Tread lightly…tread very lightly indeed…

There is always place for legitimate protest. Some individuals, by virtue of their status, their privilege might even be legitimate targets for such protest. David Cameron, for instance. Or the Pope.

For both are surrounded, as standard, by their own personal phalanges of bodyguards. The Observer, too, as inanimate object feels a fair target.

Suzanne Moore, no matter your views on her “papabilità”, is not.

Forget the fine words…

Simply put, there are two reasons why this is so. First – and let’s be utterly self-interested, there is an argument beginning to build up of competing victimhoods: an oppression olympics which is tiresome in the extreme. Who bullied who first? Who has more weight, moral, numeric, philosophical on their side? Who has the greater privilege?

I don’t know. I don’t much care and it seems pretty fair conclusion that much of the general public does not either. Except that: by continually stepping back into the gutter,making this vindictive and personal and nasty (and going after an individual in public always has the possibility of being that way or turning that way, even by accident) you win no battles.

…stalking is never a feminist act

Second, and this is absolute. Let me put this politely: what the fuck is anyone with any aspiration to being feminist doing going after another woman in such a way as to make her feel physically unsafe?

Sure: Ms Moore is a public figure, in her way. But publically broadcasting her whereabouts is just creepy. It takes us right back to where i started, treating her as a target, prey.

(Yes: prey, not “pray” – we’ve dropped the papal allusion now).

Even if unintended, the mere fact of gallumphing around the web broadcasting proudly that her location has been discovered is just wrong. A sort of vengeful pack hound thing.

I can’t stop anyone from writing anything. Oh, the joy of free speech…and yes, the irony that that freedom, which the press so assiduously demands for itself, can also be so vicious. But there it is.

Sticks and stones…

I can’t stop peeps from posting this stuff. I can and do very loudly dissociate myself from it. Because while, in the web of sophistry that any and everyone can quickly conjure to explain what they said and why they said it, there’s always a reason, the bottom line is absolute: make someone feel like a target and you can call yourself a feminist – but you aren’t.

Or to put it another way, let all issue forth in the vilest of tweets: piock on the other side’s views, their shoes, their hair. Words will never harm me. Do not cross the line into real life stalking. Or even into behaviour that makes your target feel like they are the stalkee.

Ironically, i had been planning, myself, to attend the same meeting as Ms Moore tonight: I would very much have liked to hear her views on Leveson. Unfortunately, family commitments and local illness mean i won’t be there. Please, everyone who is, play nice.

Whatever your cause, do not disgrace it by behaviour that makes anyone else feel intimidated.

jane xx


About janefae

On my way from here to there
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4 Responses to Tread lightly…tread very lightly indeed…

  1. Phoebe Queen says:

    Oh really Jane, come on. Some trans activists tweeted that she would be on the panel at a public event, one which she had also publicised herself. To suggest that it’s unacceptable for people to note her presence speaking in a debating panel (I think focused on Leveson but with certain relevances to the controversies of the last week) is absolutely ridiculous.

    For her to suggest that people who disagree with her turning up at a PUBLIC DEBATE is some sort of intimidation or threat is similarly ridiculous.

    This constant spreading of lies about how the trans community has attacked and threatened her is wearing thin. She keeps going on about being labelled an “EDL supporter” following a completely bizarre tweet from this guy:

    Too many people are feeding this idea of a baying mob going after her. I think someone else summed it up pretty solidly elsewhere, what’s happened is the result of having a big platform, a format that allows everyone pretty equal access to speak their mind, and her having the ability to offend a few thousand people at once. I’d add to that the lack of awareness or willingness to recognise that everyone else’s free speech can be uncomfortable if you’re going to be loudly obnoxious.

    Meanwhile she’s free to stamp heavily all over us, defame the trans community at large, be really rude and misrepresentative about our issues, stereotype us and play the victim when we complain about it. Stuff that. Poor her having to hear from and live in a world with people who don’t like what she has to say.

    • janefae says:

      If she abuses words to attack, i will utterly oppose that…

      However, i mean what i say here…and i think i even surprised myself. In general terms, in most social interactions,it is not for the toucher to tell the touchee what is acceptable or what they should or should not find intimidating.

      i’ve been on the receiving end of a twitter mob and even that…verbal abuse alone…is pretty awful.

      i’ve been in situation now where i am pretty sure no harm was intended by another party, but…i felt seriously intimidated and where, if they were repeated, i would say as much.

      Suzanne Moore tonight was tweeting to the effect that she found the tweeting intimidating. i get that. It may be, logically, that you can make a case for why it isn’t.

      But if she feels intimidated and/or says she does, we must listen. Because if we don’t listen, we are on very dangerous ground indeed.

      jane xx

      • Sophie Bridges says:

        What do you mean by “Twitter mob”?

        So individuals who respond to hateful posting are collectively a “mob”? Mob is not a neutral word; it’s perjorative, and you yourself are demonising individuals who have a perfect right to respond to crass generalisations from journalists in positions of privilege.

        I very much doubt the Twitter response was orchestrated (the only way it could be seen as a “mob”). It’s just a convergence of individuals; people who have a perfect right to respond to ignorant comment. Thanks to Twitter, journalist are no longer immune to criticism. And as journalist I’m sure you welcome this…

  2. Pingback: Where Have All the Comments Gone? | Trans Scribe

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