Friday, November 11, 2005

Yale Bashes Feminist Blog

Given the flurry of dissent in our comments sections, we feel the need to address and to clarify some issues you all brought up. Just as we want to hold publications and visitors accountable for the implications of their opinions, we understand the need to hold ourselves accountable to recent criticisms.

1. Ok, so we haven’t made it an entirely safe space if people feel that they cannot post a comment without leaving their name. We think this is true for two reasons; the first: we’ve made a few mistakes and have participated in some name-calling (Della apologizes to Matt Gillum). We’ll work on that.

Secondly, and more importantly: we are using a different framework for engaging social issues. We present daily interactions as expressions of sexism (and racism and classism) – power structures which Yalies benefit from (especially white males but all of us, more broadly, as an educated “elite”). This can be threatening (see: defensive anonymous comments in response to our request for people to identify themselves). Our goal is not to attack but to encourage people to think outside the box. Sometimes it gets nasty. Bear with us.

2. It’s nothing new to accuse feminists of “not having a sense of humor,” so we are not surprised to hear it. Those who know us, however, know we actually sometimes laugh at jokes, and function in the “real world.”

There are just some things we don’t think are funny. Dana Schuster’s editorial is such a thing. Imagine being a rape survivor and reading it - such disturbing and insensitive material is not humorous, despite its widespread appearance and acceptance. We laugh because we’re uncomfortable with the reality of rape and we laugh because we’re not ready to feel accountable for such a phenomenon. Most of us know of situations where drunken sex happens, and most of us don’t want to admit that according to CT law all drunken sex is rape. Broad Recognition asserts that to treat rape humorously expresses a larger cultural feeling that is permissive of rape; it tells survivors of sexual assault that what happened to them wasn’t really a big deal. We refuse to be complicit in this, and demand accountability in our publications.

The Rumpus post is not as clear-cut. We take your comments that Rumpus is a humor magazine that makes fun of anything and everyone. That said, the piece does raise questions that are relevant to a feminist blog. Why do we all think vaginas are disgusting? Why can’t men perform and why can’t women tell them when they’re not performing well? This is, in our book, explicit gender inequality.

Yes – we have a right to free speech. What we do with that free speech, however, has vast political and social implications. Broad Recognition exists to point out these implications.

Stay with us. Watch us develop. Keep getting pissed off, but do it in a coherent and constructive way.



laura said...

Thank you for this post-- very well said. I totally agree that this type of discussion makes people feel uncomfortable because of power structures; we're not used to questioning things, and our first impulse can be to defend them blindly. To say that someone has no sense of humor is the oldest defense-mechanism out there; as Abe put it in a comment, it keeps them from having to respect and take new ideas seriously. Even further illustration of the need for this blog.

Anonymous said...

This blog is so boring. I want to like it but the things you write about and the way you write about them put me to sleep.