29 January, 2010

A Note On Language.

Please note my use of gender-neutral language in the following post. I will write about this at length in the future.

A few days ago, I had a brief conversation with a prominent vegan blogger. As a fan of his blog, and a longtime RSS feed-follower, I was disappointed when I came across a post concerning Canada's Fisheries and Oceans Minister Gail Shea having been hit in the face with a pie by an animal rights activist associated with PETA (link to a news report; I will not identify said blogger). In the post, the author described the practice of pie-throwing as 'lame'. I contacted them, explaining my position:

I feel as though the animal rights field is rife with discrimination such as misogyny, ageism, and ableism. Your inclusion of this word falls into the latter category. I don't believe you intended to cause harm, but use of ableist words such as 'lame', no matter how widely-used, does just that. It is my sincere request that you retract the word from the post, and refrain from using it in the future.

In the e-mail, I linked to Meloukia's fantastic takedown of the word 'lame' on FWD/Forward, as it explained my position far more eloquently than I might.

The reply I received was somewhat disheartening. It basically thanked me for my e-mail, and noted that they had read the post I'd linked to, along with indicating that they had done a little research on the origins of the word 'lame'. The author said that they 'didn't know what to tell' me other than that they disagreed, and doubted that we would 'reach agreement on this topic'. The reply finished with the expression that they hoped this would not lose me as a reader.

And that was it.

There was no reason given as to why this writer disagreed with me on the topic. They didn't seem to be familiar with the ableist nature of the word, so perhaps this might have been the first time that someone had called them out on it. The author is, as I mentioned above, somewhat prolific; although I couldn't assume that they are able-bodied, a customary Google search said nothing to the contrary.

Irregardless, though, of whether they are able-bodied or differently-abled, I disagree with their position. My position is as such: we do not live in a vacuum. One cannot divorce a word of its context at will, or ignore it because it is convenient. I constantly hear people trying to minimize the damage harmful words do, and the pain that they cause when attempting to justify their language. These people may try to argue that their 'right' to use these words trumps the valid suffering that these people experience. They may try to say that they're just words, and couldn't possibly do any harm, and that our 'political correctness craze' is going too far. I couldn't disagree more.

Words matter. That's the reason why I'm writing, and it's why you're reading.

By using misogynistic, sexist, ableist, transphobic, homophobic, ageist or speciesist language, you are, in effect, enabling such discrimination and perpetuating the system of elitism the western world operates on. As this is a blog that inspects and criticizes the kyriarchy, I will not permit them. Their usage runs entirely contrary to my values. If you disagree with my viewpoint, I welcome conversation on the issue. However, please note that unwarranted use of this language, particularly in a pejorative manner, will not be tolerated here. I intend for this place to act as a safe space, insofar as is possible, and this is the foundation upon which that space will be constructed.

19 January, 2010

Ladystachette? An Introduction, And An Explanation.

Hi. I'm Ladystachette. I'm a teenage feminist with a penchant for animal rights. Feminism isn't often discussed in the online animal rights sector; likewise, animal rights isn't a topic that seems to concern most in the feminist blogosphere. I intend to write about why both of these beliefs are, contrary to popular opinion, compatible with each other, and why both are so important in the western world.

For those curious about the name, Ladystachette is a moniker pulled from the following passage in this post:

Ladystaches of course, are those little faint moustaches we ladies get that kind of perch on the corner regions of our upper lip. They are not serious, nor are they something to get all obsessed about and start peering at your face in your compact at 45 degree angles in sunlight every chance you get and go create a blog called Ladystachette or anything wild like that. No, no, no.

I forget how I stumbled upon the blog (such places aren't my usual haunts), but the post was front and foremost at the time. Evidently, the term was a joke, but I nonetheless found it an appropriate alias to use in the feminist blogosphere with precisely the right amount of sarcasm. God forbid a woman show off her ladystache with pride, no?

I have considered myself a feminist for a number of years. In the time since that post was written, however, my beliefs concerning non-human animals have become just as important to me. Unfortunately, I have not come across any sites or blogs that hold both these philosophies of equal importance. In my experience, the current western feminist movement is not largely concerned with the welfare of animals. Conversely, the western animal rights movement is rife with misogyny, ableism, transphobia, racism, and other forms of discrimination that feminism is dedicated to ending. I believe that this needn't be the case.

It is time for those who believe that no human or non-human animal should suffer needlessly to speak out. I intend to do just that, and hope that this blog will foster the kind of conversation needed to spurn action, build bridges, and, ultimately, create tangible change.

I will discuss my particular brands of feminism and animal rights abolitionism at length at a later date. Until then, however, I ask that you consider the intent of this blog, and if it appeals to you.

Love, Ladystachette.
Copyright © Ladystachette
Blogger Theme by BloggerThemes Design by Diovo.com