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Greetings Disruptors!

There has been a lot of conversation lately about how to communicate about charged issues in feminist online communities while respecting both the right to free expression and the sensitivities of people experiencing oppression.  Needless to say, this has been on our minds at DDP.  Here’s what we’ve been reading.

Two people talking with multi-colored speech bubbles over their heads

  • “Though Mukhopadhyay continues to believe in the empowering potential of online feminism, she sees that much of it is becoming dysfunctional, even unhealthy. ‘Everyone is so scared to speak right now.'”
  • “Ultimately, I think we need to learn to listen past hurts and slights. It doesn’t mean that we ignore them.  It means we focus and center our end goal in all that we do. Let our work be a testament to what needs to change.”
  • Justice does not take the shape of punishment eagerly dispensed.”
  • “Being good and being nice are totally unrelated. We need to get serious about debunking this myth, because the confusion between the two is obfuscating our message and handing our oppressors another tool with which to silence us.”
  • Our contention is not that incivility and/or meanness don’t exist online. Some of us have personally experienced trolling, insults and harassment on social media….What we reject is the framing of incivility or toxicity as unidirectional and confined mainly to social media. We object to women of color consistently being portrayed as ‘bullies’  or as ‘mean.'”
  • “When American journalists cover Twitter activism in other countries, they portray it as empowering. When marginalised people of color – people whose own history of oppression in the US is systematically played down – share their plight online, it is recast as aggression, exaggeration and lies. This, too, mirrors the rhetoric used by dictators around the world.”
  • “Was the campaign against Komen therefore an example of ‘toxic feminism’ at work, unnecessarily dividing the ‘feminist community’ when what they really needed was ‘solidarity’? Who gets to make that call? Everyone is free to make it for themselves, but who gets to make that decision for others?”
  • “I’m talking about chiming in, taking up space, adding your two cents, playing devil’s advocate, etc. when 1) no one asked you, 2) the subject matter is outside your realm of experience (why do you even think you get to have an opinion about the lives of black women??), 3) anything you say is just going to cause more harm because your voice, in and of itself, is a reminder that you always get to have a voice and that voice usually drowns out the voices of others.”
  • [Trigger Warning for descriptions of rape and what it’s like to have traumatic flashbacks.]  “Be humble about the limitations of your good intention. If someone is hurt or triggered by your words, it isn’t because they failed to understand your intentions. It is because your intentions don’t have the power to shape the meaning of your words in the larger social world.”
  • Last and completely unrelated to the communication theme, though nothing is unrelated because we are intersectional (Ba-dum-pshhhhhhhhh), here is your good news for this WWR: Alexandra Petri exists and writes things. “Why are you wasting precious man-hunting time reading this article? Go back in time and FIX THIS!”
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