The problems with being problematic

I take issue with the word “problematic”. This is a dog whistle for someone who should be disposed of. You have made no points on why she should be disposed of, just that she should be. Natalie explains this tactic in depth.

Natalie doesn’t speak for the whole trans community and she has also explained this in depth.

Natalie can fuck right off, thanks. Having a YouTube channel doesn’t mean you have any actual weight behind your points; there’s no discourse, just her opinion and when that harms people like me for clicks “problematic” doesn’t even come close.
Pick a new fight, neither @Melizmatic nor I have to explain our opinions to you or anyone else.

Good day.


While true, that doesn’t put a poster in the wrong for asking clarification on an opinion, it is after all part of what happens in an online forum, to begin with. You’re welcome to ignore a request for elaboration, but let’s not start chastising others for asking for them.


I feel confident in saying that in this case she doesn’t speak for the large majority of trans people. Now - my sample may be biased - but I do know thousands of us. So the sample size isn’t insignificant. So - if we’re appealing to authority - I authoritize myself.


I agree, but the “nah-na, you didn’t give any reasons” vibe isn’t the best way to deal with that in situations that are personal or sociallly behavioural rather than, say, “Star Trek is better than Star Wars.”
An opinion on preference of sci-fi doesn’t, and shouldn’t, hurt people. There is no definitive Right or Wrong, unlike human rights were there very clearly is.

Point taken, though.


Who is this gestapo doing the removing again? Problematic isn’t a dog whistle because there is no dog to respond to it metaphorically. It means exactly what it says: people have problems with this. It usually means “more than one problem and I want to make me point without needing a list.” Calling it a dog whistle is just “borrowing” language from the left and using it to argue without consideration for what the term means.

If some one calls something racist or sexist or even just really boring, “problematic” it’s not a dog whistle, if anything it is usually trying to acknowledge issues without having to get into it. This is because “problematic” as it stands in discourse already can also mean “has literally anything that sucks about it.”

Arguing that “problematic” is a dog whistle to anyone with a background in criticism starts to sound like a new art student who is on the verge of crying and taking their masterpiece home because they don’t like critique. I don’t WANT to consume art in a world where its creators are that brittle, ego driven, shallow, and immature.


In academic jargon, it means “interesting.”

Really? In grad school I always used it as “a lot about this fucking sucks when you think much about it, but its culturally relevant so you’re gonna learn about it…” That how the profs were so I guess that’s how I treated the undergrads. In retrospect… Yeah prolly do the same again.



“The argument there is that social science, as a field, reflects certain biases against Mexican-Americans, and those biases (which will show up even in studies undertaken by Mexican-American social scientists) are what make the field “problematic.” It’s from 1970, but that’s how the word is still used today: to shift the conversation from individual fault to structural bias. The writer isn’t calling social scientists racists; he’s saying that there are “problematic” aspects to the research they produce.”


Sure. A search of jstor will bring up many papers and books like this one:

Problematic Sovereignty

That’s from 2001. There are thousands more examples in the academic literature. It’s especially prevalent in fields where objective truth is impossible.

Dude. I know what I’m talking about. Thanks. There is more to how people talk in a given field than jstor?


The article summary doesn’t describe the issues reviewed as interesting - just that there are problems resolving various conflicting concepts. Now one could argue that conflict is inherently interesting - but it would be a definition that differs with the commonly accepted definition of problematic.


Because cancel culture isn’t a thing and we still teach people about historically important figures who did terrible things? We also teach art that almost no person alive today cares about because it teaches us about the context it existed in. That art and context is often full of problems but the problems don’t necessarily make it more interesting. It’s just an acknowledgement.


It’s hopefully true that they find their life’s work interesting - that doesn’t mean that this citation supports your view of a novel definition for a word.


Pretty much this. I guess I just got confused because I thought my comment was being used to springboard some claim about how academia uses “problematic” when in reality it is used a lot of different ways and is fairly vague.

Meh… I really shouldn’t care tbh. It’s fine to give an opinion-based spit take on academic diction, I just didn’t understand that is all the statement was.

I guess I do bristle at the implication that something is only more interesting because it is problematic today. Guess if it gets grants :woman_shrugging: this is an annoying derail though I regret being a part of it.


That sounds like a personal problem, yo: I dont “dog whistle” and I dont appreciate the passive aggressive psychological projection, or the language you chose to do it with.

Disposed of?!?

Fuck right the hell off; you said that nonsense, I didn’t say nor even imply any such thing.

No, but accusing me of “dog whistling” while putting words in my mouth that I never said does.


It’s not a novel definition.

I mean, to be a bit meta, if a piece of work is racist sexist trash, why does society continue to reference it? Literary criticism aims (or aimed, since I’ve long since left school) to resolve these sorts of questions.

Maybe this is a good subject for a new topic? Like why do we teach problematic art? Because at this point it’s derailing this thread. Mea culpa and all.


You should really provide a link so people can evaluate your source.

“When I use a word ,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less. ’ ‘The question is,’ said Alice , 'whether you can make words mean so many different things. ’ ‘The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, 'which is to be master — that’s all.”


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