28 April, 2008

feminism: ur doin it wrong

Amanda Marcotte and Seal Press, I'd like to dedicate this faildog (courtesy of http://faildogs.com) to y'all, for this doozy:

Because I, for one, found your apologies deficient. As Liss points out, Seal Press's apology smacks of "OMG TEH WOMEN OF COLOR IN THE BLOGOSPHERE TAKE EVERYTHING SOOOOO SERIOUSLY AND THAT'S WHY WE'RE IN THIS MESS." And do they really think that "diversity training" is going to help matters?

And while I do want to give Amanda some credit for attempting to admit her wrongdoing, her post still strikes me as having a weird tone, especially with this part: I can understand why anyone would choose to boycott a book with these images, and I respect that choice. Hopefully, once they are removed, people will reconsider supporting the book if they like the content. Something tells me that support of Amanda's book is the last thing that many of us may be thinking about, but I digress.

I have a copy of the book, which I purchased a few days before the whole BfP thing happened. It sits on my desk, unread.

It will probably be sitting on my desk for a while.

11 April, 2008


Frank Zappa, in his song "Trouble Every Day," had this to say (in part) regarding race relations:

Hey, you know something, people? I'm not black, but there are a whole lotta times that I wish I could say "I'm not white."

For me, this is one of those times.

Summary: Famous white feminist blogger doesn't give credit where credit is due in a piece on immigration for a major online progressive hub. Less famous woman of color blogger--who has been blogging on the topic for years, and is presumably read by FWFB--shuts down her blog in the face of all of this.

Everybody panics. White privilege in the progressive blogging world continues to be massively overlooked.

I want to give FWFB the benefit of the doubt, as I respect her as a blogger and as a writer. Caveat: As anyone who is familiar with Foucault knows, power works in many different ways. Many "smaller" bloggers don't get exposure due to a number of factors--and race, predictably, is one of these factors. As Holly says in the comments thread (she's also the author of the above post), when you are a progressive, feminist blogger with a big commentariat, you have certain responsibilities, particularly if you have unearned (ie: white) privilege. I agree.

Caveat Two: In the comments of the above linked post (which also has a much better summary than I've given here!), FWFB starts off by denying all of the accusations--instead of facing up to them--and then starts off on an incredible journey of shooting herself in both feet (must be read to be believed), which includes numerous rantings that people are out to get her.

I cannot give FWFB the benefit of the doubt based upon her behavior in the comment section of the above post. Is it so hard for people to own up when they've made a mistake and--*gasp*-- perhaps apologize for making said mistake, and then work on changing the behavior that led to the aforementioned mistake? Apparently so. It is telling that it seems particularly difficult for FWFB, the prominent white feminist blogger, to do so, even as she crusades against injustices of many kinds.

Step up, white feminist blogosphere, and start examining your own privilege. I'm going to start immediately.

ETA: I can't even bring myself to address the Seal Press/Blackamazon thing right now. I am too angry.

06 April, 2008

The NYT Still Kind of Sucks, Actually

Apparently, I am still not missing anything by my lack of New York Times reading. This article pretty much made me want tear my hair out, and then maybe drop dead of a heart attack. Perhaps they would even consider writing an article about me!

In the blogging world that the NYT profiles, female bloggers--much less female tech bloggers--do not exist. Furthermore, blogging is figured in this article as lucrative, high-profile, and a viable job option. (This is not true for most of us.)

What really got me (and sweetmachine was struck by this as well) was the caption, stuck underneath a picture of a fashionably messy-haired young man slouching over a computer:

Matt Buchanan shows blogs may be a young man’s game.

Yup, ONE GUY shows that blogging is a "young man's" world, baby, and there ain't a damn thing that the rest of us can do about it. Older bloggers, people of color who blog, female bloggers, GLBTQ bloggers, non-able-bodied bloggers...hell, anyone who doesn't fit into the all-important category of male, white, able-bodied, straight, not overweight, and conventionally attractive (think about this: would the NYT have chosen an overweight, balding dude for the picture that accompanies the article?) DOES NOT MATTER in this article, and does not exist by virtue of omission.

This is exactly what people in my field of study mean when they talk about "violence by omission," or related terms--basically (and this is way oversimplified, mostly because my hands are starting to hurt**), when a group is omitted from mainstream representation, they, in some bizarre way, cease to exist in the minds of many. This is not to say that all of the targeted consumers of mass media are dupes, but for some, it may be inconceivable that blogs created by people who are not young, white, heterosexual, able-bodied, and attractive actually exist! Wow, what a concept.

So, thanks again, NYT, for continuing to perpetrate textual idiocy upon the nation! At the very least, the NYT has graciously given me something to blog about.

**See why I'm so ticked off about the whole able-bodied thing in particular? Sometimes, my lack of a perfectly healthy body prevents me from blogging. Horrors!