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In Real Life

February 1, 2010

It astounds me that some women note the difference in online discourses of oppression and “real-life” discussions of same, and then express a preference for the constraints prohibiting the frank analysis of oppressed people’s lot in “real-life” conversations.  It really blows my mind.  There are a couple of assumptions underlying such a reactionary stance, and I’d like to examine the mindset necessary to hold such a preference.  The first is that the only life that is “real” is the life restricted by the etiquette of white male supremacy.  And the second, which follows from this (false) distinction between “real life” and internet discourse, is that facets of oppression and/or analyses of those facets which are not discussed in “real life” simply do not (and should not) matter to anyone, since they are “unreal.”

Now, I, for one, certainly never took the lack of frank discussion in “real life” to be evidence that the online discourse of oppression, especially radical feminist analyses, references a different set of circumstances than “real-life” experiences; that is to say that I don’t find that the distinction between “real life” and online discourse has as its basis anything factual.  The insistence upon the (false) distinction relies on the acceptance of male-definitions and male-perceptions of reality as truth – in other words, adherence to the dominant ideology, the dominant ideology being the one that arises out of and perpetuates the dominance of those currently in power.  I want to emphasize that adherents to the dominant ideology are not simply choosing their beliefs from among a number of equally possible and equally powerful sets of beliefs.  The existence of a dominant ideology automatically implies the suppression of the ideologies of the oppressed.

The internet, then, is a potential site for the encouragement and development of ideologies born out of the acute awareness of our oppression, in opposition to the reigning belief system which obscures it.  It provides a forum where the oppressed can enumerate our grievances to the full extent of our capacity to perceive them, and in minute detail, the likes of which is persecuted in men’s world.   I mean, should it come as any surprise that oppressed people tend not to point out every single manifestation of white male supremacy while in the physical presence of the white male supremacists who are their bosses and coworkers?  It would be nice if those white male supremacists extolling their preference for the niceties and politeness of “real world” interactions with those beneath them in the hierarchy would consider what the “courtesy” and seeming contentment the black women, poor women, and disabled women display in their presence says about their own position of privilege in society, rather than assuming it says anything at all about how satisfied the oppressed are with their lot offline.

8 Comments
  1. February 1, 2010 10:09 am

    This post is completely brilliant. It just zinged through my brain, hitting all the right spots. I wish I had something substantial to add, but once again, words fail me. Just, this is totally it.

  2. February 1, 2010 5:34 pm

    The thing is, it is such catastrophic entitlement. These people who demand (through whining about) that people play nice or take care or discuss other topics instead of nasty old oppression are desiring to perpetuate the status quo. They don’t want no buzz kill. Even when they are in complete control of what they are reading, as you know, they could always not read, no one is making them read. That is how fucking entitled they feel. Although they don’t have to read you, they expect you to make what you say appeasing just in case they do happen to fart in your direction. Everyone in real life kisses their asses and treat them as if they are the fucking King/Queen of the ever land so why in the fuck don’t you. Don’t you see? Something must be wrong with your defective ass.

    The following is how an entitled ass on the internet sounds:

    I get tired of all the wailing about privilege. It exists, we all have different variants of it, for example, I don’t have Donald Trump’s wealth but I am privileged over the poor homeless woman on the street who is subjected to rape and starvation. Why do we have to talk about the poor homeless woman on the street, goddamnit I don’t have what Donald Trump has, if you insist on talking about suffering, let’s talk about that! Internet feminism is weird, I swear the Internet is filled with women who write as feminists, magically turn into lesbians because everyone knows I am the only person who can see into computers and determine who is and is not a lesbian, and seem to struggle with jobs and even basic issues about money, like not having enough, because all it takes is to demand money and it will magically appear, oh, and not have a soul and not worry about taking other people’s money and losing it while safeguarding your own fees, hey, that’s how the game is played, suckers! Get mad at all women who don’t buy into the “poor meism” rampant in internet feminism. When I read internet feminism, I expect them to validate my self-worth by telling me that everything I do and say is the right thing. How dare they say things that make my head feel all squeezed and conflicted. I cannot bother to think about other women when there is money to be stolen, I mean made. Cigars and brandy all the way, baby!

    Then the howling over racism and classism seems, well just plain weird compared to real life relationships with people day in and day out. I mean, what is the big deal. If you hang out with other rich and white women as I do, you know, hang out with your own kind, then you will not have to worry about racism and classism. So what, some black woman is called a nigger and another one poor white trash and/or nigger trash or simply as I like to call them, my domestic help. SO WHAT! What is the big deal. Just have my fucking dinner ready on time and have my toilets scrubbed. “Booo hoooooo hooo, the bleach in the toilet is making my chest hurt and I am coughing up blood.” “Boo hooo, I want Christmas off to see my children….” Well, do you know how I had to endure forgoing a future client who I could squeeze every dime out of because I was expected to have lunch with the old client that I squeezed every dime out of already. Sheesh. Let’s talk about oppression by feeling sorry for me! Until I am equal to the richest men, no one in real life or on the internet should be concentrating on anything else, EVER!

    Do I learn anything through these blogs that advances my life? Actually, I don’t think so. No, make that hell fucking no. I don’t learn a god dam thing. I already knew the domestic help were a bunch of whiners and everyone just wants to hate on me, I didn’t need the internet to confirm that fact. If anything the overly negative reality feminism on the Internet depresses me, compared to the vibrant women I meet in real life who kiss my white ass and never fail to kiss my ring.

    Don’t go in for beating myself up and saying I’m the number one most meanest stupidest racist, classist, ableist, capitalist, woman-hater on the face of the earth. No, never. If I owned my privilege, I would have to admit how many women suffer in order for me to have the life I deserve for being born, me! Hell-fucking-no, I am not going to give that shit up. Would a man give that type of life up? Didn’t think so! Everyone knows what men do and how men act is the only way to go with the whole feminism thing. Goddamn why can’t those fucking internet feminists be more like me?

    • atheistwoman permalink
      February 2, 2010 2:49 am

      my domestic help

      Oh Kitty, you are so funny!

  3. soulsistasoulja permalink
    February 1, 2010 6:54 pm

    (((Kitty!!)))

    Tell it like it is, girl.

  4. February 2, 2010 1:17 am

    Oh my god, Kitty, that woman. I can’t stomach reading her, but I’m glad that you hold her comments up to the light so that women can see them for what they are instead of buying into her anti-black, anti-poor nonsense.

    I also wanted to note, though, on a completely different topic and about a different woman, that there is a difference between “name-calling” and stating an opinion based on the assessment of a series of conversations. Now, had I called her “a stupid doody-head” or something, or “a loser,” that would have been name-calling. What I did, though, after reading yet another one of her denigrations of online radical feminism (after having spent more time and energy than it was worth trying to explain to her why it’s not cool to promote femininity), was to pose a question. I asked whether it was stupidity or malice that made women ridicule that which they refused to understand. And I stated that in my personal opinion it was stupidity.

    That’s not “name-calling.” It might hurt someone’s feelings, but it’s not calling someone “four-eyes.” Trivializing what actually happened (“someone called me a name!” when what really happened is that someone had read enough of your bullshit femininity-propagandizing to conclude that you were either stupid or malicious) is what’s really high-school.

  5. February 2, 2010 2:02 am

    And, really, what else could possibly be the problem with a person who reads this post and only takes away “OMG!!!! NAME-CALLING!!1!11!!” ?

  6. February 12, 2010 7:46 pm

    that is to say that I don’t find that the distinction between “real life” and online discourse has as its basis anything factual

    Umm, you are kidding, right? You are the one who has repeatedly pointed out that some of these people are likely NOT who they claim they are.

    A preference for the “real”–in my case, is a preference for civility over name-calling. These assholes wouldn’t DARE address me to my face in the vicious manner they feel free to address me online, and that is *also* what I refer to. (Likewise, whites get all “brave” and nervy online and say things they would NEVER DARE say to POC in person.)

    In person, I might ask them to go outside and settle it. They know that.

    Cowards who stir up shit online but do not have the nerve to follow up in person, have skewed the online discourse and made it unnecessarily inflammatory and incendiary. If you wouldn’t say it in person, you shouldn’t say it online. I am actually FAR nicer online… in person, I’d say stuff like “bite me motherfucker.” I try not to look like white trash riff raff online… in person, of course, I can’t hide who and what I am.

    These people will, and do.

    I say, let’s get REAL, folks. 🙂

    • February 13, 2010 3:32 am

      I think that a person who’d lie online – that is, lie outright, not, say, write under a pseudonym and say so – would also lie offline. I’m not sure that folks being liars on- and offline means there are factual differences between online interactions and offline ones.

      What you’re talking about are differences in rhetoric and discourse. And, while I agree that the two “worlds” should converge, I think that it’s the frankness of online interactions that should be brought into the “real” world, not the enforced “politeness” and “etiquette” of white men’s hierarchies that should reign more heavily in online ones. I, for one, would love it if more of these suddenly “brave” white folks would say face-to-face what they don’t hesitate to say online. It’s certainly not as if they aren’t all thinking it, and allowing it to govern their interactions with nonwhite people, anyway.

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