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Whoa, Fark achieves a glimmering of enlightenment

They’ve just announced a new moderation guideline.

Adam Savage once described to me the problem this way: if the Internet was a dude, we’d all agree that dude has a serious problem with women.

We’ve actually been tightening up moderation style along these lines for awhile now, but as of today, the FArQ will be updated with new rules reminding you all that we don’t want to be the He Man Woman Hater’s Club.  This represents enough of a departure from pretty much how every other large internet community operates that I figure an announcement is necessary.

There are lots of examples of highly misogynistic language in pop culture, and Fark has used those plenty over the years. From SNL’s "Jane, you ignorant slut" to Blazing Saddles’ multiple casual references to rape, there are a lot of instances where views are made extreme to parody them. On Fark, we have a tendency to use pop culture references as a type of referential shorthand with one another.

On SNL and in a comedy movie, though, the context is clear. On the Internet, it’s impossible to know the difference between a person with hateful views and a person lampooning hateful views to make a point. The mods try to be reasonable, and context often matters. We will try and determine what you meant, but that’s not always a pass. If your post can be taken one of two ways, and one of those ways can be interpreted as misogynistic, the mods may delete it — even if that wasn’t your intent.

Things that aren’t acceptable:

- Rape jokes

- Calling women as a group "whores" or "sluts" or similar demeaning terminology

- Jokes suggesting that a woman who suffered a crime was somehow asking for it

Obviously, these are just a few examples and shouldn’t be taken as the full gospel, but to give you a few examples of what will always be over the line. Trying to anticipate every situation and every conversation in every thread would be ridiculous, so consider these guidelines and post accordingly.  I recommend that when encountering grey areas, instead of trying to figure out where the actual line is, the best strategy would be to stay out of the grey area entirely.

As one of the folks who picks headlines, I can also say with some certainty that we’re not going to get everything right all the time on our end either.  I’ve been trying to keep an eye toward these guidelines for a couple months now and I still make mistakes and/or miss problem taglines completely.  We’re trying to make the Fark community a better place, and hopefully this will be a few steps in the right direction.

Cue blithering ninnies whining about censorship; sad pitiful people who want to complain about about how men are discriminated against, line up over there; everyone who decides they’ll never read Fark again…well, that’s fine, just go away. But I think it is a nice step in the right direction, and it’s good to acknowledge it.

Now, about Reddit…

Comments

  1. Jackie says

    Well, they just want to make fun of women being raped and put those b*tches in their place. Why do people have to ruin their fun by insisting they behave with a modicum of empathy?

  2. Saad says

    The real question is, why is every single Christian not permanently in an enlightened, awed, and serene state knowing that they have amazing knowledge about the universe that Newton, Einstein and Hawking couldn’t even come close to and knowing that after these few decades of joy and agony that is life, everything will be fucking awesome for them forever?

  3. Saad says

    #3

    Ah, crap. Had two posts open in tabs and posted this in the wrong one. Meant for it to be in the Kevin Sorbo one. <– n00b

  4. Thomathy, Such A 'Mo says

    Good for Fark. It’ll be insteresting to see how they go forward with this.
    _____

    Usernames are smart, can we not do this:

    Butthurt

    That’s a homophobic insult. Thanks.

  5. Becca Stareyes says

    On the Internet, it’s impossible to know the difference between a person with hateful views and a person lampooning hateful views to make a point.

    Yes, this. I like this addressing the fact that your intent isn’t magic: just because you’d never rape a person doesn’t mean that I know that from your comments.

  6. oynaz says

    I think that is a poor idea. It is a case of treating the symptoms and not the cause.
    How exactly will it help? At best it will be like hiding your head sand. At worst, it will stifle the discussion of a very real problem.
    Safe the political correctness for when you meet your in-laws. it has never done anyone any goodt in any kind of debate.

  7. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    At worst, it will stifle the discussion of a very real problem.

    What real problem? Yours, not ours, or womens.
    Translation, I can no longer bully women, and must treat them as equals WAHHHHH

  8. omnicrom says

    Oynaz

    What discourse is being strangled by removing Rape Jokes, The most common gendered insult, and victim blaming?

  9. Nick Gotts says

    oynaz@7

    Safe the political correctness for when you meet your in-laws.

    Anyone whining about “political correctness” can safely be dismissed as a bigot, a fuckwit, or most probably, both.

    it has never done anyone any goodt in any kind of debate.

    By “it” you presumably mean objecting to racist/sexist/homophobic/transphoci/ableist/etc. slurs and jokes, or deleting them from online conversations. Would you like to provide some evidence for your claim? Because there are numerous commenters here who will tell you this site’s policy on such slurs and jokes makes them feel more able to join in the conversation.

  10. smhll says

    Thanks for reposting. That’s a good article. I’m old enough to have complete context for “Jane You Ignorant Slut.” I watched the Point Counterpoint segments on 60 Minutes in my teens, and when Saturday Night Live satirized them, I knew that “Jane, you ignorant slut” was really a diss on the male character (based on James Kirkpatrick), who was a condescending turd head, but didn’t actually use “bad language” on television. (OK, and I had a teenage sense of humor back then. As I got much older, I think my tastes shifted.)

    This is the closest I’ve ever come to understanding that some people can believe exaggerating bad things can make them funny, because I remember that line being funny (and I am a female feminist). (“Wouldn’t it be funny if you got raped” is never funny.) (IMO)

  11. methuseus says

    @Tomathy #5

    That’s a homophobic insult. Thanks.

    I never realized until right now that it was homophobic. I don’t really use that word, but I will keep this in the back of my mind anyway. Thank you.

  12. carlie says

    oynaz – if you are talking about the main root cause of sexism being the real problem, yes, I agree with that.
    But in the case of societal norms, treating the symptoms does help treat the problem. Saying “That is a terrible thing to think and we will not allow you to say it” sends the message that the sexism is unacceptable, and that does have an influence. It makes those people have to think twice: “hm, why is that thing I believe something that everyone else disagrees with me about?” and it also lets other people who are considering being swayed by that first person that the majority does not agree with that sentiment.

  13. says

    @oynaz

    You know how we say that atheists aren’t angry because of what religious people believe, we’re angry because of what religious people do because of what they believe? We aren’t trying to make it illegal to believe that the world is 4000 years old or that God is watching over the Podunk Town Council meeting. What we care about is what people are saying and doing to other people–making a hostile environment for the education of students in science classes, and for non-believers in Christianity (whether they subscribe to a minority religion or aren’t religious) in their workplace (as city officials) or as citizens. Sure, it would be nice if everyone gave up believing in the truth of religious doctrines, but what matters day to day is that those doctrines don’t result in harm. In this sense the symptom is the disease.

    I don’t really give a fuck if some asshole on the other side of the continent is, in his secret self, an unqualified raging misogynist. I mean, I do, but in a rarefied “wouldn’t it be nice if there were no sexism” kind of way. What I care about in an immediate visceral way is when I’m called a cunt by him and his buddies. I care about being the object of rape threats. Or rape jokes. I care when another woman is treated like that because I know it’s directed just as much at me. I care that society condones that behaviour. I’ll likely never go on Fark. But I feel a bit more comfortable knowing there’s another place I *could* go, where other women *can* go, where they may be treated with respect as human beings.

  14. says

    Seems my comment got lost. Let me try again:

    @oynaz

    You know how we say that atheists aren’t angry because of what religious people believe, we’re angry because of what religious people do because of what they believe? We aren’t trying to make it illegal to believe that the world is 4000 years old or that God is watching over the Podunk Town Council meeting. What we care about is what people are saying and doing to other people–making a hostile environment for the education of students in science classes, and for non-believers in Christianity (whether they subscribe to a minority religion or aren’t religious) in their workplace (as city officials) or as citizens. Sure, it would be nice if everyone gave up believing in the truth of religious doctrines, but what matters day to day is that those doctrines don’t result in harm. In this sense the symptom is the disease.

    I don’t really give a fuck if some asshole on the other side of the continent is, in his secret self, an unqualified raging misogynist. I mean, I do, but in a rarefied “wouldn’t it be nice if there were no sexism” kind of way. What I care about in an immediate visceral way is when I’m called a cunt by him and his buddies. I care about being the object of rape threats. Or rape jokes. I care when another woman is treated like that because I know it’s directed just as much at me. I care that society condones that behaviour. I’ll likely never go on Fark. But I feel a bit more comfortable knowing there’s another place I *could* go, where other women *can* go, where they may be treated with respect as human beings.

  15. oynaz says

    @Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls
    Hershele Ostropoler
    omnicrom
    Nick
    Carlie

    Let me elaborate:

    No, I did not get the idea that you could not discuss rape misogyny. I got the idea that they tried to impose a set of rules which vaguely defines that you cannot make a joke of it. I think this is a poor idea for a number of reasons.

    1. The guidelines state explicitly that rape jokes are not OK, thus implying that racist, homophobic etc. jokes are fine.

    2. The new guidelines manage to be both arbitrary and vague at the same time. You cannot make rape jokes unless you are in a film or in a TV show, apparently. So, I can make a Youtube channel with rape and link to that? I can quote from TV shows or films, because “the context is clear”, because Spark apparently believes that no one has ever mistaken a Jon Stewart joke as a serious comment
    Worse, offending comments are deleted, which makes setting a precedent impossible. Such a forum might just have a benign influence on the tone of such discussions, but not if comments which are out of line is deleted.

    3. Humor and satire are very powerful weapons when trying to address cultural issues, especially if the issues at hand can result in very emotional reactions. Take a look at Jon Stewart, John Oliver and Steven Colbert, who excel in exactly that. That weapon has just been banned from rape discussions at Fark.

    5. You remove people’s ability to defend themselves. This is a very sensitive subject which makes people lose their shit. This thread is a fine example.Check out Nick Gotts calling me a bigoted fuckwit or Nerd of Redhead completely missing the point and going straight for insults. And that is because they disagree with the means, not the end (or they miss my point)

    5. What is Fark trying to accomplish?
    ” We’re trying to make the Fark community a better place, and hopefully this will be a few steps in the right direction.”
    Cowards. Sexism is obviously a big problem, but as long as it stays away from their cosy forum they are happy.
    Instead they might have taken steps to actually solve the problem. Easier said than done, I know, and a single Internet forum is not going to change the world, but the first step is wanting to do something about it.

    Am I being too hard on Fark? Perhaps, and I do think they genuinely are trying to do the right thing, but that policy is a poor idea.

    Carlie has 2 points worth a direct reply;
    “Saying “That is a terrible thing to think and we will not allow you to say it” ”
    Yegads, do you realise who you sound like?

    ” It makes those people have to think twice: “hm, why is that thing I believe something that everyone else disagrees with me about?” and it also lets other people who are considering being swayed by that first person that the majority does not agree with that sentiment.”
    Ah hah! Excellent point. Usernames Are Smart and Tomathy, ironically, makes a perfect example in this very thread. Usernames thoughtlessly uses a homophobic slur, Tomathy points it out, and usernames now knows that he unknowingly has been using a slur.
    But if Pharyngula had had an all-homophobic-slurs-will-be-deleted policy, this would not have happened.

    It all of this adds to the picture I see: sexism is allowed to continue, partly because the opposition to it is very incoherent.
    PZ thinks that rape jokes should be deleted, but jokes about killing unarmed black kids are OK:
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2014/08/18/ex-fucking-zactly/

    According to Fark, racist jokes, homophobic jokes etc are OK, but rape jokes are not, unless you are on TV?

    To be crystal clear: I think that sexism and rape are vile, and applaud Fark for trying to do something about it, but I think the new policy is misguided, clumsy, and will only make matters worse.

  16. Ichthyic says

    It is a case of treating the symptoms and not the cause.

    would you agree that taking an aspiring for a headache is better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick?

    if so, then you need to rethink what you just said.

  17. Ichthyic says

    …and no, your longer version of same does not actually excuse you from ignoring the very basic point you seem to have entirely missed.

  18. smhll says

    5. You remove people’s ability to defend themselves. This is a very sensitive subject which makes people lose their shit. This thread is a fine example.Check out Nick Gotts calling me a bigoted fuckwit or Nerd of Redhead completely missing the point and going straight for insults. And that is because they disagree with the means, not the end (or they miss my point)

    Is your point that you disapprove of Censorship of Insults or that you disapprove of Insults, or that sometimes it’s one and sometimes it’s the other?

    On a less snarky note, Metafilter has gone through a years long discussion process about discouraging casual sexism, racism, ablism and homophobia on that site. You can find some long and fairly thoughtful threads in their archives. Their business model includes paid membership and significant moderating. It’s one of the best sites I’ve found for being able to actually hear someone’s point because the conversations stays out of the troll ditch long enough for the conversation to progress that far.

  19. says

    oynaz #17

    1. The guidelines state explicitly that rape jokes are not OK, thus implying that racist, homophobic etc. jokes are fine.

    Only if you’re extremely literal-minded or are a nit-picker of the first water. Which are you?

    2. The new guidelines manage to be both arbitrary and vague at the same time. You cannot make rape jokes unless you are in a film or in a TV show, apparently. So, I can make a Youtube channel with rape and link to that? I can quote from TV shows or films, because “the context is clear”, because Spark apparently believes that no one has ever mistaken a Jon Stewart joke as a serious comment

    Fark is setting rules for what’s allowed to be said in films and TV shows? Where does it say that? As to context, see my commentary on your point-three.

    Worse, offending comments are deleted, which makes setting a precedent impossible. Such a forum might just have a benign influence on the tone of such discussions, but not if comments which are out of line is deleted.

    I agree with this relatively minor point regarding procedural matters.

    3. Humor and satire are very powerful weapons when trying to address cultural issues, especially if the issues at hand can result in very emotional reactions. Take a look at Jon Stewart, John Oliver and Steven Colbert, who excel in exactly that. That weapon has just been banned from rape discussions at Fark.

    The difference being that such humour has to be delivered in a straight face, as if the humorist means what they say. The audience is expected to work out that it’s irony/satire, from knowledge of the context—the fact that it’s a satirical TV show, for instance—and even then they have to be bloody careful not to go too far. The only way to do the same in a short, and context-free blog-comment is to stick a bloody great “this is satire” notice on it; which kinda negates the whole point of using satire in the first place.

    Basically, if you want to use satire or irony, it’s up to you to make damn sure that it’s recognisable as such. (Being something of a nit-picker yourself (see point one), you, should have no trouble editing your comments to make sure that no one could possibly misread them.)

    [Where did “4” go?]

    5. You remove people’s ability to defend themselves. This is a very sensitive subject which makes people lose their shit. This thread is a fine example.Check out Nick Gotts calling me a bigoted fuckwit or Nerd of Redhead completely missing the point and going straight for insults. And that is because they disagree with the means, not the end (or they miss my point)

    Whut? This is nothing but complaining about tone, and appears to have sod-all to do with the discussion of Fark’s policies.

    What is Fark trying to accomplish?
    ” We’re trying to make the Fark community a better place, and hopefully this will be a few steps in the right direction.”
    Cowards. Sexism is obviously a big problem, but as long as it stays away from their cosy forum they are happy.
    Instead they might have taken steps to actually solve the problem. Easier said than done, I know, and a single Internet forum is not going to change the world, but the first step is wanting to do something about it.

    They can’t stop nasty behaviour everywhere, so they shouldn’t stop it happening in the part of the internet where they have the ability to do so? Okay, my government can’t stop sweatshops happening in other parts of the word, so they shouldn’t be making them illegal in my own country, yes? What a bloody stupid objection.

  20. says

    oynaz:

    No, I did not get the idea that you could not discuss rape misogyny. I got the idea that they tried to impose a set of rules which vaguely defines that you cannot make a joke of it. I think this is a poor idea for a number of reasons.

    It’s a better idea to impose guidelines that let people know that sexist, misogynistic behavior will not be allowed than it is to continue allowing it. For women, and for people who are concerned with women being treated as human beings, this move is a sound one.

    1. The guidelines state explicitly that rape jokes are not OK, thus implying that racist, homophobic etc. jokes are fine.

    I don’t see where you can draw this conclusion. Fark is trying to deal with a specific problem that they seem to have. A policy against sexism and misogyny need not address other issues to be valid.

    2. The new guidelines manage to be both arbitrary and vague at the same time. You cannot make rape jokes unless you are in a film or in a TV show, apparently. So, I can make a Youtube channel with rape and link to that? I can quote from TV shows or films, because “the context is clear”, because Spark apparently believes that no one has ever mistaken a Jon Stewart joke as a serious comment
    Worse, offending comments are deleted, which makes setting a precedent impossible. Such a forum might just have a benign influence on the tone of such discussions, but not if comments which are out of line is deleted.

    You’re having a hard time with the idea of “Hey commenters, think about what you write and make sure it doesn’t punch down on women” aren’t you?
    Poor thing.

    3. Humor and satire are very powerful weapons when trying to address cultural issues, especially if the issues at hand can result in very emotional reactions. Take a look at Jon Stewart, John Oliver and Steven Colbert, who excel in exactly that. That weapon has just been banned from rape discussions at Fark.

    Humor and satire are extremely difficult to convey online. Intent is never known by the person reading the so-called humor. I shy away from trying to be humorous because I never know how someone will interpret what I say.
    Incidentally, humor on a television show and humor online are two very different animals. One works a helluva lot better than the other, because you can get a much better idea, due to body language and vocal inflection in tv than you can online. Those go a long way to determining whether the joke was meant to be funny or not.

    5. You remove people’s ability to defend themselves. This is a very sensitive subject which makes people lose their shit. This thread is a fine example.Check out Nick Gotts calling me a bigoted fuckwit or Nerd of Redhead completely missing the point and going straight for insults. And that is because they disagree with the means, not the end (or they miss my point)

    No the fuck you don’t remove anyone’s ability to defend themselves. That you claim it is so doesn’t make it a reality. BTW, you’re defending misogynists here, so any insults you get are deserved.
    Quit whining fuckwit. This is a rude blog. Go read the commenting rules before tone trolling any further.

    5. What is Fark trying to accomplish?
    ” We’re trying to make the Fark community a better place, and hopefully this will be a few steps in the right direction.”
    Cowards. Sexism is obviously a big problem, but as long as it stays away from their cosy forum they are happy.

    Oh, I don’t know, perhaps they’re trying to take steps to prevent people from being sexist and misogynistic assholes. This is telling people “Your behavior is not acceptable”. It is pushing people like that to the fringes. It tells them that if they want to participate, they have to treat people with respect, and that includes not being misogynistic assholes to women. Treating people with respect should be the default in human interactions, but far too many people don’t view women as sufficiently human.
    And I say all that as someone who has insulted you because you’ve demonstrated that you’re a shithead who doesn’t care about the effect misogyny has on women. You’re engaged in misogynistic apologetics, and that is infinitely worse than me calling what you are–a raging apathetic shitpiston.

    Instead they might have taken steps to actually solve the problem. Easier said than done, I know, and a single Internet forum is not going to change the world, but the first step is wanting to do something about it.

    This is a step in that direction.
    Pharyngula is another place where such language isn’t welcome. Guess what? When people come here and spew vile sexist language, they get shot down by the commentariat. If they continue for too long, PZ may ban them. We don’t tolerate that around here because we feel that women should have the right to participate in whatever activities they choose without being harasssed or facing misoygny. Denying misoynists the opportunity to engage in their dehumanizing tactics is one way of telling them they aren’t welcome, and a way of telling women they ARE welcome.
    Seems to me you’d rather women were made to feel unwelcome at Fark, because you’re arguing against policies intended to address misogynistic comments and jokes. That’s where you want to take a stand?

    Am I being too hard on Fark? Perhaps, and I do think they genuinely are trying to do the right thing, but that policy is a poor idea.

    You’re not being too hard. You’re being an apologist for misogynistic assholes everywhere.

    Ah hah! Excellent point. Usernames Are Smart and Tomathy, ironically, makes a perfect example in this very thread. Usernames thoughtlessly uses a homophobic slur, Tomathy points it out, and usernames now knows that he unknowingly has been using a slur.
    But if Pharyngula had had an all-homophobic-slurs-will-be-deleted policy, this would not have happened.

    If PZ chose, he could have deleted that comment or disemvowelled it. His blog, his rules. There’s also an assumption on your part that people will stop saying sexist or bigoted things when called out. It doesn’t happen that way as much as you might think. With decent people, it does happen. With other people, like those who use c*nt as an insult, or f*aggot, they often don’t stop. They don’t care. They continue using those words, bc they don’t give a shit about the people they hit with splash damage. They don’t care about the bigoted words they use, bc they care insufficiently about the feelings and experiences of others. I’d rather Fark attempt to create a space where all people can interact than a free for all where anyone can say anything. That tends to drive people-women, LGBT, PoC-away. That’s a problem we’re having in the atheist movement now. People want no harassment policies. They don’t want feminism in their atheism. They don’t want to be told that their use of sexist slurs is not welcome. They think it’s an infringement of their freedom of speech to be told not to use certain words, or that if they do, they’ll be banned.
    Fuck that noise.
    People don’t have the right to say any damn thing they want.
    Freedom of speech applies to speech directed at the government, not private speech.
    People can say what they want, but they aren’t free from the consequences of their words. Fark’s decision to crackdown on sexist and misogynist comments are an example of the consequences of the actions of misogynists. What’s the worst that’s going to happen? People who make sexist comments will go elsewhere? Dear me, that would be sooooo awful /snark.

  21. Al Dente says

    From the OP:

    I recommend that when encountering grey areas, instead of trying to figure out where the actual line is, the best strategy would be to stay out of the grey area entirely.

    QFFT!

  22. Jules says

    From the actual FArQ:

    “Sexism, Racism and LGBT bashing: Fark is a humor site, and we’ve done more than our fair share at poking fun of others, often for what they’ve done, sometimes for what they’ve said, occasionally because they look funny. Fark has long prided itself on being irreverent and sarcastic.

    That said, there are still some things that cross the line, and misogyny, racism and LGBT bashing are some of them. So just to be clear: these things will not be tolerated.

    We know that on the internet, it’s impossible to know the difference between a person with hateful views and a person lampooning hateful views to make a point. The mods try to be reasonable, and context often matters. We will try and determine what you meant, but that’s not always a pass. If your post can be taken one of two ways, and one of those ways can be interpreted as misogynistic, racist, or LGBT bashing, the mods may delete it and could even give you a timeout–even if that wasn’t your intent.”

    There. You can now stop worrying about misandry, racism, and LGBT-bashing.

  23. Rich Woods says

    @oynaz #19:

    1. The guidelines state explicitly that rape jokes are not OK, thus implying that racist, homophobic etc. jokes are fine.

    The guideline does not imply that racist and homophobic jokes are fine, you infer that they would be fine. The three examples given of what would be unacceptable all involve sexism; the introduction clearly states that the concern being addressed here regards abuse directed at women.

    Ask yourself, why have you chosen to infer this?

  24. says

    I don’t see “butthurt” as homophobic any more than I see “picnic” as racist or “rule of thumb” as misogynist. It’s not my place to tell you what you are or are not allowed to take offense at, and I’m not attempting to convince you to not be offended, but we do seem to have incompatible beliefs about a fact that appears to underlie your offendedness.

    I don’t use “butthurt” anymore, because after thinking about what I understand the metaphor to be I decided I don’t want to implicitly endorse child abuse. So I agree with your cal for the term not to be used, even if I have a different reason.

  25. says

    Hershele Ostropoler #30

    I don’t use “butthurt” anymore, because after thinking about what I understand the metaphor to be I decided I don’t want to implicitly endorse child abuse.

    I’m confused. Do you believe that the word refers specifically to the anal rape of minors (I’m almost certain it doesn’t), or are you claiming that it refers to corporal punishment (which may, possibly, be correct, and is certainly an understandable reading)?

    Not arguing, just asking for clarification.

  26. says

    Hershele:

    I don’t see “butthurt” as homophobic

    What you’re missing here is that what you see doesn’t matter. What does matter is that a lot of gay people feel it is homophobic, which is reason enough to stop using it. There were many a thread here over ‘butthurt’, and after much discussion, it was dropped because its usage does hurt and anger people.

  27. says

    Hershele:

    I don’t see “butthurt” as homophobic any more than I see “picnic” as racist or “rule of thumb” as misogynist. It’s not my place to tell you what you are or are not allowed to take offense at, and I’m not attempting to convince you to not be offended, but we do seem to have incompatible beliefs about a fact that appears to underlie your offendedness.

    I don’t get offended by the use of the word, but I recognize that my experiences apply to no one but myself. Given that other people find the word to be a homophobic term, that is more than sufficient reason for me to not use it. And I don’t.

    I just did a quick search of the term, and found this to illuminate why ‘butthurt’ ranges from problematic to offensive.

    One word that is particularly common on the internets is “butthurt,” typically used sarcastically or to ridicule someone who is whining about something they don’t like. I mentioned my distaste for the word to a friend of mine earlier this week. “I had no idea that the word even meant that,” she said. Her first thought was that it was some rape joke, and she found it to be rather confusing in the context. She had to look it up in order to discern its common meaning. But her first thought was right. It can’t be separated from that meaning, and that’s my problem.

    Just think about it. The term implies less of “pain in the ass, I sat on something unpleasant” and something far more sexist and homophobic. This is mostly because of the context the word is typically used in. Sandra is in a bad mood because Hugo took her parking spot? She’s just butthurt. Mike won’t stop complaining that his bro beat him playing video games? Butthurt. Essentially, the term is used when someone is upset that someone else has gotten the better or them or beaten them or bested them in some way. That is to say, they dominated them. You know, like when someone is raped. This just isn’t funny. Not only is the term sexist, because it hinges on domination and anal rape, which is primarily a male device, but it is also homophobic. I’m pretty sure that gay men don’t think the threat of anal rape is hilarious, and I’m also pretty sure they don’t enjoy an act they enjoy once again being used as a display of cruelty, disgust, and derision.
    http://persephonemagazine.com/2013/01/can-we-please-stop-using-the-term-butthurt/

    It’s one of those things where I have to empathize with others’ experiences to gain a better understanding of why it is a hurtful word.

  28. says

    Daz @ 31: Corporal punishment.

    Inaji @ 32

    What you’re missing here is that what you see doesn’t matter. What does matter is that a lot of gay people feel it is homophobic,

    Is “picnic” racist?

    (If I were trying to be an asshole I’d have said “I find your use of ‘gay’ antisemitic.” And if I had, you would have had no way to prove me wrong. Sure, there’s nothing in the etymology or usage that makes it antisemitic, but apparently we’re in some realm above mere facts.)

  29. leftwingfox says

    I had always associated butthurt with spanking, but there’s more than enough assholes conflating “rape” with “defeat” in gaming to make the association with defeated opponents a good reason to stay clear of it.

    As an aside: regarding Oynaz’s metaphor, what’s wrong with treating the symptoms? I treat the symptoms of my cold, because they do additional damage to the body that take longer to heal, as well as make it harder to sleep, which IS the only real cure.

    Stopping bigoted jokes and statements allows those targeted by bigotry to participate meaningfully in the community without being alienated by that bigotry. That facilitates the exchange of views and perspectives, rather than diminishing it.

  30. anteprepro says

    Is “picnic” racist?
    (If I were trying to be an asshole I’d have said “I find your use of ‘gay’ antisemitic.” And if I had, you would have had no way to prove me wrong. Sure, there’s nothing in the etymology or usage that makes it antisemitic, but apparently we’re in some realm above mere facts.)

    If you were trying NOT to be an asshole, you failed.

  31. anteprepro says

    (Trigger Warning)

    It’s disingenuous to say that “butthurt” just means “spanked” but it is regularly used by the same segment of the internet that will regularly use “raped” as a more “edgy” synonym for “pwned”. The implication is blatant and denying the obvious just diminishes the complaints of those who are affected by it and is not at all constructive or helpful, or even necessary since such a term is hardly decent or important enough to warrant defending.

  32. anteprepro says

    Also, not just wrong about picnic, wrong about rule of thumb as well:

    http://dictionary.reference.com/help/faq/language/e27.html
    http://womenshistory.about.com/od/mythsofwomenshistory/a/rule_of_thumb.htm

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rule_of_thumb

    Wiki explains the misunderstanding:

    In 1976, feminist Del Martin used the phrase “rule of thumb” as a metaphorical reference to describe such a doctrine. She was misinterpreted by many as claiming the doctrine as a direct origin of the phrase and the connection gained currency in 1982, when the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights issued a report on wife abuse, titled “Under the Rule of Thumb”

  33. says

    Hershele Ostropoler

    Consider that words change their meanings with usage. Regardless of whether it originated as a reference to a spanking, there’s enough people using in the anal rape sense, that the meaning’s become, at least, blurred. At which point, let’s refer to the OP:

    I recommend that when encountering grey areas, instead of trying to figure out where the actual line is, the best strategy would be to stay out of the grey area entirely.

    You may have been using the word in all innocence. Now you’ve been informed, it’s at best in a grey area. The English language has been touted as being exceptional in the number of synonyms available, so stopping using one or two words is hardly gong to leave you less able to express yourself, is it?

  34. Anri says

    oynaz @ 19:

    So, if I am reading you correctly: if a rule is imperfect, it’s better not to implement it at all.

    I would then ask: what rules are perfect?

    And then: what rules, by that logic, should be implemented?

  35. leftwingfox says

    anteprepro: My apologies if I came across as implying that it “just meant” spanking. I meant to imply that the interpretation was my initial assumption , but later evidence is what changed my view.

  36. oynaz says

    In general:
    How the fuck can you claim that I defend mysogynists from my posts? I explicitly state multiple times that sexisms and rape are vile, and that I applaud Fark’s attempts to do something about it.

    Once more: I think that Fark’s intent is good, but I believe their new guideline is counterproductive.

    And for the last time: I can see that Fark is trying to do something about sexism and mysogeny, but I do not think their new policy is the right way to do it.

    Got it? No? Too bad.

    Anri @ 19:
    Rules are never perfect, that is exactly why you should think carefully about implementing them, since they may easily backfire. Especially in as anarchic environment as the Internet.

    Daz @ 25:
    “Only if you’re extremely literal-minded or are a nit-picker of the first water. Which are you?”
    Neither, but I suspect you can find a number of Fark’s users who are.

    “Fark is setting rules for what’s allowed to be said in films and TV shows? Where does it say that? As to context, see my commentary on your point-three.”
    I did not write that. I wrote that Fark thinks sexist jokes in TV or in filsm are OK, while they are not on Fark’s forums.

    “The difference being that such humour has to be delivered in a straight face, as if the humorist means what they say. The audience is expected to work out that it’s irony/satire, from knowledge of the context—the fact that it’s a satirical TV show, for instance—and even then they have to be bloody careful not to go too far. The only way to do the same in a short, and context-free blog-comment is to stick a bloody great “this is satire” notice on it; which kinda negates the whole point of using satire in the first place.
    Basically, if you want to use satire or irony, it’s up to you to make damn sure that it’s recognisable as such. (Being something of a nit-picker yourself (see point one), you, should have no trouble editing your comments to make sure that no one could possibly misread them.)”

    Fair point though I disagree. Fark defines themselves as a homour site, so any posts should be read with that in mind.
    And satire, by it’s very nature, should be a bit difficult to recognize. How many people do you think have mistaken The Daily Show for a serious (well, it is always serious, non-satirical, then) news show at one time or another? If you say more than zero, then you must agree that Fark’s new guidelines are completely arbitrary, right? Or at least recognize my point.

  37. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Once more: I think that Fark’s intent is good, but I believe their new guideline is counterproductive.

    Your lack of evidence for this claim is staggering.

    And for the last time: I can see that Fark is trying to do something about sexism and mysogeny, but I do not think their new policy is the right way to do it.

    And YOU present no alternative other than what is happening at the moment. Not making your case at all. Nothing but whining. Nothing substantial to your arguments.l

  38. Ichthyic says

    Once more: I think that Fark’s intent is good, but I believe their new guideline is counterproductive.

    right, so you DO think a poke in the eye with a sharp stick would be better.

    just so we’re clear then.