Friday, January 27, 2012

On talking feminism

I love having everyone engaged in conversations. However, when discussing feminism, I often end up having the same conversation, again and again.

It could be with a man or a woman, who is often intelligent and educated and interested with the world around them. It's rather tedious to go through the basics of why women deserve equality, why women are equally intelligent to men, how consent is a good thing etc etc over and over.

The conversation usually gets heated, because someone is being asked to look at things with a different perspective than the one the dominant culture prescribes. Then since I don't always know the answers and I'm not exactly the most eloquent person around, I end up spending a lot of energy explaining what I mean and why what the other person said wasn't helpful/wasn't new/was completely wrong, and finding resources to back me up.

This conversation, quite honestly, is nearly always exhausting for me. Me being me, I have a tendency to avoid it for as long as possible, whether or not that is really to my benefit.

Sometimes though, I like to poke the status quo, and see if I can disturb it a little. Say, by posting a link I find useful to <insert social media site here>. Usually, because the filtering I have on who gets to see my stuff on social media, this begets some good and educational conversation. Unfortunately, there's almost always one who misses the point/feels like being a smartass.

Now, that would be OK if they weren't obnoxious about it and listened to what I'm saying to them. Usually, though, they get defensive, and escalate the discussion by objecting to my arguments on the point I disagree with them for, especially by taking the arguments very personally, becoming defensive and presenting absurd hyperboles which are not at all what I'm trying to say (for example, "please don't do that [say the tone of X feminist article was too angry]" has been interpreted as "you should never talk about any of sexism, racism, homophobia etc because I'm a straight, white man")

As an FYI, if I ask you to stop doing something in a particular conversation. STOP. Think about it for a while. If you're still confused, and you are close enough to me to be able to talk to me in private or private message me, do so. Every message or unquestioning spouting of mainstream opinion which continues the conversation in my space after I've asked you to stop just makes me think you're a bigger douchebag than before.

Well. At least conversations like these places an extra filter on who I should include in my life/on my social media when that happens. Let it be known that I'm judging all of you by your response to stuff ups.

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I have two basic requirements for commenting in my space; be nice, and stay on topic. If I ask you to discontinue a thread of conversation, please do so or further posts will be deleted. Nasty and off-topic comments may be deleted without warning.