Friday, January 27, 2012

On talking feminism

I love having everyone engaged in conversations. However, when discussing feminism, I often end up having the same conversation, again and again.

It could be with a man or a woman, who is often intelligent and educated and interested with the world around them. It's rather tedious to go through the basics of why women deserve equality, why women are equally intelligent to men, how consent is a good thing etc etc over and over.

The conversation usually gets heated, because someone is being asked to look at things with a different perspective than the one the dominant culture prescribes. Then since I don't always know the answers and I'm not exactly the most eloquent person around, I end up spending a lot of energy explaining what I mean and why what the other person said wasn't helpful/wasn't new/was completely wrong, and finding resources to back me up.

This conversation, quite honestly, is nearly always exhausting for me. Me being me, I have a tendency to avoid it for as long as possible, whether or not that is really to my benefit.

Sometimes though, I like to poke the status quo, and see if I can disturb it a little. Say, by posting a link I find useful to <insert social media site here>. Usually, because the filtering I have on who gets to see my stuff on social media, this begets some good and educational conversation. Unfortunately, there's almost always one who misses the point/feels like being a smartass.

Now, that would be OK if they weren't obnoxious about it and listened to what I'm saying to them. Usually, though, they get defensive, and escalate the discussion by objecting to my arguments on the point I disagree with them for, especially by taking the arguments very personally, becoming defensive and presenting absurd hyperboles which are not at all what I'm trying to say (for example, "please don't do that [say the tone of X feminist article was too angry]" has been interpreted as "you should never talk about any of sexism, racism, homophobia etc because I'm a straight, white man")

As an FYI, if I ask you to stop doing something in a particular conversation. STOP. Think about it for a while. If you're still confused, and you are close enough to me to be able to talk to me in private or private message me, do so. Every message or unquestioning spouting of mainstream opinion which continues the conversation in my space after I've asked you to stop just makes me think you're a bigger douchebag than before.

Well. At least conversations like these places an extra filter on who I should include in my life/on my social media when that happens. Let it be known that I'm judging all of you by your response to stuff ups.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Tone arguments

I've been considering whether or not I should post this, because the person it concerns knows of this existence of this blog, but what the hell. The person this post concerns has probably already written me off as some kind of crazy bitch who is dismissing him because he's a man, rather than disagreeing with him over the relevance of a particular type of argument in a discussion. And for the record, I absolutely believe that men should be involved in discussions of feminism. They just need to actually listen to what women are saying before they speak. Yeesh.


[This post contains sarcasm]

I was having a bit of a discussion about this post with some people on Facebook, until one guy I know decided to tell us all about how he thought the way the post was written was wrong. In his opinion, this post was written in a way which will "make guys become angry and spiteful". Apparently "it's such a shame she "just" wrote a rant post when she has "such a large" audience".

Oh my, haven't we heard that one before. Time to invoke the spoiling the afternoon part of the Terrible Bargain, and see what happens?

I gave him the 2-second 101 "it's not about you or "the guys", and she can write however she damn well pleases because there will always be somebody who gets pissed off. I ask him to please not derail my discussion.

Too late. Totally unpredictably, he gets defensive and escalates his derail.

Apparently, he's "simply" discussing how the blog "could have been better", and I'm derailing "his" discussion by saying "please don't do that".  Apparently there's no "big picture" where he's trying to derail "the system".

What is this I don't even ...?

Better for whom? Him? Because well... the author of the post obviously knows who he is and how to write in a way that will make him happy. Oh. Whose wall are we having this discussion on again? There's no big picture where women's opinions are often dismissed because they're too angry, too nice, too emotional, too detached, too simplistic, too complicated... really?

Apparently now I'm dismissing his opinion by telling him to stay on topic or I will remove his comments. Apparently I should let discussions on my facebook wall go on whatever tangent they go, regardless of whether I like where it's going. Yes, his derail is now 100% complete.

Welcome to The Tone Argument 101, posted on my wall with a tag for each of the derailer and his supporters (people who "liked" his posts). Of course, this is the opportune time to make a new tone argument; about how he think's I've been too harsh on him because he's a man (I asked him to check his privilege when talking about women's writing) and wah wah wah, it's all about him and his hurt feelings and how he's a feminist so I should shut up and listen to him.

Yes, that's totally how it works. Oh wait. No it isn't. In the slightest.

I know someone who doesn't know how to stop digging. Because. Because.

He has a problem when people want to end an argument "suddenly". Apparently I shouldn't direct comments on my facebook wall, and let people go off on whatever tangent they like. And wah wah wah, yes, it's still about how I'm derailing him, in a conversation I started on my wall. And about how "I'm right and he's wrong". And asking me if he should "just stop talking about feminism and sexism and homophobia and racism" etc and make all topics taboo". (As if! But you should listen to women, and homosexual people, and people of colour when you do talk about those things!)


Apparently I'm the one being angry and defensive. All for saying "please don't do that".


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A guy friend of mine recently started calling every female friend of his "sweetheart" and "darling". Gah! Here's my opinion (again!) on people shouldn't do this:

It's overly familiar. This is the sort of language used to talk with a partner. People don't just get to be familiar with another person because of some combination of their genders. People have to earn that privilege. To behave as though someone is close to when they're not is to presume that you already know what they are comfortable with, which is a dangerous assumption to make.

It's patronizing. It's something you might use to talk with a small child. Need I say more?

It suggests entitlement. Entitlement of my affection, or entitlement to receive their affection. Which is hella creepy.


Sunday, January 15, 2012

Forty-fifth Down Under Feminists Carnival

I'm going to be hosting February's edition of the Down Under Feminists Carnival, hooray! Please send submissions via email as the blogcarnival submissions form is still not working. Submissions to wilddamon [at] gmail [dot] com.

Submissions must be of posts of feminist interest by writers from Australia and New Zealand that were published in January. I'll close submissions on February 2nd, so please submit your links by then! Spread the word!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


I think I might suppose to be pleased that a coworker gave me a rose and with a sweet little note. All I'm thinking is "nooooo, not again!".