I've been on a bit of an internet hiatus lately, what with my busy life and all the thoughts cookin' in my head and a vacation to the land of thick rainforests and come-and-go internet signals. But, of course, you can't step away from the feminist blogosphere for long without missing some kind of kerfuffle or other involving calling out and/or flaming and/or angry discussions about triggering behavior, which is always followed up by a widespread and generalized panic about OMG The State of Feminism. Maybe I'm just cynical and world-weary, but here's how I tend to feel everytime this dog and pony show commences:
- It would probably behoove us all to remember that Feminism≠Internet Feminism.
- It would probably behoove us all to remember that Internet Feminists are not a monolithic group. There's a huge range of perspectives and writing styles and personalities and outlooks among feminist blogs, y'all. Feeling disillusioned by the actions of some? Seek out new voices. They're there.
- Criticizing someone's fucked up words or actions is totally different and generally more effective than attacking their character. Maybe their words or actions truly are a reflection of a deeply flawed character. Or maybe they're a generally sincere and good person who has this one flaw or a total lack of experience in this area or whatever. Attacking their character probably isn't going to result in a learning experience for them or a furthering of the dialogue.
- If you're getting a giant ego boost off of calling someone out and escalating the situation into a flame-war, then you probly need to engage in a little soul-searching. Gettin' your metaphorical rocks off in a flame war? It's quite likely that you're oblivious to the beam in your own eye even while you're attacking someone else for the speck in theirs. Step away frm the computer and take a look in the mirror, my friend.
- And finally, feminism is a human activity. It's a social movement engaged in by humans. And humans ain't perfect. We've all got our shortcomings and blindspots and bad days and impulsive moments. So quarrels will arise and insensitive things will be said and tempers will flare. It doesn't mean Feminism is busted. It means feminism is a human activity with it's ups and downs and flaws and moments of beauty and warmth and banality and pettiness. And that's OK.
And anyway...the fighting and hating and swarming...it takes a lot of energy. I need all my energy for the good stuff and the meaningful stuff and the tough stuff in my life. And the ego boost you get from that kinda stuff? It lasts, and it doesn't have a bitter aftertaste.