Monday 16 April 2018

The women men don't see

I can't say I'm too impressed with this.

If you've not seen this, it may be that you're not a Gold Member of the English Chess Federation, and so you haven't had the letter from our two representatives about the Finance Council Meeting on 28 April. Yes, it sounds exciting, doesn't it?

Anyway, the excerpt above, which is taken from that letter, makes it plain that the proposal under discussion is a Bad Thing ("vague promises", "someone who is not an ECF member") and it should be opposed. Funnily enough, though, it doesn't tell the reader the one thing above all else that they need to know about Casual Chess and the one reason why it might be worth supporting: which is that it's
London's feminist, diverse, central chess cafe, run by female players.
How extraordinary, to leave that detail out.

Now for the record, I don't have a view on whether or not the proposal should be accepted, in full or in part. It's the sort of thing of which I approve, but whether it's the right thing, I'm not in a position to say, because I've not seen it. Come to that, I've never been to Casual Chess (though I follow them on Twitter) and I've never met the organiser (though we are friends on Facebook).

But I am in a position to say that the proposal shouldn't have been presented to us in such a way as to prevent the uninformed reader from making any sense of it.

As it is, what we have is "somebody who's not even one of us wants a load of money off us for no apparent reason". It's not just a misleading framing of what Casual Chess consists of, it's a deliberately misleading one.

Now as it goes, elsewhere in the letter I see this

and elsewhere on the internet I read this and I notice no English competitors taking part. If English chess is in a crisis then women's chess in England is in a bigger one. Which, again, is not sufficient reason in itself to support the Casual Chess proposal.

But it's certainly sufficient reason not to obscure what their proposal is actually for. Isn't it?


Chris G said...

Is that actually the REASON why it might be worth supporting, though?

Helping out female players is a cause that no-one in their right mind would have any objection to. If the female players happen to be feminists, so much the better, as they're less likely to fall victim to stereotype threat and give up. All-male chess clubs are ghastly places.

What I do object to is a chess club casually blu-tacking the word "feminist" to itself and expecting applause. This isn't 1968; you're not actually the first feminist we've ever spoken to. How are you a feminist chess club? What does that mean? Do you mean you're a chess club that contains some female players? Do you mean you're a chess club run by women? Neither of those things imply "feminist". There is much, much more to feminism than just "women being included". Is the current UK government feminist because it has women in several key positions? Is the monarchy feminist?

As for "diverse" - come on. Firstly, it's chess. Secondly, it's central London! If you'd managed to create a chess club in central London that wasn't diverse, you'd be doing something incredibly wrong.

So as much as "feminist, diverse, central chess club run by women" appears to tick some good boxes, we're entitled to ask for more than a box-ticking exercise in return for £6,000pa.

ejh said...

What I do object to is a chess club casually blu-tacking the word "feminist" to itself and expecting applause

Imagine my concern

Cara Merawat Tanaman Tomat said...

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