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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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Ereshkigalangcleg · 30/11/2021 09:47

I've seen woke being used in a pejorative way as an insult to describe people who campaign for racial justice, climate change, safe streets for women, LGBTQ+ inclusion. Any issue the Daily Mail doesn't care for.

I was quite clear on the fact that I believe it's heavily overused.

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Shedmistress · 30/11/2021 10:07

I'm off to chop down a willow and move some compost, if that helps define the garden variety feminist.

Is it a woman with her own pitch fork? Guilty as charged.

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weverly · 30/11/2021 10:12

@Ereshkigalangcleg

I've seen woke being used in a pejorative way as an insult to describe people who campaign for racial justice, climate change, safe streets for women, LGBTQ+ inclusion. Any issue the Daily Mail doesn't care for.

I was quite clear on the fact that I believe it's heavily overused.

What's the correct level of usage? Who are 'these people' who are the barrier to social justice and equality for women?
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Gncq · 30/11/2021 10:15

I've implemented a space for feminist digging numerous times.

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Gncq · 30/11/2021 10:18

What's the correct level of usage? Who are 'these people' who are the barrier to social justice and equality for women?

Not being funny, but you must have noticed the woke lunatics all across the Guardian, and social media, people like LOJ, who are so smug and convinced they're fighting for justice but who are wrecking the women's liberation movement entirely.
Are you really sure you haven't noticed?

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Lovelyricepudding · 30/11/2021 10:23

LGBTQ+ inclusion

Q as in queer? A term used to insult LBG people and which many LGB are asking people to stop using because of this? Or is queer allowed to be appropriated?

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Ereshkigalangcleg · 30/11/2021 10:28

What's the correct level of usage? Who are 'these people' who are the barrier to social justice and equality for women?

If you read the thread, you will see what people arguing for an alternative word for "woke" are referring to! On the Sex and Gender Discussions board, there are lots of further examples. People who are so devoted to their ideological beliefs about queer theory, gender identity or whatever that they are erasing women's sex class and rights and putting safeguarding second.

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Ereshkigalangcleg · 30/11/2021 10:29

Q as in queer? A term used to insult LBG people and which many LGB are asking people to stop using because of this? Or is queer allowed to be appropriated?

Apparently so.

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beastlyslumber · 30/11/2021 10:51

@Ereshkigalangcleg

Anyway, to re-rail the thread, the Julie Burchill video was great. Whatever you think about her it's worth a listen.

Thanks Ereshkigalangcleg! I thought it was very enjoyable indeed!
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beastlyslumber · 30/11/2021 11:03

@Ereshkigalangcleg

What's the correct level of usage? Who are 'these people' who are the barrier to social justice and equality for women?

If you read the thread, you will see what people arguing for an alternative word for "woke" are referring to! On the Sex and Gender Discussions board, there are lots of further examples. People who are so devoted to their ideological beliefs about queer theory, gender identity or whatever that they are erasing women's sex class and rights and putting safeguarding second.

These people are not just a barrier to women's rights, but to the rights of gays and lesbians, and to minorities. It's these people (the "woke" for now) who have instigated things like systemic discrimination against Asians at Harvard, in the name of "anti-racism". We really need a name for the people/ideology that is responsible for racism, homophobia, misogyny, the chilling of free speech, the "cancelling" of individuals, the instigation of purity spirals in every online community from knitters to fan fiction... What do we call these people?

On the point that some people use "woke" as a disparaging term for "pc gone mad" type utterances, I guess I think, well so what? The word itself doesn't make any difference to those people. If we called it "critical theory" or "fauxgressive politics" they'd use those terms in the same way. So I don't think we should stop using a word because some people misuse it.

I am still open to using another word/term - but part of the issue is that this movement is fundamentally concerned with the control of language, so whatever term is suggested, there will be some reason why it's not okay.
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NellWilsonsWhiteHair · 30/11/2021 11:16

I agree with @HazelCarbyFan that 'woke' is a problematic term, and I generally avoid using it where I can. It is absolutely the new "PC gone mad", and as a feminist, lesbian, left-leaning, anti-racist etc I actually subscribe to a lot of 'woke' 'PC' notions. It is frustrating that mostly only the Times/Daily Mail are interested in challenging gender ideology - I'm glad for the sunlight, but I'm not going to otherwise align myself to their general politics in some sort of misguided gratitude or shared loathing for 'the woke'.

I agree with pp it is sometimes handy to have an umbrella term - not because all aspects of left-ish identity-ish politics can be sensibly bundled together, but because in practice they often are bundled together, by the righteous (and mostly shielded by privilege) of twitter, LOJ style, and as a phenomenon that's worthy of some discussion. I liked a suggestion on this thread of pseudo-progressive.

I think 'GC feminism' is an incredibly broad church, and I'm in favour of both pragmatism in alliances and platforming ideas which challenge me (I'm not quite a free speech absolutist though). At the same time I think it's right to be challenging racism and actual transphobia in our own ranks, even when that's uncomfortable, because otherwise it's just an unquestioning loyalty to groupthink and tribal identity, isn't it?

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CharlieParley · 30/11/2021 11:34

At the same time I think it's right to be challenging racism and actual transphobia in our own ranks, even when that's uncomfortable, because otherwise it's just an unquestioning loyalty to groupthink and tribal identity, isn't it?

And that is critical theory in practice. Always hampering any movement that allows it by turning inward and destructively criticising itself until it fractures into ever smaller interest groups, all at odds with each other over real or perceived slights and prejudice.

That's actually far removed from how common interest groups dedicated to the big social problems used to work - accepting that we all have different views on other things, acknowledging our differences and putting them aside in order to focus on the common goal. That's not easy, but it is necessary.

Feminism is the only big movement btw that has thus been all but destroyed. The only movement that took intersectionality to the extreme where mainstream feminism now excludes female people for the sake of championing males.

No we don't all have to constantly monitor each other, especially since that typically now involves adopting beliefs straight from critical race theory - which flings about so-called scientific evidence for its assertions on a par with the nonsense we deal with on gender identity.

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allmywhat · 30/11/2021 11:39

It’s interesting that people on this thread keep defining and redefining what they mean by the word “woke” and some posters, not the same people as the black women with reasonable objections to the use of the word, continue to act as if no one has defined it. They’ll keep claiming it’s not a coherent concept. Just as in that Freddie de Boer essay upthread.

I think the word “woke” is going to stick around, because despite the best efforts of, er, authoritarian-identitarian types, people do know what it means. And any attempt to arrive at an alternative term is going to be systematically derailed by people who don’t want such a term to exist. When you can’t talk about it, you can’t fight it.

I’ll try and use other terms from now on but based on this thread there’s little chance of a different term catching on widely.

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PrincessNutella · 30/11/2021 12:02

Unless another term is adopted, I think it is fine. The French use it"Le Wokisme"and although there are some Black women who have complained about it, there are other Black people who are sick of the term, like John McWhorter. We all know what it means. Which is progressiveness taken on to a degree that is lacking awareness that its embrace of inclusive values is excluding many, and its claim to all virtues hides a number of vices.

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peachescariad · 30/11/2021 12:15

Love JB - thanks for sharing OP

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ElaineMarieBenes · 30/11/2021 13:15

@beastlyslumber thank you for posting - thoroughly enjoyed!

Also what about Yorkshire?

Don’t think I missed anything else did I or maybe I’m just ignorant! 🤣

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prudencepuffin · 30/11/2021 13:18

People who are so devoted to their ideological beliefs about queer theory, gender identity or whatever that they are erasing women's sex class and rights and putting safeguarding second

Useful shorthand for the above but often annoying in how it is carelessly applied and who applies it. I havnt found a useful replacement for it yet though.

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HazelCarbyFan · 30/11/2021 14:10

I want to contextualize my frustration a bit - I’ve said on here before that my grandmother’s experience of migrancy and abuse led me to activism and feminism. I’ve spent my entire adult life working on issues like women being deported to countries where they face abuse, women facing violent eviction, women wrongfully incarcerated, women sexually assaulted by men in the mining industry, etc. I used to (not in the UK) volunteer with a group where we drove around to farms to try to provide advocacy for migrant workers - we fought to get them allowed to go to church where the women would slip us notes about rape by the employers. We had to literally perform stealth breakouts and smuggle the women to lawyers. I got beat up by police while stopping a woman being violently evicted from her tent. I worked with women coerced by their boyfriends into holding drugs who were serving long sentences, people brutalized and surveilled by police, etc. For most of my life until now I had no money because it went into this work. Now I have a job that pays more and I’m putting a young person through law school who spent their childhood in a migrant facility. I don’t say this to pretend I’m a saint - I say it just to say I have given my life to this work and sacrificed in real ways for it (all of which I would do a million times over.)

I cannot tell you the rape and death threats I got and get from men for speaking out about these issues and issues of racism. And of course the threats and intimidation from authorities. The violence has been real.

And now, because some of these issues have become more popular, I have people telling me I’m an “SJW” and “woke” and sneering about Twitter activism, etc. People dismissing discussions about state violence because “save me from the authoritarian woke.” People diminishing the real work and sacrifices of women in these movements as woketivism. I’ve been quoted in articles about things like conditions in migrant facilities or police and had the comment section be like “yawn, another woke idiot,” etc.

Do I have issues with how some of our young people approach activism? Yes. I’m not that old - in my mid-30s. But I also remember older people sneering at me and calling me radical and crazy - the same people now getting money on the same issues they used to dismiss. I got shouted down in meetings talking about police violence and harassed in my own community, etc. And nevermind when I started talking about sexual assault and patriarchy in our own homes and families. And that was all treated exactly how people respond now - that it was extreme, crazy, ridiculous, why can’t we just work in the system, why do you have to disrupt the meeting, why are you like this, why can’t you be quiet, shut up b——I’ll put a d—-in your mouth, etc.

So I don’t think it’s very helpful to dismiss so many real issues by buying into the idea that all critical discourse on oppression is “woke” and silly.

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IfNot · 30/11/2021 14:35

Huge respect for your work HazelCarbyFan. I’m not an academic and I don’t really understand what critical theory is, or why FWR is so against it ( will read up when I have time) but I don’t think that checking our actions and weeding out racism and bigotry in any movement is anything but the decent thing to do.
And I am not so sure about this:

That's actually far removed from how common interest groups dedicated to the big social problems used to work - accepting that we all have different views on other things, acknowledging our differences and putting them aside in order to focus on the common goal. That's not easy, but it is necessary.

All political movements have had factions, in-fighting, people with wildly different philosophies and they always will. I am 100% committed to women’s rights and 100% open about my stance in real life, unlike so many women on here. I am fearless about what I believe but that doesn’t mean that anyone who agrees with me on certain issues can do no wrong. No sacred castes, right??

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HazelCarbyFan · 30/11/2021 14:49

And one last thing - I actually had friends at the University of Toronto when Peterson fandom was at its height and the things Black women went through on that campus were awful. They held a town hall meeting about racial incidents on campus and the White students showed up hours before on purpose, took up all the seats so the Black students had to sit on the floor and then mocked them and told the women things like they were a maid and sit at my feet, etc. Black women involved in racial activism were getting followed across campus by White guys who felt emboldened. I’m not saying JP himself did these things, but there were lots of young men who took license to harass particularly women of colour under this guise of free speech and cancel culture.

I had a friend interview for a job at another university and the department head got so mad when she talked about her research on experiences of racism in the profession that he stormed out in the middle of her interview and screamed at her (this actually showed up in one of those cancel culture on campus articles after students protested about it framed as “maybe he had to leave the room to take a call - you can’t even leave a room these days without being called racist.”)

So I also know there’s often another side to the whole “woke snowflakes on campus” stories. I know real women who went through these things, and then if they responded in any way, they got accused of stifling discourse or being totalitarians if they didn’t want to hear racial slurs in class or something else awful. It’s often much more of a story than is presented.

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CharlieParley · 30/11/2021 15:17

All political movements have had factions, in-fighting, people with wildly different philosophies and they always will. I am 100% committed to women’s rights and 100% open about my stance in real life, unlike so many women on here. I am fearless about what I believe but that doesn’t mean that anyone who agrees with me on certain issues can do no wrong. No sacred castes, right??

We are in complete agreement on that. There is a necessity to address misconduct (for want of a better word) in any political group, and that is both often very difficult for the victims of that misconduct and vital for a movement, because they can and do fall apart if this doesn't happen and the misconduct becomes widespread because of inaction.

That is not what is happening in many movements now though. It's "implicit bias", "micro-aggressions", arguments about language, "safe spaces" policies that make discourse impossible. Accusations of privilege that ignore class, poverty or other social issues, purity spirals and so on.

That's what is not healthy in my view. And as we've seen with the stories shared by detransitioners, the latter patterns of the insisted upon critical self-reflection can serve to cover up serious misconduct.

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AlfonsoTheUnrepentant · 30/11/2021 15:18

@LondonWolf

Please stop using this term in this way.

No.

It was embraced happily and pridefully initially. Now it’s being used by onlookers to indicate a damaging ideology and a certain type of person who engages in cult like behaviours and now you don’t like it anymore. More language changes in order to assist the ushering in the aforementioned cult.

No, I will continue to use it in the scornful way it deserves to be.

Thank you.

I don't need my language policed, thanks. If a poster doesn't like the language on this thread, they can either: find another thread to language police or accept that they don't control how other people speak.
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foxgoosefinch · 30/11/2021 15:30

@HazelCarbyFan - I really appreciate your points. I think the problem is that mostly on here / FWR, posters are generally using “woke” to mean precisely the kind of white students who aren’t doing that kind of social justice work, but instead, think progressive politics is all about language policing, pronouns, no platforming and signing Twitter petitions. These are the very kids who are dismissing real activism and calling themselves “intersectional” whilst being in reality nothin of the sort. In that context, “woke” is used to mean a kind of fake activism, one which actually unthinkingly often perpetuates sexism and racism even as it seems to be shouting against it.

But I fully agree that the Daily Mail reader types just take “woke” to mean any leftist type of person so that they can conveniently rail against all kinds of progressive politics, be racist and sexist with impunity, etc. So in that sense it’s unhelpful.

But there is a need for some kind of term, as pp say, to designate the fake liberal kind of keyboard warrior student type Twitter/Tumblr politics, which is smug and self-aggrandising, but often doing the very opposite of what it claims.

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foxgoosefinch · 30/11/2021 15:31

*nothing, sorry for typos, clumsy fingers!

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Shedmistress · 30/11/2021 16:02

They held a town hall meeting about racial incidents on campus and the White students showed up hours before on purpose, took up all the seats so the Black students had to sit on the floor and then mocked them and told the women things like they were a maid and sit at my feet, etc

Yes, these are the people who think they are 'woke' because they went to a meeting about racial issues. These are the people who will issue you death and tape threats if you don't centre men when you talk about women and will call you transphobic for only getting women out of terrible situations.

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