A public service announcement: Rolf Harris’s arrest has not ruined your childhood

Content note: this post discusses rape and sexual abuse

The latest name attached to the Yewtree arrests is Rolf Harris. A lot of us UK-dwellers were entertained by Harris’s TV shows as children, with all the art and songs and lovely things. So it might have come to a shock that he was arrested for sexual offences since he seemed so nice, and was an integral part of our childhoods in the sort of way those TV nostalgia countdown shows dictate an integral part of our childhoods.

It hardly comes as a surprise, then, that people have been crying out that their childhoods have been ruined because their televisual idol has been arrested. While this represents, at least, a nascent sense of taking sexual offences seriously, it is still a deeply problematic thing to say.

Someone you watched on TV getting nicked for sexual offences doesn’t ruin your childhood. All of those happy memories of eating jelly and seeing if you could tell what it is yet are still intact. This was still how you passed some of your childhood, in between using jumpers for goalposts and eating Spangles and whatever else you did back in those days. Yes, it may leave a bad taste in your mouth to know that later he was arrested for something vile, but this does not mean that your childhood was in any way ruined.

If you want to know what a ruined childhood looks like, why not start with the survivors of other Yewtree suspects, or the instigator of the whole thing, Jimmy Savile? Children were raped and abused by powerful men. It happened, and will continue to happen, for as long as we allow rape culture to thrive.

To say that someone you don’t know but enjoyed watching on telly getting nicked ruined your childhood trivialises these frighteningly common occurrences which have very real consequences in destroying not just a childhood, but often a whole life. Sexual violence is not a walk in the park for anyone, and leaves emotional scars that cut deep.

The view is inextricably linked with a very common trope of rape culture: a focus placed on the perpetrator rather than on survivors. This way of looking at things has negative consequences and stands in the way of ever getting anything done (see the pervasive notion that being accused of rape is the worst thing that can happen to anyone, for example).

So no, Rolf Harris’s arrest did not ruin your childhood. To say otherwise trivialises and erases the reality of sexual violence.

Transgender: not a challenge to feminist politics–unpicking transphobic tropes

So, today an article came to my attention that is almost like a bingo card for microaggressive transphobia. Entitled Transgender: the challenge to feminist politics, it is the sort of bollocks I’d usually let my trans sisters take down, but talking to some of them on Twitter about this, there was an air of fatigue, that it was nothing new. And it’s true. It’s tedious and reads like a checklist of tropes of people being wrong about trans women. I’d honestly recommend people bothered educating themselves by reading blogs by trans women, or actually talking to fucking trans women.

I have the luxury of not being directly harmed by this article, or anything else to this effect. This is how I find the energy to fight it. However, I’ve likely missed a few things, and I’d love if my trans sisters have any resources, links or additions to make, to let me know, and I’ll signal-boost you. Also, this is a very short, point-by-point rapid response, intended to make sure that some of the worst of this is quickly dealt with. Each point is worthy of its own post, as each of these tropes come up so often.

Now on to the demolition.

There are so many battles yet to be won by feminists that we must not be distracted by internal schisms. If we can identify a shared political goal with trans women, says Rahila Gupta, we should be able to end this polarisation.

Trans women are women. There are therefore a lot of shared political goals. Any polarisation comes from some cis women being bigoted.

After decades of debating what it means to be a feminist,  who would have thought that even the category ‘woman’ would be up for discussion, and would need to be qualified with the prefix ‘born’ (i.e. born- woman)?

The correct prefix is not “born”, but “cis”. “Born” implies some sort of biologically essential characteristic.

until new technology came along to allow those who suffer from gender dysphoria to choose the body in which they feel most comfortable.

Trans people aren’t just a new invention with new technology. Trans people have always existed.

The suicide of Lucy Meadows, a teacher in the process of transitioning, in response to her persecution by the press exemplifies the wide-spread prejudice against trans people. 

Sadly, transphobia is not just limited to this very salient example.

Against this history, it becomes very difficult to have a reasoned debate about what transgender means for sex binaries, gender politics and feminism without touching a raw nerve in members of the trans community.

The use of “reasoned” and “touched a raw nerve” places trans people as “unreasonable”. This is a classic example of dogwhistle prejudice, and “the crazy trans lady” is a common trope used against trans women. Immediately after this, the author lists two examples of things that she thinks are not transphobia. Both of them are instances of transphobia. Great silencing work!

 The fact that those who claim that theirs is a liberatory new movement are adopting body shapes that have historically oppressed women is worth debating and no different to the debates we may have with the fashion industry or even amongst women.  

Just as cis women have lots of different body shapes, so, too, do trans women. Ignoring this fact is either ignorant or disingenous. I genuinely can’t work out which.

Central to feminist thinking is that gender is a social construct rather than a biological construct and that spurious arguments about the biological inferiority of women have been used to justify the existence of patriarchy. The imperative felt by transsexuals to undergo surgery and hormone therapy in order to identify as the sex to which they aspire thus undercuts a major plank of feminist politics. 

Well, maybe your feminist politics need to move on from the 1970s, then. My feminist politics accommodate trans people perfectly well.

ETA: Furthermore, surgery is not a crucial aspect of a transition: some women choose not to have hormones or surgery for their own reasons. It’s their choice, and it doesn’t make them any less women. (thanks @JessWardman for suggesting I clarify this point!)

Men who transition to women

WHAT? No. Trans women are women. Stop calling them men.

ETA: This is as good a times as any to draw attention to another false narrative around trans people, as observed by an anonymous friend of mine: there is a narrative that trans women “want to become” women rather than are women.

Men who transition to women often adopt a hyper feminine style of dress and appearance, thus yoking femininity and women very much as patriarchy does, a link that feminists have been trying hard to break. 

Not all feminists. Again, move on from the 1970s. Also, there is absolutely no critique of the role of the medical establishment in this. Doctors often force trans women to behave in a certain way in order to get treatment.

ETA: From an anonymous friend: “not all trans women are feminine by a long shot, even with the medical pressure.”

Additionally, genderqueer politics holds that the rigid imposition of gender identities is the main problem and that the binary system affects men and women equally whereas feminists like myself would see the oppression of one sex (women) by another (men) as the central issue

No. Binaries are unhelpful.

It is also interesting that the most noise in public debates is made by men transitioning to women, another example of male privilege

JESUS CHRIST STOP WITH CALLING TRANS WOMEN MEN. Trans women do not have male privilege. They are women, with the intersecting oppression of being trans and thus facing this sort of shit.

According to a study carried out in 2009, of a community of 10,000 people in the UK, 6000 have transitioned, 80 per cent of whom are now trans women (MTF).

I don’t know what she means by “transitioned” here, but I think I can guess that she means surgery (more on this later)

Whilst it may be understandable that women might wish to live as men in order to escape their ‘inferior’ sex, it is harder to understand why such large numbers of men should opt to transition to women and thereby, give up their male privilege, plus face the additional discrimination of adopting transgender identities. Nevertheless, the fact that more men than women have transitioned is itself an indication that patriarchy gives men a disproportionate power and freedom to choose how they live.

Perhaps because they’re not doing it to swap privileges around? And if she had ever even bothered to speak to a trans woman, maybe, just maybe, she would know that trans women are not men, and that it’s hardly a “disproportionate power and freedom”, being trans.

ETA: From my anonymous friend: “one reason for trans women being more visible than trans men despite evidence suggesting numbers are roughly equally is that trans men are not questioned as much by the media (because of male privilege – being a man ‘makes sense’)

Jenny Roberts, a transsexual, explains why their response to rejection by born-women is so noisy:  the transsexual ‘often responds in the only way she knows – with male aggression and anger… the inescapable fact is that we’ve grown up with gender privilege. We’ve been taught to compete, take power and demand what should be ours.’

Wow, a cherry-picked quote. One. The only indication that the author has bothered seeking out anything, and it’s something which backs up her beliefs entirely.

It is this history of lived experience as a different sex and gender that makes many women, particularly radical feminists and lesbians, wary of transsexuals. 

Well, they should stop being wrong, then. I know I grew out of it.

How do we balance our equalities duties with the need for a women-only space especially when employing transsexuals who have not finished the transition? The Sex Discrimination Act takes this into account partly when it stipulates that discrimination may be lawful when a particular job requires a worker of a particular sex and the transgender applicant is still in the process of transitioning… But the paradox is that the possession of male genitalia would make their presence in women only environments much more problematic

They’re still women. Having a penis doesn’t make someone not a woman. Having a vagina doesn’t make someone a woman.

ETA: My anonymous friend pointed out I didn’t say more on surgery, and I was going to say it here: it’s patently obvious that what the author means by transition is surgery. As @JessWardman pointed out, some trans people opt not to have surgery, and that’s OK.

This brings us back to the knotty issue of biology versus gender – if conditioning is what makes men violent, then surely unhappiness with ‘maleness’ indicates that that the conditioning is unravelling and therefore makes a trans woman no more or less likely than born- women to be prone to violence.

Note the distinct lack of any citatations or statistics, because there are none, because this belief is rooted in, once again, the very unpleasant notion that trans women are somehow male.

When many of the younger feminists are actively bringing supportive men into the movement and into the conference halls and debating the roles they should adopt

How is the presence of men pertinent to trans women? Spoiler alert: it isn’t.

At the end of the day, it is about a shared politics, rather than identities per se, of working with trans people who share and support feminist goals.

Which a lot of trans women do because they’re women.

The respect shown by a trans woman like Jenny Roberts who says, ‘We should accept that there are groups where our presence is not appropriate and groups where it is. And we should stop acting like we still have the privileges that we grew up with’ would go a long way to end this polarisation.

Yes. That is literally the conclusion of the article. Shut up, trans women, and step in line. A classic cis silencing tactic, which I’m all too aware of because I once used it myself.

Anyway. Fuck that shit. I’m off for a fag. What an awful article.

Things I read this week that I found interesting

I have read some things, some of which were not even written this week. I found them interesting. Maybe you will too. Please link me to other things I may find interesting.

A feminist guide to celebrating Thatcher’s demise (Angry Women of Liverpool)- How to be happy Thatcher’s dead without being oppressive to women. I think I am just a little bit in love with this post.

Obituary (Pere Lebrun)- This is such a beautiful piece of writing.

Obituary for Margaret Hilda Thatcher (National Union of Mineworkers)- I don’t think these miners thought much of Thatcher…

Naomi Beecroft at the NUS VP hustings (video)- In which the amazing Naomi calls out the SWP for rape apologism, while looking fabulous. She’s getting a lot of shit for this, and she shouldn’t. It needed saying, and she said it so eloquently.

The Revolution Will Not Be Polite: The Issue of Nice versus Good (Social Justice League)- Oh my goodness, a thousand times this.

Depression and Suicide Amongst Radicals and Anarchists (Nihilo Zero)- An important piece on mental health in radical circles. Libcom are currently working on a producing a resource about this issue, and are seeking submissions.

Femen’s obsession with nudity feeds a racist colonial feminism (Chitra Nagarajan)- On how Femen should take a lead from the women they are trying to save, rather than trying to lead.

Legal authorities edge toward sanctioning trans murder (Jane Fae)- Jane writes on the horrifying implications of some recent legal rulings.

Your Story Already Sucks: An Open Letter To Tourist Journalists (Charlotte Shane)- A blistering riposte to mainstream journalists reporting on sex work.

The Bad Wolfed Clara Theory (Wholligan)- Just about the most compelling theory about the current series of Doctor Who I’ve seen.

East African women on FGM: “Sometimes they just call you lazy.” (Okwonga)- Interviews with women who have undergone FGM, talking about their attitude to the procedure in their own words.

Finding my voice (itsjustahobby)- Heartbreaking account of rape from a sex worker trying to reclaim narratives.

Five Years, My Story (musings of a rose)- Another heartbreaking story, this time of what rape does to you.

Death of a revolutionary (Susan Faludi)- A long piece about the life and death of Shulamith Firestone.

And finally, your computer is sad.

Confessions of a former arsehole

If I could build a time machine, I would do several things. First of all, I’d hang out with Mary Wollstonecraft, possibly taking tea with her and her marvellously-named friend Fanny Blood. Then I’d have sex with Stalin back when he was young and sexy and come back and check to see if I’d rocked his world enough to prevent all the beastliness he perpetrated. Then I’d undertake the possibly paradox-inducing step of popping back in time to visit myself a few years back, and slap myself round the face for being, basically a bit of a shitbaguette. 

Now don’t get me wrong. I know I’m not perfect right now, and I also know that I am a hell of a lot better than I used to be.

Yes, this is another post about me.

I write this not to solicit praise at my bravery for admitting to this. Frankly, it’s all pretty horrible things to admit to having thought, and none of it is OK. If anything, I expect people to be pissed at past-me, and I embrace that, because I am also very pissed at past-me.

I am, like many others, privileged in some respects and not privileged in others. Where I had privilege, I was very, very ignorant of how fucking blessed I was. Where I didn’t, I’d internalised a lot of bullshit. Being born and socialised into this society does that to you. I say this not to justify any of what follows, but, rather, to explain it.

And I find this section quite hard to write, knowing what I do now, because I find it hard to find an appropriate level of detail which explains how wrong I used to be while also avoiding being triggering to others. So, basically, feel free to skip this bit and go to the bit below the picture of a kitten if you want to, because I’m going to touch on a lot of oppressive things I thought and did.

I used to believe that everything was some sort of intellectual exercise, that it could all be rationalised and discussed, and that when people showed emotion they had somehow lost the argument. I was one of those obnoxious atheists. I even quite liked Richard Dawkins.

I thought that maybe I’d be safer from being raped if I didn’t wear high heels, because men found them sexy, and it was harder to run away. I thought that some rape allegations were definitely worthy of doubt, because it was so hard on the poor accused and some women probably did just want to ruin a man’s life. I’d tell rape jokes. I body-shamed other women a lot.

I used to be transphobic. I’d use slurs and jokes in conversations with my entirely cis social circle. I held a very strong belief in some sort of essentialist notion of gender. When I was trying to be all politically correct, everything I’d say was riddled with offensive stuff (e.g. “used to be a man”) even though I genuinely thought I was being progressive. I think I even respected the opinion of the trans-exclusionary radical feminists–even when I held some distinctly unfeminist beliefs, I still thought myself a feminist because that was a good thing for me to be.

I often used  racist slurs and jokes. Again, never to the people directly affected, because my social circle was mostly white. However once, to my shame, I literally used the “my black friend doesn’t mind” excuse. And I was unthinking as hell, and that seeped out into my language. I thought and said some terrible things about travellers.

I used to be whorephobic. I thought some pretty fucking terrible things about sex work and sex workers. First judgment, then a patronising pity.

I used ableist slurs and jokes. Yep, once again, my social circle was quite abled. My language was very poor indeed.

I used words describing mental health and learning disabilities as slurs and figures of speech.

I once went to a “chav party”. That was a thing I did.

I used the humour defence for so much shit. Even beyond this. Just banter, just humour, it should be edgy. And any attempt to moderate my language, well, that was probably just political correctness gone mad.


I am cringing as I write this. I’m sure there’s more, loads more. I wanted to put it all out there, but I am burning from shame right now, and that has sort of fried my memory. Plus, for at least three years during the awful time, I was on medication that meant I can’t really remember anything from that time in any detail. At any rate, these are some things I did and I believed.

I got better.

I got better because I met a lot of wonderful people, people from all sorts of backgrounds. Before, my social circle had been fucking limited, and I’d just assumed all of this terrible shit was OK. The veil of ignorance was pierced. Twitter helped a lot. You tend to meet a lot of really cool people. And these really cool people took the time to challenge me, to explain why I was being a rampaging arsewipe. At first, I was defensive. That passed quickly. And then I learned. And I took the time to proactively learn, to proactively seek knowledge, to embark on a voyage of not needing to be challenged or called out–I am not there yet. Sometimes I slip up and need to be called out.

Every single thing I named up there, I made sure I learned why it was wrong. Why what I’d found funny was in fact incredibly oppressive to others. How much misogyny I’d internalised over the years. How I was wrong about a lot of things that too many people had led me to believe were right.

This is why I like to pay forward the favour that people did for me in the past. Being called out made me change my beliefs and my behaviour. It stopped me from inadvertently harming anyone. I do not remotely believe that any of these past things I took for granted are OK any more, but in a parallel world, there is a Stavvers who was never called out, who is probably sitting around watching Top Gear and laughing along with Jeremy Clarkson (yes, I did that. I know.)

It changed me fundamentally, being called out, and that’s why I feel it’s such an important thing to do.

I’ll still fuck up. I’m still not perfect, and I never will be. All I know is that I will try and try and try.

And I have a lot of people to thank for that. I am eternally grateful to you all.

Call-out week: a semi-coherent series of things on my mind

  1. When silencing isn’t silencing and sisterhood isn’t sisterhood
  2. Your prejudice is unconscious, but it’s still there
  3. “Call-out culture” isn’t a thing (but it should be)
  4. Self-doubt and receptivity to privilege-checking
  5. Confessions of a former arsehole

Self-doubt and receptivity to privilege-checking

Content note: this post discusses my personal experiences of mental ill-health, sexual violence and emotional abuse

I have a hypothesis. It is not necessarily a very good one, as it is built almost purely from personal experience and some conversations I have had with others.

But it’s a hypothesis, and in the spirit of Week Of Posts About Calling Out And Privilege And Stuff, I feel like it’s worth stating.

As confident as I may seem, I am riddled with self-doubt, a little voice at the back of my head perpetually squeaking “Stavvers, you’re probably wrong about this and chatting shit”. It’s been there almost as long as I remember, and I’m fairly sure it is the sound of the internalisation of all of the oppressive experiences I have had throughout my life.

I’ve been raped by a partner, I’ve been emotionally abused by another. My dyspraxia means people have treated me like I’m inept and stupid throughout most of my school years. My epilepsy led to being treated like a delicate little flower who might keel over at any point, as has the vast history of benevolent sexism I’ve experienced since I’ve sprouted tits. My school never taught me I even existed as a queer woman, thanks to Thatcher’s Section 28, and I’ve experienced all sorts of bollocks as a queer woman ever since I decided to be open about it. With all of this shit, it feels like an inevitable curse to find myself experiencing periodic spells of depression which come and suck my soul away.

Because of all of this, I find it very difficult to believe I could possibly be right about anything. I try to tell that little bit of me that actually, I’m nowhere near as crap as I feel that I am, but the nagging doubt remains. My conscious thoughts, and my network of wonderful people who for whatever reason seem to like me, are much kinder to me than my emotions.

This has a major effect in conversations about privilege, in particularly with privileged people. I’ve written before about how conversations about privilege can so often feel like gaslighting: within a system of dominance, there are two opposing perceptions of reality and the privileged cannot see the problem so denies its existence, denies a reality experienced by someone else.

Because of my self-doubt, and my experience of emotional abuse, I am pretty fucking sensitive to gaslighting. When I call someone out and they deny there is a problem, just for a fleeting second my self-doubt gets the better of me. For a fleeting second, that person is my rapist, my abuser, every man who has ever patronised me, every cop who has held me against my will, every homophobe, every creep, every bastard who has ever fucked with me and I’ve kicked myself for not fighting back. Often, this passes quickly. Sometimes, it does not, and I will get angry and try to avenge myself for everything that my self-doubt has told me was my fault; or I will get sad and simply listen to the self-doubt and self-blame.

But in its own way, the self-doubt is also a gift. It makes me more receptive to criticism, and more willing to change. It means that when someone calls me out, my first instinct is not that they are wrong, but rather, that am probably wrong. And often, as it happens, I am wrong.

I have noticed a certain self-assuredness in those with more privilege than me which makes it very difficult to challenge them when they need challenging. They genuinely don’t appear to even entertain the possibility that they could be wrong, and that that’s not a big deal.

So this is my hypothesis, that the self-doubt which comes with being fucked over by society makes us more willing to be challenged and listen, and more receptive to being called out and asked to check our privilege.

It means that getting those who actually need to try harder not to oppress others will be a far, far harder struggle if I’m right about this. If there’s not even any room for doubt and self-reflection in their thoughts, how can we possibly persuade them to change? I suppose backing each other up might go some way to help, presenting a view that this isn’t some sort of minority opinion.

I don’t really have any answers, all I have is questions. I don’t even know if I’m onto something here. So I suppose I’ll start with a pertinent question: does anyone else feel this way, too?

Call-out week: a semi-coherent series of things on my mind

  1. When silencing isn’t silencing and sisterhood isn’t sisterhood
  2. Your prejudice is unconscious, but it’s still there
  3. “Call-out culture” isn’t a thing (but it should be)
  4. Self-doubt and receptivity to privilege-checking
  5. Confessions of a former arsehole

“Call-out culture” isn’t a thing (but it should be)

The words are everywhere these days, presented as a threat, a menace. The spectre of “call-out culture” lurks under the bed, in the back of the wardrobe, down the U-Bend, ready to sic the Online Wimmin Mob on poor innocent feminists to silence them.

As I argued earlier this week, it is patent nonsense to believe that calling out equals silencing. It is also patent nonsense to believe–as some seem to–that there is some sort of coordinated gang doing the calling out, ready at a moment’s notice to cry transphobia and let slip the dogs of war.

That’s just not how it works. In fact, it’s a kind of anarchy in action. There’s no coordination. It’s just that a few people notice that the same thing is problematic and therefore call it out. There’s no premeditation, and it’s seldom meant as a pile-on, it’s just that some people are a little more alert to problematic behaviour and language than others, and these people may call it out.

There is no call-out culture. Frankly, those of us who do call people out are in a bit of a minority. Frankly, there’s so much bullshit in so many feminisms that is going unaddressed because too many people think this shit flies. Often, only the highest-profile instances are called out, if at all.

It would actually be quite nice if there really was a call-out culture. It would be nice for feminism, because we could get better and address our failings of far too many women. We could all learn something.

And it would also be better for people being called out. Yes, really. At present, too many people mistake calling out and drawing attention to problematic language and behaviours which inadvertently oppress others as bullying, when in fact it is quite the opposite. It’s an opposition to the cultural hegemony of the white, cis, abled, economically-secure privileged few, and an opening up of feminism to those who need it. It opposes oppression.

Yet because it happens so infrequently, many of those called out think they are being unfairly picked on.

So let us develop a culture wherein calling out is the norm rather than an exception. Let us develop a culture wherein calling out is seen for what it is: a favour. Let us develop a culture wherein we understand the function of why calling out happens, and that it is not some sort of slight on the person, but, rather, a move towards those of us fighting for social justice to stop oppressing our sisters. Let us develop a culture wherein calling out does not feel like a thankless, frustrating task and rather than crying out in anger, we exist in an environment where it is no big deal.

Let us do this, and eventually, the call-out culture will die, because it will no longer be needed at all.

Call-out week: a semi-coherent series of things on my mind

  1. When silencing isn’t silencing and sisterhood isn’t sisterhood
  2. Your prejudice is unconscious, but it’s still there
  3. “Call-out culture” isn’t a thing (but it should be)
  4. Self-doubt and receptivity to privilege-checking
  5. Confessions of a former arsehole

Your prejudice is unconscious, but it’s still there

This week, it turns out I have rather a lot to say about the state of feminism, in particular about calling out privilege.

Today I’m going to write about something I haven’t written about in a while: psychology. Specifically, implicit biases. I’ve written two posts about this before, mostly relating to the topic of racism (see here and here). While I’d recommend reading the two pieces in full, I’ll summarise here.

In short, we all have a lot of biases that we don’t consciously notice, but manifest very subtly in our language and our behaviour. We are often slower to associate positive characteristics with people of colour, or faster to associate family roles with women, and so forth. These little biases manifest in our behaviour: we might sit further away from a person of colour, or use very abstract language which assigns blame to a member of an outgroup. People in oppressed groups often internalise at least some of this implicit bias: women may display slightly negative attitudes towards women, for example.

Most importantly, people who hold these negative implicit biases don’t know that they do, and don’t think that they are prejudiced. Yet their biases have real consequences in the real world.

The good news is, implicit biases can be overcome. While they are quick to form and harder to undo than the conscious beliefs, it is possible. And the first stage in unlearning these biases is awareness. It is then possible to educate and to reduce these biases, and their effects. This has actually been done, and with some success. It also helps if people displaying these biases are shown that this is actually not what the majority believes; it helps them overcome these beliefs.

This body of research is, of course, very pertinent to what some refer to as “call-out culture”, and goes some way to explaining why rather a lot of feminists are rather resistant to having the fact that they are displaying rather problematic behaviours or using problematic language, or just generally articulating beliefs that are not OK and oppress other women.

They don’t think they are prejudiced against women of colour, or trans women, or working class women, or sex workers, or whoever their target is. And a lot of them are completely unaware of this (though some may try to intellectualise their prejudices).

And it can be quite horrifying having it brought to your attention that actually you are seething with prejudice that you never noticed within yourself. Isn’t it only bad people who are prejudiced? Well, no. Research into implicit bias actually tends to show that most people are kind of prejudiced and I’ve never seen anything correlating it with Being A Bad Person–no matter how this variable is operationalised.

The question is, when awareness is raised of these biases, is what do you do with this information?  Some people decide to make a conscious effort to change what they do, to learn, to overcome this. Others pretend it is not a problem.

It is, though. It really is. I cannot stress enough the implications of these implicit biases and how important it is to try to get over them. Being called out does not mean you are a bad person, it merely means the back of your brain needs a bit of retraining. Get to it.

Retraining is painless, particularly in comparison with what your brain had been doing before.

Call-out week: a semi-coherent series of things on my mind

  1. When silencing isn’t silencing and sisterhood isn’t sisterhood
  2. Your prejudice is unconscious, but it’s still there
  3. “Call-out culture” isn’t a thing (but it should be)
  4. Self-doubt and receptivity to privilege-checking
  5. Confessions of a former arsehole


This post was inspired by a conversation with the lovely Cel.