Saturday, June 1, 2013

Fun word twisting, part two

Rather than discussing the valid issues that Sarah Moon and I have brought up about the Rage Against the Minivan's modesty culture post, Kristen just accuses us of "twisting her words," claims she can't possibly be defending modesty culture because she wears revealing clothes, and claims 500 people have shared the post on facebook. so there! I'll tackle each of these issues separately.

But I'm popular!

Other commenters tried to point out that it wasn't just the case of a couple random people misunderstanding the post (or, as Kristen says, "twisting, parsing, and attributing meaning"), so continuing to blow off these concerns is unfair. Kristen's response? But 500 people have shared the post. In other words, I'm really popular, you guys. So yeah. There is that. ?



So I'll just let Megyn Kelly handle that one. And I'll only add that, when Fox News hosts can be used to drop a truth bomb on you? Then it's time to maybe step back and reconsider a few things. 

But I have been the glittery boob girl!

Kristen's response to my accusation that this post falls under the category of a pseudo-take down of modesty culture (i.e., it starts off with "modesty culture is bad!" but then ends up using or defending a component of modesty culture) has been, "but I have been known to highlight my assets!" Which is just the modesty culture equivalent of, "I'm not racist, I have black friends!" 

The point of this discussion is not how any of us dresses. The point is that your post presents this girl as a third-hand version of who she really was, you essentially reduce her to her glittery boobs, you deny her the chance to have any thoughts, feelings, or emotions (aside from the hypocritical anger). Hey wait, I think there is a name for that...yes! Objectification. So after you objectify this woman, then you (on  her behalf!) draw the line between what is and is not threatening or uncomfortable for her. And the basis of where that line should be and how she can respond? Whether the girl has a low cut top and whether the guy is your friend? Hmm...No.

Twisting Kristen's Words

Finally, Kristen was true to her word and made a spreadsheet. I thought she was joking because is is such a reductionist, unfair means of conveying this sort of information. But she wasn't. You can see the spreadsheet here.

The first reason the spreadsheet is dumb is that Kristen doesn't seem to understand the difference between quoting the blog post (saying what the post said) and analyzing the logic and implications of the blog post.

The second reason the spreadsheet is dumb is that she is just parsing and twisting Sarah's and my words to prove her point (that we twisted hers). It is just a logical disaster. Let's imagine that someone who was retweeted by @YesYoureRacist made a similar spreadsheet.





What @YesYoureRacist said
What I said

You're racist

OMG I'm like the nicest & not racist



Oh, well then. Guess you proved @YesYoureRacist wrong! Nothing to see here folks. Let's all move along.

The third reason her spreadsheet is dumb is that she doesn't address the fact that she edited the post after I made some of these points.

Here's Kristen's spreadsheet, with my edits in the header and my own column added on the right.

WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING SHARIDETH SAID IS PROBLEMATIC WITH SHARIDETH’S POST (i.e., what happens if you use her same logic/take her comments to their logical conclusion, what she is implying, etc.)
WHAT SHARIDETH ACTUALLY SAID (that may or may not even remotely address the issue that the authors of the blog post she is quoting were even referencing)
WHY THIS SPREADSHEET IS A DISHONEST HEAP OF CRAP
This post is victim-blaming language
“The [idea that] causing men not to stumble face first into motorboating lies solely on the way women dress and carry themselves…is a steaming pile.”
Here's some victim-blaming language:

What Sharideth said: “But when a woman wears revealing clothing, then gets angry when men notice, that’s not cool either. It makes her a hypocrite.”
[your emotions are invalid because of what you are wearing? and also you're a hypocrite]

“If she wears a micromini and claims to not want a reaction from men, I’m going to straight up call her a liar.”
[do you hear that lesbians!? You dress for the menfolk!  And straight ladies, you too. Either way, you guys are NOT DRESSING FOR YOURSELF, ok? So don’t try to lie to me! YOU ASKED FOR THIS!]

“I believe confidence in women is the single best defense against abuse and being taken advantage of in just about any situation she could encounter.”
[This seems to say, "you wouldn't have been abused if you had just been more confident!!" Forget the fact that maybe ending rape culture would be the single best defense against abuse and being taken advantage of. Women need more confidence in themselves. Come on, women! Step up your game and you'll stop getting abused.]
This is a post by someone who claims to be anti-rape culture and anti-modesty culture referring to women’s bodies as traps.
“She set a trap and blew a gasket when my friend fell into it.” (She did not refer to her body as a trap, but rather her behavior.)
OH, so her body isn't the trap, but her immodest behavior is. Got it. I feel way better now. That is definitely NOT modesty culture, no way. I don't know why I was confused.
They blatantly tell women that their clothing choices can forfeit their right to bodily autonomy
“Let me be clear. I am not saying that wearing revealing clothing is an open invitation for men to grab you.”
But you are saying that it is an open invitation for men to stare at you AS LONG AS THEY DON’T GRAB YOU. And you aren't allowed to get angry about it. Because your behavior set that trap! 
It starts with the idea that women don’t have the right to define their clothing choices.
“A woman can wear whatever she wants. More power to her.” / “I’m all for being proud of your body and carrying yourself with confidence.”
More power to her, yeah. Unless she gets angry. Or tries to stand up for herself. I mean, wait, “grind his nether bits into dust.” Then no, no power to you in that instance. Because when you stand up to these guys, you are actually just emasculating them and making them smaller. NOT COOL.
“Glitter boobs means you’re a whore. Glitter boobs mean you’re asking for men to stare.”
“Not only is it impossible for me to completely conceal what my mama gave me, I don’t want to.”
Let’s ignore for a moment that this is a total non sequitur. No let’s not. Let’s observe that and then move on to the real issue: “But when a woman wears revealing clothing, then gets angry when men notice, that’s not cool either. It makes her a hypocrite.”
THIS. This is the problem.
It starts when we say that oppressed groups don’t have the right to define their clothing
“What I’m saying is that if you are going to wear what could be legitimately called “suggestive” then just own it.” / “Women can wear whatever they like.”
The rights they are losing are the right to wear clothes FOR THEMSELVES and not men, the right to get angry about the reactions their clothing get, and the right to stand up for themselves without being “not cool” or a “hypocrite.” (see above quotes)
People—especially those in groups that face systematic violence—have the right to express discomfort. They have the right to “shame” those they feel violated by.
“If one comes on too strong or inappropriately, then by all means, have at him.”
But here is the rub, Sharideth gets to decide what is and is not appropriate. And to be clear, her friends are never inappropriate. Because only strangers do bad things to women! (duh)
Saying that clothing can take away the right to bodily autonomy s dangerous, and it is participating in rape culture.
“You could wear a Frederick’s of Hollywood little bit of nothin’, walk down the middle of the street and that still wouldn't give a man the right to touch you.”
No, but he could look/stare/glare at you. And you need to OWN that look of his. Because you wanted it and you trapped it.
Modesty culture is bad, but for GODSSAKE cover your boobs!
“A woman can wear whatever she wants. More power to her.” / “I’m all for being proud of your body and carrying yourself with confidence.” / Not only is it impossible for me to completely conceal what my mama gave me, I don’t want to.”
THIS QUOTE WAS NEVER ATTRIBUTED TO SHARIDETH. It was a generic example of pseudo-modesty culture take downs. Including it represents total hypocrisy / lack of reading comprehension and/or dishonesty.
If you wear revealing clothing, you negate your right to stand up for yourself?
“If [a man] comes on too strong or inappropriately, then by all means, have at him. Hard.”
See above:  here is the rub, Sharideth gets to decide what is and is not appropriate. And to be clear, her friends are never inappropriate. Because only strangers do bad things to women! (duh)
“You wouldn’t have been abused if you had just been more confident!”
Confidence is also an excellent weapon against shame. Shame being one of the main things my Christian feminist friends are kicking soundly and repeatedly in the groin. Praise Jesus.
This line was edited after my post was written. Here is the original language that Kristen pretends never existed and my response to it:

“I believe confidence in women is the single best defense against abuse and being taken advantage of in just about any situation she could encounter.”

Me: it seems to say, "you wouldn't have been abused if you had just been more confident!!" Forget the fact that maybe ending rape culture would be the single best defense against abuse and being taken advantage of. Women need more confidence in themselves. Come on, women! Step up your game and you'll stop getting abused.


Bottom line, Sharideth is claiming women shouldn't shame men for noticing them. And by "shame" them, she seems to mean "a women asks the man he not to do something because it is making her feel uncomfortable." So if saying "maybe don't do something" is shaming, then Kristen's blog just hard core shamed women. Not for staring, but for standing up for themselves.

And for a moment, let's pretend that this objectified, caricature of a woman did maliciously dress suggestively just to get attention and then grind some man's nether bits to dust when she got that attention. Does that really deserve a whole blog post? What about a simple apology/discussion between the dude and the tits. I mean the woman in this blog post. Maybe, he could say something like, "I didn't mean to make you uncomfortable, I was just noticing your glitter." And then maybe you wouldn't have to shame all women who ever feel uncomfortable about the way guys are looking at them because maybe they brought it on themselves for wearing a top that was too low cut?? 


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6 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. No, thank you. I know it hasn't been easy for you standing up for these basic rights of women. Thanks for everything you went through and put up with.

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  2. Wow, you really have word-twisting down to a science. I did not imply I was "more popular" and I think you know that. I was only responding to YOU talking numbers. You said, "Multiple people have interpreted your words the same way. Perhaps that merits some re-evaluation." To which I said "And multiple people (500+) have shared it on facebook. So I don't think a numbers game is necessarily the way to determine the merits of an argument." That's not me bragging about popularity, it's me disputing YOUR point about numbers.

    I feel that I've responded with respect and I get that we disagree. I employed the chart to try to be more objective, because I thought you were so subjective. I do understand the different between quoting someone and analyzing logic, and I felt you were doing neither. I thought you were twisting words. You even say in your revised spreadsheet that you were saying what Sharideth was implying, and that's what I was addressing. You were attributing thoughts and meanings that were not hers, and I used YOUR EXACT WORDS, lined up with hers. I felt it was a very fair way to illustrate this. But I didn't call you dumb, and I still won't.

    I'm not even going to address the other stuff you are saying. I'll just hope that anyone reading will actually click over and read my real words.

    And honestly, if you want to reduce blogger wars, stop writing multiple posts in reaction to the posts of others, while creatively "interpreting" what they said. It makes you sound reactionary.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wow, you want to talk about "word twisting" instead of the issues again. I'm actually a little surprised. Just kidding! I'm not!

    Actually, you weren't responding to ME. You were responding to another commenter. I think I was pretty clear about that in my post. And I also think they were pretty clear about it in their use of their own name in the comment.

    While I can't speak for them, it wasn't my impression that they were looking to solve any debate by a cumulative score of arbitrary and unrelated things. The commenter was just pointing out that the concerns that Sarah had of your blog post weren't isolated and they seemed worthy of a real reply besides, "You're twisting my words!" HER point wasn't about numbers, it was about you skirting the issues.

    I like that you seem to think that because something is in the shape of a chart that is inherently objective. That is fascinating. And by fascinating, I guess I mean, ridiculous.

    I actually never said anything about reducing blogger wars. Although I find your advice about not sounding reactionary ironic, considering your Tumblr spreadsheet. I think it is important to have these conversations and discuss these sort of issues. But clearly they aren't getting through to you, so it seems like it is a waste to continue. However, I think that my words here did serve an important purpose, not to be reactionary, but to validate the feelings of any women that your post alienated and shamed.

    I actually have a lot of respect for you as a blogger and have been pretty surprised by how unresponsive you've been to critical feedback on such an important and sensitive issue. Obviously you and Sherideth knew the post could do that or it wouldn't have included the hate mail caveat. I guess I'm just not sure how this conversation could have been more productive, and I think it is unfortunate that it wasn't.

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  4. Yes, this x1000.

    I'm also kind of wondering why we are assuming that because 500 people shared it on Facebook that they were automatically in agreement.

    Keep fighting the good fight!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. RIGHT?! They could be sharing it because they love modesty culture and shaming women for their clothing choices. Which would actually prove our point.

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