It’s time to stop defaming our boys »« Man mansplains that men also mansplain to men. Another man mansplains why

The famously fluffy and friendly Friday open thread

As far as I can work out, there are currently arguments still ongoing on four different threads on this blog, which may be a record.

I’m not sure you all really need somewhere else to argue, but since we haven’t had a new open thread for a couple of weeks I figured we should have a new one. Here you can drift as far off topic as you like, (since topic is there none) or raise any issues or points of interest that you’d  like to share with me or  the rest of the world.

Since there are so many arguments elsewhere, you may wish to keep this fluffy and friendly and post links to pictures of your kittens.  Or you can just call each other fucking idiots as usual.

So what’s on yer minds folks?

 

Comments

  1. Ally Fogg says

    Lebron came back to Ohio.

    Is that a good thing or a bad thing?

    Talking of Ohio, I was amused by the story in which Google have made Drowned in Sou nd remove images of album covers including Ohio by Lambchop

    http://expressmilwaukee.com/imgs/hed/art5489widea.jpg

    and Med Sud by SIgur Ros

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/7/7b/Sigur_Ros_Album_Cover.jpg

    Both of which are somewhere amid the piles of CDs lying around my house, where my children could pick them up at any time, thereby exposing themselves to this obscene pornography.

    Not for the first time, I learn I am a terrible parent

  2. Edward Gemmer says

    As far as Lebron, it’s a great thing if you live in Ohio. Not sure of a great soccer equivalent, but say Lionel Messi more or less said he loves Argentina and he is going to play professionally in whatever league they have in Argentina.

    I used to have CDs lying around the house but I ended up pitching all the cases so such a thing is foreign to me now (and proof of my awesome parenting)

  3. 123454321 says

    I don’t see too much wrong with those album covers – one’s just a rough cartoon image with little detail and the other is just some bums.

    Although, with all the recent awareness of child pornography I’m surprised that that Nirvana CD album cover is still deemed acceptable as I’m sure that would be frowned upon these days.

  4. Carnation says

    The Blind Faith album is the most famous/infamous. And possibly it’s indicative of the times, if you’re Neil Lyndon.

    In other news, did anyone see the simply hilarious Elam fail when he challenged an internet radio comedian to debate him? He couldn’t have failed any harder if he tried. It was simply priceless.

  5. says

    Well Ally, as you invited me to mention it on this thread…

    What about the issue of censorship in the mainstream media? Somewhat hidden from the public eye (unless an individual writes in on anything controversial) the mainstream media delete comments that are not within a fairly narrow spectrum of what is deemed ‘acceptable’.

    The effects of the mainstream media censoring what is allowed and isn’t allowed run deep. They create an illusion of the world that is not true. This results in public opinion being manipulated towards a politically correct (but false) reality. It is also, I believe, partly why we have this bizarre partisan democratic setup where people are, say, ‘Tory’ or ‘Labour’ yet both parties are really saying the same thing in a different way. Anyone who thinks outside of the partisan Left/Right box is then classed as a politically incorrect dissident.

    So I guess some of the questions are:

    - Should mainstream media outlets, who are hugely instrumental in manipulating public opinion, be deleting politically incorrect comments?
    - Should the mainstream media give more of a voice to British political dissidents who, under politically correct dogma, should not be allowed to have a platform? (e.g. letting them write an article, airspace for unPC TV documentaries and so on).
    - How could the media be stopped from deleting politically incorrect comments? (e.g. legislation, voluntary agreement or a technical solution for preventing censorship).
    - Is current legislation that prevents free speech an issue? The government have passed numerous pieces of anti-free speech legislation such as criminalising ‘racist speech’, ‘terrorist training manuals’, ‘glorification of terrorism’ and more recently ‘paedophile manuals’ are to be criminalised which many expect will lead to criminalising ‘glorification of paedophilia’ – making criticising the age of consent effectively illegal. Even just ‘being annoying’ is illegal (there was a chap protesting with a mega phone who got done for it).

  6. Jacob Schmidt says

    The government have passed numerous pieces of anti-free speech legislation such as criminalising ‘racist speech’, ‘terrorist training manuals’, ‘glorification of terrorism’ and more recently ‘paedophile manuals’ are to be criminalised which many expect will lead to criminalising ‘glorification of paedophilia’ – making criticising the age of consent effectively illegal.

    I think its telling that you apparently can’t think of a way to criticize age of consent without glorifying paedophilia.

  7. says

    @Jacob Schmidt

    “I think its telling that you apparently can’t think of a way to criticize age of consent without glorifying paedophilia.”

    If an argument for the age of consent being wrong is that paedophilia is glorious then making ‘glorifying paedophilia’ illegal makes it impossible to present the whole argument. I’m not saying whether or not that is the main argument or if it’s a valid argument but if it is then it is important that it can be said – you can’t pre-judge an argument you haven’t heard. So don’t even try.

    In any case, any such law will almost certainly be very broad and vague in scope so any criticism could come under its radar (or, at least, no one would dare criticise the age of consent lest they spend the rest of their days in prison).

    It sounds like you don’t support free speech. Or is it just free speech for you and not for others?

  8. redpesto says

    The return of the lesser-spotted ‘male feminist’?

    The ‘Yes, men *can* be feminists’ debate, part #67847636: Katie McDonough and Mary Elizabeth Williams in Salon, partly in response to this piece in the NYT and Pharrell’s interview (on C4 News?). Incidentally, Ally himself gets a mention in dispatches. That said, a statment like Katelyn Hilsenbeck and Rebecca Gaulke’s “If you’re male and not a feminist, you’re not helping.” isn’t really helping: it’s the logic of the zealot that regards anyone else who doesn’t share their view as (to put it politely) an ‘un-believer’.

  9. mildlymagnificent says

    I thought Hilsenbeck and Gaulke did a reasonable job of talking about men offering to do what they can to help women without coming across as white knights saving us from our own weakness and vulnerability. I did like the kitestring set up. https://www.kitestring.io/

    People don’t have to be paranoid about always, always, always checking in with buddies or relatives when they go out and when they do – or don’t – come home if they’ve got this for the times when it does seem wiser to have someone in the background. Having a system that lets you do things spontaneously – like go for a walk at midnight when the weather’s nice – rather than always being cautious, regimented, forewarned, forearmed is a good thing. Flatmates, parents and others can happily go on a list of people who will only ever be contacted if the woman misses a scheduled check-in with the system … without having to ring up and make arrangements every time the woman in question wants to go out for a coffee or running or any other kind of outing.

  10. John Morales says

    holocaust21, you amuse me with your rancour over such a triviality as comments on “mainstream media” sites.

    That you imagine that any such sites are obliged to post any given third-party comment submitted else they be censoring is quaint, but that you further imagine that contravenes societal free speech is precious.

  11. John Morales says

    redpesto @9, your feminist-watching hobby’s connotations aside, you make an unsupported (and unconvincing) claim:

    That said, a statment like Katelyn Hilsenbeck and Rebecca Gaulke’s “If you’re male and not a feminist, you’re not helping.” isn’t really helping: it’s the logic of the zealot that regards anyone else who doesn’t share their view as (to put it politely) an ‘un-believer’.

    (Perhaps you’re confusing the claim with “if you’re not with us, you’re against us”)

  12. Jacob Schmidt says

    I’m not saying whether or not that is the main argument or if it’s a valid argument but if it is then it is important that it can be said – you can’t pre-judge an argument you haven’t heard. So don’t even try.

    Nah, I’m entirely happy saying that any argument incorporating the supposed glory of fucking children is a stupid, contemptible argument.

    (Incidentally, I can judge an argument knowing only the conclusion, not to mention knowing one of the premises.)

  13. Gerard O says

    I don’t usually bring Hegelian dialectics into comment threads, but if Masculinism is the thesis and Feminism is the antithesis then Humanism would be he synthesis. So nobody who calls themselves a feminist is actually an egalitarian, from a pedantic standpoint.

  14. redpesto says

    John Morales #12:

    Perhaps you’re confusing the claim with “if you’re not with us, you’re against us”

    Even allowing for the polemic, it’s hard not to see the binary logic and adversarial us/them sentiments in statements such as ‘Anyone can be a feminist, and everyone should be,’ or – to use the full quote – ‘If you’re male and not a feminist, you’re not helping. In fact, you’re perpetuating the problem.’ A man doesn’t have to be ‘a feminist’ in order not to stare at a woman’s breasts instead of her face.

  15. John Morales says

    redpesto @16,

    Even allowing for the polemic, it’s hard not to see the binary logic and adversarial us/them sentiments in statements such as ‘Anyone can be a feminist, and everyone should be,’ or – to use the full quote – ‘If you’re male and not a feminist, you’re not helping. In fact, you’re perpetuating the problem.’

    Unburdened as I am by not being exercised over feminism, I don’t find it hard to distinguish between “not helping [our cause]” and ‘against [our cause]‘ and their relative degrees of adversarial zealotry.

    A man doesn’t have to be ‘a feminist’ in order not to stare at a woman’s breasts instead of her face.

    I find you unclear: what is the distinction you sought to make by employing 'a feminist' rather than a feminist?

    (Did you intend to refer to pretend feminists?)

  16. pikeamus says

    John: You seem to be ignoring the part of the quote that reads “In fact, you’re perpetuating the problem.” That makes it sound very much like an us vs them statement to me.

    I don’t have a problem with feminism in general – I think it’s been a force for good overall – but that full quote sounds very tribal in a way that I find uncomfortable.

  17. John Morales says

    pikeamus @18, of course it’s an “us vs them” statement, but to paint it as extremist and akin to religious zealotry is overwrought.

    In passing, the original claim was “it’s the logic of the zealot that regards anyone else who doesn’t share their view as (to put it politely) an ‘un-believer’.” — but I note that it’s a tautology that those who don’t share one’s view don’t believe in one’s view.

    (Or: it makes no sense as an accusation unless one adopts the religious sense of ‘un-believer’, which insinuates that feminism is a religious belief)

  18. John Morales says

    PS “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

    (Very tribal!)

  19. marduk says

    Ally disagrees with me on this but I still think ‘intersectionality’ is a way of ‘handling’ the analysis of class and race for white middle class feminists who, far from ‘checking their privelege’ have zero intention of taking either seriously and are besides themselves at having cracked a way of sidestepping impediments to their rhetoric.

    In a week where Harriet Harman was established the most oppressed person in the world, a very small example occurred recently over this Radio 5 staff changes business. Both approached the Guardian to explicitly state that working in the media, the problem they both thought was more serious was class, not gender. This was barely mentioned by the paper’s private school-Oxbridge writers, apparently not listening to the voices of other women is fine if it avoids making your next dinner party feel a bit awkward.

    Meanwhile the private school-Oxbridge and hopelessly bourgeois Laurie Penny was described by one hack as issuing a clarion-call to underclass as if people like her, David Cameron and the training ground officer have ever done anything else. Why can’t they leave us alone?

  20. redpesto says

    John Morales:

    I find you unclear: what is the distinction you sought to make by employing ‘a feminist’ rather than a feminist?

    (a) I was quoting my source
    (b) It suggests a self-declared identity
    (c) It was an error, but people will assume I was using ‘scare quotes’

    Take your pick

    PS: All analogies are not quite perfect,. but ‘zealot’ does have a meaning outside of religious contexts.

  21. John Morales says

    redpesto @22

    [...] but ‘zealot’ does have a meaning outside of religious contexts

    Sure, just like ‘unbeliever’ does.

    But if you’re disputing my perception that you were insinuating that feminism is akin to a religion and its adherents akin to zealots, I’m happy to accept your denial of it.

  22. marduk says

    @John Morales

    Nobody was insinuating that feminism is akin to religion, but it is clear that the problem with the original statement is that it is, figuratively, Manichean in nature. This is a common feature of religions, especially monotheistic religions. The analogy is apt.

    A reasonable person might think that they might not be a feminist and still not actively contribute to misogyny etc., perhaps by dint of some other belief-set that holds values related enough (e.g., certain types of socialism or liberalism etc.) Again, many religions insist you cannot be a good person and a non-believer, something many of us disagree with for the same reasons.

  23. mildlymagnificent says

    First and last paragraphs of the article causing all this fuss and bother.

    We are women, and proud of it. However, being female comes with many complications that it simply shouldn’t — like being in constant fear for our own safety.

    Next time someone asks you if you’re a feminist, think about what you’re answering. Do you believe women deserve the right to not live in fear? We do.

    The arguments being raised here seem to be taking random bits from within the article and discussing them as though they’re about all issues of concern to feminists. They’re not. There’s no mention, far less discussion, of equal pay or the glass ceiling, nor of access to contraception or abortion nor about family law, nor education and training. The article is entirely and only about women’s specific fears of sexual harassment and violence.

    Here’s the link again for those who’ve not read it. http://www.advocate-online.net/opinion/column-opinion/everyone-should-be-a-feminist-6815/

    The only real argument advanced is in the middle of the piece.

    We’re calling for a worldwide conversation with all the sons out there: Women are equal to you, which means you are not entitled to their bodies. We control our bodies, and we do not owe anyone anything unless we choose to do so.

    So, don’t gawk at us. Don’t look down our shirts or at our butts when we walk away, don’t yell out your window or honk your horn; simply treat us as humans. Humans should not be treated as pieces of meat.

    We shouldn’t be responsible for your actions. If you can’t control yourself because of what we’re wearing, that doesn’t mean we were asking for it, that simply means you’re a pig.

    The biggest thing: No one deserves to be harassed, raped or abused, period. (Yes, we recognize men deal with harassment, rape and abuse, too.) Feminist ideals can be applied to all humans everywhere, which is why they are so important.

    The argument really is that, even if you can’t bring yourself to “be a feminist” about all issues that feminism is concerned with, this one is really a no-brainer. Men and women alike should be able to commit themselves to the very simple feminist idea that no one should ever be harassed, raped or abused.

  24. gjenganger says

    @mildly magnificient 26.

    And somehow this obvious, simple, no-brainer idea includes that because it is wrong to abuse it is also and equally wrong to look at people buttocks. And that just because you have a relationship you should have no expectations of sex – nothing said whether you should have expectations of your partner being faithful, supportive, or even polite.

    Feminism is a movement dedicated to advancing all the needs and demands of women. Good for you. But could you please stop telling me that I have a moral duty to support every single one of them?

  25. marduk says

    @mildlymagnificent

    Your reply relates to both my posts although this is really an open thread coincidence.

    The values of feminism are not superordinate to liberalism.

    Although I doubt the authors have really thought about this at all (and sound like they might be very young to me), this is the trick that the theory of intersectionality plays on people.

    There are however some feminist values (really more notions) in there though that are suis generis and are really what people have a problem with.

    This leads us into the loop.

    Someone says “feminism is the radical notion that women are people”, great idea, who could disagree? This was the basis for attempting to outlaw criticism of feminism in Sweden for example, I guess on that level it would always be hate speech.

    On the other hand, micro-aggressions, a slightly insane discourse around “owning bodies”, uncritical acceptance of the Duluth model of domestic abuse, a male sitting down on the tube is asserting patriarchal dominance by “taking up space”? No thanks = excommunication in much the same way that you could emulate the example of Jesus of Nazareth and be the kindest and most loving person there is, you could even spend your days in prayer, you could have memorised every word of the Bible but you are still on the outside looking in if you won’t accept transubstantiation or the trinity. Do you have a mouthful of blood or not, why should you have to say you do if you don’t? But look what happened to the Cathars (who also had “feminist values” in the 12th century if we have to pretend that values can transcend time like a bad Dr Who episode).

    But its all bait and switch isn’t it because the very next thing is “what, you don’t agree that women are people?”

    Argh. It drives me nuts.

  26. mildlymagnificent says

    marduk

    Although I doubt the authors have really thought about this at all (and sound like they might be very young to me), this is the trick that the theory of intersectionality plays on people.

    Young? Hadn’t occurred to me until I selected those extracts, and then it really struck me exactly like that.

    gjenganger

    Feminism is a movement dedicated to advancing all the needs and demands of women. Good for you. But could you please stop telling me that I have a moral duty to support every single one of them?

    I’d have thought that non-violence and anti-harassment and anti-rape ideas were pretty easy to accept, or even actively support, without going boots and all into full-scale every-relevant-issue feminism. Just simple this-issue-only feminism would do for the purpose. (You can even take the not-feminist-at-all approach of thinking in terms of “Would you like this to happen to your mother-daughter-sister-partner?” and possibly pretend to be feminist while supporting the anti-violence agenda and no other.)

  27. Bugmaster says

    I’m late to the party, but here’s my take on the article (http://www.advocate-online.net/opinion/column-opinion/everyone-should-be-a-feminist-6815/):

    We are women, and proud of it.

    Why ? Should I be proud of being born a man ? Unless you got to actually choose your sex, which most people did not, I don’t see why you should feel proud or ashamed of it.

    News flash: Feminism is this crazy idea that women are equal human beings.

    This slogan is as pithy as it is disingenuous. It implies that anyone that disagrees with anything a feminist says must automatically be some kind of a monster who thinks that women are subhuman.

    The biggest thing: No one deserves to be harassed, raped or abused, period.

    No argument there. No one deserves to be treated that way, regardless of one’s gender or lack thereof.

    This false image that being in a relationship automatically entails sex is one of many examples of male entitlement.

    Again, agreed. Relationships are built on trust and understanding. If either party is not satisfied with the relationship, then it should be ended, peacefully.

    The problem is, for us women, how can we weed out the good from the bad?

    If you insist on treating every man like your worst enemy, then you can’t really expect men to become your allies. You can’t ally with someone whom you insist on dehumanizing.

    With the right amount of awareness (changing the world, one hashtag at a time)

    Your hashtag isn’t doing much by way of real, tangible change. No amount of Twittering will (just for example) allow women in places like Pakistan to go to school without fearing for their lives.

    We wish you didn’t have to, but all the ladies out there should sign up for http://www.kitestring.io.

    This sounds a bit like a commercial, but sure — if this app works the way it’s supposed to, then it’s a great example of something that can effect real, positive change, in a way that hashtags cannot.

  28. gjenganger says

    @mildlymagnificient 29
    Well, looking at people’s buttocks is not abuse, but according to your link banning it is a “non-violence and anti-harassment and anti-rape idea“. Thinking that taking care of each other’s sexual needs is a normal part of a relationship (like supporting each other and not sleeping around) is not abuse either, but again banning it seems to fall under non-violence and anti-harassment and anti-rape“. And that is just your post. For all I know banning page 3 and making it illegal to buy sex are also “non-violence and anti-harassment and anti-rape ideas“, even though neither has anything direct to do with abuse. At this point you are drawing the net so wide that it looks more than anything else like an attempt to shame men into signing up to the whole feminist agenda.

  29. Adiabat says

    Gjenganger (31):

    At this point you are drawing the net so wide that it looks more than anything else like an attempt to shame men into signing up to the whole feminist agenda.

    It also seems to be an attempt to ‘tack-on’ personal pet peeves and dislikes onto serious issues, then using those issues to manipulate others into working to eliminate things that they simply ‘don’t like’. Otherwise feminists would ditch all the contentious stuff, like looking at bums, and stick to the main issues, surely? This would unify and unite people, instead of separate them. Unless of course the aim of these posts such as the one linked above isn’t to solve the issue but to instead show others how ‘right-on’ they are; an attempt to assert their status to their peers and flaunt their ‘SJ credentials’.

    It isn’t about convincing outsiders to rally to the cause. Instead people see the setting up of “expected” behaviour based on nothing but personal likes and dislikes, the ostracising of those that disagree, and the attempts to manipulate others using emotional and fallacious reasoning, as indicators of the type of people they are dealing with and they naturally stay away.

    In some ways this ties into the other active thread at the moment: how some communication styles and ‘ways of working’ (typically (but not always) associated with groups of women) sees the formation of ‘cliques’ full of bullies who use policing of social interaction as a form of control to bloat their own status, while those they disapprove of are excluded: The “popular” group of girls as school, the ‘blue-hair brigade’ in churches and community groups, the ‘office matriarch’ and her cabal making the new, pretty, girl feel unwelcome for no reason other than that she is new, and pretty.

  30. 123454321 says

    This is an open thread so here goes:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b03b56w2/street-patrol-uk-episode-1

    Now, I hate public urination because there is no excuse for such undignified behaviour. But, I question the decision to show scenes of this nature at lunchtime on BBC1. Personally, I think the story, which you can see in the link below from about 9mins throughout to 16:30 mins, could have been covered with a little more dignity attached. Yes, I grant that there were one or two females shown, and I grant that the ratio could be correct there, but notice how the actions of the men, which were literally quite graphic and totally off-putting (especially at lunchtime) weren’t censored in the slightest. Notice how the stream of urine coming from the woman crouching is blurred out while the men’s isn’t. Who makes these decisions and what do you think a young child watching would subconsciously think?

    Yes I know that urinating is a natural bodily function but, FFS, where has everyone’s dignity gone to these days and why the double standard when it comes to broadcasting this at lunchtime? I don’t think you’d see this much detail in a fucking 18 film.

  31. gjenganger says

    It also seems to be an attempt to ‘tack-on’ personal pet peeves and dislikes onto serious issues, then using those issues to manipulate others into working to eliminate things that they simply ‘don’t like’.

    I totally agree. To be fair, the fight against sexual gazes, ‘entitlement’ to sex, etc. is probably seen as a way to force a culture shift that would have as one of its results a lessening of abuse and harassment. The people pushing this one may well be sincere. But it is too much of a coincidence that the fight against rape just happens to require fighting annoying glances and embarrassing jokes as well.

  32. marduk says

    @mildlymagnificent

    Well,the article does come from a community college paper.

    This is again part of the problem though. It is not uncommon to see people who have a lifetime in public service, for example a very experienced social worker or maybe even an academic, thrown under the bus because he or she won’t agree with a 17 year old’s blog.

    A little while ago I attracted some fire for disputing a claim about a something written in a book that had been completely misunderstood by some young Rad Fems. Even after I (in the style of Marshall McLuhan in Annie Hall) produced the author of the book to agree with me(!), things did not improve.

    You’ll notice that when it is attacked, it is quite legitimate to point out that there are many “feminisms”.
    But this doesn’t seem to work the other way round for the critic, disagree with one, disagree with all.

  33. mildlymagnificent says

    gjenganger Embarrassing jokes?

    You’d do well to remember that some women, me for instance, are survivors of the 60s and 70s.

    We laughed along with, or looked away from, the blokes telling rape jokes that passed for “edgy” workplace humour in male dominated workplaces and social events.
    We put up with being called prudes if we found rape stories unfunny and offensive.
    We found our voices and started getting the offensive pictures and crude cartoons off the walls of our workplaces.
    We’ve worked very hard to try make the humour in workplaces and pubs less offensive and more funny.

    We’d very much like it if younger women following us don’t have to go through that shit all over again.

    Rape jokes are not “embarrassing”.

  34. mildlymagnificent says

    marduk

    This is again part of the problem though. It is not uncommon to see people who have a lifetime in public service, for example a very experienced social worker or maybe even an academic, thrown under the bus because he or she won’t agree with a 17 year old’s blog.

    I tend to hold back a bit in those discussions. If I out myself as a second waver, I’m risking becoming responsible for a whole lot of never-read, half-understood, pretty oblivious “interpretations” of what we were dealing with.

    I’m convinced that some of the new crop of hot-heads never really “get” that when we worked and married in the 60s and early 70s, later in many places and occupations, equal pay was a never-realised dream for too many of us, there were no laws against marital rape, domestic violence against women ran at about double the rate it does now, we couldn’t buy a house or car or get a loan or a mortgage or a lease without a husband or father or anyone male to co-sign contracts or act as financial guarantors.

    We didn’t perfectly anticipate what might be the main values and issues for some young women 30+ years down the track and therefore we weren’t much good.

  35. gjenganger says

    @MildlyMagnificient 37
    That is as may be. I would say that you have a pretty good case, on its own merits. But rape jokes or lascivious glances are not rape. Saying ‘you must fight rape jokes and stop looking at my bum because women are getting raped’ is like saying ‘you must support the current policies of Israel because of the Holocaust’. As it happens I do not favour rape jokes (and I do support the current policies of Israel, up to a point), but the logic is flawed and manipulatory, and I object to it.

  36. marduk says

    @mildlymagnificent

    They really don’t get it.

    I wouldn’t take it personally as such though, probably part of the wider problem is that there is a “year zero” feel to the new wave of online feminism. They genuinely don’t know and at some point there is a chain of transmission that has broken down. I don’t know why this is really (does anyone have any ideas?).

    And yes it does annoy me because, in a way, I put in a lot of time doing the reading and getting up to speed as a bloke who knew enough to have an adult conversation in the early 90s. My political upbringing so to speak (nothing to do with my largely apolitical parents I should add) was on the left and we were always being told the most important things were unity and wide confederacies of interest – that is how you change society and change the world and the bias built into reality that favours the liberal left at all times. Every time I see a feminist pen an exclusionary piece, I basically can’t believe what I’m reading. Its normally the young and angry who do this and I realise nobody ever explained activism to them. You don’t make your allies jump through hoops to get a free t-shirt, you hold them as close as you can and yes, if you want to see it that way, you get everything out of them that you can because there is something bloody serious at stake.

    Apparently that was a waste of time and I need to forget all that and agree with a hashtag or I can fuck off.

    I could honestly forgive a lot if someone owned up and said they were basically doing consciousness raising. I think that is actually a lot of what the Twitter/social media scene is about. But it used to be understood that CR was actually a “thing”, it leads to action which must be more considered, not more endless consciousness raising and that you can’t conduct activism in the long term at that kind of level.

  37. Adiabat says

    Mildlymagnificent (37):

    We’d very much like it if younger women following us don’t have to go through that shit all over again.

    Well, that’s because you didn’t actually put the work in to convince anyone the first time round. You didn’t change minds or culture, or convince people you were right; you just nagged those in charge until you got your own way, much like a woman who gets her beefcake boyfriend to beat up weaker guys who look at her funny. You provided no convincing argument (as gjenganger said “the logic is flawed and manipulatory”), you showed no harm. You just didn’t like something and manipulated things so everyone had to conform to your standards.

    So even today, many people still don’t think you were right; instead today they are just scared of being fired for something they think is harmless. Less than 20% of women and even fewer men are willing to identify as feminist, it has a reputation of being populated by busybodies and the easily offended, supported by those in charge and organisations like the BBC despite virtually no support among the public. But yes, you managed to prevent people from doing something they thought was harmless, without you having to convince anyone it wasn’t. I suppose that was a victory of sorts.

  38. gjenganger says

    @Adiabat 41
    I think that is a bit on the strong side, Adiabat. A lot of things did change, both in law and culture. Go back before we were born, and women were pretty much interlopers in male public space. Then there are all the legal changes, signatures on mortgage contracts etc. OK, one big cause of the changes were changes in the society – the labour market, the availability of labour-saving devices in the home, the breakdown of patriarchal authority that had already started, and whatnot. Another big reason was that nobody could find a coherent reason why women should not have equal rights. But I doubt that we could have got those changes (against male interests, you might remember) if women had stuck to gentle and hopeful persuasion throughout. You can certainly not blame them for wanting the world around them to fit also with their desires and for fighting hard to get there.

    I think we are close enough to equal power now that it is time we stop the irrestisible march forwards and get some groups that can push back, in the interest of men. I certainly think that women can no longer claim that they are an oppressed minority, and so simply ignore the effect of their policies on the other half, or pretend that all demands they may have are by definition reasonable, and any lame and unfair argument they can come up with should be listened to. But they have their trade union, feminism, and good luck to them. We just need a competing group that can keep them honest.

  39. Adiabat says

    Gjenganger (43):

    I think that is a bit on the strong side, Adiabat.

    Maybe a bit :)

    But I think it’s important to distinguish between a victory which is a genuine culture change and a new way of looking at the sexes, and a “victory” which is basically a pressure group getting their own way because those in power pandered to them, and not because they won the argument or they were ‘right’.

    Generally, if you find the same issue reoccurring each generation, and people from the general public arguing with you constantly, then it’s likely that your previous “victory” was the second kind.

  40. mildlymagnificent says

    adiabat

    Well, that’s because you didn’t actually put the work in to convince anyone the first time round. You didn’t change minds or culture, or convince people you were right; you just nagged those in charge until you got your own way, much like a woman who gets her beefcake boyfriend to beat up weaker guys who look at her funny.

    I think we did. Convince people. I remember the irritation of the slow, tiny teensy increments to my salary as it was gradually increased to match that of the men who worked beside me. Eventually the pay was the same and it was more relief than joy when I – finally – got the right amount. But it was A Good Thing.

    I still reflect with a nice warm contented feeling on the very first time I dealt on my own behalf with a bank about a mortgage … and all they asked for was payslips to prove my income, no one else’s, along with the deeds to the house. No mention of husband or other person to guarantee the loan as they had done only a few years earlier. It was a good, good moment. Buying my own car without a man in tow – and without being quizzed or pressured by sales staff about that much-needed male involvement – was also a pretty good feeling.

    I have never used a domestic violence refuge, nor have I ever run one. But seeing them continue to operate is both satisfying and frustrating. No, we haven’t got rid of terrifying and/or lethal violence in homes but we have convinced people and governments that they are useful and worthy of continuing support. We still have people, even in the police and other official roles, who downplay the seriousness of violence against women, but more and more people are convinced that it shouldn’t be laughed off or brushed off. I don’t think this article could have been written this way 40 years ago, but now it’s accepted as a good thing. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-07-16/yeo-how-11-caring-people-tried-to-save-our-daughter/5597514

    Depressingly, we seem to have made little headway on the offensive humour front though. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-07-16/pringle-wicked-slogans-arent-just-harmless-fun/5598858

  41. Adiabat says

    MM (47):

    Depressingly, we seem to have made little headway on the offensive humour front though

    Ah, I think I misread your earlier post as implying that you thought you’d succeeded before and was annoyed you had to have the argument again with a new generation. So I pointed out that you didn’t really win before; you just got those in power on your side despite everyone still disagreeing with you.

    Looks like we‘re in agreement then. No worries.

  42. marduk says

    @Koken

    Thanks for that, it was a really good read.
    And yes, “Motte and Bailey” is absolutely what is going on.

    Also liked a lot of the comments, the post from “Athrelon” seemed quite thought provoking to me as an intelligent comment on the subject that PUAs and feminists have both so camped out on nobody else normally feels comfortable talking about it.

    It also explains to me the odd phenomenon I’ve observed on places like the Mumsnet relationships board where even serial victims of abuse, never mind the ordinarily divorced, claim to have supernatural powers of intuition about men. I’d obviously never say it to anyone’s face because its just cruel, but the overwhelming evidence is that you absolutely don’t.

  43. gjenganger says

    @Marduk 50
    Very interesting, yes.

    It is not that clear what ‘deterring rakes’ should mean today, though. In fact the morals of seduction in modern society would make for a very interesting discussion. In Jane Austen’s day, when pre-marital sex was universally disapproved of and often devastating to any woman who did it, you could argue that any woman who accepted or sought it was acting against her own best interests, and any man who tried to bring it about was exploiting her. Today you could more reasonably argue that women like men are entitled to make their own sexual choices, and you could defend seduction in much the same terms as you might defend the advertising industry.

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

    So what’s on yer minds folks?

    On my mind or at least brain is bone, to be precise my skull, as well as as hair and the weight or rather pressure of the Earth’s atmosphere.

    Well you did ask! ;-)

  45. marduk says

    @gjenganger

    Well, I suppose the thing is that there are patterns of behaviour we still think aren’t a good idea to be on the receiving end of but that we no longer have a way of saying are actually wrong.

    People try very hard to make them sound wrong but its always a bit unconvincing and desperate. To return to Mumsnet “He abandoned his children for a tart” is common but rarely true, he left a woman he doesn’t love for one he at least prefers and I’m sure still loves he children. The loverlorn “Mother of Abandoned Children” will without fail aim to (a) secure the house and (b) secure exclusive access to the children and apparently never notices that if abandonment of children was the real crime it is within her power to relinquish both and see that it doesn’t happen! Of course what is really going on is that she feels misused but we accept empowered people can leave marriage whenever they choose on whatever whim they choose and that can’t be gainsaid.

    Where we’ve seen the biggest unholy mess (literally, urgh) over this lately was via the “Magaluf incident”. Holly in the Guardian argued very strongly that the girl in question had done absolutely wrong. But there was something wrong, its just nobody could work out what it actually was if you read the various pieces carefully.

    Various kites were then flown; was it wrong that the girl was misled (but then just ends up “we’ve established what you are, we’re just negotiating on price”), was it that there was alcohol involved (but then this was an adult woman with every right in the world to drink too much if she chooses), was it that nobody intervened to stop it (see Holly’s original point, interfering with the sexual choices of an empowered woman is deeply offensive).

    This is why the debates about pornography are so complicated and baroque; there is something wrong but nobody really, deep down, knows what it is either, so instead there are data-free attempts made to identify ‘harms’ which careful conducted studies have never shown actually exist.

  46. Jacob Schmidt says

    You didn’t change minds or culture, or convince people you were right; you just nagged those in charge until you got your own way, much like a woman who gets her beefcake boyfriend to beat up weaker guys who look at her funny. You provided no convincing argument (as gjenganger said “the logic is flawed and manipulatory”), you showed no harm. You just didn’t like something and manipulated things so everyone had to conform to your standards.

    Which ‘way’ was ‘got’ by “[nagging] those in charge” and to which standards does “everyone [have] to conform?” The post to which you respond is about rape jokes, and I don’t think anyone forced (by any reasonable measure) to not make rape jokes, especially given their prevalence.

    I find the general reaction to being told not to stare at women’s asses really strange, and rather telling. A semi-common refrain when dealing with kids is “don’t stare” or “don’t point”; variations of the theme “don’t give people too much unwanted attention” is bog standard, kindergarten level etiquette. But “don’t stare at women’s asses” specifically draws a massive amount of ire.

  47. Paul says

    I find it really grating that some feminists are now promoting the myth that women are bearing the brunt of the negative effects of the economic downturn and the austerity measures that have been imposed as a result.For the fact is it’s the most vulnerable and poorest members of our society who’ve been hit hardest.Namely the recipients of unemployment and disability benefits and their families,those under the age of 25, people from ethnic minorities and the homeless who’ve been hit hardest.In other words it’s the poorest and most vulnerable men,women and children in our society who’re bearing the brunt .And it pisses me off when mainly middle class pale and stale feminists try and con us into believing otherwise.

  48. Jacob Schmidt says

    Paul,

    Do you have an example on hand?

    (A minor clarification to 54: |… did “everyone [have] to conform?”| would be a valid substitute, though answering either, past or present, would be fine.)

  49. Ally Fogg says

    Evening all. Sorry I haven’t been around much this week.

    I thought the poat linked by Koken @ 42 was interesting and well written, made some good points that I agree with, but quite a lot I didn’t.

    I think its biggest failing was that it assumes there is something that can be tangibly identified as “the social justice ideology” and which can be expected to be consistent and coherent.

    I think that is a mistake. (to be fair, it is also a mistake made by the other side of the debate, those who consider themselves social justice activists or whatever).

    The reality is that what he is calling the social justice movement is a disparate collection of people with different ideas drawn from different ideological wells, not all of whom agree with each other. Some of their ideas might be strong and insightful, others might be pretty weak (and, in all honesty, sometimes expressed by people who are very young, idealistic, ill-informed, naive or just not very bright!)

    I also think he really (quite honestly) doesn’t understand how theories of intersectionality, drawn from critical race theory, are meant to work, so he is largely arguing with a cartoonish straw man that’s built from a pick’n’mix of po-mo ideas rather than actually doing the intellectual hard work of taking on Kimberlie Crenshaw or Judith Butler.

    And while we’re on it, I’m less than impressed by the Athrelon post. I really can’t be doing with people explaining human behaviour by declaring “monkeybrain!” as if that was self-evident. And his notion that there is such a thing as ‘high value’ and ‘low value’ males and females (or whatever terms he uses) is painfully simplistic. Fact is if you hang out in different places with different people, different qualities will be considered more or less valuable.

    And his overall, primary point is, I think, an attempt to obfuscate a really simple point. It is now socially acceptable to have social or sexual intercourse with people who want to have social or sexual intercourse with you. Imposing yourself upon others, to whatever extent, is considered socially unacceptable, to a matching extent.

    I think the only people who find that problematic are those who wish to impose themselves where they are not welcome.

  50. Ally Fogg says

    palaeodave

    Ally, are you going to be writing anything about the Cabinet reshuffle?

    In a word, no.

    Rarely has so much guff been guffed about so little of import.

  51. Koken says

    My impression is that the ‘monkey-brain’ line is supposed to be short-hand for a lot of the ‘predictable irrationality’ stuff they tend to talk about over there. As far as the Athrelon post I think it’s mildly interesting because, while my own position is very much on the side of those saying there’s nothing wrong with promiscuity (alongside the intuitively unlikely pairing of gjenganger and Holly from the Guardian), I think it is true that insofar as there is one the societal consensus is to take – shall we say – a more nuanced position.

    As far as the author’s understanding of intersectionality, you may well be right – I’m certainly in no position to judge. My understanding of it runs about as far as having looked up this strange word I kept seeing all of a sudden (your website’s spellcheck doesn’t seem to have caught up with it either). Incidentally, if you have any freely available resources on the subject that you could point to, preferably operating somewhere between that level and reading whole books, I would be extremely interested. Might it not be possible, however, for the author to argue in any case that such ideas constitute the ‘motte’ of his analogy? That is to say, even if this or other terms were coined to describe a fully defensible, intellectually rigorous concept, the use they are put to by most of the people who talk about them and claim to be influenced by them may be none of those things. In that regard, when trying to examine ‘the social justice movement’, or whatever you care to call it, the ideas in themselves might be almost beside the point.

    Anyway, since that seemed to get a tolerably positive response, here’s another couple from the same guy: http://slatestarcodex.com/2014/01/12/a-response-to-apophemi-on-triggers/
    http://squid314.livejournal.com/329171.html

    They’re less directly on point but appear to explain more about where he’s coming from on the issue, which might be of interest whether or not you tend to agree.

  52. John Morales says

    Koken @59,

    As far as the author’s understanding of intersectionality, you may well be right – I’m certainly in no position to judge. My understanding of it runs about as far as having looked up this strange word I kept seeing all of a sudden (your website’s spellcheck doesn’t seem to have caught up with it either).

    Your confession regarding opining from ignorance being duly noted, I also note that spell-checking is done client-side.

    (You’re more ignorant than you realise)

  53. Ally Fogg says

    Koken

    Incidentally, if you have any freely available resources on the subject that you could point to, preferably operating somewhere between that level and reading whole books, I would be extremely interested.

    I recently came across this chapter by Ann Garry which is really about the philosophy of representation and metaphor (way above my pay grade!) but the introduction, over the first 10 pages or so is as good a plain English synopsis of intersectional theories as I’ve read, I think.

    http://web.calstatela.edu/faculty/agarry/garry%20intersect%20oxford.pdf

  54. Bugmaster says

    @Ally #57:

    I thought the post linked by Koken @ 42 was interesting and well written, made some good points that I agree with, but quite a lot I didn’t.

    Could you elaborate ? I agreed with most of that post, so I am curious to see where we disagree.

    I think its biggest failing was that it assumes there is something that can be tangibly identified as “the social justice ideology” and which can be expected to be consistent and coherent.

    I believe that all “social justice ideologies” — at least, those parts of them that I can see on the Internet — share the following common characteristics.

    * The notion of privilege, and the agreement that straight white men definitely have it and are largely unaware of it, whereas others do not. Opinions differ on which underprivileged groups are more underprivileged than others, however.
    * The agreement that there exists an overarching social structure dedicated to protecting and extending privilege (the patriarchy/kyrarchy/etc.). Opinions differ on exactly what shape this structure has taken, but everyone agrees that it exists.
    * The belief that this structure is harmful to anyone who is not already privileged (opinions differ on whether the privileged ones are also harmed), and therefore the strong commitment to oppose this structure.
    * The division of the world into three kinds of people: the underprivileged ones who fight against the structure; their privileged allies; and everyone else who is either standing idly by or is actively opposing the fight, and who therefore is an enemy.
    * The belief that social media (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) is an effective tool in the fight against this structure of privilege. Opinions differ on which other tools are likewise effective.
    * A rejection of any notion of “civility” or “giving people the benefit of the doubt”, because embracing such notions would be equivalent to surrendering the fight.

    Scott Alexander writes more about that last point here.

  55. Ally Fogg says

    Just to add, I really like Marduk’s observation about the Magaluf girl that Holly in the Guardian argued very strongly that the girl in question had done absolutely wrong. But there was something wrong, its just nobody could work out what it actually was if you read the various pieces carefully.

    I gave that a lot of thought and wanted to write something but never found time.

    I think what we had there was a bit of a cypher. We had a story where nobody really knew the full details of exactly what had happened and why, but the descriptions carried a lot of echoes of other issues.

    In to the void poured people’s presumptions, suppositions and prejudices.

    People who are concerned about tabloid sexism saw it as an example of tabloid intrusion and double standards.

    People who are concerned about men’s violence against women saw it as an act of violence.

    People who are concerned about consent and coercion saw it as an abuse of consent and an act of coercion.

    People who are concerned about the decaying morals of the nation and our slutty youth saw it a an example of that.

    Now, as far as I can work out from piecing everything together, it was one of those 18-30 Club drinking games, on a spectrum with grabbing a balloon between your thighs and passing it to the next person without using your hands, albeit at the extreme end. The girl did not “give the boys oral sex” as commonly reported – she gave them a little peck on the tip of their flaccid penises, everyone screamed and laughed and she was given a cocktail as a prize.

    Now we can probably all agree that this game goes a little bit beyond what most of us would consider levels of decency. However I think the whole scandal was more an object lesson in the mechanics of moral panic than anything else.

  56. Ally Fogg says

    Bugmaster (62)

    That’s an interesting list. Let me go through it. Please bear in mind that I’m describing what I think is a consensus of intelligent writers and thinkers on contemporary social justice politics. There are exceptions to everything, so please don’t reply with “ahh, but so-and-so doesn’t fit into that.” I know.

    * The notion of privilege, and the agreement that straight white men definitely have it and are largely unaware of it, whereas others do not. Opinions differ on which underprivileged groups are more underprivileged than others, however.

    I can accept that all the people under discussion here, disparagingly known as SJWs or whatever, buy into the concept of privilege. However the rest of this profoundly misunderstands the theory. It is not just that straight white men have privilege, it is that everyone has privilege in one context or another, and some people are more privileged in some realms or contexts than others. There is no absolute level of privilege, you cannot argue that one person is more privileged than another as an absolute, although you could say that a straight white male was more likely to have privilege in most contexts than a disabled lesbian of colour.

    * The agreement that there exists an overarching social structure dedicated to protecting and extending privilege (the patriarchy/kyrarchy/etc.). Opinions differ on exactly what shape this structure has taken, but everyone agrees that it exists.

    Yes, with a slight tweak. Privilege is not an end in itself, it is a mechanism. The goal is power. So social structures use privilege to maintain, entrench and extend power (cf Foucault).

    * The belief that this structure is harmful to anyone who is not already privileged (opinions differ on whether the privileged ones are also harmed), and therefore the strong commitment to oppose this structure.

    Yes, I’d accept this. Social justice is the fair and equal distribution of power (economic, social, political etc). So if your goal is social justice, you must believe social injustice to be a bad thing.

    * The division of the world into three kinds of people: the underprivileged ones who fight against the structure; their privileged allies; and everyone else who is either standing idly by or is actively opposing the fight, and who therefore is an enemy.

    No, I think this is a strawman caricature. I don’t know of any serious activist for social justice who would buy into this framework, and it repeats the mistaken view of privilege as an absolute from above.

    * The belief that social media (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) is an effective tool in the fight against this structure of privilege. Opinions differ on which other tools are likewise effective.

    No, there might be some social justice acitvists who would argue this, but many more would not. A large proportion of feminists, anti-racism activists, anti-homophobia activists etc have no interest in online scenes and consider them a trivial distraction from real world activism. Obviously you wouldn’t normally notice these people if you only look for activism online.

    * A rejection of any notion of “civility” or “giving people the benefit of the doubt”, because embracing such notions would be equivalent to surrendering the fight.

    No, I don’t think that’s a defining feature of social justice movements. I think that’s a defining feature of online communication. Go to a cookery forum, peep in on an argument as to whether you should use white sugar or brown sugar in cookies, and observe the exact same dynamics!

  57. gjenganger says

    That sounded like a very sensible presentation of a very sensible approach to privilege. As it happens, the concept reminded me of another concept, from a primer on the theory of power: ‘luck’. The author of that one differentiated between ‘power’, the capacity to act so as to get things the way you would like them, and ‘luck’, which covers the fact that some (categories of) people seem to get things the way they like them without having to exercise their power, or indeed without having any power to exercise. Maybe the two concepts are related?

    For all that, I wonder how that community of consensual scholars that you are referring to relates to the people one actually meets in political debate. Scott Alexander is describing an actual observation, of a behaviour that is common through social justice debate across a wide variety of topics. Whatever their theoretical underpinning, words like ‘privilege’ and ‘racist’ are widely used as weapons to silence and delegitimate opposition. There are others: ‘misogynist’, ‘homophobic’, ‘transphobic’, ‘rape apologist’, all of which have a narrow, strongly negative sense, and a broad, rather innocuous sense that can be used much more widely. Either the broad or the narrow sense can be defended on its own, but (many) progressive debaters simultaneously use the broad sense to decide that (most of) their opponents qualify, and the narrow sense to imply that they are evil, irrational, or otherwise unworthy of attention. Strategic ambiguity, as Scott Alexander says.

    And your point is that these things have absolutely nothing to do with intersectional feminist theory and the people who practice it? Really? These are people who fight for the same goals, use the same concepts, self-identify as members of the same movement, and they have nothing to do with you? You would be much more convincing if you could say more precisely which parts of your movement do argue in this way, and which parts do not. And if you could say clearly that these practices are wrong and you are against them.

    Now, if the followers of some movement were notorious for dismissing anybody they disagreed with as perverts and scroungers – without ever being slapped down for it by their fellows – you would not be satisfied with “it wasn’t me, guv”. You would say the movement had a problem, and you would demand a clear statement whether this kind of thinking belonged in the movement or not. Well, I am saying that your movement has a problem too.

  58. Ally Fogg says

    For all that, I wonder how that community of consensual scholars that you are referring to relates to the people one actually meets in political debate. Scott Alexander is describing an actual observation, of a behaviour that is common through social justice debate across a wide variety of topics.

    Yes, to an extent he is.

    However to (perhaps) a greater extent he is attributing generalised human traits to an ideological position.

    As I see it, a large proportion of people are utter dicks.

    A large proportion of atheists are utter dicks

    A large proportion of religious people are utter dicks.

    A large proportion of socialists are utter dicks.

    A large proportion of conservatives are utter dicks

    etc etc etc.

    And of course, a large proportion of post-structuralist anti-oppression / social justice activists are utter dicks.

    Now in many cases the way these people’s dickishness manifests itself is quite similar. They attribute malicious motivations to those they don’t like. They call other people rude names. They scour conversations for evidence that their detractor or opponent is a bad person. They are disingenuous in how they present their own positions or represent their opponent’s.

    It seems to me that when feminists or anti-racists do these things, these are attributed to their ideology, in a way that doesn’t seem to happen when, say, libertarians or republicans do it.

    I think this accounts for quite a lot of the objections raised by Scott Alexander.

    Horrible feminists on Tumblr aren’t being horrible because they’re feminists. They’re being horrible because they’re horrible!

  59. Adiabat says

    Jacob Schmidt (54): Yes, because employing the same humour common in workplaces 50 years ago in the modern workplace totes would never result in disciplinary procedures today. /s

    I find the general reaction to being told not to stare at women’s asses really strange, and rather telling

    Look, not stare: People are being told not to look at other people’s bums. The reasoning provided is highly flawed.

    By switching it to ‘stare’ you’re trying to present the rather normal reaction to this “request” as something strange (and “telling”). I believe that what you’re doing could be classed as a ‘Motte and Bailey’ gambit.

  60. marduk says

    Interesting thing about moral panic, nobody engaged in one can tell while its going on even if you print out the Someone (forgot) & Ben-Yahuda event list, annotate it and show it to them.

    My favourite told-you-so stage is when “evidence to be concerned about” gets semi-deliberately confused with “evidence that people are concerned about something”. Every damn time like clockwork. For porn for example this was the would-be watershed report from the children’s commissioner (if I recall correctly) that essentially established lots of people in social services read The Guardian.

  61. gjenganger says

    @Ally 67
    All true enough. But does it mean you agree then that ‘privilege’, ‘racism’ and the rest are used systematically as baseless smears, then? You are just saying that other groups are equally bad?

    Anyway, I think the particular way of using ambiguous words to delegitimate opponents is particularly common among progressives. Maybe it comes with having an overarching theory that includes concepts like oppressors and false consciousness, and that supposedly both is an objective description of the world and proves that your politics are the only right ones, but here I am speculating. I would attribute it to the movement rather than the ideology, but it is there.

    For comparison, I loathe militant atheists and their debating style, but there is nothing underhand about it. Whether they call me a moron or tell me I believe in sky-pixies or accuse me of favouring paedophile priests, they are just being obnoxious. I can answer in kind or ignore the insults or (preferably) avoid talking to them, but it is clear what is going on.

    By contrast, if I am discussing gay marriage and somebody claims my arguments are homophobic, what does it mean? If it just means that I think heterosexual relationships have some kind of primacy over homosexual relationships it is hard to dismiss, but AFAIAC perfectly legitimate. If it means that I suffer from a pathological revulsion to homosexuals that makes my behaviour irrational it is incorrect, but devastating. In actual use it means both, so what can I answer? If I accept the term, I have pretty much lost the argument. If I challenge the description I am no longer arguing about gay marriage but challenging someone else’s word definitions (on their home turf) – and looking rather petty to boot. Meanwhile people are ignoring my arguments and becoming suspicious of my motives. All over, progressives tend to use a set of concepts that implies that no sane, rational, decent person could possibly disagree with their politics, And trying to impose these definitions on the population in general – replacing debate by linguistic mobbing.

    I can back my tale of woe with a couple of arguments. First, progressives have a track record, from ‘non-sexist English’ onwards, of thinking that ‘language shapes thought’, and of deliberately modifying language as a tool for thought modification. Possibly they are still at it? Of course there are other people who play word games – ‘terrorist’ is a well-established example. But I can think of no other area of politics where debates so systematically get bogged down in disputes of how words are defined and whether a given definition applies. Maybe there is a reason?

  62. Adiabat says

    Ally (67):

    Horrible feminists on Tumblr aren’t being horrible because they’re feminists. They’re being horrible because they’re horrible!

    Privilege, Mansplaining, What about the Menz, Patriarchy, Schrodingers Rapist, Intersectionality, and so on.

    Maybe you’re right and these people would be horrible anyway, but feminist theory seems to go out of its way to provide ammunition to enable horrible people to be even more horrible, and feel justified in doing so.

    BTW I read the article you linked to earlier: Do you really think that’s a good piece of work?

    Her rebuttal to real philosophers not going along with her is to call them “threatened”. In an academic essay. Seriously?!

    Keep the Caps Lock on and put a few swear words in and it could’ve easily been something you see on Tumblr.

    And then we have her stated aims, which are antithetical to good theory and practice. She talks about ‘the above truths’ yet at no point has ever established that they are truths (remember we’re talking about someone who considers themselves a philosopher). And the bit about theory-fragmentation, as though she cares more about feminist unity than actually developing good theory. I hope real philosophers ignore her (and thankfully it seems like they are).

  63. Adiabat says

    Gjenganger (70): I agree. People in other groups can be dicks, but this behaviour isn’t generally enabled by the very theory they are espousing.

  64. Ally Fogg says

    Adiabat

    Privilege, Mansplaining, What about the Menz, Patriarchy, Schrodingers Rapist, Intersectionality, and so on.

    Arguably ‘mansplaining’ and ‘what about the menz’ are used as aggressive, hostile debating tactics, but the others? I don’t get your point. Are you complaining because an ideology that identifies, analyses and challenges oppression is identifying, analysing and challenging oppression? It sounds like it.

    People in other groups can be dicks, but this behaviour isn’t generally enabled by the very theory they are espousing.

    I disagree.

    Atheists: “Sky pixies” – deliberately abusive and enabled by the ideology
    Socialism: See the fuss about Socialist Worker mocking a posh kind who got killed by a polar bear.
    Libertarianism: Various ways of mocking poor people for their ‘weakness’
    US Republicanism: phrases like ‘Libtards’ and all the Ann Coulter ‘camel jockey’ stuff.

    BTW I read the article you linked to earlier: Do you really think that’s a good piece of work?

    Her rebuttal to real philosophers not going along with her is to call them “threatened”. In an academic essay. Seriously?!

    I deliberately picked it because it is not written in a dry, philosophical style, it is in casual language and very accessible. She also, for example, refers to other feminists as ‘nit-picky’

    What it does do very well is quickly run over the different aspects to intersectionality that should be understood and appreciated, in a way that is quite easy to understand.

  65. marduk says

    Open thread so a *screeeeech*, as the record is changed.

    The Guardian’s editorial line is now that its against assisted dying!?

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jul/17/guardian-view-assisted-dying-falconer-bill

    And some remarkable stat-abusing rhetoric as well:
    “Last year, just 0.2% of deaths in the state followed a prescribed lethal dose. This is a benefit for a very few, at the cost of a very big moral change.”

    That actually tells us that the legislation in Oregon has had a proportional and appropriate effect as envisaged.

    I remember when it was the only paper that was in favour of it and seriously, allowing the agony of a suffering minority and their wishes to go unheeded BECAUSE they are only a minority? Can’t believe what I’m reading. Not for the first time I’d remind the Scott Trust to have a look at their terms of reference, “liberal voice” my arse.

  66. Pete says

    Good news in the Guardian today that crime is down yet again according to the British Crime Survey or the Crime Survey of England and Wales. I was cheered by the good news until I read the many, many comments by people who obviously hadn’t read the article claiming the stats must be wrong because the police lie (even though it has nothing to do with the police) or that they knew of crime that happened (wooo anecdotes) or that they didn’t know the methodology but it must be flawed (the methodology is published online for all to see, as it the data). Crime may be going down but internet stupidity doesn’t seem to be (however, if there was a large scale study with good methodology showing that internet stupidity was indeed decreasing, I would change my view).

  67. Jacob Schmidt says

    Adiabat

    Yes, because employing the same humour common in workplaces 50 years ago in the modern workplace totes would never result in disciplinary procedures today.

    Meh. Coming in to work smelling like piss would lead to something similar, and more reliably I think. This would run afoul of my “not to any reasonable extent” clause, perhaps more aptly described as my “not to any extent I could possibly give a shit about” clause.

    Look, not stare:

    The former includes the latter, from “glancing” to “intense visual scrutiny.” The original piece prefaced the paragraph with the word “gawk” (i.e. to stare openly) so I read it in that context. Nor am I the first, either, given Redpesto’s reference to men not staring at women’s breasts. And even if the context wasn’t there, assuming that the innocuous end of the spectrum was being referenced isn’t in evidence.

    Regardless, even when “stare” is used explicitly and consistently such that there could be no honest confusion, it still tends to elicit wailing and teeth gnashing of men (and some women) defending men’s right to exclude women from basic, common courtesy.

    Ally

    Are you complaining because an ideology that identifies, analyses and challenges oppression is identifying, analysing and challenging oppression? It sounds like it.

    I’m not sure “Schrodinger’s rapist” counts. All it really is is the basic fact that women can’t identify rapists on sight, and sometimes act cautiously. No different, conceptually, from hiding your PIN from the people behind you, driving defensively, or locking your door. Not really an identification, analysis, or challenge of oppression, at least not in itself.

    Marduk

    I wasted a walk home reading that drivel. You owe me twenty minutes of a pleasant evening walk, as far as I’m concerned.

  68. Sans-sanity says

    @geijanger & Ally:
    Ok, so the topic is “Tumblr feminists are horrible”

    Ally takes the position that it’s because they horrible.
    Geijanger posits that it is because they are feminists.

    If either of you are interested this post takes the sole remaining position and argues that “it is because tumblr”
    http://kazerad.tumblr.com/post/78694036364/justice-post-mortem

    I think that it makes a fairly convincing argument, the synopsis of which is: it should surprise no one that repurposing a medium optimised for rapidly spreading art to political activism has unfortunate outcomes.

  69. Bugmaster says

    @Ally #64:
    Just to reiterate, I was talking specifically about the subset of social justice activists whom one is likely to meet online; I did not intend to speak about the academia. That said, most of your points do make sense. It looks like we only disagree on two of them: the division of the world into fighters, allies, and enemies; and the point about civility. You say:

    No, I think this is a strawman caricature. I don’t know of any serious activist for social justice who would buy into this framework, and it repeats the mistaken view of privilege as an absolute from above.

    While I believe that at least some activists are treating privilege in exactly that way, I will grant you that this view is mistaken. However, the online branch of the social justice movement is definitely on a war footing. I am talking about the kind of people who would celebrate the destruction of a man’s career as punishment for the grave sin of using the word “dongle” in private conversation. They write FAQs to the extent of “10 ways men can become better feminist allies”, and they’d be the first one to tell you to “go die in a fire” for daring to ask a question that was already covered by the FAQ. That brings me to my next point. You say:

    No, I don’t think that’s a defining feature of social justice movements. I think that’s a defining feature of online communication. Go to a cookery forum, peep in on an argument as to whether you should use white sugar or brown sugar in cookies, and observe the exact same dynamics!

    But I think you may have missed my point. I did not mean to say merely, “social justice activists sometimes lack civility”; rather, I meant to say, “they make the rejection of civility one of the planks of their platform”. As you may recall, P.Z.Myers waged a largely successful campaign against civility on his blog; he, like many other social justice activists, put together a fairly compelling case. I have also heard this sentiment expressed as, “being civil to my abusers only empowers them”, and “our values are not up for debate, so you should shut up and listen”. Such tactics make no sense in any situation other than an all-out war for your very existence (though they may be detrimental even in war, as Scott Alexander points out).

    I’m sure that if I went on that cookery forum, I’d see people calling each other names and wishing their culinary opponents death by fire. That’s human nature. However, what I would not expect to see is the call for all true chefs to pick up their knives and stab anyone who puts chocolate sauce on their shrimp, lest the flame of cookery burn out forever in this world.

  70. gjenganger says

    @sans-sanity 77
    I can believe it about Tumblr, but I have never been there. My experiences are from the Guardian CIF, mainly.

  71. gjenganger says

    @Jacob 76
    Where I start gnashing my teeth is when the fight against staring at tits is presented as an equal part of the fight against rape. Both are wrong – but to various degrees, both should be acted against – but at different intensity, both justify sacrificing some freedom and convenience – but oh very much in different amounts. These things are different – do not mash them together.

  72. John Morales says

    gjenganger @80:

    Where I start gnashing my teeth is when the fight against staring at tits is presented as an equal part of the fight against rape.

    Not as an equal part, but as a cultural component that normalises a certain attitude towards women; it falls under the category of a microagression in feminist jargon.

    Both are wrong – but to various degrees, both should be acted against – but at different intensity, both justify sacrificing some freedom and convenience – but oh very much in different amounts. These things are different – do not mash them together.

    Not only are both wrong, both are acts of aggression towards the recipient.

    (And both are elements within what feminist jargon terms “rape culture”)

  73. gjenganger says

    You put it better than I do. But the long and short of it is that e.g. Hilsenbeck and Gaucke’s posting claims a moral duty to fight leering gazes with the same urgency, zeal and willingness to sacrifice freedom and convenience (of other people?) as we apply to fighting rape. And that is just way too convenient. I do not doubt your mastery of feminist jargon, but to me your case suggests, not that leering gazes are a much more serious ill than I thought, but that feminist jargon is a bunch of malicious nonsense.

  74. John Morales says

    gjenganger @82, I disagree with your peroration: those feminist claims are neither meaningless nor ad hoc nor arbitrary nor incoherent; they may arguably be wrong but they’re not nonsensical.

    (As for malicious, did you perhaps intend ‘pernicious’, or did you intend to impute intent?)

  75. gjenganger says

    @John Morales 83
    I was getting carried away a bit, I guess.

    those feminist claims are neither meaningless nor ad hoc nor arbitrary nor incoherent;

    Granted. I would say that they are at odds with a reasonable interpretation of reality (hence nonsensical), and deliberately designed to support a specific political course of action without interference from facts – hence malicious. I would compare with the ‘scientific Marxism-Leninism’ supported by the Soviet state. Now that is clearly my gut reaction to something I do not really understand, so can we put that in parenthesis and look at a smaller argument?

    Your microaggression link was quite illuminating (thanks). I note that among the microaggressions listed were
    - Colorblindness (e.g., “I don’t think of you as Black. You are just a normal person”)
    - denial of personal bias (e.g., “I’m not homophobic; I even have gay friends.”),
    - minimization of racial-cultural issues (e.g., “Just because you feel alone in this group doesn’t mean that there’s a racial issue involved.”).
    - Denial of individual sexism

    These statements might indeed be said by people who are discriminating and denying it. But imagine that somebody is telling you that (s)he feels bad and that the reason is that (s)he is being actively discriminated against because of colour or sex. This is an accusation of culpably hurtful behaviour. What could you answer?
    That the bad feelings might arise from something other than discrimination? That is a microaggression and therefore proves the original point.
    That it is not true that you are motivated by racial or sexual bias? That is a microaggression and therefore proves the original point.
    In short you either agree with her – which proves that she is right, or you say she might be wrong, which is a microagression and therefore also proves that she is right. Under such a theory there is simply no possibility for an accusation of discrimination to be found wrong.

    I am not saying that the more subtle theorists necessarily use the theory in this form, or that all adherents do. But a theory with this kind of elements is ultimately independent of reality. Whatever the facts, they can be construed as supporting the theory. Which is the hallmark of ideology or pseudoscience.

    Patriarchy and rape culture also give rise to some fun and games. Now it makes perfect sense to point out that current/male-dominated/… culture is a coherent whole, that all the different attitudes mesh, and that rape and discrimination have their niche in this culture *). It may well be that undermining any individual attitude or behaviour pattern will destabilise the current culture and favour a change. But this way of thinking means that any part of culture that feminists dislike is equally hateful and must be fought against with equal fervour. Everything is rape culture, if the right people say it is. It is by definition impossible in this picture to argue against any feminist position in isolation. Either you are doing your utmost for the revolution, and you are a good person, or you are protecting patriarchy, rape culture et al, and you are a bad person. Tertium non datur.

    This would hardly be the first time in human history that a closed us-and-them ideology is trying to win dominance. But note that this kind of theory makes it officially impossible to debate with people who disagree with you. Accept the theory, and all conclusions follow. Refuse to accept the theory, and the theory defines you as a deluded, microaggressive, something-ist oppressor.

    *)That says nothing about how much rape, discrimination, or systematic oppression there might be in alternative cultures, of course. We are just taking it on faith that whatever alternative we get to will actually be better.

  76. Adiabat says

    Ally (73): Yes, most groups come up with names for those they disagree with. But what I meant is that in the case of feminism the theory itself is largely the vehicle of abuse.

    If we accept that all groups have people being dicks by calling people who disagree names as a baseline, then feminism also has people additionally being dicks by calling people “privileged” or “supporting the patriarchy”. This is what I mean by feminist theory enabling such behaviour. It gives them the tools to abuse, and yes, to be dicks, while making the followers feel justified in doing so.

    Are you complaining because an ideology that identifies, analyses and challenges oppression is identifying, analysing and challenging oppression? It sounds like it.

    This is a tough one to answer, because I reject the notion that feminist theory ‘identifies, analyses and challenges oppression’. If you have an ideology that claims to challenge oppression and encourages it’s followers to do so, then it turns out to be bunk, then what those people who thought that they were “challenging oppression” were really doing all along is being dicks.

    But what you also seem to be accepting is that any ideology that identifies, analyses and challenges oppression by it’s very nature involves being a dick to certain people. It’s just that those who agree with it feel justified in doing so because they are identifying, analysing and challenging oppression.

    Now you may say that all these people are somehow different from the feminist ‘intellectual elite’. Yet in the paper you’ve linked to one of these elite essentially pulls a tumblr-esque dick-move against those who disagree with her. What are the ‘rank and file’ supposed to take from that other than it’s acceptable to treat critics that way? If it’s acceptable for an academic to do it to other academics in a published book then it must be okay to do it everywhere else.

  77. Adiabat says

    Jacob Schmidt (76):

    Coming in to work smelling like piss would lead to something similar

    And it would’ve done 50 years ago, what’s your point? Really. I have no idea what you’re trying to argue any more.

    would run afoul of my “not to any reasonable extent” clause

    So the potential loss of your livelihood and losing the ability to support yourself and those dependent on you count as being forced “not to any reasonable extent” to conform to standards in your opinion…

    Well, I think there is such a gulf between us wrt what we consider forced that we’re never going to find common ground. So we might as well just end this line of discussion here.

    The former includes the latter, from “glancing” to “intense visual scrutiny.”

    Riiight, so if people object to being told not to look at bums it means that that they are opposed to such a wide-ranging instruction: that there is a range of behaviour that comes under the umbrella that they feel is okay. Yet somehow you find the fact that these people object to being told not to look at bums “strange”, and “telling”. So share, what do you find so ‘telling’ by the reaction of these people?

    Or were you just trying to insinuate that people objecting to being told not to look at bums were defending some extreme behaviour that is already considered inappropriate by society?

  78. Jacob Schmidt says

    So the potential loss of your livelihood and losing the ability to support yourself and those dependent on you count as being forced “not to any reasonable extent” to conform to standards in your opinion…

    I don’t care that you can’t smell like piss at work. I don’t care that you can’t insult your boss. I don’t care that you’re not allowed to come into work wearing a mohawk. I don’t care that you’re not allowed to tell rape jokes. All of these things are forced, to an extent that a negative consequence may occur otherwise. All of these are also bog standard, and frankly non issues to anyone who isn’t pathologically incapable from refraining. They simply do not matter. I was curious if you had an example of force that did matter.

    Riiight, so if people object to being told not to look at bums it means that that they are opposed to such a wide-ranging instruction: that there is a range of behaviour that comes under the umbrella that they feel is okay.

    The original piece prefaced the paragraph with the word “gawk” (i.e. to stare openly) so I read it in that context. Nor am I the first, either, given Redpesto’s reference to men not staring at women’s breasts. And even if the context wasn’t there, assuming that the innocuous end of the spectrum was being referenced isn’t in evidence.

    (It’s like I already addressed that.)

  79. Gilgamecha42 says

    Staring at breasts is wrong? What?

    And not only is it wrong, but it’s an “act of aggression”?

    You have got be fucking kidding me.

  80. marduk says

    @MM

    The overwhelming evidence is that it is harmless.
    We’ve known this for some time.

    This isn’t a very good bibliography but I’m sure you’ll agree with me that Brigham Young University (i.e., a Mormon university) is unlikely to be in the pockets of “big porn”. The only studies that find anything are doing so from presupposing they are measuring ‘victimisation’ or whatever, the neutral studies find nothing.

    http://byuresearch.org/ssrp/research.html

  81. marduk says

    @MM

    As to a few things there, Lucy is on automatic Guardian re-quote mode again.

    If porn was affecting pubic hair styles, everyone would be sporting a muff and would have been doing so for at least the last three years. Hint: if suburban soccer moms are doing it, porn stars aren’t going to.

    I’m not aware of a trend of filming anal rapes (this is like Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett who insists elaborately planned and physiologically impossible forms of gang rape are an epidemic in university halls of residence).

    As to what teachers are being asked by girls, ask them what they were being asked ten or twenty years ago while you are at it. I don’t understand how a minor can be pressured into expensive surgery they can’t legally have and can’t afford to look like, er, who exactly? There isn’t a norm in porn, you’re thinking of Playboy in the 1980s.

    None of this flies even on its own terms and its just all so lazy.

    As I say, considering the sheer determination to find something and the ingrained level of assumption, it is quite remarkable there is so little evidence of any harm being caused. Its just not happening.

    There are plenty of good arguments for banning porn but they are values based only.

  82. mildlymagnificent says

    As to what teachers are being asked by girls, ask them what they were being asked ten or twenty years ago while you are at it. I don’t understand how a minor can be pressured into expensive surgery they can’t legally have and can’t afford to look like, er, who exactly? There isn’t a norm in porn, you’re thinking of Playboy in the 1980s.

    None of this flies even on its own terms and its just all so lazy.

    10 or 20 years ago? Not as many schools / teachers were openly discussing sexual matters at this level back then. It’s not me thinking or saying any of this – I’ve merely seen a few discussions among teachers on teacher discussion sites and been present at conversations among teachers. Unfortunately, those conversations often go down the “war stories” and “horror stories” paths so they’re not much use for forming a comprehensive view of this (or any other) issue. That’s why I think it’d be worth someone’s time and effort to gather and analyse teachers’ reports in a way that lends itself to supportable conclusions, maybe even some recommendations.

    And not just that issue. There are gob-smacking levels of sexual and reproductive ignorance in the same populations as those I’ve mentioned – unfortunately among young men and women who are already sexually active. (But maybe these are in the war story/horror story category. I have no way of knowing.) Finding out just what goes so wrong that young people can finish up in these quite awful situations would be helpful to a lot of people. I’ve just tried a couple of very depressing searches on Scholar. Nothing directly relevant, very few items on the list from this century. Oh well.

  83. John Morales says

    gjenganger @84:

    Granted. [1] I would say that they are at odds with a reasonable interpretation of reality (hence nonsensical), and deliberately designed to support a specific political course of action without interference from facts – hence malicious. [2] I would compare with the ‘scientific Marxism-Leninism’ supported by the Soviet state. [3] Now that is clearly my gut reaction to something I do not really understand, so can we put that in parenthesis and look at a smaller argument?

    [1] Leaving aside your confusion between indifference and malice, I note that not only would you say it, you have said it!

    [2] You would, but you haven’t — not ostensibly.

    [3] Dunno; let me see.

    These statements [microaggression categories] might indeed be said by people who are discriminating and denying it. But imagine that somebody is telling you that (s)he feels bad and that the reason is that (s)he is being actively discriminated against because of colour or sex. This is an accusation of culpably hurtful behaviour. What could you answer? [speculative answers elided]

    I cannot answer that without further information, given that my answer would depend on how warranted I adjudged their claim and the context of the interaction.

    [1] In short you either agree with her – which proves that she is right, or you say she might be wrong, [2] which is a microagression and [3] therefore also proves that she is right. [4] Under such a theory there is simply no possibility for an accusation of discrimination to be found wrong.

    [1] You have not exhausted the possibility-space.

    [2] That’s very arguable.

    [3] You are confused; the topic at hand is supposedly microaggressions, not active discrimination, and in any case, my disagreeing with her would not prove her right about the actual claims.

    [4] Under your caricature, perhaps so.

    I am not saying that the more subtle theorists necessarily use the theory in this form, or that all adherents do. But a theory with this kind of elements is ultimately independent of reality. Whatever the facts, they can be construed as supporting the theory. Which is the hallmark of ideology or pseudoscience.

    You can assert that feminist theory (a social theory) is ultimately independent of reality and purely subjective all you want, of course.

    (For what that’s worth)

    Patriarchy and rape culture also give rise to some fun and games. Now it makes perfect sense to point out that current/male-dominated/… culture is a coherent whole, that all the different attitudes mesh, and that rape and discrimination have their niche in this culture *). It may well be that undermining any individual attitude or behaviour pattern will destabilise the current culture and favour a change. But this way of thinking means that any part of culture that feminists dislike is equally hateful and must be fought against with equal fervour. Everything is rape culture, if the right people say it is. It is by definition impossible in this picture to argue against any feminist position in isolation. Either you are doing your utmost for the revolution, and you are a good person, or you are protecting patriarchy, rape culture et al, and you are a bad person. Tertium non datur.

    I guess this also is clearly [your] gut reaction to something [you] do not really understand.

    This would hardly be the first time in human history that a closed us-and-them ideology is trying to win dominance. But note that this kind of theory makes it officially impossible to debate with people who disagree with you. Accept the theory, and all conclusions follow. Refuse to accept the theory, and the theory defines you as a deluded, microaggressive, something-ist oppressor.

    I’ll await the historically-inevitable fall of the Feminist Soviet state, once it’s established.

  84. says

    Ally, 73

    g’ and ‘what about the menz’ are used as aggressive, hostile debating tactics, but [privilege, What about the Menz, Patriarchy, Schrodingers Rapist, Intersectionality, and so on]? I don’t get your point.

    I have recollecton of several of those concepts, the words privilege and intersectionality in particular, being used to shut up dissent/ dismiss men’s issues out of hand.

    But the “Schrodingers Rapist” one is fascinating beyond the rest. Not only is the content bigoted (if anything is bigoted, then this), but trivial and calling it “identifying, analysing and challenging oppression” is as far removed from reality as the allusion to “schrödinger” in this situation is removed from the original ontological paradox.

  85. gjenganger says

    @John Morales 92
    You can assert that I am confused and ignorant all you want. You might even be right. But if you want anybody to learn anything from your post you would have to actually address the points I am trying to make.

  86. gjenganger says

    @John Morales 92
    My apologies: on second looking there was actually one specific argument in your post:

    my disagreeing with her would not prove her right about the actual claims.

    You are right – my disagreeing with her would not prove that she was right about the specific claim she was making. But – since my disagreement counted as a racist (sexist) microaggression – it would prove that she was subject to racial aggression from her environment, and that I was racially persecuting her, so that my arguments were as suspect as I was. Which would pretty much be enough for her to win the debate. Look at their example of microaggression: ““Just because you feel alone in this group doesn’t mean that there’s a racial issue involved.”. If that argument is deemed illegitimate – because it is a microaggression – it is in practice not possible to challenge a claim of discrimination.

  87. John Morales says

    gjenganger @94 & @95:

    @John Morales 92
    You can assert that I am confused and ignorant all you want. You might even be right. But if you want anybody to learn anything from your post you would have to actually address the points I am trying to make.

    I did; it is a silly point you tried to make.

    Your ignorance is self-confessed, and your confusion is evident.

    For example:

    You are right – my disagreeing with her would not prove that she was right about the specific claim she was making. But – since my disagreement counted as a racist (sexist) microaggression – it would prove that she was subject to racial aggression from her environment, and that I was racially persecuting her, so that my arguments were as suspect as I was. Which would pretty much be enough for her to win the debate.

    How you imagine your mere disagreement is “a racist (sexist) microaggression” is not privy to me, and there is no debate involved.

    Look at their example of microaggression: ““Just because you feel alone in this group doesn’t mean that there’s a racial issue involved.”. If that argument is deemed illegitimate – because it is a microaggression – it is in practice not possible to challenge a claim of discrimination.

    Apparently, the distinction between propositions and assertions and debates and arguments is opaque tn you.

    Nonetheless, you’ve made yourself clear: your conceit is that any challenge to a claim of discrimination is itself an act of discrimination under feminist theory, and as I noted, it is a silly one.

    In short, your version of feminism is a poor caricature.

  88. mildlymagnificent says

    sheaf + everyone else who ever said something similar

    But the “Schrodingers Rapist” one is fascinating beyond the rest. Not only is the content bigoted (if anything is bigoted, then this), but trivial and calling it “identifying, analysing and challenging oppression” is as far removed from reality as the allusion to “schrödinger” in this situation is removed from the original ontological paradox.

    I think you’re both right and wrong on this.

    Right. Schrodinger’s rapist _is_ a “trivial” idea – but that’s not the best word to describe it. A better word would be “simple”.

    It’s “walk a mile in our shoes” in a not very long essay explicating exactly how we would like men to think this through when they’d like to approach a strange woman. (Or walk a street or onto a bus or a train or into a pub.) And take that into account when anticipating or seeing women’s possible reaction to unfamiliar men. It really is that simple. We have no way of knowing whether any man we may see or meet is one of the 4 maybe 6% of men who are repeat rapists. During any given work day most of us will see more than a hundred men in total – street + bus + workplace/studyplace + lunch place + bus to home + other streets – so it’s pretty likely most of us have seen one or more such men on most of those days. The issue is whether one of those men will make today the day for that woman. Without neon signs on everyone’s foreheads, how do we tell?

    Wrong. I think everybody who gets sucked into the argument about the identifying, analysing and challenging oppression issue here is conflating two separate things.

    The Schrodinger’s rapist idea is just a way of talking about something specific which we often talk about generally in conversation. How would you feel if ____ happened near you, to you, in your street? How would you know if you met someone like ____?

    The oppression arises when people, men and women alike, tell other women that they should always and everywhere set their risk tolerance/ risk aversion meter at zero, or at least low enough that they will see no need to be cautious when approached by someone, or most someones. In some discussions, the oppression is compounded a gazillion% when the person advancing this view also argues that a particular woman should have been “more careful” on that occasion when she was followed or assaulted or raped.

    I also get the impression quite often that some people who raise the issue would benefit from re-reading – or maybe reading for the first time – the original “guy’s guide to approaching strange women without being maced”. Some people seem never to have read what was written – specifically in the paragraphs on risk tolerance, signals and communication. Viewed separately from the passion and venom in much of what’s been written around and about the expression Schrodinger’s rapist, the original text seems positively innocuous. It’s certainly light-hearted in many places. You’d have to be seriously humour challenged if you can’t read “Please leave me alone because I am planning my assassination of a major geopolitical figure and I will have to kill you if you are able to recognize me and blow my cover.” correctly. For those who’ve not seen it before, it’s here …http://kateharding.net/2009/10/08/guest-blogger-starling-schrodinger%E2%80%99s-rapist-or-a-guy%E2%80%99s-guide-to-approaching-strange-women-without-being-maced/

  89. says

    MM

    Shrodinger’s rapist _is_ a “trivial” idea – but that’s not the best word to describe it. A better word would be “simple”.

    I thnk it is trivial in the sense that the posibility of misconduct is a give in any particular person. Every person is a potential liar, rapist or even politician. think obsessing over this fact is contraproductive and doing it in the way the third wave has done in the last months was nothing but disgusting. I understand that it is possible that both men and women get raped and bad things generally happen. But living in fear is the wrong response and starting both bigoted and openly hostile campaigns towards people of a certain happenstance of birth is, well, bigoted.

  90. Jacob Schmidt says

    But living in fear is the wrong response and starting both bigoted and openly hostile campaigns towards people of a certain happenstance of birth is, well, bigoted.

    Ken White often suggests that vagueness is the hallmark of legal thuggery. I suggest that such a principle is really just a specific application of this: vagueness is a hallmark of intellectual vapidity.

  91. mildlymagnificent says

    But living in fear is the wrong response and starting both bigoted and openly hostile campaigns towards people of a certain happenstance of birth is, well, bigoted.

    Living in fear? I lock my house. And my car. There are automatic movement sensor lights outside my front door. I sort of shield the keyboard when I’m using an ATM. I never let my credit card out of my hand/ bag/ sight. There are certain pubs and other premises I’d never enter because they don’t look “right” or welcoming to me.

    On the other hand, when my husband worked in a country town for a year’s contract, we rarely/never locked that house nor our cars when we were there. Another teacher who’d lived in that town for 15+ years didn’t even know where his house key was.

    Like everyone else, when someone is running or stumbling towards me, I tend to step out of the way fairly briskly or step forward to steady or help the person who looks to be near falling – depending on how I assess the situation and the person. Just as anybody else would do.

    Like everyone else, I make constant judgments based on what I see, what I do and don’t know about the people around me, whether I am or am not familiar with the area.

    Everybody makes decisions and judgments in much the same way as I do. The fact that we all make different, sometimes wildly different, judgments depending on our knowledge and experience of the people and the places involved at the time. Those places I don’t enter? I probably would if I were accompanying someone who was familiar with the place and I trusted their judgment. So would you if you’d made a similar decision but found yourself accompanied by a trusted acquaintance.

  92. gjenganger says

    @John Morales 96
    I am clearly not on your level, but I bear that cross with equanimity. After all there can be few indeed with the learning, wisdom and understanding of the great John Morales. My caricature of feminism may bear little resemblance to the real thing that you will find in the lofty halls of thought. It remains an open question whether the feminist argument you actually encounter in public debate is better described by your version or by mine.

  93. says

    Schmidt,

    Your comment comes off as a meta joke but knowing your actual position it sadly is not. I am not vague when I reference things like this: http://i1.ytimg.com/vi/g0aIMA0MzBw/0.jpg with my words and many similar examples that spawned in the yes all women campaign, but given the breadth and frequency of the phenomena alluded to, just brief. I can oly scratch my head how you can interpret me to be intellectually vapid – I guess you just thought it sounds cool to say to someone who you believe to be wrong.

    100, mm

    how does this description of normal caution in any way interact with my comment? I was referencing a broad swath of femiist descriptions of social interactions, like for example this gem:
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/files/2014/06/equality.png
    Many of them are rife with irrational fear that is believed to be justified by the authors and often accompanied with very nasty expressions of universial condemnation of men.

  94. John Morales says

    gjenganger @101, might it be that your antipathy would be etiolated were your ignorance and confusion ameliorated?

  95. Jacob Schmidt says

    I am not vague when I reference things like this: http://i1.ytimg.com/vi/g0aIMA0MzBw/0.jpg

    Reference without specification is still vague; 98 referenced nothing.

    I guess you just thought it sounds cool to say to someone who you believe to be wrong.

    Or maybe I was generalizing Ken White’s heuristic… naw, that would be entirely in line with what I wrote and would require making nothing up. Couldn’t be that.

    You might want to pick a different example; the Lisak and Miller study is well known. 10% of men engaging in problematic behaviour towards women is entirely reasonable, to say nothing of the fact that the analogy works quite well in demonstrating that only a minority, even a severe minority, is required to cause large problems.

    One would think an explicit statement of the fact that not all men engage in such behaviour would be welcomed.

  96. mildlymagnificent says

    Many of them are rife with irrational fear that is believed to be justified by the authors and often accompanied with very nasty expressions of universial condemnation of men.

    What’s irrational about it?

    It may be hypervigilance because a woman has previously been stalked, harassed, assaulted or raped.
    It may be exaggerated or premature – because the woman has no evidence yet that a particular man is untrustworthy in that particular way.
    But it’s not beyond reason.

    It’s exactly like all of us who routinely, automatically, shield the ATM keypad when we’re getting cash on the street. We don’t know when or where or which particular person will be a real danger rather than a potential threat. But we’re always aware that it’s a possibility.

    Surely you’ve seen this before. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ImI_XibOWq8

  97. says

    Schmidt,

    Reference without specification is still vague; 98 referenced nothing.

    I did not find it necessary to reference very explicitly given the context of the conversation and the context of my opinions which were previously stated in other exchanges with mildlymagnifiscient. I can only interpret your current behavior as deliberate uncharitibilty.

    Or maybe I was generalizing Ken White’s heuristic… naw, that would be entirely in line with what I wrote and would require making nothing up.

    You mean you used a (not very convincing) heuristic and expanded it on a context where you have no real justification to assume it works (given that vagueness that you could have been missing important contextual clues or whatever) and apply it on a target you previously had severe disagreements with n a way that implies the target’s stupidity? I think you wanting to sound cool/intellectually superior/more powerful as keyboard warrior is a more convincing motivation nonetheless given actual base rates of behavior, but f you want to stay behind the actual motivational chain where you determine intellectual vapidity from a single example of perceived vagueness go ahead. The methodology will surely work in the future as well, where you will always find examples of people disagreeing with you being “vague”….

    You might want to pick a different example; the Lisak and Miller study is well known. 10% of men engaging in problematic behaviour towards women is entirely reasonable, to say nothing of the fact that the analogy works quite well in demonstrating that only a minority, even a severe minority, is required to cause large problems.

    I understand what the analogy is getting at and that sadly a large proportion of people are (sometimes criminaly) douchebags (though how one could possibly justify to hold that statement gender exclusive like the m&m poster dd with a straght face troubles me). The problem for me arises that this comic and similar reasoning is used as defense of often hate and hurt full generalizations and behavioral advice towards an entirety of people. If I were to pull out some crime statistic showing higher perpetration among e.g. hispanics and tried to justify a lot of blatantly racist advice, like: “Maybe the next time a white person goes somewhere at night you can change street sides, given that you now know how we feel” you would probably object given how individually unfair this kind of collectivist thinking is. Or imagine Paul Elam had started a notallwomen campaign, where several behaviors of particular women, maybe female rapists, where treated like in the m&m poster, as justification for widespread fear and mistrust towards women as category. I think most sensible people would be taken aghast by such a campaign and rightly so.

    Mildlymagnifscient,

    What’s irrational about it?

    What is irrational about having frequent conscious fears of low base rate events like plane crashes or meteor strikes? The frequency of these events does not warrant particular fears.

    It may be hypervigilance because a woman has previously been stalked, harassed, assaulted or raped.

    How would any one of these qualify as rape&murder, a more severe and less frequent occurance?

    It’s exactly like all of us who routinely, automatically, shield the ATM keypad when we’re getting cash on the street. We don’t know when or where or which particular person will be a real danger rather than a potential threat. But we’re always aware that it’s a possibility.

    Again this is not about reasonable safety protocols but about gender exclusive generalizations that are often defended in this way.

    Re: Youtube video, that was a disgusting display of bigotry based on false facts. was there a particular point to it? And the people laughing about heart dsease being the number one threat for men? My father died of overworking in combination with heart disease when I was very small, so this really rubs me the wrong way.

  98. gjenganger says

    @John Morales 103
    Sorry, but if you want me to understand you, you have to talk in simple language that matches my intellectual status. I am only a PhD-level scientist, I am not as educated as you are.

    “Speak English, you German dog!”, as the farmer said to the Russian.

  99. John Morales says

    gjenganger @107, it’s good of you to inform me of your erudition so that I may be aware of it, but you may relax: it is of little issue that your lexical mastery is currently insufficient to follow what you perceive to be my recondite terminology since it entails a proven ability to do research.

    (Also, I concede that you’re no less opinionated than I)

  100. Adiabat says

    Jacob Schmidt (87): So basically you have no idea what this discussion is about. The point of mine you responded to was that the reason MM needs to have the same debate each generation is because even though she, and her fellow travellers, managed to convince those in power to force people to stop doing something, they didn’t actually change people’s minds and convince them that they shouldn’t do it. It was a critique of the ‘trickle-down’ method of political activism, which include the belief that if you convince the ‘elite’, and subsequently get them to do as you want (such as forcing people to stop doing things you just personally don’t like), then their (and your) political views trickle down to the masses.

    To which you denied no-one was being forced to do anything. But you now agree they are but you don’t care that they are. Which has nothing to do with the point I was making.

    It’s like I already addressed that

    Except I was clearly replying to your argument: “The former includes the latter, from “glancing” to “intense visual scrutiny.”” You can tell that because that’s what I quoted.

    But even the bit you quoted is just you equivocating after you were called out, as usual. The paragraph with ‘gawk’ in it is giving a list of things not to do. The first is gawk, then don’t look down tops, then don’t look at bums, then honk your horn and so on. And considering that the discussion since MM quoted that has focused on ‘looking at bums’, there’s no reason to suddenly talk about staring if not to draw an equivalency between views of people here, such as myself, and some views on ‘staring’ you “read somewhere else”.

  101. Adiabat says

    gjenganger (107): What do you mean, John’s posts of sesquipedalian loquaciousness are pellucid exemplars of lamprophony? /s

  102. John Morales says

    Adiabat, loquacity ain’t one of my failings, and there’s a correlation between terseness and apparent sesquipedality.

    (And it’s expressed symbolically, not vocally)

    </pedant>

  103. Adiabat says

    John Morales (111): Sometimes, but terseness has connotations of effectiveness. If your interlocutor finds your grandiloquent succinctness to be caliginous, and causes them excessive bruxism, I would argue that any benefits derived from the correlation are defunct.

  104. John Morales says

    Adiabat @113, it may be that my #103′s impenetrability was the true reason for gjenganger’s evasion of my question, rather than an excuse for the avoidance of my question’s implication.

    (Either way, the response was sufficiently informative to be considered beneficial)

  105. Jacob Schmidt says

    You mean you used a (not very convincing) heuristic and expanded it on a context where you have no real justification to assume it works[1] (given that vagueness that you could have been missing important contextual clues or whatever[2]) and apply it on a target you previously had severe disagreements with n a way that implies the target’s stupidity?[3]

    1) Other than my own experience.; admittedly not the strongest of justifications, but then my thinking is tentative (it was merely a suggestion, after all).

    2) I wasn’t.

    3) That you think a single instance of intellectual vapidity implies stupidity is your own conceit; don’t project that thinking onto me,

    The problem for me arises that this comic and similar reasoning is used as defense of often hate and hurt full generalizations and behavioral advice towards an entirety of people. If I were to pull out some crime statistic showing higher perpetration among e.g. hispanics and tried to justify a lot of blatantly racist advice, like: “Maybe the next time a white person goes somewhere at night you can change street sides, given that you now know how we feel” you would probably object given how individually unfair this kind of collectivist thinking is.

    It’s worth noting, of course, that the difference between white crime and hispanic crime is far, far, far smaller than the difference between various forms of sexual harrassment /assault by women against women and sexual harassment/assault by men against women. The latter differs by more than an order of magnitude.

    This isn’t even surprising. The grand majority of the population is straight. Women could be 10 times as sexually aggressive as men, and men would still make up the majority of those who sexually harass/assault women.

    What would make you happy in this? Do you believe women should be equally cautious around women as they (some of them) are around men? Do you think we should refrain from noting that sexual harassment and assault against women is almost entirely committed by men? This isn’t a difference in crime statistics better explained by increased police scrutiny and poverty, this is a clearly very gendered issue.

    To which you denied no-one was being forced to do anything. But you now agree they are but you don’t care that they are. Which has nothing to do with the point I was making.

    No, it doesn’t. I was asking a tangential question.

    (You can tell because the answer to the question was only tangential to the discussion.)

    The first is gawk, then don’t look down tops, then don’t look at bums, then honk your horn and so on.[1] And considering that the discussion since MM quoted that has focused on ‘looking at bums’, there’s no reason to suddenly talk about staring if not to draw an equivalency between views of people here,[2] such as myself, and some views on ‘staring’ you “read somewhere else”.

    1) Yes, and given the severity of the preface, its entirely reasonable to read severity on the rest. That’s how context works.

    2) I specified the “general reaction,” not you. I find it noteworthy. Incidentally, see post 88; those views are here.

  106. mildlymagnificent says

    sheaf

    What is irrational about having frequent conscious fears of low base rate events like plane crashes or meteor strikes? The frequency of these events does not warrant particular fears.

    Low base rate events? I’ve never been in a plane crash or been anywhere near a meteor strike. But I, like many women I know, have been assaulted violently by a man and, like even more, I’ve also been grabbed, groped and otherwise sexually assaulted short of rape by strangers in the street and by men that I know elsewhere. I’d say all the other women I know who’ve reported or “joked” about crude behaviour by strange men in the street have not experienced any events that would normally be categorised as unusual or exceptional. I wouldn’t count it as a “low base rate” event.

    I think you’re getting a bit mixed up by the stats. There aren’t really that many men who do these things, but they do it a lot. There is no matching or pairing to be done on how many women have been attacked or otherwise affected by men’s violence and the number of men who engage in such activity. Every woman you know could have been assaulted in one way or another and not a single man you know be a perpetrator and that still wouldn’t invalidate the statistics. All those non-violent men are affected by the violence of other men if the women they deal with, or even the ones they love, are jumpy or hypervigilant or over-react for no apparent reason. (I know about this, my husband is occasionally offended or upset by my reactions to not-very-much. At least I don’t have the nightmares any more.)

    My father died of overworking in combination with heart disease when I was very small, so this really rubs me the wrong way.

    That’s sad. I’m so sorry.

  107. gjenganger says

    @mildly 116
    I’d say that men tend to se rape as a low base rate event, certainly to the extent that the risk of being alone in an elevator with a stranger, once, would be really rather low. That may be wrong of us. But it is confusing. On this debate, for instance you hear both that ca. 5% of all men are repeat rapists, but also that “. There aren’t really that many men who do these things”. Those statements do not mean the same to me. Also it is hard to keep track of when the talk is of rape (very damaging, but relatively rare) or gropes and grabs (unpleasant and scary rather than damaging, but surely much more common). There is also a feeling that sometimes the dangers are hyped a bit in debate, to make it clear to us men that we need to get our shit together. I shield my pin when I use an ATM (like you) but I do not check my bank balance weekly, or refuse to stick my credit card into any old appliance that I get handed in a restaurant.

    On one end of the scale, rape prevention would be like traffic, where not ending under a car is a constant preoccupation. At the other end it would be like attacks by wolves – hardly ever happens, but knowing that their are wolves around would be enough to keep many people from having picnics in the dusk. Where would you put it, as dangerous as traffic accidents?

  108. Jacob Schmidt says

    On this debate, for instance you hear both that ca. 5% of all men are repeat rapists, but also that “. There aren’t really that many men who do these things”.

    5% is not that many in raw numbers, and in total they have the effect of about 20% each raping once (due to repeat offenders).

    Where would you put it, as dangerous as traffic accidents?

    Assuming the CDC 2010 stats are good, that’s about 1% of women (and men) per year, in the US. The total population being about 300 million, that puts us at about 3 million per year. I have no idea how rigorous their methodology is, but 10 million car accidents per year is probably in the ball park.

    But that car accident number is too large, since that includes any sort of car accident; hardly comparable to rape. The rape number is somewhat deflated, since the CDC only asked if they had been raped in the past year, not how many times. All in all, I’d estimate that the threat of rape is comparable to the threat of a serious car accident.

    The wolves analogy is ok, in that rape isn’t an accident, but a crime one does deliberately (albeit sometimes in ignorance of what constitutes rape). The wild dogs in Russia might be a good analogy; there are a lot more of them than wolves, and they do sometimes attack humans.

  109. Jacob Schmidt says

    The problem for me arises that this comic and similar reasoning is used as defense of often hate and hurt full generalizations and behavioral advice towards an entirety of people.

    This is what I mean about vagueness, sheaf. I ask for specifics (albeit in a round about way), and you give me a poster comparing poisoned M&Ms to men. I point out that the poster is entirely reasonable, matches the statistics we have in this area, and well elucidates the problem of dismissing concerns based on “Not all X.” You assert “that this comic and similar reasoning is used as defense of often hate[ful] and hurt full generalizations and behavioral advice towards an entirety of people.” Except except you give no specifics as to how it possible could.

    Once you get down to brass tacks, I suspect that your only complaint is that it identifies men, and men specifically, as those committing sexual violence and harassment against women. Except that’s an entirely accurate view to take: it is pretty much only men doing it.

  110. mildlymagnificent says

    Where would you put it, as dangerous as traffic accidents?

    Well, certainly more common than attacks by wolves. I just looked up the stats for Australia. Road fatalities – 5.16 per 100000 population. Rapes reported – 28.6 per 100000. Couldn’t find a figure for number of serious injuries from traffic accidents but reported rapes might be in much the same ballpark. In Australia, surveys show that the reporting rate for rape is about 30%. Lord knows whether there is or isn’t something useful or relevant one could do with the numbers even if we had them.

    There is also a feeling that sometimes the dangers are hyped a bit in debate, to make it clear to us men that we need to get our shit together.

    Hyped? What we really want is for men to believe us about what happens and how often it happens. The number of stories you see where men have refused to believe what their wives and girlfriends have told them what happens when they’re not accompanying them until they’ve happened, or deliberately set things up, to see for themselves how many men harass and how often street harassment happens to an unaccompanied woman. (Wife or girlfriend as compared to some stranger on the internet, so they know that these women are generally honest and reliable rather than having to take an unknown woman’s word on trust.)

    This piece on Brute Reason has a couple of good points. http://freethoughtblogs.com/brutereason/2014/06/04/they-have-to-see-it-with-their-own-eyes-men-and-violence-against-women/ (It was written just after the Isla Vista murders so the framing is a bit awkward for ordinary discussion, but it’s worth a read.) This extract is the sort of thing I mean about believing us about fears of rape and violence.

    While we were living together, a girl at our university was murdered by a stranger who broke into her on-campus apartment. They never caught the man who did it and still, my roommate couldn’t see why I would get mad when I came home to find our house unlocked and empty or why I’d be mildly nervous about being alone and vulnerable.

    That was years ago, but recently, we met up for dinner.

    “I’ve gotta apologize about something, Mads,” he said, pouring a glass of wine. “I know I used to give you a hard time about not wanting to walk alone at night, but a couple weeks ago around bar time, I saw a girl get attacked. It was crazy.”

    … I tried so many times to tell him about the scary realities of existing while female and he, like all of those dudes on Twitter, refused to believe me. He had to see someone undergo traumatic assault with his own eyes before he would recognize what we women know inherently.

    All that men really need to do is to not laugh at rape jokes or jokes about spiking drinks or black eyes, preferably to say out loud that it’s not funny, and to be a bit more alert to what’s going on around them in pubs and social events. Among younger men, having more of them take a bit more notice, and to intervene if necessary, when they see, or are told, that one of their acquaintances is intending to separate an obviously inebriated woman from the larger group. If a woman tells you that she’d rather catch a cab than walk home or take a bus or train late at night, treat her concerns seriously even if you think they’re trivial or “hyped”. That would be a good start.

    Another post on Brute Reason puts it more strongly. She’s talking about online harassment mostly here but it’s also worth a read.

    Most importantly, your role as a man who cares about women is not necessarily to talk at us. TALK TO OTHER MEN. Call them the fuck out when they catcall women. Call them the fuck out when they make sexist jokes. (… lots of similar stuff omitted here …) THIS is your job. …

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/brutereason/2014/06/20/your-jokes-about-sexist-harassment/

  111. marduk says

    @MM

    The problem is I can’t see how that wouldn’t turn into violence.

    As you put it, then ok, I can’t really imagine the circumstances though because they guy that does stuff like that would already be someone I don’t want to know for more serious reasons anyway.

    Miri is asking for men to die over jokes she doesn’t like, its not actually that reasonable a request. I’m not fucking Batman and while I know she considers men to be lower than actual animals, I don’t really enjoy violence at all.

    What neither of you are actually thinking about is that men do a lot to avoid violence as well. Reprimanding random people in the street would come under that heading. Apparently you have privilege in being able to reprimand strangers without thinking bystanders would actually clear a space for them to smash your teeth out.

  112. says

    Schmidt,

    Other than my own experience.; admittedly not the strongest of justifications, but then my thinking is tentative (it was merely a suggestion, after all).

    ok. I believe I have seen insight even in deliberate vagueness but generally prefer a more explicit style. t often comes down to the amount f exposition one s willing to make.

    I wasn’t.

    Nu, uh.

    That you think a single instance of intellectual vapidity implies stupidity is your own conceit; don’t project that thinking onto me,

    Your formulation is of the form:
    “Action B is indicative of noun C.” Most such formulations are inferences about the acting person, not about the action. A few examples:

    “Your sprint showed great speed.”
    “His poem was indicative of talent”
    “Her kick was testament to advanced skill”

    In contrast if one wats to denote singular instances one would use reference to instances, like

    “That was a bad run”
    “Well, that does not even rhyme”
    “Well that was a miss”

    Or “vagueness shows this argument to probably be vapid”

    I think your formulation was in the best case misleading.

    The rest of your posts mainly point out that my analogies are perceived insufficient.

    Maybe this one is better: Suppose I had some beef with gay men and feared to be anally raped. I would start a notallgaymales hashtag and published appropriately numbered m&m posters. As far as I ca see, at least out of prison, the analogous frequencies in this case would be defended by your distinctions as well. Would you see this as allright? Would you support callous treatment of homosexuals based on that?

  113. gjenganger says

    @Jacob 118, Mildly 120
    You both write many sensible things, and I need to read the links and think about it. Thanks. But I definitely disagree with Mildly’s quote on one point. If you think that sexist jokes need to be suppressed, that is your job. It is not my job as a man to fight your battles for you, on your say-so, without even considering what I think about those jokes myself.

  114. Jacob Schmidt says

    I believe I have seen insight even in deliberate vagueness but generally prefer a more explicit style.

    I’ll admit that vagueness can be insightful, especially when one is speaking generally rather than specifically.

    Suppose I had some beef with gay men and feared to be anally raped. I would start a notallgaymales hashtag and published appropriately numbered m&m posters. As far as I ca see, at least out of prison, the analogous frequencies in this case would be defended by your distinctions as well. Would you see this as allright? Would you support callous treatment of homosexuals based on that?

    I am somewhat confused by your reference to prison. I assume you’re referencing prison rape, usually committed by men against men, and labelling these men gay. Within the prison, yes, most rape against men would be from other men; whether or not they’re gay or adapting to an effectively single gender life is still in question.

    But yes, if we one day learned that 98% of rape against men was caused by gay men, I would be ok with specifying gay men in addressing the problem.

    marduk

    The problem is I can’t see how that wouldn’t turn into violence.

    Uh… what? Am I reading you right? You think criticism (i.e. calling out) will reliably lead men to violence? If so, you have a worse opinion of men than almost anyone I’ve met.

    Miri is asking for men to die over jokes she doesn’t like, its not actually that reasonable a request. I’m not fucking Batman and while I know she considers men to be lower than actual animals, I don’t really enjoy violence at all.[1]

    What neither of you are actually thinking about is that men do a lot to avoid violence as well. Reprimanding random people in the street would come under that heading.[2]

    1) If you manage to quote Miri saying any of this, I’ll eat my hat. I don’t even own a hat. I will go out, buy a fancy bonnet, fly out to wherever the hell you live, and eat my new hat on your doorstep.

    2) Then don’t reprimand random strangers on the street if you don’t feel safe doing so. Reprimand your friends, should they do it; your family; hell, those jokes are all over the internet. Anyone who spends enough time on here will see some jokes trivializing rape, or people saying shitty things about women. That you feel unsafe calling out strangers on the streets doesn’t mean there’s no opportunity whatsoever.

    I get it. I don’t like doing it either. The one and only time I gave a guy shit for harassing and assaulting his girlfriend, he threatened me too. I backed out after that. I wish I hadn’t; I wish I had stood my ground better; but fear and self preservation kicked in.

  115. says

    Schmidt

    I am somewhat confused by your reference to prison. I assume you’re referencing prison rape, usually committed by men against men, and labelling these men gay. Within the prison, yes, most rape against men would be from other men; whether or not they’re gay or adapting to an effectively single gender life is still in question.

    that is a misreading. The category in question is anal rape, not rape in general. The complete category of rape on men based on empirical frequencies seems to be caused more by female rapists than male ones.

  116. Jacob Schmidt says

    The complete category of rape on men based on empirical frequencies seems to be caused more by female rapists than male ones.

    I see no reason to separate anal rape from rape in general; that, I would argue, would be based on bigotry. All forms of sexual harassment and violence are almost entirely from men though.

    If we had men grabbing women’s breasts, and women grabbing women’s asses, that would be a gendered issue, but both genders would be committing similar levels of violence despite a minor category difference; to focus on one and ignore the other would be bigoted.

  117. Jacob Schmidt says

    In fact, the idea that one had to be penetrated to be raped, or that penetration is automatically worse, has been used to dismiss male victims. I wouldn’t come near such an ideology, regardless of its effects on the gay population.

  118. says

    Schmidt

    I see no reason to separate anal rape from rape in general; that, I would argue, would be based on bigotry.

    I do neither. would you say that this separation in the cdc study was based on bigotry?

    All forms of sexual harassment and violence are almost entirely from men though.

    Unless I am missing something this is completely untrue. I think the majority is commited by men, but most halfway sensible data points to female sexual aggression being on a similar order of magnitude, see for example this compilation: http://freethoughtblogs.com/hetpat/2013/09/04/the-startling-facts-on-female-sexual-aggression/

  119. Jacob Schmidt says

    Yes about CDC.

    I meant to specify sexual harassment and assault against women.

  120. Ally Fogg says

    Really interesting conversations going on here.

    Just chip in a wee bit:

    gjenganger:

    “But I definitely disagree with Mildly’s quote on one point. If you think that sexist jokes need to be suppressed, that is your job. It is not my job as a man to fight your battles for you, on your say-so, without even considering what I think about those jokes myself.”

    I don’t think either MM or Miri were suggesting making challenges like that should be left to men, more that men should add a weight of agreement to what women are already saying. I don’t have a problem with that.

    marduk

    “The problem is I can’t see how that wouldn’t turn into violence.”

    Really? I’ve often called out offensive behaviour, either with a disapproving eyebrow (which is often enough), a rational argument or or objection, or just some variation on “Really dude?”

    Never once got me beaten up. The only time it has ever even come close is when I’ve picked fights with unashamed fascists about racism.

    Never got grief for objecting to sexism or homophobia.

  121. marduk says

    Jacob Schmidt

    Look at her post written several days (worth of high profile reporting) after Elliot Rodger’s rampage.
    She talks about the “people” he hurt and specifically excludes in that the men he stabbed to death who are subtracted from the count.

    Perhaps she doesn’t hate men and its just asians she considers to be inhuman, maybe both, who knows. I asked her to correct her article out of having a bit of respect for people with fathers, mother, siblings and friends and she deleted it and posted a weird off-topic rant that had nothing to do with the post it replaced. You can be a murder victim and Miri doesn’t even choose to acknowledge your existence and wants to ‘other’ you into non-existence (as she would probably put it if it was anyone else), it doesn’t get clearer than that.

    Ally

    Well raising an eyebrow is not “calling the fuck out” is it. I take that to imply at the very least getting in someone’s face. The only time I’ve ever seen catcalls is 4am in the city centre when the clubs empty. You might feel this cowardly but I’m not going to square up to a gang of drunk roided out nutters because they yelled something rude unless they are actually doing something (…I mean, I like to think I would, but who really knows?). I don’t know people who tell rape jokes or indulge in homophobia or who would think it was ok to come out with that junk in my hearing, generally there are far worse pre-existing reasons not to want to know people like that anyway.

  122. mildlymagnificent says

    What neither of you are actually thinking about is that men do a lot to avoid violence as well. Reprimanding random people in the street would come under that heading. Apparently you have privilege in being able to reprimand strangers without thinking bystanders would actually clear a space for them to smash your teeth out.

    This is exactly 180 degrees off what I was thinking of.

    No. I really do not expect men to start arguments with strangers in the street.

    The conversations and jokes that need to be modified, toned down or shut down are those in our own environment and circle of acquaintance. At work, at neighbourhood BBQs, within our own group of friends and workmates at a pub or a meal, with cousins and uncles and BILs at family events. You need to know people to know the right way to speak to them or around them – though no one should pretend this might not occasionally be awkward if someone overreacts when they’re told for the very first time that their favourite joke is unwelcome and distasteful.

    This is about cleaning your own house first before you even think about picking up litter in the street.

  123. mildlymagnificent says

    Oh. I just realised. You were thinking about the catcalls. Right?

    Well, if it’s a friend who’s walking beside you who does it, you damn well should reprimand him then and there. If you see someone you don’t know catcalling women in the street, you can just give them a frown or a thumbs down signal or “Give it a rest, mate” or similar quick easy harmless keep-on-walking response that nevertheless indicates they were stepping out of line.

  124. gjenganger says

    @Ally 131

    I don’t think either MM or Miri were suggesting making challenges like that should be left to men, more that men should add a weight of agreement to what women are already saying.

    True, but I do have an additional problem here. Miri:

    Guys, the bullying and harassment women writers experience is HORRIFYING. Do you understand that? Do you *actually* understand it, like on the visceral level where your own gut just twists at the thought of it?[...]
    Maybe you can’t understand it on that level. Maybe it’s impossible to understand something you haven’t experienced on that level. So if you don’t, you’d best be reminding yourself of that every single time you’re about to engage with someone on the topic.

    No. I do not share her feelings about this. I do not understand it, that way. And I do not accept that I should, nor that I should treat every woman like I would treat a refugee from the fighting in Syria, simply because someone tells me to. Convince me, if you can, but I make up my own mind. On which topic, Jacob and Mildly made some good points, and I shall think about them.

    In context there is nothing wrong with Miri’s post. She is addressing her friends, people who approach her trying to be supportive and helpful, and it makes sense to tell them that ‘Look, if you want to be helpful, this is what you should do.’ Extending this to the general male population is another matter. Do I have a moral duty to try to help stop rape? Of course I do. Does that extend to a moral duty to fight catcalls and sexist jokes, because someone else’s feelings or theories claim that it amounts to the same thing? I do not accept that. And I resent anyone who tries to tell me that this is my ‘job’.

  125. Adiabat says

    Jacob Schmidt (115): Fair enough , I suppose. Though generally, in future, if you ask a tangential question to the point someone is making and the person answers you say “Thank you for that information” and not “Well, I don’t give a fuck anyway.”

    It’s weird that the way you’re trying to wrangle you way outta whatever it was you were trying on is to say that you were just butting into a conversation to ask an irrelevant question, then when you get an answer to go on about how you don’t give a shit. At a minimum that’s rude as fuck.

    Yes, and given the severity of the preface, its entirely reasonable to read severity on the rest. That’s how context works

    This is a feminist we’re talking about; No doubt the author does consider looking at bums to be ‘severe’. But no, I don’t agree it is reasonable to read severity on the rest; just because you have a list of items doesn’t automatically mean that they are all as serious as each other. It may mean that the author thinks that the things they listed are all as serious as each other but you don’t reinterpret what they actually said just to make the argument you are making. That is a weird way of reading that paragraph.

    But fine, I’m tired and bored of this conversation so I’ll retract my claims that you were purposely trying to use fallacious arguments and just think you’re a bit weird and rude instead.

    Post 88 is an interesting reaction. I read it as either a joke in response to this discussion, or an objection to calling it an “act of aggression”, which is just ridiculous. Or maybe Gilgamecha42 recognizes something as rude but doesn’t equate rude to wrong, as in ‘morally wrong’, but instead as a social faux-pas (do you consider your rudeness above to be morally wrong? Do you think asking someone an irrelevant question then telling them you don’t give a shit is more or less rude than staring at boobs?). Or maybe making ridiculous claims about “acts of aggression” just put him off the entire point the author was trying to make. People are complicated, and hold views for complex reasons. I don’t think there’s anything really ‘telling’ about someone who has that reaction.

  126. H. E. Pennypacker says

    @ Gjenanger

    In context there is nothing wrong with Miri’s post. She is addressing her friends, people who approach her trying to be supportive and helpful, and it makes sense to tell them that ‘Look, if you want to be helpful, this is what you should do.’ Extending this to the general male population is another matter. Do I have a moral duty to try to help stop rape? Of course I do. Does that extend to a moral duty to fight catcalls and sexist jokes, because someone else’s feelings or theories claim that it amounts to the same thing? I do not accept that. And I resent anyone who tries to tell me that this is my ‘job’.

    This is spot on. To be honest I would be more comfortable with people saying you should fight sexist jokes and catcalls if it wasn’t so regularly argued that in doing so you would be helping to reduce violence against women. I’m not particularly keen sexist jokes or catcalls but I don’t buy the idea that they necessarily make violence against women more common.

    My main problem is that it’s a prime example of feel-good activism. I can do my bit to end oppression by admonishing someone for making a rape joke, I can help third-world farmers by getting the fair-trade coffee, I can save the rain forest by buying recycled toilet paper. None of these things are remotely effective at achieving anything but helping people to assuage their liberal guilt. It seems to me like the secular version of praying for world peace. Actually, one of the pioneering organizations in this field, Amnesty International, did actually model their approach on Christian prayer and one of the founders explicitly stated that they wanted to help people feel like they were making a difference. Once you start looking for this kind of language it’s amazing how ubiquitous it is. Campaigns and charitable organizations are constantly telling you how good it is to feel like you’re making a difference.

  127. marduk says

    mildlymagnificent

    But it just comes back to the point I don’t know people like that, as usual.
    And if you think about it, anyone who is going to volunteer to be lectured by Miri almost certainly doesn’t either.
    Its almost entirely redundant isn’t it. This why the ranting and raving style of righteous blogging is a waste of time, the only people who are ever going to be hit by your ‘snark’ are the people who already agree with you and probably deserve a bit more courtesy.

    Its like free jazz in the end, its more fun to do than it is good for anyone else to listen to.

  128. Adiabat says

    Ally (131):

    Never once got me beaten up. The only time it has ever even come close is when I’ve picked fights with unashamed fascists about racism.

    Aren’t you a 6+ foot Scot, though? That may have something to do with it.

    Personally, I’ll step in (and have done so) if there’s a real risk of harm. But I’m not going to risk chav-wrath just to protect someone’s feelings or sensibilities, even less so for some dubious “theory”.

  129. mildlymagnificent says

    None of these things are remotely effective at achieving anything but helping people to assuage their liberal guilt.

    It really does depend on how many other people do the same thing. If you’re keen on some such action, you should persuade others to join you. One thing that’s happened where I live is that free range eggs are now more in demand than conventional cage-laid eggs. I wouldn’t have thought that was possible 5 years ago. Now it’s routine for many people everywhere and for most people in some places to buy free range eggs even when the price difference is quite large.

    There are all sorts of words, expressions and attitudes or behaviours that now are frowned upon that were commonplace when I was growing up. In the 1950s, every street in every suburb had at least one black dog and one black cat that were called by the now offensively unmentionable black name. Now, there isn’t a single one from one end of the city to the other. All it takes is for enough people to say yes to this or no to that. Often enough, strongly enough – and backing it up by putting their money where their mouth is where it’s a product or process that’s an issue. It might take a year or a decade, even longer, but it will happen if enough people want it to.

  130. Jacob Schmidt says

    It’s weird that the way you’re trying to wrangle you way outta whatever it was you were trying on is to say that you were just butting into a conversation to ask an irrelevant question, then when you get an answer to go on about how you don’t give a shit.

    You can’t really “but in” to an online discussion; my posts don’t interrupt you. In any case, the discussion had already ended.

    I don’t care about the particular answer given; had you a more severe form of “force” that I had simply not noticed or thought of, I would have.

    But you’re right, I should have thanked you for taking the time for answering my question. Belatedly, thank you.

    But fine, I’m tired and bored of this conversation so I’ll retract my claims that you were purposely trying to use fallacious arguments and just think you’re a bit weird and rude instead.

    That’s not actually a retraction. But, sure, subject dropped.

    Marduk

    Nah, I read those posts already. As far as I can tell, you’re making things up.

    Well raising an eyebrow is not “calling the fuck out” is it.

    Perhaps not, but openly voicing objections (i.e. the other two examples given) definitely are.

  131. marduk says

    Jacob Schmidt

    Apology required from you.

    ” It’s been about a week and a half since Elliot Rodger shot six people and himself in Isla Vista, and the discussions are starting to die down.”

    Elliot Rodger killed six people and shot eleven people.
    Of the six he murdered, three he stabbed to death.

    If you are not deliberately denying their humanity why on earth would you make that statement and then aggressively refuse to edit it?

    “[marduk's comment has been redacted because they apparently missed this note at the end: "Do not turn the conversation in the comments section into a conversation about violence against men. Do not insist on reminding me that men can also be the victims of violence." marduk may comment again once they have developed the skill of reading comprehension. -M]”

    Not making anything up.

    As I say, I can only speculate as to whether Miri believes men aren’t “people” or whether, it is Asians that Miri thinks aren’t people.

  132. marduk says

    In other circs I could understand this; a brainfart of a sentence and then a failure to read the post properly.

    But this is one of the leading SJWs of her generation and in whose blog notions of elision, silencing, dehumanising, etc. are common currency.

    She would never make a mistake in this kind of thing.

  133. gjenganger says

    @Marduk 142
    I think you are overreacting.

    ‘Shot’ is ambiguous between ‘hit by a bullet’ and ‘killed by a bullet’. The obvious explanation is that Miri meant that he killed six people and was a bit inaccurate. Subsequently she may have thought that the exact murder method did not matter much for the point she was making (understandably, I would say), and then taken umbrage at your comment. I do not know how combative you were, but the lady does seem rather hair-trigger.

    I would drop it – her blog does not look like a comfy place to hang out anyway.

  134. marduk says

    I asked her to make a correction and I pointed out that presumably several men did actually did try to stop Rodger and died trying in the most horrific way. Seems a bit disrespectful to victims of violence, even if mere men, not to notice this. That is why I mention it at all in the above context.

    You’re right of course really.

  135. says

    Are all comments put in moderation or just mine? In both cases I would appreciate some clarification. Up to now the thing that made this place attractve was that it allowed for free exchange of opinions and I do not see how stricter policies improve this.

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