The blogosphere is stupid place. It encourages stupidity. It did so way back when it wasn’t a blogosphere, but just a bunch of bulletin boards and chat rooms. It did so when all we had was listserves to wank on. But now, stupid has proliferated into a kind of art form.
My favourite stupid of the moment is the stupidity in using the term “safe space.” I learned it when I was in college, in my women’s studies classes, and I learned pretty much simultaneously that there is no such thing as “safe” space. There might be “safer” spaces, where you specify what constitutes your personal safety and can agree on that with a bunch of other people, without threatening them over some issue of safety that you haven’t discussed already because of your own privilege and blindness.
If this logic is not easily followable, it’s because I wrote it wrong. Suffice it to say that some contexts are safer for some people than other contexts; and when people are in the minority, then they will seek out similarly disenfranchised people, hang out together and feel relatively safe.
Well and good. But when feminists decide not to feel safe at the drop of a hat because someone else on another blog has said something disagreeable – I don’t know where to put my head.
So, two things that are pissing me off lately:
1. “I’m such a fucking victim and so in danger all the time because I have a cunt and the world is so unfriendly to cunts that, even though I spend all my time with other cunts, I’m in constant danger from the cuntless and the cunt-appropriator and the traitor cunts.” Fuck that shit. I don’t know what’s so radical about only engaging the choir (she says as she refuses to invite her own non-choir to this post… sheepishness ensues). I don’t know what’s so radical about fighting with other people who are fighting for female power. I just don’t get it. What happened to engaging patriarchal discourse? Oh. This.
Shit, I linked it. Now I’m in trouble.
2. “You can speak here ’cause I say so and you’re annoying me and lalalala I’m putting finger in ears now, I can’t here you, OH SAY CAN YOU SEEEEE!”
On the one hand, I absolutely agree. It’s a blog. It’s owned by a person. It is not a public forum, it’s a private forum publicly available. The blogger has every right to throw whoever she wants off the blog.
On the other hand, it’s so ridiculous to start a controversial conversation, get a fuckload of negative feedback that argues with you, some of which is downright rude and obnoxious, and after a while, just delete the lot because you didn’t like how it went. The blogger is, I must point out, within her rights. But it’s just so… ridiculous.
I get the impulse. I’ve had some comments on here that really made me feel like shit. But people think like that. People have horrible opinions – of women, of queers, of sex-positive feminists, of feminists against prostitution and sex-work, of transgender folk, of bisexual folk. People are horrible.
But surely the purpose of blogging publicly is to reduce the horribleness of people, one’s own and other people’s? I mean, what’s a feminist intervention if you’re in a safe space all the damn time?
There’s a bunch of examples I could link, but I’m lazy and I’d rather spend the time weeding through the reference literature for my thesis than trawl through the web re-looking at things that pissed me off.
Yeah, I’m just that pussy.