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Gender issues on MLMB

 
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Jackie



Joined: 06 Apr 2004
Posts: 20
Location: Canada

Post Post subject: Gender issues on MLMB Reply with quote

I am hoping we can continue our discussions here about attitudes toward women on MLMB.

There are a few issues I would like to talk about:
- Specific examples of posts to the board that I find insulting to women.
- How disruptive discussions about abortion, JA, etc have been to the message board, and why we cannot seem to have courteous discussions about these things
- The importance of gender issues to peace & social justice work
- The importance of women's input to any societal discussion

I hope to post examples here in the next day or two. In the meantime, please post your own ideas here about the topic.
Mon Sep 17, 2012 4:23 pm
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Jackie



Joined: 06 Apr 2004
Posts: 20
Location: Canada

Post Post subject: Admitting defeat Reply with quote

I have spent some time going through former threads looking for examples of insults to women.

I realize from reading those threads that I will not be able to justify to the satisfaction of the critics of the charge that some postings on MLMB are insulting to women any claims I make or evidence I produce.

As well, since I took it upon myself to look for those examples, the conversation has moved to another level of complexity, most obviously in several threads concerning Julian Assange.

So, I am giving up the quest to convince those who use names or make statements insulting or demeaning to women on the MLMB that such words, statements and attitudes are not fitting to discourse among intelligent, well meaning people who are trying to further the causes of peace and social justice. But I am not giving up hope.

I will say that in this process I have become more aware of the sensitivities and vulnerabilities of some of those who were posting messages that I found hurtful and insulting.

I simply 'feel' that a more courteous respectful tone in MLMB discussions is possible and would be more productive, and I remain 'confused' as to how to achieve that.

http://members5.boardhost.com/medialens/msg/1347813360.html
Mon Oct 01, 2012 10:29 am
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walter



Joined: 17 Oct 2004
Posts: 9
Location: Scotland

Post Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Jackie you say

“I realize from reading those threads that I will not be able to justify to the satisfaction of the critics of the charge that some postings on MLMB are insulting to women any claims I make or evidence I produce.”

Having raised the topic and set out to look for those examples which were supposed to motivate your concern, you now appear to be saying ‘it’s no use because you wouldn’t understand’. Isn’t that a little patronizing? Maybe I have got it wrong.

Jackie, I don’t see you making any progress without coming up with examples. ‘Hurtful and insulting’ doesn’t sound difficult to judge – and it’s hard to believe that people on ML would be hard to convince if you did find something of that description.

Have you considered that apart from occasionally colourful or careless language related to either gender, perhaps there isn’t such a problem regarding respect for women as you imagine?

Didn’t you notice that while you were looking for (but not finding) clear examples of disrespect for women, some women have been attempting to tear strips off the men? Eg the recently banned one.

Incidentally, you didn’t pick up on this insulting ans sexist post in the same thread of yours (just above where you linked): http://members5.boardhost.com/medialens/msg/1347921595.html
I suggest this would have been a great example for you, had it been the other way around Sad

No wonder you feel confused, about how you solve a problem you can not identify. So am I. Next time you feel uncomfortable why not just say so and see what develops?
Cheers
Walter
Wed Oct 03, 2012 4:12 pm
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Jackie



Joined: 06 Apr 2004
Posts: 20
Location: Canada

Post Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Walter.

I admit at the outset that I find this very difficult to discuss. The issues are so complex, we all have so much baggage around them, my word skills are so inadequate, and the discussions to date have gone around and around without ever coming near consensus. It almost seems futile to even try. But try I will.

I did look for 'evidence' and saw again how any charges that have been raised regarding insults to women were met with heaps of denial and counter charges. 'Hurtful and insulting' turns out to be hard to judge.

For example, as a woman, I find the term feminazi hurtful and insulting. Yet other posters deny that it is, say that it isn't specifically directed at women and isn't used as a tool to make uppity women shut up. To me, this word is an obvious direct insult. Femi means female. Nazi is someone who enslaves, starves, tortures, works to death, starves to death, executes, demeans, humiliates, etc those whom they define as 'the other'. So who are these feminazis that posters are referring to? One person said they are in the social service administration. Really?

Yes, I have noticed slurs against men, and have been accused of same myself. But asking someone to be perfect themselves or to stand up for every injustice is a way to shut them down, as when those who speak out against the mistreatment of Palestinians are asked why they aren't talking about Syria or Sudan.

By the way, I honestly feel that I have been respectful and courteous in my posting, even when greatly provoked on a few occasions.

Here are a few posts that bothered me. When I try to put my finger on why that is, I am unable to present an ironclad case as to why these are demeaning.

Using the spelling selektion to imply Nazism, demonizing a pro choice stance, blaming women for mediocre adults.
Quote:
~~~~~Women still do the majority of caring in the home and in the community.~~~~~

Which means they are responsible for most of the lousy care that we can see all around. Perhaps if they did the job properly, fewer children (the ones that survive selektion, that is) wouldn't grow up to be such mediocre adults.


This one in regard to a gender oriented discussion. Women are always asked to wait until the revolution's over before their issues will be taken up. Womens' issues are hugely inportant in teh work for peace and social justice.
Quote:
It is a great regret that at this time of extreme pressure in the media/lies world, this dissenting organisation that is Media Lens should engage in such navel gazing. Rome is burning FFS and we shouldn't be caught playing with our PPs


This one- women are too irrational to be allowed into serious discussions. Math is rational, logic is rational. Life is not rational.
Quote:
This is where your irrationality again dazzles all those seeking logical reasoning; just taking my own case, because I point out a language issue to, where you are factually incorrect to state that “feminazi has no meaning beyond being perjorative”, this leads to you then asserting that I’m making “a passionate defense of sexism, and the right to be sexist and to use sexist languague”; even if I am wrong on this language point, does it really warrent being labeled an anti-woman sexist ?!; and this is despite my opening post containing my very un-sexist view that ““equal rights for women is a just and righteous cause”.


Believe me, I'm as frustrated as anyone by this.
Wed Oct 03, 2012 10:02 pm
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walter



Joined: 17 Oct 2004
Posts: 9
Location: Scotland

Post Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Jackie

Thanks for persevering, not sure my reply was that encouraging. Not sure I’m the one for nuances – elephants in the living room being more my range of vision Smile. I think I see where you’re coming from with these posts; they could be taken the way you have taken them, as insult to women. However I only agree with one of the three that such an interpretation was reasonable Sad. I think in the other two of them you are reacting and forming your view before the ‘careful scrutiny’ part. Of course these might just be the ones you have to hand - so feel free to post more.

I remember the post blaming ‘lousy care’ on women; I’d missed the ‘selektion’ Nazi dig. It’s bad enough even without that … to take this part first, you probably know the poster in question often reduces every question to his binary view of the world. The ‘nazi’ selektion dig was about abortion, which you will know is his bugbear – everyone on the other side of the abortion issue (men and women) has had the ‘murderer’ or ‘genocide’ tag applied to them. Why did he throw that in on top – well it’s probably because it’s his bugbear? Given that we already tolerate what many regard as his extreme way of viewing the abortion issue (and that itself is a subjective view on our part) it’s the rest of the paragraph that’s the problem.

I agree the remark (even without ‘selektion’) isn’t defensible and is insulting, the only question is how big a deal was it when it seemed to be a throwaway remark in what was a bit of a bun fight rather than an attitude. I agree it was a bad thing to say. But does it illustrate a pattern of insults to women? Maybe you’re right but there would then be more, and more people doing it – I think you should have called him on it, you might have been surprised.

“It is a great regret that at this time of extreme pressure in the media/lies world, this dissenting organisation that is Media Lens should engage in such navel gazing. Rome is burning FFS and we shouldn't be caught playing with our PPs”

I’m afraid this time I agree with the poster, because the issue you raised is not established, and you yourself say it’s difficult to substantiate. Few campaigning groups would agree to halt the ship and address something else within the group that hasn’t yet been established as a problem. I’m sure the onus would usually be on those raising the problem to justify the group’s deflecting of resources towards it? And if the group don’t do that, does it then mean they are prejudiced against the issue? I don’t think it does – the answer is usually to work harder to convince them of the issue first. In skipping that step, I’d say you are jumping the gun. Though the corollary to that is that if it is reasonably established, it WOULD then need to be addressed. So don’t be too discouraged, maybe you’re getting there…

I hoped never to see the word ‘feminazi’ again. It and the post caused ructions on the board that persist today. If your argument is that that episode shows demeaning attitudes on MLMB to women though, I would ask you to consider 1) that the offending poster was immediately banned (though he reappeared unexpectedly today after about a couple of months). This is the only occasion I can remember where someone was banned for one post. Also, 2) half of the male posters fully accepted your viewpoint that it was insulting, sexist, misogynist etc, including dutifully falling out with the other half - that they then (consistently, I suppose - though I would say definitely wrongly) labeled insulting, sexist, misogynist etc.

But we’d probably agree that the problem that you raise lies with the ‘other half’. This brings in the specifics of your complaint. You describe a poster’s response like this:

“women are too irrational to be allowed into serious discussions”

Well that’s certainly not what that poster said in your quote, in which he complained that you were being irrational in the discussion – a common enough complaint in discussions. That’s a far cry from saying ‘women’ in general are irrational people. If you haven’t realized that by now, I think it might be because you are just being too sensitive here.

I accept how you felt about the situation. To be honest though I can’t see a valid complaint about this particular response Jackie - he was asking you to consider a key point of logic (or ‘rationalize’) and you were presumably (in his eyes) declining this request while you were persisting with the (insulting, BTW) label of sexism, and he called you irrational. As I say, it happens every day and has nothing to do with women particularly. You are in good company - on this very point, half the MLMB men did the same, refusing to recognize the point of logic.

I admit to potential bias here, as I happen to agree on the ‘logical point’ as well (that one has probably been raked over enough) – but even if I didn’t I’d still say you were wrong (sorry) for not going into the guts of it when challenged on your use of insulting term yourself. The issue was emotive sure – maybe I would feel different if it was me that felt I had been insulted. I hope not though - how can it be justified to accuse the poster of ‘defending sexism’ when he simply disagrees with you on the logic? At the very least you must recognize that there IS a logical disagreement, but you proceeded to the judgement.

More generally, you say “Femi means female”. No, it means feminist. As I understand it (had to look it up obviously Smile), the offending term feminazi refers to alleged feminism of an extreme nature. I wouldn’t ever use the term myself because of the connotations. Again, the problem is the popular misuse of the term ‘nazi’.

Unpleasant though it is though, I don’t believe you are entitled to claim all women are being insulted by the use of this term. Apart from the fact that not all feminists are women, it was used to describe a PARTICULAR behaviour or attitude – specifically, that the risk that JA would be shipped to America and likely torture should be ignored because of the correctness of ‘taking rape claims seriously’. The reason this is ‘extreme’ is that simple steps could be taken to prevent this extradition while continuing the investigation and protecting the rights of the accused - but the proponents of this argument would, presumably, rather have JA in a jump suit than the Swedish prosecutor fly to London (and possibly then have to drop the charges?) This was clearly, in fact, the now-departed John Brown’s much argued position. That it is not ‘women’ who are being ‘insulted’ but THAT ATTITIUDE should be clear enough.

Doubt most of this is what you want to hear, but I can only call it the way I see it. As I say you are welcome to continue any way you see fit. I’d encourage you to jump in on the board but also to think first – if you’d done that then I think you’d have had ONE SUCCESS OUT OF ONE Smile, and possibly encouraged others to comment if the problem exists. Wouldn’t be a bad start.

Cheers
Walter
Thu Oct 04, 2012 11:57 am
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Jackie



Joined: 06 Apr 2004
Posts: 20
Location: Canada

Post Post subject: Reply with quote

Clearing up a few misconceptions. First, re this

Quote:
he was asking you to consider a key point of logic (or ‘rationalize’) and you were presumably (in his eyes) declining this request while you were persisting with the (insulting, BTW) label of sexism, and he called you irrational.


The comment I cited was in response to someone else, not me. I have never used that term here.

Second, the word feminazi has been thrown around a lot on the board, and defended a lot.

Does it have to be considered insulting by all women for the objection to be considered? Some Muslims don't mind the label Islamofascist. I consider it a broad brush insult that should not be used. And I will go out on a limb and say, without actually conducting a scientific study, that most women who are concerned about womens' rights would consider the word feminazi as a counterproductive putdown.

Not sure what you mean by this, but would be interested in the details:

Quote:
I’d encourage you to jump in on the board but also to think first – if you’d done that then I think you’d have had ONE SUCCESS OUT OF ONE


Best wishes, Jackie
Thu Oct 04, 2012 1:59 pm
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walter



Joined: 17 Oct 2004
Posts: 9
Location: Scotland

Post Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi again Jackie.

On the “women are too irrational …” OK it wasn’t your discussion; presumably my comments can be taken as applying to the actual author of the comment whoever it was.

But it was you who wrote “women are too irrational to be allowed into serious discussions” though? That was my main point – the complaint was aimed at one poster refusing on a given occasion (in which they were insulting someone) to rationalize the key point of logic, yet you interpreted this complaint as meaning that “women are too irrational to be allowed into serious discussions”.

You might have acknowledged this Jackie, rather than simply point out my inconsequential ‘misconception’ as to who was the author of the post.

On the use of ‘feminazi’ you say

“Does it have to be considered insulting by all women for the objection to be considered?”

No, but most people DID acknowledge the objection from the outset. Some however pointed out that some of the criticism was unfair – for example it was alleged that it was simply a misogynous rant against women. I don’t want to drag it all up particularly, but false claims regarding the original offending post persist on the MLMB (on page one) as we write. Anyway those acknowledging it was not simply a misogynous rant against women took pelters for it. Sexist pelters too, I might add. I don’t see what more can be done with this issue. It was dealt with.

By ‘One success out of one’ I meant that I did agree with you on the first post. If you highlighted this one, I think you would receive a satisfactory level of support.

Cheers
Walter
Thu Oct 04, 2012 5:38 pm
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Jackie



Joined: 06 Apr 2004
Posts: 20
Location: Canada

Post Post subject: Reply with quote

Just wanted to set the record straight for posterity. Onward!
Thu Oct 04, 2012 8:29 pm
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Keith-264



Joined: 11 Oct 2012
Posts: 2

Post Post subject: Liberal tyranny Reply with quote

Quote:
I remember the post blaming ‘lousy care’ on women; I’d missed the ‘selektion’ Nazi dig. It’s bad enough even without that … to take this part first, you probably know the poster in question often reduces every question to his binary view of the world. The ‘nazi’ selektion dig was about abortion, which you will know is his bugbear – everyone on the other side of the abortion issue (men and women) has had the ‘murderer’ or ‘genocide’ tag applied to them. Why did he throw that in on top – well it’s probably because it’s his bugbear? Given that we already tolerate what many regard as his extreme way of viewing the abortion issue (and that itself is a subjective view on our part) it’s the rest of the paragraph that’s the problem.


Thank you for trying to explain my meaning Walter but all you've done is demonstrate the flaws in your reasoning.

If women do most of the care then they do most of the lousy care (just as the do most of the decent care). This is not a dig, it's a fact. Didn't it occur to to ask about the dog that didn't bark?

"Binary view of the world"? 'Right and wrong' is binary because it is, not because you don't agree that abortion is murder. You don't have a unitary definition of humanity and I do, not being a liberal.

Tags. Anyone reading the posts with an open mind will see that I have responded to individuals in the manner they have treated me, except with better manners and more stylee. By labelling a comment a dig, you negate it by belittling it.

As for extremism, well, sorry for being anti-death in all forms rather than just those selekted by convention. Bleating about hurt feelings is a bit rich if you've got blood on your hands.
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Mon Oct 15, 2012 11:02 am
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Jackie



Joined: 06 Apr 2004
Posts: 20
Location: Canada

Post Post subject: Reply with quote

Those responsible for criminalizing abortion will also have blood on their hands, and abuse. This is not a black and white issue.
Mon Oct 15, 2012 1:37 pm
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Keith-264



Joined: 11 Oct 2012
Posts: 2

Post Post subject: Sophistry Reply with quote

Jackie wrote:
Those responsible for criminalizing abortion will also have blood on their hands, and abuse. This is not a black and white issue.


'Course it is.
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Mon Oct 15, 2012 3:23 pm
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