Monday, 17 August 2015

The conflicted feminist: Boycotting

In May there was a call to boycott queen mother Megan Murphy - a hateful white feminist who purports to speak for people like me *gulp* but who is in fact the racist transphobic, anti sex working incarnate of a wolf in sheep clothing riding a white savior horse. She is the white pearl clutching feminist your mother should have warned you about because feminism and freedom only looks like what she defines it as, so does consent and what is sexy. cliff notes version: you can only consent to sex under her very privileged defined options, trans women aren't women and women can only do "sexy" in very specific very white centric ways. Did I miss anything? oh yeah you must agree with her or you are aiding the silencing of all women, and any men that disagree with her views especially black men she calls them misogynistic and "bros".

This blog post isn't about the violence perpetrated by the platform of pearl-clutching white savior types or the feminist media who gives them an all out unchecked, unchallenged pulpit.

Instead this blog is for the conflicted feminist who agree that MM is toxic but who are having mixed feelings about the effects of boycotting any woman; after all she is in sheep's clothing.  
"I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot.  So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth." - Revelation 3:15-16 (ESV)

Yeahhh I haven't quoted a bible scripture in a while: I was raised a devout Christan (much like glitter and dog hairs some things unfortunately take a lot longer clean up and to get off you) but this one really nails it on many levels.  

Dear conflicted feminist,
The benefits from the 1st boycott for me personally has been solidarity with marginalized sex workers who were not familiar with Rabble's stance on the matter and an invaluable international and local support from all people both sex workers and allys.

I know it can be easy to forget the level of personal impact support can mean, for me personally it felt like my life as a Black woman mattered to not only WOC sex workers but to other feminist who otherwise would not have taken a stance.
Feminist everywhere took a stand, and defended their stand not just for Sex Workers but for the most marginalized of us Trans women, Women of Color especially Black and Indigenous  who experience the severe impact of the vitriolic hate of Rabble's base MM like supporters. 
Indeed it is difficult to support the most marginalized of us and as a seasoned community organizer I understand that victory is rarely swift and sustained success is never won after the first attempt. 
“You can’t dump one cup of sugar into the ocean and expect to get syrup. If everybody sweetened her own cup of water, then things would begin to change.” –Florynce Kennedy
Yes, I will also agree that their has been some divisiveness within those that do support sex workers rights and that is to be expected. Supporting Sex Workers rights while a great umbrella cause isn't protective enough to weather the specific ways in which the most vulnerable sex workers face harms.

Being a great feminist ally who supports the rights of sex workers also means standing firm on a intersectional view of feminism that not only includes but champions the needs to the most marginalized sex workers. It means analyzing the discourse of race, class and transmisogyny in feminist circles. It means not speaking over but also echoing the voices that aren't often heard (Trans, Queer, Poor, informally educated, diffrently-abled, undocumented, migrant). Yes that means that white women must be silent in-order to listen and to create these much needed spaces for the racialized and marginalized of us to be heard.

Yes being silent isn't easy for folks with race, class and educational privilege nor is is easy to hear that your feminism isn't intersectional, needs sharpening and upgrading because both implies that where you are now isn't enough and is in fact damaging; and this is not an easy pill to swallow for the best of us.

For others who are not passive in their intersectional feminist approach, who's love for the movement inspires them to call up / call out other feminist (who support the rights of sex workers) to re-educate and sharpen their approach to not only include but champion the proliferation of voices most marginalized by white supremacy and misogyny.

They are called divisive because they choose not to take the passive, less inclusive path, they are called flawed because their approach is transparent. They are called weak, riddled with guilt and radical because they would rather that paid speaking engagement, space in that popular magazine, grant and spotlight be given away to someone with less privilege, and less opportunities; but personally  I call them allys.

 Ally ship with racialized and other marginalized sex workers is a killer stair-master that requires a lot of continuous work and as such I have nothing but compassion for those who choose to pick their battles carefully and thoughtfully because I also know of the heart wrenching disappointment of having comrades who choose to walk away when the fight gets too tough or too inconvenient for where their conviction on human rights and equity are.
Much like being at a breast cancer rally when one of your friends yells all cancers matter, it can also be embarrassing and feel defeating.

I have a lots of empathy for where you find yourself and while your support isn't contingent on me moving forward with my continued support to boycott It would be more than lovely to count on you as an ally, to have you stand by me and for others like me to make a stance (even if you find it  frivolous) against any magazine that supports hate speech, if for no other reason than that you understand that it is a violent attack on the most marginalized women and your conviction, your feminism wont allow to to idly stand by and watch.

"We demand a discerning voice of equality and equity that respects and values all women including trans women, women of colour and women in the sex industry. Displays of racism, whorephobia and transmisogyny have no place in a progressive publication like Rabble. It is time for Rabble to take responsibility and cease offering a platform for hate in the form of zealous bigotry from Meghan Murphy and others like her." - Boycott MM Petition written and undersigned by feminists, grassroots community groups and organizations that support intersectional feminism.
Maggie's - Toronto Sex Workers Action Project
Black Lives Matter - Toronto
No More Silence
TransPride Toronto
Canadian Alliance for Sex Work Law Reform
Southwest Ontario Sex Workers
Stella, L’Amie de Maimie
PACE Society (Vancouver)
Sex Professionals of Canada
Winnipeg Working Group for Sex Workers’ Rights
PIECE Edmonton
Butterfly (Migrant and Asian Sex Workers)
Toronto Migrant Sex Worker Project
ASTT(e)Q : Action Santé Travesti(e)s et Transsexuel(le)s du Québec
Shameless Magazine
Desiree Alliance, USA
SHOP (Nfld)
St. John's Status of Women Council
Sex Worker Open University (UK)
Sex Workers Outreach Project - New Orleans (SWOP-NOLA)
Sex Workers Alliance Ireland (SWAI)
No One Is Illegal - Toronto
Toronto Trans Alliance
Community and Family Aid Foundation - Ghana
Centre for Women and Trans People - York University
 Pembe Hayat/Pink Life LGBTT Solidarity Association, Ankara-TURKEY

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