A study in blogging while leftwing-and-feminist

Yesterday I made this post, both here and at The Standard. It was born of my frustration with the number of leftwing men who are still complaining about identity politics like they only just learned the phrase, still demanding that 100% of the left’s collective time and thought be about their personal issues, still basically crying like babies who are being asked to share their toys.

And the response pretty much proved my point.

I was told that their actions – which multiple other people had observed and commented on – were “in my head”.  I was told I needed to “get counselling”.  A comment was left here saying:

All fat hags should be neither seen nor heard.

My attempts at moderation – in hardly more aggressive terms than people like lprent normally dole out – were point-blank ignored, and labelled “censorship”.

I was cast as some “other blogger” who was imposing my terrible, bullying will on The Standard, normally such a genteel place.  The irony of that last point is that a mere day earlier, people had rallied around a comment which praised The Standard for being a more rough-and-tumble place.  Somehow it’s different when it’s a sweary woman doing it, isn’t it?

But of course it was really me who was silencing people, by objecting to their insistence that I be silent.

Of course I, and other commenters who agreed with me, needed to have basic democratic politics (“you see, we need to win elections in order to have the power to do things and the right don’t want us to win“) explained to us, because our ladybrains were just too confused.

And the conversation has carried on in other threads where people want to make it very clear that they are the reasonable, thoughtful ones who totally would agree with me if I wasn’t so goshdarned mean.

This is a standard (couldn’t help myself) day in the life of a feminist blogger on a leftwing site.  This is exactly what I tried to explain.  But I guess maybe we need yet another election where Labour’s woolly-headed waffle and stamping down on “identity groups” nets them another three years on the Opposition benches before the boys will listen.

My thanks to karol and weka, who have been allies in this conversation.

It’s 2014 and we have a job to do

… and I’m worried we’re not going to do it.

It’s not just about winning an election.  It’s not just about getting Labour, or Labour/Greens, or Labour/Greens/Mana etc over the line.

It’s about getting the people of New Zealand to turn out and vote for a different kind of country.  Not a country where Paula Bennett gets to pull the ladder up behind her.  Not a country where finance companies get bailed out while rail workshops have to close their doors.  Not a country that uses material wealth as a moral yardstick, blaming the poor for being poor and assuming the wealthy should be listened to.  Not a country which points a finger at those who have no power and makes them the scapegoat for our failures.

But we may be our own worst enemies.

This isn’t me telling people to shut up for the sake of unity.  It’s not labelling my ideological enemies as Redneck Stormtroopers.

It’s a plea for understanding the difference between strategy and tactics.

To get to the New Zealand we want to live in, from the New Zealand we have now, is going to take a huge amount of work.  We need to change how our economy works, our whole system of industrial relations, our social welfare systems, how we support vulnerable people, how businesses invest and create real jobs, how families and communities are able to support each other, our criminal and justice systems, our attitude towards our natural environment, our position on the international stage

Every aspect of that work is important, and interconnected.  And we can work on more than one thing at a time.  We can have tactics like a capital gains tax and amending the Reserve Bank Act and we can push for a living wage and we can discuss sexual discrimination in the workplace and we can increase paid parental leave.  We can create financial disincentives on property speculators and implement environment and accessibility standards for new builds and demand rental properties are fit to live in and build more state houses.

We can do the big serious economic policies and give a fuck about people’s day-to-day lives, because all of it will feed into the brighter future big picture.

In 2014 the New Zealand Left must have more on its agenda than “win power”.  We should want to create a better New Zealand, and doing that is about so much more than economic policy (which is also, obviously, important).  It has to touch everything.  And it’s going to take people working in different areas on different parts of the plan to make it all happen.

It may sound all a bit Pollyanna, but I absolutely believe we can do it … if the heterosexual leftwing dudes could please just stop complaining every time we spend five minutes on issues which don’t purely benefit them.

We’re all in this together, guys.  We’re all aiming for the same thing.  We all want that better New Zealand and that strong leftwing government.  And you know what, we’re here on the left because we’re fighting in the same war: the war against the powerful elites standing on our necks.

Now give me some fucking cookies for saying all that without using the word “vision” once.

Please do have a happy holiday

I’m dropping offline for the obvious reasons (enforced family fun and live demonstrations of New Zealand’s binge drinking culture).

Have a happy and safe holiday season.  It’s often the most stressful time of year, and every level of social pressure is on us to play nice and put up with shit, from the mildly annoying to the truly horrible, in the name of family and special occasion.

I thoroughly recommend the writings of Captain Awkward on this matter, specifically:

#409: Guess what? Not everyone’s family is awesome and not everyone loves “the holidays.”

#530: Annual Holiday Reminder: You Don’t Have to “Celebrate” With People Who Treat You Like Crap

… but also generally.  Because it was mainly through a solid diet of Captain Awkward columns that I came to some truly life-changing decisions about how I am willing to have people interact with me.


And if you are online, get your submissions in for the first Down Under Feminists’ Carnival of 2014!

Now the NZ Herald is paying Bob Jones to break the law

If you go to Bob Jones’ latest article on The Herald, it might look a little different than it did this morning.

That’s because they’ve removed the section where he patted himself on the back for telling someone to commit suicide – who did.

The Herald’s response has been incredibly limp:

Editor’s note: This column has been amended following further consideration of Bob Jones’ comments. We apologise that the original column caused offence to some readers.

Further consideration, you note.  So they’d already considered the column, and it took a lot of people on Twitter saying “Are you actually fucking kidding me?” for them to think that hey, maybe that wasn’t such a good idea.

And of course it’s the offence caused which is the problem.  Not the fact that telling someone to commit suicide, and congratulating yourself when they do, is really fucking evil.  We already have plenty of history to establish that the Herald’s editors don’t give a fuck about publishing Bob Jones’ thoughts on rape victims deserving it and burning women’s houses down because he doesn’t like their driving.

But here’s the thing: it’s also illegal.

Accio section 179 of the Crimes Act:

Every one is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 14 years who—

(a)incites, counsels, or procures any person to commit suicide, if that person commits or attempts to commit suicide in consequence thereof; or
(b)aids or abets any person in the commission of suicide.

Bob Jones would appear to be ever so slightly in breach of the law – as well as a terrible person who will, if there is any god, spend eternity trapped in a hybrid car behind a woman driver.

For this little episode, he and the editors of the Herald are deemed Officially Scum.

Random recommended reading

How we teach our kids that women are liars, at Role Reboot.

No one says, “You can’t trust women,” but distrust them we do. College students surveyed revealed that they think up to 50% of their female peers lie when they accuse someone of rape, despite wide-scale evidence and multi-country studies that show the incidence of false rape reports to be in the 2%-8% range, pretty much the same as false claims for other crimes. As late as 2003, people jokingly (wink, wink) referred to Philadelphia’s sex crimes unit as “the lying bitch unit.” If an 11-year-old girl told an adult that her father took out a Craigslist ad to find someone to beat and rape her while he watched, as recently actually occurred, what do you think the response would be? Would she need to provide a videotape after the fact?

It’s notable, of course, that women are trusted to be mothers—the largest pool of undervalued, economically crucial labor.

Oh fuck off Eve Ensler: how white feminists dehumanise women of colour masterclass

So Eve Ensler, most famous for writing The Vagina Monologues, wrote a thing, and I’m deliberately fudging the link and strongly advising you not to read it, especially as it deals with rape, surgery, and reducing a woman of colour to her vagina for the purposes of Ensler’s personal epiphany.

http://talkmag.in/ cms/columns/ book-talk/item/ 1564-the-congo-stigmata

Instead, I thoroughly endorse reading the Storify created by Mikki Kendall/karnythia which is a fantastic summary of something that’s a major problem in today’s white feminism: using women of colour for Special Teaching Moments.

Check out the latest Down Under Feminists’ Carnival – and submit for January!


MJ at Kiwiana (inked) is hosting the December edition of the DUFC, and as always it’s a great round-up of feministy writing from the Antipodes.

But wait, there’s more!

Yours truly is hosting the January edition, kicking off 2014 with a blast and giving you something to make your head hurt in case the festive season wasn’t enough.

Here’s the call for submissions with the link to blogcarnival – or just email me at qotblog [at] gmail [dot] com.  Please spread the word, especially to any new bloggers you know of – the carnival’s a really good way to promote your awesomeness.