Tag Archive: twitter


facebook

so i mini ranted on Facebook the other day a complete pot-kettle-black question about whether social networking has made many of us a lot more beggy

and i do mean ‘us’ because the other day a carefully subtle form of ‘advertising’ on someone’s status led to the complete surprise gift of two bottles of my favourite chocolate liquer, ‘Nachtmusiek’ [which reminds me, we are still working through those].

but i see people do it all the time – “Working home alone tonite and wouldn’t complain if someone brought a T-Bone steak dinner over” or “Ah the new iPhone 5 is happening – be fun if someone didn’t need their old iPhone 5 any more.”

it is a pretty safe practice, because at the very worst you end up with exactly what you had before [or some jerk writes a blog post about you!] but at the very best, you might just get lucky and find two bottles of… um i mean find that someone has been completely gracious and kind and totally surprises you with what you want.

i guess as a once off or an every-now-and-then it might be more harmless, but when people start using that space regularly for personal wish fulfilment advertising then i guess it feels a little needy… here’s looking at you brett fish anderson…

BUT then, looking at it from a different perspective, i absolutely LOVE the potential of the social networks when it comes to meeting legitimate needs and connecting resources and need.

one of my friends [well more friend of a friend] won a trip overseas with his band [including my friend Dreadlocked Mike] because of using Facebook as a voting platform.

just today i had a friend of mine working with underprivileged youth in an area reach out to me for help and i was able to connect him with another friend of mine working in the same area with the hope that between them there will be someone in the network who will be able to help out with the necessary mentoring.

Val and i have been given use of vehicles on so many occasions [back in South Africa and here in Oakland] when we needed them through people who had a spare one, or were able to give us theirs for a time, so generously jumping in and helping out.

same with cellphones  we had one phone and two sim cards and made an appeal online and now we have something like 5 phones and it became an embarrassment of riches.

help with removing a stain or a recipe? jump online and pose the question and call on the collective wisdom of your friends and their friends [if Uncle Google doesn’t sort you out first] but a tried and tested solution often beats something you randomly look up online and hope will work.

this is where, for me, social networking becomes so useful and exciting as a tool – raising prayer and support for issues like with what just happened in the Philippines – suddenly via Val’s dad who was going to be there and Eugene Cho who was Twittering about One Day’s Wages as one possible organisation that could help and a whole bunch of other avenues of how to get involved.

as with any tool, i guess it’s success and value lies in how well you use it – and so the challenge is up to us to use it for far more of the latter [helping people out in need and joining available resources to areas of lack]

i would LOVE to hear your opinion and thoughts on this and maybe even more importantly hear your stories… missing people being found, old friends being reunited, mass encouragement for someone who is struggling a bit, positive flash mobbing – these are all amazing ideas and ways of using the social networks for good, rather than me-vil.

In the meantime, as you ponder upon these things, if you could follow this link and go and vote for my super hardcore design for a Christmas sweater [complete with dinosaurs, abominable snowmen, dolphins and ninjas] the top 100 that get voted for will actually be made and that would be a lot of fun.

 

So i tweeted this tweet yesterday and then went out for the day and when i came home i couldn’t understand why my Tweeter had gone mental:

If i asked you, instead of what you do for a living, what your passion is in life, what would you say?

Ah, then i spotted it – Don Miller, author of the popular ‘Blue Like Jazz’ and who has over 179, 258 followers on Twitter had retweeted it and the fun and games had begun with hundreds of favourites and retweets and some replies…

I came up with this while sitting at the singles table of a wedding years ago when i realised that the typical ‘What do you do?’ question didn’t always tell me a lot about the person i was trying to get to know. i don’t really care [lt’s be honest here] all that much about what you do, but i do want to know who you are [and sometimes it’s the same which is incredible].

What is your passion? What are you passionate about in life? seems to open up ‘Who are you?’ a lot more than ‘What is your job?’

So the tweet went far and wide but sadly i didn’t get to see many of the answers of it, and that is what i am hoping to see with this blog. In one sentence or less [less than one sentence?] answer that question for me, if you will be so kind… in the comments section below.

What is your passion? What are you passionate about in life?

And don’t tell me you’re not passionate about anything as some try to. Maybe just take a few more minutes to figure out what it is, if needed.

So that’s what this post is about… whether it is what you currently do or not, i am interested to hear what you are passionate about in life?

And go…

pearlsbeforelove

This right-on-the-button cartoon slash life commentary by Stephan Pastis’ gang on my favourite Pearls Before Swine strip and this one could be titled ‘The introduction of blogging’ [or Twitter] but in all honesty, to fully understand the depth of meaning of it, find any issue piece someone has written [on rape culture or a specific interpretation of the bible, on homosexuality or race for sure] and scroll down to the comments section where people let all their “honesty” hang out.

It’s no wonder we refer to them as ‘internet trolls’ [no offence to actual trolls] as there seem to be so many people who hide under their specific bridge [most trolls seem to pick a specific theme and scurry around the internet looking for posts related to it before diving in headfirst] and wait for an unsuspecting person to come along and make a reasonable comment before unleashing their Wolverine-type claws and venom.

And the “I’m just being honest” often contains the same level of subtlety as someone who starts a sentence with the words, “I’m not racist, but” before saying someone that is completely racist. “I’m not sexist but woman should stay at home and keep the house clean and the man well fed kind of stuff.” Yes, you are sexist. And now you’re also a big ass for trying to give off the impression that you’re not.

The ‘Get out of jail free’ card for insults only works for the conscience of the person who has just been doing the insulting and perhaps adds to the misery of the person receiving it, because not only have they just heard a bunch of stuff that makes them feel bad, but they have also had the tag on reminder that “it is all the truth.”

This book I’ve been reading [for ever!] has something to say about that:

14 ‘Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love,we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.’ [The Bible, Ephesians 4]

The heart of that scripture is the phrase “speaking the truth in love” which Rat is clearly getting wrong in the cartoon strip. But it starts with the premise of “If you get this right, then you are no longer acting like a spoilt and scheming child.” And continues on to show that if we can get this right, then the whole body [all of the people involved] will grow together in a good and healthy way.

I really enjoyed what Don Miller had to say in his blog a couple of days ago about his active decision to be a “lover and not a fighter” on the internet.

He highlights what this can look like with regards to christians here:

‘In my most negative moments, I think that the internet is a lot like cable news: yelling and drawing lines in the sand, drumming up controversy for the sake of ratings. There are a lot of bloggers who jump on every single slightly controversial aspect of Christian culture and church life.’

And gives what I think is a very healthy resolution for them when he writes: ‘You won’t find me taking shots at this or that public person ever, not because I don’t have strong opinions—I do, and anyone who knows me well knows that there’s no shortage of those strong opinions…but that’s the point: I share those strong opinions in the context of relationship, because I think that’s the healthiest place for them to be. And because I always think to myself, what if that person has a daughter?’

And Don has some harsh critics so I can’t imagine it is easy for him. But [although we do probably think a little differently on if and when to speak out about someone, because I do think there are times when it is necessary as Jesus did with the Pharisees and Paul did with Peter on occasion] I really like the solution he offers in terms of how he tries to use his online presence:

‘What I do know is that as far as the interwebs are concerned, I’m on the lookout for good—things that are beautiful and wise and helpful, things that connect us, books I think you should read, meals I think you could serve to the people you love.’

[and you can read the whole post Donald Miller wrote on this over here]  

So next time you are thinking about “just being honest” by pointing out a friend’s [or a stranger’s] flaws, try and remember the Truth in Love proviso and if it can’t be done in Love, then maybe you should just keep hold of that piece of “Truth” until such time as it can.

Stop being a Rat!

I have about 300 subscribers to my blog at present and about 300 likes on my blog page on Facebook and am figuring they are not all the same, so if you follow me on here and feel up to it, it would be great if you could take a moment and go and like my Facebook group page which will give other people a better chance of finding it… if you want to go one better and SHARE it on your wall that would be most appreciated: https://www.facebook.com/IrresistiblyFish

I am on The Twitter as i like to call it because let’s be honest there is only one – and you call follow me there @brettfisha if you want to and again if you generally like the stuff here why not give a shout out for @irresistibleFsh [no i] because there is no ‘i’ in Fish, especially when your name becomes to long for The Twitter to handle] which is my official blog The Twitter account. Thank you.

If you want to go one more step ridiculously further, then I have a You Tube account where I make both silly Brad Fish videos like this Dangerous Things You Can Least Expect series over here as well as this Walking through the Gospel of Mark in the Bible series over here but i think the You Tube account, if you are wanting to subscribe to the whole thing, resides over here. For some reason I had to go with Mr Brettfish as my username [perhaps the lead singer of Suede in the UK has a You Tube page]

That’s pretty much it – the only other way I have for you to follow me is a lot more stalkery and I’d quite rather you didn’t. I am at least three years away from ‘rummaging through my trash’ status unless of course I manage to finally stumble upon a comedy video format that someone actually watches, likes and passes on to their 12, 000, 000 friends but my aversion to working with kittens and small children makes this unlikely.

I leave you with this quote – ” ”

Sorry that should read “with these quotation marks” although they are probably called something different in Americaland.

So for passing on sake I will close with a picture of a kitten and a small child.

Thankx for journeying with me, those of you who do. Comment more. Share more. And send more melted chocolate…

kitten [and small child]

aw crap, i had this all ready and waiting for Father’s day and then i forgot to post it… think of it as my birthday, that the party stretches to at least a week before and after and enjoy this and pass it on to any dad’s you might know…

I really loved Louis C.K. as Lesley Knope’s awkward copy boyfriend in Parks and Recreation.

I loved him in his standup comedy about how we take the wonder of flying for granted [plus telephones and being a dad!]

And then Donald Miller recommended this clip via his Twitter account yesterday which is a more subtly funny, more just hardcore look at being a bad father, but a good bad father:

so i started a hashtag today which i think could go viral if you all played along… the hashtag is #waystomakeatrexsad which if you can’t read it says, ‘Ways to Make a T-Rex sad’ and plays off the idea that a T-Rex has short arms and so might struggle with certain activities. tell your friends. add me as @brettfisha if you haven’t yet and lets get depressing that beast.

I can't reach...

some examples so far would be:

Inquire about the size of the fish he caught on his weekend away with the boys.

Give him a voucher to a climbing wall club.

Tell him he has a bit of a milk moustache.

Go in for the high five.

What you got? Come and post your favourite ones here…

[this is where this series started if you are needing to catchup to part i]

so part two of this focus on rape/violence towards women related to this interaction i had with a certain hashtag on the Twitter:

‘it revolved around the hash tag #SafetyTipsForLadies which someone that i followed tweeted and so i went to the link and read a bunch of them and was horrified by the way they seemed to be dealing with rape and violence to women in such a light-hearted and flippant manner… and so i commented on that…’

with the examples:

Hilary Bowman-Smart @hilaryjfb [who created the hashtag and got the ball rolling]
If you hide your forearms in your sleeves, the rapist will mistake you for a T-Rex and carry on his way #safetytipsforladies

Hilary Bowman-Smart @hilaryjfb
Do you have sensual long legs? Many rapists like sensual long legs. Consider chopping them off at the knees. #safetytipsforladies

Quirkythrope @jailawrites
If you’re raped, say “I’m a good girl!” Since “good girls” never get raped, the rapist will vanish in a puff of logic #safetytipsforladies

Let me hear you

so i shared my response to that and then peoples’ response to my response, but then we got some amazing commentary going in the comments section of the blog which i wanted to share and while there were a bunch of helpful comments i am going to specifically share the back and forth conversation i had with a woman called Claudine who i am most grateful for and to:

Claudine: First of all, I totally understand where you are coming from. Rape is not funny, and jokes about rape are offensive. Let’s agree on that.
What the women here are making fun of is NOT rape. The punch line to all of those safety-tips-for-ladies jokes is that they don’t work. Of course they don’t work. “100% of rapes occur in places or locations, so don’t be anywhere.” Is not a joke about the horror of rape, it’s a joke about the way women are told to protect themselves from rape— as if it’s our duty and responsibility to follow idiotic, impossible advice so that we aren’t raped. We are making fun of a culture that tells women “Don’t go out late at night, don’t park underground, hold your keys like this,” to protect ourselves. We’re making fun of the people who say “Don’t walk through dark alleys, don’t get drunk, watch your drink at bars” because we already knew that advice, we followed it as best we could, we held our keys like weapons and carried pepper spray and then we were raped anyway. We didn’t walk in dark alleys and were raped in our own living rooms. We didn’t get drunk and we were beaten and threatened and raped. We checked the back seat of our car and were raped by the “friend” sitting in the front. We didn’t give rides to hitchhikers and didn’t stay out past ten and didn’t let strangers near us, we didn’t accept drinks from people we didn’t trust… And we still got raped.

The joke isn’t making light of rape, it’s not trying to say that rape itself is funny. What we, women, are saying with this hashtag is that after a lifetime of being told how to “protect ourselves” we finally realized that it was never our responsibility. The only person who can stop rape is the person who makes the decision to not be a rapist.

So if you don’t think the hashtag is funny, that’s okay. You are allowed to be uncomfortable with the topic of rape. Hell, I personally would rather people be uncomfortable than not. There are many people, women included, who don’t find it funny. Just keep in mind we aren’t mocking rape survivors, we’re not making fun of rape. We are making fun of people who think its a woman’s responsibility to protect herself when it really, really isn’t.
It’s every person’s responsibility to decide not to be a rapist. Most women do this intrinsically, but it’s societies job to teach and educate men (and women) about consent, about what rape is and why it’s bad, and then ensure that they don’t become rapists.

We’re sick of being told it’s our fault.

Is this making light of a horrific situation? Maybe. Maybe humour is the only way women can point out flaws in society’s function and defense of rapist. Maybe when we stood up and said “this isn’t fair” we were told we were too “emotional” or “need to be more objective”. Perhaps the reason women are using humour is because every other medium of expression has been used to silence us or dismiss our concerns.

Do I think it is ever okay to joke about rape? Its not okay to make fun of the victims and survivors, but I feel no remorse mocking the rapists, the culture that supports them, and a society that blames me for being assaulted.

Would my response be different if you knew there was a rape victim in your direct audience? No. I am a rape survivor. Many of the women making these jokes are also survivors. I am not laughing at rape, and I feel that other survivors would be able to read the inherent “fuck you” to a society that tells us “you shouldn’t have been drunk” instead of telling a man (or group of men) not to rape me. “Don’t dress like a slut” is not advice to stop me from being raped. All that constant narrative is telling women that we should make sure he rapes the other girl– it’s not stopping rape, it’s just ensuring that the victims will be silenced, blamed, shamed for daring to want the freedom to accept a ride home from a coworker and not be sexually assaulted.

You are welcome to disagree. But if you want to make a difference, maybe you should research a little. There’s a reason that so many women were defensive or rude to you— we’re the ones who have been raped, and you, a male who hasn’t been assaulted, are telling us that its not okay for us to point out that it was never our fault.

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brettfish [that’s me!]: hey Claudine

firstly, thank you – i fully appreciate you taking so much time to respond and agree wholeheartedly with pretty much everything you’ve said excepting for the last line about me saying that it’s not okay to point out that it was never your fault – i am fully behind that part of this discussion and am not saying anything like that – part of my research into a topic i care greatly about was me posing the question which you and some others have excellently answered and so you are really adding my my knowledge and understanding and again i thank you for that…

it is completely not cool how this thing has been turned on it’s head and how to large extents the victim has become the accused and i am really sorry for that – hopefully that is something we can work on getting better at…

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Claudine: I apologise if my final comment seemed accusatory, that was not my intention. From your post, it was my understanding that you are extremely anti-rape and anti-rape culture. I was making an attempt to explain the sudden backlash when you tried to voice your concerns.

As women, we are constantly being told to protect ourselves. This isn’t just something we are warned about after puberty, it is a constant presence in the life of every woman no matter what age she is in. When we were born, our collective fathers began dreading the day our bodies would begin to develop, and that fear permeates every facet of our existence. We are taught to fear strangers, to fear people in power, to fear being molested by our male teachers, coaches, doctors. We were taught to find a woman with children if we are lost, because men might be “bad”. Its a culture we were raised in, knowing we are weak and vulnerable and that every man is a potential rapist. The only think standing between us and rape is for him– this potential rapist — to choose not to.

I am saying this because women, especially women who are feminists, are always being told what to do. Don’t wear short skirts, don’t wear tight clothes, don’t walk late at night— don’t make a scene don’t say no don’t cause a fuss. We are being ordered around not only by men but also by women who don’t see what the patriarchal structure is doing to us, and all of that is hurting us.

Do I think you are anti-feminist? No. But in order to see why women might be angry at you, look at both sides.

If you don’t find the tweets humourous, that’s a product of your own upbringing, a mere footnote in the complex array of ideas and values that make up your sense of humour. If it’s not funny, don’t laugh. If it makes you uncomfortable, speak up.

But look at the other side:
Women are joking. They’re making fun of rape culture. They’re saying “the advice you gave me is useless. It won’t stop rape. All it does is blame the victim.” They are pointing out that it is NEVER a victim’s fault that she was raped. Was it because she was wearing a skirt? Was it because she befriended the wrong person? No, it happened because the rapist was a rapist.

So no you don’t have to find it funny, but you also have no right to tell us to stop. If it makes you uncomfortable, good. It SHOULD make you uncomfortable. We WANT to make people, especially men, especially people who think rape is bad, feel uncomfortable. Because those people are the ones who help perpetuate rape culture in their ignorance. People who say “Don’t walk alone late at night” are accepting that rape is the status quo, that rape is inevitable, that there is nothing more to do than accept it. That is wrong. Rape is NOT the status quo. Most men are NOT rapists. But when people make an attempt to silence or shame survivors, that propagates rape culture and makes it that much more difficult to cure.

If you don’t find the joke funny, good. Why don’t you find it funny? Is it because the advice is difficult or impossible to follow? Is it because the advice is laughable it its obvious inability to stop rape, is it because half of the jokes infer that the only way to protect yourself from rape is to die first?

All the advice women get is like that. It’s not funny because that is what defines rape culture. And if rape culture isn’t funny to you, start fighting it.

If you tell women “don’t make jokes about rape culture”, you’re telling them not to make fun of a society that sympathises with rapists. You’re telling them that they, their bodies, and their safety doesn’t matter. And for some reason I feel like that’s not what you meant at all.

What you meant was, “Don’t make fun of the victims.” And you’re right! We should never make fun of a victim or survivor, or belittle what they’ve been through.

I don’t think that means we can’t talk or joke about difficult topics. We shouldn’t mock or shame victims because we SHOULD be mocking and shaming rapists, we SHOULD be blaming rapists and their sympathizers, it should be impossible to live with the shame of knowing that you’ve raped someone. We should be rejecting them from society, refusing to talk to them or house them or feed them. Rape is a serious crime that ruins lives.
We should be mocking rape culture, because the idea that men can’t control themselves around attractive women is ridiculous. The idea that a short skirt is an invitation to be brutalized is stupid. The idea that women are somehow responsible for whether or not they are raped and murdered is ludicrous.
So no, we shouldn’t joke about “rape”. But that is something people say when what they really mean is “Don’t talk about rape” “Don’t show me the flaws in our society” and “Don’t tell me I’m wrong.”

Don’t joke about VICTIMS. Don’t use the word “rape” when you mean “lost a basketball game”, don’t threaten women with rape, don’t tell someone they deserve to be raped, don’t act like the act of raping another human being is funny.

But society needs to realize that rape culture is a problem. Maybe we can start by standing up to those who try to blame the victim. But it is very important that we realize that the only way to prevent rape is by teaching rapists not to rape.

Not by wearing more/different clothes or only travelling at certain times of day with a can of pepper spray or having a friend with me. Those things don’t stop rape from happening. Those things just make it okay for rapists to say “she was asking for it” and “what did she expect? She shouldn’t have been drunk.”

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brettfish: Claudine, you make a WHOLE lot of sense – i don’t agree with everything you say [but i imagine that’s okay] but i really do agree with almost all of it – i like how you have defined things carefully and made a lot more sense of it showing where the joke is aimed and so on and i cheer loudly at a lot of your paragraphs [and appreciating the time you spent cos i imagine you do ‘get’ quite a lot of my heartand that i really am being genuine here and thankx for that!] – i definitely am not in the camp saying we should not talk about rape [if you saw the first post of which this was a part ii you will see i am calling people towards speaking about it and acting…] or ‘don’t show me the flaws in our society’ [too glaring! i’d have to dig my head DEEP in the sand to be able to do that] and ‘don’t tell me i’m wrong’ cos i imagine there are some areas where i’m wrong [hopefully not all of them – i do a lot of work with young people, specifically Christian young people or people in schools an try and create a lot of space for people to share openly about the kind of stuff they have gone through in life and we have seen some amazing moments of young women being able to name stuff for the first time simply because we gave it a space and being able to have them share their story with another women and start on the journey to healing]

your ‘Don’t joke about VICTIMS. Don’t use the word “rape” when you mean “lost a basketball game”, don’t threaten women with rape, don’t tell someone they deserve to be raped, don’t act like the act of raping another human being is funny.’ paragraph was one of the cheering ones – i get all up in peoples faces when they talk about being facebook status raped or in a game or by an exam and i guess this Twitter ‘rantage’ was me seeing it as a similar thing to some extent so hopefully you can see my good intention in taking something on that felt wrong and felt like it was potentially victimising rape victims [even if i may have been wrong on the specifics]

i am not saying the tweets are not funny in terms of in and of themself [i may have implied that but it’s not what i mean] – some of them are really funny and really clever but it was more questioning should we be doing this with the subject of rape and you’ve spoken quite a lot into that…

so yes, thanks again, and for trying to explain some of the reactions i have been getting – i would say those are a pity because my heart is right [or trying to be] and by engaging with me you have helped educate me and have another ally [altho i would say i was already one] whereas the people that jumped down my throat and got all belligerent were more likely to piss me off and have me less interested to be involved [but fortunately i have thick skin] and i understand i think where that comes too – from years of having the negative messages and the blame and so on, so i do get it but still hope that people who are wanting to learn and grow will come across someone more like you who will give them the benefit of the doubt and a chance to learn and grow and join in to help where it is possible…

so thank you once again. i hope people will benefit from following our conversation and engagement on here…

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Claudine: It seems to me that you’re making an effort, especially to understand where women are coming from on this issue. That, to me, means that it’s worth my time to explain my point of view.

One of the reasons that women were so quick to lash out in response is that 95% of the time, the men who want to respond to us are NOT trying to understand rape culture. They are NOT willing to see the other side of the argument. The vast majority of the time, if a man disagrees with a woman on a feminist issue, they aren’t willing to look at things from the other person’s perspective. As women and feminists, we are used to being silence. We’re used to being told to ‘get back in the kitchen’ and ‘go make me a sandwich’ and all sorts of insensitive idiotic things. Obviously, I don’t claim to know the mind of every woman who responded to you on twitter, but do try to keep this in mind. None of these women got up in the morning and decided to be mean to you– I think more likely, they saw one of your tweets and (while I’m sure you meant to be engaging in a polite discourse, or asking for an explanation) they perceived it as ONE MORE in a line of thousands of men who have told them to shut up and stop complaining. You may not have been the problem, but your tweets — criticism, no matter how well intentioned — is perceived as an attack.

The truth is, if you’re male, you can’t understand what it is to be female in a world like ours. You can’t imagine that any more than you could turn back time, it’s impossible. The life you lived is in no way similar to the lives lived of women. Maybe on the surface your life has the same milestones, but when it comes down to it, women are treated differently than men. Women are treated as less than men. And if we speak up or complain about it, we’re told that we’re making a big deal out of nothing, that we’re overly sensitive, we need to lighten up and get a sense of humour– regardless of what we do, we’re criticised for it. And if and when you join a feminist discourse, you need to realize that as a man, your point of view is skewed. You have never lived as a woman, you have never been raised as a woman, you have never dealt with ‘women’s issues’ whatever they may be. And that means that you need to stop talking and start listening (which you have done admirably well, I would like to point out.)

So, why am I saying this? Not because I want you to stop talking, but because I think that one of the best things a man can do to help stop rape culture is to talk to other men. You can try to explain what I’ve said. You can, hopefully, make a difference. I don’t know what I’ve said that you disagree with (as I don’t think you specified), but I don’t need you to agree with me, I only need you to acknowledge that there are more points of view other than yours, and those views are valid.

Most importantly, you may want to think about how your words are perceived. It’s difficult really do accurately, but especially important when talking politics and feminism. It’s not only what you’re saying– because what you’re saying is “I want to help.” However, that isn’t always being received that way. Sometimes, when you say “I want to help,” what we are hearing is “Because you aren’t doing a good enough job yourself.”

Sometimes, you are saying “I want this bad thing to stop.”

And what women hear is “Now that I, a man, am here, I can save you from this problem. Because you aren’t strong enough to save yourself.”

We don’t want, or need, a saviour. If you truly are an ally to our cause, then we will welcome you with open arms– but you need to realize that being an ally means being one of the background, unimportant characters in a novel about other people’s success and triumph.

I hope that makes sense.

It has been a pleasure talking to you.

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brettfish: hey Claudine

the pleasure has been mine too, thank you so much – and please hear that when i say there are some things i disagree [or don’t fully agree] with you on, they are really the minority of what you have said – for the absolute most part i have agreed and you have spoken a lot of wisdom and given great insight and been very generous and gentle with me while unwrapping a lot of the bigger picture story and i do feel like i have heard most of what you have said. really helpful to hear “when you say this” it might be “heard as this” and just the general vibe of what the women in this conversation are used to hearing – i hope to point people to this blog post more for this interaction between us in the comments section than the actual blog and with your permission it might be more helpful to cut and paste this whole conversation as a separate blog [for those who don’t make it through this blog – what think you?]

i guess the one thing i would ask of you, in the way you have requested or presented it to me, is to take a moment to put yourself in my shoes [as the man] and hear the messages of “you’re the bad guy” “your voice doesn’t count” and “you will never understand any of this” – i do understand the context for it and it may fall in line with what you said about being prepared to be a small part in a bigger story which is not about you and i can definitely see that happening, but also hope you will hear a glimpse of what it is to be the guy in this situation who is wanting to understand and be of help and be someone who is looking out for his wife and sister and daughter, to be told in essence, “sorry, no room for you” – that is a hard one to swallow and maybe we can head towards a time and a place where men and women will be able to meet as different but equal and fight together against a thing which we jointly see as evil and broken and messed up… but in the meantime i will definitely try to listen more and swoop in less [i’m not a great swooper, but i do tend to like fixing so same problem i guess]

you have made so much sense and you have taken the time

and for that i am hugely thankful

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Claudine: If you want to copy/paste our interaction into your blog, feel free to do so with my blessing.

I hear where you’re coming from– It’s not easy to be told “you’re the bad guy” or “sorry, no room for you here” but it’s really not meant to be exlusionary. You’re wanted! You’re needed! But you’re needed as SUPPORT. That’s what being an ally is. And I know it may not seem like a heroic duty, but we aren’t saying “be silent, your opinion doesn’t matter!” what we REALLY want to say is “be quiet, so that the loudest voices are the survivors”.
In any fight for justice or equality, the people who need to be heard the MOST are the people whose voices have been silenced.

The good news is, if you’re not being oppressed, you have a good idea of what we’re striving for, and you have the drive to ensure that equality and basic human dignity is there for the women in your life (as well as everyone else who needs it). But don’t expect to be one of the loudest voices– instead, find people who need your support, and give it to them. Find out who needs support, what kind of support they need, and do your best to provide that.

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brettfish: that whole thought i can fully support… if that is what everyone is saying, i’m in… certainly not a stage i’d want to be center on. well written!

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