allowing homophobic assumptions, yet telling me that pointing it out is off topic

In this column on The Vegan View, a presumably straight male talks about how he's had problems with his libido since going vegan. He asks:

I have been vegan for over two months now and have noticed a drop in my male libido. This could be a good thing since I'm pushing 60 and don't need to have as much attention on this as when I was younger. I certainly feel calmer and more relaxed about it now. Guys, what has been your experience: better, the same, or worse? Ladies, have you noticed a difference with your vegan mate?"

I responded, pointing out the homophobia:

Why are you only looking for the experiences of females with male mates? Wouldn't males with male mates have valuable information to share as well?

I didn't actually expect a reply or for my comment to be published verbatim, but thought the editors might at least make note of it, even if just to better edit future such comments. Instead, I got this e-mail reply:


I'm more than happy to publish your reply. But the individual is not going to communicate a response to you through the site so your reply should go beyond your question and actually provide a response to the question asked. Do you have a response for the specific question asked? If so, send it to me and I will include it.

All the best,
Cynthia Mosher
Editor & Publisher

Since my whole point was that I don't have a question, not being a straight female or a male, I reiterated that my point was that the question was addressed to people of my ilk ("ladies," as much as I'm not a fan of the term), and I wanted to point out the homophobia inherent in this. So I abandoned the original snarkiness, and replied to her:

I guess it would be more constructive to phrase it as a comment in that case.

How about...

"While I'm guessing you didn't intend to be homophobic in your question, you might get more feedback if you opened it to all of those with partners with male genitalia, instead of limiting it to "ladies" (for whom this may or may not be the case)."

She wrote back, again totally missing my point:

No, not quite. It would be fine to include that observation but you're not replying to the actual question. Since the question will not be rephrased and run again, the observation alone is not going to be of any contribution to the actual topic.

As I said, we can post your comment but it should include a direct answer to the question asked, not just remark on how the question could be better asked.

So, she's willing to post this guy's homophobia, which isn't on topic for a vegan column, but won't post my comment pointing out the homophobia, because that's off topic? To paraphrase kids on the playground, he started it! If she's willing to publish oppressive assumptions on her site, it's pretty one-sided of her to then decide that responding to them is off-topic. I'd expect that veg*ns of all people would understand oppression, and this editor seems basically professional in her demeanor (as opposed to the veg*n communities I've stopped reading because all they do is wave their superiority flags and scream at anyone with different beliefs, as if that has ever aided progress), but maybe she is after all just a better-spoken version of the veg*ns who won't acknowledge any oppression other than animal oppression. *sigh* Can't we all work together?

EDIT: She just wrote me again, and seems to really not get that he's assumed that all people are in heterosexual pairs:

Read the question again.

No where did he state that he is asking for heterosexual experience. His question is about the effects of going vegan on one's libido. His question to women was about their experience with their vegan mate, which could be male or female. Why are you assuming he is only asking females with male partners? There is nothing in the question that would imply that. Libido is not in males alone.

I don't see the question is homophobic or that VegFamily is perpetuating any sort of oppression.



realsupergirl said...

Ugh, what part of "Guys, what has been your experience: better, the same, or worse? Ladies, have you noticed a difference with your vegan mate?" seems to be anything other than heterosexist?

That woman is a douchebag. I don't even know the site but I won't be going there now.

eeka said...

I just googled her name and found blog post after blog post of people calling her a dictator and whatnot and saying they got banned from various places by her because they rocked the boat.

Molly said...

And the people all said "Sit down, sit down, you're rocking the boat!"

Did I need that in my head?

eeka said...

Also, in a few days, googling her name plus "douchebag" will result in a hit.

Er, I mean, if anyone were to have a reason to google such a thing. Not implying that anyone would or anything.

eeka said...

Oh, god, she really is clueless. She just e-mailed me again:

I prefer to assume the best of everyone, and believe that there is no oppression or exclusion if it is not specifically stated.

I sent an email to the individual asking for him to explain his intent and to clarify if he is asking for heterosexual experience only. I will post that clarification when the answers are published.

There's no exclusion unless it's specifically stated? Let's try looking up what "exclusion" is, now. It's leaving someone or a group of someones out, right?

I never said anywhere that I assume he's actively and intentionally homophobic. I don't reckon that he probably is. But that's how most oppression happens; people act in a way that ignores that certain people exist. And the way we remedy it is by pointing it out. Or, we perpetuate homophobia just like Cynthia Mosher is by denying that it happens and suggesting that the victims of it stop overreacting.