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

Spillover #32

A red "Keep Calm" poster with the caption KEEP CALM AND STAY ON TOPICOur 32nd #spillover thread is long overdue. Our apologies for the absence of spillover space for the last few months. Some reminders:

  1. #spillover is part of our comment moderation system for keeping other threads on-topic. It is intended as a constructive space for tangential discussions which are veering off-topic on other threads. This is part of our blog netiquette, which has the general goal of making it as simple as possible for commenters to find discussions focussed on topics of particular interest without entirely stifling worthwhile tangents of sorta-related or general interest. #spillover is also a space for those ongoing/endless disagreements and 101 issues that just keep on popping up.
  2. Commenters are encouraged to respect the topic of each post and be proactive regarding inevitable thread-drift in long threads: we hope that commenters will cheerfully volunteer to take off-topic responses into #spillover so that each post’s discussion gets room to breathe and tangents can be indulged in a room of their own.

More detailed outline/guidelines were laid out on Spillover #1.
The Moderator Team will enforce topicality where necessary, and off-topic commenters who ignore invitations from others to take their tangents to #spillover are one of the reasons commenters might consider sending the moderators a giraffe alert.

8 thoughts on Spillover #32

  1. @Mohammed

    My specific issue is that, while I see where you’re coming from as the subject of something that read as (was?) Islamaphobic, the commenter was pointing out that in some places you pointed to, homophobia is very much a concern. Your initial post about ritual without gods in Lebanon and Egypt was an extremely interesting perspective (for me), and while I understand that you don’t see the connection to homophobia in those nations, keep in mind that there are some people that won’t ever be able to experience those same rituals out of fear for their lives. That is to say, what is an awesome experience for 90% of people simply cannot be experienced the same way for a very substantial minority of the population.

    An example from my own life: In a couple weeks, I’m supposed to go on a long weekend vacation to St Lucia with my boyfriend. I’m fully aware that some Caribbean nations like Jamaica have anti-gay laws, and I told my boyfriend when he was planning our vacation that I refused to give my tourist dollars to the Jamaican government because of their bigotry. Lo and behold, because it’s not something I have to research as a cis straight chick, we ended up booking a vacation to a different Caribbean nation that totally has the same laws (and I literally just happened to see this two days ago when looking at Travel Advisories). I’m not a bad person because I wanted to see a new country in the Caribbean, but some people are absolutely entitled to feel badly about it because 1) I’m lucky to not have to worry about something like this and 2) …my tourist dollars are going to support an anti-gay nation anyway, no matter what my initial intentions were. Does this make sense?

    I get that the post devolved pretty quickly into name calling, and I get why you’d feel defensive (especially in light of how the conversation proceeded), but I hope you understand that, while you don’t intend to cause offense, some things you (we) say can hit very, very raw nerves.

  2. A potential off-topic thread drift is developing on Echo Zen’s latest game review post, due to the transcribed commentary including this statement:

    As most educated people know, feminism is about choice.

    ludlow22 quoted that sentence and responded:

    Guessing this is going to spark quite a bit of controversy; I think there are a lot of extremely well educated feminists who’d disagree. But love to see what you’re working on, keep it up!

    HowIsBabbyFormed replied to ludlow22:

    I don’t understand how feminism is not about choice.

    Then I responded to HowIsBabbyFormed, realised my reply was long enough to be potentially thread-jacking, so moved it here to #spillover instead. I’ve lightly edited for clarity.

    There is an important distinction between fighting for the right for women to have the legal capacity to make their own choices, especially about their own bodies, and the idea some people put forward that feminism means no woman should ever be criticised for any choice she makes ever, especially not by anyone who identifies as feminist.

    Every person beyond infancy on this planet has made choices in their life that harm other people, of course not always with that intent, but harms are inflicted nonetheless. Some of those harms are mere trivial annoyances that are part of the background noise of sharing space with other members of a gregarious species. Many of those harms are far more substantial than that, and choices that cause substantial harms to others, especially some of the political choices one makes that have far-ranging systemic effects, should be criticised. Topical example: the choices made by industrialists and local/state government in the name of “free enterprise” that have left the people of Flint, Michigan with toxic pollutants in their drinking water (followed by the choice to lie about the drinking water being safe to ingest).

    Women should certainly have the legal right to make just as many selfish, greedy, short-sighted, bigoted, ill-informed, insensitive etc etc choices as any man has. Neither men nor women should be immune from criticism of what effects such choices have on others. Of course, not all criticisms are equally valid when one examines their premises and implicit biases.

    Fun Fact: the major suppliers of “choice feminism” soundbites tend to use them to defend conservative women making non-feminist statements against feminist/womanist criticism of those statements.

    1. I understand that. But that implies that feminism is literally only about choice, and how they are made, constrained, and described.

      1. You need to be more specific about which “that” you are referring to that supposedly “implies that feminism is literally only about choice”, because I don’t think either ludlow or I expressed any such view.

      2. You did. Right here:

        “There is an important distinction between fighting for the right for women to have the legal capacity to make their own choices, especially about their own bodies, and the idea some people put forward that feminism means no woman should ever be criticised for any choice she makes ever, ”

        Both of the options for what feminism about center on the issue of choices and how they are made, constrained and described.

        1. No, that was me examining some rhetorical nuances of claims made by others (including harking back to such claims made in other forums in past years) about feminism and issues of choice, including your own claim re not understanding how feminism is not about choice as quoted above.

          So if anybody was claiming feminism was ONLY about choice, it would appear to be far more you than me. I wonder why you think it is more my words that imply such a thing than your own?

          I don’t actually think it’s possible to say that feminism is “all about” any single thing. Feminism pervades a lot of other things.

    2. FWIW, what I thought was particularly likely to spark debate wasn’t the assertion itself (feminism is about choice) but rather the argument that anyone who disagreed was probably uneducated. That type of assertion tends to produce a backlash.

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