Monday, July 8, 2013

Semi-Seriousness: Feminism, And Why We Need Criticism (We Want It Or Not)

I consider myself a feminist in the sense of "men and women must have equallity"; unfortunely, it seems that the term has gained a negative connotation. Nowadays "feminism" or "feminist" brings imaginery of "reverse sexism", "femi-nazis", "misandrist" and on, and on. It is, most of the time, a caricaturization of the movement, but not without a point.

Just like there is still around plenty (way too many, if you ask me) men that keep holding ideas that shouldn't be considered seriously outside a 50's sitcom, there are people in the feminist movement that seem to think it's more important to bash one gender than holding the ideals of equallity. They make feminism look bad, and helped to create the stereotype that any feminist woman is nothing but a man-hating that just wants to complaing about society for the sake of complain and accepts no criticism whatsoever, as if feminism didn't had it difficult enough...

For a while, I've been watching a videoblog series called "Feminist Frequency", made by Canadian-American Anita Sarkessian. In her videos, she explores topics about female representation in the mass media, mostly videogames, but also other like cinema, toylines, etcetera.

I consider the series very interesting, and raises important points, even if I myself don't agree always with some of her opinions (I'd discuss of that in future posts). For now, I'd like to focus my attention about one simple topic: the supposedly lack of will to accept criticism.

When you watch her videos on Youtube, it won't take you too long to notice how the comments are disabled. To be fair, I sort of understood that the very first time I noticed it. Let's be honest, Youtube not exactly famous for being a place to hold well-funded, intelligent, rational and calmed debates. It seemed like a sad thing, tough, since I wanted to comment a thing or two and it was a shame that because a bunch of mysoginist assholes I was unabled to, but, as I stated above, I do saw why she did it.

However, just like her more controversial opinions, isn't exactly something I agree with.

We like it or not, we have to face criticism in our lives. This is even more true in the media, since, thanks to modern technology, we can hear anybody's voice about a work (a video, a book, a picture) we made. As an amateur trying-to-make-the-transition-to-pro-writer myself, I can tell you you will find comments, opinions and critics of all kinds: some of them would be rational, and well-meaning, but in other cases (in most cases, others would say) a lot of them would be just mean-spirited or just plain dumb.

Does that mean you should cast yourself away from the world? Well, as tempting as it sounds, the answer should be "no". In fact, getting a thicker skin is actually one of the hardest but most useful lessons we have to learn in life: to not break down for every bad word somebody says to you. When I was starting in the literature word, I got used to receive congratulations for every single piece of work I made, and then...the first bad critic, and I'm not gonna denying, I didn't exactly take it very well...

Yeah, that's...that's more or less the truth

And I wasn't a kid by then! That makes things even worse. But you know what? In the end, when I actually took my time to interpret those "awful" comments that hurt my feelings, I..learned that, if I have any serious aspiration to be professional, I'd have to deal with people that commit the most terrible of the Internet sins:  THEY WILL HAVE A DIFFERENT OPINION THAN ME!

Terrifying, isn't?

Even if they're just jerks with nothing better to do, I'll have to know how to take it because, they're not going anywhere! It's either somehow I just make dissapear every troll from this world, or I learn to take it seriously when I know it's serious and when NOT, and since the later is the only one option that seems sort of possible, that's how I'm gonna have to roll.

Where am I going with this? How is related to feminism and Anita? I'm not saying that she has to open the gates of hell (Youtube comments section) but that makes her look like if she seems to have a li'l problem taking criticism, good or bad. A ugly stereotype feminism gained unfairly. YES, there are what we could call "femi-nazis", but they're a very, tiny minority, and they just seems to be the "to-go" argument to discredit feminism in its complet shape. And she seems to be building a small fame of not wanting to deal with criticism and how the seems to just plain block any Facebook comment but the most prasing ones (even blocking one about how the videos could be improved) 

I don't know if she's the one in charge of the Facebook page or if it's from a fan, a collaborator, etc, and I'm not saying she DOES have a problem with oposition, but things seems to be pointing to that direction.

I completely understand if she's tired of idiots commenting sexist crap (hey, I'm a Jew in a mostly Catholic country. I heard "Jesus Killer" every once in a while) and why she doesn't want to give them a space, but not accepting comments, suggestions or critics just because some jerks would be like wanting to end with crime putting the whole population in jail. And it would be interesting (just like her videos; they're good, and raise good questions) to read and hear how she replies them.

And remember; you're free to comment. YES, I even take the insults.

Shalom comrades.