A photo, taken from an up-skirt angle

Michael Nugent has a post about a joke posted on Facebook and illustrated with a sexist photo of a woman.

It’s an old joke that I first heard decades ago, although then it was about a drunk husband trying to avoid waking his wife. So why were the genders in this old joke reversed?

It might have been to enable the poster to illustrate the joke with a random photo, taken from an up-skirt angle, of an unconscious woman lying face down on the floor wearing a very short skirt.

The joke with the photo is a lot more popular than the joke without the photo. It also attracted a good many skeevy comments, which Nugent includes. A very few of them:

  • I would of kicked the crap out of her
  • I would of hit it!
  • She made it home with her panties on
  • She’s a hoe. I’d dump her!!! Plain and simple
  • I’d love to wake up with her on my living room floor…
  • Looks like its one of them” hunny I’m help yourself poses haaahaaa
  • An found a used codom in side of her

Yet the men posting the comments seem to be not specially chosen from a warehouse labeled Sexist Men Supply.

I assume that most of these men do not consider themselves to be sexist. I assume that they would not talk in this way to their own children about this photograph. I assume that they would dislike the comments of others if the photograph was of their mother, partner, wife or daughter.

So why do they feel comfortable publishing these comments on a forum which their own mothers, partners, wives and daughters might read, and which other women are certainly reading?

Why indeed? This is something I wonder a lot. Why are so many people – including some women – so cheerful about this kind of thing? Why doesn’t it bother them? Why are they so happy to talk about women in ways that are degrading and boiling with contempt and disgust?

Because most men do not face the same kind of sexual abuse as most women do, most men have no idea how harmful comments like this can be, and how much more harmful is the cumulative impact of constantly reading comments like this on multiple websites.

And, Nugent goes on to say, it is necessary to resist, to speak out, to make it stop.

The more of us that publicly challenge these sexist comments, the more likely they are to subside. We may not in the short term influence hardcore sexists, but we can immediately help people who do not even think about the sexism of their comments to reconsider what they are saying and its impact on others.

Michelle and Erik and Kenneth and Gaylene and Dan’s comments above are great examples of how to do this. We don’t have to get into an angry exchange. We can just point out that the comment is harmful, and explain why. And the more frequently that more of us do this, the more comfortable other people will feel doing so also.

I do it very frequently indeed, to the point of boredom or nausea for everyone who reads me, but we have to do something.




  1. Stacy says

    The most interesting part of Nugent’s post, to me, is where he describes who the people making those comments are. They’re ordinary people. Dads, granddads, husbands, sons. Atheists and university graduates.

  2. Stacy says

    (On the other hand, I see that Jeremy Stangroom saw fit to criticize Mick Nugent’s post by claiming it’s an “experiment that’s a methodological disaster.” Miss the point much, Mr. Philosophy?)

  3. jenniferphillips says

    @ Stacy–ugh! SO many tweets about poor methodology. A true champion of the hyperskeptic movement.

  4. says


    I do it very frequently indeed, to the point of boredom or nausea for everyone who reads me, but we have to do something.

    Caine made a comment a few weeks back on Pharyngula that really resonated with me. She said that it is important for men to stand up and speak out against sexism and misogyny, because where some anti-feminists do not listen to women, they do listen to men who speak up. While I’ve tried in the past to speak out against rape culture, misogyny, sexism, and the anti-feminists who have been attacking FtB and Skepchick, after reading her comment, I decided to redouble my efforts.

  5. Emily Isalwaysright says

    Yes the sociology of sexism is very interesting. I think it springs up on the internet because of the anonymity: women get to see the sexist culture that men used to only engage in when women weren’t around.

  6. Emily Isalwaysright says

    Also, Stangroom has a point, but with the addition of a caveat or two Nugent could still have used his experience to make a point, while keeping the pedants off his back.

  7. Wolsey says

    Am I the only one that initially saw “Nugent” and thought of Ted Nugent, and had to reread the thing halfway down twice to figure out how he managed such a great post? It made much more sense when I reread the initial sentence.

  8. MyaR says

    Emily, there’s a flaw in your reasoning — this was not anonymous. It was on Facebook, where the real identities were right there with the comments. That’s the creepiest part of the comments, that they were willing to say these things under their identity, where most of them have (presumably) at least some women/girls they are “friends” with.

  9. lanir says

    I was not aware unconciousness was such a singularly effective aphrodisiac in our species. I suppose that helps explain some of the unreasoning fear of male homosexuals and why it doesn’t all translate to lesbians. If stupid people think “OMG, Comatose = SEX!!1!” then it’s bound to be kind of scary to be someone they might find attractive. Serves ’em right I guess?

  10. EvaO says

    Please, I beg of you, put a trigger warning on this article. It’s getting rather distressing that none of these reblogs about this incredibly sexist stuff that could easily trigger rape/attempted rape victims/survivors. Please put a trigger warning.

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