The Day My Hope For Feminism Died
Updated at the bottom (twice), considering the updates only further drive home the point that Shakesville is an enemy to trans women and Melissa can’t handle a privilege call out without crying cis privileged tears.
One of the worst transphobic haters in feminist history died in 2010. Mary Daly. I’m not one that gets pleasure out of people dying and I don’t find her death to be a good thing. I would much prefer if people like her stopped hating, recanted their statements and worked on our behalf to try to make amends for those they killed through their words enforcing the exclusion of us from jobs, rape shelters and attempting to deny us what we need to survive. But the fact is, now that she’s gone, she can no longer strike out with her transphobic genocidal ravings against trans women (and really all trans folk, although it seems she especially hated us). Sure she did some things for cis feminism but largely she encouraged our destruction and the destruction of cis men (which she equated). Sort of like how Polanski’s amazing movies don’t really change the fact that he raped a 13 year old girl and that he is scum. So while I don’t gain pleasure from death, even that of a dangerous transphobic icon, I’m relieved that one can no longer hurt us.
Of course, it seems that hating on trans women, encouraging our extermination and calling us “Frankensteinian” isn’t enough to keep cis feminists from showing her some post mortem love.
Yes. That’s Melissa McEwan, commemorating the passing of a woman who felt that trans women should not only not exist but literally be eliminated. Wiped out. Melissa, who had once been someone I personally trusted to decenter cis privileged views and give trans people the respect we deserve. Someone who I had once had in my bookmarks, someone who’s blog had once been one of my “checked every week” blogs. Who I have linked to, whom I would have considered doing guest posts for, before this had happened. She was called out, lightly and fairly ineffectively by IraeNicole and just_another_trans_guy (although he later brought in the heavy guns after Voz came in), more heavily and far more honestly by Voz, Criss and xpanasonicyouthx.
I’ll quote them in case the thread gets deleted:
Wow, melissa. Eulogizing one of the most hateful cis women on the planet. She endorsed genocide, yet you hypocritically say “we just don’t [celebrate people's death here.]
I beg to differ. You put up full page articles glorifying genocidal cis women and then plead ignorance.
You ultimately do not care about trans women, and it shows by this post. Actions, not your own belief in your..intentions.
I doubt this will get published, but, hey, I already know where trans women stand here now.
Just Some Trans Guy:
Re: what alexmac said … how horrible DOES a feminist (or other activist supposedly on “our” side) have to be before we (the general we, humanity, not necessarily Shakesville) condemn hir rather than laud hir? Surely even the most terrible people have done some good in their lives, and we rightly do not laud them. What makes the difference between a post saying “This person was bad for X, Y, and Z reasons, although they were right about issue A” and a post saying “This person was awesome! Oh, but they WERE wrong about issues A, B, and C”?
Re: voz’s note on “genocidial cis women,” I’d like to bring attention to a post Lisa Harney left on Feministing’s Daly obit (http://www.feministing.com/archives/019528.html…), which quoted from a Daly interview:
“If life is to survive on this planet, there must be a decontamination of the Earth. I think this will be accompanied by an evolutionary process that will result in a drastic reduction of the population of males. People are afraid to say that kind of stuff anymore.” (http://www.enlightennext.org/magazine/j16/daly….)
This is, quite plainly, genocide language.
Isn’t the “yeah, we know she effed up here, but this other thing over here that she did was pretty good” mentality the same one the Catholic Church uses to defend and protect pedophiles? Sure, they abused their power to rape young boys, but they are such strong religious leaders!
Daly may have done great things for cis women, but her hate towards women who did not look like her, her transphobia and her racism, trump that. As just_some_trans_guy said, we don’t forgive Hitler the Holocaust just because he was a gifted artist in his youth; I don’t forgive Roman Polanski raping 13-year-olds because of his “great” movies.
I knew nothing of Daly until yesterday, when I clicked on a link on Twitter about her death. Since I didn’t know her, I Googled her, and read her Wikipedia entry. Clearly highlighted in that Wikipedia entry (and I hate Wikipedia, but it’s good for quick, start0ng-point info) were many problematic aspects of Daly’s life and ideals, including her transphobia.
This is my first time on this blog and I know nothing of Melissa, but as a writer and blogger I feel it was irresponsible of her to post this eulogy without researching her subject more — or at all, it looks like. The transphobia was not hard to find; it’s not like it was obscure, she seemed to be damn proud of it! I’m new to feminism (“formal” feminism) and women’s studies, but I’m quickly learning that many feminist leaders did, unfortunately, have issues with racism and transphobia/transmysoginy. It is our responsibility to educate ourselves on those women, and if you’re going to post something like this, it is imperative that you present the actual truth, not the PR candy-coated one. Maybe she did some great things for cis women, but she did great harm at the same time. This needs to be noted and documented — and much more prominently than a short aside tacked on to the end of a post.
I agree that Melissa was quick to add the new information to the post to “correct” it and that she was not defensive, but all she did was copy what was already in the comments. She did not do any further research (at least, I saw no evidence of it). I feel the responsible thing would have been to add something to the post noting the new info, then research the matter fully to present this other, harmful, un-feminist side of Daly.
We (cis feminists) need to own our history, and it is our responsibility to work overtime to overcome what women like Daly have done to trans women.
There’s not much more I can say on the matter. Voz, Criss and JATG said everything that could be said. No what I have to say goes beyond just Shakesville.
You’ll notice a familiar update on it. A famously missing the point update, a footnote regarding transphobia in a post that still commemorates the passing of a genocidal transphobe. This all being on a site that refuses to allow others to do the same with people like Polanski and his art. You’ll also notice the huge amount of accountability dodging, “omg I/she had good intent!” and tone argument derails interspersed through the comments. It was mostly the other Shakers pulling the apologist bullshit but had Melissa had any interest in owning her actual mistakes (not just a strawperson of the call outs raised by Voz, Criss and others), she would have instructed them to stop, put the edit at the top of the post basically stating that, “hey, we don’t honor those who advocate genocide here. I apologize.” Instead Paul Spudd closed the comments on the thread, stating that he wouldn’t “tolerate further bad faith attacks on Melissa” (paraphrasing lightly, as that was in a previous comment).
Have you noticed any familiarity here yet? For one, there’s CaitieCat, who’s playing the brilliant role of Trans Person Sell Out, a must have for any major meltdown of a major blog on respect for trans people. There’s the ridiculous tone arguments, like from my favorite fake ally in the whole world, Renee of Womanist Musings, where she claims Voz is just looking for a fight (good to see she didn’t learn shit from the last time). There’s the, “but she did so much good for the world! Can’t we brush this little detail under the rug a little?” comments and especially, “hey look, this can make discussion, so discuss it in the comments thread! After all, putting up trans haters or trans hate is fine as long as people discuss it!” comments. Does any of that seem like deja vu to you? It should, because it’s happened again and again and again and again and again. And that’s just since May 2009, when I started blogging. I can safely bet you shit like that, following this exact same pattern has happened over and over before I appeared on the scene.
There is this ongoing trend, from Failerico to PHB to Womanist Musings, of groups (womanism, feminism, cisGLB, liberals, progressives, etc) who claim they’ve got trans folks’ backs and then they fuck up intensely, get called out and show just how much of a lie that was. Most of those tropes are present. The Sell Out, the apologism, the intent excuses, the tone arguments, the claim that it fosters “discussion” and is ergo good or that “we’ve done so much for you, can’t you let this slide!?” So at this point, I’m done. Eight months of this bullshit from multiple zones and I’m done having hope any of these groups are any good. And for the ones I actually have a claim to? Feminism and cisGLB being the only two? My hope that I can salvage them from the inside, reform them, make them fail less and succeed more? It’s gone.
Shakesville was still trusted. I still had hope because of sites like that. I still thought maybe, just maybe, we could make feminism into something worth it. I was wrong. I was so very very wrong, not just because of this betrayal, but like with the other cases, I didn’t see the ongoing set of betrayals before. The racefail, the hate for sex workers, Islamophobia, ableism, etc each one of these groups who betrayed us now, showed one or more of those zones before I became aware of and even often transphobia before I came onto the scene. Well I’m done now. I’m finished with feminism.
I am officially no longer a feminist. That was the last one left. The last thing I was holding onto desperately, hoping that it wouldn’t turn out to be as hateful as the others. No more. So many cis feminists have tried to tell me I’m too harsh on feminism in the past. Too many of them have tried to spoon me the bullshit that feminism is salvageable and even improving significantly. And I bought it. No more. Try and spoon me your bullshit now, cis feminists. Try it now that one of the sites I thought could never follow this path of fail has done so. Try it now that Shakesville, of all goddamn places, has shown its true face of trans erasure, cis privileged apathy and apologism. Try it now that Shakesville, of all fucking places, has gone the way of Failerico, almost exactly. Make sure to use a teaspoon for the bullshit when you try, it’ll be more fitting that way.
Goodbye my hope for feminism. Goodbye my membership in the movement of feminism. It has gone the way that my trust in womanists (with their lofty but unkept promises of supporting trans women) and GLBT as a group community (with their actual name being GL…..b………..[t?]). It is dead and gone. It’s time to mourn and move on. I no longer trust feminism. I have no reason to.
RIP my hope for feminism. You lived long but you were likely doomed from the start.
Oh look, an oh so boring and done before fauxpology wherein Melissa whines about how everyone was so mean to her and she cares oh so much. Boring, old, run of the mill fauxpologies do not fly with me.
My comment response (that may or may not make it through the censors):
See, before, I didn’t think you were acting in bad faith. I saw you make a mistake and then fail to fix it. Definitely killed my faith in feminism in general, the straw that broke the camel’s back so to speak, that even Shakesville could mishandle an error of trans oppression so horribly. But I didn’t regard you as acting in bad faith, just wrong, ignorant and privileged, with wrong, ignorant and privileged or sell out defenders. But this post? Centering your hurt feelings as a cis person above the lives and well being of trans people? Continuing to ignore the wrongdoing that you have not fixed, while whining about how mean we are? This post added to how you handled the previous is what makes me feel you are acting in bad faith now.
I also simply can not grasp how you find a privilege call out to be “mean”. If a guy used a tone argument derail on you about feminism, you’d be wicked upset.
And yes, before anyone disputes that, she did fail to fix her mistake. Didn’t even really admit to what her mistake actually was. Hint: It wasn’t the fact that her eulogy for a genocidal bigot didn’t have a footnote at the bottom mentioning, “oh gee, she kinda racefailed and cisfailed a bit here and there. Oops golly!”. Bigger Hint: The Eulogy being posted at all for a genocide advocate is a problem.
Mary Daly is to Feminism what Polanski is to Film. I’ve seen this community shred the hell out of people talking about how great Polanski’s work is and then leaving a footnote at the bottom about him raping a 13 year old girl (and good gods have people done that a lot with Polanski). Yet you all hypocritically defend the exact same actions towards Daly? That is abhorrent. The post itself should have been affixed with an edit at the top disavowing the eulogy, apologizing that it was ever posted at all, stating why the mistake was made and then stating what was learned from it. And the battle lines should not have been drawn between Liss’ feelings and the fighting of oppression against trans folk. Especially not with so many centering her feelings over our lives.
Melissa, you made a mistake. You had a chance to fix it. You failed to do so (in that affixing a footnote at the end of your eulogy doesn’t change the fact that you’re eulogizing a genocidal bigot). And this post shows that you have no intention of owning your mistake or being an actual ally at all. But it isn’t just that lack of accountability and lack of respect for our lives from you making this site no longer an ally of the community, yet another betrayal among many from the likes of Bilerico’s Ron Gold fiasco, Pam’s House Blend’s Cis as a term fiasco and others. It’s the fact that people came to the defense of your actions and the defense of your hurt feelings instead of to the defense of trans people who still suffer because of what Mary Daly said and did. Had you used this post to apologize and announce an intention to edit the post in a way that would have addressed your mistake? I would have considered this water under the bridge.
I trusted you and your community here. Well no more. You lost your chance to make amends with this post. I’m done with you, Melissa and I’m done with Shakesville. You do not deserve my trust. You’ve merely proven it to a greater degree with this post.
As a note, I will be crossposting this comment to my blog in case any of you decide to silence what I’ve said here by dropping it to the spam queue or whatever.
Subsequent to that comment, Melissa’s pet trans woman sellout CaitieCat made some failtastic snark about flouncing and then I was banned and my comments removed. Not that I’m surprised or anything. Cissupremacists and their sellout helpers don’t like uppity trans women.
UPDATE 2: Comments on her second thread are closed, as once again, Melissa can’t handle her privilege being called out. Pattern, I see you.
Filed under: personal, rant | 150 Comments
Tags: "ally" betrayal, cissexism, feminism, fuck this fuckery, paradigm shift, rage, transgender