Fighting with the Sky

An Open Letter to Feministing (from this ain't livin')

Posted on: October 1, 2009

This is my act of co-signing meloukhia’s letter to Feministing.  Please co-sign in the comments of meloukhia’s post (or reprint, but please send meloukhia a link so she can add your name to her letter) to show your support and request Feministing to address their ableist language.  The text of the letter follows:

Dear Feministing,

I’ve been reading you guys for a while now. I haven’t always liked everything you do or say, but I think that you bring some important issues to my attention and sometimes some good conversations happen on your website.

But, you know, in recent months I’ve become increasingly disturbed by the exclusionary language and attitudes I see on your site, most particularly in reference to people with disabilities and people in lower social classes. You have a pretty poor track record on even covering disability issues, and the casual ableism which I see in your comment threads and sometimes in your very posts is extremely grating. It is especially irritating to see dismissive responses from site administrators when this issue is brought up.

Today’s post on chivalry was the last straw. Courtney used the line “If having my car door opened makes me feel like lover man thinks I’m an invalid, not so feminist.” This is offensive.

I’d like to point you to a piece I wrote recently, “Why Inclusionary Language Matters,” because I think you need to read it. Using ableist language is not just offensive, it’s antifeminist. And I would really appreciate it if y’all would stop doing it and stop tolerating it in your comment threads. I would also love to see y’all including more posts talking about topics related to disability and disability issues.

Please address this. Feminism includes people with disabilities. Disability is a feminist issue. Please make Feministing more inclusionary.

Thank You,

s.e. smith/meloukhia

Laura

ETA: Courtney apologized…kind of.  She basically just said “my bad,” not really a true apology in my book, but at least a step.  meloukhia has added to her post what she would like Feministing to do which you should definitely take a look at.

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5 Responses to "An Open Letter to Feministing (from this ain't livin')"

Thank you for reprinting! But could I ask that people sign the original letter at my site as well as cosigning here so that all of the cosigners are gathered in one place? I want to send a clearly unified message to Feministing, rather than making them chase all over the Internet for cosigners.

Thanks! Didn’t want to seem all pedantic and righteous there, but I do think it’s important to try and pull everything together in one spot. Obviously people can and should cosign here as well; the more places people speak out against ableist language in feminism, the better.

Will definitely be signing this and reposting. I was pretty much done with Feministing after the paltry response to many trans related posts (this in particular http://www.feministing.com/archives/016394.html) while posts on marketing pink products to women continually get 100+ responses (http://www.feministing.com/archives/016700.html). I realize that’s not technically the fault of the editors, but I suppose it’s just not a community I feel the need to suport.

Thank you for writing this post. I’ve added it to a link roundup! Thanks.

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