19 Comments

Criticisms

This is where folks may level any general criticism of the information architecture and style of the blog. This is not a place for specific criticisms of feminist theory, which should be done on the appropriate FAQs. Comments here are still expected to adhere to the Comments Policy.

  • Comments which demonstrate an unwillingness to read even the few introductory pages (here, here, here, and here) or the basic FAQs (Feminist Fundamentals section) are unlikely to be taken all that seriously.
  • Because the purpose of this blog is twofold, and one of those purposes is rebutting vexatious anti-feminist commentors disrupting discussions elsewhere, some FAQs and op-eds are specifically directed at vexatious questioners and are somewhat hostile or sarcastic in tone. If you do not engage in vexatious disruption, then such hostility/sarcasm is not directed at you, so please don’t bother being offended about it. Move on to the material that is directed at genuine seekers after knowledge instead.

Why has this page been created? Comments were initially left open on the introductory page Why was I sent to this blog?. Leaving comments open has seemed to distract some people from actually reading further. FF101 is open to criticism, but having it on the introductory pages is unhelpful to the broader purposes of the site, so I’m porting all those comments here instead.

19 comments on “Criticisms

  1. The following ported comments were all left on the Why Was I Sent To This Blog? page.

  2. # anon, on July 15th, 2007 at 10:55 pm, Said:

    While I came here on my own because I am curious to see what other people say feminism is, I find that the writing condescends almost from the start, for example:

    “People find ignorant questions frustrating”; “By sending you here the feminists hope”; “Feminists naturally don’t care”. Each of these statements is so broad as to be ignorant themselves. So why should I bother to read any further?

    ——————————————-
    # tigtog, on July 16th, 2007 at 12:06 am Said:

    Dear “anon” (superlatively original net handle, BTW),

    This is an introductory level blog on feminist theory. Have you ever actually been in an introductory level course in which the opening address didn’t seem at least a little condescending in its attempt to cover all bases? Not everyone coming to read here may be as ineffably erudite as thee.

    There are links provided in the post above to material which addresses specifics. If you’re really interested in discovering what other people say about feminism, follow them. If all you want to do is score online debating points, then don’t bother. Your choice entirely.

    ——————————————-
    # nightgigjo, on July 16th, 2007 at 8:50 pm Said:

    Also: anon, if no one sent you here, then this attitude doesn’t apply to you. No need to take something personally that wasn’t meant for you in the first place.

    As to why you might bother to continue reading, I would suggest that you read this post again. The statements you found so offensive didn’t, in fact, communicate what you quoted at all. You are attributing intentions and attitudes to feminists that are just not present in this particular post.

    If you’re open-minded enough to leave aside your preconceived notions and read only what’s been written, then you might find the reason to continue reading about feminism here that you seek.

  3. # Ocean, on July 19th, 2007 at 7:07 am Said:

    Somewhat in defence of Anon, this feminist admits to being taken aback when she read “people find ignorant questions frustrating.” I find nothing wrong with the other phrases Anon mentions and the rest of the intro comes across as friendly and helpful. However, the word ‘ignorant’ in that one phrase doesn’t fit with the rest and seems inappropriate to me.

    One way of re-wording it might be “people find questions that are basic to feminism frustrating.”

    ——————————————-
    # tigtog, on July 19th, 2007 at 8:06 am Said:

    Ocean, I’m actually using ignorant deliberately because there’s nothing wrong with ignorance IMO – it just means you don’t know something yet.

    However, if it’s taking allies aback then I need to clarify my view of the word in the post or find another phrasing.

  4. # Wogglebug, on July 19th, 2007 at 3:04 pm Said:

    Unfogged had a useful post on how men can behave respectfully during feminist discussions:

    http://www.unfogged.com/archives/week_2006_09_03.html#005405

    ——————————————-
    # tigtog, on July 24th, 2007 at 12:43 pm Said:

    Thanks, Wogglebug. I think I have referenced that one in one of the FAQs already, but the more links to great posts in comments the better!!

  5. # nightgigjo, on July 29th, 2007 at 2:19 pm Said:

    Indeed, tigtog: Ignorant is not an insult, but a description. I am thoroughly ignorant of anything past the most elementary principles of astrophysics, beyond, say, that stars are made up of burning gas or that planets travel in elliptical orbits.

    I think this meaning of ignorant was made abundantly clear in the post itself, so I would consider this a case of reading at less than 100% attentiveness. (I find it easier to miss stuff while reading from a computer screen, so I’m not picking on anon at all. This happens — it’s called being human.)

    If we’re leaving the potentially insulting word ignorant out (which seems a fairly reasonable act) then may I suggest:

    “People find questions that do not further the current discussion frustrating.”

    There. Trolls are now included. ^^

    ——————————————-
    # tigtog, on July 29th, 2007 at 8:21 pm Said:

    nightgigio, the clarity of the intended meaning of ignorant is there now because of the text in brackets, which I’ve now further amended to indicate that this was a later edit than the original version against which the complaints were made.

    I certainly use ignorant as a descriptor rather than as an insult, but then I don’t find the accurate description “fat” insulting either.

    ——————————————-
    # nightgigjo, on July 30th, 2007 at 9:55 am Said:

    tigtog, thanks for the clarification. It is, at least by me, much appreciated. ^^

  6. # Surix, on August 5th, 2007 at 2:09 pm Said:

    I didn’t think it was terribly condescending I just thought it delightful that you refer to other feminists as “allies”.

    In 1980 I could see that but in 2007 I am under the impression that anything that can be related to a “war” has long been won.

    Can you clarify?
    ——————————————-

    # tigtog, on August 5th, 2007 at 4:07 pm Said:

    That strikes me as an oversimplistic and also very Western-centric view, Surix.

    Most women in the world don’t have a chance at self-sovereignty, and those of us who do are still struggling for equal opportunity against a culture that trivialises every choice a woman makes.

  7. # Surix, on August 5th, 2007 at 4:49 pm Said:

    Yes tigtog I was referring to the western world.
    I am not a woman so perhaps I miss some things but what do you mean by trivializes every choice a woman makes? What is a choice that is considered important when a man makes it but trivial when a woman makes it. Or am I misinterpreting your statement.

    I do however have some insight into the life of a woman as I have been a part of or aware of my sisters life from birth (80s) to adulthood. She has never considered herself a feminist or felt cheated in anyway on account of her gender and the way society views it. She is a successful business woman and had no problems from society in getting there. Is there some injustice (related to gender) that she has not been aware of and might she have had a happier and more successful life if those injustices did not exist? Or is that not the goal of feminism.

    ——————————————-
    # Surix, on August 5th, 2007 at 5:11 pm Said:

    About cultures outside of the western world, it would seem fighting for the rights of those woman would more appropriately be called humanitarianism rather than feminism. We now know what equality is, the time for feminism would seem to have ended. Some movements need to expire, at least how(and in what way) they are referred to. For example when a white person greets a black person you wouldn’t call it “integration” anymore. That would be absurd and possibly setting back ideas that were fought for and accepted long ago. Instead you don’t think twice about blacks “integrating” with whites because you just see it as people relating with people. In order to “not think twice” you first have to stop using and drawing attention to the words and concepts. That is how I see it.

    ——————————————-
    # tigtog, on August 6th, 2007 at 10:21 pm Said:

    FAQ: Why “feminism” and not just “humanism”? Or “equalism”? Isn’t saying you’re a feminist exclusionary?

    The other FAQs are listed on the FAQ roundup page, Surix: there’s a link in the sidebar.

    ——————————————-
    # tigtog, on August 6th, 2007 at 10:23 pm Said:

    Also, I’m glad for your sister that she is successful etc. But why should your anecdote trump decades of data?

    ——————————————-
    # CLD, on August 24th, 2007 at 2:45 am Said:

    One would also wonder how Surix would know how his sister felt growing up or how she feels now in spite of her success. I am a woman and I have two younger sisters — I wouldn’t presume to speak for them and how they might or might not feel on any given subject.

  8. # tigtog, on October 1st, 2007 at 8:44 am Said:

    nightgigio, you suggested rephrasing to:

    “People find questions that do not further the current discussion frustrating.”

    I’ve decided to run with that after all. Thanks!

  9. # Rachel, on November 15th, 2007 at 7:29 pm Said:

    I was sent to this site for some real Feminist discussion but instead I’m accused of de-railing an interesting discussion others were having???!!! I will not be using this site again!

    ——————————————-
    # tigtog, on November 15th, 2007 at 9:48 pm Said:

    The effect of your question must have been a potential derail, or they would not have pointed you here. Nobody is saying that you deliberately set out to derail the discussion, just that derailing is what would have happened if everybody switched to answering your question instead of staying on topic.

    Derails are often inadvertent. That doesn’t mean that other people have to accommodate them, just because you didn’t mean it as a derail.

    If you want some feminist discussion here, you’re more than welcome. You might want to thicken the skin a little. If a general comment here doesn’t apply to you, then there’s no need for you to be offended, is there?

  10. I noticed a friend posting about, this FAQ, and because I probably don’t know as much about feminism as I should I came to have a look at it.

    And, frankly, I was disappointed. Having it described as “a link for the girls to toss out at people who just don’t get basic feminist tenets:”, or your own description of it, I’ve found it not particularly useful. I said as much on her post, and I figured I might as well share my comments with you. If some of this is slightly disjointed, it’s because I’ve copied and pasted my comment from my friend’s blog, then edited and expanded it.

    For the described purpose, I find what you’re directed to far to too link heavy. This may be the fault of the desire for instant gratification, but I’d actually blame more the paralysing effect of too much choice: I’m not sure where to click, so I click no-where and turn off.

    There’s also the issue that when you click through to a section, there seems to be no order of importance to the stuff that’s within it – I hope for a 101 style explanation to order its information so that you get the utter basiscs first, and then builds onto that, covering each of the important areas of the subject comprehensively, but not confusingly.

    Yes, it probably indicates that I don’t care fully enough, and I’m not willing to fully engage that I’m not willing to go hunting through everything for the information, but if I’m lacking in the basics of feminist thought, and because of that I’m sent to an FAQ, then what I’d like, and what will actually get me to sit down and spend ten minutes to half an hour reading through it, is something simpler, one long page that starts at the basics, and then has sections on the more advanced stuff. I want a enclosed document that I can read the entireity of, and then go “Okay, I know the basics of this whole feminism thing.” in much the same way as I read through the martial arts FAQ below when I was going “I want to study a martial art, but I don’t know which. Lets find out about martial arts as a whole, and the various arts themselves”

    Something like a wikipedia page or this martial arts FAQ

    This site? I’m constantly jumping between links, it’s not neccesarily immediately obvious what’s the official article, and what’s a comment on it.

    It looks like an interesting blog for discussing the basics of feminism and questions on it, but its structure means I’m unlikely to try and read through all of it. And I find it unlikely that I’m the only one who’ll react in this way.

    This setup is probably pretty good for when there’s a specific concept someone doesn’t understand, you can link them right to a page discussing it.

    You could probably make a coherent FAQ document from this, sorting out what’s the basics, and what are the other core concepts that need to be gotten over, putting it in an appropriate order, and checking the tone is appropriate and consistent throughout.

    Final thought: I came here willing to give you half an hour of my time (at three in the morning too!) to read through something on the core concepts of feminism, but very quickly realised that it was going to take a lot of work to extract the information I was interested in. If there are other FAQ’s/101’s that are more like what I’ve described as my ideal, then I’d be quite interested in looking at them, if you can give me a link.

  11. Thank you for your comment – sorry that I haven’t addressed it until now.

    For the described purpose, I find what you’re directed to far to too link heavy. This may be the fault of the desire for instant gratification, but I’d actually blame more the paralysing effect of too much choice: I’m not sure where to click, so I click no-where and turn off.

    It’s deliberately link-heavy so that people who read here can find feminist blogs to read who post on particular issues. I could have just had a blogroll, but I found that idea too generalised and too likely to offend people who aren’t included on it.

    I don’t want to pretend that I am the font of all feminist answers either, so I want to link to other feminist writers who have addressed the questions that are frequently asked. This site is also unapologetically focussed on blog discussions rather than any other type of forum, so linking to other bloggers is appropriate.

    Most people who come here find that the FAQ Roundup organises the basics and other core concepts quite well for their purposes, and that the links page offers a few other sources that are helpful. Both those pages are clearly linked in the sidebar.

    Obviously no document is going to suit everyone, and it’s a shame for you that the organisation here is not to your taste. However, I never meant for this site to be an exercise in spoon-feeding some superficial gloss on the diversity of feminisms. I offer summaries and links to further reading, because plenty of reading is how one learns.

    Perhaps half an hour of reading at three in the morning was never going to be an adequate delegation of time to the task?

  12. I think the links are good for providing a fuller understanding of various areas.

    But if you have someone come here with little or no idea of feminist theory, then ‘read this page/these two pages’ as a start, would be a good idea, IMHO.

  13. This is a great resource, except I find nothing on conservative feminism. Do you deliberately leave this out, or is there simply not enough to work with?

  14. This is not so much of a criticism as it is commonly understood; it is a suggestion (I know there is a page for that – suggestions- but it is related to feminist theory).

    I was wondering if I (and whoever wants to help and correct, etc.) could volunteer to translate this web site or the most important bits of it to Spanish. Why? Because I think the material here is an excellent introduction for those wanting to learn about feminism and correct their biases and prejudices.

    Most people do not know english, at least competently, in the spanish speaking countries (especially south america; for variouos reasons), and since these countries have a big population, this is a great loss.

    What do you say? ^_^

    • Philos, a few people over the years have contacted me to translate this blog, and I’ve always said yes so long as adequate attribution is made to the authors here for their original work.

      I’ve lost those emails though, and don’t currently have links to the sites themselves, so maybe I should put up a post about translations.

  15. “Feminism 101″ and no search returns on “motherhood”? Don’t something like 80% of people have children? Even the search on “mother” did so very, very little at speaking to misogyny invested on women who have or care for children.

    • Kelly, Questions on motherhood have simply not been Frequently Asked, and since that is how the site is structured, so far no motherhood FAQ.

      Did you have a particular question in mind?

  16. N.B. I am woman (not a feminist) and was not sent to this blog from another site. I have read the introductory material, comments policy and list of FAQs. I understand that this site is structured around a FAQs, however, as a non-feminist (according to your info a part of your target audience) I find it rather difficult to navigate.

    I think it would be helpful to add some sort of additional organization/structure (list of tags or keywords??) for those who are not familiar with feminist theory.

    I am here seeking to understand how feminists account for/understand the physical realities of being female in light of their views (here stated) on gender. (I.e. how does a feminist account for physical differences – to put it negatively no man is going to get cervical cancer, ovarian cancer, uterine fibroids, endometriosis and experiences common medical crises (e.g. heart attacks) quite differently from women – between men and women, while holding that discussing male/female differences is at least potentially sexist and holding gender as a construct?)

    Apologies if I have somehow missed this information if it already posted.

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