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Jan 02 2013

Bullied or cajoled

More anti-feminist rage, more pro-feminist pushback. No doubt you’re aware of Thunderfoot’s video, which (for my sins) I watched. That’s the rage. The pushback is…

Michael Nugent for instance.

Thunderf00t has published a video in which he includes me on a list of people who he claims have been “bullied or cajoled” into what he calls “a bullshit PC appeasement position” regarding feminism.

In my case he is referring to an article I wrote last August for Skepchick, without being either bullied or cajoled, as part of a series on speaking out against hate directed at women.

I’m republishing that article here, because it is still important to speak out against hate directed at women, regardless of your opinions about the internal politics of the atheist movement.

The article follows. Notice the sweetly indirect way Nugent points out that Thunderfoot lied about him and all the other men who wrote articles for Amy’s series at Skepchick. Thunderfoot said they were all bullied or cajoled, and that’s a falsehood.

Notice what the lie implies – that all men hate feminism, that all men naturally agree with Thunderfoot about feminism, that no men would have written articles for that series without being bullied or cajoled – and that feminists are manipulative bullies.

As Adam Lee put it in a comment on Nugent’s post -

The really bizarre part is how Thunderfoot and others are settling on the position that we can’t be saying this because we actually believe it, that someone must have somehow coerced or blackmailed so many prominent atheist men into speaking out against misogyny. This is black-helicopter territory, folks. I’d love to hear what leverage they think the evil feminists have over so many of us, that they can force us to make statements we don’t truly believe.

PZ for another instance.

It’s a new year, and Thunderf00t hasn’t changed a bit — he has a new video where he’s apparently ranting about how feminism is poisoning atheism, which I haven’t watched, so I can’t judge. But there are hints that it’s more of the same. It’s been picked up and praised by A Voice For Men.

Here are a few of the amusing reactions that the video elicited from that gang. Well, they would be amusing if they didn’t testify to a deep hatred of women.

Well, now I look upon these women as nothing but Clowns who have deliberately allowed themselves to brainwashed into believing stupid things like the Earth is flat or some other stupid crap. The vomit that spews from their mouths is not just stupid, it is absolutely laughable. I now sit here laughing my head off at what I read. In my own social movements in life, I laugh at the idiotic dialog of the females I come into contact with. It is unbelievable the level of childish trash that issues forth from the mouths of women whose ages range from 20 all the up to nearly 70.

Women, WILL NEVER BE EQUAL TO MEN!

I don’t care how they put it, because the simple overwhelming fact throughout the history of Mankind, is that women have NEVER been equal to men and they never will be.

Will at Skepchick for another instance.

Thunderfoot has published a video (it’s getting rave reviews from the MRA blog A Voice For Men) in which he accuses Skepchick Surly Amy of “bullying or cajoling” men into contributing to her awesome series of posts “Speaking out against hate directed at women.” Michael Nugent has a blog post up about it, noting that he was never bullied (or cajoled, which is kind of the opposite of bullying) into writing the article and then reposts the article in question. I’m not going to link to Thunderfoot’s video here, but the link is on Nugent’s post for those with the intestinal fortitude.

I have two major issues with this sort of discourse. First, using “bullying” to poison the well against people because you disagree with them is the exact opposite of rational. And for people in a community that prides itself on rationality and skeptical/critical thinking, there sure is a whole hell of a lot of this kind of nonsense going on.

The second (and more important) concern that I have about this sort of thing is that it has the effect of diminishing the experiences of people who are actually bullied. It lessens the impact of accusing actual bullies. It’s the same sort of shit that these same people complain about with the use of the word “misogynist.” They’re right about one thing—labeling every instance of sexism directed at women as misogyny does lessen the impact that that word has. So stop fucking doing it with “bully.”

Of course poisoning the well is the whole point, so they’re not going to stop.

29 comments

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  1. 1
    callistahellene

    But women are part of the private sphere and don’t count in the real world. All the great men in history didn’t have to treat us like people to be considered great men. If one of them kicked their dog, now that would be a different story. But we’re just, nothing. It’s a great feeling.

  2. 2
    Michael Payton

    The charge that we were all harassed into making these statements is just absurd and frankly quite insulting.

    In my case I specifically contacted Amy and requested to speak on this issue. I wasn’t bullied, I wasn’t even contacted. I saw the opportunity to speak on an issue that was important to me and to our members and I took it.

    The triumphant irony here is that Thunderf00t too believes there is harassment being visited on members of our Community. Only this time while women being propositioned, bullied and otherwise antagonized falls under free speech, the statements made in support of these women are considered symptoms of oppression.

    No wonder AVFM is in a cheer.

  3. 3
    Bjarte Foshaug

    @Michael, that just goes to show how deep the rabbit hole goes. “They” probably implanted a microchip in your brain or something to make you think that. Thunderf00t should know, being a “real skeptic” and all..

  4. 4
    sheila

    Women, WILL NEVER BE EQUAL TO MEN!

    Oddly enough I don’t consider myself this man’s equal. I wouldn’t stoop that low.

  5. 5
    Thorne

    Oddly enough I don’t consider myself this man’s equal. I wouldn’t stoop that low.

    Funny, I had a similar thought when I first read that line. I doubt most women, feminist or not, would want to go backwards by being considered “equal” to people (not just men) like that.

    And to be honest, I doubt most women actually WANT to be equal. They only want to be treated as equals, and they deserve to be treated as equals. I just can’t understand how anyone can support the idea that recognizing the rights of others will, in some magical fashion, limit their own rights.

  6. 6
    A Hermit

    I’ve just discovered secret video of the founding meeting of A Voice For Men…Paul Elam’s secret identity is revealed!!11

  7. 7
    SallyStrange

    I just can’t understand how anyone can support the idea that recognizing the rights of others will, in some magical fashion, limit their own rights.

    They mistake their special privileges, granted them by the hierarchical setup of a patriarchal society, for rights. As in, they have the right to talk to any woman they want, anywhere, at any time, AND get her attention without fail. Or, they have the right to smack their children around and still keep custody of them when they get a divorce.

  8. 8
    michaeld

    The whole video of his is just awful. Situations out of context, attributing strange motivations to people, being unable to understand 2 sentences from the SH policy at skepticon that have been explained multiple times, comparing a video the majority of which is personal attacks to criticism of someones position. At this point I have a very hard time believing he’s even trying to have an honest discussion on the subject.

  9. 9
    Ophelia Benson

    I don’t think I knew you volunteered, Michael. I eagerly await Thunderfoot’s correction of the record.

    Yeah right.

  10. 10
    michaeld

    Indeed I wouldn’t hold ones breath. I only went through it cause people seemed to want PZ to cover it in depth and you know what it’s a lot of work. Even my coverage isn’t perfect, ideally there would be cross referencing all the clips checking the context before and after linking to blog posts on all the events he just glosses over mostly misrepresenting people what was actually bothering people about them. No its pretty much just there for anyone new to the discussion who would need and introduction. Given the responses to people Thunderfoot gave while on freethoughtblogs I doubt a response from him would even have much substance to it.

  11. 11
    oolon

    This idea that the only reason those people had contributed to the “Hate direct at Women” series was due to bullying was on his blog comments ages ago. I found it incredibly bizarre and really quite a desperate way of explaining why there were so few real leaders of the movement on their side. Apparently they would be denounced in feminist witch hunts if they did not contribute so there was no choice…

    Thunderf00t mainly stuck to other reasons why it was a bad idea – its all white men standing up for the skepchicks – not really noting the disparity of so many white male leaders in the movement! Oh and it is all made up anyway so there are no issues, TF’s lovely sign off on his blog post was ->

    In which case I have to ask these Leaders, who exactly are these people that they talking out against? Where are they? If no one actually knows, then why are they speaking out against a problem that doesn’t exist? Inquiring minds need to know!

    I seem to remember asking what evidence the fans on his blog would accept, I think someone made the brilliant point that with so many high-res camera phones about you’d expect some videos of harassment to exist :-). Maybe its a youtube thing, unless its on video it didn’t happen…

  12. 12
    michaeld

    I’m working on prettying it up a bit but here is an easy link to my whole transcript and discussion of Thunderf00ts video for anyone who doesn’t want to go searching for it in chunks over at PZ’s blog.

    http://haphazardhermit.blogspot.ca/2013/01/a-response-to-thunderf00ts-latest-video.html

  13. 13
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    michaeld I don’t know how you do. I would have burned my keyboard already.

  14. 14
    EllenBeth Wachs

    I’ve just discovered secret video of the founding meeting of A Voice For Men…Paul Elam’s secret identity is revealed!! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wBIC8JTQMMQ

    Now that there was funny, I don’t care who you are.

  15. 15
    Michael De Dora

    As Michael Payton said, the idea that contributors to Amy’s series were bullied into writing their articles is absurd, if not insulting. Amy emailed me asking if I would be interested in contributing to the series. I had (and still have) serious concerns regarding how women were being treated in the secular and skeptic movements, and thought I could add to something of value to the conversation, so I said yes. I wrote my article, sent it to Amy, she posted it, and that was that. There’s nothing more to the story.

  16. 16
    Anthony K

    Amy emailed me asking if I would be interested in contributing to the series. I had (and still have) serious concerns regarding how women were being treated in the secular and skeptic movements, and thought I could add to something of value to the conversation, so I said yes. I wrote my article, sent it to Amy, she posted it, and that was that. There’s nothing more to the story.

    Sorry, not buying it. That’s exactly what I’d expect someone who’s been bullyjoled into denying their bullyjolement to say.

  17. 17
    Ophelia Benson

    Aaaaaaaand we have a new verb plus cognates!

  18. 18
    michaeld

    josh

    We all have our poorly argued internet videos to bare. ;p

    OT Phase 1: shameless self promotion has garnered my blog a record 21 hits! Time for phase 2: world domination! ;p

  19. 19
    Captaintripps

    Thunderfoot sounds like such a baby in that video. Specifically the type of whining you hear from children when they know they’ve been caught out doing something wrong and don’t want to admit that they know it’s wrong on top of having done so. I don’t know precisely what it takes to make someone act like a giant dildo in such a fashion, but I find it hard to believe it’s simply a tantrum thrown because some conference you weren’t going to anyway decided not to have booth babes.

    Y’know, he has a good mid-level subscriber base on YouTube and quite the same with video hits. Rather than piss and moan and tear down what other people are doing he could, y’know, put in more than a couple of hours of effort and start his own damn conference with tits galore. No one’s stopping him.

  20. 20
    Sassafras

    I don’t know precisely what it takes to make someone act like a giant dildo in such a fashion

    I’ve noticed a commonly recurring arc that goes “Someone on FtB or Skepchick was rude to me or a friend of mine! ==> HOW DARE THEY ==> Therefore feminism is new irrational religion apocalypse and everything said on the slimepit is now super-compelling free speech!”

  21. 21
    John Figdor

    I wasn’t bullied or cajoled into saying anything. I said what I mean and I mean what I said.

  22. 22
  23. 23
    bgrimes

    I still don’t get what’s going on in the heads of the world’s Thunderfeet. They have a gripe, someone rubs them the wrong way, they object to something. Fine. That, I understand. It’s this eternal feud they’re staging, this vendetta, this all-powerful grudge. Why can’t they just move the fuck on?! They are hypervigilant and obsessive when it comes to their “enemies,” and it’s all so sad and boring and absurd. This is all they stand for now—the hounding of their philosophical “rivals.” They’re just shadow people.

  24. 24
    Eran Segev

    I was certainly not bullied, though I think that since I was flattered by Amy’s request that “cajoled” may be appropriate…

    This entire thing is just plain silly. Mr Mason clearly has an agenda and while I admire his almost religious zeal, he gets a lot of things very wrong. Very very wrong.

    One thing I can personally attest to is that Amy asked very politely, and gave me every opportunity to say no. She then published my article without changing a word, despite it containing things which I can only assume she would not have agreed with; certainly a lot of the commenters found what I wrote positively offensive!

    If those are the actions of a bully, I want to go back to school.

  25. 25
    ewanmacdonald

    This might not be the best place to post this but it seems kind of relevant.

    Over December I ran a little experiment, purely anecdotally. I stayed off atheist websites, and went instead only to my usual sites, and also joined a couple of others (including Reddit). I wanted to see if I could be online for a month and not encounter feminist-shaming.

    It was very, very easy. The other communities I’m a part of, all but one have a far better grasp of social justice than does the atheist community; and the one that doesn’t is largely apathetic to it, rather than outright hostile to it. This was the real difference, I think: the outright, spittle-flecked hatred was just completely absent. Some people didn’t get it, but they greeted this with a shrug rather than a scream.

    It was most enlightening and more than a little depressing.

  26. 26
    saelpalani

    I have been a Youtube feminist for years. I’ve heard all manner of bs from misogynist fools who imply I’m on meds (note the instant reversion to the theory that women must be insane and not the fool speaking), or I’m too emotional etc. This is a way to try and dismiss me.

    I made a video about Thunderfoot and gave a bit of a feminist analysis to what I saw in his video, especially the images he used and the ‘between the lines’ misogyny he displays as well as the blatant.

    Enjoy the comments. I’ve had to delete a TON of misogyny but I left a lot there.

    Sael

  27. 27
  28. 28
    toddstiefel

    I wrote a post for Amy’s series and certainly wasn’t bullied, cajoled or harassed into doing it. I was happy and honored to take part.

  29. 29
    Ophelia Benson

    Thank you, Todd.

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