April 28, 2007 Take Back the Blog! Blogswarm
As I said in my first post, I
didn't care for thought the icon didn't really express the root issues.
My PhotoShop skills aren't the best, but here's this:
Not so clean graphically--but speaks for me.
Today is the day to advocate for the rights of women to participate fully in all aspects of our society, including specifically online in the world of blogging but indeed everywhere and at all times, day and night, without fear of harassment, intimidation, sexual harassment, online stalking and slander, predation or violence of any sort.
I want to point out that the originator of the Take Back the Blog blogswarm, Bruce Godfrey, put his money where his mouth is:
I have made two decisions related to Kos Media and my participation in its activities. I have decided not to attend YearlyKos this year, and further to cease participation at DailyKos, having written a thank-you letter/"Good-Bye Cruel World" diary to that effect over there.
This is of course over Kos's deplorable reaction to Kathy Sierra.
Twisty Faster said something that seemed quite apropos to me:
Oh, who am I kidding? A thousand bloggers could write “it’s not cool to oppress women” on April 28, but sooner or later it’ll be April 29, and our little pet issue will turn into a pumpkin, and it’ll be dudely business-as-usual again on the World Wide Web.
Time for a Twisty bromide: Women’s oppression is a global humanitarian crisis. Any so-called political blogger who (a) who does not explicitly, strenuously, and regularly denounce it, and (b) condones an antifeminist commentarian zeitgeist, might as well rename their stupid blog “I Defend the Conviction that Male Abuse of Women Constitutes the Natural Order, Now Where Are the Boobies?”
It's similar to what Dorothea Salo said
But the cycle can be broken. It just has to be broken by men....
So here is what you do, if you’re a man wanting to help. You say, “Um, was that supposed to be funny? Because, not laughing here.” You say, “Hey, could we not use that phrase? I don’t like it.” You say to the main perpetrators, in IRC whispers or private email or whatever, “Hey, would you mind toning down the jokes? That kind of talk really bothers me.”
The key here is to express that the demeaning of women bothers you, you personally.
Some other Take Back the Bloggers:
Aine MacDermot has a post entitled Harassment and Hope, in which she offers up her experience and gives harassees some practical tips on what to do with trolls and stalkers. The article was cross-posted at Newsvine, which is where most of the comments are.
The reason why I'm taking part in this blogswarm is firstly to show solidarity with all the women out there who have experienced negative attention (and worse!) online, and secondly to admit that, yes, the fact that I am a woman does colour what I write and how much information I share online. I'm somewhat careful. Just in case. And I'm hoping like crazy that I'm not tempting fate by writing this post.
Threats terrify. You may feel so angry at someone, so furious at their point of view or so convinced of their point of view will cause harm to group that you've sworn to protect, that threats seem like the only way to best protect yourself and your interests.....
But it's wrong. People who hide their personal information online are doing it for a reason. We all know it's impossible to hide everything, and we all know that it's disgustingly easy for the tech savvy to dig up just about everything about us. That's why we're relying on a very thin thread of social appropriateness to protect our hidden identities, or to keep our hidden posts and messages visible only to those we agreed to show them to. We are relying on everyone understanding the rules of the game, and respecting them. And not everyone does.
Again, I'm not going to name names, but I'd like to address something to some of those people who are breaking the rules. And that is that I see you and those like you constantly talking about how domination and power over are wrong and harmful to women. But hanging the threat of outing over someone's head is coercion. Coercion is a paradigm case of power over, and not only that but a paradigm case of its misuse.* Even people like me who think that not every form of power over is bad or wrong will agree that coercion is unacceptable. If you're really committed to limiting or stopping power over being used harm women (and, I would hope, being used to harm anyone at all), then I do not see how you can ever accept the idea that it's proper to coerce one.
Clipped Wings, sees two aspects to "Taking Back the Blog" -- opposing misogyny and managing your own blogging to reduce melodrama. who blogs using the platform Vox, explains some issues perhaps unique to Vox (and perhaps Live Journal?). I've never used either, so....Vox has privacy controls and a concept called "neighborhoods".
We should never forget that the people reading our silly little blogs are human beings with a wide variety of tastes and sensitivities. So if someone posts something on your blog about how offended they were, ignore it. Be polite. Send them a PM saying "I'm sorry I offended you please stay away from my blog in the future". Don't reply to their comment with a "screw you for even being on my blog". That's stupid, insensitive, and wrong on so many levels!
Consider your blog as if it were a home- your home. You don't treat the people in your home like animals, if they are out of control you ask them to leave and then you block them from reentering if they aren't compliant. You manage all of the activity in your home. Manage your blog in the same way. Judge what is and isn't appropriate for any passing bystander to see and use your privacy settings accordingly. There are some things the whole world doesn't need to know. Think about the content you are putting out there. You don't line dry your thongs in the front yard, and you shouldn't blog about some things without using privacy settings. You also wouldn't let any person move into your house- so always read peoples blogs before adding back into your neighborhood. Just because they added you doesn't mean they want to be your best friend.
Oh, I see now: the two-part nature of TBTB was brought up by CupCate
It's about OWNING respect, and the freedom to express yourself online safely, without having to worry about extreme harassment and threats online.
It's about taking YOUR blog back. Back from all the dramatic melodrama bullshit, and getting your blog back to what YOU want it to be about.
In other words, moderating comments.
Tze Ming Mok wrote an entry on the blog she keeps at the New Zealand group, Public Address, Yellow Peril, reminding us among other things that Nubian's blog went silent last year because she became weary of the comment storm, and Joan Walsh's reflections on l'affaire MeanKids/Sierra at Salon:
I'm left with a lot of my initial reaction: Attitudes toward women have improved dramatically just in my lifetime, but still the world has too many misogynists, and the Web has given them a microphone that lets them turn up the volume on their quavering selves, their self-righteous fury, their self-loathing expressed as hatred of women. And yet, mostly, women on the Web just have to ignore it. If you show it bothers you, you've given them pleasure. Life is too short to think about Broadsheet trolls.
But it coarsens you to look away, and to tell others to do the same. I've grown a thicker skin. I didn't want skin this thick. And what does it mean that women writers have to drag around this anchor every time they start to write -- that we reflexively compose our own hate mail, and sometimes type and retype to try to avoid it? I can honestly say it's probably made me more precise and less glib. That's good. But it's also, for now, made me too cautious. I write less than I would if I wasn't thinking these thoughts. I think that's bad. I think Web misogyny puts women writers at a disadvantage, and as someone who's worked for women's advancement in the workplace, and the world, that saddens me.
Mok went on to say, in her post on TBTB:
These events seem to speak of default methods of dealing with women, and women of colour, when they - ironically - attempt to *recede* from the public eye citing distaste at an atmosphere of sexual or racial aggression that they are exposed to in daily operations. When threats are mentioned, these women are simultaneously, or contradictorily, accused of self-aggrandisement (even though they are trying to disappear), dishonesty (in exaggerating the harshness of their treatment or making up imaginary 'threats'), and of cowardice (being unsuitably afraid of the things they have been accused of making up).
Like Strangest Alchemy, Radical Feminist Terrorism is talking about what is going on in a community I do not frequent. She talks about the way women oppress each other, especially in the Genderberg community and elsewhere in the radical feminism blogosphere (here, here, and here, for example)
In my time on Genderberg I read more hatred of women than I ever read or saw in pornography. Now thanks to 'Stormy' I have now also seen more violence and threads against a woman than I ever have in porn.
All I can say is we need to support Take Back The Blog! because online violence and harassment is never OK.
In a previous post, I wrote about this image.
I've been looking for an image to illustrate what I feel the underlying message of l'affaire MeanKids / UncleBobism to be, and found this at Andrew Heenan's Guide to Flaming, specifically the troll pages.
- Wikipedia Troll (Internet)
- CSI Working Paper: Managing Trolling in a Feminist Forum
- The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly of the Internet
- Cyberbullying Resources at Stop Cyberbullying
- Blogs Can Talk Past Each Other
- Blog Civility
- Blog Civility: Online Integrity Pledge
- Craig Weller's Civility in Conflict
- The Death of Civility
- How To Disagree Online Without Being Disagreeable
- Smart or Happy?
- Laura at Apt 11D: Disagree or Attack?
- Polarization and Moving the Middle
- My Blogging Principles