Tuesday 23 June 2020

Poked the bear again.......got bit

"Lucy Illuminata" a digital image by Pearl Red Moon, 2014

I am such a clumsy dickhead.

I try to have a voice in the online community of people who work to raise awareness about the unethical and unsustainable practices of the international garment manufacturing industry. Through Patreon I make monthly ongoing donations to a range of individual artists and organisations I support. Some of the people I give money to are ones I’ve offended. Last night I blew my cover by posting a reply on a discussion thread a campaigner had started. The person, (whom I won’t name as I’ve taken on board the feedback that its regarded as insulting) I’ll call XYZ. I thought I had a relevant comment to make (about the issue, not one iota of it was personal) but XYZ didn’t have anything to say about that, she only focused on her outrage at finding me lurking around on her platform.

I find it bizarre to keep getting told I need to listen and learn. I seem to be the dumbest person in the room who would benefit the most from hearing her conversation, but when my ear was found pressed to the door I got ejected. Through Patreon I was more than happy to pay for the privilege of being educated, because there is real work invested in advocacy. Apparently the message can only be shared with selected right thinking people.

Why is the message so fragile it can’t stand up to a bit of scrutiny? If I ask a question, or - heaven forbid - indicate I think differently why is it such an outrage?

Of course, there are lots of zingy comebacks to justify keeping me distanced, such as – “centering myself” “white woman privilege” “grabbing the mic” “argumentative, defensive racist” ……

XYZ says things that can’t be challenged. Her position is she is always categorically right. I am always totally wrong. If my teensy, weensy little voice pops up saying “what about….?” or “maybe this….?” she says I’m attacking her as a person and never responds directly to the issues I raise.

Despite paying to listen to XYZ I still got kicked out because apparently it is disrespectful. Did it feel like I was trying to bust into the clubhouse? I’ve spent most of my life banished to the naughty corner because of not wearing pink and not playing nice. Club houses are foreign places for me. Ya ya, stay out big blabber mouth.

XYZ said I owed her an apology so I wrote this before ending my Patreon contribution and pulling the ejector seat lever to get off her platform.

XYZ, I am really heartfeltly genuinely sorry we have ended up in this awful slanging match. I truly respect and are grateful for the advocacy you do both for ethics in the clothing industry and for anti-racism. Your voice is powerful, articulate, authentic and I admire you immensely. I regret having caused so much offense to you and other BIPOC voices. Understanding that you feel my paying presence on your platform is still disrespectful and unwelcome I’ve just deleted myself. So sorry and ashamed.

I'm saying it here again for my blog readers.This statement is true. Its not a contradiction that I can apologise to XYZ and still have a disagreement with her. I am ashamed that the situation became fearful and scary for both of us. I am ashamed that I can’t present my person in a way that doesn’t get interpreted as a threat. My message, my words, my advocacy has been obscured because I struggle to dress it all up in pink with a satin bow in the correct way, in the only particular way that is read as acceptable. 

Well fuck it, I take responsibility for a lot of the shit fight becoming more ugly than necessary because my approach seemed very confrontational. Sheeesh! Fancy saying something that wasn't in agreement! 

Mostly I just feel sad to have gotten so off side with somebody I probably have more in common with than disagreement.

A dress made in 2015 from one of textile designs, printed by Spoonflower on cotton jersey knit

Finishing up with a note of good news. Tomorrow I'm having NBN TV from Newcastle (Australia) interview me in my Murrurundi studio. Its a wonderful opportunity to advocate for sustainability. I'll be showing them the remaining coats from my Thirty Coats exhibition and explaining how they're all made from used, thrifted fabrics.

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