So quit whining and post something, already!

Linnea K. Ista lkista at UNM.EDU
Fri Jan 5 11:42:29 EST 1996

On 5 Jan 1996, Drmarts wrote:

> No, this isn't a test site. It's a fairly small newsgroup suffering from
> the post-holiday, partial-government shutdown blues. So, if you find this
> boring why not quit whining and post something provocative?
> This is one of my pet peeves about working with women in groups (I'm
> thinking more about my volunteer experience in feminist groups, not so
> much in the workplace) - everyone whines about what's not getting done;
> the same small group keeps doing everything, and when they ask for some
> recognition of what they've done and continue to do, they get the "this
> isn't a hierarchy it's a collective and we don't have leaders, so just who
> do you think you are..." rap. The first few times it happened I thought
> the problem was with _me_ and the other organizers. Now I've come to the
> conclusion it's a manifestation of internalized oppression and sexism. 
> Comments?
> Sherry

I didn't think Jan and I were "whining". She asked a question and I 
responded. As I had just subscribed the day before I started vacation and 
responded to Jan's question the day I got back, I don't know when you 
expected me to post anything.   

I am sorry that you have had bad experiences with working with women in 
groups. I have experienced similar things. I really think it was 
inappropriate to take your frustrations out on two newcomers who were 
just asking for information!

Reading through the archives before I subscribed I noticed an awful lot 
of personal attacks.  It took about a week to decide whether or not I 
wished to participate and open myself to this sort of thing. I decided 
that this was a valuable group for the exchange of ideas and that I was 
tough enough to risk it.  Thank you so much for "baptizing" me on my 
first post!

In regards to your comment about working with women in groups, I do agree 
that there is often times a lack of recoginition that leadership comes 
with the work put into the group. It _is_  annoying to put in hours of 
work and then have complaints that one has somehow "assumed too much 
authority in our non-heirarchical struture" to quote one of the women 
with whom I have worked. I think what is not recoginized is that this 
sort of authority is a consequence of being in a non-heirarcal structure. 
I have also noticed that the same individuals, once they get any authority, 
tend to be the most autocratic.

You are right about the sexism part. I think we are so used to the way 
the most of patriarchal society works that any assumption of authority on 
_any_ basis becomes a threat. When some one in a collective system 
becomes a leader, critisism of their assumption of that role becomes 
tantamount to saying "you've sold out and have become the oppressor".

I guess in any group one needs to be aware of the difference between 
imposed authority (usually preserving the status quo) and "earned" 
authority which comes from actually doing the work.


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