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http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2007/12/10/and-this-is-the-part-where-i-stumble-in-kinda-late/
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578 Responses

  1. Sheana
    Sheana April 25, 2008 at 3:58 am |

    Excellent post. I commented at one other blog, but I’m absolutely stunned by the blatant racism of these images. What in god’s name was she thinking? Not about race/racism/women of color activist/her own white privilege, I’m guessing, because these images say that feminism is just inherently white. Or something.

    Some excellent, thoughtful posts have been emerging on all fronts in response to this, and I’m glad to see them; I knew of the book, but hadn’t seen it (or the cover) and had no plans to purchase it, so I’m incredibly thankful so many people pointed this out (with images included) so it doesn’t just fly under the radar.

  2. Elusis
    Elusis April 25, 2008 at 4:01 am |

    Wanting a “safe space” in which to apologize without any harsh feedback, and then being able to withold said apology since you’re not being promised it, is pretty much one of the crown jewels of privilege.

    Some people in this world get to pick their battles and hide behind their fear of hurt feelings or their rejection of those opposing them when they don’t feel good about being callsd out. Some people in this world don’t get a choice of venue in which to be examined and critiqued; those who do, need to step up and stop expecting everyone else to provide them a nice soft landing and a big box of Kleenex.

  3. Susan
    Susan April 25, 2008 at 4:22 am |

    Thank you so much for this, Holly.

    Feminism that gets around by riding silently on the back of other oppressions is not my feminism, it’s not the feminism of so many other people out there, and it really helps to hear someone on a big blog like Feministe say it’s not her feminism, either.

    I hope that all the other writers at Feministe will stand in solidarity with you in questioning these images.

    The issues that have been raised by this recent controversy will not go away whether or not those of us who are privileged enough to be able to ignore them choose to do so. They will not go away until they are confronted head on–wherever we find them.

    I hope that Amanda Marcotte and those reactively defending her have the serenity and wisdom to see past what is undoubtedly the great pain of personal attacks, to really listen instead of simply hearing, to try with compassion to understand the anger they have inspired, to acknowledge the truth in the criticisms that have been made of their words and actions, and then to get on with the rest of their lives using their talents to further a broader and deeper kind of feminism.

  4. ilyka
    ilyka April 25, 2008 at 4:31 am |

    Holly, once again you took something awful and made something good from it. I’d like to see a return to the Seal Press of your mother’s era too.

  5. Nia
    Nia April 25, 2008 at 5:06 am |

    I think that the label “feminism” still works for me because when someone tells me that I already have all the rights I need, or that women are already privileged enough, I can always say something like, “I can’t stop using the word “Feminism” until the women in such-and-such-country have the same rights that I take for granted”. But then, I don’t live in a multi-cultural, multi-racial society, so it’s easier for me to say that.

  6. Racist artwork from Marcotte’s Seal Press book “It’s a Jungle Out There” at Hoyden About Town

    [...] Edit: Holly has a good analysis at Feministe. [...]

  7. rhiain
    rhiain April 25, 2008 at 5:33 am |

    Thank you, Holly. I’m sure this wasn’t easy to do.

  8. Natalia
    Natalia April 25, 2008 at 5:34 am |

    Holly, thank you for writing this.

  9. Pinko Punko
    Pinko Punko April 25, 2008 at 5:36 am |

    I think the teaching moment here is that hundreds if not thousands of people have read the book and probably didn’t notice. Even people that would clearly agree about the image’s racist nature upon a second of reflection, or even being called on to just focus instead of flipping the page. Not noticing images is one possibility, but it can never be proven that this ability to not notice them stems from a deep seated privilege, even if it is subconscious. If you aren’t marinated in privilege, these are images that can be reacted to even with just a flash of exposure.

    I now notice tons and tons of demeaning and exploitative images of women that would not have registered prior to my reading feminist blogs- this while I have always been intellectually committed to the ideals of feminism, the utter pervasiveness of misogynistic images did not appear on my radar. Even flipping through ads of a magazine, ads that I never really look at, I still see them now, not having seen them before. I think there are deeply committed and excellent feminists who have read Amanda’s book and are feeling terrible right now for not having noticed themselves. Here is a moment for us all to experience in a way that rings so deeply true- this is the way to move forward.

    I will only add that this:

    1. Please explain what process led to the selection of these images for this book, and what the intentions of those involved in decision-making were.

    is the least important part of Holly’s list, not because I don’t want to know about it, but because even answering this question, there will be some that claim Amanda and Seal are only trying to defend the indefensible. I ask people that if Amanda (and Seal) do answer Holly’s question in the context of directly addressing this issue, people won’t use those words to make a case that has already been made. It is always argued that it is not intent that matters with racism (and I mostly agree), and I cannot expect we will learn that there was a racist intent.

    I continue to be deeply upset about this and I deeply affirm Holly’s point about how to go on from here has got to take precedence.

  10. belledame222
    belledame222 April 25, 2008 at 5:53 am |

    Thank you, Holly.

    And you know what, sorry, but fuck her comfortable space. bfp’s gone because the entire damn Internets had become an uncomfortable space for her, and that was -before- this bullshit broke. She can just finally grow the hell up, or face the consequences. Finally.

  11. Brenda
    Brenda April 25, 2008 at 5:53 am |

    Holly, I’ve been really impressed with your comments throughout this whole thing; you’ve been frank but diplomatic, which is a really hard balance to strike.

    You actually articulated what I thought when I saw that comment about giving Amanda space in a way that made it clear how much privelege is involved in that idea and how being uncomfortable is part of learning.

  12. belledame222
    belledame222 April 25, 2008 at 5:55 am |

    and you know, going a bit beyond the immediate sitch, wrt Seal, I’m wondering if part of this isn’t a conversation that needs to happen about -real- oligarchy, because (as I understand it? correct me if I’m wrong) I do believe Seal was -bought out-, and -that’s- why the changes in middle management and, well, this.

    whatever happened to “trust busting,” anyway?

  13. belledame222
    belledame222 April 25, 2008 at 5:58 am |

    at this point to me the real question isn’t about the word “feminism” so much as, where the hell is the “movement,” such as it is, or even the gorram feminist blogosphere. because I may not stop personally calling myself a feminist, but, like, if ultimately not only bfp but Holly and everyone else are driven elsewhere and all that’s left is Amanda and similar, well yeah, I’m certainly not going to be giving them my time or energy, that’s for damn sure.

  14. Aishwarya
    Aishwarya April 25, 2008 at 6:02 am |

    Holly, you’ve been fantastic through this. Thank you.

  15. Dr. Confused
    Dr. Confused April 25, 2008 at 6:32 am |

    Wow. I really like Amanda’s writing but this… this is obvious to even an often-blind, privileged white person like me. Who made this idiotic decision, and how could they not have seen this coming?

  16. CassandraSays
    CassandraSays April 25, 2008 at 6:41 am |

    Thank you for saying all this – here, on one of the big blogs, where people can’t just ignore it.

    These images are not an example of clever hipster irony. They are pure, simple racism. And they must have passed through multiple hands before being printed. Why did no one stop and question their inclusion in this book? If the book was to have illustrations, why not illustrations that were actually related to the content of the book? How in the hell did they expect anyone to overlook this?

    As a movement we can do better than this. We HAVE to do better than this or what’s the point of the whole exercise?

  17. Lauredhel
    Lauredhel April 25, 2008 at 6:46 am |

    Holly, thanks for the great post, when I was just left sputtering. And a spot-on lucid explanation of the problem for those unfamiliar with it.

  18. Alas, a blog » Blog Archive » Dear Seal Press

    [...] Read Holly’s post, as well. Here’s some of what she suggests Seal Press needs to address: So I would like to [...]

  19. Stop! No, No, Just Stop! « Galling Galla

    [...] Marcotte is a racist. And Jill Filipovic is, at a minimum, extremely foolish and enabling racism by [...]

  20. Brooklynite
    Brooklynite April 25, 2008 at 7:39 am |

    Nearly twenty years ago, not long after Holly got out her red pen for Seal Press, I was a campus activist at a northeastern state university.

    This was not an easygoing moment in the history of identity politics. It was a moment when a lot of folks were just starting to get schooled about a lot of oppressions. (Not coincidentally, it was also the moment when PC was just starting to turn from an ironic self-description to a right-wing cudgel.)

    Tthere was a student government meeting one spring that I remember really clearly. The chair of the student assembly was a white guy. Obviously raised in heavy privilege. Blond. Nordic name. Confrontational. Aggressive. Sometimes hot under the collar. He’d clashed with a lot of us at a lot of different times. This meeting was making everyone hot again — I don’t remember what it was about, but I remember it was tense.

    The next person on the speakers’ list that day was our multicultural affairs officer, a guy named Pablo. He’d been the president of the Latino student union, and he was a major POC activist on campus. He and Sven (let’s call him Sven) had clashed plenty of times. I don’t remember whether they were on opposite sides of the issue that day, but they might have been.

    So Sven looks down at the speakers’ list, and notes Pablo’s name at the top. He looks over at Pablo, points at him, and says, “Pedro. Go ahead.”

    And then he freezes. He realizes he’s just called the most prominent Latino activist on campus “Pedro.” He’s mortified. He’s scared, frankly. He’s just fucked up in a huge, huge way, and everybody knows it. The room goes deathly silent.

    And then, without warning or coordination, everyone bursts out laughing. Sven is the last, but soon he’s laughing too.

    Because Sven was combative, but he was also righteous. He had put his foot in his mouth every once in a while, but he really did understand POC issues (and women’s issues and queer issues), and he’d proven that he was willing and able to speak up on them. He was an advocate and an ally — and he knew when to shut up and listen, too. He was our Sven. He was okay.

    And we were laughing because we all realized the same thing at the same time — that if he hadn’t been down, if he hadn’t been our Sven, he would have been in a huge amount of trouble. We were all playing the tape in our heads of how ugly it would have been if he’d made the same mistake under different circumstances, or if someone who’d built up less goodwill had done the same thing. And it was really really ugly. We were laughing because we’d dodged a bullet.

    All of which is a long way of saying that Amanda and Seal Press are in a far deeper hole this morning than they would have been if the last few months had gone down differently.

    We’re not a small group of activists here in the feminist blogosphere. We don’t all know each other personally. And these illustrations aren’t as innocuous as someone calling someone by the wrong name by accident. There’s no circumstance in which we’d all see these pictures, draw in a breath, and start laughing in unison.

    At the same time, though, everyone understands that everyone’s going to fuck up every once in a while.

    But you need to understand that what you’ve done in the past is going to influence how people see you in the present. If you’ve got a track record, if people know you, they’re going to take that track record into consideration when they’re looking at an argument you’ve put forward, or a joke you’ve made, or an illustration in a book that went out under your name, and thinking “Seriously? Really?”

    And how you handle yourself is at least as relevant. If you fuck up, at least have the good grace to look stricken, like Sven did. Have the decency to recognize that you fucked up, and to try to make things right.

    Amanda’s done some great stuff over the years. In a lot of folks’ minds, she’s earned some credit. When the ape book cover came out, I thought she deserved some slack. (I re-read that thread just yesterday, and was surprised to see how much slack I thought she deserved.) There were folks who were quick to condemn her then — and they had the right to — but there were a lot of folks who were willing to enter into a dialogue, who were willing to meet her halfway.

    And she pretty much squandered that. She didn’t rise to the occasion, then or the other times when she got challenged, and things got worse. And things have kept getting worse. And now here we are.

    And I’m angry that we’re here. I’m angry at Amanda, and I’m angry at the folks who’ve been slamming her critics and calling the criticisms unfair. Because you know what? Even if you think the criticisms are unfair, even if some of the criticisms were unfair, that doesn’t give you a free pass. It doesn’t mean you can blow them off. If you’re a white person in a multiracial movement — or a man in a feminist movement or a straight person in a queer-positive movement — you don’t get to be the sole and final arbiter of what’s a fair criticism and what isn’t.

    You don’t get to blow people off. Because when you do, and you’re wrong, you don’t just put yourself in a hole. You put all of us — POC and white, women and men, queer and straight, or whatever ability or gender identity — down in the hole with you.

    And that’s where we are now. We’re down in the hole. Amanda’s not the only person who put us there, not by a long shot. Holly’s trying to dig us out. Jill is trying to dig us out. A lot of folks have been trying to dig us out for a long time. I’m not saying we can’t get out. I think we can get out.

    But fuck it, Amanda. It’s time for you to let go of our ankles.

  21. Cara
    Cara April 25, 2008 at 7:47 am |

    Thank you for the post Holly, Brava.

    I would just like to say with regards to the disavowal of the feminist label issue, I definitely understand people’s thought process on this one, as sad as it makes me. But I personally like Anxious Black Woman’s take — which is that with regards to feminism, there is nothing to “take back”; the people who behave in prejudiced ways with which we do not want to be associated have simply left the movement. Obviously, everyone is free to make up their own mind and I certainly won’t and can’t begrudge them for it. But ABW’s is the POV that I currently most agree with. And if I didn’t, I don’t think that I would be able to call myself a feminist either.

    To answer Susan’s question, yes I do absolutely stand in solidarity with this condemnation. And Holly has said virtually everything that I would have liked to.

  22. Charity
    Charity April 25, 2008 at 7:50 am |

    I am floored by these images, they are idefensible. Thank you Holly for going further and also saying

    I have to point out one thing. In the history of this country, there has always been one broad and well-lit path for oppressed classes of people to “better themselves” — side with the oppressors against someone else. That is exactly what these images are depicting: women gaining power through helping men against savage, violent brown people.

    And in response to the *safe space* for Amanda comment on the other blog, you said it completely right:

    But the challenge of dealing with those wretched feelings is exactly what makes it a defining test of character, not a cakewalk. If you can’t deal with the heat, then that inability is the very definition of your limits as authors, as an organization, as public spokespeople, as activists. Nobody will be holding you back from going further except you yourself.

    Plus, the issue of racism is never a comfortable space for people of color. Never.

    Being an author (never mind a feminist or an activist) does not mean simply putting forth a product, with no further interaction with either “professional” critics or with the community you’re supposedly doing it for in the bloody first place. Never MIND when you are holding yourself out as a spokesperson for social justice. Even on the most basic level of being a WRITER of any stripe, she has no leg to stand on when she chooses not to engage with readers or to engage them with hostility and contempt.

    I am so disgusted with it all.

  23. SoE
    SoE April 25, 2008 at 7:58 am |

    My reply somehow got eaten by a database error :/ Anyway, what were they thinking? “White woman stomping on black men, that’s dead funny HAHAHA!!eleven!!!” *headdesk*

  24. Hawise
    Hawise April 25, 2008 at 8:10 am |

    The final cover, that I can see as edgy and retro. Those images, especially when used as chapter headers, are completely indefensible. Whoever, alone or as a group, made that judgement call need and must be called to the carpet. Gah.

    That being said, I hope that we don’t go into a new era of denouncing feminisim due to the actions of a few. Each time we make the broader picture take the heat for the actions of overly entitled few, we set overselves up to start from scratch. Feminism has a long and imperfect history and hopefully a future that sees us smoothing out some of the rougher edges and recognizing more of the elements that make it so hard.

  25. Kristin
    Kristin April 25, 2008 at 8:16 am |

    Thanks for posting this, Holly.

    Well-written and important, but it doesn’t get Jill off the hook. Despite the qualifications made in the lengthy thread below, this book is still being promoted on Feministe.

    I’m disgusted with it all too, but I can’t really join the chorus people “feeling sorry” for Amanda. It’s about goddamn time she was faced with consequences for her actions.

  26. punkrockhockeymom
    punkrockhockeymom April 25, 2008 at 8:17 am |

    This is an excellent post, again.

    Two things:

    First: she’s not entitled to “safe space.” She’s a published author and a prominent blogger, and she puts herself out there to be criticized every day. It’s difficult to hear that you’re reaffirming your own privilege, ignoring the concerns of the people you step on, etc. But just suck it up. Take it, listen, and grow. The idea that we should give her safe nurturing space to deal with this in is a privileged concept in and of itself. I’m not advocating nastiness. Who needs to be nasty–just look at the pictures! Reread those old threads and her comments here. They’re nasty enough all on their own, without embellishment. She’s a smart woman. She understands privilege. She’s been dismissive and those illustrations are horribly offensive. She should have known better. She needs to own it.

    The second thing is this: I’m not disowning feminism. Amanda Marcotte is not the worldwide, or even nationwide, official voice of the feminist community, nor does she define it for me. Nor do any of even her most vocal and wrong-headed defenders. I refuse to cede my feminism to women who refuse to recognize the intersection of all of their privilege, and refuse to allow my feminism to have a privileged agenda.

    And you know–the very idea of “we have to work on sexism first, we’ll deal with the other “-isms” later”? That was debunked as workable for me in fem 101. And it’s not any different from the kind of thing we feminists refuse to take seriously from obnoxious male progressives who think we can deal with reproductive rights once we’ve secured national healthcare.

    It’s appalling and practically it doesn’t work; if you look at oppression and you only look at the impact of gender you’re going to miss things and your going to step on people or leave them behind. It’s not how I DO feminism. That’s not how I want MY revolution to go. And you know, there are hundreds or even thousands of feminists all over the world that don’t do feminism that way, that do acknowledge and assess and try to throw off their own privileges, that are willing to be self-reflective and see how they contribute to social hierarchies and try to change.

    I understand why people feel like feminism is something they wouldn’t want to be associated with when things are this ugly. And I’m not preaching safe space for her or advocating any sort of “let it slide”. She’ll either respond in a productive, positive manner to this or she won’t. Maybe she will years from now. Who knows? But it’s still my feminism, with or without her. She’s not “the” voice of feminism, she’s been “a” voice of feminism. But she needs to address this.

    The positive work that needs to be done in the feminist community on intersectionality can be done, will be done, in fact is being done, whether she participates or not.

  27. EKSwitaj
    EKSwitaj April 25, 2008 at 8:24 am |

    There really is no excuse for this. If they wanted fun retro graphics couldn’t they have photoshopped out the brown people and replaced them with Bible-thumpers from Chick pamphlets or something similar? That would have actually made some kind of sense.

  28. The Rotund » Good thing I had already taken it off of my wishlist

    [...] Holly at Feministe has written a follow up post to the book plug that started this latest round of OMGWTF WHITE [...]

  29. CBrachyrhynchos
    CBrachyrhynchos April 25, 2008 at 8:41 am |

    Or you know *gasp* hire one of the many starving female cartoonists out there to do illustrations is this style.

  30. car
    car April 25, 2008 at 8:45 am |

    Does Amanda have any control over it at all? I’m under the impression that added pictures like this are solely the call of the publisher. I would like to know if she had any veto/commenting power before they went in, or if they were a surprise to her as well. And at this point, can she do anything about it? Would she be violating terms of her contract if she were to publicly bad-mouth the publisher’s decisions?
    This is entirely horrible, but I don’t want to put the blame solely on Amanda if she had no part in the process.

  31. CBrachyrhynchos
    CBrachyrhynchos April 25, 2008 at 8:45 am |

    I hate to say it, but my message design instructor back in the day was entirely right to prefer created stick-figure drawings to clip art. Because while there are tons of clip and archival art out there, it’s almost impossible to find one that says “The Ugliest Side of the Backlash: Fundamentalists and Anti-Choicers” to your target audience that matches the style of the rest of the text.

  32. Betty Boondoggle
    Betty Boondoggle April 25, 2008 at 8:47 am |

    because I may not stop personally calling myself a feminist, but, like, if ultimately not only bfp but Holly and everyone else are driven elsewhere and all that’s left is Amanda and similar, well yeah, I’m certainly not going to be giving them my time or energy, that’s for damn sure.

    I completely fucking agree.

  33. annajcook
    annajcook April 25, 2008 at 8:49 am |

    I think the teaching moment here is that hundreds if not thousands of people have read the book and probably didn’t notice.

    I don’t have the time to read through all the comments, and this thoughtful post (I echo the thanks, Holly) requires a lot more reflection. But Pinko Punko already pointed out what I was going to say in a very personal way: I bought Amanda’s book at WAM! a few weeks ago, read it in an afternoon, and the images really didn’t register. It’s embarrassing to admit that now; clearly a case of my own privilege not to notice. I’m not a very visual person anyway, and I think I just thought “retro comic book,” “superhero/tarzan woman” and didn’t think any further than that–even though “retro” and “tarzan” should have sent up red flags anyway! Thanks for highlighting this and helping me take a second, and more careful, look.

  34. Astraea
    Astraea April 25, 2008 at 8:52 am |

    Those images are repulsive. I don’t even know what more to say. I’m absolutely fed up with Amanda, and I don’t know what she could say at this point that would even begin to make up for so many hateful remarks that started well before the article on Alternet.

  35. E-Visible Woman
    E-Visible Woman April 25, 2008 at 8:52 am |

    It’s not like there aren’t other movements out there that actually respect women — that are led by women and folks of many other genders, that work to improve women’s lives.

    I wish this were true – I don’t think it is. That’s why I’m a feminist.

  36. Kali
    Kali April 25, 2008 at 8:57 am |

    >>I have to point out one thing. In the history of this country, there has always been one broad and well-lit path for oppressed classes of people to “better themselves” — side with the oppressors against someone else.<<

    So what does that make Jill ?

  37. Brooklynite
    Brooklynite April 25, 2008 at 9:02 am |

    Does Amanda have any control over it at all? I’m under the impression that added pictures like this are solely the call of the publisher. I would like to know if she had any veto/commenting power before they went in, or if they were a surprise to her as well. And at this point, can she do anything about it? Would she be violating terms of her contract if she were to publicly bad-mouth the publisher’s decisions?

    Setting aside the controversy that surrounded this particular book’s original cover, and the scrutiny one would assume its illustrations would have received in the wake of that, it’s standard operating procedure in publishing for the author to see page proofs immediately before publication so that they can check for errors.

    And no, book contracts don’t bar authors from criticizing their own books. I’ve never heard of a contract that did.

  38. Tobes
    Tobes April 25, 2008 at 9:22 am |

    These images are unbelievable. Just wow. Holly, you said it:

    Although Amanda has long been one of my favorite bloggers, any enjoyment I once got out of reading her snappy takedowns of misogyny is rapidly turning to ashes in my mouth. And that’s why I can’t sleep, why I feel like throwing up.

    Amanda IS a fabulous writer and I’m torn because before all this started, I was so excited for her book. I’m sure it’s funny and interesting– WHY DID THEY HAVE TO DO THIS? Now this book seems tainted and purchasing it feels like betrayal.

    I really do want to hear from Amanda on all this. I know I keep saying it– but I do. She’s a smart woman and I wouldn’t be surprised if she had little to no control on the offensive cartoons. If she became part of this dialogue, we could hash this out in a healthy way. And I vote for a ‘safe space’ if that’s quite all right with everyone — yes, she’s a public figure but what do we gain by ripping her to shreds?

    OHH THE HUMANITY! I can imagine (because I’ve dreamed of it my whole life) how exciting it would be to have your first book published– and on a subject you’re passionate about — it would be all kinds of heartbreak to see people so upset with it.

    So please, Amanda, talk about this and clear the air. Your book deserves that much because I’m sure it’s much better than these offensive images lead us to believe.

  39. Astraea
    Astraea April 25, 2008 at 9:22 am |

    Does anyone with some experience with publishing companies have any advice for contacting Seal Press to complain, or at least inform them why I won’t be buying their books? Should I write to customer service? publicity? Call them?

  40. Daomadan
    Daomadan April 25, 2008 at 9:26 am |

    Holly…are any of the publications you helped your mother on still in print? I would love to read them.

    Okay…back on topic now.

  41. Kristin
    Kristin April 25, 2008 at 9:27 am |

    This post is my writing and my thoughts — it is not intended to “get Jill off the hook” as Kristin says, or to be Feministe’s position on the subject. We’re all individual bloggers here, what Jill does with the original KGB Bar post and what she has to say in her follow-up are her words and choices.

    Hey, Holly, just wanted to clarify that I wasn’t making assumptions about your intentions here. Only that I remain frustrated by the fact that the person who originally promoted the book has not addressed these issues in a sufficient manner…yet. So, yes, I’m very interested in seeing what she has to say.

  42. Brooklynite
    Brooklynite April 25, 2008 at 9:28 am |

    Holly, in each of the four books whose publication I’ve been involved in, the author received a PDF of the page proofs, with illustrations, in advance of publication. It’s my understanding that that’s standard procedure in the publishing industry today. (If I’m wrong, I’m of course happy to be corrected.)

    I can’t speak to what may or may have happened with this particular book, of course.

  43. Less Lee Moore
    Less Lee Moore April 25, 2008 at 9:30 am |

    Those graphics are horrible. I can’t imagine NOT seeing that they’re horrible, but I’m a different person now than I was five years ago. Five years ago, I probably wouldn’t have noticed. Now, they’re a giant neon sign screaming RACISM! at me.

  44. Hawise
    Hawise April 25, 2008 at 9:31 am |

    I think that one of the problems with feminisim is that it is so easy to create isolated pockets without realizing it. To continue with the earlier street analogy it is like Gouin in Montreal. The street is one of the oldest on the island and it goes from one end to the other and sometimes it weaves one-way through posh neighbourhoods and in other places it is a two-way commercial boulevard. The street has many meanings to different people, whether they only use the public parks that it passes or work in an office building at the corner of a main cross street. The thing is that very few people have wended their way along the whole street and when talking to other people about what Gouin represents to the history of the town they often don’t realize that they are talking at cross-purposes. I think that we are at a point that feminism is a very old street with a variety of uses and neighborhoods that have grown up along it. We really need to walk a little further before we start to set up the barricades around our houses.

  45. Tobes
    Tobes April 25, 2008 at 9:34 am |

    I have to point out one thing. In the history of this country, there has always been one broad and well-lit path for oppressed classes of people to “better themselves” — side with the oppressors against someone else.<<
    So what does that make Jill ?

    Seriously? She stated it 80 different ways that her post on Amanda’s book appearance was not meant to upset anyone — she then updated her post and gave us a 300+ comment thread for further discussion – a discussion which she played an integral role in. It should be pretty clear that she supports a space for people to discuss their feelings and air their grievances. She’s not silencing this dialogue or mocking it, she’s a thoughtful part of it. BACK OFF Jill on this one

  46. kalien
    kalien April 25, 2008 at 9:35 am |

    Thank you, to you and the other bloggers who refuse to let this issue disappear no matter how many people persist in silently pretending it is over.

  47. Kristin
    Kristin April 25, 2008 at 9:36 am |

    OHH THE HUMANITY! I can imagine (because I’ve dreamed of it my whole life) how exciting it would be to have your first book published– and on a subject you’re passionate about — it would be all kinds of heartbreak to see people so upset with it.

    Are you serious???? I mean… I scarcely have words. Unbelievable… Once again, the focus is shifted to Amanda’s precious career. Images are pubished depicting threatening brown natives that deploy all kinds of racist stereotypes, and your first concern is Amanda’s feelings?

    As for whether or not Amanda saw the proofs before the book was published: Isn’t this a moot point? It might help her case slightly if the images had been published without her permission, but really… The book has been published, and Amanda has been promoting it without comment on the images. She’s certainly seen them by now–and had plenty of time to formulate a response, no?

  48. kiki
    kiki April 25, 2008 at 9:36 am |

    I think nowadays retro imagery used by avowed liberals can safely be assumed to be at least an attempt at coy irony.
    Sometimes You Gotta Break the Rules Burger King ad
    1. Please explain what process led to the selection of these images for this book, and what the intentions of those involved in decision-making were.

    Ah, yes liberals and their sublimated racism. Irony in the hipster sense has become nothing more than a way to express deeply held prejudices without taking any responsibility…it’s irony as hypocrisy. They have the same fears as other whites but since they insist on moving into other people’s neighborhoods they gotta play nice until they price us out. I find that these supposedly subversive voices are no longer any different from the official culture they’re supposed to be subverting. Truly subversive voices get silenced.

    The process for image selection? Let’s see…bunch of white people, sitting around in a gentrified building, sipping ironic martinis and laughing at how clever they are? Discussing how these images kick it old school and how edgy it will be to recontextualize them for white hipster consumption by placing them as chapter heads in a book containing a fresh feminist perspective. How could anyone object?

    I like the statement “safely assume”. White people safely assume all sorts of things. More than they even begin to imagine…so much so that they call their thoughts and ideas…common sense. Hipsters with their insatiable desire to be cool, and liked and smarter than everyone else are the biggest bunch of hypocrites. It would be laughable if it weren’t so dangerous. She isn’t going to be drawn into the mud to wrestle this out with a bunch of darkies, she’s soaring overhead, her white privilege keeping her aloft, not a spot of dirt on her and we’ll get a kick in the face as she passes. She’s having fun and that’s what it’s all about.

  49. Tobes
    Tobes April 25, 2008 at 9:47 am |

    Kristin,

    My response is merely one of empathy. Just as I had empathy *(and lots of outrage)* after all that happened with Alternet and BFP.

    I was speculating that this may be why Amanda’s has been somewhat snarky in her responses to those criticisizing her book—- I can only imagine how upsetting it would be if my first book was met by such criticism– and by the people who I wanted to love it the most — fellow feminists.

    It’s not an excuse; it’s not me defending her. It’s just an observation. Which is why I keep saying, we DO need a safe space or at least one that won’t rip Marcotte apart, or we’ll never get closure on this.

    And I don’t know about you, but I’d really love some closure. I’d love for this community to start healing, for one day some of the WOC bloggers to come back and find a space for themselves online and share their writing again….

    That’s all.

  50. Kristin
    Kristin April 25, 2008 at 9:53 am |

    And I vote for a ‘safe space’ if that’s quite all right with everyone — yes, she’s a public figure but what do we gain by ripping her to shreds?

    And, no, that is not all right. At least not with me. As others have stated, “safe space” is something to which we assume the privileged are entitled. Amanda and Seal Press deserve all the anger and vitriol that comes their way–and not only because of these images. Yes, there should be a huge public outcry, and, yes, the people who did this should at the very least be made to feel uncomfortable about what they did. I can’t believe I’m still shocked by certain attitudes, but well, when something like this happens, and one’s first and primary stated concern is the offender’s well-being… Well, just… Damn.

  51. punkrockhockeymom
    punkrockhockeymom April 25, 2008 at 9:53 am |

    But when so many of us live at those intersections, “intersectional analysis” can’t simply be a tool in feminism’s toolbox that gets whipped out to take care of us every now and then. It has to be the place that feminism lives at.

    I think this is absolutely true. And so is this:

    I also do not want to participate in a movement that chooses to foreground and prioritize only the cause of women (as women alone) at the expense of these other things.

    And I think there are feminist movements, and other progressive movements (many of which tend to do to marginalize the female, unfortunately). And there is the feminism that is that movement, or those movements, and there is the feminism with which I define myself. And it’s complicated. But I can’t stop calling myself a feminist.

    And I think there is a difference between saying “I have 15 hours a week available for volunteer work; I’m going to donate that to NARAL,” and understanding that you have limited resources and you can’t work on every single issue simultaneously. That’s why it’s a good thing there are so many of us. But Holly’s right that intersectionality can’t just be a tool. The reason I say feminism doesn’t work if it’s not definitionally intersectional is that the practical and the moral are inextricably intertwined. It won’t hold. Oppression is not separate. A lesbian woman of color is a whole person, and the very act of subordinating her concerns by saying “Let’s get this done first, that’s a different issue” is silencing and denying of her experience and immoral, and ANTI-FEMINIST.

    I think also it’s important to remember (much as our egos might not want us to), that these are our small online communities. Feminism as a movement is broad, and wonderful, and varied, and you can be feminist AND denounce people who refuse to recognize their own privilege. I’m not trying to deride Amanda’s work–she’s done some good work–but there is a whole giant feminism out there that is not Amanda, and is not defined by Amanda. By standing up and shouting that we don’t think this is okay, we can own our feminist movement.

    And that’s not to say I think it’s all that easy. And I am NOT trying to silence the voices of concern that we may have to ditch the word, that maybe the concept is flawed and hierarchical. But I don’t think it’s unsalvageable, and I’m not giving it up.

  52. laurab
    laurab April 25, 2008 at 10:01 am |

    it’s standard operating procedure in publishing for the author to see page proofs immediately before publication so that they can check for errors.

    Some kinds of proofs may have illustrations, while others don’t. Galley proofs, which as I recall form the substantive part of what the author checks on during the publishing process, often have no illustrations. Final page proofs come at the end of the process, right before the presses start rolling, when it’s almost too late to do anything. Not all books even get them — we never got sent page proofs as distinct from galley proofs in my house, but that may also be because my mother’s books didn’t have any diagrams or illustrations, only text. I don’t know what the case is with Seal Press this time around, twenty years later. Which is why we ask questions.

    I just want to clarify this statement from my own experience working in publishing for ~6 years. This is a general statement, I don’t know what happened with Amanda’s book and I don’t know exactly how Seal does things, because I don’t work there. That being said… Holly, what you’re describing is “the old way” (technical term). Nowadays page proofs are a printout of a PDF, and all art is generally in place when the printout and/or electronic file is sent to the author. They show text and illustrations as they will appear in the printed book — unless illustrations were unavailable at the time of typesetting, in which case there will be a big blank space on the page. At the page proof stage, the author generally has the opportunity to make any necessary corrections. That being said, authors are generally discouraged from making corrections, particularly any substantive corrections to text or art. This is a cost issue, plain and simple. Any corrections that case text to “re-flow” (i.e., move on the page vertically) are extremely expensive for the publisher and the author, because the cost is based on the number of lines that are affected, rather than per change. Generally a publisher agrees to pay a certain amount in proof alterations. After that, it’s the author’s responsibility to pay. Minor changes can easily result in a bill of several hundred dollars to the author.

    Again, I want to stress that I don’t know the particulars of the situation. I’m just explaining how the process has worked in my own professional life. Publishers do make decisions about books without consulting authors, or make the decision and then present them to the author for approval. Authors don’t always have veto power, and often don’t. In my own experience, though, if someone complains about something vociferiously enough, we’ll generally change it (as long as it’s not crazy expensive), just to get them off our backs. (But then, I work mostly with academics — so infer what you will.)

    Anyways, I just wanted to put this information out there.

  53. Kristin
    Kristin April 25, 2008 at 10:02 am |

    And I don’t know about you, but I’d really love some closure. I’d love for this community to start healing

    That may be where we differ most of all. I’d like to see things change. I’d like for the status quo to continue being challenged and shaken and torn from its foundations. I could give a fuck about “closure” or “reconciliation.” I don’t see things changing if we continue to walk on eggshells around people like Amanda. But that’s just me.

    Oh, and I would also like to see a public outcry that harnesses enough power to diminish the profits that Marcotte/Seal Press are able make from this book. And any profits that they do earn? I’d like to see Marcotte/Seal donate them to anti-racist organizing. But, um, I tend to be a little too cynical to feel optimistic about this sort of thing.

  54. Jill
    Jill April 25, 2008 at 10:03 am | *

    Well-written and important, but it doesn’t get Jill off the hook. Despite the qualifications made in the lengthy thread below, this book is still being promoted on Feministe.

    As Holly said in her post and as I said in the comments to the other post, I’m working on a response right now that will be published tonight. It’s not all that different than Holly’s. It also explains why I’m leaving the other post up. So I’m not going to be quiet on this one, and you will get a response. It just takes a while to write something as long and as comprehensive as what I’m working on.

    Now as Holly requested, back to her post.

  55. Tobes
    Tobes April 25, 2008 at 10:05 am |

    I guess that’s the difference, I like to give people the benefit of the doubt, when they have a previous record of doing good. Even HUGE fuck-ups do not mean you need to throw someone to the wolves. I would extend that same courtesy to everyone else here.

    This isn’t some asshole with a racist blog. This is Amanda. She made some really bad decisions and has hurt a lot of people. I’m don’t deny that. But do we give up on her? Clearly some have. But not me. That’s just not how I work.

    Nothing can be gained that way. Only lost.

  56. Astraea
    Astraea April 25, 2008 at 10:06 am |

    And, really, safe space? After they’ve contributed to creating a hostile space for WOC? Give them a safe space to defend and apologize for creating yet another feminist book that will appear hostile to young WOC, who apparently weren’t thought of as part of the intended audience. Another way of excluding WOC from a white woman’s feminism.

    Where is the concern for creating a safe space for the women who are offended? For the women who are excluded by a portrayal of feminism that not only ignores their concerns but also participates in their marginalization?

  57. octogalore
    octogalore April 25, 2008 at 10:09 am |

    Holly, great work on a difficult topic.

    I agree with Belle (below) and punkrockhockeymom about feminism:

    “at this point to me the real question isn’t about the word “feminism” so much as, where the hell is the “movement,” such as it is, or even the gorram feminist blogosphere. because I may not stop personally calling myself a feminist, but, like, if ultimately not only bfp but Holly and everyone else are driven elsewhere and all that’s left is Amanda and similar, well yeah, I’m certainly not going to be giving them my time or energy, that’s for damn sure.”

    No other movement has so much attrition based on internal disagreements. It’s not necessary to bail. Working from within the concept of a movement prioritizing women’s equality — because no other movement is going to prioritize that — to ensure that all women are represented is the more courageoous choice. Simply joining other male-led lefty movements that are hospitable towards women but not really invested in a deep way in our causes — and by that I mean those of all women of all races, income levels, etc. — is doing ourselves a grave disservice.

    To bring this back to the subject at hand, it will be a tragedy if this significant fuckup leads to more great people feeling disillusioned, and hopefully your post can be a part of mending that. Or, at least showing that significant forces in the feminist blogosphere like Feministe are committed to doing so.

  58. Kristin
    Kristin April 25, 2008 at 10:11 am |

    Where is the concern for creating a safe space for the women who are offended? For the women who are excluded by a portrayal of feminism that not only ignores their concerns but also participates in their marginalization?

    Thanks, Astraea. Well said. My questions exactly.

  59. Tobes
    Tobes April 25, 2008 at 10:13 am |

    Kristin,

    I think it’s good to shake things up. You are 100% right there. And clearly we have a lot of work to do addressing racism in this movement. I’m reading more and more on that daily but… I just don’t want to write people off when they fail to be perfect or when they HUGELY mess up. People do that, even enlightened progressives. And by working with them, dialoguing etc. we can build a stronger foundation.

  60. Jill
    Jill April 25, 2008 at 10:14 am | *

    And Holly, great post. I’m also confused as to who in their right minds would ever think these images were acceptable. I’m further confused since they were on notice about the race issue from the cover, so this can’t simply be ignorance.

  61. Ans
    Ans April 25, 2008 at 10:14 am |

    Oh, and I would also like to see a public outcry that harnesses enough power to diminish the profits that Marcotte/Seal Press are able make from this book. And any profits that they do earn? I’d like to see Marcotte/Seal donate them to anti-racist organizing. But, um, I tend to be a little too cynical to feel optimistic about this sort of thing.

    Totally agree with you Kristin. Marcotte’s book has gone into a second printing already. This critique needs to get beyond the blogosphere.

  62. Dianne
    Dianne April 25, 2008 at 10:18 am |

    When she got older, she attended the first women’s college in Japan, and eventually immigrated here, although she never naturalized; she couldn’t stomach the “swear to defend and bear arms” loyalty oath.

    My step-father has never applied for American citizenship for much the same reason.

    I hope that the pride that you felt from the work you did is still there because your accomplishment is in no way diminished because Seal Press is acting foolishly now.

  63. Dr. Free-Ride
    Dr. Free-Ride April 25, 2008 at 10:18 am |

    Tobes:

    I just don’t want to write people off when they fail to be perfect or when they HUGELY mess up. People do that, even enlightened progressives. And by working with them, dialoguing etc. we can build a stronger foundation.

    Tobes, with all due respect, can you please point me to the posts or comments where Amanda has been engaging in anything like a dialogue on this?

    Because after a certain point, when people aren’t engaging in dialogue, the sensible conclusion is that they’ve made up their minds and they don’t much care what anyone else thinks. I’m sure as hell not down with creating more safe spaces for that.

  64. Astraea
    Astraea April 25, 2008 at 10:19 am |

    Thanks, Kristin.

    I wonder how many chances we’re supposed to give people who supposedly mean well, but keep fucking up in the same way, repeatedly.

  65. Tobes
    Tobes April 25, 2008 at 10:21 am |

    Astraea,

    I would hope it would go without saying that this safe space is for everyone. I’m more upset that I can say that so many WOC have left blogging (or feminism entirely) because of lack of safe space.

    I want that space for EVERYONE. Not just Amanda! However, if we don’t grant Amanda that courtesy, we make it less likely that any of our spaces be safe because whenever we have disagreements it will be open season. We owe EVERYONE better than that.

    It’s the most difficult thing ever to keep putting yourself out there courageously and giving people opportunities when they throw them back in your face. But that’s the position I strive for. I believe that’s how you get somewhere. Throwing up your hands and screaming it, “Fuck it,” feels great, but where do we go from there?

  66. Redstar
    Redstar April 25, 2008 at 10:23 am |

    kiki – AMEN!

    Holly, This is a wonderful post, and I too, stand in solidarity with you and others about this.

  67. Dianne
    Dianne April 25, 2008 at 10:23 am |

    I think nowadays retro imagery used by avowed liberals can safely be assumed to be at least an attempt at coy irony.

    If BFP or another WOC wanted to use these images in her book, for whatever reason, I might buy it. But this simply doesn’t work when an outsider does it. Imagine if, say, Hugo Schwytzer or Barry Deutsch published a book using stereotypical 1950s images of the “happy little woman”. Would we all accept that it was just coy irony? It might have been meant as such, but it didn’t work.

    There’s nothing to be done about the current printing, but is there any chance that Amanda Marcotte and Seal Press might be convinced to change the artwork in the next printing? Because I’d like to buy the book, but don’t think I can with these images.

  68. punkrockhockeymom
    punkrockhockeymom April 25, 2008 at 10:25 am |

    Where is the concern for creating a safe space for the women who are offended? For the women who are excluded by a portrayal of feminism that not only ignores their concerns but also participates in their marginalization?

    That’s where I would like my focus to be. If Amanda doesn’t want to wise up and play in my feminism, that’s her problem. She can, you know. She could use this as a learning experience and teach herself. That is what I would hope I would do in this situation.

    Me? Aside from making sure that my “I don’t approve of this, defend this, or think this is okay” is heard from the rooftops (because I really think that is a responsibility of white feminists when this happens; silence is affirmation and participation), I would like to move my focus to the very real broad problems this has identified, and addressing my own complicity and contributions to it, and making sure I’m doing what I can to be sure voices are heard and not dismissed and people are not being stepped on.

    And I don’t think my plan is actually in conflict with, or all that different from, this:

    I’d like for the status quo to continue being challenged and shaken and torn from its foundations. I could give a fuck about “closure” or “reconciliation.” I don’t see things changing if we continue to walk on eggshells around people like Amanda. But that’s just me.

    My attempt to move on is not toward “conciliation” but toward “fixing it,” and it is emphatically not meant to be “Oh, Amanda’s off the hook, let’s just pretend it never happened.” Instead, it’s meant to be dismissing Amanda until we hear something different than “this is a personal attack on me to wreck my career, and therefore illegitimate.”

    Amanda needs to address these issues, and if she doesn’t, I’m just finished with her. I was a feminist before she started blogging; I’m quite certain I was a feminist before she graduated middle school. I’m not going to stop my work and put it on hold waiting for her to come around, and I’m not abandoning MY movement and the work I do if she won’t.

    Okay, now, sorry, but I’ll be gone until after work. If people have comments on the things I’ve said, or questions, or criticisms, I’m NOT ignoring them. I just have to make a living, and I’ll address them tonight.

  69. Astraea
    Astraea April 25, 2008 at 10:26 am |

    Tobes, Amanda has a very large forum on her blog. Unless she’s deleting comments, people have not been going there posting angrily about these issues. She has her own safe space, and lots of people who support her. I don’t see why it should be her critics’ obligation to create a space where she feels comfortable. She hasn’t demonstrated good faith in the past when criticized and in fact has made it a very UNsafe space for her critics.

  70. punkrockhockeymom
    punkrockhockeymom April 25, 2008 at 10:27 am |

    Oops, one more thing. The link to my stuff and my email is wrong and broken in the other posts, Holly, because the browser at work remembered everything from ago. It’s right in this one, in case you need or want to holler at me or verify my existence or something.

  71. Tobes
    Tobes April 25, 2008 at 10:28 am |

    Okay– I just realized something HUGE— I’m tooting the ‘forgiveness horn’ and talking about “building a foundation” wayyyyy too soon.

    I just scrolled up and looked at those pictures again.

    Maybe we need to be pissed for awhile. It’s too soon to move on. And we CAN’T MOVE ON without apologies and discussion from Seal and Amanda.

    I get that now. I’ll try not to deny the legitimate hurt anymore. Those images are inexcusable and it’s asking too much to talk about safe spaces just yet when so many people are shown time and again that they shouldn’t expect to feel safe within their own feminist community.

    I see that now.
    I’m sorry.

  72. Ooga Booga, where all the antiracism at? « Feminocracy

    [...] Spearchuckers. Literally. I have to point out one thing. In the history of this country, there has a… [...]

  73. The Raving Atheist
    The Raving Atheist April 25, 2008 at 10:30 am |

    You all should be celebrating that Amanda revealed the deepest, darkest secret of us anti-choicers: we use spears.

  74. Kristin
    Kristin April 25, 2008 at 10:31 am |

    Tobes, with all due respect, can you please point me to the posts or comments where Amanda has been engaging in anything like a dialogue on this?

    Good question, Dr. Free-Ride. I’m wondering the exact same thing.

    As for your statement, Tobes, that “This is not some asshole with a racist blog. This is Amanda”–I think I’m just going to let that stand. Exactly as it is. It sorta speaks for itself.

  75. The Rotund
    The Rotund April 25, 2008 at 10:32 am |

    Tobes, I think the issue is that this doesn’t seem to be a one-time fuck-up. I am all about the benefit of the doubt and was willing to see Amanda’s response as coming from a place of defense because she’s dealt with a lot of internet drama before. Which is not to say her appropriation was okay – just that her motivations are understandable. But she didn’t ever make a statement other than increasingly vitrolic and dismissive comments on other people’s blogs. And there’s a point at which being defensive needs to take a damn backseat to owning your own shit.

    In the time since the initial posts, I’ve read a lot of the other threads that people have been linking to, especially the one about the original cover. And now there is a pattern. A theme to her behaviors. And it’s not okay and she SHOULD be called on it and it SHOULD be uncomfortable. She fucked up, has fucked up in the past, and, even when given the benefit of the doubt, has not owned up to her fuckups – her pushing the publisher for a different cover does not obscure her initial response to the concerns – to completely deny the racism implicit in the cover and to call people killjoys.

    Amanda has destroyed her own safe space through her own actions. Unfortunately, she has also destroyed the safe space of other people. I don’t think her feelings of comfort or lack thereof need to be our highest priority right now.

  76. Kristin
    Kristin April 25, 2008 at 10:35 am |

    Marcotte’s book has gone into a second printing already. This critique needs to get beyond the blogosphere.

    Really?? Ugh… Thanks for pointing this out, Ans. I had no idea. Kinda makes one feel defeated. Wonder how the critique could find traction beyond the blogosphere? Letters to prominent newspapers that have unflinchingly reviewed her book (without ever mentioning the images)? What else?

  77. Kristin
    Kristin April 25, 2008 at 10:37 am |

    I see that now.
    I’m sorry.

    Glad you came around.

  78. Mathias
    Mathias April 25, 2008 at 10:38 am |

    Is it relevant to point out that Marc in the last thread, said this:

    Also, since when does a first-time author have any say over what graphics get used in the book? She fought to change the cover and won, but the first time she saw the insides was the same time y’all did. People are just reading tea leaves now to try and prove Amanda is somehow actively suppressing people of color.

  79. Tobes
    Tobes April 25, 2008 at 10:43 am |

    Just curious– what does my statement, “speak for itself”? I’m not in any way defending racist behavior. It’s just– Of all the things I’ve read at Pandagon and Alternet, I’ve never though– ‘whoa this is racist’ before.

    On the other hand….
    The book images–
    Her silent treatment of this issue–

    Clearly a problem there. But …. ugh… I’m starting to feel like giving up.

  80. Katharine
    Katharine April 25, 2008 at 10:45 am |

    I have to agree with the few others suggesting that the first avenue of contact here should in fact be Seal Press, barring any response from Amanda Marcotte. There is, as they have mentioned, a very real possibility that Amanda did not have much, or any, creative control over the illustrations.

    (I suppose one could argue that following the cover fiasco, she should have been on alert. One could also argue, though, that following the cover fiasco, she might have thought that Seal Press would have been more conscious of the issues, and careful.)

    It’s very possible that the illustrations and layout were commissioned by Seal from an outside designer or contractor, and Amanda may in fact have only seen a proof with placeholder boxes marked “illustration here.”

    At least refrain from blaming her until you’re quite sure she is to blame.

  81. Kristin
    Kristin April 25, 2008 at 10:47 am |

    Tobes, that particular statement sounded like this to me: “Don’t be mean to Amanda. She’s our friend. We can’t condemn her as if she’s a racist asshole.” When she is clearly guilty of some major racist assholery.

    No, don’t give up. We’ve gotta figure out what can be done about this. (And I wrote that before your whole, “I just had an epiphany” post. Which is not to say that everything is fine and dandy now, but that I can respect someone who realizes they’re wrong and admits it.)

  82. Burning Words » Blog Archive » I think I’m honestly speechless.

    [...] number of people, such as Tobes, a blogger who I generally like, have continually suggested on the Feministe threads about this that people shouldn’t get angry at Marcotte, lest she get her back up and feel too [...]

  83. Kali
    Kali April 25, 2008 at 10:52 am |

    POST REVIEWS OF THE BOOK ON AMAZON

    I am not a blogger but I am a WoC and a feminist and a book-lover. I am apalled at what has gone on with Marcotte and Seal press.

    All you folks need to post reviews of the book on Amazon. If you read Amazon’s instructions to authors on the importance of customer reviews (avaliable on their website) you will see that you have a powerful means of protest. More powerful than MSM in this case.

  84. mccxxiii
    mccxxiii April 25, 2008 at 10:52 am |

    I am a (relatively) wealthy, educated white Christian woman who thinks abortion is murder and who *loves* having “privilege” — not the norm around here, from what I can tell — and even I can see that this is offensive! What on earth were they thinking?!!

  85. Tricia
    Tricia April 25, 2008 at 10:53 am |

    Does anyone with some experience with publishing companies have any advice for contacting Seal Press to complain, or at least inform them why I won’t be buying their books? Should I write to customer service? publicity? Call them?

    I’ve worked for periodical publishers in the past and currently for a very small private press and ad agency…

    My suggestion would be to send physical snail mail letters to this guy (David Steinberger) and send copies to the Seal Press address marked ATTN: Publisher/Managing Editor (they don’t have their officer names on their web site).

    When my letter goes in the mail I’m also going to send copies to B&N, Amazon, and any of the other major booksellers I can find info for (generally I think you’d want to send those to the corporate office “Attn: Corporate Communications & Public Affairs”).

    I don’t know what, if any response we’ll get, but that’s my strategy.

    David Steinberger
    President and CEO
    Perseus Books Group (Headquarters)
    387 Park Avenue South
    12th Floor
    New York, NY 10016
    (212) 340-8100

    Seal Press
    1700 Fourth Street
    Berkeley, CA 94710
    510-528-1444

  86. Betty Boondoggle
    Betty Boondoggle April 25, 2008 at 10:54 am |

    There is, as they have mentioned, a very real possibility that Amanda did not have much, or any, creative control over the illustrations.

    Whether she knew before hand or not, she knows now. As long as she stays silent on the matter, she will be judged to be complicit.

    but, hey, I’m just and invisible, irrelevent WOC.

  87. punkrockhockeymom
    punkrockhockeymom April 25, 2008 at 10:55 am |

    At least refrain from blaming her until you’re quite sure she is to blame.

    Um, no.

    She’s SEEN the book, hasn’t she? If I wasn’t permitted for some reason to see the illustrations that were going to appear in my book with my name on, and then the book came out, and had THOSE illustrations in it? OMG.

    I would have been shouting from the rooftops about it. The first place you would have heard about it would have been MY blog. I’d have done EVERYTHING in my power to make sure it came off of the shelves, career be damned. And given that this is NOT just about those images, but about those images in the context of a general dismissal by her of concerns raised by WOC–see particularly her response to the concerns raised about the original cover of her book–she had a responsibility to call it out and discuss it in good faith. Instead all anyone hears is that everyone who raises a concern about her dismissal of WOC questions has a vendetta against her.

    If she didn’t know, did not have anything to do with it, etc., surely–given that it’s her book and she’s going around doing readings and signings and such–I think it’s fair to say she’s seen them. And you don’t get a pass because your publisher picked the pictures.

    (And yes, I know, I’m supposed to be working. I am upset. I’ve seen two people just in the past half an hour claim to be distancing themselves from feminism because of this. She’s got things to say to the community even if Seal Press had the right to pick the images under the contract.)

  88. watson
    watson April 25, 2008 at 10:55 am |

    Elusis said ‘Wanting a “safe space’ in which to apologize without any harsh feedback, and then being able to withold said apology since you’re not being promised it, is pretty much one of the crown jewels of privilege.

    “Some people in this world get to pick their battles and hide behind their fear of hurt feelings or their rejection of those opposing them when they don’t feel good about being callsd out. Some people in this world don’t get a choice of venue in which to be examined and critiqued; those who do, need to step up and stop expecting everyone else to provide them a nice soft landing and a big box of Kleenex.”

    This pretty much nails it. I’ve been a feminist woman of color since my teens (the early 80s), and all the bullshit that has gone on in the last year has made me want to just throw up my hands.
    Because I’m tired, and the message I keep getting is that there is no place for me, or people like me. Or worse, that I’m invisible. That all WOC are invisible.

  89. Noli Irritare Leones » Blog Archive » King Kong and Jungle Natives

    [...] thinking. And then, as I was delaying getting around to pulling my thoughts together for a post, someone scanned the pictures that are being used inside Amanda’s book, and all hell is breaking loose. Because it turns [...]

  90. Kristin
    Kristin April 25, 2008 at 10:58 am |

    Whether she knew before hand or not, she knows now. As long as she stays silent on the matter, she will be judged to be complicit.

    This is exactly right. Thanks for pointing it out. I would really appreciate it if we could dispense with all the hand-wringing attempts to give Amanda another chance. She knows now. Why should it matter whether or not she knew before the book was published?

  91. Tobes
    Tobes April 25, 2008 at 10:58 am |

    Kristin,

    Thanks for the benefit of the doubt. :) :)

    I guess the more I read, the mort heartbroken I am. I looked up to Amanda so much as a new blogger, so there is some sort of weird defensiveness in me– but I see now, as The Rotund said, she has to fix this for herself because she’s had a major hand in it going down this way.

    It’s a shame. Damn shame since I JUST started reading BFP and it’s gone and so many other people are so hurt.

    I think amazon reviews are an excellent idea — someone needs to hear loud and clear that these images are CRAZY offensive. I think the retro glamazon thing could have worked– you know, without the dark, dangerous natives in the background. *eyeroll* HOW did that escape people’s attention?

  92. Kristin
    Kristin April 25, 2008 at 10:59 am |

    Thanks for the addresses and contact information, Tricia.

  93. Sally
    Sally April 25, 2008 at 11:01 am |

    Does anyone with some experience with publishing companies have any advice for contacting Seal Press to complain, or at least inform them why I won’t be buying their books? Should I write to customer service? publicity? Call them?

    Seal Press is an imprint of Perseus. It looks like Perseus people take care of customer service and publicity, and Seal just does the actual editorial stuff. At Seal, you should write to:

    Brooke Warner and Krista Lyons-Gould
    Seal Press
    1700 4th Street
    Berkeley, California 94710

    I think they’re probably the entirety of Seal Press.

    You could also write to David Steinberger, the CEO of Perseus at:

    387 Park Avenue South
    12th Floor
    New York, NY 10016

    I would keep that one as businesslike and polite as possible, and just point out that the growing perception of racism as Seal Press reflects badly on Perseus as a whole. Keep in mind that Steinberger is in all likelihood not a progressive (and for all we know he’s a raging conservative), so he’s not going to care about the morality of the situation. And also keep in mind that contacting Perseus raises the stakes, and consider how you’d feel if they put Seal Press out of business. Seal is a tiny, marginal part of a much bigger business, and if enough people write to Perseus, they might decide that Seal is just not worth the hassle.

    If you write a blog post about this, I would send a link to Seal, too. They seem to have a conscious strategy of tapping into the feminist blogosphere, and the fact that so many bloggers are angry at them might make them take notice.

  94. Astraea
    Astraea April 25, 2008 at 11:01 am |

    Tricia, thanks for the advice and contact info!

  95. Astraea
    Astraea April 25, 2008 at 11:01 am |

    Sally, thank you, too :)

  96. Kristin
    Kristin April 25, 2008 at 11:02 am |

    She’s SEEN the book, hasn’t she? If I wasn’t permitted for some reason to see the illustrations that were going to appear in my book with my name on, and then the book came out, and had THOSE illustrations in it? OMG.

    I would have been shouting from the rooftops about it. The first place you would have heard about it would have been MY blog. I’d have done EVERYTHING in my power to make sure it came off of the shelves, career be damned. And given that this is NOT just about those images, but about those images in the context of a general dismissal by her of concerns raised by WOC–see particularly her response to the concerns raised about the original cover of her book–she had a responsibility to call it out and discuss it in good faith.

    Punkrockhockeymom: Yep, exactly. And any anti-racist would’ve done the same. That she remains silent on this and continues promoting her book–that’s a really, really damning oversight.

  97. (non-blogging)Cara
    (non-blogging)Cara April 25, 2008 at 11:08 am |

    I believe Amanda’s own blog would be a pretty safe space for her to address this.

    I’ve no idea how much control or knowledge she had, but it would be nice to hear something from the source.

  98. bastard.logic
    bastard.logic April 25, 2008 at 11:08 am |

    I Write Letters (and You Can, Too!)…

    Dear Seal Press,
    There’s nothing “groundbreaking” (nor *cough* “subversive” or “ironic”) about undeniably racist imagery. What the bloody blue hell were you thinking?

    Warmest regards,
    matttbastard
    P.S. You mig…

  99. laura
    laura April 25, 2008 at 11:11 am |

    First: Holly rocks.

    If they wanted fun retro graphics couldn’t they have photoshopped out the brown people and replaced them with Bible-thumpers from Chick pamphlets or something similar? That would have actually made some kind of sense.

    That would be awesome. And, you know, clever.

    …I actually kind of get the irony of this second cover with (white) amazon chick on it, but in conjunction with these images the inside it loses big time. Not irony, simply pandering to the current media trends without considering the implications. There was potential here. Even if they done said photoshopping but left the heroine white–which is problematic in its own right–that would be better than this. I had already decided not to get her book, because of the way she handled the situation, but this definitely solidified that position for me.

    And I would be -shocked- if she hadn’t seen the images before hand. I don’t have a lot of experience with publishing, I will admit, but when my prof wrote her textbook, she had to go over -everything- time and time again. I know she didn’t have complete control–a sexist picture ended up in the montage on the front–but she provided all the images used, and if there was something that she highly objected to, it could have been changed.

    Nonetheless, someone somewhere decided to include those pictures, and that in a supposedly feminist space these pictures could be considered for more than a second, indicates that something is deeply wrong and needs to change. This is still not about this individual book, or this individual printing press–the problem in discussion is still larger than that. But, calling out one individual publisher, one author, and getting them to change their view point is a push towards changing the position of all publishers and all authors.

  100. lizvelrene
    lizvelrene April 25, 2008 at 11:12 am |

    I’m VERY GLAD I found out about this before I actually bought the book.

    I consistently give people the benefit of the doubt but I can’t ignore that this shit KEEPS HAPPENING no matter how sorry everyone is and it’s fucking unacceptable. If someone like Ann Althouse used those images the same people arguing for understanding now would not hesitate to evicerate them. This is bullshit.

  101. laurab
    laurab April 25, 2008 at 11:14 am |

    Re: contacting Seal/Perseus. I would recommend CCing everything to Perseus publicity dept. The book is published, editorial is pretty much done with it (from a workflow perspective), but publicity and marketing are still trying to promote it. The relevant people are the sales director and the publicity director. Letters to the director may never actually reach the director, but they will likely reach the people who are actively involved in trying to sell the book.

    (it’s still worth copying Seal editorial, of course, so that they’re aware of your complaint.)

  102. The Rotund
    The Rotund April 25, 2008 at 11:15 am |

    Amazon reviews are an EXCELLENT idea. Kali, that is brilliant.

    And, Tricia, thanks for posting those addresses.

    Yeah, Tobes, her silence is a HUGE problem for me when it comes to giving her any credit at this point.

    Which sucks, because I wanted her to be better than this, you know?

  103. Amanda Marcotte
    Amanda Marcotte April 25, 2008 at 11:15 am |

    I see the concerns about the images. I didn’t choose them, and rest assured if I had looked them over, I would have said something and had them changed before it went to print. I have sent the concerns onto the publisher.

  104. Amanda Marcotte
    Amanda Marcotte April 25, 2008 at 11:16 am |

    My main concerns were always about what I do control, which is the writing.

  105. Amanda Marcotte
    Amanda Marcotte April 25, 2008 at 11:16 am |

    Which isn’t to say that I can’t pass concerns along, which I have.

  106. This Is Completely Inexcusable. « Ottermatic

    [...] 25, 2008 in feminism, race What the fucking [...]

  107. Dianne
    Dianne April 25, 2008 at 11:18 am |

    Some people in this world don’t get a choice of venue in which to be examined and critiqued; those who do, need to step up and stop expecting everyone else to provide them a nice soft landing and a big box of Kleenex.”

    Eh, I’d kind of like there to be a nice soft landing and box of tissues available for all conflicts in the blogosphere. But if it’s not available for BFP (and clearly it wasn’t) then why should it be available for Amanda Marcotte?

  108. Brooklynite
    Brooklynite April 25, 2008 at 11:19 am |

    On the whole “what did Amanda know and when did she know it” question, what punkrockhockeymom said. Straight up.

    If you’re a progressive, and racist crap is put out under your name, the question isn’t whether you can do anything about it. You can always do something about it. If you’re a major political blogger, there are a hundred things you can do about it. The question is what are you going to do.

    As of this morning, Amanda’s answer is “not a damn thing.” And right now, today, on April 25th 2008, I don’t need to know what kind of proofs she saw before publication to know what I think of that answer.

  109. Dianne
    Dianne April 25, 2008 at 11:21 am |

    If they wanted fun retro graphics couldn’t they have photoshopped out the brown people and replaced them with Bible-thumpers from Chick pamphlets or something similar? That would have actually made some kind of sense.

    I like this idea too, but could see the argument for it still being less than benign because the graphics still invoke the old “dangerous black/brown people” stereotype. Thoughts, anyone? Am I being ridiculously oversensitive now?

  110. Brooklynite
    Brooklynite April 25, 2008 at 11:21 am |

    Update: As of this morning, Amanda’s answer is “pass the concerns along to the publisher.” And I don’t need to know what kind of proofs she saw before publication to know what I think of that answer, either.

  111. Roy
    Roy April 25, 2008 at 11:26 am |

    Tobes, that particular statement sounded like this to me: “Don’t be mean to Amanda. She’s our friend. We can’t condemn her as if she’s a racist asshole.” When she is clearly guilty of some major racist assholery.

    And I think that there’s something else worth noting: Amanda is not most of our friend. I’ve met Amanda exactly once for less than 15 seconds. I don’t have strong personal feelings about her one way or the other. Amanda is a writer whose work I’ve enjoyed for some time, and who was one of my first introductions to the feminist blogosphere.

    Now, if Amanda were my friend, I’m readily admit that I’d be feeling torn and upset about what to do in this situation. I’d have most certainly have gone to her and expressed my feelings about the situation and suggested that an apology and some positive action were required, but would I go publically on my blog and condemn my friend? I’m not sure if I would or not. Friendships are difficult things to navigate when it comes to a situation like this, and while I think it’s important for us to hold our friends accountable or their behavior, I’m not sure that I think I’d feel comfortable or right about public shaming of someone I consider a friend. I think my obligations as a friend are to private conversations, not necessarily public outcry.

    But, for most of us? That’s not a problem. Most of us don’t have close personal ties to Amanda, and most of us don’t have to worry about what we’re doing to a our friendship. And as people who are ostensibly concerned about the same progressive issues, it’s absolutely our obligation to hold Amanda responsible. It’s our obligation as colleagues and as allies and as people who are concerned with fighting sexism, racism, homophobia, etc. That she’s on our side means that it’s more important to call her on these things- not less. If we can’t expect each other to stand up for what is right and to admit wrong-doing and correct it, how can we reasonably expect anybody else to do so? How much legitimacy do our criticisms of hate-mongers and biggots have if our own allies are given passes on their own?

    Whether she knew before hand or not, she knows now. As long as she stays silent on the matter, she will be judged to be complicit.

    Absolutely, Betty.
    It’s not easy, and it’s definitely not fun, but ignoring this isn’t going to make it go away, and it’s definitely not going to help us get closer to fixing the bigger issues. The longer that there’s silence or dismissal of these criticisms, the angrier and more explosive the situation becomes.

  112. kiki
    kiki April 25, 2008 at 11:27 am |

    n a reversal of classic damsel-in-distress, she’s rescuing a white man from the title’s “inhospitable environment.

    Except in the second image it’s the man who is holding the natives at bay with a gun! A white guy with a gun, now that is progressive. So white feminist are out there in the “jungle” and it’s okay as long as their white man is there with his gun keeping the natives at a safe distance. Sounds like ersatz liberation for her and enslavement for the natives. Sounds like America.

  113. Amanda Marcotte
    Amanda Marcotte April 25, 2008 at 11:31 am |

    If there’s a concern about how quickly I responded, I would like to point out that I was unaware until this morning of this latest dust-up that has a point to it. As I responded as soon as I knew, I can’t see that I could have done anything else.

  114. Kali
    Kali April 25, 2008 at 11:32 am |

    POST REVIEWS OF THE BOOK ON AMAZON

    I am not a blogger but I am a WoC and a feminist and a book-lover. I am apalled at what has gone on with Marcotte and Seal press.

    All you folks need to post reviews of the book on Amazon. If you read Amazon’s instructions to authors on the importance of customer reviews (avaliable on their website) you will see that you have a powerful means of protest. More powerful than MSM in this case.

  115. Kristin
    Kristin April 25, 2008 at 11:36 am |

    If there’s a concern about how quickly I responded, I would like to point out that I was unaware until this morning of this latest dust-up that has a point to it. As I responded as soon as I knew, I can’t see that I could have done anything else.

    The POINT is that it took a fucking “dust up” to make you aware and you were silent about the images until other people started talking about them. Surely you saw the images before most of us did, at least? Did you forward any “concerns” to the publisher before this morning? What are you doing to speak out against the images and condemn the publisher? Why, from what I see over at good ol’ Pandagon, it looks like you’re still promoting the book. How admirable of you.

    What punkrockhockeymom said at #94.

  116. Astraea
    Astraea April 25, 2008 at 11:37 am |

    this latest dust-up

    This is (partly) why your explanations have very little credibility with many people.

  117. Softdog
    Softdog April 25, 2008 at 11:38 am |

    Reading all the back and forth, I have to wonder: Where is Pam Spaulding in all of this? As a gay writer of color who posts on Pandagon, surely she must have some perspective.

    The searches I’ve run turn up no writing by her on this, and none of the blog entries have links. In fact, most of the blogs I’ve read about this don’t even mentioned her name.

    Which is a striking omission. I mean, if there’s going to be an uproar over Amanda, shouldn’t her blogging partner at least get some sort of mention?

    Also: I’m also mystified because Amanda recommended a great book called “Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me)” which deals with this exact situation.

    The book is about cognitive dissonance which leads people to justify or excuse behavior which they themselves believe incorrect. Despite writing many times about dissonace and defensiveness, Amanda is unable to recognize how she is now doing the exact same thing.

  118. Kristin
    Kristin April 25, 2008 at 11:38 am |

    POST REVIEWS OF THE BOOK ON AMAZON

    Good idea, Kali. I noticed this morning that all the reviews over on Amazon were positively glowing. I’ll definitely take the time to do that.

  119. Seal Press, Amanda Marcotte…Proof That Feminism And Racism Go Hand In Hand « The Angry Black Woman

    [...] yes, Holly at Feministe has spoken up and I do see plenty of white feminists that are acting as allies. I also see people [...]

  120. Kristin
    Kristin April 25, 2008 at 11:40 am |

    This is (partly) why your explanations have very little credibility with many people.

    Seconding this point.

    Now I’m really going to work.

  121. Rachel
    Rachel April 25, 2008 at 11:43 am |

    If there’s a concern about how quickly I responded, I would like to point out that I was unaware until this morning of this latest dust-up that has a point to it. As I responded as soon as I knew, I can’t see that I could have done anything else.

    I have two concerns with this comment. First, really? You didn’t know about the pictures in your own book that you wrote and are out promoting? I am so confused by that claim. I’m not an author, but I submit writing to various courts every day, and even after we’ve filed a document, I still go back and look at it several times. Because if there are errors, they need to be corrected with the court, or they’ll remain part of the record. Book authors don’t do this?!

    Also: “the latest dust-up” … wow. I would ask that you consider how this language trivializes the legitimate concerns presented by the use of patently racist images in your book, coming on the heels of (1) the BfP/appropriation crapstorm and (2) the racist initial cover of your book.

  122. Alas, a blog » Blog Archive » Heart Posts Hypocritical Bullshit; Mandolin Fails to Faint in Surprise

    [...] perspective on any other subject, I find this a pretty facile way of ignoring the problems that other feminists have raised outside Alas, many of them predating our [...]

  123. Kristen
    Kristen April 25, 2008 at 11:48 am |

    (The one with the “ten” rather than “tin” :)

    I’m going to put this carefully, but I may muck it up…so please bear with me.

    I’m not sure I buy the argument that feminism is supposed to be about intersectionality. Goddess knows I’ve been making this exact argument to my husband (who is a poc and finds academic “feminist” philosophy to be highly exclusionary) for years, and years, and year.

    I’ve made all the arguments that many of you have made here. I want to believe that feminism (and I acknowledge that I am not the definer of Feminism) is about dismantling oppression of all types and varieties.

    But I’m not sure anymore.

    I’ve recognized for awhile now that many feminists seem to have a blind spot when it comes to certain types of oppression. Even on this site, which I love and enjoy, its hard to point out the similarities between the intragender oppression that men experience and the intragender oppression that women experience without facing accusations of pulling the “what about the menz!?!” card. But are their experiences any less real because they are hierarchically higher than me on the Patriarchy Scale of Evilness? [And how is the qualitatively different from my experiences as a white women are less real because I'm higher on the Patriarchal Scale of Evilness than a woc.] But I’ve understood this perspective. We need a safe place to talk about the issues that effect us as women and even if some men experience something analogous we’re sick of hearing about men. I get that, I think its too narrow, but I see the need.

    But is that the only intersection feminists readily shun? No, entire fields of feminist thought ignore (some of) the voices of sex workers, the trans*, and even other women who disagree with their ideology.

    And maybe that is at the heart of the problem. Ideology. There is no feminist ideology. The secular humanists, the Marxists, the pragmatists, and others are all sharing the same banner. So when someone brings up an issue that cuts across these philosophical lines we sit up and say WTF?!? that’s not *my* feminism! And we have these big bruhahas over what feminism is an isn’t. And the banner tears.

    But in none of these discussions do we ever resolve the underlying problem that we don’t share a world view. We don’t share a set of ideals. We may patch the banner back together but a week, a month, a day from now we’ll just be tearing each other apart again.

    Tell me I’m wrong. Tell me I’m too cynical. Tell me it just feels this way because we’re in the middle of the same damn argument we’ve been having for years. Just tell me its not true.

  124. amandaw
    amandaw April 25, 2008 at 11:49 am |

    thanks for this post.
    I’m still processing this entire mess, from beginning to… now, at least. i know it’s not going to just “end.”

    I do have to ask. For everyone who is unhappy (to put it lightly) with feminism right now, and doesn’t know if she can continue to be a part of that movement —
    do you see it as a disavowal of your feelings if someone else *does* stick to the feminist label/feminism movement?

    i guess the question is, can we still be allies?
    because i, for one, just don’t know what else to call myself but feminist, at this point. but at the same time — i don’t want to alienate people (as individuals and/or as groups) who are important to me.

    does this make any sense? do smack me if I’m being an idiot, please.

  125. amandaw
    amandaw April 25, 2008 at 11:51 am |

    damn you people are quick. I went from 87 comments on the page I was reading to 130.

  126. punkrockhockeymom
    punkrockhockeymom April 25, 2008 at 11:58 am |

    What Holly said at#130, whole sale.

    Holly, thanks for that comment. Especially this:

    I’m afraid the lasting impression that everyone seems to be getting is about how you tend to respond to them, or refuse to respond to / engage with them.

  127. Shinobi
    Shinobi April 25, 2008 at 11:58 am |

    I don’t really feel that I can comment on this issue because I feel like it would have been very likely for me not to have noticed the racial symbolism in those images. (I would have seen retro, and then forgot that retro is often also racist.)

    I do want to recommend a book to everyone on earth called “Mistakes were made (But not by me.)” An important take away from the book, people like you more when you just admit that you fucked up.

  128. Doctor Science
    Doctor Science April 25, 2008 at 11:58 am |

    Softdog:

    I’ve been wondering about where Pam Spalding is, too.

    I’m a regular commenter at Pandagon who doesn’t have a feminist blog worthy of the name — pretty much all I post on my blog are copies of comments I make on other people’s blogs, to keep track of the conversations I’m in.

    Last week I didn’t have time to read all the 200+ comment threads where this was being discussed, so I decided to wimp out and follow Pam’s lead, because I think of her as my link into the POC blogosphere. I thought, “as long as Pam’s happy, I’ll assume there’s nothing I need to investigate in greater depth.” But I’ve felt uncomfortable enough to make a point of commenting on other Pandagonian’s posts more than Amanda’s.

    I know, I know, OK?

    Anyway, Holly’s post here has sealed the deal for me. Unless & until Pam — for whom I still have enormous respect until proven otherwise — gives me a persuasive reason to come back, I won’t be commenting at Pandagon any more.

    And for me this is a wrench that it isn’t for most of you. You read the posts; I’m part of the community of commenters. This decision cuts me off from that community, and though some of the regulars are people I run into around the blogosphere, there are a number I can’t count on encountering again. And *that’s* why I’m crying.

    CBrachyrhynchos and Astraea, let me know where you’re hanging, OK?

  129. Hot Tramp
    Hot Tramp April 25, 2008 at 11:59 am |

    Whether or not it was Marcotte’s and Seal’s intent to piss off and marginalize people of color — and I’m sure it wasn’t — they are now aware that they have pissed off and marginalized people of color, and their responses, or lack thereof, are completely unacceptable. When you show your ass, and someone points that out, you don’t say, “Well, jeez, lay off me — I didn’t mean to show my ass! And anyway, my ass-showing was totally ironic!” You say, “I’m sorry. I’ll buy a belt so my ass doesn’t fall out of my pants again.” Period.

  130. kiki
    kiki April 25, 2008 at 12:00 pm |

    I see the concerns about the images. I didn’t choose them, and rest assured if I had looked them over, I would have said something and had them changed before it went to print. I have sent the concerns onto the publisher

    What a weasel. So, is this representative of the liberation and empowerment you’re peddling in your damn book? Haw!

  131. Feministe » TODAY: Amanda Marcotte at KGB Bar in Manhattan

    [...] Since posting this (and updating it once), issues have arisen with the images used in the book. Those images are inexcusable, and I stand behind everything Holly said in her post. Those images [...]

  132. punkrockhockeymom
    punkrockhockeymom April 25, 2008 at 12:18 pm |

    Tell me I’m wrong. Tell me I’m too cynical. Tell me it just feels this way because we’re in the middle of the same damn argument we’ve been having for years. Just tell me its not true.

    Wish I could. Really wish I could. But it’s complicated. If it weren’t, we’d have been successful already.

    You know, all I can do is be better, is listen, and hear, really hear, and try harder, and continue to disavow crap spewed by and ignored by others, and continue to demand more from people. And not be silent. And make it the movement I want it to be, one action at a time. I think it’s a process, and you learn from how people respond and you try even more.

    I doubt that’s very helpful or reassuring. I’m not unconflicted, either. But I’ll be goddamned if I’m giving up. I understand it, I understand all of the sick, dismayed concern, I understand that I may have to stand up a lot taller and talk a lot louder to demonstrate that there is a feminism that is not hopelessly broken with -isms, racism, classism, ableism, hetereosexism, gender essentialism, pick an -ism, any ism.

    Okay. I’ll work harder. I’m listening. And I’m really, really sorry, too, that I’ve been simply rolling along not thinking about the internal oppression all that much. I’m sorry that it took a “dust-up” to get me to think harder about the potential of my own contributions to silencing and appropriation.

  133. Sniper
    Sniper April 25, 2008 at 12:19 pm |

    Lately I feel like I’m a feminist by default, like there’s no other word for the social justice movement I want – which doesn’t actually seem to exist anywhere except within individuals. And yes, I know about Womanism, but I don’t get the spiritual aspects at all.

    Anyway, I’m done with waiting for Amanda to forget about her rising star for a second, and and done with Pandagon. Just my 2 cents.

  134. Charity
    Charity April 25, 2008 at 12:24 pm |

    Wanted to second (third) what Rachel (and others) have said:

    Also: “the latest dust-up” … wow. I would ask that you consider how this language trivializes the legitimate concerns presented by the use of patently racist images in your book, coming on the heels of (1) the BfP/appropriation crapstorm and (2) the racist initial cover of your book.

    (Rachel)

    Also, it was not just the dismissive “latest dust-up”, but even worse – *latest dust-up that has a point to it*. Communicating, of course, that the *other* critiques, you know, had no point. STILL not getting that.

    Wanted to say to Doctor Science, that I was never really a Pandagon regular, although commented there under various pseudonyms (I was “rebeccab / queen of procrastination” in the Book Cover thread, for example), but I really identify with what you’re saying about losing a community. I hope that you will find new spaces in which you’ll come to feel part of a community again. I found the Feministing community to be a very supportive place for a long time, when I really needed such a space. I understand the wrenching feeling, I really do. I have faith that we will both find new spaces where feeling a sense of belonging and camraderie won’t also entail compromising values and/or growing increasingly disturbed at the changing tone of comment sections.

  135. Sailorman
    Sailorman April 25, 2008 at 12:26 pm |

    Amanda says she’s addressed it, but I don’t see where on her site she did so. Am I missing something?

  136. kidlacan
    kidlacan April 25, 2008 at 12:29 pm |

    there are a whole bunch of people i’d like to thank for commenting this past week, both on the reproductive rights thread and here, and i’m thankful for the thoughtful posts that began those conversations, and for the links to WOC blogs and disability-rights blogs. i’m positive that it must absolutely suck to do the educative hand-holding routine, but i’ve really learned a lot by listening, and i’ve discovered blindspots i didn’t understand i had. i really appreciate your patience. thank you all.

  137. Astraea
    Astraea April 25, 2008 at 12:39 pm |

    Doctor Science, I have my tiny little 10 visitors a day blog, lol. I’m mostly in Shakesville, with commenting, because it’s so lively there. But I’m also making a conscious effort to try to expand my regular blog reading. I tend to lurk for a long time to get a feel for the tone of a blog before I ever comment, unless someone has commented on mine.

    I’m horribly shy and I don’t have a feminist community where I live, so blogs are a community/social thing for me, too, even when I don’t comment. I get what you’re saying about losing some of that.

  138. Manju
    Manju April 25, 2008 at 12:41 pm |

    I suppose I’m the only person to notice this, but since we are talking about recognizing oppression and what role, if any, irony has in overcoming it, Amanda was speaking at a pub named the, er, KGB bar.

    Some victims are more privileged than others. Just sayin’.

  139. jeffliveshere
    jeffliveshere April 25, 2008 at 12:44 pm |

    I see the concerns about the images. I didn’t choose them, and rest assured if I had looked them over, I would have said something and had them changed before it went to print. I have sent the concerns onto the publisher.–Marcotte
    If there’s a concern about how quickly I responded, I would like to point out that I was unaware until this morning of this latest dust-up that has a point to it. As I responded as soon as I knew, I can’t see that I could have done anything else.–Marcotte

    So you knew the images should have been changed, but there’s nothing you could have done until now, until people started complaining? If you really thought the images ought to have been changed, you might have said so in the midst of promoting your book, or in the midst of the continuing controversy. That you have voiced your concerns to the publisher now, after people have complained, shows that they weren’t your concerns (until people complained about ‘em enough, at least), even though you say you would have called for the images to be changed.

  140. Karnythia
    Karnythia April 25, 2008 at 12:56 pm |

    I just have to say that i am amazed at the calls for a safe space for Amanda in which to examine her racism and privilege. It’s hilarious to me how people will claim feminism is for all women even as they make it clear that only white women are worthy of protection. When do WOC rate calls for safe space? Or is it supposed to be enough that no one is lynching us on a regular basis, while white women should never have to so much as break a sweat by examining their own privilege and prejudice?

  141. Hawise
    Hawise April 25, 2008 at 1:02 pm |

    Karnythia- everyone rates a call for a safe space, it is the lack of availibility of said space that so many face that we need to fix. The second problem is that so many would rather retreat into a huddle than build the space out in the open. Right now this space seems pretty safe and reasonable, let us see how many we can draw out of their huddles and into the circle.

  142. punkrockhockeymom
    punkrockhockeymom April 25, 2008 at 1:03 pm |

    Karnythia at #148:

    Um, yeah. I agree. Wholeheartedly.

    And this:

    Or is it supposed to be enough that no one is lynching us on a regular basis, while white women should never have to so much as break a sweat by examining their own privilege and prejudice?

    THIS is what I am wondering if we’ll EVER see from Amanda. No, it’s not comfortable. But it is the height of hypocrisy to spend your worklife focusing on expecting men to acknowledge male privilege and yet refuse to look at your own. I NEVER want to be that woman. It’s a matter of integrity.

    And, by the way, since when does Amanda not have a platform? Isn’t she everywhere? Calling for a “safe space” for Amanda right now is a bit like complaining that there is no white male history month.

  143. Sick in Body and Mind… « Words From The Center, Words From The Edge

    [...] over at Feministe has a post up as well: I Guess It’s A Jungle In Here Too, Huh? where she calls for a return to the Seal Press of her childhood and asks questions of both the [...]

  144. KM
    KM April 25, 2008 at 1:07 pm |

    She fucked up, has fucked up in the past, and, even when given the benefit of the doubt, has not owned up to her fuckups

    She’s human. Note that this is not the same as excusing an action (or lack thereof), but I’ve observed she has a hard time backing down when she’s made either a mistake or argues there’s only one way of looking at something and gets called on it. Quite a common human reaction.

  145. Feministe » This is a Feminist Issue Too

    [...] that cops walk. I ought to explain the headline I chose. I picked it in part because of my thoughts during my last post and the subsequent discussion. What is the subject of feminism? Where should feminism be located? Why am I posting about this on a [...]

  146. Shinobi
    Shinobi April 25, 2008 at 1:11 pm |

    Everyone has a “safe space” inside their own heads.

    The real world is where your safe ideas are measured against reality.

  147. Daisy
    Daisy April 25, 2008 at 1:11 pm |
  148. mavis
    mavis April 25, 2008 at 1:15 pm |

    Just add my name to the list of those who are no longer sure if we can simply “take feminism back.”

    Honestly? This is just silly. If you believe in sex and gender equality, you’re a feminist. That you’re offended by the imagery someone who also calls herself a feminist has used in a book means just that.

    Like all social movements, feminism has a billion different kinds of adherents and schools of thought. Why is it that lately feminists seem inclined to grand renouncements of the entire project of feminism over stuff that pisses them off, yet they seem to feel no such need when it comes to other social movements?

    Have none of you noticed that, say, there are several proponents of anti-racist ideas that have not only trafficked in sexist imagery and narratives perhaps unintentionally, but are quite blatantly sexist and homophobic in their own philosophies? That, much as the history of feminism involved the marginalization of people of color within the movement, the history of the black power movement involved the marginalization of women in the movement?

    Are you all prepared to no longer call yourselves anti-racism because of that, or what?

    Which is not to say that it isn’t important for feminists to deal with issues that marginalize people of color within the movement — it’s extremely important. But please, get a little perspective, people. Every social justice movement has to deal with these kinds of issues. The fact that they occur doesn’t render the entire movement moot.

  149. Karnythia
    Karnythia April 25, 2008 at 1:28 pm |

    Are we looking at the same comments Hawise? Because this is not a safe space for WOC. I see people already trying to derail the conversation to the black power movement and the marginalization of WOC in some portions of the that movement. God forbid we focus on the topic at hand right? Namely that the racism in feminism is being writ large by white women in a position to influence up and coming white feminists and that calls for Amanda to have safe space are just more white privilege on the mound of hypocrisy.

  150. Rosehiptea
    Rosehiptea April 25, 2008 at 1:29 pm |

    I have sent the concerns onto the publisher

    And that’s supposed to be even remotely adequate?

    Which is not to say that it isn’t important for feminists to deal with issues that marginalize people of color within the movement — it’s extremely important. But please, get a little perspective, people. Every social justice movement has to deal with these kinds of issues. The fact that they occur doesn’t render the entire movement moot.

    But when I constantly see these issues pushed to the side and ignored, and the presumption is always “yes certainly the feminist movement should address the issues of WOC” assuming that white women run it by default and should, what am I supposed to think?

    Sure, I’m a white woman and I could just walk away and say “Oh well, I’m a feminist anyway despite all the ‘flaws”” but that would be too easy.

  151. Mitchforth
    Mitchforth April 25, 2008 at 1:30 pm |

    You know what, this is not a big deal. I understand that the privilege argument is that nobody who is privileged can appreciate the pain it causes people without privilege to see things that offend them, but that argument is wrong, and also I don’t care.

    There is a difference between malice and insensitivity. Malice is a problem and insensitivity is not. You cannot have a diverse society without stepping on people’s toes. Being ethnic doesn’t entitle you to a special bubble, and learning what to let slide is key to being socially functional.

    I’ve seen arguments that it’s not the job of black people to explain privilege to white people. I think it’s not the job of everybody else to major in identity studies so that they’re fully briefed on the subject and aware of every single thing that might hurt someone’s feelings.

    Awkward stuff is universal. White people aren’t just white, they are Limeys or Frogs or Micks or Guidos or Kikes or Pollacks or Canucks or Krauts or something. Sooner or later, everybody cracks on who they are or where they’re from. Being offended comes with living in a society where people aren’t all the same. Letting harmless stuff slide is not a privilege. It’s a choice you make.

    I am from the South and went to school in the Northeast, and I was once in a class where a professor name-checked my home town as “the kind of place where people eat roadkill.” I probably could have cried about it and secured some token of contrition, but what’s in that for me? How have I been harmed and how do I benefit from drawing attention to the situation.

    I am Jewish, and when Cartman makes cracks about Jews on “South Park,” I get that it’s not an attack. In the new “Harold and Kumar” movie that’s out today, the Feds try to get a yarmulke-wearing Jew to rat out Harold and Kumar by bribing them with gold. I can tell the difference, though, between “Harold and Kumar” and Nazi propaganda.

    Sometimes it’s people from in the group making the joke, but not always. And the people laughing are never all your people. But you can’t live in a world where nobody’s toes are ever stepped on, and it wouldn’t be any fun to live in such a world anyway.

    On the issue at hand, these images are appropriated period images, presented in a context different from and contrary to their original intent. That is irony. I know already that many here don’t consider irony an excuse.

    However, I’d also point out that the spear-wielding tribesman as a stand-in for blacks is so irrelevant and anachronistic to modern racism and racial stereotypes as to be virtually meaningless. An image of a gun-toting gang-banger conjures a much more damaging stereotype and yet it appears routinely in popular culture and passes without comment.

    I assume the tribesmen are intended to be the stand-ins for conservatives in the context presented, and meant to suggest that Amanda thinks their ideology is primative. I can see how the comparison might be a bit unflattering, but the harm is really slight.

    So, while I am aware that the “it’s not a big deal” argument is perceived to come from a place of ignorance and privilege, I have considered it not to be a big deal when it was about me, I think some people like to make a big deal out of stuff that’s not a big deal, and there are clearly other agendas in play here that are encouraging certain people to make a big deal out of this to score a rhetorical point. I am not buying it.

  152. Jill
    Jill April 25, 2008 at 1:33 pm | *

    However, I’d also point out that the spear-wielding tribesman as a stand-in for blacks is so irrelevant and anachronistic to modern racism and racial stereotypes as to be virtually meaningless.

    Except it’s not irrelevant if it’s still being used — see, for example, the Vogue cover from last month. This isn’t about history. This is about ongoing uses of these images and ideas, and the harm they cause. And just because you aren’t offended doesn’t mean that no one else has a right to be.

    No, we are never going to have a world where no ones’ toes get stepped on. But this isn’t just stepping on toes. This is an outright racist assault on people of color, coming from a feminist book. That is a BIG fucking problem, whether you want it to be or not.

  153. Karnythia
    Karnythia April 25, 2008 at 1:33 pm |

    Mavis, if a movement is not just marginalizing members, but is in fact openly hostile to them? Then yes, I do think those members need to look elsewhere for strength and support. The term womanism wasn’t coined because WOC were occasionally being slighted. At some point things need to either change or end. You’ll notice that there are no calls for safe space for an anti-racist that says something sexist.

  154. octogalore
    octogalore April 25, 2008 at 1:33 pm |

    mavis: agree.

  155. J.
    J. April 25, 2008 at 1:35 pm |

    I find this just … weird, and can’t figure out what would compel a feminist to illustrate a book with such images. After starting out as a baby feminist reading Audre Lorde, I’ve always thought of and studied feminism as intricately tied up with other forms of oppression, especially racism, and I don’t see how this book could possibly help new feminists to think critically about these parallel and mutually sustaining oppressions.

  156. amandaw
    amandaw April 25, 2008 at 1:35 pm |

    There is a difference between malice and insensitivity.

    This is why you don’t get it. Because there isn’t.
    Not to the people whose lives are actually affected by the shit we all do.

    It may make a difference in how to respond to that shit. But it doesn’t mean that insensitive shit isn’t shit. They’re both leaving stains and stink on your carpet.

  157. ilyka
    ilyka April 25, 2008 at 1:37 pm |

    You know what, this is not a big deal. I understand that the privilege argument is that nobody who is privileged can appreciate the pain it causes people without privilege to see things that offend them, but that argument is wrong, and also I don’t care.

    Then please make a compelling case for (1) why you’re here and (2) why anyone else here should care what you think. Or, better yet, don’t.

  158. Lenadances
    Lenadances April 25, 2008 at 1:38 pm |

    If there’s a concern about how quickly I responded, I would like to point out that I was unaware until this morning of this latest dust-up that has a point to it. As I responded as soon as I knew, I can’t see that I could have done anything else.

    Seriously, Amanda, this is the equivalent of being the driver of a big white car with a blind spot that has caused you to have a major collision in the past month, and yet you keep changing lanes without getting input from somebody in another seat who can see the blind spot. Admitting that the blind spot exists would be a really big first step; acting to avoid future collisions would be the obvious next step.

    The correct response is NOT “golly, after the latest wreck caused by that blind spot I could have NEVER expected there to be another one and couldn’t have done ANYTHING to avoid another one.” The correct response is “Wow, I have a serious blind spot… I need help to avoid crashing into other cars when I change lanes. Anyone want to sit in the back on this project and give me a yell if you see danger?”

    If a driver is a proven menace on the road and has no intention of compensating for the blind spot, not even so far as to install a working rear-view mirror, then the next step for any community would be to pull that driver’s license. If you can’t get a handle on this blind spot, Amanda, I would fully expect this blog (and all others) to do the same: take you off the rolls, not advertise your books, not mention your appearances. I cannot take a community seriously that refuses to police itself.

  159. Karnythia
    Karnythia April 25, 2008 at 1:38 pm |

    Mitchforth,

    Why exactly are you laboring under the impression that you get to dictate how POC should respond to racist imagery? For that matter what makes you think you’re in a position to dictate the way stereotypical images should be viewed when you’re clearly unaware of the reality that many people still think of Africa as a country (not even a continent, but a country!) that has no semblance of “civilization” except what Europeans brought with them during imperialism.

  160. Hot Tramp
    Hot Tramp April 25, 2008 at 1:41 pm |

    I’ve observed she has a hard time backing down when she’s made either a mistake or argues there’s only one way of looking at something and gets called on it. Quite a common human reaction.

    No one’s saying otherwise. What’s your point?

    We all have a pretty good idea of why Marcotte is behaving the way she is — she doesn’t think she did anything wrong, she’s on the defensive, she’s falling back to her supporters, etc. Those are the same reasons that men dismiss and minimize feminist criticisms. But it’s not okay for them to hide in their comfortable privilege, and it’s not okay for white women to hide in ours when we are called to account by people of color.

    Marcotte needs to put away her “common human reaction” and strive for something uncommon — a true progressive commitment to equality and justice. Which starts with working through her racism. Now, I personally don’t give a crap if she does that in public or in private, but if she wants to remain relevant to feminists of color and their white allies, she’d do well to consider blogging about it.

  161. Astraea
    Astraea April 25, 2008 at 1:42 pm |

    There is a difference between malice and insensitivity.

    Sure, and there’s a difference between manslaughter and murder, but in the end someone is still dead.

  162. cke
    cke April 25, 2008 at 1:44 pm |

    Thanks for posting this; I haven’t seen the book and don’t usually read many blogs, but I’m glad to see people noticing these things and writing about them.

    Mavis, you have some good points, but I think you’re missing an important part of what is being said here and what many Women of Color are saying…the feminist movement overall is very racist and white middle-class centric, and the white women involved in the movement don’t seem to be too interested in working towards changing that (or are only interested in putting the work on WoC to make that change). When most of a whole movement, especially the mainstreamish parts of the feminist movement, have those qualities, the meaning of “feminism” and “feminist” change. Sure, people can pick up a dictionary and quote it, but I don’t think that changes what a word refers to in action.

  163. lavendertook
    lavendertook April 25, 2008 at 1:44 pm |

    Holly, thanks for all you have said.

    No one gave young Black Amazon safe space at Broadsheet, or even in her own blog when the Seal Press editors came barging in, and she’s not even a big name blogger, so I’m dismayed at the calls for giving Amanda Marcotte room on this when they haven’t been matched with how BA was treated.

    I want Seal Press and A. Marcotte to get their racism the hell out of our feminisms.

  164. Oh
    Oh April 25, 2008 at 1:44 pm |

    Malice is a problem and insensitivity is not. You cannot have a diverse society without stepping on people’s toes.

    Wow. I never knew that, if people keep stomping on your toe, then stand on it for a while, move away for a while when shoved off, but then stomp some more, then glance down to say that toe’s looking ugly and you should do something about it, move away, and then wander over and steps on it–I never knew the reasonable response would be, “Oh, well, we live in a diverse society!” I would’ve thought it’d be something more like, “STOP STEPPING ON MY FUCKING TOES.” I’d think an actual attack would seem pretty reasonable, too.

    How lucky I am that Mitchforth is here to set me straight on that!

  165. J.
    J. April 25, 2008 at 1:45 pm |

    Surreal.

  166. The Rotund
    The Rotund April 25, 2008 at 1:49 pm |

    KM, absolutely she is human. Which is why it is not that she fucks up that is inexcusable. It’s her responses – or stunning lack thereof – that are inexcuseable. “Hi, I fucked up,” is a valid and important response. We are not all going to get it right 100% of the time, none of us. What we put out into the world when we DO fuck up is, in large part, what defines us and the character of our movements.

    Karnythia, I hate to admit it because I want to believe feminism can be an inclusive, progressive space, “At some point things need to either change or end,” is absolutely, profoundly true.

  167. Hot Tramp
    Hot Tramp April 25, 2008 at 1:49 pm |

    Mitchforth is a Tuff Guy and doesn’t let systematic oppression get him down! Uus weepy ladies are being too soft! We need to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps! If we ignore racism and sexism, and choose not to be offended by it, everything will be okay!

  168. Hawise
    Hawise April 25, 2008 at 1:57 pm |

    Karnythia- it is arguable that any space can be made safe- even the space between our ears- but we have to try to at least convince people to consider their own words and actions and to try to make that as doable as possible. I agree that nowhere is going to be 100% since we are all starting at different places but if we can at least get people to stop huddling and interact then we can get sme work done. Now we are going to get the drive-by Mitchforths but in general I think that this conversation has been open to exchange. I totally agree that other issues are muddying the stream, on some of them I may not understand how polluting it is but I do recognize that those side issues are unhelpful.

  169. kiki
    kiki April 25, 2008 at 1:59 pm |

    Hey, maybe that’s mitchforth in the part 5 drawing holding back the natives with his shiny gun. That’s his “he’s not buying” stance.

  170. punkrockhockeymom
    punkrockhockeymom April 25, 2008 at 2:00 pm |

    #159:

    No. You’re wrong.

    There is no place in any progressive movement for marginalization and oppression based on race. There is no place in any feminist book for racist imagery used to be cute and kitschy! I can’t even believe I have to type it.

    Do we not, as feminists, believe in the power of language and imagery in culture to both reflect and perpetuate subordination? Seriously? You seriously think those images don’t matter? I call bullshit. Amanda herself believes in it. Just read her blog.

    And, you know, I don’t think she has the power to use racist imagery ironically. But you know what else? She didn’t. Those images are not ironic. To be fucking ironic regarding the racism in them, she would have to be deconstructing the RACIST meaning in the pictures. That’s NOT what her book is about. If your book uses a picture that represents the black man as the unidentified masses of bad guys, you’ve got a serious problem.

    For fuck’s sake. This just pisses me off. You cannot seriously think those pictures are okay because the tribal warriors are meant to represent the overwhelmingly RICH, Conservative White Males she’s trying to deal with in the chapters? The hordes of conservative sexist pigs? Way to let the white guys off of the hook. “No, this picture, here? It’s about the bad white guys. I just had to use pictures of black guys so you would all get that I’m saying they’re BAD and on the ATTACK.”

    That’s not an ironic use of racist imagery. That’s, um, RACIST use of racist imagery. Come on.

    As to malice versus insensitivity: The feminist movement has a shameful history of marginalizing and appropriating from WOC. You don’t get to do it and be a feminist. You just fucking don’t. And when people say, “Hey! You are marginalizing and appropriating from us!! ” in a feminist community, you don’t get to say only “Oops, I didn’t notice. Passed your concerns along. Kthx bye.” Or, worse yet, “Oh, shut up, you’re just jealous and want to rain on my happy career parade.” And you don’t get to be a feminist and be ignorant of all of that history, either. You have to be careful of it. Because it’s EASY to rest of privilege, including the PRIVILEGE to be insensitive and ignorant and silent, including the PRIVILEGE to say “You’re being too hard on this issue, it’s not that bad, get over it!” Including the privilege to define what is and isn’t racist, or sexist, or heterosexist ENOUGH to matter.

    And sure, there is a difference between malice and insensitivity. It’s one of degree, however, not kind. And if you really are JUST being insensitive, the response you give to being called on your insensitivity is what defines whether or not you have malice.

    You know, I’m pretty sure I’ve read Amanda herself noting that you don’t get to rely on ignorance THAT FAR, and when you do, then it becomes malice. And you don’t get to attack the people you’re “Insensitively” marginalizing and standing on top of for being overly sensitive.

    I’ve seen arguments that it’s not the job of black people to explain privilege to white people. I think it’s not the job of everybody else to major in identity studies so that they’re fully briefed on the subject and aware of every single thing that might hurt someone’s feelings.

    You’ve also seen Amanda make the exact same argument with regard to gender: It’s not our job to explain to men their privilege and where it comes from. She’s a feminist with a vast public platform. She wrote a feminist book. It is PRECISELY her job to understand privilege and the invisible ways its enacted upon the oppressed. I can’t imagine she’d say it’s not.

  171. punkrockhockeymom
    punkrockhockeymom April 25, 2008 at 2:01 pm |

    Sorry about the tag shenanigans in that last post, everyone. I’m trying to draft a contract and keep track of this at the same time.

  172. Vantuna
    Vantuna April 25, 2008 at 2:05 pm |

    @Kristin

    But in none of these discussions do we ever resolve the underlying problem that we don’t share a world view. We don’t share a set of ideals. We may patch the banner back together but a week, a month, a day from now we’ll just be tearing each other apart again.

    Tell me I’m wrong. Tell me I’m too cynical. Tell me it just feels this way because we’re in the middle of the same damn argument we’ve been having for years. Just tell me its not true.

    Okay, I’ll sign up for that one.

    It’s not true. It just feels this way because we’re in the middle of the same damn argument we’ve been having for years. I personally expect to keep having this argument off and on for the rest of my life, for two reasons: 1) It takes a long time to shift a culture, and 2) people bring their own strengths and weaknesses to everything and some people *will* fuck up in one area despite strengths in other areas.

    Also, *nobody* shares the exact same set of ideals with anybody, not groups, not people. I no longer expect that from anyone (I used to, but now I think that’s a mistake). What I do look for is a commitment to keep moving strongly in the same direction. So I don’t plan to give up on feminism, anti-racism, or any other overall goals, even if I might give up on specific people or subgroups.

  173. mavis
    mavis April 25, 2008 at 2:07 pm |

    Mavis, if a movement is not just marginalizing members, but is in fact openly hostile to them?

    Well, I can’t decide for you or anyone else, of course.

    (Just as an aside, regarding “insensitivity”, just want to say that I would characterize what happened here as closer to “hostility” than “insensitivity.” I just don’t see how someone could look at the narrative arc of those pictures in 2008 and not see a problem.)

    To put it bluntly, I just think that it makes more sense for feminists to marginalize Amanda Marcotte than to marginalize their own feminism.

    There are plenty of sexist and racist people out there who are already quite willing to marginalize both feminism and anti-racism on the grounds that problematic stuff has been done within those movements. IMO, proponents of the movement don’t do themselves or the movements a whole lot of good by pitching in.

  174. kiki
    kiki April 25, 2008 at 2:09 pm |

    However, I’d also point out that the spear-wielding tribesman as a stand-in for blacks is so irrelevant and anachronistic to modern racism and racial stereotypes as to be virtually meaningless.

    This is the same tripe that is spewed every time Native Americans ask that sports teams stop using tomahawk wielding, hooting red men as “mascots.”

  175. punkrockhockeymom
    punkrockhockeymom April 25, 2008 at 2:13 pm |

    #182, um, yeah.

    And, you know, how the hell do white people get off saying some racist imagery has become “irrelevant and anachronistic to modern racism.”

    How is that ANY different from “OH, GET OVER IT ALREADY. Stop whining about racism.”

    So fucking offensive. When male-dominated progressive communities pull that shit on, say, reproductive rights, how do we react?

  176. AnonymousCoward
    AnonymousCoward April 25, 2008 at 2:18 pm |

    #159: Sure, there’s a difference between malice and insensitivity, and that means that someone who does something offensive out of insensitivity isn’t as bad an actor as someone who does something offensive out of malice.

    That doesn’t mean you don’t call someone on their insensitivity. That doesn’t mean that people whose toes are being stepped on shouldn’t say, “Hey, stop stepping on my toes!” That doesn’t remove the obligation of the insensitive person to be more careful, and work extra hard to avoid stepping on the toes of the people around them. And eventually, if you keep asking a person to stop stepping on your toes, and they keep ignoring you, insensitivity becomes malice.

    If you’re not fighting your privilege, you’re working to enable it (not having to be aware of one’s privilege is arguably one of its biggest benefits). Marcotte has demonstrated that she is not willing to examine her privilege as a white person, and continues to blame the people whose toes she has stepped on for her trouble. As I said: unexamined privilege *becomes* malice, and Marcotte is dangerously close to that line, if not already well on the other side.

  177. Natalia
    Natalia April 25, 2008 at 2:20 pm |

    If there’s a concern about how quickly I responded, I would like to point out that I was unaware until this morning of this latest dust-up that has a point to it. As I responded as soon as I knew, I can’t see that I could have done anything else.

    I’ve tried to refrain from making any more personal comments to you as of late, Amanda, but this kind of response is dismissive and patronizing. Tell us when you get to China.

    Believe me, I know how hard it can be when people call you out on stuff, but you know what’s harder? Having to experience day-to-day prejudice and racism.

  178. mordicai
    mordicai April 25, 2008 at 2:24 pm |

    Giving up on “feminism” as a term is totally the wrong way to go about this; letting the term BECOME what misogynists represent it as would be a terrific blow against the idea that women are just as capable as anyone else. I really like the “this is what a feminist looks like” campaign & agenda; letting the opposite side, the side that posits feminism as a kind of straw man argument, win? Just makes all of the issues that concern gender equality seem like they fall under that straw man’s umbrella.

  179. juju
    juju April 25, 2008 at 2:37 pm |

    Vantuna:So I don’t plan to give up on feminism, anti-racism, or any other overall goals, even if I might give up on specific people or subgroups.

    Jackass racist white feminists do not own the movement, and this WOC will not be driven off even after years of bullshit in real life and online. White women do not own feminism and do not have the exclusive right to define what that term means. Fuck certain people, and Fuck certain subgroups, but I simply can not bring myself to say fuck feminism.

    At the same time, I absolutely feel for all of my sisters who are tired of the outright attacks and the glacial rate of progress, and simply want to focus their energies elsewhere. I get that and I have been there.

  180. Brooke
    Brooke April 25, 2008 at 2:37 pm |

    We’ve just posted the following public apology on the Seal blog and want to address it here as well:

    To Our Readers, Our Friends, Our Critics,

    We are taking action immediately to remove the offensive images from It’s A Jungle Out There. We are currently reprinting, and we will make these changes now. We apologize for any pain or concern these images have caused.

    We do not believe it is appropriate for a book about feminism, albeit a book of humor, to have any images or illustrations that are offensive to anyone.

    Some have asked the valid question, “What were you thinking?”

    Please know that neither the cover, nor the interior images, were meant to make any serious statement. We were hoping for a campy, retro package to complement the author’s humor. That is all. We were not thinking.

    As an organization, we need to look seriously at the effects of white privilege. We will be looking for anti-racist trainings offered here in the Bay Area. We want to incorporate race analysis into our work.

    In the meantime, please know that all involved in the publishing of It’s A Jungle Out There, from editorial to production were not trying to send a message to anyone about our feelings regarding race. If taken seriously as a representation of our intentions, these images are also not very feminist. By putting the big blonde in the skimpy bathing suit with the big breasts, the tiny waist, and the weapon on our cover, we are also not asserting that she is any kind of standard that anyone should aspire to. This 1950s Marvel comic is not an accurate reflection of our beauty standards, our beliefs regarding one’s right to bear arms, nor our perspectives on race relations, foreign policy, or environmental policy.

    We also extend this apology to the author, Amanda Marcotte, who did not select these images for her book. Writing humor is very difficult. While our intention was to complement your words, we see that these images have had the opposite effect, and for that, we are sorry.

    Sincerely and humbly,

    Krista Lyons-Gould and Brooke Warner

  181. Natalia
    Natalia April 25, 2008 at 2:40 pm |

    As an aside,

    For me, this all comes on the heels of the fact that “It’s Jungle Out There” includes at least one reference to the Russian mail-order bride phenomenon. It really struck me as a characterization of them as clueless little foils to the mighty Lornas of the world.

    I wrote about it, in the second half of this post, in case anyone is interested in my attempt to make sense of it. I was going to order the book to get a better perspective on the comments, but I don’t think that’s going to happen anymore.

    A sad situation all around.

  182. Think Girl » Educate yourself.
    Think Girl » Educate yourself. April 25, 2008 at 2:44 pm |

    [...] light of the recent discussion of race and feminism in the blogosphere I’ve decided to post a few books that might be helpful in understanding [...]

  183. little light
    little light April 25, 2008 at 2:46 pm |

    Amanda, I know this is out there, but you might try the word “sorry.”
    Even once. Somewhere.

  184. The Hackenblog » Amanda appropriates

    [...] I Guess It’s a Jungle in Here Too, Huh [...]

  185. tenacitus
    tenacitus April 25, 2008 at 2:51 pm |

    I was impressed to see that you had started writing at such a young age Holly, though I have not read the thread I credit you for what you are trying to do.

    As a black man who started reading the feminist blogs 2 months ago I have found them very informative and made me see things in new ways. When I read Brownfemnipower a year ago I found her very compelling. recently when I read Marcotte’s alternet article it seemed eerily familiar to me.

    I can only speak for myself but things like the pictures and Amanda’s reaction show me that everyone who claims to share your values & interests does not always. Sometimes you can dialogue successfully with them other times you are better off washing your hands off them.

    I think that you or anyone else can find folks who are better friends and allies than Seal Press or Amanda in trying to make the world more humane for all of us.

  186. Fleurdenoir
    Fleurdenoir April 25, 2008 at 2:53 pm |

    I wish women with more privilege would realize that they have a responsibility to give back and try to make the world a better place where they can.

    – Amanda from her Alternet interview

    I boggle, and then my head implodes. I’m typing this from the afterlife.

  187. Astraea
    Astraea April 25, 2008 at 2:53 pm |

    As an organization, we need to look seriously at the effects of white privilege. We will be looking for anti-racist trainings offered here in the Bay Area. We want to incorporate race analysis into our work.

    Well, that’s nice, but are there no women of color working at Seal?

    Jesus Christ.

  188. Rose
    Rose April 25, 2008 at 2:56 pm |

    Dear Amanda Marcotte,

    May your book fail miserably and whatever copies sell be used to line birdcages across the country.

    Enjoy your fast trip down to the dustbin of feminist history. Don’t worry, feminism will do just fine without you. Contrary to your beliefs, there really is more to the movement than the health of your career. And by the way, I promise I’ll start caring about your career as soon as you start caring about mine. Or the career, life, and feelings anyone who doesn’t have the name “Amanda Marcotte.”

    Most Sincerely,
    Rose

  189. RacyT
    RacyT April 25, 2008 at 2:57 pm |

    Personally, if I were reading the book I would probably have read the titles only and glossed over the illustrations the way I do ads in magazines. (Were it a book I had written myself, however, that would likely be a different story.)

    What I find curious about this, now, is: The book was released on March 6. The first I heard of these images — anywhere — was yesterday. So I’m going to guess that a number of other people didn’t notice them. (Or didn’t feel comfortable bringing it up.) I don’t know what to think about that.

  190. Hot Tramp
    Hot Tramp April 25, 2008 at 2:59 pm |

    Thank you, Brooke, for admitting that you didn’t think and that this is an issue of white privilege. I’d like to suggest you consider New Demographic‘s workplace seminars. Carmen Van Kerckhove is pretty rad.

  191. Fleurdenoir
    Fleurdenoir April 25, 2008 at 3:03 pm |

    In the meantime, please know that all involved in the publishing of It’s A Jungle Out There, from editorial to production were not trying to send a message to anyone about our feelings regarding race. If taken seriously as a representation of our intentions, these images are also not very feminist. By putting the big blonde in the skimpy bathing suit with the big breasts, the tiny waist, and the weapon on our cover, we are also not asserting that she is any kind of standard that anyone should aspire to. This 1950s Marvel comic is not an accurate reflection of our beauty standards, our beliefs regarding one’s right to bear arms, nor our perspectives on race relations, foreign policy, or environmental policy.

    Maybe it’s just me, but did anyone else wtf? a little at that whole section?

    Almost like, well, if you crazy people were just smarter and tried harder to understand, you’d KNOW this stuff! Sealpress, I doubt your sincerity.

    Also, not very feminist? You think? And the understatement of the year award goes to …

  192. Kristen
    Kristen April 25, 2008 at 3:05 pm |

    What I do look for is a commitment to keep moving strongly in the same direction.

    It’s probably just the moment, but I don’t think I’m moving in same direction any more. Is feminism about women first and all other oppression second? Or is it about ending oppression regardless of its source? Because at this very moment and frequently in the last year those two ideologies have been in direct opposition. And I’m tired of fighting my allies over it.

  193. Ico
    Ico April 25, 2008 at 3:06 pm |

    Juju,

    Would you mind if I quote you on my blog?

  194. car
    car April 25, 2008 at 3:07 pm |

    I’ve been watching this whole thing from the sidelines; in fact, I’ve dropped most of my feminist blogreading this semester just because of time problems, so I didn’t see the Marcotte plaigioversy until it was over. I was willing to give her a little bit of a pass on that one as the first wake-up call, as it were, even if she should have known better, but this one really seals it. After what she’s been through in the last month, to go out on a book tour and not notice or address the racism in all of the images in her book is almost beyond understanding; to then blithely say “I’ve passed on the concerns now that you’ve pointed them out today” makes my brain break. There comes a point when you really have to admit what’s wrong with you. Covering for yourself doesn’t work when everyone else sees it and has already pointed it out to you. The absolute ONLY thing I can think of to excuse the way she’s responded today is that she has some kind of gag clause in her contract that keeps her from saying anything bad that would undermine book sales, but I would think that one’s reputation would be worth breaking it even so. I’ve liked Amanda’s writing for a couple of years, but I’m pretty much done with her at this point if she doesn’t own up.

  195. Amanda Flashes Her “Porn-Liberal” (Racist????) Self….Again | The SmackDog Chronicles (Ver. 2.5)

    [...] just leave it to the many responses by WoC to this controversy; here and here would be a good start-up for [...]

  196. RacyT
    RacyT April 25, 2008 at 3:12 pm |

    Hmm. Re-reading my comment, I sound flip, let me rephrase. I agree with everything people have said about the images; just that I personally would probably not looked at them very closely. My point was that I’m surprised it took so long for anyone to bring this up. It’s kind of disturbing.

  197. RacyT
    RacyT April 25, 2008 at 3:13 pm |

    Hmm. Re-reading my comment, I sound flip, let me rephrase. I agree with everything people have said about the images; just I personally would probably not have looked at them very closely.

    My real point was that I’m surprised it took so long for anyone to bring this up. It’s kind of disturbing.

  198. Kali
    Kali April 25, 2008 at 3:14 pm |

    I am posting this again. There are only 4 negative reviews on Amazon. Kristen Kieper wrote one of them and it is currently highlighted as “the most helpful negative review”.

    A glowing review from Hugo Schwyzer still stands despite his repentant blog post.

    Please take 5 minutes off from blogging, log onto Amazon.com, type Marcotte into the search box, click on the book and post your thoughts — and make a difference. It will be more effective at this stage of the game than writing to the publisher.

    From what I know about publishing I don’t believe a word about Marcotte only just becoming aware of the illustrations. That may be what she has been TOLD to say by Seal Press in order to salvage sales. She must have had advance copies of the book months ago.

    POST REVIEWS OF THE BOOK ON AMAZON

    I am not a blogger but I am a WoC and a feminist and a book-lover. I am apalled at what has gone on with Marcotte and Seal press.

    All you folks need to post reviews of the book on Amazon. If you read Amazon’s instructions to authors on the importance of customer reviews (available on their website) you will see that you have a powerful means of protest. More powerful than MSM in this case.

  199. madeiramydear
    madeiramydear April 25, 2008 at 3:16 pm |

    the feminist movement overall is very racist and white middle-class centric, and the white women involved in the movement don’t seem to be too interested in working towards changing that (or are only interested in putting the work on WoC to make that change).

    Don’t get me wrong…I think the images in question are horribly wrong.

    I agree that parts of feminism are very middle and upper class, but then again look at who has the bulk of the spare time (leisure?) for activism? It reminds me of every upper middle to wealthy home I’ve visited, and how they display the obligatory photo on top of the grand piano featuring their child building houses in South America, surrounded by the local folks. I poke fun, but I guess their hearts are in the right places. I’ve always been on the poor side, but harbor no bitterness for the others. If they can do their part to help out, I welcome it.

    However I do think the assumption that the feminist movement AS A WHOLE is racist just doesn’t make sense. Granted there are incidents like the above, but how is it logical or beneficial to a movement to PURPOSEFULLY alienate specific groups?

    Then again, are you referring to latent, or intentional racism?

    Why belittle the work of those who are at least trying? There was another quote above (and my apologies if this is taken out of context) about having only so much spare time and energy for causes. I do think it’s important to evaluate a movement’s actions against the background of other oppressions, but it’s also natural to be passionate about issues which affect you firsthand. We all have a different set of injustices we encounter personally, but just because I lack firsthand experience of a POC doesn’t mean I’m intentionally ignoring these concerns…I’m just approaching feminism from my own struggles.

    It’s overwhelming to expect your concerns as a person with a vagina to always be linked to multiple other forms of oppression at the same time. I feel like feminists are sometimes unfairly portrayed, because we have more responsibility than most other movements and are therefore always expected to be well-versed in every aspect of oppression (not unlike how women in general or even liberals are always expected to take the high road). Remember the kids with terrible grades who received money for each A and B on their report cards? Do you also remember when (with consistent straight As) how you brought this up with your own parents, and they replied, “we expect this of you.”

    It’s distressing to hear some people condemn early feminists, because technically they were just trying to advance the rights of those with certain anatomical parts. You have to start somewhere, right?

    (The execution isn’t as eloquent as intended, but it’s laundry day!)

  200. Ico
    Ico April 25, 2008 at 3:17 pm |

    Great point, Kali. Will do!

  201. RacyT
    RacyT April 25, 2008 at 3:17 pm |

    Crap. Sorry for the screwy double-post.

    Fleurdenoir: TOTALLY. That part doesn’t sit welll with me.

  202. juju
    juju April 25, 2008 at 3:17 pm |

    Ico: Juju,

    Would you mind if I quote you on my blog?

    Sure, why not.

  203. Vantuna
    Vantuna April 25, 2008 at 3:18 pm |

    For Juju @ 187:

    What you said.

    Everyone’s time is finite.

  204. Astraea
    Astraea April 25, 2008 at 3:20 pm |

    What I find curious about this, now, is: The book was released on March 6. The first I heard of these images — anywhere — was yesterday. So I’m going to guess that a number of other people didn’t notice them. (Or didn’t feel comfortable bringing it up.) I don’t know what to think about that.

    There could be a few reasons.
    1. Some people will simply overlook even gving the images much attention, like Jill.
    2. The early sales went to friends, supporters and fans who either over look the images out of carelessness, or have a vested interest in not analyzing them.
    3. Related to 2, people who were more likely to notice and call out the images aren’t the people who purchased the book.
    4. People did find the images offensive, but didn’t feel compelled to discuss them/needed some sense of community support until it became clear that this is part of a pattern.

    (FWIW, I haven’t purchased the book nor had I seen the images before it was brought up here.)

  205. Eryngo
    Eryngo April 25, 2008 at 3:22 pm |

    #199:

    Uh, YEAH. That section was totally unnecessary and read as sarcastic in exactly that way. For editors, they certainly seem to have a hard time…editing.

    They’re allowed to feel, right now, that the emphasis and implications of the racist cartoons are over the top (in the same way that a cartoon spear might be read as a statement on the right to bear arms! WTF indeed). They are not, as an organization self-identified as needing antiracism training, allowed to SAY that with this little cutesy “fine print ass covering” and have their (all requisite boxes checked) apology taken seriously. If they really want their gesture read as sincere, no matter what they feel about the original complaint, that part should have been, um…edited, no question.

    On a practical level, these decisions make me wonder that any of these people get paid for anything involving text.

  206. NancyP
    NancyP April 25, 2008 at 3:23 pm |

    Well, THERE’S a turnoff! I had no idea, since this isn’t the sort of book I buy, and I haven’t looked at it in a store. Now I get what the big dust-up between AM and WOC generally has been about. (OK, I don’t follow absolutely every intrablog controversy in detail).

    As if it wouldn’t be easy for an illustrator to come up with something different. Say, the fantasy scenes from the movie “9 to 5″ involving various bits of revenge against the boss.

  207. JPlum
    JPlum April 25, 2008 at 3:24 pm |

    I very much regret that I will have to take this book off my wishlist. Even a response from Amanda that said ‘You know, you guys are right, there are major problems with those images-Seal Press and I could and should have been more aware and done better’ and I would have bought the book. But the continued defensiveness and inability to admit having said or done things that are regrettable-it just makes me sad.

    So, as recommended by someone in another thread on racism in feminism, I will be reading Angela Davis’ Women, Race, and Class, which I got yesterday.

  208. The Blindness of Privilege | Blog of the Moderate Left

    [...] also: Maria at Alas, a Blog; Holly at Feministe; Jeff at Feminist Allies; Ampersand; Ann at Feministing; Karnythia at Angry Black [...]

  209. annajcook
    annajcook April 25, 2008 at 3:38 pm |

    the feminist movement AS A WHOLE is racist just doesn’t make sense

    I would add to that thought that I dislike talk of “the feminist movement” as a singular phenomenon when throughout the history of feminist activism there as have been myriad ways in which people have stood up against gender- and sex-based injustice. People who claim the label “feminist” have always defied a simplistic demographic description. When “the feminist movement” is labeled white and middle-class, it is often because that is how it is portrayed by the mainstream media; those are the activists who are given–because of their privilege–the most visible platforms. To accept that narrative of feminism seems wrong to me–it’s letting a very small group of people set the terms of the debate.

    Speaking from my own perspective as a middle-class white woman, feminist thought and activity was/is my doorway into thinking about all the other inequalities in the world–I have feminists to thank for helping me think about heterosexism, transphobia, racism, imperialism, classism, ageism, ableism, so on, and so forth. And I’m glad that people within (and outside of) feminist circles continue to interrogate their own actions and ideas and to share that messy process with all of us.

  210. Manju
    Manju April 25, 2008 at 3:39 pm |

    Kristen says:

    I want to believe that feminism (and I acknowledge that I am not the definer of Feminism) is about dismantling oppression of all types and varieties.

    I’ve recognized for awhile now that many feminists seem to have a blind spot when it comes to certain types of oppression

    Susan says:

    Feminism that gets around by riding silently on the back of other oppressions is not my feminism,

    So JPlun decides to replace the Marcotte book with…

    So, as recommended by someone in another thread on racism in feminism, I will be reading Angela Davis’ Women, Race, and Class, which I got yesterday.

    Yet consider this:

    Russian dissident and Nobel Laureate Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn criticized Davis’s sympathy for the Soviet Union in a speech he delivered to the AFL-CIO on July 9, 1975 in New York City, pointing out hypocrisy in her attitude toward prisoners under Communist governments. According to Solzhenitsyn, a group of Czech dissidents “addressed an appeal to her: `Comrade Davis, you were in prison. You know how unpleasant it is to sit in prison, especially when you consider yourself innocent. You have such great authority now. Could you help our Czech prisoners? Could you stand up for those people in Czechoslovakia who are being persecuted by the state?’ Angela Davis answered: ‘They deserve what they get. Let them remain in prison.’”

    What privilege blinds us to this oppression? American privilege? The privilege of living in a free, prosperous, capitalist society? Worth a thought.

  211. Joan Kelly
    Joan Kelly April 25, 2008 at 3:47 pm |

    Not in agreement that it can be assumed the author and publishers were/are intention-less. Not in agreement that defensiveness is a normal, unavoidable reaction. Not in agreement that the illustrations have zero to do with the content. Not in agreement.

  212. Joan Kelly
    Joan Kelly April 25, 2008 at 3:50 pm |

    Also, will be writing to Perseus to register my rejection of any of this as a mistake due to lack of adequate how-not-to-publish-racist-imagery training in the bay area, as an author from one of the imprints (Carroll & Graf, under Avalon) that they bought out recently. Thanks to those who posted contact info for my generally lazy ass to take advantage of.

  213. Trin
    Trin April 25, 2008 at 4:00 pm |

    I see the concerns about the images. I didn’t choose them, and rest assured if I had looked them over, I would have said something and had them changed before it went to print.

    Wait, you’re going on a book tour, yet you hadn’t actually opened the copies prior to doing so and seen the illustrations for yourself?

  214. mavis
    mavis April 25, 2008 at 4:05 pm |

    I am regretting that I said “it makes more sense for feminists to marginalize Amanda Marcotte,” because I don’t mean to make this personal or dismiss everything AM has ever done.

    I’m still struggling to figure out what I think about this, I guess.

  215. Pandagon :: I’m sorry. :: April :: 2008

    [...] I’m sorry. Plain and simple. I didn’t pick the offensive imagery in my book, but I should have caught it sooner than now. I didn’t and there’s no excuse. It was my first book, I was excited and happy, but I needed to have a more critical eye. I would do anything to remove racist images from the first printing of the book if I could, and I am relieved and happy to say that they will be removed from future printings. Seal Press has their note of apology up too, and they accept full responsibility for these mistakes. I really recommend reading it. [...]

  216. » on safe space in jungles
    » on safe space in jungles April 25, 2008 at 4:08 pm |

    [...] a rather long thread on feministe regarding some rather racist illustrations in a recently published feminist book. many others [...]

  217. Amanda Marcotte
    Amanda Marcotte April 25, 2008 at 4:15 pm |

    I’m sorry that these things take a long time to respond to. But I wanted it to be accurate as to how I really feel, and not spun out in a hurry. So my response is up.

  218. Mitchforth
    Mitchforth April 25, 2008 at 4:26 pm |

    Except it’s not irrelevant if it’s still being used — see, for example, the Vogue cover from last month. This isn’t about history. This is about ongoing uses of these images and ideas, and the harm they cause. And just because you aren’t offended doesn’t mean that no one else has a right to be.

    No, we are never going to have a world where no ones’ toes get stepped on. But this isn’t just stepping on toes. This is an outright racist assault on people of color, coming from a feminist book. That is a BIG fucking problem, whether you want it to be or not.

    Well, I disagreed with you at the time about the Vogue cover; I think the racist iterpretation brings context and content to the photo that simply isn’t present there. I also disagree that King Kong is about black people.

    I have always read the central theme as the juxtaposition of Kong’s dominance of the monsters on the island where he lives, and the relative helplessness of the explorers there, with Kong’s helplessness when he’s brought to New York. The two central images are how huge and mighty he seems when he kills the tyrannosaurus with his bare hands, and how tiny and helpless he seems against the Empire State Building.

    If the movie were about comparing black people to gorillas, nobody would remember it 80 years later. How many other movies from 1933 can you name?

    And I don’t see this as a racist assault. A lynching is a racist assault. A Klan rally is a racist assault. Redlining a neighborhood is a racist assault. The ‘N’ word is a racist assault.

    This comes from no malicious intention, which has to be very important. When you said you didn’t notice this the first time you looked through it, I think you meant you didn’t view it as inappopriate in context, since you must have flipped past the chapter headings. A whole lot of sensitive, progressive people saw this and didn’t think there was anything wrong with it. And you can either assume that all those people were blinded by their privilege, but I think the first impression was the right one.

    Why exactly are you laboring under the impression that you get to dictate how POC should respond to racist imagery? For that matter what makes you think you’re in a position to dictate the way stereotypical images should be viewed when you’re clearly unaware of the reality that many people still think of Africa as a country (not even a continent, but a country!) that has no semblance of “civilization” except what Europeans brought with them during imperialism.

    And many people think everybody is drunk in Ireland. It’s very possible that the professor sincerely believes that people from my hometown eat roadkill. What difference does this make? Is anyone reading this book really likely to look at those images and believe that it is an accurate depiction of Africa?

    I don’t get to dictate how anyone should respond to anything. But I don’t automatically defer to minorities on these issues out of a theory that I’m incapable of understanding how they react to this stuff.

    I see religious Jews and they way they dress used as a sight gag on television all the time. That reinforces a stereotype, and some people may think that all Jews look like that. I don’t find it offensive, and I don’t really care.

    I’ll accept the argument that there is no single concise thing that can be said to me that is as loaded and emotional as the N word, although Larry David and Sarah Silverman have been poking at that taboo, and I think they’re pretty funny. David generally has Wanda Sykes as a part of that act when he explores that material on “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” but Silverman goes wherever she wants, alone.

    I think the material in Silverman’s standup act and on David’s show deals with stuff that’s more offensive than the marginal stuff Marcotte is dealing with here. They invoke this stuff before a much less specialized audience, and I think both of them are less clearly ironic than Marcotte is being.

    I don’t think they’re racists, but I am very sure that there are plenty of listeners who would be very offended by the things they’re saying. I don’t think they should stop out of deference to those people.

    Sure, there’s a difference between malice and insensitivity, and that means that someone who does something offensive out of insensitivity isn’t as bad an actor as someone who does something offensive out of malice.

    That doesn’t mean you don’t call someone on their insensitivity. That doesn’t mean that people whose toes are being stepped on shouldn’t say, “Hey, stop stepping on my toes!” That doesn’t remove the obligation of the insensitive person to be more careful, and work extra hard to avoid stepping on the toes of the people around them. And eventually, if you keep asking a person to stop stepping on your toes, and they keep ignoring you, insensitivity becomes malice.

    I am glad someone agrees to me that there is no spectrum on which ironic use of a politically-incorrect 1950’s era comic-book image and lynching both exist.

    But I think there’s stuff you call people out on and stuff you let slide. This has no malicious intent and is entirely harmless.

    Maybe toe-stepping is a bad analogy; where people are different and they interact with each other, miscommunication, inperfect perception of others’ sensitive issues and other offenses are likely to take place. If you value diversity, you accept this stuff as a by-product of a positive development, and possibly a positive thing itself.

    That means blacks will hear white people describe them or other black people as “articulate,” and Asians will be presumed to be good at math, and Mormons will get jokes and questions about polygamy and ceremonial underpants. Why is that a big deal?

  219. car
    car April 25, 2008 at 4:27 pm |

    Ok, I take it back. I imagine that her response to Seal was a lot more emphatic than what she just posted here (“concerns passed on”), and I’m very glad that it’s becoming a lessons learned.

  220. Q Grrl
    Q Grrl April 25, 2008 at 4:29 pm |

    Amanda Marcotte’s and Seal Press’ choices and decision-making are inexcusable. Profit at the expense and marginalization of WOC/POC is not a feminist exercise, nor is it ethical, no matter the political stance. There simply is not room to behave in this manner and to still be considered intelligent, progressive, or humane. I am deeply ashamed to witness this gross display of white privilege/racism.

  221. Beth
    Beth April 25, 2008 at 4:34 pm |

    I am a white woman and when I first saw the illustrations, I did not see the spearchuckers until they were pointed out to me. Seriously, I had to stare at the pictures to figure out what everyone was talking about. I guess this would be a great big example of white blindness/privilege.

    I hope it’s not offensive for me to admit this.

  222. madeiramydear
    madeiramydear April 25, 2008 at 4:44 pm |

    I would add to that thought that I dislike talk of “the feminist movement” as a singular phenomenon when throughout the history of feminist activism there as have been myriad ways in which people have stood up against gender- and sex-based injustice. People who claim the label “feminist” have always defied a simplistic demographic description. When “the feminist movement” is labeled white and middle-class, it is often because that is how it is portrayed by the mainstream media; those are the activists who are given–because of their privilege–the most visible platforms.

    Fair enough…I do understand correcting a good intention if there are issues in the process, but I just don’t find negative criticism towards anyone’s positive work constructive simply because their privilege shines a spotlight on their efforts.

    One major pet peeve is when anyone contributes time, effort, and/or money to a cause, and is then admonished for not “doing enough.” Shouldn’t we be shaking a finger at those who choose to do nothing?

  223. belledame222
    belledame222 April 25, 2008 at 4:54 pm |

    Mkay, putting aside how one could not only not notice the pics as the book was going to press but -not even say anything about it- once it was, y’know, released, being promoted by oneself on one’s launch, etc., okay, “sorry,” all right.

    and Seal Press are going to “anti-racist trainings.”

    uh, given that these are apparently the same two people who made such a -splendid- job representing their complete lack of racism wrt BA and Adele, I am thinking: well, you know. I don’t even know who’s at the top of Seal Press. But it seems to me that if they want to have any credibility ever anymore, they…might want to consider making some staff changes. Because, for fuck’s sake, if you need a -training- to see What Is Wrong With This Picture, I don’t think the training is gonna really fix what’s wrong with the job they’ve been doing.

    sadly, I imagine that more likely will be that Seal will eventually just get axed altogether from the larger Borg that’s apparently swallowed it up. too much trouble, not worth it.

    sigh.

  224. belledame222
    belledame222 April 25, 2008 at 4:56 pm |

    Wait, you’re going on a book tour, yet you hadn’t actually opened the copies prior to doing so and seen the illustrations for yourself?

    Hey, don’t harsh the woman’s career; it’s hard work. /sarcasm

  225. belledame222
    belledame222 April 25, 2008 at 4:58 pm |

    Why belittle the work of those who are at least trying?

    Because there’s only so much -trying- of one’s patience one puts up with before one finally snaps.

  226. (non-blogging)Cara
    (non-blogging)Cara April 25, 2008 at 5:00 pm |

    You know what, this is not a big deal. I understand that the privilege argument is that nobody who is privileged can appreciate the pain it causes people without privilege to see things that offend them, but that argument is wrong, and also I don’t care.

    Yes, Mitchforth, that’s an excellent parody of someone blinded by privilege. A little too close to home to be funny, but well done.

  227. madeiramydear
    madeiramydear April 25, 2008 at 5:05 pm |

    Because there’s only so much -trying- of one’s patience one puts up with before one finally snaps.

    Would you rather they just step back and do nothing, or should we impose limitations on people with resources they are willing to give? Ideally what would you like to see?

  228. LadyTess
    LadyTess April 25, 2008 at 5:12 pm |

    Not sure what to say about this. I grew up in an international community so when people say “Omg, look at that black wo/man!” I say “What? Where?” So my first look of said images was like “What is all the hullabaloo?”. I do agree that it is offensive but hating on her book because of the images she did not personally pick disregards the content of said book. And anyway, how many non-racist Jungle themed movies/tv-series/cartoon/comic etc. do you know?

    Wouldn’t there be a recall? Like send in your copy with the offensive images and get one for free without said images? I’ll be waiting to purchase my copy when they fix it.

    I am also not going to answer anymore after this.

  229. madeiramydear
    madeiramydear April 25, 2008 at 5:14 pm |

    I wanted to add that in my experience with unenlightened and “supposedly enlightened” men and sexism, I’ve had much better luck with saying, “hey, this is kinda offensive because of A,B,C…” rather than, “oh I just give up – you will never understand.” I’d think you can apply this to the accusations of racism within feminism, no?

  230. kiki
    kiki April 25, 2008 at 5:16 pm |

    This 1950s Marvel comic is not an accurate reflection of our beauty standards, our beliefs regarding one’s right to bear arms, nor our perspectives on race relations, foreign policy, or environmental policy.

    Man, are the lawyers involved or what? The jungle scenes do not reflect our perspective on global warming, slash and burn agricultural practices or earth based religions. The large hair on the blond figure should not imply that we in any way support the use of aerosol hairsprays that contain ozone depleting fluorocarbons….

    Either that or the statement means we thought it was funny but now we’ll talk down to you to reinforce that you’re not cool enough to get our irony.

  231. Kristin
    Kristin April 25, 2008 at 5:16 pm |

    I have mixed feelings about everything that has happened in the past few hours, and I will probably add more later, but for now:

    *Karnythia, Astraea, and punkrockhockeymom: Just wanted to thank you for all of your comments on here. I think you are all right on target.

    *I’ve been thinking a bit about people “abandoning” the label of feminist. Belle recently said this on her blog and I would tend to agree:

    Maybe part of the reason I don’t feel the need to do all that soul-searching about “feminism”–and make no mistake, I’ve seen any number of women, white, too, go through a similar process of disillusionment these last couple of years, is because, well, I was always kind of an agnostic to begin with. I was never on fire for the Movement. I never thought this was the vehicle that would save me, would save us all. I just thought: seems like a good idea to me, “feminism.” Yay women. Viva women. Viva “not being oppressed on the basis of sex or gender.”

    Why? ‘Cause I originally came to feminism through anti-racist and queer activism. I never saw it as the One True Path, but as a means of fighting oppression. I don’t feel the need to do the hand-wringing over the future of feminism because, well, if feminism can’t be in solidarity with anti-racist struggle, I’ll take my activism elsewhere, for fuck’s sake.

    *I am not satisfied with the Seal/Marcotte PR move. They had to do it. Had to. I need to think more about it, but this doesn’t get them out of the mess they’re in. At least not for me. What about the dismissive attitude toward critics in recent weeks (on the part of Amanda and Seal Press)? I haven’t forgotten about that. It is not as if these pictures are an isolated fuck up.

    *Hawise et al: I am really fucking tired of everyone worrying about Amanda’s safe space. Others have explained why this is problematic over and over on this thread. Amanda has a goddamned safe space with thousands of readers called Pandagon. She’s a public figure with a wide audience. This isn’t about her safe space. It’s about this being an unsafe space for POC and a history of racial oppression within feminism, as someone else said. Good manners and diplomacy will not fucking fix this.

  232. Kristin
    Kristin April 25, 2008 at 5:21 pm |

    ut it seems to me that if they want to have any credibility ever anymore, they…might want to consider making some staff changes. Because, for fuck’s sake, if you need a -training- to see What Is Wrong With This Picture, I don’t think the training is gonna really fix what’s wrong with the job they’ve been doing.

    Belle, I think you rock.

  233. Danakitty
    Danakitty April 25, 2008 at 5:25 pm |

    Holly (and others contemplating disowning the feminist label), I want to make a suggestion.

    I’m involved in a budding magazine program for college students called Project Masthead, which is focused on media diversity. It’s going to be presented at the U.N.I.T.Y. conference this July. In the past week, we’ve been talking about what our magazine is all about — who it’s for, what diversity means to us, what we want to call our publication, and so forth. We still don’t have a title, but right now we’re preparing a mission statement, which encompasses all of the above.

    I don’t know if we’re in the “fourth wave” of feminism or what this is, but we already have a title. And we can make a mission statement for feminism. What we think it stands for, who it represents, what it encompasses. I’m a little hesitant to broaden the simple definition of “women’s equality,” but I think we’ve reached the point where it is necessary. We’re divided within feminism. We don’t want to stand with certain people, but we want similar standards. Call me an idealist, but I think that if an active group of bloggers created a feminist mission statement and worked toward it in their own ways (whether through activism or blogging or whatever), we could create a wave of our own.

    And I think some sort of statement could be formed through one or a few of the big blogs like Feministe. Thoughts?

  234. Oh
    Oh April 25, 2008 at 5:25 pm |

    One major pet peeve is when anyone contributes time, effort, and/or money to a cause, and is then admonished for not “doing enough.” Shouldn’t we be shaking a finger at those who choose to do nothing?

    Doing nothing is better than doing harm. What cause is this book supposed to be serving? My impression is that it’s aimed at helping girls and women with a whole load of unexamined privileges navigate certain issues that can come up for them as girls and women. And even if the book does that flippantly, even if it covers a lot of ground that’s been covered before, maybe that can be valuable for those particular girls and women to start thinking about how male supremacy screws them over and how they can work past and around that.

    So, arguably, there’s a cause the book is serving. That could be nice enough, for that narrow group of women. Here’s the problem: the way the book goes about furthering that cause reinforces and perpetuates the way the current system screws over people who aren’t in that privileged group, the presumed audience of the book. It’s creating more problems than if it didn’t exist. The people who read the book and immediately see the problems with it are already hurt. And the people who read it and don’t see the problems accept the framework the book offers and internalize their sense of inherent rightness about their own privileges just a little more. That’s a bad outcome.

    Everyone’s going to make some mistakes in areas where they’re privileged. People who want credit for furthering progressive causes, however, need to take responsibility for figuring out the areas where they’re most likely to make mistakes and guard against making so many of them in the first place. Really, as easy as it for everyone to make mistakes, it would have taken little effort or thought for an author to realize that it’s harmful, offensive, and anti-feminist to use racist pictures; to make light of the problems “mail-order brides” face; etc. The author and the publisher simply didn’t care to think about any viewpoints beyond their narrow subset of privileged girls and women.

    When someone’s not able to do that simple, basic work, she should step back from trying to get credit for progressive causes till she can figure it out. The causes don’t need this kind of aggressive thoughtlessness.

  235. Pinko Punko
    Pinko Punko April 25, 2008 at 5:27 pm |

    bd-

    Holly asked for a “what were you thinking?” type of response, and Seal gave that. Of course their response makes them look bad, it is clear they made bad decisions in the first place. I said above that it would be non-productive for them to even offer up such, as they would only get hammered for their thinking no matter what. I am trying to view their words in the light of what Holly asked for- a kind of post-mortem on what is now a poster child for the privileged view point. Their intent is irrelevant to the racial de/connotations as racism is not theirs to decide about. The images are racist. I view their words as a clarification of their mind set, which was specifically asked for by many. Of course their intent would seem as clueless as the actual printing of the images- this is the intent that allowed them to be printed in the first place. It is all the same.

    I don’t think they are defending their initial decision. They are talking about their intent, which they were asked to do. I realize that intent does not get them off the hook, nor should it-

    Am I making any sense? They have some pretty tin ears over there but they took a huge step. My saying that is not a pat on their heads. Given that they can’t build a time machine, I consider this to be a reasonably responsive set of actions, given a certain number of caveats for past mistakes, etc.

  236. irishgril1983
    irishgril1983 April 25, 2008 at 5:29 pm |

    So, this whole debate thing is way over my head. I dont look at blogs very often. As a semi-conscious-of-privilege white woman, I feel like it’s common knowledge that the word “jungle” is problematic. I mean, I think I knew that before I even understood racism. It’s called a rain-forest, right?

    I put Jungle on par with Oriental in terms of being obviously inappropriate.

    So yeh, seems like there was problems from the beginning, and the author claiming ignorance is just silly.

  237. Kristin
    Kristin April 25, 2008 at 5:32 pm |

    I put Jungle on par with Oriental in terms of being obviously inappropriate.

    Yeah, seriously, are they changing the title too?

  238. (non-blogging)Cara
    (non-blogging)Cara April 25, 2008 at 5:35 pm |

    But I think there’s stuff you call people out on and stuff you let slide. This has no malicious intent and is entirely harmless.

    If it’s so harmless, why are people pissed off?

    Lack of malice or conscious racism is not the point.

    And exactly who are you to tell other people what they should let slide?

    These are questions for a day when you can devote some time to actually thinking about someone besides yourself, and to recognizing that just because society gives you Default Power of Personhood that doesn’t make you ‘right’.

  239. laurab
    laurab April 25, 2008 at 5:42 pm |

    Because, for fuck’s sake, if you need a -training- to see What Is Wrong With This Picture, I don’t think the training is gonna really fix what’s wrong with the job they’ve been doing.

    So the alternative is… what? Keep on doing the wrong thing? Or try to learn from your mistakes?

  240. Raincitygirl
    Raincitygirl April 25, 2008 at 5:43 pm |

    Madeira, I can’t speak for anybody else, but ideally what I would like to see, is for white feminists like thee and me to quit making this imbroglio All. About. Us.

    Because right now is time for us to listen, not make demands, not chastise, not “warn” WoC that if they don’t start being nice to us, they’ll drive us and our resources away with their mean, over-demanding ways (and the implied corollary that they need us a lot more than we need them, so they really can’t afford to alienate us). Now, very likely you didn’t intend to sound like that, but there is a very LONG history of white feminists coming into discussions about racism and forcing the discourse back to “But what about MEEEEEE????”

    If we really want to know what we can do, we’ll be willing to sit on the question for a little while. Or fire up Google and find Peggy McIntosh’s essay “Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack”. Or find a Racism 101 blog or pretty much do anything except stomp into an ongoing conversation about something else (something a hell of a lot more important than our hurt feelings because some WoC on the internet isn’t coddling us and thanking us for letting her participate in our movement) and insist on being educated. Because WoC don’t owe us a frakking thing. And if we’re going to be real allies, we’ll be allies because it’s the right thing to do, because we sleep better at night for it, NOT because we want a cookie for not wearing a white sheet.

    A couple of women of colour (who aren’t monolithic, who don’t owe us an explanation, who aren’t unpaid ambassadors for all things of colour, and who have been making the same frakking arguments for a while) have been curt on the internet. If that’s enough to make us lose interest in anti-racism, take our ball and go home, we’re not allies worth having.

    Look, I’m not saying you’re doing any of this stuff on purpose. But this conversation is not about you and me and what WoC should be doing to make discussions of racism in white feminism more palatable to us. Sometimes the best ally work is to siddown, shaddup, and absorb. Unfortunately, it can also be quite frustrating, especially if you’re like me and you want to know what you can do right now. BTW, is your username a Flanders & Swan reference? Love them!

  241. punkrockhockeymom
    punkrockhockeymom April 25, 2008 at 5:43 pm |

    #234, I don’t think I understand your point.

    Because if it’s “Amanda does good feminist work, so should get a free pass on exercising or at the very least deliberately ignoring the exercise of white privilege”? Seriously? Do you not see how problematic that is?

    As a general statement, I don’t even think Amanda would agree with it. The problem seems to be getting her to address it on its own terms.

    Ideally, what I would like to see from Amanda is this (and hey, I’m a white feminist here, so I don’t think my voice should count for all of that much in terms of the community that was marginalized, here, and, you know, she doesn’t know me from Eve, so why should she pay attention to my advice?): Anyway….a conscious, sincere attempt to address the events of the last several months that have brought on all of this criticism with an eye toward her own, rather than others’, behavior and responses. I would like to see her analyze thoughtfully the fact that we’ve got a serious problem in this community. It’s more clear to me now that I’m reading some of the responses over at Pandagon to her apology. It was also clear to me reading the disability threads here this past week. We have some serious problems checking our privilege in this community. We are defining ourselves as baseline and letting others play only when their interests seem to coalesce and coterminate with our own. I would like to see an apology for belittling people’s concerns and acting as if they are all borne of jealousy or a vendetta against her career.

    I would like to see a very sincere effort–not just talk–from Amanda and all of us white middle class and upper middle class able-bodied feminists to not just PREACH intersectionality but to practice it ALL OF THE TIME. To redefine the way we even THINK our feminism, and to redefine that NOT ALONE, not as the folks with the POWER to redefine it.

    I would like to see from Amanda what I’ve not, yet, but what I have from myself, from Jill, from Holly, from Jeff Fecke, from Twisty, and many, many others: an acknowledgment and a disavowal of our white privilege.

    That’s all. It’s not so much. Engagement. I would like to see her actually engage the issues, which are far bigger than the ugly pages in the book. It’s great that she got them to agree to change them for the next printing. That was necessary and it’s absolutely right that she pushed them to do it. But that should be the BEGINNING of the discussion, not the end.

    I’m GLAD she apologized. It was more than I expected the community would get. But I note that there’s not really a discussion of white privilege in there. She acknowledged the imagery is inexcusable; but, really, how could she not? She couldn’t defend either the pictures or the fact that she didn’t apparently notice that until now. But even Hugo, one of her most ardent defenders, placed his failure to notice the racism in the pictures squarely in his own white privilege. I’d like to see a discussion of privilege from her; I think that would be a great step in her earning back the trust of the community.

    Now, do I care? Am I going to hate on her until we get those things? Nah. Not so much. Again, the feminist practice I engage in will go on, and my own assessment of my exercise of my own privileges will go forward, with or without her. I don’t mean that to be harsh; I don’t mean to imply none of the work she’s done matters. I think she’s done some good work. I’ve linked to her and commented approvingly in her threads. But this is not a journey I can take for her. And I don’t want to embrace the idea that the survival of our community depends upon her actions now, as if she owns it and defines it for us. I want to move on myself, check my own privilege, change my own behavior, and help to fix what I can fix.

    We need to clean up our house before it burns the hell down, if it isn’t already too late.

  242. punkrockhockeymom
    punkrockhockeymom April 25, 2008 at 5:45 pm |

    Kristin:

    Thanks very much for your kind words.

  243. irishgril1983
    irishgril1983 April 25, 2008 at 5:52 pm |

    Laura, the alternative is that these people are not up to be making decisions for a feminist book publisher. Whoever makes the decision at this place (board or whatever) should be the ones commenting on this, and deciding upon what should happen – not the staff.

  244. Astraea
    Astraea April 25, 2008 at 6:02 pm |

    Kristin, thanks. :) I’ve found your comments so insightful and thoughtful.

  245. punkrockhockeymom
    punkrockhockeymom April 25, 2008 at 6:06 pm |

    And what Raincitygirl says in #248? Spot on.

  246. Raincitygirl
    Raincitygirl April 25, 2008 at 6:10 pm |

    *blushes*

    Why thank you.

  247. (non-blogging)Cara
    (non-blogging)Cara April 25, 2008 at 6:16 pm |

    #234, I don’t think I understand your point.

    Punkrockblog, I was being a smartass. THAT was the point. The Mitchthing keeps saying it’s all good. It’s not. He kept saying it was no big deal. It clearly is. Just because he doesn’t see the problem doesn’t mean there isn’t one. Just because he in all his glory can think of a thousand different reasons why the people who are pissed off SHOULDN’T BE, he’s still wrong. THAT was the point.

  248. H
    H April 25, 2008 at 6:17 pm |

    Whaaat? Who completely steam rolls over one massive social issue while presenting material for another? And without any awareness at all! That is TOTALLY SURREAL.

    ???!

  249. RacyT
    RacyT April 25, 2008 at 6:18 pm |

    “It’s a jungle out there” is an old cliche. I agree about the images but I think trying to infer that the title is racist is going too far.

  250. RacyT
    RacyT April 25, 2008 at 6:18 pm |

    And what Raincitygirl says in #248? Spot on.

    Seconded.

  251. punkrockhockeymom
    punkrockhockeymom April 25, 2008 at 6:20 pm |

    non-blogging Cara: My bad. #230, not you.

    Your point, I got.

  252. Kali
    Kali April 25, 2008 at 6:21 pm |

    Amazon now has seven 1 Star (critical) reviews all mentioning ‘racism’ in the title. The sales rank is 5000+

    I do not for a moment buy the Marcotte/Seal apology. Those of us who have a lifetime of experience fighting racial discrimination know how readily those apologies are trotted out when it makes strategic/financial sense to do so.

    I am not surprised that most WoC have retreated from this discussion – I would like to see words backed by action – if not I intend go back to lurk status. Hope springs eternal….

  253. punkrockhockeymom
    punkrockhockeymom April 25, 2008 at 6:21 pm |

    Erm, and #235.

  254. (non-blogging)Cara
    (non-blogging)Cara April 25, 2008 at 6:24 pm |

    Crap. “Punkrockhockeymom”, not “Punkrockblog”.

  255. (non-blogging)Cara
    (non-blogging)Cara April 25, 2008 at 6:26 pm |

    Erm, and “oops”. Sorry, Punkrock.

  256. irishgril1983
    irishgril1983 April 25, 2008 at 6:27 pm |

    @ Racy there are lots and lots of racist old sayings.

    This is a book with a book tour, there had to be at least a handful of meetings / calls discussing the name. I mean this is supposed to be a progressive book right? It just boggles the mind. But anywho.

  257. punkrockhockeymom
    punkrockhockeymom April 25, 2008 at 6:27 pm |

    No! I’m sorry. My eyes and numbers…

  258. Kristen
    Kristen April 25, 2008 at 6:30 pm |

    And what Raincitygirl says in #248? Spot on.

    Thirded.

  259. Vail
    Vail April 25, 2008 at 6:38 pm |

    I do not like the pictures in the book, it wasn’t thought out at all. I’m very glad they’re taking them out. I can see how Amanda didn’t notice the pictures though, because if I had been an author I wouldn’t reread the book I had published (I probably would just flip through it a bit and move on). I know I myself am working on recognizing my own privilege. We have a long way to go, and we all need to be more aware. Thank you for all the people who have posted/blogged on issues relating to POC. I know it’s not your duty to educate me, but you have opened my eyes to many new issues.

  260. RacyT
    RacyT April 25, 2008 at 6:40 pm |

    irishgirl, I’m quite aware of old racist sayings. My point is that this specific saying means something specific; that the world is a dangerous place. It’s not actually talking about a literal “jungle.”

  261. Brooke
    Brooke April 25, 2008 at 6:48 pm |

    We want to address the comments that take issue with our apology by writing in again to say that we really are sorry. The comic images are offensive and racist.

    We had a call in our blog comments to rephrase what we wrote and acknowledge that we do not believe that it’s appropriate for a book about feminism, or any Seal book on any topic, to have any images or illustrations that are offensive to anyone. We stand by that, absolutely.

    We are taking immediate action to remove these images. We didn’t intend to minimize their offensiveness with our earlier apology. We take this issue very seriously, and we are taking meaningful steps to ensure that nothing like this happens in the future.

    —Krista and Brooke

  262. Passover and Liberation « Brown Shoes Don’t Make It

    [...] this entire debate at this time, because I’m not sure that’s any of my business. The entire sordid affair is here, for the curious. Those pictures were pretty jarring, but it turns out they’ll hopefully be omitted from the [...]

  263. the fshk blog » about that brouhaha; or racism and feminism

    [...] And no sooner did I get my book signed than someone noticed that some of the retro jungle images used in the book are pretty darned racist. [...]

  264. season of the bitch » Racism
    season of the bitch » Racism April 25, 2008 at 7:10 pm |

    [...] to Holly at Feministe for continuing to make that blog worth reading, btw. Literally each time I think I should just take [...]

  265. Kali
    Kali April 25, 2008 at 7:16 pm |

    Hugo Schwyzer writes these handwringing mea culpa posts on his blog and on this one. But he has let his embarassingly sycophantic review of Marcotte’s book stand.

    It is extremely easy to amend or delete one’s review on Amazon. I know because I have done it.Perhaps he will now act surprised and claim he had overlooked it until this minute.

    I bet Jill discussed and was granted approval for her post promoting the book by the others blogging on Feministe. I am sure she did not creep up on them unawares.

    Who says the first printing has sold out. Perhaps it hasn’t and all this is just a ruse to keep the criticism at bay with promises of change in a (unlikely) second printing.

    I wonder how much else of what is written here is hogwash .I guess all the WoC who have already quit this sham breast-beating arena are less gullible than I am.

    Marcotte got away with plagiarism and it looks like she will get away with this too….unbelievable!

  266. Mandolin
    Mandolin April 25, 2008 at 7:32 pm |

    “I bet Jill discussed and was granted approval for her post promoting the book by the others blogging on Feministe. I am sure she did not creep up on them unawares.”

    I have no idea why you’d make that assumption. I rarely discuss my post content with Barry at Alas, and when I do, it’s because he’s on AIM and I feel like it. I write things he disapproves of. He does likewise, as do the rest of our cobloggers. Unless other group blogs are maintained in a radically different fashion, I expect it’s rare for people to show their drafts to other cobloggers before throwing them online.

  267. Kali
    Kali April 25, 2008 at 7:38 pm |

    In such a sensitive and rancorous issue as this?

    Pull the other (colored) one. Who was it who said “We may be dark as the night.- but we weren’t born last night”.

    So now let’s go off on a tangent about Alas and Barry or whoever else you would like to dredge up to remove the focus from the issue under discussion.

  268. belledame222
    belledame222 April 25, 2008 at 7:50 pm |

    If the movie were about comparing black people to gorillas, nobody would remember it 80 years later.

    Can’t argue with that logic!!

    Jesus. Does it -hurt?-

    And yeah, it’s not like anyone -remembers,- oh, snap, what’s that film again, oh yeah! “Triumph of the Will.” or indeed “Birth of a Nation.”

    But yeah, I mean clearly we’ve all evolved past racism, ‘cuz check it out. And -we- still -like- King Kong, therefore King Kong cannot be racist. QED.

  269. Ico
    Ico April 25, 2008 at 7:54 pm |

    Kali is right. Said this at Shakesville, saying it here, too:

    The Amanda lovefest going on at her blog right now, in the comments to her apology, is disgusting. So one incident got so in-your-face she had no choice but to make a public statement. Big fecking deal. It is NOT enough. This celebration of “Oh she’s apologized, Seal Press apologized, Jill apologized, Hugo called her out” — it is NOT FUCKING ENOUGH. Forgive the French but it is just not. Have we all forgotten what LED UP TO this stuff? The pictures are just the final crowning incident in a whole series of events. Here, I’ll summarize:

    WOC bloggers called out Marcotte again and again — on the cover, on the appropriation issue. There was the stuff with BA and Seal Press. Each time WOC were dismissed/ignored/and insulted. The dominant narrative became, “A bunch of mean, angry WOC are endangering the white woman’s career!” And “OMG they engage in negative discourse!”

    That was only about 2 weeks ago.

    Now, right after that, what happens? Jill posts a thread promoting Marcotte’s book (the one with the racist pics no one noticed) as if NOTHING HAD HAPPENED. She didn’t fecking notice or think or care until a bunch of us threw a fit about it and asked her to retract her support because it was so damned insensitive and wrong. And by “a bunch of us” I mean those of us who are left, because so many WOC bloggers got sick of us and are already gone.

    And the pics — oh, the pics. Hugo and Jill BOTH had the book and both had access to them. Was there an immediate cry for Marcotte to apologize or remove them?

    NO.

    Littlem and others were calling for Hugo, Jill, et. al to retract promotion of the book from the moment promotion of it began. Radfem summarized the pics and we immediately called for a retraction. That was a full day before the pics went onto the web. We demanded it, screamed it, over and over, but NOTHING WAS DONE. EVEN THOUGH HUGO ET AL HAD ALREADY SEEN THOSE PICS. They didn’t react to them except to say, “Hmm, yeah, they’re problematic.”

    It took one of us with a fucking camera sneaking into the bookstore to get those pics and post them before anyone reacted. And then it was just too in-your-face too ignore. THEN Hugo called out Marcotte. Then Jill apologized. Then Marcotte apologized. Because it went public. Not because the people defending the book were immediately horrified and appalled and took quick and decisive action, but because suddenly they looked really bad.

    And now Marcotte’s apology thread is a lovefest over how great she is.

    The way this all played out sickens me. Totally. Utterly. I am a white feminist. And I am disgusted with us. Tell me I am wrong. Tell me you, Seal Press, Marcotte, Hugo, everyone who supported that damned book from start to finish until the whole thing exploded — tell me there was a good reason that there was no apology or retraction until AFTER the images went public.

    Tell me there’s a good reason that we’re giving Amanda a pass on the whole appropriation thing now, just because she “apologized.” Has Amanda apologized for the way she has treated WoC? For her dismissiveness during discussion of the cover? For anything else?

    Has anyone asked her to? You, Hugo? Jill? ANY OF YOU who are now forgiving her?

    You’ll forgive me if I don’t mince words or bother watering down my sentiments just now, but I think too much has happened for this to be sufficient. At. All. There is so much that still has not been addressed or in any way rectified.

  270. Ico
    Ico April 25, 2008 at 7:57 pm |

    I just realized that I am engaging in extremely negative discourse. But since I’m a white woman I’ll probably get a pass. ;)

  271. Ico
    Ico April 25, 2008 at 7:58 pm |

    Ah, @#%! My negative comment is in moderation while my recent one went through? Well now I just sound like an idiot talking nonsense. Eventually that comment will go through (I hope).

  272. Lauren
    Lauren April 25, 2008 at 7:58 pm |

    I bet Jill discussed and was granted approval for her post promoting the book by the others blogging on Feministe. I am sure she did not creep up on them unawares.

    I’m 100% sure that she didn’t. The contributors of this blog are free to write whatever suits their fancies whenever it compels them. All contributors speak for themselves and are free to agree or disagree as they wish.

  273. Entomologista
    Entomologista April 25, 2008 at 8:11 pm |

    I don’t understand this obsession with Amanda Marcotte.

  274. Ico
    Ico April 25, 2008 at 8:20 pm |

    It’s not just Amanda Marcotte. The problem is with white feminists as a group, particularly prominent mainstream white feminists. Marcotte wrote the book, dismissed concerns about the cover, and wrote an article appropriating work by WOC. Hugo defended her for all of the above. Jill promoted the book not two weeks after BFP removed her blog. Seal Press put in the pictures and attacked BA on her own blog.

    … and there’s plenty more that came before that.

  275. Kali
    Kali April 25, 2008 at 8:20 pm |

    Yes, do let’s play the ‘good cop’, ‘bad cop’ game again – it always manages to trick those WoC.

    Change the cover – and voila! they won’t actually look in the book. And if they do they will be so worn down by the battle they’ll just suck it up the pictures until the “next printing”!

    Meantime, mind-reading boyfriends just know where the writer got her ideas, mind-reading commentators are “100% sure” there was simply no communication between fellow bloggers about such an egregiously insulting post, coming so soon on the heels of the other major dust-up.

    And Hugo, rescuing damsel in distress from cannibalistic negative discoursers, executes a 21 st century sleight of hand and salvages her book sales!

  276. EG
    EG April 25, 2008 at 8:33 pm |

    Lauren isn’t just a commenter–she used to blog on Feministe, so when she’s 100% sure, it’s because she knows how the blogging works here.

  277. Kali
    Kali April 25, 2008 at 8:40 pm |

    Ico
    You restore my faith, not that I ever completely lost it – I have been happily married to a white guy for decades.

    I heard a Harvard psychologist who has studied Abu Ghraib and other atrocites talk of his ‘abdicating bystander’ theory and it made a great impression on me because I was struggling with a racist bully at work.

    This theory states that the dominant majority actually uses both bullies and their victims to further its own agenda. The abdicating bystanders maintain their innocence while sitting on their hands, sitting on the fence, looking the other way, giving the bully the benefit of the doubt, deflecting attention to minor discrepancies in the victims’ stories, arguing for reason and calm – until the victim gives up . The bully may or may not be chastened – there is always another one waiting in the wings….

  278. Kali
    Kali April 25, 2008 at 8:47 pm |

    So Holly – why did you wait till the shit hit the fan before posting your own commentary?

    And why do you blog as a group if you have no shared principles and respect for each other’s work.

    Do you really mean to say that you first learned about Jill promoting the book when you read it on this blog like the rest of us? Why would you work with someone who pulled the rug from under your feet and make you look like a hypocrite?We are not talking about posting recipes or poems here- if we were then the disingenuous plea of ignorance would be easier to swallow.

  279. Kali
    Kali April 25, 2008 at 8:49 pm |

    Posting on Feminste some time ago or even yesterday does not make one clairvoyant. Again I wasn’t born last night.

  280. punkrockhockeymom
    punkrockhockeymom April 25, 2008 at 8:56 pm |

    Tell me there’s a good reason that we’re giving Amanda a pass on the whole appropriation thing now, just because she “apologized.” Has Amanda apologized for the way she has treated WoC? For her dismissiveness during discussion of the cover? For anything else?

    First, I agree with your assessment of that thread. I wouldn’t put too much stock in it, though. The level of discourse HERE is much higher.

    Second, though, and obviously I can’t speak for anyone else–but I’m not giving her ANY sort of pass. Like I said before, getting those illustrations pulled is the bare minimum. I haven’t seen her address at all the issues raised regarding her privilege. Maybe she will at some point. I don’t really have any reason to believe she will, given her responses to critics over the past few weeks (which I wasn’t present for; I was on vacation and essentially away from the feminist blogs for weeks).

    Like I said above, though, I’m going to do what I can to address my own white privilege and see whose back I might be standing on. I’m going to try to create space in which everyone feels that the feminism is THEIRS to define, not mine. I’m going to do more listening and less talking. And I don’t NEED Amanda Marcotte for that. She’ll either come around and figure out where she was wrong, or she won’t. For now, until there’s a lot more self-awareness on her part and more reaching out to the people she hurt, or, you know, even an acknowledgment that this is not JUST about those pages but the entirety of the past few weeks (and further back), that she has a systemic blind spot…well, I won’t be reading it, I won’t be linking to it, and I’m calling it out.

    But I don’t read a lot of “Oh, we’ll just let her off the hook” in THIS thread. Over there, sure. But here? Not so much.

  281. Astraea
    Astraea April 25, 2008 at 9:01 pm |

    Kali, Holly’s been quicker than most to speak out about what’s been going on. Has she given some reason to believe that she’s lying?

    I believe what she says reflects the way most group blogs tend to work.

  282. belledame222
    belledame222 April 25, 2008 at 9:05 pm |

    And why do you blog as a group if you have no shared principles and respect for each other’s work.

    Do you really mean to say that you first learned about Jill promoting the book when you read it on this blog like the rest of us?

    um, from what I know of group blogging, (I’m on one, no two, actually, albeit much MUCH lower traffic than this one; in fact I haven’t hardly checked into either at all for a while) it’s really more, you trust your co-bloggers, you post when the spirit moves you, they post when the spirit moves them.

    and in general I think the feministe bloggers do have shared principles and respect for each other’s work. I think Jill fucked up, here, yeah. I think she did it in large part because she’s been a personal friend of Amanda’s. I also think that yeah, neither apology (from Amanda or Seal) are sufficient to let this just slide on by, everything all better now, let’s move on, nothing more to see here. I think they’re the bare -minimum- necessary to just bring the escalation to a halt, no more.

    ….aaand, I think they can probably rightfully expect a lot of people to continue to be pissed off, and yeah that goes for feministe as an entity as well. I like and support feministe, on the whole, unlike with Amanda I do think Jill genuinely tries to do the right thing for its own sake, not just because she wants to wiggle off the hook. That’s entirely subjective, though, and bearing in mind I, too, am a white chick, take with as much salt as you will, all of it.

    anyway.

  283. Latoya Peterson
    Latoya Peterson April 25, 2008 at 9:07 pm |

    Kali –

    People are allowed to disagree, even on the same blog. That happens. Bloggers – esp on a group blog – may not always communicate with everyone before they post.

    Over at Racialicious, we don’t do things that way. We generally talk to each other about how we post and what we do. But then again, we are a much smaller blog with a much smaller base. In addition to that, the need for consensus means we don’t get things out right away. I’ve been watching these things unfold since coming back from WAM! but I have not yet posted – that is because I need to make sure everyone either (1) feels comfortable with what I say or (2) I have given enough of a disclaimer to say my thoughts are my own and it will not reflect on the other contributors – which, considering the nature of our blog, is something that rarely happens.

    I’m actually quite glad to see that things are unfolding as they are. It’s very telling to see where allegiances lie. It is also very telling to see that Jill is choosing to leave her mistakes live, for the world to see. And I like that instead of putting forth a united front, there is active dissent from other bloggers – because women of color and white women are coming from different places in these kinds of debates. And because some white allies can see conflicts of interest and others aren’t so good at it. So overall, this dialogue has been fascinating.

    Some people (commenters and bloggers) really showed their true colors on this one. I hate the fact that BlackAmazon and BFP took most of the hits for this one, and other bloggers get to roll on scot free, into the waiting arms of people who want to excuse this type of behavior. I wish Bfp was still blogging.

    But I think this situation, for many people, was a long overdue wake up call.

    And to think, after all these threads and all these posts, some people still don’t get why we (woc and allies) are so angry.

    Like I said, telling.

  284. belledame222
    belledame222 April 25, 2008 at 9:11 pm |

    and can I just say, from the heart, with feeling, NO I don’t want to respond to a butthurt reposte, argue, listen sympathetically, get sucked in in ANY way:

    HUGO PLEASE WOULD YOU FINALLY JUST SHUT UP.

    There, I said it.

  285. juju
    juju April 25, 2008 at 9:22 pm |

    Irishgirl1983: I put Jungle on par with Oriental in terms of being obviously inappropriate.
    Kristin:
    Yeah, seriously, are they changing the title too?

    Yup.
    I took issue with the title and cover the moment I saw the book. Even without seeing the inside images, the title and cover conjure notions of European imperialism, white supremacy and domination over the nature world. No matter that this is an old cliche, it has a history, and for some of us, this “history” is not in the past. Undoubted this perspective will be seen by many (most?) as me *wanting* to see racism or being *overly sensitive* and going too far.

  286. Kali
    Kali April 25, 2008 at 9:26 pm |

    Why do we blog as a group? Because I do respect Jill. I especially respect her continuing ability to make mistakes and then own up to them. Does this mean I have all the same political views as her, Cara, zuzu, kactus, or piny? Of course not. I’m sure we’d disagree quite a bit on a number of subjects. To me that is MORE of a reason to blog together, not less. You can look at us like we’re a monolith if you want, but you’d be wrong. I’ve written two posts on two separate but related topics here in the last two weeks; whatever Jill writes is not about to turn me into a hypocrite, regardless of if we share a domain name.

    First of all hats off to you for working for your community AND blogging. I was inspired and touched by the content and courage of your posts but began to doubt your good will when I saw Jill’s post shamelessly touting the book.

    Her continuing ability to make mistakes and then own up: that rates enough respect to want to blog with her? Can’t say I undersand that logic.

    I expected you to share ‘principles’ , I didn’t say ‘political views’. Being united against racism or against plundering the work of WoC are not ‘political views’.

    And no I didn’t think that a group of women blogging together were ‘monolithic –
    but it isn’t very smart not to know anything about what anyone else in a very small group is writing on a VERY inflammatory topic.

    You say you find ‘blogging about racism’ wears you out – you should try the double-whammy involved in living and working and being the object of racist and sexist behavior.

  287. Astraea
    Astraea April 25, 2008 at 9:30 pm |

    ugh. I went over to the Pandagon thread. I’m so sorry I did.

  288. Kristin
    Kristin April 25, 2008 at 9:40 pm |

    Yup.
    I took issue with the title and cover the moment I saw the book. Even without seeing the inside images, the title and cover conjure notions of European imperialism, white supremacy and domination over the nature world. No matter that this is an old cliche, it has a history, and for some of us, this “history” is not in the past. Undoubted this perspective will be seen by many (most?) as me *wanting* to see racism or being *overly sensitive* and going too far.

    Thanks for taking this up, Juju. I completely agree. I also saw problems with the title and cover right away. As for those who wrote it off as an “old cliche.” Well, fuck it all to hell… Lots of “old cliches” are offensive, hurtful, racist tropes. In fact, I’d say most of them are. This particular “old cliche” has much to do with a history of European imperialism and oppression. Anybody remember the old Disney movie (and older book), “Swiss Family Robinson”? The book cover reminds me of that. And, remember how it was all about defeating the evil, threatening savages to defend the island paradise for the white folks? I mean… I tend to think that these kinds of pictures have extremely dangerous conotations–even if you take the “savages” out. I don’t expect many/most to agree either. Just my two cents.

  289. Kristin
    Kristin April 25, 2008 at 9:44 pm |

    ugh. I went over to the Pandagon thread. I’m so sorry I did.

    Almost made me vomit. Thought those of you who actually entered the discussion were pretty brave. I couldn’t bear to enter the discourse, myself.

  290. Astraea
    Astraea April 25, 2008 at 9:48 pm |

    I tend to think that these kinds of pictures have extremely dangerous conotations–even if you take the “savages” out. I don’t expect many/most to agree either. Just my two cents.

    I agree. And while on the one hand I think that without the “savage” imagery simple ignorance (rather than willful) would normally be a believable excuse, I think feminists – especially well educated feminists – should be much more analytical and careful about the images and language we use.

  291. laurab
    laurab April 25, 2008 at 9:51 pm |

    Laura, the alternative is that these people are not up to be making decisions for a feminist book publisher. Whoever makes the decision at this place (board or whatever) should be the ones commenting on this, and deciding upon what should happen – not the staff.

    And never will be? People can’t change and grow? Give me a break.

    Amanda apologized. Seal apologized. Seal is spending a considerable chunk of money to make changes for a second printing. The two people that constitute the entire editorial offices of Seal Press have agreed to take anti-racism classes.

    Honestly, when I see all of this happen — in a day — and still people are jumping down throats and calling others racist, it makes me wonder — why even bother?

  292. Ico
    Ico April 25, 2008 at 9:55 pm |

    Honestly, when I see all of this happen — in a day — and still people are jumping down throats and calling others racist, it makes me wonder — why even bother?

    Probably a question a lot of men ask after they fuck up royally, are called out on sexism after a long pattern of sexist behaviors, apologize once, and expect to have all forgiven.

  293. Ico
    Ico April 25, 2008 at 10:00 pm |

    Look, I think the apology is a good start. So is the removal of the images. But it only means something if Marcotte, Seal, etc. are sincere in looking back at their own white privilege and committing to anti-racism.

    Are they?

    Well, Marcotte still hasn’t apologized for her egregious treatment of WOC. And by “treatment” I mean so many different things that have gone down in the blogosphere that I’ll just say… there’s a history. A lot. Apologizing for the most recent fuckup doesn’t erase the past ones, and shouldn’t.

    It’s a beginning. And if there isn’t more to follow then it means NOTHING.

  294. Astraea
    Astraea April 25, 2008 at 10:02 pm |

    Seal is spending a considerable chunk of money to make changes for a second printing.

    I have no sympathy for however much money they have to spend to remove racist pictures that they put in in the first place. But, really? Will it cost a considerable amount of money to take out pictures on a few pages and add in chapter titles? For a second printing they were going to do anyway?

  295. juju
    juju April 25, 2008 at 10:02 pm |

    What to make of these apologies, when they come only after a blatant example of racism was recognized and questioned by some white people. If this was just another act of racism that was really only visible to and criticized by WOC (and a few white allies) the issue could be ignored, like the bs of recent weeks. I can’t help but wonder if these apologies are just damage control for a perceived threat to reputations and profit, since now some people who actually matter seem to care about this issue. I guess I will just have to wait and see what AM and Seal do it the future.

  296. Kali
    Kali April 25, 2008 at 10:05 pm |

    But I think this situation, for many people, was a long overdue wake up cal

    Latoya,
    It was good to have your perspective – and I am going to choose to see you comment about it being a wake-up call as grounds for optimism. We are gals after all – we listen to wake up calls but good night until it’s time….

  297. Kristin
    Kristin April 25, 2008 at 10:06 pm |

    I can’t help but wonder if these apologies are just damage control for a perceived threat to reputations and profit, since now some people who actually matter seem to care about this issue.

    I think that’s precisely what they are.

  298. little light
    little light April 25, 2008 at 10:06 pm |

    Kali:

    Her continuing ability to make mistakes and then own up: that rates enough respect to want to blog with her? Can’t say I understand that logic.

    When I was offered a guest-blogging position at Feministe last year, it was a hard decision that took a lot of deliberation–because I wanted the exposure and the audience, frankly, but wanted to make sure that I wasn’t compromising my principles. I can honestly say I would have turned down any of the other major-league, mostly-white blogs if they’d offered (which, to clarify, they didn’t. I’m a little wee blogger.) But while I’ve seen Jill make mistakes historically, often the same mistakes as other young, white, straight, able-bodied feminists, she has stood out for owning up to those mistakes, sincerely examining them, apologizing, and learning.
    I take issue with Jill’s mistake here, and it’s hardly the first that she’s been led into by her privilege. But as soon as it was pointed out to her, she got on doing something about it, despite conflicting loyalties. So while I’m not happy about a lot of what she said and did, she’s still someone I feel okay about working with and, indeed, being friends with. I have never seen her get snide, nasty, dismissive, or behind-the-scenes ugly at being called out, and it matters.
    My best friend is sometimes clueless about her white privilege, too–and her privilege as an upper-class, straight, femme, able-bodied cissexual woman, too. We manage to be close because she’s willing to listen and to learn and to not be an asshole when she’s caught in a mistake.

    Nobody asks for their societal privilege, or decides how they’re born. It doesn’t mean the privileged get automatic respect; it means they’ll all screw up, and I think it’s worth respecting the ones who try sincerely to learn to offset that privilege, who are few and far between. Doesn’t excuse mistakes, but I know it matters in how I respond. In a situation where, as many people have pointed out, it’s just not worth it emotionally to work with would-be allies sometimes, because you get burned more often than not–and I’m frustrated beyond belief lately–I’m still not willing to give up on the individuals who’ve shown that they really are trying.

    You say you find ‘blogging about racism’ wears you out – you should try the double-whammy involved in living and working and being the object of racist and sexist behavior.

    Holly is herself a woman of color, Kali. And, as a woman of color myself, I find it exhausting, too.

  299. Astraea
    Astraea April 25, 2008 at 10:13 pm |

    Bad publicity, indeed. It’s already made Wikipedia.

  300. Hugo
    Hugo April 25, 2008 at 10:15 pm |

    The issue of why I — and others like me — “didn’t see” the images, even though we read the book, is a question well worth asking. I was wrong not to see them, and I am sorry. I needed to have them pointed out to me, and even then, it was hard for me to work my way to the point where I realized how fundamentally unacceptable they were. That’s my failing.

    Belledame, I’m hardly dominating this thread — I’m a bit mystified as to why you feel so compelled to get me to shut up. I’m one voice among many, and I don’t think I’ve forfeited the right to weigh in on the discussion.

    I weighed in yesterday on the pictures largely because I thought it was important for someone who had taken a “pro-Amanda” position fairly consistently join in the chorus of condemnation of the disastrous editorial choice taken at Seal Press. We can disagree about the merits of the specific appropriation charge regarding the RH Reality Check article and BFP’s writing, but no one I’ve read has defended the images in the book. It’s not that my voice, or Jill’s voice, or any other white blogger’s voice carries more weight with Amanda. It’s that when this thing broke yesterday, everyone could agree that the images were unacceptable.

    The apology has come from both Seal and Amanda; the latter’s in particular was honest, heartfelt, and without excuses. I will continue to support the book in the full understanding that the new edition will not contain these images. Those who wish ought to wait for the new edition to appear before buying. That seems a reasonable choice.

  301. Ico
    Ico April 25, 2008 at 10:17 pm |

    What to make of these apologies, when they come only after a blatant example of racism was recognized and questioned by some white people. If this was just another act of racism that was really only visible to and criticized by WOC (and a few white allies) the issue could be ignored, like the bs of recent weeks. I can’t help but wonder if these apologies are just damage control for a perceived threat to reputations and profit, since now some people who actually matter seem to care about this issue. I guess I will just have to wait and see what AM and Seal do it the future.

    YES. YES. Spot on, Juju. All of it.

    Part of me really wonders whether the reason any of this is being paid attention to is because so many white allies are talking about it now, too. But if it were just WoC — would it have gotten so much attention? Littlem and Godschocolate both felt they were being ignored and that commenters were mostly replying to white people.

    Ugh. I remember seeing that dynamic in older threads in the blogosphere.

  302. juju
    juju April 25, 2008 at 10:19 pm |

    Thanks for taking this up, Juju. I completely agree. I also saw problems with the title and cover right away. As for those who wrote it off as an “old cliche.” Well, fuck it all to hell… Lots of “old cliches” are offensive, hurtful, racist tropes. In fact, I’d say most of them are. This particular “old cliche” has much to do with a history of European imperialism and oppression. Anybody remember the old Disney movie (and older book), “Swiss Family Robinson”? The book cover reminds me of that. And, remember how it was all about defeating the evil, threatening savages to defend the island paradise for the white folks? I mean… I tend to think that these kinds of pictures have extremely dangerous conotations–even if you take the “savages” out. I don’t expect many/most to agree either. Just my two cents.

    Kristin,
    I always enjoy reading your comments and I appreciate that you so often have the courage to challenge with potentially unpopular insights. Do you have a blog?, if no, you should start one.

  303. Kristin
    Kristin April 25, 2008 at 10:23 pm |

    Kristin,
    I always enjoy reading your comments and I appreciate that you so often have the courage to challenge with potentially unpopular insights. Do you have a blog?, if no, you should start one.

    Thanks, Juju, that’s very kind. I don’t currently have a blog. Will probably start one over the summer some time, and if I do, I’ll post on the Shameless Self-Promotion posts on Feministe.

  304. laurab
    laurab April 25, 2008 at 10:23 pm |

    But, really? Will it cost a considerable amount of money to take out pictures on a few pages and add in chapter titles? For a second printing they were going to do anyway?

    Depending on how they do it, yes. Even without re-typesetting the entire text of the book, but only making minor changes, it could run them several thousand dollars. If they take out the images and put in something else of equal size, it’ll be cheaper. Typesetting is pricey. Changes of a just a few words or the punctuation of a single sentence can run into three figures, easy. If they decide to destroy the stock they have on hand, then obviously they’ll take a hit on that, too.

    But back to the issue at hand, which isn’t book design…

    Probably a question a lot of men ask after they fuck up royally, are called out on sexism after a long pattern of sexist behaviors, apologize once, and expect to have all forgiven.

    This doesn’t quite address the question I posed — or wanted to pose, but didn’t phrase quite right. What I meant is more… why bother to engage these questions at all? I get that it’s the right thing to do, but not everyone’s motivated by that. On a personal level — i.e., when I’m speaking to an actual human being, how do I ask someone to do the very hard work of confronting issues of privilege, particularly in light of discussions like this, where all that an uninitiated person might see is conflict?

  305. Kali
    Kali April 25, 2008 at 10:27 pm |

    I have never seen her get snide, nasty, dismissive, or behind-the-scenes ugly at being called out, and it matters.

    Can’t say the same about myself, little light- if I ever ask you to blog with me – run!

    Didn’t know Holly was woc. In a way I am glad but also sad – I imagined she was a white feminist uncannily sensitive to woc sentiments.

    Perhaps it is impossible for us human beings to really see the point of view of a particular group unless we belong to it in some way – personally or by choice of spouse? My ‘half-caste’ children insist that they are really double-caste – so perhaps there is hope after all…

  306. Pandagon :: The blind spot :: April :: 2008

    [...] I was simply ignoring this pot boiling over on the homebase stove over the color-aroused use of native savage images from “classic” [...]

  307. Ico
    Ico April 25, 2008 at 10:36 pm |

    Laurab,

    I would be much gentler with an uninitiated person. But Amanda’s not uninitiated. She’s a self-proclaimed “feminist” — which means in theory that she cares about issues of privilege and oppression. She should recognize all this stuff. And it’s not like she hasn’t had it pointed out to her before, again and again and again. The same goes for Seal Press, and for most of Amanda’s ardent defenders.

    For dealing with an uninitiated person (like all my English 103 students from the past couple semesters), I try to introduce them to other points of view. There’s a lot of resistance, sure, but you point things out and explain things and let a lot of their mistakes slide because they’re learning. Just trying to open their eyes a bit at a time.

    This, though, is a feminist site. So is Pandagon (in theory). The bar is much higher. We shouldn’t need to be coddled and pampered and babied about our privilege. By definition, as feminists, we care about the right thing to do, especially re: privilege and systematic oppression. We WANT others to call us out when we’re hypocritically violating our own supposed ethics. Or should want that, anyway. Otherwise, what kind of feminists are we?

  308. ilyka
    ilyka April 25, 2008 at 10:42 pm |

    What I meant is more… why bother to engage these questions at all? I get that it’s the right thing to do, but not everyone’s motivated by that. On a personal level — i.e., when I’m speaking to an actual human being, how do I ask someone to do the very hard work of confronting issues of privilege, particularly in light of discussions like this, where all that an uninitiated person might see is conflict?

    That’s a good question, laurab, and I don’t have any good answers for it.

    I guess I sometimes start out trying empathy: “How would you feel if it were you who,” etc. It doesn’t always work; sometimes people get hung up on pointing out all the ways in which it isn’t a perfect analogy–“but this is DIFFERENT because [some detail].”

    Sometimes just pointing out that (whether they’re meaning to or not) what they’re doing is hurting someone else, sometimes that’s enough. But it doesn’t work if the person I’m trying to point that out to is still stuck on his/her own feelings about the matter–“I know they’re upset, but what about me?”

    I hope more people respond to you because honestly, I’d like to know myself.

  309. laurab
    laurab April 25, 2008 at 10:51 pm |

    For dealing with an uninitiated person (like all my English 103 students from the past couple semesters), I try to introduce them to other points of view. There’s a lot of resistance, sure, but you point things out and explain things and let a lot of their mistakes slide because they’re learning. Just trying to open their eyes a bit at a time.

    You’re still missing the point of my question. When an uninitiated person sees a controversy like this one, where someone who has done a lot of writing on race and privilege getting the crap beat out of them, what motivates them to join the discussion?

    I’m not interested in the “because it’s the right thing to do” answer. Lots of people aren’t motivated by that. As an analogy, I go to the gym, oh, once a month or so. I know that it’s the right thing to do for my health, but you know, I see these people on the treadmill and they’re running and sweating and hey, they have great bodies — but they still look fucking miserable and like they’d rather be anywhere else than at the gym. So what’s my motivation to go to the gym? I can be healthier and have great abs, or whatever, but I’m still going to be miserable, so I might as well sit on the couch and eat ice cream.

  310. juju
    juju April 25, 2008 at 10:51 pm |

    Laurab: On a personal level — i.e., when I’m speaking to an actual human being, how do I ask someone to do the very hard work of confronting issues of privilege, particularly in light of discussions like this, where all that an uninitiated person might see is conflict?

    I guess it depends on how you define community and who you consider important and therefore worthy of inclusion. If someone with various levels of privilege is ok with their position in the world and their exploitative relationship to others, then there is really no need to do anything. If one wants to form an egalitarian bond with another, but there is a preexisting power differential, the (over)privileged person must consider what needs to be done to make that relationship viable.

  311. Danny
    Danny April 25, 2008 at 10:53 pm |

    I see a lot of mentions that future editions of the book may have all the racist illustrations removed and possibly have no new illustrations to replace them. I don’t think that is necessary. Amanda and the publishing house want imagery to use in the book right? There are countless amounts of comic book imagery that can convey the notion of women kicking butt while not being offensive.

  312. rere
    rere April 25, 2008 at 10:54 pm |

    Thank you for writing this. I bought the book and didn’t think twice about the images…. until now. As soon as I read your post I got this OMG feeling because I’m disappointed that I didn’t see it.

  313. a person
    a person April 25, 2008 at 11:30 pm |

    there is a perverseness to the fact that Amanda Marcotte basically got her precious career off the hard work of a white guy who decided to let her sidekick until he decided to gift her his blog audience. She would never have even gotten Pandagon’s built-in audience and bully pulpit if not for the kindness of a white man, quite literally. Not to mention free bandwidth/server space from a boyfriend (since, you know, the tech industry isn’t full of race and gender biases all over the place, and stuff.)

    This whole thing is just not surprising. She can’t even recognise the privilege in the access she was GIFTED, and didn’t have to earn. And so she of course expects to be forgiven (and given money) for these racist images sliding by.

    The apology isn’t enough. Too little, too late. Same as Seal Press wanting people to keep buying their whitened-up booklist due to the reputation of the old, out of print work they did back when they WERE happy to publish more than just whitegirls. “We used to let YOU PEOPLE WRITE FOR US, SO GIVES US MONEIES NOW!”

    No thanks.

    This is just another white woman getting a little something for herself courtesy of white guys hooking her up and other white people saying she’s all right because THIS TIME she said sorry (kinda). And aren’t YOU PEOPLE grateful enough that you got a piece of an apology?!

    I’ve read her writing. I find it intellectually sloppy and inconsistent, as well as plain rude for rudeness’ sake. I can name easily 50 other feminist bloggers (white women and WOC) who are better writers and get probably as much traffic. The internet is vast, and technorati linking doesn’t tell the whole tale, nor sitemeter reports. Once you have about 100 people linking to you, you are playing in the same zone as the people with 1000 linkers, because you have a decent amouont of repeat traffic, possible more than the big-dogs who have a lot of hit and run traffic that beefs out their numbers.

    That little ramble there was for the clueless people who think pandagon is the only large audience to be had in bloglandia and that nobody replying to these posts gets a large audience as well. It may not overlap, but that doesn’t mean it’s not there. Lot more people on the internet than the narrow white demographics represented by most of the white femblogosphere.

    And that’s why this whole debacle is just depressing. She’s not the only person with a lot of readers and that both Seal and AM’s defenders are SHOCKED to find out that there is a thriving and extensive audience of POC (with blogs! with readership in the 1000s and 10000s!) and allies out there who will just not tolerate this lazy, aversive racist claptrap is just…white people suck, film at 11.

    and this is apropos of nothing, but that Christian libertarian Amanda loves to hate, Vox Day is on a third printing for his book with no tour and a smaller audience, and the entire text available for download. maybe this is for those who think smaller audiences ‘aren’t relevant’.

    I seem to remember a white woman saying that, somewhere….

  314. ilyka
    ilyka April 25, 2008 at 11:32 pm |

    So what’s my motivation to go to the gym? I can be healthier and have great abs, or whatever, but I’m still going to be miserable, so I might as well sit on the couch and eat ice cream.

    Slide over and hand me a spoon!

    It sounds like you’re asking what the personal incentive is. I don’t know that there is one. To the extent that there is, it’s based in what personal connection you have to the issue. Look at litttlelight’s comment upthread in which she talks about suffering the occasional thoughtlessness or blind spot from her friend. Her friend’s personal incentive to correct that in this case would be, she values her friendship with littlelight and doesn’t want to cause her pain.

    So you can look for or try to tease out or even forge in another person’s mind some sort of personal connection with the issue, but beyond that I don’t think there’s a pot of gold waiting for anybody at the end of that rainbow, you know? At some point you’re always going to have to come back to “because it’s the right thing to do.”

  315. A Crazy 24 Hours : The Curvature
    A Crazy 24 Hours : The Curvature April 25, 2008 at 11:45 pm |

    [...] been waiting to weigh in on the latest of the Amanda Marcotte controversies: the images in the book. I’m not going to rehash it all here; if you don’t know what [...]

  316. Latoya Peterson
    Latoya Peterson April 26, 2008 at 12:15 am |

    laurab,

    When an uninitiated person sees a controversy like this one, where someone who has done a lot of writing on race and privilege getting the crap beat out of them, what motivates them to join the discussion?

    I’m not interested in the “because it’s the right thing to do” answer. Lots of people aren’t motivated by that.

    No, they aren’t. But if you aren’t motivated by the right thing to do, why the hell are you hanging out in social justice circles?

    And, BTW, writing on race and privilege does not mean that you are suddenly immune from saying or doing racist or fucked up things. It happens. And then you have to figure out what your goals are. You can feel overly self-righteous, fall back on a reputation you *think* you have and wonder why people think you’re an asshole…or you can examine what you do and why you do it and try to realize a better course of action.

    I blogged (and will blog again) on being anti-racist but holding hostile attitudes towards whites. Why I hold some of these hostile attitudes are beautifully illustrated by the events of the last few weeks.

    Now, it would be very easy to say “fuck whitey” and start writing people off, decamp from the feminist blogosphere and stay in my PoC created spaces, and not deal with these issues at all. No one gives you a cookie for doing the right thing. Most of the time its thankless self introspection and a constant checking of yourself in the face of what completely justifies your racist (or any other -ist) thoughts and feelings.

    But it is better not to do that. Why? Because I am supposed to be a fucking progressive. I am supposed to understand how these things work. And we all get caught up sometimes, but for the most part I am supposed to realize how things that don’t directly impact me play into the grand scheme of oppression and I am supposed to understand that falling in a big ass vat of my own privilege is not the worst thing that could ever happen.

    The worst thing that could happen is that I don’t acknowledge when and where I fuck up and I keep making the same mistakes. And that horrible thing begets another – that instead of being the anti-racist activist I portray myself as, people know me as that girl with the anti-white prejudice who has deluded herself into thinking that she’s still progressive. And instead of my words being tools for change, they simply document a sad, small person who can’t see her flaws through the blinding glare of her ego.

    Tends to undermine the credibility just a lil’ bit.

  317. Danakitty
    Danakitty April 26, 2008 at 12:30 am |

    When an uninitiated person sees a controversy like this one, where someone who has done a lot of writing on race and privilege getting the crap beat out of them, what motivates them to join the discussion?

    LauraB, I think that’s a very good question, particularly because I feel like I am that person. I’ve only been a self-proclaimed feminist for a few months now, even though I had all the inclinations to be one for years… but I hadn’t really looked into it until recently. And I’m trying to read a lot and catch up with everyone else, but I still feel lost a lot, especially with the issue of privilege. I keep trying to learn more and read more, but I get discouraged when people say things like “check your privilege at the door” when I’m still trying to discover what that means.

    I feel like I grew up thinking feminism was all about reproductive rights, and now that I can argue the pro-choice side, I find out that there’s a whole lot more to feminism. And I guess the only thing that really keeps me doing this is that I want to make a difference in the world. I want to help make a better society. I don’t fully understand every big controversy, but I think (or at least hope) that I have a fresh perspective and maybe some good ideas that can help shape feminism.

    So I guess, if I were to provide advice for those who are more experienced when dealing with the less experienced, I wouldn’t say let them get off scot free, but be more patient. I’m not saying it’s your job to educate me, but point me in the right direction instead of making me feel stupid. Tell me if I’m wrong, but don’t say I’m just another idiot. I know I don’t know everything, but I don’t want to feel demeaned for being ignorant. I want to learn, and others do too.

    I don’t want to make this all about me, because it’s not. But feminism is going to die hard if we can’t get young women interested because we seem cold and angry all the time. It reinforces a nasty, untrue stereotype, and I really think we need to change this mentality. We need to be a welcoming blanket, not a brick wall.

    Of course… correct me if I’m wrong!

  318. belledame222
    belledame222 April 26, 2008 at 12:33 am |

    But if you aren’t motivated by the right thing to do, why the hell are you hanging out in social justice circles?

    that would be the $64,000 question, wouldn’t it.

    because if the answer is really “I want my political football team to WIN THIS YEAR, DAMMIT!!” or “It’s my CAREER,” then, well…y’know.

  319. belledame222
    belledame222 April 26, 2008 at 12:35 am |

    That little ramble there was for the clueless people who think pandagon is the only large audience to be had in bloglandia and that nobody replying to these posts gets a large audience as well. It may not overlap, but that doesn’t mean it’s not there. Lot more people on the internet than the narrow white demographics represented by most of the white femblogosphere.

    And that’s why this whole debacle is just depressing. She’s not the only person with a lot of readers and that both Seal and AM’s defenders are SHOCKED to find out that there is a thriving and extensive audience of POC (with blogs! with readership in the 1000s and 10000s!) and allies out there who will just not tolerate this lazy, aversive racist claptrap is just…white people suck, film at 11.

    “I’m still big! It’s the Internets that got small!!”

  320. Auguste
    Auguste April 26, 2008 at 12:38 am |

    Not to mention free bandwidth/server space from a boyfriend (since, you know, the tech industry isn’t full of race and gender biases all over the place, and stuff.)

    Wow. Seriously, fucking WOW.

  321. belledame222
    belledame222 April 26, 2008 at 12:46 am |

    btw, thanks for posting that link, Latoya.

  322. Jaclyn
    Jaclyn April 26, 2008 at 12:50 am |

    I don’t know. As a white person, I don’t just work to undo racism and help amplify the voices of women of color because it’s the “right thing to do.” I do it for some “selfish” reasons too — like because I want to hear those voices, myself. Because my life, and our culture(s), are boring and narrow and limited with only one perspective in it/them. Because racism hurts everyone –even white people! — in many ways, not the least of which by working to keep me separated from some really awesome people who, in some cases, could be allies in my social justice work, or I could be allies in theirs, or we could be just plain great friends. And because feminism means equality for all women, not just the white ones.

    It’s late — I’m probably leaving some stuff out, and less articulate than I could be, but I just wanted to say that I’m sure as hell not just in this on some abstract principle. I don’t think most of us are.

  323. Chris Clarke
    Chris Clarke April 26, 2008 at 12:53 am |

    there is a perverseness to the fact that Amanda Marcotte basically got her precious career off the hard work of a white guy who decided to let her sidekick until he decided to gift her his blog audience. She would never have even gotten Pandagon’s built-in audience and bully pulpit if not for the kindness of a white man, quite literally.

    Our very own Jill took a photo of Amanda with said “white guy.

    And that free server space is actually provided by Blogsome, which is run by (I presume, perhaps wrongly) white people in Ireland.

    The political criticism being made here are important and in general (Though I was grateful for Amanda’s apology today) frustratingly unanswered. Let’s not give the “racism is no big deal” people excuses to disregard our worthwhile arguments by tossing around trivially refutable and pointless crap.

  324. Chris Clarke
    Chris Clarke April 26, 2008 at 12:54 am |

    God, my typing sucks these days.

  325. One woman’s view on feminism at BABble

    [...] i may be, by that essay’s definition, a feminist? I don’t call myself one, because of crap like this (note: the book being discussed is crap; the blog post discussing it is decidedly not crap). But [...]

  326. littlem
    littlem April 26, 2008 at 12:56 am |

    Re: the update posted on this thread, and a couple of notes I made round the ‘sphere,

    NO- IT’S STILL NOT OKAY
    SO IT WON’T GO AWAY

    An addendum to my previous post to accommodate apparent recent developments.
    Should someone decide not to read or purchase the book, they might want to
    POST A REVIEW ON AMAZON INDICATING WHY (an excellent concrete suggestion upthread that bears repeating).

    Should someone who chooses not to read or purchase the book write about their concerns to
    – Seal
    – Perseus (Seal’s parent company)
    – Their own local press
    – The press of cities scheduled for the book’s tour stops,
    you may want to suggest that the TOUR BE POSTPONED UNTIL THE NEW BOOKS WITHOUT THE IMAGES BECOME AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC.
    PERMANENTLY IF NECESSARY.

    Until that time, should you write to the local press of cities scheduled for tour stops to tell them you will not be attending,
    TELL THEM WHY.

    Should you decide to reach out quietly, by private telephone call or email, to your friends who are
    – publishers
    – booksellers
    – university administrators
    – university professors
    – conference organizers
    – mainstream and alternative print, radio, and television journalists
    to let them know that you will probably not purchase the book until an edition is released without the images in question,
    TELL THEM WHY.

    (Because somehow I can’t quite see the author or the original press including a statement in the second edition as to WHY the first edition was pulled).

    That way, you and your friends have an opportunity to thoughtfully consider the extent to which you want a press – or an author’s voice – that purports to be justice activist but will suppress, but not concede, an error of privilege, in the
    – classroom
    – lecture hall
    – conference
    that YOU call YOUR “safe space”.

    NO- IT’S STILL NOT OKAY
    SO IT WON’T GO AWAY

    She’s not the only person with a lot of readers and that both Seal and AM’s defenders are SHOCKED to find out that there is a thriving and extensive audience of POC (with blogs! with readership in the 1000s and 10000s!) and allies out there who will just not tolerate this lazy, aversive racist claptrap…

    Heh. Personally, I’m really enjoying that part. Awareness, and all that.

  327. Auguste
    Auguste April 26, 2008 at 12:58 am |

    there is a perverseness to the fact that Amanda Marcotte basically got her precious career off the hard work of a white guy who decided to let her sidekick until he decided to gift her his blog audience.

    By the way, the only white guy that preceded Amanda at Pandagon left before she arrived. You’re 0-for-2 in your sexist slurs, you should maybe go back to the drawing board.

  328. Auguste
    Auguste April 26, 2008 at 1:02 am |

    AKA what Chris said.

  329. a person
    a person April 26, 2008 at 1:07 am |

    that’s actually interesting, Chris. i saw misattributed photos, then. thank you for providing correct informaton.

    so she benefitted from a MOC hooking her up (which then introduces a completely different set of issues), especially since not all POC are coded equally and i know that where i come from, that guy would have been coded as ‘almost white’.

    but that is a tangent. pandagon’s server space was only recently switched to blogsome.

    so i am happy to say instead that amanda got her start from a MOC helping out a white woman, which again, is kinda laden with its own different baggage. still whitegirl privilege, only the texture has changed.

  330. a person
    a person April 26, 2008 at 1:19 am |

    i guess my point, minus any snark, is that:

    we aren’t all sitting here talking about mousewords, we are talking about pandagon, which was not started by her, but essentially gifted to her. so when she comes around complaining about jealous hatas, and won’t concede that she didn’t even have the same kind of work to do to get readership, it’s really worse in a way. it’s just a bunch of unacknowledged privilege on top of all the other ick factors. and it would be different if she had built up her own blog and then got the edwards thing, book deal, etc, etc. it wouldn’t seem so, uh, clintonesque as the current stuff that keeps happening.

    it makes the racism worse, it makes the callous disregard for other bloggers worse. it just makes it all worse because it shows a lack of graciousness that would mark someone more open to actually including others.

  331. christine
    christine April 26, 2008 at 1:20 am |

    So let me see if I understand this… if the publishing co. and the author don’t apologize, that’s pretty bad… and if they do apologize, that’s bad, too, because it’s not enough… and if they apologize, and make plans to remove the images, that is also not enough.

    Here is something else I don’t understand: for a group of people that are allegedly against hatred/oppression, you’re all quite good at spewing a fair amount of it. Does it make any sense at all to try to open a discussion by immediately attacking people? You wouldn’t recommend that route to a teacher with an ill-informed student. Why would you take that road yourselves?

    I worked in publishing for many, many years. Often, I was the person choosing and placing images to accompany an author’s words. I focused solely on the artwork in a way that those who don’t work in this field don’t think about. There were many times I missed things when looking at an image, because I’d been so immersed in looking at artwork and making selections that I couldn’t see the forest for the trees. It happens, and it had less to do with my “white privilege” than with my artist’s flaky brain. I have also seen many errors that seem so blatant to the world at large slip through the hands of an entire editorial staff.

    The fact that this was not malicious but being treated as though it was is disturbing. If this is the reaction to an oversight and unintentional error, I’d hate to see what happens if someone is actually trying to piss you all off.

  332. Jill
    Jill April 26, 2008 at 1:28 am | *

    I bet Jill discussed and was granted approval for her post promoting the book by the others blogging on Feministe. I am sure she did not creep up on them unawares.

    Actually, I did creep up on them unawares. And I’m pretty sure they are not happy about it — and I don’t blame them.

    We don’t tell each other before we post; we just do it. As Holly said, sometimes we don’t check the blog for days at a time. Our blog rule is that we each post what we want, and we are fully free to dissent and argue with each other. Nearly every other Feministe blogger has been clear that they did not appreciate my initial post; I certainly regret that post. But it was not a group post, and there was no consensus on it. No one had anything to do with it but me. And yes, I deserve to be held accountable for it. But the rest of the bloggers here don’t; in fact, they’ve publicly said that they had problems with it and would not have done the same thing. If you’re going to take me to task, fine — I deserve it on this one. But please don’t blame them for something they had no control over.

  333. Chris Clarke
    Chris Clarke April 26, 2008 at 1:32 am |

    thanks, a person. I withdraw my “pointless crap” along with you withdrawing your snark, and I apologize. It’s a good point. No one’s success is purely their own. Standing on the shoulders of giants, and cetera.

  334. Feministe » On Those Pictures and On Privilege

    [...] It’s been said a lot of times over now, but I’ll add my voice to the chorus: This is fucked. [...]

  335. delurkingforawhile
    delurkingforawhile April 26, 2008 at 1:48 am |

    and won’t concede that she didn’t even have the same kind of work to do to get readership,

    Oh come on, that is ridiculous. I guess being a good writer and blogger, whose writing the original blog-owner liked enough that he invited her to join as a co-blogger means she “didn’t have to do the same kind of work.” That’s BS. I guess any co-blogger on Feministe, Feministing, Pandagon, DailyKos or any other big blog got there by NOT doing any work huh? A big blog invitation just fell out of the sky into their laps?

  336. belledame222
    belledame222 April 26, 2008 at 2:07 am |

    It’s a good point. No one’s success is purely their own. Standing on the shoulders of giants, and cetera.

    Yeah, that’s how I’d taken it, snark aside.

    And the thing is–you know, people keep saying: it’s -not- all unconnected, the stuff about “appropriation” (which for the last gorram time NO is not the same thing as “she copied off someone else’s paper word for word” or even about y’know “copyright”), the images, and yeah, the theme in the book itself and Amanda’s whole um narrative such as it is.

    and just to be clear: I’ve no idea how the process of choosing these pics came about; if Seal says it’s all on them, okay, so be it (and I still think those two need to have their asses fired for sheer incompetence at this point, that AND the “hi! let’s totally alienate everyone by swanning onto someone’s blog, snotting at them, then starting a “no really, please don’t boycott us” thread at our own place, then nuke that when it gets too hot, okay! We Value Your Opinion! -plonk-). And definitely, without the pics I wouldn’t have probably had much objection to the content itself, as I saw it–seemed relatively innocuous, certainly no overt racism along the lines of the pics (which just seemed such a -stupid- move all around–anyway).

    But…as I think little light noted…there is something, yeah, about the let’s say myth? of the noble, brave, -conquering- hero, okay? There’s a reason the “Tarzan” and “King Kong” shit appeals enduringly: it’s NOT because they’re -universal- tropes, it’s because they speak to deeply entrenched myths in this culture. We’re supposed to identify with the sun god, the lone warrior braving savage nature and demonic/animalistic sub-humans, and coming back with the prize.

    And the whole point is, for most of us, in fact, while we’re -supposed- to ID with the hero, in reality most of us -can’t- LIVE like him, because garsh someone has to be the backdrop/savages/supporting cast and well you LOOK like the backdrop/savages/supporting cast…or, just, well, you don’t -fit-, anyway; but, most of all, -the hero does it by himself.- Maybe with a few sidekicks. But…the hero is a Hero. Not “part of a community.”

    And…the -repeated- theme that keeps coming up over and over and fucking OVER again in -all- these flameouts in the feminist sphere, is this: that -substituting a Heroine for the Hero isn’t fucking enough if nothing else changes.-

    But…for some people, see, it seems like it IS enough, if they think -they- can be the Heroine.

    But that doesn’t mean everyone else has to keep playing the parts they were assigned, and for damn sure anyone asking them to do it isn’t “progressive” or “feminist” in any real sense.

  337. belledame222
    belledame222 April 26, 2008 at 2:17 am |

    So let me see if I understand this… if the publishing co. and the author don’t apologize, that’s pretty bad… and if they do apologize, that’s bad, too, because it’s not enough… and if they apologize, and make plans to remove the images, that is also not enough.

    That’s about the size of it, yes. It’s -better- that they apologize and remove the images, yes. But no, not enough, not off the hook. Correct.

  338. belledame222
    belledame222 April 26, 2008 at 2:25 am |

    and what you’re missing, Christine, is that

    a) these particular publishers as well as the author in question were well aware that people found the imagery problematic as long as a year ago, because there were complaints about the cover art, to the point where it was changed from a racially charged “King Kong” like bit to the crocodile currently on the cover. Same comic strip.

    If -no one- in the past year could’ve figured out that gee, if people are complaining about -coded- racism in the big black ape, -maybe not such a hot idea to put even more outright racist images inside the book-, hm? Sorry, publishing or any other field, I -cannot- believe that it’s -that- difficult to figure that out. And frankly, even if the publishers in question have hearts as pure as the driven snow (cough) I know I sure as shit wouldn’t want to trust my work to them, if I’d already said “hey please can we not use this cause racist ok” and they went and did THAT.”

    also, I probably wouldn’t wait till after the book tour started and people started calling me out to finally notice there might be a problem. It’s. Not. That. Hard.

    b) as Brooke and Kristin have noted the -last- time they got into a shitstorm regarding, oddly enough, suggestions that there are race problems with Seal, o, just a few weeks ago? they would appear to be pretty much it, Seal, at this juncture: indie press (if consolidated? unclear), the buck stops with them. O.K. because, they pretty much made a giant cock-up of public relations -then-, too.

    c) the author in question is just coming off the culmination of what has been a long string of…thematically related frustrations with her, hm?

    it’s NOT “oh poor lambs, one little mistake and everyone’s jumping down their throats.” It’s a rather big fucking mistake all by itself AND ALSO it ain’t the first time, or the second, or the third, or…and most of all, people have absolutely no faith at this point that it’ll be the last.

    THAT is the problem from the blue blue sky.

  339. littlem
    littlem April 26, 2008 at 2:37 am |

    christine,

    I’ve seen your blog. I’ve read your bio. I’ve watched you work (but you’ve never seen me).

    Worked for the Clintons and the Bushes. Congratulations on being a consummate relativist.

    You’ve published for the Harvard Business Review. So I don’t believe the “widdle artist bwain” approach is going to fly here.

    (Bonus points for insulting all the graphic and other artists in your reading audience.)

    With all your business experience, I’m sure you’re familiar with those things called statutes and treastises.

    (BTW, I’m about to MAKE AN ANALOGY, so nobody gets Missy Anne’s White Lady Vapors for anyone being “accused of a crime!ELEVEN1!”)

    The treatises and statutes are some amazing things. They cover acts AND omissions!

    They also cover two types of problems:

    1) intentional (with which you appear to be familiar) and
    2) negligent (“OMG! It was stupid and clueless but I didn’t mean to do it!”)

    In more than three weeks of people writing about this and related subjects you’re going to wade in here for the first time and THAT is what you have to say???

    Ladeeez and Gentlemen: Behold! Textbook Upper Middle Class White Lady Privileged Feminist Outburst! Dead Ahead!

    No wonder the Buddhist monks let you go.

    Someone else educate this woman, please. I’m tired. And please don’t let her come back with another Dossier until she Gets It.

    christine, I look enough like you that I could blend into a crowd at one of your precious presentations and you could look right at me and never know that I wrote this. I hope that makes you think just a little.

    But somehow I doubt it.

  340. christine
    christine April 26, 2008 at 2:46 am |

    That’s about the size of it, yes. It’s -better- that they apologize and remove the images, yes. But no, not enough, not off the hook. Correct.

    So what is supposed to happen next?

  341. christine
    christine April 26, 2008 at 2:50 am |

    littlem, how wrong you are. But thank you for proving my point about how many of those posting are only able to use sarcasm and hostility instead of the actual dialogue they allegedly want.

  342. AM
    AM April 26, 2008 at 2:53 am |

    My contribution to this thread won’t likely be of much consequence since I’m not a part of the “blogosphere” people here speak of, but that’s what I’d like to comment on. When “laymen” like myself conduct google searches for feminist blogs and sites, we come up with links to excellent blogs, such as the one we’re on now. And it saddens me, as I’m sure it upsets others, that so much of conversation (here and on other blogs) has turned to disagreements and grievances between individuals (who most of us out here in the Internet have never heard of), and these issues are being touted as though they serve as a microcosm for all of feminism and everything it entails. Worst of all, people are threatening to abandon the label of “feminist” and remove their valuable contributions/writings from public viewing because of these disputes among individuals.

    Individual actions deserve to be called onto the carpet, of course, but I wish there were a way for more people to step back and take into account the much bigger picture outside of this relatively small gathering of internet writers. The opinions shared within this group do matter, but as do the opinions of the many, many people out here seeking information, guidance, and a better understanding of feminism and how it affects ALL WOMEN, both individually and as an aggregate. Everyone has something to contribute and while disputes will inevitably break out, I wish this wouldn’t lead to restricting the view of the women’s movement to these individual cases. There’s so much more to it than that, and most blogs I come across in this search for varying opinions and ideas are currently swept up in these debates, focusing on the trees and perhaps losing sight of the forest in the process.

    The wrongs are real and it is certainly justifiable to be upset over how the matter has been handled on the publisher’s end, but the publisher and those involved with creating this book aren’t representative of the entire feminism movement, nor should they be. This is not a middle- or upper-class white women’s movement, it is a WOMEN’S MOVEMENT. To choose to silence yourselves will only do a disservice to those out here wanting/craving to read an alternative perspective that they can relate to. Not to mention that withdrawing your contributions and dissing the label of “feminist” lends credence to the very assumption that feminism is indeed located firmly in the white middle- and upper-class realm and is not a PHILOSOPHY that involves and impacts women of color and lower classes. This absolutely is NOT true nor should it be conveyed as such. Please don’t let it become that.

    What feminism and the women’s movement needs now more than ever is more support, particularly from the women most affected by this unjust social system. Feminism isn’t just about gender, it’s about systemic layers of oppression that no one group in particular has a monopoly on. Least of all upper- and middle-class white women.

    The movement isn’t dead, it just needs a revival. The voices of women impacted by multiple forms of oppression are the very voices that need to ring the loudest this time around, lest we repeat history and become blinded by the perspective of those most privileged.

    So, anyway, that’s something I had to get off my chest. I’ve never seen the book in question and don’t know any of the players involved in this matter, though I do hope those involved are able to find a way to resolve the issue as amicably as possible. To weigh in briefly, I do feel the illustrations are inappropriate and offensive, but I’m willing to bet that the message they convey wasn’t intentional. Pride is a hard thing to swallow, and owning up to an oversight, despite how innocent the original intent may have been, is tough. But I’d also say that mistakes and oversights are a part of life and because the players involved are of a privileged class does not mean they deserve to be demeaned. Educated, yes. Informed, yes.

    But then again, I’m an outsider looking in and it appears you folks have a history in dealing with one another, so there’s probably plenty I’m missing here. But yet again, that’s the point: your audience doesn’t consist of just those involved in the “blogosphere”, so the deeper relevance will be lost on us. It’s just disheartening to wander in and find hostility and division where there, ideally, should be a greater measure of cooperation and thoughtful discussion in an effort to remedy problems and grievances of this sort.

    That’s my $.02 on the matter anyway. Carry on.

  343. delurkingforawhile
    delurkingforawhile April 26, 2008 at 3:13 am |

    I’ve seen your blog. I’ve read your bio. I’ve watched you work (but you’ve never seen me).
    .
    .
    .
    christine, I look enough like you that I could blend into a crowd at one of your precious presentations and you could look right at me and never know that I wrote this. I hope that makes you think just a little.

    Is that a threat? Your post is fucking creepy, not to mention the rest of it was unnecessarily nasty to her.

  344. Pinko Punko
    Pinko Punko April 26, 2008 at 3:15 am |

    I think you can’t change you nic here for a harmless 80’s joke, so just consider this post by Dave Gahan:

    “People are people”

    *punch*

    “Strangelove?”

    *FLAMEWAR*

    “Master and Servant?”

    *NUCLEAR BOMBS*

    “Blasphemous Rumours?”

    *Picketing and tomatoes*

    Seriously, the entirety of several gigantic internecine blog arguments were predicted by 80s wavers Depeche Mode.

    Ducks.

  345. Mitchforth
    Mitchforth April 26, 2008 at 3:24 am |

    Incidentally, when I saw the thread two days ago, I looked up Marcotte’s book on Amazon, and it was around 11,000 on the sales ranking. Now it’s around 1200.

    So whatever the cost to Seal of reprinting, the blogosphere frenzy is just free promotion for Marcotte’s book, and has probably sent a bunch of traffic to Pandagon, spiking its ad revenues. You guys have guaranteed Marcotte a second book deal, probably from a bigger press than Seal.

    As best I understand, this whole Seal issue comes from an anthology writer being upset when a Seal rep suggested names of several prominent feminists whose contributions might make the anthology publishable, and all those feminists were white. This event sparked the “Fuck Seal Press” attack by a blogger called BlackAmazon, and Seal responded in comments. Apparently other minority bloggers are taking offense that Seal characterized BA’s “Fuck You” as “engaging negatively.”

    Marcotte and her book are casualties in a crusade against the publisher stirred up by some angry bloggers. I think the context of those images is obvious to anyone with half a brain, and the people who are feigning offense are doing so to score a rhetorical point on Seal.

    It seems to be backfiring, which strikes me as just.

  346. RacyT
    RacyT April 26, 2008 at 3:26 am |

    No matter that this is an old cliche, it has a history, and for some of us, this “history” is not in the past. Undoubted this perspective will be seen by many (most?) as me *wanting* to see racism or being *overly sensitive* and going too far.

    Crap. That is totally NOT what I was saying. I said nothing about “wanting” to see racism or being “overly sensitive.” Please do not put words in my mouth. It was a disagreement about semantics. Just because I disagree about one thing does not mean I think you are “overly sensitive.”

    I work for a living supporting refugees who are resettled in Canada. And, I work in communications. I am unfamiliar with anyone being offended by the term “jungle.” I mean, hell, there’s a whole genre of music based on it.

    I did not mean what you think I meant: I just thought it was strange, as I have never heard this argument. Don’t assume you know anything about me based on three lines of Internet text. What originally gave me pause though, is: nobody anywhere I have seen said anything about the title being racist. I completely agree about the images and I think they are unacceptable. I also can see now that dismissing your argument about the title could be perceived as assoholic; I didn’t mean to dismiss you. I am unfamiliar with this particular issue.

    What I wonder now, is: how many other people found the title racist? I’d like to think people would have brought it up, and no one did… were we all missing something? Were you afraid to bring it up for fear of being attacked? I really don’t mean this as a bullshit “prove yourself” question… I just had no idea this was problematic. You seem to posit that you found the title racist from the beginning… were there lots of people who did? And if so, why didn’t this come up in the discussion about the cover? Again, I’m not asking you to justify your feelings (obviously you understand what is offensive more than I ever can) but were people afraid to bring it up because they thought they would be attacked? I’m really trying to get some perspective on this hideous mess at this point.

  347. belledame222
    belledame222 April 26, 2008 at 3:30 am |

    how many of those posting are only able to use sarcasm and hostility instead of the actual dialogue they allegedly want.

    bzzt. wrong. “they” don’t actually want dialogue -with you-, they just want to not be fucked over anymore, thanks.

    or, well, I could refer you to the post of one particular “they” making that point, the one who was so roundly taken to task for daring to post “Fuck Seal Press” (which was NOT an invitation to dance) on her blog in the first place, but, ooops, now she’s gone too.

    here’s her sayonara. Read it and weep.

    http://problemchylde.wordpress.com/2008/04/26/from-blackamazon/

    just don’t do it over there, because you know, I -think- just maybe people are on their very last nerve, and if your assery makes anyone -else- leave…o right i wouldn’t want lurkinggrue here to think I’m “creepy,” so I won’t finish that thought.

  348. belledame222
    belledame222 April 26, 2008 at 3:36 am |

    Well, the thing about “jungle” imagery, or particularly a lone heroic figure (particularly blonde) fighting her way through its dark dangerous wildness, is, well, yeah, at minimum it’s associated with colonialism. Would there have been this kind of shitstorm if she’d only used the image of a woman fighting off a crocodile in the first place, and none of the rest of the images had made their way in (or the original cover proposed): almost certainly not.

    some people might have noted y’know, there’s a certain kind of ‘fittingness’ to that cover and, well, everything else that’s gone down with Amanda, say, didja see where that comic originally came from? and promptly been dogpiled to the gills by Teh Faithful who didn’t and don’t see anything wrong with lighthearted fun like this “camp” that’s in there now, let alone “context? vas is das context? stop reading so much into everything, it’s only feminism!” and it would’ve blurped into the background noise and the glow of acclaim.

  349. belledame222
    belledame222 April 26, 2008 at 3:38 am |

    Gee, Mitchforth, Marcotte is coming out ahead, she’s gonna be getting a bigger book deal, and bfp and BA are GONE, but AM is a “casualty.” Got it.

    Listen, could you, I don’t know, maybe fuck off? I mean that in the most -productive- fucking way.

  350. belledame222
    belledame222 April 26, 2008 at 3:41 am |

    but way to confirm some peoples’ suspicions that gee golly maybe just maybe it -wasn’t- that stupid that move on their part after all. but perhaps, they -did- know what they were doing.

    which would make the whole thing ten times more loathsome than it already is.

  351. Pinko Punko
    Pinko Punko April 26, 2008 at 3:48 am |

    bd- just ignore that dude.

    That is tied for the most ridiculous thing I’ve read today. Amanda apologizes for a true f*ck up, other debatable f*ck ups notwithstanding, and some blanks think they are defending her with comments like that. This is why arguing from blog comments using the worst of any side is always a fertile enterprise. Someone will always say the perfect thing to just go to town with. Put the IGNORE tag on that because wtf?

  352. RacyT
    RacyT April 26, 2008 at 3:55 am |

    belldame, I’m not talking about the “jungle” imagery. The imagery is clearly fucking offensive. I said I didn’t agree that the TITLE was racist. And really, if it is, then I probably have more to learn than I thought I did.

    If the title is offensive… which clearly some people think it is… then I just want to know why it never came up. Is this space that unfriendly? I’d like to think that it isn’t, but I may be being hopelessly optimistic. I’m not saying it’s OK… it’s just new to me.

    I admit I can’t see things from the perspective of POC — I’m one of those “lucky” people who *looks* white (and I mostly am but my biggest ‘click’ moments have been watching people try to backtrack when they find out I’m partly Aboriginal and try to take back their terrible opinions.) I try to understand based on my (limited) experience. Please don’t assume I’m speaking in bad faith.

  353. littlem
    littlem April 26, 2008 at 4:04 am |

    it’s NOT “oh poor lambs, one little mistake and everyone’s jumping down their throats.” It’s a rather big fucking mistake all by itself AND ALSO it ain’t the first time, or the second, or the third, or…and most of all, people have absolutely no faith at this point that it’ll be the last.

    Oh, look! A nutshell.

    Is that a threat?

    Is that, 354? You’ve done nothing in this whole discussion but tear people down.

    And the rest of your nasty post, ugh – reading comprehenshun? U no haz it.

    *disengages from 354*

    Is there any easy way to put people on “ignore”?

  354. delurkingforawhile
    delurkingforawhile April 26, 2008 at 4:24 am |

    littlem, That’s a lie. Not agreeing with you doesn’t translate to tearing people down. What you’ve been doing, on the other hand….and not just to this new commenter christine, but to any other unfortunate person who has a different pov than you.

  355. BeaTricks
    BeaTricks April 26, 2008 at 4:55 am |

    christine, I look enough like you that I could blend into a crowd at one of your precious presentations and you could look right at me and never know that I wrote this. I hope that makes you think just a little.

    That comes across as really, really intimidating and very inappropriate. What, prey tell, do you mean by “I hope that makes you think just a little”?

    And this:

    I -think- just maybe people are on their very last nerve, and if your assery makes anyone -else- leave…o right i wouldn’t want lurkinggrue here to think I’m “creepy,” so I won’t finish that thought.

    Finish what thought? Please elaborate. Maybe you and littlem can both stalk Christine for the high crime of disagreeing with you on the internet! It’s all in good fun, I’m sure.

    (Holly, Jill…are you guys reading this shit?)

  356. belledame222
    belledame222 April 26, 2008 at 5:33 am |

    Oh, get a fucking grip.

    I just finished it on the other thread, mkay? A kick in the virtual nads. Tremble in fear, really. christ.

    It’s completely fucking impotent, that’s why I didn’t finish it, right? I’m sitting here crying because people whose shoes fucking precious Amanda aren’t worthy to lick have been driven off, and you’re -still- here trolling and wittering away and further smearing them while gloating over how many -more- copies of her mediocre crap she can sell, and yet she’s STILL the victim, of course.

    If I tell you to go fuck yourself, are you gonna call the cops? Really, I’m fucking scary, christ knows we all are. Except Amanda. And, well–whoever the hell you are. Nice, nice, nice.

  357. kiki
    kiki April 26, 2008 at 5:40 am |

    It happens, and it had less to do with my “white privilege” than with my artist’s flaky brain.

    What bull. I am a professional artist and your suggestion that artists see less is baseless…if anything artists see much more than those with an untrained eye. Artists don’t have “flaky” brains, flakes have flaky brains. If you take into account the amount of art history, art theory, and the time spent viewing and analyzing images the average artist engages in (just as an undergrad!) it’s hard to make a case that you are less likely to recognize these patterns, symbols, signs,memes, etc. I don’t know how you could have missed all of the discussions on art and privilege since examining privilege in western art is part of a number of theory courses that most art students are required to attend. Flaky indicates a lack of rigor, an unwillingness to analyze, and a wholesale acceptance of the myth of the disorganized genius for whom details are seen as a thing for less creative minds. It’s a fucking cop out. Amidst this entire debacle I am amazed at the lackadaisical attitude towards responsibility that the players have exhibited. No one who puts work into the public sphere is above critique and to not honor that age old process indicates a weakness of character and a fragility of ego that has no place in the creative sphere.

  358. kiki
    kiki April 26, 2008 at 6:25 am |

    It seems to be backfiring, which strikes me as just.

    Ah, yes, tyranny of the majority…that is just.

  359. Lisa Harney
    Lisa Harney April 26, 2008 at 6:26 am |

    What leap of logic is necessary to read either of those comments as stalking threats?

    Isn’t it good to read comments in context with other comments?

  360. denelian
    denelian April 26, 2008 at 6:34 am |

    there are eightybillion responses… so i wpnt read ‘em, just write

    i think i can be “saved” or “redeamed” if some of this pictures have WOC as the heroine. and if the bad guys are similarly multi-ethinic. i really think that thats all it needs

  361. littlem
    littlem April 26, 2008 at 8:26 am |

    Lisa, I’m going to say this – to you, and bd, and anyone who’s actually listening – and then I hope I never have to see this thread again.

    If you are a person who thinks — and says in a thread on matters of race — that “if you could be perceived as ‘passing as white’ there’s no way I could be racist toward you”, you likely have much bigger problems then struggling to grasp the concept of context.

    *shakes head*

    Ladies of Feministe, I have sent you email on this post that seems to be causing problems.

  362. Ahahaha…Bwahahahahah..Oh, Dear, Gurgle…Ahahaha…

    [...] Here. [...]

  363. Kristin
    Kristin April 26, 2008 at 10:06 am |

    If the title is offensive… which clearly some people think it is… then I just want to know why it never came up. Is this space that unfriendly? I’d like to think that it isn’t, but I may be being hopelessly optimistic. I’m not saying it’s OK… it’s just new to me.

    Well, IrishGril1983 pointed it out quite a ways upthread, and I agreed. Why didn’t I push it more? Well, because when I did mention it, no one really responded expect to tell me that that jungle imagery is just a harmless “old cliche.” It was not until Juju picked up the issue a little further downthread that it seemed like anyone was interested in having a conversation about it. So, yeah, perhaps this wasn’t a very safe space to raise the more nuanced critique. It’s not that I’m intimidated about telling anyone what I really think. It’s really just that I get tired of beating my head against a brick wall, you know? And if something doesn’t get picked up, well, I’m not always going to have the energy to push it with people who don’t seem interested.

    And, really, what do you mean by suggesting that it never came up? It certainly did–with me, IrishGril, Juju, Astraea, and Belledame (Sorry if I’m missing anyone.). I didn’t push it as strongly as I did some other points in the beginning because I thought the most pressing issue was the actual depictions of *the natives* in the book. I could be wrong, but it really seemed to me to be the first priority, and after that crisis settled, I would make a more nuanced critique about the title/imagery. I never planned to buy the book (I don’t have much interest in white, middle class, American feminism in the first place, and I have no love lost for Amanda Marcotte. Not a “vendetta,” mind you, just no interest.), but when I saw the title and cover for the book, that clinched it for me. No way in hell I’m going to support a book that draws on “light” or “kitschy” depictions of colonial domination.

  364. Kristin
    Kristin April 26, 2008 at 10:10 am |

    *I am sorry if this comes through more than once. I am having trouble posting anything–it doesn’t even say I’m in a moderation queue. Please feel free to take the extra posts down if this actually comes through more than once.*

    If the title is offensive… which clearly some people think it is… then I just want to know why it never came up. Is this space that unfriendly? I’d like to think that it isn’t, but I may be being hopelessly optimistic. I’m not saying it’s OK… it’s just new to me.

    Well, IrishGril1983 pointed it out quite a ways upthread, and I agreed. Why didn’t I push it more? Well, because when I did mention it, no one really responded expect to tell me that that jungle imagery is just a harmless “old cliche.” It was not until Juju picked up the issue a little further downthread that it seemed like anyone was interested in having a conversation about it. So, yeah, perhaps this wasn’t a very safe space to raise the more nuanced critique. It’s not that I’m intimidated about telling anyone what I really think. It’s really just that I get tired of beating my head against a brick wall, you know? And if something doesn’t get picked up, well, I’m not always going to have the energy to push it with people who don’t seem interested.

    And, really, what do you mean by suggesting that it never came up? It certainly did–with me, IrishGril, Juju, Astraea, and Belledame (Sorry if I’m missing anyone.). I didn’t push it as strongly as I did some other points in the beginning because I thought the most pressing issue was the actual depictions of *the natives* in the book. I could be wrong, but it really seemed to me to be the first priority, and after that crisis settled, I would make a more nuanced critique about the title/imagery. I never planned to buy the book (I don’t have much interest in white, middle class, American feminism in the first place, and I have no love lost for Amanda Marcotte. Not a “vendetta,” mind you, just no interest.), but when I saw the title and cover for the book, that clinched it for me. No way in hell I’m going to support a book that draws on “light” or “kitschy” depictions of colonial domination.

  365. Kali
    Kali April 26, 2008 at 10:18 am |

    Actually, I did creep up on them unawares. And I’m pretty sure they are not happy about it — and I don’t blame them.

    We don’t tell each other before we post; we just do it. As Holly said, sometimes we don’t check the blog for days at a time. Our blog rule is that we each post what we want, and we are fully free to dissent and argue with each other. Nearly every other Feministe blogger has been clear that they did not appreciate my initial post; I certainly regret that post. But it was not a group post, and there was no consensus on it. No one had anything to do with it but me. And yes, I deserve to be held accountable for it. But the rest of the bloggers here don’t; in fact, they’ve publicly said that they had problems with it and would not have done the same thing. If you’re going to take me to task, fine — I deserve it on this one. But please don’t blame them for something they had no control over.

    That’s a pretty feeble apology for piling injury upon insult and injury. You knew what you were about to do and you did it anyway – rather like your friend with the book.

    I don’t buy the continual repentance and seeing the error and leaving the post up because it really proves how truly sorry you are. Another variant of the ‘abdicating bystander’ game. Sigmund Freud could post meaningfully on this one…

  366. Kali
    Kali April 26, 2008 at 10:21 am |

    Feminste Bloggers,
    I think the little blonde girl with the gun in your logo is extremely annoying also. Any plans on changing that – I would not recommend on waiting for shit to hit fan on this one.

  367. Kali
    Kali April 26, 2008 at 10:35 am |

    In other words my comment is ‘shit’ also, and you want ‘cogent critique’ – you mean like you have already had on Feminste on three threads?

    That sounds like more Marcottese .

    The Wikipedia entry on Marcotte is brilliant. Congratulations to whoever wrote it. It has been ‘disputed’ twice and still stands.

  368. juju
    juju April 26, 2008 at 10:36 am |

    No matter that this is an old cliche, it has a history, and for some of us, this “history” is not in the past. Undoubted this perspective will be seen by many (most?) as me *wanting* to see racism or being *overly sensitive* and going too far.

    Crap. That is totally NOT what I was saying. I said nothing about “wanting” to see racism or being “overly sensitive.” Please do not put words in my mouth. It was a disagreement about semantics. Just because I disagree about one thing does not mean I think you are “overly sensitive.”

    I work for a living supporting refugees who are resettled in Canada. And, I work in communications. I am unfamiliar with anyone being offended by the term “jungle.” I mean, hell, there’s a whole genre of music based on it.

    I did not mean what you think I meant: I just thought it was strange, as I have never heard this argument. Don’t assume you know anything about me based on three lines of Internet text. What originally gave me pause though, is: nobody anywhere I have seen said anything about the title being racist. I completely agree about the images and I think they are unacceptable. I also can see now that dismissing your argument about the title could be perceived as assoholic; I didn’t mean to dismiss you. I am unfamiliar with this particular issue.

    What I wonder now, is: how many other people found the title racist? I’d like to think people would have brought it up, and no one did… were we all missing something? Were you afraid to bring it up for fear of being attacked? I really don’t mean this as a bullshit “prove yourself” question… I just had no idea this was problematic. You seem to posit that you found the title racist from the beginning… were there lots of people who did? And if so, why didn’t this come up in the discussion about the cover? Again, I’m not asking you to justify your feelings (obviously you understand what is offensive more than I ever can) but were people afraid to bring it up because they thought they would be attacked? I’m really trying to get some perspective on this hideous mess at this point.

    RacyT,

    I can’t say that I really had you in mind when I wrote that post. Although, I did you read your “going too far” comment. I believe that this sentiment is pretty average, and yes it is often connected to thinking someone is *overly sensitive*.

    I am not understanding the relevance of your mentioning working with refugees, did I miss something?

    An overwhelmingly white environment, no matter how *progressive* is rarely a “safe space” for WOC and many others that hold divergent opinions. For illustration, check out that Vogue cover thread that addresses a very similar issue.

    The term “jungle” and the phrase “it’s a jungle out there” is a part of the language of white domination. Yes, these and other terms are used by many people who are unconscious of this connection and have *no malicious intent*, but this does not erase the history or make the term any less linguistically violent to some. When someone refers to being “gypped”, they are not *trying to be racist* but it is still an ugly thing to say. In the case of AM’s book, the pairing of the title with the cover, the internal images, and the past behavior of the author, combine to suggest a narrative of allegiance to white supremacy.

    And for the record, when there is a power differential, less powerful people often hold their tongue in the face of offense/hostility in an effort to avoid further bullshit, as giving voice to marginalized perspectives rarely seems to do much good anyway.

  369. mistermark
    mistermark April 26, 2008 at 10:56 am |

    I’m sitting here crying because people whose shoes fucking precious Amanda aren’t worthy to lick have been driven off…

    It’s pretty obvious that at least some of the vitriol here isn’t a good-faith response to something Amanda Marcotte said or did, but is simply coming from people who loathe/are jealous of/would for some unknown reason like to humiliate Amanda Marcotte, for their own petty purposes. The “licking of shoes” type of commentary is indicative of that sort of attitude.

  370. Kristen
    Kristen April 26, 2008 at 10:59 am |

    Okay, I know this is from a while ago…I disengaged from the interwebs last night…but I just had to say this…

    What I meant is more… why bother to engage these questions at all? I get that it’s the right thing to do, but not everyone’s motivated by that. On a personal level — i.e., when I’m speaking to an actual human being, how do I ask someone to do the very hard work of confronting issues of privilege, particularly in light of discussions like this, where all that an uninitiated person might see is conflict?

    Are you fucking kidding me? Seriously?! How about not being a racist?!? Being a decent human being is not good enough? Do we now have to provide cookies to every asshat who decides *not* to kick puppies or look up womens’ skirts?

    No thanks. If you have to *bribe* a person to be decent to others…guess what…that’s not a decent person! ‘k?

  371. juju
    juju April 26, 2008 at 11:16 am |

    Are you fucking kidding me? Seriously?! How about not being a racist?!? Being a decent human being is not good enough? Do we now have to provide cookies to every asshat who decides *not* to kick puppies or look up womens’ skirts?

    No thanks. If you have to *bribe* a person to be decent to others…guess what…that’s not a decent person! ‘k?

    So true.

    Also note that this need to find incentive to change, this return on investment strategy, keeps the focus on the needs of the person already overly-privileged.

  372. Kali
    Kali April 26, 2008 at 11:17 am |

    Holly,

    A ‘logo’ is an icon/representation/symbol/snapshot of what the product/entity/blog represents or contains. It is the first impression that people recieve when they visit your blog. In fact I first came across Feministe many months ago but decided not to bookmark or visit regularly because of the logo. It seemed to me that it must represent ‘juvenile, blonde girls’ silly enough to be carrying a gun or laser or what-ever it is.

    Remember what everyone had to say about the blonde bimbo on Marcotte’s book cover – they did want that to represent a feminist. Similarly I would prefer a more abstract or representative, inclusive even grown-up logo for a blog/cause I would want to identify with.

  373. Kristin
    Kristin April 26, 2008 at 11:32 am |

    The term “jungle” and the phrase “it’s a jungle out there” is a part of the language of white domination. Yes, these and other terms are used by many people who are unconscious of this connection and have *no malicious intent*, but this does not erase the history or make the term any less linguistically violent to some. When someone refers to being “gypped”, they are not *trying to be racist* but it is still an ugly thing to say. In the case of AM’s book, the pairing of the title with the cover, the internal images, and the past behavior of the author, combine to suggest a narrative of allegiance to white supremacy.

    Well-stated. Thanks, Juju.

  374. Sally
    Sally April 26, 2008 at 11:40 am |

    I know that Rachel S. of Rachel’s Tavern once suggested that the little girl with the gun was racially exclusionary. So it has come up before. I don’t really see it, but I guess I’ve always seen the little girl with the gun as a sort of testament to Lauren, who is blond and who was a minor when she started the blog.

  375. a new low for the feminist blogosphere « show me your wits!

    [...] has come to the tidy conclusion of both Amanda and Seal Press royally and racistly fucking up via imperialist, racist “vintage” photos in a book that, like many have said (most [...]

  376. An Open Letter to the White Feminist Community: « Dear white feminists,

    [...] a woman who wanders in and says (and I’m seriously paraphrasing but this is the gist of it), “They didn’t do it on purpose. Y’all are overreacting. Crazy angry WOC.” And do commenters over there tell this woman to get a clue? NO. Instead, they attack Littlem, spin [...]

  377. Kali
    Kali April 26, 2008 at 11:52 am |

    I’ve always seen the little girl with the gun as a sort of testament to Lauren, who is blond and who was a minor when she started the blog.

    Now that makes sense. The ‘child’ is unambiguously a girl/ a tom-boy representation. Many of us were/are ‘tom-boys’ (archaic usage I know) but feminism should include all persuasions of women. I work with kids – girls don’t have to androgynous to succeed. That’s my (perhaps skewed) opinion.

  378. juju
    juju April 26, 2008 at 11:54 am |

    The term “jungle” and the phrase “it’s a jungle out there” is a part of the language of white domination. Yes, these and other terms are used by many people who are unconscious of this connection and have *no malicious intent*, but this does not erase the history or make the term any less linguistically violent to some. When someone refers to being “gypped”, they are not *trying to be racist* but it is still an ugly thing to say. In the case of AM’s book, the pairing of the title with the cover, the internal images, and the past behavior of the author, combine to suggest a narrative of allegiance to white supremacy.

    Well-stated. Thanks, Juju.

    I meant to say “part of the language of white domination” over the natural world and its its indigenous peoples. For what it’s worth.

  379. Kali
    Kali April 26, 2008 at 12:18 pm |

    I love the Racealicious logo: different (unlikely, therefore amusing and iconoclastic) skin colors and a faint whiff of the old, insulting ‘gollywog’ representation of blacks – an “en garde!” sensitising manouevre. I suggest asking a graphic artist to come up with ideas for a logo or change thereof.

    Keep up the good work in the community and on the internets Holly! I am glad I read your posts. You have helped to keeps the racist turrrruhristes at bay….

    Goodbye for now – will check in to Feministe from time to time.

  380. Latoya Peterson
    Latoya Peterson April 26, 2008 at 12:47 pm |

    Just as an off topic note –

    We get complaints on that logo as well from time to time. Apparently, the gummi bears don’t have enough representation in colors.

    No, I’m not joking.

  381. L-K
    L-K April 26, 2008 at 12:54 pm |

    We get complaints on that logo as well from time to time. Apparently, the gummi bears don’t have enough representation in colors.

    Are you kidding me??? Not enough representation in colors? Since when are there green people (besides those who display a greenish hue when they’re seasick and are about to blow chunks)?

    Well, I think it’s genius and yummy.

  382. Latoya Peterson
    Latoya Peterson April 26, 2008 at 1:05 pm |

    LOL – we do too. I quite like it, myself. Just wanted to point out that no image is without controversy.

  383. Latoya Peterson
    Latoya Peterson April 26, 2008 at 1:07 pm |

    let me amend that to specifically say “no logo image”. The images that we are specifically discussing in this thread really speak for themselves.

  384. L-K
    L-K April 26, 2008 at 1:15 pm |

    About the Feministe logo – I know, I know, more derailing. But, like Sally, I also thought that it’s “representative” of Lauren (again because of her age when she started and because of her trademark bangs). I also thought (think, I should say, I still believe the same) it was genius, for many humorous points: 1) that little girl must be damn strong to be holding a shotgun effortlessly with just one hand; 2) who the hell is she aiming at?; 3) she seems to be enjoying the situation; 4) and for the other reason that Holly mentioned about it getting attention from right-wing and MRA types.

  385. BeaTricks
    BeaTricks April 26, 2008 at 1:16 pm |

    I posted a response to some criticism I received from Ico regarding the Belledame/littlm misshap in the other thread. I also posted an apology to littlm.

  386. christine
    christine April 26, 2008 at 1:19 pm |

    a woman who wanders in and says (and I’m seriously paraphrasing but this is the gist of it), “They didn’t do it on purpose. Y’all are overreacting. Crazy angry WOC.” And do commenters over there tell this woman to get a clue? NO. Instead, they attack Littlem, spin

    Yes, you are seriously paraphrasing. Because the fact is, it was not done on purpose. So I’m not sure what the problem is with pointing out or making the statement that it wasn’t done on purpose. It’s just a fact. Never did I say anyone was overreacting. What I did say is that the hostility and sarcasm is not helping your cause. That’s all. And the reason, I believe (though I can’t speak for others) that people called out Littlem is because the post suggested that we knew each other and there was a possibility of harm, although I didn’t take it that way. We don’t know each other.

    To the person that commented on my phrase “my artist’s flaky brain”, the key word is MY. I was not generalizing about artists as a whole by any means. What I was saying is that when I get focused on a project like that, I have missed (as have others) very obvious and key details that could be problematic. I’m not saying it happens every time or even most of the time, but it does happen. And the idea that I have been politely and logically posting my view seems to be a huge problem.

    I say this as an outsider looking in- your cause is in some serious trouble if you’re unable to debate without hostility, sarcasm, profanity, and threats.

  387. Shayne
    Shayne April 26, 2008 at 1:24 pm |

    From reading a lot of these posts, I’m getting the message that Amanda is the definitive voice for feminism. And apparently the only one quite a few of you listen to. I never knew she was the only voice of feminism.

    Do not post reviews to Amazon unless you have read that book!!!! There is already enough of a problem with people posting reviews of books they never read. Since some of it apparently missed the current backlash going on at Amazon, I’ll tell you that it’s already caused enough of a flap. Thank you.

    I am noticing that many woc are feeling alienated by wonc who downplay the emotional reaction of woc. Before it gets much further out of hand, stop and take a look at what you are doing.

  388. Lauren
    Lauren April 26, 2008 at 1:37 pm |

    I don’t buy the continual repentance and seeing the error and leaving the post up because it really proves how truly sorry you are.

    I’ve seen Jill say several times at this point that she’s maintaining the thread specifically because of the discussion in the comments, and additionally she’s augmented it several times to further clarify her position.

    As for the masthead — I designed it many years ago when I was the lone blogger at Feministe and it only recently got updated when I did the WP upgrade earlier this year. It was not only the most popular masthead I’ve ever designed (except perhaps the Bitch PhD banner), but it’s effectively been the banner since this blog reached maturity. [When I first started blogging I was fond of old pin-ups in the Gil Elvgren style, but those images were abandoned for two reasons, 1) they definitely aren't representative of a body image message one wants to endorse on a feminist blog, and 2) copyright.] The one thing that the current banner maintains that I still like is its cheekiness — and to assuage my ego, yes, I felt back when I designed it that it was sort of representative of me, a tomboyish kid who was often accused of recklessness. :)

    Mind you, I started blogging when I was about eighteen and I’m 27 now. (Here’s my new blog, FWIW.) The masthead has become something of a brand and as far as I know none of the current contributors are interested in changing it, and therefore neither am I.

  389. L-K
    L-K April 26, 2008 at 1:44 pm |

    I’m getting the message that Amanda is the definitive voice for feminism. And apparently the only one quite a few of you listen to. I never knew she was the only voice of feminism.

    Really? I haven’t gotten that impressive from the regular readership on this blog, although I see a quite a few number of new “faces” who are defending Amanda or seem oblivious to what privilege or appropriation means. People were quick to voice their disagreement over Jill’s decision to post about Amanda’s book, and both Holly and Jill responded and apologized respectively, wayyy better than Amanda and Seal Press have, and have addressed the issues better than other mainstream feminist blogs. The way that the Feministe authors have responded throughout the initial events and the current ones is one of the reasons why Feministe continues to be the only mainstream feminist blog on my (although small) blogroll.

    And Amanda has not, does not, will not speak for me, nor my feminism. Beyond these issues that we are presently discussing, I just can’t connect with a few things. I’m pretty sure that the majority of Feministe’s readership will say the same.

  390. Radfem
    Radfem April 26, 2008 at 2:05 pm |

    There’s been a lot of interesting comments here.

    I would argue that it makes the White feminists caring about only White feminists less of a stereotype rather than fitting into one, but I agree with portions of this quote.

    I saw the pictures because I look at pictures before text by habit, I saw them b/c racist and sexist imagery is part of many allegations of racism and sexism. And I saw them because of the tremendous work done by women of color bloggers such as bfp and BA who’ve spent a lot of time addressing these very same issues. And I’d be pissed off that this is the one issue that got the most focus and the quickest response by Marcotte and Seal Press. That’s putting salt in wounds too.

    I was one person who said she was offended by the images and I meant it, but you know what? What offends me as much is how much response these pictures have received from those who could actually do something to change them compared to other issues that had been raised, raised and reraised, including the appropriation issue. It’s all part of a pattern of practice and you can’t apologize or make atonement for just part of that in my opinion. This pattern is part and parcel of other issues being discussed here and elsewhere as well including the discussions about the NYPD trial verdicts.

    I don’t like how Seal Press treated BA (who’s now offline) and then essentially justified it by saying that books by women of color aren’t commercially viable and I view her treatment by a representative to be offensive too. And the reasoning behind how she was treated is exactly the same as the reasoning for putting those pictures in Marcotte’s book. Like women have said, and said and said again, it’s a continuum. Then there’s the line about books by women of color not being commercially viable.

    Which is ironic because the one book by them that I have read was Colonize This!. I don’t know much about its history since then but what I’m hearing is that it’s not been a progressive one.

    It reminds me of the patriarchy as the focus of feminism and if it’s gone, then everything goes with it including racism. But Seal Press was I assume set up to give women as a gender more opportunities and more of a voice in the sexist world of nonfiction publication. However, it’s done that for White women and has not only shut out women of color but it’s producing works which are racist and demeaning or include racist and demeaning imagery. This adds to my serious doubts that White feminists are truly interested in dismantling the patriarchy. Something definitely needs dismantling but I have serious doubts too about the definition of patriarchy because it’s seen as a focal point but it leaves a lot of people out including a lot of women.

    Seal Press perhaps thought it would subvert sexism in publishing by setting up shop as a company welcoming to women. The pictures were intended in Marcotte’s book to subvert sexist stereotypes. Yet, both Seal Press and Marcotte’s book threw women of color under the bridge by the decisions made involving the company and the book’s pictures. Because when it comes to fighting one idea of what sexism is, it’s perfectly fine to use racist tools.

    So what’s going to be done about the underlying issues of which the pictures were merely the latest symptom? What about that?

    And of the Sean Bell situation which is as some people have said, related to this one, what of the larger picture there? What of feminism in addressing these issues? How does imagery like in Marcotte’s book relate to the treatment of Black men and Black women by police even in their own communities?

    The bloggers who brought many of these issues to light are no longer online, and don’t even feel like they can blog anymore. That’s the real tragedy here, in my opinion.

  391. Charity
    Charity April 26, 2008 at 2:06 pm |

    I’m getting the message that Amanda is the definitive voice for feminism. And apparently the only one quite a few of you listen to. I never knew she was the only voice of feminism.

    You know, it’s interesting…I’m not sure how I would describe Amanda’s writing in its own right, but having read Pandagon for a while and having seen the “regular” crowd there now (i.e., the readership / regular commenters), I have concluded her writing currently appeals most to white liberals or so-called “progressives”, and the majority of commenters seem to identify as male. (On the one hand, I want to think, great! Male allies to the feminist community, isn’t it great that Amanda knows how to reach them…and on the other hand, I think, WTF? And I can tell by their comments they are unfamiliar with, if not blatantly indifferent to, feminist theory and social justice.) I would currently classify it as a political blog, or even a liberal blog, but not a feminist blog. There’s too much kitsch and too much mean-spiritedness and too much flippant and/or brittle treatment of issues that call for more nuanced, self-reflexive, and contextualized commentary.

    So, all that to say, I don’t consider Amanda a major feminist player, let alone the definitive voice for feminism. (And there are multiple feminisms, as has been covered elsewhere.)

    I can’t speak for those who have decided to disown the feminist label in part because of Amanda’s actions / her supporters’ actions (or non-actions) and/or the larger injustices those actions and non-actions are embedded in and representative of, but I will say that I find it completely understandable. If we allow or are complicit in the wrong people representing feminism (and we always have been, but it seems to be worsening with the Internet and the broader access to a few loud, self-absorbed, superficial voices), the term DOES take on a different meaning and a different face than it should…and I can identify with not wanting to be associated with that term.

    I really liked a comment I saw in one of these threads about wanting AM and Seal Press to get their racism the hell out of our feminisms…I’ll try to find it because I want to give credit where it’s due.

  392. Charity
    Charity April 26, 2008 at 2:15 pm |

    Addendum to my comment – it was lavendertook who made the comment I liked, above at 171. Presciently, she also addresses BlackAmazon’s lack of safe space at her own blog.

  393. Astraea
    Astraea April 26, 2008 at 2:16 pm |

    Charity, FWIW that’s my understanding of Pandagon as well, and I’ve often suspected that she tolerates and encourages controversy and anti-feminist trolls because it helps bring defenders and gains attention and hits for Pandagon. That’s been my impression, anyway.

  394. Kali
    Kali April 26, 2008 at 2:32 pm |

    Hi, Shayne,
    Do you work for Amazon? Are you suggesting we boycott Amazon?

  395. christine
    christine April 26, 2008 at 2:40 pm |

    Actually yes — the cause is in serious trouble. People are frustrated and fed-up enough at decades worth of this kind of stuff that they are willing to go to hostility, sarcasm, and profanity. (I’m not sure why threats are coming up again.) That is exactly what I think whenever I see real anger around this stuff — this cause is in trouble. But the origin of that trouble is not people getting mad — it’s the reason those people are mad.

    Being frustrated and fed up is understandable. You say people are “willing” to use hostility, etc.- willing, or unable to be more articulate and to debate using logic instead of personal attacks and bullying?

    The origin of any cause being in trouble is not the situation in which the cause came into being. That doesn’t make any sense- people have united BECAUSE of decades of “this kind of stuff”. The origin of the cause being in trouble is when people fighting for that cause are unable to use their emotional reaction in a productive way. In fact, I think it would be decidedly ANTI-feminist to let emotions rule interactions. Why not just confirm the stereotype of a bunch of overly emotional women that don’t support each other?

    And threats were brought up again because even if I didn’t feel personally threatened, obviously others saw that in the post. Upon review, I did see that element. Denying that it was a hostile, somewhat ominous-sounding post would be a bit blind.

  396. kiki
    kiki April 26, 2008 at 2:41 pm |

    What I meant is more… why bother to engage these questions at all?

    Sheesh , what a privilege it would be to get to decide whether or not to engage these questions.

    I say this as an outsider looking in- your cause is in some serious trouble if you’re unable to debate without hostility, sarcasm, profanity, and threats.

    You mean if we don’t follow your standards for dialog? You don’t get to set the standards and if you do not like the tenor or style of the discourse you’re free to bow out. What you are not free to do is try to manage or shut down the discourse by claiming that yours is the only, superior or right way to debate. Certainly, we are able to debate without the things mentioned but being adults we choose to include profanity, or sarcasm as necessary. I understand that you’d like to set the tone since your privilege tells you that yours is the default setting to which we should all conform but that simply is not true. If our communication is reliant on my accepting your norms then that presents a problem as I am not willing to tone down or change my expression so you find it less threatening. If that leads to incommensurable discourse then that is sad indeed. The other option is that you accept that we have differing styles and that there is room on the net (and in the world) for more than just your preferred method.

  397. Kali
    Kali April 26, 2008 at 3:01 pm |

    The fact that this was not malicious but being treated as though it was is disturbing. If this is the reaction to an oversight and unintentional error, I’d hate to see what happens if someone is actually trying to piss you all off.

    So, Christine – are you now trying out the experiment – I mean actually trying to piss everyone off?

    btw ‘my flaky brain’ should be substituted for ‘my artist’s flaky brain’ if you don’t want to suggest that flaky brains go with the territory of being an artist.

  398. Astraea
    Astraea April 26, 2008 at 3:06 pm |

    In fact, I think it would be decidedly ANTI-feminist to let emotions rule interactions.

    It’s a privileged position to be able to sit back/above a discussion in a way that is detached and unemotional.

    Why not just confirm the stereotype of a bunch of overly emotional women that don’t support each other?

    It IS anti-feminist to try to silence other women with threats that they’ll fit misogynist stereotypes.

  399. belledame222
    belledame222 April 26, 2008 at 3:09 pm |

    Denying that it was a hostile, somewhat ominous-sounding post would be a bit blind.

    Imagine that, someone not seeing what’s blindingly obvious and upsetting to you. “Huh.”

    and here you are, or “someone” is, automatically leaping to the worst possible interpretation of someone’s motives. Huh.

    Hey, we’re all doing the best we can here, Christine. Where’s that slack y’all keep asking for for the poor put upon publishers, AM, etc. etc.?

  400. belledame222
    belledame222 April 26, 2008 at 3:10 pm |

    The bloggers who brought many of these issues to light are no longer online, and don’t even feel like they can blog anymore. That’s the real tragedy here, in my opinion.

    Amen.

  401. Oh
    Oh April 26, 2008 at 3:11 pm |

    Christine: no matter how uninvested some people are in these discussions, no matter how much some people throw themselves into the fray and then put it all behind them and go back to their normal lives where they don’t have to think about any of these issues–there are other people who are not looking for a debate. They aren’t looking for some formal, academic discourse in which opposing points of view–no matter how ignorant some of them may be–are given equal weight, and participants try to score points off each other while sticking to their “side,” and then a clear winner emerges.

    Most people bring up these problematic issues, even though they know they’re going to get shit from people who don’t want to hear about the problems, because those problems are hurting them and people they care about. When someone is causing others pain, it is profoundly anti-feminist as well as anti-humanist to demand that they not bring up the pain and hurt. The reason these issues are so important is because of the direct impact they have on people, and that impact includes emotional components. If you just want to talk about dry logic, you should stop participating in discussions about issues that have to do with people.

  402. belledame222
    belledame222 April 26, 2008 at 3:14 pm |

    I say this as an outsider looking in- your cause is in some serious trouble if you’re unable to debate without hostility, sarcasm, profanity, and threats.

    Thanks for stopping by and sharing! We Value Your Opinion.

  403. laurab
    laurab April 26, 2008 at 3:17 pm |

    Are you fucking kidding me? Seriously?! How about not being a racist?!? Being a decent human being is not good enough? Do we now have to provide cookies to every asshat who decides *not* to kick puppies or look up womens’ skirts?

    No thanks. If you have to *bribe* a person to be decent to others…guess what…that’s not a decent person! ‘k?

    Not everyone is a decent person. Unfortunately, I still have to live on the same planet as those people, as it turns out. Alas.

    But hey, if no one really has any ideas on how to live in the real world, that’s cool.

  404. Astraea
    Astraea April 26, 2008 at 3:17 pm |

    Thanks for stopping by and sharing! We Value Your Opinion.

    *and Astraea laughs till she cries*

  405. belledame222
    belledame222 April 26, 2008 at 3:17 pm |

    And really: are you planning to hammer the “threats” crap until it’s as much of a (fake) meme as “oh oh oh, everyone was saying Amanda PLAGIARIZED, because they want to bring her down”? Are you here from Fox News?

  406. zofia
    zofia April 26, 2008 at 3:27 pm |

    Christine already self identified as a flake, why continue to engage her? She’s going to squeeze every bit of drama out of her “threat” situation. She’s clutching her pearls and holding a hankie to her nose as we speak.

  407. christine
    christine April 26, 2008 at 3:33 pm |

    Again, I said nothing about emotional reaction or emotional components per se being bad. I said it’s how it manifests that makes all the difference. There are ways to debate and create change without personal attacks. Life is not black and white- it isn’t either dry logic or unabashed emotion. There are grey areas and levels of all things. There are assumptions made here that because my responses have been based in logic that I am detached or unemotional about the subject at hand. That is incorrect. I am very emotionally invested. I make the choice not to react in a way that’s counterproductive not only to myself, but to those I might wish to enlighten.

    I never said don’t bring up the pain and hurt. I said that it can be done in a better way. The poster who claimed to be present at my presentations, etc., brought things to a personal level that was not only unnecessary, but blatantly incorrect.

    And with that, I will respectfully withdraw from your discussion.

  408. Oh
    Oh April 26, 2008 at 3:37 pm |

    regarding the title and jungle imagery in general: I thought the new cover was problematic as soon as it was posted as a replacement for the blatantly racist cover of a big black gorilla carrying off a blonde in a white dress, for the colonialist reasons already discussed–it looks like white people conquering supposedly savage land, and the title goes along with the colonialist mindset.

    I didn’t say anything about it at the time because the discussion at Pandagon concerning the withdrawn book cover (where I participated under another name) had already been so frustrating, with ignorant people insisting and insisting that their opinions be valued as much as more informed voices. (I was honestly surprised that people wouldn’t immediately recognize the original cover as prime racist imagery–it’s a classic. Not seeing that really only has to do with a high level of ignorance.) And Marcotte backed that stance, giving equal weight to ignorance and calling it neutral, as well as seemed to believe that a white person can reclaim racist imagery (without even attempting to address racism to boot). She finally did get the cover changed, but nothing she said made it seem as if she had learned anything about why using it would be problematic, not beyond, “Oh, using this is going to make some people get on my case.” And then the comments for the new cover just immediately started mocking the idea that people might find it offensive, the same way all those silly, reactionary people found the blatantly racist cover offensive, and I didn’t see Marcotte do anything to discourage such comments.

    So…yeah, I really didn’t see any point in bringing up reasons why the new cover and remaining title was problematic. I had no reason to believe Marcotte would listen to it. As Nanette wrote in a post when this was going down, when you bother to point out examples of racism or other problems someone’s perpetuated, it’s because you’ve extended them the benefit of the doubt. You’re starting with the assumption that the person you’re talking to cares about not doing that anymore, and I couldn’t assume Marcotte cared about that.

    And, at least, to me, the new one didn’t represent the same kind of kick in the gut a blatantly racist image can–it just made me think, “Well, this book isn’t for me,” and I already knew that. The fact that the cover was the way it was, though, after the way the discussion of the first cover went down, really kept me from being surprised that the book contained blatantly racist imagery.

  409. Illiterati
    Illiterati April 26, 2008 at 3:45 pm |

    “Dry logic,” indeed. We could use a little of that here, it seems. This thread is so overwrought that I’m having a hard time finding the point of it all. Frankly, we could replace most of the comments on this thread with, “You’re wrong (and a racist/misogynist/white colonial imperialist), and I’m right, and here are all the buzzwords to prove it. Plus, you suck and are less of a woman/human than I am.” So vicious. If women of all colors can’t band together and discuss issues with a little dry logic on a mere blog, then how can we advance our position in society at large? Dry logic and a calm demeanor helps the rest of the world listen to us. In a battle, allowing one’s emotions to cloud one’s vision will only mean defeat. This thread is like a shouty talking-heads show on Fox News.

  410. belledame222
    belledame222 April 26, 2008 at 3:51 pm |

    but to those I might wish to enlighten.

    oh Mary.

  411. belledame222
    belledame222 April 26, 2008 at 4:01 pm |

    420: You know, I’m sorry I contributed to the snark in that subthread, because I’ve respected what you’ve had to say, Laurab.

    I guess for me, it’s both: yes, if you have to bribe or *koff* -threaten- someone with consequences they don’t want (i.e. Cuttin Up Hookers dude) in order to make them behave in a more socialized/”decent” manner, then, no, that’s quite right, they aren’t “decent.” You can’t appeal to empathy that isn’t there. The question is: how badly do you need this person to do or stop doing whatever it is? Because, honestly, I’m of the belief that 1) know the person you’re dealing with, as best you can 2) if strict behaviorism is the only thing that will get X to adhere to the social contract, and if X doesn’t adhere to the social contract then a lot more people are going to get hurt and keep getting hurt, then you go ahead and employ behaviorism. It doesn’t mean that you can’t appeal to peoples’ better natures when they HAVE any, i.e. when they demonstrate that they do; you don’t have to give up on human nature or all of group Y in a fit of despair and rage. It just means, again, that one size doesn’t fit all, and it’s best to know who you’re dealing with. And no, it’s not always gonna be obvious, and yes, it’s at least somewhat subjective; it’s an art, not a science.

    shrug.

  412. Astraea
    Astraea April 26, 2008 at 4:03 pm |

    I will respectfully withdraw from your discussion.

    Please mean it.

  413. Astraea
    Astraea April 26, 2008 at 4:06 pm |
  414. juju
    juju April 26, 2008 at 4:11 pm |

    And, at least, to me, the new one didn’t represent the same kind of kick in the gut a blatantly racist image can–it just made me think, “Well, this book isn’t for me,” and I already knew that. The fact that the cover was the way it was, though, after the way the discussion of the first cover went down, really kept me from being surprised that the book contained blatantly racist imagery.

    Oh,

    I thought the same thing when I saw that cover; it very directly communicated “this book isn’t for me”.

    Thanks for providing some history of the cover issues and AM’s reactions. Framed in this way, the continued use of the “jungle” theme and “retro” imagery, after some voiced opposition, seems like an act of aggression.

  415. Charity
    Charity April 26, 2008 at 4:25 pm |

    If women of all colors can’t band together and discuss issues with a little dry logic on a mere blog, then how can we advance our position in society at large? Dry logic and a calm demeanor helps the rest of the world listen to us. In a battle, allowing one’s emotions to cloud one’s vision will only mean defeat.

    *waits to stop laughing*

    *can’t stop*

    *waits again*

    Oh, okay. Because, analogously, men of *all colors* have totally banded together with no fighting of any kind, which is totally how they have maintained the dominant position in society, right? All that agreement, and all that tolerance, and all that fraternity, and politeness and civility when they find themselves in disagreement. And the point you are making here is that women (or subsets of women) don’t deserve to be listened to unless our tone is sufficiently appropriate – as determined by *the world* (but your previous line suggests that this means *men*), or as determined by *you*. Also, which is it (make up your mind) – are we supposed to “band” together and get along, or refrain from experiencing emotions because we’re in “battle”?

    Plus, you suck and are less of a woman/human than I am.”

    I haven’t seen anyone saying anything even remotely resembling that.

    I’d say you’re not fooling anyone with your “we,” but one never knows these days whether a woman would also be capable of such woman-loathing as you’ve displayed here.

  416. belledame222
    belledame222 April 26, 2008 at 4:26 pm |

    per the logo: well, I hadn’t really given it much thought before, but it does also make sense to change it in reflection of the change in management: the little tomboy with the gun -does- feel like Lauren, and I like that about it/her, but now you have a diverse group blog, so…yeah, food for thought.

  417. Charity
    Charity April 26, 2008 at 4:27 pm |

    @ Astraea in #411, I agree!

  418. Margalis
    Margalis April 26, 2008 at 4:34 pm |

    I don’t want to put words in Laurab’s mouth but she appears to be asking why people would become feminists and how the feminist message can be spread.

    It’s a pragmatic question that hasn’t been answered.

    “People should become feminists because that’s the right thing to do” isn’t a good answer, and neither is “people should listen the feminist message because it’s right.”

    I’m not big into “framing” theory but one of the interesting ideas is to convince people they already agree with you. “You must be a liberal, after all you believe that everyone has a right to health care.”

    I’ve seen so many litmus tests in the past few weeks. If you didn’t look at the Vogue cover and see a gorilla you’re not a feminist. The price for screwing up is incredibly high. And anyone who doesn’t agree or hasn’t come around is berated for “not getting it.”

    The ACLU has been doing work with immigrants for quite some time but I’ve seen them dismissed as “those lawyers at the ACLU.” That’s doing the right-wing’s work for them (notice they hate the ACLU?) and encouraging the ACLU not to work with immigrants because they are somehow inauthentic.

    Obviously this is going to come out as “watch your tone” but realistically how are you convincing people to join up? At some point I think you have to recognize that “don’t be stupid” isn’t working too well.

    You look at the Republican coalition, it’s made up of three groups that are almost entirely unrelated. Then you look here and people who agree on 95% of things can’t get along.

    I think it’s very fair to ask “how are you getting people to join your cause?” and the fact that there aren’t any real answers is discouraging. It’s possible for someone to have a “better nature” but need convincing or simply not have come around yet. It’s self-defeating to assume that the only people with empathy or better natures are the people who already agree with you.

  419. Illiterati
    Illiterati April 26, 2008 at 4:55 pm |

    I’d say you’re not fooling anyone with your “we,” but one never knows these days whether a woman would also be capable of such woman-loathing as you’ve displayed here.

    You’re paranoid slip is showing, but I did in fact score rather manly on the Bem Gender Scale despite my ovaries. That said, I wouldn’t rule out a few male infiltrators, it’s just that I’m not one of them. Yet.

  420. Kristen
    Kristen April 26, 2008 at 5:12 pm |

    Laurab,

    I’m sorry for being so snarky. Its not your fault the world sucks and I shouldn’t have been rude to you.

    I’m just so sick and tired of having to as Margalis puts it “frame” the issues for people. I’m tired of having to *ask* for empathy. I’m tired of commenters who think we should all just put on our “asbestos underwear” and suck it up. I’m tired of people ridiculing the “fee fees” of people like bfp and BA and ignoring the systematic infliction of emotional harm that is being done. I want for just one second, to have people stop and think about how they would feel and react in a similar situation…not as a person of privilege with a zillion other options available…but as a marginalized person with fewer or no options.

    This isn’t your fault and it wasn’t your question. I just reacted badly. My apologies.

  421. Charity
    Charity April 26, 2008 at 5:18 pm |

    Actually, kiki said it far better than I did at #414.

  422. kiki
    kiki April 26, 2008 at 6:11 pm |

    …unable to be more articulate …

    This was a real gem. A racist standard.

    …but to those I might wish to enlighten…

    Well bless your heart. You’re willing to come and enlighten us dumb folk and what do we do? We talk outta turn and use coarse words. Heavens.

    Thanks charity…obviously she felt we were beneath her level of discourse. *snort*

  423. Shayne
    Shayne April 26, 2008 at 6:17 pm |

    Kali,

    Umm, no. I don’t advocate boycotting Amazon, and I don’t work for them. I just ask that if people were going to review Amanda’s book on Amazon, please read it first. That was my only point.

  424. Kali
    Kali April 26, 2008 at 6:46 pm |

    Do not post reviews to Amazon unless you have read that book!!!! There is already enough of a problem with people posting reviews of books they never read. Since some of it apparently missed the current backlash going on at Amazon, I’ll tell you that it’s already caused enough of a flap. Thank you.

    Shayne,
    How then do you know about the ‘flap’ that has been caused at Amazon?

    We are not commenting on the text but on the illustrations that are part of the book and we have SEEN those. Since when does Amazon decide who is entitled to review books on the website?
    That could be construed as discrimination.

  425. Lauren
    Lauren April 26, 2008 at 6:56 pm |

    That could be construed as discrimination.

    Huh?

  426. Melissa Mad.
    Melissa Mad. April 26, 2008 at 7:19 pm |

    First: Holly, Thank you so much for this post.

    I’ve been reading but haven’t commented on this whole controversy (I’m not sure that controversy is the right word. it is about a lot more than a disagreement). I don’t have a lot of time to spend on the internet and this and brownfemipower were the two feminist blogs I read regularly.

    I’m not sure I can write eloquently about this, but this situation really demonstrates to me how hard it is to form movements based on solidarity among people facing repression or discrimination when society’s structures of repression and discrimination bleed into the movements. I’m not a WoC, but as a queer feminist I have felt marginalized in both among other lgbtq activists and with leftwing progressives.

    The thing about feminist movements and lgbtq movement is that so many diverse people are women or lgbtq that it is not surprising that members of these movements marginalize people at the same time they claim to work for social justice.

    The question is what this means for the struggle.

    Do we reject the movements because of the hierarchies they reproduce or do we work within them to try to make things better. I don’t think this is an either/or question, I just can’t think of a better way to frame it.

    When I’ve been a part of lgbtq rights groups, some people’s voices are always heard more than others. I have watched white men monopolize discussion, but sex and race are not the only markers of privilege. I have been ostracized and patronized by gay women for looking like or acting like a straight girl because my feminine gender presentation, and it is much worse for most transgender or gender queer people than it is for feminine lesbians in the movement.

    Race, Sex, Gender, Sexuality, Class, Money. So many things divide us and make some of us more powerful than others. How do we–can we?–bridge those divides and struggle in solidarity?
    At this point, I just don’t know.

  427. Kali
    Kali April 26, 2008 at 7:21 pm |

    This off topic and I don’t want to elaborate.
    I would like to know who Shayne is representing here.

  428. Shayne
    Shayne April 26, 2008 at 7:36 pm |

    Shayne represents herself and always has.

  429. Shayne
    Shayne April 26, 2008 at 7:41 pm |

    Kali,

    I know about the flap because I am an author. Amazon doesn’t deter who can post reviews as far as I know. I simply requested that people read Amanda’s work before posting a review of her work. That’s all. No conspiracy.

  430. Kali
    Kali April 26, 2008 at 7:46 pm |

    Shayne,
    It still doesn’t explain how you know there has been “enough of a flap”.
    Amazon doesn’t not personally inform all of its authors about any ‘flaps’ that are going on.

    Ther are hundreds of Amzon reviews stating that the customer could not get past the first page, first three pages or whatever.\

    Being an author does not give you the authority to tell us when and whether we may post on Amazon.

  431. laurab
    laurab April 26, 2008 at 7:59 pm |

    Laurab,

    I’m sorry for being so snarky. Its not your fault the world sucks and I shouldn’t have been rude to you….This isn’t your fault and it wasn’t your question. I just reacted badly. My apologies.

    Thanks, I appreciate that.

    420: You know, I’m sorry I contributed to the snark in that subthread, because I’ve respected what you’ve had to say, Laurab.

    I guess for me, it’s both: yes, if you have to bribe or *koff* -threaten- someone with consequences they don’t want (i.e. Cuttin Up Hookers dude) in order to make them behave in a more socialized/”decent” manner, then, no, that’s quite right, they aren’t “decent.” You can’t appeal to empathy that isn’t there. The question is: how badly do you need this person to do or stop doing whatever it is? Because, honestly, I’m of the belief that 1) know the person you’re dealing with, as best you can 2) if strict behaviorism is the only thing that will get X to adhere to the social contract, and if X doesn’t adhere to the social contract then a lot more people are going to get hurt and keep getting hurt, then you go ahead and employ behaviorism. It doesn’t mean that you can’t appeal to peoples’ better natures when they HAVE any, i.e. when they demonstrate that they do; you don’t have to give up on human nature or all of group Y in a fit of despair and rage. It just means, again, that one size doesn’t fit all, and it’s best to know who you’re dealing with. And no, it’s not always gonna be obvious, and yes, it’s at least somewhat subjective; it’s an art, not a science.

    shrug

    This is exactly what I’m getting at. I was thinking about it more after I posted that comment, and I thought, “well hey, what if I were an intern or a low-level staffer at a book publisher/magazine/ad agency/similar visual creative enterprise, and I saw something like these illustrations, and I thought, hey, there’s something not right about this? What would I do?” And that’s kind of a complicated question (because everything else is so simple, right? =D), because there’s a moral answer (you stand up for what you believe in) and there’s a pragmatic answer (you do what you think is most likely to result in a positive change). But sometimes those aren’t the same thing, right? So my moral side might be saying, “self, stand up and declare that this is absurd and it must be shitcanned immediately!” But my pragmatic side is saying, “I’m dealing with a group of people who aren’t totally conversant or comfortable with this stuff, and to them this is a minor concern, so how do I make them take me seriously?” Because folks on feminist blogs can debate this stuff until the cows come home (as we’ve seen), but it’s never going to be a mainstream concern. And that’s fine. What should be a mainstream concern is getting people to at least pretend to be decent human beings. (disclaimer, since I think some people are misreading me: yes, I would prefer that everyone were genuinely a decent human being. I’m just not very optimistic about the chances, so on to plan b.) If that takes tricking them into acting like decent human beings, you know what? I’m kind of okay with that. But how do we do that?

    I don’t want to put words in Laurab’s mouth but she appears to be asking why people would become feminists and how the feminist message can be spread.

    It’s a pragmatic question that hasn’t been answered.

    Yes, that was my basic question that I posed last night (after several shots of tequila). And in general, what motivates people to do all the examination of privilege in light of such a, um, explosion such as we’ve seen over the past few days. The prospect of being eviscerated all over the internets is not a great motivator. (I’m not saying the disagreement was unwarranted. I’m commenting on how it would look to an outsider. That’s all.)

    I’ve been thinking about this a lot because I do work in publishing, and though my coworkers are generally well educated, progressive, curious, well read, smart people — well, sometimes there’s a clear… generational difference? And I have heard people speak up with concerns to the effect of, “hey, this illustration/group of illustrations/whatever isn’t representative, it’s all white dudes,” which gives me some hope. But I really am trying to figure out what I would have done if I had been at Seal or the design firm or in some capacity to see the book pre-pub, and I’m not sure. I want to be clear here: it’s not that I’m unsure whether or not I would have said or done something. (I’m, um, not terribly subtle in my professional capacity.) What I’m not sure of is what I could say or do to have the greatest possibility of a positive outcome.

    Does this all make sense? As I’ve been writing it, I’ve realized there are actually two questions here:
    -how do you motivate someone who’s “on the cusp” to engage with these issues, when engaging with these issues is intimidating and, if they’ve witnessed something like this blowup, scary? (Here I am picturing my 8-year-old self on the edge of the pool, the first warm weekend in late spring, when the air is warm but the water is cold.)
    -for people who are unwilling (for whatever reason, including that they are assholes) or unable (because their primary academic or “big thought” energies are concentrated elsewhere) to engage with these issues on a huge-time-commitment basis, how do we get them (trick them? entice them?) to behave as though this stuff matters, because, you know, it does? (Here I am picturing my extremely fierce mother with a cattle prod, though I fully admit that that is probably not the solution.)

  432. Shayne
    Shayne April 26, 2008 at 8:02 pm |

    I’m not quite sure where in my post you see me telling people whether they can or can’t post on Amazon. I know I’m not using my author status to tell anybody anything. My author status isn’t that high.

    Though perhaps I didn’t make it plain in my initial post that I was requesting people to actually read the work before reviewing.

    And I get the feeling we are talking about different flaps since I am referring to the DAM problem. That is all over the Amazon forum so there’s no Amazon informing anybody about this flap. It has to partly to do with people who haven’t read a work, posting reviews. When someone advocated in a couple of posts to go over to Amazon and post a review of Amanda’s work, I simply thought it should be added that a person should read the work.

  433. Kali
    Kali April 26, 2008 at 8:17 pm |

    Shayne,
    You have not been reading the posts here or you would know that most people have not read the book because they don’t want to buy a book with racist illustratiions.

    This why someone went into a bookstore and photographed the illustrations and then posted them for us to see and judge for ourselves.

    I ordered the book on Amazon yesterday to test whether the firs printing had ‘sold out’ and they have already shipped it to me! So there must be no lack of copies, no ‘ack orders’.

    I have been trying to get people to post reviews on Amazon but there have been only a few responses. The ‘flap’ proves that this sort of protest is effective.

    I have no personal animosity towards Marcotte but feel very strongly about racism . I know that an effective protest now ( as far as Seal is concerned a finacially hurtful one) will improve the atmosphere for all poc,. Nothing says “wake-up-call” like lost revenue.

  434. Shayne
    Shayne April 26, 2008 at 8:17 pm |

    Kali, however I do apologize for not being clearer in my original post as to exactly what I meant. I can definitely promise you I am not employed by Amazon, I don’t advocate either boycotting or not boycotting them either.

  435. Shayne
    Shayne April 26, 2008 at 8:21 pm |

    Kali,

    I can fully understand others posting reviews on Amazon speaking to the atrocious imagery used in the book, just not the text itself unless one had read it. I did think that some were going to buy it because the images have been removed for the book. Or was I wrong about that?

  436. A.
    A. April 26, 2008 at 8:27 pm |

    *watches as feminism falls apart*

    *shakes head and eats popcorn*

  437. Kali
    Kali April 26, 2008 at 8:27 pm |

    Do not post reviews to Amazon unless you have read that book!!!!

    There is already enough of a problem with people posting reviews of books they never read. Since some of it apparently missed the current backlash going on at Amazon, I’ll tell you that it’s already caused enough of a flap. Thank you.

    Here is what you actually said. Sounded intimidating to me – but apology accepted.

  438. Apologizing « A Secret Chord
    Apologizing « A Secret Chord April 26, 2008 at 8:31 pm |

    [...] haven’t had the time to really be following the ever-multiplying posts on the subject of the incredibly racist imagery contained in Amanda Marcotte’s book. Holly and many others have addressed the core issue far [...]

  439. Kali
    Kali April 26, 2008 at 8:35 pm |

    Shayne,
    The images will only be removed in the next edition. Who knows when that will be?

    The fact that Amazon has already shipped my test-order means they have no problem with obtaining copies of the first printing.

    I tried to cancel the order soon after I had placed it as I was only testing. This is usually possible for a day or two after placing the order – but my account page showed within minutes that it was readied for shipping and I could not cancel it.

    It is NOT sold-out.

  440. Margalis
    Margalis April 26, 2008 at 8:36 pm |

    As an avid reader and dabbler in writing it does kind of pain me to see people rating a book they haven’t read, even if it’s for a “good cause.” At least leaf through a copy at a bookstore first?

    People are saying “the images have nothing to do with the text” but then again they haven’t read it, so how do they know exactly? It’s at least possible that someone who thought the images were racist would read the book and think “ok never mind” or “this does more good than harm.” Not likely but possible.

  441. Margalis
    Margalis April 26, 2008 at 8:41 pm |

    Hmm well I can’t edit and I took so long posting you resolved it. Never mind.

    Kali I imagine the book sold out to distributors. That’s not the same as distributors selling out. Just conjecture based on how other forms of retail work.

  442. Kali
    Kali April 26, 2008 at 8:51 pm |

    Margalis,

    it does kind of pain me to see people rating a book they haven’t read,

    I am not sure what you mean by that – I have never ever previously come across someone who had not physically seen a book they reviewed. This is a first for me. The people who posted negative reviews on Amazon spoke of the racist nature of the illustrations and we are doing it as a means of PROTEST and as a way of upping the ante for Seal.

    I am amazed that you would STILL be arguing that

    someone who thought the images were racist would read the book and think “ok never mind” or “this does more good than harm.”

    I know you have been reading and posting on this blog. You still don’t get it?

    What are you smoking?

    If your IQ is at least in the average range -I suggest you attend a Diversity training course like the Seal editors are doing,right away. It may or may not help – but its worth a try.

  443. Shayne
    Shayne April 26, 2008 at 9:00 pm |

    Margalis,

    Hence my idea of saying read before reviewing. Same thing does make me cringe.

    Kali,

    But in no way shape or form did I mean my words to be construed as telling anybody what to do. I looked back over my post and realized it might be taken that way. It wasn’t my intent. That’s never been my style, and I’m kicking myself for coming across that way. I’m the first one in a crowd that hates others telling anybody what to do.

    It was indeed the author in me cringing about ‘any kind of review without reading, I didn’t stop to think about reviewing only the images.

  444. kidlacan
    kidlacan April 26, 2008 at 9:03 pm |

    Kali:

    i would guess Margalis is saying that reviews not about book content but simply denouncing the book are

    a) likely to get written off by potential buyers as spam comments

    b) if remembered by people who’ve bought the book, likely to be retroactively remembered as spam comments

    lots of people try to boost or hurt book sales by spamming the review/rating sections. it doesn’t just happen at amazon, but i certainly have seen it done there. fake reviews, repeatedly-submitted reviews, joke reviews, reviews that have nothing to do with the book. i’ve looked through the review section there, and most of the negative reviews that have gone up criticising the illustrations were well-crafted and specific; the writers were up-front about not having read (or in some cases, having read) the book, but they were specifically writing about the illustrations.

    that’s totally valid, and a good way to let people know about the very real concerns with this book. giving a blanket negative review, or just writing OMG THIS BOOK SUCKS or something, is unlikely to have the desired effect; prospective buyers will just assume it’s spam. that’s not what i’ve seen happening in the review section of this book, but i have seen it before on amazon.

  445. Ico
    Ico April 26, 2008 at 9:11 pm |

    I don’t see any problem with a review that acknowledges that its focus is exclusively on the pictures.

    Also, FWIW, I actually *did* read through parts of the book (skimmed through most of the second half). What I read does not in the slightest change my perception of it and had little effect on my review of the book.

  446. Kali
    Kali April 26, 2008 at 9:12 pm |

    kidlacan
    I found that rather patronizing. I know more about Amazon and publishing than you would even begin to guess.

    It’s at least possible that someone who thought the images were racist would read the book and think “ok never mind” or “this does more good than harm.”

    Margalis isn’t talking about books in general – she is talking about this one in particular – and in a particularly inane way – about people incensed enough to stage a protest at one of the biggest booksellers in the world.

  447. kidlacan
    kidlacan April 26, 2008 at 9:31 pm |

    i don’t want to argue for Margalis, but i don’t think he/she meant to be “inane”. if someone encounters a review saying “this book had unacceptable racist content”, and they don’t realise that the pictures specifically are the thing being pointed to as racist (or don’t notice the pictures, or whatever, since people, including jill, have been saying that they hadn’t noticed the pictures), they’re going to wonder what the review was all about. which makes the review less effective.

    and if you know amazon — hell, if you know the internet, which i’m certain you do — you’ll know that people get incensed enough to stage protests all the damn time. mentioning in the negative review the thing which richly deserves the criticism, the racist imagery, makes the review effective. it’s not patronising to say that, i don’t think.

  448. Shayne
    Shayne April 26, 2008 at 9:31 pm |

    Ico,
    I don’t either. I went over to Amazon and saw people were focused on the images as the reason for their review.

    Kali,
    People are already incensed enough at Amazon to have been protesting for the last few weeks about their review policies. And Amazon’s treatment of one reviewer has been harsh. That was the initial flap that I was talking about, people manipulating the Amazon ratings and reviews.

  449. Kali
    Kali April 26, 2008 at 9:37 pm |

    Shayne
    Can you give us a link to where people are complaining about *negative* reviews on Amazon?

  450. Kali
    Kali April 26, 2008 at 9:48 pm |

    Kidlacan
    You don’t seem to know what inane means.

  451. Kali
    Kali April 26, 2008 at 9:51 pm |

    People are already incensed enough at Amazon to have been protesting for the last few weeks about their review policies. And Amazon’s treatment of one reviewer has been harsh. That was the initial flap that I was talking about, people manipulating the Amazon ratings and reviews.

    Shayne
    I am sure you don’t want to intimidate us again. So please provide a link to the above.

  452. Shayne
    Shayne April 26, 2008 at 9:58 pm |

    Kali,

    Would it be all right if I emailed you privately? I really don’t want to change the subject of the thread being about the images in Amanda’s book.

  453. kidlacan
    kidlacan April 26, 2008 at 10:00 pm |

    Kali:

    as far as i could tell, you weren’t actually paying attention to the argument Margalis made. it wasn’t inane.

    if you want to read up on the issues with negative reviews on amazon, a quick look through the fora onsite will bring it up for you; you can get there by clicking on Your Amazon, or (hopefully, if i did it right) through this link: http://forums.prosperotechnologies.com/am-custreview

  454. Kali
    Kali April 26, 2008 at 10:00 pm |

    No it wouldn’t. Please post the link.

    I am sure all the people who have posted reviews on Amazon on Amanda’s book will want to check this out for themselves.

  455. Kali
    Kali April 26, 2008 at 10:02 pm |

    Kidlacan
    There are no such ‘protests’ there. You are making this up.

  456. Shayne
    Shayne April 26, 2008 at 10:09 pm |

    Okay, here goes. But please don’t derail from the initial problem presented in this thread.

    http://dearauthor.com/wordpress/2008/04/17/update-on-amazon-situation-amazon-petition/
    http://dearauthor.com/wordpress/2008/04/18/summary-post-of-rebas-amazon-fight/

    You can check the romance forums of amazon for more on the problem. The original post that started it all is:

    http://www.amazon.com/review/R3QAMUQP2POZ2O/ref=cm_cd_pg_pg1?%5Fencoding=UTF8&cdPage=1

    It’s been a rather large mess on Amazon and through author and reader blogs.

  457. kidlacan
    kidlacan April 26, 2008 at 10:10 pm |

    there is a circulating petition, if by ‘there’ you meant ‘on the amazon forum’. there is also constant reviewer/author and reviewer/other reviewer drama. it’s the internet, so drama happens.

  458. Shayne
    Shayne April 26, 2008 at 10:13 pm |

    There is a lot information on the threads for contacting Amazon with your own protest. Just sayin’

  459. kidlacan
    kidlacan April 26, 2008 at 10:14 pm |

    (i should add, though, for clarity, that when i mentioned protests i did not mean the forum specifically. you had mentioned protests yourself, in the context of the negative review campaign/book boycott. most books with any amount of publicity tend to get hit with at least a few negative reviews, though, and whether those negative reviews are based on the content of the book or someone’s personal agenda varies wildly. i am not saying that the protest of the images in marcotte’s book are the result of a personal agenda, but issues of personal conflict can and do come up in amazon reviews, and people who have heard of the book but not of the problems surrounding it are not going to understand the context at all, and will probably assume it’s run-of-the-mill spamming unless some explanation is included in the negative review. which, as i said, is being done, at least in the reviews i have read.)

  460. Kali
    Kali April 26, 2008 at 10:20 pm |

    Shayne
    Fuuny how you want to avoid discussion now that I have called your bluff.

    Don’t tell me what to say or what I may or may not *derail*.

    There is nothing there of any relevance at all in any of the links to what we posted on Amazon.

    Neither you, nor Margalis nor Kidlacan had read any of the reviews when you posted or you wouldn’t have been talking about “OMG THIS BOOK SUCKS” and similar crap.

    You are friends of Amanda’s trying to manipulate the folks here.

    I hope that everyone who reads this posts a review on Amazon if they have not already done so.

  461. Sometimes listening ain’t easy « Radical Doula

    [...] listening ain’t easy There has been a lot of controversy lately in the feminist blog world. I haven’t commented on any of it (with the [...]

  462. Shayne
    Shayne April 26, 2008 at 10:27 pm |

    Kali,

    Funny how you know so much about a complete stranger and enjoy adding words where none were put. You asked me to post the link to what I was talking about, and I did.

    I’m not avoiding anything. I posted as you asked. What reviews didn’t I read? Do you mean the ones already on Amazon about Amanda’s book. I think I read them since I posted that they were indeed talking about the images.

    I didn’t say anything about any book sucking. Sorry, but I’ve never carried for Amanda since I always thought her group smacked more of telling women how they should be behave rather than allowing women to choose for themselves. Bone of contention for me.

  463. kidlacan
    kidlacan April 26, 2008 at 10:28 pm |

    Kali:

    i have said about eight times that i have read most of the negative reviews at amazon. i have said they are a constructive way of letting people know about the problems with the book. i was speaking to the concerns of people on the thread w/r/t negatively reviewing the book in an UNHELPFUL way. Margalis expressed concern about that (before reading the reviews, or before another post which addressed what was being said in the reviews; check comment 460) and you were dismissive, i thought unfairly.

    i’m not trying to manipulate anyone, and i’m not a friend of amanda. i do not intend to buy or read her book, nor have i ever intended to do so. i read blogs and comment on them occasionally. that’s about the extent of my involvement here.

  464. Shayne
    Shayne April 26, 2008 at 10:31 pm |

    For the record, everybody can post whatever the heck they want on Amazon. I will reiterate this many times if necessary. Nor do I see anything wrong with others reviewing the images.

    And carried above should be cared.

  465. Kali
    Kali April 26, 2008 at 10:39 pm |

    Shayne and Kildlacan

    You have looked at the reviews only AFTER several of your posts here.

    Shayne we don’t need your ‘for the record’ permission to post or not on Amazon. We do what we bloody well like.

    There is both a gender (I think you are both guys) and IQ mismatch here – so end of discussion.

  466. Shayne
    Shayne April 26, 2008 at 10:41 pm |

    All’s right in your little world, Kali, I’m going to bed.

  467. kidlacan
    kidlacan April 26, 2008 at 10:42 pm |

    Kali, how the hell do you know when i read the reviews? you don’t know when i did (it was, in fact, before i posted). you sure as hell don’t know my gender, or anything else about me. the only one i see here trying to make people ask ‘permission’ to do shit is you.

  468. kidlacan
    kidlacan April 26, 2008 at 10:45 pm |

    i mean, shit, in MY FIRST DAMN POST (463) i said i’d read the reviews.

  469. Shayne
    Shayne April 26, 2008 at 10:48 pm |

    kidlacan,

    Give up the ghost, heh. Just a touch of humor. Now I’m for bed.

  470. Pinko Punko
    Pinko Punko April 26, 2008 at 10:49 pm |

    The Feministe masthead is one of my faves on the internets. I adore it. It is a visceral response. I haven’t intellectualized it, I just think it is striking.

  471. Lisa Harney
    Lisa Harney April 26, 2008 at 11:20 pm |

    I guess Christine has left the thread, but this comment stood out and I wanted to object to it:

    Why not just confirm the stereotype of a bunch of overly emotional women that don’t support each other?

    A lot of women are supporting each other here. And we’re supporting some women who aren’t here, who have even left blogging entirely because the atmosphere has become so hostile for them. I am unmoved and unsympathetic to arguments that they – or we – are being too mean, too emotional, too angry, and not being supportive.

    I support many women here and who are absent. I am also angry, even outraged, at how some of those women have been mistreated and mischaracterized in this latest long blowup, starting with the reaction to BlackAmazon’s “fuck Seal Press” statement and the “negative discourse zinger,” to Amanda’s article and the lack of attributions to any WoC who have done the same work in greater depth, to now, with Seal Press’ choice of art in Amanda’s book.

    From BFP taking her blog down to BA taking her blog down. From Ico’s “Dear White Feminists” (and if that isn’t supporting other women, then we’re all lost anyway) to Littlem’s postings all over these comments (and I wish she had a blog, I most truly do).

    Or do only some women count for supporting each other?

  472. Kristin
    Kristin April 26, 2008 at 11:52 pm |

    kidlacan and Shayne: What the fuck is this? Could y’all please stop derailing this discussion and telling us what to do? You cannot fucking dictate what we do with our Amazon reviews. Fuck off.

    Kali–I think you have shown enormous patience with Amanda’s friends here.

  473. Ico
    Ico April 26, 2008 at 11:52 pm |

    Echoing the wish that Littlem had a blog. :D

  474. you know what i love to see in my feminist books « i said feminist

    [...] 27, 2008 at 3:54 am · Filed under Uncategorized ·Tagged feminism, race some good, old fashioned racism. What’s really wonderful? People are defending it, and saying that other people are [...]

  475. belledame222
    belledame222 April 27, 2008 at 2:33 am |

    uh oh Kristin, you told someone to fuck off. that’s NOT very LADYLIKE i mean REASONABLE of you. you oversensitive stalker types really need to lighten up and stop making cryptic remarks that someone, somewhere, who might or might not be huffing a bottle of paint thinner, could very well take to mean “I wish to shred your career, feed your fingertips to the wolverines, piss on your ancestors’ grave and laugh at your hairdo.” you’re totally ruining the discourse of this conversation, which shouldn’t be happening anyway. why do you hate America, Kristin, why?

  476. belledame222
    belledame222 April 27, 2008 at 2:53 am |

    As an avid reader and dabbler in writing it does kind of pain me to see people rating a book they haven’t read, even if it’s for a “good cause.” At least leaf through a copy at a bookstore first?

    People are saying “the images have nothing to do with the text” but then again they haven’t read it, so how do they know exactly?

    I did, in fact, leaf through it at the bookstore, and can confirm that the images have nothing to do with the text. Unless there’s some coding in, say, the chapter taking apart “Feminists For Life,” but honestly I’m not at all sure how that’d make anything better.

    for that matter: considering that Amanda herself has now gone “racism? in the pictures? vas is das? huh, I never really thought of that, sorry d00ds, my bad,” it seems just a -tad- farfetched, let’s say, to imagine that -at the same time- there’s this, like, really subtle and amazingly wonderful -subversion- of racism if you, what, translate the text into Urdu via Swedish Chef and back again, whack yourself over the head with it three times and then read it upside down while squatting in a bathtub full of Bailey’s by the light of a lava lamp.

    I mean, it COULD be? but, for whatever reason, i tend to lean toward the “no, actually it really was exactly what everyone sees it as and even the publisher and author have now admitted it is: a jaw-droppingly gormless (at best) display of unreconstructed racism padding out a book making fun of conservatives and shoes.”

  477. Kristin
    Kristin April 27, 2008 at 3:22 am |

    why do you hate America, Kristin, why?

    I think I love you, Belle.

    Damn damn damn… You know the funny thing about “fuck off”? Nothing “cryptic” about it. Quite straightforward, really. And kinda useful that way, you know, when others have repeatedly told good Shayne and kidlacan to stop fucking ordering us around and they aren’t fucking getting it.

    Anyone who saw this exchange and hasn’t posted on Amazon yet? I’m seconding Kali–please go and do it.

    Well, back to Hating America. :)

  478. Kali
    Kali April 27, 2008 at 9:11 am |

    Belledame, Kristin, Ico
    Thank you for your support. I should have ignored Shayne from the start as the rest of you did. I guess I am new to these blogs and did not recognize the trolls.

    I am a WoC (and an older one) and I find more sensitivity to WoC issues here than most anywhere else. This is a good start. But my 2 cents: please include as many WoC as possible in discussing the way forward and encourage everyone to replace words and plans with actions however small at the earliest opportunity.

    I read an interesting small book on Kaizen the Japanese art of overcoming the biggest hurdles with relentless small steps forward.

    Shanti aur Priya: Peace and Love – in Sanskrit

  479. Kristin
    Kristin April 27, 2008 at 11:13 am |

    I am a WoC (and an older one) and I find more sensitivity to WoC issues here than most anywhere else. This is a good start. But my 2 cents: please include as many WoC as possible in discussing the way forward and encourage everyone to replace words and plans with actions however small at the earliest opportunity.

    Thank you for pointing this out, Kali. I think, as Rosehiptea pointed out in the other thread, that spaces like this really need to be transformed so that it’s no longer white women’s space to decide who’ll be included in the first place. But, yeah, I know what you’re saying, and the fact of the matter seems to be that that’s what it is right now. As someone said in the other thread (I can’t remember who) these kinds of conversations often turn into white people talking to other white people, and that is a problem.

    I read an interesting small book on Kaizen the Japanese art of overcoming the biggest hurdles with relentless small steps forward.

    Seems wise.

    Shanti aur Priya: Peace and Love – in Sanskrit

    Thank you. And thanks for asking difficult questions on this thread too.

  480. Kristin
    Kristin April 27, 2008 at 11:21 am |

    Sorry I messed up the quotes above.

  481. Kali
    Kali April 27, 2008 at 11:51 am |

    I’ll watch this space. See ya.

  482. Ico
    Ico April 27, 2008 at 12:38 pm |

    But my 2 cents: please include as many WoC as possible in discussing the way forward and encourage everyone to replace words and plans with actions however small at the earliest opportunity.

    Kali and Kristen are right; it’s a lot of white women talking now about what to do, and this discussion needs to be much bigger (along with action to go with it).

    That said, I’m going to plug ABW’s Carnival of Allies. She is hosting the carnival the week of May 5, I think it is. It’s about how to turn people into good allies, and what allies can do, that sort of thing. It’s not strictly about racism but concerns all kinds of issues and -isms. Also, ABW is awesome. And given how fresh so much of this is I suspect it will come up there.

    As far as immediate action now goes, I’m seconding Kali’s call for Amazon reviews and also (I know I’ve plugged this before but I’ll do it again), please write Seal Press and urge them to respond to ProfBW’s plan of action for them. If you go here:

    http://profbw.wordpress.com/2008/04/26/why-seal-press-is-off-the-syllabus-pt-2/

    You can read her very specific, point-by-point explanation to them. Note that they have NOT responded to her so far, or to others who have left comments asking questions of them or criticizing their apology. So far they have only *said* they are committed to change; they have not followed through and acted. We can push them to act and, since they seem to respond much better to financial pressure than to anything else, we can support the girlcott until they do. I think this is something every feminist site should be doing. I’m going to add the girlcott pic to my blog (once I can overcome my technologically-impaired-ways and make wordpress behave). Note also that to comment at Seal’s blog, you have to register for a google/blogger account, but it takes all of 30 seconds to do that and then you can post right away (I think… though my comment hasn’t shown up yet for some reason).

    ProfBW has done all the hard work and led the way on this; it’s an easy thing to rally round and show support. :)

  483. Ico
    Ico April 27, 2008 at 12:39 pm |

    Forgot this, the link to Seal Press’s blog:

    http://www.sealpress.com/blog.php

  484. Kali
    Kali April 27, 2008 at 1:03 pm |

    I did check-out ABW’s blog. Kali (my pen-name) is the Indian goddess of war ( ABG or angry brown goddess).Chose it when I was younger – not so angry now, so much as ‘determined’.

    I think Seal will emerge stronger and more diverse from this – if we keep up the EXTERNAL pressure. It has too strong a history to go down – but a change in management style will result if we keep this up.

    If the authors on Feministe are interested enough they could put Holly in charge of a perpetual page/thread on diversity – and invite guest bloggers from every subset.

  485. Ways to End the World › I didn’t know whether to say anything or not.

    [...] her on the smallest detail. Pandagon is off the blogroll now, and you can see Holly’s post at Feministe to see why. The issue was further cemented by this post at WOC PhD, which I think may overstate its [...]

  486. Mitchforth
    Mitchforth April 27, 2008 at 5:18 pm |

    I think Prof and BA’s attack on Seal is vindictive and unjustified, and likely based primarily on Seal’s decision not to publish Prof’s anthology.

    Seal appears to be a tiny specialty press that is losing money and has an editorial staff of two. Their editorial policy ought to be determined by what they believe they can sell. No press in the world has an affirmative action policy in place to determine what gets published.

    Minority authors writing about minority interest subjects are certainly marketable, but minority authors writing books for minority audiences benefit from seeking publication by presses that specialize in marketing those books. Those presses will have the connections to get the books in front of the right department heads to get them on course syllibi, to get them prominent placement in minority-interest bookstores, etc.

    As a tiny press specializing in general-interest progressive subjects, Seal would likely only get books and authors who had been rejected by the minority publishers.

    I completely empathize with Seal’s position that they are being “engaged negatively.” I think that’s completely.

    Prof’s beef with the fact that, when asked to suggest some names of prominent feminists who would make a book marketable, the Seal rep named three white women is ridiculous. I don’t see how any intention could be imputed into that, or how anyone is harmed by that at all. It’s not racist. It’s not exclusive. It’s just a legitimate suggestion on how to make Prof’s book worth publishing. Prof’s airing of this grievance is just a dirty, “gotcha” attack.

    This kind of thing is exactly why the “racism is whatever makes a member of a minority group feel bad” school of thought is wrong.

    As far as I’m concerned, racism is anything that impairs the ability of people from different backgrounds to interact and function among each other, and by that standard, Prof and BA are part of the problem.

    Likewise, I don’t really see any issue with the fact that a white model was used on the cover of the Valenti book. The idea that that image somehow “excludes” minorities is not very compelling.

    I just don’t see Prof’s indictment of Seal as substantive, and it looks like it’s her way of responding to their decision not to publish her work. Seal is pretty small and is reliant on bloggers to promote and purchase its books. It is very subject to bullying by bloggers and that’s exactly what this is.

    Likewise, to the extent that the criticisms have been met with hostility, Prof and BA are trying to stamp a bogus “racist” label people whose livelihoods are dependent on their progressive political credentials. I think what’s being done here is mean and rotten, and Prof and BA should be ashamed of themselves.

    And the irony is, when Prof finds, in the future, that publishers no longer take meetings to hear her pitch her work, she’ll no doubt attribute the freeze-out to racism.

  487. kiki
    kiki April 27, 2008 at 5:40 pm |

    Minority authors writing about minority interest subjects are certainly marketable…

    What pray tell are “minority interest subjects”?

  488. EG
    EG April 27, 2008 at 5:48 pm |

    No press in the world has an affirmative action policy in place to determine what gets published.

    Bullshit. University presses are dedicated to publishing books that don’t turn profits. Poetry is always a dead loss. Presses publish those books for other reasons.

  489. belledame222
    belledame222 April 27, 2008 at 5:50 pm |

    You know, home-brewing mead, organic gardening in an urban setting, care and feeding of chinchillas, the intersection of racism and sexism, all that cute “niche” stuff.

  490. belledame222
    belledame222 April 27, 2008 at 6:09 pm |

    I think Prof and BA’s attack on Seal is vindictive and unjustified, and likely based primarily on Seal’s decision not to publish Prof’s anthology.

    bzzzt, wrong. BA’s “attack,” such as it was (“fuck Seal Press” written on her own private blog, really fucking threatening, totally would’ve been a huge deal if Brooke and Kristin hadn’t come around and made spectacular asses of themselves) was in fact an expression of solidarity with this woman:

    http://abookwithoutacover.wordpress.com/2008/04/15/anonymous-identified/

    yes, I know, they’re all Just Jealous, and it’s a total coincidence, all of this: the utter cluelessness about the imagery in this book, the shoddy treatment of Adele, the snotty tin-eared high-handedness toward BA, PBW’s posts, and the subsequent shutting down of their own thread at Seal Press blog…

    please just go the fuck away, you’re entirely tiresome.

  491. Kristin
    Kristin April 27, 2008 at 6:15 pm |

    Likewise, to the extent that the criticisms have been met with hostility, Prof and BA are trying to stamp a bogus “racist” label people whose livelihoods are dependent on their progressive political credentials. I think what’s being done here is mean and rotten, and Prof and BA should be ashamed of themselves.

    Ah, yes, those Poor, Poor, Silenced Middle Class White Women… Getting punished and victimized for their progressivism of all things. By those Mean Angry WOC.

    How many times have we been around this on this thread alone?

  492. Kristin
    Kristin April 27, 2008 at 6:16 pm |

    Oh, and Belle, minor correction: The Seal Press rep is Krista, not Kristin. Just pointing it out ’cause I don’t want us to get confused.

  493. Kristin
    Kristin April 27, 2008 at 6:17 pm |

    please just go the fuck away, you’re entirely tiresome.

    Yeah, what she said. Move along now…

  494. Kali
    Kali April 27, 2008 at 6:32 pm |

    Seal is pretty small and is reliant on bloggers to promote and purchase its books. It is very subject to bullying by bloggers and that’s exactly what this is.

    Actually – the situation was exactly the opposite. I read the to-and-fro on Black Amazon’s blog at the time and What came over very strongly was that Seal Press was bullying BA and others on her blog thinking there would be no outcry and no retribution. They had no business barging into a group of black women blogging /chatting – they weren’t even discussing Seal but their experiences at WAM and some other between friends inconsequentil stuff.

    It is heart-warming to see the reaction to that not from other bloggers – black and white. I think liberal Americans on the whole are in a belligerent mood and are no longer going to let slights to non-white people go by without protest.

    And then along comes the whole deal about plagiarism/misappropriation and to the hitherto uninvolved observer it sure smelled like plagiarism.

    And before the smoke is cleared from that one there is Jill’s brazen tout for Amanda’s book. That was bad enough but was then followed by the outrage over the pictures. BTW if you go to Amazon, click on the book and then on ‘excerpts’ and ‘surprise me’ you can again be mortified by the pictures. They could have removed those from the Amazon site but haven’t. There seems to be no thought or planning given to remedying the situation. Seal only listens when you shout

    – so Seal please take the excerpts etc off Amazon, right away!

    And then along come people like Mitchforth begging the victims not to protest so much and upset the bullies who are a very small precarious press. A press whose editors had no trouble picking on someone they perceived as the perfect impotent playgound victim.

    Keep it up Belledame and others – this is not about black and white – it’s about decency and humanity.

  495. Tennesseefree.com » Snappin’ Amanda Marcotte Bungles the Jungle

    [...] the book’s publisher, has keeled over with a public apology. Amanda Marcotte has another. Feminist blogs are screaming bloody kotex [...]

  496. shah8
    shah8 April 27, 2008 at 8:56 pm |

    *pedant alert* *OT Alert*

    Kali is not the goddess of war. Given the differences in all of the branches of her worship, I would personally say that she is a personification of necessary, destructive (in a high level, and not low level sense), and amoral change.

    Durga is more or less what you’re looking for, though she is not a goddess of war, but of something akin to righteous wrath–Anger as guide to reforming what needs reforming embodied in an agency much like a superhero. Kali emerges from her brow when entire shebang needs toppling, without regard to suffering or anything else.

    Indra is considered a war god, so is Kartikeya (who is sometimes associated with Alexander). Neither are gods any good feminist would want to hang out with for very long. Those guys didn’t keep their hands to themselves.

  497. los anjalis » “Feminism”, jungles, and racist imagery

    [...] More on the issue here (and much more articulately stated than my post): Feministe (Holly) — It’s a Jungle in Here [...]

  498. belledame222
    belledame222 April 27, 2008 at 9:22 pm |

    Kristin: you’re right, thanks, sorry about that. Krista. Brooke and Krista.

  499. belledame222
    belledame222 April 27, 2008 at 9:39 pm |

    And here’s what else fucking rankles about the “affirmative action” crap: the implication is that the ONLY reason Seal should publish something like Adele’s anthology, or indeed come up and offer a contract to Sylvia or brownfemipower (not, once again, that either one asked for any such thing, ever; just pointing out that neither did Jill, and they -did- come up to her, for instance), is charity for the (undeserving) WoC who garsh just aren’t as good writers as Amanda or Jessica, don’t have stuff as interesting to say, aren’t funny, lucid, engaging, -universally- appealing…

    Fucking bullshit. Utter, utter bullshit.

    First of all, if anything, Amanda and Jessica’s books have been the “niche” market, certainly at -least- as much -a- niche market as anything else: addressed to a narrow subset of young, straight, able-bodied, middle class white women with a particular sensibility, assumed suburban or urban background, and general political leanings to begin with. In FFF’s case in particular, there was an assumption of familiarity with certain hot topics on the blogs that I can well imagine would’ve been, like, “quoi?” to the average person. Hey, if it’s your cuppa, fine, but please don’t insult everyone’s intelligence and assume that because we don’t find this shit particularly speaks to us or even the greatest thing we’ve ever read, and would prefer to see something -else- on the market, the problem is with -us- and not the books/publishers themselves.

    Secondly, and bluntly: um, bluntly, there are a -lot- of better writers than Amanda out there. Bfp is one of them. Better researcher, more powerful wordsmith, more depth and breadth overall. Again, this is not to say either wanted a book contract, or to write for Alternet, any of that shit. But the sneery sort of, well, what’d Amanda herself call her? a “decent” writer? REALLY gets on my tits.

    No one’s doing anyone any favors here, sunshine. No one wants your -handouts.- And no one is impressed by the Chivalrous Charlie act -either-, and how fucking ironic is it, can I just say, that Miz Righteous Feminist has all these menfolk battling the scary “savage” excuse me “rude” and “bullying” women in her honor? Don’t answer that, really.

  500. belledame222
    belledame222 April 27, 2008 at 9:43 pm |

    Finally, all this talk of the bottom line and “lighten up, can’t you take a joke”? Puts me in mind of nothing so much as, well, Alex Tchekmeian and HIS little flying monkeys,

    http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2008/04/14/alex-karekin-tchekmeian-is-a-special-young-man/

  501. Margalis
    Margalis April 27, 2008 at 11:11 pm |

    What are you smoking?

    If your IQ is at least in the average range….

    I’m really tired of this bullshit.

    My point was that if you are going to review a book you should read it first. Really not that crazy a statement.

    Can you allow for the fact that people can disagree with you without them being stupid and without resorting to this “lol ur a retard!” style shit?

    I allow for the fact that you disagree without assuming you have some sort of mental defect.

    I like books, I know published authors, and the idea of someone reviewing a book they haven’t read is troubling to me. I’m not asking you to agree but take your “ur stupid” shit and shove it. I didn’t say anything even slightly rude to you.

    If you want to compare IQs and test scores let’s go for it, otherwise can it.

  502. docweaselblog
    docweaselblog April 27, 2008 at 11:33 pm |

    Whine on you crazy feministe! Stop Whitey!…

    Since feminism has basically met all the goals the original feminists set out to cover, the modern day feminists are forced to manufacture new ones.

    Pamela Bone, a well-known feminist, died today. She was born again, as many lefties were, after 9-11….

  503. shah8
    shah8 April 28, 2008 at 12:27 am |

    Well, I had much less of a problem with the gorilla cover than I did with the interior prints. Mind does boggle at seeing both, though…imagine *that* book, heh.

    I rather thought the original cover was a good way to poke a hard one with the point that much of the active enforcement of sexist norms is born out of tribalist anxieties…and vice versa.

    One of the interesting things about the book outcomes is that when contested on the book cover, they just leaked out anything that was witty, and left the racist stuff. Sometimes racist crap is 3D and in your face, sometimes racist crap is 2D and you mumble or tell someone to quit it. Then there is all the racist crap that you kinda have to see the point *first*, and then use thought to unpack all of the latent meanings. I suspect that the book designers did a stuff everything in the closet and under the bed method, which worked about as well for Seal Publishing and Amanda as it does for lazy children in sitcoms as their moms reach for the closet handles…On quick glance, no racism, but once you think colonialism and alternative titles to Rudyard Kipling’s famous poems, it just all come boiling out…

    Then everyone’s upset

  504. Larry 55X (Armstrong)
    Larry 55X (Armstrong) April 28, 2008 at 6:19 am |

    By virtue of the reponse, the desired message was delivered. Power begats nothing. Somethings are embedded in our societal psyhic. In Vietnam 1969, I heard daily “white boy #1, you #10″. Same ole message, different package with the “now s.o.p. apology”.

  505. GlobalComment » Mark Seal on Kenya in Vanity Fair: Bad Implications and Dead Ends

    [...] as the Vogue cover was being debated, and as problems of racism famously reared their head in the feminist blogosphere. In the same month that New York police officers escaped punishment after riddling an unarmed black [...]

  506. Eric
    Eric April 28, 2008 at 7:42 am |

    I’m only mostly curious about one thing, and it’s a problem I have with the blogosphere in general, not this issue in particular.
    When these images were first noticed by the folks who dropped this bomb, did you approach Amanda first or blog about it?
    Because it seems to me, increasingly, that when an issue arises, no matter the size, people’s first instinct is to leap to their computer and blog about it.
    Safe space, calling people out, whatever the case may be, the end result of throwing it out here first is shitty.
    However, I saw that image last week, I guess, and thought, “whoa. That looks a little racist.” Mistake or not, also shitty.

  507. It’s been a very bad few weeks for revolutionary feminism « High On Rebellion

    [...] in the “jungle”.  Oh. Dear. God.   Good discussion of the issue at Feministe here and here.  You can read Amanda’s apology here.  Beware:  some of the comments are really, [...]

  508. Kali
    Kali April 28, 2008 at 9:15 am |