Someone (you know who you are) showed me and Charles the pretty amazing meme Tumblr. I worry it makes us and this post irrelevant and sad, but we’re gonna soldier on.
So, let’s do it. It’s time for Olivia to examine feminist and SJ discursive paradigms that are terrible and harmful!
I hate “go do research.” I hate “go educate yourself.” I hate “the reason why you don’t already know that you’re wrong is that you haven’t done research.” I hate “you have access to the internet, why are you still so ignorant?” I hate “It’s not my job to educate you.”
Because, holy shit, y’all. Holy shit. Let’s pretend I’ve just been told to go “do some fucking research” on a subject by someone (in this case, you). These are my reactions, in no particular order:
1) For real, don’t just assign me homework that will make your argument for you. I know I’m frustrating, but withholding information that you totally have from me and forcing me to work for it is incredibly disrespectful and poor form.
2) Where? Where am I going? Should I just Google “die cis scum,” or “feminist issues,” or “privilege” and trust what I get there? Chances are, if I run into any other people, they’ll just tell me the same thing. Can you fucking at least tell me where I ought to go? Don’t you have some nice primers for me on this or… Or anything? No? You’re just going to toss me at the internet blind? Coool.
3) There’s a reason I don’t know this shit and you do. Chances are, it’s because I have what you’d call privilege and you don’t. And so you found a forum to talk in or found people who were saying things that made sense to you. You developed nuanced ideas over time because doing so mattered to you. All of that listening you did? You did that for a reason. Maybe you’re trans* and your life depended on it, even. But I’m not. I’m a rank amateur for a reason and that reason makes total sense and it’s not because I’m some sort of stupid.
4) I thought you wanted me to care, or to see why I’m wrong. Or why you’re right. You think dismissing me like this is going to get me to do so? At all? I don’t know why you think that. Best case scenario, I’ll do the research successfully, come to understand your argument, and think you are really, really terrible.
5) It’s obviously not your job to educate me. You are not getting paid. I am taking your time, and I get that. But I’m not going to magically become educated. Information is not just going to siphon into me from the ether. This means that someone has to educate me, even if that someone is a blog post from 2007. Telling me it’s not your job, is just passing the buck, passing responsibility. It is or looks lazy and rude and if everyone did it, there would be no education. It’s not your job to educate me, but unless you take it upon yourself to at least point me in the right direction, the chances that I will ever learn grow slimmer by the moment.
Can we as feminists and SJ people please, please stop just telling people to do research? Can’t we at least tell them where’s a good place to get started? Please. Education is the way to effect change, and I kinda thought that was our goal.