Feminist Witch Hunts, when witches hunt each other

The silencing of women comes in many forms, but perhaps the most difficult to explain is when that silencing comes from other feminists. Other feminists you respect and share many of the same views with.

We need robust debate in feminism, we need rage, but when we turn on each other to the degree of personally tearing each other apart, then we need to get some perspective. We’re all still women; we ALL still suffer enough at the hands of patriarchy without torturing each other. And having a different view on a variety of subjects does not turn us into each others enemy. What’s so wrong with constructive criticism, debate and disagreement?

Wasn’t debate once called ‘healthy’ ?

It seems however that response to disagreement now commonly leads to various forms of bullying and abuse. Being online can empower women to say the things many of us feel unable to say in the outside world. But obviously this has a potentially huge downside too.

It’s very easy to spit venom into the face of a computer and not the actual face of a fellow human being, the fellow women we claim to want to support and protect. We often have zero idea about the impact of our words or the circumstances surrounding the women receiving these. I think few of us, in reality could deal with the actual consequences first hand because that would make us into actual not virtual bullies. And obviously being online pleasantly removes us from ever having to deal with that potentially unsettling and uncomfortable scenario.

So we can act responsibility here…or not, its a choice we make.

My own experience recently was it being heavily implied that I wasn’t a feminist and I was complicit in male violence. This was for the ‘crime’ of bringing up the (obviously untouchable) subject of privilege/difference between women and how that can skew interpretation in communication. In my view its an important subject to talk about because ideas of good/ bad communication can vary. Someone telling you to ‘play nicely’ by their own  cultural/class standards can be oppressive, blah, blah….We don’t need to be told to be ‘nice’, we need to be more fucking understanding of each other and more fucking self aware (and I include myself here too)….

The kind of personally abusive/point scoring response I got is fairly typical online and I’m not saying I’m a special case- quite the opposite. That a stranger feels empowered enough to so negatively sum up and dismiss another woman’s life/politics is pretty common stuff. We’re supposed to dust ourselves down, take it and move on aren’t we? And we all just clap like seals at the circus or give the thumbs up/thumbs down like some sick bloodthirsty audience participation sport..

Yet we all hate online abuse …?

The reality is its actually ‘political’ (e.g. friends get passes of course, passive aggressive doesn’t count)  – it very much depends who is saying it. It’s tribal, because it depends which group has most support/power but most of all……………… its bollocks.

Aren’t we just mimicking the abuse, hierarchies, domination and power dynamics of men here? Isn’t it time to start dealing with our own online behaviour with some fucking honestly?Because if we don’t, we’re doing the patriarchs dirty work for them…we’re killing feminism and hurting women in the process….

A stranger online says I am not a feminist. ….. I was at Greenham, I supported my het sisters on abortion rights over years, I’ve spent years organising feminist empowerment workshops for young women/girls, I supported my fellow lesbians against Clause 28, I’ve helped organise many local feminist events, arts weekends, reclaim the night marches etc, I’ve spent the last 7 years supporting the women imprisoned in Yarlswood and local female asylum seekers and now help run a multicuural women’s group. I’ve been briefly imprisoned, thrown down stone steps, attacked, etc, etc etc for my nearly 40 years of supporting women…yet a stranger online says I am not a feminist….

We’re witches hunting each other on an absolutely ludicrous and pointlessly destructive basis…. when what we really need is to Get. Fucking. Real.

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9 Responses to Feminist Witch Hunts, when witches hunt each other

  1. Miep says:

    Yes, there is an element of gang mentality, and also the sense of having an audience affects behavior, and not always for the best. And any forum where one cannot turn off or pre-emptively moderate comments tends to drive conflict. Things can escalate so quickly.

  2. Black Metal Valkyrie says:

    Female bonding is a very important part of feminism. Yet another reason why the tranny assault on women’s spaces is toxic. They are doing everything they can to scare and threaten women from coming together without male surveillance.

  3. Wulfwynn says:

    I love this post & miss seeing you on Twitter — hope you’re doing well.

  4. Pingback: What’s Current: Surprise! Lafayette shooter is white, male, & hates feminism » Feminist Current

  5. Dogtowner says:

    Better to have it said that you’re not a feminist than the Canadian feminist blogger who told a woman she was a man, the commenter daring to ask what actual WORK the blogger had done for women.

  6. lovetruthcourage says:

    I agree that internet anonymity encourages some despicable behavior. The solution, of course, is for each of us to hold *ourselves* to a higher standard and to know when to walk away completely. The frustrating part is that we can ONLY do this for ourselves and we have no direct ability to alter anyone else’s behavior. However, it has been said that “a gram of example is worth more than a kilo of words.”

  7. Thanks for all the great comments.

  8. Pingback: What’s Current: Surprise! Lafayette shooter is white, male, & hates feminism | Feminist Current

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