The Avocado

The Women+ Thread Makes The Right Amount of Noise

Some guidelines to help this space be a positive experience for everyone:

☮ As always with the Avocado, don’t feel compelled to share beyond your comfort level. 

☮ Anyone who identifies as female, or who was socialized female/AFAB/otherwise has firsthand experience with the issues being discussed, is welcome to post. If you identify as cis-male, we ask that you please set your participation to “lurk” mode, unless otherwise explicitly invited to participate further (i.e. if we did an AMA kind of thread). I’m sure there’s plenty to be gleaned just by reading!

☮ Please do your best to be mindful of others’ experiences when commenting or posing questions for the group. The female identity is Legion and contains multitudes, and not everyone who has experience with being treated as female by society identifies as female. Furthermore, racial and ethnic identities, sexual orientation, and many other factors can color how one experiences their gender identity on a day-to-day basis.

Noise? Is that spelled right? It doesn’t look right to me.

I am not sure what all I want to say this week! A lot of us had strong feelings and emotions to the events of last week, so I guess the most important thing to start with is that those reactions were valid. Last week was a lot, and we got through it. (and if i see a single downvote in this thread today so help me baby jesus) I didn’t care for downvotes. I didn’t like feeling like there was a target on my back, that my being vocal and proud of my gender led someone to want to mess with me, to push buttons and try to cause problems. I didn’t like the power dynamic.

Which really, got me to thinking about the internet and how women exist in it in general, but also the avocado. Women have been around the internet forever- shit, women were helping NASA fly spacecraft and working as codebreakers, they’ve been around technology forever. But the corners of the internet I’ve found women; the fanfiction spots, the craft patterns, the curated instagram feeds and tv subreddits, the critical analysis reviews and shitposts just… don’t exist, I guess, to people who still act like half the population isn’t around. We deserve a space too. And we deserve to be respected in that space. It can be hard to read tone or find the right boundaries for internet friendships and interactions. And sometimes even people you truly trust and like will cross a line, or a friendship will go up in flames and suddenly three years later they downvoted you on a disqus blog post. You know, regular internet stuff. But we deserve to have that space and be respected.

But when we’re not, it’s hard to go against the intentional and unintentional training we’ve had all our lives to “behave”. We don’t want to be a bother, we don’t want to overreact. We don’t want our gut to be wrong and misjudge someone. Sometimes someone well-meaning just makes a mistake. Sometimes… it’s not that. We don’t want to cause trouble and we tell ourselves whatever aggressions, micro or otherwise, aren’t really that big of a deal. But if others are going to cause trouble, by harassing us or making us uncomfortable, by putting their own wants over our needs, then I argue 2020 should be about redefining trouble. If I’m going to get downvoted when I’m not being obnoxious about my space on the internet, then I may as well spread out and take up a few more seats. Full obnoxious, as it t’were.

So, to that end, I want to invite and encourage each of you, you wonderful ladies+, to speak up and speak out. We will be putting our emails in a featured comment below for you to use. These are private emails, not the official mod account, so if you aren’t comfortable with the full mod team seeing them don’t worry, they won’t! If you just need to go off for a couple minutes about the lurkers who downvoted you, if you have a concern about a user, mods included, who has creeped you out or crossed the line, if you just want to talk about last week. We want to reassure all of you we are doing our best to keep the women+ thread a safe and special place. And we want all of you to feel comfortable coming forward if you need to. It’s okay if you don’t have the right words for the feeling you’re concerned about, it’s okay if you aren’t sure if it’s a problem or not, it’s okay if you don’t actually have anything you want to say you just feel like talking. We’re all here together, and I look forward to causing trouble with each of you.

To that end, a suggestion was made about men refraining from upvoting in the space. Some of us prefer that. Some of us enjoy hearing from allies or people learning, so I’d like to make a suggestion and see what y’all think about that: if you’re comfortable receiving upvotes from anyone, tag your posts with a +up or /up. It seems to me asking those who don’t want upvotes to do the tags is putting the emotional labor they don’t want onto them. If there are other ideas you have, please feel free to share them below, or email us.