196 comments for “Inter-Feminist Implosion?

  1. March 11, 2006 at 3:23 pm

    We’re not supposed to say that anyone is pro- or anti-sex, so I’m stuffing a sock in it. ;)

  2. March 11, 2006 at 3:24 pm

    And that was a joke! Joke! Just needed to open the thread.

  3. March 11, 2006 at 4:33 pm

    If you’re talking about what I think you’re talking about, and I think you are otherwise you would have gone into more detail, let’s just say that if you don’t fuck the right people in the right way with the proper amount of political awareness, your feminist credentials are in jeopardy.

    But if you’re talking about something else, and once again given the lack of detail you just might be, then never mind what I just said.

  4. March 11, 2006 at 4:40 pm

    kactus, you’re on the right trail.

  5. Linnaeus
    March 11, 2006 at 4:49 pm

    I think I’ve missed something here. This is what I get for being away for so long.

    Or it’s just me regardless.

  6. March 11, 2006 at 4:57 pm

    what did I miss?

  7. March 11, 2006 at 5:17 pm

    I guess it goes to show that just even educated, feminist women get freaked out and lose all sense of perspective around sexual issues. It’s not just the right wing that wants to tell us what’s the “correct” way to conduct yourself in the bedroom. So sad. I try to keep out of it because I find it too depressing, especially now that I know that according to some people what gets me off is wrong, wrong, wrong–and a tool of the patriarchy to boot.

  8. gayle
    March 11, 2006 at 5:18 pm

    So, what’s with the feminist baiting, Lauren?

    Slow news day or are you just itching to kick up a shit storm?

  9. zuzu
    March 11, 2006 at 5:32 pm

    And that was a joke! Joke! Just needed to open the thread.

    That’s not funny.

  10. anashi
    March 11, 2006 at 5:36 pm

    That’s kinda vague. Ah well, whatever it is, I’m glad I missed it.

  11. March 11, 2006 at 7:35 pm

    Slow news day or are you just itching to kick up a shit storm?

    In a snowglobe.

  12. March 11, 2006 at 7:46 pm

    Come on, give us a hint. Some of us check the feminist blogs less assiduously than others. There’s too many to check ’em all to look for fireworks.

  13. gayle
    March 11, 2006 at 8:25 pm

    Allow me to clarify for you Robert: Lauren’s attempting to create her own little “inter-feminist implosion” right here. Feminists just don’t have enough to contend with right now, times being so good for women and all, so she’s decided a little feminist cat fight might break the dull monotony of our otherwise untroubled lives.

    A productive move indeed.

  14. March 11, 2006 at 8:36 pm

    Well, Gayle, I know Lauren, and I don’t know you. So I’m pretty inclined to believe that if Lauren thinks something ought to be brought into the open and talked about, she’s right.

  15. March 11, 2006 at 8:36 pm

    Because observing on and commenting about an existing feminist infight without clearly taking sides is obviously picking a fight. We must allow infights to proceed unchecked in order to ensure feminist harmony!

  16. March 11, 2006 at 8:38 pm

    Now will someone just tell me where the **** the infighting is taking place, so that I can nuke some popcorn and fill my office with the laughter of Mordor?

  17. March 11, 2006 at 8:51 pm

    Yea, I’m really tempted to argue, as I’m naturally argumentative. I have to admit that I am sex skeptical, because I am part of the internet generation,and so sex postiveness has been co opted. Some pretend that looking at a thin,white,shaved woman is radical, and others distort the views of sex positive women to be basically ‘if you’re fucking, it’s alright”, so yea, I’m leary of the whole thing.

  18. March 11, 2006 at 9:23 pm

    Oh come on, Lauren! I’m getting chewed up by the weenies over at Metafilter today – I want to watch people get attacked who aren’t me!

  19. gayle
    March 11, 2006 at 9:37 pm

    “Because observing on and commenting about an existing feminist infight without clearly taking sides is obviously picking a fight.”

    Where exactly is that observation and commentary, Chris? Oh, here it is: “So, what’s with the feminism police lately?”

    Aside from Robert’s eager anticipation of an impending battle (Popcorn included, so happy to entertain you, Robert!), that coy little sentence doesn’t serve any constructive purpose whatsoever.

  20. March 11, 2006 at 9:44 pm

    Feminists just don’t have enough to contend with right now, times being so good for women and all, so she’s decided a little feminist cat fight might break the dull monotony of our otherwise untroubled lives.

    A productive move indeed.

    I just checked and I’m not fighting anyone, so sure.

  21. gayle
    March 11, 2006 at 9:45 pm

    P.S.

    I’m all for snark and picking fights with those who deserve it. But can’t we aim it at the real live misogynists out there? There sure are plenty of them to choose from.

    Fighting with each other is such a waste of time and energy.

  22. March 11, 2006 at 9:48 pm

    Fighting with each other is such a waste of time and energy.

    Exactly my point. Lately I’ve been noticing a trend of inter-feminist argument in which one person gets to be uberfeminist while others get knocked down. I have no idea where the or why the trend started, but it irks the shit out of me. See: some threads at Feministe and many threads at Alas, A Blog.

  23. March 11, 2006 at 9:59 pm

    I have no idea where the or why the trend started, but it irks the shit out of me.

    Cf. the Garden of Eden.

    My half-in-jest (but half-serious) theory about sexual economics would explain it. Women are in competition for scarce resources (suitable men) and get less benefit from cooperation than from acting to maximize personal advantage. That sets up personality patterns that are difficult to extricate oneself from.

    Now, obviously, feminists fighting it out at Alas! aren’t directly competing for boy toys. But the competitive behavior patterns are strong, and so there’s a big fight to be Alpha Feminist.

    It reinforces my own belief set, so my empirical experience is perhaps not to be trusted, but I have long noted that women seem to fight among themselves an awful lot more than men do, in pretty much every conceivable context. (“I’m in charge of this kindergarten play group!” “No, I am!” – meanwhile the boys get on with the game.)

    I don’t know why this would seem more prevalent now. Perhaps because since you aren’t blogging, you’re out getting used to the world, which is multi-gendered. Then you turn around and look at the feminist microcosms, which are mostly women-populated, and the level of conflict seems to jump out. Just a theory.

  24. March 11, 2006 at 10:11 pm

    Women are in competition for scarce resources (suitable men) and get less benefit from cooperation than from acting to maximize personal advantage.

    Oh yeah, this analysis is going to go over very well in a feminist forum. I eagerly await the responses.

    inter-feminist argument in which one person gets to be uberfeminist while others get knocked down.

    This phenomona isn’t restricted to feminists. Recall the internet sh*tstorm, and the Eating Their Own frenzy, that followed the Savage Minds crew calling Jared Diamond a racist and then the rest of their fellow “progressives” dumping all over them. They didn’t know what hit them. Now that was a lot of fun to watch. I was laughing my ass off for a week. Just goes to show you that being PC can get really complicated.

  25. March 11, 2006 at 10:27 pm

    I’m not even touching the first part of your comment, Robert. However,

    Perhaps because since you aren’t blogging, you’re out getting used to the world, which is multi-gendered. Then you turn around and look at the feminist microcosms, which are mostly women-populated, and the level of conflict seems to jump out. Just a theory.

    Even when I was a regular blogger I also happened to live in the world. Hard to believe, no? Not to mention that the majority of real life contact I have with others is with men, and that this inter-political fighting seems fairly new.

    What really got the curiosity going was the shitstorm that rages at Alas every now and again that goes all the way back a decade to the Ms. message boards. I wish someone would just lay out that (and apparently it really was a —>) feminist implosion (so don’t shoot) so the rest of us understand what exactly happened and how to conduct ourselves differently.

    Really, there’s a new rift in the feminist blogosphere between what have been termed the “sex-positive” feminists and the radfems, when I don’t see much of a real conflict over anything but choice of language and rhetoric. The inclination to lay into others who are very much on the same side overall — be it feminist or liberal or even, as I sometimes witness, conservative — has become a rather troublesome trend.

    That said, I reserve the right to hate on Kos whenever I want to.

  26. March 11, 2006 at 10:54 pm

    I’m not even touching the first part

    Oh, come on, touch it just a little bit. I swear to God I won’t put it in.

  27. March 11, 2006 at 10:57 pm

    God is listening, Christboy.

  28. March 11, 2006 at 11:00 pm

    God is listening, Christboy.

    He knows you tempted me. Harlot!

  29. zuzu
    March 11, 2006 at 11:08 pm

    We could send Robert a strip-o-gram.

  30. March 11, 2006 at 11:09 pm

    Send it tomorrow night when he’s on his way to Bible study.

  31. KnifeGhost
    March 11, 2006 at 11:22 pm

    I hate to break up the flirting/shutting-down, but just remember,
    Lauren, that some people feel the need to be better than everyone else, or at least tell you why you’re not as good as them. It’s ok, that’s their happening and it freaks them out.

  32. March 11, 2006 at 11:24 pm

    Flirting?! He started it.

    Back on topic, no one has flamed me recently. Just a general trend.

  33. March 11, 2006 at 11:34 pm

    I think it may be something as simple as wanting to fit in. You find a group that has similar characteristic as you and you want to be a part of that group. The group has ground rules, or expectations, that you want to follow, and you learn to make opinions of other people based on how they follow those ground rules, or if they reject the rules outright. And in any group there’s somebody who wants to be the leader, the more listened to, the most abused, the most able to speak for the experiences of the other group members.

    It gives some people a sense of identity. But the downside is that those of us who don’t fit in the group are studied as “others” and the prevalent feeling is that maybe we just don’t fit in quite properly.

    And when we can identify the reason for not fitting in as ideologically-based, it gives even more ratiaonal and latitude for making wholesale judgements.

  34. sophonisba
    March 12, 2006 at 12:12 am

    What’s with the urge to call things “policing” and “catfighting” and “infighting” that among anyone but feminists would be called an “argument,” or at worst, a “flamewar?”

    I thought the most depressing thing about the Alas threads was the way some people seemed to think that women, unlike everyone else in the world, don’t get to have public debates and disagreements without fingerwagging about how unladylike we’re being, and admonishments that if we discuss issues that matter to us we might hurt another feminist’s feelings or “silence” her.

    I’m pretty sure I think the same things are stupid that you do, but the framing of the conflict bothers me more than the conflict itself. Feminists are grownups; we’re allowed to fight just like anybody else.

  35. March 12, 2006 at 12:16 am

    He started it.

    Oh please. Look at the provocative typeface you chose! You totally wanted it.

  36. March 12, 2006 at 12:18 am

    Sophonisba, I tend to agree with you – but many feminists, like other groups that feel besieged, have a tendency to want to close ranks and keep disputes away from the goyim.

    Which, when the goyim are pricks like me who will joyously take any opportunity to add to the dissension in your ranks, I can understand.

  37. nerdlet
    March 12, 2006 at 12:20 am

    lost.

    help plz.

    send cliff notes + caffeine.

  38. March 12, 2006 at 1:31 am

    I don’t see where Robert’s entertainment value is is. I’m much more interested when men fight. There’s a chance it’ll get physical and they’ll rip each other’s clothes off. Even online I can still picture it.

  39. March 12, 2006 at 2:06 am

    Which, when the goyim are pricks like me

    If you keep making me think of goyish pricks I’m gonna have to circumscribe this conversation.

  40. sophonisba
    March 12, 2006 at 2:51 am

    Robert, I don’t think you follow. Those feminists who want to “close ranks” are not just the ones doing the accusing – , as often as not, they’re the very people accused of “policing” their fellow feminists, as if they are abusing some kind of imaginary authority, when in fact all they are doing is expressing a stupid opinion.

    The kind of thing I’m talking about isn’t unidirectional, and it certainly doesn’t only come from feminists; the “catfighting” slur happens to have popped up in this thread, probably as an attempt at irony, but it is a word used all the time, by non-feminists, about women who talk to other women about real issues like our arguments matter. Sometimes feminists buy into this; we didn’t invent it.

    I think both Lauren and Gayle are wrong to frame feminist arguments as they have here, but neither of them are engaging in “policing,” “shaming,” “silencing,” or any other buzzword that translates to “girls, hush.” And neither am I.

  41. March 12, 2006 at 4:20 am

    Yesterday I wore a headscarf. I lose, I’m the worst feminist.

  42. KnifeGhost
    March 12, 2006 at 4:44 am

    as often as not, they’re the very people accused of “policing” their fellow feminists, as if they are abusing some kind of imaginary authority, when in fact all they are doing is expressing a stupid opinion.

    That’s very true, but there’s a certain disposition of person, and they appear in any group, that feel that they can and should assume the authority to decide who is a “good” Feminist/Christian/Environmentalist/Libertarian/whatever, and who is a “bad” one. In that they’re trying to enforce a certain (more or less arbitrary) code, they can semi-realistically be said to be attempting to “police” a group. Whether or not that has happened anywhere here is an entirely different matter.

    Lauren, I meant that he’s flirting, and you’re shutting him down. It’s still adorable.

  43. March 12, 2006 at 9:50 am

    Well, at least some of the threads at Alas are about how easy it is for liberal men to tolerate MRAs and trolls while whining when feminists get fed up with it. I mean, if one’s a female feminist, one hears the same damned misogyny every day, and in a supposedly feminist space, one would expect to be free of it. Instead, male trolls get their asses kissed by male feminists who see misogyny as an opportunity to hone their debating skills—-because of course it’s nothing but an intellectual exercise to them. Never mind that this is the same old crap, that the MRAs just say the same crap over and over again, and never mind that the reason the MRAs and the ever-so-civil men can disconnect them from it because it’s not a visceral matter for them of having to deal with hatred everywhere.

    Some feminists object to, you know, a double standard that benefits men who don’t intend anything but misdirection while it penalizes women who’ve had enough with trolls. I mean, you can call it civility, but it bears an awful close resemblance to ‘be a good girl, be nice, and let the men show you how to behave like reasonable creatures, unlike you emotional girls.’

  44. March 12, 2006 at 10:11 am

    sophonisba, I think you’re right up in comment 34. All those arguments about “civility” I could never follow just became clear.

  45. Tara
    March 12, 2006 at 10:19 am

    I’m so sad that the Ms. boards are gone! I can’t even imagine how absolutely amazing they would be with all the feminist bloggers around now… although maybe it’s a dream that can never be returned to and there are just new and (better?) formats for conversation. Still…

  46. March 12, 2006 at 10:50 am

    shit man. when you go to conferences you miss all the good feminist in-fighting.

  47. Sally
    March 12, 2006 at 10:53 am

    I thought the most depressing thing about the Alas threads was the way some people seemed to think that women, unlike everyone else in the world, don’t get to have public debates and disagreements without fingerwagging about how unladylike we’re being, and admonishments that if we discuss issues that matter to us we might hurt another feminist’s feelings or “silence” her.

    It’s not just other feminists that we have to be careful not to “silence.” We must also be very careful to be ladylike when arguing with people who hate feminism, as long as they state that hatred in a way that the men in charge consider “civil.” See, for instance, this thread at Hugo’s, in which a bunch of anti-feminist white guys instructed women of color on why their experience of racism was illegitimate and their perception of racism more racist than the original racism, and in which Hugo only got involved to spank the women of color for being “uncivil.”

    I do think that amp’s commitment to “civility,” and his zealous policing of feminist incivility, goes back to the Ms. implosion. But I also think that it’s telling that male feminist bloggers (which is to say amp and Hugo) are much more likely than female feminist bloggers to assert the authority to discipline women for being “uncivil.” Female bloggers are much more likely, I think, to make it clear they think the poster is full of shit, rather than claiming some blog-owner privilege to tell her to be nice.

    I don’t have any problem with saying “you’re full of shit, and here’s why.” I do have a problem with saying that you must play nice or I’ll make you sit in the corner and think about your behavior, young lady. And that was the point of my comment at Alas. Amp acts like he’s more rational and restrained than women, and that’s why he stays calm when feminists get angry. But he gets equally angry when people start saying nasty things about fat people. His calmness isn’t a reflection of his superior self-restraint. It just reflects the fact that, when we’re talking about women’s rights, he has a whole lot less on the line. And there is a very long history of men pretending that they’re more rational than women when really what they are is more privileged. There is a long history of men setting themselves up as the arbiters of rationality and then declaring women irrational when they react to things differently than the supposedly-neutral men do.

    If that makes me the feminist police, well, so be it.

  48. March 12, 2006 at 10:56 am

    “Lately I’ve been noticing a trend of inter-feminist argument in which one person gets to be uberfeminist while others get knocked down. I have no idea where the or why the trend started…” Oh, probably about 30 years ago, when NOW warned against the Lavender Menace… or maybe it was 175 or so years ago when some feminists at Seneca believed in emancipation of slaves and others didn’t. Point is, “more-[whatever]ist-than-thou” disagreements have existed for as long as there have been ‘isms.

  49. March 12, 2006 at 11:07 am

    So has the habit of calling it more feminst than thou when that’s not what’s going on in every instance. A lot of feminists question why even in feminist spaces we have to tolerate misogyny, and to do so in the name of being good girls.

  50. March 12, 2006 at 11:23 am

    Admittedly I haven’t been following every post, but I don’t think that anyone on any side of the various debates has yet accused another participant of being, say, a CIA infiltrator aiming to destroy or co-opt the feminist movement.

    There is such a thing as destructive in-fighting, but I think that, as unpleasant as some of these arguments have been, they’ve really been pretty mild, as these things go.

  51. Sophist
    March 12, 2006 at 11:54 am

    The problem with these sort of internecine conflicts is that they waste energy that could be better spent fighting your common enemy, the Judean People’s Fro…I mean, the patriarchy.

    It’s not about acting ladylike, it’s about presenting a united front.

  52. March 12, 2006 at 12:16 pm

    Sophist: “It’s not about acting ladylike, it’s about presenting a united front.”

    I was under the impression that feminism was a movement, not an underground conspiracy. These kind of calls for Bolshevik party discipline frankly make me pretty squeamish even independently of feminist concerns about “ladylike” manners, etc.

    In any case, one of the topics usually at issue in these debates (as I think ginmar and others have pointed out) is whether some feminists’ efforts really are or are not being supported, and whether the terms of “unity” in some spaces are fair ones or whether they reflect various forms of privilege. Just appealing to “unity” when that’s itself part of the contested territory isn’t going to do much of anything for anybody.

  53. karpad
    March 12, 2006 at 12:47 pm

    It’s not about acting ladylike, it’s about presenting a united front.

    as a rule, I distrust anyone who says “internal bickering needs to stop, so to present a united front.”

    because 9 times out of 10, they mean “shut up and get in line with MY platform to present a united front.”

    It isn’t too far removed from the “Liberals are Traitors” crap freepers keep spewing.

  54. flyinfur
    March 12, 2006 at 2:36 pm

    Sometimes people are moody or get frustrated or are just plain irritated by what they perceive as someone else’s judgemental tone (easy to misperceive in a written forum). And some people are more judgemental than others; sometimes I think it boils down to “If you don’t believe what I believe, then I feel threatened so I must defeat you at all costs.”

    I think it’s human for that to happen. Plus it helps us solidify our own thoughts and positions. I’ve learned a lot watching others argue, actually.

  55. March 12, 2006 at 3:04 pm

    Let me say, since my blog has come up, that I’m frustrated when my insistence on civility is interpreted as evidence of my privilege or the fact that as a white man, I ultimately “don’t get it.”

    I have no problem with someone saying “You make me really angry, and here’s why.” I have a problem with someone saying “You racist sexist asshole, go fuck yourself.” It’s not patronizing or privileged to ask folks to be dignified and thoughtful! It is patronizing to suggest that the historically marginalized cannot express righteous anger without resorting to ugly epithets. Civil disagreement is not the privilege of the few, it is a prerequisite for creating communities of justice and bringing about change. Do you need me to quote a whole bunch of women of color on that point?

  56. March 12, 2006 at 3:09 pm

    How about you tell sexist assholes to bugger off, Hugo? I notice Mr. Bad is a constant presence on your blog and what does he contribute but the same old sexist shite? He’s saying stuff that’s forty years old, at least. Come on, seriously—-“You’re not a real man if you’re a feminist man.” Here’s soemthing else, too: when male feminist bloggers entertain notably sexist debaters who spout the same shit over and over again, it makes that space safe for them and unsafe for women. But, hey, the worst sexist trolls are other men. Maybe that’s the appeal. Maybe women just don’t matter that much. Maybe banishing the male trolls will raise the bar too much for it to be comfortable. Maybe you’d have to listen to women.

  57. KnifeGhost
    March 12, 2006 at 3:23 pm

    That’s reasonable, Hugo, but I think it’s important to remember that any number of inflammatory and racist and hurtful and ugly things can be said in a “civil” tone by people with privilege that people without privilege (on the relevant dimension) can’t even get to with ugly epithets. For example, white man saying “I don’t appreciate your tone” to a woman of colour has, I believe, more of a chilling effect on debate than a woman of colour responding with “fuck yourself, you racist motherfucker of a woman-hating goddamn fucking prick.” You’re entirely within your rights to insist on a “civil” tone on your blog, but I think if you do you have a responsibility to be extra-vigilant that people with privilege aren’t silencing people without within that civility. People with privilege are so good at not listening to criticisms of that privilege that sometime the only way to cut through that is you precede anytihng you say with “hey, fuck you”.

    as a rule, I distrust anyone who says “internal bickering needs to stop, so to present a united front.”

    because 9 times out of 10, they mean “shut up and get in line with MY platform to present a united front.”

    Indeed. It’s rarely the people in the minority arguing in favour of closing ranks. That said, I think the need for a consistent party line is entirely overstated, and it can be legitimate to say, rather than “get on the bus”, “let’s agree to disagree”.

  58. KnifeGhost
    March 12, 2006 at 3:26 pm

    Follow-up: ginmar and I just said basically the same thing. Mine was in a more civil tone. That does _not_ make my point any more valid.

  59. March 12, 2006 at 3:28 pm

    Look, I’m not asking you all to adopt my rules. I’m saddened that the avoidance of vulgarity is seen less as good taste and generosity, and more as obtuseness and privilege.

    Hell, maybe you’re right. My commitment to being a “gentleman” (inoffensive, gracious, and unflappable) sometimes does trump my ideological commitments. More to work on, I suppose!

  60. March 12, 2006 at 3:35 pm

    How does being gracious to sexist males who avoid vulgarity make you feminist? Frankly, the sexism spouted by your trolls ought to constitute the greatest vulgarity of all, but that’s a matter of quality over quantity.

  61. March 12, 2006 at 3:38 pm

    See, for instance, this thread at Hugo’s

    That Hugo is a putz for holding the typical liberal attitude of superiority and wanting to chastise the White males who are dating Asian females for holding to stereotypical views. You see, he’s above those base feelings and needs to demonstrate to all around that he’s enlightened.

    Hugo only got involved to spank the women of color for being “uncivil.”

    I found most of the thread interesting, so I read the whole damn thing, and the reason Hugo came down on her is because her comments where of a different nature than those of her debate opponents. She earned a rebuke, they didn’t.

    I don’t read these male feminist bloggers so I can’t speak to your general point, but the example you chose to illustrate your point, actually does no such thing.

    It just reflects the fact that, when we’re talking about women’s rights, he has a whole lot less on the line.

    This has an intuitive appeal to it. If it’s true, then what should be done about it? It’s his blog, he can do as he pleases. You can call him on his bias, you can not participate, or you can argue back and demonstrate to him how he actually employs a double standard.

    There is a long history of men setting themselves up as the arbiters of rationality and then declaring women irrational when they react to things differently than the supposedly-neutral men do.

    That may be true, or not, but it wasn’t the case in the example you chose to illustrate you point. There is a clear line of rationality that we all agree to, and it’s not defined by men, and that woman crossed over the line into the irrational.

  62. mythago
    March 12, 2006 at 3:44 pm

    Hugo, there’s a difference between being civil and being ‘nice’. You’ve noted in the past that you want to be liked, and you want people to get along, and unfortunately I think you put up with a lot more crapola because of that than you ought. Disagreement, sure, but why coddle trolls?

  63. March 12, 2006 at 3:46 pm

    when male feminist bloggers entertain notably sexist debaters who spout the same shit over and over again, it makes that space safe for them and unsafe for women.

    What’s sexist? If the some of the fundamental premises of feminism are either wrong or debatable, but they are held as inviolate, then there is sure to be debate on those premises by the challengers and the defenders. If simply challenging the premises is construed as sexism, then we have a definitional problem which means that the charge sexist is now as worthless as the charge of racist.

    If you want a safe place for discussion then you really need to find a blog or forum that is designated as a support group rather than going to places that are more intellectually inclined and encourage debate.

  64. March 12, 2006 at 3:53 pm

    For example, white man saying “I don’t appreciate your tone” to a woman of colour has,

    You have got to be kidding me! You can see the color of my skin through your monitor? You do realize that it is the reaction of the person that is reading the message that is the issue, not the person who is writing the message. If we adopt a standard where non-offensive text has to be vetted through multiple filters of ethnic sensitivity then we will have arrived in liberal heaven and only the most intellectual bankrupt content will pass the pablum test but at least we’ll be be affirmed in the goodness of our self-worth.

  65. March 12, 2006 at 3:53 pm

    Tangoman, when trolls repeatedly derail conversations to talk about this ONE case where a bad evil woman did something awful and that means no woman anywhere can ever complain again, that’s what I’m talking about. Happens on feminist blogs all the time. As a matter of fact, I remember seeing your name above some of those comments in a variety of places. Your snotty remark about support groups is bullshit. There’s a certain bar for anti-feminist assholishness that shouldn’t be tolerated calling that a ‘support group’ is pretty much a good example of somebody who’s trying to hide in plain sight.

    Support group, my ass. Feminists shouldn’t have to deal with forty year old stereotypes every damned day.

  66. KnifeGhost
    March 12, 2006 at 3:56 pm

    Hell, maybe you’re right. My commitment to being a “gentleman” (inoffensive, gracious, and unflappable) sometimes does trump my ideological commitments. More to work on, I suppose!

    Hugo, I don’t frequent the comments on your blog, so I can’t really comment specifically on how you wrangle the commenters. I can say that from your blog and your comments here that you seem to be reflective and thoughtful, and able to apply that self-critically. I’m a fan of gentlemanliness, and it’s sometime I try to cultivate within myself. That said, you can be a gentleman without insisting that everyone else adopt your “civil” tone. A lot of people who insist on a “civil” tone do it as a way to justify not having to listen to certain arguments, certain claims, so on. I don’t know if you do that, and I _know_ you don’t do it intentionally.

    I think that, even as we maintain a “civil” tone (though mine tends to be a vulgar kind of civility), we have the responsibility to back up people who make good and valid and feminist and anti-opressive points, not matter how “uncivil”, rather than backing up “civil” people who talk complete sexist bullshit. Again, I don’t know if that applies to your blog, but that’s a general statement of my values.

  67. March 12, 2006 at 3:57 pm

    You know, tangoman, if you work another anti-liberal stereotype in there, you get a toaster. You also get a prize for proving my point.

    You know, color me skeptical, but when a guy uses phrases like ‘welfare queen’ and so forth it’s not a huge risk to think he’s a white guy or at least somebody who buys into a conservative agenda. Same goes for phrases like ‘pablum’ or any shit that implies that liberals are weak wussies who can’t fight the good fight against manly-man conservatives. Color of skin doesn’t ultimately matter; what they’re spouting outs them for what they are really easy.

  68. KnifeGhost
    March 12, 2006 at 4:02 pm

    Tangoman, are you fucking high? This is the second time you’re accused me of arguing in favour of inoffensive and intellectually bland discussions on this blog. That stands in complete contrast to everything I’ve ever said, and any way I’ve even said it. Jesus Christ, read the context and content of my posts instead of picking out phrases that you can somehow twist into a call for politically-correct-in-the-worst-sense-of-the-term handholding in place of actual debate.

  69. KnifeGhost
    March 12, 2006 at 4:06 pm

    Color of skin doesn’t ultimately matter; what they’re spouting outs them for what they are really easy.

    Fucking exactly. The voice of privilege of any kind can easily silence the voice of non-privilege, whatever dimensions the privilege lies on.

  70. March 12, 2006 at 4:07 pm

    You know, tangoman, if you work another anti-liberal stereotype in there, you get a toaster

    You seem to be confusing me with a Republican. Too bad you don’t get to see me arguing on conservative blogs or against religious creationists and intelligent design advocates. I take the same tone with social conservatives who try to paint themselves as being more moral, caring and patriotic than liberals – you know, they’re pious god fearing folks who care about their community, not godless communists like them liberals. My dissing on that mindset is no different from what I do here when I see liberals posturing.

    Do I still get a toaster?

  71. March 12, 2006 at 4:08 pm

    The voice of privilege of any kind can easily silence the voice of non-privilege, whatever dimensions the privilege lies on.

    OK. I’m way more privileged than you are.

    Hush.

    Huh, it didn’t work. Either I’m not privileged, or this theory isn’t fully resonant with reality.

  72. March 12, 2006 at 4:22 pm

    I call ’em like I see ’em, dude, and I don’t give a shit for what you claim to be like elsewhere. Here, you’re trotting out anti liberal stereotypes and sneering at the idea that fighting against the privileged is merely the actions of those who just need a ‘support group’. When you spout anti liberal stereotypes, gee willikers, who should I believe? Your own words or my eyes?

    …And look at Robert, once again doing what he does so well: ignoring anything subtle so he can take a cheap shot. What a shock.

  73. sophonisba
    March 12, 2006 at 4:26 pm

    Let me say, since my blog has come up, that I’m frustrated when my insistence on civility is interpreted as evidence of my privilege or the fact that as a white man, I ultimately “don’t get it.”

    Hugo, whenever I comment on your blog I feel my words slipping into irritation, sarcasm, and rudeness. It’s because of the miasma of joyful misogyny that permeates the comment threads. I always say what I mean, here or there, and I assume all responsibility for my own opinions, polite expression thereof aside, but your blog’s atmosphere is not what you seem to think it should be. I have come to think (you may be pleased to hear!) that I shouldn’t comment there anymore, because it only serves as an outlet for my aggression – which is fine, except that it’s the comment threads that create that aggression in the first place.

    You haven’t banned Mr. Bad or Gonzman, or me, either. Me you’ve never even threatened. And none of the three of us is civil – that’s a joke. The presence or absence of the word “fuck” does not create civility. What you are concerned with, for the most part, is etiquette, not civility. You mistake the symbolic for the actual. Somewhere in this comment thread you changed from talking about civility to talking about the “avoidance of vulgarity” – if you’d only ever claimed that your blog avoided the latter, you’d get a lot less disgreement.

  74. March 12, 2006 at 4:31 pm

    arguing in favour of inoffensive and intellectually bland discussions on this blog. That stands in complete contrast to everything I’ve ever said, and any way I’ve even said it.

    How else is a reader supposed to interpret your call for people to moderate their use of pedestrian language for fear of offending others who may attach peculiar interpretations to ordinary usage of language? I’m fully prepared to apologize to you if you can show me how what you wrote can be interpreted in a way that is different from the interpretation I attached to your writing. If you can do so, then the fault lies with my inability to read you properly rather than in what you’ve written. Please set me straight.

    If you think I’m selectively clipping your quotes, here is the whole sentence:

    For example, white man saying “I don’t appreciate your tone” to a woman of colour has, I believe, more of a chilling effect on debate than a woman of colour responding with “fuck yourself, you racist motherfucker of a woman-hating goddamn fucking prick.”

    You’re advocating that civility mandates that a white man refrain from saying “I don’t appreciate your tone” when debating a black woman but that it’s permissable for an Asian or Hispanic man to say that or for the white man to say that when debating an Asian man. To me this looks like a call to curtail ordinary language when used with specific groups. As more ordinary language gets put out of bounds, there is less that can be discussed without causing someone offense. What’s left untouched in the world of discourse is equivalent to pablum

    Sorry if I take this seriously, but in my professional life I’ve seen topics closed off because some people find issues too sensitive.

  75. March 12, 2006 at 4:44 pm

    trotting out anti liberal stereotypes

    I’m not trotting them out, I’m pointing to an example of a liberal tendency.In the case of the former, that would usually come across as an accusation, while in the case of the latter, I used evidence as confirmation.

    and sneering at the idea that fighting against the privileged is merely the actions of those who just need a ’support group’

    If the definition of “privileged” is open to debate then how is challenging those who hold extreme defintions wrong? If you want everyone to agree to the extreme defintion of your choice then you really shouldn’t be in a forum where people have varying opinions on the definitions. You really should be in a support group where everyone shares the exact same definition, or where your worldview is exempt from challenge.

  76. March 12, 2006 at 5:10 pm

    Gee, Tangoman, one would think you’d never heard of privileged and so forth. Also, there’s a big huge difference between differing opinions and different worldviews. Your opinion of liberals is just that: an opinion. You use commonly-held stereotypes of liberals which are very popular amongst knee jerk conservatives, and you also use trite summings up to sum up the opinions of those you disagree with. All of which indicates one of two things: either you’re not reading in good faith, or you’re so determined to see what you want that you literally cannot do anything but.

    The definition of privilege is not open to debate, at least when you sneer at those fighting it. I don’t believe for a minute that you are arguing in good faith here, adn your repeated swipes at liberals and others pretty much confirm it. Your refusal to honestly sum up people’s positions and words is an example of privilege; those that oppose you do not appear to interest you as much more than cat toys, because in every instance in this thread you—and Robert as well—have dishonestly twisted someone’s words, no matter how plain and blunt they are.

    This is why feminists get disgusted with so-called civil debate. I’m sick of debating with dishonest individuals who call liberals pussies and then claim they were just being honest or whatever the conservative excuse du jour is.

  77. March 12, 2006 at 5:28 pm

    have dishonestly twisted someone’s words, no matter how plain and blunt they are.

    Don’t say it, show it.

    I’m sick of debating with dishonest individuals

    This is priceless coming from someone who, in a prior thread, made an accusation against me and when I called you on it, you just ignored owning up to your error. Who’s dishonest?

  78. March 12, 2006 at 5:30 pm

    I would also like to know where I have dishonestly twisted someone’s words on this thread, Ginmar.

  79. March 12, 2006 at 5:55 pm

    Gee, Robert, the part where you took the comment about privilege and said, “Guess I’m not privileged enough?” It’s the Rush Limbaugh school of discussion and it’s pretty much what everyone here is talking about. Your next step will probably be some version of, “What’s a matter, can’t you take a joke?” You’re civil. You’re oh so civil. But you’re also contemptuous and cute about it. Some people take this seriously; you don’t, but then again, it doesn’t affect you.

    Tangoman, your comment about the support group is dishonest in the extreme, not to mention you acting like conversations on blogs don’t involve privilege. I’m pointing to an example of a liberal tendency . That phrase is dishonest, because it’s your opinion, yet you’re stating is as a fact. You constantly use stereotypes in your replies, yet you whine—like now—when you get nailed for it. You reduce the other poster’s comment about the chilling effects of privilege to this long-winded discourse on, yet again, boring discourse, as if having not being a sexist asshole is some kind of huge sacrifice that renders all conversation…well, pablum is the word you keep using, isn’t it? That, too, is dishonest. We’re talking about the insincerity and dishonesty of trolls who talk about civility out of one side of their mouth, yet complain about pablum out of the other. I guess it’s only civility when you get nailed for it, hm?

    You’re advocating that civility mandates that a white man refrain from saying “I don’t appreciate your tone” when debating a black woman but that it’s permissable for an Asian or Hispanic man to say that or for the white man to say that when debating an Asian man. To me this looks like a call to curtail ordinary language when used with specific groups. As more ordinary language gets put out of bounds, there is less that can be discussed without causing someone offense. What’s left untouched in the world of discourse is equivalent to pablum.

    That’s not even close to what was being talked about, yet there you are, bitching about civility and how it affects poor conservative guys, how awfully milquetoast and cowardly it is to have to give a fuck about the feelings of someone else who doesn’t share your lordly male perspective. Civility, it hardly needs to be said, is not the same as pablum, but recognizing male privilege for you is evidently a huge privilege that makes your life boring. God, I feel for you, I really do. How awful it is to get called on it when you constantly toss those liberal stereotypes around, when what’s being discussed are assholes who just avoid being honest about their assholishness. Why don’t you just bitch about Political Correctness and have done with it, becuase that’s what all that boils down to. However, the term PC has become an automatic flag for ‘asshole who just wants to talk on his terms about how shitty it is that he has to give a fuck about somebody else’s opinion, especially if they’re female, or something not white male.” The support group remark was another example of trotting out that stereotype. It’s so weak and whining to need a support group, isn’t it? But it’s a lie when what’s being demanded is honesty and respect.

    Your constant liberal stereotypes aren’t honest dialogue, no matter how you try and make excuses. As for you bitching about me on antoerh thread, where? I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but keeping my eyes peeled for every last little sylable of yours isn’t high up on my priority list. Furthermore, you can pretend you’re here in good faith and all that but you haven’t said a damned thing about liberals that isn’t already a talking point for cons, so that alone proves you’re not.

  80. March 12, 2006 at 5:57 pm

    This is priceless coming from someone who, in a prior thread, made an accusation against me and when I called you on it, you just ignored owning up to your error. Who’s dishonest?

    You still are. You’re attributing to me malicious motives that exist only in your fevered little brain. I notice you didn’t provide a link.

  81. zuzu
    March 12, 2006 at 6:03 pm

    I thought this thread was about the feminist police.

    How did it become all about Tango Man? He’s not a feminist.

  82. March 12, 2006 at 6:05 pm

    Watch it, Zuzu, he’ll ask for the signed, notorized statement where he stated unequivocally that he’s not a feminist and barring that, you have no right to draw conclusions from his behavior.

  83. March 12, 2006 at 6:11 pm

    You know what’s funny? There wouldn’t be ‘inter feminist’ implosions if we kept the non-feminists out. They’re always conflating demands for good faith arguments into whines about PC pablum and so forth and so on.

    Feminists might not agree about everything, but, damn, at least you don’t have to go re-inventing the damned wheel every other post.

  84. March 12, 2006 at 6:23 pm

    Gee, Robert, the part where you took the comment about privilege and said, “Guess I’m not privileged enough?”

    Oh. You mean the part where I took someone’s argument about privilege and demonstrated that it wasn’t true.

    How’s that a dishonest twisting of words again?

    You mistake being demonstrably wrong as being victimized.

  85. zuzu
    March 12, 2006 at 6:25 pm

    You know what’s funny? There wouldn’t be ‘inter feminist’ implosions if we kept the non-feminists out. They’re always conflating demands for good faith arguments into whines about PC pablum and so forth and so on.

    You think? I don’t see why not. There’s always someone who’ll play more-[insert value here]-than-thou. I’ve certainly gotten jumped on by people who questioned my feminism without any precipitating event from non-feminists.

    I do agree it gets tiresome having to explain things over and over to people who’ve been commenting here long enough to know the arguments, but that might get cut down if that kind of trolling (and yes, it is trolling when you know damn well the answer and you play dumb) if people ignored it.

  86. March 12, 2006 at 6:26 pm

    Yeah, Robert, do you call that an honest demonstration of it? I don’t. You’re not a feminist, so your opinion of what you do to feminists just doesn’t matter. It’d be like allowing you to define abortion:

    “I’m glad you decided not to kill it.”

    “Oh, well, I don’t feel like it.”

    Those past statements of yours are just as honest as the statement you just made minimizing your actions here.

  87. March 12, 2006 at 6:31 pm

    Yeah, the probelm with the just ignore it and they’ll go away is twofold: number one, it brings back very unpleasant memories of being told, “Oh, just ignore it, they’ll go away,” and places all the onus on us to ignore people saying hateful shit. Two, why should it be allowed in the first place? Telling people to ignore it doesn’t do anything to the troll. Also, as tangoman just proved, when you don’t respond to something, they claim they’ve won. But it’s more than that: the shit they say is appalling. There’s got to be some opposition to it, otherwise it just encourages them. That’s the problem with ignoring them.

    About the more than thou thing, well…that’s complicated. I’ve had conservatives question my feminism while claiming to be feminist themselves, even though their actions demonstrated hostility to womens’ well being. Then again, I’ve had feminists accuse me of being a man hater because I didn’t think men should be able to treat women like fucktoys— as if being a fucktoy is the new thing in feminism.

  88. March 12, 2006 at 7:01 pm

    You’re attributing to me malicious motives that exist only in your fevered little brain. I notice you didn’t provide a link.

    Here’s me calling you on your comment. You made comments in the thread after I posted. Then here I am calling you on it again and you appear in the thread after this comment. No response to either comment was made.

    I’m pointing to an example of a liberal tendency . That phrase is dishonest, because it’s your opinion, yet you’re stating is as a fact. You constantly use stereotypes in your replies, yet you whine—like now—when you get nailed for it

    You didn’t nail anything. I gave you an example. It wasn’t dishonest, it’s right there for you to check. It wasn’t my opinion, it was right there in black and white. I’ll tell you what . . if you think all I’m doing is flinging stereotypes around, then you define the differences between liberals and conservatives and we’ll see how many of your definitions apply to my statements. Be sure not to sneak in stereotypes though!

    We’re talking about the insincerity and dishonesty of trolls who talk about civility out of one side of their mouth,

    The irony here is so delicioius, in that the same dynamic is playing out here that occurred on Hugo’s blog. You’re the one that is flinging out terms like “sexist asshole.”

    How awful it is to get called on it

    You keep coming back to this imagery, like you think you’re actually calling me on something. You certainly put out a lot of sound and fury but there’s no there there to your analysis. You’re calling me on some issue amounts to no more than chastising me for not agreeing with you.

    The problem I’m having with disentangling your argument is that when it’s broken down, it doesn’t really say much. It’s kind of like the Sokal Hoax. You say that I’m stereotyping liberals and that what I’m really doing is arguing against PC. You seem to think that there is no overlap between liberals and those who advocate for PC. Then, you launch into a redefintion of PC so as to equate criticism of PC to those who don’t want to heed the opinions of others. Then you claim you want honesty and respect when you seem to mean you want no disagreement with your principles and premises.

    Other than the fact that you don’t like me, or what I write, I don’t see what this is really amounting to. If you want honesty or respect in a debate, then make a coherent argument and don’t chafe if someone challenges some of your underlying premises. If you think they’re in error, then correct the issue of contention surrounding the premise. Of course, as zuzu points out “I do agree it gets tiresome having to explain things over and over” it’s not the explanation of the premise that is the problem, it’s the defense for that premise that is lacking. I consider myself moderately well versed in feminist literature, so it’s not like I came here right after getting hopped up by Rush Limbaugh’s talking points. Also, as zuzu points out “There’s always someone who’ll play more-[insert value here]-than-thou” and this brings the focus on the very fluid nature of how feminism and feminists are defined. Run down a checklist of features and I bet that I’d probably qualify for a number of them, but because I’m not a feminist the one’s I don’t qualify for will be the important defining points. Take someone else through the list and they may agree with the points I disagree with but disagree on others, yet they’ll still be a feminist.

    Your argument seems to boil down to the fact that you and I disagree on some issues and definitions that are very dear to you but which you can’t, or won’t, defend.

  89. zuzu
    March 12, 2006 at 7:03 pm

    The problem with not ignoring it is that it turns the focus quite neatly onto the troll. Look what happened here.

  90. March 12, 2006 at 7:05 pm

    You’re damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.

  91. March 12, 2006 at 7:09 pm

    I’ve banned many trolls at my place. Gonz and Mr. Bad know that they have to adhere to certain rules about the way in which they express themselves. But trolls are trolls not because of what they believe, but the tactics they use in expressing those beliefs: rudeness, a persistent refusal to accept the good faith of other commenters, constant attempts to hijack the threads.

    Perhaps one role of the male feminist blogger is to “draw” the trolls away from other feminist spaces.

  92. March 12, 2006 at 7:12 pm

    But trolls are trolls not because of what they believe

    Not a universally-held position, alas.

  93. zuzu
    March 12, 2006 at 7:12 pm

    You’re not doing a very good job, then, Hugo!

  94. March 12, 2006 at 7:19 pm

    I’d be delighted to hear suggestions as to how I could improve!

  95. March 12, 2006 at 7:26 pm

    zuzu,

    For my edification, I’m curious at to what statement in my comment #61 is considered trollish. If not that comment, perhaps the trigger, if it actually exists, is found in comments #63 or #64. I don’t see what I wrote that is so outlandish. So, please let me know, and if you’re hesitant about prolonging this derailment, be assured that I won’t attempt to defend myself against the statement(s) you highlight so long as there is no commentay about my motives attached. Maybe you could, as a favor to me, just copy the statement that triggered this whole derailment. Thanks.

  96. zuzu
    March 12, 2006 at 7:57 pm

    If you want a safe place for discussion then you really need to find a blog or forum that is designated as a support group rather than going to places that are more intellectually inclined and encourage debate.

    You have got to be kidding me! You can see the color of my skin through your monitor? You do realize that it is the reaction of the person that is reading the message that is the issue, not the person who is writing the message. If we adopt a standard where non-offensive text has to be vetted through multiple filters of ethnic sensitivity then we will have arrived in liberal heaven and only the most intellectual bankrupt content will pass the pablum test but at least we’ll be be affirmed in the goodness of our self-worth.

    This is where you got things turned into being All About You. Because the thread had to do with inter-feminist disputes, not how conservatives feel they have to tiptoe around liberals and feminists. And you quite deftly turned the focus back onto you.

    I’m asking you now to drop it, walk away and let this thread go back to its original purpose, which was to address inter-feminist issues.

  97. March 12, 2006 at 8:05 pm

    I’m asking you now to drop it, walk away and let this thread go back to its original purpose

    Very happy to do so. My apologies for sucking the air out of the intended inter-feminist discussion.

  98. March 12, 2006 at 8:15 pm

    And Tangoman’s accusation about me gets dropped. So, Tangoman, care to provide that link?

    Hugo, I firmly believe that tolerating polite sexism is worse than having to deal with overt sexism. The trolls who mouth the MRA crap at your blog are not being polite, but they’re permitted to post because they don’t use obscenities. I think stereotyeps about women are obscene and I don’t care how politely they’re stated. If all the feminist blogs adhered to that, these guys would find the bar raised and they’d have to go with it.

  99. March 12, 2006 at 8:20 pm

    It’s hard to explain, because you have to look at the content of things, not only the form. One can simply in ‘civil’ terms tell you how you are not a person and how you don’t matter, how you don’t belong, and how your kind would be better off blown off the face of the earth. Even if we screamed and cried fuck you, fuck you for a hundred years, nothing would be as bad as that ‘civil’ comment. The form is not the whole of the message is what I mean.

    I think it’s a cultural misunderstanding, but I don’t know how to make you be able to imagine someone hating you so much, and how much the more timid women and people of color would avoid a board on which they can not even say that some white men are racist without occasioning vicious attacks. Not in form, which is superficial, but in truth. It’s one of the manifestations of privilege that you can’t empathize with us. That’s the one that always depresses me the most.

  100. March 12, 2006 at 8:23 pm

    You know, as much as feminists disagree, there’s the sense that they’re disagreeing in good faith. They’re trying to clarify things, to blow away the smoke. That’s not a feeling you get from guys who look for every little technicality, who try to fight to win rather than fight to understand.

    Trolls are never educational. Other feminists, however, usually not are educational, but they’re inspiring and encouraging, sometimes because of the disagreements. You don’t understand one another unless you argue. Nothing gets cleared up. With other feminists, you can turn an argument into an alliance.

    Of course, you do have to watch out for conservaties claiming they’re either feminists or poor victims of those nasty strawfeminists. But they’re easy to spot.

    With other feminists, you take it as a given, that women aren’t evil, aren’t whatever the stereotype says, and from there you build on the premise that women are allies instead of competition. Trolls just try and keep you from making that connection.

  101. March 12, 2006 at 9:31 pm

    I can definitely see how forums that ask posters to treat each other with respect can have a silencing effect on some posters. I would never go to Ginmar’s lifejournal and criticize her for that, because I don’t think Ginmar should be any more “civil.” I think she should post exactly the way she wants to post, and fuck anyone who thinks differently.

    What no one on “the other side” of this issue seems willing to acknowledge is, forums in which it’s considered okay to constantly make over-the-top personal attacks are also silencing of some posters. Why is this silencing okay with so many of my critics?

    Since both possible approaches silence some posters, I think the best thing to do is to have a variety of forums, so that most posters are able to find at least some forums in which they might feel comfortable speaking. Ginmar has her livejournal, I have my blog, and people can gravitate to whichever forum serves them best.

    I’ve been told that forums like mine are more likely to silence women, trans, and people of color than they are to silence non-trans whites. But I’m not sure that’s true. The large majority of the folks I ban from posting on “Alas” are MRAs and anti-feminists, most of whom are, I suspect, white non-trans men. I know tons of trans, of women, and people of color who clearly have no problem participating in respectful disagreement; it also takes only one trip to an MRA forum to find dozens of white men who are unable or unwilling to “debate” unless they can make a lot of highly emotional personal attacks.

    In short, I think there’s room in feminism for a variety of approaches to running a blog. I disagree with the folks who have told me that I can’t be a feminist unless I run my blog the way they want me to run my blog. Feminism isn’t all-encompassing, but neither is there one and only one True Path of Feminist Blogging.

  102. KnifeGhost
    March 12, 2006 at 9:32 pm

    Well, it looks like I missed all the fun.

    Robert, privilege is context-dependant. It depends on the crowd going along with it, and it varies from case to case. Around here, you have relatively little privilege. Now, if you use that to claim “oppression”, I will slit your throat. That’s a solemn vow. But it’s true — the characteristics that give you privilege in other venues don’t tend to work here, and in some cases may work to your disadvantage. Besides, you have to be a lot more clever than telling someone to shut it to be effective “silencing”. But you’re just trying to be cute, so I’ll let it slide.

    Tangoman, I used an example. Maybe you do that sometimes? I picked a deliberately stark one. Maybe you do that, too? There’s absolutley notihng sacred about white men not being able to say something, but white women can, or Asian men can, or whatever. Your’e either obtuse or disingenous to read that from what I said. I suspect a bit of both. I’m absolutely not suggesting that people of a certain race/sex/whatever can or can’t say something about people of other races/sexes/whatever. My point was that in situations where “civility” is the accepted (and socially enforced) norm, people who don’t accept it can be silenced by dismissing them based on their tone. A rightfully indignant woman of colour (FOR EXAMPLE) can be silenced (which, I should clarify, means more or less “dismissed-such-that-she-doesn’t-have-to-be-taken-seriously”) if a (FOR EXAMPLE) “civil” white man (or Asian man, or white woman, or woman of colour who goes for that type of “civility” or whoever) points out their tone rather than addressing her point. ginmar has explained quite convincingly that people with a personal stake in an issue are more likely to get emotionally involved in a debate — therefore, when white men sit around and talk about issues personal to women of colour, accepting amongst themselves that civility trumps point, people who have a personal interest in the issue (in my EXAMPLE, women of colour) are less likely to maintain a strictly “civil” tone. If you need a clearer explanation of the mechanism that leads to their silencing, well, I guess I’m content to let you not get it.

    Beyond that, you seem to read a call for punishment of offenders into my statements where none either exists or was intended.

    I recognize that we may be approaching this issue with sufficiently different vocabulary that it legitimately looks to you like I’m arguing for toothless handholding instead of debate, but goddammit, I have to give you a generous benefit of the doubt to really swallow it.

  103. March 12, 2006 at 9:50 pm

    KnifeGhost,

    I recognize that we may be approaching this issue with sufficiently different vocabulary that it legitimately looks to you like I’m arguing for toothless handholding instead of debate

    I wanted to let you know that I read your comment and I appreciate your taking the time to clarify your points. As for the different vocabulary – what can I say – I think you’d be surprised by how often I’m confronted by people who want to limit topics because they may hurt someone’s feelings or self-esteem, so I’m quick to jump to the defense of free expression and stand fast against PC mantras. Perhaps prematurely. I think you’d have fun walking a mile in my shoes :)

  104. March 12, 2006 at 9:53 pm

    Sally wrote:

    I do think that amp’s commitment to “civility,” and his zealous policing of feminist incivility, goes back to the Ms. implosion.

    I deliberately “police feminist incivility” a great deal less than I moderate non-feminist incivility; tons of anti-feminists get banned right off the bat, whereas I’m a lot more lenient with feminist posters.

    But I also think that it’s telling that male feminist bloggers (which is to say amp and Hugo) are much more likely than female feminist bloggers to assert the authority to discipline women for being “uncivil.” Female bloggers are much more likely, I think, to make it clear they think the poster is full of shit, rather than claiming some blog-owner privilege to tell her to be nice.

    II don’t think I’ve actually been any more likely to moderate female than male posters. And virtually all blog owners, regardless of sex, consider themselves to have the authority to moderate posters on their own blogs.

    I don’t have any problem with saying “you’re full of shit, and here’s why.”

    Neither do I, actually. No one has ever been moderated on “Alas” just for using cuss words.

    I do have a problem with saying that you must play nice or I’ll make you sit in the corner and think about your behavior, young lady. And that was the point of my comment at Alas. Amp acts like he’s more rational and restrained than women, and that’s why he stays calm when feminists get angry. But he gets equally angry when people start saying nasty things about fat people. His calmness isn’t a reflection of his superior self-restraint. It just reflects the fact that, when we’re talking about women’s rights, he has a whole lot less on the line.

    :shrug: The advantage of your kind of personal attack, Sally – that is, making up bullshit about the person you’re attacking – is that it’s impossible to disprove. I know, because I live in my own skull, that I get pissed off at both misogyny and at anti-fat attitudes. But there’s no way for me to prove it.

    I don’t think I’m more rational and restrained than “women,” and of course I’ve never said anything of the kind. I don’t think that “women” as a class are any less rational and restrained than men. (I do think I’m more restrained than many internet posters, regardless of sex.)

    On “Alas,” you pointed to one example of my getting snarky with an anti-fat poster to prove your claim that I care more about fat acceptance than feminism. But (as I pointed out to you, and you ignored) I’ve also been snarky with misogynist posters. I try not to be snarky with anyone, but I’m human and I slip up now and again. By and large, though, I’m confident that the large majority of my replies to both anti-fat and anti-feminist posters have been pretty respectful and polite, because that’s how I strive to treat everybody.

    But even if that wasn’t the case, so what? As I told you on “Alas,” I want everyone to support feminism, but it wouldn’t occur to me to tell American Indian activists that sexism must stir their emotions exactly the way that anti-Indian racism does, or else their claims to support feminism are “really shitty.” (Which is how you characterized my commitment to feminism).

    Since when it is a rule that it’s not enough for people to support feminism, unless they do so with just as much or more passion than any other issue they support? My mother is more passionate about her Jewish community volunteering efforts than she is about feminism – are you going to get in her face and tell her she’s “really shitty” to consider herself a feminist, too?

    I don’t think people have to reduce other idealogical commitments and passions to be feminists. I don’t believe in an “equal passion” rule. Not every feminist is going to make feminism her number-one political passion; some will be more focused on anti-racism work, or environmental work, or fat acceptance, or whatever. Why shouldn’t that be okay?

  105. March 12, 2006 at 9:57 pm

    The posters that should be getting silenced, Amp, are the bigoted ones who spout the same old crap over and over again while you hone your debating skills and keep the bar for male feminism low. They don’t add anything to the debate, and in fact they prevent progress from getting made. Who does that benefit? Who does that serve? I quoted two of Robert’s statements back at him, both of which are indicative of the way he frames feminist thought and issues. He might have apologized for both, yet he continues to promote lies about feminists: “I didn’t feel like it” is how he sums up a woman’s choice to have an abortion. What good is an apology if the behavior continues? Calling it debate is dishonest. It’s not debate; it’s running in one place constantly, while the privileged stay privileged and those whose lives are being dismissed are silenced. It’s just that the dimissal is polite. Pretenses allow the same old bullshit to flourish. It’s easy to value bullshit when it’s not your ass being deprived of birth control, abortion, and personhood, by a culture whose religion, politics, and law are all biased against you.

  106. March 12, 2006 at 10:12 pm

    Amp, you’re being disingenuous in the extreme and shifting aside what Sally is actually getting at.

    I deliberately “police feminist incivility” a great deal less than I moderate non-feminist incivility; tons of anti-feminists get banned right off the bat, whereas I’m a lot more lenient with feminist posters

    What do you want? A cookie? So you ban horrible anti-feminists. What is that, optional? It’s not. You let the polite ones stand, even though they keep saying the same stuff as the rude ones.

    >

    We’re not talking generalities here, Amp. We’re talking specifics. The point is, you’re not dealing with equality on your blog. You’re dealing with the premise that it’s a feminist blog, yet you give a lot of slack to those male posters who say offensive things inoffensively, and bitch at feminists who find this pretense….well, a pretense.

    Since when it is a rule that it’s not enough for people to support feminism, unless they do so with just as much or more passion than any other issue they support?

    That’s not the issue and you know it. The issue is how some male bloggers tolerate other men who say the same old shit about women, do it politely, and how those self same male bloggers then call the women on finally have had enough. You called me a bully and reached back to second grade to justify banning me. What, then, is Robert, but a bully in a polite costume?

    I may be a bitch and everything that people say I am, but you know what? I know it and I own it. I’m mad because I see shit happening, and I get mad when I see men claiming the title I wear—feminist—even while they try not to offend men. You can’t have it both ways. It takes a lot of strength to be a male feminist. You won’t make friends; you’ll make enemies. Most of all, you have to be honest.

    You want to be everybody’s favorite feminist. You can’t be a feminist and be harmless. People will hate you. It comes with the territory. Call it a personal attack if you must, call it bullying, but you’re the one giving Robert and his ever-so-polite brethren a soap box.

  107. March 12, 2006 at 10:19 pm

    My to-do list, 3/12/2006:

    1. Clean out basement. Check!
    2. Get toilet cleaner and scrub toilets. Check!
    3. Take baby to the play area at the mall and let her run around. Check!
    4. Promote lies about feminists.

    Damn it! I knew I left one out. Uh, lessee.

    Feminists killed the Lindberg baby.

    If an attractive woman says she’s a feminist, she’s just trying to score a compliant man.

    Feminism exists to provide a career path for the girls too dumb to be engineers and too ugly to catch a husband.

    There, that ought to cover my lies-about-feminists duties for the day. (But it keeps piling up! I should write a lies-about-feminists generating computer program.)

  108. zuzu
    March 12, 2006 at 10:26 pm

    5. Stop making it All About Robert.

  109. March 12, 2006 at 10:27 pm

    Ampersand:

    The advantage of your kind of personal attack, Sally – that is, making up bullshit about the person you’re attacking – is that it’s impossible to disprove. I know, because I live in my own skull, that I get pissed off at both misogyny and at anti-fat attitudes. But there’s no way for me to prove it.

    I don’t think I’m more rational and restrained than “women,” and of course I’ve never said anything of the kind. I don’t think that “women” as a class are any less rational and restrained than men. (I do think I’m more restrained than many internet posters, regardless of sex.)

    Amp, I don’t think that everything that’s been said about your weblog or your moderation policies is fair, but I don’t think that examining your own private reactions or beliefs is the end of the story here. Whether or not, in your own head, you get at least as mad about misogyny as you do about anti-fat attitudes, and whether or not you say “I’m more rational than women” to yourself when you make your remarks, it might turn out that your public remarks and public actions come off to other people as selective or patronizing, without your intending to come off that way. Couldn’t it?

  110. March 12, 2006 at 10:27 pm

    5. Stop making it All About Robert.

    Ma’am, I’m not the one who can’t make a post without mentioning my name.

  111. March 12, 2006 at 10:27 pm

    You know, Robet, it’s not a joke. To you, it is, but then again, you’re not the one suffering the consequences of your assholishness.

    Explain these, okay? “I’m glad you decided not to kill it.”

    “I just didn’t feel like it.”

    Those aren’t lies? Do tell. I’d have some respect for you if you didn’t keep try and hide.

  112. March 12, 2006 at 10:30 pm

    Of course, Robert, you have nothing to do with that. Why don’t you go and troll conservative blogs?

  113. March 12, 2006 at 10:32 pm

    Robert, you’re being a prick. You’re deliberately baiting people and disrupting a conversation that doesn’t include you. Please quit.

  114. March 12, 2006 at 10:33 pm

    You know, Robet, it’s not a joke.

    Ginmar, pretty much everything you write is a joke.

    Explain these, okay?

    Ginmar, if you want to argue on a particular thread, go argue on a particular thread. I defended those statements in the context where they were made. I don’t intend to be your permanent punching bag from blog to blog; if you want to obsess about me in your private space, knock yourself out, but don’t waste my time trying to rehash the same old argument in new places.

    I’d have some respect for you if you didn’t keep try and hide.

    Yeah, cowering in the darkness, unwilling to reply to blog posts, that’s me. (Rolls eyes.) Sometimes I’ve been known to disappear for as much as a half-hour at a time.

  115. March 12, 2006 at 10:35 pm

    You’re deliberately baiting people and disrupting a conversation that doesn’t include you.

    Once people mention my name, I’m included. Think of me as the Hastur of the Internet.

    All that you have to do to “bait” Ginmar is to breathe.

  116. March 12, 2006 at 10:51 pm

    Oh, gee, look at Robert respond to what I said. Oh, wait, no he didn’t, any more than he’s honest about “I just didn’t feel like it.”

    Robert, not only are you a prick, but you’re a coward as well.

    Funny, he didn’t answer anything I actually said, just responded with insults.

    Anyway, this isn’t Alas, where people kiss his ass. Radgeek, you were saying?

  117. March 12, 2006 at 10:54 pm

    Fine. Ginmar, lay out your case. What did I say that was objectionable, and why do you think it’s objectionable?

    At some point this evening I will make a lengthy response, in detail, to everything that you have to say.

  118. zuzu
    March 12, 2006 at 10:56 pm

    So much for the topic.

  119. azzy23
    March 12, 2006 at 11:03 pm

    #72, #79, #107

    A nice progression. It’s soooo funny. Too bad all those emotional girls keep taking it all so seriously!

  120. March 12, 2006 at 11:06 pm

    So much for Robert paying attention.

  121. zuzu
    March 12, 2006 at 11:08 pm

    I figure it’s pointless, ginmar. Better to talk around him.

  122. March 12, 2006 at 11:18 pm

    Yean, pretty much. So, as I was saying…..How come people think they can use synonyms for ‘catfight’ and not get called on it? It reduces the arguments of women from the intellectual to the emotional, but, hey, let’s not call them on it or anything. I’ve never learned one goddamend thing from a troll except how to waste my damned time beating my head against a wall. Even if I’m arguing with another feminist with whom I have profound disagreemens, it’s still educational. Every. Last. Time. I always learn something when I’m talking or fighting with another feminist. It’s tiring but, damn, it’s refreshing, too.

  123. March 12, 2006 at 11:36 pm

    Well, I’m learning quite a bit from this argument myself.

    I just had trouble on my own blog with one of those “Let’s keep it civil” types who regularly uses a few of those tactics on ginmar’s troll list to defend his favorite writer’s honor. Because I was recognizing the tactics, I called him out on it, and he removed all of the dissenting posts in protest and tried to play victim. But he shut up at least and if there’s a next time it won’t go on so long. If I’d been aware of these tendancies earlier, I prbably would never have let him run me in circles before. This thread, and others like it, constitute a real education sometimes.

  124. March 12, 2006 at 11:42 pm

    Ditto, Ragnell. At first I regretted even posting anything at all, intending the original post to be a blow-off statement. Now I only sort of regret it, since the thoughts are a-brewin’. I hate seeing people I like and consider allies get so heated with one another. (Thank you Traditional Southern Mother for making me leary of conflict!)

    Sorry I touched a sore nerve, everyone. I hope we’re all learning something from this.

  125. March 12, 2006 at 11:54 pm

    The truth is often ugly, but we can’t fight sexism unless we’re dealing with the truth and not its illusion. Sexism is polite and coy and dishonest. Feminism is raw and uncomfortable.

  126. March 13, 2006 at 12:04 am

    Who does that serve?

    Me and the other posters – many of them feminists – who choose to read or post to “Alas.” I assume that if people got nothing out of it, they wouldn’t read or post.

    Amp, you’re being disingenuous in the extreme and shifting aside what Sally is actually getting at.

    No I’m not, Ginmar. It’s possible I’ve misunderstood Sally’s point, but if so it’s a sincere misunderstanding.

    I deliberately “police feminist incivility” a great deal less than I moderate non-feminist incivility; tons of anti-feminists get banned right off the bat, whereas I’m a lot more lenient with feminist posters

    What do you want? A cookie? So you ban horrible anti-feminists. What is that, optional? It’s not. You let the polite ones stand, even though they keep saying the same stuff as the rude ones.

    I was falsely accused of treating anti-feminists with more leniancy than feminists or women. Then, when I point out it’s not true, you say that because I corrected a lie about me, I must be looking for praise.

    I don’t want a cookie, and I don’t want to be liked. Nonetheless, I do reserve the right to clear up lies people say about me. And I do give feminists more leeway on “Alas,” compared to non-feminists; for example, I didn’t moderate Sally in any way when she called Robert an “asshole” on Alas, whereas I certainly would have moderated had it been Robert calling her an “asshole” in the same thread. (Just talkin’ specifics.)

    That’s not the issue and you know it.

    That’s not your issue. But it is the issue Sally brought up in her post, as far as I can tell.

    You can’t have it both ways. It takes a lot of strength to be a male feminist. You won’t make friends; you’ll make enemies. Most of all, you have to be honest.

    Thanks for telling me about being a male feminist; believe or not, I know a little something about that area myself. If my top priority was not making enemies, I simply wouldn’t be be a feminist.

    You want to be everybody’s favorite feminist.

    No, I really don’t. I want to do what I think is right, and advocate for what I think is right. And part of what I think is right is trying to be nice, or at least respectful, to the folks I interact with.

    If I wanted to be liked, I wouldn’t act the way I do. I’ve been doing this a lot of years, and I’m not an idiot; it’s not like it’s news to me that I aggravate a lot of people, including many feminists.

    You can’t be a feminist and be harmless. People will hate you. It comes with the territory. Call it a personal attack if you must, call it bullying, but you’re the one giving Robert and his ever-so-polite brethren a soap box.

    Robert and his brethren would have a soap box with or without “Alas.” They have blogs of their own, and they have blogs like “Feministe,” as well. All I’m providing is a space for people who want, for whatever reason, to have a space where feminist issues are discussed, but not everyone discussing them is a feminist.

    You’re basically saying “there’s only one feminist way to run a blog, and that’s my way; if you don’t do things exactly the way I demand, then you’re a bad feminist.” I don’t think that’s correct. There is no One True Way of running being a feminist who runs a blog.

  127. March 13, 2006 at 12:07 am

    Robert, when you choose to post a bunch in feminist forums, like here and at “Alas,” it’s inevitable that you become a topic of conversation. However, it doesn’t follow that you have to respond in every. single. conversation. in which your name comes up.

    I think it would be a courtesy if you’d allow us feminists to have an inter-feminist dialog, in this thread, without your posts. Or just post briefly saying “I’m not going to divert the conversation here, but I’ve posted a response here on my blog.” Just in my opinion.

  128. March 13, 2006 at 12:10 am

    In post #125, the formatting is a bit messed up because I didn’t realize that I couldn’t do a blockquote-within-a-blockquote on this blog. Sorry about that.

    This paragraph was said by me, and quoted by Ginmar: I deliberately “police feminist incivility” a great deal less than I moderate non-feminist incivility; tons of anti-feminists get banned right off the bat, whereas I’m a lot more lenient with feminist posters

    And this was Ginmar’s response (in part) to the above paragraph: What do you want? A cookie? So you ban horrible anti-feminists. What is that, optional? It’s not. You let the polite ones stand, even though they keep saying the same stuff as the rude ones.

  129. March 13, 2006 at 12:19 am

    Robert and his brethren would have a soap box with or without “Alas.” They have blogs of their own, and they have blogs like “Feministe,” as well. All I’m providing is a space for people who want, for whatever reason, to have a space where feminist issues are discussed, but not everyone discussing them is a feminist.

    Bullshit. Oh, wait. According to your standards, I should say, “bovine excrement” and it would be okay.

    I’m going to bed. I’ll reply at greater length later, but if you think anti-feminists have anything relevant to contribute to the discussion you’re deluded. What, exactly, did David Irving add to the discussion of the Holocaust?

    You’re basically saying “there’s only one feminist way to run a blog, and that’s my way; if you don’t do things exactly the way I demand, then you’re a bad feminist.” I don’t think that’s correct. There is no One True Way of running being a feminist who runs a blog.

    This is beneath whatever standard I have for you, which isn’t much. You keep evading the specifics I’ve mentioned, and this is exactly the sort of thing you call trolls on on your blog. It’s very simple. You’ve been dodging and ducking more than Sugar Ray in the Ring with Iron Mike.

    There is One True Thing about being a feminst: it matters to you. The lies and the bullshit people tell about women matter, except to you.

  130. March 13, 2006 at 12:30 am

    Rad Geek wrote:

    Amp, I don’t think that everything that’s been said about your weblog or your moderation policies is fair, but I don’t think that examining your own private reactions or beliefs is the end of the story here. Whether or not, in your own head, you get at least as mad about misogyny as you do about anti-fat attitudes, and whether or not you say “I’m more rational than women” to yourself when you make your remarks, it might turn out that your public remarks and public actions come off to other people as selective or patronizing, without your intending to come off that way. Couldn’t it?

    It could be that way – and, evidently, it is that way. Clearly, Sally does feel I’m being selective and patronizing, and there are a bunch of folks who agree with her analysis.

    I don’t doubt that Sally is being truthful when she describes her own perceptions of me. After many years of self-examination on this issue, along with discussions with feminists whose perceptions I trust (and who I trust to let me know when I’m full of shit), I really don’t think her perceptions are correct.

    I know it’s possible that her perceptions are correct and my self-perceptions are mistaken. But that’s not an issue I can resolve.

    It’s difficult for anyone involved in feminist discussions for years to avoid making any enemies. That’s the way it goes. I try to take criticism seriously – and I have altered the moderation policies at “Alas” in response to feminist criticism – but where criticism hasn’t persuaded me, I have to say my honest views, not the views that I think will placate my critics.

    I also think that there’s a “politics of personal denunciation” going on. It’s a style of argument that was extremely popular on the Ms Boards. The way the politics of personal denunciation works is that you don’t try to argue about policy or philosophy; instead, you argue about the feminist creds of whomever you disagree with, and the policy or philosophy is just evidence supporting the prosecution’s case. So it’s not “BDSM is a bad idea because it eroticizes patriarchy”; it’s “Because BDSM eroticizes patriarchy, anyone who practices BDSM is putting what turns them on above being a feminist.”

    I’m really sick of the politics of personal denunciation, and I don’t mind saying so. And I take criticism a lot more seriously when it comes from people who aren’t playing that game.

  131. KnifeGhost
    March 13, 2006 at 12:42 am

    I think you’d be surprised by how often I’m confronted by people who want to limit topics because they may hurt someone’s feelings or self-esteem, so I’m quick to jump to the defense of free expression and stand fast against PC mantras.

    I’m pretty hard to surprise, and I know what you’re talking about. I’m sure you get it a lot more than I would, even if we were making the same point, since you don’t “speak the language” as well as I do. Frankly, I think adherence to “political correctness”, at least in the sense that it’s earned a bad reputation for, is more harmful to liberal values than helpful. It’s far more effective to be loud and right than to shut people up. And if everyone keeps quiet (or timid) on controversial issues, nobody learns anything.

  132. KnifeGhost
    March 13, 2006 at 12:57 am

    And part of what I think is right is trying to be nice, or at least respectful, to the folks I interact with.

    That’s a reasonable impulse, and one that I can understand. That said, it can lead to giving people who don’t deserve a whole lot of respect far more than they deserve, and reduce your ability to be respectful of the people that do deserve it.

    Lauren, this is the kind of conflict we should be having, at least every once in a while. We’ll be better for it.

  133. piny
    March 13, 2006 at 1:49 am

    I’ve been told that forums like mine are more likely to silence women, trans, and people of color than they are to silence non-trans whites. But I’m not sure that’s true. The large majority of the folks I ban from posting on “Alas” are MRAs and anti-feminists, most of whom are, I suspect, white non-trans men. I know tons of trans, of women, and people of color who clearly have no problem participating in respectful disagreement; it also takes only one trip to an MRA forum to find dozens of white men who are unable or unwilling to “debate” unless they can make a lot of highly emotional personal attacks.

    The issue isn’t whether it’s possible. The issue is whether it should be required. Ginmar’s position is that it’s anti-feminist to insist that women respond to anti-woman statements with anything other than their entirely justified anger, and that it’s effectively misogynist to read for tone rather than for content when the content is misogynist.

    I’m extremely uncomfortable with lumping in x minority group with y and z minority group. I’ve met a great many extremely progressive, ostensibly trans-friendly men who were definitely not feminist. Respect and sensitivity towards one group does not imply any particular attitude towards another.

    It doesn’t matter if you ban more anti-feminists than feminists. That’s exactly what you’d expect, isn’t it, from someone who had a moderation policy towards anti-feminists that was even slightly more rigorous? And you’d further expect less respect and civility from MRA outsiders showing up to troll, which would pump up their average. But that’s immaterial. The question is not whether the bannings are equal, but whether the standards of discourse are fair to the women and feminists posting at Alas. That is a different question entirely.

    The fact that some members of a minority group are okay with any given arrangement does not mean that it’s not disrespectful or unfair to that minority group. And the fact that they’re willing to put up with your setup in order to have contact with its attendant community doesn’t mean that they approve of your rules, or that they’re not irritated by it. I show up on Alas, and I don’t endorse the position you’ve taken. If people don’t outright boycott you, are you going to assume you have their support? You shouldn’t.

  134. March 13, 2006 at 5:09 am

    Piny wrote:

    The issue isn’t whether it’s possible. The issue is whether it should be required. Ginmar’s position is that it’s anti-feminist to insist that women respond to anti-woman statements with anything other than their entirely justified anger, and that it’s effectively misogynist to read for tone rather than for content when the content is misogynist.

    It’s not “required” that anyone post on “Alas” at all, Piny.

    And the “moderate for tone, rather than content” critique is misapplied in a couple of ways. First of all, the idea that tone isn’t itself a form of content is mistaken; people use tone to indicate content all the time. Second of all, most of the people I ban are banned for outright misogyny, whether it’s superficially polite or not; so even if I accept the dubious idea that tone and content aren’t overlapping, the fact is I don’t moderate solely for tone.

    I’m extremely uncomfortable with lumping in x minority group with y and z minority group.

    Point well taken. I’m sorry if I seemed to be doing that.

    The question is not whether the bannings are equal, but whether the standards of discourse are fair to the women and feminists posting at Alas. That is a different question entirely.

    You’re using the phrase “the women and feminists posting at Alas” as if they were a unitary group, with a single opinion. That’s not the case. You have a great deal of concern for women and feminists who are silenced by my approach, but if you have any concern for those who would be silenced by an alternative approach, you haven’t expressed it.

    As I said in post #101, “Since both approaches silence some posters, I think the best thing to do is to have a variety of forums, so that most posters are able to find at least some forums in which they might feel comfortable speaking.” Why is that wrong?

    If people don’t outright boycott you, are you going to assume you have their support?

    Since some posters have explicitly said that they don’t support my moderation policy, I obviously don’t think everyone supports what I’m doing. But I still assume that people who show up to read or post are getting something out of it, even though few if any agree with everything I say or do.

  135. March 13, 2006 at 9:30 am

    Ginmar, pretty much everything you write is a joke.

    Tell me that’s not trolling. Come on, Ampersand, defend this asshole. This is how he acts on a feminist board. This is appropriate and I’m inappropriate? When this is his idea of debate? I’d say, that after that, I can pretty much say whatever I want.

  136. March 13, 2006 at 11:04 am

    It’s a lot easier to attack someone, whether because of their actions or beliefs (written or spoken) than it is to hold a discussion about different beliefs.
    It’s also a lot easier to be an online feminist than a real-life feminist because it’s easier to have values than to live them. The gap between who we are and who we want to be or who we should be (according to ourselves) is always going to be an area where we are vunerable to attack.
    Personally, I find it more informative to have certain kinds of trolls. Not only do they force someone to clarify their argument and hone it, but they allow a response to be made to an opinion that will be found in the “real world”.
    People who are versed in any area, whether medicine, law or feminism often (tragically) assume that others understand basic facts that are completely unclear to the novice. These assumptions often only get explained when someone else disagrees or argues.

  137. March 13, 2006 at 11:27 am

    That’s nice in principle but in reality trolls use it to derail conversations and demand that you re-invent the wheel—-while they keep saying, “Taht’s not good enough, I don’t believe there’s a rape culture, and I DO believe that women lie about being raped.” They go in asking questions when they absolutely will not change their minds, but they’re not honest about it at all.

  138. March 13, 2006 at 11:44 am

    I’ve posted a long piece at my blog on this subject (at least tangentially):

    http://hugoboy.typepad.com/hugo_schwyzer/2006/03/im_thinking_thi.html

  139. piny
    March 13, 2006 at 12:23 pm

    It’s not “required” that anyone post on “Alas” at all, Piny.

    Ah, the It’s My Blog argument. Knew we were gonna get around to that at some point. I think I’ve got a pretty good read on your content.

    And the “moderate for tone, rather than content” critique is misapplied in a couple of ways. First of all, the idea that tone isn’t itself a form of content is mistaken; people use tone to indicate content all the time. Second of all, most of the people I ban are banned for outright misogyny, whether it’s superficially polite or not; so even if I accept the dubious idea that tone and content aren’t overlapping, the fact is I don’t moderate solely for tone.

    You do when the bannees are feminists.

    You’re using the phrase “the women and feminists posting at Alas” as if they were a unitary group, with a single opinion. That’s not the case. You have a great deal of concern for women and feminists who are silenced by my approach, but if you have any concern for those who would be silenced by an alternative approach, you haven’t expressed it.

    And you are using the comfort of some members of the group to imply that other members of the group have nothing to complain about. This is not merely about silencing in practice. And as to your other criticism, some of that may well be because I’m in the former group. Which of your blog tribe have expressed discomfort with Ginmar? Had she racked up anywhere near as many complaints as Robert?

    Since some posters have explicitly said that they don’t support my moderation policy, I obviously don’t think everyone supports what I’m doing. But I still assume that people who show up to read or post are getting something out of it, even though few if any agree with everything I say or do.

    You’re going to ignore their stated discomfort as long as that discomfort is not so great that it outweighs any other consideration they might have?

  140. March 13, 2006 at 1:27 pm

    That Girl:

    Personally, I find it more informative to have certain kinds of trolls. Not only do they force someone to clarify their argument and hone it, but they allow a response to be made to an opinion that will be found in the “real world”.

    Well, “people who disagree with you” aren’t the same as trolls. (To take a real-life example, can you identify anything that Robert has helped clarify or contributed in this thread, other than contempt and distraction?)

    That said, as a lot of people have pointed out, it’s a mistake to think that just because a particular community is, say, limited to feminists (or even some particular faction within feminism) doesn’t mean that everyone is just sitting around agreeing with each other and clapping themselves on the back. It just means that disagreements, and the work in “clarifying” and “honing,” occurs on a different level. Instead of constantly focusing on apologetics to non-feminists (or, in this case, belligerent anti-feminists) and explanations of The Basics to be delivered to people who don’t get them, it allows space for feminists to talk and analyze and argue about different kinds and different levels of disagreements, or to come at it from a different angle than they would have to if they’re constantly trying to anticipate and ward off responses from the bellowing blowhard brigade. That can be valuable too and I think it’s true that there is not nearly enough space for it in public feminist spaces on the Internet, partly due to the deliberate disruption of belligerent anti-feminists.

    Amp:

    In short, I think there’s room in feminism for a variety of approaches to running a blog. I disagree with the folks who have told me that I can’t be a feminist unless I run my blog the way they want me to run my blog. Feminism isn’t all-encompassing, but neither is there one and only one True Path of Feminist Blogging.

    Amp, in principle I’m really inclined to agreeing with this. But it worries me that it just so happens that the two weblogs where this kind of moderation policy is an issue just happen to be the two most prominent weblogs run by male feminists, and I, another male feminists, am ready to defend it. In principle it seems perfectly reasonable to say that we ought to let a thousand flowers bloom. But why is it that this particular style of moderation seems especially to appeal to male feminist bloggers? Even if it is, on balance, justified, it certainly seems like that’s a question that you and Hugo and I ought to be asking ourselves.

  141. March 13, 2006 at 1:32 pm

    Amp once said he’d gotten more complaints about me than about any other poster. Bean forced him to admit that this was not true, but I can’t find that post where he acknowledges that any longer.

    And Robert’s comments to me above are what lurks under Robert’s so-called civility.

  142. March 13, 2006 at 1:40 pm

    Hugo, when you let your trolls post class strawfeminist bullshit, do you really wonder why people doubt you? Especially women?

  143. KnifeGhost
    March 13, 2006 at 2:13 pm

    Rad Geek: It may be that generally male Feminist tend to be, well, nice people. People who aren’t generally given to stirring up or furthering conflict. Peace-makers. Oh course, it could just be that, by fluke, the two most prominient male Feminist bloggers are that type. As such, they tend to prefer a “civil” commenting environment. It may also be that , as men, they have a hard time seeing (without it being pointed out to them) how that policy has a silencing effect on the constitutency they’re trying to serve. And, when called on it, the male Feminist identity is such a rare and difficult one that it’s very very psychologically hard to admit to yourself, much less to your public, when you’ve failed at it. Add to that that if Hugo or Amp uses the opportunity to change their policy, they’ll be more or less destroying a community they’ve built and maintained for…. I don’t know how long, but a while.

    So it’s understandable that it’s played out this way.

  144. March 13, 2006 at 2:29 pm

    Understandable, but unfixable? Because what’s he point of the pretense of feminism if in reality what it means is that men get to shout down women?

  145. March 13, 2006 at 2:52 pm

    Knife Ghost, that’s a fairly perceptive analysis.

    And, when called on it, the male Feminist identity is such a rare and difficult one that it’s very very psychologically hard to admit to yourself, much less to your public, when you’ve failed at it

    Well, I don’t like the word “failed”. I prefer to think of it as always in process. I have a lot to learn still — just as every feminist does. I don’t pretend it’s easy being a male feminist (in a public way) when everyone questions your motives and credentials, but at the same time, I’m willing to absorb that criticism and learn from it and see how I can become more compassionate, more effective, more feminist in my responses. I need the ginmars of the world, and I need the Mr. Bad’s of the world — to quote Burns,

    “O wad some Power the giftie gie us
    To see oursels as ithers see us!”

    Thanks to the comments sections of various blogs, we male feminists get to see what others see…

  146. zuzu
    March 13, 2006 at 3:01 pm

    I’ll be honest with you, Hugo, I had to bail from your blog when the MRAs came in and stayed. Partly it was because I was always itching to respond, but mostly I was pretty cheesed off that they had been allowed to take over to such a degree.

  147. March 13, 2006 at 3:36 pm

    Sorry, Hugo, but when you equate me with Mr. Bad you’re just showing how damned clueless you actually are. Actually, that’s beyond offensive: you need to apologize.

  148. sophonisba
    March 13, 2006 at 3:49 pm

    I’m willing to absorb that criticism and learn from it and see how I can become more compassionate, more effective, more feminist in my responses. I need the ginmars of the world, and I need the Mr. Bad’s of the world

    How are the Mr. Bads of the world teaching you to be more feminist? I am consumed with curiosity.

  149. March 13, 2006 at 4:28 pm

    Ginmar, gladly: I’m sorry. You and Mr. Bad are lumped together in one category: you are both my critics, albeit from different sides of the fence, and one’s critics serve a valuable purpose. They show me where I am weak or blind, and how I can strengthen my arguments. Acknowledging that I’m being criticized from the left and the right doesn’t mean that I can’t distinguish the two.

    The Mr. Bad’s of the world often say what a great many of the men I work with are saying — and one of my primary goals is to reach men (potentially hostile ones) with feminist or pro-feminist ideas. If I have a niche in the blogosphere, that’s it.

  150. March 13, 2006 at 4:31 pm

    Amp once said he’d gotten more complaints about me than about any other poster.

    I don’t find that hard to believe. You’re writing is like diet soda – full of pop and fizz and absolutely free of calories. I actually thought about trying to map out what you wrote so I could factor out a point – all of your complaints boil down to the fact that you don’t like people disagreeing with you on your vision of faith and that you’re ill-equipped to take your argument to the next level and respond with substance. So, yeah, I certainly can understand how a whirling dervish can generate a lot of complaints.

    Sorry to interupt your hi-jacking of this thread.

  151. March 13, 2006 at 4:51 pm

    Gee, you really aren’t trying to hide what an asshole you are, aren’t you?

    I notice you conspicuously omitted the part where Amp was forced to admit he was not correct. So now what, jerkoff?

    Hugo, I tell the truth about MRAs and trolls like Mr. Bad and they tell lies about me and other feminists. That’s not being just a critic.

    If anything, this debate illustrates just another mutation of the double standard. A guy can be as big an asshole as he wants to, like Tango or Robert, but if a woman tells them to fuck off, it doesn’t matter how valid it is, she’s a ball busting bitch.

  152. zuzu
    March 13, 2006 at 4:56 pm

    Did I not ask you to walk away, Tango Man? You’re not endearing yourself to me by popping in to post an ad hominem when you haven’t even been mentioned for many, many posts.

  153. March 13, 2006 at 4:57 pm

    Notice the difference in approach. I point my criticism to the empty void that is your writing. You, on the other hand, make character assassination your focus. People notice these types of differences.

  154. March 13, 2006 at 4:58 pm

    OK, I’m out again.

  155. KnifeGhost
    March 13, 2006 at 7:09 pm

    Well, I don’t like the word “failed”. I prefer to think of it as always in process.

    Yeah, I’m willing to sign on to that. I was being deliberately stark when I said “failed”.

    I know TangoMan’s supposedly gone, but I’d liek to point out that his comment on ginmar is a perfect exampe of what I mean when I say “civil” people can get away with character assassination and ad hominems when more volatile posters are dismissed while they make substantive points. Unless, of course, you hold them to task.

  156. March 13, 2006 at 7:43 pm

    I guess the question is how to hold others to task. Just as Hugo has MRAs on his blog that are attempting (sometimes) to engage the community, some of the posters here that others call trolls are similarly taking part in the community. Generally, I allow people to stay on even if they are inflammatory on certain subjects when they converse on the silly, fluffy, vanity issues as well. It at least shows that they are willing to take part in the community in ways that are not always negative — additionally, they build intellectual capital.

    I don’t think I’ve ever banned a feminist from the blog, but I’ve certainly banned a few naysayers (to say the least — there was a time when I was banning people left and right). How do we police those who are arguably part of the community, even if they are in disagreement with the general focus of the group, when they attempt to slay members who are most certainly with the group?

    I’m not interested in stilfling disagreements and heated discussions, and yet I do want some topics to remain in feminist hands alone. Does anyone find the “feminist only” threads at Alas helpful?

  157. March 13, 2006 at 7:57 pm

    I know TangoMan’s supposedly gone, but I’d liek to point out that his comment on ginmar is a perfect exampe of what I mean when I say “civil” people can get away with character assassination and ad hominems when more volatile posters are dismissed while they make substantive points.

    I find it hard to believe that anyone would say that comment #150 is “civil.” There’s absolutely no content to it but personal attacks on Ginmar.

    But it worries me that it just so happens that the two weblogs where this kind of moderation policy is an issue just happen to be the two most prominent weblogs run by male feminists, and I, another male feminists, am ready to defend it. In principle it seems perfectly reasonable to say that we ought to let a thousand flowers bloom. But why is it that this particular style of moderation seems especially to appeal to male feminist bloggers? Even if it is, on balance, justified, it certainly seems like that’s a question that you and Hugo and I ought to be asking ourselves.

    If an anti-feminist pointed to a three-person pattern, I’d certainly point out – correctly – that you can’t determine anything from that small a sample size. But I have a feeling that if I make the exact same argument in this context, people will accuse me of bullshitting.

    To answer your question, yes, it gives me pause.I think it could easily be a coincidence – I’ve encountered plenty of male feminists over the years who were extremely abrasive and attack-y and cheerleaded other feminists who took that approach. But then again, the similarity of the critiques of me and of Hugo is very striking, and I have to take that seriously. But on the third hand, I find it hard to believe that an ethic which says that every person is worthy of respect – which is an ethic that I think is very much opposed to patriarchy – is totally incompatible with feminism. I’ve been wrestling with this question for a while, and I don’t think I’m going to come to a conclusion in the space of this thread.

    And you are using the comfort of some members of the group to imply that other members of the group have nothing to complain about.

    Actually, that’s not true; I think the complaint is legitimate. However, I think the answer to the complaint should be spending time on other blogs they like better, rather than demanding that I change my blog so that I and others are no longer comfortable there.

    I can’t be all things to all people, Piny. If there was an option that would make everyone happy and satisfied, I’d take it. But realistically, there’s no such option; any choice I make will leave some people unhappy.

    And as to your other criticism, some of that may well be because I’m in the former group.

    I don’t understand how this justifies a lack of concern for the latter group’s interests.

    Which of your blog tribe have expressed discomfort with Ginmar? Had she racked up anywhere near as many complaints as Robert?

    None of your business; and she’s racked up significantly more complaints than Robert, although less than one other poster whose name I forget. (He was someone who posted in mind-boggling volume for a few weeks, dominating several threads and generating tons of justified complaints. I’ve modified my approach to moderating since then to make sure it doesn’t happen again).

  158. March 13, 2006 at 8:01 pm

    Does anyone find the “feminist only” threads at Alas helpful?

    Don’t know about helpful per se, but I find them interesting to read.

  159. March 13, 2006 at 8:03 pm

    That’s not what Bean said, Amp, and you admitted as much. Yet somehow that post has now disappeared. You admitted you had been ‘mistaken’ about the complaints, after Bean took you to task for it.

  160. March 13, 2006 at 8:18 pm

    But on the third hand, I find it hard to believe that an ethic which says that every person is worthy of respect – which is an ethic that I think is very much opposed to patriarchy – is totally incompatible with feminism.

    In the interests of time and my own growth as a person, can I just say a-fuckin’-men.

  161. March 13, 2006 at 8:31 pm

    Argumentative Shannon likes the feminist only threads.

  162. KnifeGhost
    March 13, 2006 at 8:33 pm

    Here’s how I approach the “everyone deserves respect” thing.

    Everyone, baseline, deserves respect. However, they can, through their conduct, earn more or less respect than other people. It’s your choice who earns more respect, and on what criteria.

    Sometimes your respect for one person comes into conflict with your respect for another — for example, your respect for one person’s right to express their opinion, nd the respect you give them for doing it civilly, can come into conflict with your respect for another person’s right to an environment where they don’t have to listen to someone perpetuating ugly stereotypes about them, and your respect for their right to do so in a way that reflects their anger. You have to make a decision who wins out, and there are people who will judge you based on who you give preference to, and, fairly or unfairly, read your motives and perspective into those choices

  163. KnifeGhost
    March 13, 2006 at 8:35 pm

    Oh, and Amp, a sample of two blogs by male feminists is perfectly legitimate when the population isn’t hardly any bigger than that.

  164. zuzu
    March 13, 2006 at 8:40 pm

    In the interests of time and my own growth as a person, can I just say a-fuckin’-men.

    You’re banned, pottymouth.

  165. March 13, 2006 at 8:43 pm

    You’re banned, pottymouth.

    I feel, well, rebellious.

  166. March 13, 2006 at 11:41 pm

    Ginmar, what I described is accurate, and I haven’t removed any posts from “Alas” regarding this matter.

    Lauren, I’ve found the “feminist only” threads useful, and many of my readers have told me they’ve found them useful. However, as far as I know none of my critics have found the changes in moderation on “Alas” helpful, so maybe not.

    In particular, I think a “feminist only” rule is useful for almost all discussions touching on rape of women, where the “men are victims too and I’m going to post about it 500 times” problem tends to be particularly acute.

  167. March 14, 2006 at 12:58 am

    Amp, I remember it quite clearly. Bean made you back away from that statement.

    Not that it matters. Your tapdancing around here—-“I don’t think blah blah”—-isn’t exactly what I’d call a convincing demonstration.

  168. March 14, 2006 at 1:57 am

    Bean’s statement, from this comment thread:

    FTR, Amp told me himself that he realized he was somewhat mistaken about his previous statement about getting more emails about ginmar than anyone else. Actually, he has received a good deal many more emails complaining about Aegis than ginmar.

  169. March 14, 2006 at 10:30 am

    Rad Geek: I think some people do take disagreement as evidence of being a troll. I have seen people on this board and others attack commenters for not condemning other commenters, as if by not condemning they are agreeing.
    Perhaps they are ignoring those commentators. As evidence of how subjective it truly is, I never see a commentoator attack other regular commentors who havnt joined the thread at all.
    Although it’s easy to feel that if no one defends you no one agrees with you, that’s not necessarily true. Nor is the reverse.
    As far as regular “trolls” like Robert, I would feel silly getting offended by him. Although I read most of his comments (so Im in the loop), it’s not like I read something ginmar wrote and think “Oh, Robert will have something interesting to say about this.” or attribute any weight to his comments – whereas I always look forward to a ginmar comment.

  170. March 14, 2006 at 10:41 am

    Amp, the reason people don’t email you about Robert is because you’ve more or less admitted he’ll never get banned. They’ve also complained publicly about him. Also, I notice you don’t say who complained about me and I can’t imagine you missing that opportunity if there weren’t a substnatial number of those MRA trolls doing it. So color me skeptical.

  171. zuzu
    March 14, 2006 at 10:49 am

    As far as regular “trolls” like Robert, I would feel silly getting offended by him. Although I read most of his comments (so Im in the loop), it’s not like I read something ginmar wrote and think “Oh, Robert will have something interesting to say about this.” or attribute any weight to his comments – whereas I always look forward to a ginmar comment.

    The problem I have with Robert and a couple of other regulars who drift into trolldom is their tactics, not their content. Look at what he and TangoMan did earlier in this thread — they came into a discussion about inter-feminist disputes and derailed it so that they could talk about how feminists treat anti-feminists. There are many other instances where threads get derailed by people who know damn well what another commenter or the blogger meant by a statement but misinterprets and argues in bad faith. And again, it’s not always the anti-feminists who do this; I recently got jumped on by a few feminists who took some statements of mine here and elsewhere, read something completely off the wall into them, and then started bludgeoning me with them to the detriment of the original discussion.

    I also don’t take kindly to people who try to tell me what to write here or what positions to hold. If someone disagrees with me, they’re welcome to convince me that I’m wrong, or to persuade me of the rightness of their position, but I’m not going to entertain attempts to shame me into falling in line.

  172. March 14, 2006 at 11:25 am

    Ginmar, I’ve never counted MRA complaints, for all the obvious reasons. But when feminist women email me to say that they’re intimidated by you and don’t want you targeting them, I’m not going to give you their names; that would be a breach of trust.

    I can’t believed I’ve followed you into this digression for this many posts. I won’t be commenting on this issue any further.

  173. March 14, 2006 at 11:37 am

    Amp, if you were impartial about this, that might mean something, but after watching you give Robert a slap on the wrist over and over, I find myself strangely doubting that. Basically, you’re denying me the right to defend myself. I have no faith in you at all.

  174. March 14, 2006 at 12:19 pm

    Zuzu – I agree with everything you said. I certainly wasnt saying Robert (or other trolls) shouldnt be banned, just pointing out that I cant be the only one who dismisses almost anything Robert has to say, whether I say so or not.

    I hope Ive never tried to tell you what to write or tried to shame anyone here for anything. And if anyone has, f them. I know you and I disagree on some things (like smoking) but I always know you’re going to have something interesting and/or funny to say.

  175. Lanoire
    March 14, 2006 at 7:12 pm

    To throw something into the discussion–The Happy Feminist, a woman, has a blog with a moderation style much like Hugo’s and Ampersand’s. So it’s not only two prominent male feminist bloggers who do this. There’s also a very prominent female one.

    As for the specifics of Ampersand and Hugo, I’m going to split the difference and say that Hugo’s policy probably needs work while Ampersand’s strikes me as okay. (Though I’m not familiar with the fights over Ampersand’s policy, like the banning of ginmar, so I can’t talk about that. I can only talk about what I’ve personally observed).

    Hugo, I think you allow too many vast generalizations about women, and too much personal abuse of yourself and personal insults towards female posters. I stay away from your comments because of this tendency.

    I realize that it’s hard to maintain comments on a blog. I definitely wouldn’t want a whole lot of abuse, whether it was directed at me or not, showing up on my blog if I had one. But I also wouldn’t want to ban people just for saying things I don’t like. It’s a fine line to walk. And this is without even getting into personal issues like a the blog-owner’s reaction to being called certain names, or his/her possible need to be liked.

  176. March 14, 2006 at 10:01 pm

    The Happy Feminist permits the sort of attacks on feminist posters that Hugo and Amp do, in the cause of being non confrontational. She allows her commenters to bash women, sometimes as individuals, sometimes as women, while merely commenting on the logic of their argument.

  177. Tapetum
    March 14, 2006 at 11:57 pm

    Ginmar – while I’m not someone who complained to Amp, nor ever would about your comments, I can see some of his points about abrasive commentary silencing some people, and trying not to allow it, even on the feminist side. In truth, while I read your comments with interest, I have never commented on a discussion where you were taking a very active role on any blog (until right now). It’s not an uncommon thing to have issues with strong confrontation – many of us who’ve dealt with bullying in our growing up years have an over-reaction to a strong abrasive atmosphere. As one of those people, I tend to appreciate Amp’s maintenance of a safe space. It gives me, and I suspect some others, a place to discuss feminist issues without fearing to trip up and get pounced on.

    As to the allowing of Robert and some others of the variety – I can see how they get tiring, but I have found Robert to be an instructive example, particularly when his behavior is pointed out, but not removed. After the third, tenth, and hundreth times they derail a discussion “by mistake”, or use a stereotype I begin to spot it myself, whereas before I had been blind to it.

    In short, I guess I would say that Amp acts as a fairly useful Feminism 101 for a number of people, including me. Had I started right off with your LiveJournal, I would have been completely lost, and completely intimidated. I’m getting progressively less lost, and a lot of it is thanks to the people who maintain intermediate spaces.

  178. March 15, 2006 at 12:16 am

    As someone who rarely comments but often follows the threads on many of the higher profile feminist blogs this thread comes as no surprise.

    It is impossible to have a reasoned discussion when a number of disruptive people feel priviledged to scream, shout and otherwise try and abuse and silence anyone who doesn’t agree with them. It was common on the old Ms. boards and it is common on the “new wave” of feminist blogging.

    Sad for the cause as a whole, but endlessly entertaining and instructive about the core people involved who simply can’t or won’t tolerate any discussiont hat doesn’t toe the line of their ‘faith’ or version of feminism and the right way to do it.

  179. epistemology
    March 15, 2006 at 1:09 am

    I am wise enough not to intrude on internecine debates, so I address…Robert:

    I have long noted that women seem to fight among themselves an awful lot more than men do, in pretty much every conceivable context.

    .

    Haven’t been to war recently, have you Bob?

  180. March 15, 2006 at 1:59 am

    Why does intermediate space mean having to pander to sexist men, though? Amp and Hugo both want to pander to male trolls, while they discipline women who get pissed off at the same old shit.

    I’ve got a full page of links posted on my bio page at my blog for books and articles, so it’s not like there’s options out there.

  181. March 15, 2006 at 10:20 am

    Intermediate space doesn’t have to pander to the sexist per se. I can’t speak to Hugo’s blog as I’ve only wandered over there once, but the sexists over at Amp’s have been instructive for me in something of a zoological way.

    See here children – this is a snake. Now there are big and poisonous snakes in the world, but this is a common garden variety snake. You find them in every neighborhood in the country. Here are the common identifying marks and behaviors. See, look! He’s doing it right now!

    I have a number of relatives who behave in ways not unlike the Amp commenters you protest. Learning how to deal with them with a live sample can be useful, since I’m not in position just this moment to tell some of said relatives to go to hell.

    That said, I can easily see why, when you’ve dealt with the type forever, the preferred method is to stomp them.

  182. March 15, 2006 at 10:26 am

    Or to sum up from my first sentence (I hate it when I forget to give a conclusion!). Intermediate space doesn’t have to pander to the sexist, but having a few spaces that do, at least to the extent of keeping a few of the specimen around, strikes me as a valid varient on the type that serves some use.

    It’s not just the instruction I was lacking ginmar, but the ability to a) see what was being described, and b) develop enough both in knowledge and in bravery to start being open with my thoughts.

  183. March 15, 2006 at 11:33 am

    How do we police those who are arguably part of the community, even if they are in disagreement with the general focus of the group, when they attempt to slay members who are most certainly with the group?

    –Lauren

    One of the reasons I think I like the spirit of discussion (generally) on this blog is that questions like the one above actually get asked, rather than answered a priori.

  184. zuzu
    March 15, 2006 at 11:42 am

    I like the solution Amanda mentioned on her blog — police thread drift. Because the most egregious trolling tactics are intended to derail threads, nipping that in the bud will send a message to anyone so inclined that that will not be tolerated, and it can be applied fairly.

  185. March 15, 2006 at 11:57 am

    I’m trying to look at these threads (the two here and Pandagon) and see where they spiralled out of control to figure out how the discussion might’ve been channelled into more productive conversation.

    Thread drift can definitely be an issue, though sometimes it can lead to productive conversation.
    I think one of the problems early on was misreading of humor — some people taking matters too seriously, while others caused offense by making inappropriate jokes — unfortunately, that’s a constant problem in text-only online media.

    Then a couple of trolls arrived, which certainly didn’t help matters, but I think the big problems came with (a) people importing old outside scores and rehashing them here, and (b) personal or ad hominem attacks on other people.

    Now that’s just my perception. YMMV (and I’d be interested to hear from others about whether or where they think these threads ran aground), but maybe this could serve as an object example to design some best practices for moderation in the future…

  186. Jbob
    March 15, 2006 at 2:50 pm

    Wooooie!

    I’ve just read all that here, and can’t say I’ve had much recent experience with Amp or Hugo’s blog. I do remember feeliing they were too damned nice to some who didn’t deserve it, and don’t go back much. Maybe they have some use as primers, I dunno.

    Another point, Hugo, you don’t want to admit failure? Does the phrase “spare thou those who confess their faults” sound familiar? Facing the need to repent is the beginning of moving forward, son. Tis the season, after all.

    I generally agree with what I hear Ginmar saying, clearly and tenaciously; the point of discussing things is not to make a point, but to come to better understanding about things that matter. Treating this as only an exercise , thus pissing people off and getting called on it, and responding by saying “Empty-headed, hateful girl. You make no sense.” despite a repeated request from a moderator makes you an obstacle as well as an asshole. I don’t make the rules here, but I have found Robert’s posts only worth banning. And I don’t see this as stiffling free speech, but insisting on the kind of civility that advances the discussion. “Civility” doesn’t mean submitting to the abuse of jerks, but an order that serves the community and its purpose. I really would have liked to have read all this if Robert had been stomped when he first rattled.

    Thanks to the rest of you for trying to carry on and, FWIW, please don’t let this site become Alas. There may be room for both, and more different approaches, but losing this one to trolls would be real harm

  187. Linnaeus
    March 15, 2006 at 3:16 pm

    I’m not privy to the ongoing dispute here with respect to Amp’s and Hugo’s comments policy, since I only occasionally read those blogs and don’t comment.

    I will second Tapetum’s support for “intermediate” spaces to discuss such things as feminism. I’m still very much a novice when it comes to feminism – I even question if I can claim the label of “feminist” yet – and blogs such as this one and Pandagon have been really valuable to me in my own (spotty) self-education about feminism. I particularly like the fact that I feel free to screw up here; a big part of education is making mistakes and learning from them and I feel comfortable enough here that I can say what I’m thinking and not get smacked down if someone else doesn’t agree or thinks I lack understanding of whatever’s being discussed.

    That’s not to say that I think people have to mince words or soften everything they say. I’m an adult, and I can handle someone being direct with me. There is, however, a difference between being direct with someone and attacking someone. Of course, this principle applies when we’re talking about constructive, good faith discussion; it doesn’t mean that one has to accept abusive speech. The challenge, then, is finding where that line is between assertive speech and abusive speech. Different people have different ideas as to where that line lies, and I really don’t think there’s a neat and tidy solution to that problem.

  188. March 15, 2006 at 8:40 pm

    I am a few days late on this one, although I just posted my Big Tent def’n of feminism on my blog a few days ago in reaction to some of the discussions I’ve seen ’round about the place. Memes, I tell you.

    Anyway, I read Alas, and Hugo, and comment regularly at Hugo’s: I’ve been hurt a couple of times because I truly, deeply didn’t understand where some of the opinions of my motivations were coming from. However, I’ve gone back into the fray a lot. It really has helped my understanding of feminism, as Happy Feminist said it does for her.

    (All the MRA commenters on Hugo’s blog are not the same, some are trying to engage, I think.)

    On the other hand, I was considering what ginmar said about not having to deal with the same shit over and over and over: she says she experiences this sort of belief system every time she steps outside.

    That’s just not true, for *me*, and so I have to admit my privilege, here. There are threads of gender bias which snake lightly through the lives of my friends – oh, your husband will fix that tap: actually, I’ll do it – but all the men I know are willing to stand corrected. I don’t have anyone AT ALL in my life who even begins to reflect the thoughts of the anti-feminists I’ve met online: and so it’s this weird thought creature that I’m poking ideas at to see how it reacts. I have lots of people in my life; lots who might not embrace the term feminist, even.

    I imagine if I were surrounded by such ideas, I’d have the same reaction as ginmar. If I were surrounded by such ideas, I’d be fighting more strongly for my thoughts which were outside of such ideas. As it is, to me, they’re strange.

    And because of this, I think that ginmar is right that Hugo and Alas have privilege that means they’re not going to react as strongly: I also have that privilege, andso I’m imagining Happy Feminist, since her reaction seems similar. So that privilege exists but is not limited to white men.

    What do we do? I think it’s very good for people like me to learn things about my feminism from both the MRA folks and my radical sisters. Both sometimes expose a world much more bleak than I’m used to. On the other hand, I think we need to recognize that for feminists and women “inside the war zone”, as it were, this isn’t an abstract discussion.

  189. March 15, 2006 at 10:50 pm

    geeze louise.. says i.

    i don’t know how any one of us can expect any other one of us, to be the same person with the same boundaries. hugo has his. feministe has theirs. i’ve got mine. etc. etc. i don’t see anything wrong with both discussing and establishing ones boundaries. whether on a blog or in person.

    if we consider why one bothers to create and sustain a blog, it has (usually) something to do with the want for another kind of personal space where others can visit and chat and share too. in life, in our own spaces, it is a healthy policy – to establish our personal boundaries (what is acceptable, unacceptable to us). this gives others the awareness needed to choose whether or not they should be present. this kind of information is invaluable between friends, lovers, even coworkers, or complete strangers sharing space for whatever length of time. respecting each others boundaries, go a long way in terms of respecting ourselves as much as others.

    we can disagree with those boundaries, we can “call” some on it, we can question it, we can inquire.. or we can simply acknowledge that the discomfort isn’t worth (dont’ occupy that space, if it isn’t yours, and you can’t respect the established boundaries).

    personally, i don’t stay too long at hugo’s place, as likable as he is. because i’m not comfortable sticking around there too long, just short visits, some of those fella’s are just too infuriating for me. i don’t hold it against hugo.. he is providing a space for folks that can and will and want to engage there.

    everyone need not be providing the same space. everyone has differing boundaries. there is room for diversity among feminists.

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