Rules of Feminism 8: Admit Fault

Nov 6, 2013 | Opinions

This is more six-year-old shit, and yet I see it all the time – people make a mistake or say something problematic, and instead of just apologizing and trying to do better, they double down and get defensive, like admitting fault is admitting defeat – or worse, admitting fault is admitting legal liability. Regardless, this is a crappy thing to do and it’s bad.

Admit that you’re wrong, and try to do better.

This is a juvenile fucking attitude and you’d better not do it, ever. Adults can admit their mistakes and try to correct them. Whiny babies wail and cry about how they’re right and all the mean people should go away. Are you a whiny baby? No? Then put on your grown up pants and LISTEN when someone tells you that you dun goofed. And you will, trust me. Humans aren’t known for being perfect.

(Another addendum: For the last fucking time, it is not censorship if someone asks you to stop using a slur. DO NOT DEBATE THIS. If a woman asks you to stop using the word ‘bitch’, that is not your cue to argue about what you meant or intended. That is when you apologize and find another damn word to use that isn’t a fucking slur.)

Here’s an example: a while back, I was tweeting something and I used the word ‘lame’ in the context of being bad. Like, ‘this is a lame excuse blah blah blah…’ I was called out on Twitter, rightly enough, for ableist language. So I apologized, retweeted an article that explains it, and now I’m trying not to use that word in that context again. Is it a burden on me? Hell fucking no. It costs me nothing to show solidarity, and if it makes disabled people feel more welcome, then I do it gladly.

That’s the other thing you might notice – the reparations in social justice aren’t exactly high demands. When someone makes a mistake, those wronged don’t ask for too much. Don’t use that word. Stop doing the thing that harms us. Apologize, and maybe make a donation to charity. Listen to us when we say you have wronged us in the future. Don’t call us names or treat us like we’re insane or over-reacting.

If fighting your corner is more important than basic human compassion, then you’re doing it wrong.