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What discourse norms do you tend to follow? Why? Do you think everyone else should follow them, and why?
I will tend to respect other people’s viewpoints, but only if they seem reasonable as well. I don’t talk to people who seem like idiots or who seem to treat others poorly.
I’ve had a lot of bad experiences with so-called “SJWs”. I disagreed on really minor points – like regarding whether it was a good idea to not read straight white cis men’s books -, and often these disagreements would spark all-caps text accusing me of shedding man-tears, which is pretty rich since at that time I wasn’t identifying as a man (and even now I don’t fully identify as a man). People were immensely rude to me.
I’m not rude to others, and I would prefer that others do the same for me. My viewpoints shouldn’t be dismissed just because I don’t have maximum Oppression Points or whatever; they should be evaluated based on their own merit.
What is the true reason, deep down, that you believe what you believe? What piece of evidence, test, or line of reasoning would convince you that you’re wrong about your ideology?
I don’t think that gender is altogether a bad thing, and I fear that gender abolitionists don’t understand what they’re demolishing. Dysphoria’s horrible; but I also think that the most transcendent experiences in my life have been linked to my understanding of my own gender. The ways that I’ve imagined my ideal self in the mirror are in fact deeply connected to typical gender norms- imagining myself as a man in a dress, myself with long hair and looking like a girl, but “actually” being a boy, myself as a lovely femboy. And the way I experience attraction to others- oftentimes the way I perceive someone as attractive or not is directly linked to their gender. Does that make me a sexist? Does that enforce patriarchy? Of course not, and it doesn’t have to.
I would change my opinion here if it was shown that gender relied on patriarchy and that my experiences were the product of something else.
Regarding this, a lot of leftists seem to think that every single member of an identity group agrees with the social justice consensus. This is completely false. Again, like with the man tear thing, it seems like a lot of social justice thinks it can categorize people into a label based on their actions, which I understand is actually a fairly sexist thing!
I would change my opinion on this if every single member of an identity group spontaneously began agreeing on something.
Sexism, by the way, is something that a lot of feminists ignore when it’s against men. Yes, there’s sexism against men. There is misandry. And a lot of times feminism seems to reinforce this message of misandry. Of judging men by their appearances. Of claims of “mansplaining”, as if anyone could tell someone else’s gender socialization or their position of power through a somewhat condescending explanation. Of presumptions that men are rapists and always sex-hungry, which play into the erasure of male rape survivors. Even that people attracted to women – mostly straight men – are inherently predatory or disgusting, which is couched in feminist language like “objectification”.
I would change my opinion on this if it was shown that, as a societal pattern, men were not subject to prejudice, and I would change my opinion on sj’s opinion on this if more feminists and sjs talked about men’s issues.
The whole idea of privilege also doesn’t make sense to me. A lot of social justice norms seem aimed at creating what Julia Serano calls a reverse discourse, this whole idea where privileged people need to shut the hell up and make space for others to talk. And honestly, this can be a really toxic dynamic. There are lots of sj type messages that say “It’s okay if you, an Oppressed Person, get angry with people and hurt them and can’t be civil in an argument”, and I don’t think that’s necessarily wrong, but look, okay, it implies that an Oppressed Person must get angry with people and be uncivil, and it implies that allies, in order to be properly Inclusive, must get angry with people and hurt then and become uncivil, and if you’re not visibly angry and you’re not hurting anyone and you’re civil, then you must be not a real Oppressed Person or not being a good ally or whatever.
And it also implies that, if you say something Oppressive, then clearly you deserve to be spoken harshly to. You deserve to be shamed and shunned and yelled at and all you get to do is apologize and if your opinion still differs then by God you’re an awful person. This is terrifying.
This reverse discourse also results in bad things like how, if a Privileged Person tries to say anything on a given subject, then they’re seen as “talking over” Oppressed People. “Talking over” other people is a horrible concept and it should be retired; the amount of times I’ve seen someone silenced or afraid to speak up because they didn’t want to “talk over” other people far outnumbers the amount of times I’ve seen the concept used to shut up an asshole who truly was speaking over others.
Some sj seems to really discourage empathy, as well. If someone’s talking about their experiences as a truly oppressed person, then the SJ Norm is for everyone else to shut up unless they’re a member of identity group x. They’re not allowed to relate their own experiences. They’re not allowed to have their own stories or their own connections. They’re allowed to listen and be Good Allies. And of course, there are some places for that. But in real life, conversations need more than one participant. And I’m afraid that this norm will end up making it so people of different backgrounds can’t relate to each other as well, so that there’s this crushing feeling of not-understanding, even if it isn’t necessarily the only option.
This relates to the idea that, if someone isn’t a member of a marginalized group, then it must be okay to hurt them and speak over them. And it also relates to how sometimes the sj-inclined act like power dynamics in the larger society apply to their sj group, when power can actually be distributed quite differently within subcultures.
I would change my opinion on the benefits of this reverse discourse if it appeared to actually aid people, or if sj started using it better.
On a somewhat different note- I really dislike some sj denunciations of capitalism. Capitalism has wrought an immense amount of benefit for the world. It’s one of the only reliable ways to raise countries out of poverty; and it has uplifted something like billions of people. It is the engine of the people’s choices and autonomy. The “crises” of capitalism haven’t been particularly bad compared to the crises before capitalism. It’s only because people don’t multiply that they don’t realize that peasant life and serf life haven’t been that great for peasants and serfs. That the old orders of certain countries have been corrupt and despotic and terrible, and that they have hurt far more poor people than capitalism has. Living standards have almost always gone up after a country industrializes and modernizes.
I would change my opinion on this if it were shown that capitalism was a net bad for the world, or if it were shown that coercion, exploitation, and (actual) imperialism by conquest were inherent aspects of capitalism.
And as for international interventions. I don’t buy that Western countries should always, always stay out of other countries. Maybe preventing genocide or destroying prison camps is imperialistic, but, um, does it matter? Yes, America in particular often has human rights abuses of its own, such as torture or prison camps or nuclear weapons, I’m not denying that, but this hypocrisy isn’t reason to let other countries also have nuclear weapons or prison camps! America, as the only remaining superpower, has a responsibility, as articulated by philosophical perspectives on the Holocaust, to prevent atrocities, even if it hurts her people, even if she must spend billions upon billions of dollars upon defense, even if she has no interests in a given region. The American revolution wasn’t won by Americans- it was won by the French allies.
Anita Sarkeesian attempted to fund her video game criticism show. She criticized some aspects of video games – like that they portrayed women as rewards or that they didn’t have well-rounded female characters – that definitely had some issues. But she also didn’t seem to give the games a fair chance. She didn’t give any benefit of the doubt – she often seemed to go for the worst possible explanation. And also, like a lot of feminists, she doesn’t seem to question the dogma that women as rewards were Definitely A Bad Thing. Yes, as a societal thing it’s bad, and artistically it’s not very origianl. But in a single game?
It’s not fair to castigate a game, with a target audience of mostly straight men, for having graphics of beautiful women as awards, or even the love of a beautiful woman as an award. If this causes men to view women as lesser-than or as objects in real life, then I think there is likely something more than a video game going on. In general I think this is a larger problem among feminism, to observe patterns of oppression on a general scale and then apply them to individual issues. For a long time I worried that I was pedestalizing and objectifying someone I’d fallen in love with, when these were really just the emotions of love and attraction.
But anyway, it was completely unwarranted that she was attacked in the way she was.