flame dousing

Kate McCain MCCAINKW at DUVM.BITNET
Mon Feb 1 19:34:44 EST 1993


Gosh Marivonne -- you must have gotten a LOT of personal mail.  Not mine--
since I felt we both understood each other's positions and concerns. I
too would like to see the list swing to a slightly different focus -- if one
is naturally forthcoming -- and be temporarily quiescent if one is not.

I would like to note -- at the risk of raised heat -- that some of my
_personal_ correspondents (not all of the same opinion, I might add) were
male.  Several expressed the opinion that, while they would like to participate
in a more general discussion, that they felt unwelcome -- in at least one
case because he had been thoroughly trashed (for apparent gender-attributed
sins) when expressing an opinion.


So let me offer a new (or retreaded?) topic -- which some of us who are old
enough will recall as a basic issue in the early days of the feminist
movement -- what IS the status of male participation on this list?  Are
are we secure enough to entertain divergent opinion from persons with a single
X chromosome -- and attribute inquiries, positions taken, etc as representative
of _personal_ opinion, experience, etc. recognizing that EACH of us has
both unique (personal) and shared (gender-based, racial/ethic group id based,
age-based, etc.) variance in our personal experiences that affect our
perspectives (what Kenneth Boulding called our "Images")?

If we are "exclusive" then we eliminate ideas from the other part of the world
(and maybe a chance to educate, enlighten, or inform). Are we really
comfortable "preaching to the converted" or -- to argue the opposite as we did
in the olden days -- is it more important to build community than to enlarge
it?

Can we take _anyone's_ expression of interest at face value and not be so
impolite as to trash someone for personal traits -- recognizing that offering
an opinion means that trashing the _opinion_ is certainly an option? (Remember
the children's psychologist who told many of us to be sure and distinguish
between the person's _behavior_ and the _person_.)

Listservs are -- in general -- remarkably democratic institutions.  One can
"lurk" without participating and "hide" one's e-mail address so as to be
truly invisible.  I would hate to have _anyone_ feel they had to do so here.

The standard statement at this point is to apologise if anyone felt a little
crisped. Quite frankly, that was NOT my intent. Perhaps I am escalating
to a level of "metadiscussion" that the majority feel is inappropriate or
uninteresting.  No problem. My data analyses just came out congruent and I
am at peace with the world.

Kate McCain                          "die Gedankenexperimente sind frei"
College of Information Studies
Drexel University

mccainkw at duvm.ocs.drexel.edu



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