F**k Safe Space

by | September 8, 2014

I never heard my mom swear until I was in my twenties. Then one day out of the blue, she said ‘shit’. It was a shock to me, I admit, but what I most remember was the sly smile she had after she said it. She KNEW. My mom was messing with me, and she knew it.

Since then she has been more free with the swear words, but as a child my parents were pretty strict about swearing. I remember being at a friend’s house listening to his family swear like sailors and being amazed, awed even.

According to reports, more than a dozen Carleton facilitators were protesting those rules. Zach Petendra, who self-identified as a facilitator in a tweet, wrote on Twitter that facilitators were wearing the shirts in protest against a restriction on not being allowed to swear.

Uh oh.
I think its more than a little ridiculous to expect university students… many of whom are still teenagers to abide by such a rule. No swearing? Fuck that. It is stupid and parochial. And the students were right to protest it.

Julie Lalonde of Hollaback Ottawa, a group that strives to improve street safety for women, says the idea of protesting the school’s Safe-Space policy is inherently problematic.[..] Lalonde explains the incident is one that speaks to a larger cultural issue regarding sexual violence.

And this speaks to why many people have trouble taking feminists seriously of late. A swear word is not sexual violence. A t-shirt is not sexual violence. Even putting them in the same ball park with sexual violence, regardless of whether your feelings are hurt… fuck that.

Is that problematic? Good. The world is a shitload more problematic than that, and the kids are there to learn… and learn how to express themselves. We should let them.

15 thoughts on “F**k Safe Space

  1. Bubba Kincaid

    Likely more a request for an act of solidarity than them not already understanding your point.

    But let me thank you for them anyway, for your diligent willingness to teach feminists what they might not understand.

    1. Joe Post author

      You’re assuming I was speaking to the feminist thought police… Nah only rational feminists are really worth the effort.
      I was speaking to, and in support of, the kids.

      But it’s always good to know what I really meant. I can be so confused with myself sometimes. You are a godsend.

      1. Bubba Kincaid

        I think you need to learn to separate your crusade against puritanism from your jihad against feminism.

        I mean, I guess if you really want to end up combining puritans with feminists into one massive amorphous blob in your own head, then that is really your own prerogative.

        1. Bubba Kincaid

          but be aware that it will just demonstrate the highly specific and, frankly, remotely rural cultural influence that informs your demeanor.

  2. Eamon Knight

    Most of that Citizen article (and everything I can find about Safe Space on the CU website) is about creating a comfortable, harassment-free environment for incoming LGBTQ students (specifically during Frosh Week, but the rest of the time as well).

    It’s not entirely clear, but it sounds like it’s only the facilitators who are forbidden to swear. There’s obviously more going on than comes through the usual media hack-up, but these people are doing a job, in an official capacity, and just like any other job the institution they represent has the right to require a certain standard of behaviour. If you’re going to use the excuse that they’re “just teenagers”, well they can bloody well grow up now, can’t they? They — like most adults — can learn when certain language is appropriate and when it isn’t. And it’s absolutely inappropriate for them, while on the job,, to publicly repudiate an official policy of the university. Adults understand this.

    And I note that the comment about sexual violence (which is the only connection to feminism that I can see) was made by someone who does not appear to be connected to CU.

    But, hey — let’s not pass up any opportunity to engage in a little feminist-bashing, shall we?

  3. KC

    Oh FFS. Another tempest in a teapot at my alma matter. Thankfully the best thing about University–particularly Carleton University–is that you eventually leave it.

    Both sides deserve some blame here. Whoever made these t-shirts should probably have realized that the statement “f*** safe space” would be interpreted in the broadest and worst possible way and found another way to protest this silly ‘swearing prohibition’.

    But as usual the administration at Cartoon has seen fit to appease the modern day busybody’s who want to frame this action within the larger context of “rape culture”, “white privilege” and “systemic oppression” instead of taking the students on their word that the intent here was a relatively narrow protest against a silly swearing ban.

    If the administration wants to wrap the students on their hand for violating their agreement with the University more power to them, but an investigation, a news release and a promise of “sanctions”? Get a life. Its sad how many times this “story” has appeared in my news feed today.

    1. Bubba Kincaid

      You’re a fucking moron with shit for brains who can’t tell his fucking mouth from his asshole.

      But please, don’t take that the wrong way because I didn’t mean it the way you think I meant it.

      1. KC

        Apples and oranges. “Safe space” is a generic enough term to mean a variety of different things–and is used in different contexts to mean different things, as opposed to your statement that has only one reasonable interpretation

        1. Bubba Kincaid

          Well I still didn’t mean it in the standard interpretation with which you likely think I meant it.

          If you would like to know how I meant, I’ll be glad to let you know.

          1. KC

            Well if you can find room for nuance in your statement you surely must be able to see room for nuance in the phrase “safe space”.

    2. Joe Post author

      KC I think your response to the article I linked to is the most rational and reasonable so far.
      You made some excellent points. Thanks for the comment.

  4. Veronica Abbass

    Eamon Knight says,
    “Safe Space on the CU website) is about creating a comfortable, harassment-free environment for incoming LGBTQ students (specifically during Frosh Week, but the rest of the time as well)”

    Eamon is correct; seehttp://www.carleton.ca/equity/human-rights/sexual-orientation/carleton-university-safe-space-program/

    Now, the question is why didn’t CU call its program Positive Space the way York U does and many other universities do?


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