Toxic Tweets Not So Sweet
Re Michelle Goldberg’s “Feminism’s Toxic Twitter Wars” [Feb. 17]: sometimes the feminist “scene” is too much to handle. As feminists, we have to strike a balance between coping with the damage heteropatriarchy has caused every one of us (of any gender) and being activists. When the vitriol of supposedly inclusive feminist spaces precedes the commitment to intersectional identity politics, I get exhausted.
As an avid tweeter and feminist, I find it difficult to escape the brusqueness of short-form discourse. It seems almost “on trend” to get caught up in call-out politics. There is a fine line between critical engagement and petty discontent. We have to learn to be gentle with one another: bell hooks urges activists to love, for “love can uproot fear or anger or guilt.” This care for others plays an integral role in healing ourselves and our allies as we work to dismantle heteropatriarchy.
I am 69 and have been a feminist at least since college. As long as we are sniping at each other and finding fault with lapses in purity of thought or inclusiveness, we’ll never overcome rampant misogyny and the attempt to put us back in our place. Which is the more important battle? All women must be invested in the ability of every one of us to live productive lives howsoever each sees fit. Get it together, or we all go down whimpering.
blue island, ill.
I’m practically weeping because this article is so desperately needed. Online feminist spaces are downright vicious, even cruel.
Sigh and sigh
It’s not just feminism that has this infighting going on. This seems to be a problem with all activism in social media: react first and ask questions later, assume the worst intention, never forgive, pile on mercilessly, leave no room to respectfully disagree. On Twitter it’s just cruel because 140 characters is great for the perfect cutting retort, but not at all for explaining context or your intentions.
I was born in 1912, and I remember the fight for women’s suffrage well. An older cousin, Birdie Cohen, went to jail for that fight. Now that was a fight worth waging!
In light of the consequences of not calling out the people who are screwing up, and not making aggressive attempts to get their voices heard, I don’t think it’s particularly troubling that people are sometimes mean. It certainly is much better for the movement than allowing the privileged behavior of people in power to go unchecked.