Saint Based of 17th Street NW

This will give you nightmares.

David Futrelle at We Hunted the Mammoth collected some “fan art” devoted to Christina Hoff Sommers by her adoring admirers who call her (god I hate this, it’s so fucking twee) “Based Mom.”

GamerGaters sure do love their Based Mom! Christina Hoff Sommers, as you may or may not know, is a libertarian think-tanker who’s been grinding away at feminism for two decades, while still, rather perversely, claiming to be feminist.

Right? Right? That’s exactly what I say. Yes, of course, feminists can be critical about feminism; feminists can separate good feminism from bad feminism; feminists can say some ideas and claims that file themselves under feminism are shitty ideas and claims. But non-stop sniping and sneering at feminism, not to mention solidarity with GamerGaters, is not compatible with being a feminist.

Though not a video gamer herself, she’s jumped aboard the GamerGate train, and GamerGaters have repaid her interest in their little crusade with interest, anointing her their “Based Mom” and talking about her with weird reverence.

Weird and ooooooky.

Futrelle has five samples of fan art; check them out. This one is by far the creepiest.




  1. Pierce R. Butler says

    Hey, she shoots light beams from her fingers!

    Does she come from the DC Universe, or Marvel?

  2. Jeremy Shaffer says

    Pierce at 1- More likely some small-press publication that still thinks it’s cool* to use “z” and “k” in the place of “s” and “c” while offering a variety of dark and brooding, pouch-laden characters non-ironically.

    *Or should I say “kewl”?

  3. says

    She doesn’t actually write for AVFM does she? I couldn’t find a link on that article (though I got bored so I didn’t comb the whole article) and I couldn’t find anything via Google.

    I’d be only a little surprised if she did, but I don’t want to say she did if she didn’t.

  4. says

    Hmm, yes, that does kill the idea that she’s a contributor to AVfM. The fact that they republish her writing is still a pretty grim assessment of her “feminist” credentials.

  5. maddog1129 says

    What does “based mom,” standing alone, mean? In the cartoon, the bottle is labeled “facts & reason, ” which I read together with the t-shirt to mean “fact and reason based mom.” Am I missing something?

  6. mildlymagnificent says

    Am I missing something?

    Apparently so. I haven’t checked for myself but I’m assured that this is part of 4chan lingo.

    Meaning? Boils down to “I like it” or “cool” or some other expression of approval. Not worth looking into any further. The logic of 4 chan stuff is just insider jargon with an added soupcon of horrible.

  7. Holms says
    Gives us such gems as:

    “B – itches
    A – nd
    S – ex
    E – very
    D – ay”

    Or perhaps

    ” Having many girls, being a mansion, swagging to the maximum, and looking like jesus. It’s a way of life. Not caring what people think, living in a mansion, doing what you want,

    how you want. Wearing what you want. Thereupon, Lil B, the based god, is the god off all the above events.

    Deep thinkers they ain’t.

  8. Al Dente says

    The beams emanating from her fingers are harbingers of ethics in journalism or possibly something completely different.

  9. allosteric says

    The “check your facts, not your privilege” gif kind of sums up my opinion of CHS. It would be a very clever rejoinder against feminists, IF SHE FOLLOWED IT OR PRECEDED IT WITH FACTS. But nope, it’s fact-free right-wing opinion all the way down.

  10. Bea Essartu says

    I agree that any one who spends more than half their time sniping and sneering at other feminists is not helping women. One should spend at least half the time moving us forward.

  11. says

    Cool gotcha, Bea Essartu – except that you’re not agreeing with what I said, because I didn’t say “any one who spends more than half their time sniping and sneering at other feminists is not helping women.” That’s your re-write. I said:

    Yes, of course, feminists can be critical about feminism; feminists can separate good feminism from bad feminism; feminists can say some ideas and claims that file themselves under feminism are shitty ideas and claims. But non-stop sniping and sneering at feminism, not to mention solidarity with GamerGaters, is not compatible with being a feminist.


    Also, Sommers is not a feminist.

  12. Bea Essartu says

    I believe that there are several kinds of feminist that are all feminists of heart. I wish that more time were spent on the center parts of agreement and less on the extra parts where people disagree. I was trying to say that at least half the time should be spent on the agreeable parts or you are not helping but that may be too strong for me to say.

  13. Janine the Jackbooted Emotion Queen says

    Bea Essartu, please take that message to all of the anti-feminists and MRAs who love to cite CHS’s words and see how far it gets you.

    CHS is no more a feminist then fellow AEI fellow Charles Murrey is an advocate for racial equality.

  14. Bea Essartu says

    I have been reading a lot and I believe that maybe it would have been better if the feminism obeyed here been called feminism-plus to go with atheism-plus. Then the center parts of agreement could be looked at and still different groups could also work on extra parts. There would be more agreement this way. Everyone who is a feminist of heart would be together as feminists.

  15. Janine the Jackbooted Emotion Queen says

    Feminist of heart?

    Seriously, I do not care nor do I want to know.

    And I will repeat myself, MRAs and anti-feminists love CHS. This says as much about her feminist credibility as does her being a registered Democrat says about her being a fellow at the reactionary AEI.

    And, just to make this clear, I have no desire to find a middle ground with CHS.

  16. Bea Essartu says

    We are back to same disagreement in discussion of why not more female outspoken atheists where there is no middle ground. I wish this not true. I want middle ground for starting place. I believe that many anti-feminists like ice cream. I will keep eating ice cream because I like it too.

  17. Janine the Jackbooted Emotion Queen says

    Please, explain the middle ground of a feminist and of a woman who claims that almost all feminists are playing the victim?

    And, yes, I do think that finding middle ground is pointless. Rights are never to be negotiated, they are to be claimed. Even if it is against a feminist who is working against anything remotely feminist.

  18. Bea Essartu says

    I have always thought legal equality is the center part of agreement and makes a feminist of heart just as not believing in any god is center part of agreement and makes an atheist of heart.

  19. says

    And this isn’t “feminism-plus”; it’s just feminism. It’s always been about interpersonal equality, social equality, discursive equality as well as legal equality.

  20. chigau (違う) says

    Bea Essartu
    “feminists of heart”
    “feminism obeyed here”
    What colour is the sky on your planet?

  21. Bea Essartu says

    Time appears to be running out because another Fuck You is coming soon I believe as was in the other discussion. I will have to read more about the other three equalities because they are all new to me but I believe that all equalities not depending on the body will be parts of the center where we have agreement. This is where I put my effort starting with legal equality where there are bad laws against this.

  22. says

    @Bea Essartu

    Maybe you missed this at Pharyngula because you were blinded by too many “fuck you”s floating around, but just saying your aim is to help women or even that you think men and women are equal? Not sufficient to be a feminist. The quiverfull Christian patriarchy adherents* all think women are happier and better off being submissive to their rightful male authority (father, husband, other male relative). They say that men and women are equal, just that women are the helpmeets to the people that are the natural, divinely appointed leaders–men. Some of the people who believe this crap even call themselves feminists. The *real* feminists, as opposed to all us false feminists who think equality means women should have the same rights, freedoms, and opportunities as men do and that we need to get rid of all the obstacles to that goal, regardless of whether the obstacles are legal, social, cultural, financial, historical, political, or external versus self-imposed.

    The problem here is you think just because someone co-opts a label suddenly means there’s common ground. There’s no common ground because there’s no common understanding of either goals or agreement about the facts of reality. Someone can call themselves a scientist, but if they deny anthropogenic climate change, evolution, or the heliocentric solar system, the label means nothing. It’s just a mask.

    *specifically, I mentioned Michael & Debi Pearl. Also Phyllis Schlafly, the Catholic Church, and Boko Haram, but take your pick: Taliban, FLDS, non-F LDS, Ultra-Orthodox Jews, American Republican forced birthers, Irish forced birthers….all say they’re acting with the best of intentions.

  23. Bea Essartu says

    I am now even more confused than before but will keep reading. When looking up discursive equality I came to video on youtube of a woman with red hair yelling Shut The Fuck Up again and again and I’m sure that is not what was meant. I looked up quiverfull and this is having enough arrows for a battle or war. Too much fighting about everything in my opinion. We agree on equality. Work forward from there.

  24. Janine the Jackbooted Emotion Queen says

    We agree on equality.


    For example, Quiverfull stresses that white women must be subservient to their fathers and then their husbands and have as many babies as possible.

    Where is the “We agree on equality.” in that? Where is the middle ground from there.

    And because you are begging for it, here it is.


    That is, fuck you in heart.

  25. chigau (違う) says

    Bea Essartu
    What center?
    What is the center of ‘women are fully autonomous’ and ‘women are property’?

  26. Bea Essartu says

    Maybe I did say it first this time but I would be happier if you jumped over the part where you say that I’m saying the opposite of what I mean and went immediately to saying Fuck You to me. I know now that it is supposed to be feminism at heart instead of feminism of heart but I don’t believe that my writing is as bad as you say. I also know now that it was quivering not quiverfull meaning of the word and is not about battle. I am sorry for that one but not the other.

  27. Bea Essartu says

    Who is it that says they are a feminist and also says that women are property? I don’t think we are on same page now. Is there really a person who says that laws and society should be equal and also says that women are property? That does not seem possible but if there is such person then I will agree that the word does not mean what I thought.

  28. says

    Bea Essartu, you were commenting at Pharyngula? Where?

    I’m curious because I find your comments exceedingly hard to understand. I take it English is not your first language?

  29. says

    Meanwhile – you’re missing the point. Just saying “equality” means nothing. No, we can’t all find common ground or “the center” by saying “equality.” It’s trivially easy to get people to agree that women should have equality; that’s not the issue. Feminism is not just saying “women should have equality.”

  30. Bea Essartu says

    The first time I came here it was a discussion of why there aren’t more female outspoken atheists. It was on Pharungula about two days ago. I sometimes have friends with me to help with the writing but most of today I’m alone. English is my third language. I use computers to practice. I have Rosetta Stone too.

  31. Bea Essartu says

    To me the important thing to say is that women deserve equality because women are equal. That is different from women should have equality because maybe someone is thinking that women should have equality as a gift or some other reason. I also sometimes say that men deserve equality as a joke but only with women. Is that closer to being agreeable?

  32. says

    Yes, I agree about not wanting equality as a gift from someone else. 😀

    I think we’re talking past each other a little because of the language gap. (I shudder to think what a mess I would make if I tried to discuss this subject in my second language, let alone my third.)

    Respected commenters: cut Bea some slack.

  33. Golgafrinchan Captain says

    @Bea Essartu, mostly #20,

    Ok, I know little about Christina Hoff Sommers so I took up your challenge to find good things to say about her. When I Googled her name, the first non-wiki/twitter hit was a series of articles she wrote for HuffPo about how the gender wage gap is simply because women choose lower-paying careers. The first article, Close the Wage Gap by Changing Your Major gives a lot of stats about the salaries and gender proportions of different careers and comes to the conclusion, “But, as most economists will tell you, employers cannot be blamed for much or any of the gap. It is women’s choices that are the problem — beginning with their college majors”. I can’t say I’m surprised that this is what economists would tell me but, even if true (citation needed), it says nothing about the reasons for these choices. Secondly, the much larger issue in the gender wage gap is women being paid less than a man in the same job.

    Another article, “Wage Gap Myth Exposed — By Feminists” does cite an article by the American Association of University Women. The link in CHS’s article was dead so I went to the AAUW to read other articles. Everything I read is pretty clear about the gender wage gap being a real thing. In “Wage Gap Myth Exposed”, CHS suggests that (again with the economists) “as economists frequently remind us, if it were really true that an employer could get away with paying Jill less than Jack for the same work, clever entrepreneurs would fire all their male employees, replace them with females, and enjoy a huge market advantage.” I dunno, could it also be that men are subconsciously valued higher than women? She does accept studies that show there is still a wage gap of 5 – 7%, but says some of it is possibly due to “women’s supposedly inferior negotiating skills” (apparently mentioned in the AAUW study that I can’t find), and the rest is probably due to the broadness of categories that include both male-dominated (higher paying) and female dominated (lower paying) careers. If this is true, we are back to the question of why some careers are male-dominated (high pay) and some are female-dominated (low pay).

    I guess it’s possible that there are some innate differences in men and women that would result in choosing different career paths or staying at home with children but I’m not sure how you’d run an experiment that could factor out cultural influence. I can absolutely say that there are major cultural pressures affecting these decisions. My mother faced a great deal of criticism for being a working mother (after her children were school-aged). It was much better for my wife, but far from absent. I have never once been questioned about why I’m not at home with my kid, and I have training in that area.

    I did read/watch more by Christina Hoff Sommers and none of it raises my opinion of her. Tell you what Bea, why don’t you find some of the awesome stuff she’s done for feminism so you can tell us about it. E.g. I’m no longer a fan of Richard Dawkins but fully admit he has done a lot for advancing science & atheism (and now, in my opinion, he’s just chipping away at that legacy). I don’t see the value in granting people like CHS the title of Feminist and anyone who is legitimately advancing the cause of women being called Feminist Plus. Your analogy fails because, in the case of atheism, it is true that caring about other people is not actually part of the dictionary definition of Atheist. As I understand it, Atheism+ is an attempt to acknowledge this and work towards the improvement of society as a group of atheists (note: I’ve never even been on any A+ sites but I support this idea). All I’ve seen from Ms. Sommers is denial that society has a problem with how it regards/treats women. Again, please correct me if I’m wrong.

    P.S. Yes, there are definitely some ways that men/boys have it worse but, to use a wonderfully hyperbolic example (I believe from the Non-Prophets), focusing on male problems is like Superman complaining that he has to deal with Kryptonite while humans don’t (but what about the Supermenz?!?!?). Plus, many of the difficulties that are experienced more by men are a result of the same cultural norms that hurt women. Example1: men being expected to fight wars is actually a result of discrimination against women. Example2: men having a harder time getting custody of children is a result of defined gender roles.

  34. Golgafrinchan Captain says

    @Bea, re Me #46

    Apologies about the wall of text, especially if English is not your first language.

    Also, I started that response when comments were at 22. I worked on it periodically through the afternoon when my kid was napping or otherwise occupied and I didn’t read the comments again before posting. After reading the comments, I don’t think my response would be much different but, when I started, I had a 70% suspicion that you were a troll. I now doubt that.

  35. Golgafrinchan Captain says

    Ok, read the Pharyngula comments. I’d now say 80% troll.

    Re assigning a number: my dad used to make me to assign ‘degree-of-confidence’ values to my beliefs/assumptions. It annoyed the crap out me at the time but now find it extremely useful. He’s actually a theist but would probably (we generally avoid talking about religion) have about 80% confidence in the existence of God, with 30% that he/she/it is accurately described by the bible.

  36. Golgafrinchan Captain says

    And Bea, troll or not, my request still stands. I’d love for you to give some examples of Christina Hoff Sommers doing or saying something that I can agree with. I can find many such examples for Dawkins and, at this point, I wouldn’t shake his hand if I met him.

  37. Bea Essartu says

    I’m not sure what to do because I was told that when people say Fuck You and call you a troll you are supposed to reply with a flounce but I don’t know anything funny to say. I believe that we agree on so much starting with a wish that people who are famous should not spend so much time sniping and sneering especially not at other feminists. How did we get where we end up I will not ever know. Khodafez!

  38. yazikus says

    because I was told that when people say Fuck You and call you a troll you are supposed to reply with a flounce but I don’t know anything funny to say.

    I’m enjoying imagining this conversation:
    Bea: What should I do when someone on the internet says Fuck You and calls me a troll?
    Person: Well, obviously you should flounce. In a clever way of course. Always flounce.

    And Bea, Khudā Hāfiz to you! I hope you don’t mean it literally, that might increase your troll percentage.

  39. Golgafrinchan Captain says

    @Bea #54

    I wholeheartedly disagree with “should not spend so much time sniping and sneering especially not at other feminists”. I think it is our responsibility to call out bad ideas wherever we find them. Especially if they come from within our group (whatever that is). Extra-especially if they come from within ourselves.

    I try to avoid saying “fuck you” unless I’m extremely certain I understand the person’s motives but I totally understand where the reaction comes from and won’t criticize those whose patience has run out. I also agree that being told to fuck off isn’t terribly effective in that moment in getting the recipient to change their minds but a hostile environment to bad ideas is extremely effective at changing things on a generational/societal level.

    In the case of Richard Dawkins he is, for many people, the face of atheism. I wish he would have reflected on some of his views when the disagreement was brought up gently, but that didn’t happen. The next best thing is that his bad ideas be called out harshly and publicly. And many people seem to think that Christina Hoff Sommers is a representative of feminism (you seem to be among them). I’m pretty sure she just calls herself that (motives unknown but suspected), which is why I’m curious if you can find any gender-related issue that I might agree with her on. I certainly could not find any.

  40. says

    Yeaaaaaah…my percentages between “genuine, with language barrier” and “total fake pretending to have translation difficulties” changed as I read more of Bea’s comments at Pharyngula and as Bea added more comments here.

    Bea doesn’t sound like a real person with translation difficulties. Bea sounds like a troll putting a selection of slime pit talking points into faked-up “I come from elsewhere” language. Real people don’t suddenly drop into this discussion only to echo slime pit talking points. They don’t say such naive things. They don’t say such familiar things. They don’t talk as if they just hatched from the egg yesterday.

  41. Golgafrinchan Captain says

    @ Ophelia #57

    Yeah, it initially seemed a bit like JAQing off but I wasn’t sure. The language barrier comment was enough for me to adjust away from likely troll until I read the rest of Bea’s comments. I have worked with many people of different nationalities and there are usually tell-tale signs in the writing of ESL people (because of different sentence structures and the fact that English violates its own rules frequently). I’m not as familiar with pit-speak but I did notice the Nugenting.

    My view on it is that as long as you don’t mind us engaging with probable trolls, and it’s not offensive or derailing the thread, it’s a conversation worth having. Even if Bea isn’t a troll, it’s pretty unlikely that anything said here will change her/his mind. The real target is the audience of people who haven’t made up their minds yet. It’s much like when the Atheist Experience gets callers who may be pranks; it’d be better if they were legit callers but it’s the ideas that are being debated, not the people (and I’m 99% certain that there are people who hold Bea’s views, regardless of whether Bea does). I usually just lurk and only post when I’m enjoying it and have the free time to do so.

    Again though, it’s your house so if you ever feel a conversation has gone nowhere for long enough, I’ll completely accept that.

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