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Is "being an ally" really all that women can do if they don't also belong to another at risk group?

(57 Posts)
TinselTwins Tue 24-Jan-17 21:27:08

It seems to be according to the comments on every viral post about politics on twitter and facebook over the last couple of days..

Women who aren't trans or gay or non-white……. are they not still a supressed group in their own right ? Seems the popular consensus is that role is either "ally" or "part of the problem". That's it?

I get that "just" being a woman provides far less hurdles in life than being a woman AND non-white, ore being a woman & disabled, or being a woman & queer, but it still makes you more at risk than you would be if you weren't a woman. Am I guaging the tone of social media correctly that most involved in acivism at the moment believe that woman who are not any of the above should not push "their agenda" and should only get involved as a ally?

I mean, feminism is not done yet? Did I miss something?

AyeAmarok Tue 24-Jan-17 21:33:25

You're not wrong.

Women are no longer allowed to discuss, campaign or protest against anything without considering how it affects or impacts other groups and how their plight is what we should be focusing on.

Interestingly, it's usually men who complain that we women aren't being inclusive enough.

And yet, those men who say it don't seem to be bothered enough to campaign or protest about the issue themselves, they just think women should be doing it.

TinselTwins Tue 24-Jan-17 21:36:51

yeah. How widespread is it? am I just following the wrong pages?

I mean there was one about a white woman telling her experience of patriarchy, and it was unanamously shot down as her only caring about her position of privilege, and she only cares about things that affect her. But isn't everyone bringing their own agendas too? I don't look at a gay rights marcher and think "he's only marching because it affects him, entitled selfish privilidged snowflake man" ?

TinselTwins Tue 24-Jan-17 21:38:51

Being a woman, speaking about being oppressed by the patriarchy, is not a "position of privilege" in the context of a discussion about patriarchy???? or is it? it is? but HOW did this happen and WTF is going on? The very people/groups that I thought would be building women up are inverting everything on them!

WyfOfBathe Tue 24-Jan-17 21:41:47

In my mind, all women can consider themselves suppressed/oppressed when it comes to matters which affect all women.

But if you're talking about something which doesn't affect you personally, you're an ally. That's what ally means. So an able bodied person who campaigns for wheelchair access is an ally, because they don't have personal experience with needing wheelchair access. A straight person who campaigns for LGBT rights is an ally, because they're not LGBT.

Sometimes it's not as clear cut, e.g. a woman in the UK campaigning for women's rights in Saudi Arabia. I would say that she was an ally, because she's never lived under that regime. Other people would claim that she wasn't an ally, she was one of the oppressed/suppressed people.

I suppose my view over all is:
- these rights affect me directly = not an ally
- these rights don't affect me directly, but they affect people I love or I'm passionate about them for another reason = ally

TinselTwins Tue 24-Jan-17 21:44:28

That's what I always understood it to be Wyf
But that's not what I'm seeing

What I'm seeing is that women talking about their OWN suppression, in the context of issues that do affect them directly, are being treated like the landed gentry whinging about their tea being cold while the village folk starved.

DeviTheGaelet Tue 24-Jan-17 21:45:54

It's bonkers OP. It's like the insult "white feminism".
While I have no doubt that white feminism is a thing, and probably a very annoying thing to those who aren't white, it's been coopted by mainly male SJW types to tell women to shut up. Grrrrrr

TinselTwins Tue 24-Jan-17 21:47:53

The ally thing used to work both ways too:

straight women could be an ally for gay rights
gay men could be an ally for womens rights
but what I'm reading = being told that all the ally-ness should be coming from me to them with none coming the other way because I'm a white woman.. . who apparenly now is sounding like them enemy???? wtf??

TinselTwins Tue 24-Jan-17 21:50:46

Another example:

A post about activism in general - not referencing any particular cause:
Just a nice little vid about "if you can't make a march, can you help make plakards for those who can make it, can you drop friends who can go at the train station, other ways to support if you can't make it"
NOPE how dare a white woman tell people how to be an ally, only people who are "living it" get to decide who is a good ally (- almost a direct quote there)

TinselTwins Tue 24-Jan-17 22:03:18

reading thought the comments on these things (and I am now) I feel I am on the one hand being told to be an ally (I have always tried to be) but on the other hand suddenly feeling that the same groups see me as "the problem" by default. WIBU to step away from it all? I know I would that's not the world I want.. but how do you fit when you're told "come here and be an ally, we hate you BTW, don't whinge about that though because it's not about you, yeah!"

tygr Tue 24-Jan-17 22:05:02

I don't know very much about it at all but I think it is a good thing that we're encouraged to check our privilege. I'm a member of a couple of minorities but that doesn't mean that I haven't benefited by being in a white majority and probably in other ways too. I think it's a good idea to reflect and try not to assume that our experiences aren't the same. Might not have explained that too well.

All about the intersectionality these days.

tygr Tue 24-Jan-17 22:05:42

*are not aren't.

user1485214521 Tue 24-Jan-17 22:06:15

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

TinselTwins Tue 24-Jan-17 22:06:33

Whilst at the same time wondering where that leaves all the unresolved womens health issues? and safety issues? and financial disadvantages?

I don't want a "pat on the back" for helping. Eugh!
But anyone who objects to the relentness criticism of white feminists is accused of having some sort of helper syndrome ego!

I've stopped sharing womens march posts sad which is a shame because some of them are fantastic, but I'm not on board with the comments of the majority

TinselTwins Tue 24-Jan-17 22:09:41

I don't know very much about it at all but I think it is a good thing that we're encouraged to check our privilege. I'm a member of a couple of minorities but that doesn't mean that I haven't benefited by being in a white majority and probably in other ways too. I think it's a good idea to reflect and try not to assume that our experiences aren't the same.

I agree with all of that and have always tried to live by it

However, why, right now, does that only apply disproportionately to white feminists? What about checking the privilidge of the men who belong to other minorities checking their privilidge by virtue of not being a woman? - why is nobody asking them to do that instead of wiping popular feminism off the agenda?

TinselTwins Tue 24-Jan-17 22:11:41

Also, another thing that's making me uncomfortable, and it's coming up on my social media feeds again and again and again and again:

Praise for white male allys who are "doing it right" (and they are, I'm not arguing with that) but white women who are feminists are all doing it wrong?

TinselTwins Tue 24-Jan-17 22:13:34

If you are a feminist, for any sort of "selfish" reason (e.g. not wanting men to decide what happens to your body), you are not a good ally when it comes to any other group because you obviously only want to come to activism because it affected you, and if it didn't you'ld be at home bathing in baths of goats milk.

TinselTwins Tue 24-Jan-17 22:16:37

We're not talking here about a woman who showed up to (for example) the dakota pipeline then stripped off on front of the cameras with "my body my choice" written across her torso… these are women at womens marches with signs about womens issues.

HelenDenver Tue 24-Jan-17 22:26:15

"However, why, right now, does that only apply disproportionately to white feminists? What about checking the privilidge of the men who belong to other minorities checking their privilidge by virtue of not being a woman? - why is nobody asking them to do that instead of wiping popular feminism off the agenda?"

Well put.

venusinscorpio Tue 24-Jan-17 23:08:18

In my experience, men are rarely ever asked, or bother, to "check their privilege".

TinselTwins Tue 24-Jan-17 23:16:24

"check your privilege" used to mean deepen your understanding about the issues, read a bit, be a better ally

"check your privilidge" in the context it's been used the last few days basically means "shut up silly little white woman, nobody cares about your issues, only selfless men or people of colour or LGBQT are doing it right!"

WTFuckingF

(again, I'm not talking about white women who were actually being "me me me" in the context of other groups problems)

TinselTwins Tue 24-Jan-17 23:26:33

In my experience, men are rarely ever asked, or bother, to "check their privilege

the misogyny I'm seeing under the guise of 'inclusive feminism" is astounding. Women are being told that male allys are doing feminism better than they are!

TinselTwins Tue 24-Jan-17 23:29:14

How do you move forward and continue to try to do good and not just retire into apathy with all this going on?

I don't know where feminists are supposed to fit within feminism any more confused

venusinscorpio Tue 24-Jan-17 23:31:12

They're supposed to Know Their Place. However much they genuflect to transactivists it will never ever be enough to wipe out the crime of being born a woman.

TinselTwins Tue 24-Jan-17 23:43:42

it's not just coming from trans activists any more, it seems to have been adopted by all other groups affected by discrimination to re-write what kinds of discrimination against women can be addressed.
Discrimination against black women - tick
Discrimination against transwomen - tick
Discrimination against women on the basis of having been born a woman? - OH HELL NO SNOWFLAKE!

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