Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Privilege is...

Thought about a microcosm of privilege recently...privilege is posting incredibly bigoted, often violent, comments on public social media under your full name and not even thinking twice about it.

When I started blogging more seriously a few years ago, I made the decision to not write under my legal name. I was concerned that my personal opinions could come to affect my professional success or the reputation of the nonprofit I work for. As I say in my about me section: as someone whose livelihood depends on the generosity of others (individual donors, government grants, corporations, foundations, etc.) I do not ever want my personal opinions to be seen as representative of my professional affiliations. I don't feel that my writing is particularly controversial, but you never know what others might think, and I want to minimize any confusion between the personal and professional spheres of my life. 

A couple of recent interactions I had online with some raging bigots made me think about this and how sad it makes me. All that my writing really amounts to is advocating for oppressed people, bodily autonomy, and the end of rape culture...but I'm worried that these things are somehow controversial...really?? On the other hand, we have people throwing around all kinds of slurs, threats, etc. under their full names and not batting an eye. They probably know that society generally affirms their views and there will be little consequence for their actions (unless they hold some kind of public office or something, and even then who knows?)

Now, I realize that many of these people might just not be as generally cautious as I am, but I'm certainly not the only feminist/social justice blogger, tweeter, tumblr, who writes under a pseudonym or just first name. The concern is I have is shared by many. (And I'm privileged in that my only worries center on professional damage and not actual bodily harm like the threats I've seen slung at many trans women and women of color.)

So yeah, privilege is feeling free to write under your "real" name. 

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