Can men pronounce on which are the "right" feminists?

(70 Posts)
ArcheryAnnie Mon 28-Jul-14 12:14:24

So, this morning @thelindywest (a US performer and Jezebel writer with ~39 thousand followers) retweeted a post by @SarahDitum (a UK columnist with ~8 thousand followers). This post was about domestic violence.

Within a very short time, a "progressive" man, @badassperger (about ~1000 followers), had tweeted how "sad" he was that someone had tweeted Sarah Ditum into his TL, and then, with some handwringing about how he shouldn't tell Lindy West "how to feminism", he then proceeded to tell her exactly that, and that she was retweeting a "known TERF". Her immediate response was to unretweet.

Because what women need is men thoughtpolicing women about which women are acceptable to read and listen to, even on issues which are not in any way related to trans issues. Because god forbid a woman talk about domestic violence without a man's approval of which other feminists she references.

Women pointing out that it wasn't a very "ally" thing to do for a man to police which women other women retweet were then labelled with the same "bigot" nonsense. Same happened to women who pointed out that if a man's first response to a tweet about domestic violence was to claim that the woman tweeting it was "bad" in some way (rather than addressing the subject of men's violence in the home) then he was probably not an ally.

Sarah has written the incident up: sarahditum.com/2014/07/28/how-terf-works/

Honestly, I don't know how she sticks it out online - I'd have given up with that amount of casual hostility from strangers long ago. More power to her elbow.

DoctorTwo Mon 28-Jul-14 12:39:29

I love Sarah Ditum's writing. If she's a TERF then so am I, as even I know there's a real need for penis free spaces.

I'd have mocked the man, vigorously, and told him to take his willy-waving mansplaining irrelevance elsewhere.

But then I've had decades of men telling me I'm Doing Feminism Wrong because I am an anti-censorship, sex-positive feminist.
I keep meaning to blog about the whole TERF business, as I really do have friends on either side of the divide. Who are all nice individuals, so this is most of all a matter of stupid people (on either side) who enjoy having what they consider some sort of moral justification for being horrible to other people.

...who enjoy having what they consider some sort of moral justification for being horrible to other people

Yes, that's how it seems to me as well. I'd be interested to read what you write on this, SGB.

ArcheryAnnie Mon 28-Jul-14 14:13:36

I keep meaning to blog about the whole TERF business, as I really do have friends on either side of the divide.

Me, too, both IRL and online. Every time I mention it online I wonder which of which side will unfollow me.

I'd be really interested to see what you write, SolidGold.

ABlandAndDeadlyCourtesy Mon 28-Jul-14 18:24:33

Me three.

DisgruntledAardvark Mon 28-Jul-14 23:25:36

I see this on Twitter and Tumblr a lot, self-proclaimed male "feminists" whose feminist principles seem to go out of the window when faced with a woman (usually a radical feminist) who they disagree with. And yet a lot of these men are still hailed with the 'ooh a male feminist!!!! wow!!!!' bollocks. Typical, I suppose.

ApocalypseThen Tue 29-Jul-14 07:56:03

Did anyone answer him?

One little thing that I thought was weird about the whole exchange: I read Sarah D's blog post about the incident, in which she linked to a blog post by Lindy West about SATC2. It was amusingly written and pretty accurate, except it contained some really nasty misogynistic stuff essentially slut shaming Samantha, talking about whether her vagina would be dry now that she was menopausal, etc.

So it's OK to say horrible things about women who enjoy having lots of sex with lots of men, even when they are over 50 <gasp> but retweeting a text about DV from someone who some random says is a TERF is a no go.

Whass that about then? confused

MontyGlee Tue 29-Jul-14 10:31:01

To answer the OP, I think it's wrong to suggest that someone's opinion holds no validity. I find it especially odd from within a movement which battles a historic discounting of women's opinions.

Ok, yes; penis-free spaces where certain ideas can be pursued... But those people that think any male voice is inherently secondary to any female voice (on the issue of how the two sexes interact on this planet) and should be mercilessly mocked? Well, they've spent too long in the trenches

No, it's not that any man proclaiming himself a feminist sympathizer shold be mocked.
It's that any man calling himself a 'male feminist' and then proceeding to abuse and threaten and mock other feminists (and that's his entire contribution to the discussion) deserves to be laughed at till he goes away.

There are an awful lot of 'righteous' left-wing men who pretty much come in their pants at the opportunity to call a woman a cunt and threaten to rape her because she's expressed an opinion that is to the right of theirs or on a subject that's contentious among feminists.

I saw bits of this too. I like Sarah Ditum a lot.

I do think there is a certain group of men and women, for whom 'TERF' has become just another thing to say to stop the conversation. A lot of those people are my friends. I had a conversation with my mate one time, and I referred to Germaine Greer - not in a particularly gushy, 'wow she's so right' way - and got the reply 'but she's transphobic'.

That was it. End of discussion. Nothing she ever said is worth talking about again.

My friend couldn't say why or how she was transphobic, incidentally. She'd just heard it. I feel fairly sure that if someone was accused of being homophobic, or racist, or classist, or anything like that, most of their detractors would at least have a vague idea of why.

Men telling women who's a feminist and who's not come across as wankers, obviously. But I don't think this is just about men seeking to validating 'good' feminists. It's about a particular dynamic in which the situation of one oppressed group has been co-opted and turned into a way of telling another oppressed group to shut up.

This is the SATC post I was talking about. FYI.

MontyGlee Tue 29-Jul-14 11:53:15

Every debate has it's extremists and usually they like to drag everyone towards the extremes they occupy. It just isn't a sensible way forward. I can see how it's easy over the years to become fixated on elements of 'whataboutery' though.

Wow. That is really, really unpleasant.

Especially 'that super-masculine version of Cynthia Nixon that Cynthia Nixon dates'. hmm

... and the use of rape as a metaphor for making a crap film

... and the nasty crack at gay men

... and it ends with a bit about FGM I'm not sure I read right and I don't want to read again.

WTF?!

ArcheryAnnie Tue 29-Jul-14 12:00:31

ApocalypseThen yes, some did, and got harrassed by third parties afterwards for their "bigotry" in pointing out that Badassperger was being a hypocritical asshat.

I'm a bit disappointed that Lindy West had been on twitter since, and has completely ignored the whole thing. I think a lot less of her for it, TBH.

Yep. That's what I thought LRD. You can write that, and still clutch pearls when someone you don't know tells you that someone else you don't know has beliefs about gender you don't agree with confused.

Not really, no!

I haven't come across her before, but she sounds like Rod Liddle.

grin

ArcheryAnnie Tue 29-Jul-14 12:26:10

Urgh. Just read that SATC piece. What the hell was she thinking?

PetulaGordino Tue 29-Jul-14 12:31:17

I followed the same link to the satc2 blog post and felt the same

Curwen Tue 29-Jul-14 12:43:26

If there is one thing that lurking on here has taught me, it is that men, however well-intentioned, should butt out of feminist debate. It never ends well.

MontyGlee Tue 29-Jul-14 12:54:37

Curwen - is it time for a new debate to be created where the equal coexistence of two genders can be discussed by both genders?

(Or is there such a thing and I have not heard of it yet?) RL, it is claimed is a male-dominion and feminism has a faction that dismiss male voices on account of being male... So, where's the middle ground?

monty, have you honestly never noticed men and women discussing feminism before?

It's not a 'new debate' at all. It's all over the place.

MontyGlee Tue 29-Jul-14 13:08:43

That's not what I meant. Maybe I didn't phrase it well.

Yes, of course. I was noting Curwen's comment and the 'debating feminism' question. I don't mean debating feminism - I mean debating gender coexistence, ie a debate which centres on the relationship between sexes as a separate and distinct discussion from the discussion regarding women's issues.

That's probably not any clearer. Sorry confused

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