Thursday, September 9, 2010

OMG WTF is UP with Feminism, y'all?!?

So...feminism. Doesn't it just totally suck ass? What with all the calling out and flaming and triggering and swarming and OMG what the fuck is wrong with feminism?!?

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:

  1. It would probably behoove us all to remember that Feminism≠Internet Feminism.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 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.


  1. Anonymous9/10/2010

    Yes, but what is a feminist?

    This is the view of most ordinary people, a view that I have to agree with -

    Feminists are resentful, belligerent and quarrelsome women. They are also usually ignorant and misinformed with weak self control. Feminists use to be called ‘men haters’ and ‘troublemakers’. They have always been around throughout human history and their main intent is to create ill will, bad feeling, and malice between men and women. The term to describe them is 'misandrists', who have an attitude of 'misandry'.

    The cause is the maternal instinct which regards men as either a mating object when in lust, or a potential danger to the family unit to be driven away when not, by making life as difficult as possible. The male equivalent - male aggression - is the pack hunting instinct. Throughout history this has resulted in armies and wars.

    Mature and well balanced people recognise the problems and control their instincts and emotions using basic social skills and practical common sense, something the selfish feminist is very lacking in.


  2. Well, that's a very narrow and self-serving view of feminism, now isn't it? It is the privilege of the dominant group in a culture to define the groups that have traditionally occupied a lower position in the hierarchy. Thus women are hysterical, irrational, petty creatures. And blacks are primal and unintelligent and childlike. And so on and so forth. Yawn.

    I will grant your point that some women are petty and small-minded, but some men are petty and small-minded too. And many women are mature and well-balanced. And ya know what? A bunch of those mature and well-balanced women are feminists, because they recognize that their biology does not define them and should not determine the opportunities and resources that are available to them.

    And men who can't acknowledge the existence of the many mature and well-balaned feminists out there? Not exactly mature and well-balanced. On the contrary, they're kinda petty and small-minded. Imagine that.

  3. Creolla9/10/2010

    This whole discussion makes me feel world-weary and cynical too. Where did this idea come from that feminists have to be perfect?

  4. Anonymous9/10/2010

    Whew! Thank God someone came in here and mansplained feminism to us! Now it's all perfectly clear.

  5. cheesecakelover9/11/2010

    I think there's a dynamic where we want feminist heroes, and we have high hopes that our favorite bloggers or commenters will be those heroes. But this makes a lot of pressure because we're really, really letdown when one of our heroes says something inappropriate, so sometimes that accounts for the harsh backlash.

  6. I've been staying away from commenting on feminist blogs since a particular scuffle on Feministing where a commenter actually suggested that before anyone made a comment, they should clarify who they were, where they're from, what gender identity they identify as, thisthathisthat. The idea that someone could suggest in all seriousness on a FEMINIST WEBSITE that certain opinions hold more water than others based on gender identity blew my mind. My particular locale doesn't have much of a feminist community whatsoever, so I search for a feminist family online, and to have that crap thrown in my face just made me take a step back from my participation.

    It should be noted that particular idea of saying your who/what/when/where before you say a thing in comment threads isn't exclusive to Feministing, I've seen it elsewhere, but that was where I first saw it. So... /shrug. Its a little disheartening.

  7. Anonymous9/12/2010

    I think all social justice movements run into this in some form. It is the hero thing, but also the real-life difficulty of being truly inclusive.

  8. hippieMama9/12/2010

    I think it all depends on how new you are to the world of feminist blogging too. I tend to just walk away from flamewars now, but in the beginning they held more interest for me.

  9. Anonymous9/13/2010

    It's also a feature of being online. The rhetoric heats up a lot faster when you don't have to look the other person in the eye.