Image Map

Why I Didn't Run the Caitlin Moran Interview

Maybe two weeks ago you read on Twitter, or Tumblr, or the Guardian that British writer Caitlin Moran said some messed up stuff on Twitter. Maybe last week you saw that Bitch magazine was involved, and that I had "killed" an interview with Moran after her tweets. Watching this story spread from various outlets, I felt like I should go ahead and clarify where I was coming from before more speculation went up.

Here's a section of what Moran originally tweeted:

A twitter conversation between lizzie c and British feminist writer Caitlin Moran. LIZZIE C: what a surprise @caitlinmoran loves lena dunham. white feminists who ignore the experiences of WOCs have got to stick together guys!!! CAITLIN MORAN: @lizziecoan THANKS FOR YOUR INPUT. LIZZIE C: @caitlinmoran did you address the complete and utter lack of people of colour in girls in your interview? i sure hope so! CAITLIN MORAN: @lizziecoan Nope. I literally couldn't give a shit aboutit.

We had a short Q&A with Moran slated for the upcoming issue of Bitch magazine, which was due at the printers very soon. After seeing the tweets, and Moran's lack of response to her critics, I told the interviewer (Lorraine Berry) that I no longer wanted to run the interview. She took the interview to Salon, where the content was less about the interview itself than the "controversy" surrounding it.

Below is the tl;dr version of why I didn't run the interview. It's what I sent Lorraine while she was working on the Salon article. I know Lorraine tried to present multiple sides of the issue, but I understand—because I am an editor and my job is deciding what goes in a magazine that she did not make final editorial decisions.

Moran's tweets topped off some uncomfortable asides I found in How to Be a Woman—jokes about devastating wars in non-Western countries, flippant use of the word "tranny," burlesque is cool/burqas are bad—and confirmed a nonintersectional feminism I don't want to support. Moran's lack of public accountability didn't help either. 

Moran, of course, isn't the only person—nor the only feminist—who has this problem. Lack of self-awareness, privilege-denial, and "literally not giving a shit" about the representation of women of color are symptomatic of the mainstream feminism movement right now. Bitch doesn't always get it right either. 

Did I want to cut a slated magazine piece a week before we went to press? No, but it would mean running something unexamined instead of casting a critical eye. Moran's words hold so much weight because she's emerged as a popular advocate for feminism—and the media has helped position her that way. We opted out this time. 

I had about a week to send the winter issue of Bitch to the printer. I was juggling MIA articles, proofreaders with food poisoning, and a house guest, so coaxing an explanation from Moran was not at the top of my to-do list. (Luckily, outlets like The Frisky, xoJane, and Jezebel—Anna Breslaw, you spelled my name wrong, btw—have provided the space Moran needed to explain herself, and she didn't have to wait til December to do so.) Now that Moran has explained herself (by saying that asking Girls' creator about the show's lack of diversity would be as "dumb as asking ABBA, 'Why aren't one of you black?,'") it's just confirmed that, had I had six weeks before press, "pressing her on intersectionality" would have been a fool's errand.

(Also, regarding "censorship," "silencing," and "policing": The reason anyone knows about this "kerfuffle" is because I told Lorraine she could take the interview somewhere else, which she did. And can you really "silence" someone who has two books out, regular columns, is published in the Times and the Guardian, has nine times the amount of Twitter followers Bitch Media has, and furthermore has plenty of websites and fans willing to post, summarize, and selectively quote her? Asking for a friend.)

Another misunderstanding seems to be that this is about Caitlin Moran speaking for all women. Moran implies her critics would be more valid had she called her book How to Be ALL Women, which, please don't! That is a terrible title for a book. But also that just isn't the point. There's not some feminist litmus test to make it into Bitch. In fact, we are far from infallible, and I, one more white cis gendered feminist swimming in privilege, have mucked up in the past and will probably muck up in the future. But, as I told Lorraine, Moran's words have a lot of clout because she's emerged as a spokesperson for contemporary feminism, and the media has had a big role in positioning her that way. Not running an interview with her in Bitch seemed like a very clear-cut way to stop that trend on our part. I underlined that because it is a big reason why I didn't run it!

However, that still doesn't excuse Moran or her defenders. Mainstream feminism (and we include Bitch in this category, by the way) has been fucking up for too long for this kind of willful ignorance to keep happening. Why is it that Moran's defenders are all white cisgendered women? In fact, to paraphrase Stephanie Phillips, if someone who is not white says something is racist, they are not doing it for shits and giggles. 

Just yesterday, "A Defense of Caitlin Moran" went up at the New Statesmen's Vagenda section. The authors erroneously posit that "intersectionality" is an exclusionary, elitist practice, and they also appropriated Flavia Dzodan's words ("My feminism will be intersectional or it will be bullshit") without attribution. As Lianne De Mello put it, this "obsessing about the use of one word risks missing the point, and worse still actively dismissing the views of people of colour and others." (See some other responses here and here.) While not all of Moran's defenders twist the discourse this badly, this is still basically what you sound like: me first, other people later. Feminism should be the other way around, it needs to start from a place of intersectionality, not run away from it or come up with bullshit excuses.

The weekend that Moran Tweeted The Tweets, I did take time off from magazine production to click around for coverage of it (as one does on the interwebs). As I read posts like this and this, I didn't just think "Screw this Caitlin Moran interview," I thought, "This is what I would rather be publishing." Here were pieces that took a thoughtful, critical perspective on pop culture (which, yes, includes other feminists), that went uncomfortable places, and, well, weren't unapologetically racist. So I hope that clears things up a bit. 

Bitch Media publishes the award-winning quarterly magazine, Bitch:Feminist Response to Pop Culture. Pitch in to support feminist media: Subscribe today

Subscribe to Bitch


Comments

33 comments have been made. Post a comment.

Thank you!

Thank you Kjerstin, and Bitch, for keeping it real and killing the Moran interview. White privileged feminists have a million platforms to speak from, and I am proud to support a media outlet that thinks twice about giving them another one from which to ignore WOC and intersectionality.

Agreed!

I also want to send a thank you for killing this interview and for this perspective on the whole thing. As a feminist of color, it's disappointing when White feminists make blatantly racist statements, but it's also normal - we all mess up sometimes. However, it's incredibly disappointing, disheartening, and hurtful when people refuse to acknowledge said racism even when someone has the courage to point it out. I read her response to the criticism on one of the links you posted (can't remember which one, it was too depressing to focus on too much) and it was essentially "No I didn't, you just heard me wrong! Stop being so sensitive!" I appreciate the willingness at Bitch to take a stand. I think feminist, anti-racist, anti-homophobic, anti-ablist movements would go a lot better if people, both in and out of the movement, could just acknowledge when they make a mistake. It goes back to the unrealistic desire to somehow have some blanket exception from racism - like "I get it, so I get to say what I want." You never get to say what you want because it always impacts people and words always have meaning. That doesn't mean be silent, it just means take responsibility for your words.

Thank you!

I wholeheartedly appreciate this: "Moran’s words have a lot of clout because she’s emerged as a spokesperson for contemporary feminism, and the media has had a big role in positioning her that way. Not running an interview with her in Bitch seemed like a very clear-cut way to stop that trend on our part."

Exactly! Thank you.

This.

And honestly, I don't think Lena Dunham or Caitlin Moran need any more advertising. Moran does make some good points from time to time(NOT THIS TIME, HOWEVER) but I can't figure out a single thing that Dunham does that is feminist, or that her characters do that are feminist, besides being female. Which is not good enough.

Yeah!

This thoughtful as well as funny (hey, Caitlin, it is possible to be both!) post is why I've been subscribing to Bitch for the better part of a decade.

Go Bitch!

This thoughtful as well as funny (hey, Caitlin, it is possible to be both!) post is why I've been subscribing to Bitch for the better part of a decade.

Am I just really insensitive?

Disclaimer: I have only seen one episode of the TV series Girls, and do not consider myself a fan. I have never read Caitlin Moran’s columns, tweets or anything she’s written other than How to be a woman

My favourite quote about feminism (and what I usually say to trolls who thinks feminism is about hating men) ironically comes from a man, but it’s a dead good one: ‘In the same way that I’m an anti-racist, I’m a feminist’. I think we all know what it means and agree with it. Feminism isn’t about putting one group first, it’s about seeing every human being on the planet as equal.

I think we can also agree that there is a long way to get there. I myself am very bad at supporting other women, and see this as one of the most pressing steps in modern, urban feminism. Girls need to quit slut shaming, envying and criticising each other unnecessarily, otherwise we make it OK for men to do it too.

This is why it is beyond me why Lena Dunham – of all the writers in television – is so severely criticised for writing only about her own demographic.

In her article on how she was taught not to write films about women, Jennifer Kesler of the Hathorn Legacy explains how she was told in school ‘that the audience only wanted white, straight, male leads.’ Assuming this is true, and an idea that runs through the entire American film industry, I think it is simply awesome that Lena Dunham, at the age of 26, was able to write, direct and star in her own show on HBO, and that the show is about girls, girls, girls. Dunham has won a HUGE battle for women in TV. Why is it her responsibility to fight for other demographics as well?

I encourage anyone who identifies as part of a minority to think about ideas for films or TV series that show what their world is like. Personally, I’d be very excited to watch these shows as they would be fresh, hopefully very honest and real and most important of all – normalising difference.

As much as I’d hate to get into film school just because I’m a girl and they have a quota, I’m sure people of all kinds of minorities would hate being cast just for a physical thing that makes them different. Demanding less white, straight, fully able and cis-gendered people is a good thing, it puts pressure on the business. Attacking a young woman following her dreams for not taking care of other people is just wrong.

I acknowledge that there is still racism out there and it needs to be handled. I just don’t think the right way to go about it is to victimise anyone. Think about this: is it racist if a black woman says she doesn’t give a shit there are no white people on Girlfriends?

http://thehathorlegacy.com/why-film-schools-teach-screenwriters-not-to-p...

Suggestions

There is something problematic in the idea that "Girls," despite its lack of women of color, has "won a HUGE battle for women in TV." Arguments like this suggest that "women" are only of the white, cisgendered, upper class variety whose experience is presented in "Girls." The suggestion that it is not Dunham's "responsibility to fight for other demographics as well" implies that women of color are some "other," alternative demographic to "women." Intersectionality is a complex, but integral part of feminism, and it is important that we not reinforce the lack of representation of people with intersectional identities in our culture by refusing to criticize even the most seemingly commendable contributors to that culture. I would also suggest that "criticism" is not necessarily an "attack." An artist should be willing to recognize flaws in their work and should be open to making changes where needed; if what I have read about Dunham is correct, she has already suggested that she will be writing characters with more intersectional backgrounds for the coming season of "Girls." I am excited to see her work develop.

I want to briefly address the question "is it racist if a black woman says she doesn't give a shit there are no white people on Girlfriends?" I would suggest that this hypothetical situation would not be not racist. As feminist philosopher Sandra Lee Bartky posits, cultural domination (an important element of oppression) involves the exclusion of a group from the elements of their culture (TV, music, religion, etc.). White women are not oppressed or excluded from the elements of U.S. culture due to their race (though they are due to sex/gender), but women of color are. Therefore, the absence of white women from "Girlfriends" does not contribute to the cultural domination of any group. (Personally, I do not believe that the term "racism" can be applied to anti-white prejudice, due to the fact that racism connotes a disparity in power/privilege, but that need not factor into this argument.)

Finally, I have never seen "Girlfriends" and am not aware of the possible problematic elements it may contain. However, given your awareness of the show's existence, I wonder why you have not credited the writer of "Girlfriends" with winning a battle for women. After all, according to Wikipedia, "Girlfriends" premiered in 2000, over a decade before Dunham's "Girls." What is is about "Girlfriends" that somehow makes it less groundbreaking and women-championing than "Girls," and why did it never receive the kind of attention from mainstream feminists that "Girls" has been showered with? Barring any problematic racial or gender issues with "Girlfriends" (I will probably have to watch an episode or two to investigate), I suspect that the disparity is due to the fact that black women are not seen as representing "WOMEN," where white women, unfortunately, are.

For more Bartky: http://books.google.com/books?id=f842YFos8UwC&pg=PA23&lpg=PA23&dq=stereo...

Slow clap.

Slow clap.

Yes.

This comment wins all the internets. Thank you.

Thank you for your insightful

Thank you for your insightful reply, Kata.
Ugh, yes white women DOES NOT equal WOMEN. Thats one of the problems with the misuse of the equality argument - who is setting the standard Equal to who? Instead of a ground up changing of society so all have equal access and opportunity (ie, Utopia) ill informed folks twist the term equality to "thought you were into equality so be like men/PWOC/middle&upper class/cis". Placing the privileged as the gold standard.
I'm reminded of being a student (a sociology unit as part of my midwifery course) and upon hearing the lecturer say the federal right to vote was granted to women in 1902 I interjected and said "no, non Aboriginal women got the federal vote 1902, women got the vote in 1967"
"No, we are doing Aboriginal issues next week"
Some great midwife she made if she cant recognise women who aren't PWOC.

Defining racism

"Personally, I do not believe that the term "racism" can be applied to anti-white prejudice, due to the fact that racism connotes a disparity in power/privilege, but that need not factor into this argument."

What? So what are we supposed to call racism when it's directed towards white people?
Racism is "The belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race." and "Prejudice or discrimination directed against someone of a different race based on such a belief."
That's the definition. Do you suggest we add a bit about it only applying to white people being prejudiced towards other races? I find that very strange.

I read what you were saying,

I read what you were saying, and I think you make good points about women needing to be supportive of one another (Though I don't like the idea that because we're women we should just stick together, I agree that we often, myself included, tend to tear one another down) and examining why this one woman, Dunham, is getting taken to task so much.

Then, however, I read this statement: "I encourage anyone who identifies as part of a minority to think about ideas for films or TV series that show what their world is like. Personally, I’d be very excited to watch these shows as they would be fresh, hopefully very honest and real and most important of all – normalising difference."

This implies, whether on purpose or inadvertently, that "people who identify as part of a minority" aren't telling their stories daily, auditioning for roles, pitching shows/films, etc. Which is just wrong. They are; those stories just aren't considered interesting in a world that still considers women, let alone "minorities," a niche market. Do you think they're not pitching their ideas? While you would "find them to be fresh" and "normalising difference," they rarely get a chance. It's this kind of logic that displays the very privilege that the author cites as a big problem with mainstream feminism.

Please understand, I do not intend to start a fight with someone on the internet or be rude or tear you down. However, I thought that highlighting what you wrote might be a good place for some dialogue or thought to begin about how we all --myself, Bitch magazine, commenters, readers, feminists, etc.-- can work on recognizing our own privilege. It is so hard to see, and our blindness to it is very uncomfortable when pointed out. Hence the hostility in Moran's comments.

You may or may not be

You may or may not be insensitive, but it definitely seems you don't understand the importance of representation, as well as the general ethos behind intersectionality and why it's so important to a lot of the feminists today.

Labelling oppressed classes as "demographics" is a big part of that misunderstanding, because it's not about "demographics"--it's about representation in pop culture.

And your last statement is a total false equivalency, considering the representation of WOC vs. white women is so ridiculously skewed in all of pop culture--not to mention the power dynamics between the two groups in real life. It is in no way the same thing.

I'm not being sensitive

Amalie,

I appreciate that you took some time to think this over but you are missing a very real truth. There is not a lack of POC actors, writers, directors, etc but there is a systematic lack of opportunities driven by old-school power dynamics in hollywood and advertising. That is what racism is about, oppressing through structural and institutional systems which seek to deny opportunities based on one's race. It is well documented that casting calls regularly go out for white leads and shut out actors of color, even for adapted scripts where the original characters were POC or where no race is specified at all by the screenwriter. Parts for actors of color are frequently stereotypes because, surprise!, writer's rooms are also not all that diverse (and not for lack of talented writers). There is also something called color-blind casting which could be used much more widely.

"As much as I’d hate to get into film school just because I’m a girl and they have a quota, I’m sure people of all kinds of minorities would hate being cast just for a physical thing that makes them different." How would you feel being denied admission into film school because you were female? Affirmative Action in learning institutions are in place as a result of qualified people getting shut out based on race, gender, sexual orientation, etc. There are clearly no such systems in place in Hollywood and you see the results. I guess it's also worth mentioning that a person of color in the US is regularly treated differently as a result of other's perception of their race, especially in casting.

Caitlin Moran and Lena Dunham are hardly victims, they are receiving a small amount of criticism alongside mountains of praise and CA$H and being labeled as the feminist voices of our generation. Caitlin Moran's ignorant and flippant Tweet is so offensive to so many because yet again a white, cis woman is exalted by mainstream media as the foremost authority of feminism despite the fact that she clearly "literally doesn't give a shit" about a lot of women and disregards the importance of inter-sectionality in the fight for equality.

The fact that Girls was such a huge let-down for so many was not only the show's complete lack of diversity while based in Brooklyn, but also that there are many POC writers who are continually overlooked by tv networks and one "victory" for a young white woman is clearly not a victory for every woman. Similarly to the right to vote, just because white women break that barrier, does not mean that barrier is lifted for all people of color.

If you really do want to understand, here are some resources for you:
http://www.racialicious.com
http://www.racebending.com
http://awkwardblackgirl.com

The original resply to your

The original resply to your post was golden, so I could never do better. However, I would like to point out that there WERE white people all over Girldfriends. No, they were not the main cast, but they were colleagues, dating prospects, and one of the original characters actually married and had a baby with a white man. Find a better defense.

Thank you

This is exactly why I am a proud subscriber to Bitch.

(Moran throws the T word around in her new book? Gross. Thanks for the heads up on that front, as well.)

This is just one example of why I subscribe to Bitch

Thanks for not publishing the interview with Caitlin Moran. Thanks for continually pushing folks to think about/be aware of/recognize privilege and the intersectionality of the isms.

Suggestions, in response to "Amalie"

There is something problematic in the idea that "Girls," despite its lack of women of color, has "won a HUGE battle for women in TV." Arguments like this suggest that "women" are only of the white, cisgendered, upper class variety whose experience is presented in "Girls." The suggestion that it is not Dunham's "responsibility to fight for other demographics as well" implies that women of color are some "other," alternative demographic to "women." Intersectionality is a complex, but integral part of feminism, and it is important that we not reinforce the lack of representation of people with intersectional identities in our culture by refusing to criticize even the most seemingly commendable contributors to that culture. I would also suggest that "criticism" is not necessarily an "attack." An artist should be willing to recognize flaws in their work and should be open to making changes where needed; if what I have read about Dunham is correct, she has already suggested that she will be writing characters with more intersectional backgrounds for the coming season of "Girls." I am excited to see her work develop.

I want to briefly address the question "is it racist if a black woman says she doesn't give a shit there are no white people on Girlfriends?" I would suggest that this hypothetical situation would not be not racist. As feminist philosopher Sandra Lee Bartky posits, cultural domination (an important element of oppression) involves the exclusion of a group from the elements of their culture (TV, music, religion, etc.). White women are not oppressed or excluded from the elements of our culture due to their race (though they are due to sex/gender), but women of color are. Therefore, the absence of white women from "Girlfriends" does not contribute to the cultural domination of any group.

Finally, I have never seen "Girlfriends" and am not aware of the possible problematic elements it may contain. However, given your awareness of the show's existence, I wonder why you have not credited the writer of "Girlfriends" with winning a battle for women. After all, according to Wikipedia, "Girlfriends" premiered in 2000, over a decade before Dunham's "Girls." What is is about "Girlfriends" that somehow makes it less groundbreaking and women-championing than "Girls," and why did it never receive the kind of attention from mainstream feminists that "Girls" has been showered with? Barring any problematic racial or gender issues with "Girlfriends" (I will probably have to watch an episode or two to investigate), I suspect that the disparity is due to the fact that black women are not seen as representing "WOMEN," where white women, unfortunately, are.

For more on Bartky: http://books.google.com/books?id=f842YFos8UwC&pg=PA23&lpg=PA23&dq=stereo...

Yes!

I first came across Moran because of your exchange, as someone trying to deifne whether she is a feminist it confirmed quite a few things for me. Rich white women like Banyard and Moran pretending they represent some form of populism, claiming a few problems along the way somehow make them voices for us all.

This needs to be called out whenever and wherever it happens.

This was written in response, hope the link is ok. http://itsjustahobby.wordpress.com/2012/10/23/this-is-my-truth-tell-me-y...

not running the interview is

not running the interview is so bad-ass. bitch reminds me that there are good things in the world. thank you, kjerstin. so proud to be a subscriber to this magazine.

I'm following this story

I'm following this story after witnessing the "kerfuffle" on Twitter (a friend retweeted something to do with it). My knowledge on the intricacies of feminism is sketchy. I believe women should have equal rights, but, beyond that, I tend put my efforts into other fights. With that in mind, please take the following in the spirit that it is intended, which is as a genuine question, not an attempt to troll this page.

Why must feminism and racism mix? It seems (and this will no doubt be where someone enlightens me) almost racist to highlight the struggle that women of colour are having over their white counterparts. Why point out that some women (whatever skin colour) are more oppressed than others if the ultimate goal is equality for all women (whatever skin colour).

Like I said, this is not meant as bait. It's the way I see this from my limited knowledge on the issue, and I'm interested in the reasoning behind this whole thing.

Also, on a side note, I saw - somewhere in the mammoth comment thread - someone talking about how racism cannot be applied in cases of prejudice against white women. I have to disagree. The definition of "racism" says nothing about past oppression, it boils down to having views about a person based on their race. Often those views are discriminatory, and very very rarely do they go against white people, but they are still racist.

You ask why racism and

You ask why racism and feminism must mix. Because not all women have the same struggle. The face of feminism is white. Feminist media consistently shows time and time again that their true interest lies in WHITE women, and consistently, women of color go ignored. Let me put emphasis on this. WOMEN of color. Women of color are also women, and yet, the fight for ALL women is constantly revealed to be the fight for WHITE women.

Yes, we're all women. But there are levels of privilege involved. White women have more privilege than any woman of color can have, so when white feminists constantly fight for ALL women, but then choose to ignore the struggles of women of color, they AREN'T fighting for ALL women. They're fighting for themselves, and leaving us in the dust, while telling us that they care about us too, when their actions say differently.

Why point out that woc are oppressed when the goal is equality for all? How the hell will you know where the finish line is if you can't pinpoint your own location on the map? Forgive me for sounding snippy, but as a woman of color, it IS irritating having people constnatly ask this question--and it does get asked a lot. It IS hurtful when people go, "Well, I see how we need equality for ALL women, but why do we need to look at the problems of THOSE women? WHY IS IT NECESSARY?" It's certainly not racist to highlight that some women struggle more than others. Women of color are dealing with an intersection of gendered oppression, AND racial oppression, and sometimes the two mix to become gendered racial oppression. And if feminism on a whole insists on overlooking that very distinct struggle, then it's not feminism at all because again, they're ignoring the struggles of a LARGE portion of the women they're claiming to fight for.

So let me ask you a question. You ask why feminism and racism must mix? Let me ask you this: Why SHOULDN'T they? When a large fraction of women deal with oppression that is deepened because not only are they a woman but they're also a woman of color, why SHOULD that not be addressed? Why SHOULD we ignore that white women have more privilege than women of color? (And on that note, why should it be ignored that white women also have more privilege than men of color, something that most feminists like to ignore) If we're going to fight for ALL women gaining equality, then how CAN we ignore the fact that some women have more privilege than other women on the basis of skin color alone? Is that not an important thing to recognize?

When white feminists consistently do racist things (See: "Women are the nigger of the world" signs at Slutwalk") and then try to silence women of color all in the name of feminism for ALL women, why should we ignore it? When women of color aren't free to wear their cultural garments without risk of being insulted, attacked, or killed, or told to go back to where they came from, while white women can commodify and disrespect our cultures, why SHOULD it not be addressed? When white women perpetuate stereotypes about women of color--stereotypes that directly contribute to OUR rape numbers, OUR death tolls, OUR instances of assault and harrassment--why SHOULD it not be addressed?

Just because we're all women doesn't suddenly mean that we gain or lose privilege. Being white doesn't negate the fact that you have white privilege over women of color, just as being a WoC doesn't suddenly mean that you get the same privileges that a white woman was born with.

THAT'S why it's important.

Truth.

Truth.

Both sides of this debate

Both sides of this debate depress me somewhat. On the one had, yes of COURSE intersectionality is vital to feminism. This is obvious, isn't it? I can't believe we even have to debate it in this day and age. I've never thought that my own experiences as a white woman were somehow typical of everybody else's experiences. The challenge of feminism is seeing things simultaneously from a collectivist viewpoint and an individualist viewpoint - remembering the personal is the political whilst also remembering that patriarchal oppression applies to such a diverse group of women (in terms of race, sexuality, disability, age, class, etc etc) that generalisation of your own experiences can be very dangerous.

"Mainstream feminism" (and it feels very strange to be describing any kind of feminism as "mainstream" given the society we live in) is obviously going to be influenced by the fact that we live in a society that prefers us not to make connections between different types of oppression. We are discouraged from linking our day-to-day realities to our social class. We are discouraged from thinking about the oppression of minority groups within society. The amount of time given to consideration of patriarchy, racism, disablism, social class, age, etc in schools is very little. When I was in school, we spent more time in class considering Pythagoras' theorem than we did considering racism and sexism put together. So obviously mainstream feminism is a work in progress and there is not enough talk of intersectionality or the diversity of experiences out there. What I would say is: if you think we should be talking more about intersectionality, then TALK ABOUT INTERSECTIONALITY rather than talking about how people aren't talking enough about intersectionality. People get defensive when they're accused (rightly or wrongly) of wrongdoing and putting people in a defensive frame of mind doesn't make for a constructive conversation.

I'm uncomfortable with going after particular individuals and labelling them racist (or misogynist for that matter) based on isolated quotes. People make comments that are flawed and which (intentionally or unintentionally) reinforce prejudice. We do this because we are all the products of a sexist, racist, homophobic, disablist, classist and ageist society and sometimes, as this blog post admits, we will all slip up. I don't think Caitlin Moran's status as a visible commentator on feminist issues should mean that she is automatically excluded from "the movement" when this happens. More importantly, I don't think we can assume racist motivations (or lack of concern for WOC) from a comment made in response to some quite harshly worded criticism (there is a lesson here about Twitter ettiquette also - don't expect a reasoned response from someone when you have slagged them off and @ copied them in to your criticism). In other words "I do not give a shit" can mean a variety of things, including (but not limited to) "fuck off, I do not deem this an appropriate platform for this conversation" or even "you have caught me on a bad day."

There are issues with the Moran book. I don't agree with her on burlesque, I don't think she has much to say in terms of structural forces like class, racism, etc and obviously she is generalising from her own experiences. That's not to say it isn't a good book, there's plenty in there which I do agree with and overall I think it is useful and entertaining. It will obviously be more relevant to me (a working class cisgendered white woman in her 30s) then it will be to many other women. But whilst Caitlin Moran, like all women, enjoys a certain amount of white privilege, as a woman who grew up on benefits and has recently written about her experience of schizophrenia, it's hardly fair to accuse her of living in some ivory tower.

It troubles me that we can't seem to say "feminism needs to be more like this" without also saying "and you're racist/disablist/ageist/homophobic/classist for not having thought about this already."

"But whilst Caitlin Moran,

"But whilst Caitlin Moran, like all women, enjoys a certain amount of white privilege"

Like all WHITE women is what I meant to say.

vicky, i think perhaps the

vicky,

i think perhaps the problem with asserting moran's racism lies in distinguishing calling her actions racist from calling her BEING racist as if it is something engrained in the genetic make-up.

the fact is moran's words were racist. her use of the word 'tranny' in her book was transphobic. her use of the word 'retard' in her book was ableist. now whether she is racist/transphobic/ableist deep down in the pith of her soul i neither know nor care, but when she is seen as representative of a movement of which i (and all female identifying feminists) consider myself a part that is when these words become problematic. not her being, her words.

one's personal feminism is never 'done' it is a lifelong learning process; we can never know ALL women, and to expect such is a lot to ask, but we can LISTEN to other women. so when someone is throwing you a bone and saying 'hey! consider this aspect of being a woman' and you reject it on the basis of your own personal biases, whether they are conscious ones or no, that is when these words of 'racism' etc come into play, to signpost these such negligences, NOT to make a sweeping and irreparable assertion about a person's character.

what i'm trying to say being called a racist is often treated to harshly. when a poc is calling something racist, it is important not to get caught up in the labelling aspect of it, and instead just learn from their calling out. i do not wish to generalise but when i have called out a lot of white people on racist comments, they seem more concerned that they have been 'tarred' with the sign 'racist' than the fact that they have caused me or others offence. this is the kind of unhealthly attitude to prejudice that we as feminists need to learn to combat.

I think it is important to

I think it is important to maintain that distinction between "this thing you have said is racist" and "YOU are racist." The fact is, being called racist does produce a gut-level response of revulsion amongst people and for that reason alone, I don't think it's a useful thing to do in terms of starting a conversation on an issue. It's far more likely to shut down conversation than it is to stimulate conversation.

"her use of the word 'retard' in her book was ableist."

I have to disagree with that. The word "retard" is used in the context of an excerpt from a diary she wrote when she was 13 years old. The diary extracts are used to make a point about Moran's perspective when she was 13 years old and I feel that to edit the word "retard" out of them would have been disingenuous (although this is what has been done in later editions). It's evident when reading the book that Moran is cringing somewhat at what her 13 year old self had written in these diaries. As for the use of the word "tranny" in the book, Moran has subsequently admitted she didn't know its connotations and has been enlightened on the issue since (this is all in the interview at The Hairpin, incidentally).

As for whether "I literally don't give a shit" was racist, I don't see any proof either way. It is too short and isolated a comment to gauge whether there was racist content in it. The response people seem to receive when they point this out is "you don't get intersectionality and how race and gender interact." What I am suggesting is that you CAN get that without thinking that this particular quote is necessarily racist. My personal interpretation of the quote just happens to be different than yours - it doesn't mean I'm inherently incapable of "getting it."

"what i'm trying to say being called a racist is often treated to harshly. when a poc is calling something racist, it is important not to get caught up in the labelling aspect of it, and instead just learn from their calling out"

I would argue that we HAVE learned something from it, in that we're now (as a movement I mean) having a massive conversation about intersectionality. You just have to look at tumblr or twitter to see the way this issue is being discussed a lot more all of a sudden. What I would argue is we can have that conversation about intersectionality without assuming that the people who weren't discussing intersectionality before are racist. I am especially uncomfortable with the idea of writing certain people off (not just Moran or whatever, but anyone who has been indelicate with their use of language) when there are relatively few high profile feminists with access to that kind of platform to begin with.

Hey, I like this article.

Hey, I like this article.

Thank You. =D

Thank You. =D

Thanks, Bitch

For keeping it real since forever.

thanks for this post so

thanks for this post so inspiring many things that are positive. hopefully benefit us all. this is my page resep ayam

Thank you Kjerstin, and

Thank you Kjerstin, and Bitch, for keeping it real and killing the Moran interview. White privileged feminists have a million platforms to speak from, and I am proud to support a media outlet that thinks twice about giving them another one from which to ignore WOC and intersectionality.