DISCLAIMER: This is by no means comprehensive. I'm aware that I lean heavily on FWD/Forward's blog posts that in turn are naturally focused on ableism, so if you have material that you think would be a good addition to the roundup and would enrich discussion, please comment with a link and I'll be more than happy to edit it in.
} Understanding the issues, the -isms, and the privilege
}} White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack, an essay by Peggy McIntosh
"Thinking through unacknowledged male privilege as a phenomenon, I realized that, since hierarchies in our society are interlocking, there was most likely a phenomenon of white privilege that was similarly denied and protected. As a white person, I realized I had been taught about racism as something that puts others at a disadvantage, but had been taught not to see one of its corollary aspects, white privilege, which puts me at an advantage.
I think whites are carefully taught not to recognize white privilege, as males are taught not to recognize male privilege. So I have begun in an untutored way to ask what it is like to have white privilege. I have come to see white privilege as an invisible package of unearned assets that I can count on cashing in each day, but about which I was "meant" to remain oblivious. White privilege is like an invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions, maps, passports, codebooks, visas, clothes, tools , and blank checks."
}} FAQ Roundup « Finally, A Feminism 101 Blog
[from the linked post "What is "sexism"?"] "While there are many instances of intentional sexism — when the speaker is acting out of a conscious feeling that women are inferior and should be treated that way — the facts are that most sexism today are unintentional on the speaker’s part. You’d be hard pressed to find people who would say that they do, in fact, believe that women aren’t as good as men. But those same people who profess that they believe in equality will go on to say or do things that marginalize and otherwise trivialize the experiences of women.
The tendency to use intent, rather than result, to measure whether something was offensive and inappropriate (and therefore sexist) is tied into male privilege and the way that it enables sexist practices to be seen as normal. "
}} Alas, a blog » The Male Privilege Checklist
"Pointing out that men are privileged in no way denies that bad things happen to men. Being privileged does not mean men are given everything in life for free; being privileged does not mean that men do not work hard, do not suffer. In many cases - from a boy being bullied in school, to a soldier dying in war - the sexist society that maintains male privilege also does great harm to boys and men.
In the end, however, it is men and not women who make the most money; men and not women who dominate the government and the corporate boards; men and not women who dominate virtually all of the most powerful positions of society. And it is women and not men who suffer the most from intimate violence and rape; who are the most likely to be poor; who are, on the whole, given the short end of patriarchy’s stick."
}} FWD/Forward » Disability 101: Defining Disability [see also: FWD/Forward » What is Able-Bodied or Abled Privilege?]
"What is “ableism?”
Ableism refers to discrimination, devaluation, misconceptions, stereotypes, and prejudice—conscious or unconscious—of and against people with disabilities, the chronically ill, and people with chronic health conditions. As a culturally-based structure that often intersects with other oppressive “isms,” systems of privilege, and “-phobias” (such as racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, white privilege, cisgendered privilege, class/economic privilege, and transphobia) ableism assumes that able-bodied people are the “norm” in society, and as a result, culture, various institutions, attitudes and social mores are formed in accordance with the needs of able-bodied people."
}} GLSEN: Homophobia 101 (.pdf file)
"Heterosexuality is automatically assumed unless a person "comes out" as gay or bisexual. Heterosexual people regularly talk about their sexual identity, in both explicit (mentioning spouses) and implicit (wearing wedding rings) ways. Gay people are rarely free to do so without suffering significant negative reactions. Thus, a disjunction occurs for gay people, who possess one orientation and behavior pattern but are forced to "pass" as something they are not to avoid discrimination. This leads to the isolation that puts gay youth specially at risk. Participants must understand that:
It is the dissonance created between orientation, behavior, and identity that creates problems for gay youth.
The necessity of hiding creates the isolation that puts these youth at higher risk for suicide and other ills."
}} juliaserano: Whipping Girl FAQ on cissexual, cisgender, and cis privilege
"2) comment often made by cis people: “but I don’t identify with the term cis.”
Cis is not meant to be an identity. Rather, it simply describes the way that one is perceived by others.
An analogy: I don’t strongly *identify* with the terms “white” and “able-bodied,” even though I am both of those things. After all, I have been able to navigate my way through the world without ever having to give much thought to those aspects of my person. And that’s the point: It is my white privilege and able-bodied privilege that enables me *not* to have to deal with racism and ableism on a daily basis!
In general, we only identify with those aspects of ourselves that are marked. For example, I identify as bisexual, and as a trans woman, because those are issues that I have to deal with all of the time (because of other people’s prejudices). While I may not strongly identify as white or able-bodied, it would be entitled for me to completely disavow myself from those labels, as it would deny the white privilege and able-bodied privilege I regularly experience."
} Analysis of discriminatory/pejorative language and rape culture
}} No laughing matter « Resist racism
"“Satire” works even less well as a defense because it typically functions best when it is illustrating or illuminating an idiocy of the majority. Satire also depends on context. In this case, too many people will laugh at the switched Rs and Ls, the restaurant and Charlie Chan reference, and all that other racist mockery. I’m not even sure how the idiocy of racism might be illustrated in this manner. Possibly because nobody really ever thought about it. It’s the intent thing again.
White people often rush to explain “satire” to those of us who protest racism. And I’ll tell you just to save your breath, because you’re exhibiting your white supremacist viewpoints again. Because we understand what the word “satire” means. We’ve read literature and works of satire. We can use google and wikipedia just as well as you can. And in addition, we’re able to understand context."
}} Shakesville: Rape Culture 101 [TRIGGER WARNING, especially for a lot of the linked articles within this post.]
"But my correspondents—whether they are dewy noobs just coming to feminism, advanced feminists looking for a source, or disbelievers in the existence of the rape culture—always seem to be looking for something more comprehensive and less abstract: What is the rape culture? What are its borders? What does it look like and sound like and feel like?
It is not a definition for which they're looking; not really. It's a description. It's something substantive enough to reach out and touch, in all its ugly, heaving, menacing grotesquery."
}} Another post about rape « Fugitivus [TRIGGER WARNING, there's a few descriptions of rape scenarios]
"People wonder why women don’t “fight back,” but they don’t wonder about it when women back down in arguments, are interrupted, purposefully lower and modulate their voices to express less emotion, make obvious signals that they are uninterested in conversation or being in closer physical proximity and are ignored. They don’t wonder about all those daily social interactions in which women are quieter, ignored, or invisible, because those social interactions seem normal. They seem normal to women, and they seem normal to men, because we were all raised in the same cultural pond, drinking the same Kool-Aid."
}} FWD/Forward » What We Talk About When We Talk About Language
"There are a lot of things we talk about when we talk about language, of course, but it’s worth highlighting something important: when we talk about language, we don’t talk about what it used to mean, or what it is supposed to mean, or what you think it means. We talk about how society uses language, right now. Because it’s the social use of language which can turn language into a weapon, and it’s the engrained nature of ableist language which makes it so harmful.
One of the most common defenses I see of ableist language is “well, it doesn’t mean that anymore.”
So, my question is, what does it mean?"
}} FWD/Forward » A brief PSA on language
"We aren’t even asking you to do the hard work. We aren’t asking you to tell other people to stop using that language. We aren’t asking you to confront other people on their use of that language. We aren’t asking you to explain why it is problematic, to answer people’s questions, to deal with their redirection tactics, or to handle the attacks on and harassment of the people negatively affected by that language that such confrontations always seem to draw.
You don’t have to take the brunt of it. You don’t have to deal with the negative consequences. You don’t have to face employment discrimination, street harassment, caretaker abuse, and other people’s general cluelessness about our lives. You get to sit tight in your privilege, enjoying it without even realizing you’re doing it.
All you have to do is cut a few words out of your speaking and/or writing vocabulary. That’s it."
}} FWD/Forward » Reclamation: thoughts from a fat hairy uppity lame bitch
"As with just about any topic in feminism, when stripped to the bone, reclamation is about power. The kyriarchal position is that people with power get to set the agenda, control the discourse, define people in pejorative terms, and decide what is or isn’t offensive – not only to themselves, but to others. They place themselves firmly in the subject position, and unilaterally assume the role of making decisions for less powerful people – the objects.
Feminism and disability activism are about turning that dominance model on its head in every realm, including language. One recurring feature of feminist discussion about pejorative speech is that the person with the lesser power gets to decide what is offensive to them, and that we should be listening to their voices, not those of the dominant group. In the case of sexist language, women have the voices that count, the voices that all need to listen to. For racist speech, women of colour. For classist speech, poor women. For ableist speech, disabled women. For anti-lesbian speech, lesbian women. Fattist speech, fat women. And so on, and so on. "
}} Hopeful Descent: On Being "Crazy"
"Crazy is something altogether different. Crazy is delusion, psychosis, mania, schizophrenia. Insanity, in the depths of society's psyche, is jabbering in tongues rocking back and forth in a padded room. It can't be trusted. It is the serial killer, the mother who kills her children, the man who laughs while committing the most vile crimes - this is what "crazy" conjures up in the minds of the general public.
This terror, this nightmare looming in the dark places of our collective consciousness is harmful. Incredibly so. It means that people who are not neurotypical are stuck with the paradoxical choice of lying or being mistrusted. Perhaps more importantly, it makes us less likely to seek help when it is needed. It took me years to admit, even to myself, that my brain was fundamentally different than most. Because I didn't want to be crazy."
}} FWD/Forward » Ableist Word Profile [it's an ongoing series, their tag linked here, quote is from their post 'Retarded']
"This medical definition is certainly not what’s intended in contemporary uses of the word. If I say “I saw Zombieland and it was totally retarded,” I am not saying that I think the movie had a low IQ and I observed significant limitations in adaptive functioning. (That doesn’t even make sense.) I am saying that I thought the movie was bad, uninteresting, boring, nonsensical, repetitive, and a waste of my time and money. But for me to mean any of those things by using the word “retarded,” I and the person to whom I’m speaking have to share the assumption that being retarded is bad and that people who have mental retardation are stupid, uninteresting, and a waste of my time. Similarly, if I say “LAPD Chief Bratton’s views on homeless policy are retarded,” I mean that they are poorly informed, poorly thought out, and will be ineffective. For me to mean that, the person to whom I’m speaking has to share the assumption that people with mental retardation are poorly informed, think poorly, and will be ineffective."
} Your gentle activists (and the activist things they do)
}} This is what an activist looks like « Zero at the Bone
"We should be rethinking traditional methods of activism, because progress means rethinking the traditional to make sure we have the very best for ourselves and the world. Even where we’ve assured ourselves we’re progressive. We need to keep thinking, keep examining, not only the world but ourselves.
Because it’s not just pressuring governments that’s important, as important as it is. Central to my activism is what I do right here, right now, in my life and my communities. When it comes down to it, progress is not only in the big sweeping changes. It’s in our souls. It’s in relating to each other with kindness."
}} inalasahl: Because There Aren't Enough Spoons on the Planet
"Every time that I see someone spout about tone, I despair. I really want to believe that what the discussion needs is just a few more people with spoons left over at the end of the day putting in their spoons to explain it. I really want to believe that I can and should be one of those people. What I actually feel, though, is that if everyone, including me, did take a spoon or two of their time, it would just end up using up all the spoons and there'd be none left for world hunger or workers' rights or global warming or poverty or health care or torture or sexism or or or and still there would be people who would say "but if only so-and-so had been nicer," because there just aren't enough spoons on the planet.
But that is a useless attitude and these days I fell useless enough as it is. So, fine. Tonight, I'm spending a spoon on Internet User #1,574,313,181 and Internet User #1,574,313,182. Or rather, I'm spending a spoon on Internet User #1,574,313,184. Because I think those two are just lost causes for now. So here's my spoon. The next time I see someone using the tone argument, I'm not going to waste any spoons trying to calculate if I've got an extra spoon in me to say something. I'm not going to waste any spoons trying to think of something to say and how to say it.
I'm just going to link them to this, my one spoon, and be done with it."
}} Shakesville: Feminism 101: "Feminists Look for Stuff to Get Mad About
"Of all the condescending, dismissive, and factually incorrect accusations used by concern trolls (or hostile trolls) to attempt to silence, shame, or in some other way discourage feminists from addressing sexism in all its manifestations, perhaps none is quite so stupid as the charge that feminists are "looking" for things about which to be offended—as if feminism is a product that will go out of production if there aren't enough buyers and sales are waning because sexism is, like, so over, dude.
This notion is ridiculous for a couple of reasons. For a start, misogyny is so pervasive that no one has to look for it. That said reality is even remotely in doubt is laughable, given that any YouTube comments section on any video featuring a woman will be rife with misogynist swill."
}} Men Can Stop Rape - Who We Are
"It is essential, as Courtney notes, not to get stuck in “stage one of gender consciousness.” We also saw men and women across the country protesting Tucker Max this summer, and being against him is, for most men, a very simple step. But in addition to signs reading “Rape is not funny” and “Men Against Tucker Max,” men also held signs reading “Sexual Equality Rocks” and “Real Men Respect Women,” clearly highlighting healthy visions of masculinity.
We see this constantly in our work at Men Can Stop Rape. The thousands of men and boys that we engage every year show us daily what healthy masculinity looks like. It is a group of high school boys volunteering at a local domestic violence shelter, it is straight and cis-gendered college men partnering as allies with LGBTQ student organizations, and it is the enlisted men and officers in the Air Force who come to us for training on how to create safer workplaces. These boys and men are all moving deliberately toward who they want to be. "
}} Shakesville: Some Simple Steps to Being Trans* Inclusive: Part I & Part II
"As far as I know, there isn't a comprehensive list out there for people trying to make their workplaces/organizations trans*-friendly. So I sent out a call last night to my friends asking for trans* individuals and allies to add to my germ (as in seed) of a set of guidelines. As with any community, there was some disagreement about how best to change the systems we deal with. I hope this will be viewed as a jumping off point for people, rather than an ending point. So! for all you shakers who are interested, I present ways to make your organization welcoming to trans* individuals!"
}} I’m for gay rights, but… | Racialicious - the intersection of race and pop culture
"So for the past few years I’ve been jousting with my family and loved ones around the issue of same sex marriage and repeatedly found my argument falling on deaf ears. In fact what I most often heard was, “I am for gay rights but…” and what would follow would immediately sweep away any indication of actual support for the union of two people from the same sex. As a service to myself and those with whom I will soon have this discussion with, I’ll provide some statements and my rebuttals. Instead of taking our 45 minutes on spinning wheels, let’s work and see and if we can cover some different ground."
}} Radical Masculinity: Masculinity and Feminism: Can We Stop Using the Term Ally? [additional links and commentary can be found in this post on feminist]
"3.) By self-identifying as an ally, you are building an identity on others' oppression. This is profoundly appropriative, because it is making oppression you do not experience part of your own identity. It also furthers the Othering of oppressed classes, as it once again has people defining themselves in terms of not being the Other, and reinforcing the view of the Other at the margins.
So, if you're acknowledging your privilege, seeing how you systematically benefit from it, and centering the concerns of those who do not share said privilege, you're trying to be a decent human being. Congratulations. Have a cookie. And if you're actively engaging in anti-oppression work in areas in which you're not oppressed, you're doing solidarity work. Just say you're working in solidarity with members of the oppressed class. This centers the work being done, and the members of the oppressed class, and not you. Because when you're a member of the oppressor class in dealing with a particular oppression, It. Is. Not. About. You."
} Because taking a closer look at the media we consume is important
}} FWD/Forward » Yes, it DOES make a difference
"They were talking about me.
They weren’t thinking of me, of course. They’d never make that connection. I’m young and thin and pretty enough. They know I work hard. Most of my office loves the hell out of me.
But if I had spoken up — rather than sitting there holding my breath trying not to cry — how would that opinion change? Would they start seeing me as lazy, as slacking off? Would they whisper about me every time I went to the water fountain for a drink? What was I taking? What was I doing with it? Would they start taking certain behaviors as symptomatic of addiction? If I passed too well one day, appearing to be just fine (to them; I am good at covering up my pain) — would they take that as evidence that I couldn’t actually be in pain and couldn’t really need that medication? And if I didn’t pass well one day — especially these days, when I’ve been stopped more than one time as someone remarks on how deathly pale I am and asks if I’m OK and tells me to take a break — would they see that resulting, not from my pain, but from the supposed addiction?
They were talking about me. They didn’t even know it. But I am that person on that medication. Pushing through the pain to keep working.
The difference is, Dr. House is a character."
}} FWD/Forward » Hipster Ableism
"Another hallmark of hipster -ism is that people who challenge it are informed that they “don’t get it.” Another example of a technique used to silence and marginalize people; when those who question are told that they don’t get it, it often means that those being questioned are feeling uncomfortable. It’s true that different people have different senses of humour, but when entire classes of people fail to see something as funny, that may be a sign that, you know, it’s not funny.
Hipster -ism also props up cultural values, rather than breaking them down, by normalizing exclusionary language and ideas. When you make jokes about people of colour in a society which marginalizes people of colour, you are not being edgy, transgressive, or particularly funny. You are instead propping up the status quo. And, in a sense, privately justifying your privilege, although some hipsters are not even aware of the concept of privilege or of how it affects them."
}} East West Talks to John Cho About Race and Hollywood [Cho-licious] | Racialicious - the intersection of race and pop culture
"While this attests to the level of success Cho has reached after nearly 15 years in the business, he still sees the trend as problematic. “The landscape has changed – with the exception of Harold I haven’t played a character written as Asian for many years.
But that’s not something to brag about either,” he says. “It’s sort of double-edged. Ideally you’d want brilliant, fleshed out characters that were already written Asian. But there still is that shortage. My point of view is that things are getting better, yes, but things aren’t nearly where they should be. But I am feeling a bit more optimistic than I was before.”"
}} Girls Investigate: Pop Culture Problems & Social Media Snags, by Julia Lo - Majority Post
"As a teenage girl of the 21st century, it’s easy to see the pressure we girls face in following pop culture and keeping up with trends. Take Facebook: why is it that girls put so much effort in posting new profile pictures through strategically-planned photo-snapping days, or in creating clever personal statements that cannot possibly sum up their entire personas, or just in general presenting themselves the way they think ‘interesting girls’ should be perceived. Do the cultural norms of American convention drill ideas into young girls’ minds that they are constantly being looked at — being judged — and furthermore, must always present themselves in a certain way at all times?"
}} Among Late-Night Writers, Few Women in the Room - NYTimes.com
"More women watch television than men; female producers and writers have had huge success in prime time and daytime; in January, women will occupy two of the three seats as anchors of network evening newscasts.
But there is one glaring exception: very few women make it inside the writing rooms for late-night television hosts, despite that women make up a larger proportion of their audience than men. "
}} Whoa. « Resist racism
"Short summary: Christian publisher Zondervan released a book full of Asian stereotypes. You know, the “Asian font,” the ninjas, the bamboo, Japanese gardens, kimono, random Chinese characters, etc. Plus the website promoting the book used an old martial arts movie in which the speech was dubbed in the white people’s racist conception of how Asians talk."
}} Why film schools teach screenwriters not to pass the Bechdel test | The Hathor Legacy
"When I started taking film classes at UCLA, I was quickly informed I had what it took to go all the way in film. I was a damn good writer, but more importantly (yeah, you didn’t think good writing was a main prerequisite in this industry, did you?) I understood the process of rewriting to cope with budget (and other) limitations. I didn’t hesitate to rip out my most beloved scenes when necessary. I also did a lot of research and taught myself how to write well-paced action/adventure films that would be remarkably cheap to film – that was pure gold.
There was just one little problem.
I had to understand that the audience only wanted white, straight, male leads. I was assured that as long as I made the white, straight men in my scripts prominent, I could still offer groundbreaking characters of other descriptions (fascinating, significant women, men of color, etc.) – as long as they didn’t distract the audience from the white men they really paid their money to see."
}} just_katarin: But Katarin, you just posted!
"I distinctly remember, when Heroes fandom started talking about the problematic aspects of the show, the racism, the sexism, how uneven storylines and deaths were, all of it, we all maintained it was unintentional. Both me and technosage made multiple mentions of how we truly believed Kring and Co. were good people, who had the best of intentions but were just midguided and uncertain about how to do that. We thought they meant well but now I see that that was a lie. That was... they never intended good things for the People of Color on Heroes or the Women on Heroes.
For those who are curious, here's a fucking BREAKDOWN. I only have pre-S4 info (except for the white dude they added as a regular to the cast this season, despite claiming not to have enough time to actually write Sendhil into any episodes)"
}} Shakesville: Bad Messages from Problematic Blog Posts
"That's the problem with viewing, for example, "7. Arrogance, brash self-confidence, and having had a heroic father are much more indicative of a competent leader than are experience and knowledge" as a bad message for men, rather than a bad message for humans, or "4. Unconventional creative play is very, very wrong" as a bad message for boys, rather than a bad message for children.
Women are leaders, too. Girls are geeks, too.
But when we're not thought of in that way, inclusively, items specific to women get included for balance, and then two things happen:
1. Tropes based on behaviors (arrogance) are equated with tropes based on intrinsic characteristics (being a woman), which inevitably and unfortunately diminishes the gravity of the latter.
2. The lack of acknowledgment of tropes based on other intrinsic characteristics becomes glaringly evident, which inevitably and unfortunately communicates that a sop was thrown to women. (And no one else.)"
}} shemale: Defending what entertains us
"I want to make this perfectly clear:
Having read or watched and enjoyed something with racist, cissexist, misogynist, ableist, or otherwise oppressive content does not make you, personally, a flaming bigot, a bad person, an anti-feminist, an asshole, or any other horrible awful thing that springs to mind when someone stops and says "Hey wait a minute, that's kind of fucked up" or even just "I don't feel as if this magazine is inclusive of members of this marginalized group of people that i am a part of."
The moment you step outside of merely being unaware that the content of the things you enjoy is tokenizing, stereotyping, noninclusive, or otherwise problematic and into the position of the defender of your holy Bitch Magazine, Looney Toons, Paddington Bear, Indiana Jones, Bernard Lewis, King Kong, Sheila Jeffreys, and so on from is the moment that you start moving a little closer into The Realm of Privileged Assholedom."
***ETA: Adding links from comments and a few posts I had skipped over initially. This post is a non-static ever-changing post.