Atheism Plus – The Site Is Here! Plus Some Updates »« #mencallmethings: “Old bag”

#mencallmethings: “whining, annoying, cunt.”

UPDATE: The “oolon” who wrote this comment is not the usual “oolon” who comments on FTB. The writer of this comment sockpuppetted the existing blogger’s ‘nym.

Comment from oolon, in the discussion on the post #mencallmethings: “Old bag”

A “derailment”? No, feminism is a derailment from a much more important topic – atheism. Whining about trolls saying sexist things? Oh, that’s really important. :|

Do you know what you are? You’re a cunt.
That’s right, you’re a CUNT.

Now, don’t pretend that I’m a sexist… I’m not saying all women are cunts. I’m not even saying most women are cunts. But someone who whines about sexist trolls is just that – a whining, annoying, cunt.

#mencallmethings

A few notes:

1: This commenter does discredit to the proud name of Oolon.

2: I hope everyone here will understand why the word “cunt” is a sexist insult. Not when used in a consensual sexual context, of course… but when aimed at women in a deliberate attempt to hurt and insult them. In case you don’t, Noadi said id very well in their reply to oolon’s comment:

No, we won’t call you a sexist because you don’t think all women are cunts. We’ll call you a sexist because you believe that reducing a woman to her genitals as an insult is acceptable behavior. You have shown yourself to believe that women, and treating them like human beings, is of little importance. That makes you a misogynistic asshole.

3: The #mencallmethings hashtag does not say #allmencallmethings, or #mostmencallmethings. If you want to learn more about the history of this hashtag and why people started using it, please read But How Do You Know It’s Sexist? The #MenCallMeThings Round-Up and Why Are You In Such A Bad Mood? #MenCallMeThings Responds! on Tiger Beatdown, where the hashtag originated. And please do not start a “but not all men are like that, so the #mencallmethings hashtag is reverse sexism!” argument. That has been addressed, at length, in the comments in the #mencallmethings: “FUCKIN HOE,” “FUCKIN FEMINAZI SLUT” post, as well as elsewhere. Please read Why “Yes, But” Is the Wrong Response to Misogyny if you’re wondering why I will not take kindly that that particular line of conversation.

4: I am getting very tired of people responding to these posts by saying things like, “Don’t give them attention. Don’t feed the trolls.” This has been addressed at length, in the #mencallmethings: “whore” comment thread, and elsewhere. (Here is a very good short video on that subject, summing up why “don’t feed the trolls” is a terrible response to sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic, or other group-based hate.) The tl;dr: This is not a few trolls trying to get attention and stir up any kind of response. This is a sustained campaign of misogyny, aimed at driving feminist women out of a community. And ignoring it does not make it go away. Ignoring it gives it tacit consent. The only way to deal with it is to point it out, and shame it, and make it clear that our community does not tolerate it. When you respond to a woman speaking out about misogyny by saying, “Don’t feed the trolls,” you are essentially telling us, “Stay silent about the misogynist shit you have to deal with on a daily basis.”

And in particular, in the context of the discussions about Atheism Plus — the proposed new wave of atheism that focuses on atheism plus social justice — it’s important to make it clear exactly why Atheism Plus is happening. There are far too many people who want to ignore the reality of sexism and misogyny in the atheist community: who want to pretend that it doesn’t exist, or that it’s not really that bad, or that it doesn’t really happen that often. I think it’s important to show people why, exactly, many of us are finding the idea of Atheism Plus so appealing. In fact, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I’m starting to get more of these kinds of comments in response to my posts about Atheism Plus, and about how atheists who care about social justice are forming a subset of the community in which this sort of hate will not be tolerated.

And finally, 5

5: As I said in the #mencallmethings: “FUCKIN HOE,” “FUCKIN FEMINAZI SLUT” post, and again in the #mencallmethings: “whore” post, and in the #mencallmethings: “Old bag” post: If anyone is still wondering why some atheists might want to carve out a subset of atheism that’s specifically focused on social justice issues — such as misogyny, rape culture, and the reality of what life is like for women on the Internet — and that’s specifically focused on making atheism more welcoming to women, people of color, and other marginalized groups — I hope this puts your questions to rest. This is Exhibit A.

Except it’s not Exhibit A. It’s more like Exhibit W. It’s more like Exhibit W (2) f (xi). I get this all the time. I get this so often, I’ve lost track. As has every other woman I know who speaks publicly about feminism.

I think that’s all from me on this for now. Thoughts?

UPDATE: There’s one more thing I want to mention: This is the fourth one of these I’ve gotten in three days. Again — all in response to discussions of misogyny, and why atheism might need a new wave that explicitly gives a damn about misogyny and other social justice issues. I don’t think that’s a coincidence.

Comments

  1. Leeloo Dallas Multipass says

    “Now, don’t pretend that I’m a sexist…”

    Hahahaha. Who’s pretending?

  2. Cafeeine says

    “Now, don’t pretend that I’m a sexist”
    Translation:
    Yes, don’t pretend you can tell me what sexism is. After all, how would a women know what sexism is. I’ll tell you where the sexism is, and its always beyond where I’m standing since I KNOW I’m not sexist.

  3. Mai says

    I read it. It’s there for the entire world to see, in print.

    How can people continue to pretend misogyny doesn’t exist among atheists?

    Come on people – I’ve been talking to you on several forums, you’ve been denying it, over and over.

    What isn’t misogynistic about oolon’s comment?

    Put your money where your mouth is, I’d like to read your response here.

  4. nohellbelowus says

    Ignoring it gives it tacit consent.

    This simply isn’t true.

    Does Richard Dawkins’ refusal to debate theists constitute tacit agreement with their views?

    No.

    You, Greta, and every other public feminist whose views are well-known could never legitimately be accused of tacit consent to misogynistic opinions, simply because you chose to ignore them.

    You may have much better things to do, for instance.

  5. Cafeeine says

    But Dawkins doesn’t ignore theists OR their views. Dawkins doesn’t do debates, because debating is a showcase for rhetoric, charisma and crowd manipulation and not factual examination of evidence. That’s a completely different scenario. Being aware of e.g. the actions taken by creationists in schools and not speaking out when you can IS akin to tacit approval.

  6. MichaelD says

    @6
    Although Richard Dawkins doesn’t debate creationists he hardly ignores them either. Also the reason for not debateing them is that he doesn’t want to give them that credibility of debating one of the most famous evolutionary biologists around. It has nothing to do with how harmful, damaging or wrong they are.

  7. nohellbelowus says

    But Dawkins doesn’t ignore theists OR their views.

    Dawkins ignores lots of theists and their views, which are expressed almost daily on his website. It’s a practical matter: he simply doesn’t have the time.

    This is the case I’m making. Ignoring something doesn’t automatically imply agreement. No disrespect to you or Greta, but the idea is ludicrous on its face.

  8. Pteryxx says

    Ignoring theists doesn’t reinforce any stereotype about theists being marginal, powerless and not worth listening to – because they’re not marginal and definitely not powerless, whether or not they actually have anything to say worth listening to. For women the opposite is true – women *are perceived as* less worthy of attention, not to mention deserving of insults and shame. Silencing their voices by unanswered misogyny reinforces that myth.

  9. nohellbelowus says

    Also the reason for not debateing them is that he doesn’t want to give them that credibility of debating one of the most famous evolutionary biologists around.

    I’m well aware of this, and the same thing could be said, to a lesser degree certainly, for Greta Christina, who has achieved a significant measure of status and fame for her public feminism.

    And rightly so, IMHO.

  10. 'Tis Himself says

    Whining about trolls saying sexist things? Oh, that’s really important. :|

    Oolon is wrong. Misogyny is important. When over half of all humans are considered less than human, that’s important. When people think they’re entitled to say harmful, hurtful things to someone because of what that person is, that’s important. This isn’t some obscure, hypothetical question. It’s not “would Batman beat Ironman in a fight” or a similar topic of interest to a few people. Sexism is a real-life problem with real-life consequences. It’s too bad people like Oolon are too wrapped up in themselves to realize this.

  11. says

    Dawkins ignores lots of theists and their views, which are expressed almost daily on his website. It’s a practical matter: he simply doesn’t have the time.

    We’re not being told to ignore a troll. We’re being told to ignore every troll. “They’re just trolls. They want attention. Don’t give that to them.”

    Your comparison to Dawkins’ behavior falls apart at that point. The equivalent would be him being told, every time he addresses a theist, “It’s just a theist. Don’t validate them with your attention.”

    Neither misogyny nor theism is going to go away on its own. They’re both systems with reinforcements and mechanisms for perpetuation built in. Those have to be challenged.

  12. Cafeeine says

    Dawkins ignores lots of theists and their views

    There’s a different between addressing an issue in broad strokes and not at an individual level and not addressing it at all. Dawkins doesn’t address every single Christian, whether well spoken of completely nuts, but does speak with and about theologians, priests, bishops and popes who represent ideally the best expressions of the Christian view. Dawkins isn’t ‘ignoring’ the individual theists, he’s dealing with them en masse.

    Now take the sexism issue. How should Greta address the broad strokes of this problem any differently than she’s already doing? She’s not making a blogpost of every sexist twit she’s subjected to, just enough to make her case. Allowing for different circumstances, she’s acting just like RD is. See, there is no organized figurehead of atheist sexists one can talk to, so she points to a small sample of behavior. But it must be dealt with, and that can’t happen by ignoring it.à

  13. nohellbelowus says

    When someone like Greta Christina has already taken great pains, and gone to great lengths, to clearly establish her position in public as a progressive, forward-thinking feminist, I personally would forgive her for skipping every misogynistic post written from here to eternity, and suggest that she instead double-down on her book-writing efforts.

    Now if we’re going to make an argument that refuting misogynists online puts money in FtB coffers, I can’t disagree (because it probably does).

    I never see that particular argument being made, however…

    ;)

  14. Cafeeine says

    What you personally would forgive is neither here nor there, and snarky comments about ulterior motives do more to characterize you than the post they intend to.

  15. Kitterbethe says

    I am so sorry Greta. For what little it is worth, I thank you for your strength and deeply regret that it is required. I love your writing (lurking since 2009!)

    re: oolon

    No, feminism is a derailment from a much more important topic – atheism.

    I am a woman and a parent of young daughters. I have a mild disability and one of my daughters will likely have the same disability. Intersectional feminism is more important TO ME than my atheism.

    I have been told I was going to hell, and that hurt.

    I have been called an entitled cunt for asking for a seat on the train. (I was seven months pregnant, having an asthma attack and having trouble retrieving my inhaler while juggling my cane.) That hurt more.

    Getting up off the train floor where I eventually had to sit hurt the most.

    I am hugely excited about A+, but I am so angry about the abuse which Greta, Jen (and others) are receiving because of it (and the abuse they were receiving before it was even suggested). I hate feeling conflicted about something I want so much. I am angry at YOU, misogynists, for making me feel this way.

  16. MichaelD says

    @12

    I guess I just view a debate you pay to see with advertising etc more validating then a blog post. If Greta was having a public paid debate about with Oolong I might be more willing to agree. I’d be fairly surprised if Dawkins had never made a tweet or blog post or something about some creationist or creationist group.

  17. mojave66 says

    A “derailment”? No, feminism is a derailment from a much more important topic – atheism.

    The A* I’m talking about. Blockquote fail, sorry.

  18. says

    When someone like Greta Christina has already taken great pains, and gone to great lengths, to clearly establish her position in public as a progressive, forward-thinking feminist, I personally would forgive her for skipping every misogynistic post written from here to eternity, and suggest that she instead double-down on her book-writing efforts.

    You’re not forgiving her for skipping them. You’re telling her what she should be doing with her time. Don’t do that.

    Now if we’re going to make an argument that refuting misogynists online puts money in FtB coffers, I can’t disagree (because it probably does).

    How much money would it take to make it worth Greta putting herself in the path of more attempted humiliation? How much would it take to make it worth continually being told that she just doesn’t count because she’s female? For that matter, how much would it take to make it worth taking time out of working on that book as you suggest?

    Whatever it would be, it isn’t what Greta will make by doing this. The suggestion is disgusting on its face. Fuck off.

    (Greta, my apologies for breaking your commenting rules.)

  19. nohellbelowus says

    We’re not being told to ignore a troll. We’re being told to ignore every troll.

    If this is the case, then obviously it’s an erroneous argument. Sometimes trolls can be quite innovative, and cleverly disguised misogynistic comments should be duly parsed and refuted, wherever possible, time permitting of course.

    I appreciate the reply, Stephanie.

    :)

  20. SallyStrange says

    No, feminism is a derailment from a much more important topic – atheism.

    This is SUCH a perfect encapsulation of male privilege in action.

    The only way a person could say this–the ONLY way!–is if that person a.) never experiences discrimination because of gender and b.) either doesn’t know or doesn’t care that other people experience discrimination because of gender.

    The fact that I’m a woman is immediately obvious, I can’t “pass” as a man. Thus the existence of gender discrimination is far more pertinent to my daily life than anti-atheist discrimination is, because I don’t have to reveal my lack of belief if I don’t want to.

    The Oppression Olympics is a stupid game anyway.

  21. ezekiel says

    If I call someone a dick, is that a derogatory term for males, as cunt is to females? Am I demeaning men and discriminating against them? Or am I just using a descriptive word?

    If somone says to me, “Don’t be a dick”, I don’t accuse them of hating men. (I might accuse them of being rude, but that’s entirely different).

    I’ve been called a cunt myself on occasion, and while I didn’t much appreciate it, I never really thought that someone was trying to reduce me to a “set of female genitals”. I just kinda assumed they really meant “contemptible person”.

    In exactly the same way, when someone calls me a dick, I’m sure they’re not actually imagining me as a penis. Of course not. What they really mean is “stupid person”.

    There are plenty of insults based around anatomy, and perhaps I’m a little slow on the uptake, but I never interpreted any of these to be literal insults against the person to whom the anatomy was attached. To me, they’ve always just been words. There isn’t any deep, Freudian meaning to calling someone a dick – it’s simply a generic insult that just rolls off the tongue, perhaps a little too easily oftentimes, but nevertheless.

    Calling a woman a cunt or a dick is no different (imho) to calling a man a cunt or a dick. And if you think there *is* a difference, then I might suggest that **IN SOME CASES** you may be reading more into it than is actually there. This is not to dismiss the obvious hate and garbage, btw. I’m just saying that it’s *possible* that some percentage of these insults are not intended to assault your gender, but are simply the product of someone incapable of a coherent argument resorting to a more familiar vernacular. Of course, it’s still not necessary, but it’s also not guaranteed to be a conscious gender-based slur.

    Now, having said that, of course no-one wants to be called these things. Furthermore, I’m not suggesting that you “do nothing” about it either.

    But making blog post after blog post about all the names that people are calling you seems to me to be a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy. I mean, instead of drawing attention to it and giving these idiots their 15 minutes of fame, why not just delete it, block it, ban it or whatever, and move on? At some point they’ll get tired of creating fake accounts and just be done with it. Because I can almost guarantee that it takes longer for them to create a fake account than it does for you to hit the delete button and flush them down the metaphorical toilet.

    I wouldn’t suggest you ignore it and just leave it stinking up the thread, but I utterly fail to see how moving to a new blog will prevent this from happening again. Is it somehow not possible to delete comments from FTB blogs? Does a mechanism not exist whereby you can clean up after people, or block them from entering? Will there be a waiting period while applications are approved? Will new members need to be “sponsored” by existing members, in a sort of Masonic acceptance process? I just don’t see these measures fostering a useful, welcoming, accessible community.

    And what’s to prevent people from just signing up for a new atheistplus.com account every time they want to say something nasty? And why can’t you implement those exact same features here?

    If this is indeed, as you say, “…a sustained campaign of misogyny, aimed at driving feminist women out of a community”, then they have won. AtheismPlus is nothing more than a white flag and a retreat to temporary safety, while the trolls regroup.

    Now I’ll just sit back and watch what I just wrote be taken completely out of context…

  22. LeftSidePositive says

    @27: Your willful ignorance is really, really cute. Now stop wasting our time and go away.

  23. 'Tis Himself says

    ezekiel,

    Using the word “cunt” has been discussed to death and far beyond at FtB. Please do some research before you comment on it.

    And your concern is noted.

  24. Kitterbethe says

    ezekiel @27

    I don’t really like the use of the word dick or other gender based insults, but I would argue that it IS different to cunt.

    1) The situations are not symmetrical because the position and power of men and women is not equal.

    2) As you said yourself, cunt and dick don’t carry the same connotations, although I would argue that dick means something closer to arrogant or abrasive than “stupid.

    “arrogant/abrasive” is simply not as marginalising as “contemptible” and it is NOT A COINCIDENCE that the female coded term carries the more marginalising meaning.

    If they are just words to you, fine, but they are NOT just words to me. I matter as much as you do.

    Also it doesn’t matter whether or not a gender-based slur is “conscious”, because intent isn’t magic.

    Also, your victim blaming is NOT helpful. Ignoring this stuff does not work and even if it did, you don’t get to choose what Greta does about these comments. Please do Greta the respect of assuming that the she has evaluated and rejected the suggestion that she should
    “just delete it, block it, ban it or whatever”. Especially given that SHE TOLD YOU THAT SHE HAS.

  25. says

    oolon is not a fake account made for the purposes of insulting Greta. Nor is it the first ‘nym I’ve recognized from the #mencallmethings posts. These are people who otherwise claim to be engaged in serious conversation.

  26. says

    If anybody is interested in learning what kind of person nohellbelowus is, I would recommend checking out his behavior in the recent Thunderdome thread. He is… not as well-intentioned as he is trying to pretend here. I’ve linked to a few of my “favorite” examples below:

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2012/08/25/thunderdome-3/comment-page-1/#comment-440755
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2012/08/25/thunderdome-3/comment-page-1/#comment-440824
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2012/08/25/thunderdome-3/comment-page-1/#comment-441209

  27. Tony •King of the Hellmouth• says

    Greta:
    Do you get vile emails and twitter comments and blog comments like this on a regular basis? If so, I’m sorry. You shouldn’t have to deal with people treating you like this.

  28. Todd Armstrong says

    Spot on, Greta. When I was very much younger I used to say I was embarrassed to be human, because of the horrors some perpetrated. Now, it can be embarrassing to be male.

  29. nohellbelowus says

    I’m sorry you’re hurt, Anne, but instead of being FtB’s resident stalker, can you simply reply to the arguments being made?

    Thanks!

  30. Tony •King of the Hellmouth• says

    ezekiel:
    Re: Gendered insults
    May I please direct you here:

    http://morewomeninskepticism.wordpress.com/2011/08/09/27-gendered-insults/

    Female gendered insults remind women that traditionally their role is to provide sex and offspring to males. They portray “woman” and “vagina” as interchangeable, and the global culture right now is one with high sexual objectification of women and very low political agency of women. Calling a woman a “cunt” or “twat” or “bitch” reduces her to the parts of her body that men have found useful throughout the millennia. Calling a woman a “vagina” may be more scientific or polite, but it accomplishes the same thing. Calling a man by these terms is an insult to women because it acknowledges the power differential; it insults him by putting him in the lower class and insults women by labeling them the lower class.

    The use of gendered insults is wrong.

  31. says

    nohellbelowus,

    I’m sorry you’re hurt, Anne, but instead of being FtB’s resident stalker, can you simply reply to the arguments being made?

    Thanks!

    Okay, sure. As a #manwhocallswomenthings, your arguments that women should just ignore it when #mencallusthings and that it’s a waste of time for us to point it out are self-serving, and your attempts to conceal your self-servingness behind faux concern for the value of Greta’s time are disingenuous. Also, you personally are a disgusting little shitnozzle of an creepy, uncreative troll.

    Do you like that better?

  32. nohellbelowus says

    Do you like that better?

    Well… let’s just say it’s an improvement, Anne.

    As always, practice makes perfect. Keep trying!

  33. says

    As always, practice makes perfect. Keep trying!

    Really? Because the quality of your trolling isn’t improving at all.

    In any case, I don’t think Greta wants her comments threads turned into Thunderdome East, so I’m gonna stop talking to you here now. My point has been made for anyone in the thread who isn’t a disingenuous little creep like you.

  34. Tony •King of the Hellmouth• says

    nohellbelowus:

    When someone like Greta Christina has already taken great pains, and gone to great lengths, to clearly establish her position in public as a progressive, forward-thinking feminist, I personally would forgive her for skipping every misogynistic post written from here to eternity, and suggest that she instead double-down on her book-writing efforts.

    You think Greta should spend more time doing things you approve of rather than things you don’t like?
    Yeah. Ok, but no.
    I think it’s up to Greta to determine how she spends her time.

  35. keith says

    Amazing.

    Of course people can be atheists AND feminists. Or atheists and pro-choice. Or atheists and .

    Not only is calling women like Greta appalling names disrespectful, misogynistic, and hateful, it does a disservice to the larger atheist cause.

    One of the strengths of Christianity is that one can be catholic, lutheran, whatever and ALSO be socially aware. (yes, you can also be a conservative, illiterate idiot… ). Religion and social awareness are not oxymorons, neither should atheism and social causes. Given an appropriate rational basis for socially progressive causes, I would argue that rational, atheistic principles lend themselves nicely to these causes.

    Plus it is good for the movement. There are only so many people who are going to be inspired by the intellectual arguments for or against the existence of god. Many more people are going to find inspiration in a complete life philosophy.

    To argue that women and the men who support, and their concerns are in any way detrimental to the larger movement that is atheism is insane.

  36. nohellbelowus says

    My point has been made for anyone in the thread who isn’t a disingenuous little creep like you.

    So we’re square, then? I don’t want you to go away mad.

  37. nohellbelowus says

    You think Greta should spend more time doing things you approve of rather than things you don’t like?

    When you generalize like this, you create a strawman.

    No, I don’t want Greta to do what I approve of.

    Yes, I do think responding to vacuous trolls, time and time again, is a waste of her time.

  38. Greta Christina says

    ezekiel: This question of the difference between using “cunt” as an insult and “dick” as an insult has been addressed, many times. If you’re genuinely puzzled and not simply trolling or JAQing off, please take to the Atheism Plus educational forum — now active — where introductory questions will receive civil responses.

    (Regulars: Please note that you can now do this when you get 101-level questions! Yay!)

    nohellbelowus: I do not take kindly to being told where I should and should not focus my writing time and energy. Especially when I’m being told to take it away from pointing out misogyny — as has been happening a lot in the last few days. And I do not take kindly to other people moderating my blog for me. Improve your manners, or leave. Thank you.

  39. Greta Christina says

    Do you get vile emails and twitter comments and blog comments like this on a regular basis?

    Tony •King of the Hellmouth• @ #33: Yes. It’s been more so in the past few days, though. Since I’ve (a) been pointing it out more, and (b) writing about Atheism Plus. Funny coincidence, isn’t it?

    If so, I’m sorry. You shouldn’t have to deal with people treating you like this.

    Thanks. I appreciate that. And thanks to everyone who has been decent and supportive about this stuff. It helps immensely.

  40. A. Noyd says

    Cafeeine (#16)

    [Greta's] not making a blogpost of every sexist twit she’s subjected to, just enough to make her case. Allowing for different circumstances, she’s acting just like RD is.

    That interview Dawkins did with Wendy Wright of Concerned Women for America comes to mind. He directly addressed her claims, like how there are no transitional fossils, and used it in a TV program.

    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~

    nohellbelowus (#44)

    Yes, I do think responding to vacuous trolls, time and time again, is a waste of her time.

    Then stop wasting her time and get lost.

  41. Greta Christina says

    Yes, I do think responding to vacuous trolls, time and time again, is a waste of her time.

    nohellbelowus @ #44: “Don’t feed the trolls” as a response to women pointing out examples of misogyny is an idea which has been addressed, many times. If you’re genuinely puzzled and not simply trolling or JAQing off, please take it to the Atheism Plus educational forum — now active — where introductory questions will receive civil responses. We do not want to discuss it again here.

    (Regulars: Please note that you can now do this when you get 101-level questions! Yay!)

  42. hypatiasdaughter says

    Hmmm, if atheism is just a “personal belief there are no god(s)”, then is all the stuff atheist groups are doing “a derailment”? Things like putting up atheist/anti-religious billboards; fighting to take down prayer banners or the 10 commandments out of courtrooms; raising money and running Camp Quest?
    All this community activism never seems to be an issue with people who get bent out of shape about “feminism” being a “derailment”.
    And this is not about atheist groups/blogs fighting sexism in society as a whole – it is about fighting it within the atheist community.
    Stomping cockroaches in my own kitchen, to keep my house from becoming infested, doesn’t mean I plan to become a professional exterminator.

  43. nohellbelowus says

    Yes, Ma’am.

    BTW… All my hard-working acquaintances in the business of providing sexual services for men say “Hi Greta! Love you!”.

  44. keith says

    @hypatiasdaughter #49

    Exactly my point.

    Feminism is a really important cause. As a guy I had no idea that women received this kind of insult with regularity. We need to stop this by standing up and making people take note, in the same way every other minority group has done, and LBGTs and atheists are still doing.

    The discouraging thing is that women have already had to do this just to gain the vote, break the glass ceiling, obtain equal pay, and obtain the right to control their own bodies. Sadly, most of these are ongoing fights. Plus of course women are not a minority.

    What is wrong with people who thing that this is ok?

    Greta (and Jen, and Stephanie, and others) keep up the good work. I am certainly much more aware of this issue, and I will definitely try and see what I can do to get involved and help. FWIW, you do have my thanks and support in your efforts.

  45. jhendrix says

    I wonder how much of this is like a compound effect? People who fight back against the misogyny/racism/bigotry/etc just entice more to come out of the woodwork since it takes nothing to come and comment, get banned, and then do it all over again.

    I guess the question I’ve got is how many of the people making these kinds of really stupid comments were your average “I go read FTB every few days” that then see’s the posts about feminism or the equality goals of A+, and then decide that “Oh fuck this, not my atheist movement!” and make with the slurs?

  46. says

    [Meta]

    Greta, I am having trouble finding your commenting rules. I had wanted to refer to them when deciding how to respond to NHBU and had a fail on finding them. So I just went with what felt right, but I have a feeling that I may have gone a bit more Thunderdome on him that I really should have. Would you (or someone else) mind linking me to them? Apologies if they’re super obvious and I’m looking right through them.

  47. keith says

    Jhendrix,

    Pretty sad don’t you think? If occasional readers and lurkers (like me) feel inspired to delurk and say hateful things, what does that say about the people involved? That they cannot say anything positive, or contribute to a conversation in any way until they decide to chime in by dehumanizing somebody?

    I would say that the larger atheist movement is probably better off without them.

  48. Greta Christina says

    Greta, I am having trouble finding your commenting rules.

    Anne C. Hanna @ #54: My comment policy is here. I’ve also finally put a link to it in the sidebar. I’ve been meaning to do that for a while, and just kept putting it off. My bad.

  49. Ing says

    When someone like Greta Christina has already taken great pains, and gone to great lengths, to clearly establish her position in public as a progressive, forward-thinking feminist, I personally would forgive her for skipping every misogynistic post written from here to eternity, and suggest that she instead double-down on her book-writing efforts.

    I can confirm that Nohellbelowus IS one of those sort of guys who calls people things. Case example of concern trolling.

  50. says

    Is oolong confirmed as a man?

    Considering the way oolong responded about being a sexist, I’m going to say it’s probably a yes. However, even if oolong turns out to be a woman, the only thing to change would be the hashtag, oolong is still a sexist ass and is still harassing Greta.

  51. says

    This is the fourth one of these I’ve gotten in three days. Again — all in response to discussions of misogyny, and why atheism might need a new wave that explicitly gives a damn about misogyny and other social justice issues. I don’t think that’s a coincidence.

    Oh, it’s no coincidence — they’re doing this because you’re speaking out about this behavior, and they want to shut you up.

    That means you’re doing something right, Greta.

    FWIW, you have my support and my thanks. Please continue to speak up and speak out and shine the light on these misogynistic bastards.

  52. Chris says

    Nohellbelowus really does appear to be trolling for all he’s worth. I checked out the links provided by Anne. Wow. His willful belligerence is the kind of thing that I imagine Atheism+ addressing head on. This is the first time in ten years that I’ve weighed in on commenters like nohellbelowus. It feels as though I’ve stepped into the CNN comment section(or YouTube). He offers a parody of rational discourse, and mercilessly jabs at commenters like Anne, inserting thinly veiled misogyny, disrespect, and blatant sexual overtones. I am speaking out now because I sense a sea change in the atheist movement, and his overall tenure is completely antithetical to its mission statement as I understand it. He would suggest simply ignoring his comments. His somewhat prolific nature makes that rather difficult.

    On a more positive note: Greta, thank you for your tireless dedication and your awesome contributions within the atheist community. Your writing has expanded my consciousness in ways that I could not have imagined. You’ve helped make me a better person and I sincerely apologize if I have overstepped my bounds.

  53. nohellbelowus says

    His somewhat prolific nature makes that rather difficult.

    Yes, prissy Chrissy, you sound like the kind of guy that might be challenged by the scroll wheel.

    The down-arrow key is another option for you.

    Or, we could have a private conversation offline, and I could explain why you’re such an ignorant dweeb.

    Lemme know.

  54. Greta Christina says

    Re nohellbelowus @ #63: And that’s it. nohellbelowus has been banned. If he replies again using another IP address, please do not respond: I’ll ban him again as soon as I see it.

  55. Hunt says

    You know, I’m beginning to wonder what role alcohol plays in these meltdowns, since oolon appeared to be rational elsewhere and at other times. I’m not trying to parlay that into a “ignore the trolls” thing, indeed, I’m beginning to think it might be a useful method to winnow these people out, kind of like when the movie The Thing they tested people for tooth cavities to tell if they were human. We could set up a discussion blog were a requirement before commenting would be to drink five ounces of alcohol.

  56. Pteryxx says

    Hunt: that’s presuming that these misogynist trolls are normally reasonable and only melt down because of a lapse of judgement. They really aren’t. Sounding reasonable while poisoning discussion is a tactic these types use to take advantage of the presumption of good faith. When they drop the nice act, most likely they choose to do so. Note that nohellbelowus was carrying on being surface-reasonable here, on a different blog, AFTER spewing blatant hate on Thunderdome.

    Alcohol doesn’t somehow insert misogyny into a basically reasonable person. That’s one of the myths contributing to dismissal of acquaintance rape, which is why I’m calling it out rather hard.

  57. Anon says

    British people are exempt. They use words like cunt and twat and prick all the time and it’s not gender specific.

    Also here is a real problem. The prevelance of Aspergers in the Skeptic community. The endless browbeating of what is right! The reduced empathy of not realising that you’re a weird obsessive, obsessing about a topic.

    Also the internet has a lack of empathy all of it’s own. That’s why aspies use it a lot because they want to communicate without having the stress of not being able to read people’s facial reactions. However they also tend to explode emotionally when people disagree with them. And they don’t concede that they are being an asshole when doing so.

    Also Atheist + is like hating the Judean people’s front. Also it’s demanding social exclusion of people. Some of those people will rage at those that offer a difference of opinion and will get them excluded, perhaps because they are friends with event runners or perhaps they have the weight of being a female. That person will be believed because the aspies that are involved can’t make the correct judgemnet calls, or they are just overwhelmed by the pessure.

    If you take up the banner of social justice then you may be no different to any cult that also takes up a positive banner like racial integration by the people’s temple, clearing the planet of problems by scientologists or being nice to people like Christians. All will bully and exclude those that don’t meet their goals. Them and Us, with the ‘Us’ a confused, obssesive rabble.

  58. carpenterman says

    If it means anything, this whole mess is helping someone. Me.
    I’ve never been overtly sexist. I always thought I treated women as equals. But reading these posts has made me take a harder look at attitudes I’ve always held and assumptions I’ve always made. And I realize that some things I’ve said and thought in my life that I thought were O.K. are maybe… not. Not mean, not cruel, just… not cool. Not truly how you’d treat a genuinely equal, fully qualified human being. Not really. I’ve never been a troll, but I may have walked under the bridge a few times.
    So I’m trying to change. When you, or Jen McCreight, or Ophilia Benson speak on the subject, I try to really listen, not just assume I already know what you’re talking about. I don’t think I need to completely re-invent myself; but maybe I could use an upgrade. And I’ll try to teach the lessons I learn to my two sons.
    I’m trying, Ms. Christina. Honest.

  59. Hunt says

    British people are exempt. They use words like cunt and twat and prick all the time and it’s not gender specific.

    Even if that were the case, you mean British people are exempt only in that manner of usage. But even in that, not targeting only women with “cunt” isn’t a green light to use it, since there’s a whole boatload of other reasons it’s offensive, as there is for calling women dicks, or mentally handicapped people “retards,” etc.

    From the rest of your comment, I think you may be a candidate for the 101 level discussion. Don’t take it as an insult. In many respects, I think I am as well.

  60. says

    Carpenterman

    If it means anything, this whole mess is helping someone. Me.

    During the past year, I’ve completely lost count of the number of people who’ve come forward and said something like that. Showing just how much what Greta, Ophelia, PZ, Jen, Stephanie, Rebecca etc. etc are doing is needed. And, more importantly, just how much it’s working. So yes, it means a lot, and thank you for sharing.

    And Greta, I’m another long term fan who’s sick to death of what you have to put up with. On behalf of the now better educated and more aware men everywhere, thank you, thank you, thank you.

  61. Daniel Dingeldein says

    #mencallmethings: Strong, sexy, vibrant, outspoken, diligent, wise, nice, smart, funny, brave, outgoing, friendly, pleasant, confident, beautiful, cheerful, intelligent, gracious, kind, honest, trustworthy, helpful, creative, grateful, entertaining, sweet, comical, amusing, brilliant, sociable, enjoyable, pleasing, happy, humorous, jolly, witty, cute, joyful, radiant, generous, personable, engaging, lovable, loving, precious, giving, talented, lively, bright, energetic, active, bold, understanding, determined……………… What this man calls you!

  62. smhll says

    Calling a woman a cunt or a dick is no different (imho) to calling a man a cunt or a dick. And if you think there *is* a difference, then I might suggest that **IN SOME CASES** you may be reading more into it than is actually there. This is not to dismiss the obvious hate and garbage, btw. I’m just saying that it’s *possible* that some percentage of these insults are not intended to assault your gender, but are simply the product of someone incapable of a coherent argument resorting to a more familiar vernacular.

    While I think you have a bit of a point in the latter part of your paragraph about careless usage not being particularly thoughtful, rather just being a word that drops out, I call complete and utter bullshit on your first sentence (in the above section).

    Do you see no difference between calling a woman a pussy and calling a man a pussy? I think calling a man a pussy strongly suggests he is effeminate.

    Do you honestly think that slur words like c-nt and n-gg-r aren’t hurtful putdowns that hurt by design because they express that other people are inferior (and perhaps not really human)? Or are you just wiggling and contorting really hard rhetorically to score a point? I find it stunning that you don’t know that dick is a minor word that is somewhat equivalent to “irritating” whereas cunt tends to imply “horrendous”?

    I can’t even imagine what it is like to exist in the unslur-able bubble of being a white man.

  63. smhll says

    Sorry, Greta, I was threadrupt. Please feel free to delete my post if you feel it doesn’t add anything to the topic.

  64. says

    kind of like when the movie The Thing they tested people for tooth cavities to tell if they were human

    Oh, crap. Well, now I know why I feel like a space alien so much of the time — I really *am* one.

  65. says

    In a certain context, this stuff is not hard to understand. Somebody might indeed have a big nose, but it’s still an insult to call them Big Nose. I might call a family member a bitch, but if I hear you call the same person a bitch, there might be a problem. Somehow, certain words are hotwired to make people forget the basics.

  66. ezekiel says

    67:
    “British people are exempt. They use words like cunt and twat and prick all the time and it’s not gender specific.”

    Well said. I’d wager that 90% of the time these words are used, they are not used as a deliberately gender specific slur. If people want to read that into it, then imho you need some 101-level (sic) cross-cultural education.

    Here’s a good place to start:

    http://www.peevish.co.uk/slang/

    That said, I think I’m done with FTB and Atheism+. I’m just going to crawl back into my bigoty little cave and let the highbrow academia in the Ivory Tower of Atheism+ solve all the worlds problems for me.

    I’ll be on Twitter, doing what atheists do, without any of the sanctimonious bullshit or community blessings.

    I’m Atheist Less.

    Cheers.

  67. UnknownEric says

    I agree with Carpenterman and Stephen T. I came to this community because of the disgusting misogynist response to Rebecca Watson, and I stay here because I want to learn. I don’t want to be a blinkered white guy, saying, “Well, I don’t see it, therefore it’s not true.”

  68. says

    Chris:

    inserting thinly veiled misogyny, disrespect, and blatant sexual overtones.

    I’d dispute that there’s any veil there at all.

    Hunt, alcohol doesn’t make anyone say misogynist things. It simply removes the wall of inhibition between the brain and the mouth. I rather doubt, for example, that Mel Gibson isn’t a misogynist, racist anti-semite when he’s sober.

    Anon, you’re a Poe, right?

    Ezekiel, that the words are used differently in UK slang than in US slang doesn’t obviate the fact that you’re still using female genitalia as an insult.

  69. oolon says

    How the fuck did oolon manage to sockpuppet me here too!

    I got one on Thunderf00ts blog at about the same time – I thought it was great as I’d obviously been annoying them quite a bit! I underestimated how much I annoyed them… At least it was not a rape threat using my nym :-D

    http://thunderf00tdotorg.wordpress.com/2012/08/26/a-atheism-plus-for-a-third-glorious-age-of-total-agreement/#comment-10905

    BTW I’m able to laugh as I am completely anonymous here… I was unsure if I should be or not — this fricken justifies it! The slimepitters really are a low bunch as they do this sort of thing to people using their own names.

    So in short — IT WASN’T ME!!! Honest… Err can Greta look at IPs as I’m sure some people will not believe me…

  70. Greta Christina says

    How the fuck did oolon manage to sockpuppet me here too!

    I got one on Thunderf00ts blog at about the same time – I thought it was great as I’d obviously been annoying them quite a bit! I underestimated how much I annoyed them… At least it was not a rape threat using my nym :-D

    http://thunderf00tdotorg.wordpress.com/2012/08/26/a-atheism-plus-for-a-third-glorious-age-of-total-agreement/#comment-10905

    BTW I’m able to laugh as I am completely anonymous here… I was unsure if I should be or not — this fricken justifies it! The slimepitters really are a low bunch as they do this sort of thing to people using their own names.

    So in short — IT WASN’T ME!!! Honest… Err can Greta look at IPs as I’m sure some people will not believe me…

    oolon # @80: Confirmed. Happy to have the good name of Oolon restored. Damn, though — that’s low.

  71. oolon says

    It is a good lesson in privilege for me – I feel perfectly happy ridiculing their crazyness on Thunderf00ts blog and the invective sent back my way is easily brushed off. If I was not anonymous or part of a minority group where such actions could lead to real danger for me I’d probably feel very very different about it.

    In the meantime here’s me really happy that my piss taking has annoyed them to this level. Thunderf00t decided to try and slap me down saying I was obsessive in my ‘defending FtBs’! I did point out that pretty much all his output has been about damning FtBs for the last few months so he is in no position to call me obsessive :-)

  72. says

    Oh, blargh, that’s disgusting.

    oolon has been commenting at my place for awhile, and I thought yesterday’s unpleasantness was strange. Glad to have that confirmed.

  73. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    During the past year, I’ve completely lost count of the number of people who’ve come forward and said something like that. Showing just how much what Greta, Ophelia, PZ, Jen, Stephanie, Rebecca etc. etc are doing is needed. And, more importantly, just how much it’s working. So yes, it means a lot, and thank you for sharing.

    co-signed. And this is how we know that the ‘atheism less’ bigots are losing this fight. They know it too. That’s why the excuses, justiciations and lies are getting more obvious and desperate.

  74. bjartefoshaug says

    Re. the stupid objection that these are just people “trolling on the internet” and we should all just ignore them, I can’t resist quoting that queen of awesomeness Desiree Schell from Imagine No Religion 2:

    I could try to tell myself that this was all just an internet phenomenon: that people say things online that they never would in real life – which is true. But they do think it for at least long enough to write it down. Real people were thinking this; Real people that go to Skeptics in the Pub, or The Amazing Meeting, or atheist conferences; Real people that I would possibly meet, and in the absence of twitter names on people’s name tags, I’d have to think “So, is this one of the people who said that since she wouldn’t be uncomfortable about being hit on in an elevator, that no one is allowed to feel that way?”, or “Is this one of the people that thought Rebecca deserved to be raped?”

    Not only are real people thinking this stuff, but they actually find it worth saying in public. With the possible exception of a having a gun to the head, I can’t think of a single reason anyone might consider the propagation of such toxic memes a worthwhile activity that doesn’t make him/her the scum of the universe.

  75. says

    Anon (@67)

    Also here is a real problem. The prevelance of Aspergers in the Skeptic community. The endless browbeating of what is right! The reduced empathy of not realising that you’re a weird obsessive, obsessing about a topic.

    There’s nothing wrong with being weird and obsessive, there just comes a point when the obsessing gets unhealthy and starts bothering other people. That’s when you need to sit down, shut up, and derail the obsession-train.

    Also the internet has a lack of empathy all of it’s own. That’s why aspies use it a lot because they want to communicate without having the stress of not being able to read people’s facial reactions.

    I have that same issue, but ya know what? You can learn to read basic facial expressions, and making the effort (even if you misinterpret) is appreciated. Hell, I’ve asked people to clarify because I can’t “read” them!

    However they also tend to explode emotionally when people disagree with them. And they don’t concede that they are being an asshole when doing so.

    And that, right there, is unacceptable behavior. If you must melt down, please take it elsewhere, like the Thunderdome. Or your own blog. Just not here.

    Also it’s demanding social exclusion of people.

    No, it is demanding a minimum behavioral standard. It is not “exclusion” to say, “this behavior is unacceptable” and to enforce the behavioral standards of the community, when the behavior in question is having a very real impact, and harming other people (in this case, the behavior is misogyny, and the ones being harmed are women).

    Some of those people will rage at those that offer a difference of opinion

    It is not a difference of opinion, this is about HARMFUL BEHAVIOR, and some people refusing to recognize that the behavior is harmful and insisting on continuing it.

  76. Me says

    “No, feminism is a derailment from a much more important topic – atheism.”

    If converting everyone in the world to atheism still leaves me subjected to the kind of misogyny that is advocated by those religions, what the fuck good is it to me?

    Sorry, but in my universe, atheism is only as important as the benefits of promoting atheism and being atheist bring to the human race. If those benefits are negligible, then why should I care if you believe in a god or not? It would literally make no difference to me.

  77. lee says

    So I have a question that I always think about when I hear about the word ‘cunt’ being used negatively. Background: I’m a female and a feminist. Cunt is the only swearword I don’t use (although I actually find it sexy as hell when referring to, y’know, the actual body part). But I always wonder– why isn’t (or is, in your opinion) dick a similar caliber insult? Calling someone a dick is also reducing them to their body parts. But it’s not nearly as offensive. You’re educated in this far more than I am– do you have any guesses as to why? It’s been bugging me for awhile. Thanks.

  78. Greta Christina says

    lee @ #90: This question has been answered upthread. If those explanations don’t answer your questions, you can pose it at the Atheism+ educational forum, where introductory questions will receive civil responses. Thanks.

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