One of the important things we are doing with Feminist Oasis is creating space for conversations about big stuff. Intersectional feminism is about rethinking old and existing power structures, and talking openly about white supremacy, capitalism and patriarchy can get uncomfortable. So we thought we’d set up some guidelines for our online and in-person discussions.
We invite you to join any Feminist Oasis discussion, online or in-person, with an attitude of curiosity (openness to ideas) & teachability (openness to feedback)— two attributes we strive to embody and hope that you share. (Read more about our values here: How We Show Up — Our Mission & Values)
- Listen first, then speak — Give people directly affected by any issue or topic the chance to share their ideas before you jump in with your own thoughts.
- Stick to the topic — It’s okay to challenge an idea; it’s not okay to attack a person. Avoid sharing long personal stories if they aren’t directly relevant to the topic.
- Assume best intentions — It’s easy to make a snap judgement about someone who challenges your ideas, but assume that they are coming from a place of genuine curiosity and a desire for mutual improvement, unless or until they prove otherwise.
- Take responsibility for your impact, not just your intent — Thoughtful and meaningful dialogue around issues like sexism, racism, homophobia, ableism, etc. are tough. While we assume best intentions, all participants should take responsibility for the potentially harmful impact of their words and actions.
- Be respectful — Remember why we want a better world: so that it’s better for everyone, even, and perhaps especially, for the person who you’re about to pass judgement on.
- Don’t offer unsolicited advice — Before you offer what you think is a helpful solution, check to make sure the person you’re talking to actually asked you for one.
- Challenge your own discussion habits — If you’re someone who typically speaks up first, try giving others a chance to speak first; if you’re someone who tends to let others speak, we encourage you to challenge yourself to speak up and share your thoughts and ideas.
- Don’t speak for other people — Speak for yourself, based in your own experiences. Don’t presume to speak for others.
- Don’t perpetuate stereotypes — Stereotypes or tropes are powerful tools of patriarchy, white supremacy and other oppressive cultural systems. Leaving them out of our conversations allows us to connect more meaningfully.
We have a zero tolerance policy for hate speech, harassment or threats. If your comments, in person or online, are in violation of our discussion guidelines, we will use our best judgement to assume best intentions first and ask for clarification. If it is determined that you are not speaking or writing from a teachable and respectful place, we reserve the right to ask you to leave our space or ban your account from our online entities, etc.
We prioritize the physical and emotional safety of our participants. Our goal in creating a feminist oasis is to have a place where we can be vulnerable, lift each other up and honor each others’ experiences. Those not respecting the space will be asked to leave.
We recognize that the history of feminism has included racism, transphobia and gender binary views. We want our feminism to be as inclusive and intersectional as possible. More on our inclusive language here: A note on inclusive language.
Do you have thoughts to share on our discussion guidelines? We welcome discussion on these guidelines, too!
Please leave your thoughts below, in the comments.
I believe in maintaining unconditional positive regard for all persons and that it is important to understand what shapes and informs a person’s beliefs.