Feminism: Helen Lewis Defending Privilege

Actual quote from Helen Lewis' recent tumblr post on language:
What if two women have different opinions on whether something is sexist? Or, harder, what if one gay person finds a phrase homophobic and the vast majority of their non-gay friends don’t?

[emphasis mine.]

Helen Lewis identifies as a feminist. There are additionally some notable and very public feminists defending her article -- which basically boils down to "Intersectionality is hard, so I'm not even gonna try" -- on Twitter and claiming that Lewis has been persecuted by people having the temerity to speak up on all the ways this article is a steaming pile of privileged. Because marginalized people aren't supposed to voice opinions, and when they do it's oppression. Par for the course.

There are already some upcoming posts scheduled on this blog about feminism and intersectionality and how a lot of feminists fail at it and why a lot of people choose not to identify as feminists because of this contextual history and how we should respond when feminists fuck up. I'd written these posts before this Lewis article went up and they are not in response to her. But I'd like to ask everyone to keep today's quote-of-the-day in mind as we talk about these issues because Feminists Behaving Badly is a thing and it's a thing we need to be aware of.

And in answer to the above, Helen Lewis, if a gay person thinks something is homophobic, it doesn't matter if every straight person in the world tells you otherwise; you should probably listen to the gay person who has actual lived experience with homophobia in a way that most straight people do not. And I sort of suspect that if you'd bothered to think about the issue beyond your personal privilege of Being Able To Say Homophobic, Ableist, and Racist Shit -- what if a woman finds a phrase sexist, but the vast majority of her male friends don't?, etc. -- for even a nanosecond, you'd have realized that already.


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