In defense of the sanctimonious women's studies set || First feminist blog on the internet

Open Thread with Siberian Husky and Leaves

This Siberian husky “helping” his human rake the autumn leaves features for this month’s Open Thread. Please natter/chatter/vent/rant on anything* you like over this weekend and throughout the next four weeks.

So, what have you been up to? What would you rather be up to? What’s been awesome/awful?
Reading? Watching? Making? Meeting?
What has [insert awesome inspiration/fave fansquee/guilty pleasure/dastardly ne’er-do-well/threat to all civilised life on the planet du jour] been up to?

* Netiquette footnotes:
* There is no off-topic on the monthly Open Thread, but consider whether your comment would be on-topic on any recent thread and thus better belongs there.
* If your comment touches on topics known to generally result in thread-jacking, you will be expected to take the discussion to #spillover instead of overshadowing the social/circuit-breaking aspects of this thread.

76 thoughts on Open Thread with Siberian Husky and Leaves

  1. Argh. I missed my comment window on the previous thread, so I just wanted to say: I’m sorry for your loss, tigtog and pheeno.

    My Honours thesis is killing me. I have two jobs again, which is awesome for my mental health and general circumstances, and kind of shit for my physical health. And I currently have a wicked cold. But aside from that, hey, things are actually pretty sweet, if overwhelmingly busy – I have multiple directed-reading courses this semester, so I’m all alone in one class, and one of four in another, and horrifically responsible for responding to all the things. Boo. But also yay! …can you tell I have mixed feelings?

    1. A friend of mine just lost her dog last week. The vet called to tell her they accidentally gave her dogs ashes to another client…who’d already dumped them in his yard. And another friend had her beagle collapse and die after his pacemaker failed. Not a good year for furbabies. 🙁

      1. I think it’s just people who care more about traffic to their site than they do this site , given that they don’t contribute in any way other than to show up once a week to dump their links. They don’t even come back to read any comments made on their posts.

    1. To be fair, both Sue and I asked on the last Open Thread about the status of the Shameless Self-Promotion threads and if it was okay to put those in the Open Threads now. Since no one answered otherwise, I (and it seems she) thought it was.

      And I will try to be better about commenting. I do my blog reading on an RSS reader and don’t always have time to click over to the main page.

      1. That….doesn’t actually make me less annoyed. You received no answer, so you just did it anyway?

        At least you comment on occasion. Others, the only time I ever see their names is when they can use the site for their own blogs. It gets up my nose, and I can’t really explain why other than it just feels half a step up from a spam bot.

    2. It’s not your fault. Often I wonder *why* our commentariat has dwindled so. I know over the years sites like Jezebel have captured a lot of the audience we formerly attracted, but I don’t know if that’s the underlying reason. Jill leaving likely had an impact as well — for a while barely any new content would appear here, besides auto-scheduled weekly threads. But since then we’ve recruited more staff to post more content more regularly. Does Feministe simply have a bad rep in the broader blogosphere?

      Either folks still visit but don’t comment, or not enough visit to comment in the first place. Maybe the underlying reason is that feminist content has become so pervasive — from Jezebel to Feminist Frequency, to freakin’ Amy Schumer — that Feministe doesn’t seem to offer too much that’s unique nowadays. My mates and I are working to launch some original YouTube content here come winter — the feminist game review series — but realistically rebuilding the active, thriving commentariat we once had will take years. The year 2011 was the last year we attracted audiences so huge that even broadsheets were covering the hijinks that occurred here, whether they were TSA vibrators or promiscuous professors. Sigh…

      1. . Maybe the underlying reason is that feminist content has become so pervasive — from Jezebel to Feminist Frequency, to freakin’ Amy Schumer — that Feministe doesn’t seem to offer too much that’s unique nowadays.

        This. Plus, frankly, it’s just a slightly outdated model- the bulk of comments are now left either at sites like Reddit that aggregate content from tons of blogs, or places like Jezebel that employ a full time staff and produce regular (i.e. daily) analysis/commentary/reporting. The model of checking in on a particular blog every evening to see if anything new is up applies to fewer and fewer places. It’s not just happening with feminism, it’s happening across the whole blogosphere.

      2. That’s an excellent point. I’ve noticed in recent years a lot of sites like Popular Science and Reuters have dispensed with comment sections entirely — partly because they tend to fill with conspiracy theorists and bigots, I’m sure, but also because outsourcing conversation to social media platforms like Twitter is cheaper and less trouble.

        It’s a sad trend, for those who remember the old, active days around here. But I suppose finding ways to harness social media instead of blaming it would be the best long-term solution. How to implement that is anther story, though.

      3. It’s because the comments are over-moderated.

        You can tell this is true because I might get put into moderation for criticizing the moderation.

      4. Haha, “overmoderation”, okay then. I am such a massive fan of the highly moderated spaces I frequent like the Captain Awkward forum and to a lesser extent r/creepypms.

        Personally I very seldom check here because of the related period of no content then the death of the comment section which is really my favourite part of blogs where it’s a well moderated community.

        Unfortunately there lack of that with the fact I’m not a regular means I don’t comment even when I do visit to avoid fly bys. I’ve also got more stressed by arguments so have massively lowered my internet commenting in general.

      5. Echo Zen says:
        September 21, 2015 at 2:17 pm
        It’s not your fault. Often I wonder *why* our commentariat has dwindled

        You have better writers than the majority of feminist blogs, but (lately) very few posts compared to the majority of feminist blogs. That means that folks don’t check posts daily; there’s no reason to do so. (Speaking personally, you went from “daily read”to “oh yeah, I wonder if there’s anything new there, it’s been a few weeks.”)

        Obviously that affects the “reader” audience. But it also affects the “commenter” audience. It is hard to keep a comment thread sustainable without rapid back and forth.

      6. I feel like Jill’s absence has been huge. And that’s not to be ungrateful for the work everyone else has done, but I think it’s much easier to drive traffic to a blog if you have at least one consistent voice.

    3. It is unfair to suggest that contributions are only made via comments. I really liked the Sunday feature because I had a chance to read so many interesting links. That’s one way that I engaged – exploring the original work of the contributors.

      The fact that no one responded to my inquiry did make me feel okay going ahead with sharing my links, but it also makes me feel quite unwelcome or valued as a unique voice. I didn’t realize there were so many unspoken rules. It is hard to tell when silence equals consent, complicity or caring not.

      It is really rude to say that we are spambots for sharing content while not asking the moderators why they ignored TWO feminists asking valid, simple questions. It is a doublestandard that only serves to silence the voices of those who are not part of the longterm circle here.

      I suppose that is the answer.

      1. It’s been mentioned before. Had you bothered to ever read anything beyond the post you can link your stuff to, you might have noticed. Dropping a link and running isn’t contributing to anything but hits to your site. It’s more unfair to the people who are still trying to keep this place active. Commenting once in a while wouldn’t kill you.

        If you ask a question and are ignored, the safe assumption is that the answer is no. Consent is important in life and on blogs too.

      2. I have asked on more than one occasion and clearly indicated that I’ve been unable to find the information, perhaps because of my cognitive limits (something I’ve mentioned before as well.) Perhaps sharing the link with me would be more constructive than just smacking me down and making all sorts of assumptions because you are annoyed.

        Since the moderators haven’t address this with me privately, I can only assume – nothing. I certainly don’t feel welcome here. I’ll bow out and head for feminist sites that aren’t so unkind to people.

      3. That’s funny, because I mentioned it, on an old self promotion thread. Guess yall don’t even look back at threads you post your links on either. You’ve basically been invited to comment and contribute -twice- on this thread, so you go ahead and feel unwelcome. Requesting you join in on this conversation instead of use our conversation to boost yourself isn’t unrealistic or mean. And I’m not big on clicking links dumped by strangers, I don’t care to get a nasty surprise when the blogger inserts colonizers privilege in their posts ( which has happened a few times. ) so it would be nice to see posts HERE by self promoters so I can get a bead on their perspective before I go reading.

      4. I don’t blame you. I feel like if admin isn’t even taking the time to respond….then, well, commentors are on the bottom of the list. And maybe commentors will leave cuz we don’t know how to interact with the blog anymore.

  2. Hey All, Just checking in. Nothing has really changed. Still pretty bummed, and still avoiding a lot of stuff. Still waiting to hear when the trial will start.

      1. Thanks EG. I appreciate that.

        In other (brighter) news, I’m seriously contemplating emigrating to New Zealand, and I’m planning for participating in Nanowrimo this year.

  3. TW

    You know what’s bad about Kim Davis? Her homophobia. You know what’s irrelevant about Kim Davis? Her looks. When a woman does or says something vile and the response is “Hur hur she’s ugly!” (you also see this a lot with Ann Coulter) that doesn’t address the problem with what she did or said, and it sends the message that what’s really important about women is how they look, which is antifeminist and wrong. Sick of people talking like that.

    Also sick of people saying women are just so much more nurturing and sweet, etc. than men. First of all, that’s not true, and it’s unfair to men. It’s also unfair to women, because then they’re expected to do all the childcare and emotional work in relationships, and they’re expected to always be ever so sweet and nice. The level of niceness that’s expected of women would be considered self-hating groveling in a man. And the level of speaking up and standing up for yourself that’s considered normal in a man is considered b—-hy in a woman. Also, women should have their fair share of power in the world because they are also human, not because they will supposedly save us all with their supposed natural peacefulness and sweetness etc., and create world peace etc. Which idea also provides a convenient pointing to, say, Margaret Thatcher, and saying “Well I guess women leaders aren’t so peaceful after all, no need to have them then.” Women are individuals. Should Richard Nixon rule out all male leaders? Should male leadership’s failure to create world peace mean men can’t lead? Sick of people acting like it’s feminist to say women are nicer, sweeter, more nurturing etc. than men.

    1. Yes. All of this. But mostly it irritates me that other liberals put me in a position where I have to defend Kim Davis or Ann Coulter.

    2. Also sick of people saying women are just so much more nurturing and sweet, etc. than men.

      Cosigned. See: The Dalai Lama

    3. It is really annoying and sexist, and also, since you mentioned Ann Coulter (it’s a thing with some other women too) this whole thing of people saying she is “a man in drag.” I just don’t even get that joke. I don’t mean only that it isn’t funny, which it isn’t, but I don’t even get what the joke is supposed to be. Decades ago, when Margaret Thatcher was PM, I was at a thing someplace and somebody said, “I think she’s a man in drag!” and everybody laughed and I am like Hunh? I just don’t get it.

  4. Today (September 23rd) is Bisexual Pride Day, also called Bi Visibility Day, Celebrate Bisexuality Day, and Bisexual Pride and Bi Visibility Day, celebrated annually since 1999. Today is also part of the second annual Bi Awareness Week, also called Bisexual Awareness Week, which begins the Sunday before Bisexual Pride Day. It would be really fabulous if more people could possibly (if not possible I understand) mention these things on social media to spread the word. Thanks!

      1. And today he talked about learning from the past ” mistakes” with the indigenous. As if it’s past and genocide was a mistake.

      2. It’s really disturbing how many supposedly liberal people are lavishing this pope with praise. I suppose when you’re the successor to Emperor Palpatine, people have drastically lowered standards of “coolness”

      3. I suppose when you’re the successor to Emperor Palpatine, people have drastically lowered standards of “coolness”

        This. It’s all relative. Like, the Catholic church is a shitty institution, and when it take steps to be less shitty in specific areas, I get why people applaud those steps in the hopes of encouraging more of that progress. But I also get why that sucks for people who are still being victimized by the shitty parts.

      4. Like, the Catholic church is a shitty institution, and when it take steps to be less shitty in specific areas, I get why people applaud those steps in the hopes of encouraging more of that progress.

        Yes, it gives hope that the Church can change. He galvanized the grassroots.

      5. I get why people applaud those steps in the hopes of encouraging more of that progress.

        People just like him because he’s more charismatic. It’s a gut reaction from wishful thinking that progressivism has power over the religious establishment.

        I am currently laughing at all the liberals who seem to be going through the five stages of grief after hearing the news that the Pope had a special private meeting with Kim Davis.

      6. I’m not amused by them or their angst. You didn’t hear a peep about throwing NAs under the bus with Serra, but he meets with Kim Davis and suddenly he’s no longer the great guy they thought he was.

        Fucking bullshit,man. That’s all I can say.

      1. It’s like when a woman complains about a man being sexist, or creeping on her and all her friends say ” well he’s always been nice to Me so “

    1. NY Times article for anyone who, like me, was like, “The Pope canonized someone?”

      What I like most about being an ex-Catholic-now-atheist is that when an atheist does something shitty, I can admit it’s because they’re terrible people and don’t have to live in denial about it being something God told them to do.

  5. Hi everyone. I know I’ve never commented here before, so if it’s too rude to just be popping in and asking for advice feel free to ignore me and there won’t be any hard feelings. =)

    If it helps any, I am at least a long time lurker lol.

    So my question is… How do any of you cope with boyfriends that are, well… kind of ignorant lol. He’s not antifeminist, but he’s from the South and he believs a lot of myths about feminists being “man haters.”

    He’s of the ilk “I believe in equality, just not extremists.” But the extremists he cites as being an issue normally largely DON’T EXIST.

    And it’s not like we fight about this or anything. Sure it’s occasionally mentioned but it’s in passing. The conversations have never been heated, in other words. Just terribly awkward. But idk if they’re conversations even worth having? Because I don’t want to MAKE him anything he isn’t.

    It’s more just like… frustrating because I found out about feminism after a lot of sexual abuse and it actually actively made me a LESS angry person. It made me realize it’s culture that’s wrong, not men, and I’ve come to actually love men more THANKS to feminism. Sure, I still sometimes get angry because old scars have a way of still aching from time-to-time, but I’ve really healed a lot through many of the blogs (like this one).

    So I’m afraid to even admit those things to him, which makes me feel like I’m hiding a part of my journey as a person that literally helped me not kill myself during dark times.

    Is it maybe just silly to worry about this?

    1. So my question is… How do any of you cope with boyfriends that are, well… kind of ignorant lol. He’s not antifeminist, but he’s from the South and he believs a lot of myths about feminists being “man haters.”

      So my husband is from the deep deep south, Ecuador to be specific, and he definitely has a lot of ignorance about feminism.

      I don’t think it’s silly to worry about it at all. I cope by treating any blanket statements about feminism as sort of adorably simplistic. I show him how much I viscerally enjoy feminism. I talk about feminist viewpoints and frameworks like the Bechdel-Wallace test for movies as tools for learning more about the world. I read my favorite passages from Gender Trouble and Intercourse out loud. He zones out because his English isn’t great and he finds it boring anyway, but I don’t care because he’s my husband and he has to listen to me. When he says something like “gamer girls are like X” I say “How do you know? Are you sure you didn’t just totally invent that fact from stereotypes?” in a bit of a joking manner.

      Basically, I try not to make feminism a “special topic”, but I make it clear that it’s a huge part of how I look at the world. i can’t obligate him to be a feminist, but I can obligate him to take my viewpoint seriously. In the same way i make sure to listen to his full viewpoint.

      I think it’s easier to talk about feminist ideas if you bring them up as a scholarly endeavor, because I think a lot of people think of feminism as a religious viewpoint, and that it’s all about labeling things as Good or Bad.

      I also make sure to identify explicitly as a feminist. I say I am a feminist a lot.

      I don’t think you should only tie feminism to recovering from sexual abuse, even though I totally relate to that. I think that it is very hard for an intimate partner to feel open enough to do the challenging and questioning that ignorant people need when learning if they are faced with a partner in distress. If he is a good person he won’t want to ask any questions that seem critical if you are talking about something that hurt you a lot, and it’s important for ignorant people to see that feminism is all about questions.

      1. That makes a lot of sense, actually! I never considered before how tip-toeing around it might make it even worse. If I act like it’s a completely normal thing, then it will be a completely normal thing.

        I guess I’ve got more work to do on my journey, too, RE: untangling feminism with a specific part of my past.

        I’ll try and take your advice of treating it as a scholarly thing, as well. One of the first books I read by a feminist, was Hanne Blank’s “Virgin”. That book was DEFINITELY very academic, as well as interesting and incredibly gripping! I love history, and I love especially learning the secret parts of history most people don’t talk about. I’m sure boyfriend would have thought a lot of this was interesting, too.

        Next time I find a great read, instead of pushing it aside when he asks what I’m reading by saying “Oh, it’s just lady stuff” I’ll be confident and read an interesting passage to him. =)

        I think I tend to treat potentially conflicting scenarios with “I’ll just never ever bring it up” solutions. Which, really, aren’t even solutions. =p

        Thanks for replying to me btw =)

      2. Yeah for sure.

        The (not so) secret of feminism is that it’s correct. It’s right in the way that the gender binary is wrong. It holds up under all the scrutiny, because patriarchy scrutinizes nothing as much as it does feminism.

    2. I definitely agree that sharing what you love is a great way to go about it. You can also approach any ignorant statements with “I understand this is something you’re not familiar with…” which may 1) make clear you’re not mad at him for not understanding X, and 2) establish yourself as the more-educated person on X, in case he’s gonna go all let-me-splain-acceptable-feminism-from-my-impartial-man-logic on you.

      If he has questions or is struggling with understanding, there’s a great series at Shakesville that might help:

      1. Thankfully he’s never been ‘splainy about anything, so that’s good.

        And I’ve never been MAD at him for not understanding, just more like uncomfortable because I never know what to say. But it’s a good idea to be clear so he doesn’t misinterpret awkwardness for anger.

        Thanks for the link btw =)

    1. I dunno.

      The argument is strongest in the “don’t come to our places and mess things up.” Sure: respect. But that is only a small part of it.

      It’s a lot weaker when it takes on “If you want to do anything a bit differently than I personally like, don’t do it in my space… AND ALSO don’t do it in your own space, on your own, with any changes, or we will ‘noisily’ boycott you.” Which, well… one gets the sense that if folks followed her demands to include people the author approves of, she’d merely be upset by something else. Could be wrong, though I doubt it.

      The Halloween stuff is the least supported, and approaches a bit of a joke. You can’t cogently maintain that sort of claim to individual cultural ownership and privilege; that sort of anti-diaspora talk… and then feel entitled to comment on someone ELSE’S cultural choices.

      1. That’s basically the diametrical opposite of what I think she’s actually saying. It seems to me that she’s saying, “This is something that’s really meaningful to us, and we don’t blame you for thinking it’s really awesome and special, because it is. Come on in, respectfully and reverently, and we’ll share it with you. Just don’t take it off somewhere and completely separate it from its meaning and heritage and people, which, ftr, happens all the time.

        And also, don’t take this lovely tradition we have while ignoring the un-lovely struggles we face, particularly the ones you’re contributing to yourself.”

        And there’s nothing unreasonable about that. Since Dia de los Muertos is so strongly tied to its culture, if you go off and separate it from its culture, it’s not Dia de los Muertos anymore, really, is it. It’s just a post-Halloween Latin-themed after-party with skull decorations and no shits give about the people it came from.

      2. She wasn’t saying “we will ‘noisily’ boycott you,” because she would not be going to the appropriated type of celebrations in the first place. She was encouraging white people who understood what she was saying, who were invited to these hipster versions and wanted to speak out against it to boycott them.

        Also, I thought the Halloween part was spot on. Even before I got to that part, I was thinking it. We had our own perfectly good Day of the Dead kind of holiday, and we just ruined it, like all the others, by turning it into a consumer party.

    2. “If you want to do anything a bit differently than I personally like, don’t do it in my space… AND ALSO don’t do it in your own space, on your own, with any changes, or we will ‘noisily’ boycott you.”

      I feel like we didn’t read the same article, because the author didn’t take this tone or approach at all. One gets the sense that your engagement here is deliberately disingenuous and ill-willed. Could be wrong, though I doubt it.

      Good read about colonizing the Day of the Dead, and Halloween.

      What really resonated with me in this post is pointing out this white American habit of consuming other cultures and commodifying them until they become passe plastic landfill before we find the next “new” “spiritual” culture to try to fill the hole that comes from a value system based on nihilistic capitalism. We are attracted to the reverence and broad-mindedness we see in other cultures and then assert our right to strip that culture of anything sacred and meaningful and call it “freedom”.

  6. Hi!
    I wondered if you guys would be a part of my feminism documentary?
    All i need is a video of you talking into the camera answering the big questions:
    ‘What does feminism mean to you?’ and ‘Are you a feminist, why?’

    I would appreciate it so much if you took part and help make this the best it can be 🙂

    Comment back if you are interested?
    Nicole x

  7. We have a pretty important federal election in less than two weeks here and I am frustrated as all hell, because not a single person outside of the country seems to give a flying shit that our racist, xenophobic, lying fuckwit of a PM is dragging this country into the ground.

    The Conservative party, under Steven Harper has:

    Introduced a bill granting CSIS extended powers of surveillance and detention for people thought to be involved in “terrorsitic activity”

    Introduced another bill that would allow the government to strip the citizenship of anyone eligible for or currently holding citizenship in another country, effectively creating a second class of citizenship.

    (If you think that’s scary,a Conservative party member alluded to the possibly of deporting the leader of the opposition party under this law).

    He’s stirred up a false and frankly dangerous “debate” about women in niqabs being able to take the citizenship oath without uncovering (a thing that has happened exactly twice) citing women’s equality, but meanwhile he’s actually been horrible on women’s rights, even ignoring over 1000 missing and murdered indigenous women, stating that it’s “not high on the governments radar”

    Now he wants us in the godawful TPP deal and just over all, I am getting scared to death of what will happen if he’s elected again. And the rest of the world just doesn’t give a rats ass.


    1. Our previous Prime Minister Tony Abbott seemed to be trading notes with Steven Harper on a bunch of the exact same bullshit. Our new Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull sounds so much less awful in press conferences and speeches and interviews generally that many people aren’t realising that he’s not actually changing most of the previous Abbott policies, so I share your sense of dread for what the future may hold.

      1. What makes it worse is that so many people are like “But the ecoooooonomy!” Harper has been shit for the economy. We’re in one of the worst recessions we’ve ever been in, and this is the third one since he’s been in power. We’ve run a deficit for the last 9 years.

        And also, everyone assumes that if you’re not for Harper, you’re going to vote for Trudeau, and I don’t like him either.. like the NDP is not even an option. (Or the Green party, but honestly, the Green party, while gaining ground, still doesn’t really have a hope in hell of winning).

        I’m sick of people on Facebook being like “Oh, every candidate/party has problems” and it’s like yeah but:

        May: has problems
        Mulclair: has problems
        Trudeau: has problems
        Harper: may actually be Satan.

        I’m ranting and using hyperbole I know, but damn.

        Add to it the fact that Canadians barely know their own history. Trudeau recently called Harper the worst PM since Bennett and most people are like “Huh, who?”


        1. Happy New Government Day to you and your fellow Canadians, Andie! It’s got to be at least an improvement on Harper et al, let’s hope it’s a truly meaningful one.

  8. Can somebody help me understand the legality of women-only or men-only businesses, or those that charge more for one sex, in America today? I know there’s things like women-only gyms and ladies nights, but does that mean anybody could open up any type of business and refuse to serve men (or women), or charge men (or women) more because of their sex? Sorry if this is a dumb question, but if somebody could help me understand I’d really appreciate it. Thanks.

    1. Actually, in a number of states lawsuits against gender-specific promotions have been successful. In fact, I’m only aware of a single state in which the matter has gone to court and been found not to violate either Federal or state anti-discrimination law (Washington).

      It’s just not exactly a top enforcement priority, much like laws against offering unlimited alcoholic beverages with brunch.

      On the other hand, gender specific gyms and fitness clubs are often protected under specific state laws, out of a recognition of specific privacy and modesty concerns. Those laws have a mixed record in court- some states have upheld them, and in others they’ve been struck down. The standard under federal law is essentially that you can provide gender-segregated services where providing a joint service would not be as effective (i.e. you might reasonably be able to argue that a gender-integrated swimming pool would be less popular due to modesty concerns, but the same argument wouldn’t likely succeed for a tennis court).

      1. It’s just not exactly a top enforcement priority, much like laws against offering unlimited alcoholic beverages with brunch.

        There’s a place in the world where I can’t have unlimited alcoholic beverages with brunch?!?!?!

    2. There’s a place in the world where I can’t have unlimited alcoholic beverages with brunch?!?!?!

      Technically illegal in 32 states! But like I said, it’s the type of thing that is only enforced when the authorities are already looking for a way to go after a particular establishment. For example, if they suspect a restaurant is serving alcohol to underage people but can’t collect evidence, law enforcement frequently threaten to pull liquor licenses for other more provable reasons (because promotions are printed on menus, etc) unless the establishment shapes up. There are actually a surprising number of laws like that – the median American commits between two and four felonies a day, depending on your source.

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