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In Solidarity With #ThisTweetCalledMyBack

18 Dec

Last week, a collective of the seven of the most incisive and insightful feminist/womanist social and cultural critics working in contemporary digital media, who are Black Women, AfroIndigenous and women of color, began a social media blackout. Over the past five years, across various social media platforms, they have created what they describe as “an entire framework with which to understand gender violence and racial hierarchy in a global and U.S. context“, one which is deeply analytical and highly critical of mainstream feminism and heteropatriarchy, as well as cishet activist movements. We at Sisters of Resistance have often engaged with, been challenged by, and learned from them and their work.

And yet, as they explain, far from being celebrated and embraced for the enormity of the work and contributions they have made to 4th wave and digital feminism, their body of work has been colonized, plagiarized by mainstream white feminism and mainstream media while they themselves have been vilified, said to constitute ‘Toxic Twitter”, had their livelihoods threatened and their physical and mental welfare put at stake. Rejected, harassed and provoked by people in mainstream media, academia, and the non-profit industrial complex, who at the same time hijack their prolific and movement-inspiring thought and theory, this collective of women is taking a stand against the status quo with this statement and their conspicuous absence from Twitter.

Here are some of the questions that they ask:

In an age where young women often have cell phones with internet access before they have access to healthcare and social services, why are so many so quick to demean the work of digital feminism in the hands of Black women? When depression, anxiety and disability make it so that getting out of bed, much less into the streets, is a debilitating challenge and risk, why do we demean social media and tell people they cant fully engage without taking up physical space? Whose interests are we centering if we constantly hyperfocus on the limits of grassroots social media, instead of the impact and possibilities, while not making the physical spaces safe or accessible for these women?

They point out that an expanded understanding of violence is necessary to address the kinds of issues they and many others like them/us face and experience, even within “leftist” and “activist” circles:

Once we expand our understanding of violence to include plagiarism, harassment, gaslighting, emotional abuse, ableism and exploitation of labor, we find huge fissures in a movement that the women we are prescribing solutions for fall through on a daily basis. We find a replicated system of violence that prioritizes those closer to systemic and hierarchal values of bodies rather than anti-violence.

They challenge those who will listen to consider the following questions, which are incredibly necessary for our time:

“How do we, as a movement, engage unaffiliated women with no institutional covering or backing, on the grassroots level? How do we close ranks around these women in both digital and physical spaces so that they can continue this work? There is a refusal to legitimize the words of women of color without the backing of academia, established media, and non-profit monikers. How do we then legitimize the lens with which marginalized women of color view their lives and the spaces where they are actually allowed to assert their agency?

The collective includes: @tgirlinterruptd, @chiefelk, @bad_dominicana, @aurabogado, @so_treu, @blackamazon, @thetrudz

Those who have signed in solidarity include: @blackgirldanger, @cheuya, @notallthots, @jazzagold, @natashavianna, @mizzblossom, @sarahkendzior, @scATX, @lilybolourian.

At the same time, we wish to call to mind @redlightvoices, who we believe has been very much a part of this same wave of work, and who expressed many of the same sentiments during the time that she was still on Twitter.

We have so much respect for all of these women. We offer them our solidarity and support in their decision to step out of the Twitterverse and assert their humanity in the face of such despicable systemic discrimination and harassment. We stand with you! #ThisTweetCalledMyBack

READ THEIR FULL STATEMENT HERE.

Individual personal statements are also being posted here.

Read more about the groundbreaking work by radical women of color, This Bridge Called My Back, the 1981 anthology, to which the conversation #ThisTweetCalledMyBack refers.

Rondeau Redouble

14 Oct

There are so many kinds of awful men -
One can’t avoid them all. She often said
She’d never make the same mistake again;
She always made a new mistake instead.
The chinless type who made her feel ill-bred;
The practised charmer, less than charming when
He talked about the wife and kids and fled -
There are so many kinds of awful men.
The half-crazed hippy, deeply into Zen,
Whose cryptic homilies she came to dread;
The fervent youth who worshipped Tony Benn -
‘One can’t avoid them all,’she often said.
The ageing banker, rich and overfed,
Who held forth on the dollar and then yen -
Though there were many more mistakes ahead,
She’d never make the same mistake again.
The budding poet, scribbling in his den
Odes not to her but to his pussy, Fred;
The drunk who fell asleep at nine or ten -
She always made a new mistake instead.
And so the gambler was at least unwed
And didn’t preach or sneer or wield a pen
Or hoard his wealth or take the Scotch to bed.
She’d lived and learned and lived and learned but then
There are so many kinds

poem by Wendy Cope, b. 1945

UltraViolet Campaign to Cancel CeeLo Green’s TV Show

2 Sep

In recent news, CeeLo Green has admitted to drugging a woman and defending his actions on Twitter, claiming it wasn’t rape if the victim wasn’t conscious. A coordinated public response that resulted in cancelling his upcoming TV show would be a profound statement against rape and rape culture. UltraViolet, a “new and rapidly growing community of women and men across the U.S. mobilized to fight sexism and expand women’s rights, from politics and government to media and pop culture” has put together a petition to do just that.

Click here to sign the petition

Re-posted from UltraViolet:

Grammy-winning artist CeeLO Green just let loose a series of tweets claiming that rape isn’t rape if the victim is unconscious.

What’s worse is that his tweets aren’t out of the blue—he recently pled no contest to drugging a woman who later woke up naked in his bed, with no memory of what happened. Yet despite this criminal act, and these incredibly dangerous tweets, major network TBS and its parent company Time Warner are still giving him a huge public platform in a reality TV show that recently premiered. They’ve got to drop him, now. 

Tell TBS and Time Warner:

Rapists and rape-apologists should have no place in your line-up. Cancel CeeLo Green’s reality show The Good Life immediately.

SIGN, SHARE AND REPOST!

How We Know We’re Grown

24 Jun

As a single, childless, 30-something woman, I have been thinking hard about ways Western society defines “adulthood”, “being grown”, or “grown-up”. I believe this to be especially relevant for women, who tend to be infantilized, and remain so, as long as they are unmarried and/or not mothers (and sometimes are still treated as children even then).

Recently, I was visited by a younger woman who came to my house for dinner. I cooked some pasta with a red sauce, accompanied by a salad, and we opened a bottle of wine she had chosen – a Chilean cabernet, maybe, or a malbec – I’m not great with wines – and poured it into a couple of regular glasses. “You don’t have any wine glasses?” she asked, surprised. “No,” I replied. I never seemed to have a need for them before. “You have to at least get a couple of wine glasses,” she chided me, as if I was missing out on some adult household essential by not having them. Continue reading

Video

Interview with Melissa Gira Grant on Sex Work

19 Apr

Excellent Vice interview with journalist Melissa Gira Grant on sex work with a powerful historicized and politicized contemporary analysis. She challenges myths around sex work, critiques binary perspectives on women’s sexuality, and argues that sex work is work.

http://www.vice.com/en_au/read/the-vice-podcast-talking-to-journalist-melissa-gira-grant-about-sex-work

“Our anxieties about the way all of our labour is commodified, everything we do in the world has a price on it. I think it’s much easier to talk about how anxious that makes us feel, and where our personhood is compromised by being in the world and having to survive – those anxieties get heaped on sex workers in a way that I don’t see them heaped on other workers.”  – M. G. Grant