splinteredstar: (Default)
[personal profile] splinteredstar
I think the way we (in fandom, and social justice, and trauma recovery) talk about safe spaces is.... unhelpful.




the ideal, the goal people sometimes talk about, is making a space safe for everyone. where no one will be triggered by anything or feel unsafe. some people want fandom to be that safe space. I don't think it's possible.

well, let me be more exact. everyone should, absolutely, have a safe space. mine is usually, well, here. we cannot be in battle at all times - we cannot live in conflict and strife. no one has the emotional reserves for that.

the problem is in trying to build a /universal/ safe space.

(and art, which fandom falls under, is unavoidably a universal space. i think that interacting and interpreting media is a universal right, as well as putting those pieces out for discussion with others. self expression is a universal right. though I will acknowledge that "freedom of expression" is a heavy, complicated issue that i can't begin to detangle, so I will add a brief caveat: freedom of expression in a way that will not cause immediate and provable harm to others. measurable harm vs measurable good, as usual.)

i feel like I say this in every essay, but it's still true: /people are complicated/. Intersectionality is fractional - infinitely complex overlaps, no matter how close you zoom in. Everyone has different emotional needs and means of meeting them; trauma and abuse recovery is a different process for everyone who goes through it. Each person has a different definition of safety, and a different set of qualifications for being comfortable in a situation.

And - here's the important part - /some of those definitions are mutually exclusive./ Safety in one respect means danger in another; what is safe for one person is not safe for another. Making a space safer for one may make it more dangerous for a different person.

Let's get some examples.

Expressing anger is an important part of many people's emotional health - it is how people deal with racism and sexism and abuse. People /absolutely/ should have a safe space to express anger without being punished for it or told its inappropriate.

On the other hand, I - as most of you know - am a survivor of emotional and religious abuse, and when I'm fragile, I cannot stand to be around anger. It fucks me up and can make me anxious as hell. Even if it's not directed at me, sometimes i need to be in a space where no one is shouting.

Both of those needs are valid. But they're also mutually exclusive.

An abuse survivor needing to express and share what happened to them and a survivor who gets flashbacks at depictions of it; someone who has an emotional support dog and someone who has a phobia of dogs. A survivor of religious abuse and a survivor of religious persecution; an abuse survivor who needs to see abusers kicked in the face and a survivor who needs to see abusers learn how to be better people.

People are /complicated/ and people have different needs and a place can't meet all of them at once. It's not possible. I think trying may do more harm than not.

safe spaces have to be - individual. personalized. we can't say "these are the standards of safety for everyone" - they have to be adjusted for everyone involved in the situation. Individuals /matter/, and individual needs matter. We all have to build our own boundaries, rather than assuming everyone has the same needs and limits.
 

From:
Anonymous( )Anonymous This account has disabled anonymous posting.
OpenID( )OpenID You can comment on this post while signed in with an account from many other sites, once you have confirmed your email address. Sign in using OpenID.
User
Account name:
Password:
If you don't have an account you can create one now.
Subject:
HTML doesn't work in the subject.

Message:

 
Notice: This account is set to log the IP addresses of everyone who comments.
Links will be displayed as unclickable URLs to help prevent spam.

Profile

splinteredstar: (Default)
splinteredstar

June 2017

S M T W T F S
    123
45678 910
11121314151617
18192021222324
2526272829 30 

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Jul. 26th, 2017 02:25 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios