A Little More On Light

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.

7 thoughts on “A Little More On Light

  1. Pingback: To Daisy Deadhead (RP) | Feminist Critics

  2. Thank you for your reply, I have responded as much as I am going to, over on Feminist Critics.

    I notice you and Daran use my comments for separate blog posts, and don’t even link my blog, which I consider disrespectful. I notice you manage to link men’s blogs and websites when you discuss them.

    Probably just another of those coincidences.

    Or was it my snipe at typhonblue today, that got me unlinked? Whatever.

    You defended someone who called into question my biography, and that is the bottom line. This is the kind of questioning and disrespect you will not tolerate from feminists, yet its okay to do it to me? Why?

  3. I notice you and Daran use my comments for separate blog posts, and don’t even link my blog, which I consider disrespectful. I notice you manage to link men’s blogs and websites when you discuss them.

    You left a comment on this blog, so I linked to that and quoted the portion I wished to discuss. That is what I have always done, both here and on Feminist Critics. It would only be disrespectful of I never bothered to include a link to the comments I quoted. Had you made the comment on your blog and posted that link, then I would have linked directly to your blog. The link in your name is active, so anyone who wishes to visit your blog can. I only remove links to spam websites.

    You defended someone who called into question my biography, and that is the bottom line.

    Again, I did not read anything that suggested your experiences did not happen. What I read was the explicit statement that what you consider was the norm for girls might not have been the case. I cannot argue with that or your position per se because I was not alive during the 70s. I have no real way of knowing what the situation was like. I do, however, consider it fair to question whether someone’s representation of a social situation is accurate. Asking that question in no way calls your biography into question unless someone posits that your experience could not have happened.

    This is the kind of questioning and disrespect you will not tolerate from feminists, yet its okay to do it to me? Why?

    Well, not only do I tolerate that kind of questioning and disrespect from feminists, I have unfortunately come to expect it, so much so that it no longer actually bothers me. I challenge it only on the merit that such assertions need to be explained and defended, not blindly accepted. That said, there is no double standard at play here. I consider it fair game to ask a person to defend the assertions they make about society or other groups people, regardless of whether they introduced the subject by relating their own experiences. Doing the latter should not exempt one’s argument of objective analysis. If I claimed that feminists tell boys that they are worthless failed girls and cite my own experience of having been called that as a child by my aunt as proof, I would expect that you would object to that assertion no matter how many other males I could find who were treated the way I was. I would also expect that you would not consider your objection disrespectful or triggering. Why should it be any different in the reverse?

  4. I notice you and Daran use my comments for separate blog posts, and don’t even link my blog, which I consider disrespectful.

    The only blogroll at FC is mine, and you remain linked there, DDH, as you have for the past couple of months.

    Now it’s possible you meant, ‘Daran didn’t link to my blog in his post about my comments at FC,’ but I don’t think that’s a very common practice. If you talk about what someone says, you generally link back to the place where she or he said it.

  5. Daisy thinks that TB was saying that she was unconvinced that Daisy had ever even had her experiences.

    The comment in question was ambiguous and could have meant that, or it could have meant that TB was unconvinced that Daisy’s experiences generalised to the wider population/proved what they were being used to prove.

    TB says it was the latter.

    Unless Daisy understands this, you will not gain anything from this discussion, because denying someone’s experience IS a dick move. If she continues under the misapprehension that TB and, by borgification, all the commenters and bloggers at FC are trying to deny her experiences, then of course she won’t listen to you.

  6. I do not think she is inclined to listen anyway, however, it would be impolite to not at least try to engage in a civil conversation. Typhonblue’s comment, when taken in context of the overall discussion, was quite clear. She was challenging Daisy’s assertion that Daisy’s experiences are representative of what girls from her generation and perhaps of the current generation went through. Daisy freely acknowledged later on that other girls had different experiences, which essentially disproved the point she was trying to make. That is not to say that no girls were told the things Daisy was or that girls should not be allowed to play drums. It only demonstrates that her position that her experience is representative does not hold water.

    Daisy’s reaction is not unexpected. When a person uses a personal experience as anecdotal evidence to make a larger point, any questioning of that perspective tends to be taken as a denial of the person’s experiences. This is particularly true when people adopt political views as a result of such experiences. Often people do not separate the two, so any criticism of the political views becomes an attack on the person’s experiences. It makes discussions difficult if not impossible as we have seen in regards to the current situation.

  7. For as many feminists that will trash a site, announce that they refuse to link to it, and then continue to trash it I’m amazed she is offended by it. Hopefully this means she is not one of them.

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