Source: Emily Zanotti
On Friday, Alyssa Milano decided to weigh in on International Women’s Day, declaring herself an ally to all the downtrodden minorities and the poor, unfortunate souls left behind and oppressed by modern society, only instead of simply expressing her support for the underrepresented, she claimed to actively identify with them.
She started out with a very woke idea: congratulating transgender women on International Women’s Day.
But when a detractor asked if she was transgender — a comment apparently meant as an insult — Milano responded by insisting that yes, she “is” transgender. In fact, she said, she “is” everything.
“I’m trans. I’m a person of color. I’m an immigrant. I’m a lesbian. I’m a gay man. I’m the disabled. I’m everything. And so are you, Kirk,” Milano tweeted. “Don’t be afraid of what you don’t know or understand. No one wants to hurt you. We are all just looking for our happily ever after.”
Critics of social justice warrior culture can spot precisely where Milano went wrong. While white people — and, in particular, white feminists — are “privileged,” and while they may use that “privilege” to bring attention to the plight of oppressed and minority peoples, they cannot take on those characteristics for themselves, since they really don’t have the “lived experience” necessary to truly “understand” how the people they’re representing feel.
No surprise, that’s exactly the subject of the pile-on that ensued.
Detractors were quick to question Milano’s “intersectionality.”
Milano eventually apologized in a separate tweet, but it’s not entirely clear that she understood why she was being burned at the stake. Instead of expressing contrition for getting caught up in the fun and fantasy of intersectional feminism, she patted herself on the back for starting a “discussion” about representation and being an ally.
“I’m glad this tweet invoked conversation. I’m so sorry it offended some. I see you and hear you. But just a reminder, empathy is not a bad thing. Nuance is important and literal interpretation is not always intended. And I can identify with and not identify as. Both are powerful,” she wrote.
She also credited the poet Rumi with inspiring her original tweet.
Somehow, it doesn’t seem like that will work. Sorry, Alyssa.