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Nov 14 2011

Don’t shut up

EDIT: Keenan has apologized.

You’re all probably familiar with the saying “Don’t feed the trolls.” It’s a good mantra to live by. When someone is doing or saying something for the sole reason of riling you up, it’s best not to give them the satisfaction. Ignore them, or the trolls win.

This, however, does not mean we should shut up about everything.

That seems like a pretty easy concept to grasp, right? That some things are worth responding to. That sometimes, staying silent is worse than speaking up. That change involves saying “I disagree.”

I wish more people understood this, but sadly it’s not true. It’s especially not true when dealing like things like racism, homophobia, and sexism. Under the guise of concern, people insist that disadvantaged groups suffer in silence. But it’s not concern – it’s distaste that these loud, uppity blacks/gays/women are causing them the slightest discomfort.

Telling someone to shut up and deal is the essence of privilege.

I bring this up because lately women have become particularly vocal about the internet harassment they face. These are sadly things I’m all too familiar with as a female blogger. And they’re not just “trolls.” There are oodles of men (and some women) out there who are disgustingly misogynistic. The abuses we face are no less real because they’re written or transmitted electronically. If you haven’t yet, do yourself a favor and read “A woman’s opinion is the mini-skirt of the internet” and “”You should have your tongue ripped out”: The reality of sexist abuse online.” And check out this post about the new twitter hashtag #MenCallMeThings, which ends on this particularly relevant note of the sort of thing outspoken women hear:

STOP TAKING IT SO SERIOUSLY. “Extremist,” “humorless,” “PC,” “whining,” “bitching,” “complaining,” “divisive,” “single-issue,” “feminazi,” &co. You have simply GOT TO STOP IDENTIFYING PROBLEMS! Men can do all that for you! Also, should you accidentally identify a problem, stop acting as if that problem bothers you, or is bad! If you get all riled up about this, you might end up, like, solving something. And we don’t want that, now do we? Therefore, I beg of you, ALL of you: Shut up.

To put this in perspective, this is the same silencing tactic the religious try on us outspoken atheists. When have you heard a person tell atheists to criticize religion more? No, they’re always saying that we’re divisive, abrasive, and there wouldn’t even be a problem if we just accepted the status quo and stopped whining. So the atheist movement should be much more understanding about this topic, right?

Ahahahahahhaaaaaaaaaaaa.

No.

Rebecca Watson recently called out a comedian who targeted her with a completely nonsensical, bizarre, misogynistic rant. This was partially spurred on by the aforementioned outspokenness from other women writers. But according to Keenan of the University of Northern Iowa Freethinkers and Inquirers, Rebecca needs to stfu and deal .

The point you receive pushback and feel the need to voice your disgust is is the perfect time to prove that you aren’t taking them seriously, however. There is a fantastic political theory out there called the “Spiral of Silence” theory and it basically posits that the less attention you give a fringe group, the less willingness they will have to express their unpopular ideas in public, and therefore less other people will be exposed to them. This is how racism became unpopular in America. We are now seeing the same phenomenon with homophobia which, just like misogyny, is still very prevalent in the media.

Gee, thanks for that helpful advice, privileged white dude! Not patronizing at all to tell disadvantaged groups how to deal with problems you don’t experience!

And I hope Keenan isn’t a sociology major, because this is just embarrassing. People who are sexist are sadly not a fringe group – they are the majority. Racism did not start to become unpopular because black people sat peacefully and quietly. They spoke up, marched in the streets, held sit ins and protests, and caused a general stink. GLBT individuals, women, and other disadvantages groups inch slowly toward equality because they do the same. Social change takes activism, not twiddling your thumbs. People are never going to change their minds unless they’re challenged.

The rest of the post isn’t even worth debunking, since it’s just them taking an obvious dump on Rebecca Watson, basically calling her an attention whore for speaking out about these sorts of things. Which is completely unsurprising coming from UNIFI, since they have a particular hate-on for Rebecca Watson ever since she rightfully criticized some of their members for their ignorant, sexist comments. Apparently you’re not allowed to do that unless you’re also a student. I don’t follow that logic at all, but it doesn’t matter. I’m also a student leader, so I guess that means I have the green light to criticize other student leaders when they say ignorant, privileged bullshit!

So please, please don’t shut up. When men come out of the woodwork and tell you to tone it down, it means crank it up to eleven. Their concern is just fear that they’ll have to change.

EDIT: I originally misattributed this post to the webmaster of UNIFI, Adam Shannon, while it was actually a repost from UNIFI member Keenan. My sincere apologies to Adam for the confusion.

122 comments

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  1. 1
    Pteryxx

    basically calling her an attention whore for speaking out about these sorts of things.

    Well timed:

    https://thatweirdatheistgirl.wordpress.com/2011/11/14/shes-just-an-attention-whore/

  2. 2
    elaine

    Hey white dudes, don’t bother with the Occupy movement. Just ignore corporate america and it will fade into silence and give you what you want.

    Oh.

    No double standards. move along, nothing to see here.

  3. 3
    Edward Clint

    Jen, why is it a civil critique of strategy over a problem (dealing with trolls) automatically gets equated to “stfu”? Is a person not permitted to disagree about the best way to handle situations? Adam never said, nor implied in any way that Rebecca shouldn’t have the right to say whatever she likes however she likes to. He suggested it might not be the most effective way. Even if he’s wrong about that, what on earth is wrong with him suggesting it? Aren’t you telling him to stfu, if that is the standard?

  4. 4
    BrianX

    Edward, why is it that whenever someone’s trolling someone they disagree with, they act like everything they want to complain about is a black or white issue with no externalities, compromise, or grey area?

  5. 5
    Jen

    Where did I tell him to stfu? He can continue to make as many terrible arguments as he wants. And people will continue to reply to them.

  6. 6
    Jen

    And really, did you even read my post at all? This is not about dealing with “trolls” at all. It’s not a civil critique of strategy. It’s passive aggressive privilege that’s part of the problem.

  7. 7
    Edward Clint

    Where did Adam used the words STFU? You assume it from his disagreement, which I see no basis for nor do I see why another person might not therefore assume “stfu” from your disagreement. If you can impute unstated beliefs without evidence against Adam, there is no reason the same could not be done to you (or me, or anyone) who takes exception for any reason.

  8. 8
    Nick Gotts

    Jesus wept, but you’re stupid, Edward. Can you really not grasp that half-witted “advice” from someone who has never been on the sharp end of the torrent of misogynistic hate aimed at Rebecca and anyone (particularly women) who stood up for her is not just useless, but plain offensive?

  9. 9
    Jen

    There is a difference between a summary and a quote. I’m sorry that this concept is difficult for you to comprehend.

  10. 10
    Sili

    He did indeed not use the exact words “shut the fuck up”.

    Congrats, sir, you win the argument.

  11. 11
    Laurence

    I’m with on this one Jen. Adam made an argument. Jen made a counter-argument. I think the evidence is with Jen with this one. I think that there is more evidence that calling out people who are prejudiced is much better than just being silent. We make progress by being silent and ignoring the issue.

  12. 12
    Edward Clint

    Indeed, I read it all. You certainly do talk about some .. apparent jerks who want to silence women? It’s hard to say because your block quote has no sources nor indication of who is responding to what. I will grant that at there are sexist idiots who tell women to shut up that should not be.

    The problem is lumping Adam in with them. Adam went so far as to offer peer-reviewed literature to support his contention. The problem of dealing with loudmouth jerks and others who vocally oppose female viewpoints is complex and requires consideration. There isn’t any one “always do this” answer.

    Even if Adam is a victim of his privilege, even if he’s a raving moron who can barely tie his own shoes, this is not proof that he is insincere or doesn’t share the goals of feminism. There’s something scary and dogmatic to me that you seem to assume it is.

  13. 13
    Edward Clint

    Let me see if I am understanding you KG. You’re saying if person A has suffered from misogynists and makes a statement about a misogynist who is making trouble.. then no one is permitted to disagree with person A without having had their experiences?

  14. 14
    Jen

    Where was I ever trying to show proof that Adam was a raving moron or insincere about feminism? I was saying he was wrong. You are having a seriously frightening disconnect with the article. Seems I’ve touched a nerve.

  15. 15
    Laurence

    That last sentence should read “We don’t make…”

  16. 16
    Greg Laden

    It is absolutely true that silence, “not feeding the troll” and so on is a valid strategy, but it only works at two levels: The very small and short term one where the participants in a small (possibly ephemeral) community … the commenters on a specific blog post and the post’s author, for instance … can decide to stop feeding a particular troll on that blog post and thus make him or her (but prolly him) go away. At the largest scale an entire community can probably engage in this so called “spiral of science” thingie.

    But none of that has to do with what Rebecca was being asked to do.

  17. 17
    cbc

    From where I’m sitting, Adam whole piece reads as concern trolling. The STFU is very much implied. And he clearly has an ax to grind, so his motives are suspect. Stop being obtuse, Edward.

  18. 18
    Leo Buzalsky

    There is a fantastic political theory out there called the “Spiral of Silence”

    Well, frankly a person who STFU’s is going to be a silent person and vica versa. The implication is there and I would have thought it to be fairly obvious. If you don’t think this is evidence, please explain why not.

  19. 19
    emmamurdoch

    If I had to mediate this argument, I’d say everyone involved should STFU and stop being pretentious.

  20. 20
    NateHevens, resident SOOPER-GENIUS... apparently...

    Where did Adam used the words STFU? You assume it from his disagreement, which I see no basis for nor do I see why another person might not therefore assume “stfu” from your disagreement. If you can impute unstated beliefs without evidence against Adam, there is no reason the same could not be done to you (or me, or anyone) who takes exception for any reason.

    Hm… let’s see…

    The point you receive pushback and feel the need to voice your disgust is is the perfect time to prove that you aren’t taking them seriously, however. There is a fantastic political theory out there called the “Spiral of Silence” theory and it basically posits that the less attention you give a fringe group, the less willingness they will have to express their unpopular ideas in public, and therefore less other people will be exposed to them. This is how racism became unpopular in America. We are now seeing the same phenomenon with homophobia which, just like misogyny, is still very prevalent in the media.

    Read that again, Edward.

    And again.

    And again.

    There is a fantastic political theory out there called the “Spiral of Silence” theory and it basically posits that the less attention you give a fringe group, the less willingness they will have to express their unpopular ideas in public, and therefore less other people will be exposed to them.

    “Spiral of Silence”? Yeah. This is just a nice, “polite” way to say “please… shut the fuck up”.

    And if you don’t see that, the problem is not with us…

    ————————————————————–

    Also, on a side note…

    This is how racism became unpopular in America.

    Wait. What? I’m sorry, but I was under the impression that racism ended because Rosa Parks refused to move to the back of the bus, and Martin Luther King, Jr gave his “I Have a Dream Speech”, and because of the collaborative efforts of millions upon millions of US-Americans shouting at the top of their lungs about the inequality.

    Is this guy living in some alternate universe or something?

    We are now seeing the same phenomenon with homophobia which, just like misogyny, is still very prevalent in the media.

    Oh…

    He is…

  21. 21
    Infophile

    Let me see if I am understanding you, Edward. You’re saying if person A is in a fight with person B, he can win the fight by constructing a man out of straw and then beating it up?

    Try to come up with the most charitable interpretation of an opponent’s arguments in a debate, not the least charitable. You’ve turned saying that such advice is “not just useless, but plain offensive” to a claim that such advice isn’t permitted, and you also expand the specific type of disagreement (about whether or not it’s a big deal) to include any disagreement. You’ll gain no ground by twisting what others say. Give it up, and address the actual arguments.

  22. 22
    Leo Buzalsky

    Yes, and in regards to the “Spiral of Silence” theory, it seems to primarily apply to the mass media. So unless Watson and Skepchick are somehow part of the mass media, I fail to see how this theory is even supposed to be relevent to this discussion.

  23. 23
    Nevare

    I believe i mite not be getting the point to this post but, it does seem the the ” spiral of silence” comes off as “shit down, shut up, and say what we want you to say”

    (please let me know if i missed the point)

  24. 24
    Danial

    What troubled me was the sarcastic thanks for the help privileged white guy. Let me start with: he is wrong, this wouldn’t work, but the tone of his response didn’t seem unreasonable (I could be wrong), which is to say someone could show him how he’s wrong and he’d believe it(again I could be wrong). The issue is that calling him out in a harsh way might make a (misguided) ally disengage. I’m a white dude and I care about this, but I worry that I’ve not caught and eradicated some insufficiently feminist position. I’m fine being told I’m wrong, that’s how I improve, but if I’m too afraid of a harsh rather than helpful rebuke, I might just stay quiet. My point is this, we should absolutely call out the jerks, and to those opposed to our goals, ridicule is appropriate for them. But when it comes to those who are wrong in how to make this better, a little less ire seems like the right move to me. That seems to me at least the sentiment of those who saw some harshness to Jen’s response to Adam.

  25. 25
    emmamurdoch

    Labeling and name calling are offensive. They’re what sexists, bigots, religious zealots, misogynists, and homophobes use to spark a reaction. So…what makes it okay to engage in these offensive activities just because “he started it”?

  26. 26
    emmamurdoch

    I agree. It’s most important to pick your battles and not waste time and energy ridiculing those who are sincerely trying to understand your point of view.

  27. 27
    miller

    In all my experience with queer groups, I have never met a serious activist who thought the most effective way to respond to homophobia was to ignore it, or who thought that this is how it was done in the past.

    Also, I thought “don’t feed the trolls” was more about reducing flame wars and hard feelings in internet communities, not about effecting social change.

  28. 28
    PHS Philip

    I agree. I mean, yes, his argument is stupid. Staying quiet about things is really not an effective strategy. Maybe in very specific cases within politics (if the tea partiers had been ignored they might have come and gone), but not in major social issues. But at the same time, being badly wrong does not mean one was acting in bad faith.

    Also, doesn’t this sort of logic eliminate large swathes of science? For example, can a doctor who has never lost a family member to cancer not study coping mechanisms, and see what best helps families recover? Just because you have never personally experienced something does not automatically mean your advice is worthless, and even if you’re clearly wrong, that doesn’t mean you weren’t sincerely trying to help.

  29. 29
    elaine

    “…but if I’m too afraid of a harsh rather than helpful rebuke, I might just stay quiet.”

    Q fucking ED

  30. 30
    Danial

    I’m not sure if you are disagreeing with what I said or not. I never said the haters shouldn’t be yelled down, they should. I only wanted to make a distinction between the haters and those who are on our side, but are wrong, and suggest that the responses should be different.

  31. 31
    RoInGa

    Some recent science to back up focusing on the negative as being necessary to change a system or status quo for the better:

    http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2011-11/afps-tfs111411.php

  32. 32
    ewan

    I think you might have, a little. Sometimes the silent treatment really is the best approach, mainly under two circumstances:

    - You really are dealing with a tiny fringe opinion. This is why serious historians don’t hold conferences to debate the question of whether or not the holocaust happened – it’s a done deal, and engaging with the nutjobs just sets up a false equivalence between their fringe views and the truth. This is also the reason that Richard Dawkins was recently refusing to debate with some creationist that was loudly ‘challenging’ him (that and it would have just wasted an evening).

    - When you’re just being trolled. There’s no point challenging someone’s opinion when it’s not a real opinion. You’re can’t change their belief when it’s not really their belief. It’s pretty clear that if one were minded to start a comment thread punch-up here, the best bet wouldn’t be to say something religious, it would be to say something sexist, and preferably condescending. When that happens there’s absolutely nothing to be gained by giving the troll exactly what they’re looking for.

    Of course, in this case, a lot of sexist opinions are not so hopelessly fringe that the first point applies, and not so rare that the second is necessarily the case. So, even though the principle is not without merit, it’s application to this subject probably is.

  33. 33
    Jennifer Nash

    The Twitter hash tag made it big enough to get into mainstream newspapers in Australia. I thought it was weird that the writer of the newspaper article I read was talking about ‘trolls’ who were sending online abuse.

    The whole problem is that these people are not trolls, at least not most of them. Trolls say anything to get a rise, without necessarily believing it. The people sending abuse to female bloggers and writers – I think they truly believe the vile stuff they write. That’s not trolling, and that’s why it’s so disturbing. And that’s why it shouldn’t be ignored.

  34. 34
    Eric RoM

    Really? He has to actually SAY “shut the fuck up” verbatim before you’ll agree that’s what he’s really saying??

    Well, good news for Herman Cain.

  35. 35
    Eric RoM

    Ya think?

  36. 36
    Eric RoM

    I think they’re multitasking assholes who both believe it AND want to get a rise out of people. Still trolls.

    And useful idiots like Edward are right in there helping them.

  37. 37
    cbc

    Sometimes. But if it starts hurting then I take a break and watch some Sister Wives instead.

  38. 38
    elaine

    I’m agreeing.

    You’re saying that being hated upon will cause you to STFU.

    Somehow, to Adam and Edward up there, staying quiet will stop the haters.

    The reverse is the case, the haters howling abuse, will cause many women/gays/coloured to STFU. Thereby making it seem to them that the problem has been solved.

  39. 39
    Adam Shannon

    Jen, in case you’re interested, I didn’t write that post. I’m just the webmaster, and I figured that the sentence, “This post originally appeared on Keenan’s personal blog.” conveyed that.

  40. 40
    Nevare

    thanks for the help, has helped to clarify the whole post and looking at some of the other discusions i do seem to be abit off topic

  41. 41
    F

    You certainly do talk about some .. apparent jerks who want to silence women?

    So, do you not know what any of this is about? Yet you felt compelled to comment? With strawmen?

  42. 42
    Jen

    Adam,

    My sincerest apologies. Apparently my brain read right over the italics, and I went to “Posted by” to figure out the author. I’ve corrected the mistake and noted the edits.

  43. 43
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    It’s hard to say because your block quote has no sources nor indication of who is responding to what.

    Err, every one of her blockquotes is immediately adjacent to a link to the source.

    Out of lazy, dishonest, and dumb as a rock, which minimum of two are you, and is it actually just two?

  44. 44
    Nevare

    Hi Jennifer
    in what newspaper and date was the article?
    SMH or daily telegraph?

  45. 45
    Adam Shannon

    No worries, it was interesting to get a lot of FB chatter, for something that wasn’t mine.

  46. 46
    F

    Where did he try to understand someone’s point of view, again? Oh, right, he was too busy giving advice.

    If he had clue one about the situation, he wouldn’t have offered this bad, irrelevant advice. Or maybe he still would because he’s a privileged ass.

  47. 47
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    We don’t.

  48. 48
    F

    Or maybe you could STFU, since no one asked you to mediate anything. I’m certainly not telling you to STFU, and who the hell would care anyway, but talk about pretentious…

  49. 49
    cbc

    F, stop being so pretentious. /snark/

  50. 50
    cbc

    Who had “tone argument” in Social Justice Bingo?

  51. 51
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    This isn’t news.

    You didn’t think any of the “SHH, SHH, you’re hurting the cause!” was sincere, did you?

    Sidestabbers know exactly what they’re doing. Especially when they lie to themselves about it.

  52. 52
    Keenan Crow

    If I am correct, it seems as though there is no way to talk about feminism without feeding the trolls? This seems to be a dismal view of feminism. Certainly we can talk about it without validating people who only seek attention. You see, Mr. Metzger doesn’t care what she thinks and she isn’t going to change his mind. In fact he will only use that attention as further validation. This was my main argument. I don’t know how you got that I want her to be quiet every time she is assailed.

    Further since I have made it abundantly clear to everyone else: I never argued that there were not structural implications of homophobia and racism. That argument was constructed within the terms of the spiral of silence theory which states that media selectivity plays a large role in reinforcing the minimalization of outwardly racist/homophobic views. Certainly when an activist group stands up for themselves it makes a huge difference. When media members give attention to the KKK, no matter how negative, it does no one any good and can actually validate their views to a wider audience.

    As far as dismissing the other half outright I think you missed the part where using ad hominem attacks and anecdotal evidence to dispute a point rather than valid scientific works should be the standard in the skeptical community. In fact I would argue that it should be the standard within any community. Here are the studies I used in my article:

    Slater, M. D. (2007), Reinforcing Spirals: The Mutual Influence of Media Selectivity and Media Effects and Their Impact on Individual Behavior and Social Identity. Communication Theory, 17: 281–303. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2885.2007.00296.x

    Woong Yun, G. and Park, S.-Y. (2011), Selective Posting: Willingness to post a message online. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 16: 201–227. doi: 10.1111/j.1083-6101.2010.01533.x

    Neuwirth, K., Frederick, E. and Mayo, C. (2007), The Spiral of Silence and Fear of Isolation. Journal of Communication, 57: 450–468. doi: 10.1111/j.1460-2466.2007.00352.x

    Hayes, A. F. (2007), Exploring the Forms of Self-Censorship: On the Spiral of Silence and the Use of Opinion Expression Avoidance Strategies. Journal of Communication, 57: 785–802. doi: 10.1111/j.1460-2466.2007.00368.x

    Your article seems more like a personal attack on me (being the white privileged woman hater that I am and all) rather than something based on the merits of a rhetorical strategy I have posed as an alternative. The overarching point of my article has been dismissed in favor of tearing down a straw man.

  53. 53
    leandra

    There’s a really easy way to solve this problem- don’t give advice to members of a marginalized group about their experience or their reactions to their experiences, and don’t assume you know better than a marginalized group about their experiences. If Keenan Crow had been earnestly trying to understand why women would feel the way they do about internet harassment and not telling them what to do, we’d be having a different conversation.

  54. 54
    cmv

    Emma – You’re right, sexists, bigots, religious zealots, misogynists, and homophobes use name-calling to get a reaction out of people. The difference is that they are attacking the inherent characteristics of their victims, attacking them for who and what they are. Those who are standing up and fighting back are labeling those attackers for what they do.
    Can you see the difference?

  55. 55
    cmv

    I think you missed the part where using ad hominem attacks and anecdotal evidence to dispute a point rather than valid scientific works should be the standard in the skeptical community. In fact I would argue that it should be the standard within any community.

    I think perhaps you wrote this backwards. I hope you did.
    You have clearly misunderstood the application of the spiral of silence. Read the comment thread above. It only works when you are dealing with a fringe. Now ignoring the KKK in the mainstream media is arguably an effective strategy; in the 40s, 50s, and 60s, ignoring the KKK simply allowed them to continue to act with impunity. Anecdotes are just anecdotes, but theories which disagree with observed historical evidence are junk.

  56. 56
    SallyStrange

    That would make you a horrible mediator. If I had hired you to mediate a disagreement and that was your approach, I’d fire you immediately.

  57. 57
    Danial

    I understand your point, but I’m not sure that your way is the only way to proceed. I think that you are right in that it is hard for someone to understand what a marginalized group is going through if this person hasn’t gone through it her/himself. However, few social movements, see in particular the gay rights movement (since it is a relatively small proportion of the population), would be successful if they relied only on those in that group. I would argue that consciousness raising is possible. The question then becomes: is it possible for someone who is not part of the marginalized group to have their consciousness raised enough to try to engage helpfully in dialogue in how to handle situations? I’d like to think that this is possible (I could be wrong, but people are marginalized for all sorts of reasons which may provide some guidance, or might not, but an honest discussion would be better for having considered them, even if ultimately rejected). If it is possible to raise consciousness, I was suggesting that we should help someone who doesn’t understand properly, but can be made to, and by so doing gain more vocal supporters. To reiterate and clarify, I think Keenan is wrong about the social science (my field) of his argument, but explaining why rather than being so harsh, might yield more richness in the debate as to what to do (even if he’s wrong), while at the same time developing someone who is participating, rather than inhibiting someone from participating (if Keenan is genuine).

  58. 58
    SallyStrange

    If I am correct

    You’re not.

  59. 59
    Keenan Crow

    //You have clearly misunderstood the application of the spiral of silence. Read the comment thread above. It only works when you are dealing with a fringe.//

    So your point of reference on how to apply the spiral of silence theory is the comments thread?

    Honestly I was using the KKK as a prominent, accessible example. We are talking about a microcosm of journalism ethics here, and the literature reflects that. Where’s the contradictory evidence? I have put forth a falsifiable theory and all anyone wants to do is poison the well and argue semantics. Are we not all skeptics?

  60. 60
    BrianX

    Oh, Jen. I’m sure you’ll be sooooo broken up about this, but Ed has gone bawwwing on Facebook and from the conversation I’m following, evidently you’re off ERV’s Christmas list because you, um, write mostly about atheism and skepticism. Or something.

    Dammit, I wish Abbie would just clue herself in and realize just how many people she’s pissed off by courting the asshole audience… Seriously, I don’t think she realizes just how little it’ll probably take for her horde of assholes to turn on her if she has an epiphany.

  61. 61
  62. 62
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    I think she knows and having an audience and a certain kind of approval is just more important to her. Sort of the flip side of the sidestabbers who try to derail social justice movements with endless tone and purity trolling when they start to look like they might actually accomplish something, fully aware that the end result of said accomplishment will be that the minority of adherents whose penchant for bullying outweighs any sincere conviction they might have losing the opportunity to sit on the sidelines and yell at people in the future.

  63. 63
    cmv

    Are you really that obtuse? The comment thread above has several explanations and examples of how the spiral of silence can effectively be used.
    I reused your KKK example because it underlined just how incorrectly you wish to apply the theory. It may work on that particular target now, but it most assuredly would not have in the past. Sexism and misogyny are unfortunately not fringe phenomena, they are clearly mainstream.
    Did you read any of the links Jen provided? These are not writers who have been declaiming the abuse they’ve received since being online and seen it disappear. These are writers who have seen the volume and depravity of their abusers increase over time. They are only now speaking out about this.
    You are misapplying your theory. This is not a “microcosm of journalism ethics”, these are members of the general public slinging shit at writers they don’t like, and those writers deciding how to respond.
    You want contradictory evidence?
    LGBT communities were closeted. They said nothing, and were the subjects of massive abuse. They stood up. They spoke out. They started to march. Now it is less socially acceptable to express homophobic views in public. This is progress that had nothing to do with silence.
    African Americans in the South for generations kept their heads down and tried to get along. They didn’t make too much noise about the odd lynching. It wasn’t until they stood up and started to march that things changed.
    When you are dealing with a fringe opinion, you can ignore it and starve it for attention. When you are dealing with an ingrained feature of mainstream society, silence doesn’t work. Silence in consent.
    You have put forward a falsifiable theory, which has already been falsified in practice.
    By the by, stating that you are misapplying a theory is not “poisoning the well”, it’s just saying that you are wrong.

  64. 64
    cmv

    I actually laughed out loud!
    I think I love Josh.

  65. 65
    Rasputin

    I am embarrassed for my species and my gender.

    Why is it so damn hard to treat people like people?

  66. 66
    hoverfrog

    I never can resist feeding the trolls. They’re sad and funny in their own way and responding by refuting their arguments isn’t for them. It is for all the interested and silent observers who don’t really notice that the trolls arguments are wrong. Arguing against them helps to dispel some of that ignorance even if we’re never aware that we’ve done it.

  67. 67
    PHS Philip

    “Gee, thanks for that helpful advice, privileged white dude! Not patronizing at all to tell disadvantaged groups how to deal with problems you don’t experience!” doesn’t exactly come across as a positive view of his character. That’s not a criticism of his argument, and it’s really not a comment on privilege so much as a “you’re privileged, so go fuck yourself”

  68. 68
    Svlad Cjelli

    http://fatuglyorslutty.com/about/

    Relevancy! It’s even black month or something on the frontpage.

  69. 69
    LTFT

    Jen: Let’s pretend that you’re interested in preventing deaths due to fires in crowded theater. Perhaps you are so interested in doing this that you decide to yell ‘FIRE’ in a crowded theater. When someone tells you not to do that, they are not telling you to STFU. Yes, they’re telling you to be quiet in this context, but that is not the same as telling someone to STFU.

    STFU means sit down, shut up, and give up. It would be like saying, in the theater example, don’t lobby for sprinklers or fireproof materials, don’t raise awareness of the dangers of fire in enclosed spaces, and don’t install lit exit signs so people know how to get out. Just STFU and leave it alone.

    That’s not what Keenan did. He didn’t tell anyone to STFU. He told Rebecca to find a better way to do what she’s doing. Yes, it was a bit lame of an idea and yes it involved, at times, being quiet. There is still an enormous difference between what Keenan advocated and STFU. I have no idea who Keenan Crow is or what your history with his group is, but you did him a bit of a disservice in characterizing his argument as an STFU.

  70. 70
    Hibernia86

    Jen, you say that the people who say that people who criticize you are just trying to shut you up, but on this blog anyone who disagrees with the statements in the post is sure to get nasty comments flung at them. Just because you are a feminist writer does not mean that every accusation you make is true. People should be able to disagree with you without people screaming in rage that anyone would dare question an accusation.

  71. 71
    Vicki

    Yes, a straight person can speak out for gay rights. But if a straight man starts telling a gay man, a lesbian, or a bisexual person to shut up about their experiences because he-the-straight-man is the expert, he’s getting it wrong. I don’t care if your theory says that X doesn’t happen to bisexuals, if it has in fact happened to me I’m going to say so.

    Let him take what he’s learned and talk to other straight people, who might not already know about this stuff.

  72. 72
    anon atheist

    I never understood why the religious who want the secular students groups on campus to STFU not just go ahead and remove the fliers and chalkings of these groups but rather write lengthy blogposts about how wrong the messages on the fliers and how ugly the chalkings are. Now I understand.

  73. 73
    The Ys

    People should be able to disagree with you without people screaming in rage that anyone would dare question an accusation.

    Mockery != screaming in rage

  74. 74
    Keenan Crow

    So far all of your examples have to do with activists standing up to either those in positions of power or approaching the general public with the message itself. If that is the case, you are 100% right. This is not what I’m arguing, however.

    If Rebecca had written a piece about how the Speaker of the House was a misogynist then you would be spot on. She wrote a piece about a troll, however. An inconsequential comedian whose only objective is NOT to get her to shut up but to provoke a response. Just as one does not engage the WBC or the KKK because their views are clearly created at this point to provoke a response…she should not have engaged that troll. This is the essence of my argument. Thus far no one has presented any evidence that this is incorrect (notice I say evidence and not anecdotes or pure rationalization).

    As far as the other half of my article which was completely ignored in this post…it is about how to let the merit of your argument stand on its own without rhetorical warfare such as poisoning the well.

    //Gee, thanks for that helpful advice, privileged white dude!// Poisoning the well

    //I hope Keenan Crow isn’t a sociology major, because this is just embarrassing. // Poisoning the well

    //Are you really that obtuse?// Not necessary for the rest of your argument

    The tone of these attacks is exactly what disturbs me. And heaven forbid I comment on the tone of a piece or I am accused of “tone trolling”. By the way…if my article was concern trolling…then what is this article?

  75. 75
    Keenan Crow

    So then, you agree that mockery is the appropriate response to someone with a sincere interest in the movement?

  76. 76
    Hibernia86

    The Ys: So do you think that when Jen posts something people don’t agree with, they should mock her? If not, then why can’t you hold the same standard to people with different opinions than Jen?

  77. 77
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    No, disagreement = screaming in rage. It’s a very old trope.

  78. 78
    The Ys

    I agree that mockery is an appropriate response to someone who clearly doesn’t understand an issue and demonstrates zero desire to see anything beyond his own stunted, ill-informed, and privileged viewpoint.

    Bullies don’t STFU and go away if you ignore them. Been there numerous times, tried that numerous times, got beaten up/assaulted instead of being given the multiple t-shirts.

    If you don’t want to listen to people speaking up against misogyny, help eradicate it.

    …and while you’re at it, go explain to Rosa Parks why she should have just gone to the back of the bus instead of kicking up a fuss about racism.

  79. 79
    Hibernia86

    Disagreement is fine. Throwing personal insults is not. That is a difference that adults need to learn if they are going to be taken seriously.

  80. 80
    The Ys

    Hibernia:

    If not, then why can’t you hold the same standard to people with different opinions than Jen?

    Spoiler alert: it will all end with the recognition that men and women have equal rights and deserve equal protection under the law. You can whine all you want to while we’re on our way there, but telling women they aren’t entitled to the same rights and protections as men isn’t a solid or rational argument.

    I sincerely hope you don’t call yourself a skeptic.

  81. 81
    The Ys

    That is a difference that adults need to learn if they are going to be taken seriously.

    So…why does anyone take Abbie seriously, then? Seriously?

  82. 82
    Hibernia86

    The Ys: The problem is that too many people think that everyone who disagrees with them is “someone who clearly doesn’t understand the issue”. We need to be able to support our views with facts rather than arrogantly believing that we are right all of the time.

  83. 83
    Hibernia86

    Well, it is a good thing I never said that then. I do believe that men and women should have equal rights, but I also believe that most men want gender equality and that we shouldn’t automatically assume the worst about them. You need to have pretty solid evidence before you start accusing a person of being of bad character. If you are a skeptic, you’ll understand.

  84. 84
    The Ys

    Hibernia:

    The Ys: The problem is that too many people think that everyone who disagrees with them is “someone who clearly doesn’t understand the issue”. We need to be able to support our views with facts rather than arrogantly believing that we are right all of the time.

    You seriously think that we need to do fact-finding commissions to establish that men and women deserve equal rights and equal treatment?

    Seriously?

    Fact: men and women are both part of the same species. If you extend rights to one part but not another, that’s a bias and it should be corrected. Unless, of course, you can somehow demonstrate a valid reason for why men should be privileged over women.

    You need go no further than this to demonstrate that speaking out against misogyny is necessary.

  85. 85
    Keenan Crow

    So…where was it in my argument that you got that feminists should never speak up about feminism? My point was don’t give undue attention/validation to trolls from the other side, not “shut up about being marginalized”.

    // demonstrates zero desire to see anything beyond his own stunted, ill-informed, and privileged viewpoint.// Poisoning the well and additionally, not true. If you have evidence to support that giving people who want attention further validation then I would be excited to hear it because that would mean I would have to reconsider my argument. If you are arguing that everyone should have equal rights and that feminists should speak out about this issue, then you and I are in agreement and have nothing further to discuss.

  86. 86
    Hibernia86

    Of course men and women deserve equal rights. And if we find sexism then we should work against it. But if you are going to accuse someone then you need to have the facts to back it up. I think Jen makes good points a lot of the time, but some of her beliefs (such as the one above where she says that sexist people are the majority) are wildly off base with little evidence to support them. We should be allowed to point that out without people being offended that we did.

  87. 87
    Keenan Crow

    I am incredibly disturbed at the way this issue has been approached. Everyone here assumes that I am an insincere bigot and that this is all a conspiracy to silence women. It isn’t. It was an honest attempt to look at how to best respond to those who seek attention. Ascribing any sort of ulterior motive is speculative conspiracism at best.

    Why all these attacks on my character? Why is it necessary to preface an argument with an ad hominem? Do your arguments not stand well enough on their own? Where is your peer reviewed literature to prove I’m the idiot you say I am? So far none has been provided. All I have heard are assertions based on arguments that have not been made (straw men).

    Please provide SCIENTIFIC literature that has been peer reviewed to prove that giving attention seeking individuals further validation is a more effective strategy than ignoring them. For I have not made the argument that women should suffer in silence…only that giving those people attention is exactly what they desire and they can therefore use this ammunition to further their own cause.

    Honestly I’m disappointed in the reaction I have received. I have been raked through the muck repeatedly and my actual argument has not once been touched on. Jen, I’m personally hurt by this article in particular because you haven’t taken the time to review the literature before parading me around as an adherent of chauvinist male privilege. Further you have grouped me in with people that I despise. I hope you can recognize that this was unfair and did nothing to change my mind (aside from solidifying my stance that certain rhetorical techniques such as ad hominem attacks should be off limits within the skeptical community).

  88. 88
    Jen

    Where in the world did I call you a bigot or a chauvinist? Acting completely delusional isn’t really encouraging me to spend time responding to you.

  89. 89
    Keenan Crow

    The first paragraph is clearly about those who have decided to post comments accusing me of being a “side stabber” who knows exactly what I am doing. If that is not indicative of being a bigot who wants to further promote inequality I don’t know what is. That, however, was not directed at you or your post.

    The last paragraph, where I say you are accusing me of chauvinism, is not delusional whatsoever.
    //Gee, thanks for that helpful advice, privileged white dude!//
    //I have the green light to criticize other student leaders when they say ignorant, privileged bullshit!//
    //It’s passive aggressive privilege that’s part of the problem.//

    To me, this equates to saying that I am trying to hide my misogynistic attitudes by coming up with a tone argument that “side stabs” Rebecca in lieu of actually coming out and saying “Hey, be quiet about women’s rights”. This was not my intention at all. You seem to be attributing malicious intent where none exists.

    I struggle to see where I come off as delusional when this entire post was basically about me trying to find less obvious ways to exercise my sinister male privilege. The sheer amount of character attacks in your piece leads me to believe that you don’t really care what I have to say at all, however, and will dismiss any rational argument outright in favor of tearing down yet another straw man.

  90. 90
    Jen

    Thinking there’s something sinister about male privilege seems to be your problem, not mine. Your whole original post is the poster child of typical concern trolling that men do to silence women who are speaking up. I’m not apologizing for the words you chose to write.

  91. 91
    Keenan Crow

    You know, maybe I am wrong about what we should do with our trolls. Maybe this is a horrible idea and even though I have studied spirals of silence for years I am possibly incorrect. But I am still wrong for the right reasons, and I have not attacked anyone personally or called anyone names during this whole process.

    I am clearly not asking for an apology on the issue itself. By all means, tell me I am wrong. Prove that I am wrong. As a skeptic I welcome that. I want to know if I am wrong so that I can change and attempt to not be wrong in the future.

    Where I lose respect for you is here:
    //Gee, thanks for that helpful advice, privileged white dude!//
    Asserting that my gender and ethnicity have anything to do with the argument at hand was unnecessary to making your point.

    //And I hope Keenan Crow isn’t a sociology major, because this is just embarrassing. //
    Great way to poison the well and make sure that whatever you say next has extra weight regardless of the merits of your argument.

    //The rest of the post isn’t even worth debunking//
    The rest of my post has to do with how to best approach people you believe to be wrong. You disregarded this and used those exact techniques in your article.

    //I have the green light to criticize other student leaders when they say ignorant, privileged bullshit!//
    Again completely unnecessary way to rile up the discussion climate and not add any substance to the argument.

    //This is not about dealing with “trolls” at all. It’s not a civil critique of strategy. It’s passive aggressive privilege that’s part of the problem.//
    Misattribution of intent which serves only to poison the well

    These are all very interesting ways to treat someone who is both part of the skeptical movement and a professed feminist. You can call this tone trolling all day but your tone is undeniably off putting if not flat out rude. I have been called names, I have been derided, and still no one has addressed the fact that I was never talking about activist responses to authority or the general public. Everything you said in your post as far as feminists sticking up for themselves and vocally opposing true detractors I agree with whole heartedly.

    So I guess my main issue is that, even though we are largely in agreement, you neglected to take the high road and argue the topic on its merits. Instead you opted for a sensationalist diatribe against a straw man. That was unfair to both me and your readers.

  92. 92
    anon atheist

    You actually received a very predictable response and I would advise you to stop digging the hole. I might have tried to explain it to you but there are a few reasons I won’t and a least one has to do with privilege.

  93. 93
    Keenan Crow

    I won’t deny male privilege, or the fact that because I am a male I necessarily have an inability to see things from a woman’s perspective. But surely this does not excuse character attacks and misappropriation of malice.

    Honestly I would be interested in your explanation. RoInGa is so far the only person to offer any other sort of evidence and I consider this a valid critique that I will certainly take into account.

    But by all means, if I am ignorant of some aspect that is preventing me from understanding the argument fully…please share it. I will fully embrace a well reasoned argument (as long as it is devoid of loaded language).

  94. 94
    cmv

    You ask for scientific literature to refute your theory (peer reviewed, no less!). I think you’ll find, if you read through the actual criticisms of your thesis, that we are saying that you are misapplying the theory. You actually hit on it in your OP:

    There is a fantastic political theory out there called the “Spiral of Silence” theory and it basically posits that the less attention you give a fringe group.

    Emphasis mine

    The problem is not necessarily with the effectiveness of the “Spiral of Silence”, it is that you are applying it wrong. It works on FRINGE GROUPS. The current problem is a pervasive patriarchal system which is NOT FRINGE.

    If you look again at my previous post, you’ll see that I submit that you are incorrectly attributing success in the fields of civil rights and gay rights to the Spiral of Silence. Silence did not work in either of these endeavours.

    You also, although I know this is another debate, need to understand the concept of ad hominem. An ad hominem attack is when I say that we shouldn’t listen to you because you are a (supply your own insult). It is not an ad hominem to say that you are wrong, and therefore you are a (supply your own epithet). The former is a fallacious premise, the second is a conclusion.

  95. 95
    Jen

    Yes, this.

  96. 96
    anon atheist

    One of the reasons is that I consider the issue at hand not really worth discussing. So Rebecca Watson very expectedly gets hate mail and replies to it, so what? At the same time thousands of university students protest in defense of a child molestation enabler so what is the more important issue?

    Secondly I think you don’t really grasp the gravitas of the male privilege argument. This is the ultimate get out of jail for free card. Anything you say is disregarded because you are male. It is not you who is talking it is the privilege. You are seen as a little puppy who pees on the rug simply because he does not know any better.

    Just to be clear on the particular issue of whether Rebecca Watson should have replied or not I don’t have any opinion.

  97. 97
    cmv

    You are setting up a false dichotomy. It is more than possible to treat multiple issues at the same time. You may have heard of newspapers, magazines, and television news programs. Any of these media regularly deal with multiple stories, at the same time!
    Likewise, FtB bloggers have dealt with not only these 2 topics, but several others. Here is the current listing in the “FtB Recent Posts” section at the top right of this page:

    Judge Rules Against US Constitution, Sides With 1% by Greg Laden
    Guess Who Thinks Sexually Abusing Children Used to Be Normal by JT Eberhard
    Occupying Foreclosed Homes by Stephanie Zvan
    Beware the curses of angels by Maryam Namazie
    Leadership in the Form of a Shirtless Dancer by JT Eberhard

    I’m sure if you look at the live listing now, you will see other articles, equally diverse.
    Of course, I get the feeling I’m just feeding a troll.

  98. 98
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    Ah, I see. You think sexism only counts if it’s overt and blatant – the analogue of insisting that anything less than wearing sheets and burning crosses doesn’t “really” count as “racism.”

  99. 99
    Aaron Friel

    It’s important to be wrong once in a while, so perhaps we could restart the conversation?

    http://www.unifreethought.com/2011/11/its-important-to-be-wrong-once-in-while.html

    Regards,

    Aaron Friel

  100. 100
    Laurence

    Also, the spiral of silence depends on there being an actual fear of isolation. Here’s what a friend of mine who has studied Sociology of Inequalities for several years had to say about it:

    “As far as the internet is concerned, I believe that the spiral of silence is something that is less problematic than it is in interpersonal communications. If you believe Berger and Luckmann’s assertion that the further removed you are from face to face conversation, the more likely you are to express “core” beliefs. If the internet is more impersonal than face to face interactions, it would stand that the spiral of silence, voicing a minority opinion or no dissent, would be less of a problem.

    “As long as people feel removed enough from the threat of real reprecussions, the spiral of silence argument doesn’t have much ground.
    especially on the internet. calling people out can raise awareness of insensitivity, which does have possible consequences, so it is more likely to silence someone
    or, as the person said, it might just feed the trolls.”

    I’m going to see if I can find any studies that potentially support this point of view.

  101. 101
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    If you are, in fact, in agreement with Jen, then please note that communicating badly and acting scandalized when you’re misunderstood is not the same as being wronged.

  102. 102
    BrianX

    Yeah… the degree of fail is depressing. Abbie does great work as a scientist, but she reminds me of people who complain about books about anti-science and anti-intellectualism being too politicized, as if politics has nothing to do with science.

  103. 103
    SallyStrange

    So far all of your examples have to do with activists standing up to either those in positions of power or approaching the general public with the message itself. If that is the case, you are 100% right. This is not what I’m arguing, however.

    If Rebecca had written a piece about how the Speaker of the House was a misogynist then you would be spot on. She wrote a piece about a troll, however. An inconsequential comedian whose only objective is NOT to get her to shut up but to provoke a response. Just as one does not engage the WBC or the KKK because their views are clearly created at this point to provoke a response…she should not have engaged that troll. This is the essence of my argument. Thus far no one has presented any evidence that this is incorrect (notice I say evidence and not anecdotes or pure rationalization).

    On what basis do you assert that Kurt Whatsisname’s motivation was to provoke a response? You read his private emails, are psychic? Which?

    Why should Whatsisname’s lack of motivation to shut a woman up just for being a woman on the internet mean that we should refrain from pointing out that the ultimate effect of attitudes like the ones Whatsisname evinces do in fact lead to women deciding that it’s not worth all the abuse to be so present on the internet.

    As far as the other half of my article which was completely ignored in this post…it is about how to let the merit of your argument stand on its own without rhetorical warfare such as poisoning the well.

    //Gee, thanks for that helpful advice, privileged white dude!// Poisoning the well

    //I hope Keenan Crow isn’t a sociology major, because this is just embarrassing. // Poisoning the well

    //Are you really that obtuse?// Not necessary for the rest of your argument

    The tone of these attacks is exactly what disturbs me. And heaven forbid I comment on the tone of a piece or I am accused of “tone trolling”.

    See, the thing is that you’re SUPER wrong about this. Like, it should be obvious. So when someone who is otherwise intelligent is so obviously wrong, it naturally leads one to wonder why. “Privileged white dude” is descriptive, not pejorative… unless YOU are under the delusion that acknowledging that you have privilege means that you are acknowledging that you are a Bad Person. It’s a common enough misapprehension… at least among those with little experience of the lack of privilege.

    If you put something out in the public sphere and it just doesn’t make sense, you might just be accused of not making sense. People might not even be polite about it. How ironic that you’re following a post in which you chastise a woman for objecting to the language another person used about her to object to the language she and others have used about you. What makes YOU the special snowflake?

    By the way…if my article was concern trolling…then what is this article?

    An example of how to use a public platform to challenge the misogynist norms of our culture. Apparently you have a problem with this. Apparently we’re only supposed to challenge POWERFUL misogynists. Like you: you’re not powerful, so any woman who challenges you about any unconscious prejudice you display is obviously wasting her time. You do recall that the Civil Rights encompassed not only campaigning for national legislation, but also asking people to change their language and behavior on an individual basis, so as to change the culture into one that fostered more respect for Black people. Or do you still commonly refer to Black people as “porch monkeys” or “boy”?

    Any more questions?

  104. 104
    SallyStrange

    Let’s be specific. Your message was, “SHUT UP about Kurt Metzger.”

    The most important words in that sentence are not Kurt or Metzger. You’re saying “shut up,” and at that point, you’re not acting like an ally anymore.

    You don’t want to talk about Metzger? Fine. Nobody’s forcing you to read Jen McCreight’s commentary about him. But you did, and for some reason it disturbs you soooo much that Kurt Metzger is getting internet hits off this that you feel compelled to write an entire article about how Jen McCreight made a huge mistake in making you so uncomfortable. Because that’s all this really boils down to. Why you are so uncomfortable is a topic for another day.

  105. 105
    NateHevens, resident SOOPER-GENIUS... apparently...

    Hold up. Where did this happen? Link?

  106. 106
    cmv

    In addition to learning about what ad hominem means, you might want to look up what exactly “poisoning the well” is. Stating an opinion about the veracity of your claim, or stating an impressn of your motives in writing your post do not serve to poison the well. Neither does the expressed hope that you are not a sociology major. Those are opinions, and read as such. Poisoning the well would be something akin to insulting your school and department before attacking your argument.

  107. 107
    cmv

    scienceblogs.com/erv

  108. 108
    NateHevens, resident SOOPER-GENIUS... apparently...

    I mean, yeah, I know the link to Abbie’s blog. I’d like to know where she’s basically telling Jen to shut up. Was this on Facebook, or did she write an article about it?

  109. 109
    cmv

    Looks like it’s Facebook http://i.imgur.com/OXGb7.png

    Image of the message. Jen’s whole to post is a response to it.

  110. 110
    NateHevens, resident SOOPER-GENIUS... apparently...

    Thanks cmv. I found Jen’s post via Pharyngula. I’m baffled, to say the least…

    (Also, I’d link to PZ’s blog about it all, but I can honestly say I’ve no clue how… anyone want to teach me?)

  111. 111
    =8)-DX

    “the less attention you give a fringe group”.. So racists, homophobes, misogynists and bigots are or have been fringe groups? That’s where the problem lies. Social privilige is ubiquitous.

  112. 112
    jose

    Crow says you make things disappear by no talking about it? dr. King’s “dream” speech comes to mind. Hmmm, I think sometimes talking about it has quite an effect.

  113. 113
    jose

    “Please provide SCIENTIFIC literature that has been peer reviewed to prove that giving attention seeking individuals further validation is a more effective strategy than ignoring them.”

    This seems to be the misunderstanding. Society doesn’t need validation, it has already validated itself by sheer force of numbers. What we’re looking for is sort of the opposite: how to overturn something that is generally considered okay (racism in my previous comment).

  114. 114
    John Stumbles

    Incisive analysis of, and creative approach to the problem of internet misogynists here ;-)

  115. 115
    Martin Chivers

    “Gee, thanks for that helpful advice, privileged white dude! Not patronizing at all to tell disadvantaged groups how to deal with problems you don’t experience!”

    How on Earth does a hyper-educated, comfortable WHITE girl get away with painting herself as some underprivileged minority? Whatever benefits white men enjoy as a result of their skin tone apply just as much to white women.

    This is especially bizarre as white women are becoming the majority now in higher education.

    There is no doubt that the internet has more than its fair share of sexist trolls whose sole goal is to harrass and intimidate. It is certainly true that female bloggers often experience a form of internet abuse that their male counterparts do not, and this behavior should be condemned.

    But let’s not get carried away with lumping ourselves in with truly disadvantaged groups, such as black men. Your life experiences and the benefits that you have enjoyed are much more similar to those of white men than the groups that you attempt to ascribe yourself to.

  116. 116
    SallyStrange

    Oh fun! It’s the Oppression Olympics™, where everybody loses! Let’s all play!

  117. 117
    Rumtopf

    Someone needs to read up on intersectionality :/

  118. 118
    Jack Rawlinson

    Gee, thanks for that helpful advice, privileged white dude!

    You know what? Until you cut that hypocritical shit right out, you’re not going to win hearts and minds. Knock it off.

  119. 119
    julian

    There is nothing hypocritical in the statement. If you see any, by all means point it out. Just don’t be soe sniping nit trying to get a few licks in.

  120. 120
    julian

    But let’s not get carried away with lumping ourselves in with truly disadvantaged groups, such as black men.

    How do you quantify the oppression of disadvantaged groups?

    Honestly curious here. How do you distinguish between who’s suffered more historically?

  121. 121
    The Ys

    So…he does not belong to {White Male}, which is a subset of {Species: Homo Sapiens Sapiens}? And which happens to be the most privileged subset of that set?

    And you think it’s totally cool for more privileged subsets to explain to less privileged subsets how they’re supposed to react to harassment and intimidation from a more privileged subset(s)?

    Hmm.

  122. 122
    keenancrow

    I regret many of the comments made in here as well as several claims in the original article. I still disagree with the manner in which it was handled, but I am sorry for being insensitive to the situation and in particular being culture-blind. I wish Jen the best of luck and I am sorry to see she is leaving.

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