Wednesday, July 26, 2006
I know, I know - first time for everything...
I forgot where I read it, or maybe some kindhearted therapist said it to me, I can't recall - but somewhere I picked up the idea that in all relationships there will be conflict. From the most bluebird-infested state-sanctioned hetero coupling ever to snuggle smugly inside a patriarchy-reinforcing suburban McMansion to the freakiest nest of polyamorous freaks that ever freaked their freak - in every relationship people struggle between trying to get their own needs met and trying to meet the needs of their partners.
The presence of conflict does not in itself mean that a relationship is toxic, nor does its absence necessarily indicate that a relationship is healthy. However, a key indicator of whether a relationship is healthy or toxic lies in how such conflict is resolved.
If conflict is resolved in a way that seems equitable to all parties, abiding by rules (whether implicit or explicit) agreed upon by all parties, in a way that respects the basic human dignity of all parties - the relationship (no matter how weird/sick/oppressive/bizarre it might look to outsiders) has a good chance of sustaining itself, of succeeding, of offering a healthy environment in which all parties grow to their full potential as they conceive it.
Relationships in which conflicts are not resolved according to the agreed-upon rules, wherein conflict is used as an excuse to shun, humiliate and wound, wherein disputes are not handled in the spirit of preserving basic human dignity - those relationships are sick, abusive and doomed.
I think it is not beyond the realm of reason to generalize this pattern of interpersonal relationships to whole communities, say, for example, the radfemblogosphere.
Does it matter to me whether an individual calls herself anti-porn or sex-positive? no. I'm not going to knock someone based simply on how they feel about the act of fucking under any given circumstances, and the anti-porn position can be a defensible position although that may not be my bag, baby. I certainly respect the right of someone to form her own opinions. We may argue long into the night but as long as we both follow the rules of engagement as we've agreed on them, at the end of it all we may shake hands and part friends, having learned all we can, emerging as stronger members of a stronger community.
The RFBosphere is a truly fascinating community - vibrant, diverse, deeply committed, challenging, intelligent, and damn funny.
But also toxic as hell. We need some serious therapy, y'all, to learn how to fight fair.
I think when people want to talk, they talk.
Some people will; some people, I'm afraid, may never.
It's their turn now, though.
maybe I should blog about race for a while...you know, just until everybody calms down... ;)
nothing like a round of
"Soulless, heartless, valueless bigots!"
"can't you people just leave us ALONE?"
"well you leave US alone! look at what's happening!"
and of course an influx of
"You're all going to HELL!"
"See? didn't we tell you they're all grinning idiots?"
to warm the cockles of one's heart.
well, you saw all of the hell that broke loose at my blog... and you can visit G-berg for the begininngs of it.
I never understood the fascination of dogma, myself, but that's just me. Maybe it's a wester thing my barbarian ass couldn't comprehend.
aren't you afraid you're going to get dirty, hanging out with the Bad Element?
I also think that when the gulf between the expectations of the involved parties is wide enough, there just aren't good ways to resolve conflict, and I'm concerned that this is part of what's been going on around this province of Blogland of late.
Because if one party in a relationship has the expectation that you're either going to be convinced or you're fair game, then there's nothing at all to build on, and it's time to walk away.
maybe I just didn't understand the rules.
That was then. This is now.
I understand the rules now.
People get mean and nasty when they are passionately defending something, and when they are attacked. It's human nature. Also human nature NOT to agree about things. Sure, some people are just mean, for the sake of being mean, and insulting because well, frankly there are some people out there who cannot feel good about themselves unless they are busy ripping someone else down. Sad but true. Point is, you were attacked and treated like shit for politely disagreeing, and that sucks. You had the right to defend yourself and your views with a vengeance at that point. As they say "trouble, don't start none, there won't be none"....you did NOT start it.
Me, personally, I am wondering now if W.W. wondering WHY she posted that at all in the first place or if she will EVER respond to half the legit shit people threw at her, or if she will merely continue to pull the "but I'm a REAL feminist" line....
If it makes you feel ANY better at all, you sure as hell cracked me up with your artful defense.
oh, my starry skies. Well. This is...very interesting. Yes.
and you get these, well, rather eerily familiar accusations: sellout, traitor, bad Jew (no biscuit), a shonda for the goyim...
it's one of the reasons i tend to laugh hollowly when i get the "youyouyouyou don't put Class Women First!"
Well, the thing is, see, I've already got people on my ass for not putting the Jews first. lord knows there are plenty of people who'd string me up for not putting America First. there're probably still a few Queer Nation holdouts who'd be irked by my not putting "us" first (admittedly i don't get much of that); and there are lesbian-feminists who'd view any traffic with men as a sign of Selling Out, never even mind the pornstitution business. not to mention all the blood-is-thicker-than-water crap that inevitably gets pulled during particularly dysfunctional family moments.
so, you know, take a frigging number.
i do think it's worth the effort to seek out dialogue and to do one's best to listen if one doesn't agree.
i also wonder if some folks are capable of it. i think sometimes that the *way* folks think about certain issues makes it absolutely impossible for them to engage with you, and that it is fair for you to then cut your losses and move on. that's self-protection.
example: i don't think i've met one person who believed that abortion was murder who was capable of carrying on a conversation about the reasons for which women might want abortions, why it might be a good idea to make it available, etc. because they absolutely cannot get past ABORTION IS MURDER and so the conversation just stalls.
what i saw happening on some of these sites - w-w's in particular, was ALL PROSTITUTION AND PORN IS SEXUAL SLAVERY.
if that's the framework, it seems to me that it's rather difficult to get past to really *talk*.
then again, like belledame said, some folks want to talk, some folks don't.
and there's absolutely no excuse for nasty and shoddy behavior.
Personally i just can't even focus long enough to do the research i'd need to stay in an I/P debate, much less actually slog one out. can't do it. I mean, I have my general opinions about both sides, and this latest round of swat-the-mosquito-with-a-sledgehammer is just...terrifying? is that the word i was going for? why yes, yes it was.
the only real opinions I have at this point are
1) godDAM this sucks
2) this REALLY REALLY sucks
3) what the hell is wrong with everyone anyway?
4) you know, if they'd just spent the money on this last misbegotten war (and all the prior ones) toward AIR CONDITIONING for everyone in the entire region, i bet we'd have the fucking peace accord and everyone singing Kumbafuckinya by now.
because frankly, i said, i'd be fucking half-crazed too.
and of course immediately right after i said that the *last* time the power in my neighborhood went out for a week, and we had the hottest day of the year so far.
and i still haven't killed anyone or blowed nothin' up or nothin'.
summer's not over yet, though.
I might not agree with you on things, but we can talk about them. And I think you, and others, can handle a different opinion without an all out war.
A lot of the radfeminist blogosphere has a little problem knwn as the American syndrom( even if the blogger herself is not American)- disagree a little tiny bit, and you are a troll and should be treated as such.
I grew up under communism. I have seen people who went to jail from disagreeing a little tiny bit/ or a lot... and the fact that free people can be s completely close scares me.
Contradictions create progress, but there is little contradiction in the radfem world... and sadly there is little progress too.
There are a lot of good people there, some of whom might no longer call me friend after this, but I'll live.
I am just so fucking sick of this thing "women are victims, women are blameless" crap. I find it dehumanizing. I find it unbelievably arrogant as well.
Of fucking course I am against the big ole' Pat and trafficking and exploitation. BUT, all women are different. The nicely crafted modus operandi of a white middle class woman in the first world doesn't really work for this poor third world immigrant.
I bel;ieve that education and preparing a new generation of feminists to not fall into the same old traps and mistakes is crucial. But that seems to be very far from the "women are blameless angels" schoool of thought.
well... fuck that
Did not know, thanks.
As antip has noted, it's the porn/prostitution/yadda (occasionally with some other sexual stuff thrown in) that seems to be the stone wall she and others of us keep running into.
As I hope is clear by now, while yes we've been having discussions about the content of those subjects, and yes some of us have likely v. different opinions (or, who knows) on those subjects...ultimately, what this blog has been about, what the passion and heat has been coming from on this side of the divide, is not even necessarily the subject itself, but the way in which those of us who've disagreed have been treated.
You got the "antisemite" business from she-whom-i-will-not-name-aloud.
Some of got "not a feminist," or even "anti-feminist" or "traitor" and suchlike; and you know, while the epithets (at least "not a feminist") may not carry the same cultural weight, for those of us who really, really do identify rather strongly with feminism(s), it's...well, how did you feel when you got the anti-semite thing?
From my end: ranging from "oh please, this is ridiculous" to "is this person trying to make me a pariah?" to "can't this person at least frigging agree to disagree already, if not have an actual discussion?" to "is this person actually seeing/hearing me, or a strawme? *am* I a strawme?" to "well fuck THIS shit and fuck YOU..."
but even before getting to that point, as a baseline:
I'd just at least like an acknowledgment that yes, we're all feminists, here (if we say we're feminists). Very very different schools of feminism perhaps, and ones who may never see eye to eye; but feminists for a' that and a' that.
That'd be my only request at this juncture.
Well, and you know what: I agree.
We're all or most of us victims *and* victimizers at some point or another.
some people are way more firmly in one role way more of the time than others.
but power trips go on all the time;
on the big geopolitical stage, and in something as small as a domestic dispute, or a turf war on the internets.
and we all or most of us fight really really hard to maintain or gain even the smallest shred of power, the upper hand, no matter how apparently trivial the context.
because it makes us feel, just for a tiny second, like we actually matter, like we're people again.
it's not the only way to feel that way, though.
i do keep needing to remind myself of that.
Because it is brainwashing.
The argument at Gberg was the peak of the ridiculous masif out there in the land of self righteousness.
I have seen a woman who lives on benefits criticisng the concept f career and work... i dunno. I am an elitist. Fuck me.
i do not say the name because of my own experience of the One acting as a sort of rabid homing pigeon for any possible sling or arrow
which was not my dwama (thank god), but i held onto it after someone provided a pointer: chock fulla nutty goodness.
To be fair, if my McMansion were infested with bluebirds, I'd be pretty cranky, too, and maybe even inclined to take it out on my partner, hetero patriarchal oppressor or otherwise. goddam bluebirds. pecking your ankles. crapping all over everything. happiness my ass.
what about the parakeets? won't somebody think of the parakeets?
you're really a pigeon, aren't you? Just admit it. everybody knows. only a pigeon would write like that.
VS wanted to know where "it" started and I was all, oh, where to begin, really...
"In the beginning, the earth formed, and it was very hot. Then the dinosaurs came! Then they all died, and..."
I just read this thread and you know what it sounds like to me?
It sounds like fucking men talking.
renegade evolution - "Me, personally, I am wondering now if W.W. wondering WHY she posted that at all in the first place or if she will EVER respond to half the legit shit people threw at her, or if she will merely continue to pull the "but I'm a REAL feminist" line....
As far as I'm concerned no-one "threw" any legit feminist shit" at me. There was no legit feminist to step up to the plate and said "ok, I'll do it."
Did you read that thread? Are you happy that your pro-patriarchy stance keeps 90% of women/children in sexual slavery? Still call yourself a feminist?
Or are you a 'choice' femnist?
Or an 'identity' feminist?
Or a 'sex positive' feminist?
Or any kind of feminist?
Go decide on a name for your own politics. Get off the back of ours.
And Renegade Evolution is standing on your back (in stiletto boots, I bet!) -and- oppressing 90% of women; and no one is a feminist *or* legitimate unless you say so. Fabulous! Any other wisdom you'd like to share with the class, w-w?
oh, by the way, I meant to ask:
we all know that -you're- not really a fourteen year old boy posting from his mum's basement and taking the piss--how, again?
we *still* don't learn how many adult men are in sexual slavery, of course; but, oh well, anyway, fuck 'em.
Any movement that would rather dictate than build and empower deserves whatever death it gets.
WW, I don't think that thread reads like it's men talking. That reads like a bully coming into a conversation adn wrecking everyone's fun because of a sick need to assert her own superiority.
Ginmar IS a bully. She makes good points, she's witty... but ya know what? Fuck that.
Look, I have my own anger issues. I have been to war too, I know how ti fucking feels.
But ya know what?
Look, we grow the fuck up. Some of us do. Guess what- we learn that some people will disagree with us. It happens, and that is that.
I don't fucking agree with AP on a shitload of things. I don't agree with anyfucking one on everything, ya know? But at the end of the day, that don't matter. I can have a laugh with people I would bludgeon to death, because ya know what?
Expecting everyone to fully agree with you is BULLSHIT. Is cowardice. That is not how life works.
Then again, I LIKE arguing with people. And sometimes I can laugh with the people I argued with. And we can learn from each other.
And fuck me, but feminist or not, I can't find myself erasing out a whole half of the human species on a whim. Because that is how Pat works, and I am not having it.
To hell with genders and with who has what genitalia and how some are good and some are bad.
Ya know what? I collect swords and stuffed animals, and that makes sense to me.
several of us know witchy woo in rl, and she is not a 14 year old boy (odd thing to say?). she's a mother, in her job she supports women who have been subjected to male violence, and in her spare time she tries to make sense of it all.
i just wanted to clear that up.
is there something inherently masculine in the act of argument?
Is there something specifically manly about a particular assertion?
not sure I follow.
Is that an insult of some kind? the worst thing that can be said about women?
it'd just be nice for the rest of us if she'd've taken us on faith a bit more. and would stop with her own lashing out.
then again I expect I'm (still) a fraud and only interested in supporting men; and no one here is a feminist; and RE is ruining it for everyone; and we all may as well be men anyway; and...
i mean there were actual men in the referred-to-thread.
not that it matters.
i mean clearly it's a terrible insult, yes.
either way: you know what: i don't care what your ideology is. ever if I'd agreed. I am well tired of "my way or the highway." it's bullying and it's lame: enough.
because supporting other women unconditionally, backing up my own (female, feminist) friends, those things are selfish.
and my own work with people (men god forbid too, yes) who come in bowed down with the weight of everyone else's shame and issues about *their* sexuality. the WRONG sexuality. crushed small and miserable and sometimes wanting to die.
because they're sick, sick, sick. and selfish, selfish, selfish. only thinking of their own nasty little wanky thoughts and desires. how *sad*.
desire means so little.
but hey, lgbt folk, that's DIFFERENT, of course. gay is good; it's just bad if you look at dirty pictures.
never fucking mind if they live in the middle of fucking nowhere and they can't just go lollopping off into their (discreet, private, lights off) bedroom with their significant other, because no one ever bothered to tell them that what they desire might just be okay in the first place, let alone get to the poitn where they can go pair-bond off into the sunset. never mind if they only realized "hey, other people want to do this too" from some of those nasty nasty pictures and stories, and--
--oh, what's the fucking use?
too many times have I witnessed this:
a self-ID'd woman and feminist says something that doesn't go down well and
"You're really a man, aren't you?? Aren't you??"
-and so the dissenter is (literally!) dismissed.
If ongoing context has made it sufficiently obvious even to the dismisser that the dissenter *isn't* a man and no one's gonna take that seriously, then it is amended to:
"You sound like a man! Male-identified!"
-and so the dissenter is dismissed.
As tactics go, it ranks right down there.)
Assuming it's this thread we're talking about, of course.
(Time was my prose read as transparently female. Obviously I'm losing my touch. Back to the Joanna Russ, then.)
and frankly I find this term "urban dove" offensive. What is that supposed to mean, anyway, huh? Are you implying that I'm *rural?* Some kind of *hick*? Ooo, I resent that. I'll have you know that I'm quite urban. I drink espresso all the time! I see foreign films!
I miss you guys. I'm sorry I've been such a blogging deadbeat lately. I haven't had much energy for anything else.
Plus, I'm actually blogging from a dial-up connection at my ma's house.
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