The Old "Separate But Equal!" Argument

Cheryl Lindsey Seelhoff over at Alas, A Blog has proposed creating women’s-only threads there. Well, Radical Feminist Women’s Threads, anyway.

Because that’s what feminism is all about: creating a women’s-only treehouse so we can sit up there and throw eggs at the men’s-only treehouse.

Yea. That’ll be real productive.

Leaving the whole “What’s a radical feminist?” thing alone for now, I’ve gotta say, I was pretty shocked to hear this.

There are just so many anti-feminist posters here. There are way too many men here, and too many of them seem to be here for the express purpose of making feminist discussion unlikely to impossible.

“There are way too many men here” WTF??

Wow, we’re in trouble.

Now, I support women’s only spaces. When you’re counseling women who’ve been abused by men, the last people on earth they’ll want to deal with for awhile will be men. If they have the right counselors, that hopefully won’t last more than a year or so.

Because I hate to break it to everybody: the world is composed of men and women – and even some people who are in-between – and we have to deal with all of them out here on the bus, on train platforms, at bars, in restaurants, on the street, on the plane, at work (oh yea), and at home.

Even the trolls and the assholes.

And if you can’t deal with them in cyberspace, how the hell are you going to deal with them in real life?

If you’re having such a terrible time with trolls and anti-feminist posters, somebody’s not moderating properly. Take some advice from Teresa, and take back control of your boards.

Sure, I have a smaller audience than Alas, but I don’t have trouble with trolls. Outright assholes just get deleted. I’ve only had to delete an asshole’s post three times before he headed out for greener pastures where he could find some “radical feminists” to argue with. There are things I’m not going to engage with, stuff like “I think homosexuality is a birth defect” and “Come to my website! Feminists give the best head!”

Why would I put up with that crap? One asshole breeds more assholes.

I’ll delete to my heart’s content: it’s my blog.

But one thing I will NEVER do is ban “all men” from my blog. That’s as bad as what men do with “men’s only” clubs and exclusive “boys only” military schools and “boys only” at the front ideas. Reverse sexism, silencing men’s voices, is just as bad as silencing women.

I try to be a good moderator. If two people start a flaming argument, I tell them to cool down and get back on topic. I’ll do that twice if it happens (yes, it’s happened a couple of times), and if they don’t do it, I’ll tell them to go cool off and come back when they want to have an intelligent conversation. If the flaming continues (and it hasn’t, yet, I have very good readers), then I start deleting (I really outta do TNH’s disemvowling thing, but I haven’t reached a point where that’s neccessary).

Because here’s a wake-up call to everybody in the blogworld:

People are going to disagree with what you say. They’re even going to hate you for it. I’m sure I have “regular” readers who come over here just because they hate me so much (a lot of people on the Baen boards certainly did).

There it all was in familiar detail, the same dynamics I’ve seen play out over the years on so many boards where feminists have attempted to gather: the trolling, the misogyny, the endless diversion,the ongoing defenses of indefensible anti-feminist, anti-woman behaviors, and always a tiny number of dogged and persevering radical feminist militants who are relentlessly baited and goaded, to the point they respond decisively, vehemently, passionately, even angrily and (gasp) stridently, at which point all hell breaks loose, they end up accused of being “bullying” or “silencing” or “overbearing” or “domineering” or “rude” and “uncivil,” to the point that, as with Ginmar, they end up leaving the boards entirely (or being banned).

Yea, it’s called life. Sucks, doesn’t it? The same thing will happen if you’re in a group of frat boys or radical conservatives. In fact, it’ll likely happen if you’re in any of the southern states or 98% of the midwest. If you’re the lone “feminist” (let alone “radical feminist” – whatever the hell that is, what, the ones who want a world without men? What’s that mean, “radical.” I don’t think free healthcare, equal pay for women, better laws against rape and etc. is all that “radical”) you’re going to get harrassed about it. What better place to cut your teeth than online? There’s less threat of physical violence, there’s usually fewer people trying to attack you at once, and you have time to sort our your reply before you make a fool out of yourself.

Of course, if you choose to hang around a place where everybody thinks, acts, talks, and behaves just like you, you won’t have any experience with debate, with a free range of ideas. You won’t really be forced to think. You can all sit around and smoke cigars (or knit. Something tells me some of these “radical feminists” she’s talking about are likely big on the knitting) and thump each other on the back for being so good-natured about being repressed by “the system.” Which, of course, they won’t feel they have to engage in because they have their own club.

After all, who needs to engage with the other half of the population?

What’s the point of talking to men? All those men so set in their ways…. what’s the point of engaging them with your ideas, getting their arguments, creating one of your own? I mean, if they can out-argue you, maybe you’ll realize you need to go back to the drawing board and refine the way you speak about things, and what a lot trouble that would be!

Which means, of course, that the radical feminist voice and presence is ultimately silenced, erased.

Well, they weren’t so radical then, were they? If you can’t argue or ignore flamers, you must not have much of an argument.

The world is not full of sugar and spice. And worse than that – you make feminism a “woman’s space” and you cut out half the people who have help move feminism forward. Cut them out and they won’t see it as anything that effects them anyway. Why should they care? They aren’t even allowed to talk about it. You think they’re going to take it up in a locker room?


Let’s just shut down all the feminist blogs and boards to “women’s only” spaces, only let women talk about “women’s issues” like, say, equal rights (fooled me. This only effects women?).

Seperate spheres doesn’t solve anything. It just drives us all further apart. It drives yet another wedge between the sexes, both of whom – guess what? – are human.

I hope the feminists at Alas aren’t forgetting that. If they are, they’re no better than the old boys.

The solution is proper board moderation, not cutting out half your audience.

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