This post is a Live Blog of a Guardian Live blog….contained in a link in a post about a Guardian Live Blog….
There was a New Statesman article about a year ago, about a young girl in France who had been sexually exploited in largely the same way as the girls I have previously talked about in Bradford or Keighley. The way that gender, class and inequality intersect is brutal it said, as it explained THIS was what was meant by intersectionality and talked about the control that was used to repeatedly allow a neighbourhood of boys to brutally rape her.
The older UK women finding they are now to be evicted from homes they have had their whole lives and the British women forced to stay in abusive relationships, often with children, for fear of being abused by the state, the middle class women who just found that the state rolled back and ensured their lives are now caring for others unpaid and invisible. The women watching their sons criminalised by poverty, and unemployment being almost guaranteed for both them and their sons and daughters, as race cruelly intersects with gender to close doors and destroy lives. The women whose disabilities combine with all these things to ensure they are silenced as routine. The women with HIV being hunted and demonised so they can be hurt or left to die, in Greece. These are the women who paid when gender inequality was exploited to agreement for austerity which is the centre position in western politics.
Austerity first removed financial independence from British working class women to silence, decimated their labour market and finally removed legal aid so women were dependent on men, and their children could be used to maintain that. The girls in Keighley, everyone is so outraged about, the first to lose any services when austerity was decided and their ‘industry’ seeing an expansion in the bodies of children and young women. We see it in India with the culture of rape and violence keeping women down from birth, we see it in the countries where children are forced to marry their rapists or forced to continue pregnancies they cannot physically bear, and we see it in Steubenville where a rape victim was treated as the guilty party as her attackers laughed across the internet. This is the reason global poverty has a female face and provides so much exploitable cheap labour and why mothers worldwide act as shock absorbers of poverty.
This is ALL because the structures of power globally, nationally and within the society that governs individual lives, the political cultures, the media class left and right, or their equivalents, are indifferent and have always been indifferent to these women. They are just too common, not important, should have made better ‘choices’.
I warned two years ago that inequality faultlines have been blown apart by austerity and there was going to be some comeback to a mainstream and ‘radical’ media class indifferent to it. It’s complicated but it really isn’t.
This intersection, how race, class, gender, sexuality, age, geography, identity, combine with the intersection of policy from an indifferent political class, and with the intersection of the economic inequality our system requires, all comes down on women’s lives brutally.
Intersection was the word that signified that things would now be changing and the discussion would move on. Move on to include the trans women who fight every day for basic safety, dignity and lives. All women, or none. With all their differences.
No more feminism as a discussion of which women can join the white posh club f they are polite and do not offend newspaper columnists with 5 and 6 figure salaries who believe feminism is about them discussing choices women without choices ‘should’ make. No more feminism hostile to mothers and carers and those who decorate their genitals with diamante. No more women as sex workers finding they are rejected by their feminist sisters. Old ineffective feminism rejected so these women could come to the fore. No more feminism you can only access with a post graduate degree and a 100quid a month to pay to the rereleased Spare Rib to be in their club.
This threatened our non too bright and less than insightful vanguard of modern obsolete feminists and a misogynist left who felt threatened turned it into a new term they could use to bully and silence women. So far a long list of female journalists have been abused with that term, and the same vanguard who ensured that austerity came together in brutal and intersecting ways for women across the country have turned it into a term so internet bullies could ‘call out’ and preserve their own position. The same bullies who silence women in the name of any term they happen to learn that week. Radical chic for women who think feminism is about who they fuck and the absence of words they like in ad copy.
Our modern self defining feminists believe intersectionality is one of two things, an excuse to bully women and maintain a position and establish a writing career, or a reason to whine that their feelings are hurt. It isn’t.
It is a sign their day is over.
Your feminism failed. We want to talk about equality and why it is modern feminism so routinely stands in the way of discussing it. Intersectionality is important, the word is not.
I remember the day I joined twitter. Stephen Fry had been talking about it, and as someone who had always used the internet and gone from forums, to baby groups to facebook, I liked it. I wanted to stalk Stephen Fry, my first tweet was about a hot cross bun I ate, after I lit the fire in my living room. I hated that fire.
I knew it was odd when I was followed by about 300 journalists, having never met a journalist.
I began to understand that the people I was talking to about everything from fashion to politics were not like me, were not from the places I was from, and that my perspective was one they had not come across and vice versa.
Someone educated about politics by an understanding of 30 years intersecting policy failure has a different understanding to those who live in our Westminster focused bubble. I always knew I was using twitter to talk to people, and even when Gaby Hinsliff asked for my first piece of writing, and even when I was earning pin money by occasionally submitting to the Guardian I knew it was just a tool to talk to people. Eventually they, and I, realised the implications of our differing perspectives on things as people around me paid for their blindness.
A culture not used to the internet, or talking to people outside their bubble seemed to believe this was a new media, because they had never overheard the voices they broadcast to or impose values and policy on. By the time my twitter account had a couple of thousand followers, many of those types confused me with media and I became a target for that reason. I bollocked one labour guppy after he bragged about how competitive he was, when I realised he had felt he was in competition with me. We were not even swimming in the same pond, never mind competing for position. I was still using twitter to talk to people.
I eventually abandoned that first twitter account, after a twitter I had no desire to be part of had engulfed it and moved to an account where I could talk to people. Which was what I used twitter for all along. In that time I saw the dynamics within the social network that is masquerading as our political media culture, and in that time they began to panic about their first forays beyond their sealed industry walls.
Gradually they began to realise that as a class, they had moved into a chatroom and misunderstood the situation, while we realised for the first time, we had access to those whose power was being used to decimate our lives. Our political media class.
Now the talk is of social media regulation. The word media was always wishful thinking by an established media facing the truth of being unable to transmit a message to people who can answer back, twitter is a social tool. A tool to talk to people. Now the behaviour of that culture and it’s radical fringes is being used as the basis for discussions around whether our conversations with each other should be regulated by the government.
I am sat here eating porridge, procrastinating about housework, and watching television, using twitter as I always have. To talk to those people I want to talk to. To increase my understand of things and to pass the time of day.
There are two twitters. One where you talk to people and one the media watch. One has value the other does not. I get to have a conversation with people from all walks of life from finance, to the town where I live. I’ll be doing that for a lot longer than the twitter bubble the media see, stays inflated. Oh shit, did it already pop?
Less texture than cat litter.