15 November 2009

Wider Boycott for Feministing - Disability Failures

Okay, I realise y'all are going to think I'm obsessed with Feministing.  I'm not, honestly.  But, they are a major feminist site (to the extent a classmate emailed our my class one of the comment-failtastic threads on stealth trans women having sex when I was co-teaching the class lectures about transsexuality), so it's not like they can be ignored.  They provide a community and resource for feminists online, especially younger feminists in the US.  So, as a feminist, I can't ignore them.  That said, let's move on to what I'm on about this time, because it's not just a repetition of how they hurt trans people, especially trans women.

Quixotess has posted asking people to please boycott Feministing because of their bad faith in engaging with feminists who attempted to get Feministing to stop failing on disability issues (I know, it's shocking that they fail on more than just trans issues).  This is important for me because of something I've never mentioned here: I'm a person with disabilities (PWD).  Feministing's failing on disability directly affects me, insuring that I'm doubly marginalised there.  But, even more importantly, it highlights how Feministing is unwilling to change their behaviour when the harm they are causing is pointed out to them and how they are willing to give lip service to change without actual change.  It is one thing to be unaware of one's privilege, another thing to have trouble dealing with it once one's privilege is pointed out, but it's altogether a different kettle of fish to claim you're going to work on changing your hurtful behaviour and then continue as though you never said anything.  I detest hypocrisy and Feministing, especially in the person of Courtney Martin, is swimming in hypocrisy (read Quixotess' linked post for details).

As part of the effort to let people know of Feministing's problems, I am also linking to meloukhia's open letter to Feministing, which started the attempted engagement of Feministing on disability issues in the first place, in the hope this will help raise it on the Google results page.  Unlikely, I know, but it's better than doing nothing.  It also provides a good history of the effort.

If you're not already boycotting Feministing for their trans failures, then I hope the realisation that this is neither an isolated problem nor that they are people of good intent who just have problems understanding is enough to join the boycott.

(h/t to Questioning Transphobia)


  1. Yeah, that whole site is full of fail. To be honest, I stopped reading there (unless someone sent me an article) shortly after having Bertie when I realised they, especially their commenters, were all about the child-hate.

    And then I learned of their cissexism/transphobia(I emailed them about this. Ages ago. I'm glad I didn't hold my breath). And now they fail on disability too... it's hardly a surprise (I hear they're also known for their regular racism fails too).

    What does annoy me is that so many people continue to read, even knowing all of this. I know a "boycott" doesn't sound much, but just imagine if no one at all commented for even a few weeks and the owners heard the tumbleweed blowing over their blog... that might actually make them wise up.

  2. I stopped reading them because they were so US-centric (yes, I know they're a US site but like so many, they talk about the US like it's the whole! world!), carried on not reading them because of the transphobia, and am continuing to not read them thanks to disability fail. :o/

  3. The 'date local' thing was the final nail in the coffin for me. I realise it's a small thing, especially compared to ableism and transphobia, but someone expressing their opinion that LDRs was bad for the environment and they never worked for her anyway, so we should ALL not do it was the straw that broke the camel's back. Not that I bothered with them much before that; the whole place felt like a hostile popularity contest.

    This disability fail though? Hot on the heels of the transphobic fails? Do they even understand the meaning of feminism??

  4. As someone in an LDR, I'm glad I missed the whole "date local" thing. If we're going to talk about "bad for the environment" we could help a lot more by turning off our computers and other electronics. Universalising from personal experience is always a winner idea, too.

    I suspect they understand the historical meaning of feminism as being about cis, white, middle or upper class, educated, TAB, white women of the right age all too well.

  5. This post has been included in a linkspam at Access-fandom. Thank you!

  6. This is amazing, and not in a good way. What it comes down to is that you disagree with things that are said there. The point of view of the editors and some of the commenters is offensive or hurtful to you and others. Welcome to the world, hon. Welcome to the world.

    Thing is, you could go to many, many sites and the content would be offensive. That is true for you, me and everyone else. Rather than moving on to sites which you don't find offensive, you and others are insisting that the editors and contributors at feministing alter things to suit you. How dare you try to bully other people into changing *their* site to suit what you and a few others want? I can't believe people are actually taking this seriously.

  7. Heather,

    I take it from your comment that you are unfamiliar with Feministing and the feminist issues at hand. As such I find your comment amusing and am leaving it up for the lulz. Thanks for stopping by!

  8. Hello, I do not agree with the previous commentator - not so simple