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Feminspire | April 19, 2014

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An Important Letter From the Editor

An Important Letter From the Editor

| On 10, Dec 2012

My name is Rhiannon, and I am the Editor-in-Chief of this website, Although you can see my picture on the “who we are” section of this site and read my thoughts in the articles I’ve contributed here, I’ve never tried to make myself highly visible when it comes to Feminspire. As I wrote in our mission statement, we are “an online publication featuring a global collection of female voices,” and as far as I see it, I am just one of those many voices.

However, there comes a time when the leader of an organization has to become visible and take responsibility for mistakes made and wrongs done, which is what I’m here to do now.

I conceived of the idea for Feminspire earlier this year and launched the site almost five months ago today. I wanted myself and my friends to have a media website for women with a wide community of shared thoughts, experiences and perspectives. I imagined a website that brought together powerful personal stories, intelligent discussion of women’s issues, a female perspective on the news and current events, and beauty and fashion articles that were fun, useful and safe for people who wanted to read about those topics without negative body language or focus on looking good by someone else’s standards.

Although I am a feminist myself, in the early days of the site, I wasn’t sure how the rest of the world would see us. We didn’t try to brand ourselves as a feminist resource, but simply as a place for women to get together and make their own media. It was almost no time before discussions of feminism and gender issues became prevalent in our content and among our staff, and it became clear that we were quickly becoming a feminist media source.

With Feminspire, I wanted to create a safe place for all women. However, in my naivety, I didn’t fully consider all the components involved in achieving that goal. For that, I am here not only to bow my head and apologize, but to lay plans for a new Feminspire moving forward.

It has been brought to our attention by many readers and non-readers alike that we have done an awful job of representing the specific struggles of women of color in our content. Not only that, but we have published some articles where instances of privilege have gone atrociously unchecked, ignoring the realities and the voices of women who don’t fall into the “white, middle class American” checkbox.

An example of this is an article that we heedlessly published on holiday alienation in December, which focused on the frustration of being non-religious or alone at this time of year, completely disregarding women of other cultures who feel the constant pain of being isolated by an institution that they can’t find a place in.

I can’t begin to express how sorry I am to the readers who felt hurt or excluded by this or other instances of unchecked privilege, ignorance, or silencing in our content. At the end of the day, it is my failing for not being scrupulous enough in making sure our articles live up to the mission of Feminspire. No apology from me will ever be enough, and I understand that – I just hope this will be a start to making amends.

In order to be an intersectional website that is truly representative of women as a whole, it is important to have content creators who come from many different cultures, backgrounds and experiences. As women and as feminists, we aim to engage with one another and educate ourselves and those around us, and that isn’t possible if only one perspective is being heard. This is something that myself and the editors at Feminspire have always been aware of. However, we didn’t want to recruit writers for diversity’s sake alone, as if they were tokens only there to give the “women of color perspective” on issues rather than multifaceted and valued members of our team. I felt that advertising on the website and on social media that we were looking for specific kinds of women would be insulting to them, and several women of color on our staff agreed with me. I refused to take any action that would be offensive to our readers or staff, so no action was made. Myself and the other editors had many discussions on this, racking our brains for alternative solutions, but none came to us. We moved blindly forward, continuing to advertise for new writers in a generic way and hoping that the interest we received would be more diverse. We have added many incredible women to our team since Feminspire began, many of whom are white, yes, but several who are not. However, it wasn’t enough. The overwhelming representation of cis white women continued, and it is now an outcry from our audience that has stopped us in our tracks and given us pause to reflect on how we can fix this and make Feminspire a positive space for all women.

The truth is, we haven’t done enough to live up to our goals as a site. I haven’t done enough. I am so disappointed in myself that it has taken an uproar for us to slow down and really do something about this.

Feminspire exists because of an all-volunteer staff of writers and editors. Every piece of content and every effort made on the site has been from people who believe in our mission and want to be part of it. We have an open door policy when it comes to women who want to write for us, and it is unfortunate that we have unintentionally created a space where white women are the dominating force. As a staff, we have been in the process of reflecting on why that is – coincidence or otherwise? Many readers have pointed to the instances of privilege in some of our articles as one of the reasons why women from marginalized groups wouldn’t be interested in joining our staff.

In response, our staff members have been actively discussing how we can better educate ourselves. We’ve been sharing links with each other and reading articles from all over the internet about identifying privilege and understanding the specific issues that women of color and non-cis women face in the media and society. We’ve also been discussing the start of a staff book club for us to read and discuss different texts on these issues. Our first priority as a group is to better educate ourselves so we don’t disappoint you – or ourselves – again.

We are also creating a policy for all of us to check what we write for privilege. One of our team members, Amanda, suggested we ask ourselves these questions before we publish anything on Feminspire:

-     How does this article represent people of all classes?

-     How does this article represent people from all cultures/ethnicities/etc?

-     How does this article represent people with different lifestyles than my own?

-     How does this article represent people of all sexual orientations?

-     How does this article represent people of all gender identities and presentations?

These are basic questions that we are now going to be using as a starting point to look deeper into our articles and make sure we are not being exclusive or offensive to any of our readers.

The most important thing of all, however, is input and involvement from the women who read Feminspire and want us to improve.

Due to unfortunate circumstances, I made the decision yesterday to temporarily deactivate Feminspire’s Facebook fan page. There were many women speaking up about the white privilege in our articles and our lack of representation of women of color, women who felt understandably frustrated by the lack of progress in these areas since the site began. I addressed these concerns in a way that I thought was professional and appropriate, letting them know that we were taking this seriously and asking them what specifically we should do to make changes. We also edited our article in question to apologize for our glaring oversights. However, I have been told by many that I handled the situation inappropriately. My responses came off as disinterested instead of professional, despite my genuine intentions.

What followed over the next three days can only be described as sad and chaotic. Those unsatisfied with my apologies and promises of change for Feminspire took to an online community that I used to be a member of, encouraging others to get involved in speaking up against us on our Facebook presence. It saddened me that instead of giving us a chance, these women who I used to chat with on a regular basis went from sharing their valid complaints and concerns for the site to openly attacking myself and my staff, commenting on every post we made with insults and taunts. There were hundreds of people involved in this, and the valid concerns that existed became buried by an endless onslaught of hatred for me, my staff and the site. It became impossible to reply to so many people individually, and many of our writers and editors had to simply stop reading the comments because it was triggering issues with their mental health. After attempts to calm the situation, I felt I had no choice but to close down our page for the time being and moderate all comments here on the site. It was the last decision I wanted to make, and I’m still not sure if it was the right one, but it was the only thing I thought I could do at the time. Our social media presence and Feminspire itself is meant to be a place for people to discuss women’s issues and criticisms of the site in a way that is respectful, but it had turned into something unproductive and unsafe.

I made a statement on our Facebook page that I would address our mistakes and our plans to move forward in an official editorial, and here it is. I know that because of our mistakes, we don’t deserve anyone’s continued readership. I know that we’ve been repeatedly made aware of how poorly marginalized groups have been represented here on Feminspire, and I know we haven’t done enough to change that in the past. I can absolutely see where the pain and anger is coming from, and again, from the bottom of my heart, I am so very sorry.

After everything that has happened, we are going to stop posting new content for the next few days while we reorganize and get fully on track to make the changes I’ve laid out here. We are going to start posting content that is carefully checked for privilege, and as a group we are going to make ourselves more aware of the myriad of issues that affect women who are marginalized in society. And of course, we are going to reopen our Facebook page. I think it’s safe to say that all of us have the same end goal in mind, and that is extending women’s voices in the media and in the world. I hope that we can work on this together instead of against each other, but I understand if you want us to prove ourselves first.

And of course, we wouldn’t be anywhere without you, our readers. Thank you so much for following us on this journey so far. The creation and running of Feminspire has been an incredible learning experience for myself and for our staff, and we want to continue to learn from the mistakes we have made and the criticism we have received. I hope you all will give us another chance, because we are still hoping to be the site I envisioned us to be when I started Feminspire, and we won’t let that vision get out of sight again.

If you have any interest in getting involved with Feminspire and helping us make these changes, I would encourage you to please email us at info (at) feminspire (dot) com. We are nothing without you.

  • hannah

    are you kidding me with this disingenuous piece of crap?

  • nope

    tl;dr we know the racist stuff you said in your private community so this is all irrelevant lip service

  • Orly
  • S
  • Liane Graham

    You go, Rhi. We’re behind you, and we all want this website to be the absolute best it can be. Onward and upward!

    • Talena Lydia

      Aren’t you known for being pro-Israel? LOL this comment then comes as no shock.

      • Liane Graham

        I don’t know what you mean by that, but you don’t know anything about my politics so if I were you I wouldn’t make assumptions about that.

        • Talena Lydia

          If you are the Liane Graham from the HP fandom, which it’s pretty likely you are, then that’s common knowledge. No less, supporting Feminspire makes you racist.

          • Liane Graham

            “Common knowledge” frequently bears no resemblance to the truth. Surely someone so aware of racism ought to be aware of that.

          • S

            Having fun with your “witty” comments? So fucking defensive, why can’t you see that you are REACHING

          • Nikki Gladstone

            I think it’s a pretty large and wrong assumption to say people supporting feminspire are racist. Yes the website needs to change drastically, but that’s because maybe some of the writers weren’t knowledgeable on how to write with inclusion. That doesn’t mean they are racist, it just means it is a learning experience to put aside white privilege.

          • Christin

            You are for damn sure a racist tho. How much of a “mess” exactly is this “WoC thing” again?

          • Talena Lydia

            But the owner and writers have been actively racist and dismissive and oppressive, not only on the FB, but in their private communities. That’s not okay.

          • Allison

            You can’t “put aside” privilege. That’s kind of the point. It’s always there, so maybe you should quiet down so WOC can talk?

          • Stephanie Turmelle

            yeah maybe you could’ve said that (MAYBE) up until your private staffing conversations were released, but really any “supporter” of yours right now, definitely not an ally.

          • C

            Those are the same thing tho. Not checking your white privilege IS being racist. That learning process is a process of unlearning racism.

      • HPFan

        Considering your personal vendetta against Rhiannon, your comments really come as no shock either Talena. Unlike everyone else here who can claim none of this is a personal attack, you can not. You are not being objective by any means. You used to be her bestfriend. And now you’re inciting hatred against her.

    • j

      Yeah! You and the dozen or so “loyal readers” of this website!

    • white tears

      the only place this site and its creators is going is in the annals of low key racism

    • Lolz

      Onward and Upward – same rhetoric used in a KKK speech once upon a time… yup, this website will go upward and onward indeed… known to be a website full of racism and white supremacy.

    • Leela

      Liane you know literally nothing about the world please stop encouraging this trainwreck to continue

  • S

    are yall really gonna keep deleting comments?

    • Rhiannon Payne

      No one is deleting comments and I can’t speak for the rest of my staff, but I stand by everything I said in our private staff threads. The efforts that occurred on our Facebook fan page to attack us as people and as a site were unproductive and downright appalling to myself and my staff and they were absolutely unacceptable. It is an absolute shame that your real intention and message was diluted by such behavior.

      • jj

        Translation: it’s a real shame that WOC expressed their legitimate and rightful anger and upset my feelings. I will dismiss any outpouring of honest criticism as harassment and spam. Bullies!!!! If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all~!

      • A

        Okay wait — you stand by your boyfriend mocking WoC and dismissing the complaints of women about a feminist website when he is a white cis male?

        Just want to clarify that.

      • Heather Crader

        oh shut up. You are not a victim in this and neither are your staff.

      • A

        Are your comments buggy, or are you ignoring/deleting my questions about your boyfriend?

        • anonemouse

          Why are you even dragging personal life into this?

          • Stephanie Turmelle

            lol it’s not like she’s talking about their sex life or what they ate for dinner. some cis white male, who just happens to be her bf, made some seriously offensive comments re: woc / race / feminspire concerns – and she just said she stands behind everything that was said in the private comments. so no, not really personal.

          • j

            it’s not personal when her bf is listed as a staff member of feminspire

          • A

            Her boyfriend is listed as the co-creator of the site and yet in the staff discussions, left a comment mocking women of color and dismissing the reasons that everyone is upset about this as “personal drama”.

            I think it’s gross that his opinion is so important and involved in discussion for this site anyways, since he’s just listed as “keeping the site running and looking pretty” but I found it really appalling that apparently, no one challenged what he said or called him out on his mocking, derailing, and belittling. Why should I want to read anything put out by Feminspire after seeing that? That’s what I want to know, and I haven’t got any response yet that addresses that.

      • .

        if you stand by your racist comments in the staff thread then why did you show an entirely different face here, full of disingenuous PR and bullshit?

      • white tears

        oh my god. you are truly insufferable.

      • ~feminism is for everybody~

        Do you really not see the disgusting amount of racism perpetrated by your staff in those threads? “Misusing” history? The history very much present in situations such as this. Laughing about a woc relating this to her experience with colonialism? Actively saying that it’s “undue” to give woc power in a situation where they are noting the pain felt by wielding all of said power. I usually do not advocate academic feminism but at this point you all really need to hide in some books and dig deep before pushing your suburban tween feminism. Also, ACCIO critical thinking and reading skills, plz.

        • ~feminism is for everybody~

          *you wielding all of the power, that is. seems like an unnecessary correction but you zany feminspirees, who knows!

      • Stephanie Turmelle

        no one is deleting comments

      • Stephanie Willis

        If no one is deleting comments, what happened to this one? (and many others?)

      • white tears

        you cannot seriously see yourself as the victim here. don’t get it twisted. you fucked up, you continued to fuck up, then you fucked up some more and rounded it all off with one final fuck up. it’s all you.

  • Kaya

    “There were hundreds of people involved in this, and the valid concerns that existed became buried by an endless onslaught of hatred for me, my staff and the site.”

    This is so untrue it’s twisted.

    • Nikki Gladstone

      ^ you are a hypocrite.

      • Kaya

        How so? I have been saying from the get-go that being quiet & burying your head in the sand is NOT the way to go but clearly I was not listened to. There’s no way in hell that this is the way things should have been handled and I think everyone in the staff page saw how vocal I was about that.

        • Nikki Gladstone

          Ya, you were vocal about it like yesterday. But I’d say the major over lining issue here about not being inclusive enough is something that you aided with as an editor and to turn around and point fingers is so contrary to the kind of person I thought you were.

          • Kaya

            I was an editor up until 4 days ago, yes, but one of the reasons I left was because of how atrociously this was all being handled, and Rhiannon is aware of that. There was some seriously racist bullshit being thrown around in the staff group (people are being racist against white writers? seriously?) and that’s one of the reasons that feminspire is probably a lost cause

          • Nikki Gladstone

            I’m saying that disregarding what someone is saying because of the colour of their skin is wrong REGARDLESS of the colour of their skin. I would love to learn from everyone and expand my writing and knowledge, but not while being referred to as “hey white girl” and I won’t apologize for that.

          • Nikki Gladstone

            Why can’t we all talk to each other with respect? I don’t understand that. It would be so much more constructive. I’m so ready and willing to learn from every single person who has a problem with this site as I have my own problems too, but I can’t learn through anger.

          • Allison

            Okay, yeah, y’all keep saying you can’t learn through anger. It is not WOC that they’re angry. It’s your fault for being racist. Please stop painting WOC as aggressive and overreactive, it’s been done enough.

          • Allison

            *It’s not the WOCs FAULT that they’re angry. Goddamn racism making me drop words…

          • Force Majeure

            “While i undertand [sic] that those girls are frustrated, they are literally doing NOTHING to help the situation, like i’m sorry but it delegitimizes their concerns when they end up being racist and rude towards us because of the colour of our skin”

            “Ughhh this whole woc thing is a mess”

            Your words. Yes, those truly sound like the words of someone who learn to from anyone, much less “every single person who has a problem with this site.” You just sound like you’re sick of being inconvenienced by women. Furthermore, you have a mountain to learn if you truly believe people of color can be racist against white people.

          • Force Majeure

            *words of someone who wants to learn

            *inconvenienced by women of color

          • Rhiannon Payne

            Those were not my words at all. This reaction is unbelievable.

          • Force Majeure

            Interesting that my original comment and the comment I made in response to your comment have now been deleted. Yes, please continue to play the victim while obfuscating the truth.

          • j

            You want to learn, but only on your terms. That’s not how it works.

          • here let me help you

            from the flawless audre lorde:

            “To turn aside the from the anger of Black women with excuses or the pretexts of intimidation is to award no one power — it is merely another way of preserving racial blindness, the power of unaddressed privilege, unbreached, intact. Guilt is only another form of objectification. Oppressed peoples are always being asked to stretch a little more, to bridge the gap between blindness and humanity. Black women are expected to use our anger only in the service of other people’s salvation or learning. But that time is over. My anger has meant pain to me but it has also meant survival, and before I give it up I’m going to be sure that there is something at least as powerful to replace it on the road to clarity.”

          • Z

            I would not ask you to talk with respect to a man who said sexist shit to you or about you. I would not ask you to talk with respect to a man who refused to address you, ignored all your suggestions and made sure to cut you out of any discussions about sexism or gender. We don’t always need to be constructive. We were polite for ages and no one would even speak to us like real people. We were constructive and we made great suggestions and no one had the decency to treat us like people and engage us in any discourse. How can you blame us for getting angry, especially when being kind did absolutely nothing?

          • Kaya

            you literally said “they end up being racist…towards us because of the colour of our skin”. as a fellow white person, let me tell you: that is not possible, no matter how you spin it.

          • .

            you have no business trying to make this website intersectional when you think you are persecuted for being WHITE

            honestly just quit now/jump ship/get educated

          • Lulu

            Please stop patting yourself on the back for jumping ship when all the BLATANT and OBVIOUS exclusion was finally brought to Feminspire’s attention. You contributed to that discrimination and your half-assed quitting doesn’t make you an ally.

          • Kaya

            I know I was in the wrong for that and I apologise.

          • Kaya

            I definitely messed up by being a part of it for so long, especially by not being as vocal as I should have been. But I will say that I DID push for change, esp in emails between the editors, but my suggestions were never taken (it’s even been written about in this article). Please don’t make those assumptions.

            The fingers I am pointing right now pertain to the silencing that’s been going on over the last couple days. I’ve told Rhi that it’s wrong, I don’t think this runs contrary to my character whatsoever.

      • j

        “We need to be super careful and act really professional so that THEY look like the crazy ones!”

      • Heather Crader

        and you’re a racist but oh well

        • Nikki Gladstone

          Can you not pretend like you know me? I’m not racist at all, actually. All I’ve been saying this whole time is that’d I’d like to learn from what everyone is saying. I’m sorry but the message that’s been coming across has been diluted by people making rude comments. I was trying to be professional, but I am not racist and you have no right to say that about me.

          • Heather Crader

            no, I’ve seen the private staff discussions and by the comments you made, you’re not only racist but oblivious to how white privilege works and shouldn’t be aligning yourself with a social justice cause. You’re painfully ignorant when it comes to race and gender issues and you should probably educate yourself on that ;)

          • Guest

            too bad I’m in school for both journalism, law and social justice.

          • Christin


          • Force Majeure

            I would not try to flaunt that fact if I were you. It makes it more sad that you’re so woefully ill-informed about race.

          • lol

            guess what? universities are racist institutions and also don’t mean shit. and i have a graduate degree.

          • j

            well i guess that’s all settled then! you have an education and all of the silly poor blips on the radars don’t. thanks for clearing that up xo

          • S

            Learning social justice in school.. the irony

          • Ashley

            yeah, that really is too bad :(

          • Fuck Kel -__-

            School can’t teach you lived experiences…

          • j

            If a POC says you’re racist, you’re racist. I think we all know you very well after seeing your horrible and disgusting comments made in private.

          • Force Majeure

            Typical racist derailing. Treating the fact that someone has called out your racist statement as though it is more problematic than you making racist statements in the first place.

          • Stephanie Turmelle

            1st step to not being racist: realizing you are.

      • ~~~

        “We need to be super careful and act really professional so that THEY look like the crazy ones!”

  • Lawl
  • You’re Racist
  • K
  • Talena Lydia

    This is an embarrassment.

  • anon

    it’s pretty fitting that feminspire always forwards me to reddit. it seems you both have a lot in common

  • Heather Crader

    STOP DELETING OUR COMMENTS. We’re taking this to tumblr, twitter, other feminist blogs, everywhere. You might as well face this now before your site gets torn apart from all corners of the internet

    • Rhiannon Payne

      No one is deleting anything. Disqus sometimes acts strangely but your comments aren’t going anywhere. Feel free to take this wherever you like. It is unfortunate that you would rather attempt to bring down a website that is genuine (even if we have been misguided in the past) about promoting women’s voices instead of working with us or on your own efforts.

      • Charlotte Amos

        it is not mine, or other WOCs jobs to “work” with you or educate you.

      • cry more

        oh please! clearly it’s only about promoting straight white women’s voices anyway

        • Marlena Carcone

          I’m one of the senior editors, and I’m not straight. Tell me more about what my website cares about, please.

          • A

            We’ve been telling you for DAYS. Will you listen this time?

          • Marlena Carcone

            Pretty sure only the editors, and mainly Rhiannon, get to decide what our priorities are and whose voices we want to promote. We have made mistakes in following through, and we fucked up, but that doesn’t mean we don’t care.

          • Stephanie Turmelle

            Pretty sure only the editors, and mainly Rhiannon, get to decide what our priorities are and whose voices we want to promote……

            just because you decided to represent ALL women doesn’t mean you are successful in doing it. and your (failing) efforts matched with your claim that you ARE doing it… is exactly what makes it all so un-inclusive.

            i literally. i am not sure why i even respond to you. no matter how clear or to the point anyone’s comment is you seem to glean something else from it entirely.

          • lol

            i’m not straight either and i still think your site blows

          • Marlena Carcone

            well, we disagree there. it’s almost like not all not-straight people have the same opinions.

          • Stephanie Turmelle

            because no television network that employs one black or gay person engages in forwarding white white white straight straight straight white white white. ever. no.

          • Stephanie Turmelle

            one person represented on staff, problem solved.

          • Marlena Carcone

            I’m not “employed.” I choose to do this work. All of our writers and editors work on a volunteer basis, and all of them are very passionate about what we do and their role in it. And we’re not some massive company; we’re a small group of dedicated young women. I have a very strong voice in how the site is run and what we publish, and as a queer woman, it’s extremely important to me that we promote LGBTQ+ voices and include all sexualities and gender identities.

          • Masha B.

            again, missing the point. It doesn’t matter if you get paid or work for free. The point is trying to claim that just because you are a queer woman the site is going to naturally be inclusive of all LGBTQ voices.

      • Sarah Elizabeth

        Your old internet friends gave you many chances to discuss this with them more privately and before your actions and inactions caused things to get to this point. You ignored these numerous attempts to work with them.

      • white tears

        why should ANYONE put any stock in you? also, you’re not the victim here. get your head out of your butt.

  • going to delete this again????
  • going to delete this again????

    are you going to delete this again???

  • Christin
    • Charlotte Amos

      beautiful :’)

    • Stephanie Turmelle

      lol i am dead. i have never been deader.

    • Liane Graham

      As a caucasian person of an ethnic and religious minority, a personal victim of prejudice and the grandchild of genocide victims, I find that link in this context unspeakably offensive. If you feel people have been racist toward you, that’s one thing, but that in no way justifies doing it right back.

      • .

        you can’t be racist against white ppl

        • Liane Graham

          Well, what’s considered “white” has changed constantly throughout the centuries, so in effect, yes, you can. A hundred years ago Irish people weren’t considered white.

          • Stephanie Turmelle

            no if you look white, if you pass as white, if you have most of the privileges that go along with appearing “white” you’re white and you can’t be a victim of racism, because by definition, you can’t be racist against whites – this includes all people who receieve institutionalized privileges for being, or appearing, or passing as white. being jewish (which i’m going out on a limb here and assuming is what you’re alluding to here) is definitely not the same as being not-white. definitely. not.

          • Liane Graham

            You have to create a distinction between whiteness as opposed to other and caucasian as a race, because racially, most middle eastern peoples are caucasian, and I don’t think anyone would argue that they’re not victims of racism. “White” is a social construct, and I might be very lucky to have been born with the privileges I have, but my mother is brown and an immigrant and she did not have the same privileges I did, even though we are of the same flesh and blood. This is a much more complicated issue than you’re making it out to be.

          • S

            Middle eastern people aren’t white, get your facts straight. Straight up embarrassing.

          • Masha B.

            As a white person you are not a racial minority. Trying to dissect and break down what it means to be white is just silly at this point and as others have stated it is in fact not possible to be racist toward white people.

          • S

            pretty sure you can be a victim of racism as a white person.

            hi, white girl here having lived in Harlem and The Bronx for a while; I was a minority. I was cat called. called snowflake, cracker, gringo.

            claiming that white people are unable to be victims of racism is THE STUPIDEST THING IN THE WORLD. everyone has struggles.

          • kirsten

            As Marlena said below, “Racism is systematic oppression against a minority.” Cat calling is hurtful and objectifying, but it is absolutely not the same as having your voice systematically and institutionally silenced.

          • Fuck Kel -__-

            Shut the fuck up. You don’t belong in Harlem, the Bronx or around people of color in the first place. Gentrification is not cute.

          • Fuck Kel -__-

            And you use that word ‘minority’… I do not think you know what that means. smfh

          • Masha B.

            LOL. Seriously??? YOU ARE NOT A MINORITY. Just because you were catcalled and called a cracker does not mean you get to take claim over the same feelings that POC experience every day. That is not racism.

          • b

            what definition?

          • Marlena Carcone

            No, Liane, really. Racism is systematic oppression against a minority. You can’t be racist against white people. This isn’t a good argument to stick with.

          • Liane Graham

            You can be white and a minority, if by white you mean racially caucasian. It wasn’t racist when my family members were thrown into gas chambers? “White” is a blanket term that doesn’t mean the same thing to everybody, which is actually really worth some discussion.

          • S

            No it wasn’t racist, it was fucked up and prejudiced but it was not RACIST unless you were a non-white jew. Antisemitism =/= racism.

          • no

            you are something else. I am brown and jewish asshole cry moar.

          • Stephanie Turmelle

            lol yes let’s make this discussion about white people. being a mathematical “minority” does not mean you are suddenly oppressed. yes, you can be white, and experience being in the “minority” – for instance, yes, at one point, you may be in a room full of black people, or perhaps for your whole life you attend a school where you are one of a few caucasians. but guess, though you are IN the minority – it still doesn’t (and never ever ever ever ever) will make you A minority. because that school or that room exists inside a world where WHITES (white skin-tones, white dialect, white vocabulary, white views – all things which cause different people to appear different shades of white and experience privilege / acceptance based on that appearance or ability to pass / be viewed as white (and that’s the thing about whiteness in a race discussion – it really is how you appear to people, not how you define yourself, that causes you to receieve or be denied privileges – so all these interjections of “well i am 1/8th whaever so i can’t possibly be WHITE” that’s true, and no one’s denying your heritage, but guess what, for the intenst and purposes of privilege – if you look white, you get them, no matter how you define yourself) experience privilege / are the “norm” are whatever. you might experience prejudice, and you may perhaps even be victim of some other -ism (classism, sexism, whatever other privileges you may lack) – but if you are white no matter where you go you will never be the victim of racism. you won’t.

          • Stephanie Turmelle

            and i am sorry but white people can’t participate in discussions of race without just perpetuating the problem unti they accept that reverse racism does not exist. it doesn’t. trust me. everybody tries to make this argument. it never ever ever changes anything

          • bob

            wait, are you all kidding me? Of course you can be racist against white people. First of all, the definition of racism is not “systematic oppression against a minority.” It is “the ideology that humans are divided into separate and exclusive biological entities called “races,” that there is a causal link between inherited physical traits and traits of personality, intellect, morality, and other cultural behavioral features, and that some races are innately superior to others.” Racism is not defined by what you do, it’s defined by what you believe, and being a minority has nothing at all to do with it. Clearly then, if you believe that there is a inherent biological difference between races, and you believe whites are inferior to others because of this, you are being racist against whites. Even if minority did have anything to do with the definition, there are obviously many places in the world where white people are in minority. Would you say it is possible to be racist against whites in china, but not in great britain?

            It disgusts me that you are attempting to justify racism.

          • S

            lmao. when have whites been oppressed by an entire institution? last i checked, you guys were the ones doing the oppression. Reverse racism does not exist

            educate yourself please.

          • bob

            Wow, way to be a wall. Did you even read my post? If so, try to reread it; information might be easier to obtain at second try. Regardless, I’ll reiterate my point: Racism is not institutionalized, systematic oppression. That is simply not the definition. It is one of the most terrible forms it can take, but there are many others as well.

            I’ve read that blog post before, and now I’ve read it again. It’s still wrong. I’ll start by saying that I agree with the title. “Reverse racism” does not exist. This is because reverse racism in itself is a ridiculous and reductive term, not because it is impossible to to be racist against whites, but because the term presupposes some idea it seems of how racism “should” work; that is ought to be white against blacks or some shit. Using a term like that (a term, mind you, that I never used in my post, you were the one to introduce it), reveals an extremely narrow view of racial problems and the world. The blog you linked to is permeated by the same narrow view. It has a westernized black/white perspective that completely ignores large parts of the racial issue. You see, racism is not only a matter of black and white, there are a shitload of other people in the world as well, and they can all be racist or subjected to racism. Thus, I agree that “reverse racism” does not exist, but racism certainly does, and it is certainly sometimes aimed at white people. The blog’s arguments that “black people: 1) have far less opportunity to discriminate against whites than whites have to discriminate against blacks, overall; and 2) black people lack a system of institutionalized support that protect them when they discriminate against whites.” are irrelevant, because this is not only an issue of the relationship between blacks and whites, but between people all over the world.

            My family lives in China, and I’ve lived there and spent a lot of time there. In China I’ve experienced ridicule, not being allowed into places such as restaurants and bars, and general hostility as a result of generalizations made about me as a person based on my color. Is that not racism to you, simply because my color is white? Please explain.

            In the end I would like to reiterate a point I made in my previous post: racism is not defined by what you do, but by what you believe. If two white sisters live by themselves in the woods, never meet other people, but speak daily about their hate for blacks or asians or whatever, they are racist. It is as simple as that, and it works all ways.

          • Z

            Hahaha you just pulled the “I was a white minority at a black school!” example. I honestly don’t know what to say to you.

          • bob

            hahaha No, I didn’t. I wasn’t a white minority at a black school. I lived in china, there weren’t many blacks around. This had nothing to do with black people at all. There is a big difference between my example and the “I was a white minority at a black school!” example that you take so much joy in. A white minority at a black school is still in a white society. I wasn’t.
            You don’t know what to say because you are too self centered to see that there are other forms of racism than the ones you encounter in your privileged life. But please, try.

          • Stephanie Turmelle

            and when china is a country whose ENTIRE history is based on oppression and whose every INSTITUTION participates in continued institutionalized systems of prejudice / privilege based on race – you will then have a relatable point. leave it to a “bob” to come in here with a holier / smarter than thou attitude and act like because you looked up RACISM in webster-merriam (have you looked up the white washed history that institution? that allows you to sit here and try to make an argument for reverse racism? thank a white man for penning that definition….) and to even attempt to use the dictionary definition as an ARGUMENT is just so ridiculous – because obviously there’s a largely educated group of people here all operating under the same, accepted definition of racist – and that’s what happens to words – their nuances change, they get re-defined – that’s what accounts for new editions and revisions, so you don’t just WIN this argument bc you can recite the current definition of racism in the dictionary and it happens to align with your white male privilege, BECAUSE OF COURSE IT DOES IT IS THE DICTIONARY, IT IS AN INSTITUTION, IT IS EXACTLY THE FUCKING POINT. go away bob, go away bob, let the people who have actually dedicated any of their time to thinking about white privilege have this conversation – you go read up on PRIVILEGE. no one NO ONE who has spent any time educating themselves on it holds the opinion you just stated, so let me just tell you that your privilege here is fucking SCREAMING.

          • KM

            “(have you looked up the white washed history that institution? that
            allows you to sit here and try to make an argument for reverse racism?
            thank a white man for penning that definition….)”

            a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one’s own race is superior and has the right to rule others.

            a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race.

            Wikipedia (a resource that is open to public editing, mind you, although the page has been flagged for non-neutrality)
            usually defined as views, practices and actions reflecting the belief that humanity is divided into distinct biological groups called races and that members of a certain race share certain attributes which make that group as a whole less desirable, more desirable, inferior or superior.

            According to these definitions (and I know straight-up dictionary definitions don’t define society, but I think the Wikipedia one at least comes pretty close), the bit of your comment that I quoted is pretty racist. “Have you looked up the white-washed history…” and saying that because it’s been managed by people with light skin, it’s automatically inferior. I’ll say that again.

            And saying that because it’s been managed by people with light skin, it’s automatically inferior.

            Gosh, doesn’t that sound unfortunately familiar?

            (And before you start attacking me by saying that nothing like that ever happened to the white race, I’m not saying it did. I’m saying that if you replace the word “light” in that statement with the word “dark,” it sounds like the words of so many white supremacists during the civil rights movements throughout history).
            It really doesn’t have anything to do with minorities. Minority groups are, unfortunately, often the target of racism, but that doesn’t mean that they are the only people affected by it. I can say right now that all whites are the stupidest people in the world who don’t acknowledge anybody else but themselves and think they’re the best, and that would be racist.

            It’s racist because I’m generalizing an entire group of people based on their race.

          • kirsten

            There is a difference between prejudice and racism.

          • bob

            yes, and prejudice based on race is racism. What restricted definition of racism do you apply in order to make it so one sided, and why?

          • MC

            um please don’t use my country as an example in your deranged claim on white racism.

          • TM

            ugh your pontificating is so basic anthro 101 bull.

          • criostin

            Speaking as an Irish person … we are considered white now. And even when we weren’t, we still had the ability to exert power over POC, which is actually one of the ways we became accepted by other White Europeans as part of them. So please don’t use my ethnicity as a way to excuse racism.

          • Oh

            You’re confusing race and ethnicity.

      • Charlotte Amos

        please stop.

      • cracker
      • Jay

        Liane- Thank you for your comment. I felt the same way about that link and was relived to see that someone had addressed it, but was horrified to see the response to your comment. The first reply to yours is “you can’t be racist against white ppl” with 27 up votes? I understand that many members of racial minorities or people who have been victims of racial discrimination based on their race are upset, but pretending that white people cannot be the victims of racism is counter-productive, and as you said, offensive.

        Contrary to popular belief, racial discrimination does not have to be based on “race”.

        According to the United Nations, “the term “racial discrimination” shall mean any distinction, exclusion, restriction, or preference based on race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin that has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life”

        Notice that they include not just race, but also color, descent, or national or ethnic origin as possible bases of discrimination. To say that white people cannot be the victims of racism is to ignore countless atrocities committed against them, such as the Holocaust, to name an obvious example. Jews, Slavs, and Romanies were all targeted because of their ethnicity, although they were predominantly “white”. 60% of the Jews in Europe were murdered; today, there are still not as many Jews as there were in 1940. 14% of Poles and 20% of Soviets (including Jews) were killed. To say that this is not racism is to create a definition that is too narrow to describe what views are unfortunately present in our society (or have been present in the past).

        I am not trying to say that other groups have not been victims of genocides or racism-related crimes of any kind as well. I am not trying to diminish the horrific nature of or suffering caused by those crimes. I am just trying to clarify that being “white” does not mean that someone cannot be the victim of racism, especially because the definition of racism includes discrimination based not only on race, but also ethnicity and nationality.

  • h

    n o p e it’s never okay, you’re making excuses, shut it down

  • c

    Go Home Feminspire, You Are Drunk and a bunch of pretentious racists

  • C
  • Please just stop.

    A real apology would read more like: We’re sorry. Full stop. Not we’re sorry but OMG THE PEOPLE WHO WERE HURT ARE BEING MEAN AND BRINGING ATTENTION TO WHAT WE DID WRONG IN A WAY THAT WE FIND UNPRODUCTIVE. Also I don’t think that word means what you think it means.

    • Marlena Carcone

      I don’t think an editorial that said “we’re sorry. -rhiannon payne” would have been very effective as far as outlining the problem to people who are unaware of the situation and explaining what we intend to do to fix it.

      • A

        This isn’t very good at doing that either, tho?

      • MC

        i don’t think you realize.. you all are the problem

  • Rosiew

    This website is an absolute JOKE I don’t know how anyone who claims to be supportive of the concerns of WOC could EVER affiliate themselves with this garbage.

  • battlescarred

    just shut up already. you’re an idiot and you don’t fucking get it.

    • Christin

      get em

  • Z

    It is difficult to see any of this as being genuine. There is a lot of very trivializing and dismissive
    shit being said on the staff site, and that’s really disappointing, frustrating, and
    angering. Obviously, I am not part of the group and it doesn’t seem like
    there is anyone in the group who disagrees with you (which is probably
    why so much problematic stuff is being thrown around). Specifically, I
    want to speak about when Alisha makes a joke about “genocide and
    stealing land.”

    For one, when Talena mentions colonialist
    tactics, she is speaking specifically about the exclusion and silencing
    of people of color. Many of you have refused to listen to us and have
    spoken over us. Feminspire ignored us for days, which is why everyone was so angry. You then chose to focus on a
    few “hateful” comments, rather than focus on our very real concerns and
    criticism. I realize that it may have hurt your feelings when some
    people were “rude,” but I don’t think it’s appropriate to focus on that
    when the fact of the matter is that you hurt our feelings, first by
    writing some problematic things, then by ignoring us and refusing to
    engage us in discussion about those things. We posted a lot of good suggestions and asked you REAL questions. We asked to be included in discussions about race, but it honestly seems like you prefer for the blind to lead the blind.

    Secondly, the people making comments about colonialism on the staff page appear to be white. You benefit directly from
    genocide and stolen land. You did not DO any of that shit, but that
    doesn’t mean that you have any right to make light of it. My family
    comes from two countries that are victims of genocide, colonialism, and
    stolen land, and that continue to be victims of that. I grew up in a
    “third world country” and I continue to face the affects of colonialism
    and empirialism today. It is not your place to joke about racism or to
    joke about colonialism. I’m sure you think you’re being facetious, but
    again, it’s out of place. You joking about it doesn’t do anything to
    alleviate POC’s legitimate feelings about racism, it doesn’t negate your
    white privilege or fight racism in anyway, and you, as a white person,
    do not need to joke about a bad situation to make yourself feel better
    because it isn’t your situation. At the end of the day, you’re just
    repeating racist rhetoric.

    Third, it is not your place to say which
    person of color is allowed to talk about colonialism, nor to decide how
    they talk about it.

    I understand that you are
    all trying to comfort each other, but to do that by trivializing and
    making fun of women of color and of the points that we brought up is
    pretty disgusting. I realize that none of the Feminspire staff thought
    that what you were saying on that page would “get out,” but that’s
    hardly a good excuse for what any of you were saying.

    I firmly
    believe that if a group of men were doing this to you, the arguments
    that the staff is using on the Facebook page would not fly. If you were
    to comment on a man’s sexism, and he said “Yes, because I am beating my
    wife with a stick no bigger than my thumb and I am refusing to let her
    vote, that is exactly what I am doing,” you would KNOW that he was
    deflecting and missing the point. If they told you, when you brought up
    sexism, that you were being hysterical or emotional (words that have a
    sexist history and that invalidate a woman’s feelings as though they
    have no merit or no logic to them), I’m sure you would see how fucked up
    that is. You may have all laughed (or raged) when Romney talked about
    his binder of women or when Republicans completely excluded women from a
    discussion on birth control and reproductive rights. Why would you then
    do that to us in discussions about race? Why would you make fun of us
    and call us aggressive?

    When I saw some of the things that were being said on the staff page, I
    cannot explain the sinking feeling, of hurt and horror and confusion.
    That you think any of you know more about colonialism than some of us,
    when so many of us were born in countries that are still colonized or
    that are still reeling from the effects of colonialism, that’s just so
    COLONIALIST. It’s seriously so condescending. That you think you know
    BETTER than us, that you think you know MORE because you’ve read some
    books or you’ve maybe been to college – it’s disheartening and
    trivializing and racist and just awful. It’s awful. It puts you at the forefront,
    it makes you all experts in something that you’ve never experienced,
    that you didn’t grow up with, that you’ve never had to live.

    • Stephanie Turmelle

      this comment is so on point

      • Z.

        I don’t understand why the staff keeps complaining that everyone is trolling, but when I posted a polite comment with my legitimate concerns, no one wants to respond.

    • Guest

      so well-said; they don’t deserve this kind of hand-holding, but if they don’t get it after this, i don’t know if they ever will. im so sorry for their hurtful words

    • A

      I can’t believe that no one has responded to this.

    • Sarah Elizabeth

      It’s very upsetting that Rhi or her staff have not acknowledged this comment, which is extremely (and unnecessarily) polite and thorough.

    • mad dog

      i honestly can’t believe that they haven’t responded to this comment. what a slap in the face. it’s just cruel.

    • Marlena Carcone

      Hello. I’m a senior editor on the site, and I’d like to aknowledge how grateful I am that you left such a thorough and respectful comment. You bring up a lot of valid points. It’s pretty late at night/early in the morning where I am, but I’m going to try to respond to some of your ideas now.

      I’m very sorry that we don’t seem to be being genuine or that we offended you with some of the things that were said on the staff page. Those were very emotional first response reactions, and they were intended to blow off steam and open a discussion about the events of the past few days when it had been hard to do so because of the elevated intensity of all of our moods. I know that some of the writers involved have apologized and/or corrected the remarks that they made, but as I don’t speak for them, I won’t apologize on their behalf. I will say that while this doesn’t excuse it, individual, personal responses are not the fault of the site as a whole. We have acknowledge that we need to educate ourselves and help our staff educate themselves, and one of the best ways that we can do that right now is by having these conversations in a place where we feel somewhat safe to make mistakes. Our staff group is a supportive and safe space for our writers to figure out ideas, vocalize thoughts, and feel free from the finality of opinion and judgment that exists everywhere else on the internet. It’s where we “test drive” a lot of our articles, and yes, it’s where we discuss what’s happened with the site. No offense was intended, and while of course intention doesn’t matter when the harm has already been done, I thought I’d explain that a little bit.

      I do not personally think, and I do not think that any of our staff thinks, that they know any more about colonialization than someone directly affected by it. We definitely do not feel in any way elite or superior because some of us have been to college or are in the process of getting degrees; there are some things that cannot be learned in school but must be experienced and shaped by our lives. We are hoping to combine both academic sources and personal stories and advice in our quest to educate ourselves on intersectionality and inclusiveness.

      I don’t think that we would be responding all that differently if it were men that were doing this, although I know I would probably be more scared and threatened because of the societal power that men have and my own history of abuse. In fact, i would argue that we are taking these concerns more seriously because they are coming from women. We aim to be a place where all women feel welcome and can express themselves, and the onus is totally on us to make that come true.

      If you would like to talk about this further or if you have any suggestions that you feel we’ve overlooked or ignored and you’d like to be a part of creating a new, more open and inclusive future for Feminspire, feel free to email me at [email protected]

      • Z.

        Marlena, the comments that were posted on the staff site were late in the game. The argument that you were “blowing off steam” is a poor one when you won’t apply that same logic to the women who are “blowing off steam” in response to the racist way that our complaints were handled. It took you days to get back to me, and even this is long after I left the first few polite comments on the Feminspire facebook page.

        The way that you are treating the staff conversations, as a “safe space” to talk about race, doesn’t make sense at all. We’ve told you time and time again that you need to open those conversations up, because otherwise you are engaging in cyclical conversations that will only reinforce any racist ideas and feelings that you may have, as is extremely evident by the screencaps of those private conversations. You are misusing the idea of a safe space and using it to hide from real, valid, and necessary criticism. We’ve given you so many suggestions, over and over again, and you haven’t listened to any of them. Instead, your majority white staff and your white editors have decided what THEY want to do and how THEY feel about race. You have ignored us and spoken over us. I think it’s clear that we feel as though you’ve “overlooked or ignored” many things, and yet you keep acting as though that’s a novel idea (“IF you have any suggestions that you feel we’ve overlooked…”), one that we should email you about in private. This makes it clear that Feminspire is not interested in real change, but only in preserving the viewpoints and upholding the positions of the women currently involved.

        Your staff has said problematic things about education in these very comments, so your paragraph on that is moot. You say that if men were treating you the way you are treating us, you would be “more scared and threatened because the societal power that men have,” but you forget that white people have societal power. You forget that that scares and threatens us, and that many of us have suffered abuse, physical, mental, emotional, at the hands of white men and women. Acting otherwise, that your history of abuse at the hands of men, while important, is somehow more important than ours, is incredibly erasing of our struggles. You haven’t offered an apology that isn’t quickly followed by “but we’re busy, but we’re hurt, but we’ve suffered, but you are being cruel,” and that, unfortunately, is what we call a “non-apology.”

        • jy

          a fucking men

  • anonemouse

    I support you and your site, Rhi. Sorry that people are making all these assumptions.

    • Marlena Carcone

      Thank you so much.

    • Masha B.

      lol excuse me how are any of these “assumptions”? You know there are screencaps up there right for your viewing pleasure

      • anonemouse

        Don’t call it a viewing “pleasure” you inconsiderate person.

        • Force Majeure

          LOL this response makes zero sense.

        • Masha B.

          lol what? ok, I am totally the inconsiderate one here my bad

  • j

    WOC are just a “blip on the radar” of the illustrious white feminist vision.

  • LC

    nope and hannah, y’alls are hilarious. Just know that eventually your energy to keep hating is going to run out at some point. Rhiannon and everybody at Feminspire…I’m sorry. This sucks.

    See, I think there are a lot of layers to this problem. The first one, the one that seemed to kick it all off, is that women of color feel they don’t have enough representation on the site. After looking into it, I totally agree. The articles are there, but there’s just not that many of them.

    But honestly, there are two different causes, and I think the current situation is a combination of both. One side of it is that there is a “normal” amount of articles written by non-white, non-American, non-cis women and a “lot” of articles written by white, American, cis-women (I’m using quote marks because it’s relative). The other side is that there is a “normal” amount of articles written by the majority, and a “small” amount of articles written by the minority.

    And therein lies the problem. If the imbalance is caused by the first reason, then the obvious answer is to reduce the number of articles posted by the majority female group, which is what the guidelines set out here seem to be doing. But if the imbalance is caused by the second reason, there’s really not much to do except to try to get more writers from minority groups, which then raises the problem of posting authors not because of what they have to say, but because of their minority status.

    I also feel that using the posted guidelines could be seriously restrictive, because there could be an article with a lopsided viewpoint socially, but still have a really good message. It’s also not a foolproof system – here you have an article written by a privileged white cis-woman that only takes into account that perspective. And here you have an article written by a transgender or -sexual woman living oppressed in India…that only takes into account that perspective.

    So once that problem rose up, people who were really genuinely concerned about starting voicing their complaints in a calm and logical way, as was said in the article. But then came along the people who didn’t want to be calm and logical, and didn’t know how. And then came along the people who are most affected by mob mentality, who will gladly join in a ruckus and fling accusations of racism every which way. And it seems to be these people who are carrying on and making modding comments and taking down the facebook page necessary.

    I think everybody just has to realize that you can’t be satisfied all the time, and we’ll only come close if we work together on it I apologize for the cliche, but you can’t deny that it’s true.

    These are my thoughts (only semi-coherent because feels) coming in on the tail-end of this whole thing.

    • Stephanie Turmelle

      it’s not (just) about amount of what’s written. it’s the fact that the articles written by the majority, white, cis women completely ignore that a larger majority of their “readers” (and people in the world….) are not white / cis, and thereby experience things in a completely different way. they wrote from a position of privilege and exclusion, and when called out on it did nothing to address them. there’s a way white women can write that isn’t exclusionary and isn’t racist – so to pretend like the nature of the problem is in the numbers is dismissive, at best.

      also. REALLY. you are commenting within a “feminist” dialogue, and are silencing the voices that don’t wish to be ~CALM AND~RATIONAL. women are allowed to get mad. and i’d say this group has a pretty legitimate reason. (growing increasingly more legitimate by the comment)

    • NOPE

      ” And then came along the people who are most affected by mob mentality, who will gladly join in a ruckus and fling accusations of racism every which way.”

      are you fucking serious? maybe we people who are most “affected by mob mentality” are really just the people who GIVE A SHIT.

      this type of response is exactly what’s wrong with this site. “it’s not us, you guys! its them! they’re so angry!”

  • L

    I don’t think that all of the blame could be placed on the Feminspire site or on the EIC. If you don’t like something, yes act on it, but don’t diminish the work that others have done. If you didn’t think WOC were being represented than why not volunteer to write? A small staff at a publication can only do so much with limited resources and as much as you try to incorporate everyone it does become hard. You are not doing any better by bullying the EIC, the rest of the writers and those who support the site. We support because we believe that Feminspire has done a lot of good and because even though it has been a letdown in some aspects when people try to improve they should be supported in their efforts, not put down. Constructive criticism can help a lot, but bullying and being racist never does any good and that is what most of you are doing in your comments, even when you claim that you are the victims, that you are not the racist ones and that you are in the right.

    • anonemouse

      BLESS THIS POST. If you see a problem, be a part of the change – don’t write Feminspire off as having unforgivable offenses.

    • Stephanie Turmelle

      lol please, detail the “lot of good” feminspire does that somehow overshadows this bullshit

      • L

        How about the fact that it provides an outlet for women to express their thoughts on feminism? Yes, like most of you have mentioned not everyone was represented but in that case why not submit an article idea? Pitch? Be proactive in your search of articles that relate to you. A writer can only write about the things they know, making stuff up goes against journalistic ethics. As a writer you try and share what you see, what you know, if most of the writers and editors are privileged why not provide your viewpoint? Criticize all you want, but doing so isn’t being proactive, it isn’t making change happen… which is why the quote “change is what you make it” exists.

        • Masha B.

          please preach more tell us more! There’s a difference between writing from a privileged perspective and actually checking one’s privilege and including content that is inclusive of ALL women as you and your site claim to be. No one is asking any of you white women to write an article about being a WOC which is basically what you’re implying.

        • Stephanie Turmelle

          and i can criticize here and be proactive elsewhere.

    • C

      We’ve been constructive, and were ignored. Constructive, calm comments like Z’s at the top of the page continue to be ignored. Feminspire’s continued insistence on playing the victim and minimizing the concerns and feelings of WoC, and complete mishandling of this entire situation, does not inspire confidence that they will ever get it, that real change can be made. Why would anyone want to be affiliated with the site at this point?

      And are you kidding me with the reverse racism accusations?

  • Force Majeure

    @facebook-545748044:disqus I was replying to “Guest” who previously had her name attached to her comments, not you. In no way did I attribute those words to you. I posted her words, which were direct quotes. You tried it though.

  • Alicia V. Perez

    As a writer, I have access to the private staff group. As a woman of color, I can tell you I haven’t read anything racist in the comments in the group, the opposite actually. We’re all working internally on how to handle this and better ourselves as we move on.

    • Marlena Carcone

      Thanks, Alicia. <33

    • The Internet is Written in Pen

      This would be credible if we didn’t have screenshots of the staff page’s racism?

      • Alicia V. Perez

        Explain to me exactly how anything said in those comments are racist. Taylor raises an extremely valid point. By jumping up and down and calling every little thing racist and blowing it up to the extreme, you’re minimizing the actual issue. There are a lot of problems with Feminspire, it’s not perfect, nothing is. Instead of discussing the actual issues civilly, you’re turning this into a drama feast and making everyone more frustrated than they need to be.

        • Z

          Please see my comment above about why the jokes about “colonialism” are inappropriate, and why it isn’t a white person’s place to tell colonized people how they should discuss colonialism.

          • Alicia V. Perez

            The joke may have been in bad taste but it’s obviously coming from a very tired and frustrated person who’s been dealing with daily personal attacks on herself and her friends.

            And it is my place to say and I’m telling you comparing Feminspire (an infant website about women’s issues) to the atrocities committed by industrialized powers to more vulnerable nations is DISGUSTING. Rhiannon isn’t Spain and nothing she, or any of the other editors, have done can be compared to colonialism. It’s ridiculous to say anything otherwise. It’s making a monster of a mountain out of a molehill.

          • Z

            No one said that they were being colonialists or that she “is Spain.” I believe Talena said that they were using colonialist tactics. Silencing and shutting poc out of a discussion, treating them like they don’t have anything worth saying, or like they are not educated enough to engage in a discourse about themselves are all colonialist tactics. Acting like genocide and stealing land are the only effects of colonialism and imperialism is ridiculous.

            Why does being “tired and frustrated” mean that someone can say fucked up shit, but being “tired and frustrated” of being ignored and excluded mean nothing? Why the hell do your friends get to be rude and say mean shit if you don’t want us to do the same? Why is frustration only an excuse when you and your staff do it?

          • Z.

            The comment that I pointed to you doesn’t even say that it was appropriate for Talena to say it was colonialist, but that it is completely inappropriate for the staff to laugh and dismiss colonialism as though they know about it better than any women of color. Your reasoning, that they are simply tired and frustrated, does not at all excuse or explain the thread in that screen cap. It still doesn’t explain why the Feminspire staff ignored our “legitimate concerns” or why the staff locked us out of discussions and chose to keep the conversation to a group of mainly white women who seem to think that having a college education makes them experts on race.

          • Charlotte Amos

            so because some privileged white woman is tired because people are upset and angered by her racism, it means its okay to respond with… more racism? are you dense, whitewashed, or both?

          • Alicia V. Perez

            Don’t you dare pretend you know me. You have no idea what is actually happening behinds the scenes and what I’m doing. People like you (~social justice warriors~) do more harm than good.

          • S

            Lol and people like you appeasing white people to assimilate do the most harm. You aren’t better than the rest of us. I also liked your comment by accident, no one ACTUALLY likes it fyi

          • Alicia V. Perez

            Again, you don’t know me. You actually have no idea who I am to even began to assume I’m whitewashed or trying to assimilate. Why? Because I befriended a group of white girls? Because I write for this website? Because I don’t come off as uneducated? Please, do yourself a favor and stfu now.

          • disqus_BYDdnRBZSn

            Can you stop? Just because you have some internalized racist shit going on that allows you to ignore the blatant disrespect for WOC in feminspire doesn’t mean the rest of us do. The way you’re treating us right now, deleting our comments, deleting the goddamn fb page, ignoring people, talking shit and telling people to ignore us, etc. is BULLSHIT. Because you’re supporting a group that silences WOC, I will assume all I want.

          • Alicia V. Perez

            Assuming makes you look like an idiot at doesn’t help discourse at all. And I’m not ignoring the disrespect, not at all. I’ve spoken with Rhiannon, I’ve emailed her personally. I’m continuing as a writer for the site because I think it’s an amazing group of women and the site can be made better and I can help. My quitting isn’t going to do anything. I need to continue writing about women of color and giving my feedback to the rest of the editors so they can make the appropriate changes to the website as a whole.

            I can’t believe you’re accusing me of having internalized racism. I don’t know how many times I have to say you know nothing about me because you don’t. It’s like you’re ignoring everything I’m saying and just going along with whatever preconceived notions you have about me. We’re not deleted comments, it’s honestly the server can’t handle all the comments (not Disqus exactly, but the server Feminspire is on. It’s a new site, it doesn’t have the power of an xoJane or other, much larger sites that are equipped to handle the traffic) and I don’t have control over the Facebook page.

            We were told to ignore the commentors at the time because it was getting really heated and instead of actual helpful discourse, it was turning into personal attacks.

            I joined Feminspire over the summer because I was worried about the lack of representation for women of color honestly since five months ago, the site has gotten a lot better and really it can only go up from here. You’re criticisms are valid, my criticisms are valid and I can assure you Rhi isn’t ignoring them. We’re ignoring the personal attacks that aren’t helping but simultaneously taking the valid criticisms to improve the site. I want to see the site represent women of color better, trust me I raised the issue. But that kind of thing doesn’t happen over night and it definitely doesn’t happen with all the frustration and tension right now.

          • Z.

            “Assuming makes you look like an idiot at doesn’t help discourse at all.”

            What discourse?? When did any of you try to talk to us about our concerns, except to say “We are discussing it amongst ourselves and we will get back to it later!” The Feminspire staff absolutely ignored us and tried to sweep our comments under the rug when we’re polite. Even now, when I am polite and patient, no one responds. It got heated precisely because you all ignored us. I appreciate and I love that you are a woman of color who writes about issues that are important to you, but do you really not believe that Feminspire was ignoring us? Do you think that your articles were enough? I’m not discrediting them but only pointing out that it is unfair for you to be the only voice in a majority that overwhelmingly ignores the experiences of women of color. If you wanted to raise discussion and make your website a better place, why didn’t you discuss this with us in the first place? Why didn’t you come forward and open discussion? I was NOTHING if not polite and constructive. I asked constructive questions and made constructive suggestions and I continue to be polite and patient here, and still, everyone ignores what I say. Everyone is more concerned with giving snarky replies to the “hateful” comments. We wouldn’t have been this angry if Feminspire hadn’t ignored us to begin with. Change doesn’t happen overnight, no, but we’ve been raising this point for MONTHS and have been getting the same deflective and dismissive answers. Rhiannon keeps mentioning that we are people who had beef with her on some old-ass site, but I was FRIENDS with some of the editors and they still gave me the same tired “we’re trying but we don’t want to tokenize” responses. I spoke to Jess Mary about how awful it was that her article didn’t mention WOC or non-Western religions and her response was that she didn’t have time to edit, when she should’ve been thinking about that to begin with. We were polite for months and nothing happened and now you’re being rude as fuck to us because you still don’t think we’re being kind enough. At what point are we “allowed” to stop being kind and to stop coddling and putting up with exclusion?

          • Alicia V. Perez

            I didn’t step up and join the discussion on the Facebook page because I’m on of the few women of color who write for the site and I didn’t want to be the black girl who speaks for all black girls, the Latina response, etc. I’m not an editor, I didn’t think I was obliged and I didn’t want to join a heated discussion on race just because I’m black. I realize I was being childish, which is why I’m joining the comments now, on this article.

            The point is this website is new, only five months old and many of the editors didn’t really know how to handle these types of complaints before today. You probably know it’s hard for white people to accept when they’re being racist. Rhiannon and the other editors have seriously taken all this into consideration though and this is a learning experience for them. Race and racism is our lives but they don’t fully know how to handle it yet, they’re going to have to learn and honestly, I really believe they are.

            The facebook page was deleted because all the personal attacks that were going on; the editors couldn’t handle all the counterproductive slander and insults so they did decide to talk amongst themselves, taking the valid criticisms only, and Rhi wrote it up in this response.

            This is just the beginning of Feminspire long, long (longlonglonglonglong) rode to becoming totally inclusive for all women but it will be difficult because like I said before, it’s a learning experience for all of us.

          • Z.

            The problem is that many people have been complaining for months about it, and that even some of the WOC that they approached about writing for the website explained that they were uncomfortable being part of a website that was not, from the get go, designed to include WOC or to represent their interests. I understand that white people have trouble understanding racism, which is why I and some of the other commenters were seriously giving great suggestions. One woman even wrote out a series of explicit steps that Feminspire could take. None of the editors responded to it. They should have known “how to handle these types of complaints before today” because we’ve been making them since the inception of the website, and because we have given them suggestions on how to improve since then. They should have known because they call themselves allies and because they have spoken with us about race in the past. A lot of us have had chats, shared drinks, and hung out with the editors, and to then be ignored after all of that is fucked up. Of course it was angering and tbh the way that this was handled was ridiculous and demeaning. It’s a learning experience, sure, but I find it to be a pretty shitty that they had to use the frustration and pain of WOC as a “learning experience” instead of just listening to us from the get-go.

          • Z.

            I also find it hard to believe that Feminspire will learn anything or change from this based on the dismissive things that were being said in the staff thread and based on the way that the rest of the Feminspire staff seems to still be ignoring all of the polite comments that they said the wanted, both here and on the Facebook page. Someone posted a relevant article, others are posting genuine criticism that I can’t even imagining being validly called harrassment. It seems like most of the staff that is posting here would rather engage in flame wars then have a serious and meaningful discussion about race or make any real apologies and I had hoped for more.

          • Lol

            What is this comment even? Well, my “uneducated” ass w/ two degrees is making paypah so stay mad

          • Alicia V. Perez

            Did I call you uneducated? No, never did I once call you uneducated. I’m sure you’re a perfectly fucking smart person and I’m pretty smart too, I’m 18, but I think I’m fairly well-read. And I’m not whitewashed. Just like I can’t (and never did) assume you were uneducated, you can’t say I’m whitewashed. Because I’m not. That’s actually the most ridiculous accusation anyone has ever thrown at me.

          • Christina J.

            So you’re saying being uneducated lessens your value in a discussion?

          • Alicia V. Perez

            Did I… say that?

          • Christina J.

            Brown people can be White supremacists too and she clearly is one.

          • Alicia V. Perez

            No, no actually I’m not. You don’t know me so stop judging me.

    • Stephanie Turmelle

      are you “alisha” because let me tell you. if you are, here is something “alisha” said in that private conversation.

      ” i’m just saying, we should try to critically look at feminspire through the lens of someone who isn’t cisgendered. will they feel excluded by any of our content? i know it’s silly but we talk a lot about vaginas and i could see someone who’s cisgendered feeling excluded, when they have just as much a right to feel like a woman.”


      • Alicia V. Perez

        My name is Alicia… obviously. Pronounced ah-lee-cee-ah.

    • A

      To be honest, I was on the fence about feminspire until I saw that staff group. I don’t want to have anything to do with a website that lists Ben Schoen on its staff list after what I saw him say. How dare he decide that women’s complaints about a FEMINIST WEBSITE were invalid?

  • Lulu

    As a woman of color, I’d like to see the other offended WoC channel all this anger into a more inclusive and productive website. Our concerns shouldn’t stop soley at the Feminispire facebook and website. Let’s take it another site.

    Also the BEST WAY to combat the silencing against the WoC is to turn away and silence Feminspire’s blatant stupidity and racism. Don’t dignify these women with anymore discourse; they clearly don’t know how to engage discussion that isn’t all kumbayah and handholding.

  • Yeah just quit

    And thanks for deleting my comments!

  • j

    why all of the deleted comments?

  • A

    How long until Disqus “malfunctions” and deletes more comments?

  • Lulu

    Why are comments being deleted? WOW….

    • Marlena Carcone

      They’re not being deleted; we’re just getting a lot of them at once and Disqus can’t handle it.

      • J

        LOL more bs out of your mouth why am i surprised

      • ha

        So THAT’S why my comment disappeared and was replaced with “this comment has been deleted.” Makes sense.

      • Force Majeure

        Nope. Comments are being deleted, mine included. You tried it.

      • Masha B.

        Did someone at Disqus tell you this? How exactly did you come to this conclusion and can so confidently say it like it’s true

  • G

    LOL @ the backtracking going on here by the Flopinspire team. “There’s nothing racist being said in our private discussions!” THERE’S SCREENCAPS THAT POINT TO THE CONTRARY. Y’all mocking colonialism and claiming there’s reverse racism going on and the WOC are just angry/irrational/being racist towards white people… those are acts of racism in itself.

  • Z.

    I don’t understand. We played by your rules: we were polite, we were constructive, we are “articulate.” You ignored our suggestions and wouldn’t talk to us like people. Now that some of us are angry about it, you are only focusing on that anger (as though it isn’t warranted). You are still refusing to discuss race, you are being just as mean and disgusting as you say everyone else is. I posted a very calm and polite comment here, more calm and polite than you deserved given what foul shit so many of you posted in private. I was polite on the facebook page. No one responded in any meaningful way, but you are all more than happy to engage in rudeness with the comments that you hated. Treat us like people and speak to us. The fact that you refused to talk to us to begin with and shut us out of the discourse is what incited so many people’s anger, and yet you still refuse to even respond to those of us who are being polite. I gave so many suggestions and asked many real questions because I genuinely thought that you would respond. Were you ever interested in speaking to us at all? Seriously, how would you feel if a male-dominated site did this exact thing to you? How would you react? You should know better than this.

    • a

      It takes TIME to make changes; things don’t happen overnight, and especially with such a young, unexperienced group. They’re making efforts; they’re not perfect, but it’s something. if you have such a voice and concern, submit a piece to them and see what happens. Speak up, not just in comments.

      • jy

        why would any woc want to be associated with a site that has reacted w/ such anger and vitriol to their concerns

  • ~feminism is for everybody~

    It is in disgusting taste to delete your facebook page. If the majority of your page was criticism (never saw any spam or threats) then that means it needs to be there, visible, public, and engaged with. If you had a bustling readership those criticisms would not be the majority of your traffic. You are clearly doing something very wrong and instead of engaging you are replying the way you want to sans evidence of growth or learning in any form.

    • Marlena Carcone

      The facebook page will be back up soon. It was getting out of hand and becoming a dangerous space for our editors and staff, but we are still encouraging and replying to comments on this post and on our associated facebook, Feminist Killjoys.

      • ~feminism is for everybody~

        Wow. No. That is not how it works. Note that we can’t just turn off yr racism, we don’t get to disable notifications for white privilege and silencing tactics. You are pulling out all the privileged stops by STILL thinking it is acceptable to shut down that space. This was not an adequate forum for such a “dialogue.” And we all very well know letting it reside on the Feminist Killjoys page is just another way for you to easily remove this “blip” from Feminspire’s history when the time comes. Blaming it on Disqus is more acceptable than victimizing yourselves. Angry WOC may not use the tone you prefer but voicing concerns is not trolling.

        • Stephanie Turmelle

          …. or dangerous.

      • Masha B.

        a DANGEROUS space for you? lol.

  • #getalife

    Don’t you all have better things to do than commenting incessantly on this? Seriously. Don’t you have exams to study for?

    I have a REALLY good idea. If you don’t like the contents of the website, don’t read it. Thanks.

    • S

      No because we graduated and have real jobs. Bye.

      • Tony

        and yet that still gives you the excuse to act immature? what did you get your degree on? A masters in Bullshit!

        • Troll harder

          Do you see all the calm comments people left just fucking wondering? And no one is replying to them.

  • Gee

    I run a blog with Disqus for a long time, even long before Flopinspire’s conception and I can say that Disqus NEVER deleted comments. Even on bigger websites like xoJane where there’s even more comments/discussion on heated topics, Disqus never once “deleted” comments. Of course, more lies and excuses coming out from this white supremacist team of “writers”.

    • Alicia V. Perez

      It’s the server, it’s having trouble keeping up.

  • S

    The concerns that people are talking about are extremely important to address, but I don’t see how shutting down this site would do so unless people were planning on creating their own website to talk about these issues. This could be a great platform to address these issues, especially since it is run by volunteers. If you don’t like the content on here, why not submit your own content to make it better? The problems addressed can easily be fixed without shutting the website down.

  • Yara

    Rhiannon, stay strong. As an African American woman, I never got the wrong message. I really hope that Feminspire can recover from this.

    • Charlotte Amos

      as a black woman, i am so sad for you

      • Alicia V. Perez

        As a Dominican woman, I continue to support the site as a writer.

        • Z.

          Okay and that’s fine, that’s wonderful, if you feel that that is where you can make the most difference, that’s great. But why does that mean that you should dismiss us in these comments just because you are proof that Feminspire had a few writers of color? Why can’t you show some solidarity with us? Are you unable to both be a writer and push your website to be more inclusive? Are you unable to write for Feminspire and participate in real discussion with us?

          • Z.

            I genuinely mean that it’s wonderful and great that you are writing and that you feel you are making change, btw.

          • Alicia V. Perez

            I am trying to participate in the discussion but I was immediately bashed and labeled as “whitewashed” and trying to “assimilate.” I was to continue this discussion, I really do, but personal attacks are not valid discourse and you know that.

          • Z.

            I haven’t said anything like that. Stop responding to them, then, and respond to me.

  • disqus_ShQ8ATkl53

    this comes across as insincere. i dont know if youll ever be able to get it, but maybe you should start with taking yourself out of the picture and stop bringing up how you feel wounded. it’s not about you.

  • Seriously?

    How can you say no one is deleting comments when “This comment was deleted.” is all over this post? Ridiculous! You might as well put us all on one side of the internet, segregated and only able to talk amongst ourselves. Should I go to the back of the bus now?

  • b-h

    go home feminspire, you’re drunk and also racist

  • white tears

    thanks for deigning to write us this important letter

  • white tears


  • Force Majeure

    Are we willing to admit that comments are being deleted now? Or is it just Disqus just acting strangely again? This whole situation is so disheartening.

    • B-H

      YUP one of my comments was deleted

  • b-h

    Why are you playing yourself as a victim? Have you not considered who YOU have hurt in any of this? I swear, all of you who manage this site are one and the same, backed into a corner because they’ve been given the TRUTH of their behavior and instead of facing head-on, you try to bring sympathy to yourselves. “omg they were so mean to us ):” “omg but I’m having a really hard time right now ):” “omg people who I used to be e-friends with are now commenting against ):”

    Can you not read? That HAS to be it? Do you just see a wall of text and then decide it’s mean? Because if you had bothered to read the majority of comments before you continually attempted to silence us you would have realized that there were VERY MANY SUGGESTIONS given to you. Instead, you all took to your private message boards and talked about how much of animals WOC are or referred to us as “WOC thing” or even WORSE things.

    Be advised: The idea that you can sweep this under the rug with time is NOT going to happen. This will NOT be a “dot” in the history of Feminspire.

  • Oh

    List of marginalized groups Feminspire has excluded:
    people of color
    LGBT people
    people of non-Western cultural backgrounds
    fat people
    disabled people


    • Lulz


      • B-H

        I HAVE _______ FRIENDS, I CAN’T BE _____ !!!

      • Oh

        Or before they delete it!!!!!

    • HPFan

      So EVERY SINGLE demographic that is not mentioned (or not mentioned ENOUGH, by your standards) in articles on this website is considered to be excluded and discriminated against?? Nowhere do I see articles explicitly, or even implicitly, discriminating against any of the above demographics. Omission of these demographics indicates either ignorance or simply lack of detailed thought into every single demographic of people who have ever existed anywhere, ever before writing an article.This site is staffed by VOLUNTEERS, not paid journalists. They are a FIVE MONTH old site. And for the record, I have seen articles referring to ALL of the above demographics. What is gross is you simply jumping on the bandwagon of this witch hunt before doing your research.

      • Oh

        There is a disturbing amount of heteronormativity on this website. Sex and relationship articles are almost always intended for heterosexual relationships. It’s something that they’ve been called out on (like here: but haven’t bothered to fix, much like when they were called out on being racially exclusive.

        The brand of feminism that Feminspire preaches is extremely Westernized. Given that most of the staff except for I think one writer is Western, I can understand that, but their lack of willingness to educate themselves is disgusting.

        I have seen ZERO articles referring to disabled people so I don’t know where you came up with that shit.

        And any articles that do refer to a demographic listed above is specifically ABOUT said demographic instead of including them in a typical Feminspire piece, and then they shove it in your face like HERE LOOK WE HAVE FAT PEOPLE STORIES! That’s fucking tokenizing and don’t you dare deny it.

      • IH

        I don’t think anyone is trying to say that. And, speaking solely for myself, I can totally sympathize that it feels like a catch 22– you want to be inclusive, but not tokenizing. And Feminspire is a new website, with a volunteer staff, which can make things more difficult. I am sympathetic to all of this, and I am not trying to say that the staff is involved in a conspiracy of oppression.

        However, the website has represented itself as a safe space, speaking for women and to women. To exclude the experiences of many of these women, whether or not it’s done intentionally, is hurtful. It is hurtful because it is a part of a system that consistently oppresses and silences these women, overwriting their narratives with the majority’s ideas. Feminspire is, as far as I can tell, not trying to exclude or discriminate against anyone– but it doesn’t mean they’ve succeeded in being inclusive and not hurtful. We’re hardly asking that the experiences of every person ever be included– that’s a wildly misleading statement. We’re asking that groups (large, common groups) who suffer, through intersectionality, as women and through their other identities, be acknowledged. It is also not as though Feminspire is speaking from a generic point of view– most (not all) of the articles speak *specifically* from a straight, cis, white, able-bodied, neurotypical point of view.

        I do not think the people involved are bad people, but I urge them to be better on this website. Acting out of ignorance is one thing, but they have now had a number of voices (strong, well-reasoned, even polite voices) asking them to please do better, to please try harder. I look forward to seeing them try, and I do honestly believe that they will take this in stride and do better.

        It isn’t my intention to hurt or belittle anyone. I mentioned in a previous comment that I have a disability– it’s not that I feel tragically oppressed by the fact Feminspire rarely writes about people like me (on the contrary, it’s par for the course), but rather that I want and hope for them to be a space for all women. (And I believe the staff feels the same.)

      • Stephanie Turmelle

        SO THEN STOP CLAIMING TO BE A VOICE FOR ALL WOMEN. your fucking aggrandized crusader save the world view of yourselves is the fucking problem. all women do not think the “Real Talk” issues of feminism are curing hangovers and females being misrepresented in video games – and to pretend like these are the the most important issues – even if they are all you are educated enough to write about – is rdiculous and insulting to those whose DAILY experience includes far more adverse effects of patriarchy than having trouble deciding what to buy their feminst friends for “the holidays”……….. these articles don’t translate or encompass everyone’s experience, just because you have someone that “represents” (in your mind) that person on staff. that’s fine – you’re right, they are probably NOT the best people to be writing about the tougher issues, since they do appear largely under-qualified to write about them (or they are willfully ignoring them, rock and a hard place ladies, have to choose one to be…. which is the problem with you being like OH WE’RE GONNA FIX IT. if you are actually capable of fixing the problem, then you really, really fucked up already and it’s grosser than if you just have no idea how to fix it or what the problem is). however the fact that they claim to be a VOICE FOR ALL WOMEN and act like they are addressing the serious issues of feminism / patriarchy is a huge portion of the problem. as a white person, you are affected by partiarchy – every person is – males too – however, not to the degree it affects someone of color, so your struggles are your struggles, and by all means write about them, but stop pretending like they are THE be all / end all struggles of feminism and that if only we could all find just the right holiday gifts or be correctly represented in video games things would be solved. i mean that is just so far fucking removed from many females lives. SO YOU DON’T SPEAK FOR ALL WOMEN STOP SAYING YOU DO

  • Damn

    STOP DELETING COMMENTS good lord. and blocking people

  • chris

    - “We didn’t try to brand ourselves as a feminist resource” with a name like Feminspire? Really?
    - “I can’t begin to express how sorry I am to the readers who felt hurt or excluded by this or other instances of unchecked privilege, ignorance, or silencing in our content.” And yet you deleted comments and, ultimately, your whole Facebook page on which many WOC and allies were voicing valid concerns only to be met with robotic form letter responses if anything at all? It all reeks of unchecked privilege and ignorance (and yeah, we’ve seen what was said on your staff Facebook page, too) and to go and delete those comments and that page was the ultimate silencing. I cannot understand how you would EVER have thought that that was the right thing to do. Frankly, it was disgusting.
    - “openly attacking myself and my staff, commenting on every post we made with insults and taunts.” Yup. That’s totally what happened. You are absolutely the victim here.

    • …..

      Just because something starts with ‘fem’ does not make it feminist…. it makes it a female resource? Not everything female is feminist.

      • mad dog


        yeah i’m not sure why you’re pretending this website name cannot possibly be read in this way

      • Stephanie Turmelle

        lol but their about me does…..

        “What is Feminspire?

        Feminspire is an online publication featuring a global collection of female voices. We are a platform for women to share their thoughts on social issues, feminism, politics, culture, beauty, fashion and everything in between.

        Feminspire came into existence from the realization that there is an enormous and disturbing amount of female negativity on the internet. With so many messages that range from demeaning to judgmental to exploitative, our mission is to create a media website that speaks directly to young women and with them in mind. What makes Feminspire unique is that our content is driven exclusively by female contributors. We know our audience because we are our audience (seriously – not only do we write for Feminspire, but we enjoy reading it, too). And we want to give women a place in the media where they can speak up and have their voices heard.”


        yeah we are so off based by saying they aimed to be a feminist resource. their new web page is called FEMINIST killjoys. shut up

  • Gazel

    Rhiannon et al., stop playing the victim because you are most certainly not the victims here. But what do you expect from white supremacists. You women make me sick, and are poor excuse for feminists. The only reason why you guys would claim to be “inclusive” anyways is to drive more traffic/to get more people to your website, it’s just a bunch of dollar signs and prospect of fame for you all. Because if being inclusive was clearly the main priority here, you would apologize (sincerely), stop playing the victim, and take responsibility for everything that has happened. Not give an insincere fauxpology. If you all claimed inclusiveness and are the people you describe yourselves to be, there wouldn’t be any of this racism and you would all acknowledge your white privilege. But nope. It’s all about the fame and traffic (which we all know in the long run equals money) for you all. Typical.

  • MaitriMehta

    insufferable and racist I literally cannot believe my eyes. how did it take you three fucking days to write this? shameful and hateful silencing speech that totally devalues the experience of POC. shut the site down and learn what privilege actually means. y’all don’t want to ~*~discourse~*~ with anyone u just want to prove yourselves as enlightened more like ENWHITEENED you will never, EVER ever improve b/c you ignore the valid concerns of a minority that you are actively oppressing. embarrassing trifling white girls strike again. ugh. disgusting.

    • Lulz

      Maitri, what do you expect from an “editor” that gets Alisse/another editor to edit and proof-read a letter to someone. (The Talena letter.) Honestly I’m not surprised.

  • SarahSnitch

    I commend you for writing such a genuine and sincere response. I can’t wait to see how this site improves and I am excited to help it do so!

  • Sonia

    Your colonialism jabs were honestly such a low blow. Do you really think WE don’t understand colonialism? Do you think we’ve never witnessed the poverty in our home countries? Do you think we don’t know the hell our parents went through to move to this country? To learn english, to be ridiculed by everyone around them, to take shit jobs and have to re-do their entire educations in order to have any chance of having a life here? Do you think we don’t understand that our parents did this so that we didn’t have to live the horrible like they did in countries that were RUINED by colonialism? Hundreds of thousands of people dead, famines, religious wars, partitions, the list goes on. And our countries will NEVER recover, and here you are benefitting from everything they looted from the rest of the world. Honestly, HOW DARE YOU say such a thing and how dare you make a joke about such a thing. How dare you assume we don’t understand colonialism. We feel the effects every day, our parents felt the effects, our family back home will NEVER NOT FEEL the aftermath of colonialism. You guys are disgusting people, honestly, I am so disgusted right now.

  • Janelle Willis

    I bet you think you’re doing something good with your site. I bet you think you’re empowering women and spreading whatever so called feminism you think is important. I mean this, with utter sincerity, what you’re doing is damaging. What you’re doing is racist. And if being called a racist hurts your very important feelings, stop being racist.

    It’s like you literally have no idea how to start fixing what is wrong with your site, because you can’t wipe the white tears from your eyes to see common fucking sense. Delete your non apologies, and stop half assing statements just because you’re uncomfortable.

    It isn’t about you. It isn’t about your feelings. You’re a group of damaging racist individuals.

  • Oh

    I really like the picture at the top of the page. It really speaks to what you said in this “letter” : nothing.

    • Lulz

      The truest thing that could probably be said about Rhiannon and her flop team right now.

    • S

      damn lmao this shade. i love it

  • Lulu

    Please stop saying you don’t like white girls. What you’re actually trying to say is you don’t like these STRAIGHT, BETTY FRIEDAN-LOVING, white girls.

    White LGBTQ commenters shouldn’t be lumped into the feminism privileged on this site.

    • K

      Not really. If they are racist, they are racist. Yes, I am straight so I am privileged where you aren’t, but even if you are LGBTQ, you still have white privilege and I don’t. Am I saying YOU are one of these idiots? No. But the white LGBTQ people agreeing with the editor don’t get a special pass from being racists bc they are also oppressed.

    • Allison Rossi

      Racism is still racism even if it comes from the LGBTQ community. However, I think this website has been extremely exclusionary to the LGBTQ community, which is a huge problem.

    • sk

      wtf? being part of the LGBTQ community doesn’t exclude you from being racist.

  • Lulz

    Oh yeah, the comments aren’t being deleted… it’s all Disqus! If it were the case why did the comments jump from around almost 300 to 176? Lol plz. Stop trying to cover your racist asses.

    • Alicia V. Perez

      The comments are actually being deleted. I’m a writer for the site, I’m not saying anything that would make my comments be deleted, yet I’m still having a lot of trouble commenting. The server is having a hard time dealing with the sudden traffic, obviously.

      • Lulz

        This never happens on other websites that get much more traffic (and sudden ones at that.) Nice try tho. If there’s one thing the flopinspire team is good at, it’s backtracking, sweeping shit under the rug, and making excuses! xoxoxox

        • Alicia V. Perez

          The sites with much more traffic have better servers. This is a new site, it doesn’t have the strength of an xoJane or other other larger sites.

  • A

    While I do think you’ve gone about everything poorly, I’m still a fan of the site and I hope you achieve your goal of being more inclusive.

  • Erin

    too litle, too late, and this reads as completely disingenous. this is not how you apologize, and you don’t seem to realize how many people you’ve truly hurt these past few days. it’s disgusting that you all seem to be making it about you; how typical. this site should be shut down, to be honest, but at the very, very least, you should all be ashamed of yourselves. REAL apologies are owed; whether they will be accepted isn’t up to me, but it’s the least all of you could do.

  • ruth

    “this whole WOC thing is a mess”…………………………..and ya’ll counted that as SUPPORT? lol. the facebook threads were a real eye-opener, i can say that. just another reason why i’m really not trying to fuck with “feminism” anymore.

  • Yo chicks

    Get a life guys. Go do some homework, read a book and stop commenting on this page.

    Also to all you ignorant “WOC” you are ALL being racist to white people.

    • Alicia V. Perez

      That’s… no women of color here are being racist to white people, please just shut up.

    • G

      No such thing as racism towards white people. If you were all truly “well-read” academics/feminists/sociology majors or whatever you’d all know that. So why don’t you go do some homework. xo

      • Guest

        You can be racist to any race! Get that through your thick head.

        • G

          Go do some reading on power differentiations and race, and go read some discourse about race, go read some critical race theory, and go do some “homework” and maybe you’ll see that you cannot be racist towards white people. Get that through your thick head!

        • G

          There is no racism towards white people – there is prejudice, but racism? No. Go read some white privilege stuff too while you’re at it, then we can engage in this discussion. Until then, you are the one who is sounding like an uneducated (white) cretin. Go wipe your white tears on a kleenex or something.

      • Amanda Mitchell

        Why are you so quick to assume the people criticizing the site aren’t educated or don’t have degrees? That assumption says more about you than it does woc. And just for the record, I know a lot of these girls personally and can verify that we all have degrees. I can even show you a copies of mine if you’re that skeptical about whether or not to actually engage the criticism. Even the writers on this site know that racism towards whites isn’t the same thing and is neutralized by historical context. No liberal arts professor or feminist author has ever made themselves famous refuting that fact. You are actually the one who looks uneducated.

        • G

          I never claimed that the writers of this flop website are uneducated, I am only replying to the people telling us to “do our homework” and some people imply that the WOC who are hurt by the blatant display of ignorance are “uneducated”. This site apparently boasts “educated” women, so surely if the contributors of this website are so well-versed in feminist and social justice discourse then they wouldn’t be so ignorant, or so willingly ignorant.

          I can’t believe you all defend yourselves over and over when there is evidence posted all over here (which is being conveniently deleted, by the way, bravo to you guys for censorship!) showing the ignorance and blatant racism this “team” has.

          Also, just because someone is educated in gender studies or social justice studies does not mean that they aren’t racist, lol. I saw a commenter here saying that all these accusations are ridiculous because they have a degree.

          • Amanda Mitchell

            My bad. I thought you were saying there’s no such thing as racism towards white people sarcastically and legitimately trying to argue reverse racism is a real thing. We’re on the same team.

        • Masha B.

          Amanda, being educated or not educated isn’t as black and white as having a degree or not having a degree. Being able to attend school and receive a degree of any kind is a privilege in and of itself. I’m not disagreeing with you here necessarily, just pointing out that “showing your degree” to prove how educated you are isn’t really what anyone is looking for.

    • disqus_BYDdnRBZSn

      Are you really trying to use reverse racism as an argument because you sound so dumb right now

  • Erin

    keep digging those holes…any benefit of the doubt is now VAMOOSE. fuck this site and fuck all of you

  • ruth

    From the Disqus website:

    “Who deleted or removed my comment?

    Disqus is a service that provides commenting for websites.

    Disqus doesn’t moderate

    We take no part in moderation decisions (e.g., approving comments, deleting comments, or handling disputes among commenters) nor can we offer an explanation as to why a comment or a user account has been moderated. These decisions are made by websites using the Disqus service (the “moderators”).

    Commenting experiences can differ greatly depending on the individual site’s moderation practices/policies. Policies and settings may vary widely between Disqus-enabled sites.”


    (Also, as I’m typing this, the number of comments keeps jumping up then down. But I guess that’s just a Disqus *malfunction* riiight? Shoutouts to the 5 people that will see this before it gets deleted.)

    • Marlena Carcone

      it’s not about disqus itself; it’s about our servers not being able to handle disqus

  • IH

    I’m disappointed. I do not think that the editors or writers had the intention of excluding people, but intent isn’t magical. If you’re at all involved seriously in issues of social justice like the struggle against misogyny or homophobia (which this site pretty explicitly is), you almost have to *try* not to run into discussions about intersectionality and race. The point is that “not thinking about it” or “not knowing” isn’t really an excuse, when running a website like this.

    That said, while I think this issue was handled poorly by the staff to begin with (I mean. I’m sorry, but I’m not sure who thought invoking the trope of WOC as irrational and angry would be a good idea), I feel for the staff, because I don’t know that there is any response they could have made today that would be accepted, and I appreciate that the effort was made. (I can’t see the caps everyone is talking about so I don’t know if they would change my opinion on the sincerity of the apology.) Also, while a vast majority of the comments on the fb page were valid reactions, there were a few comments that were clearly expressions of preexisting grudges with the staff, which didn’t really feel relevant. People messed up– judge them on that, but don’t drag in vague, unrelated hints about dirty laundry in their personal lives.

    (Lastly and briefly, I don’t want to derail into a different discussion but while we’re on the topic of excluded people: as a woman with (an invisible) disability, I can’t help but feel sadly unrepresented on this site as well. I understand the struggle with finding writers who can write from certain perspectives, but I really wish there was more of a voice for women with physical and mental, visible and invisible disabilities.)

    In any case, tl;dr, but I hope that you’re all able to learn from the experience, and look forward to seeing improvements on the website. Hope everyone has a good night.

    • Km

      it’s great to see some mature people on this site who arent jumping to be disrespectful. a nice break from the constant trolling ive been viewing for the last few days.

  • Rosie Wilt

    thanks for deleting my comments you racist shitheads

  • jy
  • jy

    i will copy and paste some of the article because clicking a link is probably too hard for you

    We will expect you to recognise the limitations of the word “sorry” and how it does not justify or excuse your prejudiced or bigoted behaviour or language. Show some of the responsibility you always prattle on about. And, no, you’re certainly not sorry if you’re only sorry that you’re caught.

    We will expect you to learn from your mistakes. Children can learn not to repeat bad behaviour when corrected; we now expect the same of you.

    We will expect you to be responsible for your own ignorance. We’re not your teachers or your parents. You are expected to know what you have the means to learn without us spoon-feeding you. Especially if it can be learned with a little common sense and basic empathy.

    We will expect you to stop making excuses–and we will stop making excuses for you, whatever they are.

    We will expect you to listen to us.

    We will expect you to recognise when we are talking about something that doesn’t involve you. We will expect you not to change the subject into something that puts you centre stage. We will expect you not to talk over us. Again, small children learn this–it’s basic good manners.

    We will expect you to be honest and not to lie about us in order to try and meet your ends or demonise us. This is the malicious act of a naughty child who can’t make a reasoned argument. We will expect you not to throw tantrums because not everything goes your way. We will expect you not to see people not coddling you as “being mean” or “persecuting you.”

  • Jxxx

    As (I would hope) an objective bystander to this situation
    (I have no affiliation with Feminspire and have simply been reading the
    comments over the past few days), I would be interested to know if there is any
    kind of positive outcome that can be achieved out of all this? For those of you
    who were offended by the Feminspire staff’s actions (or lack thereof), is there
    no solution you will accept short of the site being shut down? I personally see
    this as the perfect opportunity for education. I have seen some commenters state
    that they should not HAVE to educate, and no, you should not. But the point is,
    you can. And that could create a positive outcome from an obviously horrible situation.
    Everyone has made their points. And from what I can see, the Feminspire staff
    HAVE apologised. Only they can know if these apologies are truly genuine, for, as
    we all know, tone and intent are very hard to convey via the internet. I believe
    time will tell if the apologies are genuine. All the Feminspire staff can do
    now is attempt to rectify the situation, but it seems that many of you are not
    willing to give them that opportunity. I would ask – do any of you truly
    believe that the Feminspire staff have been maliciously and intentionally racist?
    Because to me, it all seems to stem from ignorance. And ignorance is something
    we can fix. Most of the comments I have read have been intelligently and articulately
    written, and I believe that intelligence and rationality are far greater tools
    in conflict resolution than emotion.

    • TissueForWhiteTears

      Yes, I believe that Rhiannon and her team are intentionally being malicious. If you need some evidence to back that claim, you can check out the screencaps that the people below so graciously provided. And if somehow, by magical circumstances, they’ve been deleted I can happily provide you with some screencaps myself.

    • Niamh

      It doesn’t matter if they were intentionally or unintentionally racist, the fact is that they were called out, but rather than admitting it and apologising, they talked about how upset and offended they were (why is that being called a racist is more offensive to white people than actually being racist is?) and cried about how they were being “attacked” and the whole thing is just one big “oh i’m the victim here stop yelling at me”. WOC have absolutely no responsibility or obligation to educate white people. The resources to educate yourself are all readily available on the internet. It’s not hard.

  • lol

    well, this is embarrassing.

  • giggity

    tits or gtfo

  • anne

    Way to shift the blame away from yourself.

  • freakout

    this isn’t about YOU it’s about WOC and their voices being heard. It shouldn’t “sadden you”. Poor you, people are mad because you are being racist. It’s not THEIR fault, it’s yours. They have every right to call you out.

  • Rachel

    I think you’ve done a commendable job in dealing with this, Rhiannon. You’ve acknowledged the concerns. You’ve apologised. You’ve pledged to make changes. And I ask you all, what more can she do?? None of you seem at all concerned with RESOLVING this issue. Now that you’ve all (ad nauseum) had your say, can we all sit back and see if Rhiannon and her team deliver on her promises instead of continuing to be keyboard warriors?

    • C

      Commendable? An apology where you make yourself out to be the victim is not a real apology. This post and its comments (not to mention the totally out of line things said on the Feminspire staff page) make it evident that the staff STILL doesn’t get it. We’re not going to accept this bullshit “apology” and continued avoidance of our concerns (see the extremely eloquent and calm comment by Z. at the top–why has no one from Feminspire responded or even acknowledged it??) and say “Okay, great, thanks! Let’s see if you deliver on addressing these issues you still clearly don’t understand!”

    • Marlena Carcone

      Thanks, Rachel! We’re definitely working on taking the criticism and using it in a positive way.

      • E

        Marlena I’m going to repost this in hopes that maybe you’ll read it and respond to it.

        I feel like, by going and thanking the commenters who are saying “no, you’re not being racist, you’re being PC” or whatever you’re just distancing yourself from the issue. You guys claim to be acknowledging the racism and problematic things you’re done, so going and saying “wow thanks~~!!!” to everyone who says you weren’t doing it seems backwards.

        • Stephanie Turmelle

          yuuuuuuppppppppppppppppp x246546546546464

    • carolinegormley

      If you’re not the one being apologized to, you don’t really get to decide if the apology was “acceptable” or “commendable”.

  • Anon

    Personally I felt like this site couldn’t be more politically correct.. I guess I’m in the minority here!

    • Marlena Carcone

      well, we definitely know we’ve done some things wrong, but thanks so much!

      • Masha B.

        why are you thanking someone who made a statement that you KNOW isn’t true?

      • E

        I feel like, by going and thanking the commenters who are saying “no, you’re not being racist, you’re being PC” or whatever you’re just distancing yourself from the issue. You guys claim to be acknowledging the racism and problematic things you’re done, so going and saying “wow thanks~~!!!” to everyone who says you weren’t doing it seems backwards.

  • Angela

    I do not rely on any single media site to meet all of my interests and perspectives. So I never expected feminspire to do so. I just happened to find feminspire and was actually pretty excited about its content: many of the issues I am interested in privately and professionally seemed to be covered here and I thought: GREAT, another feminist perspective that looks at things a little differently.

    Now I find that there is a whole backstory – some of it very ugly and very confusing – about how criticism has been made and how it has been addressed or not.

    My suggestion is that for new readers, those comments that have offended readers be posted, along with the main criticisms (some of which are in this string too) as well as Ms Payne’s editorial. It might help if an objective third party could write this up and then post the entire thing. I think it would help all readers and the feminspire team really get a handle on what needs to change and why and even how. It doesn’t make sense to go full tilt into a new writer/editor recruitment strategy or put in place a publication policy that seems pretty excessive without taking a breather and having some distance – for everyone.

    I am a woman of color, born in a colonized, now ‘developing’ country, belonging to that country, working on hard issues pertaining to gender inequality and sexual violence and living in a ‘developed’ country. I am many things, sometimes privileged too, just because I have access to this computer and can type these words. But I also have a range of histories and identities that are not of privilege. And yes, I have a need to see my perspectives reflected honestly and objectively and fairly in the media, but I cannot expect (and do not expect) every article to do so. On the other hand, it worries me that feminspire staff might be dismissive of, or ridiculing other perspectives and therefore entrenching racism or another hierarchy of oppression. As a feminist, I am interested in undoing all oppression, not some. So it would of course be great if this entire situation were used to help us all do more of that, professionally and thoughtfully. Knowing of course, that undoing oppression is a process, not a conclusion.

  • v
  • dana

    rhiannon you are so full of shit with this racist non-apology. do you know what’s unsafe and hateful? SILENCING WOMEN OF COLOR. stop playing the victim. NO oppressed group owes it to anyone to peacefully tolerate oppression and then “lovingly” explain your own racism to your ignorant selves. your website is an actual joke and I wish we could all just write it off but you and your “staff”have been outed for aggressively racist remarks, you have seriously fucked up and need to just STEP DOWN, acknowledge that what you did was wrong, end of story.

  • Dana

    how many times do people have to tell you that reverse racism isn’t real?? the power dynamics of oppression is like, SOC101 and everyone knows y’all are College Educated Twentysomethings!

  • TPierce

    I am sorry and appalled to see this. I submit that it *is* time to deliberately look for writers of color and non-cis experience rather than allow Feminspire to be so exposed if you do truly wish it to be for all women.

    And to those who are angry because the Feminspire people waited several days to respond–I can’t speak for anyone but myself, but when I take a really long time to reply to something, I’m usually getting a grip on my temper, which would lead me to say stupid things I don’t believe (my temper being my besetting sin). It’s just a suggestion on my part, not an attempt to excuse or something anyone should take as anything but an idea.

  • Jasmine

    Hi, everyone. Can I say how ridiculous this post has become?

    I am a proud woman of color, and I do believe we are disproportionately represented on this site. However, I am appalled at how all the readers have been acting toward each other. We’ve taken serious issues like this and turned them into drawn-out squabbles. It’s taking away from real progress, and it literally hurts me to see us this way.

    I have been following this issue, and the way it has played out disheartens me how we’ve handled it. We’ve been a bit insensitive and it’s not becoming of us. Believe me, I know what it feels like to be set off by something insensitive, but attacking the poster won’t help. We need to discuss things, and come to an understanding. Hell, maybe someone just doesn’t realize what they said. That’s our opportunity to tell them and help make the world a little less bigoted. There will be many times when we don’t agree, but we need to try to be receptive to what someone has to say. Calling them racist or cissexist, won’t make them any more receptive to our goals.

    I am not defending potentially hateful opinions. Because of my background, I am sensitive to many of the same issues as you, and some of the things posted deeply offend me. Yeah. It hurts. BUT

    Let’s remind ourselves why we’re here: We’ve come TOGETHER AS WOMEN to create a community where our voices can be heard.

    We’re here for same reason: to ADVOCATE EQUALITY through building a feminist community. Now I ask you, how can we create a place of equity and understanding when we can’t act even act civil to each other?

    • Marlena Carcone

      Thank you so much! We will definitely be working towards the kind of vision of equal and interconnected feminism that you call for.

  • ApatheticAlien

    B****es be all like “you’re being racist” “no you’re being sensitive” “genocide” “colonialism” “rough anal” “we have people who are not as privileged as you but have the internet and as much time as you do to sit on it and cry about how unfair your ‘articles’ are”

  • F

    how many times has a PoC’s being offended by something a white person has said been written off as “they will just be angry no matter what”?…think on these things

  • RD

    I wanted to leave a comment to this but it will just get deleted and ignored anyway since i’m not white so NEVERMIND.

    • Marlena Carcone

      we are not deleting comments, and we are attempting to reply to as many here and on our facebook page as we can

  • M

    Everyone is being way too hard on you and this site, imo. Half of these people are bored social justice warriors viciously attacking you and this site, which seems to be well-intentioned, if not perfect. I don’t think you handled the concerns of WOC and exclusion in the best way, but when its brought to your attention in such a fucking abrasive way, it’s natural to get defensive like ya’ll did. (Btw I’m not saying that someone’s tone makes their argument invalid, but it’s a plain and simple social fact that u will be more well-received if you don’t use a super rude and attacking tone…) The point is, most contributors to this site are white, cis, middle class, etc… IDK what people expect. The fact that you acknowledge this and seem seriously concerned with correcting the imbalance in contributing voices is a better effort than SO MANY blogs and magazines put forth. No one is magically a perfect feminist; it is a learning, ongoing process to reject the ingrained sexism that permeates our society. The best thing you can do is make a conscious effort to include more voices of those groups that have been unheard, which will in turn make the site a more safe space for WOC and more diverse voices will WANT to contribute bc they won’t feel like they are a “token”.

    • E

      They weren’t seriously concerned with it until WOC brought it up for the millionth time, were shut down, and had to keep going at it until Feminspire simply COULD NOT ignore them. Then Feminspire deleted their Facebook page and refused to communicate. A+ handling there.

      Also using “social justice warrior” as an insult on a site that prides itself on it’s social justice views is stupid.

  • Kay

    someone did something that you didnt like? on the INTERNET? oh. my. god. because trolling a feminist website is really a good way to spend your time im sure. nevermind starving kids in africa, aids, rape, and other more important things going on in today’s world. we gotta TROLL PEOPLE. GOTTA TROLL THOSE FEMINISTS.

    you commentors are more disgusting than what’s going on in this site. constantly trolling, insulting, and being pissy little bitchs isnt going to make things better. instead of complaining about the changes this site isnt making, BE the change and write an article. this site accepts articles from volunteer writers, so instead of bitching about how your race/ethnicity/sexuality isnt being represented ever, take the time to write an article yourself and send it in. oh, you dont have time? because the people at Femspire do? they are totally glued to their computer screens everyday writing articles. they have lives outside of this site you know. stop acting like they’re here to cater to your every interest.

    and i love the people saying “[the staff] are giving feminists a bad name.” please, you people are giving FEMALES a bad name.

    • Stephanie Turmelle


      lemme just pick out a few gems from this post
      -starving kids in africa
      -omg discussing things on the internet is so futile that i’m going to…… leave a comment on the internet to have my voice heard about it.
      -trolling = people trying to have a discussion which the moderators of this site claim to be interested in and then calling them out when they refuse all attempts to have it
      -”pissy little bitches”

      no one thinks the staff at feminspire has ANY duty (or business) to speak for ALL women. the thing that is embarrassing is that they claim to when they SO CLEARLY don’t.

  • ER

    I really wish that there were more of a conversation between staff and readers on this page. I really do understand that it can be hard to read critique of a project you care about, and to be told that you haven’t appropriately checked your privilege. It is painful– and it should be. And I understand that seeing a lot of comments with a lot of things to respond to can be overwhelming. But it feels like a lot of the reaction has been coming in one piece statements, with no interactive discussion, and that’s what caused a lot of the problems in the first place.

    It’s a volunteer staff, so not everyone has time to comment, which I also understand. But can’t at least a few writers or editors come and respond and converse and come up with new ideas? Marlena has been doing that a little bit, which is really great, but it also feels like she has responded more to thank supporters than to interact with critics who are making some really valid points.

    Can you post some concrete things you want to do to improve? Comment on how you want to address specific concerns? Please, give us something to show that you are listening, that you know what you did wrong and why it was wrong, and that you want to improve. I want to believe the best from the staff of this website, and I want to believe that they can and actively desire to do better– but the silence here is absolutely crushing.

  • mml

    maybe you think you can just lay low for a while and the POC will forget all about what you have done to hurt and silence them? that is an incorrect belief

  • Zooey Perry

    I think the problem is right in your premise. You want Feminspire to represent “all women” which is a ridiculous, unattainable want. You can’t. Most simply of reasons, because you’re on the internet which is a wholly privledged act in and of itself. You CAN’T please, or represent everyone. If your goal is to “represent every woman” then you have already and will repeatedly fail. This is a problematic goal because, while you should strive to be inclusive, trying to represent “women as a whole” is sort of, actually, really esentializing.

    Your site has failed. It’s failed for more reasons than the ones you’ve listed below. File it under “if a tree falls when no one is around does it make a sound?” because this site, at its core, is a bitching tank for feminists. Which is fine. I am a feminist but I don’t appreciate your effort to represent all women and least of all your effort to represent me. A lot of women a) already do not feel like they are represented by your site and b) don’t want to be represented by your site. Acting and claiming to be the representation for minority voices is not a good thing, necessarily and teeters on both tokenism and speaking for those voices.

    Try to represent yourselves, first. Represent predominitely white, priveleged feminists. Do not speak for or try to represent voices of the people you aren’t. Take stories into consideration, get more women-of-color on the staff but doing this doesn’t fix the problem. A fix to the problem would be to stop trying to represent “all women.”

    Please, stop, you’re hurting us by claiming to be universal.

  • Sarah Mowrey

    I REALLY fucking don’t appreciate that you’re trying to represent all women.

  • EH

    Seriously. If a single staff person is still reading comments here, please, please comment and let us know. Don’t just thank your supporters and defenders. Don’t just encourage us to email you. These conversations need to be had in public. Even if it’s painful, even if it’s difficult, even if there are people who will hate you no matter what you do. The vast majority of complaints here have been valid. By refusing to acknowledge them and engage with your audience, you’re doing an enormous (and slowly becoming irreversible) disservice to this website and to your own reputations. Please. I’m asking. I’m pleading. I wanted to believe that you guys were willing to make changes, but every hour that passes by without a single message– whether it’s just “We’re still here!” or “We’re shutting down the site.”– is further diminishing my respect for and belief in you. Some of us want to help you– why won’t you engage us in conversation?

    I was willing to understand a lot of what happened before as unchecked privilege, obliviousness, and misunderstanding, coupled with an instinctive defensiveness. But this? Not responding here or elsewhere? Why are you doing this? This isn’t the way to conduct yourselves, not if you really didn’t and don’t intend to hurt anyone, and not if you intend to improve this website.

    I’m asking, and I am asking politely and without judgment and with a sincere desire to believe the best from you guys. Please stop proving me wrong.

  • Gigi

    I love feminspire, and whilst I am sure there are some problems it isn’t like they aren’t trying to fix them. Yes, I am part of the white majority and yes, I know that therefore it probably isn’t a problem for me. I know people are angry, confused and sad. But feminspire is great!! I hope that any problems can be sorted soon, I miss feminspire. Everybody makes mistakes, and they are willing to change. xx

  • Cassie

    Still waiting for this site to be shut down

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