There’s one thing that’s come up a few times at Shakesville, AMR, and at Pharyngula as well. And I think it’s an important point to discuss.
Both McEwan and Mardoll have now asked us to stop on the basis that we’re hurting them. And posters on all three sites have wondered how we can claim to be feminist, progressive, etc. if we’re still continuing on despite them asking us not to. They argue that a real feminist group would stop because we wouldn’t want to hurt them.
But here’s the thing:
It is a basic, fundamental part of feminism—and progressive activism in general—that the feelings of those victimized and hurt take precedence over the feelings of those that have done the victimizing and hurting. Abusers, bullies, and harassers frequently argue that this they shouldn’t be punished, or publicly scorned, or suffer various other consequences, because it would hurt them—hurt their feelings, their reputations, their careers. But we progressives acknowledge that, even if this is true, it’s not as important as ensuring that their victims are represented, and supported, and receive justice insofar as we are able.
McEwan and her mod team have hurt people. They lure vulnerable people to Shakesville by promising a ‘safe space’ where they will be protected from harm, and then harm them at will. They have pushed at least one person into cutting herself. They have brought another to a tearful breakdown. They exacerbate people’s self-hatred. They trigger people’s PTSD. McEwan attributes all people’s problems with her to dislike of her comment policy. But no comment policy on earth could excuse the horrible things she and her colleagues have done to their commenters.
This isn’t even getting in to her appropriation of gay identities (and her bullying of those who object to this), her joking about acid face peels, her support of transphobic feminists like Mary Daley, and so forth. These are also hurtful actions.
The many people that McEwan and co. hurt should have a community, like this one, where they can bond and recover. They should have a place where they and their allies can call out McEwan and her mod staff, holding them accountable for the pain and harm they have inflicted. The people that McEwan and co. are still hurting should have a resource like this community where they can get support. Helping these people, the victims, must take priority over protecting McEwan’s feelings.
Furthermore, McEwan has made it very clear that there is no way to help any of her victims without hurting her at the same time. She takes any correction or criticism as harmful; telling her that she used an offensive word or that she unfairly bullied a commenter is treated as hurting her. The choices McEwan offers us are this: we can avoid hurting her if—and only if—we never speak up for her victims and thus hurt them by our silence. Or we can support her victims and criticize her misdeeds, in which case, she says, we inevitably hurt her.
If those are our options—support the victimizer and hurt the victims, or support the victims and hurt the victimizer—then I’m proud to say I choose the latter. And I suspect most, if not all, of the people here would agree.
I had a lot more respect for AM before her theatrics here and in the comments at Shakesville. Her comment on SV about people downvoting MM saying she loves her on anamardoll.com is a Raspberry deserving performance.
If you’re a moderator of a site you can. Say someone posted there and here with a registered e-mail address. We can both see it. Only what’s been posted on our sites but if they use the same username… stands to reason.
Mind, multiple people can have the same username so that’s fun.
It was commented on a lot over here how the gratitude only came flowing when there was cash involved. Maybe she genuinely feels grateful to still have followers when it’s clear so many are unhappy with how she’s treated them.
Shakesville used to be a thriving commenting community, by which I specifically mean the number of people who would comment on the threads. It was regularly up to triple digits, but almost always at the high end of double digits. For just about every single post. For the last, say…half year, just about all threads (that weren’t qotd, ddoc or the nostalgia sublime) basically stayed in the single digits. Commenters still got yelled at now and then, even in such small numbers, but the numbers held steady between 3-9 remarks.
There has been some speculation here (speculation! We are a hate site!) that MM’s persecution manifesto has been done to galvanize the drooping number of comments. Possibly. (It’s either that or scare the hell out of her family, friends and community for no reasonable reason). And in response, she succeeded! All the true faithfuls gave continued reiterations, per her specifically proscribed script, that they felt completely comfortable commenting, that Shakesville is the safest place on the internet, that (apparently) only unhinged, immature misogynists would feel like the commenting policy was unfair. I won’t quote any specific commenters here because that would be just like rape, I’ve been told.
Fair enough. But looking around at her non “here’s what happened” posts, almost all other posts remained in the single digits (her film deconstruction shot up to a whopping 22).
So the proof should be in the putting, right? People have come to SVKA to inform us that they’ve now been inspired to donate money to MM. People are willing to pay cold hard cash but they still aren’t inspired to start commenting again? Doesn’t it seem just a bit likely that A) they’re actually not comfortable commenting in case they screw up and get dressed down, or B) The would comment but they don’t actually have anything new to contribute, since there are a finite number of ways in the English language to say exactly what Liss said in different words, and basically that’s all they’re allowed to say? I mean, her “here’s what’s happening” posts reached the triple digits because she literally told everyone the exact words to say. But I think it’s legitimate to question why the hundreds of people who recite that Shakesville is the safest place on the internet still aren’t commenting on regular threads, even while they’re fired up on the fever pitch of attacked fandom. IDK.
[CN: offering care to people who have announced they don’t want me to care about them.]
to any SV lurkers who feel like my speculating about your motives is an attack, I don’t agree but I do sincerely feel bad that you think it is, and consequently feel attacked. I’m just genuinely curious why, and gobsmacked that, the numbers haven’t gone up at all.
That’s a good point.
Here’s a great post by Christine at But You Don’t Look Sick. http://www.butyoudontlooksick.com/wpress/articles/written-by-christine/the-spoon-theory/
MM turned it into something else entirely for her purposes.
I’d like to add this as a documentation of MM abusing to her commenters. SugarLeigh did not deserve to be hurt and dogpiled by MM, PaultheSpud and SKM over A PICTURE OF A FOX. She thought she was in a safe place and felt comfortable enough to discuss her passion about animals and MM shut her down in such a dehumanizing way. Clearly this is not a case of bad faith or trolling. All her posts on SV before before this incident were about her with her depression. Why would someone ever treat another person who is a part of their “safe community” like that?
MM, from today: When was the last time you went swimming?
MM: As always, “Never” or “I don’t like swimming” are perfectly cromulent answers.
..thank you Melissa for letting us what answers are Ok.
Coincidentally, I just got back from swimming!
Not really, you can take anything out of context if you want. Remember the Bob’s Burgers episode where Tammy says Tina is the Mad Pooper with an edited version of what Tina said?
It’s like that.
Hang on. I thought this site’s presence was harassment. I thought by its existence it was harassment and abuse. Is it now she accepts the definition? Now that a few people have taken it upon themselves to e-mail/Tweet/whatever?
When I say “no one from the site harasses MM” I mean, I am the site. I am not the community but there is one person here in the background. That’s it.
Have I up and downvoted things? Sure. Did I say someone should do something “for great justice?” Sure
(Liz should know this comes from Zero Wing:
Mechanic: Somebody set up us the bomb.
Engineer: Somebody has planted a bomb. (lit. It appears that an unknown party has planted an explosive.
Operator: Main screen turn on.
Radio Operator: We’re getting a video on the main screen (lit. A visual is coming on the main screen.)
CATS: All your base are belong to us.
CATS: You have no chance to survive make your time.
Captain: Move ‘ZIG’.
Captain: For great justice.)
And setting the record straight to a few people on Twitter STILL isn’t harassment. SORRY MELISSA.