You know who she kind of reminded me of, half the time?
You might not think I get it, but I do. Tearing down the icons of the past is the easiest thing in the world, especially when they’re no longer here to defend themselves. But it’s like what Monica Roberts said over at where I work, “Mary Daly was a complex individual who unfortunately took some problematic positions, and, as far as we know, refused to change her mind about them.”
“Problematic” mostly means “way more transphobic than a dumbass David Letterman joke,” by the way.
I don’t like to “call people out” on their “privilege.” I’m tired of the word “privilege” to tell you the truth; it’s already becoming a gimmick, as far as I’m concerned. “Examining” it just leads to more stupid navel-gazing.
But I think things were pretty clear-cut wherein Daly was concerned. If she was in this room here with me, right now, I wouldn’t talk to her about “privilege.” I’d just tell her she’s a hater. Hate costs lives. I’m just saying. It does. Look up the statistics, sometime.
Does the hate invalidate her body of work? Well, I would be a crappy judge of that to begin with, since my feminist crisis of faith did not involve her. But the answer to these questions, usually, is “no.” I mean, don’t get me started on people who self-righteously whine about how “OMG you like the Beatles? They were sexist!” ‘Cause I can’t engage their music on my own terms, right? Whatever. Fuck you (“That’s sexist and patriarchal too!” – Fuck you with a submachine gun). The stupid sanitization of liberal politics, the insistence that everything we enjoy or benefit from must be safe and cuddly, is getting people nowhere. Of course, we hold Mary Daly to a slightly different standard, with her being a major feminist, and all. Still, I think the same logic applies. I respect the fact that to many people, certain aspects of Mary Daly’s work meant a lot. I just hope, like Monica does, that the transphobic aspects and other bullshit won’t mean nearly as much in the years to come.