'Radicalizing Content Warnings' and Liberalism of the Gaps
On Reddit the cis-exclusive lesbian subreddit /r/truelesbians and its offshoots were banned as part of a sitewide purge of "gender-critical" content. The rival sub /r/actualesbians is heavily dominated by trans women (take a look at the user overlap for a chuckle). /r/lesbians is also cis-only, but of course it's a porn sub so that gets a pass.
Thus is the power of social media, I guess... Just imagine if facebook had started using "radicalizing content warnings" to folks who have been exposed to trans ideological content:
"You may have been exposed to harmful extremist content recently. Violent groups try to manipulate your anger and disappointment. You can take action now to protect yourself and others. Get support from experts."
I didn't even have to change any words to make it fit from that frame of reference. (violent is a little much, but otherwise... meh).
I think this goes to show just how partisan FB's decisions are and how unacceptable they would be understood as if they engaged in the exact same tactic from a slightly different ideological lens.
But here's the thing, it's hard for me to get invested too much in this kind of thing, or try to extend any broader CW lessons that are more relevant to me, because it's pretty explicitly what I have been calling liberalism of the gaps.
Take a look at a few sample quotes in that thread:
A lot of people suspect that's why the rate of tween and teen girls wanting to trans has skyrocketed -- that cultural harassment, outright misogyny from boys, parents and schools is too damned much...My parents were pretty sexist but not hatefully.
I am wondering if this is driven by a combo of general anger about the relentless social pressure for women to be feminine, hopelessness about that ever changing, and resentment at straight women for conforming to it.
Girls are scared shitless of becoming women because so many boys and men treat them like utter crap...Male peers harass the hell out of girls at school. Teachers and administrators slutshame girls for existing in female bodies. Tons of parents do the same.
Very typical doubling down on blaming heteronormative and traditionalist dynamics causing women to want to opt out.
Look, there's a lot of stuff in that thread about hyper-sexualization in the media, crazy access to porn, even comments that maybe me-too has put sex into too dangerous and traumatic of a framing.
All of that is very agreeable from a traditionalist / conservative framework, but they will never extend that backwards and say, "hey maybe conservative ideas provided important guardrails against the things I am complaining about, even if it came at some loss to my own sexual licentiousness".
The problem is that the very framework that provided all the things they want, also allows for further, and this reads to me, like most liberalism of the gaps as anger that there isn't a "pause button" on ideological conclusions.
I've said before that I too would like to go back to the 90s liberal environment, and when somebody finds a way to codify a stable 90's Amish society, I'll take a look. But I'm not holding my breath, and even that comes with a lot of tradeoffs modern liberals wouldn't want to give up.
So what ends up happening, and what I call liberalism of the gaps is when a liberal doesn't like progressivism, but wants to continue to apply the liberalizing framework that got them moving in the direction they have.
They are some ways down a slippery slope, and don't like what's beneath them, but also don't want to walk back "upslope" at all. So they double down blaming on the paradigms upslope as the problem. They build an idea, I find untenable that past the "bad part of the slope" is a good part again, and it is conservative tension keeping us from sliding on through. So they get to cast their fight with progressivism as another fight with conservativism.
Worst of all, the more they win, the deeper they get into illiberal progressivism, so the more they can blame conservative opposition.
Here's a quote from the thread that I believe illustrates exactly that:
Male lust far too often IS dangerous. Feminists have been pointing this out for decades. I absolutely don't blame girls for not wanting to become women. But the solution isn't transgenderism, it's changing the culture around sexuality and making the world a safer place for women. Critique of transgender ideology has to come hand in hand with feminist analysis. Otherwise you're taking away the only out these girls feel they have.