Note For Anyone Writing About Me

Guide to Writing About Me

I am an Autistic person,not a person with autism. I am also not Aspergers. The diagnosis isn't even in the DSM anymore, and yes, I agree with the consolidation of all autistic spectrum stuff under one umbrella. I have other issues with the DSM.

I don't like Autism Speaks. I'm Disabled, not differently abled, and I am an Autistic activist. Self-advocate is true, but incomplete.

Citing My Posts

MLA: Zisk, Alyssa Hillary. "Post Title." Yes, That Too. Day Month Year of post. Web. Day Month Year of retrieval.

APA: Zisk, A. H. (Year Month Day of post.) Post Title. [Web log post]. Retrieved from

Saturday, August 31, 2013

So Much For Interpretation

Trigger warning: Ableism. Uh. If being told that if you want access you need to do it yourself is triggering, that. 

So, the editors at The Feminist Wire invited me to share my interpretation of their call. I don't think this is quite what they meant, but what they meant is a thing that's not possible: If I could understand their call well enough to really interpret it, we wouldn't be having this problem. Or, in terms of access needs, if it were written so that I could understand it, we wouldn't be having this problem.
They inspired my abstract for a text chapter, so I at least get something out of this mess. [Social media crisis still on because they still haven't actually done anything that makes their call understandable/accessible. Also they said in this Twitter conversation that they weren't being exclusive of disability because one of the writers is deaf.]

At the feminist wire, they want to make feminist stuff. And also they want to ?????? relating to feminism in how they edit. They say this means talking to the writers and helping people revise. Which is cool, but I'm not sure how it relates to feminism? Also they say they take reader ideas and criticisms seriously [I do know that critique is a fancy word for criticism.] Since I already had a ?????? moment in this paragraph, I'm not sure I believe it, but maybe it gets better.

The call went online yesterday. [Well, not yesterday anymore, but yesterday when they wrote this thing.] A bunch of people said stuff about how they're doing the exact stuff they wanted to stop from happening. #irony. That sentence is written in academicese, and it took me a while to parse, so I'm going to go with not accessible. Sad.

Some people said that focusing on the body instead of the mental or the cognitive was excluding certain disabled people. [I didn't understand enough of the original call to tell you if they did that, which excludes cognitive disability anyways. So...] We didn't mean to do the thing? I think the thing is specifying kinds of disability to talk about? They say that people telling them this reveals a problem. Therefore they word salad broadly. What they word salad about is unclear, but it has the word broadly so I assume it's broadly.

We also got emails on how the call was inaccessible. WORD SALAD about people with disabilities, therefore the language is excluding. Pity the language is still excluding enough that a disabled academic can't parse it! Ok, I know what “reduced access to higher education works to perpetuate a cycle of ableism” means because it's a thing I say in different words. It means “Disabled people have a hard time getting to college and then....” ok scratch that no I don't know. Then this does something that makes discrimination against people with disabilities worse. I think what it does is interact with classism, except they don't say classism here, just ableism. So I don't know. There's a disjuncture... is that like divide? Ok, got a dictionary, it's like divide. Or close enough. There's a divide between academics and activists. [Well, not always, I'm both. And quite a few of my friends who are complaining are kind of both too. I present at conferences! Disability Studies conferences! And they're accessible to me!] So... are they maybe trying to say that they just continued a thing that's already there? /annoyed because this is worse than anything I've seen in disability studies, so no you're not. They “get” that lots of... actual marginalized groups? I think that's what communities on the front lines of oppression means. They “get” that actual marginalized people often find academia to be the oppressor/help the oppressor. Yup. Like with this call, actually. That's exactly what happened, and given how much of this is me going ????? or WORD SALAD or needing a dictionary or not getting what you're saying? Yeah still being the oppressor. I think the word gatekeeper applies? The feminist wire wants to stick stuff in the middle of academia and activism, but academic-ish means... word salad? Word salad that I've been told is just bad writing. They want to make the forum accessible, but what I assume to be other thing they want is written in a way that's totally not accessible so this clearly didn't happen.
There's a revision below this! We revised it! We added things! Also, thanks for calling us out and asking us to do better. But also thanks for a thing that you didn't actually do but we'd like to think you did while we say we did a thing we probably still did wrong. Because this apology really feels like it's about them, not the people who are getting excluded. Mainly because it's written so that the excluded folk still don't know what's being said. Also, we need to do hard work and look at how we make stuff work, and respond fast with thanks and doing stuff. [Except that this thing is totally not actually fixing it and shouldn't count.]
Disability is coming up a lot, name a conference, say it talks about disability, gender, sexuality, and focuses on animals [why] chronic pain/injury [makes sense] and trans* ???????? thing. Also folks in insert words here are criticizing disability stuff?
We like interdisciplinary stuff. Also we're confused/wanting to know what's up with suddenly DISABILITY. We want to know what it means for disabled people when disability is used as ?????? with human-animal relationships. Do they mean when it's a metaphor? I hope not, that's a bad metaphor. Don't make comparisons you don't understand and all that. The ??use?? of disability and ???????? bodies that aren't typical?????????? in stuff that's not disability is ick? Needs people explaining why it's ick? Needs to be looked at through ickyness?
So we thought ????????? about rediscovery of disability stuff??????[as opposed to why it got ignored in the first place]????? and it getting used badly in other stuff. And we ask bad “why” questions. And we ask stuff about mixing things I don't know. Something about disability studies, that's a thing I do. And word salad about exploring? Something about learning from activists.
We want to challenge ick, so we want to have people write stuff? And we ask a bunch of questions?
  • What does disability mean? I think. Also maybe intersections. And me wanting to know why disabled is in quotes.
  • Intersections list other oppressions want to know a thing?
  • Talk about ??????? with race, class, gender. And norms. And other words.
  • Feminst disability thing? Words. I dunno.
  • Disability and monolith are both in this sentence. I really hope it's about how disability isn't a monolith, but word salad.
  • … isn't that the same as feminist disability? I don't think you've got the right to the word "crip" though. I'm not sure I do, though if not than the choice of it to represent disability is part of excluding my kinds of disability.
  • What are activisty people doing?
  • Who isn't here? Maybe “what stuff would they be saying?” But we can't know that because they aren't being heard. So maybe we should get them in instead of talking about what we think they would want?
  • What is disability?
We want academics, writers, and activists to talk about the things. Pile of formats OK. Not sure what all the formats really mean, but OK. Submissions due by October 10, 2013, and can be submitted through a thing with a link. Email if questions. Look at the guidelines first, and give a title. Label the submission Disability Forum. Not sure if I'm supposed to make my own title or title it disability forum.
Except activists might not know what you're asking. And I don't know if anyone outside your little block of academia will either. So you might have trouble getting disabled people talking about the things. Is that maybe what the cycle of ableism is about?

See why this doesn't actually fix the access problem? Yeah, having me share my interpretation or attempt at it really just reveals how fail your “solution” is. Because it being written so that I can't actually interpret it is the exact problem.

Now for anyone who wants to help make this issue hard to ignore, good stuff to share (beyond this post, I mean):
Tweets in this conversation, this conversation, this conversation 

I think sending submissions about how their call excludes disabled people fits under the who is missing thing, so you can also do that.

And I made a standard-ish intro to go with the link to my original post, if you want to put it wherever else:

"The Feminist Wire shared a call for submissions about disability, saying it wanted to include activists. It's not a call that a disabled activist could reasonably be expected to understand, and the revision is, if anything, worse. Please, contact them/share however possible. [ More details+methods in the post.]"


  1. I see a lot of this type of writing come out of governmental departments. Typically, it's written by a bureaucrat who has absolutely no clue about the topic. So to cover, they use lots of buzz words in a word salad. In this case, it seems like a lame attempt to give the illusion they actually care and are doing something worthy of praise.

  2. I still can't get over this phrase from the amended CFP, because it's the kind of thing that my advisors would've marked all over with a red pen: "...the location from which we ourselves are located..."

    (Is that location the Department of Redundancy Department, by any chance?)


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