My perspective is that standards would be a good idea - but I feel compelled to comment on this thread from the perspective of someone whose 'exotic' quacky foreigny remedies are being, perhaps, oversimplified as all a pile of dried tiger penis...
I only go to homeopaths or Chinese traditional medical practitioners who are also qualified in the Western medical system. ie my mum, my aunties, and the other practitioners of bioenergetics, acupuncture etc who are *doctors*, *physiotherapists* or *nurses* who have learnt their practice from *doctors*.
It's a false dichotomy to characterise the 'healing' industries as hippies on one side and positivist machine-cutters on the other, and it's always disappointing to see it portrayed that way. There's a huge area within the official academy devoted to complementary medicine, and the NZ Medical Council has been known to give formal specialist degree status at least one doctor who is highly respected, effective, and advanced in Eastern/alternative medical practice and the training thereof in New Zealand. Their official specialist status, eligible for ACC claims? The vague field of 'Internal Medicine'.
This isn't to say that qualified homeopaths etc who aren't doctors are all quacks - basically, I just know a lot of doctors. But basically, Western medicine is adopting far more Eastern or 'traditional' methods than people realise. When it is adopted it gets stripped of its 'exotic'/'quacky' status and everyone forgets where it came from - hence, you get people thinking acupuncture is perfectly kosher while the bioenergetic method used in homeopathic analysis is loony-tunes, although they are actually rooted in the same medical theory to figure out what is wrong with you. Ultimately, good scientists should know that science is an expanding body of knowledge, not a complete one. For example, Western science has concluded that acupuncture can be effective, but does not have the language to explain why. There are some things that are yet to be explicable within the terms of Western Science - that doesn't mean the fairies magicked them so - some of us are just waiting. But in my view, that's why going to a doctor/medical practitioner with twice the skills can be a good bet when no-one else can figure out what's wrong with you (but you don't want to miss the possibility that you have meningitis or a broken arm).
I am also one to be suspicious of culty hippy exoticised astrological vendors of Vedic miracles - I'd much rather go to an Western-qualified Indian doctor who also happens to specialise in Vedic medicine if I was interested in Vedic stuff - there are probably quite a few, given that there certainly are in for the Chinese. Chinese traditional medicine and physical energy practices such as acupuncture and wushu are of course, all stolen from the Vedas anyway.
Basically, my points are: yes, just because it is 'exotic and foreign and traditional' doesn't mean it will work, and if it is being sold on its traditional natural exotic mysterious spiritualness, you should probably run a mile and/or test for arsenic; but just because some nong with a bindi/tiger-penis fetish is making an exoticised mockery of of my medical heritage, doesn't mean my medical heritage is all nonsense. Like I said, even the Medical Council knows it isn't.
Okay, look - I don't see where I was 'tarring' anyone with the same 'white boy' brush as any evil imperialist, when I said 'white boy's playground'. In an earlier draft of the post, I even referred to whether we 'girls' wanted to 'play' or 'not play' in said sandpit considering the hygienic conditions, followed by an elaborate riff on gendered toys. But it was already a pretty long post, and that part was the wrap-up. The statement of race and gender was a fact, the 'infantilisation' was a joke, and one I assumed the 'nice white liberal boy' readership would have the self-deprecation to take okay, rather than as nasty patronisation. Some have, some haven't. Russell, I'm sorry that you think I was bullying to Steven, and I'm sorry to Steven if he feels bullied. However, yes, I still think it is precious for some of these guys to have been so incensed: and the fact that from the post, this was the one to have occupied a substantial part of what they were interested in, is definitely sad in my view. When I said this post and thread was 'dedicated' to women, I meant not prescriptively, but obviously in terms of context, content and feeling, in the way you might dedicate a song on the radio, and I think it is sad that one or two people thought even this was necessary to contest. Doesn't mean they don't have a right to say that; I just think it's sad. It makes me sad, that's for sure.
In terms of Manakura, as you say:
I'm sure there was a fatigue factor,
That's all I was specifically talking about, in the context of Anjum's comment. Still, one doesn't have to be receiving a hiding on blogsites to experience different kinds of fatigue, when you are in the position of being the sole person repping your 'race' in a forum, even a really really nice one. Anjum will know what I mean, and so does Manakura, although I won't speak for him here!
In that vein, I think I'm done here. [throws toys]
Why talk of "Taking back" blogs ...? I don't get that, sorry.
However the thread has been skewed in various directions, the Take Back the Blog blogswarm is a symbolic online event to express solidarity with female bloggers who have been subjected to harassment, intimidation and threats of violence. If Finn really doesn't get that... well, wow - I'm sorry too!
On the upside, it's always good to see Sonal; I second Anjum's props to Manakura for holding out as long as he did; and thanks to the rare appearances, first time postings, and thoughtful tomes from women PA readers generally on this thread. I appreciate you being here.
Tze Ming, don't give up. I reckon you should start a new chicks-only thread & and get back to business. :)
Oh good grief, can we not?
I said: LOL. Although I very much appreciate the rest of 3140's original comment, I agree that a 'Women only-thread' in this context, would seem far less enlightening than watching what has actually happened here. I'm glad that the women posters are generally just saying what they want anyway.
Like Emma, there is something about my personality and interests that means I get along well with guys, or have been mistaken by a guy online or out in the world of paper print readers. Like Emma, I think if stuck to certain topics, guys would tend to forget that I am a 'girl' given my gender-ambiguous name, and what I was once told by (again) Steve Braunias was a 'muscular prose style'. Like Emma, I am good at the sparring if it comes to that.
Something happened along the way, however. For example, in my long-ago days of the university left, I found that it was alright to lampoon capitalist pigs and celebrate the glories of the working classes, with all the attending ironies considering how university political types are all bourgeois kids from the Shore etc, but when it came to arguing identity politics and feminism with the same passion and expected response of self-deprecating humour, the bourgeois kids (white, male) began to turn on you in a personal way. It actually became increasingly clear that, even if you 'argued like a boy', if you argued about feminism and race 'like a boy', or even if you were just a woman who disagreed with them, and once said you didn't like sexism, you would still be excluded like a girl. This is the expected, perhaps inevitable reaction to the politics of difference - even in this advanced forum (self-deprecating-irony alert), where putting forth those politics is always taken personally and defensively by certain members of the group being described as 'dominant'.
Emma is at one extreme of liberal feminism (sorry if you don't count yourself as a feminist at all Emma! Everyone's on some kind of spectrum, unfortunately): she wants to be treated the same as anyone else, and no real attention paid to her gender, because it's not terribly important to her:
If I do ever get picked out, mentioned, linked to, whatever, I want it to be because of the content of my writing, not the contents of my trousers.
Good on her, each to their own. I could have been as happy as her to never let my gender affect the way I thought about myself and how I talk in the male world. However, because feminist analyses of power, exploitation, rights and justice made so much conceptual sense, even through hardcore Marxist lenses, it didn't make sense not to argue those points when I was a tender undergrad. Doing so marked me out as different and an outsider in the boy's world; being constructed as different made me realise that my experiences of difference were important to my identity and the way I wanted to develop my values. Ultimately I realised that even though I was good at it, maybe I didn't want to spar like a boy anymore, because it didn't seem as fun as it used to be, I didn't want to be that kind of person anymore, and it got kind of tiring repping your corner out there on your own. I want to be judged by the content of my writing also, not the colour of my skin or content of my trousers - but those two last elements are important to my identity, to my politics, and hence, to what I write about, and what I believe.
Contrary to Emma's view, I think the contributions by women to this thread, including her own, have been revealing and important, but maybe that is the non-linear, contextual part of my brain talking, the bit that I have been working on developing since 1997. I particularly appreciate, in very simple terms, your presences at all - on a weekend no less! Thanks again.
Finn, you wrote:
threats of violence and aggressive stand-over tactics are not something that is exclusively restricted to women online, or I'd argue something that is even directed more at women than men.
A fair guess, but quickly disproven by research. Webweaver's post, among the many others on this topic, is a good summary and has reference links (thanks for outing yourself!):
Michel Cukier, professor at the University of Maryland's Center for Risk and Reliability, authored a study last year where automated chat-bots and human researchers logged on to chat rooms under female, male and ambiguous screen names, such as Nightwolf, Orgoth and Stargazer.
Bots using female names averaged 100 malicious messages a day, compared with about four for those using male names and about 25 for those with ambiguous names. Researchers logging on themselves produced similar results.
If I might venture an answer to the question posed in the title of this one, no I'm not going to free you
Good lord, not another one too young to remember Goo. Creak. Creak. Somebody bring me my cane.
Steven: you are obviously rather upset, and so perhaps have not noticed that this thread and the post was obviously dedicated to the women of PA being able to talk about their experiences of the internet. I think it's sad that your repeated appearances were so focused on some perceived slight to yourself, and had no substantial contribution to the wider issue. Ultimately, dude, this post wasn't about you; it was about us. I hope you can get over it.
To address your concerns, since you have dedicated so much time and energy to getting one, and I have accepted by now that you are not really a troll:
I don't see what's so offensive, or incorrect, about observing that comments threads on any political blog from the West (apart from dedicated feminist sites or dedicated ethnic minority sites) are generally dominated by white males.
If you are white, it is odd that you are offended by the term 'white', although I wouldn't discount the possibility. There's no way I can stop calling white people white though - perhaps you prefer 'Caucasian' or 'of European descent', but I think that's clumsy.
If you are offended by the term 'boy', it is odd that you don't feel offended on the behalf of women by my (and the other female commentators, and Kim Gordon's) use of the word 'girls' to describe ourselves.
If you are offended that the hallowed ground of the PA System was compared to a playground, this is pretty damn precious, laughably so. We talk of parliament as a kindergarten all the time, do we not? Is a blogsite as revered as our legislative chamber? Are PA System participants never childish, or, alternately, are they really that up-themselves and self-congratulatory that they would be wounded at the very suggestion that they might be? I don't think so.
All my other posts I fed into the Gender Genie have me as much more of a dude than Emma. I guess I'm letting my 'feminine' side show here, by saying 'we' a lot, or referring to 'chicks'.
Joanna and Lx (first time poster! Unless you are Joanna's new pseudonym), thanks for your posts, and for all the women who are talking about their experiences here, and privately to me via email.
But J & Lx: here are two smart, third-wave-generation women. Who are admitting they have no clue how to reconcile their discomfort with women's disempowerment by society, with the expectation that we should pretend that disempowerment doesn't exist in order to safeguard our dignity. "I don't see what I can do about it" is a haunting thing to see written here and now, after all the trailblazing done by successive generations of the women's movement. I don't think this is some kind of dead end. While the boys (and those judged to be boys) get out their calculators to see who is a boy and who is a girl, does anyone have any responses to what can be done about it?
wasn't me - didn't see the one-month mistake but it reinforces my WTF point about the possibility of Koreans in the States now being targetted in revenge attacks.
Sorry, it was Mark E who spotted that.
This may have been posted already, but Salon reports that Korean students are now 'fleeing' the V-Tech campus.
Personally, I think they have a better chance of being met with understanding and compassion on their own campus than out in the rest of America.
As poplicks and angryasianman point out with some of that handy Asian math-whizzkid 'subtraction' stuff, the shooter was 8 years old when he migrated to America. That makes him as American as Keith Ng is a New Zealander. Should Keith go on a shooting rampage, I don't have much doubt that he would be identified in the media as a 'Hong Kong migrant', although if he's winning international journalism awards he'd be 'Keith Ng, Proud Kiwi'. Still I don't doubt the Herald was just running with the editorial bias of their international feeds; the '1-month' mistake Juha referred to could have been a carry-over from when the US media was running with the idea that the kid was an international student from China. Fucking sloppy... I know what time the Herald gets put to bed, and every Asian-American blog had the information about the shooter's identity and American status well before that deadline.
Elsewhere on the internets, some news organisations got the wrong armed-to-the-teeth Asian guy, the Chicago Tribune couldn't tell the difference between Chinse and Korean, people flocked to GoDaddy to register VTech massacre-related domain names...
...And another email to me from 'wiremu5' with the subject header: 'This IS the Yellow Peril, smartass bitch' gets spam-blocked from my intray....
One time, I ordered french toast from a hotel cafe in Hong Kong, and got what appeared to be a deep-fried peanut-butter sandwich with golden syrup drizzled over top.
You know, there are probably people who think that sounds like a good thing ...
This morning cholesterol jolt - aka Hong Kong 'French Toast' - happens to be Keith Ng's favourite breakfast in the whole wide world. He seeks it wherever he senses yellow people.