TW: violence, rape, Hugo Schwyzer
Also, I just… I’m amazed that all the interview has to say about Hugo Schwyzer’s failed murder is that it happened and he can’t talk about it “for obvious legal reasons”.
You know what? Any interviewer who doesn’t ask him about that is not conducting a legitimate interview. When you acknowledge that you’re talking to an attempted murderer and then you brush past that to ask him if he thinks women should trust him, you are not a journalist conducting an interview, you are a public relations consultant doing pro bono work.
This is the second piece on Hugo Schwyzer this week that’s taken a “teach the controversy”/”fair and balanced” approach to dealing with him and as long as they keep generating page hits I imagine we’ll be seeing many more like them, but let’s be very clear about something: when you’re communicating with a man who slept with students he was supposed to be chaperoning, who has committed gendered acts of partner violence up to and including attempted murder, who has admitted to “having sex his partner didn’t want to have” (we actually have a much shorter way of saying that, and I’d think any feminist thinker would know what it is) and you’re asking him what he thinks about the role of men in feminism there is something deeply wrong with the scenario.
That’s like asking Charles Manson if he sees room for himself in youth counseling or home security… oh, and don’t ask him about any crimes because he obviously couldn’t comment on them.
I don’t know if either of the interviewers consider themselves feminists and I don’t even know if they consider themselves to be journalists, but… ugh.
Lesley Kinzel, at least, isn’t a journalist at all. She started out as an FA blogger, and then started writing more broadly (pun not intended). She’s done some really problematic stuff in the past, too. I used to really enjoy her work, but then she put up a piece on xoJane that used “lady-born-lady” for cis women, repeatedly. I called her on it on Twitter, and she insisted she was going to keep using it because her trans friends told her that “cisgender” made cis people feel like special snowflakes, or something.
I was discussing this with others on Twitter last night, and someone said she didn’t identify as feminist at all, because she had issues with the movement, but she’s replicating a lot of those issues in her own work. So. Take that for what it’s worth.
I don’t know who the other interviewer might be, the piece I saw only had Kinzel’s name on it, so I can’t say anything about that. But I no longer read Kinzel’s work myself. Just too frustrating.
I dug out my dusty old Tumblr password just to respond to this, as I feel like I’m being seriously misrepresented here. I used “ladyborn” sarcastically in a post about a heavily transphobic tampon commercial earlier this year, specifically as a snarky reference to unacceptable “womyn born womyn” bullshit — the idea was to portray the character of the cis woman in the ad as a trans-hating asshole, because frankly that’s how she came across.
I was not and would NEVER use “lady-born lady” or any amalgam thereof in a serious manner, let alone “insist upon” continuing to use it. I sincerely regret any misunderstanding that might have resulted by my failed attempt to make fun of the transphobia in the ad.
I do remember having a brief conversation on Twitter about when to use “cisgender” — I do use the term when appropriate — and I might have mentioned conversations I’ve had with a few trans folks who dislike it. Anyone who’s talked to me about gender will tell you I have no problem using the word though.
Just wanted to speak up for myself since these are issues I take extremely seriously.
Uh-huh. Here, again, is the piece in which you used it. It’s a pretty good take-down of the problems of the ad, but no matter what reason you used “ladyborn lady,” it’s a really fucked-up term, and since you were already describing the behavior of the woman in the ad, using it wasn’t at all necessary to show that she was being an asshole.
If I could, I’d post the twitter conversation, but there’s good way to get to it that fat back.
AndIam someone who’s had a conversation with you about gender. You told me that you weren’t going to use it. And it is always appropriate to use cis or cisgender in any context that trans is used.
I really liked your work before that incident, and I was really disappointed in the way you handled that discussion.
And why DID you feel it necessary to interview Schwyzer?
If I said that I wouldn’t use cisgender, I do apologize. I have no idea what I was talking about. I use cisgender all the time so I must have been communicating really badly, or just not thinking clearly, or something.
The Hugo Schwyzer interview happened as a response to the huge backlash against the tampon post he published on xoJane. We decided that the controversy had to be addressed, as ignoring it would have been a disservice to the community. I was the person best suited to the task. That’s it.
(I’m signing off for tonight; followup questions are best directed to my email or even Twitter — where I promise to try to communicate better! — as I have a real loathing for Tumblr so I may not see additional reblogs.)