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  1. Barnacle Strumpet
    Barnacle Strumpet June 2, 2013 at 11:37 pm |

    I know this is an odd thing to bring up out of the blue, but…

    There seems to be a trend happening where people are commenting on issues about the posts more on the feministe Self-Promotion posts instead of the actual blogs being promoted.

    I can understand why that’s being done in regards to posts like the one at feministcritics, where obviously transphobic commentators present on the linked blog could make trans* people feel unsafe posting there, and people may need to be warned about the content there. but…

    I really don’t need to see the term “twanzphobic” three times in one day. I saw it once on the original blog post, again on Donna’s callout, and then yet again when ballgame defended themself.

    I don’t have a problem with people calling out shit, but it’s starting to feel like the Self-Promotion posts themselves need a content warning; which is pretty typically given when transphobic words and practices are being brought up or criticized.

    Then House of Flout was called out by A4 for trans* erasure. I’m not a reader of that blog, but afaik I haven’t heard of them advocating or being particular welcome to transphobic people. The comment A4 left was a fairly long education/call-out, not a simple “trigger warning: trans* erasure”.

    A4 said they were going to call out any weirdness about trans* topics so this is obviously going to keep being an issue.

    I’m probably being oversensitive but I really wish we could come up with a better way to deal with the promotion issue than by starting long call-outs and arguments with the promoters.

    For me, a simple “warning: post on trans* issues by a cis writer” would seem to be the most factual and least argument-starting, but I suspect the idea that cis people should warn/be warned on for writing about trans* issues probably seems hella offensive to most of them.

    I’m not trying to be a trouble-maker; there is obviously a problem with some posts but the arguments breaking out are making me feel sick and nervous just to read through the promotion page.

    I just wonder if there’s a better way.

    1. Barnacle Strumpet
      Barnacle Strumpet June 2, 2013 at 11:39 pm |

      I’m probably being oversensitive but I really wish we could come up with a better way to deal with the promotion issue than by starting long call-outs and arguments with the promoters.

      And for the record, by that I mean “by starting long call-outs and arguments with the promoters on the Shameless Self-Promotion post”.

    2. A4
      A4 June 3, 2013 at 12:32 am |

      The mods have, from my perspective, been very lax in their response to transphobia. Though they readily state support for trans issues in theory, I rarely see any proactive action to actually curb transphobic statements in the comments. It is my impression that comments and commenters that are consistently transphobic are tolerated far longer than they should be. In addition, there has been no action to address the transphobia cropping up frequently in the self-promotion threads.

      Sending a giraffe alert does not seem like a viable solution because the only thing that I have seen resulting from that is the auto-modding of the flagged thread.

      Until now Donna has been leading the critique of this ongoing transphobia without being able to count of support. In some instances she has had to deal with some really disgusting and targeted responses, both here and on the blogs being linked in the self-promotion threads. That’s not cool or fair.

      I’m going to do what I can so that nobody feels that they stand alone when their identities are marginalized in this space.

      1. tigtog
        tigtog June 3, 2013 at 1:17 am | *

        Quick note on my rest-stop during a long drive: *if nobody sends a giraffe alert then the mods do not even know that there is any sort of problem*. I for one do not have time to read every single comment on the blog, and I doubt any of the other mods do either.

        I have to get back on the road shortly, so I won’t be able to read through the Self-Promotion thread until I’m back home in a few more hours. However, I encourage anybody who is finding a particular comment to be particularly hostile or dismissive to flag it for us with a giraffe alert, and have some patience until the alerts can be dealt with.

      2. macavitykitsune
        macavitykitsune June 3, 2013 at 2:49 am |

        I asked tigtog about this issue in the previous spillover, and the suggestion was to provide a fairly Spocklike “this blog/blogpost contains transphobia (or what have you). Please be aware. Initial discussion of issues at (link), and problematic post(s) at (link). If you have questions about this, or would like to respond, I have mod directions to take it to spillover threads”. I think I’m going to keep doing that at Certain Blogs, on the promo posts. It seems a nice compromise between upsetting people reading the Feministe post, like Barnacle, who (rightly) doesn’t want their eyes assaulted with crap, while still marking a post as problematic so the blogger doesn’t get pageviews.

        Barnacle, if you reckon that would still be triggering, and have other suggestions, please do bring them up.

        1. Donna L
          Donna L June 3, 2013 at 3:28 am |

          The problem is, I find it triggering — seriously so — to keep on letting these things go by without pointing out what they signify. I find it so damn hard to believe that if people posted links to blogs in which they, or their commenters, engaged in openly homophobic or anti-Semitic or racist rhetoric, people would just quietly leave them be, with nothing but dispassionate trigger warnings. Why do I have to be dispassionate? Why do I have to humiliate myself by going over to the blog in question so I can be sneered at and mocked and ridiculed there like I was at Daisy’s blog? Why can’t I respond here?

          I do, however, almost wish there were a requirement that any cis person promoting a blog in which they discuss trans issues should, as Barnacle suggests, be required to put a trigger warning specifically warning of that fact. No matter how well-intentioned, and no matter how clever they think they are.

        2. tigtog
          tigtog June 3, 2013 at 3:41 am | *

          Donna, my response to mac in the previous spillover thread was specifically wrt calling out bigotry as an ally. I don’t expect people who are personally hurt by marginalising/erasing content to be dispassionate about it.

          I think there may need to be a few netiquette notes added to the Self-Promotion posts regarding content notes in general, and particularly for discussing a marginalised identity group without being a member of that identity group.

        3. Barnacle Strumpet
          Barnacle Strumpet June 3, 2013 at 9:12 am |

          @Donna: I know. And I thought A4 had a point about it being unfair that you had to be the only one to call out this kind of stuff. It seems unfair and lazy to keep expecting you be the one to give people the verbal smackdown all the time.

          I don’t think anyone has an obligation to be dispassionate or nicer; but my worry has been that pretty soon, by bringing up the actual content of the posts for debate, slurs or concepts that are worse and more potentially triggering to people than “twanzphobic” are going to pop up without warnings.

          @mac: No, that’s fine. I’m fine with seeing “Warning: blog contains transphobia” or “poster has condoned transphobic concepts [here]” or something.

        4. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune June 3, 2013 at 9:44 am |

          people would just quietly leave them be, with nothing but dispassionate trigger warnings. Why do I have to be dispassionate? Why do I have to humiliate myself by going over to the blog in question so I can be sneered at and mocked and ridiculed there like I was at Daisy’s blog? Why can’t I respond here?

          Huh? I specifically asked for myself. I may not be cis, but I’m not trans, either. I can suck up my secondhand rage enough to be dispassionately pissy; I don’t expect anyone who’s trans to do so.

        5. trees
          trees June 3, 2013 at 10:06 am |

          I’m late to this, but here is the comment I left on last week’s promo thread in relation to that thread on Daisy’s blog:

          trees
          June 2, 2013 at 12:05 am | Permalink | Reply
          This is deeply disturbing and some of those comments are absolutely revolting. Scorning the actions of a Holocaust survivor when faced with Nazi propaganda in a place where she had a reasonable expectation of safety is simply beyond the pale. What does it mean to be an ally when you completely dismiss the perspectives of those you profess to support? I would think being an ally is more about on going action rather than an unquestioned state of being. I’m cis, but am marginalized on several other axes and when someone with more relative power shouts me down, purporting to be the better activist on issues that directly impact me, it is hurtful and enraging. It is striking that someone with so many years of movement experience doesn’t get how this approach is condescending and abusive.

          The way DonnaL was treated on Daisy’s blog was deplorable. Going forward, maybe a brief note can be left on the promo thread with a link to a longer comment in the spillover thread. This would allow for exploration of an issue in a spacer space without someone having to post at the blog source.

        6. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune June 3, 2013 at 10:40 am |

          @Donna,

          I do, however, almost wish there were a requirement that any cis person promoting a blog in which they discuss trans issues should, as Barnacle suggests, be required to put a trigger warning specifically warning of that fact.

          Did you want a trigger warning on any blog where any discussion of trans issues has taken place, or just on posts related to trans issues? I think I’m having a parsing issue, because the former seems freakin’ ridiculous unless the person posting the trigger warning has read literally everything on the blog in question, and so knows to warn others about that one post in 2008, or something.

          Lol…I guess my ranty post that I’m about to put up, about the shit I’ve seen going down here re: transphobic posts should also get the “not-trans” warning.

        7. amblingalong@gmail
          amblingalong@gmail June 3, 2013 at 10:41 am |

          Letting people choose the level of their own engagement with issues that may trigger them is always a good idea; I think for me personally at least, tree’s proposal makes the most sense.

          There’s also a huge difference between a policy directing allies to respond to triggering material in a certain way, and directing the oppressed group to do so. The first is setting guidelines for better allyship; the second is reproducing privilege through silencing.

        8. A4
          A4 June 3, 2013 at 10:58 am |

          I don’t really feel the need to photocopy my Genuine In Group Card and post the information in triplicate in order to justify why my response isn’t properly “Spock like”, whatever the fuck that means.

          There’s no such thing as a neutral tone. In this case, a neutral tone sounds a hell of a lot like “transphobia is not a big deal, and whether or not one likes it is a personal preference”.

          I find it so damn hard to believe that if people posted links to blogs in which they, or their commenters, engaged in openly homophobic or anti-Semitic or racist rhetoric, people would just quietly leave them be, with nothing but dispassionate trigger warnings.

          This statement of Donna’s is the truth.

          You know what’s not helpful ally work? When you say “All the ally’s can only speak in neutral tones but the people actually being marginalized are allowed to be angry”. This is bullshit because you are telling the oppressed that you do NOT have their back. That in response to hate, they are permitted to be angry, but don’t expect any allies to be angry as well because that would ruin the signal boosting purpose of the thread.

          What the fuck ever. Transphobia offends and affects me personally. I don’t have to justify that by passing your identity tests.

        9. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune June 3, 2013 at 11:10 am |

          I don’t really feel the need to photocopy my Genuine In Group Card and post the information in triplicate in order to justify why my response isn’t properly “Spock like”, whatever the fuck that means.

          My recommendation: Take deep breath. Remind yourself that someone else asked the question on their own behalf. Remind yourself that nobody told you (and whatever unspecified group o’ speshul you identify with, since you’re not going to deign to tell anyone) what to do. Move on with your day!

        10. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune June 3, 2013 at 11:11 am |

          Also, this fucking repeated meme of “well, if soemone said something RACIST…” is getting on my last goddamn nerve. I don’t see many commenters here calling out racism unless it’s a nice safe pile-on in the threads, let alone the promo posts. Please to not be acting like this is some incredibly safe space for the POC.

        11. Donna L
          Donna L June 3, 2013 at 11:16 am |

          Mac, I didn’t mean it literally, at all. I mean it more in terms of people who are “strangers” to feministe, who haven’t commented here in the past enough to make clear what their perspective is.

          I really think the difference between the “Spock-like” thing and what I was talking about is that I thought the former was for situations in which the specific link posted isn’t necessarily problematic in and of itself, but the person’s blog has a history of being problematic on trans or other issues. Whereas what I was talking about was a situation in which the link itself is to something that’s really problematic. No need for trans people OR allies to be dispassionate there.

          I agree with A4 that it is most definitely not a good idea to have a policy in which only people who belong to the marginalized group are “allowed” to be upset and angry about transphobia or any similar -ism.

        12. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune June 3, 2013 at 11:22 am |

          Donna,

          I see the distinction you’re making, and absolutely agree; a directly problematic post is different from “this post is about kittens, but the blog has been transphobic when not about kittens”. Though I’d probably still take the discussion over to spillovers, myself, because people like Barnacle can avoid the triggers that way.

        13. trees
          trees June 3, 2013 at 11:26 am |

          Also, this fucking repeated meme of “well, if soemone said something RACIST…” is getting on my last goddamn nerve. I don’t see many commenters here calling out racism unless it’s a nice safe pile-on in the threads, let alone the promo posts. Please to not be acting like this is some incredibly safe space for the POC.

          Exactly, thank you for saying this.

        14. A4
          A4 June 3, 2013 at 11:37 am |

          If you asked specifically for yourself then why are you offering the “Spockline” answer up as a solution for other people here?

          Also, perhaps I don’t deign to give you a list of words to describe myself because that shit is difficult to figure out hmmm? Not everyone prioritizes their self-definition based on clear an convenient binaristic categories to allow for easy commenting guidelines on feminist blogs about who is allowed to have what tone.

          Please to not be acting like this is some incredibly safe space for the POC.

          Noted, and agreed. I’m sorry for acting like this.

        15. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune June 3, 2013 at 11:55 am |

          If you asked specifically for yourself then why are you offering the “Spockline” answer up as a solution for other people here?

          Maybe because I may not be the only trans ally in the history of Feministe who doesn’t want to wank rage all over some random blog post and trigger people like Barnacle. I’m just, like, putting that out there.

          Also, perhaps I don’t deign to give you a list of words to describe myself because that shit is difficult to figure out hmmm?

          So, what, you’re genderqueer except for Tuesdays and blue moons, when you’re trans, and Friday evenings you’re straight when viewed through infrared?

          Thanks for walking back the racist-denying stuff, though.

        16. A4
          A4 June 3, 2013 at 11:57 am |

          So, what, you’re genderqueer except for Tuesdays and blue moons, when you’re trans, and Friday evenings you’re straight when viewed through infrared?

          Fuck. Off.

        17. Li
          Li June 3, 2013 at 12:33 pm |

          I think it’s important to recognise that transphobia is really pervasive and often internalised in such a way that some people can’t easily answer questions about their experiences of their gender because they personally just don’t know/can’t get past the damage. I mean, I’ve done a fuckton of gender studies and have bunch of trans* friends and thus access to networks I know a bunch of other people don’t, but I still pretty much go “ARGLEBARGLE TOO STRESSFUL” whenever I try to think about my gender (espesh because of the way it interacts with my mental illnesses). I think it can be really really problematic to expect everyone to have gotten their shit together over what is frankly some super toxic cultural baggage and that sometimes it’s more worthwhile to just give people the space to figure things out.

          And I know you were making fun, but I definitely know that my level of identification with “man” or “men” and thus how comfortable I am with various ids like cis and genderqueer can vary over time.

          So, like, I really respect you, but maybe tone it back on this line of disagreement?

        18. SophiaBlue
          SophiaBlue June 3, 2013 at 12:36 pm |

          Mac, that was a pretty shitty thing to say.

        19. trees
          trees June 3, 2013 at 12:45 pm |

          So, what, you’re genderqueer except for Tuesdays and blue moons, when you’re trans, and Friday evenings you’re straight when viewed through infrared?

          I think it can be really really problematic to expect everyone to have gotten their shit together over what is frankly some super toxic cultural baggage and that sometimes it’s more worthwhile to just give people the space to figure things out.

          This reminds me of a friend who in passing would alternately refer to her partner as her “husband” and sometimes her “girlfriend”. Her partner wasn’t posing, it was just that how zie felt and identified varied from day to day.

        20. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune June 3, 2013 at 12:55 pm |

          Sorry, all, and A4 in particular. I got pissed off and I shouldn’t have said that.

        21. Caperton
          Caperton June 3, 2013 at 1:00 pm | *

          So, what, you’re genderqueer except for Tuesdays and blue moons, when you’re trans, and Friday evenings you’re straight when viewed through infrared?

          Mac, that was really inappropriate.

        22. A4
          A4 June 3, 2013 at 1:11 pm |

          Sorry, all, and A4 in particular. I got pissed off and I shouldn’t have said that.

          Thanks. No hard feelings on my end.

        23. Caperton
          Caperton June 3, 2013 at 1:11 pm | *

          I think the “Spock-ness” of any content warning or objection should, in the end, come down to what a commenter feels comfortable with. If a person considers zirself an ally, it’s only right that they also examine whether or not and to what extent it’s their place to start a raging debate on behalf of trans people. But no person who is personally affected by transphobia should feel obliged to remain reserved and unemotional in the face of something like that.

          To avoid a long and triggering exchange on a place where people might not know to expect it, like the Shameless Self-Promotion thread, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to try and take the discussion to a Spillover thread. Whether it’s in the form of “Warning for transphobia in the linked post” or “The linked post is transphobic and triggering and offensive as fuck and I seriously can’t believe that someone who would write that vile shit is also the kind of person who would frequent this blog,” it also would be a good idea to leave a comment on the Spillover thread and then link back to it. “The linked post is transphobic as fuck, and I’m discussing it in graphic detail in Spillover #5.” The intent here is not to sequester or segregate discussion of an important subject or to chastise anyone for feeling passionately about it, but (as I mentioned) to spare other commenters who might find the discussion triggering.

          I also want to second tigtog on the importance of giraffe alerts (“We need a giraffe here”). We simply don’t have the modpower to check each link on the Shameless Self-Promotion posts for content, and sometimes the only way we know that a linked item is offensive is when someone reads it and brings it to our attention.

          A4, I’m sorry we haven’t been attending to the giraffe alerts in a way that makes you feel comfortable here — please know that when we put a thread on auto-mod, we are doing it so we’ll have the opportunity to examine every comment and skim out the offensive ones. If we’re still letting too many through, it’s something we’ll work on in the future.

        24. Barnacle Strumpet
          Barnacle Strumpet June 3, 2013 at 1:13 pm |

          A4, I’m non-binary, as are many people here, and mac has said she does not have a defined gender identity other than non-cis. I don’t think anyone here wants you to have to adhere to the binary.

          I know it seems offensive when people advocate for taking a neutral or emotionless tone with people that are doing really shitty things. I don’t take offense it at because…It is always easier to recognize the error of one’s ways, correct one’s behavior, and apologize, when a person doesn’t feel attacked. None of us are perfect. All of us are going to say something that is offensive or hurtful to a marginalized group one day. It’s pretty much guaranteed. We’re all ignorant about something, and no matter how much we try to minimize our ignorance and hurtfulness, we’ll fail one day.

          It doesn’t make us evil people, it makes us people. Intent may not be magical, and marginalized people shouldn’t be expected to hold back their emotions all the time but in general? I want to take the tone with other people when I call out that I would want someone to take with me.

          People here have been pretty kind and understanding in regards to calling me on shit. I’ve always been grateful for that, because it makes it so much easier for me to realize that I’ve been doing wrong.

          I don’t know how much anger has been simmering over the Self-Promotion posts. I haven’t seen a lot of call-outs for anything there pre: the daisy blowup. Is anger over it common or is this a matter of residual rage from that?

          In other words, if many of us weren’t still (rightfully) ticked over the way Donna was treated, would we really have a problem with leaving fairly dispassionate warnings?

          Aside from that, like mac I am writing a post on the whole issue and… I don’t want to be offensive, dismissive, or appropriative, so I was wondering if I (and anyone else with this concern) could drop it here so that those concerned with calling out or advising for warnings could so ahead of time here?

        25. amblingalong@gmail
          amblingalong@gmail June 3, 2013 at 1:22 pm |

          I agree with A4 that it is most definitely not a good idea to have a policy in which only people who belong to the marginalized group are “allowed” to be upset and angry about transphobia or any similar -ism.

          I can’t speak with any authority about this re: trans* issues on feministe, but I moderated a blog way back when where the policy was essentially “if you’re not a POC, please take your callouts of stuff we link to a different thread (we called it the Arena of Doom but YMMV) because those of us who are directly affected by these issues don’t need to see the inevitable flame war play out.” I don’t think that told allies not to ‘have our back,’ it just let us have some spaces where we could link interesting stuff without people proving their ally-cred by starting fights. Having a different policy for allies and POC made sense there.

          Maybe the situation is totally different here (we seem blessed with fewer tumblr-warriors) and I understand I’m weighing in on issue/axis of oppression I don’t experience; your feelings on this re: Feministe specifically are more relevant than mine and I don’t challenge that. I just don’t think such an idea is necessarily a bad thing based on my experiences elsewhere, and I don’t think it’s accurately characterizing it to say allies aren’t allowed to be angry or call out -isms; it’s asking them to express their anger in a place where oppressed people can choose whether to engage with it or not.

        26. amblingalong@gmail
          amblingalong@gmail June 3, 2013 at 1:25 pm |

          Caper put it better than me two posts up; I’ll step out now.

        27. A4
          A4 June 3, 2013 at 1:38 pm |

          A4, I’m sorry we haven’t been attending to the giraffe alerts in a way that makes you feel comfortable here — please know that when we put a thread on auto-mod, we are doing it so we’ll have the opportunity to examine every comment and skim out the offensive ones. If we’re still letting too many through, it’s something we’ll work on in the future.

          I didn’t express my issues with the giraffe alerts clearly enough. The giraffe alerts are GREAT for certain things, like when a thread is going off the rails because of a fun new commenter. But I don’t think it should be up to just the mod team, which often appears to be just tigtog, to decide what is and isn’t offensive enough to be removed and to respond to all problematic statements. That’s not really fair or reasonable.

          Sometimes I don’t want a mod to just remove the offending post. Sometimes I want to respond myself to a piece of bigotry that I have been subject to before in spaces where I COULDN’T respond at all.

          In the future I’ll leave short links to spillover if I have something to say about a link posted in the self-promotion threads. I understand how easily links will be lost among long paragraphs of text.

        28. tigtog
          tigtog June 3, 2013 at 6:32 pm | *

          I didn’t express my issues with the giraffe alerts clearly enough. The giraffe alerts are GREAT for certain things, like when a thread is going off the rails because of a fun new commenter. But I don’t think it should be up to just the mod team, which often appears to be just tigtog, to decide what is and isn’t offensive enough to be removed and to respond to all problematic statements. That’s not really fair or reasonable.

          I’m not the only mod who’s active, I’m just the mod who’s most likely to comment in-thread, because I want to be transparent about my modding. People feeling constrained from offering specific feedback on comments which have provoked the sending of a giraffe alert was never the intent of the guidelines. There still remains the problem of threadjacking however.

          Because of past history here with Threads Of Doom, we have been very strict on stomping on off-topic anything, but that was never intended to stifle substantive responses to bigotry from good-faith commentors. That’s one of the several reasons why we started having Spillover threads – so that needful but off-topic responses to important matters raised in other threads could have those discussions in a space set aside for such responses.

          Sometimes I don’t want a mod to just remove the offending post. Sometimes I want to respond myself to a piece of bigotry that I have been subject to before in spaces where I COULDN’T respond at all.

          Just as we’ve recommended for the self-promotion threads, it is always acceptable netiquette to leave a short comment in-thread saying something like “I just sent a giraffe alert, because what [P] just wrote is [Q], and I’ve said more about why that’s [R] over in spillover [link]“. Just make sure to send the giraffe alert separately, because the alert phrase will be automoderated and will sit in the mod queue until released by a moderator.

          It is also fine for people who support someone else’s sending of a giraffe alert to briefly indicate their support in responses to the alerter to express their shared disagreement/disapproval of the provoking content before taking more detailed discussion to spillover.

          We’re trying to strike a balance between keeping topical threads focussed on their intended issues and providing separate spaces for our many interesting and thoughtful commentors to have fruitful side-discussions on related or unrelated topics. We would be thrilled to have both the Open Threads and Spillover to be full of “[X]‘s comment on [Y] thread [link] got me thinking about [Z]: lorem ipsum etc” and trust that most of our commentors will place such responses appropriately according to their tangent’s Thread O’Doom potential.

        29. Jill
          Jill June 3, 2013 at 11:23 pm | *

          I didn’t express my issues with the giraffe alerts clearly enough. The giraffe alerts are GREAT for certain things, like when a thread is going off the rails because of a fun new commenter. But I don’t think it should be up to just the mod team, which often appears to be just tigtog, to decide what is and isn’t offensive enough to be removed and to respond to all problematic statements. That’s not really fair or reasonable.

          What exactly do you think the point of a mod team is, then? Yes, we use our discretion to remove posts that we think are offensive or derailing. That’s not going to change. Sorry, but the comments sections here are not a democracy; they certainly aren’t a dictatorship of A4. We don’t have the time or ability to let all commenters collectively decide which comments they like or dislike. And while YOU may want to respond to a piece of bigotry, plenty of other commenters are happier to just see it removed so it doesn’t take away from the rest of the threat.

          So yes, we will continue to use our judgment and remove comments are are off-topic, bigoted or distracting. That has been our policy for a long long time, and we definitely aren’t going to start letting bigoted comments go up because you personally would like to respond to them.

          Also, I’m getting a little tired of seeing you hammer TigTog for her mod decisions. She does amazing work, and most of her time is volunteered. She is an invaluable part of Feministe, and if you continue to bug her about her mod decisions, I will ban you.

        30. Donna L
          Donna L June 3, 2013 at 1:57 pm |

          Trees (and others who did so), I just wanted to thank you specifically for speaking up about what happened at Daisy’s blog. I’m glad to know that others felt about it pretty much the way I did. I did really want to respond more over there, but ultimately decided — after talking it over with the one regular commenter here with whom I’m good friends in real life, who knows me quite well and whose opinion I always greatly respect — that no matter what I said, I wasn’t going to change anyone’s mind, and all I would accomplish was to make myself even more upset. Not to mention that I really resented the attitude there that every someone said “Jump!” I was supposed to immediately respond “Yes, ma’am, how high?,” and if I didn’t, I was essentially accused of being a self-righteous coward.

        31. Donna L
          Donna L June 3, 2013 at 2:00 pm |

          Should be: “every time someone said . . . .”

        32. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl June 3, 2013 at 2:22 pm |

          I missed that whole Daisywhateverblogger discussion from earlier, but I just wanted to say I think it sucks how that all went down, Donna. I don’t have anything intelligent to add to the discussion other than to say that I try to be an ally in general, and am a huge Donna fan in general. Can I join your posse too, if you are still taking applications, that is?

        33. Donna L
          Donna L June 3, 2013 at 6:04 pm |

          The “Donna’s posse” thing is so preposterous that it is almost funny. I do think, though, that it’s incredibly insulting to people here, given how strongly it’s intended to imply that whenever somebody agrees with me, it’s just mindless cheerleading, probably because whoever it is feels sorry for me. (What with my being a professional victim and all, promulgating the culture of outrage like I do.) As if there’s no possibility that maybe someone actually thought about whatever I said and — just maybe — thought that it made sense.

          The whole business of dismissively sneering at so-called “college girls” — who will go on to something else, probably getting manicures, in a few years, while good old Daisy is still on the barricades — is rather loathsome as well.

        34. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl June 3, 2013 at 9:05 pm |

          Donna, I definitely did not intend to offend you, and I would hope by now that you know I never engage in mindless cheer leading. I respect you and your opinions a great deal, and I am offended by the transphobia and other bs thrown at you and others at that blog. I don’t know what else to say, and I do apologize if I offended you in any way.

        35. Donna L
          Donna L June 3, 2013 at 9:27 pm |

          No, Lolagirl, please don’t worry; you didn’t offend me in the least! In fact, I appreciated what you said. It’s the people at Daisy’s blog who used that term who offended me, not you or anybody else here — and the reason I feel that way is that I am sure that the intention was to insult people here. You deserve better.

        36. Mr Rabbit
          Mr Rabbit June 5, 2013 at 12:11 am |

          @Donna: Daisy’s blog is not a safe place. You tried, it was clear it wasn’t doing any good and I think disengaging was the best thing to do.

          @everyone: What happened over there also demonstrates why people comment here rather than going over to the blog: lies are told, abuse is hurled, and TERFs come round to gloat. Having said that, I agree to taking discussion to the spillover thread In future – it seems the best place after giving a giraffe or brief content warning.

          I

        37. A4
          A4 June 6, 2013 at 9:23 am |

          What exactly do you think the point of a mod team is, then? Yes, we use our discretion to remove posts that we think are offensive or derailing. That’s not going to change. Sorry, but the comments sections here are not a democracy; they certainly aren’t a dictatorship of A4.

          Jill, when I wrote

          But I don’t think it should be up to just the mod team, which often appears to be just tigtog, to decide what is and isn’t offensive enough to be removed and to respond to all problematic statements. That’s not really fair or reasonable.

          I meant that it’s not really fair or realistic to TigTog, Not that it wasn’t fair to commenters. It doesn’t seem fair to expect one person to be able to feel confident at all times that they understand all aspects of social justice and carry them out correctly when deciding what to moderate and what not to. My point is that when posting a Giraffe alert without any accompanying elaboration, it’s like expecting a moderator to be able to look at the situation and understand exactly what is problematic about it for the commenter posting the alert.

          That’s why I said it can’t just be up to the mod team to respond to all problematic comments. I did not question the authority of the mods to do whatever they want.

          we definitely aren’t going to start letting bigoted comments go up because you personally would like to respond to them.

          Oh please. You allow many bigoted comments to appear on this site (for many reasons. You’re not all powerful and cannot pre-read everything, obviously) so this idea that you aren’t going to “start letting bigoted comments go up” is laughable.

  2. A4
    A4 June 4, 2013 at 11:44 am |

    Comrade Kevin’s comment tapped into an ongoing thought process I’ve been having about religion:

    I appreciate anyone’s heroic sacrifice, but I also oppose war in any of its many incarnations for religious reasons.

    What are religious reasons? How are they different from political reasons or just plain old moral reasons? As someone who has studied religion intensively, I see very little difference between the thought processes and reasoning behind religious thought and those used in political or moral thought. I see many people who claim to not be religious at all making arguments that appeal to absolute morality or the sacredness of particular experiences or ideals. It seems that religion is often constructed in the US as being about “supernatural” things, but from my perspective religion is the way all humans try to navigate an incredibly vast world with imperfect information by creating the best guidelines of behavior that they can come up with.

    Personally I’ve started to claim dance as my religion, because the basis of my conception of dance — endeavoring to experience myself in harmony or synchronization with the world — guides my thoughts and actions in all areas of life. There’s nothing supernatural about it, but there is an aspect of faith in the ideas of synchronicity and awareness of ones surroundings.

    1. tigtog
      tigtog June 4, 2013 at 8:54 pm | *

      Two thoughts:

      1. Agreed that the oft-seen claim that religion causes wars is oversimplistically problematic because it’s almost impossible to disentangle religious faith communities from geopolitics: since the majority of people who identify with a faith community inherit that religious affiliation from the cultural traditions of their parents, then people’s religion is only one of an array of cultural markers which all have tribalistic implications and which can all be exploited by propagandists and warmongers. Without geopolitical conflict, the faith communities would not have grievances for propagandists to work upon.

      2. Sounds like you’ve probably already seen a lot of the writing/study around regarding human affinity for the numinous/limnal, and also on the energising/exhilarating/joyous effect of certain shared community activities (or solo repetition of specific vocalisations/movements) – prayer/dance/song and more – on our psyches. It sounds like what you get from dance is what I get from singing, I just don’t tend to call those feelings “religious”.

      1. Li
        Li June 4, 2013 at 11:25 pm |

        tribalistic

        tigtog, just wanted to flag that this use of “tribal” and “tribalism” is really problematic and specifically presents as a microaggression towards indigenous/first nations people in this space (including a number of regular commenters here who I’m not going to wait to have do the pushback themselves). Can I suggest trying a different word next time? “group” might work.

        1. tigtog
          tigtog June 4, 2013 at 11:39 pm | *

          Thanks for the feedback, Li. I read so much classical history about the Romans conquering various ancient European, Middle Eastern and African tribes around the Middle Sea that I sometimes forget the problematic colonialist implications. I’ll be more rigorous about using “ethnic group” instead.

      2. A4
        A4 June 6, 2013 at 9:05 am |

        Actually my association between religion and concrete day to day actions comes from having studied the Talmud growing up and practicing Orthodox Judaism. There is little distinction in Orthodox Judaism between the religious aspects of thought and the religious aspects of action, and both are used to reinforce the religiosity of the other.

        I find the attitude that religion has to do only with belief to be a distinctly Protestant one.

        It sounds like what you get from dance is what I get from singing, I just don’t tend to call those feelings “religious”

        The feelings are not religious. The feelings are feelings. The attitude of subordinating actions to an overarching principle is religious.

        1. EG
          EG June 6, 2013 at 9:34 am |

          The attitude of subordinating actions to an overarching principle is religious.

          Or moral. Or philosophical. Or human.

        2. A4
          A4 June 6, 2013 at 11:10 am |

          Or moral. Or philosophical. Or human.

          Yo exactly. That’s how I see it. So when people tell me they’re “not religious” I find that to be wildly inaccurate when compared with the rest of their statements and actions.

  3. macavitykitsune
    macavitykitsune June 4, 2013 at 2:54 pm |

    To any Modly One who might be interested:

    Since I just reread the Game of Thrones article from ages back, and noticed that a whole bunch of commenters (myself included) seemed to be fans, I would like to respectfully request an open thread after the season finale, on the lines of the Doctor Who one, if any mod is interested/willing/has the time/there aren’t huge clusterfucks going on in threads. I realise this falls into Demanding Content areas, which I don’t normally like doing, but there was some amazing meta there and I’d like to hear others’ thoughts on this season. Thanks!

    1. chava
      chava June 4, 2013 at 2:56 pm |

      seconded.

      (wtf, steven moffat. wtf.)

      1. macavitykitsune
        macavitykitsune June 4, 2013 at 2:58 pm |

        (I stopped watching. I just couldn’t anymore. Seconding the wtf. Also, I stumbled on an article that pointed out that literally every Moffat-created female character on the damn show has associated with the Doctor as a child, crushed on him into adulthood despite minimal contact, and he has flirted with most/all since. Which just EW. Once I can overlook, but EW.)

        1. Kerandria
          Kerandria June 5, 2013 at 10:13 am |

          I’m really hoping that Moffat takes his bow from the show sooner rather than later.

    2. tigtog
      tigtog June 5, 2013 at 2:45 am | *

      Sounds like a plan, mac. I will schedule a thread for next Monday morning.

      1. macavitykitsune
        macavitykitsune June 5, 2013 at 11:14 am |

        Sweet! Thanks, tigtog!

      2. thinksnake
        thinksnake June 5, 2013 at 11:33 am |

        Will that be Monday morning US time or Australia? Since us Aussies don’t get to see it til (at the absolute earliest) Monday afternoon and all.

        1. tigtog
          tigtog June 8, 2013 at 6:25 pm | *

          thinksnake, I missed this comment during the week!

          The GOT season finale thread will go up 9AM Monday blog time i.e. NYC time. That will be just after the Monday evening (8:30PM AEST) broadcast in Aus (5 hours after the express broadcast at 3:30PM).

          Those who reside in some parts of the rest of the planet will have to beware spoilers until their local broadcasters catch up. Soz.

  4. Alexandra
    Alexandra June 4, 2013 at 6:03 pm |

    From the Women in Combat post, a few thoughts.

    Every time Feministe (or any other feminist/social justice-y blog) hosts a conversation about sexism, homophobia, or other forms of discrimination prevalent in the US Military, a certain number of commenters are sure to pop up to remind us all that the US Military is a force for oppression, and that it is wrong to prioritize (or even, apparently, to mention) oppression which service members may face without adding in the caveat that those service members are also perpetuating US hegemony abroad and condoning the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of innocents.

    There is a certain logic to this argument – the US Military is not a morally neutral force, and people who sign up for military service are adults presumably able to understand that even if all they ever do is ride a desk in the Pentagon, they’re doing so in the service of a larger organization that exists to kill people. If you think that killing people is absolutely wrong, then you’re not going to think that’s an acceptable moral choice. I have a lot of respect for true pacifists and conscientious objectors.

    However, it is also tremendously easy to redirect every conversation about discrimination within the US military to oppressive acts committed by the military. A lot of the time it looks like points-scoring – I rarely see any kind of depth to the arguments, just people pointing out, inevitably, “HEY GUYS THE US MILITARY IS REALLY BAD.” And the problem with that argument is that, within the United States, the US Military has often been a major vehicle for progressive social change, or a catalyst for such change. On a broad scale, Truman’s desegregation of the US Military (not to mention the experiences of black soldiers and other people of color in the military during WWII) helped to propel the civil rights movement. The post WWII GI Bill was very important to creating what we now think of as the middle class.

    The US Military is hardly a progressive institution for all that, and the US gov’t has a long history of taking poor and working class young men (and now women), sending them to war, giving honor to those who die “in the service of our country”, and utterly neglecting veterans after the fact. In the past fifty years, particularly post-Vietnam, a lot of social attention has shifted toward helping veterans reintegrate into US Society. Yet many veterans of previous wars never got that attention. I’ve done some volunteer work among the long-term chronically homeless, many of whom are mentally ill or otherwise disabled men in their forties, fifties, and sixties who are Gulf War or Vietnam War vets. Increasingly, veterans of the US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are winding up homeless as social services aren’t capable of meeting their needs.

    The way we treat homeless and mentally ill veterans is a disgrace and an area ripe for social justice work. And yet there is a certain part of the left that never seems to have left the baby-killer rhetoric of the Vietnam War period. My own father tells a story about starting at a fancy private college on the GI Bill after four years in the army during the cold war period post-Vietnam. He showed up on campus two days after being discharged from active duty, having hitchhiked to school because he had no car. He was still in the reserves, and arrived wearing his combat boots, as they were his most comfortable shoes. He was greeted on campus by a bunch of middle class kids who had never had to worry about college tuition, and who gave him the Hitler salute as he walked by. He wound up puking in the bushes behind the dining hall because he was so certain he did not deserve a college education.

    I am going to challenge people who post on future threads about challenging discriminatory practices within the US Military to be respectful of the fact that many people join the US Military because they have decided rationally it is the best way for them to make a life for themselves in this country that will allow them to feed themselves and their families and to leave dangerous neighborhoods or entrenched poverty in their home towns. I will ask people to remember that many people join the US Military so that they can gain citizenship and bring their families to the US from home countries that may not be safe. I will ask people to remember that many people join the US Military with wide eyes, knowing that it is not a safe place for women, knowing that it is a place with entrenched homophobia and racism, because they want the ability to get the skills and education that will allow them to have good careers in the civilian world.

    These are all legitimate aims and desires worthy of respect, and if you’re going to criticize people for joining the military in order to achieve those ends, because the US military is a force for evil in the world, then I’m going to ask you to consider what you’re doing to combat classism in the US, and to open up avenues for people to make a middle class living without a college education. I am going to ask you to restrain yourself from making fly-by-night, derailing comments about the evils of the US Military and only make such comments where they are well-thought-out, considered, and appropriate to the discussion at hand.

    1. Barnacle Strumpet
      Barnacle Strumpet June 4, 2013 at 7:02 pm |

      I’m glad you have the patience to challenge them Alexandra, because I can’t even with such people.

      I’d sorely love to know what the high and mighty do for a living that is so much more superior and harmless. We almost all are supporting unjust systems in our work, and even in “innocent” career fields a lot of the money paying the salaries is blood money.

      Those who can keep away from doing the directly dirty work of capitalism and imperialism aren’t innocent of profiting from it. Only they get to take none of the direct risk and have none of the personal fallout (death, injury, PTSD, etc)

      1. Kerandria
        Kerandria June 5, 2013 at 10:41 am |

        Thank you very much for this thoughtful comment. My family has a long record of military service and while I had my own reasons for not making that choice (I came of age in the GW era and didn’t want to fight in his war), I remember — and respect — the individuals that have their own meaningful reasons for doing so. People that have never had to worry about where the true essentials come from have the ability to throw stones and cast judgement without seeing themselves in that position.

        When you and your loved ones need to eat, when they need shelter, medicine, and clothing, when you need to know that they’re taken care of and are (relatively speaking) safe — many unsavory options start to look pretty damn appealing.

    2. ashurredly
      ashurredly June 4, 2013 at 7:44 pm |

      I understand the things you are saying and I agree that the way veterans are treated is a problem. I also think that it’s a problem for there to be few opportunities for disadvantaged people outside of the military. *However* I am very frustrated with feminist discussions of women in combat that don’t even acknowledge the harm that the military does to women around the world.

      1. Alexandra
        Alexandra June 4, 2013 at 8:16 pm |

        I am curious to learn what specific harms to women around the world you would lay at the doorstep of the US Military, versus harms done the peoples of the nations we invade (or intervene in) generally. Or do you mean that war in general is bad for women (true), in ways which are different than how war harms men (true) – because sometimes the US Military has intervened in ways which have helped women being harmed by war. I would like you to make a specific argument. All you are doing, right now, is repeating common knowledge in a way that derails any particular conversation. If you have something to say about how having women in combat roles is specifically tied to the harms the US Military does to women around the world, by all means!

        One of the big problems with always saying that soldiers are complicit in the harms perpetuated by the US Military is that by extension everyone is complicit. I can argue that we ought never talk about hiring discrimination in white collar jobs, because corporate America is responsible for many late capitalist abuses in the US and around the world. It is wrong to talk about gay people finding acceptance within mainline evangelical churches in the US, because some evangelical churches have helped write homophobic legislation in places like Uganda. Sheryl Sandburg shouldn’t have written her book, because women working at Walmart don’t have her opportunities.

        and all I’m left with is calling for immediate, inchoate anarchist revolution.

        1. Jamie
          Jamie June 18, 2013 at 11:41 am |

          and all I’m left with is calling for immediate, inchoate anarchist revolution.

          Thank you, oh my God. There has to be a way to balance shit. It’s hard, because a lot of those of us on the liberal-left who are more privileged have been really shitty about erasing the voices of marginalized people… but there has to be a way to both talk about the problems female soldiers face, while also discussing the problems our military causes around the world. There has to be a way to, Idk, point out a good thing Israel might be doing for gay people, without ignoring the bad things Israel does to Palestinians, gay and straight. A way to talk about problems female cops might face without ignoring the obvious harm our criminal justice system has wrought on people of color.

          I also think it’s probably better to address these issues by covering them and linking to people who cover them, rather than doing the whole List O’ Disclaimers thing, too.

    3. trees
      trees June 4, 2013 at 9:00 pm |

      Alexandra

      That was very well said, and thank you for sharing a bit of your father’s story. I agree that we can talk about the meta issues relating to the military industrial complex, but that conversation probably isn’t appropriate when the focus is on the needs of the soldiers themselves. It makes me wonder if these folks have much personal experience with service people/vets, and if they’re acquainted with the back stories of some marginalized people who join up. Some (some, certainly not all!) of the combat vets and active service members in my family would be the first people to offer detailed and comprehensive criticism of the U.S. military, but that doesn’t preclude a concern for micro-level reform.

      1. trees
        trees June 4, 2013 at 10:12 pm |

        Just checked out that women in combat thread where you had already said what I was hoping to convey in my above comment.

        Your mention of desegregation in the armed forces makes me of Colin Powell, who has said that the military provided him opportunities that were unattainable to him in the U.S. civilian world at that time.

        1. Alexandra
          Alexandra June 4, 2013 at 11:29 pm |

          Right. And then there’s the history of Japanese-American men volunteering to fight during WWII while their whole families were unjustly and unconstitutionally imprisoned due to racist paranoia, after the wholesale theft of the wealth of their communities. In fact, a Japanese-American segregated battalion helped to liberate a slave-labor camp at Dachau. And then there’s Ben Kuroki.

        2. seisy
          seisy June 6, 2013 at 1:02 am |

          Thank you for the Ben Kuroki link. (And in one of those weird internet coincidences, I am now 99% sure I went to high school with his granddaughter.)

    4. Rinjani
      Rinjani June 6, 2013 at 7:36 am |

      I was going to reply with some thoughtless comment, but I read your comment again and yeah, that’s a good point.

      But, I dunno — the country that I was born into and the country that I live now has been generally made worse by the U.S military, and it’s really a hard thing to have sympathy for people who showed up and killing people left and right/installing a ruthless dictator. (Though it’s not just the U.S)

      It’s “hard”, too, for someone capable of reading english, to not find the current war (Iraq) acknowledged in its atrocity and human deaths, because will it be just like the past in my country too? Forgotten, and then your military will invade yet another country in another decade or years?

    5. A4
      A4 June 6, 2013 at 9:32 am |

      I reject the idea that it is okay to sign up to go and destroy the home towns of other people because that’s the best way for you to get out of your own shitty hometown. I reject the idea that wanting to go to college and better oneself and gain life skills justifies operationalized murder and destruction of foreign people and their homes.

      I reject the idea that it’s justified to say “I have rationally decided to go kill people in foreign countries”

      1. Barnacle Strumpet
        Barnacle Strumpet June 6, 2013 at 10:14 am |

        I reject the idea that it’s okay to make tanks or artillery, and then judge soldiers and not yourself.

        I reject the idea that it’s okay to sell insurance to soldiers, sell burgers to, rent to, fix the cars of, soldiers, and otherwise pay your own bills and kids’ college with the money that comes from the destruction you look down on, and then judge them and not yourself.

        I reject the idea that soldiers, who have much work that doesn’t involve destruction, should be judged harsher than the people that vote for the foreign policies that guarantee they will be forced to engage in destruction and murder.

        Finally, I reject the word of pompous shitbag’s who reduce people literally not wanting themselves or their kids to starve and be homeless, or wind up in jail, to “wanting to learn some skills and get out of their hometown”.

        Never mind that for some people, staying in their home town is quite often a death sentence due to the violence and poverty rampant in their neighborhoods.

        Do you know what it’s like to go without food so that your kids can have some? Do you know what it’s like to be homeless? (I am truly asking, as some people on Feministe do know what it’s like). If so, why don’t you tell us all about those opportunities that poor people going into the military passed up. I’m waiting.

        1. A4
          A4 June 6, 2013 at 11:12 am |

          Who says I don’t judge myself? I didn’t write an article championing the virtuosity of my engagement with oppressive systems of power because that engagement is rational or self-preserving.

          The military is not a bastion of acceptance for the homeless and underprivileged. It’s not a healthy place for individual development and fulfillment. It’s a place designed for killing. It is explicitly for murder and destruction. Intrinsic to it’s nature is the prioritization of violence and dehumanization. The violence and oppression perpetrated is not incidental to it’s end goal. It is essential to it.

          The military does not “Serve our country”. The military is a tool for those in power to get more power and money and to act unilaterally in foreign affairs. I’m not going to congratulate people on their engagement with it. I’ll gladly commiserate with them though.

        2. Barnacle Strumpet
          Barnacle Strumpet June 6, 2013 at 11:32 am |

          Uh huh. Then why don’t you pipe up with your blame the bottom of the power pyramid crap on things that don’t involve the military?

          I didn’t see you on the any of the labor rights posts, saying that pregnant women working for Walmart in the USA shouldn’t get to sit down because they’re working for an evil corporation that abuses their manufactoring labor overseas.

          You’ll commiserate with them but you think we shouldn’t fight to end discrimination against them since they’re working for a larger evil.

          Almost everything in a capitalist society is a means towards gaining more money or power.

        3. A4
          A4 June 6, 2013 at 11:42 am |

          Let me point out that I was the FIRST person to push back against ashurredly’s comment as being illogical and a nontenable position:

          http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2013/06/04/excluding-women-from-combat-is-just-plain-wrong-a-navy-captains-story/#comment-645423

          I’m not blaming anyone. I’m pointing out the reality of the situation and refusing to congratulate people for their murder and destruction, because as much as I care about the homeless who better themselves through military service, I also care about the foreign people who must die for them to do so.

        4. Barnacle Strumpet
          Barnacle Strumpet June 6, 2013 at 12:09 pm |

          Okay so the way you make it sound you think people in the military are just as much a victim of oppressive policies and the greed of the people at the top as anyone.

          You sure don’t like you’re ‘commiserating’ with the lack of options and the targeting of the poor with your above post. You sounded judgemental as hell and dismissive. You know the alternatives for people are a lot worse than “missing out on free college!” or “having to stay in a sucky hometown” so don’t even try to make it sound like poor people are just going “Murder someone for free tuition? Sounds great!” like you did above.

        5. Willard
          Willard June 6, 2013 at 1:49 pm |

          The argument “killing for college” also elides the classist nature of military service.

          As a college graduate I had several opportunities throughout my career to either enroll in, participate in, or apply to join officer training schools/programs. Not all branches are created equal in terms of the killing and maiming work, and the more base opportunity you have in society removes the likelihood of getting herded in to those roles. Had I decided to proceed I’d have ended up doing something like a 24h shift in a missile silo or managing station keeping for a section of the GPS constellation, only firing my weapon on the range. Not everyone has that luxury going in and like the scene in Starship Troopers, if you don’t have the specialized skills they’re looking for, get your ass in combat arms.

  5. zaebos
    zaebos June 6, 2013 at 11:52 am |

    So I’ll answer some questions here to avoid derail.

    @ Alara

    You gave a lot of information that I’d like to comment on. However I’ll say that if a man escalates violence to fists, that he doesn’t deserve to be beaten, but I’m not going to cry for him. In that instance, it is his fault, but I’m not so sure that the man who gets beaten is always the first one to throw a punch. As far as men hitting women, I agree that in nearly all cases his violence is not justified.

    I know that feminists and women can’t spearhead efforts, that’s not what I’m saying at all, but women absolutely must be part of the conversation. However, men who do try to spear head efforts are doing something that we’ve never had to do before, without any pre-existing community or support from the general population. It’s still a taboo subject, but certainly a lot less than it was a couple of years ago! Like I said, I personally don’t know what to do, and that’s part of the reason that I lurk here so hard core.

    Also, if a man is swung on and he beats up the person who swung at him, he’s the victim even though he won.

    @ trees

    Not every experience is absolute, and I know that in -some- communities, it’s the opposite of what I’ve described. I’m talking about what I’ve experienced as a victim in conversations about victims. I do hate reading pieces when women are pushed to the back of the line. It feels patronizing and insulting. The same thing happens in conversations about men too, but in a different way. Like, say, someone comes into a conversation about men, accuses everyone of distracting from the real problem, and posts all sorts of statistics on why they should be talking about women instead.

    @macavitykitsune

    I’m not really even sure where to start on something like that. That’s the thing that bothers me. I simply can’t understand how one can just write a couple paragraphs about what they think so well. All I can think is personal rants about specific topics. A lot of my rants have to do with my interaction with feminism and MRA, specifically because that’s like, the only realm that I’ll reveal I was victimized. I appreciate the bravery of women who tell the world about someone did to them, but I’m not that brave.

  6. gerbiltron
    gerbiltron June 15, 2013 at 12:52 am |

    Here I am at the spillover thread (gosh I hope it’s the right one).

    I’ve never posted here before, but I read this website an awful lot, and there’s a question I’ve always wanted to ask, and I figured somebody here would be able to answer it best:

    So I have a thought experiment. Imagine that there is a perfect sexism-free island somewhere, with no contact with the rest of the world. Now imagine that a cis woman raised there comes to the US (say). She wants to join a radical feminist group. Would they let her? Or would they say that the group is only for women who were raised women in a world where women do not have equal rights? As I understand it, that is the basis of their exclusion of trans women (not that it makes too much sense, but I think that’s their argument), but wouldn’t they then have to exclude the hypothetical feminist island woman too?

    1. Alexandra
      Alexandra June 15, 2013 at 1:37 am |

      I’m not a fan of most thought experiments, but I would venture to say that you are confusing the excuses and explanations offered up by bigots for their actual beliefs. Despite their talk about wanting to abolish gender altogether and live in a world free of gender categories, a lot of rad fems have very gender essentialist ideas about what it is to be a woman.

    2. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
      The Kittehs' Unpaid Help June 15, 2013 at 1:49 am |

      I haven’t read (let alone encountered) much about these groups, but what I have seen is some unbelievably hateful nonsense that boils down to (TW for trans*phobic summary) “trans* women are really men who don’t want women to have any safe spaces! They want to come here and rape us!”

    3. Fat Steve
      Fat Steve June 15, 2013 at 2:14 am |

      So I have a thought experiment. Imagine that there is a perfect sexism-free island somewhere, with no contact with the rest of the world. Now imagine that a cis woman raised there comes to the US (say). She wants to join a radical feminist group. Would they let her? Or would they say that the group is only for women who were raised women in a world where women do not have equal rights? As I understand it, that is the basis of their exclusion of trans women (not that it makes too much sense, but I think that’s their argument), but wouldn’t they then have to exclude the hypothetical feminist island woman too?

      Exactly how would a brand of radical feminism form organically on a sexism free island?

      1. gerbiltron
        gerbiltron June 15, 2013 at 2:30 am |

        I’m not saying it would. I’m saying that she leaves and then wants to come to the US. I guess it’s all a little silly. I was just trying to see if there was a neat way to refute someone who’s talking the kind of ‘women born women’ nonsense to you, and to expose the vicious underlying illogic that is at the core of the radfem argument, as Alexandra and TKUH pointed out.

        1. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
          The Kittehs' Unpaid Help June 15, 2013 at 3:20 am |

          You can call me Kittehs, gerbiltron. :)

    4. macavitykitsune
      macavitykitsune June 15, 2013 at 2:49 am |

      So, basically, “would Sheila Jeffreys like Wonder Woman”?

      Personally, from what I’ve seen of the (anti-trans etc brand) radical feminist movement, I reckon they’d probably take one look at her and liquefy from the inside out into a puddle of bile and resentment.

      1. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
        The Kittehs' Unpaid Help June 15, 2013 at 3:19 am |

        Sort of like that famous scene from Scanners in slow motion …

    5. GallingGalla
      GallingGalla June 15, 2013 at 4:41 am |

      I don’t like dealing in hypotheticals. I have to live in the real world.

      Or would they say that the group is only for women who were raised women in a world where women do not have equal rights? As I understand it, that is the basis of their exclusion of trans women

      I’d say this is extremely inaccurate. Their exclusion of trans* women is based on rigid gender essentialism. The rhetoric spouted by radfems regarding trans* women goes much deeper and farther than this, and is filled with vile expressions of hatred, as documented by commenters (and especially Donna L) on the last several Shameless Self Promotion posts. I mean, what Kittehs said above is a good summary, but add to it the most vicious, disrespectful language you can think of.

      1. gerbiltron
        gerbiltron June 15, 2013 at 4:53 am |

        Hmm. I’ve been reading up on it a bit more and I think you’re right about that, Galla- I was naive to think that it was something as simple as that. What I wish I had, though, was a way to get at exactly why this issue so concerns radical feminists. Is it a fundamental misunderstanding of the issue on their part? I realize I’m in a bit (a lot) over my head here, but this issue really concerns me. I’m not trying to burst in here and demand to be educated; I’m just trying to explain my clumsy attempt at trying to join the discussion.

        1. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
          The Kittehs' Unpaid Help June 15, 2013 at 5:12 am |

          Total misunderstanding, I’d say – maybe wilful, though that’s a guess. But utterly hateful, bizarrely ignorant, and fixated on gender essentialism, as GallingGalla said. As far as radfems seem to be concerned (TW – mild language for horrible concepts) trans* men are just lesbians who couldn’t face it and trans* women are men trying to infiltrate women’s spaces. They’re keen on the “women born women” bit, assume that genitalia = sex = gender (if I’m understanding that right and they conflate the latter with trans* people) and couch it all in the most violent, loathesome language.

          This is the same mob who nod along to the claim I recently read from one that PiV sex is unnatural, and the vagina is solely for babies to come out of. Not quite sure how they’re supposed to be conceived in a “natural” way in that case …

          Hence the acronym TERFS: trans*-exclusionary radfems. Nasty indeed.

      2. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
        The Kittehs' Unpaid Help June 15, 2013 at 5:05 am |

        I mean, what Kittehs said above is a good summary, but add to it the most vicious, disrespectful language you can think of.

        Thank you – I’m very new to this too. I have a couple of trans* friends online who’ve shown me some of the mind-bogglingly awful things radfems say, but I didn’t want to quote it here. Not my place, and way too triggering.

  7. tigtog
    tigtog June 29, 2013 at 10:12 pm | *

    It was brought to my attention that the comment preview was showing all the previewed text in italics, and that this was confusing people because it wasn’t previewing exactly what the comment should look like. I think I’ve fixed it now.

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