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  1. Donna L
    Donna L August 26, 2013 at 8:28 pm |

    Apologies for jumping the gun, but since I have other things (like work) to do later this evening, I wanted to put up my thoughts now about AMM’s comment in the current Weekly Open Thread about hir experiences in an online crossdressers forum (see http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2013/08/23/weekly-open-thread-with-falcon-feathers/#comment-668775). Perhaps when AMM is ready to copy and paste hir comment here, the moderator can put it at the beginning?

    This is going to take more than one comment, to avoid the length restrictions.

    First of all, Tigtog, thanks for moving this discussion to Spillover. Because even though it is clearly not AMM’s intent, it’s an inescapable fact that the language zie uses to characterize “M to F” crossdressers is very frequently used, almost word for word, to characterize and denigrate trans women. Which makes this whole discussion rather fraught with danger, because the “border” between crossdresser and trans woman can be far more murky and permeable than many people realize.

    AMM, I’m sure you’re aware of this, but one needs to be careful about assuming that forums like the one you describe are in any way representative of the entire universe of people who identify as, or could be characterized as, “M to F” crossdressers. (There’s a difference of opinion as to whether the term “crossdresser” is solely a question of self-identity, or something determined by behavior. For people who believe the latter, then every single trans woman who ever wore “women’s” clothing before transition was once “a crossdresser,” regardless of whether they thought of themselves that way.)

    I know that the kind of forum you describe exists (I’ve heard of crossdressers.com and a few others, from people who used to participate in them), but it’s my understanding that they’re essentially a self-selected and self-limited phenomenon that follows (expressly or otherwise) the old Tri-Ess model, based on the writings and activities of Virginia Prince back in the 1950’s and 1960’s. As such, they’re geared to a specific group: married (or otherwise coupled) heterosexual male crossdressers, predominantly middle-aged, predominantly (although not exclusively) white, and, rather often, politically and socially conservative. Groups like that (online or offline) have traditionally (and more or less expressly) been homophobic (“I wouldn’t want my wife to think I’m gay,” so no gay crossdressers), and transphobic (“I wouldn’t want my wife to think I’m transsexual” and want to be a woman, so no admitted transitioning or transitioned trans women; no talk of hormones or surgery, etc.) Not that these “rules” have necessarily been followed in practice, especially when longtime participants do transition and nobody wants to kick them out.

    1. Fat Steve
      Fat Steve August 26, 2013 at 8:47 pm |

      There’s a difference of opinion as to whether the term “crossdresser” is solely a question of self-identity, or something determined by behavior. For people who believe the latter, then every single trans woman who ever wore “women’s” clothing before transition was once “a crossdresser,” regardless of whether they thought of themselves that way.

      Good point. The latter definition could easily describe me today as I’m wearing my wife’s socks, and no one ever refers to me as a cross-dresser.

    2. AMM
      AMM August 26, 2013 at 10:24 pm |

      Since you mentioned crossdressers.com, yes, that’s the one I’ve been at. And, yes, I’d already noticed that the demographic of the dominant group there is pretty much as you described it. However, there are actually quite a few posters there that aren’t that way, and though marginalized, we don’t remain silent.

      I’ve visited there, dropped out in disgust, and come back a few times. I think what I value is that by disagreeing and arguing with them, I’ve actually clarified my own thinking on gender and my relation to the concept of gender and to my gender variance. I don’t expect to convince anyone of anything, but I think I still learn from the experience. And I get useful practice in speaking up against gender policing and misogyny. (The mods there come down pretty hard on open homophobia and transphobia, so it’s not so blatant, at least since I’ve been reading.)

      The description of CDing I used was more or less a condensed version of how the dominant group there would describe their CDing. And, yes, it sounds in many ways reminiscent of the way at least some trans women describe their own experience. One of the things I’m having trouble with — and the impetus for my original post here — is that when I read trans women describing their experiences, it doesn’t sound sexist or misogynistic, but when the people in that M2F forum say it, it does, and I can’t put my finger on what the difference is.

      1. Donna L
        Donna L August 26, 2013 at 10:44 pm |

        it sounds in many ways reminiscent of the way at least some trans women describe their own experience

        Really? I don’t hear too many trans women describe their experiences in quite that externalized and compartmentalized way (“feminine side” and all that kind of thing).

      2. Bagelsan
        Bagelsan August 27, 2013 at 4:17 am |

        One of the things I’m having trouble with — and the impetus for my original post here — is that when I read trans women describing their experiences, it doesn’t sound sexist or misogynistic, but when the people in that M2F forum say it, it does, and I can’t put my finger on what the difference is.

        I am not familiar with the forum, but I would personally say there’s a large difference between opinions from trans women and opinions from men who identify as men but dress as women, and that would flavor anything either group said about what “women” are. Trans women are women, obvs, so it’s insider talk between and by women about what being a woman is. But if some people who don’t identify as women start spouting about womanhood (especially if they’re saying that women are doing it wrong) then I’m dubious at best, their choice of attire aside.

        If someone is not yet ready to identify as a woman, perhaps they are wrapping their mind around the idea still, or is just gender queer of some flavor then I’m still a lot more likely to lend credence to their ideas on women (and men) then I am to cis-but-crossdressing men. Cis men cross-dress for all sorts of reasons, everything from deep emotional needs to pure humorous effect, but I’ve never heard of someone — like Monty Python, for example — who was trans for the lols. I’ve never heard of someone who identified as a trans woman in order to parody or “do feminine right”… So I think that impression of sincere self-identification is flavoring my opinion, too; if you’re a woman then opining on womanliness is appropriate in a way that even queer or clothing-subversive men don’t really have access to.

  2. Donna L
    Donna L August 26, 2013 at 8:33 pm |

    And given the background and self-selected biases of forums like that, there are often people — both crossdressers and their partners — who have absolutely no knowledge or understanding of even the most basic feminist thought, and really lack the vocabulary to explain how they feel or what they do in anything other than stereotyped binary language and thought. And don’t discount the intense shame that many if not most people raised male, especially if they were raised a long time ago, feel about “degrading” themselves by wearing women’s clothing (especially if their wives or SO’s disapprove). All of which can lead to a desire to minimize their feelings by “othering” those feelings as their “feminine side,” and limiting them to externalities like voice and clothing, which can safely be put away and disregarded except when they’re let out of the literal and figurative closet, and have little or no effect upon the rest of their lives.

    Then again, there are certainly those for whom their cross-gendered feeling don’t go any deeper than clothing or voice, and are, in fact, entirely content to leave everything at a superficial level, compartmentalized from their “real” life.

    In any event, people who’d rather put knitting needles in their eyes than read the kind of thing you describe or engage in that kind of conversation, tend to drop away, or not join in the first place. Some end up in forums that are explicitly feminist in leaning, like Helen Boyd’s mhb message boards, which have been around and active since even before her first book, “My Husband Betty: Love, Sex, and Life with a Crossdresser,” was published in early 2004. And which have always encouraged a rather more complex approach than having multiple threads on “what color pnaties are you wearing today,” and have never for a moment been tolerant of, misogyny, transphobia, or homophobia.

    1. AMM
      AMM August 26, 2013 at 10:36 pm |

      And don’t discount the intense shame that many if not most people raised male, especially if they were raised a long time ago, feel about “degrading” themselves by wearing women’s clothing …. All of which can lead to a desire to minimize their feelings by “othering” those feelings as their “feminine side,”

      Yeah, this jumped out at me on day one. I’ve never felt any need to educate them, though. We all have our little delusions we use to get through the day.

      FWIW, I’m within a day or two of being 60, so I’m right in that age range.

  3. Donna L
    Donna L August 26, 2013 at 8:43 pm |

    Of course, when the mhb forum started, the participants were primarily self-identified straight crossdressers and their partners, because that’s pretty much how Helen’s spouse and Helen identified at the time. In fact, when I joined in June 2004, about 10 months before I transitioned (after I had been involved in Helen’s parallel yahoo email group since late 2002), I was, for a time, the only self-identified transsexual woman.

    Now, nine years later, long after “Betty” transitioned, as have many other members, the majority of active members who were assigned male at birth are trans women, with most of the rest identifying as being trans, and as being on what we call “the middle path,” rather than specifically identifying as crossdressers or transvestites.* Some are content that way; others have gender dysphoria as strong as anyone’s, but don’t want to or can’t transition for any number of reasons, practical and otherwise.

    I’m not in the habit of policing the borders of transness — the whole point of using the root “trans” or “trans*” is to broaden the umbrella, and policing borders is a tactic used all too often against trans women. So if self-identified straight male crossdressers also want to identify as being “trans” (and there are plenty who don’t), I’m not going to complain about it. The term is broad enough to cover anyone. But please don’t forget that “crossdressing” is itself a far broader term, that covers a far broader variety of people, than you seem to have encountered on that forum.

  4. Donna L
    Donna L August 26, 2013 at 8:48 pm |

    * “Crossdresser” is, of course, simply a rendition into English of “transvestite,” a word probably invented by Magnus Hirschfeld circa 1910 (when he was quoted as using the word in a German newspaper article, shortly before publication of his book Die Transvestiten, which included many case histories of people who clearly would now be seen as trans women or trans men. Hirschfeld recognized the distinction; and coined the term “transsexual” circa 1923.)

    It was Virginia — then Charles — Prince who was primarily responsible for popularizing the use of “crossdresser” rather than “transvestite,” beginning in the early 1960’s, as a way of trying to avoid the predominantly clinical, and highly pathologizing, use of “transvestite” that had become common by then, and still exists in the diagnosis of “transvestitic fetishism” that remains in the DSM. Of course, the history of all that terminology is far more complicated than I’ve described, and I’m no expert.

  5. Donna L
    Donna L August 26, 2013 at 9:09 pm |

    Also: there are plenty of gay male crossdressers too. I’m not referring to drag queens for whom crossdressing is a performance; I’m referring to self-identified gay men who, whether they perform in drag or not, also cross-dress offstage. Some drag queens (and gay male crossdressers) do identify as trans, and transition. Including several past contestants on the “Ru Paul’s Drag Race” TV show.

    Even the word “queen,” of course, can have more than one meaning: back in the day, the term (as in “street queen”) was frequently used to refer to trans women who lived their lives as women. Like Sylvia Rivera, for example. Which is why a lot of people misinterpret references to “the drag queens at Stonewall.”

  6. AMM
    AMM August 26, 2013 at 9:45 pm |

    [Copied from this week’s open thread]

    For reasons that are a little complicated to explain, I’ve been on an M2F crossdressing forum a lot, and as someone with feminist sensibilities, I’m finding a lot of what is posted there pretty sexist. (Par for the course for most male-dominate fora.) Things like “why don’t women dress nice? (like we CDers do)” or “how can I make my SO be delighted at my CDing” are pretty obvious.

    But I also have the feeling that the whole way most people there frame their CDing — the whole “I’m getting in touch with my inner woman” (by wearing heels, talking in a “female voice”, etc.) — is inherently sexist and maybe othering. But I can’t explain why in a convincing way, even to myself.

    One possibly related issue is that the community there — both CDing men and their SOs (to the extent they participate) is almost unanimous in believing in the gender binary and that current ideas of What Men/Women Are are unchanging laws of the universe. So any way in which a man or woman deviates from current gender norms is seen as “transgender,” that is, that they are part female, regardless of what they may say about themselves.

    It’s also hard to distinguish between the ambient sexism that’s there just because it’s guys talking to guys (even if they do use feminine screen names) and the sexism that arises from how they view their CDing.

    Has anyone had contact with conventional CDing and thought about it from a feminist perspective? Or just have some sort of feminist critique?

    1. Bagelsan
      Bagelsan August 27, 2013 at 4:25 am |

      This isn’t my question, but a question I’ve heard is “why is cross-dressing okay when blackface isn’t?” which I think is somehow racist yet also thought-provoking. Is cross-dressing/drag by cis men simply members of an oppressor group playing at being members of the oppressed group (which would merit the blackface comparison)… or is it members of various gender groups trying to break down gender barriers and norms in a healthy and subversive way?

      It’s like 2am here, so I’m not sure what my opinion on this is, but I figured it was food for thought even if it gets shot down as incorrect or inaccurate.

  7. Donna L
    Donna L August 26, 2013 at 10:12 pm |

    See above for my thoughts. Sorry I didn’t wait for you; I didn’t know when you would be back.

  8. Tehanu
    Tehanu August 27, 2013 at 7:24 am |

    Long time lurker here! I have a friend/sometime partner who identifies as trans and some years ago was involved in CD forums, which I checked out as well.

    One of the things that bothered me was how femaleness/femininity was often so very externalized and objectified. For many of the forum participants, it was all about the trappings (clothing, makeup, hair, shoes, etc.), without much or any consideration of what it actually means to be a woman … which becomes problematic if the poster is talking about “demonstrating my female side.” Fair enough, if your focus is on the actual dressing, but then it would be great to be aware that there is a titch more to being female than what you’re wearing.

    I know, too, though, that I’ve internalized some 2nd waviness around crossdressing in particular — especially around the idea that it reinforces negative stereotypes about women. There’s some of that, among some CDers, but it’s far from universal, and I need to catch myself and check why I’m reacting.

    The idea that shame about CDing is tied up in misogyny is also worth mentioning. Julia Serano has some excellent analysis around how all of us can be dismissive of traditionally feminine traits/appearance. There’s certainly tons of social pressure to de-emphasize the so-called female and emphasize the so-called male, and pressure is across the board, not just for cis straight men. But what I find difficult about some CD language is that there’s a strong undertone of reveling in the social unacceptability of appearing female, which if anything exoticizes it, and reinforces that being female is actually lesser or inferior. Heaven knows, there’s plenty of socialization around to reinforce this idea, but it would be nice to see more awareness of the dynamic.

    1. AMM
      AMM August 27, 2013 at 11:32 am |

      But what I find difficult about some CD language is that there’s a strong undertone of reveling in the social unacceptability of appearing female, which if anything exoticizes it,

      [Italics mine]

      The word “exotic” definitely describes how many CDers on that site see being female. There’s a pervasive atmosphere on that site of seeing women not as human but as some sort of alien species which is pretty creepy.

      FWIW, one women who posted used the phrase “pyjama party” to describe how the CDers were acting.

  9. pheenobarbidoll
    pheenobarbidoll August 28, 2013 at 4:21 pm |

    Does anyone have links I can hand some anti vaxxers? I am on my kindle and searching is less than ideal on this thing. Thank you in advance.

    1. amblingalong
      amblingalong August 28, 2013 at 6:03 pm |

      Really good overview of the movement in general, with scientific explanations of specific claims: http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Vaccine_denialism

      On the fraudulent roots of anti-vaxxer movement:
      http://briandeer.com/mmr/lancet-summary.htm

      On the technical side:
      http://www.jpeds.com/content/JPEDSDeStefano

    2. pheenobarbidoll
      pheenobarbidoll August 28, 2013 at 6:44 pm |

      Thanks!

  10. z
    z August 28, 2013 at 11:44 pm |

    So a comment of mine on some of the messed up things the Ada Initiative was removed completely and told to repeat it here. I’ve now lost the comment’s contents. Good job, guys.

    Here’s the link anyway, if anyone bothers to click through to the sin-bin: motherboard.vice.com/blog/did-feminists-cancel-violet-blues-sex-talk

    1. tigtog
      tigtog August 28, 2013 at 11:52 pm | *

      You are encouraged to leave a link to this comment on the original thread, z. Just don’t be stoushy about it (there).

      [eta] Your original claim was that the Ada Initiative harassed someone and got them kicked out of a conference. I don’t think either of those two claims is supported by your link regarding the cancellation of a speech by Violet Blue.

      Direct link to Violet Blue’s report of the events leading to the cancellation of her speech.
      Direct link to the Ada Initiative’s post regarding the events leading to the cancellation of Violet Blue’s speech.

      1. z
        z August 29, 2013 at 12:10 am |

        You are encouraged to leave a link to this comment on the original thread, z. Just don’t be stoushy about it (there).

        You completely edited my comment away. I would have been happy to continue discussion here if you would have left my original comment intact.

        Your original claim was that the Ada Initiative harassed someone and got them kicked out of a conference. I don’t think either of those two claims is supported by your link regarding the cancellation of a speech by Violet Blue.

        Perhaps my comment was hastily worded. Let me rephrase. Aurora, qua Ada Initiative, made a complaint that meant that a speech on harm minimization got cancelled. I would still say that making a complaint that Violet Blue was supporting rape by way of her talk is tantamount to harassment.

        Take what side of that which you will, as you pointed out, there are both sides stated there. It might have been nice to point this out in the original thread because I would hope that people are informed by an organization’s behaviour before supporting them monetarily … but I guess that won’t happen now.

        1. tigtog
          tigtog August 29, 2013 at 12:34 am | *
          You are encouraged to leave a link to this comment on the original thread, z. Just don’t be stoushy about it (there).

          You completely edited my comment away. I would have been happy to continue discussion here if you would have left my original comment intact.

          A copy of the original text of your redacted comment from the other thread was emailed to the address supplied by you in that comment. If you have chosen to not use a valid email address that actually belongs to you, then that’s not my fault.

          It might have been nice to point this out in the original thread because I would hope that people are informed by an organization’s behaviour before supporting them monetarily … but I guess that won’t happen now.

          It is very clear on the original thread that you have reservations about the Ada Initiative, and that I’ve instructed you to post specifics in #spillover. Now all you need to do is post a comment there linking to your above comment here, and people will be able to read your criticisms without derailing that thread so as to discourage other people from posting links to other projects.

        2. z
          z August 29, 2013 at 12:38 am |

          A copy of the original text of your redacted comment from the other thread was emailed to the address supplied by you in that comment. If you have chosen to not use a valid email address that actually belongs to you, then that’s not my fault.

          After you got upset at me using a fake address for privacy, I switched to a real one. No comment was emailed to me.

          people will be able to read your criticisms without derailing that thread so as to discourage other people from posting links to other projects.

          Why is criticism derailing?

        3. tigtog
          tigtog August 29, 2013 at 12:51 am | *

          z, all I know is that my email program is telling me that the email was sent to your supplied email address over 40 minutes ago.

          Why is criticism derailing?

          Because stoushes are offputting to other commentors, that’s why (and given the email address you’re now sporting, I doubt that you don’t know this).

          What I’ve asked readers to do on that thread is to post links to fundraisers for projects they support. Taking over the thread to criticise one project is going to discourage people from posting about other projects, which is the purpose of the post.

          I am not censoring criticism entirely, I am just directing traffic so that the fundraiser-boosting zone is distinct from the criticism zone.

          Further arguments from you about this decision will be deleted unread entirely (you may continue to comment on any responses to your criticisms of the Ada Initiative however). It is now your choice whether you will follow the previous directions to post a link on the OP comments thread to your comment here on #spillover or not.

        4. tigtog
          tigtog August 29, 2013 at 1:10 am | *

          After you got upset at me using a fake address for privacy

          BTW, pseudonymous webmail addresses for privacy are perfectly acceptable (even recommended!) for any commentor to use on Feministe, totally fake email addresses are automoderated as soon as they are noticed, because they are overkill for privacy and tend overwhelmingly to be associated with commentors bent on malfeasance of one sort or the other.

        5. z
          z August 29, 2013 at 12:55 am |

          OK, I’ve linked from there to here.

    2. amblingalong
      amblingalong August 29, 2013 at 1:48 am |

      FWIW, I found this:

      The Ada Initiative continues to advocate against all off-topic sexual material at technical conferences because of its tendency to disproportionately harm women attendees, regardless of how or by whom it is presented. Certain sexual topics can trigger PTSD in people who have been sexually assaulted, and can be perceived as encouragement to humiliate, objectify, and assault women, regardless of the intent of the speaker. The Ada Initiative explicitly supports discussion of sex when it is on-topic for the conference and done in a woman-positive way, and has published specific guidelines on how to achieve this.

      pretty compelling. I have no fucking clue why anyone would think it’s a good idea to go to a technical conference intended to help women in the computer security field and give a talk about date rape, BDSM, and sex in general.

      1. z
        z August 29, 2013 at 1:57 am |

        give a talk about date rape, BDSM, and sex in general.

        Blue’s talk was about harm minimization. How is harm minimization related to date rape and BDSM?

        1. tigtog
          tigtog August 29, 2013 at 2:24 am | *

          At the time the communications between Ada Initiative and BSides SF were happening, all they had to go on was the title of the talk, and the title’s inclusion of the word “exploit” raised concerns.

        2. z
          z August 29, 2013 at 2:30 am |

          At the time the communications between Ada Initiative and BSides SF were happening, all they had to go on was the title of the talk, and the title’s inclusion of the word “exploit” raised concerns.

          That’s not what http://www.securitybsides.com/w/page/35868077/BSidesSanFrancisco seems to suggest, namely that there was a discussion between Blue, Aurora, and the hosters about the content, quoting from that article: “This is total bullshit even if it somehow ends up giving an anti-rape, pro-consent message.”

        3. tigtog
          tigtog August 29, 2013 at 2:48 am | *

          Here’s a clarification post from the Ada Initiative, which says that there was no discussion between Aurora and Blue: there was discussion between Aurora and BSides, and there was discussion between Ian Fung from BSides and Blue. It appears that Ian Fung was not communicating everything said by either Aurora or Blue to the other party.

        4. z
          z August 29, 2013 at 2:56 am |

          If there was a genuine miscommunication or misunderstanding, why wasn’t this called out? I get the impression that Aurora knew exactly what she was doing and tried her best not to have the talk proceed.

          If the Ada Initiative “does not oppose harm-reduction, sex education, talking about rape, or other vital parts of promoting women’s health, safety, and rights”, why exactly was the complaint filed in the first place?

        5. tigtog
          tigtog August 29, 2013 at 8:09 am | *

          z, although Mary and Valerie are friends of mine, I’m not a spokesperson for them, nor for the Ada Initiative organisation. This all happened months ago, a bunch of people decided that they knew what went down better than the principals actually involved and told other people what they were totally sure actually happened, and a bunch of rape and death threats against Val in particular, but also Mary as co-founder, ensued. Understandably, when faced with such a deluge of attacks, they may not have felt up to responding in the way you think they should have done, given that there was no guarantee that a response such as you suggest would have made any difference to the accusations and threats from people who’d already decided to respond with intimidation.

          At this point on this thread you and I have both provided links to several statements from the people actually involved on “both sides”. Anybody who cares now knows what your objections to the Ada Initiative are based upon, and can evaluate the available data for themselves. I don’t see much point in continuing this debate from this distance. Do you?

        6. amblingalong
          amblingalong August 29, 2013 at 9:22 am |

          If the Ada Initiative “does not oppose harm-reduction, sex education, talking about rape, or other vital parts of promoting women’s health, safety, and rights”, why exactly was the complaint filed in the first place?

          Because it was a forum on COMPUTER SECURITY.

          Why should a forum that had nothing to do with drug use or sex have to host a speaker who wanted to talk about drug use and sex?

          Words fail me. Evidently.

  11. Donna L
    Donna L August 29, 2013 at 12:54 am |

    According to a slang dictionary, “stoush” is apparently Australian slang for a fight or a brawl. Is that the (figurative) sense in which you use the term, tigtog?

    1. tigtog
      tigtog August 29, 2013 at 12:56 am | *

      Yep. It’s in common use on Aussie poliblogs, and I sometimes forget that it’s obscure elsewhere.

    2. Echo Zen
      Echo Zen August 29, 2013 at 3:50 am |

      tigtog, forcing people to learn about other people’s cultures is a traitorous, unpatriotic thing to do! Where do you think you are… the Netherlands?! Next thing you know, you’ll be pushing “bilingualism” in schools under the excuse of adapting to a global economy!

      1. Donna L
        Donna L August 29, 2013 at 8:46 am |

        What? I was just asking a question, for goodness’ sake.

        1. tigtog
          tigtog August 29, 2013 at 8:48 am | *

          I believe Echo Zen is engaging in a particularly British kind of humour there, Donna.

        2. tigtog
          tigtog August 29, 2013 at 8:49 am | *

          P.S. and that it’s in now way meant as an attack on either you or me.

      2. Donna L
        Donna L August 29, 2013 at 11:27 am |

        Glad to hear it. Thanks. You British Commonwealth people and your senses of humor!

      3. Echo Zen
        Echo Zen August 29, 2013 at 4:20 pm |

        Yes, I was humouring tigtog. Donna L, can we still be friends? :-p

  12. trees
    trees August 29, 2013 at 5:45 pm |

    I posted this to the Roundup: Miley Cyrus needs to stop thread:

    This thread pisses me off. On the heels of #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen, and all the excellent articles and blog posts on offer, there is no excuse for the level of willful ignorance and complete lack of insight on display in this thread. In the past few weeks, WOC, and black women in particular, have offered numerous opportunities for learning. Pathetic.

    1. Gale
      Gale August 29, 2013 at 6:47 pm |

      As someone who was participating in that thread, I hope that I did not contribute to your anger. If I did, I apologize. If it helps (and it might not), #Solidarityisforwhitewomen is the reason that I posted at all. #Solidarityisforwhitewomen suggested that my silence is not always acceptable, particularly given some of the comments that people make. So, I am trying to read, listen, and join the conversation in a productive way. I realize that I might make mistakes, and I will try to learn from them. If that helps in any way.

      1. trees
        trees August 29, 2013 at 6:52 pm |

        No, you didn’t piss me off. I appreciate your engagement and sincere efforts. Thank you for that.

        1. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll August 29, 2013 at 7:03 pm |

          Ditto. I’m also beginning to wonder if anyone running this site is going to respond to the woc. Really shouldn’t take this long, and when I said take some time, I didn’t mean weeks later.

        2. trees
          trees August 29, 2013 at 7:09 pm |

          Ditto. I’m also beginning to wonder if anyone running this site is going to respond to the woc. Really shouldn’t take this long, and when I said take some time, I didn’t mean weeks later.

          Oh yeah, what happened with that? Maybe they have a lot of other stuff going on in their lives? I’m being charitable.

        3. Donna L
          Donna L August 29, 2013 at 7:49 pm |

          Well, there was that one WOC-only thread. You wanted more?

        4. Donna L
          Donna L August 29, 2013 at 7:50 pm |

          [PS to anyone who doesn’t know me: that was not a serious question.]

  13. trees
    trees August 29, 2013 at 7:33 pm |

    @whistlewren in the Roundup: Miley Cyrus needs to stop thread

    We all do, cos we are all in this fucking world together and if we want to advance and actually achieve real, substantive equality we have to create a culture of empathy and get used to the idea that we can think beyond our own concerns.

    Yes, human empathy. My sentiments exactly. Thank you for speaking up.

  14. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan August 29, 2013 at 8:50 pm |

    Would this thread be an appropriate place to comment that Robin Thicke is also a terrible, douchey, rapey, sexist, racist asshole? If a 20-year-old woman should be held accountable for her production of that mess (and she should), the 40-something-year-old man who helped participate in that shit needs extra heapings of derision; I hiiighly doubt that he was all “Miley, that’s disrespectful to black women!” and she steamrollered over him and forced him to take part.

    1. Bagelsan
      Bagelsan August 29, 2013 at 9:02 pm |

      (Apparently he’s actually 36yo? My point stands.)

    2. theLaplaceDemon
      theLaplaceDemon August 29, 2013 at 9:02 pm |

      Yeah. The VMA performance actually made me think of how much the way Thicke treats women in the “Blurred Lines” video reminds me of the way Miley treated her backup dancers…less overt racism, but still very much using humans as props.

      So yeah, I doubt it was poor Robin Thicke getting steamrolled by racist producers and racist Miley. I think it was racist Robin Thicke who has already shown himself to be very comfortable using people as props.

      Also, the white “couple” (for lack of a better word) surrounded by WOC backup dancers? Very much makes me think of the dynamic discussed by Tressie McMillan Cottom here (already posted in the Miley Needs to Stop thread, but it’s so good it should get linked again).

  15. moviemaedchen
    moviemaedchen August 30, 2013 at 4:43 am |

    I’m responding to amblingalong’s comments in the “Rape and Power” thread, and to the thread in general (some of my later comments in this post are directed generally, not at you, ambling). I did not want to continue an argument there that most of the others involved in that thread found derailing, but I wanted to add my $0.2 as a survivor of sexual assault and my issues with the “rape is only about sadism” framing. I can understand why focusing on word choice can seem like an attempt to derail or avoid the subject, because it happens a lot – but I think in this case people saw “critiquing word choice,” jumped to “avoiding the issue” and ran with it even when the meaning of ambling’s argument was actually in line with what they were arguing. I’m breaking this up to avoid auto-mod if I can, since it’s long.

    I do agree with your basic assertion, amblingalong, that framing rape as simply a crime of sadism leaves out the experiences of some survivors, whose stories don’t fit that narrative. Thank you for including that perspective in the discussion. I agree in general that a great deal of the motivation for rape in the aggregate* is rooted in some form of desire to control and hurt women, and that many rapists are driven by that. I also understand where the objection to seeing rape as ‘just’ sex comes from – I’ve looked at this stuff myself in trying to understand my own experience. (For instance, Yale’s use of “nonconsenual sex” instead of “rape” in its reports is pure BS attempting to minimize the crime and deserves to be roundly condemned.) But I object to the notion that sexual desire never factors into it in any case, and to the notion that “sadism” is a comprehensive enough term to cover the range of attitudes that rapists have towards the women they rape. I found the distinction between “getting of ON hurting women” and “getting off WHILE hurting women” clear and useful for my own thinking.

    *(I am talking mostly about rape as a gendered phenomenon here, given the content of the Rape and Power post and my own experience. This of course should not be taken to imply that only women get raped/only men rape, etc. In fact, I wonder how much the motivations for rape in the cases that don’t fit the male rapist/female victim pattern fit strictly into the ‘rape as sadism’ framework either, but that’s a broader discussion.)

  16. moviemaedchen
    moviemaedchen August 30, 2013 at 4:44 am |

    Certainly there are those who get off specifically on hurting women, and those whose desire for sex coupled with their lack of concern for the consent of their ‘partners’ treads onto the edges of that ground. However, the sense of entitlement underlying the latter (as well as the former) is not actually identical to a desire specifically to hurt, however much the results of both may be similar in terms of pain for survivors and however much they may overlap in some places.

    The intent of the rapist does not make anything better, does not remove the survivor’s pain, and does not justify anything he does. It’s not magic. But if (general) you have to be able to call your rapist a sadist in order to call him a rapist at all, it can make it that much harder to call what he did rape instead of “your own fault” – because sometimes women are in fact raped by people who they don’t perceive as sadists or clear power-tripping consent-ignoring assholes. And trying to force their rapist into that mental box can be difficult, if not impossible, for a whole host of reasons.

    1. trees
      trees August 30, 2013 at 8:37 pm |

      I also have experiences that don’t fit so neatly into this rape model. I’m sitting here trying to make sense of my own understanding of the issue. I’m also reluctant to talk about these experiences and I won’t even use the “r” word. I think I just took it for granted that I’d be on the margins of this issue. Thank you, and all the others here speaking on this, for carving out some space.

      1. amblingalong
        amblingalong August 30, 2013 at 9:04 pm |

        Thank you for saying this. The pushback on the original thread when I brought the issue up brought back a lot of nasty memories and self-doubt.

        1. trees
          trees August 30, 2013 at 9:16 pm |

          Thank you for doing the work. As I was reading that thread and seeing the linkage of rape with “sadism” and “misogyny”, I was trying to figure out how some of the sexual violence that is perpetuated against men (and children) fits into this model. In my head anyway, it just doesn’t seem to fit for everyone, everywhere, all the time.

        2. moviemaedchen
          moviemaedchen August 30, 2013 at 9:52 pm |

          I was trying to figure out how some of the sexual violence that is perpetuated against men (and children) fits into this model.

          Yes, this too. The model does not only leave out women whose experiences are different, it also leaves out men, children, and others.

          @ambling – I’m sorry the original thread pulled up the doubt and hurt for you and I am really glad you spoke up to make space in the conversation.

  17. moviemaedchen
    moviemaedchen August 30, 2013 at 4:44 am |

    This debate over words is not mere semantic pedantry; among the things that still sometimes make it difficult for me to label my own experience ‘rape’ instead of ‘assault’ is the fact that my rapist was not acting out of any apparent sadistic impulse or desire to hurt that I can find – and I have gone over and over my memories of the event, full of anger and pain and at times hatred for him. I can find a degree of entitlement, yes – a feeling of entitlement to sex. Not so much a sense of entitlement to hurt me, or even to have sex at the moment he wanted regardless of my desire.

    Rather, he felt entitled to have someone there he could fuck whenever she said yes, to having the option of sex with a reasonably willing partner. He did respect my ‘no, enough’ when I finally managed to utter it. But it never occurred to him that I might be looking to be more than a fuckbuddy, to even ask what I thought or felt about the direction any continuing sexual relationship might go. Instead, it was “we can do this again, right?” tossed off casually, so fully expecting an answer of “yes” that he didn’t even have to listen to my answer, or inquire how I was doing after having stopped sex. He wanted sex, and was driven by sexual desire combined with a general sense that he should get what he wants, if he isn’t outright hurting people for it. I don’t think he even understands that he hurt me, much less how. I struggle to make it all make sense to myself, even three years later – I only know that I cannot deny how I felt afterward.

    1. PrettyAmiable
      PrettyAmiable August 30, 2013 at 11:11 am |

      I’ve been a little AWOL this past week, but I wholeheartedly agree with you. There’s something about the use of “sadism” that suggests the concept of raping was preemptively thought through on behalf of the rapist; that the person acknowledged this is something that’s going to hurt zir victim. The guy that assaulted me was hammered and managed to convince himself that I wanted it. It wasn’t premeditated; it was dumbass wish fulfillment. Entitled, sure. But sadistic doesn’t seem to accurately describe my experience, unless we’re drastically redefining “sadism.” Words mean things.

      It looks like the use of the word was also super triggering to some commenters, which kind of pisses me off. Not that they were triggered, of course, but that people wouldn’t examine their dismissiveness in light of the reactions they got kind of sucks.

      1. moviemaedchen
        moviemaedchen August 30, 2013 at 11:48 am |

        Yes, the premeditated thing also seems implied to me – or at least some awareness at the moment of the rape that the rapist is hurting someone. That the intent has to have been in some way to hurt, or at least to deliberately ignore the question. Whereas the guy who raped me clearly did not wish to hurt me, and did not know at the moment he did so that I might be hurting – I had been fine shortly before, and responsive, and the transition into the emotional place of “this is NOT OK!” was so fast and so unexpected that it made it impossible for me to signal the change.

        But I don’t see why the fact that he reasonably could have thought I was still with him up to point XYZ means that my pain and sense of violation are invalid, which is what the framing of sadism and power signals to me, regardless of the intent behind using those words.

        And yes on entitlement – for all that these things have degrees of overlap, they aren’t *the same*. Words mean things – exactly. And if participating in a discussion of rape means that survivors have to redefine their basic vocabulary in ways that make it difficult to understand their own experiences, I think that goes beyond splitting hairs or whatever.

        As to triggering: word. I think it triggered me (the tl;dr posting tends to be a reaction to that for me). Thanks for replying and pointing that out.

  18. moviemaedchen
    moviemaedchen August 30, 2013 at 4:45 am |

    And I know also that when I hear the words “rape is about power, not sex,” “rape is about sadism”… however powerful these have been for others, I know that they do not reflect my understanding of what happened to me. They erase my rapist, and make it seem impossible for me to slot him into that space even in my own mind. I have to revert to clumsy, agency-denying, and roundabout constructions like “I was raped by the patriarchy through him” just in order to explain how on earth I could have felt so hurt, used, and ashamed after what happened. Attempting to describe to others what happened to me, moment by moment, and then to call him a rapist, my rapist, when that is the context for how we understand all rape? Utterly impossible.

    I can’t point to anything he did or said that indicated a desire to hurt me, a sense of him getting off on hurting me – indeed, he tried at one point to give me pleasure! I wasn’t enjoying it, but I was unable to communicate that coherently at first. When I did manage to say so he stopped – hardly the behavior of a sadist, or even someone completely full of a sense of entitlement to sex right then and there. His most entitled moments came after the sex (the assault, the rape), not during it. There’s misogyny beneath some of how he treated me, undoubtedly. But a lot of that misogyny shows itself in his attitude after, not particularly in his actions during what must have seemed like the reasonably consensual sex bit of the evening. He didn’t get off on hurting me, he got off while hurting me, without perhaps even fully realizing that he was hurting me. But I was hurt all the same.

    And a huge part of not being able for a long time to explain that hurt, to myself and to others, was the lack of a sense that he hurt me deliberately, or even just didn’t care. My story absolutely wouldn’t hold up in court as the basis for an accusation, given our current legal system in the US – unsurprising. But when I hear the “rape is only about power and sadism” notion spread about as supposedly defining all rapes, I also fear that my story wouldn’t be believed even by feminists and anti-rape advocates. I fear hearing all the nasty tropes about ‘just bad sex’ and ‘not rape-rape’ from the mouths of those who claim they’ll stand by me. My story doesn’t fit their model. It doesn’t fit your model if your model only has room for rape as sadism and power-tripping. (And please, I ask that no-one tries to interpret my experience of his actions back at me in an attempt to fit them to into this model. My experience is mine.)

  19. moviemaedchen
    moviemaedchen August 30, 2013 at 4:46 am |

    Part of me thinks I should delete this whole thing, or else lay out every single bit of what happened to me with maximum explanation and justification for why I acted as I did, why I felt as I did. Why I should be allowed to claim my own pain when ‘obviously’ he ‘didn’t mean to rape you’ (yes, I’ve had that said to my face, by a well-meaning person no less), and I’d said yes earlier, and all of that shit.

    Yes, a large number of rapes are undoubtedly driven by sadism and desire for control – I don’t in the least dispute that. And the experiences of those who are survivors of those rapists are, of course, as completely valid as mine and I believe them without question. I simply have had a different experience. I understand what tinfoil hattie is getting at in combining “power trip,” “sadism, and “control” with a sense of entitlement, but when I try to make all of those line up with the particular sort of entitlement my rapist displayed towards me and the fact that sex was clearly at the heart of things for him, I can’t make them fit neatly enough for “sadism” or even just “power” to stop feeling like it excludes me more than it includes me.

    I’m NOT arguing that terms and concepts such as power, sadism, control and the like should not be used in discussing rape. I’m simply asking for room in addition to those words and ideas – perhaps for a broader and more flexible understanding of “entitlement” (the word that fits my experience the best, but not perfectly) that includes but reaches beyond those concepts.

    Because if I don’t have that room, I go back into the mental box of knives called “trying to justify my pain” and “was I really raped/assulted/whatever I am allowed to call it” and “you’re just making shit up to feel special” and all of that other fucking victim-blaming, dehumanizing shit.

    1. moviemaedchen
      moviemaedchen August 30, 2013 at 4:47 am |

      I’d rather not go back in there, if you please. So for those who feel that objecting to the words we use to frame things is just pedantry: what about my experience? If I can’t make it fit into your words, does it not exist? Does my pain not matter to you enough to let me have the words I need to describe it? Is your model that fucking important to you that it doesn’t matter who it pushes out of the room? Am I somehow “doing everything to avoid talking about rape” when demanding the right to choose which words I use to talk about my own rape? Or is it only when other people like amblingalong attempt to make a space for me and people like me in the conversation when we aren’t there or don’t feel able to speak up that it’s “avoiding talking about rape?”

      Look, I don’t have a problem with the original article – it’s powerful and says things that need to be said and I agree with 99.9% of it. I have a problem with the comment threads that imply that only the explicit power-sadism model is valid, and that attempting to point out the flaws in this model is just being “pedantic.” Because by that logic attempting to define my own experience as rape is just pedantry. Fuck that.

      tl;dr: Calling any attempt to argue that “sadism” is too limiting a framework for understanding rape “just pedantry” is telling me that defining my own rape in the only way I can to honor my own pain is “just pedantry.” Which is BS.

      1. Willemina
        Willemina August 30, 2013 at 8:19 am |

        If anyone jumps to the tldr on this they need to readjust their heads. I got where both sides were coming from at first in the comment thread but at some point the “erasure bad” message got buried under the pile on.

        Considering the long discussions I’ve seen in other threads about casual generalization and universalizing behavior and motivation by bloggers here I kinda hoped for a little more nuanced approach to this one.

        1. moviemaedchen
          moviemaedchen August 30, 2013 at 11:54 am |

          Yes, thank you. It’s not that I don’t get where they were coming from originally, it’s that they completely ignored the fact that by pushing a “discussion of this is completely derailing!” message even after clear explanations of the problem with that was erasing survivors. It was disheartening to see a refusal to consider the problems with universal generalizing there when it’s been called out and discussed so well in other threads here.

      2. Jen in Ohio
        Jen in Ohio August 30, 2013 at 11:50 am |

        I imagine that these posts were incredibly difficult to compose and I thank you for doing it. Raising these issues in any space, womanist/feminist or otherwise, can be scary and re-traumatizing.

        In the past, when I’ve tried to discuss my experience of a high school boyfriend raping me, I’ve generally been left more upset by the way other people attempted to co-opt, erase, deny and/or redefine my experience than I was by talking about the rape itself. I mean, I was there, I know what happened, I knew the guy. But people are weirdly compulsive about trying to make other people’s experiences line up with their own subject position, and as the years turned into decades, I mostly just stopped bringing it up because it’s often easier to deal with it alone. (It shouldn’t be, but it is.)

        This reminds me quite a bit of the conversations about gender theory whenever it comes to trans and genderqueer identities. Everyone has a gender theory that they seem to ground in their own subjective experience of gender, and then they project that shit outwards universally, like everyone else’s experiences must be identical, or at least extremely similar, to their own. It’s some harmful, hurtful bullshit in that territory, too.

        1. moviemaedchen
          moviemaedchen August 30, 2013 at 11:57 am |

          I hear you – thank you for your response. And I get what you mean about the co-opting and denying feeling worse than discussing the actual rape. It’s similar for me. At this point I’m not triggered by discussions of rape, but I get in a bad place when suddenly I’m not allowed to have and know my own experience of the rape. I think you touched on something really key there.

          Also word regarding the dynamic about gender. Word word word.

        2. moviemaedchen
          moviemaedchen August 30, 2013 at 12:00 pm |

          Also, what you say about it being easier to deal with alone and the scariness of bringing this stuff up in even feminist spaces – I find in a way that that can add a sad twist to the feelings about it too. Do you?

          And thank you, Jen and PrettyAmiable above, for bringing your own experiences up here even if it may be scary to do. It helps to hear that you aren’t alone in things.

        3. Jen in Ohio
          Jen in Ohio August 30, 2013 at 12:52 pm |

          I get in a bad place when suddenly I’m not allowed to have and know my own experience

          Yeah me too; so much so that “get in a bad place” is a pretty polite understatement for my reaction to that. I tend to fight or flight in response to other people trying to redefine my interpretation of my own experiences, even when neither fighting nor hauling ass is necessarily healthy from my untriggered pov.

          None of which is to say that I’m not open to hearing other people’s perspectives about related issues, it’s just that, for example, a trusted friend who knows my business offering me the challenge of a different perspective is not the same behavior as some stranger with know-it-all-itis trying to tell me what this guy who they never even met was REALLY all about.

          Also, what you say about it being easier to deal with alone and the scariness of bringing this stuff up in even feminist spaces – I find in a way that that can add a sad twist to the feelings about it too. Do you?

          It probably does, but I tend to convert pain into anger really fast so I generally get all fist-shaky and start hollering about assholes ruining all of the things. Which, because I basically look like a middle-aged Strawberry Shortcake (Strawberry Oldcake?) is probably at least amusing for other people to watch.

        4. moviemaedchen
          moviemaedchen August 30, 2013 at 3:26 pm |

          None of which is to say that I’m not open to hearing other people’s perspectives about related issues, it’s just that, for example, a trusted friend who knows my business offering me the challenge of a different perspective is not the same behavior as some stranger with know-it-all-itis trying to tell me what this guy who they never even met was REALLY all about.

          THIS.

          And yes, the pain-into-anger thing. I hear you there. The sadness comes later for me. I’m sorry this crap can be so triggering for you. (Virtual hugs are on offer if wanted, or whatever comfort gesture you prefer.)

          “Strawberry Oldcake.” That made me smile. I loved Strawberry Shortcake as a kid.

    2. afb1221
      afb1221 August 30, 2013 at 4:45 pm |

      Thank you for saying this

  20. theLaplaceDemon
    theLaplaceDemon August 30, 2013 at 8:16 am |

    TW for rape and discussion of the Rape & Power thread.

    THANK YOU moviemaedchen, and THANK YOU amblingalong in the other thread. Thankyouthankyouthankyou.

    I didn’t feel like I could participate in the other thread because it was triggering as fuck. But thankyouthankyouthankyou both for standing up for that perspective.

    Saying “not all rape is about sadism and power” doesn’t mean that there is “the bad kind” and “the other kind,” it doesn’t absolve the rapist of their crime, and I don’t think anyone in the other thread was saying it did.

    When you say all rape is about power and sadism, you are telling some survivors that they either need to twist their experiences to fit your narrative or stop calling what happened to them “rape.”

    It is possible for the same horrific action to have a wide range of motivations. And, as many rightly pointed out, intent doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if it was a sadistic power trip or not, it is the act of rape that makes it rape, not the motivation. It is the action that makes it horrific, not the motivation. If someone’s motivation was good, or neutral – if they honestly thought they were not doing anything bad to anyone – is is still rape. Forcing “sadism and power” into the definition is what gives you “rape and rape-rape” not acknowledging that rapists can have different motivations but it’s still rape.

    1. moviemaedchen
      moviemaedchen August 30, 2013 at 12:16 pm |

      It is possible for the same horrific action to have a wide range of motivations. And, as many rightly pointed out, intent doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if it was a sadistic power trip or not, it is the act of rape that makes it rape, not the motivation. It is the action that makes it horrific, not the motivation. If someone’s motivation was good, or neutral – if they honestly thought they were not doing anything bad to anyone – is is still rape. Forcing “sadism and power” into the definition is what gives you “rape and rape-rape” not acknowledging that rapists can have different motivations but it’s still rape.

      THIS. Thank you Laplace. It definitely is not about excusing rapists, it’s about being able to call what happened rape in the first place.

      This reminded me of a thread a while ago, I think about a Dear Prudie column, in which a woman had had sex with her boyfriend thinking he was awake and consenting when he was actually ‘sleepwalking’ when he initiated sex. There was a whole discussion of how it could still be rape even if she thought he was consenting and had no sense of entitlement or desire to hurt him – because her intent was irrelevant to his experience of it as rape. The sadism/power narrative would shut him out as well – either intent matters to rape being rape or it doesn’t, and I don’t think we want to go down the road of arguing that intent seriously matters.

      It also, I’m just seeing, slots into the tendency to portray rapists, like other kinds of abusers, as monstrous instead of human. By which I don’t mean “aww the rapists fee-fees might get hurt if you call him a rapist! He’s HUMAN and DIDN’T MEAN to and you have to FORGIVE him!”- I mean that turning whole categories of people into monsters supposedly motivated solely by a desire to hurt makes it more difficult to actually understand why shit like rape happens in all of the circumstances that it does and how to stop it in all those circumstances, as well as encouraging a dynamic where people will do backbends to avoid calling someone a rapist because that’s only what monsters do. I could write a lot about that but I don’t have the time to do a long comment at the moment, so later.

      1. PrettyAmiable
        PrettyAmiable August 30, 2013 at 12:57 pm |

        This reminded me of a thread a while ago, I think about a Dear Prudie column, in which a woman had had sex with her boyfriend thinking he was awake and consenting when he was actually ‘sleepwalking’ when he initiated sex.

        I thought of the exact same thread, actually. And part of the reason I’m frustrated by what the use of “sadism” implies is that yeah, it does erase him as a victim – and if I recall correctly, that’s what several commenters did in that thread, i.e. erase him as a victim. What bothered me about that thread was the willingness of most people not to call her a rapist because her heart was in the right place and she didn’t have the right signals, despite the fact that you had a rape, and rapist literally means someone who commits rape. Erasing. Lots of erasing.

        So yeah – back to the point about how words matter.

        Thank you for speaking up – your perspective matters.

        1. moviemaedchen
          moviemaedchen August 30, 2013 at 4:55 pm |

          Yeah, that thread was kind of a shit show there.

          Now, if the guy in question had been there and framed his experience as raped but GF not a rapist, I’d be down with that because that’d be his understanding of his experience – hell, at times it comes close to things I’ve felt about my experience. I want to preserve the ability for victims to put their experiences in their own terms however that happens. But a lot of random people on the internet making that judgment call for him is different, and erasure-prone.

          Thanks for going over this stuff with me. I’m glad to be hearing from so many on this front.

    2. afb1221
      afb1221 August 30, 2013 at 4:47 pm |

      Thanks to you too

    3. Petra Lorre
      Petra Lorre August 31, 2013 at 3:07 pm |

      Thank you, all of you who’ve commented on this.

    4. Radiant Sophia
      Radiant Sophia September 2, 2013 at 3:16 pm |

      I can’t tell you how I love that my experiences don’t fit the narrative, and thus don’t count as rape. I’m especially enamored of how any attempt to talk about it is “derailing the conversation”. What is even better is being attacked by other feminists over suggesting that rape can happen without fitting that strict definition.

      I get the message “shut up and take one for the team”. No thanks, you have never done anything for me.

  21. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable September 6, 2013 at 1:02 pm |

    Isn’t it funny that people only seem to argue that something isn’t really terrorism when the terrorist group in action is predominantly white?

    1. EG
      EG September 6, 2013 at 1:06 pm |

      Yep! Pretty much.

      1. macavitykitsune
        macavitykitsune September 6, 2013 at 1:07 pm |

        It’s downright hilarious.

    2. Lolagirl
      Lolagirl September 6, 2013 at 1:15 pm |

      See also, violent religious zealotry in the name of Jesus can never count as terrorism.

      1. ambling
        ambling September 6, 2013 at 1:27 pm |

        Yup, I sure love Jesus and white people.

        1. ambling
          ambling September 6, 2013 at 1:29 pm |

          (and frankly, setting everything else aside, as someone who was routinely threatened with physical violence for being an atheist growing up, a huge fuck you for suggesting I’m secretly motivated by being in the pro-Jesus camp. I’m not even touching the racism).

        2. PrettyAmiable
          PrettyAmiable September 6, 2013 at 2:22 pm |

          ..If it’s not about you don’t make it about you? … Pretty sure it’s not about you.

      2. Lolagirl
        Lolagirl September 6, 2013 at 2:23 pm |

        Umm, we weren’t even talking about you with this side tangent, Ambling, butt out. You really are intent upon making everything all about you and playing the woe is me card, aren’t you?

        Because in the mind of your average, white bread American, terrorism IS something only perpetrated by brown people/Muslims. But never, ever by white, Jesus loving Americans.

        Fuck you right back.

        1. ambling
          ambling September 6, 2013 at 2:34 pm |

          Since I was the only one taking the not-terrorism side, that’s pretty fucking disingenuous.

        2. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl September 6, 2013 at 2:45 pm |

          Disingenuous, no. Remarking upon a greater cultural narrative is not being disingenuous. And again, it wasn’t about you.

          Good grief, you are seriously wandering into bullying territory with your fuck you this and disingenuous that. Making yourself out as the star of every conversation, even when it isn’t about you is what is disingenuous.

          What, do I need to break out the Merriam Webster on you again? Oh, wait, words only have meaning when you say they do. Silly me, I keep forgetting…

    3. ambling
      ambling September 6, 2013 at 1:23 pm |

      Yep, that’s me, a regular ‘ol white supremacist.

      1. PrettyAmiable
        PrettyAmiable September 6, 2013 at 2:27 pm |

        You’re right – the only people who have ever internalized racism are totally klan members.

        Third straw argument is straw. Shit, dude.

  22. Lolagirl
    Lolagirl September 6, 2013 at 1:04 pm |

    Bringing the pedantry over from this thread:

    http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2013/09/06/the-feminist-anti-contraception-crusaders/

    So Ambling is apparently dead set on arguing the unhindered free speech rights of anti-choices to appropriate terms like Holocaust and genocide. But Jill should be chastened for calling these anti-choices terrorists, because the unfettered, unhindered right of free speech does not apparently extend to Jill (or others who agree with her) calling this as they see it. Oh, and who is or isn’t being reprehensible in their words and/or deeds.

    Discuss!

    1. EG
      EG September 6, 2013 at 1:08 pm |

      I would also point out that I would indeed categorize Ariel Castro as a terrorist, because rape and sexual violence are crimes that are used to terrorize women; they are used to try to keep us all in our “place” and control our behavior. They work as “warnings” to women about what might happen to us if we get out of hand.

      1. Lolagirl
        Lolagirl September 6, 2013 at 1:10 pm |

        But, EG, what we ladies see to be missing is that when our lady parts are at issue, there is no terrorism (or PTSD either, apparently, anyone remember that birth trauma thread debacle?)

      2. PrettyAmiable
        PrettyAmiable September 6, 2013 at 1:16 pm |

        I actually don’t know if I agree, but only because he tried to keep his crimes hidden. I’d argue that legitimate terrorism has an intended effect on the greater population. (Intent, in my opinion, actually is magic in terms of whether you get the T-card).

        1. EG
          EG September 6, 2013 at 1:20 pm |

          I’m not sure if I agree (genuinely not sure). I mean, if the effect is terroristic…does it matter?

        2. EG
          EG September 6, 2013 at 1:23 pm |

          What I’m saying is, before we knew specifically about Castro and what he did, the people in that community did know that three young women had disappeared.

        3. PrettyAmiable
          PrettyAmiable September 6, 2013 at 2:50 pm |

          I’m not sure – people disappear all the time (unfortunately), but it doesn’t interrupt my daily functioning, and I don’t know if it does to anyone else. I dunno, open to discussion. I think people who habitually bomb clinics and threaten doctors are straightforwardly terrorists, regardless.

        4. Bagelsan
          Bagelsan September 6, 2013 at 3:01 pm |

          I think I agree with PrettyAmiable on Castro; his actions were relatively private and directed only to his victims, instead of trying to make a point to a wider audience. He didn’t kidnap and abuse those women to teach all teenage girls a lesson or anything, he did it for thrills, so he strikes me as more the serial rapist/killer type who gets off on pain, rather than the terrorist who gets off on (violently) pretending to have the moral high ground.

        5. EG
          EG September 6, 2013 at 3:02 pm |

          Agreed on that last one.

          Let me put it this way: if I knew that women were disappearing specifically in my community, it would definitely have an appreciable effect on me. And the fact that women in general are in particular danger of being abducted and sexually assaulted is definitely assimilated into the context of my life.

        6. Bagelsan
          Bagelsan September 6, 2013 at 3:43 pm |

          Oh sure! If you want to make a more sweeping point about all male predators acting as terrorists against womankind, and trying to keep us in a state of fear and “good” behavior, you’ll get no argument from me. I’m totally on-board with calling terrorism a common tool of the patriarchy, for example. :)

      3. ambling
        ambling September 6, 2013 at 1:26 pm |

        I would also point out that I would indeed categorize Ariel Castro as a terrorist, because rape and sexual violence are crimes that are used to terrorize women; they are used to try to keep us all in our “place” and control our behavior. They work as “warnings” to women about what might happen to us if we get out of hand.

        Ok, so this goes to my original post, which is that you’re using terrorist in a way so divorced from any other common meaning that you’re rendering the word meaningless and, therefore, useless.

        1. ambling
          ambling September 6, 2013 at 1:33 pm |

          Also, my point with the Ariel Castro thing was that it’s fucking stupid to claim that saying “X is not terrorism” is the same thing as defending X as morally upright, which Lolagirl argued.

        2. EG
          EG September 6, 2013 at 3:07 pm |

          I understand your original point. I’m taking issue with the example you used to make it.

          Nor I do I think that my meaning is so divorced from common meaning. Further, it’s a bit rich of you to now be claiming “common meaning” when in the other thread you were hewing to a legal standard.

      4. Lolagirl
        Lolagirl September 6, 2013 at 1:29 pm |

        Well here’s what Merriam Webster has to say on the subject:

        Terrorism: the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion
        — ter·ror·ist adjective or noun
        — ter·ror·is·tic adjective

        Terror, in turn is defined as follows:
        1
        : a state of intense fear
        2
        a : one that inspires fear : scourge
        b : a frightening aspect
        c : a cause of anxiety : worry
        d : an appalling person or thing; especially : brat

        This seems to all boil down to a USian inclination to limit the use of words like terrorism to atrocities committed primarily by men against other men for political or ideological reasons to gain some sense of having the upper hand. And from a geopolitical standpoint I can sort of see the point. But when one holds on to such a man-centric definition of terrorism, a whole lot of bad stuff gets swept aside in the process.

        1. Donna L
          Donna L September 6, 2013 at 1:35 pm |

          a USian inclination to limit the use of words like terrorism to atrocities committed primarily by men against other men

          I don’t see that at all: I think the inclination is to define terrorism as the act of deliberately killing civilians to cause fear in the general population. The civilians killed are as likely to be women — and children — as they are men. The people killed on 9/11 weren’t primarily men. The same is true for every other major occurrence of that nature, whether in London, in Bali, or in Mumbai.

        2. ambling
          ambling September 6, 2013 at 1:37 pm |

          But when one holds on to such a man-centric definition of terrorism, a whole lot of bad stuff gets swept aside in the process.

          Ok, I really don’t know how many other ways to say this, so this will be my last attempt.

          Saying something isn’t terrorism does NOT mean saying it isn’t bad. Saying something isn’t terrorism does NOT mean saying it is good. Saying something isn’t terrorism does NOT mean you approve of that thing.

        3. Drahill
          Drahill September 6, 2013 at 1:48 pm |

          Lola, you are correct with your definition. However, the problem I see is that it’s simply too broad to be applicable in any reasonable way (that is, workable in society). If we use the dictionary defintion solely, then a large swatch of crimes become terrorism. A robbery in which the perp brandishes a weapon to induce you to hand over money is a terrorist. An abusive partner who threatens and beats his partner to induce her cooperation is a terrorist. Now, I think you can take this view personally (and I would). However, I would probably term it “psychological terrorism.”

          I think the initial converstion was interesting because Jill affirmed that she in reality WAS using the word “terrorism” in the conventional, legal sense. And that is interesting, because it raises some issues. But I didn’t think that the straight dictionary usage was even entering into it. I may be wrong there.

        4. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl September 6, 2013 at 1:55 pm |

          I’m afraid I’m just not so inclined to be charitable towards Ambling in light of past participation (am I recalling incorrectly that Ambling identifies as a he?) here at Feministe. Because what I see is a pattern of downplaying bad stuff happening to pregnant women by Ambling in various discussions. Now, maybe if it’s bad stuff happening to pregnant women in war torn regions elsewhere, maybe that would be sufficiently awful for Ambling to focus their attentions.

          It seems to be a bizarre tunnel vision at play, and to say I find it quite unsettling is being terribly polite.

        5. ambling
          ambling September 6, 2013 at 2:16 pm |

          Because what I see is a pattern of downplaying bad stuff happening to pregnant women by Ambling in various discussions.

          Example? Seriously, this isn’t flippant.

        6. ambling
          ambling September 6, 2013 at 2:39 pm |

          I’m safe in assuming you just made that up in the hopes it would stick, aren’t I.

        7. EG
          EG September 6, 2013 at 3:10 pm |

          I think conflating “conventional” and “legal” in this case is a real mistake. You know the verb “terrorize”? What noun would you use for “one who terrorizes”? “Terrorizer”? Or can we agree that legal definitions are not linguistic be-alls and end-alls?

        8. amblingalong
          amblingalong September 6, 2013 at 11:40 pm |

          Because what I see is a pattern of downplaying bad stuff happening to pregnant women by Ambling in various discussions.

          Still waiting.

    2. Lolagirl
      Lolagirl September 6, 2013 at 1:12 pm |

      Sorry, sorry, I meant who is being repugnant, not reprehensible, in their words/deeds. Whoops, apparently my lady brain just can’t keep up with all this controversy.

      1. ambling
        ambling September 6, 2013 at 1:27 pm |

        Sorry, sorry, I meant who is being repugnant, not reprehensible, in their words/deeds.

        Those aren’t approximate synonyms?

        1. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl September 6, 2013 at 2:06 pm |

          Oh, here we go again with the obfuscation!

          What is it with the selective pedantry? Really, I want to know, minus the head pats, smoke blowing, and skirting the point. Because I don’t buy your I’m not going to yeah that and go along with the herd business you mention wherever else in this thread.

          You are still clearly choosing to prioritize your pedantry to one thing, without caring a whit as to how it impacts the bigger picture dialogue at hand.

        2. ambling
          ambling September 6, 2013 at 2:17 pm |

          What is it with the selective pedantry? Really, I want to know, minus the head pats, smoke blowing, and skirting the point. Because I don’t buy your I’m not going to yeah that and go along with the herd business you mention wherever else in this thread.

          I think calling things terrorism has tremendous power in the current USian political discourse, and challenging the way we apply that label is not pedantry. I think it actually matters.

        3. Drahill
          Drahill September 6, 2013 at 2:27 pm |

          Ambling, I think you are totally correct in calling for the “terrorism” label to be examined critcally. However, I think that makes the most sense when it’s a powerful entity, like the government or a powerful corporation, calling for the labeling. No offense to Jill in the least, but I doubt Jill has the power to create or modify government policy. It’s one woman using the word “terrorism” on her personal blog. All of us have groups and movements we abhor and think are terrible. Clearly, this is one for Jill, and she has the freedom to use that word (even if it’s not the word I’d use). If Jill were in a position of influence in government or some other policy-making position, I’d agree with you whole-heartedly. But I think this might be overestimating the actual impact of the word in this context.

    3. ambling
      ambling September 6, 2013 at 1:25 pm |

      So Ambling is apparently dead set on arguing the unhindered free speech rights of anti-choices to appropriate terms like Holocaust and genocide.

      Yes.

      But Jill should be chastened for calling these anti-choices terrorists, because the unfettered, unhindered right of free speech does not apparently extend to Jill (or others who agree with her) calling this as they see it.

      Free speech doesn’t equal freedom from criticism. I think Jill is right to criticize those protesters. I don’t think she’s right to call them terrorists.

      These are not difficult concepts.

      1. Donna L
        Donna L September 6, 2013 at 1:30 pm |

        But it’s disturbing to me (to put it charitably) that Jill’s word choice was the only thing about the OP that you found worthy of comment. Which certainly gives people the impression that it was the only thing that bothered you. More so than, say, criticizing the word choice of those who appropriate terms like Holocaust for abortion.

        Also, I defy you to find anything in Jill’s post that suggested that she was arguing that anyone should be prosecuted for using the terminology they did. Calling them “terrorists” is hardly the same thing as arguing that what they did in that particular protest was illegal. There is zero conflict between what Jill said and the First Amendment.

        1. Donna L
          Donna L September 6, 2013 at 1:37 pm |

          This sentence:

          More so than, say, criticizing the word choice of those who appropriate terms like Holocaust for abortion.

          Should have been:

          More so than, say, the word choice of those who appropriate terms like Holocaust for abortion.

        2. EG
          EG September 6, 2013 at 1:41 pm |

          I would go so far, though, as to note that their tactics are utterly about intimidation (see Gillian’s comment), and thus should be illegal, with no first-amendment conflicts at all.

        3. ambling
          ambling September 6, 2013 at 1:44 pm |

          But it’s disturbing to me (to put it charitably) that Jill’s word choice was the only thing about the OP that you found worthy of comment. Which certainly gives people the impression that it was the only thing that bothered you. More so than, say, criticizing the word choice of those who appropriate terms like Holocaust for abortion.

          I actually really hate this logic as applied to blogs (and it’s not just your post here, I see this all the time on Feministe). I really just don’t feel any need to say “anti-choice is bad” or “homophobia is bad” or “violence is bad” every time there’s a post about anti-choicers or homophobia or violence. I pretty much know that everyone else in the comments will agree with me that the Holocaust/abortion thing is awful on multiple levels, and I don’t have anything unique to add to that conversation.

          Maybe that makes me ill-suited to this particular blog. But I just can’t muster the energy to do a rote “I’m pro-choice, and anti-choicers suck. Discuss” every time Jill writes something about choice.

          Also, I defy you to find anything in Jill’s post that suggested that she was arguing that anyone should be prosecuted for using the terminology they did.

          I never accused her of doing so.

          Calling them “terrorists” is hardly the same thing as arguing that what they did in that particular protest was illegal. There is zero conflict between what Jill said and the First Amendment.

          I agree, in the narrow sense of her post. I also think there’s a post 9/11 trend in the US to apply the label ‘terrorist’ to anything we find disagreeable (witness Lolagirl’s insistence that saying someone isn’t a terrorist is the same as defending their actions), and that’s a trend I find profoundly disturbing from multiple perspectives.

        4. Donna L
          Donna L September 6, 2013 at 1:45 pm |

          Absolutely, when it goes beyond “pure speech” to the point of targeting and harassing people who go to clinics. That should definitely be — and, I suspect, already is — illegal. Picketing a museum, no. As homicidal as it might make me feel to have to walk past people like that if I were visiting a Holocaust museum.

        5. Donna L
          Donna L September 6, 2013 at 1:51 pm |

          I actually really hate this logic as applied to blogs (and it’s not just your post here, I see this all the time on Feministe).

          I just can’t muster the energy to do a rote “I’m pro-choice, and anti-choicers suck.

          But can you at least understand that your failure even to note your position on the primary topic of a post comes across as disagreeing with the writer’s position, and/or as not caring about the topic at all? Is everyone just suppose to take for granted, when you launch into an essentially off-topic discussion criticizing the writer’s usage of specific words, that you actually agree with the OP?

        6. Drahill
          Drahill September 6, 2013 at 1:53 pm |

          Donna, I think it got interesting because Jill affirmed in the initial comments (a comment to me) that she did use the word in the legal sense (that is, the definition provided in 18 USC 2331). That suggests that there is an argument that the particular protest here is actually falling within the purview of 18 USC 2331. Now that is a fascinating argument, and one well-worth having, to me (although that thread was not the place for it).

        7. EG
          EG September 6, 2013 at 3:13 pm |

          But I just can’t muster the energy to do a rote “I’m pro-choice, and anti-choicers suck. Discuss”

          Oh, is life so hard that you just can’t be bothered to make a good-faith gesture?

        8. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune September 6, 2013 at 3:17 pm |

          I just can’t muster the energy to do a rote “I’m pro-choice, and anti-choicers suck

          And neither did I. So I didn’t. Mind you, I also didn’t make a derailing post and then argue, argue, argue and derail the post entirely. So, you know, there’s that.

        9. shfree
          shfree September 6, 2013 at 3:46 pm |

          I agree, in the narrow sense of her post. I also think there’s a post 9/11 trend in the US to apply the label ‘terrorist’ to anything we find disagreeable (witness Lolagirl’s insistence that saying someone isn’t a terrorist is the same as defending their actions), and that’s a trend I find profoundly disturbing from multiple perspectives.

          WRT to anti-choice tactics, we have been calling their actions terrorism since the FIRST FUCKING BOMBING. So don’t give me that post 9/11 bullshit, it started before fucking Operation Rescue. They just brought it to a higher scale.

          So yeah, it’s probably for the best that you aren’t going to engage on this front anymore. Because they ARE terrorists, and you aren’t believing women. Again.

      2. Lolagirl
        Lolagirl September 6, 2013 at 1:42 pm |

        How about you spare me your sarcastic head pats?

        You are still not explaining why it is so important to defend the rights of people to twist and appropriate the words genocide and Holocaust, all while getting your knickers in a twist about Jill using the word terrorism. Because that is massively hypocritical.

        1. ambling
          ambling September 6, 2013 at 1:50 pm |

          You are still not explaining why it is so important to defend the rights of people to twist and appropriate the words genocide and Holocaust,.

          You heard it here, folks. Saying someone isn’t a terrorist is defending them. Yup.

        2. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl September 6, 2013 at 2:02 pm |

          Wow, talk about a basic failure at reading comprehension!

          Or is it simple obfuscation?

          Your insistence upon trying to imply that I am stupid is not going to make me go away or drop the argument.

        3. ambling
          ambling September 6, 2013 at 2:14 pm |

          You keep accusing me of defending anti-choicers, because I simply said I don’t think they’re terrorists. I’m trying to point out that I actively despise anti-choicers, I just don’t think they’re terrorists.

          I honestly don’t get how you’re still missing this point.

        4. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl September 6, 2013 at 2:32 pm |

          I’m missing the point? No, I’m not missing the point. You are refusing to answer the very question of mine that you quoted above. And then had the nerve to twist that around to say I’m characterizing you as defending them.

          You have a double standard of nitpicking one word, and arguing it into the ground, and then getting your butt hurt when someone else turns that tactic back around at you. If your not going to answer the damn question, just say, I’m not going to answer that question. If you don’t want words put in your mouth, don’t put them into others. And if you insist upon pedantic over one word, you don’t get to be all hurt and offended when others do the same.

        5. ambling
          ambling September 6, 2013 at 2:36 pm |

          If your not going to answer the damn question, just say, I’m not going to answer that question.

          I don’t even know what question you’re referring to. Post it and I promise you a straightforward answer.

        6. ambling
          ambling September 6, 2013 at 2:38 pm |

          To recap: you say “Why do you think it’s important to defend anti-choicers?”

          I reply “I’m not defending them, I’m just saying they’re not terrorists.”

          You reply “So then why are you defending anti-choicers?”

          And around and around we go.

        7. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl September 6, 2013 at 2:51 pm |

          Are you seriously that reading comprehension deficient?

          You quoted my damn question six comments up. You, yourself, pulled my question from an earlier comment of mine, and went to the trouble of block quoting it, and then putting it in your own comment.

          And yet you don’t know what my question is. Right. Ok then.

          It’s becoming clearer and clearer that you’re raison d’être is pot stirring and derailing and obfuscating until your sufficiently satisfied that the conversation will be over. Apparently so that you can feel like you are the victor over the conversation?

        8. ambling
          ambling September 6, 2013 at 3:02 pm |

          I responded.

          Your question is, if I understand it, “why do you feel it’s important to defend anti-choicers.”

          My response is “I don’t. Saying someone isn’t a terrorist doesn’t amount to defending them.”

          I honestly, truly, non-snarkily have no idea where our disconnect is.

        9. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl September 6, 2013 at 3:30 pm |

          Head, desk.

          “You are still not explaining why it is so important to defend the rights of people to twist and appropriate the words genocide and Holocaust”

          Gee, I guess because I engaged in a rhetorical phrasing you didn’t understand that I was actually posing that as a question.

        10. ambling
          ambling September 6, 2013 at 3:39 pm |

          You are still not explaining why it is so important to defend the rights of people to twist and appropriate the words genocide and Holocaust

          So why do I think people should have the right to free speech, essentially?

          Well, setting aside moral arguments, if we allow the government to prohibit people from using the word ‘genocide’ in ways the government doesn’t like, it opens the door to massive, massive abuses of power that will hurt progressives and pro-choicers as much as conservatives and anti-choicers.

          Unless you think the government will always be perfectly aligned with your values and ideology, in which case I can only ask if you were around for the W years. Or have ever lived in a red state.

        11. shfree
          shfree September 6, 2013 at 4:03 pm |

          You keep accusing me of defending anti-choicers, because I simply said I don’t think they’re terrorists. I’m trying to point out that I actively despise anti-choicers, I just don’t think they’re terrorists.

          I missed this. You utter, utter asshole. I sat behind a desk for two years, with no bullet proof glass. I literally flinched when I guy I vaguely knew made some “joke” about having a gun in his jacket, and “reached for one” when I gave him the usual spiel about not having coats, bags or purses within the clinic walls. We said this in WINTER. In the MIDWEST. We told people to lock their COATS and PURSES in the car in just in case someone might bring in a bomb or gun, because we didn’t vet every person immediately that walked in the door. Other clinics insisted on ID at the door, but we wanted to be friendlier, that is why we resisted glass for so long. We did not allow ANYONE outside the clinic in scrubs, ever. And I would tell women who popped in just for condoms after a shift at the local hospital to never ever do it scrubs again. I had a coworker put in a headlock and his phone broken, we had the clinic invaded before hours while I worked there. And while I was statistically less at risk than the doctors, admins, and more free from harassment than any of the clients, in a violent invasion I would probably have been one of the first targets. So don’t fucking talk about how anti-choicers are not terrorists, unless you live the fucking live and can possibly speak to it, you arrogant fuck.

        12. ambling
          ambling September 6, 2013 at 4:29 pm |

          There are anti-choice terrorists. Being anti-choice, and protesting abortion, doesn’t make you a terrorist.

          I’m done.

        13. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll September 6, 2013 at 5:06 pm |

          Ambling- we are not saying simply existing as an anti choice person makes one a terrorist. In the original thread AND here we have repeatedly discussed specific groups within the anti choice movement. Protesting doesn’t make one a terrorist, but it does make one shrodingers terrorist to women who have to deal with them. People have named the group for shits sake, so stop with the “all anti choicers”.

        14. ambling
          ambling September 6, 2013 at 5:21 pm |

          Yes. The group featured in Jill’s article wasn’t Operation Rescue, though some people who did organizing for the group also worked for OR.

        15. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll September 6, 2013 at 5:34 pm |

          And if you work/ with for a group known to use violence, threats, intimidation and murder, you’re going to have a negative association. If that group is a terrorist group that utilizes terrorist tactics, then it’s not unfair when people consider you to be terrorists as well. They’re not terrorist because they’re anti choice. They’re terrorists because they knowingly and willing work with a militant terrorist group. They’re not terrorists because they protest. They’re terrorists because they knowingly and willingly work with a militant terrorist group.

        16. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl September 6, 2013 at 5:48 pm |

          This is exhausting. But I suspect that it’s exactly what you intend, chase tails until I’ve had enough in the hopes of forcing a surrender.

          Your still privileging the interests of these anti-choice people and their First Amendment rights over the First Amendment rights of Jill and others who believe them to be terrorists. You admit yourself, Ambling, that you don’t actually think they ARE terrorists. Mayhaps that is why you are fighting to the end to defend them, or at least their First Amendment rights? Even though they are exercising those rights by saying abominably horrible and inflammatory things that defile the very legacy of actual Holocaust victims. You know, where millions of actual, living people were tortured and killed, all by and for an ideological mission that was supposedly ordained by G*d. Okay then.

          Because I have yet to see anything approaching a reciprocally enthusiastic level of support for Jill’s First Amendment rights to call them terrorists coming from you. That silence, aside from calling Jill’s use of the word terrorism “repugnant” speaks volumes, in and of itself.

        17. shfree
          shfree September 6, 2013 at 6:11 pm |

          Yes. The group featured in Jill’s article wasn’t Operation Rescue, though some people who did organizing for the group also worked for OR.

          Well, it’s good you know at least that one little thing, because the over arching anti-choice movement is one twisted network where each organization has ties to another, and if you think otherwise you are living with your head in the sand.

          People are more than welcome to write letters to an elected official free of threats saying that they oppose a legal right to choose. I think they’re wrong. They are also get to vote their conscience, as any of us do. They can sit and pray in their churches for all the dead babies. However, the minute they step in front of the clinics with a sign, EVEN IF IT IS THEIR RIGHT, because of all the actions taken by others in their name, I had no choice but to see them as a threat to my safety, and the safety of everyone in the clinic. Maybe you have the luxury to not see people standing outside the clinic with signs as terrorists, But don’t fucking lecture those of us whose actual bodies were on the line who is safe to be around and who is not. Even the elderly can shoot a gun.

        18. ambling
          ambling September 6, 2013 at 6:21 pm |

          However, the minute they step in front of the clinics with a sign, EVEN IF IT IS THEIR RIGHT, because of all the actions taken by others in their name, I had no choice but to see them as a threat to my safety, and the safety of everyone in the clinic.

          I don’t disagree with any of that.

        19. shfree
          shfree September 6, 2013 at 6:28 pm |

          However, the minute they step in front of the clinics with a sign, EVEN IF IT IS THEIR RIGHT, because of all the actions taken by others in their name, I had no choice but to see them as a threat to my safety, and the safety of everyone in the clinic.

          I don’t disagree with any of that.

          Then why are you giving me pushback? And why do all this sweeping generalization about “Anti choicers aren’t terrorists” if you mean “Not all anti choicers are terrorists” to start, unless you are being a provocative asshole? Unless you are going to argue with me that I am some how not a person, therefore I don’t count when I get to count those people in front of the clinic as terrorists. Because damn straight I do. And I will argue with you until you actually, truly flounce out of here. You found one of my sticking points, dude.

        20. amblingalong
          amblingalong September 6, 2013 at 10:46 pm |

          Unless you are going to argue with me that I am some how not a person, therefore I don’t count when I get to count those people in front of the clinic as terrorists. Because damn straight I do.

          Seeing someone as a a threat to your safety doesn’t mean they’re a terrorist. I don’t see being a terrorist as a postmodernist label that applies to anyone who is perceived as a threat.

          If someone actually did bring a gun into your clinic, or invade it violently, or bomb it, then I’d be fine with calling them a terrorist. But not the people who are waving signs and forcing you to amp up security; they’re just evil misogynistic assholes.

        21. amblingalong
          amblingalong September 6, 2013 at 10:52 pm |

          Your still privileging the interests of these anti-choice people and their First Amendment rights over the First Amendment rights of Jill and others who believe them to be terrorists.

          That’s not how the First Amendment works. Criticizing what Jill does with her speech is not the same as infringing on her speech.

          You admit yourself, Ambling, that you don’t actually think they ARE terrorists. Mayhaps that is why you are fighting to the end to defend them, or at least their First Amendment rights?

          You’re one of those people who think the ACLU is pro-Nazi and pro-KKK because they defend those group’s right to express their views, aren’t you?

          Even though they are exercising those rights by saying abominably horrible and inflammatory things that defile the very legacy of actual Holocaust victims. You know, where millions of actual, living people were tortured and killed, all by and for an ideological mission that was supposedly ordained by G*d. Okay then.

          I think it’s absolutely a terrible thing that they’re saying. I think it’s important that they have the right to say it.

          Because I have yet to see anything approaching a reciprocally enthusiastic level of support for Jill’s First Amendment rights to call them terrorists coming from you. That silence, aside from calling Jill’s use of the word terrorism “repugnant” speaks volumes, in and of itself.

          I honestly think you need to figure out what the First Amendment says before you post again. Hint: it has nothing to do with freedom from being criticized by private entities.

        22. Matt
          Matt September 6, 2013 at 11:53 pm |

          I think they are terrorists but, its not Ambling’s responsibility to address every aspect of every post in great detail. Since when has it been against the rules to focus on one particular aspect of an article. Its not like there is a shortage of people pushing back against the Holocaust appropriation.

          That can be wrong AND Jill can be wrong. Its not a one or the other situation. I don’t happen to think she is, for once, but the extent of this derail is WAY out of control.

          You guys have some sort of weird obsession with every disagreement that ambling has. Your just as responsible for how far this has gone as he is.

        23. shfree
          shfree September 7, 2013 at 2:46 am |

          If someone actually did bring a gun into your clinic, or invade it violently, or bomb it, then I’d be fine with calling them a terrorist. But not the people who are waving signs and forcing you to amp up security; they’re just evil misogynistic assholes.

          Uhm, no. First of all, the fact remains that the whole surface goal of the movement is to stop abortion, and one of the ways that many of these anti choice organizations have done so have been through tactics designed to shut clinics down by any means necessary. They wouldn’t have had any successes without the tacit approval of the seeming “benign” sign holders outside of clinics, without being able to blend into their numbers and organizations, being able to receive their support, being hailed as martyrs for the cause, even if those sign holders couldn’t personally take such violent actions.

          The fact is, every single person who demonstrates outside of a clinic wants it closed. It may be out of simple misogyny, it may be because they believe that abortion is the cause of all evil and therefore this clinic must be BURNED TO THE GROUND, and truth be told, you never know who is who. Because at the end of the day, if a clinic does burn to the ground, or a doctor gets murdered, the innocent sign holders will issue their proclamations of how much sad they have about all of it. But not once have they ever said that this business about the killings and the bombings and the maimings are going to stop and that they would fully aid any efforts to rooting out the dangerous elements in their movement. So long as the clinic is closed, it’s okay, once they’ve issued their public condemnation about the violence. How they’ve gotten to that point ceases to be the issue anymore.

          And really, we wouldn’t have HAD to amp up security in the first place if there weren’t acts of terrorism. Why do you think clinics from across the country share pictures of their local problem antis with each other? Because what might be a familiar face that would cause one clinic to call the cops immediately should they show up with a sign might not in another city, at least that is what the anti would hope. And generally people don’t just randomly drive for hundreds of miles just to terrorize a clinic by their lonesome, they have some place to stay. There is a support network.

          Look, every time there would be someone outside of the clinic with a sign protesting abortion it meant they wanted an indirect end to my livelihood. I am 99.99% sure none of the time my actual life was in danger. But I had to live like it was, because of those people who abet those with the bombs and with the guns.

        24. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl September 7, 2013 at 2:01 pm |

          “You’re one of those people who think the ACLU is pro-Nazi and pro-KKK because they defend those group’s right to express their views, aren’t you?”

          JFC, are you a pretentious and presumptuous asshole.

          “I honestly think you need to figure out what the First Amendment says before you post again. Hint: it has nothing to do with freedom from being criticized by private entities.”

          Haha, I guess I must have slept through the entire semester of Con Law whilst in Law School! You got me!

          Yeah, no.

          You really digging hard here, implying I’m stupid so that you can avoid arguing in good faith and address the points I’ve made. I know goddamn well what the First Amendment says, once again you are simultaneously confused as to what is being debated here all while obfuscating and refusing to take responsibility for your own repugnant words (ha, the word repugnant again!)

          You are the one who initially sounded the alarm about the precious First Amendment rights of anti-choicers. Not me. I simply pointed out that the road of free speech rights goes both ways. But you know what, I’m done with trying to argue in good faith with you, as you clearly have no idea how that really works.

    4. Drahill
      Drahill September 6, 2013 at 1:42 pm |

      The First Amendment is the largest hurdle to declaring groups like this one as terrorist organizations – so I’m not sure whether it should be cited in a positive manner in this type of situation.

      1. ambling
        ambling September 6, 2013 at 1:50 pm |

        The First Amendment is the largest hurdle to declaring groups like this one as terrorist organizations – so I’m not sure whether it should be cited in a positive manner in this type of situation.

        If the government has the power to declare anti-choice political rallies illegal, there’s no particular reason they can’t declare, say, Occupy Wall St. illegal too. Maybe you have faith that the government will always be perfectly aligned with the fight for social justice.

        1. Drahill
          Drahill September 6, 2013 at 1:58 pm |

          amblingalong, I never argued that the government should have the ability to jail people who act in this manner. My argument is that many, many groups have utilized tactics just like these – home protests, explicit imagery, etc. The environmentalist movement does it, animal rights does it, anti-abortion people do it, along with thousands of other “direct action” movements out there. I am arguing that these tactics most certainly do constitute a form of terror in that they are designed to create implicit threats, seriously disrupt lives and cause mental and emotional suffering. However, they cannot be considered legal acts of terror due to consitutional restraints. My argument is that if one were comfortable barring these tactics for a single group as terroristic, one must logically be willing to acknowledge any other group who uses them as terroristic as well, and support a complete ban on their use, not just in specific situations.

        2. ambling
          ambling September 6, 2013 at 2:21 pm |

          My argument is that if one were comfortable barring these tactics for a single group as terroristic, one must logically be willing to acknowledge any other group who uses them as terroristic as well, and support a complete ban on their use, not just in specific situations.

          OK, then we’re actually on the same page to that extent.

        3. Bagelsan
          Bagelsan September 6, 2013 at 2:56 pm |

          So Occupy Wall Street is the same as anti-choice protests. I guess I missed the part where Occupy Wall Street shot and killed several bankers. And I must have missed them targeting a class of underprivileged people for abuse and death threats. Perhaps you could direct me to that news story?

        4. ambling
          ambling September 6, 2013 at 3:00 pm |

          So Occupy Wall Street is the same as anti-choice protests. I guess I missed the part where Occupy Wall Street shot and killed several bankers. And I must have missed them targeting a class of underprivileged people for abuse and death threats. Perhaps you could direct me to that news story?

          Missed the point. Giving the government broad powers to ban speech opens the door to protests you like being banned along with the ones you don’t. You didn’t hear the right-wingers freaking out over OWS?

        5. Drahill
          Drahill September 6, 2013 at 3:04 pm |

          Bagelsan, I think ambling is slightly correct in one regard. You are doing what many people tend to do, which is jump to the acts themselves as part of the definition of terrorism, which is violence. The assumption is that because Occupy is not a “violent movement,” it cannot be a terrorist movement. However, that depends on the assumption that violence is necessary for terrorism to happen. Like I’ve mentioned previously, there was a huge dust-up thread here a while back about movements (the animal rights groups in this case, but others as well) using home protests as a tactic, as well as distributing personal contact information, and Jill’s disapproval of them. It caused a huge to-do over whether such tactics are designed to intimidate and create fear in their targets (sounds pretty terroristic to me). If members of the Occupy movement were consistently protesting in a way that infringed on privacy rights, implicitely threatended the targets and their families, and engaged in other intimidation (but not violent) tactics – I have no problem saying such an act is psychological terrorism, even if no physical harm comes to anybody. Terrorism should be defined by the acts one commits, that is true. But I think drawing the line at physical violence is misguided, because it misses so much.

        6. Bagelsan
          Bagelsan September 6, 2013 at 3:08 pm |

          Perhaps you’re missing the point. Occupy rhetoric and anti-choice actions are the reason I define the former as a protest, the latter as terrorists. I’ve certainly never called for speech to be banned, unless it’s inciting people to violence (especially against clearly-identified individuals and groups, as is done by anti-choicers.) Unless Occupy was targeting certain oppressed groups for violence, why would it be “banned” along with anti-choice targeting?

        7. Bagelsan
          Bagelsan September 6, 2013 at 3:14 pm |

          I personally think showing up at someone’s house falls under “threatening action” rather than merely “speech” — if someone is directly targeting an individual in combination with calls for violence against that individual and people like them, then that counts as terrorism to me.

          Surely you can see the difference between “bankers all fucking suck!” and “Mr. Smith in office 221 takes money away from starving babies, leaving babies to die. If he were dead those babies would still be alive. Remember, the name’s Mr. Smith, and here’s his route home…” right? It’s not like those two things are so indistinguishable that I can’t be fine with one and take issue with the other.

        8. Drahill
          Drahill September 6, 2013 at 3:17 pm |

          Bagelsan, I never said anything about action and rhetoric. You are the one who drew an arbitrary line in the sand by saying, “Occupy is not like the anti-abortion movement because Occupying have not killed anyone.” I was pointing out that your line is arbitrary and doesn’t have a sound basis in fact. If Occupiers protest in a way that creates fear and is rightfully perceived as threatening (such as home protestest, which they have done), why do you dismiss that as a true threat and argue that cannot be terrorism? Your personal definition is something you are entitled to, but you haven’t answered my question yet. Say, for example, the more aggressive animal rights protestors, who do 24/7 protests outside researchers’ homes, yell at their children and do other assorted nasty things. By your definition, they cannot be terrorists because they are not violent and their actions are limited to rhetotic. However, there is no good reason why such rhetoric cannot terrorize the targets. So why hold out your own line as a definitive answer?

        9. ambling
          ambling September 6, 2013 at 3:28 pm |

          Unless Occupy was targeting certain oppressed groups for violence, why would it be “banned” along with anti-choice targeting?

          Because sometimes, Republicans win elections?

        10. Bagelsan
          Bagelsan September 6, 2013 at 3:36 pm |

          My post above yours gets at that slightly, but I’ll expand on it.

          I think that killing people is a good indicator that you’re a legitimate threat to your targeted group, and puts all future actions under much closer scrutiny. If I know that I’m going after someone who has strong reason to believe that I can and will murder them, then anything I say to them at that point carries the weight of that threat. I can’t pretend I’m just exercising my First Amendment rights when I’ve used the same tactics in the past to cause someone to be fatally shot, right? It’s going to be a much more serious threat when I say “you should be dead” because I’ve shown through actions that I can make it happen.

          Anti-choice groups like Operation Rescue have committed violence, and still continue to threaten violence. They have proven that they’ll overstep that line into murder and physical attacks; this makes everything they say loaded with the promise of that violent action. OWS isn’t something I personally support, or think was appropriate, but they still have the benefit of the doubt in my mind because they haven’t harmed anyone.

          When someone starts spouting violent rhetoric, part of the assessment of one’s danger level is “have they followed through on that talk before?” I get told violent things online fairly regularly, personally or in the abstract, and I don’t consider that terrorism because they’re not willing or able to actually hurt me in any way. Not so with Operation Rescue; when they say someone should die, that person sometimes winds up dead. If they were to set their sights on me, or a loved one of mine, I’d be genuinely fearful for that person’s life, and I might change my behavior to try and minimize the risk.

          I don’t want to get all trite and merely say that “actions speak louder than words” but when it comes to threat assessments, which you’d better believe that women do on the daily, someone having a record of violence against women and their allies speaks volumes about that person’s danger to women. Having murdered people in the past makes OR’s threats to do so again more serious, and makes their actions genuinely terrifying in a way that OWS is not. That’s part of why I distinguish between the two, with one getting called terrorist and the other not.

        11. Bagelsan
          Bagelsan September 6, 2013 at 3:39 pm |

          ambling, I get why you think someone would want to ban OWS. But I disagree that my definition of OR as terrorist means that OWS is terrorist, and I think that OR should be under legal scrutiny in a way that OWS need not be. It’s not hypocritical to want one gone and the other not, it’s based on true differences in their approach and in their ability and willingness to murder people to get their way.

        12. Drahill
          Drahill September 6, 2013 at 3:44 pm |

          I usually think the problem with “actions speak louder than words” is that it basically just sits around and waits for harm to come, and then labels the actors later. I think it’s probably cold comfort to Tiller’s family that he had be murdered so that people will refer to Operation Rescue as terrorists. If their actions prior had been recognized, perhaps law enforcement and others would have taken the threats against him far more seriously.

          I personally don’t like the idea that “they can’t really carry it out IRL, so I don’t think of it as terrorism.” That worries me on the level that it sort of places the duty on the threat victim to assess the situation and say, “Well, I don’t THINK (big difference) they can carry it out, so I don’t worry.” To me, that is an awful lot to ask of threat victims.

        13. PrettyAmiable
          PrettyAmiable September 6, 2013 at 3:47 pm |

          If Occupiers protest in a way that creates fear and is rightfully perceived as threatening (such as home protestest, which they have done), why do you dismiss that as a true threat and argue that cannot be terrorism?

          I’m pretty sure I’m the only bulge bracket investment banker working in NYC on here, but I’ve never once felt more than slightly uncomfortable (and that was out of guilt) when half of OWS was literally hanging outside my office, but as a woman, I have an actual FEAR of going into a clinic that’s being protested. I don’t understand how drawing the line at physical violence is somehow arbitrary on Bagelsan’s part. I don’t think I have a good chance of being shot on my way into work. … it seems disingenuous to pretend that this isn’t a real distinction.

        14. Drahill
          Drahill September 6, 2013 at 3:54 pm |

          PrettyAmiable – I feel the need to clarify. We’re talking about stuff that goes beyond office protesting (which I don’t see anybody here really taking issue with). Let me ask you a question – what if those protestors found out your name and address and showed up at your home? Would you feel comfortable? What if they took pictures of you, your partner or family? What if they chanted or yellowed slogans you thought sounded intimidating? What if they used bullhorns at night and in the wee hours of the morning? What if they called you on your personal phone or through your private email?

          I am not bringing this up as a defense of those tactics. I am pointing out that all these things are nonviolent actions, but if they were done to you, you’d probably feel pretty uneasy and freaked out. Depending on what they say and do, you might be scared. You might be terrorized. That was my point – you don’t need overt acts of violence to create terrorism. Thus, the line is kind of arbitrary.

        15. Drahill
          Drahill September 6, 2013 at 3:56 pm |

          *yelled, not yellowed. Where is my mind today…

        16. Bagelsan
          Bagelsan September 6, 2013 at 3:59 pm |

          You are kind of asking me to arbitrarily draw a line… :p Where would you draw the line, Drahill, if not at physical violence and/or target’s perception of violence?

        17. Drahill
          Drahill September 6, 2013 at 4:05 pm |

          I’m not sure if telling you my personal line would much matter. I’m discussing a matter of policy and law, so my personal opinion doesn’t much factor into it. I was responding to your initial argument with ambling that there is no valid comparison between OWS and Operation Rescue, because one has engaged in overt violence and the other has not. I think the “overt violence” rule as policy is quite poor, because it fails at prevention and fails to account for psychological terrorism that often preceeds the violence. I was pointing out that if a more expansive view were legislated, some factions of OWS probably would fall under the terrorism umbrella, and that wouldn’t be a bad thing.

        18. Bagelsan
          Bagelsan September 6, 2013 at 4:30 pm |

          I’d love to have more preventative action than simply waiting for doctors to die. But I’m not sure how to reconcile anti-terrorism with respect for freedom of speech if you can’t establish that there is a reasonable fear of the threats being made, though. When someone is just mad and going off about something, it might be scary but it’s not illegal, and I don’t think it can be made illegal. Until that person represents a real danger to others (by actually harming someone or by making specific, actionable threats), I don’t see how action can be taken against them.

          It’s kind of like the line that gets drawn for determining if someone is a suicide risk, I think; are they claiming to want to do it? Do they have a plan? Do they have the means? If you don’t get “yes”s across the board it’s tough to do anything, legally, without trampling on some pretty serious rights. (This is aside from the whole issue of whether suicide should be legal, natch; I just think the assessment criteria are similar.)

        19. PrettyAmiable
          PrettyAmiable September 6, 2013 at 4:39 pm |

          But then OWS isn’t relevant, correct? I do think they showed up somewhere uptown where one of the CEOs lived early on in the movement (but the idea that he wasn’t well protected if he was even there is silly, and I’m fairly certain it wouldn’t have been more than a nuissance), but as far as I know, they haven’t done any of those things.

          Yeah, if people are walking around threatening me (explicitly or implicitly), I count that as terrorism. Actual or threatened violence, right?

    5. shfree
      shfree September 6, 2013 at 2:03 pm |

      What he doesn’t seem to get is that we have been targets of the actions, so we get, on a personal level, what this shit is about. And it is about instilling fear, and making us want to quit what we are doing, to give into their demands. We know exactly who we are dealing with, exactly the threats they offer, and the fact remains that even when the clinic had only their usual Friday prayers, we were always feeling a little more cautious. And if the numbers were larger than normal, the anxiety was a little higher. This was in a city that had police friendly to the clinic, too. Not every city is, Chicago isn’t, for example. Or at least wasn’t when I was doing clinic defense there.

      I was the first person in the clinic on some mornings, and they wanted us to follow a safety protocol to keep ourselves safe when we open, before I would ever even touch the fucking back door of the clinic. We had procedures about paper bags left at the front door, in that if I see one there in the morning, I was not supposed to go near it. I would circle the block if I felt someone was lingering outside on the sidewalk for too long, and I would never listen to music as I approached the clinic so no one could catch me off guard. And I wasn’t a doc or an administrator, so I wasn’t wearing a huge target. This was my life. Mostly without incident, easily. But don’t think that every single time something else happened in some other clinic we didn’t know about it, and didn’t discuss the ramifications for that clinic.

      I called the clinic after Dr. Tiller was murdered. (I didn’t work at his clinic, for full disclosure) Everyone there felt his loss, both on a personal level, and on a security level. I think that it was after his death that they were finally able to get the money together for the bullet proof glass at the reception desk, but I could be wrong and they got the money before it. But even if they got the glass first, they closed the clinic to clients for a few hours and had a long security meeting. His death caused changes in operations to the clinic where he never worked. The fact remains, the movement as a whole has engaged in enough violence for those of us who have been personally impacted by their actions to comfortably call it terrorism. They certainly affected my day to day actions more than living ten years in crappy neighborhoods in Chicago did. And I can’t even imagine what it is like for the women who have to deal with antis as someone seeking an abortion, or a doctor they are targeting for assassination. I was just someone answering phones at the front desk, no one was accusing me of “killing babies.” So fuck off with the semantic bullshit already. If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it’s a fucking duck, even if it’s not quacking for a few damn days.

      1. pheenobarbidoll
        pheenobarbidoll September 6, 2013 at 2:22 pm |

        And we are not talking about protests or rallies. We are talking about members of a recognized organization that routinely engages in terrorist tactics, up to and including bombings and murder.

      2. Safiya Outlines
        Safiya Outlines September 6, 2013 at 2:31 pm |

        When I was a child, my dad’s job meant he was a “legitimate target” for a certain group of terrorists.

        In daily life this meant checking your car for bombs, ditto any post received, especially packages, not being identifiably an employee of his work organisation, being careful who you discussed your job with..

        …in other words, it sounds exactly like what you are describing.

        That’s why these anti-choicers are terrorists and why a foot-stomping derail to insist otherwise is so obnoxious.

        Also, it’s huge nonsense to claim terrorism is some rational and fairly used label, racist white supremacists constantly being referred to as “lone wolves” instead of the terrorists they are is a prime example of this.

      3. Bagelsan
        Bagelsan September 6, 2013 at 2:53 pm |

        Nicely put, shfree.

        If anti-choicers were only exercising their First Amendment rights and just going on and on about the “poor dead babbies” or whatever, then I don’t think that we’d be calling them terrorists, just jackasses. But they don’t restrict themselves to words alone; they use calls for violence and intimidation, and then often follow through on those calls for violence with actual violence, just to make a point to a group of people (women) that they are lesser than the anti-choicers are and to try and restrict their behavior.

        Having a man come in and say, essentially, “oh, well having rocks thrown/threats screamed/doctors murdered isn’t really terrorizing to women” is so much bullshit. It’s violence used to coerce: read the fucking dictionary, then get your head out of your privileged ass and look at what women and their allies are going through here. It’s classic domestic terrorism.

        1. Drahill
          Drahill September 6, 2013 at 3:07 pm |

          Bagelsan, can you clarify what you mean? Are you talking about Operation Rescue, the one group here, or the anti-abortion movement overall? Because if it’s the former, I agree, and if it’s the latter, I disagree.

        2. Bagelsan
          Bagelsan September 6, 2013 at 3:20 pm |

          I’m talking about the militant anti-choicers, in this case Operation Rescue; I’m certainly not saying that every anti-choicer is a terrorist (just jackasses!)

        3. Drahill
          Drahill September 6, 2013 at 3:24 pm |

          Ah, then in that case, 100% agreed.

    6. Lolagirl
      Lolagirl September 6, 2013 at 3:26 pm |

      Something I think is getting lost in this dust up is the difference between being terrorists and engaging in terrorist acts. Because Bagelsan is correct that some of these anti-choice groups have engaged in terrorist acts to the point of being labeled terrorists. Targeting doctors, staffers and others in an organized manner and actually murdering them, because you have a moral or ideological crusade against them and what they stand for can most certainly qualify as terrorism.

      Therefore, I also don’t buy the whole Timothy McVeigh was not a domestic terrorist nonsense that gets tossed around here in the U.S. He was undeniably trying to make a very clear anti-government statement by murdering people. Also, to strike terror into the populace and other government workers. Kind of like how some of these anti-choice activists go about in an organized fashion trying to terrorize clinic workers, doctors patrons, and even their neighbors and make them fear for their physical safety. All for the pursuit of an ideological cause.

      So even if the are arguably not engaging in terrorism at that very moment while descending upon Holocaust survivors and blathering on about genocide, that doesn’t unmake them terrorists for their past conduct. Or for their planned future conduct either.

      1. Fat Steve
        Fat Steve September 7, 2013 at 3:02 am |

        Something I think is getting lost in this dust up is the difference between being terrorists and engaging in terrorist acts. Because Bagelsan is correct that some of these anti-choice groups have engaged in terrorist acts to the point of being labeled terrorists. Targeting doctors, staffers and others in an organized manner and actually murdering them, because you have a moral or ideological crusade against them and what they stand for can most certainly qualify as terrorism.

        How about groups that state unequivocally that abortion is ‘murder? There are plenty of these in Texas. Texas is a state in which a murder conviction could carry the death penalty.

        Having a bumper sticker that says ‘abortion is murder’ in a death penalty state (or if like GWB, a governor of a death penalty state says that in a presidential debate,) is no more or less than calling for the execution of innocent women and health care workers.

        Anyone who would not be filled with terror by a bumper sticker like that clearly does not plan on ever using or working in an abortion clinic.

        1. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl September 7, 2013 at 2:17 pm |

          Good point Steve! There you go, being all reasonable, and discussing stuff in good faith. Fie on you!

          (Just kidding, but I think you know that already anyway…)

  23. Andie
    Andie September 6, 2013 at 11:32 pm |

    So, how come so picky about Jill’s use of the word terrorists to describe the protesters but no comment about the use of the word genocide to describe abortion?

    People play pretty fast and loose with the definition of genocide but you don’t really seem to have an issue with THAT.

    1. amblingalong
      amblingalong September 6, 2013 at 11:38 pm |

      Of course I do. Does anyone here disagree about that?

      …didn’t think so. Thus, no conversation to be had.

      1. pheenobarbidoll
        pheenobarbidoll September 6, 2013 at 11:51 pm |

        Not exactly the thing that motivated you to post though was it. The appropriation of the word genocide is far more problematic than Jill using the word terrorist, this is the point some people are trying to make about those words. On the priority list of offensive shit, it rates higher than calling people who use terroristic tactics terrorists. One is accurately applied to specific groups of people based on their actions ( like bombing and murder), the other is offensive appropriation. Yet you chose to derail a thread over the least problematic word. Because it’s not controversial enough here and everyone would agree.

        1. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll September 6, 2013 at 11:52 pm |

          Sorry, because offense over the appropriation isn’t controversial enough .

        2. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll September 6, 2013 at 11:54 pm |

          Oh and I think you knew it would derail the thread, knew the reactions it would receive and intended to derail.

        3. amblingalong
          amblingalong September 7, 2013 at 12:01 am |

          Because it’s not controversial enough here and everyone would agree.

          …I honestly don’t see the point in having a conversation about something we all feel the same way about.

          Oh and I think you knew it would derail the thread, knew the reactions it would receive and intended to derail.

          As I cackled maniacally and stroked my goatee, yes.

        4. Fat Steve
          Fat Steve September 7, 2013 at 12:09 am |

          As I cackled maniacally and stroked my goatee, yes.

          a) Keep your repulsive practices to yourself.

          b) I believe the term for a baby goat is ‘kid’ not ‘goatee’

        5. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll September 7, 2013 at 12:12 am |

          More like stroked that male privilege. There’s even less value in the comment you did make, you succeeded in offending the hell out of many women here, several who actually had experiences where their lives were in danger. But at least you weren’t bored or anything. That’s the important thing.

        6. Donna L
          Donna L September 7, 2013 at 12:14 am |

          …I honestly don’t see the point in having a conversation about something we all feel the same way about.

          You know, Ambling, there’s a word for people who deliberately post something controversial, even if it’s off-topic, for the sake of having what they view as an interesting conversation. If you’re bored by a thread consisting of people making comments that basically agree with each, then you don’t need read or participate in that thread.

        7. Donna L
          Donna L September 7, 2013 at 12:15 am |

          “each other,” not “each.” I’m apparently incapable of posting a comment after midnight without typos.

        8. Fat Steve
          Fat Steve September 7, 2013 at 12:16 am |

          …a word for people who deliberately post something controversial, even if it’s off-topic, for the sake of having what they view as an interesting conversation.

          What is ‘shithead’?

          …sorry, thought we were playing Jeopardy there for a second.

        9. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll September 7, 2013 at 12:25 am |

          That belief doesn’t extend to the anti contraception thread evidently, because there you are ambling, agreeing. It seems your comments are either pointless or trolling. Perhaps they should come with warning labels- pointless, don’t bother reading or trolling, don’t bother reading. That way we all know which way the wind is blowing at any given minute.

      2. EG
        EG September 7, 2013 at 9:30 am |

        Of course I do. Does anyone here disagree about that?

        …didn’t think so. Thus, no conversation to be had.

        Sure. It’s not like we could’ve discussed what it means to appropriate the term “genocide,” like trees and pheeno began to. And it’s not like we could have discussed what it means for conservative Christians to appropriate the persecution of Jews for their own purposes. Nope, if we’re not fighting with each other, conversation is just impossible. Good point.

    2. Lolagirl
      Lolagirl September 7, 2013 at 2:15 pm |

      You forgot about the word Holocaust being appropriated as well, Andie.

      But I guess Ambling didn’t see the point in getting pedantic over the misuse of that word. Because, nitpicking, and we would all just agree anyway. Or maybe yet another intellectually lazy and disingenuous argument he could manage to pull out of his ass, who knows?

      Because I so don’t give a shit about throwing around a word like terrorist for these anti-choice activists. Inflammmatory? Mmm, maybe. Repugnant? Eff to the no. Repeating myself here, but as some of them actually DO already qualify as terrorists I’m actually pretty comfortable with using such terminology. Except, they are white and Christian, so we Americans get all nitpicky and touchy about not reserving that word for middle eastern, Muslim folks doing bad shit to Americans. Whatever, it’s all bs, bottom line.

  24. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan September 7, 2013 at 2:01 am |

    For what it’s worth, I’ve enjoyed this discussion of terrorism…despite how weird that sounds! I think it’s worth pushing back on things one doesn’t agree with, and this has played out nicely; ambling pushed back on Jill, and everyone pushed back on ambling. I don’t think ambling was trolling so much as not putting his point across with sensitivity or respect for the issue, but I feel that the discussion went to some interesting places because of it — though whether that was worth the hurt feelings and general manly jackassery, I don’t know.

  25. moviemaedchen
    moviemaedchen September 7, 2013 at 4:40 am |

    I came rather late to the latest party, it seems. Still catching up on reading, but I do want to throw my hat in with pheeno and Jill and Lola and co. who are pushing back against ambling’s absurd derail. A lot of good points made.

    And ambling: fuck you for appropriating my issues with the Rape and Power post for this. Just because you had the right end of the stick there doesn’t give you a free pass to be an asshole to women here, and you don’t get to use my story to claim it. I really did appreciate you making space in that other thread for people like me, but you need to seriously sit down, shut up, and ask yourself what the differences are between that thread and this. Hint: one involves making space for multiple perspectives, and the other involves pissing all over women’s perspectives and experiences in favor of playing My Dictionary’s Better Than Yours.

    1. ambling
      ambling September 7, 2013 at 3:10 pm |

      And ambling: fuck you for appropriating my issues with the Rape and Power post for this. Just because you had the right end of the stick there doesn’t give you a free pass to be an asshole to women here, and you don’t get to use my story to claim it.

      I’m sorry. That wasn’t my intention, but I understand that it’s what I did. I sincerely apologize.

      1. moviemaedchen
        moviemaedchen September 7, 2013 at 6:11 pm |

        Thank you for the apology; accepted.

        I was harsh in my comment, but I was…very angry. There’s a big difference between what’s going on in this post versus that one, which I hope you can see (I’m not being snarky here). And it’s really infuriating to have someone use my struggle with feeling unheard as a means of scoring cheap points against Jill and other people who are feeling unheard. Whether or not Jill had the right of it here, I am not anyone’s weapon.

        If you want to have a broader discussion about having space for different perspectives and what sort of views get heard on particular posts and why, that’s fine. Could be an interesting conversation to have. But there are ways of starting that conversation that don’t involve either appropriation or pushing an argument in a way that treats as irrelevant the experiences and voices of women and other commenters here, which is the other part of what you did in the thread. I genuinely appreciate the apology to me, but I am with pheeno and Lola and co. on the rest. You could really take some time to go over the thread and ask yourself why you’re getting the pushback you are, because you’ve really put your foot in it and hurt more people than just me. You’ve got more than one apology to make.

  26. Barnacle Strumpet
    Barnacle Strumpet September 7, 2013 at 4:28 pm |

    I brought this up in the thread in question but…
    What’s up with the lack of a warning for the violent/possibly homicidal ideation in the Dear Feministe post?

    ‘ Some may say “well that is why we must legalize it” and I want to spit in their face. I want to grasp my fingers around their neck and choke the ignorance from them..’

    I’m sorry but this really seems like something that needs a trigger warning/content note. Really, no warning whatsoever for someone talking about wanting to choke and spit on women? Come on. I know it’s one of those things that are awkward to word for since it’s not talking about an instance of violence that actually happened, but reading someone’s violent urges or fantasy can be just as triggering as reading about someone actually doing it.

    1. tigtog
      tigtog September 7, 2013 at 5:06 pm | *

      Barnacle, you are quite right and the lack of that warning in the Content Note is entirely down to me – I dropped that ball. I’ve now added a CN for “violent rhetoric”, but am not entirely happy that this is sufficient warning. Any suggestions for better phrasing?

      1. Fat Steve
        Fat Steve September 7, 2013 at 5:24 pm |

        Barnacle, you are quite right and the lack of that warning in the Content Note is entirely down to me – I dropped that ball. I’ve now added a CN for “violent rhetoric”, but am not entirely happy that this is sufficient warning. Any suggestions for better phrasing?

        Violent fantasy?

        1. tigtog
          tigtog September 7, 2013 at 5:30 pm | *

          I’ve modified it to ‘expression of vividly violent fantasy’, which I feel is now an adequate warning.

      2. victoria
        victoria September 7, 2013 at 5:35 pm |

        I hope if this issue of violent rhetoric comes up in a future guest post, the mods or whoever makes editorial decisions will ask the author to amend the post before publishing. It’s one thing to describe violence that is happening or has happening to someone in order to educate about an issue, but there are other ways to convey how vehemently you feel about an issue without resorting to the kind of detailed, violent fantasy in this recent guest post.

        1. tigtog
          tigtog September 7, 2013 at 5:42 pm | *

          You’re absolutely right. I was the editor for this guest post, and I missed this, and I shouldn’t have.

  27. AMM
    AMM September 8, 2013 at 2:15 pm |

    Re: the post Reluctantly wading into the HSewer again: for the record

    [Posting here since comments are closed on that post. ]
    [Mods: feel free to delete this if you don’t want comments anywhere on this blog.]

    I’m confused. I wasn’t aware that there was ever any question that he-who-must-not-be-named was seducing his students on a regular and ongoing basis. He was bragging about it on his site the first (and only) time I visited his site.

    Were there people seriously claiming that he did not (or would not) ever do such a thing?

    + + +

    Shout-out to Mods: is it time for a new Spillover? (this is comment # 212 )

    1. Lateef
      Lateef September 8, 2013 at 2:28 pm |

      Yeah, I don’t know if anyone seriously thought he wasn’t still sleeping with students. I for one, fully expect him to continue sleeping around and getting some women to defend him. Because he might be a piece of shit, but he’s a fairly persuasive piece of shit.

    2. Becky
      Becky September 8, 2013 at 3:16 pm |

      He claimed to have stopped sleeping with his students when he got sober. The bragging on his website was in the form of: “Look at all these awesome terrible things I used to do back when I was an addict”.
      But this is still not a terribly surprising revalation…

      1. AMM
        AMM September 8, 2013 at 5:35 pm |

        He claimed to have stopped sleeping with his students when he got sober.

        The article I read on his website made a distinction between shtupping “his” students (which he had come to see as not quite “ethical” — probably inspired by the College threatening to fire him) and shtupping other students at his college, which was still fine and dandy and which he was still doing. BTW, he insisted that all of the students he seduced were better off for the experience.

        The article did not explain what exactly defined which students were “his” students and which were not. Personally, as someone who has been both a student and a professor at different times in my life, I don’t see anything “ethical” about a faculty member having sexual relationships with any students at his college/university, and think it ought to be a firing offense.

        I didn’t see any mention of sobriety in the article I read. But I haven’t bothered to read anything by him-who-must-not-be-named since, though, because I have seen nothing whatsoever in the second-hand reports to suggest that he is any less of a blight on our species now than he was then, and that’s all I really need to know about him at this point.

        1. Donna L
          Donna L September 8, 2013 at 5:46 pm |

          I don’t see anything “ethical” about a faculty member having sexual relationships with any students at his college/university, and think it ought to be a firing offense.

          Wholly apart from HS, do you feel that way even if the student is not a current student of that faculty member and the faculty member has no supervisory or other authority with respect to the student, or power to influence their grades or anything else? I thought that that’s the point where most universities’ rules draw the line as to whether something is prohibited, let alone a firing offense. It’s certainly a bad idea even under the circumstance I’m mentioning, but I’m not sure it should be a firing offense.

        2. AMM
          AMM September 8, 2013 at 6:11 pm |

          @Donna L (re: “firing offense”)

          Yes, I think that even if the student is not “his” student, it is bad enough that firing should at least be a possibility.

          For one thing, the line between “his” student and “not his student” is in practice murky. If a student is not in the professor’s class this semester, but has a reasonable chance of being in the professor’s class in the future, is she “his” student or not, for the purposes of a power relationship? If the student is in the professor’s department, so that committees which the professor is on are reviewing her work, is she “his” student or not?

          And it’s reasonable to expect that a professor can influence other professors’ view of a student, even if he has no formal authority over her. A professor who has it in for a student can make that student’s life pretty difficult if he’s got a good network going.

          Finally, professors have a psychological advantage over students because they’re in the position of the people who know what’s what vis-a-vis the students who don’t and because, in many cases, they’ve had years of experience in impressing and dazzling students (cf. lecturing as performance.)

          Note that the professor does not have to intend to use his power over the student, nor does he even have to in actual fact be able to exert power over her, it’s enough that, as far as she knows, he could.

          I have assumed the professor is male and the student female, but similar dynamics play out if you change the genders. I recall a certain well-known (male) Drama and English professor at my college who was said to be in the habit of having affairs with male students.

        3. Donna L
          Donna L September 8, 2013 at 6:30 pm |

          Under the situations you mention, where there’s even the potential of power and influence, either currently or in the future, I agree with you.

        4. CaitlinH
          CaitlinH September 8, 2013 at 7:18 pm |

          AMM, for a while there he was claiming that in the past he had slept with tons of students, but that since marrying his most recent wife he had been completely monogamous (and thus, necessarily, was not sleeping with any students, his or otherwise). I even remember, one of the few times I looked at his blog, reading the claim that he was now solely sexually attracted to his wife and nobody else, which struck me as incredibly disingenuous.

        5. Fat Steve
          Fat Steve September 9, 2013 at 3:03 pm |

          Whoa, hold on. HS’s behavior sounds like a fireable offense, but I don’t think there should be blanket rules that say anyone who sleeps with a student should be fired. It is entirely conceivable that a professor’s girlfriend/boyfriend or spouse would attend the school they work at (in the spouse’s case, they could possibly get free tuition,) and even if that person was in their class there wouldn’t be anything wrong with that. Plus, if a mature student has a relationship with a professor of similar age, I think it is a lot different than an older professor preying on a younger student.

        6. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune September 9, 2013 at 3:18 pm |

          My personal take on it is that college/university profs (note that even though legal adults may attend high school I emphatically do not endorse this policy in that environment!!!!!) who are sleeping with students shouldn’t be fired IF all of the following conditions apply, in rough order of importance:

          1) The student is an adult.
          2) The student was enthusiastically consenting.
          3) The student is not a current student of that professor.
          4) The student is not a student of that professor at least for the length of that relationship. (Obvs if this is a long-running publicly known relationship, marriage etc it might be different, but even then, I feel weird about that; maybe there are people who can grade their spouses objectively, but I don’t think I could.)
          5) The professor does not have power over the student in other ways (employing the student, having any say over the student’s thesis, letters of recommendation, grading, etc).

          In fact, I would say that the student would have to be in a different department entirely for me to be remotely comfortable with a relationship even if #1-5 were all true.

    3. Matt
      Matt September 8, 2013 at 5:01 pm |

      I honestly entertained the thought for a couple of seconds that Hugo himself wrote that message and then waded in to defend the “student” as telling the truth from critics because he is just that desperate for internet attention and defender of women points.

      I mean, its at the point where any claim he made would be believed because he has already been so awful. It came out RIGHT AFTER he said he was done with the internet.

    4. tigtog
      tigtog September 8, 2013 at 8:30 pm | *

      [Moderator Hat On] AMM, it’s fine to discuss the post here on Spillover – this scenario is precisely the sort that Spillover is designed to cover.

      I’m not planning to close the portcullis on this thread while it’s so active. If it gets up above 300 comments without a pause in the flurry then I’ll consider it.

      Thanks for asking/checking, on both counts.

    5. Lolagirl
      Lolagirl September 8, 2013 at 9:01 pm |

      And in a related, As The World Turns, sort of manner Schwizzy actually posted and then deleted a portion of the memoir he is apparently writing a week or so ago. I actually copied and pasted it into a note because I figured it wouldn’t last. The bullshit is palpable, and the self-aggrandizing tone is simultaneously startling and nauseating.

      Anyway, I also recall him insisting repeatedly that he stopped with the studental flings after he got clean and sober. Not to mention the supposedly blissful nature of his conjugal relations that kept him toeing the line of monogamy. I don’t even care why he was so driven to create the whole false persona he did, but the entree he gained to the world of academia and feminism as a result of his lies, abuse and bullshit require that he be held accountable for his actions.

      1. shfree
        shfree September 8, 2013 at 9:29 pm |

        Wait, so he flounced, flounced back to continue flouncing, had an interview where he stated he was flouncing, then the whole twitter thing, then that last flounce about how he is on extended leave, and now he’s back? Damn, we can’t win with this asshole.

        1. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl September 8, 2013 at 9:57 pm |

          Yes, that pretty much sums it up, Shfree! He’s like a Whack a Schwizzy, really. I don’t twitter, but it sounds like he’s been doing the same thing on that platform as well.

          I confess to a mostly past weakness for a wee bit o gossip, which is kind of why I copied the blog post. I can’t even fathom who would buy his twattle, in book or electronic version. But he seems to do quite well at sucking people in, so who knows.

        2. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
          The Kittehs' Unpaid Help September 8, 2013 at 10:11 pm |

          He’s got so many flounces he’s the Human Crinoline.

        3. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll September 9, 2013 at 5:05 pm |

          Ha!

        4. shfree
          shfree September 9, 2013 at 8:48 pm |

          Okay, against my better judgement, I went and looked. I can’t bring myself to even skim his memoir bullshit, because that whole shit makes me too ragey, and it was a bad day at work already. Anyway, he knows not what hiatus means.

          But honestly, I wouldn’t put it past him to make up a student tumblr out of whole cloth, then confess that he had been having the sex again. He neeeeds attention, and he’s got all this free time. Since he quit the internet and all.

  28. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
    The Kittehs' Unpaid Help September 8, 2013 at 7:43 pm |

    I don’t really want to raise the spoons derail specifically here, but I would like to ask what people think about the term and who gets to use it. In the HaT article tigtog linked to, there was a pretty strong “you don’t get to use our term, the disabled are an oppressed group” message, which left me wondering who counts as having the right to use it. I know it’s not a “present your RealDisability(TM) Card!” thing. I’m wondering how people here think of those with invisible disabilities, or ones they/others might think of as minor or not disabilities at all, using it.

    The reason I’m asking is because (I’m trying to re-write the comment tigtog got rid of from the derail – mercifully!) I’ve come to have a little more understanding of it since some health issues lately, some of which were acute (reaction to NSAIDS) and some of which are chronic (cartilage fissure and associated pain) and certainly affect my daily life. I don’t know if that puts me into the category of having a disability, but the NSAIDS reactions had me thinking about the spoons metaphor because I really was counting ‘em during those weeks.

    I guess what I’m asking is what people who live with disabilities think about the use of the term?

    1. Bagelsan
      Bagelsan September 8, 2013 at 8:50 pm |

      I think everyone should be allowed to use spoons, personally. Everyone has experienced being just incapable, in a moment, of dealing with shit, not just people with disabilities (visible or otherwise.)

      1. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
        The Kittehs' Unpaid Help September 8, 2013 at 9:03 pm |

        Everyone has experienced being just incapable, in a moment, of dealing with shit, not just people with disabilities (visible or otherwise.)

        That’s a great way of putting it, Bagelsan.

      2. victoria
        victoria September 8, 2013 at 9:20 pm |

        I disagree, Bagelsan. Having a momentary bad day where you feel like you’re at the end of your rope is Not The Same Thing as having multiple days of chronic symptoms, or a lifetime of limitations due to a disability. If you’re not able to deal with sh*t at the moment, why not just say “hey, I’m not able to deal with sh*t at the moment,” instead of appropriating a term that helps some of us explain the sh*t we live with Every Single Day.

        The Kittehs’ Unpaid Help, back to your initial question, I support someone’s decision to self identify as disabled or having a disabling condition, even if a doctor or government agency hasn’t officially deemed you “disabled.” Some docs for example don’t believe conditions like Multiple Chemical Sensitivity even exist, and I don’t think they should be the ones determining whether or not a person lives with daily complications due to a chronic condition.

        1. Bagelsan
          Bagelsan September 8, 2013 at 9:28 pm |

          I assuming you’re not addressing me with that “if you’re not able” bit ’cause I do have an invisible disability; I just don’t think the spoons thing is something we need need need to keep for ourselves because some of us have fewer spoons than others. In my opinion there’s a continuum of spoon capacity, and they can be more of less used up at different times, rather than there being some cut off at which you should be “allowed” to use the spoon metaphor.

        2. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune September 8, 2013 at 9:30 pm |

          This. I define disability really broadly, to include physical and mental illness, both chronic and temporary. But seriously, an hour ago I was weeping with pain in the kitchen because I lifted a quarter-full small bucket of water and my body decided everything from wrist to back was going to seize in response. That’s not the same as an abled person having a bad day. I swear, you can use “end of my tether” or “exhausted” or “don’t feel up to this” or “drained” and it will have the exact same meaning without being appropriative. A thesaurus is your friend!

        3. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune September 8, 2013 at 9:32 pm |

          And uh, yeah, that’s a general you, not you personally, Bagelsan, I know you’re disabled too.

        4. victoria
          victoria September 8, 2013 at 9:33 pm |

          Sorry for the unclear phrasing, Bagelsan. I wasn’t directing my hypothetical at you specifically. I wasn’t presuming you weren’t a person with a disability, I was disagreeing with your opinion, and speaking from my own experience.

        5. Bagelsan
          Bagelsan September 8, 2013 at 9:58 pm |

          I don’t know; I understand wanting to have “spoons” as specifically for disabilities, but I also kinda want it to become a broader thing because I think that might lend legitimacy/understanding to what is meant by it. Which is obviously is not a great way to lend legitimacy (by making something accessible to people at large) in theory, but it reality might be helpful. I want to say “you have a measuring cup, I have a teaspoon right now” and for able people to grok it.

          But then my disability is very on and off, so my spoon count varies everywhere from plenty to none — it makes it hard to remember the bad times when my medication works! If I were actively depressed at the moment I might feel differently.

        6. Bagelsan
          Bagelsan September 8, 2013 at 9:59 pm |

          Thanks for clarifying, btw, victoria; I couldn’t decide if you were being hypothetical on that “you” but it made me cranky anyways. :p

      3. shfree
        shfree September 8, 2013 at 9:58 pm |

        For me, personally, the spoons thing has never really fit, I usually refer to times that I’m not getting along with my meds, or if I have a breakthrough seizure of one sort or another, as having Bad Brain Days. Yeah, I self-limited the amount of time I work a day, but it is more because my job creates an ugly mix of fatigue and stress that is particularly toxic for me, not because of a spoon-type issue. If my job were less physically demanding, I could probably work full time.

        I mean, I suppose it could work if I imagined myself walking along with a standard amount of spoons, then someone comes along, snatches them and throws them all up in the air, cackling evilly as I’m supposed to gather them all up afterwards, knowing that I’m going to be missing a few. And yes, I do picture my brain cackling evilly when it and I aren’t getting along.

      4. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
        The Kittehs' Unpaid Help September 8, 2013 at 10:05 pm |

        Thanks for the feedback, everyone.

        PS you can all call me Kittehs. Save those keystrokes. :)

        1. Bagelsan
          Bagelsan September 8, 2013 at 10:33 pm |

          But Kitteh’s, we have to recognize the economic oppression by cats under which you cruelly suffer!

        2. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
          The Kittehs' Unpaid Help September 8, 2013 at 11:03 pm |

          It’s worse than that – I haven’t got around to changing my nym here, but on MB I’m kittehserf. I AM BOUND TO THE HOUSE LAND!

  29. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve September 8, 2013 at 10:23 pm |

    [Moderator note: Comment content redacted. I appreciate that your intent is supportive here Steve, but this is not a conversation I wish to have here at all. ~tt]

  30. Barnacle Strumpet
    Barnacle Strumpet September 9, 2013 at 8:22 pm |

    That “stupid fucking spoons story” is a remarkably helpful way to describe what we go through and is a completely valid way to say

    (-Revolver)

    If it doesn’t work for you, don’t use it. Don’t crap all over people it does work for in the process.

    (-Mac)

    That quote by Revolver, btw, shows exactly why I feel like I have a right to say something about the spoons thing. I’m usually all for “don’t like it? Don’t read it/comment on it/watch it, etc”. Not that critique isn’t all well and good, but I’m not one to just put down other things people like or feel useful, except…

    When those people constantly erase my experience with said media/trope/concept and speak for me. Revolver fucking spoke for me–said “we”, and said that the spoons story was a “remarkable helpful way” to describe my experiences.

    And this is all too common with that fucking spoons story. It is not universally helpful or great. Shfree apparently also doesn’t like it. I am not the only one, not even the only one Feministe, who doesn’t like it.

    Stop painting it as this be-all and end-all great metaphor for people w/ chronic disabilities’ lives and I’ll happily stop saying how much it sucks. this happens so much.

    I feel about the same way I do about using hunger/food metaphors for asexuality. You don’t need a fucking metaphor to say “My chronic illness/disability drains me of energy and leaves me in so much pain it’s difficult to accomplish all people expect of me” just like you don’t need a metaphor to state “I am never sexually attracted to anyone. Never. Never have been, never will be.”

    As I’ve said in my post on the matter, anyone who pretends they can’t understand such frankly simple and holyshitOBVIOUS concepts is not even worth wasting any more breath on, let alone saying “It’s like if you never got hungry :3″ or “you see, let’s take these spoons”.

    People have the skills and experiences already to understand these things. There are no excuses, other than being douchecanoes.

    1. shfree
      shfree September 9, 2013 at 8:51 pm |

      Shfree apparently also doesn’t like it. I am not the only one, not even the only one Feministe, who doesn’t like it.

      I didn’t say I didn’t like it, I said I don’t think it worked for me. I can totally see how it can be a valuable way of explaining a disability for another person, it just doesn’t really work for my particular condition. Those are two completely different things.

    2. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
      The Kittehs' Unpaid Help September 9, 2013 at 9:57 pm |

      So YOU don’t like it, Barnacle Strumpet, and don’t feel anyone you talk to needs to have it explained that way. Fine, so don’t use it. Who’s forcing you to?

      But other people have said it works for them, and by extension that means there are people for whom such a metaphor is helpful, so what is your problem with other people using it? If they’re talking about their own conditions, they are not talking about you, so they’re not erasing you. It’s not about you at all. Who are you to tell others that they shouldn’t use this metaphor about themselves because you disapprove of it in relation to you?

    3. macavitykitsune
      macavitykitsune September 9, 2013 at 11:42 pm |

      anyone who pretends they can’t understand such frankly simple and holyshitOBVIOUS concepts is not even worth wasting any more breath on

      Ever occur to you that maybe there are people in my life who aggressively refuse to get my disability, upon whom I’m reliant, in no small part BECAUSE I HAVE A DISABILITY, and maybe having a handy metaphor has literally saved my fucking life? Not to mention my employment on at least one occasion? You can fuck right off, Barnacle. Just seriously fuck right off. I’m so glad you have perfectly understanding friends and family and employers and casual passersby. I’m so glad you’ve never had to coddle someone because the alternative is them making you do things that leave you weeping in agony. I’m so glad you’ve never had to educate because the alternative was being forced to travel across town while horribly ill in order to attend some random event or the other. I’m so glad you never had anyone important in your life, anyone who was paying your bills, or anyone who determined if you were employed or not, who didn’t care to understand disability and expected endless explanations. I’m so glad you never had to stand in a hallway and explain to your professor who won’t let you have accommodations that his policy has brought you to a level of pain where you can’t control your fucking bladder. Yay! How nice for you!

      Asshole. You are such an asshole. I can’t even.

      1. Li
        Li September 10, 2013 at 12:26 am |

        I use spoons language to describe myself primarily in conversation with other disabled friends. It’s useful because “I am running out of spoons” is considerably easier and succinct as an explanation of where I am at than having to explain what particular symptoms I am experiencing, especially since metaphor is much less likely to set off further anxiety/depression reactions than explicitly listing the ways in which I am feeling fucked up/ my body is doing stressed out shit.

        You don’t need a fucking metaphor to say “My chronic illness/disability drains me of energy and leaves me in so much pain it’s difficult to accomplish all people expect of me”

        The metaphor, when I use it, isn’t there to make it simpler for people to understand where I’m coming from (though I appreciate that other disabled people use it for that reason), it’s so I don’t have to disclose my symptoms at length, which I find highly stressful and which I don’t always want to tell every person I interact with, because they can be used against me.

  31. tigtog
    tigtog September 10, 2013 at 1:21 am | *

    This #spillover is hitting 250 with this comment, and is getting combative even for #spillover, so it’s time for a new thread and some new discussions.

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