06 May

Today it is 6 May 2021 and my bit of the world has gone insane. I wrote about it on my Facebook feed but also want to record my thoughts somewhere less temporal. Also this is my blog and I can do whatever the fuck I want. Here's what I said:

Something mind-blowing has happened! And I need to tell you about it.

As many of you know I moderate the Three Words Facebook group. This started 2015ish as a means to organise the book, Three Words. Since then the group has evolved into a place for sharing information and having discussions about comics, gender, diversity, power, the arts etc. And there were many more members than contributors to the book. I think it’s fair to say the page was generally considered a supportive and interesting place, and I have worked hard, along with others, to make it so.

You may have noticed I just used the words ‘were’ and ‘was’. I will explain why.

Yesterday I posted a piece written by a woman who felt that she was less exploited as a sex worker than she was in other occupations. Yes it was problematic and yes it is a complex and nuanced subject - as are all related to women and decision-making within a pretty shit system. But I did not feel it was any more controversial than the squillions of other things I’ve posted over the years.

One of the other administrators disagreed and made what I considered to be an inappropriate comment. I replied and really truly tried my best to be restrained and fair, concentrating on the issue rather than the person. I was met with a flat-out insult, called a ‘Janus-face’ which essentially means two-faced, hypocritical.

From there things escalated and a whole lot of people got involved, upset and angry. Throughout all of this the instigator continued to be – as I perceive it - defensive, offensive, closed-minded and arrogant. She negated the lived experiences of multiple women, propounded SWERF ideology, and indulged in a whole lot of gaslighting. Within the group it has always been fine to share alternate opinions but has never been fine to be aggressive and insensitive.

In addition to the public furore I was also receiving a stream of private messages expressing concern. A number of people I care about and respect also left the group.

It is no exaggeration to say I was devastated and overwhelmed. I felt like a beautiful and important community had been broken and I did not know what to do. Because she was an administrator the usual options for managing such a situation were unavailable. So first I posted a public apology. But it was not enough, the battle continued to rage and I could not stop crying. For my health and sanity, and even though it was heart-breaking, I decided I needed to take a break from the group. I posted a message to that effect and left.

This morning however, several key members and me could not find the Three Words page. It appears the woman at the centre of the tumult has either deleted the group or kicked out a whole bunch of members.

I AM FLABBARGASTED. But have decided to take the opportunity to start a new group, one similar to Three Words but with more explicit participation guidelines and very carefully selected administrators! I think this is a positive thing to do. And when I do, if you want to, I would love you to join and invite others. But I am going to have a rest first.

Thank you to all of those who have loved and supported me x

A real-life soap opera and coup! Crikey!

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