I like your feminism, I do not like your feminists.

I’m having one of those days where I feel like I should just block everyone I know on social media and start over with new friends.

I’m sitting here, already upset about all the shit that’s happening in my life, and all I see on social media are people fighting about what is/isn’t appropriate feminist behaviour.

I got into this huge fight on a private forum last week with a dude that denies his misogyny, even though he exhibits all the behaviours of a typical misogynist asshole.  And because I firmly believe that one catches more flies with honey than with vinegar, I went out of my way to interact with him with the kindness and respect I hope I’ve earned when speaking with other people.  I even went so far as to tell him that I was one of the most laidback feminists he’d ever meet, which was met with a derisive laugh.

The reason I was met with such scorn?  Because of his previous interactions with feminists who believe that civilness and respect in discussion amounts to tone policing, which is stifling the conversation.

no-singing

I just did a search for the term “tone policing” on twitter and came up with the following:

tonepolicing is yet another form of dehumanisation.

and

I think tonepolicing/calls for discussions to be ‘civil’ or ‘rational’ derails discussion, moving them away from the core issues.

and

Tonepolicing is just another way to silence a person.

and

Tonepolicing is an unhelpful tactic. You can form an opinion on an issue independent of tone, yes?

w/r/t the last one, because that sticks in my craw the most…no.  No, I cannot form an opinion independent of tone.  Because no one likes being talked down to by a condescending, yelling asshole.  No one.  IDGaF whether you’re a man, a woman or a fucking Orion Slave Trader, if you talk down to me, I’mma clam the fuck up and dig in my heels.  Even if I agree with what you’re saying.  Actually, ESPECIALLY if I agree with what you’re saying.

Nothing makes me question my own stance quicker than being lumped in with people I want nothing to do with.

And I guess maybe I just don’t understand?  Why do we have to jump into everything balls out?  Why do we have to represent the worst of ourselves?  Why can’t we try being fucking CIVIL to one another?  Why does everything have to devolve immediately into who shouts the loudest?

You say that being civil does nothing, but when has screaming at someone ever changed their mind?  When has it ever done anything but convince them that they’re already right?

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I totally get why some women don’t want to identify as feminist.

gretchen

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9 thoughts on “I like your feminism, I do not like your feminists.

  1. Yeah – I’m firmly convinced that my mom only has the position that she does on a few things because she can’t stand to have the same position as some Tea Party asshole. Not that things overlap often, but they have a few times.

    But, for real, if you can’t express your opinion in a civil manner, maybe you should just STFU. Which is kind of hypocritical, I agree. But nothing makes me more aggro than having some misogynist asshole talk to me in a condescending, jerk-off manner, and then tell me to “settle down” and “not be so emotional” when I respond. Umm… fuck you very much.

  2. Every movement and ideology has its mentalists, and I don’t think feminism has more than the others. It’s just a self-perpetuating myth that merely serves to justify why feminism exists.

  3. I’m constantly trying to tell my husband that yelling will never change someone’s mind. But apparently this is less true in Israel.

    I think on the internet a lot of people forget that the words we see on our screens were written by real live people, I just deactivated by babycentre account because the people there were judgmental and didn’t seem to get the idea of if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

  4. Dex says:

    I’ve always been a firm believer in having respect in discourse and a major part of that is tone. The second one party becomes condescending (or irate) to the other it’s apparent they have zero respect and little interest in what the other has to say.

    Having a public yelling match – especially online – and especially over sensitive issues – is less about convincing the person you’re arguing with and more about rattling your sabre. There’s nothing worse than an antagonistic ideologue.

    It’s funny that you mentioned how assholes can make you reevaluate your own position. I think I’ve had more personal developed from seeing people I agree with acting badly (shifting my emotional identification over to the other side) than I ever have from participating in a stoush myself.

    Lastly, just to completely belie this entire comment — anyone who thinks ‘tone policing’ is a bad thing is a fucking moron. Yeah, emotional investment isn’t a bad thing and yes, emotional expression can be constructive. That doesn’t mean you get to act like a prick and have a smug little phrase to throw back at someone when you get called on it.

    “Tone policing”. What the fuck.

  5. “I want to say what I want to say, however I want to say it, no matter if it’s hurtful or counter-productive?” Sounds like it falls right under the same First Amendment shelter WB church uses. Good job, peeps! No one will hear what you’re saying, or even respect you, except those who already agree.

    Maybe asking for civilized conversation isn’t tone policing. Maybe it’s treating others the way we want to be treated. Huh, weird.

    I agree with you. I’m not a feminist. I’m a lizardist. I believe we should all be dominated by Komodo dragons. They’ll rip your arm off, sure, but at least you always know where you stand.

  6. I could not possibly agree with this more. It’s not just feminism discussions, it’s any issue about which there is debate (e.g, all the issues). I’m so fucking sick of people shouting each other down and arguing themselves in circles (and into a state of unassailable hypocrisy) that I can barely stand it that our house has electricity. And I wonder: Is this the dumbing down of America about which people speak? Have an entire generation (or more) of people utterly lost the ability to think critically, reason logically or act compassionately? Then I get overwhelmed, take my Zoloft and go back to bed with a good book. 😦

  7. krychick says:

    I so agree. It’s not just about feminism either, but I do wince at identifying myself as a feminist when the discussion breaks down into name calling and everyone is telling everyone else to STFU because they disagree with each other. (Happens more than you’d want to believe) I really feel that the breakdown of civility because of the anonymous nature of the internet contributes to the divide we are currently experiencing in the USA. If we had to post our real names and were forced to have video chat with the person we are arguing with, there is no way people would ‘speak’ to each other in the way we post to each other.

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