Initially I was going to post this as a response, but it was much too long for that. For a little context: I wrote a post in response to one made by little light on her blog. In her post little light discussed her experiences growing up as a transgirl and framed masculinity and boys in a way I consider harmful. I was triggered by some of the things she said and I made an effort to explain why that happened. Daisydeadhead responded to my comments. I offered an explanation as best I could, although I think my response was more hostile than I intended.
Daisy replied to those comments with this:
The example I gave was about my childhood. I was not allowed to learn to play drums, which I desperately wanted to do. My family were musicians, the drums were right there in the house. It would have cost nothing to let me teach myself, but this was something I WAS TOLD girls should/could not do. (yes, I realize there are exceptions, goddammit, but this is what I WAS TOLD.) This was a tremendous loss to me.
I heard such stories over and over–and finally, as a teenager in the 70s, this is why I was attracted to feminism and believed it contained a truth: it spoke to my real experience. It was not some nebulous “theory” to me.
And I was trying to explain this, when I was attacked (and triggered).
I recall you mentioning this on an older thread. I have not read the posts at Feminist Critics that regularly for several weeks now, so I am unaware of anything that recently occurred. I apologize if you were triggered by anyone’s response. I also understand why you would be drawn to feminism as a result of your experience. As I said in regards to little light’s experiences, I cannot argue with what you were told. What happened is what happened. Saying otherwise would not change that. I also do not doubt that many other girls were told the same things you were.
That said, having read your responses to some of the comments, I would say you do a fair deal of attacking yourself. When Eagle30 told you that your position essentially denied that his experiences happened, instead of listening and trying to understand, as you want others to do for you, you replied in a condescending way and again undermined the his feelings. The reason I consider your response condescending is because you basically threw his experiences back in his face, following it up with a series of “Patriarchy Hurts Men Too” comments. Those are the same kind of comments that you object to when they are presented against you, yet you not only engaged in them yourself, but you did so before anyone said anything of the sort to you.
Then you did it again to Eagle30 in response to his response. What occurred next was a series of posts by people challenging the position you presented. As much as I can understand that you were triggered by the remarks, your responses were much more hostile than anything anyone said to you. In some of your responses you engaged in the exact same kind of denial you object to in regards to your experience, and you did so without any seeming concern for how that would be received.
As best as I can tell, you presented your experience as the way all girls were treated and are treated, and when someone objected to that declaration, you first tried to trigger them, waited for their angry response and then complained about being attacked. Based on that, it would appear you wanted the responses you got and commented in a way to get them and then held those up as examples of the posters being hypocrites. Perhaps that was not your intent, but it certainly looks like it was and it honestly is not a fair thing to do to anyone.
So… because somebody saw an ex-beauty queen who was one of Elvis’ ex-girlfriends playing a redneck tomboy on a fucking TV show (i.e. not a real redneck tomboy, okay?), I am called a liar. That is to say (?), I guess I really WAS allowed to play the drums. I must have made the whole thing up!
To be fair, no one explicitly called you a liar or stated that your experiences did not happen. One person stated that your assertions, which I assume refers to the overall point you were making, were “unconvincing.” The other comments are fair observations from those people’s perspectives, just as you relating your experience is a fair observation from your perspective. To tell someone that he or she cannot say that they have not experienced what you experienced or that what you purport is the social norm is not what they went through would actually undermine the point you were making because technically you were using your experience to do the same thing to them.
We are bound to have different sets of experiences, resulting in totally different perspectives, especially when people are from different generations. The important thing is acknowledge all those perspectives as pieces of a larger picture, not that one and only one perspective is the larger picture. The former is what occurred on the FC thread. The latter is what feminists often present, much like little light did in her post and you did on the FC thread. They tell people what the larger picture is and whenever anyone presents something that does not fit into that view they either dismiss it, mock it or try to force-fit it into the feminist perspective. When someone objects to that, like I did in response to little light and the FC posters did in response to your comments, they receive a condescending response, which feeds into your next remark:
Hey, check what Renegade Evolution just linked to: DERAILING FOR DUMMIES and in particular, some of the methods outlined in the sub-categories … Every single sub-category, actually… is right out of that thread. It’s like you all had a playbook.
Yes, we all have a playbook. We borrowed it from feminists.
I apologize for the snark, however, I have heard and read every sub-category so many times that I can actually name people, online and off, who have said those things to me, some less kindly than others. Little light’s post and follow-up comments here fit into several of the sub-categories. I frequently write about feminists doing exactly what RE linked to, as do the bloggers at Feminist Critics. Unfortunately, none of those objections are treated as valid. All the things listed on that link are considered by feminists as fair game to say to “teh menz.” That is not to say that feminists ought to be treated in the same manner, only that it is unconscionable to complain about something that one regularly engages in.
That is part of the problem with these kinds of discussions. Just like with little light’s post, there is an expectation that the “oppressor” group on the receiving of hurtful statements should just suck it up and take it. There is no understanding or even acknowledgment that one’s comments can come across as harmful and hurtful. There is only concern for oneself and one’s own position. That is, of course, only natural. One cannot be expected to identify or empathize with people who do not share one’s experiences. However, it is rather surprising when the people who resort to such antagonistic framing and comments fail to see the impact of their own words, particularly when their argument is that people shuold be more conscious of and empathetic towards others.