“The time has come,” the Walrus said, “To talk of many things…”

I’ve had a hilariously ridiculous time with Internet connectivity over the last six weeks or so. I’m waiting on my third Internet company to connect me up (in my brand new house, I just moved!) in a couple of days. That’s why I haven’t been around very much. And I hadn’t been planning to do this for a few more days, but, well, I guess the universe is telling me something what with this luckless Internet run. My plan, I’m sorry to say, readers, is to leave Feministe.

I love this space to bits, and I know it’s been as transformative, educational, and brilliant for many of you as it has been for me. I myself need to pursue other writing projects, other parts of my life. I think I’ve contributed my piece here, and, after eighteen months, it’s time to move on and let other voices, well, transform this ever-transforming space!

That’s the primary thing going on for me personally. But, hey. I’m not going to lie to you: a good part of why I’m leaving is also that I have found working here damaging. As much as we have amazing conversations so much of the time, dealing with commenters here has taken over a lot of my life and commanded too much of my effort and spirit. It took me almost a year to be accepted as someone whose moderation directions should be listened to, and whose post topics were worth the space. I’m under no illusions; a lot of that pushback has been because a lot of people could not accept a young, disabled, non-white person, or her issues as central feminist issues. It took time and a very sore heart, but I like to think that I’ve earned the respect of the readership here.

But, the thing is, what I stand for still isn’t a standard. I mean that for the feminist movement in general, not just here. I don’t want a feminism which defines us all monolithically, with all the bits that make up (to use the gender relevant to me) womanhood for so many of us – class and race and sexuality and so forth as well as gender – falling down the sides, grabbing on where they can.

When feminists talk about reproductive rights, it’s always the right to have an abortion, rarely the rights of women like me – disabled and non-white – who have had to fight for the right to reproduce. We talk about “women” and “trans women,” as though trans women are a subset of womanhood, and cis women the default, so never mind centring trans rights. We talk about being a proper feminist as though it’s something that can be bought with the right products, as though most of us can afford to. We talk about feminism as though its history is that of the United States, and maybe a bit of Europe – and when we talk about the rest of the world, it’s to speak over and appropriate the cultures and experience of those others.

That’s it, really: we talk about us and those others. Except, I am one of those others. And I want people like me to be part of core feminism, too. When we talk about sex, when we talk about rape, when we talk about abortion, I don’t want to be an example shoved in at the end. I want the deaths of people like me to be more important than whatever piece of popular culture is fascinating white middle class feminists today. I want a feminism with integrity, a feminism about all of us. I want a kind of feminism that doesn’t scapegoat people outside the mainstream, or disown forever individual activists who didn’t do it just right. I want a feminism that is about all of us, with systemic analyses and work, not just that which helps the most privileged of women.

As for Feministe, I’ve tried my best to direct readers to, and conversations along, those lines: I’ve wanted conversations that go towards all of us. I have spent long, frustrating, pre-dawn moments working at this, until every last one of my friends spent a solid year asking me when I was going to quit, telling me no one would blame me for a second if I did, because no one should have to put up with the kind of thing I was getting from readers simply because of who I was. I have received violent threats, I have received remarks about my family and my racial background. I have received the more mundane forces of attempts to hijack almost every single conversation and make it about something closer to feminist and social norms, which seem curiously aligned at times. I have taken every kind of pressure you can imagine. And I wasn’t going to quit until I had said every last thing I wanted to say, until I made it quite clear that women like me are in fact here, feminist, and important. I did my very best, but it’s not good enough; it’s never going to be enough until everyone cares about everyone else, not just the kinds of feminism such as work for the dominant set. I’ve done my best, and I have given everything I have to give.

The thing that gets me the most isn’t that people don’t know how to relate to circumstances outside of the prescribed norm. I get that; I get that we all have to learn about experiences outside of our personal worlds, especially the marginal ones which have been sublimnated in general and even, particularly, in social justice discourses. What gets me is the profound lack of lovingkindness displayed towards fellow people. My way of thinking is that true justice goes towards us all, all at once. You don’t have to understand, you just have to reach out to someone different until you can communicate. And that’s not something I’ve been seeing a lot of in the feminist communities in which I have engaged in my time as a feminist.

I’m not asking for your thanks or your apologies or anything like that. I’m just telling you how, as much as feminism claims to be about supporting, helping, and nurturing women, feminism makes those gains off of some of our backs. Don’t forget that, ever. Make feminism different.

The most heartfelt of thanks to my fellow staff members, past and present, who made me the kind offer to come on board. I’m still not really sure why you picked me, but I am more grateful than I can say. Cara, thanks for all the laughs, deft conversational sympathies, and teaching me my own city from far away. Sally, I am awfully glad indeed we’re friends – and we’ve got to get that bookclub going again! Jill, your supportiveness has astounded me every time, but your integrity was never in question. Lauren, thank you for making this space and for your… well, quintessential Laurenness. Just, thanks, everyone.

Thank you to everyone who has read my work, who has made me laugh, who has offered support and critiques, whom I have befriended, who have made my time here inspiring and absolutely worth every second of pain.

I’m not going to be entirely gone. I’m on Twitter, and I can always be found at my solo blog, Zero at the Bone. I’m going to be working on feminism from other directions, more sustaining than trying to work myself around white, able-bodied women’s concerns. I’m going to be freelancing my little heart out. And I really couldn’t bear to leave Feministe entirely, so I’ll still be kicking around here. I’ll be back to guest blog, but not for a while yet.

Well, I’d best sign off. Goodbye.

About Chally

Chally is a student by day, a freelance writer by night, a scary, scary feminist all the time, and a voracious reader whenever she has a spare moment. She also blogs at Zero at the Bone. Full bio here.
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72 Responses to “The time has come,” the Walrus said, “To talk of many things…”

  1. Tori says:

    We’ll miss you, truly and a lot. It might just be the damn pill that I have forgot to take, but I am tearing up. :P

  2. Jill says:

    Chally, thank you for everything, and for this final post. You are a class act. Love you.

  3. maybe sparrow says:

    Delurking to say that you will be missed, Chally. I have so appreciated your writing here–your warm humour, your honesty, your laying-down-the-smack (especially in the comments!), and most of all your constant push to make us think harder about who we’re forgetting, who is more marginalized than we (individually mostly, but sometimes collectively too) are, where we come from, ideologically and of course literally, and what we can do better to approach the world with more, as you say, lovingkindness. I will be checking out your individual blog, and I’m so glad you’ll still be guest posting. I wish you amazing things.

  4. Gabrielle says:

    I want a feminism with integrity, a feminism about all of us. I want a kind of feminism that doesn’t scapegoat people outside the mainstream, or disown forever individual activists who didn’t do it just right. I want a feminism that is about all of us, with systemic analyses and work, not just that which helps the most privileged of women.

    Me too, Chally. I think you’re brilliant, and your posts have always stood out to me as some of the best in this place. (I loved your last series about home.) I’ll be following you on your path, starting with Twitter. Best of luck. I’ll certainly miss you!

  5. KAJ says:

    Chally, though I only very rarely comment, I want you to know that your work here has been very meaningful to this cis, white, able-bodied woman. I’ve learned much from you, and I think (hope) that I am a better feminist for the work you’ve done here. It saddens me that what has been such an opportunity for me has come at such a cost to you. But I am committed to doing my part to make feminism better, and will look forward to following your writing elsewhere.

  6. Salimakate says:

    OMG Chally, I can’t believe you’re leaving. I’ve loved reading your posts.

  7. Alison says:

    This is a really moving and poignant post, and while I am sad it is one in which you are saying goodbye, I think it is so important to do what is best for our psyches and our souls and our health in all its forms. It sounds like that’s what you are doing, and I wish you nothing but the best moving forward. And I look forward to what I have no doubt will be continued amazing contributions from you to the world.

  8. Katy says:

    I am a fairly recent Feministe reader, and I must admit, I can’t imagine the space without you. I really look forward to seeing what comes next for your writing and yourself. Thank you for your thought-provoking, envelope-pushing work bringing the margins back to the center of the discussion.

  9. eli says:

    I’ve loved reading your posts, and have enjoyed hearing from someone in the same hemisphere.

    I’m sorry you’re leaving but I’m glad you’re taking care of yourself.

  10. GallingGalla says:

    I’m going to miss you, Chally.

    Though I totally understand and support your decision to leave Feministe and your reasoning behind it.

  11. Sarah says:

    Thank you for your contributions to this blog. I will definitely be looking for your writing elsewhere. :)

  12. evil_fizz says:

    I hope your new adventures take you where you want to go. Good luck.

  13. Barb says:

    Delurking to say thank you. I have appreciated your point of view as it has helped me get out of my sometimes narrower-than-I’d-like-to-be viewpoint. I’m sorry you got pushback/marginalized because you speak from a different but just as valid view point. It’s greatly needed and going to be missed.

    Thank you!

  14. Deborah says:

    This is a huge loss to Feministe.

  15. z says:

    I started reading pretty recently and I don’t comment a lot, but your posts have been among my favorites. Thank you for giving me (and the rest of us) so much to learn from. Good luck with everything else in your life.

    *hugs*? :P

  16. outrageandsprinkles says:

    I am going to miss you in this space so much. I will keep up with you at your solo blog, though. Best of luck to you in all your endeavors!

  17. Miss Addict says:

    Chally, I never click through from RSS except for you. I guess now I will stop all together. Your posts have been the highlight of this website for me and I will be following Zero the the Bone with interest.

    Thank you for writing here and I am sad you are leaving as this space will be poorer for its lack of you!!!

  18. Medea says:

    I’m sorry you’re leaving.

  19. Ada says:

    I’m really sorry you’re leaving. I’ve only been a reader for a few months but I have felt that your voice at Feministe was special and important. Still, I understand your reasons for leaving and I wish you the best for the future.

  20. becky says:

    Dear Chally, I wanted to say that I am sorry to see you go, too, and thank you! Plus: Yes. Word. Totally.

  21. Yonmei says:

    Sorry you’re leaving. I can understand why – I’m impressed by your perserverance – but. Still sorry. :-(

  22. Kristen J. says:

    We’re both sorry to see you go and wish you all the best.

  23. La Lubu says:

    I’m sorry to see you go as well…but I understand on a visceral level what fighting for just one small scrap of ground does to a person over time.

    Take care of yourself. Be well. You’re an excellent writer, and I hope to read more of your work elsewhere.

  24. Lauren says:

    I want a feminism with integrity, a feminism about all of us. I want a kind of feminism that doesn’t scapegoat people outside the mainstream, or disown forever individual activists who didn’t do it just right. I want a feminism that is about all of us, with systemic analyses and work, not just that which helps the most privileged of women.

    Love you, dollface. I can’t wait to see what you do next. xo

  25. schauspiele says:

    Thank you for your work here, Chally – will look forward to seeing what you do next.

    Wishing you all the best.

  26. konkonsn says:

    I want to apologize if I was ever one of those commenters. I’ve been called out a bit over the years, and generally when that happens, I get angry/embarrassed, log off, and sit and think for a long time until the anger goes away, and I can think through it. By that time, comments are usually far past me (or it might even be another day or two), and I have a hard time jumping back in and being all, “Ok, sorry, I learned something” to let people know I’m not just ignoring them and keeping with my old ways. You are reaching people, but it’s good that you know what’s best for you and are doing that.

    You really don’t need my affirmation that you’re a great blogger and have done some pretty awesome work. But I guess I gave it anyway? :/

  27. andrea says:

    In the short time I’ve been reading and occasionally commenting, I have enjoyed reading your posts. I can kind of see how putting yourself out there in this way can be disheartening and in the end, we all have to do what is best for us, but you will be missed. Good luck on your path.

  28. Kathy says:

    I don’t comment enough here, but your “Where are you from?” series meant a lot to me, and I understand the frustration with feminism’s lack of addressing the needs of all women, not just those who fits its white, cis, able-bodied, middle-class template. I’ll miss seeing your name around here.

  29. Chally, I’ll miss your voice here.

  30. Shoshie says:

    Chally, I have learned so much from you, and I can’t thank you enough for all that you’ve done here. Good luck!

  31. Paraxeni says:

    Oh Chally, I’m so sad to see you go. Please be assured that you are much loved and respected, best of luck in all your endeavours. You’ll be sorely missed.

  32. debbie says:

    I don’t comment often, but have always enjoyed your posts. I’m sad to see you go, but totally understand your reasons.

  33. gretel says:

    Safe travels, Chally. Thanks for all your posts here.

  34. Nahida says:

    My heart stopped above the fold. =(

    I’ll miss you Chally.

  35. Jane says:

    De-lurking to say your posts have been important and challenging and amazing – you will be missed. I’ve already subscribed to your solo blog.

  36. Han says:

    Just wanted to say I’ve learned so much from your writing. Thank you, and good luck in everything you do next!

  37. Nora says:

    I’m sorry to see you go :-(

    I don’t participate much in the Feministe community, mostly for the reasons you highlighted above, but also because as a genderqueer person, I constantly see my experiences and the experiences of my community–street harassment, pervasive rape, financial inequality, etc.–framed as “[cis] women’s issues,” which is hard to take without some mental preparation.

    I’m glad the blogosphere isn’t loosing you altogether, though.

  38. Brennan says:

    What is there to say? Chally, you’re extraordinary. Your constant challenge for us to be better has improved this space more than you know. You have a gift, and I hope you can find a way to share that gift that’s as rewarding for you as you have been for us.

  39. Verity Khat says:

    I will certainly miss you and your writing, Chally. You always lay in a good smackdown and demand that we remember the groups that “mainstream” feminism ignores. (No wonder you’re exhausted, as both of those tasks require emotional fuel!) Good luck in your future endeavors!

  40. annajcook says:

    I followed you over from Zero at the Bone and will now follow you back! It’s been lovely to read you in both places over the passed year and a half, and I look forward to seeing where you take your writing and your activism from here.

  41. It pains me to see you go under these circumstances. For the record, I always appreciated the directions you challenged us to pursue, and I’m deeply sorry for those who resisted. Above all, the word I keep referring to is “challenge”. I think we owe it to ourselves to be challenged, but in ways that avoid the caustic phrase “calling out”.

    Having our assumptions held up to the light of examination is not the same thing as having our beliefs be completely invalidated. Some, I fear, do not understand the difference between the two.

    You fought the good fight and I know you will continue to do the same in whatever endeavors you take on henceforth. I am ever appreciative, Chally.

  42. thetroubleis says:

    I will really miss seeing you in this space, but you were amazing while you were here. At times, you were my only reason for visiting this site. I totally understand your reasons for leaving, I often only lurk for the same reasons and I don’t deal with even half of what you had to deal with.

    I’ll see you at Zero at the Bone.

  43. What gets me is the profound lack of lovingkindness displayed towards fellow people. My way of thinking is that true justice goes towards us all, all at once. You don’t have to understand, you just have to reach out to someone different until you can communicate. And that’s not something I’ve been seeing a lot of in the feminist communities in which I have engaged in my time as a feminist.

    I hope folks take this seriously, and see it as one of the reasons that your time here was such a grind, because it resonates deeply for me, and is one of the reasons I read so few feminist blogs these days. I’m glad we all have your personal blog to go to still, but you’ll be missed here.

  44. Nimue says:

    You’re an awesome writer, and I’m glad you’re doing what’s best for you. Will miss you though!

  45. Xenu01 says:

    It makes me sad to hear this familiar refrain from yet another smart, witty WOC, but I also understand. Because it IS a familiar refrain. I think it sucks and I think that us feminists with privilege really need to work on how we flex it.

    Anyway, I’m glad you’re still writing; glad you aren’t burned out- and I added your blog to my regulars. See you around. :)

  46. Jadey says:

    Chally, I think I will miss you more than *I* know. Your presence here has been wonderful, if heart-breaking because of the responses you received. I think that the consequence of losing you in this space emphasizes how important it is for us to do better. We can’t keep perpetuating the conditions that burn out and burn up such important voices where we want to hear them. We need to do better.

    I will keep following you around the internets, Chally, but your presence here will be missed. Thank you for everything.

  47. Florence says:

    jeffliveshere: What gets me is the profound lack of lovingkindness displayed towards fellow people. My way of thinking is that true justice goes towards us all, all at once. You don’t have to understand, you just have to reach out to someone different until you can communicate. And that’s not something I’ve been seeing a lot of in the feminist communities in which I have engaged in my time as a feminist.

    I hope folks take this seriously, and see it as one of the reasons that your time here was such a grind, because it resonates deeply for me, and is one of the reasons I read so few feminist blogs these days. I’m glad we all have your personal blog to go to still, but you’ll be missed here.

    Ditto.

  48. timberwraith says:

    Cally, I’m going to miss you. I just put your home blog into my RSS feed.

    Getting feminism to change its’ ways is like trying to get a very large ship to change course—it happens painfully slowly, and many icebergs are hit. I don’t know if it helps any to say this, but as a trans person, I’ve witnessed on-line feminism shift noticeably during the past ten years. It still has a heck of a long ways to go, but the change has been real. Hopefully, that change is taking place with other issues, too.

    Best of luck to ya…

  49. I’ll miss your commentary on this site, but I am glad that I will still be able to keep up with your wit and insight on your Twitter and blog! Good luck and I look forward to seeing your future work.

  50. Natalia says:

    I will miss your posts here, Chally. *xo*

  51. Sara says:

    Chally, I think you’re the main reason this has been among my favorite feminist blogs. I sometimes (perhaps too often) ignore the bylines on group blogs, because I don’t know any of you anyway, but my favorite posts are those which illuminate under-examined dimensions of social marginalization. Thanks for your contributions, and for staying conscious of those of us who are outside of “the dominant set.” I’ll bookmark your personal blog.

  52. Mounia A. says:

    Same as everyone : Thank you so much for your posts here, and I will miss them enormously.
    Best of luck !

  53. August says:

    Thank you so much for the truths you have written here.

  54. tigtog says:

    Having our assumptions held up to the light of examination is not the same thing as having our beliefs be completely invalidated. Some, I fear, do not understand the difference between the two.

    I so admire the way that you have kept on pushing out the challenge to all of us to examine our assumptions. Thank you for what you have done in this space, and good luck for what you do elsewhere now.

  55. ivy says:

    I’m also de-lurking, so sad to hear you won’t be a regular here anymore – will wait eagerly for guest posts! Has been so wonderful to read your challenges to privileged white middle class feminism. Hope we can get to that inclusive place you’re talking about. Thank you :)

  56. Nance says:

    Well done, Chally.

  57. Brittany-Ann says:

    Thanks for being our voice here, Chally. It means more to this PWD feminist than you know.

    I hope the Feministe team will find another woman of your caliber to continue in your stead!

  58. Tony says:

    Well done, Chally. I’ve always enjoyed your perspectives. But I’m dying to know: Will you tell us of shoes and ships and sealing wax?

  59. Afroartemis says:

    Oh Chally! I am so sad to see you go! I hope your example will encourage other feminists of color, and differently abled people to pick up the torch against race and class privilege , and heteronormativity that plagues the feminist movement. I’m going back to lurk on the interwebs now, good luck to you!

  60. Chally says:

    And cabbages and kings, Tony.

    I’ve read all your comments two or three times now and – well, you are an overwhelming and generous group of people. Thank you all very much.

  61. dontboxsarah says:

    Oh Chally I’m so sorry to hear this. I rarely read feministe honestly but I always get excited when I see your name on the byline and I’m sorry about all the crap you’ve had to deal with from other commenters and the community at large. it really is the suck. *changing my bookmarks to zero at the bone*

  62. Li says:

    Ugh. I do not even know how to put into words what I feel about this but like LOVE and FOREVER. I know you’re going to keep doing amazing things elsewhere but thanks for all that you put into Feministe. I was always so happy to see your byline and so thankful when you turned up in comment threads that were turning ableist/other types of terrible. GIANT ALLCAPS WISHES OF SUCCESS AND HAPPINESS.

  63. I’m sorry to see you go, Chally. I have always looked forward to your posts, because I completely agree that there is a dearth of feminism for women of color and for disabled women, let alone both. Best of luck for your future.

  64. Aunti Disestablishmentarian says:

    Your work here has provided so much insight. I look forward to visiting Zero land! May the road ahead be good and wide.

  65. Pingback: Learning how to take a compliment « Zero at the Bone

  66. k not K says:

    Chally, you are awesome. Good on you for taking care of yourself. Your work here has been amazing and people really need to think about just why your time here has been such a struggle, and whether it was necessary to put you in that position. I hope “mainstream” feminists hear and heed your words.

    I’ll definitely check in with your personal blog, and personally, I plan to read more writing by feminists from all over the world.

  67. Chally, you’re awesome. I know my comments threads are going to be a lot worse without your vigilant eye, because I suck at moderating, compared to you. Thanks for your perspective.

  68. Florence says:

    Your work here has been amazing and people really need to think about just why your time here has been such a struggle, and whether it was necessary to put you in that position.

    It bears repeating. Again, Chally, thank you.

  69. Pingback: Lovely Links: 4/29/11

  70. RVCBard says:

    Xenu01:
    It makes me sad to hear this familiar refrain from yet another smart, witty WOC, but I also understand. Because it IS a familiar refrain.

    I believe this really needs a closer look. Why does this happen so much with WOC bloggers? That, for our own peace of mind, we so often have to disengage?

  71. AndreaPlaid says:

    @RVCBard–You and I know the answer to this question.:-P

    @Chally–You know you can always swing by Racialicious.;-)

    @Everyone else–::looks around, purses lips, walks out the room, slams door:: Typical. Hmph!

  72. Avory says:

    I’m not a regular commenter here but I just want to say to you that I am so into the topics you mention here, and into your perspective as opposed to the “norm” on major feminist blogs. I wish there was more diversity on bigger blogs, but I will add your solo blog and Twitter to my feeds and look forward to reading what you have to say.

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