Sommers Watch


Oh the hell with it, it’s just going to have to be a recurring, updatable thing.

The insult-tweets of the former philosopher, now American Enterprise Institute hack, Christina Hoff Sommers.

Updating.

Oh goody, she does a Dear Muslima.

Sexism in US: Some video games use damsel-in-distress tropes.Sexism in Iran:

She sent that out a couple of hours after RTing her source:

Retweeted by Christina H. Sommers
Jack @SkipTerrio · 18h
For the edification of the 3rd wave #feminist mob, this is what an ACTUAL #patriarchy looks like:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iran/9487761/Anger-as-Iran-bans-women-from-universities.html …
(cc:@CHSommers)

Jim Lippard objected.

.@CHSommers Therefore… ? Beheading is worse than a migraine, therefore no one should complain about or treat migraines?

Sommers informed him that the subject wasn’t migraines.

Bad analogy . The endangered damsel trope is not a migraine. It’s a reverie enjoyed by millions of people: Men, women and children.

That’s the kind of thing that makes me twitch with fury – the smug, determined mindlessness of it. How much attention do you have to pay to understand that a popular “reverie” is not automatically harmless just because it’s enjoyed by millions? Lots of very popular fantasies are woven into thought-structures that are harmful to subordinated people! The fact that many people enjoy such fantasies does not magically render them harmless.

Or, as Jim put it:

.@CHSommers Some people still like lawn jockeys & Confederate flags, too, but that doesn’t mean it’s not right to criticize them.

But again, Sommers explains:

Another false analogy .Not saying damsel trope is good BECAUSE people like it–saying its harmless, so leave those who like it alone.

Cool, except that there’s no reason to think it is harmless.

————————–

Now it gets meta.

A few minutes ago.

Oh my! An alarmed critic has created “Sommers Watch” to monitor my tweets.Don’t miss the comments.

I told her I’m not alarmed but disgusted.

Her fans are telling me I’m bullying her. Well, I might be, if she were a nobody and if she were not being so free with the insults. But she’s not a nobody:

  • She’s a Name anti-feminist
  • She has a gig at the American Enterprise Institute
  • She appears on mainstream (as well as less mainstream) media regularly
  • Her tweets get shared by Richard Dawkins and Steven Pinker
  • She has 12 thousand-plus followers

And we already know she’s free with the insults. So no, I don’t think I’m bullying her.

——————–

Three hours ago.

@GoodJKnight I don’t think @maddoxrules disagrees. But attacking genres that millions of men (and lots of women) love is hardly inclusive.

We have to like everything that already is, and label all attempts to improve them “attacking.” We have to defend the popular and bend all our efforts to making the unpopular even more unpopular.

—————

An hour ago.

The gender warriors made a huge tactical error when they went after the gamers. Wrong group to irritate.

Spoken like a true bully. “Wrong group to irritate” because they’re many and noisy and mostly pseudonymous and not inhibited about threats and harassment. How ugly of Sommers to gloat about it. (And “the gender warriors” of course knew all that, but were brave enough to proceed anyway. How squalid of Sommers to pretend it was just a stupid mistake.)

Imagine saying something similar about the Little Rock Nine or the Freedom Summer campaigners in Mississippi in 1964. “The civil rights workers made a huge tactical error when they went after the Mississippi white supremacists. Wrong group to irritate.”

The next in the pair.

College deans, news editors, politicians–ran for cover when gender hardliners made strident demands. Gamers–male & female–fighting back.

The word “strident” is a sexist dog-whistle. Sommers can’t possibly be unaware of that. She’s doing this crap deliberately. It’s ugly stuff.

———————

An hour ago.

Shows like Oprah & The View make no effort to be male inclusive. They privilege female perspective.Where are the haranguing gender bloggers?

Two hours ago.

Excellent discussion of college rape panic & how males are treated like monsters and females
–fragile maidens. http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2014/09/05/us_colleges_sexual_assault_crusade_123851.html

Comments

  1. Kevin Kehres says

    “Strident” demands? Like asking that authorities investigate claims of rape on college campuses? That’s “strident”?

    She’s a real piece of work, isn’t she? A bright shining beacon of humanity’s best.

  2. says

    Really. She’s just vile. And because she has that veneer of respectability from having started out as an academic, she gets attention from Steven Pinker and Richard Dawkins, and thus she gains more credibility. It’s sick-making.

  3. Anthony K says

    And because she has that veneer of respectability from having started out as an academic, she gets attention from Steven Pinker and Richard Dawkins, and thus she gains more credibility.

    Is it because of that though? A more general explanation for her popularity among the vaunted heroes of atheism is that they are simply in love with conservatism they re-interpret as brave iconoclasty, just so long as the power being spoken truth to isn’t their particular wheelhouse, such as evolutionary science.

  4. says

    Well, I don’t know for a fact, but I don’t think they would be as keen to RT some Fox News hack over and over. Certainly the pseudo-brave conservative “contrarian” bullshit is attractive to them too, but I think it’s the academic CV that makes it respectable in their eyes.

  5. says

    Sounds to me like someone who’s following the stealth/lie tactic.
    “Oh, I’m a feminist. Now that I’ve got your attention [proceeds to trash feminism in the guise of offering a critique] Yup yup yup.”
    It’s the same shit the creationists pull when they go try to get a science degee so they can play off the very credibility they are trying to destroy. And it’s a dishonest and fail strategy because it grants that there is credibility. She’s basically pretending to be a feminist because feminism has credibility in an attempt to discredit it from the “inside”

    Fortunately atheism and feminism don’t have popes, as tempting as it would be to get the feminist pope to excommunicate her.

  6. says

    Gamers–male & female–fighting back.

    Actually, it sounds a lot like harrassers are fighting back. There is a pretty severe lack of counter-argument, in a storm of abuse.

    And, most importantly, the people that need to hear this stuff are hearing it:
    http://www.gamespot.com/articles/saints-row-dev-responds-to-feminist-frequency-crit/1100-6422014/

    While speaking with The Escapist, Jaros admitted that there is a problem with the way women are portrayed in games. “I think that we shouldn’t be portraying senseless abused women and I think that if I could go back and hop in a time machine I would have done things differently.”

    “I think it’s fair to be called out on your s**t,” he said. “I think that it’s a sad man that can never be self-reflective. I think that we tried to go and carry ourselves with respect, and try to respect sexuality and respect gender as much as we can, and sometimes we fail but hopefully we’ll do better and continue to get better.”

    That’s how the gamers that matter are fighting back.

  7. Anthony K says

    Eh, I don’t know for a fact either, I’m just spitballing. But one certainly doesn’t have to have an extensive CV to be an “It” girl to Dawkins. And Grothe will re-tweet nearly anyone so long as they agree with him and he doesn’t have to appear at a scheduled conference to do so.

  8. Anthony K says

    Marcus, #5: I like that description of the stealth/lie tactic. Remember when Matthew Nisbet used to pull that trick?

    There’s a reason that when people ask me what I believe I have to say with a smile: “I’m an atheist…but a friendly atheist.”

    (Look who he used as the example of ‘atheism done right.’)

    As for your comment #6, CHS really allied herself with the wrong side of this one, eh?

    http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2014/09/fbi-offers-help-to-game-developers-suffering-harassment-death-threats/

  9. John Horstman says

    Notice how she implicitly claims that “gamers” and “gender warriors” are distinct, opposed categories. Apparently all of us who e.g. funded Feminist Frequency, wrote comments and articles supporting women developers and feminist critics, and who just generally challenge misogyny, homophobia, racism, etc. in-game when we encounter it in chat don’t exist. *pinches self* Nope, I’m pretty sure I’m real.

  10. chrislawson says

    John Horstman @9: My thoughts exactly. Most of the people driving these changes are gamers who are sick of the rampant misogyny in their games. It’s not feminists vs gamers, it’s feminist gamers vs anti-feminist gamers. Pretty obvious case of othering, I would have thought.

  11. leni says

    *Sigh* I just accidentally deleted an epic rant lol. All that’s left for me to do is shake my fist at the sky in impotent rage! And to recap >:D

    Anyway, cliff note version:

    John Horstman @ 9, Yeah, that was the first thing I noticed about her tweets yesterday.

    She’s basically using “gamer” as a synonym for “person who complains about not being able to call people fags and niggers in public.” Which is one of the many definitions of “asshole”. Sorry, but those people do not represent me or the millions of other decent people that play online games and manage to have fun without force-feeding everyone in game homemade shit sandwiches.

    Those “gamers fighting back” have already lost. They’ve probably all signed user agreements that ban threatening or abusive behavior towards other players. They know that and they also know those terms generally include slurs, and they don’t want to lose their gear, so the little shithead cowards have to log on to Twitter.

    Thanks, Twitter!

    So anyway, fuck them. If your best weapon is anonymous threats and bullying and complaining about not being able an asshole with impunity, you have already fucking lost. Game over, go back to 4chan. (Or go wherever you want and don’t be an asshole where it isn’t welcome, but that doesn’t seem like a viable option for a lot of people.) In Ms. Sommers’ case, her best weapon seems to be pointing at those whining jackasses like they matter, while failing to notice that all of this bullshit is occurring out of game because it’s increasingly difficult to get away with it in game. Just like it is in meatspace.

    I’m not afraid of “gamers” fighting back. I’ve seen it in the general chat zone of every game I’ve ever played and it mostly some Duck Dynasty grade bullshit about how it’s not PC to call people niggers, fags, and bitches anymore. Not impressive. No, not even when shouted by a level capped dwarf in his underwear at the bank.

  12. mildlymagnificent says

    as tempting as it would be to get the feminist pope to excommunicate her.

    I’d volunteer …

    … but I suspect the queue is already down the block and around the corner.

  13. MM McM says

    Criticism = ‘strident demands’?

    Good grief. No one is protesting games. There are no boycotts. Just some videos and discussion pointing out that games don’t tend to treat women very well. It’s utterly pathetic and completely dishonest to portray criticism as ‘demands’.

  14. says

    “Lana” eh? Yet the name in your email address is a male name.

    Anyway, you’re missing the point. I did a post just yesterday noting that she writes reasonably in other places. On Twitter she resorts to insults and sneers, and it’s not a good look for a former academic and current think tanker.

  15. Anthony K says

    She’s still doing that thing with the gamers where she insists that real gamers and ‘SJW’ are two separate groups.

    I’ve been playing games since the Atari 2600. But of course, she means (and is defending), for instance, the two fellows in GTA online who kept calling me a nappy headed n***** based on my character. (Unfortunately, I didn’t have a headset, so I couldn’t employ the Christina Hoff Sommers-approved technique of sending them death threats.)

  16. Biff says

    ‘The word “strident” is a sexist dog-whistle.’

    No, it’s not.

    On the other hand, the term “dog-whistle” seems to becoming a dog-whistle for “the person whom I am accusing of using a dog-whistle is not one of us and is to be shunned, pitied, or attacked, according to taste.”

  17. says

    Ohhh-kaaaaay.

    For the first point… CHS joined the feminist movement back in the 60s, when it was an egalitarian movement. This was before Gloria Steinem, Mary Day, MAry Koss, Andrea Dworkin, Cath mackinnon, Shulamith Firestone etc joined NOW and took it over.

    Warren Farrell and many other MRM folk were originally equity feminists before the first feminist schism of the 70s – when they were booted out.

    Steinem’s husband worked for the CIA – she did CIA ops as well – they’ve deliberately wrecked civil rights etc and blown apart family and community… there’s a hidden plot here. Look again.

  18. says

    I always love it when the ‘hardcore gamers’ I occasionally hang out with start the “I have been gaming since…” routine. Because I can always trump it: the first computer game I played was ‘spacewar’ on a PDP-1. It was pretty awesome. And it had no gender issues.

  19. says

    I love it too.. Marcus as if CHS doesn’t seem to understand you can be a gamer, a female and a feminist… I got my first computer in 85. The first game I played was ZORK (and then every Infocom game after) I went into digital education and interface design – went to my first con in 78….

    But no…. SHE understands and I am the interloper.

    She’s an opportunist carpetbagging asshole…

  20. Hj Hornbeck says

    Alex Cockell @22:

    For the first point… CHS joined the feminist movement back in the 60s, when it was an egalitarian movement.

    Sommers joined the feminist movement when she was in her teens? If she joined up before Steinem did, then she would have been twelve or thirteen years old.

    Steinem’s husband worked for the CIA – she did CIA ops as well – they’ve deliberately wrecked civil rights etc and blown apart family and community… there’s a hidden plot here. Look again.

    There certainly was a hidden plot, but not by the CIA. They’re only allowed to operate on foreign soil, though after the reforms of the 70’s they’ve been gradually doing more domestic spying.

  21. Hj Hornbeck says

    Lana @18:

    Yeah she’s a real piece of work. I hate how she always uses facts in her arguments and articles.

    Yeah, like the fact that Ashton Kutcher is a spokesperson for feminism.

    Also, while she scaremongers over the one-in-four statistic by saying it’s only taken from a few colleges, it’s in the same ballpark as prior research and may even be an under-report, as I’ve seen numbers as high as 54%.

  22. anon234545723 says

    Amazing how your post is quite literally saying “She’s popular, we should bully her”.

  23. Leowyn says

    “The word “strident” is a sexist dog-whistle. Sommers can’t possibly be unaware of that. She’s doing this crap deliberately. It’s ugly stuff.”

    Great example. Could you try to use more newspeak in your criticism?

  24. soul_biscuit says

    Amazing how your post is quite literally saying “She’s popular, we should bully her”.

    “Quite literally,” huh? Would you mind pointing out which bit from the OP you’re quoting? I’m not finding the quoted sentence there. Perhaps that’s because it says nothing of the kind.

    Sommers posts some alarmingly authoritarian and anti-feminist tweets. Ophelia points that out. How does that amount to “bullying?”

  25. soul_biscuit says

    Could you try to use more newspeak in your criticism?

    Could your comment contain any less substance? I suspect the answer is no.

    Of course “strident” can be used as a sexist dog whistle, in much the same way as bigots in general used to use the word “uppity.” Sommers might as well call feminists “bossy.”

  26. Stacy says

    Shows like Oprah & The View make no effort to be male inclusive. They privilege female perspective.Where are the haranguing gender bloggers?

    Yeah, the way Oprah and The View used to have handsome young half-naked men lying around, sometimes bound and gagged, onstage in the background of every show was really problematic. You get on that, Christina.

  27. Stacy says

    lol, Alex Cockell is a CIA plant, right?

    Just in case anyone’s interested: Gloria Steinem was married for the first time in 2000, at the age of 66, and I don’t think her husband, David Bale [father of Christian] ever worked for the CIA. According to the Pfft, he was a British entrepreneur and environmental animal rights activist. Steinem herself has been open about having worked for a foundation with CIA ties in the ’50s and early ’60s. As for the rest–what HJ Hornbeck said. It was the FBI that infiltrated everyone.

    As for Second-Wave feminism, it never conformed to Sommers’ bullshit neologism, “equity feminism.” Even the relatively conservative Betty Friedan criticized the culture, and had been involved in radical politics in her youth.

    The Second-Wave grew up alongside sixties radicalism and other liberation movements.

  28. guy says

    I have never actually met a man who hates women. Actually One it was a gay man with an extremely cruel mother. But every second woman hates men thanks to all you crazy people.

  29. Hj Hornbeck says

    guy @37:

    But every second woman hates men thanks to all you crazy people.

    Ah yes, because feminism makes you hate men.

    Despite the popular belief that feminists dislike men, few studies have actually examined the empirical accuracy of this stereotype. The present study examined self-identified feminists’ and nonfeminists’ attitudes toward men. An ethnically diverse sample (N = 488) of college students responded to statements from the Ambivalence toward Men Inventory (AMI; Glick & Fiske, 1999). Contrary to popular beliefs, feminists reported lower levels of hostility toward men than did nonfeminists. The persistence of the myth of the man-hating feminist is explored.
    Anderson, Kristin J., Melinda Kanner, and Nisreen Elsayegh. “Are feminists man haters? Feminists’ and nonfeminists’ attitudes toward men.” Psychology of Women Quarterly 33.2 (2009): 216-224.

    Whoops. Guess not.

  30. s3m3rs says

    ‘because feminism makes you hate men’

    hmm. damn near every feminist I can think of in my peer group of friends/family (and that’s about 125 – give or take, I have a huge family, and am blessed with good friends) is happily married, enjoys raising their sons as well as their daughters, and frequently has said that they tend to have as many male friends as female. I can think of maybe 10 who went through a tough time in a relationship and came out with a ‘men are pigs’ phase lasting about a year. I am definitely feminist/humanist in my outlook, and love being married to my husband. One of the things I love about him is that he views sexism as degrading to women and isn’t afraid to speak out about it. Equality for the genders is important to him, and hasn’t made him hate on women, but he has no problem discerning when men act out in misogyny. I don’t think the ‘every 2 women’ statistic tests out as accurate in my own experience. But I have met more than a few men who had serious failings treating women as worthy of respect, and instead embraced bigoted behavior without thinking twice.

    I am related to a few of them, regrettably :-(

  31. Jeremy Shaffer says

    I have never actually met a man who hates women.

    I’ve never met Rush Limbaugh in person either but I don’t think that makes any kind of point.

    Actually One it was a gay man with an extremely cruel mother.

    Do you want a moment to think of any more people you know that contradict your previous statement, you know the one you just made, or do you want to ignore the fact that you just contradicted yourself and continue pretending you have a point that can best be made through pointless statements? Still, I do wonder how this man being gay or that his mother was cruel has any relevance here.

    But every second woman hates men thanks to all you crazy people.

    Ah, you took the latter route. Good on ya!

  32. al kimmea says

    1st game – Star Trek on an IBM 370 – the Enterprise = E, Klingons = K – printed on a grid representing the sector. 1st played Zork on a PDP11 and might have the later 5-1/4″ floppy edition still around. Fun fact – I used to work with a woman from South Africa who walked up one day and asked if I had a ‘stiffy’. Pardon? A 3.5″ floppy disk.

    Women are poorly represented for the most part in gaming and it’s nice to hear some developers waking up to the fact.

  33. mildlymagnificent says

    Feminists hate men? This zombie seems destined never to die.

    That was the sort of thing people used to say to me back in the protest / street match heyday of the 70s. Oh well. I suppose I ought to be used to it by now.

  34. suttkus says

    Christina Hoff Summers doesn’t think the Damsels in Distress trope is harmful. Therefore it isn’t and everyone who disagrees should shut up. Clearly.

    I do not remember when Christina Hoff Summers was declared the sole arbitrator of what is harmful and what isn’t. People, please, we need to keep abreast of this stuff.

  35. Spectator says

    ““Lana” eh? Yet the name in your email address is a male name.”
    Yes, FTB promises not to publish you email. But bloggers are free to mention it in the comments. (transparency is only for corporations and Conservative politicians, not for FTB).
    Heck, maybe she didn’t want to be abused online by revealing she was female and deliberately elected for a male sounding email address.
    Maybe she has experience with having her email published by unethical bloggers that dox people in their comments section and wisely created a throw-away email address. You know, just in case disagreement is grounds for scrapping our privacy statement. Which it apparently it is

  36. says

    What?

    You’re complaining because I mentioned that a commenter’s nym didn’t jibe with the name in the commenter’s email address? You’re complaining because I mentioned that a commenter uses a male name in the email address, without saying what that name was? You consider that a violation of privacy? Just saying “hey, your email address is male?”

    That’s really reaching.

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