You Complete Me Internet

Dispatches from Ladyblogland: DRAMA!

The ladyblogosphere was shaken to its, well, its something, by Hugo Schwyzer’s announcement that he was quitting the internet.

A few thoughts that we discussed around these parts: many on our editorial team have had really good interactions with Schwyzer. He’s promoted our work a few times and has seemed relatively open to critique. That said, we definitely have issues with his too-often problematic feminism:

And now for something completely different. 

Did women kill the humanities? XXFactor

Now THIS is how you advertise a push-up bra (and be friendly to lots and lots of gender identities). Pajiba

Hello Flo, a mail order period-supply company, created an amazing ad that was all over the place last week. And it’s pretty awesome.

By [E] Sally Lawton

My food groups are cheese, bacon, and hot tea. I like studying cities and playing with my cat, Buffy.

8 replies on “Dispatches from Ladyblogland: DRAMA!”

While I’m sorry to hear that Schwyzer is suffering from poor mental health, and I think that some of the vitriol flung at him crossed the line from justifiable anger into inappropriate nastiness, I am glad he has stopped writing about feminism (for the moment at least). He was right in his assessment that he was doing more harm than good. His writings always struck me as coming from someone in dire need of greater self inspection. A strong male feminist unafraid of the anger of women is emphatically not what feminism needs.

I think that’s exactly the issue. While we should have sympathy for someone’s mental health problems, the way Mr. Schwyzer has acted in the past leads us to be a bit suspicious of his actions. Is this an honest breakdown or some other act of emotional manipulation?

Though those taking it so far as to ask him to kill himself really should rethink that line of argument. That’s not helpful. And it’s destructive and frankly unethical.

I’m not super-familiar with Hugo Schwyzer, so I read a couple of the linked articles and went to the ever reliable Wikipedia. A couple of things come to mind: he attempted suicide two days after quitting the internet, his psychiatric state was such that he was sectioned, this was reported the next day and not even a week later, people are hanging him out to dry; the second point would be that while some behaviours are accepted (though not excused) whilst in the throes of addiction, others aren’t, and it seems to be (this is thinking out loud, at best) something of a double standard; either recovering addicts are embraced by society or they’re not, ie either an addict can control their behaviour or they can’t. There are grey areas of course, but there seem to instances where people are tripping over themselves to give former addicts the space to overcome past behaviorus and there are instances where there’s an expectation of choice and therefore no allowance for redemption.

In other words: I think I need to read up more about all this!

I’ve been reading a lot about all of this, going back to when he first posted the story about the attempted murder/suicide, because I’m sort of a psychology nerd and there’s so much involved – addiction, mental illness, personality disorders, privilege, even sex worker advocacy. And after all of the reading and my own personal interactions with Hugo, I am still on the fence. I’m bothered by some of the things he’s said and done so I understand why people want him to go away but then I also see people who are supposedly adults saying that he should just kill and himself and I can only imagine what that must do to a person.

Possibly a case of two wrongs don’t make a right? I can see that being where I end up, as I discover more. That there are things he has done that aren’t acceptable, and are reason to avoid/dislike his work but that those facts don’t excuse or allow for others to behave inappropriately towards him.

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