Subterfuge Grows Up

by subterfusex

Hi, everyone. It’s us, your trusted editors D & F.

We apologize for some of what’s going on — we can’t remember the last time we sent out a newsletter! — but we are proud of our overall progress, and we do have some big things planned for the future. Stay tuned!

Now that Subterfuge has been running consistently for a few months, we’re going to have to make a few crucial adjustments. We’re grateful for the outstanding contributions we’ve received. We’ve also learned many things along the way, and these lessons have had a direct impact on many of the changes we are about to make.

Subterfuge was designed to be a safe place for women to write about their personal experiences. We wanted to create something for women who needed an empathetic voice, a common experience, or to experience something new. We found many places that talked about the female condition like it was a disease. (The common cures? 1) get a man! 2) get a new body! 3) get a new face! 4) obsessively follow the lives of celebrities! and so forth.)

We found this callousness intolerable. We felt belittled and we were not alone. Both of us created Subterfuge to fill a niche we could not find elsewhere.

As editors, we emphasized safety from the start because genuinely safe environments are hard to find on the internet. Instead, the online community is rife with cyberbullying, anonymous trolling and caustic putdowns. There are few consequences for being a jerk on the internet. But when we show our most vulnerable selves to the world, anything that delegitimizes our feelings hurts us deeply.

Subterfuge is about self-expression. Now that we are a few months into our latest iteration, we realize that we have to make some serious changes that will have implications in the way we will handle commentary, confessionals, and feedback.

We’ve posted many excellent pieces. Some of these have garnered much attention from various corners of the internet. For us, the attention has been very welcome. However, though we knew that while we welcome debate in theory, we also realized that there is a point where the debate crosses into false equivalency. The point was always to be subversive but understand that there was a line that we should not cross.

How, then, do we draw that fine line? Where do we draw it? We draw it when someone writes a personal entry and gets comments from an ego maniacal self promoter who takes advantage of a contributor’s past experiences to promote a service.

At first, we were unsure as to how to handle the comments from the marriage counselor John Wilder, but after ignoring and debating him, we’ve realized that discourse like his does a great disservice to our community. What he does is undermine our ability to feel safe. Security and freedom do not oppose each other here. Our message is that we need to feel secure enough to give way to expression.

A vigorous debate on topical issues is one thing, and we do encourage debates on our topical posts. But these posts highlight a marked need for space in which people feel as though they may engage without the vicious takedowns that dominate most discourse.

Other feminist communities — like feministe.us — have varying comment policies. Feministe,us allows individual commentators to regulate the feedback of their own entries. We find that this policy might be the best way to handle the varying degrees of comfort and vulnerability concerning certain subjects. All posts aren’t created equal — some tolerate debate, others ask for non-judgmental support.

Since there are some technical issues that accompany this desire, we have to fix them first. For now, everyone has the ability to turn comments on or off. If you are a writer, we urge you to consider this option.

We want to continue to provide quality posts. We want to expand into different subjects. As D & F are both women who have hectic lives, this process is slower than we would like. But we are trying. And we do encourage our contributors to step up and take leadership roles. Editorship positions remain open. If you are interested, please write us at subterfusex [at] gmail [dot] com.

Thank you so much for your interest in Subterfuge. We would be nothing without you, our readers and contributors.

Love,
D & F

One Comment to “Subterfuge Grows Up”

  1. Thank goodness!! That’s all I’ve got to say. :p

    Okay, it’s not. I never just have a little to say, do I? :p I want to also mention that I feel bad that Wilder’s actions made people feel so uncomfortable that they wanted to leave. I confess, though, that I can understand it. I felt harassed, as well, although he largely left me alone (for reasons I do not know, but there are a few I’ve made up myself), it was still always something to wonder what he would say to what post. Much of the time he said nothing, then he would suddenly reappear with something shockingly outrageous and irritating to say to a post.

    He is, however, a very mild representative of the area of thought (illogical thought, imho), that he comes from. We could’ve had someone much worse targeting us. We probably will at some point. Hopefully, though, this will serve as a learning process for us and we will know how to better handle it.

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