Is Caitlin Moran A Bad Feminist?

8 Nov

I just read this quote and while I completely agree with it

A racist woman is not a feminist; she doesn’t care about helping women, just the women who look like her and can buy the same things she can. A transphobic woman is not a feminist; she is overly concerned with policing the bodies and expressions of others. A woman against reproductive rights — to use bell hook’s own example, and an issue close to your heart — is not a feminist; she prioritizes her dogma or her disgust over the bodies of others. An ableist woman is not a feminist; she holds some Platonic ideal of what a physically or mentally “whole” person should be and tries to force the world to fit inside it.

– An Open Letter to Caitlin Moran by Nyux (via redefiningbodyimage) [x]

I had the following thought.

The quote is out of context for me but I’m assuming that Nyux is someone who got excited about Moran’s book and then was disappointed when Moran’s perspective was skewed by white/cis/able/etc privileges she didn’t always recognize.

And this is a very valid argument.  Like I said, I wholeheartedly agree that a person can’t really be against one form of oppression without acknowledging that it’s no better or worse than any other.  However:

Just because writers write does not mean we have all the right answers.  Just because feminists are feminists (or humanists or whatever we identify as), doesn’t mean we’ve taken stock of all our privileges.  Recognizing all your privileges is a life-long journey.  And I don’t want to wait until I’m on my death bed to start writing.

I know that while I am a woman I enjoy the privileges that come with being white and able-bodied and middle-class and cisgendered and thin and surely dozens of other things which I take for granted on a daily basis.  I write because I want to learn.  I want to stop taking those privileges for granted and writing my thoughts helps me do that.  I’m not perfect.  Moran isn’t perfect.  We have privileges which make it easy for us to say stupid ignorant things.  I’m sorry.  Please point them out to me when I’m wrong but also please stand next to me when I’m right.  I’d rather be corrected than written off as a bad feminist.

When I started doing my solo show one of my good friends, Martha, said to me, she’s like, ‘Kamau, you can’t end racism and make sexism worse.’ And I was like, ‘What do you mean by that?’ And she went through my solo show and pointed out all the different parts of it that she felt were sexist. And that’s a good friend, a friend who will tell you that in a way that you can hear. And that was a real revelation for me is that you can’t sort of pick your issue over other people’s issue — that if you want to end the ignorance of something, you have to end all the ignorances or at least not make some of the ignorances worse.

– W. Kamau Bell on being called out on prejudices he didn’t realize he had [x]

One Response to “Is Caitlin Moran A Bad Feminist?”

  1. Izzy November 8, 2012 at 12:02 pm #

    I think the ” I literally couldn’t give a shit about it” is part of what made her seem race-insensitive. I’m not sure if it’s just her flippantness toward race that offended people or her failure to be intersectional (re: “My feminism will be intersectional or it will be bullshit” – that have left people with a certain distaste toward her.

    I consent that working out privilege is a journey. Rather I agree, and it’s important to be corrected when one is “wrong” or insensitive on privilege issues. That being said, it is important to be open to criticism and Moran has often proven to be the opposite of that, in fact, rather invectively so, I might add.

    Maybe that’s the trick. Also, for the record, I loved Caitlin Moran’s book.

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