Friday, December 30, 2005

The Old "Separate But Equal!" Argument

Cheryl Lindsey Seelhoff over at Alas, A Blog has proposed creating women's-only threads there. Well, Radical Feminist Women's Threads, anyway.

Because that's what feminism is all about: creating a women's-only treehouse so we can sit up there and throw eggs at the men's-only treehouse.

Yea. That'll be real productive.

Leaving the whole "What's a radical feminist?" thing alone for now, I've gotta say, I was pretty shocked to hear this.

There are just so many anti-feminist posters here. There are way too many men here, and too many of them seem to be here for the express purpose of making feminist discussion unlikely to impossible.

"There are way too many men here" WTF??

Wow, we're in trouble.

Now, I support women's only spaces. When you're counseling women who've been abused by men, the last people on earth they'll want to deal with for awhile will be men. If they have the right counselors, that hopefully won't last more than a year or so.

Because I hate to break it to everybody: the world is composed of men and women - and even some people who are in-between - and we have to deal with all of them out here on the bus, on train platforms, at bars, in restaurants, on the street, on the plane, at work (oh yea), and at home.

Even the trolls and the assholes.

And if you can't deal with them in cyberspace, how the hell are you going to deal with them in real life?

If you're having such a terrible time with trolls and anti-feminist posters, somebody's not moderating properly. Take some advice from Teresa, and take back control of your boards.

Sure, I have a smaller audience than Alas, but I don't have trouble with trolls. Outright assholes just get deleted. I've only had to delete an asshole's post three times before he headed out for greener pastures where he could find some "radical feminists" to argue with. There are things I'm not going to engage with, stuff like "I think homosexuality is a birth defect" and "Come to my website! Feminists give the best head!"

Why would I put up with that crap? One asshole breeds more assholes.

I'll delete to my heart's content: it's my blog.

But one thing I will NEVER do is ban "all men" from my blog. That's as bad as what men do with "men's only" clubs and exclusive "boys only" military schools and "boys only" at the front ideas. Reverse sexism, silencing men's voices, is just as bad as silencing women.

I try to be a good moderator. If two people start a flaming argument, I tell them to cool down and get back on topic. I'll do that twice if it happens (yes, it's happened a couple of times), and if they don't do it, I'll tell them to go cool off and come back when they want to have an intelligent conversation. If the flaming continues (and it hasn't, yet, I have very good readers), then I start deleting (I really outta do TNH's disemvowling thing, but I haven't reached a point where that's neccessary).

Because here's a wake-up call to everybody in the blogworld:

People are going to disagree with what you say. They're even going to hate you for it. I'm sure I have "regular" readers who come over here just because they hate me so much (a lot of people on the Baen boards certainly did).

There it all was in familiar detail, the same dynamics I've seen play out over the years on so many boards where feminists have attempted to gather: the trolling, the misogyny, the endless diversion,the ongoing defenses of indefensible anti-feminist, anti-woman behaviors, and always a tiny number of dogged and persevering radical feminist militants who are relentlessly baited and goaded, to the point they respond decisively, vehemently, passionately, even angrily and (gasp) stridently, at which point all hell breaks loose, they end up accused of being "bullying" or "silencing" or "overbearing" or "domineering" or "rude" and "uncivil," to the point that, as with Ginmar, they end up leaving the boards entirely (or being banned).

Yea, it's called life. Sucks, doesn't it? The same thing will happen if you're in a group of frat boys or radical conservatives. In fact, it'll likely happen if you're in any of the southern states or 98% of the midwest. If you're the lone "feminist" (let alone "radical feminist" - whatever the hell that is, what, the ones who want a world without men? What's that mean, "radical." I don't think free healthcare, equal pay for women, better laws against rape and etc. is all that "radical") you're going to get harrassed about it. What better place to cut your teeth than online? There's less threat of physical violence, there's usually fewer people trying to attack you at once, and you have time to sort our your reply before you make a fool out of yourself.

Of course, if you choose to hang around a place where everybody thinks, acts, talks, and behaves just like you, you won't have any experience with debate, with a free range of ideas. You won't really be forced to think. You can all sit around and smoke cigars (or knit. Something tells me some of these "radical feminists" she's talking about are likely big on the knitting) and thump each other on the back for being so good-natured about being repressed by "the system." Which, of course, they won't feel they have to engage in because they have their own club.

After all, who needs to engage with the other half of the population?

What's the point of talking to men? All those men so set in their ways.... what's the point of engaging them with your ideas, getting their arguments, creating one of your own? I mean, if they can out-argue you, maybe you'll realize you need to go back to the drawing board and refine the way you speak about things, and what a lot trouble that would be!

Which means, of course, that the radical feminist voice and presence is ultimately silenced, erased.

Well, they weren't so radical then, were they? If you can't argue or ignore flamers, you must not have much of an argument.

The world is not full of sugar and spice. And worse than that - you make feminism a "woman's space" and you cut out half the people who have help move feminism forward. Cut them out and they won't see it as anything that effects them anyway. Why should they care? They aren't even allowed to talk about it. You think they're going to take it up in a locker room?

Ha.

Let's just shut down all the feminist blogs and boards to "women's only" spaces, only let women talk about "women's issues" like, say, equal rights (fooled me. This only effects women?).

Seperate spheres doesn't solve anything. It just drives us all further apart. It drives yet another wedge between the sexes, both of whom - guess what? - are human.

I hope the feminists at Alas aren't forgetting that. If they are, they're no better than the old boys.

The solution is proper board moderation, not cutting out half your audience.

55 comments so far. What are your thoughts?

Timo Honkasalo said...

"or knit. Something tells me some of these "radical feminists" she's talking about are likely big on the knitting"

Every so often I've come to think that some person is really cool, in a totally kickarse way, and then they just have to turn around and pull the rug right under me. I guess that's life, too. 

Posted by Timo

Ide Cyan said...

Take some advice from Teresa, and take back control of your boards. 

Ampersand, aka Barry, who runs Alas, A Blog, is a man. He's the one in control there, and he's been banning feminists and refusing to ban anti-feminist trolls because he likes to argue with them. That's what's been driving feminists away, and why they cannot "take back" control of that blog.

And I can't believe I'm reading this anti-separatist panic bullshit on your blog of all places. Did you burn your Joanna Russ books this week?! 

Posted by Ide Cyan

Kameron Hurley said...

I do, of course, know that Amp's a man - I guest-blogged at his place last year.

And if he is indeed doing what you say: banning feminists and letting trolls roam, then the problem is the exact one I stated - he's not moderating his boards in such a way that facilitates good debate.

I don't know that I'd call what I said an "anti-separatist panic." I'd say it was a post addressing my concern for the "separate but equal" language I was seeing over at Alas.

Safe spaces are great - separate but equal is a problem. In education (whether separated by race or sex), restaurants, etc. What we need to do is help people learn to respect one another, interact together, not ban them from being in one another's prescence.

I think that going down that roads can lead to bad things. I think fundamentalist Muslims would argue that "women's spaces" and the veil protect women, when the best way to protect women is to help men understand that women are people. If women aren't even allowed into male spaces and vice versa, and no dialogue gets going, how are they going to believe that? On blind faith?

If you look at thinks like homophobia, you'll find that some of the most homophobic people are the ones who don't realize that they've ever met or interacted with homosexuals. Once they get introduced to gay couples or people and realize they're people, all of a sudden, that prejudice begins to deteriorate.

You can only go on believing "radical feminists" are the devil if you've never been able to meet up with and interact with feminists. "Feminist" is still a bad word in a lot of places.

So I don't think that what I said was bullshit, and I don't think that the fact that I think men and women are people and need to learn to get along together makes me less of a feminist. In fact, isn't the definition of feminism the belief in the equality and humanity of women?

And of course I haven't burned my Russ books. I love her stuff. It doesn't mean that I agree that the only way women will ever be able to find their true worth and independence is in a world without men.

I think it's up to feminist women *and* men to convince others and *ourselves* that women are strong and independent people.

I don't think women can do that alone, because there's a whole other half of the world to take into account. And once you convince the women, you're going to need to convince the men, too.

Or blow them up.

I guess we could do that, too.

But then you'd have all the anti-feminists to deal with.

And I don't know, but I think I'd get pretty tired of just giving up and killing everybody who didn't agree with me.

 

Posted by Kameron Hurley

Kameron Hurley said...

Side note:

Also, if it's Barry's perogative to run a troll-filled blog, I don't know that there's anything women (feminist or not) could do about it. If he wants a feminist blog, he'll moderate it. If he doesn't (and it's good of other women to point out to him that they feel it's not being run that way, in case he *does* want to run a feminist blog), then he won't.

And if that's the case, and women have pointed out they don't want to be there because they feel they're being unfairly banned, then women will have to find another blog. I haven't been reading Alas regularly for some time now because I thought the comment moderation sucked and the posts weren't as good.

If everybody else's space sucks, shit, go out and start a new one.

But I don't think that not letting men comment (except for the moderator, I guess) is the answer.

cija said...

Yea, it's called life. Sucks, doesn't it? The same thing will happen if you're in a group of frat boys or radical conservatives. 

I'm trying to think of reasons why I would want to recreate the experience of being among frat boys in my online life, and I am completely at a loss. Lots of things in life are out of your control. But talking to people online is an artificial, voluntary association. I want it to be as worthwhile as I can make it - why should I make sure I'm talked over and ignored here, just in case it happens to me out there?

I'm not, as it happens, interested in officially designated women-only spaces, but I don't think that everyone who is is a touchy-feely earnest coward, either, much less interested in "safe space." I don't think other women are "safe". That's not why I want to talk to them.

Of course, if you choose to hang around a place where everybody thinks, acts, talks, and behaves just like you, you won't have any experience with debate, with a free range of ideas.

Dude. In your experience, do feminists not argue with each other all the damn time?

(Here via a link from ide_cyan.)

 

Posted by cija

Jennifer Warwick said...

To date, the worst experience I've had posting on a blog was on a feminist blog, when I wrote on my observation of knee-jerk (positive and negative)reactions to social and bio gender research. My insistence that no sexism is good sexism - that man-bashing is not, in fact, somehow more "evolved" than women-bashing - earned me vitriolic personal attacks, full of a surprising amount of venom. (This happened on some of my other posts to the blog as well, but this episode was particularly mean-spirited.) One person, I assume trying to be helpful, explained to me that I could not call myself a feminist with that POV, and in the future should identify myself as a humanist instead.

I have no idea if the comments were from men or women, since few commenters used real names. I no longer post to or even read that site - and not because it has no value (it had great info). I did not leave it because my ideas were attacked; I can handle that. I left it because I was attacked on a personal level, by people who never met me or read my writing, and who hid behind false names; and no moderator stepped in at any time to help bring us back to topic.

I don't care whether I am "safe." What I care about is being treated with the respect that, as a group, we insist on for others. Both men and women can do that - and both men and women can refuse to do so. And I can go where I choose. 

Posted by Jennifer

VJ said...

Kameron is right here. This is a silly argument on so many different levels, it would take quite some time to deconstruct it all. Suffice it to say that there are several court cases making their way through the system that do argue in favor of the re-institution of publicly funded single sex schools, more or less for much the same reasons cited for 'single sex blogs', ie. It's just more 'natural' for girls to be separate from boys, and they learn and get along so much better that way, etc.

Now elements of this type of reasoning may even be attractive to many people, but still the question remains 'Is this good public policy?' What does it advance? There are no doubt some advantages to 'separate but equal' in aspects of pedagogy, but fairly quickly, nothing seems quite 'equal' when the bottom line for funding is announced. That's where the rubber meets the road, and where Plessy failed generations of African Americans (and others) in a Jim Crow America prior to 1965.


Now what does all this legalistic crap have to do with mere feminist 'blogs'? It's all about arguments in the public sphere. If you are unwilling or unable to engage your opponents or understand their arguments for a particular public policy position, this puts you already several steps behind. If you shrink from formulating rigorous positions and fully engaging the opposition, they've already driven you from the field. Advantage: neo con BS'ing Bushista's! This happens all the damn time in Real politics. If you can't or won't explain your position and defend them fully, well the opposition will do it for you in a much less attractive fashion.


So sure, demand and expect civility and fairness in debate, if only here in the blogosphere and no place else. It's a space that you own. That much we can all hope for. But expecting to get the same sort of debate from just like minded individuals vs. people who disagreee with you? No that won't happen. So stomp down on the real trolls, weed out the merely meaninglessly obstreperous if needed. But no one this side of Saudi Arabia or Iran needs to have separate rooms for males and females, just yet. The government may in their infinite wisdom come to demand this kind of censorship soon enough however. Cheers, 'VJ', ga.  

Posted by VJ

La Gringa said...

I LOVE YOU!

I wish more people had this kind of common sense. I remember when I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area and the formerly women's only Mills College decided to start allowing men into their graduate programs. Female students were holding each other and WEEPING on the news. It made me ill.

Keep up the smart posting, and Happy New Year! 

Posted by La Gringa

XY said...

Well I can't help but think you are being a little unreasonable. It is all about choice, and if a feminist chooses to ban the male sex then I think that is a reasonable choice to make.

I personally believe that science is advancing in such a way that in the future human beings will live in an Amazonian world, that is to say one in which the male sex have been eradicated. I know that is a long way down the line, but it is certainly a possibility.

I am male myself so this is not a feminist argument as such, but I am not sentimental about my sex, and don’t see that it must go on forever. Certainly the male obsession with science has made this a possibility, and of course there is the irony that man has made himself redundant. But that is such a great irony!

I see this as a positive step forward for humanity. The world would be better with only women in it as they are undoubtedly less prone to violence etc. Men may give you medical science and running water, but they also split the atom and create nuclear weapons, but in an Amazonian world the male legacy would still be there to benefit the inhabitants and could still be taken forward by the female sex.

Anyway, that’s just my own opinion on the matter. I have digressed a bit. All I am saying is that the exclusion of the male sex is not an inherently a bad thing. 

Posted by XY

Brendan said...

At the risk of dipping a toe into this, let me just say I think the idea of invoking the Amazons as a herald of a less violent society is more than a little bit of a self-negating idea.

-Brendan 

Posted by Brendan

Patrick said...

Dude, Brendan, what are you thinking? Amazons worshipped the Great Mother, and they hugged a lot, and shared their feelings, and painted each others' nails at sleepovers, not because they were giving in to sexist oppression, but because they liked for their nails to be pretty.

If we had an Amazonian society today, there would be no murder, and no violence, because everyone knows that women aren't naturally able to even consider the notion of violence. That is why, if you are in the woods and you see a bear with little bear cubs nearby, you know that you are safe, because a bear with bear cubs nearby must be a mama bear, and as a female, mama bears only know how to nurture and cuddle.

Yep, if we had an Amazonian society, it'd pretty much be one big "Moonlight & Valentino" and "Fried Green Tomatoes" and "Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood" marathon, interspersed with the happy Lifetime movies, while only the happy Indigo Girls songs played in the background.

Everyone knows that women just aren't naturally capable of considering violence. I know that Kameron certainly isn't. When guys harrass her on the street, she just sighs and lets a single tear roll down her cheek, and then she hugs the harrasser and lets him know that she forgives him. She totally doesn't imagine putting a knee into his crotch and then using his neck as a handle while she slams his head against a fire hydrant, because she's a woman, and women don't have these thoughts. 

Posted by Patrick

XY said...

Oh now Patrick dear boy, I do believe you are being sarcastic.

You know perfectly well with of the two sexes have the worst behavioral record, and it is disingenuous of you to claim that because the female sex is not absolutely perfect, that it is therefore no better than the male sex. The male sex is considerably worse.

Brendan said...

You don’t happen to have a small mustache, do you? These ideas about getting rid of whole sections of the population based on their “record” seem to go along with little mustaches. I must know.

There’s something utterly depressing about the idea of gender absolutes. Actually there’s a lot depressing about it, including the fact that there’s remarkably little evidence for it as a meaningful factor independent of concerns about socialization, but apart from that probably the worst aspect is that it’s definitionally sexist. Sexism, like racism, like every other form of maladaptive heuristic in this sphere, operates on the principle of taking a definable group and assigning the group various characteristics which are then assigned to the individuals.

This is never a good thing. What you’ve written may look superficially more “feminist” since it seems to praise the female sex (“positive step forward for humanity”), but it relies on dividing human achievement into gendered camps, and that’s silly. For every doctor, there’s been a midwife; nuclear weapons could not have been built without the discoveries of Marie Curie, and so on. Men and women have lived in each others’ company from the beginning, and attempting to bisect human history in retrospect defies the reality of that interdependence and collaboration. If anything, it conforms to previous forms of sexism.

No matter how “positive” a gender generalization looks in theory, it never is in practice- it denies individuals the chance to be themselves rather than an expression of, or freakish exception to, their supposed gender norms. Feminism as a movement was arguably born out of the knowledge of this, if one cares to use “The Feminine Mystique“ as a jumping off point with its realization that the roles women were playing in society in that time and place were by no means a perfect compliment to some unchanging Essential Feminine Nature. Assigning to women the role of angel in the house, redeemer of men in her purity and virtue, the better half of humanity etc. etc. has a long history as a method of trapping women on pedestals and denying them the right or the social approval required to become, say- scientists. Or boxers, perhaps; telling a woman that she’s less violent by nature than men is another way of telling her your know more about her than she does, because you can see that she’s got breasts.

I doubt the more extreme forms of this process, such as forcing women to “guard their purity” lest they risk honor killings in Pakistan for instance, need even be touched on. It’s tough to fight or invent anything when you’re locked inside wearing a burqa, because you’re too pure to be allowed to mix with others.

As has also been pointed out many times by others more eloquent than I, negative stereotyping of men is equally sexist both on the face of things and for the purposes to which it’s frequently turned. Leaving aside the obvious prejudice of the idea that men are naturally violent, it must be remembered that to say someone is naturally violent because of a factor they can’t control is equally to say they have no responsibility for their conduct. It is, in short, the boys-will-be-boys excuse which has been used to defend every sort of indefensible conduct for as far back as we have recorded history.

And this is the basic practical issue with gender determinism: it demands so little of all of us. It’s the easiest thing in the world to make assumptions about people based on simple rules and prejudices, which is why we all do it to one degree or another and why we even have ideas like socialization to consider. It’s easy as a man to buy into the idea that the wrong you do is just attached to your penis, and certainly doesn’t come from who YOU are, or the choices you make. It’s a wonderfully small-minded outlook on life. But it doesn’t hold up; people are too weird and cool and interesting and diverse for you to think you know much of anything about them based on what’s between their legs.

Thank God/dess. 

Posted by Brendan

Patrick said...

And yet.

I don't see any value in discussing which sex is better or worse.

Generally speaking, men tend to be a bit taller and a bit stronger in the upper body, than the women of their culture. Societal evolution pushed men into the hunter-gatherer role, because they couldn't nurse and because they were a whole lot more expendable to a small tribe than a woman of child-bearing age. When you get enough tribes in one place, people start fighting over resources, and then you have war, and once you have war, you have a lot of building and a lot of shake-up, and once the war is over, the men, who have gotten used to dehumanizing the enemy and killing things, tend to decide that the system of government that worked well for commanding a group of people at the task of killing other people is a great system of government to use in the peaceful organization of the area.

And so you have men giving orders, and when the women bring up the possibility that this might not be the best way to run things in peacetime, the women become witches or unclean or mentally inferior, and a lot of male philosophers come up with justifications for why they should stay home and have babies. Often, the justifications contradict earlier justifications, but the male philosophers soldier on.

It's easy to say that the men are evil, but the men didn't start the whole series of events that led to the soldiers being in charge. History isn't quite that easy, most of the time. The blame lies on everybody's shoulders -- the men who did the fighting, the women who encouraged them or ordered them or didn't try to find another solution or fought right there alongside them, everybody -- or nobody's shoulders, since they probably didn't intend for it to happen and they're all long-dead at this point, anyway.

What we have is a world where the men make more money for doing the same work, and they also die seven years earlier, on average. They are encouraged to play sports, while the women are not. The women are encouraged to express a wide range of feelings, while the men are not. Which do you value more, high school football or emotional self-expression without being called a sissy? Women in the United States do not have the chance to gain glory and honor by serving on the front lines of a fighting unit (at least in the conventional sense -- they still end up in combat, though). On the other hand, they also aren't raised as often with the helpful notion that killing other people is the way to prove that you are strong and sexually able, which leads to all kinds of emotional screwups in a world that, generally speaking, offers limited socially acceptable ways to physically hurt people. The men are not raped as often as the women are raped, but they are murdered in far greater numbers.

In your utopian world where there are no more men, what happens? Do all the women stay in the stereotypical nurturing role you've got set up, so that everyone is nurturing and nobody is aggressive? It would be a wonderful world, except that aggression evolved as a behavioral trait because it was necessary at some point. I'm not sure that we're quite ready for a world without aggression yet, at least in some form. When a pandemic hits an area, you need an aggressive response. When a hurricane puts a town underwater, you need an aggressive reponse. This isn't to say that you don't need a nurturing response as well, but you seem, at least from what I read, inclined to toss aggression out the window because it can lead to unhappiness.

Or does your utopian world still have aggression -- does it still have the traditionally masculine roles, except that now they are held by women, who are presumably soft and gentle enough that they don't abuse their power the way that men apparently do? My wife went to a public high school. So did my sister. I'm hearing this secondhand, but teenage girls do a pretty good job of abusing their power in peer pressure situations before the boys ever get involved. Look at the glamour magazines (editors-in-chief: women, usually) that give women all kinds of wonderful motivation to starve, act stupid, and dress pretty. Women in power do not have a track record that is so much stronger as to suggest that an all-woman world would be significantly better.

In fact, the kind of world you're describing would work best, I think, if the gender roles were softened significantly and a lot of gender biases worn away, so that women got equal pay and men weren't looked at funny when they opted to be stay-at-home fathers, so that women were encouraged to participate in athletics and men were encouraged to pay more attention to their health, so that women were encouraged to express aggression and men were encouraged to deal with stress in ways that didn't lead to them having a dramatically higher rate of heart attacks.

You could do all this and then get rid of the men, I suppose, but getting rid of the men seems superfluous after you've gone and done all that work already.

Still, if you've decided that men are the worse sex, that's your decision to make. I disagree with you, in that I don't believe there is a worse sex -- there are just people trying to deal with the rules society has set for them, and sometimes trying to break (or, rarely, change) those rules. You consider the answer to your question to be so obvious as to state it as "perfectly obvious". It is perfectly obvious to me that the question of which sex is worse is neither useful nor productive nor even answerable in any real sense save exceedingly narrow parameters that ignore the larger picture.
 

Posted by Patrick

XY said...

"In your utopian world where there are no more men, what happens? Do all the women stay in the stereotypical nurturing role you've got set up, so that everyone is nurturing and nobody is aggressive?" 

I wouldn't care what they actually did (I would be long since dead), it would then be their  world to shape as they wished.

"You don’t happen to have a small mustache, do you? These ideas about getting rid of whole sections of the population based on their “record” seem to go along with little mustaches."

Oh dear, Godwin's Law, was really inevitable? Answer - yes! Sorry, you lose.

I would actually see it as more Darwinian, survival of the fittest. The fact is you could have an all female world, an all male world would be a much less viable proposition.

Men by their nature are domineering, they cannot help it, now if you want to bang on about genetic determinism you can, but I think human history speaks for itself on that score. You cannot erase all those milleniums of evolution by an act of will. 

Posted by XY

Kameron Hurley said...

Men by their nature are domineering 

Wow. Really? All men? I must not know as many men as I thought I did.

I realize XY's moving everybody off topic, but this is just such an odd thing to assert that I have to respond.

Saying "all men are naturally agressive and domineering" and all women are naturally passive and nurturing" is sexist. It's the old "noble savage" bs, a romanticism of someone based on their race, sex, class, etc.

And I agree that saying an "Amazonian" society would be full of flowers and sunshine where women use their sheilds as garden planters is a very silly thing to say. May want to rethink that one before you go with it in another argument.

On a more serious note, thinking about what Jennifer's saying: yea, I think I know a bit how you felt. It is a little odd to get such a strong reaction to a post that says "I don't think killing/excluding men from conversations is this answer."

But then, there have been arguments that the reason the feminist movement is having so much trouble is that we keep winding ourselves up about stuff like this and fighting among ourselves.

Cija has a very good point - we're pretty busy arguing among ourselves anyway. And if that's the case, it should be no problem to moderate a board to keep the arguers on topic and weed out trolls. The feminists outnumber them anyway, right? 

Posted by Kameron Hurley

That Girl said...

You go Girl! 

Posted by That Girl

XY said...

”Saying "all men are naturally agressive and domineering" and all women are naturally passive and nurturing" is sexist. It's the old "noble savage" bs, a romanticism of someone based on their race, sex, class, etc.”

I never mentioned race, or class! I also never said “all women are naturally passive and nurturing". Please stop refuting things that I have not said.

Look at primates, there is always a dominant male. Look at children, again there is always a dominant male. And you can see this in modern politics too. How many women are political leaders? No female has ever been president of the United States, only one female Prime Minister of Great Britain, and no sign of one since then. Merely coincidence?

”And I agree that saying an "Amazonian" society would be full of flowers and sunshine where women use their sheilds as garden planters is a very silly thing to say.”

Good Lord here you go again! Refuting things I have not even said, why do you keep doing that, is it because my arguments are in theory far more sensible than you are comfortable with? Yes I agree if that had been said it would be pretty silly, but only you  have actually used those particular words.

I have heard no serious counter arguments to the theoretical idea that a single sex world would be a good thing, or that it would inherently be bad.

That Girl said...

Possibly no one has refuted the idea because a single-sex world is inherently a ridiculous idea until one of the sexes can procreate without the other and without technological aid.
Relying on technology alone to perpetuate the species is a bad idea for many reasons.
And if a being can procrate by itself I dont know that it is considered a "sex" per se.
I know I personally would miss the sex but presumably this would be in a future that doesnt include me, unless you are also advocating mass murder on a grand scale. 

Posted by That Girl

XY said...

”Possibly no one has refuted the idea because a single-sex world is inherently a ridiculous idea until one of the sexes can procreate without the other and without technological aid.”

Yes but that is theoretically possible, we don’t quite have the technology yet, but it is reasonable to assume that it will be available in the near future. Therefore I do not regard the subject as being beyond reasonable debate.

”Relying on technology alone to perpetuate the species is a bad idea for many reasons.”

Merely problems for which solutions can be found. We rely on technology for many things, so there is no reason why technology must be inherently bad, it could in fact prove very beneficial as it has done in other areas. After all people are staying alive in much greater numbers than nature ever intended, and this is largely because of technological advances. Nobody complains that out mortality rate is too low.

”And if a being can procrate by itself I dont know that it is considered a "sex" per se.”

Of course it can. If you could produce children without any contribution from the male sex you would not cease to be a woman.

”but presumably this would be in a future that doesnt include me, unless you are also advocating mass murder on a grand scale.”

It wouldn’t include you or me, I certainly have no desire to be annihilated, but like yourself I am mortal, and I must consider future generations to come. I don’t have any hang ups which make me believe that my sex must continue. Human beings have always shaped their world to suit themselves, and the idea of an Amazonian world would simply be a continuation of that tradition.

VJ said...

I'm always gratified as usual that none of this touches upon reality as we live it now in any way. Amazonians? Sorry we're busy paving that sector now at a dizzying rate, get back to us when we run out of the wood, will 'ya? Yeah, I know, all of this was supposed to be happening way back when on the Eurasian steppes. But sorry, right now they're filled with warring states & failed states, and Chechen women suicide bombers. We're having a harder time locating utopia someplace special. A couple of more random thoughts here:

1.) I do find it ironic that as the argument continues over the essential nature of women, we see a permanent collection of pictures of fighting and struggling strong women through the ages on Kameron's/ Brutal Women right side bar. Never makes much of an impression on anyone, right? Might as well have some flashy ads there.

2.) Why not assisted reproduction? Well why not indeed. Ever price this service? No, I thought not. It's not cheap. IVF basic goes for 25K & up, depending on the time devoted to the effort. At a ~25% success rate, count on spending perhaps as much as a first mortgage to get your own bundle of joy that shares some of your genes. So Why men? They're just the cheapest alternative. Sometimes fun, but usually reasonably successful at procreation. It's not like this is conversation or anything. And no, no one mentioned anything about 'satisfaction'.

3.) Dominant females? Men shivered in Thatcher's wake. Hillary makes certain neo-con's weak in the knees and others to lose their minds entirely. All the damn time. This tells me certain things about the people making this claim about males vs. females. They are unmarried and have little or no experience with real live women. There's lots of seriously dominant & aggressive women out there. Some of them get get paid very well for these traits.

4.) Lots of things are theoretically possible. Thank goodness some must remain so. Most just cost too much to pursue with any vigor.

5.) Just for B: A: "the wrong you do is just attached to your penis", but only if it's infected or in flagrante, right?

B: And the women from UNIVAC had much more to do with the bomb & atomic weapons than did Mme. Currie. [thebulletin.org]

There all cleaned up for the next slobbo! Cheers, 'VJ' 

Posted by VJ

Kameron Hurley said...

You guys, seriously, this guy's an idiot. If you want to keep engaging him, that's cool. You guys all have interesting stuff to say, but this is a great example of the sort of trolling mentioned above where the poster hijacks the thread to spout off their own rhetoric without engaging with anyone else's arguments.

Since nobody else is having a conversation here, I'll let it slide, but I'll caution ya'll that this is one of those cyclical masturbatory exercises that may not go anywhere.

Entertaining, though.  

Posted by Kameron Hurley

delphyne said...

""they end up accused of being "bullying" or "silencing" or "overbearing" or "domineering" or "rude" and "uncivil," to the point that, as with Ginmar, they end up leaving the boards entirely (or being banned)."

Yea, it's called life. Sucks, doesn't it?"

Actually it's called sexism. Something feminists usually try to fight.

Why is all your criticism aimed at Heart when it is Ampersand's treatment of feminists that has led to this? Ampersand decided to ban Ginmar and other feminists and keep self-proclaimed sexists on his blogs. He didn't have to ban Ginmar, he chose to do so. He could also choose to reinstate her and start banning the misogynists and bigots but he doesn't. Since when has a man giving a platform to woman-haters have anything to do with feminism?

"Of course, if you choose to hang around a place where everybody thinks, acts, talks, and behaves just like you, you won't have any experience with debate, with a free range of ideas. You won't really be forced to think. You can all sit around and smoke cigars (or knit. Something tells me some of these "radical feminists" she's talking about are likely big on the knitting) and thump each other on the back for being so good-natured about being repressed by "the system." Which, of course, they won't feel they have to engage in because they have their own club."

Pure misogyny. Because of course women who share the same views could never have a decent intellectual discussion or disagree with one another. It's all knitting and niceness. Why don't you read the Margins before making ignorant, sexist comments like this?

http://www.gentlespirit.com/cgi-bin/margins/dcboard.cgi

 

Posted by delphyne

Kameron Hurley said...

Actually it's called sexism. Something feminists usually try to fight. 

So by all means, fight to have a voice on a blog run by a guy. Send him emails and get pissed off. Nothing wrong with that. What I'm saying is: don't be surprised you get treated that way, anywhere. Yea, it's life. And there's a lot of sexism in life.

Pure misogyny.

No, not really. But you can take it that way if it makes you feel better.

Because of course women who share the same views could never have a decent intellectual discussion or disagree with one another.

This, in fact was not what I said. I made a general statement about hanging out in groups of people with the same viewpoint as oneself, and the potential for stagnation. I don't care if it's a group dedicated to femininism or queer theory or drag racing. Getting new opinions, different viewpoints, is going to be really challenging to your overall worldview. Silencing those voices could be termed reverse sexism.

Excluding people because they have penises, or aren't "radical" enough for the group may be doing a disservice not only to the group, but to the person in question.

Idiot trolls are another matter, but I think I already addressed that.  

Posted by Kameron Hurley

That Girl said...

I agree it's useless to engage the trolls. Im trying to work on not responding to the oh-so-passive-agressive "Well, since no one has even addressed by ridiculous BS I must be right."
It's difficult, my own issue obviously. It makes me very glad that the arguement is on the internet because in person I would really be tempted to smack someone.
Not that I am logical, non-passive-agressive or physically able to handle myself - I am a girl after all.
You have a lot more patience than I do. Kudos. 

Posted by That Girl

Kameron Hurley said...

That Girl - yea, after awhile you can tag the people who just want to sit around and hear themselves "talk" without listening to a word you're saying. I chalk it up to lost causes. Mainly because I realize there are people who actually *do* want to engage with you and hash out differences of opinion, and wasting all that energy on losers is a sad use of resources.

It *is* hard - you hate to ignore or walk away from people who are so obviously clueless, but at the same time, I'd rather be talking to you or Jennifer or Wendryn or somebody worthwhile than snickering at a troll.

Entertaining, but ultimately unproductive.

And yea, in person... eh, this one would get a Coke poured on his head.  

Posted by Kameron Hurley

delphyne said...

"No, not really. But you can take it that way if it makes you feel better."

It doesn't make me feel better that it was misogynistic. It would make me feel better if a feminist wasn't characterising other feminists' activities like that.

"This, in fact was not what I said. I made a general statement about hanging out in groups of people with the same viewpoint as oneself, and the potential for stagnation. I don't care if it's a group dedicated to femininism or queer theory or drag racing. Getting new opinions, different viewpoints, is going to be really challenging to your overall worldview. Silencing those voices could be termed reverse sexism."

We have to hang out in the real world with different points of view or rather we have to exist in an oppressive environment, that in itself will probably ensure that feminism doesn't stagnate. From the point of political discussion and organising having the opposing points of view is likely to derail the discussion and put a stop to any real political change. If the ANC invited racist Afrkaaners round to offer the opposing point of view when they were fighting apartheid I'm willing to reconsider that idea, but you know, I don't think they did.

"So by all means, fight to have a voice on a blog run by a guy. Send him emails and get pissed off."

Actually I've stated my criticisms of him there and called for feminists not to post at Alas until he reinstates Ginmar and his other feminist critics and does something about the bigots he gives a platform to.

"Nothing wrong with that. What I'm saying is: don't be surprised you get treated that way, anywhere. Yea, it's life. And there's a lot of sexism in life."

No! Really? And there's me who became a feminist because I like knitting. What a revelation. Sexism, eh? Who'd have thought it?
 

Posted by delphyne

Kameron Hurley said...

It would make me feel better if a feminist wasn't characterising other feminists' activities like that. 

Like what? Is this about the knitting comment again? If you go back to the original post, you'll note that was a dig at the author of the "let's only include radical feminists in our discussions" post. And I stand by that one. It's a stereotype, yea, but I thought her "argument" deserved a little stereotyping. After all, she was painting herself that way.

What is it with all the hostility about the offhand knitting comment? This is like that offhand Mormon comment I made six months ago. People grab hold of the trimmings instead of the meat of an argument and start shaking. Easier to engage with, I guess.

If the ANC invited racist Afrkaaners round to offer the opposing point of view when they were fighting apartheid I'm willing to reconsider that idea, but you know, I don't think they did.

Uh, actually, they did. That's why apartheid ended more or less peacably instead of exploding into the bloody civil war everybody thought it was going to. It was years and years of negotiations among all of the political parties and the sharing and then giving over of power from the Afrikaaners to the ANC that made SA what it is today. Remember all those pics of De Klerk shaking Mandela's hand? Negotiations. Bringing everybody to the table. Discussion. The National Party ("those racist Afrikaaners") are still a minority party in SA today. Nobody eradicated the party.

SA probably isn't the example you're looking for here.

Actually I've stated my criticisms of him there and called for feminists not to post at Alas until he reinstates Ginmar and his other feminist critics and does something about the bigots he gives a platform to.

Great. Good for you. And if he wants a bigot-free environment, I'm sure he'll heed you. But ultimately it's his site. What's with everybody asking "permissions" from a guy anyway? This is the real kicker to that whole argument. Tell him to fuck off.  

Posted by Kameron Hurley

delphyne said...

"It's a stereotype, yea, but I thought her "argument" deserved a little stereotyping. After all, she was painting herself that way."

She wasn't painting herself that way. You were. Like I said go and read the Margins instead of pretending you know what it's like.

"What is it with all the hostility about the offhand knitting comment?"

It's sexist, as was this -

"if you choose to hang around a place where everybody thinks, acts, talks, and behaves just like you, you won't have any experience with debate"

Women don't need to include bigots in our conversations (which is what happens at Alas) to experience debate.

"Uh, actually, they did. That's why apartheid ended more or less peacably instead of exploding into the bloody civil war everybody thought it was going to. It was years and years of negotiations among all of the political parties and the sharing and then giving over of power from the Afrikaaners to the ANC that made SA what it is today. Remember all those pics of De Klerk shaking Mandela's hand? Negotiations. Bringing everybody to the table. Discussion. The National Party ("those racist Afrikaaners") are still a minority party in SA today. Nobody eradicated the party."

You're talking about the end of apartheid, when the ANC had managed to get the world on its side and rightly turn South Africa into a pariah state and they'd finally brought the white racists to the table. During the time they were fighting apartheid the ANC did not sit around worrying about whether their arguments were stagnating because they hadn't included a racist point of view that day.

"What's with everybody asking "permissions" from a guy anyway? This is the real kicker to that whole argument. Tell him to fuck off."

I'm not asking permissions from Ampersand. I'm asking for solidarity from other feminists as was Heart. I've told him to fuck off because of his treatment of feminists and his toleration of bigots. Have you? 

Posted by delphyne

Kameron Hurley said...

She wasn't painting herself that way. You were. Like I said go and read the Margins instead of pretending you know what it's like. 

You sure are pimping this site alot. Are you saying I don't know what sexism is until I read the message boards you frequent (or you moderate?). You obviously haven't read this blog much, which means you don't know anything about my past. But hey! Go read Margins! Then you'll know all about what it's like to be a real feminist!

Give me a break. And I still stand by the fact that anybody who says only "radical feminists" are allowed to talk to her is painting herself in a pretty specific sort of light.

Women don't need to include bigots in our conversations (which is what happens at Alas) to experience debate

Did I say they did? I have at no point in my original post or here in the comments advocated that bigots should be let to spill their ire on a site. I was arguing that just because somebody has a penis or a woman isn't as "radical" as the moderator likes doesn't mean they should be excluded from a conversation about feminism that they and other readers and posters could benefit from. Needlessly shooting yourself in the food by excluding people just as passionate as you are who come at something slightly differently is just silly.

Trolls and bigots, however, need to be shot down by moderators. Are you reading any of the stuff I'm saying, or are you just looking for a woman to be pissed off at?

Once again, must have been that knitting comment. I better go read Margins so I know what it's like to be a real woman.

You're talking about the end of apartheid, when the ANC had managed to get the world on its side and rightly turn South Africa into a pariah state and they'd finally brought the white racists to the table.

And you know how they did this? By working on getting seats at the United Nations, by going through endless negotiations with the National Party, the United States, Russia, etc. And let me tell you, if they weren't familiar with the NP rhetoric, they'd be in trouble. They had to have the language to sit down at the table with people, including the National Party, and that meant understanding their position so they could fight it. If you think it was all guns and bombs and ignoring the National Party and the rest of the world, you should go get a Master's Degree in South African history.

I've told him to fuck off because of his treatment of feminists and his toleration of bigots. Have you?

Everything I've heard about this whole fiasco is secondhand. I only popped by there once or twice a month because the comments were cyclic and the posts weren't as good. I wasn't there for Ginmar's banning, and haven't talked to Barry about his troll problem, so I don't know his position. Why on earth would I care how he's running his blog if I don't bother going there? I speak with my clicks. If your sitemeter's going down, you might be doing something wrong.

Why would I start blasting away at some guy via private email when I don't know the whole story? All I know is it's a sorry day for board moderation when one of your posters feels she needs a "radical feminists only" thread. Somebody ain't keeping house.
 

Posted by Kameron Hurley

delphyne said...

You don't have any problem in blasting away at Heart even though you don't know the whole story. Not that there's anything stopping you finding out either. Just go and read the relevant threads at Alas, they're very recent.

"You sure are pimping this site alot."

Pimping? Nice word. Do you know what pimps do to the women they prostitute?

"Are you saying I don't know what sexism is until I read the message boards you frequent (or you moderate?). You obviously haven't read this blog much, which means you don't know anything about my past. But hey! Go read Margins! Then you'll know all about what it's like to be a real feminist!"

You're right I don't know anything about your past. What's that got to do with this conversation? I haven't said anything about whether you'd know about sexism or being a real feminist from reading the Margins. What I've said is you could experience some real seperatist space - you know the kind you've been slagging off here.

"And you know how they did this? By working on getting seats at the United Nations, by going through endless negotiations with the National Party, the United States, Russia, etc. And let me tell you, if they weren't familiar with the NP rhetoric, they'd be in trouble. They had to have the language to sit down at the table with people, including the National Party, and that meant understanding their position so they could fight it. If you think it was all guns and bombs and ignoring the National Party and the rest of the world, you should go get a Master's Degree in South African history."

And you think that feminists are somehow unaware of sexism and sexist positions or don't understand them if they create seperatist space for themselves? That's bullshit, but hey, the Margins (that place again!) proves you wrong. Feminists confront sexism in the real world, we also need space to theorise and plan without being interfered with by our opponents. All political movements have this, including the ANC, but somehow feminists are supposed to cater to men and if we don't we're knitters, or haven't experienced real debate, or something. 

Posted by delphyne

Kameron Hurley said...

You don't have any problem in blasting away at Heart even though you don't know the whole story. 

I think I pretty well got the gist of her stance from what she wrote. And if she didn't articulate it properly in that post, I think that was an error on her part, not mine.

Pimping? Nice word. Do you know what pimps do to the women they prostitute?

Invite them to tea?

What I've said is you could experience some real seperatist space - you know the kind you've been slagging off here.

And I think Muslim women experience some real seperatist space, too. As did African Americans before the Civil Rights era. I've got quite some knowlege of what "seperatist space" is.

You need to be careful with dividing the sexes, because it's just a step to the right before we're doing all sorts of other things to "protect" women, and using the argument of "seperate but equal."

That's a dangerous, dangerous, path.

And you think that feminists are somehow unaware of sexism and sexist positions or don't understand them if they create seperatist space for themselves?

It's that what I said? I seriously think you're not reading these posts I'm writing at all. You're derailing the argument with this one.

In any case, I'm glad the "Margins" will prove me wrong about all of my diabolical anti-feminist ways!

If only I'd read the MARGINS I'd know the TRUTH!

Feminists confront sexism in the real world, we also need space to theorise and plan without being interfered with by our opponents.

So do you advocate excluding all men, even feminist men, from feminist discussions beyond those about rape and abuse (if you'd go back and actually read my original post, you'd see I do advocate women's only spaces in those instances, for obvious reasons)? And do you advocate not including women who aren't "radical" enough? Don't you think that's counterproductive to the movement?



 

Posted by Kameron Hurley

delphyne said...

"Invite them to tea?"

They rape them and they beat them.

http://www.prostitutionresearch.com/how_prostitution_works/000012.html

"And I think Muslim women experience some real seperatist space, too. As did African Americans before the Civil Rights era. I've got quite some knowlege of what "seperatist space" is."

No they don't. They experience or experienced ghettos created by men and racists. Seperatist space created by women for women is something quite different.

"It's that what I said? I seriously think you're not reading these posts I'm writing at all. You're derailing the argument with this one."

Yes, that's what you said. You argued that if men or anti-feminists weren't included women wouldn't have real debate or understand anti-feminist positions, neither of which is true. I pointed out the ANC, took space for themselves to strategise and theorise without their opponents butting in and nobody had a problem with that so why do you dislike the idea of feminists doing the same thing?

"In any case, I'm glad the "Margins" will prove me wrong about all of my diabolical anti-feminist ways!

If only I'd read the MARGINS I'd know the TRUTH!"

A terrible twisting of the points I've made here. All I've said is if you read the Margins you would find women debating, women who have a clear idea of anti-feminist positions, not much back-slapping and no knitting at all that I've noticed. All achieved without the input of men or anti-feminists. How can this be?

"So do you advocate excluding all men, even feminist men, from feminist discussions beyond those about rape and abuse (if you'd go back and actually read my original post, you'd see I do advocate women's only spaces in those instances, for obvious reasons)? And do you advocate not including women who aren't "radical" enough? Don't you think that's counterproductive to the movement?"

No. I think there is space for all types of approaches in the movement. What I think is a problem is when you mischaracterise an approach in a dishonest way which you have done here. Heart was suggesting women-only threads on one blog because the owner of the site had been treating feminists shoddily. It's hardly overturning the whole of feminism. 

Posted by delphyne

Brendan said...

The fact that the two of you can have this discussion here despite previous posts from men and anti-feminists suggests that a segregated space need not be an essential requirement for exchange of ideas. 

Posted by Brendan

Kameron Hurley said...

They rape them and they beat them. 

Gee, really? I write feminist novels and short stories and wrote up an entire thesis about the role of militant female fighters in the ANC. I'm not wholly ignorant. I think your sarcasm meter is off.

They experience or experienced ghettos created by men and racists.

Actually, I know a lot of Muslim feminists who would disagree with you and be insulted that you thought the men in their lives were being domineering and creating "ghettos." They'd say they were being protected.

All achieved without the input of men or anti-feminists. How can this be?

Sure, lots of discussions can be had without any men at all, or women who don't agree with you. Once again, I'm saying that adding other feminist voices (yes, I believe men can be feminists too), including those of more middle-of-the-road feminists will probably help you better understand and be able to speak to and with those people and reach a broader number. Ghetto-izing yourselves isn't the answer, in my opinion. I think a lot of the problems with feminism not reaching a wider audience is that it needlessly excludes a great number of people who see "all feminists" as "man-hating." And who wants to be told that in order to be a "real" feminist they need to exclude their husbands, fathers, friends, and boyfriends from their discussions? The change is going to happen when you have an inclusive audience, not an exclusive one.

What I think is a problem is when you mischaracterise an approach in a dishonest way which you have done here. Heart was suggesting women-only threads on one blog because the owner of the site had been treating feminists shoddily.

And I think there was a far better solution to this - better board moderation, which I advocated in the original post. I don't see how discussions are going to be "shut down" or "hijacked" if you've got a good moderator. Creating your own seperate lunch counter isn't the solution. We've been fighting for years to get treated equally, to have equal spaces. Do we need to go backwards and ghetto-ize ourselves?

Or merely moderate our conversations better?

Retreating into "our own spaces" isn't the answer.
 

Posted by Kameron Hurley

Anonymous said...

But then, there have been arguments that the reason the feminist movement is having so much trouble is that we keep winding ourselves up about stuff like this and fighting among ourselves.

Cija has a very good point - we're pretty busy arguing among ourselves anyway.
 


Wait, what happened to debate and the free exchange of ideas being good things? I think my point has perhaps been misconstrued. Is there some reason it's "debate" when it's between feminists and antifeminists, or between women and men, and it's "winding ourselves up" and infighting when it's between feminists and other feminists, or women and other women? That was sort of what I was trying to get at.  

Posted by cija

delphyne said...

"Actually, I know a lot of Muslim feminists who would disagree with you and be insulted that you thought the men in their lives were being domineering and creating "ghettos." They'd say they were being protected."

You've lost me. I thought you were bringing up the separate spaces that some Muslim women experience and the apartheid that black people experienced in South Africa (forced separation) as a bad thing, which it was -

"And I think Muslim women experience some real seperatist space, too. As did African Americans before the Civil Rights era. I've got quite some knowlege of what "seperatist space" is."

Or is the idea that you can criticise it but I can't? 

Posted by delphyne

Patrick said...

Delphyne, thank you for bringing up Kameron's inappropriate use of the word "pimp". Despite the fact that "pimp" has taken on a popular connotation of simply meaning "tricked out" as an adjective (as in the television show, "Pimp my Ride") or "making public mention in order to attempt to sell" as a verb, it is clear that Kameron was accusing you literally of selling your website for sexual services, and that was slanderous and inhospitable of her. There can be no other interpretation of her thoughtless and callous remark.

I am shocked and saddened, however, to see you use the word "slagging" to describe what Kameron was doing:

"What I've said is you could experience some real seperatist space - you know the kind you've been slagging off here."

Given that "slagging" is descended from the word "slag", which is slang for prostitute, I can only assume that, just as Kameron was clearly referring to the process of forcing women to perform sexual services for her own profit, you were clearly stating that Kameron was "slagging off here"... which, in this context, can only realistically be taken to mean that you are accusing Kameron of prostituting herself in order to pay the costs of maintaining this blogspace.

Delphyne, do you know what HAPPENS to slags? It is a terrible and degrading thing, and I for one think that it had no place in this conversation.

As I said, I am shocked and saddened by this ad feminum attack, and I hope that nobody thinks that I am being a nitpicky asshole trolling through somebody's post looking for things I can misinterpret in order to make stupid conversation-derailing attacks. 

Posted by Patrick

delphyne said...

"slagging off" means "dismissing" or "being rude about". It's British slang and it doesn't have anything to do with the word "slag" as it is used against women as far as I know. But if Kameron find it offensive I'm happy to change my usage to "the kind you've been dismissing here".

"I can only assume that, just as Kameron was clearly referring to the process of forcing women to perform sexual services for her own profit, you were clearly stating that Kameron was "slagging off here"... which, in this context, can only realistically be taken to mean that you are accusing Kameron of prostituting herself in order to pay the costs of maintaining this blogspace."

Well your assumption would be completely wrong then, although I'm terribly impressed that you can get your brain to do mental gymnastics like that. It's hard work trying to discredit feminists isn't it? 

Posted by delphyne

Patrick said...

I'm not trying to discredit a feminist, delphyne. I'm trying to discredit you, although "discredit" is an awfully strong term for "point out the logical fallacies in watching you bend over backwards to find a way to take offense at Kameron's posts". Tossing it out as a response to me calling you on your crap might be using one of your big money-words too soon in the discussion, though.

I mean, sure, anyone trying to discredit a feminist is a bad person, and as you've just made the implicit accusation, it's now up to me to slink away quietly or spend an extremely long time trying to prove that I don't hate feminists, but the flip side is that I can also say, "Really, delph? But it was perfectly reasonable for you to attack Kameron for use of the term 'pimping your website', which Kameron pretty obviously meant in no way worse than what you meant by 'slagging'?", since you evidently missed that crucial subtext of my earlier post. My chances of being shamed into creeping away by your implication that I'm trying to bludgeon you to death with my massive patriarchal penis depend upon me being concerned that the reading public will believe you... and, well, I post here regularly, and you don't. Any reading public whose opinions I care about already knows me, and they know fairly well that if I'm going to rhetorically bludgeon someone to death with something, it won't be my massive patriarchal penis.

But by all means, if it makes you feel better, consider me part of the oppressive male establishment that needs to see all women put in their place. I'd be happy to lurch back and forth and shout "Arrr! Phallocentrism!" if that's what you need. I imagine it's much more comfortable for you to believe that I must dislike you because you're a feminist than because you act rude and use cheap-shot debate tactics to smear the name of someone you disagree with. 

Posted by Patrick

fromaway said...

The fact that the two of you can have this discussion here despite previous posts from men and anti-feminists suggests that a segregated space need not be an essential requirement for exchange of ideas. 

Well, maybe. But what we have here is Kameron, "good feminist," battling her way through a series of "bad feminists" whom she has stereotyped about sixteen ways from Sunday. She has told them what radfem-only space looks like without ever visiting it (or even looking up the definition of "radical feminism" — always good to know what something is before you start complaining about it, no?). She has assumed that Heart's request for radfem-only space on Alas constituted a request that radfems never speak to anyone but radfems.

Sure, lots of discussions can be had without any men at all, or women who don't agree with you.

Again, we have the assumption that radical feminists agree with each other on absolutely everything.

Once again, I'm saying that adding other feminist voices (yes, I believe men can be feminists too), including those of more middle-of-the-road feminists will probably help you better understand and be able to speak to and with those people and reach a broader number.

And is that the purpose of every discussion?

Ghetto-izing yourselves isn't the answer, in my opinion. I think a lot of the problems with feminism not reaching a wider audience is that it needlessly excludes a great number of people who see "all feminists" as "man-hating." And who wants to be told that in order to be a "real" feminist they need to exclude their husbands, fathers, friends, and boyfriends from their discussions? The change is going to happen when you have an inclusive audience, not an exclusive one.

So requesting a few closed threads on a popular blog is tantamount to refusing to engage with any non-radfem, at all, anywhere.

I think there was a far better solution to this - better board moderation, which I advocated in the original post.

How Amp moderates his board is not within our control. Feminists objected; he stuck to his position; a large number of feminists left or were banned. Clearly, radfem-only space on that board was not going to work. Fair enough. This doesn't justify the accusations you've made.

I don't see how discussions are going to be "shut down" or "hijacked" if you've got a good moderator.

We hadn't.

Creating your own seperate lunch counter isn't the solution. We've been fighting for years to get treated equally, to have equal spaces. Do we need to go backwards and ghetto-ize ourselves?

What business is it of yours if a certain number of people of a certain political bent, most of them veterans in Internet debate with people of vastly different ideologies, want to spend some of their time talking exclusively with each other? Who are you to say that the mere existence of woman-only space indicates a retreat from the world? I missed the part where anybody was asking to be in those spaces 24/7.

Posted by fromaway

Kameron Hurley said...

Come now, Patrick, you and are aren't feminists, so we're not allowed to comment on these sorts of issues, even on my own blog!

You better go and check out "Margins" so you know what you're talking about. 

Posted by Kameron Hurley

Kameron Hurley said...

Well, maybe. But what we have here is Kameron, "good feminist," battling her way through a series of "bad feminists" whom she has stereotyped about sixteen ways from Sunday. 

Did I say, at any point, that anyone here was a "Bad" feminist? And where on earth is all this stereotyping coming from? Is this about the knitting again?

She has assumed that Heart's request for radfem-only space on Alas constituted a request that radfems never speak to anyone but radfems.

Again, go back and read her post. That's what she said. "I would like to propose the creation of woman-only, radical feminist threads here as well, of the type some of us enjoyed back in the old Ms boards days, of the type we enjoy every day on my own boards."

"Radical Feminist" Yup. That's what she said. Radfem only boards. Did she say Radfems should *only* talk to Radfems? No. Did I say that was the case? No, I merely stated I thought that limiting a dialogue in such a way was probably counterproductive to getting a feminist message out there to as many people as possible. It's exclusionary. It's ghetto-izing yourself.

So requesting a few closed threads on a popular blog is tantamount to refusing to engage with any non-radfem, at all, anywhere.

It's that what I said? You guys are really jumping the gun on these ones. No, I was saying I didn't think it was a very productive idea. I think it's tantamount to shooting yourself in the foot. Limiting dialogue ain't a great idea. But hey, as you've all pointed out, I'm a loon. Which is why I'm fascinated that you're all still engaging with me at all!

This doesn't justify the accusations you've made.

Accusations? Who am I accusing? You sound like I'm oppressing you or something! By sharing my opinion! Hm. This may say a lot about why you enjoy having Radfem (whatever that is) threads. Contrary opinions can be a bitch.

We hadn't.

Then I'm certainly glad you're all moving on.

What business is it of yours if a certain number of people of a certain political bent, most of them veterans in Internet debate with people of vastly different ideologies, want to spend some of their time talking exclusively with each other? Who are you to say that the mere existence of woman-only space indicates a retreat from the world?

I am freely expressing my opinion on a site that I own. Last time I checked, this is America, and I can have an opinion on anything that I want, even an opinion that you find offensive.

That's the great think about free debate and conversation. You meet a lot of people who see the world just a little bit differently than you do, and they aren't afraid to say it, even in the face of contrary opinion.

Welcome to open space.  

Posted by Kameron Hurley

fromaway said...

Does "free speech" for you constitute being able to post your opinions on people you don't know without being challenged on it?

Let's see how you responded to the request that a few threads be made women-only or radfem-only:

"I hate to break it to everybody: the world is composed of men and women - and even some people who are in-between - and we have to deal with all of them out here on the bus, on train platforms, at bars, in restaurants, on the street, on the plane, at work (oh yea), and at home.

Even the trolls and the assholes.

And if you can't deal with them in cyberspace, how the hell are you going to deal with them in real life?"

You assume that she can't  deal with the trolls and the assholes. The truth, I think, is that she doesn't want to. Why should she have to deal with them all the time?

I'll skip your assertions about board control, given that none of these women had control at Alas's boards. I'll also ignore the slippery-slope argument whereby we start out with a few corners of the Internet open to women or radical feminists only and end up with radical feminists confined to those Internet spaces. I don't think it follows.

"People are going to disagree with what you say. They're even going to hate you for it."

That's patronizing and unnecessary. Radfems are used to being hated. The question is, what kind of disagreements do I want to have? Do I want to have the same disagreements day after day?

Yea, it's called life. Sucks, doesn't it? The same thing will happen if you're in a group of frat boys or radical conservatives. In fact, it'll likely happen if you're in any of the southern states or 98% of the midwest. If you're the lone "feminist" (let alone "radical feminist" - whatever the hell that is, what, the ones who want a world without men? What's that mean, "radical." I don't think free healthcare, equal pay for women, better laws against rape and etc. is all that "radical") you're going to get harrassed about it. What better place to cut your teeth than online? There's less threat of physical violence, there's usually fewer people trying to attack you at once, and you have time to sort our your reply before you make a fool out of yourself.

The woman who made that suggestion was no stranger to internet debate and for you to suggest she was simply trying to beat a retreat is unfair.

Of course, if you choose to hang around a place where everybody thinks, acts, talks, and behaves just like you, you won't have any experience with debate, with a free range of ideas.

This is a straw man. Radical feminists have significant disagreements within their ranks and they do not all behave or think alike. It's disrespectful for you to assume you know what radfem space looks like when you've never seen it — hence the exhortations to look at the Margins. You might not like it, but if you're going to complain about it you should know what it is.

You won't really be forced to think. You can all sit around and smoke cigars (or knit. Something tells me some of these "radical feminists" she's talking about are likely big on the knitting) and thump each other on the back for being so good-natured about being repressed by "the system." Which, of course, they won't feel they have to engage in because they have their own club.

Because belonging to an Internet message board enables you to avoid the rest of the world entirely?

What's the point of talking to men? All those men so set in their ways.... what's the point of engaging them with your ideas, getting their arguments, creating one of your own?

I mean, if they can out-argue you, maybe you'll realize you need to go back to the drawing board and refine the way you speak about things, and what a lot trouble that would be!


Why do you assume that men can out-argue us?

Which means, of course, that the radical feminist voice and presence is ultimately silenced, erased.

It appears it already has been as far as you're concerned, since you don't even know what it is and you don't seem to care to find out.

Well, they weren't so radical then, were they? If you can't argue or ignore flamers, you must not have much of an argument.

Once again, having one feminist-only thread or one feminist-only board is NOT the same as expecting to live in a feminist-only universe where one never engages with men or anti-feminists, and not wanting to have to deal with flamers all the time is NOT the same thing as being unable to deal with them at all.

The world is not full of sugar and spice.

More patronizing contempt.

Let's just shut down all the feminist blogs and boards to "women's only" spaces, only let women talk about "women's issues" like, say, equal rights (fooled me. This only effects women?).

Yes, because that's exactly what Heart asked for.

Seperate spheres doesn't solve anything. It just drives us all further apart. It drives yet another wedge between the sexes, both of whom - guess what? - are human.

"Separate spheres," too, huh? I missed the point where Heart demanded that.

I'm sure it scores you points with the men on your board to pretend that radical feminists don't believe men are human, but I'd like to see your actual evidence for that.

Did I say, at any point, that anyone here was a "Bad" feminist? And where on earth is all this stereotyping coming from? Is this about the knitting again?

If you really don't notice all the other ways you've attacked "bad" feminists — for hating men (i.e. not wanting men in every discussion they have), for being too weak to debate men (because we won't know misogynist or antifeminist arguments if we don't spend all our time talking to antifeminists; their arguments are far too obscure and intellectually complex for a bunch of women who spend our days sitting around patting each other on the back), for expecting the world to be "sugar and spice," for not wanting to think and not being able to make each other think, etc., then I suppose it is about the knitting, to you.  

Posted by fromaway

Kameron Hurley said...

Does "free speech" for you constitute being able to post your opinions on people you don't know without being challenged on it? 

Have I ever said I didn't want to be challenged? On the contrary, I think it's pretty clear from my involvement with this discussion that I really *enjoy* being challenged on my views. People challenge me all the time. It's fun. Why else have a comments thread? You'll note I'm not banning or deleting anybody. I think this is a great discussion.

You assume that she can't deal with the trolls and the assholes. The truth, I think, is that she doesn't want to. Why should she have to deal with them all the time?

You don't have to. I was proposing a better solution: better board moderation. Instead of banning all men and "non-radical" feminists, why not just have a better moderater who shuts trolls down before they hijack conversations? Seems cool to me. And if she was invited by Barry to post, I'm sure it was a conversation she'd had with him, too, so I don't buy that she has nothing to do with board moderation. As said, I once guest-blogged over at Alas, and if I had problems with board moderation, I'd have totally brought it up with him and told him it was unaccetable if I had trolls. I'd either tell him to delete them or give me permissions to do so. Luckily, back when I was posting, that wasn't a problem.

Radical feminists have significant disagreements within their ranks and they do not all behave or think alike. It's disrespectful for you to assume you know what radfem space looks like when you've never seen it — hence the exhortations to look at the Margins.

You're assuming I haven't been to Margins, or hung out with people who identify as being "radical feminists." Certainly, every group has disagreements and infighting. I think the communication issue between me and those of you who've come over from Margins is that I'm speaking in far broader terms than you are. I'm extrapolating about what excluding moderate feminists and feminist men from political conversations may do to the broader movement as a whole. I think you're talking in terms of one thread on one blog.

That's patronizing and unnecessary. Radfems are used to being hated.

Uh, no, it's not patronizing. It's truth. You're assuming I was "talking" to some mythical group of radical feminists. In fact, I was addressing the audience of this blog, some of which are, sure, radical feminists. Most are just regular feminists.

And yea, I'm used to being hated, too, but it doesn't mean I need to limit who posts at my blog, unless they're cutting up the conversation. I think I believe that most people who run around this blog really want to have intelligent conversation.

Why do you assume that men can out-argue us?

Oh, not all men can. Not all women can. But some men and some women can. And those are the people you should seek out for arguments. You'll learn a lot. That's my whole point.

More patronizing contempt.

Feel the oppression!

That's sarcasm, actually, not contempt. I don't find you or anyone else who's posted here contemptible. Again, I think you may need to fine tune your sarcasm meter.

"Separate spheres," too, huh? I missed the point where Heart demanded that.

Again, I'm extrapolating, honey.

I'm sure it scores you points with the men on your board to pretend that radical feminists don't believe men are human, but I'd like to see your actual evidence for that.

AWESOME!!!! I wondered how long it would take before one of you guys told me I was just toadying up to the three men who actually read this blog. That's so COOL!!! I didn't think you'd go there, but you did. Sweet.

I believe my "are human" remark had more to do with asserting that men and women are both a lot more alike that some people would like to think, and I believe that because of that, they can engage in civil conversations about topics - like feminism - that effect and interest both sexes.

for hating men (i.e. not wanting men in every discussion they have), for being too weak to debate men (because blah blah etc intellectually complex for a bunch of women who spend our days sitting around patting each other on the back), for expecting the world to be "sugar and spice," for not wanting to think and not being able to make each other think, etc., then I suppose it is about the knitting, to you.

On me being an evil stereotyper of women!:

1) radical feminists "hate men" because they don't want them in every conversation they have.

Nope. Never said it. Never said anybody hated men. Said it was silly to exclude everybody except "radical feminists." I guess that does include men and moderate women feminists, tho.

2) Being too weak to debate men because men and antifeminist are too "intellectually complex."

Never said that either. Said it might be beneficial to get other people's opinions and have discussions, men included. Never said anybody was too weak to debate men. I debate men and women all the time.

3) radical feminists expect the world to be "sugar and spice."

No, I was just saying it ain't that way. Statement of truth, don't you think? If you took that personally, hey, not my fault.

4) for not being able to think and make each other think.

Oh, that's just silly. I never said women can't think. That's the dumbest thing I ever heard. You're talking to a woman with a Master's Degree who's written nine novels.

What I am seeing is a general trend of you taking offhand or general statements and You're pretending that I've used them to attack you and other women. That would be stupid, because I'm a woman, and I'd be *attacking myself.* What I'm doing is arguing against an idea I found very silly. If you've chosen to take my stance about that position personally, well, then it's obviously hit a personal nerve with you, and that's your issue to deal with.

5) It's about the knitting.

Yea, I thought so. I like to embroider, myself. Smoke cigars, do a little boxing. etc. etc.  

Posted by Kameron Hurley

Ampersand said...

You don't have to. I was proposing a better solution: better board moderation. Instead of banning all men and "non-radical" feminists, why not just have a better moderater who shuts trolls down before they hijack conversations? Seems cool to me. And if she was invited by Barry to post, I'm sure it was a conversation she'd had with him, too, so I don't buy that she has nothing to do with board moderation. As said, I once guest-blogged over at Alas, and if I had problems with board moderation, I'd have totally brought it up with him and told him it was unaccetable if I had trolls. I'd either tell him to delete them or give me permissions to do so. Luckily, back when I was posting, that wasn't a problem.

Actually, Heart didn't discuss the "radfem women only" idea with me before she proposed it. Not that I'm complaining - when I asked Heart to guest-post, I realized that she might use her guest-poster status to criticize my views, including how I run "Alas." All I asked Heart to do was to keep any critiques of other bloggers published on "Alas" civil, and she did that.

If Heart had gone ahead with the "radfem women" only threads on "Alas," I would of course have asked her to moderate those threads. But other than that as it turns out hypothetical example, Heart has nothing to do with the moderation on "Alas."

Regarding "better moderation," one of the big problems is that me and my critics don't agree on what a "troll" is. Like you, I routinely delete "I think homosexuality is a birth defect" and "Come to my website! Feminists give the best head!" type messages.

The problem is that, in the views of many of my critics, Robert Hayes  (a very frequent "Alas" comment writer) is a troll who should be banned. And I simply don't agree that he's a troll. So the problem isn't that I don't moderate trolls. The problem is that many of "Alas's" feminist critics consider any  view that's right-wing or critical of feminism to be anti-feminist trolling.

The other problem is that a bunch of folks have decided that there's only one way to run a feminist blog, which is their way (i.e., feminists, no matter how abusive, are never moderated; all right-wingers and critics of feminism are trolls and must be banned). Any blog that chooses any other moderation policy is not a feminist blog, or so it seems.

I think that's overly narrow. There's room for a diversity of views within feminism - including diverse ways of running a blog. I have nothing at all against blogs and boards that are feminist-only spaces, or women-only spaces. But I don't think "Alas" has to be such a space, or that my decision not to make "Alas" such a space is proof that I have no committment to feminism. 

Posted by Ampersand

delphyne said...

"I'm trying to discredit you, although "discredit" is an awfully strong term for "point out the logical fallacies in watching you bend over backwards to find a way to take offense at Kameron's posts". Tossing it out as a response to me calling you on your crap might be using one of your big money-words too soon in the discussion, though."

You didn't point out any logical fallacies. You tried to pretend that "slagging" is an offensive word - it isn't. "Pimping" is however an offensive word and has lots of vile connotations that Kameron says she is aware of, although it doesn't seem to stop her throwing it around in conversation.
 

Posted by delphyne

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed reading your post. Although I don't know the context, you made some really good points. But, I am sorry that you feel you have to "deal" with men. 

Posted by Nate

Patrick said...

Except that slagging is an offensive word, though you're welcome to form an isolated space where you all agree to think otherwise. If you're going to pretend that the verb "to pimp", which has gone mainstream enough that you've got "Pimp my Ride" and pink fuzzy hats, was offensive in the sense Kameron used it, I think I can make just as compelling a case that slagging, which can also, beyond the innocuous slang meaning you've given it, mean "reduce to slag", which in this case would mean "reduce to the state of a prostitute", is an offensive term as well.

You're looking hard for reasons to call her a bad feminist, and you're showing us all what a nice person you are in doing so.

But feel free to get indignant. I don't believe Kam needs any help defending herself at this point. 

Posted by Patrick

Anonymous said...

"I'm sure it scores you points with the men on your board to pretend that radical feminists don't believe men are human, but I'd like to see your actual evidence for that."

Yeah, I was waiting for this one. I stopped commenting in the thread to see how long and when it would take for someone to bust this one out, so congratulations- you win. Patrick is right, Kameron hardly needs any help to defend herself. But since this addresses me among others, I'll pick it up.

This is one of the most disingenuous, superficial and ignorant charges you could come up with. If you had any respect for the cause you claim to support you'd never have made it, for it's nothing but the flip side of the "feminists are just fat dykes who couldn't get a man" line or the equivalent of calling someone an Uncle Tom in a debate about racial issues. If you want to shoot that gun, you'd better have much better evidence than you have; absent that, it's nothing but an ad feminem cheap shot with nothing to do with the ideas under discussion. If you want to avoid patronizing contempt, then live up to your own expressed standards.

Moreover, your charge is three sorts of bullshit. The first sort is, simply, that you have no idea who you’re talking about if you’re throwing this charge at Kameron. Read the rest of the site for better examples, but it says enough that this is a woman who spent the first half of her 20’s getting educated on two continents, writing novels and not dating. The idea that she spends her time running this blog in order to breathlessly await male approval is so far past offensive that it’s into laughable. I have a penis. I have argued with her. She pulls no punches.

The second form of bullshit is that this sort of charge indicates the worst sort of mean-mindedness, namely, an inability to believe that a strong person’s views can be motivated by honest processes of intellectual investigation. There’s nothing sadder than the conviction that a person’s beliefs and ideas are only a functions of their prejudices and biases, and your slur comes perilously close to that assertion. You wouldn’t accept the proposition that a given feminist only believes in feminism because she can’t get a man- don’t propose that another feminist only believes what she believes in order to appease men, especially if it’s a feminist you don’t know or men you don’t know.

Which brings me to the third sort of bullshit in your statement, the idea that all the men who may be reading this blog and have interest in the feminist side of the discussion must be appeased by what Kameron’s saying. If you believe that, you know nothing of men and nothing of me, among others. I’m not going to flash my membership card for NOW at you or invoke the fact that my mother was president of the local chapter for 4 years (such that I basically grew up in the offices for a big chunk of my life) or note the fact that every thing you’ve said here or at the Strawfeminists location I could have predicated from long experience with these habits of thought. That would be gauche.

What I AM going to tell you is that you need to think long and hard about how you see people and the part of people that are men. You’re writing things over at SF about how the gender essentialism tangent above in this thread is “an all male digression”, as though that means a thing. It’s what I’d expect, given that you appear to think from your comment here that who says something matters more than what’s said. That’s weak-minded; the fabric of this communication refutes you. I, like every other man who posts here, like Kameron, like you, am a person. As it happens I’m a man, a fact I permit you to know because I use a gender-signifying handle- my name. If I called myself here by the occasional nickname I use (Shaddax) which isn’t gender identifying, you’d have no way to ascertain my sex; but my ideas as expressed here would remain the same. What then would you use to dismiss me, I wonder? As it stands, you think that because you know I have a penis, you know what I think and why I think it, and that’s sad and close-minded.

So far as I can tell, Kameron advocated better moderating rather than a sex bar as an aid to communication partly because she’s focusing on the quality of communication. You seem to be focusing on who’s doing the communicating regardless of what’s being said. Another word for that is bigotry.

-Brendan
 

Posted by Brendan

Kameron Hurley said...

Delphyne and Patrick: I think arguing the finer points of pimping slags is probably a dead-end street. Might want to get back on topic.

Just a reminder...

NBL :) 

Posted by Kameron Hurley

fromaway said...

There is absolutely nothing inherently wrong with all-male digressions.

There is something wrong with attributing to radical feminist women an attitude ("eliminate men/men will be eliminated") that only men have espoused on this thread. There is something wrong with employing a slippery-slope argument to accuse a woman who wants to set up a woman-only space in a particular place, for a particular purpose, of wanting to avoid engaging with men or anti-feminists at all (the "treehouse" point, the "you're going to have to deal with people who disagree with you," etc., etc., etc. - if you don't see it by now I don't think you're going to).

Accusing a person of wanting to resurrect "separate spheres" implies a hell of a lot more than a few women-only bulletin boards. To pretend otherwise is disingenuous.

The idea that she spends her time running this blog in order to breathlessly await male approval is so far past offensive that it’s into laughable. I have a penis. I have argued with her. She pulls no punches. 

The charge of "reverse sexism" was pretty instructive to me, I must say, although to be entirely fair, KH did seem to abandon it in favour of the "you're too delicate to deal with dissent of any kind" charge.

The second form of bullshit is that this sort of charge indicates the worst sort of mean-mindedness, namely, an inability to believe that a strong person’s views can be motivated by honest processes of intellectual investigation.

I'd believe that if I'd seen any evidence of honest intellectual investigation. She fought with a straw feminist for this entire post and the one after it. She hurled a lot of invective at women who might want to spend some time in the "women-only treehouse," implied that women who disagree with her can't deal with dissent or people who don't like us, that we want to resurrect "separate spheres," etc.

There’s nothing sadder than the conviction that a person’s beliefs and ideas are only a functions of their prejudices and biases, and your slur comes perilously close to that assertion.

Well, she came perilously close to calling the rest of us man-haters, didn't she?

You wouldn’t accept the proposition that a given feminist only believes in feminism because she can’t get a man- don’t propose that another feminist only believes what she believes in order to appease men, especially if it’s a feminist you don’t know or men you don’t know.

Well, then one shouldn't assume that a feminist wants to spend time in female-feminist-only space just because she's too emotionally or intellectually weak to cope with men, should one?

What I AM going to tell you is that you need to think long and hard about how you see people and the part of people that are men.

Oh, gee, who's proposing to know all about whom now?

You’re writing things over at SF about how the gender essentialism tangent above in this thread is “an all male digression”, as though that means a thing.

See above. It means quite a lot if it's said by men and then attributed to women.

You do seem to have read selectively over at SF.

It’s what I’d expect, given that you appear to think from your comment here that who says something matters more than what’s said. That’s weak-minded; the fabric of this communication refutes you.

I really have no idea what you're referring to here. I do think it matters to attribute ideas properly; don't you?

So far as I can tell, Kameron advocated better moderating rather than a sex bar as an aid to communication partly because she’s focusing on the quality of communication. You seem to be focusing on who’s doing the communicating regardless of what’s being said.

Well, if a man had come out and said that perhaps Kameron had been misinterpreting the post on Alas, I would certainly take note. Instead, we've had comment after comment filled with poorly researched accusations of biological gender essentialism directed at radical feminists (along with some real biological gender essentialism, that coming from a man, not a woman and not a radical feminist), and digressions about hypothetical mass murders.

One can certainly question the validity of creating woman-only/radfem-only space at Alas; quite a number of women felt the idea was unworkable, as do I (it makes no sense to try to have female-radfem-only space on a blog run by a non-radfem man). What I saw on this blog was an unfair attack on the woman who made the suggestion, along with the contention that woman-only discussions and the women who participate in them, or want to, are a) not contentious enough, b) too contentious, c) out of touch with the real world and probably frightened of it, d) bigoted, e) intellectually weak and unstimulating, and so on.

You seem to have bypassed all that in your rush to discover the misandry lurking beneath my objections to these "treehouse" and "separate spheres" accusations. Well, so be it. 

Posted by fromaway

Anonymous said...

Actually, I was confining myself deliberately to a limited objection to a select portion of what you've written. As I said: Kameron can defend herself, and I choose to address only certain things.

Kameron was not making a purely slippery slope argument. She's been to the Margins and, I believe, considered it to accurately reflect her charges. I can't speak to whether she's right or not, since I respect the nature of the space as all-women and won't go there. Hence part of the reason I have limited my responses: because as a man, I can't participate in parts of this discussion because of the groundrules laid down at the start.

How about that? This slope seems suddenly slippery.

And if you care to look back to where Kameron actually invokes the “get rid of men” idea, it’s in reference to a mention of Joanna Russ whose stories have gone in that direction at times. So far as I know, she’s not a man posting in this thread, unless someone here wants to rip their mask off?

As for Heart, I’d never heard about her before she posted to Alas. Following reading that thread what I know of her is that she runs a women-only message board and wants a blog run by a man to have women only threads. Perhaps I do her an injustice, but this also seems a pattern- a slippery slope you might even say.

I do love that you’re stuck on the phrase “reverse sexism”, as that and the knitting comment seems to have rung some bells. Fact is, Kam has an entirely different worldview than you so far as I can tell (I may of course be wrong, it’s simply my impression of her and you). She’s looking globally at the idea that men and women are both kinds of human beings, and as such are equally capable of discriminating against each other. Unless I dramatically miss my guess, you’d be more attached to the idea of underlying power inequalities in the fabric of patriarchal society which render the idea of reverse sexism a cruel mockery of general trends and true stations of power. There’s a measure of truth to both perspectives depending on whether you’re describing potential and the “natural state” or whether you’re describing the current nature of society (among other factors), and I’m inclined to say both could learn much and be disciplined by exposure to the other.

Or, you could dismiss her out of hand without understanding her position. That choice is on you.

“Well, she came perilously close to calling the rest of us man-haters, didn't she?”

Actually, she never did that (I’ve re-read this entire thread to check) and has specifically disavowed that interpretation of her post. What she did say, and has consistently maintained, is the idea that radfem-only discussion is counterproductive to the practical achievement of feminist goals because it sacrifices opportunities to speak with people who may be convinced but do not identify as feminists or radfems, and in addition by the limitation of voices it allows for an echo-chamber effect that reduces productive challenges to prevailing notions. Those who may be convinced might be men, might be women, might be those transitioning M-F (I hear Margins doesn’t like their kind too much), might be feminists who don’t adhere to the more radical aspects of feminist thought. If you avoid those groups, not only are you cutting down on the alternate voices you hear which might challenge your own views, but you’re also losing an immense amount of your power to persuade people of the practical truth of feminism. That’s a vastly different assertion than the idea that “radfem space is man-hating”, which no one has said.

“Oh, gee, who's proposing to know all about whom now?”

I can only go off how you’re presented yourself here and there. That’s my take. No doubt you have one of me as well.

“I really have no idea what you're referring to here. I do think it matters to attribute ideas properly; don't you?”

As noted above, you’re factually wrong here. Re-read the thread. More specifically, I’m arguing that ideas have a life beyond the identity of those who voice them, and making note of the fact that you attempted to use my sex to dismiss my ideas, a logical non-started because you only know my sex because I’ve indicated it.

“You seem to have bypassed all that in your rush to discover the misandry lurking beneath my objections to these "treehouse" and "separate spheres" accusations. Well, so be it.”

Your word, not mine. I think your ideas are weak, your attacks excessively personal, you demonstrate absolutely zero comprehension of what Kameron is actually saying and in doing so you demonstrate in action precisely the concerns Kameron has about the harm done by people not actively engaging with opposing habits of thought. I don’t know if you hate men (though I’d assume not since nothing you’re written here indicates that you do); you aren’t even posting under your own name, so I know nothing but the quality of your arguments. I find them misplaced and weak, and I’m happy to tell you why much as you are with me, or with Kameron. It’s not about man hating or women hating, it’s about ideas and arguments.

- Brendan 

Posted by Brendan

Kameron Hurley said...

Yea, it does get tiring saying the same thing over and over and telling people to go back and re-read my original post. There's a lot of reading-between-the-lines and inferences going on up there, instead of actually engaging with what I've said.

Hey, I can restate my position from here til Sunday if need be. It ain't changing.

What does seem to be changing is how what I've said is being interpreted as people get more and more angry about the whole thing, and there's this huge spiral knee-jerk reactions that have turned:

"I think the answer to having good feminists discussion isn't having a radical feminist only thread, but better board moderation."

into:

"I am a bigoted anti-feminist who hates all those man-hating femininsts and their man-hating ways and thinks these women who identify as radical feminists are dumb and can't argue with men and women whose opinions differ from theirs."

Wow. It's like playing telephone. 

Posted by Kameron Hurley

PerpetualBeginner said...

Wow! I go away for a week, and look what happens.

I've been doing some serious thinking about woman-only space ever since the issue came up on Alas. I was feeling pulled in two directions. First, because in many ways I'm sympathetic to Kameron's POV on the dangers of exclusionary spaces. Second, because I'm a graduate of a women-only college, and while I did not choose it because it was single-sex, I did find my time there to be valuable.

I think I still tend to feel that Kameron has good points. You see, when I look back at college, it truly was not a women-only space. What it was, was women dominated. Regular admission students may have been all female, but we had male exchange students, male professors, male friends. I never actually lacked for a male POV, it just wasn't the dominant one. What was valuable was not the absence of males, but the predominance of women.

What would it mean if the President of the College were female, if every damn person on campus or in the Admin were female? I don't really know. I do know that a fierce woman President, presiding over a mixed faculty, and a mixed trustee board was a wonderful exemplar that we could strive to emulate.

Would I weep if my college went co-ed (not likely to happen). Possibly. But it would be because the female-dominant space would be lost, not because they'd be letting the dreaded men on campus.

I also know that I'd be much more sympathetic to the radical feminist POV, if every one I had met didn't seem bent on proving that I (or at least every view I hold) was "the enemy". I'd say that most of the radfems I know (and I make no claims about knowing the population as a whole) have been so abrasive as to make me uninterested in learning more about radical feminism - which seems rather counterproductive, ya know?

Oh and people - lay off the knitting. I knit, and I always, always have a set of sharp pointy sticks ready to hand. You might not want to piss me off... 

Posted by Perpetual Beginner