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Innerbrat
Advancing the sum total of human knowledge and endeavour!
My spat with @DrEvanHarris, Or: Debi is an overreacting feminist 
16th-Jul-2010 09:19 am
wtf
Last night, this showed up on my Twitter feed:
DrEvanHarris: It is surprisingly nasty sometimes. RT @naomimc Feminist bloggers have a community. Its a lot more shouty tho ;-) #talkfest
I've since been informed that there was a conversaion with @naomimc (whom I do not follow, but her tweets are unprotected and I can't see it) in which that R/T comes to more than just yet another offhand remark by a man about how nasty the feminist blogosphere is.

Evan Harris, by the way, is a Liberal Democrat politician and former MP who has some pretty strong equality credentials, which I by no means disparage. But then, it's Twitter, and in Twitter you don't get context. You get single oneliner R/Ts retreading that same old ground about how nasty feminists are to each other.

Which... I can't even be bothered to rope in the full context in which that can be read. Let's just say that I'm wholeheartedly sick of "wow feminists are meeean" comments. Especially when they turn up randomly from corners of my twitter feed reserved for science and politiconomics and that kind of thing.

I'd had a bad evening - not relevant, except that I can't think of a better way of expressing my frustration than:
InnerBrat: Yeah, men in power like @DrEvanHarris making remarks about how 'shouty' feminists are can diaf.[link]
Of course, we all know how problematic those four letters have been in the past, and I could have chosen better words to express a general "man I'm sick of this rhetoric" sentiment.

Which is why the next morning (today), I apologised for the phrasing:
InnerBrat: @DrEvanHarris Very strong phrasing, sorry. I was angry. [link]
DrEvanHarris: @InnerBrat Makes my point then, no? [link]
*golf claps* Well done, Evan. When a woman gets angry at the 'angry feminist' trope being trotted out again, dismiss her by claiming she's made your point. Because that's never been done before and is completely conducive to her staying in the conversation and helping you understand how you annoyed her.

(Derailing for Dummies)

At this point, I was done. And probably should have stayed done, except I had to weigh in with as close as I could get to a 140 char explanation.

Cue pile on, (OK, not a major pile on, but I'm incapable of dealing with one person pressing a point when I've tried to drop it. Three people will make me cry) because I didn't understand the context or I misquoted (I believe that was the word 'all'? I'm not sure) or 'feminists are nasty to each other' (This latter had to be told twice that I didn't want to engage).

Which, y'know, was a wonderful start to the day.

This post is also posted at InnerBrat @ Dreamwidth where it has comment count unavailable comments. Feel free to join in the conversation wherever you feel most comfortable.
Opinions 
16th-Jul-2010 09:44 am (UTC)
InnerBrat: @DrEvanHarris Very strong phrasing, sorry. I was angry.
DrEvanHarris: @InnerBrat Makes my point then, no?


This is why I don't bother with "politeness" when it comes to people like this.

I'm sure it's not going to win me many friends, but then I don't want friends who think my genuine anger is silly hysterical "woman's stuff."

Occasionally I will try to educate someone, but the minute they start resisting I get fed up and tell them to well...diaf.
16th-Jul-2010 09:50 am (UTC)
I really don't want to continue to be the person speaking out in anger. I don't think it's good for me or the conversation. But responses like this don't help, they just enourage me to be more angry.
16th-Jul-2010 09:57 am (UTC)
people like this

Thing is, though, I would never have expected Evan Harris to be "people like this." I still think of him as someone who was a big help to the Lib Dems' LGBT organization when he was an MP. That makes this all the more disappointing to me than it would be if these words were coming from just J. Random Political Figure.
16th-Jul-2010 09:46 am (UTC)
... Never would have believed Harris could be such a dick.

Oh wait, he's a politician. The world makes sense again :/

*hugs*
16th-Jul-2010 10:25 am (UTC)
I don't have a great deal of sympathy. "Nasty" may have been a succinct way of putting it; if I wasn't on Twitter and had unlimited characters I'd put it as "Blogosphere feminism is in many quarters packed to the rafters with people who insist on regurgitating stories without fact-checking, slut-shamers, prude-shamers, thought police, and concern trolls, all of whom insist that theirs is the one true feminism. To an outsider, a lot of the discourse which takes place borders on academic fascism." I have been a feminist since the day I could form thoughts, and I won't touch those places without protective gear. If being repulsed by some of the louder voices in feminism suddenly means that I don't give a shit about equal rights then I'm surprised.

As far as I can see the statement applies to feminist bloggers. Of which there are many I'm sure I haven't read and I suspect those people are the ones you are friends with; I'm sure I've only read the noisy few who make me wish they'd get the fuck off my side or suffer a stroke or something. But I don't see much inaccuracy in the statement in "surprisingly nasty
sometimes" regarding the feminist blogosphere apart from the word "surprisingly".
16th-Jul-2010 10:34 am (UTC)
You have a point.

I was more incensed with "you have made my point" instead of actually accepting an apology than I was about the comment at first.

But then, we know I'm crazy irrational about apologies and the acceptance thereof.
16th-Jul-2010 10:50 am (UTC)
words...i have none.
16th-Jul-2010 11:30 am (UTC)
This is tangential, but do you think there is any way to express the sentiment of "I, personally, cannot cope with discussions once they get (even justifiably) angry" without venturing into tone argument territory? Because that's been my chief problem with the idea of "tone argument". Sometimes even reading an angry argument stresses me out. Sometimes it doesn't, but it's those times that it does that leave me wondering how to respond if I'm engaged without being dismissive.
16th-Jul-2010 11:43 am (UTC)
My method is usually "I can't engage in this right now" if I just want the subject dropped. Couple with an apology if I caused anger. If I think it's important, I will then let myself calm down and read the arguments themselves, but later. That requires work, but there's nothing like a bit of anger management practice, because I treat stress in the face of anger as a reaction in myself, and something I can work on, at least.

It depends on who is angry and how I made them angry. If it's a stranger on the internet and I'm not in my own space, sometimes it's best just to back the fuck out and never raise that point again.

If it's a friend and I'm in my journal, their journal/IM/email whatever, I don't think "alright, this ain't going anywhere. Can we come back to it?" counts as the 'tone argument'. It buys me time to work out why the anger, to read the points and try and work with my own stress. Hopefully the person will also calm down and if we make the mutual effort to undertsand each other, it'll work. It's not the 'tone argument', because it's not "you are angry, therefore you are wrong."

For people I'd like to be friends with, spaces I'd like to be safe with, and anything else between those points, adjust as appropriate.

My mantra, as always, is apologising costs nothing.
(Deleted comment)
16th-Jul-2010 11:32 am (UTC)
Did you read alas_a_llama's post about the tone argument yesterday? (I assume so :D)

Because, you know, feminists just like being angry; it's not like they have a reason for it.
16th-Jul-2010 11:43 am (UTC)
I did!
16th-Jul-2010 12:28 pm (UTC)
I've since been informed that there was a conversaion with @naomimc (whom I do not follow, but her tweets are unprotected and I can't see it) in which that R/T comes to more than just yet another offhand remark by a man about how nasty the feminist blogosphere is.


Hi! just popping up here because I had nowt better to do while eating ham egg and chips with a cup of tea... :)

DISCLAIMER: I am practically a non-user of Twitter (I only got an account so I could play Echo Bazaar *s*), so I may be depressingly mistaken. Or, maybe not.

I ran barefoot through the #talkfest feed, and picked out these two sections (re-ordered as oldest at top, there's some missing but I think it shows the conversation, and also some context for the 'surprisingly nasty' bit);


jme_c #talkfest Do science bloggers foster community? about 17 hours ago via TweetDeck

VivRaper Are science bloggers better at doing community? #talkfest

Stephen_Curry Blogging community 'natural' to scientists since we had a community anyway? #talkfest

VivRaper Science bloggers reference sources more #talkfest about 17 hours ago via Twitterrific

jme_c #talkfest Evan Harris: Science bloggers can shape policy

naomimc Feminist bloggers have a community. Its a lot more shouty tho ;-) #talkfest about 17 hours ago via txt


===(a handful of tweets pass by...)===

pssalgado @DrEvanHarris Science bloggers not the same, as evidence based discussion can influence policy in a real way; needs coordination #talkfest about 17 hours ago via twidroid

mjrobbins @imascientist I said way back that they shouldn't have had all science bloggers on the panel. (Lovely as this lot all are) #talkfest about 17 hours ago via TweetDeck

DrEvanHarris It is surprisingly nasty sometimes. RT @naomimc Feminist bloggers have a community. Its a lot more shouty tho ;-) #talkfest about 17 hours ago via Twitterrific


====

So, I think I've found the discussion they were on about, but for the life of me I can't understand why naomimc brought that up, and I find it even harder to understand why it got retweeted...
16th-Jul-2010 02:08 pm (UTC)
or I misquoted (I believe that was the word 'all'? I'm not sure)


Dr. Harris didn't say feminists were 'shouty'; that was @naomimc.
16th-Jul-2010 02:30 pm (UTC)
A retweet is not a reply, it's a repeating of words, which unless stated otherwise, implies agreement.
(Deleted comment)
17th-Jul-2010 12:13 am (UTC)
Uggh. Classy.
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