Putting The Boot In.

5 Aug

…and people say I can’t let things go (ha! and here it is: the obligatory “putting the boot in”, possibly opening the doors to the hell of endless “debates”): some of you might remember the multitude on posts, including some on here, about failing white male allies* and self-proclaimed white male “allies” who actually aren’t allies but people seeking to get their heads patted for not being David Duke.

Let me reiterate that I’m not talking about the “sexism in video games” discussion on germany’s public broadcasting station “Deutschlandradio” because I think Deef and a variety of supporters should not be allowed to catch a break as people who have been called fauxminists (though I’m afraid I’m keeping the Fauxminism charge up), but because you just couldn’t make shit like this up to exemplify what the so often debated and facepalm-inducing problem is with people who believe they’re in it for  The Good Cause (TM) and yet, showcase anti-feminist thinking and behavior and give actual feminist allies a bad name.

In case you missed my problem with this particular incident, see posts here and here.

Yet, it has been a good month (which is what? Like 20 years in Internet Time?) and one might think that this Gate was solved by simply adding a couple more people to individual block lists. This, however, is apparently not the case, and one of the reasons seems to be the actually surprising decision by Deutschlandradio to host another show on sexism on the internet/in video games/in digital life with three different panelists, now including two women (Helga Hansen and Katrin Rönicke) who are, in one way or another, active in the feminist (online) community and a variety of other fields, and Anatol Stefanowitsch, a professor of linguistics who also writes about language and gender.

It has been noted that, ironically, none of the people who have expressed elaborate criticism of the previous show with Deef and others (namely, Femgeeks), have been invited to the show [Edit: Helga had actually been the first one to criticize Deutschlandradio’s invitation policy on Twitter. I, however, still think that it  would have made a lot of sense to (also) invite one of the authors of Femgeeks who have written about the last broadcast elaborately and have been in direct contact with the show’s host about it – that, ironically, did not happen. They were not invited, although the host kept referring to their criticism during the show, and continuously read out their tweets] and Anatol Stefanowitsch has aptly brought up the invitation policy of Deutschlandradio, including criticizing them for just assuming that everyone can drop every other responsibility, especially regarding care work, when their company calls three days in advance.

I have now listened to the broadcast and have, again, specific problems with certain assumptions and things that have been conveyed during this show, and also with the invitation policy, as have other people, also expressed on Twitter (one of them, again, Femgeeks). I am again annoyed that Feminism = white women, and that racism wasn’t even discussed here. I thought that the referral to certain female* body types as “normal”, thus making others pathologic, was cringe-worthy, as was the lack of reflection when positively naming Ursula von der Leyen, for example, as an alleged ally for feminists, thus missing awareness for class privilege and the question who profits from von der Leyen’s particular brand of feminism.

But you know what? The one thing this panel about sexism in/and the internet was not, was structurally and actively sexist. And, sadly, that is a huge success, given what happened the last time, when three white men discussed sexism in video games. It was a success in having a majority of knowledgeable and critical women* discuss sexism (let alone anything that isn’t defined as “chick topic”) on a public broadcast for a change, even though the host kept referring to Stefanowitsch as “quota man” (who, apparently, is needed to validate what all the emotional ladies are bickering about); particularly given the fact that, as Helga Hansen has shown, 90 percent (I repeat: ninety percent) of the show’s guests in the past year ten broadcasts [I’m sorry I misheard that, thanks for correcting me, Helga!], were men*. Another great detail? Stefanowitsch not battling for air time or interrupting the women* or having to add lip service to everything they said, but being a respectful conversation partner with interesting contributions (you know: what/how actual allies are and act).

So… what could have happened? People who have been criticized for what they have been saying in the previous broadcast and for their previous reactions to said criticism could have taken note on what was different this time; perhaps even come to a realization or two. People who have been criticized for their behavior during the previous debate could have taken note of the specific criticism made of particular fails in this broadcast, echoing some of the fails of the last broadcast, without ever reaching that latter’s epic dumbassery. But, as you have guessed: of course not, since we all know that this isn’t really about being a good or bad ally, this is about picking up your ball and going home, because ze feministz are mean and just won’t fucking show you the gratitude you think you are entitled to. And things could have gone so differently, judging from Deef’s first tweet:

[Deef: Looking forward to another talk about sexism and video games at Deutschlandradio’s Netzreporter.]

Alright, so you actually don’t mention that the first round was kind of a dilemma in terms of not appealing to many of the feminist women you thought you were representing, but that’s fine. Class dismissed or something. Or just the adult way of sitting it out. I get that.

[Deef: Funny how racket-feminists (note: he uses the German male version here) were outraged by the last talk due to missing women, but don’t have a problem with three white panelists (note: again using the German male version for three women* and one man* here).]

The mere fact that you write “Krawallfeministen” [sic] (…and “Diskutanten” [sic]; there were two women* panelists, by the way, one is the actual host) is pretty telling, I’m afraid. First: you hereby ignore the tweeted and otherwise expressed discontent with aspects of the show that were even in part read out loud by the host during the show. Second, you reduce and ridicule and tone-argument-piss all over the rather elaborate criticism and suggestions as to how to not act like that guy after the broadcast you took part in. Not agreeing with your stance, calling you out on your failures, criticizing your reaction to said calling out, not declaring you Awesome Dude Of The Year for a matter of course, and not being nice and pleasant and shiny and happy while doing that, is “racket” in your view. Actually, the person making all the racket was and continues to be you.

If you had, at any point, taken a step back and had taken a look at the criticism, instead of only thinly veiling your contempt for the feminist critique of your action and instead of ignoring the numerous suggestions as to how to not be that guy, you wouldn’t have encountered increasingly annoyed responses to your ignorance. Yet, here we are again: you still don’t think you’ve done anything wrong (and, let me just say, the worst part of your failure was, in my view, your reaction to being criticized), and are now making a lot of racket on the passive-aggressive half-offense. That’s not activism, that’s not being an ally, that’s not exposing anything – it’s simply anti-feminist trolling.

The fact that, once again, four white people are discussing social justice issues, is quite clearly a fail. It always is. It never changes. It pisses me off constantly (cf. this blog’s archive, for example). But you know what? Some of these women* have actually been anti-racist allies before. All you have done is to somehow manage to not only be an asshole to feminists with this post, but also to people of color, by insinuating that they pick selectively when it comes to racism. You further exemplify that way of thinking here:

[Deef: When it’s not about equality, but about the banishment of the white whale… um, man, it reads like this…]

Criticizing Bäumchen’s tweet as to why a panel about sexism always has to have a man as a member (when 90 percent of panelists have been men* in the past anyway), you think this signifies, by choosing that particularly annoying analogy, an irrational, overly emotional hunt on white men*, driven by a self-destructive, hateful need for revenge (hello, “racket”-feminists, same thing there).

You really have a talent for exacerbating things, dear Deef – holy crap… And, once again, you also have a talent for highlighting your real lack of feminist knowledge, in a way that should make you think more than twice whether you’re actually capable of representing feminist allies. In terms of the “tone-argument,” everything you need to know about that has been written in Feminism 101 and in Derailing for Dummies – you should check that out. As to your analogy: you use the same language as racists and sexists; that mere fact should give you pause. You misconstrue criticism of structural discrimination and active discrimination, as shown in your belittling of feminist criticism here and elsewhere, as obsessive, irrational rage and externalized self-hatred, which is not only a massively manipulating strategy of argument, derailing at its finest to deflect the actual criticism, dripping with sexist stereotypes and 1960s clichés about angry, men*-hating feminists with really large scissors, but self-indulgent privilege to the point of no return. You miss the very simple fact that white men* like yourself are actually asked to comment on everything. The people who are being “banished” to the discursive fringes are people who are not white heterosexual men*. Criticizing this marginalization is not the call for banishment, quite to the contrary: it is a call for inclusion. You are not the victim here, no matter how often you insinuate it. White, middle-class, heterosexual, abledbodied cis men* are not systematically discriminated against, you are declared as universal, and thus capable of speaking about everything. Didn’t it strike you as ironic, just once, that you now “argue” like this when having been one of the three male, white panelists on a roundtable about sexism in video games?

It gets truly disgusting, however, when you mix your anti-racket-feminism with a hint of white supremacy. It’s not enough for you to mock people who also criticized you for making a multitude of oppressive axes complete in your all-male, all-white, all-abledbodied, all-cis, all-academic talk, but to try to use this criticism in your favor when it isn’t strong enough in a different instance in your perception. Instead of saying: yes, this round was more inclusive, but it still lacked a person of color, for example, your only idea is to point your finger at people of color and anti-racist allies and ask them why they aren’t speaking out louder yet again. I could also add that this round did at least not have the audacity to think they were capable of talking about racism in games as pseudo-professionally as your round did, an no “side bar” racist remarks were made. That’s a success. That’s more than you can say of your roundtable. And instead of pointing the finger towards anti-racist critics of your panel (who have mentioned it also for this panel, but whatever, not “racketeery” enough for you, I suppose), you should think about your self-victimization and what you, someone who has actually been criticized for perpetuating white privilege, have done to try to rectify it a little. Thoughts on that?

Finally, you write:


[Deef in reply to the question whether he liked the broadcast: Of course. I’m happy about everything positive and I’m an optimist. Simon Hurtz: I’m happy about that. I felt the discussion was relatively factual. Without major contributions to new insights, but still interesting. Deef: There were a couple of interesting things. Particularly what Stefanowitsch said was news to me.]

I’m glad you’re an optimist. It takes a lot of privilege to remain one. But you know what hampers my optimism about self-proclaimed feminist allies? Your last sentence. Because it, yet again, echoes your ever so slight tendency to take men’s contributions much more seriously than those of teh hysterical ladeez – you’ve shown that already in the thread on Mädchenmannschaft, when the only person making sense to you was another man* who paraphrased the criticism of a woman of color, namely Noah Sow. I agree that Stefanowitsch’s contributions were interesting. I emphasize, however, that they were anything but ground-breaking or surprising or news to anyone who has actually learned a thing or two about feminist activism. So maybe you should think about that, too, because when men* speak to you, it’s a complete revelation, but racket-feminists like myself just always make these weird beeping noises.

I maintain that you are a fauxminist, and quite a blatant one at that. And that’s why I wasn’t friendly to you, and that’s why you should be quiet already when it comes to Feminism (TM) and your role in it.

Update:

As you can see, Deef really knows how to respond to criticism in a constructive and appropriate way that doesn’t make him look like an annoyingly self-centered person who uses irony and ridicule as a recurring defense mechanism at all. Thanks for the re-tweet, my lovely – I hope some of your followers learn a thing or two about your version of  being a pseudo-ally, and why it is really sad :( :( :(…

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3 Responses to “Putting The Boot In.”

  1. haiwen August 5, 2012 at 3:25 pm #

    A few comments: The almost 90 % refer to the last 10 Online Talks, not a year. (I saw the numbers and didn’t really feel inclined to go any further…) Also, I was the one who started the whole discussion the night before the first show. That said, while this show was quite different, I am still a bit disappointed because DRadio Wissen didn’t really accept the criticism. I pointed that out after I was invited (as did another person, who subsequently declined) and they were totally irritated we weren’t all happy but still complaining… I think it’s telling they asked a guy, who was also critized, for validation and his miffed tweets were even retweeted. Patriarchy. You just can’t win.

    • accalmie August 5, 2012 at 3:35 pm #

      Hi Helga, thanks for commenting and for the corrections – sorry about that. And: yes, indeed. *extremely loud and incredibly racketeery sigh*

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