Quantcast

«

»

Dec 27 2012

It Appears I’ve Started An ‘Atheist Cult’

Though FTB has been the center of much of the controversy over feminism and atheism that has taken place over the last year and a half, I have generally chosen to be Switzerland. I find the stridently anti-FTB crowd to generally range from the ridiculous to the odious, but for the most part I’ve stayed out of the fights. This video from former FTBer Al Stefanelli, unfortunately, prompts me to do more than dip my toes in the water. It’s time to take the plunge.

It seems that, according to Al, I have unwittingly launched an “atheist cult” of “radical extremists” who are “giving a bad name” to “real feminists.” PZ, Jen, Ophelia, Stephanie, Rebecca and others, Al says, “appear to have an incredibly unhealthy vendetta against men in general, and as it appears, the entire Caucasian race as well.” This is not a straw man, it’s an entire straw universe, a bizarro world remarkably similar to the one inhabited by the religious right, where any challenge to their privilege is terrible persecution from “feminazis” and other unsavory types.

While listening to this, it seemed rather familiar. I’d heard such rhetoric many times and I’m sure you have too. But it probably came from Rush Limbaugh, Pat Robertson or some other religious righter that Al no doubt considers to be a neanderthal. When they say those things, we point and laugh with derision. When they claim that those evil liberal social justice activists really just hate white people, we know that they are completely, incontrovertibly, undeniably full of shit. What exactly is the difference between their positions and Al’s position here? None that I can see. It’s the same tired and, frankly, idiotic claim that those who fight against white male privilege must hate white males and seek to do them harm.

And can we stop all this nonsense about “radical feminism”? There really is such a thing and it is embodied by folks like Andrea Dworkin, second wave feminists who are anti-sex, anti-porn, anti-prostitution. Does that really accurately describe pro-sex feminists like Ophelia, Stephanie, Jen, Greta and Rebecca? If you really think that Rebecca Watson or any of the others he names hates men, you cannot possibly have met them.

While we’re at it, can we also stop with the constant and moronic references to witch burnings and inquisitions? Michael Shermer is not a poor persecuted soul being chased by villagers with torches and pitchforks, he’s a guy who said something very sexist and stupid and is being criticized for it. He had an opportunity to say, “Yeah, that was really dumb and sexist. I’d like to apologize for that and work with others to see if we can come up with a solution to make secular communities more inclusive and welcoming to women.” He chose instead to double down on the problem and make it considerably worse. We laugh when the religious right adopts the persecution pose; it’s no less ridiculous when done by one of our own.

Most disturbing to me was when he addressed me specifically:

I feel really bad for Ed Brayton. He’s actually a really decent guy and someone I’ve known for a while. He’s put an incredible amount of effort, time and personal expense into creating and developing Freethought Blogs. It’s gotta be incredibly frustrating to him to see his baby at the center of all this controversy.

I suppose I could be happy that he singled me out for praise, but I’m not. In fact, this mostly pissed me off. I feel like I’m being used as a prop in his morality play and I have no desire whatsoever to be called one of the good guys if others that I care about and mostly agree with are being portrayed as the bad guys. So let me make a few things as clear as I can possibly make them here.

Do I sometimes wish that FTB wasn’t ground zero for quite so much drama and controversy? Sure. Do I occasionally wish that others would have handled a particular situation with a bit more nuance? Sure. But some fights are worth having, are necessary to have, and the fact that it’s going to piss some people off doesn’t much matter to me. And if the best our enemies have to offer is a ridiculous caricature like the one offered by Al in this video, you will find me on the other side of that fence every single time.

When I first approached PZ about joining me in forming FTB, we immediately agreed on one thing — we wanted to make sure it wasn’t just another place for middle aged (in my case) or old (in his case) white guys to talk about atheism. That isn’t because we hate white men; after all, we are white men. It’s because our own experiences are limited and we believe that the secular community and society in general benefits from hearing other voices. Providing a forum for more diverse voices to speak out is incontrovertibly a good thing and it is something I remain absolutely committed to doing.

Sometimes I like peace and quiet. Sometimes I’d like to see the drama subside. But if the battle is against this monumentally stupid notion that feminists hate straight white men, and it appears that it largely is, consider the battle joined. I’m not disappointed that FTB is often the scene of controversy; I am disappointed that we still have leaders in the atheist community pushing the same twisted vision of feminists favored by the Pat Robertsons of the world.

840 comments

2 pings

Skip to comment form

  1. 1
    parkjames

    Thanks Ed, for standing up for what’s right. I’m a white man too. The idea that asking white men to acknowledge their privilege is some kind of hate crime is insanity. It’s the same shit that the other side uses all the time. Again, amen brother.

  2. 2
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Ed:
    Thanks for this. I agree completely with you.
    While I have many questions for the anti FtB crowd (some are lingering for over a year), I am curious at this point to know how they define feminism. I also want to know how they differentiate between feminism and radical feminism.

    (I wonder how long before some people complain about you weighing in on this. “Waaaah, don’t mix my atheism with social justice.” Or “waaah, keep feminism away from politics” (as if either is possible or desirable)

  3. 3
    hexidecima

    oh, I saw this video today (well, I saw the youtube box for it since it wasn’t worth the time to watch) Is this the person who is so sure he’s an “equalist” on “myatheistlife”? That’s hilarious. From what I’ve seen from that person, I think he’s a little confused with what equalist might mean. From his actions, it should mean: someone who wants to imagine they are so very concerned with equality, but when someone says that they do not feel equal yet, throws a tantrum about how they “should” and how their demands for equality tromp on the equalist’s rights.

    Nope, it doesn’t make much sense. Take this as an example of how atheism doesn’t make one any better than anyone else.

  4. 4
    mouse

    While I find all this drama frustrating, I agree that it is important (if thankless) work to address harassment and bullying head on. I keep seing commenters saying things along the lines of “this is dirty family laundry, clear it up in private.” Fine if that’s what those personally involved prefer, but I completely disagree that it’s “just” dirty family laundry. From my perspective it looks like an aggressive and long-term campaign by a particular faction of atheists to try to silence perfectly reasonable and progressive views, which I share and want to see more widely. The hateful reaction to the A+ idea has been seriously demoralizing. And when the same stupid themes are echoed by the likes of Shermer and Dawkins, I wonder what on earth has gone wrong in this movement. I don’t want the hateful faction representing the face of atheism. They cannot be allowed to succeed.

  5. 5
    jthompson

    @Tony: The same way people tell who’s a new Atheist or not. The difference largely appears to be an unwillingness to remain silent.

  6. 6
    Jasper of Maine

    I’d love to see a few examples of a “true/real feminist”. As far as I can tell, if any woman, anywhere, in any context, starts talking about equality issues, hellfire starts raining down on her.

    I’d love to see a citation from these people of a self-described feminist where that doesn’t happen.

  7. 7
    redcrosse

    I read Ed’s blog daily and have for years, but years ago I stopped going to Pharyngula because of the “radical feminists” there. It’s not that I disagree with their goals or views, it’s that I’m not ideologically pure enough for them. Pharyngula and some other blogs at FTB seemed to have turned into echo chambers, and quite mean ones at that.

    I understand that politeness and civility are not virtues at Pharyngula and that’s a main reason I don’t go. The handful of times I’ve tried to comment there with any mild criticism of something PZ said, I and many others have been attacked viciously, using the ‘argument from Bingo’ or accused of ‘tone trolling’. That just shuts down conversation. I understand the idea that people can use tone as ‘privilege’ to shut down a conversation, however the claims I’ve so often seen are that these people (Molly winners, Caine, carlie, etc.) claim they are not driving atheists away from the movement. That is patently untrue, for I am one who has been driven away and will not recommend FTB to any of my friends as a place to go and learn.

    I can’t recall any of my comments that addressed feminism at all, but it seems like every time someone disagrees with the party line on anything at PZ’s place, they are attacked as being anti-feminist at best, misogynist or MRA at worst. Often these comments had *nothing* to do with feminism initially. The partisans there just turn everything to that subject, and attack, demean, belittle, and become extremely hostile.

    Even PZ has been under fire, such as in the bunny picture incident. Reading that story and thread was a “WTF” moment, amongst many. So basically I’m saying, if this is what feminism is in the atheist community, I’ll not call myself feminist because I don’t want to be associated with that attitude. Yes, they’ve driven people away by endless attacks on anyone who criticizes anything, however mildly, or even asks for clarifications, anything that isn’t *exactly* in line with viewing everything in the world as primarily a fight between feminists and misogynists. They seem to view everything as huge conspiracy of the patriarchy. That reminds me more of religious extremists than self-declared rationalists. (I expect to be attacked, so I’ll probably not comment, i.e. flounce now).

    For the record, I am not a commenter on any of the other “sides” either.

  8. 8
    d.c.wilson

    Why does it seem like, for a group that eschews religion, we attract a lot of self-described martyrs?

  9. 9
    Ophelia Benson

    Thanks, Ed; love ya, mean it. No wait that can’t be right, because I have an incredibly unhealthy vendetta against men, as it appears, and in general against the entire Caucasian race as well. Al said so!

    No but seriously. I positively squirmed when I heard that patronizing passage about you, as if you were being held captive by the evil radfems and just hoping Al would rescue you. Good grief.

    Sorry about all the drama. I too wish it would just stop, but…they won’t.

  10. 10
    Gregory in Seattle

    “I’m not disappointed that FTB is often the scene of controversy; I am disappointed that we still have leaders in the atheist community pushing the same twisted vision of feminists favored by the Pat Robertsons of the world.”

    This, right here. Well stated.

    @Tony #2 – I get the impression that such people define “feminism” as “not worrying their prettly heads about big matters and letting the menfolk handle it.” Anything else, especially if it involves discussing why this attitude is not appropriate, is “radical” and worthy of contempt.

  11. 11
    robb

    i liked reading Al’s blog here and was bummed to see him leave. he seems to have gone over the edge a bit though. just a bit.

    redcrosse: what is the bunny picture incident? i don’t recall. i just remember crackergate.

    also, do you know Redd Kross?

  12. 12
    Ibis3, Let's burn some bridges

    @mouse

    I keep seing commenters saying things along the lines of “this is dirty family laundry, clear it up in private.” Fine if that’s what those personally involved prefer, but I completely disagree that it’s “just” dirty family laundry. From my perspective it looks like an aggressive and long-term campaign by a particular faction of atheists to try to silence perfectly reasonable and progressive views, which I share and want to see more widely.

    If you’re referring to my comment on Rock Beyond Belief, where I used the phrase “dirty family laundry” and suggested that “it” might be better dealt with in private, I was referring very specifically to the ongoing, very nasty dispute between Justin on the one hand and Jason and Stephanie on the other, apparently over being too chummy with harassers and threateners, not the wider conflict between feminist atheists and regressive misogynist douchebag assholes. The former seems to me to be natural allies speaking past each other and ratcheting up the vitriol unnecessarily, the latter is a battle that, I agree, we need to fight vociferously and publicly.

  13. 13
    redcrosse

    @11. Rob, sorry never heard of Redd Kross, I’ll check it out.

    Bunny incident was this:
    Initial PZ post: http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/11/24/yes-the-religion-and-science-conflict-only-cuter/
    Followup PZ post: http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/11/24/sometimes-a-bunny-is-just-a-bunny/

  14. 14
    atheist

    Thanks for writing this, Mr. Brayton. I have been frustrated that a small group of retrograde men have been able to cause such a stink in the atheist community, and I appreciate that you’ve spoken against them.

    I have to say I don’t quite understand the whininess. They have the whole of society in which to be just as stupid and retrograde as they want to be. Why should the atheists be forced to accommodate them as well?

  15. 15
    Jasper of Maine

    #7

    So basically I’m saying, if this is what feminism is in the atheist community, I’ll not call myself feminist because I don’t want to be associated with that attitude.

    It isn’t “feminism in the atheist community”. It’s an application. Your attitude is a bit silly. It’d be like going to a barbecue, not liking what you find at that person’s house, and then deciding to never go to a barbecue again.

    What you experienced there is more about jumping into a pond of piranha. One-on-one, your experience might not have been so bad, but it’s the combination that can drive a person away. It’s not so much about the topic.

    They seem to view everything as huge conspiracy of the patriarchy. That reminds me more of religious extremists than self-declared rationalists. (I expect to be attacked, so I’ll probably not comment, i.e. flounce now).

    They’re also humans, and have nostrils, which reminds me of religious extremists. Let’s not construct an equivocation fallacy here. Patriarchy is a conspiracy, basically, so them addressing it shouldn’t be shocking. Some conspiracies actually do exist, you know. Did you not notice that the U.S. is mainly male-driven, with conservatives frequently trying to keep it that way?

    The fact they’re addressing a systemic problem in society is not a rational basis to equivocating them to religious nuts.

  16. 16
    olivercrangle

    Ed,

    I have probably been an atheist since shortly before my Bar Mitzvah, about 4 decades ago. But I have never attended any organized atheist conference.

    Skeptic? I have degrees in Physics, Math, Engineering, and Feynman has always been by hero.

    Over the past two years though, reading of elevator gate, seeing all of the ignorance, hate, and bullying that spills out of your favorite FTB and SkepChick bloggers on a daily basis, all I can say is FTB has convinced me to have nothing to do with organized atheism.

    But it’s also demonstrated how Contemporary Feminism, post ERA femnism, and Social Justice Warriors have so little in common with any sort of progressive values, so little in common with notions of free speech, respect for others, humanism, and tolerance. Feminist invasion of Skepticism resulted in Septic Feminism, here on display at Free Thought Blogs.

    So if that’s been your goal, well, congratulations I guess, Free Thought Blogs has been a resounding success.

    Enjoy your day.

  17. 17
    m lafontaine

    I’d love to see a few examples of a “true/real feminist”.

    How about Harriett Hall?

    She has actually, you know, been successful at something other than writing a moderately successful blog.

    As far as I can tell, if any woman, anywhere, in any context, starts talking about equality issues, hellfire starts raining down on her.

    I would hazard to guess that Dr. Hall agrees.

  18. 18
    Bronze Dog

    When I first approached PZ about joining me in forming FTB, we immediately agreed on one thing — we wanted to make sure it wasn’t just another place for middle aged (in my case) or old (in his case) white guys to talk about atheism. That isn’t because we hate white men; after all, we are white men. It’s because our own experiences are limited and we believe that the secular community and society in general benefits from hearing other voices.

    Meanwhile the bigots would rather stay in their familiar white male bubble, rather than accept the controversial notion that they might be contributing to the problem. Or that problems exist at all. Because that would mean they’d have to think and change their behavior, and they’d rather stay the course.

    It took some female bloggers for me to realize I still had some blindspots to correct, and I generally found the correction to be worthwhile and more consistent with my sense of morality than the bad behaviors I did while still oblivious. The trolls unintentionally helped by exaggerating the logic behind common courtesy to be a labyrinthine maze of red tape and criticism for persecution. I’ve seen fundies practice the same absurdities and criticized them for it, so why should I accept the same from someone who claims to be on my side?

    Didn’t help that in the rape- and harassment-related threads, there were a lot of assburgers out there. I’ve got an actual Asperger’s diagnosis, and I know I’m socially awkward, which is why I favor asking permission beforehand instead of demanding that I be entitled for forgiveness after the fact. It’s about informed consent, a foundational concept behind ethics. I know that bullies, rapists, demagogues, trolls, and so forth love to feign ignorance of social conventions. I certainly know about bullies who disregard such conventions and then blame the socially awkward victim for being uncomfortable or for objecting instead of just rolling over because peer pressure and sitcom culture dictates that they participate. It’s not terribly hard for me to imagine what it might be like for a woman to object to sex and be met with a cultural opinion claiming her outfit’s alleged implied consent overrides her explicit verbal objection, complaints that she was therefore being confusing, so it’s her fault for being raped.

  19. 19
    TCC

    Over the past two years though, reading of elevator gate, seeing all of the ignorance, hate, and bullying that spills out of your favorite FTB and SkepChick bloggers on a daily basis

    …we are officially through the rabbit hole.

  20. 20
    Ed Brayton

    olivercrangle wrote:

    Over the past two years though, reading of elevator gate, seeing all of the ignorance, hate, and bullying that spills out of your favorite FTB and SkepChick bloggers on a daily basis, all I can say is FTB has convinced me to have nothing to do with organized atheism.

    Buh bye.

  21. 21
    brianwood

    Family got here in 1634 (just in time to help annihilate the Pequot). I’m male, 68, white as fish’s belly, Anglo-Saxon 100%, according to my geneologically mad second cousin, NEVER experienced any discrimination that I can remember, but I’m here to tell you, of all possible groups of people, it’s white guys like me I distrust most. You go, girls!! When 50% of every powerful committee or other body of people is women, your job will be partially done.

  22. 22
    Anthony K

    Pharyngula and some other blogs at FTB seemed to have turned into echo chambers, and quite mean ones at that.

    The handful of times I’ve tried to comment there with any mild criticism of something PZ said

    disagrees with the party line

    Even PZ has been under fire, such as in the bunny picture incident.

    You’re all over the map, redcrosse.

    When you disagree with PZ, you’re under fire from the Echo Chamber. But then, even PZ has been under fire, which is more evidence for the Echo Chamber, somehow.

  23. 23
    aaronbaker

    Mixed feelings here. I thought the elevator guy’s behavior was reprehensible, because it caused a woman to fear, entirely reasonably, for her safety. Concluding, however, that he must have been a misogynist struck me then, and strikes me now, as mindreading–not an activity that should recommend itself to skeptics. Given my own experience, though, I can’t recommend sharing that insight with the licensed trolls at Pharyngula.

  24. 24
    atheist

    @olivercrangle – December 27, 2012 at 1:49 pm (UTC -5)

    Over the past two years though, reading of elevator gate, seeing all of the ignorance, hate, and bullying that spills out of your favorite FTB and SkepChick bloggers on a daily basis, all I can say is FTB has convinced me to have nothing to do with organized atheism.

    Probably a good thing. If a couple of women talking about being harassed on blogs is enough to keep you away from atheism, what would you do against a well-funded, culturally entrenched and paranoid movement of right wing churches? You’re probably better off staying out of any controversy.

  25. 25
    Gretchen

    Ed said:

    Michael Shermer is not a poor persecuted soul being chased by villagers with torches and pitchforks, he’s a guy who said something very sexist and stupid and is being criticized for it. He had an opportunity to say, “Yeah, that was really dumb and sexist. I’d like to apologize for that and work with others to see if we can come up with a solution to make secular communities more inclusive and welcoming to women.” He chose instead to double down on the problem and make it considerably worse. We laugh when the religious right adopts the persecution pose; it’s no less ridiculous when done by one of our own.

    I see it more as Shermer having said a couple of things that are mildly sexist, and having been rhetorically bludgeoned for it. Nobody seems to be immune to the impulse to double down when they perceive themselves as being attacked– nobody. Maybe instead of jumping all over someone for accidentally saying something offensive and then being surprised when they respond with recalcitrance, it would be better to take a different tack. Maybe being properly feminist when someone else isn’t doesn’t automatically mean you win and they’re the bad guy. Maybe being in the right doesn’t mean the way you’re doing it is right.

    This is the first I heard that Al is leaving– that’s unfortunate. And I can’t watch the video right now. But from what you describe, it’s just all…..well, depressing.

  26. 26
    Aratina Cage

    I have heard that Al also says in that video that we are giving the LGBT community a bad name here at FTB. I don’t get how a straight man like Al thinks he has any ground to stand on in critiquing LGBT people who read and blog on FTB. We don’t really need yet another straight man thinking he knows what is best for LGBT people.

    It’s all very sad in the end because you have built a great blog network here, Ed, despite the grudges some ex-FTBers hold.

  27. 27
    kacyray

    My only problem is the nature of the commentary – not the blog itself. The tribalism displayed down here is disgraceful.

    The treatment that anyone who isn’t a feminist encounters down here is beyond reprehensible. I’d venture to guess that you miss out on a lot of quality commentary simply for the fact that no one who isn’t a feminist would tolerate the treatment they receive for deigning to suggest alternate views.

    The blog itself, however, is interesting and informative. At least, it normally is (I could do without all the WND posts – going on and on about the WND being a shitty tabloid is about as interesting as going on and on about Psy being a shitty pop artist).

    But you take a guy like me who is VERY interested in church-state issues, VERY interested in advancing the cause of reason over faith, VERY intersted in civil rights issues and VERY vocal about the reform of domestic policy such as prohibition, tax-exemption for churches, and anti-science initiatives… and I get run out of town because I simply don’t agree that I’m part of some privleged demographic.

    I don’t expect the commenters to change (you can’t fix stupid, you can only hand them bingo cards). But you do deserve credit for offering up a daily popourri of interesting material.

    I actually began to sympathize with the feminist cause… until I tried conversing about it here in the comments section a while back. Won’t happen again.

  28. 28
    Jasper of Maine

    Over the past two years though, reading of elevator gate, seeing all of the ignorance, hate, and bullying that spills out of your favorite FTB and SkepChick bloggers on a daily basis,

    I’m not going to hold my breath in hearing any specifics from you about this – such as examples of the “ignorance, hate and bullying”. I could buy hatred, as wouldn’t put it past people who actually are bullied to be a bit hateful. That’d be normal.

    I swear people like you come from a parallel universe where everything is the opposite from this one. Now, those people are disgusted with me, but I have to say that what you’re saying doesn’t appear to match with reality as I’ve observed it.

    What I see is the same basic functional criticism and discourse that they apply to religious/anti-science nuts.

    But it’s also demonstrated how Contemporary Feminism, post ERA femnism, and Social Justice Warriors have so little in common with any sort of progressive values, so little in common with notions of free speech, respect for others, humanism, and tolerance.

    Again, a curious statement that appears to have little to do with reality. Let’s acronym your list from above – CFERAFSJW.

    Progressives values are for equality. CFERAFSJW are for equality.

    Progressive values are for free speech (note, not necessarily freedom from criticism). So are the CFERAFSJW. Can you cite any examples where they were trying to shut up others? There’s plenty of examples from the other direction. What I see are examples with like Shermer, where there’s criticism. Criticism isn’t censorship, and it’s not a stifling of free speech. Just so you know, free speech is a question of societal/governmental censorship. Now matter how hard I try, I can’t violate your free speech rights as an individual.

    CFERAFSJW are fighting for respect. Sometimes you have to hash things out first. However, progressive values don’t say that one must respect racism or sexism.

    CFERAFSJW are fairly compatible with humanism. Are you thinking of a version of humanism where fighting for women’s equality is not compatible? Do you have any kind of example of specifics about what the problem is here?

    Tolerance? There’s good tolerance and bad tolerance. Progressive values are constantly correctly intolerant of incorrect intolerance. This is normal. They weren’t tolerant of racism or women’s suffrage, for instance.

    So pretty much, your statements have little correlation to reality, as far as I can tell.

    all I can say is FTB has convinced me to have nothing to do with organized atheism.

    Okay, bye!

  29. 29
    Jasper of Maine

    The treatment that anyone who isn’t a feminist encounters down here is beyond reprehensible. I’d venture to guess that you miss out on a lot of quality commentary simply for the fact that no one who isn’t a feminist would tolerate the treatment they receive for deigning to suggest alternate views.

    The treatment that anyone who is racist encounters “down here” is correct, likewise, for those who aren’t for women’s equal rights. I wouldn’t expect respectful dialogue with a person who is racist. I’m sorry you have a problem with that.

    If you aren’t a feminist, you’re an asshat, just like if you’re racist. This should be a ubiquitous environment anywhere the person goes – if the world was moral and just.

  30. 30
    shouldbeworking

    So Ed and PZ are the people my mom always warned me about! Too late mom, I’m trapped in the Cult of the Cephalopod.

  31. 31
    Gretchen

    kacyray said:

    My only problem is the nature of the commentary – not the blog itself. The tribalism displayed down here is disgraceful.

    You know that saying– if you want to know why every relationship you’ve had has failed, look to the common denominator?

  32. 32
    Jasper of Maine

    because I simply don’t agree that I’m part of some privleged demographic.

    I’m assuming you’re male. If you acknowledge that women tend to be sexually objectified more than men, such that women tend to be valued more for their looks than their intellectual capacities, then you’ve also acknowledged that men don’t have to deal with that shit. That’s an example of privilege. I’m privileged in that, because I’m male, I’m more likely to be taken seriously intellectually. That’s just one example from that particular privilege class.

    Seriously, this isn’t complicated. I have no doubt this has been explained to you multiple times.

    I don’t expect the commenters to change (you can’t fix stupid, you can only hand them bingo cards).

    … the irony of this coming from someone who can’t grasp such a simple concept as privilege, which is so overwhelmingly evidenced in society that denial of it would put evolution-denial to shame.

  33. 33
    davidmc

    FTB rocks. Hope you’re feeling better Ed. I see there’s some right ones in tonight.

  34. 34
    Al Stefanelli

    No, Ed. I don’t think you’ve launched an atheist cult. I stand by my comments that I made to you when FtB first started out. I think the concept of FtB was fucking brilliant, and you’ve got many shining stars on your network – bloggers I still read every day. Don’t forget, I know the amount of effort and energy you’ve put into this place, and it saddens me that a few are costing you readers.

    When I left FtB all I asked was to be left alone, and I would do the same. I was perfectly content with moving on with my old blog, making the occasional video and writing news stories. That ended when three or four of your bloggers here decided it would be a good idea to start fucking with me, which I even let go for a while, figuring it would pass.

    But no, they couldn’t leave well enough alone. Particularly PZ, with his oh-so-happy farewell video he posted on his blog, followed by further attacks on me for the simple reason that I was friends with people they did not like.

    Some of your people here continue to engage in childish behavior, which includes the utterly ridiculous notion that I am a racist, homophobe, rape apologist or whatever, I will be compelled to defend my spotless record of civil rights activism.

    It appears the only ‘crime’ I committed was to disagree, and to write about it on your network. I did not ask for this, nor did I instigate it.

  35. 35
    Ophelia Benson

    I see it more as Shermer having said a couple of things that are mildly sexist, and having been rhetorically bludgeoned for it. Nobody seems to be immune to the impulse to double down when they perceive themselves as being attacked– nobody. Maybe instead of jumping all over someone for accidentally saying something offensive and then being surprised when they respond with recalcitrance, it would be better to take a different tack.

    Let’s figure this out. Rhetorically bludgeoned? I don’t really think so. Sharply criticized, yes, but more than that, I don’t think so. It was only a small part of my column, after all; the larger subject was sexists stereotypes and what they may have to do with the apparent shortage of women in organized atheism.

    By the same token, I don’t agree that I jumped all over Shermer (and I never said it was because what he said was “offensive” – that wasn’t my point). And he didn’t respond with “recalcitrance” – he did a good deal more rhetorical bludgeoning than I did.

    Sure, I can understand his not liking my criticism. I wouldn’t have been at all surprised by a sharp retort. His long article on eSkeptic was more than a sharp retort.

  36. 36
    Marcus Ranum

    If it’s a cult, where’s my kool-ade, Ed?

    These tensions are a sign of growth and dynamism in the atheist community. It’s a good thing. There are going to be a few folks who choose to step off the bandwagon and, well, whatever.

  37. 37
    Marcus Ranum

    Rhetorically bludgeoned?

    I thought Shermer likes that. He seems to dish it out handily enough. Why isn’t the crocodile-chorus shedding their tears for Michael’s past “victims”?

  38. 38
    John Pieret

    I have unwittingly launched an “atheist cult”

    Well, I hope you are getting paid as well as most American cult leaders.

  39. 39
    Maureen Brian

    Well said, Ed!

    And thanks for that, Bronze Dog.

  40. 40
    hexidecima

    ummm,for all of the people who seem to hate FTB, they are on here enough to see this one post and comment on it? Methinks they doth protest too much.

    and someone thinks FTB is *organized* atheism? mmm-hmmm.

    can I ask again for a definition of feminism from those who are so very scared of it?

  41. 41
    atheist

    Marcus Ranum – December 27, 2012 at 2:39 pm (UTC -5)

    These tensions are a sign of growth and dynamism in the atheist community. It’s a good thing. There are going to be a few folks who choose to step off the bandwagon and, well, whatever.

    But those people who stepped off, they wanted to help us with church-state issues, man. They were gonna work with us through thick and thin! It was gonna be legendary! But no, we had to agree with Ophelia Benson that one time, and they just couldn’t take that.

  42. 42
    Ophelia Benson

    Al. That’s not what happened. I didn’t “decide to fuck with you” – and I didn’t know that you had asked to be left alone or said that you would do the same.

    I did a post about you right after you left because you did that podcast with paden that was all about how it’s fine to call Stephanie Zvan a fucking bitch because hey, she is one. I don’t call that leaving us alone.

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2012/10/metamorphoses-2/

  43. 43
    Bronze Dog

    On the topic of “ideological purity”:

    If someone makes a mistake or does something that can be interpreted as a mistake, and gets criticized for it, leading to some combination of correction, apology, and/or explanation, that’s not exactly being bound to ideological purity. That’s an expected outcome of having standards and principles and wanting imperfect, mistake-prone humans to live up to them. Rational, ethical people have standards and will put effort into applying them consistently, but will still make mistakes and need correction.

    Ironically, I think the drive for ideological purity is born of having an internally inconsistent ideology and a desire to silence criticism of those inconsistencies. To an ideologue, suggesting improvement by correcting inconsistencies is blasphemous because any call for deviation suggests the ideology is wrong or incomplete in some way. The anti-feminist atheists seem more interested in that sort of ideological purity from what I’ve seen: They don’t want atheists to discuss the blasphemous topic. They call for silence on the issue, because pointing out our problems disrupts the perfect harmony of the echo chamber and takes people off the task of patting themselves on the back and feeling superior because they don’t believe in gods. They don’t want atheists asking “who are we?” because such questions might break up the mindless tribalism. They want to sweep issues under the rug because they’re uncomfortable with questioning their stances. They also don’t want to be cut off from the opportunity to associate with atheists who’ve decided they don’t want to associate with them.

    We want people to be rational about more things than just the non-existence of gods, so we’re the troublemakers for disrupting their desired status quo of a uniformly homogenous front. We don’t want to settle for being just a little bit more ethical than fundies. We don’t want to rest on our laurels, we want to challenge ourselves to be more consistent in our logic and ethics. We want problems exposed so that we can find resolutions for them, even if that means changing misconceptions instead of enshrining them. We want our ideology to be alive, self-evaluating, and adaptive, not fixed and “pure.” We want atheism to be more like hard science and less like easy dogma.

  44. 44
    Ed Brayton

    Al —

    Sorry, I’m not buying this “all I wanted was to be left alone” nonsense. Within a couple hours of telling me you were leaving the network, you posted a podcast with Reap Paden defending his disgusting rant the week before, where he was literally yelling “CUNT” at Ophelia Benson, Stephanie Zvan and others into a microphone. You made a bunch of really bad arguments — “well they obviously never listened to you or they’d know this is just how you are,” as if that was a defense of anything at all. If you’re going to defend that kind of behavior, you aren’t just asking to be left alone you are joining in the torrent of hatred and misogyny — and yes, that is exactly what it is — thrown at those people. That they would see fit to answer you and criticize you is neither unexpected nor unjustified.

    And I don’t see how any of that justifies this unbelievable claim you make that the people you named just hate white men. Seriously, that is exactly the same claim made by the very religious right whackos that you routinely savage. So why are you echoing them? Because people dared to criticize you for defending a sexist pig like Reap Paden? Seriously? You think this is a coherent and reasonable response?

  45. 45
    Marcus Ranum

    My only problem is the nature of the commentary – not the blog itself. The tribalism displayed down here is disgraceful.

    I watch youtube videos, especially when I’ve had a bit too much wine, and I’m generally dismayed by the level of the commentariat. So I stopped reading them. Wow! Problem solved! Because otherwise, I’d be feeling like Miss Manners, storming in and wagging my finger uselessly at thousands of people who don’t know how to use apostrophes correctly in English, or who don’t realize that Jimmy Page is the greatest guitar player, ever, and so on and so forth. I’d be spiking my blood pressure and getting absolutely nothing out of it.

    So, you can just watch FTB do its thing and – so what – succeed or fail like scienceblogs did, and who cares? After all, it’s none of your business; it’s not your website, it’s not your problem – you have the choice of being a tone-troll or a gender-neutral-Manners if you want. Or not.

    Don’t choose to care and then complain because you care.

  46. 46
    Gretchen

    ummm,for all of the people who seem to hate FTB, they are on here enough to see this one post and comment on it? Methinks they doth protest too much.

    There are good replies to the criticisms, but “If you hate it so much, why are you here?” is not one. People don’t only come in Fawning, Devoted Reader or Spittle-Flecked Hater.

    One of the best things about the comments for this particular blog is the (general) recognition of that.

  47. 47
    Marcus Ranum

    @Bronze Dog – Well said!

  48. 48
    Marcus Ranum

    “If you hate it so much, why are you here?” is not one.

    But “if you hate it so much, what is it that you hate, and why?” is pretty good. It’s certainly a very illuminating question when it gets asked – if the other person honestly tries to answer it.

  49. 49
    atheist

    But the question really goes deeper than that. Not only, why do they still come here, but why do they expect that the fact that they supposedly no longer want to come here is an argument for anything? Are they really so valuable that we have to feel bad about them wanting to go? Or are blogs a social space where arguments are more important than personalities? I would hope it is the latter.

  50. 50
    Alverant

    Thanks Ed. Just because you don’t cover a topic it doesn’t mean you don’t care about it. It would be boring if every blogger here posted about the same story. Commeradde talks about race issues. No Country posts a lot about Islam. RBB is about military issues. And so on. I care about those things as well, but I don’t make it a primary focus.

    The problem is that there seems to be an “all or none” attitude on FTB. If you’re only 75% dedicated to a topic it’s like you’re against it. I once asked a question on how a man was suppose to prove they were innocent of rape. I made no implication at how often they were innocent, I only pointed out that it could happen. The context of the thread assumed that being accused of something automatically meant being guilty. The possiblity of a false accusastion was an alien concept to many. And I paid for asking the question by a series of commenters swearing at me and no one not really answering my question. It was all “How dare you imply that a woman could be wrong or lie.” I stopped commenting on women’s issues after that. I still support women’s issues, but now I know better than to raise questions about it.

  51. 51
    Marcus Ranum

    I think the drive for ideological purity is born of having an internally inconsistent ideology and a desire to silence criticism of those inconsistencies.

    In other words, it’s an authoritarian response to a rational question. Rationalists recognize that authoritarian responses are weak compared to a rational argument and generally assume that when someone reaches for authority, they’re ceding the battlefield of ideas.

    That’s why I get annoyed when I hear people accusing others of trying to enforce ideological purity or intellectual conformity. Especially if the forums where they are (supposedly) enforcing that “conformity” are a brawl-pit of ideas and those that are “enforcing conformity” are doing it with questions like “specifically, what about gender equality is it that you’re opposed to and why?” Ooo, the conformity!

  52. 52
    Maureen Brian

    I like the Uniformly Homogenous Front – Bronze Dog @ 43 – and feel a Monty Python coming on.

  53. 53
    jose

    Andrea Dworkin was not anti-sex, radical feminists are not anti-sex, the second wave was not anti-sex.

  54. 54
    mouse

    Ibis – fair enough. I shouldn’t have conflated your comment (which I thought made a good suggestion) with others calling for folks to just “bury the hatchet” and get back to talking about fundamentalists.

  55. 55
    raven

    olivercrangle wrote:

    Over the past two years though, reading of elevator gate, seeing all of the ignorance, hate, and bullying that spills out of your favorite FTB and SkepChick bloggers on a daily basis, all I can say is FTB has convinced me to have nothing to do with organized atheism.

    Good.

    Now if you could just find an ugly xian cult to join, you would do even more to help the atheist community,.

    Try the JW’s or Momons. They are always looking for new members.

  56. 56
    Ed Brayton

    I tend to bristle at the idea of judging a blog by its comment section. As Jamie Kilstein said a few months ago, the comment section at PZ’s blog is the 7th circle of hell. The one here is often scarcely better. Even I cringe at what is clearly — yes — tribalism that goes on in the comments section. It’s just the nature of the beast and it’s happened to me on both ends. A quick story:

    A few years ago I criticized Richard Dawkins for signing a petition that would make it illegal for parents to teach their kids about religion. The comment section was descended upon by hundreds of his acolytes, saving me up one side and down the other. I was misinterpreting the petition, they said, and how dare I criticize someone who had done so much for atheism when I was just a lowly blogger, and so forth. After a while Dawkins himself showed up and said I was right, that he hadn’t read the petition closely enough, that he did not favor such a law and he’d asked them to remove his name from the petition. Even after that, many of his followers continued to excoriate me.

    I’ve had the same thing happen here on the other side, where someone has shown up in the comments and criticized something I wrote. They were hammered like mad by many of my readers and I had to jump in and say, “Wait a minute, he’s actually got a point.” That makes me even more uncomfortable than being on the receiving end of it. We are all prone to tribalism and to shallow thinking, including those who regard ourselves as skeptics who are above that sort of thing.

  57. 57
    atheist

    @ Alverant – December 27, 2012 at 2:58 pm (UTC -5)

    I actually do understand what you mean. I’ve hung around a lot of feminist blogs and sometimes feel that they are just mad at men. I think, to respond to your point, that it would be good if folks were more understanding. But honestly, I can understand why they aren’t. I try to have a thick online skin and not take things too personally. I think that’s the best you can do.

  58. 58
    Marcus Ranum

    If you’re only 75% dedicated to a topic it’s like you’re against it.

    Personally I’m against tone-trolling, no matter how carefully couched it is. What about you?
    Do you think tone-trolling is something you need to be 100% against, or do you only think tone-trolling is appropriate when it’s you that’s doing it? I’m just asking, in a trollish kind of voice.

  59. 59
    atheist

    You need to be 98.76% against tone trolling. I mean, to be exact.

  60. 60
    Ed Brayton

    Alverant wrote:

    The problem is that there seems to be an “all or none” attitude on FTB. If you’re only 75% dedicated to a topic it’s like you’re against it.

    That isn’t on FTB, it’s pretty much human nature. It’s something we should all try to guard against and that is one of the things that I often find bothersome. There’s too much yelling at each other from opposite sides of the fence rather than reasonable discussion. I’d like to see a lot less of that from everyone, including myself (I am hardly immune to such behavior). But if the only answer to that is “you all just hate white men,” we’ve crossed over into la la land in a big way.

  61. 61
    Nepenthe

    I’m glad I read through the comments, because now I can just say “What jose said”.

  62. 62
    redcrosse

    Ed, Even I cringe at what is clearly — yes — tribalism that goes on in the comments section. It’s just the nature of the beast and it’s happened to me on both ends.

    That was my point about PZ’s blog. Tribalism (or what looks to me like ideological purity tests) is rampant in his commentariat. It hits those of us who comment about things in a way that doesn’t reference feminism, yet get dragged into it. And it happened to PZ himself when he made a post that was viewed as reinforcing sexism. Then he replied that “Not everything is about this issue”… and was savaged again.

    I see a lot of “I’m not a feminist” commenters here being told GFTO “buh bye”. None of them said they aren’t for equal rights, or whatever some others ‘assume’ their definitions of feminism are.

    Basically, do you all really want to run off people like kacyray?

  63. 63
    Ed Brayton

    redcrosse–

    Having seen Kacy Ray’s behavior in the comment section here for a long time, the answer is that I wouldn’t mind running him off at all. He’s not really a good example of that.

  64. 64
    redcrosse

    Ok, no problem. I only know from what I’ve read in this thread alone.

  65. 65
    Al Stefanelli

    Al. That’s not what happened. I didn’t “decide to fuck with you” – and I didn’t know that you had asked to be left alone or said that you would do the same.

    I did a post about you right after you left because you did that podcast with paden that was all about how it’s fine to call Stephanie Zvan a fucking bitch because hey, she is one. I don’t call that leaving us alone.

    You are wrong, Ophelia. I defended Stephanie, while not attempting to censor someone else’s opinion. I stated on the podcast that I did not consider Stephanie a bitch, and that she had always been very pleasant to me. In fact, I did that on multiple occasions. You then decided to respond to something I wrote that didn’t even concern you with “Fuck You, Al.” Believe what you want, but the facts show otherwise.

    Sorry, I’m not buying this “all I wanted was to be left alone” nonsense. Within a couple hours of telling me you were leaving the network, you posted a podcast with Reap Paden defending his disgusting rant the week before, where he was literally yelling “CUNT” at Ophelia Benson, Stephanie Zvan and others into a microphone. You made a bunch of really bad arguments — “well they obviously never listened to you or they’d know this is just how you are,” as if that was a defense of anything at all. If you’re going to defend that kind of behavior, you aren’t just asking to be left alone you are joining in the torrent of hatred and misogyny — and yes, that is exactly what it is — thrown at those people. That they would see fit to answer you and criticize you is neither unexpected nor unjustified.

    And I don’t see how any of that justifies this unbelievable claim you make that the people you named just hate white men. Seriously, that is exactly the same claim made by the very religious right whackos that you routinely savage. So why are you echoing them? Because people dared to criticize you for defending a sexist pig like Reap Paden? Seriously? You think this is a coherent and reasonable response?

    That podcast was recorded the previous Tuesday, prior to anything that was blogged about here. It was no secret that I had been co-hosting ReapSowRadio for almost four years. It was on my FtB bio, my website, my social network profiles, etc. Reap is his own man, a good friend of mine and he’s entitled to his opinions and commentary. You might think he’s a sexist pig, I know differently. That has not changed since I started doing his show back in 2009.

    We obviously do not agree on what constitutes misogyny, hatred, etc., and I am not here to argue those points with you or anyone else. Suffice to say, it’s the same ‘guilt by association’ that I have commented on so many times over the past seven or eight years.

    This is your house, and personally I have no quarrel with you – in spite of the fact that you have one with me. I think you’re basically a decent guy whose having to deal with shit that you’d rather just go away. Either way, I stand by my commentary, as you undoubtedly do yours. I am not going to continue commenting on this post, as I do not want this to devolve into what it likely will.

  66. 66
    Greta Christina

    The treatment that anyone who isn’t a feminist encounters down here is beyond reprehensible.

    How would you respond if someone said, “The treatment that anyone who’s a racist encounters down here is beyond reprehensible”? Or, “The treatment that anyone who’s a homophobe encounters down here is beyond reprehensible”?

    Have you considered the possibility that you’re treated the way you are because not being a feminist is reprehensible?

    But you take a guy like me who is VERY interested in church-state issues, VERY interested in advancing the cause of reason over faith, VERY intersted in civil rights issues and VERY vocal about the reform of domestic policy such as prohibition, tax-exemption for churches, and anti-science initiatives… and I get run out of town because I simply don’t agree that I’m part of some privleged demographic.

    Translation: “You take a guy like me who is VERY interested in the old traditional concerns of organized atheism… and I get strongly criticized when I dismiss the concerns of a huge demographic that traditional organized atheism has largely ignored, when I act in ways that this demographic finds demeaning and alienating, and when I refuse to consider the possibility that my behavior might be a problem.”

  67. 67
    Reginald Selkirk

    A cult? Who would say such a thing? Why, Ed Brayton is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I’ve ever known in my life.

  68. 68
    atheist

    I see a lot of “I’m not a feminist” commenters here being told GFTO “buh bye”. None of them said they aren’t for equal rights, or whatever some others ‘assume’ their definitions of feminism are.

    Basically, do you all really want to run off people like kacyray?

    It’s not that the commentariat wants to “run off” anyone. It’s just that you can only take so much of the manipulative tactic, “Your focus on X makes it impossible for me to stay. Renounce topic X or I shall leave!”

    You can only take so much of that tactic before you start to get bored with it, and suggest to those folks that if they are really so angry about “topic X” – feminism, or whatever it is – that they should go ahead and leave. Manipulative tactics are annoying in conversation, and a clever commentariat like the one we have here doesn’t take long to catch onto them.

  69. 69
    Alverant

    #58 Since tone cannot be accurately conveyed in text (and misunderstood in speech) and subject to interpertations, I try to be open about tone-trolling and give people the benefit of the doubt.

  70. 70
    bridgetgaudette

    “Do I sometimes wish that FTB wasn’t ground zero for quite so much drama and controversy? Sure. Do I occasionally wish that others would have handled a particular situation with a bit more nuance? Sure. But some fights are worth having, are necessary to have, and the fact that it’s going to piss some people off doesn’t much matter to me.”

    Just because I don’t believe in a particular style of fighting DOES NOT mean that I don’t think there is a fight to be had. Ed, in a conversation we had a couple weeks ago when I stated that I don’t understand the snarky and/or angry tone of some blogs, you made the same comment as above, something along the lines of “well I don’t mind it because the cause is something I believe in”. This stopped me in my tracks. I believe in equality, too! So, allow me to restate: Just because I choose to fight the good fight differently DOES NOT mean I don’t think there is a fight to be had. I am a feminist. I believe that women should have a voice in the matters that they want to have a voice in. I believe White male privilege exists. Having spoken with Al at length, I know that he feels the same. The issue here is style. Some choose a more “radical” way to express their feminism than others. For those of us who choose to “fight” differently, please don’t think we don’t acknowledge that there *is* a fight to be had.

    http://www.emilyhasbooks.com/starting-point-diversity/

  71. 71
    atheist

    Translation: “You take a guy like me who is VERY interested in the old traditional concerns of organized atheism… and I get strongly criticized when I dismiss the concerns of a huge demographic that traditional organized atheism has largely ignored, when I act in ways that this demographic finds demeaning and alienating, and when I refuse to consider the possibility that my behavior might be a problem.”

    But it could have been so beautiful, we would have been like bosom buddies – us and kacyray – if only those meddling feminists kids hadn’t ruined everything!

  72. 72
    kacyray

    Ed,

    I tend to bristle at the idea of judging a blog by its comment section.

    Noted, and for the record I’ve made a conscious decision not to do exactly that. You entire comment is well-taken (interesting story about Dawkins… I was encouraged by the way it resolved) and hopefully there are plenty more who, like me, enjoy the benefits of the good (blog) and ignore the bad.(comments).

    redcrosse @ 62

    I see a lot of “I’m not a feminist” commenters here being told GFTO “buh bye”. None of them said they aren’t for equal rights, or whatever some others ‘assume’ their definitions of feminism are.

    One of the things that has pretty much permanently put me off about feminism is the fact that the term “misogynist” has been curiously appropriated by the feminist culture for it’s own exclusive use. I use the word “misogynist” to describe people who have a deep-seated contempt for women. Feminists use the term “misogynist” to describe people for whom feminists have a deep-seated contempt.

    Basically, do you all really want to run off people like kacyray?

    Ed’s acknowledgement and (tacit) repudiation of the tribalism the exists in the comment section has won my loyalty as a reader (if not a commenter) of this blog for as long as it’s around, for what it’s worth.

  73. 73
    Anthony K

    You might think he’s a sexist pig, I know differently.

    Believe what you want, but the facts show otherwise.

    And Al, did you ever come clean on who exactly asked you to apologise for being white and having a penis?

  74. 74
    atheist

    Feminists use the term “misogynist” to describe people for whom feminists have a deep-seated contempt.

    Why do I get the feeling that, before long, you will prove the feminists right beyond any reasonable doubt?

  75. 75
    myuido

    Have you considered the possibility that you’re treated the way you are because not being a feminist is reprehensible?

    So that’ll be about 99% of the human race, reprehensible.

  76. 76
    Ace of Sevens

    Plenty of us in the comments have jumped to conclusions at times, me worse than most. The bloggers have engaged in this a tiem or two as well. This is something that happens with pretty much any blogger who writes about an emotionally-charged issue, though. It’s an effect of the immediacy of publishing. It’s liek dealign with peopel IRL: You have to take in account whether people double down when demonstrably wrong and how often they do this.

  77. 77
    MissMarnie

    I am continually dumbfounded by the cult/witch hunt claims from people who reject feminism. We’re all supposed to be skeptics here, and open to rational and open debate on sensitive subjects. It is not a witch hunt to tell someone they are wrong, nor that they have made an unsound argument. It is not a witch hunt to ask people not to do something that makes you uncomfortable. It is not the formation of a cult for other people to support those endeavors. Michael Shermer is welcome to believe that women are less capable or inclined towards atheism and skepticism and we are all welcome to say that’s nonsense. That’s not a witch hunt,that is normal discourse.

    On the other hand, I don’t see (and if it’s happening, I don’t support it) people who back Ophelia’s arguments, stalking Shermer, threatening him, hounding him, making fake social networking accounts for him or otherwise attempting to make his life miserable. Yet a not-insignificant number of the people who are siding with Shermer are doing just that to Ophelia and Rebecca and Stephanie and others. They treat fellow skeptics with more contempt than they do creationists or anti-vaxxers or faith healers.

    Disagreements happen and we don’t have to like it, but what is driving a wedge in the community is not disagreement on feminism, it’s aggressive and invasive harassment that is goaded on by others in the community. If you cannot disagree without harassing someone, you are doing it wrong.

  78. 78
    Gretchen

    myuido said:

    So that’ll be about 99% of the human race, reprehensible.

    I know there are some anti-feminist women out there, just like there are other members of minorities who are prejudiced against their own groups. But to assert that the vast majority of the population is bigoted against women is beyond absurd. And yes, that is what you are asserting.

    atheist said:

    Why do I get the feeling that, before long, you will prove the feminists right beyond any reasonable doubt?

    Oh, kacyray has already done that in spades. He’s one of those people who can’t distinguish between “They have contempt for me” and “They have contempt for men.” It’s some kind of projection– because he can’t be bothered to differentiate between individuals and groups, he assumes no one else can either.

  79. 79
    kbonn

    @ Ed #56

    “I tend to bristle at the idea of judging a blog by its comment section.”

    I would agree with that on an unmoderated blog/forum, or one with basic rules that apply to all posters
    equally.

    However, for an example, that is not what PZ’s section is. Certain opinions or positions are not allowed.

    Worse, how much of an asshole you are allowed to be, it completely reliant on which side you are perceived to be on, or how long you’ve been part of that “side”.

    It is the just war fallacy, “Oh person X is on the right side, so any tactic they use to take down/discredit people viewed as enemies is A-OK.” Which just leads to the following. “Whatever tactic person Y uses(who is an ‘enemy’), is harrassment, overly harsh, racist, sexist, etc…” REGARDLESS if it actually is, why? Well, because person Y said/did it. THIS is what has to stop.

    Letting people who are on your ‘side’ run wild in your blog comments against people who might have very minor critisisms or disagreements with a post does reflect very negatively on the blog author if they censor others.

    It’s like this latest issue with Greg and Justin. Greg’s pal’s are defending his behavior BECAUSE he was doing it to a person who is an enemy of their’s. It doesn’t matter if this person is an asshole or not, Greg’s behavior is unacceptable. I am sure you agree. But the mentality that its ok to employ any tactic against an enemy regardless of it morality or legality, doesn’t solve anything, it just results it shit flinging.

  80. 80
    atheist

    @ MissMarnie – December 27, 2012 at 3:46 pm (UTC -5)

    I don’t see (and if it’s happening, I don’t support it) people who back Ophelia’s arguments, stalking Shermer, threatening him, hounding him, making fake social networking accounts for him or otherwise attempting to make his life miserable. Yet a not-insignificant number of the people who are siding with Shermer are doing just that to Ophelia and Rebecca and Stephanie and others.

    This, to me, is the crux of the matter.

  81. 81
    kacyray

    Greta @66

    How would you respond if someone said, “The treatment that anyone who’s a racist encounters down here is beyond reprehensible”? Or, “The treatment that anyone who’s a homophobe encounters down here is beyond reprehensible”?

    You’re equivocating positive positions (racist/homophobe) with the absence of a position (not a feminist). But this is not a surprise… part of the feminist repertoire is to paint anyone who doesn’t agree with feminist ideology as taking an active anti-woman position. I say I’m against feminism – you say I’m against women. And it’s because you are convinced that feminism is a pro-woman position. I disagree.

    But you won’t acknowledge that a disagreement can even exist, will you? To a dyed-in-the-wool feminist, there are only two kinds of people: Feminists and misogynists. If you ain’t one, you’re clearly the other, right?

    Translation: “You take a guy like me who is VERY interested in the old traditional concerns of organized atheism… and I get strongly criticized when I dismiss the concerns of a huge demographic that traditional organized atheism has largely ignored, when I act in ways that this demographic finds demeaning and alienating, and when I refuse to consider the possibility that my behavior might be a problem.”

    I actually don’t see organized atheism as a useful construct. I agree with Sam Harris that atheism is the wrong banner for people to unite under, and I already had a very long conversation with Carrier about this. You may notice in my comment @27 that I didn’t mention atheism at all – instead I very specifically mentioned “advancing the cause of reason over faith”. I believe that advocates of reason should absolutely unite and actively fight social and cultural battles that need to be fought. Plenty of atheists advance causes that, I believe, are not founded on reason. And I believe feminism fits that description.

    I am familiar with your blog. I have read your stuff. I would be very surprised if you would even be able to entertain a conversation challenging the premises of feminism without being insulting (MISOGYNIST!), presumptuous (you’re either a feminist or a woman-hater!), or otherwise subject to your internalized thoughts and feelings. I think the whole issue is just too personalized for you, and for a lot of the crowd here.

    I’m not saying that makes you a bad person. I’m sure you are very well-liked by many. I’m just saying… I would be very surprised if you could have a detached, objective conversation about it. You are free to prove me wrong on this.

  82. 82
    kacyray

    Gretchen @ 78

    He’s one of those people who can’t distinguish between “They have contempt for me” and “They have contempt for men.”…because he can’t be bothered to differentiate between individuals and groups, he assumes no one else can either.

    Gretchen, I wonder if you’re willing to acknowledge that fact about another member of your tribe?

    Greta said “…not being a feminist is reprehensible…”

    So… are you willing to apply the same standard? Or will your tribalism trump all?

  83. 83
    Joerg

    You are wrong, Ophelia. I defended Stephanie, while not attempting to censor someone else’s opinion. I stated on the podcast that I did not consider Stephanie a bitch, and that she had always been very pleasant to me.

    1) Calling someone a “bitch” is an insult, not an opinion. If it were an opinion, it would mean that they think someone is a female dog.

    2) If you tell someone that they should not call someone a “bitch”, it is not censoring, it actually is voicing an opinion. If you do not voice that opinion, you are ok with the other person insulting someone in a strongly gender-stereotypical way, which to me, for all intents and purposes, is the same as shouting yourself.

    3) “Not wanting to censor someone” is an extremely weak excuse.

    We obviously do not agree on what constitutes misogyny, hatred, etc.

    You obviously think that you get to define what constitutes that.

  84. 84
    kacyray

    Ed,

    “Having seen Kacy Ray’s behavior in the comment section here for a long time, the answer is that I wouldn’t mind running him off at all. He’s not really a good example of that.

    Really?

    If “not rolling over and just taking it” is an example of bad behavior, then mea culpa. Otherwise, I don’t know what you’re talking about. I would challenge you (or anyone) to find a single example of me instigating insults or disrespect.

    You will find plenty of instances of me returning fire… but none of me instigating. And you will find no examples of me showing disrespect or discourtesy to anyone who did not specifically single me out for insults or disrespect first. I guarantee it.

    In fact, in this very thread, I’ve been getting pot-shots from Gretchen and a few others, yet I’ve been cordial and I’ve been staying on topic. What behavior are you referring to Ed? Are you suggesting that bending over and taking it is what I’m supposed to do? Or are the rules different for non-feminists?

    Pretty disappointing.

  85. 85
    soul_biscuit

    You’re equivocating positive positions (racist/homophobe) with the absence of a position (not a feminist).

    There are a couple of problems with this argument.

    First, the people who meet with opprobrium on Pharyngula and elsewhere typically do not advocate some neutral “a-feminism,” but more or less anti-feminist positions. Anti-feminism is a positive position.

    Second, given that feminism is no more than the position that women should enjoy political and social equality, ambivalence with regard to that position is properly regarded as reprehensible.

  86. 86
    oolon

    That isn’t on FTB, it’s pretty much human nature. It’s something we should all try to guard against and that is one of the things that I often find bothersome. There’s too much yelling at each other from opposite sides of the fence rather than reasonable discussion.

    … Blessed are the fence sitters, must read Ed’s blog more often.

    You should also post on this subject more, although maybe because you have avoided it so much you manage to write about it without winding anyone up. Very well put and the reason that while I even think the Slymepitters sometimes make a good point I could never be on their “side” because the ridiculous hyperbole from them is just embarrassing. Seeing Al join in has been the low point of the year for me, as Ophelia put it – some of his posts when he was here were great, what happened?

  87. 87
    myuido

    @Gretchen, post 78

    I know there are some anti-feminist women out there, just like there are other members of minorities who are prejudiced against their own groups. But to assert that the vast majority of the population is bigoted against women is beyond absurd. And yes, that is what you are asserting.

    Don’t tell me what i’m asserting. If you think the vast majority of people on this planet aren’t either ignorant, apathetic or actively resistant to feminist principles what the hell are we fighting for?

  88. 88
    Ed Brayton

    Al Stefanelli wrote:

    That podcast was recorded the previous Tuesday, prior to anything that was blogged about here. It was no secret that I had been co-hosting ReapSowRadio for almost four years. It was on my FtB bio, my website, my social network profiles, etc. Reap is his own man, a good friend of mine and he’s entitled to his opinions and commentary. You might think he’s a sexist pig, I know differently. That has not changed since I started doing his show back in 2009.

    The first podcast on which Reap ranted for 10 minutes about Stephanie and Ophelia being bitches and cunts was recorded the week before. The one that you co-hosted with him, on which the first 10 minutes was devoted to you defending him for doing that, saying dumb things like “well this is just the way you are and they have to realize that” (not an exact quotation, but close enough), was posted literally hours after you told me you were leaving FTB. Just to make sure everyone knows what we’re talking about, here’s Reap’s vile rant:

    http://www.reapsowradio.com/?p=31213

    He went on an angry rant calling Stephanie a “bitch” and telling them to “shut the fuck up” and calling them “motherfuckers.” It was a 13 year old going on a tirade calling everyone names.

    But I just don’t think you get this at all, especially when you say this:

    I defended Stephanie, while not attempting to censor someone else’s opinion. I stated on the podcast that I did not consider Stephanie a bitch, and that she had always been very pleasant to me.

    So here’s the next show, which you were on:

    http://www.reapsowradio.com/?p=31218

    And there the first several minutes were spent with you defending Reap, saying it’s perfectly okay for him to call women bitches and cunts for doing things he doesn’t like. That was all okay with you because that’s just the way he is. And you lashed out at those who had criticized him for his disgusting attacks. That you may later have said that you didn’t think she was a bitch is not at all the point. And to claim that you weren’t trying to “censor” his opinion is just bullshit and you should know it. To say, as you did to them, “everyone is entitled to their opinion” is just namby pamby bullshit. No one asked you to censor him; how about criticize him for calling women bitches and cunts? How about saying that maybe that’s a problem in general, whether this particular person should be called a bitch or not? Since that day, the show has been an endless series of shows featuring misogynists like Franc Hoggle and guys from A Voice for Men, which is a genuinely misogynist site. So no, I don’t think you get to now say “I just want to be left alone, I never did anything to you people.” You’ve thrown in your lot with some really terrible people who have been engaged in some seriously vile behavior. You can’t now feign surprise that you’re getting criticized for this stuff. It’s entirely justified.

  89. 89
    Gretchen

    kacyray said:

    Gretchen, I wonder if you’re willing to acknowledge that fact about another member of your tribe?

    Greta said “…not being a feminist is reprehensible…”

    So… are you willing to apply the same standard? Or will your tribalism trump all?

    You’re asking me if I agree with Greta Christina’s claim about a group, in order to discern if I’m willing to differentiate between groups and individuals? How exactly is my agreement or disagreement with her supposed to tell you?

    For the record, I define a feminist as a person who notices and is opposed to sexism. I think if a person knows what sexism is and does not do this, especially if they support sexism by opposing the efforts of feminists to work against it, then yes– that is pretty damn reprehensible. I would, however, believe this regardless of whether Greta Christina believed it or not, in spite of her obvious awesomeness.

    If you think that’s tribalism, then I submit that you haven’t the first clue what tribalism is. But then, your grasp of what feminism is could use some serious work as well. At least, I hope that’s the case. It would be much worse if you knew full well what feminism is and still said such mind-numbingly stupid and false things about it. And no, don’t say that you’re just going by what feminists say and do– that makes as much as sense as being racist because you know some asshole black people.

  90. 90
    Marcus Ranum

    Plenty of atheists advance causes that, I believe, are not founded on reason. And I believe feminism fits that description.

    Oh, wow, I see a gigantic straw-feminist about to come stomping down the street like the sta-puft marshmallow man in “Ghost Busters” … Too bad it’s not my straw-man argument to shoot, and it’s not hunting season.

    What about “feminism” isn’t rational? And, since you’re creating straw-feminisms, perhaps you’d be better off telling us your opinion of what “feminism” is?

    I would be very surprised if you would even be able to entertain a conversation challenging the premises of feminism without being insulting

    Holy shit! Stomping down the street after the straw-feminist is a straw-Brayton!!! The straw’s’a’gonna fly now!!

    I’ll tell you what: why don’t you start by telling us how to distinguish facts from your opinions? Because, depending on whether or not that’s possible, it might just be better to leave you thrashing around in that pile of straw you’re summoning.

  91. 91
    Ed Brayton

    Bridget Gaudette wrote:

    Just because I don’t believe in a particular style of fighting DOES NOT mean that I don’t think there is a fight to be had. Ed, in a conversation we had a couple weeks ago when I stated that I don’t understand the snarky and/or angry tone of some blogs, you made the same comment as above, something along the lines of “well I don’t mind it because the cause is something I believe in”. This stopped me in my tracks. I believe in equality, too! So, allow me to restate: Just because I choose to fight the good fight differently DOES NOT mean I don’t think there is a fight to be had. I am a feminist. I believe that women should have a voice in the matters that they want to have a voice in. I believe White male privilege exists. Having spoken with Al at length, I know that he feels the same. The issue here is style. Some choose a more “radical” way to express their feminism than others. For those of us who choose to “fight” differently, please don’t think we don’t acknowledge that there *is* a fight to be had.

    I think you misunderstood me, both then and now. First, let me make clear that none of this was aimed at you at all. It wasn’t addressed to you or to anything you have ever said or done. It was addressed to Al Stefanelli and his incredibly stupid claim that those he now opposes just hate white men. I am perfectly fine with having different approaches and strategies, and I agree that we have to recognize different types of disagreement. Yes, there are people out there who share the ultimate goal of equality but prefer different tactics to achieve those goals, and those people should not be treated as enemies. That is exactly what I meant when I said that we should spend more time talking to one another instead of yelling at one another. But that applies to a certain group of people; it does not apply to Reap Paden or, now, Al. Once you’ve crossed over into “these feminist women just hate white men and want to hurt them” territory, you’re not an ally with a different strategy, you’re in fucking outer space (not you specifically, of course; the royal “you”). There is common ground with people like you; there is no common ground with people like them. I think it’s very important to make a distinction between those two groups, and it is sometimes far too easy to treat everyone who expresses any disagreement as though they were in the second group instead of the first. When it comes to battles with the second group, I am not the least bit bothered by “drama” or controversy or whatever. That is what I meant then and it’s what I mean now.

  92. 92
    redcrosse

    @kbonn #79, Worse, how much of an asshole you are allowed to be, it completely reliant on which side you are perceived to be on, or how long you’ve been part of that “side”.

    Yes, that’s pretty much how I perceive it, unfortunately. This is despite frequent calls to “address the argument” by both sides.

  93. 93
    oolon

    In regard to Reap, I was watching with amazement his response to Adam Lee on twitter who very politely pointed out his nasty misogyny in spreading a “sex tape” of Stephanie. This was first spread by Hoggle, so you can imagine it is not particularly funny even. He finishes with a rant about how Adam cannot tell him what he can and cannot say… Free speech! I’m not joking, he really does think valid criticism is infringing his right to be a sexist asshole.

    Also… Ed used Elam and AVfM as an example of a nasty misogynistic web site. You do know Al posted a very favourable review of the MRM, Elam and AVfM on his blog? Shortly after he compared A+ to McCarthy-ism and said the comment policy is just like the Spanish Inquisition…..

    If Al popped up and said “Ha! Just joking, got you all!” I’d probably see it as a bad joke but find it far easier to accept than his new reality.

  94. 94
    Joerg

    Oh, wow, I see a gigantic straw-feminist about to come stomping down the street like the sta-puft marshmallow man in “Ghost Busters” … Too bad it’s not my straw-man argument to shoot, and it’s not hunting season.

    I think they should be called ‘marshmallow arguments’ instead. They are fluffy and puffy and stretch to whatever shape you want them.
    And they are white, for whatever that means.

  95. 95
    kacyray

    SB @85

    Second, given that feminism is no more than the position that women should enjoy political and social equality, ambivalence with regard to that position is properly regarded as reprehensible.

    But that’s NOT a given! In fact, as I alluded to in my first comment, I actually began to hold sympathy with the feminist movement because I perceived it as you’re describing it. This was a couple years ago when Ed was over at ScienceBlogs.

    I absolutely believe that women (and all demographics) should enjoy political and social equality. I believe it, I’ll advocate for it, I’ll join in the fight for it if necessary, and I’ll never ever ever speak a word to the contrary.

    But anyone who believes that this description of feminism actually describes the totality of feminist ideology is in a freaking dream world, man.

    I don’t want to hijack the thread and make it about feminism. This is about the accusation that Ed is some sort of cult leader, and I am happy to leave it at that.

  96. 96
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    I defended Stephanie, while not attempting to censor someone else’s opinion. I stated on the podcast that I did not consider Stephanie a bitch, and that she had always been very pleasant to me.

    Buah-hua-hua
    I’m so glad I emptied that cup of tea before I read this.
    So, Stephanie isn’t a bitch because she was nice to you, and if she isn’t anymore then she apparently is one?
    But you do not want to censor anybody’s opinion, it’s not on you to criticise people who deem Stephanie a bitch, or Obama a n***.
    You demonstrate aptly that you have never understood why people object to slurs.
    Hint: It’s not because they’re used against people whom we like.
    Kind of explains your big persecution complex.

  97. 97
    Alverant

    #60 Well Ed that may be true. Actually that IS true however, I expect better of us. Nothing wrong with expecting more rational behavior from a rational group.

  98. 98
    Marcus Ranum

    But anyone who believes that this description of feminism actually describes the totality of feminist ideology is in a freaking dream world, man.

    Gosh, yes, Gretchen offered a definition that doesn’t help fuel your straw-feminist golem! Quick! Spray some vague-sounding “ideology” on it to revive it!

    This sort of reminds me of watching a presuppositionalist arguing with a rationalist, when the rationalist doesn’t walk into the shit-simple presuppositionalist trap of aggreeing that the presuppositionalist is right about everything. ;)

    Now, you’ve established that you have an impression about feminist ideology. That’s your opinion. Good. The next move in this game comes when you storm out in a huff because everyone didn’t immediately adopt your opinion as fact, and someone is “mean” and tells you that.

  99. 99
    Marcus Ranum

    This is about the accusation that Ed is some sort of cult leader, and I am happy to leave it at that.

    Having thrashed around and muddied the waters a bit, then unleashed a bunch of weak straw-man zombie arguments, I can see why you’d be “happy to leave it at that.”

    In fact, I’d sneak away and change my name and hope nobody remembered me and “leave it at that.”

  100. 100
    Gretchen

    I absolutely believe that women (and all demographics) should enjoy political and social equality. I believe it, I’ll advocate for it, I’ll join in the fight for it if necessary, and I’ll never ever ever speak a word to the contrary.

    But anyone who believes that this description of feminism actually describes the totality of feminist ideology is in a freaking dream world, man.

    And there are opponents of white hegemony who think the white man is the devil.
    And there are opponents of homophobia who want to ban homophobic speech.
    And there are atheists who wouldn’t mind actually banning religion.

    By all means, let’s blame ideologies which oppose bigotry for any and all objectionable ideas endorsed by some in their ranks. That doesn’t remotely look just like support for the bigotry they oppose.

  101. 101
    scott

    But anyone who believes that this description of feminism actually describes the totality of feminist ideology is in a freaking dream world, man.

    Well, that’s the minimum- what you have to do to get in the door. Believe in equality, and you’re a feminist. Of course there are deeper things in feminism- factions of opinion on just what equality means and how to achieve it. Some of these factions really don’t get along. But that’s all inside the line of pro-equality.

  102. 102
    kacyray

    Marcus, do you know what a strawman fallacy is? It’s when you prop up a position your opponent does hold and then attack it.

    I’ve neither propped up a feminist position (I haven’t even described it), nor have I attacked it. I’ve only said that it’s more than what is being described here, and that I don’t hold with it.

    However, that hasn’t stopped you from accusing me of it and then lambasting me for it.

    I wonder if all those “irony-meters” are going off right now?

  103. 103
    kacyray

    “It’s when you prop up a position your opponent does hold and then attack it.”

    I meant “does not hold”. I hope that was obvious.

  104. 104
    redcrosse

    Definitely getting into “all or nothing” territory here, plus gratuitous snark and provocation. This is why I don’t go to Pharyngula. Learned my lesson too about commenting however mildly on this topic!

  105. 105
    mojave66

    I’ve been an atheist since birth. Never went to church regularly, and when I did go, it never made sense.

    I have degrees in math and I’m a Ph.D. student in biostatistics. Am I skeptic enough yet? Oh yeah, a minor in women’s studies with an emphasis on queer studies.

    The horrific and over-the-top villification of Rebecca Watson and other feminists after “elevatorgate” absolutely turned ME off. It wasn’t until the Atheism+ coalesced under Jen McCreight’s call for an atheist social justice program that I finally got excited about atheism and skepticism again. The fact that hundreds of other people agreed with me on her blog helped me to realize I wasn’t the only one who was utterly disgusted by the creepy and over-the-top misogyny feminist atheists were subjected to.

    The feminists I’ve read here and at Skepchick aren’t “man haters.” As 50-YO lesbian I got painted with that brush by homophobes trying to discredit the GL (and later B) movement early in its infancy. Now that same sad trope is being hauled out by atheists? Anyone who uses that shows a distinct lack of a historical education in women’s rights and the actual grassroots feminist movement of the late 20th century.

    I’m glad FTB is here, AtheismPlus exists, that Skepchicks and other feminist atheists keep writing despite the asshattery they’ve been subjected to. They’re the ones that keep me connected to the skeptical movement.

    Thank you, Ed, for this post and for keeping FTB as good and wonderfully diverse as it is.

    And a good day to YOU, olivercrangle.

  106. 106
    kacyray

    Gretchen @100

    By all means, let’s blame ideologies which oppose bigotry for any and all objectionable ideas endorsed by some in their ranks. That doesn’t remotely look just like support for the bigotry they oppose.

    That’s not what I’m doing. I’m not saying I’m opposed to feminism because there are some bad feminists. I’m opposed to feminism because I believe that it has some flawed premises… premises that are not fully disclosed by statements such as “feminism is no more than the position that women should enjoy political and social equality”.

    I think that statement is well-intentioned, but false. Just as I frequently hear “But Christianity is all about loving your neighbor!” and I think to myself “The hell it is!”, I recognize that there are a lot more premises beneath the surface of feminism than that seemingly benign premises stated here.

    If feminism is ONLY about social and political equality for women, then you would be a fool to alienate people like me who support those causes, wouldn’t you? So why do you hold me in such contempt?

    The fact that you do is MY proof that there’s more to feminism than you’re letting on.

  107. 107
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Jasper of Maine:

    I am only about a third of the way through this thread, but I am so glad to read your posts. They are consistently making shout “you rock!”

  108. 108
    PatrickG

    I’m opposed to feminism because I believe that it has some flawed premises

    Maybe I missed you doing so upthread (a casual check found nothing very specific), but would you care to identify these premises? Be specific.

  109. 109
    Gnumann+, out&proud cultural marxist (just don't ask me about Gramsci)

    I’ve neither propped up a feminist position (I haven’t even described it), nor have I attacked it. I’ve only said that it’s more than what is being described here, and that I don’t hold with it.

    An ill defined strawperson is still a strawperson. Your game here is painfully obvious for anybody above the age of five.

    However, that hasn’t stopped you from accusing me of it and then lambasting me for it.

    I guess he’s over five then.

    I wonder if all those “irony-meters” are going off right now?

    I suspect yours short-circuited years ago.

  110. 110
    Marcus Ranum

    I’ve only said that it’s more than what is being described here, and that I don’t hold with it.

    Yes, I understand. You’re erecting a straw-man called “feminism” and are employing a bizzare sort of “no true scotsman” defense of it. Because – after all – anything reasonable that feminists say, you agree with wholeheartedly and 100%. All the rest is completely unreasonable – whatever that is – though you neglect to say what it is. So your claim is that you’re not straw-manning because you’re being much too vague for your characterization of feminism to be a straw-man? Do go on.

    And of course your saying that “I would be very surprised if you would even be able to entertain a conversation challenging the premises of feminism without being insulting …” regarding Ed – that’s not a straw-man, either. What shall we call that, more accurately, a “pre-registered whinge”?

  111. 111
    Marcus Ranum

    I’m not “lambasting” you, BTW. I’m poking fun at you. It’s a whole different vibe.

  112. 112
    sivivolk

    *blinks*

    Wow. I did not expect Ed to come out swinging on this. Don’t get me wrong, this is one out of the two or three FTBs I have on my Google Reader, love the blog, but he’s largely stayed out of any intra-community conflicts.

    Nice to see, though.

  113. 113
    Gnumann+, out&proud cultural marxist (just don't ask me about Gramsci)

    If feminism is ONLY about social and political equality for women, then you would be a fool to alienate people like me who support those causes, wouldn’t you? So why do you hold me in such contempt?

    The fact that you do is MY proof that there’s more to feminism than you’re letting on.

    My thought is that you come of as one of those people who claim to support gender equality, but then oppose every attempt to define problems and implement solutions that actually help.

    Don’t worry, you’re not alone (unfortunately).

    And this does’t prove anything about feminism, it proves something about you.

  114. 114
    Stacy

    I see it more as Shermer having said a couple of things that are mildly sexist, and having been rhetorically bludgeoned for it.

    He wasn’t rhetorically bludgeoned. Go back and read what was said, Gretchen.

    He reacted as if he’d been rhetorically bludgeoned. He claimed there was a “witch hunt” against him.

    People really should double check this tendency to react defensively when they or someone they admire is criticized. It’s OK to criticize somebody, you know. And it’s OK to be criticized.

    The issue here is style.

    @bridgetgaudette, I disagree. The issue under discussion isn’t style. Accusing FtB of being a “cult” and comparing feminist bloggers to Nazis is more than a declaration of “I don’t like your style.” So is constant trolling and harassment. So is upping the ante when you’ve been mildly criticized and whining about “witch hunts.” (That’s a rhetorical “you”–I’m referring to Shermer there.)

    It’s OK to have a gentler style and a preference for civility in comment sections. But hyperbolic accusations against people with a more in-your-face style are ridiculous and need to be called out.

  115. 115
    johnfromberkeley

    As a white man, I feel horribly marginalized by FTB.

    This blog is really just a thinly veiled vehicle for deep seated white hate.

    It’s time for white men to take a stand!

  116. 116
    Ed Brayton

    sivivolk wrote:

    Wow. I did not expect Ed to come out swinging on this. Don’t get me wrong, this is one out of the two or three FTBs I have on my Google Reader, love the blog, but he’s largely stayed out of any intra-community conflicts.

    Yeah, I have. I’ve sometimes had friends on both sides of the conflict and, because of my position, I’ve felt the need to play Switzerland. But seeing my name used in the video in that manner really pissed me off. I do think sometimes folks on my side have painted with a bit too broad a brush, rushed to judgment to scorn someone who is really an ally with a different view of how to achieve equality, or engaged in tribalism. It would be shocking if that were not the case because human beings just do those things, especially in the heat of an emotional battle. But I wanted to make clear that I do not wish to be singled out as one of the good guys if people I care about and largely agree with are being labeled man-haters and feminazis. It’s a cliche, but there’s a time to stand up and be counted.

  117. 117
    Gretchen

    kacyray said:

    If feminism is ONLY about social and political equality for women, then you would be a fool to alienate people like me who support those causes, wouldn’t you? So why do you hold me in such contempt?

    Because every time you have appeared on this blog ever since your first appearance that I can remember when you declared that Playboy magazine is a tribute to beautiful women which every woman should love, and any who don’t must be miserable ugly harpies (and defended this position to all comers for some hundreds of posts, becoming more and more vitriolic and finally bringing your wife in to defend what an awesome husband you are), you have been nothing but dismissive of women generally and feminism specifically, attributing any and all opposition to “tribalism” and the dark sewer of idiocy that is the comment section of this blog.

    Gee, that just might be it.

    Oh, and there was that time when your wife was spouting ignorance here and you attempted to shame everyone by declaring that she’s the sweet darling bride of a member of the military, as if that was supposed to impress us all into embarrassed respect, and then flew into a raging fit when it didn’t. That was fun.

    In short….I think you support womens’ legal equality. Just not any other kind, certainly not in comparison with yourself. And I have no problem with “alienating” someone like that.

  118. 118
    kacyray

    @113

    My thought is that you come of as one of those people who claim to support gender equality, but then oppose every attempt to define problems and implement solutions that actually help.

    I support political and social equality for all demographics. When you use the term “equality” without a qualifier, you open pandora’s box.

    I believe men and women (all human beings, really) have equal value intrinsically. The universe doesn’t care one bit whether any of us lives or dies. When we speak in relative terms, however, the measure changes. Different demographics hold certain values above others. If you want to eat, cows are generally more valuable than bonefish. If you want a companion, dogs are generally more valuable than wolves. If you want good conversation, people are generally more valuable than fish.

    If you a child who wants to emote, someone who will have a good listening ear… someone who will offer solace and comfort… mom is generally more valuable than dad (there are exceptions, but this is a general rule). If you want the intruder at the door to be prevented from harming you, dad is generally more valuable than mom (there are exceptions, but this is a general rule).

    So when you start talking about “equality” without specifying what aspect of comparability you’re referring to, you are leaving the door open for an entire misunderstanding of issues.

    And this is one of my big problems with feminism… to tendency to believe that “social equality” and “political equality” must somehow manifest themselves into “equality” across the board, blurring any distinction between the sexes, as though none exist and it’s all in our minds.

    And to deign to recognize those crucial differences between the sexes is branded as contempt for one for the other. This is one of my major problems with feminism – not only the failure to recognize those crucial differences but to demonize anyone who does.

  119. 119
    Marcus Ranum

    So why do you hold me in such contempt?
    The fact that you do is MY proof that there’s more to feminism than you’re letting on.

    Whether they hold you in contempt or not is a matter of their personal opinion. Extending any of our opinions to equate to “feminism” is an absurdity.

    Perhaps that’s YOUR proof but, if I were you, I wouldn’t accept it.

  120. 120
    soul_biscuit

    And this is one of my big problems with feminism… to tendency to believe that “social equality” and “political equality” must somehow manifest themselves into “equality” across the board, blurring any distinction between the sexes, as though none exist and it’s all in our minds.

    Example?

    And to deign to recognize those crucial differences between the sexes is branded as contempt for one for the other. This is one of my major problems with feminism – not only the failure to recognize those crucial differences but to demonize anyone who does.

    Example?

  121. 121
    kacyray

    @gretchen

    “In short….I think you support womens’ legal equality. Just not any other kind, certainly not in comparison with yourself. And I have no problem with “alienating” someone like that.”

    Thanks, Gretchen, for Exhibit A.

    - All the feminists here claim that feminism is nothing more than supporting political and social equality for women.
    - I have, in no uncertain terms, expressed my support for those causes.
    - That’s not good enough for Gretchen.

    As I said, this is my proof that there is more to feminism than this professed definition. I don’t think I need an Exhibit B.

  122. 122
    kacyray

    SB @ 120

    Gretchen’s post @117 provides the examples you’re looking for.

  123. 123
    kacyray

    PatrickG @108

    No, you didn’t miss anything… I haven’t explicitly gotten into it because, although you probably wouldn’t be able to tell at this point, I didn’t join this comment thread to deliberate feminism.

    That being said… I’m sure that my *responses* to people who have been engaging me on the issue will be credited with starting the whole thing. And apparently Ed will find fault with my behavior. Or something.

  124. 124
    Marcus Ranum

    And this is one of my big problems with feminism… to tendency to believe that “social equality” and “political equality” must somehow manifest themselves into “equality” across the board, blurring any distinction between the sexes, as though none exist and it’s all in our minds.

    Roussea dispatched that question fairly neatly in 1754. However, since you appear to think that your straw-feminists argue that natural inequalities should be overcome, perhaps you should go quote-mine around and find some choice tidbits from Steinem or Dworkin or McKinnon where they say something like that? Happy hunting!

    I do seem to recall Archie Bunker making some arguments against inequality similar to the ones that you’re straw-manning, as “feminism.” But he was a parody. I’m starting to wonder if you’re a parody, too.

    Seriously – who is saying that natural inequalities must be eradicated? Are you perhaps mistaking Kurt Vonnegut’s story “Harrison Bergeron” for a documentary?

  125. 125
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Al:
    I ask again, WHO has said you are racist?
    WHO has said you are a homophobe?
    WHO said you are racist?

    At Pharyngula, I asked you if you would be friends with someone who is racist or homophobic? You hang out with someone like Reap Paden who calls women cunts. Reap displays sexist attitudes in the posts I have read of his. Yet you hang out with him.
    In your world is sexism not a bad thing, while racism or homophobia are? Or is sexism not that big a problem anymore?
    Also, WHO is making you feel guilty for living while male and white? Does anyone make you feel similarly guilty for being heterosexual?

  126. 126
    noxiousnan

    @#7 – I won’t respond to the points of your comment because I feel like you’ve robbed me of this very reply. You won’t read it, you’ve flounced off. You’ll never know if I found any merit to your opinion; you obviously could not care less. So flounce away, and thanks for wasting everyone’s time, including your own. Four paragraphs and a flounce says, “hear me, hear me shut up!”

  127. 127
    Marcus Ranum

    I’m sure that my *responses* to people who have been engaging me on the issue will be credited with starting the whole thing.

    You poor victim, you.

    All those people being mean to you. It’s not that you’re an obtuse ass, who’s carefully weaseling his arguments and straw-manning like mad. You’re forced to do that, because of people like me who are so horribly terribly mean to you.

  128. 128
    Gnumann+, out&proud cultural marxist (just don't ask me about Gramsci)

    And to deign to recognize those crucial differences between the sexes is branded as contempt for one for the other. This is one of my major problems with feminism – not only the failure to recognize those crucial differences but to demonize anyone who does.

    In other words:”Don’t you dare touch my gender essentialism”!

    Don’t worry, there are feminists that are REALLY comfortable with gender essentialism. You might not like their conclusions, but they are really on the same page as you overall.

    Back into the real world; very few if any really advocates the complete dissolution of gender roles. Most thinking beings recognise that they a malleable though, and that some of the cultural limitations men and woman face is not a good thing.

  129. 129
    kacyray

    Marcus, start talking to me like I’m a human being and not a blip on a screen and we will have a conversation.

  130. 130
    allegro

    As I said, this is my proof that there is more to feminism than this professed definition. I don’t think I need an Exhibit B.

    In your explanatory 117, all you did was use example of individual differences. They have nothing to do with gender privilege and the legal and social discrimination women routinely suffer. It is the latter encompassed by feminism that you claim to support. Therefore, your argument that there is “more to feminism” that in your eyes is apparently quite distasteful, completely falls apart.

    Would you like to try again with a legitimate argument?

  131. 131
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    @kacyray:

    Did you just come out swinging with the “women are more nurturing and men are more aggressive” trope? Seriously?

  132. 132
    kacyray

    @128

    Most thinking beings recognise that they a malleable though, and that some of the cultural limitations men and woman face is not a good thing.

    Count me among them. I’ve never said they weren’t subject to change. The animal kingdom is filled with instances where the female of the species is the physically dominant sex. In same cases among human beings, this is the case as well. As we evolve, anything is possible. In fact, I hear that males will eventually be phased out. So much for being the privileged sex. Apparently, we aren’t even necessary.

  133. 133
    kacyray

    @120 Soul Biscuit

    Hey, if you want another example, Katherine @131 was gracious enough to provide one.

  134. 134
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    For those saying they are not feminists, why do you not support the fight for full social, political & economic equality for women (you know, FEMINISM)?

  135. 135
    Gnumann+, out&proud cultural marxist (just don't ask me about Gramsci)

    Count me among them. I’ve never said they weren’t subject to change. The animal kingdom is filled with instances where the female of the species is the physically dominant sex. In same cases among human beings, this is the case as well. As we evolve, anything is possible. In fact, I hear that males will eventually be phased out. So much for being the privileged sex. Apparently, we aren’t even necessary.

    You know those evopsych papers – a lot of us don’t really subscribe to that point of view on account of them being a really bad excuse for science.

  136. 136
    Gnumann+, out&proud cultural marxist (just don't ask me about Gramsci)

    10$ he’ll be saying something about pink and blue next…

  137. 137
    melody

    I would like to make a correction. Andrea Dworkin was not a part of second wave feminism. The mainstream movement wanted nothing to do with her and would not allow her to speak at their conventions. Dworkin was indeed anti-penetration, anti-pornography, and anti-prostitution. Second wave feminists included people like Gloria Steinem who were pro-sex, anti-pornography, and anti-prostitution.

    I would also like to mention that one can be pro-sex, anti-pornography, anti-cencorship, anti-prostitution, and pro-legalization.

  138. 138
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    @kacyray:

    That trope is pure bullshit cause it discounts non-nurturing women and non-aggressive men and conforms to an overarching thought that if you feel otherwise (say a nurturing man or an aggressive woman) it’s because there’s something wrong with you – you might even be gay.

    I’m a bad example since I’m transgender, but I’ve always been extremely nurturing. If I don’t pursue transition and maintain my present male body, what does that say to that trope?

  139. 139
    kacyray

    @138

    I very deliberately stated that there were exceptions and that what I was stating was a general rule. I went out of my way to state that there are exceptions, and the fact that you deliberately ignored my efforts to point out that exceptions do exist is a pretty good indicator that you’re not trying to have an honest conversation.

    “If I don’t pursue transition and maintain my present male body, what does that say to that trope?”

    That you’re one of the exceptions.

  140. 140
    noxiousnan

    Gretchen @25 – “I see it more as Shermer having said a couple of things that are mildly sexist, and having been rhetorically bludgeoned for it. Nobody seems to be immune to the impulse to double down when they perceive themselves as being attacked– nobody.”

    Not me! I mean, I felt bad for him, to be sure, because you’re right about defensive response. But I have to rise above my defensive attacks; why shouldn’t he? He should even be held to a higher standard of discourse as far as I’m concerned being as I am but a lowly blog commenter, neither asked for nor paid for my opinion. From my vantage, the fallout was not from his initial mildly sexist comments. And you know, he didn’t elect to shut up about it either, so not only did he not rise above his defensive attack mode, but he escalated it on Twitter.

    It was a stupid, sexist thing to say, and the very easiest way to manage it would have been to admit it…maybe even use it as an opportunity to talk about unconscious sexism. Second best response probably would have been to come back later and say he’d thought about it and it was sexist and apologize. Instead he joined the martyred bunch, emasculated by evil feminism. Instead, he’s put himself in a probably very uncomfortable position of having to support his initial and odious statements (that I suspect he does not agree with) and has likely picked up a fan base that he wouldn’t deign to have a beer with under normal circumstances.

  141. 141
    Greta Christina

    You’re equivocating positive positions (racist/homophobe) with the absence of a position (not a feminist).

    kacyray @ #81: I will correct and clarify. If you’re not a feminist because you’re genuinely ignorant of sexism, that’s not reprehensible. But if you’ve been made familiar with sexism, and you choose to ignore it and deny that it exists — that is reprehensible. Not being a feminist, after having been made familiar with sexism, cannot be a neutral position, or the simple absence of a position. And if you’re anti-feminist, that is extra-reprehensible.

    Feminism is the position that sexism exists, and that it matters, and should be opposed. The position that sexism exists is well-supported by an overwhelming body of evidence. Denying that it exists in the face of massive evidence speaks of willful ignorance for the sake of one’s own comfort and convenience – and yes, that’s reprehensible. Accepting that it exists, but acting as it it’s trivial and should be ignored is reprehensible. And actively opposing other people’s efforts to undo it is extra-reprehensible.

  142. 142
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    @kacyray:

    And those exceptions are everywhere, and those exceptions feel that if they don’t conform to the bullshit trope that there’s something wrong with them. It’s BOXES. I hate boxes. You shuffle women into this box of “nurturing” and men into this box of “aggressive.” Yes you mention exceptions, but that’s bullshit because of what I said. Your exceptions are your people who don’t fit the boxes.

    The fact you call it a general rule is bullshit, because it’s not a general rule. Everyone is their own person.

  143. 143
    PatrickG

    kacyray @123

    I didn’t join this comment thread to deliberate feminism

    From my perspective, you seem to have a very narrow definition of what feminism should include. And

    If you a child who wants to emote, someone who will have a good listening ear… someone who will offer solace and comfort… mom is generally more valuable than dad (there are exceptions, but this is a general rule). If you want the intruder at the door to be prevented from harming you, dad is generally more valuable than mom (there are exceptions, but this is a general rule).

    Granting, for the sake of argument, that this is true, are you arguing that these dynamics are biologically determined, or are they products of social conditioning that leads to certain roles being associated with certain genders? You certainly seem to agree that such conditioning can lead to

    If it’s the latter, I’m fairly sure there’s a whole school of thought and activism on the subject. Oh, right…. feminism! Another fun thing feminists examine is what happens to people who deviate from social conditioning. Or is that off the table, too?

    Most thinking beings recognise that they a malleable though, and that some of the cultural limitations men and woman face is not a good thing.

    Count me among them. I’ve never said they weren’t subject to change.

    Then why are you so stridently against examining those limitations? Why do you refer to the attempt as devaluing the “crucial differences” between the polar genders? If change is possible, why do you insist that trying to make change is beyond the pale?

    In fact, I hear that males will eventually be phased out. So much for being the privileged sex. Apparently, we aren’t even necessary.

    Seriously?

  144. 144
    Anthony K

    As we evolve, anything is possible. In fact, I hear that males will eventually be phased out.

    Whites, too. Just ask Stefanelli.

  145. 145
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    @PatrickG:

    You said much better than I could what I was trying to say.

    Nurturing women and aggressive men are largely a product of social conditioning, not inborn. When men and women grow up against that social conditioning (like me) they get teased mercilessly. I’m sure if I hadn’t been homeschooled, I’d have killed myself in high school.

  146. 146
    PatrickG

    Bah, somehow my sentences got chopped (copypasta fail!)… should have been “You certainly seem to agree that such conditioning can lead to dramatic differences in behavior among different groups”.

    And thanks Katherine Lorraine, Kitten of Death!

  147. 147
    Greta Christina

    Oh, I forgot this:

    I think the whole issue is just too personalized for you, and for a lot of the crowd here. (snip) I would be very surprised if you could have a detached, objective conversation about it.

    kacyray @ #81: Right. It’s so unreasonable for women to take our systematic, culture-wide devaluation as human beings personally. You, on the other hand, have no personal stake in this issue, and are therefore able to discuss it objectively and from a detached perspective.

    /sarcasm

  148. 148
    kagekiri

    Ugh, @118 kacyray, what the heck?

    You sound just like thinnly-veiled racists. “I’m not racist, but black people just, as a general rule, are more naturally athletic than other races.” “I’m not racist, but Asians seem bred to do better at math while they suck at sports and English, any Asian people who don’t fit are just outliers.”

    Your utterly unsupported, totally qualitative and stereotyped version being “I’m not sexist, but feminists refuse to acknowledge the obvious truth that women are more nurturing on average than men.”

    Yeah….yeah, sure you’re not sexist. You remind me of a very recent treelobster webcomic…
    http://www.treelobsters.com/2012/12/435-noisy-data.html
    The hidden message being: “Some days, it seems like there are more statistical outliers than there are valid data points. How am I supposed to justify my conclusions with that sort of data?”

    Racism is messed up because hey, even if there’s an apparent trend for a “race”, even if it HAS numbers (which you don’t) or some sort of tangible evidence to back it up (college attendance rates for Asians, black people in the NBA/NFL), hey, maybe race isn’t the sole or even primary cause of variation!

    People are people first, not their races or genders, and there is more similarity between races than within them.

    Classifying all females or males with character traits like protective or nurturing is EVEN more ridiculous, because that’s half the population at a time. If races turned out to be a terrible reason to like or dislike people or assume a specific trait about them (aka, you think racism is BAD), hey, maybe gender is EVEN more so a stupid reason to make prejudgments like yours.

  149. 149
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    @kagekiri:

    No you see. Kacy mentioned that there were exceptions to the rule. But it’s still a general rule.

  150. 150
    tomh

    Kacyray wrote:

    I recognize that there are a lot more premises beneath the surface of feminism than that seemingly benign premises stated here.

    Yes, yes, but…what are these mysterious premises? Since you recognize them and they are so obvious, one would think you could list just a few of them without much trouble. For instance, suppose the world were such that women had full equality, equal pay, etc., could even drive in all countries, and suppose that sexual harassment were a thing of the past. What would the goals of these feminists be? Because that’s what you’re saying. No matter how much legal and social equality they get, they will always want more. Is their goal to enslave men? Or worse? Just let me in on what it is they’re after so that I can be prepared.

  151. 151
    ricko

    WTF?

    Why do we waste time on Kacy?

    Read the comment and move along… I always read the comments, but, really? What is to be gained at this late date? I’m a guy, and it nonetheless seems pointless. I don’t have any problems with women, or men, of any sort… I have had issues with BOSSES of both sorts and I learned long ago… Just move on.

  152. 152
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Kacyray:
    Finally I get some substance from your crticisms of feminism. You believe there are critical behavioral differences between men and women, which curiously supports your gender stereotypes. Do you have any eviidence for these differences?

  153. 153
    tomh

    ricko wrote:

    Why do we waste time on Kacy?

    For the same reason that you wasted time writing your post. Because everyone’s time is their own to waste as they see fit.

  154. 154
    kacyray

    Greta @147

    Feminism is the position that sexism exists, and that it matters, and should be opposed.

    Now that’s different than the description offered by SB @85 “feminism is no more than the position that women should enjoy political and social equality”. In fact, it’s different in it’s essence. SB’s description calls for legal and political action. Yours calls for cultural action. And SB’s description has been reinforced by at least one other commenter so far.

    What’s crucial to note here is that SB and Greta have two entirely different views on what feminism at its essence is. The next thing to note is that SB calls for actions designed to prevent people’s rights from being violated, while Greta calls for people’s personal positions and opinions to be challenged.

    That’s Exhibit B – that there’s more to feminism than how SB @85 described it. Not that I needed it, but there it is.

    But I wouldn’t even stop there. I’d say that if we kept going long enough, we’d find someone else who offered an entirely different description of feminism. And if we kept going, yet another. And they’d all be right, because each of them is only offering one preferred aspect of the ideology. One side of the elephant, so to speak.

    I realize that since I’m a lone voice against the tribe here that what I’m saying will fall on deaf ears, but my point that there’s more depth to feminist ideology than just some short blurb should be crystal clear at this point.

    The position that sexism exists is well-supported by an overwhelming body of evidence. Denying that it exists in the face of massive evidence speaks of willful ignorance for the sake of one’s own comfort and convenience – and yes, that’s reprehensible. Accepting that it exists, but acting as it it’s trivial and should be ignored is reprehensible. And actively opposing other people’s efforts to undo it is extra-reprehensible.

    I recognize that sexism exists. I expressly oppose it. I support social and political equality for all people.

    So by every definition offered here thus far, I am, at a minimum, allied to your cause. So why do you not regard me as such? The answer should be blazingly obvious by now…It’s because there are ideologies and beliefs packaged in with feminism – ideas and beliefs that none of you are explicitly stating here – that separate me from the whole package of feminist ideology. None of you are telling the whole story.

    To wit: There are diverging ideas as to what constitutes “sexism”. There are diverging ideas as to what constitutes “equality” (as I described earlier). So it’s far to simplistic to say “If you oppose sexism, you’re a feminist” because the term itself is subject to debate.

    Right. It’s so unreasonable for women to take our systematic, culture-wide devaluation as human beings personally. You, on the other hand, have no personal stake in this issue, and are therefore able to discuss it objectively and from a detached perspective. /sarcasm

    Translation: “You’re right, I can’t. But neither can you.”

    Come on Greta. You can do better than this.

    tomh @150

    Yes, yes, but…what are these mysterious premises?

    Read my comment @118

  155. 155
    Martin Wagner

    When you use the term “equality” without a qualifier, you open pandora’s box.

    If you have to qualify equality, wouldn’t that mean it’s no longer equality?

  156. 156
    allegro

    Now that’s different than the description offered by SB @85 “feminism is no more than the position that women should enjoy political and social equality”. In fact, it’s different in it’s essence. SB’s description calls for legal and political action. Yours calls for cultural action. And SB’s description has been reinforced by at least one other commenter so far.

    What’s crucial to note here is that SB and Greta have two entirely different views on what feminism at its essence is. The next thing to note is that SB calls for actions designed to prevent people’s rights from being violated, while Greta calls for people’s personal positions and opinions to be challenged.

    That’s Exhibit B – that there’s more to feminism than how SB @85 described it. Not that I needed it, but there it is.

    A lot of words. A meaningless exhibit. These are not entirely different views at all – feminism addresses the inequality of women in a patriarchal culture that encompasses all of the above. You have yet to describe what subversive aspects of feminism you repeatedly claim to exist to which you so object. What are they?

  157. 157
    kacyray

    Tony @152

    Finally I get some substance from your crticisms of feminism. You believe there are critical behavioral differences between men and women, which curiously supports your gender stereotypes.

    No no no no… I do believe that there are behavioral differences between the sexes, but that is NOT the source of my distaste for feminism.

    If I wasn’t explicit enough before, let me be explicit now… I do NOT believe that either SB or Greta are accurately describing feminism. I used as an example earlier of Christians who say “Being a Christian is about loving your neighbor as yourself.” They might actually believe it, but those of us who examine the entirety of Christian history, doctrine, attitudes, actions, and influences realize that anyone who says that is either lying to us or to themselves. They are omitting critical realities about christianity either deliberately or naively.

    I’m saying the same thing about the descriptions of feminism we’ve seem provided here. None of them tell the whole story.

    When Greta says “Feminism is the position that sexism exists, and that it matters, and should be opposed.” she offers no means of validating what behaviors or attitudes qualify as sexist. While I realize that she probably doesn’t have time to write a book in Ed’s comment section, I don’t think this omission is inconvenient. In fact, so long as we don’t clearly define a means to validate which actions are sexist, we are free to point at any act and label it as such, right?

    Or any attitude, or any belief, or any *stated observation*.

    Do you have any eviidence for these differences?

    You’re asking for evidence of critical behavioral differences between men and women?

    I just want to be clear… are you honestly challenging that observation?

    If so, I’m a little shocked. I didn’t think it was even in question. But if you want evidence, then next time you go grocery shopping. Count the number of men talking on their cell phone while shopping and compare it to the number of men who aren’t. Then count the number of women doing talking on their cell phone while shopping, and compare it to the number who aren’t. Then, compare the ratios. Then do it again the next 9 times you go grocery shopping.

    This experiment also works while you’re driving down the road.

    You’ll find that more women are talking on their phones while shopping (or driving) than men. This is a manifestation of their social needs as compared to the social needs of men. This is but one manifestation – and that difference in social needs has far reaching implications regarding the different ways men and women lead their lives including what their needs are and what they are willing to do in order to have them met.

    It is a crucial difference in our psychologies. Does that help?

  158. 158
    tomh

    Read my comment @118

    I read it, there’s nothing there. Your claim is that feminists want to blur the lines between men and women? Or something like that? You make no sense. List a few of these secret goals that feminists have, not some vague suppositions.

  159. 159
    matthewhodson

    Imagine a society where women are held up to be far superior to men, where women have higher pay and better jobs, where the vast majority of political positions (and company executives) are women.
    Was that difficult to imagine? Would people fight against the matriarchy and seek equality? Would it be a bad thing if this fight resulted in creating a patriarchy?

    In our society we currently have a patriarchy and the movement that works to remove this bias in society is called feminism.

  160. 160
    Ophelia Benson

    Al – you said @ 65

    You are wrong, Ophelia. I defended Stephanie, while not attempting to censor someone else’s opinion. I stated on the podcast that I did not consider Stephanie a bitch, and that she had always been very pleasant to me. In fact, I did that on multiple occasions. You then decided to respond to something I wrote that didn’t even concern you with “Fuck You, Al.” Believe what you want, but the facts show otherwise.

    That’s ridiculous – you wrote it on my blog. And what you wrote was an affectionate defense of the slyme pit. Yes that damn well does concern me, because of the way most of the people who post there have been harassing me for a year and a half.

    Here’s a little of what you said on my blog.

    I have run into nobody at the pit who expresses a hatred of women, profound or not. Or sexists, for that matter. However, I understand that some individuals have decided to attach new meanings to those words. OK, whatever.

    As well, the ‘guilt by association’ charges you so handily levy along with heavy doses of false dichotomy are, frankly, old and tired.

    I am not acting in any way surprised at what people have said regarding my presence at the pit. Do you think I am that ignorant to not understand what the fallout would be the second I hit the ‘post comment’ button on my first post there?

    All about you, you see? All about what people say about you, and how non-sexist and non-misogynist you have found the people at the pit. Yes actually that does “concern” me, in fact it concerns me a lot more than it concerns you.

    Yes, I responded with a “fuck you.” That’s because I intensely dislike your cheerful dismissal of misogynist name-calling, all the more so when you do it on my blog.

  161. 161
    TCC

    So by every definition offered here thus far, I am, at a minimum, allied to your cause. So why do you not regard me as such?

    Because you yourself have set yourself out as being outside the group! You said that you weren’t a feminist and took fucking forever to even state your reasons why. In fact, you still haven’t been absolutely clear – feminism goes beyond what you think is reasonable, blah blah blah, which is still about as amorphous as before except that we now know that you incorrectly think (if I’m understanding you correctly despite the obfuscation) that feminists are trying to eradicate individual differences between men and women. If there’s anyone to blame for not being accepted into the fold of feminism, it’s you.

    But if you want evidence, then next time you go grocery shopping.

    This argument is precisely like a creationist taking you to a forest and saying, “Look for yourself – the evidence of design is overwhelming!” Forgive me if your “observe men and women in public to see who talks on cell phones more” argument is less than compelling evidence for differences between the genders, given how utterly lacking it is in rigor and design.

  162. 162
    allegro

    Oh FFS, you ask “what are sexist behaviors?” and then use your personal observation of supposed cell phone use in grocery stores (that is entirely unsubstantiated) as an example of gender differences? This is to support your claim that there is some subversive element to feminism? LOLwhut?

  163. 163
    kacyray

    Martin @155

    If you have to qualify equality, wouldn’t that mean it’s no longer equality?

    Imagine two guys. One is a wealthy, squirrely little runt of a man. The other is a flat-broke MMA fighter.

    Who has more value?

    If you’re asking who has more *monetary* value, it’s one guy.
    If you’re asking who has more *survival* value, it’s the other guy.
    If you’re asking who has more *political* value, they are equal. They each get one vote.
    If you’re asking who has more value *to their family*, the answer would (hopefully) be “each of them, to their own family”.

    So when you’re speaking of equality, it’s clear that they aren’t financially or physically equal. They are, however, politically equal. This is why the aspect of “equality” you’re asking about is important to define.

  164. 164
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Kacyray:
    The “two versions” of feminism ARE SAYING THE SAME THING. They are just using different words.

    Also, your @118 was a vague generality that you provided no support for. You believe in gender essentialism. Why? Where is your proof that gender roles are biological? Asserting that you believe in rigid gender roles is not the same as providing evidence.

  165. 165
    allegro

    Back to pointing out individual differences that have nothing to do with cultural gender inequality.

  166. 166
    Gretchen

    kacyray said:

    - All the feminists here claim that feminism is nothing more than supporting political and social equality for women.
    - I have, in no uncertain terms, expressed my support for those causes.
    - That’s not good enough for Gretchen.

    As I said, this is my proof that there is more to feminism than this professed definition.

    Uh, what?

    – I’m a feminist.
    – That’s not the definition of feminism I gave, nor does it match what other self-proclaimed feminists have given. In fact, it might only match what one of them said.
    – Yes, it’s not good enough for me that you’re a liar.
    – There is no point #4.

  167. 167
    savagemutt

    ou have yet to describe what subversive aspects of feminism you repeatedly claim to exist to which you so object. What are they?

    Damnit, do I have to be the one to come out and say it? They want to pee in our urinals! Standing up! Our precious urinals!

  168. 168
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Kacyray:
    Equality doesn’t get qualified, unless you believe people are NOT equal. Feminists believe women and men have equal value as human beings. Women are treated as unequal to men and feminism exists to correct that power imbalance.
    FFS, having to do Feminism 101 gets tiresome.

  169. 169
    kacyray

    Gretchen,

    At the time I wrote that, it was the only description that had been provided, and no one was disputing it. You’re right, you had not provided that description yourself. You didn’t offer any description of your own, and I was regarding silence as consent. But what it should’ve demonstrated to the guy I was writing to was that it isn’t enough for someone to meet his description of a feminist. That should be pretty clear by now. In order to be a good little feminist, you pretty much have to swallow an ideology whole. It isn’t enough to support or advocate for political and social equality between men and women.

    Yes, it’s not good enough for me that you’re a liar.”

    Aw, shucks Gretchen…. you aren’t getting mushy on me, are ya?

  170. 170
    kacyray

    Tony @168

    FFS, having to do Feminism 101 gets tiresome.

    Try having to listen to it for a few hours.

  171. 171
    Martin Wagner

    I get that you have qualifiers when you’re comparing two individuals in the context of certain criteria you’re trying to meet. But if you’re talking in terms of “Should men and women be treated with equal respect and given the same basic human rights both under the law and as an inherent cultural attitude?” I cna’t imagine why the answer would be anything other than an unqualified yes.

  172. 172
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    You are listening but not comprehending.

  173. 173
    kacyray

    @Martin 171

    I’d say yes too. But that’s not enough to make me a feminist.

  174. 174
    PatrickG

    Ouch, moderated for links, methinks…

    @kacy: a quick Google survey reveals numerous studies that show male drivers getting more tickets and self-reporting phone use while driving at higher rates. So your cell phone thing*? Yeah, no.

    I’ll let the full comment come through when it does, but c’mon, you accuse feminists of unsourced generalization?

    * While your initial example is set in a grocery store, you also said:

    This experiment also works while you’re driving down the road.

    I wasn’t able to find sources on grocery-phone usage.

  175. 175
    Wowbagger, Designated Snarker

    Tony ∞The Queer Shoop∞ wrote:

    You are listening but not comprehending.

    Considering kacyray’s position is based on a lack of comprehension, it seems unlikely that’s going to change anytime soon.

  176. 176
    kacyray

    @175

    Pop shot much?

    I’ve been engaged for roughly 6 hours with dozens of people, all of whom not only disagree with me, but regard my position as evil by default. I’ve done everything I can to answer as many questions as I can with as much clarity as I can while remaining cordial and staying on point, even while guys like you are constantly taking pot shots. Try it sometime.

    There’s nothing wrong with my comprehension. Try arguing against my position.

    Actually, scratch that. I’m pretty much done. My feelins are just a-hurtin too much at this point.

  177. 177
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    You’ve clarified all right.
    We understand you do not embrace the pursuit of equality for women and you use gender essentialist evo psych BS as your ‘support’. You are a perfect example-as is Al Stefanelli-of the ridiculousness of the “both sides are doing it argument”. The feminist position is logical, well supported and egalitarian. The anti feminist position-held by you, Al, Reap and the Pitters-is not.

  178. 178
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    And screw cordiality when you are saying women do not deserve full equality in all walks of life.

  179. 179
    Poggio

    First of all, Thanks for your Blog Ed, and for weighing in on this issue, and especially thanks for including so many different voices on FtB. I’m a regular visitor (but comment only occasionally) and I’ve always found FtB to be an interesting read. I’m one of those middle-aged cisgendered white male atheists (trained as a classicist and medievalist no less) but what I’ve always loved about FtB is the variety of voices, genders, personalities and nationalities. (You really should try to find a good Brazilian or Argentinian atheist, though) I honestly cannot think of another collection of blogs that has such diversity. Inclusion needs to be an aspiration of atheism, and I wholeheartedly support your goals.

    Regarding the feminist/MRA debates I don’t have anything to add except this: when I read Rebecca, Gretchen, Maryam, Ophelia’s blogs I don’t read them as feminists or even atheists. Those titles / identities mean absolutely nothing to me. Even when I read Al’s blog, or Richard Carrier’s or any of the self described atheists or believers. What they self-identify as …is interesting, to a point, but not important. What I do read is people with a particular voice struggling to make their thoughts known and discussed. Some are more successful than others, at different times and in different moods. Many times I agree with them, sometimes I don’t. But I’m glad they’re there, struggling and succeeding, and even teaching me a thing or two. It all just reminds me that people are human first, and whatever identity they want to impose on themselves, or publish, second.

  180. 180
    dmcclean

    Right on, Ed.

  181. 181
    Wowbagger, Designated Snarker

    kacyray wrote:

    Try arguing against my position.

    What, the position you justify holding by the number of women you’ve seen using a mobile phone in a supermarket?

    Forgive me if my response to such a ridiculous position is, well, ridicule.

  182. 182
    bastionofsass

    Always interesting to me that those who claim to be “pro-equality for women but anti-feminist” spend their time arguing on blogs against others who are also pro-equality.

    Wonder if any of the “pro-equality antifeminists” also can point to their many blog arguments against those who do not believe in the equality of women. If not, why?

    I challenge the “pro-equality antifeminists” to go forth into the blogosphere and wage battle against those who deny women equal rights. That would seem to be a more compelling use of your time in the fight for women’s equality.

  183. 183
    tomh

    Kacyray:

    I’m pretty much done.

    In other word, you want me to list those secret goals of feminism? I got nothing.

  184. 184
    Marcus Ranum

    Marcus, start talking to me like I’m a human being and not a blip on a screen and we will have a conversation.

    Don’t assume I think it’s worthwhile.

    You appear to highly value your opinions, while simultaneously bending over backwards to place them off the game-board to protect them from criticism. Take yourself a little more seriously, and maybe you’ll be worth more than my simply pointing and giggling.

  185. 185
    d.c.wilson

    Okay, I’ve been on the outside of a lot of this infighting in the atheist community, but “elevatorgate” still baffles me.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but from what I’ve read, the sequence of events were as follows:

    1, Rebecca Watson complains about being hit on at atheist conventions.
    2. Shortly thereafter, while riding the elevator back to her room, some guy invites her to his room for coffee.
    3. Rebecca Watson writes a blog post telling guys that this is a bad idea.

    Like Ed, I’m a middle-aged white male, so maybe there’s something I’m missing, but why the hell is this the major controversy in our little tribe? Even as a middle-aged white guy who has never given a thought to the idea that I might be assaulted by a stranger in a hotel room, I can see what this is a bad idea, why hitting on a woman in a hotel elevator would make her uncomfortable, even fearful.

    We’re not talking about flirting in a bar or even telling dirty jokes. This is, if not predatory behavior, at least something that would set off alarm bells in the minds of most women.

    Help me out here.

  186. 186
    jamessweet

    I for one would like to thank Al — for making it all that much easier to feel confident in what the feminist/race-awareness/trans-awareness etc. bloggers at FtB are doing. Here’s what I mean by that:

    See, we’re all human, including FtBers who have been most vocal in advocating for diversity and related issues — and as humans, we’re not perfect. There are legitimate criticisms that could be made about how some of the drama has been handled, about how people have been treated on occasion. Most of the time, I feel those criticisms aren’t important, that the main message is so on point as so necessary, that a few flubbed details are not even worth mentioning. Other times I start to wonder… maybe the slimepitters, for all their vitriol, do have a point, maybe the intolerance-of-intolerance, if you will, really is a problem that needs addressing. I’ve even blogged about my reservations in the past, that while I agree in the main, sometimes I don’t like the way people who are legitimately asking questions are being caught up in the crossfire with JAQoff trolls and how that influences the level of conversation.

    Then Al comes along and says something as mind-numbingly stupid as “incredibly unhealthy vendetta against men in general, and as it appears, the entire Caucasian race as well,” and I’m just like, “Oh, yeah, those little nitpicks really aren’t important after all.” My God, anti-men and anti-white??? That’s absurd. Even the most extreme statement made by the FtB pro-diversity crowd has not for a moment made me think they were anti-men or anti-white. At the absolute worst, some of the bloggers might be accused of showing an undue contempt for people who are less interested and/or educated in the particular issues they are interested in — but then I compare that to the facepalminess that Al just left there, and suddenly that contempt doesn’t seem quite so undue.

    When the “other side” is that wrong, it makes me feel kind of sheepish about some of my past complaints about incidental friendly fire. Keep it up, FtB, you’re doin it rite.

  187. 187
    redcrosse

    Seems to me that kacy doesn’t agree with many of you on everything, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t agree with many of you on *some* things.

    Then I see statements like this: We understand you do not embrace the pursuit of equality for women … The anti feminist position-held by you, Al, Reap and the Pitters-is not.”

    He did explicitly say he is for the equality of women (and everyone). Here at @81: I absolutely believe that women (and all demographics) should enjoy political and social equality. I believe it, I’ll advocate for it, I’ll join in the fight for it if necessary, and I’ll never ever ever speak a word to the contrary.>

    Yet Ed said this much earlier.

    Ed @96 But that applies to a certain group of people; it does not apply to Reap Paden or, now, Al. Once you’ve crossed over into “these feminist women just hate white men and want to hurt them” territory, you’re not an ally with a different strategy, you’re in fucking outer space (not you specifically, of course; the royal “you”). There is common ground with people like you; there is no common ground with people like them. I think it’s very important to make a distinction between those two groups, and it is sometimes far too easy to treat everyone who expresses any disagreement as though they were in the second group instead of the first. When it comes to battles with the second group, I am not the least bit bothered by “drama” or controversy or whatever.

    I don’t know what he did to piss off so many people in the past, but in here, today, I saw a guy get “put in a box” as anti-feminist, with people Ed agrees should be harshly criticized. From what I read, I’d put him in the “ally” “common ground” group, rather than the Reap Paden, Al, group.

  188. 188
    bastionofsass

    I really have no idea how I’m going to manage being in Ed’s cult and one of PZ’s minions. I may need to give up my accordion practice. *sigh*

  189. 189
    allegro

    I don’t know what he did to piss off so many people in the past, but in here, today, I saw a guy get “put in a box” as anti-feminist, with people Ed agrees should be harshly criticized. From what I read, I’d put him in the “ally” “common ground” group, rather than the Reap Paden, Al, group.

    Though you cannot speak for another, perhaps you could explain how one can claim support for equality and at the same time claim to be anti-feminist due to some subversive, though never explained or supported, feminist agenda?

  190. 190
    scott

    #185- There’s one more step to consider:
    4. A massive shitpile of hate descends on RW and anyone else perceived to be “on her team”.

    Which part of the sequence one finds important seems to determine where on the battlefield one lines up. The people who think “she overreacted to this innocent guy” are on one side, and the people who ask why the sky fell on her for something so minor are on the other.

    I, and I think most of the commenters here, come from the second group. I really don’t care just what happened in that elevator- it’s just not important. What is important is that legions of heretofore rational people got frothingly angry about some ill-defined “feminism” that they can’t or won’t explain except that they know it’s bad.

  191. 191
    PatrickG

    I don’t know what he did to piss off so many people in the past, but in here, today, I saw a guy get “put in a box” as anti-feminist, with people Ed agrees should be harshly criticized. From what I read, I’d put him in the “ally” “common ground” group, rather than the Reap Paden, Al, group.

    I find it extremely hard to reconcile advocating “full social, political, and legal equality for women” with “but we must remember they nurture more and talk on the cell phone a lot — because they’re women”. The attitude of the latter are at worst incompatible with and at best going to heavily conflict with the social justice aims of feminism*.

    While I can’t speak directly to past encounters, I can borrow from Gretchen’s post above (#117). Equality should be for everyone, not just women who admire the physical attributes and social position of Playboy bunnies.

    * For the record that’s feminism in its most unalloyed dictionary definition, not whatever feminism FTB has brainwashed me into. When am I scheduled for extermination again? I’m so unnecessary I lose track.

  192. 192
    redcrosse

    I didn’t ever see him claim to be anti-feminist. Anyway I can’t speak for him.

    In my case, I myself claim support for equality but would not call myself a feminist because I don’t like the way I see feminists argue on the internet (Here, at Isis’s place, and on Pharyngula). That group of people go by the label “feminists” seem to be, not my kind of people.

  193. 193
    PatrickG

    Oh, and since I never did comment on the main point of the post…

    I just hope I never get on the bad side of this vendetta against Caucasian men. I don’t know what kind of animal minions Stephanie Zvan and Ophelia Benson command, but going to PZ Myer’s blog still brings back nightmares of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. And since he’s part of the group being phased out as part of the master plan, I can only quiver in horror at the thought of the mutant abominations the women at FTB will unleash in the future.

    That’s not even counting the immeasurable power of Rebecca Watson, the original serpent in the Garden, from whom all that is wrong in the world derives…

  194. 194
    allegro

    In my case, I myself claim support for equality but would not call myself a feminist because I don’t like the way I see feminists argue on the internet (Here, at Isis’s place, and on Pharyngula). That group of people go by the label “feminists” seem to be, not my kind of people.

    So you agree with the substance of equality but not the tone of the argument? What exactly offends you?

  195. 195
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    It Appears I’ve Started An ‘Atheist Cult’

    Congratulations I guess! ;-)

  196. 196
    redcrosse

    allegro, yes it’s mainly tone, and some other unimportant things.

    I don’t like the tone (and that makes me a tone troll, though I prefer to think I have a “different style”). And of course people are free to use whatever tone they like, and I’m free to avoid PZ’s comment section, as I do generally. That should be ok.

    2. Vicious, dripping sarcasm, attacks on newbie commenters. Considering “not agreeing with me” as “you’re uninformed”.

  197. 197
    antialiasis

    So by every definition offered here thus far, I am, at a minimum, allied to your cause. So why do you not regard me as such? The answer should be blazingly obvious by now…It’s because there are ideologies and beliefs packaged in with feminism – ideas and beliefs that none of you are explicitly stating here – that separate me from the whole package of feminist ideology.

    No; it has more to do with the fact that you self-identified in your first post here as “not a feminist”. You shouldn’t be surprised that a movement you’ve yourself chosen to explicitly distance yourself from is suspicious of your claim that you’re totally allied with their cause.

    We really do believe feminism is simply the idea that women are equal to men and sexism should be opposed. (These are not two completely different definitions, as you claim – it’s two statements with different emphases voicing the same basic idea that there is gender inequality and something should be done about it. I’m sure other feminists would provide other definitions, but by far the majority of them would essentially be statements of this same principle.) That’s why we recoil when somebody says they’re not a feminist, as if they had said they’re a racist (or, to use a negative term since you complained about the analogy being made with positive terms, not an abolitionist). Apparently what you mean when you say you’re “not a feminist” isn’t that you oppose these basic principles of feminism (something you didn’t properly say until much later – in your original post you referred to “not thinking you’re part of some privileged group”, which sounds strongly like believing that sexism and male privilege don’t exist), in which case, yeah, it’s sensible to say you’re allied to our cause.

    Feminists disagree on many things, including the degree to which gender differences are biologically defined and what that means for feminism; you may be strongly criticized for your views on it, but if you consider yourself a feminist and faithfully uphold the idea that women should be equal and sexism should be opposed while disagreeing on that particular detail, few would argue you’re therefore not a feminist, and I would argue that those few would be wrong. (If, of course, you’re using these ideas to say that women shouldn’t be equal, e.g. “Women are more nurturing by nature, therefore women should be in the home and men should work”, then I wouldn’t call you a feminist – but that would be because you’re opposing equality for women, even though you say that you don’t.) But that’s not what is going on. You yourself decided you weren’t a feminist, not the feminists talking to you. Even if other feminists don’t think your views rhyme with feminism, you could maintain that you’re a feminist nonetheless – but you chose not to. That does seem to say something about you.

    I think (and many, perhaps most, other feminists would agree) that your views about gender-essentialism, or at least the conclusions you appear to be drawing from them, aren’t very conductive to feminism (i.e. not very conductive to the idea of promoting gender equality). Since you maintain that you do believe in political gender equality, I’m going to make my case for that if you don’t mind.

    Imagine two guys. One is a wealthy, squirrely little runt of a man. The other is a flat-broke MMA fighter.

    Who has more value?

    If you’re asking who has more *monetary* value, it’s one guy.
    If you’re asking who has more *survival* value, it’s the other guy.
    If you’re asking who has more *political* value, they are equal. They each get one vote.
    If you’re asking who has more value *to their family*, the answer would (hopefully) be “each of them, to their own family”.

    So when you’re speaking of equality, it’s clear that they aren’t financially or physically equal. They are, however, politically equal. This is why the aspect of “equality” you’re asking about is important to define.

    That makes sense when you’re talking about two guys (though your wording speaking of this as being “their value” irks me) – not so much when you’re talking about huge, diverse groups of people, like races or genders. That’s the trouble with a lot of gender-essentialism, race-essentialism, etc. – the idea that averages across groups can be applied directly to individuals who belong to that group.

    Say you’re supposed to make a bunch of comparisons like that, only in each case one individual is a woman and the other is a man. Why would you ever look at gender and not the actual qualities that make up the “value” being evaluated? Looking for soldier potential? Sure, women on average are not as strong as men, but that’s not the question; the question is whether this woman is stronger than this man. Should child custody always be awarded to the mother? No, because even if women are more nurturing on average, what matters is the case at hand. And the case at hand should be analyzed neutrally, without being biased in favor of the mother, because if the mother really does care more for the kids in this particular case, that’s what you would get out of a neutral analysis anyway, while if in this case it’s the father, you would choose wrongly if you were biased. The bias is wrong even if the average tendencies it’s based on are sound. Women vaguely tending this way or that compared to men is not a justification for any of the things feminists are fighting against; there is simply too much individual variation to make these averages remotely applicable to individuals.

    Moreover, there is also a very strong argument to be made that many if not most of these differences are sociological in nature and that what makes women go into science less than men is not that they’re women in itself but that they’re not expected to go into science because they’re women. Certainly asserting as fact that e.g. science is just a “guy thing” based simply on the fact that more men are in science in today’s society is unwarranted and very counterproductive to equality for women, so if you claim to favor equality for women while also holding that, people are going to disagree strongly and suspect that you don’t care quite as much about gender equality as you claim (since then you would probably see inequality like this as something to be investigated as suspect, not simply deciding it must be a biological thing).

  198. 198
    allegro

    allegro, yes it’s mainly tone, and some other unimportant things.

    I don’t like the tone (and that makes me a tone troll, though I prefer to think I have a “different style”). And of course people are free to use whatever tone they like, and I’m free to avoid PZ’s comment section, as I do generally. That should be ok.

    2. Vicious, dripping sarcasm, attacks on newbie commenters. Considering “not agreeing with me” as “you’re uninformed”.

    Entirely fair. However, not quite an answer to your objections to feminism in that you agree that women deserve equality. Do you feel that commenters on these particular sites expressed legitimate, supported points and were treated unfairly just due to “not agreeing” 100% on whatever you perceive to be a group consensus, whatever that might be?

  199. 199
    neuralobserver

    d.c. wilson@185:

    I think it’s multifaceted: IMO, the universe of the issue should also include the banning of Thunderf00t from FtB, by PZ Myers for merely for expressing differing opinions on this feminism issue within his blog,…. after being given assurances by Myers that he would have freedom to express his points of view (check out his YouTube postings, as well as those in other free thought sites; you’ll get a wider perspective on all this.). Myers’ conduct as a supposedly open-minded promoter of reason, free thought and open discussion is certainly defunct in the minds of many who have been following this middle-school style drama.

    I certainly agree with Thunderf00t’s (and from what I’ve seen, many others) assessment of Myers’ hypocrisy, his lop-sided, single-minded, overblown view of this issue (as well as the other players within his narrow and reactionary sphere espousing the same party line.)

    [ Also, concerning the 'Michael Shermer Incident', I find the idiocy of conflating one relatively innocuous, throw-way comment that Shermer made in that interview earlier this year, into an example of his full-blown, unrepentant sexism is, for me, beyond the pale. Some are saying that some parts of FtB are becoming divisive, ridiculous, irrelevant, mainly do to this issue and in the face of so many valid arguments leveled against Myers and company ; I would agree.]

  200. 200
    redcrosse

    Thanks, I’d like to consider myself feminist but I’m wary of telling other people that, lest they think I’ll behave like the “feminist side” behave on this and other threads.

    The commenters I’m thinking of are ones who came in and disagreed with *something*, usually mildly, and the attacks came from feminists, were turned *to* feminism, and just seemed twisted to make everything about feminism. I swear some of these commenters did not seem to initially be objecting to anything related to social justice issues, it got, turned.

    I’ll further admit that I had a visceral reaction to their behavior that spilled over, in my mind, to the cause (i.e. “Jeez, these people are flat out mean for no reason, to this person who didn’t even bring that up, and Tsk’ing and cupcake’ing left and right. I thought feminism was a good thing but I think I’ll stay far far away now”.

  201. 201
    madgastronomer

    There are legitimate criticisms of feminism as it exists.

    “Feminists are mean to people who say sexist things!” and “But no, really, women really ARE different from men in these totally stereotypical ways!” are not legitimate criticisms. They are sexist. The sexism of the second one should be pretty obvious. The sexism of the first lies in the requirement that women be nice and polite to people who are, in fact, saying horrible and damaging things to and about them (no matter how nicely it’s phrased, sexist and misogynist things hurt women, period). Tone arguments always put the burden of being nice on the people who are most being harmed. People who have a right to be angry at the harm and oppression they experience, and have a right to express it, are nonetheless being told that they must be nice or privileged people won’t listen to them, thus blaming the oppressed for their oppression. It is not only actively oppressive, it is consistently factually incorrect. Again and again we see that no matter how nice oppressed people are, it’s the actual message that privileged people don’t want to hear, and they will grasp at any excuse not to listen. See the entire preceding conversation.

    Legitimate criticisms of feminism are based on ways in which most forms of feminism generally fail to represent or address the problems of actual women. Most feminisms have historically and continue to fail to address the problems of women of color, who suffer from racism and sexism, and the ways in which they intersect and interact. Most feminisms have historically and continue to fail to address the problems of poor women, trans women, disabled women, and other further-marginalized groups of women. It is entirely legitimate to criticize feminism based on these problems. Some women have abandoned feminism altogether based on these criticisms, feeling that they are not allowed space in feminism and that mainstream feminists are oppressive along these other axes. Some of them have built their own equality movements instead, like black women have built womanism. Some have simply abandoned the name feminist and organized feminism while continuing to fight for equality in the ways that they feel they need to.

    It is possible to be not-feminist and to criticize feminism and still genuinely work for equality. It is not really possible to be not-feminist and go around saying really sexist and oppressive shit that is actively anti-equality and still be genuinely working for equality as a general principle. Particularly if you don’t bother to actually go and do any work towards equality, but merely offer lip service.

    Oh, and redcrosse? kacyray was labeled as anti-feminist because he was being anti-feminist. You may not be familiar with the usual tropes and trite complaints that people who are, in fact, working against feminism use, but many people here are. kacyray was using them from his first post on this thread.

    “I’d venture to guess that you miss out on a lot of quality commentary simply for the fact that no one who isn’t a feminist would tolerate the treatment they receive for deigning to suggest alternate views.”

    “I get run out of town because I simply don’t agree that I’m part of some privleged demographic.”

    “I actually began to sympathize with the feminist cause… until I tried conversing about it here in the comments section a while back.”

    All of these, plus claiming to be in favor of equality, but then qualifying the hell out of it and insisting that there really are basic and essential differences between men and women (known as gender essentialism) are absolutely bog-standard anti-feminist bullshit. Those tropes and others he’s used do actively undermine the effort to bring about true equality among the genders. He wasn’t “put in a box” for nothing, he demonstrated that he is not for true equality, and that his “common ground” with us consists of nothing but platitudes. He is not an ally because he is working against us. Claiming to agree with us on some things does not make him an ally. Nor does it make you one.

  202. 202
    dobber

    redcrosse

    I didn’t ever see him claim to be anti-feminist.

    kacyray

    One of the things that has pretty much permanently put me off about feminism is….

    His claim that those who weren’t on board with feminism were treated shabbily only because of their beliefs was completely undermined by the fact that he had no arguments whatsoever and that is clearly why he didn’t get the respect he thought he deserved.

    That group of people go by the label “feminists” seem to be, not my kind of people.

    Your argument seems to be even less substantial. Have you considered why you get that uncomfortable feeling around these kinds of people?

  203. 203
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    .. Although for a “cult” there sure is a lot of critical thinking and variant opinions being aired here & can’t see much kool aid being drunk.

    Cheers, Ed Brayton, you’ve got a great blog here that I always enjoy reading.

    (& the WND stuff is often good for a laugh so please don’t stop posing on that ‘k?)

  204. 204
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @196. redcrosse :

    allegro, yes it’s mainly tone, and some other unimportant things.

    I don’t like the tone (and that makes me a tone troll, though I prefer to think I have a “different style”). And of course people are free to use whatever tone they like, and I’m free to avoid PZ’s comment section, as I do generally. That should be ok.

    2. Vicious, dripping sarcasm, attacks on newbie commenters. Considering “not agreeing with me” as “you’re uninformed”.

    Agreed – & would go further that (2) often becomes “.. you’re an evil horrible nasty person if you disgaree with us on a couple of issues.”

    Sometimes, just sometimes, the so-called “tone trolls” have a point and I think its good to hear and listen to both sides fairly before judging. Some of the commenters on PZ’s blog are just wa-aay Over The Top and too quick to condemn those who don’t see fully eye to eye with them. Others are good but the nasty one’s there who turn to personal abuse too quickly do give that blog’s comment section a bad reputation for a reason.

  205. 205
    tomh

    redcrosse:
    In my case, I myself claim support for equality but would not call myself a feminist because I don’t like the way I see feminists argue on the internet

    That’s may be your thing, but Kacy is saying something very different. He says he has recognized an underlying agenda to feminism that goes beyond legal and social equality. It sounds like a very pernicious agenda, but he just won’t say what it consists of. It’s bad, we get that, but … what is this agenda?

  206. 206
    redcrosse

    @madgastronomer: You deserve a response for that thoughtful post. I had said, “And of course people are free to use whatever tone they like, and I’m free to avoid PZ’s comment section, as I do generally. That should be ok.”

    I don’t spend much time fighting for equality, this is true. I don’t know the tropes. All I can say is that I am not interested in reading PZ’s or Isis’s comments because of the tone, so I don’t. I am certainly not trying to silence anyone.

    I figured that supporting equality would make me “an ally” but I see it does not. That’s ok too. I’d like to be an ally I guess, I’ll do it by not being sexist in my limited sphere of influence and leave the internets alone.

    @dobber, sure my “argument” is not substantial. “I don’t want to be thought of in the same group feminists as PZ’s commenters” isn’t very substantial. But it’s still my reason. I am allowed to have that reason, even if you think it’s stupid.

  207. 207
    redcrosse

    @tomh, no idea what that hidden agenda is that he claims. Maybe he’ll respond. He is definitely saying something very different from me. It’s certainly not *my* issue.

  208. 208
    allegro

    Thanks, I’d like to consider myself feminist but I’m wary of telling other people that, lest they think I’ll behave like the “feminist side” behave on this and other threads…. I thought feminism was a good thing but I think I’ll stay far far away now.

    It is certainly wise to choose your battles and fortunate for you that you are able to step back from one that might make your day more uncomfortable for a bit as in participating in these discussions that could move you to examine your long-held beliefs. Would that this privilege be available to women who live with these issues daily, for lifetimes, often on an existential level. We don’t have such a luxury. Many of us are old enough and beaten enough to be damn, righteously angry and express that visceral anger when faced with the condescension and contempt of MRAs and those such as kacyray who claim they are on the side of equality while proving the lie of that claim with every post. Madgastronomer above explains this very well.

    We’re rude? You don’t care for our tone? We’re not being nice, submissive little ladies waiting to have our rights granted by our natural born superiors? Well, fuck that shit. That never worked and it never will. We don’t need those who are so meek that they fear accusations of not being nice enough, who pay lip service to equality because it’s the PC thing to do and/ or as cover for their misogynistic beliefs and actions that we see and experience every damn day. When you witness all the meanies pouncing on those poor commenters who just “didn’t agree” with them, look closer. There’s a reason.

  209. 209
    gilgamesh

    [delurk] Yes d.c.wilson that was pretty much it, except as others have mentioned there was an unbelievable reaction from… I don’t even know how to describe them, paleo- atheists? I didn’t actually watch the video in which Elevatorgate “happened” until it was well and truly a crap tornado on our little corner of the internet. It reached the point where I thought “Somebody is seriously mischaracterizing what happened in this video. Either she says something profoundly offensive or hurtful to someone in that video, or holds up a picture of a dick getting chopped off or something, or else a there’s a bunch of people hating on her who have lost their damn minds!”

    So I watched the video, and damn near missed the part where she said “guys don’t do that”, it was so casual.

    It’s in the middle of her chatting about her trip, and generally positive things, and she just sort of mentions the whole thing in the elevator in an offhand way, like a conversational aside. She didn’t name the guy, or say he was a rapist, or >anythingside effectrationalwrong< with these people who are attacking the FTB and Skepchick bloggers.

    Oh, and kacyray, your dance around the unnamed problems with Feminism is cute and all, but sir, shit or get off the pot. You sound like a passive aggressive ass with your "I refuse to name my reasons, they are however many, and the crimes to which I accuse them are vast and obvious no matter how I fail to enumerate them" schtick. Feminism isn't the Elks or something, there's no charter or secret constitution that you can take issue with. The people getting angry with your little dance are right. You either have a specific grievance that can be addressed, or you're just making stuff up as an excuse to not examine your preconceptions. Your "women like to talk on the phone, men blah blah" opinion isn't science, it's bad standup. Listen to what people are trying to tell you, they are trying to disabuse you of some really, really bad ideas. You might learn something.

    As I've told my son many times, the two most powerful things you can ever admit are "I don't know" and "I could be wrong about that". From that all learning starts.

  210. 210
    jws1

    Ed’s just fresh from surgery, and already has drama to deal with. Go easy on his ticker…

    And folks on the net should do a better job of seeing fellow readers and commenters as humans. Humans they would more often than not extend a glad hand for, had they met them in person.

    I would also like to see a thread exceed 200 posts, with more than a mere handful of them featuring the author at least acknowledging the possibility of having made some small or large error.

  211. 211
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    neuralobserver:
    Your bias is showing.
    PZ does not control FtB.
    PZ Myers did not ban Thunderf00t.
    Thunderf00t was fired, not banned. He can post at FtB’s various blogs. I doubt he would last long at Pharyngula though, with his anti sexual harassment position and his dismissal of sexism.

  212. 212
    Ed Brayton

    neuralobserver wrote:

    IMO, the universe of the issue should also include the banning of Thunderf00t from FtB, by PZ Myers for merely for expressing differing opinions on this feminism issue within his blog,…. after being given assurances by Myers that he would have freedom to express his points of view

    Except none of that is true. Thunderfoot was not “banned” for “merely for expressing differing opinions” on any issue. He was removed from our slate of bloggers, not by PZ but by me. And it was because, as I’ve said many times, I did not have one single exchange with him in the 10 days or so that he was here that was not hostile and belligerent. He violated someone’s copyright, someone who is both a friend of the network and an advertiser on the network, then insulted her for daring to assert her rights. And then he launched into a huge tirade against me for telling him he can’t do that because it puts me in legal jeopardy. He simply does not play well with others. Things were only going to get worse, that was clear, so I pulled the plug. Guess what? I can do that. It’s my network. And his subsequent behavior, including using a backdoor to weasel his way back on the mailing list, after which he forwarded the content of conversations he knew he had no right to access to other people, has only proven my decision to be 100% correct. Thunderfoot is a first class fucking asshole by any possible measure.

  213. 213
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    jws1:
    You may not agree with how people are talking to one another, but I have read every comment in this thread and there is no indication anyone is being treated as _not_ human. I see people debating-strongly-about a topic they find incredibly important. I see people using mean words sometimes. I do NOT see any dehumanization. As a human being, you get a base level of respect from me. That just means I think you are entitled to the same rights as everyone else. From there you can move up a little or a lot. Someone who doesn’t support equality for women, and who-through their words or deeds-opposes feminism, is not someone who gets my respect. I find any position that doesn’t support equality to be despicable.

    Also, don’t be so quick to assume others would extend a hand to strangers if they met them in person. You might. Same doesn’t hold for others.

    Finally, what is the significance of wanting a blogger to-specifically in a 200+ comment thread-admit any error?

    Your entire comment is quite vague. Why not say what is on your mind?

  214. 214
    WMDKitty -- Survivor

    K. Lorraine

    *headbonks* You rock.

    kacyray

    Consider this sentence the equivalent of me barfing up a hairball on your shoes. You disgust me.

  215. 215
    WMDKitty -- Survivor

    Aack! tag-fail!

    Ed, would you please close the bold-tag after “kacyray”?

  216. 216
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    And please, the substance of a message is of value, not how it is stated.
    “I think MRAs are reprehensible scumbags who actively fight against women’s rights”

    Vs

    “I do not like MRAs because they dehumanize women”

    Both the above statements give the same message. Depending on my mood, I may use either one. If I choose the former, and someone whines about my tone, they are ignoring the substance and focusing on the window dressing.
    All of that is to say I find worrying about tone over content to be silly and childish.

  217. 217
    dobber

    Redcrosse, sure you can have any reason you like for not being a feminist, but rejecting a belief in the need to struggle for equality based on not liking a few people who were upset with misogynists is as flimsy and transparent as gossamer. If you can understand why POC get angry at racists, you might like to think about why some women get angry at people who are sexist. Their very humanity is being undermined. That sure makes me feel a bit ragey.

  218. 218
    susans

    Well said, Ed. Thank you.

  219. 219
    jws1

    Tony:

    I was just offering a reminder to avoid being nasty. I guess I just assumed bigotry would fall under that category by definition. I was giving air to a hope I have for behavior in forums like this.

    I don’t assume others would extend a hand. That’s why I included “more often than not”.

    By “author” I meant the author of an individual comment.

  220. 220
    jws1

    Tony:

    You are right. Those two statements do say the same thing. However, I think perhaps you are mistaken in a practical way. Ignoring tone might turn out to be naive, in that it denies that persuasion can be delicate, given certain audiences. Go repeat those two statements in (insert suburban district) and I’m willing to bet that you’ll “win” more “hearts and minds” with one of those two statements. Repeat in (insert coastal city) and I’ll wager the other statement is favored.
    Tone does matter. I wan’t more people to realize that it’s not a valid argument against feminism and atheism to assume there is no grounds to be angry. But folks with good substance can come across as cocksuckers that noone wants to listen to.

  221. 221
    redcrosse

    @dobber. I clearly said I reject the label of feminist, I do not call myself a feminist, because I don’t want to be associated with such behavior as on these boards by others who go by that label. I do NOT reject the belief in the need for the struggle for equality. You might like to think why some people support your goals, but don’t want to be associated with your movement.

    Again. That broad brush assumption you just made is exactly why I do not wish to participate in these threads.

  222. 222
    dobber

    JWS1

    Ignoring tone might turn out to be naive, in that it denies that persuasion can be delicate, given certain audiences.

    And other people are turned on by passion. In righteous anger, I can feel the justness of the cause and the hurt of the victims, while their arguments persuade me intellectually. Nothing has turned me onto feminism the way pharyngula has. And for women and LBGT people, there feels no safer place that one in which people will fight tooth and nail against your oppressors. Count me in the audience that has stayed for years because they are not delicate with male supremacists.

  223. 223
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Funny, redcrosse, that you are whining about a broad brush. Your paint strokes looks like they have been applied with rollers.

  224. 224
    dobber

    I should add that no liberation has ever come about by being sweet to your oppressors. Those who demand this as a condition for supporting a just cause are just trying to silence the oppressed. So: no, I will not be sweet while you are trying to decide whether I merit equality.

  225. 225
    redcrosse

    Janine, dobber accused me of rejecting the struggle for equality because I don’t like the way some feminists on the internet argue. I said I don’t go to those threads, and that should be ok. It’s endless attacks over minor disagreements like this.

    Why are you attacking me? I am defending the fact that I do believe in equality, I just don’t want to call myself a “feminist” to people IRL for fear of association with abusive comments such as on PZ’s boards. Just like I’m being attacked now.

    Christ on a cracker, I don’t think my comment warranted your attack of “whining.. rollers”

  226. 226
    redcrosse

    @dobber and everyone else. Knock yourself out. Be vicious and cruel and mean and loud. Shout down misogynists. I do not disagree with that. I don’t expect you to be meek or sweet to people who are trying to silence you. I just said why I don’t want to call myself a feminist, and why I don’t go to those boards and participate.

    I am not an enemy damnit.

  227. 227
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    You call that an “attack”?

    You really are a delicate hothouse flower.

  228. 228
    redcrosse

    That comment is intended to incite indignation. Why do you do that? Do you think I am a bad person or do you just want a fight for its own sake?

  229. 229
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    I do not want a fight. I really do not want to have anything to do with you.

  230. 230
    dobber

    Indignation is also incited by injustice. Why do misogynists do that? And why do you blame those who are incited? You feel upset now. Imagine how you would feel if people were fighting to ensure your kind of people were not treated equally. Imagined if they walked away in disgust at you because you were upset by that. And because you were upset they decided to not support your case for equality. I can also see you are worried about being a bad person. Don’t let that fear stop you from looking at your beliefs in case you find something wrong. Instead let it work for you. Find out a bit more about feminism and why women get angry at sexist people.

  231. 231
    Freodin

    Can’t we all just get along?

  232. 232
    thatrage

    Tone does matter. I wan’t more people to realize that it’s not a valid argument against feminism and atheism to assume there is no grounds to be angry. But folks with good substance can come across as cocksuckers that noone wants to listen to.

    1. Noone (sic)? Speak for yourself, pal. I’ve lurked around this shit for years, and I listened, and I was convinced. I’m not impressed by above-it-all Vulcan posturing and mewling faux civility and I doubt that such things would have been terribly effective at getting me to notice my own blind spots and consider my own privileges and prejudices, and I know damn well I am far from the only lurker with the same story; they always pop up in these threads eventually.

    This is only to address the “practical way” in which you believe persuasion should be “delicate”, about which you are definitively mistaken at least for some significant subset of people (the “coastal city” people in your weird little analogy, and WTF are you even talking about when even you acknowledge the existence of plenty of people who will be more receptive to piss and vinegar?) This is to say nothing of what dobber said so well (and so much more succinctly) @224.

    You are free to hang out in whatever corners of the internet you like and you are free to hang out your own shingle and enforce your own rules of tone and civility in your own corner; it’s presumptuous as shit for you to come into someone else’s corner and presume to tell them what their rules should be.

    2. The fuck’s wrong with being a cocksucker?

    I just said why I don’t want to call myself a feminist, and why I don’t go to those boards and participate.

    …And yet here you are, participating.

    /relurk

  233. 233
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    …And yet here you are, participating.

    Funny, that.

  234. 234
    redcrosse

    Target of opportunity. Shoot anything that moves.

  235. 235
    redcrosse

    Ed: I think it’s very important to make a distinction between those two groups, and it is sometimes far too easy to treat everyone who expresses any disagreement as though they were in the second group instead of the first.

  236. 236
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Words are not fists. You are not the victim of an attack.

  237. 237
    redcrosse

    I am perfectly fine with having different approaches and strategies, and I agree that we have to recognize different types of disagreement. Yes, there are people out there who share the ultimate goal of equality but prefer different tactics to achieve those goals, and those people should not be treated as enemies.

    I do think sometimes folks on my side have painted with a bit too broad a brush, rushed to judgment to scorn someone who is really an ally with a different view of how to achieve equality, or engaged in tribalism.

  238. 238
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    Sometimes some of the commenters and some of the comments at pharyngula are witty,intelligent, informative and generally great.

    Other times, other comments, ironically* sometimes even from the same people are just appalling personal abuse and nastiness.

    Its the proverbial curates egg good in parts and bad in others.

    BTW. The Tentacled Overlord, PZ Myers himself seems to have noticed this thread as noted here :

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2012/12/27/in-defense-of-the-commentariat/

    As I’m sure y’know PZ I love your blog but cannot stand some of those who comment there and yes I know that feeling’s mutual.

    ++++++++

    * If that’s the correct use of irony?

  239. 239
    madgastronomer

    @redcrosse I figured that supporting equality would make me “an ally” but I see it does not. That’s ok too. I’d like to be an ally I guess, I’ll do it by not being sexist in my limited sphere of influence and leave the internets alone.

    As allegro pointed out, it’s your privilege as a man to be able to step back and just avoid it. I’m stuck with sexism and misogyny every damn day. Pardon me if I don’t consider your weaksauce words-only support of equality not to constitute being an ally. Pardon me for expecting an ally to fight alongside me.

    Just “not being sexist” isn’t enough, for several reasons. First of all, if you’re not educated about sexism — and you’re probably not — then you probably don’t recognize a lot of unconscious sexism in your thoughts and actions. So probably you’re not actually not being sexist. Is that an assumption on my part? Sure. But it’s backed up by not meeting anyone, ever, man, woman, or otherwise, who didn’t harbor some unconscious sexism.

    Second, when you let sexism pass in front of you without comment or reprove — jokes told by other men, street harassment, the innocuous little things — then you are tacitly approving it, and those men think that you agree with them. It’s not enough to be passively not sexist yourself, to the best of your ability. Sexism doesn’t exist just between your ears, and it’s not in your intent. When you remain silent and let sexism pass in front of you, you are reinforcing sexism. And I bet you don’t call people out on mother-in-law jokes, or woman-driver jokes, or dumb blonde jokes, or whatever. Again, an assumption, but my experience is that guys like you who want to claim ally status for the minimum of work will loudly proclaim each and every time they’ve done it.

    Don’t just claim you support equality. DO IT.

    And the problem isn’t that you’re declining to go to the places, but that you’re going on and on about how conversation in an apparently small number of places is enough to put you off the label feminism, and how feminists aren’t your sort of people. You’re talking an awful lot more about your disapproval of our tone than you are about actual equality. How does that support equality, exactly?

    Words are not enough. Don’t just claim you support equality. ACTUALLY SUPPORT IT. DO SOMETHING. Why is this such a foreign concept? Why is tut-tutting over tone worth your time and energy, but doing something about equality isn’t?

    I am not an enemy damnit.

    You are an enemy when you act like one. And you are. You are acting exactly like the guys who says this shit, and then go and say all kinds of sexist shit. And you’re still treating your disapproval as more important than equality.

    @dobber #222 (and others, but that one especially)

    *applause*

  240. 240
    Wil Navidson

    The difference between feminism and radical feminism is really not that hard to figure out. Feminism is about gender equality, and is compatible with the male equivalent (MRM). It is focused on removing laws and practices in society that either grant special privileges to one sex, or deny rights to one sex.

    Radical feminism is about gender supremacy, and it’s advocates are responsible for demonizing MRM. Radical feminism also spends a lot of it’s time blaming everything on men and is unfortunately easy to find. These 2 links took 2 minutes to find Feminist Aims for 2013 Article in national paper in the UK

    The big problem I have with a lot of the FTB’s articles is not that they have a feminist “bias” to them, as that feminist “bias” is routed firmly in the positive side of feminism (gender equality). It’s that there is a strong tendency to demonize MRM.

  241. 241
    redcrosse

    @madgastronmer fuck you. You don’t know what I do besides this thread. I have never approved or stood by hearing sexist comments from men. You don’t even know my sex anyway.

    That entire post was in your head as a presumption that I do not fight and that I approve of sexism in daily life. Go to hell. Am I not capable of fighting sexism in my daily life and the extremism of you people on here at the same time?

    Go congratulate your fellow ideologues. You know nothing about me. You know nothing about what I’ve done for the cause. You attack for no good goddamn reason. I did not act like an enemy here. The only thing I said was that I didn’t want to use the label “feminist” because the “feminists” I see on FtB are assholes and I don’t want to be viewed as one of them. Bourne out well by your comment.

  242. 242
    redcrosse

    Again.

    I am perfectly fine with having different approaches and strategies, and I agree that we have to recognize different types of disagreement. Yes, there are people out there who share the ultimate goal of equality but prefer different tactics to achieve those goals, and those people should not be treated as enemies.

    I do think sometimes folks on my side have painted with a bit too broad a brush, rushed to judgment to scorn someone who is really an ally with a different view of how to achieve equality, or engaged in tribalism.

  243. 243
    Stacy

    Radical feminism is about gender supremacy

    This crap again.

    Radical feminism also spends a lot of it’s time blaming everything on men and is unfortunately easy to find. These 2 links took 2 minutes to find

    An unattributed Imgur is not evidence of anything. “Unfortunately easy to find” I’ll bet–no doubt you found it on an MRA site. It’s impossible to tell where it’s from or even how serious it is. It is ridiculous, and dishonest, of you to try and pass off such a thing–no name, or link to the source–as evidence of some widespread conspiracy to promote female supremacy. That sort of tactic is one of a number of reasons why MRAs are not taken seriously.

  244. 244
    heddle

    Damn it Al, if you had just stuck with your creepy form of anti-Christianity–like approaching single moms in grocery stores to scare their children, you would only have people like me calling you out as unhinged. But no, you couldn’t leave well enough alone.

  245. 245
    Gnumann+, out&proud cultural marxist (just don't ask me about Gramsci)

    Wil Navidson:

    It’s that there is a strong tendency to demonize MRM.

    Let’s look at supposed neutral source like Wikipedia

    There’s no need for demonification, since the MRM even in the neutral descrition of Wikipedia is pretty demonic.

  246. 246
    madgastronomer

    @redcrosse You don’t know what I do besides this thread.

    You’re the one who said you don’t do spend much time working for equality except not being sexist.

    I have never approved or stood by hearing sexist comments from men.

    Bullshit. Everyone does it at least sometimes. But voicing objections, out loud where people can hear them, at least part of the time is sort of the smallest thing you can do to fight for equality. And, honestly, you probably don’t recognize a lot of the sexism that goes past you, because that’s true of nearly everyone.

    You don’t even know my sex anyway.

    *shrug* Women and agender people are perfectly capable of reinforcing sexism simply by remaining silent, too.

    You know nothing about me. You know nothing about what I’ve done for the cause.

    I know what you’ve told me. And you told me you didn’t spend much time fighting for equality. And I know how you’ve behaved, which, contrary to what you think, communicates to me that while you think you’re in favor of equality, what you do doesn’t follow through with that.

    You attack for no good goddamn reason.

    A) That? That was not an attack. I assure you.
    B) Whether or not you like my reasons, I have them.

    @somebody else whose name I can’t be bothered to find, possibly a couple of different people

    Radical feminism is a school of feminist thought that holds that male supremacy currently exists, and that the patriarchy is a system of power that organizes society based on that supremacy. It is about eliminating patriarchy, not about instituting matriarchy. (Usually. That’s not to say there’s never been a rad fem who wanted to institute the matriarchy. But it’s not the aim of radical feminism as a movement.)

    Radical feminism has a number of problems, notably that it is heavily freighted with racism and transphobia, among other issues, but for fuck’s sake, at least get the definition right.

    Also, it did arise out of the second wave of feminism, because the first three waves of feminism are classified first by era and second by what issues they are responding to, and the founding feminists of radical feminism are second wave feminists.

  247. 247
    joachim

    I LOVE THE SMELL OF ATHEISTS BASHING EACH OTHER IN THE MORNING1

  248. 248
    kacyray

    If anyone is serious about wanting to know what it is about feminism that I see as the problem and why I won’t identify with the movement despite the fact that I do support full political and social equality for all… I’d be happy to have that conversation somewhere outside the echo chamber. With anyone at all. I’d also be happy to listen to counterpoints and alternative points of view on the topic.

    Just have to tell me where and how.

    I don’t know if it would violate some forum norm to post an email address here, otherwise I’d do that.

    I am not unwilling to give the issue the attention it merits, or to consider alternative viewpoints. This is just not a good place to get into such a detailed and nuanced topic, for many reasons.

  249. 249
    lancifer

    MRAs?

    Hmm, Magnetic Resonance Angiogram? Probably not.
    Medical Reimbursement Account? Doesn’t seem to fit the context.
    Multiple Regression Analysis? Nope.
    Mutual Recognition Agreement? Nah.

    Men’s Rights Activist? I think we have a winner.

    What an obscure group to be referred to with a casual abbreviation. Such is the jargon of feminism I guess.

  250. 250
    kacyray

    Whoa… it appears that if you click on my handle it takes you to my FB page.

    So if you want to have a serious conversation outside the echo chamber…. you know where to find me. No bashing, no tribe, no nonsense… just exchange of ideas.

  251. 251
    Gnumann+, out&proud cultural marxist (just don't ask me about Gramsci)

    I am not unwilling to give the issue the attention it merits, or to consider alternative viewpoints. This is just not a good place to get into such a detailed and nuanced topic, for many reasons.

    Your “thoughts” being semi-recyled garbage that’s transparent in the light of day is just one reason.

  252. 252
    lancifer

    MRM? I just deciphered MRA and now this.

    Men’s Rights Movement?

  253. 253
    Maureen Brian

    @ 240,

    We can be 99.98% certain that you did not read that piece in the Guardian and that, if you did read it, you did not understand it.

    Congratulations!

  254. 254
    madgastronomer

    @lancifer

    Since every group develops its jargon based on its needs, you might like to think about how often feminists end up talking about men’s rights activists that we need an initialism for it. Maybe it’s because they regularly turn up in feminist spaces to harass us, or indeed harass us wherever they happen to find us, and are actively out to do us harm…

  255. 255
    Gnumann+, out&proud cultural marxist (just don't ask me about Gramsci)

    Lancifer:

    Men’s Rights Movement?

    Yup.
    I prefer MRA myself (and the “A” is leaning more towards “asshole” than “activist”, since it covers more), but used MRM in this case since it was the term used by the person I was speaking to (and also the title of the Wikipedia article I linked to.)

  256. 256
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    @redcrosse:

    You can’t just say you are a feminist ally. You have to show it.

    So far, I haven’t seen much to say whether you are or aren’t. You spend a lot of time talking about how people on PZ’s thread criticized you and called you anti-feminist. You defend Kacy Ray. You also spend a lot of time talking about how much of an ally you are and damn us for thinking otherwise.

  257. 257
    Patrick from Michigan (Yes, that one!)

    Mr. Brayton,

    I tip my hat.

    When they are talking about you. You are doing something right.

    Just remember, there is no such thing as bad publicity.

    Besides all that, it makes for some awesome blog content. :D

  258. 258
    kacyray

    Gunmann @251

    I don’t expect too many folks here (particularly you and Kathryn) to venture outside the security of the tribe. For you to be on your own, having to do your own thinking and actually discussing ideas rather than just engaging in the obvious approval-seeking (which is all you currently offer) wouldn’t be much fun for you, would it?

    After all, what good is snarking if all your friends aren’t around to pat you on the back as you beam with pride at your own cleverness?

    Much better for folks like you to just continue snarking at anonymous blips in a comment section. To have a real conversation with a real human being with a real identity might be a bit intimidating. You’re best off just staying here.

  259. 259
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    @Kacy Ray:

    Katherine.

  260. 260
    Gnumann+, out&proud cultural marxist (just don't ask me about Gramsci)

    Gunmann @251

    I don’t expect too many folks here (particularly you and Kathryn) to venture outside the security of the tribe. For you to be on your own, having to do your own thinking and actually discussing ideas rather than just engaging in the obvious approval-seeking (which is all you currently offer) wouldn’t be much fun for you, would it?

    It’s Gnumann thank you very much, and Gnumann+ for the likes of you (and because of the likes of you).

    Actually, after a very long period of spouting canards and seeking the approval of my tribe,I did venture out, sought the evidence (sort of, I kinda had to do it to do my job at the time). After some time, it transformed me from a MRA to a feminist. Without actually any pressing need for approval-seeking (it lost me some friends though, but in retrospect I’m pretty well better of without them).

    Now, enough about me, let’s talk about you:
    Either you have something that can stand the light of day, or you don’t. Evidence so far points strongly towards don’t.

    The thing here is that I’ve no interest in speaking to you. I’m not a one-to-one missionary, psychologist or coach. You’re only useful as an object lesson, and if you insist that any of that marvelous substance you claim to have only can be revealed in private – you’re no use at all.

    Unless of course you’re actually willing to consider the facts and the evidence, but you kind never is.
    .

  261. 261
    kacyray

    Either you have something that can stand the light of day, or you don’t. Evidence so far points strongly towards don’t.

    I never said that any conversation had to be private. I have invited everyone to click on my handle and initiate conversation. My identity is public. Does this sound like the behavior of someone who is afraid of daylight?

    The problem with this forum is that each day new blog posts render each conversation “old news” after a very short period of time. So every conversation, regardless of how relevant, engaging, or compelling, fizzles out after 24-48 hours. That’s the first problem.

    Second is that it’s tough to keep one line of thought going when I have to constantly battle misrepresentations of my position coming from all over the place. To wit: when someone like Queer Tony @178 says “And screw cordiality when you are saying women do not deserve full equality in all walks of life.”, I am forced to either spend time addressing that distorition or deal with the reality that someone is going to read it, believe it, and then base further commentary on it.

    These are only a couple reasons that this forum isn’t conducive to in-depth, extended conversation about important topics.

    But it is noted that, while you claim to be an advocate for the feminist movement, you’ll only voice that advocacy from the safety of this echo chamber and have no interest in engaging those who might have other ideas as to better ways to truly advocate for women. How convenient.

    It’s like an apologist who will only witness to people sitting in the pews of their church. What a bold crusader you are! Your feminist brethren must be proud.

  262. 262
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    @Kacy Ray:

    I just want to address one part of your statement there. The whole “echo chamber” idea.

    People tend to cluster with people who share their beliefs. It’s only natural. I like pie, I’d like to seek out other people who also like pie so that I can have good conversations with them. We may make a pie blog and talk about pie. We won’t like to hang out with people who abhor pie, call pie-lovers names, and turn every conversation about pecan pie into a shouting match about how cheesecake is a superior dessert. When a person comes on with a discussion about how cheesecake is superior and more people like cheesecake without any actual evidence and use of bullshit science to justify their beliefs, the pie-lovers may all try to argue that their opinion – without facts backing it up – is merely an opinion and not worth their time.

    Is that an echo chamber?

  263. 263
    Gnumann+, out&proud cultural marxist (just don't ask me about Gramsci)

    The problem with this forum is that each day new blog posts render each conversation “old news” after a very short period of time. So every conversation, regardless of how relevant, engaging, or compelling, fizzles out after 24-48 hours. That’s the first problem.

    If you don’t like the format, why the fuck are you here? Redcrosse and yourself seem to be the only persons who appriciate your presence. And your facebook page is hardly a more relevant platform (but moves things over in your editorial domain. hmmm… Why would you possibly want that).

    Second is that it’s tough to keep one line of thought going when I have to constantly battle misrepresentations of my position coming from all over the place.

    When your position is “I don’t agree, but I won’t tell you why” you have to expect that people occationally fill inn the blanks. Especially when you come off as none-too-honest and spouting antifeminist canards we’re hard a dozen times before.

    But it is noted that, while you claim to be an advocate for the feminist movement, you’ll only voice that advocacy from the safety of this echo chamber and have no interest in engaging those who might have other ideas as to better ways to truly advocate for women. How convenient.

    So, when other people try to ferret out you position which you hold under lock and key, they are mischaracterizing you. On the other hand, you have this magical insight in what I do and don’t? Try the other one buster, it got bells on it.

  264. 264
    wolfhound

    Oh, please, Ed, not you, too! I have stopped reading PZ’s blog and many others because of this topic. While I know that nobody will miss me (and I’m sure to get a chorus of “don’t let the door hit your ass on the way outs” from the more thuggish posters), I really would rather be able to read your blog without it being peppered with the same divisive crap that prompted me and others to stay away those other sites.

  265. 265
    Gnumann+, out&proud cultural marxist (just don't ask me about Gramsci)

    Wolfhound:

    I really would rather be able to read your blog without it being peppered with the same divisive crap that prompted me and others to stay away those other sites.

    Would you mind telling us why it is Ed’s rather mild statement here that’s divise crap, and not Al’s huge turd?

  266. 266
    dobber

    Kacyray, the conversation hasn’t fizzled. You can still back up your claims. We haven’t forgotten. Be as deep as you like. The empty snark is just not satisfying me.

  267. 267
    Gnumann+, out&proud cultural marxist (just don't ask me about Gramsci)

    dobber:

    You can still back up your claims

    After checking his facebook page, I very much doubt he can. Not in any way that makes sence outside his mob at least. (A mob of libertarians is the right collective noun, right? Me no inborn English writer…)

  268. 268
    rorschach

    you’ll only voice that advocacy from the safety of this echo chamber

    You’re getting confused now. Pharyngula is the echo chamber, remember!

    People tend to cluster with people who share their beliefs.

    A minor nitpick here, if I may. While your statement is generally true, I don’t think it applies to blog commenters on FTB, or Pharyngula in particular. We don’t share beliefs, but many of us share a belief in truth and evidence, and some of us share some common political, social, cultural values. But belief is for religious people.

    Atheists and skeptics had a movement based on shared beliefs(or the lack thereof)once, until we found out that half of them are sexist pigs, and/ or have the skeptical and reasoning skills of cane toads.

  269. 269
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    @rorschach:

    But the real question is: do you like pie?

  270. 270
    Abrassart Jean-Michel

    Hello:

    Ed Brayton wrote:

    “If you really think that Rebecca Watson or any of the others he names hates men, you cannot possibly have met them.”

    Can’t we said that about most people on the internet? There are terrible people on the internet (trolls & co.), but if we meet them IRL then they are quite nice? I don’t see what’s Ed Brayton’s point here. Nobody says that Rebecca Watson must “hate men” IRL, after all she was married with a man a few years back. I don’t really care how she behaves IRL, if she’s a good friend, if she was a good wife to her husband, or if she says something quite different IRL than what she says online (but if she does, why the discrepancy?). But anyway, what’s Ed Brayton’s point? The problem that we see are not about how she is IRL, but how she behaves online.

    So Ed Brayton’s argument is really weak, if not completely beside the point. I’m sure most christian apologists (like William Lane Craig) must be good friends IRL. So what? Should we stop criticising them because of that? Don’t think so.

    Skeptically yours,

    JMA

  271. 271
    dobber

    A mob of libertarians is the right collective noun, right?

    There is no collective noun; they are all individuals.

  272. 272
    Ed Brayton

    wolfhound wrote:

    Oh, please, Ed, not you, too! I have stopped reading PZ’s blog and many others because of this topic. While I know that nobody will miss me (and I’m sure to get a chorus of “don’t let the door hit your ass on the way outs” from the more thuggish posters), I really would rather be able to read your blog without it being peppered with the same divisive crap that prompted me and others to stay away those other sites.

    Really? Seriously? I respond to someone criticizing several prominent members of the atheist community by claiming, falsely and absurdly, that they hate white men, and I’m the one being divisive? If not being divisive means not responding when people in our movement parrot Rush Limbaugh, then I guess I’m being divisive. But that’s fucking moronic.

  273. 273
    dobber

    @Abrassart Jean-Michel

    I’m sure most christian apologists (like William Lane Craig) must be good friends IRL. So what?

    But they are still Christian apologists IRL, right? Because that’s the point.

  274. 274
    Ed Brayton

    Abrassart –

    The idea that their behavior online suggests that they just hate white men is still idiotic and ridiculous.

  275. 275
    rorschach

    But the real question is: do you like pie?

    Humble pie only for this one. I know that I know little, but at least I try to learn. Which is more than those who complain about the tone on Pharyngula ever seem to do.

    There are terrible people on the internet (trolls & co.), but if we meet them IRL then they are quite nice?

    I have met Rebecca Watson IRL and she is nice. I have met slymepitters and they were not. So where exactly does that leave your argument?

    The problem that we see are not about how she is IRL, but how she behaves online.

    Please elaborate. Where has Rebecca Watson “behaved online” in such a way as to alienate you or offend your sensibilities?

    Skeptically yours,

    Thank you, I needed a laugh!

  276. 276
    savagemutt

    Really? Seriously? I respond to someone criticizing several prominent members of the atheist community by claiming, falsely and absurdly, that they hate white men, and I’m the one being divisive? If not being divisive means not responding when people in our movement parrot Rush Limbaugh, then I guess I’m being divisive. But that’s fucking moronic.

    And please stop writing about religion too. That’s also divisive — that whole “separation of church and state” thing. And evolution as well. Its just too controversial.

    Also, I don’t like Duke basketball.

    Please stick to rainbows, unicorns and chocolate.

  277. 277
    EllenBeth Wachs

    Silly us! We have gotten it all wrong! Despite the title and the content of Al’s video, he has commented on it now correcting the thousands that have misinterpreted his clear and concise wording that, “no, he is not equating Freethought Blogs with a cult”

    Huh

  278. 278
    kacyray

    Gnumann @263

    If you don’t like the format, why the fuck are you here?

    Because people like you are just so warm and welcoming. I can’t resist.

    I answered this question in my first few comments. I’m very interested in the cultural battle regarding reason vs faith, very intersted in civil rights, very interested in first amendment issues, domestic policy, civil rights, etc. Ed offers a daily pot luck of articles on those issues. Unlike you, I can accept that I agree with someone on 98% of the issues while disagreeing on the other 2%.

    Redcrosse and yourself seem to be the only persons who appriciate your presence.

    Yes, and I’m sure redcrosse has learned, as I have, that if you had your way there would be no one in here other than those who you agree with in full. If only you realized what that says about you.

    And your facebook page is hardly a more relevant platform (but moves things over in your editorial domain. hmmm… Why would you possibly want that).

    I only offered that up as an option, for reasons I’ve already described (but feel free to fill in your own reasons and ignore the ones I’ve articulated. Why break character now?) If you have a better place – one that can support extended dialogue without the distractions, let me know. Doens’t have to be any forum of mine.

    When your position is “I don’t agree, but I won’t tell you why” you have to expect that people occationally fill inn the blanks.

    Yes, but I would expect them to at least keep in mind that it is THEY who are filling in the blanks, and not me. You seem to keep forgetting that part.

    So, when other people try to ferret out you position which you hold under lock and key, they are mischaracterizing you.

    I don’t hold my position under lock and key. I’ve expressed it here on many occasions (just ask Gretchen). The fact that I don’t feel like typing every single nuance over and over again into a comments section that will fade into history within the next 24 hours does not mean I’m unwilling to express my position – it just means I’m unwilling to repeat effort and energy I’ve already expended.

    That’s why I prefer to talk in a forum that will have a bit more permanence than this. No forum is “permanent”, but some have longer-lasting visibility than others. Gmail works really well because everything is archived. I’ve had a 3 year dialogue with my fundamentalist uncle, and I’ve found myself having to run quick searches on many occasions in order to demonstrate to him that I didn’t say what he claimed i said, or that I actually DID tell him something he claims I didn’t tell him, etc… It helps to be able to document the dialogue.

    Again – I just offered my own FB page up as an option. I’m happy to dialogue in any forum that is more conducive to extended conversation.

    On the other hand, you have this magical insight in what I do and don’t?

    Noted: You’re the only one with the privlege of speculating on my motives, not the other way around. Got it.

  279. 279
    ildi

    Marcus @45:

    I’d be feeling like Miss Manners, storming in and wagging my finger uselessly at thousands of people who don’t know how to use apostrophes correctly in English

    It’s 1980s, not 1980′s

    (couldn’t resist)

  280. 280
    Ed Brayton

    EllenBeth-

    Yes, where could anyone ever get the idea that he was calling FTB a cult? I mean, other than from the fact that he titled his video “An Atheist Cult: Those Radicals From Freethought Blogs…” I can’t imagine how I got it so wrong.

  281. 281
    imback

    A mob of libertarians is the right collective noun, right?

    A bazaar of libertarians, maybe?

  282. 282
    Gretchen

    Hey Ed, I used to say all of the time in undergrad and grad school that if studying religion academically didn’t lead to anything fruitful, I could always become a cult leader instead. But you’ve gone and done it first, damn it! Do you need, like, a vice cultist in charge of brain-washing?

  283. 283
    Ophelia Benson

    Well this is futile, but all the same – neuralobserver @ 199 said -

    [ Also, concerning the 'Michael Shermer Incident', I find the idiocy of conflating one relatively innocuous, throw-way comment that Shermer made in that interview earlier this year, into an example of his full-blown, unrepentant sexism is, for me, beyond the pale. Some are saying that some parts of FtB are becoming divisive, ridiculous, irrelevant, mainly do to this issue and in the face of so many valid arguments leveled against Myers and company ; I would agree.]

    That is not what happened. I did not “conflate” (I think you must mean “inflate”) what Shermer said into an example of his full-blown, unrepentant sexism. The column was not about Shermer. It was about stereotypes about women, and their relationship to women & secularism. What Shermer said was an example of such stereotypes. That’s all it was. Most of the column had nothing to do with Shermer.

  284. 284
    kacyray

    @262 Katherine

    Your comments are noted and understood. I get it, that like-minded people tend to congregate. But take Gnumann’s comment @263 “Redcrosse and yourself seem to be the only persons who appreciate your presence”

    Now, if you agree with that statement (as I do), then this should answer your question. The difference between a congregation of like-minded folks and an echo chamber is that the former group welcomes the injection of dissenting views (or at the very least, doesn’t oppose them), while the other has no desire, no tolerance, and no capacity to handle them.

    And by “no capacity to handle”, I mean an environment where “I disgree” is seldom heard and “You’re a stupid fucking idiot” (or some variation) is heard frequently.

    If you look through this thread alone (not counting the few others I’ve been involved in before) you’ll hear a lot of “You have no argument”, “your argument is pathetic”, “why are you even here”, “you’re just a woman-hater” etc… but you will not find many “I see where you might be coming from, and here’s why I disagree”.

    This is a consistency that I find here, not just toward myself, but toward any dissenters. Take an honest look at the treatment that I and redcrosse have received in this thread alone. It is a microcosm of the general atmosphere in the comments section.

    Have you noticed that I haven’t hurled a single insult? I don’t think redcrosse has either. Have you noticed I haven’t dismissed anyone’s argument out-of-hand, that I have tried to answer all questions thoroughly (unless they’ve been answered elsewhere), and done all I can to articule a dissenting view dispassionately? Have you noticed how that effort has been received?

    You probably don’t, because you are one of the culprits. But I think anyone who had no skin in the game, and who isn’t familiar with this particular culture, would see it right away.

    Anyway, that’s why I call this an echo chamber. I’m pretty confident that it’s an accurate description.

  285. 285
    dingojack

    Gretchen – isn’t that conforming with the patriarchy’s stereotypes?
    Why should a women be relegated to doing the (brain)washing?
    ;) Dingo

  286. 286
    julian

    wtf?

    I dislike redcrosse. Prissy and annoying.

    But why the fuck are you all attacking them like this? You don’t know any them about them. You’re extrapolating from a few comments and taking the worse possible reading of them about their life. You can all go fuck yourselves. Jesus, what a bunch of assholes.

    Really? Seriously? I respond to someone criticizing several prominent members of the atheist community by claiming, falsely and absurdly, that they hate white men, and I’m the one being divisive? If not being divisive means not responding when people in our movement parrot Rush Limbaugh, then I guess I’m being divisive. But that’s fucking moronic. -Ed Brayton

    I’ve asked this same question to several people. No solid answer yet. They just default to how wonderful things used to be and how we’re destroying the movement.

  287. 287
    SallyStrange

    I’ll tell you why I have zero interest in the “your tone is alienating potential allies” argument.

    If you can’t handle me or some other feminist telling you to step up your game, then what ARE you going to do when confronted with a real live misogynist? Who are, as you probably don’t know since the entirety of your “activism on behalf of women’s equality probably consists of lecturing feminists about how they’re doing it wrong, usually not polite to feminists.

    I really don’t want anyone on my side who is capable of being alienated because of a few mean words from his supposed allies. Those kinds of “allies” are worse than enemies. You think they have your back, but then you turn around and they’re gone, or they’re aiming their criticism at YOU because you weren’t a perfect Vulcan feminist activist can allowed your anger over the ongoing, millennia-old oppression of women to shine through. Fuck that shit. And fuck redcrosse and kacyray and anyone else trying to promote this stupid argument as if it were based on reason instead of emotional inertia and the feeling of discomfort as your privilege ebbs away.

  288. 288
    Ed Brayton

    Gretchen –

    Send me your resume and let’s talk.

  289. 289
    kacyray

    When I say “(or at the very least, doesn’t oppose them)” what I meant was that while they may oppose the ideas being introduced, they at least don’t oppose the introduction of those ideas.

  290. 290
    Raging Bee

    So no, I don’t think you get to now say “I just want to be left alone, I never did anything to you people.”

    Didn’t the Southern secessionists say the same thing in 1861?

  291. 291
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    @Kacy Ray:

    I’ll admit, as a whole, PZ’s crowd tends to be a little crass in their speaking – but attacking the tone of the argument without addressing the argument for its merits is tone trolling, and is not appreciated. Yes, we tend to say “you’re a fucking idiot, here’s why” rather than “I disagree, here’s why.”

    The reason you haven’t heard the “I disagree and here’s why” stuff is because you haven’t presented a cogent argument. You’ll quickly learn from, mostly PZ’s blog, that we appreciate and encourage contrary views. However, we only appreciate those views if they’re backed up by evidence and facts. So far, I’ve yet to see any evidence that you’ve presented that discusses your views.

    Let’s go with the one I started arguing with you about – the nurturing v aggressive trope. You presented a simple statement, paraphrased: generally women are more nurturing and men are more aggressive. You didn’t back this up with evidence, and when presented with contrary reasoning – that most of that comes from social cues and being ‘boxed’ as I said – you didn’t respond at all to that line of thinking. You merely reiterated the exception to the rule caveat you added.

    As far as your claim you answered questions thoroughly, no you have not. Answer this question, repeated several times by several posters:

    You mentioned an underlying agenda of feminists that disallows you from agreeing with them, what is this agenda?

  292. 292
    Deen

    @redcrosse and others who don’t like to apply the label “feminist” to themselves, here’s what you need to understand about why that makes us suspicious of your claimed support. You see, what you’re saying is that you believe the stereotypes about feminists (they’re too angry/too dogmatic/whatever) that came from anti-feminists, and you point to a couple of sites that you don’t like to confirm your bias. What you don’t do, is investigate whether the stereotype is correct -at most, you’re looking for more confirmation in responses you don’t like. You seem to rather want to continue to believe the stereotype, instead of believing the people who try to explain the stereotypes is wrong, and that it would be better if you’d help combat the stereotypes instead. So, considering you appear to be more willing to believe anti-feminist stereotypes than feminists, should you really be surprised that we doubt your claims of being an ally?

    In this way, you’re exactly like agnostics who don’t want to label themselves “atheists” because they believe the stereotypes of atheists (militant/dogmatic/fundamentalist/whatever) pushed by Christian apologists. They too will be able to satisfy their confirmation bias by pointing at certain blogs or comments or people they don’t like. They too refuse to listen to atheists explaining why the stereotype is wrong, let alone help atheists combat it. And they too are confused why we’re suspicious about their claims of being allies.

    TLDR: We recognize the stereotypes you use, we know that they’re pushed by our opponents, and we observe that you believe those sources over us, so we naturally question your status as an ally.

  293. 293
    kacyray

    Sally, there’s nothing wrong with a minimum expectation of respectful dialogue.

    You have to have some serious social dysfunction to criticize someone for expecting a minimum degree of respecful human interaction from someone with whom they’re trying to have an adult conversation.

    You’ve clearly lost sight of the fact that there are people on the other end of these keybaords. At least I hope you don’t talk to people in real life the way you talk to people here.

    I only recently learned about the phrase “tone troll”… apparently that’s a term that was manufactured by folks who, like yourslf, forget that they are talking to people.

    But what’s most important to point out is that my expectation for a minimum standard of decorum has nothing to do with my argument.

    I can deal with your level of dialogue, be assured. But don’t complain when I point out how childish you act.

  294. 294
    Raging Bee

    I’m opposed to feminism because I believe that it has some flawed premises… premises that are not fully disclosed by statements such as…

    They’re not fully disclosed (or even mentioned) by you either. And we wonder why we question your motives?

  295. 295
    pacal

    I just don’t get it. When this crap started c. 1 1/2 years ago I thought Rebecca Watson had a point but that she was exaggerating. Her comments were still restrained and pretty level headed. What I was not prepared for was the sheer mammoth size of vicious hateful misogyny that burst forth. Whoa!! What an eye opener that was! I realized that not only was Rebecca Watson right but that if anything she had underestimated the extent of the problem.

    Since then repeated clashes have reinforced this impression.

    What I don’t get is all the tone trolling that as gone on. It appears that rather than discuss misogyny we get people going on and on about the tone. Anything to avoid discusing misogyny I guess.

  296. 296
    redcrosse

    @Deen, You see, what you’re saying is that you believe the stereotypes about feminists (they’re too angry/too dogmatic/whatever) that came from anti-feminists, and you point to a couple of sites that you don’t like to confirm your bias.

    You people are excessively mean, no matter who says it. Just look at what happened to me here. This is a group of people I would never want to associate myself with. I didn’t -go- to PZ’s blog. I -stayed away-.

  297. 297
    soul_biscuit

    You mentioned an underlying agenda of feminists that disallows you from agreeing with them, what is this agenda?

    This. When asked for examples of what about feminism is distasteful to you, you waved your hand at other commenters’ posts, without any explanation of why you consider those examples part of feminism or why they taint feminism for you. I imagine this conversation would have been more productive if you’d been up front about your position.

  298. 298
    MissMarnie

    @kacyray

    Sally, there’s nothing wrong with a minimum expectation of respectful dialogue.

    And some of us are saying that there’s nothing wrong with a minimal expectation of equality which is what this whole topic is about. You want respectful dialog, we are looking for equal respect everywhere else. We’re tired of being told we aren’t asking nicely enough, that we aren’t protecting the feelings of individuals who make statements we’ve heard before and that simply serve to suggest that we’ve gotten all we deserve to get and we should quietly accept it.

  299. 299
    kacyray

    Raging Bee @294

    They’re not fully disclosed (or even mentioned) by you either. And we wonder why we question your motives?

    Just because you haven’t heard it doesn’t mean I haven’t said it. In my comment @188 I said:

    And this is one of my big problems with feminism… to tendency to believe that “social equality” and “political equality” must somehow manifest themselves into “equality” across the board, blurring any distinction between the sexes, as though none exist and it’s all in our minds.

    You can take issue (or not) with the premises of feminism with which I disagree that I have articulated during this converesation, but goddammit you can’t say I haven’t articulated any! All you can do is ignore what I’ve said and then chalk it up as some sort of moral victory when I refuse to expend the effort of either re-typing it or directing you to it.

    It’s frustrating to take the effort to articulate a position or answer a question, only to be told three comments later that I haven’t offered an argument or stated the premises with which I disagree. I don’t mind typing these things out… but I damn well do mind having to type them out over and over agian and then keep on doing a Ctrl-F so that I can direct everyone else to them.

    Don’t mistake my reluctance to re-state my position as a reluctance to state it in the first place. When you talk to someone who clearly has their fingers in their ears, it isn’t very convincing when they pull the fingers out and say “But you haven’t said anything!”

  300. 300
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    @kacyray:

    And we did adress that. You used a bullshit evopsych argument to back up your claim.

  301. 301
    Raging Bee

    You have to have some serious social dysfunction to criticize someone for expecting a minimum degree of respecful human interaction from someone with whom they’re trying to have an adult conversation.

    Oh, come off it, boy — you’re making idiotic, unsupported, and long-discredited assertions, and we’re pointing out that your assertions are dead wrong. You’re getting all the respect you deserve, and this conversation is as adult as we can be when talking to someone who insists on acting like a fool.

    So cut the pompous whinery about our tone, and stop pretending you’re being misunderstood by a mob of Philistines.

  302. 302
    julian

    Please stop trying to force people to identify as feminist. It’s disrespectful to them and dismissive of the not so great relationship feminism has had with a lot of minority groups and rights.

  303. 303
    kacyray

    MissMarie @298

    You want respectful dialog, we are looking for equal respect everywhere else.

    Intersting.

    I realize this is a tangent to the converstaion… but your statement does intrigue me.

    Question: Are you looking for women to have equal respect in the realm of competition? (in other words, do you disagree with the ubiquitous seperation of women’s competition in sporting events, such as WNBA, WPGA, WPBA, seperate standards for female chess players, etc..)? Would you advocate for the seperation of men and women in competative events to be abolished based on the idea that women are just as capable as men, or at least ought to be considered on a case-by-case basis?

  304. 304
    Maureen Brian

    Kacyray,

    Has it ever crossed your mind that you are disrespectful to feminists?

    By your attempt to dominate this conversation even when you have nothing to say, by your ready recourse to stereotypes, by your attempt to base your arguments (sic) on something you claim to know but won’t clarify for the many who ask, you show total disrespect to Ed and to everyone else.

    You are rude. After considerable provocation, we reply in kind. As my long-dead Dad used to say, “Fair dos!”

    Now, have you got something to add to this conversation or not?

  305. 305
    Gretchen

    Please stop trying to force people to identify as feminist.

    Okay, I’ll put my gun down. It’s not the most effective means of brainwashing, anyway.

  306. 306
    Michael Heath

    Raging Bee to Kacyray:

    Oh, come off it, boy — you’re making idiotic, unsupported, and long-discredited assertions, and we’re pointing out that your assertions are dead wrong. You’re getting all the respect you deserve, and this conversation is as adult as we can be when talking to someone who insists on acting like a fool.

    So cut the pompous whinery about our tone, and stop pretending you’re being misunderstood by a mob of Philistines.

    I agree. At some point when a crappily constructed argument is devastated, like Greta Christina, Gretchen, and a few others immediately did to kacyray’s argument, someone with integrity and the ability to adapt after their defects are pointed out would concede and adapt to a better argument. So ridicule if they continue to blah, blah, blah is a justifiable option, or ignoring them; especially when the person arguing in poor form is also essentially thread-jacking the blog post.

  307. 307
    abb3w

    Oooh, this is a lively one. I’ll have to wade through more carefully, later.

    @56, Ed Brayton:

    We are all prone to tribalism and to shallow thinking, including those who regard ourselves as skeptics who are above that sort of thing.

    There’s differences in degree. However, there’s also differences in the shallow shortcuts that people use. For some, the main shortcut is “The person of Authority has spoken; authority is correct; therefore, the authority is right” … and then proceed to social signal support of that position, to help bolster that authority. For others, it’s “I am right more often than most people; therefore, I am probably right here”… and proceed to signal that.

    But I’ve ranted on the Dispatches comments and Pharyngula’s about RWA versus SDO before, and in particular on how some of the commentariat struggles look to be a conflict between low-RWA/high-SDO males being perceived as a threat-group by high(er)-RWA/low(?)-SDO females among contemporary Western atheism, making for some turbulence in the social front. An attempt to go over it again seems likely to be lost in the current frenzy, but I’ll once again plug the work of Dr. Robert Altemeyer… even though the third link leaves this likely to be held up in moderation.

  308. 308
    abb3w

    Hm; typo in my HTML. Let’s try search links one and two again.

  309. 309
    MissMarnie

    @kacyray #303

    What on earth does any of that have to do with respect? I’m talking about a woman saying “don’t do that guys” and being barraged with rape threats and having people assume she hates men for even suggesting that someone’s behavior seemed a little creepy. I’m talking about the fact that women earn less and men, and people will say things like “well, that’s because women choose lower salaries so they can care for kids.” I’m talking about the fact that 1 in 4 women will be sexually assaulted in her life yet only the very smallest fraction of rape cases are ever convicted. I’m talking about how assumed gender roles hurt men who don’t fit the male ideal of “masculine” and hurt women who don’t fit the ideal of “feminine.” I’m talking about how these strict gender roles make it so men who DO want to be the nurturing type face discrimination when they want paternity leave or aren’t the primary bread winner. I’m talking about how all these gender roles paint trans individuals as subhuman and worthy of disdain. These are issues that are important and matter and are at the heart of feminism. Feminism is not about making women the best. It is about rejecting the idea that you have to fit a particular, societally approved, pre-define gender role. It’s about tearing down the biases that hurt people simply for not fitting an arbitrary standard.

    So no, I’m not going to get into a conversation of NBA versus WNBA. It’s a completely irrelevant topic.

  310. 310
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    @Kacy Ray:

    I’ll bite your ridiculous WNBA v NBA bullet and say, sure. Why not. Open the NBA to women, open the WNBA to men. There are some women who would kick so much ass at men’s sports (I’m convinced that the Williams sisters could mop the floor with a good number of the male tennis stars.) And in addition, there are some men who are not good enough for the men’s sports but would be good in the women’s leagues.

    Of course then you’d have to change the names of the leagues, but that’s easily done. The point is that you can’t put men and women into boxes and say all women everywhere should be banned from playing in men’s leagues or fighting on the front lines, usw. Only things having to do with actual biological functions (I dunno… porn?) should have limitations of who can do what.

    MissMarnie also re-addresses the part of the argument you’ve failed to address – gender roles are terrible. Boxes are terrible. Using these general assumptions about a person solely due to their gender is a terrible way to bestow rights and privileges. And this isn’t just about women, it’s also about men. It’s things like your evopsych bullshit about nurturing women and aggressive men that people use as evidence to deny women equal pay. It’s the gender role of a woman who needs to have children denying women the right to choose what she does with her body. It’s about men being tormented for not being sports nuts or not being athletic or maybe a bit feminine.

    Gender roles are bullshit.

  311. 311
    TCC

    MissMarnie@309: Well said.

    kacyray, while I’m not really that entrenched in these feminist/anti-feminist (non-feminist?) fights, I have known enough feminists and know enough about feminism to know that you are not accurately describing what feminism is. When you talk about feminism being in favor of eliminating all putative differences between the sexes (which introduces another problem altogether), you are unequivocally wrong. There might be feminists out there who do advocate for such a thing – you can find self-professed atheists who say they believe in a god, too – but that doesn’t make it a part of feminism writ large. What others have said about confirmation bias seems to be quite applicable to you; at least, I can’t think of any possible cause for you having such an incredibly skewed view of feminism. Perhaps you ought to reconsider your trenchant opposition to feminism as a movement.

  312. 312
    Gnumann+, out&proud cultural marxist (just don't ask me about Gramsci)

    Kacyray:

    I answered this question in my first few comments. I’m very interested in the cultural battle regarding reason vs faith, very intersted in civil rights, very interested in first amendment issues, domestic policy, civil rights, etc. Ed offers a daily pot luck of articles on those issues. Unlike you, I can accept that I agree with someone on 98% of the issues while disagreeing on the other 2%.

    That still doesn’t answer the question: Why are you here if you consider the format useless?

    Yes, and I’m sure redcrosse has learned, as I have, that if you had your way there would be no one in here other than those who you agree with in full. If only you realized what that says about you.

    Interesting strawperson you got there. Did you build it all by yourself or did you get some help? It’s more a case of “If just the blithering idiots everybody disagrees with would leave us alone, we would get around to discuss more interesting things.”.

    I only offered that up as an option, for reasons I’ve already described (but feel free to fill in your own reasons and ignore the ones I’ve articulated. Why break character now?) If you have a better place – one that can support extended dialogue without the distractions, let me know. Doens’t have to be any forum of mine.

    As you’ve yet to show that you’re anything but a distraction, I can hardly recommend any distraction-free alternative, can I?

    I don’t hold my position under lock and key

    You really do. All you’ve put up in this tread (except – “no there is something else that makes me not agree”) is some vague gender-essentialism. Which you failed to answer for at the merest whiff of opposition. Also, the only other thing you’ve revealed in this tread (via your facebook page) is your libertarianism.

    The fact that I don’t feel like typing every single nuance over and over again into a comments section that will fade into history within the next 24 hours does not mean I’m unwilling to express my position – it just means I’m unwilling to repeat effort and energy I’ve already expended.

    And yet here you are, demanding that others feed you. As soon as you’re asked a question you clam up, but everybody else should answer your half-formed questions in you mind. Do you really think your behaviour is anywhere in the vicinity of a respectful conversation?

    You have to have some serious social dysfunction to criticize someone for expecting a minimum degree of respecful human interaction from someone with whom they’re trying to have an adult conversation.

    And by “no capacity to handle”, I mean an environment where “I disgree” is seldom heard and “You’re a stupid fucking idiot” (or some variation) is heard frequently.

    If you look through this thread alone (not counting the few others I’ve been involved in before) you’ll hear a lot of “You have no argument”, “your argument is pathetic”, “why are you even here”, “you’re just a woman-hater” etc… but you will not find many “I see where you might be coming from, and here’s why I disagree”.

    This is a consistency that I find here, not just toward myself, but toward any dissenters. Take an honest look at the treatment that I and redcrosse have received in this thread alone. It is a microcosm of the general atmosphere in the comments section.

    Have you noticed that I haven’t hurled a single insult? I don’t think redcrosse has either. Have you noticed I haven’t dismissed anyone’s argument out-of-hand, that I have tried to answer all questions thoroughly (unless they’ve been answered elsewhere), and done all I can to articule a dissenting view dispassionately? Have you noticed how that effort has been received?

    I can deal with your level of dialogue, be assured.

    Ah, I see, you perceive “respect” as “lack of insults”.

    So, is this why you can’t see how disrespectful and insulting your behaviour here has been?
    You can’t really deal with the level of dialogue here. If you did you would be able to make your position and your arguments clear. And understand that insults are not the prime expression of disrespect.

    Noted: You’re the only one with the privlege of speculating on my motives, not the other way around. Got it

    No, you really didn’t. You never asked “Gnumann, what do you do for feminism outside this” (Though you did kinda ask “Gnumann, have you ever considered the validity of my point if view?” – To which you got an answer, which you haven’t really commented (unless I missed something).)

    On the other hand, you were asked repeatedly to clarify what the fuck your problem with feminism actually was, and why you couldn’t accept the most common accepted definition. Your only answer was a half-chewed antifeminist strawperson we’ve heard a hundred times before.

    So, do you mind telling us why your behaviour here hasn’t been utter disrespectful from the start and deserve anything but scorn?

  313. 313
    Kevin

    Exaggerating? Watson was exaggerating?

    She factually reported an incident that happened to her, and then said, “guys, don’t do that.”

    Where in the fucking hell do you get an idea that she was exaggerating anything about the incident?

    She never said she was in fear of being raped. She never said the guy was a rapist or a wanna-be rapist. She never even said the guy was just a moronic lame-assed pick-up artist. None of that. She said, “this guy invited me up for coffee while we were in the elevator…guys, don’t do that.” Jesus fucking Christ, she was buying the guy a clue.

    Fucking hell, you people are fucking moronic idiots who cannot even be arsed to go to the original source and look at what was said, when it was said, and how it was said before forming a completely fucking wrong opinion.

    It was NOT REBECCA WATSON’S FAULT, you fucking idiot.

  314. 314
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Janine:
    Please stop attacking the nice antifeminist. His feelings, which are of the utmost importance, are being offended.

  315. 315
    Anthony K

    I see where you might be coming from, and here’s why I disagree”

    I’m sorry, are you not getting enough handjobs for your thoughtful contributions?

    Let’s review them, and I’ll give you a few good yanks.

    In fact, I hear that males will eventually be phased out. So much for being the privileged sex.

    Brilliant! Just brilliant! Wonderful. So, should we start building a men’s ark to preserve the sex? Do go on.

    But if you want evidence, then next time you go grocery shopping. Count the number of men talking on their cell phone while shopping and compare it to the number of men who aren’t. Then count the number of women doing talking on their cell phone while shopping, and compare it to the number who aren’t. Then, compare the ratios. Then do it again the next 9 times you go grocery shopping.

    This experiment also works while you’re driving down the road.

    You’ll find that more women are talking on their phones while shopping (or driving) than men. This is a manifestation of their social needs as compared to the social needs of men. This is but one manifestation – and that difference in social needs has far reaching implications regarding the different ways men and women lead their lives including what their needs are and what they are willing to do in order to have them met.

    It is a crucial difference in our psychologies. Does that help?

    Another potential Nobel-winning contribution. Have you considered writing a paper about how we can just do away with all of that messy experimental design business, with those annoying controls and whatnot, and just pretend that the observer-expectancy effect (among others) doesn’t exist.

    Shall we keep going? Have you gotten off yet?

  316. 316
    Gnumann+, out&proud cultural marxist (just don't ask me about Gramsci)

    Please stop trying to force people to identify as feminist. It’s disrespectful to them and dismissive of the not so great relationship feminism has had with a lot of minority groups and rights.

    Who has done this in this tread?

    And feminism is not a thing you know. “Feminism” doesn’t have poor relations with anything other than “antifeminism” since it’s a (very loosely defined) ideology. Not an actor with it’s own agency.

    Some 2. wave feminists have admittedly poor relations with a lot of groups, stop trying to force me to identify with those, thankyouverymuch.

  317. 317
    Anthony K

    Sally, there’s nothing wrong with a minimum expectation of respectful dialogue.

    Right. So the next time you think about writing something as blatantly fucking moronic as “In fact, I hear that males will eventually be phased out. So much for being the privileged sex”, ask yourself if that’s really a respectful contribution, or maybe just consider shutting your damn fool fucking mouth.

  318. 318
    thebg

    @redcrosse – I used to hold your position. However the weight of thousands of blunt comments forced me to rethink two of my most dear irrational beliefs, both firmly entrenched from a privileged point of view.

    1) Style is positively proportional to quality of argument.
    I used this as an offensive tactic (purely in my own head) to keep scary feminists and their arguments in a subjugated position to support my fantasy that I could claim feminism on my own terms. I constructed a forensic meet around the ftb comments sections with me as the judge so that I didn’t have to do any self-reflecting.

    It is not a forensic meet. It is not primary school. It is not even a polite dinner party where decorum may trump offense. It is a mostly unmoderated public square where unsubstantiated, irrational and dangerous beliefs foisted upon the ‘public’ as truth can be expected to be shouted down. There are precious few such spaces in this world.

    2) Shark attacks are an underlying sign of a personality disorder.
    When a commenter would drop by and make what appeared to me as a casual comment and then get thoroughly pummeled I would get turned-off. In order to justify this to myself I concocted the notion that the meanies were simply not of my stripe, had a tic that could not be controlled or were simply swimming in circles out of boredom waiting for the first whiff of blood and then getting high from the kill.

    The reason I took this position is embarrassingly obvious, my own privilege had been pricked. The unlucky fish being rent asunder could have been me, had I dared to venture out from the school. By extension I had been swimming with a philosophy I had claimed to disavow. My own cognitive dissonance was the root of my offense, not the words being used in the thread.

    I have no idea if the comment threads are filled with people I would befriend in real life or not, and what’s more it makes absolutely no difference. I am a single data point that the approach taken by ftb to encouraging active and open support of feminism in this community has provided education that has resulted in real and personal change.

    redcrosse I would encourage you to stand again under the banner of Feminism and be proud to throw in with this lot. Perfection is not the price of entry, only introspection and willingness to learn.

  319. 319
    EllenBeth Wachs

    @280 Ed, I know!

    He has responded to that very question posed by pointing me to his quote in the video, “I hesitate to refer to Freethought Blogs as a whole…” but then he proceeds to do so at great length for the rest of the video.

  320. 320
    MissMarnie

    @kacyray

    You know that feeling you have right now? The one where you know that everyone around you thinks that what you have to offer to this conversation is likely to be of low quality and they aren’t going to take your points as seriously as you’d like? That feeling right there? You earned that. But you know what? That is the feeling that millions of people feel, all the time, who haven’t earned it. People of color, women and LGBT individuals are all treated like that, day to day, as a default. It is an exception to be among people who value their opinion as much by default as the straight, white, cisgender men who hold most of the top positions in government and business. That’s what feminism is about. It’s not about taking anything away from anyone, it’s about breaking down those biases that subtly favor one group over another for no good reason.

    And you know what? I have biases. I catch myself thinking in ways that can be subtly harmful to others. I work hard to catch these assumptions and change them. The only way to change is to hear what people are saying and stop making their experience about you.

  321. 321
    kacyray

    Gnumann

    It’s more a case of “If just the blithering idiots everybody disagrees with would leave us alone, we would get around to discuss more interesting things.”.

    LOL! And I will take you seriously on this, guy who authored comment #312.

    I’m sure that you have fought a noble fight against whatever forced I initiated that have forced you into this seemingly endless dialogue in which you clearly have no interest in participating.

    That still doesn’t answer the question: Why are you here if you consider the format useless?

    Because that wasn’t the question you asked. You asked why the fuck I was here. Ask a coherant question and you have a better shot of getting the answer you’re looking for.

    The answer is – this comment section is good for short-term, brief exchanges. Not for extended converstaions. How have you not understood this yet? I’ve explained this at least three times already.

    As soon as you’re asked a question you clam up

    Alright, now you’ve lost all credibility. I’ve done nothing *but* answer questions. You are clearly not equipped to have this conversation.

    Take the rest of the day off.

  322. 322
    Anthony K

    You are clearly not equipped to have this conversation.

    Tell us more of these things you, in fact, heard.

  323. 323
    redcrosse

    @thebg, “2) Shark attacks are an underlying sign of a personality disorder.
    When a commenter would drop by and make what appeared to me as a casual comment and then get thoroughly pummeled I would get turned-off. In order to justify this to myself I concocted the notion that the meanies were simply not of my stripe, had a tic that could not be controlled or were simply swimming in circles out of boredom waiting for the first whiff of blood and then getting high from the kill.

    The reason I took this position is embarrassingly obvious, my own privilege had been pricked. The unlucky fish being rent asunder could have been me, had I dared to venture out from the school. By extension I had been swimming with a philosophy I had claimed to disavow. My own cognitive dissonance was the root of my offense, not the words being used in the thread.”

    This is exactly what I see and I am thoroughly turned-off (I’m sure to the care of no one here). I know that’s how it is on Pharyngula and now here, so I avoid those places and don’t want to be associated with people like that, i.e. will not call myself a feminist (which makes me anti-feminist apparently). The meanies are indeed “not of my stripe” as I said far above. The fish being rent asunder *is* me here and others. This is no group I want to throw in with.

    Can I ask you to clarify the bolded sentence? I can follow the rest but that part is where you lost me. 1) You recognized that you could have been the unlucky fish had you strayed from the school, and 2) by extension you had a philosophy you claimed to disavow? I don’t follow how you got to 2 or what the philosophy is.

  324. 324
    kacyray

    MissMarie @320

    You know that feeling you have right now? The one where you know that everyone around you thinks that what you have to offer to this conversation is likely to be of low quality and they aren’t going to take your points as seriously as you’d like? That feeling right there?

    I don’t think you know exactly how I feel right now, but I can help you relate.

    Close your eyes, and imagine going into an MRA blog comment section and trying to make the case that you are a feminist, but that doesn’t make you a man-hater.

    Now imagine trying to explain this for two days, during which you patiently and politely attempt to state your case, only to be met on *all sides* with insults, mockery, and accusations that you won’t answer questions, can’t make a cogent case, saying stuf that “we’ll all heard before”, etc..

    Imagine that scenario… knowing that you’re in there and you’re doing all the right things – not being vindictive or insulting – just making your case. And eventually you would say to youself, “You know, I’ve been as patient as I can. I’ve tried to speak to these people like adults. I’ve tried to answer their questions, and engage in an honet exchange of ideas, but there absolutely no hope for these fuckers.”

    Now open your eyes…

    Now you know exactly how I feel right now.

  325. 325
    dingojack

    kacyray – Well you;re doing all that except the bit where you state your case effectively and with actual creditable evidence.
    Do that and perhaps you’d be getting somewhere.[IMHO].
    Dingo

  326. 326
    Gnumann+, out&proud cultural marxist (just don't ask me about Gramsci)

    Kacyray:

    That still doesn’t answer the question: Why are you here if you consider the format useless?

    Because that wasn’t the question you asked. You asked why the fuck I was here. Ask a coherant question and you have a better shot of getting the answer you’re looking for.

    The question I asked was:

    The problem with this forum is that each day new blog posts render each conversation “old news” after a very short period of time. So every conversation, regardless of how relevant, engaging, or compelling, fizzles out after 24-48 hours. That’s the first problem.

    If you don’t like the format, why the fuck are you here?

    I’m not sure if you’re a fail reader or a fail liar. Probably the last one given your political preferences. Here’s a hint: Don’t go for the lies that can be easily documented as lies.

  327. 327
    Gnumann+, out&proud cultural marxist (just don't ask me about Gramsci)

    @ my 326:
    Bah! Borkquote!

    The last bit’s mine, now.

  328. 328
    MissMarnie

    @kacyray #324

    Actually, if I were to do just that, I’d be called a, gendered slurs, threatened, told to go back to the kitchen and make a sandwich and asked to show my tits or leave. What I wouldn’t find is anyone actually having a conversation about my individual points.

    What you see as an attack, is adults emphatically disagreeing, in the same way you might disagree with a creationist who would come here and try to carefully and thoughtfully explain why they think you are wrong about evolution. At some point, you get tired of pascal’s wager. You get tired of irreducible complexity. You get tired of the ontological argument. Do you really think you owe it to every last creationist to explain, with patients and kindness, why their arguments are wrong? At some point do you get fed up with rehashing the same points with someone who can’t or won’t acknowledge all the evidence? Who insists that defining “theory” incorrectly, makes his argument valid?

    That’s how you sound to me. You want to ignore evidence, you want to redefine, “feminism.” No matter how rational you think you are being, if your premise is simply wrong, I’m not obliged to accepted and I am free to call it BS as I see it.

  329. 329
    PatrickG

    @kacy:

    I’ve done nothing *but* answer questions.

    You still haven’t answered my question from way up. The post with links it got moderated, so I’ll try just two links:

    Who Uses Cell Phones the Most While Driving. “60% of the men interviewed used cell phones without a headset while driving, compared to 53% of the women that were interviewed. When asked about how often they use cell phones while driving, 50% of the men said they use cell phones daily compared to only 32% of the women.”

    STUDY: Connecticut women less likely to violate cell phone ban. “In 2011 alone, men received nearly 16,000 tickets while women got only 13,690.”

    Again, the previous comment got held up in moderation due to the number of links. Could you substantively address this? You previously claimed that women talked on the phone in supermarkets more than men, and that this was similarly evident while driving. Your original argument was:

    But if you want evidence, then next time you go grocery shopping. Count the number of men talking on their cell phone while shopping and compare it to the number of men who aren’t. Then count the number of women doing talking on their cell phone while shopping, and compare it to the number who aren’t. Then, compare the ratios. Then do it again the next 9 times you go grocery shopping.

    This experiment also works while you’re driving down the road.

    You’ll find that more women are talking on their phones while shopping (or driving) than men. This is a manifestation of their social needs as compared to the social needs of men. This is but one manifestation – and that difference in social needs has far reaching implications regarding the different ways men and women lead their lives including what their needs are and what they are willing to do in order to have them met.

    It is a crucial difference in our psychologies. Does that help?

    I claim you’re wrong, on the basis of the linked studies (and the ones that didn’t make it through moderation). Therefore, I claim your inference of differing psychologies and social needs cannot be supported by your claim. I further claim that your claims, since based on incorrect data, are most likely due to consciously or unconsciously held beliefs that are not based in reality (i.e. bias).

    I should note that cognitive bias is something all humans are susceptible to, and that this is most definitely not intended as a personal attack. Rather, I hope to convince you through argument and data that your position in the quoted section cannot be defended.

    I await your response.

  330. 330
    kacyray

    Ah yes, you’re right. That’s what I get for not actually scrolling up and referenceing. You got me.

    But thanks for focusing on my error… now you probably need to get back to the busines of convincing yourself that I don’t answer questions.

  331. 331
    Gnumann+, out&proud cultural marxist (just don't ask me about Gramsci)

    Kacyray:

    Now you know exactly how I feel right now.

    And yet you haven’t paused one second to reflect why.

    Your scenario omits a lot of details.

    Are man-haters an actual wide-spread phenomenon in society with strong and rich traditions and political influence?
    Does MissMarie in her scenario actually make her case, or does she just bluster inn, spout of a couple of questions, then deny the validity of the answer without any good reason, then serve a couple of well-know man-hater canards? All while demanding respect without giving any? Does she refer to a facebook page where she identifies with a political ideology widely known to be man-hating?

  332. 332
    Gnumann+, out&proud cultural marxist (just don't ask me about Gramsci)

    kacyray

    now you probably need to get back to the busines of convincing yourself that I don’t answer questions.

    I’m not the one arguing against the consensus on this one.

  333. 333
    tomh

    Kacyray:
    This is just not a good place to get into such a detailed and nuanced topic

    In other words, I can’t list a few of the secret and hidden goals of feminism because … there are none? I’m sworn to secrecy? I’m full of shit? Take your pick>

  334. 334
    thebg

    @ redcrosee 323

    Sure. Apologies if I overly strained my analogy. Also I had no intent to project my own experiences on to you.

    I would never consider myself an MRA, but I found that I took offense at the evisceration of some MRA arguments, and then pretended my offense was due to the tone of the argument, and not the fact that I had been exposed to hold a similar belief, or be inclined to argue in a similar vein.

    This generaly took the form of agruments where someone agreed with a topic but then switched to why edge cases also effect men, or tried to expose a feminist viewpoint as wrong by hypothesizing the most extreme and illogical caricature of the original statement/post.

    I’d suggest that there is no such thing as a feminist ‘ally’. One either is or isn’t. In my case, the notion that I could espouse the concept of equality but choose to not be called a feminist was simply cover for me to hold anti-feminist views and feel self-righteous about it. And using tone of argument or deciding that certain people weren’t my type as the justification for that position is simply entenching my privilged position.

    I feel I may not have sufficiently answered your question, though I would like to ask you to further define “people like that”, or with what stripe of feminist you would associate. To lay my cards out, that particular question is me wondering aloud if it is truly a pure disagreement over style or if there isn’t substance that puts you off.

  335. 335
    PatrickG

    @kacyray:

    I assume that was directed at me, though without a name reference it’s difficult to tell. This is a very active thread, and I certainly wouldn’t assume that you saw every single post or had time to respond to it. So I reposted my question, and this time you did respond (I think, maybe that was at someone else).

    If #330 was directed at me:

    First, my repost wasn’t very good at framing the questions. Thus, I’ll ask two:
    - Given the data/studies I linked, can you further defend your argument of psychological/social differences based on cell phone use by gender?
    - If not, can you provide other supporting evidence?

    Btw, I’m not focusing on your error, I’m focusing on your argument. I see an error in it, and have presented a counterargument with sources to support my position.

    If your lack of substantive response is because of my tone, I don’t know how I could possibly have done more to engage only your argument. I’m genuinely curious what your statements of psychological and social differences are rooted in. Whatever else you want to say about FTB, this is very much a blog network that depends on evidence-based arguments and links to supporting data. If you think others aren’t doing that, then bring in your own data and sources. If that’s something you don’t wish to do, then I’m really at a loss. To the best of my knowledge, Ed isn’t running a philosophy blog* here.

    Whether or not you choose to engage is your call. But if you’re not actually going to answer my questions, I don’t have to convince myself that you don’t answer questions.

    * Yeah, I went there.

  336. 336
    Gnumann+, out&proud cultural marxist (just don't ask me about Gramsci)

    I’d suggest that there is no such thing as a feminist ‘ally’. One either is or isn’t. In my case, the notion that I could espouse the concept of equality but choose to not be called a feminist was simply cover for me to hold anti-feminist views and feel self-righteous about it. And using tone of argument or deciding that certain people weren’t my type as the justification for that position is simply entenching my privilged position.

    I disagree with this one. A lot of people are in reality allied to feminism without self-identifying as a feminist. Granted, this is usually either because of ignorance of what feminism is or another set of priorities. I think it’s wrong to ascribe these people the label of feminist.

    You’ve got one thing right in my opinion though, the people claiming to be allies of feminism almost invariably aren’t.

  337. 337
    thebg

    Gnumann+, yes that is better stated and captures the intent of my comment.

  338. 338
    Raging Bee

    And this is one of my big problems with feminism… to tendency to believe that “social equality” and “political equality” must somehow manifest themselves into “equality” across the board, blurring any distinction between the sexes, as though none exist and it’s all in our minds.

    Feminists aren’t “blurring” the differences; they (or maybe I should say we) are pointing out that, once you get past the obvious physical differences, the overwhelming majority of what remains are the result of nurture, not nature. And yes, that includes your “men are aggressive, women are nurturing” bit — women can be aggressive without growing dicks (just ask the US and some other armies), and men can be nurturing without growing tits or wombs. That’s not a “flawed premise” of feminism, that’s an observable fact that feminists get needless heat for pointing out.

    So yeah, I can stand by my statement that you’ve consistently failed to describe even one of those “failed premises” that allegedly make feminism so bad in your eyes.

  339. 339
    Raging Bee

    Another thing about feminists allegedly “blurring” gender differences: have you noticed it’s feminists who have been trying to get society to recognize certain differences that need to be better reflected in law? Like fighting for the right to take maternity leave without getting fired, or the right to choose whether or not to get pregnant. So yeah, this “blurring the differences” talk is crap.

  340. 340
    Gnumann+, out&proud cultural marxist (just don't ask me about Gramsci)

    Like fighting for the right to take maternity leave without getting fired

    Actually, that’s one right feminists in my neck of the woods have fought to equalize, and succeeded. The period might seem absurd to USians though: One year shared between the parents (paid) then one year each (unpaid).

  341. 341
    kacyray

    PatrickG,

    I’m at work right now and a bit caught up, but I will try briefly to answer your quetion

    First, my repost wasn’t very good at framing the questions. Thus, I’ll ask two:
    - Given the data/studies I linked, can you further defend your argument of psychological/social differences based on cell phone use by gender?
    - If not, can you provide other supporting evidence?

    I was not attempting to prove anything. I was asked for some evidence that there are essential differences between males and females, and I used an example from my own observation.

    If it turns out that, by some miraculous coincidence, that I just happen to be seeing all the women who talk on their cell phones while shopping or driving, and I never see the men who are doing it… then I’ll make that concession. But it doesn’t change the fact that my entire life has been one straight barrage of evidence that females are much more consumed with their social identity, and cultivating their social connections, than males (as a general rule). I was using the cell phone anecdote as an example.

    To even question the reality that females (as a general rule) are more consumed with their social identity and social considerations than men, you’d almost have to walk around with your eyes, ears, and brain shut off. And it is THAT difference I was attempting to illustrate. It’s an essential difference.

    Do I have stats available right now? No. But in fairness, I haven’t asked for any stats to confirm that sexism or misogyny exists. Some things should are so obvious that no one in their right mind can question them.

    I don’t think it matters so much *why* these gender differences exist – whether they are “essential” or derived from external social and cultural factors. The fact that they exist is a reality.

    Do you know that there are different criteria for female chess players than male players? For them to earn their Master titles (Master, International Master, Grand Master) they have to meet a much lower bar than men do. There is one woman (Judit Polgar) who is a Grand Master among men. She’s the only woman ever to achieve that.

    How is this relevant? Is the fact that women can’t compete in chess, which is a purely intellectual game, at anywhere near the level of men a product of their essence? Is it a genetic thing? Cultural? Social? What difference does it make? It’s a reality, and because it’s a reality, the governing body of chess awards titles to females based on lower standards.

    The Marine Corps physical fitness test, which I run every year, has lower standards for women, making it easier for them to get promoted. Anyone here want to argue for equality on that front? Be my guest… male Marines have been doing it for years to no avail.

    The fact that there are differences is undenyable. I’m shocked that it is even believ questioned… although i guess I shouldn’t be.

  342. 342
    allegro

    So yeah, this “blurring the differences” talk is crap.

    It’s a diversionary tactic to justify continued beliefs that women simply don’t deserve equal rights and respectful treatment as human beings with full agency. It’s the same argument used to perpetuate minority inequality or the mistreatment of any “other” one wishes to deny agency. Women/minorities/”others” aren’t as smart, aren’t as capable, aren’t as fill-in-the-blank, using evo-crappola as some proof of differences that make equal rights just silly talk.

    But pointing that out is just mean and rude.

  343. 343
    allegro

    The fact that there are differences is undenyable. I’m shocked that it is even believ questioned… although i guess I shouldn’t be.

    The question isn’t that there are differences, the question is “so what?”

  344. 344
    kacyray

    Raging –

    Another problem I have with feminism is the failed recognition that the alleged “social inequalities” women suffer are mitigated – almost always in excess – by social inequalities they enjoy.

    Now, here’s what’s about to happen: you’ve asked me to name one of those “mysterious” premises that seperates me from feminist ideology. Now I’ve named (another) one.

    Now what will happen is that demands for me to justify this position will come from all directions. But that is a HUGE conversation to have, and this is NOT the right place to have it (for reasons I’ve described).

    Then my reluctance to address such an enormous issue in this forum will be thrown back at me as a refusal to back up my position. But I am not attempting to back up or prove my position, I am only attempting to describe it.

    That’s what happened earlier on in this thread (when I described feminsist refusal to recognize obvious essential differences between the sexes), and I’ll bet you a plug nickel that’s what’s about to happen now.

    I am describing my position, because you asked. But this platform is not well suited for the deliberation of that position.

    Watch. Here it goes.

    Oh, and another thing that will happen is that I will still get accused of not having offered up any argument. Even though that’s not what even I’m trying to do.

  345. 345
    eris07

    kacykray:

    You’ll find that more women are talking on their phones while shopping (or driving) than men. This is a manifestation of their social needs as compared to the social needs of men. This is but one manifestation – and that difference in social needs has far reaching implications regarding the different ways men and women lead their lives including what their needs are and what they are willing to do in order to have them met.

    This is the problem with evopsych or at least this sort of evopsych which I see being claimed here. Suppose I conducted just such a study and the results were exactly what you predict: far more women than men talking on the phone. My results do not support your conclusion. They don’t really support any explanation at all, only show that women are more likely to talk on cell phones in stores in the region I surveyed.

    I could use this same data to suggest any explanation. Maybe women are more comfortable with technology than men or prefer phones to speaking face to face. Or that they are better multitaskers and can talk and shop at the same time. Or that evolution has primed men to hate speaking in public places because making noise would give away the locations of ancient warrior ancestors and scare away their prey while hunting.

    Arguing that women do activity X more than men (and I’m only assuming the cell phone claim is legit in order to make an example) proves stereotype Y and is clearly because of rationalization Z isn’t science. But it does do a good job of revealing your own bias, and those biases can lead to real harm to real women in the real world.

  346. 346
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    @Kacy Ray:

    Math is haard!

  347. 347
    Gretchen

    kacyray said:

    Another problem I have with feminism is the failed recognition that the alleged “social inequalities” women suffer are mitigated – almost always in excess – by social inequalities they enjoy.

    And you people are reluctant to call this man a feminist ally! For shame.

  348. 348
    allegro

    Another problem I have with feminism is the failed recognition that the alleged “social inequalities” women suffer are mitigated – almost always in excess – by social inequalities they enjoy.

    LOL There it is! Women get free drinks on Ladies Night!

    The rest of your post is just a preemptive excuse why you won’t/can’t support your premise and to prove how mean we are to ask you to. We’re supposed to take you at all seriously? LOL

  349. 349
    Anthony K

    Rape in the US military: America’s dirty little secret

    What a benefit! Those lucky duckies don’t have to pass the physicals that the male marines do.

  350. 350
    Gnumann+, out&proud cultural marxist (just don't ask me about Gramsci)

    Another problem I have with feminism is the failed recognition that the alleged “social inequalities” women suffer are mitigated – almost always in excess – by social inequalities they enjoy.

    Now, here’s what’s about to happen: you’ve asked me to name one of those “mysterious” premises that seperates me from feminist ideology. Now I’ve named (another) one.

    Except of course, you’ve yet again to actually describe what “social inequalities they enjoy” actually is. Or in any way establish that they outweigh the sum of male privilege.

    Ooooh – lemme guess:
    We’re at:
    Free drinks!
    Gatekeeper for causal sex!
    Child custody after divorce!

    and let’s not forget the most important female privilege at all:
    Men holding doors!

    I’ve got a song for you

  351. 351
    tomh

    Kacyray:
    Another problem I have with feminism is the failed recognition that the alleged “social inequalities” women suffer are mitigated – almost always in excess – by social inequalities they enjoy.

    This is hilarious. You can follow this outlandish assertion with over 200 words explaining why you can’t elaborate on this, but you can’t use a dozen or so words to name a few of these inequalities that women enjoy.

  352. 352
    SallyStrange

    Sally, there’s nothing wrong with a minimum expectation of respectful dialogue.

    Yes, there is something wrong with that expectation, and here is is: respect must be earned. I’m under no obligation to respect those who would treat me as a second-class citizen, and I’m under no obligation to respect those who are stupid or lazy enough to be duped by the lies pushed by those who would treat me as a second-class citizen.

  353. 353
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    The alleged “social inequalities” women suffer are mitigated – almost always in excess – by social inequalities they enjoy.

    Citation needed.

    And how is a social inequality enjoyable in and of itself?

    Being kept in padded and artfully decorated cages is not made okay because the cage is padded and artfully decorated because it is still a goddamn cage.

    WHAT are the benefits that women enjoy as a result of social inequality?

    Also, care to explore how most of said benefits are actually those belonging to some women (usually women of the dominant race, class and religion, and those who have men who don’t hate them nearby willing to support them)? Subtract the perks of being a member of the dominant classes from the experience of being a member of an oppressed class, and the ugliness of the kyriarchy is laid bare.

  354. 354
    kacyray

    Gretchen, i will never be allied to the feminist cause. And I didn’t say I was.

    What i said was that, based on the phony descriptions provided by yourself and the rest of the tribe here, I am.

    But we know know I’m not, and we both know it’s because the description you provided was never honest to begin with.

    I support complete political equality for all. I support complete social equality for all. I oppose sexism in either direction. But that’s not enough to make me a feminist, is it?

    You know it isn’t. Because you aren’t honest about your motives.

    I think my point is made. Clearly not received, but made. Good enough for me.

  355. 355
    Gnumann+, out&proud cultural marxist (just don't ask me about Gramsci)

    You know it isn’t. Because you aren’t honest about your motives.

    You know, even thought there might be some reflection in your monitor, you aren’t really talking to yourself.

  356. 356
    laurentweppe

    The treatment that anyone who isn’t a feminist encounters down here is beyond reprehensible. I’d venture to guess that you miss out on a lot of quality commentary simply for the fact that no one who isn’t a feminist would tolerate the treatment they receive for deigning to suggest alternate views.

    Ok, There are two things which need to be said about that.
    .
    First Thing:
    .
    There are, indeed, in the dark corner of the internet, creepy über-tribalistic self-proclaimed feminists.

    These are jargon-obsessed manic creatures who use the feminist lingo as a litmus test.
    If you don’t -in every possible situation- speak Exactly like us, then you are not one of us, and everything that isn’t us is an ennemy“.
    .
    Bullies who fancy themselves clever because they invented some twisted variation of feminist theories which they use to justify their thinly veiled bloodlust
    So you say that trying to make porn and prostitution illegal is a pointless endeavor? I know what you really are: you are a racist wanabee who loves to see women in bonds and who would already have committed several rapes if not for fear of prison! I’d love to see you thrown in a prison to be raped by an inmate, that would teach you your worth my little rapist wanabee
    .
    Authoritarians who, behind their pretense of being the only real paragon of progressivism are always enthusiastically professing their support for the latest despotic policy or law that supposed to protect women by crushing everyone’s freedoms.
    This new anti immigration law will curb down the number of dangerous foreign men braiwashed by their patriarchal foreign culture infiltrating our lands and threatening to harm our daughters with their genital mutilations and child marriages
    .
    Retrograde control freaks who keep on imagining increasingly complex and pointless ritualistic behaviors that men should adopt to show the world that they don’t intend to hurt women around them in any shape or form (as if mysoginists when incapable of mimicking that)
    .
    These creatures really exist, these creatures sometimes manage to swim upward toward less muddy waters, including around here, and these creatures are really capable to give feminism such a bad name that people with feminist convictions sometime refuse to be called feminists because they don’t want to be mistaken with these freaks.
    .
    So maybe a few unlucky commenters tried to open their mouth when a More-Feministerest-Than-You freak was in the vicinity and since blood attracts sharks was eaten alive. That is absolutely possible and that’s a pity..

    ***
    Now on to the second things which needs to be said:
    ***

    Feminists, radical feminists, angry vengeful feminists who never heard about the “flight” in fight or flight response:
    These are Totally Different Animals: they share next to nothing with the freaks I just depicted.
    .
    I’ve known quite a few feminists in meatspace. I’ve been raised by feminists, I avoid as much as I can non-feminists so I don’t spend my days with the urge to strangle some halfwit happy to live in a world where competition is rigged in his favor.
    .
    Feminists can be many things, good and bad: they can sometimes be loud, they can be obnoxious, they can refuse to listen, they can be needlessly agressive and frankly, given how badly the world has treated them, I’d say that most of the blame for this rest on the world’s collective shoulders,
    .
    But I have never met IRL a feminist who was disgusting and despicable like the “
    More Feministerest Than You” freaks which dwell in the net’s cesspools.
    .
    The “
    Feminism sucks because I’ve met online a crazy bitch who said she was the most feminist woman evar” argument needs to die. In fact, it needs to be flayed alive in public, burned to death, its ashes put in a rocket and the rocket sent toward the Great Attractor.

  357. 357
    Gretchen

    kacyray said:

    I support complete political equality for all. I support complete social equality for all. I oppose sexism in either direction. But that’s not enough to make me a feminist, is it?

    It would be if it were true, you idiot.

    But your status as being in favor of everything good and opposed to everything bad is somewhat tarnished by your tendency to support bad things with, you know, every other statement. I’m sorry to break this to you, but you don’t get to say that you’re not a racist but you wouldn’t be able to stand your daughter dating a black man and have people believe both.

  358. 358
    kacyray

    Esteleth @353

    Check my comment #250. If you really want to have a conversation, feel free to let me know. I’d be happy to go down all those rabbitholes.

    Otherwise, as much fun as it is chatting with all you sweethearts, I’ve got a weekend to get to.

  359. 359
    Anthony K

    Otherwise, as much fun as it is chatting with all you sweethearts, I’ve got a weekend to get to.

    And just imagine: instead of crying like a fucking wanker about how meanly you’ve been treated, you could have just provided some evidence for your claims.

    You fucking suck as a human being. You really, really, do.

  360. 360
    SallyStrange

    If it turns out that, by some miraculous coincidence, that I just happen to be seeing all the women who talk on their cell phones while shopping or driving, and I never see the men who are doing it

    It’s not a miraculous coincidence, you dope, it’s a well-known phenomenon of cognitive psychology. And you want me to treat you with respect? Educate your damn self. Gullible fool that you are.

    Gretchen, i will never be allied to the feminist cause. And I didn’t say I was.

    What i said was that, based on the phony descriptions provided by yourself and the rest of the tribe here, I am.

    I think what you are trying to say is that feminism is, in reality, reasonable and supported by evidence, and you are opposed to it for spurious and false reasons. We already knew that. I hope you realize it someday.

  361. 361
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    kacyray:
    Are you being deliberately vague?
    What are these social inequalities you are talking about?
    What are the social inequalities that women benefit from?
    You haven’t presented evidence for anything you have said. Personal anecdotes such as “I see more women on cellphones than men, and I am going to draw a conclusion from that self selected and highly biased small sampling” are. not. evidence.

  362. 362
    GeekMelange (formerly thepint)

    The alleged “social inequalities” women suffer are mitigated – almost always in excess – by social inequalities they enjoy.

    *HEAD DESK*

    Yes, because ladies nights with free well drinks and comp’d entry before 11pm at some night clubs totally makes up for glass ceilings in professional industries and making less than your male counterparts for doing the same type of work. Essentially, what Esteleth said about gilded cages still being goddamned cages at #353. And “alleged social inequalities”? When actual, verifiable evidence exists of said social inequalities? This is getting extremely tiresome just to read, I can’t imagine how people have the stamina to keep trying to engage with this level of ridiculous obtuseness.

  363. 363
    PatrickG

    I’m at work right now and a bit caught up, but I will try briefly to answer your quetion

    First, my repost wasn’t very good at framing the questions. Thus, I’ll ask two:
    – Given the data/studies I linked, can you further defend your argument of psychological/social differences based on cell phone use by gender?
    – If not, can you provide other supporting evidence?

    I was not attempting to prove anything. I was asked for some evidence that there are essential differences between males and females, and I used an example from my own observation.

    Since I don’t know you, I can’t possibly evaluate the accuracy of your observations. But you have heard of selection bias? Confirmation bias?

    If it turns out that, by some miraculous coincidence, that I just happen to be seeing all the women who talk on their cell phones while shopping or driving, and I never see the men who are doing it… then I’ll make that concession. But it doesn’t change the fact that my entire life has been one straight barrage of evidence that females are much more consumed with their social identity, and cultivating their social connections, than males (as a general rule). I was using the cell phone anecdote as an example.

    Since I linked you information that seems to directly contradict your lived experience, does that mean you are conceding that women do not, in fact, talk more on their cell phones than men, either while driving or in social situations?

    Again, your lived observations aren’t much of a data set to work with. For instance, it’s been my experience that men are much more likely to join political parties and show up to meetings. That’s a statement of observation. Now, beyond whether I’m actually reporting accurately, I haven’t said anything about why that might be so.

    To even question the reality that females (as a general rule) are more consumed with their social identity and social considerations than men, you’d almost have to walk around with your eyes, ears, and brain shut off. And it is THAT difference I was attempting to illustrate. It’s an essential difference.

    Actually, it’s been my experience that men are just as consumed by social identity and considerations. So we’re at a stand-off here. You perceive one reality, and I perceive another. The difference is I’m not claiming to know why my reality works that way. The most I’m claiming is that perhaps men and women interact differently in public, and that maybe that’s socially conditioned. We can examine that!

    What we can’t examine is your insistence that it’s “just the way things are”.

    Do I have stats available right now? No. But in fairness, I haven’t asked for any stats to confirm that sexism or misogyny exists. Some things should are so obvious that no one in their right mind can question them.

    You’re right. Claiming without evidence that women are inherently different from men in social activities is obviously a ludicrous claim, and can be dismissed as such.

    I don’t think it matters so much *why* these gender differences exist – whether they are “essential” or derived from external social and cultural factors. The fact that they exist is a reality.

    Then why are you so insistent on not examining why these differences exist? Why do you keep insisting that they just are.

    Do you know that there are different criteria for female chess players than male players? For them to earn their Master titles (Master, International Master, Grand Master) they have to meet a much lower bar than men do. There is one woman (Judit Polgar) who is a Grand Master among men. She’s the only woman ever to achieve that.

    And women are bad at math, right?

    You do know there are books on this subject. Here’s a fun study explaining the discrepancy between men and women in top-level chess through population sizes.

    And some women, like Judit Polgar, simply refuse to play in the women’s tournament.

    How is this relevant? Is the fact that women can’t compete in chess, which is a purely intellectual game, at anywhere near the level of men a product of their essence? Is it a genetic thing? Cultural? Social? What difference does it make? It’s a reality, and because it’s a reality, the governing body of chess awards titles to females based on lower standards.

    And here’s where I completely and sharply disagree with you. You ask the questions I would ask, and then say “What difference does it make?” In a world where women and men are not equal, not even being willing to acknowledge that these questions matter indicates that you’re definitely not a feminist, and definitely not an ally.

    These questions matter. If you want a world where there is no governing body giving out “lesser” awards, perhaps we should answer those questions of genes/culture/society. If you’re not willing to do the work, you have no ground on which to complain about anything.

    The Marine Corps physical fitness test, which I run every year, has lower standards for women, making it easier for them to get promoted. Anyone here want to argue for equality on that front? Be my guest… male Marines have been doing it for years to no avail.

    You know, many people have acknowledged there are real physical differences between the genders. Many, many people. Right here in this thread. I’d have to search around Rodda’s blog, but she has several posts on the changes in fitness tests. One of the fun facts is that women tend to do better than men in endurance tests — shouldn’t we make men come up to their level? Why aren’t we making men compete at the same level there? The unfairness!

    The fact that there are differences is undenyable. I’m shocked that it is even believ questioned… although i guess I shouldn’t be.

    There are indeed differences. Nobody is questioning that. What we’re questioning is your explanations for why those differences exist. You seem to be completely unwilling to answer that question. In fact, you say the explanations don’t matter.

  364. 364
    Gnumann+, out&proud cultural marxist (just don't ask me about Gramsci)

    Anthony K

    You fucking suck as a human being. You really, really, do.

    Have you seen his facebook-page? He self-identifies as a sorry excuse for a human being. (Which makes me very curious about what he mean with “social equality” – but getting a honest answer from him is far harder than squeezing blood from a stone – so I’m not gonna try).

  365. 365
    physphilmusic

    LOL at the feminists who ridicule their critics as being irrationally thinking that feminists hate men in general, when at the same time they automatically assume that MRAs or even people who aren’t feminists hate women in general.

  366. 366
    PatrickG

    Gretchen, i will never be allied to the feminist cause. And I didn’t say I was.

    That sounds like a great exit line, to me. You don’t agree with us, and we don’t agree with you, so….

  367. 367
    physphilmusic

    Here’s a fun study explaining the discrepancy between men and women in top-level chess through population sizes.

    Funny that someone professing feminism would actually quote that study. It explains the differences between men and women in chess as being due to the “bell curve tail”, a kind of explanation which got Larry Summers fired because he admitted he considered it a possibility. You should repent of your misogynistic sexist bigotry of even considering linking to that despicable study!

  368. 368
    Gnumann+, out&proud cultural marxist (just don't ask me about Gramsci)

    LOL at the feminists who ridicule their critics as being irrationally thinking that feminists hate men in general, when at the same time they automatically assume that MRAs or even people who aren’t feminists hate women in general.

    Another one who can’t quite grok the definition of “feminism” (and by extention “antifeminism)?

  369. 369
    SallyStrange

    I can’t see a compelling reason to be an MRA if you don’t hate women. That is what it’s all about, after all–not advocating for men’s rights, as is claimed–they never actually do that–but about tearing down the progress women have made so they can preserve male privilege.

    I think people who don’t call themselves feminists are often tacitly supporting hatred of women, usually out of ignorance. Same thing I think about people who don’t positively identify as anti-racist, pro-gay rights, etc. It really isn’t possible to be neutral in this fucked-up world. Some people don’t call themselves feminists because they prefer to identify as womanists or whatever, but that’s a completely different ball game.

    But I’ve never claimed that all people who don’t identify as feminists are all active, deliberate misogynists. I wonder if any feminist ever has. Hint: I don’t actually wonder this.

  370. 370
    Gretchen

    physphilmusic said:

    LOL at the feminists who ridicule their critics as being irrationally thinking that feminists hate men in general, when at the same time they automatically assume that MRAs or even people who aren’t feminists hate women in general.

    Yeah, how crazypants. That would be like a bunch of people who oppose racism ridiculing their critics as irrationally thinking that they hate white people, when at the same time they (the opponents of racism) automatically assume that self-declared racists or even people who don’t oppose racism are racist.

  371. 371
    PatrickG

    Funny that someone professing feminism would actually quote that study. It explains the differences between men and women in chess as being due to the “bell curve tail”, a kind of explanation which got Larry Summers fired because he admitted he considered it a possibility. You should repent of your misogynistic sexist bigotry of even considering linking to that despicable study!

    Oh for fuck’s sake, you ignorant twit. Have you even heard of this thing they call statistics? Or are you as cognitively limited as a kitten who doesn’t understand laser pointers?

    He said something about distributions! Those have bell curves in them! LASER POINTER LARRY SUMMERS ZOMG!

    Idiot. The kitten has a better chance than you do.

    The population sizes here matter in that fewer women play chess professionally/in competitions. Thus, for a random skill like chess playing, of course you would expect the tail end of a larger population to have a great number of individuals than the tail end of a smaller population. Now compare that completely obvious assertion to what Larry Summers did, which is that you can bell curve men and women and the curve for women just has a smaller width.

    Go take a remedial statistics class before you accidentally word-vomit on yourself again.

  372. 372
    PatrickG

    Make that “greater number”.. damn grammar.

  373. 373
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    @365:
    Let me guess: you love dictionaries.

    MRAs do not have to literally shout “we hate women” for people to see that their words and actions stand at odds with equality for women. If you stand against equality for women, well you should be able to figure out the rest cupcake.

  374. 374
    Dr X

    A question for those who don’t feel comfortable calling themselves feminists: Would you be more comfortable calling yourself a gender-neutralist? Here’s why I ask: generally, when we use the suffix “ism” when we’re talking about some sort of preferentialism or a superiority-inferiority relationship with respect to the root word. An ism can be good or bad, pro or con, but it suggests a hierarchical relationship. To me feminism might be a problematic word unless of course you mean to say that women, or femininity or some such gender-related construct is inferior or superior to some other construct. Gender neutralist or gender neutralism sounds like a preference for neutrality over gender-based favoritism.

    I’m not merely making a pedantic argument. Rather, I’m trying to get at something that may be going on the minds of some people who say they believe in gender equality, but, for some reason, identifying themselves as feminist rubs them the wrong way. In fact, I wonder if the term itself leads some people to mischaracterize the views of feminists as anti-male.

    Obviously the word feminist doesn’t have this effect on everyone, but there are a lot of people who struggle with applying the word to themselves, and I wonder if there is, in part, a psycholinguistic obstacle in play. Is it a problem that belief in gender-neutralism is called by a name that may sound like it favor gender neutrality?

    What are we to make of 70% of women rejecting the term feminist to describe themselves, yet 64% percent see the word as a neutral characterization of someone else? Mixed feelings, certainly. I’m not sure we can explain those widespread mixed feelings as entirely rooted in personal gender bias or cultural gender bias, because I just don’t think most people consciously reject gender equality. If consciously espousing the philosophy is okay, what’s the problem with the word that represents the philosophy? Could it be, at least in part, something about how our minds process language? More importantly, if the word leads people to substantively distort the underlying philosophy (vernacular usage), there’s a problem that requires more than scolding, moralizing or an assumption of psychological defect.

  375. 375
    Dr X

    My comment at 374 is in no way intended to absolve gender bias itself or excuse those who have trouble with the word because they are comfortable with their own implicit sense of gender superiority. A gender-neutralist and a “masculinist” could both be uncomfortable with the word feminist, but for entirely different reasons. One may want to escape the hierarchical paradigm while the other is in favor of keeping it intact, if not reverting to an even more hierarchical time.

  376. 376
    allegro

    Dr. X:

    The problem with many self-identifying as feminist is the result of anti-feminist Rush Limbaughesk demonizing the feminist movement, i.e. feminazis. Feminists have been/are being portrayed as man-hating, ugly, hairy bitches and, as we’ve seen in this very thread, meanie-heads. It isn’t actual feminists or feminism that turns less-aware people off, it’s anti-feminists who have screamed loud and long enough to falsely portray the movement and those in it.

  377. 377
    PatrickG

    Dr. X:

    Adding to allegro’s comment, the same dynamic is present with people self-identifying as “liberal”. Rush Limbaugh and his ilk distort everything.

  378. 378
    maddog1129

    @ redcrosse who does not want to identify as “feminist” because of the way self-described “feminists” behave in comments on Pharyngula and/or FtB as a whole

    I’d simply suggest that Pharyngula/FtB commenters are only a tiny, tiny slice of human beings in the world who are concerned about equal treatment of women and men in society(ies). To identify as a “feminist” in the wide world does not automatically carry a Pharyngula-taint … most people IRL have no idea about what goes on in this little corner of the blogosphere, but (1) holding the view that women everywhere should be treated as equal autonomous human beings while (2) steadfastly refusing to identify as “feminist” is pretty confusing to me.

    I generally strive for a bit more decorum in my exchanges than perhaps others do in the blogosphere/discussion board arena, but I accept that others have reasons for the way they respond also. IOW, keep your goal in mind: If your goal is to achieve equality, then by all means work for that, and don’t worry about what label it goes by. Don’t worry so much about the label that it distracts you from your purpose.

  379. 379
    allegro

    @ redcrosse who does not want to identify as “feminist” because of the way self-described “feminists” behave in comments on Pharyngula and/or FtB as a whole

    I’d simply suggest that Pharyngula/FtB commenters are only a tiny, tiny slice of human beings in the world who are concerned about equal treatment of women and men in society(ies). To identify as a “feminist” in the wide world does not automatically carry a Pharyngula-taint …

    This theme has permeated this thread and many others, but I’m damned if I can take it seriously. redcrosse and kacyray kept talking about how abused they were in the thread but I saw no such abuse. What I saw was a debate in which they made statements and others argued those points – quite successfully – while calling bullshit where it was legitimately due. When redcrosse and kacyray could not/would not support their claims, they fell back on how mean and tribalist everyone here is so shut-up that’s why.

  380. 380
    kacyray

    Dr. X @ 374

    I’m content with calling myself a humanist. Don’t see the need to specify a gender preference when none exists.

  381. 381
    tomh

    I’m content with calling myself a humanist

    Doesn’t really matter what you call yourself. Your comments here speak for themselves.

  382. 382
    SallyStrange

    Humanism necessarily includes feminism, unless you are convinced that women aren’t human.

  383. 383
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    SallyStrange & others:

    I feel more than a bit uncomfortable calling myself a feminist (and I avoid “ally” ENTIRELY) for a completely different reason than stated by others. I’m on board with feminism in its basic form and most of the specific types I’ve encountered seem to make at least some amount of sense. I don’t disagree with any aspect of feminism to a greater degree than I’ve seen feminists disagree with each other over the same details.

    On the contrary… I feel like it is a lot of responsibility and pressure for a man to call himself a feminist, and I’m not sure I measure up. Plus, honestly a little bit of the whole “you can’t give yourself a nickname” sort of thing. Not that sort of “genderblind” sexism that kacyray is engaged in, for instance.

  384. 384
    Dr X

    @ 376,

    I’d certainly agree that Limbaugh, Fox et al contribute to the problem, but I don’t think this is an either or thing. First, IIRC, there is a split between the underlying philosophy and the word feminism that predates these bigoted voices. And consider this: when the word “liberal’ was effectively demonized, liberal became more than a word people didn’t want to use to describe themselves; I think it became a word that people saw as a negative characterization of others, which isn’t surprising considering that the word was demonized. But this is not the case with the word feminism. While 70% of women don’t use the word feminist to describe themselves, 76% regard the word as “neutral” or a compliment when applied to others. That doesn’t sound so like the word has become an evil thing. This suggests to me that there is more than demonization of a word in play.

    http://pages.citebite.com/l8q7n4x8npyb

    I’m not trying to offer a single-explanation hypotheses. That isn’t how people really are. But I am questioning what I think is an over-simplistic approach to understanding ambivalence about the word. Your comment addresses a possible contribution that seems very reasonable to me, but you didn’t touch the linguistic oddity of this particular term that characterizes a neutralist philosophy with a suffix that implies preferentialism for the root word. This shouldn’t be hard for feminists grasp, given what I consider a very valid feminist approach to language and its hidden or implicit biases that influence our thinking without realizing that language is doing exactly that.

  385. 385
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    kacyray:
    As long as you hold to gender essentialism, I question how much you believe in equality for women. Those rigid gender roles are a symptom of patriarchy, a system which benefits men by keeping women unequal.

  386. 386
    Gretchen

    Feminism is different from most kinds of opposition to bigotry in that it adopts the name of the primary victims of that bigotry, which does two unfortunate things:

    1. It suggests that you must be a member of that victimized group in order to fall into the group opposing bigotry against it, and
    2. It suggests that you are a proponent of this group to the exclusion of other possible groups.

    Both of these are flat-out false, but they’re here to stay, and they have some very sad consequences. Nobody would say “I can’t oppose racism because I’m not black.” Nobody would say “I can’t oppose racism because I’m not partial to one race over another.” That would be paradoxical. Likewise it’s paradoxical to say that you can’t be a feminist because you don’t favor one sex over another, but it’s harder to see that.

    Things being how they are, I could hardly care less whether someone uses the term “feminist” to apply to him or herself if they actually are feminists. What drives me up the wall is someone who pretends that feminism is qualitatively different from other kinds of opposition to bigotry just because of the fucking name. “Feminist” is the most common term for an opponent of sexism. Deal with it. You don’t have to adopt it, but you also don’t get to decide that it means something other than what actual feminists say it does.

  387. 387
    SallyStrange

    Joe – I am a feminist and a woman and I fuck up and say sexist things sometimes. Don’t worry about it. :)

  388. 388
    Dr X

    Tom @381:

    KacyRay:I’m content with calling myself a humanist

    Tom: Doesn’t really matter what you call yourself. Your comments here speak for themselves.

    I skip KacyRay’s comments unless they’re very brief. Based on past discussion, I otherwise regard reading them as a waste of time. I accept your point that judging why a specific person does or doesn’t like to self-identify as a feminist can come from an appraisal of what they say substantively, so I want to be clear that my comment about language wasn’t an attempt to explain any specific commenter here.

  389. 389
    madgastronomer

    @julian Please stop trying to force people to identify as feminist. It’s disrespectful to them and dismissive of the not so great relationship feminism has had with a lot of minority groups and rights.

    Since the people present who have been loudly declaring that they aren’t feminists aren’t saying it’s because of the history of racism, ableism, transphobia, classism, etc, in feminisms, I really don’t think anyone’s dismissing the poor relationships. I went to the trouble of bringing them up, in case our not-feminists wanted to pick that up, but no, they disavow feminism because [tone argument] and [gender essentialism].

    I think it’s important to acknowledge the problems you bring up, which is why I did so, but they don’t actually seem to have any other relevance to the conversation. As I said, there are legitimate criticisms of feminisms, which are based on ways feminisms have poorly served certain groups of women, and there are illegitimate criticisms, which are the ones being voiced here.

    But truly, no one is trying to force anyone to identify as a feminist, only poking holes in the arguments of the people who are insisting they are for equality while demonstrating that they are not.

    @kacyray Another problem I have with feminism is the failed recognition that the alleged “social inequalities” women suffer are mitigated – almost always in excess – by social inequalities they enjoy.

    Yup. Anti-feminist, men’s rights bullshit. Hey, redcrosse? You still around? This is what I was talking about. Guys who say the bullshit kacyray was spouting — especially that insistence that he was not part of a privileged class — they always come back around to this shit. He’s clearly not just not-feminist, but anti-feminist and anti-equality. This is absolutely classic MRA material, always used to attack any move towards true equality for women.

    @Dr X Here’s why I ask: generally, when we use the suffix “ism” when we’re talking about some sort of preferentialism or a superiority-inferiority relationship with respect to the root word.

    No, generally we’re talking about a philosophy or politics. It got applied to bigotries as a way of pointing out that things like racism and sexism amounted to philosophies and politics.

  390. 390
    Gnumann+, out&proud cultural marxist (just don't ask me about Gramsci)

    I feel like it is a lot of responsibility and pressure for a man to call himself a feminist, and I’m not sure I measure up.

    From what I’ve seen from you Joe, you definitely measure up.

    I can understand the reluctance. I struggled with the same for many years (and I still chocke a bit at political gatherings where every leading man feels to start with “I am a feminist”).

    At the other hand,good men need feminism and feminism need good men. Equality is unattainable without real change in both definitions and boundaries of femininty and masculinity (I bet you a tenner this statement sets off Kacyray’s paranoid alertness). Change has to come from within. Sure, you can help without self-indentifying as a feminist, but men claiming the title helps even more.

    Besides, at least in my personal experience, my self-defining as a feminist has helped to curb my natural sexist tendencies. One thing is for me to want to be good, another is a outspoken commitment to be good.

  391. 391
    allegro

    While 70% of women don’t use the word feminist to describe themselves, 76% regard the word as “neutral” or a compliment when applied to others. That doesn’t sound so like the word has become an evil thing. This suggests to me that there is more than demonization of a word in play.

    That is a possibility though I honestly can’t make heads or tails out of your “linguistic oddity” explanation. Not saying you’re wrong by any means, just that I don’t understand the concept.

    I will also add the sociological angle that women in our society must play the game, so to speak, to survive/excel within the kyriarchy. This puts considerable pressure on women to say “oh, no, not ME! I’m not a feminist” which supports the higher numbers of acceptance of feminism now than 50 years ago when pressures were even greater. It plays a very large role in how a woman will publicly identify herself.

  392. 392
    Dr X

    Gretchen,

    Well this is exactly what I’m wondering. Might feminism, indeed, be unfortunately named, in which case we might be well-advised to avoid getting caught up in whether someone is willing to self-identify as a feminist and instead zero in on misogyny, bigotry and biases in the views they express. The word is indeed here to stay, so if asked if I’m a feminist I say “yes” because I know what I mean by it and I know what it means to people I know who call themselves feminists. If someone feels the need to question that, I explain. It’s just that when I see something as widespread as this weird ambivalence about the word when applied to self versus others, I get interested in whether things we haven’t discussed are relevant. Moralizing about a peculiarity of verbal processing would be like moralizing about an optical illusion.

  393. 393
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Gretchen @386:
    Thank you for that insight. I never thought about the name geminism in that context.

  394. 394
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Argh. Big fingers. Tiny keypad. Obviously I meant FEMINISM.

  395. 395
    Dr X

    @Madgastronomer:

    @Dr X Here’s why I ask: generally, when we use the suffix “ism” when we’re talking about some sort of preferentialism or a superiority-inferiority relationship with respect to the root word.

    Madgastronmer replies: No, generally we’re talking about a philosophy or politics. It got applied to bigotries as a way of pointing out that things like racism and sexism amounted to philosophies and politics.

    I actually gave what I said considerable thought now and in the past, and have tried to come up with examples that disqualified my observation about the use of the suffix. So I did, in fact, consider philosophy and politics. Someone can refer, for example, to Platonism without revealing how they value that view relative to others. But if someone calls themselves a Platonist, they are indeed expressing a preference relative to other views. Likewise I can say someone is a feminist without revealing my relative valuing of feminism, but if I call myself a feminist I am saying that I value this over competing views.

  396. 396
    Dr X

    Tony @ 393 and 394,

    You had me going there. “Ah, a new word I might like: geminism.” But what does it mean? Perhaps it means one who prefers to type on small keyboards, but makes a lot of typos because of that preference.

  397. 397
    Jafafa Hots

    Some people are atheists because they don’t believe in a supremer being.

  398. 398
    Jafafa Hots

    But anyone who believes that this description of feminism actually describes the totality of feminist ideology is in a freaking dream world, man.

    Everyone knows that atheists are really just angry at God.

  399. 399
    madgastronomer

    Dr X: I actually gave what I said considerable thought now and in the past, and have tried to come up with examples that disqualified my observation about the use of the suffix. So I did, in fact, consider philosophy and politics. Someone can refer, for example, to Platonism without revealing how they value that view relative to others. But if someone calls themselves a Platonist, they are indeed expressing a preference relative to other views. Likewise I can say someone is a feminist without revealing my relative valuing of feminism, but if I call myself a feminist I am saying that I value this over competing views.

    Only in that it is a philosophy or political idea to which you subscribe? If you call yourself a lover, does that imply that love is superior to other things? Just because you associate yourself with a thing does not imply that you mean it is better than anything else, ever. The only hierarchy it implies is a hierarchy of what you prefer.

    Feminism is the philosophy and politics of the advancement of women to the point of equality with men.

    And, honestly, quibbling about the use of words such as feminism, racism, misogyny, etc, is an old and nasty derailing technique. Just like arguing about the use of words like atheism is. It is not helpful to feminism, it is not useful, and you are not, in fact, saying anything that hasn’t been said before. Usually by people who are anti-feminist.

  400. 400
    Dr X

    I don’t know what you’re talking about in the first paragraph of your response to me. It doesn’t seem to actually be a coherent response to what I said as much as it seems like some sort of evasion.

    As far as what I’ve said being nothing new, I’m sure other people have thought of it, but if you think it’s that commonplace, how about a cite? I mean where the fuck is this commonplace discussion of a cognitive glitch being involved in people’s mixed reactions to the word? Honestly, I want to know because I Googled quite a bit wanting to read some thoughtful discussion of the subject and couldn’t find anyone saying something even tangentially similar except for someone who does not feel a sense of a gender identity, and so is uncomfortable with the word feminism as their own identity because it’s outside the masculine-feminine paradigm.

    I’m trying to understand why an overwhelming majority of women view the word feminist neutrally or positively as a description of someone else, but don’t feel comfortable using the word to describe themselves. I don’t regard a positive linguistic problem as indicative of anything wrong with the feminism, but I do think it might be a mistake to argue about whether someone is willing to use the word as self-descriptor.

  401. 401
    Dr X

    By the way, something about your response, at 399, seemed kind of dick-ishly obtuse.

  402. 402
    physphilmusic

    Yeah, how crazypants. That would be like a bunch of people who oppose racism ridiculing their critics as irrationally thinking that they hate white people, when at the same time they (the opponents of racism) automatically assume that self-declared racists or even people who don’t oppose racism are racist.

    With all due respect, I disagree. The term “feminism” has the connotation of a positive stance, which means that although it may be fighting for a certain conception of equality, it does so from the basic assumption that it is primarily or exclusively the females who need emancipation and liberation, not the males. So it’s not a completely neutral stance. Some people might not completely agree with these premises, and may perhaps be more content with labeling themselves as “gender egalitarians” rather than “feminists”.

    You can try to redefine feminism all you like, but the fact remains that some people are uncomfortable with the behavior of some past self-proclaimed feminists, and don’t like the term – because it may be perceived as having a negative connotation. You are not the authority which decides on how a term is perceived and used in society.

  403. 403
    physphilmusic

    Another one who can’t quite grok the definition of “feminism” (and by extention “antifeminism)?

    Another one who can’t quite grok the definition of “masculism” and/or “men’s rights”?

    If you ask many self-proclaimed MRAs (for example Paul Elam) what the MRA movement is about, they will honestly say to your face that it’s about equality for everyone, men and women. They won’t say it’s about upholding superiority of men. They might even add that if you believe males are to be valued no less than females, then you are an MRA. Or even that if you don’t agree with this you are a man-hating misandrist. It’s almost the exact parallel with feminism – they don’t think they’re hating women, in fact, they think that they are opening a way for women to become “real women” by their activism, just like some feminists have said that “real men must support feminism”. So if I ask you what’s the difference between the MRA movement and feminism, then of course the only feminist reply to this is that “We are just right and they are wrong, screw anyone who doesn’t believe that!”

  404. 404
    physphilmusic

    Oh for fuck’s sake, you ignorant twit. Have you even heard of this thing they call statistics? Or are you as cognitively limited as a kitten who doesn’t understand laser pointers?

    He said something about distributions! Those have bell curves in them! LASER POINTER LARRY SUMMERS ZOMG!

    Idiot. The kitten has a better chance than you do.

    Hi PatrickG, I stand corrected. You’re right – I didn’t read that link more carefully. It is subtly different from what Summers said. I’ll retract my assertion.

  405. 405
    madgastronomer

    Dr X:

    Well, you seem just about that incomprehensible and dickishly obtuse to me. And if you will reread what I said a little more carefully, you might possibly comprehend that what I was saying was that it is derailment by quibbling about the word itself that is very common. There are many different variations on that.

    My entire point: Your point made no fucking sense, because no, that’s not what -ism means, and you are being an asshole and derailing by bringing it into this conversation.

    physphilmusic: You can try to redefine feminism all you like, but the fact remains that some people are uncomfortable with the behavior of some past self-proclaimed feminists, and don’t like the term – because it may be perceived as having a negative connotation. You are not the authority which decides on how a term is perceived and used in society.

    No, but we are using it in the original fucking sense, and trying to maintain that sense in the face of people who are attempting to warp it into something negative. Misogynists, and their lies about what feminism means and feminists do, have a lot more to do with the negative connotations of the word that the form of the word does. Also than the actions of feminists do. And guess what? We do get to fucking fight that. It is, in fact, an important part of feminism simply to defend it.

    Both of you: The problem isn’t the word, and for most people (other than womanists and other women who have been excluded by the movement) who avoid the word as applied to themselves, it isn’t the behavior of feminists. It is a result of the careful work of decades by misogynists, from the very start of feminism, in an attempt to discredit feminism so that they can hold onto their privilege a while longer.

  406. 406
    PatrickG

    @ Dr. X:

    While 70% of women don’t use the word feminist to describe themselves, 76% regard the word as “neutral” or a compliment when applied to others.

    Not sure if you mentioned this, but when provided a dictionary definition of feminism (“”someone who believes in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes.”), 65% of women do indeed identify. It’s only without context that women eschew the label (in this survey, at least).

    I’d tend to go with the argument put forth by allegro, in that the term “feminism” has been given a whole lot of baggage over the years — and while perhaps some feminists have contributed to this, it seems to be an overwhelming result of propaganda by the anti-feminist crowd.

    @ Physphilmusic:

    I’ll put the laser pointer away. Sorry for my belligerence, I’d just come from responding to kacyray, so I was perhaps a bit high-strung. The interesting question to me is just why women play competitive chess at such noticeably lower rates, though the answers seem fairly straightforward… if I were a woman and read the comment threads at chess.com, I wouldn’t want anything to do with that culture myself. Reads a lot like kacyray’s posts (“Why are women bad at chess? Their brains! Evolution! They’re emotional! They’re wired differently!” Even “Because they have children!”).

    But then, the kacyrays of the world would have us just accept the difference without critical examination. Because the reasons don’t matter. Faugh.

  407. 407
    lancifer

    Dr X,

    The word feminism carries with it a great deal of leftist political baggage. I like your label “gender neutralist”, but I fear that most of the people that refer to themselves as feminists are quit comfortable with that baggage and are suspicious, and even hostile, to those that would embrace “gender neutralist” as an alternative to feminist.

    Which is a pity because it separates people that would otherwise agree that barriers based on gender should be actively opposed.

  408. 408
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Lancifer:
    You use leftist as if it is bad. What specifically is leftist political baggage and why is it wrong for it to be mixed with gender equality?

  409. 409
    Gretchen

    but the fact remains that some people are uncomfortable with the behavior of some past self-proclaimed feminists, and don’t like the term

    Yeah, I don’t like the term “anti-racist” because Jesse Jackson is a douche.
    I don’t like the term “gay rights crusader” because Perez Hilton is an insufferable blowhard.
    I don’t like the term “animal welfare advocate” because of PETA.

    It doesn’t sound any less stupid and irrelevant when the term is “feminist,” you know.

  410. 410
    physphilmusic

    No, but we are using it in the original fucking sense

    which is, you know, quite meaningless – the term “nationalist” used to have originally positive connotations (and in fact still does have good connotations in many countries around the world), but using terms such as “American nationalist” has too much overtone of “white nationalist”, and so many people choose not to use that term.

    and trying to maintain that sense in the face of people who are attempting to warp it into something negative.

    Well you see, what you’re trying to do is to recruit everyone into your activist mission of “maintaining the good sense of the word ‘feminist’”. There are two possible problems with that. First, it’s possible that some people feel such activism to prevent demonization of the word “feminism” is counterproductive to the larger goals of achieving equality, compared to adopting a different label but fighting for the same goals. Second, many people may be receptive to the idea of “equality”, but they are not quite ready or willing to become activists who will have to bear the burden of the any negative connotations of the term “feminism”.

    and for most people (other than womanists and other women who have been excluded by the movement) who avoid the word as applied to themselves, it isn’t the behavior of feminists. It is a result of the careful work of decades by misogynists, from the very start of feminism, in an attempt to discredit feminism so that they can hold onto their privilege a while longer.

    Don’t try to evade the fact that there are multitudes of people who have proclaimed themselves as feminists, and that many of these said self-proclaimed feminists think that some other self-proclaimed feminists espouse objectionable beliefs and/or engage in objectionable behavior. Heck, even Sarah Palin has (in my memory) proclaimed herself as some kind of feminist. Such “infighting” (if it even may be called “infighting” at all) may have led many outsiders to be reluctant to proclaim themselves as feminists, seeing how it has become such a politicized term.

  411. 411
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    @403:
    Men already have overwhelming power in the social, political and economic arenas compared to women. Men have a system in place where they have massive amounts of privilege compared to women. Feminism seeks to balance the scales, so that there is an equal distribution of power and both genders are equal in the social, political and economic arenas. Men are not suffering to any great degree. Women are systematically oppressed and the victims of a gender based power imbalance. The so-called Men’s Rights Movement is a ridiculous idea, because short of outlying situations, the power imbalance tremendously benefits men.

  412. 412
    dingojack

    RE #393 & #398 – EQUAL RIGHTS FOR TWINS!!!
    :) Dingo
    ———–
    Totally OT but I wonder what those fighting for equal rights for the transgendered call themselves?

  413. 413
    physphilmusic

    Yeah, I don’t like the term “anti-racist” because Jesse Jackson is a douche.
    I don’t like the term “gay rights crusader” because Perez Hilton is an insufferable blowhard.
    I don’t like the term “animal welfare advocate” because of PETA.

    Greta, the fact remains that some people view the above as false equivalences. The term “feminist” has been historically more politicized than “anti-racist”, “gay rights crusader”, or “animal welfare advocate” (notice how the last two are actually 3-word phrases, which make them less capable of being a political catchphrase?). If we were talking about the term “anti-misogyny”, or “anti-sexist”, you might have a point. But as many have pointed out, the term “feminist” is controversial, because it has often been associated with some political baggage – that is, left-leaning political baggage. The fact remains that some people believe in gender equality, but they don’t believe that leftist politics is the best way to achieve this.

    In fact, your use of the term “gay rights crusader” is interesting, because I know that many people don’t want to view themselves as “crusaders” of any kind, given the possible violent, religious, and dogmatic connotations of the word. It’s the same reason why you probably wouldn’t want to identify yourself as a “gay rights jihadist”.

  414. 414
    lancifer

    Tony the Queer Shoop (owner of the pink cotton ball of death), (Tony Q.S. henceforth)

    You use leftist as if it is bad.

    No, I don’t think I did. I was just noting that people that hold political positions that are not leftist are reluctant to embrace the term feminist because of the associated leftist connotation.

    What specifically is leftist political baggage and why is it wrong for it to be mixed with gender equality?

    One specific concept that is part and parcel of “feminist” thought is “privilege”. One can oppose gender based inequality with out being forced to accept the whole panoply of class, race and whatever else you care to lump into the idea, of privilege arguments and the authoritarian remedies associated with those claims.

    Also, I didn’t say it was “wrong” to mix it with gender equality just that you shouldn’t be surprised when people that hold non-leftist positions are unwilling to embrace the term feminist when it is so closely associated with these other ideas.

  415. 415
    physphilmusic

    Men already have overwhelming power in the social, political and economic arenas compared to women. Men have a system in place where they have massive amounts of privilege compared to women. Feminism seeks to balance the scales, so that there is an equal distribution of power and both genders are equal in the social, political and economic arenas. Men are not suffering to any great degree. Women are systematically oppressed and the victims of a gender based power imbalance. The so-called Men’s Rights Movement is a ridiculous idea, because short of outlying situations, the power imbalance tremendously benefits men.

    Tony, I understand that you believe this. However, MRAs believe exactly the opposite – that women are the ones with massive amounts of privilege. They also believe that quite a significant number of men are suffering. Hence they sincerely think that they are fighting for equality. My point was that looking at it as an outsider, I view it as silly that feminists are calling those who think they are man-haters as being irrational and paranoid, while at the same time they feel perfectly justified in calling non-feminists as being woman-haters. The reason is that the non-feminists aren’t just dumb rocks who are simply trumpeting that “males are superior!” If you read the writing of many MRAs, they use the language of equality very much as feminists do. You may view that they’re using it wrongly, but even if that were true, I don’t think their writings stem from an innate hatred towards women, any more than feminists are motivated by a hatred of men.

  416. 416
    physphilmusic

    Additionally, I just realized my reply to “Greta” was actually supposed to be addressed to Gretchen. I’m sorry for the name mix-up.

  417. 417
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    abb3w

    But I’ve ranted on the Dispatches comments and Pharyngula’s about RWA versus SDO before, and in particular on how some of the commentariat struggles look to be a conflict between low-RWA/high-SDO males being perceived as a threat-group by high(er)-RWA/low(?)-SDO females among contemporary Western atheism, making for some turbulence in the social front.

    I question your assertion that the opposition to the high-SDO males (and their allies, the high-RWAs male and female) are themselves primarily composed of higher-RWAs. You do realize that there are people who are low-RWA andlow-SDO? And that those people are to a large extent the intended audience of Altemeyer’s book? And that such people also skew left politically and tend to support things like equality and social justice? I don’t mean to come on too strongly here, but that sounded awfully close to a variation on ‘both sides are fundamentalists,’ and I know that you’re normally not the sort to pull that shit.
    physphilmusic

    it does so from the basic assumption that it is primarily or exclusively the females who need emancipation and liberation, not the males. So it’s not a completely neutral stance. Some people might not completely agree with these premises,

    These people are demonstrably taking a factually incorrect stance, and therefore their opinions on the matter are entirely invalid. In other words, they’re wrong, and they don’t get a place in the discussion until they’ve damn well educated themselves.

  418. 418
    physphilmusic

    These people are demonstrably taking a factually incorrect stance, and therefore their opinions on the matter are entirely invalid. In other words, they’re wrong, and they don’t get a place in the discussion until they’ve damn well educated themselves.

    This is a picture-perfect example of the case of “I’m just right – you’re just wrong and you’re stupid” I was talking about. The problem is that “these people” believe the exact same thing – that it is actually the feminists who are taking the demonstrably wrong stance, and they are prepared to argue about that. If all you can say to them is “Well they’re just morons, fuck them” – we’re not really getting anywhere, are we?

    Some of “them” might have actually tried to go about “educating” themselves, but still found disagreement with some tenets of feminism. I dislike the way many people have this attitude of “You only need to educate yourself in order to see that my view point is the only Right and Enlightened one – if not you’re a moron”.

  419. 419
    tomh

    physphilmusic:
    My point was that looking at it as an outsider

    You don’t appear to be an outsider. To even repeat such a reality-denying statement as, “women are the ones with massive amounts of privilege,” is so pointless that only someone who bought into it could say it with a straight face. So what if some people believe it. Some people believe Christians are persecuted in America, or white people are an oppressed minority. To actually think the two views are equal, that men are privileged and that women are privileged, the way you seem to, is beyond ridiculous.

  420. 420
    lancifer

    These people are demonstrably taking a factually incorrect stance, and therefore their opinions on the matter are entirely invalid. In other words, they’re wrong, and they don’t get a place in the discussion until they’ve damn well educated themselves.- Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    And of course by “educating themselves” you mean agreeing with you.

    I actually have no dog in this fight but found your remarks so arrogantly absurd that I was compelled to comment.

  421. 421
    Orange Utan

    @lancifer

    And of course by “educating themselves” you mean agreeing with you.

    No.
     

    “educating themselves” should be a requirement in any field to give someone a basic understanding of concepts and terminology without which it’s nigh on impossible to have any sort of meaningful discussion.

  422. 422
    dingojack

    Dalillama, Schmott Guy – what are feminism’s goals and how will they be achieved?
    a) Shouting, stamping, throwing a tantrum, then telling people to shut up and get into the corner ’cause they’re just WRONG? *
    b) Showing those not on-board how equality or everyone benefits everyone, including themselves? (‘sure, it’ll cost a little advanatage for you, but just look at the geat gains’)
    Dingo
    ——–
    * This also allows MRA’s to point and say ‘See, shrill, humourless, angry feminazis, who just hate men’ to avoid actually presenting an argument for continuing the status quo (not that there is any coherant argument for this stance, IMHO).
    Let them shout this as loud and as long as they want, let them work themselves up into apoplexy; then calmly say ‘Which of the two sides is presenting ideas and which is shouting empty, angry rhetoric?’

  423. 423
    Raging Bee

    To even question the reality that females (as a general rule) are more consumed with their social identity and social considerations than men, you’d almost have to walk around with your eyes, ears, and brain shut off.

    Even if we accept that this is true, and that it’s an “essential difference,” as you allege (whatever the fuck that actually means), you still haven’t shown how it’s relevant for policy purposes. Which particular feminist policy idea does this “social identity” difference invalidate? Equality under the law? Better treatment for rape victims? Pay equity? Non-discrimination? In short, how does this particular alleged “essential difference” make any significant part of feminism wrong?

    Another problem I have with feminism is the failed recognition that the alleged “social inequalities” women suffer are mitigated – almost always in excess – by social inequalities they enjoy.

    Really? What social inequality compensates (or over-compensates) women who have been raped and then labelled a slut when she tries to get justice? How are Afghan women compensated after they’ve been denied a basic education, then forced to marry a guy who locks her in his house when he’s away? How do the Taliban compensate girls after lighting them on fire for trying to go to school? And closer to home, what social inequality does Rebecca Watson enjoy in return for being publicly trashed, insulted, and threatened by the most moronic and malignant elements of our society? I’d sure love to hear how our wunnerful MRAs go out of their way to OVER-compensate women for all the insults, harassment and blatant threats they’ve been spouting all these years.

    Then my reluctance to address such an enormous issue in this forum will be thrown back at me as a refusal to back up my position.

    Gee, I’m so terribly sorry to keep on confusing “reluctance” with “refusal” — with you at least, they’re so alike. My bad. How are they different again?

    But I am not attempting to back up or prove my position, I am only attempting to describe it.

    In other words, you’re stating an ignorant opinion, over and over, on and on, and then making up transparently idiotic excuses about how it’s perfectly appropriate to “describe” your ignorant opinions, but totally inappropriate to back them up with anything resembling facts or reason. Are you really dumb enough to think your BS even sounds plausible in a grownup conversation?

    In the immortal words of Samuel L. Jackson: Go the fuck to bed!

  424. 424
    WMDKitty -- Survivor

    physphilmusic

    women are the ones with massive amounts of privilege.

    Yeah, the “privilege” of getting less pay for the same work you men do, while putting up with sexist assholes and toxic work environments.

    The “privilege” of not being “allowed” to get your tubes tied because, “you might change your mind.” I’m child-free. I’ve been 100% set on a child-free lifestyle from an early age. I don’t need a doctor treating me like I don’t know what I want.

    The “privilege” of being forced to take a pregnancy test EVERY time I go to hospital, despite being on The Shot for going on 12 years with zero issues.

    The “privilege” of being beaten, raped, and continually terrorized in your own home, and told that you should “just stop provoking him.”

    The “privilege” of trying to report your abuser to the police, only to be patted on the head and told, “stop being hysterical.”

    The “privilege” of fearing for my life because the aforementioned police — all male, I should note — DID NOTHING TO STOP HIM. They wouldn’t even let me press charges because I DARED to defend myself.

    Yeah… massive amounts of “privilege”, there.

    *hork-spuke*

    Have a hairball.

  425. 425
    dingojack

    physphilmusic – Gee I bet we all wish we could be as ‘privileged’ as the victim of this crime!
    @@
    Dingo

  426. 426
    dobber

    Physphilmusic, feminism is political. It’s as political as any emancipation philosophy, such as anti-racism and gay rights.

    Lancifer, of course conservatives are less likely to embrace feminism. Conservatives are about conserving the status quo.

    Also comparing feminism and MRAs is a false equivalence. It’s like comparing the Black Panthers with KKK. One is fighting for equality, the other to keep dominance.

  427. 427
    dobber

    O lawdy lawdy. These people who believe they are the reasonable, middle-of-the-road types fighting against extremists are the most annoying people on the planet. In fact they are siding with extremists and calling those who are fighting for equality extremists. The blindness, the unexamined privilege is truly sickening. They are the prissy Mr Manners who would be telling the suffragettes to be lady-like and the Black Americans fighting for equality that White people have it bad too. They help no one. They are the ones who make good causes stagnate in a muddy pool of indifference while they argue that the oppressed should be fair to their jailers. Their only function is slow down the tide of progress while pretending to be the civilised influence.

  428. 428
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    dingojack
    When was the last time that kissing up to bigots and assholes got anyone anywhere?
    lancifer
    The statement that men suffer equivalent disadavatages to women due to present social inequalites is as certain a proof of not just ignorance but willful denial of reality as the statement that evolution violates the laws of thermodynamics, and deserves as much respect and consideration.

  429. 429
    kacyray

    They told me that trying to have a reasonable conversation was hopeless.

    They told me that mockery was the only reasonable approach.

    I didn’t listen. I thought I could get through. What a fool I was. I actually though I was talking to people who were speaking from their own minds.

    I thought that if I just treated them with respect and expected it from them, that it would be okay… they are reasonable.

    Holy shit.. I’ll never dream that dream again.

  430. 430
    lancifer

    Schmott Guy,

    Asserting anything is not a valid argument. Especially when you do so arrogantly.

    I actually agree with your position, but was compelled to comment on your egregiously moralistic and irrational douchiness.

  431. 431
    dingojack

    Dalilama – (now there’s a guy out there hurling molotovs at the Chinese tanks!)
    Fallacy of the Excluded Middle.
    You may have heard of two more noted molotov hurlers: Martin Luther King Jr. and Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. Both died but both moved society toward their ends.
    But by all means shout, stamp your feet, have a little tantrum if it makes you feel better (and more superior), I’d pefer to persuade others to join in (to hell with ‘purity’) and actually achieve equality for all.
    Dingo

  432. 432
    Markita Lynda—threadrupt

    The personal *is* political. Swedish researchers have to publish five times as much as their male colleagues to be thought as competent. A female editor tripled her income by conducting her online business under a male name. With respect to women, men often seem to have the EASY button.

  433. 433
    Markita Lynda—threadrupt

    The victim of gang rape and aggravated assault on a bus in India has died of her injuries. Her name was not given, to protect her from the crime of being female in public I guess.

  434. 434
    dingojack

    That’s truly terrible news.
    Hopefully, she will, at least, still trigger an actual change in attidudes (not just in India, but everywhere).
    Dingo.

  435. 435
    PatrickG

    They told me that trying to have a reasonable conversation was hopeless.

    They told me that mockery was the only reasonable approach.

    I didn’t listen. I thought I could get through. What a fool I was. I actually though I was talking to people who were speaking from their own minds.

    I thought that if I just treated them with respect and expected it from them, that it would be okay… they are reasonable.

    Holy shit.. I’ll never dream that dream again.

    Who, exactly, is/are “they”?

    Why did you think the goal was to “get through”? Why wasn’t the goal to learn and substantively debate?

    On that note, it’s worth noting that respect is earned, not automatically granted. This commenter tried to engage you on your cell phone bit, only to be told that data was unimportant, your lived experience was reality, and we shouldn’t even be asking those kind of questions anyway because of what you observe.

    I dismissed you because of those assertions. Others did so for what seemed reasonably similar reasons. Quelle horreur!

    I’m going to requote this part:

    I actually though I was talking to people who were speaking from their own minds.

    From my own, authentic mind to yours… get over yourself. Your presentation here was not particularly impressive, and as many other people (MANY other people) have pointed out, ended up being a rehash of arguments easily rebutted.

    So on that note: Dream on, tiger. Dream on. Climb that hill, mount that cross, face those lions. Whatever you think you need to do, we’ll* all watch it with a hearty yawn. :)

    *Well, speaking for myself of course. Consider it the personal we, if such a thing exists!

  436. 436
    leni

    What social inequality compensates (or over-compensates) women who have been raped and then labelled a slut when she tries to get justice?

    Well, no one assumes we are sexual predators so we can get jobs as teachers and day care workers and nannies and maids easier. That definitely helps take the sting out of social and economic injustice. Especially since we are all so innately nurturing.

    Also we can contribute absolutely nothing to the home and expect to get paid BIG for it in divorce settlements. So there is that. Wooooo free money!

    Also chivalry. I know the last time I had a door held open for me it totally made up for that time I had to go through the abortion protester gantlet four times in two days because apparently that extra 24 hours might result in some hormonal changes that would make me want to have babies.

    Yeah doors. I like having them held open for me. They’re just so… heavy, you know?

  437. 437
    kacyray

    Patrick – I invite you to meet me on neutral territory.

    Let’s have a conversation.

  438. 438
    TCC

    I didn’t listen. I thought I could get through. What a fool I was. I actually though I was talking to people who were speaking from their own minds.

    As PatrickG has said: Get over yourself. You came and gave a half-assed argument, and you were eviscerated for it. You had people who were willing to engage you reasonably, but you have instead decided to listen only to the most strident voices – the ones who have largely written you off because of your history of stupid comments – and thus conclude that reasonable debate is impossible. Then again, I shouldn’t be surprised to see you suffering from confirmation bias yet again. (Which wouldn’t in itself be excessively problematic, since we all suffer from it from time to time, except that you’re trying to take the moral high ground simultaneously.)

    Seriously – and I mean this in all sincerity – go find some better way of occupying your time. I don’t mind that you don’t consider yourself a feminist, but you clearly have very muddle-headed reasons for doing so, and you ought to do more thinking about them before you come trying to vilify feminism as about something more than gender equity. Or better yet, just don’t get involved in these debates. If it’s not an issue that engages you, fine; just don’t fight against the cause of gender equity, and I don’t think too many people will be that bothered.

    I just hope you won’t ignore me as well.

  439. 439
    dobber

    Kacyray, you are seriously clearly fooling yourself. So many people tried to engage you. So many people asked for evidence of your claims. You gave nothing but assertions, and said that it was blindingly obvious. The fact that you said that it doesn’t matter why there are gender difference is clear evidence that you don’t want to know. I have a library full of books examining gender differences. For a long time, men have asserted differences as a way to keep women in the home and locked in low-paid or unpaid jobs. It might not matter to you, but it seriously matters to women. You can afford to say who cares. Which brings me to: Why don’t you are? Is it because it doesn’t affect you. Or is it because you want to keep the upper hand?

  440. 440
    PatrickG

    Patrick – I invite you to meet me on neutral territory.

    Since you’ve issued the challenge, I get to choose the weapons, right? Or do I get to disallow certain weapons? If so, I ban anecdotal evidence based on personal observation that doesn’t even have a perusable dataset.

    I don’t really see the point though. Your last post clearly indicated that you came here with certain preconceptions, and your only purpose was to convince others. More to the point, I depart to tomorrow to enjoy New Years’ weekend/Eve/Day in a frozen wasteland.

    On another note, I remember now why I don’t comment frequently… comment threads are a swirling vortex that consume way too much time. For me, at least. :)

    But on the original thread note, this Caucasian male, for one, welcomes our new Feminist overlords. I remind you that I can be useful in rounding up males for labor in your delicious, delicious sugar mines.

  441. 441
    sleeper

    Greta said: “How would you respond if someone said, “The treatment that anyone who’s a racist encounters down here is beyond reprehensible”? Or, “The treatment that anyone who’s a homophobe encounters down here is beyond reprehensible”?”

    Greta… in what freakhouse do you equate not being a feminist activist to the degree that YOU are, with being a racist or a homophobe? That is not an analogy derived from critical thought, but from a gross mis-characterization. It is like saying that if you are not a vegan/feminist then you are as reprehensible as a racist.

    What then follows is: “Have you considered the possibility that you’re treated the way you are because not being a ‘vegan/feminist’ is reprehensible?”

    Greta’s “Translation: “You take a guy like me who is VERY interested in the old traditional concerns of organized atheism… and I get strongly criticized when I dismiss the concerns of a huge demographic that traditional organized atheism has largely ignored, when I act in ways that this demographic finds demeaning and alienating, and when I refuse to consider the possibility that my behavior might be a problem.”

    Is it really necessary to say what a bunch of “strawwoman” false bravada that was?
    You are right… I think it is.

  442. 442
    PatrickG

    Greta… in what freakhouse do you equate not being a feminist activist to the degree that YOU are, with being a racist or a homophobe?

    Er, I’m not a feminist activist to the degree Greta is, and I’m fairly sure she’s not accusing me or people like me of being equivalent to a racist or a homophobe.

    Regardless, your comment seems to indicate that you really don’t think people exist who consider women subhuman, in the same way that people who practice racial animosity and hostility to differing sexual orientations exist. Have you been living under a rock lately?

    Would you object to “The treatment that anybody who advocates stripping the right to vote from women receives is reprehensible” or “The treatment that anybody who advocates stripping women of the right to make their own medical decisions is reprehensible” being mocked and scorned? These aren’t hypotheticals, try doing some research!

    Also, a quick search of this thread finds that you’re the only person to bring up the word “vegan”. Animal rights concerns are very important, no doubt about it, but are you sure you want to compare activism on behalf of women to activism on behalf of animals? Think carefully before you answer.

  443. 443
    PatrickG

    And after posting, I realized that I probably should have let Greta respond, instead of jumping on a comment that was addressed to her. Apologies if I stepped on any toes there.

  444. 444
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    @415:
    You are ignoring the fact that feminists have mounds and mounds and reams and reams of evidence to support gender inequity.
    MRAs have anecdotes and outlier cases.

  445. 445
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Ah we have privilege deniers in the house.
    When heterosexual men do not have to worry about being fired for their sexuality…that is not privilege.
    When men have the confidence of knowing the vast majority of elected officials in the U.S. are male…that is not privilege.
    When white people do not get stopped and frisked with anywhere close to the same frequency as black or brown people…that is not privilege.
    When christians look at the political landscape, they can be fairly assured that their religion will be well represented…but thats not privilege.

    Yep, time to pack our bags. Privilege doesn’t exist.

    /rolls eyes

  446. 446
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Dingojack:
    Has any social justice movement achieved its goal through calm, reasoned, rational discussion? Looking at the Civil Rights Movement and the Gay Rights Movement, I’d say no.
    *there is room for calm, reasoned discourse, but vocal, unapologetic, in your face tactics are also important*
    ****
    Kacyray:
    It is hard to have a reasonable conversation with you when you make bold assertions, treating them as fact and offer NO evidence to support your opinions. That is not how you have a reasonable discussion of a subject.
    Moreover, you haven’t even done a 101 level of research on feminism, patriarchy, sexism or privilege.
    In the future, research a topic before you speak your ignorant, unevidenced views and stop listening to MRAs.

  447. 447
    Gnumann+, out&proud cultural marxist (just don't ask me about Gramsci)

    If you ask many self-proclaimed MRAs (for example Paul Elam) what the MRA movement is about, they will honestly say to your face that it’s about equality for everyone, men and women. They won’t say it’s about upholding superiority of men. They might even add that if you believe males are to be valued no less than females, then you are an MRA. Or even that if you don’t agree with this you are a man-hating misandrist. It’s almost the exact parallel with feminism – they don’t think they’re hating women, in fact, they think that they are opening a way for women to become “real women” by their activism, just like some feminists have said that “real men must support feminism”. So if I ask you what’s the difference between the MRA movement and feminism, then of course the only feminist reply to this is that “We are just right and they are wrong, screw anyone who doesn’t believe that!”

    The MRA/MRM movement is ideologically and explicitly antifeminst. Go read the wiki on the “movement” for example. From the start the movement has defined itself as an counterreaction to feminism. if you are not antifemist you do yourself a great disservice by claiming the MRA/MRM-label.

    Back in my MRA days I would say I favoured equality too. It wasn’t exactly a lie, more of a symptom of a warped world view. I honestly believed that feminism had gone too far. (I was also a theist with libertarian leanings, I wasn’t very big on evidence those days). I only looked at the relative (in my neck of the woods) legal equality for women, while I counted every inequality for men (no matter how slight). So, while a high male prison population definitely was society’s fault in my head, low female wages was their own (thankfully, I didn’t do a lot of thinking about rape those days).

    I would also say that I was antifeminst. Of course, I had read very little about feminism, and the little I had read I didn’t understand.

    There are legitimate concerns that the MRAs address (along with all the illegitimate ones). The problem is though that every real concern they have is rooted in patriarchal society and gender essentialism. Which the movement to a great extent fails to notice.

  448. 448
    Amphigorey

    WMDKitty –

    The “privilege” of not being “allowed” to get your tubes tied because, “you might change your mind.” I’m child-free. I’ve been 100% set on a child-free lifestyle from an early age. I don’t need a doctor treating me like I don’t know what I want.

    This makes me furious on your behalf. There are far too many stories like this. I was very lucky and was able to get my tubes tied at Planned Parenthood when I was 24 – and that shouldn’t be unusual.

    Grrr. Patriarchal bullshit all up in here, is what that is.

  449. 449
    dingojack

    Tony – Do they teach students about the Civil Rights Movement? A lot a violence directed toward them*, not so much directed from them. The same could be largely said about the non-violence movement in India.
    Can it work? Yes, yes it can.
    It can be about winning hearts and minds, by using your opponents’ strengths against them.
    Dingo
    ——-
    * note violence doesn’t mean just physical attacks, it can be intimidation, threats of violence or rape, financial attacks and/or smear campaigns (amongst many other methods).

  450. 450
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Dingojack:
    You originally talked about what feminisms goals were and the methods being used to achieve them– “shouting, stamping, throwing a tantrum, and telling people to shut up and into a corner becsuse they are wrong.”
    You appeared to dislike this method.

    My comparison was to the Civil Rights Movement and the Gay Rights Movement.
    My point is that the problems in those movements , like feminism, are not going to be solved with just calm, reasoned discourse. Loud, in your face passion, anger, and occasionally insults can be effective too. Acts of defiance are also effective. I said nothing about violence.

    What violence are you talking about? And how did you make the leap from “shouting, stamping, etc…” To violence? That hasn’t been advocated, nor has anyone been remotely violent, physical or otherwise in this thread.

    Your comments remind me of those people who dislike passionate rhetoric and overwhelmingly favor polite, civil discourse. That way doesn’t always work. Some people do respond to strong, assertive talk. Moreover it feels like silencing tactics when I hear someone say to the effect of “calm down and discuss this rationally”. As a gay man, there have been a few times I have been treated like shit. My response, along with educating, was passionate anger.
    Women who have been oppressed and discovered the Feminist movement often get angry and passionate. Why shouldn’t they? These women are suffering in many cases. It is real to them. Anger along with strong arguments is an effective way to get their point across.
    You might not like harsh words or strongly assertive rhetoric. You might not think it is effective. But all that shows is your prefered method of discourse. I am sure you know that does not hold for everyone.

  451. 451
    physphilmusic

    You don’t appear to be an outsider. To even repeat such a reality-denying statement as, “women are the ones with massive amounts of privilege,” is so pointless that only someone who bought into it could say it with a straight face. So what if some people believe it. Some people believe Christians are persecuted in America, or white people are an oppressed minority. To actually think the two views are equal, that men are privileged and that women are privileged, the way you seem to, is beyond ridiculous.

    Apparently you have some reading comprehension issues. Plus an “if you’re not for us you’re against us” mentality. So I don’t think it’s useful to engage further.

  452. 452
    physphilmusic

    Women who have been oppressed and discovered the Feminist movement often get angry and passionate. Why shouldn’t they? These women are suffering in many cases. It is real to them. Anger along with strong arguments is an effective way to get their point across.
    You might not like harsh words or strongly assertive rhetoric. You might not think it is effective. But all that shows is your prefered method of discourse. I am sure you know that does not hold for everyone.

    There’s nothing inherently wrong with arguing for a stance passionately because it affects you personally. But after a point, the problem with not “sitting down and thinking calmly and rationally” is that your passion may overtake good arguments and blind your judgements. I’m sure quite a few KKK members out there would also argue that “his people” are “suffering” and that passionate violence can a righteous and acceptable reaction to that.

    Incidentally, you’re using the exact same kind of rhetoric as the MRA movement. They believe that “men are suffering”, and they have given real examples. Only of course you deny their experiences, and they deny your experiences. The more I converse with you, the more equivalences I see between the movements.

  453. 453
    physphilmusic

    The “privilege” of being beaten, raped, and continually terrorized in your own home, and told that you should “just stop provoking him.”

    The “privilege” of trying to report your abuser to the police, only to be patted on the head and told, “stop being hysterical.”

    The “privilege” of fearing for my life because the aforementioned police — all male, I should note — DID NOTHING TO STOP HIM. They wouldn’t even let me press charges because I DARED to defend myself.

    You jolly well know MRAs are talking about privileges such as males being disposable for war and males being valued for their achievements instead of their inherent value as human beings. Incidentally, your three complaints above have been a pet peeve of MRAs: such as men reporting domestic violence to the police only to get arrested themselves. Men reporting sexual abuse to the police getting laughed at.

    I’m not going to continue on and on with what I’ve read about MRA concerns, because I don’t consider myself to be one (and there are beliefs of the movement I don’t agree with). But whether people here consider me crazy or despicable for just daring to think that quite a few concerns of MRAs are legitimate is of little interest to me.

  454. 454
    physphilmusic

    The MRA/MRM movement is ideologically and explicitly antifeminst. Go read the wiki on the “movement” for example. From the start the movement has defined itself as an counterreaction to feminism. if you are not antifemist you do yourself a great disservice by claiming the MRA/MRM-label.

    Back in my MRA days I would say I favoured equality too. It wasn’t exactly a lie, more of a symptom of a warped world view. I honestly believed that feminism had gone too far. (I was also a theist with libertarian leanings, I wasn’t very big on evidence those days). I only looked at the relative (in my neck of the woods) legal equality for women, while I counted every inequality for men (no matter how slight). So, while a high male prison population definitely was society’s fault in my head, low female wages was their own (thankfully, I didn’t do a lot of thinking about rape those days).

    You see, your second paragraph takes care of what you say in the first. MRAs sincerely believe that one of the consequences of favoring equality in this day and age is fighting feminism. Many of them actually seem to believe that feminism was relevant and a good thing 50 years ago or so, but not anymore. You might argue that they have a biased view of reality, but it’s kind of stretch to say that they definitely are all just woman-haters.

  455. 455
    physphilmusic

    You are ignoring the fact that feminists have mounds and mounds and reams and reams of evidence to support gender inequity.
    MRAs have anecdotes and outlier cases.

    The fact that someone just waved around a single case of injustice (the woman in India who was raped and murdered) doesn’t really do much to shake off the “anecdotes and outlier cases” feeling on the feminist side either. Both sides use statistics and claim that they have “mounds and mounds and reams and reams” of evidence to support gender inequity.

  456. 456
    physphilmusic

    My point is that the problems in those movements , like feminism, are not going to be solved with just calm, reasoned discourse. Loud, in your face passion, anger, and occasionally insults can be effective too. Acts of defiance are also effective. I said nothing about violence.

    Does the act of silencing and suppressing dissent in your community count as “righteous and justified” anger too?

  457. 457
    John Morales

    physphilmusic:

    Does the act of silencing and suppressing dissent in your community count as “righteous and justified” anger too?

    Haven’t you been dissenting for quite a few comments now?

  458. 458
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    @physphilmusic:

    The Patriarchy Hurts Men Too.

  459. 459
    Asher Jacobson

    Let’s cut to the chase: the hidden premise of feminism is that women, as a class, have to endure extreme and onerous suppression of their desires to be something other than what society tells them is acceptable. But it’s pretty obvious that women aren’t expressing these desires, so, feminist switch over to crying “b-b-but false consciousness”. That just makes everyone’s eyes glaze over as that is the sort of retrograde Marxism whose only adherents are individuals who favorite form of masturbation is of the intellectual variety. From there, they descend into inane drivel such the “rape culture” nonsense.

    I got banned at Pharyngula for simply pointing out that the distribution of rape was highly asymmetrical within the US. It correlates strongly with several factors, an example being level of education.

    Most stated feminist premises seem to operate along the seemingly noncontroversial lines of “fighting sexism”. Sure, it’s noncontroversial but then it’s horribly vague. I think that the average person on the street holds sexism as something like “believing that women are morally inferior to men”, but since the overwhelming portion of the population isn’t sexist by this standard that would render feminism unnecessary. So, it’s pretty clear that what feminists mean by sexism and what most everyone else means by sexism are radically divergent. In my sporadic interactions with feminism once feminists begin a detailed description of what they mean by sexism it descends into ad hoc arguments based on what they want peppered with abstractions like Male Privilege, Patriarchy and Rape Culture.

    Other than the most vague, ill defined bromides like “opposing sexism” I see very little in intelligible premises from feminists, at all. My impression is that feminism is motivated by “I’m mad and I’m not gonna take it anymore” and any argumentation is simply ad hoc justification for that anger. There may be a hidden cache of feminists waiting out there to be discovered but for the ones I’ve encountered their feminism is primarily emotive and not intellectual, and it seems that the only possible explanation for the lack of feminism among the population is “false consciousness.

    I think kacyray was a being too kind when she opined that feminism was based on false premises. I don’t think feminism is based on any premises, at all, besides blind fury. Intellectually speaking, feminism seems to be pure gibberish and fringe-y. Sometimes feminists adopt a veneer of rationality by pointing to the differences in outcomes between men and women, such as percentages on corporate boards. But, so what? Difference does not imply oppression.

  460. 460
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    @Asher:

    Abstractions?

    Male Privilege, Patriarchy, and Rape Culture are not abstract concepts.

  461. 461
    Asher Jacobson

    Here’s a privilege:

    Women, as a class, are a huge net receiver of wealth transfers via the welfare state. Huge privilege. We’re probably talking to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars a year, here.

  462. 462
    Asher Jacobson

    Anything without a concrete physical existence is an abstraction. Love is an abstraction but that doesn’t make it perceptively real. See, this is the problem with feminism. They make up definitions of terms that is radically different 95 (99?) percent of the rest of us. Then they pitch a fit when the rest of us just refuse to accept their obtuse usage of words that are wildly divergent from common usage.

    Hint: abstraction isn’t an insult. It just means that you’re dealing in a specific intellectual category.

  463. 463
    Asher Jacobson

    When I say “when people have sex they …” I am not talking about any particular instance of sex but of sex, in general, an abstraction. But if I say “Joseph and Mary had sex” then I’m speaking of something in concrete terms, i.e. a particular sex act.

  464. 464
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    @Asher:

    The welfare class tends to be dominated by single mothers, the poor, the infirm, and the unemployed. Yes sure, hundreds of billions of dollars a year, but these “privileged” women you’re talking about have to make decisions about skipping a day of work or caring for a sick kid or between going to the dentist and getting food.

    How the FUCK is that privilege?

  465. 465
    Asher Jacobson

    @ Katherine

    The alternative is death. In most cultures in most of history, individuals who could not pull their weight in society were not long for this world. That they are not left to die and are provided for by others is a privilege.

    I don’t necessarily resent that safety net but show some motherf***ing gratitude for it. Charity is the glory of the giver not the right of the receiver. You know Katherine, at some point men, as a class, are going to figure out

    But your wrong about transfer payments. Government employment is also a transfer payment, as are entitlements, roads, schools and all the rest of the social infrastructure, and the bulk of the taxes that support that infrastructure are paid for by men. Think of all the physically demanding, smelly,dangerous, dirty thankless jobs that make a modern civilization possible; overwhelmingly done by men.

    Female privileges. I don’t deny that there are male privileges, but there are also female privileges.

    I would point out that your last response was primarily emotive and lacked any real defined premise. This is my standard experience interacting with feminists.

  466. 466
    Asher Jacobson

    ooops,

    meant to say that men are going to figure out that the welfare state is a raw deal and decide they want out of that social contract.

  467. 467
    kacyray

    Patrick @440

    Since you’ve issued the challenge, I get to choose the weapons, right? Or do I get to disallow certain weapons? If so, I ban anecdotal evidence based on personal observation that doesn’t even have a perusable dataset.

    I accept. Click my handle. Doesn’t have to be today or tomorrow or even this week. I’m not falling of the face of the earth anytime soon. We’ll discuss the feminism movement and I’ll explain why I would never support it and you can examine and critique the reasons I offer and I’ll examine and critique your counterarguments.

    On another note, I remember now why I don’t comment frequently… comment threads are a swirling vortex that consume way too much time. For me, at least.

    All the more reason to have a one-on-one conversation outside the echo chamber.

  468. 468
    Asher Jacobson

    @ Greta Cristina

    the concerns of a huge demographic that traditional organized atheism has largely ignored,

    Have you considered that this might have stemmed from strategic prudence?

  469. 469
    dingojack

    physphilmusic (#453) – “such as men reporting domestic violence to the police only to get arrested themselves. Men reporting sexual abuse to the police getting laughed at”.

    And how often does this occur to men as opposed to women?
    Fallacy of false equivalence.

    Dingo
    ——–
    Tony (#450) – I think you missed the footnote of my post #449. Perhaps you should re-read it.
    “….they’re wrong, and they don’t get a place in the discussion until they’ve damn well educated themselves:” (Dalilama #417). Nope, no attempt to silence anyone there.

  470. 470
    physphilmusic

    Haven’t you been dissenting for quite a few comments now?

    Er, yeah. Thanks. I wasn’t talking about this thread, though.

  471. 471
    physphilmusic

    And how often does this occur to men as opposed to women?
    Fallacy of false equivalence.

    This is what both sides are fighting over – the statistics. Both of them claim studies which support their view, and that studies against them are terribly biased. And I’m frankly confused because I don’t have the time to actually read every study myself.

  472. 472
    physphilmusic

    @physphilmusic:

    The Patriarchy Hurts Men Too.

    Yeah, and Trotting Out a Catchphrase To Label a Particular Line of Argument Doesn’t Render It Invalid.

  473. 473
    dingojack

    Asher – ” In my sporadic interactions with feminism once feminists begin a detailed description of what they mean by sexism it descends into ad hoc arguments based on what they want peppered with abstractions like Male Privilege, Patriarchy and Rape Culture”.

    You don’t get out much do you?

    “Women, as a class, are a huge net receiver of wealth transfers via the welfare state. Huge privilege.”

    Citations please.

    “They make up definitions of terms that is radically different 95 (99?) percent of the rest of us…”

    Such as?

    “Think of all the physically demanding, smelly,dangerous, dirty thankless jobs that make a modern civilization possible; overwhelmingly done by men”.

    So you’ve never met a nurse*, then? :)
    Using this argument clearly the bulk of those doing ‘easy’ jobs** are women, right? So the Fortune Five Hundred Boardrooms should stuffed to gills with women. Are they?

    Dingo
    ——-
    * while some are male, still, the bulk are not. Particularly in palliative care and nursing homes. Possibly the pay rate is too low, the work too difficult and the perks are – well – very nearly zilch.
    ** not physically demanding, dangerous, smelly, dirty or thankless***
    *** The last three could be said of looking after a baby (or an elderly parent or a disabled child) in addition to being psychologically demanding. This kind of work is predominately done by women.

  474. 474
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    Feminism is pretty much about dismantling the patriarchy. Every one of your complaints in 453 related to men are examples of how the patriarchy hurts men.

  475. 475
    pamsmigh

    I’ve read here for years. Don’t think I’ve ever donated. I have now. Thank you so much for reason and being a white male who doesn’t feel persecuted as a white male to understand and discuss the history of privileges of the white male.

    If you support Ed, DONATE.

  476. 476
    dingojack

    Katherine – yes I know that*! Try telling knuckleheads like Asher.
    Dingo
    ——–
    * I wasn’t complaining about anything, I was quoting Asher. Please re-read #453 more carefully. Thank you.

  477. 477
    Asher Jacobson

    @ dingojack

    And how often does this occur to men as opposed to women?

    Well, domestic violence tends to correlation strongly with social class which, in turn, correlates with IQ, personality and substance abuse. I can see the headline now: drunk, stupid, nasty men and women mean to each other. News at 11.

    What’s next? The New York Times running a front page story titled “Scientists claim dogs pee on fire hydrants”? Basically, I see domestic violence as a public nuisance. I mean, somebody really needs to call the police on the idiots who are screaming at each other in the apartment above because I need to wake at 5 tomorrow to get to work on time.

    I have had passing acquaintances with at least two women who ended up being abused by numerous different men. Now, while I definitely felt emotive empathy for them on an intellectual level I was think “Jesus, this person is just defective”. I mean water finds its own level. It’s not like men with decent careers, partially due to having personalities that people want to be around, sudden go home and turn into raging maniacs. That’s just not how human personality works. Yes, there are one-off rare personality formations that do have a nice shiny persona in public and then turn pretty nasty in private, and I’ve met a couple. But then those people are always nasty in private when they think they can get away with it and not solely in the family home.

    How is any of this a basis for social policy?

    BTW, this is why I don’t get into the niggling details of the stats that appear for domestic violence. Your opponent will just discard stats they don’t like by claiming that there’s lots of stuff that isn’t reported.

  478. 478
    Jafafa Hots

    Really? What social inequality compensates (or over-compensates) women who have been raped and then labelled a slut when she tries to get justice?

    That’s easy!
    After being forced to bear her rapists child, she can sue him for child support even if the poor guy can’t afford a new car each year as a result.

  479. 479
    kacyray

    Asher,

    When I came into this thread 450 comments ago, I was asked to state my position on feminism and my reasons for holding that position. I did so, then spent the next several hundred comments trying to explain that I had no desire to get into deliberating those positions, but that such a reluctance shouldn’t preclude me from at least describing them.

    You’ve done a pretty good job of filling in the blanks. Damn good job, actually. Thanks for that. This is clearly something you’ve taken more of an interest in than I have. For me it was one of those issues that, once I realized the true nature of feminist culture and of most feminists themselves (thanks largely in part to this blog), I decided wasn’t worth the investment of any further time or energy.

    (I’m a “he”, by the way. My mother is to blame for the unfortunate spelling of my name, and I’ve had to learn to live with it. Oh well…)

  480. 480
    dingojack

    Asher – you didn’t answer my question,, did you?
    Dingo

  481. 481
    Laurence

    Asher,

    Do you realize that you strawmanned a whole academic field of critique by saying that they are so angry that they just use any arguments to justify this anger? Feminist critiques are very useful at helping all of us (men and women) overcome the blinders that being raised in a culture that puts distinct boundaries on what the different genders should do. There is ample evidence that there is systematic oppression of women and other minorities in this country and around the world. Watch the documentary Miss Representation to see how differently and negatively women are treated in the media as opposed to men. It’s pretty eye-opening.

  482. 482
    Asher Jacobson

    @ dingojack

    You don’t get out much do you?

    Um, this is a completely nonsensical, irrelevant statement completely unrelated to the topic. No only is whether I do or do not get out unrelated to the topic but it cannot even be remotely inferred from anything I’ve said. Also, is there some objectively criteria by one can be said to “not get out much”?

    It’s statements like this that render feminism unserious to the rest of us.

    Citations please.

    I’m not going to dignify this with a response. Men pay a disproportionate amount of taxes. Women live longer, thus, taking far more out of entitlement programs, women are also more likely to be employed by the government and to head households that consume all kinds of government services that are paid for disproportionately by married men. If you dispute any of this then you are either a complete f*cking idiot or intellectually dishonest.

    My money is on intellectually dishonest.

    I rarely ask even my most vigorous opponents for “citations please” because people rarely make stuff up like that out of whole cloth. I usually gauge my opponent to for seriousness and then offer a competing interpretation. A study to figure out the exact figure of the net transfer of wealth from men to women via the welfare state would run many tens of millions of dollars and take many thousands of hours. Such a study will never be undertaken because the welfare state’s clientele’s interests are bound up with this reality remaining hidden, and the university system is a functionary of that welfare state.

    So you’ve never met a nurse*, then? :)

    Ooo, gotta love that smarmy smiley face at the end. Real adult of you. I started working my first job at fourteen and worked my way through college, there. A nursing home nurse is the most smelly, least comfortable job in nursing. It is also the least necessary to the functioning of a society. Yes, we don’t want old people dying in the streets, but that is more of an aesthetic preference. On the other hand, my sister in law is a regular care nurse at a general hospital and the work is not very disgusting. Also, I said overwhelmingly, not completely

    Try reading better next time, champ.

  483. 483
    dingojack

    So you don’t actually have any evidence, merely bald assertions and anecdotes, got it.
    And you wonder why nobody takes your ‘arguments’ seriously.
    Dingo

  484. 484
    lancifer

    - Asher in response to Dingo Jack – Um, this is a completely nonsensical, irrelevant statement completely unrelated to the topic.

    It’s what he does. I try to ignore him but, like gnats, it’s often hard to do.

  485. 485
    dingojack

    Yes, and Lance should know he’s positively ‘The Black Knight’ when it comes to those inconvenient ‘flesh-wounds’.(known the those in reality as – well – reality).
    Dingo

  486. 486
    tomh

    MRAs are talking about privileges such as males being disposable for war

    Worst argument ever. Are women sending these men to war? No, in fact men are volunteering for it, under their male commanders. No man has been drafted and sent to war for decades.

  487. 487
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    @dingojack:

    453 wasn’t you. It was phys.

  488. 488
    dingojack

    Katherine – perhaps I should learn to re-read more carefully myself.* ::o
    Apologies.
    Dingo
    ——-
    * 473, 453 – meh – only off by 4.22%

  489. 489
    kacyray

    tomh:

    Are women sending these men to war? No, in fact men are volunteering for it, under their male commanders. No man has been drafted and sent to war for decades.

    Right. And when there’s an intruder in the house, the husband “volunteers” to confront him while the wife “volunteers” to run over to the kid’s room and make sure they’re safe. There’s no reason – nothing in our psychology or essence – it just kinda works out that way almost every time, right?

    Guess you have it all figured out.

  490. 490
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    @tomh:

    And in addition, a lot of feminists are perfectly okay with women being allowed on the front lines.

    Also OT:

    Ed? What happened to the site? Why is the menu on the left?

  491. 491
    TCC

    I rarely ask even my most vigorous opponents for “citations please” because people rarely make stuff up like that out of whole cloth.

    That is remarkably telling. Above, kacyray put forth a claim that women are more likely to be seen on their cell phones in public than men and that this tells us something essential about the genders; yet, citations to actual evidence showed this to be incorrect. You can’t just assume that your opponent is correct (forget telling the truth for the moment, since the person could be honestly mistaken); you have to start off with the right facts before you can even think about interpreting the data. This is a basic underlying principle of skepticism: ask for evidence first. I’m not sure how seriously I can take you as a result, even under your own approach.

  492. 492
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    @Kacy Ray:

    There you are again with that fucking evopsych bullshit.

  493. 493
    dingojack

    Katherine – Ed’s life took a sinister turn recently*.
    Dingo
    ——–
    * I told you Lady Hope told me Ed had a ‘deathbed’ conversion. I just didn’t say who to. Bwhahahahahaha! :)

  494. 494
    SallyStrange

    Men pay a disproportionate amount of taxes. Women live longer, thus, taking far more out of entitlement programs, women are also more likely to be employed by the government and to head households that consume all kinds of government services that are paid for disproportionately by married men. If you dispute any of this then you are either a complete f*cking idiot or intellectually dishonest.

    Wow, yeah, men are so fucking oppressed because they make more money, thus leading to them paying more taxes which in turn pay for welfare, which is disproportionately used by women because they make less money.

    Fuck you.

  495. 495
    tomh

    And when there’s an intruder in the house…blah, blah, blah

    And this has what to do with your MRA argument that men are disposable for war? Oh, that’s right, nothing at all.

  496. 496
    TCC

    dingo – I see what you did there.

  497. 497
    SallyStrange

    And the above is pretty much the quality of argument you can expect from those arguing that men are oppressed and women have privilege. Lousy arguments. Why are they lousy? Because they’re false.

    Feminists and MRAs both point to statistics. Critical difference: MRAs are generally wrong. They use distortions and lies to co-opt the language of social and political equality, in order to resist the advancement of social and political equality. They claim that they are protecting men, but if you watch them, they never actually do this. They don’t raise money to open up shelters for male victims of domestic violence, and the extent of their activism on behalf of estranged fathers consists of encouraging and lionizing violent retribution by said fathers, such as Tom Ball, who was so aggrieved that smacking his 4-year-old and bloodying her lip led to him losing custody that he lit himself on fire. This is not equality for men, it is just a backlash of threatened privilege from men who are accustomed to treating their wives and children as possessions rather than human beings.

    MRAs have to invent a story of persecution of men by feminists, rather than by those men and women who police and enforce the patriarchy’s rigid gender roles, because without this invention, it becomes plain that their goal is maintaining the inequalities that benefit men (such as being able to keep custody of your children regardless of how much you hit them), and, despite the anti-feminist backlash, it is somewhat socially unacceptable to be blatantly in favor of sexism these days.

  498. 498
    SallyStrange

    Right. And when there’s an intruder in the house, the husband “volunteers” to confront him while the wife “volunteers” to run over to the kid’s room and make sure they’re safe. There’s no reason – nothing in our psychology or essence – it just kinda works out that way almost every time, right?

    “Almost every time,” eh? Wow man. That was, like, super-scientifical.

  499. 499
    Anthony K

    It’s statements like this that render feminism unserious to the rest of us.

    You’ve probably never stopped to really think about why libertarianism is a minor fad to the rest of us.

  500. 500
    Anthony K

    You jolly well know MRAs are talking about privileges such as males being disposable for war

    Before you get down on your knees to stick your tongue up kacyray’s ass, you should know that he is emphatically for fewer women on the front lines:

    The Marine Corps physical fitness test, which I run every year, has lower standards for women, making it easier for them to get promoted. Anyone here want to argue for equality on that front? Be my guest… male Marines have been doing it for years to no avail.

    Pick a fucking argument and think it through, libertarians. You can’t have it both ways.

  501. 501
    allegro

    Citations please.

    I’m not going to dignify this with a response.

    Of course you won’t. Assertions are so much more satisfying along with “Pffft! I can’t be bothered with substantiating my opinions with facts.” We’ve seen a lot of this on this thread.

    Men pay a disproportionate amount of taxes.

    That men as a whole pay more dollars in total US revenue from taxes is probably generally true. That they are disproportionate on the high side is demonstrably false since tax rates are not determined by gender but by earnings.

    It’s also a very convenient argument to state that men as a gender pay more dollars (though not necessarily percentage of earnings as that can be easily disputed as well on a large scale of overall wealth determination) as a matter of fact while blowing off the reasons for this which are massively supported with studies of reality. Women are paid less for doing the same work and are limited in upward mobility thus negatively influencing earnings over a lifetime of work. This is quickly and easily evidenced by a vast over-representation of men in the higher echelons of business, politics, academia, and most every professional environment. Income and professional equality of opportunity are high on the list of feminist goals.

    Women live longer, thus, taking far more out of entitlement programs,

    Another unsupported statement. With lower lifetime earnings, woman receive reduced payments from earned income programs, i.e. Social Security. It is by no means a given that women receive more in total from living longer (a gap that has been increasingly closing, BTW) and certainly not “far more.”

    women are also more likely to be employed by the government

    Entirely unsupported by facts. And even if factual, so? Or are you making the claim that government jobs aren’t “real” jobs? I’m sure your local police, fire,teachers, infrastructure, and other government personnel who provide essential services to enable you to enjoy a high quality of life and safety would be delighted to discuss this with you.

    and to head households that consume all kinds of government services

    Men don’t receive all kinds of government services? See above.

    that are paid for disproportionately by married men. If you dispute any of this then you are either a complete f*cking idiot or intellectually dishonest.

    There’s that false disproportionate thing again. I have disputed your unsupported assertions, demonstrating most of them as false as this one. I believe it’s clear who in this discussion is intellectually dishonest. If you wish to assume the complete fucking idiot moniker as well, that is your privilege.

    My money is on intellectually dishonest.

    Very well then. Your choice.

    I rarely ask even my most vigorous opponents for “citations please” because people rarely make stuff up like that out of whole cloth.

    Yet you just did.

    I usually gauge my opponent to for seriousness and then offer a competing interpretation.

    Please do. I would hope for more vigorous attention to legitimate facts and argument than you have demonstrated to this point, however. Do try to up your game – it would be much more interesting.

    A study to figure out the exact figure of the net transfer of wealth from men to women via the welfare state would run many tens of millions of dollars and take many thousands of hours. Such a study will never be undertaken because the welfare state’s clientele’s interests are bound up with this reality remaining hidden, and the university system is a functionary of that welfare state.

    Those damn elitist intellectuals! Your Tea Party is showing, sweet pea.

    I started working my first job at fourteen and worked my way through college, there. A nursing home nurse is the most smelly, least comfortable job in nursing. It is also the least necessary to the functioning of a society. Yes, we don’t want old people dying in the streets, but that is more of an aesthetic preference. On the other hand, my sister in law is a regular care nurse at a general hospital and the work is not very disgusting. Also, I said overwhelmingly, not completely

    Why aren’t you just a real gem of a human being. One hopes you don’t require the care of someone with your level of compassion in your golden years.

    Try reading better next time, champ.

    Try making valid arguments next time, cupcake.

  502. 502
    Anthony K

    Er, yeah. Thanks. I wasn’t talking about this thread, though.

    Nice dodge.

  503. 503
    Anthony K

    Of course you won’t. Assertions are so much more satisfying along with “Pffft! I can’t be bothered with substantiating my opinions with facts.” We’ve seen a lot of this on this thread.

    Don’t be too hard on little Asher. Remember, all of those facts are suppressed by Big Welfare.

  504. 504
    SallyStrange

    Perhaps if we abandoned our irrational aesthetic preference against old people dying in the street and closed all the nursing homes, we could have enough money to fund a study to find out how much money those gold-digging welfare queens are stealing from hard-working men.

  505. 505
    physphilmusic

    Worst argument ever. Are women sending these men to war? No, in fact men are volunteering for it, under their male commanders. No man has been drafted and sent to war for decades.

    Right, and none of those men’s decision to volunteer had anything to do with societal pressures that to impress women you have to become a war hero…

    Right, and if the group of people who happens to cause the suffering of young men happen to have penises as well, that invalidates the experiences of those young men…because you guys have an amazing stubbornness to look at suffering outside of the lens of class-based oppression…

  506. 506
    Anthony K

    In most cultures in most of history, individuals who could not pull their weight in society were not long for this world.

    Wrong, fucko.

    Read a book, you stupid fucking idiot. Here’s one.

    Don’t you ever use “most cultures in most of history” again in an argument, you lousy, lying asshole.

  507. 507
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    @Physphilmusic:

    Don’t take this question the wrong way, but, do you understand what the Patriarchy is?

    I mean seriously – you’re describing ways that the patriarchy hurts men.

  508. 508
    physphilmusic

    And by the way, the USA isn’t the only country in the world you know. Across the world, conscription is almost completely limited to males only.

  509. 509
    allegro

    Perhaps if we abandoned our irrational aesthetic preference against old people dying in the street and closed all the nursing homes, we could have enough money to fund a study to find out how much money those gold-digging welfare queens are stealing from hard-working men.

    It really is a ghastly sentiment, isn’t it? That someone would have such a lack of regard for his grandparents, parents, and others who have given substantially to his quality of life is quite a statement of a pathological belief system.

  510. 510
    Anthony K

    Right, and none of those men’s decision to volunteer had anything to do with societal pressures that to impress women you have to become a war hero.

    That’s exactly the kind of thing the phrase “The Patriarchy Hurts Men Too” was coined for.

  511. 511
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    @452:
    As I said, mens rights advocates have anecdotes and extreme outlier cases to support their ridiculous arguments. Femunists have reams of data. Decades of evidence. And it is easily accessible on the net. Thats whyit is false equivalence to compare feminism to mens rights.

  512. 512
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Physphilmusic:
    Criticising hateful MRA rhetoric =/= silencing or suppressing dissent.
    Please explain how any MRA has been silenced. They have their hate sites around the net where they spew their anti woman bullshit. They are not guaranteed a platform here, so if a blogger chooses to ban them, that is not silencing.
    Also, please explain suppressing dissent. How is this done?

    The more you talk the more I am convinced you are a Mens Rights Advocate. You say you are not, but you spout the exact same lines they do.

  513. 513
    allegro

    I wish to correct my error in my response to Asher above to his statement:

    women are also more likely to be employed by the government

    To which I replied:

    Entirely unsupported by facts. And even if factual, so? Or are you making the claim that government jobs aren’t “real” jobs? I’m sure your local police, fire,teachers, infrastructure, and other government personnel who provide essential services to enable you to enjoy a high quality of life and safety would be delighted to discuss this with you.

    I concentrated on local government, failing to consider the US military forces which are overwhelmingly male government employees. Therefore, I withdraw the “even if factual” statement and call his assertion demonstrably and egregiously false.

  514. 514
    physphilmusic

    @Katherine

    To be honest with you, I’m still in the process of learning and understanding. A lot of people especially at my college have bandied that term “patriarchy” way too much, leaving me rather confused about what it precisely means (me being from a 3rd world country, where there is usually some sort of movement to reduce domestic violence and the sort but rarely using terms such as patriarchy, oppression or privilege). As a result, I don’t want to argue too strongly for any viewpoint yet. However, threads like this are indeed like a vertex (as somebody said) which suck you into responding to every single argument which you think are obviously wrong, so I may have come off as being too biased against feminism. When I have the time I plan to really educate and decide for myself, reading all of the books in the feminist canon. However, right now I can somewhat agree with you that patriarchy hurts men as well. My current reservations with the feminist movement in general is that it often seems too focused on women’s oppression, despite claiming that it seeks to liberate all genders. It seeks to heal women from their perceived oppression, but there is little discussion on how to help men. The 1% of white heterosexual cis men at the top are perceived to be representative of the experience of all white heterosexual cis men (although note that I myself happen to be not white).

    I’ve seen movements seeking to transform masculinity such that you don’t have to be violent to become a real man. But where are the movements which call upon women not to glorify males who excel in physical feats, i.e. athletes? Despite whatever gains feminism have made in the last century, the societal pressure for men to have to succeed at all costs in order to be worthy of a mate is still overwhelming. And I see little efforts from the feminist movement to do anything about this. You should take all of this with a grain of salt since as I have said, I am probably still ignorant about many things. However, I am still pessimistic about finding anything within the feminist movement which calls upon women to change.

  515. 515
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao