We want to say up front that as feminists, or readers of this blog, we really need to support one another. We actually take our inspiration for our commenting policy from a brief scene in Henry and June, which is based on the life of Anais Nin and Henry Miller. In one part of the movie, Nin lets Miller read part of her writing and here’s what happens:
AN: I welcome constructive criticism.
AN: If it’s constructive.
[pause as AN watches as HM writes and scribbles all over her paper]
AN: What are you doing?
HM: Just a few things–see here? It’s just shrieks and abstracts. You’re too melodramatic […]
AN: You’re enjoying this.
AN: Cutting me up! I don’t want to write the way you write.
HM: I don’t want you to write the way I write, you’ve got to write in your own voice, I’m just making a few suggestions […] you’ve gotta take a few taps on the chin! […]
AN: I’m not interested in stepping into the ring with you. The world will give us plenty of beatings, what we need is each other’s support! [emphasis added]
So please remember before you ‘step into the ring’ that is the comments section– feminist media is constantly under attack, and we want this space to be one of safety and support. Very often, forums, comments sections, and the internet in general show some of the worst communication that humanity has to offer, as we have recently seen with what has happened to the amazing Anita Sarkeesian of Feminist Frequency.
This is not to say that we don’t welcome debate and constructive criticism in the comments–we want to know if we’re making mistakes about the content specifically, or if you see something that someone else has posted that you want to address, go for it. There is much about our culture that silences many people who experience oppression, and we certainly want to challenge that and provide space for discussion.
So here are a few guidelines for comments.
The Role of The Closet Feminist Editorial Team
1. To approve all comments before they appear on the page itself, to avoid anything that may be triggering, offensive, or otherwise hateful.
2. To approve comments even if they don’t agree with our articles/posts provided they are not triggering, offensive, or otherwise hateful.
3. We will leave the comments section for readers. It is not for us, who have the relative publishing power, to get in there and debate things. We don’t want to ‘hog the air time’; we get to do that by posting all the stuff that we do :p. If you want to write for us, contact us, or if you don’t like what you see repeatedly on here, we encourage you to start your own website or blog.
4. To support our writers. We carefully consider what we post by guest writers, and if they want to comment and engage with readers on our site in the comments sites, we encourage them to do so. It should be recognized though that while we like to publish stuff that features a wide variety of points-of-view, articles do not always necessarily reflect the beliefs and points-of-view of The Closet Feminist at large.
5. To automatically close the comments section of all articles 7 days from when they were originally posted. If the arguments debate surrounding the article has not been resolved by then, it probably never will be. You’re welcome to contribute an article to The Closet Feminist if you’d like to post a response. See the Contributor’s Guidelines section.
6. To step in if it is necessary. If it gets that bad, we will shut the comments section of a given post down. End of story.
The Role of The Closet Feminist Readers who would like to Comment
1. To speak your truth as you see fit, preferably using “I” (I am, I want, etc) instead of hurling accusations with “You” (You can’t, you’re not).
2. To be respectful to your fellow commentators. We hope that we can learn from one another, not cut one another down.
3. To do your research on the article before you comment–please actually read the article, and the preceding comments before you get in there. If your comment is explicitly NOT related to the article it will not be approved.
4. To do your research as you need it. The Closet Feminist has pretty specific content–we are a small team producing a lot of content and running multiple social media platforms while we do so. We might not have the time to explain every term we use or every reference we make, which may be unfair, but also gives you the opportunity to take your learning experience into your own hands, and proactively research feminist stuff yourself. We have a few recommendations as to where to get started here.
5. To use inclusive and appropriate language. Name-calling will not be tolerated. Furthermore, please keep the swearing to a minimum. We want this website to be appropriate for folks of all ages and safe for work.
6. To report abuse as necessary by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. We are committed to keeping this website as safe a space as possible.