Many of you will know these words:
My feminism will be intersectional or it will be bullshit.
~ Flavia Dzodan, on Tiger Beatdown 2011/10/10
Some of you may have already read about how those words were used in the concluding paragraph of an article at Vagenda Magazine on the New Statesman masthead by authors Rhiannon and Holly: In defence of Caitlin Moran and populist feminism.
It almost seems as though some educated women want to keep feminism for themselves, cloak it in esoteric theory and hide it under their mattresses, safe and warm beneath the duck down duvet. As long as that happens, though, the lives of many women and men in this country will remain the same. Feminism should not be a discipline far removed from the lives of ordinary people, but part of a larger social justice movement that strives to achieve a better life for everyone. Caitlin Moran may not be perfect, but she has come closest thus far. In the last few weeks some have been bandying about the oft-quoted phrase “my feminism will be intersectional or it will be bullshit.” We would suggest that anyone with an interest in genuine equality for all adapt that phrase to “my feminism will be comprehensible or it will be bullshit.” Achieving “intersectionality” is impossible unless you can communicate clearly, with everyone. Moran at least speaks a language that we all understand. And how many other feminists can you credit with that?
Are you noting a distinct lack of attribution there, for an ‘oft-quoted phrase’ which is easily googled as to its source? A source in which the ‘oft-quoted phrase’ is actually the very title of the post?
As if that wasn’t bad enough, here’s what happened next:
As others have noted, just read Flavia’s post: the concept of ‘intersectionality’ is exceptionally well explained in it, and it’s not ivory-tower inaccessible language at all.
Kjerstin Johnson at Bitch Magazine had already decided not to run an interview with Caitlin Moran after an earlier ugly incident on twitter, and explains the full background in that post. Given what Moran’s defenders are coming up with, it seems like an even better decision in retrospect.
In conclusion I can only reiterate this tweet:
Categories: ethics & philosophy, gender & feminism, language, social justice
Caitlin Moran? Yeah, she had me at “I have all the joyful ebullience of a retard”.
I seem to have missed this particular squabble, which is probably just as well.
I did read Flavia Dzodan’s piece, and I thought it was pretty obvious what she was talking about, and what at least she means by “intersectionality,” and I’m generally pretty far out of pretty much any loop.
By contrast, I’ve read the quote from Vagenda a couple of times, and it slips through my mind like water through my fingers.
Complete strawfeminist. Like Abbott saying he won’t apologise for being a dad. No one complained about Moran being too easy to understand, they complained about her rudely dismissing people who asked her to think about the many women who don’t happen to be white.
I read Flavia’s post when she first put it up. I didn’t realise it had become one of those ‘seminal pieces’, I’m very glad. I can’t believe those people couldn’t even be arsed to put in an attribution.
So, basically what they’re saying is that they want their feminism to lack the intellectual curiosity to look up the meaning of words they don’t know? There’s an app for that! http://lmgtfy.com/?q=what+does+intersectional+mean
I’m heartened that the majority of the comments to the article seem to be calling their authors on their bullshit.