Holly Baxter's Guest Blog

(49 Posts)
StewieGriffinsMom Thu 06-Dec-12 18:59:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LRDtheFeministDude Thu 06-Dec-12 19:12:08

I've got to say, I thought MNHQ misjudged here.

I read the original post just after it went up, and I assumed the link put up would be to SGM's blog post on the subject - I was really surprised to find it wasn't. Surely it is only polite to either read someone's comments, or alert them, before using their name to promote a guest blog?

I did notice MNHQ were very fast to add a 'FYI into their OP which made it very, very marginally less obvious they'd not asked SMG what she thought, but - despite what may well have been good intentions - it was quite disappointing.

I'm just bemused as to why this would have struck anyone as a good guest post? It seems completely out of keeping with MN's record.

AbigailAdams Thu 06-Dec-12 19:57:08

I notice on the original thread that the personal attacks against Julia Long are still standing. Even though she isn't a member of Mumsnet (at least I don't think she is) she still deserves that protection from personal attacks that you afford other people and organisations (think Gina Ford and f4j).

LittleTownofBethleHelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 06-Dec-12 20:13:25

Evening. And our apologies about this.

We have mailed you, SGM, but it was about something else you reported on that thread - and not this.

We have had a word with the Bloggers team and they're grateful for your feedback - and that of others on last night's thread.

And, it goes without saying, they're obviously sorry to hear you're so angry about it all, SGM. That's absolutely not what they want to hear.

They say they chose the guest blog because they thought it would be interesting to highlight the thoughts of a known and respected feminist on a controversial recent event.

They were aware that Holly Baxter's views might not be everyone's cup of tea but that's not a reason not to host or promote her blog: we welcome strong - and controversial - opinion in our Bloggers Network, as long as it stays with our Bloggers guidelines.

It's also worth saying - just for clarification - that opinions expressed in an MN Bloggers' Network blog aren't necessarily opinions that we at MNHQ would share, express or otherwise endorse.

That said, if, as you say, SGM, Julia Long did not ask men to leave before the movie, then that does change things rather and, obviously, may well undermine the whole premise of Holly's blog.

We'll look into that and let you know what we find out.

We don't really want to unlock last night's thread, as it wasn't really MN at its finest understatement but we have no problem with folks continuing the discussion here or, if you prefer, starting a new thread.

LRDtheFeministDude Thu 06-Dec-12 20:36:38

I don't get it.

I don't know who Holly Baxter is, other than someone who got called out for being what I think is casually dismissive of women of colour recently, but I don't see why it'd be ok to name SGM in an OP like that if she obviously doesn't agree.

confused

Why did that happen?

LittleTownofBethleHelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 06-Dec-12 20:44:25

LRDtheFeministDude

I don't get it.

I don't know who Holly Baxter is, other than someone who got called out for being what I think is casually dismissive of women of colour recently, but I don't see why it'd be ok to name SGM in an OP like that if she obviously doesn't agree.

confused

Why did that happen?

I believe KateMumsnet from the Bloggers team did acknowledge last night that her original OP was unfortunately phrased and posted: 'LRD, that's a good point about how we include stewie in the OP - we've just edited to reflect that.'

TeeElfOnTeeShelf Thu 06-Dec-12 20:48:31

I also reported Olivia's post on that thread as we hadn't heard anything further, but haven't heard from HQ on that report.

By having that as a guest blog post, without a disclaimer about views, it appears as though MNHQ agrees with what Holly wrote. I assumed they did, in fact.

As I said on the original thread, this was very very badly done.

LRDtheFeministDude Thu 06-Dec-12 20:49:06

Yes, she did Helen, and I did reply to her at the time. Did you miss my post? confused

I was commenting on the OP and the posts on this thread when I said I didn't get it, sorry if that wasn't clear.

LittleTownofBethleHelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 06-Dec-12 20:53:13

TeeElfOnTeeShelf

I also reported Olivia's post on that thread as we hadn't heard anything further, but haven't heard from HQ on that report.

By having that as a guest blog post, without a disclaimer about views, it appears as though MNHQ agrees with what Holly wrote. I assumed they did, in fact.

As I said on the original thread, this was very very badly done.

Point taken, Tee re disclaimer. We'll have a think about that.

But, to be fair, the Bloggers Network have highlighted guest blogs from all sorts of opinionated sorts in the past, from David Miliband to Toby Young embarrassing brain freeze as can't think of a female blogger example but know they've been lots and we'd be a bit surprised if you folks were assuming all their opinions were necessarily shared by us.

LittleTownofBethleHelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 06-Dec-12 20:55:53

LRDtheFeministDude

Yes, she did Helen, and I did reply to her at the time. Did you miss my post? confused

I was commenting on the OP and the posts on this thread when I said I didn't get it, sorry if that wasn't clear.

Sorry but now I don't get it! Are you saying you don't get SGM's OP? <long day>

TeeElfOnTeeShelf Thu 06-Dec-12 20:56:50

As sexist as this is going to sound...it does make a difference that it's a female blogger and they are writing about such an emotive issue.

Then to include SGM in it as well...

LittleTownofBethleHelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 06-Dec-12 21:02:37

TeeElfOnTeeShelf

As sexist as this is going to sound...it does make a difference that it's a female blogger and they are writing about such an emotive issue.

Then to include SGM in it as well...

Not sure we'd agree on that, especially as we were explicitly inviting comments on the blog.

Would be different if we were saying: here's a wonderful blog, which we endorse heartily and agree with totally; read it and agree, too. Which, of course, we'd never do.

KateMumsnet's inclusion of a mention of SGM was purely to highlight SGM's bloghop for 16 days. And am quite sure she wouldn't have included that if she'd had any suspicion that SGM would have been unhappy with it.

LRDtheFeministDude Thu 06-Dec-12 21:03:05

Sorry Helen.

I meant, I don't get the situation described in the OP of this thread. That's what I was getting at when I said I didn't get this thread. It's referring back to the other thread, obviously, so maybe that is confusing? confused

I don't understand why MNHQ ran that guest blog. I don't understand why the thread been locked so long - when I for one took a fair amount of time replying and feel a bit hurt apparently that was a load of crap to MNHQ, as was - apparently - the remembrance of women's names on the thread.

I don't understand the motivations that would have led to what SGM describes in her OP here.

When I replied to KateMN on the other thread, I acknowledged she'd changed the OP there. As I said, I thought that was great. But that did happen before the thread was locked, and before it was clear HQ thought that the thread wasn't worth discussing because people objected to HQ's stance.

I am really disappointed.

LRDtheFeministDude Thu 06-Dec-12 21:04:04

Cross posted.

Helen - FWIW, to me it wasn't clear you didn't endorse it. I read it as 'this is a blog we endorse'. I assumed that was why it got a MNHQ OP'd thread.

I do feel much better to know that isn't so.

TeeElfOnTeeShelf Thu 06-Dec-12 21:06:25

Actually, on further reflection, I do think it is sort of assumed that when MNHQ have a guest blog like that, they are endorsing it as they promote it. Otherwise why promote it?

Yes, to invite discussion, but then you do need a disclaimer.

Anyway, I'm off to bed, but that was my tuppence worth.

LittleTownofBethleHelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 06-Dec-12 21:09:50

LRDtheFeministDude

Sorry Helen.

I meant, I don't get the situation described in the OP of this thread. That's what I was getting at when I said I didn't get this thread. It's referring back to the other thread, obviously, so maybe that is confusing? confused

I don't understand why MNHQ ran that guest blog. I don't understand why the thread been locked so long - when I for one took a fair amount of time replying and feel a bit hurt apparently that was a load of crap to MNHQ, as was - apparently - the remembrance of women's names on the thread.

I don't understand the motivations that would have led to what SGM describes in her OP here.

When I replied to KateMN on the other thread, I acknowledged she'd changed the OP there. As I said, I thought that was great. But that did happen before the thread was locked, and before it was clear HQ thought that the thread wasn't worth discussing because people objected to HQ's stance.

I am really disappointed.

Ah ok. Right, you're misunderstanding our reason for locking it last night.

We were receiving a lot of reports about some posts on that thread and, as is now often our practice, we suspended the thread to enable us to take stock.

Also, the Bloggers team weren't around to fill us in on the background to it all, so we couldn't respond to your queries and objections.

But, just to be absolutely clear, we would never lock a thread just because you were objecting to something we'd done.

<cites about a million threads in Site Stuff as evidence>

We've already apologised here for our unfortunate delay in following up last night's thread suspension. And we've tried to outline here (as far as we can) the Bloggers' team's answers to your queries and objections.

And, as we posted earlier, we welcome further discussion here - or on a new thread, if you prefer.

StewieGriffinsMom Thu 06-Dec-12 21:29:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AbigailAdams Thu 06-Dec-12 21:33:18

I didn't think that the thread was that bad last night in terms of arguments. There have been worse that have been left alone. I can understand Stewie's annoyance at initially being associated with it and I really don't like the content of the blog. And I certainly didn't like the disrespect towards the 14 murdered women in Montreal. But you posted a controversial view of a prominent radical feminist in the feminist chat area. What did you expect? Surely there was going to be arguments.

And the personal attacks against Julia are still standing.

AbigailAdams Thu 06-Dec-12 21:36:05

And what Stewie's said much better than me!

LRDtheFeministDude Thu 06-Dec-12 21:43:51

Thanks for clarifying that Helen.

I'm sorry to keep repeating the same thing (obviously not being clear) ... but why did you run that blog? It was a bit against the spirit of MN. It's very nice Kate replied (and I did acknowledge that), but it doesn't cover it.

And it does upset me that you're saying the discussion on the thread was not the best of MN (but, not a reason to lock the thread? Or was it? I'm confused!). I thought some important points were made, including the one about the women who'd died.

Other than that, what SGM said!

LittleTownofBethleHelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 06-Dec-12 21:47:02

StewieGriffinsMom

I don't expect to agree with many of your guest bloggers. I think it's safe to say I don't agree with a large number of them.

What I object to is being linked with a blog written by a representative from an organisation whose claim to "controversy" was to dismiss the very real concerns about racism put to them. They dismissed the concerns of Black women as irrelevant to feminism. Now, they are claiming that feminism is hypocritical if we don't include men. I'm having some trouble with that stance personally.

I think listing my blog hop without asking me, despite knowing how controversial Vagenda are, was rude. Considering the contents of the Holly's blog, I am even angrier. Ignoring the fact that there are some factual inaccuracies about the mass murder of 14 women in Montreal, insofar as he didn't just chose an engineering school because he hated women scientists but because they rejected his application for admittance and that he targeted women he specifically identified as feminist, the relationship between mass murder of women and a bunch of men not being given access to women-only spaces all the time is offensive. I doubt very much Holly would have been quite so cavalier had she been referencing the massacre in Dunblane. I doubt very much it would have been published on here.

I also object to my bloghop, which was to be a celebration of women's voices, being linked to a blog whose method of "feminist debate" is to slur the character of another woman. Disagreeing politically is not the same as an attack on someone's character. There are several personal attacks on Julia Long on that thread which should be deleted; notwithstanding the ones in the blog.

Considering the objections that were raised in the thread, it would have been nice to have received an email at some point today or a post on the other thread as an update. Instead, it feels like you've dismissed our concerns as irrelevant.

As to the inaccuracies in Holly's blog, I believe numerous members of the audience have been making that point across social media for several days now. I updated my blog two days ago to reflect the fact that I had made several inaccurate statements.

I think you need to contact Julia Long and offer her the right to respond. She deserves the right to reply considering the slurs on her character in that blog. And, frankly, whether or not Julia did ask men to leave the film is entirely irrelevant to the rest of the deeply offensive content in that blog.

OK, we can see why you were so upset at your bloghop being referred to in an OP about a blog you so passionately abhor.

As we've posted earlier, we're sure this wasn't done deliberately or with any prior knowledge that it would offend you.

But we do apologise, nevertheless.

We have also apologised - and are happy to do so again - that we dropped the ball today on following up on last night's thread.

We can only assure you that it was absolutely not a deliberate dismissal of your concerns. It just took us a while to gather enough info to be able to respond - and, by the time we had, you had already started this thread, SGM.

I'm afraid I don't know enough personally to respond to the points about inaccuracies and corrections and blog updates but I'll make sure those points are passed on to the Bloggers team.

As will your suggestion that we offer Julia Long the right to respond.

I'm afraid I'm going to have to log off now (have some deeply depressing, elderly-mother-related personal stuff to sort) but please, please don't assume that means we're not taking this seriously.

StewieGriffinsMom Fri 07-Dec-12 11:33:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

KateMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 07-Dec-12 12:40:05

Hello everyone

Thanks very much for all your comments, which we're very grateful for. We too have tried to look into what happened during the panel discussion following the screening of Lesbiana at the London Feminist Film Festival, and found the same transcription as SGM on Feminist Current: “I just wonder if there are any men that would like to show their solidarity and leave at this point, out of respect for autonomous women’s space. It’s a polite invitation, but I just thought you might like to consider it, as political allies. Thank you.” 

We're very willing to be corrected if anyone is offering a different version of what was said, but at this stage we don't feel that there are inaccuracies in Holly's post which would require an actual correction. But do please let us know if you find a transcription that differs from the above. 

SGM, I'm so sorry that you feel that the inclusion of the link to your blog-hop was insulting; I wasn't, I'm afraid, aware of the specifics of your politics and so didn't realise that you would object so strongly to Holly's position. It certainly wasn't intended to imply that you endorsed Holly's views - simply to alert readers to the existence of lots of other interesting posts connected to #16days.

Re the Montreal massacre: to our reading, Holly raises the massacre, and male Canadians' revulsion at it, to support her argument that feminism is strengthened, not undermined, by the presence of male feminists in the activist space.  Everyone and anyone is, of course, completely free to disagree loud and long with that argument. As Helen has previously said, we don't endorse (or not) any of our guest blogs, whether they be from Holly Baxter, Stella Creasy, or (later today) Rachel Reeve.  We think they're interesting, serious people with interesting points to make, which our readers might enjoy reading and debating.

On which note, we're more than happy to invite Julia Long to guest blog for us - on this subject or another of her choosing. Probably, lots of MNers will vehemently disagree with her stance, but the debate will be very interesting, I'm sure. We'll let you know when we've managed to get hold of her, and her response.

LRDtheFeministDude Fri 07-Dec-12 12:51:46

Kate, I'm quoting Baxter's blog:

'academic and activist Julia Long asked all men to leave a post-screening show where she was appearing as a panellist. She defended her position by saying that including men in feminism had had negative effects in the past - but didn't mention any specific examples. By imposing her own segregation in this context, she ran the danger of making us all lose half the battle - after all, we share this world with men in a 50/50 split. Needless to say, the men who had come to watch the screening and hear what prominent feminist speakers had to say were not oppressors hell-bent on hijacking a movement from the inside. They were people who believed passionately in equality, even though, for the most part, sex discrimination will never directly affect them. But Long saw them as the enemy, and encouraged others present to see the same.'

The quotation from Long you and SGM have both found is completely different, so this clearly is an inaccuracy. No-where does Long 'impose' anything, and it's hard to see how such a courteous suggestion, which involved Long saying that this would be a way for the men to show their support, could tally with Baxter's claim 'Long saw them as the enemy'.

Baxter's take is therefore wildly inaccurate. She's simply lying (or repeating lies from the Guardian article) when she claims Long 'imposed segregation' on the group, and when she claims Long saw men as 'the enemy'.

If I were Julia Long I'd be kicking up a stink about this. It's not on to lie about what someone said and represent them as a bigot. I don't quite see why you think she'd want to guest blog, but I don't know her from adam so couldn't say. Maybe she's a much nicer person than me.

LRDtheFeministDude Fri 07-Dec-12 12:52:24

Honestly.

'political allies' - Long
'saw men as the enemy' - Baxter.

And you couldn't see the inaccuracy? hmm

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now