Caitlin Moran

All that Glinners is not gold

Another shit thing happened today and tedious as it is documenting every twist and turn of this debacle, it is what I am going to do.  I understand it is difficult to have a nuanced conversation on Twitter so I’ll just put my version of events up here. You don’t have to read it.

Last night I found a tweet calling me a ‘vile paki cis cunt’. My initial response was a spike in adrenalin, as always the p word has this kind of effect. I am lucky in that I had my wonderful friends close and so was able to talk through my emotions and recognise them so they didn’t take over. As the rush subsided, I felt like I didn’t want to exist. That’s a common comedown from racial abuse, it’s not something I can do anything about, I can’t paint myself white, I am stuck. When you have complex PTSD these feelings are amplified. Why should I have to feel near suicidal every time a white person controls me in this way? It is control because they KNOW the history of that word. They KNOW they are powerful. They KNOW they can reduce us to an anxious nervous mess because of the history of subjugation that they still maintain today. WE’RE not stupid.

This is serious abuse. Most decent people surely recognise this? So when I tweeted various members of the cis commentariat clan, it was for some recognition that I am subjected to abuse too, especially in light of their ridiculous Twitter silence. It was bitter but rightly so, I cannot understand this double standard they have going on. So imagine my surprise when @Glinner responded “I know! Somehow blame Caitlin Moran!” No acknowledgment of the hateful racism and misogyny, no consideration for what I was actually asking, just another opportunity to prove a point. Firstly, ‘Glinner’, we don’t ‘blame’ Caitlin Moran for things she hasn’t done. It’s not her fault that my bus was late today. However, she does quite often say some horrendous shit that most people of the same generation grew out of before they finished their GCSEs. It’s something I wish ‘comedians’ were more honest about, that somehow saying something outrageous boost the ratings cos they’re so radical and interesting when in fact they are just a bit bigoted. It’s not about being ‘politically correct’. It is treating people with human decency. What puts them above the rest of us?

For an avid supporter of all things Caitlin related and the Twit silence, how we must tackle trolls yadda yadda, I was seriously underwhelmed by his reaction. When I asked for some consistency, this was what I got as a reply.

“I have *nothing* to do with you receiving abuse. Please leave me alone and stop attacking people who are anti-abuse.”

Mate, if you’re so anti-abuse, would it hurt you to condemn the shit I have to deal with every day? Was the sarcasm really necessary? Why is it so difficult for these people to understand what we are demanding? Why is equality such a difficult concept to understand? When white women get death threats, the clan disappear in an arrogant show of white solidarity. I get accused of ‘attacking’ them when they say stupid things.

How is this fair?

Also interesting to note, my white cisters have not responded personally at all. Teh white menz do all of the talking.

Why I Won’t Shut Up

One of Helen Lewis’ little soldiers, Jonathan Haynes asked if I ever got bored of my own tweets today and if I’m honest, yes Jonathan, I do get tired of having to defend myself against a load of dishonest bullshit that should have been laid to rest months ago. I’ve had people accuse me of keeping it alive when a quick Google search of my name will show that actually, it’s the boyskep fanclub keeping it going these days. Not to mention the edited Storify version of events that was republished in April even though Helen herself said on the 23rd January 2012 at 2.57pm:

“Sorry to hear that Sam. I’ve made my point, so I’m happy to take the Storify down if you want.”

She apologised because she acknowledged at that point that I was on some industrial strength pain relief and had accepted my mistake without prompt and furthermore the matter had been clarified and resolved by way of an apology. It should have ended there, no? Well now, if it was Caitlin Moran who’d made (one of her truly horrendous) booboos, we should accept the incident without question and move on cos that’s the decent thing to do.. So why was I not afforded the same decency? I was deeply embarrassed by my false allegation. I also understood what it meant. But it doesn’t change the way they’ve written the script does it?

When Caitlin apologises it’s because thousands of people have to call her out on it. She, or one of her many minions, will then dole out a half arsed explanation for why she said something and how she’s sorry people feel that way but ultimately she’s right and we all need to chillax. Without prompt this was the apology I issued to Mary Beard on realising my catastrophic mistake.

“Ok. I’m gonna apologise to @wmarybeard because I cannot find any evidence online of racism. I sent out a reactionary tweet & I apologise”

When Mary gracefully accepted, I responded, “my pleasure. It’s easy to spin out on twitter but that’s no excuse. Sincere apology.”

That should have been the end shouldn’t it?

But it wasn’t. Now tell me why not? When I ask if it cos I’m brown or a woman or any of the things that usually mean I’m disregarded, people are happy to point out it’s cos I’m thick as pig shit. If they thought they could bully me in this way, accuse me of being an attention seeker when all I’ve wanted is for people to be FUCKING HONEST, then they were wrong. See, I don’t care if there are some people out there who think that’s what I’m about. They don’t know me, they don’t know what I get up to, frankly I do not do the things I do for them.

I have a solution to all this aggro. I am quite happy to accept that a person may have learnt from their mistakes and to let them move on. Heck, if I hear a sincere enough apology from any of these people, I’m willing to live and let live. BUT that’s not the way it works and we all know this. My demands for an equal and just society mean we are treated in the same way. Being as equality right now means sharing oppression as opposed to sharing in privilege, I for one will not go away quietly when they fuck up, as they will, because when all is said and done, despite their reservations, we are all in fact, human. And deeply fallible.

My demands are clear, Helen: Delete the Storify as you reassured would be the case, apologise for republishing with malicious intent and publicly condemn the boyskep fanboys and their intense trolling of me, just like you would any other feminist.

Hey Caitlin, AIDS isn’t funny

I write this from a very loud corner of the Twitterverse. There isn’t so much of a silence but a fervent party atmosphere. People are expressing themselves, tweeting politely at each other but getting to the crux of the problem for many of us.  Why should we be made to feel like trolls when our only crime is righteous and crucial dissent? Cos there is a difference you know? Here, I will give you an example:

moron

In this set of tweets, Caitlin responds to her friends ‘rape joke’ with affection. It’s a given amongst feminists, whether they be of the intersectional or bigoted variety that rape is not a laughing matter, in any context.  It is my DUTY as a woman and feminist striving for a safer future for our children to point this out to Caitlin and ask why someone of her experience and stature does not get that this is unacceptable. If there hadn’t been a long history of silencing from Caitlin’s corner, we might even discuss this like grown adults and respectfully come to the conclusion that rape is never funny, particularly not on a public platform where people will take their lead from you. If my pointing this out to someone who should know better is considered trolling and not genuine concern regarding rape culture, then I call bullshit. I am not threatening to rape Caitlin cos THAT would be trolling. I am not saying she deserves to be raped, cos THAT would be trolling. Yet troll I am allegedly because I choose to vociferously disagree. Do you see where I’m going with this?

Now. AIDS. It’s not funny. It kills. It traumatises people to suicide. But that doesn’t stop Caitlin rinsing the 90s of all its “ew, you’ve got AIDS” type jibes. Here’s a small collection for your perusal (via @eurovicious)

HOW IS THIS ACCEPTABLE? HOW IS THIS WOMAN ALLOWED TO REPRESENT FEMINISM? How can you defend her?

Equal opportunities are for all including those who have an AIDS/HIV status. Why should they be made to feel a certain way so that Caitlin can have a go at ‘humour’?

I’ve been trolled the fuck out of since January, where I have had rape threats, where people have remarked on my appearance and my background. THAT IS TROLLING. They’re not concerned with my politics, or my beliefs, they object to my very presence. They probably hate the fact that I am a woman, or that I am brown and so their interactions routinely focus on these personal attributes. I haven’t once commented on Caitlin’s appearance. I did however respond to her “literally not giving a shit” about me and others like me. I do respond to her ignoramus articles but then I do the same for her peers too. They cannot just be allowed to write whatever bullshit they feel they can make fly that day. Or if that is the case, then we must have the right to respond. Twitter is the platform with which to do that, yet they want to take it away from us?

Why?

*There is a fuckoload of transphobia/homophobia in that Storify link but you knew that already

** I refer to threats made against me as trolling. Obviously this differs somewhat from other people might consider trolling but I’ve had no recourse to discussing what these threats mean and how they may be more serious than your regular nuisance troll.

*** Oh, she apologised did she? So did I. Without prompt. But nobody cared.

trans2

Intersectional feminism is not a choice

Like all newborns, I came into the world with an empty memory bank. I knew only that I had to feed and poo. Loud noises came as a bit of a shock but as long as there was warmth and I was wrapped up secure; life was good, people were love and being alive mostly pleasurable (I assume). Being a twin, in my earliest memories she felt like a shadow, always there, never far behind.  There was a oneness and it was a comfort, I’d never feel alone. But then the labels society slaps us with are inevitable.

By the time we were three, I was the sensible one. My parents and grandparents had wanted the first born to be a boy, instead they had me AND another girl. I was desexualised from a very young age, my twin not so much. I could walk around the house in a skirt barely scraping my bum and they wouldn’t bat an eyelid. My sister was made to go change out of her pedal pushers. She was pretty, I was smart. She was graceful, I was solid. We were identical twins.

Struggling with my identity, I conformed to the tomboy stereotype. I liked rolling around and jumping off things. I put on a brave face and got my jabs first. We’d play ‘follow the leader’ in the back garden and I’d order them about and they’d fall into line. In role play I was the cowboy, the bus conductor, the gladiator. The doctor to her nurse. I thought girls were pathetic. Yes, it hurt when I fell and grazed my knee but the positive encouragement I got for being such a ‘brave lion’ meant I rarely expressed any pain. I wouldn’t question my appearance again till the menz began to compare us too.

Puberty came early. My emerging curves were too much for the family and I noticed a huge shift in their attitudes towards me. Suddenly I was a woman and they treated me as such. We could entice boys by merely reciprocating a glance. It was an oppressive environment, being a woman you were instantly less important and there to be ordered about. I would slouch forwards so that my chest wasn’t so prominent. I would wrap scarves around my barely there breasts when I was alone in my room, maybe I could slow down this premature transformation. But I also popped down the two halves of a kinder egg to see what I might one day look like. I decided that I’d rather keep the mounds because that is what seemed ‘normal’ for me. In fact, I felt happy. I felt powerful. I felt like me.

Imagine what it must be like to come of an age when it is made clear to you that who you feel you are (know you are) is not ‘normal’ but weird, that you cannot under any circumstances feel like yourself, in fact if you choose to ignore the threats and warnings, you could be murdered for standing by your person. Fems, imagine feeling and thinking “I am” and being told “you’re not”. Repeatedly. How does it feel to being born into the wrong body? I have thought a lot about this and I have had my own mental health struggles but the body is a constant reminder of your perceived identity and if you are treated in a way that is alien to the way you feel?

When my body started changing, I wanted it to stop. I noticed the embarrassed looks on the men folk’s faces and the worry on my mother’s. I didn’t enjoy the accompanying growing pains, I resented that boys seemed to get away scot free. For their part, teenaged boys can be cruel and I was mocked for sounding like one myself. As a child, I was taunted. As a young adult, I was sexualised for having a ‘dirty’ husky laugh. I’d even convinced myself I wouldn’t bleed; being as I wasn’t like the other girls. I began to self-harm, in various ways, cutting to disfigure my ugly skin, binging and purging to shock my body into submission. BUT I had the privilege of owning the body I would grow into. My hormones would eventually settle, I would realise my own capabilities, I would be granted the support to embrace who I am. This is what happens when you are cis gendered and society wants you to fill a role. They will actively encourage it.

Trans* people suffer from the minute they can verbalise and are able to disagree with the labels put on them. I cannot begin to imagine the depression one would suffer; it is no surprise that almost half of all transgender people have attempted suicide. When our brothers and sisters are already suffering, what kind of evil are we perpetuating when we deny them their bodies, their choices? How does a trans* person’s bodily autonomy affect us? Simple answer: it doesn’t. Much in the same way that abortion does not affect the religious and political menz up top, even though they seem to be the most vocal about it. It’s patriarchy that decides what happens to women’s bodies. It is patriarchy that dictates the differences between the two genders, as if there are only two. Their versions of masculinity and femininity are suffocating and ultimately come down to control.

I cannot stress enough how patriarchy keeps you apart to keep you down. Caitlin, Suzanne and the Jools’ are perfectly acceptable to patriarchy, that’s why he’s given them the platform they have. Well, they’re women and they say they’re feminists and because they have money and power, they must be right. But 100 years ago, they’d have been abused the way trans* people are now. Bent and shaped into a desirable figure, speaking only when spoken to. They certainly wouldn’t be allowed to raise their voices or react in an honest way. What a privilege it is to have a voice. And now that their struggle is over, they’re using their powers to silence others. That’s not feminism. THAT’S PATRIARCHY.

“Your feminism will be intersectional or it will be bullshit”

YES. THIS.

As a feminist, I would ask that all my fems question their attitudes towards women who are the ‘other’; disabled women, WoC, trans* women. That was the point of feminism right, equality?

Equality doesn’t mean ableist cis gendered white people living happily ever after (to the detriment of the rest of us). For equality to stand a chance, we need the peoples with the most privilege to humble themselves and share some of their good fortune. And fight for those who cannot fight for themselves.

My Top Tip for the commentariat: Do the exact opposite of what you’re doing right now and STFU.