I usually don't drag this kind of topics onto my dA but after all I care for this a lot - so why the hell not?
When I'm not doing artsy stuff or working for university or engage my nerdy hobbies I am reading a lot of blogs and sites about feminism, race problems, LGBT and whatnot. I try my best to educate myself so that I'm (hopefully) not talking all too much bullshit in related discussions.How is this relevant?
You might have heard about the outcry regarding dA's "gender" option recently. When dA v7 was introduced this year, the ability to choose "Unspecified" as a gender option was taken away and even after some fuss the staff refused to reintroduce it again.
A few days ago the issue came up again. It kind of started with this dreamwidth post [link]
was exposing the tactless comments of the dA staff. It has been passed around and apparently dA has gotten lots of angry mails and is finally doing something about it. Hooray! Or is it?
As of now it seems not everyone is happy with the suggestions - can't please everyone I guess? But at least dA staff seems to learn that yes, sex and gender are different things
and no, you shouldn't tell people to gtfo just because they don't fit into your binary gender world view
. I personally don't feel that I'm in the position to suggest what options they should offer to make everyone feel welcomed but if you are one of those people that would need a third option I'm sure dA will appreciate your feedback. At least +spyed
seems to be quite willing to learn more.
Anyway, what is really getting on my nerves however are the many many people who are brushing things off like "Why is this an issue? Who cares about this shit anyway? yadda yadda yadda"
. I realize that there a two causes for this: 1st) lack of education/knowledge, 2nd) acting like a privileged dick.
For #1 I'd recommend reading the linked journal by `mooncalfe
above and Genital Essentialism and Trans Erasure
. This should give you an idea of what this is about.
For #2 Check your privilege! "Check my what?"
It might be a big of a complicated concept at first but once you wrapped your mind around it it makes a lot of sense. Privileges are the little benefits you have when you belong to a majority or other group that is regarded as The Norm™
Privileges intersect, means you can have some and lack others. For example: I am white, female, lower class and straight. I have privileges that work in my favour and I am lacking others. Being white in a country that is mostly white works in my favour cause no one will judge me negatively based on my skin colour. Being female is a disadvantage cause our society still favours men. Being poor lower class is a disadvantage cause I lack financial resources. Being straight is working in my favour cause no one will make weird assumptions when I kiss my boyfriend in public. The list could go on and on.
So what does this mean? This means that when someone who is part of a minority/otherwise non-privileged group is pointing out the injustice that is happening to them AND you are having a knee-jerk reaction like "WHO CARES? GO PUT YOUR BIG GIRL PANTS ON AND CHILL!!111"
this is your privilege speaking. This might not be an issue for you because your privilege was protecting you from ever needing to think about it - but obviously it is a big damn issue for the person you are talking to!
Of course the natural reaction to this is becoming even more defensive. Because after all you are a good person and you'd never be homo-/trans-/whatever-phobic and "IT WASN'T MY INTENTION!! OMG UR SO MEAN!!!"
However what you are doing here is quite the contrary. I'd like to illustrate this with an example:
Imagine you're stepping onto someone's foot. It's an accident. Happens all the time. No big deal. The right thing to do now is to take a step back and apologize.
However, what people who behave like privileged assholes are doing is trying to explain how they didn't mean it
and that it's all not so bad
and will ya just shut up already?!
and why the fuck are you so angry?
and so on - while they are still standing on that person's foot!
So in this situation checking your privilege makes you realize that you are standing on someone's foot and that you should take a step back. If you really didn't mean it then act accordingly!
In the end, what it all comes down to is Wheaton's Law: Don't be a dick!
Pants are an illusion... and so is death!