The ‘Unfortunate’ Sort of Feminism

It seems requireshate is not happy to have just anyone benefit from her feminist reading of Claymore.

requireshate: writing the Claymore post I was hoping to reach other female fans of the thing. how unfortunate it is I reached male nerds instead.

Not “how unfortunate that I didn’t reach other female fans,” but “how unfortunate it is that I reached male nerds.”  That’s a breathtaking bit of generalization and assumption, and we shall return to it later.

requireshate: I’m going to be extremely unhappy if my posts on #claymore wind up getting cited by those fucking weeaboos as evidence of GREAT FEMINISM

So, it’s totally cool to dismiss all anime fans who are trying to grok the intersection of feminism and manga as “fucking weaboos,” due to their stereotypically inarticulate outsider status in polite society.  Use that outsider status against them.  No irony there.  For what it’s worth, the very first blogger who commented on my post pointing to it mentioned imperfections in the feminism of the work, which I then expanded upon.  I don’t think anyone’s under the impression that it’s a perfect example.

and holy shit, do people think me saying that it’s more feminist than Whedon/et al is high praise? hahahaha oh clueless people.

I feel I should clarify: it’s NOT a feminist work. it succeeds only because the bars are so fucking low.

You made your feelings quite clear.  But permit me to make something clear, in return: if “it succeeds” in being better than the norm, then for practical purposes it is a feminist work.  You may not believe it’s gone far enough, and you may be frustrated that it still gets things wrong, but imperfection doesn’t make it categorically not a feminist work.

Consider history:  Female suffrage was setting the bar low, but it was feminist in its time, and a necessary step for further advances.  The idea that women are not property and rape is not a valid part of war booty was setting the bar low, but it was a necessary step for further advances, and feminist for its time.  Getting over the idea that rocks and buildings were considered to have souls, but women weren’t considered to have souls was setting the bar low, but feminist in its time.  Each step of the way was built on advances we would now deem trivial, just as we think the idea of gravity is obvious, but it was revolutionary when Newton formulated a theory of it.

For what it’s worth, I agree with you that the bar could still be said to be low, where media is concerned. But because of that, I don’t understand your actions.  Spurn progress, and, well, it’s likely you won’t get where you want to be.  I don’t really see why you feel a process of changing societal norms that took thousands of years to get to this point will suddenly leap to the finish just so you can reap the benefits.  It would be nice, but it’s not very likely to happen.

Now, I’ll address the implication that men don’t have anything to do with feminism and should just shut up.  Feminism, as a reaction to patriarchal attitudes, doesn’t exist in a vacuum.  The considered purpose of feminism is to change society; roughly half of society is men, so telling men that they can’t play and shouldn’t take any interest in the subject is . . . not just strange, but self-defeating.

I’d like to quote to you something from Stokely Carmichael.  He was a man, yes, but as a black civil rights leader, I think it’s fair to say he thought deeply on the problem of outsiders in Western (specifically American) society.

I maintain that every civil rights bill in this country was passed for white people, not for black people. For example, I am black. I know that. I also know that while I am black I am a human being. Therefore I have the right to go into any public place. White people don’t know that. Every time I tried to go into a public place they stopped me. So some boys had to write a bill to tell that white man, “He’s a human being; don’t stop him.” That bill was for the white man, not for me. I knew I could vote all the time and that it wasn’t a privilege but my right. Every time I tried I was shot, killed or jailed, beaten or economically deprived. So somebody had to write a bill to tell white people, “When a black man comes to vote, don’t bother him.” That bill was for white people. I know I can live anyplace I want to live. It is white people across this country who are incapable of allowing me to live where I want. You need a civil rights bill, not me.

Now tell me: how much of this is applicable to the feminist struggle for equality?  Yes, there’s also the feminist problem of women thinking themselves incapable, which he doesn’t address above (he mentions it elsewhere in the speech) but that minority group identity issue existed in the struggle for POC civil rights too.

Feminism in the absence of society is devoid of purpose.  Do women not get how hard it is to be a woman, and how people unthinkingly do things to marginalize them?  That seems kind of preposterous; they live with the experience daily.  More than the women, it’s men that don’t get how hard it is, and therefore at some point feminism ought to interact with men.

This aggressive redefinition of standards until you can’t have a conversation with someone more familiar with mainstream POV, making it difficult for them to converse with you – is it productive?  Does it get you what you want?  If you’re going to say “the world should be like this” and emphatically deny any concessions to practicality and results, then you have a perfect right to do so.  But if so, practically, do you then differ from the Otherkin (who view themselves as essentially inhuman, and mostly just want to be left alone)?  You yourself have demonstrated a decided lack of empathy for them, precisely for being out of touch with reality, precisely because what they are doing leads nowhere, so it seems only fair to ask if these standards apply to you as well.

moritheil If it’s “more feminist than Wheadon,” we can at least say that it isn’t worse than mainstream media, then, can’t we?

requireshate trust me, if you weeaboo at someone going “this thing I like is, like, more feminist than Whedon!” no feminist will be impressed

moritheil So… you think I’m doing this to impress feminists instead of being legitimately concerned with media?

requireshate see I actually suspect you don’t know much about feminism, is the thing.

moritheil I suspect you don’t know a lot about weaboo as a denigrating term. Why the “you don’t know enough to hang with us” attitude?

requireshate haha what. explain the nuances of it to me please, by all means.

moritheil Well, you know that it is a mocking term. But you continue to apply it. Why would you do that?

requireshate why not?

When you get in a conversation with someone and are asked to please refrain from the use of judgmental or insulting terms, as common sense, and your reaction is that you have the right to insult them but they don’t have the right to talk back or take offense – is that equality?

Whatever it is, it’s unfortunate.

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Published in: on May 12, 2012 at 11:52 PM  Comments (71)  
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  1. Men can’t be feminists. If you want to talk about how patriarchy adversely affects men, why not go to http://noseriouslywhatabouttehmenz.wordpress.com/ ?

    • There’s plenty of room for everyone in feminism. Liz Phair defined it: “Be yourself, because if you can get away with it, that is the ultimate feminist act.”

      Jennifer Kesler of The Hathor Legacy has an intriguing post about patriarchy and man as a cultural construct. There are parts I disagree with (and there will be parts that you disagree with,) but on the whole I feel it is far better than the paradigm of feminism as simple self-aggrandizing by women, for women.

      • No, and by trying to silence feminists speaking about feminism you’re being antifeminist.

      • Asking someone to not use an insulting term which denigrates a group of people and irritates me is “silencing a feminist speaking about feminism” now? Explain, please, how any of the merits of feminism derive from maintaining a right to insult others.

      • Where the heck do you see Moritheil trying to silence anyone? That’s an utterly ridiculous accusation to make…

      • Constant attacks on feminists talking about feminism, as exemplified above, go beyond derailing and into attempted silencing. Own your privilege, people.

      • @narrativeeschatology
        You seem to be the one derailing and trying to silence people with ridiculously unfounded accusations…

      • In what way am I derailing? @requireshate was tweeting about feminism.

      • Well, more specifically, I was trying to ask her about her feminist reading of something when suddenly the conversation exploded in response to my asking her if she could stop insulting anime fans.

        I’m assuming ZJ means your comments here, though.

      • Mori took a stance against someone excusing their rudeness and inconsideration with feminism, not against feminism itself; so pretending it was an attack on feminism seems pretty close to derailing to me.

      • >I’m assuming ZJ means your comments here, though.

        I do indeed. For some reason your comment jumped ahead of mine, even though it’s timestamped later.

    • Do you realise you were incredibly dismissive of the very real racism, transphobia and so forth experienced by those groups? Your arguments were, hence the explosion. You don’t seem to realise that.

      • My responses were made at someone who was telling me she was knowingly insulting me, but could not wrap her head around the idea that she should switch terms if the first term used in a conversation is insulting. In response to that, I may have reflexively reached for some extreme examples that would most clearly seem insulting to her – but I had no intent to dismiss anyone else’s experience. I have not made any implication that the degree of harm is the same in these examples, and I took pains to clarify that I was not making them equal. Due to the branching nature of the twitter discussions, it is quite possible that my clarifications were left out of any recap you saw.

        Here are a few of my attempts to make this clear:

        No, it doesn’t have the same history behind it. But I never said it was equally abusive, only that both were disrespectful.

        Again you’re taking my words further than I meant them and applying them to another context.

        I was not asking for a contest to see who is more oppressed or insulted. Just a question, hey, can you not insult?

        You don’t see anything wrong with someone insulting someone and then being told not to, and saying “prove it”?

      • It’s dubious to say “prove it”, certainly. But the point is, racism, sexism and so on have a history in the world, they cause massive real harm; all the racist, sexist and so on terms have long histories. I think it’s misguided to jump to saying “all insults are potentially oppressive”, as it’s ignorant of the massive structural violence oriented towards women, people of colour, trans people, and so on that often keeps them from speaking, acting, remaining alive.

        I don’t think this is something that you are clearly right about, and the way in which you went about arguing supported that assessment.

  2. This twitter discussion brought something to mind, and with your use of the word “grok” I couldn’t help but post the relevant passage from Stranger in a Strange Land:

    She tossed one to a monk; before he could eat it a larger male not only stole his peanut but gave him a beating. The little fellow made no attempt to pursue his tormentor; he pounded his knucks against the floor and chattered helpless rage. Mike watched solemnly. Suddenly the mistreated monkey rushed across the cage, picked a monkey still smaller, bowled it over and gave it a dubbing worse than the one he had suffered. The third monk crawled away, whimpering. The other monkeys paid no attention.

    Some things just don’t change.

    • I attempted to point this sort of thing out with my mention of “kyriarchy” and “different privilege” but this was apparently not acceptable for me to bring up. The thing is, whether by misinterpretation or just momentary situational reasons, if you find yourself with privilege, it seems to me it’s irresponsible to use it as a bludgeon to abuse those beneath you – no matter who’s on top and who’s on bottom. That’s kind of the point of feminism.

      • You can’t have privilege by “momentary situational reasons”. Privilege comes from systematic oppression. Fans of anime are not systematically oppressed by people who are not fans of anime.

      • Momentary situational reasons definitely give advantages, or drawbacks. As an example, the poor are systematically exploited. Being poor is a matter which can be permanent, but it can also be transient. It has an indefinite duration.

        Conversely if you go into, say, a car dealership, and are mistaken for a rich person or nobility, you will get better treatment, a better deal, and so forth. Therefore, it seems you can enjoy certain advantages momentarily.

        If your argument is simply semantic – that that’s not how the specific word “privilege” is defined – let us say “an advantage akin to privilege, which is effectively the same in that moment.”

      • All arguments are semantic, because words have meanings; without words we can have no meanings.

        There is class privilege, yes, the lack of which can be largely overcome through a) becoming well off and b) a lifetime of training oneself in the correct behaviours and c) entering “better” circles. Bluffing oneself as having privilege doesn’t take away the lack of that privilege; cf. someone gay passing momentarily as straight.

  3. Looking at requireshate‘s behavior, you’d almost think the idea of feminism is to prove that women need not be bitches if they can qualify as assholes…

    It’s amusing how the females who like Claymore get the neutral-ish “fans”, while the males are necessarily “nerds” and “weeaboos”. But I guess that’s what you get if you let immature little girls imagine themselves as the vanguard of feminism.

    I will agree that weeabooism (fully deserving the negative moniker) is regrettably widespread in the anime fan community, and I can see why people could fail to be tolerant of it. I just don’t see how indiscriminately crowding people into the category and doing everything to evade meaningful discussion of the topic helps anything.

    Although you seem to be someone who rather generally enjoys this type of activity, tangoing with this person appears woefully unproductive…

    • Negative monikers are applied by those with the power to apply them. Sometimes they even approach something like accuracy. As you said, conversation is not helped by sticking with them.

    • I wonder if the real reason requireshate is so adamant about putting down her “weeaboos” has little to do with any real feminism and a whole lot more to do with her fears of getting looked down upon for being an anime/manga fan. Evoking feminism might provide just enough cover against getting thrown in with the rest of them.

    • “~let immature little girls imagine themselves as the vanguard of feminism.”

      Creepy. What qualifications do you need to be a good feminist? Over 40, Ph.D, to be the nicest girl in the class?

      • You need to be able to recognize sarcasm, maybe?

      • Like ironic racism? =) Still intended to have some oppressive meaning, still harmful, still misogynist =)

      • Oh golly, I now see I just further systemically oppressed you and all the world’s women with my sarcasm! Whatever shall I do to atone for this great anti-feminist crime!? :/

      • You can read the SCUM Manifesto in full every night before bed 😉 😉 😉 ^___^

      • I personally feel the “immature girls” comment is unnecessarily personal. If you feel the same, do note, requireshate has been even more eager to insult me personally, and in more extreme terms.

        http://twitter.com/requireshate/status/201748706175889409

        http://twitter.com/requireshate/status/201732023545626624

        http://twitter.com/requireshate/status/201714970818396160

        As have others, in support of her, who haven’t bothered to try to ask me what I do and don’t actually stand for.

        So there are hotheads everywhere. I’m not saying that makes it a good thing, but it’s not all going one way.

      • This is a common argument with a history, though. The tone argument. I’m not @requireshate and I wouldn’t use insults in the way she does, but, well, perhaps a lot of that is about my white privilege. It’s not easy to speak when you’re an oppressed person. The tone argument holds that it’s derailing to talk about the tone which someone uses to call someone else out on their privilege. I think it applies here.

        Tone argument: http://geekfeminism.wikia.com/wiki/Tone_argument

      • Was “weaboo” calling me out on my privilege? No. It was merely calling me an offensive term aimed at nerds who like Japanese anime. And I said, hey, knock it off, and she said “why should I?” This is not the kind of thing you do if you want to have a genuine conversation with someone, in or out of the feminist paradigm, for reasons both civil and practical.

      • The thing was, it wasn’t aimed at you, it was aimed generally at nerds who like Japanese anime. And, yes, it is a violation of western, anglocentric, classist etc. means of discourse, and these are real things, and quite probably worth violating, because that discourse doesn’t seem to be helping a lot of people in the world very much. The question is, can we solve the world’s problems through being nice? The history of the Civil Rights Movement and how much further there is to go, the Suffaragete movement, second wave feminism and so on suggest that being nice is part of a strategy, but doesn’t actually achieve anything on its own.

        As for nerds who like anime, I also like anime, as do many people who I think are ace, and I think it’s completely legitimate to take a potshot at nerds who like anime.

      • >I personally feel the “immature girls” comment is unnecessarily personal.

        Normally it would be, but not when the target has consistently behaved like a twit while shielding herself with being a “feminist”.

        In any case, I’m willing to apologize at the first sign of maturity by said person, something I haven’t seen yet in this debate (if we can still call it that).

  4. Before you have the right to complain about “denigrating terms”, you should stop using words like “trap” as a descriptor for people/characters. It’s a pretty damned offensive word against transgender people.

    • Thank you for pointing that out; it hadn’t occurred to me that others might be offended by it. I have regular conversations with transgendered anime fans and not one of them has ever said that it was offensive (many used it themselves.)

      Do you have a neutral term I might use to designate “female-appearing characters who are really male and identify as such while not necessarily being transgendered”?

      And while we’re at it . . . do you feel like the right to complain about being denigrated is one that has to be earned?

  5. o___o

    I can’t. I just can’t. Not sure where to begin.

    I would like anyone who believes men can’t be feminists to explain, in detail, what exactly makes the feat so impossible. There are women who aren’t feminists. There are men who are. No one gets to decide who can and can’t be a feminist. Wikipedia defines feminism as “a collection of movements aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights for women. In addition, feminism seeks to establish equal opportunities for women in education and employment. A feminist is a ‘person whose beliefs and behavior are based on feminism.'” There are no physical requirements; no one’s estrogen levels are checked at the door.

    And yeah, setting the bar low… you have to start somewhere. While technically the struggle for equality has been going on for ages, it is like every day is the first day for it. We have to keep reinventing the wheel, arguing the same issues, dealing with the same problems. Though I never thought of Whedon as especially anti-woman. So “more feminist than Whedon” is a compliment and should be taken as such (if something I wrote were called “more feminist than Whedon”, I would assume that meant my feminism was less self-conscious than the waif-fu and tough girls of Firefly, and less self-conscious is always good).

    Loved the Stokely Carmichael quote.

    Don’t worry about it, Mori. Gender equality for both sexes is fueled by tolerance, discussion, and growing understanding between men and women (whether they are “nerds” or not). Some people aren’t doing it right. You are.

    • Men can’t be feminists because they will use their male privilege to stop feminists talking about women and addressing oppression that affects women to keep making it about their emotional needs and their concerns, as you can see above. This is not “behaviour based on feminism”, this is derailing. @requireshate is arguing that there is no systemic oppression attached to “weeaboo”. I can’t possibly see how it can be argued that it is.

      There’s another argument about insults being counterproductive. @requireshate has one view on that. I have another. I respect her feminism.

      “Though I never thought of Whedon as especially anti-woman.”
      Whedon is better than some. He is demonstrably flawed in many ways. We can’t simply excuse someone as “a product of their times”, we have to push for things to improve. Setting the bar ever lower does not help things improve. It is antifeminist in effect.

      • Surely asking someone to switch to a term that is not insulting to you is not the same thing as silencing them?

      • It is when the argument reaches such lengths, and when you don’t engage with any of the points being made.

      • Which conversation? The one where I tried to talk about feminist readings of media? Or the one where I got laughed at and bombarded with questions from a half dozen people for trying to explain that “weaboo” is a term best avoided?

        The former got derailed, but I don’t think by me. The latter . . . I don’t know if you could call that a conversation.

      • The one where you interrupted and made it all about you, whereupon you proceeded to lay out flawed and viciously offensive, harmfully ignorant, and appropriative analogies with racism and transphobia.

        People disagreed with your reasoning (in fact, there didn’t seem to be any reasoning except that “insults are always bad”). People were arguing that it is the harm which results which is the measure of whether something is good, or not. Personally I do think that insults are always bad, but, well, this whole conversation has caused me to reconsider somewhat; when someone remains so painfully and harmfully ignorant of privilege and structural violence I can see the need of an insult to crack things open a little.

      • But I didn’t interrupt and make it all about me. From the start she repeatedly and deliberately used the term “weaboo,” and I asked her to stop. If anything, she is the one who then derailed everything and made it all about my bringing up a term (not even using it on her,) telling dozens of people on twitter that I had equated the two (I had not) and otherwise acting uninterested in continuing our initial discussion about how feminist Claymore was.

        As far as the reasoning, I posited a general meta-ethical point that denigrating groups of people is bad. It is the overall, categorical principle behind the idea that insulting women is bad, insulting gays is bad, insulting redheads is bad, and so on. And if we accept that general rule, then it follows that insulting otherkin is bad, insulting furries is bad, insulting soccer fans is bad, and so forth. I didn’t expect it to meet with resistance precisely because it was so simple.

      • I think what she is interested in is a metadiscussion, though, about why insults and structural oppression aren’t the same thing. And that’s not something we can have easily, as we see now 60 comments later, because we struggle to find the language to do it in, so sometimes all we can do is snark, and keep on snarking, and eventually innovate out of the whole messy progress some slightly better ways, linguistical or structural, of addressing the whole thing.

        & that meta-ethical point is the heart of the issue: your assertion is that denigrating any group is bad, as that leads to oppression, and the counter-argument and my position is that perhaps it’s often unhelpful for one sociological ingroup to “diss” another, but its not really related to structural oppression at all. The only relation between both processes is that they involve “in” and “out” groups, and that they’re almost always not done mindfully. But sometimes they *are* done mindfully: “out” groups, oppressed groups, building solidarity and community out of insulting and deconstructing those with more power. RH was talking about male nerds, so that holds. I don’t see any easy way out of this dilemma, and positing that a meta-ethical point “always be nice” trumps “do what you need to do to equalise power” doesn’t quite cut it.

      • (sorry for doubleposting) &, in any case, the term “weeaboo” is used for westerners who, arguably, overidentify with anime, and in the context of anti-racist feminism, that’s a very legitimate point to make, too, r.e. cultural appropriation and such. It’s difficult, because it’s not totally clear-cut; I’ve known people of color who could insultingly be called weeaboo, but not who would identify with the term, and that’s where another crux of the argument lies.

        In any case, I have to go sleep now, but thanks for the discussion.

      • @narrativeeschatology
        Sorry, but you just lost all credibility by describing Mori as “painfully and harmfully ignorant of privilege and structural violence”. I don’t care what your beef with the world is, it does not justify randomly attacking good people with completely fabricated accusations such as this.

      • Attempted silencing for calling out privilege.

        Trying to equivalent an insult “weeaboo” or another insult such as “wanker” with those which have structural oppresion behind them “slut” “trap” = silencing.

        There are no good people, only good actions and good effects. We can all mess up.

      • @narrativeeschatology
        Right, Mori the Great Silencer of World Feminism…

        >There are no good people, only good actions and good effects. We can all mess up.
        Well, I’m glad this nugget of wisdom enables you to be the judge of who messed up here and make FAR-flung generalizations based on your undoubtedly correct judgement.

        (Yes, I’m trying to silence you (sort of), but not because of your feminism. It just gets quite tedious to repeatedly have the facts distorted to suit someones agenda du jour, because I refuse to see what you’re pursuing here as a genuinely feminist agenda.)

      • Okay, you disagree with my feminism. Fair enough! You haven’t really proven *why* I’m not pursuing a genuine feminist agenda, but that’s not necessary to disagree.

      • @narrativeeschatology
        I’m not trying to say you’re not generally pursuing a genuine feminist agenda (I would have no basis for such a claim), just that you’re not doing it HERE right now. What this looks like to me is a pointless hounding of Mori with highly dubious claims of what he supposedly thinks. Why you’re engaging in this is a mystery to me, at least if it’s not driven by some sort of loyalty to requireshate. Look, I don’t really want to be sarcastic about this the way I have been, but in this case you’re SO barking up the wrong tree that it’s very hard to avoid…

      • I’m not intending to hound anyone, and if Mon wants me to discontinue I’ll certainly discontinue.

        The point is that it’s not necessarily what Mon consciously thinks, but subconscious bias and privilege. There’s rather a lot of research that shows the pernicious effects of subconscious bias.

        Also, frankly, I’m not that nice. I’m not doing this for requireshate, or for some kind of ally points, I’m just ferociously interested in this very argument about tone, and insults, and oppression.

      • @narrativeeschatology
        If that’s the case, I guess I don’t see how you not paying attention to Mori’s clarifications is indicative of his bias as opposed to yours. Do you seriously still feel that Mori has not explained exhaustively enough that the POV attributed to him is not his actual POV? I mean if you want to tackle with him, by all means have at it, but please try to base it on what he has actually said, not repeated use of strawmen.

      • I am certainly basing it on what he has actually said. His comparisons were insultingly ignorant, which is why I disengaged from the conversation on twitter. Here appears to be more productive.

      • Men have been a substantive part of the feminist movement from the very beginning. Historically feminism has never been an exclusive club. Anyone can join if they believe in the principles of feminism and equality. Just as white people can be and were abolitionists and straight people can fight for gay rights. I know of a great many feminists who would want as many people calling themselves feminists as possible.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Male_feminists
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Men_and_feminism

        If you’re basing your theory of feminism based on history and evidence you can’t say men can’t be feminists or that men should not call themselves feminists. But if you’re basing it on these weird new “privilege” theories I keep seeing popping up all over the internet I guess you can say whatever you want. But it kinda creeps me out and sounds a lot like hate to me.

    • Thanks! My concept of feminism probably boils down to “telling people what they can and can’t be is bad.” I don’t know what their concept of feminism is, exactly, nor do I know why it’s not compatible.

    • Could you please point out who claimed “systemic oppression attached to “weeaboo””, because I haven’t seen anyone do that in this discussion; I’ve only seen off-the-wall claims that this was happening, like yours.

      • This was @narrativeeschatology.

      • Moritheil claimed it in additional tweets which he did not choose to repost here.

      • @narrativeeschatology
        Please post the links if such tweets were made in our shared reality.

      • (incorrect, and also offensive)

        http://storify.com/requireshate/the-burning-weeaboo-times especially “@requireshate You would never tolerate the idea that women can be called sluts, and they only choose to be insulted, right? I’m asking why…” – making an equivalence as though both are structural oppressions

      • No, I made the assertion that both are insults. I clarified why I did so, and I clarified that I was not equating the two. Not every comparison is an equals sign, and it’s disingenuous of you to act like it is, especially when I’ve already posted links to several tweets I posted clarifying it at the time.

      • Some are not *just* insults, though, they have structural power, coercion and violence to back them up. It’s disingenuous of you to pretend that this is not the crux of the matter, and the reason that so many people were angry.

      • Anger as an unreasoning, blind response to trigger words does not a movement make. I clarified why I was bringing one particular word up, and you may carefully note that I did not actually call anyone any of these words.

        It is the same as if I were to discuss the word in a sociological paper – there is a difference between examining what a word means, and actually using that word in the hurtful, judgmental way we believe to be damaging, isn’t there?

      • There is, but the context of an internet argument is rather different to a sociology paper, isn’t it? In the context of an internet argument it’s about comparing oppressions, rather than a thoughtful examination; the way in which you brought up those oppressions was not in any way thoughtful.

      • You can certainly argue that I did not do so in a skillful fashion. Twitter is a medium difficult to articulate sociological thoughts in due to the character limit and the desire to respond quickly. I simplify my sentences to fit them in, and too much shortening can easily be misinterpreted.

        But I don’t think a discussion that began as a discussion of feminist readings of media is that far from the academic setting of a sociology paper. And where feminism is being discussed, I generally take the academic approach to it because my entry was through feminist literary theory.

      • The thing is, for most women in the world feminism – whether known by that name or not – is not something that is abstract and done in academia, it’s a process of lived struggle. For women, where feminism is being discussed, we generally take a non-academic approach to it, because our entry is through personal experience of oppression.

  6. Choosing to like a particular medium of entertainment is a value judgement; if you rate any particular medium higher than all others then you put forward an opinion which should well be challenged. If your estimation of a medium appears to be unreasonable, in that it actively claims the inherent superiority of one over others, then expect that to be challenged.

    Choosing to identify yourself by your media consumption and purchasing habits is a personal, chosen identity based on an artistic value judgement; if anyone cannot see the functional difference between this and, say, gender, race or sexuality, then they need to get a little perspective.

    The closest comparator is religious discrimination and even then while the difference is not as absolute, there remains a significant difference between competing moral codes and philosophies and value judgements of artistic works.

  7. In fact, to claim that being criticised over your value judgements of artworks is the same as sexual discrimination, then it could easily be thought that you consider sexual orientation to be a personally chosen value judgement in the same way as artistic opinion; reductive, homophobic and used in the past as a way of denying civil rights.

    • No, I have not made the comparison on those terms. I made the general meta-ethical point that denigrating groups wholesale is bad and to be avoided. Feminism is a subset (insulting all women is bad); homophobia is a subset (insulting all gays is bad); socioeconomic classism is a subset (insulting the poor for being poor is bad.) Since we have this general ethical point, then it follows that insulting anime otaku, otherkin, football enthusiasts, etc. etc. are all bad.

      • Insulting anyone is indeed a bad thing; however there are degrees of “badness” and I think as a personal ethical judgement challenging tribalism of any sort (based along purely arbitrary value lines, let us not forget) is less of an evil than and indeed not even directly comparable to the other examples cited.

        Yes, on the most fundamental level, it is insulting someone and that is not a good thing; but on a relative level, to make the comparisons that have been made here in comments such as the “sluts” one shows a lack of perspective of the relative severity of the incidents.

      • I did not comment on the severity of these insults, except to explicitly clarify that I was not saying they were equally bad, only that they were all insults. (If you like, see the tweets I linked elsewhere in this comment section.)

        I attempted to clarify this multiple times, to multiple people.

      • In short, whenever arbitrary value judgements (about sports teams, media, or whatever) are being made, tribalism is inherent; however, this tribalism is not, in my mind, comparable to discrimination over things that are not personally chosen (sexuality, race, gender). In an ideal world there would be no tribalism or discrimination; that I accept.

  8. […] and insults are still coming in about my disagreement with requireshate. It’s become apparent that I should clarify a few […]


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