Destroy the Joint versus women with disabilities

Destroy the Joint is an Australian feminist … movement?  Hashtag?  Group? that took its name from Alan Jones’s complaint that women were “destroying the joint” by turning up to things and doing their jobs and having opinions, and also, at the time, being Prime Minister.

We at No Award have long had a bit of side-eye for DtJ, because while it does many good things, it’s also super white feministical, for example, spearheading movements to make the government provide tampons to refugees in detention.  (We’ve already talked about the reasons why this is not always culturally appropriate.)

(White feminism: shorthand for feminism that isn’t intersectional, so-called because it usually ignores or outright erases the needs and experiences of women of colour.  It’s essentially feminism that’s applicable only to white, middle-class, able-bodied, cis women.)

Destroy the Joint have a history of excluding women of disabilities, as the late, magnificent Stella Young discussed in 2013.

Destroy the joint? Shit, I’d be happy just to be allowed in the joint.

Feminism has a history of excluding disabled women, because they don’t fit an idea of “female strength”.  Laurie Edwards discusses this at length in In The Kingdom of the Sick, where she recounts the way second wave feminists particularly regarded chronic illnesses like fibromyalgia and long-term depression as patriarchal plots to keep women weak.  This absolutely extends to other disabilities: second wave feminism wanted to construct a narrative of female independence, and women who depended on mobility aids, healthcare professionals and other people in general were not part of that.

Which brings us to the events of the weekend, as recounted by Sam Connor at Gimpled.

(I have vague feelings about equating the exclusion of disabled women from feminism with actual apartheid, but I also don’t want to derail an important and necessary discussion.)

(Steph has very strong feelings about the illustration of apartheid in this and how it’s part of the ongoing white feminism problem, but I GUESS we can talk about it another time.)

To summarise, Sam attempted to draw DtJ’s attention to the White Flower Procession, a memorial for disabled people who have died as a result of abuse.  DtJ not only declined as it didn’t fit their remit, but banned Sam from commenting.

Let’s be clear, the majority of disabled victims of violence are women.  But apparently, they re not sufficiently womanly for DtJ to consider their experiences relevant to mainstream feminism.

DtJ compounded their error by deleting a whole bunch of disabled women’s contributions to the #beingawoman hashtag, including some from an Aboriginal woman:

‘when i lodged a complaint against a taxi company for racism and all the drivers assumed i had been sexually assaulted because that happens to lots of disabled women. taxi rape #beingawoman’

This is particularly egregious because just a couple of weeks ago, The Conversation published an article about the particular vulnerability of Indigenous women with disabilities and society’s failure to meet even their most basic needs.

Apparently, as far as Destroy the Joint is concerned, this isn’t a problem.

On Sunday afternoon, Destroy the Joint compounded their errors with an epic fauxpology and denial (which, as the comments noted, didn’t stand up to scrutiny).  This is one of the few occasions where I recommend people do read the comments, because they are, on the whole, excellent and informative and generally restore one’s faith in the ability of feminism to be intersectional.

Dear Destroyers, Let us begin with a belated and unreserved apology about the way we have handled the comment…

Posted by Destroy the Joint on Sunday, November 22, 2015

The comments to that one are more facepalm-inducing, with a lot of “they’re just volunteers!” and “but they apologised so we can stop talking about it!”  And also a bunch of people taking a similar stance to No Award, which is basically, “Well done achieving the bare minimum, but we’re going to keep side-eyeing you for a good while yet”.

Further reading:

Quicklink of the Day #2: #DestroyTheJoint excludes voices of women with disabilities

 

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One thought on “Destroy the Joint versus women with disabilities

  1. “(I have vague feelings about equating the exclusion of disabled women from feminism with actual apartheid, but I also don’t want to derail an important and necessary discussion.)

    (Steph has very strong feelings about the illustration of apartheid in this and how it’s part of the ongoing white feminism problem, but I GUESS we can talk about it another time.)”

    Please do, when you feel it is appropriate. I also had a pretty strong reaction to this, on top of my pretty strong and months-long reaction to DTJ’s ableism.

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