TW for mentions of misogynistic and rape-apologetic comments not published on this blog, just to be safe.
Over the last couple of weeks I’ve had quite a few very negative and misogynistic comments in response to my writing, and it’s gotten me a bit down. I’m very busy lately; end of semester assignments, (one after the other) at uni, trying to organise moving house in the holidays, rushing to the library every time I need to use the internet because it’s taken three weeks for our new connection to be hooked up. Seeing comments waiting to be approved that make me squirm hasn’t been helping at all.
I’ve had several people asking me why I don’t trust people to realise that a joke with a sexist slur isn’t to be taken seriously in the real world, because obviously no one thinks that way. (Look around. People do.) I’ve had someone tell me that my saying “making sexist jokes is wrong” is the same as censorship in a dictatorship. In response to this post on sexual harassment, I’ve had someone send a long and detailed email asking “are you really so afraid that you can’t just deal with it yourself?” and saying “but I’ve been seduced by women who weren’t interested in me to start with” (ergo, your logic is faulty). Last week a comment on this post said that the rape survivors he knows are turned on by rape scenes on TV, so I shouldn’t make a fuss, and that there are enough instances where rape is ok to desensitise you to those scenes anyway.
Ever since I’ve started blogging I’ve been unsure of how to deal with these sorts of comments. They take me aback because I don’t expect to find them on my blog. I honestly don’t know why people expressing these opinions (especially the last few) even find my posts.
The question is: do I approve those comments in order to spend time and energy explaining the way I see the world to them in the hopes of educating them? Or do I decline to publish them, feel guilty for a while that I haven’t even tried to change their opinions, and then move on?
I’ve been reading some posts at Hoyden about Town on comment moderation and policies of declining to public unacceptable content, and it’s helped to think about what I want to do about this in the future. Obviously this is my private part of the internet, and I have the right to publish what I want to publish and get rid of things I find offensive or not useful. But I’ve also been thinking about other people visiting my blog, and my responsibility to them.
My readers, however few, have the right to know that this is a feminist space, one that should be a safe space for explorations and diverse aspects of feminism and all its intersectionalities. It is a place for discussion and arguments of a respectful and feminist nature. If you don’t consider yourself a feminist, or have issues with the very basis of what I write about, then this is not a space for you, and I will not allow you do derail my arguments, challenge my fundamental beliefs or post misogynistic or otherwise unacceptable comments. Because in doing so, you are making this space uncomfortable and unsafe for women (and feminist-allied men) who may find my blog and feel welcome here. I deal with enough sexism and slut shaming and rape apologism (and racism and homophobia and fat shaming and and and…) out in the world. We all do. The least I can do is make this space safe from all that.
So in the future, I am deleting all unacceptable comments. I will ignore comments that backhandedly ask me to explain my views. I cannot educate everyone, and if you really want an answer, then you will search and find that answer elsewhere. I will not let you take my space from me.