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Things women say that you hate hearing all the time

Relax, that's not actually Valerie Solanas

A short response to "things lib-communists say that you hate hearing all the time", on being accused of sexism, and in jokes.

This thread seemed to nose-dive after the conversation took its inevitable turn towards talking about how words like "manarchist" and "privilege theory" and "kneecapping" get thrown around anarchism a bit too much. We could throw in "trigger warning" too for good measure, lots of people really hate that one.

Some really excellent points were made in response to this thread that I wanted to highlight, like

bozemananarchy wrote:
I know y'all seem to be having a great time complaining about how sexism is being addressed in the movement right now but please consider how positive it is that it is being addressed, finally. It has been my experience that when sexist behaviour is called out, men rarely come around to taking responsibility for it. They bob and weave and then fall-back on the exact same critique that you all are using as the bases for your jokes. They downplay the accusations against them by going on about how stupid/annoying it is when folks talk of "manarchists" and privilege checking, ultimately, they refuse to take accountability. That failure for men to take accountability for their sexism has alienated my comrades and also, less importantly, fucked with projects I've devoted lots of time and energy into. Its been pretty disappointing to see these posts.

...which, to me at least, seemed to fall on deaf (or maybe just a little hard of hearing) ears, as the rest of the thread (so far) has been a mixture of trying to talk about sexism properly, and also posts describing various times when people have had their behaviours or words questioned as being racist or sexist when they definitely weren't. Also interesting was the idea that being accused of racism or sexism then makes meetings/anarchism/the "scene" or whatever an unsafe space for the accused, and I can see where people were going with this, but it kind of misses the point.

No one ever likes being pulled up on actions or words or whatever that has been perceived by others as directly or indirectly perpetuating oppression. Whenever this has happened to me (which is fairly often), my initial response every fucking time is to start explaining how actually I wasn't really saying anything offensive to anyone, and that's not actually what I meant, and if my intention was something else then really people should give me the benefit of the doubt blah blah and I get all defensive and outraged and really upset that anyone would think I'm racist/homophobic/ableist/transphobic or whatever when I'm totally not, I defintely know I'm not any of those things. I don't think this is that uncommon a reaction.

Problem is, even if I've been unfairly targeted as being racist or homophobic or something when I haven't been (I still haven't got round to dealing with my tendency to Britsplain, which involves me not actively supporting Scottish Independence), the fact that I get upset about it really, really isn't the point here, and I'm aware that I need to try and keep that in check and just suck up that feeling of social embarrassment and deal with what's actually happening. As we have all grown up in hierarchical cultures where patriarchy, white supremacy, heteronormativity and ableism are the norm, we will all say or do things from time to time, maybe totally unintentionally, that perpetuate this so it's really not that big a leap to accept that maybe sometimes when people point this out to us they might actually be right. And even if they're not right, being accused of racism or sexism or whatever when you aren't isn't really much of a match for actually having to navigate life with these oppressions all the time, so... maybe we should try and be a bit less defensive.

There was also a criticism that words like "mansplain" and "manarchist" are too in-jokey and subcultural and no one else understands them1. This criticism entertains me to be honest, as we're steering dangerously close to the good old "try saying that to a real working class bloke down the pub, see where that gets you" test which is invoked now and again mostly when women or people of colour of queers use BIG LONG WORDS like patriarchy, or intersectionality, or whatever word is annoying the gatekeepers of True Working Class Politics at any given moment. Not only is our man down the pub an embarassing, patronising fiction, but he never seems to be invoked when we're talking about, say, Heinrich vs. Kliman, for example. And more to the point, in a "movement" that shits out in-jokes and memes and essays about memes at an amazing rate, I find the criticism of in-jokes and memes primarily used by women a little disingenuous. I'm not a mad fan of in-jokes and things that make anarchist communists even easier to sideline and ridicule, but in the grand scheme of things I think "manarchist" is the least of our worries.

I guess the original thread did start to annoy me for the exact reasons bozemananarchy points out in the quote above. Yes, terms like mansplaining and manarchist might make people do a little lefty vomit but what really, really annoys me about listening to feminists within the anarchist movement or elsewhere is that we all sound like fucking broken records having to keep on repeating the same shit time and time again, giving little 101s on what should be the utter fucking basics, and having to keep on defending the tiny tiny amount of ground we've managed to carve out for ourselves within the anarchist movement where we can talk to each other and raise issues that never really got raised when there were less women involved in anarchism. So yeah you can now hear women saying things and sometimes they'll use in-jokey words that you find cringey or they'll talk about getting violent or they'll criticise the things you say, and jesus it's so annoying, and some of them will even make it quite clear that they think you're a dick and they don't like what you have to say!!!1! But yeah that's pretty much what being a woman and trying to join in male-dominated conversations within the anarchist movement is like, but if you'd like I could call for a waaaahmbulance2.

Note - I am crankier than normal due to being really sick today, and I don't think any of the posters on the original thread are misogynists, and I do have a sense of humour honest, I've got witnesses who've seen me laughing at comedy shows at the fringe all month.

  • 1. for what it's worth, I try to avoid those terms, but sometimes the temptation overwhelms me
  • 2. this is certainly my favourite lefty vomit inducing cringey feminist ugh jargon, it works so well

Posted By

Ramona
Aug 19 2013 16:22

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usevalue
Aug 21 2013 14:06

Oh my god this is amazing.

Okay, Ramona, thanks for posting this. It must be real tiresome. I think your engagement in the comments here (I can't be fucked reading original thread) is really interesting, so I'll try and give it more thought going ahead. You'd get a bigger shout-out right here and now, but I didn't think you were that funny.

LizzieGlass, I think you just made my night. lzbl gets an honourable mention, but I've seen that clip before, so.

Mike, you're being an ass, I can't believe people are still writing responses to you. Whatever. Seriously, no disrespect to anyone who has the energy to tell this guy to shut up over and over and over and over, I just don't have it.

Webbly, you get my big comment, because I can identify most in this discussion with the position of "trying to get it right" so it's something I might be able to be useful on. First off, I'm trying to figure out how much irony and sarcasm is in:

Quote:
Furthermore, and I'm stepping on dodgy territory here, this seems to be very much a man thing. Maybe that's a sweeping and very sexist statement, although I don't think so and I'm ready to get crucified for it.

Liiiiiiike, at first I read that as a very anxious male reaction to trying to say anything at all about feminism when there's feminists running around kneecapping and crucifying people. Shit dawg, hit the deck. But it could have been a sarcastic comment at Mike, in which case, like Ramona, you're not as funny as Lizzie, but fair enough and power to you. Unless it's both, in which case you are a master poet. (Yo, just say it's both, because I totally have a point to make about it and it'll flow much sooner; maybe I initially over-identified; at this stage of thinking I'm not even sure any more that you're male, which I initially assumed due to my manner of self-identification). Anyway. Like I wanted to say, there's a big tendency to feel like you can't say anything about feminism (beyond certain, let's admit it, cliches), if you're a man, without needing to write these big parenthetical explanations of your intent. Do you have any idea how nervous it makes me to jokingly tell Ramona she's not as funny as Liz? Kinda what I wanted to talk about.

I agree that it's fair to explain where you're coming from when you get called out... sometimes. That shit is contextual. If someone calls me out for saying Mike is stupid, I'll say "fuck off I'm autistic." Unless that person is actually mentally disabled, I've been called a retard enough in my life to not feel guilty for a relatively mild ablist slur. Sometimes that person DOES have a genuine stake in the matter (this happened to me; oh my god; my friend with CP said "Dude, ease of the 'lame' descriptors," and it the ensuing super-productive discussions and supportive friendship have been the worst thing that has ever happened to anyone ever). But yeah. A lot of the calling-out culture consists in able white folks calling out disabled brown folks or whatnot (I'm not a brown folker, but I'm doing that two-axis po-mo literary thing; thought I'd mix it up a bit and leave gender off the list, but then I got self-conscious and did this parenthetical thing again; a parenthetical reference with two semi-colons: my punctuation is directly proportional to my anxiety levels... As we're up to four clauses, three semi-colons, a colon, and an elipsis I think I'll stop and do a breathing exercise.).

Let's say you're being called out by someone that DOES have a stake in it. This happened with my lame friend. Initially, I over-explained, I think. I later apologised because I think if someone says "You're hurting me," unless you think they're LYING to you (see previous paragraph *twitch*) the only ethical immediate response is to stop. Like, immediately. With urgency and sentence fragments for emphasis. There may be time and space to explain down the track (maybe not; this is a non-anxious parethetical statement, and I feel like I've painted myself into a corner with my previous reflections). Even if you're not in a position to tell the person who called you out (the vast majority of cases: por exemplo, Mike has probably burned some bridges with some really intelligent people recently, which actually makes me sympathise a little) it can be worth talking those things out in other contexts. Like I'm going to do now. I once said something interesting about the U.S. elections in a pretty racist way. I'd still defend my cynicism about politicians and the way voting works (seems like overkill to do so on Lib Com, unless, you know, I've got an axe to grind), but I'm lucky people were mean enough to me at the time that I've learned what it's not my place to say. (Like all "I was a racist that time" stories this one is boring and faintly nauseating, and I'm not asking for sympathy, but kinda felt like it tied up the point and I dunno it's been on my mind a lot lately. Sigh. White boy problems.).

One last note, because I figured out how to phrase it in time: Ramona, while I still haven't given your most recent comments a lot of deep thought, I like that you've posed this as an open question:

Quote:
Also, I'm curious as to how people who are worried about "privilege theory" think that casual sexism, racism, homophobia should be confronted. In a way they'd find adequate. Because if pointing it out and explaining your opinion isn't how it should be done, what should we do instead?

Obviously I've raised one criticism and suggestion in this post, which I assume you're fine with. I do have wider "worries" about "privilege theory" (ugh, quotation marks are my least favourite form of punctuation, but I feel like I'd have to define terms otherwise and I'm too fuckin' tired; I'm not really certain whether I'm more worried about privilege theory or quotation marks, which may or may not be a useful measure of the scale of the problem). Like, I think there's a lot of clumsy language, imperfect practices, and over-simplification going on in a lot of it. I've started to become aware that these are not new criticisms within feminist and queer circles. My current attitude is that these are the best tools we have at the moment, and they're most likely going to be the basis off which we develop any better ones. It's as though we found a vaccine to a really horrid and deadly illness which worked 50% of the time and had a few side effects. Mike would be arguing not to use it based on the times that it fails and the side effects.

Noah Fence
Aug 21 2013 15:43

Usevalue - I'll have a go at responding now but think I'll maybe need to digest your post for a while. That's a pretty fast moving bit of writing right there and I feel a bit like I've been picked up and spat out by a tornado!!!
Yes, I am a male and as for that quote, you we're perceptive in that it was double edged but the nervousness was not based on how kneecapping feminists would react but more on the knowledge that I frequently say stuff and then realise soon after that I was talking shit. And I'd prefer not to talk any more shit than my quota allows. Having thought about it more since I would feel more confident about stating more clearly that there seems to be a lot of male pride 'I must not give in' bullshit on the forums in the last week or so and the worst one in my opinion had fuck all to do with feminism, PT or TWs. I'm not going to blatantly call anyone a macho prick though because I know that there's a decent chance that I've got it all wrong.
I've posted some stuff on Libcom relating to feminism that I know must be bollocks because of the universal reaction of people who opinions I value and have come to conclude that I am unable , in many ways, to empathise with certain people and although its far from being exclusively with women, that is an area where there is a gaping hole in my ability to connect. For this reason, my best policy is to keep my trap shut and keep listening. Someone once said to me 'take the cotton wool out of your ears and put in in your fucking mouth.' It seems to work. When I first found Libcom I had no idea what the fuck most people were going on about. It didn't stop me posting but it was really when I stopped posting for a while but kept reading that I started to grasp things. I still only understand about half of what I read but I enjoy reading it all anyway.
It's hard on the Internet to really know people's motivations but even if you are right, and the person you are arguing with is wrong it still reflects pretty badly on you if you won't just let it go. Having to have the last word must be pretty tiring - I honestly think people would be better off just saying 'fuck it, whatever', than going on and on and on and fucking on...

usevalue
Aug 21 2013 19:37

Hmm, it's possible in my delirium I miswrote, but I feel like we might be talking at cross-purposes. Take your time in replying, but maybe if I clarify it'd help you reply. I'm interested in understanding what you're on about, but feel my understanding at this stage is partial. I read this:

Quote:
That said, I do think it's fair enough to explain yourself maybe once or twice, but always with humility and an open mind.

I feel like you've read my response as endorsing some kind of one-size-fits-all approach to being called out; I was actually arguing against that, which I thought YOU were suggesting. I think I may have misconstrued that initial point, so lemme know.

It feels now that you're arguing against confidently barging into conversations. I'm not entirely sure why, except perhaps you thought I was endorsing that. I wasn't. In 99% of situations I agree that shut up is the rule of thumb. I was trying to argue that above. I also made an argument about the 1% of circumstances which show that the calling-out practice isn't a perfect language. I attempted to communicate that I think the appropriateness of various practices of calling out or name-and-shaming is situational and needs to be undertaken with an awareness of real power dynamics.

I want to tell you what my stake in this is. Am I trying to defend the time I said that racist thing 5 years ago? Obviously not. "Defending that racist thing" is an ethical oxymoron. I'm saying I should have shut the fuck up about it at the time, but it's okay to talk over how I acted in that situation, how my intentions were distorted (by my own racist language and belief structure, NOT by the listeners). So here's my 1% of circumstances.

I found out about my autism like three years ago. It involved seeing a few shrinks, reading a lot, and suddenly putting new names to a lot of my experiences. I suddenly understood I'd experienced emotional abuse in high school, and that it was likely the result of ableism. Diagnosis, with its attendant new language, was a useful tool (even though there are some limits to diagnostic frames of analysis; assuming this identity is a strategic decision for my neurotype in my material circumstances). There's a lot of reclaiming going on. My communities are krip, spaz, retarded, mental, and mad.

I was talking with Dotty one day and I made up some jokes to laugh at my difficulties, to explain what autism means for me, to open up a conversation. I wanted to talk about the feeling of wanting, no, NEEDING to share EVERYTHING you know about a topic.

Quote:
How many aspies does it take to screw in a lightbulb? Well that depends, is it a halogen lightbulb or an energy-saving bulb, what kind of socket is it, what's the voltage, and what kind of circuit...

In retrospect it's not that funny a joke, because I don't know enough about lightbulbs to make the punchline work. My other punchline was "one," which is a bit funnier I think (I have another that's downright depressing, even to me; I was probably depressed when I wrote it). But whatever. I'm a work in progress.

One day I'm at the cafe where Dotty works and I suddenly get excited about pronouns. Like, really excited. It started with the connotative distinctions between "will" and "shall", but in the end, it's always pronouns. You know thou worked like "tu" in Spanish? As in singular, but also less formal than "you?" I'm pretty excited about "yous" bringing the plural second person back, and I get really anxious when people use it for the singular. A century's careful linguistic progress wiped out! We are losing to other, more precise languages. In pronoun terms. Don't get me started on prepositions. Oh my goodness, nothing better than a cage-match between Spanish and English prepositions...

Anyway, it was something like that when Dotty asked me how many aspies it takes to screw in a lightbulb. I gave the working draft of my punchline (which at least applied to THAT situation). Someone I didn't know said "Hey!" I said, "Oh, I'm an aspie." The response came, "And?"

Now this person didn't twitch. She didn't stumble, or wobble, or creep, sneak or shuffle. She didn't stutter or randomly swear into her coat, hoping no one would overhear. She didn't twitch and her eyes didn't nervously search the room, evading the overstimulation of gazes returned. She didn't constantly move her body, rubbing this knee, tugging this earlobe, scratching this head, shaking and stirring in place in a chair. Her words didn't trip or tumble, her sentences didn't flow together, her memories didn't get lost down rabbitholes, and her expressions were appropriate for the situation.

I hate appropriate. It was an inappropriate joke. It was appropriate for her to tell me how I'm allowed to survive in this body. It was appropriate for me to receive instruction on how my body is to be treated: gently, fearfully, with simultaneous reproach and pity, never with humour. It was appropriate for me to leave and not show my face in that scene again. It was appropriate for her to finish work thinking she'd done a good job calling out an ableist.

Okay, that's just me. That's like .000000001% or whatever, so here's a link to bump the numbers:
http://blackgirldangerous.org/new-blog/2013/4/29/what-the-hipsters-didnt...

Mike S.
Aug 23 2013 00:57
lzbl wrote:
Mike S. wrote:
The list of oppressed groups is growing rather large. I'm even a member of a couple of them and I'm a straight white male.

intersectionality must blow. your. mind.

Mike S. wrote:

http://andrea366.wordpress.com/2013/08/14/the-problem-with-privilege-by-...

http://sherrytalksback.wordpress.com/2012/04/05/the-paralysis-of-white-p...

I'm reminded of Jean Paul Sartre's play "No Exit" when I watch the above video. Something about being stuck in a room with this young woman terrifies me. This thread in general is a little piece of hell. Forgive me, I've had a few drinks and am not in the mood to play nice at the moment. I have an urge to generally tell everyone to fuck off. Any further discussion on this topic, from my part, is going to be extremely rude. Just a heads up. A "trigger warning" if you will.

Fleur
Aug 23 2013 02:31

You really do have an axe to grind about privilege theory, something which the OP is not about and to my recollection no-one here particularly subscribes to, except maybe as something kept in the back of the mind to remind people to listen to the opinions of other people who have lived experiences you cannot share.

Quote:
This thread in general is a little piece of hell

What? That special kind of hell, where women call out sexism without particularly feeling obliged to be all nice and gentle and girly about it? I am reminded of a conversation I had once with an old leftie man, reminiscing about 1968 and all that, who was saying that the only roles women had back then were making the tea and sharing the beds. There was a genuine misty-eyed nostalgia about that. Times moved on and if you want to engage with women, you have to listen to us. Not throw a hissy fit when we're not all sweet and kind at your self-imposed hurt you feel.
Going back to an earlier post, I never said "all men are assholes," nor do I even vaguely feel that. That was something you extrapolated from my words so you can make yourself feel nice and persecuted.
TRIGGER WARNING: I've had a few beers too and I'm not in any particular mood to play nice either. But on the other hand, that'll just give you the satisfaction of playing into your own feeling of oppression.

Mike S.
Aug 23 2013 03:41
fleurnoire-et-rouge wrote:
You really do have an axe to grind about privilege theory, something which the OP is not about and to my recollection no-one here particularly subscribes to, except maybe as something kept in the back of the mind to remind people to listen to the opinions of other people who have lived experiences you cannot share.

Quote:
This thread in general is a little piece of hell

What? That special kind of hell, where women call out sexism without particularly feeling obliged to be all nice and gentle and girly about it? I am reminded of a conversation I had once with an old leftie man, reminiscing about 1968 and all that, who was saying thats. There was a genuine misty-eyed nostalgia about that. Times moved on and if you want to engage with women, you have to listen to us. Not throw a hissy fit when we're not all sweet and kind at your self-imposed hurt you feel.
Going back to an earlier post, I never said "all men are assholes," nor do I even vaguely feel that. That was something you extrapolated from my words so you can make yourself feel nice and persecuted.
TRIGGER WARNING: I've had a few beers too and I'm not in any particular mood to play nice either. But on the other hand, that'll just give you the satisfaction of playing into your own feeling of oppression.

It's a reference to the quote "hell is other people". I was expressing my dislike of this thread and the general accusatory self righteous tone these conversations eventually devolve into. The finger pointing and name calling is absurd as are the assumptions being made about my views. Because being vocally critical of privilege theory means I'm some blow hard who want's women's role to be "making the tea and sharing the bed".

Mike S.
Aug 23 2013 03:42
jolasmo wrote:
Mike S wrote:
It's as if I committed blasphemy in the days of the inquisition.

OMG it is a bit like that, I see what you mean - being called mean things on the Internet is pretty much exactly like being brutally tortured an killed by religious fanatics.

Or hang on, is it actually not at all like that?

~J.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Figure_of_speech

Ablokeimet
Aug 23 2013 05:35
Mike S. wrote:
jolasmo wrote:
Mike S wrote:
It's as if I committed blasphemy in the days of the inquisition.

OMG it is a bit like that, I see what you mean - being called mean things on the Internet is pretty much exactly like being brutally tortured an killed by religious fanatics.

Or hang on, is it actually not at all like that?

~J.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Figure_of_speech

Sometimes the distance between the figure of speech being used and the actuality is so extreme that it doesn't work. Even worse, sometimes it gives the reader an impression that the writer is under-estimating the distance quite a bit.

Joseph Kay
Aug 23 2013 06:45

Sorry, but I don't see anything resembling "privilege theory" on this thread except a massive straw feminist. I'm not even sure such a cohesive theory exists. Sure, there are some theorists who use the word privilege in various different ways. And sure, there are apparently navel gazing american anarchies who spend meetings apologising for their existence (i've never met any, but they might well exist). But bringing this up whenever sexism is mentioned is like bringing up gulags whenever communism is mentioned.

fingers malone
Aug 23 2013 09:04

Do you know how often I've actually heard someone say "check your privilege"? Once. It's the same number of times I've been held up at gunpoint in the kitchen.

I thought the second incident was more of a big deal really.

commieprincess
Aug 23 2013 10:48

Mike, in The Anarchy, there are serious problems with sexism and racism. These problems more commonly include habitual insensitive/poorly thought through comments from well-meaning people, bad meeting etiquette like interuptions, men only making eye-contact with other men, points made by women and people of colour ignored etc. But also sometimes harrasment, assault, sexual violence etc.

What are some ways to deal with these problems do you think? How can people adjust their behaviour so that people do not feel victimised or dismissed because of their race/gender? How can we hold unapologetic bigots accountable for their behaviour?

I have my own thoughts on this, but given your critique of privilege theory, I thought you'd have some alternatives on tackling this stuff?

Shorty
Aug 23 2013 11:34

Mike S. there was a rather long thread discussing privilege theory
http://libcom.org/forums/anarchist-federation/afed-privilege-theory-new-...
take it there if you want.

There was also a spit from that thread looking at more pragmattic ways of challenging sexism, racism, etc. here: http://libcom.org/forums/general/split-afed-privilege-theory-new-startin...

I'm critical of privilege theory myself, but I think that you're doing a huge disservice to yourself and your argument, ironically, by claiming privilege theory as the only way in which to challenge sexism, racism, etc.

Harrison
Aug 23 2013 11:51

edit: actually Mike S. just read commieprincess's / shorty's posts.

Serge Forward
Aug 23 2013 11:43
fingers malone wrote:
Do you know how often I've actually heard someone say "check your privilege"? Once. It's the same number of times I've been held up at gunpoint in the kitchen..

Living in England and generally not knowing anyone who knows about PT outside of anarchist circles, I've never heard anyone say 'check your privilege' either. However, I'd be interested if those from across the Atlantic, besides Mike S, have experienced such comments as PT is more well established there.

Harrison
Aug 23 2013 13:33

I had a post made up about privilege theory, partly to reply to the blog post and also one of steven's posts, i didn't post in the end because it wasn't really relevant - by the time i'd written it this thread was completely derailed into another 'pc gone mad' fest and i'd lost interest.

Since shorty / serge raised it again, i might as well put it here:

The value in people in the uk wanting to discuss privilege theory, is not in the specifics of privilege theory (some of which I am not too keen on), but that there are enough people wanting to explore a theoretical appreciation of discriminatory relations in society toward an understanding that there are sectional divisions between the working classes that can't be overcome solely through a reductive 'common denominator' form of communism, in which people fail to grasp the point in honing the strategic approaches made toward each of the different groups within the working class, in attempts to unite them. This 'common denominator' approach, whilst morally steadfast against sexism, racism etc., isn't enough to ensure the uniting of these groups under a class banner whilst also addressing the specific concerns of each group. It equates to patronising 'colour blindness' when applied to non-whites, and is drawn from a desire to return to the simplicity of the early workers movement without addressing the more complicated present.

Gut privilege theory of its liberal aspects, or replace it completely, but there is a theoretical role that needs to be filled to aid any attempts to intersect struggles, and to tailor the strategy aimed toward each group, and that necessitates a theoretical appreciation of the specific character of capitalist suppression of each class group, the social divisions between them and how these are tied to capital. Again, i'm not saying privilege theory is capable of this, but it deserves a fair hearing.

Whilst in the UK i haven't come across 'check your privilege', I can imagine this exists in some sceney US environments. Personally, I would not consider this a constructive way to approach the unification of the different groups, and I would think this seems like a lazy activist shorthand common amongst people who don't understand that the way theory related to social activity is implemented is not in such a blatant mechanical way, but rather has to be something guiding normal conversation and natural social interaction. Such lazy activist shorthand might jade people or artificially shut them up and unfortunately place activistoids as gatekeepers of morality and arbiters between the social groups, rather than uniting them in common bond. Instead it is better if anarchists/communists could just finally get some social skills and be capable of carrying out conversations that challenge without having to play up confrontation, or making it very subtle that it is a challenge and wrapping it in all the social trimmings of a regular conversation between friends.

lzbl
Aug 23 2013 18:00

First off, if you're using trigger warning sarcastically you're a fucking dick. NB the whole of libcom if you don't like trigger warnings you can use the formulation 'content note' which has the same effect, is applicable to people who don't get triggered and is just as good.

I have seen 'check your privilege' used in the UK but I don't care. Frankly I think that there's a lot of shitty attitudes towards the phrase here that are totally unjustified in our context and have been inherited from the US which is very different. We do a lot of wholesale import from the US without considering how those ideas fit in to our political history and culture and we need to think about that. (see also: ableism/disablism).

I'm not the wildest proponent of privilege 'theory' (usually I just hear people talking about the concept of privilege in relation to ie intersectionality rather than privilege theory hence quotes) but I think it can be a useful way to think about how being or not being in certain groups impacts on our life. I very rarely see it used in [what I think is] a shitty way. I do see a lot of shitty reactions and a lot of them hide behind political differences. Yes I think there are valid criticisms of privilege but if you're using them to ignore what women or black people or queer people or disabled people or ANY oppressed group of people is telling you then you're being a fucking dick. It is entirely possible to accept the substance of an argument without agreeing with its political basis.

Noah Fence
Aug 24 2013 05:41

Usevalue - Put simply, what I'm trying to say is this:

Know your limitations. If you can't empathise or understand someone else's position and feelings that's fair enough and there's no shame in it. It's only a problem if you can't accept and spend a whole heap of time and energy trying to cover the fact by wielding your intellect. Admitting that you don't understand something doesn't make you look stupid.

Droning on and on, refusing to back down and striving to have the last word come what may makes you look a right fucking knob. I've seen this time and time again in all areas of life with men but only occasionally with women.

It's very convenient for me to take this position because I'm not exactly smart and those wielding their intellectual armoury could more often than not hand my ass to me in an argument but fortunately I don't care too much about that(well, most of the time).

All of that said, I do think that everyone should be cut at least some slack - life is often difficult and being in total control of ones self is something that few people ever attain.

I don't suppose I've properly answered your questions but amusingly, considering what I've just written, I didn't understand your post too well!

Mike S.
Aug 24 2013 09:28
lzbl wrote:
First off, if you're using trigger warning sarcastically you're a fucking dick.

I would never do that because to trivialize that empowering non infantilizing process would be pathological apathy. Perhaps even a sign of sociopathy. I certainly wouldn't trust anyone who doesn't use trigger warnings around my children.

Harrison
Aug 24 2013 10:53

this is just open trolling now.

usevalue
Aug 26 2013 09:41

Webby, I agree with what you just wrote. I'm confused as to whether you're arguing or annoyed with me (you use the second person a lot without setting the context, but you also seem to be talking about general cases: have I been "droning on and on"? Because that wasn't my intention.). I hope the comments I made about who was or wasn't funny weren't taken seriously; it's self-evidently frivilous (though perhaps my intention was not). Your "spat out of a tornado" comment is something I took at a compliment, so I really hope we're not arguing.

Um, I'm going to give myself the benefit of the doubt and assume that most of what I'm reading as critical is just my anxiety talking. If you are actually have a problem with me, I'm really sorry, but you need to be more explicit. But yeah: I just wanted to say that ease of reading my writing is not an intelligence test. I think you've said some pretty smart things here, and I hope my disagreement on details (I'm detail-obsessed) didn't get read as something more than that.

Noah Fence
Aug 26 2013 10:30

Bloody Internet! No, I certainly wasn't having a go at you, the tornado comment was meant as a big compliment. I used the word 'you' because I couldn't think how else to put it. What I meant was big mouth know alls that just can't bear to be wrong. I think you are about a million miles away from falling in to that category!
Details are where I fall apart I'm ok with concepts but details send my brain into meltdown! I guess that's while I struggle with what you've written. I still find the energy of it pretty invigorating though!
So, hit me again - I'll try to find some different metaphors to describe the effect - stirred up by a giant egg whisk, perhaps?!!!