Rules of Feminism 4: Don’t Blame People for How They Survive

Oct 29, 2013 | Opinions

I would have thought that this would be obvious on many, many levels, but holy shit, even I can be surprised sometimes.

NEVER blame or condemn people for doing things you personally don’t agree with to survive.

You know how conservatives rage about gay marriage? You know how they demonize gay people for wanting equal rights, and give out shit about how marriage is between a man and a woman and Biblical morality or whatever? Well, for gay people, it’s not about morality – it’s about basic survival, like making sure their loved ones can visit them in hospital and getting access to spousal benefits and being allowed to parent their children.

Feminists tend to have some very loud opinions on sex work, and how it degrades women and all that. Talk to some sex workers, though, and you swiftly find out that it’s a matter of whether they’re gonna eat or pay rent this month.

Sometimes people do things that you don’t agree with in order to stay safe, or earn a living, or support their families, or any number of vital things. The second you hold their means of survival against them, you become a douchebag of epic proportions and you need to STFU. If you actively work to take their means of survival away without offering something as good or better because you, personally, disagree with them being able to do it, then you are what is wrong with the world and you need to STOP.

The world is not a perfect place, but much as we dislike some parts of it, we still need to live in it and navigate it as best we can. Sometimes that means playing along with the very rules that oppress us in order to get ahead, to live comfortably, to provide for our loves ones. It is what it is. The point is that you can still fight against the rules of oppression without demonizing or fucking over the oppressed, for whom breaking them generally isn’t a realistic option.

If you, personally, can break them without repercussion? Then you’re probably privileged, and you need to think about that.