Femmostroppo Reader – August 9, 2009

Items of interest found recently in my RSS feed. Please share what you've been reading (and writing!) in the comments.

Disclaimer/SotBO: a link here is not necessarily an endorsement of all opinions of the post author(s) either in the particular post or of their writing in general.

Categories: linkfest

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25 replies

  1. I wish Feministing would respond to criticism before people started a boycott and threw a huge stink.
    I’ve emailed them a few times, and never gotten a response. What’s the point?

  2. Anna – I’m not boycotting, I’m just frustrated I couldn’t post my comment, so I shared it on my LJ instead. And it’s not Feministing I’m pissed with so much as some of the people that hang out there, and when I say pissed, it’s more of a minor annoyance rather than any deep rage of any sort. It’s just a symptom of a larger irritation that I have that was echoed in the comments there.
    Lauredhel – thanks muchly for the linkage! I appreciate it. 🙂

  3. Thank you for the link!

  4. Napalmnacey, I am pissed at Feministing, because of the ablist bullshit they let go on in their comments, and the fact that reporting abusive comments there is a waste of time. Every time they talk about disability, or women having children when they’re older, commenters start up on their “omg! Disabled children are a tragedy!”
    I see the judgement and disdain directed towards certain types of women in the comments, and it makes me so angry. Breast feeding mothers, women who have children past a certain age, trans women, fat women, etc.

  5. I haven’t seen that Anna, but if I had, I would surely have made some complaints. My nephew is severely disabled, and while it is a tragedy that he is disabled (and didn’t have to be), his life is a joy and a blessing, because we’ve had him with us and he’s taught us so much.
    I’ve noticed they are pretty abrasive and dismissive of Women of Colour too, and it makes me cringe every time I see it. No wonder they barely get any comments these days.

  6. NapalmNacey, I’ve got a couple posts up about it at mine. This one is short and to the point. This is a copy of the last email I sent them, although I think in total I sent three. I’ve also left comments about it, and was responded to by Miriam (IIRC) saying they were going to have a discussion up about acceptable language. Which they haven’t, and this was some time ago now.

  7. Looks like they’re busy getting ready for their tour and publishing books. :T

  8. Honestly, they just don’t feel the urgency. For them, it’s something that would be nice to address, but not necessary. So of course it gets kicked down the road. And eventually off it altogether.
    Actions speak louder than words. You know when a site is friendly to you. And you know when it’s not. I’ve never felt Feministing was friendly to people like me. Ever. Even the sites I know and love and adore now, are often unfriendly to me, but they have times where they are trying. I just never see Feministing really trying. And you know when someone is trying. From the heart, really trying. Never seemed to me that they were.
    I think the white-cis-abled-straight-middle class sites see all these groups bombarding them with calls to be friendly and un-exclusive (which is different from “inclusive”) and the only group they have any sort of knowledge dealing with is race. Which is not to say that they actually address the problem of racism, but it’s a cultural narrative at this point (being racially “inclusive” means you’re oh so progressive). So they pick a couple/few WOC, and go about merrily doing the same thing they were doing before, diverse enough to satisfy themselves now. See, they have a bit of pigment on their panel. That’s something, right? At least something? Yes? OK, whew, now we can safely go back to never addressing these things at all!

  9. I’ve noticed that about some of these sites too, Amandaw. I don’t know what to do about it, other than stop going to the sites that suck and keep going to the sites that are truly as progressive as they can manage to be.
    Anna – I saw what Logrus said to you about “birth defects”. In my experience, Logrus is pretty much a complete arsehole. The fact they’re never smacked down for their bullshit is pretty galling. Thanks for the links and sharing your point of view on this, it’s been very helpful.

  10. I spat the dummy at Feministing earlier today, when Renee linked to their thread on the dude in the US who shot a bunch of women at an aerobics class. The thread was full of “but OF COURSE he’s mentally ill” and “only mentally ill people do shit like this”.
    Just like the last time someone shot a bunch of people.
    And the time before that.
    And every fucking other time the neurotypical commenters decide that they’re more comfortable with a situation if they throw some othering of non neurotypical people in there. It’s fucked.

  11. You’re kidding, Hexy? I’m depressed (have been since before puberty). I’m PTSD and anxious. I even have repetitive violent intrusive thoughts and suicidal thoughts. I haven’t even hurt an animal in my life, let along shoot a bunch of people in a fit of the crazy. I haven’t even hurt myself. Fuckin’ jerks.
    I know transfolk tried to boycott Feministing and Feministe. Feministe actually took the time to try to address the problem. They’re not perfect but if you call them on something they’ll generally stop and have a look (ish). Feministing just don’t seem to care. It’s hurtful.

  12. I quite agree.
    There’s usually someone qualifying that they ONLY mean people with, like, schizophrenia or psychosis or something. Which… doesn’t help.

  13. Somehow or another the boycott got Feministing’s attention as well, for they did an open thread on it. (That’s where Miriam told me they’d totes have a discussion about language and the like.)
    It looks like Jos is now a regular contributor who talks about Trans issues, which I suspect came about in response to all of that.
    As for mental health conditions, well, I got to read all sorts of comments last month about how people just like me are inhuman monsters with no empathy who don’t care about other people at all, and that threw me so much I can’t even tell you about it. Because heaven knows no one with a mental health condition is on the internet, reading a feminist website. We should be locked up away from everyone, don’tcha know.

  14. Yes, I did notice that in the thread I referred to there was a lot of “we” (meaning neurotypical people) and “they” (meaning people with mental illnes) language bouncing about.
    It’s horrible, and I’m sorry you had to read that shit.

  15. This is why I rarely talk about having a mental health condition. (I think I’ve talked about it more in the past month and a half than I have in the previous two years.) There is so much stigma and shame around it.
    If you’re depressed, you should “get over it”, “get out more”, or you get told “Oh, I understand, X bad thing happened to me once and that’s the same thing!” If you have something more extreme, you’re automatically “them”, and everyone’s suddenly a psychiatrist with 10 years experience, or needs to tell you how someone with a similar condition was abusive, so all people like you must be abusive, and they can tell because you’re getting angry or reacting emotionally.
    Cuz heaven knows if you have a mental health condition, you are not an individual person who has reactions to things, or ever someone who has managed your condition, or ever ever someone who appears “normal”, whatever the hell that means.

  16. Or you might have, ya know, bothered to read and research your own condition. Probably a little more than someone on the internet who heard this story about this schizo who killed someone some time. *sigh*

  17. *hugs* Amandaw.
    I thought pointing out the lack of “diversity” of WATRD at Feministe went relatively well. I don’t know if it accomplished anything other than poking Veronica, but hey! No one responded with “OMG! you are so sensitive!” So, win?

  18. Amandaw, why are you frowning?

  19. I feel bad ‘cuz I know a lot of this came from threads I started/contributed to. I do have my post responding to it up now, but it’s still shitty that stuff was said and I wish I’d had the ability to get it up before I left guestblogging.

  20. Amandaw, I’m really tired so I might not say this right (and leaving on a trip in five hours or I’d cleverly wait till morning).
    It happens everywhere. I made a post in my DW where I talked about how women with my mental health condition are treated without mentioning I had it and was greeted with a bunch of folks saying “But people with that condition really are horrible and bad people.” And I was just so shocked and hurt that I wasn’t able to intelligently respond to it at all. There just seems to be this general idea that no one who you’re talking about is going to be reading your comments, because no one “like me” would have such a HORRIBLE and AWFUL disease, right? RIGHT? (And thus why I rarely say what I actually have. Who needs that sort of abuse?)
    And really, comments are full of shite in a lot of places, and there’s only so much that people can mod, especially when they’re trying to do so many other things and caught up in their own pain of being told (just for example) that they’re obviously drug addicts who are afraid of losing their stash and that’s why they’re so OMG! over emotional. (*hug*)
    I could wish that Feministe would moderate a bit harder, especially when talking about issues like disability where people tend in the direction of “Let me tell you how awful disability is! Oh, you brave poor souls, being willing to talk about your lives so we can tear you apart”, but it’s not like a single person on staff is full-time moderating because they all have other things they’re doing. And it’s hard, I assume, being a guest poster on such a huge site because you need to mod in ways you don’t on a smaller site where your readers are aware they’re reading a disability-focused blog. I assume the reason Feministe brings in guest-posters in the summer is so that Jill and everyone else can take a break from playing Net Mommy, which seems to be necessary to these very challenging posts.
    When called on some alienating stuff you wrote, you owned what you said and apologized for it. But you can’t make people on Feministe not be jackasses. You try very hard. Jill & Cara and the other mods there try and keep things under control when they can. And they do re-iterate that they want to be a safer space for us. This is in contrast to Feministing, who never answer emails (I’ve gotten emailed responses from Cara whenever I’ve contacted her), don’t moderate threads on such subjects, and don’t even seem to take seriously the complaints about ablist and alienating language in their comments.
    Heck, maybe they do. Maybe they’re reading this right now and feeling hurt and offended that I would say such things about them. Maybe they’re trying to be better. I don’t really know, because they alienated me to the point where I don’t go back unless someone like Tigtog links me, because I trust Tigtog.
    But I do know that Feministe is trying, and I know that a big part of that is your guest posting stints. I think almost every guest-poster this summer who’s talked about themselves and what they are bringing to the conversation has mentioned their ability status, using the language you modeled for them.
    Yeah, it’s not perfect, but what is? It’s still a place where I feel I can say WATRD isn’t inclusive of disability and have people go “Hmm, you’re right, it isn’t” instead of “OMG go make your own stupid site for disability people!”
    *hug* I think you are amazing, and I really admire what you opened yourself to by going onto a big site and taking on what was really abusive shit. You are braver than I – I know for certain should some fool offer me a guest-posting stint at Feministe I would refuse outright, because I’m not up for that level of abuse without someone paying for my counseling afterwards.

    • I don’t really know, because they alienated me to the point where I don’t go back unless someone like Tigtog links me, because I trust Tigtog.

      *gulp* I link to the articles, with no guarantee as to the safeness or sanity of the comments to them. Especially as I often add the posts to my Shared links not long after they’ve gone up, so there aren’t many comments yet, but by the time the Femmostroppo Reader is published there may be 30 or 50 comments on a linked article.
      If people find that a comments thread on a linked post has gone nasty, please always let me know and I can add an advisory note to my link.

  21. Oh, I know, and comment threads can get nasty in the blink of eye (oh, internet time, you so awesome). But I don’t give them page-views unless you link, and sometimes not even then. (I do like Ann’s roundups, truth be told. I’m sure I used to have time to read the whole internets, and not just my friends page on DW.)

  22. Everything Anna said!
    My big beef with Feministe and disability/ableism was the trend of threads on mental illness getting “out of control” and then shut down. So few threads are shut down there that it was a really unpleasant pattern to notice.
    I had hoped to do some posts on mental illness during my stint there, but I was a sick hexy 😦

  23. Things aren’t consistently friendly/welcoming at feministe — there are times when it is downright hostile. but yes, they at least make that basic effort, which shouldn’t be something as amazing as it is, but unfortunately, it is right now.
    I think summer guestblogging is both a break for the regulars and a chance to promote smaller voices and a chance to bring in different perspectives that, even when they’re trying, they can’t really cover from a first person perspective. I’ve wondered throughout this, what if I had a blog this big to manage full time (not just two weeks)? it would take a lot of adjustment, and I guarantee I would not be able to keep the personal focus to the degree I do right now. and managing comments would mean I’d probably post less often, too, to make sure I budgeted energy to manage the inevitable BS that comes that I don’t get on my own.
    I did try. But I still know there *was* a lot of BS on my time there, and I feel bad for my part in that. I also know it’s *always* there to some extent. it has been heartening to see things improve bit by bit, even if they aren’t where they should be. and then also disappointing to see how much things remain the same, even as special efforts are taken. but I’ll take the mixed bag over the unrestrained, unaddressed, full-time hostility and unwelcomeness.
    and: you are all awesome.

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