The Parthenon

Feminist Thursday

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I joined a feminist group on Facebook. I know, Facebook was my first mistake, but I am always looking for ways to connect with other like-minded people and I thought this would be a good way.

However, after a couple of weeks, I started to notice that the group can get very hostile and there are various rules in the group about tone policing and silencing and while I agree with the rules, I think sometimes it’s taken too far.

The group is specifically for intersectional feminism and many of the problems that come up are perceived when someone makes a post or a comment that isn’t intersectional.

I completely understand the need for intersectional feminism and all feminists should be intersectional, but sometimes just plain ignorance keeps feminists from knowing how to achieve intersectional goals or even comment in a way that upholds them.

I think I try pretty hard to make my feminism intersectional, but I don’t know everything and more than once I have been scared of commenting on an issue that I didn’t understand or needed clarification on because other people were being removed from the group for doing the same.

When someone in a comment asks why a certain issue is the way it is, they are often met with other group members telling them if they were there to learn they would be reading and not asking.

I’m not really sure when asking questions became a bad thing. I completely understand that it is no one’s responsibility to educate me, but at the same time, if we aren’t in the group to learn from one another what are we there for?

Sometimes I am able to learn by just reading the original post and the comments, but sometimes I do all that and I’m still left blanking. I have found that one positive aspect of the group is that it does encourage me to do outside research and occasionally that leads me to answers.

I still think one of the beautiful things about feminism is being to talk things out and I’m not getting that from this group. Yeah, I should probably just find another group, but I’m as anti-social on Facebook as I am in real life.

I’m not even upset about the anger many express in the group because as a feminist I know how frustrating certain issues can be, but I don’t think that makes it okay to talk down to other group members who are there to learn. Definitely call out racism. Definitely call out transphobia. There is no place for those attitudes and beliefs in intersectional feminism, but don’t assume that someone is being willfully ignorant or self-absorbed when you aren’t willing to educate them or share your personal experience.

Again, it’s no one’s job to educate me or anyone else. However, when I think someone can be helped to understand an issue or a concept by sharing my experience with him or her or giving an example, I do because I would want someone to do the same for me.

I understand the justified anger of group members when others display these behaviors because they’re unacceptable in the intersectional feminist community, but anger isn’t going to help them realize the error of their ways.

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