SDS Womyn's Caucus Blog

Disclaimers on this blog

Posted on: November 27, 2009

Hey all,

So I commented on Amber’s post about this but I was encouraged to make it into a post =], so here goes.

I’ve noticed throughout this blog that there are a lot of disclaimers before the meat of entries about the entries possibly being scatterbrained or not making sense or things of that nature. It makes me a tiny bit sad to see these because all of the entries kick so much ass! I’m including myself in this post too because the only other post I made had a disclaimer as well- even a plea for the other bloggers to add to it. I am very unsure myself about posting on this blog because, actually, all of the other posts make me feel so unworthy! Haha, I hate seeing women with brains out the wazoo coming down on themselves even a tiny bit. I can’t help but feel like it might be internalized patriarchy, but I also am not sure about that. Maybe there’s just a need to not feel as arrogant as the patriarchs we talk about! That’s how I justify it to myself, but I know a large part of it comes from my lack of confidence in my intellect.

So I just encourage everyone to think about maybe not including a disclaimer next time they post, so many great things are posted on this blog, I haven’t seen one lackluster post yet! It will be hard for me to exclude these disclaimers, but I think for me it will be worth a try.

What does everyone else think about this?

ALL my love,

Ellen, Drew SDS

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6 Responses to "Disclaimers on this blog"

Fuck Yeah!

This has gotten much easier for me as time goes on (learning not to apologize for having thoughts or words that take up space).

I notice this type of disclaiming varies in style from culture to culture, so that is something to think about. There are also different reasons for wanting to make these disclaimers, not all of which are capitulations to internalized oppression. : )

What I do think is that women often try to beat others to the punch when it comes to selling themselves short. I think this is because, unfortunately, still, their ideas are often shot down more readily, and in a particularly gendered way. Just look at any women-authored article on Infoshop and the comments will prove my point.

I feel you, and I definitely believe women are socialized to be more apologetic/slight/unoffending in our actions, behaviors, and langauge, which is some bullshit. I don’t think anyone needs a disclaimer, and needs to apologize for speaking their mind, but it’s never a bad idea to consider how you might step on toes/offend people in terms of making assumptions, generalized and blanket statements, etc. But those don’t need to be apologizies; rather, they can be instances of being cognizant of the varying backgrounds/identities/experiences of people and just being civil to people, and nice when it’s appropriate (and I usually think it’s appropriate!). But thank you for posting this, it’s definitely something really important to keep in mind!

Woooooord Ellen. I’m so glad you brought this up.

I just did a quick search to try to find some statistics on female students in the classroom cause I remembered there were some studies that show that female students are more likely to give responses in class that start with apologies. This is the first study I found: (from http://trc.virginia.edu/Publications/Diversity/II_Classroom_Dynamics.htm)

Linguists Robin Lakoff and Deborah Tannen, among others (Lakoff 204, Tannen 239, Hall and Sandler 9-10, and Sandler, et al. 19-22), have found that female students in the US may be more likely than male students to exhibit the following speech patterns:

• make shorter and quieter statements
• present their statements in a more hesitant, indirect, or “polite” manner or use “I” statements (“I guess . . .,” “I was wondering if . . .”)
• qualify their statements (“sort of,” “maybe,” “perhaps”)
• add “tag” questions (“. . . isn’t it?,”. . . don’t you think?”)
• ask questions rather than give statements, even if they know an answer
• use intonations that turn a statement into a question, or accompany their statements with smiles or averted eyes rather than more assertive gestures, such as pointing
• apologize for their statements (“I may be wrong, but . . .”). “

The article goes on to hypothesize that women may do this because we tend to communicate and problem-solve in a more collaborative way, and that by being upfront that we don’t necessarily have all the answers, we are trying to leave room for others to contribute their opinions. This in contrast to males who are taught to be over confident and present their views as truth.

While I like to think that the way we present our views (with room for addition) is a good thing, I still think it points to inequality between the sexes, because we live in a patriarchal culture that values the male-socialized way of communicating, and women are not encouraged to be as confident, assertive, etc.

Wow I never even thought about it from this angle before!

Thanks Robin! That’s so interesting, I had a feeling something like that was the case. That’s interesting that a study was done ha. Thanks for finding it!!

i think another reason for this is that some of us are afraid of being attacked for what we say, and so we preface our statements with “i know y’all are gonna hate me for saying this, but here’s 101 reasons why i need to say it, so please don’t hate me too much.” (or, at least, that’s why i wanted a disclaimer on the “how not to be a dudebro post”… although clearly it did nothing. :P)

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