What is “toxic feminism”?

Yesterday was happy new year, so it was a time for new beginnings and startings over. (But was it? Was it? Was it really? No, not really, but maybe starting a new calendar is enough to make it seem as if it is.) One starting over was that of Bora Zivkovic, who returned to Twitter for the first time since October 16. His first new beginning tweet heralded a blog post by Anton Zuiker, the co-founder (with Bora Z) of Science Online.

Bora Zivkovic @BoraZ

From @mistersugar, the best friend one can ever hope to have: Roots and bitters http://mistersugar.com/2014/01/01/roots-and-bitters … Happy New Year!

Roots and bitters is a long (5500 words according to Zuiker) post about…Bora Zivkovic, mostly, with some heavily “literary” digressions.

All very friendly, and thus…rather alarming to people who were horrified by the (undenied) revelations about Bora Z in October. Back then he said he was wrong. Yesterday it was just – “Hi I’m back!”

He too did a New Year blog post. It was a year in review post. Here’s the part that covers October and after:

I went to Belgrade in October, but did not yet have time to write much about it.

Also in October I moved my blog from its spot at Scientific American back to its home here. For the three years that I was there – the best job with the best colleagues in the best magazine ever – I (as an author on several blogs there) accumulated 1,803,619 visits and 2,214,082 pageviews, which placed me at the all-time #2 spot right behind Katie Harmon (this probably still holds and will take a while for someone else to displace the two of us from the top two spots). If one looks at just my own, somewhat neglected A Blog Around The Clock, it collected 534,460 visits and 640,916 pageviews while it was on their site, if you want to do some mental calculation and add that to the Sitemeter numbers visible here on the sidebar.

After two and a half months of hiatus, I will continue blogging here. What about? I don’t know, I’ll have to play by ear and see how it develops and where it goes. I expect to write about science, about media, and more. Personal stories? Perhaps. We’ll see. I recently had plenty of time to be offline and read actual, physical books, so I may write some book reviews.

Hang in there, and let’s see in which new direction this blog goes over the next year. And thank you all for reading my stuff over the years – I promise, there will be more, and I hope it will get better.

Until then, though, make sure to read this beautiful post by Anton Zuiker, a perfect start for the new year – Roots and bitters: What to do when a friend hands you gentian.

Nothing about why he moved his blog from Scientific American. Nothing about why the hiatus. And then at the end, a link to a post in praise of himself, by the co-founder of Science Online, which he left because of the revelations of last October.

And then, there was a later tweet yesterday, after people had had time to read Zuiker’s long post.

Bora Zivkovic @BoraZ

Happy to see so many people (with just a couple of exceptions) deeply moved by this morning’s @mistersugar‘s post: http://mistersugar.com/2014/01/01/roots-and-bitters …

And the cherry on the cake –

Amy Alkon @amyalkon

.@mistersugar@BoraZ What happened was said to be sex harassment (despite not meeting standards) & assumed to be true. Toxic feminism ruled

Toxic feminism. It’s “toxic feminism” for writers who are women to want it to be their writing that is getting them hired and encouraged, not the convenient slot between their legs.

The same old battle, just another round.


  1. Stacy says

    The name Amy Alkon seemed vaguely familiar, so I googled her.

    I’ve met her. At CFI-LA (she was there to introduce a friend’s lecture, and to peddle her own book.) She’s an advice columnist. Calls herself The Advice Goddess. She’s libertarian to the core. After introducing herself to me, she informed me, a stranger, that she’d never been held back because she was a woman and there’s no impediment to any woman doing whatever she wants and didn’t I agree.

    I skimmed her book. In it she scoffs, remembering somebody who had bad or missing teeth, “who has bad teeth these days?” (paraphrasing from memory.) (Erm, poor people without dental insurance?)

    So, yeah. Amy Alkon prolly thinks “toxic feminism” is any feminism that worries about those silly losers who aren’t successful because anybody can make it if they work hard something something professional victims.

  2. ChasCPeterson says

    Messrs. Z. and Z. are a matching pair of Internet Narcissists, seems to me (and, in the case of Z., always has been).

  3. Jason Dick says

    In response to the title:

    Toxic feminism would be the “radfem” movement that is frequently exceedingly racist and transphobic. The odious Cathy Brennan is a typical example.

    Which has nothing whatsoever to do with what Bora was referring to. For that tweet to be correct, “toxic feminism” should be replaced with “basic human ethics.”

  4. leni says

    “Steersman” tells me to answer that question by looking in the mirror. Cute.

    But you (probably) censored at least 4 or 5 other paragraphs of pedantic, irrelevant bullshit! How sad.

    I think I shall go weep under a statue of John Stuart Mill. Someday.

    Can we just tell him you’re a vampire? Maybe that would at least get him off the feminism thing for a little while.

  5. says

    leni – why yes I did; how on earth did you know?

    Although to be fair I think it was 3; quite moderate for him. Something something Jadehawk something something Amanda Marcotte something something a comment from x years ago yadda yadda.

  6. Arawhon, a Strawberry Margarita says

    Pitchguest showed up and said freethought blogs harbors a rapist who raped three girls, there is even a confession to them. Of course, no names or links to such confessions. Disgusting little weasel of a man.

  7. Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk says

    Arawhon, I know what that’s about and it’s a disgusting, horrible lie. The person in question remembered that as a child, he was sexually abused and made by his abuser to sexually abuse others. AS A CHILD.

    These people are the fucking lowest of the low.

  8. jagwired says

    Pitchguest showed up and said freethought blogs harbors a rapist who raped three girls, there is even a confession to them. Of course, no names or links to such confessions. Disgusting little weasel of a man.

    Holy fuck! What vile scumbags they are.

  9. says

    Wow. That may be the most self-centred piece I’ve read from the ol’ Blogosphere, bar none. “Here– let me tell you about the many zillions of hits my blogs have had and show you how you can calculate them various ways and suggest that you do a little arithmetic because of course you’re vitally interested in the number of hits I’ve had, and then I’ll tell you how it’s unlikely anybody will ever get more hits than that, and then I’ll dither about what I might or might not write because I’m confident, supremely confident, that you want to read my dithering, and any other words I string together, you’re just waiting for the pearls of wisdom to fall.”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *