Feminism Catch-All (with FAQ)

Seth wrote:
SixteenBlue wrote:

It's a shame more people can't turn "what about MY experience" into "You know, I've experienced something similar although likely on a much smaller scale. Regardless, it gives me enough insight into what you must be experiencing to realize it's awful and we should do something about it."

I guess attention on the internet is the end goal here, not actually fixing any problems.

Dude wtf? Are you attacking me here?

Complimenting you, as far as I can tell.

The thing is, gaslighting is pretty much always a thing that is done by those with power to those with less power. It really doesn't work very well otherwise, because it relies on the person who is being gaslighted to defer, to not protest too much, to doubt their own faculties. People with power usually do not defer in the face of people with less power and they're less likely to doubt unless you give them a really good reason, not just "because I said."

So of course it happens disproportionately to those who traditionally have less power, such as women.

But even if you won't grant that point and insist that men have it just as bad, it's still a valid phenomena to examine. Those people who really can't stomach "this happens to women all the time" can still perhaps get the lesson "don't do this to anyone" which isn't bad.

But for those people who do recognize that it happens disproportionately to less privileged groups, it's a good insight into the ways a lot of people act. If you've known women with low self esteem I pretty much guarantee they've had heaping portions and second helpings of what the article describes.

Derp. Totally read it wrong.

Sorry!

Seth wrote:

Derp. Totally read it wrong.

Sorry!

It happens.

Definitely not attacking you. Just my thoughts on that follow up article. I'm actually really happy you posted that article (as is my wife who has been sharing it all morning) and thought your introspective response to the article was great.

I think this gets a little cart-before-the-horse. The issue here isn't that only women are gaslighted: it's a common form of psychological bullying and one I was subjected to routinely in my first marriage due to my hitherto undiagnosed clinical depression. The issue as I see it is that society as a whole gaslights women. The default setting of our entire culture is to make women doubt their own emotional stability and self-worth.

SixteenBlue wrote:

It's a shame more people can't turn "what about MY experience" into "You know, I've experienced something similar although likely on a much smaller scale. Regardless, it gives me enough insight into what you must be experiencing to realize it's awful and we should do something about it."

Completely agree with you.

Problem is, and I've seen this on this very board, that someone sharing an experience like that gets attacked for daring to think their experience was remotely similar.

Maq wrote:

I think this gets a little cart-before-the-horse. The issue here isn't that only women are gaslighted: it's a common form of psychological bullying and one I was subjected to routinely in my first marriage due to my hitherto undiagnosed clinical depression. The issue as I see it is that society as a whole gaslights women. The default setting of our entire culture is to make women doubt their own emotional stability and self-worth.

I'm kinda going to agree with you on this one. I share the article with my husband last night and we got into a full-on discussion about it. His point was that this was not something exclusive to women, that men can also be victims of it. That the perpetrators can be both men and women. I'm willing to see this side of the issue, gaslighting is bad for everyone, regardless of sex. Even though I think it happens to a lot of women.

Also, he kept telling me that I take too much time getting off the computer when he says dinner's ready.

I think the difference is it happens institutionally to women. That's the feminist issue here. Men are gaslighted in individual relationships but are not gaslighted by society as a whole.

MrDeVil909 wrote:
SixteenBlue wrote:

It's a shame more people can't turn "what about MY experience" into "You know, I've experienced something similar although likely on a much smaller scale. Regardless, it gives me enough insight into what you must be experiencing to realize it's awful and we should do something about it."

Completely agree with you.

Problem is, and I've seen this on this very board, that someone sharing an experience like that gets attacked for daring to think their experience was remotely similar.

Yeah, it's definitely happened on GWJ.

It may be worth considering that this case might actually be different from those other cases, either in content or delivery. You'll note that in those other cases, multiple people objected, whereas in this one nobody did. That would seem to suggest that multiple people make a distinction between what was being said then and what is being said now, and that in fact the people involved don't blindly reject any assertion that men's and women's experience can be parallel. When multiple people come to the same different conclusions in different situations, that's probably evidence that they're using similar thought processes to come to those conclusions based on perceptible differences between the situations. (And, if I may: that if someone else can't see a difference between the situations, there may be details of the situations that they're missing.)

In short: Yes, nobody's objected to anything this time, because unlike those other times there's nothing really objectionable. Gaslighting is a form of abuse that is done to people in the same way without respect to gender. As was pointed out and accepted by everybody, it's something that people in marginalized positions are especially vulnerable to. And as was also pointed out, it is done to women with great frequency in our society, even by people who don't know they're doing it. (Portions of the victim blaming of rape survivors comes to mind as an example of gaslighting that we rarely think about as such.)

I'll leave a final note: I've seen at least one story shared by a woman who had a Pick Up Artist intentionally try to gaslight her to convince her she had asked him over to her place from a bar. I don't follow PUA stuff, so I don't know if that's a "technique" they share around... but [em]ick[/em].

There are definitely differences between this and past situations. However, the only objectionable part of the past situation I'm thinking about was how people reacted to it.

Which one? I'd be happy to try to clarify.

When Bloo (I think) got attacked for daring to think that his experience of having his gaming credibility doubted based on his looks was even remotely similar to women having their gaming credibility doubted based on their gender.

I don't really want to reopen a can of worms, but the one I'm thinking of was when Bloo Driver recounted his experiences cosplaying. He never claimed his experiences were congruent with those of women, just that it gave him a glimpse of what they went though and helped him empathise. But he got stomped on.

*edit*

Oh yeah, and what Stengah said.

I'll see if I can search back and find that specific occasion and make it clear what it was that made a difference. I'll also note that from my side, I've seen situations where I'm like "Um. If you were just saying that and agree that it's different, why did you get all defensive when people said 'no, it's different', then?"

Again: If multiple people all got involved then and not now, they could see a difference between the two things. That doesn't mean the difference was the speaker's intent—but it does mean that there was something there that a bunch of people could all see (and a bunch of other people all couldn't see, hence how the speaker might not have seen it either).

I'll definitely admit that those arguments get really stupid... but, what exactly are people supposed to do? From over here, the sequence of events almost always looks like: "Someone sees something said that's not quite right, and makes a comment that it's not quite right", followed by "The original speaker starts to get defensive about things, typically saying 'you're seeing something that isn't there'", followed by attempts to explain why the thing actually might be there that the original speaker couldn't see, or why people saw it even though the original speaker didn't intend it, followed by a sh*t ton of confused messages as half of the world tries to say "why are you jumping on original speaker, you're overly sensitive"*, and the other half tries to explain what the original problem was and that no it really was there goddamit, stop telling me I'm imagining things, and...

Yeah... so that's why I try to encourage people not to take things as personal attacks and get defensive, because that's what *I* identify as the source of the problem.

* Oh hi, weren't we just talking about this sort of thing?

Hypatian wrote:

I'll definitely admit that those arguments get really stupid... but, what exactly are people supposed to do? From over here, the sequence of events almost always looks like: "Someone sees something said that's not quite right, and makes a comment that it's not quite right", followed by "The original speaker starts to get defensive about things, typically saying 'you're seeing something that isn't there'", followed by attempts to explain why the thing actually might be there that the original speaker couldn't see, or why people saw it even though the original speaker didn't intend it, followed by a sh*t ton of confused messages as half of the world tries to say "why are you jumping on original speaker, you're overly sensitive"*, and the other half tries to explain what the original problem was and that no it really was there goddamit, stop telling me I'm imagining things, and...

...then I get gaslighted by being accused of arguing semantics. The End.

Maq wrote:

I think the difference is it happens institutionally to women. That's the feminist issue here. Men are gaslighted in individual relationships but are not gaslighted by society as a whole.

Yeah, I think it's how when a man gets gaslighted, that doesn't make it easier to gaslight all men. When a woman gets gaslighted, it makes the next attempt to gaslight any woman easier.

Hypatian wrote:

Again: If multiple people all got involved then and not now, they could see a difference between the two things. That doesn't mean the difference was the speaker's intent—but it does mean that there was something there that a bunch of people could all see (and a bunch of other people all couldn't see, hence how the speaker might not have seen it either).

It's not outside the realm of possibility that the people who are seeing a difference were mistaken, or that they're not channeling this instance through the same thought process they used when they decided the first situation was offensive.

Edit - Don't get me wrong, I'm glad no one jumped on Seth for his learning moment. I just wish the same courtesy had been shown to Bloo.

Mystic Violet has found the thread you appear to be talking about. (If you could confirm that that was the event in question, I'd appreciate it.) I don't have time to look over everything right now, but I'll definitely go over it later. (Thanks Violet!)

Ahh... Memories.
(np Hyp!)

That's the one I was thinking of.

Hypatian wrote:

Mystic Violet has found the thread you appear to be talking about. (If you could confirm that that was the event in question, I'd appreciate it.) I don't have time to look over everything right now, but I'll definitely go over it later. (Thanks Violet!)

I was not happy to go through that thread the first time, so please do not be surprised at my forthcoming silence during any discussion about it again. I am not saying this to be combative or snide or anything like that, because looking over that doesn't fill me with the need to argue or fight about it and prove anything. All I really get from looking at that is a small bit of dread and the urge to really not post here again.

edit: Just noting this not because I think the whole thing revolved around me, just that it feels like someone might want to go over that stuff again or ask what I meant or for clarification, and I'd rather pre-emptively just say no.

Bloo, I feel the same way. (irony intended )

FWIW, there was a reason I shut up. It wasn't because I wrote you off. It was because I did and still am thinking hard about the point you raised and trying to find some way I could have expressed that without minimizing either of our experiences. I don't have any kind of answer. I'm not sure I ever will.

But it's clear from your post that you still feel hurt, and for that I am genuinely sorry.

After looking over things, in that exchange people (including me) did pile on Bloo in a bad way.

I think there [em]is[/em] a grain of truth in the first objections: that there is some essential difference in quality between tribal exclusion and gender exclusion. But, I think Bloo also made a reasonable attempt to call something like that out in his post... but in the flurry of replies and partial quotes, a number of us missed that, or forgot it. I do think that the defensive position that Bloo and others acting to defend him adopted fanned the flames a bit--but that's no excuse for what happened.

Something I've been increasingly trying to do these days is work my way back to primary sources, so that I know more about the context that something is coming from. It's all too easy without doing that to see people talking with concern about controversy and quoting things with important context missing and let stuff get out of control. I sort of wish it were easier to thread back in forum quotes here to read the original message and not just the quote. But, it's still doable to go back and find the messages and read them, it just requires more work. I'm also trying hard to not let the heat of the moment distract me, and if I don't really have time to look things over and respond in depth... wait until I [em]can[/em] do that.

On the other side of things: I think a good thing to do when you find you're being misunderstood is to explicitly call back to and quote from what you originally said, and then add additional explanation to that. That gives you an opportunity to make sure you said what you think you said, and the reader an opportunity to look at the original text and additional context and work from there. It keeps the comments under discussion "live", and also encourages someone to be just as detailed in explaining why they took any different impressions away (including adding more context from your original post if they need to). It also may make it a bit easier to avoid that defensive tone which is sort of like blood in the water. (It makes explanations [em]sound[/em] worse, in a way I can't really explain well.) Keeping things kind of formal and academic ("Here's what I said, here's what I think you think it means, here's what I think it means, here's what maybe you missed, here's what maybe I should have also said") also helps maintain a bit of distance so that attacks on what people have said don't feel quite so much like attacks on them personally.

(And I think it's particularly important, if you come to someone else's defense by attempting to interpret what they said, to quote in detail. Again, that keeps things grounded in the original text and keeps things from exploding to a point where people are now arguing about the way other people expressed their third-hand understandings, while still ending up with the original person feeling like it's about what they said.)

In the end though, that conversation went to a pretty awful place and I'm horribly sorry for not working harder to make sure I had all of the context before jumping in. It did not take very long at all before the quotes that were moving around were less about what Bloo had originally said, and more about what he was trying to tell people he hadn't said. And I read those later messages and only skimmed the original post, and did not do a good job of it. And then I'm sure other people took my stance as evidence that those interpretations from the nearby partial quotes were fair, and additional argument from that position was even further off the mark. The further off the mark things were, the worse the drift became.

I noted before that I'm trying to be much better at being careful--I've also been trying when I can to call out other peoples' misunderstandings by threading back through things. That second one is definitely harder, though. It's pretty easy to say to yourself "I will not post until I have time to do due diligence". It's harder when it's other people posting at their own pace, and there's a choice between being more careful and thorough to get things right, and being quick to respond and saying something that may be wrong in hopes of preventing an explosion. Still, I guess that's a good rule of thumb: It's okay to quickly say "I think there may be a misunderstanding here, and I'll post back later when I've thought about things more, in the meantime maybe people could try to be more calm?", but poor practice to try to actively interpret things at that speed (whether defending an idea or statement or objecting to it). "There might be a problem" is safe any time, but "this is what I think the problem is" requires a lot more work.

So again, I sincerely apologize.

I think this belongs here too.

Similar to how my brother (NYC born and bred) started getting interviews once he added "U.S. Citizen" to his resumé. It's amazing how people make assumptions based on a name.

But back to the topic of feminism. I just thought this piece of feminist geekery was really touching.

sometimesdee wrote:

But back to the topic of feminism. I just thought this piece of feminist geekery was really touching.

Yup. Good find.

...starting?

That's fair.