Real equality between men and women, and an end to sexism, would transform the political, social, and economic landscapes. It challenges ideas about sex and gender that many people regard as fundamental, “scientific” truths. And, a real woman’s movement, involving every different sort of woman regardless of age, race, ability, class, sexuality and sexual orientation, gender performance and appearance, religion, etc. would also pose a grave challenge to the other oppressive structures of our society. This, to me, is what feminism is really all about.
I wrote that this week for a paper in women’s studies, and I stand by it fully. Therefore, I am co-signing this letter from meloukhia:
I’ve been reading you guys for a while now. I haven’t always liked everything you do or say, but I think that you bring some important issues to my attention and sometimes some good conversations happen on your website.
But, you know, in recent months I’ve become increasingly disturbed by the exclusionary language and attitudes I see on your site, most particularly in reference to people with disabilities and people in lower social classes. You have a pretty poor track record on even covering disability issues, and the casual ableism which I see in your comment threads and sometimes in your very posts is extremely grating. It is especially irritating to see dismissive responses from site administrators when this issue is brought up.
Today’s post on chivalry was the last straw. Courtney used the line “If having my car door opened makes me feel like lover man thinks I’m an invalid, not so feminist.” This is offensive.
I’d like to point you to a piece I wrote recently, “Why Inclusionary Language Matters,” because I think you need to read it. Using ableist language is not just offensive, it’s antifeminist. And I would really appreciate it if y’all would stop doing it and stop tolerating it in your comment threads. I would also love to see y’all including more posts talking about topics related to disability and disability issues.
Please address this. Feminism includes people with disabilities. Disability is a feminist issue. Please make Feministing more inclusionary.
s.e. smith/meloukhia (meloukhia at gmail dot com)