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Why “Yes, But” Is the Wrong Response to Misogyny

“Yes, but… not all men are like that. And if you’re going to talk about misogyny, you have to be extra-clear about that.”

“Yes, but… misogyny doesn’t just happen in (X) community (atheist, black, gay, etc.). In fact, it’s worse in some other communities. So it’s not fair to talk about misogyny when it does happen in (X) community, as if it’s something special that we’re doing wrong.”

“Yes, but… (X) community where misogyny happens has some great things about it, too. It’s not fair to paint everyone in it with the same brush.”

“Yes, but… the woman/ women in question could have done something to avoid the misogyny she got targeted with. She/ they could have stayed anonymous/ concealed her gender/ dressed differently/etc. I’m not saying it’s her fault, but…”

“Yes, but… the woman/ women in question didn’t behave absolutely perfectly in all respects. Why aren’t we talking about that?”

“Yes, but… the person writing about this incident didn’t behave absolutely perfectly in all respects. Why aren’t we talking about that?”

“Yes, but… there are worse problems in the world. Starving people in Africa, and so on. Why are you complaining about this?”

“Yes, but… gender expectations hurt men, too. Why aren’t we talking about that?”

“Yes, but… people are entitled to freedom of speech. How dare you suggest that speech be censored by requesting that online forums be moderated?”

“Yes, but… calling attention to misogyny just makes it worse. Don’t feed the trolls. You should just ignore it.”

“Yes, but… do you have to be so angry and emotional and over-sensitive about it? That doesn’t help your argument or your cause.”

“Yes, but… what about male circumcision?”

“Yes, but… Rebecca Watson or some other feminist said something mean or unfair in another conversation weeks/ months/ years ago. Why aren’t we talking about that?”

“Yes, but… why is it so terrible to ask a woman for coffee in a hotel elevator at four in the morning?”

It’s depressingly predictable. When an instance of misogyny gets pointed out on the Internet, in a forum big enough to garner more than a couple dozen comments, you’re almost guaranteed to see some or all of these types of comments. It’s happening now. In case you haven’t heard, there was a recent incident on Reddit/ atheism, in which a 15-year-old girl posted a photo of herself holding a copy of Carl Sagan’s Demon-haunted World that her mother had given her for Christmas… and was almost immediately targeted with a barrage of sexualized, dehumanizing, increasingly violent and brutal comments. Including, “Well 15 is legal in many places, including my country, so I’ll only have to deal with abduction charges.” “Relax your anus, it hurts less that way.” “Blood is mother nature’s lubricant.” “Tears, natures lubricant.” “BITE THE PILLOW, IM GOIN’ IN DRY!” And including comments blaming the girl for posting a picture of herself in the first place.

Rebecca Watson and others — including Stephanie Zvan, Ed Brayton, Jason Thibeault, Jen McCreight, John Loftus, and Ophelia Benson — have been pointing out how revoltingly misogynistic this is and why. And the “Yes, but…”s have been coming thick and fast.

It’s depressingly predictable. And it’s depressing that anyone should have to explain why this is a problem. It seems totally obvious to me. But apparently, it’s not so obvious. So I’m going to spell it out.

When the topic of misogyny comes up, and men change the subject, it trivializes misogyny.

When the topic of misogyny comes up, and men change the subject, it conveys the message that whatever men want to talk about is more important than misogyny.

When the topic of misogyny comes up, and men change the subject to something that’s about them, it conveys the message that men are the ones who really matter, and that any harm done to men is always more important than misogyny.

And when the topic of misogyny comes up, and men change the subject, it comes across as excusing misogyny. It doesn’t matter how many times you say, “Yes, of course, misogyny is terrible.” When you follow that with a “Yes, but…”, it comes across as an excuse. In many cases, it is an excuse. And it contributes to a culture that makes excuses for misogyny.

Now. If an instance of misogyny is being discussed, and you genuinely don’t think that the instance really was misogynistic or sexist… by all means, say so. I’d advise you to listen very carefully first, and to think very carefully, and to consider the possibility that women might know some things about misogyny that you don’t, and to choose your words and ideas very carefully indeed. But I’ve certainly seen accusations of misogyny or sexism that I thought were bullshit. (Porn wars, anybody?) And I don’t expect people of any gender to just silently accept any and all of these accusations without question.

That’s not what I’m saying. I’m saying that, when an instance of misogyny is being discussed, and you don’t disagree in the slightest that it really was misogyny? When an instance of misogyny is being discussed, and it would be obvious to anyone but a sociopathic hyena on meth that it really was misogyny? When — oh, just for example — a freaking 15-year-old girl posts a picture of herself with a book by Carl Sagan to an online atheist community, and gets targeted with a barrage of sexualized, dehumanizing, increasingly violent and brutal comments, including threats of blood-soaked anal rape?

Please, for the sweet love of Loki and all the gods in Valhalla, when someone points out how terrible and misogynistic that is, do not change the subject.

Please just say, “That is terrible. That is completely unacceptable. That is not how civilized human beings treat one another. Anyone who did that owes that girl the most groveling apology in their repertoire. If they don’t make an apology in the next six nanoseconds, they ought to be shunned. That sort of behavior is absolutely not to be tolerated.”

Period.

Stop there.

Do not say “Yes, but…”

If you feel compelled to say something other than “That’s terrible”… add some thoughts about the history of misogyny. Some insights into how misogyny happens, and how it gets perpetuated. Some ideas about what you think should be done about it. Etc. But whatever you do or say, don’t say, “Yes, but…” and then turn the conversation towards yourself, or other men, or some other topic that you think is more important.

If you want to talk about starving people in Africa, or whether misogyny is worse in (X) community than (Y) community, or male circumcision, or some possibly mean and unfair things that some feminist said at another time, or whether moderation of online forums constitutes censorship? Fine. Those are worthwhile topics. (Except for the last one, which is just silly.) But they are worthwhile topics FOR A DIFFERENT DISCUSSION. Post them in another thread. Start another thread. Do not freaking bring them up every single time the topic of misogyny comes up.

It’s not all about you.

And if you’re acting as if accusations of misogyny are all about you… maybe that’s something you should be looking at.

Comments

  1. Scott Bilas says

    Great post, reminded me a little of Miguel de Icaza’s “well, actually” (http://tirania.org/blog/archive/2011/Feb-17.html).

    I think a big portion of the “yes, but” is from that weird nerdy human need to make an apparent “correction”, independent of sometimes overwhelming context. Like when someone is telling you about their terrible day and you interrupt them to correct their usage of the word “unique”.

  2. medussa says

    Holy Shit. I know nothing about the upset that caused all this rage, but the few quotes you printed were horrifying!

    Yes, I will follow up and read it, and see what possible controversy could have started based on an innocuous looking photo, but why?! Why are people so damned hurtful, and vicious, and sick? Even if there is a controversy?

  3. Wes says

    Very good points, but I could’ve done without the passive-aggressive reference to Elevatorgate. When you equate “Yes, but… not all men are like that” (a pathetic attempt to change the subject) with “Yes, but… why is it so terrible to ask a woman for coffee in a hotel elevator at four in the morning?” (a legitimate inquiry into the propriety of the behavior), you’re just asking to be misunderstood. The latter is an example of what you said SHOULD be done – “If an instance of misogyny is being discussed, and you genuinely don’t think that the instance really was misogynistic or sexist… by all means, say so.”

    If you want to keep the Elevatorgate controversy alive (and I’m all for keeping controversy alive, if you feel that nothing’s been settled), I think you ought to address it directly, not in side comment to an otherwise excellent post.

  4. Brittany says

    You are amazing. Thank you! I was just talking about this yesterday when people were complaining that Rebecca Watson didn’t specifically state that she was only addressing Reddit and that she didn’t bother to talk about the comments that were positive.

    It simply did not matter, but people couldn’t understand that. I hope those same people read this and understand why what they were saying really didn’t matter when we look at the big picture.

  5. Brittany says

    @Wes, focus on the emphasis. It’s not a question of someone simply not understanding why something is wrong; it’s a question of “Why can’t I flirt with a female whenever I feel like it?” and that is what’s sexist.

  6. Wes says

    @Brittany – maybe, but it’s still not the same as changing the subject. It’s addressing the subject directly, and asking for explanation and clarification. If you really don’t understand, the only other option is just to smile & nod. Isn’t it better ask if you truly don’t get it? Maybe you’ll learn something about feminism, Schroedinger’s Rapist, or rape culture. I think it’s wrong to imply that asking the question is necessarily in bad faith, or is somehow changing the subject. It’s the only thing on that list that really doesn’t belong, and it seems like it’s just a less-than-subtle dig at those who disagree with Greta’s position on Elevatorgate.

  7. says

    Just to touch on a pet peeve of mine: Moderation in online forums is in fact censorship. It is, however, most absolutley *NOT* a violation of freedom of speech. Private entities (e.g. forums in this instance) can censor what gets posted on their site all they want. Freedom of speech applies to government regulation of speech.

    I know that everyone on here knows this already.

  8. Sheikh Mahandi says

    Greta, you are 100% correct, this young lady should have been welcomed into the community of sceptics and athiests and given every possible encouragement to continue on her path to scientific enlightenment. To be confronted and possibly discouraged by a voluble, aggresive, disgusting group of misogynists, making hateful obscene remarks, almost makes me question my lifelong dedication to freedom of speech.
    Young lady, if you happen to read this, please enjoy your book, and many more like it, I hope you have a long happy life full of wonderful experiences.

    P.S. There can be no “Yes but..” for this young ladies treatment, so please don’t try, you will just come across as asinine as those apologists who try to convince people that “three into one does go”, and that women have a “place”.

  9. Randal Foster says

    I bet it’s going to happen again…. the utterance of the name that launches a thousand responses!

  10. Rod Chlebek says

    We (all) need to have the courage to point out that this behavior is intolerable when it happens instead of shrugging our shoulders when we’re not directly affected.

  11. Greta Christina says

    Wes @ #8: You are missing the point. Let me clarify.

    There is a pattern I have observed many, many times. Person A — usually a woman — brings up some instance of misogyny, and mentions Rebecca Watson’s name (because Watson posted about it, or for some other reason entirely unrelated to Elevatorgate). And Person B, entirely unrelated to the original topic of the original post, opens up Elevatorgate and tries to rehash it. Thus distracting from the original comment and the misogynistic content it’s discussing.

    The details of Elevatorgate, and who was right or wrong in it, are not the point. The point is that it continues to be used as a way to derail absolutely any discussion of misogyny whatsoever.

    Please don’t let that happen again here. Thank you.

  12. unbound says

    Not sure if Wes is being serious or not. Especially since “Very good points, but…” is pretty much the same as the “Yes, but…” that was the whole point of this very well written post.

  13. Wes says

    @Greta – I know. Which is why I’m kind of baffled that you brought it up.

    @Fishi, @unbound – I’m saying I don’t understand the recommendation, not trying to change the subject. I’m hoping it’s just a passive-aggressive remark about Elevatorgate (together with an admonishment to not dare try to talk about it, lest you be labeled a misogynist), but if it isn’t, it leaves me very confused. Are men just supposed to smile & nod when a woman says anything about misogyny? If a man has an issue with part of what a woman says, how should be bring it up without being misogynistic? Is there a way?

  14. says

    To be somewhat more on topic: “Yes, but” is a red flag in any discussion, doubly so when discussing issues of privilege. What is about to follow is not intended to further the discussion.

  15. says

    I’m so not seeing this misogyny thing in the skeptic community.
    At all. Seriously, none of it. I constantly ask to be nagged about how these things happen in skeptic / atheist groups in the US, but I don’t see any of it in Hungary..

    Also, you can’t separate Watson and Elevatorgate from feminism in the skeptical community. Watson’s name was already interwoven with the topic before the incident happened.

  16. Stephen Foster says

    Wes, stop it; you’re only digging your hole deeper.

    As an old-fart white guy, there are lots of sins for which to atone (and don’t any of you other guys bother getting all huffed up about it – you know I’m right). I’ve been around long enough to recognize all the excuses and “yes, buts” in myself. I hope I’ve been learning not to.

    That “yes, but” reaction is an attempt to not hear what she (Greta, Rebecca, whomever at this particular moment) said. I remember being six years old and making good use of that method (well, not with my mom). Come to think of it, the flames are also for the same purpose.

    The Great Male Fallacy is that we get to tell women who they are. Instead of reacting in fury at my clearly inflammatory statement, take a while to see if I’m right (just a bit longer – go brew some coffee – have a sandwich). OK, now you may let fly.

  17. says

    “Yes, but a good friend of mine is a member of (identity group of person being discussed) and they don’t mind that kind of talk at all!”

    My blood pressure went up twenty points reading that list.

    The word “but” is often a fast-track to the idiot prize for the day. I want to tell these clowns “See if you can respond without using the word ‘but’ – it might slow you down long enough to hear an idea and have a thought.”

    Even as a matter of simple manners – how can it ever be OK to make crude sexual overtures to a kid? Whom you do not know? On a thread of a completely nonsexual topic? Sheesh!

  18. Wes says

    I don’t think Greta’s recommendation was that if a woman says “this situation was misogynistic, and that means we should chemically castrate all men,” it’s somehow misogynistic for a man to say “I agree that it’s misogynistic, but I think your solution goes way too far.” That’s not changing the subject. That’s agreeing in part, and disagreeing in part.

    @morvaadam – There’s no need to separate Watson’s name. I just don’t get why “what’s wrong with that behavior?” is the same or similar to “not all men are like that!” One is a question, the other a justification.

  19. David says

    Now hang on a second. I agree with this article completely, but when people are saying those things online, they are doing it because they know it will piss people off. Yelling at them will only fuel the fire- “feeding the trolls” it’s called. I’m not saying misogyny shouldn’t be corrected, I’m just wondering if it’s possible to change the mind of someone who’s saying things just to piss people off.

  20. butterflyfish says

    Wes, to answer your question, “what’s wrong with that behavior” was a problem with Elevatorgate because Rebecca had just spent an inordinate amount of time *explaining* what was wrong with it.

    It’s like if a man said, “men don’t like to be punched in the nuts, because it hurts,” and I said, “but why is that a problem?”

    Also, by nitpicking and derailing, you’re doing the “yes, but” thing. Please stop.

  21. Greta Christina says

    We @ #28: I am going to try to clarify one more time, and then I am going to leave you to the wolf pack.

    If a woman says “this situation was misogynistic, and that means we should chemically castrate all men,” it is entirely reasonable for anyone of any gender to say that chemically castrating all men is an appalling idea.

    But if a woman says “this situation was misogynistic,” and never mentions chemically castrating all men anywhere in her statement, and a man responds by saying, “Yes, but what about women who want to chemically castrate all men?” That’s a derail. That’s changing the subject.

    That is the topic of this post: derailing discussions of misogyny, into whatever tangentially- related or entirely unrelated topic the man in question prefers to talk about instead. And you are rapidly turning yourself into Exhibit A. I strongly suggest that you stop.

  22. JD says

    Yes, I agree and all, but I do think chemical castration for all men goes to far! How can you even say that!! (I jokes.)

  23. Greta Christina says

    Now hang on a second. I agree with this article completely, but when people are saying those things online, they are doing it because they know it will piss people off. Yelling at them will only fuel the fire- “feeding the trolls” it’s called. I’m not saying misogyny shouldn’t be corrected, I’m just wondering if it’s possible to change the mind of someone who’s saying things just to piss people off.

    David @ #31: You may have missed one of the key examples listed in this piece:

    “Yes, but… calling attention to misogyny just makes it worse. Don’t feed the trolls. You should just ignore it.”

    The “don’t feed the trolls” theory of responding to internet misogyny has been discussed at length. It is a bad, bad idea. Ignoring internet misogyny is exactly what feeds it. It perpetuates the idea that this behavior is acceptable. We need to create a culture that makes it clear that this sort of behavior is flatly unacceptable. And speaking out about it is the only way to do that.

    What’s more, it is not appropriate for men to tell women when we should and should not speak out about misogyny. There is a long and ugly history behind that. Please don’t do it. Thanks.

  24. brianpollock says

    I have been a skeptic and a feminist man for a while now. I’m not sure exactly what’s going on, but I am getting more and more disgusted by the misogyny in both communities. The skeptic community in particular has been talking about gender equality for a while, and it seems that equal representation for speakers and in the online community has been increasing lately. This has been coupled with an increase in disgusting misogyny. A lot men seem to be completely fine with gender equality until it actually happens.

    We never see comments about how those Orthodox women had it coming and of course they should sit at the back of the bus, but somehow women should expect threats of anal rape any time they post a picture on reddit? I am truly ashamed of humans right now.

  25. Wes says

    @Alyson – I have no interest in talking about Rebecca Watson or Elevatorgate. This post was framed as advice for men about how to behave. I understand why all of the things on Greta’s list (and the ones in the comments) are stupid things to say, but I DO NOT understand why the last one is. The only consistent way that I can interpret it is that it’s a throwaway, meant to just remind people that anyone who disagrees with Greta’s interpretation of Elevatorgate is an asshole. I think that’s a shitty thing to put in a post like this. If it’s not a throwaway, then I’m lost, and I don’t know how to follow this advice.

    @Butterflyfish – thank you for actually addressing my question. I would like to continue discussing it, but this seems a particularly hostile forum. If anyone actually wants to talk about it (as opposed to calling me names for daring to ask), I invite you to say so, but until then, I’ll hold off on any more discussion of the merits.

  26. Wes says

    @Greta – Thank you for your clarification. I think I misunderstood the point of your post. I interpreted it as advice to men on how to respond to a woman’s discussion of misogyny, with many men’s responses to the recent Reddit filth as an illustration of what NOT to do. So I didn’t think it was changing the subject to ask for explanation/clarification. Apologies if that wasn’t what you intended.

  27. says

    This post is structured in such a way that any response other than agreement makes the responder part of the problem… or maybe I mean makes it obvious that that is the case. It’s a shame it had to said but plainly it did. Those comments are horrifying and inexcusable, and the existence of such behavior is a problem that needs to be addressed directly any time it rears its purulent head; it should not be denied, excused or avoided.

  28. V says

    I’ll confess I don’t understand why this is inappropriate, as a response to a post about the episode that concludes that (X) community is horrible:

    “Yes, but… (X) community where misogyny happens has some great things about it, too. It’s not fair to paint everyone in it with the same brush.”

  29. Wes says

    @V – the problem is that often, “(X) community is horrible” is NOT the conclusion. Saying “the atheist community has a misogyny problem” is very different from saying “the atheist community is horrible.” Addressing the latter as a response to the former is a straw man, and shows a lack of attention and/or respect for the original comment.

  30. Greta Christina says

    I understand why all of the things on Greta’s list (and the ones in the comments) are stupid things to say, but I DO NOT understand why the last one is. The only consistent way that I can interpret it is that it’s a throwaway, meant to just remind people that anyone who disagrees with Greta’s interpretation of Elevatorgate is an asshole.

    Wes @ #39: No. That was not the point. The point was not that anyone who disagrees with my interpretation of Elevatorgate is an asshole. The point was that bringing up Elevatorgate in a discussion of misogyny that has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with Elevatorgate (A) is a depressingly common derail tactic in the atheosphere, and (B) is fucked up.

  31. says

    Seems logical to me that if you want to tell a woman that “not all men are like that”, the best way to do that is to listen to her and then state in no uncertain terms that the behavior you’re discussing is not acceptable.

  32. Wes says

    @Greta – that makes WAY more sense. Sorry. I saw that, and thought you were saying that such a statement was incorrect in response to a comment *about* that topic. Thank you for explaining.

  33. d cwilson says

    “Yes, but… misogyny doesn’t just happen in (X) community (atheist, black, gay, etc.). In fact, it’s worse in some other communities. So it’s not fair to talk about misogyny when it does happen in (X) community, as if it’s something special that we’re doing wrong.”

    You know, this one struck me as a familiar argument I’ve seen somewhere else. If you replace “misogyny” with “child molestation” and “(X) community” with “The Catholic Church”, you have just about every apologia for the Catholic scandal that I’ve seen on the internets for the past decade.

    My response to the apologists has always been, “Yes, it happens elsewhere, too. Now clean up your own house.”

    Maybe the atheist/skeptical community needs to follow that same advice.

  34. Savagemutt says

    I would suggest another:

    The “yes, but they can’t help it” response, which excuses the behavior on account of their youthfulness or biological urges driven by natural selection, or (particularly in the atheist/skepticism community) their lack of social skills due to Asperger’s, or just plain old “nerdiness.”

  35. EAM says

    Oh…they get it. Why do you expect misogynists NOT to be misogynists…?

    Those that say they are not can prove it by taking the others to task, blocking, ranting and retaliating in any way they see fit.

    Or they are simply misogynists too… They are simply not brave enough to wear their hate on their sleeve.

    Are you NOT a misogynist?

    Then start acting like it. Don’t tolerate abuse online.

    It is within the power of people online to make online abuse “beyond the pale” socially….but they have not.

    Why is that?

    Freedom of speech implies you should use YOURS to defend other people not simply tolerate and defend a decent into fucking disgusting treatment of young people…be they women, people of color, people with disabilities, LGBT folks…

    Your passivity (to those who are passive) allows it to continue.

  36. screechymonkey says

    You left out one of my personal favorites:

    “Yes, but that’s not technically misogyny. My dictionary says ‘misogyny’ means ‘hatred of women,’ and those men on Reddit didn’t hate that girl, they really really liked her a lot. Unless you say the magic word ‘hate,’ it isn’t misogyny.”

  37. EAM says

    The “don’t feed the trolls” strategy has been in play for what – 30 years now? It has not worked.

    What it has done is normalized behaviors to the point that young people see nothing wrong with abusing each other online in virulent unceasing attacks on any one dumb enough to be born different, or to move to a place where they are different, or to be female, LGBT or not white.

    The culture of the internet was formed primarily by white male engineers who as a subculture defined their own norms. Those norms are not always socially adaptive.

    In the case of the “don’t feed the trolls” strategy – it did not scale.

    What did scale is tolerance for abuse.

    If you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem.

  38. EAM says

    Yes Wes! (Christian NALTS really tick me off – because I am often willing to make that argument as an atheist when for instance discussing social progress and progressive Christians who have been fighting the good fight…But then they are totally passive when it comes to the encroaching BS by fundies… anyway sorry to digress)

  39. Thomas_t says

    I swear it seems that some men have no clue as to behave. It is like they are given the idea that the entertainment business is the proper source for morals and how to treat woman.

    I am so sick and tired of my fellow males bitching and crying about being unable to interact with a woman without doing x,y or z.

    Hey how about having something interesting to say, How about being a person worth knowing. How about if you don’t get the attention of the woman you want it is not HER fault or YOUR fault, It just fucking is life.

    No woman is obligated to respond in any particular way because a guy tosses her some attention.

    No man has a right to a woman’s body. Nor does he have the right to control her or expect her to behave in any particular way.

    To be quite honest, there are plenty of single men and woman and believe it or not, some are actually happy that way.

  40. EAM says

    For folks surprised by this… it is utterly common. It is an everyday experience for your kids, for gays, for women, for women who call themselves feminists (might as well put a target on your forehead)…On youtube – if a kid who has a disability is brave enough to post a video they are targeted by a swarm of trolls encouraging them to kill themselves. Youtube tolerates it.

    This example isn’t even particularly shocking. I mean of course I am appalled but I am appalled every day.

  41. Thomas_T says

    As a white male from back in the day, I remember the real “attack of the tolls” and it was really bad. I have not see anything like back in the late 90s for years.

    You may think it is not working but it is really so much better.

    There is a difference between someone who wants to make a point, regardless of how stupid it is and a troll. A troll simply wants to get a reaction.

  42. EAM says

    Sorry – to digress from “misogyny” – but I can’t just limit the topic because it’s not just women who are treated this way. It is misogyny but it is also the wider net culture which makes it not just tolerable but celebrated.

  43. HerbieTheBeagle says

    I don’t really have anything substantive to add – Greta’s excellent post has said it all – but just wanted to be one more voice in support. I don’t post very often but I read the atheist blogs a lot and if it wasn’t for these strong, rational voices standing up against the bile I think I would have given up in disgust a long time ago. Thank you Greta (and Jen and JT and Rebecca and PZ and Ophelia and everyone else who’s on the right side), you are making a positive difference.

  44. EAM says

    I’ve been online since before there were pictures…please don’t explain to me what it was like back then. I was there. And no it’s not better.

  45. Azkyroth says

    On the one hand, it’s not like phrasing a statement precisely enough that on a naive reading it only applies to the people you actually have in mind when you make it is ALL THAT difficult. On the other hand, I’ve seen that done and the YesButs are still out in force, so this particular take on it may be pretty much limited to me, and I suppose it is a distraction…

  46. Wes says

    @Azkyroth – I think those situations are different. I think the frustration comes when your phrasing only applies to the people you have in mind, and people treat it as if you are applying it to all members of a group.

  47. Ted Forest says

    Am I the only one who thinks a bunch of internet asshole’s comments are being given way too much credit? Let me be perfectly clear that I agree these comments are inappropriate and sick. But when respectable bloggers like you, Hemant, PZ, and others act like this is a big deal, you’re giving credence to a few douchbags who posted what would otherwise be throwaway comments on the internet. To reiterate, I am not defending these bastards. Anyone posting sexual comments about a 15 year old girl is a son of a bitch. BUT a HUGE deal s being made of random internet comments. Anonymity breeds this, and it doesn’t necessarily represent a greater flaw in society.

  48. Wes says

    @Ted – See Greta @37. If you’re arguing that the atheist/skeptic community doesn’t actually have a misogyny problem, I’d advise you to pay more attention. There are countless examples, a lot of them in-person, not just online. It’s a real problem, and denying it just makes it worse.

  49. moralnihilist says

    Yes, the thread was revolting.

    Yes, the subreddit’s moderators should take a more active role than they do, and perhaps enforce a code of conduct.

    Yes, it is appropriate to get angry and deride the commenters and those who upvoted them, heavily.

    I just don’t appreciate it when some of the people posting about it indict the entire community of 350,000 subscribers of /r/atheism for the actions of no more than 2,000. That’s less than a tenth of one percent of the community, and the reason more people didn’t downvote it was likely because they didn’t see it. Also, the people upvoting and making those comments weren’t necessarily people who regularly contribute to /r/atheism. The subreddit is included in Reddit’s front page by default, exposing it to the entire Reddit community at large, which, unfortunately contains many homophobes, racists, and sexists. And that ought to change.

    Rebecca Watson claimed that the “entire community” of /r/atheism has this problem, which is not true.

  50. scottportman says

    It’s embarrassing but there sure are a lot of immature atheists out there, or maybe clueless ones. Sometimes I think, well, every community has got people like this. Then I think, people who are fascinated with squids and science and mathematics, and find the transition away from religion fairly natural and painless… eh, it wouldn’t surprise me if we have a higher percentage than the general population of people who don’t read social cues properly – a lot of eccentric, highly intelligent types have some ASD spectrum stuff going on, and fail to filter or establish a mature sense of their own sexuality, and accordingly act out inappropriately. The rebuttal is: (a) we also have our share of old-fashioned knuckle-dragging fools and (b) folks on the ASD spectrum, while they may have social challenges, are not necessarily sexists. So I really don’t know. It does seem like we have more than our share of immature pubescent males making fools out of themselves. That’s easy enough to ignore, except it’s not pleasant for young women and stupidity can easily cross over into threatening behavior.

  51. EAM says

    then prove it by spending your time there instead of hear defending your hurt feelings…It’s not personal. There’s work to do that is more important than defending the honor of the badly mis-characterized Reddit community…

    Yes but not all REDDITers are like that!!!!!

    Thanks for explaining that. I never would have known had you not put it so clearly for my girly brain.

  52. says

    A smiling young human photographs self holding up an (IMO) excellent Carl Sagan book received from a religious parent. That ought to be a freeze-frame, jumping high-five moment. There is so much to be happy about in that photo from a skeptic/atheist POV.

    How many times has “You just hate men!” been puked up in response to someone making a fatally reasonable feminist comment? And if this 15 year old’s only take-away from this ugly exhibition was “Men hate me”, what more salient point would she be missing?

  53. EAM says

    This is not a problem particular to the nerd or the atheist community. It is no more pronounced among these groups. It is not a problem of folks on the Autism spectrum. It is not a problem of youth.

  54. Wes says

    Scott @69 – if you’ve heard the stories from women who run in atheist/skeptic circles, both online and in person, at conferences, etc. you’d understand that it’s not easy to ignore. Instead of being a NALT, I’d suggest keeping an eye out for such things, and confronting offenders, instead of those complaining about the offending behavior. We know we’re not all like that. They don’t.

  55. Roel says

    That is terrible. That is completely unacceptable. That is not how civilized human beings treat one another. Anyone who did that owes that girl the most groveling apology in their repertoire. If they don’t make an apology in the next six nanoseconds, they ought to be shunned. That sort of behavior is absolutely not to be tolerated.

  56. Antonov An-225 says

    You know what? I don’t care that “not all of us are like that.” I left the Something Awful forums years ago because the actions of “a few bad apples” were enough to poison the atmosphere for me. It’s starting to reach that point in the atheist community. And FFS, we should be better than that. There should be a zero-tolerance policy for this brand of misogyny, because treating women as second-class citizens goes against every rational fiber in my body.

  57. hertta says

    scottportmans:

    That’s easy enough to ignore,

    I’m sure it is. For you.

    except it’s not pleasant for young women

    It’s alienating even for a grown ass woman like me.

    can easily cross over into threatening behavior.

    It can be downright terrifying getting flooded with misogynistic abuse. It can keep some people from participating altogether.

  58. Quinapalus says

    One of the distinguishing hazards of What About Teh Menz is that mentioning it in any forum other than an Approved Echo Chamber [tm] is guaranteed to provoke a response of, “well, what ABOUT teh menz?” It’s an inescapable consequence of dealing with people who believe, deep down, that they’re inherently more important than you are.

    Now, I actually do have a “yes, but” of my own (!): there is misogyny, and then there is Internet griefing. I am well aware that making the distinction at all is the whole basis of the “well, she knew what she was doing when she posted a picture of herself on the Internet” defense, so just let me emphasize that both misogyny and Internet griefing are completely appalling and indefensible and should be resisted with all the force we can bring to bear. I’m only arguing that they should be understood on their own [de]merits. Misogyny is not limited to the Internet, more’s the pity, and Internet griefing is by no means limited to women. Misogyny is the reason these Reddit shitstains chose to speak up at all, but the specific horrors they invoke are the well-honed tools of griefer outrage.

    I’m not sure the distinction amounts to anything hugely important, though, and if drawing it itself constitutes a derail, I am content to accept that correction.

  59. ScottK says

    #67- Exactly. It’s easy to say “this particular turd isn’t a real problem”, and maybe it isn’t, but now that’s led to us being neck deep in shit.

    The solution is utter intolerance; the fools who do this need to be shouted down, hard, every time.

  60. Greta Christina says

    Ted Forest @ #65: It’s not “a few douchebags.” Internet misogyny is a widespread problem. I don’t know a single woman on the Internet who hasn’t encountered it on a regular basis. And it has a seriously chilling effect on women’s participation in online culture. Do a little research about it before you dismiss it so blithely. (The #mencallmethings hashtag on Twitter is a good place to start… but then again, so is Googling “internet misogyny”). And it is not up to you to decide whether this is a big deal.

    Do you really not realize that you are making yourself into a perfect example of exactly what I’m talking about here? You’re basically saying, “Yes, a 15 year old girl on Reddit/ atheism got a barrage of rape threats and other misogyny, and this seems to be a regular occurrence on Reddit/ atheism and elsewhere on the Internet… but what’s the big deal? Why do you have to make such a fuss over something so trivial?”

    As for the “Don’t feed the trolls” meme, it’s already been discussed and dispatched with. See #37. Ignoring internet misogyny is how the trolls get fed. Speaking out about it is how the trolls get dispatched.

  61. Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM says

    a lot of eccentric, highly intelligent types have some ASD spectrum stuff going on, and fail to filter or establish a mature sense of their own sexuality, and accordingly act out inappropriately.

    As a perfectly reasonable human being on the autism spectrum, I’m going to have to say: leave us the fuck out of your rationalizations for horrible behavior. It’s insulting and patronizing.

    That’s easy enough to ignore, except it’s not pleasant for young women

    It’s not just “not pleasant.” It’s destructive and toxic and it can be the difference between participating in the movement and giving up on it. It can do real harm to the people thus targeted.

    Yes, it is appropriate to get angry and deride the commenters and those who upvoted them, heavily.

    I just don’t Yes, but… (X) community where misogyny happens has some great things about it, too. It’s not fair to paint everyone in it with the same brush.

    I don’t know why you bothered writing all those words just to say something Greta already addressed in the post.

  62. Azkyroth says

    @Azkyroth – I think those situations are different. I think the frustration comes when your phrasing only applies to the people you have in mind, and people treat it as if you are applying it to all members of a group.

    Well, in this case, the statement actually was “hate Atheists,” which I found an unfortunate distraction from the point. But the YesButts do it even when the statement IS more precise. Like I said.

  63. Greta Christina says

    moralnihilist @ #68: Actually, all of Reddit/ atheist DOES have a problem. They have the problem that blatant, vile, hateful misogyny is flourishing in their community, and that it seems to be largely accepted and even encouraged as a standard form of discourse. That’s a problem for everyone there. No, not everyone there is a misogynist — but it’s the responsibility of everyone there to try to change the culture, so this sort of behavior is no longer considered acceptable.

  64. screechymonkey says

    When are we going to stop saying “it’s just on the internet” as if the internet isn’t part of our lives?

    And yes, I get that there are certain “dark corners” of the internet (like a certain Site That Shall Not Be Named) that we should just write off because there’s no hope of civilizing it, because the people there WANT to behave that way. But is an atheism subreddit really supposed to be a place like that? Are we really cool with that?

    And Ted@65, why is it that you think that you can discuss these comments — and even argue that we shouldn’t complain about them — without it being “defending these bastards” (and I agree that you can), but for Greta and others to blog about them is “giving credence” to them? How come you can say [I'm not defending them, but...] yet Greta can’t say “here’s some crappy behavior I want to point at and shame”?

  65. says

    Oh for fucks sake… I can’t believe even after being told NALTs are off-track, that some people are posting variations of it.

    Suppose you had some spinach on your chicken sandwich last week and there was e Coli on it and you got terribly sick. But one shouldn’t indict the entire sandwich just because of some germs on the spinach. The whole sandwich wasn’t tainted.

    Long past time to apply some serious social pressure on people who make abusive comments.

  66. EAM says

    “As a perfectly reasonable human being on the autism spectrum, I’m going to have to say: leave us the fuck out of your rationalizations for horrible behavior. It’s insulting and patronizing. ”

    YES YES YES!! (Jumping up and down clapping wildly)

  67. Brownian says

    Thanks, Greta.

    I’ve nothing much to add, but to note that “Don’t Feed the Trolls” is pretty much how physical bullying was generally dealt with by teachers and parents up until fairly recently.

    And kids cried (or died), and bullying didn’t magically stop because those of us not under the boot during a specific incidence turned away and pretended it wasn’t happening.

  68. you_monster says

    Suppose you had some spinach on your chicken sandwich last week and there was e Coli on it and you got terribly sick. But one shouldn’t indict the entire sandwich just because of some germs on the spinach. The whole sandwich wasn’t tainted.

    Good analogy. Clearly in that instance, a normal person would lament eating that fucking poisonous sandwich. The internet-misogyny apologists get upset that someone would paint that perfectly good sandwich with a broad brush. e Coli is ubiquitous and can be found in a number of food products. That sandwich must not be deficient after all. sandwich-nazis…

  69. 'Tis Himself, OM. says

    Brownian #87

    I’ve nothing much to add, but to note that “Don’t Feed the Trolls” is pretty much how physical bullying was generally dealt with by teachers and parents up until fairly recently.

    Overt misogyny is bullying.

  70. says

    @42: In other words, it’s unfair of Greta to be so right, because it leaves you very little room to maneuver when excusing misogyny. Have you tried not excusing misogyny? You might find a little more wiggle room in what you’re “allowed” to say without being an asshole.

  71. John Eberhard says

    That is terrible. That is completely unacceptable. That is not how civilized human beings treat one another. Anyone who did that owes that girl the most groveling apology in their repertoire. If they don’t make an apology in the next six nanoseconds, they ought to be shunned. That sort of behavior is absolutely not to be tolerated.

    As if that isn’t bad enough, these asshats give the fundies that much more ammunition to prove that you cannot have a moral compass without god.

    I’m ashamed that my maleness and atheism puts me in a group comprised of such vile animals.

  72. Greg Peterson says

    There is this type of hooligan atheist I’ve encountered from time to time who is no better than most vile Imam in their view of women. I have a mother, a sister, a daughter and girlfriend; I have worked for mostly women in my professional life; and I have some terrific female friends. How can it be that these people either have none of these influences, or are so pathologically unempathetic, so disastrously void of a decent “theory of mind,” that they think this sort of thing could be acceptable, much less entertaining?

    The one good thing that’s come of the shit atheists I’ve encountered–the misanthropic and nihilistic hacks as well as the sterile, bloodless robots–is that they, as the church before them, have motivated me to carve out a space of my own, to kowtow to no one else’s opinion and to stand up for my own values and ideas, and against stupidity and cruelty like this.

    To the young woman in the photo, rightly pleased to have received such a wonderful gift (I credit that book more than anything else except the Bible for my atheism), it is difficult and sometime lonely to do so, but I urge you to do the same. Ignore the religious folks you will rightly come to suspect after exposing yourself to Sagan’s thoughts; and ignore the atheists who take their freedom from ridiculous religious strictures as license to behave in ways unworthy of a liberated human being.

  73. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    I can’t believe how many people are sitting right here in this very thread yes-butting. Go away.

  74. evilDoug says

    The notion that “you’re giving credence to a few douchbags who posted what would otherwise be throwaway comments on the internet” is utter nonsense!
    There was a definite victim here – a 15 year old girl who was attacked and harmed. Her apparent joy with the gift she received and her enthusiasm for sharing that joy was met with foul, demeaning derision. I can sort of imagine how she felt, and I very seriously doubt it was along the lines of “whotthehell … its cheerio my deario…”. I don’t imagine she considered them “throwaway comments”. Hurt, anger and tears – those I can imagine.
    To let the scum off the hook with an “oh well” attitude also dismisses the victim and the damage done to her.
    Presumably she is not the only kid in that Reddit group. On one of the blogs (Rebecca’s?) there was also a picture of a boy who looked somewhere in the early teens – I don’t know if that came from the same Reddit group, but the caption for the pic lead me to believe it did. Much as many of them don’t like to admit it, kids emulate what adults do. Do we want to leave kids there, or anywhere, with the idea that those sorts of despicable comments are acceptable? That victims of that sort of treatment will not be supported? Saying “tsk, tsk” isn’t enough. Verbal ripping of some new cloacae is at least a start.

  75. Azkyroth says

    “As a perfectly reasonable human being on the autism spectrum, I’m going to have to say: leave us the fuck out of your rationalizations for horrible behavior. It’s insulting and patronizing. ”

    YES.

    …can we tattoo this on every empty forehead in the movement yet?

  76. says

    @Amanda Marcotte 90/1:

    Apologies accepted, I was aware that the nuance I was trying to express was one dangerously close to sounding like a yesbut itself, though my intent was the polar opposite. You have the right interpretation now I think: I was expressing admiration for how well Greta composed her post, such that she simultaneously made her very vital and correct point both unavoidable and inarguable.

    The one, the only good thing about this miserable event has been the creation and dissemination of strong condemnations of the misogynistic assholery that created it, and Greta’s response here is especially on point and well made, even for her.

  77. makomk says

    Quinapalus: of course, the nasty thing about both “what about the menz” and these arguments is that they often get used by feminists who’ve already made a controversial statement about the men in question. For example, fairly commonly the original post says something about rape and domestic violence being a result of misogyny, and perhaps even insists that the laws covering them must treat them as such. Now, this is saying something sneaky about male victims of rape and DV – namely that they don’t exist and that the law should be written in a way that excludes them – and yet, because it’s so sly and the underlying assumption so widespread, any attempt to draw attention to this by pointing out that said male victims do in fact exist is treated as derailing the conversation away from female victims.

    It’d probably be quite easy to distinguish between the kind of “yes, but” responses that Greta gives as examples and these attempts to rebut questionable or actively harmful statements, yet annoyingly no-one actually seems to. (Also, it feels like most of the times a comment on a feminist site gets dismissed as “but what about the menz” derailing someone’s trying to avoid justifying a questionable statement about said men.)

  78. Ainuvande says

    Occasionally, I think about starting a blog. And then something like this happens, and I remember why I don’t have one. I don’t care if it’s “just the internet” having someone tell you they want to hurt you and violate you for existing is scary.

  79. EAM says

    Is there a chance of moving all this justified outrage to the reddit page in question? You can actually confront it head on and remain feeling afronted and appalled.

  80. Galen says

    The irony is that by painting any questioning or nuancing as “yes but”ing you reduce the discussion to black and white where either someone can choose to agree 100% with the author or you are endorsing misogyny 100%.

    No doubt that the comments quoted from the Reddit feed are way out of line, but there is need to have room for discussion on this topic.

    Notice how the “Yes, but” in the preceding paragraph proves my point. It is a “yes, but” that invites discussion, shooting down all “yes, but”s and you end up with an “either you’re with me or you’re a misogynist” situation.

  81. you_monster says

    No doubt that the comments quoted from the Reddit feed are way out of line, but there is need to have room for discussion on this topic.

    You want to discuss this topic? Discuss it. Quit whining that you are being silenced by being placed in some black or white box, and discuss it if that is what you want to do.

    Since you failed to actually comment on the topic, I take it that you are not actually interested in discussing the topic, which was internet-misogyny and the tactics used to derail the topic when it comes up.

    No one is stopping you from discussing the topic. No one is silencing you. What is your contribution to the actual topic (I assume you have some ideas on it because you are lamenting not having any room to voice them)?

  82. adamgordon says

    Galen @103

    “No doubt that the comments quoted from the Reddit feed are way out of line, but there is need to have room for discussion on this topic.”

    Why is there “need to have room for discussion” on this topic? What exactly is the discussion here? A 15 year old girl tried to enter our community through one of its most accesible fora and was immediately sexualized and demeaned simply because she revealed she is female. Those are the facts. This is a huge problem for our community and it needs to be stopped now. What ‘discussion’ needs to be had here? Please, enlighten us.

    Actually, don’t. I read Greta’s post and I’m pretty sure I know your answer is.

  83. says

    It’s only “just the internet” of the sick posts are generated by bots that are malfunctioning and weren’t designed to be misogynist.

    Those are not “internets” making these statements, they are people.

    Might as well try arguing that child pornography is OK because you’re only a pedophile “on the internet.”

    Oh, these are the people in your neighborhood… in your neighborhood…

  84. Christophe says

    Bishop: “I’m afraid you’ve got a bad subreddit, Mr Jones.”

    Curate: “Oh, no, my Lord, I assure you that parts of it are excellent!”

  85. debbaasseerr says

    @105 – and look, here you are over 100 comments in and you might as well be quoting from the original post to Galen about what Greta said people shouldn’t do.

    By someone explaining how something is ironically opposite, black and white, or something! whatever!

  86. EAM says

    Here are the upvote stats

    “Relax your anus, it hurts less that way.” (+1715, -648)

    “Blood is mother nature’s lubricant.” (+570, -175)

    So for folks apologizing for the reddit community – why?

    So for folks trying to make room for their own hurt feelings about being so misunderstood and all this being “more complicated”

    ….Why are you doing that?

  87. moralnihilist says

    Greta #83: When you put it that way, yes, there’s a problem residing in our community as well as reddit in general. I was objecting specifically to Rebecca’s comment on her blog that stated: “It’s a whole community of people who congratulate one another for being awful.”

    This is not true. The “whole community” does not congratulate one another for being awful. The nature of the site means most people actually don’t end up seeing most threads to begin with, and if they do they don’t really pause to read the comments. I’m willing to wager the vast majority isn’t as Rebecca described, and you rightly acknowledge this anyway.

    I’m not saying this isn’t a major problem that the community as a whole has to address and deal with. I agree with everything Rebecca said except for her indictment of all 350,000 subscribers without proof. If we’re going to be conscious of how words matter and how we come across to other people, rushing in to the situation swinging a rhetorical club only upsets people and takes focus away from the subject.

    Regardless, I’m definitely going to be more conscious of the language I see in the future. Misogyny is one vice on a long list that are waaaay too popular on Reddit.

  88. Christophe says

    l. I was objecting specifically to Rebecca’s comment on her blog that stated: “It’s a whole community of people who congratulate one another for being awful.”

    This is not true.

    And, yet, the relevant comments were not downvoted into oblivion; quite the opposite.

    Why is that?

  89. karmakin says

    I’ll just note yet again, that for technical reasons this is less about r/atheism and more about r/all as a whole. And that Reddit has sexist communities is like a statement that the sky is blue…hell there are multiple MRA and PUA-related sub-reddits, among others.

    The problem and the reason why some people were up in arms about this is that it called out a more specific group who really didn’t deserve to be called out per se without understanding why that it was going on. This was noted in several comment threads, but it basically has been ignored.

    It’s not saying that the misogyny isn’t real…it is, it’s just not that prevalent in that one specific group, or at least not as prevalent as the original post stated. I’m not saying RW did anything wrong. This is an obscure bit of technical web-site design that is probably invisible to most people…but…

    r/Atheism really has gotten worse in a few ways over the last few months, and not just in terms of misogynist behavior. It’s not so much in the content submissions…if you go through that you’ll find mostly that it’s fine, where things changed, was that r/Atheism was changed into a default subreddit. That is, without going in and changing things, popular posts in the r/Atheism subreddit ALSO appeared on people’s front pages.

    What does this mean? It means that popular atheist topics are commented upon by lots of people who wouldn’t normally be in an atheist community.

    Now, what I did when I heard about this (I saw the original post, thought cool, and moved on because quite frankly I didn’t have anything to say on it), was I went back and checked the top posts. Generally speaking they didn’t seem like they were very active in r/atheism at all. Now I might have done this wrong, and I only checked a dozen or so, of the worst posts that I saw. I didn’t really see much r/Atheism activity. The odd small comment on a popular thread, but little to nothing that indicates a heavy Atheist base.

    Now, not that r/atheism is blameless! Those posts should have been downvoted to hell, however, there’s a real social pressure in such communities (DailyKos has much of the same pressure, as an example. Hell, Facebook doesn’t even HAVE a dislike button) to not do so. This, right here, is the real problem.

    The problem is that generally good people often don’t like being confrontational. That’s the problem here, and it allows the bad guys to win. How to change that, I think is the lesson that should come out of this, but I think there’s no chance of that now.

  90. Galen says

    The comments that criticize my previous post assume that I am defending the people that make those terrible, off colour comments. I am not. What I am saying is that the Reddit example is something much more extreme and therefore more cut and dry. I am not speaking to that specific example. BUT Greta uses it to expand and say that therefore there should be no more “Yes, but” allowed when discussing misogyny entirely. My concern is the effort to make any issue black and white.

    For stuff that falls in the grey area, there is nuances and room for discussion. Like what is the underlying message, what is the impact, what was the intention, what led to that perception. All of this involve a “Yes, but”.

  91. says

    Please leave autistic people out of this.

    In my experience, most autists do not indulge in this kind of behaviour. Quit with the ‘it’s not people like me, it’s those weirdos that do it!’

  92. JRB says

    Excellent post.

    As someone who has only recently discovered that feminism is way more awesome than I was previously led to believe and doing his best to learn as much as possible, I do have one question. In the last half of the post you’ve pretty obviously singled out the damage done when men make these kind of topic deflections. Do the same points apply if it is a woman making one of the offending arguments or are there extra considerations in that case?

    (I know this looks dangerously close to a “Women can be misogynists too, therefore singling out men for their bad behaviour is a double standard” comment, so let me explicitly say that that is not the point I am trying to make, nor one that I would argue for.)

    While the majority of these types of defenses do come from men, you don’t have to look too deep into recent atheist/misogyny incidents to see some women making the same or similar arguments to your examples (along with the “I’m a woman and (X) doesn’t offend me, therefore any woman who is offended needs to grow a thicker skin/is wrong”).

    To rephrase my original question, did you single out men because they are more likely to be making these types of “yes… but…” defenses of misogyny (which I would not disagree with) or because if it is a woman making these types of “yes…but…” comments than the implications are different (for any number of reasons) and require a different response?

  93. you_monster says

    Galen,

    The comments that criticize my previous post assume that I am defending the people that make those terrible, off colour comments.

    I didn’t assume that. I just pointed out that you are complaining that Greta’s criticism of using “yes, but” arguments to divert the discussion away from the topic at hand is diminishing your “room for discussion” of the topic, and that such a complaint is idiotic. The OP clearly explains why this response to a post about bigotry is problematic, it excuses it.
    Greta,

    And when the topic of misogyny comes up, and men change the subject, it comes across as excusing misogyny. It doesn’t matter how many times you say, “Yes, of course, misogyny is terrible.” When you follow that with a “Yes, but…”, it comes across as an excuse. In many cases, it is an excuse. And it contributes to a culture that makes excuses for misogyny.

    Galen,

    BUT Greta uses it to expand and say that therefore there should be no more “Yes, but” allowed when discussing misogyny entirely. My concern is the effort to make any issue black and white.

    Did you even read the OP? Greta is not forbidding all questioning of claims of misogyny.

    Now. If an instance of misogyny is being discussed, and you genuinely don’t think that the instance really was misogynistic or sexist… by all means, say so……. But I’ve certainly seen accusations of misogyny or sexism that I thought were bullshit. (Porn wars, anybody?) And I don’t expect people of any gender to just silently accept any and all of these accusations without question.

  94. you_monster says

    For stuff that falls in the grey area, there is nuances and room for discussion.

    You are either deliberately misrepresenting Greta’s post, or can’t read. Greta fucking explicitly recognized that there is room for discussion when the issue is nuanced. That isn’t what this post was about. It is sad that i have to quote the OP back at you. Hint, if your arguments are settled by the post itself, you are bringing up a moot point.

    That’s not what I’m saying. I’m saying that, when an instance of misogyny is being discussed, and you don’t disagree in the slightest that it really was misogyny? When an instance of misogyny is being discussed, and it would be obvious to anyone but a sociopathic hyena on meth that it really was misogyny? When — oh, just for example — a freaking 15-year-old girl posts a picture of herself with a book by Carl Sagan to an online atheist community, and gets targeted with a barrage of sexualized, dehumanizing, increasingly violent and brutal comments, including threats of blood-soaked anal rape?

    Please, for the sweet love of Loki and all the gods in Valhalla, when someone points out how terrible and misogynistic that is, do not change the subject.

    Her point is crystal clear. Don’t distract from clear instances of misogyny. God, you are thick, Galen. Fucking learn to read.

  95. Vincent says

    There are Jerks on the internet, that’s why people who read comments and don’t like what is being said need to stand up for what they believe in. Writing an article someone where else and patting each other on the back isn’t going to stop the problem. We should be flooding that post with positive comments.

  96. OGrilla says

    I’m not trivializing this in any way, but we’re on the Internet. And as you acknowledged in the opening few sentences after the list of “Yes, but”s…

    “…On the Internet, in a forum big enough to garner more than a couple dozen comments, you’re almost guaranteed to see some or all of these types of comments. It’s happening now.”

    There are people who think this is funny and there are people who are genuinely inconsiderate. This happens everywhere with every topic no matter how sensitive it is. Reddit has the downvote option and most people use it well on these kinds of posts.

    They’re terrible, offensive, and always uncalled-for. But they’re going to happen. I’m ashamed that this happened to a 15 year-old girl, but until we find a way to get every person behind a keyboard to stop acting like fools, she’s just going to have to grow a thicker skin when she posts pictures of herself to large communities. It’s the sad reality we live in. But the free speech we’re allowed guarantees this will happen.

    Again, Reddit has a self-censorship system in place through downvoting and reporting such comments. Feel free to use them.

    By the way, I see all the buts I just typed and I feel they were warranted.

  97. you_monster says

    I’m ashamed that this happened to a 15 year-old girl, but until we find a way to get every person behind a keyboard to stop acting like fools, she’s just going to have to grow a thicker skin when she posts pictures of herself to large communities

    Everyone loves victim-blaming.

    It’s the sad reality we live in. But the free speech we’re allowed guarantees this will happen.

    Wrong. Free speech doesn’t cause bigotry. A culture that doesn’t treat bigotry with the disdain it merits promote bigotry.

  98. Christophe says

    A gentle suggestion:

    IF you are about to type something to the effect of, “People have the right to making threatening comments to a 15-year-old girl about bloody anal rape,” you are going down the wrong path, and it is time to consider that perhaps who has the right to bang what on their keyboards is not the subject under discussion.

  99. John Morales says

    OGrilla (my emphasis):

    I’m not trivializing this in any way, but we’re on the Internet. And as you acknowledged in the opening few sentences after the list of “Yes, but”s…

    “…On the Internet, in a forum big enough to garner more than a couple dozen comments, you’re almost guaranteed to see some or all of these types of comments. It’s happening now.”

    (Ahem)

    Anyway — sure, it happens, but push-back can happen too.

    And that’s what Greta is on about: arguing that it should happen.

    Look at what happens to misogynistic comments on this blog, and on Butterflies and Wheels and Pharyngula (and, I suspect, on pretty much every FtB blog): they are not accepted nor timidly ignored; rather, they get called out and challenged. Unapologetically.

    … The which encourages more people to speak out, and which makes women* feel like it’s a safer space in which to speak and contribute. It becomes a positive feed-back loop.

    * 50% of the population! Half our resources! Half our expertise!

  100. debbaasseerr says

    To be clear – I meant OGrilla@122 in my previous post, not Josh.

    Its totally besides the point, but the whole “grow thicker skin” thing is some kind of sad.

    Thicker skin. The “It doesn’t bother me when people explain why they want to rape me” skin, or the “this is what I could have to potentially deal with every time my face is on the internet” skin? That’s pretty thick skin to ask of someone who’ll never need it himself.

    No one asked you what the acceptable level of disgusting hate towards women on the internet was.

  101. says

    “By the way, I see all the buts I just typed and I feel they were warranted.”

    Oh well that’s different then. All of the OTHER scores of “yes, butters” didn’t feel that their views were warranted. They didn’t have your specialness.

  102. superdave says

    Greta, I was with you for most of this post. Misogyny is a real issue that should not be ignored, trivialized, or pushed aside. However, please don’t tell me what I am allowed to say about a topic.

  103. you_monster says

    superdave,

    Greta, I was with you for most of this post. Misogyny is a real issue that should not be ignored, trivialized, or pushed aside. However, please don’t tell me what I am allowed to say about a topic.

    Is this a joke?

    No one is telling you what you are allowed and not allowed to do. You are being told what you should/ should not do. Big difference. And, considering that you seem to agree that misogyny is bad, what the fuck is objectionable about saying “don’t derail” the topic when it comes up.

  104. you_monster says

    Someone says to dave, “racism is a serious issue, don’t derail conversations about racism”

    superdave responds, “yes racism is bad, but don’t tell me I’m not allowed to be a racist”.

    Idiot.

  105. Sara K. says

    I have various reasons for limiting my participation in the atheist community. If misogyny spontaneously disappeared in the atheist community, some of those reasons would still stand, and I wouldn’t increase my participation very much. And the corners of the atheosphere, such as this blog, where I do spend time are places where such bile is not tolerated.

    However.

    Even though I only read about these incidents second-hand rather than experiencing myself in the atheist community (because I restrict my participation to the most female-friendly corners) … knowing that these incidents are common makes me uninclined to increase my participation, and if my other reasons for not increasing my participation no longer stood, this level of misogyny might be enough to prevent me from increasing my participation.

    Yes, I know that by being silenced, we are giving the misogynists more power. On the other hand, there is no reason why we should be subjected to such treatment in the first place, and I do not think women are obligated to speak up. Instead, I think men are obligated to act with minimal human decency. The fact that this only happens after people, mostly woman, have spoken A LOT about how men are failing at this, and often even this is not enough to change the behavior, shows how much our culture needs to improve.

    Greta, thank you for writing this.

  106. says

    “And, yet, the relevant comments were not downvoted into oblivion; quite the opposite.

    Why is that?”

    Probably because of the people who saw it most only glanced at it and didn’t read the comments, or they just fired off a quick reply without going into it further. It’s not like it was an earth-shatteringly deep philosophical post. It was a cool tidbit. Not very many people read every comment of every post, searching for sexist or otherwise hateful content to downvote. Lots of people didn’t even see it until it was blogged about. Just because something is on the front page doesn’t mean the majority of /r/atheism supports it. It’s sort of like saying that all Americans must be tea partiers because Rand Paul and Scott Walker got elected to public office.

    If anything, this is a huge wake-up call to Reddit’s owners.

  107. says

    Superdave, unless I am hallucinating, you were able to make the above post.
    If that’s not enough, please note that the thread contains many instances of the very type of behavior she is complaining about.

    Regardless of how you feel about it, as the operator of this blog Greta has every right to delete your comment and any others she doesn’t like, and ban your IP address, etc. and there wouldn’t be jack-shit you could do about it.

    You’ll notice she hasn’t.

    You’re also hopefully well aware that she doesn’t have any powers, legal, magical or whatever, to prohibit you from saying whatever you want.

    You seem to be saying that the one thing you disagree with is Greta doing something which she is in no way doing.

    What Greta and others are saying is not that you’re going to have your freedom of speech taken away from you, it that you will be held accountable for what you say, you will be called on it, you will be slammed for it, you can be deleted from blogs of those who feel the need to do so, etc.

    But you knew all of that.

    So why exactly did you feel the need to go so far to find something about this post that you had invent content to find objectionable when the evidence of its falsehood is here for all to see?

    What is it? What makes you so uncomfortable about these assertions that you can’t openly object to that you have to deliberately mischaracterize part of it so you can find something to object to?

    Some self-examination may be in order.

  108. says

    “It’s sort of like saying that all Americans must be tea partiers because Rand Paul and Scott Walker got elected to public office.”

    No, it’s like saying “there’s something bad happening in America when Rand Paul and Scott Walker got elected to public office” which is of course true.

    And some of the response has been much like saying “Why do you hate America? Love it or leave it, asshole!” and worse.

  109. says

    Sara K. @134, I think you make a really excellent point. I definitely believe that it’s up to those of us already vocal and present in the community to work on making conditions better. There is no reason we should expect people who are hesitant to just go ahead and join in and put up with things the way they are.

  110. superdave says

    I am sorry, I misread gretas words and thought she more forcefully stated that people shouldn’t say x or y. I was wrong and upon reviewing her words, I see that. What bothered me was when greta actually specifically described the words that should be said on the topic. This offends me because it is putting words in my mouth. But she said “please”, and since it was a not a command, I retract my original comment.

  111. debbaasseerr says

    Instead, I think men are obligated to act with minimal human decency. The fact that this only happens after people, mostly woman, have spoken A LOT about how men are failing at this, and often even this is not enough to change the behavior, shows how much our culture needs to improve

    Yes. And some dude in this very thread will likely read the original post (supposedly), a bunch of these very comments, and then in spite of all of it, come to your comment and explain to you how “yes misogyny is bad, but whatever shut up its not as bad as you say.” The mind boggles.

  112. debbaasseerr says

    But superdave, putting words in your mouth, and telling you why they think some words shouldn’t come out of it aren’t the same thing either.

  113. says

    You can only put words in your own mouth, not someone else’s.

    Do you raise the same objection to every piece of writing in this style even when you agree with the politics of it? It’s pretty common for someone to say “if you say ****, in effect you’re saying ****” in political arguments, you know. Do you protest every time you see it? That would be tiring.

    What, then, triggered it in THIS case as opposed to others?
    I see you retracted your statement though. Not why I would have thought, but rather because of one word you’d missed. “Please.”

    Such a nice, pleasantly deferential word isn’t it?

    That made all the difference.

  114. screechymonkey says

    Brian@135:

    Just because something is on the front page doesn’t mean the majority of /r/atheism supports it

    But so what? The point is that sitting there ignoring the problem, or silently thinking “well, I don’t agree with that” doesn’t do any damn good.

    A community of “a substantial minority of assholes, and a majority who puts up with it” still isn’t a welcoming one. If you walked into a social event and a dozen people started hurling abuse at you, while the other hundred looked the other way awkwardly and pretended not to notice, would you be inclined to stick around because, hey, the majority of those people are A-OK?

  115. plum grenville says

    moralnihilist @103

    I agree with everything Rebecca said except for her indictment of all 350,000 subscribers without proof. If we’re going to be conscious of how words matter and how we come across to other people, rushing in to the situation swinging a rhetorical club only upsets people and takes focus away from the subject.

    I think we now have enough examples of yes-butting for a game of misogyny minimizing bingo.

    Moralnihilist demonstrates the You Too Yes But: “Yes some members of community X said misogynist things, but Critic A condemned every single person in community X, which is unfair and mean and saying unfair, mean things about Group X is bad too.”

    Moralnihilist, do you honestly believe that Rebecca Watson thinks that all 350,000 members of the atheist subreddit are equally guilt-worthy? Do you honestly think that anybody reading what she said would believe that is what she meant?

  116. Azkyroth says

    You know, if the people on this thread whining about Greta’s post spent half this much energy shouting down the fucking bigots in the first place, there would never have been a need for Greta to make it.

    I mean, okay, you people don’t give a shit if a 15 year old girl gets threatened with rape. Or at least, give much less of a shit about it than about people pointing out that you act for all the world like you don’t give a shit about it.

    But for fuck’s sake, don’t you care about efficiency?

  117. Kim says

    This is the Internet. So, we have the latest shitstorm led by Rebecca Watson about the dark cloud of women haters in the atheist community… More page hits, more links back and forth between people. More arguing. More lamenting. More page hits. More logging back to see what someone’s response was. More shaming people who disagree. More page hits. Repeat.

    http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2010/07/outrage_world.html

    And absolutely no improvement in critical thinking or removing religion from our society. Yet, “SkepChick” will be lauding her accomplishment on her blog…

  118. says

    Kim @ 147

    Here’s some critical thinking for you: Women deserve to be treated as human beings. Shocking, ain’t it.

    Also, why the hell would I want to remove religion from society, unless in doing so I could actually remove some of the bigotry that goes along with religion? A cesspit by any other name would smell as rank.

  119. plum grenville says

    Brian @ 135

    “And, yet, the relevant comments were not downvoted into oblivion; quite the opposite.

    Why is that?”

    Probably because of the people who saw it most only glanced at it and didn’t read the comments, or they just fired off a quick reply without going into it further. It’s not like it was an earth-shatteringly deep philosophical post. It was a cool tidbit. Not very many people read every comment of every post, searching for sexist or otherwise hateful content to downvote.

    So Brian, is it just a remarkable coincidence that of the people who did read one of these vile rape threats and felt moved to vote on it, three quarters of them just happened to be disgusting sociopathic subhumans, and we can safely assume that the percentage of subhumans among those who didn’t read it or didn’t respond is much lower?

  120. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    And it was more important for Kim to vent her dislike of Rebecca Watson than it was to recognize the hideous rape-y commenting directed at a 15 year old girl. Good god, what is wrong with people?

  121. screechymonkey says

    Azkyroth:

    You know, if the people on this thread whining about Greta’s post spent half this much energy shouting down the fucking bigots in the first place, there would never have been a need for Greta to make it.

    Interesting, isn’t is, how certain elements of a community that is renowned for its display of SIWOTI syndrome will spend page after page arguing about how it’s totally unreasonable to ask people to step up and voice disagreement when Someone Is Sexist On The Internet.

  122. superdave says

    Free speech is an important issue to me, so important that I let my emotions get the better of me. As I already stated, I don’t disagree with Greta’s main point so there is nothing left for me to say. Internet misogyny is a real problem. Do you think that it reflects a larger issue regarding internet discourse?

  123. MikeN says

    Jerry Coyne, defending Hitchens for calling the Dixie Chicks “sluts” and “fat fucking slags”:

    “So often these days, especially on atheist websites, a touch of sexism or boorishness, or even a criticism of a woman, is instantly condemned as “misogyny.” “

  124. says

    By analogy: when we hear someone saying they need special power from God to keep them from being drawn into that ever-so-tempting gay lifestyle, we suspect they might not really be heterosexual.

    So when someone points out that misogynist behavior toward women online is, you know, bad, what do we suspect of those who jump right up to attack them for it?

  125. John Morales says

    [meta]

    superdave:

    I was wrong and upon reviewing her words, I see that.
    [...]
    This offends me because it is putting words in my mouth. But she said “please”, and since it was a not a command, I retract my original comment.

    Qualified as it may be, that retraction is to your credit.

    (But not that much)

  126. kristinc, ~delicate snowflake~ says

    OGrilla @122: you know, it’s a funny thing. There are places on the internet where filthy, subhuman, disgusting rape “jokes” don’t happen. This blog is one of them. Pharyngula is another.

    If filthy rape jokes and misogyny are so ubiquitous and impossible to stop, then why do these communities not contain it? Could it be — I know this is difficult for you but I’ll try to use short words — because the people in these communities do not tolerate filthy rape jokes and misogyny?

    Take a while and think about it. It’s okay, I know it’s a difficult concept for a misogyny-excusing fuckhead like you.

  127. Hugo Estrada says

    Well said.

    And it is not just specific to a certain community. It doesn’t have to do with the atheistic community, or the fandom community, or the youtube community, or the reddit community. Unfortunately this is a problem with males online. Maybe it is just a problem with males.

    And it should stop. It is wrong.

  128. says

    Free speech is an important issue to me, so important that I let my emotions get the better of me.

    Until you saw that “please.” Yeah, I think that means something and I am harping on it.
    “Please.” You saw that and it was OK. Like you needed to see she’d asked permission, pardon her but she’s going to, if nobody minds, say something forcefully and unequivocally.

    Free speech can’t be that fucking important to you if your very first and, until challenged, ONLY contribution was to attack the blogger for using HERS.

    She wasn’t speaking her mind, using her freedom of speech, voicing HER opinion, no… she was “putting words in your mouth.”
    Not criticism of content but rather indignation that something she said on her blog was an imposition on YOU.

    I don’t think you care so much about free speech you simply care about your speech.

    That’s how I’m reading it anyway. I could be wrong.

  129. John Morales says

    [meta]

    Kim:

    So, we have the latest shitstorm led by Rebecca Watson about the dark cloud of women haters in the atheist community…
    []
    And absolutely no improvement in critical thinking or removing religion from our society.

    Naysayers really annoy me, Kim. Especially when they place the blame on the messenger who points to the storm, rather than the storm itself.

    (Yeah — those like you)

  130. says

    SuperDave: “Free speech is an important issue to me, so important that I let my emotions get the better of me.”

    SD, you do know that free speech doesn’t mean “speech without social consequences”, don’t you? There’s nothing improper about a proposal to moderate forums against complete jackassery, or downvoting same.

  131. you_monster says

    And absolutely no improvement in critical thinking or removing religion from our society.

    So you disbelieve the number of people who have claimed to have been educated throughout the number feminism threads on the various FTBs?

    Do you have any reason to disbelieve them, or are you just biased by your dislike of Rebecca?

  132. says

    SuperDave

    Back on topic, what would be your opinion be on the subject of the possible chilling effect on freedom of speech if 50% of the community were regularly subjected to, oh I dunno … say for instance, rape ‘jokes’ and off-topic discussions of their body-shape and such, every time they ventured to join a discussion?

    Not all curtailments of freedoms are imposed from above.

  133. timmurray says

    Great article. The more I hear about this kind of abuse, or even stumble across it myself the more shocked I am. In my opinion there is a flaw in the workings of the Internet. The freedom we enjoy is abused by a minority and the answer is just a little more control. There should be more moderation and we as individuals should not be allowed to hide behind anonymous identities. The men posting those comments have wives, girlfriends, mothers, sisters and god forbid , daughters. Would they post the comments if the women in their lives could read them. ISPs and websites should not be allowed to shrug their shoulders and duck responsibilities.

    In some countries if the 15 year old girl were to receive that abuse verbally, by letter, by text message or even email it would be a criminal offence. To receive it via comment on a blog is no less abusive and the perpetrators should be pursued in law, either through the jurisdiction of their home country, or that of the young girl.

  134. plum grenville says

    Superdave @ 152

    Internet misogyny is a real problem. Do you think that it reflects a larger issue regarding internet discourse?

    Well, now that we’ve got it estblished that internet misogyny is a real problem (thank you, superdave) let’s subsume it under the conveniently neutered larger issue of lack of civility on the internet. That wouldn’t be, you know, derailing a discussion of misogyny, would it?

  135. Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM says

    Sara @134,
    Yes. All of that. Yes.

    Timmurray @165,
    Moderation is an answer, but it’s not the only one. If more decent people stepped up and responded to this kind of behavior, while it might not actually dissuade the misogynists, it would at least create an environment where the people who are being targeted by the bigotry can feel supported. There’s importance to that.

  136. Bruce Gorton says

    The way I view it is a bit like this:

    We aren’t out to be less evil than other people, we are out to be better than we were. Sure misogyny is worse in other communities – and what do we think of those communities again?

    Misogyny is worse in fundamentalist religious communities – but, umm, what is our opinion of those communities again? Is it that they are acceptable or not?

    We don’t set our bar for acceptable behaviour so low that it is basically “Just slightly better than the worst” – and yes but arguments are all about doing precisely that. Yes but – we can do better.

    As to not all men being like that – it is a bit like saying not all religion is like that. If you aren’t good for you, otherwise, there are enough that are that it is a concern that needs dealing with.

    When we argue for treating religion the way we treat other arguments, we need to remember that means treating other arguments the way we treat religion.

    Now as to free speech – when has free speech ever equalled the right to not have your ideas criticised? The entire point to free speech is the freedom to criticise ideas.

  137. superdave says

    This is my last post here. I have been in real thought about this. I reread the post many times. What offended me originally was this quote

    “Period.

    Stop there.

    Do not say “Yes, but…””

    That struck a chord with me because I don’t think it is ever productive or ethical to ever tell people when they should stop speaking there mind. This prevents both negative and positive discussion. However because I reacted emotionally, I made a comment that was not productive and only served to incite the anger of other readers. I’m sorry for this and in no way did I ever intend to sound as though I condone mysogyny.

  138. Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM says

    That struck a chord with me because I don’t think it is ever productive or ethical to ever tell people when they should stop speaking there mind.

    You’d be wrong about that.
    Sorry, but while I do care somewhat if people stop thinking in toxic and misogynistic ways, I much prefer them to shut the hell up if they can’t. Because all too often, they are causing harm by “speaking their minds.” Real harm that matters. It is productive to tell them to shut the hell up, if they are causing harm by “speaking their minds.” I am not actually surprised you find something ethically wrong with trying to dissuade them from doing that, but I wish I were.

  139. Sara K. says

    Another thought:

    There is another problem with the “don’t feed the trolls” approach.

    If I wanted to become a troll and get the maximum flames possible, I would not pose rape threats to a 15 year old girl. Instead, I would target a white middle-to-upper class able-bodied neurotypical straight male, and mix comments calling out his privilege with nasty remarks about his genetalia. That way I would get at him (and his friends) both by challenging his privilege and get him angry because I insulted his genetalia. And while I was at it, I would attack his pop culture interests, since insulting people’s pop culture preferences is also a great way to stir up some flame.

    So why aren’t other trolls taking this approach? Because they do not want to deal with maximum flames. They want to be able to use their privilege to shield themselves from some of the blowback. That’s why women get a heck of a lot more rape threats on the internet than men, even threatening men with rape is just as effective at stoking the flames. So people need to take down the privilege shield. Shaming people who make rape threats to 15 year old girls takes away some of their shielding, even if it doesn’t completely remove it. The “don’t feed the trolls” just makes their shield stronger.

    Without privilege, there would still be trolls. After all, some trolls actually do target very priveleged people. But their numbers would be significantly reduced because you would no longer have the trolls who can only take the flames with their privelege to shield them.

  140. says

    Yes, that Reddit thread is awfully mysogynistic, but…

    I can’t help but be proud of the skeptic blogosphere for rightly bringing light to issues like this, and of all of the people who did post (in the aftermath of this) criticizing the misogynists and the idiots who posted their bile. Also, of the girl who posted herself, because reading through the comment thread she seemed to make a point of saying that those kind of comments were out of line. She was strong in doing that, and not in the “thick skin” sort of way- in the “this is bullshit and it’s not acceptable” way.

    Of course, all that doesn’t make misogyny less prevalent, or make this incident less deserving of disgust, or anything like that. But it does make it look like there’s light at the end of this tunnelsewer.

  141. Sara K. says

    @#174 Grimalkin

    “But it does make it look like there’s light at the end of this sewer.”

    That is an insult to sewers. Sewers are very useful – they do a lot to protect people from disease as well as make human habitations more pleasant. I cannot say the same of places where misogyny thrives.

  142. says

    True, I shouldn’t be so hard on sewers. Perhaps this is closer to a big damned oil spill of misogyny, and bringing light to these issues supplies us with more Dawn for cleaning dumb, sexist comments off of ducks with.

  143. says

    Ahem.

    To the asshats who are all “TEH AUTISMS MADE THEM DO IT”…get bent.

    Using ableism to defend misogyny is deplorable. Congrats, you are That Guy Squared.

    What this girl has been subjected to is inexcuseable (unexcusable? that isn’t right is it?), no matter who did it, and further stigmatizing my neurology to distance it from yourself is fucking insulting. We deviants know better (and deserve better). She deserves to know that the asshats behind the threats were most likely “normal,” because a whole lot of so called “normal” men think it’s ok to talk to women like that.

  144. Jurjen S. says

    Well, FWIW, since I already had a Reddit account, I went in there and posted condemnatory responses to those misogynistic posts I could find. I don’t know whether it’ll do any good, but at least I’ll try to get the message across that this kind of behavior is not generally considered acceptable.

  145. progjohn says

    Great post and comments, and its made me think about my own actions. Not because I use “yes … but” but because I might ignore hatful crap instead of putting it down.
    For me the essential point is the level of severity, where abuse this serious is spotted it is the duty of all of us to respond with all the vitriol and bile we can muster and never never never let the perpetrators think they have support by saying anything in response that weakens the attack.
    This is not about all comments that someone has said may be misogynistic – this is about all vicious hateful bullying, whenever and wherever we encounter it and whoever is the target.

  146. opposablethumbs, que le pouce enragé mette les pouces says

    Thank you for this awesome post, Greta. Probably the main reason I live here on ftb rather than anywhere else where one can talk about atheism (or indeed any of the other many topics of interest discussed here) is precisely because – unlike most places – sexist and homophobic “jokes” and attacks don’t get ignored or, worse, condoned.

    Just wanted to add my voice to those saying yes this matters a fuck of a lot and thank you for saying so – and for saying it so clearly and eloquently.

  147. says

    moralnihilist

    I just don’t appreciate it when some of the people posting about it indict the entire community of 350,000 subscribers of /r/atheism for the actions of no more than 2,000.

    It means that 348000 people failed to stand up for a 15 yo girl and do their duty to protect somebody who’s at a crucial transition from child to adult from the vile rape comments she got.
    Can’t say who’s the bigger asshole.
    What should I think of somebody who reads a comment about “blood being nature’s lubricant” being made to a 15 yo and doesn’t even think it merits the clicking of the vote down button, leave alone a comment telling them to fuck off?
    The only reasonable conclusion is that this person doesn’t give a shit about misogyny and sexual harrasment of a 15 yo.

  148. Rick Miller says

    That’s horrible!

    It’s so horrible that it goes way beyond “misogyny”.

    Those were open threats of child abduction and molestation. I want to know what is being done to investigate those threats.

  149. El says

    Go fuck yourself with a knife you irrational cunt.

    We will continue to act as we please and you can continue to bitch and moan, but it’s just going to antagonize us.

    (Note from GC: Normally, this is exactly the sort of comment I would delete. I have no problem with maintaining and enforcing a comment policy in my own blog, and overt threats of sexualized, misogynist violence are exactly the sort of thing I’m in favor of online forums deleting. In this case, though, I’m keeping it up, as an example of the exact kind of thing this post is talking about. The commenter has been blocked, and the comment has been put in my “Threats” folder, where the police can find it if anything happens to me.)

  150. Wes says

    I think the reason that the entire Reddit/atheism community is indicted, instead of just the minority who commented/voted, is that I have yet to see a rational argument for why this minority is not representative of the entire community. Plug Grenville @149 touched on this:

    is it just a remarkable coincidence that of the people who did read one of these vile rape threats and felt moved to vote on it, three quarters of them just happened to be disgusting sociopathic subhumans, and we can safely assume that the percentage of subhumans among those who didn’t read it or didn’t respond is much lower?

    Of the people who read the comments, the vast majority supported the rape jokes and threats. There is no reason to believe that this was a nonrepresentative sample of the entire community. Of course, most of reddit/atheism did not read the comments, but what is the argument that it was just the proverbial “bad apples” that did read it? Isn’t it more reasonable to think that it was a relatively random sample of the community?

    I’m really asking. I don’t know how Reddit works, so if there is some reason why the misogynist minority would get funneled to this particular comment section?

  151. Wes says

    El @185 presents us with an interesting conundrum with regards to the “don’t feed the trolls” strategy. Unlike the Reddit commenters (who expected, and received, encouragement from the community), s/he’s clearly just trying to provoke a negative response, so any response just encourages such behavior. El is a true troll, as opposed to a lot of misogynistic internet commenters, who are attempting to be funny, or making misogynist comments out of ignorance.

    At the same time, it’s already been discussed that “don’t feed the trolls” is an ineffective strategy for dealing with misogyny, and is often used to justify such behavior. So what do we do? Engage or ignore?

  152. StevoR says

    Well said, Great Christina. Very well said.

    Shared on facebook.

    That people would respond like that publicly to a 15-year-old girl posting a photo of herself holding a copy of Carl Sagan’s Demon-haunted World is just .. whoah! Wow. Un-be-effin’-leevable. Words can’t do it justice.

    Staggering, horrifying and beyond any depth of wrong that words can convey.

    “That is terrible. That is completely unacceptable. That is not how civilized human beings treat one another. Anyone who did that owes that girl the most groveling apology in their repertoire. If they don’t make an apology in the next six nanoseconds, they ought to be shunned. That sort of behavior is absolutely not to be tolerated.”

    Hear, hear! Seconded by me.

    Terrible is putting it too mildly.

  153. athyco says

    El is a true troll, as opposed to a lot of misogynistic internet commenters, who are attempting to be funny, or making misogynist comments out of ignorance.

    At the same time, it’s already been discussed that “don’t feed the trolls” is an ineffective strategy for dealing with misogyny, and is often used to justify such behavior. So what do we do? Engage or ignore?

    We’ve got to make a binary and binding choice of action now? Sometimes, I would think…ah, a driveby, and ignore. Sometimes, I would amuse myself without addressing the comment directly. Like…. “Whattha ‘El? I never thought I’d smell something meaner than cat dirt.” Sometimes I would take it to meta by discussing the troll as a type rather than an individual. Sometimes I would engage directly. Sometimes I feel it’s taken care of before I read it or because what I would say has quickly been said better. I may have to rethink the first and last choices, leaning towards becoming more vocal more often.

    I don’t know that it’s the action that needs to be a binary choice. I do know that supporting the attacked against such does require such a choice. Greta’s standing…over here? Then I am, too.

  154. StevoR says

    Well said, Great Christina. Very well said.

    Oops Greta Christina is what I meant to type there, sorry – although “Great” Christina also kinda works too.

  155. StevoR says

    @Yes But says: “Yes, but, Greta Christina is really ugly.”

    No you moron, you’re looking at your own reflection in the mirror there!

    PS. If you delete that excremental trolls comment there please delete my response to it here as well.

    Ugliness is in the eye of the beholder and a subjective matter of opinion.

  156. NotAProphet says

    Has this incident been reported to the police in the appropriate jurisdiction? This is not just misogyny, it is sexualising a minor, tantamount to paedophilia, and should not be allowed to slide.

    This is a child for FSM’s sake, gender aside. These people are sick. Do they whack off to family photos?

  157. StevoR says

    @ YesBut : Are you a troll or a Poe?

    Problem is I’m not sure and I think that if its really hard to tell the difference – as I find it is in your case – then you’ve got to ask yourself is it worth commenting like that – at least without adding a sarc tag or wink emoticon for clarity.

  158. StevoR says

    @187. Wes : December 30, 2011 at 7:53 am

    El @185 presents us with an interesting conundrum with regards to the “don’t feed the trolls” strategy. Unlike the Reddit commenters (who expected, and received, encouragement from the community), s/he’s clearly just trying to provoke a negative response, so any response just encourages such behavior. El is a true troll, as opposed to a lot of misogynistic internet commenters, who are attempting to be funny, or making misogynist comments out of ignorance.

    At the same time, it’s already been discussed that “don’t feed the trolls” is an ineffective strategy for dealing with misogyny, and is often used to justify such behavior. So what do we do? Engage or ignore?

    Or whilst I’m usually fiercely opposed to censorship, delete and remove?

    Sometimes if the only reason these worthless trolls post is to cheese people off by displaying their irritating moronitude then denying them the opportunity and making their comments ego-deflatingly invisible just might be the right course of action?

    Maybe we need a “No trolls permitted” policy where such comments are not only tolerated but not even shown? Would that make people think before posting, maybe? I’m not sure.

  159. says

    Comments about the attractiveness of someone on a forum really burn me up, and I hope #191 Yes But was making a satirical reference rather than actually doing that.

    Not only is it offensive and abusive but it shows the poverty of argument being made. It’s like answering all the scientific data about global warming with “Al Gore is fat”.

  160. StevoR says

    Ack. Sorry. Make that :

    .. not only *not* tolerated but not even shown or allowed to posted in the first place.

  161. Wes says

    @StevoR – deleting the comment is just another way of ignoring it. Ignoring is generally what I favor, but the post & comments point out that ignoring misogyny in other contexts is a way of enabling it. I was wondering how people felt about this context. Is it worth the effort to shout down the troll? Or does that just add to the problem?

    Also, it’s pretty clear that @Yes_but is a Poe, and just trying to be funny.

  162. StevoR says

    Jokes – even Poes – that aren’t really funny, that imply we shouldn’t take this seriously and trivialise this situation.

    Stuff that sewage!

    It perpetuates continued rape culture we live in.

    Now I’m a bloke and I don’t live in the world women do in some senses. I don’t face the threats and hatreds and fears that they do. Just by circumstances of birth.

    Yet I can see this. I can read and listen and think and feel and flippin’ empathise with other humans for pity’s sake!

    So why the blazes don’t more people?!? I’m not that special or insightful and some of the rape culture drivel – like the incident sparking this post – just has me stunned and horror struck and disgusted.

    Really people. A 15 year old girl posts a pic of herself and Sagan’s book and that’s the response it gets?! Talk of abducting her and subjecting her to bloody anal rape?! And lots of people actually vote in favour of that excrement and are willing to try to excuse it?! Or think its a joking matter? Yegods!!! W.T. F!

  163. Deb Kerr says

    The war cry of experienced moms everywhere, and my favorite comment on the Reddit thread so far: “This is why we can’t have nice things.”

  164. Greg Peterson says

    I don’t really have much to add to wonderful post and many of the excellent comments, except to say what sort of thing is at stake. My daughter, in her 20s, had a horrible experience over Christmas, when some older relatives gave her a Christian book on modesty and derided her endlessly for her (harmless) lifestyle choices, education, reading list, and so forth.

    I would love to be able to point to the atheist community as a safe haven from religious misogyny–a more tolerant and caring, less toxic and oppressive option. But thanks to the ignorant, rapacious, poop-flinging primates in “our community,” I can’t really do that.

    I can’t think of anything I’d hate to say more than this, but if the kinds of things we’ve read in response to the girl’s photo are representative, my daughter’s probably safer with the Jesus Taliban than she is with some atheists.

  165. opposablethumbs, que le pouce enragé mette les pouces says

    Greg Peterson, that must have been really vile for your daughter. Love the way people like the relatives to whom you refer take advantage of her courtesy to get away with aggressive, vicious sniping – and consider themselves morally superior all the while. But at least she knows she has your support against this crap. Maybe you can help make it easier for her simply to avoid them in future? They don’t sound like they’re worth associating with (I have some relatives who are serious bad news and I’ve explained to my ElderSpawn why they’re best avoided; will explain same to YoungerSpawn in due course). Sorry to be getting a bit OT, I was just thinking how difficult it is to deal with that kind of shit especially when you’re relatively young and you’re supposed to be polite to these arseholes. Feh.

  166. says

    As I said in my own blog post on the subject, beyond the basic simple humanity of doing the right thing (surely enough in itself) atheist communities have an additional motivation to stamp this stuff out with vigor. We are the victims of an ugly stereotype that we are uncaring, amoral monsters without ethics or compassion.

    Just as other minority communities have done we should put pressure on those nominal members of our own who perpetuate the stereotype to cut the crap, let them know that that will not be tolerated by the rest of us who will be hit by the blowback. We can’t stop individual atheists from being jerkwads, but we can make it crystal clear that atheist *communities* abhor that behavior.

  167. says

    Very well put. There is never all call for mysogyny or the reverse for that matter. And yes, I do hope people take a deep look into their souls.

    Have a great day!

  168. says

    Wes @200, deleting a comment like El’s is different from simply ignoring it in one important way: it would no longer be there fr anyone to read. Ignoring a comment can be seen as condoning it simply because you’ve let it stand, and the words can sting even if no one echoes them or refers to them again. By trashing such a comment, you remove it from sight and and help keep the environment more welcoming that way.

    I’m not advocating deleting all potentially offensive or unpleasant comments, and even painful troll-ish comments can be useful at times by providing an example o the kind of shit we’re concerned about. But when it’s not adding anything to the conversation and it seems very unlikely that shouting down that commenter will make any sort of difference, I don’t see the harm in deleting it–and I would definitely rather have it deleted than let it stand.

  169. says

    I agree with your general point – that it is harmful to change the subject whenever somebody complains of misogyny, though I don’t think that the examples you give are all examples of changing the subject.
    Eg:

    “Yes, but… what about male circumcision?” is clearly subject-changing, but

    “Yes, but… not all men are like that. And if you’re going to talk about misogyny, you have to be extra-clear about that.” might depend on how the complaint is phrased. If somebody says “I saw these nasty men on Reddit making sexist jokes. Men are awful aren’t they?!” it might be a suitable response. If it is in response to “I saw sexist comments on Reddit” then it isn’t suitable.

    “Yes, but… calling attention to misogyny just makes it worse. Don’t feed the trolls. You should just ignore it.” seems to me to stay perfectly on-topic. It is a bad response, granted, but surely it is at least relevant.

    I think “Yes, but…” is perfectly reasonable when followed with a relevant objection. What about “Yes, but what do you propose should be done about it” stays right on topic, demonstrates that they agree with you and offers a productive question (albeit in a slightly pessimistic manner).
    How about “Yes, but not just Reddit – this kind of thing happens everywhere!”? or “Yes, but why the devil would that cause you to hate atheists?!”?

    So, I think it is reasonable to offer a “Yes, but…” response, so long as you are not actually changing the subject. Even if the response is a poor one, you are able to refute it easily!

  170. JP Barri says

    Greta, you nailed it completely. That poor girl got slimed, and there is no excuse for it, btu there’s even less excuse for the “Yes, but” low-lifes. How can you even TRY to avoid the real issue, and still call yourself human, much less a man? Ask yourself this: is she were your daughter, and someone talked to her on the street like that, would you tolerate it and say she should know better than to go out? Or would you teach the bastards some manners with a 2×4?

  171. Lyndall says

    What a very out of touch article. Have you ever been to websites like Reddit? If so: why does this surprise you?

  172. says

    I think:

    “Yes, but… people are entitled to freedom of speech. How dare you suggest that speech be censored by requesting that online forums be moderated?”

    “Yes, but… calling attention to misogyny just makes it worse. Don’t feed the trolls. You should just ignore it.”

    are legitimate, and are more important than the misogyny of the people who said gross stuff about this 15 year old.

    “Yes, but… people are entitled to freedom of speech. How dare you suggest that speech be censored by requesting that online forums be moderated?”

    Free speech works, explicitly because it allows for grotesque and controversial things to be said freely. There is no better way to kill a bad idea, or bad behavior then by airing it publicly and letting the massive number of sane people who disagree with it, stomp it to death. That’s what happened here. The public ass-beating the atheism Reddit has taken, has probably educated a lot of people, or gotten people who would not have thought about it, to think about misogyny and to condemn it.

    If you take that away, you’e left with a bland forum, where only pre-approved ideas from a narrow mindset get to be aired. That might be more pleasant for the 15 year old girl involved, but then misogyny doesn’t get addressed at all and nobody learns anything or is made aware of anything.

    “Yes, but… calling attention to misogyny just makes it worse. Don’t feed the trolls. You should just ignore it.”

    “Don’t feed the trolls” is just something you should hold as law on the internet. Trolls are going to troll and reacting to them is going to get them to troll more. These people just want to see a big reaction and will think it is funny. Arguing with these people doesn’t achieve anything, and calling them out in a big way is exactly what they want.

  173. ElGatoCello (@ElGatoCello) says

    I’m sorry, but these types of comments need to result in ostracism. Ignoring these clowns or even pointing them out in public is not enough. We need to treat these types of people with the same level of derision that we do the KKK and NOM. The behavior is inexcusable and we shouldn’t tolerate it.

  174. Greta Christina says

    Re El @ #185: Normally, this is exactly the sort of comment I would delete. I have no problem with maintaining and enforcing a comment policy in my own blog, and overt threats of sexualized, misogynist violence are exactly the sort of thing I’m in favor of online forums deleting. In this case, though, I’m keeping it up, as an example of the exact kind of thing this post is talking about. The commenter has been blocked, and the comment has been put in my “Threats” folder, where the police can find it if anything happens to me.

    As to how/ whether people should respond to it/ engage with it: Personally, I’m in favor of the “talk about it, but don’t address the commenter directly or engage with them” method. It makes it clear that this sort of behavior is unacceptable, while also making it clear that the person engaging in it is beneath your notice. But people should follow their own consciences.

    And as to Yes But @ #190 & 191: It’s not clear to me whether or not they’re a Poe or are sincere. So for now, I’m letting the comments stand.

  175. gbjames says

    I am relatively pacifistic but El@185 does give me reason to reconsider. What an obnoxious baby asshat.

  176. says

    Individual trolls might be encouraged by the reaction, but normal (which is to say non-sociopathic) people watching the reaction will see that the trolling is unacceptable. As trolls get negative responses they end up farther from shore, so to speak.

    I always bow to experimental results. Think of the things it is no longer considered acceptable to say, and names it is no longer considered acceptable to call people, in ordinary society. Progress has been made by social pressure. We need to do the same online. Not so much that it will reform the trolls (it won’t) but to establish the frame of decent behavior.

  177. says

    It is a problem – and thank you Greta Christina for highlighting what not to do to make it worse.

    I have an internet atheism page and as far as those readers know I’m male and from the UK.

    That’s how I need it to be in order to avoid trolls.

  178. Jason Balicki (sakodak) says

    IRT censorship: If people are using their own names (such as on Facebook (and yes, I realize that there’s no guarantee that they’re using their real name there)) I’m in favor of a no-censorship policy. Let the morons embarrass themselves. On a site where people can use any name they want, deleting comments is appropriate when it’s obviously not contributing. Anonymity is an important tool, but using it as a shield to post hurtful things is wrong.

  179. jemand says

    219 words of a wizard has horrible advice and can’t even stay coherent.

    The first half of your post goes: Free speech is primary and the way we get rid of bad ideas is to respond to them and we aren’t even allowed to have private community rules that could result in banning or removed ideas, because free speech applies everywhere!

    Tell me, if a neighbor decided to free speech in your house and sexually insulted and threatened you, you would throw that person out! Private communities, and reddit is one, could validly come up with a comment policy without denying a legal right to free speech. They are completely separate issues. Now… the response on reddit might be another thing and that might be more effective… but “free speech” is NEVER a magic wand of untouchability when you’re spewing harassment.

    The second half of the post is where it becomes incoherent… because NOW what must be done is just “trolls ignored.” You no longer even support talking down bad ideas, because they ought to just escape all mention! WTF. Your inconsistent post supports misogyny. Congrats. Return your “good person” badge, do not pass go, do not collect $200. Better luck next game!*

    *oh, and if you don’t reread and comprehend Greta’s post between your last play and a new game… well, you’re unlikely to do any better then. Tip to the wise.

  180. says

    I have to wonder if at least part of issue in discussions about misogyny is the word itself. I mean, that gives guys who want to be asses a chance to say “No, I don’t hate women–I love them! I want to have sex with them!” Nevermind that the problem is with guys who see women as objects of their desire and forget that these women have their own desires that may have nothing to do with them. And that they guy has not right to her phone number, or whatever, just because he thinks he asked nicely.

  181. Gutter says

    Re Greta @ 221 : So you have post guideline, but otherwise no control over what people visiting your blog post? Shall we conclude that the person making those threats is a regular here and representative of your “community”?

    Reddit has no such guideline. See how that can be a problem? Should we start calling your fans bigots based on the posts that you delete? Would we even be here if Reddit had the same “guidelines” as your blog? Do we eve want that?

    IMHO, heavy moderation is best left to Christian forum (and if you know anything about Reddit, you’ll understand the joke here. Christians need 9 mods for 20k people to control their subreddit, whereas we have 2 mods for 350k atheist)

    —————————————————————

    Re Wes @ 186 : Wow… just wow… All of you people who have no idea how reddit work sure like to talk about how is should work. The upvotes are representative to the kind of redditors who click on threads with pictures and overused headlines.

    Would *you* click on a post titled “Look what my mom got me” when it’s pretty obvious from the thumbnail that she got Demon Hunted World? So why go on the thread? To specifically comment on the pic. The posters were the kind of people that you will see on *any posts where a woman show her face*. That’s not to say that woman should know better, but that she unknowingly tapped into a specific demographic of reddit/the internet.

    That girl wasn’t scared for life, and even learned about how internet forum works (eg : They are full of idiots).

    http://www.reddit.com/r/atheism/comments/nuf7i/regarding_my_post_and_the_shitstorm_that_ensued/

    Maybe you guys should go there tell her that she has to be a lot more outraged than she seem to be!

  182. says

    Gutter (#229):

    Would *you* click on a post titled “Look what my mom got me” when it’s pretty obvious from the thumbnail that she got Demon Hunted World? So why go on the thread?

    I dunno, maybe to talk about the book?

    The posters were the kind of people that you will see on *any posts where a woman show her face*.

    Fuckwittery may be omnipresent, but that doesn’t make it a good thing.

  183. pensnest says

    Notung #214

    I think “Yes, but…” is perfectly reasonable when followed with a relevant objection. What about “Yes, but what do you propose should be done about it” stays right on topic, demonstrates that they agree with you and offers a productive question (albeit in a slightly pessimistic manner).

    Hmm. If it is a productive question, why do you characterise it as an objection? If it’s an objection, why do you characterise it as a productive question? Try replacing that “Yes, but” with “Yes, and” and you get an actually productive question rather than a question which brings along its own Eeyorish “but there’s nothing to be done” implication.

    Try fitting that “and” into your other examples. “Yes, and not just Reddit—this kind of thing happens everywhere!” is much more to the point and has the virtue of not attempting to excuse Reddit because ‘everyone does it’.

  184. says

    So funny it makes me wanna cry, Notung (@214). Oh well, 200+ posts in, might as well…

    Your comment is like a Russian nesting doll set of yes,buttery. I’m glad this is so fun to point out, because no amount of doing it ever seems to take anyway.

    1.) Greta makes a post about why yes,but-ing misogyny is the wrong thing to do.

    2.) Waves of dudely lemmings defend “yes,but-ing misogyny”, using yes-but style arguments.

    3.) Various attempts are made by other people to explain why doing this is basically falling into the trap/onto the sword Greta is trying to keep people from falling into/onto.

    4.) repeat steps 2 and 3, in every thread like this, until the end of time.

    And now you, Notung, wander in and explain to us, the unwashed masses, that “Yes, I agree, but I don’t think your examples count”

    Oh Really. And it is precious to see the superficial attempts to not fall directly into the trap. “I agree…though” – isn’t saying yes, but — but it IS the same thing. You are doing exactly what people have spent the entire thread pleading with you NOT to do!

    Do you realize trying to explain to us why you think its okay for obtuse assholes to dismiss claims of misogyny which aren’t specific enough for you – is kind of sorta like WHAT THE OP WAS ABOUT.

    Look at your comment again – it’s a “yes, but” with three “I think bla-ba-blah” nested inside it — cool bro, you side with abusers over the victim. Go fuck yourself!

  185. jemand says

    Gutter: “Maybe you guys should go there tell her that she has to be a lot more outraged than she seem to be!”

    A whole hell of a LOT of women in the world have a whole hell of a LOT more reasons to be outraged than they actually show. Typically because they have found communities they want to contribute to and which they get some benefit out of but which totally suck in multiple ways with respect to the misogyny situation. However, because the whole WORLD kind of sucks that way sometimes, if a woman is going to play the game at all, she’s got to occasionally strike a deal with the devil.

    That she does so doesn’t mean the misogyny she isn’t actively calling out in her communities right that moment is fine and good. It just means she’s only got a certain amount of energy for fighting, so picks her battles. It doesn’t make that shit acceptable. And using the fact that women aren’t inhuman and can’t stand up to EVERYTHING to argue we should stop talking about misogyny?

    Derailing: you’re doing it well.

  186. kristinc, ~delicate snowflake~ says

    Would *you* click on a post titled “Look what my mom got me” when it’s pretty obvious from the thumbnail that she got Demon Hunted World? So why go on the thread?

    Yeah, nobody would want to talk to her about her new book or her mom or her views on Carl Sagan or how she came to be an atheist or any of that shit. It’s not like she has a functioning brain and a personality. She’s a girl.

    Jeebus crimbo but you’re a hateful little stain.

  187. you_monster says

    Yeah, But is a troll, not a poe. Xe is the worst type too, a boring one.

    Gutter,

    Should we start calling your fans bigots based on the posts that you delete?

    The bigots are derided by Greta’s “fans”. You are being dishonest.

    That girl wasn’t scared for life, and even learned about how internet forum works (eg : They are full of idiots).

    She didn’t literally fear for her safety, so lets overlook these vile misogynistic comments made to a 15 year old girl? You are a piece of shit.

    The posters were the kind of people that you will see on *any posts where a woman show her face*.

    Translation: why is anyone surprised, she posted a pic of herself. She asked for it. Fuck off.

  188. says

    pensnest #232

    I think something can be both a productive question and an objection. Take for instance “You say a perfectly good God exists, but why is there so much suffering in the world He created?” Clearly an objection, but the question is productive because the theist is prompted to think about their beliefs and refine them if they are able to.

    “Yes, and…” is fine for complete agreement, but I think “Yes, but…” is more appropriate to highlight points of disagreement. If I find myself in general agreement but feel there are points of contention I might say “Yes, but…” and if I am in complete agreement with only points to add I might say “Yes, and…”. It depends on the way the initial complaint is put.

    To illustrate this using one of my examples: “Yes, and why the devil would that cause you to hate atheists?!” seems rather strange.

  189. evodevo says

    Sounds like a bunch of right wing redneck Xtian males to me …. Welcome to Ky !!!
    Typical of the commentary you would get in this state. Why you would never post under your real name or address.

  190. Sergio Sider says

    I didn’t keep up with this event, but I wouldn’t call the first responses to that girl as misogyny, but as ‘idiotic, sexist and imbecilic responses from poorly evolved male brains behind the computer, because those idiots could not start a normal conversation face to face with a beautiful girl.
    The best example of misogyny for me is Paul, the apostle ;-)

    But, that’s why I tend to follow more closed groups or not too famous blogs.

    My comment to that girl would be: Congratulations… I envy you for getting Sagan as a gift at that age.

    It’s a pity the trolls and idiots that started this fire are now laughing…

    Like with our body chemicals, over-reaction cause harm. America is so over-obsessed with sexism that everything gets out of proportion. We need balance.

  191. kristinc, ~delicate snowflake~ says

    I mean, it surprises me as much as anyone, but out of this whole thread with all its displays of vileness Gutter @229 revolts and pisses me off the most.

    Dude probably doesn’t even realize that he just made the argument, presumably with a completely straight face, that NO ONE COULD POSSIBLY WANT TO TALK TO A FEMALE.

    Yep. I’m yellin’.

  192. jemand says

    @kristinc, ~delicate snowflake~

    I think I agree with you. It’s the oblivious implications that can be the most horrific.

  193. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    Notung, what?

    Clearly, “why is there so much evil in the world” is not a productive question. It’s meant as a rebuttal to the idea that a perfectly good god exists.

    You started out badly and it went downhill from there. Stop digging.

  194. says

    deebbaasseerr #234

    My point was that I disagreed that “Yes, but…” was always bad. It is just question-begging to claim that my arguments are invalid because I phrased them in the way being criticised. Plus I don’t think the ‘trap’ analogy is helpful, and I certainly don’t for a second side with the abusers.

  195. jemand says

    also, Sergio Sider just argued that we need a good “balance” containing just the right amount of sexism in order to remain healthy as a culture.

    Is it just me, or are the responses getting worse as the thread gets longer?

  196. yellowsubmarine says

    Gutter: I haven’t seen that much nonsense squeezed into such a small space in a bit. Grats. The idea that the vile and despicable post their vile and despicable shit all over other women’s threads too is completely irrelavent and you have missed the point magnificently. It’s utterly unacceptable for members of a civilized society to engage in this sort of harassment. Period.

    Concluding that because the girl didn’t end up terrified for her life, and perhaps even learned something from it, somehow makes it less than a socially banishable offense is completely and incomprehensibly dense. I don’t even begin to understand how the idea that this is not ok, ever, under any circumstances, is so far over your head.

  197. says

    Notung

    It’s so nice that you can, if you try hard enough, make a principled objection to applying as a dogma, something that the rest of us managed quite easily to read as a statement of general principle. *Applause.*

    That you can indulge in such hairsplitting while faced with the example of a 15 yo girl being subjected to ‘jokes’ about anal rape speaks well for your objectivity, though not your humanity.

  198. says

    Sergio @240: Like with our body chemicals, over-reaction cause harm. America is so over-obsessed with sexism that everything gets out of proportion. We need balance.”

    Balance? As in; “let random strangers drive young women from the public sphere unless they hide the fact that they’re female”?

    This is not a new problem either; witness examples in literature going all the way back to Shakespeare where a woman had to pretend to be a man. Of course on that stage it was a man acting in the role of a woman pretending to be a man, but I digress.

    America, over-obsessed with sexism? In what parallel universe? The one I live in is just starting to figure out that women are people, and all that entails.

  199. says

    SallyStrange #243

    That depends on whether you believe rebuttals can be productive or not. I actively seek the best objections to my position, so that my worldview is as true and robust as possible. I feel that if you offer a decent objection to someone’s position, you are being productive. There’s a good bit in J.S. Mill’s On Liberty defending this idea.

  200. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    David, waaaay back up there @31 (ish):

    I’m not saying misogyny shouldn’t be corrected, I’m just wondering if it’s possible to change the mind of someone who’s saying things just to piss people off.

    Personally, i think this is a common misunderstanding. IMO, one doesn’t argue with trolls in an attempt to change the troll’s mind. It’s for the audience.

    When I’m arguing against a bigot troll , I’m not doing it because I think the bigot troll will change his mind. i’m doing it for all the conflict-adverse people who might be watching. I want that person to know that there are ways to counter a bigot troll. I want them to know that, because silence=complicity, there are people not willing to be silent in the face of bigotry. I want them to see how to counter bigot bullshit.

    Can’t speak for everyone, of course, but that’s the way i feel about it. Which is why i don’t mince words with trolls – there’s no point. i don’t care about his feelings, i don’t care what he takes away from the argument. I care about the audience, who might not know, or who might be too reluctant to speak up BECAUSE of the trolls.

  201. you_monster says

    Like with our body chemicals, over-reaction cause harm. America is so over-obsessed with sexism that everything gets out of proportion. We need balance.

    There is no perfect “balance” to be reached when confronting obvious bigotry and hate. Sergio, how much racism/homophobia/misogyny/transphobia…etc., do we need to put up with so that we stop appearing so extreme and over-reacty? I am much more concerned with not appearing imbalanced to you, Sergio, than I am about sticking up for equality and against hateful bigots. So tell me when am I allowed to criticize?

  202. says

    An important distinction: “Yes, but” is not always bad in ordinary discussions. It can be a useful rhetorical tool. But when hearing about the marginalization of a vulnerable person, that is a different story. Then it just becomes a way of shutting up someone who should be heard.

  203. yellowsubmarine says

    Sergio. Read the rest of the responses before you presume to accuse anyone here of “overreacting”. Seriously. WTF.

  204. Sergio Sider says

    “Balance” as having a good amount of reaction to avoid starting harmful fires.

    In a sowehow moderated blog, I would ban the assholes. You can’t hurt them by responding, because that’s what they want.

    If you don’t like the word Balance, please take “avoid over-reaction”. Over reactions is what usually starts straw-men responses.

    Fuck the trolls. Fuck who thinks sexism is ok. Fuck who sees sexism when there isn’t. Fuck who doesn’t see sexism when there is.

  205. says

    Daz #248

    I was saying that it doesn’t work as a general principle, since “Yes but…” doesn’t necessarily signify a changing of the subject.

    It is better to listen to what comes after “Yes, but…” than to put too much stock in only the two words at the start of the sentence.

    Your last sentence was hyperbolic to say the least.

  206. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    Classic. This is a perfect example of a guy who’s convinced he’s not a misogynist, but is perfectly happy to repeat sexist tropes as if they were true, and is utterly unaware of the cover he is providing the men who truly sincerely hate women.

    I didn’t keep up with this event

    Off to a promising start. You admit you’re ignorant, but are going to comment anyway. How can that be read as anything but arrogant? What makes you think your opinion is so necessary? Dare I say it? Male privilege.

    but I wouldn’t call the first responses to that girl as misogyny

    Of course not, because then you would be forced to confront the fact that misogyny is extremely normalized and common in our society, and might even be something you or your friends have done already. And of course misogynists are BAD PEOPLE and you know you are not a BAD PERSON ergo this is not misogyny.

    but as ‘idiotic, sexist and imbecilic responses from poorly evolved male brains behind the computer, because those idiots could not start a normal conversation face to face with a beautiful girl.

    Have sympathy for the poor men who told a 15 year old girl to “Bite the pillow, I’m going in dry!” and reminded her that “blood is nature’s lubricant.” They were merely stupid, not hateful! Right. And what does her being beautiful have to do with it anyway? Her beauty, what, intimidated them into making rape threats? SO much fail in one paragraph, I can hardly parse it all.

    The best example of misogyny for me is Paul, the apostle ;-)

    Fuck your winky smiley face, asshole. You’re just trying to pretend that misogyny exists OVER THERE, amongst those crazy irrational Christians, and Muslims, and anyone but us! No, fuckface: misogyny is in your own backyard making a huge mess. It’s time to clean it up.

    But, that’s why I tend to follow more closed groups or not too famous blogs.

    Up til now, your post was totally wrong, but at least followed some sort of logical progression of ideas. Your personal taste in blogs is totally irrelevant.

    My comment to that girl would be: Congratulations… I envy you for getting Sagan as a gift at that age.

    The question is not what you would say to Lunam (that’s the girl’s pseudonym). The question is what you would say to those threatening her with rape. Or to those saying that it’s no big deal to threaten a teenage girl with rape. Except, you seem to be one of those people who think it’s no big deal. Well, a biggish deal, maybe, but not misogyny, no, that would be unthinkable (for no real reason except that it makes you uncomfortable).

    It’s a pity the trolls and idiots that started this fire are now laughing…

    Why on earth would anybody care what a bunch of rapey misogynist assholes are doing right now? This is the “don’t feed the trolls” excuse–if you object to rape threats then the person making the threats knows it bothers you. So fucking what! Of course it bothers me, and other people–that’s why the assholes make them. And I disagree with your characterizing them as trolls. Trolls say things they don’t believe to stir shit up. These guys are clearly committed to the idea that women and girls are nothing more than walking fleshlights.

    Like with our body chemicals, over-reaction cause harm.

    Pseudoscientific nonsense.

    America is so over-obsessed with sexism that everything gets out of proportion.

    Yeah, vocally objecting to grown men making rape threats against a teenage girl is totally out of proportion. This is where you reveal your own misogyny. Obviously, women and girls who have found themselves excluded from online communities because of sexual harassment and rape threats are blowing things all out of proportion. Those dudes were just harmlessly joking! You’re a complete asshole.

    Also, the idea that “America is obsessed with sexism” is laughable. Put “saturated by” in the place “obsessed with” and it would be more accurate. Please don’t bother to try to justify this idiotic statement. Only a dedicated misogynist could possibly think that America has gone TOO FAR in the direction of being concerned with sexism.

    We need balance.

    What do you mean, “we,” paleface misogynist asshole?

  207. you_monster says

    Can’t speak for everyone, of course, but that’s the way i feel about it. Which is why i don’t mince words with trolls – there’s no point. i don’t care about his feelings, i don’t care what he takes away from the argument

    You can speak for me on this issue. I don’t care if the troll gets hir jollies from being called out and condemned. I care about not supporting the vile hatred by remaining silent. Others have expressed thanks to those willing to confront the idiots (not everyone has the patience/desire to). It lets those watching who are part of the group being maligned know that people are willing to stand up for them and that the hatred is not supported by all.

    And I really think it is a small subset of the misogynist trolls who get off on being called out. Most trolls say hateful shit and want to get patted on the back for it (and they are, look at the up-votes). If everyone pounced on them, verbally and by down-votes, I really don’t think they would get as much pleasure.

    Again, not that i am overly-concerned about how I effect them, I don’t give a fuck about them, but they should’t be allowed to control the atmosphere of the environment unchecked.

  208. says

    You can’t hurt them by responding, because that’s what they want.

    With your average normal troll, yes. The sheer mass of online sexism and sexually-predatory behaviour, though, points to it not being ‘trolls’ in the normal sense at all, but a widespread attitude that the feelings and desires of women aren’t important.

  209. axemaiden says

    Oh, my. It’s strangely reassuring to know that any time anyone posts about derailing in a social justice setting, anywhere on the internet, there’s a bunch of people willing to show up and demonstrate exactly exactly how it’s done.

    Thanks for saying it, Greta. It’s just a shame we’ll need to keep on saying it again and again and again until the message gets through.

  210. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    That depends on whether you believe rebuttals can be productive or not.

    Well, the question you chose, “why is there so much evil in the world,” is not a question I would view as productive, whether it was intended as a rebuttal or not. So maybe you should demonstrate that you understand what a productive question actually is before you start asserting that “yes but” objections to feminist objections to sexism can be productive.

    Also, the situations you are comparing are different. Presumably, with a Christian, you are pretty convinced that she is wrong about the existence of god.

    With a woman who is complaining that she gets a lot of bad treatment from sexist men in the atheist community, are you already starting from the point of “I don’t believe you about this sexism stuff”? Your crappy analogy suggest that that would be your starting point.

    Seriously, your hole is getting very deep now. But maybe you like digging, I don’t know.

  211. you_monster says

    An important distinction: “Yes, but” is not always bad in ordinary discussions. It can be a useful rhetorical tool. But when hearing about the marginalization of a vulnerable person, that is a different story. Then it just becomes a way of shutting up someone who should be heard.

    Yet, obtuse idiots will continue to fail to see this distinction.

  212. says

    Notung @ 256

    You’re hairsplitting by looking for hypothetical situations in which ‘yes, but’ might occasionally be constructive, rather than addressing the issue of online misogyny. Especially in the face of the particularly loathsome example that prompted the discussion, I’d say questioning your humanity—or at least your sense of empathy—is bang on the money.

  213. KvdH says


    “Yes, but… why is it so terrible to ask a woman for coffee in a hotel elevator at four in the morning?”

    Assume this scenario was made into a civil court case over sexual harassment.

    I’d be willing to bet a fairly decent sum of money that the judge would, at a bare minimum, throw the case out, and who knows? maybe even openly castigate the plaintiff for wasting the court’s time.

    Why is this even being mixed into a discussion of anal rape threats, as if the two were remotely comparable?

    “Yes, but… Rebecca Watson or some other feminist said something mean or unfair in another conversation weeks/ months/ years ago. Why aren’t we talking about that?”

    That’s a point; so is this:

    “Yes, but… people are entitled to freedom of speech. How dare you suggest that speech be censored by requesting that online forums be moderated?”

    As I pointed out here:

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/lousycanuck/2011/11/10/moderation-censorship-and-the-new-stasi-at-ftb/#comment-41839

    Lousy Canuck, broadly speaking, you are right; bloggers can impose whatever rules they want on their respective comment spaces. However, the real issue here is not “censorship” but “hypocrisy”. Go to the front page of FTB and notice how many top-level posts viciously lambast someone or something. Notice how many of the commentators (who are on the authors’ side) do much the same thing. Here at FTB, there is no doubt about people’s abilities to dish it out, but they can’t seem to take it in the least.

    Lord Protector Greg Laden banned me from his blog, apparently for saying that Rebecca Watson is unimpressive, because she doesn’t ever seem to go above the well-trodden ground of “Skepticism 101″ (with scads of YouTube videos scarcely more sophisticated than “Santa Claus/the Tooth Fairy is really your parents”). I backed up my statement with facts and refrained from being abusive, even after Lord Protector Laden suggested that I’m a “dumbass” for finding original scientific researchers like Elizabeth Bates and Jacob Cohen interesting, and not her. What I said was pretty mild compared against what the (tolerated) opinions in these blogs voice. This is not a space for freethought, but instead for what I like to call Freethought™: thought so Free™ it’s been marshaled into an increasingly self-referential blog network…

    All told, the behavior of blog authors here is frankly disturbing. If they did have substantial power in government, I find it very easy to imagine that they’d deal with dissidents using punitive psychiatry: turning former uppity rebels into good citizens with a monthly depot of Haldol in the asscheeks: drooling, shaky, and listless. That’s what real Freethought™ is all about.

    Regarding Skepchick, Natalie on Skepchick actually accused me of “bullying” because I said “because you were wrong” in a reply to her; as far as I remember, the only thing remotely personal I said in that discussion was something like “what open minds we’ve got here” after someone told me simply to fuck off and the main thrust of my argument was a rather dry, impersonal criticism of the privilege concept on the grounds of philosophy of science.

    I tried to protest this ridiculous accusation but my comments were deleted and then I was banned.

    That’s what you get for voicing dissent against the commissars, cuz that’s what they are … if they can’t find a legitimate grievance with what you did, they make one up and use it to discredit you; the only difference is that they silence with banning and deletion rather than antipsychotic medication

    So many in the Internet Atheist Echo Chamber are such utter fucking thin-skinned babies at the same time they rip into everything and anything they don’t like.

  214. you_monster says

    First Sergio see’s America as a place that is “obsessed with sexism” to a disproportionate degree. Then he complains that feminists are overreacting to instances of sexism, and now,

    Fuck who sees sexism when there isn’t.

    the hysterical women are making up instances of oppression (because they don’t face enough sexism in real life?).

    Do you have any specifics, Sergio. That comment doesn’t seem relevant to this discussion. You really seem to have a beef with those who think women are people and partake in activism to promote that idea.

  215. says

    SallyStrange #261

    I’m not sure what you mean by ‘digging’, but I like arguing if that’s what you mean.

    I think posing a Problem of Evil to a theist would be seen as productive to a theist with an open mind – as I said they are prompted to think about a response, refine their view, or scrap it [destructive] and adopt another [productive]. But as I said before, whether you agree or disagree that it is productive will depend on how welcoming you are of other people’s ideas and objections.

    With a woman who is complaining that she gets a lot of bad treatment from sexist men in the atheist community, are you already starting from the point of “I don’t believe you about this sexism stuff”? Your crappy analogy suggest that that would be your starting point.

    I don’t see where “I don’t believe you” comes into anything I said. I’m commenting on an article that claims that you shouldn’t begin an objection with “Yes, but…” because it changes the subject. I am disputing that point.

  216. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    Why is this even being mixed into a discussion of anal rape threats, as if the two were remotely comparable?</blockquote?

    *facepalm* its like the practice Not Listening until they achieve a 10th degree blackbelt.

  217. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    So many in the Internet Atheist Echo Chamber are such utter fucking thin-skinned babies at the same time they rip into everything and anything they don’t like.

    Project much?

  218. Levi in NY says

    Yes! I am a man and I am ashamed that so many of my fellow atheists are so misogynistic. Acting like this not only perpetuates negative attitudes toward women, it perpetuates negative attitudes toward atheists by making us look like dicks (we’re not doing so hot in the PR department to begin with).

    While it may be impossible to stamp misogyny out of the atheist movement entirely, that’s all the more reason why we need to be loud and clear that the majority of us aren’t going to tolerate that kind of shit.

  219. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    I don’t see where “I don’t believe you” comes into anything I said. I’m commenting on an article that claims that you shouldn’t begin an objection with “Yes, but…” because it changes the subject. I am disputing that point.

    Ugh, I hate arguing with stupid people.

    Okay, one more time…

    In your analogy, you are challenging a Christian’s belief in the existence of god by saying, “Yes, but…”

    This is compared to a woman saying, “There is lots of fucking sexism out there and it sucks and if you’re a decent human being you would speak out against it, or at the very least not try to tell me I’m wrong about it.”

    The response “Yes, but…” necessarily sets up an adversarial relationship wherein you are challenging the accuracy or truthfulness of your interlocutor’s statement.

    Thus I conclude that (subconsciously at least) you set yourself in an antagonistic position vis-a-vis women complaining about sexism in the atheist community.

    Your analogy sucked donkey balls because god doesn’t exist, whereas misogynist atheist men most definitely do.

    Is this really that complicated?

  220. jemand says

    Notung, yeah, maybe what she means is exactly what you think it is, that you “like to argue” and that especially, you hone in with an obsessive fixation on a tiny crack in the original post, one that might not even be there… and let go whizzing by any of the numerous clear examples of misogynists posting *on this very thread.*

    How about you give your original bone a rest for a bit, wait another two, three hours, plenty of time for some new shit to be dumped in this thread, and take a turn arguing AGAINST misogyny? Arguing on the side of WOMEN for a change, instead of attempting to have this random-sort-of-side-debate-only-very-tenuously-related to the main subject, one which you only seem to be stuck on due to a not very admirable tenacity regardless of context?

    Help us tamp down some drivebys instead of distracting commenters with irrelevancies!

  221. says

    Daz #263

    You’re hairsplitting by looking for hypothetical situations in which ‘yes, but’ might occasionally be constructive, rather than addressing the issue of online misogyny.

    I’m saying that I don’t agree that “Yes, but…” is bad per se. I am agreeing that online misogyny is bad. I am doing both (although I still deny that it is hair-splitting).

    Especially in the face of the particularly loathsome example that prompted the discussion, I’d say questioning your humanity—or at least your sense of empathy—is bang on the money.

    Well that just seems irrational to me, but question my humanity if it helps you feel more human.

  222. wohdin says

    I’m confused as to why male circumcision was brought up. Was that specifically a major issue that was “brought up” in the Reddit scandal? I must admit that I pretty much missed the entire thing and this is my first notice of such an incident.

    Also, and yeah, this is kind of derailing a bit, and you might accuse me of “changing the subject” to men and myself, but isn’t the “I saw [horrible posts about women that are obviously by men] on [insert website/magazine/anything else here], aren’t men horrible?” mentality a rather misandric one?

    Don’t get me wrong, as a gay male (oh noes, here’s where I talk about myself and my male problems) I have seen quite a significant amount of bigoted behavior targeted at me over the course of my life, and I’ve developed my own ways of dealing with them. The specifics are of course different, but I think that the roots of the issues are very similar.

    I consider myself a supporter of women’s rights, but I don’t consider myself a “feminist”. I support everyone’s rights equally, as they should be. I would not tolerate a woman’s rights, pride, self-esteem, self-worth, or anything else to be trampled upon, because I do not tolerate anyone else’s or my own to be trampled upon. I hate to chalk this instance up to “idiots on the internet”, because while they will pretty much always exist, to dismiss them will indeed cloud up any discussion opposing such behavior. But I don’t think that “misogyny” is a singular issue. I think it’s a much broader cultural issue that can’t really be “fixed” by just saying “don’t feed the trolls”; I don’t think that “fixing” misogyny, if that’s even possible, will do anything to fix the underlying problem at all. Our self-absorbed culture causes many people to only be able to relate to each other in cliques – in this case, the “male” clique versus the “female” – and in these groups, antagonism can easily brew. Just think back to your high school days, if your brain didn’t erase those memories due to the trauma. I genuinely believe that the only way to attack misogyny as a behavior is to fix the roots – and those roots are the very culture in which we live. It’s a problem that permeates every aspect of our lives – media, fashion, looks, material posessions, “success” which is always measured in menial things – selfishness and self-absorption of all sorts. It’s really everyone’s fault, not just men’s, not just “internet trolls,” not just white people, not just straight people, not “just” any one group. Everyone is guilty of this rabidity. Until we can stop acting like wolves, we can’t really stop treating each other like meat.

  223. KvdH says

    *facepalm* its like the practice Not Listening until they achieve a 10th degree blackbelt.

    And here we have another low climber on the Argument Hierarchy pyramid.

  224. jemand says

    Also… Notung… You most definitely HAVE changed the subject. Instead of talking about misogyny, sexism in atheist communities, harassment of women online, or any of the other ON TOPIC subjects….

    You are talking about communication styles and specifically parsing language use in argument and debate on an abstract level, using Greta’s subject matter as nothing more than a specific “example” that is no more relevant to you than if it was about puppies and butterflies.

    So yes. You are derailing… you are giving us all a good example of yes-butting that results in changing the subject, it just happens to be a meta version of it… but the kernell of truth remains:

    You just don’t operationally find women important or interesting enough that you could have an entire conversation discussing “women’s issues” exclusively. Nope, you found something shiny you want to tug on that has nothing to do with women; it’s more about language use, actually, but the specific other subject is really rather spectacularly irrelevant.

  225. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    And here we have another low climber on the Argument Hierarchy pyramid.

    translation: I’m insulting you because I don’t understand what you mean.

  226. evilDoug says

    Personally, i think this is a common misunderstanding. IMO, one doesn’t argue with trolls in an attempt to change the troll’s mind. It’s for the audience.

    I was going to say “absolutely”, but “a resounding yes” is perhaps better.
    If anyone wants to see this in action, pop over to ScienceBlogs and have a look at Orac’s (Respectful Insolence) recent posts on anti-vaccine nonsense. There is is resident troll, Th1Th2, commonly known as “Thingy”. There are numerous other drop-in trolls. The trolls elicit some really great, informative responses from many of Orac’s regular commenters. Nobody cares what the trolls think (and I am using that word very loosely).

  227. says

    SallyStrange #271

    Ugh, I hate arguing with stupid people.

    I’m not throwing back any names at you because you’re not stupid and even if you were it wouldn’t be polite to say so.

    In your analogy, you are challenging a Christian’s belief in the existence of god by saying, “Yes, but…”

    No – that wasn’t actually an analogy. It was an example of a question that I think is productive.

    This is compared to a woman saying, “There is lots of fucking sexism out there and it sucks and if you’re a decent human being you would speak out against it, or at the very least not try to tell me I’m wrong about it.”

    The response “Yes, but…” necessarily sets up an adversarial relationship wherein you are challenging the accuracy or truthfulness of your interlocutor’s statement.

    Actually I’d say you are generally agreeing but finding one or two points of contention. “There’s a dead rat on the roof.” “Yes, but how do you propose we get it off? I’m not going up there!” “Well, we can poke it with this long stick!” “Ah, nice idea!”

    Thus I conclude that (subconsciously at least) you set yourself in an antagonistic position vis-a-vis women complaining about sexism in the atheist community.

    No, rather I dispute the idea that “Yes, but…” necessarily results in the subject being changed.

    Your analogy sucked donkey balls because god doesn’t exist, whereas misogynist atheist men most definitely do.

    The Problem of Evil example was an example of an objection that was also a productive question. It was not an analogy.

  228. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    LOL. Someone who doesn’t understand what an ad hominem is has no business crowing about other people’s position on the argument pyramid.

    And Notung, you have emphatically avoiding “agreeing that online misogyny is bad.” You have been doing lots of things, but that thing is not among them. You have been derailing and changing the subject. You have been making analogies that suggest that you view women who insist that misogyny is far too common as being similar to Christians who insist that god exists.

    You have utterly failed to internalize the message of this post. Which is why I think you are a bit dim-witted. But I could be mistaken–you could just be remarkably stubborn and a bit of an asshole. Who knows, maybe a bit of both. Either way, it reflects poorly on you and does nothing to help me believe that you are a reliable ally in the fight against misogyny.

  229. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    I’m not throwing back any names at you because you’re not stupid and even if you were it wouldn’t be polite to say so.

    Here’s my polite request: if I am saying stupid shit, I prefer to be informed rather than protected from that knowledge. At least within the confines of an intellectual discussion on the internet, I think anything less is far more rude than the innocuous word, “stupid.”

  230. debbaasseerr says

    Greta’s advice to talk about the posts in general instead of responding to every obtuse comment makes more and more sense by the second. Good point!

    Part of the reason that SO many commenters display an almost pathological need double down on the stupid, or trot out feats of reading non-comprehension is simple cognitive dissonance. Someone points out an instance of ugly misogyny – and that person leaps to defend it as not so bad, out of context, or “really ok actually” because it’s shit they think too. And now some woman comes along and tells them that no in fact it’s not ok, and is hateful to woman.

    And they are certain they don’t hate women.
    Right?

    They think: “That’s so stupid to say cause they KNOW they don’t hate women, it’s reverse sexism, sheesh! I mean, what do stupid bitches know about anything anyway….” and so on.

    And the harder you smack them right in the face with “YES! WHEN YOU DO THIS ITS LIKE YOU HATE WOMEN” the more painful it becomes — and they certainly aren’t gonna change what they say because of what some uppity woman said. So the need to re and re-re assert how “Yes, that’s hateful to women, but it isn’t hateful to women because *I* say that all the time and I don’t hate women. So there, case closed.”

    But hey, don’t let me stop you. I know how highly some of you value free speech, you bring it up every time someone else uses it to tell you’re an asshole.

  231. you_monster says

    Fucking hell, let it go Notung. Re-read the fucking OP.

    If you feel compelled to say something other than “That’s terrible”… add some thoughts about the history of misogyny. Some insights into how misogyny happens, and how it gets perpetuated. Some ideas about what you think should be done about it. Etc. But whatever you do or say, don’t say, “Yes, but…” and then turn the conversation towards yourself, or other men, or some other topic that you think is more important.

    Your fears are laid to rest long ago, if you only took the time to read/comprehend the OP, you wouldn’t be arguing against a strawman here. If you are using the “yes, but” structure, but are in fact proposing “what you think should be done about it”, then you are not derailing. If you are using your “yes, but” to divert the conversation, then you are part of the problem.

    “There’s a dead rat on the roof.” “Yes, but how do you propose we get it off? I’m not going up there!” “Well, we can poke it with this long stick!” “Ah, nice idea!”

    You have been arguing that you are being told not to do what Greta explicitly said was ok. If you are contributing in a constructive manor, it doesn’t matter how you fucking phrase it. But do not use “yes, but” to derail. That is the point.

    George.w already explained this,

    An important distinction: “Yes, but” is not always bad in ordinary discussions. It can be a useful rhetorical tool. But when hearing about the marginalization of a vulnerable person, that is a different story. Then it just becomes a way of shutting up someone who should be heard.

  232. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    Again, Notung demonstrates that splitting hairs is far more important to him than anything to do with feminism, misogyny, or 15 year old girls getting rape threats.

    Remember the original thrust of the post, Notung? The gist of it was, “If a woman testifies about her experiences with misogyny and sexism, don’t be an asshole and try to undermine her experiences. Don’t try to change the subject and don’t try to minimize the seriousness of the situation.”

    I feel that what you are doing here is exactly what Greta was suggesting decent human beings NOT do. You’re trying to poke tiny little holes into an airtight post about feminism, based on the linguistic foibles of the English language. Stop being a jerk: get with the SPIRIT of the post and stop quibbling about the legalistic details. Yes, you can say “yes but” and not mean to contradict your interlocutor. You have found a few situations where that is true. You haven’t really demonstrated how the fuck that might be relevant to what Greta is saying, but you did. Would you like a cookie now? Would that help you shut up for a minute? If so, then here’s a cookie.

  233. Stacy says

    Shorter KvdH: Anybody who doesn’t want to engage me is guilty of suppression of free speech! Listen to meeeee while I attempt to derail this post and make it all about meeee! I’m entitled to everyone’s attention!

    KvdH/ignore

  234. EAM says

    Sider: I don’t know what’s going on or why you ladies is upset, and I am not going to find out. I just need to say talking about sexism is the real problem here and it’s sexist. Hope I’ve clarified it all for your lady brains.

  235. says

    jemand #277

    The article is about how you shouldn’t respond to the Reddit situation with “Yes, but…” because it changes the subject. I am disagreeing with the article in part, by saying that changing the subject is wrong, and not necessarily “Yes, but…”.

    You are trying to claim that now I’m changing the subject, and therefore “don’t find women important”.

    But really I am directly responding to the article at the top of the page. Look at the title! You yourself are changing the subject by trying to attack me as some kind of “woman-hater”.

  236. Alukonis, metal ninja says

    “There’s a dead rat on the roof.” “Yes, but how do you propose we get it off? I’m not going up there!”

    Dead rat? I don’t give a shit, it’s not my problem. Leave the rat there, I’m not going to do anything about it. You have a problem with it? Fine, you deal with it.

    THAT is what the “yes but” in that example implies. Yes, but it’s not my problem! Yes, but I don’t care! Yes, but as far as I’m concerned that rat can rot up there for all eternity!

    When you continue with:

    “Well, we can poke it with this long stick!” “Ah, nice idea!”

    What you are REALLY trying to say at first is NOT “Yes but…” You are trying to say “There’s a dead rat on the roof.” “Yes. How do you propose we get it off?”

    NO “BUT” REQUIRED. “But” is not only unnecessary, it implies the exact opposite of what you’re trying to say, by implying “fuck you I don’t care about any stupid rat.” Why are you putting “but” into that example? It’s contradictory and unnecessary! Just like in discussions about misogyny!

    Example: “There is a lot of misogyny on the internet.” “Yes. What should we do about it?”

    Do you see how that is constructive by NOT using the word “but”?

  237. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    The article is about how you shouldn’t respond to the Reddit situation with “Yes, but…” because it changes the subject. I am disagreeing with the article in part, by saying that changing the subject is wrong, and not necessarily “Yes, but…”.

    You are trying to claim that now I’m changing the subject, and therefore “don’t find women important”.

    But really I am directly responding to the article at the top of the page. Look at the title! You yourself are changing the subject by trying to attack me as some kind of “woman-hater”.

    Oh fuck. No you are not responding to the SUBJECT of the post. You are responding to a few words in the post, which you have completely removed from their context.

    I’m guessing it’s because you feel very uncomfortable at the idea that your natural urge to say “Yes, but…” in response to marginalized people talking about their experiences might further contribute to their marginalization. Get over it already.

  238. you_monster says

    Oh fuck. No you are not responding to the SUBJECT of the post. You are responding to a few words in the post, which you have completely removed from their context.

    This is exactly as I am perceiving you as well, Notung. Please go re-read the post, then reflect on if your responses miss the point or not (hint, they do).

  239. Greta Christina says

    Just a quick reminder of my comment policy, everybody: Please don’t aim personal insults at other commenters in this thread. Please don’t call them assholes, pieces of shit, tell them to fuck off, etc. No matter how horrible the things they’re saying are, please maintain a basic level of civility when you let them have it. It’s absolutely fine to criticize — very harshly indeed — other people’s ideas and behavior… but please leave the personal insults elsewhere. Thanks.

  240. KvdH says

    translation: I’m insulting you because I don’t understand what you mean.

    Well, you could try to explain with something other than glib one-liners. Just a thought.

    Someone who doesn’t understand what an ad hominem is has no business crowing about other people’s position on the argument pyramid.

    “Projecting much?” is not only an ad hominem; there’s even a special name for it: ad hominem tu quoque. (See also: “NO U” as well as “I am rubber and you are glue”).

    Shorter KvdH: Anybody who doesn’t want to engage me is guilty of suppression of free speech! Listen to meeeee while I attempt to derail this post and make it all about meeee! I’m entitled to everyone’s attention!

    Yes, Stacy, finding flimsy excuses to get rid of dissent and hypersensitivity to criticism are both characteristic of authoritarianism. Something that happens a lot here on FTB.

  241. says

    I’ll just hone in on the little bits of substance:

    SallyStrange #281

    And Notung, you have emphatically avoiding “agreeing that online misogyny is bad.” You have been doing lots of things, but that thing is not among them. You have been derailing and changing the subject. You have been making analogies that suggest that you view women who insist that misogyny is far too common as being similar to Christians who insist that god exists.

    I directly responded to the substance of the article. I told you before that the ‘analogy’ you claim is a bad analogy isn’t actually an analogy at all which is why is may seem to be a bad analogy. For the record I don’t think that complaints of misogyny are anything like claims that God exists. As for not agreeing that online misogyny is bad, my very first sentence was that I agreed with the general point!

    you_monster #284

    Ah thank you! So actually what I am saying is in full agreement with the OP? “Yes, but…” can precede a very valid response to claims of sexism? That’s great! So why is everyone disagreeing with me?

    SallyStrange #286

    Notung demonstrates that splitting hairs is far more important to him than anything to do with feminism, misogyny, or 15 year old girls getting rape threats.

    This is unjustified and personal to the point of depravity.

    I think I should end this though as my posts are separated and I think people are mixing up the various threads of the argument, resulting in some rather odd accusations. So, in summary. I agree that sexism is wrong (obviously). I agree that one should not change the subject when somebody complains of sexism (obviously). I believe that it is still worth addressing those little points of contention when they come up, as it helps you refine and add support to those views worth maintaining. This may involve starting a sentence with “Yes, but…”.

  242. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    “Projecting much?” is not only an ad hominem; there’s even a special name for it: ad hominem tu quoque. (See also: “NO U” as well as “I am rubber and you are glue”).

    No; it was merely an observation that based on your style and the content of your post, your characterization of the people you don’t like was probably more accurately applied to yourself. That’s all.

    Better luck next time.

  243. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    I agree that one should not change the subject when somebody complains of sexism (obviously).

    It’s really not that obvious, otherwise people wouldn’t be telling you to quit changing the subject from sexism.

  244. debbaasseerr says

    Greta @ 293 Ack. I’m guilty of multiple violations on that list – time for me to chill out. Sorry for the poor heat/light ratio.

  245. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    Thanks for the reminder about the comment policy, BTW, Greta. I can do polite or impolite, no problem. It’s just sometimes I forget which blog I’m posting on.

  246. you_monster says

    Please don’t call them assholes, pieces of shit, tell them to fuck off, etc. No matter how horrible the things they’re saying are, please maintain a basic level of civility when you let them have it.

    Sorry about that. Your blog, your rules. Won’t happen again.

  247. KvdH says

    No; it was merely an observation that based on your style and the content of your post, your characterization of the people you don’t like was probably more accurately applied to yourself.

    I don’t really mind being insulted too much. And I don’t mind being disagreed with at all. I do mind being shut up simply because I disagreed with someone else, which is what has happened here on FTB several times, as well as on Skepchick. Is that too hypersensitive for you?

  248. KvdH says

    The idea that “can dish it out but can’t take it” applies more to me than the FTB commisars sort of implicitly assumes that I regularly ban people from my facebook or any other Internet venues I have moderator power over for politely disagreeing with me—and I don’t.

  249. 'Tis Himself, OM. says

    KvdH, nobody cares if you ban people from facebook or not. The discussion is not about you. Please get over yourself.

  250. jemand says

    Notung, you are very cheap in how you show that you “disagree with misogyny.” There are examples of misogyny in this very thread. It takes time, wit, energy, to rebut and debunk them, even though this is a relatively safe space.

    Instead of helping those of us who’ve done that, you are trying to have a different conversation that interests you more, one about subtleties of language.

    If you would maybe let that go for a bit, and start SHOWING that you disagree with sexism by directly engaging with some of it’s purveyors… and it’s not like you’d have to go far to find some…

    well then that would go a long way toward mitigating the feeling the rest of us are getting that you don’t particularly care about women– that you think just throwing out one liners about how sexism isn’t acceptable before you go changing the subject to something else you apparently think is more important to talk about.

    Once you’ve spent a good bit of energy ACTUALLY rebutting sexism, if you still want to talk about the english language… you could have that conversation *later.* And perhaps in a *different venue.*

  251. KvdH says

    KvdH, nobody cares if you ban people from facebook or not. The discussion is not about you. Please get over yourself.

    Nah I think I’ll continue to raise a stink about the hypocritical behavior here on Freethought™ blogs.

  252. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    @ KvdH

    Thanks for admitting that you were completely wrong about the whole ad hominem thing. I’ll take that as an apology.

  253. julian says

    This is unjustified and personal to the point of depravity.

    So that’s what it takes to get you to show any signs of concern.

  254. KvdH says

    Thanks for admitting that you were completely wrong about the whole ad hominem thing.

    I did no such thing (and you haven’t challenged my assertion that FTB authors tend to be hypocritical).

  255. julian says

    Nah I think I’ll continue to raise a stink about the hypocritical behavior here on Freethought™ blogs.

    But you are an irritating thing.

    Not only do you insist on derailing the conversation to feed your own ego, you do it in the most obnoxious holier than thou way possible.

    Things like you shouldn’t be allowed out from under their bridge.

  256. says

    “Yes, but… the person writing about this incident didn’t behave absolutely perfectly in all respects. Why aren’t we talking about that?”

  257. Stacy says

    Hey, I argued with Greg Laden once, too! Let’s talk about that!

    C’mon, guys, can’t we talk about that? Why isn’t anyone talking about my personal experience in a thread about appalling sexism directed towards a 15 year old?

    C’mon! Guys? Anyone? Bueller?

    You damn totalitarians!

  258. KvdH says

    But you are an irritating thing.

    Not only do you insist on derailing the conversation to feed your own ego

    Nah I’m really in favor of not banning anyone who simply disagrees, not only me.

    you do it in the most obnoxious holier than thou way possible.

    Being obnoxious and holier-than-thou is highly encouraged on FTB so long as it’s directed against targets officially approved of by the commissars.

  259. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    I know the commenting policies of most FTB authors and of Skepchick. I don’t find them to be hypocritical. You got banned? Probably you violated a policy. Big deal.

    Frankly, showing up in an unrelated thread to whine about this reeks of self-centeredness. It’s a rude derailment from the topic at hand (worse than Notung–he was actually making an effort relate to the subject at hand, even if he was failing). It also shows a lack of self-awareness. Your allusions to Soviet-style censorship are laughable. So, consider this a REAL ad hominem: considering the source, I don’t think the assertion is worth challenging.

  260. KvdH says

    C’mon, guys, can’t we talk about that? Why isn’t anyone talking about my personal experience in a thread about appalling sexism directed towards a 15 year old?

    Read the original post. It drags in a lot of things that have nothing to do with abusive comments towards a 15 year old.

  261. KvdH says

    I know the commenting policies of most FTB authors and of Skepchick. I don’t find them to be hypocritical. You got banned? Probably you violated a policy.

    Yes, the policy of agreeing with the author.

    Your allusions to Soviet-style censorship are laughable.

    It’s not the same thing but there are similarities, most prominently, finding flimsy excuses to get rid of dissent.

  262. says

    and you haven’t challenged my assertion that FTB authors tend to be hypocritical

    Maybe because that would be derailing…

  263. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    Somehow, given your level of rudeness, self-centeredness, and obtuseness, I have a hard time believing that you were banned for mere disagreement.

    I guess I’m just skeptical like that.

  264. KvdH says

    Maybe because that would be derailing…

    All conversations of a sufficient length segue into something else eventually. The OP itself brought up a good number of issues that have little, if anything to do with redditors verbally abusing a 15-year old girl and I addressed them.

  265. KvdH says

    Somehow, given your level of rudeness, self-centeredness, and obtuseness, I have a hard time believing that you were banned for mere disagreement.

    I said that “Rebecca Watson is unimpressive” and continued to maintain a civil tone after Laden called me a “dumbass”. That was my horrible crime.

  266. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    The most important thing here isn’t misogyny on the internet. It’s that KvdH was unjustly banned from some blogs for disagreeing with the authors (not bullying!). Let’s get our priorities straight here people!

  267. julian says

    You got banned? Probably you violated a policy. Big deal.

    I tend to agree with the authors of these sites and I’ve gotten 5 warning messages and been place into moderation twice. While agreeing with them.

    Sometimes you get banned. It’s not the end of the world. I promise. It’ll still keep spinning.

  268. EAM says

    Just noting there are some damned funny women (and even a few funny men) in this thread…Thank you for the rueful and knowing laughs you have provided throughout this bizarre exchange…

  269. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    I said that “Rebecca Watson is unimpressive” and continued to maintain a civil tone after Laden called me a “dumbass”. That was my horrible crime.

    Oh, are we in court now? Seriously, drop it. It’s rude and nobody cares. You are embarrassing yourself now, or you would be if you weren’t a total narcissist.

  270. KvdH says

    The most important thing here isn’t misogyny on the internet. It’s that KvdH was unjustly banned from some blogs for disagreeing with the authors (not bullying!)

    There’s the fallacy of saying something isn’t bad because something else was worse, which, ironically, is mentioned in the OP

    “Yes, but… there are worse problems in the world. Starving people in Africa, and so on. Why are you complaining about this?”

  271. KvdH says

    Oh, are we in court now? Seriously, drop it. It’s rude and nobody cares.

    What’s rude? Disagreeing?

  272. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    What you’re doing in this thread looks a lot like bullying too. It’s all about MEEEEE! Nothing else can happen until my concerns are addressed! I will kick and scream and throw things until you give me what I want!

    That’s how you come off.

    Nice job using a different username between here and Skepchick. Makes it super easy to verify what you’re saying.

  273. EAM says

    KvdH what I hear you saying is:

    “me, me, me, me, me, me, me, butthurt, me me me me MEMEMEMEMEMMEMEEMEMEMEME!

  274. says

    and I addressed them

    You did? Sorry, I must have missed it in the litany of whines about being banned from various comment boards.

    The one semi-salient point you’ve made was regarding a hypothetical court-case regarding the elevator incident, in which you seemed to be making the rather odd assumption that just because something isn’t actually illegal it can’t be considered a social faux-pas.

  275. julian says

    There’s the fallacy of saying something isn’t bad because something else was worse, which, ironically, is mentioned in the OP

    Way to miss the point, KvdH.

    I can’t imagine why anyone would ban you.

  276. KvdH says

    What you’re doing in this thread looks a lot like bullying too.

    What with my not a single Goddamn personal insult directed towards you vs. your heap of abuse towards me.

    Nice job using a different username between here and Skepchick. Makes it super easy to verify what you’re saying.

    No I really just scoured the page for someone getting banned who disagreed.

  277. KvdH says

    Sorry, I must have missed it in the litany of whines about being banned from various comment boards.

    Yes, but… Rebecca Watson or some other feminist said something mean or unfair in another conversation weeks/ months/ years ago. Why aren’t we talking about that?

    Yes, why aren’t we talking about that because it’s not “last week”, more like “every day”.

  278. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    No I really just scoured the page for someone getting banned who disagreed.

    Ah, dishonest as well as a narcissist.

    Yes, it’s a complete mystery as to why anyone would ban you from their blog. Must be because of a Soviet-style desire to crush all dissent for the flimsiest of reasons. Yes, that is certainly the most parsimonious explanation.

  279. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    Ah, dishonest as well as a narcissist.

    Recalibrate your sarcasm detector.

    You first.

    Sarcasm or no, it’s still dishonest.

  280. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    Defense? It’s an observation. It’s not a rebuttal to what you’re saying, it’s a synopsis.

  281. KvdH says

    Sarcasm or no, it’s still dishonest.

    What’s dishonest about me making a sarcastic comment about your continual pseudoskepticism about everything I say. Yes, emporsteigend is me, and you’re more than welcome to look through that thread for any evidence of me bullying people. (You won’t find any.)

  282. says

    Yes, why aren’t we talking about that because it’s not “last week”, more like “every day”.

    From the OP:

    If you want to talk about starving people in Africa, or whether misogyny is worse in (X) community than (Y) community, or male circumcision, or some possibly mean and unfair things that some feminist said at another time, or whether moderation of online forums constitutes censorship? Fine. Those are worthwhile topics. (Except for the last one, which is just silly.) But they are worthwhile topics FOR A DIFFERENT DISCUSSION. Post them in another thread. Start another thread. Do not freaking bring them up every single time the topic of misogyny comes up. (My emphasis.)

    I’d say that was pretty clear, wouldn’t you?

  283. KvdH says

    Defense? It’s an observation. It’s not a rebuttal to what you’re saying, it’s a synopsis.

    It’s an utterly lazy dismissal of what I said.

  284. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    emporsteigend is me

    You could have just said so. Instead you linked to the top of the page. I had no clue what you were talking about up til now.

  285. KvdH says

    You could have just said so. Instead you linked to the top of the page. I had no clue what you were talking about up til now.

    322:

    Most of the comments I (emporsteigend) left here were not deleted:

    uhhhhhh

  286. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    It’s an utterly lazy dismissal of what I said.

    It’s true, deducing that you have no concern for anyone but yourself took very little work.

  287. kristinc, ~delicate snowflake~ says

    It’s just sometimes I forget which blog I’m posting on.

    Yep, me too. Apologies, I’ll be more careful.

  288. says

    KvdH

    A segue is what happens when a conversation naturally moves on to related subjects. A derailment is what happens when people consistently ignore the main topic from the get-go or actively try to change it to something they think is more important. Like you did.

  289. KvdH says

    It’s true, deducing that you have no concern for anyone but yourself took very little work.

    Well let’s see here, after you said that I hadn’t tied my pseudonym to the posts in that skepchick thread when I clearly did, I could have called you an “idiot”, or some such, which is probably what you would have done to me in the same circumstances. However, I care about maintaining a modicum of civility.

  290. KvdH says

    A derailment is what happens when people consistently ignore the main topic from the get-go

    I agree that what those redditors did to that girl is wrong but it’s not really controversial and therefore not a very interesting discussion.

  291. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    Most of the comments I (emporsteigend) left here were not deleted:

    uhhhhhh

    Oh geez. How embarrassing, I overlooked that.

    Looking at your posts, seems like you were warned several times to stop doing what you were doing. Whether you want to call it bullying or not, it wasn’t very constructive, nor polite. But honestly, who gets this worked up over it? There are other blogs out there. Look, you are posting on this one right now. Your free speech rights are intact. The world hasn’t ended.

  292. KvdH says

    …and precious few threads are going to be made on FTB about the hypocrisy and hypersensitivity of the authors and commentors, so it may as well be mentioned somewhere.

  293. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    Well let’s see here, after you said that I hadn’t tied my pseudonym to the posts in that skepchick thread when I clearly did, I could have called you an “idiot”, or some such, which is probably what you would have done to me in the same circumstances. However, I care about maintaining a modicum of civility.

    Hey, don’t do me any favors, okay? I’d encourage you to call me an idiot if you felt like it, but I think that’d be a violation of Greta’s commenting policy. More accurately, you could call me “careless” or “skimming over stuff I don’t really care that much about.”

  294. KvdH says

    Whether you want to call it bullying or not, it wasn’t very constructive, nor polite.

    What was “impolite” about what I said and how is it remotely comparable to the scathing ridicule usually dished out against others on such blogs?

    What was “unconstructive” about saying that the “privilege” concept falls flat on philosophy of science grounds, then backing up my assertion?

    But honestly, who gets this worked up over it?

    Me.

  295. Rob says

    I’m going to go a different way by using “Yes, and . . .”

    Yes, and these 12 year olds (regardless of age) need to turn their computers in immediately to the relevant parental figures until their balls drop. Then their parental figures need to be berated for shirking their responsibility to properly socialize their progeny for responsible participation in a civil society.

    It’s not difficult to downvote these dipsh*ts. Nor should it be difficult to cleverly counter their behavior.

  296. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    it’s not really controversial

    Obviously false.

    Question: lacks intelligence? Or deliberately dishonest?

    Given the narcissistic characteristics, I’m going to go with the latter.

  297. KvdH says

    I’d encourage you to call me an idiot if you felt like it, but I think that’d be a violation of Greta’s commenting policy.

    Nah I’d rather be civil, like I usually am.

  298. julian says

    it’s not really controversial and therefore not a very interesting discussion.

    Actually discussing how those environments come to be, what leads people to behave that way, pointing out failures in dealing with such harassment and the best way to approach these issues are very interesting discussions to have.

    You? Not so much.

  299. says

    KvdH

    it’s not really controversial

    It damn well should be. That it regularly happens to any woman is bad enough, but that it happened to a 15 yo girl should be controversial as all hell. That it happened in a community of supposedly free thinkers who’ve allegedly shed the bigotry that comes with religion is shameful to an even greater degree.

    and therefore not a very interesting discussion

    You mean you think it uninteresting, and so you took it upon yourself to find some people who were discussing it and lecture them about something you find more interesting. Self-centered, much?

  300. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    Nah I’d rather be civil, like I usually am.

    More lies.

    Ta! Thanks for the object lesson in what not to do on a discussion thread about misogyny.

  301. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    I think most people would agree that behavior was uncalled for.

    You’d think that, and you’d be wrong. But that’s par for the course with you, eh?

  302. KvdH says

    It damn well should be. That it regularly happens to any woman is bad enough, but that it happened to a 15 yo girl should be controversial as all hell.

    I meant “not controversial that it’s bad”.

    That it happened in a community of supposedly free thinkers who’ve allegedly shed the bigotry that comes with religion is shameful to an even greater degree.

    Atheism is the lack of belief in deities. No more. In fact, much of the so-called freethought/skeptic/atheist community has a pitiful grasp of scientific issues. These are people who are bleating about how rational they are who probably haven’t even heard of the frequentist-Bayesian debate.

  303. julian says

    so it may as well be mentioned somewhere.

    But why this thread? There are a number of not so serious posts across FtB. A lot of ‘fluff.’

    Why hijack this thread in particular for your complaints? Why not high light this issue elsewhere on blogs critical of FtB, or on your facebook page or, hell, email the people you believe unjustly banned you directly? Why bring your baggage here?

    Do you not see how that sends the signal you don’t value this topic?

  304. KvdH says

    Why hijack this thread in particular for your complaints?

    Cuz someone linked it and I saw something I disagreed with.

    hell, email the people you believe unjustly banned you directly?

    I did, and told Greg Laden that he should have taken one of his lackies to task for saying that my name (which is Dutch) suggested that my girlfriend’s name would be “Dieter”. That’s a misogynistic comment about the alleged masculine, undesirable qualities of German(ic) women but it’s OK if “our bastards” do it, right, kids?

    Laden did not answer my email, and became remarkably silent in the Lousy Canuck thread after his dishonesty and hypocrisy was exposed. Not only by me, mind you.

  305. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    Do you not see how that sends the signal you don’t value this topic?

    He doesn’t value any topic that’s not about him. Isn’t that obvious?

  306. says

    KvdH

    I never once mentioned rationalism; I said they’d allegedly thrown off the bigotry that comes with religion.

    <derailment>As to the frequentist-Bayesian debate, I’ve not heard of it either. FWIW I was raised with no faith and I’ve never had to look into the various whys and wherefores in order to disillusion myself. Does that make me non-rational? I wasn’t even aware that one I supposed to have certain knowledge before trying to reason rationally with the knowledge that one already has. Sounds pretty snobbish to me.</derailment>

  307. KvdH says

    Do you not see how that sends the signal you don’t value this topic?

    As far as I’m concerned, there’s nothing for me to argue about with regards to whether’s it’s a bad thing to send extremely vulgar comments to some 15 yro on r/atheism and, hence, nothing for me to talk about. So I picked some I could argue instead.

  308. Philip Legge says

    Gee, what a masterly example of narcissistic derailing of a topic which itself mentioned the nefariousness of such a tactic – behaviour which is also in contravention of several of the main items of the blog owner’s comments policy, namely thread-hogging and bringing up other topics again and again. I thought I’d seen the nadir of trolling with the pedantic nitpicking of cunning linguist Notung, but the efforts of KvdH eclipse such feeble annoyances. I think congratulations are also in order for keeping the tone superficially civil, while demonstrating a despicable self-centered character.

  309. KvdH says

    I never once mentioned rationalism; I said they’d allegedly thrown off the bigotry that comes with religion.

    Bigotry can come with atheism, too. And not all religious are bigoted. Some are as minimal as the belief in an existence of a Deist god who created the initial conditions of the Universe, then sat back and let it unfold. They have nothing at all to say about homosexuality or racism or whether being really disgusting on reddit is acceptable.

    Does that make me non-rational? I wasn’t even aware that one I supposed to have certain knowledge before trying to reason rationally with the knowledge that one already has. Sounds pretty snobbish to me.

    You’d think that people who boast the scientific (and therefore superior) character of their belief system (JT Eberhard is a VERY good example of this behavior) would take some time to learn the issues…

  310. KvdH says

    which itself mentioned the nefariousness of such a tactic

    I don’t remember saying “Yes, but” to the issue of whether the girl should not have been verbally abused. I rather bluntly agreed with that much.

  311. jemand says

    KvdH,

    You pretty explicitly said, Yes, but I wanna talk about something else.

    That’s about as transparent a derailment tactic as one can possible imagine.

  312. says

    Last I’m saying on this, because it is a derailment.

    “learn the issues.”

    The one scientific claim that I make is that there is no evidence for the existence of gods. That leads naturally to a lot of statements regarding so-called ‘god-given’ morals, including (to get kind’f back on topic) any religiously motivated attitudes toward the treatment of women.

    That people, many of whom will label themselves ‘freethinkers’ on the grounds that they’ve thrown off various religiously based ideas, can still bring themselves to view women as second class citizens with no purpose except sexual gratification, is shameful.

  313. KvdH says

    …cuz it’s a boring discussion. Swiping at the low-hanging fruit of redditor assholes is boring.

  314. says

    I thought I’d seen the nadir of trolling with the pedantic nitpicking of cunning linguist Notung

    Oh for God’s sake, I’m sorry I posted anything at all.

  315. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    I don’t remember saying “Yes, but” to the issue of whether the girl should not have been verbally abused. I rather bluntly agreed with that much.

    The “yes” part is where you bluntly agree.

    The “but” part is where you insist that your personal grudges are more interesting.

    The rude part comes in where you insist that everyone else discuss your personal feud despite their utter lack of interest.

  316. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    …cuz it’s a boring discussion. Swiping at the low-hanging fruit of redditor assholes is boring.

    to you.

    A person who was not a narcissist would be able to perceive that what he finds interesting or boring is not what everyone finds interesting or boring.

  317. KvdH says

    That people, many of whom will label themselves ‘freethinkers’ that they’ve thrown off various religiously based ideas, can still bring themselves to view women as second class citizens with no purpose except sexual gratification, is shameful.

    People become atheists for various reasons. Some are atheists because the Western concepts of rationality and science have nothing to say about gods, so why believe in them? Neither science nor its philosophical underpinnings have anything to say about morality.

  318. KvdH says

    The “but” part is where you insist that your personal grudges are more interesting.

    No “but”; it was disgusting.

    The rude part comes in where you insist that everyone else discuss your personal feud despite their utter lack of interest.

    It’s not just my feud. I’ve pointed out that a lot of people have been banned for disagreeing, including my one friend earlier in thread.

  319. you_monster says

    …cuz it’s a boring discussion. Swiping at the low-hanging fruit of redditor assholes is boring.

    If you find it boring, don’t participate. Don’t derail people who wish to talk about the issue by forcing discussion on your pet project. Follow SallyStrange’s advice at 366 and take it to the Endless Thread if you want to discuss something off topic.

  320. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    It’s not just my feud.

    Oh sorry, you and your ONE FRIEND, who isn’t even here.

    Whatever, Don Quixote. I’m sure your Canadian girlfriend is just lovely, too.

  321. KvdH says

    A person who was not a narcissist would be able to perceive that what he finds interesting or boring is not what everyone finds interesting or boring.

    So, at most, I’m tedious. I don’t think that would qualify me for narcissism and I saw a psychiatrist in hospital quite recently.

  322. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    So, at most, I’m tedious.

    Nope, tedious, AND completely self-absorbed, AND unable or unwilling to empathize with other posters on this thread who really DID want to talk about misogyny on the internet.

  323. says

    KvdH

    See, now you’re actually talking about where and how atheists get their ideas of morality from, which is very nearly on-topic. Just narrow it down to the aspect of morals that deals with treating people equally whatever their gender or sexuality, and bingo; the original topic being the sad lack of decent morals regarding such matters on an atheists’ message-board.

    Was it really that painful?

  324. debbaasseerr says

    Just think – for many women in the real world, that self centered dude isn’t just some person in a internet thread, its their boss!

    “Please, allow me to let you have the honor of receiving my tedious opinion about every lame thing you never cared about.”

  325. jemand says

    Notung is still obviously reading and even posting.

    Notung, can you see any sexism in the other comments right now? There’s a big red flashing example– someone who insists issues which affect women are totally boring, and he himself is so much more INTERESTING to talk about than stuff that affects 50% of the human race.

    Wanna step up and put a little oomph behind your claim you’re against misogyny? Wanna stand on the side of supporting women in ACTION for once? Wanna do something other than throw out a few one liners while you try to derail the subject to some quirk of linguistics?

    Door is wide open, step right up and show us your stuff!

  326. KvdH says

    See, now you’re actually talking about where and how atheists get their ideas of morality from, which is very nearly on-topic. Just narrow it down to the aspect of morals that deals with treating people equally whatever their gender or sexuality

    OK. I agree with not being exceedingly vulgar towards 15 yro girls (and perhaps also not giving men 40% more prison time for the same offenses).

  327. KvdH says

    Just think – for many women in the real world, that self centered dude isn’t just some person in a internet thread, its their boss!

    Some women are tedious.

    Don’t be SEXISS.

  328. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    Also, science has plenty to say about morality. Not about what it should be, of course, but what it is, and how and why we got it.

  329. says

    I agree with not being exceedingly vulgar towards 15 yro girls

    Jolly sporting of you, old chap. How about women in general?

    Now, any ideas on how to curb such behaviour, or even better educate people out of it?

  330. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    (and perhaps also not giving men 40% more prison time for the same offenses)

    PHMT

    *yawn*

    I see why KvdH sticks to talking about himself. He has precious little to offer on any other topic.

  331. KvdH says

    Jolly sporting of you, old chap. How about women in general?

    In general, sure.

    Also, science has plenty to say about morality. Not about what it should be, of course, but what it is, and how and why we got it.

    That’s mostly evolutionary psychology (which is crap, and in fact says a lot of misogynistic things).

    Now, any ideas on how to curb such behaviour, or even better educate people out of it?

    No idea. Don’t think the Echo Chamber is going to help matters much though. Esp. when you consider how much atheists suck at marketing.

  332. KvdH says

    PHMT

    Why would “the patriarchy” (assuming such a putative thing exists) punish its own favored group more?

    I see why KvdH sticks to talking about himself. He has precious little to offer on any other topic.

    You’ve just held forth as someone with some knowledge of scientific issues. Would you like to discuss Bayesianism?

  333. fester60613 says

    Most excellent post. I rarely recommend blog posts to my faculty (I’m a departmental secretary) but I sent this one to all of my full and part time faculty. I encouraged them to use it in their classes and as the need arises.

  334. says

    No idea. Don’t think the Echo Chamber is going to help matters much though

    Well, ignoring your evident bias toward certain blogs, wouldn’t you say that, as bloggers, the least we can do is blog about it and talk about it in hopes of raising consciousness? It might not be much, but surely better than keeping quiet and hoping it goes away.

  335. KvdH says

    Well, ignoring your evident bias toward certain blogs, wouldn’t you say that, as bloggers, the least we can do is blog about it and talk about it in hopes of raising consciousness?

    I’m betting everyone who reads this post either agrees or is already dead-set on their own opinion. (I believe there is some social psychological research that actually shows arguing can actually entrench people in their beliefs), making a total difference of: dick.

  336. jemand says

    Notung, still listening?

    Someone wants to hear about the patriarchy. As a good ally to women, as you claim so much to be, of course, you ought to be able to give a good explanation!

    Wanna step right up? How about it!

    Give it a shot, we’ll help back you up, but, no time like the present to take a leading role for once…

  337. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    Why would “the patriarchy” (assuming such a putative thing exists) punish its own favored group more?

    Why, to maintain rigid gender roles at all costs, of course. Even if that ends up damaging both genders.

    I see we’re dealing with a real winner here. The patriarchy might or might not exist. Straight out of the MRA playbook. I see you’re even familiar with the PHMT abbreviation. Yes, it is a COMPLETE mystery as to why anyone could possibly ban such an outstanding specimen from her blog!

    You’ve just held forth as someone with some knowledge of scientific issues.

    Mostly earth science, hydrology, that sort of thing. And I’m super rusty.

    Would you like to discuss Bayesianism?

    Quite intrigued by Bayesian probabilities, yes. Don’t know much about it, but what I have learned so far has served me well in logical analysis.

    I know! Let’s have an egoic who-knows-more-about-science competition! What could be more tedious than your personal vendettas than watching you puff yourself up through intellectual wankery?

  338. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    Why would “the patriarchy” (assuming such a putative thing exists) punish its own favored group more?

    Awwww. Now i feel bad for teasing him. KvdH has absolutely NO idea what he’s talking about. Someone post a link to Feminsm 101 stat! he’s in desperate need of some basic information.

  339. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    Awwww. Now i feel bad for teasing him. KvdH has absolutely NO idea what he’s talking about. Someone post a link to Feminsm 101 stat! he’s in desperate need of some basic information.

    No, I think you’ve mistaken him. He knows precisely what he’s doing. He denies the existence of the patriarchy. He knows what it is–he’s even heard someone explain that Patriarchy Hurts Men Too–but he rejects it. He’s not some ignorant sap, he’s actively opposed to feminism.

  340. KvdH says

    Why, to maintain rigid gender roles at all costs, of course. Even if that ends up damaging both genders.

    “Patriarchy”, “privilege”, etc. are terms from social theory, which I do not recognize as a science, due to, among other things, its lack of prediction of novel facts (Lakatos) and selectiveness in its attitude towards confirmations and disconfirmations (Thagard).

    You can’t just expect me to take the social theory holy writ for granted, can you?

    I see you’re even familiar with the PHMT abbreviation.

    Had to look it up.

    I know! Let’s have an egoic who-knows-more-about-science competition! What could be more tedious than your personal vendettas than watching you puff yourself up through intellectual wankery?

    Shouldn’t have taken me to task for not knowing anything.

  341. KvdH says

    No, I think you’ve mistaken him. He knows precisely what he’s doing. He denies the existence of the patriarchy.

    I am in no way automatically responsible to believe in ideas with dubious methodological standing.

    That’s rationality.

  342. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    Having now read the rest of the thread, you’re def right. I’m more used to male supremacists denying the existence of patriarchy while conjuring phantoms of matriarchy at the same time.

    That said, being a male supremacist is the definition of willful ignorance.

  343. says

    Notung (#250) – the OP says (summarized) when a comment is made about sexism, don’t change the subject. Here are examples of changing the subject.

    How are objections to the OP “productive”? Your point is applicable in a general sense – sure, in many discussions rebuttals *are* productive. In this specific instance, however, I would argue they are not. The OP makes perfect sense, and all the examples she gives are real-world examples of “yes, but” Rebuttals of the post by and large would be either arguing that it’s ok to change the subject, or that one of the examples given is erroneous. In those two situations, if either condition were true, then a rebuttal would be beneficial – Greta could edit the post to correct the error. But in over 250 posts, only one person questioned one of the examples (and determined later that s/he erred when reading it), and no one has questioned the basic assertion that changing the subject is unacceptable. You appear to be
    meta arguing that it’s ok to rebut this post – rather than actually rebutting the post.

    Oh, and in response to post #267, if you are disputing that “yes, but” is not changing the subject – on what basis? As soon as you say “but”, you are no longer on the same point – you’re making a different point (i.e. changing the subject)

    The only possible responses that do not change the subject are “yes” (I agree) or “no” (I disagree) – “yes, but” but definition requires a change in subject / focus.

    If you haven’t already bookmarked this site as a reference, please consider it: http://www.derailingfordummies.com/

    Greta – I’m a first-time visitor here, fantastic post, thank you for making it.

  344. KvdH says

    Having now read the rest of the thread, you’re def right. I’m more used to male supremacists denying the existence of patriarchy

    You don’t have to be a “male supremacist” to deny the existence of a patriarchy. You simply have to apply standard philosophy of science to the social theory which gave birth to the concept and observe that it is lacking. No value judgments are involved.

    (Anyway, burden of proof is on you.)

  345. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    I am in no way automatically responsible to believe in ideas with dubious methodological standing.

    That’s rationality.

    Which, implicitly, means anyone who does acknowledge patriarchy is irrational, because random male supremacist is obviously the one who decides.

    LOL I wish this one would go the Pharyngula. it would be fun to watch the horde eat him alive.

  346. KvdH says

    Which, implicitly, means anyone who does acknowledge patriarchy is irrational, because random male supremacist is obviously the one who decides.

    No, “mainstream philosophy of science” is the one who decides.

  347. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    Shouldn’t have taken me to task for not knowing anything.

    Is that how you perceived it, really? I was just disagreeing that science has nothing to say about morality. In fact, what science does say about morality is a fascinating topic to me.

    I wasn’t “taking you to task”; if I were to do so, it’d be unmistakable.

    But apparently I shouldn’t have “taken you to task.” If I hadn’t I could have avoided your proclamation of expertise in Bayesianism. I guess I brought it on myself, this crushing blow of Bayesianism.

    Yep, I was right: your initial post was mostly projection.

  348. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    (Anyway, burden of proof is on you.)

    Okay, Sally, you are definitely right. No one but a male supremacist denies the astronomical amounts of evidence that spans literally thousands of years.

  349. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    No, “mainstream philosophy of science” is the one who decides.

    translation: Privileged white dudes who don’t face bigotry decide.

    Its either a male supremacist or a white college student who’s just finished Phil 101. Or both.

  350. KvdH says

    Why can’t social theory pass muster among experts on the issue of what counts as scientific and what doesn’t?

  351. debbaasseerr says

    @406 Damn! If only he recognized that as science we would have had him!

    MRA types will argue that feminism is ruining everything AND completely besides the point and not worth talking about.

    “I dis-recognize this, and thus CAST IT FROM EXISTENCE!”

  352. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    No, “mainstream philosophy of science” is the one who decides.

    Can you provide evidence that the “mainstream philosophy of science” rejects the idea of patriarchy as an idea with “dubious methodological standing”? Google scholar seems to have no issue with the existence of patriarchy. Or was there another “mainstream” you had in mind? I don’t suppose you’d be so kind as to define what you consider to be the mainstream philosophy of science.

  353. says

    In my previous post, the first para should be in quotes (the “summary”) and near the bottom “but definition” should be “by definition” Apologies for my poor pre-post editing.

  354. KvdH says

    translation: Privileged white dudes who don’t face bigotry decide.

    Ad hominem. Whatever putative privileges the “white dudes” in question enjoy has nothing to

    You are now approaching the postmodernist excesses of irrationality of e.g. Sandra Harding that were thoroughly dismantled in, among others, Intellectual Impostures. All you have to do now is say that physics “privileges” rigid bodies and BAM! you’re at the vanguard of the left’s anti-science camp, just as good as the right’s creationists.

    ps Susan Haack and Patricia Churchland are both highly respectable philosophers of science; pretty sexist of you to assume they’d all be men.

  355. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    Patriarchy isn’t a thing with methodology, really. It’s a name for a series of observations, to wit: up until recently, women couldn’t vote, couldn’t own property, were basically slaves. Still are in many parts of the world. It’s just a label for that state of affairs. Kind of like how evolution doesn’t have “dubious methodological standing” since it’s the label that’s applied to thousands of observations and experiments going back centuries, some of which had excellent methodologies and some of which did not.

    Patriarchy, huh. Who are you going to believe, KvdH or your lyin’ eyes?

  356. KvdH says

    Can you provide evidence that the “mainstream philosophy of science” rejects the idea of patriarchy as an idea with “dubious methodological standing”?

    Look, for example, into the writings of Mario Augusto Bunge, who is critical of methodological status of sociology as a whole, not merely the privilege concept.

  357. says

    I’m betting everyone who reads this post either agrees or is already dead-set on their own opinion.

    Translation: KvdH is already dead-set on his own opinion, which naturally trumps everyone elses, because he’s, well, more rational than we are. Why? Because he said so.

  358. KvdH says

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Susan_Haack

    Haack (1998) is highly critical of the view that there is a feminine perspective on reasoning, logic, scientific method, and scientific truth, stating that many feminist critiques of science and philosophy as being concerned that the outcomes of scientific inquiry be “politically correct”.

    Must be a male supremacist!

    Patriarchy isn’t a thing with methodology, really.

    Yeah it is.

    For one thing, there isn’t an operational definition of patriarchy.

  359. KvdH says

    Translation: KvdH is already dead-set on his own opinion, which naturally trumps everyone elses, because he’s, well, more rational than we are. Why? Because he said so.

    No, because I did my research.

  360. debbaasseerr says

    “We regret to inform you that Dudenation has declared your opinion irrational. Please try to matter again at a later time”

  361. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    Ad hominem. Whatever putative privileges the “white dudes” in question enjoy has nothing to

    LOLOLOLOLOL *facepalm* It’s an ad hom to point out privilege? Which, of course doesn’t exist because . . . .. . .POST-MODERN GODWIN!

  362. says

    KvdH

    Did your research include polling just about every woman who’s ever posted something on the world wide web as to how often she receives unasked-for and uninvited sexual advances and such? That being the topic on hand, we’d all love to see the results of that poll.

  363. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    translation: Privileged white dudes who don’t face bigotry decide.

    Ad hominem. Whatever putative privileges the “white dudes” in question enjoy has nothing to

    Would not Baysian probability suggest that whether an actor benefits from or is hurt by a particular system would be a determining factor in whether or not that actor recognizes the usefulness or validity of that system? I’m not saying it does, I’m asking, since my understanding of Bayesian probabilities and their implications is rudimentary in the extreme. The fact is that there is a social system that privileges men and oppresses women, by and large. The denial of this obvious reality is plausibly explained by the fact that an individual beneficiary of the system wishes to hold on to his benefits. That’s why the white male thing comes up. Not because white males are always wrong, but because they tend to get particular things wrong thanks to the particular set of data about the world provided to them by their experiences as white men.

    Now. You need to define “mainstream philosophy of science” before you send me haring off to read anything. Also, polite people put links, or summarize. One dude does not constitute the mainstream of science.

  364. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    Lol I like that he’s descended into logical fallacies. I suppose that is the only place left to go for ignorant arguments that have no basis in reality.

  365. KvdH says

    In an interview on the NPR program All Things Considered, Sokal said he was inspired to submit the hoax article after reading Higher Superstition: The Academic Left and Its Quarrels With Science (1994), by Paul R. Gross and Norman Levitt. In their book, Gross and Levitt reported an anti-intellectual trend in university liberal arts departments (especially English departments) which had caused them to become dominated by a “trendy” branch of post-modernist deconstructionism.
    Higher Superstition argued that in the 1990s, a group of academics whom the authors referred to collectively as “the Academic Left” was dominated by professors who concentrated on racism, sexism, and other perceived prejudices, and that science was eventually included among their targets—later provoking the “Science Wars”, which questioned the validity of scientific objectivity. Academic journals in the humanities were publishing articles by writers who, scientists argued, demonstrated little or no knowledge of science. Per the introduction: “A curious fact about the recent left-critique of science is the degree to which its instigators have overcome their former timidity, of indifference towards the subject, not by studying it in detail, but rather by creating a repertoire of rationalizations for avoiding such study.”[5]

    By saying that my invocation of philosophy of science must be wrong because the authors are (allegedly) all men, you are falling in with this sordid lot. Congrats.

  366. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    By saying that my invocation of philosophy of science must be wrong because the authors are (allegedly) all men

    Hmm. perhaps he lives on a different planet? Or in a different universe?

    Wait, i already know how he’ll respons: POST-MODERN GODWIN!!!

    is it really that hard for male supremacists to come up with new idiotic, vapid “arguments”?

    Though, that said, how many different ways is there for them to say ‘bitchez ain’t shit’. Gotta scrap the bottom of the barrel at this point, apparently.

  367. KvdH says

    Now. You need to define “mainstream philosophy of science” before you send me haring off to read anything.

    The post-positivist stream in philosophy of science which acknowledges the historical processes revealed by e.g. Thomas Kuhn while not highly pessimistic about the concept of a shared, objective rationality.

    Now hit the books.

  368. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    By saying that my invocation of philosophy of science must be wrong because the authors are (allegedly) all men

    Nobody did that.

    Reality is over here, it’s very nice (well, sort of). Come join us.

  369. KvdH says

    Wait, i already know how he’ll respons: POST-MODERN GODWIN!!!

    Yes, you are being an irrational postmodernist.

    Deal with it.

    Who dares question his Invocation of Philosophy?!! Who will Testify against it?

    Yes, who will? The most exposure you’ve seem to have is maybe “Gender Studies” in college.

    (Incidentally, I have a lot of feminist literature.)

  370. KvdH says

    SallyStrange

    415.

    translation: Privileged white dudes who don’t face bigotry decide.

    “They’re wrong because they don’t face ‘bigotry’.”

  371. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    Yes, you are being an irrational postmodernist.

    Deal with it.

    translation: yes, idiotic logical fallacies and insults is all i’ve got? What? Did you expect substance from a male supremacist?

  372. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    I think he thinks that feminism is postmodernism.

    Wouldn’t be the first one.

  373. KvdH says

    Don’t feign confusion, please. It’s absurd.

    I am genuinely confused as to why it’s wrong to label ad hominem saying that a bunch of white dudes, who aren’t even all dudes, or for that matter all white, are obviously wrong (not that you’ve actually read shit by any of them, you’re just indulging in a bit of kneejerk reaction here) because they’re “privileged”.

  374. Stacy says

    Susan Haack–I think somebody or other expressed admiration for her–on the Six Signs of Scientism:

    My primary purpose here is to suggest some ways to recognize
    when this line has been crossed, when respect for the achievements of the sciences has transmuted into the kind of exaggerated deference characteristic of scientism. These are the “six signs of scientism” to which my title alludes.

    Briefly and roughly summarized, they are:
    1. Using the words “science,” “scientific,” “scientifically,” “scientist,” etc., honorifically, as generic terms of epistemic praise.
    2. Adopting the manners, the trappings, the technical terminology, etc., of the sciences, irrespective of their real usefulness.
    3. A preoccupation with demarcation, i.e., with drawing a sharp line between genuine science, the real thing, and “pseudo-scientific” imposters.
    4. A corresponding preoccupation with identifying the “scientific
    method,” presumed to explain how the sciences have been so successful.
    5. Looking to the sciences for answers to questions beyond their scope.
    6. Denying or denigrating the legitimacy or the worth of other kinds of inquiry besides the scientific, or the value of human activities other than inquiry, such as poetry or art.

    I happen to think numbers 3 and 4 are useful and important, myself. But in any case, numbers 1, 2, 5 and 6 describe van Whatsisname’s modus operandus to a tee.

  375. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    “They’re wrong because they don’t face ‘bigotry’.”

    That’s what you took from that? Seriously? And, cute scare quotes – those stupid bitch cunts don’t face bigotry. Nosiree!

  376. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    translation: Privileged white dudes who don’t face bigotry decide.

    “They’re wrong because they don’t face ‘bigotry’.”

    Precisely. They’re excluding relevant data. They don’t even realize they’re lacking relevant data.

  377. KvdH says

    I think he thinks that feminism is postmodernism.

    Wouldn’t be the first one.

    Modern feminism has roots in postmodernism and the particular claim that philosophers of science must be wrong because they’re “privileged” is most certainly pomo.

  378. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    I think he thinks that feminism is postmodernism.

    Wouldn’t be the first one.

    hence my guess that this is a college student without much exposure to philosophy. Or just your garden-variety male supremacist who regurgitates whatever someone else told him to say.

    Either way – can they seriously not come up with new uselessly stupid arguments? Constantly rehashing this inane nonsense is tedious.

  379. KvdH says

    Precisely. They’re excluding relevant data. They don’t even realize they’re lacking relevant data.

    Relevant data such as?

    I happen to think numbers 3 and 4 are useful and important, myself. But in any case, numbers 1, 2, 5 and 6 describe van Whatsisname’s modus operandus to a tee.

    How am I doing this?

    Real advocates of scientism don’t even bother with philosophy; they think it’s a waste of time.

  380. says

    OT

    Why is it that certain kinds of philosopher-types never seem to actually philosophise, but merely throw out lots of names of various philosophical movements and authors? Would it be that hard to actually say something in their own words instead of pointing to authority-figures?

  381. KvdH says

    hence my guess that this is a college student without much exposure to philosophy

    I’ve had meaningful personal correspondence with both Paul Thagard and Peter Carruthers and I’m more than willing to screenshot it for you.

    My philosopher friend, Alex Levine, at the University of South Florida, suggested that my criticism of Paul Thagard’s work in particular is worthy of publication.

  382. KvdH says

    Why is it that certain kinds of philosopher-types never seem to actually philosophise, but merely throw out lots of names of various philosophical movements and authors? Would it be that hard to actually say something in their own words instead of pointing to authority-figures?

    Did you ignore the part where I said that neither “privilege” nor “patriarchy” make novel predictions of fact?

  383. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    not only that, Sally, but they are assumed to be correct – despite lacking basic awareness of reality and while totally and completely ignoring real world data – because goofballs afford them authority they don’t possess.

    My point wasn’t that they are “wrong”, as the male supremacist put it, but that they are not even wrong. You can’t judge and evaluate what you don’t experience.

    It strikes me that this Post Modern Godwin is just another way of saying “lalala can’t hear you!” Which isn’t at all a function of privilege – cuz that magically doesn’t exist!

    Just ask a transperson – they’ll agree. Privilege is DEFINITELY imaginary.

    LOL

  384. says

    Did you ignore the part where I said that neither “privilege” nor “patriarchy” make novel predictions of fact?

    Yep. I generally ignore obvious untruths.

  385. KvdH says

    Illuminata, my criticism of Thagard specifically had to do with observation that his “computational philosophy of science”, despite his claim that it is distinct from Bayesianism/MDL, actually is equivalent to that approach to scientific inquiry, in the way it values simplicity and consilience.

    Not that I think you understand any of that though.

  386. KvdH says

    Yep. I generally ignore obvious untruths.

    OK, I’ll bite.

    What novel predictions of fact does “privilege” make?

    Appeals to obviousness don’t count btw.

  387. says

    matt picio #409:

    I’ll respond to this as it was quite sensible.

    I provided some examples (#214) to show why I thought “Yes, but…” was not always a subject-changer, some of them coming from the OP. I think you misunderstand my intentions – I’m not saying that it is ok to dispute the OP (although I believe it is), I am saying it is ok to productively question complaints of misogyny. Now, I should be careful to say that I’m not claiming that you shouldn’t believe people or anything like that. I am saying that it can be productive to question areas you don’t fully agree with.

    Perhaps you missed some of my posts, because I did in fact question the examples given, although I agree fully that changing the subject is unacceptable.

    I don’t see how the word “but” necessarily changes the subject. Suppose I respond to Rebecca Watson by saying “Yes, but I don’t see why that would make you ‘hate atheists’.” That’s a “Yes, but…” and doesn’t change the subject. It is right in line with even the title of her article.

    If you say “Yes, but there are starving kids in Africa.” that is obviously a case where the subject is changed. If you say “Yes, but surely there’s nothing that can be done to stop it!” then you are on topic (although a little closed-minded perhaps). Do you see what I mean?

    Now, if people think I’m derailing or nitpicking, I should remind them that “Why ‘Yes, but’ is the Wrong Response to Misogyny” is the subject of the OP. I am claiming that it isn’t always the wrong response. That seems pretty relevant, on-topic and non-subject changing to me.

  388. KvdH says

    Sorry, my philosophical training is “analytical”, meaning we think rigor is important and frown upon political browbeating to achieve conformity.

  389. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    Would it be that hard to actually say something in their own words instead of pointing to authority-figures?

    Given their deep and abiding obsession with logical fallacies in place of an actual argument, yes, it is that hard.

    Since KvdH has no real world basis for his ridiculous and asinine non-argument, he has to appeal to the authority of other old privileged white dudes because they totally agree with him that [POST MODERN GODWIN] and bitches ain’t shit.

    Because they agree with HIM, and, as he’s already told us, if you don’t agree with him, you are irrational. DUH! Penises are the fount of all knowledge!

  390. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    Not that I think you understand any of that though.

    Well, of course you don’t. You’re a bigot and I was born cisfemale. Damn these ladybrains!

    Lacking a penis = dummydumdum.

  391. KvdH says

    Since KvdH has no real world basis for his ridiculous and asinine non-argument, he has to appeal to the authority of other old privileged white dudes

    They’re not all white. They’re not all dudes.

    he has to appeal to the authority of other old privileged white dudes because they totally agree with him that

    How can you judge what someone says based on their skin color, age, or sex without, like, actually, reading it?

    That’s bigotry if I ever saw it.

    bitches ain’t shit.

    When did I say this? You’re being dishonest.

  392. KvdH says

    Not one, not two … but (count ‘em) forty-six of ‘em. Knock yerself out, matey.

    These aren’t novel; these aren’t predictions.

  393. EAM says

    “I’m betting everyone who reads this post either agrees or is already dead-set on their own opinion. (I believe there is some social psychological research that actually shows arguing can actually entrench people in their beliefs), making a total difference of: dick.”

    Soooooooooo all this progress we HAVE seen in the advance of women, the rights increasingly enjoyed by the LGBT community, the broader options of a segment of the African American community…. etc etc etc etc…. Would have been much farther along if the people affected had just shut up about their “problems.”

    Your science needs to meet history.

  394. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    Why is it that certain kinds of philosopher-types never seem to actually philosophise, but merely throw out lots of names of various philosophical movements and authors? Would it be that hard to actually say something in their own words instead of pointing to authority-figures?

    Yeah, I’ve wondered that too. When I’m explaining global warming to a layman, I certainly include links and point to authors and whatnot. But I also do them the basic courtesy of explaining it in my own words, thereby demonstrating that I’m not talking out of my ass, I do know what I’m talking about, and the links and authors I’ve given them WILL answer the questions they have.

    Did you ignore the part where I said that neither “privilege” nor “patriarchy” make novel predictions of fact?

    Assertion without evidence. Patriarchy explains and predicts why god is male, as is the king, the president, Congress, and so forth. Privilege just says that those who enjoy systemic advantages aren’t aware of the fact that not everyone gets those advantages, and will also try to hold on to them.

    It’s not this weird postmodern thing you’re making it out to be.

    Though I don’t really understand the thing against postmodernism anyway. Postmodernism’s basic revelation was that pure objectivity is a physical impossibility. That’s an observation science will back up. The fact that some philosophers and researchers have way overreached with the idea doesn’t make the basic premise any less true.

  395. KvdH says

    Soooooooooo all this progress we HAVE seen in the advance of women, the rights increasingly enjoyed by the LGBT community, the broader options of a segment of the African American community…. etc etc etc etc…. Would have been much farther along if the people affected had just shut up about their “problems.”

    The civil rights movement got people to empathize with their problems. Internet Atheists aren’t very good at that.

  396. jemand says

    Wow Notung. Obviously still reading. Obviously still completely unwilling to give any of us a hand stopping the obvious sexist posting. Handily spread out right in front of you.

    Nope, previous conclusions about the topics that you care about and how little effort you are willing to expend in defense of women: completely confirmed.

    Chances at your redemption? Dwindling alarmingly.

  397. KvdH says

    Assertion without evidence. Patriarchy explains and predicts why god is male, as is the king, the president, Congress, and so forth.

    Predictions can’t be made post hoc. Otherwise they aren’t predictions.

    Postmodernism’s basic revelation was that pure objectivity is a physical impossibility.

    You still haven’t explained why it’s automatically OK to dismiss shit that you haven’t read out of hand, simply because of who said it.

  398. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    The civil rights movement got people to empathize with their problems. Internet Atheists aren’t very good at that.

    Weren’t we talking about feminism? And you know nothing about empathy anyway, you’ve demonstrated that over and over again, so forgive me if I take your opinions about what elicits empathy with a dumptruck load of salt.

  399. KvdH says

    Yeah, I’ve wondered that too. When I’m explaining global warming to a layman, I certainly include links and point to authors and whatnot.

    I indicated authors. More philosophy of science is in books than on the Internet, overall. Wanna borrow my library.nu account?

  400. Stacy says

    Dude knows some BROS.

    +eleventy, debbasseer

    Name-dropping. If that don’t beat all.

    This is either someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder or a truly brilliant Poe.

    The civil rights movement got people to empathize with their problems. Internet Atheists aren’t very good at that

    Clumsy attempt to change the subject.

  401. says

    KvdH

    In what way are they not predictions? I realize I don’t have your obvious depth of knowledge of what lots of more learned people have said as they built castles of ungrounded logic but, here in the plain-English speaking world, they look pretty much like predictions to me.

    Who said a point had to be novel to be valid?

  402. KvdH says

    That’s not surprising, SallyStrange, given your willingness to reject what people say, without even considering it, based on their personal characteristics.

  403. debbaasseerr says

    Oh yeah? MY philosopher friend at a university says my criticism of another philosopher was worthy of publication! Game over, feminists!

  404. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    You still haven’t explained why it’s automatically OK to dismiss shit that you haven’t read out of hand, simply because of who said it.

    I haven’t, and won’t.

    That’s a straw man version of the concept of privilege.

    I believe that what was being dismissed was the idea that patriarchy is a made-up concept. I don’t need to read anyone’s book to conclude that that is a false statement.

  405. KvdH says

    In what way are they not predictions? I realize I don’t have your obvious depth of knowledge of what lots of more learned people have said as they built castles of ungrounded logic

    That’s some nice anti-intellectualism you got there? Have any of you actually read any phil of science?

  406. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    Yeah, I’ve wondered that too. When I’m explaining global warming to a layman, I certainly include links and point to authors and whatnot.

    I indicated authors. More philosophy of science is in books than on the Internet, overall. Wanna borrow my library.nu account?

    Hey, look. Quote-mining.

    You left of this part:

    But I also do them the basic courtesy of explaining it in my own words, thereby demonstrating that I’m not talking out of my ass, I do know what I’m talking about, and the links and authors I’ve given them WILL answer the questions they have.

    But then, you’ve made it perfectly clear that your concern for courtesy is absolutely nil.

  407. KvdH says

    I believe that what was being dismissed was the idea that patriarchy is a made-up concept.

    1. Patriarchy is a social theoretic concept.
    2. I dismiss social theory because it doesn’t fall in line with criteria from mainstream philosophers of science on what counts as scientific.
    3. They’re wrong because they’re “white dudes”. (Even when they aren’t.)

  408. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    That’s not surprising, SallyStrange, given your willingness to reject what people say, without even considering it, based on their personal characteristics.

    I reject what YOU have to say, based on your personal characteristics of being dishonest and narcissistic. I’d be a fool to do otherwise. You’re not trustworthy.

  409. says

    Have any of you actually read any phil of science?

    Nope, not me, but I’ve read some actual science. Now answer my questions. In what way is the male privilege checklist not a list of predictions, and why should a point have to be novel in order to be valid?

  410. KvdH says

    I reject what YOU have to say, based on your personal characteristics of being dishonest and narcissistic.

    I am not dishonest. How am I dishonest?

    I’m not sure how my putative “narcissism” makes what I said wrong. Dishonesty is a more relevant charge but, then, you haven’t demonstrated that.

    ps you did at least implicitly reject what the philosophers I mentioned had to say … without, like, having read them

  411. KvdH says

    Nope, not me, but I’ve read some actual science.

    Social theory isn’t science.

    In what way is the male privilege checklist not a list of predictions

    Because it’s post hoc.

    and why should a point have to be novel in order to be valid?

    That’s not strictly necessary but for “privilege” to meet a putatively scientific status it needs to make novel predictions.

    Also, I’ve never seen an operational definition of “privilege” just long lists of what (at least allegedly) counts for such.

  412. Terry says

    How do we know that all of those oafs,(for lack of a better word) were Atheists???

    Couldn’t they just as well have been Xian Trolls?

    At the least, despicable behavior.

    At best, they are closet Child Molesters!

  413. KvdH says

    How do we know that all of those oafs,(for lack of a better word) were Atheists???

    Couldn’t they just as well have been Xian Trolls?

    Yeah maybe but probably not.

  414. says

    jemand #471

    I’m not after ‘redemption’. I made one post mentioning how I disagreed with a single aspect of the OP and have only posted responses to defend that first post. I am not here to participate in a ‘chat-room’ or a contest for insecure men to decry misogyny more loudly than the last to conceal their impulsive sexism. If you want to play childish games then do so without my help.

    SallyStrange #472

    I never thought we were allies.

    Daz #474

    I just explained how I wasn’t nitpicking and how I was directly addressing the OP.

  415. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    given your willingness to reject what people say, without even considering it, based on their personal characteristics.

    You ought not to point fingers, Mr. Kettle. unless you like portraying yourself as a hypocrite.

  416. KvdH says

    You ought not to point fingers, Mr. Kettle.

    Tu quoque and how/where did I reject what someone had to say based merely on who they are?

  417. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    I dismiss social theory because it doesn’t fall in line with criteria from mainstream philosophers of science on what counts as scientific.

    Translation: I dismiss reality and the real world experiences of every single woman on the planet, past and present, because bitches ain’t shit and it doesn’t adverse affect ME. Only things that adversely affect ME are real. And bad.

  418. debbaasseerr says

    @ 484 – So, patriarchy exists, but only as a concept you dismiss because it isn’t scientific?

  419. says

    Because it’s post hoc

    Really? here’s one picked at random:

    If I’m careless with my driving it won’t be attributed to my sex.

    Now, it seems to me that that’s as much a prediction as an observation. To test, just ask a significant number of people who’ve been found to be the party to blame in road accidents, and ask them if they’d received comments about their driving abilities with reference to their gender’s capabilities in that area.

    Fact is, you don’t want the checklist to be pertinent so you dismiss it out of hand.

  420. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    how/where did I reject what someone had to say based merely on who they are?

    LOL are you being serious with this shit? have you somehow forgotten that we can simply scroll back up?

  421. KvdH says

    A direct quote would be welcome.

    Oh and:

    hence my guess that this is a college student without much exposure to philosophy

    Still wanna see my convos with Thagard and Carruthers? What important philosophers have you communicated with?

  422. KvdH says

    LOL are you being serious with this shit? have you somehow forgotten that we can simply scroll back up?

    Quote me.

  423. EAM says

    KvdH

    Thank you for providing a text book case of derailment (upon derailment, upon derailment) for what 200 posts now?

    I am sure it has been educational for all interested in what constitutes derailment.

    Your creativity and perseverance demonstrate for those with eyes to see that some men do not actually give a shit about female humans, that wacking off to your own personally amusing melody is central to your priorities in life. Sociopathy is well rewarded in this society. It will certainly pay off in your life in some demonstrable way.

    Hopefully – humans watching will see you for what you are and hopefully the consequences in your real life will be more rejection of the human sort.

  424. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    Still wanna see my convos with Thagard and Carruthers? What important philosophers have you communicated with?

    LOL wow. Yeah, you TOTALLY don’t use fallacies to buoy your worthlessly idiotic “argument” No sir!

    It’s not officially impossible to take you seriously. Congrats on detonating the last shreds of your credibility. good thing you’re not using your real name. That is some embarrassing, name-dropping desperation right there.

  425. KvdH says

    Sociopathy is well rewarded in this society.

    Annoying people on the Internet isn’t “sociopathy”.

    Your creativity and perseverance demonstrate for those with eyes to see that some men do not actually give a shit about female humans

    In what way do I not give a shit about women?

  426. debbaasseerr says

    “You DARE question me when you don’t even talk to important philosophers, let alone have one think you worthy of publication? Oh no now this cannot do, fair lady.”

  427. KvdH says

    “You DARE question me when you don’t even talk to important philosophers, let alone have one think you worthy of publication? Oh no now this cannot do, fair lady.”

    If you’re going to post a bunch of flippant bullshit about how I’m a sophomore in college who just took Phil 101, expect to be challenged.

    I work on the principle: “Talk smack, get slapped.”

  428. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    I did.

    Didn’t!

    Did!

    Didn’t!

    That’s about where we’re at right now.

    Social theory is a science. It is limited because it’s unethical to do large scale experiments on human beings. It is difficult to do for the same reason.

    The fact that it’s difficult shouldn’t deter us from taking what is useful from it.

    People like KvdH here have an irrational prejudice against it, for whatever reason. Asserting over and over again that it’s not scientific doesn’t erase the fact that in fact, it is. Just not in the concrete way expected by physicists and chemists.

    KvdH, I don’t trust you because of the untrue things you say. For instance, that you value civility. You don’t. You value a facade of civility. You said you care about the 15 year old girl. You don’t. You said that you summarized your position. You didn’t. You said that patriarchy doesn’t exist. It does. Who knows how else you might distort the truth. Whatever way might benefit yourself, obviously. Like all narcissists, you’re a manipulator and you’re thoroughly convinced of your own superiority. You lie to yourself.

    It was an interesting run, but I’ve had it. Never did learn much about Bayesian probability. What a surprise.

  429. debbaasseerr says

    @505Yes,

    but actually I wasn’t the one who said you were a sophomore in college or anything, you can go and check. What you say is actually kind of why I keep commenting, actually. Maybe if you had more philosopher friends who thought your criticisms were worthy of publication, you would be able to understand that.

    Or were just a women who had to deal with peeps like you all the time – that would do it too.

  430. KvdH says

    Oh—I didn’t reject what you had to say because you haven’t talked with any philosophers. I just find it funny you think you’re the expert here.

    I rejected what you had to say because you immediately dismissed standard philosophy of science, without reading ANY of it, because (or so you assumed, sexistly), that they’re all “white dudes”. That’s called bigotry.

  431. says

    In what way do I not give a shit about women?

    You probably like the poor sweet feeble-minded things well enough, as long as you have nothing more important to attend to at the time.

    Time for some light relief, methinks.

  432. EAM says

    “Modern feminism has roots in postmodernism and the particular claim that philosophers of science must be wrong because they’re “privileged” is most certainly pomo.”

    Thanks for explaining that to me. I have no grounding in the topic, in experience or in historical referents.

    Thank goodness someone is actually doing their homework around here.

  433. KvdH says

    Social theory is a science.

    According to whom?

    It is limited because it’s unethical to do large scale experiments on human beings. It is difficult to do for the same reason.

    Why don’t you do some agent-based simulations then?

    You said that patriarchy doesn’t exist. It does.

    Bare assertion and if I sincerely believe it and it is real, that makes me really wrong, not dishonest.

    Just not in the concrete way expected by physicists and chemists.

    No, lame excuse, some social science is good. Like social network analysis.

  434. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    some social science is good. Like social network analysis.

    Lying to yourself. Or to us. Take your pick. Either social science is not a science, or some social science is good. Both can’t be true.

  435. debbaasseerr says

    @509. Horse shoes and feminism hand grenades, mang! Your getting all your posts mixed up. Those claims weren’t made by me either. When do I claim to be an expert? Never. If you let your f5 key cool down and read more betterly, you’ll see all I’m really doing is poking fun of all the hilarious things you keep spouting.

  436. KvdH says

    You probably like the poor sweet feeble-minded things well enough, as long as you have nothing more important to attend to at the time.

    Until you quote me saying something misogynistic, your accusation is baseless. I have not done so to my knowledge and, in fact, said very favorable things about at least two women you’ve never heard of, Susan Haack and Pat Churchland.

  437. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    There’s this phenomenon, you see, whereby somehow men ended up with 99% of the powerful positions in society.

    We call this phenomenon “patriarchy.” If you want to propose a better name for it, go right ahead. But if you want to contest it exists, you need to show that actually it’s not true that men hold most of the power in society.

    (and if you did that then we’d know for certain that you’re a deranged MRA troll.)

    So, have at it. Either propose an alternate label/explanation for the disparity in power between the genders, or contest those basic facts of our society.

    Have fun!

  438. KvdH says

    Lying to yourself. Or to us. Take your pick. Either social science is not a science, or some social science is good.

    I do not consider e.g. this:

    http://hbswk.hbs.edu/archive/2906.html

    to be “social theory”. “Social theory” means something softer, less rigorous to me and I do not equate it with “social SCIENCE” as a whole.

  439. KvdH says

    There’s this phenomenon, you see, whereby somehow men ended up with 99% of the powerful positions in society.

    Source for that 99% figure.

  440. KvdH says

    No, appeals to obviousness don’t count, I want an operational definition of “position of power” and an actual statistic, not one made up on the spot.

  441. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    In what way do I not give a shit about women?

    LOL WHAT?! Are you a Poe? C’mon tell us. Are you taking the piss out of male supremacists?

  442. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    Source for that 99% figure.

    All of recorded history. Once again – it is absurd to feign stupidity to this degree. No one is this oblivious.

  443. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    I asked a question; it was serious; now please answer it.

    Fascinating. You’re seriously asking – after derailing an entire thread to wank philosophic, call women irrational, repeatedly denying reality, repeating MRA talking points, lying, hypocrisy and a constant deluge of logical fallacies?

    Don’t buy it, dude. You’re not being serious at all. You’re trolling.

  444. jemand says

    oh, creationists feign this much obtuseness regularly. I think this episode, though, ought to go up in the annals beside the best of those creationists though, for it’s obliviousness in the face of reality.

  445. says

    KvdH

    Returning to the actual frigging topic:

    Unlike, apparently, yourself, I have actual empirical evidence of the treatment of women online, having been a chat-room moderator for several years. I believe I’ve seen a large enough number of screenshots (sent as proof of behaviour) for it to be statistically significant. Of course, I can’t claim to have spoken to many famous people. (Though I did once have a natter with the bass player of the Comets. Which makes me a gifted musician, I suppose?)

    You, on the other hand, appear to be ready to discount the testimony of actual real-world women who say that there is indeed a problem with such behaviour, and cite lots of authority-figures.

    Philosophise all you like; I’ll go with the evidence.

  446. debbaasseerr says

    Dude, people who have friends who are philosophers at universities who have recommended them for publication don’t mess around when they ask questions – especially when they have the chat logs to back it up.

    When he asks a question, he isn’t just trying to get an “answer” – he’s tryin’ to drag you to a higher level of understanding! Don’t waiver! Answer his questions quick quick, so he may better shape his knowledge to better fit your mind.

  447. KvdH says

    call women irrational

    Where did I call women, as a class, irrational?

    I only called individuals (some of them men) irrational.

    I don’t make kneejerk judgments based on people’s sex, like, for instance, you.

  448. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    The 99% figure is approximate. Do you think it’s wrong? If so, how wrong is it?

    Historically, it’s probably closer to 99.9%. It’s only in the past few decades that it’s been edging down towards, oh, say, 95%. Depending on where you are. You know that it’s possible to simply observe the number of world leaders, CEOs of transnational corporations, and suchlike things, and count the number of women included therein, right? Or is that not rigorous enough for you?

    Women currently compose about 16% of Congress. Women constitute 3% of CEOs. Although women comprise the majority of college students, they are only 26% of college professors. And so on and so forth.

    Here’s a link, since you’re so keen on reading. http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CB0QFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.thewhitehouseproject.org%2Fdocuments%2FReport.pdf&ei=033-TrnUPOLt0gGl9oi9Ag&usg=AFQjCNEvc0uPUjsbMjLZds5p65sprccXSw

    But really, do you not look around you and notice that most of the people with power in this country–in this world–are men?

    No, I suppose not. It’s invisible to you. As predicted by the concept of privilege.

  449. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    How about NOW?

    And there go the goalposts once again! how quick they move when you’ve failed.

    Yes, how about now. How many female CEOs are there? how much LESS money do they make? How many female presidents of America have there been? how many sitting congresswomen are there in comparison to male? Which sex has the higher percentage of poverty, lack of basic human rights, lack of education, lack of autonomy?*

    You have evidence to the contrary, right? Cuz we’re so wrong?

  450. KvdH says

    But really, do you not look around you and notice that most of the people with power in this country–in this world–are men?

    That’s not sufficient to establish the concept of a “patriarchy” or “privilege”. As the Schelling segregation model pointed out, macro-level trends may come from innocuous micro-level behavior.

  451. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    Where did I call women, as a class, irrational?

    I do believe you called anyone who thought that “patriarchy” was a valid concept. That’s a lot of people. Mostly women. In fact, that group of women and some men would be biased heavily towards people who care passionately about equality for women.

    They’re all irrational, according to you.

    And we’re supposed to believe you give a shit about women? Sure, sure. Just as long as they’re nice and quiet and don’t bother you with non-rigorous, unscientific anecdotes about how their boss pulled a Herman Cain on them.

  452. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    I don’t make kneejerk judgments based on people’s sex, like, for instance, you.

    LOL. Oy to the motherfucking vey.

    Yes, ignoring, dismissing and denying thousands of years of history just to pretend there is no privilege or patriarchy because women say and have experienced very clearly the opposite is totally different.
    Totes.

  453. KvdH says

    Yes, how about now. How many female CEOs are there? how much LESS money do they make? How many female presidents of America have there been? how many sitting congresswomen are there in comparison to male? Which sex has the higher percentage of poverty, lack of basic human rights, lack of education, lack of autonomy?*

    This no more shows the existence of “male privilege” than, say, higher incidences of workplace death and homelessness among men illustrate “female privilege”. For the record, I believe in neither.

  454. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    That’s not sufficient to establish the concept of a “patriarchy” or “privilege”.

    Those are the best explanations we have so far.

    What’s your alternative explanation? You MUST have one.

  455. KvdH says

    Yes, ignoring, dismissing and denying thousands of years of history just to pretend there is no privilege or patriarchy because women say and have experienced very clearly the opposite is totally different.

    Not all women say that these things exist.

    Not all those who say these things exist are women.

  456. KvdH says

    Those are the best explanations we have so far.

    What’s your alternative explanation? You MUST have one.

    I render the Scottish verdict of “not prov’d” which is entirely acceptable in science.

  457. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    What is YOUR proposed explanation for the disparity in power, wealth, etc., between men and women?

  458. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    I render the Scottish verdict of “not prov’d” which is entirely acceptable in science.

    Excuse me, you’re just denying that there are vast disparities in wealth and power between men and women now?

    NOW who’s unscientific?

  459. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    But really, do you not look around you and notice that most of the people with power in this country–in this world–are men?

    That’s not sufficient to establish the concept of a “patriarchy” or “privilege”. As the Schelling segregation model pointed out, macro-level trends may come from innocuous micro-level behavior.

    Greta, if you can respond to this embarrassing bullshit without insulting this dude, I’d be incredibly impressed. This is seriously the stupidest shit i’ve ever seen a male supremacist type.

  460. KvdH says

    What is YOUR proposed explanation for the disparity in power, wealth, etc., between men and women?

    What is your proposed explanation for the fact that men are more likely to be homeless?

    I suspend judgment on this things, rather than supposing there’s a conspiratorial patriarchy/matriarchy.

  461. says

    KvdH

    Dude, when I say a lot, I mean a lot. One serious complaint (bad enough to warrant banning without warning) a day, at a minimum, over a period of around five years. Sometimes five or six a day. I couldn’t even begin to estimate the number of warnings. Sure it’s not a rigorous study, but unless you’re able to pull up evidence that a huge proportion of women never receive unwanted sexual attention onlline, it’s all I have.

  462. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    I render the Scottish verdict of “not prov’d” which is entirely acceptable in science.

    Translation: I’ve got nothing. And I’m not afraid to repeatedly admit I ignore reality in favor of my bigotry.

  463. KvdH says

    Excuse me, you’re just denying that there are vast disparities in wealth and power between men and women now?

    Wealth, sure. That’s easy to quantify. Power, depends on how you define power.

    I just suspend judgment about the causes.

    This is seriously the stupidest shit i’ve ever seen a male supremacist type.

    At what point did I claim men are better than women?

  464. KvdH says

    Translation: I’ve got nothing. And I’m not afraid to repeatedly admit I ignore reality in favor of my bigotry.

    In what way am I “bigoted”?

  465. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    What is your proposed explanation for the fact that men are more likely to be homeless?

    I suspend judgment on this things, rather than supposing there’s a conspiratorial patriarchy/matriarchy.

    What’s your explanation for the fact that worldwide, women (and children) comprise the vast majority of those in poverty?

    Don’t start lying now. You haven’t suspended judgment at all. You’ve decided reality is inconsistent with your bigotry, ergo reality is wrong.

  466. KvdH says

    What’s your explanation for the fact that worldwide, women (and children) comprise the vast majority of those in poverty?

    I don’t know.

    What’s your explanation for the fact that men die at the workplace far more than women? Matriarchy? Cuz I sure as hell wouldn’t make that leap.

  467. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    At what point did I claim men are better than women? In what way am I “bigoted”?

    how many times do you need something repeated before it sinks in?

  468. says

    Your sample is still woefully biased.

    No, but you are.

    3:30 AM here. I’m gone. It’s been … entertaining. Or something.

  469. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    What is YOUR proposed explanation for the disparity in power, wealth, etc., between men and women?

    What is your proposed explanation for the fact that men are more likely to be homeless?

    I don’t know. Isn’t that a question that only a social scientist could answer? How could you possibly find an answer you’d believe, if you dismiss the entire field that deals with answering questions like that? Yes, you are SO scientifically rigorous.

    I suspend judgment on this things, rather than supposing there’s a conspiratorial patriarchy/matriarchy.

    Conspiratorial? Who on earth told you that the concept of patriarchy had anything to do with conspiracies? No seriously, where’d you get that from?

    Why do you suspend judgment, anyway? Doesn’t this seem like a phenomenon in need of explanation to you? Shows both a lack of intellectual curiosity, and offers more evidence for the thesis that you don’t care a whit about women in general. I imagine (in concordance with privilege theory) that if it were your demographic that was systematically impoverished, enslaved, beaten, raped, and excluded from the halls of power, you’d not be willing to just suspend judgment. You’d want an explanation. Don’t bother explaining that you wouldn’t, because that’s a lie. As we already noted, you don’t have much of a talent for empathy, so you’re incapable of imagining what it would be like to be in that situation.

  470. KvdH says

    I don’t know.

    Yeah, I don’t know either, which was my whole point. Both male and female privilege are useless concepts.

    Isn’t that a question that only a social scientist could answer?

    Yeah but only a good one. I consider, like SNA, sociophysics, econophysics, behavioral economics to be good social science. Not that hermeneutic “X studies” crap.

  471. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    Quote me saying men are better than women. Go ahead and do it already.

    You must think we are really stupid.

    That’s something a male supremacist would do.

  472. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    What’s your explanation for the fact that men die at the workplace far more than women? Matriarchy? Cuz I sure as hell wouldn’t make that leap.

    There’s no need to repeatedly tell us you’re clueless. We get it.

    Why do men die more often in workplaces? Because they perform dangerous jobs, at a higher rate.

    why do far less women perform these jobs? See “North Country” as a single example. See also, gender roles, sexual harrassment, benevolent sexism, etc.

    C’mon. time to manufacture more blatant bullshit in your neverending quest to deny reality.

  473. KvdH says

    beaten

    Men are more likely to be victims of violence, in general.

    But you don’t see me blaming “the matriarchy” for that.

    Because that would be stupid.

  474. KvdH says

    Why do men die more often in workplaces? Because they perform dangerous jobs, at a higher rate.

    OK, now tell me why the patriarchy installs men in all these dangerous jobs.

  475. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    Both male and female privilege are useless concepts.

    Because two people on the internet aren’t up to date on homelessness research, it is therefore concluded that “privilege” is a useless concept.

    Dude, your logic is too much for me. I can’t even follow it any more! The only explanation is that you’re way smarter than me. Cheers, you’re more logical, rational, and scientific. You win. Do be sure to brag to all your philosopher buddies about it. Link them to this thread, I’m sure they’ll be impressed.

  476. KvdH says

    You must think we are really stupid.

    Well, you’ve repeatedly misrepresented my positions on all sorts of things, so one wonders…

  477. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    Quote me saying men are better than women. Go ahead and do it already.

    I’ve already explained this to you. How many times do you need something repeated before it sinks in?

  478. KvdH says

    Because two people on the internet aren’t up to date on homelessness research, it is therefore concluded that “privilege” is a useless concept.

    You can’t on the one hand list a bunch of statistics that favor men, call it male privilege, and then ignore all the ones that don’t.

    That’s called “confirmation bias”.

  479. KvdH says

    I’ve already explained this to you.

    You never quoted me saying that men are better women. Anywhere. Not even implicitly. You’re just ASSuming it, like you ASSumed all those philosophers of science were white men.

  480. EAM says

    and an MRA comes out from under the rock in only what 200 posts….. they can only contain it for so long…

    Drinks for everyone!

  481. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    OK, now tell me why the patriarchy installs men in all these dangerous jobs.

    We don’t need more evidence that you have no idea what patriarchy is. Really.

    But, what the hell, let’s try reasoning with a male supremacist.

    To begin: Pick a job you consider dangerous and tell us what the pay is for that job.

  482. debbaasseerr says

    So many demands. Why point out how getting the best jobs and getting more dangerous jobs are two separate things? Can’t use the idea of gender roles at all for that right? Or how there are levels of privilege – whatever – you’re just going to dismiss it and make some other demand.

    You do realize that even if you “yes,but” every objection people make until everyone goes to bed – you’re still wrong, however much you think you won by post-fatigue.

  483. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    Why do men die more often in workplaces? Because they perform dangerous jobs, at a higher rate.

    That’s not the only reason. The other part of the reason is best explained by another concept, “toxic masculinity” (which dudely dude will no doubt deny) which teaches men that concern for safety and health is a sissy (read: feminine) thing, and manly men don’t need helmets or harnesses or to double check that battery reading.

    http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2458/10/712/abstract

    In fact, the fact that women are more likely to go to the doctor rather than “tough it out” like a manly man would do is partially explanatory of the differential in life expectancy between men and women.

    Don’t have the citation for that right at hand, but it’s pretty well accepted in medical literature.

  484. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    You never quoted me saying that men are better women. Anywhere. Not even implicitly. You’re just ASSuming it, like you ASSumed all those philosophers of science were white men.

    Ugh. More insults in place of an actual refutation. Well, that’s all that can be expected from a male supremacist.

    There’s no need to pull a single quote – everything you’ve said on this thread screams it. And I’m hardly the only person to point this out to you.

    But, please continue feigning abysmal stupidity. It’s totally going to change minds!

  485. EAM says

    white privilege and male privilege do not exclude the class dynamics involved. patriarchy does not exclude other dynamics. they are descriptors of layers of a larger structure…

  486. says

    KvdH: Relevant to your current conversation: The disadvantages of being a man. All of these disadvantages stem directly from the patriarchy that we live in. Which, by the way, if you decide doesn’t exist, you don’t understand the definition. It’s hardly “social theory”. It’s basic anthropology, which is as hard a human science as any.

    Just because there are too many variables in social sciences for you to follow, doesn’t mean there isn’t a science to it all. Society is an emergent property of biology, where biological life forms with enough sentience and social adaptations will stratify themselves and create complex structures that, while you can’t wrap your head around them, do in fact exist.

  487. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    Only someone who truly doesn’t give a flying rat’s ass about women (except of course inasmuch as they are directly useful to him) could possibly look at the global statistics for women’s poverty, violence, sexual assault, educational attainment, economic empowerment, and shrug, “Whatever. There’s nothing here to explain.” Only someone truly devoted to male supremacy could seize on a series of statistical oddities to challenge the idea that men are privileged by our current social structure.

    The fact that you don’t come right out and say those things just shows you’re savvy enough to realize that those positions are beginning to become a bit socially unacceptable. Nevertheless, you words and attitudes betray you with every post.

    So no, we’re not so stupid as to take you at your word. We’ve all dealt with sexist assholes before. You’re a bit more pedantic than usual, is all.

  488. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    You do realize that even if you “yes,but” every objection people make until everyone goes to bed – you’re still wrong, however much you think you won by post-fatigue.

    I’m not going to bed! I’ve got a date tonight!

    And, seriously, what difference does it make that he desperately needs the last word? This thread is a monument to his embarrassingly desperate name dropping, constant logical fallacies (and hilarious ineptness at pretending he doesn’t use them), denial of reality, etc.

    He lost 100 posts ago. At this point, its amusing to watch his flailing around post-embarrassing failure. Though, one wonders why he’s such a glutton for failure.

  489. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    He’s a narcissist. He’s so adept at self-deception, he’s convinced he’s winning.

  490. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    Sally @ 579 – Bingo. But, he’s just going to ignore your last paragraphs and respond “quote me saying EXACTLY x”.

    It’s amusing to watch him pretend we haven’t nailed his game precisely, but also a little sad.

  491. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    Hey, have a fantastic date, Illuminata! Promise to spill the beans later on when it’s all done?

  492. Stacy says

    I know I’m going to regret engaging you. But my guilt feelings are easily stirred, and while I was eating dinner I started thinking I had been unfair to you, so….

    Men are more likely to be victims of violence, in general.

    But you don’t see me blaming “the matriarchy” for that

    If all those male victims of violence were being victimized by women, how would you account for it?

    Do you acknowledge the fact men in general have more power (status, money, a say in government, are more likely to be listened to and taken seriously) than women?

    (Don’t whine about male on male violence or the fact that males tend to die younger than females. We all know what power means. Among mammals, the dominant animal gets to eat first, and/or mate more often, and/or chooses what the herd/troop/whatever will do. The dominants often die younger, too. They still have more power during their lifetimes.)

    Do you have any evidence that people with relative social power share it easily with others unlike themselves?

  493. adamgordon says

    “It’s not all about you.

    And if you’re acting as if accusations of misogyny are all about you… maybe that’s something you should be looking at.”

    Ironic that this very thread makes this point as clear as fucking glass.

    Perhaps we are lucky that a few characters in this thread have illustrated exactly what Greta is talking about for all future readers to see, so that they themselves may recognize tactics such as these in the future.

  494. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    OT:

    Promise to spill the beans later on when it’s all done?

    On the Horde’s TET tomorrow. Don’t wait up. *wink wink*

  495. Stacy says

    Well, KvdH has certainly gotten what he wanted. Congratulations

    I don’t think he wanted his narcissism laughed at and his ass handed to him on a platter.

  496. plum grenville says

    Stacey @ 588.

    I don’t think he wanted his narcissism laughed at and his ass handed to him on a platter.

    But at least we’re not talking about that boring girl who got a few boring rape threats.

  497. hmmm says

    Skipping from post ~180 down to here, so apologies if it was covered in the other ~400 comments:

    Is it okay to ask what’s wrong with asking a woman out for coffee in a hotel elevator at 4 AM if one doesn’t know what “Elevatorgate” is and doesn’t see a “search this site” field?

    If it’s not okay, does it make it any closer to being okay if I am a woman and, other than the fact that I’m not generally at my best at 4 A.M. no matter which direction I’m coming at it from or what the conversation is about, still can’t really see where the problem lies?

  498. Greta Christina says

    KvdH has now been blocked from this blog. Their repeated attempts to derail the conversation is in violation of the “no hijacking of comment threads” part of my comment policy. Normally I give people a warning before I block them, but I won’t be on the computer tomorrow and won’t be able to monitor this obviously exploding conversation, so I’m stopping this particular derailment now.

  499. Stacy says

    Is it okay to ask what’s wrong with asking a woman out for coffee in a hotel elevator at 4 AM if one doesn’t know what “Elevatorgate” is and doesn’t see a “search this site” field?

    hmmm, he didn’t ask her out, he asked her back to his room.

    They didn’t know each other. He’d heard her talk that day in which she’d said she disliked being sexualized by strange men at conferences.

    The woman in question said in a video post, “Guys, don’t do that.” She didn’t name the guy or anything.

    All hell broke loose. She was accused of man-hating, called a cunt, and atheist women in general were informed that if men can’t invite tired strangers back to their hotel rooms while said tired strangers are stuck in hotel elevators with them during the wee hours, the human race will be unable to propagate further. Because women will demand a signed contract before each and every act of sexual congress. Or something.

    So the question to ask really is, what’s wrong with saying, “Please don’t do that”?

    And that’s all I’m going to say on the subject. If you really want to know more, google it. It’s there.

  500. Greta Christina says

    hmmm and Stacy: Rehasing the details of Elevatorgate is a derailment from the topic of internet misogyny. It is, in fact, one of the examples of derailments listed in this post. Please don’t do it. Thanks.

  501. kristinc, ~delicate snowflake~ says

    Hey, guys! “my atheist life” @590 thinks we’re all a bunch of silly bitchez who don’t understand how the internet works!

    No really, go read it, it’s a laugh riot.

  502. hmmmm says

    Greta,
    Where would one go to learn more about the things specifically listed, which one has not heard of before and therefore cannot understand (which not only impedes learning but also the ability to recognize similar situations, perhaps in one’s own life, and thereby also rendering one “part of the problem” through inadequate awareness?

    I am not by any means attempting to derail the topic; i am trying to understand what seems to be an important, timely, and relevant event that relates TO the topic directly, but i don’t know where to look.
    The commentor above clarified a few things, but all i have been able to find on my own searches has ultimately linked to videos or podcasts, which are of no use to me without a transcript (hearing impaired).

    I am not really sure how asking where to find more info translates to attempting to derail the conversation – i understand it can be a distraction if it comes in the middle of a realtime conversation, which is why i dblchecked the last comment before i asked. I can’t really derail anything if i can’t discuss the relevant event,or have any way to learn about it. Not that i am saying i would WANT to derail; far from it. But i was hoping that valid, honest questions (esp. Those as innocuous as “i don’t understand what this references, can someone clue me in”) would be welcomed here. Few people learn without ever asking anything.

    Apologies for spelling/punctuation errors. I am using a new and unfamiliar device.

  503. Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM says

    Where would one go to learn more about the things specifically listed, which one has not heard of before and therefore cannot understand (which not only impedes learning but also the ability to recognize similar situations, perhaps in one’s own life, and thereby also rendering one “part of the problem” through inadequate awareness?

    The internet is full of tools.

  504. Hertta says

    I actually read almost all comments on this thread. (It’s like cashews. I know I should stop and that I have better things to eat (read), but I just can’t help but take another one.)

    KvdH really sounds like a creationist but denies patriarchy instead of evolution. “Where’s the evidence?” “Where are the transitional fossils men in powerful positions?” Evolution has great explanatory power, but the predictions it makes are mostly what KvdH would call post hoc. Because of evolution (and continental drift) there are things we expect to find in nature (fossils, similarities, genes) and then we go look.

    Similary the concept of patriarchy has explanatory power. The predictions it makes are similar to the predictions evolution makes: we expect to find something and, more often than not, we find it. And the evidence is as abundant as it for evolution – if one is not a complete denialist. A privileged person has a very good reason to deny the existence of patriarchy just like a creationist has a good reason to be a denialist about evolution.

    I know this is off topic too but the thread has been thoroughly derailed already so I thought I’d just throw that in there. Of course, we could expect privileged people coming to the comment thread of a post about not changing the subject when the topic is misogyny – to change the subject. That’s the kind of predictions the concepts of patriarchy and privilege give us.

    Thanks for the great article, Greta! I hope a lot of people will read it.

  505. hmmmm says

    Classical cypher,

    Perhaps you could have also copied in the part where i said that i HAVE searched on my own, and found nothing that didn’t eventually lead to a video or podcast – which, i’m sure you can imagine, are not much use for people who can’t hear. (But i suppose you wouldn’t have gotten to use the charmingly condescending LMGTFY link and i’m sure that was a pleasure for you.)

    Obviously this is a site for “the regulars” and newcomers are only welcomed if they ask no questions – even a question asked sincerely and with a desire to understand and better address the issues that face us all.

    For the record, i frequently find myself receiving unwanted advances but am not able to articulate, even in my own mind, precisely where the problem lies. I had hoped to glean some insight that i might employ next time, and that i could share with the women i know. Guess we’ll keep on figuring things out for ourselves. Seems to have worked well enough so far… more or less.

    Rest assured, i won’t inconvenience you with any furtherquestions or attempts to understand and apply what i have(n’t) learned here. Thanks for reminding me of my proper place!

  506. Big Murray says

    I think it’s far more annoying and disturbing when people express their desire to moderate other people’s thoughts and expressions on a topic. You literally just said “When the topic of misogyny comes up, please just say this instead of anything else you might want to say. I find any other expression on the topic other than that I have deemed to be acceptable quite distasteful.”.

    Outside of your blog, people have opinions. Opinions which do not become invalid because you’ve arbitrarily decided that if they start a sentence in a certain manner, their opinion can be labelled according to your view on the general misogyny debate and dismissed accordingly. People have opinions and they’re going to express them however they please. I’d say become accustomed thusly (or in casual conversation: “get over it”).

  507. Stacy says

    Hmmm, who somehow gained an extra m–I’m the one who took the time to answer your question. My name is Stacy.

    If you’re for real, it was a clusterfuck and nobody wants to rehash it. Don’t take it personally. Look it up, you can find a written record.

    If you’re a troll, fuck off.

    You’re welcome.

  508. Toast says

    I completely agree that when someone is pointing out an example of misogyny, you shouldn’t try to change the subject to something else. You know who changed the subject to something else? Rebecca Watson, when she titled her blog post “Reddit Makes Me Hate Atheists.”

  509. Stacy says

    Sure, Toast. That makes perfect sense.

    Oh, wait. No, it doesn’t. It’s actually sort of a lame attempt to change the subject to Rebecca-bashing.

    What is it about her that upsets you boys so?

    (Rhetorical question. I know what it is. And I’m not terribly interested in hearing yet another attempt to dignify and rationalize it.)

    *Sorry, Greta. Insomnia. This is a one-off; won’t engage, promise.*

  510. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    I’d say become accustomed thusly (or in casual conversation: “get over it”).

    That’s fine. Just don’t be surprised when, in return, we point out that you’re acting the way a misogynist would.

    Deal?

  511. Big Murray says

    That’s fine. Just don’t be surprised when, in return, we point out that you’re acting the way a misogynist would.

    Deal?

    As long as you’re willing to admit that you’re performing the misogyny equivilent of a Godwin, then sure. “Oh, you said Yes, But. You know who else says Yes, But? Misogynists.”

    The entire blog post is a truly epic example of a logical fallacy.

  512. debbaasseerr says

    Heretta @ 600 – Ha! So many cashews.

    Some dudely denier will dive bomb into the end of a huge comments thread, manage to glean not a lick of the it – and then start belching out their parade of long-slain dragons. Hey, why not demand the author of the blog herself to personally assist you in understanding.

    Not that any link you might give would be accepted anyway.

    http://finallyfeminism101.wordpress.com/

    See you in a billion years, you’re not readin that!

  513. KvdH2 says

    Wll, td, lrnd tht dsgrng wth bnch f hghl] pnntd ppl n blg mks m nrcssst, scpth, nd wh knws wht ls? T bgn wth, ddn’t thnk tht sm ppl wh hdn’t mt th cmbrsm crtr f hvng, lk, n ctl MD r D (r, flng tht, t lst PsyD), r hvng ctll mt m n prsn, cld slp clncl lbls f psychpthlg n m wll-nll. spcll ftr th rl dctrs ‘v bn sng vr th pst fw mnths dcdd nnmsl tht ‘m nt dngr t nyn bt myslf. Np, th ppl hr n Grt’s blg dn’t t ll hv n nwrrntd crttd r thnk jst w t hghl f thmslvs. Cz chckd n th DSM nd y knw wht? Dsgrng wth th lt wh pst hr, n nd f tslf, qlfs m fr fv dffrnt dngrs mntl dsrdrs! Cm t thnk f t, shld lstn t y ppl nd nt g n nythng th psychtrc stblshmnt hs t s. Bcs, lk ll scntfc (r scnc-bsd) flds, t’s dmntd b bnch f ld wht dds wh r bvsl bsd. n fct, Jws t. Jws sm t dmnt mth nd scnc, chck t t: http://jnf.rg/ Fr xmpl, ndr th hdng “Jwsh Physcsts”: Jwsh Rcpnts f th Nbl Prz n Physcs (% f rcpnts) Jwsh Rcpnts f th Wlf Prz n Physcs (% f rcpnts) Jwsh Rcpnts f th Mx Plnck Mdll (% f rcpnts) Jwsh Rcpnts f th Drc Mdl (% f rcpnts) Jwsh Rcpnts f th Dnn Hnmn Prz fr Mthmtcl Physcs (% f rcpnts) Jwsh Rcpnts f th nrc Frm wrd (% f rcpnts) Jwsh Rcpnts f th tms fr Pc wrd (% f rcpnts) Nw tht’s knd f wrd. Jws r bscll tn prcntg f th ppltn n nrl vrywhr bt srl nd NYC. S wh r th s hgl vrrprsntd n ll ths flds? knw! “Jwsh prvlg” nd “Jwrch”. Bcs cn cllct bsd f sttstcs tht fvr Jws vr nn-Jws, sct s clrl dmntd b Jwsh nflnc! f thngs wr rll fr, ry— mn, gntls wld b wnnng ll ths przs n prprtns ql t ths n th gnrl ppltn, .., nrl ll f thm. nd dn’t vn gt m strtd n ll th Jw-dmntd ndstrs. Th snr ths mnc s wpd t, th bttr.

  514. KvdH2 says

    Nh, srsl, lk, f bsd, crfll chrr-pckd st f sttstcs fvrs Jws vr rrrrr, gntls, thn Jwsh prvlg nd Jwrch bvsl xst, jst lk ml prvlg nd ptrrch. Yr jst dnyng ths bvs fct bcs yr Jwsh sprmcst.

  515. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    As long as you’re willing to admit that you’re performing the misogyny equivilent of a Godwin, then sure. “Oh, you said Yes, But. You know who else says Yes, But? Misogynists.”

    The entire blog post is a truly epic example of a logical fallacy.

    What logical fallacy would that be? The one where human emotions and moral values come into play along with skepticism and rationality? Yes, a lot of men who are defensive about their privilege and the possibility that they themselves have added to the burden borne by marginalized people, however inadvertently, would like to think that that is a logical fallacy. But it’s not.

    You are, of course, free to change the subject however much you want whenever someone brings up misogyny.

    That IS something misogynists do, as has been shown over and over again in threads like these. Someone tries to minimize or excuse or deflect attention from the misogyny that’s being talked about. Respond to that person, ask them questions, draw them out a bit, and usually it’s someone who’s an unrepentant misogynist anti-feminist like friendly morphing troll here.

    If you WANT to help make the atheist community a more egalitarian place that is welcoming to women, not to mention racial minorities, trans men and women, and LGB folks, this here is a handy guide to follow. It’s nothing more than that. Which is why falsely claiming that there are some logical fallacies involved here raises red flags.

    Misogynists are common. Misogyny is normalized in our culture. One of the most helpful things men in particular can do to combat sexism is to de-normalize misogyny. Changing the subject whenever it comes up doesn’t help that. Taking action to differentiate yourself from misogynists and act in ways that couldn’t possibly be mistaken for casual misogyny (avoiding rape jokes and gendered slurs, for example) does. If you want to help, you’ll be appreciative of these suggestions. You’re not appreciative of these suggestions. That tells me you have things you consider more important than helping.

  516. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    What, it’s ugly and wrong headed to note that people who don’t experience bigotry on a personal basis lack data about what it’s like to experience bigotry? Okay then.

  517. num lao, sao thai says

    What, it’s ugly and wrong headed to note that people who don’t experience bigotry on a personal basis lack data about what it’s like to experience bigotry?

    Nh, t’s gl t cllct cnfrmtn-bsd st f sttstcs tht fvrs X vr nn-X, thn cll t “X prvlg”, bcs y cn vr sl stblsh “Jwsh prvlg” nd “Jwrch” wth tht vr sm rsnng. Wh r thr s mn JWSH physcsts? Wh shld th JWS gt t dmnt hw w s th nvrs? Th hv PRVLGD prspctv.

  518. opposablethumbs, que le pouce enragé mette les pouces says

    SallyStrange, I guess Greta Christina doesn’t do anything like the Mollies but if she did you would merit a whole hatfull of OMs for this thread alone. And Illuminata, debbaasseerr, EAM and several other folks as well. This thread is a chilling example of the most repugnant mansplaining and self-important derailing I’ve seen in a long time, and I take my hat off to you for having the stomach to keep dealing with it. Threats of violent rape? How could anyone want to talk about issues like this, when we have a Real PhilosopherTM to tell us what we ought to be interested in discussing listening to him discourse upon, preferably in awestruck silence. The unacceptable behaviour on reddit is not worth discussing, much less trying to counter – and it cannot possibly be part of a wider problem, because patriarchy doesn’t exist (well if the troll doesn’t perceive it, that must mean it doesn’t exist).
    Shorter comment: Thank you Sally et al.