Listen Up, Kristin (of Dirty Signs With Kristin, @thfemale)
Hi, my name is victoria, i am a culturally deaf person and use ASL as my primary language of communication. about your dirty signs videos… to begin with, i feel pretty sad about it all.
don’t get me wrong, i have the best sense of humour ever. my deaf friends and i love getting creative with our signs; but trust me, the shit we come up with trumps yours infinity times. kristin, what you’re doing is IGNORANT. it doesn’t help deaf people at all. we get enough shit already when it comes to paternalism, audism, cultural oppression, phonocentrism, and general ignorance.
you responded to one person’s comment on your “bitch, please” video: “Hi there! I noticed you’ve been commenting on quite a few of my videos that my ASL is wrong. As per the video description, I don’t claim to be a licensed interpreter and I’m definitely still learning, but I’m always welcome to corrections. It seems like you’re more interested in making general comments that I’m wrong and I shouldn’t be making these videos, instead of actually helping me fix my signs, so I’m going to block you now. Sorry for the offense, and I wish you all the best!”
how patronizing, you need to check your hearing privilege. acknowledging your incredible shortcomings does not make what you’re doing at all right. you don’t seem to be listening to deaf people at all, so why would anyone of us want to correct your signs? you use our language—the language of an oppressed minority—as a way of perpetuating racism, sexism and audism. i am a deaf woman, do you really think i will want to carry on a conversation with a hearing person who thinks it’s funny to learn signs like: “fucking you is like throwing a hotdog down a hallway” or—even more galling—“less talk, more anal.”? disgusting
what the hell? even today, we are STILL fighting for the right to use our language. ANY public use of sign language is fraught with deeply political messages. when i use american sign language in public, amongst hearing people, it is an act of disobedience and resistance against “The Man”. you’re not doing shit to help deaf people in this regard. you’re only making a joke of ASL, and reducing it to signs that befit the paternalistic view of deaf people as objects to be manipulated.
as my friend Elena commented on the dailydot article about your videos, “but language is never removed from cultural politics, especially if you go on to commodify it. quite frankly, you’re doing it wrong. wrong wrong wrong. youre teetering the line of contributing to the cultural-linguistic appropriation of ASL and consequently u.s. deaf culture as a whole.”
there is a difference between “cultural appropriation” and “cultural exchange.” what you are doing is not cultural exchange. if it were, you’d have—amongst other things—captioned your videos to make them accessible to deaf people. also, your disclaimer says, “i am not trying to disrespect anyone in the process of making these videos, I’m simply trying to have fun with my friends and learn ASL.” if it was just with your friends, why put it all on the internet if not as an attention-seeking manoevre? you are simply exploiting deaf people & deaf culture for internet popularity. and now that St. Martin’s is intending to publish your smutty signs book, you are also exploiting us for financial gain. that’s awful!
the best way to learn ASL, kristin, is to participate in the deaf community and make deaf friends. stop posting unfunny and offensive shit on the internet and have real conversations with deaf people. ASL is so much more than a badly executed “twat waffle” and the internet needs to know that, too.
just stop. don’t be just another hearing person denying Deaf people their voice.