So this week I've spent a fair wad of time and energy doing battle over on the Feministing thread of doom. Meloukhia's open letter kicked up a storm of articulate anger, frustration and indignation, perhaps a tipping point in the long history of resistance from people like Anna, Annaham (who I think actually has another home on the intertubes, but I've lost track of it!), Amandaw, Chally and a fair few others. I've cosigned the letter over there, and am hoping to find time for a post about it...

But for now, I wanted to gesture towards some of the vitriol that gets directed at those PWD who expect to be treated as, y'know, actual hoooman beings. Amandaw's post about what she expected from Feministing, about what would be 'enough', about the fact that a pat on the head was not going to be enough, got responded to by someone with just enough philosophical knowledge to display her incredible ignorance and hatred. Oh, and btw, it's not just PWD who get this treatment, but 'ugly lesbians' too. Stop resenting, everyone! Be nice! Be good! Be virtuous as fuck! Don't resist, be submissive! Be quarantined til you die (no exagerration, she said that). Be *pretty*! Oh, and don't be relativist, even when the history of beauty indicates that the concept has *always* been relative... [snort]

You know it. I commented. Here's what I said, because I have a funny feeling that she's not going to approve me, and because Amandaw was curious:

"Wow. This is so extremely offensive.

You know what? For the most part, PWD *are* quarantined. They are excluded from much of the possibility of a social life. They are excluded from the possibility of participating in politics. They are killed, raped, beaten and abused in an extraordinary variety of ways. You just contributed to that world, and suggested that the expectation that PWD don’t get killed, raped, beaten and abused is asking too much of people. Nice one.

Do you even get how utterly, utterly unbelievably unjust it is to reduce rebellion against oppression to ressentiment? You also might want to spend some time with some more contemporary critiques of concepts of ressentiment. I recommend Wendy Brown for some eye-opening."



I've been thinking a lot of late about how childhood is thought about in contemporary culture. My thoughts go in a thousand directions, including the erasure of childhood sexuality (and the parallels between the discursive construction of child sex abuse and rape of women, but that's a story for another time), the use made of the 'purity' of childhood in contemporary politics, and, related to all of these, the way that parenting is 'supposed' to work, these days.

I've been reading, most recently, Jo Tamar's take on perceptions of medical risk and birth, as well as Helen's consideration of risks men take and risks women take, as well as Lauredhel's interesting analysis of the obscuring of the safety of home birth in stats. But what I wanted to talk about here was the bizarre way that normalcy and good parenting go together. And all of this is of course related to Ariane's comment on my post over here, which I've been turning over and over in my head, trying to work out how to express my position.

Moar here! )



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wildlyparenthetical

October 2009

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