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cis-splaining incels irony alert men who should not ever be with women ever misogyny quiz reddit TERFs transmisogyny transphobia

Quiz: Who said it, incel or TERF?

By David Futrelle

So yesterday, I was poking around in the Braincels subreddit, Reddit’s main hangout for incels, and was struck by how often the regulars there discuss trans women.

Some incels like to fantasize about solving their particular difficulty — their “involuntary” celibacy — by hooking up with “traps” (their favorite transphobic term for young trans hotties). But most of the time they’re as straightfowardly hateful towards trans women as any TERF (Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist).

Indeed, I was struck by how remarkably similar incels and TERFs sound when they talk about trans women (both generally ignore trans men). So much so that I decided to make this quiz.

I don’t know about you, but I found these very hard to distinguish from one another, to the point that I had to check and doublecheck each quote to make sure which subreddit it came from, even though I was the one choosing the quotes.

So what does this mean? Partly, the quotes sound similar because, well, this is what transphobic hate sounds like. But in other cases it seems as though the incels have picked up certain TERF talking points from reading, or reading about, TERFs.

If you consider yourself a feminist, but your thoughts on trans women are virtually identical to the raging misogynists and ignorant anti-feminists who make up the incel movement, well, maybe you’re not as much of a feminist as you think.

Sources for quotes: Question 1: GenderCritical, Braincels. Question 2: GC, Braincels. Question 3: Braincels, GC. Question 4: Braincels, GC.

H/T — Reddit’s Advanced Search

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Rhuu - apparently an illiterati
Rhuu - apparently an illiterati
1 year ago

Shorter Scanisaurus: Let me have the last word!

You are on an english language board, with the culture that goes along with that. We’ve pointed out what the points you were trying to make often mean, and also acknowledged that you probably didn’t mean to do it like *that*, since you aren’t an anglophone.

This point just doesn’t wash however:

All I ever wanted to say was that “hey, maybe this term could be willfully misinterpreted by anti-feminists and maybe it could alienate potential allies”.

Any term will be willfully misinterpreted, if someone is willing to willfully misinterpret it. You could call TERFs ‘beautiful moon children’ and people would ‘willfully’ react to it in the same way. Because they are here to be offended. There is literally nothing we can do to stop that.

If you don’t agree on this I’m not asking you to, but I’ve never argued for sparing the feelings of bigots, that anyone hearing transphobic statements shouldn’t call it out or that anyone owe bigots a lengthy lecture, […]

We’ve pointed out that the point you are making is one often used by people to make *all these other points*. That is why they keep coming up. No matter how much you deny you were intending to do this (and you really might not have been), intent isn’t magic. You don’t get to disavow all of this. These are the logical conclusions of your point.

Sorry, but they are.

I just dislike one term that is used against them, and I’ve never claimed it to be something other than my opinion based on my experiences.

Fine, use a different term. These are *our* opinions, based on *our* experiences, and those say that using TERF or FART or whatever, TERFs gonna TERF.

Catalpa
Catalpa
1 year ago

@Scanisaurus

Dealing with nuance and jargon in a language that is not your native one seems like it would be very daunting. For my part, I’m sorry about the misinterpretation that I made regarding your argument. That was my mistake.

I’ll attempt to give some advice on how to better interact with the commentariat.

The first thing that it may be helpful to do is to stop being so hung up on how other people apparently perceive you. It seems like your primary concern when disagreements crop up is to make sure that everyone knows that you’re not a troll.

And while it’s important for good faith to be maintained in a meaningful exchange (and while knee-jerk defensiveness is a difficult urge to suppress when faced with multiple dissenting voices), this should not be the sole focus that you have. I would recommend reading the responses you get and considering them as points against the argument that you have made, not as points made to attack your character. You are not your argument. If someone attacks one of those things, they are not necessarily attacking the other. Try not to take things personally.

It sometimes seems like the tone of your posts goes like this: “Hm, I am making an iron-clad, completely unassailable argument, but people keep disagreeing with me. This must be entirely because they assume that I am a troll and that anything I say is automatically wrong. If they actually listened to my argument, they would never disagree with it! I just need to convince people that I am not a troll, and then they will see the error of their ways and agree with me.”

We’re not arguing with you because we think you’re a troll. We’re arguing with you because you bring up topics that people disagree with you on.

If you truly are being misinterpreted, like I did in this thread, then it’s reasonable to clarify your point. No one is perfect at communication and interpretation, and sometimes wires get crossed. But people disagreeing with you and misinterpreting you are two different things.

Let me try to give an example:

Misinterpretation:
“I talked to a friend of mine who was starting to show MRA tendencies and I managed to talk him out of it.”
“Whoa, what? You’re saying that we should expend significant time and effort to try to convert TERFs (and other transphobic/misogynistic assholes)?”
“Oh, no, the friend I was talking about was meant to be an example of a fencesitter that could have been further turned against feminism if a different path had been taken.”

Disagreement:
“Including ‘feminist’ in the phrase ‘TERF’ is damaging to feminism, as this term may be twisted against the cause.”
“Reactionaries will try to misinterpret and twist any term used to discuss social justice into a weapon against us. It is not a reason for us to abandon a phrase that has widespread use to condemn transphobia.”

See, the first one did not address the point you were trying to make, but the second one did, even if it didn’t come to the same conclusion. Don’t assume that just because people disagree with you that they don’t understand the point you made.

Finally, if, after reading the responses you get to your post, you still don’t understand why people were agitated by something that you said, you can always ask. Sometimes things aren’t clear. It’s possible that you were unaware of how TERFs have a habit of arguing that TERF is a problematic word and how people shouldn’t use it to describe the ‘gender critical’. If a reaction is really mystifying to you and the comments haven’t explained it, then ask why you got that response. But if you did get an answer in the comments and ignored it, expect people to tell you to scroll up and read.

More examples, these ones I just made up:

Not having enough context to determine what caused the offense:
“Wow, I really like (((him))!”
“What the hell? Why are you posting antisemitic things on this board?”
“Antisemitic? I don’t know what I said that could be considered that. Can you explain more, please?”
“The ((())) brackets are used by neo-nazis to indicate Jewish people.”
“Oh, jeez! I didn’t realize, I thought those were for an internet hug! Yikes. Sorry, I’ll remember in the future.”

Being willfully ignorant:
“Wow, that raging misogynist is super crazy! What a psycho!”
“Hey, please don’t use ‘crazy talk’ to describe assholish behaviour. It’s ableist. Mental illness isn’t the reason why people are abusive dicks, that’s a choice they made. Mind the comments policy.”
“What? I don’t get it. What’s wrong with calling someone crazy? It’s really common, everyone does it!”

Scanisaurus
Scanisaurus
1 year ago

@Catalpa

Dealing with nuance and jargon in a language that is not your native one seems like it would be very daunting. For my part, I’m sorry about the misinterpretation that I made regarding your argument. That was my mistake

Thank you, I accept your apology.

I’m sorry if you think I’ve taken things too personally, but like you said, it’s hard not to when you feel so overwhelmed by so many people arguing against you at once, especially when you feel that many of them have misinterpreted all one’s comments. I think I’ve mentioned before that I’ve struggled with depression, and a side effect of that is feeling like I don’t have any skin, but I’ll try to keep this in mind.

I think your comment helped clear a lot of things for me, and thank you for answering so well.

Rhuu - apparently an illiterati
Rhuu - apparently an illiterati
1 year ago

I was really going to leave this alone but… This isn’t an apology. This is a not-pology.

I’m sorry if you think I’ve taken things too personally, but like you said, it’s hard not to when you feel so overwhelmed by so many people arguing against you at once, especially when you feel that many of them have misinterpreted all one’s comments.

You are sorry if someone *thinks*? No. An apology owns the actions that you are apologising for.

Here’s an article on apologising.

1. “I’m sorry you feel that way.”

“Even though this phrase begins with the words, ‘I’m sorry,’ it is not a real apology. It does not take ownership of any wrongdoing. It does not communicate remorse for your actions, and it does not express any empathy towards the other person’s feelings. Instead, it may imply that you think the other person is being irrational or overly sensitive. Try to understand and take responsibility for how your actions or words hurt the other person, saying something like, ‘I’m sorry that I canceled our plans at the last minute. It was inconsiderate of your time and I understand why you are angry at me.’” ― Gina Delucca, clinical psychologist at Wellspace SF

Also, no one has misinterpreted your commments. We didn’t interpret them the way you had intended. The fact that so many people intepreted things you said *the same way* ought to give you pause. Perhaps we know something you don’t, and we’re trying to share that.

I am glad that Catalpa’s comment helped clear things up, because I truly do want you to understand both why you got the pushback you did, the consequences of your suggestion, and what implications your suggestion had about your own opinions and positions.

The only way for people (including fence sitters and lurkers) to learn is for us to continue to explain things, as exhausting as it is, and pushing back on harmful ideas is part of explaining things.

Everyone has blind spots, I know I will continue to find my own throughout my life. We all depend on people telling us when we’re saying something that has Implications to let us know about those implications.

I’ll have to keep on this my whole life, if I don’t want to wind up like the older feminists who are upset at things like gender ideology and intersectionality, and trumpet “I’ve been a feminist since before you were born!” as a defense for their refusal to interact with these concepts.

It’s something I’ll need to guard against, for sure.

Catalpa
Catalpa
1 year ago

I was really going to leave this alone but… This isn’t an apology. This is a not-pology.

I’m sorry if you think I’ve taken things too personally

It’s true that Scanisaurus’ phrase wasn’t an apology, but personally I also feel like that specifically is not really something she needs to apologize for?

I don’t really want to have someone apologize for having feelings. It’s an understandable response, to feel like you’re under attack when a lot of people argue with you.

I’m down for people apologizing for actions they took that caused problems. I could see apologizing for not addressing the meat of the argument in favor of repeatedly proclaiming a lack of trollish intentions, for example. But “I’m sorry that I took things too personally,” is, uh, something I’d be pretty uncomfortable hearing.

Scanisaurus
Scanisaurus
1 year ago

@Rhuu
I’ve tried explaining where I’m coming from, and I’ve tried apologizing, what else do you want me to do?

The reason I came to this blog in the first place was because I hoped I could share my thoughts and feelings with people without fear of being bullied or harassed for being “too feminist”, but your comments have made me feel like I’m not welcome here because I don’t know what you think is the right kind of feminism and I’m not ready to quickly do a 180 on the things I believe just like that.

You are sorry if someone *thinks*? No. An apology owns the actions that you are apologising for.

So I worded myself wrong, what I should have said is that I’m sorry I gave you reason to think I’m taking this too personally, and I genuinely am sorry about it, but at the same time, could I ask you to please try putting yourself in my shoes? How would you feel if several people all put bigoted and transphobic words in your mouth that you never intended and would never stand for? Could you honestly say you wouldn’t want to talk back?

Also, no one has misinterpreted your commments. We didn’t interpret them the way you had intended.

Didn’t Catalpa explicitly say that she had misinterpreted my comments? But even if she hadn’t, are my intentions not up to me but for others to decide for me?

I feel tired and upset typing all this, I never intended to offend anyone and I don’t wan’t to argue anymore. I’ve already said that I won’t stop you from using that term or argue more against you using it and I’m trying to apologize, and I don’t know what more I can do.
@Catalpa
Thank you again for taking this so well.
If you are disappointed that I was more focused on proving my intentions than addressing the arguments themselves, it’s because I was overwhelmed by som many and so lengthy responses. I’m a slow writer and have always had difficulty expressing myself through text alone (I think I’ve spent probably an hour just writing on this comment), so I wound up focusing on the insinuations that I was a troll because those hurt me more and I couldn’t come up with a good counterargument when I’m tired and upset so I thought it wasn’t worth trying. I feel like it all came back to me taking this to personally, hence why I apologized for that in the previous comment.

kupo
kupo
1 year ago

I’ve tried explaining where I’m coming from, and I’ve tried apologizing, what else do you want me to do?

I understand that you’re feeling attacked right now, but Rhuu already explained the answer to this. Your apology was not an actual apology. You were given a link that explains what a good apology looks like. This is something almost everyone has to learn because most people are taught how to say an empty “I’m sorry” growing up but never taught how to own up to a mistake and apologize. Most people aren’t taught that they aren’t owed an acceptance of their apology or forgiveness for the thing they did wrong, either. It sucks that we have to learn this as adults, but unfortunately that’s how it is. No one is saying you’re a bad person for not knowing this. But the apology is not a good one, and you’ve now been given the tools to help you learn how to apologize better in the future.

The reason I came to this blog in the first place was because I hoped I could share my thoughts and feelings with people without fear of being bullied or harassed for being “too feminist”, but your comments have made me feel like I’m not welcome here because I don’t know what you think is the right kind of feminism and I’m not ready to quickly do a 180 on the things I believe just like that.

Alright, so you came to this blog because it’s very feminist. Great! Welcome! But you can’t expect us to tone down our feminism because you’re still learning. You are right now doing the thing you came here so other people wouldn’t do it to you: you’re policing us for being “too feminist.” We are going to push back when you say things that are harmful to marginalized groups. No one gets a pass on that. There’s another thread where a regular that’s been here forever just got called out and he apologized. Getting called out isn’t a personal attack. It serves two purposes: primarily, letting the groups who are harmed by the statements made know that they are safe and protected here, and secondarily educating the person making the harmful comments (and anyone else reading who isn’t aware).

So I worded myself wrong, what I should have said is that I’m sorry I gave you reason to think I’m taking this too personally, and I genuinely am sorry about it, but at the same time, could I ask you to please try putting yourself in my shoes? How would you feel if several people all put bigoted and transphobic words in your mouth that you never intended and would never stand for? Could you honestly say you wouldn’t want to talk back?

It’s deeper than wording yourself wrong. It’s a lack of acknowledgement of the actual problem. Please do read the article on how to apologize.

As for the second part, I can’t speak for Rhuu, but I’ve been called out for using language I didn’t realize was harmful. I understand how it feels like an attack, like a mischaracterization, like I need to defend myself. But that’s the reflexive reaction. And if I step back, read what the person is saying, and take the time to educate myself, I can actually come to understand how my words were perceived. That takes work. It’s not easy. But no one needs to coddle my privileged ass because my feelings might get hurt if I’m told I’m being harmful. It’s on me to learn from it.

I hope this helps you understand why you’ve been getting the response you have. The most important thing is not ty o double down or turn it into being about you.

Rhuu - apparently an illiterati
Rhuu - apparently an illiterati
1 year ago

I know I can be hmm… a lot. I’ve been told this, and I try to keep it in mind.

There is that old joke, from xkcd (of course it is!)

comment image

It’s such a human thing to want to explain ourselves, to want others to understand where we are coming from, to get the agreement, or for others to say “that was a good point, and well made”.

Sometimes we miss the mark.

Perhaps I shouldn’t have called out your not-pology, especially since you were apologising for something that I don’t need an apology for.

You’re arguing that you’ve already apologised enough, what else could we possibly want? You’ll conceed the point!

I mean, I’m glad you won’t argue against us using TERF, and that using that could push lurkers and learners and fence sitters into the ‘gender critical’ category.

Any apology we could want is mostly “I’m sorry I didn’t listen, and insisted that everyone was misunderstanding me. I’m sorry I keep making the replies about how I’m worried everyone thinks I’m a troll. I’m sorry I didn’t engage with the points, I was overwhelmed. I’ll think about them, and come back to it later, maybe in an open thread.”

BUT don’t apologise just to get it over with. A real apology is one that you understand, one that shows that you actually want to apologise for something. I’m certainly not expecting it, a ‘I’ll think about it’ really is good enough. Which you’ve basically said at this point, in so many words.

Also, don’t expect for everyone to accept it right away, as kupo pointed out. You apologise, but then aren’t owed hm… in this case, not ‘forgiveness’, perhaps ‘acceptance’. No one is owed it, ‘sorry’ isn’t a magic word that makes the previous conflict disappear. (I yell at my childhood)

Why the reply, then?

Because you aren’t thinking of the *lurkers*. Your focus on engaging with the ‘fence sitters’ to convince them has missed like, three quarters of the reason I write responses.

I want to convince you, but let’s face it, it probably won’t happen. You’ve said so yourself! Humans just don’t change their ideas very quickly. That’s just how we work.

Buuuuuuuuut, maybe my post will convince someone that the ‘TERF is a slur’ is meant to stop productive discussions. (It could also push someone the other way, “look at how mean Rhuu is!”, but I can’t do anything about that.)

Most of the people who read this site don’t comment, I’m sure. I know it took me a while to build up to it!

I believe you and I have had a similar discussion before, and you have had a similiar end to it. You tell us how you are overwhelmed with responses, and you’re too raw to do more than try to make everyone understand that you are here in good faith.

I’m going to, once again, offer you some advice on how to deal with a post that unexpectedly blows up.

1. Remember that we are critiquing your words, and not yourself.

2. If you want to respond, respond with something like “I didn’t expect this many comments! It’s too much for me to respond right now, but thank you for your effort. I will think about what you’ve said. Are there any resources you’d recommend I look at, to understand more?”

3. Don’t post any more, if you don’t feel up to it.

You could ask for clarification on points, but the response I suggest *doesn’t* say that you’ll change your mind, just that you’ll listen and consider.

Anyway, this is long, and you’ve said you don’t really like long posts. :/ sorry, I’ll try to be briefer in the future, when answering your questions.

Scanisaurus
Scanisaurus
1 year ago

I’m glad you both are trying to see my point of view, and I’ll try my best to consider yours.

I’ve garnered that you think my opinions are completely wrong and you were hoping that if you all in turn gave me detailed explanation of why you used the terms you did, you would make me understand your point and when I did understand it I’d change my mind and start agreeing with you that I was wrong and agree to listen to your lectures.

Maybe you didn’t see that from my perspective, it felt like a bunch of people closed up around me all to tell me how wrong I was and everyone only repeating the same point. I think most people would agree that’s usually only making the person talked to more defensive in reality, but it’s easy to forget on the internet and I’ll try and give you the benefit of a doubt and say you didn’t realize just how stressful and upsetting it was for me.

Sometimes, I can feel like you want no less of me than for me to rescind all my opinions, but I wouldn’t feel honest telling people I agree with them when I don’t. What I can do is apologize for expressing them in a bad way, and focusing too much on the tone of your posts instead of your arguments, and promise that I won’t keep arguing for something when I know you don’t agree with me on it.

Anyway, your picture was pretty spot on, Rhuu.

kupo
kupo
1 year ago

I’ve garnered that you think my opinions are completely wrong and you were hoping that if you all in turn gave me detailed explanation of why you used the terms you did, you would make me understand your point and when I did understand it I’d change my mind and start agreeing with you that I was wrong and agree to listen to your lectures.

Personally I don’t care whether you change your opinions. I care whether trans folx and sex workers feel safe here. I don’t care if you agree with us, you just need to stop saying harmful things. Whether you believe those harmful things is up to you, but you’re going to continue to get pushback whenever you try to advance those ideas in here. Don’t like it? Find a space that agrees with you.

Redsilkphoenix: Jetpack Vixen, Intergalactic Meanie
Redsilkphoenix: Jetpack Vixen, Intergalactic Meanie
1 year ago

Only got 2/4 right. For whatever that’s worth. 😐

Dumb question – is ‘transbian’ a legit term, or is it a slur? I’ve never stumbled across that word before (probably because I haven’t read tons of trans writings), and was curious.

Dalillama
Dalillama
1 year ago

@Redsilkphoenix:
It’s a term some trans femmes use for themselves, but generally not a word that cis folks have any business using.

Scanisaurus
Scanisaurus
1 year ago

Personally I don’t care whether you change your opinions. I care whether trans folx and sex workers feel safe here. I don’t care if you agree with us, you just need to stop saying harmful things. Whether you believe those harmful things is up to you, but you’re going to continue to get pushback whenever you try to advance those ideas in here. Don’t like it? Find a space that agrees with you.

I didn’t get that across from your comments. If all you wanted to do was to make me stop advocating for those opinions here, I already did, and I tried saying that several days ago and I’ve kept trying to say that, and when I keep getting several responses on how I’m wrong even after I’ve said I’m no longer going to argue in favor of that, it feels like I’m not allowed to have any dissenting thoughts and feelings even if I promise to keep them to myself and I’d need to pretend to agree with everyone in order to be welcome here.

I hope that’s not what you meant to, but that’s how I ended up feeling.

kupo
kupo
1 year ago

@Scanisaurus
Well, then you changed the topic to how you were treated. Did you expect no engagement on that?

Scanisaurus
Scanisaurus
1 year ago

@kupo
From what I saw, there were several comments still arguing against it even after I’d said I wouldn’t argue about the comment, and still focusing on picking apart an opinion I was no longer defending.

I wish I could make you understand just how stressful this all has been for me, and I wish I could ask you if you think I’d take such pains trying to explain myself and try and ameliorate it all if I didn’t care weather anyone here accepted me or I offended anyone.

I’ve spent so much of my life the last few months feeling ashamed of myself and my emotions and for not being able to just swallow my sadness and anger as to not being a burden to the people I live with, and I don’t think I can do that here too.

I’ve already said what I can to apologize, so if you don’t have anything else to add other than how I did wrong, I’m not going to comment more on this thread.

Catalpa
Catalpa
1 year ago

@Scanisaurus

I think the trouble might be some miscommunication.

You seem to have a tendency to say “all right, I won’t argue about this anymore, but also [x, y, and z].”

From what I can tell, the points you add to your post about not arguing anymore seem to be you trying to clear up any misinterpretations of your points.

However, like I said, misinterpretation and disagreement are not the same thing. If you provide clarification on a statement that has been misconstrued, that’s one thing. But further developing points that people have disagreed with isn’t clarification. It’s interpreted as arguing for your position.

You seem to believe that you’re saying “okay, I won’t talk about this anymore, but I’m not making these arguments in bad faith, and this is why.”

But what the commentariat hears is “hey, let’s drop this topic, but first let me get the last word and defend my points one more time.”

This is why you keep getting people telling you that you’re wrong even after you say that you’ll stop arguing. Because you are perceived as continuing to argue.

If you want to drop a topic, then I suggest making a post only containing that sentiment, and nothing to do with the argument that happened.

There may still be some stragglers that make posts after that, because people don’t always read all the comments before typing a reply, but they should be rare.

Rhuu - apparently an illiterati
Rhuu - apparently an illiterati
1 year ago

Yes! Thank you, Catalpa!

You seem to believe that you’re saying “okay, I won’t talk about this anymore, but I’m not making these arguments in bad faith, and this is why.”

But what the commentariat hears is “hey, let’s drop this topic, but first let me get the last word and defend my points one more time.”

This is why you keep getting people telling you that you’re wrong even after you say that you’ll stop arguing. Because you are perceived as continuing to argue.

comment image

Scanisaurus
Scanisaurus
1 year ago

Maybe I do.
The problem is that I don’t see that as trying to get the last word, I’m only trying to clarify myself, and it feels like I’m in a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation where if I try to explain myself, people see me as an obtuse jerk just trying to get the last word, but if I don’t explain myself, I see people twist my words and claim that I hold opinions I never had and then speak to each other over my head reinforcing their ideas of what my opinions are, and it feels like what I say and feel doesn’t actually matter, only what others think I say or feel.

I did get stuck in a big argument in the next thread over too, some persons thought my thoughts on the Thor comic was sexist, but this time I actually came to change my mind and agree with them when I saw their point of view, yet despite this I still see comments assuming things about me that I never said and wouldn’t stand for, and I’m stuck trying to explain I never said those things there now.

I know this isn’t a good look, it’s just that the one thing I can’t deal with is people telling me that my own thoughts aren’t mine and that they know more about what I think than I do. I get stressed out and I don’t know what to do.

Like, your advice on how to word myself looks really useful, but I’m not sure how much I can improve if I can’t get a grip on my emotions, and I don’t know how to do that right now. Part of me still very much wants to be part of this community, to learn new things and see you put down the type of people that’s made me afraid to speak up in other places, but all this recent stuff has made me consider weather it’s worth it for me to keep reading and commenting here. This has been very draining for me and has made me feel like I’m not welcome here, and I’m just disturbing you in your discussions and derailing threads when I try to share my opinions and things would be better for all if I just left and stuck to places where I’d stay out of any heated topics that could offend anyone, because I don’t want to be that person who always ruins the mood and spoils things for everyone else and I’m wondering if it’d be better that way.

kupo
kupo
1 year ago

I know this isn’t a good look, it’s just that the one thing I can’t deal with is people telling me that my own thoughts aren’t mine and that they know more about what I think than I do. I get stressed out and I don’t know what to do.

The thing is, no one is telling you what your thoughts are. We’re telling you what you’re communicating to us. We’re telling you how the ideas you tell us stem from other ideas, and how they’re all connected. That’s feminism. It’s an entire discipline of study that examines these cultural ideas. Your thoughts aren’t created in a vacuum. They come from the culture you live in. And so when you say things like “TERF is bad, we shouldn’t say that” you’re communicating more than just your own thoughts.

You can’t expect us to not respond to that. You can’t expect us to only discuss what you personally thought you were communicating. Because, just like “TERF is a slur” has a whole lot more packed into it than what one might be able to glean from the surface, if one is unfamiliar with the history of TERFs, the ideas you’re communicating have a lot more meaning than you might be aware of.

I’ve said some shit I had no idea was as bad as it was. And I’ve discovered some unconscious bias I had no idea was hiding inside me. For example, “dumb” as a description for a person or idea. It’s bad on so many levels, but I didn’t think it was a big deal. “I don’t mean anything about mute people!” I would tell myself. “I just mean unintelligent!” But that was an awful bias, too. And it’s hard to erase those biases. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t there. Society still believes that people who are unable to communicate well are incapable of complex thought, and therefore less intelligent and therefore less valuable, less human. More disposable. Less worthy of accommodation. Less worthy of anything. And by using the word “dumb” in the way I did, I was reinforcing those ideas.

If you told me back then I had some terrible ideas about mute people (and let’s be honest, the term has anti-deaf roots as well), I would have denied it. But I would have been wrong. The bias was there, and I was communicating it every time I used that language.

If you want to make statements that are harmful and not get pushback, this isn’t the place for it. There’s the whole internet out there where you can say whatever pro-TERF thing you want or argue for why Jane Foster should be called Thora or whatever argument you want to make that you think we shouldn’t be arguing against. If this place is difficult for you because we will push back on bad ideas*, then maybe try reading and not commenting for a while. Most of us did that. But every time an argument comes up like this, you double-down, then tell is we’re wrong to continue pushing back, and when we try to explain why we do that you get upset again. And then you expect us not to respond to that, and when we do you continue to get upset.

To us, it feels like you’re trying to get us to agree we shouldn’t push back on bad ideas. That we should just let you say whatever harmful thing you want to say and remain silent. That when you protest if we do push back, we should fall all over ourselves apologizing to you. I’m not going to do that. You’re welcome in this space, but you need to stop centering yourself and your feelings in every conversation.

*note that it’s the ideas, not the person, that we are pushing back on.

Scanisaurus
Scanisaurus
1 year ago

I get that you would respond, it’s just that the way you’re responding can be pretty stressful for me.

You keep using the word push back, but a push can very easily feel like a shove to the one pushed, and so many of the responses I’ve gotten have felt overwhelming but also condescending in tone, like you’re explaining your points to a little kid who have never heard of feminism before and not an adult who has. I get that you probably didn’t mean it like that, but that’s how it came across to me.

And I get that you probably think intent is less important than the arguments themselves, but they aren’t unimportant to me, because from my perspective, hearing that intent doesn’t matter feels like hearing that there isn’t any meaningful difference between me unintentionally disturbing someone and a troll deliberately provoking them, and if trying but not getting everything right doesn’t count any more than rolling one’s thumbs, then I might just as well give up trying.

To us, it feels like you’re trying to get us to agree we shouldn’t push back on bad ideas. That we should just let you say whatever harmful thing you want to say and remain silent. That when you protest if we do push back, we should fall all over ourselves apologizing to you.

It doesn’t feel like that to me, I don’t want you to stay silent or come with a bunch of apologies, I just don’t want to feel like I’m being talked down to or hear insinuations that I’m dishonest in my arguments. I know I’m being repetitive with the last bit, but it’s a sore spot for me and prodding it will not help you in your arguments, so I ask that you please try and avoid it the same way you’d try and avoid any other terms or language belittling or othering people.

You’re welcome in this space, but you need to stop centering yourself and your feelings in every conversation.

This is also one of those “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situations where I don’t want to make you think I’m trying to center the conversation on my feelings, but at the same time I’ve gotten the impression that when I don’t add the caveat that that’s just how I feel about something, people think I’m unfairly generalizing, taking opinions for facts and pretending to know things I don’t.

I wish things were as easy as just shutting off my emotions and eating crow, but it isn’t, and when I’ve tried, I’ve only ended up making myself feel worse. I don’t have any good answers to this, and I’m not trying to justify myself, only explain.

kupo
kupo
1 year ago

…when I don’t add the caveat that that’s just how I feel about something, people think I’m unfairly generalizing, taking opinions for facts and pretending to know things I don’t.

That’s not what I mean by centering the conversation on yourself and your feelings, and it honestly feels like you’re trying so hard to find something contradictory in what I’m telling you that you’re twisting things in any way you can to find it.

When I talk about centering the conversation on your feelings I mean how, when we call out something you’ve said, you derail the entire thread to being about how you feel about being called out. That’s not cool and it’s not productive and it’s not our job to manage your feelings about finding out your ideas are not well-liked. That’s for you to process on your own time. Again, you should seriously consider just reading for a while.

Shadowplay
1 year ago

And I get that you probably think intent is less important than the arguments themselves, but they aren’t unimportant to me,

I did not intend you to think I was implying you were a troll when I gave a similar type of argument (on a different topic) to your initial one to show why yours would be not considered in the best possible light here.

Yet you read it that way, and got upset. Did my intent matter to the effect it had on you?

It did not. This is why “Intent isn’t magic” is a thing here.

Ariblester
Ariblester
1 year ago

kupo wrote on
July 25, 2019 at 5:11 pm:

*note that it’s the ideas, not the person, that we are pushing back on.

This comes with a proviso, though: If the commenter manages to wear out someone’s patience, they get shut down hard. No punches pulled, personal attacks included. No judgement; we’re all human. The trick is to know when to stop digging.

Scanisaurus
Scanisaurus
1 year ago

That’s not what I mean by centering the conversation on yourself and your feelings, and it honestly feels like you’re trying so hard to find something contradictory in what I’m telling you that you’re twisting things in any way you can to find it.

I read your comment wrong and I apologize for that.

Regarding your argument about me centering the topic to my feelings, if your words and responses comes off as harsh and make things personal because of your patience and energy gets worn down, then that also applies to me. I don’t want to be offended, I don’t want to be sad and angry and I don’t think anyone does.

If it was as easy for me as just shutting off my emotions and to just grin and bear it when ever I felt distraught over something someone said to me, I would, but I can’t do that and I don’t want you to feel like I’m only derailing and ruining the discussions for everyone else. I feel like I need a break from this kind of discussion, this blog and this community right now, and I don’t know when or if I’m coming back.

I hope you don’t think lesser of me for wanting to leave.

Catalpa
Catalpa
1 year ago

You need to do what’s best for your own wellbeing, Scanisaurus. I hope you feel better.