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In the short history of For the Girls , it's amazing how often the point of this board has been silmultaneously misunderstood, scoffed at, and watched with utter fascination. Case in point: the recently pulled (not by me) post from WRG. Allow me to reprint it here and then explain:

HA!The only difference between this past couple day's discussions and all the hissing and nail exposing that has happened in the past is you can't say anybody's acting that way because they have a small one or are impotent. Once you take away the antagonist, all that's left is the reflection in the mirror. Third off, this board might as well be called Big Losers. Intelligent people don't need to segregate themselves, and exclusionary groups are for the ignorant and weak. You perpetuate the stereo type that many of you so detest by setting up this board. On the plus side, I get to enjoy a little thing called poetic justice. Keep in mind, if any of the above makes you huffy, it applies to you.

When this board was set up (more accurately, it was found and occupied) by the Big Losers (me, Czes, darksister, tootru, juliewinter, Wilsonsjulie, etc.) we wanted one tiny place in TMF land that had but one rule: only women posting. One rule, not five, not ten. One. I hate to say read the FAQ, but read the FAQ. It's really not that much to ask, since TMF will give discussions boards to anyone for the asking; in fact, a board titled For the Guys was opened shortly after this one (oddly, the discussions there and at least two other boards seem to gravitate toward obsessive discussions, condemnations and evaluations of For the Girls), and yet this board is riveting for many TMF males. I would venture that, for whatever reasons, FTG has a much higher "readership" than FTGuys, and this would lead one to believe that For the Girls is by all accounts a fascinating and popular board. Would it be as popular if we allowed males to post? One wonders. All those boards, all that space, all that room for male-only discussions on TMF, and none of it sates their appetites--only this tiny little corner will do and by God, they must urinate on it or die trying.

What WRG's misplaced triumphantness misses entirely is that, during the last couple of weeks' heated discussions, there were some deeply reflective, thoughtful, intelligent, well-written and clever posts. There was also name-calling, misinterpretation, and falsehoods. From both sides--although these arguments did not have sides, they had angles, and many of them. This is one of the hallmarks of productive discussion. Another hallmark of women's discussions is process. The process is how we reach a decision, or decisions, or at the very least enlightenment (fancy term for "new stuff to think about"). To dismiss, with a condescending sweep of the hand, an entire week's worth of thought-provoking discussion as catfighting is both shallow and without fair analysis. But in WRG's hurry to prove this board some kind of failed social experiment, he missed all that.

The difference between the "hissing and nail exposing" that went on this last week, and previous attempts to defend this board from trolls was that this week's discussions (antagonists? Yes, of course--one cannot have a plot without antagonists) were about weighty matters, passionate debates about social policy and issues, while the other fights were merely about one subject: Should this board be allowed to exist peacefully without the intrusion of others? A lot of people thought no, it shouldn't, and since then, not more than a few days have passed without one of us having to politely yet firmly explain that, while you can post anywhere else on TMF (Martini Club notwithstanding) freely, you have to be female to post here. We've never had an uninterrupted stretch where this was true, so it's hard to condemn the board as a failure based on its women-only membership, since that's never been achieved. To call us weak and ignorant for wanting to keep this tiny little island is as patently absurd as crashing an all-female book club meeting, informing the participants how stupid they are and demanding to be allowed entrance. Weak and ignorant? Hardly. We've had to be strong, vigilant, clever and resourceful to make a successful board and to keep some semblance of our one small rule intact.

To claim "poetic justice" when observing an argument on a TMF discussion board begs several questions. Who's receiving the justice? Had you been wronged in some way, and are now "getting even"? With whom? By having arguments with each other on this board, have we committed a crime against you--other than taking the spotlight off you? FTG has become, for better or worse, a TMF Petri dish. But it's not your Petri dish, and your judgments of the success or failure of the board are moot.

Arguments break out on all discussion boards, otherwise what would be the point of thinking, learning, growing? To guage arguments or the lack thereof in relation to the absence of men is to once again miss one of the points of this board, the point you smugly think we have missed: people are people regardless of gender. A Room of One's Own does not mean "no arguments, all women agree with each other, all the time," or that men are bad, or excluded, or whatever. In fact, this is the greater point, also missed on just about an hourly basis here and elsewhere on TMF, and not only by men but by women. This board is not about complaining about men, or excluding men, or loving men, or hating men. IT IS NOT ABOUT MEN. It is about women talking about whatever they wish to, to each other. If we wish to talk about men, so be it. Or not. But even if we talk about men, if we choose to do so, the point is that WE are doing the talking. To say, in essence, "See? You wouldn't let men in [editor's note: well, we tried] and now you're arguing anyway! You're being punished for not letting us post here!" is doing what is done so frequently as to not even be noticed: measure everything in terms of men.

Congratulations. Once again, it's all about you. You, you, you. I think there's a spot here that hasn't been marked, so go ahead and whiz on it.

According to WRG's post, ("if any of the above makes you huffy, it applies to you"), if someone gets angry at WRG because they disagree with him, then he is right. Would that everyone had that doublethink superpower. So in keeping with that logic, if you are a man, and angered by my post, then I am right and you are wrong (not really...just wanted to see what it felt like to type such arrogant puzzle-knot proclamations as though they were my birthright).

What's this? Oh look. It's the last straw.


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