this week, he had this to say:
I'm going to tell it like it is. And what it is is this: statistically speaking women have a huge advantage as entrepeneurs, because the press is dying to write about them, and venture capitalists are dying to fund them. Just so no one will point the accusing finger of discrimination at them.
The silencing of trans people, and trans women in particular, in feminist spaces isn't just limited to discussions about pop culture, unfortunately. Cis voices are centered over trans voices consistently, and sometimes very dangerously, while trans folks are denied autonomy, identity, and even our own experiences.
Trans people are excluded from women's shelters. We are denied medical care. We are told that our opinions have no worth and value and are treated as 'fakers.' It's not just the mainstream media that misgenders trans people; I see it happening in feminist spaces all the time, along with prurient speculation about whether or not trans folks have had reconstruction surgery or what their 'real names' are.
"Death" fat, or "morbidly obese" people are going to experience more discrimination, more shaming and more insults than "in-betweenies" (those that fall somewhere between "normal" and "fat"). That's just the facts. There is privilege there, in being a smaller fat person, that must be acknowledged and interrogated. Words like "curvy, thick, chunky" are going to be applied to more smaller fat people than larger. These words are viewed as more positive than words that may be used to describe larger fat people such as "obese" and "blubbery." Of course, smaller fat people are not immune to the frat boy "fatass" drive-by shout out, but they're more likely to be viewed as sexually attractive (case in point: Sara Ramirez). Because of this disparity, there is sometimes dischord between different sized fat people, with the larger fat people accusing the smaller fat people of being privileged and not truly fat, and the smaller fat people lamenting the policing of fat identity. In a way, both sides are right.
Appropriation is often done in the name of a supposedly greater cause. Those in power tell us that we should wait our turn. They are working on extending a helping hand, it's OK for them to speak for us, because they need to speak for us to help us achieve liberation. Even speaking up about appropriation, whether in the form of cultural or ideological, is shouted down.
I brought up the old disability rights movement adage 'nothing about us without us' in a recent post. And the same should hold true for feminism. Instead of speaking for people, we should be centring the voices of the people currently relegated to the fringes. When the mouse speaks up to inform the elephant that her tail is being stepped on, it is the responsibility of the elephant to lift her foot. The onus is not on the mouse to wait for the elephant to move, to cut off her own tail to escape, to attempt to dig herself out.
Well, it's time to go back to school again. And you know how I know? Because of television commercials, which give me all the information I need on what it takes to be a cool kid these days. (Hint: channel your favorite High School Musical Version of Glee character, then press fast forward.)
I have, as mentioned, a rather personally fraught relationship with online dating. Catching too many of my supposedly monogamous partners using personal ads to cheat on me left me pretty thoroughly unable to commit to the process. And, when it comes down to it, you have to commit to the process: you are saying, in effect, that you wish to meet potential partners through a service we've all paid for in order to meet other potential partners. You have to accept that it's a perfectly acceptable way to meet someone, and to set down and just let go of your hang-ups about it.