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  1. tigtog
    tigtog February 18, 2013 at 4:40 pm | *

    For example, a general discussion on the shape of the community we’d like to build with you all here at Feministe absolutely belongs on #spillover.

    1. sabrina
      sabrina February 18, 2013 at 11:54 pm |

      I just wanted to say thank you for the additional effort you are putting in to try and get rid of some of the disasters that go on around here.

      1. tigtog
        tigtog February 19, 2013 at 12:10 am | *

        I’m not the only one working on this, but thanks. I’m just a bit more vocal because I’m the least burnt out, methinks.

      2. Henry
        Henry February 19, 2013 at 12:45 am |

        Seconded. I know how shitty the back end of a forum looks like. phpbb or whatever you use is not friendly stuff.

  2. macavitykitsune
    macavitykitsune February 18, 2013 at 4:50 pm |

    I actually have no idea how this could be structured, etc, but something that occurs to me is that feminist spaces in general could do with “do not ask this shit” lists. I’m thinking, here, of horrible questions that have been directed at commenters by commenters in the past (ginmar and DonnaL have received some particularly heinously personal questions iirc). Things that really ought to fall under “basic decency” questions like: don’t ask people about their survivor history, don’t ask people for their “trans cred” or “queer cred”, don’t bring up sexual history or lack thereof… etc. It’s really sad and infuriating how often those questions get asked, and they often slip through automod because they’re not necessarily phrased rudely… I have no idea how this would even work, I’m just getting really sick of seeing people I like (or hell, even people I don’t) getting hurt like this over and over.

    Aaaaand then there’s the transphobic comment content thing that Donna and Galla and I have been asking for, but again, that’s not community work, it’s not like we commenters could sketch out guidelines, so…

    1. tigtog
      tigtog February 18, 2013 at 5:13 pm | *

      Personal questions like that, which slip through automod but are unacceptably intrusive, are one of the reasons to send up a Giraffe Alert so that the mods know ASAP that there is a need to step in and redirect/redact. As laid out in that post, an alert is not necessarily asking for Extreme Giraffe Action, just for a Giraffe Inspection.

      The comments policy already does note transphobic comments as unacceptable content, but obviously that alone has not been sufficient. Again, alerting the moderators via The Giraffe will get our attention ASAP, because if a vexatious commentor is being sly about being obnoxious, it can get past the automod easily and the commentors will see it before we do.

      1. macavitykitsune
        macavitykitsune February 18, 2013 at 5:46 pm |

        Right, got it! Thanks, tigtog ^__^

        1. tigtog
          tigtog February 18, 2013 at 5:53 pm | *

          Excellent, and thanks for the reminder to update the Comments Policy with a link explaining How Giraffe Alerts Work.

        2. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune February 19, 2013 at 12:00 am |

          Oh, tigtog, I had a related question. If some comment’s been disemvoweled (which I personally like better than fluffinating just because it’s so much harder for trolls to get all CENSORSHIP [redacted] that way), is it the done thing to respond to it if it makes ridiculous assumptions/states blatant lies, or should it be ignored?

        3. tigtog
          tigtog February 19, 2013 at 12:27 am | *

          Disemvoweling is still part of the arsenal, Mac. Fluffination is only for those who are just wharrgarbling abuse at us. As I think anybody who’s been reading my stuff elsewhere over the years regarding moderation principles already knows, I don’t give a flying fuck whether the trolls cry CENSORSHIP on that or not – I’m not a government with governmental obligations, and I won’t be bullied into publishing obnoxious/vexatious content.

          However the first: overt moderator intervention is a signal that the comment is a potential disruption to on-topic discussion – that’s the point of intervening. So if someone has been disemvoweled, responding to them ON THAT THREAD defeats the purpose.

          However the second: but there’s always #spillover space for those responses. So if the urge to respond cannot be fully denied, then the relevant netiquette guideline is as follows – reply to the disemvoweled comment with a note that you’ve got some things to say and that you’re taking them to #spillover.

        4. tigtog
          tigtog February 19, 2013 at 3:03 pm | *

          Some expanded thoughts on cries of CENSORSHIP in a new subthread below.

  3. amblingalong
    amblingalong February 19, 2013 at 7:27 am |

    I want to respond to these two comment made re: dissociative identity disorder:

    Amblingalong, it would be nice of you to not put quotation marks around multiples.

    We can talk about why it’s not feasible to count integration as legal murder without going so far as to suggest that not only are all multiples deluded and incorrect, but that it’s irresponsible and morally wrong to respect their identities.

    There’s a difference between an identity and a truth claim.

    In the case of people who claim to have multiple sentient consciousnesses living in their head, it’s not at all incumbent upon everyone else to support/agree with that truth-claim. In reality, Dissociative Identity Disorder is a mental illness, and it’s fundamentally irresponsible to play along with a mentally ill person’s delusion (in the strict sense of the word) simply because it’s easier and you don’t have to have a difficult conversation. One of my family members was diagnosed with schizophrenia several years ago, and while it might sometimes be easier to say “yes, I hear that noise too” or “yes, I see what you’re seeing” so as to avoid conflict, that’s actually making things worse, not helping.

    The fact that people who experience dissociation are absolutely convinced- even articulately so- that what they’re experiencing reflects reality, instead of a mental illness, does not in any way mean it is reality, any more than a person with schizophrenia’s hallucinations are reality. DID is a real phenomenon, but it emphatically does not mean people who have it have multiple sentient beings in their head; it means that they are experiencing extreme dissociation, characterized by the mind’s feeling that certain thoughts are ‘alien’ or ‘other’.

    As I mentioned earlier, the simplest evidence for this is that ‘integration’ literally is effected by accepting all thoughts/feelings as ‘me/mine’ instead of ‘other.’ It doesn’t remove any thoughts or feelings, it simply reframes them- that is, tries to move past dissociation. If DID actually wasn’t a form of extreme dissociation but represented a reality in which multiple sentient consciousnesses lived in one brain, the simple act of reframing their thoughts shouldn’t be enough to ‘kill’ them.

    1. Li
      Li February 19, 2013 at 11:44 am |

      I want to add, having thought more about why the claim that integration is murder was so irritating to me, that it’s fundamentally fucked up to frame people with DID who engage with the mental health system as murderers just because Tyris wouldn’t make the same decision themselves. As a general principle I support people being able to dictate their own level of engagement with mental health services and things like medication, and frankly I’m as uncomfortable with the notion that integration is murder/therapy is violence as I am with the constant suggestions that people with anxiety/depression who use pharmaceutical medication are saps to Big Pharma. Just because some people aren’t interested in integrating different identities doesn’t mean that the people who are working towards that are monsters trying to kill parts of themselves.

      1. amblingalong
        amblingalong February 19, 2013 at 2:56 pm |

        So if this is something you consciously chose not to engage with, obviously that’s totally OK, but clearly (based on your pronoun choice) you disagree with my fundamental point re: DID and mental illness. If you are willing to explain what you think I’m missing, I’m sincerely interested and listening.

        As to your post, I hadn’t even considered that the ‘murder’ appellation would apply as much to the people seeking psychiatric care as the caregivers themselves; that’s an excellent point and I completely agree with your reasoning.

        1. Li
          Li February 19, 2013 at 6:04 pm |

          I don’t disagree particularly. But I just blanket choose to respect other people’s pronoun choices and I don’t particularly feel the need to alter that in order to make some therapeutic point towards a stranger on the internet. Tyris’ mental health care isn’t my responsibility, following what I consider basic etiquette is. In particular I’m influenced by having been burned by “trigger warnings are bad because exposure therapy for anxiety is a thing therefore I should expose people with anxiety to triggering material for their own good” type arguments in the past, so there’s that. Obviously your mileage may vary.

        2. amblingalong
          amblingalong February 19, 2013 at 6:30 pm |

          In particular I’m influenced by having been burned by “trigger warnings are bad because exposure therapy for anxiety is a thing therefore I should expose people with anxiety to triggering material for their own good” type arguments in the past, so there’s that. Obviously your mileage may vary.

          Holy shit. That is a fucking awful line of reasoning, and I’m seriously sorry you had to deal with that. I’ve come across it before in a couple permutations (the most egregious probably being “exposure therapy is a thing so I’m going to hug you so you get over your PTSD-related fear of being touched”).

          I’m not trying to do internet therapy, seriously; I just think it’s actually doing harm- real, demonstrable damage- to ‘play along.’ I’m speaking partially from personal experience and partially from academic training here, so there’s a weird mix of perspectives at play, but I guess I just see a really bright ethical line.

          Anyways, I totally get where you’re coming from. Thanks for taking the time to explain.

        3. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune February 19, 2013 at 7:06 pm |

          Yeah, in the “woohoo exposure therapy” trauma group session, I have had some extremely classy people telling me that I’d be “cured” of my anxious/angry reactions to sexual abuse by getting a nice dicking (in so many words and said with absolute sincerity and good intentions).

        4. mxe354
          mxe354 February 22, 2013 at 5:23 pm |

          I have had some extremely classy people telling me that I’d be “cured” of my anxious/angry reactions to sexual abuse by getting a nice dicking (in so many words and said with absolute sincerity and good intentions).

          Wow. I barely know how to respond to that.

    2. Donna L
      Donna L February 19, 2013 at 5:32 pm |

      Being the purely selfish person I am, I freely admit that reaction to this is largely controlled by how I see it affecting trans people. Of course it’s just my own opinion, but I do see a difference between the “truth/reality” of multiple sentient persons living in the same body, and the “truth/reality” of my being a different sex/gender than the one I was assigned at birth. As well aware as I am that both are equally viewed by many as mental illnesses and/or entirely delusional. And I see no benefit to trans people whatsoever (and possible harm from any association) from the position that “if you accept the reality of trans people’s ‘claims,’ you have to accept the truth/reality of the ‘claims’ of those who identify as multiples.”

      Perhaps my attitude is also colored by the fact that someone I know was abused by her boyfriend with DID who later asserted that it wasn’t he who had done it, but a different person within him? (Sorry if I have the terminology wrong.)

      1. macavitykitsune
        macavitykitsune February 19, 2013 at 6:12 pm |

        While I see your point…speaking as someone who knows a trans multiple, I have to wonder what your reaction would be to someone like my friend. I mean, I get why you’re reluctant, but the overlap remains and it really bothers me to see that being elided in your comment.

        1. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune February 19, 2013 at 6:17 pm |

          What I’m trying to say is, if the thrust of your argument is that being multiple is not comparable to being trans, I fully agree. It’s not like you had a “man inside you” that you killed or wev. But I’m really curious why you made the connection between DID and being trans, because I’ve never seen the two conflated by anyone with DID. And I’ve done a fair amount of reading of research on and resources by people with DID, for various reasons (researching a novel, have friends and didn’t want to hurt them, trying to unravel my own tendencies towards dissociation, though I’m far away from being a split), so I’d have encountered it by now, I’m thinking, if it were a massive and mainstream Thing to say they’re the same thing.

        2. Donna L
          Donna L February 19, 2013 at 9:18 pm |

          Mac, I’ve known people too with DID and one or more trans alters. The person I mentioned was one of them.

          And I would bet that if you googled the two, you’d find many thousands of discussions comparing and/or distinguishing the two. I’m sure you realize that part of the medical “diagnosis” of transness is supposed to involve distinguishing it from DID.

          So, yes, I’ve heard the two discussed together a lot.

        3. amblingalong
          amblingalong February 20, 2013 at 1:21 am |

          I’m increasingly realizing I’m in the minority here, pronoun/language-wise, but I’m worried that because of how emphatic my post was it sounded like I wasn’t willing to listen to people who thought I was wrong. Donna, Macavity, I have huge amounts of respect for both of you, and I’m a better person for the times you told me I was full of crap (hopefully not too long a list…). So please, if I’m fucking up horribly and you have the energy to talk about it, I’m listening.

        4. amblingalong
          amblingalong February 20, 2013 at 1:26 am |

          Um, I hope it doesn’t feel like I’m bouncing around looking for people who aren’t agreeing with my point and demanding explanations. That’s not how I meant to come off.

        5. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune February 20, 2013 at 6:15 pm |

          Huh, Donna, I’d never googled the two together. You’re right, of course. I’m still a bit baffled, because while I can understand having a trans alter, I don’t see any similarity between being trans and being DID. (I see there’s arguments; I just don’t buy them.) FWIW though my friend identified as being trans prior to diagnosis (afaik, I only “met” them online post-diagnosis) and still identifies as a trans person despite having cis alters.

          Ambling… honestly, I don’t know what to make of DID. I don’t have it. I can extrapolate to it from the relatively tiny amount of dissociation/derealisation I personally experience, which is pretty manageable unless I’m anxious or sleep-deprived or ill (I’m informed I get weird and uncanny-valleyish when I’m like that). But as someone who has an invisible disease that gets laughed off fairly regularly (fibromyalgia), and knowing the absolute bloody hell it was navigating my life while being in constant pain and having my pain denied to my face, I’m more inclined to believe someone about their internal experience of themselves. And from the stuff I’ve read, most multiples perceive quite clearly that they were sourced in one original person, but that they’ve separated since. (I’m not going to address people who’ve always perceived themselves as multiple here, I don’t know any cases well enough to speak.) By your definition of reframing, wouldn’t that mean they’ve already framed all thoughts as essentially “theirs” and so should be integrated? But they’re…not.

        6. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune February 20, 2013 at 6:16 pm |

          and ambling, ditto on the respect! And hey, I don’t mind questions ^_^

      2. Tyris
        Tyris February 20, 2013 at 6:03 pm |

        Perhaps my attitude is also colored by the fact that someone I know was abused by her boyfriend with DID who later asserted that it wasn’t he who had done it, but a different person within him?

        Either it’s the truth, and the abusive dick is hiding behind the innocent person, or it’s a lie, and the abusive dick is hiding in plain sight going “it wasn’t me guv!” Either way, abusive dick. Sorry for the existence thereof. We can see how that would colour your perception.

        (Sorry if I have the terminology wrong.)

        Eh, the terminology hasn’t exactly been nailed down yet anyway.

        Of course it’s just my own opinion, but I do see a difference between the “truth/reality” of multiple sentient persons living in the same body, and the “truth/reality” of my being a different sex/gender than the one I was assigned at birth.

        We’re not saying there isn’t a difference, but what is the difference that you see?

    3. Tyris
      Tyris February 20, 2013 at 5:47 pm |

      Delusion persists despite any and all logic and evidence to the contrary. If multiplicity were delusion, the integration process of “just accept all the thoughts as your own” couldn’t work; the delusional person would find some reason (however bizarre or illogical) that the delusion was still true.

      It also can’t work on mutually contradictory thoughts or desires – they can’t both end up in the new person (to say nothing of different physiological reactions to the same stimuli or different levels of motor control).

      (Still working on the rest of the concept of reframing. It’s difficult to wrap around. Didn’t want you to think we’d abandoned the conversation, though.)

      1. EG
        EG February 20, 2013 at 6:43 pm |

        It also can’t work on mutually contradictory thoughts or desires – they can’t both end up in the new person

        Without offering an opinion on DID, because I know close to nothing about it, I can say quite authoritatively that you are mistaken about this. In fact, I would go so far as to say that almost everybody harbors mutually contradictory thoughts and desires. It’s in the nature of being human.

        1. ch
          ch February 20, 2013 at 7:32 pm |

          Yes, exactly what I was thinking. Also, and again I don’t know much about DID/multiplicity in particular, not am I a psychologist if any kind, so I may be missing some important distinction between different types of mental illness here, but there are absolutely methodsll for treating mental illnesses by making them respond to logic and reason. I mean, this is kind of the basis of cognitive behavioral therapy, isn’t it? I know that CBT has been a huge help for my social anxiety, and much of that has consisted of stopping myself and saying “wait, do I have evidence that everyone hates me? No. Do I have evidence that at least some people quite like me? Yes. Therefore, jerkbrain, you are incorrect.” I mean, anxiety is different from delusions, but I’m not sure if it’s true that delusions by definition don’t respond to reason.

      2. Li
        Li February 21, 2013 at 5:27 am |

        It also can’t work on mutually contradictory thoughts or desires – they can’t both end up in the new person (to say nothing of different physiological reactions to the same stimuli or different levels of motor control).

        I’m going to agree 100% with EG and say that this is entirely nonsensical and suggests a deep lack of understanding of like, everyone else in the universe. People have mutually contradictory thoughts and desires *all the time*. And as someone whose level of motor control or response to stimuli can vary dramatically over time (including how I experience taste and smell), I’m not really going to accept the second point either. This discussion would be much easier if you didn’t insist on projecting your assumptions about what everyone else’s internal life looks like onto them.

        1. SamBarge
          SamBarge February 21, 2013 at 2:17 pm |

          Yeah, it’s even got a name – Cognitive Dissonance.

        2. Tyris
          Tyris February 21, 2013 at 3:55 pm |

          It certainly would be – with the projector shut down (and your assertion about your own variance-over-time pretty much smashes it) we have no points to make, and clearly integration as described above is possible (still can’t see it working for us, but that’s beside the point).

          Does anybody have any additional points?

        3. Donna L
          Donna L February 21, 2013 at 4:54 pm |

          May I ask what you mean by “the projector”? Thanks.

        4. Tyris
          Tyris February 21, 2013 at 5:31 pm |

          Just a silly turn of phrase. Cross-reference it with “projecting your assumptions.”

      3. A4
        A4 February 21, 2013 at 6:38 pm |

        Hi Tyris! It’s nice of you to be willing to discuss your identity here, especially since the response has been mainly to pontificate about how your self-identification would impact the responder.

        I think that one of the most prevalent illusions of humanity is that we are each an indivisible being. Some people turn this feeling into a concept of a soul, and some people talk about “authenticity” and “essential qualities of self”. Almost everybody uses singular pronouns to objectify themselves, and people often respond negatively to the pluralization of the self.

        I wholeheartedly support the use of plural pronouns for anyone who wishes to use them. We’ve each got millions of neurons (not to mention the many other cells!) who make up who we are and who’s to say that the being that comprises them is singular?

        I was wondering what you were thinking about when you referred to mutually contradictory thoughts and desires? I know that I have experiences of thoughts and feelings that I might consider contradictory, but I don’t have the experience of a multiplicitous identity, and was hoping you might elaborate.

        Anyway, thanks for sharing your thoughts. It’s a shame some of the reaction was to call you mentally ill and to decry the moral wrongness of supporting your self-identification. I think that is extremely disrespectful.

        1. Bagelsan
          Bagelsan February 21, 2013 at 7:55 pm |

          It’s a shame some of the reaction was to call you mentally ill

          Yes, what a terrible thing to call someone.

        2. Donna L
          Donna L February 21, 2013 at 10:40 pm |

          pontificate about how your self-identification would impact the responder.

          What? If you’re talking about my comment, I neither said nor did anything of the kind.

        3. Tyris
          Tyris February 22, 2013 at 5:08 pm |

          I was wondering what you were thinking about when you referred to mutually contradictory thoughts and desires?

          In our experience, they come in two types. The first type exist for independent reasons, but can’t be fulfilled at the same time. For example, you may look at a plate of bacon and think “delicious salt! Gimme!” and want to eat it. You may also look at that same plate and think “me arteries, they canna take no more, Cap’n!” and want to not eat it. This type is probably pretty common, and certainly pre-us had to balance a few of them (some with less success than others) and they still appear now, within the same person as well as between two or more.

          The second type is more directly contradictory. To take that same plate of bacon as the example, you’ll probably find it a smidge harder to simultaneously like and not like the taste of it. We’re only had this type appear post-split, and never in the same person.

          Does that illuminate anything, or are we being too vague?

        4. Tyris
          Tyris February 22, 2013 at 5:09 pm |

          Curses! That last should read “we’ve only had.”

        5. A4
          A4 February 22, 2013 at 5:51 pm |

          Thanks for the reply Tyris. I thought that there might be a distinction in the types of contradiction we were talking about, and y’all’s reply helped clarify that for me.

          I was also wondering about the issue of integration as murder. Y’all connected the two very briefly on the Weekend Open thread, but i could not tell what connection y’all were trying to make. Any elaboration you’d be interested in supplying would be appreciated.

          Hope y’all have a good weekend!

    4. A4
      A4 February 21, 2013 at 6:52 pm |

      I think this comment is incredibly disrespectful and way off base.

      It’s one thing to debate someone’s take on public policy, but it is quite another to write a long screed about how supporting them in their self-identification is morally wrong and the righteous action is to be condescending and dismissive when your argument is based on a flimsy connection to your experience of a family member with a very different condition.

      1. amblingalong
        amblingalong February 21, 2013 at 10:00 pm |

        but it is quite another to write a long screed about how supporting them in their self-identification is morally wrong

        Frankly? I don’t give a shit about self-identification as an independently valuable thing. In my work/life I’m come across as people who identify as trans-ethnic. as the reincarnation of historical figures, and both (wait for it). There is nothing magical or special about identification, if you’re identifying yourself as something you objectively are not. In other words, people are not exempt from empirical reality; there is fundamentally no difference between ‘identifying’ as, say, the white reincarnation of Sojourner Truth (that’s the ‘both’) and identifying a stapler as a car. The mere phrase “I identify as” does not somehow warp reality, just by being spoken aloud.

        In this case, and despite the psuedoscientific “millions of neurons” argument, there is a bunch of evidence that DID is empirically real and that the sense of multiple consciousnesses in one’s head is the result of dissociation. Full stop. The fact that someone wants it to be otherwise, or believes it to be otherwise with all their heart, does not make it so.

        your argument is based on a flimsy connection to your experience of a family member with a very different condition.

        If you think that’s the basis for my argument you didn’t read very closely. I gave an example of a time when I was tempted to simply ‘go along to get along.’ That anecdote is utterly irrelevant to the central question of whether people with DID truly have more than one consciousness.

        Anyways, lets pretend for a moment no scientific evidence exists on the subject. Even now, the question of whether people can truly host multiple consciousnesses is a scientific question with an objective answer. Perhaps there’s no easy way to discover the answer, but that doesn’t make the truth whatever you want it to be.

        1. A4
          A4 February 21, 2013 at 11:16 pm |

          If you would like to talk about pseudo-science, why not direct your attention to your liberal use of the word “consciousness” and the apparently unquestioned assumption that it is a singular state of being. Please tell me, where is this single indivisible substance or structure you call consciousness?

          It should be no problem, since you are apparently the arbiter of objective truth and reality.

        2. A4
          A4 February 21, 2013 at 11:21 pm |

          I would also be interested in hearing why you assume that preferred pronouns are linked to the objective truth of someone’s consciousness, since I see preferred pronouns as something used to communicate personal feelings and perspectives, not an externally determined objective state of their person.

          Self identification has power. Obviously Tyris has a particular self identification they are comfortable with that they feel gives them power, and for some reason you are determined to take it away. Why?

        3. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune February 21, 2013 at 11:28 pm |

          There is nothing magical or special about identification, if you’re identifying yourself as something you objectively are not.

          And you are objectively aware of the inside of a person’s brain how? I mean….if I were to say I’m depressed, are you going to drag up the fact that I smiled this morning to tell me I’m not? Because the smile’s observable by Almighty Amblingalong, but the depression isn’t? I don’t think Tyris is saying that all their alters are embodied different persons; so… how do you know? It’s not like a hallucination of Jesus on your wall. Because if 99 people look at it and see a wall and the 100th sees Jesus, that’s a hallucination. But unless you’re Professor X or something…how are you proposing to objectively examine someone’s experience of their own consciousness in order to determine their singularity or multiplicity?

        4. Tyris
          Tyris February 22, 2013 at 5:28 pm |

          Last time we checked up on this, the existence, cause, diagnosis and treatment of DID were all disputed. Some googling hasn’t turned up anything to contradict this. Could you maybe elaborate “full stop” into some links?

  4. tigtog
    tigtog February 19, 2013 at 2:49 pm | *

    New subthread to expand on part of a Q&A above, since the excursion I’m about to take would have derailed my answers:

    macavitykitsune: I personally like [Tactic A rather than Tactic B] just because it’s so much harder for trolls to get all CENSORSHIP [etc]

    tigtog: As I think anybody who’s been reading my stuff elsewhere over the years regarding moderation principles already knows, I don’t give a flying fuck whether the trolls cry CENSORSHIP on that or not – I’m not a government with governmental obligations, and I won’t be bullied into publishing obnoxious/vexatious content.

    Just in case Mac wasn’t entirely sure, that was general venting rather than specifically aimed at you, so here’s some more venting on the general issue.

    These cries of OH NOES YOU ARE CENSORING MY FREEZE PEACH tend to arise whenever an online space draws its own boundaries of expected/acceptable commenting behaviours. They inevitably betray a woeful misrepresentation of exactly what the principle (it’s not a legal right everywhere) of free speech entails, and too often that misrepresentation is not just ignorance but is deliberately deployed with the goal of suppressing already-marginalised speech by drowning it in a flood of obnoxious/malicious utterances which stifle substantive/constructive interaction.

    Firstly the I HAVE THE RIGHT TO SPEAK misapprehension/misrepresentation: online spaces are private spaces which are open to the public, like a pub/bar/theatre etc. They are not public spaces and do not have to abide by laws which apply to public bodies. Just like a bar has the right to refuse to serve drinks to somebody who’s acting up and ruining other people’s night out, just like a theatre has the right to ban persistently obtrusive hecklers who are ruining other people’s night out, online spaces have the right to decline to publish content submitted for publication and to ban certain individuals from their spaces – private censorship does not breach any constitutional right to free speech in public. The operators of online spaces have the right to shape the experience of visiting their spaces as they see fit, and visitors retain the right to vote with their feet if they don’t like the proffered experience.

    Secondly the right to speak freely does not guarantee an audience for that speech: it certainly doesn’t guarantee any right to hijack somebody else’s audience. People retain the right to attract and maintain their own audience. Anybody who is able to access the comment form on somebody else’s blog has the capability of publishing their own blog on a free blogging platform, so private censorship of their speech on somebody else’s space does not suppress their speech in their own space.

    It’s fundamentally about boundary-setting for oneself and declining association with those who refuse to respect one’s boundaries. It’s good advice for everybody in everyday interactions, and it doesn’t stop being good advice for written interactions online. For those of us who host spaces where others gather, setting clear boundaries for ourselves and our guests and enforcing those boundaries against transgressors is (a) just good manners for any host; and (b) for women, publicly stating and enforcing our boundaries is a profoundly radical act.

    1. amblingalong
      amblingalong February 19, 2013 at 3:03 pm |

      Huge applause for all of the above, especially this:

      for women, publicly stating and enforcing our boundaries is a profoundly radical act.

      Behind the “but CENSORSHIP” whining of people who want to put their screeds on here is, among other things, a boatload of entitlement.

    2. macavitykitsune
      macavitykitsune February 19, 2013 at 4:51 pm |

      Tigtog, I wasn’t (really) under the impression you were venting at me. But yeah, word to what you said. I fully see the need for fluffinating in most of those cases.

    3. jemima101
      jemima101 February 19, 2013 at 8:18 pm |

      Love this more than I can say, but I am going to try :-)

      Back in the day when I still thought fetlife was worth the energy I had this argument so many times. I often used to try to use the no one has the right to shout fire in a crowded theatre argument. Apparently that meant the holy right to free speech was being curtailed, and nothing should ever interfere with that.

    4. TomSims
      TomSims February 19, 2013 at 11:28 pm |

      “I’m not a government with governmental obligations, and I won’t be bullied into publishing obnoxious/vexatious content.”

      Makes perfect sense to me. And the only government I’m aware that has a free speech amendment is the US. So even governments can and do censor speech, except of course for the US.

      My approach is after reading FAQs on various sites and blogs, I do my very best to comply. And if my posts get posted, fine , and if they don’t that’s fine too.

      1. Alisonhh
        Alisonhh February 20, 2013 at 1:35 pm |

        Other countries have constitutional guarantees of free speech too!! :)

        Paragraph Two(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
        2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:
        (a) freedom of conscience and religion;
        (b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;
        (c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and
        (d) freedom of association.

        (Though we also have a second 1 way out for all our Charter rights, giving the government limited abilities to interfere:

        1. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.)

        1. amblingalong
          amblingalong February 20, 2013 at 8:46 pm |

          only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.

          I’d actually argue that, due to this section, the above guarantees of rights are qualitatively different from those in the US Constitution (or, indeed, in other constitutions such as India’s.) The practical effect may be similar, but there’s a huge difference in the underlying political framework.

          And in fact, it is much easier for the Canadian government to sanction/or prohibit politically unpopular speech. For example, I know of at least two atheist groups which were successfully sued by representatives of two different religions for criticizing the beliefs/practices of said religions. Needless to say, I find this pretty damn problematic.

  5. Andie
    Andie February 19, 2013 at 3:08 pm |

    ‘Fashion Guy’ and the ‘Trucker guy’?

    This particular meme came from a frequently misguided though possibly outright trolling poster by the name of Chiara who claimed something to the effect that she didn’t know much about gay people but that she knew there was the Fashion guy and the Trucker guy.

    Not sure what thread that originated.

    1. amblingalong
      amblingalong February 19, 2013 at 3:15 pm |

      Chiara was Tomek before Tomek was Tomek.

      Her particular shtick involved using movie plotlines as evidence for assertions about particular social identities/groups, such as all-time favorites “Prison guards mostly just get off on violence anyways- look at The Shawshank Redemption” and “gay people don’t care as much about attractiveness in a partner as straight people, remember Sex and the City?”

      1. Arkady
        Arkady February 20, 2013 at 12:57 pm |

        Yikes, I joke with my friends about how much of my knowledge of US culture comes from tv and films, but will easily admit that I doubt it reflects reality all that much… f’rinstance, most of my info on the US school system comes from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Dawson’s Creek! On that basis, the undead and angsty introspection seem to be the main problems facing American youth…

        I do remember Chiara being spectacularly clueless about race-relations in the US. Not being from the US (and being pretty dang privileged in the UK) I tend to hang back and, y’know, read what other people who actually know about it have to say when those discussions come up. I can only apologise for a compatriot of mine being quite so resolutely clueless.

        1. Donna L
          Donna L February 20, 2013 at 1:18 pm |

          All I remember about her was that she said she was from Wales, and had never actually known any LGBT people or black people. So, like, how else was she supposed to learn than by watching television?

    2. Lolagirl
      Lolagirl February 19, 2013 at 3:17 pm |

      Ah, yes, I remember when she imploded all over that thread. I kind of got the impression that she was mostly just utterly clueless, but the way that she refused to be schooled when she said all that nasty stuff meant she ultimately had to go.

    3. RichardVW
      RichardVW February 19, 2013 at 4:04 pm |

      I believe this is the originating comment.

      Chiara was indeed similar to tomek, not the least because both of them revealed their disingenuous intent by occasionally displaying knowledge or reasoning ability way above their typical level.

    4. amblingalong
      amblingalong February 20, 2013 at 8:59 pm |

      Examples of vintage Chiara:

      On sexual assault in prison:

      Perhaps a kind of job like prison guard attracts a certain kind of wacko. I mean obviously some people do it because they need a job and they’re suited to that kind of stuff, but it might attract the kind of person who enjoys being one-up on other peeps. I mean, look at the Shawshank Redemption (even though it’s a pretty average film if you ask me, not anywhere near as good as people make it out to be).

      On gay rights in antiquity:

      We know of some sexual freedom in ancient rome, quite a lot of movies of the time, such as Gladiator, are quite homoerotic.

      1. Ledasmom
        Ledasmom February 20, 2013 at 9:49 pm |

        I am very, very sorry to have missed Chiara. I never get to play with the fun trolls.
        I do think that, if I were to create a Feministe-troll-based Halloween costume, I would base it on the work of that fellow who had clown girlfriends who set him on fire. So many possibilities.

      2. Computer Soldier Porygon
        Computer Soldier Porygon February 21, 2013 at 1:30 am |

        hahahah fuck, I missed that Gladiator thing. That’s amazing.

  6. tomek
    tomek February 20, 2013 at 4:42 am |

    hello, i have been asked to move to this thread in reply to coment about raising boys with masculine influence. also, does anyone else see this page white and blue unlike rest of site?

    i hope this does not sound sexist, but i do think its right to raise boys and girls in a different way , it has nothing to do with be ladylike or manliness or something. boys need a masculine influence in there lives. not crazy like playing with the broken glass, but just a masculine influence. if they dont have, what you get is like the men of today.

    girls however seem to be raised ok irregardles of man or woman influence.

    1. thinksnake
      thinksnake February 20, 2013 at 6:56 am |

      What is a ‘masculine influence’? What do you mean by that term?

    2. amblingalong
      amblingalong February 20, 2013 at 9:27 am |

      SPEAK HIS NAME AND HE APPEARS.

      1. A4
        A4 February 20, 2013 at 1:19 pm |

        It’s your fault! You said it three times.

    3. EG
      EG February 20, 2013 at 11:47 am |

      if they dont have, what you get is like the men of today.

      And what is it you imagine is wrong with the men of today?

      1. tomek
        tomek February 21, 2013 at 8:22 am |

        they lack certain confidence with themselves and are not secure with expressing there masuclinity in full, like they are apologize for it all the time. because there upbringing does not help them emphasise this confidence, so they lose out in some areas of life

        like in junior school and such — the teachers are almost all woman, so boys find it harder to learn this confadance and assertiveness which they need. it is not like woman teachers doing this on purpose, they just do there job. its just there needs to be man there.

        1. EG
          EG February 21, 2013 at 8:59 am |

          I really don’t see any evidence at all that men are not confident enough. Quite the contrary, really.

        2. tomek
          tomek February 21, 2013 at 9:12 am |

          maybe you should try being man for a while? if you act as you do now as woman, you will see quickly how different you are treated. maybe it would change your perspective on things or two.

          it is necesary for boy to be raised differently.

        3. EG
          EG February 21, 2013 at 12:03 pm |

          You’re going to have to be more specific and provide evidence. If I were a (white) man, I wouldn’t have to act as I do now; I would be socialized completely differently, so, for example, I would spend less time and money on beauty maintenance, not worry about sexual violence, and be able to count on a certain baseline level of respect from students and peers.

          If male behavior today is an example of what happens when they don’t have confidence, I would hate to see the kind of shit men would pull if they had faith in themselves.

        4. A4
          A4 February 21, 2013 at 12:08 pm |

          I would think that the specifics of one’s upbringing would be a little more comprehensive than “boy-upbringing” vs. “girl-upbringing”.

          Also, could you be a little less condescending about your “try being a man” whining? I learned a ridiculous amount about being assertive and confident from my teachers who were women. The teachers who were men were the ones who taught me how to abuse power and give way to oppressive authority.

        5. tomek
          tomek February 21, 2013 at 1:56 pm |

          yes EG there is certain things you wouldnt have to worry about if u was man. but you would find there is certain things now you have to worry about that you did not have to worry about as woman.

          also i very much disagree that you will get baseline respect level if you are man. men are considered by default to be of not much value — only when they prove themself with knowledge or strength do they get the respect and estimation from peer. on the other hand, woman have a baseline of respect and people caring about them, because they are woman and therefore more valuable.

          if i see woman in bad position, i am thinking i should help out and see if she ok. if we see man in bad position, we are thinking he is just some guy why should i help him out, let him figure it out for himself. woman has the value already, man has to prove himself and have success before he has that value. you know what i mean?

      2. (BFing)Sarah
        (BFing)Sarah February 21, 2013 at 12:57 pm |

        I really wish I knew where this thread originated from, because I must have missed it and I’m pretty sad because I’d love to see how young boys playing with broken glass even came up!

        1. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl February 21, 2013 at 5:07 pm |

          It originated in the weekend open thread. I had posted about an argument I was having with someone on Facebook over an article he had posted complaining about parents doing it all wrong these days. Tomek brought over his side tangent wrt boys needing masculine influences in their lives that was initially in response to my post…

    4. Lolagirl
      Lolagirl February 20, 2013 at 12:48 pm |

      i hope this does not sound sexist

      Hope all you want, Tomek, but it is sexist when one clings to gender essentialism the way that you do.

      but i do think its right to raise boys and girls in a different way

      Why? And in what manner would one raise them differently?

      it has nothing to do with be ladylike or manliness or something. boys need a masculine influence in there lives. not crazy like playing with the broken glass, but just a masculine influence

      What, precisely, would you consider to be a masculine influence in their lives? A father, or other male relative, or are you willing to extend this rule to men outside the immediate or biological family? And must all of these masculine influences be cis/hetero men, or are you sufficiently magnanamous to grant the expansion of your definition of “masculine influence” beyond that?

      if they dont have, what you get is like the men of today.

      Like the men of today? What on earth is that supposed to mean? So, what, all adult men these days are someone deficient in some super serious way that is the result of not having sufficiently masculine influences in their lives as children? And now all the men and boy children in our civilization are doooomed??!?!

      girls however seem to be raised ok irregardles of man or woman influence

      Puhlease, stop making my head hurt.

      1. Ledasmom
        Ledasmom February 20, 2013 at 9:46 pm |

        Personally, I am still all agog at the idea that playing with the broken glass might be associated with masculinity.
        Also, girls do not need man or woman influence. They just sprout like flowers or something.

        1. shfree
          shfree February 21, 2013 at 2:37 am |

          Also, girls do not need man or woman influence. They just sprout like flowers or something.

          Yeah, I guess that boys are the delicate hothouse flowers that need special care and guidance, and girls, well, you can just toss em out into the world and they will sort themselves out just fine.

        2. tomek
          tomek February 21, 2013 at 8:28 am |

          i am not saying that girls do need man or woman. i am saying that either man or woman to raise is fine (raise by woman is probably better, but raise by man turns out girl ok too (in general)). sure he will not be know stuff like about exfoliation, but he can look up such stuff on internet if he is good guy.

        3. Li
          Li February 21, 2013 at 8:54 am |

          sure he will not be know stuff like about exfoliation, but he can look up such stuff on internet if he is good guy.

        4. tomek
          tomek February 21, 2013 at 9:13 am |

          what is problem? it is just bodily function… i dont see why guy cant know about such things. what about homosexual male couple who have adopted daughter or some such?

        5. amblingalong
          amblingalong February 21, 2013 at 9:51 am |

          what about homosexual male couple who have adopted daughter or some such?

          Tomek strikes a blow for social justice!

        6. EG
          EG February 21, 2013 at 10:04 am |

          I think you should look up “exfoliation,” tomek.

        7. Li
          Li February 21, 2013 at 10:28 am |

          I hesitate to draw on stereotypes, but are you quite sure that homosexual male couples will have trouble teaching their daughters about exfoliation?

        8. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune February 21, 2013 at 11:10 am |

          @Li

          *howling with laughter*

        9. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl February 21, 2013 at 11:52 am |

          Personally, I am still all agog at the idea that playing with the broken glass might be associated with masculinity.

          Ledasmom, I’m so tempted to c&p some of the lowlights from my aforementioned FB fight. Because I don’t think they would be believed otherwise. Oh, wth, why not:

          back in the day I got dirty, didn’t wear seatbelts, rode on top of cars, skitched, bled, played with broken glass (flourescent tubes as lightsabers!), was bullied, beat up, humiliated, participated in roman candle and bottle rocket wars, and not only played with open fire, but regularly tried to build my own fireworks (Usually to blow up dead animals)

          And still, somehow, none of this was sufficient to teach him how manly enough, even in affluent suburbialand!

          FB friend is basically a nice person, but still has a lot of dumb crap stuck in his head that makes me ragey. It took me a couple of weeks spamming his GO RON PAUL! posts with links to how Paul is actually a sexist, racist, bigoted, homophobic embryo worshipper to get him to cut it out. So I guess that’s why I actually bother to engage with him at all, because if I argue enough he usually gets to the point where he sees the light.

          Tomek, however, is an utterly lost cause, valuable only for his periodic comic nature. And I hold to my theory that in actuality he’s some teenager in midwestern America posting from his parents’ basement.

        10. Ledasmom
          Ledasmom February 21, 2013 at 11:55 am |

          (hoping this shows up in right place as threaded comments do not agree with me):
          Presumably the manly method of exfoliation involves the broken glass. It’s just playing with it that is beyond the pale.

        11. A4
          A4 February 21, 2013 at 11:56 am |

          But how does Tomek know about Exfoliation?!!?!

        12. Arkady
          Arkady February 21, 2013 at 12:28 pm |

          @Ledasmom

          (with compliments to Allie Brosh and whoever animated this)

          Now, the tool for the manliest exfoliation ever!

          The all-new Shower Hammer! Brutalize the dirt off!

        13. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune February 21, 2013 at 12:47 pm |

          Arkady, I love you. THAT MADE MY DAY.

        14. tomek
          tomek February 21, 2013 at 1:42 pm |

          what i meant was period. nothing about skin. it is exfoliation because old uterus lining is no good, so it is flushed to make way for new uterus lining. also egg comes.

        15. A4
          A4 February 21, 2013 at 2:22 pm |

          it is exfoliation because old uterus lining is no good, so it is flushed to make way for new uterus lining. also egg comes.

          That is called menstruation, not exfoliation.

        16. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune February 21, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
        17. (BFing)Sarah
          (BFing)Sarah February 21, 2013 at 3:29 pm |

          [mouth agape] I cannot believe this exchange is happening! Maybe its the fact that I’m “exfoliating” right now, but I’m having a hard time taking Tomek seriously…imagine that!

        18. tomek
          tomek February 21, 2013 at 6:22 pm |

          it is valid to use exfoliate in this way. in example: “the uterus is exfoliating to get rid of the old stuff and make the egg go out”. just because exfoliate usually is refers to skin and plants, doesnt mean it cant also be use in this context. words are flexible in this way.

        19. A4
          A4 February 21, 2013 at 7:00 pm |

          words are flexible in this way.

          http://xkcd.com/169/

          Not that I would ever approve of this type of violence, but i appreciate the sentiment.

        20. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune February 21, 2013 at 7:28 pm |

          “the uterus is exfoliating to get rid of the old stuff and make the egg go out”

          GET YOUR INTRAUTERINE LOOFAH TODAY!

        21. Li
          Li February 21, 2013 at 7:44 pm |

          There are just places where that kind of grittiness should not go.

    5. macavitykitsune
      macavitykitsune February 21, 2013 at 3:40 am |

      irregardles

      But I LIKED you!

      1. TomSims
        TomSims February 21, 2013 at 10:33 am |

        tomek = comic relief!

      2. trees
        trees February 21, 2013 at 6:11 pm |

        tomek is just too funny to be for real, and his grammar/word choice seems…odd.

        irregardles

        I think of “irregardless” as a very American non-standard usage. Is this term used in other English speaking countries? Is this something that an English-as-a-second-language speaker might say? Any English language profs in the house?

        1. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune February 21, 2013 at 6:29 pm |

          Indian here and I’ve never heard a non-North American use it, for what it’s worth. The ones I have heard were all people who’ve spent significant amounts of time in or known lots of USians. (It seems way less prevalent in Canada.)

        2. trees
          trees February 21, 2013 at 6:49 pm |

          @macavitykitsune

          Thanks for your input! So it may be just as I thought, a mainly USian usage. And tomek is supposedly in Poland right? “Irregardless” is not a term commonly found in print or blockbuster movies so I can’t figure out how someone may adopt this usage outside spending a good deal of time in the US. I’m not even sure it’s used throughout the US and among so many different demographics. That term really stuck out to me in his post. I wonder if this is maybe something ESL speakers may say.

        3. tomek
          tomek February 21, 2013 at 7:16 pm |

          the reason i use irregardless is because it is very bad sounding — correct word is regardless so when you put the irr it is like extra regardless. it is so bad grammar that it is good

        4. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune February 21, 2013 at 8:09 pm |

          it is so bad grammar that it is good

          it is so bad reasoning that it is bloody awesome

        5. trees
          trees February 21, 2013 at 8:10 pm |

          the reason i use irregardless is because it is very bad sounding — correct word is regardless so when you put the irr it is like extra regardless. it is so bad grammar that it is good

          Okay…that would suggest a pretty solid understanding of English language grammar. [Scratching head] I don’t get why your spelling, grammar and word choice are so often so off; it comes off as contrived. Your posts are just hilarious. Come on just admit it already, you’re really just a fairly innocuous ha-ha-funny-troll aren’t you? Are you and Chiara bff? I ain’t hating; you make me laugh, but sometimes your posts sideline important conversations.

        6. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune February 21, 2013 at 8:34 pm |

          @trees

          Honestly, I like Tomek. I mean, sure, he is (his persona is?) ridiculously inconsistently incompetent and bizarre, but he doesn’t indulge in racist/homophobic/transphobic bullshit in order to troll, and even his sexism is pretty…well, it’s annoying as fuck, but it’s not hurtful. And he’s funny.

        7. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune February 21, 2013 at 8:35 pm |

          Also he is good in the mathematic, and does not play with the broken glass.

        8. trees
          trees February 21, 2013 at 8:42 pm |

          @macavitykitsune

          True, I would miss tomek if he cut out. But it’s a wee concerning when he invokes discomfort in readers who take me seriously.

        9. tomek
          tomek February 22, 2013 at 8:02 am |

          i do not make so many mistakes as you think. maybe you just perceive it like this because i use lowercase letters. this is just my style. can you pick out single english mistake in the previous sentences? except with not having uppercase letters?

          also yes sometimes i am making jokes, but often i am serious like in this thread. if people try to understand my perspective they will find good points.

          If I speak with the capitals suddenly people will understand better? I think not. They are scared because I bring fresh perspective.

          also macavitykistune i like you to, i think you are quality commenter.

        10. trees
          trees February 24, 2013 at 11:59 am |

          tomek:

          i do not make so many mistakes as you think. maybe you just perceive it like this because i use lowercase letters. this is just my style. can you pick out single english mistake in the previous sentences? except with not having uppercase letters?

          For real dude, this is just silly.

    6. Natalia
      Natalia February 21, 2013 at 9:45 am |

      They need to do way instain mother> who kill thier babbys. becuse these babby cant frigth back?

      1. tigtog
        tigtog February 21, 2013 at 9:58 am | *

        The admin screen tells me you are responding to tomek, but I can’t parse what exactly you’re trying to convey in response to which particular thing tomek said.

        Care to try again, maybe with a blockquote of what prompted the first comment?

        1. Natalia
          Natalia February 21, 2013 at 10:14 am |

          Oh, I’m just communicating with tomek in his language. As described here.

        2. tigtog
          tigtog February 21, 2013 at 10:18 am | *

          Ah. I think you maybe overdid it a touch.

      2. A4
        A4 February 21, 2013 at 11:57 am |

        Exactly.

    7. mxe354
      mxe354 February 21, 2013 at 5:29 pm |

      As a child who was raised as a “boy,” I needed an influence to help me find confidence in my identity and not feel ashamed about who I am. Not a “masculine influence.” All that “masculine influence” did to me was push me to pretend that I hated femaleness and femininity just so that I could avoid being shamed and ridiculed.

      1. Lolagirl
        Lolagirl February 21, 2013 at 5:57 pm |

        As a child who was raised as a “boy,” I needed an influence to help me find confidence in my identity and not feel ashamed about who I am. Not a “masculine influence.” All that “masculine influence” did to me was push me to pretend that I hated femaleness and femininity just so that I could avoid being shamed and ridiculed.

        QFT

        Mxe, all that I hope my kids will say when they become adults is that they were embraced for and encouraged to be whoever they truly are. That’s all. There’s so much to criticize and dismiss wrt to what our USian society considers masculine v feminine anyway, pushing boys or girls into gendered little boxes is shit no matter how one parses it out.

        1. Dee
          Dee February 24, 2013 at 3:30 pm |

          So I don’t want to make this out as a question to any one person, because I don’t think that’s fair. But, I am seeking some more experienced voices. My nephew, who generally refers to himself as a boy and as “he” has also made statements before that “he wishes he was a girl” and “he is a girl” because “he likes how they look when they smile.” Or because “I want to be like Mommy and my sister”. Or because “only girls can play with girls and I want to play with them.” It took him a pretty long time to understand whether a person was a boy or girl (he misused pronouns for a long time after most children do), because his parents were reluctant to give him “cues” outright to determine if a person was a “he” or “she”…they taught him you cannot really know unless you ask because men and women can dress and wear their hair however they want. He seems to be in general confused about the mixed messages he gets from school and home. On one hand in society (esp at preschool and on TV), there are subtle and not so subtle “boys do X and girls do Y” messages. On the other hand, his parents are always saying that all children can play with whatever and whoever they want and that what and who you like to play with and how you like to dress means nothing about your gender. So, my question is: as a parent, at what point do you say “Oh, okay, you are a girl.” in response to “I am a girl because I want to be a mommy and care for babies” as opposed to “You don’t have to be a mommy to care for babies”? Do you know what I mean? How do you know whether a child is feeling like s/he is the wrong gender or if s/he is feeling the pressures of gender conformity and needs reassurance that, no matter what your gender, its okay to play with whatever and whoever you want?

      2. tomek
        tomek February 21, 2013 at 6:15 pm |

        i mean for cis boy need masculine influence, not trans girl.

        1. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune February 21, 2013 at 8:43 pm |

          But…seriously, how are you supposed to tell, Tomek? Do people often look at 3yos and go “oh, yeah, totally trans”? Because while I do try to be a trans ally, I’d probably just be going “Oh, it’s a 3yo who likes/does/thinks X. Okay then”.

          (Also, isn’t it incredibly problematic to look at, say, a 2yo assigned-boy liking pink and go aaaaaaah the trans has got him!!!!eleventy? talk about gender niches and transphobic flail!)

        2. Donna L
          Donna L February 21, 2013 at 8:58 pm |

          Also, isn’t it incredibly problematic to look at, say, a 2yo assigned-boy liking pink and go aaaaaaah the trans has got him!!!!eleventy? talk about gender niches and transphobic flail!)

          Mac, I’m sure you don’t mean it that way, but that is almost the quintessentially typical reaction when anyone starts talking about young children who “know.”

          I promise you, what you describe is not how young trans children get identified. It has little or nothing to do with liking pink. I “knew” when I was 3 (I’m certainly not suggesting that everyone does.). And never liked pink much, either.

          One of the very first long threads I got involved in here, something over a year ago, was about a trans girl up in Maine, I think who was a twin. I had just about everything I had to say on the subject then, and don’t feel like doing it again.

        3. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune February 21, 2013 at 9:10 pm |

          Mac, I’m sure you don’t mean it that way, but that is almost the quintessentially typical reaction when anyone starts talking about young children who “know.”

          Er, Donna, I was talking about someone *else* identifying a kid as trans, not a person identifying *themselves* as trans. I realise I wasn’t clear about that.

          …wouldn’t it be somewhat transphobic to tell a kid who identifies themselves as X that they’re not because Y? I don’t see how that changes if X is “cis” instead of “trans”. I mean, sure, I have a very feminine kid, but if she told me she’d realised/now felt comfortable revealing she was trans, I’d switch pronouns pretty easily. I’m…I don’t know. I don’t feel I’m communicating clearly. I’m sorry if I’m being offensive. My point was basically that gendered behaviour = / = gender identity, so Tomek’s whole “well, YOU don’t count” to mxe was bullshit, because how can you tell a child is trans? Particularly in the absence of the child identifying itself either as cis or trans in a definitive way?

        4. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune February 21, 2013 at 9:15 pm |

          Ah, of course my brain clicks into gear the second I hit “post”. I feel that it’s the same as discusing the potential sexuality of a kid, in this case: i.e. first law is respect self-identification, second law is do not impose identification or make value judgments re: identification, third law is no seriously, respect self-identification. I tend to go with the unstated “all little kids are bi” when pronoun-ing their sexuality, but if they correct me, I stick with the correction. Wouldn’t it be respectful to do the same to a kid re: gender? I’m honestly not sure how else I could convey it, but my basic idea was: don’t assume that liking princesses makes your assigned-male kid trans any more than it makes your assigned-female kid cis.

        5. Donna L
          Donna L February 21, 2013 at 9:33 pm |

          don’t assume that liking princesses makes your assigned-male kid trans any more than it makes your assigned-female kid cis.

          I understand, but my point was that it isn’t even necessary to tell people not to assume this, because it doesn’t actually happen. People don’t assume that kids are trans based on things like that. By telling people not to assume this, you are buying into the trope propagated by transphobes (mostly the radical feminist kind), namely that this is exactly what happens, and that people do assume this, and this is exactly how parents and doctors identify young children as being trans, and that mildly non-gender conforming children are constantly being wrongly identified as trans, and what a tragedy it is, blah blah blah.

        6. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune February 21, 2013 at 10:25 pm |

          Oh, I see. You’re right; if anything I reckon it’s the other way around, that kids are talking very loudly about their gender and they’re disbelieved. Sorry about that, Donna; won’t do it again.

        7. Donna L
          Donna L February 21, 2013 at 10:49 pm |

          Thanks for understanding, mac. I’m sorry my original comment wasn’t clearer; I’ve been working at my office for the last 36 hours straight, and perhaps I’m not as articulate as usual right now!

        8. PrettyAmiable
          PrettyAmiable February 21, 2013 at 11:04 pm |

          SHUT UP. Can you nap soon? That sounds awful.

        9. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune February 21, 2013 at 11:08 pm |

          Eee, 36 hours? Holy.

          Sorry I didn’t parse your meaning earlier! It’s not that unclear at all, now I go back to look at it.

        10. mxe354
          mxe354 February 22, 2013 at 12:36 am |

          No. My point is that children need gender-neutral influences, not masculine or feminine influences. Whether the children are cis is irrelevant. Even if I were cis, I would still have problems with the masculine influence in my childhood because it only shamed me for being myself. It didn’t help me become assertive.

        11. mxe354
          mxe354 February 22, 2013 at 12:40 am |

          Correction: That masculine influence wouldn’t help me if I were cis because the effect it had on me as a trans* kid was just as harmful.

        12. tomek
          tomek February 22, 2013 at 7:49 am |

          Even if I were cis, I would still have problems with the masculine influence in my childhood because it only shamed me for being myself. It didn’t help me become assertive.

          yes maybe it have shamed you for being yourself, but i think the benefit at the end would have been great.

          i know people here will think this is very bad, but i do think make boys more masculine is good thing for them later in life. it is all very well say “i am going to raise my boys to be themself!” yes that will be great for them right now. when they go into real world? not so much. remember boys is not just your child now, they will grow into men.

        13. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune February 22, 2013 at 11:47 am |

          yes maybe it have shamed you for being yourself, but i think the benefit at the end would have been great.

          What benefit would that be? Because all the hypermacho guys I’ve known (or known of) have all played with the broken glass.

          i know people here will think this is very bad, but i do think make boys more masculine is good thing for them later in life.

          I don’t necessarily think that all parts of traditional masculinity are bad. There’s some good qualities in the hegemonic script – confidence, self-esteem, etc – but they’re objectively good qualities and women should have them as much as men. But it seems to me like most of the *exclusively* masculine things are in fact broken-glass-playing: being “tough” (ever wonder why guys die of tetanus, mental illness, etc at the rates they do?), or prizing aggression or feeling like you have to be (hetero)sexual (because it IS less socially acceptable to be an asexual male than an asexual female, frankly), to be femmephobic. Etc. I don’t think raising boys to be masculine is going to teach them anything good that raising them to be decent human beings won’t; I also think that raising them to be masculine will expose them to a lot of actively harmful things and ideas.

        14. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune February 22, 2013 at 11:51 am |

          yes that will be great for them right now. when they go into real world? not so much.

          Yes. Because nerds and non-straight guys and skinny little dudes and other breakers of the heteropatriarchal script have never accomplished anything in the real world.

        15. mxe354
          mxe354 February 22, 2013 at 11:54 am |

          yes maybe it have shamed you for being yourself, but i think the benefit at the end would have been great.

          You can teach kids to be assertive without shaming them. It’s not that hard.

          i know people here will think this is very bad, but i do think make boys more masculine is good thing for them later in life. it is all very well say “i am going to raise my boys to be themself!” yes that will be great for them right now. when they go into real world? not so much. remember boys is not just your child now, they will grow into men.

          Both boys and girls should be taught to be assertive and confident in their identities. A distinctly masculine or feminine influence isn’t required to bring about such traits in kids.

        16. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl February 22, 2013 at 11:58 am |

          it is all very well say “i am going to raise my boys to be themself!” yes that will be great for them right now. when they go into real world? not so much. remember boys is not just your child now, they will grow into men.

          The above, Tomek, is bs. Seriously, knock it the fuck off.

          When an adult goes out into the world they absolutely must be secure in being themselves. What you are basically saying with your above quote is that a adult man must be taught how to perform traditional masculinity in order to be successful in our society. If you don’t get how damaging that is for all people, to be forced to fit into a tightly drawn role that may very well not match up with who they truly are, then you really, really need to step away from here and educate yourself a whole lot better.

        17. mxe354
          mxe354 February 22, 2013 at 12:04 pm |

          It’s no surprise that tomek values traditional masculinity because he’s argued with me on my blog that feminists think all women are victims.

        18. Caperton
          Caperton February 22, 2013 at 2:28 pm | *

          Tomek, I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt that due to language barrier, you don’t understand how insulting you’re being. It’s time for you to take a break and do some 101-level reading on gender roles and gender in childrearing and come back when you’re prepared to speak more informedly on the subject.

        19. tigtog
          tigtog February 22, 2013 at 6:19 pm | *

          Seconded. If someone’s got a sound Trans*101 link to round out the reading for Tomek here, that would be excellent.

        20. Li
          Li February 22, 2013 at 5:59 pm |

          being “tough” (ever wonder why guys die of tetanus, mental illness, etc at the rates they do?)

          Because I’m pretty much incapable of letting this one go by uncommented on: men have lower rates of suicidality than women, both in ideation and attempts. What they do have is a higher rate of succesful suicides, primarily because men tend to pick more lethal methods than women. I don’t think that’s about toughness, really, so much as violence.

        21. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune February 22, 2013 at 7:00 pm |

          What they do have is a higher rate of succesful suicides, primarily because men tend to pick more lethal methods than women. I don’t think that’s about toughness, really, so much as violence.

          Sorry, I guess I wasn’t clear; I was trying to say that that suicidality itself is caused by lesser rates of taking mental health issues seriously/seeking help/being socially permitted to destress by open displays of grief/pain/fear etc.

          That said. I…would disagree that that’s about violence rather than toughness. I would consider it a reasonable hypothesis that the very reason men opt for those more lethal methods of suicide is a furthering of the “tough” persona – someone who’s conditioned to think of their body as an idealised perfect machine of “tough” is going to naturally choose a more violent way of killing that body than someone socialised to think of their body as frail, delicate etc. To take a really extreme example, I can be thrown into a hyperventilating panic by trips and near-falls, because I have a history of falling badly and I’m pretty much one bad fall away from damaging an already injured knee, my hands hurt like hell at the slightest injury and a bad one can leave me in agony for weeks, etc. So, someone else’s “whoops lol” is my potential anxiety attack, because I perceive my body as extremely fragile. On a much smaller scale, I imagine that men who’ve thoroughly bought into the “tough” image would feel that they have a “stronger” body.

        22. tomek
          tomek February 22, 2013 at 7:49 pm |

          [What part of It’s time for you to take a break was too difficult to understand, tomek? Anyway, the decision has now been taken out of your hands. See you back in a week or two. ~ Moderator Team]

        23. Li
          Li February 23, 2013 at 12:29 am |

          Sorry, I guess I wasn’t clear; I was trying to say that that suicidality itself is caused by lesser rates of taking mental health issues seriously/seeking help/being socially permitted to destress by open displays of grief/pain/fear etc.

          I think those can exacerbate suicidality or mental illnesses that can lead to suicidality, but I don’t actually think they’re causal on their own. Suicidality is caused by trauma, either specific or generalised.

          Look, I understand what you are saying. I grew up with a totally archetypal stoic father and was trained to view any emotional problems as a private struggle. The whole “don’t seek help, don’t show your feelings” thing has totally been a feature of my life.

          But when we talk about ‘men’ having high representation in suicidality stats, we obscure a number of really important parts of the picture. The first one is that men *aren’t* disproportionately represented in suicidal behaviours. The second is that queer men (as well as a subset of trans* women that aren’t being assigned properly) are disproportionately represented amongst suicidal men to an extent that is greater than the disproportionality of queer women among suicidal women. Which is important, because it means that once you start comparing heterosexual men to heterosexual women, their suicidality starts to become disproportionately low.

          We talk a lot about how traditional masculinity has all of the risks involved re: mental health, but frankly traditionally masculine heterosexual guys are doing better in the mental health stakes than everyone the fuck else, probably because they don’t have to go through the same bullshit the rest of us do. Boy, how I *wish* that being seen as unmasculine was the main barrier I faced to getting proper mental health care or talking about my problems. That would be fucking *neat*.

          PS: I’m not raging at you mac I’m just getting a bit worked up over this stuff because it’s a bugbear of mine and if I see one more fucking round of funding for masculinity targeted programs like “Men’s Sheds” as if the queer boys killing themselves in rural Australia could ever fucking turn up to them I swear I will actually explode. LOOK AT ME EXPRESSING MY EMOTIONS.

        24. mxe354
          mxe354 February 23, 2013 at 12:38 am |

          I’m a bit late, but here’s my favorite trans*-101 article: http://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/asher-not-your-mom-s-trans-101

        25. tigtog
          tigtog February 23, 2013 at 6:41 am | *

          Thanks for that, mxe.

        26. MrRabbit
          MrRabbit February 23, 2013 at 10:40 am |

          @ Li. I agree 100%. I get so annoyed how everytime men’s mental health issues and suicide is talked about in the mainstream media, they never talk about queer men’s mental health (and trans* just doesn’t exist for them, apparently).

          And whenever Katter (for USians, Bob Katter is a federal politician) dismisses any talk of queer rights with “but what about the farmers killing themselves?” (everyone’s mental health is important but his argument is crap) I think, some of those farmers are queer, queers do exist in your electorate, and queer men’s rates of suicide are higher than cis hetero farmers.

          Huge pet peeve of mine.

          Homophobia is killing people. We both know it and it’s about time mental services actually gave a shit about it.

  7. tigtog
    tigtog February 22, 2013 at 7:07 pm | *

    General: since #spillover posts will generally be where moderators will guide suspected trolls to bring their tangents in future (at least until they remove all doubt of their agenda and dealt with accordingly), here’s a handy guide from the Pharyngula wiki to the different types of anti-feminist trolls.

  8. Datdamwuf
    Datdamwuf February 26, 2013 at 7:33 pm |

    Ask Amy had a column today and the comments section made me insane. http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/ask-amy-teen-victim-looks-for-answers/2013/02/15/e6791910-7793-11e2-8f84-3e4b513b1a13_allComments.html?ctab=all_&

    I just needed to tell someone that and I wish I had a clear text that I could just paste in for a comment, anyone have something that blows out the victim blaming and apology that is almost all I saw in the comments to that article today?

    1. tigtog
      tigtog February 26, 2013 at 8:10 pm | *

      I don’t have any links to offer you, because after reading the article I’m simply not up to reading the comments as well. Sorry.

      1. Datdamwuf
        Datdamwuf February 27, 2013 at 12:08 pm |

        I understand, I need to write a short cogent something that I can spam a commenters with when I run into these – otherwise I go down a rabbit hole of rage and disgust.

    2. Andie
      Andie February 27, 2013 at 12:40 pm |

      That was HORRIBLE. Absolutely Horrible.

  9. Datdamwuf
    Datdamwuf February 26, 2013 at 7:33 pm |

    Jill, sorry for posting in the wrong place earlier

    1. tigtog
      tigtog February 26, 2013 at 7:42 pm | *

      Hey Datdamwuf, I was the one who removed your comment from that other thread. It’s no big deal, it’s just traffic direction for the blog, because off-topic comments tend to discourage others to add on-topic comments, particularly when the link being discussed is as potentially triggering as yours. Thanks for understanding.

      1. tigtog
        tigtog February 26, 2013 at 7:55 pm | *

        P.S. now that we’ve had this exchange, I’ll remove the redacted comment from that other thread entirely, so that there’s no chance of it being offputting for other commentors.

        1. Datdamwuf
          Datdamwuf February 27, 2013 at 12:07 pm |

          that’s cool, appreciate it!

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