Amanda at Pandagon has a post entitled “We have nothing to lose…” that reads, in its entirety:
By letting sex workers have a voice in the feminist movement. Surely we can disagree on the best practices for reducing the male abuse of sex workers without excluding people from the movement? I have to register my disapproval of the exclusion of sex workers from the International Women’s Day March in London.
My thoughts: gee, you think? Notes came up in comments about the specifics of that situation (ie. whether we were talking about “exclusion” or simply “not being invited”) and whatever–I don’t think that’s the important point.
Hmm…you know, now that I think about it, maybe it isn’t a good idea to categorically exclude people from ‘the movement’, even if we don’t really agree on everything. I mean, it’s not like they can really hurt us, can they? Yeah, there’s a thought…maybe I should ask some of the other board members, though, because I’m not really sure.
No, seriously, when did this become such an earth-shattering thought that it can be said with this tone of “aren’t I being gracious?”, not to mention the tentative “I might be wrong here, but…” question at the end of it.
Newsflash: “We” — and by ‘we’ I mean the whole fucking human race–have plenty to gain by stopping to listen to voices that have practically always been marginalized. The way power works, and the way power has always worked, has been to silence and marginalize and limit and remove sanction from certain voices that weren’t coming from the “right” kind of people. And the way power can be maintained while presenting the appearance of graciousness is to dole out little tidbits of sanction toward those voices, providing tiny spaces where it becomes okay for those people to say their bit–as long as they’re not hurting anyone, really.
To listen to someone sit back and congratulate themselves for having this fucking revolutionary idea to not silence people categorically while publicly acknowledging the belief, however tacitly, that there is some kind of “we” who have their hands wrapped around the reins of the movement and who get to bestow speaking rights to others and on topics as it suits them literally makes me feel sick to my stomach.