Explaining the bleeding obvious - why do we do it?

(41 Posts)
rosabud Wed 21-Aug-13 21:24:25

I really enjoy reading the posts on here, they are informative, thought-provoking, funny etc etc. However, I can't bear it when certain posters appear and try to pretend that something patently untrue is actually true and instead of saying, "no that's ridiculous and clearly untrue", we all spend time and energy explaining, linking to research, proving that, in fact, it's untrue.

Let's say I join the Oxfam website and engage in forums where people keep discussing why many people in the Third World are suffereing from illness and starvation. Imagine if i kept posting, "but some people in the UK are under just as much threat from starvation as people in the third world - it's an equally serious problem." Would all the Oxfam people spend time and energy proving to me that, despite there being some very poor peole in the UK, it is not the case that it is an equally serious problem? Or would they just say, "you are clearly incapable of recognising the bleeding obvious and, for that reason, there's no real point anyone on our website trying to talk to you about the serious issues n the Third World."?

Why do we all feel tht we hve to keep "proving" that domestic violence affects women more than it does men? Of course it does. Anyone in our society who has more than half a brain cell can see that. Anyone who cannot accept this, for whatever reason, is going to be equally incapable of engaging with any serious analysis of any major issue.

Sorry if it's not the done thing to rant about this - but I can't help it, feel so frustrated about it!

AmandaCooper Fri 23-Aug-13 23:17:03

As a lurker* I really appreciate all the blood and sweat that goes into those threads. It is really helpful to have a model for explaining my pov when similarly challenged in RL or other online settings.

*pun intended

Chubfuddler Fri 23-Aug-13 16:05:18

Excellent op. I do wonder about this sometimes, because I sometimes fear that the patience with which many posters (including myself) explain the fucking obvious is female gender conditioning at work. Which is obviously bad.

On the other hand there are probably people being genuinely educated (including me) by statements of that seems like the obvious to the more well read feminist.

WhentheRed Fri 23-Aug-13 01:34:48

Thank you to everyone for your kind comments about the Invisible Men thread.

I do want to say thank you flowers to the women and (nonMRA) men of the FWR threads for your contributions, patience and attention to the various topics. I have learnt a lot and have become inspired to learn more. As Beachcomber pointed out consciousness raising and education can be painful. We might not always reach agreement and we may be vociferous in our opinions, however, these boards are vital. Like most of you, I have left the Guardian and the New Statesman because of the silencing.

CaptChaos Thu 22-Aug-13 21:20:32

I don't know enough to engage with them myself in anything but a visceral way, and I am incredibly thankful to those women who are generous enough to share their knowledge, facts and research with those posters. I have had revelation after revelation which have lead me to read and research various topics.

I lurked for a good while before I posted. I started lurking because I thought I didn't need feminism, that the world was an ok place for women, and that feminists were a fairly humourless bunch. blush

I read and learned that low level sexism is unacceptable, and why. That my being raped was not my fault, and why. That I have always been a closet feminist, but am now firmly out of the closet and learning and learning.

Please keep explaining the bleeding obvious. It really helps! thanks

FloraFox Thu 22-Aug-13 16:29:06

I'm another one who is unsure about whether to ignore or not. On the whole, I usually think the ones who are just goading with no substance or just making offensive statements should just be ignored or reported as everyone can see them for what they are. I think the ones who appear to be putting forward arguments need to be answered for the benefit of the discussion, especially when they are trying to dominate the thread or silence women. I have a particular bug bear for those who try to take control of a thread and direct what we will or will not be talking about next. It is all about their terms, isn't it? They are so steeped in male privilege, I'm not sure if they even realise how bad it makes them look on a feminist board.

Sheshelob Thu 22-Aug-13 09:07:08

I agree that we shouldn't be silenced and that the informative, considered arguments are extremely important to be put out there.

I guess I just get frustrated when MRAs come here and demand that we explain ourselves, like they're our dads or something. We shouldn't have to justify our position time and time again on their terms.

BasilBabyEater Thu 22-Aug-13 08:57:15

I go with whatever mood I'm in at the time.

I know we need to engage, because a lot of "normal" people hold misogynistic attitudes that they are completely unaware are misogynistic in the same way lots of people who are disgusted by the BNP, hold latently racist attitudes without being aware that they do, so they need to be teased out and held up for examination (and hopefully long term, change).

But I also just sometimes can't be arsed, particularly when I suspect it's the same old trolls with different names who can just fuck off to the far side of fuck and then when they get there, fuck off a little bit more.

I like a bit of mockery myself too- the Rockefeller thread being an good example.

Unfortunately when they start quoting (flawed) statistics from the False Rape Society, and actually deny criminal statistics, I get a bit narked and feel we should set the record straight. Feminists are being silenced on t'internet left, right and centre - and it's annoying when it happens here.

Sheshelob Thu 22-Aug-13 08:20:53

I opt for mockery, in the main, because I think that any MRA-led thread is designed to abuse and upset. I am grateful to the more patient and well informed posters for setting record straight for lurkers/other posters, but I also feel like the goady fuckers need to be laughed out of town.

curlew Thu 22-Aug-13 08:15:34

"I think the point I find hard is whether engaging with it validates it. I wouldn't argue with a flat-earther or creationist because there's no point. They are clearly incapable of rational thought and reading evidence. If I start arguing the point with them, does it make it seem, to them, me and others, that their position is one of many rational positions? "

I worry about this too, and come down on different sides on different days. Intellectually I do think they are best ignored- I don't engage with BNP supporters for that reason. Actually, I can't resist. Particularly when it's women speaking for the MRA. I can't stop myself feeling that if only I found the right words, she might realise......

Bunnylion Thu 22-Aug-13 08:07:19

chibi too right, but I'm still very glad that you (and many others) speak up and say your point when you do, because you have certainly helped clarify a few things at least in my mind.

I think the point I find hard is whether engaging with it validates it. I wouldn't argue with a flat-earther or creationist because there's no point. They are clearly incapable of rational thought and reading evidence. If I start arguing the point with them, does it make it seem, to them, me and others, that their position is one of many rational positions?

Therefore, if someone denies something, like the DV example in the OP, does engaging with their position weaken mine in the long-term?

chibi Thu 22-Aug-13 02:59:51

example:

thing i will discuss: how can harm experienced by women working in prostitution be reduced? is sex work itself harmful by its nature?

Thing i will not entertain: ehhh they are whores who gives a shit, it's what they sign up for

chibi Thu 22-Aug-13 02:56:58

i made a sacred vow not to argue, engage or attempt to persuade anyone who doesn't start from a basis of women are human

that is non-negotiable. i don't give two farts in a high wind about your other fascinating opinions if you do not begin by recognising my humanity, and i am not going to haggle over it with you

Really good points WhentheRed - I'm still reading the Invisible Men thread too - sterling work. Cheering you on. x

Bunnylion Thu 22-Aug-13 00:09:53

whenthered you're patience with the cut-and-paste-king-of-derailment on the invisible men thread is incredible - I wish I had it.

rosabud Thu 22-Aug-13 00:03:23

That is a brilliant answer - and lessens my frustration slightly! Thank you.

WhentheRed Wed 21-Aug-13 23:56:00

I am one of the guilty ones for keeping going, and sometimes allowing the heading off into derailment. I keep going for a couple of reasons:

1. It tests my thinking. I have learnt a lot from these threads. Even the really dull MRA/troll/derailer types challenge me to do better. I particularly enjoy the education I have received from the women and some men on the threads.
2. The chance of providing an education to a newcomer. Starting again can keep us fresh. It reminds us that some of us are new and we are all at different stages of our learning.
3. I hate the thought of a thread being killed by a troll/derailer/MRA. It means anyone reading the thread leaves with their words.
4. Leaving a thread because of a troll/derailer/MRA silences us. We should not be silenced.

EarthMither Wed 21-Aug-13 22:57:42

Weirdly enough, this just popped up on my Twitter feed - an interesting counterpoint to West's piece which reiterates Buffy's POV above and ITCouldBe's post.

ITCouldBeWorse Wed 21-Aug-13 22:45:38

Good information is never wasted. 'Common sense' beliefs can seem obvious but are sometimes flawed. It is common sense to see the earth is flat smile

So those poster who take the trouble to show robust, evidence based info, do spread accurate info.

People holding some views which seem traditional and sound, when they see a radically different viewpoint are sometimes surprised into taking it on board!

EarthMither Wed 21-Aug-13 22:45:17

Indeed Sauce - OP, don't let those numbnuts on AIBU break your stride. As another poster commented earlier today, AIBU is a "holding pit for internet fools" (nice one, Winnicas, if you're reading this).

People hang out on AIBU wanting to be upset!

EarthMither Wed 21-Aug-13 22:39:44

No need to apologise OP - you've raised an issue which is a perennial problem for feminists both online and elsewhere (plus I got to share Ms West's excellent piece, which always makes me happy smile).

rosabud Wed 21-Aug-13 22:39:14

Oh, I see!! smile

Err....well actually I did upset everyone once on Am I being Unreasonable, so have not ventured back there since! blush

It can feel like ground hog day. The same ignorant questions asked day in day out.

I see it on the No more page 3 campaign FB page and it can be hard to remain well mannered. I know they (the objectors) think they are making ground breaking irrefutable points about sat, press freedom, but it's a question that is posed and replied to daily.

But Buffy is right when she says assume that a whole new audience is available and today is the day that we enlighten and educate. We miss that chance if we say "fuck off"

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