Well, the decision is made.
I was really excited about trying to create a truly radical space for women online, and I mean really radical, not something regurgitated from another source. I was willing to put my passion, time and energy, all of which are valuable and limited, into running something really amazing.
But it is not to be.
This morning I got up to dozens and dozens of emails containing the following:
1. People demanding I “atone for my mistake” and “take responsibility” of mis-typing the word radically as radicly in an earlier post. Dozens of emails demanding that I “do the decent thing” and apologise publicly for my “shameful mistake”. Yes I’m serious, for a typo.
2. Three death threats.
3. Over 20 hate letters.
4. A campaign of women demanding that I include Hugo Schwyzer in this project (one claimed “Hugo taught me everything I need to know about feminism.” – I shit you not!)
5. A whole stack of people claiming that this project is “reverse discriminating” for men, white people, thin people, etc
6. So much privilege denying bullshit that I felt physically sick.
Add these to the fact that a group of people spent over TEN HOURS on Twitter yesterday clutching their pearls and harassing me over how rude I am because I wasn’t grateful that one of them “kindly pointed out a spelling error” in a passive-aggressive tweet that was clearly designed to mark her as superior for spotting such an error. If I had doubted her intent to do just that, when I responded that it was “just a typo” she was all “No, it’s a spelling error, own up to it.” It was clearly very important to mark me as inferior simply because of typing radically as radicly.
Seriously. Over ten hours of bullshit came at me on Twitter every time I opened it throughout the day because of a typo. I blocked them and more cropped up. I told them to fuck off. I ignored them and they kept trying. Over a hundred tweets in a few hours which then continued on through the day. Because I didn’t act grateful about being corrected on a damn typing error.
I have better things to do with my life than deal with all of the above. I spent hours over the weekend making my position clear to try to stem the tide of privilege denying, whinging and hate that came at me because people didn’t like the rules or they decided I wasn’t nice or polite enough. In that time I could have written dozens of pieces, edited and published the pieces that were sent by generous contributors.
I’m not interested in spending all my free time dealing with entitled people who are so full of their own self importance that they can’t shut up and listen for a few minutes without stamping their foot that people aren’t polite enough or claim they’re being discriminated against for having privilege. I’ve got a busy career, a life of activism and you know, a life to live. And because I don’t have the capacity to deal with all that bullshit, it means I can’t protect the people who this blog would have been for. I can’t hold back that massive tide of ignorance and bigotry and entitlement, it’s just too much for one busy woman to handle.
The saddest thing was that the worst of these people were my fellow Australians. Not the only ones, but definitely the loudest and most hateful. It makes me sick to the stomach to see what a willfully ignorant nation of bullies we are becoming.
Because I can’t make this the safe space it needs to be thanks to that ignorance, bigotry and entitlement, it is not right to continue it. My first rule is “First, do no harm.” No matter how much I fight and work and filter I cannot keep the harm away from the people who need it. I can’t protect the people who are generous enough to give their time and energy to contribute, so I can’t in good conscience put them at risk by publishing them here. I have been that person, the one who contributed their work to a site and then was torn apart not only by the readers but also by the site themselves when they published a horrible “opinion” piece denigrating fat people. I won’t do that to someone, so this project ends here.
This is what happens in our culture. The entitled, the ignorant and the bigoted make so much noise, are just relentless in their pursuit of shutting down anyone who tries to speak about privilege and marginalised people. These people simply bully anyone who doesn’t tow their line until they shut that person down. They shame people for being angry, being hurt, being offended at their bullying behaviour. They turn the tables and claim that by responding negatively to their demands you are the one abusing/bullying them.
Women who don’t fit the standard that these people see as “acceptable” (ie, superior) are simply harassed until they either break down or give up, and then they criticise them for breaking down or giving up. As I said on Twitter yesterday, society breaks people and then shames them for being broken.
These are also the very same people who complained the most that there was no space for them online. Note that none of them created a space, or took any initiative to gather like-minded people together as I have done here. This is because they are so self entitled that they feel that every space should include them, in fact regard them as superior, yet in turn they are not willing to put in any work to do it for themselves. They whinge and complain that there is no space for them when they are already taking up all of the space themselves.
To all the people who flocked here in hope that this could be somewhere that they would at last find space where they were unwelcome elsewhere, I am deeply sorry that I cannot provide the space that you need without putting you at risk of more ignorance and bigotry. I wish I could and I am already mourning the loss of you as community in this capacity. I do hope that you will keep in touch with me via Twitter, Tumblr or on my personal blog. This is not silencing me, just ending a project that cannot be kept safe for those who need it.
To all of those who spent the past two days relentlessly spewing ignorance, denying your privilege and demanding that everything must be by your rules or not at all, I pity you. You go through your lives willfully ignorant and filled with fear over anything outside your narrow little world. The world is changing and there is so much amazing stuff and wonderful people out there and you are too terrified to experience any of it. You cling to a dying world while the rest of us try to build a better one. That isn’t going to end well for you I’m afraid.
I want to thank everyone who did send me words of support and encouragement, who offered to help and to contribute and those who simply understood just what it’s like to try to make something new in the face of such ignorant bigotry. You rock, and I am glad to know you all.
This website will remain live, as will all the accompanying email and social media accounts, so that the evidence of what happens to marginalised communities is still out there available for people to read. If anyone is interested and has the capacity to take it on, please contact me at any time.