Tuesday, August 13, 2013
The Break Up I Didn't See Coming and the One That I Did
In H IS FOR HUBRIS, HUGO; S IS FOR SORDID, SCHWYZER, Flavia Dzodan sums up the latest exposé of the acclaimed writer and professional male feminist Hugo Schwyzer (who recently blamed feminist critiques for his mental breakdown and decision to stop writing about feminist issues) and addresses who should be taking responsibility for the damage that Schwyzer was put into a position to be able to inflict on marginalized women.
"Herein lies another problem with this toxic media environment that supposedly represents feminism: if you protest too loudly or not using the right platitudes or if you go after the gate keepers, you can forget to be included. You can forget mainstream gigs, book deals, mentions, promotion. You become “a loose cannon” (something he apparently called me for writing about him)."
I remember the pain of experiencing this. It seems that suddenly, after a lifetime of seeing your issues ignored, the white women who are supposedly your "sisters" are finally interested in the way their behavior marginalizes us. It felt like a real honor for these mainstream white feminist sites to be interested in giving me the opportunity to write about disability culture, my perspective as an Indigenous American woman, and being queer in these communities.
Then, one day, I questioned the behavior of one these privileged editors and suddenly the ableism appeared and I was too "unstable" and the racism reared its head and I was labeled too "hostile" and then came the silence. All of a sudden, the links stopped. There were no more casual mentions in their posts--the subtle way that prominent white feminist writers signal to their readers which smaller blogs are worth checking out.
It becomes apparent that this is all just an extension of high school for them. And every cheer leading squad has to have a few virile white studs to fawn over. Schwyzer represented that for them. They defended him, because he represented the identity that enforces the hierarchy that centers the experiences of white, western, non-disabled women above everything other than white, western, non-disabled men. It was only natural for them to remain loyal to him even as he shit on women of color, women with disabilities. He makes it possible for them to shit on us, too. As hip and cool as it seems to be a "friend of the the blacks" or someone who sympathizes with the poor cripples, it isn't worth sacrificing the perks of white privilege.