Up Front by Emma Hart

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Up Front: Safety Net

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  • John Armstrong, in reply to BenWilson,

    It's traditional to come up with a humorous cover story

    Billy Connolly has a great one about trying to kill a spider..

    Hamilton • Since Nov 2007 • 132 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Morgan Nichol,

    To be fair, usually when people bless me it is more along lines of "the power of christ compels you".

    Good to know you're getting your exorcize. A sedentary lifestyle can be pure hell.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2163 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Megan Wegan,

    This makes me really sad. Because you _do_ have something to contribute. It’s one of my immense frustrations with any number of feminists websites that shut out men completely. What the hell is the point of just talking to women?

    To be fair, it's not a shut-out; more my own perception of risk in joining a debate. The incident I referred to validated that feeling.

    I am sometimes disturbed by the level of what looks to me like bullying in women's spaces online (especially via the control of language), but I now take the view that it's not for me to point out.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18970 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Megan Wegan,

    Having said that, the kind of sites where men can't speak are usually the same sites where I don't speak either.

    Yeah, but to be fair I'd probably be on a hair-trigger after yet another round of men driving by a feminist blog to tell the feeble little lady-brains to change their tampons, stop being so "hysterical" and focus on some "real issues" - which oddly enough, never seem to include women's health, reproductive rights, domestic and sexual violence or icky stuff about lesbians or trans-women.

    And don't even get me started on man-trolls who decide already fraught threads where women are talking about their experience of rape or sexual abuse, is the place to opine on how you wouldn't leave your car unlocked in a bad neighborhood therefore...

    I agree with you that it's unfortunate when feminist blogs exclude men, but I can understand why some feel it's better than being on a never ending troll patrol. Especially when it reaches the level of persistent threats of rape or assault landing in your inbox.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12034 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan, in reply to Russell Brown,

    You know, I think in some cases, it is a shut out. If you read some of the comments on that Feministe post I linked to, it is clear that there are any number of women who believe men just aren’t welcome.

    Which if you are trying to cultivate a safe space, fine, but I don’t think that’s what it is.

    I’m all for telling men they’re being patronising, for telling them to “own their privilege"*, for telling them, if necessary, to shut up and listen. But yeah, when it comes to it, while I might swear a lot, I try not to bully. Though, I suspect there are people online who would disagree.

    * And “own your privilege” is, of course, exactly the kind of language you’re talking about.

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1273 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Megan Wegan,

    * And "own your privilege" is, of course, exactly the kind of language you're talking about.

    Russell and I have had a *cough* free and frank exchange of views on that turn of phrase. I'm in the process of replacing it with "Shut the fuck up, and genuinely listen rather than waiting for your turn to speak. You really really need to internalize some complicated stuff. I know it's outside your comfort zone, but deal. Then choose your next words with care and empathy."

    Could I crowdsource a snappy acronym for all that? :)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12034 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    That's really long and hard to type, though.

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1273 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Megan Wegan,

    "Bitch, please..." works for me, but there are some contexts were it's *cough* unhelpful.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12034 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    And “own your privilege” is, of course, exactly the kind of language you’re talking about.

    Russell and I have had a *cough* free and frank exchange of views on that turn of phrase.

    Understanding your own privilege is really important, but I hate it when I see the principle being invoked competitively, or to invalidate someone else's perspective. Or, indeed, any case where a language crime is called to negate the substance of what someone's trying to say.

    Fortunately, no one has tried "disablist" on me in such a context. My response would not be a pretty one.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18970 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Megan Wegan,

    all for telling men they’re being

    I'm all for telling people...

    I'm also all for being told ...

    I know full well I can get patronising/lecturing/domineering, especially when I think I have something important to say.

    Having folks around who can tell you to pull your head in is helpful.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3420 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I see the principle being invoked competitively, or to invalidate someone else's perspective.

    Which in itself is a form of privilege (and plain old-fashioned bullying), that needs to be owned and avoided. :)

    I know full well I can get patronising/lecturing/domineering, especially when I think I have something important to say.

    Support group - bring it in for a hug! :) A train of thought you're totally passionate about is a wonderful thing when you're driving it; when you're tied to the tracks and it's about to turn you into a family pack of mincemeat? Nah...

    Having folks around who can tell you to pull your head in is helpful.

    People who'll laugh at you when you're being more than usually silly are a mitzvah too.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12034 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Megan Wegan,

    I’m all for telling men ...

    I am most admiring at the way men get told on this site when necessary. It's good.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18970 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to Russell Brown,

    but I hate it when I see the principle being invoked competitively, or to invalidate someone else's perspective. Or, indeed, any case where a language crime is called to negate the substance of what someone's trying to say.

    Also, as Craig has demonstrated above, people don't hear clichés. If you take the time to find another way to say "own your privilege", the person you're talking to has a much better chance of hearing and understanding what you're saying. That, of course, assumes that the caller-outer has any interest at all in actually influencing the other person's behaviour, rather than just scoring points in their community or blowing off steam. And that, IME, is almost never the case.

    At my worst, yeah, I can get lecturey. I am getting better at spotting when I'm getting my rant on - not least because even I don't want to listen to my 'handcuffs' rant again. But the thing is, I like to think of myself as a deeply practical person, and I know that neither yelling at people nor excluding them actually makes any progress. How I can make progress is by saying, to as open and broad an audience as possible, 'this is my experience, this is how it makes me feel', and hope that it changes the way somebody thinks.

    Of course, sometimes I take my courage in my hands, explain something deeply significant to me, and end up getting massive personal benefit from it, so I could be biased.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4369 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Emma Hart,

    Also, as Craig has demonstrated above, people don't hear clichés.

    Ouch, but justified. :)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12034 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    I loathe the competitive call-out culture prevalent on some blogs. It looks to me like an in-group/out-group sort of thing, someone claiming her membership of the group by showing that she knows how to use the word 'privilege'. It's rarely helpful.

    On the second hand, we have a persistent commenter at The Lady Garden who frequently turns up to make picky points or ask leading questions or explain things to us, to the extent that behind the scenes from time to time we send e-mails predicting how long it will take for him to chime in with a *splain (the * stands for his moniker, which NB! is not the moniker used by any of the people commenting on this thread to date).

    And on the gripping hand, there's the bizarro bullying in places like Kiwiblog, where it is impossible to have any sort of discussion whatsoever. All three modes of blog-discussion are inimical to understanding and conversation and community building.

    In my Ms Manner's mode, I'm wont to say that there is a vital difference between, "I think your idea is silly" and "I think you are silly" (substitute whatever epithet you prefer for "silly"). The former preserves the possibility of conversation, but the latter simply invites a flailing descent into entrenched positions.

    Manawatu City • Since Nov 2006 • 1323 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    No, no! You misread me. I meant when you said:

    Russell and I have had a *cough* free and frank exchange of views on that turn of phrase. I'm in the process of replacing it with "Shut the fuck up, and genuinely listen rather than waiting for your turn to speak. You really really need to internalize some complicated stuff. I know it's outside your comfort zone, but deal. Then choose your next words with care and empathy."

    Honestly, IME, and it's probably a mark of the quality of the men I know, I feel like I run across more women who are unwilling or unable to recognise when it's their turn to listen rather than speak, because then you might learn something.

    from time to time we send e-mails predicting how long it will take for him to chime in with a *splain

    Dude is astonishing. My personal favourite was the time he was lecturing me on the way I conduct my relationships, and then realised he had me confused with someone else.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4369 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Deborah,

    “I think your idea is silly” and “I think you are silly”

    I'll make the point I made earlier. Mostly because it's a point I have taken so very long to understand myself.

    There are people for whom having their ideas described as silly is a much worse insult than having their person described as silly. There are times where it is a much more certain way to end the prospect of conversation than you might expect.

    Which basically leads to the conclusion that sometimes you just can't do or say anything right :).

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3420 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Deborah,

    On the second hand, we have a persistent commenter at The Lady Garden who frequently turns up to make picky points or ask leading questions or explain things to us ...

    Ah, yes. We have had the odd one of them ...

    And on the gripping hand, there’s the bizarro bullying in places like Kiwiblog, where it is impossible to have any sort of discussion whatsoever.

    Ironically, the only risk I perceive there is the risk of me behaving as a troll. I'm fortunate enough to not feel I have to take any of those goons seriously. But I realise that's not the case for everyone.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18970 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    There are people for whom having their ideas described as silly is a much worse insult than having their person described as silly.

    Do you reckon that might apply more to men than women?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16772 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Which basically leads to the conclusion that sometimes you just can’t do or say anything right :).

    I give up! :-) I'll go back to rewriting my tax course now....

    Manawatu City • Since Nov 2006 • 1323 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Deborah,

    No, no! You misread me.

    Sorry, angst/insecurity projection there. What a pretty slip, Doctor Freud, can I get it in peach? :)

    On the second hand, we have a persistent commenter at The Lady Garden who frequently turns up to make picky points or ask leading questions

    Oh, I call it the Bill Clinton derail ("I think we really need to debate what the meaning of "is" is 'cause I wanna") - and isn't it darling? Then when some poor shnook comes along who's looking for a clarification in perfect good faith, they get it in the neck from people who are on their last nerve.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12034 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    Although people always think I'm an oversharer, they really don't understand how much of myself I don't share. Ironically, it is only recently that I have shared some stuff that I wouldn't normally. Frankly, I forget about it half the time. But also, I think of it as no big deal, and why would anyone want to hear about it? Well, other people might not want to hear about it, but I have found that sharing it has been really effective in me finally getting to the roots of some issues that needed some airing. There are particular people that make this space - this internet, this forum - feel safe. And I, for one, appreciate that. Because their presence elsewhere online makes me feel safe in those places, too. Some stuff may never get shared, but if other people are sharing their experiences or feelings, it also means that the stuff that we are keeping private is at least being thought about differently, if that's what needs to happen. (Excuse the rambling, I'm listening to Chicago...)

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3123 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Deborah,

    I’ll go back to rewriting my tax course now….

    I am deeply sorry for causing you to have to go back to writing such a document.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3420 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    Honestly, IME, and it’s probably a mark of the quality of the men I know, I feel like I run across more women who are unwilling or unable to recognise when it’s their turn to listen rather than speak, because then you might learn something.

    On the other hand, men still overwhelmingly dominate most discourses. Went to hear the theoretically intimidating trio of Germaine Greer, Sandra Coney and Marilyn Waring speak this morning. I was surprised to hear that Germaine regularly has the experience (such as in shops or queues) of feeling invisible and being ignored (which many of us can relate to). Also that Sandra Coney and her colleague Cathy Casey can still have their contributions at Council meetings unacknowledged until one of the males bring up the same suggestion, at which it time the meeting takes interested notice. If this happens to these women what hope is there for the rest of us to have our voices heard?

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 2099 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    Went to hear the theoretically intimidating trio of Germaine Greer, Sandra Coney and Marilyn Waring speak this morning

    Did you see the Germaine Greer glitterbombing? I have very mixed feelings about that.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1039 posts Report Reply

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