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Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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25 Responses

  1. Elle
    Elle May 9, 2012 at 11:49 am |

    All families matter expect of hetreonormal white families? Its silly to feel under represented, but I feel like I am being pushed out of feminism everyday with little things like this.

    I am not black, brown queer or trans enough for modern femenism. White girls need not apply, appearntly?

  2. Donna L
    Donna L May 9, 2012 at 12:04 pm |

    A mermaid with breasts and facial stubble is supposed to represent trans women? Good God. How typical.

  3. EG
    EG May 9, 2012 at 12:34 pm |

    Its silly to feel under represented, but I feel like I am being pushed out of feminism everyday with little things like this.

    No, you’re right the first time. It is completely silly. “Silly” is the least offensive word I can think of to describe what you are saying.

    Donna, you’re really right. It’s the stubble that gets me. What the fuck is that doing in there? (Pardon my language; I’m still seething over R. David’s commentary about how Native American child-raising practices are probably inherently abusive.)

    On the mother’s day tip in general, though, it is comments like Elle’s above and R. Dave’s on the thread about Elizabeth Warren that make me extra grateful for having a mother who raised me with good, leftist values, and made me strong and secure enough that I don’t feel “pushed out of feminism” by the fact that there exist a few websites that don’t plaster white women all over everything. I sent my mom one of the cards–I think she’s strong and even “adaptable” enough to manage to identify with another mother even when that mother is brown.

  4. Barry
    Barry May 9, 2012 at 12:53 pm |

    I didn’t notice the racial angle in the cards–just the great art, and the overall message. Stupid of me, I know. Even more stupidly, I feel it’s still a great way to get a strong progressive and feminist message out there. And how shall I number the ways…? In as many as possible.

  5. Medea
    Medea May 9, 2012 at 12:54 pm |

    I am not black, brown queer or trans enough for modern femenism. White girls need not apply, appearntly?

    The most influential and well-known feminist organisations are still dominated by white women. Less powerful groups of women of colour have to centre themselves because the white women never will.

    Hetero white families are over-represented in American media and yes, you are silly to feel threatened by these Mother’s Day cards. I’m sure you can find some e-cards featuring people who look like you elsewhere.

  6. sb
    sb May 9, 2012 at 1:00 pm |

    A mermaid with breasts and facial stubble is supposed to represent trans women? Good God. How typical.

    I found a lot of the depictions problematical, including that one — and the fact that the only disabled and explicitly lesbian women depicted were done as animals.

  7. Donna L
    Donna L May 9, 2012 at 1:42 pm |

    I’m not sure either, but in a way that’s even worse, because it means that trans people — whether trans men or trans women — are excluded entirely from the universe represented by these cards, despite the inclusive rhetoric in the description and the representation of a diverse variety of other kinds of people. So it’s typical in either case.

  8. Donna L
    Donna L May 9, 2012 at 3:32 pm |

    I guess I’m wondering how the campaign could have visually represented trans women in these images, outside of what they did.

    If they had had the one of the mermaid without facial stubble, I would absolutely have perceived that mother as a trans woman, given how she was drawn with distinctly “masculine” facial features and (sort of) hairline. (Which would have bothered me a little, but far less than the way they actually did it.) The more I think about it, the more I think I’m right that this was intended to represent trans women, and they added the stubble because they were concerned that without it nobody would have picked up on their “good intentions.”

    As for the possibility that she was intended to be gender non-conforming, I’ve met a lot of gender queer and otherwise non-gender conforming people, but among the small percentage who were male-assigned at birth, I can’t say I’ve ever known one (especially a parent) who spends their life not in a presentation that would be perceived as androgynous, but in a specifically “mixed gender” or genderf**k presentation, with a sharp demarcation in their body between male-coded and female-coded aspects, as in the “breasts and a beard” look. For reasons of physical safety for themselves (and their child), if nothing else.

    Also, they could have conveyed someone being a trans woman with words in some way. I don’t think it’s an excuse for trans erasure to say, well, all of those women might be trans, how do you know?

  9. Donna L
    Donna L May 9, 2012 at 4:15 pm |

    I hear you too, Jill. Nonetheless, someone being a trans guy doesn’t necessarily mean that they have a clue about what is or isn’t offensive to trans women (or the other way round, of course). Maybe the mermaid is supposed to be FAAB; what do I know?

  10. Shoshie
    Shoshie May 9, 2012 at 4:22 pm |

    I have three of Nikki McClure’s prints. Mr. Shoshie and I completely adore her work. Donna’s critiques aside, it warms my heart to see her involved in this kind of project and makes me even happier to display her work in my home.

  11. macavitykitsune
    macavitykitsune May 9, 2012 at 5:56 pm |

    I am not black, brown queer or trans enough for modern femenism. White girls need not apply, appearntly?

    Sweetie, if you can’t identify with a non-white person just long enough to, like, skim your eyes over fifteen e-cards on one site, I think your problems are bigger than your feelings about being pushed out of “femenism”.

  12. Donna L
    Donna L May 9, 2012 at 8:31 pm |

    It occurred to me to add that I do like quite a few of them. But not all.

  13. Argenti Aertheri
    Argenti Aertheri May 9, 2012 at 9:23 pm |

    Sweetie, if you can’t identify with a non-white person just long enough to, like, skim your eyes over fifteen e-cards on one site, I think your problems are bigger than your feelings about being pushed out of “femenism”.

    That, and it appears, to me anyways, like the second card is a white mother and a child with short hair, probably intended as a boy-child, but could be not-a-boy-child. And then towards the end there’s one that’s a woman with an umbrella….she’s blue. You really can’t remotely identify with any of these? (3rd from the end might be going to my mother, if I can figure out how to word it that won’t imply she looks like her mother, don’t want to make mom feel old on mother’s day!)

  14. EG
    EG May 9, 2012 at 9:26 pm |

    The blue woman with the umbrella looks just like Mary Poppins’s silhouette to me. Can’t get whiter than that.

  15. LotusBecca
    LotusBecca May 9, 2012 at 10:17 pm |

    Hey guys. . .let’s cut Elle some slack here. I’m sure she’s probably just now emotionally recovering from the existence of all those black characters in The Hunger Games movie, and now here comes this reverse-racist, reverse-heteronormative power play. Some fucking compassion, folks.

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  17. Partial Human
    Partial Human May 10, 2012 at 7:53 am |

    So many cries for the poor, oppressed, cisstraight, white, able, “normal” people.

    Marginalised and oppressed at every turn, receiving only most of the attention in the world. Surely they deserve all of it?

    Will these wrongs ever be righted?

    (Seriously, first fucking comment? I can’t even…)

  18. Angie unduplicated
    Angie unduplicated May 10, 2012 at 8:02 am |

    Partial Human, you’ve said it perfectly.

  19. Grace
    Grace May 10, 2012 at 3:20 pm |

    While I had a serious WHAT moment over the first comment, I’m glad that the followup here has been exclusively awesome. I was so scared this thread was going to become all about the terrible plight of the white straight cis feminist…

  20. emily
    emily May 15, 2012 at 11:29 pm |

    It did occur to me when looking at the cards that none of the mommies looked exactly like me, but it didn’t make me feel “pushed out.” It made me think that maybe other people notice this “they don’t look like me” phenomena more often than I do.

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