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To be horrified by moves towards self-id

(41 Posts)
Geronimoleapinglizards Thu 08-Feb-18 20:09:51

I just received a email from the wonderful Writers' Centre, Norwich, saying that submissions are open to people who 'self-identify as working class' for an anthology of writing.

Their aim is laudable in some ways - there are comparatively few working class writers out there and the ones trying to make it often need a helping hand up the ladder.

But self-identifying? Would they really value a woman who went to, say Roedean and then Oxford, applying on the basis that they self-ided as working class because their great, great grandmother was a maid and their parents didn't pay them much pocket money and sometimes made them eat cold baked beans?

We have Labour pushing hard to let any man who self-identifies as female to vie for precious spots on all women's shortlists. We have Women's Aid potentially wanting to let men who self-id as women work in refuges, nevermind the trauma some of their clients will have experienced at the hands of men.

It's great to be who you want to be in life and strive to change things about yourself. But there are certain rigid things about life which can't be changed and although something like the class you belong to is more fluid, it really doesn't help disadvantaged people if certain gates are open to anyone

I have a disability. I would dearly like to identify out of it. I am imprisoned by my own body. I get it; sometimes reality is shit. It's too easy to want to be someone else. But life doesn't work like that. AIBU to think that self-id anything is completely bollocks and detrimental to minority or disadvantaged groups?

McTufty Thu 08-Feb-18 20:11:05

YANBU, how ridiculous.

catscan Thu 08-Feb-18 20:13:21

I think society’s moving towards complete self-identification. It’s bizarre!

What gets me is the total contradictions - if you can identify as the opposite sex (or neither) or as whatever class you like, why can’t you identify as a different race?

Fekko Thu 08-Feb-18 20:18:44

‘What the fuckity fuck are you talking about?’ There’s my entry.

I identify as the winner. I also identify as young and talented.

ChickenPaws Thu 08-Feb-18 20:26:36

This has to be a joke shock

Saturnday Thu 08-Feb-18 20:31:32

I don't know about horrified.

It seems the choice, as you lay it out, is either to label yourself as you like, or have others put their own labels on you.

I'd rather label myself any day. Self-id all the way, I say. And that goes for disability too.

Bloodybridget Thu 08-Feb-18 20:33:50

I guess you don't get a certificate of working-class-ness, so it seems to me they're saying "self-identify" unnecessarily. I hope people will respect the aims of the programme. "Self-identifying" as a woman if you're not, or vice versa, is just nonsense.

catscan Thu 08-Feb-18 20:34:55

I think people can identify however they want as long as laws aren’t based on it

JesusInTheCabbageVan Thu 08-Feb-18 20:36:46

I identify as the winner grin

TerfyMcTerface Thu 08-Feb-18 20:37:18

This makes slightly more sense to me than gender self-ID. "Working class" is not as tangible a category as biological sex. I often end up arguing with my husband, for example, who claims he is working class because he left school at 16, whereas I look at his parents (his mother a raging home counties snob, and his father a manager with a company car) and the house he grew up in and tell him that he's absolutely middle class. He won't have it though. He self-identifies as working class, and I've met several lefties people like him who do so too (when, imo, they're not). Some people claim "working class" simply means that you have to work for a living.

How would the Writer's Centre even go about ascertaining someone's working class credentials as part of the application process? Accent? Education? House they lived in when growing up? Parents' occupation? Upbringing (something which is internal to you) or current situation (material reality)?

That said - like you, OP, I am very concerned about the direction of travel here. I think the endpoint of all this (intended or - I'm sure in the case of the Writer's Centre - unintended) will be to wipe out any assistance that is currently given to disadvantaged groups in order to overcome structural inequalities. It's unfortunate that the benign, well-intentioned institutions are complicit in this happening.

Geronimoleapinglizards Thu 08-Feb-18 20:37:36

I'd rather label myself any day. Self-id all the way, I say. And that goes for disability too.

Ok so this is a genuine question. If someone able-bodied wants to self-id as disabled and get benefits/have a carer/use a wheelchair when they can walk, do you support that?

There are people who are trans-disabled btw so the above actually happens.

LadyMcLadyCrisps Thu 08-Feb-18 20:37:55

YANBU. I think the world has finally lost all touch with reality and needs to be stopped asap so I can get off!

KERALA1 Thu 08-Feb-18 20:40:30

This identifying lark messes with my head - where does reality fit in? And can I identify as kate Upton even though I am dark haired and forty plus? Does everyone around you have to buy into this identification thing by pretending they believe the identifier really is the made up thing they pretend to be? Need a cup of tea

LadyDeadpool Thu 08-Feb-18 20:40:40

Stretching a bit here aren't you? Does everything have to be about trans rights? There are no criteria to meet to be working class so it makes sense to put self identifies as. Besides the amount mumsnet goes on about class being an outdated system and the "how does one even identify as middle class?" posts it really shouldn't be bothering anyone.

But of course its an opportunity to bring up the evils of the trans right movement and give transpeople another bashing.

InToMyHeart Thu 08-Feb-18 20:41:04

It is crazy.

Instead of people self-identifying as things (BTW I self-identify as being thin, tall and beautiful, unfortunately the rest of the world doesn't lol!) we should be moving towards a society where we don't feel it is necessary to exclude people for unnecessary reasons.

It seems a bit bizarre to me that things are only open to these people or those people. Why do you need to be working class to enter?

I've never understood how people can complain about one group being discriminated against by discriminating against another group?

AskBasil Thu 08-Feb-18 20:43:28

LOL.

Presumably they'll accept poetry from Prince Harry if he self-identifies as working class.

It's all a load of guff and sensible people see right through it.

AskBasil Thu 08-Feb-18 20:45:04

Pointing out the absurdity of self-identification is not "bashing trans people".

Many transpeople are opposed to self-id and wish the MRA transmovement would STFU as it's tarring them with the TRA misogynist brush.

Fekko Thu 08-Feb-18 20:45:46

Why does everything end up about trans around here?

CapnHaddock Thu 08-Feb-18 20:48:39

What a load of fucking nonsense

Saturnday Thu 08-Feb-18 20:49:47

@Geronimo 'Ok so this is a genuine question. If someone able-bodied wants to self-id as disabled and get benefits/have a carer/use a wheelchair when they can walk, do you support that?'

I perfer the social model of disability. Why call anyone 'dis' abled? We are all more or less able than each other to varying degrees. Why stigmatise a group as being apart from the rest of us 'non' disabled people?

I don't think that Disabled should be a descriptor at all, or a basis upon which money is given out. I think money should be given out based on individual need, not which politically-cooked-up-goalpost-changing box they can tick (thereby sidetracking the issue of who deserved to be in what category).

I can't tell you exactly how this system could be put into practice as it would take greater minds than mine, but we're having a philosophical discussion, so there's my 2c. :-)

LizardMonitor Thu 08-Feb-18 20:52:48

If anyone can self id as anything, how do I know what qualities, criteria or feelings I am identifying WITH?

It makes no sense.

AskBasil Thu 08-Feb-18 20:53:15

"I've never understood how people can complain about one group being discriminated against by discriminating against another group?"

By discriminating against a more powerful group than you, you are evening the playing field.

Competitions like this recognise that members of the powerful group (in this case middle class people vs working class people, but it could easily be women vs men, homosexuals vs straight, BME vs white etc.) already have most access to recognition and validation for their work; setting up a forum where only work from the marginalised group is accepted, means that the work of people from that group will actually have a chance to be properly looked at in the way that people from the more powerful group already have.

It's not perfect, but it's an attempt to recognise the huge inequality in access to a specific thing. In this case, written work being published.

Geronimoleapinglizards Thu 08-Feb-18 20:58:44

I don't think that Disabled should be a descriptor at all, or a basis upon which money is given out.

I can understand why some people feel that way. Except the reality is that if you're disabled you are much more likely to be living in poverty. Having a disability is extremely expensive. It's not like having a child (which us arguably also very expensive), which is a choice. I want to live in a society where we try to spread the weight of any extra expenses which fall on disabled people, collectively, via PIP, even if occasionally that means someone affluent gets a helping hand. It's just about trying to level the playing field.

Geronimoleapinglizards Thu 08-Feb-18 21:03:24

I perfer the social model of disability. Why call anyone 'dis' abled? We are all more or less able than each other to varying degrees.

The social model of disability is great but it has its failings.

I have fatigue, amongst other things. You can adapt a building or my computing equipment as much as you like. I can still only function for about 2-3 hours before I get horrible crippling payback which leaves me needing to rest alone for days to start feeling more normal again.

And we might be more or less able than each other to varying degrees but someone with ocasional neck strain and recurring ear infections, or whatever, is an absolute world away from serious disability. There's absolutely no comparison. Some of the barriers disabled people face in life are immovable and profound.

Geronimoleapinglizards Thu 08-Feb-18 21:06:20

But of course its an opportunity to bring up the evils of the trans right movement and give transpeople another bashing.

The trans issue us a hugely important part of all this. But that's definitely not all I wanted to discuss in making this post. The principle of self-id will potentially affect many different minority or disadvantaged groups in many different ways. Rachel Dolezal self-identifying as black is an example. She isn't trans. She was admired as a black person who was achieving success in a minority community before she was exposed.

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