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Jun 18 2012

An unidirectional “conversation” with an MRA on Google+

Wanted to throw this on the blog for a few days now, but it’s been… busy. Over at Google+, it seems the only people who engage with my linking back to various websites are the MRAs and antifeminists who probably make up the majority of the early-adopters of the technology.

I had posted a link to Chris Clarke’s thoughts on the latest skeptical sexism imbroglio, and the only answers I got were from one guy who was entirely disinterested in engaging with the points I attempted to make in a pithy, I-don’t-have-time-for-fisking-this kind of way.

Seriously, it’s a hell of a gish gallop. You should see it.

Allen HildebrandtJun 13, 2012

I think this is a trivialization of the issue men have with the topic.  You’re likely correct that there are bad actors in the argument, name callers, people who attack the women making the claim.

However, whether or not the claim is just and fair isn’t ever really addressed.  From the arguments I’ve been in with people, it isn’t so much as an assumption that all the men are guilty, it’s that the argument is that all men should be treated as potentially guilty, that the perspective of the person claiming victim is the only one that matters and the harm that it does is irrelevant so long as the woman involved is protected from harm.

Watson was unfair, both for posting what she did as well as having the expectation that men should behave in a specific manner that only considers her comfort.  As I said then, she’s perfectly welcome to be uncomfortable… but just because crimes occur doesn’t give anyone the right to treat every man as if he were a criminal and publically shame him because he didn’t technically do anything illegally wrong.

Jason ThibeaultJun 13, 2012Edit

That’s terribly reductionist of any of the argument, considering Watson is ONE ACTOR IN IT. She is not even a focal point, except how the anti-Watson brigade make her that.

But your worry that women might potentially have something to fear from “all men” stems from a culture that practically protects rapists from justice. So do something about that, so we men might be reasonably trusted.

Jason ThibeaultJun 13, 2012Edit

In other words, I think you’re making a terribly trivializing argument and you’re co-opting the whole thing as “men vs women” when here’s a man right here who’s done more for men’s rights than most, who thinks you’re not doing the arguments justice and Chris Clarke’s thoughts are spot-on.

Allen HildebrandtJun 13, 2012

Am I correct in parsing that last sentence in your previous post as implicit sanctioning of men not being trusted?

Trust should be the default mode, don’t bring to an interaction anything that it doesn’t warrant.  Implicit sexism swings both ways, and the implicit assumption that men should be treated as untrustworthy is an unacceptable position to take when trying to discuss the subject.  It taints a persons arguments in noticeable ways.

I would wager that about a third of the men who are being tossed in the same basket as the people who are misogynistic aren’t.  They just want men to be talked about fairly, treated fairly and not have to be treated like everything is always their fault.

You’re correct that Watson isn’t a focal point, the Elevator situation is just one of myriad examples of situations where no harm occurred but are being used as examples of unacceptable behavior.  People make mistakes, treat people with the common damn courtesy of accepting that we’re all sometimes lonely and don’t always think about our own situation and how things might come across.

Humility and tolerance is exactly what this controversy lacks, on both sides of the aisle, men and women alike.

Jason ThibeaultJun 13, 2012Edit

Read this. http://freethoughtblogs.com/crommunist/2012/01/16/shuffling-feet-a-black-mans-view-on-schroedingers-rapist/

Seriously, people like you, who miss the plot so completely yet put on airs of being the “reasonable ones”, are why I normally have a do-not-engage-on-G+ policy. >_<

Allen HildebrandtJun 13, 2012

You do realize that saying “People like you” bunches me in with people that I probably have not as much in common as you are currently, at the time of this conversation, you believe I do?

Misandry isn’t an acceptable position, and allowing some to participate in misandry in order to win some good favor from the misandrists isn’t exactly productive.  Just as humoring Misogyny isn’t.

Address my points, right or wrong, I’d prefer you to do that than to go to the “People like you” sentiment. At least by addressing my points, you’re being honest about the conversation.

As to your link, I read the link; Fear is not an acceptable response nor does it excuse sexist behavior.  Likewise, tailoring your behavior to cater to everyone’s perceptions of how the world is isn’t doing them any favors, and it’s a form of deceit.  I abhor deceit, even if it would win me friends, even if it’s the nice lies and the comforting ones.  I’m familiar with the people who say, “If other people are uncomfortable with that, maybe you need to change your behavior” that is often the underlying root of bigotry lobbied against gays and lesbians… that they should behave in a way that society feels more comfortable with.  Yet somehow, that’s supposed to be an acceptable way to treat half the population? It’s bad in one situation, but in THIS one it’s good?

I don’t accept that it is reasonable to treat men in the way some of these women treat them.  It’s a justification for them to continue their distrustful and often hateful behavior towards men.  Often men who’ve been thrashed and beaten by the same kinds of behaviors in the past for not being in any way a desirable potential partner.  It’s an implicit justification for judging people based on their looks and not the content of their character.

Jason ThibeaultJun 13, 2012Edit

You’re exactly what I described in “people like you” — people who’ve lost the plot but still think they’re the reasonable ones. I’m lumping you in with people like you. Jebus.

If you’re not working to end rape culture, you’re screaming against a symptom of the disease, not the disease itself. You’re complaining of sniffles when the body of society has a killer flu. Fix rape culture, and you fix the unfair fear people have of men. It’s that simple, and it’s not misandry.

But thanks for handing me a blog post in those gish gallops of yours. I’m copying this onto my blog so others can see what kind of nonsense memetics fester around these parts.

Allen HildebrandtJun 13, 2012

So again, not addressing my points in any way, merely denegrating rather than discussing.

Wanting men to be treated fairly isn’t endorsing “Rape Culture”, whatever that might be.  Just because a subsection of a group behaves in one way does not make it at all right for people to treat the entire group as if they are a subsection.

66 comments

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  1. 1
    Timid Atheist

    I’ve never understood the arguments that come from demanding equal treatment when the people demanding it are already treated better than the one’s they’re demanding it from. It’s like a cis person demanding trans* people don’t use the phrase “die cis scum,” because it’s not fair to lump all cis people in with the ones that actually kill trans* people.

    Men should be treated fairly is like demanding white people should get treated with less racism. YOU’RE ALREADY TREATED FAIRLY, JESUS H. FICTIONAL CHRIST.

    Ahem. Sorry. The building rage got to me.

  2. 2
    Scented Nectar

    Perhaps you don’t know what a gish gallop is. The galloper is the one avoiding points via topic changes, non-answers, insults or accusations without argument attached, stuff like that. Maybe you just didn’t notice, but it was YOU doing the gish gallop here. Allen addressed your points, he didn’t avoid them. But you DID avoid his on-topic responses and points.

  3. 3
    Jason Thibeault

    Gish Gallop

    The Gish Gallop is a skeptics’ jargon term, named after creationist Duane Gish, for the debating technique of drowning the opponent in such a torrent of half-truths, lies, and straw-man arguments that the opponent cannot possibly answer every falsehood in real time. The term was coined by Eugenie Scott from the National Center for Science Education.

  4. 4
    michaeld

    Eh I’m not opposed to some sort of men’s feministish movement but the MRAs are doing a terribly job of it. It should be a lot more complimentary and a lot less combative.

  5. 5
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    Allen addressed your points, he didn’t avoid them. But you DID avoid his on-topic responses and points.

    To quote the late, great Lorelai Gilmore “I once traveled to a small village in Cambodia, I did not eat dessert there either. ”

    Meaning, when what’s being served to you is obvious bigotted bullshit, what is there to respond to? Talking to male supremacists is like talking to any other supremacist, or hardcore theists. No reality is getting through.

  6. 6
    woo_monster

    When will the straight, white, cis, NT, able-bodied men going to be treated fairly??? WAAAAAA

    You fucking idiot. Treating people equally involves dismantling the privilege currently accorded to you as a male. You (and I), will lose some of our unearned advantages. As we should. It is not stupid to demand that men be treated fairly. It is stupid, however, that you seem to think treating men more fairly is not the end goal of feminism.

  7. 7
    soiejfoijsef

    These two claims stood out for me:

    Fear is not an acceptable response

    Trust should be the default mode

    I disagree.

    You can’t choose what to fear, and you can’t choose who you trust.

    If experience has told you that a situation is potentially dangerous, fear is a natural response, and you have no choice in the matter. Your picture of reality may not be entirely correct, but you feel what you feel.

    I used to share his frustration of being lumped in with the bad guys just because I’m a man, but I’ve come to accept that that’s how it is sometimes, and all I can do is to do my best to put people at ease, and avoid situations where I might make someone uncomfortable or creeped out.

  8. 8
    Robert B

    I had an extended discussion with a skeptic podcaster this afternoon, and was depressed to find that he was stuck on the requirement that unless there was photographic proof that Monopod Man was taking upskirt photos, this was functionally a big nothing. To him, those that were discussing MM were being anything but skeptical, just believing that he had done wrong as an act of faith. Never mind his stalking the woman that reported him, said uber-skeptic really was only interested in a lack of photos.

    These people should be ashamed of themselves, but they surround themselves with people that reinforce their view that this all just “drama.”

  9. 9
    CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain

    Watson was unfair, both for posting what she did as well as having the expectation that men should behave in a specific manner that only considers her comfort. As I said then, she’s perfectly welcome to be uncomfortable… but just because crimes occur doesn’t give anyone the right to treat every man as if he were a criminal and publically shame him because he didn’t technically do anything illegally wrong.

    That wall of text was supposed to be about a harassment policy!?
     
    “Not illegal to wave my arms around. Can’t throw me out for that.
    I’m not touching yooou! I’m not touching yooou!”

  10. 10
    CT Chimako.27

    You can’t choose what to fear, and you can’t choose who you trust.

    If experience has told you that a situation is potentially dangerous, fear is a natural response, and you have no choice in the matter. Your picture of reality may not be entirely correct, but you feel what you feel.

    I used to share his frustration of being lumped in with the bad guys just because I’m a man, but I’ve come to accept that that’s how it is sometimes, and all I can do is to do my best to put people at ease, and avoid situations where I might make someone uncomfortable or creeped out.

    this. QFT

  11. 11
    soiejfoijsef

    Oh, and:

    Likewise, tailoring your behavior to cater to everyone’s perceptions of how the world is isn’t doing them any favors, and it’s a form of deceit.

    Perhaps, but I see it more as showing consideration for others, at least when it comes to making people feel safe around you.

    If you are a nice guy, then people will realize that as they get to know you. There’s nothing to worry about.

  12. 12
    carlie

    The cost to a woman of incorrectly misidentifying a rapist as a safe person is immense compared to the cost of incorrectly misidentifying a safe person as a rapist.

    Also, the same people who say that “trust should be the default” are usually the ones who also like to hand out anti-rape tips like “don’t go out walking alone at night” and “don’t drink in public”. But, but, if we use trust as the default, then it would be ridiculous to watch our drinks and try to always walk with a buddy! Can’t have it both ways.

  13. 13
    carlie

    The worst that can happen when a woman misidentifies a rapist as a safe person: she gets raped. And/or beaten. And/or killed.

    The worst that can happen when a woman misidentifies a safe person as a rapist: she looks at him funny and maybe tries to not be too close to him. And maybe he gets a little feelingshurt about that mean woman who isn’t smiling at him.

  14. 14
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    Potential trigger warning

    Watson was unfair, both for posting what she did as well as having the expectation that men should behave in a specific manner that only considers her comfort. As I said then, she’s perfectly welcome to be uncomfortable… but just because crimes occur doesn’t give anyone the right to treat every man as if he were a criminal and publically shame him because he didn’t technically do anything illegally wrong.

    That’s exactly right. As a man, my desire to score some fucking trim outweighs a woman’s “comfort,” her declared desire to not be propositioned, her expectation to not be cornered in an elevator, whatever feelings of discomfort, fear, triggered panic and/or flashbacks to previous trauma. After all, as long as I stay a few millimeters on the right side of the law, no woman has the right to criticize me either privately or especially publicly, even if she doesn’t use my name or identifying details. She should instead count herself lucky that I took “no” for an answer, since she was clearly asking for it and leading me on by not having been previously claimed by another man. [/sarcasm]

    How do these people live with themselves? Seriously, how?

  15. 15
    CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain

    @Rutefrosk #11:

    Likewise, tailoring your behavior to cater to everyone’s perceptions of how the world is isn’t doing them any favors, and it’s a form of deceit.

    I see it more as showing consideration for others

    From the Crommunist link:

    After scaring the bejezus out of my neighbours by coming up behind them completely unexpected, I have learned to start shuffling my feet when walking behind someone – giving them an auditory clue that I am there and approaching.

    If I don’t care about spooking my neighbours, I don’t have to shuffle my feet – let them deal with their fright. But if I do care, then I have to find some way of mitigating that fear so we can coexist harmoniously.

  16. 16
    plutosdad

    Wow. Almost every single post you made, his response was to whine that you are saying mean things about him. Instead of addressing the substance, ironically :) And of course he could not bother to read or understand where reasonable men are coming from.

    And anyone who thinks we should not be considerate but just be “who we are” really just gives up the argument right there. If anyone really thinks you should never try to be considerate of others and modify your behavior, they lose all right to complain about people saying they are a jerk (since that IS being a jerk) or lumping them in with other jerks.

  17. 17
    samoanbiscuit

    You seemed to both be talking at each other rather than with each other. Most of his points are stupid, but I did find something persuasive when he talks about how LGBT people are pressured to act in ways that make straight people comfortable. I’m very intrigued by that and Cromm’s post about being a black man walking behind a white person on the street.
    While it’s good to make people feel comfortable when you can, I also see merit in the fact that when their fear is based on faulty information (racism, homophobia) it’s harder to sympathize with them. I completely support Rebecca Watson in what she said, and I see the obvious misogyny in the blow-back against her, yet I can also see how these guys are all “I’M NOT A RAPIST!!!one1!” “OH NOES, THE MISANDRY!”.
    In my view, elevator guy shouldn’t have approached her alone in the elevator like that, definitely creepy, yet he should NOT apologize for actually BEING in the elevator with her (I read that in some of the comments when elevatorgate came out, I think it was just frustration talking. I hope it was just frustration talking). He should have followed the convention of everyone politely ignoring each other while forced into such close contact.

  18. 18
    plutosdad

    I have another question, where do these people come from?

    I mean, I did, in fact, date a lying nutjob who stole from me, kept calling and emailing me to tell me how scared of me she was for stalking her (get it? SHE was the one who called ME, I sure as hell didn’t call her) and after consulting two different lawyers to try to get my money back, both told me the same thing (after I played her voicemails and showed them her emails) “get the hell away and never ever speak to her under any circumstances, just write off the money”

    I was very afraid after that (and after hearing other stories from friends of crazy ex’s) about potentially being arrested for something I didn’t do. And I am sensitive to how lies are almost routine in divorces, etc, since I almost lived through it.

    But you know what I didn’t do? Blame all women, or think no women should be able to feel safe. Or think I can just treat people however I want with no consideration for their feelings. Or think that ALL women are crazy evil liars. Or think that “no one takes us white men seriously, we have problems too!” That is just nuts.

  19. 19
    CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain

    @samoanbiscuit #17:

    how LGBT people are pressured to act in ways that make straight people comfortable.

    Could you elaborate?

  20. 20
    Alethea Kuiper-Belt

    Wanting men to be treated fairly isn’t endorsing “Rape Culture”, whatever that might be.

    This absolutely cries out for gumby quotes and comic sans. If you don’t even know what a thing is, how can you possibly make claims about what does or does not support it?

  21. 21
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    @plutosdad:

    I feel you, believe me. I dated a woman who lived with me for 18 months, worked for three of those months, and when she moved out she took pretty much everything except an inflatable mattress, my clothes, and my comic books. And then there were letters from lawyers, the less said the better on that score. She spent the last six months of the relationship cheating on me while I was at work, and using my money to pay for her dates with the unemployed loser who she left me for. Oh, and she at one point claimed that it was all somehow related to “God’s plan” for her.

    But you know what I didn’t do? Blame all women, or think no women should be able to feel safe. Or think I can just treat people however I want with no consideration for their feelings. Or think that ALL women are crazy evil liars. Or think that “no one takes us white men seriously, we have problems too!” That is just nuts.

    Ditto. At some point, I even stopped being angry at her. If I was going to assume that she was “crazy” as in actually mentally ill, I decided that I couldn’t also blame her for being literally sick. At this point I sort of wish her well, and hope that she’s found some sort of peace and stability in her life. I haven’t used that bad experience as an excuse to be abusive to the other women who have come and gone since then, let alone as an excuse to be abusive to random women online.

  22. 22
    Jason Thibeault

    Joe / plutosdad: my own story’s here, though I don’t exactly come off smelling like roses myself. I was young and dumb and naive.

    samoanbiscuit: There’s something to be said for “punching up” vs “punching down”. Sometimes the scales of power are so tipped that just about anything goes on one side, while the other has to handle things with kid gloves to be fair. With a culture where a woman getting raped has little or no recourse, and most rapes are never brought to justice, it’s perfectly understandable that a woman might take extraordinary steps to avoid situations where she isn’t in complete control. And control in this case often means control of the situation, like with the elevator.

    There’s absolutely nothing misandrist about a woman who is unsure whether or not she’s about to get raped doing what she can to protect herself, even up to and including avoiding men or telling them that their behaviour is creepy or predatory.

    Because hurt feelings on one side of the equation vs rape on the other is a total imbalance, no?

  23. 23
    Eristae

    Watson was unfair, both for posting what she did as well as having the expectation that men should behave in a specific manner that only considers her comfort.

    Trust should be the default mode, don’t bring to an interaction anything that it doesn’t warrant.

    So, let me get this straight. Rebecca Watson is not allowed to have an expectation that men should behave in a specific manner that considers her comfort while they are hitting on her, but Allen Hildebrandt it allowed to have an expectation that all people both behave in certain ways towards and have certain beliefs about others because it’s what Allen Hildebrandt wants.

    . . .

    Suuuure.

  24. 24
    kagerato

    In my view, elevator guy shouldn’t have approached her alone in the elevator like that, definitely creepy, yet he should NOT apologize for actually BEING in the elevator with her (I read that in some of the comments when elevatorgate came out, I think it was just frustration talking. I hope it was just frustration talking).

    A lot of us were reading closely during Elevator Gate. I was one of them, and am pretty damn sure what you’re claiming was said never happened. Go ahead and try to find it.

    This is how misrepresentations spread. Someone posts something about Schrodinger’s Rapist, and this gets lambasted as claiming all men are rapists (misandry, et cetera, bullshit to the moon). That’s obviously not what it means. It means that any random man could be a rapist, and by the time you know for sure it’s too late to do anything about it. This is extraordinarily meaningful if you’re the one in danger of being raped.

    Watson never even asked for (let alone demanded) an apology for the incident, and neither did the vast majority of her supporters. It was a simple suggestion not to do creepy things and put women into situations which are indistinguishable from the precursors of actual crimes.

  25. 25
    Amphigorey

    You know, it’s funny how people freak out about Schrodinger’s Rapist and claim that it says all men are rapists, but nobody ever freaks out about Schrodinger’s Thief. If you’re sitting near me at, say, a restaurant and you take your wallet with you, I’m not going to yell at you when you come back about how DARE you think I might steal your wallet, that would never happen, how can you even CONSIDER that? What are you, some kind of inhuman monster?

    And yet, this is exactly the reaction that crops up with SR. It makes no sense.

  26. 26
    Jafafa Hots

    If you’re sitting near me at, say, a restaurant and you take your wallet with you, I’m not going to yell at you when you come back about how DARE you think I might steal your wallet, that would never happen, how can you even CONSIDER that? What are you, some kind of inhuman monster?

    But if that that guy DID leave his wallet, it was a clear signal that he WANTED you to take his wallet, otherwise why would he have left it? And if he actually didn’t want you to take it, then he can’t complain, can he? He left it there, he sent the wrong signals. He should have known better. He’s probably actually just lying – he was probably drunk and changed his mind about having his wallet taken after he sobered up.

    I cover all of this in my new self-published e-book “How to Pick Up Wallets.”

  27. 27
    Jafafa Hots

    closing italics tag just in case.

  28. 28
    RowanVT

    Trust should be the default mode?

    So does that mean I should have let my the guy trying to break into my house… into my house?

    Does that mean that I shouldn’t have been at all concerned about the guy who was following me through downtown at 1 in the morning?

    Does that mean that I should accept a conversation invite from one of the emotionally unstable men who were trying hard to get me to date them in college?

    Yeah. That sounds *awesome* to do.

    /sarcasm

  29. 29
    Tamsin

    Trust should be the default mode

    …WHAT.

    I’m young enough to still have very clear memories of being told in school to NEVER trust strangers. Is he saying women should start ignoring that advice once we reach the age of consent?

    I’ve trusted people I shouldn’t have trusted. I’m lucky that in my situation they betrayed my trust only by mocking me and gossiping behind my back. Many people suffer betrayals which are orders of magnitude worse.

    I’m not going to apologise for saying that anyone who wants my trust is going to have to FUCKING EARN IT. I won’t apologise for being nervous around strangers. I won’t fucking apologise for getting scared when two men approached me in a bus stop at night to tell me how “sexy” I was.

    I’ve seen time and time again people reacting to incidents of date rape or acquaintance rape by saying it was the victim’s fault for trusting the rapist – yet many of these same people get all upset when someone distrusts them, because we should somehow know that they’re not the bad guys.

    Mr. Hildebrant, if you think you’re somehow entitled to my trust, fuck off. It’s not misandric for me to prioritise my own safety over your precious feelings.

  30. 30
    soiejfoijsef

    @Tamsin #29:

    I’m not going to apologise for saying that anyone who wants my trust is going to have to FUCKING EARN IT.

    Exactly! Trust is earned. We men have not earned your trust, and we have a lot of work ahead of us. Fortunately, that work is easy: all we have to do is to be decent human beings (OK, not as easy for everyone, I admit, but at least conceptually simple), and women will eventually start trusting us.

    I’ve seen time and time again people reacting to incidents of date rape or acquaintance rape by saying it was the victim’s fault for trusting the rapist

    Rape is always wrong, and is never the victim’s fault.

    If you forget to lock your front door and someone takes your stuff, is it your fault? No, it’s the robbers fault. Always. Sure, it’s smart to take precautions, but if someone takes your stuff, they are always the one to blame. They took advantage of you. They have misbehaved.

    Now, if I misplace my wallet somewhere, I expect someone to pick it up and send it back to me. I doesn’t always happen, but if they don’t, they have misbehaved, and they are to blame.

    We have to look out for each other. That’s the only way to be civilized.

  31. 31
    ischemgeek

    That guy’s whining is exactly why women can’t win in conversations about sexual harrassment and assault with MRA types. If we ‘take precautions’ (that don’t work, restrict our lives needlessly, and eliminate luxuries like privacy and spur-of-the-moment activities, but are necessary if we want any hope of being taken seriously if we are assaulted), we’re being unfaiiiir, paranoid, and/or cold bitches.

    If we trust people at their word and/or eschew needless, abhorrent and ineffective restrictions on every aspect of our day-to-day lives from who we associate with, to where we go, to what kind of underwear we’re wearing (no joke… how many women here had parents flip if they bought anything other than white panties as teenagers because anything other that that is only worn by loose girls who are looking for trouble – not, say, girls who don’t want their underwear to be obvious if their pants/shorts slip in gym class), we’re careless, irresponsible, and asking for it.

  32. 32
    male voice

    Fix rape culture, and you fix the unfair fear people have of men.

    Sorry to say, but this is transparent bullshit. Women fear being raped by men because men rape women and not because of some alleged rape culture. You could have “feminist” tattooed on your forehead and a woman that does not know you will still be afraid of being raped by you. Which is ironic because a woman is more likely to be raped by a man she at least casually knows than by a complete stranger.

  33. 33
    ischemgeek

    … annnnd male voice provides an excellent case in point in the very next comment. Lovely.

  34. 34
    Jason Thibeault

    Hey “male voice”, define rape culture for us. What do YOU think it is? And what do tattoos have to do with anything, considering Ted Bundy could have tattooed “humanitarian” on his head and it wouldn’t change his murderous ways?

  35. 35
    soiejfoijsef

    @male voice #32:

    Women fear being raped by men because men rape women and not because of some alleged rape culture.

    True. But what causes men to rape women?

    Perhaps rape culture?

  36. 36
    male voice

    What causes men to murder?
    Murder culture?

  37. 37
    Jafafa Hots

    What causes men to murder? Murder culture?

    Naw, there could never be such a thing as a culture of violence.

    nitwit.

  38. 38
    soiejfoijsef

    @Rutefrosk

    What causes men to murder?
    Murder culture?

    Could be.

    This is part of a larger issue. Harassment, rape, murder and exploitation are all committed by people who lack respect for other people’s lives and boundaries. Where does this lack of respect come from? Were they just born this way? In that case, why is the murder rate so much higher in some places than others?

    Could it be culture?

    If your culture teaches you that violence and murder are good ways to solve problems, or that society has broken down to the point that they are widely considered necessary in order to survive, you are more likely to commit murder.

  39. 39
    soiejfoijsef

    Oops, the last comment was to you, male voice. I’m not debating myself, everyone. :)

    Another example: If a culture dehumanizes a group of people, by telling you they are evil or animals and not worth your sympathy, otherwise good people can find it easy to commit murder.

  40. 40
    smhll

    I love you Jason, in a very chaste and respectable way.

    I dislike anyone who would troll you, although the one quoted above managed to be moderately articulate and thoughtful in the parts I read. I would say that this alleged troll starts far above average. (For a side that has dipped to some amazingly low levels.)

    I just want to throw a pebble out in the middle of the road and see if with enough pebbles we can build a bridge. Or have a pebble party, or something.

    From the arguments I’ve been in with people, it isn’t so much as an assumption that all the men are guilty, it’s that the argument is that all men should be treated as potentially guilty…

    I want to say that is must suck to be treated as a member of the criminal gender.

    However, I think the Schroedinger’s Rapist essay tries to say to a man who reads it “Rapists look like you”, not “You look like a rapist.” However, the difference is subtle.

  41. 41
    soiejfoijsef

    @male voice #36:

    Feel free to skip my last comment. I’ve been thinking about this some more, and I’d like to try to state my point differently.

    You asked:

    What causes men to murder?
    Murder culture?

    I find the term “rape culture” somewhat unfortunate. It sounds to me like a culture where everyone rapes everyone all the time, or something like that. I suspect this is why you are skeptical that it exists, and I understand this completely. It was my first reaction when I encountered the term.

    I turns out it’s really a lot more nuanced than that. The Wikipedia page for “Rape Culture” gives a fairly good summary of the concept. (The first paragraph or two will give you the general idea.)

    I’d like to turn my previous argument on its head and ask you this: Do you think culture can help to make people less likely to commit rape or murder?

    (I do.)

  42. 42
    LykeX

    Trust should be the default mode

    That sounds great. Incidentally, I’ve got 10 million dollars stuck in an account in Nigeria. If you’ll help pay for the legal expenses to transfer the money out, I’ll give you 20%.

    I know there are a lot of scammers out there, but it would be discriminatory to assume that I’m one of them, or to ask me to demonstrate that I’m not, e.g. by asking me for evidence of the existence of the money.

    Unless I’ve actually cheated you before, you should just trust me. That’s the default, right?

  43. 43
    Chris

    A few people have pointed out the catch with regards to trust, and the absurdity of “Fear is not an acceptable response” (I suppose trying to explain privilege to him would be a waste of time) so I will mention a couple of points.

    “…tailoring your behavior to cater to everyone’s perceptions of how the world is isn’t doing them any favors, and it’s a form of deceit”

    But tailoring your behaviour to show consideration for others is a basic part of being civilised and pretty much required for co-existence in any society. It’s funny how basic social conventions become oppressive to MRA’s.

    “I’m familiar with the people who say, “If other people are uncomfortable with that, maybe you need to change your behavior” that is often the underlying root of bigotry lobbied against gays and lesbians… that they should behave in a way that society feels more comfortable with. Yet somehow, that’s supposed to be an acceptable way to treat half the population? It’s bad in one situation, but in THIS one it’s good?”

    The difference being that gays and lesbians are being told they can’t do things that everyone else does. The issue homophobes have is nothing to do with behaviour and everything to do with existence. This is a red herring in this debate.

  44. 44
    Jason Thibeault

    For what it’s worth, the “conversation” continued, but again in that unidirectional fashion. What points were brought up against Allan, were dismissed summarily and without reason.


    Chris ClarkeYesterday 6:39 PM

    Regardless of how one feels about the Schroedinger’s Rapist metaphor, most people I know who are paying attention agree that someone whose response to it is a long chain of “ZOMG you’re oppressing men” is probably not to be trusted in proximity to women.

    So thank you, +Allen Hildebrandt, for alerting us all to your presence and nature.

    Allen HildebrandtYesterday 6:45 PM

    +Chris Clarke And thank you, Chris, for implying somehow that I’m a rapist because I feel that treating men equally shouldn’t go hand in hand with treating them all as rapists or expecting every man to change their behavior to suit the women of the world.
    It must have totally been implied by something I said. Care to point out what?

    Chris ClarkeYesterday 7:00 PM

    I didn’t imply you’re a rapist. (I have no way of telling whether you’re a rapist.)

    I implied that based on your behavior here I myself made a character judgment about you, which entailed a suspicion that you are unlikely to respect women’s words, feelings, desires or boundaries.

    There are plenty of ways to fail to respect those things without being a rapist. You could just be a self-centered douchebag.

    Chris ClarkeYesterday 7:03 PM

    And before you bother to respond, I’m not really interested in discussing it with you. You’ll either hear what I just said or not. And you’re unlikely to argue me into supporting an MRA perspective. I was just stating that you’ve created conditions under which I, a total stranger to you, made a judgment that you’re not someone I really care to associate with. What you do with that info is up to you: I only shared it because I’m giving that way.

    Allen HildebrandtYesterday 8:37 PM

    I respect a persons words, opinions and feelings when they aren’t being sexist, racist, bigoted or any other trait that might bias their perspective. Even then, even with people that are like that, I address the points of their racism, sexism, bigotry etc. because I feel that unenlightened perspectives that go unchallenged are perspectives that will continue to propogate.

    Ask yourself this; if I made an argument that women should change their behavior because they make me feel unsafe and uncomfortable, and when I said it, I meant all women… would that be sexist? Because what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

    Chris Clarke6:00 PM

    Stereotypes are boring. Stop being one.

    Allen Hildebrandt6:17 PM

    I must be doing something right since nobody is willing to address my actual points rather than resorting to ad hominems and straw men.

    Chris Clarke7:04 PM

    They’re not ad hominems, honey. They’re insults. There’s an important difference.

    Allen Hildebrandt8:51 PM

    Personal Attacks, whether they be of a character nature or whether they be merely directed at a person, that do not address the points but merely draw aspertions against a persons character, integrity or other personal quality are ad hominems.

    Insinuating that I am somehow representative of or depicting a Stereotype of some sort is an Ad Hominem, as it does not address or refute a single point I have made.

    Jason Thibeault8:56 PMEdit

    Because you would take absolutely no refutation. You’ve admitted you don’t know any of the important terms, and you believe that your feelings are more important than people fearing rape (which actually fucking happens). What conversation is there to be had here? Really, when you think “trust should be the default?” In what other part of your life do you ever, EVER, consider trust to be the default? Do you leave your car unlocked? Do you leave your wallet at your table at a restaurant when you hit the john? Do you walk alone and unarmed in war zones? Do you give people your credit card number when they call you up on the phone and tell you that you’ve won a trip? No? GEE. YOU’RE A HYPOCRITE.

    Allen Hildebrandt9:03 PM

    +Jason Thibeault While I’ve done a few of the things you mentioned, some of them intentionally, it is not a matter of distrust to be cautious and I am not citing that individuals should not be cautious in their behavior. I draw contention with the implicit assumption of guilt, or the treatment of others based off of the assumption of guilt or possibility of guilt.

    Should women be cautious of strange men? I am cautious of strangers because I do not know what their reactions and perspectives are. Do I assume that every woman who I encounter is going to physically abuse me like my ex tried to do? No, because my own biased experience is no basis for treating the world and women as if they should be distrusted. I am a meak, conversational sort. If I had been raped (And I’m not certain if I was or wasn’t), I wouldn’t start advocating that everyone be treated as a rapist, that the default should be that everyone adjust their behavior to consider my comfort. I need to take into account my own experiences and biases.

    If that means I choose not to socialize with people because they remind me of traumatic experiences in my life, then that’s what I do. It is not on society to right wrongs done to you. You can helpfully explain and suggest solutions, and those solutions can be taken or left as is.

    It’s so easy to assume because I’m male that nothing traumatic could’ve ever happened to me, that I can’t be afraid of women for the exact same reasons that women are afraid of men.

    It is, in a sense, Sexist. Which I have a problem with.

    Jason Thibeault9:13 PMEdit

    Exactly what I thought. No conversation to be had.

    

  45. 45
    samoanbiscuit

    @CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain #19:
    Well, LGBT people are pressured, both by heterosexual society (and also by elements of the LGBT population who are better able to “pass” for heterosexuals) into changing their mannerisms, relationships and even gender expressions into forms that are considered more “relateable” to heteronormative ideals. Femme gay men are pressured to acting more masculine, butch women are pressured into acting more feminine, trans people are pressured into completely transitioning or not transitioning at all, polyamourous people are told to stick with conventional monogamous norms, the list goes on and on. The promise of gay rights was that consensual, non-harmful behaviours were supposed to be allowed without judgement, but the paradigm seen nowadays is that a certain “blessed” subset of the LGBT population are lionized and praised, while people that don’t adhere to the cookie-sutter stereotypes are still treated in many ways as if Stonewall didn’t happen.

  46. 46
    samoanbiscuit

    @CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain #19:
    Well, LGBT people are pressured, both by heterosexual society (and also by elements of the LGBT population who are better able to “pass” for heterosexuals) into changing their mannerisms, relationships and even gender expressions into forms that are considered more “relateable” to heteronormative ideals. Femme gay men are pressured to acting more masculine, butch women are pressured into acting more feminine, trans people are pressured into completely transitioning or not transitioning at all, polyamourous people are told to stick with conventional monogamous norms, the list goes on and on. The promise of gay rights was that consensual, non-harmful behaviours were supposed to be allowed without judgement, but the paradigm seen nowadays is that a certain “blessed” subset of the LGBT population are lionized and praised, while people that don’t adhere to the cookie-cutter stereotypes are still treated in many ways as if Stonewall didn’t happen.

  47. 47
    samoanbiscuit

    @kagerato #24

    A lot of us were reading closely during Elevator Gate. I was one of them, and am pretty damn sure what you’re claiming was said never happened. Go ahead and try to find it.”

    Well, I shall go and try to find whatever comments it was that I seem to remember. If I am mistaken I will no doubt apologize. If I find them, they should have no bearing on Rebecca Watson or anyone else among her supporters and their points, because they were just one person’s opinion.
    I did not attempt to misrepresent Rebecca Watson or anybody with what I said, I just gave my opinion of matters, as I understood them. Isn’t that what blog comments are for?

  48. 48
    samoanbiscuit

    @Jason Thibeault #22:

    There’s something to be said for “punching up” vs “punching down”. Sometimes the scales of power are so tipped that just about anything goes on one side, while the other has to handle things with kid gloves to be fair. With a culture where a woman getting raped has little or no recourse, and most rapes are never brought to justice, it’s perfectly understandable that a woman might take extraordinary steps to avoid situations where she isn’t in complete control. And control in this case often means control of the situation, like with the elevator.

    There’s absolutely nothing misandrist about a woman who is unsure whether or not she’s about to get raped doing what she can to protect herself, even up to and including avoiding men or telling them that their behaviour is creepy or predatory.

    Because hurt feelings on one side of the equation vs rape on the other is a total imbalance, no?

    Well I’m not sure how much of that was directed at me but I shall try to reply. (Sorry I haven’t replied earlier, the lack of comment threading on this blog means no email alerts if someone’s replied to you). I don’t think that punch up/ punch down concept is fair in any way at all, in any context. That sounds like something Malcolm X would say, and I’m sorry but I am more sympathetic to Dr King’s views. We must all endeavor to treat each other as fellow humans fully deserving of respect and dignity, even in the face of not being accorded the same respect and dignity.
    This is not to say we should sacrifice our personal safety in order to be polite, precautions and other measures should absolutely be allowable to the point of not being considered rude. But if someone were to tell me as I was walking alone at night “Hi there! Would you mind walking on the other side of the street please?” I would tell them, “Nope, sorry. Free country. Public road.”. Does that make me an asshole? Maybe. A misogynist or a racist? I certainly think not.

  49. 49
    Stacy

    yet he should NOT apologize for actually BEING in the elevator with her (I read that in some of the comments when elevatorgate came out, I think it was just frustration talking. I hope it was just frustration talking). He should have followed the convention of everyone politely ignoring each other while forced into such close contact

    samoanbiscuit, my recollection is that there was an impression that he actually followed her into the elevator. If that’s the case, then that was part of his error: putting her on the spot in an isolated place like that.

    If that impression was incorrect, and they just happened to get on the elevator at the same time and then he had his bright idea to proposition her, then, yeah, I’d agree with you–he should have just done the ignoring the other person thing.

  50. 50
    Jason Thibeault

    samoanbiscuit: yes, it was mostly stream-of-consciousness about why what you said was wrong, but it was in fact aimed at you. Tenuous though the link seemed.

    And what Elevator Guy did was not simply being in an elevator with the wrong person. There’s a hell of a lot more to it than that, even when you strip away everything that’s remotely questionable about the story.

    As for the “judged to be an asshole”, to some people that matters. I recommend Crommunist’s take on the matter.

  51. 51
    samoanbiscuit

    @Stacy #49
    I absolutely agree. If he did indeed follow her into the elevator, that’s ultra creep zone right there.

  52. 52
    samoanbiscuit

    @Jason Thibeault #50
    I read Crommunist’s take on the matter when he wrote it (I think Pharyngula linked to it that day). I agree with some things, yet also disagree with some things that he said. POC don’t have a hive mind you know, we are capable of looking at the same information and forming different conclusions. There is much to be said for making people more comfortable if their discomfort is based on things like your skin colour, your sexual orientation or your gender. To clarifiy, what I mean to say is that it is MY CHOICE whether or not I adjust my behaviour to comfort others, and if I have had a bad day, if I have come up against a particularly egregrious form of racism this particular day, I won’t feel very disposed towards making others less congnizant of my race, because at the end of the day, it’s who I am. In a world where Trayvon Martin can be shot for walking while black, sometimes I don’t feel like making allowances for other’s prejudice.

  53. 53
    samoanbiscuit

    @Jason: Just wondering, do you ever read slashdot.org? It’s a website I frequent, and while conversations on tech-related things leave you impressed with the breadth and depth of knowledge the commenters have, whenever race, gender or LGBT issues come up (Why are there no women in the tech industry? Apple has banned anti-gay app from the App Store) you realize these knowledgeable, erudite people are often pig ignorant racists/sexists/homophobes. If parts of the skeptic movement are anything like the slashdot community, I feel for the feminists in the movement. They have one hell of a battle in front of them.

  54. 54
    Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk

    We must all endeavor to treat each other as fellow humans fully deserving of respect and dignity, even in the face of not being accorded the same respect and dignity.

    What? No. Just no. Maybe you should read MLK’s Letters from a Birmingham jail.

    Please bring up Nelson Mandela next as an example of “We must all endeavor to treat each other as fellow humans fully deserving of respect and dignity, even in the face of not being accorded the same respect and dignity.” I am South African and I LOVE NM, so I am BEGGING you.

  55. 55
    samoanbiscuit

    @Gen, Uppity Ingrate. #54
    No. Just no. I have no intention of delving into minutiae of warring quotes that some accomplished activist said at different points in their lives. If you read my comments in #52, you will realize that I also do not always treat people respectfully or tolerantly. I ENDEAVOR to do so, but acknowledge that I stop when circumstances make me forget myself, or I am just tired of bullshit.
    I would say something about Nelson Mandela if I wanted to, but I won’t just to please you. But what might please you, O Unpleaseable One, is that I have read the letter from Birmingham Jail, and I don’t understand what relevance that can have. It is a defense of civil disobedience in the face of unjust laws. What have I failed to comprehend about it that your no doubt immense intellect will soon educate me upon?

  56. 56
    ischemgeek

    @ samoan biscuit #45

    @CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain #19:
    Well, LGBT people are pressured, both by heterosexual society (and also by elements of the LGBT population who are better able to “pass” for heterosexuals) into changing their mannerisms, relationships and even gender expressions into forms that are considered more “relateable” to heteronormative ideals. Femme gay men are pressured to acting more masculine, butch women are pressured into acting more feminine, trans people are pressured into completely transitioning or not transitioning at all, polyamourous people are told to stick with conventional monogamous norms, the list goes on and on. The promise of gay rights was that consensual, non-harmful behaviours were supposed to be allowed without judgement, but the paradigm seen nowadays is that a certain “blessed” subset of the LGBT population are lionized and praised, while people that don’t adhere to the cookie-sutter stereotypes are still treated in many ways as if Stonewall didn’t happen.

    QFT.

    Also, the attitude of “I don’t mind them but they shouldn’t do it in public,” is a real and big problem.

    Case in point: A straight couple would not get kicked out of a restaurant for sharing a kiss.

  57. 57
    Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk

    samoanbiscuit

    My point was that using people like MLK and Nelson Mandela as examples for why accomodationalism and “just be nice to them, they’ll come around, more flies with honey” is bogus since MLK wouldn’t have had the option of “niceness” without someone like Malcolm X and Nelson Mandela himself actually formed and headed the military wing of the political resistance.

    There are some articles on the use of “politeness” as a tool of continuing oppression, like http://comehellorhighwaterbook.com/politeness.html

    That said, I do apologise since I now see that I did jump the gun a little bit on that assumption – I see now that you were in no way making an accomodationalist argument, which is what it looked like to me yesterday. What a difference some sleep can make!

  58. 58
    kagerato

    Just wondering, do you ever read slashdot.org? It’s a website I frequent, and while conversations on tech-related things leave you impressed with the breadth and depth of knowledge the commenters have, whenever race, gender or LGBT issues come up (Why are there no women in the tech industry? Apple has banned anti-gay app from the App Store) you realize these knowledgeable, erudite people are often pig ignorant racists/sexists/homophobes.

    The sexist culture at slashdot is the primary reason I stopped reading the site (after years of doing so on a daily basis). The secondary (related) reason would be the anti-science, anti-skeptic libertarianism that would come up in many topics, including threads on global warming.

  59. 59
    Jason Thibeault

    Once upon a time I read Slashdot regularly, but could rarely stomach the comments. What got upvoted and downvoted was just too random — some days misogyny and racism and antiscience was voted down, some days it was voted up hard. Libertarianism was absolutely rampant though. And I ended with an impression that the nonsense was just too thick to ever counter. I’m not one for tilting at windmills.

  60. 60
    Xtra

    “Likewise, tailoring your behavior to cater to everyone’s perceptions of how the world is isn’t doing them any favors, and it’s a form of deceit.”

    I love the irony of this being said while asking someone to cater to his perception of the world…

  61. 61
    samoanbiscuit

    @kagerato & @Jason Thibeault #58, 59
    Well maybe when sexism/racism/religion is modded down on slashdot, it’s when I or like minded people have mod points. I can see how it would seem pointless after a while, but I think I am doing something worthwhile in being a part of that community, and trying to change it in my own way, when I can.
    I usually spend a lot of my internet time on forums where sexism, racism and christian bigotry run rampant (forums with my countrypeople), so it’s wonderful when I get to read stuff on FTB, because the bloggers and the commenters are just so…. just a world away from what I’m used to on other sites.
    I suppose I just chime in when I see an argument take a form or shape that I’m more used to seeing from my opponents. Like the punch up/punch down thing. It’s something I have seen christians use, and MRAs use, and even racists using them, albeit not in the same words. Basically any group with a persecution complex that can plausibly stitch together a reason why they’re oppressed (we’re poorer, there’s less of us, there’s a history of crimes against us, blah blah blah) starts using this. So I guess it leaves a bad taste in my mouth when people I like and respect say that. You don’t have to agree with me, that’s just my two cents. Thanks for taking the time to read what I had to say.
    Also @Kagerato: I wasn’t able to find the comments saying that the guy should apologize for being in the elevator with her. My bad. I apologize. How many internets do I owe you?

  62. 62
    wtfbits

    Wow, this article is incredibly dumb. Also, it should be A Unidirectional, not An unidirectional.

  63. 63
    kagerato

    [samoanbiscuit]: I wasn’t able to find the comments saying that the guy should apologize for being in the elevator with her. My bad. I apologize. How many internets do I owe you?

    None. All I cared about was setting the record straight.

    [wtfbits]: Wow, this article is incredibly dumb. Also, it should be A Unidirectional, not An unidirectional

    Thanks for sharing, random insulting internet flyby bot.

  64. 64
    maxdevlin

    Here’s the nut:
    “accepting that we’re all sometimes lonely and don’t always think about our own situation and how things might come across”

    I have to admit, there is logic and even reason in his perception. It is quite possible that a number of MRAs are just reactionaries caught up in defending misogyny because of this one point. Doesn’t make them right, but it makes them comprehensible.

    The point, of course, is that if you are not considering “how things might come across” and yet you are approaching a woman you are interested in having sex with, then you are doing something wrong already. It doesn’t matter how lonely you are.

  65. 65
    Egalitarian

    Women also commit rape. According to the latest CDC survey, 4.8% of all men were “made to penetrate” and 79.2% of the perpetrators were women.
    An example of “made to penetrate” is a woman who has sex with a man who is passed-out drunk. There is some confusion is due to the fact that their definition of rape excluded “made to penetrate” and only included men who had been penetrated. That was far less common (1.4% of men) and was mostly perpetrated by men. However, if you include “made to penetrate” as rape, which you should, since it is forced sex, the majority of male rape victims were raped by women. If you don’t believe me, read the report yourself:
    http://www.cdc.gov/ViolencePrevention/pdf/NISVS_Report2010-a.pdf

    Here are direct quotes from the report:
    “Approximately 1 in 21 men (4.8%) reported that they were made to penetrate someone else during their lifetime”

    “For three of the other forms of sexual violence, a majority of male victims reported only female perpetrators: being made to penetrate (79.2%), sexual coercion (83.6%), and unwanted sexual contact (53.1%).”

    Here are some stories from male victims: http://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/v73r4/men_who_have_been_raped_by_women_can_you_tell_us/

  66. 66
    Allen Hildebrandt

    Someone actually brought the article to my attention again and I noticed quite a few people had mis-understood what I had inferred when I stated Trust should be the default when approaching new situations.

    Trust is a multi-layered concept ranging from common decency to absolute trust. It is not commonly decent to treat all males as potential rapists because some of them are. It is not commonly decent to insist that men change their behavior to be more suitable.

    In what other venue is bringing baggage and expectation to the conversation with a complete stranger an appropriate response? It cannot be argued as fair, nor is it equal to the person in question (As you are placing on them your biases, bigotry’s and presuppositions).

    When I referenced the LGBT social problems, I referenced them personally. I’ve had a lot of friends, and I’ve had my own issues, with regards to society’s expectations of what is and is not acceptable for LGBT individuals to do. No-one in the LGBT environment would argue that society forcing their demands on behavior upon them is an acceptable outcome.

    So I ask, why is it acceptable to force Men to do it because they were born a Gender which they didn’t choose?

    Trusting by default does not mean being a blithering moron about safety and being cautious, as I noted later. It means not forcing how you want other people to behave on them. Because no matter who does it, it isn’t acceptable and those that do propose such behavior can argue as much as they like that they are for equality; their stance and behavior demonstrates otherwise.

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