Thursday, May 14, 2009

Double XX Vs. Jezebel - White Feminists Beefing Online With One Token Woman Of Color Voice Tossed In To Act Like We're Actually Included In The Debate

I love it when white women fight over feminism. It doesn't really matter what subject they arguing about, the end result is nearly always the same. Feminism and feminist issues ALWAYS revolve about what white women think and do, to hell with the perspectives and realities of any other women in the world.

It's for this reason that I quit reading the majority of feminist blogs, for as much as they raised great issues and wonderful discussion, I was ALWAYS getting pissed off at the lack of openness and the continuing tone-deafness in regards to race. Not to mention, the absolute flat-out refusal of white women to ever accept that sometimes in the discussion of feminist issues, their behinds would sometimes be regulated to the margins of a debate, not the center.

Linda Hirshman was wrong as hell with her generational bashing and finger-pointing, but the ladies over at Jezebel didn't do much better with their snarky one-note replies. They all missed the damn point - that women, no matter their age, race, or sexual orientation, still have major issues when it comes to dealing with the aftermath of sexual assault.

And the other point, that at least white women get to discuss, debate, and argue, about how they deal with this issue, the majority of women of color are still grappling with the right to be called a victim of sexual assault in the first damn place. Desiree Washington, anyone? Her convicted rapist, Mike Tyson is still denying raping her and enjoying SYMPATHY from a new documentary on his life. Where in the hell is Linda Hirshman and the ladies of Jezebel on that issue?

And that brings me to sista-journalist, Latoya Peterson's lone woman of color voice in this discussion. I'm not knocking her opinion, but I don't get jumping to the defense of the ladies at Jezebel. They put their stories out there, I'm quite sure they would be fine defending their own words. White women have plenty of defenders even when their behavior should dictate otherwise. Could you imagine the same support for Miss California, if she was Black or Latino? Somebody else would have being rocking that crown....last week!

I don't think you should be telling any woman how to deal with sexual assault, it's a really personal issue, but when it comes to dealing with the aftermath of sexual assault paired with getting justice, finding acceptance and gaining support, women of color are still getting the short end of the stick. I would love to know if Ms. Peterson believes that two black women could actually get away with appearing on a public talk show, intoxicated and playfully recounting how they were sexually assaulted in their youth like the two young women from Jezebel did. I don't think so and that bothers the hell out of me.

That's why all women need to included in such discussions instead of having a pointless online beef that doesn't resolve anything or help anyone.


ch555x May 14, 2009 at 9:00 AM  

These folks, male/female/whatever (SOME for that matter) are still under the impression that the world is based off of so-called white/western standards of humanity. Although the majority non-white world says otherwise, some of these cats are just evolved versions from those that thought the world was flat and Roman/Greek culture is the basis for (wo)mankind. Nevermind the fact that the non-white version already covered most of that 1,000's of years ago.

I do the same in regards to so-called left winger talking points. If I want liberalism/socialism, I look toward the "other" America, south of the border. Granted, its not perfect, but to me that's being left-wing. Don't get me started about feminism and the non-whiteworld...that's a whole 'nother blog!

PPR_Scribe May 14, 2009 at 9:47 AM  

Whew! I wish I would have taken notes when following your links. Really, it is kind of hard to keep track of these dust-ups....

I know that there is one line of thinking that the more voices, the better--and that loud disagreements of multiple viewpoints proves that a movement is "alive" and "vibrant."

However, I am getting to the point where I think this kind of on-line "dialog" has become an end unto itself. Does it really encourage people to get out and actually do something that might advance women's causes, rights and lives? Or does it just become a kind of spectator sport?

*Sigh* I don't know. But I am getting increasingly tired of this.

Jessie Daniels May 14, 2009 at 1:19 PM  

Thanks for posting this, Professor Tracey. Looks like white women have not learned much from previous generations of feminism. Somebody pick up a copy of This Bridge Called My Back, please!

Anonymous,  May 14, 2009 at 2:43 PM  

Yet another reason why I'm moving closer and closer to just calling myself a Womanist rather than a Feminist. White-feminists are becoming more vapid and immature by the day. Not to mention a lot of them reek of white-privilege and class-privilege. It's like watching an episode of The Hills.

Saran May 15, 2009 at 7:50 AM  

In following the various links, I came across Latoya Peterson's essay "The Not Rape Epidemic". Did anyone see/read that?
Professor Tracey, I'm not sure if that's a subject you've ever covered here, but that essay was a very interesting and thought-provoking read.

Mista Jaycee May 15, 2009 at 12:37 PM  

Hi Prof Tracy! 8-)
I thought it was Desiree Jackson not Washington but to the point, I wouldn't use her as my poster child for sexual assault, I don't believe that Young Lady was raped and most folks don't! Fact! Mike was a weenie, grade A, but fact! She stuck out of her contest at three in the morning, she did not make a report of any kind for three days, she lied on the stand, saying she was not doing it for financial gain, when it was revealed later she had a book deal already in place, Singer Johnny Gill in the next hotel room advised that she did not leave the room in tears or showing any kind of trauma. His testimony was not heard. I believe Mike was a Dick, he hit it and quit it and she feeling used and knowing she was about to suffer even greater embarrasment made up the rape. No, he might have been cruel and a jerk but a rape, nah! She went through with the contest the very next day!
Thanks for letting me share.

Professor Tracey May 15, 2009 at 1:18 PM  

Mista Jaycee,

No disrespect, but if you're going to call someone a liar, you should know their correct name. It's Desiree Washington. And I'm not sure who you are calling "most people" because I believe you might find quite a few folks who DO believe Mike Tyson is a rapist.

And everything you just related is standard smear tactics against rape victims - how they should be acting, feeling, doing, etc..... All of that is subjective and not evidence of anything.

If she got a book deal, where's the book after all these years? And since Johnny Gill was not in the room, what exactly did his "view" have to do with the rape? He could see her vagina through her clothes? And I hate to tell you, lots of rape victims go through normal business hours even days after their assault.

Further, she lost a great deal after the trial. Her parents divorced. They lost their home. She quit college. She got a settlement, but it was five years later.

Mike Tyson is a convicted rapist, period.

Bookish Betty May 17, 2009 at 10:09 PM  

Thank you so much for highlighting this for me! Just when I think Feminism as a movement is realizing that you can't even think about any of the issues (empowerment, sexual liberation, equality, etc) without considering against what the ideas are pushing, you get a mess like this!

I'm going to go into this a bit more deeply on my blog ( if you want to see my particular nerdy Black Feminist Deconstructionist Historicist take on this internet pseudo-brawl and tell me what you think?

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