When you identify there’s a problem in the world, or in your own industry or workplace or whatever, you might want to make a big statement about how it needs to be fixed.
You might say “we need to destroy [problem].”
And you might feel really, really fucking good about yourself for taking a stand against the problem.
But before you continue down this path, putting on a cape and making little “I’m a [problem]-destroyer” badges for all your friends, you might like to consider:
1. Sitting down and having a think about how you personally might be part of the problem. You’re not THE problem. You’re not an evil person who deliberately sets out every morning to make [problem] worse. But if you can see it in others, and they don’t recognise it, maybe others see it in you.
2. When someone points out that you’ve totally innocently slipped up and thus contributed to [problem], saying “oh shit, you’re right. I’ll work on that.” No one necessarily expects you to be perfect, because this shit is internalized and subconscious, right?
3. Continue to oppose [problem] where you see it, and support those affected by it without dominating the conversation, while remembering that you’re a work in progress too.
4. The world is a better place.
How to be an ally in Bizarro World
1. When you want hot feminist chicks to give you blowjobs, appropriate some of their language and make a big fuss about how much you care about misogyny. (Don’t worry about actually figuring out what misogyny is or anything, it’s a total drag.)
2. When those fucking bitches don’t line up to smoke your sweet man-cigar, and in fact have the gall to call out the fact that you’re not walking the talk, consider guilt-tripping them for not rewarding you properly for parrotting their language. Imply that they are the problem and that if they don’t give more head, they’ll lose your valuable support.
3. If they continue to not give you the fellatio to which you are totally entitled because this one time you said “let’s destroy misogyny”, just abuse them. That’ll put them in their place and then maybe the next time you put your hand out for cock-related cookies they’ll remember who the man is around here.
For an example of this approach in action, click here. And then give Mike Monteiro some sweet feminist loving like he deserves.
I got into a conversation a few days ago on the topic “what can [privileged people] do to help [unprivileged people] without sounding like they want cookies or are using their privilege to dominate/take over?”
And while tackling this on a variety of spectra (as happens when a gay white man is talking to a straight white woman about privilege), talking about sitting down, listening, remembering it’s Not About You, I had a sudden epiphany.
All privileged people are some analogue of Schrödinger’s Rapist.
When you approach me in public, you are Schrödinger’s Rapist. You may or may not be a man who would commit rape. I won’t know for sure unless you start sexually assaulting me. I can’t see inside your head, and I don’t know your intentions. If you expect me to trust you—to accept you at face value as a nice sort of guy—you are not only failing to respect my reasonable caution, you are being cavalier about my personal safety.
I’m a straight woman with Real Queer Friends. I know I’m a nice person, I know I don’t [consciously] judge people for being not-heterosexual. And after years of friendship, my friends may be working on the assumption that I am not a threat, not a person who is going to suddenly use “gay” as a derogatory term or crack hilarious jokes about buttsex.
Working on the assumption.
Because I am Schrödinger’s Heterosexual: my friends can never truly be certain whether or not I’m homophobic or transphobic or see the world in heteronormative terms until I demonstrate it. Until I fail the test.
And that goes for my race privilege, and my class privilege, and my education privilege.
And there’s no pass condition on this. A privileged person can simply never actually prove with 100% certainty that they will never be a threat or a problem or a trigger to an unprivileged person.
And lords and ladies, we’ve got more than enough extreme-headdesk-worth examples of people who really, really should know better pulling some serious asshattery.* Until now, they might have been Schrödinger’s Mainstream Feminists. Now we’ve opened the box and had a look and it ain’t pretty.
We privileged people do not “deserve” the automatic trust or assumption of good faith or patience of unprivileged people [especially while in the act of fucking up]. And that’s okay, because it’s not about us. And that’s Basic Ally-hood 101.
*Author’s note: I originally went to type that as “people who you would never think would be bigots”. I get to assume these people aren’t bigots, because I’m a straight white lady. That’s privilege.