Critiques of call-out culture: a linkspam

One of the most common complaints by social justice activists about social justice activism is that there’s a lot of toxicity.  Whenever an activist makes a misstep, other activists will “call out” that person, sometimes directing a disproportionate amount of anger and abuse at them.  This pattern is often (but not always) referred to as “call-out culture”.

For a while, I’ve been collecting a lot of articles and blog posts which critique call-out culture from an internal view point.  My main motivation is that I would like to write about the topic myself, and I’d like my ideas to be responsive to what has already been said.  For my continuing thoughts, please follow my call-out culture tag.  At some point I also intend to write a summary of the content in these links.

(ETA: Broken links are crossed out)

  1. Lisa Harney, Questioning Transphobia: The Culture of Internet Callouts  (August 2010)
  2. ourcatastrophe: On “call-out culture” and why I’m not into it (July 2011)
  3. Flavia Dzodan, Tiger Beatdown: Come one, come all!  Feminism and Social Justice blogging as performance and bloodshed (October 2011)
  4. Aoife, Consider the Tea Cosy: Callout culture, tone trolling and being the perfect ally  (October 2012)
  5. Ngọc Loan Trần, Black Girl Dangerous: Calling IN: A Less Disposable Way of Holding Each Other Accountable (December 2013)
  6. Verónica Bayetti Flores, Feministing: On cynicism, calling out, and creating movements that don’t leave our movement behind (December 2013)
  7. Zoyə Street, Medium: A more peaceful 2014: Addressing peer hostility (January 2014)
  8. Kat Haché, Papier Haché: “Badass” (January 2014)
  9. Mattie Brice: On Civility (January 2014)
  10. Katherine Cross, Nuclear Unicorn: Words, Words, Words: On Toxicity and Abuse in Online Activism and Beyond Niceness: Further Thoughts on Rage (January 2014)
  11. Katherine Cross, Nuclear Unicorn: The Chapel Perilous: On the Quiet Narratives in the Shadows (February 2014)
  12. Queenie, The Asexual Agenda: Justice, anger, and the demand for perfection: why tumblr’s blogging culture isn’t making for safe spaces (March 2014)
  13. Kitty Stryker, Consent Culture: Calling Out, Calling In: Why Internet Social Justice Matters (August 2014)
  14. Fredrik deBoer: I don’t know what to do, you guysDon’t be an accelerant, and “Take control” = “invoke your privilege” (January 2015)
  15. Noah Berlatsky, Ravishly: How To Make The Queer And Feminism Movements More Inclusive: Activist Julia Serano Speaks Out (February 2015)
  16. Asam Ahmad, Briar Patch Magazine: A Note on Call-Out Culture (March 2015)
  17. Katherine Cross, Feministing: So you’ve been publicly scapegoated: Why we must speak out on call-out culture and Words for Cutting: Why we need to stop abusing “the tone argument”  (April 2015)
  18. Stephanie Zvan, Almost Diamonds: Abuse and Power in Activism (August 2015)

This linkspam will not be updated, but you are welcome to suggest more links in the comments.

ETA I forgot one:
19. Ozy Frantz, Thing of Things, Certain Propositions Concerning Callout Culture (December 2014)


7 thoughts on “Critiques of call-out culture: a linkspam

  1. Trav Mamone December 5, 2015 / 10:13 am

    I don’t mind when people say, “Can you not say that? That’s not cool.” In fact, I want people to correct me when I’m wrong. But you’re right; “call-out culture” is toxic. Recently I made an inappropriate joke on feminist group on Facebook. I was called out for it (rightly so), and I apologized, but the admins weren’t satisfied until I wrote an entire essay about why that thing was wrong.

    Okay, not literally an essay. That’s hyperbole. But what the admins asked of me was equivalent to that.


  2. Siggy December 12, 2015 / 11:47 pm

    I intentionally left out several links for various reasons, but the omission of the Thing of Things essay was unintentional. I had seen it when it was published, and simply forgot about it when I started making the linkspam.


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