I’m one of many women online who strongly disagree with Anita Sarkeesian’s overall message and with her characterization of Sargon of Akkad’s speech as “harassment.”
Anita speaks from the mindset that feminism is the owner and arbiter of women’s issues, that women’s issues as defined by feminism’s academic establishment are paramount and therefore supersede everything, including the very rules of engagement feminists demand from other people. Feminists purport to be spokespeople for women partly based on their own claim that women’s voices are stifled… but when they encounter women with a nonfeminist view, their primary response is to strive stifle ours.
It should be noted that there were several women in the section of the audience to whose presence at a public event (albeit with an entry fee) Anita took exception. She did not seem all that keen on providing those women with the same protection from being silenced. In fact, she accused the whole crowd — not just one guy — of deliberately trying to intimidate her by sitting in the audience and listening to what the panel had gathered there to say.
Her career is based on making public political assertions about nerd/geek culture that demonize men & ignore the women who were nerds/geeks before it was cool, disparaging the culture itself, demanding it be changed to suit her sensibilities, and then attempting to silence disagreement with her accusations by characterizing all of it as abuse. That is all she did in this instance, as well — attempted to silence disagreement with her accusations against entire political perspectives and cultures by portraying said disagreement as abuse and herself as a victim.
Nobody is endangered by the presence of people they disagree with.
It is not harassment or bullying to disagree with something a person has said.
It is not harassment or bullying to reply publicly to a person’s public assertions or actions.
It is not harassment or bullying to criticize those things, even if that criticism is harsh, even if it employs ridicule, and even if people who hear those criticisms react in a way the criticized individual finds hurtful.
It is not harassment or bullying to, after criticizing an individuals public behavior, be present in a public space where that person also is present.
Having publicly criticized a person’s public assertions, even harshly or with ridicule, does not even become harassment or bullying if, after hearing that criticism, some dumbass actually does engage in harassment of the person who articulated those assertions. The dumbass is responsible for his or her own behavior, and the fact that some dumbass might use criticism of an idea as an excuse for bad behavior does not exempt any ideas from criticism or reflect on or alter the intentions of the critic.
And regardless of what anybody has done online, sitting silently in the audience of a presentation at a public event, even one with paid attendance, is not harassment or bullying… even if the person doing it is one of the presenters’ harshest critics.
Nobody is saying you should not let Anita speak… but if you let Anita use this feigned victimhood to silence disagreement with and objection to her defamation of entire political groups and cultures, you will become exactly what she’s accusing us of being: A person taking actions that will result in stifling women’s speech.
Feminism does not own women. We are not feminism’s staple of proxy victims to whore out for political power and money.
Feminism is not the arbiter of women’s interests, issues, or personal boundaries/sensibilities.
It is not the moral arbiter of men’s social position in reference to women, nor is it the arbiter of men’s personal liberties.
Men’s personal liberties are not made morally more subject to control by feminists’ sensibilities (or feminists’ description of women’s sensibilities) than women’s liberties should be subject to control by men’s sensibilities.
Feminism is merely a political perspective to which some women and some men subscribe. They are not morally justified in imposing it on the rest of us.
People who are not feminist have as much right to any public forum or platform as feminists do, regardless of how feminists feel about hearing or seeing disagreement with their assertions about both sexes.
Feminism is not the default “pro-woman” position, and is not the default measure for right-or-wrong.
Women and men have as much right to be nonfeminist in public as to be feminist in public.
Women and men have as much right to be antifeminist in public as to be feminist in public.
Excluding, via policy, a part of your community on the basis of political perspective at the request of a pundit for an opposing political perspective would be a genuinely abusive, even dangerous, and an overall foolish precedent to set at a venue for public communications platforms.