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
> 
> 
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.


Cheers,
Linnea 





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