Sometimes the existence of a public argument between feminists or feminist groups is used by onlookers to attack the entire feminist movement and/or all women. Anti-feminists may appear to ally themselves with one side with the actual goal of discrediting all feminists involved. They may use statements out of context or misinterpret criticisms to serve an anti-feminist agenda and to stoke harassment and assault of feminists. These are some of the reasons that some feminist individuals or groups don't engage in many public arguments or criticism of other feminists.
If you see an argument between feminist people or groups in which anti-feminists are taking an active role, or in which one or both parties seems strangely silent, there's a good chance that they have decided to take the public hit to their reputation rather than provide more fuel for anti-feminist attacks by criticizing another feminist person or group.
If your interlocutor isn't likely to be convinced, and onlookers are likely to be hostile or use the mere fact that there's even an argument against you, it may be best to not engage at all.
- Charles' Rules of Argument for online arguments about feminism (and all contentious topics) more generally.
- "I have this rule, that I don’t criticise women or (by extension) women’s organisations." - Cate Huston in "Tweeting Shit Men Say"