Hey y’all, we are going to be doing a series on terms you should know! Things like, what or who is a TERF? What does white fragility really mean? Or, why am I getting such bad side eye because I’m using the dictionary definition of racism? This week we’ll be talking about TERFs, Intersectionality, white feminism, dead names and doxxing.
These terms cover complex issues the explanations given here do not and cannot cover the entirety of the concepts they describe. These are not complete definitions but are meant to serve as an entry into the conversations that surround them. There are many more terms and ideas we should be interrogating, hopefully this is a good start.
The dictionary definition of intersectionality is: “the interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, and gender as they apply to a given individual or group, regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage.”
For people who inhabit more than one marginalized identity, these pieces are layered and not separated from each other. This means that discourse need to also be intersectional in order to be an accurate portrayal of the variance of marginalized identity. For example fighting for women’s rights needs to include, women of color, disabled women, gay women, trans women, incarcerated women, immigrant women, all women and not just the stereotypical woman who tends to be portrayed as white, cis, thin, hetorosexual, middle/ upper middle class, mentally and physically able etc. A lack of intersectionality can be seen in ways such as a white feminist supporting “women’s rights” but not supporting the fight against anti-Blackness, and in effect not supporting Black women. For people with intersecting marginal identities we do not get to pick and choose what cause is important for us because we experience them all at the same time.
The only truly productive type of feminism/class analysis/race analysis is intersectional.
White feminism is feminism that focuses on white woman above other people. These are the people who talk about feminist issues but ignore race’s importance, class analysis etc. in feminist discourse. An example of this could be someone who supports a feminist business but ignores the gentrification it’s helping propel or causing, gentrification being something that overwhelmingly impacts people and women of color. Another example would be people who celebrate the growing number of women in politics without acknowledging how overwhelming white the representatives are.
TERF is a a acronym for, trans exclusionary radical feminist, TERFs use feminism as a cover to propagate anti-trans bigotry and exclude trans people especially women from discourse . Terfs do not respect trans peoples some going as far as to doxx harass, threaten violence and actually physically harm trans people. Personally I believe terfs are a hate group and their discourse has no place in feminist discourse. Some TERFs consider the acronym a slur which is so ridiculous it’s hard to comprehend. The thing is you do not get to tell people who they are based on genitals that are none of your business and walk around calling yourself a feminist when what you support is just blatant transphobia.
A dead name is a name a person doesn’t use anymore. This name is dead to this person. Do not dead name someone. Do not call them this. Do not introduce them as this. Do not go through their old things to try and find it if you don’t know it. Do not pressure someone to tell you their dead name. Do not tell other people their dead name unless you’ve been explicitly told you can. Not everyone cares about people knowing their dead name but some people do and so it’s generally just a good rule not to. Do not say well i’ve know you as… forever so i’m just going to keep calling you that. That’s a really really awful thing to do to somebody and shows that you do not respect them and their own autonomy as a person. Use the name people want you to use for them. This is not a “preferred” name this IS their name.
Doxxing is a mutation of the word “docs”, and refers to the gathering of personal and identifying information about people and then releasing it to the public. Doxxing is often done with the intent to either cause harm or violence to whoever is being targeted. but it is also sometimes used to expose someone who could be dangerous or is doing something ethically wrong that has been previously obfuscated.
Doxxing is something that was experienced by some students/staff last year at Evergreen after the protest, this resulted in people receiving threats of death and sexual assault. Doxxing is also what got all those neo-Nazis fired after the Charlottesville rally when the internet took it upon itself to identify and make sure these people were punished for their vile actions.
And that’s all for this week folx.
(POC Talk will continue next issue, in which I ”regurgitate” more “snowflake” rhetoric. Love ya’ll)