Friday, October 11, 2013

Title Change: An Explaination

Until a few days ago the name of the blog was "Diary of a Feminazi." It has been suggested that I take a little time to explain why I originally picked that title and why I changed it.

The reason I picked the name in the first place is because of this time my little brother, who was in Jr. High school, called a little girl in his class a slut (side note: there is actually a LOT more to that whole story, including the fact that my brother had already apologized to the little girl the same day the incident happened). It got back to my mom and she called me and said something like, "Your brother called a girl a slut today. I've told him he has to call his feminazi sister so she can explain why he isn't to use that word. He'll be calling you in a few minutes." She had used the word as a term of endearment and I liked the irony in it. I didn't even realize, at the time, that it was a Rush Limbaugh reference. Anyway, I named the blog and then learned about the Limbaugh statement. I liked the name even more after that because it felt like a reclamation of the word, much the way Slutwalk works to take back "slut" in order to help stop victim blaming.
I really liked the name but then I read something, somewhere that happened to mention the use of the term as derogatory even when used ironically by feminists. The piece argued that the term showed insensitivity and a lack of validation to the victims, survivors, and families of those who were damaged by the horrific actions of the Nazi party.

I originally felt a little bit defensive about this. I didn't mean any harm by the name, and it had a personal significance to me besides the Rush reference, so maybe it was okay if I kept using it. I tried to just not think about it, but I also couldn't bring myself to publish another post under the name.

A week or so ago I read an article called "How to Tell if You're Racist," you should check it out here. It presents a metaphor: When you're walking past someone and you accidentally step on their foot, you stop and say your sorry and then you pay more attention as you continue on your way. You wouldn't dream of stepping on someone's foot and then saying "It's okay, you shouldn't be hurt because I intended to step to the left of your foot."
It's the same with language. It doesn't matter how pure or good your intentions are, when you discover that you've harmed, or could harm someone with your words or actions; you fix it, and watch out for that in the future.

This is my public apology; I'm sorry.

I've chosen the name "Diary of a Feminist Slut" for several reasons. It still has that sense of irony and reclamation I like so much, but it's also something I can claim completely. The word "slut" has been a tool of my oppression as a woman and a tool of my current empowerment, especially since I began working with Slutwalk SLC. It's also kind of perfect since my very first step into organized feminism and public speaking came from a request to have a "Third-wave feminist slut" on a panel about inter-generational cooperation and tension, specifically regarding language like slut, queer, and cunt.

Anyway, there's an explanation,  I had to check my bias and my privilege and I hope you'll take this admission as an opportunity to do the same.









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