On Speaking One’s Mind

I wrote a pretty divisive post yesterday explaining my feelers about the YesAllWomen Twitter onslaught.

A lot of you were supportive, even if you didn’t agree with me. I don’t necessarily want you to agree with me. I mean, it’s nice if you do, but I’m not trying to bring you over to the dark side. I’m not looking to convert or convince anyone. In fact, I welcome varied opinions and polite disagreement. If you resort to name calling or rants, well, I probably won’t approve your comment, but genuine, reasoned disagreement is more than welcome. I encourage it. I want you to speak your mind. I want to hear why you don’t agree, not just that you don’t.

My interest here with this blog is mainly selfish. I started this here fishbowl to give myself someplace to put the words I pry out of my head. I never expected anyone would ever read it. I still typically write as if I’m in a vacuum and no one will see it. I’m still not used to the fact that I have followers now. I suppose, in a way, that’s a good thing, because I’d hate to censor myself. I want a place where I can speak my mind, no matter what’s on it. I will continue to write things that some people don’t agree with, and that’s fine with me.

The reason I’m writing this is as sort of a disclaimer on yesterday’s post. As I said in one of the comments over there: “I was afraid that if I wrote a post like this that it might be taken as an anti-feminist slant. It’s not. I very much agree with having the conversation. I just wish we did it with less name calling.”

I am not anti-feminism (although I’m not fond of the word as it has too many connotations). I am not against women speaking their minds. I am not even necessarily against doing it on Twitter.

I am against generalizing both genders. I am against finger-pointing based solely on gender. I am not a fan of slacktivism, as if sharing that you agree/don’t agree with this or that, makes you an activist. Sharing is not caring. Caring is donating time or money to a cause you believe in.

That’s why I wrote that post. Well, that and, because I do have my very own vagina, I felt that I could speak to the unfairness of generalizing all men in a way that they couldn’t. I doubt that anyone would ever call a woman a misogynist. I’m not, by the way. I’m as grrl power as anyone, but I can, and do, only speak for me. I do not speak for anyone else. I don’t want to anyway. I sit inside my brain with my life experience, which is not the same as yours. I can only share my view and I’d appreciate the same courtesy in return.

I lost some Twitter followers yesterday and I gained a few more. I don’t know if it was an even trade. I’m not sure that dipping my foot in those tricky waters was even worth it. Just as the YesAllWomen campaign was essentially ineffectual, so was my post about it, but that’s alright, too. I would rather speak my mind and get called out for it than keep silent. I kept silent for too long and so have a lot of my fellow women folk. We shouldn’t be silent. Whether we agree with each other or not, we should be shouting.

That’s what I do here. I shout in my own ineffective way from a very small rooftop to a very small audience. Thank you for listening and keep on shouting.

This is me, but without the suit. (loudhouse.co.uk)

This is me, but without the suit.

There are 34 comments

  1. NotAPunkRocker

    I get the “forgetting I have followers” thing, though I am still fairly new. I also welcome reasonable debate; the only comments I haven’t published (other than personal attacks, regardless of subject) were some ugly ones with the post I wrote on celebrity suicide. Not even trying to argue about why it should or shouldn’t be news, but about the victim herself. If that post hadn’t been about getting help and the comments hadn’t been potential triggers, I probably would have published and argued with them too.


    1. goldfish

      Yeah, there have been a few questionable comments that I’ve not published simply because I think they do more harm than good and they don’t come from a place of understanding.

      It’s nice having y’all here, but I hope the fact that you’re here never changes the way I write.


  2. JackieP

    All it takes is one very small pebble tossed in the big pond to have a ripple effect. That’s always been my way of thinking. You are the small pebble and even though you may think you didn’t make any difference, you did, you just don’t see the ripple effect, but it’s there. Keep saying what you want to, keep writing like you are just writing for yourself, that’s when you are at your best.


  3. tric

    I agree with JackieP. Your words did have an effect. I listened to you as one who also went through abuse, and I got comfort from reading that you were not in favour of this. I was feeling a bit odd and awkward that I did not feel comfortable that I was being championed by people, who obviously cared about what had happened, when in fact I didn’t agree or want them to speak for me.
    Even late last night I gave a smile when I remembered what you had written, and thought to myself, about myself, “Ye you’re not bonkers”.


  4. crimsonowl63

    I didn’t totally agree with your point yesterday, but thought it was an intelligent and thoughtful read. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Being able to speak your mind on your own blog is very important. From what I’ve read of your blog over the last year, you are an honest, open person. Disagreements will occur, but there is no reason for negativity or nastiness. Keep being yourself and writing honestly, we love it.


  5. merbear74

    I agreed with you, because even though I have been in an abusive relationship, been date raped, and oogled by men over the years, I still know that there are good, decent men out there who do not deserve to be treated like scum, all because he has a penis. My father was a good man, and so is my husband. I love your blog, and how you say what you think.


  6. Paul

    Keep being honest Goldfish. The people who appeciate that – agree or not – will continue to follow and comment. The fairweather friends who only want to read their own views can form a self-congratulations club. :)


  7. Lili

    I’m so sick of other women speaking on behalf of all women. It’s like they think the fact we all have vaginas makes us soul sisters, but that’s not the case. I’m very different from a lot of women, and I have things in common with a lot of other women. As well as I have things in common with men, and am different from others. It’s not all about my gender, but also my personality and experience. And I cannot relate to victimizing oneself and pointing out all men as monsters, because that’s neither fair nor effective. Everytime I hear a woman saying: “But for us women, it’s much easier/harder” or “As a woman, I naturally feel/do this/that, just like any other woman” I cringe a little. And everytime I hear a woman going on about how “horrible and patronizing ALL men are toward ALL women, it’s like they just HATE women, and the patriarchy, but really MEN ARE WEAKER, and I’m a feminist, and I have to take this discussion because, feminism”… I’m like: “Grrrrl, you’ve totally lost track of what feminism is. This ain’t the way to do it.”

    But I actually think Twitter and Facebook campaigns are quite good. I mean, they raise awareness and get people talking about important topics, and it can help crush the stigma around some things. Unfortunately, for many people, it ends there. That’s the problem. Because you can’t just TALK about something- you have to take concrete action too. I often here people say: “We have to talk about this” and whereas I do agree we shouldn’t keep silent, only talking won’t help. We’ve talked and talked and talked about gender equality, rape, racism, global warming, and whatnot. But we still face these problems, and that’s a proof talking isn’t a solution alone. And I absolutely hate it when people think that their liking of some Facebook page or tweet is enough, like: “I’ve taken a stand now! I’ve done something!” Liking a post or page is very easy. And it doesn’t really do much. I mean, anyone can do it. Heck, I’ve even liked pages I don’t agree with, just to stay up to date with their work. Just to be able to discuss with them. With that in mind, liking a page might not even be proof of your opinion, and then it’s even less effective. And then you have hipsters who like things ironically…… enough said. >.<


    1. goldfish

      Agreed. It’s the “all” part that bothers me. It does absolutely no good to point fingers at a whole gender and put them on the defensive.

      Raising awareness is good. Talking about our experiences and issues is good. Most of the Twitter campaign was good, but there was a lot of mindless accusation going on in there, too, and not much forward action.


  8. Simon White

    If you discuss controversial issues it is appropriate to occasionally have a bunch of followers leave in disgust, much more so if they are recent followers. There are too many cosy echo chambers on the web already.


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