One Million Pissed Off Women Not Safe Space For Differently Abled

Until Tuesday, I was a member of One Million Pissed Off Women, a anti-misogyny, anti-homophobia, and anti-racism group on Facebook. I thought it was a really great group of women, and the page posts a lot of interesting news links and activism opportunities.

Well.

In reaction to North Carolina’s passage of Amendment One, that will enshrine homophobia into the state’s constitution, one of the admins posted a status using an ableist slur referring to the people who voted for the measure. Many of us took exception to this, because hello, comparing people with developmental disabilities to homophobic bigots is not cool.

The admin reacted badly, to say the least, as did many members. The usual defenses were used, “well, they are stupid,” “I’m not discriminating!” “it doesn’t mean [the general accepted definition of the slur], it means this!” The thread quickly degenerated. The admin posted another status, trying to justify her ableism, and frame those of us angry at her bigotry as meanies out to spoil her fun. Needless to say, that thread degenerated quickly as well.

Soon, I no longer recognized the feminist page that I joined months ago. It resembled more a hate-fest on a tea party page. Seriously, it was nasty. Use your own judgment before you click the links–many of the commenters were vile. After posting several comments, I decided to leave the group.

I wasn’t the only one. Others posted of their intention to leave the group.

One poster commented on the page’s wall, saying:

“”Racism, sexism and homophobia are not permitted in this area.” …But saying [slur redacted]–totally acceptable!”

The admin responded thusly: “yep!”

Because of the nature of Facebook, the ugliness will be buried in the group’s timeline…until the next time someone throws out an ableist slur, of course. But differently abled feminists (and decent people in general) should know:

One Million Pissed Off Women is not a welcoming space for us.

 

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LOL of the Day: Paulites

I came upon this brilliant post by Ashley F. Miller via Clarissa’s weekly blogaround, a summation of reasons to dislike Ron Paul.

Better, though, were the cohorts of Paul that flocked to Miller’s post to defend Paul and debase her. Anyone else notice that Paulites always use the same strategies to defend Paul? Every time. The same. Perhaps I’ll write a separate post about that in the future.

But what amused me most of all about the commenters were these responses here, to Ashley asserting that most of Paul’s defenders came from a Ron Paul fan site.

How does she know? they wonder. She must be making it up, they say. Incredulity, all around. Not to mention quick jumps to accusations of lying and conspiracies.

Really, have none of these trolls ever heard of statistics pages that most major blogging hosts have nowadays? It’s true. Not only can you see how many people are viewing specific posts and pages, but you can also see where these viewers came from, and gasp! What links they clicked on!

Such a little thing to pick out, but it amused me nonetheless. Ah, Ron Paul fans. Please, keep it up–it’s Monday, I could use some entertainment.

Manboobz Writer Shows His Ass

David Futrelle is having a bit of trouble understanding ableism, language, and the concept of “a thousand cuts.” Founder of Manboobz, he is currently guest-posting on Feministe, and in his last two posts, he uses ableist language. We all slip up occasionally, right? We fuck up, apologize, edit the post, and move on. Not this guy.

I’m starting to wonder if the MRAs that flood his blog are starting to have a negative influence on him, because the way he has reacted is abhorrent. You wouldn’t know, once you got past a certain point in the comments section, that you were even on a feminist blog at all.

He reacts in a very typical MRAish fashion. In one comment (#34) he pulls the whip-out-the-dictionary-to-prove-I’m-smarter-than-you trick, accuses commenters (fellow feminists! WTF!) of being whiny, oversensitive, and of being unable to function in the world, accuses commenters of being bad feminists for pushing others “who are not in fact ableist” away, and being counterproductive. He also very much takes offense (as in, hand on heart indignation) at being “equated” to misogynists. Because ableism isn’t as bad. Or something.

Despite that bit of trolling, many commenters patiently explain to him why ableist language is wrong, that Feministe is a safe space, why his reaction is inappropriate, etc. Unfortunately, they get nowhere, trolls jump out the woodwork, and David jumps at the opportunity to “prove” Feministe’s regulars wrong.

He whips out the “I have a FEMALE friend who is a FEMINIST (!!!) and she AGREES with me. So there. I win.” and “SEE those PWD that agree with ME?!?! So you’re WRONG and I’m RIGHT! Ha!” Right. Because all feminists and PWD are supposed to be a monolith, and if he can find one or two that agree with him, the rest of us are wrong, and should…shut up?

Another galling thing here is that he’s not even doing this on his own fucking blog. He’s a guest poster, a guest, and he’s acting like a jerk.

Then there’s this comment, by Florence, at #42:

“The constant chorus about ableist language is distracting and frustrating. As a person with several disabilities I think it’s condescending and ridiculous to problematize language for the purpose of blog-gotchas.

Language has history. A lot of words that we use on the regular have extremely socially colorful roots. To insist that we change or constantly mitigate the use of standard English to participate in discussion demonstrates a lack of understanding of how language spreads, works, and grows, and encourages us to police and silence one another despite clear authorial intent and meaning, which is in itself an appropriation of power and privilege.”

Ahem. As a woman with a disability, who has studied language, this is ridiculous. If you’re a PWD that has no problem with ableist language, that’s cool. Go on with your bad self. But some of us do have a problem with it. It’s not your place to tell me that I shouldn’t have a problem with ableist language. I have to wonder where this commenter gets the idea that we PWD that take issue with problematic language are simply being malicious and engaging in “blog gotchas.” (What the hell are those, anyway? Some type of word-tag?)

On language: this commenter clearly has no idea how “language spreads, works, and grows.” Language evolves, and is constantly evolving. Words change meaning over time. Words die and words are created. Eliminating ableist language is a form of activism–you cut out bigotry in our very language, you cut it out of society–a deliberate effort to evolve language, if you will. But, this commenter has no issue with ableist terms (do they take issue with sexist and racist language, or is that okay, too?) so it is not surprising that they know little about the importance of language, and it being the very foundation of society.

I hope that Feministe will kick this rude and demeaning guest to the curb, and flush the comments of that post quickly of the trolling and ableism.