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Holly Baxter's Guest Blog

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

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LittleTownofBethleHelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 14-Dec-12 15:25:40

Hello. We just wanted you all to know that we have posted a mahoosive apology on the original thread to say that it shouldn't have been suspended for such a long time - and that it was a major cock-up on our part. blush

Please be assured that our general policy about suspending threads is only to do so rarely and, even then, temporarily - and then to re-open with an explanation as soon as possible.

We originally suspended the thread because we'd had so many reports about a certain poster on that thread, and we needed to pause and take stock.

We also knew there was some info the Bloggers team needed to fill us in on - but that wasn't the reason for suspension and we shouldn't have posted as if it was.

We then should have re-opened the thread the next morning, when we'd had time to look into that poster (and found absolutely no reason to think she was the troll many were suspecting she might be).

But we made the mistake of waiting to get the info we needed from the Bloggers team, so we could post that up too. And by the time we had that, SGM had already started this thread.

We realise, in retrospect, that this made us look a bit shifty (especially as I personally made things worse by assuming the original thread had turned into a trolhunt - when it hadn't - and then posting here to say it was not Mumsnet at its best <falls ashamedly on sword>).

And for that we do apologise. Shifty's not our style, as we'd hope you all know. And nor is suspending threads to stop the free flow of discussion.

We're so sorry that it might have looked that way in this case.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sat 08-Dec-12 07:00:44

Thank you for the link to Dr Long's response, SGM.

MerryLindor Sat 08-Dec-12 01:09:22

I am really saddened that SGM's wonderful bloghop has been tarnished by this, and especially upset by the response from MNHQ.

If an open and honest discussion was the aim of posting Holly's blog, why was the thread locked?

I don't expect MN Bloggers Network to agree with every guest blogger, but I would expect them to read the blog critically and decide if it was likely to cause great offence to MNetters.

And when the 'OMG, what were you thinking MNHQ' resounded, why was the thread locked, and no further statement or explanation made? I get the impression that the new strategy when a thread gets heated is to lock it in the hope that the protagonists will forget by the morning.

It would have been polite to at least email Stewie and explain why you locked the thread, and why you accepted the blog post.

I find the blog post quite confusing. I cannot understand the connection between the mass murder of women and the criticism of women only spaces.

Surely anyone, regardless of gender, race or political viewpoint, would be appalled at a man walking into a university and killing 14 innocents. The response of the Canadian men, to organise a White Ribbon Campaign, was simply menschlich.

SGM wrote a blog post about women only spaces a few days ago, that really made a lot of sense to me. She wrote

The most important thing men can do to help the feminist movement is to challenge sexism every time they witness it. They have to challenge every rape joke. They have to challenge every man who minimises domestic violence. They have to step up every time; not just once in a while but every time they witness sexism. Sometimes this means they have to challenge themselves and recognise that their own behaviour is sexist. Sometimes it means accepting that they won't be allowed into every feminist space.

That sums it up. While it is great when men march with us, or organise protests, or wear ribbons on their lapels - what good does it do us if when they are back home, they revert to not standing for us when it matters?

StewieGriffinsMom Fri 07-Dec-12 21:59:37

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LRDtheFeministDude Fri 07-Dec-12 15:08:52

Oh, whew! blush


I'd not seen much online about this other than the blog piece and the Guardian one, so I'd got a pretty one-sided view of it and it did make me angry.

I've got to say, that blog piece does get me properly livid. But probably that means I should stop discussing it!

MooncupGoddess Fri 07-Dec-12 15:05:07

Ah, I didn't mean this thread at all; I was speaking about the blog piece and about feminist infighting (particularly online) more generally.

LRDtheFeministDude Fri 07-Dec-12 15:01:13

It hadn't occurred to me it was a lib fem/rad fem debate, though I guess it is since Long is a rad fem.

I think the issue of representation/misrepresentation could have happened in any debate - they didn't really deal with that well.

I don't think there was really much 'hurling insults' and 'making unpleasant insinuations' on this thread, except from the blog itself! confused

MooncupGoddess Fri 07-Dec-12 14:57:07

Yes, I think MNHQ were a bit slapdash - but people who aren't actively involved in the feminist movement probably don't get the nuances of the arguments and the strong feelings involved.

There is a wider argument here about lib fem v rad fem positions, of course, and I hate seeing perfectly decent people on both sides hurling insults and making unpleasant insinuations about those on the other side. It is just so counter-productive.

LRDtheFeministDude Fri 07-Dec-12 14:47:16

I reckon any comment I (or anyone else who wasn't there) is of pretty limited value now ... but FWIW I'd totally agree with you there.

And I do object to the way MNHQ has handled this.

MooncupGoddess Fri 07-Dec-12 14:45:01

I don't actually mind what Holly Baxter says about Julia - the worst thing is 'By imposing her [Julia's] own segregation in this context, she ran the danger of making us all lose half the battle' which I disagree with but think she is entitled to argue.

But I do object to her suggesting that calling for women-only spaces undermines the campaign against male-on-female violence. Particularly given that at the discussion Julia spoke movingly about her own work with victims of violence against women.

LRDtheFeministDude Fri 07-Dec-12 14:33:50

Ah, ok, thanks for that mooncup. sad

I'm utterly confused, to be honest.

But I don't think it is on to misrepresent someone as that blog does. Unless Long turned round and said 'screw that, actually, I do think men are the enemy and I insist they all leave, right now!' (ie., the total opposite of her quoted comment), then really, it isn't on to make out what that blog does. IMO.

MooncupGoddess Fri 07-Dec-12 14:24:56

There's less contradiction than you're assuming, LRD; I was at the screening and Julia first invited the men to leave using the phraseology quoted above. The later comments which Holly references (and rather overinterprets in my view) were made in the course of the ensuing discussion.

AbigailAdams Fri 07-Dec-12 14:14:50

And a few men revolted at the act and starting the White Ribbon Campaign is not men strengthening feminism it is men supporting feminism and they can do that without being party to every bloody discussion including those about female separatism!

<and breathe>

LRDtheFeministDude Fri 07-Dec-12 14:12:46

Yep, I agree. It doesn't make sense.

AbigailAdams Fri 07-Dec-12 14:11:47

Yes I agree it is different and a separate issue. That post was just in response to Kate's "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."

Given the fact (in isolation) that a man mass murdered 14 women just because they were women where is the logical leap to men strengthen feminism. Because the evidence is not there in that particular case.

LRDtheFeministDude Fri 07-Dec-12 14:00:12

Cross posted.

FWIW, I found the mass murderer points in the blog massively inappropriate and unfeminist, but I wouldn't mind debating that (I might wonder why MNHQ thought it was a good idea to link to such a blog, given their usual stance on violence against women, but that's within the bounds of debate IMO).

I think that's different (not better or worse) from the issue of Long being misquoted and MNHQ insisiting that the misrepresentation is simply 'interpretation' when it's rather obvious it isn't.

LRDtheFeministDude Fri 07-Dec-12 13:57:55

An ally is the opposite of an enemy.

To 'impose' something is to do it forcibly, without securing consent.

Interpretation is all very well, but you can't simply change the meaning of the English language and expect that to pass for 'interpretation', I don't think.

AbigailAdams Fri 07-Dec-12 13:57:47

And I still can't see the leap between a mass murderer of women and needing men in feminism. Really I can't. Admittedly I haven't got a PHD or anything but I still think that is stretching the realms of reasons why men should be allowed in feminism (or whatever Holly was trying to achieve with the comparison because I am struggling to get her point).

AbigailAdams Fri 07-Dec-12 13:53:51

I am in agreement with all the above really. It isn't on to invite debate and then shut down that debate without warning.

And the "bounds of interpretation" are very very loose there. With the way it was phrased by Julia, not only was it extremely polite (and a valid point to make) it also invited debate should the men not want to leave.

Really it is very apparent that the people she offended were not the men (who seemed to have understood) but other women. And that raises questions about why they feel the need to have a male presence and feminism sanctioned by men. Questions we can no longer debate because that was shut down.

LRDtheFeministDude Fri 07-Dec-12 13:46:53

Honestly, I do not see how it can be within the bounds of interpretation. Baxter claims Long saw men as 'the enemy' and imposed her will on the issue; Long claims she simply asked men to consider leaving and called them 'political allies'.

I would accept Baxter might not like that Long even raised the possibility of men leaving, but it is simply a lie to claim she 'imposed' anything, or to say her words show she saw men as 'the enemy'.

It does seem a bit off to claim that the guest blog was intended to invite comments and encourage debate when those of us who did debate the issues have had the thread told and have been told it wasn't the best of MN!

TeeElfOnTeeShelf Fri 07-Dec-12 13:42:28

" The point of highlighting a guest blog is to invite comments and encourage debate."

Then why lock last night's thread?

KateMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 07-Dec-12 13:37:15

We see your points, but we also reckon that you could say that Holly's reading is within the bounds of interpretation. Depending on your position on this stuff, it's always going to be a matter of debate whether Julia's request, though politely expressed, could be read as an attempt to 'impose segregation', or interpreted as seeing men as 'the enemy'.

We welcome both these points of view - and others. The point of highlighting a guest blog is to invite comments and encourage debate.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Fri 07-Dec-12 13:00:05

X-post LRD.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Fri 07-Dec-12 12:58:34


If you accept that Julia's words are as you have just quoted, then there is absolutely no basis within those for Holly's claim that Julia saw men "as the enemy and encouraged others present to see the same."

I didn't come to the thread until after the OP had been edited and I read the OP as SGM having included or selected Holly's blog for a blog hop scheme. I also read the OP as something of an endorsement though perhaps it wasn't meant that way.

Helen, I hope your mum is OK.

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


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

And you couldn't see the inaccuracy? hmm

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