A while back, after I’d participated in some fairly intense threads here at Alas defending woman-only space in general, and woman-only internet boards (mine, in particular), Amp asked me if I’d like to start blogging regularly on Alas. I’ve been thinking about his invitation for some time now, and a couple of times I’ve written something, even threatened Amp that I was about to begin. Each time, though, I’ve ultimately decided not to, for the same reasons I haven’t posted at Alas for a long, long, time. There are just so many anti-feminist posters here. There are way too many men here, and too many of them seem to be here for the express purpose of making feminist discussion unlikely to impossible. It seemed too likely to me that attempting serious feminist discussion here would be like trying to have a conversation in a bar while the band was playing, just too frustrating.
A couple of days ago, Ginmar posted to my boards, alerting me to the treatment she was receiving here and to the fact that she had finally left Alas. I read her
I first encountered Amp on the old Ms boards, where there were the same ongoing problems with trolls, men’s rights activists, anti-feminists, libertarians, conservatives. Eventually, frustrated with how difficult it was to simply engage feminist women over issues of importance to us, I began what became a series of over 50 woman-only threads expressly for radical feminist women. Lots of people on the Ms boards, including feminist women, objected to those threads at first, but over time, their value became apparent even to those who at first opposed them. In the woman-only, radical feminist women’s space threads, women were at last able to enjoy serious discussions of feminist issues with far fewer of the intrusions and obfuscations typical of those who were on the Ms boards with one purpose and goal in mind: to silence and erase the voices of feminists, and especially feminist radicals, militants and separatists.
I think it’s great that Amp has revised the moderation policies here to make separate threads for men’s rights people and anti-feminists. I think that is definitely a step in the right direction. I would like to propose the creation of woman-only, radical feminist threads here as well, of the type some of us enjoyed back in the old Ms boards days, of the type we enjoy every day on my own boards. It seems to me that if space can be made for anti-feminists and fathers’ rights trolls here, it might make sense to make similar space for those of us who are radical feminists, separatists, and militants. I think it’s a shame that our presence on these boards is all but gone. Feminist women who share our politics and beliefs and history created a revolution in our time on behalf of the people of women, first and foremost, but ultimately benefitting all people — men, women, and children, and creatures and the earth as well. It seems to me that space should be made here for the kinds of discussions and discourses which have changed and are changing the world.
Woman-only, radical feminist space here won’t prevent anyone from discussing the issues we raise (in other threads which they create). What it will ensure is that our voices are not silenced and erased completely. And it might work to minimize the provocations which inexorably lead to flame wars and targeting and the uncivil posting styles which are often criticized here. So whaddya say, Amp? I’m pretty sure this isn’t what you anticipated I might post as a first post to your blog! It’s just that I haven’t been up for dealing with men’s rights guys and anti-feminists and trolls. I’ve done that to death and can’t give it my energy anymore. But I’d sure be up for creating a new space here for those who share my own separatist, radical, and militant feminist politics. I’d enjoy engaging the issues raised in the radical feminist threads outside of those threads here as well. And for what it’s worth, I’m betting the discussion which ensues now will be interesting.
http://www.womensspace.org ( The Margins)