Why I am an atheist – Leslie Klug »« Awwww…

Being a woman on the internet

It’s like an avalanche. I’ve heard women speaking out about the online abuse they receive for years, but suddenly, it’s as if it has media traction, and more and more women are coming out to denounce the anti-woman hate speech that seems to be common currency on the internet. Laurie Penny, Helen Lewis Hasteley, Kate Smurthwaite, and now a profile of multiple female online writers all tell the same story: there’s a misogyny epidemic on the net. Ophelia Benson, who gets her share of the abuse too, highlights their stories.

I’m a guy who also gets a fair number of abusive emails — I even have a hobby of posting some of them now and then on the web — but there’s a qualitative difference to what I see. I get death threats regularly, but they’re usually of the form “you should get [violent fate] for [hating god, violating crackers, being liberal]“; I don’t get threats of the form, “[Man], I need to [crude sexual assault] you”. As a man, I can get threats for speaking against some cherished dogma, which I can sort of halfway understand, but I don’t get the threats for just being of my sex and speaking out, period.

I also don’t get much in the way of sexual threats, except for one telling class of insults: the ones that accuse me of being a woman. Vox Day is one of the milder practitioners of this habit: he refers to me as “Pharyngurl”, because after all, it’s demeaning to just reference me as a woman. I’ve had other, nastier messages where I’ve been called a “bitch” and threatened with anal rape, for instance; it’s as if they are first metaphorically translating me into a female so they can then really degrade me thoroughly.

So I get a faint echo of the female experience, and it’s utterly repulsive. As we’re beginning to see as more and more women speak out, the wretchedness is being more thoroughly exposed.

What’s also dismaying is that I once would have thought that people of my ideological stripe, you know, those all-inclusive egalitarian liberals and the rational, objective atheists, wouldn’t be guilty of such anti-woman attitudes. The other guys are the knuckle-dragging, mouth-breathing thugs, right? But no — read about Caroline Farrow, a more conservative Catholic blogger — she gets five sexually threatening emails a day! And of course the atheist community in general has experienced some turmoil in the last few months over the revelation that there are openly misogynistic creatures in our ranks.

It’s dismaying. I don’t know what to do, other than to personally reject the attitudes of the people who treat women as lesser beings. I also hope the media doesn’t let attention to this problem flag. I’m sure it’s all going to be major topic at the Women in Secularism conference in May, and I hope journalists are paying attention — there will be some powerful stories coming out of that event. They shouldn’t miss it. As is often the case, an important first step in correcting an injustice is to first shine a light on it.


One other datum: over the years, I’ve had an actual decline in threats. Part of it is because the one event that prompted the most hateful letters, the cracker desecration, has receded into the past. But I think a contributing factor has also been my willingness to post the crazy email, so everyone can point and laugh at it (ridicule really does work), and because I’ve been open about my willingness to expose patent death threats with full source information. The unfortunate side-effect is that my inbox has gotten slightly less weird, the good side is that it’s also gotten slightly less hostile. When women publicize the fact that scum-sucking bottom feeders write the kind of crap they get, it’s going to make the scum-sucking bottom feeders more cautious.

Comments

  1. ad hominum salvator ॐ says

    Anyone who defies the orthodoxy is troll or to be belittled.

    Now hang on.

    You may be trolling but that’s neither here nor there. I’ve trolled.

    I asked at 498 why you shouldn’t be belittled.

  2. Sally Strange, OM says

    I’ve never read Dworkin. I probably should someday. Do I come off like a person who’s taken women’s studies courses? That’s flattering, I guess, but I haven’t. I’m also not much for reading philosophy books. I do know enough to know that Dworkin gets a bum rap. She’s nothing like the male supremacists make her out to be. Then again, nobody ever is. If somebody starts using so-and-so as a cudgel to bash feminism with, I immediately get suspicious. Just like when doodly doods are like “YU LADEEZ ARE SO UN-SKEPTIKAL ABOUT TEH FEMINIZM!”

    Check out this handy fact-cehcking compilation of quotes used by MRAs (male supremacists) used to discredit feminism and demonstrate the alleged anti-male bias. Surprise surprise, it’s full of misquotes, misattributions, and outright fabrications.

    For example:

    “The newest variations on this distressingly ancient theme center on hormones and DNA: men are biologically aggressive; their fetal brains were awash in androgen; their DNA, in order to perpetuate itself, hurls them into murder and rape.”

    Andrea Dworkin, Letters from a War Zone, p. 114.

    It’s a weird quote, which sounds a lot like it’s coming from the the middle of a complicated argument. That’s because it is. And when you read what precedes it, it becomes clear that it’s NOT a statement of Dworkin’s own beliefs. She was in fact summarizing (in her own words) the beliefs of “male supremacist” sociobiologists like Edward O. Wilson. It may or may not be a fair summary of their views, but that’s not the point: it’s NOT what she thought. Later in the paragraph, in fact, she compared these views to Hitler’s.

    And then there’s this:

    “All men are rapists and that’s all they are.”

    Marilyn French in People, February 20, 1983

    Oh, the quote is real — she wrote it — but it is not a statement of French’s beliefs. Nor did it originate in People magazine. It is a line of dialogue from her book The Woman’s Room. Wikipedia, take it away:

    Following the rape of Val’s daughter Chris, Val states (over Mira’s protests), “Whatever they may be in public life, whatever their relationships with men, in their relationships with women, all men are rapists, and that’s all they are. They rape us with their eyes, their laws, and their codes” (p. 433). Critics have sometimes quoted Val’s dialogue as evidence of French’s misandry without noting that the passage is only spoken by one of many characters in the novel.

    Now, it’s true that this sentence was quoted in People magazine — in the issue of Feb 20 1979, not Feb 20, 1983 as claimed. It’s not clear from the rather sloppy People article that this is a line from the book, but it is.

    Skepticism in the face of male supremacist claims is a justifiable stance.

  3. Philip Legge says

    Wow, I’ve never seen the “feminism is a religion” card being played before. Did you actually want to stay around and actually back up your assertion, rather than just pathetically whine and flounce*?

    * I wouldn’t lay odds on him sticking it.

  4. says

    Familiar patern

    a) classify everyone as part of a dogmatic hive mind
    b) dismiss that as irrational
    c) bemoan how persecuted you are

    I think I labeled that The Sisko.

  5. jamesemery says

    Gotcha, Josh :) The more I stick around here, the more supportive and educational I find the community here. I shouldn’t stick the two of them solidly in the ‘unsavory’ category either… I know that there was more to Andrea Dworkin than just the questionable parts.

  6. ad hominum salvator ॐ says

    (I wonder why someone would expect freethinkers not to belittle. What’s the point of freethinking if it’s not about coming to superior conclusions? And most of those conclusions have nothing to say for or against belittlement.)

  7. Jonathan says

    Slutty is the guy who bones half the color guard using the same pickup line and brags to his friends about how easy fat chicks are. If we make “slut” into a slur, what else do we call people with selfish and irresponsible sexual habits? Sex is lovely and all, and monogamy is overrated, but there IS a line!

  8. Father Ogvorbis, OM: Delightfully Machiavellian says

    Anyone who defies the orthodoxy is troll or to be belittled.

    You asked some questions. You recieved answers. If you disagreewith the answers, the proper ‘freethinking’ response would be to discuss your disagreement with the response citing relevent literature or, at the very least, makng a logical argument. Petulantly restating your question is not challenging orthodoxy. It is the beginnings of a temper tantrum.

    I expected better from “freethinkers,” but I won’t bother your little club anymore.

    Wow. The ‘club’. Little club, even. What’s next? Accusing the regulars (who are a very contentious bunch who have been known to electronically eviscerate each other) of being sock puppets?

    Why not be an adult and, recognizing that language and style vary (since we are not sock puppets), make your argument. If youcan back it up, you may change minds. But you gotta argue it. Continuously restating your question because you didn’t get the answer you wanted is not an argument. Even John Cleese would agree.

  9. Tethys says

    Having feminists make an arbitrary set of self-serving rules is no better than the patriarchy doing it

    How dare those nasty feminists act like they are the authority on feminism without tpaines consent.

  10. Father Ogvorbis, OM: Delightfully Machiavellian says

    If we make “slut” into a slur, what else do we call people with selfish and irresponsible sexual habits?

    Why is it your business what consenting adults do with their bodies? And who gets to decide what is selfish and irresponsible? The Pope?

  11. Alukonis, metal ninja says

    Well, tpaine, when you were using leading rhetorical questions that were clearly going towards a specific point of view, I used the word “rebut” because I was refuting with proof the point of view that you were pointing towards.

    However, way to read “rebut” in my post and then just STOP READING, because I did answer all your “questions.” As did others.

    Fortunately your next post is exactly the same, but sans questions, so why don’t you just scroll up and read my (now definitely appropriately named) rebuttal.

    By the way, I don’t watch Watson’s youtube videos, but Phil Plait made a pretty infamous “Don’t be a Dick” speech about atheist debate tactics that had a mild blowup like, a year ago or so? So when you said “Don’t be a Dick” that’s immediately what I thought of. This IS an atheist site, after all. However, that said, whether or not Watson said “don’t be a dick” is irrelevant, as I pointed out in my previous post.

    Which you clearly either did not read or did not understand.

    Or any of the other posts that said essentially the exact same thing I did.

    You, sir, are a disingenuous pumpkin left out too long past Halloween. Your arguments are slowly rotting and eventually will completely fall apart, leaving only a moldy orange stain reeking of regret.

  12. hotshoe says

    Anyone who defies the orthodoxy is troll or to be belittled. Got it. I expected better from “freethinkers,” but I won’t bother your little club anymore.

    Aaaand – another loser bites the dust.

    Gee, it was so easy to get rid of you, tpaine. Some of the other snotrags took thousands of posts to get them to finally ooze away.

    Thank dog for small favors.

  13. ad hominum salvator ॐ says

    but there IS a line!

    Your 80-year-old self has only sadness and resentment for this statement.

  14. jamesemery says

    ‘The Sisko’, Ing? Please elaborate, this sounds interesting! :D

    Sally, yes, you DO come across that way, and that’s certainly impressive if you HAVEN’T followed that curriculum or read much about it. Apparently, your version of ‘haven’t read much’ falls solidly into what most folks would consider ‘relatively well-versed’. I’ve opened your link in a new tab, and will immerse myself tomorrow. For the moment, I’m being called away by my lady and that soft, cushy, rectangular thing that promises restful sleep if I’ll only give in.

    Guten nacht!

  15. Sally Strange, OM says

    The feminist orthodoxy: WOMEN ARE PEOPLE.

    Yes, you will be belittled, mocked, and eventually shunned if you question this “orthodoxy.”

  16. Jonathan says

    Who decides ethics in the first place? Things don’t have to be illegal for you to know they’re wrong. Using, manipulating, and taking advantage of people are just as unethical in bed as anywhere else–somebody who has no regard for the feelings or health of their partners should feel ashamed of themselves and their toxic attitude towards what should be good, clean fun. And we need a word for that. Redefine it all you like. Treat “she was asking for it” like the flimsy excuse that it is. But don’t do away with slut. It has a place.

  17. Father Ogvorbis, OM: Delightfully Machiavellian says

    Jonathan:

    So you want to keep a word which, in historic and current usage, denotes a woman who will fuck anyone? or a woman who (and this was an accepted meaning when I was in high school) enjoys sex? or a woman who cannot be raped because she has already been with so many men? I don’t think I am the one redefining the word slut, or the idea of slut-shaming.

  18. Spamamander, the Good Kind of Spam says

    Wait, Johnathan learns from his mistakes, speaks eloquently, AND is a Dom?

    Sorry Brownian my crush may have just been transferred. Good thing you have such a lineup…

  19. Sally Strange, OM says

    Slutty is the guy who bones half the color guard using the same pickup line and brags to his friends about how easy fat chicks are. If we make “slut” into a slur, what else do we call people with selfish and irresponsible sexual habits?

    I’m going to go out on a limb here: “People with selfish and irresponsible sexual habits.” Too long? “Narcissists.” “Manipulators.” “Assholes.”

    “Slut” denotes that sex with multiple partners is inherently bad. It also is applied regardless of how many actual partners you’ve had. You are called a slut for wearing a short skirt. You’re a slut for kissing too many guys at the school dance. You’re a slut for fucking HIM but not ME. You’re a slut for fucking at all. Sometimes you get called a slut for NOT fucking. It is really an all-purpose insult that is used exclusively against women, to reduce women to nothing but their sexual behavior, and shame them for it.

    Sex is lovely and all, and monogamy is overrated, but there IS a line!

    That line shall be determined by every individual for hirself. Whether it includes monogamy or not is, as I said, COMPLETELY irrelevant to whether a woman gets called a slut or not.

    Who decides ethics in the first place?

    People. When it comes to sex, the people who are involved in the sex determine what is ethical or not.

    Things don’t have to be illegal for you to know they’re wrong.

    Pointless, trivial truism.

    Using, manipulating, and taking advantage of people are just as unethical in bed as anywhere else–somebody who has no regard for the feelings or health of their partners should feel ashamed of themselves and their toxic attitude towards what should be good, clean fun. And we need a word for that.

    Yes, we have several words for that: “Users.” “Manipulators.” “People who take advantage of other people.”

    Redefine it all you like.

    I see you’re taking your own advice, quite liberally too.

    Treat “she was asking for it” like the flimsy excuse that it is.

    But don’t do away with slut. It has a place.

    Jonathan, you really don’t understand “slut.” You’re giving it a meaning it really does NOT have.

    I sometimes describe myself as a slut as a way of reclaiming the word. All it means in that context is that I have sex, possibly with more than one person in a short period of time. The only difference between the meaning when I reclaim and the word as it’s commonly used is that I refuse to agree that I should feel ashamed. Because I haven’t behaved unethically. But the thing you are missing is that “slut” does NOT mean any of those things you were describing, and it NEVER HAS. You are coming off as painfully, embarrassingly ignorant right now.

    ———

    P.S. to Jamesemery: thanks for the compliments!

  20. says

    French’s The Women’s Room was one helluva read. I credit her, with that book, into causing me to seriously examine a great many ideas and perceptions I was carrying around. I read it in ’77, when I was 19 years old and it was almost three years after my rape.

    I remember reading the bit quoted and I also remember that resonating with me at the time. I was still carrying a great deal of bitterness and a great deal of fear at the time. I do think that rape victims and their families having those thoughts go through their heads doesn’t get talked about and when it is, it’s either handwaved away or shushed. Or they are blamed for having those thoughts. At least that’s how it was in the 70s.

  21. you_monster says

    Using, manipulating, and taking advantage of people are just as unethical in bed as anywhere else–somebody who has no regard for the feelings or health of their partners should feel ashamed of themselves and their toxic attitude towards what should be good, clean fun. And we need a word for that.

    I don’t know why you need to use a word with sexist connotations to describe what you just laid out using non-sexist terms.

  22. Jonathan says

    Father Ogg, I actually meant that we, collectively, should try to redefine it instead of stamping it out completely. It seems like a waste of such a powerful word–we should be using it to stigmatize men who treat women like condoms, not discarding it because others want to use it to refer to women who wear pants.

    And Spamamander, thankeevurramuch. I does try to speak purdy.

  23. Philip Legge says

    Jonathan, the word ‘slut’ is derogatory in general usage, and you alone are incapable of forcing a change in its meaning. The word is being partially reclaimed, but that’s a completely different ballgame. Suffice it to say that it would really be best if you don’t try to use the word here, since gendered epithets for both men and women are frowned upon: Pharyngula’s a gender-neutral epithet zone (sort of like carbon neutral).

    And what’s with the judgmental shit in your post at 4:16 pm? (Rather than citing post 510, since I expect the post numbers to change when PZ wakes up.) If you’re going to use some expression like “fat chicks” then you’d better make it clear in your writing that is not your own view, as opposed to an imagined statement of the hypothetical male whose point of view you are critiquing.

  24. ad hominum salvator ॐ says

    somebody who has no regard for the feelings or health of their partners should feel ashamed of themselves

    You mixed up a couple of things that should not be conflated.

    I don’t want bad feelings for my sexual partner but one’s feelings are first one’s own responsibilty, unless one needs professional help with that. I don’t know what it takes for you to call something “regard”; I think “not wanting bad feelings for another” counts. But I’m not necessarily going to go out of my way for anyone’s feelings, especially if it might be taken as mixed signals regarding long term commitment.

  25. Philip Legge says

    Sorry, re-reading my last post, I fucked up. Rewind:

    Jonathan, the word ‘slut’ is sexist and derogatory in general usage, and you alone are incapable of forcing a change in its meaning.

    Principally, it is almost always used to derogatively refer to women alone, and even if it used to refer to a man, it will almost certainly be used to be a demeaning word by association with women.

  26. you_monster says

    I don’t want bad feelings for my sexual partner but one’s feelings are first one’s own responsibilty, unless one needs professional help with that. I don’t know what it takes for you to call something “regard”; I think “not wanting bad feelings for another” counts. But I’m not necessarily going to go out of my way for anyone’s feelings, especially if it might be taken as mixed signals regarding long term commitment.

    is anyone else getting vaguely creepy/asshole-ish vibes coming from ad hominum salvator ॐ ?

    Care to explain yourself more to help alleviate that vibe (if it is unfounded)?

  27. Sally Strange, OM says

    I actually meant that we, collectively, should try to redefine [nigger] instead of stamping it out completely. It seems like a waste of such a powerful word–we should be using it to stigmatize people who treat disdain education and hard work, not discarding it because others want to use it to refer to black people who get too uppity.

    Substituting racist epithets for sexist ones and seeing if the argument still applies is a tired old schtick, but sometimes it works.

    I don’t think YOU get to decide whether to reclaim “slut,” Jonathan. Even I, as a white woman, experience “slut” in a much ess damaging way than women of color do. I have more freedom; I can get away with more before men will start calling me a slut. Sometimes all a black woman has to do to get called a slut is step out her front door. Therefore, I’m quite cautious about actually using the word; usually the “reclaiming” comes when I refuse to react negatively to being called it. But like I said, I’m white and I don’t live in a city, so that’s not that often. I have to be considerate of the concerns of women who live in different circumstances and experience it differently.

  28. Jonathan says

    Er, sorry about that, Philip. Yes, I was trying to ape what I’ve seen of that sort of man. So if slut is out of the question, what do you call somebody with such a callous attitude that has equivalent punch? I’ve heard “man-whore” get used sometimes, but that implies a special category within the greater body of female whores, not to mention that I shouldn’t be using “whore” as a pejorative in the first place since I’m pro-legalization…

  29. Sally Strange, OM says

    Caine… Caine… can you see my words? Are my posts going through? Because it looks like it from my end. Maybe it’s some sort of software fuckup? I can see your posts. I wonder why Jonathan can’t see them.

  30. you_monster says

    So if slut is out of the question, what do you call somebody with such a callous attitude that has equivalent punch? I’ve heard “man-whore” get used sometimes

    Did you not understand the problems with the term “slut”? Do you not foresee the same problems with choosing what is essentially used as a synonym for that term, as an alternate? Think harder Jonathan.

  31. Jonathan says

    And yes, Sally, that’s a… frightfully effective point you make. I remember there was a time when people actually DID try to do that… Chris Rock’s fault, I think. He changed his act when he realized that racist fucks were using it as an excuse to bring back the N-word in general.

    I’m still hung on the question of how to turn the tables on guys who act in ways that’d get a girl called the S-word. Maybe just flat-out saying “You know, if you saw a girl acting like that, you know what you’d call her…”

  32. Father Ogvorbis, OM: Delightfully Machiavellian says

    Jonathon:

    Slut is a gendered insult with a rather specific usage — the implication that a woman is easy with her body. Men are not called sluts unless the desired implication is that the man is not a true man. Some women (and I stress that it is women doing this, not men) are working to change the meaning into something positive. I am a man. For me to redefine a gendered insult which affects women would be condescending and, no matter my intentions, would even further imply that women are subject to the whims of men. I think you need to rethink what you are attempting to accomplish.

    The behaviour you have described, using people, treating people as things, abusing people, can all be described using non-gendered insults. And the joy of a happy sex life, defined by the individual, can also be described without the use of gendered insults. Gendered insults are uneccessary and cause real pain, as well as having the effect of silencing voices. What are you trying to accomplish?

  33. you_monster says

    But I’m not necessarily going to go out of my way for anyone’s feelings, especially if it might be taken as mixed signals regarding long term commitment.

    What is wrong with being considerate AND being respectfully explicit regarding your intentions and desires?

  34. says

    Jonathan, just go with asshole, as that describes the type of person you’re describing. Your insistence on a derogatory sexual epithet shows you to still be too attached to slurs of a sexual nature.

  35. Jonathan says

    Sorry if I seem singleminded here… my commute home from the library today coincided with the local high school emptying out. I’d forgotten what morons teenagers were.

  36. Sally Strange, OM says

    I’m still hung on the question of how to turn the tables on guys who act in ways that’d get a girl called the S-word. Maybe just flat-out saying “You know, if you saw a girl acting like that, you know what you’d call her…”

    The thing you are failing, and failing, and failing to understand is that it DOES NOT MATTER WHAT YOU DO. You will be called a slut regardless. If you are a virgin. If you are married. If you are sleeping with the football team. A WOMAN’S ACTUAL SEXUAL BEHAVIOR IS NOT CONNECTED IN ANY WAY WITH WHETHER SOME ASSHOLE MISOGYNIST OPTS TO CALL HER A SLUT.

    I don’t get AT ALL why you are trying to figure out how to be like an asshole misogynist, only towards men.

  37. says

    Sally Strange:

    Caine… Caine… can you see my words? Are my posts going through? Because it looks like it from my end. Maybe it’s some sort of software fuckup? I can see your posts. I wonder why Jonathan can’t see them.

    You’re coming through loud and clear, Sally. It seems Jonathan’s eyes are closed and his brain fell into his rectum. Sad situation, that.

  38. Esteleth says

    Sally,
    Agree 100%. Was going to say what you did but then I refreshed and saw that you’d said it better than I could’ve.

  39. says

    I seem to be hitting an asshole storm, repeating message, repeating message:

    Jonathan, just go with asshole, as that describes the type of person you’re depicting. Your insistence on a derogatory sexual epithet shows you to still be too attached to slurs of a sexual nature.

  40. Sally Strange, OM says

    Sorry if I seem singleminded here…

    What you are SEEMING like is a guy who gives greater weight to opinions that come from other men. What you are SEEMING like is a guy who needs to have women stand up on a stool in front of his face and shout through a bullhorn before he will pay attention.

    If this is a problem of appearance only, please correct it posthaste.

    What do you think of bacon orgies with enthusiastic consent?

    I only go for the bacon.

  41. Jonathan says

    Wait, Caine is a… oh, right, because her icon is actually the freaking Venus symbol. Yup, eyes shut, ass open.

  42. ad hominum salvator ॐ says

    Really I don’t know if I would describe myself as having “regard” for a sexual partner’s feelings; even though I technically do, the word has connotations which feel like an exaggeration.

    I certainly won’t feel ashamed of myself for this, regardless. But I also happen to disagree on the oughts.

    Perhaps we might rightly say there is a moral obligation to seek intellectual awareness of a person’s feelings. By this everyone might have more information. Whatever feelings they end up having, though, que sera sera. People are not morally indictable for their feelings.

  43. you_monster says

    I’m still hung on the question of how to turn the tables on guys who act in ways that’d get a girl called the S-word. Maybe just flat-out saying “You know, if you saw a girl acting like that, you know what you’d call her…”

    It appears Jonathan considers slut-shaming wrong because men aren’t also subjected to it, rather than because it dismisses peoples’ right to sexual autonomy.

    The double standard applied to sexual expression is bad.

    So is oppressing a person’s free and consented to sexual behavior.

    You may be trying to help out on the first issue, but you are not helping on the second.

  44. Sally Strange, OM says

    Wait, Caine is a… oh, right, because her icon is actually the freaking Venus symbol. Yup, eyes shut, ass open.

    I think the BIGGER clue was WHEN SHE TALKED ABOUT HER RAPE AT AGE 16.

  45. ad hominum salvator ॐ says

    Care to explain yourself more to help alleviate that vibe (if it is unfounded)?

    I am an asshole. It’s not vague. However I think what I described there is a reasonable approach to human interaction.

    What is wrong with being considerate AND being respectfully explicit regarding your intentions and desires?

    Whether there’s anything wrong with it depends on what’s bound up in “considerate”.

    I don’t have any problem with being explicit, obviously.

  46. Esteleth says

    Ad hom,
    I sincerely hope that what you’re saying is that your goal is to meet your lover’s needs, not push them too far, and generally be considerate without overextending yourself emotionally. That’s fine. What it SOUNDS like, though, is that you’re saying that you feel no need to pay any attention to your lover’s needs and wants, because yours are more important.

  47. Tethys says

    Ad hom

    I too am confused as too why you think showing concern for anothers feelings = mixed signals about long term commitment?

    It sounds suspiciously like the trope that women use sex to capture men against their will.

    @ Sally

    Bacon is pretty awesome.

    Jonathon

    tsk tsk. You were doing so well until your hearing became selective.

  48. Alukonis, metal ninja says

    ad hominum salvator, the point is that you should care that the other person HAS feelings, and not DELIBERATELY stomp all over them. Sometimes people get hurt, that’s life, we’ve all been hurt and we’ve all hurt others, hopefully inadvertently. But objectifying someone and treating them as if their feelings do not matter one whit is not a good thing, it is the Way of the Douchecanoe.

    “Regard” just means “attention or concern to something.” You seem to be confusing basic “regard” with “HIGH regard,” or similar. Again, in this context, it’s just recognizing that other human beings have feelings, too, and you don’t want to deliberately grind those into the ground because you’re a narcissistic asshole that thinks no one besides you matters.

  49. Jonathan says

    No, Monster, I was just trying to think of how to to get guys like that to think twice about insulting their peers for behavior that they get lauded for.
    And Sally, I don’t think I’ve ever felt morally diminished for not reading a comments section all the way through, but by god… Caine, miss, I don’t know what to say. My de facto response is a hug, but I don’t think that would be welcome. Or, you know, physically possible. I’m a schmuck.

  50. Azkyroth says

    Father Ogg, I actually meant that we, collectively, should try to redefine it instead of stamping it out completely. It seems like a waste of such a powerful word–we should be using it to stigmatize men who treat women like condoms, not discarding it because others want to use it to refer to women who wear pants.

    I’m not sure you can separate it from the reason WHY it has that connotation.

    …well, I mean, very few people think of “jerk” as ablist even though it originally, so I’m told, derived from disorders with spasms as a symptom…but, “slut” may be too well known for this to work.

    And…well, why?

  51. Alukonis, metal ninja says

    ad hominum salvator ॐ says:
    8 November 2011 at 5:14 am

    I am an asshole. It’s not vague.

    Oh, well, then never mind. Asshole.

  52. ad hominum salvator ॐ says

    I too am confused as too why you think showing concern for anothers feelings = mixed signals about long term commitment?

    Er, I don’t. It just sometimes can, you know, certain cirumstances. You know what I mean. I’m not “going out of my way”. That’s all I said.

    It sounds suspiciously like the trope that women use sex to capture men against their will.

    I dunno, sorry. I’m talking about an all male cast.

    and not DELIBERATELY stomp all over them.

    I generally agree with that of course. Some people have odd ideas about what constitutes deliberate stomping. But yeah.

    Regard” just means “attention or concern to something.” You seem to be confusing basic “regard” with “HIGH regard,” or similar.

    Not confusing. I said it had certain connotations. I’m picky about words at several layers of abstraction.

  53. ad hominum salvator ॐ says

    Oh, well, then never mind. Asshole.

    Right, but I think my ideas still stand on their merits.

  54. ad hominum salvator ॐ says

    Recall that this was the comment I’m replying to.

    Who decides ethics in the first place? Things don’t have to be illegal for you to know they’re wrong. Using, manipulating, and taking advantage of people are just as unethical in bed as anywhere else–somebody who has no regard for the feelings or health of their partners should feel ashamed of themselves and their toxic attitude towards what should be good, clean fun. And we need a word for that. Redefine it all you like. Treat “she was asking for it” like the flimsy excuse that it is. But don’t do away with slut. It has a place.

    Tell me you aren’t a little bit suspicious about the connotation of every word in there, even the participles.

  55. you_monster says

    No, Monster, I was just trying to think of how to to get guys like that to think twice about insulting their peers for behavior that they get lauded for.

    Ok, I guess that was comprehension fail on my part. Sorry about that. Though I don;t think it was that unreasonable to read into you wanting to use the sex-negative tactic of slut-shaming against men to mean that you have a problem with so called “slutty behavior”.

    Do you see why it is best to avoid sexist and derogatory slurs? People understand them to have the meanings they usually have, not some special meaning you are trying to create by co-opting the term.

  56. Azkyroth says

    For what it’s worth, I read ad hom as saying essentially that he knows what he wants and needs and is looking to interact (sexually) with people who are amenable to those desires…and isn’t willing to sugarcoat or second-guess his needs even if his partner might prefer something different. Which is reasonable enough.

  57. Jonathan says

    I’m not sure why, really. I just get hung up on words. They’re so imprecise, and they seem to never do quite what I want. There’s so much baggage and reference and implication and history wrapped up in language that the strange little boy who still lives somewhere in my head can’t help but want to fiddle with it. I tend to phrase things in ways that turn heads and stop conversations… which is why I was mightily proud of myself for evoking the idea of the magical negro earlier today without starting a race riot. Schmuck (n): One who walks repeatedly into trouble due to stupidity or defective character.

  58. Azkyroth says

    I should clarify. Which is reasonable, when honestly presented in a “take it or leave it” sort of way. Which I also read into it. I suppose I could be overoptimistic.

  59. Tethys says

    ad hom

    I too wish that casual sex was less fraught with emotional complications.

    Men get very upset if I just want them to be a fuck buddy, even when I am very clear that I will not be getting emotionally involved.

    Its so counter to all the male stereotypes.

  60. you_monster says

    Regard” just means “attention or concern to something.” You seem to be confusing basic “regard” with “HIGH regard,” or similar.

    Not confusing. I said it had certain connotations. I’m picky about words at several layers of abstraction.

    What is your point? What are the “certain connotations” that you associate with “regard” that you don’t see value in?

    Right, but I think my ideas still stand on their merits.

    What are you trying to convey? You say you have no problem being explicit, but it is not clear to me where you are going with this.

  61. ad hominum salvator ॐ says

    I sincerely hope that what you’re saying is that your goal is to meet your lover’s needs, not push them too far, and generally be considerate without overextending yourself emotionally. That’s fine. What it SOUNDS like, though, is that you’re saying that you feel no need to pay any attention to your lover’s needs and wants, because yours are more important.

    Last bit seems muddled.

    My feelings are at least slightly more important.

    And the other person should treat their own feelings as more important than mine. This is how healthy interaction starts.

    Of course I’m going into fucking with a goal of paying attention to another’s wants. It’s like not fun otherwise.

    +++++
    I’m telling you, it sure as heck sounded to me like if I don’t care whether I see the person again then I’m a slut, according to Jonathan. Nobody else get that vibe?

  62. Allie says

    The whole concept of “misandry” is just as much a red herring as “reverse-racism.” Its a concept cooked up by the people in power to say, “SEE??? THEY DO IT TOO?!!11!!”

    Get back to me when women/POC have the power to actually do this shit, k cupcake?

  63. Jonathan says

    ad hom @572 – Not quite. I might wonder why you’re having sex with someone you don’t even think of as a friend, but if you’re upfront about it, and don’t leave them saddled with something they didn’t ask for (whether that be a bundle of regrets and what-ifs or a little bundle of unwanted joy), it’s not my business why or how.

  64. Esteleth says

    Jonathan,
    Here’s a few rules of thumb to keep in mind:
    1) If a group of women say “X is sexist” don’t try to argue that it isn’t or that you can make it not be.
    2) If you seem to be arguing against everyone else, take a step back and think.
    and
    3) I’m not sire if you know what the OM in some people’s nyms signify. It means that that commentator has been recognized by the rest of the community as being worthy of note, of being listened to.

    Just FYI.

  65. Alukonis, metal ninja says

    Azkyroth, what you describe sounds to me like, you know, communicating with your partner. Which is what reasonable consenting adults SHOULD do.

    I mean yeah, real life can get messy and if you get into casual sex at all the communication thing can get a little awkward (“Look I don’t want a boyfriend I just want sex” “…I just met you, what’s this boyfriend shit already?!” “No I just meant…!” etc.) but I still think that the difference between being frank with your desires and being an asshole is significant. Now to come up with a hard and fast definition that everyone on the planet will agree to, that’s an impossible task, but I do know from experience that if all you are interested in is casual sex, it’s your responsibility to make that clear if the person you’re with seems to be more “into it” than you are. However awkward that may be.

    Of course then that person might lie and say they’re cool with it, but they’re totally not and later you’re like “I thought you were cool with this!” and they’re all “Well I thought I could deal but I can’t!” and so forth, and THAT is why one-size-fits-all solutions don’t work.

    But treating other people as blow-up dolls is being an asshole, and as long as you’re not totally ignoring other people’s feelings, not lying, and not deliberately trying to hurt someone, then you can probably muddle through without being a ginormous asshole.

    Personally though, I don’t like self-admitted assholes, because they’re usually right in their self-assessment. And assholes are assholes.

  66. Tethys says

    Ironically, the original yiddish meaning of schmuck is penis.

    Schlemiel is the yiddish term for a habitual bungler or dolt.

  67. ad hominum salvator ॐ says

    What are you trying to convey? You say you have no problem being explicit, but it is not clear to me where you are going with this.

    Not going anywhere, that I know of. Defending the comment I made to Jonathan at 530. Think we have a much larger duty to the other person’s health than their feelings, didn’t like the way he put those things together.

  68. ad hominum salvator ॐ says

    I might wonder why you’re having sex with someone you don’t even think of as a friend,

    FFS. What is there to wonder about? Rhetorical question. I don’t need the answer.

  69. Jonathan says

    tethys @570 – I wonder if it’s less that they really want you to be emotionally involved than that they feel somehow diminished because you aren’t degenerating into a lovesick wreck with one touch of his wunderschwanz. Sort of like how some men take the existence of lesbians as a personal affront.

  70. ad hominum salvator ॐ says

    and don’t leave them saddled with something they didn’t ask for (whether that be a bundle of regrets and what-ifs or a little bundle of unwanted joy), it’s not my business why or how.

    With the clarity I display, it is not my fault if someone goes their way with a bundle of regrets and what-ifs. And not your business one way or the other.

  71. Azkyroth says

    3) I’m not sire if you know what the OM in some people’s nyms signify. It means that that commentator has been recognized by the rest of the community as being worthy of note, of being listened to.

    That seems uncomfortably kyriarchical to me.

  72. Philip Legge says

    Since I seem to have succeeded in catching the ears or eyes of Jonathan at least once, I strongly recommend reading Sally’s excellent comment currently at #523 / timestamped 4:39 am, especially for some alternative terms for ‘slut’ which you are groping about in search of:

    “Narcissists.” “Manipulators.” “Assholes.”

    All good possibilities there.

  73. Tethys says

    Of course then that person might lie and say they’re cool with it, but they’re totally not and later you’re like “I thought you were cool with this!” and they’re all “Well I thought I could deal but I can’t!” and so forth

    I wish it would work out that way. I usually end up with a man trying to claim I led him on and am a terrible person for not returning his feelings.

    Nevermind that I am honest about that before sex ever happens.
    Apparently one touch of the penis will change my mind…not.

  74. Tethys says

    teehehe. Wunderschwanz might be the term you were looking for for the guy who proves his manliness by trying to sleep with as many women as possible.

  75. Jonathan says

    Philip – I noticed, I noticed, it just fell off my radar… I’m sorry if I’ve missed anyone else.

  76. you_monster says

    ad hom. Alright, I think it is clearer now that you are not as dismissive of others’ feelings that i took your comment at 530 mean. My apologies for calling you out for being an asshole if you do indeed respect others, but just don’t want to call it showing “regard” for some reason.

  77. Jonathan says

    Okay, I’m losing consciousness here, so one parting shot here–Tethys, you are brilliant. I have my word. FEAR ME! But do not disturb me. I am tired, diminished, and secure enough in my masculinity to kiss a transsexual while not quite secure enough to willingly watch My Little Pony with her. Goodnight.

  78. Alukonis, metal ninja says

    [OT]

    I know he just said he was leaving.

    But Jonathan, if you’re talking about My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic?

    WATCH IT.

    Unless you just hate awesome things. Then, you know, don’t. Whatever.

  79. ad hominum salvator ॐ says

    you_monster: thanks, I don’t mind being disliked, but I’m always pleased to not be misunderstood in the end.

  80. ad hominum salvator ॐ says

    Let’s have Azkyroth OM so we don’t have to hear the kyriarchy thing.

  81. says

    Jonathan:

    Caine, miss, I don’t know what to say. My de facto response is a hug, but I don’t think that would be welcome. Or, you know, physically possible. I’m a schmuck.

    Just Caine is fine. You don’t need to worry about what to say, say whatever you like. I’m a tough old broad, I can take it, I promise. A virtual hug is fine.

    As for what you can do, listen, read, educate yourself and then educate others. That’s all we’re asking for here…you know, the world. ;)

  82. says

    Esteleth:

    -[5+ (Beg pardon, Esme typed that)

    3) I’m not sire if you know what the OM in some people’s nyms signify. It means that that commentator has been recognized by the rest of the community as being worthy of note, of being listened to.

    Receiving a Molly is very nice, however, it doesn’t mean we should be listened to above others, nor does it mean that we can’t be wrong or assholes about something. It’s always good to keep in mind that many OMs don’t wear their Molly on their sleeves nyms.:D

  83. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Algernon @ 3:36 am (482 when I read it…)

    Dworkin is problematic, but she raised some questions that I think are valid and people should not be afraid to raise questions in discourse because it might upset people. She also paid heavily for expressing her views. Since I would consider myself sex positive from a philosophical stance I obviously have different views than her, but I think she is actually somewhat unfairly maligned.

    I would say that she is unfairly maligned more in degree than substance when you subtract the insulting blather of those who malign all feminists equally and as one. Those of us who understand that there are many feminisms and have fluency in Dworkin’s work have done more than critique her. We have, at times, grossly exagerated our criticism. I am sorry that “my side”(in the sex wars of the 80s and the general feminist internecine conflicts from 63-Present) has gone overboard with the criticisms. But I don’t feel more sympathy towards her than I do for all feminists living in this time & space. Some of what she said was horrible – and she was not one to refrain from personal attacks. I can’t say whether she was first an attacker or first attacked in feminism. That would require knowing her history in her undergrad years & possibly high school. But I do know that there were individual exchanges in which she was the first and sometimes the only one to resort to personal attack. Then there’s all the stuff that didn’t *seem* like a personal attack to her that I believe clearly is (not least the, “you’re not a real feminist” attacks that she’s launched or supported over the years).

    Anyway, I wanted to put “unfairly maligned” in context. Every feminist who has spoken publicly has been unfairly maligned. Heck, I’m not even a super-well known feminist (It’s highly possible, even probable, that not even Caine & Sally have heard of my work, though I am published in numerous journals & books), but I’ve had posters advertising campus visits defaced with “Feminazi” and once had people disrupt a speech I gave, etc. But when you get beyond what happens to everyone, I really feel that Dworkin’s opponents are guilty of sins more of degree than of kind.

  84. Azkyroth says

    Hmm. Slight derail, but:

    All I know about Andrea Dworkin is that while some of the most egregious “quotes” are actually, as I’ve mentioned, paraphrases, she’s remembered mostly as the poster girl for a view of sexuality that’s basically intelligible only under the assumption that all men are irredeemable psychopaths and all women except her and her followers are gullible morons who need her and her followers to set their sexual and personal boundaries for them. (Which is sufficiently at odds with the premise that “men and women are, generally speaking, morally and mentally equal” that I’ve sloppily described her as “not actually feminist” in the past, based on this understanding – it would be more precise to say this specific stance is incompatible with the central premise of feminism, and thus her stance on this position is contra-feminist).

    I suspect that’s not entirely a fair characterization…but I’ve yet to see any evidence that it’s on balance unfair.

    Thoughts?

  85. Dez Crawford says

    A major problem: women today are socialized to be too damn polite. To turn the other cheek. If a man makes an inappropriate sexual pass at you, YOU are supposed to wriggle out of the situation. Don’t make a scene and whatever you do, by no means should you ever call down the man in public or worse, give him a good old-fashioned backhand if he grabs a breast or a handful of heinie, because that would be, like, violent, and that’s verboten if you are a feminist or liberal.

    What women need to do both in public and in private is to call men on bad behavior, out loud and in public on the Internet, and if you are in a non-virtual situation, a slap in the face WORKS. It works very well. When I was a young woman if a guy got smacked across the face in a pub, EVERY PERSON THERE knew he’d acted like an ass to a woman, and the bouncer would toss him if he didn’t have the decency to slink out with his tail between his legs right away.

    On the internet, we have to be willing to give that metaphoric slap in the face. We really do. And not just the victim — everybody on the thread. Men look to one another for social approval to predate on women, and the other men must rally to tell the offender what an ass he is.

  86. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Jonathan, who said:

    I am tired, diminished, and secure enough in my masculinity to kiss a transsexual while not quite secure enough to willingly watch My Little Pony with her.

    A word to the wise – transsexual, like transgender, should be used **only** as an adjective in public/mixed company unless it is absolutely clear that you are discussing how another person used the word and are either critiquing that or asking for clarification, etc.

    No one is “a transsexual”. this is an unfinished phrase. Someone can be a transsexual electrician, a transsexual priest, a transsexual know-it-all, or even a transsexual My Little Pony fanfreak. But not “a transsexual.”

    Helpful?

  87. says

    Dez:

    What women and men need to do both in public and in private is to call men on bad behavior

    That needed a teeny fix, because if there is one thing we consistently try to get across to men who show up here is that they need to stop accepting asshole behaviour in their friends, groups and whatnot and be willing to call them out for bad behaviour.

  88. says

    [OT]

    Wunderschwanz? Anyone know where this word came from? Google is not very helpful, it thinks I’m asking about sore penises (“ein wunder Schwanz”). Strangely enough I get a mix of English, German and Polish websites…

    From a German language point of view, it doesn’t sound like a man sleeping around, but rather like a man with great stamina…

    (sorry for the derail)

  89. Azkyroth says

    Wunderschwanz? Anyone know where this word came from?

    Well, “schwanz”is apparently penis, so I assume it’s coined by analogy with “wunderkind.”

  90. Sally Strange, OM says

    That seems uncomfortably kyriarchical to me.

    I reckon it’s just hierarchical.

  91. Nitric Acid says

    If some guy sleeps around, wouldn’t he be a wanderschwanz?

    (For a long time, I thought “wanderlust” meant something entirely different from what it does…)

  92. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    For Azkyroth, 7:25am, 599:

    All I know about Andrea Dworkin is that while some of the most egregious “quotes” are actually, as I’ve mentioned, paraphrases, she’s remembered mostly as the poster girl for a view of sexuality that’s basically intelligible only under the assumption that all men are irredeemable psychopaths and all women except her and her followers are gullible morons who need her and her followers to set their sexual and personal boundaries for them.

    I suspect that’s not entirely a fair characterization…but I’ve yet to see any evidence that it’s on balance unfair.

    It’s absolutely not a fair characterization.

    Men **who share in the benefits of patriarchy without attempting to end that system** (which, in her view, is the vast majority of men but not all) are too in love with the power that patriarchy gives them, and, by definition, love that power more than they love women as human beings or they would be attempting to end the system. In other words, the fact that you do not act to end the system is evidence for how a man feels about the system. The fact that the system has consequences for women makes it possible to infer how a man feels about women.

    She realizes that this assumes that men are actually aware of the system and its consequences, but argues that in this day and age, all ignorance of sexism and patriarchy is willful. There are plenty of sources. It’s an individual’s choice not to read them.

    This is not to say that men are “irredeemably psychopathic.” That is very far from what she believes. She in fact believes that men’s minds can be changed, that men, even many ardent defenders of the patriarchy, can change for the better. Otherwise she wouldn’t be doing what she’s doing.

    She also believes some very specific things about how heterosex happens in this society (US of the 80s to the present). She believes in Schroedinger’s Rapist. And she believes that all men benefit from rape. Those who don’t rape benefit because many women are so afraid of rape that they compare potential partners to rapists – and that is a very low standard to have to meet. Thus this benefits men who otherwise might have to meet a much tougher standard. She also believes men benefit in other ways. When men interact with women they don’t know very well, women’s caution in the presence of an unknown man is predictable, manipulable, and valuable.

    She makes other arguments as well. The rapists-are-demons trope is argued to have a number of effects, including that women who don’t want to believe that they love and/or care for a “demon” will make all sorts of life compromises in order to allow themselves to continue loving men who have hurt them. That time when Adam didn’t take no for an answer, was really scary, & held my wrists down? That wasn’t rape – because if it was, then Adam would be a rapist & if Adam was a rapist he wouldn’t remember my birthday b/c he’d be a complete demon, so that wasn’t rape.

    She argues that power dynamics between men & women are never truly “equal” because of sexism. This, in her argument, means that women can never “freely” consent to sex – heterosex is always, in some senses, coerced from women.

    The part about women needing her to set sexual boundaries isn’t fair either, though she has made statements that can be reasonably paraphrased as saying that she doesn’t believe how other women have sex is up to her…but she does believe that if other women think that they are “choosing” their sexual activities freely, then they haven’t thought through the implications of patriarchy and its power to coerce behavior from women. In other words, no, she won’t take responsibility for setting someone else’s boundaries, but yes, she does believe that she knows better than you what desires are “yours” and what desires are imposed on you by your culture.

    There are many problems with many of her arguments. For example, note that in her argument all women are less in power than all men. Rich, white, professional, educated women in good health have less “power” than impoverished, dislabled, unemployed men of color with no significant formal education.

    However, **everything** that she has raised as an issue has been a reasonable question to investigate. I come to different answers than Dworkin in many cases. Sometimes I think her reasoning is incredibly flawed. But her positions – while critiqued for good reason within feminism – have been ridiculously distorted outside feminism.

    If you haven’t seen evidence that this isn’t a fair reading of Dworkin, that’s easy to fix: read Dworkin.

    Of course, if you don’t want to spend the time to do that, then it’s unfair to say you haven’t seen evidence that your assertions aren’t fair. After all, if you haven’t read her, then you haven’t seen evidence that your assertions **are** fair.

    For better or worse, I’ve never read Jules Verne in the original French. I know that I should have. I keep meaning to. But I haven’t. At least not yet.

    Saying that I’m going to believe the original French has a sarcastic flair before I’ve read it is just silly. So is saying that Verne doesn’t use sarcasm. **I don’t know**. This is a phrase that has great utility. We all need to be more willing to say it (and write it).

    Instead of saying a bunch of things that someone might or might not believe and attributing those things to Dworkin “until you have evidence” is at least as silly.

    I don’t mind if you don’t take my word for it that what I’ve written is a reasonably faithful reproduction of some of Dworkin’s positions that are most likely to have been distorted into the positions you list above. But if you don’t take my word for it (and I’m no fan of Dworkin, believe me), then you shouldn’t be taking any one else’s word for it that what you wrote are undistorted positions of Dworkin.

    If you don’t want to read Dworkin’s work, whether you admit it or not, you don’t really know whether I or others are reproducing her faithfully, so you don’t have any basis to critique her at all.

    I suggest reading Dworkin. I really do. I also suggest disagreeing with her when you’re done, but what she writes will almost certainly cause you to think critically about issues that you have heretofore left unexamined.

  93. says

    Azkyroth,

    yeah I know the meaning of the German components. Just curious if the term is “American German”, like the use of “uber” as a prefix, or if it’s something that was borrowed wholesale from German. What got me is that people here used the term without quotes or explanation, indicating that the term was expected to be understood directly.

    Nitric Acid,

    yeah “Lust” in German can just mean “desire”, thus “desire to go hiking”.

  94. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    oh, and azkyroth – since she doesn’t actually hold the non-feminist position you critique as “not actually feminist” then describing her as “not actually feminist” on that basis is invalid and you should stop.

    Others have criticized her work accurately as saying that certain sexual behaviors reinforce the patriarchy and thus should be shunned unless one wishes to strengthen the patriarchy. She further asserts that those who knowingly choose these sexual behaviors are overtly pro-patriarchy and thus overtly anti-feminist. This doesn’t exactly say that other women can’t do X. But it does say that if other women do X then they are promoting an evil power structure, which can be said to be an evil act in itself. Some women have said that rigidly proscribing certain sexual behaviors and going as far as to call them evil and devalue other women based on their participation in those behaviors is anti-feminist for other reasons. The arguments for this part of Dworkin’s work being anti-feminist follow different lines, but one is that feminism is about autonomy for women and replacing one set of stigmatizing sexual commandments with another does not promote autonomy. Even this does not make **all** Dworkin’s work anti-feminist, however. Thus even if one or more lines of argument were to be accepted and that we thus labeled anti-feminist “calling certain sexual behaviors evil for their purported ability to further the power of the patriarchy,” …we would still not have proved that Dworkin **as a person** is anti-feminist or “not a real feminist”.

    So I would avoid that canard altogether.

  95. jennygadget says

    It works very well.

    Except, you know, for the times that it doesn’t.

    Look, I am all for women being more assertive, believing we have a right to be heard and take up space, yadda yadda yadda. But it’s not our fault that we often aren’t. And it’s often experience that has taught us that being assertive can be more dangerous. That’s what this damn post is all about – that women who believe we have a right to be heard are given shit for acting on those beliefs.

    This isn’t limited to pixelated threats. These people have actually shown up on doorsteps before. And, you know, there’s always the story of the girl/woman who wasn’t afraid to tell the police she has been raped – and, well, we all know how many ways that can go wrong.

    …because that would be, like, violent, and that’s verboten if you are a feminist or liberal.>/blockquote>

    Speaking of….just for the record, it’s not fellow feminists that have ever given me shit for standing up for myself. Or not, when I feel unsafe doing so.

    Also, I want to live in this mythical past of yours where all women had to do to be safe was be willing to slap someone.

    That said, we are agreed on believing everyone has a role to play in calling out this kind of behavior.

  96. jennygadget says

    gah! html fail :(

    The need for sleep and having already spent several hours on PHP homework must have sucked out all my coding skills for the day.

  97. Azkyroth says

    The arguments for this part of Dworkin’s work being anti-feminist follow different lines, but one is that feminism is about autonomy for women and replacing one set of stigmatizing sexual commandments with another does not promote autonomy. Even this does not make **all** Dworkin’s work anti-feminist, however.

    Err, yes, that’s a point-counterpoint of more or less what I initially argued, and what I was conceding with the sentence containing the word “sloppily” and the line following it.

  98. Marcus Hill says

    Damn, sometimes it’s a pain being asleep when most of the commentariat is active. I always seem to miss out on the fun. I note that the rest of you took your time to come round to the correct response to Kai – PZM @313 eventually got round to what I said @89. If only you muddle-headed illogical women had just listened…

    More seriously, it’s heartening to see that I’m not the only one who has learned something from conversations here about the unintentional support men can (actively or, as importantly, passively) give to the culture of misogyny.

  99. Marcus Hill says

    Nearly forgot another idea that popped into my head in reading this epic thread. It’s sad (but not, unfortunately, surprising) to see women here who are uncomfortable about losing the veil of anonymity in online interactions. I post under my real name and tend to let enough information about myself out that it would be fairly easy for someone to find me (at work, at least). The prevalence of rape threats is, I’m sure, part of the reason that some women may have a genuine rational fear about the consequences of being found in meatspace by online idiots, whereas I don’t even give it much of a second thought.

  100. kaderie says

    As a lurker who rarely comments, having read this entire thread, I’d like to thank all the great regulars shooting down the MRA. I’m amazed how you find the strength to wade through the same shit over and over and over again, and be entertaining about it.

    Now, Kai likes extolling the virtues of Nathanson’s “Spreading Misandry”, which, interestingly enough, was actually co-authored. I find it telling that he credits only Nathanson, and not Katherine Young – who, after all, doesn’t have a penis.

    On the book itself… I’ve read it. And, like Kai, it was very reluctant to offer actual data, and drawing just plain offensive comparisons to the plight of actual oppressed groups.

    For those interested, here is an entertaining critisism of the first 4 chapters.

    Chapter One

    Chapter Two

    Chapter Three

    Chapter Four

  101. says

    Back to the suggestion up-thread about a database to track the really bad cases of haters. If anyone is interested in setting up such a service, I am more than happy to provide my webdesign and programming skills to such a project. Just sayin’

    I am already running a similar database based on wiki for a similar cause.

  102. Jack Rawlinson says

    When women publicize the fact that scum-sucking bottom feeders write the kind of crap they get, it’s going to make the scum-sucking bottom feeders more cautious.

    Sadly, I fear this is the opposite what it will do. These creeps are no better than playground bullies (actually, they’re worse, because they’re even more cowardly) but just like playground bullies, they thrive on attention. They’re trolls. They want to see evidence that they’ve caused a reaction: upset, fear, anger, running to the police, anything. This is why they do it. This is how they get their pitiful kicks.

    Seriously, the best thing to do with these vermin is treat them with contempt, and ignore them or mock them. Don’t feed them by letting them see very plainly that they’ve got to you.

  103. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    Some people have odd ideas about what constitutes deliberate stomping.

    Some people enjoy deliberate stomping. Looks very painful.

  104. Stacy says

    kaderie, thanks for the links to the site with the analysis of Spreading Misandry. Just now read the first one; good stuff. Funny, too.

  105. Father Ogvorbis, OM: Delightfully Machiavellian says

    There’s so much baggage and reference and implication and history wrapped up in language

    Which is why people get hung up on words.

    As for what you can do, listen, read, educate yourself and then educate others.

    Quoted for truth.

    Before I started hanging out on blogs, and (for a time) blogging myself, and reading reality based news and comment, I had no clue as to the total internalization of sexism within my behaviour. When I first began reading about current feminism, I really wondered what anyone was complaining about. But I read what was being written and had a slow motion epiphany. Which is why I do drop into these threads to add my two cents.

    That seems uncomfortably kyriarchical to me.

    I reckon it’s just hierarchical.

    Meritochical?

  106. Mr. Fire says

    Jack Rawlinson @619:

    The flaw in your analogy is that bullies also target isolated individuals.

    The whole goddamn fucking point of these threads, and the movement at large, is to raise consciousness, validate and extend our alliances, push back as one overwhelmingly huge body, and steamroller our enemies into the fucking ground.

  107. says

    I think you’re wrong on the last paragraph in a lot of ways; you’re usually so good about remembering how differently men and women are treated I’m surprised you missed this.

    When women publicize the fact that scum-sucking bottom feeders write the kind of crap they get, it’s going to make the scum-sucking bottom feeders more cautious.

    It won’t work that way; a woman who defends herself against men is a bitch, a dyke, a shrew feminist, a target for more threats. As an example, look at the comments to skepchick’s posting on some of the threats she’s gotten since elevatorgate, or the comments on twitter to the #mencallmethings conversation. Men are threatening women for daring to speak out about online harassment, and in many cases taking it further than ever (a personal friend had a group of MRAs post her real address and call for her attack IRL or that people hurt her kids to get her attention a few months ago; she moved to a new city as a result).

    I think your speaking up on these issues is a great thing, and it does make a difference. But we’ve got a long way to go before calling people out on violent, hateful comments becomes a safe tactic for all.

  108. Gen, or The RadFem of Dhoom says

    Jack Rawlinson @619:

    Sadly, I fear this is the opposite what it will do. These creeps are no better than playground bullies (actually, they’re worse, because they’re even more cowardly) but just like playground bullies, they thrive on attention. They’re trolls. They want to see evidence that they’ve caused a reaction: upset, fear, anger, running to the police, anything. This is why they do it. This is how they get their pitiful kicks.

    Seriously, the best thing to do with these vermin is treat them with contempt, and ignore them or mock them. Don’t feed them by letting them see very plainly that they’ve got to you.

    Yeah, no. Women have been trying to “just ignore it” for literally centuries. How did that work out? Not so well, because here we still sit. The same is true for playground bullies. “Just ignore them, they only want attention” is bullcrap. That’s not all they want – they want to hurt you because it makes them feel better. Suffering in silence won’t suddenly make them un-know that they’ve hurt you.

    I also suggest reading Ophelia Benson on why shutting up and “rising above it” is shitty fucking advice.

    That said, alumiere makes an important and valid point: speaking up is NOT always safe.

  109. VP says

    Jack Rawlinson @619

    Sadly, I fear this is the opposite what it will do. These creeps are no better than playground bullies (actually, they’re worse, because they’re even more cowardly) but just like playground bullies, they thrive on attention. They’re trolls. They want to see evidence that they’ve caused a reaction: upset, fear, anger, running to the police, anything. This is why they do it. This is how they get their pitiful kicks.

    I disagree that it’s all about getting attention for these “creeps”. Some people troll just because they can get away with it; they don’t necessarily need attention of any kind to get a gratifying “privilege trip”.

    Also, I’ve seen a lot of troll-stompers here successfully making these trolls look like utterly boring stupid losers with no life, while not getting carried away by upset, fear, or anger.

    Seriously, the best thing to do with these vermin is treat them with contempt, and ignore them or mock them.

    I think ignoring said “vermin” may prove to be even more detrimental to the victims at times; it can deepen the former’s belief that they can say whatever atrocious BS they want to with no unwanted consequences or boundaries. Simply ignoring vile trolling all the time, especially in very serious topics, may encourage a social impression that trivializing and deriding someone else’s horrible trauma just for kicks, etc. is bad, but still tolerable or even normal.It can also serve to belittle the socially perceived importance of empathy.

  110. Gen, or The RadFem of Dhoom says

    I think ignoring said “vermin” may prove to be even more detrimental to the victims at times;

    Added to that, the simple biological fact: when you ignore vermin, they multiply exponentially.

  111. Aaron Baker says

    Cluelessness has nothing to do with it – other than yours; it is the deliberate use of fear to shore up the male privilege which such misogynists (rightly) see as threatened by any woman, anywhere, speaking out strongly and clearly against it.–KG

    So it’s never just oafish, untutored insensitivity–it’s always the worst possible case? And your evidence is . . . ?

  112. Erulóra Maikalambe says

    I’m not sire if you know what the OM in some people’s nyms signify. It means that that commentator has been recognized by the rest of the community as being worthy of note, of being listened to.

    Is there an initialism one can use to indicate being generally not worth listening to and only here for the snark?

  113. Gen, or The RadFem of Dhoom says

    @Aaron Baker

    So it’s never just oafish, untutored insensitivity–it’s always the worst possible case? And your evidence is . . . ?

    Dude, where did those drastic terms (Never and Ever) come from? Projection, much?

    Also, how can you tell when something is just oafish and something malicious? Do you have a magic crystal ball that works? Coz I don’t, and as if raping people isn’t bad enough already, rapists aren’t even considerate enough to wear convenient signs that say: “I’m being serious” or “I thing No means Yes, maybe” or something helpful like that. And neither do Good Men Tee Em who Don’t Really Mean It and are just Socially Clueless and Obtuse come with cards that say “I’m harmless, Signed under warranty, God”.

    Would YOU be willing to risk that? Why is it WOMEN’S jobs to sort the shit from the great? Why can’t the Good Men just, you know, ACT like Good Men to make themselves easily identifiable? Instead, if someone acts like a misogynist, we have no choice, for our own safety, but to assume that he is, in fact, a misogynist.

  114. KG says

    So it’s never just oafish, untutored insensitivity–it’s always the worst possible case? And your evidence is . . . ? – Aaron Baker

    Really, just how stupid are you? Here’s what you said:

    It’s always been true that women who assert themselves get abuse of a specifically misogynistic kind; that it would be compounded on the internet is spectacularly unsurprising.

    The transparent cluelessness of the men who behave this way just has to be pointed to, and condemned, whenever possible.

    First of all, let’s note that you have assumed that it is always cluelessness (at least you have allowed for no exceptions), and “transparent” cluelessness at that – cluelessness that any reasonable person would judge as cluelessness (and hence, not as active malice). But the abusers, by your own account, are responding to “women who assert themselves”, with specifically misogynistic abuse. How on earth could abuse of a specifically misogynistic kind aimed at women who assert themselves result from “cluelessness”? It simply doesn’t make any sort of sense whatever, while such abuse aimed at such targets makes perfect sense if we assume that the abusers have a specific aim in mind – silencing uppity women. My evidence has been all around you for months: the procession of MRAs, proceeding one after another from ostensibly rational criticism to frank hatred of women – usually ignoring most of what those with appearently feminine nyms say on the way.

    As I said, the cluelessness is all yours.

  115. Algernon says

    Anyway, I wanted to put “unfairly maligned” in context. Every feminist who has spoken publicly has been unfairly maligned.

    Fair enough.

  116. Marcus Hill says

    It’s amazing how many times the concepts of duck identification and treatment need to be explained to the “what if he didn’t really mean it” crowd…

  117. Sally Strange, OM says

    That is why I keep trying to spread this meme that the onus of responsibility is on decent men who are not misogynists to

    1. Observe how true misogynists act (this involves listening to women, because misogynists rarely act as vitriolic towards men as they do towards women, and you may not see it unless you pay attention to what women are pointing out)

    2. Act in ways that make them easily distinguishable from true misogynists

    If you can’t be bothered, then guess what! Someone might call you *gasp* a misogynist! Stop fucking whining about it.

  118. Ing says

    ‘The Sisko’, Ing? Please elaborate, this sounds interesting! :D

    A while ago I made a list of repeating troll paterns I was seeing on the feminist thread.

    The Sisko is named after the DS9 cap, who had a vendetta against Borg and fought theocracies. Hence a troll who spouts that crusader nonsense about hive-mind and casts themselves as the lone figure standing against the mighty collective is, The Sisko.

  119. Sally Strange, OM says

    Aaron Baker is a perfect example of how to provide cover for misogynists. Maybe Aaron doesn’t personally feel blanket hostility towards women, but he’s certainly acting in ways that make it easier for those who DO hate all women to get away with harassing and demeaning them.

    The net effect of his actions is to reinforce misogyny, even if that wasn’t his intent.

    What, Aaron? I’m sick of your bullshit. No more excuses for guys who act like assholes. Being a man is not the same thing as being an asshole. Being clueless is no longer an excuse. Now you know, so what are you going to fucking do about it?

  120. ad hominum salvator ॐ says

    Back to the suggestion up-thread about a database to track the really bad cases of haters. If anyone is interested in setting up such a service, I am more than happy to provide my webdesign and programming skills to such a project. Just sayin’

    Species8472, if you want to work on such a thing, feel free to borrow these ideas.

    I’m sure not going to need them.

  121. Aaron Baker says

    KG @32:

    Should I have said: “The cluelessness–or active malice–of men who behave this way should always be condemned”? I think now that I should have. But you’re even more vulnerable to the same criticism (lack of attention to all likely possibilities) when you say “cluelessness has nothing to do with it.” Again, state your evidence for that categorically expressed proposition.

    First of all, let’s note that you have assumed that it is always cluelessness (at least you have allowed for no exceptions)

    And the truth of your characterization of what I meant is plain because I said: “it’s always cluelessnes,” and “I allow no exceptions.” No wait, I didn’t say those things. You’re assuming that I meant no exceptions because I made a generalization (something that most people assume, when they make one, has exceptions). This kind of assumption on your part doesn’t put you on a strong footing when criticizing other people’s statements.

    How on earth could abuse of a specifically misogynistic kind aimed at women who assert themselves result from “cluelessness”?

    Well, because much of the time, human beings are unreasoning oafs who don’t think about what they say, or its implications, or its consequences. Much of the time, they lash out in an ill-considered way when called on their behavior. I very much doubt that you always infer the most evil motivation for any and every angry outburst–so please don’t pretend that that’s always the correct procedure here.

    Again, I’ll grant that I should have given more room to actively malicious misogynists. Do I know the proportion of such people to garden-variety oafs? I don’t; and neither do you.

    How stupid am I? Not very; but thanks for asking.

  122. Aaron Baker says

    Gen,

    KG said: “Cluelessness has nothing to do with it”[emphasis supplied]. KG’s words, not mine. So I wasn’t projecting; I was accurately characterizing his/her statement.

    I’m not pretending to have any special faculty for distinguishing “mere” oafs from somebody more vicious (and I didn’t say that I did), and I’m not suggesting that any onus falls on women to sort them out–nor have I suggested it’s unreasonable for women to make (as a practical matter) a worst-possible-case assumption in dealing with that kind of behavior–I think it very reasonable for them to do so.

    So I think you may have inferred notions that weren’t actually there.

  123. jennygadget says

    how can you tell when something is just oafish and something malicious? Do you have a magic crystal ball that works? Coz I don’t, and as if raping people isn’t bad enough already, rapists aren’t even considerate enough to wear convenient signs that say: “I’m being serious” or “I thing No means Yes, maybe” or something helpful like that.

    Aaron Baker is a perfect example of how to provide cover for misogynists. Maybe Aaron doesn’t personally feel blanket hostility towards women, but he’s certainly acting in ways that make it easier for those who DO hate all women to get away with harassing and demeaning them.

    Both quoted for truth. Also,

    Do I know the proportion of such people to garden-variety oafs? I don’t; and neither do you.

    Aside from the not minor point that so-called “garden-variety oafs” are still doing harm (above and beyond the harm Sally Strange points out)….

    The whole fucking point is that we do not know. So why the hell would you think that’s a “gotcha?” Unless you believe – or have internalized the idea – that men’s reputations and feelings are more important than women’s safety, how the fuck does that statement even make sense?

  124. Aaron Baker says

    Sally Strange,

    as I conceded above, I should have included active malice in my characterization of men who behave misogynistically.

    Yes, I would agree that “cluelessness,” “oafishness,” and the like can be and are used as covers for more vicious behavior. I certainly was NOT trying to excuse such behavior; but I can see how my statement might be used that why.

    Aside from that, i’m not really sure what “bullshit” I was uttering.

  125. Aaron Baker says

    Jennygadget wrote:

    The whole fucking point is that we do not know. So why the hell would you think that’s a “gotcha?” Unless you believe – or have internalized the idea – that men’s reputations and feelings are more important than women’s safety, how the fuck does that statement even make sense?

    Except that this is not the whole fucking point when someone says: “cluelessness has nothing to do with it.” The point then is: I know the truth and you don’t. I suggested KG was wrong for claiming this kind of knowledge, and I stand by what I said.

    As for my thinking (or having internalized) that women’s safety matters less than men’s reputations and feelings–How you can infer that when I said men should always be called on misogynistic behavior is unclear to me. And I did specifically say in a later post that women are perfectly reasonable in assuming the worst when confronted by misogyny.

    “garden variety oaf” was unduly trivializing of the harms done by oafs. I grant that criticism has merit.

  126. jennygadget says

    It’s always been true that women who assert themselves get abuse of a specifically misogynistic kind; that it would be compounded on the internet is spectacularly unsurprising.

    The transparent cluelessness of the men who behave this way just has to be pointed to, and condemned, whenever possible.

    We are talking about a wide range of behaviors, death threats included. There is nothing clueless about death threats, however much the person behind them may not intend to carry them out. You do not threaten complete strangers with serious harm and believe that it’s not even remotely possible that they may care. Why you consider this correction to be not only controversial, but worth defending several times over, I do not know.

    As to cluelessness: if you’re male, and you don’t know that hitting on a woman in an elevator is creepy and unacceptable behavior,

    And here you compound the problem by further minimizing sexist behavior by mischaracterizing the incident you are referring to as simply not knowing something about how women go through life, versus, say deliberately ignoring a woman’s stated pre-emptive “no.”

    …you may well think nothing of promiscuously tossing terms like “cunt” and “bitch” at those women who, for whatever reason, annoy you–or you may fantasize publicly about their being raped–without knowing that doing so says volumes more about you than about them.

    That the latter part of that sentence may be true does not negate the fact that one does not toss around terms like bitch and cunt or make rape threats at complete strangers and presume they will be taken in good fun. Anyone who argues otherwise is being willfully obtuse.

    The reason why the latter part of the sentence – them being clueless about what it says to them to other people – is true is because they think that the people that matter to them won’t care, not because they are clueless as to the fact that they are being insulting to women. You are dangerously conflating these two things – and consequently further minimizing and disappearing women’s experiences and opinions – and KG was right to call you on it.

  127. Tethys says

    As for my thinking (or having internalized) that women’s safety matters less than men’s reputations and feelings–How you can infer that when I said men should always be called on misogynistic behavior is unclear to me. And I did specifically say in a later post that women are perfectly reasonable in assuming the worst when confronted by misogyny.

    “garden variety oaf” was unduly trivializing of the harms done by oafs. I grant that criticism has merit.

    It can be inferred by the fact that rather than owning your error by saying something like “Arrghh, I just made a huge stupid blunder didn’t I? I’m sorry and I will modify my behavior.” you grant the criticism has merit.

  128. Aaron Baker says

    Tethys,

    My admission of error hasn’t met your exacting requirements. How do I make amends? How?

  129. Aaron Baker says

    one does not toss around terms like bitch and cunt or make rape threats at complete strangers and presume they will be taken in good fun. Anyone who argues otherwise is being willfully obtuse.

    Was I arguing otherwise up above. I don’t think so.

  130. Tethys says

    @Aaron

    You could stop acting like an entitled, pompous, self-centered condescending assclam?

    Reading for comprehension would also be helpful, rather than compounding your error by trying to assert your superiority.

  131. Gunboat Diplomat says

    @JennyGadget #645

    Sorry exactly what about the characterisation of Elevator Guys behaviour as creepy, unacceptable and clueless do you not like? Seems to be accurate to me and seems to be the way Rebecca saw it.

    So how exactly is that minimising sexist behaviour or mischaracterising the incident?

  132. Azkyroth says

    Sorry exactly what about the characterisation of Elevator Guys behaviour as creepy, unacceptable and clueless do you not like? Seems to be accurate to me and seems to be the way Rebecca saw it.

    The additional characterization of “inadvertent?”

  133. Aaron Baker says

    Tethys,

    You’re being the worst kind of tone troll. I said “grant,” and the tone of that was too pompous for you. So what. I’m not policing every goddamned thing I say, particularly when I’m “granting” someone else’s point, on the off-chance it rubs you the wrong way.

    If I say “I concede,” “I admit,” it’s easy to predict what your reaction will be: you’ll find something else to get pissy about. If you have a substantive point, bring it up. Otherwise, my lunch break is over and I have no more time for you.

  134. Tethys says

    Speaking of entitled assclams who fail at reading comprehension, GDB is trying to pick a fight with Jennygadget.

  135. KG says

    Aaron Baker

    You’re assuming that I meant no exceptions because I made a generalization (something that most people assume, when they make one, has exceptions). This kind of assumption on your part doesn’t put you on a strong footing when criticizing other people’s statements.

    Since you made exactly that assumption about what I said, what the fuck are you whining about?

    How on earth could abuse of a specifically misogynistic kind aimed at women who assert themselves result from “cluelessness”?

    Well, because much of the time, human beings are unreasoning oafs who don’t think about what they say, or its implications, or its consequences.

    You have failed to even try to explain why “cluelessness” should lead to that sort of abuse aimed at that sort of person, rather than, say, abuse imputing stupidity to people with unusually long or complicated nyms. By contrast, it is abundantly clear why men aiming to silence uppity women would direct that sort of abuse at that sort of person. It’s quite simple really, to those less stupid than you: an explanation has to actually explain, and the more specific features of a situation it explains, the better.

  136. Pteryxx says

    More or less on-topic:

    Facebook finally removes its pro-rape pages

    It only took two long months, over 186,000 signatures on a petition to Mark Zuckerberg, and finally a furious Twitter campaign to get Facebook to remove Pages that graphically celebrated and encouraged rape and sexual violence.

    This time, anyway.

  137. Father Ogvorbis, OM: Delightfully Machiavellian says

    Sorry exactly what about the characterisation of Elevator Guys behaviour as creepy, unacceptable and clueless do you not like?

    Because, as has been pointed out multiple times before on the dozens of threads with thousands of comments, it was doubtful to the extreme that he was clueless. His actions were classic Pick Up Artist idiocy. Not the socially clueless Aspie which apologists have suggested.

    It was his decision to do what he did. Rebecca was attacked because she pointed out that his decision has the effect of removing women from the conversation.

  138. Tethys says

    @Aaron

    Actions speak louder than words. You can concede, and grant, or admit all you like, but unless you actually admit fault and modify your behavior its merely adding more proof to the idea that your fucking bloated ego is far more important to you than actually changing this shit.

  139. Gunboat Diplomat says

    @ Father Ogvorbis

    No, he was clueless, both in terms of understanding how insanely unlikely a line like that is actually going to work and probably also in how it would be found creepy (although who knows for sure his state of mind at the time).

    A line like that is the complete opposite of advice Pickup books such as The Game advise – which is to chat, flirt, play hard to get and then propostion. Cold propositions almost never work.

  140. Dhorvath, OM says

    GD,
    So you deny that he opened with a disclaimer about not wanting to come across the wrong way? He knew that what he was going to say was a problem, he knew that it was at the least a concerning likelihood that he would seem creepy, if not the specific probability. And yet he went ahead and asked anyways.
    As to whether he knew how unlikely a positive response was, well, I would hazard that he didn’t care, else why say anything once one knows that it may come across as creepy?

  141. says

    ad hominum salvator:

    Oooh I get to correct Caine on nym spelling. ;)

    It’s “hominum” as I use it.

    Damn, a shot straight to the chest! Sorry, I’ll plead good spelling habits and extreme tiredness.

  142. says

    Aaron Baker, you’re displaying what an asshole you are again. I know you’re in love with the look of your own typing, but for once, how about you shut the fuck up and actually try to process what other people are saying? It will be novel for you, listening. Then you can take the really big step of trying to learn something.

  143. Alukonis, metal ninja says

    Nooooooooo I was catching up on this thread and it was so interesting and we’re fucking back to Elevator Guy? This dead horse has been beaten so much it’s now pâté!

    And pelamun @605, re: wunderschwanz

    This is a combination of wunder, German for “miraculous/magical,” and Schwanz, slang for “penis” (my dictionary helpfully supplies cock, willie, and weenie as synonyms) coined by Jonathan at post 580, initially in context of a discussion about casual sex and how some men expect their partners, even though that partner has already said they want NSA sex, to suddenly fall in love with them once they’ve had, well, the wunderschwanz. This was specifically in reply to Tethys, but was in a broader conversation about the usage of the word “slut,” hence Tethys’s suggestion that “Wunderschwanz might be the term you were looking for for the guy who proves his manliness by trying to sleep with as many women as possible.”

    And that is the story of der Wunderschwanz! The end!

  144. ad hominum salvator ॐ says

    One good thing about communism is GBD could be jailed for having a stupid avatar.

    Damn, a shot straight to the chest!

    :)

  145. jennygadget says

    Speaking of entitled assclams who fail at reading comprehension, GDB is trying to pick a fight with Jennygadget.

    :)

    Seeing as how I repeatedly refused to directly engage with him on the other thread, I suspect GDB thinks that by addressing me specifically – and pretending like I haven’t already answered his question – he’ll get me angry and distracted enough to think that he’s worth responding to for any other reason than to educate people that aren’t him.

    It must be sad to be him. :p

    Nooooooooo I was catching up on this thread and it was so interesting and we’re fucking back to Elevator Guy?

    Sorry, I have to take some of the blame for that. :(

    It just annoys me to no end when people act like he was simply clueless rather than deliberately ignoring an already stated “no.” Like, what part of “NO” do people not understand? the “n” or the “o”?

    oh! I know! the part where they aren’t special snowflakes and the “no” applies to them just like it does ever other person.

  146. SallyStrange says

    Yeah, Watson already adressed the “ED was clueless or shy” myth. She said he came across as quite confident and sure of what he was doing. Not hesitant, not confused.

    Anyway, WHO FUCKING CARES?? Ignorance is no excuse. Like I said, the responsibility is on decent men to figure out how misogynists act, and then act differently. If this is too much work for you, then you forfeit the right to complain if someone calls you a misogynist.

  147. Aaron Baker says

    KG,

    I made the assumption I did about what you said, because you said this: “cluelessness has nothing to do with it.” That’s not a generalization, it’s an explicit statement that something is universally the case. When you learn to express yourself more precisely, I’ll take your criticism a lot more seriously; until then, not so much.

  148. KG says

    A line like that is the complete opposite of advice Pickup books such as The Game advise – which is to chat, flirt, play hard to get and then propostion. Cold propositions almost never work. – Gun Boat Diplomat

    So. Fucking. What? If you don’t give a shit about your target’s feelings, even an outside chance is better than maybe “missing some available pussy”. (Yes, I have heard it put just like that.)

  149. Esteleth says

    A comment over in TET brings a lot of this full circle.

    Many women justifiably fear and despise abusive comments and emails online because they justifiably fear and despise them offline.

    Because some men take “no” to be an invitation to violent assault – and women, even if they themselves have never been attacked, know this.

    And yet – we’re called “hysterical” and told that we’re overreacting when we say, “Guys, don’t do that.”

    Guys, don’t do that. Don’t cold proposition women. Treat us as people. Respect us. Listen to us when we say, “x hurts us.” When you see another guy do that, disapprove and tell that guy that you disapprove.

    Seriously.

  150. Aaron Baker says

    Tethys:
    “admit fault and modify your behavior”

    When you come up with a convincing example of such behavior, I’ll modify it; as for now, in response to other people’s comments, I have accepted some of them, reserved judgment on others, and held my ground on others–that’s what actual discussion is like.

    When you have an actual point to make germane to the discussion, I’ll respond to it–until then, I think we’ve said to each other all we need to to.

    Oh, and Caine, when do you admit error? When do you shut up and learn something?

  151. KG says

    M’lud, members of the jury, it is true that my client did attempt to rob the bank, and shot at two police officers, but I submit that his actions were, in fact, simply the result of cluelessness. There was really very little chance that his plan would work – any guide to armed robbery would have told him that a blag without a good getaway vehicle and driver almost never succeeds.

  152. KG says

    I made the assumption I did about what you said, because you said this: “cluelessness has nothing to do with it.” That’s not a generalization, it’s an explicit statement that something is universally the case. – Aaron Baker

    You prove that the cluelessness is indeed yours, yet again. It’s simply a statement of emphatic disagreement that “cluelessness” has any relevance to the barrage of misogynist hate under discussion. Until you fully accept that cluelessness is used as one of the main excuses for misogyny, you are part of the problem.

    And, you’re a pompous ass.

  153. Aaron Baker says

    KG:

    “It’s simply a statement of emphatic disagreement that “cluelessness” has any relevance to the barrage of misogynist hate under discussion.”

    And how does that differ from my characterization of your statement? You’re question-beggingly assuming that everything, including apparently hitting on a woman in an elevator and nothing further, is a “barrage of misogynist hate.” Fine. Prove it.

    I think the guy in the elevator may have been a misogynist– or he may have been simply an insensitive jerk. They’re not the same. Again, given the evidence, I don’t see a conclusive answer to the question. If you insist that everywhere, even where there’s room for doubt, one must impute misogyny, I think at that point you’re just using the word as a bludgeon to stop discussion.

  154. says

    Really OT
    Alukonis

    This is a combination of wunder, German for “miraculous/magical,” and Schwanz, slang for “penis” (my dictionary helpfully supplies cock, willie, and weenie as synonyms)

    Pssst, here’s a hint: pelamun can speak German really fluently. His amazement and amusement (and mine, for that matter) came from the fact that the word is built like a normal German compound, but it’s not German in the sense that it is used in Germany by speakers of German.
    [/OT]

    A line like that is the complete opposite of advice Pickup books such as The Game advise – which is to chat, flirt, play hard to get and then propostion. Cold propositions almost never work.

    Wrong.
    It is described as one of the most difficult pick ups to do by some PUAs, but it fits the exact description:
    Try a phrase to break the ice (Don’t get me wrong) and then try to get the proposition across quickly.
    Whether he actually tried to play “the game” or did it acidentially is irrelevant.
    What is clear is that he ignored several clear “no”s from her side before he propositioned. That’s not cluelessness, that’s stinking privilege.

  155. Esteleth says

    Aaron,
    That “EG was just an insensitive jerk” is a possible explanation is itself an example of misogyny.

    Being able to be insensitive to the realities of women’s lives is misogyny expressed on a societal level. A person choosing to be insensitive enables and is enabled by misogyny.

  156. Jonathan says

    Crip @603 – Apologies, I try to use outsiderspeak when I’m in the company of strangers. Didn’t realize it was an important point–to me it was like calling the Doctor “Doctor Who” when casually invoking the show to somebody I don’t know. I’m not a very good nerd, am I? ^^;;;

  157. Alukonis, metal ninja says

    @Giliell

    [continued OT]

    I didn’t know whether or not pelamun spoke German, so I put the word definitions, but pelamun was wondering where it came from, and so I told the story of how it was invented by Jonathan, along with context.

    That’s it, really. I knew it was a made-up word, and I was just explaining the source. But I mean, I don’t have everyone’s language resumes here at my fingertips, so, you know, your “pssst, here’s a hint” seems kind of uncalled-for.

    [/OT]

    @jennygadget

    I’m mostly just despairing that this one single example keeps getting brought up over and over. If people still can’t grok what the problem is, then it is worth reiterating again, even if only for the lurkers. It’s just, I’m so tired of the whole thing, and, so tired, and, and, and, sigh.

    You know?

    It is relevant to this post in the sense of the torrent of hate that Watson got for even mentioning the incident, but I’m exhausted from trying to explain the problem to thick-skulled clods that refuse to feel any empathy whatsoever for a woman alone in an elevator.

  158. Carlie says

    I think the guy in the elevator may have been a misogynist– or he may have been simply an insensitive jerk. They’re not the same.

    What on earth would be the reason to separate the two? Their actions would be the same, their effects would be the same, their resistance to change would be the same. Why bother to try to differentiate?

  159. Aaron Baker says

    Esteleth:

    That “EG was just an insensitive jerk” is a possible explanation is itself an example of misogyny.

    Being able to be insensitive to the realities of women’s lives is misogyny expressed on a societal level. A person choosing to be insensitive enables and is enabled by misogyny.

    I think then that we may have expanded the coverage of the word “misogyny” to the point where its usefulness as a descriptive category, rather than a hostile epithet, is in question.

    I think that in earlier strings it was widely agreed that hitting on a member of the opposite sex was not, in and of itself, obnoxious (I’ll avoid the term per se, ’cause I need to curb my pomposity).

    The guy in the elevator stepped beyond that of course. Apparently, he forthrightly and confidently propositioned a young woman while she was in the elevator with him. And, apparently, nothing else happened: no streams of verbal abuse, no unwanted physical contact, no threats.

    I think this definitely demonstrates an acute lack of sensitivity on his part as to how such a come-on in such a place can cause a woman reasonably to fear for her safety. But I must infer on this evidence alone that this guy hates women? That’s pretty thin. And I’m a misogynist myself if I don’t so characterize him? I’m sorry; I don’t agree.

    I have listened, with a mixture of anger, disgust, and acute embarrassment for my sex, whenever my wife or my daughter has reported some obnoxious play by some asshole on the street.

    For six years, I represented women in domestic violence cases–one of whom was stabbed repeatedly with a box-cutter in front of her own children (no doubt about the woman-hatred there).

    If you’re convinced that I’m insensitve to women’s concerns, there’s nothing I’m likely to say that’ll sway you. But really–some distinctions seem to me to be in order.

  160. Esteleth says

    Aaron,
    In my mind, “misogyny” does not mean “hatred of women,” it means “belief that women are lesser than men.” This is an important distinction.
    If women are lesser than men, then we must be subservient to men, obey men, and be available when they want.

    By that logic, EG was clearly misogynistic in his actions.

  161. Gunboat Diplomat says

    @Carlie

    What on earth would be the reason to separate the two? Their actions would be the same, their effects would be the same, their resistance to change would be the same. Why bother to try to differentiate?

    You honestly think theres no difference between being stuck in an elevator and propostioned by a guy whos insensitive and a guy who HATES women?
    Don’t give up the dayjob for bodyguard work whatever you do.

  162. Dhorvath, OM says

    How is an action that makes a woman, some women, or all women out as somehow less than fully human precisely because they are women not an action that makes them feel hated because they are women? What better word for such an act than misogyny? Why does hatred need physical violence or complete antagonism in order to be considered legitimate?

  163. says

    [OT}

    Alukonis, to be fair my post at 605 implied I spoke German.

    Anyhow, if it was an ad hoc coinage I find it fascinating that it was used without explanation, i.e. English speakers were supposed to understand, that's why I asked is all.

  164. Jessie says

    Misogyny doesn’t require hatred of women, rather hatred or disdain towards the concept of women as humans with equal rights. It’s perfectly possible therefore to be a misogynist if what you really love is a false image of women as no more than objects to satisfy men’s needs.

  165. Esteleth says

    Exactly, Jessie & Dhvorath.

    The Victorians thought they were honoring women by putting them on pedestals and treating them like weak, childlike creatures. Many probably did in fact love women fervently.

    And yet, they were misogynists.

  166. Tethys says

    And once again Aaron Baker Archie Bunker proves that he is the perfectly rational blind misogynist.

    He screams and threatens and pleads for validation of his self-delusion just like every abusive asshole.

  167. hotshoe says

    Yeah it’s funny that these so-called enlighted skeptical guys have no trouble seeing that racism does not actually require burning crosses and lynchings to be real racism, but … misogyny requires streams of verbal abuse and physical contact to be recognized as real misogyny. (If recognized even then – since of course we have the trolls who insist misogyny requires outright hatred of all women, and insist that we can’t know if any particular abuse was actually motivated by “hatred” or merely by gamer bad humor.)

    What is it with these guys, that they are unwilling to let misogyny be labeled as “misogyny” when we see it in action ? What, is that word so toxic to them that they can’t even be in the same room with it, without trying to the word away ?

  168. Alukonis, metal ninja says

    [OT]

    Pelamun, I see now what you were getting at. I didn’t want to assume you spoke German, after all, you could have just googled it.

    Consider my explanation for the non-German-speaking peanut gallery, then!

    [/OT]

  169. Jessie says

    hotshoe
    I suspect they fear the label in a similar way that many men who rape fear the label ‘rapist’. They don’t seem to be able to get past that visceral reaction so that they can actually look at their own behaviour and be honest with themselves.

  170. A. R says

    Dhorvath: Think about it this way: Since the patriarchy considers women to be the property of their “male caretaker” the rules of property apply, that is, verbal assault is often tolerated, while physical assault is mostly intolerable, so long as the assaulter is not a “male caretaker.” Hope this makes sense, I’m working on a review paper and didn’t have much time to dash this off.

  171. Azkyroth says

    In my mind, “misogyny” does not mean “hatred of women,” it means “belief that women are lesser than men.” This is an important distinction.
    If women are lesser than men, then we must be subservient to men, obey men, and be available when they want.

    That’s a bit confusing linguistically since my understanding (and most people’s understanding) is that “miso” is “hatred of.”

    Maybe a new coinage (like Male Supremacist) is in order. Anyone know if there’s a separate Greek word for “contempt for?”

  172. Esteleth says

    That’s right, A.R.
    A man cannot rape his wife: she is his to use as he pleases.
    The person a rapist has injured is not the woman, but her (male) owner, whether that be her husband or her father.

    A woman is not a person, she is a thing that is possessed.

  173. A. R says

    Esteleth: That’s actually why I point to fundamentalist Islamic societies to illustrate the effects of misogyny here, it’s the same thing, just toned down a bit in the West.

  174. jennygadget says

    Yeah it’s funny that these so-called enlighted skeptical guys have no trouble seeing that racism does not actually require burning crosses and lynchings to be real racism,

    To be fair, it can go the other way too. (And more often it tends to be both.) And no, I don’t understand any of these positions.

    What is it with these guys, that they are unwilling to let misogyny be labeled as “misogyny” when we see it in action ?

    My theory: they know they are guilty of it (to varying degrees) and are afraid to admit it. Either because they don’t want to be a bad person – and illogically don’t consider that being a good person is an active process not a default state – or because they can’t be arsed to improve their behavior yet feel entitled to being treated as if they were a good person.

    It’s just like the rapists in the study highlighted in “Meet the Predators” – they know that what they are doing is wrong, but god forbid you call it what it is.

  175. Tethys says

    What is it with these guys, that they are unwilling to let misogyny be labeled as “misogyny” when we see it in action ? What, is that word so toxic to them that they can’t even be in the same room with it, without trying to the word away ?

    To quote a famous misogynist “If the gloves don’t fit, you must acquit.”

    They need to create plausible deniability reasonable doubt for their “team”.

  176. says

    Azkyroth,

    re “misogyny” as a word.

    The etymology of a word doesn’t necessarily determine its synchronic use, as words can change their meanings or take on new meaning, that might also coexist with the original one.

    Seems to be that’s what happening here.

  177. Dhorvath, OM says

    A.R.,
    That is a good point. There are an alarming number of things that support the women as property idea and they are certainly all worth chasing down, I am sorry that my comment was narrow and gave the impression that I was not concerned about those things as well.
    I was actually working in a different direction, which is that hated is something that someone can feel and that an action that makes a woman feel hated because she is a woman is misogynist. My comment was in response to the common argument that we use misogyny here in too broad a fashion and I was trying to stay focused on why misogyny was an important and useful term.

  178. says

    Kate Smurthwaite, eh? That being somebody who’s done her fair share of trolling, which I’ve seen first hand. That’s the problem with this campaign – while on one hand, it does bring attention to the crap women experience online (and no argument here, it is disproportionate), it is a convenient figleaf for women who are themselves trolls or even outright harassers to play the victim. Especially if they happen to be of the radical feminist persuasion. The meme that feminists are solely on the receiving end of online harassment is one-sided and problematic. Ask any trans or sex worker blogger where their most vicious attacks have come from – just sayin’.

  179. hotshoe says

    hotshoe
    I suspect they fear the label in a similar way that many men who rape fear the label ‘rapist’. They don’t seem to be able to get past that visceral reaction so that they can actually look at their own behaviour and be honest with themselves.

    Yeah, or if not themselves personally, other men close to them, their fathers/brothers/friends … They don’t want to be open to seeing “Bro’s” behavior as misogynist, because then that makes themselves someone who puts up with misogyny; not quite as bad as actually being misogynist themselves but still a cognitive burden to explain away.

    I’ve got a similar problem with my attitude towards Catholics. It causes horrible dissonance in my relationship with some of my (cafeteria Catholic) family. I might think, if “Bri” is Catholic, then being Catholic can’t be a bad thing, or else, me hanging out with Bri and not punching him whenever he says some stupid catholic shit must mean that I’m bad, too, because if I were really good I’d be over there fighting the bad.

    The truth is, being a Catholic IS being a bad thing, on a sliding scale from the truly evil Ratz to the not-really-evil our-parish-feeds-refugees family believer. And I’m not really bad IF I hang out with family I love for other reasons and refrain from violent arguments for the sake of other good that comes of getting along. But trying to define away the problem of “Catholic badness” by saying it only means the crazy priests who rape children … well, that’s like trying to define away the problem of “misogynistic society” by saying it only means outright violence motivated by explicit hatred.

    Which is kind of the point of this whole thread: that we, if we want to be a decent society welcoming the flat fact that “Women are people”, we need to oppose misogynistic behaviors all along the scale, not just murder, rape, groping – but also the chilly climate which allows men to think they can say to women any goddamn stupid thing that pops into their minds at any time. Yeah, that might be a little uncomfortable to men who witness that tendency in themselves or someone they’re close to.

  180. hotshoe says

    – and illogically don’t consider that being a good person is an active process not a default state –

    Oh, I love you pointing out that it’s a process, not a state.

    I’ll have to remember that when I’m fighting my own battles.

  181. Esteleth says

    Iamcurious,
    A lot of the problem is that the abuse is disproportionately given to anyone who is not straight and male. So women (of all ideological stripes), people of color, LGBT people and gender-variant people get crap all out of proportion to our numbers online.
    Sex workers, together with those who are not monogamous, those in interracial relationships, kinky people, etc also get crapped upon.

    I’m not going to deny the serious failings of many radical feminists with regards to sex-positivity, porn, sex work, and trans people. I’d like to think I have more intellectual honesty than that. A lot of it seems to boil down to an oppressed person kicking someone lower than themself because that other person is a convenient target.

  182. jennygadget says

    But I must infer on this evidence alone that this guy hates women?

    No, but we can certainly infer from the fact that you keep leaving out relevant bits of information – and ignoring women’s constant reminders of it – that you do not consider helping to keep women safe much of a priority.

    A tip, for not just Aaron but any lurkers who are confused and may be wanting to side with him:

    The purpose of this thread and others like it* is not to get the rape-threat-wielding-bottom-feeders to change their opinions, but to get their apologists to change theirs so that they may help us rather than hinder us in changing the bottom feeders behavior.

    To that end, what you should be concerned about is not so much whether or not you are acting in such a way as to make women feel threatened or like you hate them (because really, that’s a rather low bar to set, yes?) but whether or not we would think your presence might help to deter threatening behavior in others.

    and goodness gracious, Aaron, on that scale? you have no idea how miserably you are failing.

    *to the extent that any of it is about you in the first place bc oy vey, when will people learn that most times it’s for us?

  183. jennygadget says

    hotshoe,

    It’s a lovely thing to realize and remember when dealing not just with apologists and flawed allies, but also when working on one’s own internalized -isims. It makes it much easier to deal with criticism, admit fault, apologize, and work on becoming a better person.

    Dhorvath,

    Thank you for putting so succinctly why it is important to focus on how actions make women feel, not just on the intent of the person behind them. I think this is part of why I find the debate over the meaning of the word misogynist so annoying at times. We accept that harassment is defined (mostly) by the harassee. Why then is it so difficult to allow that misogyny should be defined at least in part by it’s affect on the target and not just by the opinions of the person doing the targeting?

  184. Aaron Baker says

    Tethys:

    And once again Aaron Baker Archie Bunker proves that he is the perfectly rational blind misogynist.

    He screams and threatens and pleads for validation of his self-delusion just like every abusive asshole.

    Wow. A complete descent into incoherent fantasy. Please let me know where I’ve screamed or threatened. And pleading for validation of my self-delusion? Since I’m not sure what you’re talking about, I don’t know how to respond to that one.

    But one thing is clear: I’m not just an asshole, I’m an abusive asshole. And you know this . . . how, exactly?

    I’m done feeding you for the evening.

  185. Sally Strange, OM says

    I’m curious as to why you think the word “misogynist” stops conversations, Aaron.

    After all, it didn’t stop you talking.

    Pretending that misogynists are ignorant of what they are doing is a tactic that misogynists use to gaslight women who call them out on their abusive behavior.

    You are also claiming that misogynists are ignorant of what they are doing.

    What you are doing is identical to what misogynists do.

    You fail at being an ally. Your tactics, at least in this conversation, are similar to those employed by actual abusers. How are we supposed to tell the difference? The simplest course of action is for you to abandon that tactic. It’s not going to hurt you. Well, maybe it’ll hurt your ego to admit you were wrong.

  186. Aaron Baker says

    OK, Esteleth:

    If you define the word that way (which in all honesty is new to me), it certainly covers a lot more obnoxious male behavior than “woman hatred.”

    Traditionally, the word has meant “hatred of women” (Greek: misein “to hate,” gyne “woman”).

    That does clear up a great deal.

  187. Esteleth says

    Aaron,
    The term misogyny comes from the Greek μῖσος + γυνή, “hatred + women.”
    True enough.

    This can be interpreted literally. It can also be interpreted as dislike for women (in Greek, this is αντιπάθεια, for what it’s worth), which is given as a definition for “misogyny” in several dictionaries, such as the OED, which defines it as “hatred or dislike of, or prejudice against women.”

    Misogyny is a lot more than hatred, it’s contempt, it’s dislike, it’s the feeling that women are lesser.

  188. Sally Strange, OM says

    The thing is, Aaron, when misogynists are so plentiful, simple indifference is completely indistinguishable from active hatred, because the people who sincerely hate women are quite influential in our society. In order to make them less influential, we have to get people who are indifferent to stop being indifferent, because their indifference encourages and enables the misogynists.

    Is this really that complicated? Please let me what part of it is hard for you to understand.

  189. Aaron Baker says

    jennygadget:

    “No, but we can certainly infer from the fact that you keep leaving out relevant bits of information – and ignoring women’s constant reminders of it – that you do not consider helping to keep women safe much of a priority.

    And these relevant bits of information are what exactly? I got it that the elevator guy was confident and sure of himself, and I said so. What other relevant bits did I miss? And which women have I ignored? I’ve read your posts, and responded to you, and I’ve done the same with Esteleth and Sally Strange.

    And as for what you infer: having actually worked to keep women safe, I disagree.

  190. WishfulThinkingRulesAll says

    The whole goddamn fucking point of these threads, and the movement at large, is to raise consciousness, validate and extend our alliances, push back as one overwhelmingly huge body, and steamroller our enemies into the fucking ground.

    Mr. Fire, I am afraid you listed more than one point. Which brings me to my point: PZ writes on his blog which is read by many. That can raise consciousness in a lot of people. That is a damn good thing. The comments afterwards, not so much, simply because there are hundreds upon hundreds of them, which will not be read by that many people, and unfortunately often seem to be either from a-hole trolls or you guys steamrolling the trolls into the ground. The consciousness raising is kind of lost in the shuffle, hidden behind a haze of trolling and flaming. Which again, is not a big deal, because PZ is raising consciousness at the start, the part that people actually read.

    I am not omniscient, I am sure there is content in the comments section which will be informative and interesting to me. But when I first saw this thread there were 400 comments, now there are over 700. I read a few posts here and there, which is all I have time for. Stumbled on yours by chance. The fact that you seem to think you are doing some great service compelled me to comply. You guys are blowing off steam, clubbing some moronic trolls, first and foremost, speaking with a group of like minded people second (preaching to the choir), and an extreme distant third, may be helping raise consciousness. For the few that take the time to 1) read any comments and 2) read enough comments so that they see something other than trolling flame wars.

  191. WishfulThinkingRulesAll says

    @711

    Elevator guy? Oh dear, people are still talking about that?

    *facepalm*

  192. Tethys says

    And as for what you infer: having actually worked to keep women safe, I disagree

    Did you inform them oh so pompously that “nothing bad happened” and “Your abuser was just misunderstood”?

    Why do you side with the abuser EG, rather than siding with the victim of the abuse RW?

    Why do you completely omit RW’s point of view from your version of the story?

  193. Hurin, Nattering Nabob of Negativism says

    Aaron Baker

    I think the guy in the elevator may have been a misogynist– or he may have been simply an insensitive jerk. They’re not the same.

    So I was talking to my grandparents over Christmas last year, and I was mentioned my roommate (a Chinese native) and some of the political conversations we had engaged in. My grandfather’s response was something along the lines of:

    “Oh, that’s nice, the Chinese seem like a nice race to me.”

    Does that make him clueless or racist?

    I’ll grant that my grandfather didn’t mean to be an asshole in this case, but the way he has constructed racial issues in his head is all fucked up, and there definitely are instances where that problem manifests in less benign sentiments.

    I don’t really think it is controversial that certain kinds of clueless or insensitive behavior can reveal more about the mindset of the actor than that person would like to admit, intentions notwithstanding.

    Again, given the evidence, I don’t see a conclusive answer to the question. If you insist that everywhere, even where there’s room for doubt, one must impute misogyny, I think at that point you’re just using the word as a bludgeon to stop discussion.

    Well, I’m not a biologist, so if it looks like a duck, waddles around looking for bread crumbs, and quacks at me I’m willing to call it a duck. If the point of our discussion is the problem of the ducks shitting all over the sidewalk, then I don’t think the most pressing issue is whether some of the “ducks” might actually be Canadian geese.

    But no, I don’t think calls of misogyny are used to silence discussion, I think they are being used to give harmful behaviors enough gravity to avoid dismissal. In the same vein I think the usual reason people start demanding that we prove someone *hates* women before pointing out that their behavior is misogynistic, is a desire to keep said behavior from seeming significant. If we start focusing on whether Elevator guy is a duck or a goose, then the focus has shifted away from the fact that he is causing harm by shitting on the sidewalk.

  194. Azkyroth says

    And as for what you infer: having actually worked to keep women safe, I disagree.

    This is commendable but not a blank check.

  195. says

    And as for what you infer: having actually worked to keep women safe, I disagree.

    I’m not sure if I’m interpreting this correctly, but it seems like you’re asking people to thank you for acting like a decent human being.

    Acting like a decent human being should be the norm, not the exception.

  196. Aaron Baker says

    Sally Strange:

    In your post no. 707, you claim that, like misogynists, I pretend misogynists don’t know what they’re doing. My tactics are in fact identical to those used by misogynists. Then, further along, my tactics are similar to those of an abuser.

    And you don’t think this might be a conversation-stopper?

    Up above, I applied the word “clueless” to men who did and said obnoxious things in the presence of women (like soliciting in an elevator, or shouting an obscenity in anger). What I meant by “clueless” was not “ignorant of what one was doing,” but something more specific: “oblivious of/or heedless of the likely effect of one’s actions on others.” (It’s incidentally a state of mind very common among people I represent in court.) Yes, I should have avoided the word “clueless”; though I wasn’t aware of its contentious history here, it was still too vague. But that is what I meant; and I still think what I meant is an accurate description of a lot of lower-level male obnoxiousness. And I don’t believe that I was “pretending,” or making excuses for men who acted this way.

    Now please note that I never applied the word “clueless” to abusers (which for me means men who beat their wives or girlfriends, or who psychologically torture them).

    But in a few sentences you seem to have elided a man who says something obnoxious to a woman with a man who beats or mentally tortures a woman (even if the two are in some respects comparable, you must admit there’s a significant difference, practically and morally, between them), and you’ve elided me along with them—so that by the end, I’m using tactics similar to an abuser.

    I could just say how gobsmackingly offensive this is and leave it at that, but I really do want to find some common ground with you. I didn’t make up what I said above: I prosecuted domestic batterers (mostly men) for two years, then represented women in domestic violence court for another six. So whatever impression I’ve made today, I have not failed as an ally.

    You go on in your next post to say that with misogyny, simple indifference is completely indistinguishable from active hatred. I don’t know whether that’s true (it’s a little too close to “You’re either fer me or agin’ me” for my taste), but in any event it’s irrelevant to me, since I haven’t been indifferent to women and their safety.

  197. Aaron Baker says

    “I’m not sure if I’m interpreting this correctly, but it seems like you’re asking people to thank you for acting like a decent human being.

    Acting like a decent human being should be the norm, not the exception.”

    I think I was saying that, given what I’d done, Jennygadget’s inference was wrong. Not a blank check certainly, but evidence of doing the right things.

  198. Azkyroth says

    And you don’t think this might be a conversation-stopper?

    If only.

    I think the question that really matters is “is it true?”

    Literally stated, I would say not, but you very clearly consider yourself and your own feelings to be the most important aspect of this conversation and that’s at best childish and at worst a red flag.

  199. Aaron Baker says

    Tethys,

    I looked at a transcript of Rebecca Watson’s account of what happened, and I read (at 2nd hand) that she said the elevator guy had seemed quite self-assured (which I mentioned somewhere above). If I’ve missed someting important, how about telling me what it is?

  200. Sally Strange, OM says

    And you don’t think this might be a conversation-stopper?

    And yet, you’re still typing.

    It’s a miracle.

    Yes, you might be a misogynist. Alternately, the things you say appear to be misogynist.

    The conversation stopper that stops all conversations, except the ones it doesn’t. 100% as effective as prayer!

  201. Sally Strange, OM says

    Here’s a hint, Aaron: go look at the link embedded with the word “gaslighting” in my post to you. What you are doing right now–basically telling women that we aren’t capable of judging for ourselves whether people who appear hostile to us are genuinely hostile or just ignorant–is very, VERY similar to a popular tactic among misogynists and, yes, abusers, called “gaslighting.”

    I don’t know you; if you’ve volunteered at shelters and whatnot then great. Bully for you. However, this is not a get out of jail free card, though, any more than I could get out of an accusation of using racist language by saying, “But but–I went to Haiti and helped rebuild after the earthquake! I couldn’t POSSIBLY be racist!” The thing that matters is your behavior, and your words, in the present moment. To me, they appear supportive of misogyny, and I’m tired of giving people who appear to be misogynists the benefit of the doubt. It doesn’t work. It serves no purpose to allow men and women who are perpetuating bigotry (whether gender-related or otherwise) to continue to think that their behavior is acceptable. If you were smart, you’d be thanking me for giving you a heads up. But instead you’re defensive and more concerned with maintaining your self-image as a Good Person than actually addressing misogyny and finding out what ELSE (besides the things you’ve already done) you can do to help.

  202. Tethys says

    If I’ve missed someting important, how about telling me what it is?

    How about you shove your head even further up your ass? I’m sure you’re well aware of the fact that you’re a manipulative, fuck-witted, asshole.

    Did they teach you that in law school, or do you come by it naturally?

  203. jennygadget says

    This is commendable but not a blank check.

    It’s also not necessarily the same thing as making women’s safety a priority (implied: over his own ego). Which was my actual observation.

    Also, I would just like to point out:

    GDB @ 651:

    Sorry exactly what about the characterisation of Elevator Guys behaviour as creepy, unacceptable and clueless do you not like? Seems to be accurate to me and seems to be the way Rebecca saw it.

    So how exactly is that minimising sexist behaviour or mischaracterising the incident?

    and

    Aaron Baker @ 711:

    And these relevant bits of information are what exactly? I got it that the elevator guy was confident and sure of himself, and I said so. What other relevant bits did I miss? And which women have I ignored? I’ve read your posts, and responded to you, and I’ve done the same with Esteleth and Sally Strange.

    But, you know, to be fair, it’s not like I’ve answered the question in the meantime….

  204. says

    Sally Strange:

    If you were smart, you’d be thanking me for giving you a heads up. But instead you’re defensive and more concerned with maintaining your self-image as a Good Person than actually addressing misogyny and finding out what ELSE (besides the things you’ve already done) you can do to help.

    Oh, you’re talking to Aaron self-perpetuating pity party of outrage Baker, the guy who was being an ass and very wrong on the Hitler thread and decided to take over an incarnation of TET with his grievance over being told he was an ass and wrong. Nothing is as important to Aaron than people just having to see that he’s right, dammit, even when he’s wrong.

    Oh and by the way, Aaron, when I’m wrong, I admit it. I don’t go on whining for hundreds of posts insisting I’m right and I don’t stamp my feetsies yelling “I am not an asshole, I’m not!” like you do. However, I don’t have a history of being a wrong asshole about every subject under the sun. You need to figure out that when multiple people are telling you that you’re wrong, chances are you are wrong. Same thing goes when people keep telling you that you have your head jammed up your ass.

  205. Aaron Baker says

    Literally stated, I would say not, but you very clearly consider yourself and your own feelings to be the most important aspect of this conversation and that’s at best childish and at worst a red flag.

    Well, Azkyroth, I somewhat resemble that remark.

    The fact is, I am temperamentally most unsuited to on-line arguments. My feelings always get too engaged—and I don’t handle either anger or being insulted well at all.

    This might not have been the problem it’s become, but for an unfortunate occurrence. One day on this site, I disagreed with P.Z. Myers about Crackergate, and a number of people took it into their heads to savage me for the rest of the day. Since then, I think I was marked: I was a troll, a crackpot, a crypto-Christian, an apologist for whatever—and basically fair game for any attack. Just in the last week I’ve been called a White Supremacist and someone who uses tactics like an abuser’s. I’ve lost count of my delinquencies; I’m sure the Lindbergh baby will be pinned on me before much longer. Eventually, I really don’t think whether I was right or wrong mattered any more. If I said the sun shines at noon, I could count on Ichthyic, or ‘Tis Himself, or Raven to call me a lying fuckwit.

    I decided the proper response was to respond in kind: I’d hurl insults back as hard as I got them. It was a disaster. It doesn’t work well when it’s one person against a tag team—and you need a special stomach for it, which I don’t have, and others do. As I’ve said, I really don’t like to be insulted. So after a while, even if I’ve made my point, I feel nothing but the most spirit-killing depression.

    I would emphasize my feelings less, if I were not always in a defensive crouch—and I don’t think that crouch is entirely my fault. But whether I’m right or wrong about that, it is clear that I don’t handle this well, or appropriately, or whatever other criticism you care to make. I will add here that, after each spate of insults, there follows an inevitable lecture on my failures at internet etiquette. I don’t find that galling any more, just tiring.

    What really gets to me is that I am more like the people on this site than I am like just about anyone else. I wish I could interact with them less painfully.

    I think that probably the best approach would have been just to ignore anything personal; it may be too late now for that.

    I’m saying this to explain; I know I often don’t come off well. It’s probably best to take another break.

  206. Kseniya says

    Carlie is on to something here:

    I think the guy in the elevator may have been a misogynist– or he may have been simply an insensitive jerk. They’re not the same.

    What on earth would be the reason to separate the two? Their actions would be the same, their effects would be the same, their resistance to change would be the same. Why bother to try to differentiate?

    Right. I think that the, erm, clueless among us are getting hung up on the labels, when what really matters is the behavior. Stop re-framing the behavior based on what you imagine or suppose the person who has exhibited the behavior is. Forget the good dog / bad dog dichotomy. (When a good dog poops on the rug, it takes just as long to clean up!)

    Yes, yes, there’s a huge difference in how Elevator Scene might play out if Elevator Guy is just a self-centered git with coffee and nookie on his mind, as opposed to something far more malevolent – but as has been stated more times on more threads than any of us would be willing to go back and count, that’s not the point. Why doesn’t this message sink in? Why?

    (And, um, when I think up some more golden dog-based analogies, I’ll be sure to share them. Heh.)

  207. Tethys says

    Can we get a hall of shame started somewhere?

    Yes. I believe there is a known trolls page in the wiki, and Aaron Baker has wasted enough thread to merit an entry.

    Shall we group write his entry?

    Aaron Baker- Troll that posts only on feminist topics in order to make the discussion all about him. Constantly claims ignorance while demanding spoon-feeding. Narcissist.

    Feel free to expand!

  208. Kseniya says

    Oops, shoulda refreshed. Hurin (#715) covered the behavior/label thing (and a few other things) quite nicely there. The duck/goose analogy trumps the dog analogy. Sigh

    Aaron, everyone knows that El Niño kidnapped the Lindburgh baby. Your confession can only mean that you caused El Niño. Am I wrong?

    What really gets to me is that I am more like the people on this site than I am like just about anyone else. I wish I could interact with them less painfully.

    I wish you could, too.

    I think that probably the best approach would have been just to ignore anything personal; it may be too late now for that.

    Apparently it is, at least this time around. So try another approach: kick back and try to apprehend what has been offered to you in the way of constructive criticism and suggestions. There’s a lot there. Filter out the stuff that hurts you, and drink in the messages that matter. If you want to build/repair your local reputation, there are plenty of clues here as to how to go about doing that. (Sally @ 724, for example.) Just sayin’. Do you know Walton? He wasn’t very popular here when he first started coming in.

    I’m saying this to explain; I know I often don’t come off well. It’s probably best to take another break.

    Perhaps, but it needn’t be an unproductive break.

    One K’s opinion: As for Azkyroth, he’s always worth reading, regardless of what letters do or do not follow his nym.

    Ack… bedtime. I wish I had more time for this… I always seem to be commenting between yawns. No wonder I don’t feel very sharp. Well. Whatever. Night all.

  209. Aaron Baker says

    vox populi vox Dei, Caine?

    Did you actually read my response to Ichthyic? If you did, in what way was it wrong? if you didn’t, should you be expressing an opinion about the merits of my arguments?

    Yeah, I don’t care to be baselessly accused of lying. It bears repeating that a basless accusation of lying is despicable. You, I gather, would respond with complete equanimity to false accusations. Whatever.

  210. Tethys says

    Yeah, I don’t care to be baselessly accused of lying. It bears repeating that a basless accusation of lying is despicable.

    Lucky for us we have multiple examples of your basic lack of honesty and failure to engage in good faith right here in this thread.

    I wasn’t around at crackergate, so why is it that I came to the same conclusion as Caine? The fact that you cast yourself as a persecuted victim is laughable.

  211. Aaron Baker says

    Ah, Tethys,

    You’re right about one thing: the women I helped all those years—I was insufferably pompous to them all. One day, outside the Lake County Domestic Relations courtroom, I saw a man who’d shoved his wife to the floor and was beating her face in with his fists. I knocked him off her, and when the Deputies dragged him away, I believe I was pompous to her, too.

    But you—I’m sure you’d always know the right thing to say.

  212. Aaron Baker says

    Thank you Kseniya:

    I’ll give serious thought to all your suggestions.
    I had to kick Tethys one last time, though; he was really asking for it.

  213. Sally Strange, OM says

    Oh Jesus Haploid Christ, fuck you and your victim complex, you insufferable ass.

    You want a fucking cookie for being violent to a violent abuser? Here’s your fucking cookie. Now fuck off and don’t bother us anymore. You’re not as fucking awesome as you think you are.

  214. Sally Strange, OM says

    Eventually, I really don’t think whether I was right or wrong mattered any more.

    Keep telling yourself that, you self-centered moron. It’s a nice defense mechanism to keep avoiding admitting that the substance of what you’ve been posting here is simply wrong.

  215. jennygadget says

    I had to kick Tethys one last time, though; he was really asking for it.

    O.o

    Well, gee, I take back everything I’ve said. Because that’s not creepy at all….

  216. says

    I had to kick Tethys one last time, though; he was really asking for it.

    You didn’t kick Thetys. You proved that she was dead right about you being a self-centred, pompous ass and that you think this to be a contest that is about putting other people down, about humiliatig them, to make yourself look better.
    You know, really cool people don’t have to do that, they shine all by themselves.

  217. Marcus Hill says

    Waaay back at #6 I said

    1) Don’t be part of the problem.
    2) Educate yourself on the things you might be doing which, whilst not deliberately or overtly misogynistic, help to perpetuate the problem.
    3) If others point out something you missed in (2), don’t get pissy and defensive, thank them and stop doing that.
    4) Confront and call out others who are part of the problem.

    I’m struggling to think of anything to add to that even in response to hundreds upon hundreds of whiny posts by people ignoring (2) and (3).

    Etymological aside: misogynists hate women like homophobes fear things that are the same.

  218. Philip Legge says

    Marcus,

    in case no one else has said this so far in the thread, that was a fucking awesome brilliant post you made at #6.

  219. amc says

    If we see a picture of a woman we’re trained to look at how ‘hot’ she is. If we see a picture of a man then we’re trained to think about the serious issues said man is talking about.

    Fuck that shit. Men who are proud to be ‘Men’ in today’s age are assholes (note to MRAs – that’s not saying that men are assholes).

    Go PZ, Caine, Carlie, Sally, Janine, Jadehawk, Brownian et al (all you regulars). You’re making the world a better place.

  220. Gunboat Diplomat says

    Well done guys. Another ally (Aaron Baker) driven away. Never mind he was guilty of NONE of the things PZ has been highlighting in his blog. No, hes guilty of being insufficiently critical of sexist men.
    Wow, now theres a major thoughtcrime if I ever heard one. As someone who is a former member of a leninist organisation I can tell you this is far more creepy than anything I saw there (and there was some weird shit going on).
    He doesn’t do anything useful in the real world either. Who cares about defending battered women or prosecuting their abusers? He acceptance of criticism was too pompous!
    I mean its not like he spends all day trash-talking on the comments section of a blog. THATS fighting in the trenches.
    ——-
    At the risk of sounding like Gordon Gekko (moi?), heres sun Tzu:
    “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”
    ——-
    I made an analogy in an earlier thread about l’horde being a blunt instrument, like the committee of public safety under Robespierre. It was nice to see it in action against some real MRA’s upthread and of course its always nice to see the most nutty of religious zealouts get bashed.
    Like said committe though innocent people and even potential allies are swept along in the zeal.
    Ok my analogy is silly because its the internet and no one has had anything but their feelings hurt. And its not like me or any other anti-sexist man are going to lose our principles and run into the MRA camp.
    But still. You’d be better Jacobins if you were less quick with the arrest warrants. IMO.
    ——–
    And with that I’m afraid I’m going to have to flounce. Don’t cry now – I’m sure I’ll be back! Toodle pip!

  221. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    And with that I’m afraid I’m going to have to flounce. Don’t cry now – I’m sure I’ll be back! Toodle pip!

    Engage killfile again.

  222. julian says

    Another ally (Aaron Baker) driven away.

    Oh please. He was using the, admittedly good, work he’d down to hype himself up and laugh at the people arguing with him. That’s a damn cowardly and dishonest thing to do when faced with criticism. And I imagine it’s at least somewhat insulting to abuse survivors.

  223. KG says

    “It’s simply a statement of emphatic disagreement that “cluelessness” has any relevance to the barrage of misogynist hate under discussion.”

    And how does that differ from my characterization of your statement? You’re question-beggingly assuming that everything, including apparently hitting on a woman in an elevator and nothing further, is a “barrage of misogynist hate.” Fine. Prove it. – Aaron Baker

    I neither said nor implied anything whatever about hitting on women in elevators, liar. Your original claim of cluelessness applied to the barrage of misogynistic hate aimed at female bloggers and commenters that is the topic of the OP. It was specifically in relation to that that I said “cluelessness has nothing to do with it.” I say again: sending threats of rape and death to assertive women, or calling them “bitch” or “cunt”, are not plausible results of “cluelessness”, because they have an obvious aim – to shut such women up. They are well-adapted to that aim and someimes achieve it. Putting such actions down to “cluelessness” is a way of excusing them, whether you so intended or not. In fact, I did (and do) you the courtesy of assuming that you were simply being clueless.

  224. trianglethief says

    I swear to fracking under Lancashire, my hackles go up whenever some dude starts talking about sun fucking tzu.

    To continue the battle analogy: I imagine Aaron Baker standing athwart a pile of successfully prosecuted wife-beaters and their so-grateful victims and raising high a flag proclaiming his singlehanded defeat of misogyny. This image has only grown stronger as I followed the comments. And yes, I am being un-fucking-charitable when I say that because I don’t think that wearing other people’s pain and struggle as a badge is a particularly awesome way of displaying what a totally bodacious ally you are.

    Gunboat Diplomat: You realise, I am sure, that many of the people becoming.. frustrated with Aaron Baker have spent their entire lives employing complicated battle tactics to deal with misogyny and its bedmates. Sun Tzu, I feel confident in asserting, does not know shit.

    Besides, the point, as has been exhaustively stated and restated, is not to figure out ways for feminists to attract more dudes to their side, it’s to TELL DUDES WHO WANT TO BE ON SIDE HOW THEY MIGHT BETTER DO THAT.

    tl;dr: AAAUUUUUGHHHHHH

  225. Carlie says

    Aaron – all you are doing is trying to defend men who have called women bitches and cunts who need to be raped by saying those men are “clueless”. What, exactly, is your goal in doing this?

  226. julian says

    Sun Tzu, I feel confident in asserting, does not know shit.

    Now now. He was smart enough to write something so entirely void of actual advice that westerners trying to seem smart would be sure to eat it up. That’s gotta count for something.

  227. Algernon says

    Ok my analogy is silly because its the internet and no one has had anything but their feelings hurt.

    The analogy is silly because it was said by a superficial and facile idiot.

    I still don’t know why people bother talking to you. You’re honestly just a troll, and I don’t care if you make some points some times. Stopped clock and all that.

    You’re real point is to tell us all how smart you think you are, make a bunch of tangential quotes, make some terrible analogies and jokes, and then pretend you won something.

    You’re a waste.

  228. trianglethief says

    @julian

    1) Bwahahahahaaa! Aaaah, Sun Tzu.

    2) More seriously: “And I imagine it’s at least somewhat insulting to abuse survivors.”

    This is really what primed me to get the hate on for poor old Sun Tzu. (Although, I mean, come ON.)

    I’m going to try for an illustration here of what is so incredibly aggravating and sometimes simply agonising about the ‘but I’m a good person!’ line of argument. People have already covered the reality of goodness being a process rather than a destination but there are two scenarios that came to my mind.

    First, when an ostensible ally calls up the experiences of another person to score points for themselves. ie. I have a friend/sister/co-worker who was raped and I will now use their personal story in support of my argument. Like, thanks for the support and all, but unlike a wooden cudgel, it is actually painful for me to be used as a weapon.

    Second, the conversations with men in my life who love me very much. Such conversations, unless I put an incredible amount of personal effort and sacrifice into keeping it on course, so easily turn into my reassuring them that they are not bad, awful, terrible people who have crushed my very soul with their thoughtless comment/action. And the simple, sometimes even trivial point I was originally trying to make (like, say, ‘please don’t use my personal trauma to score rhetorical points’) suddenly turns into a referendum on whether or not that person is an irredeemable douchebag or not. It is my suspicion that I am not alone in having more patience with my close friends and loved ones than with Captain Tedious Baker whose OWN close friends and loved ones might at least be spared struggling through their own fruitless conversations with him if he one day wakes up an realises holy shit, the Internet was right all along! (This is a real thing that happens.)

    Okay, I have now written a fucking book and will return to the lurkpit.

  229. Sally Strange, OM says

    Yes, pulling out the “but I beat up woman-beaters” card is particularly tasteless, and revealing of DISRESPECT for the concerns of victims of domestic violence. To Aaron, the women he (thinks he) helped were nothing more than props in his ongoing play about how Aaron Baker is Really Cool and Totes Not a Misogynist.

  230. Sally Strange, OM says

    And if Gunboat Diplomat, the advocate of objectification, thinks we’re doing something wrong, then I feel doubly confident that we’re on the right course. Your concern trolling is noted, Gunboat Diplomat the anti-feminist. And by “anti-feminist,” I mean, “completely unconcerned about whether women actually ever get to experience the reality of being treated as people on a daily basis, rather than fucktoys or baby machines.”

  231. Kseniya says

    Azkyroth:

    Err, that wasn’t my point. :/ But thanks.

    Oh, I know, and did not intend to imply otherwise. It was my point. I wanted to say it, so I did, and I’m happy to own it ;-)

    Late for work. I’m off. Cheers.

  232. jennygadget says

    …when an ostensible ally calls up the experiences of another person to score points for themselves.

    It really is only marginally more sophisticated than saying “but I have friends who are [insert descriptor of marginalized people here]!” – isn’t it?

  233. athyco says

    Aaron Baker:

    I Women would emphasize myfeelings less, if Ithey were not always in a defensive crouch—and Iwe don’t think that crouch is entirely myour fault…. [A]dd here that, after each spate of insults [a great number of which are demonstrably about our appearance/fuckability or our effrontery of speaking while female, not our words], there follows an inevitable lecture on myour failures at internet etiquette [ascribing hurtful behavior to malice rather than the "cluelessness" of those inept and substandard men--perhaps going so far as to consider talking about them openly with judgmental language]. I don’t find that galling any more, just tiring.

    [snip]

    Iwe used to think that probably the best approach would have been just to ignore anything personal; it may be too late now for that.

    You say that you can expect it here, Aaron, and yet you can’t tell from the OP that those identified as women online can expect it virtually everywhere? In comments and letters on their own blogs or articles? It doesn’t cross your mind that there’s a reason for some sites to moderate heavily enough to call themselves a safe zone for women? It doesn’t ring a bell that the less moderated sites (like Pharyngula) require huge levels of strength and stamina from women and men who are fed up enough to argue the points? (I wish I had enough. I work at gaining it, if only as a “thank you” to those who do it so well.)

    What is the point of the accommodationist stance on sexist or misogynist behavior? If one argues that the moderate/liberal religions provide cover for the fundamentalist wacko, how does one not consider that the “aw, he’s just clueless” argument provides cover for such sexist or misogynist behavior? If you don’t want to appear sexist or misogynist, don’t indulge in or gloss over the behaviors. Push EG aside for a moment. Is there not a problem in the harm of sexual bullying that starts in middle schools? Is there not a problem with the email and comments to a women on a particular site being vastly more vituperative and silencing than the email and comments to a man on that site? Chilly climate? Stereotype threat? How are all those pushed aside so that some guys can be “clueless”?

    tl;dr: The dam burst.

  234. Pteryxx says

    Something just occurred to me… part of the media stereotyping, where there’s only one token female character (or none at all) is that women are alone. They’re usually the only one and don’t have anyone to turn to as a friend instead of a potential sex partner object. We rarely get to see women debate other women or even support each other except in a girly-girly reflexive way. It’s striking to me that so many commentors and even authors of these articles on harassment are saying they didn’t know how widespread it was, or that it’s a gendered pattern instead of just them being targeted for some fault of their own. Women’s voices have to be supported so they can interact with each other, not just to be representatives to the rest of us.

  235. Hurin, Nattering Nabob of Negativism says

    Gunboat

    Well done guys. Another ally (Aaron Baker) driven away. Never mind he was guilty of NONE of the things PZ has been highlighting in his blog. No, hes guilty of being insufficiently critical of sexist men.

    Props to Aaron Baker for any help he has given to women who needed it, but that help wasn’t occurring here. What he was doing here was derailing a thread to talk about how some people who exhibit sexist behavior might just be clueless, and also how raven and ‘Tis called him mean names.

    Wow, now theres a major thoughtcrime if I ever heard one. As someone who is a former member of a leninist organisation I can tell you this is far more creepy than anything I saw there (and there was some weird shit going on).
    He doesn’t do anything useful in the real world either. Who cares about defending battered women or prosecuting their abusers? He acceptance of criticism was too pompous!

    Which brings me to my next point: that Aaron hasn’t been disappeared. He is free to come back and keep commenting whenever he likes. Taking a step back for self examination is a good thing to do if you are encountering a lot of resistance from people who you consider allies. Maybe Aaron will come back with a better understanding of why people were annoyed with him and provide interesting commentary. That would be a win – win.

    I mean its not like he spends all day trash-talking on the comments section of a blog. THATS fighting in the trenches.

    Well then, if blog comments don’t matter, then why make them? If we aren’t “fighting in the trenches” here, then why the concern about “driving away allies”?

    I don’t really want to argue the significance of blog commenting, it may help, or it may not, but in either case I think this sentiment reveals your hand-wringing about “driving away allies” to be highly disingenuous.

    One more thing. Whatever we are doing here, it isn’t charging down a field at a column of Cantonese archers or even rooting out traitors to the sacred party. I don’t know why you think your tiresome military metaphors and Sun Tsu quotes are informative, but I for one find them misguided. The fact that a lot of space in the feminist threads has been dedicated to the role of toxic masculinity as a contributor to misogyny, makes the “fighing in the trenches” imagery obnoxiously ironic.

    If you really just want an excuse to pretend you are fighting in Trotsky’s glorious campaign against the white army, then maybe you should find a gaming group interested in RPGs* about Soviet history.

    —-
    *Not to spit on RPGs

  236. jennygadget says

    Women’s voices have to be supported so they can interact with each other, not just to be representatives to the rest of us.

    THIS.

    Which is part of what makes the constant tone trolling so headbangingly wearying. Ever so much of it boils down to – either implicitly or often explicitly – the assumption is that we are talking for men’s benefit. Therefore, anything that does not speak to them as a man is failing!

    aiyaiyai – talk about missing the point.

  237. Pteryxx says

    @chigau, yeah, and that writers actively remove diverse voices from their scripts:

    http://thehathorlegacy.com/why-film-schools-teach-screenwriters-not-to-pass-the-bechdel-test/

    but I’m starting to think it happens in real life, when there’s only one visible woman in a department, or on a newscast, or in a slate of writers. And women learn that if they speak out, they will be alone. Why are so many prominent women bloggers just now learning how widespread this harassment is, and discussing what to do about it? They’re the experts! They have been for years!

  238. Marcus Hill says

    Pteryxx / jennygadget: whilst I wouldn’t for a second deny that there is currently a need for women to be able to interact with each other without men saying “but what about meeeee?”, I’d far rather there wasn’t and that we could all just be people interacting with each other without regard for gender. Yeah, I know, wishful thinking, but you’ve got to dream…

  239. Algernon says

    Women’s voices have to be supported so they can interact with each other, not just to be representatives to the rest of us.

    So, other women, on this note: How do you tend to approach or talk to a meatspace friend who is sensitive to the effects of sexism but is utterly flabbergasted that women might encounter sexism on a day to day basis (But I never see that!) without just sounding like the lone hypersensitive woman.

    I mean it relates to this I think because we are all so much in isolation that every woman’s experience is an island and then when some one asks it’s always just that *one* woman who is probably over-reacting.

  240. Algernon says

    Note to the real male allies, I addressed women. I don’t give a flying fuck what GBD or any other guy who wants to speak in the place of women thinks.

  241. Algernon says

    Ib4 THAT’S SEXIST!!!11!

    Because my question is specific to an action taken while being a woman, I do not wish to hear the strategies used by those who are not women because they are by nature of your not being a woman, not applicable.

  242. Pteryxx says

    @Marcus, yeah, so would I. Most people feel pretty strongly about having a gender identity though, so I figure we have to start somewhere.

    More generally, it’s been proven that children and adults will associate group identities with what they witness people of those identities doing. If they see mostly white or male doctors (or teachers or nurses or whatever), people assume the roles go with the identity. Kids assume all adults are like their parents unless they get to see lots of counterexamples.

  243. athyco says

    I don’t quite understand your point, Marcus. I believe that the current

    need for women to be able to interact with each other without men saying “but what about meeeeee?”

    would cause changes that led to

    we could all just be people interacting with each other without regard for gender.

    Do you not believe that? Would your dream come true if that step were skipped?

  244. Ing says

    Aaron was an aass. I’m shedding no tears over losing such ‘allies’. We could stand to drop more dead weight.

  245. Pteryxx says

    Adding another excellent article to the pile, h/t Shakes:

    http://www.feministlawprofessors.com/2011/11/harassment-male-privilege-jokes-women-dont

    Women face these kinds of microaggressions on a daily basis, in all sorts of environments ranging from the workplace to the public sphere. And they seem to be especially prevalent (surprise) in discursive spaces built by and dominated by men. (It’s true that not all women struggle to express themselves in male-built discursive spaces, and some women develop real facility for the kind of bullying that sometimes passes for dialogue on the internet. But, as Danielle Citron’s work makes clear, many don’t.)

  246. Carlie says

    Pteryxx – that reminds me to share the microaggressions website, if anyone needs to get a feel for how overwhelming it all is when you mass all those little bits together.

  247. says

    …when an ostensible ally calls up the experiences of another person to score points for themselves.

    This is what a particularly loathsome ass, casual guy, attempted to do in the DSK thread back at sciblogs. “My sister was raped, so I can’t be a misogynistic asspimple!” “Hey, I helped beat the shit out of a guy who was accused of rape!”

  248. Algernon says

    Ahhhh… thanks for the link! I was vaguely remembering that there was one out there but not sure what site or what keywords to use.

  249. says

    Algernon:

    How do you tend to approach or talk to a meatspace friend who is sensitive to the effects of sexism but is utterly flabbergasted that women might encounter sexism on a day to day basis (But I never see that!) without just sounding like the lone hypersensitive woman.

    I’d liken it to a whole lot of people on a cruise ship – everyone is in the same basic position, but each experience is individual and a lot depends on just where you happen to be on the ship, so to speak.

    Women are generally just as blind to their own privilege as men, so talking about privilege can help and I think talking about what goes on in virtual space can help too, simply as a consciousness raising point. You can also make the point that while it’s not necessary for anyone to become a firebrand, awareness is crucial, awareness of how life is for women all over, from the other side of town to the other side of the world.

  250. says

    I had to kick Tethys one last time, though; he was really asking for it.

    Right, because that’s the important thing, much more important than you admitting you were wrong or yanking your head out of your ass.

    I know it’s hard to see with your head so far up your ass, but you might want to wonder why you assumed Tethys is male.

  251. Algernon says

    I’m going to recommend that my friend check in on the microaggressions site. I think he’d actually get that.

  252. Algernon says

    so talking about privilege can help and I think talking about what goes on in virtual space can help too, simply as a consciousness raising point.

    This is good. It’s definitely just an exposure thing. I think it can be hard for everyone this way. I know I’ve had “clue-in” moments before.

  253. Carlie says

    I have a lot of trouble with the visual format of the microaggressions site; it’s a lot easier to read in a feed reader.

  254. Berry Caluroso says

    (Sorry to encourage the derailing here, but I can’t resist responding. Please delete if it’s a serious problem.)

    “I have to ask. What is it about asking for equal consideration that is so threatening? What are you people so afraid of?”

    We’re not afraid. Look, I’m assuming you’re an atheist, and a member of the atheist movement. The response you’re getting here? It isn’t fear. It’s the same response a theist who wanders into an atheist space trying to sell the first cause argument, or the argument for design, or “because the Bible says so!” is going to get. We are not afraid, we’re goddamn sick that someone always, *always* brings this up.

    The thing is, even if I accept the proposition that men get as much verbal/text-based abuse as women . . . that’s the tip of the iceberg. Women still get paid less than men. Women still have a harder time finding a job. Women still get *raped* when most men don’t – and there is a case to be made for men under-reporting, but the gap is VAST here. Same for abuse. http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1983185,00.html
    ^ Here are pay statistics, too sick to try and fetch some for rape and abuse.

  255. says

    How do you tend to approach or talk to a meatspace friend who is sensitive to the effects of sexism but is utterly flabbergasted that women might encounter sexism on a day to day basis (But I never see that!) without just sounding like the lone hypersensitive woman.

    Difficult, especially when you also need to adress that they are doing sexist things themselves. It almost get’s you immediately labelled not only as hypersensitive, but also you suddenly become the agressor, how can you dare to accuse them of such a thing!
    So, actually I think twice before actually adressing it.

  256. Just_A_Lurker says

    Alukonis, metal ninja, you are a brony?!? I’m a pegasis! Yay!

    As far as the rest of the thread goes, I know I am terribly late. I love/hate these threads for so many reasons. I try to throw down occasionally but its too much for me to really be a regular here. Especially in these threads. They hurt but they help and I do learn a lot here. I just want to say Thank you to all those fighting the good fight. With a special shout out to Caine because you have helped me so much. I wish I could do more to help, even to comment more but its draining.

  257. says

    J_A_L:

    I wish I could do more to help, even to comment more but its draining.

    Don’t worry about it. You do what you can, as you are able. We all have to take care of ourselves and I’ve been on the quiet side myself lately. Sometimes, ya need a break. :)

  258. Just_A_Lurker says

    Thanks Caine. The last comments on what to do in meatspace has really got me thinking. I believe a lot of my feeling down and like I’m not doing enough comes from not having more people to talk to in real life and the fact that I really can’t speak up at work.

    The last week in training at work the whole class was laughing and joking about one consumer who said he was homeless but had a cellphone. They thought it was a ridiculous lie. I know it to be reality, been there done that. I didn’t say anything, couldn’t say anything. But the girl next to me notice how I got real still and wasn’t laughing. She asked walking out of the office and I told her. She now really awkward and doesn’t speak to me like she used to.

    It heartbreaking to feel so alone and powerless. I have this place where I’ve felt safe to share more than my own mother knows but I’m not sure where else to go. I think finding other places would help me. I know I’m just not ready to try it in meatspace yet. I need my job too badly and don’t get out anywhere else. Any suggestions for places online for support?

  259. Ing says

    Alukonis, metal ninja, you are a brony?!? I’m a pegasis! Yay!

    Suddenly I know what normal people feel like around geeks

  260. Alukonis, metal ninja says

    Just_A_Lurker:

    *BROHOOF!*

    Also I recommend shakesville for another place to hang out. It is a moderated safe space and the writers there delve into all sorts of privilege, current events, and also have a community with open threads, question of the day, and daily dose of cute. Definitely read the comment policy before you jump in, because it IS a heavily moderated place. When I first started posting I inadvertently said some dumb things because of privilege-blindness, but I got better.

    Anyway it is a much less confrontational place than Pharyngula, because there is zero tolerance for bad faith and asshattery. So if you want support more than arguments, give it a try.

  261. Just_A_Lurker says

    HAHA Ing that made me laugh. XD I don’t know if that was your intention or not, but thank you I needed it. =)

    Alukonis, metal ninja Thanks for that! This place now feels 20% cooler.

    I’ve read different things at Shakesville but never really thought of joining in there. I’m not sure why. No worries tho, I will lurk in the comment for awhile before jumping in. I lurked here 2 years before even saying hello. It takes awhile for me to get accumulated enough to speak up, and there are many reasons for that. But just reading another friendly place will help. Funny how I never thought of going further with all the links I’ve gotten from here. I will have to wonder on that as I look more into Shakesville. As much as I would like to say I never had time to, I know thats not the full reason.

    Hmmmm. Much to think on and to explore.

  262. Just_A_Lurker says

    Ah shoot Caine didn’t see your post til after mine, didn’t mean to make it seem like I forgot you. I’ve actually never seen Feministing. I will definitely go searching through it. Like I said just reading more place will help, I’ve confined my internet browsing to few place because of all the crap that goes on in comments. Thanks again =)

    I appreciate all the help and support here so much.

  263. Ing says

    HAHA Ing that made me laugh. XD I don’t know if that was your intention or not, but thank you I needed it. =)

    It’s always my intention.

  264. Kseniya says

    Giliell wrote:

    Difficult, especially when you also need to adress that they are doing sexist things themselves. It almost get’s you immediately labelled not only as hypersensitive, but also you suddenly become the agressor, how can you dare to accuse them of such a thing!
    So, actually I think twice before actually adressing it.

    Yeah yeah. No kidding. It’s amazing how quickly the defensive reaction can kick in. One thing I sometimes try is to get the message across through indirection and identification.

    Indirection: Rather than focus on my own experiences or my own complaints, I address the bigger picture and provide examples of what other women experience as a way of demonstrating (a) that it’s not about me-the-lone-oversensitive-woman and (b) that IT IS INDEED a widespread, persistent, systemic problem. If I make it about me, it’ll become about me in a very un-useful way.

    Identification: Some people learn things about themselves by identifying attitudes and behaviors they see (or, more to the point, have been shown) in other people. The illumination of sexist behaviors and attitudes in others (the guy at work, my friend’s boyfriend, whomever) can lead to a lightbulb moment in the listener when he comes to recognize that he too has exhibited some of those behaviors and attitudes.

    This rarely happens immediately, so the approach requires some patience, and isn’t useful in transient situations involving strangers or mere acquaintances. But when it works, it works, without that maddening confrontation dynamic taking over. The door has opened, at least a crack, and at that point it become a little safer to, you know, make it more about me. ;-)

    I’m not typically shy about standing up for myself or confronting problems straight on, but as Giliell and many others have clearly pointed out, sometimes the direct approach can be very unproductive.

    Still, sometimes I feel that the approach described is a little too manipulative (which is really not my style) and also that it feeds into the “don’t rock the boat” mindset that is already an aspect of the larger problem… sigh… But heck, if I get someone I care about to examine and reevaluate his attitudes, actions and motives without his ever feeling like he had to defend himself from me, it feels like a win. Y’know?

    And that’s not the end of the process. That’s the beginning.

  265. Weed Monkey says

    Difficult, especially when you also need to adress that they are doing sexist things themselves. It almost get’s you immediately labelled not only as hypersensitive, but also you suddenly become the agressor, how can you dare to accuse them of such a thing!

    And after one gets over the fact that sexism is real, one might have contributed to it, and is ready to drop the defensiveness it’s just too easy to degenerate into being a sniveling fuckweasel being sorry about everything everywhere, and trying to score sympathy and brownie points for being one of the Good Guys.

    That was me, I’m afraid, not many enough years ago. If I ever fall back into that mode please slap some sense into me.

  266. Marcus Hill says

    @athyco #774:
    No hard point, really. Having spaces where any oppressed group can share their experiences without the interference of people from the same group as the oppressors (=/= oppressors) is an important step on the road to removing the oppresion, and thus the very need for the spaces.

    I’m a white heterosexual middle class able bodied neurotypical man. I’m comfortable with my gender identity, I’m in a happy monogamous marriage and I live in a (relatively) civilised country where I don’t experience any significant discrimination for being an atheist. In short, I’m about as privileged as you can get. I wish everyone were as privileged as I am (not by being more like me, by having society not privilege me above them), and work towards enabling this. In the meantime, there are things that I simply can’t do, and one of them is have a genuine perspective from the point of view of any of the groups who don’t share my privilege. Whilst I completely grok this on an intellectual level, it still doesn’t stop that little pang of resentment at being excluded from parts of a conversation that really interests me. In the meantime, the best I can do is tell my fellow privileged types to listen to the people who know what it’s like to be oppressed when they do talk to you and go away when they say they don’t want your input.

    Damn, now I’m just getting maudlin…

  267. Pteryxx says

    Marcus Hill @800, may I point out:

    Having spaces where any oppressed group can share their experiences without the interference of people from the same group as the oppressors… (emphasis mine)

    and:

    Whilst I completely grok this on an intellectual level, it still doesn’t stop that little pang of resentment at being excluded from parts of a conversation that really interests me. In the meantime, the best I can do is tell my fellow privileged types to listen… (emphasis mine)

    Listening is not interference. Being asked to listen is not the same as being excluded. While I agree that being told to listen instead of speak may feel like exclusion, particularly when you think you have something worthwhile to contribute, can you see that allowing other voices by keeping one’s silence is, in fact, a very valuable contribution to the discourse all on its own?

  268. Pteryxx says

    I’m quoting myself again… I made a comment over at Ophelia’s “Not just making it up” post, but I think it should’ve gone here. Ophelia references an extensive comment thread at Crooked Timber, in which a commentor named Salient describes extensive moderating experience with misogynist trolls:

    Folks that make intimidating and brutal comments that do not rise to the level of overt threat, intentionally as provocative & hurtful as possible. These folks love getting called out for their shit—means it’s working! They tend to either voice fantasies aloud while referencing the target in third-person, or address the writer directly to describe various torments that they allegedly feel the target should receive.(…)

    In nearly every single case that I’ve been able to follow up on, the person held some kind of position of authority within some kind of organization (including a hell of a lot of left/lefty/leftist organizations—local Democratic party offices, organizers of atheist retreats that have more than a couple dozen attendees, co-chair of some socialist club in university, but also including organizations like a management business or executive position, teacher/principal, lawyer who was a partner of a firm, uh, a couple police officers… running out of memories… oh yeah, lots of doctors, holy god did the doctors ever clutter up the newspaper comment section type places and Facebook back-and-forths back in the day of lax moderation, sorry doctors).

    link to comment

    Compare to this from Lisak, quoted in “Predator Theory”:

    In the course of 20 years of interviewing these undetected rapists, in both research and forensic settings, it has been possible for me to distill some of the common characteristics of the modus operandi of these sex offenders. These undetected rapists:

    • are extremely adept at identifying “likely” victims, and testing prospective victims’ boundaries;

    • plan and premeditate their attacks, using sophisticated strategies to groom their victims for attack, and to isolate them physically;

    • use “instrumental” not gratuitous violence; they exhibit strong impulse control and use only as much violence as is needed to terrify and coerce their victims into submission;

    • use psychological weapons – power, control, manipulation, and threats – backed up by physical force, and almost never resort to weapons such as knives or guns;

    Also from “Predator Theory” itself:

    It is the modus operandi that keeps the undetected rapist undetected: they correctly identify a methodology that will put them under the protection of the rape culture. They are unlikely to be convicted because the story doesn’t fit the script. In fact, they are unlikely to be arrested because the story doesn’t lead to easy convictions. In fact, they are unlikely to be reported because rape survivors know that the tactics these men use leave them with little real recourse.

    Link to “Predator Theory”

    …I’m starting to theorize that the persistent misogynist harassers ARE the undetected predatory rapists. Aren’t Salient and Lisak describing the EXACT same behavior? Plausible deniability, dismissal by the culture, pushing their attacks right up to the edges of accountability? And there seems to be a LOT of anecdotal evidence about powerful, high-status men committing real-life sexual harassment… which fits very neatly with what Salient describes.

    This public discussion demonstrates that misogynistic harassment is much more widespread than realized. And with 10% or so of men admitting to raping someone (as long as the word “rape” isn’t used), how likely is it that the rather large number of misogynist online harassers come from the other 90% of the population?

  269. says

    “I’ve [been] threatened with anal rape, for instance; it’s as if they are first metaphorically translating me into a female so they can then really degrade me thoroughly.”

    No, actually. Anal rape is an epidemic among men, especially in prison and in the military. Rape is not a woman’s problem, it’s everyone’s problem.