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25 August 2013 @ 10:48 pm
Fighting Sexism on the interwebs rotted my brain (Post 4 of 30)  
I don't mention it often here. Which is weird. But I consider myself almost a radical feminist. (almost, but not quite, because while I do actually believe there is socially institutionalized sexism that can be found pretty much in every part of in my own culture and quite a few others, i actually do like men and believe they can be feminists and to believe that trans* people are real people too and undergo oppression and deserve to have a voice in multiple movements, including the feminist movement, and because i do still actually like hetero sex and because i do believe women have agency and choice...)

But for some reason it doesn't come up for me in a fandom context as much as it does in my other online spaces, particularly on facebook. Racism discussions too. It's not that I don't have them about things I am fannish about...or think thoughts about those texts that critique their gender politics (and they've all got gender politics, boy howdy). But I'm in a radical feminist community on facebook that has really fascinating discussions (and occasionally just blow your pants off drama). And now, apparently I'm also picking fights with sexist freethinkers.

And picking fights with sexist freethinkers wasn't actually on my menu for the weekend. It is draining to try to explain to someone systematic and institutionalized predjudice if they don't believe it. It is, I think, almost impossible to convince a white male who doesn't want to listen that women are sexually harassed or denegrated when he's a skeptic. Or it was for me. The guy wanted me to prove that sexism was a widespread problem in the atheist community, but then when I pulled up personal blogs from women atheists describing their experiences he denegrated them because they were never 'properly investigated'. When I linked him reports from atheist conferences where there were widespread reports of abuse, he called them hearsay. When I asked him to refer back to the original article I'd posted about Male Atheists and White Knight Sexism he tried to tell me that the tweets in question were just one bad apple and that it did not indicate a widespread trend of anything.

I finally gave up, after calling him sexist. Because he was - at one point he compared unreported sexual harrassment to reports of aliens -- both were equally doubtful in his mind.

I think part of the reason I don't usually engage on topics like this out there on the interwebs (though I read a whole lot of other people engaging on it, women and men alike) is because hitting a wall of doubt like that, when I know so many women who have been made to feel inferior, or disregarded, or put down, or ignore, not just in atheist spaces (but including them) is emotionally exhausting.

So today I was exhausted. Watched bad TV. Watched the rest of the season of Orange is the New Black (which OMG crap holy crap!!). Read Adorable Teen Wolf Derek/Stiles Thanksgiving fic, and completely CREEPY BUT TOTALLY AWESOME Hannibal fic, and only got about a chapters worth of Korean History down.

School starts tomorrow and I will return to my policy of not engaging with people whose minds are impossible to change. (or perhaps I will encounter them in class, but then I'll be their TA, and Korea is WAAAY more fun to talk about than sexism. Sorry, but true.)

Monday can't actually come fast enough.

also posted to katekat on dreamwidth | you can reply here or there
0_Ruthless_00_ruthless_0 on August 26th, 2013 05:49 am (UTC)
Hannibal, huh? I generally try to steer away from fanfic about things I've never considered changing myself.

On the matter of trying to convince pig-headed people of anything, I know exactly where you're coming from. We've got an Atheist on a site I frequent at the moment who thinks that Christian compassion, mercy and tolerance are completely overrated and is trying to say over and over that she's about a hundred times better than any Christian (not that I'm one, myself) because she doesn't believe.

Trying to show her that religion does not make an arsehole or an idiot is like banging a head against a brick wall. Apart from I think the brick wall would would break before she sees rationality. I feel your pain and sympathize.

Good luck with the teaching thing. Couldn't ever find a love for history myself, so colour me impressed.

On another note, would you mind if I worked a few of your pictures into background work while playing with images? Would give full credit where it's due, if course. I just love some of those shots you take. They really get the old imagination racing.
my monkied brainkatekat1010 on August 27th, 2013 04:18 pm (UTC)
re hannibal: i'm definitely only sticking my toes into those waters in part because i agree with you - the show is so fabulous i'm not feeling the fic need. Also though, the fanfic I have so far liked about the show is definitely *really fucked up with a side of fucked up* (because canon, you know?) and i can't read too much of it - it makes my brain go to a weird place. I read a lot of fanfic to keep my faith in humanity, and boy howdy is that not what Hannibal is about.

And OMG, see, that's the bad thing about some of the people in this community - they're all determined to see everything with this over lay of "bleh bad" every time religion comes up and that isn't cool *either* ... especially when they style themselves as somehow better because they're atheists... it's like, come on guys, life doesn't work that way.

Thanks for the encouragement though! the good part about the class is that it's not all history history history (it was just my prep for it that was)

And on that other note - GO FOR IT!! THAT WOULD BE AWESOME! FLY FREE WITH WHATEVER YOU LIKE! just will you link me to what you do? cuz i want to see it!!
seldomifeverseldomifever on August 26th, 2013 09:36 am (UTC)
I'm not sure if I qualify as a radical feminist - I would say extremely aware feminist cause I do see sexism nearly everywhere - but I do fight the good fight in my own way. I point it out wherever I sees it to my kids and just about everyone else I know. Will I change minds? I think so. Awareness is the first step in changing any behavior. Even if the guy didn't see your pov, something might have seeped in. More power to you, lady. Keep up the good work!
my monkied brainkatekat1010 on August 27th, 2013 04:19 pm (UTC)
Awareness is the first step in changing any behavior.

RIGHT!! i so agree with you so much there!!! omg yes! and you keep fighting the good fight too! i think the toughest part is navigating where personal energy clashes with the desire to, you know, not actually let people get away with thinking they're right - some days it's easier and some days it's harder.

But ultimately it's waaaay better to have done something than nothing at all.

your royal pie-nessentrenous88 on August 26th, 2013 10:51 am (UTC)
I do think hitting that wall of doubt is emotionally exhausting -- and it also seems to be ultimately a tedious expenditure of energy that could be better directed to other things if that one person is still digging their heels in to Men Are Discriminated against Too! land.

HOWEVER, I think it's often great to keep on keepin' on in those public forums, like FB and elsewhere, because while that one asshole may never be convinced, it's a platform to sound out those views for people who might be more persuadable or undecided. So it sucks that you are exhausted, but you know, good on you! <3
my monkied brainkatekat1010 on August 27th, 2013 04:22 pm (UTC)
totally tedious! the only thing i hope is that by being confronted, even if it doesn't happen for years, some little grain of doubt may have been planted in that guy's brain that he's not as right as he thinks he is... it could happen, and even that possibility is worth it.

and OMG you're so right about the visibility thing - even if he doesn't change his mind, someone else might see it and feel comforted.

thanks for the support lady. good on you too - we all do what we can in whatever ways we can, and i think that does make a difference!