Thursday, 21 October 2010

Navigating intersectional privilege: you're doing it wrong

Today, Cherie Blair is saving the women of the world using only the power of Snake 2. Well, alright, not exactly; her Foundation For Women has launched an initiative aiming to halve the 'gender gap' in mobile phone ownership in developing countries. The women of the world aren't entirely convinced.

I really love that someone was so proud of this achievement that they put a picture of it on the internet.

Rule #1: anything which involves the word "empowerment" should be treated with grave suspicion. In my experience, it seems to be code for "we're not going to give you any rights, or access to resources, or even any, like, power, but here, have some sugar-coated sop!"

Rule #2: The most basic principle of Helping Other People With Whom You Share A Common Oppression Without Trampling All Over Them In A Privileged Haze Of 'Hurrah, I Shall Save The Foreigners, Am I Not Marvellous!' is, surely, listening: if you say "hey, want me to empower the heck out of you using mobile phones?" and they say "thanks, but actually we'd quite like some schools if you've got the money going spare!" MAYBE YOU SHOULD HELP THEM BUILD SOME MOTHERFUCKING SCHOOLS.

Or better yet, you could start off with the very simple phrase, "how can I help?"

Or, Snake 2.

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