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Julie Burchill: "Why I loathe the woke"
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beastlyslumber · 29/11/2021 19:14

Just thought I'd share this piece of joy for anyone else who is fond of Ms Burchill...

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beastlyslumber · 01/12/2021 22:21

I'm sorry you've not felt heard on this thread Hazel. It was just never a thread about what you wanted to talk about, but I do understand you feel you don't have a platform to talk here.

Please don't be offended though that I can't keep engaging.

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HazelCarbyFan · 01/12/2021 22:49

The irony is, I initially shared that story just to say that the rhetoric around “woke campuses” wasn’t always the full story, and that I knew of a couple of examples where what was reported didn’t match what people actually experienced. My point was to be careful buying in to the idea that universities are so woke these days that Black people or whoever control everything and “no-one can say anything without being called racist.” The story was just to say that sometimes this is a case of reversing victim hood - men silence and mock Black women then say white men are the most oppressed on campus, or yell “free speech” while not allowing women to speak. My point was just to be careful of stories about “wokeness” running the world, because that’s not always the case or the true story.

The entire thread has now derailed into something else, but the original point was in line with the discussion about whether rhetoric around wokeness is useful or descriptive. For example, the article I shared, more than one Black person clearly makes the point that so-called progressive spaces still maintain inequality. People talked about universities having policies that pretend to take racism and sexism seriously, but actually do nothing. They talked about how rhetoric around inclusion of sexuality is used but then racism is ignored. They talked about how there’s no monolith of “POC” and non-Black people can be racist. I think these are all points people in this thread would heartily agree with - that performative progressive discourse often masks actual inequality - and everyone did it without resorting to calling things “woke!” It actually demonstrates that we can raise these serious issues without resorting to lazy slurs that aren’t even descriptive of the issue. That article demonstrates the very concerns people have with empty progressiveness that is actually frequently regressive - and is something Black people also understand. We are actually on the same page - my point was only initially that using woke so broadly is tired, lazy, non-specific and actually often troubling to Black people so is not necessary.

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Agrona · 02/12/2021 01:57

I do take on the point about universities or any other place having policies.

It should be a requirement the policy is actually adhered to, instead of simply existing.

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AlphabetAerobics · 02/12/2021 07:58

Why are we all getting so angry about this? Metropolitan Canada is not the same as the UK - I’d like to think that (meeting in 2015 at UoT) shit wouldn’t fly in any UK university.

There are differences in language even amongst primarily English-speaking nations - and in the UK “woke” is very much a term used to describe those following dogma, without questioning the (any) logic behind it. A word used to describe the frustration we feel at those who refuse to think - and I very much hope, not with any conscious intent to appropriate a word meaning to combat racism.

I think JB is fab - although she coined the phrase “zipless fuck” which still gives me the boak.

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beastlyslumber · 02/12/2021 08:09

I think JB is fab - although she coined the phrase “zipless fuck” which still gives me the boak.

She's fab, isn't she? But I'm pretty sure it was Erica Jong who coined that phrase (which I agree is very unpleasant).

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Floisme · 02/12/2021 08:09

my point was only initially that using woke so broadly is tired, lazy, non-specific and actually often troubling to Black people
I will take your point on board. I wasn't aware of the history of the term until I read your first post.

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NoNotMeNoSiree · 02/12/2021 08:09

Nobody's getting '' angry? "

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AlphabetAerobics · 02/12/2021 08:18

@beastlyslumber I’m going to have to investigate Erica - that’s a new name for me. My mum was a JB fan in the 80s and I remember reading a JB novel about all this joyless sex - much more exciting to read about on the cusp of teenage years than being a jaded 50 year old!

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beastlyslumber · 02/12/2021 08:21

I think JB's only novel was Sugar Rush - it was also adapted for TV. A really fun book. So you may be getting her confused with a different writer? Can't imagine JB writing about joyless sex! She's way more into hedonism Grin

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AlfonsoTheUnrepentant · 02/12/2021 08:25

I think JB is fab - although she coined the phrase “zipless fuck” which still gives me the boak.

No, that was Erica Jong in her novel "Fear of Flying".

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houseonthehill · 02/12/2021 08:27

Zipless Fuck is definitely Jong, and describes something entirely other than joyless sex.

Problem with Burchill is that she has been slowly Going Gammon - like her old mucker Tony Parsons did.

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debbrianna · 02/12/2021 08:31

Everyone who's arguing for the evolution of the word woke are the same people arguing to keep the word mother as an example, with it's original meaning.

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C8H10N4O2 · 02/12/2021 08:38

Nobody has to give a shiny shit about whether black GC women feel alienated here. Hazel and others are trying to explain why some do.

If your right to lionise racists because they happen to be on the same side for one issue, your right to use appropriated language is more important to you than the impact of that language on another group of women well so be it.

If you can't comprehend the point trying thinking in these more familiar terms. You are passionate about an issue but the price of participation is collaboration and shared spaces with men who persist in sexist "banter", talk about the girlies, who lionise well known misogynists. Its their right to use whatever language they want after all. You question it - they reassert their male rights, reframe your points to a different meaning and tell you either you are deluded and stupid or you are trying to control them. Anything else is critical theory gawn mad after all. Hmm

Do you stay and smile for the mythical greater good or think "fuck this, I'll organise with women instead" which fragments the cause but protecs the right of men to go unchallenged in their sexism.

There are large areas of "progressive" politics which have always operated like this. Its used to keep people in their place and protect the rights of those with privilege.

As for JB - Ides isn't a million miles off, anyone who watched her volte face from "Wolfie" Burchill, champion of the proletariat to devoted Thatcherite in the 80s for the red top dollar could tell you that. I may find myself on the same side as her in one issue but I also remember she hasn't always been the great champion of women either and is just as likely to change her mind in the future.

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KimikosNightmare · 02/12/2021 09:03

This Saturday Night Live sketch is at least 4 year's old. It's not using "woke" in quite the same pejorative sense it might be used in the UK but it's very far from the ringing endorsement as a useful term some posters are suggesting. Quite the opposite.

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Shedmistress · 02/12/2021 09:14

The fact that those 'woke jeans' looked like big nappies did not go unnoticed.

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AlphabetAerobics · 02/12/2021 09:37

Ah. The mystery of where Lucy & Yak drew inspiration has been solved.

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Lovelyricepudding · 02/12/2021 09:43

If your right to lionise racists because they happen to be on the same side for one issue, your right to use appropriated language is more important to you than the impact of that language on another group of women well so be it.

I am not trying to appropriate language but equally language evolves. The meaning of woke has changed. It no longer simply means you were asleep and now no longer are.

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Ereshkigalangcleg · 02/12/2021 10:08

Why are you more invested in what Triggernometry says than what Black women say?

Triggernometry have had plenty of black guests, including women, who think the identity politics approach isn't necessarily helpful. So you are coming from a particular perspective here.

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ScribblingPixie · 02/12/2021 11:34

Thanks for posting this, OP. I found the points she makes about class and the way in which, in her opinion, the liberal middle class finds new ways to keep the working class down really interesting.

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andyoldlabour · 02/12/2021 12:02

HazelCarbyFan

Could I ask you the following, because the incident which you described would be massively reported in the MSM.

When did it happen?
Exactly where did it happen?
How many people were involved?

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ANewCreation · 02/12/2021 12:32

The word 'woman' is a sex-based term, describing the reality of the sex class of adult human females. We can trace its etymology, development and usage for 100s of years.

Now some people are hijacking/appropriating the meaning of woman to insist that it is actually not a sex based but a gender based term, (the people who identify as women/people who perform femininity, are women) something at its core inheritly sexist.

I have developed a gut-churning reaction to seeing or hearing woman used in a gendered way - because there is still such abundant need for the sex based usage. It messes with my ability to use my word to describe myself (and half the world's population). And how dare they take it and tell me what my word means. Why should I be forced to contort my language to appease those men who call themselves women?

Likewise the word 'woke'? First used to describe a powerful awakening to the reality of structural inequality, systemic injustice and racism; of personal, social, cultural and political consciousness raising; of awareness of racist policing. Still necessary and valuable today. We have to wake up to what is happening. 'When you see it, you can't unsee it', we say on the Gender issue...

Now 'woke' too is a word hijacked/appropriated by an identitarian movement which divides the world into those who are the privileged, performative, 'hyper-socially aware, self-designated gatekeepers of language and behaviour' and then everyone else.

It's a movement which is frequently racist (and sexist/ageist/classist/ableist/authoritarian etc) but cannot/will not see that is the case.

It identifies as 'woke' but absolutely isn't. And the word 'woke' is now almost always used pejoratively when really it shouldn't...

In the interview, Julie Burchill's criticism is based on the neo-usage of the word ie the identitarian movement rather than an authentic usage of 'woke'.

Just wondering, Hazel or anyone else who knows, how you might have seen this new identitarian movement described within black writing without using 'woke' as a term, because that might give us a linguistic way forward? I'm more than happy to use something else. Thanks in advance.

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beastlyslumber · 02/12/2021 12:36

@ScribblingPixie

Thanks for posting this, OP. I found the points she makes about class and the way in which, in her opinion, the liberal middle class finds new ways to keep the working class down really interesting.

I thought that was really interesting, too. I've not heard that idea so clearly articulated before.
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FlibbertyGiblets · 02/12/2021 14:40

People are STILL not believing what a black woman has told us. Why is she held to a higher standard than someone white recounting an experience? Come ON. Cop on to yourselves.

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ListIsGettingLonger · 02/12/2021 15:50

@HazelCarbyFan Well done for standing your ground here. I see the usual posters adamant to hold onto the word like their lives depend on it, as if there's no possibility of finding another. You know, anything to stick it to the black people who complain "woke".

For me, it's like the way posters on this board complain about "cis", anyone who uses "woke" is automatically either ignorant and a bandwagon-follower, in my book, or a dog-whistler who's conveniently using it to mean 'this and the other kind'.

Although some...a few are ready to listen when they know.


This issue is yet again, (non-black) feminists saying to black women: choose women or choose black.

Can't work. We're both.

And Julie Burchill...pfft. The queen of it.

Enjoy your single issue parties. It's a privilege to only have one.

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foxgoosefinch · 02/12/2021 16:55

This issue is yet again, (non-black) feminists saying to black women: choose women or choose black.

I don’t understand your point, ListIs. Isn’t the entire thread about the fact that lots of people are saying that the “new” usage of “woke” doesn’t in fact mean black, but rather signifies “white people who think they are progressive but aren’t”?

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