Safe Spaces, ‘Silencing’, Sisterhood

Posted: March 29, 2011 in Blogging, Feminism, Freedom of Speech
Tags: , , ,

If you are not much of a participant on the feminist or transgender politics blogospheres, you might not know what a Safe Space is. I wish I didn’t.

According to wiki, A safe space

‘is a term for an area or forum where either a marginalised group are not supposed to face standard mainstream stereotypes and marginalisation, or in which a shared political or social viewpoint is required to participate in the space. For example, a feminist safe space would not allow free expression of anti-feminist viewpoints’.

No wonder I have problems!

Women only spaces have long since been an aspect of feminism. Growing up in a feminist household in the 1970s,  I remember my Mum and her friends being part of various women’s groups.  I was in ‘women’s CND’ in the 1980s and spent some time at that most excellent of ‘women’s only’ spaces, Greenham Common Peace Camp. Though, I have to tell you, it wasn’t just the lovely lesbian ladies, the feminist politics and the all-women anti-nuclear protesting that I liked. Because at Greenham, I actually encountered quite a few men, most of whom were in uniform! Whether it was coach drivers, policemen or those exotic, taboo figures on the other side of the fence: US soldiers, my favourite women’s only space wasn’t women only at all.

Since the internet got into its stride in the 1990s and 2000s, ‘safe spaces’ have come to fit the definition given above. these online ‘safe spaces’ exist alongside some women’s only ‘safe spaces’ in ‘real life’ such as rape crisis centres, women’s refuges and women’s discussion groups. Not to mention the Women’s Institute and women’s organisations which may not consider themselves ‘feminist’ at all.

I am focussing on internet ‘safe spaces’ here. The question I want to ask is, who are they protecting? Who is ‘safe’ in these spaces and who/what are the ‘dangers’ they are being protected from?

A lot of the language of ‘safe spaces’ focusses on issues pertinent to ‘radical feminism’. So safe spaces tend to be identified as places where women are safe to state their pro-choice views, to discuss and campaign against sexual violence (against women), and domestic violence (against women). Many ‘safe spaces’ online are tightly moderated and posts are flagged up quite a lot with ‘trigger warnings’. Trigger warnings

‘are designed to prevent people who have an extremely strong and damaging emotional response (for example, post-traumatic flashbacks or urges to harm themselves) to certain subjects from encountering them unaware. Having these responses is called “being triggered”. A trigger warning usually takes the form of some emphasised (usually bold) text describing in broad terms the upsetting nature of the content, and contains the words “trigger warning”‘.

The whole language and atmosphere of these online ‘safe spaces’ is one in which it is suggested that the women who participate in them are potentially vulnerable. That certain arguments, subjects and discussions are ‘dangerous’ or harmful to their well-being and that they should be protected from particular viewpoints and styles of debate.

Frankly I find this insulting. Not least because I am often labelled as the ‘danger’ to these women, and have my comments deleted, or am blocked completely from participating in discussions on a website/blog.

When you log on to your computer and when you sign in to comment on a blog, you do not have to state your gender identity, your political viewpoint or your status in regards to gender violence.  So the moderators do not know which of the commenters are in need of the ‘protection’ a safe space is said to provide.

The fact that, though I hate the phrase and the label, I am a ‘survivor of sexual violence’, a ‘survivor of domestic violence’ and someone with ‘gender identity issues’ means nothing. I have been treated as a threat, and accused of ‘triggering’ women on feminist blogs, and been kicked off them accordingly. These spaces are definitely not ‘safe’ for me, even though I tick all the stupid, infantile and patronising boxes that suggest they are supposed to be.

My most recent conflict with a feminist ‘safe space’ was just today, on this UK feminist blog, The F word, discussion about ‘the tyranny of silencing’ of minority and marginalised voices. Haha.

As you can see, I said on the discussion that I am continually ‘silenced’ by feminists, on blogs and websites, for stating my views and challenging their dogma. The result was, they did not publish all my comments, I was told I was ‘derailing’ the discussion, and someone made a long and personal diatribe against me before the whole comments thread was closed down. Before I could respond to her. The moderator left this comment before closing down the comments:

‘Just a reminder that the original post is by an agender person.

From here on out, comments which ignore that fact in favour of derailing/recentring/name-calling and carrying on personal feuds will not be published – not out of any intention to silence anyone but because it’s making this space feel quite unsafe.

With that in mind, I’m temporarily putting *all* comments on this post on hold for the rest of today.’

And that was that*.

It is laughable to me,but also quite worrying, that in this environment of mollecoddling women, and apparently ‘agender’ people (though  I get the impression many trans women and gender non-conforming people do not feel protected by feminist safe spaces), someone is always presented as the ‘aggressor’, the one who threatens this cosy little therapeutic atmosphere. And it doesn’t matter how nasty, personal or rude anyone is to that designated aggressor, because they have broken the law of the ‘safe space’.

It’s clever really. It is yet another ruse by feminists to shut down debate and stifle any challenges to their perspectives. As  I have pointed out before, tropes like ‘whataboutthemenz’ have entered feminist discourse, to dismiss and belittle anyone, especially men, who question their ‘gyno-centric’ view of everything.

‘Safe spaces’ do the same thing. On another discussion recently on an American feminist blog I got accused of ‘triggering’ someone’s trauma as a rape survivor and was told to leave.

Now,  I may be cynical. But I have this sneaking suspicion, that if I said I was upset as a result of the content of someone’s remarks about sexual violence or domestic violence, I don’t think they would be told to leave the feminist ‘safe space’ for the sake of my ‘safety’. Thank goodness they wouldn’t. I’d hate to limit other people’s rights to speak on any subject.

And that’s the thing. This isn’t about safety at all is it? Feminists are actually ‘abusing’ people’s real traumatic experiences and using them to justify their tactics of shutting down debate and keeping any dissent out of their little world. What this is really about is ‘silencing’. The tyranny of silencing.

I use the term ‘silencing’ with some reluctance. I don’t think this is a clear-cut case of ‘censorship’. I am not literally silenced. I am writing my response here on my blog. But in terms of feminist discourse and feminist spaces, the regularity with which I get my comments deleted or am blocked completely from sites, does constitute a form of ‘silencing’ in my view. And I know I am not alone in this.

They don’t care I know. They think they have to keep people like me from saying what I believe about gender issues, because I am ‘derailing’ their discussions, I am a ‘troll’ and a ‘timewaster’ and they are all ‘sick’ of me.

I bet they are sick of me. But maybe not quite as sick as I am of them!

Gender is the subject about which I care most about I think. Gender in its widest sense that is. Which is really like saying ‘people’. As such I won’t stop discussing gender issues wherever I see them arise. If I get told to ‘go away’, ‘kindly fuck off’, to take my ‘anti-feminist’ views elsewhere, I will have to abide by their ‘safe spaces’ and do just that.

But this version of sisterhood is precisely why I think ‘sisterhood’ is a farce. As someone once said, ‘it’s like being in the sisterhood without any sisters’.

I am not frightened of anyone. I don’t need protecting and treating like a child. I deal with my own traumas and my own painful memories on my own. I don’t think that ‘safe spaces’ exist in this world.  Because one person’s safe space is another person’s hornet nest.

I am the girl who kicked the hornets’ nest.

I hope you don’t get stung.

*The F-word thread was re-opened the next day and nearly all comments published. I only apologised to the original poster as I was being ‘polite’ and didn’t want to blame that individual  any of the criticisms I was making in the discussion of ‘feminism’ ‘safe spaces’ ‘silencing’ or ‘the F word’. I did not apologise in order to take responsibility/blame  for the way that discussion went!

  1. Henry says:

    I’m glad you blogged about this. The same happened to me on one of these sites – I offered a dissenting opinion and lo-and-behold it was gone a few days later.

    One feminist Twitterer opined to an ally “You’re perfectly entitled to expect respect and have a right to do whatever you damn well like with your own blog/comments.”. Very true – but it is then clear whether that person values open debate, or just wants a kind of propaganda campaign showing lots of people agreeing with her.

    Feminism sometimes pretends to be an academic discipline – it isn’t. Too often it’s nothing more than just politics: the cause is claimed to be “equality”, but the more difficult philosophical problems of defining (let alone achieving) equality are conveniently ignored, and the game becomes getting a better deal for women, regardless.

    I do get the sense that feminists will ignore difficult arguments, to the point of banning posters then rationalising that they are responding rudeness etc. What they REALLY want to be doing is harmoniously agreeing with each other about the obvious rightness of their cause. When someone points out intellectual inconsistencies (and there are just one or two of those) they are none to happy about it.

  2. I’m conflicted, because as a member of a stigmatised actual minority – sex workers and ex sex workers – and often the target of hateful prejudice by the very people (feminists) who promote and encourage ‘safe spaces’, I wish to hell there was a space that was “safe” for me. In lieu of any such thing, I’ve had to cultivate space where, at least, I have control over the discussion. This includes not allowing comments on my blog and having a very private Facebook account, among other things, such as mailing lists.

    The problem I see with safe spaces however is when they are presented as a space for public debate, and end up being anything but. I’m all for private and semi-private spaces for people with common interests to discuss things among themselves. However, the F Word presents itself not as a closed shop, but as an open one, even when in practice the community censors different opinions. The selective ‘discussion’ that flourishes in these places gives the impression of consensus where it does not exist, and with more information prey to the phenomenon of search-engine shallowness of research, this is a problem for people whose (opposing) viewpoints are genuinely marginalised.

    As I say, conflicted.

    • some very good points and pause for thought there B.
      You are right it is a complex issue.

      But yes the Fword presents itself as an open(ish) forum to discuss feminist issues with a broad base. It is not. Like I said on the F word today, it is disingenuous at best, if not downright hypocritical to present ones forum as a place for debate and one where people are ‘protected’ from personal attack etc when it is not.

      There are literally thousands of feminist ‘spaces’ online. Quite a few are ‘safe spaces’ for various groups and I ignore them happily. But it is the ones which are high profile and which like you say can be searched and are seen to represent ‘women’ or ‘feminism’ or ‘debates on sex work’ or rape or domestic violence, which I am criticising here.

    • elflojo84 says:

      Belle, those are good points. Thing is, do you not agree that there’s a huge gap between someone coming onto your blog and attacking YOU for being a sex worker, and coming on and attacking your VIEWS on sex work, or your intellectual defence of it? I would assume from my very limited contact with you here (and hope, certainly) that the latter would still be allowed even if it upset you? Notwithstanding the line is often blurred, of course.

      The same is true of feminist blogs, there are different ways to disagree / criticise. The thing is, to use your own blog as an analogy, more often than not the feminist blogs are not just censoring the comments saying “you worthless fucking whore” but also the ones saying “I think that sex work promotes a negative and harmful attitude to sexuality and relationships”. And leaving the comments that say “you small-minded fucking prude” to the people disagreeing.

      • elfjo you have got that totally the wrong way round! feminists tend to leave comments saying ‘you worthless whore’ or words to that effect, and ones criticising sex work, but censor people saying ‘you small minded prude’!

        Think about what you said I think you will see my point!

        • elflojo84 says:

          You’ve missed my point QRG – whether that’s my fault or yours I don’t know!

          I was using Belle’s blog as an analogy – ie, I meant each of those comments as representing the equivalent (as you say, often the opposite…) on a feminist blog. Or to put another way, if Belle was to police her blog the same way our friend Melissa does, which comments she would delete and which keep. Make sense?

          • yes but it is confusing if you make up quotes of comments that could be made but aren’t it all gets a bit hypo-thetical. and Belle has very very concrete examples of real comments aimed at her and her work.

            The thing about sex work is it is always turned into a ‘personal’ issue because it is about sex. Her decision is to not allow ANY comments on her blog to avoid this issue of choosing which ones to allow and which not.

      • It’s difficult to say, because I have never had comments (and indeed started blogging when that was not yet standard, so never felt pressure to add them).

        While in principle I have no problem with people disagreeing with my points, it’s far more often that discussion of anything to do with sex workers/sex work turns into attacks on people in sex work. When added to the fact that comment space is used on high-traffic blogs to drive traffic elsewhere, I would be wary of the result of opening that space. And in any case, in spite of the fact that my writing is being inexorably driven – largely because of haters – towards a discussion of sex work, that’s not actually what the blog and books are *about*. It’s a diary, not a platform (or, at least, was). So I prefer to keep it in a space that is “about” discussion.

        Or in other words, as I often say about my Twitter timeline, my blog is not a democracy. I would probably end up blocking so many people as to never have the time to get any actual work done. I like to think of it as keeping my office space distinct from my house, y’know?

  3. elflojo84 says:

    Good article. Reminds me of this:

    Especially this passage:

    “These intellectual, clever, engaged men want to endlessly probe my argument for weaknesses, wrestle over details, argue just for fun. And they wonder, these intellectual, clever, engaged men, why my voice keeps rising and why my face is flushed and why, after an hour of fighting my corner, hot tears burn the corners of my eyes” [used as an example of ‘mysogeny’ in everyday life]

    It’s a standard feminist tactic, interpreting ‘disagreement’ as ‘mysogeny’, conflating ‘feminism’ with ‘women’ so an attack on the ideology becomes an attack on the sex. I hate it as much as you.

    If your ideology is so fucking right, it shouldn’t be too hard to demolish criticism now should it?

  4. Nico says:

    Belle de Jour said:


    Yes. And this is a ‘silent killer’ of analytic creativity and activist progress. Choking on pixel dust.

    “We should be on by now.”

  5. Nico says:

    (sorry if this is a dupe!)

    Belle de Jour said:

    “The selective ‘discussion’ that flourishes in these places gives the impression of consensus where it does not exist, and with more information prey to the phenomenon of search-engine shallowness of research, this is a problem for people whose (opposing) viewpoints are genuinely marginalised.”

    Yes. And this is a ‘silent killer’ of analytic creativity and activist progress. Choking on pixel dust.

    “We should be on by now.”

    • I agree Nico. it is a ‘silent’ and ‘invisible’ killer of analytic creativity and activist progress. People do not see the strings of power in discourse. Or rather they only see the ones they want to.

  6. Chloe says:

    I am commenting to disagree. I’m someone who follows your blog (and often it makes my heart sink because I disagree with you; I’m sure you’d feel the same if you read mine) because it’s often thought-provoking and always well written. I’m someone who calls themselves a feminist; I rarely read other feminist blogs (because I don’t have time); I don’t hate men (I just hate idiots) and am hugely interested in gender politics.

    I feel you continously substitute the word ‘feminist’ when I think you mean ‘people’ – people online, operating in online communities. My paid job is in social media; I’ve moderated online communities for years, and have met other online moderators from subjects as varied as car clubs to health conditions (you wouldn’t believe how heated the Ford Focus online community becomes). Everyone is vulnerable online. Yes, feminist topics are vulnerable to nasty misogynist trolling of the anonymous ‘you fcuking whore’ type (believe me, hardly anyone reads my blog yet I constantly have to reject pending comments because they’re so full of hate) but everyone who disagrees with the majority group is left feeling they are censored, silenced etc. This always happens, because balancing debate and safe spaces is quite frankly impossible. People either feel attacked or censored. There’s no solution everyone is happy with. It simply doesn’t exist.

    Feminist is a wide, wide term. Many women will call themselves feminists and I do not believe that you can attribute characteristics to ‘feminists’ on the basis of what you perceive from your online behaviour. It’s not good analysis, and I don’t think you consider this subject in a nuanced way.

    From what you write you spend an awful lot of time in feminist spaces online, because (as I understand from what you write) you also interested in gender and want to challenge what you feel is a feminist consensus (in my opinion there is no such thing). I guess it’s to be expected that if you are going to places where a. you disagree with nearly everyone there and b. those spaces have historically experienced difficulty from trolls. I don’t think your experience is about feminism. I think it’s about the internet.


    • I am sure the internet plays a part Chloe. But I have been a feminist since I was born in 1970 before the internet existed. I base my views of feminism on my life experience not just visits to feminist blogs. do they have ‘trigger warnings’ on car websites for people who have suffered traumatic crashes/breakdowns?

    • Henry says:

      Hi Chloe,

      I’m sure similar cliquey attributes do exist on many forums on wholly different topics. I did still feel that it needed pointing out that this had happened. It seems to correlate to some behaviours I’ve seen in real life at university and at in the workplace. “Feminists” instinctively see gender politics as a righteous cause – a case of good and evil – they MUST be right! It is very difficult to have a reasoned debate about subjects like rape, a “pay gap”, workplace discrimination, portrayals in the media.

      Some feminists themselves confidently state “I think you’ll find that feminism is about equality/women’s equality/whatever” as thought it IS one thing. But I totally agree that it isn’t just one set of views. Many women will have some belief in equality but have rather different views on, for example, evolutionary gender differences, or roles. The strange thing is that (as a man arguing a case they don’t agree with) you seem to run up against a lot of “teamwork” for want of a better word. I do wonder if it’s partly the way women tend to operate together, that men do rather less of (controversial maybe)

      So when I say “feminists” I definitely mean “some feminists”.

      (Though when Germaine Greer said “Women don’t realise how much men hate them” – or some such – I’m not sure whether she meant all men/some men hate some women etc)

      • controversial maybe but interesting points Henry. I think women do ‘operate’ in groups in some ways, maybe in which men don’t tend to. But it is difficult to pinpoint how exactly.

        I think Greer meant ‘all men’ and ‘all women’ she was full of polemic that one!

  7. A safe space isn’t safe if the person in it, is not exposed to all viewpoints, and thoughts, even abusive ones. We live in a society that has abuse as part of it. Its not a nice parrt, its not an acceptable part, but its a part nonetheless. Learning how to deal with that abuse should be part and parcel of living or blogging being in a safe space.

    Shielding a person from contrary views is not “safe”. If you don’t believe this, then think about how that person is going to cope with contrary views, when they come out of their safe space. (if you live in your safe space forever, then good luck to that.)

    Giving a person, the tools and experiences to deal with contrary views, is the SAFEST way for them to deal with the REAL WORLD.

    Dare I suggest that if anyone disagrees with this fact, or your views QRG (QuietRiotGirl) then they’re going to be royally fooked in life one way or another and there is no hope for them.

    I however have vitriolic hatred for the people who, in managing safe spaces, don’t get this fact. Because they are, expressing an unhealthy control over the people in their care. And isn’t an “unhealthy control” either abuse, or the first step towards abuse?

    How would the managers of these safe spaces feel if they stepped over the line, from care, into unhealthy control, and abuse.

    If YOU are someone who deletes comments, because you don’t agree with them. You are an abuser, and you’re just as much an abused as a rapist. In My Humble Opinion.

    What do you think of that?

    • I am inclined towards agreeing with you Roy though I might not use your exact terminology. safe spaces definitely seem to be very controlling and full of quite negative emotions.

  8. here is the comment i just left on the F-Word website. I hope you allow me to post it here, because I doubt they will allow it on their website. You know what, after 25 years, I just want someone to hear me.

    “I quote the line “Being angry, being upset, caring about oppression is not wrong. There is a line to walk – since when we are most passionate, we are ” from your post and am full of all kinds of emotion as I read and read re-read it all.

    I grew up in a lesbian feminist household in the 80’s and I have a lot to be thankful for. For example, I am unusually empathic towards women and woman who have suffered abuse at the hands of men, or other women. As a results I know I have helped friends, and am helping friends, deal with past abuses. As I write this, one friend has left a 15 yaer marriage where she was raped, beaten, and constantly put down. Another is coming to terms with losing her virginity and becoming pregnant at the hands of a rapist at the age of 15, she’s also starting to remember her younger childhood, and her step father’s control and abuse is figuring highly in this.

    I have my mother, and her partner, and their lesbian feminist friends to thank for my upbringing and these skills….


    I didn’t appreciate them singing “we hate men” kind of songs in my house as I was growing up from 12-17. I didn’t appreciate being regularly told that because I had a penis, I was potentially a rapist. I certainly didn’t appreciate my mother telling me, vividly, experiences of her own sexual abuse. I really didn’t appreciate her showing me what it was like to be abused, and I didn’t appreciate her telling me to feel her tits, and remember to like my finger when…. yeah you get the picture.

    My mother abused me. Thing is she doesn’t remember much of it, or she’s denying it. She doesn’t think she she abused me because she thinks she was just sharing her abuse, and expressing herself, and trying to make me a better son. (her words). I got angry about it, but you know what, anger didn’t help me or her work any of it out, and it didn’t help me come to terms with, or deal with what went on.

    Walking the line and being caring though, thats what has helped me deal with it all, and deal with her, and it scares me to see a post telling people that being angry is acceptable, and justified, and that its the right way of working things out. Its not. Its a good place to start, but its not how you work things out with other human beings, most of whom do their best as well as you do.

    I tried the anger thing, I spent a lot of my time in my twenties in loving relationships, destroying them through massive and thorough and relentless infidelity, especially when the person who loved me got too close. I’ve still not worked out why, maybe there’s a part of me that thinks if I’m loved to a certain degree, then abuse follows ( like my mum did..)

    I just think that whilst being angry isn’t wrong (at first), its just wrong as a emotion that’s any use for dealing with these kinds of things, and I think that’s worth posting about.

    Angry didn’t get me anywhere.

    I hope my comment isn’t deleted, because I’m not trolling, and I am a feminist, (if a feminist is a person who wants equal rights for all regardless of anything, particularly gender.)

    Yes my gender is male, and my sexuality? I don’t know if it has a label, its normal and healthy for me though, and the other people I’ve shared it with in my life.”

    • typhonblue says:

      Roy, have you looked up toy soldier’s blog? He does work bringing light to male survivors of sexual abuse.

    • thanks for sharing your experience Roy.

      Heres the thing- most of us fuck up our relationships, possibly especially in our twenties. isn’t that what our twenties are for?? dont be too hard on yourself.

      • dennis mccann says:

        the trouble is a lot of the feminist sites are dominated by angry twentysomethings, who lack the knowledge born from experience to have anything worth listening too

        • thats my favourite comment so far dennis!

        • Henry says:

          I think that is exactly right.

          One blogger I’ve debated with is 20something, and by no means stupid. The problem is she’s decided she wants to be part of this ’cause’ and now views the whole world through these spectacles – having not seen very much of the world in actuality. And she’s definitely one of the more open minded ones.

          The power of denial, or of people thinking what they want to think, is formidable. I do wonder if each person can only make the decision themselves to be objective, and to imagine that they might be wrong – as a good scientist should . But they are so wedded to their cause that this doesn’t happen.

          Ignorance is very helpful to this sort of skewed thinking. When I discuss these issues we should be engaged in a search to see to what extent equalities exist. Instead I feel I’m in a competition – moreover one with someone who feels duty bound to make political capital out of every claim and counter-claim.

          It’s always a struggle arguing with this attitude – so many men just give up. I do occasionally, but I tend to come back for more (being slightly stubborn by nature)

  9. nathan says:

    I’m inclined to agree with Chloe on two points: 1) that feminism is a diverse group of people with a diverse group of theories and 2) that the internet’s form/structure plays a role in all of this.

    In addition, I support “safe spaces” online for people who need them, provided they are clearly designated as such.

    Which gets me to my main point: those feminist sites trying to be both open door discussion/debate zones, and also “safe spaces” tend to fail at both. Group think is commonplace and heckling/marginalizing/banishing of those with minority viewpoints is also commonplace. One of the great ironies is that on these sites, verbal tactics that are rightly pointed out to be abusive when used by people in privileged positions, are routinely employed to diminish those who present challenges, disagreements, or just simple questions. Name calling, wide ranging assumptions about who I am and my background, personalized attacks, totalizing blame, shaming – I have experienced all of this in response to single comments made on a few of the larger feminist blogs/websites.

    And the thing is, as soon as this kind of behavior starts, forget having an thought provoking discussion that might shed some light on the complexities behind a given issue. Chloe, go read a few dozen comment threads at Feministe, Feminsting, or the F Word – and tell us what you think. Feministe has a much more active comment base, but it’s mostly feels like a combat zone rather than a discussion.

    • if feminism is so broad nathan can you think of a ‘feminist’ website/blog that has a discussion element that does not have the negative attributes we have mentioned here? I can’t think of one can you?

  10. nathan says:

    Well, the group blogs seem to struggle. I recently found The Crunk Feminist Collective, which doesn’t have a pile of commenters, but has some interesting writing. Among single blogger blogs Womanist Musings ( is good. I know you’ve had your day with Clarisse Thorn, but some of her posts still produce some of the best – sustained discussions I have seen. Another recent find is Spitfire Grrrl (

    Honestly, I find that blogs led by feminist writers of color tend to be a hell of lot more interesting and engaging that those dominated by white women. The nuanced readings of issues, and sense of intersectionalities, is just so much more commonplace.

    I’m sure you can find things to disagree with on all of these sites, but the writing and some of the dialogue at least has a different flavor from that on Feministe, F Word, etc.

  11. elissa says:

    It’s so disheartening to see this evolution, at times….

    I was a semi regular poster on the now defunct Ms. Board a good while back…I remember it being more lax in regards to some forms of what we seen now as safe spaces, though I do recall that they held “radical feminists” only threads, which by far were the worst train wrecks anywhere, anytime – they would Janice Raymond all over the thread, which would attract the transgendered folks, and other transgendered folks that thought they were not transgendered, and women born women, and the defenders of one or the other, and that’s how vibrant communities built themselves within the whole mess. Nowadays, the communities seem to be pre-built at the door, and you can smell that very rot from the door, with the “safety” being nothing more than a surety of experience. There is a good reason why we don’t breed within our own pool of relatives, and vibrancy does come at a cost, and it has to be earned continously, every step of time…like you like to do Quiet Girl

    If I had a blog, I would never ban you 🙂

    • thanks elissa. You’re a doll.

      I have only been in these feminist spaces online in recent months so I don’t know the history of them it is interesting this ‘evolution’ you are right.

  12. Hiya Quiet Riot Girl,

    Ironically I found out about your blog when I saw the meltdown on one of Clarisse Thorne’s Feministe threads.

    Even though I’ve had problems with that site, I haven’t given up on it as occasionally there is some great stuff over there. In fact one of the posters said sometimes they would see post by someone who wasn’t the majority view but holding their ground so well that it would influence people who might kurk but not post.

    I see a whole lot of misandry in Feminism. They love to point out the women hating MRA’s then act “holier than thou” because “patriarchy” took all their power away. Granted, as Forty Shades of Grey mentioned in her comments (inregards to Amanda Marcotte’s article) and others have mentioned, there are many different brands of feminism and many divergent view points so it would be unfair to dismiss them all because of a few bad experiences.

  13. On Clarisse Thorne–

    I think she is a skilled writer who picks interesting topics to write about. She seems open minded and has even suggested that Feminists and Pick Up Artists can have a dialogue–ie her post on “ethical pickup.” She seems willing to bridge the gap between “Nice Guys” and Feminists/women.

    She doesn’t like anyone pointing out flaws in feminism…. Hence the trainwreck in the Pool Hall Dude and other threads. She seems unwilling to address “bully” feminists who dogpile on an outsiders view. She seems to be asking for a “kid gloves” approach to feminism that suggests she ultimately doesn’t have the ability to defend her viewpoints or feminism.

    I’ll sometimes check out an article she writes. I think she wants to do good, so I wouldn’t dismiss her entirely. At first her writing impressed me but I lost a bit of respect when I saw how she handled some of the comments in the threads.

    • Clarisse is a clever writer indeed stoner.

      I am interested in her work as she talks to/about men/masculinity a lot in a way that engages with men. I have been delighted to get into discussions with men who came over from Clarisse’s blog to see what that QRG chick was going on about! But I don’t quite buy Clarisse’s ‘story’ about her interest in the relationship between men and feminism. I might write about it one day but I want a bit of dust to settle first on the Pool Hall Dude disaster!

  14. On Amanda Marcotte-

    I’ve only read two of her articles-the attack on “Nice Guys” and her MRA solution to their problems is More Feminism. So, maybe I haven’t read enough to judge….

    I thought the reason she was so virulent against “Nice Guys” is that it presents a problem for Feminism. The problem is that Feminism wouldn’t do anything to improve the lives of incel men. Well, it might not be the mission of Feminism to help those men but it brings up a few problems. One, is that it might show Feminism to be a “classist” system that if they gain more power might improve the lives of some women but not society as a whole….

    See my comment dated March 8th and Jim’s Response.

  15. On Hugo Schwyzer,

    This guy I really have a love/hate relationship with….

    He writes about interesting topics. I feel he is asking the right questions but coming to the wrong conclusions. He can often be anti-male and, at times sympathetic and understanding of men. He has had a checkered past and writes about it openly on his blog. He will acknowledge his “privilege”-that as a professor he has slept with students. However he will harshly condemn men with far less power than himself.

    This might be a good place to start:

    Ultimately, I think he is trying to do good and sometimes I feel for the guy when I see MRA’s try to dismiss him as a Mangina. However, I think he has an unfair view towards at least some men.

    Thaddeus G. Blanchette gives a good crtitque here:

  16. […] stonerwithaboner says: Your comment is awaiting moderation. March 30, 2011 at 3:19 am […]

  17. […] stonerwithaboner says: March 30, 2011 at 2:52 am […]

  18. […] stonerwithaboner says: March 30, 2011 at 3:00 am […]

  19. Oh, Quiet Riot Girl,

    Sorry if I went a little overboard.

    I thought I was having a “train of thought” and hope it didn’t turn into a rant.

    I reposted my thoughts on my blog and and apologize if I overused your space here.

    Rock On!

    Stoner With A Boner

  20. RickyTicky says:

    This is a really good topic, and I’ve seen the same results concerning ‘safe spaces’ rather dramatically as well. I’m a biologist by training, so I often think of many topics with that perspective in mind. I think the lack of criticism is especially troubling when we see how important it is, not only in forming our own beliefs, ideas, and making decisions, but in looking at physiology as well. In fact, it reminds me of the concept of ‘biofeedback’. In essence, feedback given by our senses that is *essential* in even the simplest of behaviors, to correct for potential errors and improve interactions. Take speaking – if you have ever lost your hearing, temporarily or permanently – it is crazy how difficult it is to speak at a regular volume. It almost seems impossible to have a conversation with someone – you either are too quiet keeping you from being heard, or are talking uncomfortably loud making it difficult to have a conversation. I often feel like the latter when reading and or talking with feminists online. The necessity of feedback can never be underestimated.

  21. TSaunders says:

    Agree with what you say about free expression but, jeez, you REALLY need to get your head out of Mark Simpson’s ass. It’s great you love his work and all but anyone would think the two of you were working together from the way you talk on this blog. Wishful thinking on your part I’d say. I mean come on… “I’m the girl who kicked the hornets’ nest”? Don’t you think you sound a teeny bit deluded? This isn’t QRG Against the Feminist Movement. It’s a tiny dispute in a tiny corner of the world that hardly anyone cares about. Like, I know I care enough to comment here but those of us who care about gender issues are in a minority. If you care as much as you say you do, you might want to lose the ego.

  22. Todd says:

    “I am not frightened of anyone.”

    Really? Seeing as you just said saw fit to reply to Stoner but not to me, I’m smelling some bullshit here. Like I said, I agree with you about free speech. Why keep me out of the conversation just because I called you out on your egotism? Practice what you preach please QRG.

    • I was quaking with fear Todd and had to take a tranquilizer before I had the courage to reply to your comment. But now I feel a bit woozy as a result of the drug and that whisky I had to calm my nerves. what did you say again?

  23. P.s. Todd of course I’d love to ‘work with’ Mr Simpson. I don’t need to pretend any kind of equality with people I admire and look up to. I do have some humility believe it or not!

    But I can look up to and admire who the hell I want to. My sadness is that I don’t have more writers to admire in the field of gender. If you know any as astute as Simpson let me know. I’d love to go on about someone else for a change!

  24. Todd says:

    Took you a while to come up with that but glad to see my comments are up now so it’ll be easy enough for you to be reminded about what I said if you want to be. Can’t say I was really suggesting you’re frightened of me specifically (why would you be?), merely that you probably wouldn’t much want to publish something that says you seem kind of deluded. Looks like principles won out for you in the end though so well done 😉

    • sorry dearie but the explanation is more mundane. I didn’t see your comment in the mod queue till you pointed it out. Must be because you are so self-effacing!

      I publish all comments unless they are repeatedly personal and abusive in content, towards me or anyone else. Hope that’s clear.

  25. Todd says:

    No-one could possibly be as self effacing as you my dear! The mundane explanation seems reasonable but we’ll never know for sure. And that’s the problem with the blogosphere. There are a lot of grey areas and we often have to take what other folks say on trust if we want to have a fruitful discussion. Same goes for whether a comment is personal or abusive. I’d say you’re already crossing over into what you’re criticising by having moderated comments and making distinctions about what’s abusive.

    • Indeed. This is my blog and I make the rules. But my moderation of comments as you will see, the more annoying you become, is very generous. I have only ever deleted comments by 2 people so far. Look around and see how much criticism I accept from people, some of it quite rude and you will see what I mean.

  26. Todd says:

    …So no it isn’t clear at all. These things never are.

  27. Todd says:

    Not quite what I said just then. You haven’t addressed what I’ve said about these matters not being clearcut but I didn’t really expect you to so it’s okay 😉

    There’s nothing “exciting” or “incisive” about pointing out the above. However I think it’s a reasonable point. It’s kind of telling that you choose to lampoon what I say to try to make it seem foolish rather than address it.

  28. Todd says:

    Anything to add? All I’m saying is that you seem very critical of practices you have adopted yourself.

    • Practices such as what? I don’t run a ‘safe space’. I never delete comments or block people (or rather I have done this on two occasions only due to contiuned harassment not just on the blog but by email and on twitter). I moderate comments to get rid of spam as Belle de jour has alluded to above.

      I have never ‘closed’ a comments thread you can comment on any post on the blog at any time. I have no ‘trigger warnings’ on my posts.

      I think my blog is as different from a typical ‘feminist’ blog in its style as any I can think of.

      A personal blog is also different from a ‘feminist’ ‘public’ ‘debating’ blog. A personal blog really is for the person who runs it to do what they want with, but I like mine to be as open as possible.

      I havent spoken to you before. Your very first comment told me to ‘take my head’ out of someone’s ‘ass’ someone who I know and respect. This started our conversation off on a wrong foot.

    • Henry says:

      I don’t see that you’re adding much content here’ve made a vague accusation, repeated it a few times…

  29. Kit says:

    I hope you don’t end up blocked from The F-word, Quiet Riot Girl, I like your comments 🙂 and I’m hopeful there is still potential for it to be a safe (from genuine trolling and asshattery) place for discussion where people can post a “dissenting” opinion without being branded a troll etc. To me, it certainly felt that way until Jennifer Krase’s post regarding anti-porn folks – and again with JKBC’s post on silencing – and how people behaved in the comments. Utterly confusing and disappointing.

    It seemed like some people were reading what they wanted to, and ignored other people’s experiences because they didn’t like the implications (the whole “I’ve never met an anti-porn feminist that disrespects women who used to be sex workers / in the porn industry or were prostitutes, so your experience to the contrary is invalid” thing). I thought the notion of a safe space was to avoid that kind of behaviour, the kind that people within the safe space are usually “silenced” by outside said safe space :S

    And there’s an awful lot of things that aren’t addressed by folks maintaining and heavily participating in “safe spaces”. Posters get shut down because they appear to be saying something the vocal minority don’t like, but no one considers why that person appears to be saying such (beyond “they disagree so they must be anti-feminist”): like whether that person is able to express what they mean properly and offence is being taken based on a minor miscommunication, whether that person has shared similar experiences but doesn’t feel the same way about them because people (~surprisingly~) are different, or whether the reader is correctly interpreting what has been said and isn’t interpreting based on their own assumptions about the person posting.

    It’s kinda privileged when the troll-calling folks also feel free to not take into consideration that not everyone is able to communicate their points as well as them, may communicate and interpret in a different way to the assumed default for “polite discussion”, or participate in that kind of environment as well as them without harm to their own frame of mind etc., and instead assume the worst about the people they’re trying to shut down.

    Uh, sorry if this got too wall-o’-texty for a first time commenter ^^; I liked this post and as I said, like reading your comments when I’ve seen you about places. Keep kicking 🙂

    • thanks Kit and welcome!

      I think though that the porn/anti-porn post and the ‘silencing’ one were quite typical of the F word overall. I have had a lot of ‘abuse’ from those nice ‘safe space’ feminists over my posts about e.g. sex industry/sexual violence etc.

      I may write more on this issue but dont want to bore those readers that don’t go on feminist blogs!

      • Kit says:

        Well if you do, I look forward to it 🙂

        re. quite typical, I realise I tend to avoid entries that look like they’re going to get a bit heated so my impression of the general atmosphere there is pretty skewed.

  30. Todd says:

    Okay. I’ve just had a look at the FWord and googled some refs to it and it’s obviously a big blog rather than a personal one. (Most of the gender blogs I look at -some feminist, but many emphatically not- are US-based so I’m not very familiar with it.)

    I think you’ve hit the nail on the head when you say:

    “A personal blog is also different from a ‘feminist’ ‘public’ ‘debating’ blog. A personal blog really is for the person who runs it to do what they want with, but I like mine to be as open as possible.”

    Staff who work for a large blog are probably not free to do what they want with it and have to respond to reader demand. If there’s an important difference, why use that site to try to make yourself look good?

    Interesting comment from Henry. Saying a commenter is “not adding much content” sounds like what people who justify “safe spaces” say to me. Same shit, different spin.

    Like I said: this isn’t clear-cut. By all means say silencing dissent is wrong but don’t bother to pretend it isn’t something we’re all guilty of. I know no-one here has said that explicitly but presenting yourself as a freedom fighting warrior and the feminists as special cases against that implies a perceived superiority and is disingenuous.

  31. Todd says:

    No axe to grind. Just saying what I see.

  32. Clarebear says:

    Wow. I’m shocked. Good to see you patronising a dude for a change Quiet Riot Girl. I thought you always stuck to brownnosing them and saved your ire for the sisters. You’ve turned a corner. Go you!

    • I don’t think showing respect and interest in people is ‘brownnosing’.

      And I don’t like your attitude. There are people here trying to have a discussion.

  33. elissa says:

    Another thing I’ve seen, in safe spaces, is the asking of permission for providing electronic affection – “hugs if you want one” and the like

    I’ve yet to see one get rejected though. The intent, I believe, is that non-consensual electronic affection could trigger someone, with the trigger mechanism being the marry between lack of consent and electronic physical touching.

    But maybe I’m being too harsh. Maybe it’s too onerous to say: “do you want a hug?” on the internet – wait for confirmation then send the hug, or put back in holster.

    Regardless, everyone on this thread gets a hug from me….wait for it…nnnnoow!

    • typhonblue says:

      Jeezus. That’s insane.

    • typhonblue says:

      OMG! Digital!rape! Keep your pixels to yourself lady!

    • Kit says:

      I guess it’s nice to respect how some people feel in response to certain things, but always saying like “hugs if you want them” to anyone seems more like covering ones back rather than showing genuine intent to not upset someone (kinda like slapping trigger warnings on everything but not doing much else to reduce the potential harm an article or comment could cause someone).

  34. needless to say I have never been offered a hug on a feminist ‘safe space’!

  35. Clarebear says:

    I have never seen anyone being offered electronic affection on a mainstream feminist website. It sounds pathetic. Mind you, it does sound like the sort of thing people might politely let carry on if it did happen. You can hardly call people out for being slushy and uncool can you?

    On not liking my attitude- I think it’s interesting that you say you don’t think “showing respect and interest in people” is brownnosing right after I say you seem to save your ire for women. I already know you show respect and interest in men. It’s the disproportion that makes it seem like brownnosing to me.

    • ‘brownnosing’ is an interesting term Clarebear. It comes from the idea of literally kissing someone’s ass, with the danger that one might get shit on one’s face.

      seems a bit of a strange way to describe someone’s political viewpoint but there we go.

      There are plenty of men who find me unacceptable. Maybe they don’t enjoy being rimmed?

  36. Todd says:

    “needless to say I have never been offered a hug on a feminist ‘safe space’!”

    Good for you 😉

    See, this makes me come back round to the idea that labels are bullshit. People set up camps (in this case the camp being feminism) and make rules within them whether or not they intended to. This is bad enough but then you get egotists breaking into the camp to say “Look at me! I’m not like THEM! Such fools! See how badly I fit in! What a heretic I am! Check me out kicking the hornet’s nest!”

    Then along comes someone like me to go “ugh” and so on.

    • yes Todd and then someone else comes along and goes

      ‘Look at Me! I’m not like either of you! I am above your petty infights! Such fools! See how superior I am to these women feminists and anti-feminists. Check me out being all ‘detached’ and critical!’

      and so on.

  37. Todd says:

    Yeah, that would have been me going “ugh” actually but you get the idea.

    Nothing to do with those feminists being women though. I’d say the same thing about masculists, male feminists etc.

    • I am sure you would but maybe they would delete your comments and be more rude to you. Who knows?

      I think you are over-emphasising one aspect of my post over a lot of other points, including ones I and others have made in the comments.

  38. Todd says:

    Isn’t that what most commenters do? Or do you expect all commenters to address every aspect of a post?

    I’ve had comments published at plenty of other sites.

  39. Todd says:

    I wasn’t actually proposing we have a pointless “fight to the death” here. That would be very childish. I don’t have any need to have the last word on priciple here. I’m happy just to drop in and say what I think as and when. I can stop whenever I like. Can you?

  40. I am sure that will become apparent.

  41. Clarebear says:

    So you’re basically saying this special “respect and interest” in men is a political viewpoint? That makes sense actually. Seems to me that any dudes who find you unacceptable usually get a much easier time of it (eg a bit of gentle ribbing and sparring) than any women who you clash with. I’ve never seen you come right out and say “I don’t like your attitude” to anyone with a guy-sounding name on here but please let me know if I’ve missed it anywhere.

  42. Clarebear says:

    I disagree. QRG didn’t say anything nearly as strong as “I don’t like your attitude” to Todd. She was a bit patronising (unusual for QRG with guys, like I said) and seemed a bit riled at times but there’s clearly been effort made towards friendly banter. He’s being tested a bit to see if he can take a joke but that’s all.

    Btw, the joke you made earlier about digital rape to mock safe spaces (typhonblue) is quite funny but perhaps a bit ironic when you consider that it was actually Roy who over-dramatically dubbed moderators who think they know best as “rapists”. That was so dumb it made me laugh out loud.

    • ‘a guy sounding name’? Lots of names online are ‘gender-free’ clarebear.

      I have recently blocked someone who is a man (I believe) for his ‘attitude’ to me.

      But I don’t have to justify my communication styles to you or anyone.

  43. SJ says:

    I respect the idea of safe spaces for people with shared issues and experiences, especially with the amount of blatant trolling that does go on, but sometimes it does seem highly disingenuous.

    For example, I’ve seen people selectively quote and fisk posts from other blogs, knock down strawman versions of the points raised, then edit the original author’s response into gibberish under the guise of maintaining the “safe space”. It’s not so safe that opposing ideas can’t be raised and attacked, but it’s too safe for them to be freely discussed.

    For me the big test is whether they allow the correction of blatant inaccuracies. Not ambiguous or subjective matters of opinion, but something that’s objectively wrong, like a completely misused or inaccurately quoted statistic. I’ve seen blogs fail that test miserably, even when the correction is polite and supported with evidence. That’s the sign of an propagandist’s echo chamber, not a safe space.

    One thing that really struck me on one feminist blog was seeing a member being criticised for daring to leave the safe space and post on an “enemy” blog. It wasn’t even that she was agreeing with the designated enemy; simply leaving the safe space was cause for suspicion and concern.

    That reminds me of the way Scientology shames and attacks members who dare to stray outside of their safe spaces. It’s obvious that they’re afraid of members being exposed to any outside ideas that contradict the official teachings. In my opinion that’s a sign of utter intellectual bankruptcy.

  44. Anonymous says:

    Comments aren’t a right.

  45. Todd says:

    I bet that man you blocked is off somewhere right now, saying exactly the same things as you are about the feminist sites who you seem to hope will block you (if they haven’t already) to give you anti-feminist kudos.

    I also have to ask: If you expect writers on other sites to justify themselves, why shouldn’t you have to as well?

  46. go to Contact at the top of this site. Here is a comment from the guy I blocked, that he left way back in November.

    ‘Hi I would like to apologize for my extreme outburst on twitter yesterday, it was out of order, way to strong, and something which hate, bullying, which i did in public, which in its self is bad enough, to be honest with you, that was the first time i have ever done that in public, i would at least do it in private, anyway, i really am so sorry, I cant apologize enough for its strength and hurt it may have caused.

    Hope you can accept this apology, I am ashamed of myself at the way i acted.


  47. go to Contact at the top of this site. Here is a comment from the guy I blocked, that he left way back in November. He continued to be abusive on here and on twitter and by email and to a friend of mine by email and his blog. I eventually blocked him.

    ‘Hi I would like to apologize for my extreme outburst on twitter yesterday, it was out of order, way to strong, and something which hate, bullying, which i did in public, which in its self is bad enough, to be honest with you, that was the first time i have ever done that in public, i would at least do it in private, anyway, i really am so sorry, I cant apologize enough for its strength and hurt it may have caused.

    Hope you can accept this apology, I am ashamed of myself at the way i acted.


    I wonder if you have any other purpose in commenting here other than to go on about comments moderation and my way of running my blog? I write about loads of things feel free to engage on other issues too.

    Best wishes

  48. Todd says:

    I tend to lurk generally but this struck me as interesting so I dived in on this occasion. Is that really so unusual?

    I think the apology you’ve quoted does very little for your position on safe spaces. You might sneer at the term but blocking that man was you doing what you had to do to make the space safe for YOU (or comfortable or whatever if that word doesn’t sit well with you). As you’ve just indicated, it’s your site and you can do what you like. Saying you don’t have to justify it shows that rules exist and you make them.

    I hate to say this because I think safe-spaces are mollycoddling but that man’s apology could be said to present a case for boundary setting.

    • I’m not his mum.

      I understand your point as a purely logical statement but in the context of blogs and feminism and ‘safe spaces’ I don’t think it stands up. I suggest you try commenting on some more blogs that deal with gender and feminism before reaching your conclusions.

  49. Todd says:

    I did say I have an interest in gender issues and have commented on other sites -some of those being feminist ones- so I do have some idea what I’m talking about here. I’ve based what I’m saying on the context you’ve been discussing. It’s not as if there isn’t plenty to go on in your post to fill in the gaps I did have. You’ve criticised feminist safe spaces and talked about a site which I’ve now looked at. You’ve touched on the language of “safe spaces”, being silenced by feminists and seeing debates shut down because of dissent. Then you’ve gone on to show that you engage in some of those practices you criticise yourself.

    I think my points stand up just fine.

    • I don’t. If I was engaged in those practices I would have told you to shut up and deleted your comments by now.

      and ‘looking at’ a site is different from participating in discussion.

      I do not shut down debate. I wish I could shut down this one! Obviously I can. But I am not in the business of doing that.

  50. clarebear says:

    QRG said: ‘a guy sounding name’? Lots of names online are ‘gender-free’.

    I have recently blocked someone who is a man (I believe) for his ‘attitude’ to me.

    But I don’t have to justify my communication styles to you or anyone.

    Stating the obvious and saying there are lots of gender neutral addys doesn’t change the fact plenty are not and are therefore open to prejudice. Oh and stuff like blocking people and saying you don’t have to justify yourself is hypocritical considering what your post is about.

  51. I wonder if people are going on at me here because they can’t do so at other bloggers on other ‘spaces’ of any type?

    I don’t know the answer to that but I have my theories.

  52. Todd says:

    That’ll be it. You’re the only place left on the internet where truly free debate can take place. Everyone else is just too damn authoritarian!

    But honestly- none of us can know what goes unpublished elsewhere but I don’t think you can write off people’s beef with you as just another symptom of other internet spaces being so awful. If people are pissed at you, they are pissed at YOU, not someone else.

  53. Sure. I can’t see why anyone would be ‘pissed’ at me though.

    If you go on any other interesting sites where debate is free and interesting about gender do share the URLs.


  54. Todd says:

    Nah. Just you QRG. Just you kicking that hornet’s nest and gurning for the camera 😉

  55. Todd says:

    If you’re so bored, why continue to engage? Is that what free debate really is? Having to continue engaging even when you don’t really want to?

  56. Todd says:

    I doubt if the folks at The Times have time to engage with every comment they get. Or to take it down again to a more relevant example, I doubt if the staff at co-managed blogs do either.

  57. lauren says:

    awesome article until that final elitist line bemoaning lack of regulation. i thought that seemed like a sideswipe at successful blogs & like she was saying only trained professionals should be able to write in the public domain.

  58. wriggles says:

    The question I want to ask is, who are they protecting? Who is ‘safe’ in these spaces and who/what are the ‘dangers’ they are being protected from?

    I think the limitations of safe spaces are clear, however they are present also in more general discourse which creates the need for them in the first place.

    Any talk on fatness was virtually one sided excluding fat people almost completely-can you believe that? Until people like me gasping to see our views represented started commenting and having our own blogs, now our voices are beginning to be heard.

    I don’t remember anyone ever complaining about the censorhip of fat people even though it has been pretty much unprecidented. I find that no-one cares about that ever such is the invasion of the brainsnatchers hegemony on fat hating.

    I think its pretty fair to say its hard to see where any discussion is to be had, the hating view although respectable and ubiquitious in the extreme isn’t cogent or rational one that hangs togther.

    Therefore it cannot be defended by any fair means, so it has to rely on far worse than even the tiresome antics going on at certain feminist spaces.

  59. Chloe says:

    I’m basically with you on the problems with attempting safe spaces. However, I’ve got to say I find some of your post to be misrepresentative of the site you hold up for criticism.

    I’m a regular reader of both The F-Word and your blog. I hadn’t yet seen the post you talk about here when I clicked on your link to it but a look through the discussion so far shows a different picture to me than the one you paint here. For instance, even the quote you have in this piece clearly shows that comments were only put on hold and not shut down as you go on to say later here!

    I also see you thanked the moderator for reinstating comments and apologised for halting things a bit but you didn’t see fit to mention that here. This leaves an impression to your readers that you were silenced when you really weren’t.

    I also note Roy’s comment went up at The F-Word too. This is clearly less of an issue because I know it’s not your job to update every detail here and that people can refer to the link. But I believe the write-up you give means a lot of your readers won’t bother.

    I think you do a good job on your site here and I like reading your stuff but it looks to me like The F-Word are doing a very difficult job and you should cut them some slack. As Todd says, they’re a different beast size wise.

    • id be surprised if anyone is still reading this Chloe but you’ve put forward another perspective.

      I said the thing on the F word to the original poster as I didn’t want them to be demoralised. I don’t really think it was my fault that thread got closed I was being nice.

  60. Chloe says:

    But like I just said I don’t think the thread was closed. I’m not saying the pause on it was your fault or anything. Just seems you misrepresented what happened?

  61. I wrote the post before it got re-opened. You have clarified the situation now so all the info is available!

  62. Chloe says:

    Sure but might be a bit late now because like you say, you’d be surprised if anyone’s still reading this!

    • I will update the post. But the F word do not publish half my comments. you will notice there was a commenter on that thread-amy-who said she never gets her comments published.

  63. Chloe says:

    Well she says that but we have no way of knowing if it’s true!

    • if nobody believes what anyone says online we won’t get very far in communication. from my experience on the f word of having comments, not rude/personal ones, removed on a regular basis, I very much believe her.

  64. Chloe says:

    All I can say is that isn’t my experience as a commenter there but I can see that must be frustrating!

    I’m pretty sure I’ve seen some comments from an Amy over there before that have been quite critical. The style looks familiar anyway. I may be wrong but I think she might be in these posts?-

  65. Chloe says:

    Plus they published that one of course!

  66. Chloe says:

    Not posting this one to go up but my comment before the last one seems to be stuck in moderation. Maybe because it”s got links in it and the system thinks it may be spam?

  67. Chloe says:

    But Wriggles- how can a strategy be dismissed as ‘tiresome antics’ if there are attitudes out there that create that need for safe spaces in the first place? (like you say)

    The methods may be clumsy but what are the alternatives?

    Ummm, also- sorry to be annoying but another short comment of mine frm last night seems to have disappeared? (I don’t mean the comment where I said “no need to publish” due to it just mentioning that the one above hadn’t appeared and had maybe got stuck in the spam. I mean the comment that had appeared even though that preceding one hadn’t.)

  68. Chloe says:

    Oops. Ignore that last comment when moderating. I mistyped my e-mail address so it counted me as a another person!

    I’ll try again. Wriggles- how can a strategy be dismissed as ‘tiresome antics’ if there are attitudes out there that create that need for safe spaces in the first place? (Like you say.)

    The methods may be clumsy but what are the alternatives?

    Ummm, also- sorry to be annoying but another short comment of mine frm last night seems to have disappeared? (I don’t mean the comment where I said “no need to publish” due to it just mentioning that the one above hadn’t appeared and had maybe got stuck in the spam. I mean the comment that had appeared even though that preceding one hadn’t.)

    • wriggles says:

      Sorry, Chloe I checked back a few times and thought this thread was kaput. Anyhow I’m not disagreeing with your point (l think) in fact that was more or less my point, that although some things such as the above mentioned WATM can become overused the alternative of endless derails can easily be far worse.

      It’s going to take a while to forget a thread on a feminist blog about the terrifying amount of rape going on in a certain country. The title was why do men (from said land) commit so many rapes.

      It was derailed by objections to the use of ‘men’ in ways that were almost as objectionable as that. The subject was barely addressed.


  69. Jennifer Krase says:

    I agree with all of this, I think. Even though I also can totally understand why feminist blogosphere etc has gravitated in this direction, and in fact have found these kinds of spaces really important at times in developing my activism as well as in needing a space where I didn’t have to explain the fundamental reasons why I was there in the first place to a hostile audience, the problems created for equality agendas by entering into a kind of warped replica of the same kind of privileged safety within feminism that feminism seeks to upend or what have you elsewhere are… huge. I hope that made sense.

    The only thing I’ll add is that ‘what about the menz’ is yet another thing that’s been coopted to stop discussion of important GENDER issues, which are not always FEMINIST issues. There are many areas where mainstream and radical feminisms actively and passively oppose gender equality. Trans misogyny and transphobia from cis women and from feminists is obviously one example of this. So is the whole “debate” around porn and the sex industry. Feminism cannot be easily adapted to be about gender equality, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a place for it.

    I really think ‘what about the menz’ reserved as an individual, eyes rolling, sarcastic inner thought or comeback to the absolutely constant deluge of real life ‘what about men’ concern trolling for the purpose of derailing or changing the subject in specific activist spaces which have as their sole purpose the ending of some inequality that affects women in some particular way is perfectly legitimate.

    It’s fucking annoying as shit when you’ve done months of work on an issue you know a lot about only to come up against one asshole who decides it needs to be, not genuinely about making sure no one e.g. faces violence, but all about them and their ability to undermine feminism and women’s activism. The only times I’ve ever encountered this type of concern trolling IRL is from someone being smug and clever, not someone who is actually a beleaguered activist fighting violence against men who keeps getting overruled by feminist activists. If I ever encountered the latter then my response wouldn’t be sarcastic at all, it would be to try and help.

  70. Chloe says:

    Everything Jennifer says rings true.

    Looking around any number of on-line places shows what crap sex workers, trans women and fat activists (amogst others) have to put up with so its no wonder sections of the feminist blogosphere have responded in this way. They don’t always make the right decisions but who does so they ought to get more support I think.

    I see those comments are up now, Q, so thanks for that – and sorry for my blunder above.

    You don’t appear to have updated your post as you said you would above though? I think that would be fair considering all evidence suggests the moderator published all your comments and reopened them to give more opportunity for discussion.

  71. Chloe says:

    Oh balls. I went and did it again by using another one of my addresses this time. Hope to hear some more of your thoughts on this issue anyway. It’s an interesting one!

  72. Clarebear says:

    Deafening silence on that one, Chloe. I wouldn’t bother asking about it. QRG isn’t really interested in fairness. Why worry about a little thing like the truth when she’s so invested in presenting mainstream feminists as the silencing baddies she must battle? Her work is done.

  73. Chloe says:

    Clarebear, that’s putting it a bit strongly but I’ve got to say I’m disappointed about this. It kinda feels like I’m being ignored.

    • hi all I’m not ignoring anyone. if you’ve read my more recent posts you will see I have had a bit of shit to deal with lately. This shit has led to a lot more readers and commenters on my blog and I can’t keep up with every single comment. I am afraid I have lost the thread a bit of this discussion I will re-read the last few posts and get back to you.

  74. Chloe says:

    Glad to hear it and look forward to it 🙂

  75. Clare says:

    …I’m calling bullshit here as well. “I’ll get back to you” sounds like the excuse of someone who doesn’t want to expose her inconsistencies and would like to bury the thread instead.

  76. Clare says:

    And looky here! I’m now back on moderation. Someone really is a chickenshit hypocrite round here.

  77. Clare says:

    In another thread, yeah, it looks like I must’ve done that but the pictures are the same here so that’s not the case for this one.

  78. Clare says:

    I made other points further up the thread but, no, I don’t right now because I don’t see any sign of you addressing it and I think you’re being evasive because you know your approach in relation to left wing blogs has been flawed and don’t want to admit it.

    • possibly I won’t cast a final judgement it’s up to others who use my blog how they feel about it. I don’t mind being criticised it’s all part of a dialogue. That is as fair as I can be. I still think my original points are valid. Sorry if you think I am ‘flawed’ in my approach.

  79. Clare says:

    Also, isn’t the way blogs are run and how people express and handle dissent actually the topic in this thread anyway? There are lots of relevant points in these comments that you haven’t bothered to address. It looks to me like you started disengaging when the anti-feminist love-in ended.

    • maybe I did. who knows. But you don’t make me want to talk to you much. I will keep trying though I am nice like that. I will look over this thread and write another one on a similar theme and raise some of the points that have come up. It is a topic that is going to remain relevant. also I have been blocked by more blogs/twitters so I can write that up too! 😀

  80. Todd says:

    The thing that’s so infuriating about all this is that much like any other political faction, religion or special interest group, feminism really seriously needs people to question it.

    It makes me mad when I see you boasting about getting blocked because it smacks of the behaviour of someone who isn’t really interested in discussion at all. It sounds like the behaviour of someone who has her fingers crossed that it will all be over soon so she can play the “rebel” without any of the work. It’s lazy but it will almost certainly work. If you go in and make a point of upsetting more over-sensitive members of a community -and a lot of your talk with Sofia makes it look like that’s your plan- you’ll keep getting banned by mainstream blogs. When there are none left, your opportunity to infiltrate and make challenges will be gone. Is that what you want?

  81. Chloe says:

    Huh? I was just about to reply to something EasilyEnthused wrote here but it looks like it’s been deleted?

    Anyway, he was basically saying he wished you would stop getting yourself banned too because he thinks what you have to say is important. He also said he reckons there’s a problem with inclusion of trans women in feminist spaces. (I’m paraphrasing here so please let me know if I’ve misquoted you, EE!)

    I agree trans inclusion can be a real problem in some feminist spaces because of the very vocal views of a faction of radfems. However, it also has to be said that mainstream feminist sites are working to overturn this. The F-Word website, for example, have a policy on the issue and at least one of their bloggers is a trans woman. I’m not saying this is enough but they’re at least working on it.

    Overall, I just think you’re far too hard on the bigger blogs, QRG. You say on the (now closed) 101 Wankers thread that people expect you to be perfect. Maybe you need to cut others some slack too?

  82. AlekNovy says:


    If I were someone who just stumbled in here, and knew nothing about feminist-spheres, I’d instinctivelly nod and agree with you and say “Yeah, if this QRG girl keeps geeps getting banned… she must try to get better at dialogue”.

    Here’s the thing. Every single person who’s ever tried to have dialogue with the feminist sphere has failed MASSIVELY. No matter how tolerant, friendly and mindful they were, unless they agreed with the party line 100%, they were bullied, harassed and thrown out.

    Even people who agree with 9 out of 10 things GET THROWN OUT. Even if the respectfully disagree on the tenth thing.

    Trying to dialogue with people incapable and unwilling of dialogue is just a waste of energy. Now, a few feminists who are capable have sprung up, such as Clarisse Thorn.

    Over there, you can try and “dialogue”. But most feminist spaces simply disallow anything except cult-like agreement on every single facet. Heck, sex-positive feminists and mainstream feminists hate each other more than they hate even genuine misogynists.

    • Thanks Alek. But I am not a sex-positive feminist, as Clarisse knows. For I am banned from her site too!

      • AlekNovy says:

        I didn’t assume you were a SPF 🙂

        I was giving the sex-positive-feminist example as a way to make a point on how exclusive they are. Even feminists themselves exclude each other. A sex-positive feminist will get banned on a mainstream feminist blog, even though they agree on like 95% of stuff.

        And yes, clarisse isn’t exactly a shining beacon of tolerance either. I’m just saying unlike most feminists, she allows a “morsel” of dialogue.

        Compared to most feminists, she’s a Ghandi. Compared to everyday people, she’s a nazi.

  83. Chloe says:

    I think there are loads of online spaces that are like that (including, sadly, many feminist ones) but I can honestly say that’s not been my experience over at the F-Word. They do moderate (as QRG does here) but there are plenty of disagreements. I’ve even seen radfems complaining over there about “anti-feminist trolls” being “allowed” to comment!

    • I didnt delete easily enthuseds comment chloe I think he deleted it himself.

      • AlekNovy says:

        I’ve even seen radfems complaining over there about “anti-feminist trolls” being “allowed” to comment!

        That doesn’t mean its true.

        What they said: “Omg, you’re allowing anti-feminist misogynists to comment”
        Translation: “You’re not banning people who are not as radical as us fast enough!”

  84. Chloe says:

    “What they said: ‘Omg, you’re allowing anti-feminist misogynists to comment’
    Translation: ‘You’re not banning people who are not as radical as us fast enough!'”

    LOL! I reckon you may be right that this is the case for a rather loud minority within feminism. I think you’re wrong that all feminists think like that though.

    • AlekNovy says:

      LOL! I reckon you may be right that this is the case for a rather loud minority within feminism. I think you’re wrong that all feminists think like that though.

      Honestly, I don’t care if they’re a minority. Let’s assume you’re right and they’re just 10%.

      1) They RUN the place
      2) The “90% of sane feminists” say NOTHING about it

      If you let evil people spout their garbage, you are in fact condoning them. This is the famous “other feminisms” argument. Whenever feminism destroys lives, feminist say “oh oh, that’s those other feminists”

      Until I see these “quiet, but good feminists” opening up their own blogs to protest the “loud radical majority” – I’m sorry, I don’t buy your premise.

      Until I see these “quieit, but good feminists” actively distancing themselves from the “loud, radical majority”, you are in fact indirectly approving of them.

  85. Chloe says:

    QRG, you mentioned EE deleting one of his comments but I can’t see that its possible to do that on this blog. Can you give me a pointer? Does one have to join and get a login? (It would be useful to be able to do this if I make a mistake!)

  86. Chloe says:

    Found it! Cheers 🙂

    That small faction of Radfems certainly don’t run the spaces I go to (though I’m sure they’d like to and indeed think they should).

  87. Chloe says:

    Well, I’ve already said I go on The F-Word site and also here but I’m not sure if I want to say where else after your 101 post because you might add those people to it if you get into a dialogue with them and it doesn’t go so well! After all, your stuff is interesting but you can be a little antagonistic sometimes so you’re bound to end up clashing with someone and then the staff writers could end up having to try to resolve things and inevitably either upsetting you or someone else.

  88. Chloe says:

    PS: By “indeed think they should” I mean I imagine that particular section of Radfems think such a thing, not me!

  89. Clare says:

    That was a sneaky bit of deletion in the 101 Wankers post, QRG.

    “The thread is CLOSED”

    Despite this, my comment appeared but then magically disappeared. I didn’t call you names or say anything abusive so thanks for proving me right.

    I’ll say it again: I’ve heard it said that early comments set the tone for a discussion and some readers only bother looking at the first few. I got in quick with a comment just after you posted the piece but now the exchange is tucked away inside the thread, neither at the top or bottom. Could it be that someone saying the post wasn’t upsetting bruised your ego?

    Having “three nested comments” and then closing the thread was clearly very convenient for you in that post.

    • It wasn’t sneaky Clare I said I was closing it and then closed it.
      I don’t understand your point about nested comments sorry.

      But as you can see I have published loads of comments saying much stronger things than you did so am not sure of your point. Is this your big strategy for undermining an anti-feminist? because its not working. 😀

  90. Clare says:

    I can’t say I’ve ever seen anything “strong” against you here. Like what?

    I don’t need to try to “undermine” you because you’ve already clearly done at least one thing that you criticised another site for in this very post: closed comments and therefore shut down the debate in one of your own.

    • Except nobody cares except you. and maybe ‘chloe’…

      I might close this thread too that will really prove your point! You certainly dont seem interested in the main subjects of my blog.

  91. Chloe says:

    ‘Chloe’ isn’t my real name but I didn’t think using pseudonyms would be a problem here? I’m sorry if I’ve offended you in some way but what’s the big deal?

    You probably got part of my real name when I accidentally commented using another e-mail address anyhow. Sorry but I never put my real name out on the internet. (Neither do you!) Maybe I need to come up with something snappier than ‘Chloe’ though!

  92. Steph D says:

    Wow. Granted this is old and not relevent anymore however just the scale of this has me impressed. Talking about the topic safe places in my mind are a double edged sword. People who stay in safe places tend not to deal with problems in a healthy way. Just my experience from seeing similar safe places for transgendered people.

    I would elaborate however this disscusion has passed. Sorry if this smacks of necromancy.

    • Hi steph!

      It’s always relevant talking about ‘safe spaces’ I think as they are a major aspect of online groupings/politics.

      There’s been a lot of talk about ‘hate crime’ and ‘hate speech’ lately and these kind of concepts tend to justify people’s use of ‘safe spaces’ – safe from the ‘hate’ of oppressive groups like…men…usually. I don’t like any of it to be honest.

      • Steph D says:

        I never understood where all of the man hate came from, or the need in many cases to demonise them. Personally most of the men I know are cute and cuddly or at least harmless. I think groups who lock themselves away are missing the benefits that come from open disscusion including allowing more people to understand that group.

  93. Steph D says:

    Oh I did not expect a reply. Just from personal experience safe places for transgendered people cause problems because without critical voices people can become artifically confident. This can lead to some real problems in real life situations when faced with people who are not only crictical for the first time but may even be violent (in extreme cases). I think safe places can set people up far some pretty hard falls.

    I also believe being able to understand someone position yet still not agree with it is an admireable quality. I do consider myself as a feminist others do not.

  94. […] ‘debate’ whilst excluding people, including women – e.g. me – from their feminist safe spaces . My 101 wankers is a list of all the feminists and their ‘allies’ who ban me and […]

  95. […] Who Is Silencing Whom? Feminists, especially online, often talk about Silencing. They claim that men attempt to shut feminist women up using a variety of nasty techniques. These […]

  96. […] the same. I am proud of the battles I have fought, in my QRG armour, against the worst excesses of feminism in particular. Whether those battles are lost or won, only history will […]

  97. Maybe if you weren’t such a dick?

  98. […] Who Is Silencing Whom? Feminists, especially online, often talk about Silencing. They claim that men attempt to shut feminist women up using a variety of nasty techniques. These […]

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