[Header image: Georgia O'Keeffe (Hands), 1918. Photograph by Alfred Stieglitz]
I've been noticing a disturbing trend in SJW/Feminist spaces for a while now, and lately, I've been meditating more and more about it.
How long do we banish problematic people/pages/orgs for things they've done in the past and haven't done since?
I know Guerrilla Feminism has largely added to this in various ways, and I hate that. I'm actively trying to rethink how I run that space, and how I can do better. It seems that each time I attempt to shift this, I'm met with resistance from followers. Nobody wants to give up their hatred of a person/org/page because it gives us social capital. I have been this person. I'm ashamed to say I know this to be true.
Someone pointed out to me how it's problematic that Janet Mock has a new podcast through Lena Dunham's Lenny Letter. Sure, I get it--Dunham is awful, and has said/done horrible things, but how far do our "rules for banishment" go? Are we supposed to shun Mock because of Dunham's actions? I would say no, but I know there are people out there who would say an emphatic "Yes", (those people might also be TERFs, though).
I'm just wondering: how far does this all go? How many degrees of separation are we doing now? Was there a point in time where feminists got together to decide on these rules?
I'm sure this is more difficult for poc and trans folx to navigate, and I wholly understand that my white cis privilege comes into play here. I have never been (and will never be) oppressed due to my whiteness and my cis-ness. There are things you all have gone through (and continue to go through) that I will never fully understand or experience.
I do think there are some people who may deserve banishment. I certainly don't want to diminish the truly awful shit that some folx have done (and continue to do) and I, personally, would not want to be a circle with them, but I do feel like those folx are few and far between (I hope?)
I'm just exhausted of trying to be SJW/Feminist Perfect™ and trying to keep track of every person's fuck up. This doesn't mean I don't believe in call-outs/call-ins. Accountability is important and necessary.
I'm sure my readers can bring more knowledge to this than I can. I just know that I have been on both sides: I've been shunned and I've done the shunning (which I'm not proud of)--both feel awful, to be honest, and I'm too tired to continue with either.
We're all Bad Feminists.