Our Shared Shelf discussion

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Miscellaneous > What is going on with OSS?

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Agnes Szalkowska | 373 comments What going on with OSS?
I notice we got less comment, less conversation then before. And my question is why ?. Is so much to talk about.
Doing my own research about the feminism and gender equality. I found lot of new information which we could discuss. Every day is a something new to understand and to fighting for.

I got feeling that this book club lost spirit and hope.
Remember never win war without winning few battle first.

I love OSS I meet lots of fantastic people with the same passion . Plus it wake up my passion for wonderful books . ( I was reading before but not the smart stuff :) )

They call us the biggest book club ever, but are we really?
From my calculation is only 90% of OSS members only sign up on the forum not leaving even one comments on any subject in 3 years. And how many people actually read any book suggested by OSS? Looking on the activity on forum not many.

I get it not all of you have time to do every day and comments. I know that you read other books as well, that you can be busy sometimes.
I know all of that because my life is pretty busy as well. Working on night is not helping .
And I read a 10 books a month so yes that can be difficult.
But think about that is 223k members here so if any post something on OSS ounce in the month was be pretty busy .

My theory is that most of the members thinks this is a fan club forum of Emma Watson. That they will be chatting with her. That would explain the absence of many members.
Don't get me wrong I understand that most of you are here because you are the fans.
But you need to know that not everybody join to OSS because of the fan thing. Those members are actually passionate about feminism , gender equality. They want learn , educating themself about this subjects hear some option from people from other cultures, others country . We keep learning whole life.

I believe that Emma is somewhere in the world fighting right now in the name of feminism. We can try help her and help ourself. Is all about the future children , women , men and yourself when you old and grey.

But we need to find solution how we can fix, improve OSS. This is question to members and to moderators. I know some of Mods try to fix things but remember with only two links we don't make a chain .
And honesty if you don't want do this fine, but remember is lots of people who is passionate about this cause.

Is lots of ways to fight that , online , in marches . But everything start from knowledge and facts.
And this forum is about finding yourself, and understand others.

I hope I don't offend anybody.

Peace, out


message 2: by Florian (last edited Feb 16, 2019 06:04AM) (new)

Florian | 133 comments 👆😞👍
Thank you Agnes, you found the words. I am glad you wrote them down. Haven't look at any other threads because I am afraid. Yes, I fear answers for now! Just writing a few words here, because you planned to post this and I wanted to show my support to you and to the essence of your message. Well said and once again thank you!


message 3: by Robert (new)

Robert Smart | 297 comments For me personally I just have not had the time that I used to have to be here as well as read at the pace of the group.

Am I upset about that? Yes I am!

I also feel that a lot of people have grown outside the confines of OSS and what it had/has to offer and I don’t mean that in an insulting way. It just shows that OSS has done and continues to do it’s job which was to give people a starting point and help them upon their journey.

I have met some incredible friends here those friendships have grown outside the confines of the digital group world and into the real world. My life would now not be the same without them.

Do I feel something needs to change on OSS? Yes.

Do I know what that end all be all change should be? No.

How can you make people take part in discussions?

How can you make people read the books or even know if they are reading them?

How can you eliminate fandom for feminism?

I could go on but I won’t.




I guess this is a “Roll Call”!


We need more input from anyone who reads these discussions and have commented in the past and present and those that read them and wish that they had the courage To comment and moderators as well.

The table is open.....


message 4: by Sierra (new)

Sierra | 39 comments I read the books almost every month, but find the discussions overwhelming and with not much back and forth discussion within the thread.

I’m in an instagram bookclub and it’s smaller (15 people tops) and we read a certain amount every week (my least favorite aspect since I only like to read one book at a time). We read at the same pace so that when we have discussions in a group chat, we don’t have any spoilers and the chapters are fresher in our mind so we have more meaningful discussions.

Maybe if we did small group discussions like that somehow? I’m not sure, but it is the first idea that comes to my mind.


message 5: by Frances (new)

Frances (FrancesAB) | 23 comments Here's my take: I joined to discuss the books, and get suggestions for new feminist books to read. On the side, I'd love to meet a like-minded community to discuss ideas, but mostly I'd like to talk about the books.

I don't want to buy new books-it's expensive and I'm trying not to buy new stuff for environmental reasons and to reduce clutter. Unfortunately many of the books are recent publications which are not easy to get from the library or find second hand (this may have changed, I've stopped checking recently). We don't get much lead time on the book of the month so by the time I get the book, people have moved on to discussing something else.

The discussion is somewhat disorganized-there will be multiple threads set up and I find it hard to know where to read/post. I assume that this is to allow a more open feel to the site-anyone can start a discussion thread and it's very member-driven, but unfortunately that makes it hard to find things. This also means there is a lot of talking-lots of reviews and personal opinions-but not a lot of discussing.

Please bear in mind that these comments may be out of date-I have to admit that I'm one of those that has kind of abandoned the site as it was overwhelming, I just saw this discussion thread come up in my feed and checked it out.


message 6: by Frances (new)

Frances (FrancesAB) | 23 comments Sierra wrote: "I’m in an instagram bookclub and it’s smaller (15 people tops) and we read a certain amount every week (my least favorite aspect since I only like to read one book at a time). We read at the same pace so that when we have discussions in a group chat, we don’t have any spoilers and the chapters are fresher in our mind so we have more meaningful discussions."

This is what is done in my other Goodreads bookclubs and it generates an interesting a lively discussion about the books. I'd love to see this here too.


message 7: by Sandra (new)

Sandra | 220 comments i joined because i've been a feminist since i was in my early 20's (i'm 71 now), and i wanted to see what the state of this movement is like 50 yrs. later.

it has been heartwarming to see all the young people here, to hear their perspectives, and to know that feminism is alive and well, even if not too valued or accepted still by some.

unfortunately, i've not read the books suggested. i suffer from complex ptsd, and the issues written about are often too intense for me to bear witness to. therefore, i haven't joined in the book discussions.

however, there have been some wonderful topics explored since the beginning of oss, and i have taken part in them. the past 2 yrs., tho, i've been sick, so haven't had a lot of energy to participate here.

i know from the beginning there were a lot more people signed up than taking part in discussions. i understand the fears of being judged or disagreed with - there have been some heated discussions along the way - and perhaps some people have simply disappeared, or gone elsewhere.

i don't know what could be done differently. i do know that i've been glad to be a member, have learned from others, and have been able to share some of my experience as well. thanks to everyone who has been a part of this.


message 8: by Ana Paula (last edited Feb 17, 2019 05:51PM) (new)

Ana Paula (anapaulacordeiro) | 32 comments Hello All,

Happy to have found a voice again (thanks Agnes and Florian for offering up the challenge), I had been meaning to participate for a few months but didn't manage to come up with anything insightful to offer - this thread is the perfect remedy for that feeling.

I'm afraid I might come across as one of those people that got bad rep (no sweat, i mean it in a fun way) recently. I joined out of curiosity about Emma Watson. I participated a bit, then I fell off. I scan the emails digest, but not all and not always. I don't keep up with the books, I haven't logged in for months. In short, I suck. Still, hear me out.

In my mid-twenties I was an intern at a women's-only art studio. It was my first (and only) experience living outside New York City after I had migrated from Brazil. To my startling surprise, there was a click I was supposed to fit in. Quickly we found out I did not fit in - too foreign and too much of newyorker at the same time. Without an existing support system, I spent six months part of a feminist organization that had its own toxic gender dynamics, complete with a passive aggressive power structure and racism to boot.

I survived (literally, i didn't have a car and they would have had me starve as we were in the countryside) thanks to a set of wonderfully mature and inclusive women I also met while I was there. So one may say balance was restored, but still - that was my first interaction with the world of feminism, as I grew up in rural Brazil and those were things we saw only in the movies, if anything.

If it had not been not Hermione Granger, I might have kept a wide berth.

But here I came, and how refreshing was to be in (about oh maybe 3 years ago). I particularly enjoyed the intersectionality of it all, and how all genders became some sort of a sibling bunch in this platform-field, how when a traumatized woman spewing hate was replied kindly but firmly by other women, while when a troll popped in the guys where ready to put it in his place. It was a good place to be during 2016-election nightmare.

The thing was, after that, it got so much harder to keep up with the pace of the world. I was never much into news, I don't have a desk job, and I didn't have a Twitter account until then - minute-by-minute developments are not my cup of tea. But I had to adjust. I want to participate, if anything just to bear witness. There is just too much at stake. Post-2016 has been one continuous crisis.

Then the need of balance, the body imperative to go offline before my forehead sizzles. So few hours in the day, and I still have to manage to get good sleep. What was sacrificed. OSS, I'm afraid.

What to do: all the comments above offer something I can copy and paste.

Agnes said:
My theory is that most of the members thinks this is a fan club forum of Emma Watson. That they will be chatting with her. That would explain the absence of many members.
Don't get me wrong I understand that most of you are here because you are the fans.


Let us please not throw away the baby with the bath water. I totally hear Florian when he ranted about "followers" on the other thread but but but, not everybody everywhere has the education and exposure to information that many of you brilliant members here have. Draw that line, and the word is elitist (sorry for hitting below the belt ;-/). So yeah, I don't think it is undermining to have someone who is a powerhouse of goodness and intelligence who is also charismatic enough to gather people in from all walks of life. And if there is a little of an addictive effect rippling through when she does participate - ok that can kind of stardom/suck but another way to look at is, how great is it that we are all in the same place? I didn't expect to chat with Emma when I joined, but it has been inspiring to feel how internet can be actually inclusive (along with a whole bunch of not so constructive things like inciting genocide). Same when a moderator participates in the discussion as a person with an opinion, who like the rest of us struggles to articulate a complex thought. When I first joined a moderator called Ana offered so many great takes on heated conversations. May I offer that as both a token of appreciation and a suggestion, that I hope moderators could mingle in beyond their call of administrative duty?

Frances said
I don't want to buy new books-it's expensive and I'm trying not to buy new stuff for environmental reasons and to reduce clutter. Unfortunately many of the books are recent publications which are not easy to get from the library or find second hand (this may have changed, I've stopped checking recently). We don't get much lead time on the book of the month so by the time I get the book, people have moved on to discussing something else.

Me, I can't keep up with the reading list. Mainly because I don't buy books to read - I buy books after I read them, if I want to keep them. For two reasons: I believe in libraries, and I avoid consuming. So while the New York Public Library, which is a great system, finds a copy that I can borrow, I end up skipping the discussions.

What could do wonders for me to keep up: if a planned list for, say, the next six months was announced. That way I could scramble through the waitlists and scavenge the second-hand stores and be (hopefully) ready for it when it comes.

Sierra said
I’m in an instagram bookclub and it’s smaller (15 people tops) and we read a certain amount every week

If I could plan in advance which books to search for, then I would also like this idea of allotted reading parcels for the discussion time. I agree, sometimes the conversation gets too intense. Maybe having smaller bits to digest could help us all to stay in the same place?

As the Brazilian educator Paulo Freire said, to be human is to be unfinished.
OSS is a work in progress.
Thank you all, thanks a lot.


message 9: by Frances (new)

Frances (FrancesAB) | 23 comments Ana Paula wrote: "Hello All,

Happy to have found a voice again (thanks Agnes and Florian for offering up the challenge), I had been meaning to participate for a few months but didn't manage to come up with anything..."


Very well said, Ana Paula!


message 10: by Agnes Szalkowska (new)

Agnes Szalkowska | 373 comments Wow thank you for yours comments brilliant people. Now is time for some Mods point of view . Come out, come out wherever you are ;) .


message 11: by Mina (new)

Mina Mino-Matot | 2 comments You’re right. And I totally agree with you. I’ve been trying to find some good books about feminism for some time now. I think it’s important to keep talking and having thoughts about it, because it will not disappear from the world we live in, unless we all try to find how to get gender equality and how to make people change their mind about wrong ideas of what feminism really is about.


message 12: by Sarina (new)

Sarina (InquisitiveOwl) | 21 comments For me, I can’t keep up with the reading list. Most of the selections are not available at my local library and I do not have the financial means to buy them myself.


message 13: by Kate (last edited Feb 18, 2019 08:47AM) (new)

Kate (kate29) | 38 comments Hi,
I hear your point - I agree especially December discussion was pretty quiet - I personally still need to catch up on Dec book(s) as I had a lot going on then.

To discuss ways to “re-invigorate” the chosen book discussion:
I used to be in offline book clubs and some were great (others not so), the good ones often had a leader (we rotated the role sometimes) and the books were chosen by the leader and they gave about 3-5 questions or themes to think about while reading so at the meeting we could discuss or raise other questions).

This group is rather large so a typical book club back and forth experience may not be possible...and that has its pros and cons. But I think with some suggestions perhaps this can work out.

One idea is to have a 3 to 5 questions or themes to posed to us (by whoever selected the book) before we read - then create a thread to discuss the questions (maybe one thread per question and try to keep the conversation on topic and flowing) obviously that puts more effort (and time) on the moderator’s volunteer role to drive that - but maybe that can be divided around the team or seek more volunteers?)). It seems the more vocal discussions were from books that were easily accessible in the libraries/e-book/second hand sources.

What are your suggestions?

Also has anyone had experiences with other large online celebrity book clubs like Oprah’s or Reese Witherspoon’s?
Do they have meaningful book club discussions or not? If yes, what can be learnt from their groups?

Anyway - I appreciate the efforts of Emma Watson and OSS volunteer team (thank you!) and I mainly look to this group for broadening my reading so I personally am not frustrated but I can appreciate others wanting a bit more of a interactive discussion experience.


message 14: by Mara (new)

Mara Gausinet | 8 comments Hi everybody!

Personally, I have no time right now. I'm finishing my degree and this year is the last one so it's so hard.

I try to buy the books or, at least, I'm trying to follow the conversations and I still find this very interesting and very helpful but I'm an student and I cannot buy all the books (I wish, believe me) and english is not my native language (as you can see) and it's tough finding all this books in spanish.

It's true that we can read in english but sometimes it's pretty difficult and we cannot get all the books.

The deliveries from UK and USA are so expensive. I think that some people have the same problems.

And maybe we can feel a little bit the absence of the moderators and Emma Watson (and I'm not talking about the fandom, if you want fandom go to see Harry Potter). Maybe we need more discussions, more competitions and more participation from them.

I feel that there's no communication between them and us, or at least, not as before

I think that we should do our best and try to understand the others and we can try to do another suggestions.

Thanks for the discussion :)


message 15: by Jo, Our Shared Shelf Moderator (new)

Jo (Jo_9) | 329 comments Mod
I have been reading this thread for a few days, I wanted to wait until there was a good amount of replies by various people before adding my own thoughts.

Sandra, I really appreciate your honest response and I hope your health picks up! I'm rooting for you.

Ana Paula, your well thought out and honest post is truly appreciated! I would like to add a bit on to one of your points...

Members who joined here because they are a primarily a fan of Emma should NOT be shamed into thinking they shouldn't be here. Emma wants this group to be INCLUSIVE. Nobody should feel like they do not belong here simply because they are a fan of Emma - that would be ridiculous. You can be both an Emma fan AND a vocal feminist.
It must be said that in my 3 years of moderating, it is actually quite rare to find people coming here just to create a post declaring their love for Emma, so to suggest that people see this as a fan club for Emma is pretty far off the mark I think.

I am not saying this group is perfect, I completely understand many people's frustrations with various aspects of it.
We (as moderators) are here to listen and try and make your experience here as enjoyable as possible. You should always feel free to message any one of us, even if you just want a rant about something - our job is to feeback your thoughts, don't sit in silence if something is bothering you - let us know!

If you want to put your ideas /thoughts/opinions forward, whether positive or negative, then I for one welcome you all to voice your opinions here, or if you would prefer to do it privately - my PM's are always open. :)

Jo x


message 16: by Helen (new)

Helen (helen2U) | 298 comments Jo wrote: "I have been reading this thread for a few days, I wanted to wait until there was a good amount of replies by various people before adding my own thoughts.

Sandra, I really appreciate your honest r..."


Big THUMBS UP to that! I joined because I have been following her via emma-watson.net and joined on the group's first hour and grateful for what it is, a learning tool for me.

I'll always keep some eyelashes on it to see what is added.

I love that you keep your inbox open for feedback and personally know you reply as well.


message 17: by Charlene (new)

Charlene Morris | 78 comments I think November/ December 2018 was hard just because there were so many books.

I know that I read 2 of them but didn't participate in the discussion as I was disappointed in one of the books.


message 18: by Jess (new)

Jess (jessicameaney) | 9 comments I am a bit of a lurker so wanted to comment on this one :) I read almost all of the books (couldn't get through a couple but I have tried them all!). Sometimes I don't read them for a few months afterwards depending on library availability.
I don't really get involved with the online discussions for the books because I found initially that there were just too many comments... maybe that has changed now and I haven't been paying attention :) But to read through the entire thread would take such a long time, and then I'd usually find someone making a point or thought I had come up with, so didn't see the sense in repeating what has been said previously. And also the number of notifications/responses after making a comment I found off-putting. Of course you can turn off the notifications but then miss the responses, which makes it harder to have a discussion.
I don't think there is anything especially wrong with the format, but that is why I personally don't get very involved with the discussions online. It's definitely not you, it's me :) :D
I still enjoy reading all of the books and will read through some of the discussions, or watch the author interviews or read the links others have shared. This may not help with re-igniting the fire of the group, but the sheer number of participants is both a strength and a weakness in terms of stimulating discussions online. I do like the suggestion above of discussions questions for the books rather than one long thread of reviews/what did you think, which can turn into an overwhelming amount of reading!


message 19: by Meelie, Our Shared Shelf Moderator (new)

Meelie (meelie_) | 1400 comments Mod
To echo Jo’s thoughts, there may have been literally a couple of posts at best, of people asking for Emma and writing publicly on here to her, but that fizzled out relatively quickly!

All I know now, is that there are over 220k likeminded individuals who are here solely for the books.

My inbox is also open, and the whole point of being a moderator is to be able to be open and willing to take on your voices of concern. We’re not robots, we’re real people too, and I think we’re pretty empathetic? Well, I always try to be! My inbox is open also, and I’ll always try and get back to people as soon as possible.

In fact, I am writing this in the bath as we speak...
😂 (it’s been a long day!!)


message 20: by Kristen (new)

Kristen (dressagerider) | 1 comments Hi Everyone,

This is my first time participating in the Our Shared Shelf book club, and I really enjoy reading about feminism from diverse perspectives.

Some thoughts that I have about the book club is that while What British Muslim Write is a very eye-opening and important read, it was very difficult to acquire the book. Perhaps the person who chooses the books could check on how many copies of the book are in print and/or how accessible the book is for participants prior to selection. If the selector finds that the supplies may not meet demands, perhaps they could choose a more readily available book.

I agree with Kate's suggestion that a representative from Our Shared Shelf create "3 to 5 questions or themes to posed to us (by whoever selected the book) before we read - then create a thread to discuss the questions (maybe one thread per question and try to keep the conversation on topic and flowing)." That would not only help me with participating more on the discussion board, it would also help me better engage with the readings. I also think Sierra had a great suggestion with everyone "reading a certain amount every week." One of the reasons that I did not participate in the discussions was that participants were discussing stories that I hadn't yet read, and they seemed very far ahead of me. To account for people's different reading paces, maybe there could be a combination of guided discussion by the moderators and open discussion by participants. Thank you Agnes for opening the discussion and Our Shared Shelf for listening.


message 21: by Sandra (new)

Sandra | 220 comments Jo wrote: "I have been reading this thread for a few days, I wanted to wait until there was a good amount of replies by various people before adding my own thoughts.

Sandra, I really appreciate your honest r..."


thanks, jo. i appreciate your well wishes.


message 22: by Shana (last edited Feb 19, 2019 12:51AM) (new)

Shana Kaplan (sek1128) | 88 comments Thank you to the moderators for their spot on answers and making everyone feel welcome. It's one of the things I love about OSS.

I have been a member of OSS since its first day, before the club had a name or any moderators. The club reached 100k members in a very short amount of time and it became clear that moderators were needed. Over the 3 years, Emma and the team of moderators have done a phenomenal job keeping the club organized and making sure that this was a club where Everyone was welcome.

There are various reasons why someone decides to become a member and whether or not they are active in discussions. Here are my reasons for joining and why I am not currently active in discussions.

Emma Watson is a person I highly respect. I’m much older than her so I watched her grow up. I’m proud of the woman she has become and happy and grateful that she found a way to channel her platform to help make this world a better place for everyone. We share similar interests and values and she inspires me. I have always been a feminist but was not very vocal about it. That changed after Emma helped to launch HeForShe. It encouraged me to become more vocal and I wanted to learn more about feminism and ways I could help advocate. I joined the US National Committee for UNWomen, a non-profit organization that advocates and raises funds for UNWomen programs. As a USNC member, I have met like-minded people and have participated in marches, volunteered at events, and attended panels on various Feminist topics. My joining USNC for UNWomen was a good beginning of my feminism journey but I wanted to broaden my mind more. So when Emma launched her book club, I joined in the hope to increase my knowledge on feminism through reading and conversation.

Most of my activity in OSS has been in reading the books. I have enjoyed most of the selections since year 1 and I am learning a lot. I thank OSS for introducing me to intersectional feminism and teaching me about the importance of learning about feminism across different cultures. In regards to my lack of participation in discussions I find that it’s a result of a combination of not being a fast reader and being busy. Not reading fast is the reason I never joined a book club before. I was always afraid of not finishing quick enough to be able to contribute to the group. I found it very helpful making the club bi monthly. I have read all the books at my own pace. Unfortunately, it means sometimes missing out on current conversations and submitting questions to authors. This is of course something that is my problem and not something wrong with the group. I was just thinking of how I managed to make deadlines at school (I mean, I successfully earned a BA & MS for goodness sakes). Lol I guess since the required readings were planned in advance and listed on the syllabus given at the start of term, I was able to get a head start on reading. Of course a public book club is a different medium than a private class so I’m not sure how far in advance the selections are planned or if an advanced list of the selections is even possible.

Trying to read faster and making time to participate are goals I'll set for myself as a member. If I think of any ideas for improvements for the group I'll share them.

Thank you again to the moderators and Emma for all your hard work in making OSS such a great club. :)


message 23: by Jo, Our Shared Shelf Moderator (new)

Jo (Jo_9) | 329 comments Mod
Thanks Shana :) I was just thinking the other day that I hadn't seen you here for a while. No pressure from us to come back if you are busy, we will be here for you when you get more time ;-)


message 24: by Shana (new)

Shana Kaplan (sek1128) | 88 comments Jo wrote: "Thanks Shana :) I was just thinking the other day that I hadn't seen you here for a while. No pressure from us to come back if you are busy, we will be here for you when you get more time ;-)"

Thanks Jo. That means a lot and its nice to be remembered. :)


message 25: by Rachael (new)

Rachael Hanakowski (rachaelhanakowski) | 40 comments Jo wrote: "I have been reading this thread for a few days, I wanted to wait until there was a good amount of replies by various people before adding my own thoughts.

Sandra, I really appreciate your honest r..."


Hi guys,

Jo, thanks for your comment on here and to Meelie too. You ladies are great!

I guess for me what I find challenging is reading one or two books within a few weeks. They are, like has been said, typically new publications which I think puts lower-class individuals at a lower likelihood of being able to read the books. I know this is true for me! So my suggestion is that the OSS Team work on finding some old gems for us! :)


message 26: by Sabrina (new)

Sabrina Tb | 3 comments hello! my name is Sabrina and I joined the group a few months ago. I haven't been able to write and give my ideas and thoughts on topics and books because school takes up a lot of my time ( I'm in the last year of high school). And as a student, I don't necessarily have the money to buy every book, I've only been able to read The Handmaid's Tale and I just finished it in January. I was deeply moved by this book and it made me think a lot, but as I've only recently joined and started reading feminist books, I fear that my opinions aren't very valuable. I cannot find the words to express myself here so I don't really take part in discussions. I have a lot to learn but when I feel ready to share my ideas and opinions I will be more active here. Thank you


message 27: by Meelie, Our Shared Shelf Moderator (new)

Meelie (meelie_) | 1400 comments Mod
Hi Sabrina!

It’s okay to not know everything. Part of the reason the club was created was to cultivate discussions and in a way, provide learning materials... by that, I mean I’ve learnt a lot from the other members here! The good thing is that most of the members here are willing to help, so don’t be afraid to speak up or ask questions!
😊

Meelie


message 28: by Ashley (new)

Ashley | 180 comments When I first joined OSS, I was extremely active, even if I wasn't always commenting, I checked the forums at least three times a day and enjoyed reading the discussions. Often, anything I would have to add to discussions had been said by someone else, but I did try to contribute where I could.

More recently, I've fallen out of that as it became less about discussing and more about screaming opinions at each other (from my perspective). 2018 discussions seemed to be less inclusive to me, especially as we got into more specific issues, rather than broader topics. I often was left feeling like I wasn't allowed to have an input unless it was pure sympathy or empathy. I felt I wasn't allowed to share my perspective on issues. I guess, put simply, I didn't feel like I was being included in the discussions, rather meant just to accept and digest what was being said (or blindly agree to whatever was being said). So I stopped participating in the discussions as much. I tried to still read them, and I still regularly check the forums for discussions that interest me, but I don't normally post too much any more.

I do try to read every book suggested by the group. Since joining, the only book I haven't read from the group is Eloquent Rage as there were three books for that period, but I do plan to get to it. I have also been reading the books the group had suggested prior to my joining. I believe I only have two or three left to be completely caught up.

As for it being a fan club for Emma Watson, you may have a point, but, as you even said, not everyone is here (or stays) because of that. I found OSS because of Emma Watson, but I joined and stayed because of the feminism. I joined to learn and immerse myself more in feminism and I stayed to continue that.

I will admit, I love when Emma Watson announces and chooses the books and am a little sad when it's not her (though I understand she doesn't always have time for it). It just makes it feel a little more special than just a book club choice, but that's just me.

I think what it really came down to for me was a feeling of being drowned out, expelled, and not heard in forums. That's why I stopped commenting so much. But I still read the books and read the forums that that I'm interested in the discussion. I don't know if any of this answers your question or helps at all, but I thought I'd give my two cents.


message 29: by Cyn (new)

Cyn | 66 comments I've been in this group for a year or so, and as a matter of factm I tried to be as active as possible. These last couples of months have been quite hectic for me (been working a lot, had many power cut outs, been going through some family issues), and for some extremely weird reason, I cannot access to the comment box on my app from my cell phone (though I have already complained to Goodreads a lot of times since the last update), so whenever I want to comment on something, I have to do it from my computer at home.
Also, I haven't been able to get these months' book, so I couldn't join the latest discussions.
I'll try to be more active as the year goes by (hoping I'm able to get the next books!).


message 30: by Sandra (new)

Sandra | 220 comments Ashley wrote: "When I first joined OSS, I was extremely active, even if I wasn't always commenting, I checked the forums at least three times a day and enjoyed reading the discussions. Often, anything I would hav..."

this was really sad to me, to hear that you didn't feel included, ashley. i know some of the discussions were outside my range of experience, so i didn't participate in them. however, i think everyone's voice is important here when they feel comfortable enough to participate, no matter what their perspective.


message 31: by Sabrina (new)

Sabrina Tb | 3 comments thank you Meelie!


message 32: by Elke (new)

Elke Birngruber  | 16 comments I have the same opinion as shana Kaplan.


message 33: by Agnes Szalkowska (new)

Agnes Szalkowska | 373 comments Again thank you all for . Comments that is very helpful. I waiting for more ;)


message 34: by Keith (last edited Mar 04, 2019 11:14AM) (new)

Keith | 640 comments I have thought carefully about making comment on this thread, but finally decided that if I upset someone’s sensibilities it’s no longer my problem - you either agree, disagree, or, like me, no longer really give a toss

Like a few others, I made comment after comment over a range of topics that were not necessarily within my purview (after all, I am the archetypal cis married white male). Hopefully I had the ability to embed discussions in context, be that either social or historical, based on my life experience.

So, what went wrong?

I think the bottom line is that I stopped caring - not about feminism or equality or anything else relating to dismantling systems that cause harm to the human spirit - but about OSS itself.

I appreciate OSS is just a book club and that, in reality, it is not a force for change and that it was always likely that interaction between members would fade away over time. However, the book selections over the last few months have really narrowed down the options for comment.

To put it bluntly, unless you are:

American;
Black;
Lesbian;
Muslim
(Or any and all of the above)

Your opinions didn't count and, as importantly, were not requested.

Many have quoted Audre Lorde in their posts, but the passages that stick out for me are the ones that accuse men of wishing to destroy womankind (men are the enemy) and of her wish to reciprocate. (I am well able to selectively pick out themes as well as any other member can).

The undercurrent to me was that the author’s opinion was cast in stone and not to be criticised. Well, you could, but be prepared to be accused of racism, bigotry, sexism etc.

Women have all sorts of issues that need to be overcome, but shutting down debate because it does not suit a narrow point of view helps nobody.

I want to see and read books written by and about those who are marginalised in our society, but, sorry, the ones chosen for OSS are not the ones for me.

I still read the books and peruse the discussions, but find nothing that really inspires me to comment (actually, not true; the pro-life v pro-choice thread is one of interest but it seems to be of little interest to other members – is there anything more important for women as a group than their health?)

I do hope that OSS gets through this lean period, whether or not I am actively involved. I have met some wonderful people through this book club and would not give up those friendships for anything and, because of that, I will always be grateful.


message 35: by Sandra (new)

Sandra | 220 comments Keith wrote: "I have thought carefully about making comment on this thread, but finally decided that if I upset someone’s sensibilities, it’s no longer my problem - you either agree, disagree, or, like me, no lo..."

interesting comments, keith. i was glad to read them.

i, too, have tuned out several 'feminist' offerings, including tv and movies because of the underlying 'men are the enemy' train of thought that seemed to intrude into the discussions.

i find no honor in a closed mind.


message 36: by Agnes Szalkowska (new)

Agnes Szalkowska | 373 comments I appreciate your honesty . Don’t worry you doesn’t hurt anyone telling the truth. That why I created this post to hear your point of view.


message 37: by James (new)

James Corprew | 577 comments Autumn wrote: "Keith you hit the nail on the head. The things you're discussing resonante with me a lot. One of the reasons I don't label myself a feminist is because many of the loudest and most popular voices i..."

I can totally relate to this even though i know it doesnt speak to the broader movement. But never the less, its out there regardless and often times gets swept under the rug without really addressing it. It can be problematic especially for guys such as myself.


message 38: by Sandra (new)

Sandra | 220 comments we have 'women's month' going on here in the states right now. is there a 'men's month'?

while it may be true that there have been a lot of things done by women which haven't gotten recognized in the past, i don't understand why we have these certain 'months' for various genders and races, yet there are a lot of men out there who have contributed to equality, including racial, sexual, gender, and the like who also have gotten swept under the rug, so to speak.

for that matter, what about other 'race history' months? we've got 12 in a year, i don't doubt we could use them all.

here's one 'hip, hip, hooray' to those unsung heroes.


message 39: by Ashwin (new)

Ashwin (ashiot) | 213 comments +1 Keith and Sandra. Thanks Agnes for starting this thread.

Admittedly I am a part of this group since its inception and was quite active in the early days and kept up with the books suggested. But a lot has changed since then. I will gather my thoughts and reply coherently soon.

But, I really appreciate the work mods have been doing and the shelfers that still keep the club alive.


message 40: by Ashley (new)

Ashley | 180 comments Keith wrote: "I have thought carefully about making comment on this thread, but finally decided that if I upset someone’s sensibilities it’s no longer my problem - you either agree, disagree, or, like me, no lon..."

I agree with what you said and think this is a huge part of why so many of us have gone quiet here.

Sandra wrote: "we have 'women's month' going on here in the states right now. is there a 'men's month'?

while it may be true that there have been a lot of things done by women which haven't gotten recognized in ..."


I get where you're coming from, but this argument has been brought up a lot, and it really just comes down to minorities and oppression. These months are meant to spotlight minorities and groups of people who aren't typically brought into the spotlight. I.E. people of color and women. The typical response to this type of question is that every month is "white month" or "mens month" because white people/men are often celebrated and need no extra push to be recognized. Bear in mind this is a general statement that applies to the majority. There of course are going to be individual cases that don't fit this. There are individual cases that don't get recognized within the "months" that are supposed to recognize them as well. Nothing is perfect.


message 41: by Jenna (new)

Jenna Hedderson | 12 comments Sandra wrote: "we have 'women's month' going on here in the states right now. is there a 'men's month'?

while it may be true that there have been a lot of things done by women which haven't gotten recognized in ..."


There is an "International Men's Day" on November 19 of every year, in response to "International Women's Day" on March 8. I assume that November is therefore "Men's month" or what have you.

Also, in the US, May is observed as Asian Pacific history month in the same way as February is observed as black history month. It's not a perfect representation of cultures, but its a start!

Anyway, just popped on to this thread to share my experiences with OSS. I've never really posted before, or not very often and not in a long time, but I've silently read almost every single one of the books over the 3 years and can say that they have helped me grow tremendously as a feminist and, more importantly, as a person. And while I'm not actively pursuing conversations about it here, I've used the knowledge and perspective that I have gained from the books in my everyday conversations, which I think is just as, if not more, valuable. I think a huge key to compassion lays within the words written by people outside of your culture, country, normal experience, etc. And through OSS I've definitely become more compassionate to the situations of others (I also have some damn good comebacks when someone tries to undermine the feminist movement!)

At the beginning, there were a half dozen or so ladies in my city that used to meet up and discuss the books, but we all seem to have gotten married, had babies, moved, etc over the years and so we don't get to meet as often! But still chat on a Whatsapp group that we created (after meeting in person).

All that to say, I'm very grateful for this group, even if I don't often express it :)


message 42: by Sandra (new)

Sandra | 220 comments thanks for the updates and explanations. i've probably heard them at some time, but this old brain is getting forgetful! i just get into an ''inclusion'' thing, and everything i've known kinda gets left behind.

this is part of what i've liked about this forum, tho - people are thoughtful enough to correct without being mean or ridiculing about it (for the most part). thanks, again.


message 43: by Ashwin (new)

Ashwin (ashiot) | 213 comments first of my thoughts on this:

a. I was a student when the group started, but now have a day job, so it's relatively more difficult to read.

b. Some of the books that we discussed were, umm.. not very deep.

c. There were undercurrents of hate, and a sense of revenge in many writings.

(TBC..)


message 44: by Ana Paula (last edited Mar 25, 2019 11:11AM) (new)

Ana Paula (anapaulacordeiro) | 32 comments Sorry for having missed the beat (oh-how-to-stay-on-top-of-things), but there is something I want to add to this old thread (old as in "thread-years")

I learned a pretty useful tool for group discussions a while back - totally unrelated to OSS or feminism, it was a Yoga Sutra weekly meeting in which we tried to interpret the lines from Sanskrit - highly cryptic and subjective, with lots of room for passionate disagreements. But the tool/rule that kept us in line was: speak from the I.

What does that mean: we could only offer an insight if it was phrased using the first person - the I - point of view.

Example, we shouldn't say
often what happens is...,
but instead
often what I experience in this kind of situation is....

It sounds simple but can be very challenging, and pretty telling of English language discourse biases such as
when you do this kind of thing
or
we all do that.

That we do or we don't is not the point; by phrasing things this way I might come across as attempting to shut the discussion inside a box of prevalence or majority or generalization, which is a) inaccurate b) not really compassionate and c) potentially belligerent.

I was thinking about this because I can relate to the atmosphere that was explained when Ashley wrote
> I often was left feeling like I wasn't allowed to have an input unless it was pure sympathy or empathy. I felt I wasn't allowed to share my perspective on issues. I guess, put simply, I didn't feel like I was being included in the discussions, rather meant just to accept and digest what was being said (or blindly agree to whatever was being said). So I stopped participating in the discussions as much.

and also when Keith wrote

> The undercurrent to me was that the author’s opinion was cast in stone and not to be criticised. Well, you could, but be prepared to be accused of racism, bigotry, sexism etc.
Women have all sorts of issues that need to be overcome, but shutting down debate because it does not suit a narrow point of view helps nobody.


And also from the outcome of another thread (now archived) called "Being Brave Together".

I realize it's probably not doable to establish such thing as a speak-from-the-I rule in this environment, which is much more complex than a dozen people inside a room looking at Sanskrit. But I just wanted to put it out there - perhaps our brilliant moderators could take this token into their group fires and re-forge and create some new tool as such for us to try, one that could help us organize our thoughts in terms of our personal responsibilities and help keeping the tone of the discussions from straying into non-inclusiveness?


message 45: by Charles-Henri (new)

Charles-Henri Dumont (Secret_Lover) | 32 comments Hello Ana Paul :)

It's funny you're talking about that, because it's something I was thinking aout two days or three days ago...

Depending of the subject the use of the "I", "you", or "we all" is easier to explain than in other... For example some threads needs and facilitate the use of the personal experience, because people attracted by the subject are people that love to share their experiences and to share in general...

Whereas some threads will attract a lot of people who need to use the "we all do that" to get acceptance from the community because they may feel rejected, or isolated in their personal life or may be they are not enough keen on the subject they need to get approbation from the other... For a lot of reasons, but, in my opinion, it's all about unresolved oedipus... Who actually leads to narcissistic breakthrough and almost all psychological issues which ofently kill the dicussion because narssistic breaktrough doesn't listen to others, they will use your empathy to destroy you and try to "re-build" you at their image... We ofently believe that politicians are NB, but I do believe that only a true empath can win elections... We also have erotomaniacs who are also kind of empaths and receive a lot of emotions and strongly belive our supreme leader is deeply in love with them.... etc

Well, welcome in real life, you can't change people, and the only people you can change is you... It's all about resilience!!

For to answer the very first post on the subject, That's true, also in my opinion that people are here because we are all fan of our beloved supreme leader 🧐 and we all want to have the chance to be known by her in anyway possible, because she is famous and brillant... That's also why it brings people into the book club, we feel affinity for her and also for the main intersectional feminist cause... A lot of people will try to get more cultivated to approach the level of our beloved supreme leader and will find the courage to express themselves to get a chance to talk to her...

Thanks to that, many of us have the chance to be empowered and also have a chance to be heard elsewere and in their own entourage thanks to the picked-up by our beloved thorough and contiencious supreme leader books...

Some would love to be a moderator for to help prevent other to receive negatives waves, some would love to get answers from Emma, but that's a matter of fact that, and I still speak in my opinion, we all have a job and may be it's not easy and possible for her to answer to every body, so we have seleted mods for to guide us through the discussions...

Well, to conclude, 🤔 I believe that some threads needs to take distance and have to be treated with cautious for to be the more inclusive and to be usefull for the cause, bringing in new points of view and may be new ideas for to help the cause evolving to a new feminism more audible and inclusive feminism... but that's not an easy exercise for most of us, for a lot of reason, so these threads are also a good "school" for to learn to speak about a society subject and to improve in being both intersectional and audible... isn't that elementary ??

Feministicaly yours !!

xoxoxo


message 46: by Rachael (new)

Rachael Hanakowski (rachaelhanakowski) | 40 comments Charles-Henri wrote: "Hello Ana Paul :)

It's funny you're talking about that, because it's something I was thinking aout two days or three days ago...

Depending of the subject the use of the "I", "you", or "we all" ..."


I'm sorry Charles-Henri, but I have to respectfully disagree! I don't believe there is fragmentation going in the group. I don't believe many of us on here see Emma as a "supreme leader" and I think it's not a positive thing to refer to her in that way. I am sure that Emma wants the book club to be about community, not her hierarchy over members. I don't think that's a good idea to be espousing. Further I don't believe anyone is here because of erotomania. To state there are people on here with mental illness is highly problematic. I would be careful with such assertions.


message 47: by Charles-Henri (new)

Charles-Henri Dumont (Secret_Lover) | 32 comments Rachael wrote: "Charles-Henri wrote: "Hello Ana Paul :)

It's funny you're talking about that, because it's something I was thinking aout two days or three days ago...

Depending of the subject the use of the "I..."



Hello Rachel,

All I can say, is thank you to do it !

But I'm also disappointed you actually didn't read me, because if you did, well you really didn't understand what I tried to say, answering Ana-Paul, which is for me a proof of what I'm saying is true...

I mean, no offense, but we all love her and respect her, and somehow "She belong" to each of us a different way due to our personal perceptions the psychologist love to call "Our personal filters" etc...

There you go, for you "Supreme leader" is disrespectful and could be offendent for her which as regularly been a victim of people "Like me"...

Whereas for me, it's more a way to tickle her, if I got the privilege to be read by her, I don’t know, I think it’s a funny way to tickle but without disrespecting her, believing that trying to call her that way could be catchy, rousing and entertaining...

Of course, she is not "A supreme leader" in a pejorative way, she is not a dictator, I strongly believe she is the exact opposite. So I think we can converge on that point... She definitely doesn't want the book club to be her Hierarchy over members or any other, and that's also why I believe she is a real great leader and she possesses all the required qualities to be respected without the need to use "The Force" to enforce her ideas...

It's definitely the problem of first degree, opposed to second degree.

Then, I don't say people have "Mental disorders",
there are many graduations in what is commonly called erotomania, and it is only a way of expressing the physical expression of a thought through a behavior.

May be I was also referring to discussions we may have held before... So please don't be offended 😉


message 48: by Florian (new)

Florian | 133 comments I must say I agree with Rachael. Supreme leader implies superiority so I'm tempted to believe it goes against equality. I don't think I'm taking a risk by saying that someone who deeply believes in equality would feel uncomfortable and not tickled if she/he was called that way or something similar. I'm just saying.

And I disagree, in my opinion nobody belongs to anyone not even somehow. Someone's self and person only belong to this person and only this person and no one else!


message 49: by Emma (new)

Emma Clement (emmatclement) | 1858 comments Florian wrote: "I must say I agree with Rachael. Supreme leader implies superiority so I'm tempted to believe it goes against equality. I don't think I'm taking a risk by saying that someone who deeply believes in..."

I second Florian, I think "supreme leader" is a somewhat problematic way to refer to the creator of this book club! I think we are all equals in this community :)


message 50: by Charles-Henri (new)

Charles-Henri Dumont (Secret_Lover) | 32 comments Florian wrote: "I must say I agree with Rachael. Supreme leader implies superiority so I'm tempted to believe it goes against equality. I don't think I'm taking a risk by saying that someone who deeply believes in..."

Emma wrote: "Florian wrote: "I must say I agree with Rachael. Supreme leader implies superiority so I'm tempted to believe it goes against equality. I don't think I'm taking a risk by saying that someone who de..."

Well, I guess, may be if I were disrespectful against any member including our beloved "Supreme Leader", I would have been moderated ...

I believe, without being arrogant, that I still express my self in a relatively good English... And I really wonder if you have read what I wrote or if you're just trying to prove smthg...

Me, my self, I & I et moi, decided of that Nickname, which is really a friendly, warmhearted, loving, and affectionate nickname...

I believe she is an incredible "Team Leader", and I'm really fond of her involvement in what I call "The Cause" which is feminism, and equality of gender and in representation...

I accept you don't agree, with me, and also the fact that she may not be able to defend her self against the real bad guy, the offending and disrespectful bad boy who will put her in a situation of discomfort while she has conversations with you, in the book club she created, as Emma remembered us, in which, I imagine, she wants us to be able to talk as equals between smart member in the respect of the other and of the human person with this ardent desire for gender equality and representation which animates her, and may be help people to raise their voice, in that direction, that direction towards patriarchy, for to create synergies and foster new ideas to merge and emerge...

Any way it's not an obligation to, like me as a potential friend, neither my opinions... Quoting, Dr Dre, a famous rappist : "If you don't like me, blow me !!"

😉
Feministaly yours !

Xoxoxo


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