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Sep 27 2013

Mandatory belittlement

Another spike that turned up in the stats: the JREF forum, a 214 page discussion titled Atheism Plus/Free Thought Blogs (FTB). This is on page 212.

aa

I don’t know that person from a hole in the ground. Apparently it’s just perfectly normal to call me Ophie.

20 comments

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  1. 1
    Kels

    According to the avatar, they’re clearly a member of some Fly By Night organization.

  2. 2
    Al Dente

    Thanks for the link. Having read a few pages I remember why I dropped the JREF forum some years ago.

  3. 3
    skephtic

    “Apparently it’s just perfectly normal to call me Ophie.

    “Ophie”? Sounds odd. I don’t remember you being on the Andy Griffith Show… :-/

  4. 4
    Martha

    Their pettiness is so very unattractive. I cringe every time I see that ridiculous nickname. I mean, even if you liked, it, who the hell are they to use it?!

  5. 5
    rnilsson

    I don’t know that person from a hole in the ground.

    Well, you don’t really need to differentiate. Just avoid both, if possible. But therein lies the crunch. (Crix?) (Cork?)

  6. 6
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @ ^ rnilsson : Crux? Nub? Nexus?

    I’m possibly missing something but casual use of names and diminutive nicknames doesn’t always indicate hostility and the person here did you use ‘Ophelia Benson’ in full at the start. So maybe, it was intended affectionately but I really don’t know enough to say.

    For whatever little it maybe worth : My first name is Steven but I get called Stevo and even Devo from my friends and family and like that just fine – but that’s me. Don’t know how Ophelia Benson feels about using “Ophie” for her and she makes it or has already made it clear she dislikes it then I wouldn’t use it or consider it polite or reasonable for others to use it if they know that.

  7. 7
  8. 8
    oolon

    Never fails to amaze me how interesting A+ and FTBs are to these people. Both are constantly on the brink of destruction and both are endlessly worthy of obsessing over. Even to the point that whole forums exists to talk about pretty much nothing else. Massive threads on forums like the above where A+/FTB are constantly discussed in a negative way. Really weird use of anyone’s time.

  9. 9
    rnilsson

    Thank you, StevoR.
    oolon, right on as usual.

  10. 10
    Ibis3, Let's burn some bridges

    I’m possibly missing something but casual use of names and diminutive nicknames doesn’t always indicate hostility

    What you’re missing is the context. Women are constantly belittled and infantalised by complete strangers using more familiarity than is warranted (like first names when men are called by surnames), “endearments” (honey, love, sweetheart, baby, girl) and diminutives. It’s a way of putting us in our place.

    For whatever little it maybe worth : My first name is Steven but I get called Stevo and even Devo from my friends and family and like that just fine – but that’s me.

    That’s the difference. If a stranger were to call you that out of the blue, you’d probably think they were being forward or condescending. And if it were a pattern, you’d probably see it as hostile.

  11. 11
    Ophelia Benson

    No. It is not ever used of me “affectionately” by strangers online. Not ever. It’s a meme started by very hostile people.

    I can tell you some other nicknames for women that are not ever used “affectionately” by strangers online.

    Becky
    Steffy
    Smellody

  12. 12
    MrFancyPants

    Really weird use of anyone’s time.

    “Ophelia Benson wrote a blog post! Brave heroes arise, we are off TO THE TWITTERVERSE! for 48 solid hours of furious outrage displayed 140 characters at a time!”

  13. 13
    thetalkingstove

    SteveoR, did it occur to you that Ophelia might understand why that nickname is used, and what it signifies, a little better than you do?

    Honestly, if someone says or intimates “I don’t like this” then generally it’s not a good idea to be all “but have you considered that…”

    The vast majority of the time the person will likely have considered that.

  14. 14
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @ ^ thetalkingstove : Sure. Of course. I’m not saying the person was right to do use the nickname or anything. Just that maybe,just maybe this wasn’t a deliberate attempt to upset her. I asked because I didn’t know.

    @11. Ophelia Benson : “No. It is not ever used of me “affectionately” by strangers online. Not ever. It’s a meme started by very hostile people.”

    Okay. Fair enough. I didn’t know that and now I do. I won’t use it ever and,FWIW, haven’t in the past.

    @Ibis3, Let’s burn some bridges :

    Again, fair enough.

    Although :

    <blockquoteIf a stranger were to call you that out of the blue, you’d probably think they were being forward or condescending. And if it were a pattern, you’d probably see it as hostile.

    Well, actually me being me, I’d assume they knew me from somewhere and I’d just forgotten them. I’ve got a dreadful memory for names and faces. Or maybe I’d guess they were mates with my brothers / friends etc ..and had heard it from there. But, yeah, that’s *my* context and I acknowedge that the context for others such as Ophelia Benson is very different.

  15. 15
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    Argh. Blockquote fail, sorry. That’s :

    ***

    “If a stranger were to call you that out of the blue, you’d probably think they were being forward or condescending. And if it were a pattern, you’d probably see it as hostile.”
    - Ibis3, Let’s burn some bridges.

    Well no, actually, me being me, I’d assume they knew me from somewhere and I’d just forgotten them.

    (Which in my case happens quite a bit.)

    ***

    Personally I try to get people’s names right and as they want them, often I just cut and paste directly. But i doknow not allfolks do thatand so thought, maybe we could make allowances for that and peoeple’s difefrenmt styles. That was really all.

    Assuming there’s a negative history in this case and that Ophelia Benson has already made it clear that she doesn’t want people to call her that puts it in a very different light.

  16. 16
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    Poor memory and poor typing on my part, mea culpa. For clarity :

    But I do know that not all folks do that (cut’n'paste and make sure names are right)and so thought, maybe we could make allowances for that and people’s different – sometimes very casual informal usage – styles. That was really all.

  17. 17
    nich

    Ophelia Benson wrote a blog post! Brave heroes arise, we are off TO THE TWITTERVERSE! for 48 solid hours of furious outrage displayed 140 characters at a time!

    Which the will probably do….USING MORE THAN 140 CHARACTERS!

    FEMINSTASI CONSPIRASSY!!!!!111!1@!

  18. 18
    nich

    Ugh…snark-fail! Which SHE, as in Ophelia Benson, will do…you know using more than 140 characters…because Ari Fleisc…and libruls…and the war again men…(insert weak Krusty the Clown style laugh here)

    I give up…

  19. 19
    Tom Foss

    The nickname thing is galling for so many reasons:
    1. It shows a deliberate lack of respect
    2. It’s diminutive, meant to be patronizing or infantilizing
    3. It’s overly-familiar, demonstrating a willingness toward unwarranted breaching of personal boundaries
    4. It’s subtle enough that it provides an out–”jeez, aren’t you oversensitive? It’s not like I called you a vulgar name or anything.”

    It’s like bullies sarcastically calling someone “genius” or “gorgeous”–”what, it’s a compliment.” Such immature, schoolyard bullshit.

  20. 20
    Ophelia Benson

    What’s it’s also like is the Jim Crow-era habit of calling black men “boy” – which was intended to be insulting and was taken that way.

    It’s a dog whistle; a signal of contempt to the like-minded allies.

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