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Jul 12 2010

We’ve all done it, but maybe it’s time to cut it the fuck out

More excerpts from the comments!

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Valerie
July 11, 2010 at 4:05 pm

[...] They make trailer parks look classy and nuanced.

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Dr. Sarah Tonin
July 11, 2010 at 10:48 pm

@Valerie, I agree with the basic sentiment of your comment, but druther you’d pick a less classist analogy than “trailer park”. Cheers.

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Saphire
July 11, 2010 at 11:16 pm

^ Lest Valerie forget that impossible high standard the internet feminist is held to!

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Saphire
July 11, 2010 at 11:19 pm

Grrr think I too am giving feminism a break. I’ll come back when we have anything resembling something where ‘feminists’ don’t tear each other down at the first chance. ‘Patriarchy handmaidens’, spot on.

Don’t I know it. When your blogular practice of Internet feminism gets corrected by total strangers, it’s about as appealing as when some nattering nabob of a poindexter corrects your grammar. As a professional Internet feminist, my ass is hangin’ there on both lines pretty much around the clock. Smarty pantses (or is it smarties pants?) and finger-waggers line up around the block all the live-long day, just waiting for a chance to correct some little infraction. I’d be lying if I said this didn’t completely chafe the spinster butt-cheeks.

I remember one time I typed “morays”, like the eels, instead of “mores,” like the normative conventions and attitudes embodying the fundamental moral values of a particular society, the contravention or rejection of which by individuals or subgroups is liable to be perceived as a threat to stability. I can’t say why I wrote “morays” instead of “mores”; if anyone knows the difference between an eel and a normative convention, ’tis I. But I did it all the same. And sure enough, though it was perfectly clear from the context of my post that eels were not among the topical considerations of the essay, a lurking poindexter lost no time. She leaped from the bushes and executed a “gotcha!” in the comments, exposing my dreadful usage mishap for the entire world to see. She performed this gotcha, not with a simple “hey, you typed the wrong word,” or a pleasantry about eels and their social fishiologies, but with an unnecessarily (I thought) elaborate explication of my error, including definitions, pronunciations, Latin origins of both words, and a goddam supercilious (I thought) tone. The cheeks were chafed.

I have complained about this before. Remember dear old Cuntalinagate? No? Well, here’s what happened. Last year — I forget exactly when — I used the word “cuntalina” as a pejorative to describe — I forget exactly who — and lo! The Feminist Secret Service was deployed toot sweet to fishslap me into compliance with the relentless, sanctimonious, supercilious metrical Formula of Internet Feminist Conformity and Propriety. Demands for an explanation were conferred. I became Misogynist of the Year. I got voted off my own island. I got compared to Mengele. It was all “oh my god, Twisty, you called a woman a cunt! You’ve set women’s rights back 50 years! All my hopes and dreams just went down the crapper and you suck shit through Hefty bags! The kids and I are burning the computer we used to read your posts!”

Here’s what I said then, so I don’t have to think up a new paragraph to say it again now.

I’m damned glad you guys are taking this feminism thing seriously. Really. Nothing could be more heartwarming, except, possibly, certain heartwarming nature crap, than that there exist women who are able to grasp that “cuntalina” is an antifeminist slur.

But seriously, get off my fucking case already with this hypervigilant radfem hall monitor shit. The policey, self-righteous, gotcha bullshit around here generally is chapping my entire hide. When and if I commit some egregious ideological error that threatens the very fabric of the cosmos I’ll make Twisty fucking cop to it, as you fucking well know if you’ve been reading this blog for more than five minutes. But this cuntalina uproar is fucking absurd. Jayzus in a jetpack.

Good times.

Anyway, far be it from me to tell anyone what to do! So I’m not demanding that interested parties should check their annoying habit of going for the jugular whenever they perceive the slightest opportunity to cut some hapless fellow Internetian (rhymes with “Venetian”) off at the knees and feast on her imperfect brains. I’m just saying, maybe you’re being a jerk to act all offended and self-righteous when your victims, weary of the constant prissy-ass doctrinairian hectoring, go a little postal.

Nobody likes a rat-fink.

But on the other hand, what to do about insouciant, stereotype-perpetuating remarks concerning the philosophic depth of trailer parks? Haven’t we a moral imperative to nip this shit in the bud? Because if we don’t check call out these heinous anti-trailerite lapses, pretty soon feminism itself will be torn completely asunder and polar bears will go extinct.

It is a fine line we walk, you and I. It may be suggested, in the interest of peace and harmony, that when confronted with one of these intolerable slurs, the slurrer herself be recused from any subsequent critique. Also that the zingy take-down, popular though it is, be relinquished, and that the focus of the critique be ideological rather than personal. Perhaps affording the slurrer an opportunity to broaden her horizons rather than force her to defend herself from an angry mob of Trailer Park Rightsists. One might strive to be educationy, rather than imperious.

This is suggested, of course, despite the high probability that nobody will pay it the slightest attention. Why won’t they? Because it is the Way of the Internet — yes, even the Feminist Internet — to self-aggrandize by any means necessary. Usually the means is dominating anyone who shows the slightest weakness. In the end, the lone chumps left standing will be those few who can withstand the longest the Internet’s Death by a Thousand Cuts (or Venomous Morays).

But blowing off feminism because couple of amateur feminists make stupid remarks on a small-time blog? Aw.

144 comments

1 ping

  1. Notorious Ph.D.

    Thanks for this, Jill. I’ve been slowly backing out of blogging because an additive increase in readers apparently leads to an exponential increase of people ready to tell you “You’re doing it wrong.”

    You appear to have a thicker skin than I do, and I envy you for it.

  2. Saphire

    It’s more like the general pattern of feminism. This on every internet blog, and I’ve had some pretty bad (bullying) experiences with feminists in the real world too. This blog isn’t that bad for it. And I think the internet has something to do with it.

    We hold each other up to this ridiculous ‘can do no wrong’ standard, because heaven help us we *dare* to talk about our oppression.

    Maybe I was also talking about the flame wars and attacks recently and not those two comments (Sorry Dr Sarah Tonin). I’ll be back after my long due break.

  3. Catherine Martell

    This ought to be posted everywhere in the world, forever, and made into a rule.

    Alternatively, perhaps someone brand-savvy can come up with a snappy name for the hypervigilant hall monitor behaviour, like Godwin’s Law or mansplaining. A nice shorthand for this being a classic dick move might put a lot of people off doing it.

  4. April

    I don’t know. I think some of them are men posting that stuff.

  5. Jezebella

    Saphire, it’s not the general pattern of feminism; it’s the general pattern of human behavior in the patriarchy, but especially said behavior on the internet. Go to any blogosphere, whether it’s about Legos, mustard, pick-up artists, or feminism, and you’ll find the same behavior. Giving up on feminism because some feminists piss you off is rather an extreme response.

  6. humanbein

    April has an idea there. Whether they are men or are acting in manly ways – rubbing their need to be righteous all over our cowering faces – hardly matters. This is why I hardly ever joke around. Joking brings out the antifeminist in the best of people. How Jill does it so consistently is absolutely amazing.

    Having a thick skin is really a good idea anywhere on the internet. Don’t blame the person who is eager to score points in an imaginary game by jumping on your light-hearted remarks. Blame either the misogynistic world we live and breathe and sometimes spew out, despite our heroic efforts, or blame the same world for creating the irresistible urge to slap down the slightest gaffe on sight.

    Quite a few members of my family have spent time living in trailer parks, but I still get the idea both ways. Poverty is not the most nutritious environment for idealism.

  7. yttik

    It is not men posting this kind of stuff. A man will make an idiotic comment and two dozen men will say, way to go dude! Love that beautifully crafted, unsubstantiated argument for porn! You the man, man! It is generally women who have been trained to attack other women, to pounce on them like hall monitors, to always assume the worse, like that shallow minded, devious bitch, is comparing me to Dr Mengele, because she’s just that f-in evil.

    It is not just Twisty’s blog, it’s a cultural problem, but it really does seem to be especially thick in feminist circles. Many, many times over the years I have considered throwing in the towel on feminism because at least in the patriarchy once you know where you stand, your survival skills can help protect you. Walking through a feminist circle of continuous knife throwers is actually a lot more painful and sometimes feels pointless because I know we’re on a completely futile mission until we finally stop throwing knives and learn how to support women, damn near unconditionally, because that’s how the patriarchal brotherhood was born.

    Sisterhood is powerful. Maybe some day we’ll get that. In the meantime, let’s get back to voting the next bitch off the island.

  8. sonia

    Thank you for this Jill. It is also really annoying when internet feminists think they can say anything they want critically to you. The thing is, regardless of whether it’s an internet feminist or some douche on the street-if someone says something insulting, they’re going to get sassed right back. It’s annoying that some feminists think that because you love women you’re going to let them talk down to you. People need to adopt belief systems because they enhance the quality of their behavior, not because they give them an excuse to criticize other folks. I love that you are urging people not to run off butt-hurt because someone on a feminist blog tried to take them down a few notches. Some feminists seem to have no personal ethic regarding ridicule or general patriarchy-affirming behaviors even though they spout patriarchy-blaming theories. That’s why cuntalinagate was so stupid. The intention of the speaker was missed in favor of picking apart a literal action. It reminded me of Biblical literalists, though to say so at the time seemed foolhardy.

    Some of these people totally are just hall monitors with a keyboard.

  9. Rachel_in_WY

    “Also that the zingy take-down, popular though it is, be relinquished, and that the focus of the critique be ideological rather than personal. ”

    Amen.

    *Solemn pause*

    *Resumes life as a wage slave*

  10. Comrade Svilova

    I value sisterhood, but if a fellow woman says something racist, classist, able-ist, etc, I have no interest in overlooking the comment just because it was said by a woman. Of course, any critique has to be ideological rather than personal, and aimed at the action rather than the individual. But sometimes a brief, polite comment (like Dr. Sarah Tonin’s statement, quoted above) is called for. None of us are perfect, and I don’t think feminists are holding each other to an impossible standard to ask that we all examine our own privilege and assumptions, and try not to wield whatever unearned privilege we do have clumsily.

  11. Asp

    Pointing out someone’s privilege or discriminatory language etc is not “a take-down.” If you want to have any credibility in claiming that feminists have a right to call men out on their male privilege or object to their sexist language, then you cannot ask that feminists be excluded from similar criticisms, whether it’s you or one of your readers. We are all guilty sometimes, and when someone else points it out the proper reaction is to understand what is being said and why it’s being said, instead of deciding to give up fighting against patriarchy because, oh god, these humourless feminists are holding me up to high standards of not using discriminatory language!

    People who are willing to give up feminism because feminists are quick to point out failings of feminists themselves can, as far as I’m concerned, do exactly that. Because they are not helping the movement or anyone else by fighting against oppression and discrimination against women, while refusing to acknowledge the ways in which they themselves are perpetuating oppression and discrimination against other groups.

  12. Panic

    It is not men posting this kind of stuff.
    Meeeeh, it’s both, really.

    This behaviour doesn’t really know gender, but I do find that men will attack women more vigorously in a feminist (or anti-feminist) context. They honestly, erroneously think they’re bastions of chivalry and niceness at most times, so when they hear the word “feminist” it’s like a Pavlovian response to take the gloves off and start hitting below the belt. They’ll think on it, they’ll stew on it, they’ll craft it out over days. They’ll suck up then stab you in the back later. Or they’ll just slap you across the face, with words. “Hey, you wanna be a feminist? Well I won’t treat you like a ‘lady’ anymore!” Of course treating us like a lady is exactly the problem. So you can’t win. As always. IBTP.

  13. JenniferRuth

    I have to agree with Comrade Sivlova.

    What I don’t get is why people get so offended when it’s pointed out to them that they may have said something racist, classist, etc. Does it really hurt your feelings so much to be told you might be wrong? Is it so hard to reconsider your words and try to use ones that don’t hurt people? Is it really equivalent to tearing one another down? Frankly, I see it as a courtesy.

  14. Dr. Sarah Tonin

    I wish there was an easy way to contact each other off-blog. Saying what I did via comments could easily be perceived as intentionally shaming or trying to score points or whatever. I labored over how to phrase it, and I am sorry if it reads as flip or dismissive.

    My own version of feminism involves scrutinizing how my privilege comes out in my phraseology. But I know that intent doesn’t excuse impact, so I am very sorry if my impact was to make *any* woman feel as though she’s not supposed to participate in our conversations here.

  15. Liberality

    Here, here. Sometimes I write dumb things and get called on it. Oh well. I don’t try to criticize others. I do believe in supporting women. I should just read the blog and keep my comments to myself but I don’t always do what I should and let’s just leave it at that.

  16. Saphire

    Yes it hurts to be told we’re wrong on a consistent basis. It’s not a good social skill in the real world to always contradict. I wouldn’t mind the odd stinging comment, but this is worryingly a behaviour dominating the movement from within, usually at feminists who are making good points. I feel it’s something men would do to act on behalf of the P but it’s feminists, derailing in a tone akin to ‘you’re a fucking bitch’. It doesn’t happen in any other rights movement.

    I concede with yttik, why it’s easy to consider not being a feminist: she says learning to survive is simpler than having to walk on these hotcoals. It does hurt to be always stabbed by the lack of a sisterhood. I’ve been roared at in public by feminists at my uni, made to feel sick with guilt for something in the real world that would pass easy (try saying ‘men are weird’ to your average feminist – she’d shout you down. Say it to friends, it’s fine). It is simply getting too hard, and that’s not my fault for being too weak, thanks. It’s a fault of the culture within the movement, that a woman by virtue of some unspoken rule cannot be herself and say truly what she thinks.

    Finally, getting on is not hard, we get on with women every day! Bickering till we die of exhaustion is not how we are ‘forced to be as feminists’. Think about those social skills we learnt at playschool, kiddies. Christ.

  17. Sarah

    I think this problem Jill has addressed extends to the left-wing blogosphere in general, of which feminism is only a part. I’ve largely stopped reading feminist and left-wing political blogs because I just cannot stomach them anymore. That, however, has no bearing whatsoever on my personal political beliefs. Giving up on feminism because of idiot bloggers makes no sense to me.

    I think the worst blog I have seen for this kind of behavior is Feministe. I cannot read their comments section without boiling with rage. I don’t read the comments or the blog anymore. It’s not good for my blood pressure. “The hall monitor” is a perfect way to describe the moderators on that blog. They are seriously frightening. Sometimes I think they’re doing a parody of a crazed left-wing blog, but I think they’re for real.

  18. ivyleaves

    I appreciated reading what Dr. Sarah Tonin wrote because I didn’t notice the trailer park classist slur. It helps me with my own awareness of my own f-ed up programming, so I don’t think taking it off the blog is the answer. I found her comment to pretty much be just right as far as bringing it up without making accusations. If she hadn’t I might have re-used the same sort of words without thinking.

    Unless there had been a pattern of one or a group of commenters picking on the person all the time, I feel this sort of thing can be appropriate, as long as it is in the spirit of consciousness-raising. I’m have been called out on a comment, called others out, and probably perpetrated some stuff that wasn’t called out, so I am sure to make more mistakes.

    I don’t expect perfection, from myself or anyone else, but I do expect goodwill.

  19. tinfoil hattie

    Aaah, some of these comments are so meta, my belly is shakin’ like a bowlful of jelly.

  20. Comrade PhysioProf

    Any blogger worth their mumbles knows that the fucking plural of “smarty pants” is “smarty pants”. This blog stinks! UNSUBSCRIBERING!

  21. nails

    I’ll continue being honest, thanks. I hope everyone does so with me. Having a mistake pointed out is a chance to try and do better in the future or decide that it isn’t important. Both are good things. It isn’t pleasant to have it pointed out, but it is better than acting like a jackass forever without anyone pointing it out. It is a bit like how people will let you walk around with boogers hanging out of your nose, I hate that shit.

    There is nothing I hate more than having people bullshit me, and if I had said the trailerpark remark I wouldn’t want someone to bullshit me into thinking that kind of talk is ok, even by omission. The fear of conflict/being wrong people have is ridiculous. Conflict is how things are resolved, personal growth often results. Being wrong is something we all do and the more practice one gets at doing it well, the better.

  22. Katy

    A) “Smarties pants” because it follows attorneys general and also because it makes me think of yummy candy.

    B) I submit that if you are prepared to surrender yourself to a lifetime of coghood in the patriarchy because of comments two people, neither of whom are you, made to each other on the innerwebs, your commitment to feminism is more than weak. Not that you should therefore be banished away from all hope of revolution and the fruits therefrom, but you might want to examine your position and the reasoning that got you there. (Sorry, I tried to use third person, but it ended up being too vague. No specific “you” intended.)

  23. Bushfire

    I’m with Comrade Svilova.

  24. Rachel

    What Comrade Sivlova and JenniferRuth said.

  25. Saphire

    ‘your commitment to feminism is more than weak.’

    Oh hi, well after all this, I don’t give a shit! I’m a weak feminist. My respect to any thick hided feminist who actually manages to tolerate the bullshit.

    *survivors theme tune*

  26. Alexa

    You can’t unbecome a feminist, saphire. I’m pretty sure of that – it’s like an ‘eyes opened’ matrix red pill kinda deal. But you CAN wait for yttik and kiuku to co-write the ultimate radfem blog. Except, radical radfems only. A big difference between radical feminists who get it, and radical feminists who use the word ‘patriarchy’ like it’s going out of fashion but really don’t.

    First with the sisterhood!

  27. Ma'Whis'Ki

    After spending my work-day at the library being ‘no-porn-on-public-computers-or-personal-laptops’ policewoman instead of helping women/children/men connect with information they need, this blog is a breath of fresh air, even when individuals do not agree. While I may feel very emotional/passionate about some of the topics under discussion, what I *don’t* feel is (not so) subtly patriarchy-lice-infected, the way I do after having to be ‘consummately professional’ when dealing with some 24-year-old ass-wipe who thinks he can bring his child to story-time, and then claim it’s his god-given right to *sit there with porn all over his lap-top*. Again, I repeat– this blog is a breath of fresh air; thank you, Jill, thank you sister-posters!

  28. Susan

    What Comrade Sivlova and JenniferRuth and Rachel said.
    I once used the expression “Indian summer”, completely unaware that it was a term rooted in anti-Native American racism. I was embarrassed, but very grateful when someone pointed this out to me, because I never want to say it again.
    I read this blog because I always learn something, even though I think of myself as an advanced blamer. The P is so all pervasive, so poisonous, and has coloured my thinking, feeling and perception since birth. All the contributors here chip away at the scales on my eyes.

  29. rootlesscosmo

    @JenniferRuth:

    What I don’t get is why people get so offended when it’s pointed out to them that they may have said something racist, classist, etc. Does it really hurt your feelings so much to be told you might be wrong? Is it so hard to reconsider your words and try to use ones that don’t hurt people? Is it really equivalent to tearing one another down? Frankly, I see it as a courtesy.

    It hurts when you really have been trying, or believe you have, to find out you’ve failed. People who don’t care if they’re being offensive (or are actively trying to be) aren’t hurt by criticism; it’s the rest of us, who (think) we’re doing our best, that wince when we realize the struggle never ends and there’s no candy bar for effort. The struggle never does end, and the criticism is a courtesy, but it’s a bit like having a dislocated shoulder popped back into its socket: necessary and useful, but not very comforting. IB, as usual, TP.

  30. otoc

    @Ma’Whis’Ki – That asswipe needs his dick taped to his forehead.

    @rootlesscosmo – People who make “trailer trash” jokes are not really trying (to tame their class bigotry, at least).

  31. Stacy

    We were nicer to each other and had much better conversations when we talked in person, over wine, pot and munchies! It’s much easier to be flippantly, casually mean over the internet. I rarely post on any blog because it’s so impersonal. Also the internet is a patriarchal construct and as such cannot be liberating. We’d be better off and the revolution would be further ahead if we went back to meeting in person like we used to and marching in the streets like we used to (and smoking pot, like we used to! Hopefully my kids don’t read this blog.) (Ha! Not likely) This internet feminism thing is what we used to call (eons ago, in the battered women’s movement) “appearing to be doing something while actually doing nothing”. I agree, though, that Twisty provides some great distraction and I’m grateful for her.

  32. Jill

    What I don’t get is why people get so offended when it’s pointed out to them that they may have said something racist, classist, etc. Does it really hurt your feelings so much to be told you might be wrong? Is it so hard to reconsider your words and try to use ones that don’t hurt people? Is it really equivalent to tearing one another down? Frankly, I see it as a courtesy.

    Obviously, all cases are different, but I can personally attest to the existence of at least two types of Corrective Commenting: the aforementioned “Gotcha!” variety, which carries with it a snappy punchline and triumphant tone, and the more insidious “shame on you” species, the object of which is to confer upon the commenter instant moral superiority. Both are offensive because, although they purport to — and often actually do — shed light on unexamined dark facets of our belief systems, there is so often that undeniable measure of pleasure taken in jabbing in the dagger and giving it a twist.

    It is possible that the Privilege Cops are a necessary evil of blame-blogging, in which case I look forward to that fine, sunny, post-revolutionary spring day when they’re all obliged to pack up their pointing fingers and shut the fuck up because nobody can think of anything non-PC to say anymore.

  33. Triste

    All I have to say is that we should all remember that out there, in the wide, wide world of patriarchy, the open feminist pretty much spends all day being assaulted from all fronts. If you see a feminist fuck up, try to remember that at the very least they are trying to be less shit in an area where the rest of society fails, and therefore should be given some amount of credit and treated with some amount of respect.

    I feel like Sarah Tonin was pretty respectful – she even stayed on topic and noted that she agreed with the sentiment. Those who were thrown into convulsions by “cuntalina” were perhaps not so much.

  34. Rachel V

    “What I don’t get is why people get so offended when it’s pointed out to them that they may have said something racist, classist, etc. Does it really hurt your feelings so much to be told you might be wrong? Is it so hard to reconsider your words and try to use ones that don’t hurt people? Is it really equivalent to tearing one another down? Frankly, I see it as a courtesy.”

    It’s not that I get offended as much as I just assume you have nothing to add to the conversation except to show off how well you can spot an -ism, even if the person is not actually making an -ist statement. Some people can tolerate entry-level 101-ers who want to show off how much they learned and grew from last week. I’m not one of them and I don’t take you seriously.

    Case in point: Valerie was making a comparison of “them” to “trailer parks” in order to say that “they” are less classy than trailer parks. Dr. Tonin pulled out her hall monitor badge to give Valerie a scolding because using “trailer parks” in an analogy is classist.

    Does Dr. Tonin think trailer parks are, in fact, classy joints with great management, wonderful schools, parks nearby, and safe streets and by stating otherwise, we’re dismissing the ground that residents of trailer parks have gained in the past few years*? Or is she stating that comparing anything to trailer parks is a de jure classist move? Based on my decade of involvement with hall monitors on the feminist internet, this is the likely motive of Dr. Tonin.

    I propose that Dr. Tonin and every other hall monitor (or, for that matter, every commenter, period) be forbidden from commenting until they can identify the difference between “classist (sexist/racist/etc) language” and “language that relies on class-based metaphors and analogies to make a larger point.”

    To wit:

    Valerie: “They make trailer parks look classy.”
    Woman in the grocery store yesterday talking to her male companion: “I just know they’re using welfare to buy all that junk food. I can’t believe they’re on food stamps and buying that crap. They aren’t even buying fruits and vegetables.”

    The person who puts Valerie in the same mental space as the woman in the grocery store is not the hall monitor I want in charge of my feminist movement.

    Note: I’m not saying Valerie isn’t classist. Maybe she was comparing the Four Seasons hotel to trailer parks because they only gave her one chocolate on her pillow instead of two. But if that’s the case, Dr. Tonin still failed to explain what was *actually* classist in the statement.

  35. Rachel V

    *Forgot to mention that I would appreciate knowing if this is the case. My and family’s 30+ years of living in trailer parks suggest that this is never the case but that might be a geographic quirk unique to the midwest and southeast.

  36. pheenobarbidoll

    So offended persons must describe why they’re offended at being stereotyped in a manner the offender finds tolerable because they didn’t mean to be insulting and they might feel like the offended person takes pleasure in catching them out.

  37. iGuest

    Ma’Whis’Ki, isn’t it illegal to view porn in public? Especially around children? (I seem to recall the case of some fellow viewing porn on his car’s dvd player and it was visible to other cars.) Next time don’t waste a workday, just call the cops.

  38. eilish

    It’s a real toughie.
    I’m all for learning about others’ experiences and widening my tolerance and understanding, in order that justice may occassionally be able to crawl out of the dark cellar she’s been in since property was invented.
    I’m also really wary of complaining about stridency, because we all know stridency and truculence are a feminist’s best friend.

    But I really hate it when the Privelege Police arrive and start slamming people onto the car hood of off-topic righteousness.
    Getting out a searchlight and helicopter to shout “your fly is undone” is hardly a courtesy.

    If the discussion had been about the ways Paula Jones was discredited during the Republicans’case of sexual harrassment against Bill Clinton, then Dr.Sarah’s rebuke would have extended the discourse. As it was, it was shut down.
    We all stopped to either feel guilty for thinking caravan parks are unattractive and plebian,or pleasantly righteous that our feminism is unsullied by any such thoughts. We all know now that anyone who harbours disparaging allusions about caravan parks in their metaphors will immediately be denounced and denied participation in the discussion, and I bet we won’t be seeing any more. Saved from snarky allusions to caravan parks! The world is a better place!
    Maybe Dr.Sarah could get Valerie an ice-pack now for her bruised consciousness?

    I dunno.

  39. janna

    But if people are being racist or classist in feminist areas and we don’t correct them because we’re sure they don’t mean to, aren’t we subtly saying that we don’t value their contributions? Because if someone uncaringly lets fly a trailer trash joke, it hurts people who come from a lower class background and makes them feel unwelcome. And they already feel unwelcome in the world at large, where that sort of thing is tolerated and even rewarded (all the most hilarious comedians are sexist/racist/classist/homophobic/ableist). If we ignore intolerance, how are we any different from the patriarchy?

  40. sonia

    I didn’t realize you were alluding to something that happened yesterday. Ima go check that shit out.

  41. sonia

    Wait where is this drama located? I went all through the last four or five posts comments. Am I just special right now and can’t find it?

  42. Jane Q Public

    The notion of being educational rather than imperious is exactly why I have learned so much reading this blog. The ideas and opinions expressed here by Jill and the often excellent commenters/ blamers have made me question my own ideas and opinions about life without making me feel like shit about them. Isn’t that the point?

  43. nails

    “there is so often that undeniable measure of pleasure taken in jabbing in the dagger and giving it a twist.”

    Unless you know the motivation of other posters, this is completely deniable. There are many possible motives for such a post. You are assuming the worst in others.

  44. Dr. Sarah Tonin

    @Sonia, if you can’t find it, I must have done it wrong. DRAMA FAIL!

    @pheeno, I sure have missed you. Could you contact me off-blog? sarahc at veloma dot com

    I propose ice-packs and/or ice-cold margs all around, and then a return to blaming the P.

  45. doubletrack

    Agreed, Comrade Svilova et al. I think Dr. Sarah Tonin phrased her response about as politely and gently as possible.

  46. Pinko Punko

    I want to chime in and say this style or argumento is not feminism, its a trope mastered on the internet. Some call it purity trolling. I like to think of it as cheap rhetorical leverage- even if a legit criticism is being leveled. J is right- we all do it. It isn’t an easy line sometimes, because it gets abused because it feels good to be better than the commenter above you. I think a lot of it comes from repetition. Every style comment we can imagine has been commented before in a thread by someone else. So sometimes I think people want to call some stuff out. There is really no easy way to do it without coming across as petulant. Of course this is a terrible outcome because it leads toward negating all teachable moments, because while I agree with J, I can now use the J approach to regain rhetorical leverage against somebody correcting me for my unthinking use of a loaded term (jip (gyp)? lame? stupid? etc. our daily language is a minefield of ist, and I’m not supporting it with this comment).

    *I’ve used the deadly construction of “some” and I will now attack myself for talking about “someone” “specific” without naming them. Thus, I “other” the entire internet, so maybe I had a good point, but I just denounced myself and I am going to run with it. I suck!

  47. veganrampage

    Jill, this is the second post in a row where it seems you are reading my mind. I know, I know, it’s a short story, right?

    Not Dr. Sarah particularly, but many people are probably just plain jealous of you, so they can’t wait to jump all over your shit. Your writing talent alone is enough to make some spew forth.(I’m not using talent here to suggest that writing this blog isn’t work.)
    As for “cutting it the fuck out”,as short as this thread is, de-evolution has occurred.
    There is a difference being correcting an obvious outrageous or naive or misinformed written sentence and hanging the fuck on to an argument to “win” it.
    In addition, many Blamers seem fairly young(under 40) and they haven’t yet discovered that being right is the booby prize of the universe. I believe only age can cure this patriarchal and false belief.

    Joyce returns from vacation next Tuesday. Any Blamers in the NYC area who think that being right is important are invited to “come with”,as the cool kids say, to my next mental health appointment. We can also practice how not to take what other people say/write personally. (Hint- it’s all projection, ALL of it.)Freud got a few things right.

  48. sonia

    He he. Okay but that was a serious question.

  49. Adrienne in CA

    OK, I admit it. I’m a poindexter. Most people don’t know because for fear of making anyone feel uncomfortable or appearing self aggrandizing, I resist sudden, sometimes violent urges welling up inside me (really, it’s like bulemia) to tell the world that there’s a really, really important difference between “lose” and “loose,” or “lead” and “led,” and jeebus god, why isn’t that period inside the quotation mark?

    “Mores” and “morays?” My dear, that makes me want to {hug} you.

    Anyhoo, the PC term is actually manufactured home, which not coincidentally provides no alliterative punch whatever next to the word “trash.”

    You’re welcome.

  50. shopstewardess

    Didn’t Isabel get banned for trying to fight the class war?

    {retires expecting to be hurt}

  51. sonia

    yeah dude, I totally project stuff onto guys who call me a bitch or a cunt.

    sometimes people are just assholes. without projection.

  52. JenniferRuth

    the aforementioned “Gotcha!” variety, which carries with it a snappy punchline and triumphant tone, and the more insidious “shame on you” species, the object of which is to confer upon the commenter instant moral superiority.

    I’m not sure I agree. Is the tone of the message more important than the message? If someone says something that is soaking in privilege should we really have to consider cuddling them to make sure their feelings aren’t hurt before we tell them? I would point out that we wouldn’t feel this way for a second before pointing out misogyny to a man.

    Also, I think that often a “gotcha” tone is inferred rather than intended. I see none of it in Dr Sarah Tonin’s comment. Perhaps this is just because I have not experienced it though. I have been called out on comments I have made before but I have never felt that it was because the other commenter wanted to feel moral superiority over me.

    I think if we “cut out” calling each other on instances of privilege then we are also cutting out the opportunity to grow and learn. Yeah, having your privilege questions does hurt. We’ve all been there. But it doesn’t hurt as much as you can hurt other people with your privilege. So I think you have to suck up your own ego, your knee-jerk reaction to criticism and listen.

    Regardless, I too look forward to the day when no-one will be able to think of anything offensive to say. The fact that we have to call each other out on privilege – well, IBTP!

  53. Feminizzle

    Wow, that post was full of fake words and bad grammar. This isn’t a good representation of feminism and so I can’t read your blog anymore. I think I’ll drop the feminist community until I see better behavior and grammar.

    Kidding, of course. You have really nailed the whole “triumphant” correction comment. People can really get this holier-than-thou attitude on the internet but I agree that it’s no reason to drop causes, stop reading, or correct in a patronizing way.

  54. Vinaigrette Girl

    If someone reads this blog and has a question which implies that the blogger (or commenter) has done an ideological or lexicographical whoopsie on the blamer shoes, then asking the question politely, as in [hand-waving] “this is what your comment reads like to me, is it me, or did you do that Thing?” is a reasonable feminist approach, if feminism includes having a modicum of respect for other women and those of their views which fall into the category of Not Actually Patriarchy.

    Assuming other women are de facto either ignorant or patriarchy-unaware and “calling them on it” seems, to me, to say more about the caller than than the callee. And whilst that may be enlightening (as in “Don’t respond that that caller, they have an axe to grind on my hide”) t’ain’t embiggening.

    There is an xkcd strip in which one stick figure says to the other, “Aren’t you coming to bed?” and the second one replies (tapping furiously), “But someone is wrong on the Internet!”

    Prescriptive Statement (superciliosity optional): If one is already in a foul mood, taking it out on Teh Net is easy, and especially venting it here in a notionally “safe space”, but perhaps having a taco and a margarita before hitting the Blame button is the True Feminist Way. There, I said it, therefore it must be true. If it wasn’t half-past nine in the morning I’d follow my own advice, but now I shall just hit “Blame”.

  55. Thomas Stazyk

    @jennifer ruth. To me the issue is that if all we do is focus on whether a word choice here or there hurts our feelings, we lose sight of the big picture and open the door for ridicule. One of the things I’ve found so refreshing about this blog is that Twisty uses it to share her vision by giving trenchant examples and making pithy observations about them. I read for ideas and content and don’t get hung up on the small stuff and I think that’s what all bloggers want.

  56. Slashy

    Hey, it’s not just on the internet! Sometimes, seriously brave, resilient people do this ‘calling out’ thing in real life too, and I tell you what, it’s 1000x harder to graciously accept being told that you’re perpetuating stinking classist stereotypes when it’s to your face, in a big room full of people listening with their Judgeing Ears on, than when it’s on a computer where all you need to do is click the little red cross to sidestep it! Hard, but worth it. Because it turns out I WAS part of organising an event with a very ill-considered theme that really DID do callous perpetuation of classist stereotypes, and as generally unpleasant as it was to have the event become a Learning Experience for us all about being a bit more fucking considerate, we did learn, and it was necessary. I am still in a bit of awe at the lady brave- and strident- enough to come along and tell us all, to our faces, to pull our fucking heads in. So. I think there’s a difference between nit-picking gotchas & valid, if uncomfortable and strident, suggestions to take a sharper look at your unexamined privileges. I’m all for the latter, actually. And I must apologise for Long Paraphraph Hell here, I post from my phone which does not believe in line breaks.

  57. Comrade PhysioProf

    In addition, many Blamers seem fairly young(under 40) and they haven’t yet discovered that being right is the booby prize of the universe.

    Ain’t that the fucking truth. One of the occupational hazards of academia is an obsession with rectitude.

    And, hence, you see grown adults crying like WATBs: “But I was right! Why didn’t I get what I want! {snivel}”

    News flash, dumbass! Being right doesn’t mean jack diddly fuck in the real world of making shit happen. Now being persuasive, that’s another story.

  58. Jodie

    Adrienne, I’m right there with you. Mores and morays! That makes me laugh in a very good way.

  59. janicen

    I’ve only recently discovered this blog. I don’t comment much because the posts and comments usually cover anything I have to say and because the posts and comments occasionally open a door for me and make me think differently about assumptions I have made all of my life. By the time I think things through, we’ve moved along, but that’s okay, I love that my assumptions are challenged. I also believe in the broken window theory in that, if a stereotype is allowed to pass in a comment, then the next one will not stand out as much, and eventually the quality of the entire blog will degrade. I agree that we need to measure our reactions and reread before we hit the blame button, but I hope, at least in my case, that if I say something which perpetuates a stereotype or is wrong in any way, that some blamer will call it to my attention. Just don’t call me stupid or I’ll open up a can of whoop-ass on ya!

  60. speedbudget

    Skipping comments for now to comment on the MOST IMPORTANT ASPECT of this post:

    Smarty pants.

    Someone upstream rightly compared it to attorneys general. You pluralize ‘attorney’ because that is the noun; ‘general’ is the adjective describing the noun. Hence, one would pluralize ‘pants.’

    I submit ‘pants’ is already plural. Merriam-Webster agrees with me: “Noun plural but singular in construction.”

    So there you have it.

    By the way, solving burning grammatical dilemmas such as this is the stuff of my life, so I just have to thank Jill for giving me something to ruminate over while I drink my coffee.

  61. Mar Iguana

    “Am I just special right now and can’t find it?”

    Aha! A specialist. Repent.

  62. pheenobarbidoll

    To paraphrase a post on privilege I read on LJ and forget the authors name (shamefully) Its not our job to lift your boot off our neck, its your job to pick up your goddamned feet. Its not my job to hand hold and walk you through your privilege, and everyone here posting about being nicely called out is expecting just that. You want me to nicely tell you not to kick me in the teeth. God forbid you think I recieve pleasure in telling you to stop kicking me in the teeth. Because it’s all about you and how you feel and not about the people you just casually ground under your boot heel.Yanno, during your lighthearted, joking non pc post. It really is our fault we get offended in feminist spaces. We stupidly believed we didnt need a mouth guard and its our own fault we got kicked in the teeth.

  63. tinfoil hattie

    Go, pheeno.

  64. yttik

    There is another kind of privilege being exercised by those who rush in to point fingers at others.

    It concerns me when the privilege cops get busy because when you are dealing with oppression, constant reminders about how you are shamefully oppressing somebody else, is not helpful.

    When did we forget that oppression requires widespread systemic power behind it? Why do we act like somebody in an obscure part of the internet typing a word like “trailer” is responsible for all the classism in the world?

    Women simply do not have the power to oppress others. Until we are half the CEO’s in this country, and 50% of congress, and hold genuine power, all we are capable of is engaging in is simple bigotry, often unintentional bigotry.

    It seems like women are again being given all the accountability for oppression and yet we have none of the power or authority to enforce it, so we cannot truly be exercising privilege.

    In the olden days we never pointed fingers at people and screamed “privilege!” We talked about being inclusive, supportive, welcoming, to those who had been “othered.”

  65. dillene

    Very well- after reading this thread I promise that I will never again quote the phrase: “You’re a better man than I am, Gunga Din” to compliment the fortitude of feminist bloggers. Thank you for opening my eyes.

  66. tinfoil hattie

    In addition, many Blamers seem fairly young(under 40) and they haven’t yet discovered that being right is the booby prize of the universe.

    Those stupid people younger than 40! Jeeze! I have deduced everyone’s age from my sooper seekrit powers of internet deduction! And now I am making fun of what I deem “young” people! But don’t call me out on my crap, because THEN YOU WILL BE A LOSER PC ASSHOLE.

  67. pheenobarbidoll

    Oh well, since it’s merely simple bigotry then. I think I’m getting the ugly truth about why woc feminists don’t feel very allied. Perhaps it’s due to concerning one self over being supportive of accidental bigots and not doing too damn much about the othering that started the whole thing to begin with. Sorry Miss Daisy, I knows yall didnt mean no bigotry, I jes shut up now and be drivin you to the sto. That better?

  68. Jill

    shopstewardess
    July 13, 2010 at 1:06 am

    Didn’t Isabel get banned for trying to fight the class war?

    If memory serves, Isabel was asked to retire from constantly promulgating views that veered a little to close to white supremacist ideology for comfort. “Maybe women of color have it tough, but what about the white people?” was her refrain.

  69. Comrade Svilova

    Yttik, I’d never suggest that a woman who casually uses “trailer park” or “white trash” is responsible for all classism, and I definitely agree with you that women as a class face marginalization that makes it difficult for women (as a class) to oppress anyone else. However, individual women can be found on both sides of classism, as oppressed and oppressors. That’s why I was glad to see the “trailer park” reference commented on, and discussed so briefly, clearly, and politely. We can’t ignore the fact that there are women who are in the “lower classes” and who are subjected to both sexism and classism. (Same with women of color.)

    I definitely don’t support self-righteousness or dwelling on others’ errors, but I believe in pointing out that women, though marginalized as women, can also be additionally marginalized as members of other groups or can be part of the groups who are marginalizing others.

  70. yttik

    No, it’s not better, pheenobarbidoll, because you aren’t even trying to listen and communicate, you’re simply trying to mock and ridicule.

    I am the one driving Miss Daisy, I am the one living in the trailor park, I am the one living with the results of rape and economic oppression and the constant reminders of how I am oppressing everybody else, frankly piss me off. THAT is why people feel othered. It takes a special kind of privilege to sit up high and point fingers down at those who are actually living the oppression, as if we were all so ignorant as to not know WTH this privilege thing is all about.

    Do people truly not understand that it takes privilege to point fingers at other’s grammar, spelling, word choices? Do they not see the elitism in insisting everybody use proper English and politically correct feminist speech at all times? You wind up creating a club that is so elitist and exclusive, none of us are good enough to join.

    This kind of feminism is like Savage Death island. The goal is not build a movement, it’s to be the last feminist still standing and doing it right.

  71. Shelly

    @Thomas Stazyk

    How nice for you, not getting all hung up on the small stuff. Would you like a cookie? Because it doesn’t seem to have occurred to you that the “small stuff” you’re not sweating may well be hurtful, alienating, and ultimately silencing to someone else.

    As for privileged comments, is ignoring them really the best plan? People don’t learn in a vacuum, and they damned sure don’t seem capable of picking this stuff up on their own, so letting it slide doesn’t seem like the best course of action, in terms of patriarchy blaming.

    Calling people out on spelling, grammar, etc. errors seems to me to be a different kettle of fishes, though, and conflating it with calling out privilege is kind of counter-productive.

  72. Jezebella

    What I don’t get here is the response to her post, given that Dr. Sarah Tonin’s comment was incredibly polite, and not at all a “gotcha.” And, furthermore, the person who got all stompy about it was Saphire, at whom the comment wasn’t even directed. Sure, people get all pointy and judgy all over the internet, but this was not an example of that, in my view.

    That said, it’s completely unreasonable, I think, to ask people who are offended to be polite and submissive and smiley when they note that they have been offended. There is a difference between “Ha! Busted!” and “You just said something rude and I’m offended by that.”

    Yttik, I don’t think being a member of the oppressed female class gives any one of us a pass on bigotry, which seems to be what you’re suggesting. Just because I can’t literally oppress poor people doesn’t mean I get to perpetuate nasty stereotypes about them.

  73. EmilyBites

    ‘In addition, many Blamers seem fairly young(under 40) and they haven’t yet discovered that being right is the booby prize of the universe.’

    @veganrampage, you are so right. I am extremely young according to your calculations – and being right and ‘winning’ the conversation often seems like THE MOST IMPORTANT THING, even when it means alienating someone else who agrees with you 99.9% just to score empty points. I do it all the time, but I’m trying to cut it out.

    The thing is that if you turn to your left, chances are you will see someone who thinks gonzo is awesome, stiletto heels empowerful you, and false rape accusations are the bane of Western society. So really, blaming these feminists here?

  74. nails

    yttik-The grammar/spelling stuff is really about privilege. On the other hand, I have learned a lot about writing from reading Jill’s rants about it. My writing is better as a result.

    I also am wondering what you would have people who aren’t class oppressed do when they hear/see classism? Are they not supposed to say anything that doesn’t have a direct effect on their life? It has been my experience that people with privilege who call out isms that they don’t deal with is a positive thing. People with the privilege are in the best position to cut that shit out, and make a difference from within groups that perpetuate oppression. It also makes for a greater pool of people who give a shit, and makes life somewhat less depressing on the whole. Thats how I feel about it, anyway.

  75. nails

    shopstewardess- from what I understand, it was much more about her bringing it up in a shit ton of threads and serial posting about it in said unrelated threads.

    She even took to posting about it on other threads on other blogs post-bannage. She will follow me demanding details about my class situation and is extremely angry that I “got her banned”, tossing insults my way. It is really weird. Behavior like that is probably more related than her class deal.

  76. Comrade Svilova

    Yttik, I certainly agree that correcting other people’s grammar and spelling is usually elitist and always rude and uncalled for. However, to me there seems to be a difference between objecting to a specific slur and correcting someone’s grammar or spelling.

    My hope is that we’re not trying to create a “last feminist standing” atmosphere but that we’re open to admitting that none of us is perfect and that we can all learn from our mistakes. As a member of the working class, I do bristle at casual mentions of “trailer trash” or “white trash” or “welfare moms” et al. I like being part of a community where that kind of language can be discussed. IRL, I try to raise people’s awareness, but as someone said upthread, it’s often much harder to do around coworkers, family, and friends.

    (Isabel, on the other hand, seems to want to argue that classism is the worst form of oppression there is, rushing to the defense of white, working-class men who display misogyny.)

  77. agasaya

    Nails,

    That kind of internet stalking happens and is an illness. Such behavior is a means for some to feel a sense of empowerment denied them by other circumstances or basic intelligence. Not like the woman wasn’t encouraged to rethink her positions.

    As for being ‘right’, women know that ‘rightness’ is punished under patriarchy once the knowledge has been harvested and used by some dude. Still, a lot of us are experimenting with the concept of rational argument in this safe spot (yes, safe even if attacked with a pointy finger) because the premises are already set by Jill and accepted by participants. Disagreements here are far better than those generally encountered on the net.

    I appreciate the tolerance extended to my meanderings as I acquire knowledge,whether the points are debated as right or that opposite thing. Oh,yeah, wrong. Wrong happens and the revolution is about altering wrong. Right?

  78. Alexa

    Asp, why should feminists be held to this necessary high standard you speak of? Why can’t we just be ourselves, talking about our own goddamn oppression?

    Maybe more women would join if they could act how the hell they wanted, while acknowledging their oppression. It isn’t about fucking improving ourselves! It’s about improving what’s out there.

    In my own life, I don’t expect to be called out for being privileged or called out full stop. When I talk about my oppression, this even more so. Maybe it’s hard for a feminist if she has to be Ms Perfect!

    Get rid of these ‘standards’ or the need to be a better feminist – you worry about your oppression, that’s surely all it needs. I think cultures reaction to feminism is why we constantly think we need to be better – care more than the average person. Which is ironic, I thought we had to strive to have the same standards as men – not join the feminist movement because we want a new impossible standard applied to us.

    I don’t agree that men and anti- feminists get called out the same on feminist blogs. I’ve seen evidence for that with my own eyes. It’s what Sonia said, just because we love women it means we get shit on from every corner.

  79. Jill

    Alexa
    July 13, 2010 at 11:14 am
    [...] I thought we had to strive to have the same standards as men – not join the feminist movement because we want a new impossible standard applied to us [...].

    The goal of radical feminism, of which this blog is a blatant proponent, is not, as it is so often misunderstood, equality with men. It is the liberation of women from male oppression. It is incumbent on the radical feminist to expunge as much dude-culture from herself as possible. If this feels like a burden, there’s always one of those lite, lifestyle-choice feminisms.

    By the way, I thought you hated everybody on this blog, yet here you still are. What is your purpose?

  80. Alexa

    Just read later comments, and everyone believes we should have this standard. Ask yourself truly deeply, whether it’s because we’re sticking up for women? If I said I hated women and was a man, sure enough i wouldn’t have my grammar/ be PC corrected. It”s just applied when you’re a feminist.

    Sure women have the right to be angry – but we’ve had the right to be angry at other women since forever. it’s applauded in fact. It’s men we’re not allowed to be angry at or question their privilege.

    First with sisterhood.

  81. Comrade PhysioProf

    I submit ‘pants’ is already plural. Merriam-Webster agrees with me: “Noun plural but singular in construction.”

    So there you have it.

    And when a d00d said the same thing upthread, he was ignored! FEMSPLAINER!

  82. Alexa

    Jill, I’m here so yttik doesn’t get swallowed up in flames. I’m also speaking on behalf of my love for women. That would be my ‘purpose’ on a radical feminist blog.

  83. Rachel V

    My post only recently made it out of moderation but I’d really like to know what is classist about using “trailer park” in an analogy since so many people are now claiming that doing so is de jure classist, that simply *saying the words* trailer park in, in essence, classist and “perpetuating” someone’s oppression*. The shame I felt/feel for living in a trailer park didn’t come from people using the locale as a rhetorical device but from knowing that the cops didn’t care enough to keep it safe, the city didn’t care enough to give us a tetanus-free playground, etc.

    *Which, *really*, people?! Way to set yourself up to lose the entire verbal sparring match. If using a stupid WORD can “oppress” someone, then I need do is eliminate those words to shut you up. I don’t learn anything new about class so I’m still free to complain about poor people who don’t cook with fresh fruits and vegetables and who shop at Wal-Mart (because they don’t know they are participating in their own oppression, dontchaknow?). Explaining and teaching how all those phrases and beliefs actually *do* perpetuate classist systems is hard work and doesn’t provide nearly enough immediate gratification as hall monitoring does.

  84. Jill

    Rachel V, I sort of address this, sort of, in today’s post.

  85. Jill

    Comrade PhysioProf
    July 13, 2010 at 11:30 am

    [...some stuff a blamer wrote...]

    And when a d00d said the same thing upthread, he was ignored! FEMSPLAINER!

    Surely you are not unaware, PhysioProf, that nobody reads your comments!

  86. Comrade PhysioProf

    No wai!

  87. Gertrude Strine

    So long and thanks for all the moray?

  88. Thomas Stazyk

    @Shelley et al. Have fun sorting it out girls. Bye.

  89. Jill

    Thomas Stazyk
    July 13, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    @Shelley et al. Have fun sorting it out girls. Bye

    Whoa. Talk about your thin skin!

  90. Kayleigh

    The term ‘cuntalinagate’ made me laugh so hard that orangeade squirted out of my nose.

  91. Ma'Whis'Ki

    iGuest–

    Yes, it is quite illegal to view porn in public, and we do call the cops in certain instances. That usually happens when a patron refuses to comply with library staff direction in the matter and/or becomes disruptive. Right now, the manual says that Step One is that the library staff must inform the patron he is violating library policy and ask him to leave. If he then does not do so, then it’s time for Step Two: we call the police and have him escorted off the premises.

    The obvious flaw in this plan is that between Steps One and Two there are usually rude remarks (a.k.a. verbal abuse) coming from Mr. Porn-dawg, and if I were to opt for the Go-Straight-To-Step-Two option to save myself agony, *I* would be the the one who would be jumped on by management, as in, ‘You mean you didn’t ask him to leave first??? You’ve opened us to a lawsuit!!!’

    So I have to 1) look at porn to ‘make sure it *is* porn’ (vomit!), then I have to 2) *politely but firmly* (whatever the hell that means) tell the patron he is in violation of library policy and civil criminal code and to ‘please leave the premises now’ (double vomit!), and then 3) I have to be present during the verbal abuse tirade while we all wait for the police (my BP red-lines) or else *I* will be in trouble. The absolute low-light of my library career so far is that one time I actually had to tell a guy being kicked out of the computer lab that the reason we were asking him to leave was ‘because it is against the law to masturbate in public’ (my exact words to him). I SO BTP!!!!

  92. Jezebella

    Rachel, go back and read it again. The term “trailer park” was not the problem; the problem was the implication that trailer parks are the very opposite of “classy and nuanced”. Dig?

  93. pheenobarbidoll

    And the rest of the problem is that if a feminist here, in the process of discussing her own oppression, shits all the fuck over another oppressed group then it’s up to the shat upon to sweetly educate the shitter. Which is bullshit. It’s not the oppressed persons job to educate, explain or politely point out bigotry or stereotypes. But it certainly is a privilege to demand such hand holding from those one just slapped in the face.

  94. Alexa

    Pheenobarbiedoll, I don’t expect hand holding. If it’s a debate about whether being classist/ an asshole is wrong then your team would win, hands down. No one here is an ass. 

    All I’m asking is where the hell did this standard just for feminists come from? Because I think it does more harm than good. You also say ‘if’ we talk about our own oppression and then shit on others – as if talking about our oppression is a step too far. Why not, ‘if we shit on others’?  

    Answer me this: why can I make jokes with my friends but not as a feminist? Why does being a feminist require you to be holier than thou? Why?!!!?  

    On other feminist sites, this policing behaviour ‘of other feminists’ dominates – so woman- hating trolls are allowed but myself as a feminist slipping up non-pc am not!! Something seems off.

    I think it’s right that at least some radfems out there are addressing this ‘standard’. 

    I don’t know much about it, except the standard exists because we’re women; it’s not applied to men.  We’re kinda kicking each other cos we’re already down.  

  95. otoc

    One accepts classism as part of the package at IBTP.

  96. pheenobarbidoll

    What jokes? Bigoted jokes? Stereotype jokes? Classist jokes? Are you seriously asking me why you can’t/shouldn’t make those jokes? Refraining from being an assy bigot is holier than thou? Gee, I didnt realize my status as a non white, non wealthy person made YOUR life so hard, what with all that difficult not making jokes at our expense and all. And it just fills me with the warm tinglies to hear it called non pc. Its not PC to give someone some basic respect and courtesy by not making jokes about them.

    So far I’ve yet to say anything about holding feminists to higher standards, but when you enter a feminist space that has a list of things considered not to be tolerated, you actually expect that to be the standard and the people posting held to it, not exempt because they’re discussing oppression. I didn’t write the list, and I do expect that when it says no classism bullshit it means no classism bullshit and NOT well, except when you’re making a joke at the poorer classes expense and then it’s all good.

    And the hell I don’t apply it to men. I apply it to anyone jerky enough to think they can joke about someone less privileged, or make racist, sexist, bigoted remarks.

    I’m sick to death of entering what I’ve been led to believe are safe spaces, only to get slapped in the face with privilege. And then when I react, I get told it’s only joking and I’m holding women to too high standards. It’s too high of a standard to avoid calling poor people uncultured? Really? That’s some difficult fucking feat? Just how many slip ups must I ignore? How many oopsies at my expense should I tolerate? Why do we have to suck it up, smile and always always always consider the intent or smile and pretend it’s ok when it isn’t? These excuses are on bingo cards people. The only difference is who is using them. MRA’s or radical feminists, it’s still the same privileged defensive bullshit.

  97. pheenobarbidoll

    http://kittikattie.livejournal.com/796501.html

  98. veganrampage

    Comrade PhysioProf-
    UNSUBSCRIBERING has two B’s. Learn how to spell, for crying out loud.

  99. Ma'Whis'Ki

    Otoc–

    [@Ma’Whis’Ki – That asswipe needs his dick taped to his forehead.]

    I just now saw this in the comment train. Couldn’t agree more. Plus, I’d drop-kick his lap-top across the parking lot and run over it several times with my car if I could get away with it… ah, daydreams…

  100. figleaf

    There’s also that part where women were socially constructed to be society’s moral hall-monitors on everything from how everyone else should sing in church choirs to how well the sheriff padlocked the saloons or how everyone otherwise stayed on the “straight and narrow.” Including, naturally, each other.

    It might have made sense when that was the only way men allowed women to participate in the public sphere. Not so much nowadays.

    Point being, though, that the kind of hall monitoring Jill’s talking about here and in the last post is dead-center participation in Patriarchy.

    One good alternative (which you don’t have to take as advice since there are a bazillion others) for dealing with affronts is to model cooler behavior. Which Jill did really well when she talked about fishslapping, which is a great alternative to the kind of slapping other people use while insisting it’s not about gender at all.

    So Dr. Tonin could have said something like “Some of my best friends live in trailer parks but it sounds like you’re saying they make Texas Republicans look classy and nuanced.”

    figleaf

  101. Comrade Svilova

    I love Figleaf’s suggestion.

    I don’t know much about it, except the standard exists because we’re women; it’s not applied to men.

    I think it is, though. I’ve certainly seen plenty of men chastised and banned for classism, racism, etc. on radfem blogs (as well as for misogyny, of course).

  102. speedbudget

    CPP – Try not to be jealous.

    :P

  103. littlerobbergirl

    susan – thanks for the ‘indian summer’ warning. i always thought it was a british colonial expression, summer lasting a lot longer in India than here in the UK. i shall start using the german ‘crone’s summer’ i just found on wikipedia instead.

  104. SKM

    but it sounds like you’re saying they make Texas Republicans look classy and nuanced.”

    That is still broad-brushing an entire group of individuals with “classless”, though, figleaf. When one gets into using “classy” and not “classy” as compliment or insult, one is walking right into a classism fail.

  105. SKM

    These excuses are on bingo cards people. The only difference is who is using them. MRA’s or radical feminists, it’s still the same privileged defensive bullshit.

    Agreed, pheenobarbidoll. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve seen progressives/feminists/etc. use the same silencing tactics to defend their privilege that others have wielded against them, nobody on Savage Death Island would ever go hungry again.

  106. figleaf

    @SKM Excellent point. Also a nice instance of how slippery the whole shebang can get — you sit there worrying about the subjects of one’s analogies and loses track of one’s adjectives.

    Plus there’s the rhetorical and conceptual problem of making comparisons of any sort, since they draw attention to the aptness of the analogy rather than the merit of the original subject.

    In other words it would have been more appropriate to model direct description “XYZ isn’t classy or nuanced.” Note further how dropping the comparison makes it easier to pay attention to one’s adjectives, with the result that one might note that “classy” isn’t a *completely* dead metaphor and say something more analytical.

    Like, for instance, “I think their tag line is – If you can’t measure it with a ruler, it doesn’t count. But what they want to measure — their own self-worth — is actually made smaller by celebrating the merits of borrowed pickup lines.”

    figleaf

  107. Rachel V

    Jezebella, again, unless y’all have different experiences with trailer parks than I have, I don’t see a problem with saying that trailer parks are NOT classy, as “classy” is usually defined. If you can’t accept that trailer parks are where we toss the undesirable people of society in the hope that they get sick and die from heatstroke/freezing, violence, and disease, I don’t really know how we can change that fate. Pointing that out isn’t classist. Or if it is, then I was sold a bag of shit when I became a feminist since that’s what made me realize we didn’t deserve that crap.

  108. Jezebella

    So a completely out-of-context comment about how shitty trailer parks are is defensible in a thread about dudes and their creepy pick-up lines? How is it okay to just randomly toss out negative stereotypes about poor people in a jokey manner? Did you see the original comment in the original thread?

    You seem to be saying “But it’s TRUE that trailer parks aren’t classy, so it’s okay to make nasty jokey comments about how tacky poor people are.” Is that what you really mean?

  109. pheenobarbidoll

    Because Rachel, comments about classless trailer parks aren’t about the homes alone, they’re about the people IN those homes too. I lived in a “trailer park” in a National Wildlife Park. It was a neighborhood solely comprised of manufactured homes. But no one made jokes about that because in that tourist town, you had to have at least 450,000 bucks to buy one. It wasn’t considered your run of the mill trailer park because of the people living in them.

  110. nails

    “Classy” is a social construct that means “giving the appearance of having money, knowing the ways of people with money”. It exists to further class oppression and drive consumerism. I don’t know of a really appropriate use of the word outside of making fun of it.

  111. Alexa

    I thought we were talking about the standard feminists are held to? I must have a point, because no one’s answered me on that. Instead you’re imagining we’re saying feminists shouldn’t be called out period. We’re saying feminists shouldn’t have this intimidating double standard. Hello, knock knock, is anybody there.

  112. Comrade Svilova

    Maybe the standard of trying to rid ourselves from kyriarchal garbage comes from our hope that one day the Patriarchy and all kyriarchies will dissolve and we will all be free from language and behaviors that oppress? And the revolution is impossible if we don’t start trying to avoid behaviors and language that perpetuate oppression.

  113. Fliss

    Strange innit?!

    I think feminists are also expected to be nicey- nicey, more nice to men than if they’re not feminists!

    Except the problem is no one got anywhere by being nice. It feels like the nicer we are, the more we get crapped on from all levels. If we just get straight out there and say ‘WE HATE OUR FUCKING OPPRESSOR!’ people listen. Just be careful, or the traps we’ll fall into because of a patriarchy ingrained in all of us. I don’t think women getting together, standing against their oppression is as easy as 1, 2, 3.

    Feminists need to be cunning to fight a culture that hates us and especially women’s rights. Sometimes we might need to show stregth as our culture knows it, be bitter, laugh at men. Being nice doesn’t work, it causes infighting. It’s like we’re always making demands from the nicest people, our mothers, sisters, feminists. This I believe explains the so- called standard. Maybe it’s because we think feminists should know better, but it’s also kind of crapping on those we can.

  114. pheenobarbidoll

    Alexa I replied to you. I see it, right there below your post. I’m still waiting for an explanation on why it’s so hard and such an awful thing for you not to tell bigoted, stereotypical and/or racist jokes. I mean, that’s a standard yes, but it’s not a particularly high standard and feminists certainly aren’t the only ones held to that. I can copy/paste if you need me to repost my response.

  115. Fliss

    ‘explanation on why it’s so hard and such an awful thing for you not to tell bigoted, stereotypical and/or racist jokes’

    She didn’t tell any racist or bigoted jokes. You’re just blind with your eagerness to jump on her. She’s just a woman who wants to talk about *her* oppression. It’s actually fuckin pathetic that you call her a racist because she doesn’t agree with your intimidation.

    Any standard applied to a group already oppressed is just wrong, period. We need to get rid of it.

  116. Fliss

    Sometimes we need to acknowledge our own oppression. All this copious talk about *other oppressions* translates to ‘we’ll get round to ours eventually, women after all aren’t that oppressed.’

  117. sonia

    I just realized that we are just actually talking about the comments that Jill listed. Is that really it? I don’t see how it’s even offensive on either end.

  118. pheenobarbidoll

    Fliss Im referring to this:

    “Answer me this: why can I make jokes with my friends but not as a feminist? Why does being a feminist require you to be holier than thou? Why?!!!? ”

    So….what jokes are that hard to avoid? What jokes is she wanting to make but feels she can’t as a feminist?

    She can talk about her oppression all she wants, but I’ll be damned if she shits on me in the process and I ignore it. Is it THAT fucking hard to avoid shitting on someone else while you discuss your oppression? Are you so fucking privileged you get to tell someone they’re not allowed to be offended and if they are by god they better express it in a way that doesn’t make you uncomfortable?

    And PS: Conflating what I said with “calling someone a racist” is THE most typical white privilege defense there fucking is. You simply cannot get more typical than that. And inaccurate. Talk about blind. And fucking pathetic.

    Also just what do you think the message is if while in the process of discussing your oppression you stereotype the shit out of another oppressed class? That there oppression is valid? You can’t even acknowledge it, much less fucking get around to talking about it.

  119. Dr. Sarah Tonin

    Fliss: “Any standard applied to a group already oppressed is just wrong, period. We need to get rid of it.”

    Here’s the thing — who is “we”?

  120. Jezebella

    Women shouldn’t be held to “ANY” standard? Really? Women are oppressed, so we get to be any kind of asshole we want to be, even to other women? That just ain’t right.

  121. Alexa

    It is a high standard sometimes pheenobarbiedoll, and a standard nonetheless. We’re already hated by modern culture. No oppression is the same as ours – how edgy and popular (Polanski can rape a child and get away with it because sexism is popular), how widely referenced, how it’s the only one liberal men avoid talking about. Our oppression is everywhere, so I agree with fliss, the less said about other oppressions the more seriously we’re taking our own.

    I know I’m likely to get hounded badly because of the fact I’m a feminist and people have a right to shout at me for perceiving me as in control of the world (tactic of patriarchy anyone?) Our oppression is going to get worse. We need to use our brains and aggression. Think. Not shout each other down for not being the dictionary definition of PC.

    I agree with fliss, we need to start recognising our own oppression.

  122. Alexa

    Jez, no we shouldn’t be held to *higher standard than others*.

  123. nails

    Alexa-Oppression intersects. Sexism is different for women depending on their race, class, nationality, religion, sexual orientation, etc. Ignoring other forms of oppression doesn’t mean we are taking it more seriously, it means we are alienating oppressed women. There is no “our” oppression and “their” non-patriarchy related oppression- the relationship between white supremacy, capitalism, and patriarchy is a close one that is very complex. There were people in the 2nd wave of feminism in the US who did just concentrate on sexism only, black women felt racially oppressed by white feminists (still do, bell hooks writes about it all the time), and felt like there was a lot of sexism coming out of the anti-racism movement dudes. Where does that leave the people with the most oppression? It leaves them in a place where feminists fight for things that only benefit the white women, and it says that feminism isn’t for them. They are left in a spot where struggling against racism means benefits for black men only. The only hope for help then is to wish that both groups succeed and maybe they will get some status as a result. That isn’t fair to them. All of this could really go for trans people too, finding themselves in a hard place between transphobic feminists and gay rights groups who concentrate mostly on rights for homosexuals. It is the absolute worst way to go about it. Alienating people and failing to advocate for ALL women means a weaker movement and it means that we all remain ignorant about the problems other people face.

    It isn’t like women could be liberated completely while racism and classism still exist anyway. Those things have effects on women that men do not have to deal with. I don’t think you can end rape when economic oppression causes women to be prostituted. You cannot end damaging messages about beauty and self worth without tackling racism. Any effort to defeat patriarchy with only the mainstream (meaning white, cis, and well off) feminists’ direct interests in mind will fail, because the problem is so much bigger than that.

  124. Comrade Svilova

    As Nails said so eloquently, there aren’t “our oppressions” and “their oppressions” since women exist in all groups and walks of life. For some women, it’s impossible to talk about their own experience of sexism without referencing other intersecting oppressions they also have the misfortune to experience. For white, working-class-to-middle-class feminists to further marginalize WoC, the working class, etc., etc., by actions or behavior that perpetuate those “other” oppressions is ultimately damaging to the cause of liberation from oppression.

    While talking about misogyny, a classist, racist, able-ist, or homophobic remark might be made accidentally, for our culture is steeped in prejudice. If it’s politely commented on, with no Hall Monitor implications, we can all learn and be more inclusive of all women.

    That said, this isn’t a standard just feminists should be held to. This applies across the board, but since this is a feminist blog, it’s being discussed in terms of how radfems on the blog should conduct discourse.

  125. Helen

    I’m disappointed to see the acronym “PC” used here. To me, it’s the ultimate marker of unthinking conservatism. It’s the main idiotic buzzword used to bash feminists, at least where I live. (I would link to Zuky’s classic post here, but it’s gone now.)

    At the same time, I sympathise with the general direction you’re in. Bloggers in Australia and Korea were just subjected to a tirade of abuse from a US blogger who was absolutely incensed that they didn’t notice a US “holiday” (and not knowing about it, chose to mark it in another way) and when “called on” their shocking behaviour, failed to respond immediately! Despite, you know, being in another hemisphere.

    So I do get where you are coming from, but Pee Cee is the language of Uncle Arfur at the barbeque.

  126. Jill

    Jesus christ, all I’m suggesting is that when you feel the need to shine the light on some commenter’s exercise of privilege, you do it in an educational way, rather than in an ad feminam attacky way; this would have the net effect of enlightening the group, rather than shaming an individual, thereby enbiggening the discourse on this blog.

    I am also acknowledging that when total strangers rap you on the knuckles superciliously, it ensmallens the discourse.

    I am not “silencing” anybody. I do not have the power to silence anybody, even if I wanted to, which I don’t. If people will kindly re-read the post, they will find that I merely advocate peace, love, and understanding.

    Meanwhile, on that inclusive and happy note, it is time, Alexa, that you started your own blog.

  127. pheenobarbidoll

    I linked to this LJ earlier but I think the last bit deserves to be hung on the wall.

    “Having privilege is not making you into a bad person. What makes it bad is when your reaction to learning something you don’t like hearing is to cry in your e-pillow and act like it’s all about you and your hurt feelings.

    So what do you do because it’s just so goddamn hard to hear something you don’t like? What do you do when you’re privileged? You sit down and you shut the hell up for once in your life and learn yourself. You listen–and by listen I don’t mean think about your defense while someone’s talking to you and how you’re going to bicker with them. You go pick up a book somewhere and read some shit. You look for resources that aren’t me or those like me. There are books. There are websites. There are entire sociological discussions around privilege and if you pick up your fingers and start working you’ll find answers without having to get them handed to you in little tasty bite sides morsels of thinkystuff from people who are tired of being the go-to person for your education when they didn’t ask to be.

    You stop talking about how much you are hurt by this and how you can’t handle this and going on and on about your upsetness one time that didn’t affect you but you saw it and but boy you got mad where’s my merit badge for racism 101 and pity-partying over on your journal and getting hugs and wanting to build a little bitty circle of feel good “I’m a good person hug me wahhhhh” BULLSHIT because you want people to babystep your ass through the ‘isms so you can have it all on a platter to learn about. You don’t white guilt and poor me I’m so burdened I try and I just feel so bad mess. You don’t make it about you. You don’t White Woman Syndrome everywhere and cry about what you did that was so noble like you should get a fucking cookie for not lynching me or bashing me or telling a sexist joke. And you damn well don’t ask us to hold your hands or you’ll never learn and that if we don’t you won’t learn. It is not the burden of the oppressed to lift your foot off our necks–it’s your job to pick up your goddamn feet.

    No one held my hand when I was called a nigger to my face at the age of six. No one held my hand when I came out of either closet. No one held my hand when I was told girls can’t be firemen because the word has “man” in it. No one held my hand when I lost 10 points a paper for turning it in before the white children. No one held my hand when I realized that the best I could hope for by debasing myself around white people was being told that I was one of the quality negroes–but then told that I had better still know my place. No one held my hand when I was told by my best friend at the time that I couldn’t touch her new doll because I was black and dirty and would mess up the blond hair. No one held my hand when a girl got in my face and told me to pray I didn’t go to hell because of my devil star. No one held my hand when I realized that I liked girls a little more than I liked boys and that people were not going to like me because of this.

    People without privilege don’t get their hands held when they learn that they aren’t privileged. They get kicked in the teeth with it from very early on. And those of us without that bubble of privilege–people of color, queer people, transgendered, women, all of us that aren’t privileged or can’t pass as such–are getting really fucking tired of people wanting their hands held and spoon-fed shit we have to look at every other damn day because it’s too hard to learn shit yourself and you won’t even TRY.

    Stop asking us to carry your ass across the river, because you’re scared of the water and don’t want to get yourself wet. We’re neck deep in this shit and we aren’t your stepping stones to enlightenment.

    I might be 40 pounds overweight but I’m not your fucking Buddha”

  128. XtinaS

    pheenobarbidoll:

    You might like the “Jokes Are About Relieving Tension” section of this post at Fugitivus.  It’s definitely relevant to the whole “don’t shit on others” thread going on here.

  129. pheenobarbidoll

    Yes. That. Thank you.

  130. Fliss

    ‘You sit down and you shut the hell up for once in your life and learn yourself.’

    Shut the hell up for once in my life? Ha that just says it all really. Wouldn’t be so bad if you were screaming this at men, but you’d never.

    I don’t like randomers screaming that I’m not left enough, and 2) that I can not be feminist because I’m not left- wing.

    So as a rule people can’t be feminist if they never donated to any charity and don’t give a crap about rice workers in Africa? But still recognise their oppression? You can’t be a feminist unless you’re a lefty nut!

    I’ll just be a non-feminist who hates my oppressor then. I didn’t become a feminist to change myself. I became one to change the outside world. Apparently a feminist movement doesn’t want women to be angry, it wants them to be nice and left-wing.

    I think there needs to be another movement. If I wanted to surround myself with left-wing people I’d have joined amnesty.

  131. Fliss

    @Comrade S

    Feminism is a mess. Ashamed to talk about women’s right to be angry, it tries to be the shining beacon of all oppression that ever existed.

    I smell bullshit.

  132. pheenobarbidoll

    Brush up on your reading comp skills. They suck. And they’re chock full of WP defensive bullshit. The person I quoted, that you’re mocking, happens to be a lesbian WOC. Read up a few posts. There’s a link there. Read it and learn something. She’s addressing ALL people with privilege. Men too, but I doubt you’ll admit that since it doesn’t jive with your little assumptions.

    I’M not the one ordering people to be nice when privilege slaps them in the face. I’M not the one talking about how hard it is and how unfair it is that feminists can’t make privileged jokes like other bigots get to.

    I’m not a randomer, I’ve been around for years now. And when someone without your privilege calls you on it, yeah you shut the hell up and listen.

  133. SKM

    Donating to a charity or giving a crap about workers makes one a lefty nut?

    Good–perhaps there are more of us that I had thought.

  134. SKM

    than I had thought. Apologies.

  135. Tigs

    Well that took a bizarre turn, no?

  136. nails

    Well, I appreciated pheeno’s post. I do shut the fuck up and try to learn when people speak about experiences that I will never ever have. I hope I am part of a silent majority in doing so.

  137. janna

    How do you recognize that people are oppressed and still not give a crap about them? And how does the ability to give a crap for other oppressed groups necessitate changing oneself? That sounds like the cries of a person who needs to feel justified in his/her oppression of others. The other conclusion seems to be that the need to oppress others is an innate part of one’s being, and I cannot accept that.

  138. Dr. Sarah Tonin

    The fabulous Catherine Martell suggested:

    Alternatively, perhaps someone brand-savvy can come up with a snappy name for the hypervigilant hall monitor behaviour, like Godwin’s Law or mansplaining. A nice shorthand for this being a classic dick move might put a lot of people off doing it.

    How about this? http://www.dooce.com/2010/07/09/la-vie-en-janice

  139. Pinko Punko

    “Janice” definitely seems gendered and typey. I like the idea in concept, but not execution.

    My friends and I were being ethnocentric I guess one day and there was a Soviet foreign minister whose last name just sounded like a euphemism for getting plastered. So we adopted “Beshmertnic” (never knew how to spell it)- ooh Wikipedia to the rescue- Bessmertnykh- as a term for being blotto. Based on nothing other than the sound of the word.

  140. Ciccina

    first, a short comment –

    @ Janna

    I believe the subject is in process, as are we all, really.

    Thus the inconsistencies and contradictions.

  141. Ciccina

    and now a really long comment –

    This discussion is riddled with contradictions.

    One person’s “hall monitoring” is another person’s activism.
    One person’s ill-intentioned “gotcha!” is another person’s well-intentioned suggestion.
    One person’s “I’m not going to monitor the language on this blog” is that same person’s “now let me tell you how I expect language to be used on this blog.” (cough)
    One person’s women-should-speak-truth-to-power is another person’s feminists-eat-their-own.

    I try to choose my words carefully, but there are a few highly objectionable terms I grew up with that I’ve had a devil of a time purging from my vocabulary.

    #1 is “retarded” to describe something that is stupid, frustrating, or undesirable. It took the vigilance of one very angry feminist to (verbally) beat that out of me by correcting my comments (in the context of an all-angry-feminist listserve). And I’m grateful. Because its not my intention to signal a belief that people who are developmentally challenged are undesirable or “bad.” I was just so dependent on the term as a verbal short-cut that it took repeated jabbings with a sharp stick to deliver the change in policy down the many dusty and unused corridors of that thing I unhappily call my “brain.” Even though it was really embarrassing, I’m glad she took the time to do it, rather than just thinking ill of me. She assumed it was not my intention to be hurtful. I appreciate that.

    #2 on the list is using “Spanish” instead of “Latino.” I didn’t hear the term Latino/a until college (where I also learned that not all “Spanish” people are from Puerto Rico – who knew?). So okay, now I get it – when I refer to someone as “Spanish” I’m saying a lot more than “that person comes from a country where the official language is Spanish” – I’m also saying “I’m an ignorant clod.” So if I lapse, I appreciate a little poke in the ribs to remind me that I’m living in Washington in 2010, not Little Italy circa 1975, and ostensibly I’ve picked up some knowledge in the intervening years.

    Like the repeated jabbing, the little poke in the ribs, while not pleasant, is for my own good. It helps me be less of an ass, and for that I need all the help I can get.

    Having someone contradict you or object to your choice of words doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. It doesn’t mean people don’t like you. It doesn’t mean your opinions are forever after invalid. And it doesn’t mean, unless Twisty says so, that you’re banned from commenting. I really don’t see what there is to get so upset about. So someone pointed out that the term “classy” has pejorative connotations. Its not the end of the world.

    I *wish* I could be as tactful as Dr Tonin.

  142. Comrade Svilova

    I didn’t become a feminist to change myself. I became one to change the outside world.

    Can we change the world without changing ourselves?

    @Comrade S

    Feminism is a mess. Ashamed to talk about women’s right to be angry, it tries to be the shining beacon of all oppression that ever existed.

    Fliss, the thing is, women are a part of all those “other” oppressed groups. Women and feminists aren’t obliged to work towards resolving other oppressions before we address sexism, misogyny, and patriarchy, but it doesn’t seem like too big of a burden to try to not oppress other women while we work towards a non-patriarchal society. A racist slur, a classist remark, a homophobic moment are all seemingly small things but in the aggregate they have incredible power to make the world less safe, less welcoming, and less wonderful for women.

  143. uhIFUSVH

    This is the most defensive, bullshitty post I’ve read in a while. There is a difference between “attacking” and calling someone out on oppressive language. Fuck.

  144. cootie twoshoes

    Wow, I’m so thankful this stale post got trudged up again, because I got a chance to read kittikattie’s LJ post linked upthread by pheenobarbidoll about no hand-holding for the privileged. Excellent stuff.

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