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26 Responses

  1. Andie
    Andie July 1, 2014 at 4:04 pm |

    Odd question here for tigtog: is your Twitter handle a Monty Python reference by any chance?

    1. tigtog
      tigtog July 1, 2014 at 4:44 pm | *

      My twitter handle is @vivsmythe, do you mean my blogging handle? It’s not a Python reference, it’s a Cold Comfort Farm reference. My childhood nickname was Wild Marsh Tigget, because Dad used to read the book aloud when Mum was pregnant with me and they thought toddler me was rather like Elfine – “wild as a marsh-tigget in May”. Tigget -> Tiggy -> tiggytogs -> tigtog

      1. Andie
        Andie July 2, 2014 at 12:23 pm |

        No, I meant the twitter handle.. there was a character in a Monty Python sketch named Vivian Smith-Smythe-Smith.. I thought there was a small chance it might be a reference.

        1. tigtog
          tigtog July 2, 2014 at 5:54 pm | *

          Ah, I see! Nope, Viv Smythe is my given name. I vaguely remember that Python sketch now, I got a few teases about it at school.

        2. tigtog
          tigtog July 3, 2014 at 6:44 pm | *

          BTW, a long time ago I wrote a potted history of the sort of hyphenated family names mocked in that Python sketch at my blog: Hyphenating: who goes first?

        3. Andie
          Andie July 3, 2014 at 10:49 pm |

          Hope I didn’t dredge up any bad memories :\

        4. tigtog
          tigtog July 3, 2014 at 11:04 pm | *

          Not at all, Andie! It was very mild teasing for a week or so after the program was broadcast, then everyone forgot about it (other than the usual occasional teasing I got for having a “posh” surname, which I simply shrugged off because I was indeed the walking encyclopaedia I was called so often (my brother calls me Vivipedia these days), and I knew they were historically inaccurate about it being a posh name (unhyphenated Smyth(e) is just a dialectical variation of common-as-muck Smith), and I was the sort of kid who couldn’t see the point of and therefore was never hurt by factually incorrect disparagements (I realise how fortunate that is in retrospect, because I’m very aware now of how myths/lies have hurt/excluded other people)). By the time I was at uni The Young Ones was on TV so I had people thinking it was *hilarious* to squawk “Vyvyan!” at me, which was *much* more annoying because it was so raucous.

  2. Ally S
    Ally S July 11, 2014 at 6:34 pm |

    @lisaw in this comment regarding Serano’s theory of transphobia:

    Basically the idea I got was that transphobia, like homophobia, is a form of oppression that is intersectional with but not caused by or a subset of sexism. Some feminist writers, some of whom are trans women, argue that homophobia/transphobia/other oppressions are outgrowths of, and therefore less central, than sexism. Just speaking for myself, I know I’ve read some feminist writing about how all kinds of forms of oppression really all come back to misogyny, which is the most important/critical/meaningful/’original’ oppression. I get why that type of argument is offensive to a lot of people, and I’ve been told Serano is one such writer.

    Serano doesn’t argue that all forms of oppression boil down to misogyny. She simply argues that transmisogyny, the form of misogyny that oppresses trans women, is rooted in what she calls “femmephobia”, the hatred/fear of femininity caused by patriarchy.
    As for trans men’s oppression, she argues that it is essentially caused by cissexism, the oppression of trans people by cis people. Serano therefore does the exact opposite of erasing trans men’s oppression.

    (I personally find her theories to be extremely flawed, though. I think that all transphobia is in fact transmisogyny and that trans men have male privilege over trans women.)

    1. lisaw
      lisaw July 11, 2014 at 8:11 pm |

      Thanks for taking the time to explain! I really appreciate it.

      I think that all transphobia is in fact transmisogyny and that trans men have male privilege over trans women.)

      I guess I have a hard time with the first part, though again I’m definitely aware that this is an area I’m not educated enough in.

      1) If a trans* man in misgendered as a cis woman, they could be harassed/discriminated against/oppressed on the basis of their perceived womanhood. That to me seems like it would be properly classified as misogyny, even though it’s targeted a man.

      2) If a trans* man is properly gendered as a man, then I’d agree it makes sense to say they receive male privilege in that situation.

      3) If a trans* man is perceived as trans*, but is harassed/discriminated against/oppressed on the basis that they are trans*- which likely also involved misgendering them as not ‘really’ a man- that to me seems to be an example of transphobia, but not misogyny, and it also seems like the act of misgendering them as not a ‘real’ man would prevent said trans* person from accruing male privilege in that context.

      I realize this is probably poorly-expressed and maybe poorly though-out, but my personal conception of privilege is contextual (to take a totally different example, as a WOC, I have racial privilege in my parent’s country, but am oppressed on the basis of race in my home country).

      I really am sorry if I’m being ignorant or offensive, if I should just stop talking about these things and go read a lot I’m totally open to that. But it seems to me that it erases the oppression of trans* men to say transphobia isn’t real aside from transmisogyny, and that you only have male privilege if society actually reads you as male.

      1. Ally S
        Ally S July 11, 2014 at 9:04 pm |

        Please note that my views aren’t exactly popular among even fellow trans women, but this is what I think:

        Oppression doesn’t only exist within social perception. While it’s true that how one is perceived determines to some degree how one is treated by society, oppression originates from social relations. For instance, I am a WOC as well, and some people perceive me as white. Yet I don’t have the white entitlement that comes with being white, and I have internalized racism, which white people don’t have. I’m also a lesbian, and while I’m not out to most people as a lesbian, I am still oppressed by lesbophobia by virtue of being a lesbian.

        Going back to trans men, we can say that, while a trans man may be attacked on the basis of being perceived as a woman, he still isn’t oppressed by misogyny. Privilege isn’t situationally granted or revoked on a basis of perception. It is determined by power relations. And so trans men have male privilege by virtue of being male.

        But it seems to me that it erases the oppression of trans* men to say transphobia isn’t real aside from transmisogyny

        There’s no doubt that trans men face discrimination for being trans. Saying that the way they are treated by society is a consequence of transmisogyny is simply a different way of understanding the social dynamics that hurt them.

    2. Donna L
      Donna L July 11, 2014 at 10:22 pm |

      Just a very quick comment, because I took a long nap this evening (I’ve done a lot of that since I quit my job!) and have to get to the supermarket before it closes at 11: I wanted to confirm what Ally said about Julia Serano not ascribing to the beliefs that “homophobia/transphobia/other oppressions are outgrowths of, and therefore less central, than sexism,” or that “all kinds of forms of oppression really all come back to misogyny, which is the most important/critical/meaningful/’original’ oppression.” Those beliefs are central to many forms of radical feminism (after all, the “radical” in radical feminism has nothing to do with the word’s usual meaning, but comes from the idea that “radical” = “the root”) — very much including transphobic radical feminism. I can assure you that Julia Serano is no radical feminist, transphobic or otherwise!

      As for what Ally said, I’ll have to read it more carefully before I comment.

  3. gratuitous_violet
    gratuitous_violet July 30, 2014 at 8:29 pm |

    I normally wouldn’t do this, but in response to the Drink The Shaker Kool-Aid discussion in the Open Thread, I am going to just re-post two comments I’ve already left. For the record, I am one of the people who comments there, and I am one of the people who didn’t have an explosive incident re: Shakesville, but rather drifted sadly away.

    I already participated in the Circle Time thread, but this blow-up has been making me think about why I participate here so much (besides this being the best place to comment in a long while!).

    For me, it’s not about MM specifically. It is, in that Shakesville formed a big part of the foundation of my feminism. I left for college the year the blog opened, and I read it pretty much from the beginning, along with the other early websites. I was not a women’s studies major, but I was always active in anti-capitalist and anti-capital punishment stuff, so the early big blogs were incredibly important to me back then. Shakesville was the fun pub blog, Feministing was news bites, Feministe was the 200-level-course free-for-all discussion section, and Sudy and BFP were goddesses among mere mortals. Internet Feminism, as it were, gave me a background in theory.

    I am no longer proud of that fact. I am not proud that many of the feminist blogs and writers (except Sudy, BFP et al, who continued to rock hard and inspired my anti-CP work in the first place) that were formative to 18-year-old me are no longer people I can admire, or people that represent what my feminism is all about. This tumblr community helped me figure out that it wasn’t me that was rotten on feminism as I grew older; rather, parts of feminism were rotting on the inside. To imply that every person commenting here is a terrible hater misogynist troll basically-rapist, as Shakesville is doing, is just sealing the deal with me.

    1. PrettyAmiable
      PrettyAmiable July 31, 2014 at 12:39 pm |

      Hey – I’ve been thinking that I’d like to get more into anti-capital punishment work. Will check out Sudy and bfp – do you by any chance have any other blogs you visit? I’d like to get better acquainted with what work is currently being done before I jump in myself.

      Thanks if you have them and are able to post, and understand if you can’t!

      (Sorry – this thread is already in spillover, so not sure if I should spillover this spillover, but it looks like the SV discussion is happening below).

      1. gratuitous_violet
        gratuitous_violet July 31, 2014 at 9:47 pm |

        Hi! Both usprisonculture.com and the Black Youth Project are really informative. Honestly, the aforementioned bloggers just inspired me to look into CP stuff, and I happened to be living in Berkeley at the time, and you couldn’t throw a stone without hitting an activist group. I was active in the letter writing campaign to save Tookie Williams and Campaign Against Police Executions, which pretty much went defunct to my knowledge after Johannes Mesherle was convicted. Opportunities will vary depending on your location but that should at least get you started!

  4. gratuitous_violet
    gratuitous_violet July 30, 2014 at 8:32 pm |

    And #2:

    I think some recent readers should really try and remember that many, if not most, are basing our experiences on YEARS of reading and/or participating in that space. Some of us close to a decade. Over the last year, we’ve talked about so many little, specific things I couldn’t count them. SV is using that kind of detail against us in order to say we’re obsessive. For some it’s probably true; the laws of the Internet say there must be creeps here. But for unhealthy spaces and communities, just like many other social systems, the evidence is in the totality of the circumstances. There are not always big waving red flags.

    Some of these asks/submits are reminding me of trying to explain the existence of racism or patriarchy to someone who doesn’t want to believe it. We say it’s based on big patterns; they say there’s no evidence; we provide lots of evidence from here and there to make up a pattern; they say it’s obsessive, and we’re making shit up, and aren’t we just looking for things to get mad about?

    Do you know where I learned that process of finding the big pattern in small details? Shakesville. From reading Melissa McEwan. Who once inspired me to be confident in calling out sexist shit that seemed small but represented something big. So what’s the problem?

    If you defenders from SV think I’m pointing this out to be smug or gleeful or pull a “gotcha!,” you’re wrong. Realizing it makes me sad. Incredibly sad.

    I’m not trying to be definitive about anything, nor claiming that nobody at DSKA has ever crossed the line. I just want to give some context for why otherwise seemingly nice thoughtful people might be hanging around there.

    1. tigtog
      tigtog July 30, 2014 at 8:56 pm | *

      Thanks for sharing/reposting those comments, gratuitous_violet.

      It’s years since I myself commented regularly on Shakesville, I just drifted away as fewer posts piqued my interest. Even at my most frequent, I tended to comment on one or two posts a week at most, so SV was never a primary community for me in any case – it was just one of the many feminist blogs I paid attention to. I mention this only to show that I never had as strong an attachment to SV as some others. The most interaction I ever had with Melissa was regarding reposting some of her Feminism101 posts to the Finally, A Feminism 101 Blog (and I still believe those posts have great value).

      I’m not trying to be definitive about anything, nor claiming that nobody at DSKA has ever crossed the line. I just want to give some context for why otherwise seemingly nice thoughtful people might be hanging around there.

      I’m sure that many generally nice thoughtful people are finding the site cathartic. That’s human, and entirely understandable to value a space where people have a common background that allows them to fully sympathise with one’s complaints.

      Nonetheless, the non-moderation of certain comments at SKA that would certainly be disemvowelled or giraffed on this site? I can’t help finding that not just problematic but actively repellent.

      1. Esti
        Esti July 30, 2014 at 9:50 pm |

        [I'm not a poster on SVKA, but I read it semi-regularly. I was never a Shakesville poster, but on occasions I've followed a link over there I've been pretty appalled by some of the moderating I've seen, which is what got me interested in SVKA.]

        I respect the moderating policies here, and honestly they’re probably at approximately what I think of as the “ideal” level of moderation — the really gross and offensive stuff is removed, but there’s still a healthy level of debate and disagreement.

        That said, I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with websites moderating less (or more) than that. Some websites define themselves as safe spaces and moderate things fairly closely (I think of Captain Awkward as being in this category, for example). Some websites have a very light touch with moderating, getting rid of only the really vile stuff, and rely on a like-minded set of commenters to disagree with and/or just ignore garden-variety nasty comments (most of the movie/TV blogs I read are more in that model).

        SVKA has a lighter touch with moderation, but for every comment there that I’ve considered over-the-line, there have been other commenters calling it out. It’s snarkier than many (but certainly not all) social justice sites I read, which I don’t have a problem with; some feminism or social justice sites put a big premium on niceness or extremely careful language, which is valid, but I don’t think that should be a requirement for all such sites.

        Some of the stuff on SVKA strikes me as being unnecessary or overly mean (though it is in the minority). But the Shakesville response to the site is so much more over-the-top and offensive than anything I’ve ever read on SVKA that to me it just seems to be proving the latter’s point. People don’t require your “consent” to talk about things you post on a public website for general consumption, and saying they’re just like rapists is beyond the pale that I am astonished someone who is a prominent feminist blogger (a) even made that statement and (b) hasn’t been roundly criticized for it by every other feminist in the blogosphere.

        1. gratuitous_violet
          gratuitous_violet July 31, 2014 at 10:07 pm |

          saying they’re just like rapists is beyond the pale that I am astonished someone who is a prominent feminist blogger (a) even made that statement and (b) hasn’t been roundly criticized for it by every other feminist in the blogosphere.

          I’d like to highlight and thank you for this, Esti, because I think it’s an important crux of the matter that is largely being overlooked. I understand that many people can and do feel differently about the value of SV, and DSKA, and everyone is entitled to disagreement. But this is just such an outrageous line of criticism that my jaw hit the floor.

          Everyone who insisted that the problem was just with toxic individuals, and not *F*eminism’s institutional inability to fucking clean house, should take a good hard look at what’s going on here before disingenuously asking why people like Professor Feminism were allowed so much leeway in feminism for so long.

      2. gratuitous_violet
        gratuitous_violet July 30, 2014 at 9:55 pm |

        No, I get that. Some comments have been left that I wouldnt approve, especially re: disabilities. Some of the people there who only seem to be there for the lulz give me skepti-brow also. I do understand how it would cross the line for others. I do wish people (not you, because you aren’t) would not equate individual morals with a group website. For example, I never thought that every commenter at Feministe was racist and trans*phobic even though I understand why others found the atmosphere hostile on those axes.

        Whoever made the comparison to ex-Mormon/quiverfull sites was on to something I think. Cathartic conversations always seem to rncourage outside nastiness, as people from the outside use intragroup conflict to bash on the whole group (kind of reminds me of whenever there used to be a post discussing a specific religious issue on Feministe, the discussion would be drowned out by people who want to grind their ax on religion in general).

        I’m having a hard time making this make sense now that I’m home from work away from air conditioning, so I hope that made sense!

        1. gratuitous_violet
          gratuitous_violet July 30, 2014 at 9:57 pm |

          Why that was all in quotes, I have no idea.

      3. Donna L
        Donna L July 30, 2014 at 10:09 pm |

        the non-moderation of certain comments at SKA that would certainly be disemvowelled or giraffed on this site? I can’t help finding that not just problematic but actively repellent.

        But the thing is, Feministe itself was around for a whole lot of years before highly transphobic (and racist) comments began to moderated on any kind of consistent basis; the disemvowelling and giraffing are only a couple of years old. When I first began commenting here a little less than three years ago, I remember times when I and others had to beg for a long time before transphobic comments were removed.

        So by that standard, are you saying that Feministe was an actively repellent site until a couple of years ago? I didn’t necessarily think so, and — unlike MM now vis-a-vis Shaker Koolaid — certainly didn’t think Jill was directly responsible for every awful thing any commenter ever said. Nor did I consider myself tainted by continuing to hang around here when people were saying such things. I did think the place was insufficiently moderated. And the same may well be true of Shaker Koolaid. But remember: it’s only a year old. Who knows how things will develop in the future.

        1. tigtog
          tigtog July 31, 2014 at 12:46 am | *

          So by that standard, are you saying that Feministe was an actively repellent site until a couple of years ago?

          My impression was that some of the comments that were once let stand here were actively repellent to many people, yes.

          Given that moderation policy at the time was deliberately relatively laissez-faire and everybody knew it, I don’t blame the mods at the time for every awful thing any commentor said either. But I pushed for more moderation in the interests of building a less repellent community here that didn’t cater only to the thickest-skinned, and we gradually changed those norms, and I think it was important to do that.

          I never used the word ‘tainted’ with respect to contributors at SKA. I believe they are entitled to have a community that serves a similar function to the ex-Mormon/ex-quiverfull sites mentioned in the Open Thread, where they can collaboratively process an experience that they found harmful. The site-runners and contributors get to structure it how they like. They don’t get to be free from criticism for some of the ways that structure allows spiteful mockery and other toxic content to stand.

        2. Donna L
          Donna L July 31, 2014 at 1:32 am |

          And I’m very glad you did push for it. Thank you.

        3. AMM
          AMM July 31, 2014 at 10:57 am |

          (tigtog:)

          I pushed for more moderation in the interests of building a less repellent community here that didn’t cater only to the thickest-skinned

          I’m also (like DonnaL) glad you did. Even though I wasn’t in the target demographic, the flaming and put-downs gave me a bad feeling, to the point that for a long time I only rarely even looked at this site.

          The sad part was that I think most of the people who were making the nasty comments were well-intentioned, but since there was no consensus of what was an acceptable way to talk about things, people got in the habit of responding to things they found offensive with replies that were even more intemperate.

    2. Fat Steve
      Fat Steve July 31, 2014 at 5:19 pm |

      …in response to the Drink The Shaker Kool-Aid discussion in the Open Thread, I am going to just re-post two comments I’ve already left…

      gratuitous,

      Thanks so much for sharing these. I have been perplexed by all the discussion re: Shakesville/SVKA and didn’t really get what all the ardor was about. I could tell merely from the comments on. Now I get it, and I am going to attribute my age for not understanding the depth of feeling involved. I guess what I was saying in my head was ‘WTF, if this blog is so bad, why are these people even dignifying it by thinking about it? If you want to trash a blog, I’m sure there are worse ones not run by feminists.’ After reading your post, I realize how stupid and short sided that attitude is. I also realized I clearly wasn’t considering people who participated in community from their teens, which is why I bring up the age thing, because when I was a teen there were no blogs. However, as a 45 year old, my favorite band is still my favorite band from when I was 13 years old so I can see why it bothers you when something you’ve “grown up” respecting is something you’d want to maintain respect for. Whilst I appreciate that the anti-Shakesville crowd is not all people who started visiting in their teens, and many have been driven away by specific attacks on them, seeing your comments, which just show someone who has lost respect for something she used to really admire, puts the whole thing in perspective for me (or at least takes some level of WTF out of it…)

      1. gratuitous_violet
        gratuitous_violet July 31, 2014 at 9:59 pm |

        Thanks, Steve, it really means a lot to me. I wasn’t really out to change any minds, just wanted to give some perspective. It makes me feel so much better that people from this community that I respect can be moved by my sad tale of blogular disillusionment. Thanks again for reading and listening.

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