Saturday, 21 January 2012

Lurking.



I used to read the Hand mirror and other feminist blogs on a semi-regular basis, without ever considering commenting. Then I read regularly. Then I made a few comments, most of which were bitch slapped into place by someone more informed, or evolved, or just more opinionated than me.
99% of the time, I was incorrect about something, or didn’t frame my point clearly enough for people to fully grasp what I was saying. Sometimes people just jumped on me because I was an unknown factor, and it is easier to assume that someone is deliberately wrong rather than just ignorant.
In spite of several moments where I stomped away from the keyboard in tears I continued. And now, I write for the hand mirror. It is still 50/50 whether I think it is worth it. The rapport of my fellow writers, regardless of whether we agree on points, is wonderful. I have met fabulous women in the real world who have changed my life for the better. Other days, I am in a tricky battle to maintain my own positivity while moderating.

I had coffee with a friend this morning who reminded me of all the lurkers out there. The people who read regularly, and irregularly. They talk about issues over coffee with friends, debate topics with family. They work in amazing jobs, and participate in developing amazing families. They may write themselves in other forums, or blogs.

I have no idea how many of you are out there but I wanted to say Hi, and thank you.

My friend this morning said that she wouldn’t be commenting on the hand mirror any time soon because it is too intimidating.
She was concerned about saying something wrong.
Not even a morally wrong concept, or a wrong understanding of someone else’s idea, but just simply WORDING it wrong. She didn’t want to be criticised or misunderstood, and it made me realise that not everyone bounces back stubbornly when smacked down.
There is a lot of talk about who is and isn’t a “101” space and I actually have no idea whether the hand mirror officially is or isn’t. I know my own personal blog, and anything I write always will be, because when I was new, and didn’t know what spoons were, or why the fuck strangers kept all caps-ing “PRIVILEGE” at me, my friend Julie was there for me to email and ask, on top of my google-fu, and other bloggers.
It really upset me to think that we are being robbed of a brilliant young woman’s opinion, ideas and thoughts. She contributes so much in her community, and yet we are missing out.

So how’s about we start here?
Any lurkers, feel free to say Hi, introduce yourself and talk about feministic things…
If anyone isn’t happy, I can pick this up in my own space.

NB: The usual moderating rules apply, so please use a consistent handle, even if you keep it an anonymous one.

33 comments:

Deborah said...

Well said, ScubaNurse. I am often saddened by the way that people sometimes expect new feminists, or people who are just starting to explore feminism and on-line activism, to be fully informed and fully aware of every little nuance of feminist thinking and discussion. I've seen some nasty slapping-down of young feminists, and I loathe it.

L said...

I understand your sentiments. I'm a 20 year old woman who's fairly new to feminism, and I've received the smack down a few times. It seems like ANYTHING you say can be offensive, like saying 'hey guys' is transphobic to transwomen. And then if you don't understand why that's not 'okay', people will be all THIS ISN'T A 101 SPACE, CHECK YOUR PRIVILEGE, IT'S NOT UP TO THE MARGINALISED PERSON TO EDUCATE EVERYONE ELSE and it almost makes me want to retort and just not even try, if your attempts are being vilified and rejected.

I have had plenty of positive feminist interactions, but I have had quite a few which have made me want to become a men's rights activist (just joking, but not entirely).

L

LudditeJourno said...

Beautiful Scube, beautiful. I think the online dynamic at times allows people to express opinion without trying to leave the other person intact and able to engage with the idea you're putting forward. And I know, at times, it's exhausting having the same convo over and over, so it's difficult to manage dealing with another's comment that seems on the surface to be choc a block of privilege. Tricky and appreciate being reminded of trying to create space for all, thank you.

Ngati Porou said...

Hi! What a great post. I'm a "lurker" too, on many blogs. I read The Hand Mirror most days, but I rarely comment because I'm basically a conservative male. I remain "silent" most times because:

1. (IMO) it's sometimes hard to disagree or offer an alternative point of view without seeming antagonistic or brutally callous (especially when the topic under discussion is a sensitive one). I most definitely do NOT want to appear a troll.

2. I realise THM is a "women's space" and I respect that. And THE LAST thing you need is a man coming in and going 'blah, blah, blah.' On the one hand, I'd sometimes like to contribute to the discussion. On the other, I really don't want to risk unintentionally offending or upsetting anyone with a contrary opinion, regardless of how sincerely I hold said opinion.

P.S. I don't want to make this reply seem "all about me," so I'll stop here. But I really liked the original post - very thought provoking and true IMO. So I thought I'd chime in with my 2 cents, hopefully in the spirit of the original post.

Cheers, all the best! Keep blogging and don't let the trolls, bullies, and nasties get you down.

Simone said...

great post, my feelings exactly. the anominity of this type of forum enables certain individuals bullying nature to come out and take over the discussion. I like to read the initial post but the comments..... why bother wasting my time only to be insulted by some anon individual who has nothing better to do than to spend their day dumping on other people.

padgp said...

Thanks a million for this post. Nice to know I'm not the only one out there with these sorts of feelings/thoughts about online spaces.

Anonymous said...

So glad you said this, it's exactly what I meant. Also good to know there are other lurkers out there who feel the same as me! And here I am commenting, so maybe I'll suck it up and be brave in the future!

S

Scuba Nurse said...

Thanks to all those new faces introducing themselves and saying hello, nice to meet you all! Thanks also to the bloggers supporting the concept that THM is a safe space for learning and developing concepts and understanding, even though we accept that we wont always have the energy to repeat the same thing over and over again.
With this in mind Im going to be writing some overly basic pieces on baby feminism concepts over on my own blog and linking to them here, that way we can just link rather than repeating ourselves.

Scar, thanks for contributing, but you seem just to have undone some of my hard work in trying to encourage new people without scaring them off. I understand that your blog is not a 101 space, and that you will not be participating in this endevour from your comments and that is fine, but this space is.
Part of being a better person (for me) involves being professional enough to take the time to nurture new people and activly avoid going to bed feeling like a bully because I have taken my personal triggers and frustrations out on some unsuspecting newbee.
I dont expect everyone else to do the same thing but I do expect them to respect that and leave the 101 area if they dont want to be involved.
What you have missed is that quite a number of the lurkers ARE minorities and people who are already shat on in the real world and other net spaces, they just may not be as far along, or as well spoken as some.

Scar said...

Scar, thanks for contributing, but you seem just to have undone some of my hard work in trying to encourage new people without scaring them off.

I apologise; please delete my comment.
I won't comment again.

Flynn the Cat said...

I'm glad this has come up - because this is one of those few, very few, places online where I feel very ....cautious about posting.

It's not exactly that it's actively hostile, or even that I disagree with much (hardly any) of the posts, it's that commenters seem to assume that I (and others I've observed) are coming from a - well, I'm not even sure what the word is, but I'll use 'antifeminist' for now. So we cannot leave a simple comment, but must add a couple of paragraphs explaining that yes, I am aware of the other issues, and I'm not trying to denigrate or shame or ignore, I just wanted to leave a comment about the one I thing I had to say.

And then of course, I'm scared I phrased some bit of that disclaimer wrong.

Generally, it's not worth it. I've been trying to comment occasionnally, mostly because I dislike feeling that I can't or mustn't. But I tend to pick topics where I CAN safely leave one point and not worry about being called on over the rest of it. (And by called on - I don't mean 'caught doing wrong', I mean 'called on even though I actually wasn't saying what they decided I was, because I failed to explicitly point out that I was on 'their' side. And even this comment has gotten incredibly long, because I'm doing it again. Like wanting to explain that when I say 'they', I'm not trying to other people, and create arbritrary lines, just mean... yeah. It gets recursive and tiring. )

Annanonymous said...

This is a fantastic post. I personally have found blogging on feminist topics quite personally challenging - it can make me feel quite exposed. But it's great to be reminded of the importance of not letting that feeling turn into responses that marginalise others. Being knowledgable about feminism is a form of privilege/cultural capital that shouldn't be used for whacking others. This has made me reflect - thank you!

Scuba Nurse said...

As an update, the first in the "feminism 101" segments has just gone up over at my blog.
starting with Spoons :)

Hollyfield said...

Firstly I want to say I love The Hand Mirror, I read it just about every day. Some of the posts I agree with completely, some are things I already knew but didn't know I knew and therefore make me think, and some are so far beyond my experience that they are completely new to me.

And thank you Scuba Nurse for this great post, and for starting a series of "basic feminism" posts - that will be a great help to those of us still learning! I will add you to my regular blog reading - currently I read the blogs under "other places we write" only from time to time. (A couple of times when there has been a comment made on THM "go and google feminism 101" I have thought that it would be more helpful to say something like "this website/book/author is a great place to start for simple information about this specific topic")

I agree with the comments made by other "lurkers" - any (all) of those comments could have been written by me (but weren't). I have often wanted to comment here but generally don't, because I fear causing offense through my ignorance, or through using the wrong words and being misunderstood.

In general, I think the word "troll" is used far too often - and I am talking blogs in general, not THM. On some blogs it seems that anybody who disagrees, offers another viewpoint or raises any sort of question is immediately labelled a troll, with no attempt made to engage, discuss and perhaps turn around that person's viewpoint.

It saddens me that some people seem to think nothing of being personally abusive in an online forum - and I realise THM probably receives more than its fair share of that type of comment.

stargazer said...

i've been thinking whether or not i should say anything on this thread, and i've finally decided it's better to speak up.

i have to say that i'm uncomfortable with this discussion and pretty saddened by it. i understand what people are saying here, and how difficult it is to comment when you're afraid of saying the wrong thing. i'd like to make that better for people.

but here's the thing. i'm one of those people who is often in the space of "please, please let's not have this discussion again. please don't make me explain it all again. it takes time and energy, of which i don't always have so much because i'm busy fighting on so many different fronts and each of these fronts saps up just a little more of that energy". eg every time we have a discussion about women's representation in parliament or in leadership positions, we'll have some idiot making a comment about how they like to judge people on talent and not what's between their legs. and there is no way i want to have to go through that whole discussion about the way talent is recognised is gendered, what experience counts and what doesn't is gendered, how there's research showing that diversity leads to better decision-making etc etc. i don't want to do it every damn time there's a post that has women and leadership in the same sentence.

we had the same issue with the abortion thing. any time someone would post on the topic, we'd have the anti-choicers descend with their comments about killing babies and what not, and we could never end up having a discussion on the actual topic of the post. we solved that by creating the abortion and morality page as a place to divert those kinds of comments, along with links to past posts that had in-depth discussions on morality issues. i personally don't have the energy to put up pages like that on a range of topics. if scuba does, that's great and i totally support her in doing that, even though there's already 101 stuff out there like the "finally, a feminism 101 blog" or shakesville's feminism 101 page.

[continued]

stargazer said...

a couple of other points: unless you say so specifically, i can't tell whether you are a young feminist who is on a learning curve, or whether you're one of the people advised by cactus kate to go wind up the feminists, or whether you're from one of those conservative religious type blogs who have no interest in taking on board anything we say but just want to preach to us how wrong and evil feminism is. so if you're comment sounds similar to comments we've heard in previous posts from the latter 2 groups, it may be that you will receive the same exasperated response. and i'm really sorry that this is off-putting. until i have some magic way of knowing what's in your mind, i can only go by the words in front of me. and yes, i react to those, and badly sometimes. because there are days when i get so much negative stuff (ie not just via the blog) that my tolerance levels tend to vary.

in response to this:

I have thought that it would be more helpful to say something like "this website/book/author is a great place to start for simple information about this specific topic"

i don't always have that at the tips of my fingers, and it takes time to look it up. in many cases i'd have to do exactly what you'd have to do ie google, search and read (though i might have some better ideas on where to look). sometimes i might have time for that, but often i won't. also, it feels to me like you're making me do work that you could do yourself, which i tend to resent.

see, time is a privilege. it's a privilege of people in a reasonably secure financial situation, with few or no dependents, and in reasonable health. you might actually be more busy than i am, and you may be fighting way more battles than i am, but again i can't magically see into your life to determine that. i only know what time i have, and what patience & energy i have. and i know that sometimes it's not enough, but it's the best i can do. so for me, a "please go read up about that" includes "i can't through this again today because i don't have the energy; but when you have the energy, it would be good if you could take some responsibility for finding out for yourself".

tl;dr version: i support scuba in her endeavour to provide a 101 space, and posts to go along with that. i'm really glad she's able to do it. i can't say that my posts will always be that kind of space, for the reasons listed above. i'm sorry if that inhibits people from commenting, but i do need to make sure that the blog is a safe space for me, otherwise i won't be able to contribute.

Jared said...

Thank you so much for posting this. Even though I strongly identify as a feminist, I find it really intimidating to comment on here (and there are a few people's facebook pages that I feel the same about). My biggest concern is that, being a straight, white, cis-gendered male, I am coming from an extreme position of privilege, and in my experience, no matter how conscious I am of that privilege, it can be really easy to not realise that something I'm saying is actually quite offensive. Even though I read this blog every day and I often get into big online debates about feminist issues, I still feel like I don't know enough to really contribute to the discussions on here. Even now I'm concerned that I’ve said something wrong and I may have offended. But once again, thank you for this post. It meant a lot to know that there are other people who are just as intimidated as I am.

Principessa said...

I don't feel particularly good about entering into this conversation or participating in the comments section of this blog. On facebook I made a frustrated comment about participating in the comments section of this blog and I suspect that has sparked off some conversations behind the scenes that lead to this post. Another friend also said she wouldn't participate in this forum. But just reading all these comments I think I want to say that:

I think I want to feel supported, empowered and encouraged by the feminist blog posts I am reading- and informed.

The phrase "check your privilege" seems to me to have become a way to bash each over the head, and the people using it have no idea what sort of privilege the person they are saying it to has or doesn't have.

There's a such thing as knowledge privilege I suppose- and I guess you have to have time privilege to go and research knowledge. Sometimes you'll never know what it's like to have knowledge about a topic despite how much you read about it because you haven't lived through the topic being talked about. Why should that mean you can't participate and learn through conversation. In actual fact I've been thinking a lot about this term privilege and it's use- and I'm starting to think it might be bs and that could be a good discussion for me to have out with people at some stage.

Secret language (incl. privilege and spoons). I consider myself a feminist, but increasingly I am reading feminist blogs that are using terms and phrases that I don't understand. Eventually I figure it out- and that's because I can be bothered. But how many women come across this and can't be bothered participating. It's just like joining a new organisation and feeling alienated very quickly because everyone is using insider terms. I don't want to talk about not having spoons- I want to talk about having real life physical fatigue related to medication I am on and educate people about that- not send them away to another place to figure out what I mean by spoons.

Safe Space. Everyone here wants to participate in a safe space. Safe for who? Is is possible to create a space that is safe for everyone who wants to participate? Anger and negativity makes me feel unsafe. For others- it seems like, people who ask dumb questions or who use offensive terms (even when they don't know the terms are offensive) is unsafe. And that's legitimate. So how do you cater to the vast range of people who read this collective blog that- when it was set up, seemed to me, to be designed to cater to a broad range of women's topics and issues. And an assumed knowledge of feminist theory wasn't required?

There's a lot for me to think about. I want to be part of this community, and I've been a big fan of this blog in the past- but recently that has been changing and I don't know what has changed for me- that might be something personal I have to figure out.

Suzanne said...

@ Principessa

"Anger and negativity makes me feel unsafe."

I totally agree. I've been reading the comments on this thread and thinking back to Maia's post about Living Below the Line a while back (http://thehandmirror.blogspot.com/2011/08/insight-and-understanding.html). It was the first post I commented on, and I commented because it was a direct attack at something I was doing, and I wanted to address the issue, and present an alternative view point. I ended up putting so much energy into the comments, rewriting things several times to try and make sure that I was making my point as precisely as possible. It felt like the mere act of disagreeing with the post was interpreted as being idiotic and offensive. I'm in my early 20s, and I felt like I was being told to sit back and do as I was told by people who are more experienced and knowledgeable and enlightened.

Maybe we need to have a discussion about age privilege?

I appreciate stargazer's point that the moderators don't know the background of the commenters and that there are some comments which raise issues that have been seen time and time again. But for this to be a safe space, the dialogue needs to be undertaken in good faith. Just because someone disagrees with a post or another comment, it doesn't mean they're the enemy. When I disagree with someone, I don't want to try and brow beat them into silence - I want to engage in a conversation. They might be right, I might be wrong, we might both learn something.

Scuba Nurse said...

I can't make a long comment as I'm at work, but I just wish to clarify that this isnt readers vs bloggers. Many of the comments that have made me grind my teeth have come from enthusiastic readers. Generally I find many of the bloggers tend to step back and let people have Thier say until it gets heated
I really liked a lot of what stargazer had to say and appreciate the privlage of time. I don't moderate othe people's posts for that reason. But if you have time to comment, make sure you have time to be nice. (in the broadest sense of the word)
Otherwise, not commenting is always the easiest option and totally ok.

anthea said...

I've been holding back on commenting because I wanted to let new people/infrequent commenters have a say first. There are a few things I want to pick up on. The first is that I'm wondering about people seeing deleted comments followed by a blogger telling them to 'fuck off and don't comment here again' and that scares them. I can't claim to keep track of every comment moderating decision here, but I want to be clear that there are some really awful comments made, and at least the ones I delete are not just for someone misguidedly using an offensive word. (This is of course not to dismiss the fact that people probably feel uncomfortable for other reasons.)

Principessa, you made a couple of really interesting points. I agree that (whilst I don't disagree with the concept of privilege itself) the way it is often talked about, explained and used can be quite problematic (not to mention very US centric). I'm not sure where I'd start to discuss that though. When it comes to knowledge privilege, a friend was telling me about an online discussion regarding privilege and some piece of fiction. Someone commented with 'the author is dead' (explanation http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_the_Author). Another replied saying "that's a horrible thing to say, wishing the author dead just because you disagree with x". That commenter was then laughed at for not understanding the term. So I think often in comments about privilege people stick to a few tightly defined categories and miss the whole picture.
(cont)

Scuba Nurse said...

I can't make a long comment as I'm at work, but I just wish to clarify that this isnt readers vs bloggers. Many of the comments that have made me grind my teeth have come from enthusiastic readers. Generally I find many of the bloggers tend to step back and let people have Thier say until it gets heated
I really liked a lot of what stargazer had to say and appreciate the privlage of time. I don't moderate othe people's posts for that reason. But if you have time to comment, make sure you have time to be nice. (in the broadest sense of the word)
Otherwise, not commenting is always the easiest option and totally ok.

anthea said...

On the idea of a 'secret language'. I grew up without the words to define or explain a lot of my experiences, particularly regarding sexuality and disability. Many, I'm still looking for now - and I suspect they may not exist. There were a lot of things I couldn't understand or explain, discussions I couldn't have, without those words, and it was often scary and very very isolating. Having those words brings me up to about the level of someone who had more typical experiences in terms of being able to write and discuss. I do cut a middle ground in explaining some of them, but the more I have to explain, the more that takes away from me being able to have the actual conversations I want to have, and it reinforces the hierarchy of having readily available and understood language for some people's experiences and not for others.

That said, I do want to communicate with people without my experiences, and more importantly to me I want to make those words and this ability of expression available to people who do share my experiences. I'm not sure how to reconcile these, and it is something I want to work at more. From my point of view, using a 'secret language', though it may be exclusionary, is not an attempt at exclusion, but the only option I have available.

LudditeJourno said...

Thanks to everyone participating in this discussion at the moment.
stargazer, I wanted to say how much I support your points about dealing with comments that just feel plain bigoted or hateful. When I have time, space, when I haven't had anyone do anything similarly in my personal life, when I'm feeling happy and secure - all of those things impact on how I engage with comments that seem discriminatory to me.
There are times too, both here and at my place, where the things I've written have led to me being called names, sometimes quite viciously. Writing publicly about personal and political issues is hard. I'm sure I don't always get it right in terms of how I engage with people who have different views from my own, and I have a very low tolerance of bullying behaviours, but I do genuinely want to allow space to explore issues together and learn from one another.

Anonymous said...

I'm a little frustrated at the assumptions going on in these comments that lurkers are the type of people who would say offensive/discriminatory things on purpose, or who would have views that disagree with feminist ideas in general. I think this post was aimed at increasing participation from people who identify as feminists, but who are too inexperienced or frankly just too intimidated to do so. Some of the above comments made by people who are experienced (privileged) explain a lot about why I'm a lurker and find participating in these discussions soul destroying. I have to say I'm really dissappointed.

S

LudditeJourno said...

Hi S,
Sorry to hear you're disappointed, but I don't think anyone is saying lurkers are "the type of people who would say offensive/discriminatory things on purpose, or who would have views that disagree with feminist ideas in general."
I think some of us are describing how difficult it can be to deal with comments which seem to us to be offensive. There can be no doubt, as a feminist blog addressing frequently issues of privilege around gender; sexuality; race/ethnicity; class; disability etc etc that we get our share of comments which are less than safe, respectful or appropriate for ongoing discussion. And those comments wear us down. That's all I am saying.
I feel like you're accusing us of something no-one here is doing, and in a post in which one of us has opened up talking about participation, it doesn't seem to me your comment is promoting that.
Cheers, LJ

Principessa said...

A little bit in defense of what S just said- an internal conversation of THM writers about trolls and bullies has developed. Whereas the post writer expressed that she was opening up this conversation up to lurkers to comment. In fact someone said something about how she usually likes to let the comments section be for commenters and doesn't like to intervene unless necessary and all of a sudden there are writers all over this. I think the definition of lurkers has been confused- there's trolls and bullies- and there are many different kinds of those, and there are women such as myself and maybe S who read THM, but don't comment out of discomfort and/or fear. 2 different issues we are talking about here.

LudditeJourno said...

Hi Principessa,
I agree there are two different issues being discussed, but they are related for us, because they relate to how we respond as writers to comments. It's simply not ok for it to be assumed that talking about privilege is "bs" as you said earlier, even though I completely agree with you that I've seen that criticism being used to shut down convos.
However - and it's a big however - the last time I tried to write about my own white skin privilege here, I was described as "liberal status preening", "morally superior", using "decorative white guilt". Before the convo was turned to racist and Islamophobic hate by other commenters. Writing about privilege doesn't always go down well, because it's hard to think about and own. For all of us.
I think that may be part of the issue here - knowing that there is a balance for us (the writers at THM) around participation, respectful space, and challenging discrimination and oppression and privilege.
In other words, while I hate the idea of people not commenting because they are scared of being criticised, I don't think we can assume that we don't have stuff to learn. Any of us. And that that learning will not always be comfortable.

Claire said...

Hi. I'm a reader here and have never commented before. I read many blogs and almost never comment on any of them. Some reasons are- I like to take time to digest information before commenting and so am generally left behind it comments sections. I don't feel like commenting unless I think I can add something of substance to the conversation, which is rare for me. I don't like to 'talk' to people online unless I feel like we already have a relationship. That is partially because of the point stargazer bought up about the difficulty of assessing where people are coming from online when you don't know anuthing about them. It's also beacuse in general I find it difficult to talk freely or spontaneously around people I don't know. Doing so in a public forum where it'll be recorded is nth times worse (unless I'm in some kind of official, even if self appointed, role).

Short version- some of us are shy people.

anthea said...

I've been thinking about this thread quite a bit, and there are a couple more things I want to pick up. Going back to L's comment #2. The thing is, a lot of the language we use _is_ problematic/offensive/hurtful/oppressive. That's because we live in an oppressive society, and we're inevitably going to pick up a lot of that, often without realising it. And no-one's saying it's easy to just get rid of it - I make plenty of mistakes myself. But if being a newbie is stressful and scary, being a newbie who is wading into a quagmire of language that has systematically been used to hurt you, on top of the general unsureness, is significantly more difficult. I don't feel comfortable facilitating a space that would make it more difficult for those who are already coming from an oppressed perspective (acknowledging, of course, that many people are likely in some areas and not in others) to make it easier for people who are scared of offending.

Principessa said...

I don't disagree with what you just said but I would add that sometimes the group of people who are scared of offending and commenting, have been victims or gone through oppression too and haven't figured out the 'rules' yet for how to communicate in this space.

Pebble said...

As Claire said, some of us are shy or don't have much substantial to add, but we like reading and learning! I also feel that I don't express myself well enough to add anything useful to most discussions.

I've been lurking and learning on feminist blogs for years now and have picked up most of the jargon, but I have a lot to learn on race, ability and so on, which THM and other blogs are helping me with. As far as feminism 101 goes, I may understand the topics internally but it's always good to read the same things in new words, especially when I need to explain things to people who don't have the lived experience to draw on.

Jo said...

Thank you for this post! I'm still a newbie to feminism, having read blogs for about four months and having been posting at my own for two. It can be very intimidating to comment on other people's work - it's good to know that it's not just me! Just the other day on Feministe I had to stop reading comments and calm myself down somehow in a long thread about asexuality where no-one seemed to take anything actually being said by the asexual commenters (including me) on board, and instead derailing into 101 and "prove you're valid" rather than actually speaking about the post's topic. I found that very hard to deal with as a newbie, especally seeing as I'm still getting my head around everything. But I don't want to not contribute at all just for fear that I may have missed some point and will be pounced on rather than gently educated.

Sige said...

Thank you for this post, I appreciate the offer. I have found it useful to spend time reading past posts and comments on a blog as a way of learning about feminism and understanding how comments may be received, especially by regular commentors.There are some blogs that I feel safe to comment and others where I will continue to lurk a little longer.