Film and Animation

2007 - 2021

Altered State III

The third part in the documentary series by Phantom Power. Reflections on Scotland’s First Independence Referendum: Endgame focuses on the post-referendum period.

See Part I here & Part II here:

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  1. M Wright says:

    Just like to thank you for an excellent series.

  2. Kathleen says:

    My arithmetic and concentration aren’t the best right now, so there could be mistakes in this, but i think what I’m saying would still stand.

    In the 75 minutes of the three films, one woman was interviewed.

    In part II, Janice Galloway, spoke for a total of 1 minute and 15 seconds. Part I and III have no women interviewed.

    I think there was one non white person who spoke briefly, from deutsche bank. Not all the men who spoke were middle class, but many were.

    The majority of images of women were silent, even where there was film of women speaking we usually didn’t hear their words. Men were talking over these images. (Men were also speaking over clips and stills of men)

    All the women who spoke in these films were edited to speak only very briefly, usually a few seconds at a time. Janice Galloway’s one minute clip was the longest any women spoke in these three films.

    When you interviewed un named Yes supporters it was men.

    In part III, out of 31 minutes and 29 seconds, I make it that women talk for something like 66 seconds.

    Out of that 66 seconds, 43 seconds were BBC news reporters.

    There was 6 seconds of speech by a pro Indy woman and it’s Nicola Sturgeon.

    It’s hard to understand that no other woman commentator or campaigner could find the time to speak to you in the last year, and hard to think that Janice Galloway had nothing more to say for part II that was interesting and relevant.

    Was there no way of using footage of pro indy women speaking?

    Can’t imagine a film made with the opposite gender balance without the title of it spelling out it was a film about women’s views of the referendum, and without indy sites introducing it as a film to do with gender and politics in scotland.

    These are interesting, useful films and I’m not criticising those interviewed for what they had to say, but they all have a strong voice, and there’s a problem here.

    It’s heartbreaking that our alternative media does this.

    1. Kathleen says:

      Much the same in parts I and II.

      In part I, 20 minutes and 15 seconds.
      Women speak for 15 seconds.
      Jackie Bird spoke for 5 seconds and Ruth Davidson for 10 seconds.

      In part II, 23 minutes and 24 seconds
      Women are talking for 2 minutes and 17 seconds
      Janice Galloway talks for 1 minute 15 seconds.
      An American newswoman talks for 10 seconds about the queen over footage of the queen.
      An unamed woman talks for 27 seconds in support of queen.
      Nicola Sturgeon speaks for 15 seconds.
      Pro indy women spoke for 1 minute 30 seconds.

      I make it that there’s 3 minutes 39 seconds of women speaking in 75 minutes of film. More than two minutes of that is unionist BBC reporters, an american reporter and an unamed and pro union sounding commentator, and short clips of Ruth Davidson and Kezia Dugdale.

      In 75 minutes there’s 1 minute 36 seconds of pro Indy women speaking. Two of them. One was Nicola Sturgeon.

  3. bob says:

    As far as I am aware, these series of films are entirely self-funded by Phantom Power.
    The fact that they are made to such an excellent standard is a testament to both his skill and dedication.
    I think he mentioned previously that he had approached other women to interview but that they had declined the invitation.
    Perhaps with greater finance & more support, people like Phantom Power would be able to deliver a more gender-balanced content, that said, I think it is very important that you took time out of your kitchen to highlight these important facts.

    1. Kathleen says:

      I’m in my kitchen.

      More to it than funding.

      It’s sounds fairly unlikely that no pro indy women were available for filming for the whole of this last year.

      Outside of the interviews, look at the amount of footage of men talking and amount of women talking. Look at who is filmed speaking and if we can or can’t hear their words.

      1. Phantom Power says:

        Hi Kathleen
        Thanks for highlighting this. It’s a major problem that I’m very conscious of and really did try to address through direct approach and open calls for women to get involved.

        1. Kathleen says:

          Thanks PP.

          I think there’s problems outside of the interviews too. There’s so little time with pro indy women speaking – only 26 seconds of Nicola Sturgeon.

          I did get a lot from the films. Thank you.

          1. Kathleen says:

            Sorry, “about 20 seconds” – pedant can’t count

      2. bob says:

        Actually, you’re absolutely correct, I retract my previous statement.
        This series of labour intensive, independently produced and self funded films are a perfect example of the ubiquitous, oppressive and disgusting patriarchal dominance that permeates ‘the alternative media’
        Phantom Power has produced a shocking body of gender biased , repugnant material that deliberately serves to suppress and deny the female voice of the Independence referendum.
        His nasty agenda has been exposed and had you ‘Kathleen’ not been so able to multitask, then we may well have been none the wiser.
        Thank you.

        1. Phantom Power says:

          I did honestly try. One lady didn’t show up. 3 said yes then never got back to me.
          Can you email me btw

        2. Kathleen says:

          I’d guess there was no nasty or deliberate agenda in the problem with gender balance in these films. Can’t say the same for your comments here.

        3. Kathleen says:

          resending this so it’s clearer it’s a response to Bob, not PP

          I’d guess there was no nasty or deliberate agenda in the problem with gender balance in these films. Can’t say the same for your comments here.

          1. Phantom Power says:

            Look out for the next two projects : )

  4. Frank says:

    I wasn’t impressed by this. The social media versus corporate media debate is becoming sterile, boring even, with the post referendum social media showing worrying signs of burn out, descent into crude propaganda, distortion, caricature, repetition, celebritisation, and an obsession with Labour.

    As for some of the big name sites, I would say that the quality of some of the journalism on Common Space is poor, lacking analysis and depth. Wings is an SNP echo-chamber displaying an irrational (and at times sexist) obsession with Kezia Dugdale and is increasingly gaining a reputation as crack pot territory. I also think that some of the interviewers on social media need to be more objective and ask difficult questions. On many of the podcasts the interviewers are given a free ride…

    Personally, I would like to see social media adopt a more critical of our own narrative, a critique of the critique if you like, offering a serious reflection on why we lost. That would be interesting. Perhaps Moodie could even apply his satirical talents to making a cartoon about ‘our’ side?

    1. Phantom Power says:

      To be honest, I’m exhausted tackling the corporate media imbalance and wish we didn’t have to but as long as they don’t adhere to anything resembling objective reporting that’s the game we’ll have to play. Almost everything you’ve said here could be said about the traditional media obsessed with Sturgeon, Michelle Thomson, Natalie McGarry. There is no criticism of Dugdale here other than her poor FMQ performance. The new media’s problem is that it has to constantly engage in this battle with mainstream agenda and just how good are msm at asking anyone other than SNP difficult questions?
      There is plenty critique of the Yes side in earlier series but nobody is forcing you to watch.

      1. Frank says:

        I’m not sure I understand your point. The mainstream media are perfectly entitled to scrutinise Thomson, McGarry and Women for Independence.

        You then write: ‘and just how good are msm at asking anyone other than SNP difficult questions?’

        Have you seen some of the treatment dished out to Corbyn these past few months? The SNP are not the only ones facing difficult questions.

    2. Phantom Power says:

      Labour re-booted the former ‘Scotland-cannae-dae-it’ Tory bed-fellow Murphy as a Scottish fitba lovin, irn bru drinkin, SNP hatin, proud scot who lied about the cuts that real people are now suffering. So, if you’re looking for evidence of caracature and crude propaganda, look to Labour. I just pastiched.

  5. Kathleen says:


    I’m glad you wanted to talk about it. If it’d been my hard work criticised, I reckon I’d have got into useless squabbling.

    Everyday I find myself make unthinking sexist and all kinds of assumptions. I’ll make lots more that I never see. We’re all caught in this stuff.

    There was only one minute 15 seconds from Janice Galloway. Was there nothing more she said that was interesting and relevant? If you knew she was your only woman interviewee, why is it so brief?

    Outside of the interviews, in the bits of film from other sources that you used in the 75 minutes of the three films, there was just over two minutes of unionist women speaking, and about 20 seconds of pro indy women speaking. It was just well known clips of Nicola Sturgeon.

    If you were aware of the problem with gender balance of interviewees, why not use more clips from other sources of pro indy women speaking, instead of almost none?

    I’m guessing it’s unthinking assumptions, just the way it went. We’re all, or most of us doing it everyday, and there’s no use attacking each other for being born into this crap, but I was hoping you’d acknowledge there was a problem, beyond who you interviewed.

    1. There may be a way that we can make some common ground on this issue, with Bella commissioning future work with better gender balance but also engaging the high quality work of Phantom Power?

      1. Kathleen says:

        That sounds good, thank you.

    2. Phantom Power says:

      Hi Kathleen
      I’ll talk you through what happened and this might give you an idea how tight production can affect final project. I put out a number of open calls to people (including No voters and figures) to get involved in interviews. No women got in touch. I also approached four women to be involved in the project some time before the week I was filming (one ended up not showing up). They all agreed/seemed keen. As filming approached I contacted again and there was no response. So, I’m in the position of do I approach more women at short notice or do I try again and potentially end up with 8 women and way too much work and also feel like I’m harassing women to get involved. I don’t know what the issue is but the male commentators were all a lot keener to get involved. I don’t know why this is. It may just be I got the women at the wrong time and this has nothing to do with them being women at all. All I know is I can’t force people who don’t want to get involved to get involved. I’m not a misogynist. I love women, particularly my wife and daughter. I’ve filmed women before here:

      1. Kathleen says:


        I’m really not wanting to sound like I’m calling you a misogynist, and I don’t want to make you unhappy over this. We’re all caught in this crap.

        I understand that the reasons why women and men do or don’t want to be involved aren’t simple, and I get it that you tried hard. And that you made amazing films here. I hope you keep finding the money and energy to keep doing this.

        I can think of lots more than four women with loads of thoughtful, useful things to say about independence, who are good communicators. That’s from my experience. If I had your skills and drive and made a film about indy, I’d likely not think of contacting other people who had good, important stuff to say.

        Your answer ignores all the issues I raised in my last comment, and that I’d also raised in previous comments.

        I’m not wanting you to feel bad. I’m just hoping for a way things can get better. It’s hard to see how that can happen if problems aren’t acknowledged.

        all best


        1. Phantom Power says:

          Editing doesn’t care about gender. I can’t shoehorn in content that doesn’t work just to get balance. I’m always trying to improve and take your comments seriously. Appreciate the feedback.

          1. Kathleen says:

            So, outside of the who can I think of/get to interview on film problem, which I agree is not simple, and not all down to you, your response to the the issue is that –

            outside of the interview content, 20 seconds of footage of pro indy women speaking in 75 minutes of filming, and that all being Nicola Sturgeon, is down to what’s needed for good editing.

            this is quite hard. Can you imagine if it was the other way around and I was asking you to accept that getting more than 20 seconds of pro indy speech from men would be shoehorning things into the film that just weren’t right, just weren’t good enough for what needed to be said about independence. Was there really nothing any woman has ever said on film that was useful, relevant and interesting?

            It is easy to get things wrong in online communication, but this is kind of painful.

        2. Kathleen says:

          And thank you for the film of Lesley Riddoch. It’s lovely. Bella is gold dust.

  6. Kathleen says:


    you got anything to say about

    “Editing doesn’t care about gender. I can’t shoehorn in content that doesn’t work just to get balance.” in the context of 95 seconds of pro indy women speaking, in 75 minutes of film?

  7. Phantom Power says:

    You’re right. I quit.

    1. Kathleen says:

      Your only engagement with this problem I’ve been asking you about these last two days, is your “editing doesn’t care about gender… shoehorning” comment , and for you that’s the end of any communication on this. you say “you’re right, I quit”, as if you are being bullied here.

      I don’t want to think our daughters and sons will be watching film after film promoted by our progressive independent media, that as good as tell them that women have next to nothing useful to say about our future. Asking you to think and talk about why this happens and what we can do about it, isn’t aggressive.

      This starts to smell of – ladies, girls, shush for indy

      1. bob says:

        I have this great image of Kathleen sat scrutinising videos, with a stopwatch and a notepad in a permanent state of outrage.

        1. Kathleen says:

          No stopwatch, the videos have clocks.

          What would be the problem with a person quantifying the extent of a problem, so that it can’t be shrugged off as a minor issue, or their subjective view, an irrational grudge?

          Re outrage – if you read my comments, I’m being very persistent in asking for honest, constructive conversation about a problem we have evidence of. That’s all.

          Your comments here have been sneering, sour, personal attacks. At times they are sexist. Instead of engaging with the evidence and the questions, you make personal attacks to close down the conversation.

          Do you think people shouldn’t keep on saying here is a problem, here’s evidence of it, how do we sort it? By that reasoning we should all shut up and forget about indy.

  8. Kathleen says:

    PP says “editing doesn’t care about gender”. The editing of these films was hugely concerned with gender, but unaware of this.

    From memory, I think the films discuss unthinking bias in editing in the media. Why would we think we are immune to this?

    Bella has had a lot of writing about bias in the media, including unthinking bias in editing. That’s been needed.

    If there can’t be discussion on Bella of evidence of editing bias in content promoted by Bella, what are we doing here?

    Better nation?

    1. Phantom Power says:

      In all the time that you’ve spent being enraged at this horrible series (that you seemed to have watched repeatedly) you’ve not once offered anything in the way of solution, advice or help; “Have you thought about getting women on board by doing this…Do you need a wee hand researching…What about this person?” The position you’ve taken seems to be one of a powerless female bystander whose imagination doesn’t stretch much beyond negative criticism; the very concept you rail against. If you really want a Better Nation start helping with the lifting instead of pulling down.

      1. Kathleen says:

        I watched the films a few times. I watched them the second time to check my initial responses were not completely off. To do this I looked at the objective evidence of who spoke for how long. Then I watched them again to see I had the times right before I wrote about it here.

        The rest of what you say is not true.

        Will you have a look back at the repeated compliments I’ve given you. I’m saying your films are great, and there is a problem.

        I keep on reassuring you that we all do this stuff in one way or another, and there’s no use attacking each other for having been born into this set up.

        I don’t feel powerless, or a bystander. If I’d said nothing because had I’d no belief that things can be better than this, I might be feeling a bit more hopeless after watching your films.

        I’m not enraged. I started to get pissed off at the ways you were preventing communication.

        I’m asking you to engage with and acknowledge the evidence of this problem. Apart from saying women chose not to be filmed, you haven’t done this.

        You ignored my other questions and the evidence over two days. Then you just say there is no problem here – editing doesn’t care about gender. Then you say “I quit”. It is quite hard for people to discuss solutions constructively when they ignore the questions and evidence, then say there is no problem, then say I’m not talking anymore.

        But these are the constructive suggestions I’ve made so far

        I’ve suggested you try engaging with the evidence of gender imbalance and communicating more straightforwardly about this so we can get somewhere.

        I’ve suggested that other people, with a different experience and perspective would have tried harder to find women to interview, and would have directly contacted more than four. I don’t know who you did and didn’t contact so it’s hard to help you with ideas on that. I’m sure you could come up with more than four though?

        I’ve suggested you have a think about why, in your mind, there were no clips from other sources of pro indy women speaking, that were right or good enough for your film. I hope that holding in your mind some awareness of this problem would be the start of how you work out how to resolve it.

        Another idea would be to get some support with these decisions, as you are going along, from someone you trust and respect, whose life has been different from yours, and who has a different perspective on gender in the media and in politics. I think lots of us could use support like this, in all kinds of work.

        I’m not doing the pulling down here.

        Unless independent media is willing and able to take a look at itself, look at how it replicates the same problems as mainstream, and work out how to do things differently, it pulls itself down.

        You assume I do none of the lifting. Why?

        This is a very very small bit of the lifting.

  9. bob says:

    If Kathleen is not a Unionist troll I will be very disappointed.

    1. Phantom Power says:

      Surely no. BTW can you get in touch, Bob. I can’t find your email.

      1. Kathleen says:

        shush for indy, ladies

        1. Kathleen says:

          “unionist troll” is taking on a similar meaning as “informer” has at times in the past – someone who has disagreed with you

          1. Phantom Power says:

            I answered, I acknowledged, I explained. Engage or get out the way. Here’s email :

          2. bob says:

            ahh, in that case, are you therefore, the strange genetically spliced creation of Andrea Dworkin. Hitler and Mary Whitehouse..?

  10. Kathleen says:


    you ignore all i’ve said and you say “engage or get out of the way”

    after two days of evading the same question, saying “editing doesn’t care about gender …” then “I quit”, is a total refusal to acknowledge, engage, and look for constructive solutions.

    Why do you feel it is ok to tell me to “get out of the way” for asking you to talk about objective evidence of huge, (if unconscious), gender imbalance in your films, and how things can be better than this in the future?

    I understand this would be comfier if talked about privately, but the film, and the effect of the film, is not private.

    I understand other, more articulate writers would have handled this better. Same could be said for you.

    I wouldn’t feel like emailing with you when you are being pally with, (instead of challenging), the person who’s been defending you by making sexist comments to try shut me up, so I stop asking you to look at gender imbalance in your films. If you can’t get your head around that, imagine the issue here was race.

    I wouldn’t feel like emailing with anyone who for two days refuses to engage with an issue about silencing, then tells me to engage, or get out of the way.

    if your next films have the same gender balance, will you subtitle them something along the lines of “some interesting men talking about indy, again”?

    1. Phantom Power says:

      But seriously, this will be my last film posted on Bella so thanks for watching.

  11. Phantom Power says:

    It’s Ok, I’ve now kidnapped and tied up a woman at gun-point and got her to speak about the referendum. What do you want me to ask her?

  12. bob says:

    what will the currency be?

  13. Kathleen says:

    In response to evidence of huge gender imbalance in your films, bob and you have tried to characterise me, pathologise me, as a woman who is getting emotional fulfillment from living their life as that cartoon, permanently enraged feminista/feminazi, who experiences herself as powerless and perpetually victimised and never shuts up about it long enough to do anything useful, is only ever destructive, and therefore deserves to be and needs to be ignored, laughed at, and attacked with sexist comments, so that other people, real people, can get on with the real work.

    That’s the mainstream media stereotype. It’s purpose is to silence, divide and rule, prevent constructive change. It’s daily mail stuff.

    Why do you want to do their job for them? Why are you still falling for that crap?

    Why are you choosing to live your lives as victims of all that?

  14. Neil Anderson says:

    Oh dear, oh dear. This is one of the saddest exchanges I have ever read on any “alternative” media platform. It appears to me that all of the contributors are/were supporters of independence for Scotland. I think it would be great if Kathleen, Bob and Phantom Power were to meet in person (perhaps in some kind of public meeting?) and for the issues raised to be debated in a civil manner. All of this online commentary can be misconstrued so easily. Let’s stop attacking our own side and concentrate more on finding the solutions we need to make Scotland (and the rest of the UK come to that) a fairer and more compassionate place for us and our ascendents to live in. I will now go and take an aspirin as I can feel my blood thicken.

    1. Phantom Power says:

      It’s sorted. I’m not posting work on Bella any more. I don’t need this kind of feedback and accused of being sexist and a misogynist. Forget it.

      1. Kathleen says:

        I’ve asked you to have a think. About the kind of things we all, or most of us do, all the time, without realising it.

        That’s not the same as labelling you a sexist and a misogynist as if this is who you are, and defined you forever. It’s easy saying the nasty feminist is bullying me

        My guess is you’ve got beyond hearing anything I can say, but I’ll say it anyway.

        Lots of people get it that racist speech, and tolerance of racist speech, enables other forms of racism, including physical violence. It’s the same with sexist speech.

        You talked about kidnapping a woman at gunpoint and having tied her up. If I’d said I was black, and we’d been discussing racism, would you have been comfortable with saying you had kidnapped a black person at gun point and had them up in a tree? Would you think that should be considered a bit of sarcasm? banter?

        Lots of people would label you “a sexist”, “a misogynist”, as if it this is who you are and permanent. I haven’t.

        1. Phantom Power says:

          Right, I’ve had enough. This is defamation. In the morning I’m speaking to my friend who is media-lawyer.

          1. Kathleen says:

            It would be helpful to know which statement is defamatory, and on what grounds. If we don’t know that, we aren’t able to work out if it’s going to be appropriate for us to apologise, retract, and offer other amends.

  15. Kathleen says:


    you feel it’s useful to comment on the exchange, but not really much on the central issue. that feels quite sad too.

    there are many aggressive comments and a fair few sexist comments on Bella. Sexism often goes unchallenged here these days. I’ve been complicit in that too. Maybe it would be useful if we all stopped doing that. Have you noticed less and less women comment here?

    I’ve stayed civil. I was not on the attack.

    If it had been promoted on any site other than bella, I’d not have been this shocked and near despairing, both at the extent of the problem, and that our progressive indy media still does this. If it had been a two thirds men, one third women level of problem, the conversation just might have gone differently. But seeing more of where PP and bob are coming from, that’s unlikely.

    I’ve explained why emailing is not realistic here. I wouldn’t think meeting in person is going to be helpful without there being acceptance of how messed up the things bob and PP have said are. It would be more of the same. Would you be expecting me to do that if their comments against me had been racist?

    bob and PP are going to have to work all this out with other people. Or not.

    1. Neil Anderson says:

      Your perceived central issue here is the lack of representation of women in Altered State I, II and III if I understand correctly. Having read the entire exchange, it is clear to me that Phantom Power has explained his approach to, and lack of response from, women engaged in the Independence campaign. So I would say that the issue you are addressing directly has been well and truly dealt with. For clarification, you should read the whole conversation again. I’m not entirely sure what you may have missed in his earlier posts.

      If you have been complicit in not challenging sexism, that is your own choice. Perhaps you should have been more forthcoming in your criticism but it’s your choice not to have been. You’re right, it would be helpful if we all stopped doing that. No, I haven’t noticed less women commenting on Bella articles, but I have to say I don’t monitor these types of statistics very assiduously.

      You’ve stayed civil, yes. You most certainly have been on the attack throughout.

      Perhaps you could clarify what you mean by the statement: “If it had been promoted on any site other than bella, I’d not have been this shocked and near despairing…”. ANY other site? I’ve had to capitalise that as I can’t make it bold to emphasise. “But seeing more of where PP and bob are coming from, that’s unlikely.” I can’t make any sense of that sentence, can you explain what you mean? Please excuse my lack of intelligence.

      “I wouldn’t think meeting in person is going to be helpful without there being acceptance of how messed up the things bob and PP have said are.” Who should accept these things? I will admit that bob was rather derogatory in one of his posts, but perhaps he is as shocked and despairing of the things you have posted? I am not condoning rudeness (or sexism, if that is what he intended. I rather doubt it.) but this has been a distasteful exchange to say the least.

      “I wouldn’t think meeting in person is going to be helpful…”. I’ve often found that the written word can be easily misconstrued (to my cost, and quite possibly to my cost here too but I’ll take that chance), and that a dialogue face to face can add a clarity not possible in the impersonal exchanges experienced on the internet. Perhaps you should rethink this, although it sounds like Phantom Power is beyond any kind of reach now. Their comments were not racist, so your point is moot.

      “bob and PP are going to have to work all this out with other people. Or not.” Don’t you think you could help them to “work it all out”? You seem to have many answers which would be invaluable in aiding a greater understanding. Surely it is vital that we engage in sincere dialogue, and on a deeply personal basis, in order to create the better, fairer and more compassionate world we all desire? And I don’t doubt that you, bob and Phantom Power really do desire this.

  16. Kathleen says:

    Hello Neil.

    I’ll answer in several posts. I’m sorry for the length of all this. The issues are complex, and you asked things I felt I’d explained, but haven’t got across, and you asked about things I’d just wrongly assumed would be shared understandings. So there’s a lot of confusion to try untangle, and I’ll be repeating myself a lot.

    I think you could have missed quite a lot of what was said in this thread.

    You say
    “Your perceived central issue here is the lack of representation of women in Altered State I, II and III if I understand correctly. Having read the entire exchange, it is clear to me that Phantom Power has explained his approach to, and lack of response from, women engaged in the Independence campaign. So I would say that the issue you are addressing directly has been well and truly dealt with. For clarification, you should read the whole conversation again. I’m not entirely sure what you may have missed in his earlier posts.”

    Yes, I raised this issue of the exclusion of women’s voices, especially pro indy women speakers, and for me that was the central issue of this conversation, but communication about this was evaded. No, PP has not yet engaged here with the evidence of sexism in his editing choices in these films.

    Yes we did discuss who he interviewed. I then agreed with him that this is complex and not all down to him, but questioned if he could not have thought of more than four women to contact. His answer was that he had kidnapped a woman at gunpoint and tied her up.

    I asked why was JG’s contribution so brief, and said I found it hard to believe that she would have nothing more to say that was useful and relevant and interesting. Other than the “gender doesn’t care about editing… shoehorning” comment, this was ignored. So he was saying, that JG, the only woman interviewed, had a great deal less to say that was useful and relevant and interesting than each of the men he interviewed.

    From my first comment, as well asking about the number of women interviewed, I was asking if more bits of film of pro indy women speaking, could not have been used? It looks like you missed that. All we had was 20 seconds of Nicola Sturgeon, and this was in the context of having only 1 minute 15 seconds of a woman interviewee speaking. Over two days I repeated the same question in different ways. His answer was the “editing doesn’t care about gender…. shoehorning…….” comment, followed by “I quit”, then the kidnapping comment, then “you’re pulling us down/female powerless bystander””unionist troll? surely not” and “get out of the way”, and being pally with bob who is making sexist personal attacks.

    I was asking him to talk about the objective evidence that his editing is massively, overwhelmingly, concerned with gender, but that he seemed unaware of this. So no, what he said was not an explanation, it was only a refusal to ever engage with and communicate about the problem, and a pretence that I was bullying him for asking him to.

    His “editing doesn’t care about gender” position is saying women’s voices were excluded on merit.

  17. Kathleen says:

    Hello Neil

    You said
    “You’ve stayed civil, yes. You most certainly have been on the attack throughout.”


    I’ve said I wish I expressed myself better. There is a big difference between being on the attack and being persistent, and responding to repeated evasion and personal attacks by asking people to stop and think about the kind of mistakes we all make everyday.

    please read my comments – all the praise, all the thank yous, all the reassurance, all the stating that we are all doing this stuff all the time. All caught in this crap, not our fault, and so on. Not returning sexist insults in kind. Not labelling them as “sexists” “misogynists” but asking them to look at the evidence and think. This is not being “on the attack throughout.”

    I’ve said that I’m less than happy with the way I communicate, and that other people could have handled this better. In the future there’ll be things I’m doing now that could make me feel the way I do about all the crap words I know I’ve used in the past. Trying to lose a bit of the shame about having screwed up a bit, having done things that cause harm without realising what we are doing, accepting we we’re all born into this and we’re all doing it, all got stuff to think about and learn – that’s all useful. From my third post here, just after saying these are the figures and it’s heartbreaking, I was starting to talk that way about the problem with the film.

    There was no interest in that from PP. It was just refusal to look at evidence and “why are you calling me bad, I’m not bad, you’re bad”, and being pally with, instead of challenging bob, for trying to shut down communication with sexist personal attacks, and then making sexist comments himself.

    I will be thinking hard about how I can do things better. Why is the focus on me being unable to be a total saint, in a difficult discussion, while you don’t even challenge their use of sexist and personal attacks to close down communication? You’ve instead said shrug, well it wasn’t racism.

    If you feel it is wrong for anything a person says to show any sense of despair or anger about a harmful situation, why not tell off Mike Small and many others who write articles and comment here?

    they projected their anger at being asked to think about sexism onto the person asking them to think about sexism, in order to prevent communication about sexism. There’s a lyric that goes “i’m not an angry girl, tho it seems like I’ve got everyone fooled, every time I say something they find hard to hear, they chalk it up to my anger, and never to their own fear”

    Why does this still happen so often? that when a man expresses anger or any kind of distress about evidence of a harmful situation, that’s seen as useful, political,

    but if a woman says something about sexism, even if she doesn’t treat anyone especially badly, how she expresses herself will be turned into THE problem, and become the focus for sexist stereotypes and sexist personal attacks, so that talking about the issue can be evaded.

  18. Kathleen says:

    Hello Neil

    You said
    “Their comments were not racist, so your point is moot.”

    Are you suggesting sexist comments, including comments relating to sexual violence, are less serious than racist comments?

    please read what i wrote to PP about racist speech and sexist speech enabling other forms of racism and sexism, including violence.

    I’ll try again. IF I had said I was black, and this discussion had been about objective evidence of racism in their work,

    and then to try to shut down the discussion, they had been suggesting my proper place was in the jungle, and other racist comments were made, including that they had kidnapped a black person at gunpoint and had them tied up in a tree,

    and I didn’t respond in kind, but asked them to think about it,

    In those circumstances would you still feel that what they said was just a bit “derogatory”, but that was fine because we’d all behaved badly here hadn’t we, and it was just so easy to misconstrue things online? In that situation would you say the very next step in resolving the problem was to have a public debate?

    I’m not spitting the dummy because the nasty boys said nasty things to me. I’ve tried to discuss the central issue as well as their use of sexist comments as the way of evading it. I’m not attacking them for small unthinking slip ups in word choice, then saying how can I talk with these bastards?

    From the start they used sexist comments as the means to deliberately prevent communication about the huge gender imbalance in the work. That’s been their choice. I didn’t make them do that. I’ve said why it’s not a useful response to the issue. But it’s not in my power to stop them doing that. They can choose to stop doing that. You could try supporting them in that. You could try challenging them on this. Instead you say, shrug, they weren’t racist.

    They haven’t given any sign that they think they shouldn’t do this, or that they intend to stop using sexist personal attacks to prevent communication about sexism. At this point, how would changing to verbal communication help them with this problem? How would we get anywhere? Why would you think it’s my job to put up with more of the same?

    I hope they sort these things out over time. I don’t see how I can help them with it. I hope they come across women and men, who they like, trust and respect, who can get them to think about it all. It can take years, and lots of conversations, but we change.

    I’ve other reasons, that I probly won’t talk about here, why a public debate isn’t realistic.

  19. Kathleen says:

    Hello Neil,

    last one.

    You said
    “If you have been complicit in not challenging sexism, that is your own choice. Perhaps you should have been more forthcoming in your criticism but it’s your choice not to have been. You’re right, it would be helpful if we all stopped doing that. No, I haven’t noticed less women commenting on Bella articles, but I have to say I don’t monitor these types of statistics very assiduously.”

    That was me saying, I’m not attacking other people for this, it’s a shared problem. I think that’s an OK way of looking at it. Not sure why it would bother you enough to be sarky.

    No, I haven’t assiduously done the statistics on that either. It was a strong impression. Others have been saying the same thing. Now it’s been mentioned, if it interests you, you could have a look. These last few days, it looks like iv been on a mission to balance it up
    : )

    You said
    “Perhaps you could clarify what you mean by the statement: “If it had been promoted on any site other than bella, I’d not have been this shocked and near despairing…”. ANY other site? I’ve had to capitalise that as I can’t make it bold to emphasise.

    Bella is the most read pro indy site that I know of, that talks about equality as if they think it could be integral to the kind of independent scotland they want to live in. It has more “better nation” talk than any of the other big sites. If the 75 minutes of film with two pro indy women speaking for only 95 seconds was promoted by Wings, that’d be depressing, but different.

    You said
    ““But seeing more of where PP and bob are coming from, that’s unlikely.” I can’t make any sense of that sentence, can you explain what you mean? Please excuse my lack of intelligence.”

    the issue is a bit circular. I’d wondered if the gender imbalance had been less extreme, would it have been less hard for them to engage with it. But that could be a bit arse -wards. The fact that they’re happy to use sexist comments and sexist personal attacks to shut down discussion of the evidence of the problem, says a lot about where they are coming from, and why the film ended up with that level of gender imbalance.

    Not a problem with intelligence, just a different life, different experience, different understandings. That’s at the heart of the cause of this problem, why it matters, and the route out of it.

    If women’s speech is excluded from important parts of our independent media, we perpetuate the sense that most women don’t have much useful to say about politics, and we miss out on a whole lot of what we need to hear about and understand, to be able to make good decisions for all our future.

    That’s part of why we end up with the difficult debate on quotas, because as long as this goes on, nothing else is working. Just like in the quotas debate, the “editing doesn’t care about gender” position, is saying “there’s no problem here, women’s voices are being persistently excluded on merit.”

    1. Neil Anderson says:

      Lots to think about in what you’ve written here Kathleen, I need some time to consider.
      I will never disagree that sexism is an issue which must be faced and ended, whether it be in written media or in everyday life.
      I’m concerned that you thought I was being sarcastic at any point in this string. I need you to know that I was sincere in all that I have written. This bears out my contention that the written word is easily misconstrued.
      I hope to reply in due course once I have had time to digest all you have written.
      Peace to you is my wish.

      1. Kathleen says:

        Thanks Neil,

        yes we’ve misconstrued each other, and it’s a bit easier to do in writing. I think it’s also about having different experiences of life, not always being aware of that, and assuming more shared understanding than there is,

        all best

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