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Posts tagged "male privilege"
All but one of the mass murders in the U.S. over the last 30 years has been committed by men. The fact that gender is often omitted from the story speaks to how we still see the masculine as the irreproachable and invisible standard. As Michael Kimmel notes in his extensive research on school shootings, if the genders were reversed and most school shootings were committed by women, you’d bet gender would be part of the analysis. We often instead shift the conversation to “mental illness” and describe shooters as madmen, while the characteristics they exhibit are often an extension of toxic masculinity ideals that are institutionally reinforced.

gradientlair:

[content warning: descriptive patriarchal violence, sexual assault, misogynoir, racism]

Yesterday evening after getting back from a much needed manicure and hand massage, I passed by some locations that are burned into my mind. You see, in the past four months I have been a block away from 3 shootings. None of those people survived. All Black men died. I noticed that my body tensed up and I had shortness of breath when I passed by those locations; I felt my anxiety rising. And all of the locations are within several miles of where I live.

Though I know the danger of thinking within a framework shaped by fictive kinship can mean that Black people can end up being abusive to other Black people by enforcing the politics of respectability out of fear of “collective judgment” in the White Gaze, at the same time there are times when that fictive kinship is…a burden still…but not in a completely bad way. In a humanizing way. Because these shootings are not “distant” crimes on television to me. They never are. 

Black people struggling in poverty and pain, living under the weight of the boot of racism on our necks, and Black men struggling with an almost invisible space to articulate their masculinity—where if it is not patriarchal they are judged but if it is patriarchal the punishment can be anything up to death—is not ever going to be an easy thing to live with. How would it be? I don’t want them to die. At the same time, I don’t want Black women or other Black people to be their prime receptacle for that pain because it’s easier to kick down than up.

And again, these shootings are not distant for me, not sociopolitically…or in actual physical space. The first one? I heard it though I did not see it. I saw the young Black man run into the store after being shot in the parking lot. He fell to the floor. He just moaned in pain, his body curled in the fetal position. He didn’t shed a tear though. Not a single one. I don’t think tears could adequately express what he was experiencing; pain far beyond. The light started to fade from his eyes. He was still breathing when the cops got us out of the store. I learned that he died later on that night. I was not okay that day. I am not okay now. 

The second two shootings were a couple of months after the aforementioned. A young guy was murdered so close to where I was that I could hear the police’s conversations. My little brother (I call him “little” but he’s 28; he’ll always be my little brother; I am 34) knew him. They were not close friends but they hung out a few times. Several of my little brother’s friends are deceased now. Again, he’s only 28. I think about the fact that some of his friends have been harmed or are dead. I think about how so many of the Black women that I know are sexual assault survivors, as am I, and a few of them have men in their families who’ve been domestically violent or have killed women. Black men experience violence and commit violence and that is the nature of racial oppression accompanied with male privilege in a racist and patriarchal society. The final shooting was of an older Black man. Turns out he is the husband of a friend of a friend. Again, I am not distant. This is acutely connected to my life. In the last four months alone, I have been a block away from someone Black being murdered and somehow been connected to the death. I feel tired and sad beyond belief. I’m experiencing PTSD symptoms because of Black men being harmed or killed; I experience PTSD symptoms when Black men harm me. 

When I have to deal with from Whites the lack of compassion, lack of empathy, the notion that I cannot feel pain (Strong Black Woman) but also deserve pain (Angry Black Woman) and their intent to manipulate that accompanies White supremacy, when they dare fix their mouths full of hot air to suggest that Black people “do not care” about intraracial crime, the rage I feel is unspeakable. It’s so hot that it’s cold. It’s so loud that it’s silent. It’s past anything that words can be used to describe because none have been invented yet to accurately do so. Because ultimately these Whites suggest that the plagues of White supremacy, racism and anti-Blackness that create the situations that contribute to violence do not exist and that Black people—not Whites and their mass socially accepted lack of empathy core to White supremacy—are unfeeling and uncaring. Most of the time it is they who do not care…who feel nothing when Black people die by anyone’s hands. But it is me and it is other Black people who “don’t care” about intraracial violence? Projection much? I mean, Whites are willing to manipulate crime statistics, let White men almost unilaterally not be held accountable for rape, and even encourage White women to continue to promote the myth of the “scary Black man” out to get them versus the White ones that they know, the White ones who are statistically the greatest threat to any White person…all in the name of preserving White supremacy? Yeah. 

I mean, the fact that I cannot even discuss any crime unless I include the same goddamn links over and over—about how intraracial crime is the most common for any race, “Black on Black” is a misnomer used to pathologize Black people when every race of people tend to commit crimes along similar racial and class lines (mainly because of homogeneity being more common among housing/marriages etc.), and that there’s clearly research that over and over proves that White people who harm Black people spend less time in jail/less likely convicted than White people who harm White people, than Black people who harm Black people and especially than Black people who harm White people—remains frustrating. These are easily  quantifiable things. This is not a theory or a guess. 

I truly find myself viscerally and intimately disgusted with White people whose empty little heads and unfeeling hearts cannot even fathom the toll that intraracial crime takes on my spirit and on other Black people’s spirits. When I see a funeral in relation to crime every weekend, that affects me. When I see Black men in wheelchairs from violence, it affects me, and not because physically disabled people need “pity” because this is not about “generic disabled” stories meant for Whites to co-opt here. It affects me because I know how close they were to death like so many others who didn’t make it. When I see the faces of dead Black children on t-shirts. RIP tattoos. Funeral programs strewn about empty lots where the ink and images have started to fade from exposure to the sun. The Black funeral homes that are community pillars and institutions for decades since for the longest time, White funeral homes wouldn’t touch a Black body. The songs. I’m not a theist but I bet I cry when I hear "soon and very soon, we are going to see the king." Why, because I’m still Black and know the history and stories and sheer weight that song and songs like it carry. When I hear over and over about the Black women who are street harassed, sexually assaulted, beaten and killed, I at times lose sleep. And all of the work—the marches, committees, after school programs, counseling, sister circles, men’s groups etc.—that goes into curtailing this violence is proof positive that Black people care. 

Whites’ racism is what supports the notion that Black people “don’t care” about intraracial crime because we expect justice for interracial crime. How illogical and cruel. How disgusting a concept. How clueless and disconnected they are to think it. I feel this violence all over my body and it is like a boulder that I am dragging around, a boulder put there by the same people who now think they have the right to throw more boulders at me since the first one exists. The real issue where there is weakness on discussing intraracial crime is gendered crime, Black men’s abuse of Black women (a weakness across the board in every race, because of patriarchy). But Black women barely register in the White imagination. When the “‘doesn’t care’ about intraracial crime” crap starts, they mean crime between cishet Black men, the crime that Black people care about and react to more than anything else. The area where there is strength is demonized; the area where there is more apathy is ignored. But this is less about Black people not caring and more about Black people fearing the White Gaze on Black men (which is NOT a legitimate excuse for Black men’s silence on violence against Black women, but is a part of a complicated reason). And even when Black women experience similar violence as Black men (i.e. Renisha McBride), the roar from everyone, not just Black men, is much quieter. 

To claim that I or any other Black person doesn’t care about intraracial crime—and sadly because of how White supremacy as oppression impacts Black people, some Black people have begun to spin this lie that Black people do not care about intraracial crime—is to claim that I don’t care about being alive. That I want to die. That I think Black life is as valueless as White supremacy makes it. This claim is a lie. And many Whites simply remain too clueless, too careless and too calloused to realize it. White supremacy is their default. That default is cruelty. That cruelty has to be interrogated and unlearned. Whites need to stop projecting the fact that they do not care about Black life on to Black people barely holding on to it because of White supremacy.

Voices of white men are privileged to such a degree that the white male experience is presumed to be the default, and every other experience becomes somehow other. The inherent bias that must result from existing at the intersection of racial, gender, class and every other conceivable privilege is erased. The rest of us are biased, we are told, by virtue of not being white, or male or middle class. The voices that we need to hear…are drowned out, marginalized and ignored.

Jamie Kilstein on Male Privilege

gradientlair:

White men, White women, Black men and others are desperate to try silence Black and other women of colour’s critiques of White supremacist mainstream feminism (especially around these areas: blatant racism/White supremacy, specific individualized abuse, plagiarism, labor exploitation and marginalization in discourse). The same old lies, distortions and insults surface. I’ve discussed this via Twitter (@thetrudz, @GradientLair) and Storify in the last few days, and here’s what I’ve said:

A lot of harm occurs on an individual level. Systems, structures and institutions support it. But when an individual harms women of colour, I care. You cannot claim to reject White supremacy and then when individual Whites harm women of colour, you overlook it. Make your theory become praxis. And individual incidents of Whites being able to harm with impunity are instances of White supremacy. Addressing them remains critical.

But this LIE persists: Critique White supremacy, generically = “activism.” Critique individual with White supremacy supporting that individual = must want White “approval.”

Critiquing via theory is great for foundation. But it means NOTHING until you stand up for others, when the theory becomes life. Oh and, critical theories couldn’t have existed without actual life happening. So don’t parse here where avoiding real incidents = “being deep.”

Black men/men of colour who don’t care how Deen, Schwyzer and others harm Black women/women of colour, your “allyship” isn’t needed. You’re dismissed. But of course they don’t care. Let them break a nail though. Black women will be demanded to organize a Sally Hansen rally for their asses. Not interested in your generic critiques and then when something actually goes down, you’re ghost. And the obtuse liars who’ll claim that I don’t critique intraracial issues among Black people because I critique White supremacy among Whites now? Whatever…

Telling Black women to allow labor exploitation for “justice” is NOT critiquing capitalism. Labor exploitation is KEY to capitalism. Accepting exploitation as proof of your “goodness” is a fool’s mantra. Just because I don’t desire Whites’ money/attention doesn’t mean that Whites have a right to exploit my labor or target other Black women/women of colour.

Patriarchal Black people will claim that critique of White feminism = Black women want White “acceptance.” I will tell you ONCE GODDAMN MORE. I critique ANY racism. And spare me from the ignorance of "if you critique racism outside of feminism that’s good, but inside feminism means you want their acceptance."

Some Black men (and others, honestly) have to be honest when their feminist praxis includes stereotypes, even faux positive ones of “strong Black woman,” which makes them ignore Black women’s pain. If you call yourself an ally to Black women and other women of colour, why does what we say/think/feel/express not matter to you?

And as I’ve mentioned to White women many times, I don’t want a seat at your table. I want you to stop setting fire to my table in a different room in a different house that you try to rob. Again, most of those in the margins do not critique mainstream White feminism because we want acceptance. Nope. Never did. We want any oppression to stop.

Here are some common derailment tactics that surface whenever women of colour critique mainstream White feminism:

  1. People of colour (sadly) will state "that’s what y’all get" for aligning with feminism versus Black patriarchy/theist patriarchy. As if women of colour don’t add our voices to feminist discourse and shape it, even as credit is denied. Thus, critiquing mainstream feminism does NOT then mean that kyriarchy is “good.”
  2. The Black women among the women of colour are told that we are “siding” with White women against Black men. LIE. Black women have been the ONLY true supporters of Black men and critique White women’s racism/White supremacy often. (I have addressed this complaint before. And “support” from White women is not sex. Black men will posit this as evidence, while Zimmerman’s jury versus Black women before, Ida B. Wells herself and Black women after Wells have supported Black men).
  3. White women will claim that any critique of White supremacy and racism “harms” feminism. I’m pretty sure that White supremacy and racism themselves, not the critiques, harms feminism and absolutely anything/anyone else.
  4. Primarily Black people will give the "well women of colour ‘only’ critique White feminists and should’ve ‘known’ that they are racist" line, being willfully ignorant about the fact that women of colour deconstruct, critique, reject and fight oppression in many spheres, not only amidst feminism.
  5. White men (and some men of colour) will posit the notion that it is just “liberal squabbling” or “the little women not being able to get along.” This partisan and misogynistic derailment is the least intellectually complex of them all. And who are men to critique “getting along” with their atrocious male-to-male violence rates, war, imperialism and genocide? Please.
  6. Sadly, sometimes other women of colour who are stuck on The Help feel that we should be coddling and catering to White women’s racism and never critique it as the only way to build “solidarity.”
  7. People of a variety of backgrounds will suggest that any criticism of systematic oppression is just the oppressed being “jealous” of the oppressors. These people needs library cards, asap.

I reject racism in any form. The idea that I only critique it among White feminists because I want acceptance is about as ignorant as claiming that I want to have a show on Fox News because I critique their sexism and racism.

Because many people couldn’t silence us in the last few days and @Karynthia's (she started it) #solidarityisforwhitewomen, some of them lost their shit! And worse, some of these people genuinely call themselves allies to women of colour!

The truth is, White men, White women and Black men have a lot invested in preserving White supremacy insofar as how it relates to White women and their womanhood being centered as most important. Many Black men reject racism up until White women are the perpetrators and Black women/women of colour are the targets. I don’t consider them or anyone who does this an ally.

“If you are silent about your pain, they’ll kill you and say you enjoyed it.” - Zora Neal Hurston

"Your silence will not protect you." - Audre Lorde

“No person is your friend who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow.” - Alice Walker

gradientlair:

White men, White women, Black men and others are desperate to try silence Black and other women of colour’s critiques of White supremacist mainstream feminism (especially around these areas: blatant racism/White supremacy, specific individualized abuse, plagiarism, labor exploitation and marginalization in discourse). The same old lies, distortions and insults surface. I’ve discussed this via Twitter (@thetrudz, @GradientLair) and Storify in the last few days, and here’s what I’ve said:

A lot of harm occurs on an individual level. Systems, structures and institutions support it. But when an individual harms women of colour, I care. You cannot claim to reject White supremacy and then when individual Whites harm women of colour, you overlook it. Make your theory become praxis. And individual incidents of Whites being able to harm with impunity are instances of White supremacy. Addressing them remains critical.

But this LIE persists: Critique White supremacy, generically = “activism.” Critique individual with White supremacy supporting that individual = must want White “approval.”

Critiquing via theory is great for foundation. But it means NOTHING until you stand up for others, when the theory becomes life. Oh and, critical theories couldn’t have existed without actual life happening. So don’t parse here where avoiding real incidents = “being deep.”

Black men/men of colour who don’t care how Deen, Schwyzer and others harm Black women/women of colour, your “allyship” isn’t needed. You’re dismissed. But of course they don’t care. Let them break a nail though. Black women will be demanded to organize a Sally Hansen rally for their asses. Not interested in your generic critiques and then when something actually goes down, you’re ghost. And the obtuse liars who’ll claim that I don’t critique intraracial issues among Black people because I critique White supremacy among Whites now? Whatever…

Telling Black women to allow labor exploitation for “justice” is NOT critiquing capitalism. Labor exploitation is KEY to capitalism. Accepting exploitation as proof of your “goodness” is a fool’s mantra. Just because I don’t desire Whites’ money/attention doesn’t mean that Whites have a right to exploit my labor or target other Black women/women of colour.

Patriarchal Black people will claim that critique of White feminism = Black women want White “acceptance.” I will tell you ONCE GODDAMN MORE. I critique ANY racism. And spare me from the ignorance of "if you critique racism outside of feminism that’s good, but inside feminism means you want their acceptance."

Some Black men (and others, honestly) have to be honest when their feminist praxis includes stereotypes, even faux positive ones of “strong Black woman,” which makes them ignore Black women’s pain. If you call yourself an ally to Black women and other women of colour, why does what we say/think/feel/express not matter to you?

And as I’ve mentioned to White women many times, I don’t want a seat at your table. I want you to stop setting fire to my table in a different room in a different house that you try to rob. Again, most of those in the margins do not critique mainstream White feminism because we want acceptance. Nope. Never did. We want any oppression to stop.

Here are some common derailment tactics that surface whenever women of colour critique mainstream White feminism:

  1. People of colour (sadly) will state "that’s what y’all get" for aligning with feminism versus Black patriarchy/theist patriarchy. As if women of colour don’t add our voices to feminist discourse and shape it, even as credit is denied. Thus, critiquing mainstream feminism does NOT then mean that kyriarchy is “good.”
  2. The Black women among the women of colour are told that we are “siding” with White women against Black men. LIE. Black women have been the ONLY true supporters of Black men and critique White women’s racism/White supremacy often. (I have addressed this complaint before. And “support” from White women is not sex. Black men will posit this as evidence, while Zimmerman’s jury versus Black women before, Ida B. Wells herself and Black women after Wells have supported Black men).
  3. White women will claim that any critique of White supremacy and racism “harms” feminism. I’m pretty sure that White supremacy and racism themselves, not the critiques, harms feminism and absolutely anything/anyone else.
  4. Primarily Black people will give the "well women of colour ‘only’ critique White feminists and should’ve ‘known’ that they are racist" line, being willfully ignorant about the fact that women of colour deconstruct, critique, reject and fight oppression in many spheres, not only amidst feminism.
  5. White men (and some men of colour) will posit the notion that it is just “liberal squabbling” or “the little women not being able to get along.” This partisan and misogynistic derailment is the least intellectually complex of them all. And who are men to critique “getting along” with their atrocious male-to-male violence rates, war, imperialism and genocide? Please.
  6. Sadly, sometimes other women of colour who are stuck on The Help feel that we should be coddling and catering to White women’s racism and never critique it as the only way to build “solidarity.”
  7. People of a variety of backgrounds will suggest that any criticism of systematic oppression is just the oppressed being “jealous” of the oppressors. These people needs library cards, asap.

I reject racism in any form. The idea that I only critique it among White feminists because I want acceptance is about as ignorant as claiming that I want to have a show on Fox News because I critique their sexism and racism.

Because many people couldn’t silence us in the last few days and @Karynthia's (she started it) #solidarityisforwhitewomen, some of them lost their shit! And worse, some of these people genuinely call themselves allies to women of colour!

The truth is, White men, White women and Black men have a lot invested in preserving White supremacy insofar as how it relates to White women and their womanhood being centered as most important. Many Black men reject racism up until White women are the perpetrators and Black women/women of colour are the targets. I don’t consider them or anyone who does this an ally.

“If you are silent about your pain, they’ll kill you and say you enjoyed it.” - Zora Neal Hurston

"Your silence will not protect you." - Audre Lorde

“No person is your friend who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow.” - Alice Walker

scientificinqueery:

When I say that I don’t want my place in society to be male, I don’t mean that I’ve been acculturated to my female socialization and don’t feel comfortable being interacted with in a way that takes me out of a female gender role. When I say that, it’s not a statement of adhering to the part of the gender binary I got assigned to at birth and having that place in gender schema.


What I mean is that hegemonic masculinity makes me so viscerally uncomfortable. I don’t think that either masculinity or femininity are inherently bad or anything, because I think in drawing a distinction between maleness/masculinity and femaleness/femininity, I think we can complicate and expand our understanding of them to break the heteronormative mold that feminism started from. When I refer to hegemonic masculinity, I mean maleness as it functions in society. 


I’m not saying I am viscerally uncomfortable with all embodied maleness (meaning men, in particular masculine men), but with maleness there comes power and privilege because society is patriarchal. The way men are socialized and the way maleness is regarded in society makes it much easier for people with male privilege to fall into abusing this power in a multitude of ways, without even realizing it. It happens in this insidious way in that it’s established as how it’s always been, how it’s supposed to be, and is promoted, rewarded, and reinforced in all these subtle ways. All of this means that not abusing male privilege must begin with consciously being aware of it, and actively unlearning it. Male privilege, like white privilege and cis privilege and really all other privileges, are embodied, and cannot just be unlearned just through theory, the body is always already implicated in theory to begin with. 


Men are obviously not the only ones who need to unlearn these things though, because in a society that promotes patriarchy, sexism, and misogyny, women have internalized misogyny, and at a deeper level feminine people in general have internalized femmephobia. As a woman who is a feminist, I am always actively working to unlearn internalized misogyny and femmephobia. 


Because I was socialized as female, I wasn’t taught sexism the same way boys are. But I will never forget how scary what boys are taught is, as someone who has been on the receiving end of sexism and misogyny. Once the blinders come off, it’s impossible to unsee the mechanisms at work behind patriarchy, in which the gears are sexism, misogyny, and femmephobia, and the lubricant that keeps this system running so smoothly is hegemonic masculinity in all its various forms.


Bodies that were assigned female at birth are not predestined for femininity. It’s not some innate natural thing programmed in by lack of an SRY gene, guaranteed to have manifested at puberty or your model’s defective. I don’t know why we ever thought that a tomboy like me, upon hitting puberty, would suddenly undergo metamorphosis into a beautiful feminine lady, as though with menstruation, someone like me would bleed off the masculinity and gender-nonconformity to take my place as a proper woman in society’s eyes.


But at the same time, I do think that bodies regardless of what they get assigned by birth might have some sort of predisposition (which is not the same as predestination) to some combination of masculinity and femininity, and everyone’s is different at any given point of time because once a person is born they become a member of society and socialization immediately and forever beyond that point becomes a confounding variable, meaning we will NEVER be able to identify what biology “causes” gender identity the way so many misguided and more often than not misintentioned scientists have tried to pinpoint, because the effects of socialization can never be controlled for and stripped away from the body because our experiences are written into our bodies.


I respect and admire the faabulous femmes who boldly assert that their femininity is not a product of nature to be consumed by a greedily expectant society, their femininity is deliberate and it is for them. But at the same time, I take issue with the voluntarism that this implies, which is something I’m deeply troubled by in a lot of queer discourse surrounding gender, at least in queer communities these days. I’m troubled by it because I feel like sometimes this line of thinking downplays the reality of cis privilege. My body cannot perform femininity, even deliberately, the way so many strong femmes out there, of all bodies and assignments, can with such ease. 

I tried. I tried so damn hard in my childhood to train myself to be feminine, but my body never quite got it right. Society has always tried to beat the gender-nonconformity out of me, my body has always been something to correct. And some things I did learn. God knows I wasn’t impervious to my female socialization, as “How can I help you young man” gets changed into an embarrassed apology upon hearing the feminine, animated, unimposing inflection my voice unconsciously takes on whenever I ask for help. As I am always first to apologize in a conflict, if I haven’t already subordinated myself enough to avoid conflict altogether. Not to say that feminine always is submissive or that either is always bad, but these are some aspects of my performative femininity that I’ve grown conscious of. But there’s so much femininity that society didn’t beat into my body.


I know how to perform femininity because I know what it looks like, so that if I’m afraid of being read ambiguously enough that I’ll get kicked out of the women’s restroom, I can perform a caricature of femininity, strutting into the bathroom a hyperbole, with forced posture, an exaggerated sway in my hips, and a gossipy and animated conversation to nobody on my phone complete with that socal girl cadence and vocal fry as I say into my phone “hey so like, I gotta use the ladies’ room real quick, call you back, yeah?” But it’s an act. That’s me putting on drag so I can pee safely. When I don’t monitor my body and consciously perform femininity, my body relaxes into effortless muscle memory of comfortable masculinity, not pronounced enough to be manly, but enough to be (tom)boyish.  

I do not trust the discourse in queer theory that seems to want to divorce queerness from bodies, and under the vehemently flailing flag of “gender is a social construct!” saying cishets can be queer and gender-conforming cis people can be genderqueer, because fuck norms.  Yes, gender is a social construct. Yes, fuck norms.  Nobody feels that more strongly than me. But gender being a social construct does not mean it is real, it in fact means that it is very real, and it is something embodied, it creates us and how we are treated in society, the effects gender has on bodies are very. real. Fucking norms shouldn’t give you a free pass to appropriation with impunity.  I don’t believe in a system of identity policing. But I think people should be conscious of whether they might be appropriating, what sorts of privileges they have, who they might be speaking over and disempowering, how much space they’re taking up and from whom. That’s what radical should mean. 

Radical should never be an ideology existing separately from the groups that get marginalized, abused, silenced, and erased, one expansive stylish umbrella only letting people under if the coats complement the colors of what shields them from the rain, while those who don’t match the style get washed away in the storm, while those under can be so surrounded by fashion fad activists that  the crowd is loud enough and populous enough to down out the sounds and view of the  pouring rain as well as the faces and cries of the people still weathering it.  

Radical, especially from a place of privilege, should look more like people with umbrellas of any sort noticing how many people are in the rain without an umbrella, and offering them shelter, banding together with others with umbrellas to try to seal the gaps between them to shelter more of the cold shivering people, to create a colony of umbrellas, not colony as in how the white man invades and takes over, but colony as in an organism, like the Man-o-War, comprised of multiple independent specialized individuals working together and organizing to perform complex functions to survive together the point that independent survival is no longer an option because the Hivemind knows that the survival of even the main unit cannot be achieved through the sacrifice of the different specialized units  that comprise the whole. 

It is not radical to divorce queerness bodies, to skin me and wear my exotic pelt, and say you’ve made queerness understood and accepted, even fashionable, when it is fashionable only as an accessory on your body, while it is still a marker of difference written into my body that makes me a target.  Remember my body.  My body is the one that is punished for being deviant.  The thing to remember is that queerness, including gender, is embodied. It is in bodies, it is on bodies, it is all over bodies. Literally it is my body is what it really means to say gender is performative, and people like me have known this before we even knew the words for it because we never quite got gender “right” and society gave us hell for it. Radical should stand for fighting for every body’s right to not be given hell by society, whether it be for gender, sexuality, race, ability, size, and all the rest of the standards of measuring bodies so that the opportunities they get in life are scattered systematically unevenly across a crowd.  

I’ve gotten sidetracked, but when I say that I know better than most people that gender is embodied, I mean that while I identify as a woman, and with womanhood, and all the struggles I’ve faced as a woman of color and the communities and contributions I’ve made and will continue to make, I know also that there are aspects of my body that are not aligned with how I relate to them, but if I were to take steps to change my body so it’s more aligned, I would embody more of what society weighs as masculinity. I would inevitably be recognized as a guy, and I don’t want that for all of the reasons I’ve tried to explain.  Even as a masculine woman, I try to be conscious of the way my masculinity might be imposing and disempowering others, especially when I’m around feminine people.  

When I sit with others and realize that my body language and positioning takes up too much space on the couch, I readjust and make room.  In a group conversation when I feel like I might be talking too much or too loudly and dominating, I make space for others to speak and step back. When I’m walking through a narrow passage way with someone and my body language puts me slightly in front and taking up space, I slow down and step aside to give them room. When I’m cuddling with someone, I always check in along the to make sure they are comfortable and okay with the amount of physical contact.  Even though in every human relationship I’ve ever had, I’ve been the emotionally more “feminine” one, always on the abused end of abusive relationships, always the one hurting from an uneven power dynamic, I still consciously try to be aware of myself and question whether my masculinity might be enacting power in some way on the other person.

I am so viscerally uncomfortable with the ease of life that comes with being the lubricant of the gears of misogyny within a machine of patriarchy that white men never stop refurbishing and upgrading to new models, some with finer tools, to destroy and dominate, because my communities that have made me who I am have been the ones on whom this violence is enacted. My struggles are written into my body, and my scars identify me with the communities I find and create to fight this. 

My body is a queer non-binary woman of color, try to put my body in a box if you dare, my body is a counterspace, encased with struggles, protecting and nurturing within it the empathy that gives me the power to find solidarity with the struggles of so many other marginalized groups and form coalitions agents of resistance. And I don’t want to give up what I have come to embody.

But it still hurts knowing that something is not aligned and not being able to fix it.  But what’s a scab that will never quite heal on a body fortified by scars? I can only hope it coagulates every time it splits open, as I know it will time and time again on a body so actively implicated in acts of resistance.

stfuconfederates:

…if you want to talk about class struggle in America but don’t begin and end your discussion with Women of Color then fuck off.

(via finedineonmyvegangenitalia)

think-progress:

Seems about right. 

(via dougcmatthews)