Here is an unrelated, and yet terribly related blog post that I was planning to recommend anyway: The Girl's Guide To Staying Safe Online.
3. Don’t Be Good at Your Job.
In our e-mail exchange, former Shapely Prose blogger Sweet Machine told me that “the beginning of the end” of her career as a blogger was the moment blogging became unsustainable. I knew what she meant, but I’d always regarded it as one of her blog’s biggest successes.
Since its publication in October 2009, Schrodinger’s Rapist,” by Phaedra Starling, has become a part of feminist blog canon. Its explanations of street harassment, rape and doubt have been widely cited and echoed, and the phrase “Schrodinger’s Rapist” itself has become shorthand for threatening encounters. The post garnered 1,216 comments before Shapely Prose shut them off.
Those comments had to be moderated. And, as Sweet Machine puts it, the post “attracted so much positive attention from women that it drew incredible hostility from men.” Moderating comments began to take up the majority of her work time. When Sweet Machine’s mother died, one commenter said that she must have been ashamed of Sweet Machine’s weight–and signed off with “you fucking cunt.”
“Reading the mod queue started to feel like being slapped over and over by strangers,” she says. “The more successful [Shapely Prose] got, the more we got attacked.”
This is the game, for feminist bloggers: the more recognition you receive, the more dangerous the job becomes. Other writers may be able to nurture ambition, and pursue goals without ambivalence. Feminists, on the other hand, live with the fear of Schrodinger’s Promotion. Every step we take toward recognition might be the step that makes blogging itself an intolerable risk. I’ve spoken to other bloggers – one of them male – who have changed pseudonyms or deleted blogs once they got an unacceptably large readership, just to avoid it. Those who stay put have paid a high price.
In an also unrelated phenomena, the comment policy here has been updated again to be intentionally cranky. Not because I like being cranky, but because I think it's important to acknowledge to myself and others that, well, I am.
Here is my intentionally cranky comment policy. I have written it in an intentionally cranky manner so that you, Dear Reader, will not be caught by surprise when someone breaks the rules and I respond in a genuinely cranky manner. Tone Consistency!
Here is the backstory: I am the only writer-slash-moderator here, and I am dealing with a massively demanding schedule of Day Job, Blog Writing, Book Writing, Book Reading, Book Reviewing, Blog Moderating, Chronic Pain, Chronic Sleeplessness, Chronic Infertility, Chronic Tummyache, Chronic Cranky, and about three separate-and-distinct family members who need full-time medical and/or emotional care from me. Every moment that I spend interacting with people here is a moment that is either fun-and-worthwhile or not-fun-and-contributing-to-my-stress-levels. If you are being Not Fun, then I am going to say so -- probably in a cranky, sleep-deprived, chronicy painy, kind of way. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
This is my personal blog. Everything I write here is based on my personal opinions, most of which are strong, and at least one of which will be offensive to someone on this planet. I've made peace with that statistical probability. If you find something I write to be offensive to you personally, you may express that, provided you can do so in a clear, calm, concise way, preferably with examples of how I can Do Better. If, on the other hand, you express your offense in a burst of fiery blazing aggro, you may be asked in a very cranky manner to not let the blog door hit you on the way out. That's just how I roll.
I run this site as I please, because if I didn't, I would have to take my blog ball and go home and then no one would get the shiny blog posts here. If you find that participating in this community is not right for you, then subscribe to the rss feed and for fuck's sake stop commenting. If even the rss feed is too much for you and my words are giving you the rageies, for your own health and mine, stop reading my blog. Really. There's really awesome stuff out there that I can't read either, and the world keeps spinning.
Here are the rules, which I am intentionally keeping very simple.
- If you do something you shouldn't, I will say something in as nice a manner as I can manage.
- If you piss me off, you may get one or more spoons as a warning because you are taking mine.
- If you piss me off badly enough, you will be banned.
Here is a longer list of rules for people who like longer lists of rules.
- Remember this is a Safe Space community for ALL of us, including me, so be nice.
- Remember that this is an Advanced Feminism space, not a Feminism 101 space.
- Remember that a post about problematic art is not an attack on you for liking the art.
- Remember to watch your words. Intent is not magic.
- Do not invoke the MST3K mantra. The topics covered here matter, even if not to you.
- Do not accuse me of bad faith when I have erred.
- Do not use preemptive accusations of bad faith here as a silencing tactic.
- Do not dictate opinions or interpretations. This space is about sharing, not about consensus.
- Do not generalize. "Every Wiccan believes X" invisibles the Wiccans who don't.
- Do not essentialize. "Every woman is Y" invisibles the women who aren't.
- Do not otherize. There's enough normalization of straight, white, cis, male experience online.
- Do not speak for others in this space. "My disabled friend thinks Z" appropriates them.
- Do not dispense unsolicited advice. There are emoters in this space who teach by sharing.
- Use trigger warnings unless the trigger is already covered by the post Content Note.
- Use spoiler warnings unless the spoiler content is already covered in-post.
A note on language. In general, the following language is prohibited (subject to the caveat below):
- Hateful / Phobic language that harms and otherizes people, particularly marginalized people. This includes (but is not limited to) language that is hateful and/or phobic of QUILTBAG people, queer people, intersex people, lesbian people, trans people, bi people, asexual people, gay people, otherkin people, religious people, atheist people, people with-or-without children, people with disabilities, and people of color. Language that is racist, sexist, ableist, or predicated on a hatred and/or phobia of a sexual orientation or gender identity is not up for discussion when pointed out in-thread. The appropriate response to correction is any variation of "oops, sorry" or "whoops, didn't realize, thank you".
- Ableist language deserves a special mention because is so heavily entwined in our culture that even advanced feminists are not always aware of what is and isn't appropriate to say in a Safe Space. The following words are not allowed in this space: Blind, Crazy, Cretin, Crutch, Deaf, Dumb, Hysterical, Lame, Idiot, Moron, Retarded (and "-tard" variations), Spastic, Vegetable. That's a lot of words, isn't it? Do you think it's totally unfair that we have so many ableist words in our cultural vocabulary to the point where communication is sometimes difficult once they have been declared off-limits? I do too! Get mad at our culture for making us reliant on them, and not at me for banning them from this space. Here is a nice list of alternative words.
- Caveat To The Above: Potentially triggering language is allowable in this space for purposes of deconstruction or reclamation. Language deconstruction generally seeks to show why slurs are not legitimate; here is an example that focuses heavily on misogynistic and ableist language. Language reclamation generally seeks to reclaim words for non-slur purposes; here is an example of a magazine named after a well known misogynistic slur. If I can't clearly tell from the context of your post that you are deconstructing or reclaiming a word, and especially if you are not a member of the affected group (i.e., neurotypical people do not get to 'reclaim' words associated with mental illness), then you are using it wrong. Note: When reclaiming or deconstructing triggering language, your post should have an appropriate trigger warning.
A note on Feminism 101: This is not a 101 space.
There are a lot of reasons for that. One, there are a number of 101 spaces on the internet already and so I don't feel particularly called to fill that gap. Two, there aren't as many advanced feminism spaces as I would like online, a place where feminists can go chill and talk and enjoy without having to keep explaining the same basic concepts over and over again. Composition 101 is a nice course, but Advanced Shakespeare was where I really had the most fun, you know?
Three, doing Feminism 101 tires me out. Imagine if you will all the work that goes into house-training a puppy. No matter how adorable and cute and sweet and silky soft that puppy is, I still don't find the process fun: cleaning up poop, standing in the rain waiting, having to remember to grab the clicker and treat-bag every five minutes before heading out in the Texas heat. And no matter how rewarding it is for me when that puppy finally learns to ring the bell by the door and head out alone to do business, I would not personally get any net enjoyment from a lifetime of training puppies over and over again.
We have feminism posts here, and a number of them do touch on 101 material. We have completely open threads, where people are free to ask questions. But we do assume a minimum competency in feminist concepts before posting here and if you aren't meeting that bar, the onus is on you to go educate yourself. Any training you receive here is incidental and because someone is being nice and trying to help. And if you find yourself being resistant to basic feminist concepts, like refusing to accept that Consent Matters, then you may be asked to leave. This particular dog park may be open to the public, but that doesn't mean you get to leave your whoopsies anywhere you like.
Genuine questions and comments about this policy may be sent to AnaMardoll@gmail.com.
What have you been reading / writing / doing this week?