Over the past week, Courtney from Feministing was taken to task for what some viewed as a privilege blind post where she mentioned what her life looked like for those who were interested. She posted what, in my eyes, was a very well thought out follow up post and was still taken to task for not elaborating how she handles her privilege in the real world. I felt defensive for Courtney, mostly because I hold many of the same privileges she does. I came from a white, upper-middle class family. I had both college and graduate school paid for by my parents, was lucky enough to find a full-time job relatively soon after graduating, can afford a duplex with two dogs and have free time to consider blogging a hobby as well as playing Animal Crossing on my Wii. To say I have privilege is quite the understatement of the year.
I believe blogging is important work and I believe that it helps get the word out to those who have never heard of feminism or wouldn’t even know where to look to find feminist movements and organizations to join. However, every single one of us has some privilege. It’s easy to call someone out for not wording things correctly in a post, or not acknowledging one’s privilege (and I believe that should be done.) But still, if you’re writing a blog or even commenting on one there is definitely some privilege going on. I mean you have the time and/or the resources to spend on the Internet looking up feminist blogs. You have the free time (or work time) to follow conversations and research links to make your point when some MRA fool comes trolling. However, there are plenty of people who have less privilege out there that can give two shits if too feminists are arguing over a blog post because that’s not their world, that is not what they deal with on a daily basis and to them I can imagine we sometimes seem silly. Arguing over a world they don’t have the time or energy to be concerned with because they are trying to make ends meet, or live in an area where internet access is not readily available, or are dealing with much more trying issues.
That is why; I have to make sure I’m not just an ally in the blogging world. Sure it may give me feminist blogging cred and get me linked to some of the bigger sites, but none of that means shit if I’m not walking the talk when I’m out there in the real world. It means more than shaking my head an unearned privilege and then blogging about it later. It means calling people out even if it makes me uncomfortable or can affect MY life because not saying something is more damaging. It means when I hear slut shaming at my work I speak up, it means when I hear about people complaining that a handicap person using our facilities make things more difficult I remind them that their inconvenience is mild and they should check themselves. I’m working on it but I’m not perfect and there are times when I probably hide behind my privilege that needs to stop. It means that when this blogging drama raises it’s head I can remember that, like someone said on Feminste:
The hilarious thing to me about this whole argument, is that we’re probably all a bunch of white folk arguing about who is more racist. Maybe we’re not the best people to decide this argument.”