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June 14, 2012

What does it mean to be Woman-Friendly?

We recently found a commenter on another blog (no names, sorry) calling one of us out for not being "sex positive and woman friendly". Hm. Interesting...

Here's what happened. We found a hit in our statcounter from a blog about yet another fucked up thing Cosmo has done. One of their readers had mentioned that they love our Cosmo coverage (thank you) and linked to us. Then below it there was this:
I, unfortunately, know the founding member. Her web image is much, much, much more sex positive and woman friendly than her true self. I guess it's sort of aspirational.
This was kind of puzzling to us because well, we don't have a founding member. Evil Slutopia is and always has been a group blog. The make-up of the clique has changed over the course of time, but it was never just one person and we weren't sure which of the original members she was referring to. (In fact, we're not even sure that it is a "she" at all, but based on some other comments, it seems it might be.) While we definitely don't think we're the most sex positive or woman friendly bloggers on the planet, we definitely think that our blog and the messages put forth within it are pretty genuine and on par with our "true selves".

Anyone who does actually know us in real life (we have doubts about whether this commenter actually ever did) would probably vouch for us that we are pretty damn sex-positive. I mean, we did just get back from spending the weekend at Dee Dennis's house to help her plan the upcoming CatalystCon (name drop! name drop!)

But the "woman friendly" thing we aren't completely sure how to defend. What is woman friendly? We consider ourselves to be feminists (even if the "F-word" label does frustrate us sometimes) and we care very deeply about women's rights and other women's issues. That is clear to anyone who knows us, whether it's in real life or only through the blog or both. So what exactly does it mean to be woman friendly?

We have had a lot of problems with certain women over the years. It's true. Perhaps we attract negative personalities, perhaps we tend to hold onto toxic friendships longer than we should, perhaps we just have a low tolerance for bullshit. But yeah, we admit that we have each had a lot of dramalicious experiences in our lifetimes and there are a lot of women out there who we would classify as "former friends" (to put it nicely).

But does that mean we aren't "woman friendly"?

As far as we know, being "woman friendly" doesn't mean we have to be actual friends with every other woman on the planet, nor does it mean that we have to tolerate judgmental, ignorant or otherwise hateful people just because they're women. Sarah Palin is a woman. Michelle Bachmann is a woman. Ann Coulter is a woman. That doesn't mean any of us have to feel "friendly" towards them. We support their right to earn equal pay to their male counterparts and have access to a safe, legal abortion if necessary and we'll defend them from sexist attacks from the media... But we don't have to like or respect them on a personal level and we don't have to support them in their own bigotry and hate.

We remember a debate a few years back about the term "Pro-Woman" and whether that meant you had to be pro-every-woman. The key figure that kept being brought up was Sarah Palin and the argument was whether we, as women, had to support her because she was a woman (regardless of how much we disagreed with her positions). We generally fell on the "fuck no" side of that argument, because while we may readily defend Palin from sexism, we do not support her politics (which, are pretty anti-woman really).

So we have to admit we were kind of annoyed by someone suggesting that we weren't genuine in our feelings and beliefs and "activism" merely because they had some (alleged) interaction with one of us in the past that they deemed distasteful. Even if she really did know one of us, it's unfair to judge a person (let alone generalize a group of people) based on a few incidents from the past. Readers, let us ask you this - are you the exact same person you were years ago? Do you have any incidents in your past that you may regret or have learned from or grown from? Most human beings grow and evolve and change over the years and if you go through our oldest archived posts (ugh please don't) you'll see that the blog has evolved quite a bit over the years as well. 

Whoever this woman is, we're sure she has completely legitimate reasons not to like us. (Just as we're sure that the decision to end the alleged friendship was probably mutual.) But we call bullshit on her claim to "know" us because when we end a friendship, we end it. We don't keep track of them after the fact and we certainly don't keep them updated on our lives. (We also don't feel the need to call them out publicly for no reason.) So while it might be fair to say that we were a bunch of bitches back then (whenever "then" was), it's not really fair to claim that she knows who we are now

Subsequent comments from her on the site also suggested that we have "attachment issues" because we're apparently holding onto some grudge from (we assume) years ago. That's fucking hilarious to us because she brought us up! And we honestly still don't know who the hell she is. Like we said, we're not sure which one of the original clique members she may have been referring to or which former friend she may or may not be... because when you combine all of the "friendship drama" we've each had over the years, it's very hard to narrow it down.

It could've been the woman who accused one of us sleeping with her ex-boyfriend (false). Or the woman who accused two of us for trying to get with her boyfriend (double false). It could've been the woman who slept with one of our ex-boyfriends. It could've been the woman who claims to be an "original member" of the ESC but was never actually affiliated with the blog in any way other than she used to know some of us. It could've been the woman who goes around the Internet futilely trying to "out" us (we don't put our names on this site because we don't need to publicly associate the name "Evil Slut Clique" with our families, including some minor children, but at this point we're not exactly anonymous anymore either). It could've been the woman who when we went to visit her in Florida realized that we couldn't stay with her and her family (thanks) or drive us from St. Petersburg to Orlando like she promised (thanks again). It could've been the woman who caused such a scene heckling at one of our (then) boyfriend's comedy shows that it jeopardized his future at that venue. It could've been the woman who loosely inspired our comic series. It could've been the woman who blocked us on Twitter because we didn't like her hilarious rape jokes. (Actually, it could've been either of the women who did that!) It could've been the woman who harassed the grieving girlfriend of some guy she once slept with (on the anniversary of his death) because she needed "answers" about whether they had "cheated". It could've been the woman who claimed that one of us put her boyfriend "first" anytime we didn't agree with some of her petty bullshit. (We tend to put the "right" person first, not the male or female person.) Or it could've been the woman who helped inspire the name of the blog in the first place by judging us and calling one of us a slut.

(And that's just the women. Don't even get us started on some of the men we've cut out of our lives as well! Someday we'll tell all the ridiculous, detailed stories... but today is not that day.)

So yeah, those are all women who we certainly wouldn't consider ourselves "women friendly" towards. But really, who would? We think we're women-friendly, but we're just not asshole-friendly! Who wants to tolerate someone who judges you based on your sexual choices? Who wants to tolerate someone who lies and betrays you? Who wants to tolerate someone who is so insecure that they accuse you of stuff you'd never do? Who wants to tolerate someone so unreliable that they try to leave you stranded in the middle of Florida? Who wants to be friends with a hypocrite or a liar or a vindictive jerk? Collectively, we've left a long trail of former friendships over the years, but trust us, none of them are friends worth having in our opinion.

Now we do have to own the role that we have played in all of that and accept that it can't just be coincidence that we have so much drama in our past. We never claimed to be perfect. We never said we were the best feminists or the best bloggers or the best human beings. But one thing we are is genuine real. And real people are, unfortunately, sometimes flawed. It's quite possible that we subconsciously seek out those kinds of personalities because we tend to feed on negative energy.

As Diablo Cody said "criticism is as useful as praise. I eat it like fuel. I'm the little engine that runs on hate. My productivity spikes when I've got something to prove, and it seems like I always do." We sort of work that way too so maybe in some strange way we draw negative people into our lives. We don't know. But we do know that if it wasn't for negative people in our past, the Evil Slut Clique might not even exist. So maybe we have a lot of bitter ex-friends, but we also have a lot of awesome, loyal friends. And those are the friends worth having.

So you can all decide for yourselves if you think we're women friendly or not (or if "women friendly" is even a thing). Those who truly know us will likely have a very different opinion than those who think they know us or those who used to know some younger, more immature, less knowledgeable version of us. And that's okay. Because it won't change who we really are, it won't change the passion we have for women's issues and it won't change the quality of the blogs we write about those issues.

So tell us, in the comments, what do you think it means to be "woman friendly"? And are being "woman friendly" and having beef with certain fucked up women always mutually exclusive?

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