In which Hannie discusses social justice:
I’m about to drop some truth on you, Hannie-style. This post is the product of fevered brains, lack of sleep, and a severe allergy to bullshit.
First, let me say this: I’m coming to you as someone who is not white, so please don’t tell me to “check my privelege” (holy crap do I hate that phrase). I’m not coming at this from some political or religious platform. I have my own beliefs, but I’m not going to shove them down people’s throats. Politics and religions are like penises: I’m glad you have them, but please don’t shove them down my throat unless I ask for it or give you my permission.
Okay, now let the short girl get on her soapbox.
Social justice blogging has gone too far. I’ve thought this for a while now, but today just… I’m over it. I’m over it.
Here’s the deal, guys: Racism is wrong. Sexism is wrong. Homophobia is wrong. All types of hate are wrong. HATE is wrong. Hate is wrong hate is wrong hate is wrong. That’s the bottom line. Unwarranted hate toward anyone (especially for something he or she cannot help) is wrong. Can we all agree on that?
Now, let’s get something straight. Running around and throwing hate at other people who are throwing hate is not justice, and it’s not making anything better. It only makes them throw more hate with more venom, which makes you throw more hate with more venom. You’re stooping to their level. You’re perpetuating a vicious cycle of hatred.
I’m not saying to sit around and take it. If someone assaults you verbally or physically, give them hell. I’ve done that myself more than once. I’m not saying to allow your friends, family, or loved ones to be wronged by ignorant or hateful people. Guys, we don’t have to retaliate. If it goes too far, contact the authorities.
Be respectable. If you want to be respected, earn it.
Hate does not earn respect.
This message has been brought to you all by someone who cares about you and the causes you’re championing.
But stop it, guys. Stop the hate.
Now back to your regularly scheduled
Reblogging myself, because this needed to be repeated.
Stop it, tumblr. You guys are better than this.
In which Hannah drops some wisdom on your heads. <3
This, this, this. A thousand-thousand times, THIS.
If you step on my foot, you need to get off my foot.
If you step on my foot without meaning to, you need to get off my foot.
If you step on my foot without realizing it, you need to get off my foot.
If everyone in your culture steps on feet, your culture is horrible, and you need to get off my foot.
If you have foot-stepping disease, and it makes you unaware you’re stepping on feet, you need to get off my foot. If an event has rules designed to keep people from stepping on feet, you need to follow them. If you think that even with the rules, you won’t be able to avoid stepping on people’s feet, absent yourself from the event until you work something out.
If you’re a serial foot-stepper, and you feel you’re entitled to step on people’s feet because you’re just that awesome and they’re not really people anyway, you’re a bad person and you don’t get to use any of those excuses, limited as they are. And moreover, you need to get off my foot.
See, that’s why I don’t get the focus on classifying harassers and figuring out their motives. The victims are just as harassed either way.—
The comment is in reference to sexual harassment that occurred at the Readercon convention and the subsequent defense of the situation by some members of fandom and the Readercon Board.
It’s also applicable to other situations where someone claims their intentions were pure and they didn’t mean to do something sexist/racist/heterosexist/abelist, etc. Even if you did not mean to step on someone’s foot—you did.
Intentions mean nothing if the delivery is terrible. Important life lesson.
Women, especially young childless undecided women voters, are talking about jobs, not abortion rights, right? What women really care about is not contraception, not access to family planning resources, not social issues like gay marriage, abstinence-only sex “ed” or Mitt Romney’s 50 year old bullying. Nope – it’s the economy. Women, “like everyone else,”– that would the norm – men, just want to be able to go to work, earn a fair wage and support their families. These “social” things are a “distraction” leading Americans to avert their gaze from what’s really important: the economy. Polls are clear: jobs and the economy are their number one concerns.
This oft-repeated juxtaposition, superficial and irresponsible, between The Economy and Social Issues (especially, in polls, “jobs” and “contraception”) is like a political media Greek chorus. People believe it, especially women who are disinclined to think about themselves as discriminated against by virtue of their sex. Young women answer these questions and pollsters ask them the way they do based on the assumption that women, armed with education and “girl power,” have equal access to newly created jobs and will be paid fairly for their work. Those are false assumptions that women, especially young childless ones, need to consider before they vote, because this year’s elections, both state and presidential, will affect their ability to do both for years to come.
We’re engaged in a mass delusion that misleadingly pits The Economy against what are at their core, Reproductive Rights. Don’t be fooled when considering who to vote for – women can’t participate equally in the first until they have the second. The very phrasing of the questions and the reporting of the answers hide the complex and interdependent relationship between the two. Contraception, reproductive rights, gay marriage (defined as it is by conservatives as a threat to male/female hierarchies) – all have critical implications for women’s economic well-being and for the economy at large.
Insistence on splitting these two concerns is particularly useful to Republicans, because it allows them toblame women’s economic woes on their “choices,” a specific irony. If a woman gets paid less or doesn’t have a “seat at the table” it’s because she chose a lower paying job, or because she chose to have children and works part-time, or she chose to not complete her education. If women make “bad choices” it’s their own fault, their decisions and they have to pay the consequences. Which gets us to the second half of this equation. Simultaneously, for the “less important” Social Issues, the word “choice” is completely anathema to Republican legislators and presidential hopefuls. Girls and women cannot possibly be trusted with “choices” when it comes to their own bodies, sex ed, birth control, health care, sexuality, domestic violence and marriage.
Most importantly, however, in terms of the economy, is that what all of these secondary-in-importance social issues boil down to is that women especially cannot be allowed to “choose” for themselves when to become mothers – arguably the single most important contributing factor to their, and our economies, long-term well-being.
What single factor arguably has the greatest impact on a woman’s work life? In other words, what enables women to participate in the economy and become productive workers and engines of economic growth and expansion?
That would be motherhood.
So, even single, childless, undecided women who may one day get pregnant, should consider what happens to a woman when she gives birth:
- She is 44% less likely to be hired
- She makes 11% less than her non-mother female counterpart (who is already just making 78cents to the male dollar)
- She is less likely to go to school or complete her education.
- She works part-time with more frequency, so that she can provide child care for which she is uncompensated and can derive no benefits as child care is invisible labor.
- She is less able to work overtime.
- She is unable to get maternal health care coverage as part of a basic insurance policy. Already discriminated against by gender rating in insurance prices, she is now doubly financially harmed by the fact of her parenthood.
- She is more likely to have to limit herself to lower paying job sectors where she thinks she will have more “flexibility” even though this has been proven not to be the case.
- She is more likely to be impoverished and become state dependent.
And, what is motherhood? In it’s simplest terms, it is reproduction.
Control of reproduction is an economic issue. This isn’t an academic abstraction, it is a practical reality for any human endowed with a uterus.
This is why instead of The Economy and Social Issues being unrelated as people keep suggesting, they are integrally related. The very nexus of The Economy and Social Issues then, from a policy perspective, is the question “Do you believe women should work, for (fair) pay and outside of the home?” Republicans do not. That’s why their dedication to controlling female sex and reproduction is an economic policy choice – it affects women’s abilities to pursue education, get hired, be paid, stay in the workforce.
If you believe yes women should be able to work and be paid fairly outside of the home, then you do everything possible to create family friendly work structures, fair pay regulations, health care access, planned parenting provisions, that enable women to do just that. If no, then you don’t. You do the opposite. You create a disabling “social issue” legislative scaffold on which to build a “it’s your own fault” Temple to Patriarchy. This is precisely what the Republic party is doing. If you are an undecided woman voter you should pause to consider the impact of these intersections on your own life and the lives of other, often far less privileged, women.
As it is now, even for a woman who has access to birth control, health care, safe and legal abortion, becoming a mother in this country, planned or unplanned, is the single worst economic decision a woman can make. She is still cobbled by inadequate health care, higher gender-rated insurance premiums, discriminatory pay, poor return on her educational investment, greater responsibility for child care and an inability to save effectively for security in her old age.
Republicans have shown repeatedly and without remorse that they want to keep women vulnerable, dependent and at home:
- Lilly Ledbetter? What’s that? “Money is more important for men.” I finally support it, but (wink, wink) my surrogates will make sure it never happens. Fair Pay in Wisconsin? Don’t want to force employers to prove they are paying women fairly. Definitely don’t want to “clog up the legal system” unless, of course, it’s to send black boys and men to jail.
- Domestic Violence? Let’s make sure the Abuser Lobby is happy, given the mail order bride business and more, and ensure that women most vulnerable to violent abuse are isolated and left even more at the mercy of mostly men who will rape and beat them without recourse to the law.
- Reproductive Freedom? Let’s pursue husbandry-informed blunt force trauma legislation ensuring that women’s bodies and reproduction stay in the control of men. Eliminating Planned Parenthood, making it hard to find birth control and abortion services, mandating transvaginal ultrasounds that women themselves have to pay for, requiring waiting periods that require expensive travel – all of these things impede women’s freedom and ability to compete fairly in the job market.
- Health Care: What, you mean the stuff that keeps people healthy and able to go to work? Hell, no. We’ll not only fight against affordable health care (the opposite of which is unaffordable health care) but we will also stop federal funding for Planned Parenthood, even including monies dedicated to non-abortion services like…family planning – often the only services that poor women have access to. Title IX? The only federal program devoted to family planning, you almost cannot make this up it’s so ridiculous: Romney will eliminate it entirely, to save money for The Economy.
- And yes, even Mitt Romney’s 50 year old bullying of a gay boy. Why? Because the exact same attitudes that informed that incident inform his support of abstinence-only education, gendered societal roles, fair pay provisions, reproductive freedom – namely, there are rules, boxes which people are supposed to fit into – and when they don’t conform to his world view they should be punished and forced to. The roots of his high-school bullying escapades and his “Social Issue” policies both reside in an inability to empathize with people who don’t look like and sound like him. It’s why he saw nothing wrong in explaining that Ann Romney was responsible for translating females. Empathizing with women is just not a possibility if you’re a man.
All of these issues profoundly affect women’s ABILITY TO ENGAGE FULLY AND EQUALLY IN THE ECONOMY WITHOUT PENALIZATION. If Republicans were serious about their commitment to women’s unimpeded equality in the workplace, then they would not insist that “social” policies are unrelated to “the economy” and they would not be pursuing broad legislation that affirmatively harms women’s ability to participate in the economy on multiple levels. Basic control over her own body, that would be reproductive freedom and health care that is affordable, non-discriminatorily priced, and relevant to her body and not men’s, affects whether a woman can seek and complete her education. The type of job she can get. How many hours she can work. If she can afford to start a business. Whether or not she can work full time or has to work part time. Whether she can afford childcare and health care, if she works. Whether she can safely leave an abusive spouse without fear for her children and seek work to support herself.
That’s why Social Issues, like contraception, are ABOUT The Economy not separate from it.
(This list will be forever in-progress. Please add on as you see fit).
- Challenge sexist jokes, such as dumb blonde jokes or jokes about rape.
- Avoid using words such as “bitch”, “ho”, “slut.”
- Recognize when you “zone out” when women are speaking, when you value a man’s opinion more than a woman’s, or when you ask a man for information or advice rather than a woman.
- Recognize times when you “zone out” when a woman is speaking because you are sexualizing her.
- In group efforts, take on tasks such as photocopying, note taking, making phone calls, or providing childcare, which are usually given to women; encourage women to take on male-dominated tasks such as leading meetings, or acting as a spokesperson.
- Use gender-neutral language (ex. Firefighter, chairperson).
- Do not tell a woman how she should understand, express, or conceptualize experiences of discrimination and sexism.
- If a woman is offended by your actions or words, do not use tone arguments. If she does not accept your apology, recognize that she does not owe you anything.
- Check in regularly with your intimate partner(s) to make sure they feel comfortable, fulfilled and empowered by your intimacy.
- Do not make sexist jokes about how your partner (or any woman) drags you to go see chick flicks, forces you to go shopping, has you whipped, or is irritable because she is menstruating. Challenge others when they make these jokes. Avoid playing the role of the long-suffering man who has to hold a woman’s shopping bags and put up with her frivolities and vanity.
- Be polite, thoughtful, and considerate to women because they are individuals who deserve respect, not because you’re a “gentleman” or because of chauvinistic ideals.
- When a woman is completing a task, refrain from stepping in and telling her or showing her “the best way to do that.” Of course, if she asks for your advice or requires help, feel free to do so. But recognize that women are just as competent and capable as you.
- Apologize if you realize you may have offended someone, whether they mention it or not. Do not say: “If that offended you then I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to.” Instead, frankly tell them: “I’m sorry I did that and I recognize it wasn’t okay. I’ll try harder next time.”
- Do not use expressions such as “grow a pair”, “be a man”, “man up”, or “stop being a bitch.”
- Reject forms of media and entertainment that promote sexism. Don’t excuse sexism and discrimination just because “it’s a really good movie.”
- Recognize that just because you are a feminist or work to challenge sexism does not mean you lose gender privilege.
- Do not be offended if you offer to help a woman and she rejects your help. Although you may genuinely have meant to be a good citizen by offering to help lift heavy objects or holding open a door, accept that the woman does not need your help, and that this does not make her a “bitch.”
- Recognize that while some women do hate men and do discriminate against men, that this sort of discrimination occurs in isolation, while sexism against women is backed by centuries of literature, scientific discourse, power/knowledge, philosophy, media representations, “common sense” discourse, etc.
- Realize that representations of women that you might find positive or fair might not be empowering to women. Notice that the vast majority of “positive” female characters or depictions in the media are highly sexualized to appeal to a male audience.
- Understand that much of what you’ve been taught to take for granted (that you are allowed to have an opinion and to voice it; that you can take up all the space you need; that you can become whoever you want; that you can pursue any career or dream you like) is often painfully untrue for women.
- When anyone tells you to stop, or says “no”, or does not actively give consent during any sort of physical contact or intimacy, immediately stop what you are doing. Do not sulk. Do not interrogate if the person is unwilling to explain. Do not complain or make them feel as though their choice to decide what sort of intimacy they want is not an empowered, safe choice.
- Do not make explanations such as “I didn’t mean anything by it”, “It was a joke, you’re just sensitive”, or “I’m not sexist, I have a lot of female friends.” If you have offended someone, listen carefully and learn from the experience.
- Do not police women’s bodies by deciding that “women shouldn’t plaster their faces with makeup”, or that “women should stop dressing like sluts to please men.”
(Thank you to everyone who has been reblogging and adding to this discussion. I recognize that this list is certainly simplistic in that it arguably supports a gender binary, and that it glosses over issues of race, class, sexual orientation, age, and so on. I felt this list wasn’t a sufficient place to properly address those issues, but as many of you have mentioned many of these actions can also be taken by allies looking to challenge racism, homophobia, etc.)
THIS THIS THIS THIS <3
A THOUSAND TIMES, THIS!