Thursday, October 08, 2009

Why so mad little girly?

Let's talk about agency and intent for a minute, cause I'm so fucking pissed off right now I could tear the heads off "well meaning" fauxgressives and bathe in their blood.

Agency. We feminists use that term a lot. Agency is the idea that people get to choose their own lives, without restraint or coercion. For straight up white middle class feminism, that means freedom to choose when and with who to have sex or not have sex, and whether or not to get pregnant, stay pregnant, be a mother, not be a mother. Those are all important things to decide for yourself, but they aren't the end all be all of agency.

Agency means different things to different people (and we ain't even gotten into intersectionality) but at it's core it means having the access to tools and resources to choose your own life. For a person with disabilities those tools might be cars with wheel chair lifts or internet access and video conferencing for those who are bedridden.

For a poor mom, it might be access to enough resources so that they can plan their family's meals with nutrition and tastiness, not cost, as the deciding factors.

That's it, that's all agency means, It means getting to choose for yourself. Period.

Now let's talk about intent. There are lots of well meaning people in the world who just fuck up grandly when it comes to us poor oppressed types. People who talk down to people in wheel chairs may think they are just being friendly and their intent is good, but by treating a PWD as less than they are removing the PWD's agency.

And when people talk about helping the poor by placing MORE restrictions on poor people, by say limiting what kinds of food poor people (or fat people) are allowed to buy, they are removing that poor person's agency.

Even though their intent is to help.

And I get pissed, really, blood bloodcurdling, pissed off when one more person with good intentions talks about the poor like we're misbehaving housepets who need to be kept from eating the garbage.

Cause they're talking about me. They are treating me, a real live intelligent person, like I have no more sense than a 4 year old with a bag of Halloween candy.

To be a sexist, racist, ableist, homophobic, transphobic, classist oppressor does not require intent to be any of those things. It simply requires the removal of someone elses' agency, even if you think it's in their best interest.

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