Checking my privilege- a recent example
There's so much debate online at the moment about whether privilege checking is an essential tool for self-analysis within intersectional feminism, or an effort to silence people. Here's a recent example where I had to "check my privilege".
- This week, Radio 4 Woman's Hour made a (dreadful) editorial decision to focus a piece about encouraging women in tech around the views of men. They wanted to ask two men what they thought men should do to encourage women into tech. Naturally, this provoked a response from Emma Mulqueeny, a fabulous campaigner on the issue of getting kids coding, who runs Young Rewired State, and had been approached by researchers to contribute her thoughts and opinions and had been told she would be appearing in the programme. She was then told the focus had switched to the views of some men. Her blog above outlines the whole affair, its recommended reading.We started to use her suggested hashtag, which we all thought was hilarious and apt: no-one thought it might be offensive to anyone...
- As you can see, I was quite cross and talking about this issue to everyone on my timeline
- Then, I was somewhat stopped in my tracks. Someone sent me a Tweet asking if I denied that trans* women were real women. I was stunned! I felt cross- why would they accuse me of this? Hadn't I always tried to be a decent ally?
- I responded that I didn't understand. Then it hit me. The hashtag we were using was perceived by trans* women as being oppressive.
- Immediately, I tweeted my concern onto the tag timeline.
- I quickly checked in with a fellow feminist who I knew would understand both my horror at the idea I had oppressed someone, and the desire I had to change for the better.
- People are so wonderful- the person who had originally called out my privilege was so understanding of my error and accepted my apology. I like to think she could tell it was genuine
- As with many oppressed people, she felt uncomfortable about her entirely justified anger, and I felt it was important that I made it clear I wasn't trying to police her tone as she told me something so personal.
- Other people on the tag offered more inclusive hashtag suggestions:
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