Safe Space, by Elayne Riggs

Elayne Riggs

Elayne Riggs is the creator of the popular blog Pen-Elayne on the Web. She was a founding member of Friends of Lulu, an organization dedicated to increasing the involvement of girls and women in comics, as readers and creators. She is married to inker Robin Riggs, with whom she shares two cats, and has odd love/hate relationship with Hillary Clinton.

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3 Responses

  1. Vinnie Bartilucci says:

    I think the idea of a "safe space" is a fallacy in today's inclusionist-by-mandate world. Any attempt to create a place "just for us" will be challeneged by someone who is "not us", especially is the place you create is better than the place they have. Then there's the inherent hypocrisy that some groups are allowed to have "only us/non-them" groups, and some aren't. Set up a club or an apartment house that just for women, you'll be applauded as a protector of women's rights. Set up an all-men club or housing project, and they'll probably try to set fire to it. Boy Scouts, anyone?And as tempting a place where everyone knows your name is, your initial feeling was right. Clustering in groups like yourself leaves you unable to deal with people who are unlike you. This is true in so many cases, from people living in their own "Little (insert country name)" in a major city, never learning English, to comic fans who spend so much time in the shop and in the collection room that they never really learn much about the outside world. Much in the way that some people claim that our overuse of Purel will eventually make us succeptible to more virulent bugs (no, I don't buy it wither), the only real way to build up a protection to irritants is to expose yourself to them on occasion, and build up your resistance.Plus, there's that mindset that in a safe space, you are actually "safe". As your examples show, there can be wolves in every flock of sheep. And to feel so safe that you consider yourself impervious to attack, well, that's as dangerous as giving your social security number out on national radio commercials.The term "retreat" has a number of meanings. Groups like this could be defined as two of them. It's up to the individual whether it's "A period of retirement, seclusion, or solitude." or "The act of pulling back or withdrawing, as from something dangerous, or unpleasant.".

  2. Russ Rogers says:

    Elayne, As usual, you've given me a lot to think about and made some very interesting connections.I wrote a very long and involved comment. It had lots of tangential links to YouTube vids. It was filled with quirky insights. It was long-winded and a blatant example of the "over-share." I cut it down to this and may try to send you the rest in a private e-mail. (After all, I'm still in love with my own self-importance.) Thanks for another great column.

  3. Martha Thomases says:

    I have to disagree. If my memory is correct (and, if it isn't, forgive me because I am old), the idea of a "safe space" comes from AA, and the idea that what was said in the room was to be held in confidence. Without that trust, the hard work couldn't get done.Voluntary associations — yes, including the Boy Scouts — are allowed to make their own rules. Maybe the law won't protect them, but good manners should. For example, I belong to several knitting groups. The people who come to them knit, or at least are open to having a conversation about knitting. They don't bowl. Bringing a bowling ball wouldn't get you arrested, but we would think you were assholes. You should get together in your own bowling leagues.The law gets involved when their are public moneys involved, either directly through grants or indirectly through tax exemption. My original hopes for Friends of Lulu did not involve such funding. I just wanted a place where I could complain about my bosses.