i spent a few moments looking into
April 13, 2013
I’m not going to get into the substance of the entire thing, because frankly, i don’t really give a fuck.[1. people interested in a breakdown of everything should read this comprehensive critique and history for context]
I was curious, though, to see what or how Janet Mock’s wonderful contribution to the online space that #girlslikeus have.
Imagine my surprise to see it as framed as a wholly feminist success. Or, rather, as a product of feminism. Now, I can’t even recall from my interactions with Janet Mock on twitter, whether or not she IDs as a feminist. Or whether or not she views her work with advocating for #girlslikeus as part of feminism.
But this is the point: I don’t know(and certianly her bio doesn’t ID her as a feminist). And, I’m fairly certain that if I don’t know, how did the people writing that report know?
And, yes, Janet Mock is doing wonderful things for women. The creation of the #girlslikeus space was necessary and has been great.
It strikes me as…
less than desirable, though, to see her accomplishment framed in a report already being criticized for how it is exploiting the labour and work of women of colour.
Worse is the general hegemonic and colonial aspects that flavour this sort of use of the work of a Black trans woman. One of the biggest problems I have with feminist discourse is how it is a hegemonic, colonial discourse. It chooses to subsume any and all great work by women as ‘feminist’, regardless of whether or not the people involved are actually feminist. It frames any and all triumphs of women as feminist. It tells women that they must be feminist, otherwise women cannot be free. It frames itself as the only possible path to freedom.
And it makes me wonder.
Since they clearly use Janet Mock’s work for their report as an example of ‘online feminism’, how many of the feminists involved with this report are explicitly working with Janet Mock in her advocacy work for trans women? What are they doing to actually support her?