Those theorists whose lives are most directly affected

There are different, clashing rules in play in this “how dare Rebecca Tuvel” issue. Let’s revisit the open letter to look at them:

Many published articles include some minor defects of scholarship; however, together the problems with this article are glaring. More importantly, these failures of scholarship do harm to the communities who might expect better from Hypatia. It is difficult to imagine that this article could have been endorsed by referees working in critical race theory and trans theory, which are the two areas of specialization that should have been most relevant to the review process.

Wait. Are they? Who says so? Why? Hypatia is a journal of feminist philosophy. Why is it expected to consult people in critical race theory and trans theory? Do people in critical race theory and trans theory consult feminists before publishing? I don’t think so. Why does feminism have to consult critical race theory and trans theory when critical race theory and trans theory don’t have to consult feminism? Why is this obligation always only one way?

A message has been sent, to authors and readers alike, that white cis scholars may engage in speculative discussion of these themes without broad and sustained engagement with those theorists whose lives are most directly affected by transphobia and racism.

But the lives of feminists are directly affected by trans ideology and rhetoric. There’s a lot of feminismphobia and misogyny in trans activism. Many trans activists on social media spend far more time verbally attacking feminists than they do anyone else. So why are feminist women obliged to consult experts in trans theory but not vice versa?

The letter gives a list of things Hypatia has to do, then explains further:

These steps are especially important, considering that areas such as trans and race theory have historically been underrepresented and excluded from the field of feminist philosophy.

But feminist philosophy is feminist philosophy. Why is it expected to represent and include trans and race theory?

Given this history, it is especially dangerous for Hypatia to stand behind an article that exhibits poor scholarship in both fields and little concern for the voices of those most impacted by “theoretical” debates on the subject of racial and trans identity.

Most affected [aka “impacted”]? What about women? Women are also affected by theoretical debates on the subject of trans identity, because those debates either rely on or dispute basic assumptions about the nature of gender and identity that are, obviously, significant to women too. Trans people don’t own gender; women have a stake in the subject too, a very big one. The duties and obligations and demands for respect in this area should not run all one way.

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