Page 5 | Anti-FGM campaigner Hibo Wardere comes under attack

(499 Posts)
JustTurtlesAllTheWayDown Fri 19-Feb-21 08:20:45

Again. I know Hibo has put out more than one video clarifying that her focus is on women and girls and on stopping FGM, but she did another one last night after being piled on and called a hater for not being 'inclusive' in her language.
mobile.twitter.com/HiboWardere/status/1362100744216866825
I am bloody angry about it this morning.
Hibo Wardere is a personal hero of mine for the amazing work she's done.
Attacking her for not focusing on other issues is the lowest of the low. The misogyny is rank.
(Also, if anyone hasn't got her book 'Cut' on their feminist book shelf, I really do recommend it. It's not an easy read but I found her journey incredibly inspiring).

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PotholeParadies Mon 22-Feb-21 19:40:12

pretty sure Hibo was tagged in all this, remember. Hibo got the shitstorm that came from a bestselling author with 13,500 followers sticking her oar in.

BuntingEllacott Mon 22-Feb-21 19:42:46

Oh, I remember. I won't ever forget.

PotholeParadies Mon 22-Feb-21 19:47:42

Then we had a day or so of TRAs earnestly explaining they weren't criticising Hibo, but they were upset that white british feminists were using a black woman to be transphobic. That of course they understood that Hibo had a licence to be transphobic, but those awful, white rad-feminists with intact genitals, needed to check their privilege and stop being transexclusionary.

I am only paraphrasing slightly.

JustTurtlesAllTheWayDown Mon 22-Feb-21 20:05:22

PotholeParadies

Then we had a day or so of TRAs earnestly explaining they weren't criticising Hibo, but they were upset that white british feminists were using a black woman to be transphobic. That of course they understood that Hibo had a licence to be transphobic, but those awful, white rad-feminists with intact genitals, needed to check their privilege and stop being transexclusionary.

I am only paraphrasing slightly.

Ah, of course we did. Their behaviour is so bloody awful that even they know that going after Hibo Wardere was just plain nasty, but of course, their own behaviour and actions aren't their fault. 'The shes that made me do it.'

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Delphinium20 Mon 22-Feb-21 20:30:24

The irony of her rambling long pseudo apology (I too read some German and a so relieved to hear from a native German speaker it wasn't just me who was confused) is that she still is directing this conversation towards trans. Worrying about trans inclusive language on issues that have nothing whatsoever to do with trans people is such an unnecessary distraction from helping girls at risk for FGM.

All the time it took for feminists to defend Hibo and for Hibo to defend herself could have been spent in letter writing campaigns to human rights groups, in charity fundraising for anti-FGM NGOs and general public awareness. What a waste of everyone's time!

PermanentTemporary Mon 22-Feb-21 22:13:59

Right, so: it's important that children don't bleed to death or live a life of pain for cultural reasons. But it's much more important that we never, ever say that the reason those children are at risk is because they are girls with female bodies who may get pregnant, and cutting them is supposed to control their sexuality and mark out the 'good' girls from the 'bad' girls. Even though that is the only reason for the risk and the agony they suffer. And her job in life is to police women's language in case they ever betray any knowledge in any context that they are female, that this makes them different from males, and that they would be at risk in the same situation because they are female.

She's a traitor.

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PotholeParadies Mon 22-Feb-21 22:19:37

This is the thread from this afternoon.

After some turbulent days here on Twitter and elsewhere, I need to say a few more things about feminist activism, #fgm, solidarity with trans people and inclusive language.

The most important thing first; I ask your forgiveness.

Namely because I rushed precipitately into a discussion without knowing all the background. I had underestimated its explosive nature and many people were hurt in the course of events. I’m sorry.

In brief, the origins. I follow the author Milli Hill on Twitter because she writes books for expectant parents in the English-speaking world so she is a virtual colleague. Apart from that, I am absolutely not at home with English-speaking Twitter.

When I was reeled in by a tweet by Milli in my timeline, in which she wrote, in other words, “unbelievable that this woman is being attacked for placing women and girls at the centre of her work and her language”, I remembered lines which I often hear.

Lines like “Nowadays you can’t even say that you’re a woman”. Or “Calling girls girls is apparently no longer politically correct”. In short, you reminded me of prejudices against inclusive, gender-sensitive language.

This subject is a bit of a hobby-horse of mine, because I have learned so much about the topic in recent years, and because it is so important to me today to write as precisely and inclusively (and legibly and appealingly as possible. Because language has power.

Short interpolation: I am a liberal, intersectional feminist, which means my feminism includes trans women equally. And that should characterise my work as an author and in particular my language. Here I discuss it further [link to her work on inclusive language off twitter]

Anyway, I read Milli’s tweet, looked briefly at the original tweet, which she had commented on and shared, and then I spontaneously had an impulse to exchange with her. From author to author, so to speak.

I wanted to advertise inclusive language to another writer, and thus show that it is no problem, to call women and girls, women and girls, but it is helpful to be appreciative of exactly whom you’re labelling with that.

So my desire was an exchange of ideas on equal footing, from one white cis woman to another. Then I realised very quickly that is wasn’t working out as I’d thought. Very many people commented on my tweet, including many who introduced themselves as radical feminists.

That means, that the main debaters here were women who explicitly exclude trans women. As I knew that exchange would be fruitless between us due to our different core values, I quickly bowed out of the discussion.

What I gave too little headspace to on my brief excursion to the English-speaking twitterworld, was the actual topic of the video that Milli had shared with her comment, and thus the core concern of its creator, @HiboWardere.

Wardere is a survivor of brutal genital mutilation and fights today against this barbaric practice. For this she deserves huge respect.

What I didn’t know was that for several months a fight on the subject of inclusive language has been raging, and it has been a factor that led to her being showered with hateful messages. Against that, she now defended herself, visibly attacked and shocked.

I don’t presume to be able to track the exact origin and course of this conflict here. However I can say that I kind of poured petrol on a smouldering fire with my tweet about inclusive language. Without knowing it.

For that I am eternally sorry. No-one should be exposed to hate speech online, especially not marginalised survivors of terrible violence. And nothing was further from my mind than wanting to fuel such violence.

Naturally I find it sad that Wardere - probably because of the terrible attacks that she had to endure – now simply blocks even the most respectful comments on the topic of trans identity and sometimes retweets hatespeech.

But I see that the account of a black #fgm-activist (and also the Drüko-tweets of her videos) rank amongst the worst places conceivable to have a constructive discussion on the subject of inclusivity and gender-sensitive language.

If I was in the same situation again and saw the tweet from Milli on my timeleine, I might send her a private message, but I would not respond publicly, as I did before.

Instead, I would express my solidarity with trans people and other margianlised groups in my own work, as I did previously.

It is important to me to emphasise that I definitely didn’t mean to pick a quarrel in order to get attention, to sow discord, or to fuel conflict. I simply wanted to be an ally and I got carried away.

Nevertheless I will leave my tweets on the topic to stand, for reading and further thought, and reflecting on successful and less successful ways to be a good person and to live and act by one’s own values.

Thank you to everyone who helps me with this.

BuntingEllacott Mon 22-Feb-21 22:31:46

Privileged woman blunders into the reception her arrogant pontifications should get when practised on women and girls who have suffered for being female, and has a tiny inkling that her theoretical bullshit is just that, but still has to lob a 'I'm sad about the uncompliant woman of colour, but I know I'm right' as she slinks away. Grim

PotholeParadies Mon 22-Feb-21 22:43:08

Yeah. Just as you nearly think maybe she really gets it and is sorry, that bit hits you.

PotholeParadies Mon 22-Feb-21 22:44:09

But I do like that she switched to using FGM instead of pointedly saying genital mutilation.

BuntingEllacott Mon 22-Feb-21 22:52:19

Yeah, but after that shit show that's the very least I would expect.

7Days Mon 22-Feb-21 23:06:37

When people say black lives matter, if some religious leaders piped up saying, ah but you should say Catholic black lives and protestant black lives matter, that would be ridiculous.
Because it's a category mistake. It's not about religion, it's the skin colour that people discriminate against.
Likewise, with FGM it's not about the gender identity. It's about the visible and obvious female body.

It's proseltysing.

Delphinium20 Tue 23-Feb-21 04:11:29

Wardere is a survivor of brutal genital mutilation and fights today against this barbaric practice. For this she deserves huge respect.

Even in this context, she still couldn't include 'female' before genital mutilation.

HeirloomTomato Tue 23-Feb-21 04:45:00

Once again, convincing evidence that MRAs have latched on to the trans rights cause as a convenient, unassailable way to silence women from speaking out against patriarchal misogyny. Who else could hate women this much?

Ereshkigalangcleg Tue 23-Feb-21 10:21:50

When people say black lives matter, if some religious leaders piped up saying, ah but you should say Catholic black lives and protestant black lives matter, that would be ridiculous.
Because it's a category mistake. It's not about religion, it's the skin colour that people discriminate against.

I think it's striking that the only group to be added in this way were trans people: "black trans lives matter". Not gay men, lesbians, even LGBT as a whole. Not women. Trans.

HermitsLife Tue 23-Feb-21 10:47:36

BuntingEllacott

Privileged woman blunders into the reception her arrogant pontifications should get when practised on women and girls who have suffered for being female, and has a tiny inkling that her theoretical bullshit is just that, but still has to lob a 'I'm sad about the uncompliant woman of colour, but I know I'm right' as she slinks away. Grim

Yep.

PotholeParadies Tue 23-Feb-21 10:55:13

Can I just bring up the co-founder of Black Trans Lives Matter?

This is the gushing profile in Time.
time.com/collection/american-voices-2017/4573664/american-vocies-cherno-biko/

Here is the womenarehuman entry: www.womenarehuman.com/male-trans-rights-activist-who-identifies-as-woman-rapes-woman-cherno-biko/

And this very powerful article here

www.fpiw.org/blog/2016/08/11/there-was-a-certain-rape-a-look-inside-the-transgender-movement/

[Extract]
For reasons of personal safety and livelihood, I can’t tell you who I am. But I can tell you this much: I’m a progressive feminist who has spent years working on the front lines of the left. I have opposed conservatism my entire political life in the most strident of terms; under other circumstances, I wouldn’t admit to even reading this site.

Yet, I’ve known for a while that questioning the official narrative of transgender activism (a cause championed wholeheartedly and without question by nearly everyone on the left) can get you blacklisted from media and political work.

CoffeeTeaChocolate Tue 23-Feb-21 11:09:25

Those articles are a shocking read.

Ereshkigalangcleg Tue 23-Feb-21 11:39:23

Wow, wasn't aware it was that person.

PotholeParadies Tue 23-Feb-21 11:51:34

This kind of group collaboration, sharing factual information between concerned citizens, might be why certain people hate mumsnet.

On the subject of the abuse Hibo was getting, can someone explain to me the moral difference in stance between "I would never criticise Hibo's language as she's an FGM survivor but I will publicly tell other people off for being transphobic if they defend her against people calling her transphobic!" and... criticising Hibo's language for being transphobic?

I saw it a lot on twitter.

The first one seems exactly like attacking Hibo while denying what you're doing.

PotholeParadies Tue 23-Feb-21 11:53:25

Clarification. Not rhetorical question. Genuone question. It's something I'm sincerely trying to get my head around.

BuntingEllacott Tue 23-Feb-21 12:16:46

Pothole, I think this is one of the odd little internal structures in the identity-above-all ideology. If someone has an experience that fits into one of the pre-ordained identities that are permitted to speak with authority, they are allowed a very little leeway. The nature of identity-above-all has to permit this concession for the rest of the edifice to remain standing.

However, it's important that limits be placed on this authority, because otherwise, it doesn't serve the purpose of allowing those who have experienced no oppression to benefit from the reflected attention etc.

Does that make sense? Basically, if they went after Hibo directly, they would knock over their own reasoning. By doing it more obliquely, they still get to use her as leverage for their own ends.

PotholeParadies Tue 23-Feb-21 12:27:11

Nearly... Sorry! blush

I keep trying to get in to the mindset and then I come up against my own way of thinking, as if I'd just run headfirst into a brick wall.

I keep muttering, "but it's the same thing. You're supporting people attacking her! You're just saying it behind her back!" while viciously plumping cushions.

BuntingEllacott Tue 23-Feb-21 12:42:48

Well that's because that's true.

I recall posting about this on FWR a couple of years ago, around the time there were a slew of articles and blog posts from trabsactivists and people were desperately trying to dig into the trans arguments to make sense of them.

The problem is there is fundamental disconnect in how language is being used. You and I use it to make meaning clear, to communicate. The current identity movement use it to signal who is in and who is outside of the group. Which is quite ironic for a movement all about inclusion, but so much is.

You read it all from a starting assumption that language is being used to clarify. But what you are actually reading is a number of language cues that indicate whether someone is a true believer, or maybe one of the sacred caste. The language shifts all the time because that's how they stay aware of the heretics, and how they constantly keep each other a little off-kilter, and thus easier to manipulate.

I could use a short word to describe this sort of phenomenon but I'd get deleted for it, because they really don't like it being pointed out clearly (obviously, given what I've just explained about their use of language).

But the dynamics are very clear once you understand this basic disconnect.

All of which is to say, don't expect to make rational sense of it. That's not what their arguments are for. Your reaction simply means you are outside the group. A fact which should be an immense comfort.

PotholeParadies Tue 23-Feb-21 12:49:51

But what you are actually reading is a number of language cues that indicate whether someone is a true believer, or maybe one of the sacred caste. The language shifts all the time because that's how they stay aware of the heretics, and how they constantly keep each other a little off-kilter, and thus easier to manipulate.

I completely agree with this assessment, because I used to do it.blushgrin

Careful affirmation of beliefs to place oneself beyond approach and curry favour, in case of future transgressions.

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