Yeah, as much as I love books about feminism, especially feminism with a solid grounding in popular culture, I will NOT be buying Amanda Marcotte’s book. Whether she had any control of the images or not…. Really, Seal Press? REALLY? YOU THOUGHT THIS WAS OKAY?

A continuing theme of insensitivitytotal disregard for racism in action.

Not cool.

Credit to Dr. Sheila for the amazing macro.

Also, Holly at Feministe has written a follow up post to the book plug that started this latest round of OMGWTF WHITE FEMINISTS?!?!?!

This entry was posted in Responding to Other Blogs, Social Commentary. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.


  1. Posted April 25, 2008 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    I don’t have the words to say how I feel about this whole situation. “WTF?????” is about the only thing I can manage to get out…

  2. Posted April 25, 2008 at 8:42 am | Permalink


  3. TR
    Posted April 25, 2008 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    I think that’s a pretty appropriate response.

    You know, I am a benefit of the doubt kind of person – I bend myself over backwards pretty often to understand the other person’s point of view. But this? Yeah, no.

    Plus, I’ve been reading the comment thread at Pandagon about the original cover image and, wow, not impressed by how Marcotte handled that situation AT ALL. There is a pattern and it is not a floral one.

  4. TR
    Posted April 25, 2008 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    OTM – that’s what my original entry on this topic said. SAD BUT TRUE.

  5. Posted April 25, 2008 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    Sorry. I became incoherent with anger and shame. This is just fucking appalling. The folks at Seal Press are either incredibly ignorant or just plain hateful. Either way, it’s inexcusable. I just… I am so fucking disappointed right now.

  6. Posted April 25, 2008 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    You know, I am a benefit of the doubt kind of person – I bend myself over backwards pretty often to understand the other person’s point of view. But this? Yeah, no.

    Right! Me, too. And I think that in internetland espcially, a lot of nuanced communiation gets lost in the medium and then there be strife. So I tend to be very forgiving and sort of hands off with a lot of the bigger disputes. But to be in any way an educated person and NOT see why these pictures are so, so, so wrong is unbelievable. I just don’t buy it.

    There is a pattern and it is not a floral one.

    1. LOL. 2. It’s so frustrating. Just so so so frustrating.

  7. Posted April 25, 2008 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    This makes me really, really sad. Also? I’m going use this in my class on how bias-free editing means getting beyond the notion of politically-correct wording, and thinking about just what our invisible cultural baggage looks like.

    Goddamn it.

  8. Posted April 25, 2008 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    Yeah I have been following this since it started (ie spending oodles of times reading blog entries and have added a zillion blogs to my blogroll) and AM and Seal just have not handled this well AT ALL. They are just digging their hole deeper and deeper. I don’t understand why they just DON’T.GET.IT.
    I mean it is *so* obvious what has been done that is wrong…

  9. Posted April 25, 2008 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    Right. It seems pretty evident to me that someone in the art department needs to reduce their crack intake. Dramatically.

  10. TR
    Posted April 25, 2008 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    Seal Press is just SO beyond with this. I was deeply unimpressed with their participation in the appropriation discussion and this just seals the deal – the former was not an isolated incident. This is how they do business in general.

    Frustrating and sad, OTM. Sad for all of feminism.

    Zingerella, I think this is a PERFECT example for that class. Goddamn it, indeed. *sigh*

  11. TR
    Posted April 25, 2008 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    Bri, I have definitely been less than impressed by the response to, well, everything. On one hand, I want to understand that people are feeling personally attacked. On the hand, there are larger, much larger, issues than personal feelings at hand. I cringe everytime a person of color blogs about white people, no qualifiers, and then I sit my ass down and relax because there is a HUGE difference between me as a white individual and white people as a social group. It isn’t about me.

    BILT4cmfrt – I think you may be on to something there.

  12. Posted April 25, 2008 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    Boy, this coming straight off the heels of the bfp scandal, too. You’d think some people, especially people who are as intelligent as Amanda is, would *get* it after a while.

  13. TR
    Posted April 25, 2008 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    Rachel, I was SERIOUSLY not okay with the lack of response to the appropriation discussion from Pandagon (other than comments in other blogs) and this lastest…. Yeah, another nail in the coffin of my impression of Amanda. I’m sure she’s intelligent. But that doesn’t make her smart, if you get my distinction.

  14. Posted April 25, 2008 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    I just hope that people realize that Amanda (or Pam or Holly, etc.) doesn’t speak for the entire movement. I agree with you, TR. I’m pretty much off the Amanda train at this point. It is sad. Feminism needs unity, not division.

  15. Kristen
    Posted April 25, 2008 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    Macro love.

    To all the people (not here) who are saying “omg can’t we stop infighting and focus on what’s IMPORTANT!” ….

    do you seriously believe that this racist shit doesn’t affect whether you *see* women of color who are brilliant and underpaid, brilliant and underappreciated, raped, abused, beaten, discriminated against, paid less, threatened, groped, erased …

    do you ppl not understand how racism works?


    Thank you for bringing this up here, TR. Because fat is still a feminist issue and so is race.

  16. shinobi42
    Posted April 25, 2008 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    You know, I look at those images and I see retro, so I can kindof understand how an ignorant white chick like me may not have thought about it. Which obviously reminds me that it is the kind of thing I NEED TO BE FUCKING THINKING ABOUT.

    My thoughts, admitting that you’re head is stuck in your ass is the first step to getting it removed. Too bad AM and Seal just keep tunneling further in.

  17. Posted April 25, 2008 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    Wrong on so many levels it makes my head go ‘splodey.

  18. Aurora
    Posted April 25, 2008 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    Thank you for posting this. The illustrations are SO many many ways of wrong. It *might* be nice to actually live in a world were those illos could be read as interesting commentary on a different era, with absolutely no connection to our racist history and cultural baggage… but we just DON’T.

  19. Posted April 25, 2008 at 12:31 pm | Permalink


    Like Shinobi, I’m a white girl who doesn’t always see racism when it’s in front of my face until it’s pointed out to me (I’m working on that). But I certainly hope that in a similar situation, I would at least have the nerve to say, “Holy crap, I’m a moron and I’m really really sorry. I will fix that immediately.”

    Just… ugh!

  20. Posted April 25, 2008 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    You know, I can believe Jill of Feministe when she said she didn’t notice the illustrations when she read the book, because they were chapter headers and she tends to skip those. I do too. But I will not ever skip them again. Yeesh.

    And even if Amanda did not have any say over the artwork in her book, of course as soon as it was pointed out to her she should have had a giant shit fit and told everyone so.

    Like you, TR, I skipped over that original Pandagon story about the cover. At first glance I, being an idiot, might not have “gotten” that the original cover was racist, but as soon as it was pointed it out to me, I certainly would not have been like, “This cover rocks my socks, and if you can’t see it you’re just out to get me.” To her credit, she did lobby to change it then, which takes some guts for a first-time author, but now I can see that the resentment of her by WOC has been building up for a while.

    Size-acceptance authors, don’t think it couldn’t happen to you too! I had one tell me once that she had to fight like a tiger to prevent her publisher from putting little cartoons of ice cream cones and donuts throughout the text even though she never mentioned them anywhere IN the text, because you know, we fatties spend our days eating such things out of troughs. Good grief.

  21. TR
    Posted April 25, 2008 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    Meowser, did you read the comments to that cover post? I want to give her credit for lobbying to change the cover but MAN. She called the people who initially raised their concerns joykillers. That’s just…. YIKES.

    One of the reasons Kate and I went with Perigee is that we are comfortable and confident that they aren’t going to give our book that donut and ice cream cone treatment.

  22. Posted April 25, 2008 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, I did look at that comments thread, and you’re right, that’s why I encapsulated her attitude with, “If you don’t like it you’re just out to get me.” Look, I’m as clueless as anyone and I might not have seen it the first time around either, but if someone pointed it out to me I would have been like, “Dayumm, can you ever forgive me for being so stupid?”

    And TR, you do not know how relieved I am to hear that about Perigee.

  23. Posted April 25, 2008 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    She just put up an apology:

    It’s an actual “Sorry, I really fucked up” apology about the book, not a “Sorry if you were offended” apology.

    In this whole kerfluffle (love that word), it’s showed me not that I should never ever ever read Pandagon again (I still like Amanda’s writing style) but that, well, even someone who seems lightyears ahead of me in the Feminism game still has a lot to learn. She fucked up, she didn’t notice her fuck-up right away, she got defensive about it because, well, that’s kind of a human reaction. Not that it justifies anything, but it makes sense when you realize that a big part of Amanda’s career is being attacked everyday for things she says, and defending herself. A natural reaction for her, one I hope this situation allows her to reevaluate that reaction when the criticism comes from within her peergroup and is completely valid.

  24. Posted April 25, 2008 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    Blah, i’m incoherent today. That last part should have read:

    “This is a natural reaction for her, one I hope she reevaluates because of this experience, because sometimes the criticisms come from her peergroup and are completely valid.”

  25. TR
    Posted April 25, 2008 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    Tigi, I do see her apology and I appreciate it. However, I’m still not won over. I will see how she behaves in the future. Meanwhile, I think she still owes every blogger of color an ENORMOUS apology over both the original appropriation discussion and her behavior as it progressed and I just don’t think that is going to happen.

  26. Posted April 25, 2008 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

    Oh I know, that’s why I’m not apologizing for her. I just am giving a little leeway because I’m in the camp of people who wouldn’t have noticed anything offensive if it hadn’t been spelled out for me, if the pictures hadn’t been posted one after the other on Feministe for me to look at (“Oh? I don’t see what the prob… Oh. OH. Not cool.”).

    As for her reaction to the appropriation issue — that’s what i meant when I said I hope it brings to light her overly-defensive reaction (which I totally agree was not called for) when criticized, especially when the criticism is valid.

  27. Posted April 25, 2008 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

    From Seal Press’ apology:

    Some have asked the valid question, “What were you thinking?” We were not thinking.

    I think that’s the problem, here, with both Seal Press and Amanda. They were both not thinking beyond their white priviledge.

    I believe Amanda is sincere in the apology she posted on her site. I even believe, in her first book excitement and demonstrated lack of ethnic awareness, that she may genuinely not have picked up on the latent racism in those images. Mistakes happen; we’re all human. I just hope she learns from those mistakes and is more aware and inclusive in the future.

    Maybe this is a blessing in disguise. It sure has sparked conversation and debate and brought a much-needed awareness to the struggles non-white feminists still face.

  28. Posted April 25, 2008 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

    *stares at graphic*

    What in the blue hell?

    *walks off* I just cannot take the ignorance, yo.

  29. Jackie
    Posted April 26, 2008 at 1:50 am | Permalink

    I agree with fashionablenerd. How can people be that stupid?! I mean, a child could tell you that image is wrong wrong wrong.

  30. littlem
    Posted April 26, 2008 at 4:39 am | Permalink

    Full disclosure – dog in the fight (see Ilyka or Ico’s blogs if interested).

    For those meditating on the whisper of the wind through the tumbleweed of the empty *cough*apology*cough* – sorry – DESERT – who would like something of their own to whisper,

    here are some useful and interesting suggestions for activities for your downtime.

    1) Should someone decide not to read or purchase the book, they might want to
    POST A REVIEW ON AMAZON INDICATING WHY (an excellent and concrete suggestion from another blog’s commenter).

    2) Should someone who chooses not to read or purchase the book write about their concerns to
    - Seal
    - Perseus (Seal’s parent company)
    - Their own local press
    - The press of cities scheduled for the book’s tour stops,



    3) Until that time, should you write to the local press of cities scheduled for tour stops to tell them you will not be attending,

    4) (Especially for shrinking violet-esque types) Should you decide to reach out quietly, by private telephone call or email, to your friends who are
    - publishers
    - booksellers
    - university administrators
    - university professors
    - conference organizers
    - mainstream and alternative print, radio, and television journalists

    to let them know that you will probably not purchase the book until an edition is released without the images in question,

    (Because somehow I can’t quite see the author or the original press including a statement in the second edition as to WHY the first edition was pulled).

    That way, you and your friends have an opportunity to thoughtfully consider the extent to which you want a press – or an author’s voice – that purports to be justice activist but will suppress, but not concede, an error of privilege, in the
    - classroom
    - lecture hall
    - conference
    that YOU call YOUR “safe space”.


  31. littlem
    Posted April 26, 2008 at 4:42 am | Permalink

    P.S. Pass it on.

  32. Posted April 26, 2008 at 5:08 am | Permalink

    I showed my (black) husband the pictures and asked him what he thought of them. He said they were ‘cool’. I asked him if he thought they were racist. He said no. I pushed a little more. He still doesn’t see them as racist.

    I have to admit I am totally shocked about that. I just automatically assumed he would think they were offensive. Is that racist of me? To think that because some POC (and others) find something racist that all POC would feel the same way?

  33. Kristen
    Posted April 26, 2008 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    Wow, littlem. Thank you. That list rocks. I’m tired of my own blathering outrage. Thank you for the concreteness.

  34. TR
    Posted April 26, 2008 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    Okay, now I’m irritated at Amazon – I POSTED A REVIEW yesterday, while at work, after it was suggested in that comment thread. ARGH! It is not there. And it doesn’t show up as pending or anything. Looks like I’ll have to try this again.

    Littlem, thank you for the list of suggestions!

  35. TR
    Posted April 26, 2008 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    Also, littlem, I checked Ico and Ilyka’s blogs and I agree – you ought to have a blog.

    And I think your dog is the one worth backing.

  36. Posted April 26, 2008 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    This whole thing is just stunning to me, but also very, very educational, given that I’m not terribly advanced in my thinking about either feminism or racism (though I try, I swear I do. I’m just fairly young, very white, and slightly undereducated.)

    From the immigration-and-feminism debacle all the way through to this book and its images, I couldn’t believe the same shit was coming from the same person (AM.) When I confirmed that it was, I just thought to myself, “Oh shit. Shit. Now pay attention. Watch and learn.”

    In a way, I’m glad these discussions are bubbling up and the issues of both racism and sexism seem to be coming to a head (both in blogland and the MSM, at least with the election coverage.) Painful as it may be, and as much as people like myself might screw up in the process of learning, maybe there will be some real progress.

4 Trackbacks

  1. By bastard.logic on April 25, 2008 at 10:08 am

    I Write Letters (and You Can, Too!)…

    Dear Seal Press,
    There’s nothing “groundbreaking” (nor *cough* “subversive” or “ironic”) about undeniably racist imagery. What the bloody blue hell were you thinking?

    Warmest regards,
    P.S. You mig…

  2. By This Is Completely Inexcusable. « Ottermatic on April 25, 2008 at 10:18 am

    [...] April 25, 2008 in feminism, race What the fucking fuck. [...]

  3. By Feministe » On Those Pictures and On Privilege on April 26, 2008 at 12:36 am

    [...] About Town Burning Words GallingGala Feminocracy Maia at Alas A Blog Ottermatic BastardLogic The Rotund Three Rivers Fog Pam at [...]

  4. By I’m just a link « zunguzungu on April 28, 2008 at 12:42 pm

    [...] About Town, Burning Words, GallingGala, Feminocracy, Maia at Alas A Blog, Ottermatic, BastardLogic,The Rotund,Three Rivers Fog, Pam at Pandagon) hadn’t already weighed in. As she puts it: “there [...]

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>