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376 Responses

  1. Miriam
    Miriam January 4, 2012 at 9:50 am |

    I want to hug this post and bake it cookies.

    I can’t count how many times men who were otherwise absolutely supportive of me and of women’s rights countered my stories of misogyny with “Yes, but…” I literally can’t count.

  2. FashionablyEvil
    FashionablyEvil January 4, 2012 at 10:00 am |

    I love this post. It could also apply to just about any other kind of -ism out there.

  3. The Nerd
    The Nerd January 4, 2012 at 10:02 am |

    “And if you’re acting as if accusations of misogyny are all about you… maybe that’s something you should be looking at.”

    I want to frame this and hang it up on the wall of the entire internet.

  4. Nimue
    Nimue January 4, 2012 at 10:04 am |

    For real. I am so tired of the “yes, but…” in response to misogyny in my own community. Cause most of the time I can’t come up with a good response to un-derail the conversation at the time…one of those things where four hours/days later you’re suddenly “OH! I should have said [x] to make them realize how misogynistic they were being!”

    …or maybe I’m just in a bad mood, because I’m not *totally* clear on what he was trying to say, but I’m pretty sure my Dad just yelled at me yesterday for not being racist enough.

  5. Anecdotal
    Anecdotal January 4, 2012 at 10:05 am |

    lovelovelovelovelove.

  6. motd
    motd January 4, 2012 at 10:07 am |

    In many cases, it is an excuse

    I’d like to extend that, in *all* cases it is an excuse.

  7. Hobbes
    Hobbes January 4, 2012 at 10:08 am |

    Recently I haven’t gotten so much as a “yes” before the “but”. Instead, someone will just post this video and decide that it speaks for itself, hurr hurr I sure showed that obnoxious fucking bitch.

  8. Anne
    Anne January 4, 2012 at 10:16 am |

    I don’t think “relax your anus, it hurts less that way” was inaproriate given the context, which was that the original poster, the girl with the Carl Sagan book initially commented “brazing mah anuz”. (look at the timestamps, this comment of hers was previous to any of the other sexualized comments)

    Responding to that with “relax your anus” is crude humour, but not evidence of misogynism.

    Not that it helps any; the post in question had about a hundred other perfectly valid examples of sexist behaviour.

  9. Norma
    Norma January 4, 2012 at 10:19 am |

    Could you add a trigger warning for the content following “and was almost immediately targeted with a barrage of sexualized, dehumanizing, increasingly violent and brutal comments”?

  10. LC
    LC January 4, 2012 at 10:42 am |

    I want to hug this post and bake it cookies.

    I was going to make it donuts, but cookies are good.

    “And if you’re acting as if accusations of misogyny are all about you… maybe that’s something you should be looking at.”

    Hell’s yeah. I’ve said something similar about all these instances in a rape/consent/boundary discussion. If the first thing that springs to your mind is figuring out exactly where the “line” is so that you know exactly how much you can get away with? You might want to be looking at that.

  11. mad the swine
    mad the swine January 4, 2012 at 10:46 am |

    This is why I’m a gender separatist, and getting more and more radically so as the years go by. If you, as a woman, put your name and face and voice into any space that is not strongly moderated for safety, males will abuse you. Not ‘a few’ males, not ‘some males’, not ‘a fraction’ – nine out of ten, at a conservative estimate, will either abuse you or condone your abuse with “Yes, but” bullshit like the above. That’s what ‘rape culture’ is. One in four males (I think that’s the current statistic) would actually rape that fifteen-year-old girl, given the opportunity. But when they talk about it, joke about it, the other three out of four cheer them on.

    It’s funny, in a sick way, when advice given by hardcore feminists wraps around to meet up with ultra-religious precepts. But if that girl had asked me, I would have said: If you must communicate with these people, do not show your face. Do not give your name. Do not suggest in any way that you possess a female body. If you do, you will be terribly verbally abused, and (depending on what information you give) you risk physical abuse as well.

    Nothing that happened to this woman is her fault. Abuse is always the fault of the abuser. And for a female, entering a space where males are not repressed means being abused. Always. Males abuse women; it’s a social, cultural, biological universal. And eventually, we’ll have to realize that representing yourself as female – showing the community that women are a part of it as well – will not make the community any better and is not worth the threat to your well-being.

    But I’ve certainly seen accusations of misogyny or sexism that I thought were bullshit. (Porn wars, anybody?)

    And you were speaking so rightly, too, up to this point. It’s tiresome to see women, who would normally defend other women who are being abused and exploited, turn around and silence other women’s stories of exploitation and abuse. Yes, if you defend pornography – any pornography – you’re doing exactly what this post condemns.

    “Yes, but… not all pornography is like that. And if you’re going to talk about pornography, you have to be extra-clear about that.”

    “Yes, but… pornography has some great things about it, too. It’s not fair to paint everyone in it with the same brush.”

    See what I mean?

  12. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. January 4, 2012 at 10:54 am |

    Good grief. That is simply evil. But this post is awesome.

  13. Esti
    Esti January 4, 2012 at 11:05 am |

    Next time a mansplainer tries to tell me that it’s just good sense to not wear revealing clothing/drink alcohol/talk to men/whatever if you don’t want to be harassed, I’m going to direct them to this.* Because apparently you are asking for it any time you make yourself visible to the world, even if you are 1) a minor, 2) fully clothed and showing absolutely no part of your body other than your face, and 3) holding a book about something entirely unrelated to sex, gender, or statutory rape.

    *Not that you should have to avoid doing those things to go through life unharassed, but whatever.

  14. Marlene
    Marlene January 4, 2012 at 11:40 am |

    and it would be obvious to anyone but a sociopathic hyena on meth that it really was misogyny

    Hyenas wouldn’t tolerate this misogyny either. They form female-dominant social groups in which male misbehavior is punished quickly and violently.

    Otherwise, I heart this post, a whole bunch.

  15. AnonCoward23
    AnonCoward23 January 4, 2012 at 11:54 am |

    Yes, if you defend pornography – any pornography – you’re doing exactly what this post condemns.

    “Yes, but… not all pornography is like that. And if you’re going to talk about pornography, you have to be extra-clear about that.”

    “Yes, but… pornography has some great things about it, too. It’s not fair to paint everyone in it with the same brush.”

    See what I mean?

    “Yes, but… not all Muslims are terrorists”?

  16. Ladeeda
    Ladeeda January 4, 2012 at 12:10 pm |

    One thing I am struggling with — though I think I am improving and getting better at it — is adding non-“Yes, but…” insights and opinions without it being “mansplaining.”

    It’s a bit of a struggle, as I’m forced to confront exactly how my privilege loads my own opinions and thoughts with a lot of baggage that I’m not always aware of, but it’s also been instructive and helpful for learning how to discuss these issues in feminist circles. Tough love, I guess.

    But this post resonates with me as a man who tries to call out the kind of milquetoast misogyny described here, so thank you.

  17. Matt
    Matt January 4, 2012 at 12:23 pm |

    That shit is not okay. I am not sure what can be done about it besides imposing elitist, not real atheists, not allowed to post in our community type things. There are some heavily moderated atheist/free thought spaces where that kind of thing is not allowed, such as Anne Rice’s public profile or Atheist Nexus, and of course all the atheist spaces that explicitly or implicitly identify as feminist.
    I think that like a lot of movements Mainstream Movement Atheism is so focused on pushing atheism as their overriding goal that they don’t look around enough and try to avoid absorbing many of the traits of the groups they are fighting against.

  18. glove
    glove January 4, 2012 at 12:34 pm |

    I’m worried by the gendering of the ‘misogyny ignorers’ in this article, and the ‘feminists telling people this shit ain’t OK.’ In other words, the former were always men in the OP, the latter always women:

    “When the topic of misogyny comes up, and men change the subject, it trivializes misogyny.

    When the topic of misogyny comes up, and men change the subject, it conveys the message that whatever men want to talk about is more important than misogyny.” …etc.

    Not good enough. In the actual incident, from what you’ve said all or almost all of the people typing misogynist crap were men. So gendering that incident as men being misogynist to a woman is fine. But the discussion about the incident? You must realise that women can be staunch victim-blamers too? And that men can call this crap what it is?

  19. Unlurking
    Unlurking January 4, 2012 at 12:42 pm |

    Wow. a whole 18 comments before “yes, but women are just as bad!”

  20. Lisa
    Lisa January 4, 2012 at 12:44 pm |

    Very well put.

    “Yes, but… what about male circumcision?”

    I’ve had this exact conversation. Can’t say I reacted too well to the question. Had I been calmer in response, this article would cover exactly what I wished I’d said.

  21. Matt
    Matt January 4, 2012 at 1:05 pm |

    glove 1.4.2012 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    I’m worried by the gendering of the ‘misogyny ignorers’ in this article, and the ‘feminists telling people this shit ain’t OK.’ In other words, the former were always men in the OP, the latter always women:

    “When the topic of misogyny comes up, and men change the subject, it trivializes misogyny.

    When the topic of misogyny comes up, and men change the subject, it conveys the message that whatever men want to talk about is more important than misogyny.” …etc.

    Not good enough. In the actual incident, from what you’ve said all or almost all of the people typing misogynist crap were men. So gendering that incident as men being misogynist to a woman is fine. But the discussion about the incident? You must realise that women can be staunch victim-blamers too? And that men can call this crap what it is?

    But somehow in the feminist mind women supporting patriarchy are victims whose minds have been conditioned by authority and environment and men who support patriarchy are making a choice.
    A lot of feminists say that they don’t believe that, over and over, but if you participate in feminist spaces, the message thrums through loud and clear.
    A perfect example is the gender separatists. They think that if society was all female somehow kyriarchy would magically disappear. We even have one in the thread, mad the swine. Gender separatism would just shift the abused minority elsewhere. We can see that in the often racist section of feminism, or the classist system section.
    Its not fair to impute this belief system only to feminists however. Most people believe that power doesn’t corrupt everyone equally, for whatever silly reason.
    Where there is a society there is a hierarchy and where there is a hierarchy there is power and where there is power there is the abuse of power.
    Whether or not we can reduce the abuse of power through changing our organizational structure is up for debate, the fact that gender separatism is not a viable solution to the abuse of power is not.
    However, if you notice talking about this common belief structure in feminism, or mentioning that misogyny is perpetrated by women too is on the “yes, but…” list, which means we musn’t talk about it lest we be accused of derailing.

  22. Laura
    Laura January 4, 2012 at 1:05 pm |

    Actually, I agree with 18. I found it offputting. The “Yes, but”s from men are usually more ferverent, but the ones from women are more annoying, more heartbreaking. And that’s usually pounced on by men who are trying defend their own misogynistic behavior.

    And I think it’s a good discussion to have – how do we make sure that we’re shutting out the “yes, but”s but not appropriate calling-outs of problems within a post? I feel like emphasizing men but using gender neutral language would have been more appropriate for the post – because I have more problems in discussions when these kinds of “counter-arguements” come from women than men. Some are obvious – comment #11, for example, where a side note is/may be problematic as is and at least needs further explanation. But if you say “this problem is not exclusive to the stated group” – is that a “yes, but” or trying to widen the discussion?

  23. Echo Zen
    Echo Zen January 4, 2012 at 1:20 pm |

    “Yes, but… what about male circumcision?” When I hear nonsense like that, it makes me realise nobody teaches biology in high school anymore.

    I’m lucky the atheist spaces I know of are run by unabashed feminists and human rights supporters, one of whom ended up being the reason I came out of the closet as an abortion rights advocate. Seeing the ugliness toward Rebecca Watson is a somber reminder my bubble doesn’t represent the U.S., if Richard Dawkins’ comments on women in lifts weren’t already evidence of that.

  24. Matt
    Matt January 4, 2012 at 1:23 pm |

    Oh, one other thing that is directly on the topic of yes but. Schwizzy. Go through that thread and read the comments from people supporting him. Clarisse, Echo Zen, some people who were students who weighed in. A chorus of yes but. Yes, but Schwizzy inspires my students. Yes, but Schwizzy was the prof who got me into feminism and he was so inspiring to me. Yes, but Schwizzy has reformed himself. Yes, but Schiwzzy made me feel safe.
    I could go on. How many people in the various comment threads, including Clarisse Thorn, pulled out all the yes but stops but the blog staff had to be pressured by a the commentariat, especially a very specific group of commentators, to put Hugo in perma mod, and most of the yes, butters did not get called out by the blog staff for doing it.
    This post was considered important enough to be posted here, and the majority of commenters are showing enthusiastic support, yet we had a huge yes but debacle only recently and no one applied this framework there. Maybe the people who engaged in yes, but in that conversation just haven’t posted here to say how they don’t agree with yes but?

  25. sabrina
    sabrina January 4, 2012 at 1:23 pm |

    WTF is wrong with people that they can’t accept that misogyny exists?

  26. matlun
    matlun January 4, 2012 at 1:32 pm |

    Disregarding the issue of whataboutery (only a few of the examples) I have a different interpretation of the “Yes, but …” issue.

    Often the speaker actually uses “Yes, but…” instead of “No, you are wrong” in an failed attempt to be polite while actually being patronizing.

  27. Donna L
    Donna L January 4, 2012 at 1:37 pm |

    the feminist mind

    Oh, for God’s sake.

  28. Esti
    Esti January 4, 2012 at 1:38 pm |

    I think there’s a difference between “yes, but” and “yes, and”. So if you think that this post ignores the harm women do when propping up or ignoring misogyny, by all means add that to the discussion. The problem with “yes, but” is that it’s not adding to the conversation, it’s trying to silence it.

    “Yes, those rape comments were misogynist, but it’s not a big deal/others are worse/it was a joke/etc.” is qualitatively different than “yes, those rape comments are misogynist, and it was both men and women making them — let’s address both of those groups, not just the first one.”

  29. George
    George January 4, 2012 at 1:42 pm |

    Yes, but we Men need to respond to Misogynist B.S. – from other Men and Not remain silent,

    Yes, but we Men need to focus upon working within ourselves, with other Men and really work to change ourselves

    Yes, but for us Men it is irrelevant if “women …. this” or “women … that” much of the time. We have our own …. to deal with.

    It would be a wonderful, incredible change if more of us would start doing the work and being part of the change, rather than reacting (negatively) out of fear and pain and hatred (including self-hatred).

    If we do really struggle and do some of this, Yes but you and I will still (justifiably) be criticized by Women (and Men).

    Thanks!

  30. Journeymom
    Journeymom January 4, 2012 at 1:46 pm |

    Hey Anne, up there at #8, thanks for providing *context*. I have to admit the anal sex specific comments this girl received was baffling. Why anal sex?? Because when someone posted ‘Brace your self, the compliments are coming” she responded “Bracin mah anus”.

    But you are wrong, the violent responses she got are, indeed, very misogynist.

    “Yes, but she started it.” “Yes, but they’re just joking around.” “Yes, but it’s just crude humor. Can’t people joke around anymore?”

    She’s a fifteen year old. As the mom of a sixteen year old girl, who thinks she’s soooo sophisticated and grown-up when she and her friends use crude sexual humor, I can tell you that girl did not make a wise, measured decision to post her comment. The violent responses she got were not in kind to her comment, they piled on the dehumanizing, minimizing hostility.

  31. Georgie
    Georgie January 4, 2012 at 1:47 pm |

    I agree with the author to a certain extent. However I have some queries and all of them come from a place of wanting to understand rather than challenge. It says:

    Yes, but… misogyny doesn’t just happen in (X) community (atheist, black, gay, etc.). In fact, it’s worse in some other communities.

    Is there not an issue of intersectionality here? Does pointing out that some groups are more readily thrown with the accusation of misogyny in certain forums than others undermine the evil of misogyny? If so, why? And isn’t this slightly different to ‘changing the subject’ and ‘trivialising misogyny’ Is highlighting the difference in treatment of Chris Brown in the media to Charlie Sheen in the media trivialising misogyny?

    Please, for the sweet love of Loki and all the gods in Valhalla, when someone points out how terrible and misogynistic that is, do not change the subject.

    Please just say, “That is terrible. That is completely unacceptable.

    There is quite a thin line between trying to stop people derailing a conversation and stifling any kind of discussion on the topic. How will a person learn if they cannot query?

    It’s not all about you.

    Who is not about? (I’m not being rude here I’m genuinely wondering) Surely the whole point of discussing misogyny is because it affects everyone and is insidious?

  32. Matt
    Matt January 4, 2012 at 1:59 pm |

    Donna L 1.4.2012 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    the feminist mind

    Oh, for God’s sake.

    Oh, I am sorry, are we not generalizing large heterogeneous groups of people? I was only picking my words based on an abstract format derived from the original post. That generalized men, I generalized feminists. I even cited an example right up the thread of that gender separatist. Is that not an okay way to make an argument?

  33. Donna L
    Donna L January 4, 2012 at 2:20 pm |

    I was only picking my words based on an abstract format derived from the original post. That generalized men, I generalized feminists.

    Nonsense. Statements in the original post such as “When the topic of misogyny comes up, and men change the subject, it trivializes misogyny” aren’t making any kind of generalization whatsoever concerning men; they are simply saying that when men do X, it has a particular effect.

    You, on the other hand — deliberately, you now claim — were, in fact, making a generalization about feminists by referring to the so-called “feminist mind” as a single collective entity.

    Surely you see the difference

    By the way, when you’re attempting to quote both a comment and the response to that comment, could you please distinguish between the two by formatting them either as two separate block quotes, or as a block quote within a block quote? It’s really not that difficult. Even a man should be able to do it!

  34. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub January 4, 2012 at 2:22 pm |

    “Yes, those rape comments were misogynist, but it’s not a big deal/others are worse/it was a joke/etc.” is qualitatively different than “yes, those rape comments are misogynist, and it was both men and women making them — let’s address both of those groups, not just the first one.”

    This. The “yes, but” usually comes from privileged people who may pretend to be on one group’s side to score points against another group they don’t like/feel threatened by. They’ll pontificate endlessly about how the group they’re criticizing thinks (HIVEMIND! JELLUS! etc.) and never pause to consider that maybe, just maybe, they’re coming off as douchebags whose sense of entitlement has been threatened.

  35. Drew
    Drew January 4, 2012 at 2:59 pm |

    sabrina 1.4.2012 at 1:23 pm | Permalink
    WTF is wrong with people that they can’t accept that misogyny exists?

    I think this is the heart of many issues of discrimination – its difficult for people, who have not considered the subjects thoroughly, to distinguish between personal belief and systemic oppression. So you have white people who refuse to believe that America is a racist society, because *they* aren’t racist (that is, they dont fit the KKK model of racism). You have men who refuse to believe that America is sexist, because *they* aren’t sexist (that is, they don’t think all women are useless except for sex). Add to that the insidiousness of bigotry, where its hard (even for those who do work against that bigotry) to decondition yourself from it.

    I agree with the original post here – using one unacceptable thing to cancel out another unacceptable thing is ridiculous and immoral. Trying to erase a point about one thing by overloading the authors moral responsibility toward inclusion is equally so.

    That said, I don’t think every explanation is an excuse. It’s entirely possible to condemn unacceptable behavior, while also looking for the root of that behavior and considering ways to approach the problem from those roots. Otherwise we’re left with perpetuating the completely unrealistic stereotypes which do more harm than good.

  36. Macai
    Macai January 4, 2012 at 3:40 pm |

    When the topic of misogyny comes up, and men change the subject, it trivializes misogyny.

    When the topic of misogyny comes up, and men change the subject, it conveys the message that whatever men want to talk about is more important than misogyny.

    But only when men do it. When women do it, it’s okay, because Patriarchy.

  37. Roro80
    Roro80 January 4, 2012 at 3:46 pm |

    Is there not an issue of intersectionality here? Does pointing out that some groups are more readily thrown with the accusation of misogyny in certain forums than others undermine the evil of misogyny?

    If the point of the article is sexism in the workplace, and you throw out that it’s worse for women without jobs or for women from racial groups with higher unemployment, etc, then yes, that’s derailing and basically telling those who experience that sort of sexism that we should just suck it up. If the conversation is about mysogyny against black women in the form of black women’s bodies being considered public property, and you tell everyone that it’s less bad than the sexism of black men against black women, then yes, you are minimizing that form of sexism. Using your other example, if the article is on how bad it is that Chris Brown is out there at the Kids Choice Awards, and you say yes, but Charlie Sheen is worse and the media doesn’t care, that’s minimizing the violence at hand.

    Like the author says, these things belong in other threads. Yes, they are important topics — intersectionality, intraracial mysogyny, and media treatment of perpetrators of violence against women — but that doesn’t mean you get to put your ideas about what *other* topic is important to talk about into every thread. It is classic derailing, minimizing, and erasing the importance of the topic at hand, and of the agency of the poster to talk about her topic.

    If every topic of conversation is going to boil down to “yes, but Darfur is worse”, why talk about anything at all?

  38. karak
    karak January 4, 2012 at 3:48 pm |

    This is what made me finally quit reddit–when I pointed out the larger atheist movement has serious issues with racism and misogyny, someone immediately began arguing that Chinese people were all atheists and my point was moot.

    When I pointed out she apparently knew nothing about Chinese religious/spiritual culture and government, he demanded I educated him then started sending me dictionary definitions.

    It was… facepalmingly stupid. I can’t have a battle of wits with the unarmed.

  39. Victoria
    Victoria January 4, 2012 at 3:57 pm |

    Like the author says, these things belong in other threads. Yes, they are important topics — intersectionality, intraracial mysogyny, and media treatment of perpetrators of violence against women — but that doesn’t mean you get to put your ideas about what *other* topic is important to talk about into every thread. It is classic derailing, minimizing, and erasing the importance of the topic at hand, and of the agency of the poster to talk about her topic.

    If every topic of conversation is going to boil down to “yes, but Darfur is worse”, why talk about anything at all?

    I just wanted to say this is a wonderful comment.

  40. LotusBen
    LotusBen January 4, 2012 at 4:02 pm |

    I find it darkly ironic the amount of “yes, but’s” that have already cropped up on this thread to condemn the “yes, but.”

    Sometimes it’s possible just to agree with something. Just say “yes.” Yes, that was fucked up. Yes, that was misogynistic. Pause, let it sink in, so you can remember it. It was misogynistic, it was fucked up, shit like that shouldn’t happen.

    If your friend just told you that their parents died in a car accident, you (hopefully) wouldn’t say, “Yes, but. . .what are you going to do for their funeral? What about your godparents, are they still alive? I guess you just gotta move on with your life–what’s a person to do!?”

    If something is serious, like somebody just died, or some 15 year old girl just got brutally sexually harrassed by a bunch of internet fuckheads, it requires time to sufficiently process. If you are immediately on to the next thing, it conveys you don’t want to think about it, you don’t want to let it sink in. But it should sink in; it’s important.

    Misogyny is terrible. What happened to Lunam is terrible. I hope she is not scarred too greatly by this. Those commenters were real jerks.

    Misogyny is terrible.

    Full stop.

  41. Echo Zen
    Echo Zen January 4, 2012 at 4:06 pm |

    If every topic of conversation is going to boil down to “yes, but Darfur is worse”, why talk about anything at all?

    Actually that’s the exact example I use when ignorant people attempt to argue, “Yes, but X is worse…” “Yeah, well, Darfur is even worse — so should we ignore problems in our own backyard?” Attempts to minimise misogyny in our society are as infinite as the universe (which is saying something).

  42. Jay Phoebe
    Jay Phoebe January 4, 2012 at 4:09 pm |

    Absolutely appalling misogyny, but I don’t agree with the main thrust of the article. Often “yes, but” is used to make excuses; yes, but often it’s used in other ways, in important ways, to express dissent or disagreement, as in:

    “Yes, but… not all Muslims are terrorists”?

    So, while I think the use of “yes, but” as a way of trivializing rape culture definitely exists, the author is wrong to attribute that to the words “yes, but.” There are other ways those words are used; we could focus on the actual misogynist content as opposed to a point of grammar.

    I was also reminded of the debacle concerning closing comments on the Hugo Schwyzer article when I read this:

    Please just say, “That is terrible. That is completely unacceptable. That is not how civilized human beings treat one another. Anyone who did that owes that girl the most groveling apology in their repertoire. If they don’t make an apology in the next six nanoseconds, they ought to be shunned. That sort of behavior is absolutely not to be tolerated.”

    Period.

    Stop there.

    Do not say “Yes, but…”

    Yes, that quote at the start of that block needs saying, and it needs saying often, but that wasn’t the only thing this article was about. Greta Christina trivialized the misogyny by not putting up a trigger warning (reproducing the misogyny and exposing more people to it), and by using the misogyny this girl was exposed to to make her own point about what kind of speech about misogyny she thinks is appropriate.

    I also don’t particularly appreciate that this is the second time recently that the idea that criticism is not welcome at Feministe has been published. I really am rethinking my readership at this point.

  43. EG
    EG January 4, 2012 at 4:14 pm |

    If your friend just told you that their parents died in a car accident, you (hopefully) wouldn’t say, “Yes, but. . .what are you going to do for their funeral? What about your godparents, are they still alive? I guess you just gotta move on with your life–what’s a person to do!?”

    Sadly, Ben, in my experience, even well-meaning people are often so wildly uncomfortable about sitting with terrible events and negative emotions that they are liable to say things like “Don’t cry, it’s all right,” when events are manifestly not all right, or even “Don’t worry, I’ll be your _______ [fill in whatever role the deceased played in your life].” As a culture, we have a real inability to accept horrible events and sit with the feelings they engender without trying to find some “redeeming” feature or consolation.

    In my opinion, victim-blaming like that noted above comes from a similar place–the strong resistance to the facts that sometimes horrible things happen, or people do horrible things to other people, and that life is horribly unfair, and there is nothing they can do or say to make it better.

  44. Roro80
    Roro80 January 4, 2012 at 4:20 pm |

    I don’t agree with the main thrust of the article.

    I’ll respectfully point out that perhaps you missed the main thrust of the article. It was not really about the words “yes, but”. There’s a very big difference between using the words to point out that a stereotype can’t be used to paint a whole group and using them to distract from a specific act of sexism.

    Example 1:
    A: Muslims are bad because they were responsible for 9/11.
    B: Yes, but not all Muslims are responsible for 9/11, nor have those sorts of intentions.

    Example 2:
    A: A lot of men were joking about annally raping a 15-year-old girl. That’s some women-hating bullshit right there.
    B: Yes, but it was just a joke.

    See the difference? I think the main thrust, as you put it, was not that the words “yes, but” are inherently bad, but are so often used to derail from the topic, minimize the incident, or erase the pov of the author. It’s the behavior that’s bad, not the words.

  45. Echo Zen
    Echo Zen January 4, 2012 at 4:27 pm |

    In my opinion, victim-blaming like that noted above comes from a similar place–the strong resistance to the facts that sometimes horrible things happen, or people do horrible things to other people, and that life is horribly unfair, and there is nothing they can do or say to make it better.

    Part of me wonders if that’s a U.S. particularity, with the strong religious undercurrents here promoting a culture where everyone thinks everything’s the work of God, even things like cancer and incest-induced pregnancy. “Oh, God is testing you.” “Oh, God works in mysterious ways. He has allowed this terrible situation to help you realise you are carrying a beautiful child of a loving God…”

  46. Roro80
    Roro80 January 4, 2012 at 4:32 pm |

    I also don’t particularly appreciate that this is the second time recently that the idea that criticism is not welcome at Feministe has been published.

    Sorry, just one more thing on this piece. There is a big difference between criticising a point of view expressed in an article and derailing, minimizing a form of sexism, or insisting that your “worse” topic must be covered in an article about something else. There was also a pretty clear distinction in the article between the point — not minimizing the misogyny of a specific event — and criticizing a post for facts, logic, wording, unexamined displays of privilege, etc.

  47. brambonius
    brambonius January 4, 2012 at 4:45 pm |

    This is not just misogyny, it’s sick and a shame to the human race. How could any human being defend this???

    I know as a christian that patriarchal tendencies in some corners of my faith can be higly destructive to women -and to men who don’t fit the stereotype-, but I have never seen anything like this. The tiny atheist hiding in me is completely baffled, shoqued and grossed out… My first reaction -coming from a pacifist- would be “Seems like the flying spaghetti monster might reconsider the idea of hell at least for some people”…

    (and ‘sweet love of Loki’??? do you have any idea what kind of god you’re speaking about????)

  48. Cheryl
    Cheryl January 4, 2012 at 4:46 pm |

    I agree with this article. So what if the girl made a harmless joke about her own anus? It could refer to defecation or sex or just be a funny teenage thing to say. Saying that remark doesn’t mean she “asked for it” in any way.

    This girl was attacked by men for being female, that is all. Total misogyny, no excuses.

  49. Andie
    Andie January 4, 2012 at 4:49 pm |

    Example 1:
    A: Muslims are bad because they were responsible for 9/11.
    B: Yes, but not all Muslims are responsible for 9/11, nor have those sorts of intentions.

    To me, this would be more of a ‘No, actually’ thing then than a ‘Yes, but..’

    ‘Yes, but’ in this context implies ‘Yes, muslims are bad, but’ where you’d probably want to say ‘No, actually, terrorists – who happen to be muslim – are responsible. Not all Muslims are responsible for 9/11′

    /nitpickiness

  50. LotusBen
    LotusBen January 4, 2012 at 4:49 pm |

    Yeah EG, I completely agree.

    Echo Zen, yeah, I think belief in religion does relate to this. About a month ago, on another thread here at Feministe, someone mentioned (I forget who) the “Just World Hypothesis.” I hadn’t heard of it before, so I looked it up, and it’s pretty interesting. Basically, many people believe that society and life in general are inherently just and fair, so when things seem to go awry, they need to develop constant rationalizations to maintain their belief in a just world despite evidence to the contrary. These rationalizations often contain victim blaming, and such attitudes correlate with religiosity and right-wing social views. Also, African Americans are apparently less likely than others to believe in a just world (huh, wonder why?)

    Anyway, here’s a link to the Wikipedia article:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Just-world_hypothesis

  51. Andie
    Andie January 4, 2012 at 4:50 pm |

    “Oh, God is testing you.” “Oh, God works in mysterious ways. He has allowed this terrible situation to help you realise you are carrying a beautiful child of a loving God…”

    This kind of stuff makes me want to say “you know, in that case, God is kind of an asshole.”

  52. Andie
    Andie January 4, 2012 at 4:53 pm |

    Basically, many people believe that society and life in general are inherently just and fair, so when things seem to go awry, they need to develop constant rationalizations to maintain their belief in a just world despite evidence to the contrary. These rationalizations often contain victim blaming

    This, unfortunately, goes along with my own theory that people victim-blame, or disbelieve rape victims because it’s psychologically easier to believe someone capable of misconstruing or lying about a rape, than believing someone actually to be capable of rape, because lying or ‘misunderstanding’ is the lesser of two evils.

  53. Jay Phoebe
    Jay Phoebe January 4, 2012 at 4:53 pm |

    There is a big difference between criticising a point of view expressed in an article and derailing, minimizing a form of sexism, or insisting that your “worse” topic must be covered in an article about something else. There was also a pretty clear distinction in the article between the point — not minimizing the misogyny of a specific event — and criticizing a post for facts, logic, wording, unexamined displays of privilege, etc.

    Yes, but that’s not a distinction that the OP made at all, which is why I’m criticising it. As for missing the point of the article – well, maybe, okay, but I really thought the main thrust was that Greta Christina doesn’t think it’s okay for you to err at all from closely paraphrasing what she said –

    “If you feel compelled to say something other than “That’s terrible”… add some thoughts about the history of misogyny. Some insights into how misogyny happens, and how it gets perpetuated. Some ideas about what you think should be done about it. Etc. But whatever you do or say, don’t say, “Yes, but…” and then turn the conversation towards yourself, or other men, or some other topic that you think is more important.

    – in other words, you can add material that confirms her argument, but not material that detracts, which is a confirmation bias.

  54. Georgie
    Georgie January 4, 2012 at 4:54 pm |

    If the point of the article is sexism in the workplace, and you throw out that it’s worse for women without jobs or for women from racial groups with higher unemployment, etc, then yes, that’s derailing and basically telling those who experience that sort of sexism that we should just suck it up.

    Ok, I accept that. That’s a good point and is really well answered. But do you see how if I hadn’t done a ‘yes but’ I wouldn’t have learned anything and would not know that it is inappropriate to do it again?

    It would also be great if discussions about intersectionality came up without people like me having to ‘yes but’ but the problem is often it does not and it seems like the only way to do it. But again I do realise that it is a separate issue and you guys are indeed correct.

  55. Andie
    Andie January 4, 2012 at 5:03 pm |

    but not material that detracts

    There’s also a difference between making a cohesive argument that something is NOT actually misogynist, and a ‘Yes (acknowledging that it IS misogynist), but (adding information to try and downplay the seriousness, or draw attention to some other topic at hand, or basically minimize it by saying ‘it’s not so bad’ or ‘it’s not important’ compared to THIS).

    If you agree that something is misogynist, there is no need to add a but.

    If you don’t believe it is, then make your argument, but be prepared to check your privilege at the door.

  56. Donna L
    Donna L January 4, 2012 at 5:06 pm |

    many people believe that society and life in general are inherently just and fair, so when things seem to go awry, they need to develop constant rationalizations to maintain their belief in a just world despite evidence to the contrary.

    I think that more often than not, what they’re trying to maintain is their belief in a just God.

    A lot of people also tend to engage in victim-blaming and other rationalizations when something bad (whether the result of illness, accident, violent crime, or natural catastrophe) happens to someone else, not for religious/just world reasons per se but in order to maintain their belief that they have some control over their own lives, and can keep themselves and/or their families safe from harm by taking actions or precautions that the victim supposedly didn’t take, or being “different” from the victim in some other way. Fortunately or not, I concluded in my childhood, based on substantial evidence, that the world is not just, that God is either non-existent or a sadist with a poor sense of humor, and that everything can be taken away from you in an instant no matter who you are or what actions you take.

  57. Georgie
    Georgie January 4, 2012 at 5:07 pm |

    Sometimes it’s possible just to agree with something. Just say “yes.” Yes, that was fucked up. Yes, that was misogynistic. Pause, let it sink in, so you can remember it. It was misogynistic, it was fucked up, shit like that shouldn’t happen.

    You’re right. I forget that at times.

  58. Roro80
    Roro80 January 4, 2012 at 5:14 pm |

    but that’s not a distinction that the OP made at all

    Well that’s because she wasn’t talking about “posts” or “articles”. She was talking about “misogyny”. I guess the distinction is that she wasn’t talking at all in any case about “things I say”, she was talking about “When the topic of misogyny comes up”. It’s neither limited to nor inclusive of blogs or articles (hers or otherwise) at all.

    you can add material that confirms her argument

    Again, this is not about “arguments” made in a post. It’s about “hey, look at this misogyny”. It’s also about “hey, I had this experience, and there was sexism involved”, or “look, sexism exists here” — being met with “yes but this is worse”, or “yes but it was a joke”, or “yes, but free speech!” etc. I mean, the article is really full of examples of what she was talking about, and none of them come close to “only confirm my argument”. I guess I’m not understanding what the problem is because I feel that the article pretty explicitly limits itself to “misogyny”, not every post or opinion or article. See what I’m saying?

  59. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. January 4, 2012 at 5:16 pm |

    I wonder if this is why the commentariat has such a hard time having a civil and productive discussion (until things spiral out of control), we don’t agree on what is adding to the conversation and what is a “yes, but.”

    For example on the Hugo threads of doom, people reminded us that yeah, Hugo has more recently acted like a shithead to women (particularly women of color) by white knighting. Is that a “Yes, domestic violence is bad, but racism”? Or a “Hello…privilege over there you missed something”.

    Often derailing happens because some privileged person is asserting herself and trying to shutdown criticism, but something similar in appearance also happens where someone with less privilege is trying to call attention to an underlying dynamic.

    I *think* the distinction is in whether the person is trying to deflect attention. Maybe?

  60. LotusBen
    LotusBen January 4, 2012 at 5:22 pm |

    Yeah, Donna, I think that’s a good point. And I think part of the Just World (or just God view), if I’m understanding it right, is that if you do the “right” things, you will be rewarded, or at least avoid punishment or misfortune. And that does comfort people and make them feel like they have some control over their lives. Unfortunately, it doesn’t necessarily make them more compassionate toward others.

    Personally, I don’t think I have quite the clarity you have. I’m not sure if I grew up believing in a just world or not; I was probably somewhere in between. Nowadays, I guess I believe social life is not fair or just, but that on some larger level things are “OK,” if only because on the most macro level everything evens out into a wash in human terms (talking about on the scale of “dust to dust,” billions of years, galaxies and black holes and such).

  61. Roro80
    Roro80 January 4, 2012 at 5:33 pm |

    But do you see how if I hadn’t done a ‘yes but’ I wouldn’t have learned anything and would not know that it is inappropriate to do it again?

    Sure, but certainly having spent (hopefully?) a little time around the progressive activist blogisphere, you’ve come across the idea that it’s not the job of the OP to educate you on everything you don’t understand? I mean, I’m glad you get the point I was trying to make, but the point has been made a million times before on a million other pretty basic Feminism 101 posts. Including this one, in fact. I’m honestly not trying to be flip about it, but the point that derailing a thread on misogyny to talk about your preferred “worse” topic is kind of crummy and misogynist in and of itself is very well-vetted, and would be true and accessible to you, even if I hadn’t given the examples I did, just based on your reading this very post. See what I’m saying?

    It would also be great if discussions about intersectionality came up without people like me having to ‘yes but’ but the problem is often it does not and it seems like the only way to do it.

    Whether a blog or movement or group is sufficiently intersectional is and always has been a problem with many communities, and I know it has come up a number of times here. It’s generally pretty easy to pick out where privilege is leading to blindspots in posts or movements, and address them in that context, though. When a topic is covered without concern about how different groups might be affected or hurt by the argument being made, that’s when you point it out — not by minimizing a particular instance of misogyny and telling the OP that this isn’t important because someone else won the oppression olymics. Hopefully that makes sense.

  62. Thomas MacAulay Millar
    Thomas MacAulay Millar January 4, 2012 at 5:38 pm |

    “Just world” reasoning isn’t the view that people do the least evil that explains the situation. It’s the view that bad things don’t happen to undeserving people. The psychological comfort comes from the holders of the view thinking that if they don’t do anything wrong, bad things won’t happen to them. It accounts for a lot of rape apologism — people don’t want to think that it could happen to themselves or someone they care about, so they essentially invent a mythology that if one doesn’t do X, one won’t be raped.

    I would go do far as to say that almost all rape apologism is either (1) the pro-rape lobby (I’ve blogged about it) or (2) just world reasoning.

  63. » Why “Yes, But” Is the Wrong Response to Misogyny Team Valkyrie FTW

    […] at Feministe there is a guest post about why when confronted with misogyny, the “Yes, But” response […]

  64. LotusBen
    LotusBen January 4, 2012 at 6:20 pm |

    Thanks for the clarification Thomas.

  65. Norma
    Norma January 4, 2012 at 6:24 pm |

    Mods: Can you please add a trigger warning? Reading ‘blood is nature’s lubricant’ etc without a warning was really un-fun.

    1. Jill
      Jill January 4, 2012 at 6:54 pm | *

      Trigger warning added.

  66. Lamech
    Lamech January 4, 2012 at 6:34 pm |

    “When the topic of misogyny comes up, and men change the subject, it trivializes misogyny.

    When the topic of misogyny comes up, and men change the subject, it conveys the message that whatever men want to talk about is more important than misogyny.”

    I see a problem with this: If changing the subject implies that the subject that is changed too is more important we can make statement like

    “When the topic of Darfur/genital-mutilation/The-Iraq-War comes up, and people change the subject, it trivializes Darfur/genital-mutilation/The-Iraq-War.

    When the topic of Darfur/genital-mutilation/The-Iraq-War comes up, and people change the subject, it conveys the message that whatever they want to talk about is more important than Darfur/genital-mutilation/The-Iraq-Wary.”

    So if I brought up Darfur/genital-mutilation/The-Iraq-War and everyone here (rightly) went back to discussing other things would that convey that Darfur/genital-mutilation/The-Iraq-War are less important?

    Just because misogyny comes up at some point in the discussion doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go back to what the discussion was originally about. Misogyny doesn’t have some special power that if someone ever mentions it, there should be no changing away from that topic. If a group of people are talking about how to best aid Darfur, misogyny might not be a good topic, and if someone brings it up it could very well be wholly appropriate to return to the topic of Darfur.

    Now, there are obviously times when starting a discussion about Darfur/genital-mutilation/The-Iraq-War would be particularly appropriate.

    Possibly a more succinct version: You can derail a topic about Darfur/genital-mutilation/The-Iraq-War by saying “Yes, but what about misogyny? Shouldn’t we be talking about that?” just as one can derail a conversation about misogyny by saying “Yes, but what about Darfur/genital-mutilation/The-Iraq-War? Shouldn’t we be talking about that?” Try to avoid derailing either of those conversations.

  67. Georgie
    Georgie January 4, 2012 at 6:35 pm |

    I mean, I’m glad you get the point I was trying to make, but the point has been made a million times before on a million other pretty basic Feminism 101 posts.

    Whoops, sorry I missed ‘em. You’re right, I guess in future it is more appropriate to try and find out a different way rather than commenting on things that I don’t quite understand.

  68. Katherine
    Katherine January 4, 2012 at 6:41 pm |

    What the hell does male circumsion have to do with the 15 girl who was attacked on the internet? Misogynists amaze me. I hope one of them gives me an example of how those two things are alike.

  69. Comrade Kevin
    Comrade Kevin January 4, 2012 at 6:43 pm |

    “Yes, but…”is invalidating. I agree.

    If I’m to be honest, I started out in “yes, but…” mode when I was first learning about Feminism. I think it’s an automatic response when you haven’t really been privy to discussions of privilege. And most men, honestly, haven’t. If they have, they’ve usually sought out that topic deliberately.

    From what I’ve read and observed, women who are feminist hold male allies to a varying standard of expected comprehension and discourse. Sometimes the bar is set higher. And when I started out, I had to hold back some anger and defensiveness. I think this hurdle is the toughest one for many men because they’ve never questioned such things. Once a man “gets it”, then it is progressively easier and easier from then on.

  70. Roro80
    Roro80 January 4, 2012 at 6:47 pm |

    Hey Georgie, no need to be sorry — it’s a good thing to pick through on a post like this, where the explicit topic is what is and isn’t appropriate in response to misogyny. It just wouldn’t be appropriate to insist that others explain it to you multiple times before you get it. Sometimes people will anyway. :)

  71. Esti
    Esti January 4, 2012 at 6:49 pm |

    The difference, Lamech, is that genocide, genital mutilation, and war are widely accepted to be serious and worthy of discussion, whereas many people seem to believe that the type of misogyny this post is about just isn’t a big deal. If you come into a discussion of one problem and tell people that they should really be talking about another, more serious problem, that suggests the original topic isn’t worthy of discussion. If you come into a discussion of one problem and tell people they should really be talking about another, less serious problem, most people are likely to look at you funny but not to take that as a suggestion that the original topic isn’t worthy of discussion.

    Sure, it may not derail or minimize things if you show up to a discussion about Uganda trying to criminalize sodomy and go “yeah, but in the U.S. gay kids ARE TEASED A LOT in school.” But it has a very different effect if you walk into a discussion about gay kids in the U.S. being harassed at school and say “yeah, but Uganda wants to make being gay ILLEGAL, so why don’t you talk about that?”

    Not to mention that in your example, the genocide/genital mutilation/war issue is being ignored because it was raised in an existing conversation about a different topic, whereas what we’re talking about here is someone trying to shut down the existing conversation by telling everyone a different issue is more important.

    Short version: context, it matters.

  72. Jill
    Jill January 4, 2012 at 6:55 pm | *

    It is funny how this thread has partially turned into an example of what the author was talking about. The thread at her own blog is much worse, but still. Color me shocked.

  73. KarenX
    KarenX January 4, 2012 at 7:10 pm |

    That said, I don’t think every explanation is an excuse. It’s entirely possible to condemn unacceptable behavior, while also looking for the root of that behavior and considering ways to approach the problem from those roots.

    If you are talking to a person who is complaining about receiving unacceptable treatment, asking that person to participate in a conversation about discovering the roots of someone else’s unacceptable behavior and then finding ways to solve those problems for those other people–the ones dishing out the unacceptable behavior–is not helpful. It can even be offensive. If it is important to ferret out the causes of why people behave badly, you should approach those people who behave badly and help them solve their own problems.

    If you start a conversation with an idea about the source of a very common unacceptable behavior, then sure. It’s good to have discussions like that, with everyone involved trying to brainstorm ideas for curbing it. But if someone is complaining to you about being harmed by it, trying to put some of the responsibility on them for fixing the problem isn’t what they want to hear. When I receive bad treatment, I don’t particularly care why. I just want it to stop. I don’t appreciate being asked to consider the bad treatment from the deliverer’s point of view.

  74. tinfoil hattie
    tinfoil hattie January 4, 2012 at 7:17 pm |

    Men in this thread: SHUT THE F- UP AND LISTEN.

    GOT IT YET?

  75. tinfoil hattie
    tinfoil hattie January 4, 2012 at 7:20 pm |

    So what if the girl made a harmless joke about her own anus? It could refer to defecation or sex or just be a funny teenage thing to say.

    Or maybe she feared what kinds of comments were headed her way, and was RIGHT.

  76. Lamech
    Lamech January 4, 2012 at 7:48 pm |

    @Esti:

    “The difference, Lamech, is that genocide, genital mutilation, and war are widely accepted to be serious and worthy of discussion, whereas many people seem to believe that the type of misogyny this post is about just isn’t a big deal.”

    Hmm… that makes sense, so let me refine my argument. Change Darfur/genital-mutilation/The-Iraq-War to Rape-of-males/The-Selective-Service/Overly-broad-Laws, now we have a bunch of things that many people seem to believe isn’t that big of a deal.

    “Not to mention that in your example, the genocide/genital mutilation/war issue is being ignored because it was raised in an existing conversation about a different topic, whereas what we’re talking about here is someone trying to shut down the existing conversation by telling everyone a different issue is more important.”
    I agree with any sentiment that you shouldn’t try and shut down conversations by bringing up “worse” things. However that does not seem to be what this quote

    “When the topic of misogyny comes up, and men change the subject, it conveys the message that whatever men want to talk about is more important than misogyny.”

    says. This says nothing about being okay to change the subject if misogyny is brought up in a discussion on male rape. If someone goes “Yes, but don’t forget that misogyny causes unfair enforcement?”* In a discussion on overly-broad-laws I think its a problem, and if it got successfully derailed into a discussion on misogyny, I think it is fully appropriate to change it back to the discussion on overly-broad-laws.

    So there are places when a discussion on misogyny is not appropriate, and when the discussion on misogyny is not appropriate its okay to change the topic away from it. Just as there are places when a discussion on [other topic] is not appropriate. (For example, all of guest bloggers examples).

    *I’m sure that one can think of context that makes it on-topic. Assume context that makes it off-topic.

  77. Jo
    Jo January 4, 2012 at 8:10 pm |

    I think this is a great post, something that will be very useful to me when I find myself in a conversation with someone and something misogynistic comes up. It’s just a pity that often you can’t argue with people who make misogynistic statements well – one yes, but is followed by the next. The other day I was trying to explain to someone why it was offensive to say that women lie about being raped all the time, and every argument I made was answered to with “yes, but not all those men could actually be rapists,” “yes, but she probably just decided that it was a mistake on her part so she accused him of rape to blame him,” “yes, but you’re just taking all this far to seriously.” (Doesn’t it always end that way, with someone pointing out how you should get over yourself and take a joke?)

    I’d also like to agree with Andie at #49 – “no, actually” is much more accurate for statements like “all muslims are terrorists,” because if you say “yes, but” you are still agreeing (at least partially) with what the other person has said.

  78. Echo Zen
    Echo Zen January 4, 2012 at 8:20 pm |

    “yes, but not all those men could actually be rapists,” “yes, but she probably just decided that it was a mistake on her part so she accused him of rape to blame him,” “yes, but you’re just taking all this far to seriously.”

    Gee, I didn’t realise rape wasn’t supposed to be a serious issue. Obviously we should take the issue lightly instead. Good thing your talk partner cleared that up for me!

  79. Roro80
    Roro80 January 4, 2012 at 8:31 pm |

    For goodness’ sake, I’m not seeing how the instance of misogyny would come up in such cases. I’m trying to imagine someone blogging in an otherwise serious manner about Darfur and randomly adding “but who wouldn’t tap that, amirite?” In which case, yeah, that blogger’s going to get rightfully called out for being a sexist piece of shit, and probably shouldn’t be paid attention to on anything anyway. If the blogger is treating the issue in a misogynistic way — say, the blogger hirself minimizes the sexual violence going there, or whatnot — then pointing that out is certainly on topic. Of course if someone comes into that thread and says, “Yes, Darfur is bad, but I think you should concentrate on misogyny in the US”, that is derailing. Of course.

    Ugh, this isn’t that complicated.

  80. circe the marine
    circe the marine January 4, 2012 at 8:33 pm |

    @mad the swine

    i enjoy the way you explain these things away. men act this way because they are men. women will be raped because men rape women. its just what they do. it is sad, but we cannot change it.

    you do not stop and think that this is a social problem that should be attended to? in the 60’s i bet you would have said that white people and black people should remain separate but equal, that white people are just racist and they will not change their behavior, so black people should just not show that they are black. you allow the perpetuation of bigotry, and so things will of course stay the way they are.

    a rather defeatist way of going through life, but whatever allows you to drop any notions of responsibility, amiright?

  81. Esti
    Esti January 4, 2012 at 8:39 pm |

    Lamech, is your point really just “when a conversation is about one thing, it’s rude to try to make it about something else”? Because that is PRECISELY the type of behavior that this post describes.

    We were talking about people interrupting conversations about misogyny with “yes, but this OTHER thing happens, too.” You just interrupted that conversation about misogyny to say “yes, but you could hypothetically also interrupt conversations about other topics by talking about misogyny, so you should also not do that.” Do you seriously not understand that you, personally, are the reason this post even needs to exist?

  82. anonymous
    anonymous January 4, 2012 at 8:47 pm |

    Now. If an instance of misogyny is being discussed, and you genuinely don’t think that the instance really was misogynistic or sexist… by all means, say so. I’d advise you to listen very carefully first, and to think very carefully, and to consider the possibility that women might know some things about misogyny that you don’t, and to choose your words and ideas very carefully indeed.

    In other words, this is a one-sided conversation and if you dare disagree with the feminists who hold the exclusive rights to THE TRUTH IN ALL ITS GLORY, you’re a misogynist/heretic/evil person who’s “mansplaining” the oppressed.

    I’ve never seen a compelling argument that underlined why it’s such a shrill, polarizing debate. Only “if you disagree, you ‘don’t get it,’ and “if you don’t drink the kool-aid, get the eff out.'”

    It’s depressingly predictable.

    Yep.

    I’ve stopped discussing this stuff in person with feminists. It’s like talking to hardcore atheists or religious people. They’ve made up their mind and that’s the end of the story. In their mind, they couldn’t be wrong, so why even discuss it?

    Post 21 by Matt

    Most people believe that power doesn’t corrupt everyone equally, for whatever silly reason. Where there is a society there is a hierarchy and where there is a hierarchy there is power and where there is power there is the abuse of power… However, if you notice talking about this common belief structure in feminism, or mentioning that misogyny is perpetrated by women too is on the “yes, but…” list, which means we musn’t talk about it lest we be accused of derailing.

    He’s making a similar point.

  83. john1923
    john1923 January 4, 2012 at 8:47 pm |

    I am going to deal with, “yes, but not all men are like that”.

    Firstly, after reading this post I can understand why you are interpreting this statement as making light of misogyny, and I will try to avoid saying it in future.

    However you have completely mis-understood what men mean when they say “yes, but not all men are like that.”

    The next disclaimer is that currently society is biased in favour of men, and we have most of the privileges, and this needs to change. However in the patriarchy women do have some privileges, and one of the big ones is no-one assumes that you are guilty because you are a woman.

    So you don’t live your lives having to prove your innocence on a regular basis.

    When men hear statements like,

    “A lot of men were joking about annally raping a 15-year-old girl. That’s some women-hating bullshit right there”

    What we hear is a generalisation that all men make and enjoy these jokes. Then our reflex to prove that we are not guilty of crime xx kicks in and we say something that is true, the majority of men are not like that.

    This is a communication issue. where we are unaware of each other’s privileges. If you talk to a man about misogyny without explicitly excluding him from the misogyny he will feel accused of said misogyny.

  84. Tony
    Tony January 4, 2012 at 8:51 pm |

    I think that in contrast to

    Greta Christina…using the misogyny this girl was exposed to to make her own point about what kind of speech about misogyny she thinks is appropriate.

    it strikes me strongly as the opposite – this post would never have existed without both the incident in the question AND the thread over at Skepchick, and was written directly in response to them. The “point” of this post is in service to calling out a misogynistic incident, not vice-versa. So discussing logic for its own sake, or to arrive at a perfect intellectual understanding of logically rigorous critique misses the point. There’s a human dynamic here that goes beyond just what’s logically consistent vs inconsistent.

    For example, the length of the some of the “yes, but’s” in the Skepchick thread also struck me. The second comment in the thread is 400 words long. The point? “a tiny fraction are responsible for the entire seemingly overwhelming mountain of shit the internet produces.”

    In other words, “Oh this isn’t so bad, there are millions of other people out there who didn’t participate in this disgusting misogyny.” (Never mind that those millions also weren’t there to downrate the offensive comments). When someone types that much to make such a trivial point, it suggests that they’re strongly resisting the point and trying to shut it down but don’t have the words to do so. It’s a form of passive-aggression in defense of misogyny.

  85. Eric
    Eric January 4, 2012 at 8:51 pm |

    How about, “Yes, and…”

    For instance:
    Yes, and it’s appalling that we live in a society that has socialized these guys to think it’s acceptable to say things like this.

  86. Andie
    Andie January 4, 2012 at 9:17 pm |

    When men hear statements like,

    “A lot of men were joking about annally raping a 15-year-old girl. That’s some women-hating bullshit right there”

    What we hear is a generalisation that all men make and enjoy these jokes. Then our reflex to prove that we are not guilty of crime xx kicks in and we say something that is true, the majority of men are not like that.

    You know a good way to help prove that not all men are like that? Saying something to the effect of “holy crap, that IS bullshit.” instead of trying to defend or downplay it. TADA! Instant Not-That-Guy.

  87. LotusBen
    LotusBen January 4, 2012 at 9:17 pm |

    I’ve stopped discussing this stuff in person with feminists. It’s like talking to hardcore atheists or religious people. They’ve made up their mind and that’s the end of the story. In their mind, they couldn’t be wrong, so why even discuss it?

    So now you’ve advanced to merely anonymously sniping them on the internet. Nice.

  88. Angus Johnston
    Angus Johnston January 4, 2012 at 9:20 pm |

    When men hear statements like,

    “A lot of men were joking about annally raping a 15-year-old girl. That’s some women-hating bullshit right there”

    What we hear is a generalisation that all men make and enjoy these jokes.

    Whaddya mean, “we”?

    When I hear that statement, I don’t feel implicated because I don’t go in for that kind of woman-hating bullshit, and I don’t identify with men who do. Why would I feel implicated when it’s not about me?

    If it’s not about you, it’s not about you. If it’s not about you, why make it about you?

  89. Miss S
    Miss S January 4, 2012 at 9:24 pm |

    Example 1:
    A: Muslims are bad because they were responsible for 9/11.
    B: Yes, but not all Muslims are responsible for 9/11, nor have those sorts of intentions.
    I wouldn’t say “yes, but” in this situation. I would say “no” because being Muslim doesn’t make someone bad, and Muslims as a group were not responsible for 9/11. Because I understand that groups aren’t monolithic, ya know?

  90. Jessica Metaneira
    Jessica Metaneira January 4, 2012 at 9:25 pm |

    thank you so much. Comments like that have worn me down over the years and I’m tired of them. Why do these people ALWAYS have to change the subject?

  91. Tony
    Tony January 4, 2012 at 9:25 pm |

    What we hear is a generalisation that all men make and enjoy these jokes.

    Yeah, who is we? I try to hear what is expressed, not a random variation of it. If you say “that bus driver was a rude douche” I don’t hear “all bus drivers are rude douches”. Do you?

    If you talk to a man about misogyny without explicitly excluding him from the misogyny he will feel accused of said misogyny.

    You choose how you feel. No one else can. I’ve read hundreds to thousands of posts here dealing with misogyny in some way or another and have relatively rarely felt personally accused; in the cases where I did (because someone was responding to me specifically calling me out for something), it was most likely because I was expressing something problematic that my privilege rendered me blind to.

  92. Roro80
    Roro80 January 4, 2012 at 9:26 pm |

    So you don’t live your lives having to prove your innocence on a regular basis.

    Any of the other ladies in the house find this fucking hilarious? I mean, wow.

  93. Jessica Metaneira
    Jessica Metaneira January 4, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
  94. librarygoose
    librarygoose January 4, 2012 at 9:28 pm |

    So you don’t live your lives having to prove your innocence on a regular basis.

    I wonder how a survivor would feel about this?

  95. Alara Rogers
    Alara Rogers January 4, 2012 at 9:32 pm |

    My understanding is that “bracin’ mah anus” was intended by the poster as a funny way of saying “I’m going to try not to shit myself”… it’s a kind of internet/4-chan kind of teenspeak/ geekspeak. She is 15. She’s actually posted that she had no idea that anyone would take it sexually… apparently she thought the implication that she’s (humorously) trying not to poop her pants was obvious.

    The one that really appalled me beyond belief was when one commenter was talking about jeans that were full of holes, the next one said “And so is she”, and the prior commenter said “I was trying not to, but it needed to be said.” Really? It needed to be said that a 15 year old girl is full of holes? In that case, don’t we actually need to point that that everyone is full of holes, because in fact, women have only one more hole than men do, and the total number of orifices in a human body is somewhere around seven or eight? I mean, not only is that fucking obnoxious and bordering on outright evil, but it isn’t even remotely accurate, so why the fuck did it “need to be said”?

    This is a girl who felt like she was one of the group. She can make rude jokes about pooping her pants with the best of them. She’s one of the gang. They’re going to respond mostly to her post itself, some of them in humorously insulting ways that would happen to any poster on reddit, because she’s a poster on reddit and that’s what happens, right? And then, the first few commenters decided to treat her as if she were not the OP, but the topic of discussion — she’s not a fellow poster, she’s a thing to comment about. They not only didn’t treat her as one of the gang, they treated her like she wasn’t even a person. The early comments were all about having sex with her, raping her, or the fact that she is underage and therefore having sex with her/raping her is not a good idea (phrased in a way as to imply that it *would* be a good idea if she weren’t underage.)

    And the sad thing is, while some of these guys may be hardcore misogynists, most of them are probably joking and going along with the group because they don’t see that what they’re doing is *wrong.* If you *asked* them if they hated women, or if they thought it was appropriate to threaten to rape a 15 year old girl for talking about getting an atheist-appropriate present on an atheist forum, they’d say “of course not.” But see, they weren’t talking about raping her. They were talking about… nothing, because they were just being funny, they didn’t mean it, there was no semantic content in their comments. Can’t you take a joke?

    Yes, but. A girl (an actual girl, a child, not a woman that someone called a girl because they are confused about the age range the word describes) posted about a great present she received, to a community she thought she was part of, and she was treated as if *she* were the topic, and the post was about describing her value as a piece of meat to be used for sexual satisfaction. There is no “but” there. There is no “but hey, she made a sexual comment!”, because a man who made the same comment would not have triggered a giant shitstorm of sexualized responses… one or two, maybe. There is no “but she posted with her picture!” because men do that all the time and don’t get this response. There is no “well, she revealed that she was female on the Internet!” because THIS IS NOT YOUR FUCKING PROPERTY, BOYS. ESTHER FUCKING DYSON. We have been here from the beginning. Our tax dollars built this thing as much as yours did. We have always been here. And we have as much right to own this space as you do.

  96. Roro80
    Roro80 January 4, 2012 at 9:34 pm |

    I wouldn’t say “yes, but” in this situation. I would say “no” because being Muslim doesn’t make someone bad, and Muslims as a group were not responsible for 9/11. Because I understand that groups aren’t monolithic, ya know?

    Um, are you serious here?

  97. Miss S
    Miss S January 4, 2012 at 9:37 pm |

    Oops, the first part of my comment is supposed to be quoted.

    Mad the Swine, half of my brain agrees with you, and half doesn’t. I’m so divided about that thinking.
    On the one hand, I don’t want to be hopeless.

    On the other hand, I feel like all the talk about ending rape and child sexual assault is a big fucking waste of time. It’s like trying to prevent murder or death or cancer from ever happening, anywhere, for any reason, ever again.

    People who molest children, people who rape women, people who abduct women off the street, murder them and leave them in a field…. we can’t stop these people from being born. We can’t stop them from doing bad shit. If we could, we would have done it already.
    Men who have the perverted urge to rape don’t care about feminism, equality, or slogans.

    BTW:
    One in four males (I think that’s the current statistic) would actually rape that fifteen-year-old girl, given the opportunity.
    One in four women will be raped. I remember reading that it’s a small percentage of men who rape repeatedly, as opposed to a lot of men raping infrequently. Serial rapists, if you will.
    Only slightly less terrifying, if true.

  98. LotusBen
    LotusBen January 4, 2012 at 9:49 pm |

    Wow Alara, great post. You really described the situation to its sickening core.

  99. Donna L
    Donna L January 4, 2012 at 9:55 pm |

    Thank you, Alara. I really appreciated your analysis. This all makes me so angry (and I’m including some of the idiotic comments right here).

  100. EG
    EG January 4, 2012 at 9:59 pm |

    When men hear statements like,

    “A lot of men were joking about annally raping a 15-year-old girl. That’s some women-hating bullshit right there”

    What we hear is a generalisation that all men make and enjoy these jokes.

    Yes, and that’s the fucking problem. What you need to do is to understand that the world doesn’t revolve around you. Do you know what is most important about the statement “A lot of men were joking about anally raping a 15-year-old girl. That’s some women-hating bullshit right there”? Here’s a clue: not you, and not your fucking feelings.

    I know this is a difficult maneuver for chauvinists to achieve, but try, just try, focusing on somebody who is not you. Try focusing on the 15-year-old girl who has been the object of jokes about anal rape.

  101. tinfoil hattie
    tinfoil hattie January 4, 2012 at 10:01 pm |

    Mad the Swine, half of my brain agrees with you, and half doesn’t. I’m so divided about that thinking.
    On the one hand, I don’t want to be hopeless.

    I don’t think separatism is “hopeless.” Sometimes I think it’s our last hope, the way things never get better for women and girls.

    ———-
    “Hi, John!”

  102. Pat
    Pat January 4, 2012 at 10:03 pm |

    I think it is important to understand the context of the situation on reddit you are pointing out. Before a few months ago, /r/atheism was not a default sub-reddit. You had to actively subscribe to it in order to see posts on it, and therefore comment on it. You can imagine the average veteran /r/atheism goer’s response when someone posts an article claiming that the subreddit is mysogynistic due to the flood of horrible comments from 12 year old trolls and /b/tards aimed at this young woman. The internet is a terrible place where “minorities” are often treated poorly; it seems odd to alienate a group of intellectuals who would otherwise be on your side (every athiest I know is strongly feminist) for the actions of the more immature users of reddit.

  103. Non-Believer
    Non-Believer January 4, 2012 at 10:29 pm |

    Yes, but . . . it’s really up to the 15 year old girl to say whether she was actually hurt by the comments you are all feigning OUTRAGE! (TM) on her behalf.

  104. Dr. Free-Ride
    Dr. Free-Ride January 4, 2012 at 10:38 pm |

    it seems odd to alienate a group of intellectuals who would otherwise be on your side (every athiest I know is strongly feminist) for the actions of the more immature users of reddit

    Because it is so much worse to be identified as part of a group that dishes out violent misogyny than it is to be an actual target of that misogyny?

    You know, if internet atheists are such delicate flowers that the possibility of having people think poorly of them in their inertia is enough to scare them off from aligning themselves with basic human decency, they’re not the kind of allies I’m going to lose any sleep over “alienating”.

  105. librarygoose
    librarygoose January 4, 2012 at 10:47 pm |

    Yes, but . . . it’s really up to the 15 year old girl to say whether she was actually hurt by the comments you are all feigning OUTRAGE! (TM) on her behalf.

    “Dat feel when you’ll never be taken seriously in the atheist/scientific/political/whatever community because you’re a girl. :c”

    That’s a quote from the girl in question. Obviously, she was bothered by it. So fuck right off now.

  106. EG
    EG January 4, 2012 at 10:48 pm |

    Yes, but . . . it’s really up to the 15 year old girl to say whether she was actually hurt by the comments you are all feigning OUTRAGE! (TM) on her behalf.

    Because it’s really up in the air whether or not it’s appropriate to threaten fifteen-year-old girls with rape. I mean, how is a fellow supposed to know whether or not something is hurtful or upsetting unless he tries it?

    You can imagine the average veteran /r/atheism goer’s response when someone posts an article claiming that the subreddit is mysogynistic due to the flood of horrible comments from 12 year old trolls and /b/tards aimed at this young woman.

    If they’re internet veterans like you say, they can shrug off our criticisms. And If they don’t want outsiders to think that their internet community is a bunch of misogynist bastards, then they should moderate it in some way. Either way, it’s not my problem.

  107. Donna L
    Donna L January 4, 2012 at 10:51 pm |

    (every athiest I know is strongly feminist

    Then I guess you must not know all those atheists who posted all that garbage about the “elevator incident,” along the lines of “if socially awkward atheist men can’t try to pick up women when they’re alone with them in hotel elevators at 4 am, after staring at them for hours on end in the hotel bar, then how will they ever get dates? The human race could die out!” And so on.

  108. Non-Believer
    Non-Believer January 4, 2012 at 10:58 pm |

    “Because it’s really up in the air whether or not it’s appropriate to threaten fifteen-year-old girls with rape. I mean, how is a fellow supposed to know whether or not something is hurtful or upsetting unless he tries it?”

    Yes, like I was “threatened” when CNN gave Eliot Spitzer — who acted out his choking/rape fantasies on teenaged sex workers — a show. No, it actually wasn’t a “threat” to me, and I was perfectly within my rights to feel okay continuing to watch CNN without demanding trigger warnings or apologies. Like most of the reasonable, non-drama-queen world.

    You see? It’s MY judgment that counts regarding what’s a threat to me or what offends me. Suprisingly, it’s not . . . YOU! So either provide a direct quote from the 15-year-old girl expressing OUTRAGE! or STFU!

  109. librarygoose
    librarygoose January 4, 2012 at 11:02 pm |

    I quoted her. She was bothered by the comments. So move on.

  110. outrageandsprinkles
    outrageandsprinkles January 4, 2012 at 11:06 pm |

    As an atheist, can I just say that if you read this post and your first thought is “Those poor misrepresented atheists” and not “That poor girl”, then you have a big problem.

  111. Donna L
    Donna L January 4, 2012 at 11:08 pm |

    Yes, like I was “threatened” when CNN gave Eliot Spitzer — who acted out his choking/rape fantasies on teenaged sex workers — a show. No, it actually wasn’t a “threat” to me, and I was perfectly within my rights to feel okay continuing to watch CNN without demanding trigger warnings or apologies. Like most of the reasonable, non-drama-queen world.

    This guy is a notorious troll around here. Why is he still allowed to post?

  112. EG
    EG January 4, 2012 at 11:09 pm |

    Since Spitzer didn’t make any threats–in jest or not–toward you, the situation is hardly analogous. What Spitzer gets up to with other consenting adults (the only named sex worker involved with him that I can find was 22 at the time) isn’t actually at all like men threatening a 15-year-old girl with rape. Also, Ivory soap is not actually like salmon steaks. In case you were also confused about that.

  113. LotusBen
    LotusBen January 4, 2012 at 11:14 pm |

    You see? It’s MY judgment that counts regarding what’s a threat to me or what offends me. Suprisingly, it’s not . . . YOU! So either provide a direct quote from the 15-year-old girl expressing OUTRAGE! or STFU!

    Newsflash: No one here cares about you or what offends you. You bore us all to tears.

  114. Lamech
    Lamech January 4, 2012 at 11:20 pm |

    @Esti:

    Lamech, is your point really just “when a conversation is about one thing, it’s rude to try to make it about something else”? Because that is PRECISELY the type of behavior that this post describes.

    We were talking about people interrupting conversations about misogyny with “yes, but this OTHER thing happens, too.” You just interrupted that conversation about misogyny to say “yes, but you could hypothetically also interrupt conversations about other topics by talking about misogyny, so you should also not do that.” Do you seriously not understand that you, personally, are the reason this post even needs to exist?

    First, no. I’m saying, “No, not quite right.”

    Look the post said “When the topic of misogyny comes up…” Not, “When the topic of misogyny comes up in the appropriate context…” nor “When the topic of misogyny comes up if its not a derail of another topic…”. Not “When the topic of misogyny comes up if its not being used to erase other issues…” Not “When the topic of misogyny comes up in cases like these…” But simply an unqualified “When the topic of misogyny comes up…”

    For example if people are discussing how to alter laws on the selective service, and someone comes in and says “Well actually there is misogyny here because women are viewed as unfit for combat. Why aren’t we focusing on the misogyny instead?” A perfectly appropriate response is “Yes, but we are discussing how to change a law. Changing one law is much easier than changing all of society’s views. Lets change the subject back to that now.”

    The post here says on the other hand “When the topic of misogyny comes up, and men change the subject, it trivializes misogyny.” So according to the post in the example above misogyny was trivialized. I disagree, I say that in the example misogyny was not trivialized, and the response was appropriate.

  115. roro80
    roro80 January 4, 2012 at 11:20 pm |

    It’s MY judgment that counts regarding what’s a threat to me or what offends me. Suprisingly, it’s not . . . YOU!

    I’m going to reasonably assume that you are not a sex worker in your early 20s who might be under reasonable threat in this case. Neither, evidently, are you someone who thinks condoning Spitzer by giving him a show is actually a threat to more than young sex workers in the message it sends. However, hopefully you can wrap that little brain of yours around the idea that that picture could have been any reasonably attractive young girl photographed with her book. I think that there are probably lots of young women on reddit who would be reasonably threatened by a community full of people who would participate and condone what happened there. See how it’s also not up to YOU what offends OTHER people, and what constitutes a threat to THEM?

    Of course, all that is moot, as the girl has already been quoted, and was clearly upset by what happened.

  116. Non-Believer
    Non-Believer January 4, 2012 at 11:20 pm |

    Yeah, most serious expressions of OUTRAGE! (TM) are prefaced by “dat feel” and punctuated by an emoticon. Take it from me — she couldn’t care less.

    True, I wasn’t “threatened” by Spitzer, which was exactly my point. You do know what a “threat” is, don’t you? Nobody threatened that girl.

    But, if you insist they did, I’ll play your game. Remember how Pennsylvania is prosecuting all those people who didn’t step in when Jerry Sandusky was raping up Penn State? Well, did YOU call the FBI on all those “threatening” Reddit commenters? No, you didn’t. Because you know nothing on the thread constituted a “threat.” If you do, you’re a hopeless idiot.

    1. Jill
      Jill January 4, 2012 at 11:22 pm | *

      Ok, I just looked through Non-Believer’s comment history, and have discovered that in all his time here at Feministe, he has not contributed one comment that is even marginally intelligent, interesting or in good faith. In fact he has been nothing but obnoxious and irritating and frankly fairly unintelligent. So, banned.

  117. librarygoose
    librarygoose January 4, 2012 at 11:28 pm |

    Whoo!
    But I was gonna point out the irony in saying that we can’t decide what offends him but going on to assure us that the girl in question wasn’t offended.

  118. Christian Bobak
    Christian Bobak January 4, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
  119. LC
    LC January 4, 2012 at 11:33 pm |

    Well, this thread became depressing in a hurry.

    Alara, EG, thanks.

    Lamech, the English language (like many natural languages) is context-sensitive. To interpret the post in the absolutist way you are is simply in error.

  120. Esti
    Esti January 5, 2012 at 12:01 am |

    Lamech, reading statements ultra literally and expansively and then arguing that they should have included a bunch of caveats because you have thought of a hypothetical example unrelated to the actual topic of discussion is the behavior described in the very first example the OP gives:

    “Yes, but… not all men are like that. And if you’re going to talk about misogyny, you have to be extra-clear about that.”

    If you are actually trying to engage in good faith, I’d suggest you stop talking about something that is completely inapplicable to the actual discussion and that is an example of the exact type of misdirection the OP was talking about.

  121. Angus Johnston
    Angus Johnston January 5, 2012 at 12:04 am |

    The young woman who caught so much hell on Reddit posted a followup, as it turns out, and it’s pretty awesome. Key quote:

    “A major topic of controversy was the fact I posted my face. I’m sorry I didn’t realize I should have to wear a burka on r/atheism.”

    http://www.reddit.com/r/atheism/comments/nuf7i/regarding_my_post_and_the_shitstorm_that_ensued/

  122. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable January 5, 2012 at 12:40 am |

    I’m having a little trouble wading through the trolls (though we all saw this coming, right?), so I apologize if this was said earlier, but I like this post as a reference for whenever I’m in a space of a marginalized group that I am not a member of. For instance, if I’m reading a womanist piece, I think it’s important to remember that “Yes, but…” can just as easily be used by white folks against POC as it is used against women in general.

    Great post – applicable to me as a woman and as a consumer of literature written by people who are differently privileged than me.

  123. librarygoose
    librarygoose January 5, 2012 at 12:46 am |

    Great post – applicable to me as a woman and as a consumer of literature written by people who are differently privileged than me.

    I agree with this. It’s always damn useful to have something that helps you check your privilege.

  124. Pat
    Pat January 5, 2012 at 12:53 am |

    Because it is so much worse to be identified as part of a group that dishes out violent misogyny than it is to be an actual target of that misogyny?

    I said no such thing? I just think it is important to understand that the enemy in this case is not a particular group, it is bigotry, ignorance, and the gentleman’s club feel of the internet. My post was also far from postulating that this would in any way alter anyone’s position on feminism’s importance. No need to misrepresent my position.

    If they’re internet veterans like you say, they can shrug off our criticisms. And If they don’t want outsiders to think that their internet community is a bunch of misogynist bastards, then they should moderate it in some way. Either way, it’s not my problem.

    Moderation on a community so large is quite difficult, and there is a degree of moderation. However reviewing the comments of every person that posts in the comment section of a single reddit link is quite unrealistic don’t you think? I did not say the ‘veteran’ were veterans of the internet, I only brought up that term to differentiate between the old and new members of /r/atheism. I think misguiding your rage is your problem, when you affect others who agree with you on the issue of female disenfranchisement.

    Then I guess you must not know all those atheists who posted all that garbage about the “elevator incident,”…

    No I do not personally know those atheists, and if I did I would probably inform them on how retarded they are and immediately distance myself socially from them. I think you may have misunderstood me when I said “all atheists I know”, and took me to mean “all atheists I have seen”.

  125. librarygoose
    librarygoose January 5, 2012 at 1:02 am |

    No I do not personally know those atheists, and if I did I would probably inform them on how retarded they are and immediately distance myself socially from them. I think you may have misunderstood me when I said “all atheists I know”, and took me to mean “all atheists I have seen”.

    For one, check your privilege, the whole “retarded” thing is not cool. For two, your entire stance fits into the top three points of this article. “It’s not all atheists, a good portion on a atheist forum sure, but not my friends boy-howdy.”

  126. tinfoil hattie
    tinfoil hattie January 5, 2012 at 1:03 am |

    Pat: I guarantee you that many, many of the atheists you know are, indeed, sexist.

    Stop derailing. The post is not about “alienating the GOOD atheists!” It’s specifically about NOT turning it into something other than “Atheists on reddit were misogynist assholes.”

    ————
    “Hi, John!”

  127. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable January 5, 2012 at 1:03 am |

    Pat, please don’t use “retarded” when you mean “ignorant” or “stupid.” It’s offensive.

  128. Ira Gray
    Ira Gray January 5, 2012 at 1:08 am |

    consider the possibility that women might know some things about misogyny that you don’t

    Forever this.

  129. Pat
    Pat January 5, 2012 at 1:09 am |

    Pat, please don’t use “retarded” when you mean “ignorant” or “stupid.” It’s offensive.

    I apologize.

    Stop derailing. The post is not about “alienating the GOOD atheists!” It’s specifically about NOT turning it into something other than “Atheists on reddit were misogynist assholes.”

    I disagree that the ones responding in such a fashion were atheists, as stated in my original argument you seemed to have failed to read.

    For one, check your privilege, the whole “retarded” thing is not cool. For two, your entire stance fits into the top three points of this article. “It’s not all atheists, a good portion on a atheist forum sure, but not my friends boy-howdy.”

    Again I apologize for the use of the word retarded. You are another who seems to have overlooked my first response, as I stated clearly that a fairly likely explanation for the influx of immature assholes is the cause of /r/atheism being added to the list of default sub-reddits.

  130. librarygoose
    librarygoose January 5, 2012 at 1:12 am |

    You are another who seems to have overlooked my first response, as I stated clearly that a fairly likely explanation for the influx of immature assholes is the cause of /r/atheism being added to the list of default sub-reddits.

    Why are you so sure they weren’t also atheists? As an atheist myself I would love to be able to disavow them with such certainty. But really, can you be sure?

  131. Pat
    Pat January 5, 2012 at 1:14 am |

    Why are you so sure they weren’t also atheists? As an atheist myself I would love to be able to disavow them with such certainty. But really, can you be sure?

    Please just scroll up, I don’t want to restate my position as it is already on the site.

  132. LotusBen
    LotusBen January 5, 2012 at 1:22 am |

    I just read lunam’s post that she wrote after the whole abusive incident that summarized her thoughts. I think it seems cool and admirable that she isn’t going to let this hold her back and is putting on a happy face.

    I was a little disturbed, however, that she almost seemed to be looking for where she “went wrong” and did something that could have invited this onslaught. I mean, this is totally understandable given what she was subjected to, with these fuckheads’ invasion of her post being so unexpected and so horrible. It just would have been reassuring for me to see her more adopt a stance of “fuck them; I did nothing to deserve this and these people are jerks.”

    Of course, I want her to deal with this however she determines is best. It just really pisses me off to think that at some level these horrible antics did their trick of making a otherwise confident young woman doubt herself. Fucking douchebags.

  133. Lara Emily Foley
    Lara Emily Foley January 5, 2012 at 1:24 am |

    Gods I hate the we’re all on the same side so stfu amd be nicer argument. Fact is, feminism and atheism are not automatically connected. Being an atheist does not automatically make you more likely to respect women.

  134. Lamech
    Lamech January 5, 2012 at 1:37 am |

    Esti, I’m not sure if your being hyperbolic or not, however I really don’t see anything to indicate in the post this doesn’t apply to situations where the original topic was something else.

    Look, I can even use an example specifically given in the post:

    When — oh, just for example — a freaking 15-year-old girl posts a picture of herself with a book by Carl Sagan to an online atheist community, and gets targeted with a barrage of sexualized, dehumanizing, increasingly violent and brutal comments, including threats of blood-soaked anal rape?

    Please, for the sweet love of Loki and all the gods in Valhalla, when someone points out how terrible and misogynistic that is, do not change the subject.

    This is something the OP specifically used as an example. The misogyny of the comments was pointed out in thread. So was it not okay to go back to talking about how awesome the mom was? Because this post pretty specifically says “do not change the subject”, in fact it even then gives a prescription of what to do, and then says in no uncertain terms to stop right there. (Twice in fact). `

    Regardless question for you: Are you saying “when someone points out how terrible and misogynistic that is” didn’t include the people pointing out the misogyny in the original Reddit comments thread, but only people pointing it out in other posts? And more generally “When the topic of misogyny comes up…” it really has the qualifier “when someone starts up a new discussion on misogyny.”?

  135. librarygoose
    librarygoose January 5, 2012 at 1:40 am |

    Please just scroll up, I don’t want to restate my position as it is already on the site.

    Alright, I did. I still see no reason why you are so fucking sure these people were trolls and not atheists themselves. Atheism isn’t a get-out of-being-an-asshole-free card. You’re so fucking sure, give me proof these people don’t self identify as atheists, as part of the community you and I share. Why don’t you think about the question before assuring me you’ve already mansplained away my concerns.

  136. LotusBen
    LotusBen January 5, 2012 at 1:43 am |

    OK Pat, I understand you are here because you believe /r/atheism is being unfairly attacked and most of your friends are strong feminists and all this is really divisive. Fair enough.

    I’m not sure about some of your factual assertions, however. I’m no expert on reddit, but according to one of your /r/atheism fellows, exseraph:

    “Lunam’s post had to get a lot of attention and comments before it got to the front page. We in /r/atheism didn’t do all of the creeping, but we certainly did some of it.”

    You can see the comment for yourself on Lunam’s “Regarding my post and the shitshorm that ensued” post.

    And isn’t exseraph right? Sure, you don’t have to subscribe to /r/atheism’s anymore, but it’s not like all of /r/atheism’s posts automatically end up on the reddit front page. This wasn’t just a bunch of freaks from 4chan, you atheists had to get the ball rolling or Lunam’s post never would have even made it to the front page. Now all your friends may very well be great guys, but to act as though you’re entire community is pure and untainted by this I would say is either misinformed or disingenous.

    Finally, if you really want to be allies with feminists, don’t just come on here and say they’ve got things wrong. Sure, you’ve got a point of view you want to express, but there’s a lot of smart people here too and part of being a stauch feminist ally is listening to what they have to say and not merely saying “please just scroll up.”

  137. librarygoose
    librarygoose January 5, 2012 at 1:46 am |

    Sure, you’ve got a point of view you want to express, but there’s a lot of smart people here too and part of being a stauch feminist ally is listening to what they have to say and not merely saying “please just scroll up.”

    Thanks for putting it this way, all I could think to reply with was “Fuck you very much.”

  138. thinksnake
    thinksnake January 5, 2012 at 1:48 am |

    Pat, you’re missing the point.

    It doesn’t particularly matter who made these abusive comments, whether they are part of reddit/atheism or not. What matters is that they made these comments. By trying to make the subject of discussion the identity of the commenters, you are centring discussion on the abuser.

    This is instead of centring discussion on the needs of the survivor. This is highly problematic for a whole range of reasons, which I won’t go into because it’s fairly basic feminist 101 (and, I hope, activism 101).

    Pretty much, you’re going “Yes, but they weren’t really atheists.” I get that you probably want to defend your group. But it’s not relevent to the matter at hand, and as explained in this very topic, it leads to misogyny being belittled as an important issue worthy of discussion.

  139. Pat
    Pat January 5, 2012 at 2:12 am |

    First and foremost.

    Finally, if you really want to be allies with feminists, don’t just come on here and say they’ve got things wrong. Sure, you’ve got a point of view you want to express, but there’s a lot of smart people here too and part of being a stauch feminist ally is listening to what they have to say and not merely saying “please just scroll up.”

    This I think is relatively unfair. Two of the responses I responded to both entered the conversation on my second post, and their replies made it clear that they did not read my first post. I did not restate my position as not to spam my position over and over again. I listened to what they have to say and I think it is fairly presumptuous to think that I don’t.

    As far as Lunams post getting to the front page goes. I think that if anything this shows /r/atheism’s receptivity to groups that have been wronged under their watch. There is an extreme disparity between the things that get upvoted and the comments that are written. Do you honestly think that the people saying the terrible things to her would have upvoted a post of hers? I really am seeing a disconnect in that train of thought, please correct my reasoning if I am wrong.

    As far as wanting to be “allies with feminists”, I consider myself a feminist, and I have plenty of other intellectuals to converse with. I don’t really care if you agree with me on this or any of the beliefs I hold, however I certainly will not stand by as a community I have been a part of for the better part of two years is bastardized by a bunch of 12 year olds. Oh and librarygoose, you are taking this way too personally. I was not dismissing your claims, and you even admitted to not having read my last post. Don’t go saying shit like “Thanks for putting it this way, all I could think to reply with was “Fuck you very much.”” because to be completely honest, it really just makes you look immature.

    Pat, you’re missing the point.

    It doesn’t particularly matter who made these abusive comments, whether they are part of reddit/atheism or not. What matters is that they made these comments. By trying to make the subject of discussion the identity of the commenters, you are centring discussion on the abuser.

    You are seeing a very small subsection of my involvement with this issue, and to make the assumption that a great deal more of my mental resources are going towards whose fault it is than who was wronged by this is presumptuous. I understand completely that this topic pales in comparison to the mental harm these jackasses did to the young woman, however it is still important to address all issues involving this event. And frankly I think that enough time has passed to start opening the discussion of what parties are responsible for these acts, as if we do not we will not know how to respond to these events.

  140. Shin
    Shin January 5, 2012 at 2:21 am |

    This is proof Misogyny is not really rooted in a set

    This was DISGUSTING misogyny, in it’s worst form.

    I can’t help but notice that the neo athiest community(not the general athiest community) constantly complains about how religious communities are anti-woman, anti-feminist and mysogynisitc, and imply that to get rid of religion would get rid of most mysogynistic aspects of society.

    Yet these guys who label themselves as free thinkers and making society mroe enlightened….

    Talked like rednecks, like barbarians…like Genghis Khan.

  141. LotusBen
    LotusBen January 5, 2012 at 2:37 am |

    Pat, sorry I came across as presumptious and unfair earlier. I will say I think you are being a little unfair to librarygoose saying she’s taking things “too personally” and “seems immature.” Misogyny, in general, and this specifically, are really serious issues, and people are understandably riled up. Let’s forgive each other if we can in the interests of pan-Feminist unity, no?

    “I understand completely that this topic pales in comparison to the mental harm these jackasses did to the young woman.”

    I’m glad to hear you say this Pat. We obviously agree misogyny is a big problem. A really big problem.

    “And frankly I think that enough time has passed to start opening the discussion of what parties are responsible for these acts, as if we do not we will not know how to respond to these events.”

    OK. Well what are your ideas on the topic of responding and helping to make /r/atheism a safer place for women and girls? I imagine people on Feministe might react favorably if we could discuss ways of countering this misogyny and making your community as pro-feminist as possible, as you yourself identify as a feminist. I think I understand who you believe is responsible: chiefly outside enterlopers. How can your community prevent this from happening again?

  142. Pat
    Pat January 5, 2012 at 2:37 am |

    I don’t really care if you agree with me on this or any of the beliefs I hold, however I certainly will not stand by as a community I have been a part of for the better part of two years is bastardized by a bunch of 12 year olds.

    To clarify, the 12 year olds I am speaking of are the ones I presumed to hold the lions share of the hateful comments, not the people I am speaking with now.

  143. librarygoose
    librarygoose January 5, 2012 at 2:39 am |

    I was not dismissing your claims, and you even admitted to not having read my last post. Don’t go saying shit like “Thanks for putting it this way, all I could think to reply with was “Fuck you very much.”” because to be completely honest, it really just makes you look immature.

    And Fuck You Very Much.

  144. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh January 5, 2012 at 2:42 am |

    I wonder if this is why the commentariat has such a hard time having a civil and productive discussion (until things spiral out of control), we don’t agree on what is adding to the conversation and what is a “yes, but.”

    For example on the Hugo threads of doom, people reminded us that yeah, Hugo has more recently acted like a shithead to women (particularly women of color) by white knighting. Is that a “Yes, domestic violence is bad, but racism”? Or a “Hello…privilege over there you missed something”.

    Often derailing happens because some privileged person is asserting herself and trying to shutdown criticism, but something similar in appearance also happens where someone with less privilege is trying to call attention to an underlying dynamic.

    I *think* the distinction is in whether the person is trying to deflect attention. Maybe?

    Yeah, I think this is a factor. I tend to hate the “yes, but…” statements, but in some cases they can be useful. In Hugo’s case, the yes buts have contributed to a better understanding for many people of just how bad and problematic his presence in feminist circles has been. In that case, people who lack certain privileges are able to notice where he is throwing his many privileges around when people who share his privileges would be less likely to notice.

    I think it can depend on whether the yeah buts are intended to provide additional perspectives and info and a greater understanding, versus just trying to deflect everything.

  145. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh January 5, 2012 at 2:45 am |

    Wow, John and Pat totally deserve trophies for incredible mansplaining and condescending, tut-tutting assholery.

    To quote librarygoose, fuck you very much!

  146. Pat
    Pat January 5, 2012 at 2:52 am |

    Man its nice to not feel my blood boiling to a comment. <3

    I will say I think you are being a little unfair to librarygoose saying she’s taking things “too personally” and “seems immature.” Misogyny, in general, and this specifically, are really serious issues, and people are understandably riled up.

    For starters, I only used those words because of the harsh manner she replied to me with. If she admits to not having read my first post, then hounds me for asking her to actually read my prior comment, and THEN seeks amnesty from a fellow who responded to her alarmist comment, in my eyes that makes her childish. Now on to the real issue.

    I imagine people on Feministe might react favorably if we could discuss ways of countering this misogyny and making your community as pro-feminist as possible, as you yourself identify as a feminist. I think I understand who you believe is responsible: chiefly outside enterlopers. How can your community prevent this from happening again?

    As I am not a moderator I do not have the power to enact changes I come up with, however thinking of these ideas is in fact the first step in initiating change. Much like Dr. Horrible might think, I think that the insane comments directed to the young woman in question were the result of the more overarching problem of the internet being a gentleman’s club. This of course was spawned by sites like 4chan, where the most depraved of society could hide behind a veil of anonymity and create memes that would later be adapted by the greater web. You are not asking for a solution to this problem outright, because it is kind of too vague of a problem to tackle.

    Instead I suppose a certain degree of moderation might be the first thing to come to mind. I am however, strongly against censorship of any type, so perhaps the greatest moderation might be the dismantling of these inane statements before the infection spreads so to speak. A problem with reddit is that the ones doing the upvoting and the ones doing the commenting are generally two different crowds. Perhaps the responsibility falls upon the upvoters to pay attention to the topics they help reach the public eye to defend those who might otherwise not be able to. One might argue that this also points the arrow of misogyny back at the atheist community on reddit, but I disagree. I think it is more of a psychological problem with society, you know that phenomenon where a person is getting mugged in an alley and noone does anything about it either out of fear of retaliation or “someone else will help”. Now I am doing a lot of rambling.

    I suppose my final, clean solution would be a program that maybe promotes or rewards people who speak out against hate speech? Not sure what kind of reward to give, maybe something like an award… people eat that shit up XD

  147. Pat
    Pat January 5, 2012 at 2:57 am |

    Wow, John and Pat totally deserve trophies for incredible mansplaining and condescending, tut-tutting assholery.

    To quote librarygoose, fuck you very much!

    I am polite to people who bother reading the responses I have made, instead of raging about my responses to other people which can quite easily be taken out of context. I was a little short with her though, and I won’t say I am completely without remorse, but I hope you have taken to the time to read all my comments as well. I don’t feel like the way she has been treating me and my position is very civil, and if you disagree after reading the whole thread I would welcome your insight.

  148. thinksnake
    thinksnake January 5, 2012 at 2:59 am |

    If you’re arguing in good faith, then please don’t use terms like ‘insane’ to describe commenters.
    Come to it, even if you’re not arguing in good faith, still don’t use terms like that. All it does is make you look like an ableist shit.

  149. Pat
    Pat January 5, 2012 at 3:04 am |

    If you’re arguing in good faith, then please don’t use terms like ‘insane’ to describe commenters.

    Man I am seriously terrible at this. I suppose it is way too freakin ingrained in my speech. I apologize for the usage and will make an attempt to remove it.

  150. librarygoose
    librarygoose January 5, 2012 at 3:12 am |

    If she admits to not having read my first post, then hounds me for asking her to actually read my prior comment, and THEN seeks amnesty from a fellow who responded to her alarmist comment, in my eyes that makes her childish.

    I was thanking Ben because he was being nicer than I, I was aware that saying fuck you was not the best reply. So, I did not say it to you. Also, I did not hound you. I had read your comments, but it had been a bit so I went back and reread.

    I am however, strongly against censorship of any type,

    Oh but it’s cool to tell me to tone it down? Ha, whatever.

    I don’t feel like the way she has been treating me and my position is very civil, and if you disagree after reading the whole thread I would welcome your insight.

    I was being pretty civil until you decided to be an asshole. I will not cater to your asshole whims and treat you with kid fucking gloves because bad words make you sad. You still have not actually addressed my question. So…you gonna do that?

  151. Pat
    Pat January 5, 2012 at 3:19 am |

    I was being pretty civil until you decided to be an asshole. I will not cater to your asshole whims and treat you with kid fucking gloves because bad words make you sad.

    I misinterpreted your first comment then, as it had appeared that you seemed confused about why I thought that it wasn’t the atheists of reddit that had made those remarks. Because you came into the conversation late, I don’t think it is a very large logical leap to think that maybe you missed my first comment.

    As for who was the asshole first, I don’t think it matters anymore as you clearly thought i was being condescending when replying to you the first time. There is nothing I can say that will make you believe that I wasn’t, so there is no use going down this path anymore. I understand why you were angry, now honestly tell me that you understand why I thought you were the first one to be hostile?

  152. Pat
    Pat January 5, 2012 at 3:20 am |

    now *can* you honestly tell me…

  153. Drew
    Drew January 5, 2012 at 3:25 am |

    Yes, and that’s the fucking problem. What you need to do is to understand that the world doesn’t revolve around you. Do you know what is most important about the statement “A lot of men were joking about anally raping a 15-year-old girl. That’s some women-hating bullshit right there”? Here’s a clue: not you, and not your fucking feelings.

    and

    If something is serious, like somebody just died, or some 15 year old girl just got brutally sexually harrassed by a bunch of internet fuckheads, it requires time to sufficiently process. If you are immediately on to the next thing, it conveys you don’t want to think about it, you don’t want to let it sink in. But it should sink in; it’s important.

    I really wish I had thought about it like that before. I had assumed that, as long as I wasn’t trying to justify or condone the behavior, my responses would be acceptable.

    But it really is pretty dismissive of someones feelings to try to jump right into questions of why they were victimized or larger social forces at hand. Shit. That could make them feel even smaller than they already do.

    I’m going to do my best to respond differently to stories of oppression/discrimination/abuse from now on. Thanks, guys.

  154. librarygoose
    librarygoose January 5, 2012 at 3:31 am |

    I’m gonna go with tone is hard to represent through type and I cuss like a sailor. Either way, I’m willing to let that particular pissing contest go. ( Although right now you’re still coming off condescending and paternalistic but I’ll write it off to still being rankled).

    Seriously though, you seem very sure atheists did not make those comments. I was just wondering how you can be so sure. I’ve been a part of atheist communities, and I reiterate that being an atheist is not a get-out-of-being-an-asshole-free card.

  155. Pat
    Pat January 5, 2012 at 3:37 am |

    Seriously though, you seem very sure atheists did not make those comments. I was just wondering how you can be so sure. I’ve been a part of atheist communities, and I reiterate that being an atheist is not a get-out-of-being-an-asshole-free card.

    I agree wholeheartedly. I agree with you on the fact that being an atheist doesn’t make you a feminist. And there have been examples of atheists being asshats strewn throughout this comment thread. Do you frequent reddit? I need to know this in order to explain myself to the best of my abilities.

  156. librarygoose
    librarygoose January 5, 2012 at 3:39 am |

    Do you frequent reddit?

    Nope.

  157. Pat
    Pat January 5, 2012 at 3:56 am |

    Okay, so reddit is composed of a bunch of users who “upvote” submitted links or discussions. The more upvotes (relative to downvotes) a post recieves, the higher on the front page the post gets. (I apologize if you know some of this shit, just wanna make sure I completely explain myself) Now, that would be a fuck ton of posts to deal with, so reddit divides itself into a bunch of sub-reddits, /r/atheism being one of them.

    You do not need to read the comments of a post to upvote the post, as most of the time the content of the post is solely in the link given (i.e. a link to a picture with a funny joke or something). In this instance, the young woman who posted her picture with a book promoting atheism that she got from her religious, conservative parents. Atheists in /r/atheism seeing this naturally upvotes because it is always nice to see acceptance by the religious parents of an atheist.

    Now the problem gets complicated, about a month and a half ago (or something like that), /r/atheism became one of the default sub-reddits. Ordinarily posts from /r/atheism would not show up on the front page of all users, however because of its growth users now have to actively unsubscribe to remove posts. Because atheists agreed with the message this woman was trying to convey, it made its way to the front page of a large amount of reddit users. As I have been a part of this community for a long time, my experiences have painted a portrait of /r/atheism in my mind. I don’t agree with all the beliefs they hold, but among those beliefs it was my understanding that rationality, patience, and good will were cornerstones of the community.

    The comments made towards the young woman in question were so far beyond the content that is almost always witnessed that I think it is only natural to determine the source of the outlier. I think the most logical assumption is that they are the result of this new influx of users who:
    A) don’t have any attachment to a community they were automatically elected to join
    B) do not know enough about reddit to remove themselves from sub-reddits they do not care for, which implies they are generally a younger age than the average user.

    I’m afraid I do not have concrete proof that it was not the result of the community, but I think this evidence makes a fairly good case against the idea that these beliefs are held by even a small minority of the actual atheist community.

    There were over 100k users of the /r/atheism sub-reddit before it was a default sub-reddit. Was there not a misogynistic one among them? Fuckin hell no, probability dictates there were some that existed, and they are lower than scum. They were a fairly silent minority though, as their comments were generally downvoted into oblivion. Sorry it took so long to explain -.-, and for the record I think swearing is fucking awesome, I’m just not used to reacting to it in a more calm environment like this XD

  158. LotusBen
    LotusBen January 5, 2012 at 4:05 am |

    Pat. . .if you kindly forgive me to be a bit condescending for a moment about you being condescending. . .I think you might not be aware of some of the subtle conversational patterns you employ that are rubbing some of the women here the wrong way.

    For example, you said to librarygoose: “There is nothing I can say that will make you believe I wasn’t [condescending].”

    Generally, the subtext to “there is nothing I can say. . .” type language is–

    a) I know you better than you know yourself. I can predict your future reactions, and I already know in advance that you will not change your beliefs no matter *what* I say (presumably there are a great many things you could say, but apparently you have already forseen all possible outcomes in order to know something that librarygoose might not even know herself–that none of these statements will change her impression of you.)
    b) Librarygoose (to you) is inflexible and unreasonable. After all, what kind of person would have the same exact unchanging reaction no matter *what* kind of thing you say. An insult, a rational argument, a joke, an emotional plea–all of them will have zero effect on librarygoose’s pre-set, inflexible belief that you were being condescending (according to you).

    I’m not just trying to nitpick here. “There’s nothing I can say” is just one example.

    “There is no use going down this path anymore”–you are unilaterally deciding, both for yourself and librarygoose, what is “useful” about this conversation (you know, maybe she has different ideas?), and dictating that a particular course in lacking in usefulness.

    This way of talking has cropped up again and again from you tonight, in post after post. If you want to read as less condescending and have women you disagree with not turn on you as readily, try making your statements more relativistic. More “maybes” and “perhaps.” More “I’m not sure’s.” It will make you sound more humble and like you are not dictating the truth to people.

    Sentences starting with “I feel” followed by an emotion or “I observe” followed by a concrete observation also are more likely to keep you away from controlling or patronizing language.

    I’m sure this whole post makes me sound like an outrageous dick. But librarygoose’s statement: “Although right now you’re still coming off condescending and paternalistic but I’ll write it off to still being rankled” really set me off. I was going easy on you earlier because I wanted you to feel welcome in this space. But I can’t let you judge librarygoose harshly for using some profanity when you were being equally disrespectful, just in ways that are more subtle so that they are harder to specifically put one’s finger on.

    One last thing: as obnoxious as this is probably seeming, I’m saying this because I hope at least some of it plants a seed. This way of talking is something I struggle with too. I’ve always been intellectual, and I’m prone to talking in abstractions, generalizations, and absolutes. When one mixes that with a little bit of repressed hostility that one is supposedly “above” letting out directly, the result can be some incredibly fucking patronizing language. So anyway, some food for thought from someone who recognizes having been in your position before.

  159. Pat
    Pat January 5, 2012 at 4:19 am |

    I’m sure this whole post makes me sound like an outrageous dick.

    Not in a million years! I promise that the thought did not cross my mind while I was reading your post. I think I was a bit abrasive earlier. I am so used to talking with people who know how I speak that my tone must be being misinterpreted. If I could I would like to explain one thing I said.

    I’m not just trying to nitpick here. “There’s nothing I can say” is just one example.

    When I said that, I mean’t that there was no way I could convince her with absolute certainty simply because first impressions tend to leave scars. In no way was I trying to assume she was an immovable object of reason and if it came across that way I sincerely apologize. I think we have both given a little ground as we have begun a more civil conversation with each other. I am just not used to having a discussion through this medium, and evidence of this might be acquired from my prior mishaps with my word choice.

    I am so used to talking about this stuff in person that I am a bit sloppy. I apologize for anything I have said that has offended you, and will definitely work on my etiquette and awareness.

  160. Norma
    Norma January 5, 2012 at 4:29 am |

    Thanks Jill!

  161. librarygoose
    librarygoose January 5, 2012 at 4:39 am |

    @ Pat

    Okay then. Now I understand the community a bit more, so yeah I see your point. To add to the subtle shit that Lotus Ben pointed out, I will never let it go when called “immature”. To me it is very silencing. I hate it. It’s like being told to go away while the men talk. It does nothing but piss me off, and I’ll be sure to return the favor.

  162. LotusBen
    LotusBen January 5, 2012 at 4:42 am |

    Great Pat! I’m glad you were so open to my feedback. I wasn’t even sure if it was appropriate to be talking to you like that, but I’m glad you didn’t take offense. And no need to apologize to me; I wasn’t personally offended by you at all. As I said, I can relate to where you’re coming from. And it can be challenging, in my experience as well, to start communicating on blogs if you are more used to face-to-face or other modes of communication.

    Finally, I would like to apologize to everyone else for my participation in what was basically a massive derail off the topic of why “Yes, But” is the wrong response to misogyny. Is it still a bad derail if everyone else is asleep? Yeah, I think it is. Anyway, I’m sorry.

  163. librarygoose
    librarygoose January 5, 2012 at 4:47 am |

    Is it still a bad derail if everyone else is asleep? Yeah, I think it is. Anyway, I’m sorry.

    Meh, I helped out too. Yay for nocturnal derails!

  164. Lara Emily Foley
    Lara Emily Foley January 5, 2012 at 4:48 am |

    BTW you want proof that r/atheism isn’t free from sexist remarks just read the follow up thread Angus posted, there is lots of support for the girl but also an awful lot of:

    Trigger warning for misogyny, stupidity, victim blaming, rape culture denying, a lot of other garbage and a wall of text

    it’s just a joke, rape jokes aren’t sexist (with a bonus insinuation that if you think rape jokes are sexist then you’re the real sexist), a whole lot of omg free speech dudes! Free Fucking Speech. Or this is the internet she might be a dude, I see no proof that she’s real it’s the internet she shouldn’t take it seriously. Or that it’s her fault for being upset at the rape comments and sexual harassment because no one can make you feel upset so she has clearly chosen to be upset. Or they aren’t sexist they’re just horny. Or justifying and in one case reposting that stupid image ( the one that said men only post images of their gift while women post images of themselves with the gift) as not sexism but basic psychology. Or She brought it on herself it was not big deal. Or a plaster of talk about Rebecca Watson being oh so dumb (in fact the thread significantly derails into a discussion on whether Watson is an attention whore or not). Or Women over-analyze everything. Or the commentators were probably just young so we need to be more tolerant that they just haven’t learned that women are people. Or a lot of women cry rape when really it’s just regret over drunken sex. Or being an outright sexist doesn’t mean you are a misogynist. Or more men are murdered so do men live in a “murder culture”. Or feminist hold back women. Or guys make rape jokes that’s just what they do, the real people with problems are those getting all huffy about it. Or you’re going to get hit on because guys are lonely (which I read as you’re a girl and guys are lonely what do you expect). Or someone referring to the initial thing as mostly a mutual misunderstanding. At least one case of talking down to the girl my addressing as Oh Honey. Or it’s not misogyny it’s just that a lot of the commentators are socially awkward dudes who need to be reminded that women are people (with a casual insinuation that some of them might have asperger’s). Or one commenter asking that she go on record against Rebecca Watson. Or someone insinuating Watson’s analysis of the whole thing is directly comparable to racism. Or people who get upset (referred to as haters here) clearly just have never seen a stand up comedy show in their lives. Or because she made one or two slightly sexual jokes herself it was reasonable to assume that she was from another subsection of reddit for women who want to post pics so dudes can make sexual comments at them. Or someone identifying the girl’s entire response post as actually an apology from her to /r/atheism (stating that it was good she apologized to boot) Or you shouldn’t have posted your picture because you a minor and this would not have happened if you hadn’t posted that picture so I guess you’ve learned your lesson. Or one person calling Rebecca Watson a hysterical cunt. Or you are a pretty 15 year old girl and guys are gonna wanna masturbate to you so your parents shouldn’t have let you post your picture and since your parents haven’t taught you how to protect yourself please allow me. Or She was flirty therefore she started it. Or i didn’t read any of the comments but this is reddit so what’s the big deal.

    Yeah there’s a lot of support but there’s a lot of garbage there too.

  165. Pat
    Pat January 5, 2012 at 4:52 am |

    I will never let it go when called “immature”

    And with that I completely understand your statements. I was a bit confused as to how you thought I was censoring you, but dismissal is the same thing. I have a problem when discussing things with strangers that I assume you have the same information I do. I thought you frequented reddit and understood the structure by which posts and comments are presented. This of course led me to believe that you were dismissing my argument and simply skimming my prior posts. Having to fend off twelve year olds on reddit has taken its toll on my presentation it would seem.

    I’m afraid I am to blame for this whole thing, and I feel a bit ashamed of myself, albeit a might less weary. I thought I was being patient when in actuality I was the one who was coming off unpleasant. I hope that you will believe me that it was not my intention to sound that way, and I hope I haven’t made your day too shitty :[

  166. Pat
    Pat January 5, 2012 at 4:57 am |

    BTW you want proof that r/atheism isn’t free from sexist remarks just read the follow up thread Angus posted, there is lots of support for the girl but also an awful lot of:

    Could I get a link? I need to put this piece of shit in his place.

  167. librarygoose
    librarygoose January 5, 2012 at 5:01 am |

    I’m afraid I am to blame for this whole thing, and I feel a bit ashamed of myself, albeit a might less weary. I thought I was being patient when in actuality I was the one who was coming off unpleasant. I hope that you will believe me that it was not my intention to sound that way, and I hope I

    Combine that with the fact that this is a place I will not go to unreasonable lengths to explain my point or opinion. I like it here, I feel safe in calling out silencing language and I feel justified in my anger. That is not true in other spaces on the internet or in the real world. I don’t want to take time to kiss bruised egos, and it manifests as people getting a lot of “fuck you” and “fuck off” as replies. And I won’t apologize for that.

  168. Lara Emily Foley
    Lara Emily Foley January 5, 2012 at 5:02 am |

    It’s up thread
    123
    Angus Johnston 1.5.2012 at 12:04 am

    The young woman who caught so much hell on Reddit posted a followup, as it turns out, and it’s pretty awesome. Key quote:

    “A major topic of controversy was the fact I posted my face. I’m sorry I didn’t realize I should have to wear a burka on r/atheism.”

    http://www.reddit.com/r/atheism/comments/nuf7i/regarding_my_post_and_the_shitstorm_that_ensued/

  169. Lara Emily Foley
    Lara Emily Foley January 5, 2012 at 5:03 am |

    I will admit some of the stuff was down voted and a lot of – scores but still that shit is sill there

  170. Pat
    Pat January 5, 2012 at 5:10 am |

    And I won’t apologize for that.

    Nor would I ever expect anyone in your shoes to do so.

    I will admit some of the stuff was down voted and a lot of – scores but still that shit is sill there

    I can’t even find his damn comment! XD I’m glad that fucker was buried by downvotes. Still searching though! :O

  171. LotusBen
    LotusBen January 5, 2012 at 5:16 am |

    Combine that with the fact that this is a place I will not go to unreasonable lengths to explain my point or opinion. I like it here, I feel safe in calling out silencing language and I feel justified in my anger. That is not true in other spaces on the internet or in the real world. I don’t want to take time to kiss bruised egos, and it manifests as people getting a lot of “fuck you” and “fuck off” as replies. And I won’t apologize for that.

    I think that’s incredibly awesome.

  172. LotusBen
    LotusBen January 5, 2012 at 5:19 am |

    BTW I still remember your “I’m gonna drill holes in your canned goods so you get a rare digestive disease” fuck off sentiment on some thread like a month ago, I forget which one. But that was awesome.

  173. Lara Emily Foley
    Lara Emily Foley January 5, 2012 at 5:19 am |

    What are you talking about? Angus is a poster here he posted the link to the thread at /r/atheism and I simply read through it and posted all the various misogynistic crap that many different people posted. My wall of text is a collection of the words of multiple people over there

  174. Pat
    Pat January 5, 2012 at 5:21 am |

    Ooooohohoho, thought he was a reddit user. Gotcha

  175. locutrice
    locutrice January 5, 2012 at 5:21 am |

    The book that the girl received as a present from her mother is called “Demon-haunted World”, isn’t it? Well, those men who threatened her with rape just proved it: they’re the embodiments of those very demons.

  176. Lara Emily Foley
    Lara Emily Foley January 5, 2012 at 5:23 am |

    That’s directed at Pat btw who seems to think I was quoting one peson and is on a search to find that one person lol

  177. Lara Emily Foley
    Lara Emily Foley January 5, 2012 at 5:26 am |

    Blah people post too fast lol. Glad you caught on Pat :)

  178. librarygoose
    librarygoose January 5, 2012 at 5:28 am |

    BTW I still remember your “I’m gonna drill holes in your canned goods so you get a rare digestive disease” fuck off sentiment on some thread like a month ago, I forget which one. But that was awesome.

    Pfft, not me. I also don’t laugh at your corpse abuse jokes.

  179. LotusBen
    LotusBen January 5, 2012 at 5:38 am |

    Corpse abuse jokes? Wait. What?!?! Pat–what’s with these broads? Amiright???

  180. Pat
    Pat January 5, 2012 at 5:39 am |

    I’m gonna smack you Ben…

  181. Lara Emily Foley
    Lara Emily Foley January 5, 2012 at 5:42 am |

    *sigh* really Ben? Really?

  182. Pat
    Pat January 5, 2012 at 5:43 am |

    Oh don’t mind him, he is just being silly. He gave me a tolding earlier

  183. Lara Emily Foley
    Lara Emily Foley January 5, 2012 at 5:51 am |

    I’m well aware that he’s joking but he’s doing so to deflect from the fact that he made an awful corpse joke in another thread.

  184. LotusBen
    LotusBen January 5, 2012 at 5:53 am |

    I sincerely apologize for my previous use of the derogatory , sexist term “broad.” It was wrong, and I shouldn’t have done it.

    But don’t worry!! I’ve quit drinking!! And I worship Jesus now!!! I’m 100% transformed!! And my new book is out this March through HarperCollins!! And I will gladly charge discount rates when my speaking tour takes me through a all-women’s college!!

    Trust in me!!

  185. Pat
    Pat January 5, 2012 at 5:54 am |

    Ruh Roh

  186. librarygoose
    librarygoose January 5, 2012 at 5:55 am |

    You know, as far as old timey sexist things to call women go, I’ve always preferred “Dames”. I’d still call you an asshole for saying it, but it always seemed the best word-wise.

  187. LotusBen
    LotusBen January 5, 2012 at 5:55 am |

    Sorry Lara–I actually will cut it out.

  188. LotusBen
    LotusBen January 5, 2012 at 6:07 am |

    OK librarygoose, I’ll file that information away in the vault.

  189. Saje Williams
    Saje Williams January 5, 2012 at 6:29 am |

    There is no “yes, but…” None. That a young woman should be so assaulted for doing nothing untoward whatsoever simply outlines that it doesn’t matter what a woman wears, or how she chooses to express her sexuality or lack of same. This is about a bunch of savages waving their penises around in the mistaken notion that they shouldn’t be chopped off and shoved through a sausage grinder just on general principles. If they think joking about anal rape of a teenage girl is funny, they’re moral defectives of the first caliber. If they think this is funny, they should try nibbling on strychnine pancakes. That would be freaking hilarious with all the subsequent twitching and dying.

    My apologies if this is a little graphic, but just reading this made me want to retch. Free speech. I believe in free speech. And I believe some speech invites a punch to the throat. They’re called “fighting words,” and if anyone dared say anything like this to or about any woman I knew, they’d learn first hand what that expression meant. Words have consequences, and everything has its price.

    The fact anyone would dare hide behind the first amendment to spew such filth makes me, just for a second, wish my character Jaz could be called from the pages of fiction to give them the kind of education they deserve. Unfortunately the universe isn’t that just and the Lady of Blades is just fiction.

  190. Deepika
    Deepika January 5, 2012 at 9:01 am |

    If you want to read as less condescending and have women you disagree with not turn on you as readily, try making your statements more relativistic. More “maybes” and “perhaps.” More “I’m not sure’s.” It will make you sound more humble and like you are not dictating the truth to people.

    Sentences starting with “I feel” followed by an emotion or “I observe” followed by a concrete observation also are more likely to keep you away from controlling or patronizing language.

    holy whoa. i had no idea there was a map for navigating the treachorous jungle that is Communicating With The Wimminz.

    thank lotusben. i feel [emotion] and maybe you should [verb] yourself but i’m just not sure that would be polite and irrational enough. i observe [something concrete] heading your way, fast. [emotion].

    “I’m sure this whole post makes me sound like an outrageous dick.”

    quoted for truth.

    “I wasn’t even sure if it was appropriate to be talking to you like that, but I’m glad you didn’t take offense. And no need to apologize to me; I wasn’t personally offended by you at all.”

    how nice. [i observe] the gentlemen have come to an agreement about these [concrete fact] women and no hard [emotions] so that’s fine. wimminz, we can continue our … whatever silly thing we were up to.

    ————————–

    this is just to highlight the fact that there is a simple map for communicating with PEOPLE, and that is Don’t Be a Condescending, Patronizing, Mansplaining Tourist-Guide-of-the-World (And Make A Bigger Effort To Understand What People Are Saying Especially When You Are New To A Community)

    and the whole how to “sound humble” in front of a woman thing – what the hell is that? seriously. that’s some passive-aggressive tripe right there, dudebro.

    if these are the “techniques” you use to communicate with the other commenters here at feministe, lotusben, [qualifier] you should seriously [verb] your whole feminist-ally shtick. [emoticon]

    -your friendly neighborhood Feminist Police: policing your feminist spaces from now till eternitah to metaphorically slap dudesplainers upside the head. (we work well with the mod-squads=) you’re welcome.

  191. seattlegrrrl
    seattlegrrrl January 5, 2012 at 10:20 am |

    I’d like to say I’m shocked by what happened to the girl on Reddit, but I’m not.

    The internet is still the domain of mostly white, homophobic men (and teenage boys). The internet has given every shut-in, every borderline autistic programmer, every angry, bullied nerd on the planet a place to go and verbally assault strangers with impunity because there’s nooo accountability. Nobody has to log in with their social security number or whatever. Nobody really knows who you are (or even if you’re really male or female), how old your are or where you are.

    These are the same guys that play Halo or Grand Theft Auto for hours at a time. These are the same guys who are more comfortable texting than talking face-to-face with a friend (and I’m assuming they have real friends … in real life). These are the same guys who read George R R Martin’s “Game of Thrones” with it’s endless titillating scenes of child rape and thought it was “cool”. They’re the same kind of guys who go to gamer conventions to look at the “babes” working the software booths.

    Again, sorry, but I’m not surprised this happened to this young woman. I wish there was a place for her to go on the internet to have thoughtful discussions about religion and/or atheism without being judged solely by a photo.

    This kind of troll posting is the reason why I never visit Alternet News anymore. I’d rather have a conversation with a real person face-to-face.

  192. thinksnake
    thinksnake January 5, 2012 at 10:35 am |

    Deepika: Aside from one mention in the first line of LotusBen’s post, referring to women who had been put off by Pat’s way of posting (which wasn’t a good thing by any means), there was nothing in LotusBen’s ‘advice’ comment that made it specific to ‘talking to women’. It seemed like fairly basic good etiquette for living, regardless of who you’re talking to, and wasn’t made spcific in LotusBen’s post.

    So I’m not sure why you’re attacking Ben in that way.

  193. Billeen
    Billeen January 5, 2012 at 11:52 am |

    To defend sociopathic meth-addicted hyenas, hyenas are matriarchal and would crush the tracheae of males who behaved that way toward their daughters.

  194. Yonah
    Yonah January 5, 2012 at 12:34 pm |

    I sincerely apologize for my previous use of the derogatory , sexist term “broad.” It was wrong, and I shouldn’t have done it.

    But don’t worry!! I’ve quit drinking!! And I worship Jesus now!!! I’m 100% transformed!! And my new book is out this March through HarperCollins!! And I will gladly charge discount rates when my speaking tour takes me through a all-women’s college!!

    Trust in me!!

    Genius.

    I just wanted to add that a great time for “yes, but” comes when people, especially White people, talk about others’ cultures. For example if there are disproportionate discussions of (say) Islam being sexist it seems well within the rights of Muslimahs to bring “Yes but there is a LOT of background/information you are missing” or “Yes but why single out Muslims when every mainstream culture has that shit going on?” Like I don’t think they need to give a minute of mournful silence so everyone knows they take misogyny in Islam seriously.

    I bring up the example of Islam because sexism in Islam was the favourite dead horse of a born-again white boy atheist I knew once. A lot of the shit he said came from actual news articles and so forth but the sheer amount of time he spent on it and his clear lack of any interest in Muslim women’s actual experiences was unbelievably sketchy. When a dude like that does 100 FB posts railing against those sexist sexist Muslims forcing women to cover up, “yes, but” seems a pretty needed response. And defriending obviously.

  195. Terry
    Terry January 5, 2012 at 12:51 pm |

    I suppose this will start as a “yes but” comment, but I hope that it’ll make sense in the end. It’s not a defense of this behavior. When I see these comments posted on various forums, they’re never intended with the same biting attitude that they portray – that is to say, they sound very bad, not only because of the specific messages denoted, but also because of the inferred tones, etc. There is a heightened rhetorical style taken on by participants of many forums (Reddit and Fark are specifically much more obnoxious for this than your standard SIG forum, but it happens everywhere), and part of that style is an actual mockery of the same style.

    This occurs, it seems, because of trolling. We can assume the first trolls were probably honest idiots making horrible posts from an honest position of bigotry and hatred. However, most trolls today make those posts not because they actually are bigoted, but because they want to see people complain and make lengthy posts about how that bigotry is evil, etc. “Feeding the trolls” became something to avoid, so that instead of making educated replies to such posts, we must instead simply ignore them and continue whatever conversation was occurring before they intruded. This is not a comfortable or easy proposition, because there’s always one person who feels the need to justify themselves by arguing against the trolls, and everyone feels the need to distance themselves from trolling posts.

    I think this background gave way to a modern rise of what I’ll call “antitrolling” (in the same way that a story might have an antihero). People have developed heightened rhetoric in the vane of trolls as a defense mechanism against trolls. These posts take on such extreme vitriol and hatred that our only conclusion must be such a person couldn’t really exist in the world, and thus the post must be mocking the few people who actually are that bigoted.

    It is a complex satire of bigotry.

    Satire helps us to make sense of the world, it helps us to see how attitudes and expressions are incomprehensible. With all satire, there’s a challenge that exists involving the interpretation of that satire. For an insider into the culture in which the satire was created, the meaning of the satire is obvious and everyone can enjoy it (even it if makes some people uncomfortable). For an outsider, however, it may be impossible to understand the satire as a satire (as we see when Republicans watch Colbert, for instance).

    I believe that’s what’s occurring here.

  196. Vigée
    Vigée January 5, 2012 at 1:13 pm |

    You know a good way to help prove that not all men are like that? Saying something to the effect of “holy crap, that IS bullshit.” instead of trying to defend or downplay it. TADA! Instant Not-That-Guy.

    Love this. Made me want to do jazz hands.

  197. Cara
    Cara January 5, 2012 at 1:37 pm |

    It’s depressingly predictable. And it’s depressing that anyone should have to explain why this is a problem. It seems totally obvious to me. But apparently, it’s not so obvious. So I’m going to spell it out.

    The thing is, Greta, they don’t need it spelled out. It’s crystal clear already. That’s why they DO it.

    They don’t care. This is deliberate. It’s a feature, not a bug.

    They LIKE it this way. They LIKE being losers.

    Trying to appeal to their basic humanity is pointless. There is none. Their hatred of women is merely the projection of their (quite justified) self-hatred.

    Their “questions” or “debates” are nothing more than ways to get attention from women they’d never get otherwise.

    If you can reach the few who aren’t completely eaten up by antisocial idiocy, that’s great. But if they’re bothering to argue at all I think it’s just so they can get off on irritating people. Like toddlers banging on the bathroom door because Mommy dared to take her attention off of them.

  198. Cara
    Cara January 5, 2012 at 1:48 pm |

    So, while I think the use of “yes, but” as a way of trivializing rape culture definitely exists, the author is wrong to attribute that to the words “yes, but.” There are other ways those words are used; we could focus on the actual misogynist content as opposed to a point of grammar.

    Well, YOU certainly could have. BUT you didn’t. (See above).

  199. Thomas MacAulay Millar
    Thomas MacAulay Millar January 5, 2012 at 1:49 pm |

    “Saying something to the effect of “holy crap, that IS bullshit.” instead of trying to defend or downplay it. TADA! Instant Not-That-Guy.”

    Yeah, and not just here. Here is easy. Here is where, if you’re against misogyny, almost everyone will agree with you. If you’re Not-That-Guy, find a space where Not-That-Guy is a scarce resource, and go be Not-That-Guy there.

  200. Matt
    Matt January 5, 2012 at 1:51 pm |

    197
    Cara 1.5.2012 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    It’s depressingly predictable. And it’s depressing that anyone should have to explain why this is a problem. It seems totally obvious to me. But apparently, it’s not so obvious. So I’m going to spell it out.

    The thing is, Greta, they don’t need it spelled out. It’s crystal clear already. That’s why they DO it.

    They don’t care. This is deliberate. It’s a feature, not a bug.

    They LIKE it this way. They LIKE being losers.

    Trying to appeal to their basic humanity is pointless. There is none. Their hatred of women is merely the projection of their (quite justified) self-hatred.

    Their “questions” or “debates” are nothing more than ways to get attention from women they’d never get otherwise.

    If you can reach the few who aren’t completely eaten up by antisocial idiocy, that’s great. But if they’re bothering to argue at all I think it’s just so they can get off on irritating people. Like toddlers banging on the bathroom door because Mommy dared to take her attention off of them.

    haven’t. got. words.

  201. Cara
    Cara January 5, 2012 at 1:52 pm |

    It is a complex satire of bigotry.

    Slice it as thin as you want, it’s still baloney, bud.

  202. Cara
    Cara January 5, 2012 at 1:56 pm |

    Okay, Matt, I’ll bite. Maybe you’ll find your words.

    Do you really think those cretins at reddit didn’t GET that they were being hateful?

    Do you really think people like that don’t GET that behavior like that is demeaning?

    Seriously?

  203. DonnaL
    DonnaL January 5, 2012 at 2:09 pm |

    These posts take on such extreme vitriol and hatred that our only conclusion must be such a person couldn’t really exist in the world, and thus the post must be mocking the few people who actually are that bigoted.

    It is a complex satire of bigotry.

    Do you seriously believe this? It’s total BS. Disgusting and ridiculous. You sound very much like the people who defend flagrantly racist, homophobic, and transphobic “humor” on certain popular animated TV shows by claiming that it’s all intended “ironically,” and deliberately exaggerated to demonstrate how ludicrous the bigotry is. Even if it were true (which I doubt), when will people learn that “intent” doesn’t matter when it comes to this sort of thing? All that matters is the effect, and the only effect is that it gets taken literally, hurting its targets and reinforcing already-existing bigotry.

  204. ch
    ch January 5, 2012 at 2:25 pm |

    The internet has given every shut-in, every borderline autistic programmer, every angry, bullied nerd on the planet a place to go and verbally assault strangers with impunity

    …Aaaand fuck you very much

    These are the same guys who are more comfortable texting than talking face-to-face with a friend (and I’m assuming they have real friends … in real life).

    And fuck you again.

    Seriously, do you not realize how ableist and just generally mean you’re being?

    And what the hell does “borderline autistic” even mean, anyway?

    1. Jill
      Jill January 5, 2012 at 2:34 pm | *

      The internet has given every shut-in, every borderline autistic programmer, every angry, bullied nerd on the planet a place to go and verbally assault strangers with impunity

      Yeah, what? Insulting people with disabilities, or people who are autistic, with get you banned.

  205. Cara
    Cara January 5, 2012 at 2:32 pm |

    You are another who seems to have overlooked my first response, as I stated clearly that a fairly likely explanation for the influx of immature assholes is the cause of /r/atheism being added to the list of default sub-reddits.

    So what? They weren’t “real” atheists so what they did was fine?

    Good grief. Any justification. Is it literally impossible for some men to just say, “Yeah, what creeps”?

    Do they really think that if they dice the conversation fine enough we’ll get too confused to stick to the point? Honestly.

  206. Cara
    Cara January 5, 2012 at 3:05 pm |

    There is quite a thin line between trying to stop people derailing a conversation and stifling any kind of discussion on the topic. How will a person learn if they cannot query?

    Is there genuinely a *question* about whether it’s okay to joke about assaulting a little girl?

    Seriously?

    There are lots of “queries” any time women talk about rape culture. But a lot of “queries” are nothing more than games of Technical Foul. “How about this? Is this okay? Is this? How far can I go? How much of an ass can I be before I get arrested?”

    Never a question like, “How can I be a decent human being?” or “How can I make a difference in this mess?”

  207. DonnaL
    DonnaL January 5, 2012 at 3:16 pm |

    This reflexive reaction of “oh, those weren’t ‘real‘ atheists,” they were just outsiders, 12-year olds, real atheists aren’t like that, etc., etc., is, I think, almost exactly like the egregiously inappropriate reaction a number of people had to Esther Choi’s recent post on Racialicious, entitled “Private Danny Chen, and why I will never again reach out to OWS about something that matters to me,” about the way in which a bunch of Occupy Wall Street types tried to hijack the demonstration protesting the unexplained death of Private Danny Chen (see hehttp://www.racialicious.com/2012/01/02/private-danny-chen-and-why-i-will-never-again-reach-out-to-ows-about-something-that-matters-to-me/): a lot of people reacted with comments like, those weren’t real OWS people; they were outsiders (or government-planted provocateurs); real OWS people don’t do things like that; how dare you condemn the movement; even if they were from OWS it’s a leaderless group and we’re not responsible for what somebody else does so don’t expect us to apologize, etc., etc. Sound familiar?

  208. Nitzan
    Nitzan January 5, 2012 at 3:31 pm |

    I was so stunned and offended by the misogyny described in the original post that I felt absolutely compelled to read there comment section through, which was a pretty good read. I only regret being exposed to Seattlegrrrrl’s comment above, which was kinda depressing. Misogyny is awful, and so was the geek hate coming from that comment. I apologize for this yes but, and would like to stress again that rape threats and negative comments about sexuality targeted at a 15y/o are far worse.

  209. Cara
    Cara January 5, 2012 at 3:42 pm |

    And, jeez, the arguing just to argue. Are they all teenage boys? Mine will argue with statements like “It’s raining”. They think it’s honing mad debate skillz when it’s just being stupidly irritating.

  210. Cara
    Cara January 5, 2012 at 4:23 pm |

    This is a communication issue.

    No, this is Matt failing to comprehend the issue.

    where we are unaware of each other’s privileges.

    Oh, yours is coming through loud and clear.

    If you talk to a man about misogyny without explicitly excluding him from the misogyny he will feel accused of said misogyny.

    Um. We don’t have the space to list by name the one billion men who didn’t make rape jokes about a little girl. Nor do we have the FBI dossier on every guy on the planet. Therefore when we say “the cretins who made rape jokes about a little girl”, you’ll just have to assess for yourself whether you fall into that category or not.

    Next derail? We’re waiting.

  211. Kevin
    Kevin January 5, 2012 at 5:18 pm |

    I’d like to see the author have a prolonged and open discussion about this with some men and women (and some transpeople!) of different opinions in an article. Misogyny and Gender issues affect us all, so why have only one perspective on the issue?

    It appears that you’re really doing nothing other than hating on a specific thing people do. You’re not questioning it in a thoughtful or provocative way or trying to understand it and come up with a solution, you’ve imposed a rationale behind “yes, but” instead of trying to actually find it in a scientific manner and then working to avoid those problems to begin with.

    Usually when there is a problem in science or engineering, people do extensive research into why the problem occurs, they don’t just assume why something doesn’t work and decide to go with it. If people did to nuclear power plants, what you do in this article, we’d all be dead.

    In my eyes, all this does is further divide the sexes and impede progress towards an equal future.

    Also the term mansplaining is so bigoted… I’m shocked that a group fighting against gender bias would be so hypocritical. You’re doing exactly the types of things misogynistic men do, but justifying it by being the underdog.

  212. librarygoose
    librarygoose January 5, 2012 at 5:36 pm |

    If people did to nuclear power plants, what you do in this article, we’d all be dead.

    hahahahahahaha…..

    This is fucking ridiculous.

  213. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable January 5, 2012 at 5:39 pm |

    Shorter Kevin: “I want to talk about gender bias without any context. Hypotheticals don’t make me question myself. kthx ladiez”

  214. Kevin
    Kevin January 5, 2012 at 5:42 pm |

    PrettyAmiable.

    Would you care to elaborate? I don’t understand what you’re saying.

  215. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable January 5, 2012 at 5:48 pm |

    Kevin, while I would love to engage with you, I cannot believe you are here with the intention of being intellectually honest when you are trying to force a conversation of gender bias to happen without any context. You described this post, an example of a marginalized person calling out a group’s privilege, as “hating on a specific thing people do.” You also imply that the only way this line of thought is valid is if it also comes from a man.

    Kevin, you are part of the problem. That is what I am saying. Instead of listening to marginalized voices, you’re demanding someone like you agree for the meaning of this post to be valid. That is some fine internalized misogyny you’ve got there, but as I am not your shrink, I’m not going to unpack it for you.

  216. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh January 5, 2012 at 5:59 pm |

    *groan*

    Explaining to women and feminists that we are doing feminism wrong, and this is how we should do it…

    …and then whining about the term “mansplaining.”

    Fucking ridiculous indeed, librarygoose, I agree completely.

  217. Roro80
    Roro80 January 5, 2012 at 6:00 pm |

    If people did to nuclear power plants, what you do in this article, we’d all be dead.

    Hmmm, that’s an odd statement. My grad work in mechanical engineering brought me to a number of nuclear power plants. When they were telling us how to safely handle what we needed to handle, we didn’t sit around in a circle, each expressing our opinions on what sorts of PPE we needed and which rooms we should be allowed to go into. We were told unequivocally by the experts there what we needed to do to keep ourselves, others, and the equipment safe.

    See, the problem here is that you don’t believe the author or the myriad commenters here are expert enough on our own experiences to know what’s right. You’re doing the equivalent of being a snotty grad student researcher going into a nuclear power plant and telling them that they shouldn’t just assume that they know what their business is, then running into dangerous areas with no protection and spitting on the equipment.

    Also: life is actually different from science. Take a breath and let that sink in, k? If you’re acting like an asshole, and your very logical conclusion is that that’s ok because you are factually right, you’re probably missing some information that’s leading you to a fallacious conclusion. No, you’re not right. No, it’s not ok. If you don’t understand why, there’s a lovely post above followed by over 200 comments, plus a wealth of other well-written internet pieces on the subject that you could use to educate yourself. Do your homework before you run into the reactor room and spit on the equipment.

  218. tracy
    tracy January 5, 2012 at 6:08 pm |

    In my eyes, all this does is further divide the sexes and impede progress towards an equal future.

    Wait, what? Does your equal future involve only doing the things “science” tells us to do? Have you actually done any social science? Do you know how nearly impossible your level of “proof” actually is? Did you even stop to think that maybe the original poster and at least some of those who left comments might actually know a thing or two about this field, knowledge that appears to be lacking on your end? According to your comment, I very much doubt your definition of an equal future is in any way actually equal.

  219. Kevin
    Kevin January 5, 2012 at 6:11 pm |

    You’re accusing me of not listening to marginalized voices? Where are the voices of TransWomen and TransMen? I feel that they are an important part of the discussion as they are attempting to transcend these social boundaries and may be able to offer insight that the rest of us lack. I’m not defending people who marginalize bigotry, I’m saying that you needn’t demonize your fellow human being in order to make progress. Just because people do things that are wrong, does not make them bad people.

    The only opinion presented in the article on why men may do the “yes, but” thing, is made as a statement of fact by someone who has not shown any evidence that this is indeed the reason why men say it. Furthermore, wouldn’t you like men to come to terms with why they are insecure, so that men can agree with you without feeling like he is implicating himself in the crime? This seems much more authentic and reasonable than men just doing so out of fear of being labeled a misogynist without actually understanding the issue at hand.

    Furthermore,you seem to have privilege and oppression mixed up. Women are not at the status quo, meaning they are oppressed, not that men have privilege. women need to be brought UP to equal standing with men, men should not be brought DOWN to be oppressed like women.

    if everyone is supposed to get food, and one person doesn’t, that person was deprived, the others weren’t given a gift.

    I won’t check up on this again, since It appears you’re not really willing to have a discussion, you just want to attack me and my motives.

    Hopefully one day you will see that we are struggling together against oppression and not against eachother. This is one of the primary mechanisms through which the system enslaves us all.

    Anarchy, Peace & Equality,
    -Kevin

  220. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh January 5, 2012 at 6:18 pm |

    women need to be brought UP to equal standing with men, men should not be brought DOWN to be oppressed like women.

    Quick, someone catch my eyes, I do believe they have rolled out of their sockets!

  221. DonnaL
    DonnaL January 5, 2012 at 6:50 pm |

    Where are the voices of TransWomen and TransMen?

    How exactly do you know that the voices of trans women and trans men* haven’t been heard on this or any other thread? Are trans people’s comments supposed to be identified by a scarlet “T” at the beginning? Do they need to preface each comment by stating that they’re about to present the Trans Perspective? I really have no idea what you’re talking about.

    * It’s not “TransWomen” and “TransMen” any more than it’s “JewWomen” and “JewMen,” or “ChinaWomen” and “ChinaMen,” or “GayWomen” and “GayMen.” It’s “trans women” and “trans men.” Note that the terms are two words, deliberately so, like “Jewish women and men,” “Chinese women and men,” “gay women and men,” etc. I assume that you can figure out why on your own.

  222. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable January 5, 2012 at 6:50 pm |

    Kevin:

    You’re accusing me of not listening to marginalized voices? Where are the voices of TransWomen and TransMen?

    The post:

    “Yes, but… there are worse problems in the world. Starving people in Africa, and so on. Why are you complaining about this?”

  223. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub January 5, 2012 at 7:02 pm |

    You’re accusing me of not listening to marginalized voices? Where are the voices of TransWomen and TransMen?

    Considering the fact that you have ignored the trans* voices on this very thread in your eagerness to score points and mansplain, why yes, I think that accusation is quite justified.

  224. Roro80
    Roro80 January 5, 2012 at 7:20 pm |

    The only opinion presented in the article on why men may do the “yes, but” thing, is made as a statement of fact by someone who has not shown any evidence that this is indeed the reason why men say it.

    What statement of “why” men do this was given? I see none; please correct me if I’m wrong. I see discussion as to why it’s misogynist to engage in this behavior, I see reasons why it is infuriating, a lot of examples of the behavior, what the behavior does to derail the conversation, and how it’s a really shitty thing to do. There really isn’t any discussion in the post as to the motives of the person doing it. It’s informative and clear: don’t say these things, because they are derailing things to say. I would not assume why the article is structured like it is, but my best guess is that it says what it says because it doesn’t matter *why* a person engaging in this behavior does so. The magical intention of that person does not negate what they are doing, which is derailing, minimizing, and seemingly excusing the misogyny being discussed — this is shitty even if the intention of the man doing so is super squeaky clean and pure.

    Of course, it seems you’ve flounced off now; I hope you took your boa with you.

  225. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable January 5, 2012 at 7:41 pm |

    I know I shouldn’t play “dissect the misogynist,” but did y’all see how he made being a dude the default? Men are normal, women are oppressed.

    Not that I agree with the following characterization (as far as I’m concerned, it’s simplistic and doesn’t account for varying aspects of kyriarchy nor various gender expressions) but the converse, i.e. women are normal, men are privileged, is just wrong. Ergo, don’t call dudes privileged! They’re the default.

  226. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh January 5, 2012 at 7:43 pm |

    Roro80 @226,

    Yep, and not only that, but I read the post applying all sorts of people, not just men. Many people could be accused of being guilty of making yes but statements. One example I can think of was the former student of Hugo Schwyzer in the mammoth thread who did the “yes, he did terrible things in his past but he was so nice to me” bit, and when refused to accept hers as the defining opinion of him, she flounced with explicitly feminist language, by accusing people who disagreed with her (including many of her fellow women survivors of rape) of silencing a rape survivor. So, I think that we can all do better.

    It kind of makes Kevin’s whining about the original post being mean to men make no sense, but whatever, he’s the mansplainer who knows everything about what feminists should do, apparently.

  227. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh January 5, 2012 at 7:44 pm |

    Grrr, my post @228 should read “I read the post AS applying to all sorts of people.”

  228. LotusBen
    LotusBen January 5, 2012 at 10:03 pm |

    Well thinksnake, thanks for the defense, but I found deepikia’s post to be amusing (and helpful) because I think it touched on a lot of truth, actually.

    And yeah deepika, I think I probably was white knighting last night. I fully admit I’m a misognysitic guy, and it comes out sometimes. So it’s good for people to call me on it.

    While my explaination to Pat was condescending, this is all stuff I actually believe. I mentioned women because that was who had just expressed contempt to Pat for his patronizing language: librarygoose repeatedly and Annaleigh @147.

    And yeah, these are the techniques I try to use to communicate, not just at Feministe or around women, but anywhere and around anyone. But they aren’t really “techniques,” they are just a natural outgrowth of the perspective I’ve developed over the years that I don’t know everything, I don’t know what other people are thinking unless they tell me, and absolute, generalizing statements most of the time aren’t accurate or honest. And these statements, when mixed with anger especially, tend to rub people (including women) the wrong way. I don’t try to sound humble. I try to BE humble because there’s a lot of things I don’t know, and I need to remember that.

    Some of the gendered subtext of my post came from the fact that I believe (in general) women are better communicators than men, and are more likely to absorb messages that it’s OK to be humble or talk about emotions. So I did feel a certain kinship for Pat in that I perceived we shared some toxic communication habits that are (partially) linked to our male socialization. Was it hypocritical and white knight-y for me to indulge in this kinship with someone who was, frankly, helping massively derail the discussion of the topic, while at the same time positioning my as the superior dood defender of feminism and women? Yeah, probably.

    Anyway, thanks for calling me out.

  229. Drew
    Drew January 5, 2012 at 10:13 pm |

    know I shouldn’t play “dissect the misogynist,” but did y’all see how he made being a dude the default? Men are normal, women are oppressed.

    Not that I agree with the following characterization (as far as I’m concerned, it’s simplistic and doesn’t account for varying aspects of kyriarchy nor various gender expressions) but the converse, i.e. women are normal, men are privileged, is just wrong. Ergo, don’t call dudes privileged! They’re the default

    Privilege never feels like privilege to the privileged.

    (If you say that sentence more than twice in a row, the word “privilege” becomes a series of sounds that have no meaning)

  230. thinksnake
    thinksnake January 5, 2012 at 11:29 pm |

    “Where are the voices of Trans [people]?” [edited to remove cissexist language]

    Why would you assume no trans people are here? If all we have to go by are user-generated names and what people explicitly state about themselves, then why assume anything?

  231. Links Which Explain The Natural Progression Of Internet Arguments | Lynley Stace

    […] Whenever a woman says anything about sexism, it turns out like this. See also: Why ‘Yes but’ is the wrong response to misogyny’ from […]

  232. JD
    JD January 6, 2012 at 6:41 am |

    Just read this, and the horrifying bit about the 15 year-old girl. First of all, well said.

    (Yes, but…)While I agree with 99% of the OP, I would like to point out one caveat, which i have actually run into, and would make the Kevins of the world a little more tolerant.

    While a discussion of misogyny shouldn’t be marginalized, it’s also not ok to just trump an existing conversation with an unfounded accusation of misogyny. I mean, if somebody’s screaming actual misogyny, that’s one thing. The Reddit case is clearly fucked up. But there are people who *do* use it as a kneejerk defense: you-disagree-with-me-so-you-are-a-misogynist (racist, homophobe, anti-Semite, etc.). Every time someone runs into one of those people, it makes the OP problem a *lot* worse. Because you do have to ignore such people at times.

    The problem is that a lot of the Kevins of the world think that almost everybody who makes the claim is one of those people. He has probably been accused of bias before (I know I have), and perhaps not for actively assaulting someone, but for being unable to recognize bias and reacting with a chip on his shoulder. The OP’s last line is certainly right on for this sort of thing. But honestly the troll has a point too. You do have to be able to engage with these kinds of people to actually make the problem better. He’s willing to talk about the problem, even if he disagrees. That’s not enough, but it’s a hell of a first start.

  233. Akiva
    Akiva January 6, 2012 at 10:20 am |

    If you, as a woman, put your name and face and voice into any space that is not strongly moderated for safety, males will abuse you. Not ‘a few’ males, not ‘some males’, not ‘a fraction’ – nine out of ten, at a conservative estimate, will either abuse you or condone your abuse with “Yes, but” bullshit like the above.

    And, of course, here we have the reason why “yes, but” is actually appropriate.

    The incident discussed above is terrible, full stop. And if the incident is being discussed only for its own sake – that is “did you hear about this” or “what do you think about this” – that really is the only appropriate response.

    But when a particular instance of wrongful conduct is cited not for its own sake but as evidence for a larger point – whether the “all/most males are evil” PoV from MadSwine or something more limited – “yes, but” is a perfectly appropriate response: Yes, I agree with you about the incident in question, but no, I don’t agree with you about the larger conclusions you are attempting to draw from it.

  234. Thomas MacAulay Millar
    Thomas MacAulay Millar January 6, 2012 at 10:34 am |

    Kevin, that’s the funniest total fail I’ve seen in a while. (1) As Donna and thinksnake point out, your assumption that trans folks are not speaking is just plain wrong. (2) You forgot the space! That’s totally 101! (3) You bought the binary, which is cissexist. Also kinda 101. (4) “Oh yeah? But what about …” is classic derailing for dummies, and also closely related to the point of the OP. So your attempt at condescention is at least a quadruple fail, and that’s just the stuff I saw.

    We’re all laughing at you now. You can pretend you’re not reading this since your mediocre flounce, but since it’s all about you, I know you’re lying. Pls cry moar, troll.

  235. Vigée
    Vigée January 6, 2012 at 11:04 am |

    I know I shouldn’t play “dissect the misogynist,”

    Actually, that sounds like a pretty fun game. Do we get to use real specimens?

  236. outrageandsprinkles
    outrageandsprinkles January 6, 2012 at 12:15 pm |

    Ooh, is dissect the misogynist anything like Operation? If we touch the sides, does the misogynist make an angry buzzing noise?

  237. Jadey
    Jadey January 6, 2012 at 12:47 pm |

    Ooh, is dissect the misogynist anything like Operation? If we touch the sides, does the misogynist make an angry buzzing noise?

    And could we tell it apart from the usual buzzing incoherence?

  238. Tom
    Tom January 6, 2012 at 1:33 pm |

    How in hell do people not think those types of comments aren’t some of the most disgusting and despicable things ever said?

  239. Donna L
    Donna L January 6, 2012 at 1:47 pm |

    Tom said:

    How in hell do people not think those types of comments aren’t some of the most disgusting and despicable things ever said?

    Tom, are you referring to the awful comments on Reddit directed at that 15-year old girl, or to the “dissect a misogynist” jokes? It really isn’t clear.

  240. You’re not helping v6 | Toy Soldiers

    […] was untrue in some way. When people use it to make a point, it comes across as an excuse. So Greta Christina’s general point about people not using “yes, but” when discussing misogyny makes sense. Even if all the […]

  241. FunHomeChild
    FunHomeChild January 6, 2012 at 3:34 pm |

    Great article, great points; I think the ideas here could be better held by anyone who is not a member of every minority (which is everyone). I can’t imagine a good argument that would support the belittling of misogyny as an acceptable practice, but I think the idea of dismissing misogyny has taken an interesting turn in these comments… namely, disagreeing with or critiquing this article is *not* the same as disagreeing with or critiquing the point of the article or disagreeing with or critiquing the wrongness of misogyny. To illustrate, let’s look at another example. (Props to Akiva, 236, for eloquently pointing this out first–I’m expanding here).

    The movie Tell Your Children (later remade into Reefer Madness) is a film whose message is blatantly about the dangers of drug abuse. Drug abuse is an incredibly important issue, and I would never want to dismiss it’s impact on society, but I could never hear someone talk about Tell Your Children without responding “Yes, drug abuse is an important issue, but most marijuana use is nothing like that movie portrayed it.” Here, I dismiss the danger of drug abuse by pointing out that it’s not always that bad, much as one might do with misogyny. Sure, this is a slightly easy and hyperbolic example, but the point is that it is just as important not to dismiss things just because they come in the form of a “yes, but” as it is not to dismiss things just by using a “yes, but”.

    I don’t think this article disagrees with this idea, but I’m surprised at how eagerly the no-yes-but rule has been enforced in the comments. *If* the article’s author had made up or exaggerated the situation about the 15 year-old, it wouldn’t make misogyny less of an issue, but it would be disingenuous and would warp one’s perception of misogyny in a similar way that Tell Your Children might warp one’s perception of psychoactive drugs. I personally would be offended if the author made up or exaggerated this situation, mostly because it detracts from the import of the cause by portraying it as one that needs exaggeration to rationalize it. It’s completely worth discussing that potential, just as it’s completely worth discussing any potential factual problem with the article. This is a fundamental tenet of open discussion, and to disagree is effectively to say that lying or suppressing ideas is acceptable as a means to an end. It’s effectively condoning a curriculum teaching abstinence as the *only* method of STD prevention so long as such teaching reduces teen pregnancy (which, of course, it doesn’t).

    Yes, misogyny is an incredibly important and horrific issue. Yes, it is often dismissed inappropriately by statements in the form of “yes, but”. Yes, men often respond to general declarations of misogyny defensively. BUT, people change their beliefs by evaluating and criticizing that with which they are not completely familiar, and we aren’t going to get anywhere if we call every attempt to criticize misogyny a dismissive/misogynist trick. Like all rhetoric, rhetoric about misogyny is susceptible to exaggeration and misrepresentation.

    The article is an excellent guide for how we all should act. I don’t think it’s much of a guide as to how we should enforce our beliefs on others. If someone (be it a male, female, or non-polar-gendered individual) says something in the form of “Yes, but not all men are like that” or “Yes, but she had it coming”, our immediate reactions should be to want to change their mind. And changing their mind isn’t accomplished by calling them a misogynist; chances are that person doesn’t see themselves as a misogynist and is instead guilty of having a subtly misogynist upbringing or at worst of not having thought about it enough. Instead, explain why their comment detracts from the issue (assuming it does), and maybe point them to this article.

  242. Vigée
    Vigée January 6, 2012 at 4:33 pm |

    To all the misogynists out there, I’m sorry I joked about dissecting you. In reality, I would not want to touch you will a 10 foot pole, let alone root around in your insides.

    On the other hand, if ‘dumb blond jokes’ are a category, I don’t see why ‘dissecting a misogynist jokes’ shouldn’t be. I mean, I’m giggling.

  243. LotusBen
    LotusBen January 6, 2012 at 9:20 pm |

    I’m misogynistic, and I wasn’t offended. Seemed in better taste than a dumb blonde joke. For example, it didn’t play into stereotypes that perpetuate institutional oppression*, like dumb blonde jokes do.

    *I mean oppression, not oppression of blondes particularly. I don’t know if blondes are oppressed or not.

  244. LotusBen
    LotusBen January 6, 2012 at 9:22 pm |

    correction: oppression of women, not oppression of blondes particularly.

  245. piratequeen
    piratequeen January 6, 2012 at 9:51 pm |

    I was actually appreciating LotusBen tackling that convo with Pat. People with privilege schooling other people with privilege so a person without that privilege doesn’t have to seems to me like awesome ally behavior.

  246. The Labelling Fallacy « Navigating the Informationscape

    […] to institutionalise a form a false dichotomic thought, an “us vs them” mentality, by pathologizing a certain way of phrasing nuanced disagreement (to which ToySoldier responded “yes, but…“). There other examples I’ve […]

  247. infinity
    infinity January 6, 2012 at 10:28 pm |

    I suppose I shouldn’t, because it’s about 100 posts up, but I just have to:

    One in four males (I think that’s the current statistic) would actually rape that fifteen-year-old girl, given the opportunity.

    …Not true.

  248. EG
    EG January 7, 2012 at 1:04 am |

    correction: oppression of women, not oppression of blondes particularly.

    Heh. I was confused, actually. No, I really was! And I was ready to launch into a rant about how blondes are valorized in our culture, and to tell my traumatic story about the origin of Smurfette.

  249. LotusBen
    LotusBen January 7, 2012 at 5:37 am |

    Thanks piratequeen.

    And I was ready to launch into a rant about how blondes are valorized in our culture, and to tell my traumatic story about the origin of Smurfette.

    Lol. Actually, over the years I’ve become remiss about maintaining my Smurfs knowledge base and didn’t get this reference at first. I looked up Smurfette on Wikipedia though. That’s pretty fucked up. I’m sorry I triggered you in that way.

  250. TeamBuffalo
    TeamBuffalo January 7, 2012 at 6:34 am |

    seattlegrrrl I really wanted to disagree with you, but fuckin’ a, you do know the the community from the inside. Are you a playtester, maybe?

  251. Andie
    Andie January 7, 2012 at 1:11 pm |

    250
    infinity 1.6.2012 at 10:28 pm | Permalink
    I suppose I shouldn’t, because it’s about 100 posts up, but I just have to:

    One in four males (I think that’s the current statistic) would actually rape that fifteen-year-old girl, given the opportunity.

    …Not true.

    Yeah, infinity is right.. The stat is that 1 in 4 women hae been sexually assaulted. That doesn’t translate into 1 in 4 men have committed assault unless you believe that every assault is a one time offense, which is unrealistic at best. The stats I had was that 1 in 60 guys have (or maybe would) committed sexual assault.

  252. Cara
    Cara January 7, 2012 at 4:08 pm |

    While I agree with 99% of the OP, I would like to point out one caveat, which i have actually run into, and would make the Kevins of the world a little more tolerant.

    While a discussion of misogyny shouldn’t be marginalized, it’s also not ok to just trump an existing conversation with an unfounded accusation of misogyny. I mean, if somebody’s screaming actual misogyny, that’s one thing.

    OH FOR GOD’S SAKE.

    Guess what? You’re the one billionth “let me just explain this to you ladies so you can communicate your point more effectively to those who don’t really want to hear it in the first place“!

    You win the DVD player!

    Also, bugger off with that “you ladies need help understanding what misogyny is” noise.

  253. Cara
    Cara January 7, 2012 at 4:18 pm |

    Furthermore,you seem to have privilege and oppression mixed up. Women are not at the status quo, meaning they are oppressed, not that men have privilege.

    HAHAHAHAHAHHAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    *deep breath*

    Oh, dear. That was great. Hee.

    *wipes eyes*

  254. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh January 7, 2012 at 5:11 pm |

    Wow, there’s really something about this thread that is bringing the mansplainers out of the woodwork.

    And now women have to get men’s permission to “scream” misogyny? Really?

    I guess the other theme complimenting the mansplaining is total lack of self-awareness.

  255. jemand
    jemand January 8, 2012 at 9:55 am |

    @Andie, Infinity,

    (trigger warning, rape)

    No, the comment wasn’t one in four HAD raped, but that they WOULD given the chance.

    And I have read research which asked men if they could “have sex” with a drunk, passed out woman they thought attractive, with no repercussions legal or personal, would they? And about one in four said they would. Something like that, my google skills are failing me at the moment.

  256. A. Female
    A. Female January 9, 2012 at 10:36 am |

    @ Mad the swine:

    Isn’t the inability of a female person to express that she is a female person in her communication a form of online purdah? Do you think this should extend to realspace? What about when the men this girl would be protecting herself from have to interact with women in school, the workplace, marriage, etc…? Do they suddenly become worthy nonviolent loving individuals?

    I KNOW that purdah (the concealment of women’s bodies, voices, etc… for the purpose of benefiting society) does not desexualize women.

    My personal conclusion has been that the men, not the women, need to change. A man who sees something unworthy of humanity when he looks at a woman will see that no matter what she does or says, regardless of her age or abilities.

  257. Glundank
    Glundank January 9, 2012 at 9:28 pm |

    I’m glad we managed to not get in a fight about gender separatism, despite early rumblings of a derail.

  258. returntothesea
    returntothesea January 10, 2012 at 8:40 am |

    Tom, are you referring to the awful comments on Reddit directed at that 15-year old girl, or to the “dissect a misogynist” jokes? It really isn’t clear.

    Fundamentally are those that different? Both are talking about terrible things that you more than likely wouldn’t do and wouldn’t say in real life to someone’s face but, due to the anonymity and relative freedom from consequence the internet provides, you do so in making a joke.

    Or are misogynists not people too? Someone mentioned before that intent doesn’t matter when a crime is committed. You are seriously joking about dissecting a human being. Is there a “bad person” switch I am unaware of that, when flipped, makes that not horrific?

    I want to be very clear about this: the Reddit bullshit is INFINITELY WORSE. I’m just saying that I feel like it’s the same idea.

  259. LotusBen
    LotusBen January 10, 2012 at 7:02 pm |

    @returntothesea

    Except I’m not aware of any cases of feminists actually dissecting misogynists. On the other hand, it definintely happens that men rape 15 year old girls. So one is a joke that is related to actual heinous acts that occur in the real world; and one is a joke that is related to something purely fantasical.

    Would it be “horrific” in your mind to talk about drowning someone in a vat of gooey caramel? Or to mention you want to force feed someone raw radishes until their stomach bursts? In my mind, these would not be horrific because they would seem absurdly unlikely, and therefore would not be taken as seriously threatening.

    In contrast, at least 18% of women say they’ve been raped at some point. So there’s really no parallel.

  260. Vigée
    Vigée January 10, 2012 at 8:19 pm |

    Or are misogynists not people too?

    Only in the strictest definition of the term.

    Also? No one said they wanted to dissect a misogynist. We said we’d like to play “dissect the misogynist”. Which sounds like a variation of pin the tail on the donkey, or the classic game of Operation, as outrageandsprinkles mentioned. I’m pretty sure actually pinning a tail on a donkey would be animal abuse. But maybe you should take that up with every elementary school-aged birthday party ever.

  261. Vigée
    Vigée January 10, 2012 at 8:22 pm |

    Fundamentally are those that different?

    Are threatening to rape a 15-year-old girl and joking about playing a game called “dissect a misogynist” fundamentally different? Ummm, yes.

  262. LotusBen
    LotusBen January 10, 2012 at 8:32 pm |

    Stop trying to deflect responsibility Vigee. I’ve hacked into your computer and noticed that on January 6th you ordered 500 surgical scalpels from Amazon.com, which was (perhaps not) coincedentally the date of your first reference to oh-how-fun it would be to dissect a misogynist. And we’re supposed to not be worried?

  263. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable January 10, 2012 at 9:43 pm |

    Fundamentally are those that different?

    srsly?

  264. Vigée
    Vigée January 11, 2012 at 12:01 am |

    Okay, LotusBen, you got me! It’s all part of my diabolical plan to…Oh hell. I can’t even come up with anything witty because it’s so absurd. For the record, I Hate the small of formaldehyde (and yes, I did have to google how to spell that).

  265. shfree
    shfree January 11, 2012 at 12:58 pm |

    *Sighs and returns the “eau de formaldehyde” perfume she bought just for Vigee*

  266. outrageandsprinkles
    outrageandsprinkles January 11, 2012 at 8:58 pm |

    Yeah, I was really just picturing an angry dude made out of plastic grumbling as I tried to find the funny bone, but sure, we can say it’s fundamentally the same as threatening to anally rape a 15-year-old girl.

  267. outrageandsprinkles
    outrageandsprinkles January 11, 2012 at 9:00 pm |

    WAIT WAIT SORRY-Joking about anally raping a 15-year-old girl. It’s very important to those horrible human beings that were know they were” just joking (so shut up already you bitch)”

  268. Misogyny, Portlandia | Vagina Dentwata
    Misogyny, Portlandia | Vagina Dentwata January 11, 2012 at 11:19 pm |

    […] Required Reading: Greta Christina’s guestblog for Feministe: Why “Yes, But” Is the Wrong Response to Misogyny […]

  269. FST
    FST January 12, 2012 at 11:19 pm |

    I think that the problem is quite simple. Admitting that misogyny exists and is a systematic problem is tantamount to an admission that you, yourself, are sexist. The natural self-defense mechanism kicks in, and from there come the excuses.

    Indeed, I’ve found that, similar to the Dunning-Kruger effect, the more morally aware I become, the more I consider the various extended consequences of my actions, the more I am able to see my own moral failings. I find it impossible to become more aware of morality without becoming more self-loathing.

    As a result of learning about various issues related to sexism, I’ve come to hate myself, to hate my gender (male), and to hate my sexuality. It makes my feel disgusting, like there’s a long list of crimes I have to make up for but I know that I never can. Lest I ever make that list longer, I refuse to engage in any sexual activity whatsoever. I’m already shackled with enough guilt.

    I think most men are just too pathetic and cowardly to face how horrible they are. The question is, what do you do about this shameful behavior?

  270. It’s still not about Joe « orangerhymed

    […] This is also true that Penn State is a good school, academically. But can you stop talking about all that for a minute? Responses like Erickson’s basically amount to “yes, but.” […]

  271. Jjuliaava
    Jjuliaava January 13, 2012 at 5:11 pm |

    Misogyny is a huge issue on meme sites! I am dying for a feminist memes site similar to know your memes but without every picture of females covered in white helvetica text that reads “CUNT.” I challenge any feminist to create this much needed website– I will be the first poster. Sometimes I think that memes are so against women because the young arrogant sexually frustrated 16 year old white boy republicans are the only folks who know how to use adobe photoshop. Now, we can combat these horrible memes with memes of our own with a little help from adobe 30 day free trial and maybe a few tutorials? IF ANYONE READING THIS HAS THE CAPABILITY TO MAKE A FEMINIST MEME SITE– I AM BEGGING THAT YOU DO IT!

  272. LotusBen
    LotusBen January 13, 2012 at 5:50 pm |

    Wow FST. That’s quite dark. I can relate to that a bit. I’m also a sexist male in a society that’s systematically sexist toward women. And I consider myself sympathetic to feminism. I especially related when you mentioned the feeling of a long list of crimes I know I have to make up for but never can (which for me, at least, is a general feeling not just related to my misogyny).

    You know, FST, there isn’t a single person alive who hasn’t oppressed someone else (and that’s not just an excuse: that is reality). If I were you, I’d ask myself: does all this self-loating actually benefit you, or even benefit women for that matter? If you hate yourself, then you probably aren’t going to be taking care of yourself (and you’re a human being, too, and every human being deserves the best, regardless of what they’ve done). Also, if you hate yourself, you likely won’t be approaching situations with your peak intellectual and emotional resources, and therefore your ability to determine the best way to act ethically toward others will be comprimised. Based off my experience, at least, it’s a lot harder to feel compassion toward others if I’m feeling loathing toward myself.

    Anywho, long story short: martyrdom doesn’t help anybody. Definitely don’t have sex again until you feel ready for it. Just remember–the whole world will be better off when you focus on bringing more happiness into it. You don’t need to punish yourself. We’re all oppressors; we’re all oppressed. Just be honest and try to bring more joy into life for everyone.

  273. FST
    FST January 13, 2012 at 8:38 pm |

    Actually Ben, I’ve never had sex before, and I intend to keep it that way. Indeed, I have a problem with having sex. Call me strange, but it’s hard for me to see sex as something acceptable. By definition, all sexual activities require viewing other people in a sexual manner. I know people try to claim that they are different, but as far as I’m concerned, sexual attraction really is a form of objectification. It requires viewing other people as a potential source of pleasure. Even if you care about them and deeply respect them, sexual intercourse still involves attraction and therefore some degree of objectification. Objectifying men is wrong, but it’s not that wrong. Objectifying women is a serious problem, because they are an oppressed class. Objectification doesn’t have the same effect on an oppressed class as it does on the general populace.

    For this same reason, I’m also opposed to masturbation. Masturbation, 99% of the time, requires sexual thoughts. Those thoughts objectify people, especially since masturbation usually involves fantasy people that you’re not actually in love with. So, I don’t allow myself to masturbate either, as I consider it to be a sexist crime. And yes, it’s still wrong if women masturbate, especially if they do so to mental fantasies of other women. However, as an oppressed class, one must have a larger tolerance for female behavior, so I tend not to condemn women who masturbate.

    This is the only way I can live my life without the constant desire to kill myself as an evil oppressor. Go ahead, tell me I’m mentally ill, that I need psychological help. God knows, I’ve heard that claim several dozen times by now.

    Do I “want” sex? In some sense, yes, however, I cannot allow myself to have any. My emotional, physical, and psychological well being is my own problem. I have no right to engage in sexual activity, all of which inherently harms women, just for the sake of my own health. To do so would be a selfish act.

    And yes, the only way I could ever be comfortable with myself is for every single woman in the world to personally inform me that they don’t think I’m a terrible person. And I’m not sure that even that would work.

  274. LotusBen
    LotusBen January 13, 2012 at 9:21 pm |

    Well FST, I certainly don’t agree with your theories about morality, sex, or objectification. But everyone is entitled to their own sexual boundaries, preferences, and choices. You seem to prefer complete abstinence, which has worked for a lot of people over the centuries. So I think that’s totally legitimate for you, and I wish you luck with that. I only hope that you can come to accept yourself more and feel more at peace with your life. It sounds really painful to be carrying around all that guilt and shame.

  275. Ath Eist
    Ath Eist January 14, 2012 at 3:48 pm |

    FST – “Call me strange, but it’s hard for me to see sex as something acceptable. By definition, all sexual activities require viewing other people in a sexual manner. ”

    Well, I would not call you strange, but what I would ask is why it would be unacceptable to view other people in a sexual manner. To me, and I think most anyone, viewing other people in a sexual manner is part of human biology, and if we didn’t do it then procreation would be dramatically reduced. Had we never done that sort of thing, we’d likely never have evolved.

    The whole idea of sexual selection in human and nonhuman evolution involves viewing certain traits as sexually attractive, resulting propagation of those traits to succeeding generations. Example – men have larger penises relative to body size than any other primate because human females sexually selected men with larger penises for mating, resulting in a shift in the alleles in succeeding generations to tend to have larger penises on average.

    Regarding sex and masturbation, perhaps you could buy a “Real Doll” which is a doll that is about the same size and look of a living human being. If you confine your sexual thoughts to the doll, and have sex with it, you could then not be objectifying women or men, and yet you’d still have sex. Perhaps when human-like robots are perfected, we can switch to having sex with them, and just be robot-objectifiers, and nobody would ever objectify humans?

  276. Jonathan
    Jonathan January 15, 2012 at 12:59 pm |

    I agree wholeheartedly with the general points Greta Cristina makes in her original post – which makes the rest of what I have to say seem like a “yes, but”. But…

    The problem I have with the OP is the language used. (And sorry, if this has already been said, but 250+ comments is too many to read.) Specifically, the repeated:

    and men change the subject

    This use of “men” always gets my goat. It instantly implies “all men” and throws up the first “yes, but…” straightaway.

    Yes, but… not all men are like that.

    Exactly so. In which case please don’t write in a way that provokes such a response. Instead, “people change the subject” would be suitably neutral. It doesn’t have to be “men” to get the point across (which is about trivializing misogyny by derailing comment threads). Or if it does have to be men, if the thread derailers in question are (mostly) men, then rephrase it: “some men”, “the something men”, “the men who” — anything, as long as the sexist implication “all men” doesn’t automatically follow.

    Lest anyone think so, this is not an insignificant matter. If we can’t speak to each other in respectful terms, we can’t really speak to each other at all. And I shouldn’t have to point out the ironies of using sexist language when writing a critique of other people’s sexism (here misogyny).

  277. LotusBen
    LotusBen January 15, 2012 at 1:52 pm |

    Jonathan, let me ask you some questions:

    If I wrote, “Humans first walked on the moon in 1969″ do you read that as “All humans walked on the moon in 1969″?

    If I wrote, “Social conservatives voted for Bush because of his opposition to abortion” do you read that as “All social conservatives voted for Bush, and the sole reason all of them voted for him was because of his opposition to abortion”?

    No? Then why do you insist on reading “men” as “all men.” I’m a man, and I don’t read the OP this way. When I read the word “men,” I tend to interpret it as, well, “men,” as in two or more people who identify as a man. I do not interpret it as “every single male human being who has ever lived on planet Earth.”

    The key word in the sentences you object to is, I believe, when.The word when makes it pretty clear (to me, at least) that the OP is speaking about certain particular contexts, and not all contexts, and therefore, not all men.

    I’m not sure why you read it differently. Could it be because on some level you identify with the men who do these misogynistic things?

  278. Jonathan
    Jonathan January 15, 2012 at 4:03 pm |

    @ LotusBen

    I agree with you regarding the importance of context. In your first question the context is “walking on the moon” so to read “humans” as “all humans” would be blatantly silly. In the second the context is politics so, yes, I would read it as “all social conservatives” (or rather “most conservatives”) and that one of the major reasons they did so was “because of [Bush’s] opposition to abortion”. Obviously the question states an opinion which could be contested, but the implication is still there.

    For this thread and this site, the context is feminism, and hence gender. In this context talking about “men” without further specification implies that stated opinions about “men” apply to men as a gender, as a group. And no matter how true any generalization might be at some level, it will always lead inevitably to the retort: “yes, but…”, which the OP is keen to avoid. Obviously such opinions can also be contested, but I’d much rather they weren’t made at all, especially when the context is as important as feminism.

    As for whether my first comment could be “because on some level [I] identify with the men who do these misogynistic things?” Not at all, no. It’s simply that I have a great loathing of gender stereotyping – of either men or women (or indeed any gender formulation). My position on this is best described in a piece I wrote on pronouns here: http://malefemme.blogspot.com/2011/08/pronoun-trouble.html (see the penultimate paragraph).

  279. FST
    FST January 15, 2012 at 4:25 pm |

    Ath Eist, the problem is that even sexuality involving that thing could lead to potentially terrible actions toward real women. Indeed, those things are creepy precisely because they’re a manifestation of what most men probably want from a woman.

    Viewing someone sexually is a problem because all modes of sexual attraction are based upon evolutionary heuristics designed to maximize the genetic fitness of our offspring. As such, sexual attraction is always, by definition, shallow and dehumanizing. Even if you see someone as a person while simultaneously being attracted to them, the attraction degrades and lowers the respect, because it taints the respect with its dehumanizing and shallow impurity.

    As for reproduction, that no longer requires sex, and in the future, it will no longer require sperm, eggs, or uterii either. Instead, we will completely externalize reproduction so that nothing immoral like sex is required and so that no woman’s body has to be ravaged by the horrors of pregnancy. In fact, this program would even eliminate abortion, so we don’t have to hear from those pro-lifers anymore.

    If only we could find a way to remove the sex drive from the entire population. Sexuality really is, as far as I’m concerned, the ultimate cause of all sex and gender-based discrimination. Eliminate the main cause, and all subsequent problems should disappear. Then, the only differences between men and women will be trivial biological ones, like men tending to be physically stronger, and women tending to live a few years longer.

    Don’t have sex. Don’t think about sex. Don’t look at or consume pornography. Don’t engage in auto-eroticism. Use chemical compounds and/or mental training if necessary. Do these things while also questioning patriarchal notions and you should become a much purer, egalitarian person.

    If you’re absolutely, definitely too weak to be completely celibate, then please consider a homosexual relationship. They are inherently more egalitarian and less abusive than heterosexual couplings.

  280. LotusBen
    LotusBen January 15, 2012 at 4:35 pm |

    Don’t have sex. Don’t think about sex. Don’t look at or consume pornography. Don’t engage in auto-eroticism. Use chemical compounds and/or mental training if necessary.

    I hope this guy doesn’t become dictator of the world somehow.

  281. FST
    FST January 15, 2012 at 4:40 pm |

    No, I’d actually prefer if people did these things voluntarily.

  282. DonnaL
    DonnaL January 15, 2012 at 7:18 pm |

    nstead, we will completely externalize reproduction so that nothing immoral like sex is required and so that no woman’s body has to be ravaged by the horrors of pregnancy. In fact, this program would even eliminate abortion, so we don’t have to hear from those pro-lifers anymore.

    If only we could find a way to remove the sex drive from the entire population. Sexuality really is, as far as I’m concerned, the ultimate cause of all sex and gender-based discrimination. Eliminate the main cause, and all subsequent problems should disappear. Then, the only differences between men and women will be trivial biological ones, like men tending to be physically stronger, and women tending to live a few years longer.

    Don’t have sex. Don’t think about sex. Don’t look at or consume pornography. Don’t engage in auto-eroticism. Use chemical compounds and/or mental training if necessary. Do these things while also questioning patriarchal notions and you should become a much purer, egalitarian person.

    If you’re absolutely, definitely too weak to be completely celibate, then please consider a homosexual relationship. They are inherently more egalitarian and less abusive than heterosexual couplings.

    You know, you’re entirely entitled to view sex for yourself any way you please. But as soon as you begin to universalize your experience and expound on what other people — especially women — should not do, and on your belief that when women masturbate it is “wrong,” and your belief that nobody should want or have sex, you are being infinitely more offensive and self-centered, and are objectifying women far more, and are demonstrating a far more notable absence of empathy for women, than you would be if you engaged in solitary sexual activity while fantasizing about some non-existent woman you’ve created out of your imagination. Which I don’t happen to think is using people at all. So, please, leave women out of your ideas of what other people should do. You clearly don’t have sufficient life experience to make that judgment.

  283. FST
    FST January 15, 2012 at 7:39 pm |

    Donna, it’s not about people’s opinions or experiences. I reject both of those things as meaningful in debate. The truth is all that matters, and given how insignificant and tiny humans are in comparison to the grand and subtle cosmos, it can be said without any doubt that the truth cares little for our personal feelings and ideas. I don’t care about my own personal experience and opinions either. I have to apply this standard of objectivity to myself as well or else it’s hypocritical. If I am wrong in anything I’ve said, then I am wrong, but my wrongness has nothing to do with whether or not anyone likes or dislikes what I have to say.

    You say that it’s self-centered for me to say that it’s wrong when women masturbate (I also say it’s wrong when men masturbate too). You say that it’s wrong to universalize this concept. Tell me, how far would you apply this? Which concepts am I allowed to universalize? Am I allowed to say it’s wrong when other people commit murder? Am I allowed to say that it’s wrong for other people to steal things? If I can universalize those more extreme conceptions, then why can I not universalize this one, given that the only difference between murder and auto-eroticism is the severity of harm caused?

    Also, I have no experience. I am a [mostly] heterosexual male virgin with a strict commitment to absolutely never engage in any sexual activity or sexual fantasy. I refuse to do anything or think anything sexual at all. Ergo, I have no “personal experience” with sexuality. However, as I’ve said previously, the absence of personal experience is irrelevant to the logical validity of my arguments. It’s a complete non-sequitur.

  284. LotusBen
    LotusBen January 15, 2012 at 8:01 pm |

    FST, I believe Donna’s statement that you “don’t have sufficient life experience” might mean that don’t know any of us, you haven’t lived our lives, and you don’t know what we want or need. Therefore, would you kindly fuck off and not tell us what to do?

    Also, for someone who claims to not “care about [his] own personal experience and opinions,” you certainly appear to care about expressing your opinions here. But given you don’t care about your opinions, I don’t think it would be too much of an imposition for me to request that you shut up about these particular opinions now.

    I’m also a mostly heterosexual male. I’m not abstinent, and I don’t want to be. And I’m committed to transcending things that hold me back from maximizing my sexual fulfillment, whether that’s my internalized misogyny or my shame around my own sexuality. Just because you’re too ashamed to have sex, don’t put that on me or any other man or woman.

  285. DonnaL
    DonnaL January 15, 2012 at 8:50 pm |

    OK, FST, I tried to be polite, but this is a feminist website and I don’t think anybody here is interested in hearing any more of your crackpot, shaming opinions. So please go away; this isn’t the place for you.

  286. FST
    FST January 15, 2012 at 9:05 pm |

    No, what you mean is that this is a sex-positive feminist website. I think you’ll find separatists feminist would be much closer to agreeing with much of what I wrote.

  287. Li
    Li January 15, 2012 at 9:24 pm |

    No, what you mean is that this is a sex-positive feminist website. I think you’ll find separatists feminist would be much closer to agreeing with much of what I wrote.

    They’d probably be just as uninterested in your opinion on the matter though. Separatist feminists – not so much with the putting up with the manfeelings.

  288. FST
    FST January 15, 2012 at 9:55 pm |

    It’s not about my opinion. It’s about whether what I said is objectively correct or not. If I’m wrong, please show me why I’m wrong.

  289. thinksnake
    thinksnake January 15, 2012 at 10:16 pm |

    1. What is objectivity?

    2. Who judges?

    3. How can you call something you are asserting without evidence anything but your opinion?

  290. FST
    FST January 15, 2012 at 10:19 pm |

    1. The state of being mind-independent.

    2. If it’s objective, nobody judges. Nobody has to decide that the Earth orbits the sun. It just does.

    3. Morality is a priori, not a posteriori.

  291. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig January 15, 2012 at 10:37 pm |

    FST: The difference between murder, stealing and masturbation is simple. Murder and theft hurt other people, that’s why every single society has laws against those acts.
    Masturbation harms no one, and just because someone fantasizes about some act, that doesn’t mean they’ll act on it.
    In the case of some really nasty sexual urges, like, say, pedophilia, or a desire for non-consensual sex, some people have to rely on masturbation until they can allow themselves to recognize that they need help or work out a way to explore their urges with willing partners. The tl;dr version: Certain acts are illegal, thoughts aren’t and can’t hurt anyone.

  292. Jadey
    Jadey January 15, 2012 at 11:16 pm |

    I reject your epistemology and substitute my own.

  293. thinksnake
    thinksnake January 16, 2012 at 12:39 am |

    I suggest you brush up on your Wittgenstein at the least, if you’re making such simplistic statements about ‘objectivity’ and ‘It just does’.

  294. thinksnake
    thinksnake January 16, 2012 at 12:40 am |

    (Sorry to double post)

    And also, what does this have to do with the topic at hand? Where are you talking about the issues of “Yes, but…”?

  295. Alara Rogers
    Alara Rogers January 16, 2012 at 12:46 am |

    It is impossible to state that “sex necessarily objectifies other human beings” is an objective fact, let alone “objectification of other human beings is necessarily bad” or “objectification of other human beings is such a terrible thing to do that it justifies being wholly celibate”. None of these things exist in the domain where they can be objectively proven. Therefore, by definition, those statements are opinions.

    One can believe very strongly that one’s opinions are backed up by facts, but that belief does not in itself transform an opinion into a fact. Questions regarding whether or not it is necessary to objectify other humans, and whether or not this is necessarily evil, fall into the realm of philosophy, which is almost by definition never empirically provable fact.

    So yeah. Your opinions are opinions. They’re not objective fact no matter how many times you say so, because they fall into a domain where determining objective facts is literally impossible. (“What *is* Quality? What is it?”) And unfortunately for you, most people who would agree with the statement that heterosexual male sexuality is necessarily an unconscionable abuse of women are separatist feminists who probably are mostly not interested in hearing the opinions of men even when men agree with them, and most of the people who think it’s worthwhile to listen to the opinions of men wouldn’t agree with your opinion about male sexuality.

  296. Drew
    Drew January 16, 2012 at 2:38 am |

    If I can universalize those more extreme conceptions, then why can I not universalize this one, given that the only difference between murder and auto-eroticism is the severity of harm caused?

    I think this is a circumstance where “Yes, but” is a totally appropriate response.

    Yes, but, what the fuck?

  297. thinksnake
    thinksnake January 16, 2012 at 2:43 am |

    Some of FST’s arguments also remind me of the debates between Rationalism and Empiricism within the philosophy of science.

    “I have no interest in your personal experiences.” Well, you know what? If your ‘objective’ truth doesn’t fit with the reality of lived experience, then how can it possible be called a truth?

  298. librarygoose
    librarygoose January 16, 2012 at 3:07 am |

    My favorite part of FST’s argument is how nothing he disagrees with can be “objective truth”. I find it amusing how that worked out.

  299. Book Girl
    Book Girl January 16, 2012 at 3:12 am |

    FST seems to have no problem with intellectual masturbation – and in public, no less. Just thought I’d take a break from LMAO at him to point that out…

  300. DouglasG
    DouglasG January 16, 2012 at 10:56 am |

    Yes, but at least Mr FST wouldn’t be watching anything pornographic on an airplane. Of course, he might express a decided opinion on what others might be watching, but he’d perhaps be an acceptable neighbour for someone who had to work through the flight.

  301. Reclaiming Words. ~ Adele Wilde-Blavatsky | elephant journal

    […] the responses of men, in particular are strangely silent on these issues or they give the common ‘yes, but…..’ response, citing misandry and abusive speech or actions against men as some kind of excuse or equalizer. […]

  302. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig January 16, 2012 at 11:58 pm |

    Doug: In my opinion, watching porn on an airplane is equivalent to having acess to a shower/bath, and conciously choosing to not bathe for a couple of weeks. It’s a decision to be an absolute asshole. FST is a bit of an asshole; he’s trying not to be one, but went way too far with it.
    FST: Word of advice, google asexual.

  303. DouglasG
    DouglasG January 17, 2012 at 2:06 pm |

    Ms Guinea – That’s a reasonably accurate assessment. I was just thinking of a situation in which he might show to better advantage, and it occurred to me that several posters from the Airplane thread might have gladly swapped their objectionable flight neighbours for him.

  304. FST
    FST January 17, 2012 at 10:32 pm |

    How exactly am I being an asshole? Also, I’m not asexual. I have sexual thoughts and desires, I just punish myself for having them and find ways of suppressing them whenever they show up.

  305. Donna L
    Donna L January 17, 2012 at 10:54 pm |

    I just punish myself for having them and find ways of suppressing them whenever they show up.

    Have you tried mortifying your flesh? I understand that a hair shirt and spiked cilice, together with the occasional use of a knotted whip, can work wonders.

  306. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig January 17, 2012 at 10:57 pm |

    Doug: Okay, I see your point. The airline thread occured on a busy day for me, so I never read the whole thing. But, yeah. All I basically want from my seatmates is that they leave me alone.

    FST: If you can’t see why ‘women need to be saved from nasty dirty thoughts’ isn’t bordering on assholish territory, I really can’t help you. Women aren’t telepathic, and thoughts don’t hurt anyone. In fact, a lot of women enjoy hearing ‘I was thinking about you all day’ from their significant others.
    I take back my assessment; what you need is a good dominitrix.

  307. FST
    FST January 17, 2012 at 11:03 pm |

    I know you’re mocking me, but I usually do it with either self-injury (deliberate bruising, cutting, etc.) or punitive fasting.

    Also, I’m an atheist, so your opus dei reference is inapplicable.

  308. FST
    FST January 18, 2012 at 12:16 am |

    It doesn’t matter whether or not people are made aware of them. The thoughts are bad in and of themselves. In addition, having a sexual thought can lead to treating people as less than human. The risk is too high.

    If nobody ever has any sexual contact with anyone, then there’s no more rape, no more unwanted pregnancy, and no more child molestation. No sex = no sex crimes. No sexuality = no discrimination on the basis of sex, gender, or sexuality.

  309. Li
    Li January 18, 2012 at 12:50 am |

    I don’t really see a het guy understanding this, but the suppression of sexuality? Fucking destructive in and of itself. In fact, destructive in the oh great now we have a whole bunch of dead queers way. But sure, continue to advocate for a position historically and contemporarily used to do massive psychological damage to sexual minorities. That’ll go well in ending oppression.

  310. DonnaL
    DonnaL January 18, 2012 at 1:00 am |

    If nobody ever has any sexual contact with anyone, then there’s no more rape, no more unwanted pregnancy, and no more child molestation. No sex = no sex crimes. No sexuality = no discrimination on the basis of sex, gender, or sexuality.

    Because people who sublimate and suppress their sexuality have never, ever done harm to others, persecuted them, tortured them, burned them at the stake. Couldn’t happen.

    Oh, and the whole growing babies in test tubes thing? You have read Aldous Huxley, right?

    And yes, I was mocking you. Which is not my usual practice. I’m sorry you’re so troubled, but people with your views, projecting their belief that sex is the root of all evil out onto the world, have done so much incredible harm through the ages that they deserve mockery. Whether they appear in the guise of a 15th century Dominican friar or someone like you.

  311. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig January 18, 2012 at 1:40 am |

    FST: seriously? Celibacy leads to developing loads of unhealthy urges. Look at the Catholic Church for instance. I suspect if a lot of priests had taken the time to develop a healthy sexuality, the Church wouldn’t have had such a bad history of torture, and yes, sex scandals. Read history sometime, it’s good for you.
    Also, people treat other people as objects- often in a non-sexual way- but that’s because people are terrible at empathy, especially when it comes to people who are not part of ‘their’ group. It’s just part of the operating system. A stray thought of ‘wow, she’s pretty’ or ‘he’s soo handsome’ is not going to cause you to turn into a rape machine or confuse the object of your affection with a lamp or other furnishing.
    From your comments, I suspect you need some counseling. You sound pretty young, and fasting without proper preparation or awareness of nutrition can cause a lot of problems later on. Self-harming isn’t healthy either.

  312. FST
    FST January 18, 2012 at 12:27 pm |

    I think large scale chemical castration or something of the sort to remove absolutely all sex drive would be a better policy. The only question is how to implement it in a safe manner.

    I also see no evidence that celibacy causes sexual issues. All I see is a correlation between “celibate” priests and child molestation. However, that correlation could exist for myriad reasons. To presume that this correlation exists because celibacy causes sexual deviance is to make an assumption beyond what is allowed by the evidence available.

    As for linking me to homophobia, don’t be stupid. Did you not see where I said that homosexual relationships are morally superior to heterosexual relationships? Sure, they’re still sexual and therefore not ideal, but they’re better than the cluster-fuck that is heterosexuality.

    All in all, your criticisms contain too many tenuous associations.

  313. Li
    Li January 18, 2012 at 12:47 pm |

    Uh, did I use the word homophobia?

    What I said was that sexual repression has historically ended very badly for the people repressed. Many queer people, by virtue of the way many societies have treated queer people over the years, have lived experience of exactly how terrible an idea sexual repression is. And given that chemical castration has been historically used on queer men in particular to searingly awful mental health outcomes, I’m going to restate that with an extra dose of fuck you.

    The things you are advocating have real-world antecedents. Advocating them when people have been through exactly those things and been demonstrably and spectacularly harmed by them is fucked up in the extreme, and yes, it’s a function of your heterosexual privilege to act as if these things are simply academic, or some kind of utopian toolbox. Queers don’t have that luxury.

  314. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig January 18, 2012 at 1:02 pm |

    FST: I’ve done a fair bit of reading about the current sex scandal in the Catholic Church, and one of my conclusions is that celibacy was at the root of the problem. A lot of very young priests joined the Church in the 1950s and onward because they were gay, confused/questioning, or had unacceptable inclinations toward the opposite sex and believed that they were going to hell if they ever gave into their urges. A few decades later, their frustrated sex drives exploded on them. Since most of them were in positions of power, their frustration led them to exploit the boys and girls under their power.

    Although I don’t think the scandal would have been as bad as it was if there hadn’t been a long-standing tradition of pederasty; the Catholic Church set up all sorts of roadblocks because no one in the Church thought pedophilia was abnormal. The doctrine of infallibility also didn’t help. It’s never been officially rescinded, so most Catholics never even think that their priest/bishop/pope could be wrong about anything.

  315. FST
    FST January 18, 2012 at 1:03 pm |

    So, because they’ve historically been used one way, they must necessarily always be used that way? That’s not a very convincing argument.

  316. Li
    Li January 18, 2012 at 1:14 pm |

    I don’t really feel the need to make “convincing” arguments against chemically castrating the entire human population.

  317. Li
    Li January 18, 2012 at 1:17 pm |

    And, if we really want to prevent all humans from ever harming another ever again, I don’t see why we’d stop at chemical castration when nuclear obliteration does the job so much more efficiently anyway.

  318. j.
    j. January 18, 2012 at 1:40 pm |

    I don’t see why we’d stop at chemical castration when nuclear obliteration does the job so much more efficiently anyway.

    Some days, Li, that seems like a really good idea.

  319. DouglasG
    DouglasG January 18, 2012 at 1:59 pm |

    As someone sent as a minor to be “degayed” against my will, I thank Mr Li for stating a similar case so forcefully. I don’t think it would have made any material difference to the horrific nature of the practice had the goal been to eradicate my sexuality entirely rather than “merely” to redirect it.

  320. Donna L
    Donna L January 18, 2012 at 2:30 pm |

    As someone sent as a minor to be “degayed” against my will,

    I’m so sorry. To me — as the parent of a gay son who came out to me when he was 12 — there are few things that a parent can possibly do that are more morally reprehensible than that, except possibly tossing a child out on the streets because they’re LGBT. Of course, there are some parents who are so awful that it’s probably better to be on the streets, if there’s no other choice.

    In the face of that kind of thing, which I think is truly evil, FST’s nonsense about sexual thoughts and activity themselves being the root of all evil seems even more ludicrous.

  321. Donna L
    Donna L January 18, 2012 at 2:32 pm |

    Not to mention, of course, that there was a time that discovery of my transness in my teens would have been seen as cause for electroshock therapy, at least.

  322. FST
    FST January 18, 2012 at 2:38 pm |

    Straw men abound. I never said that sexuality is the basis of ALL evil.

  323. Li
    Li January 18, 2012 at 2:59 pm |

    Straw men abound. I never said that sexuality is the basis of ALL evil.

    Oh, I agree. At least part of it must be that damned post-structuralism.

  324. FST
    FST January 18, 2012 at 3:09 pm |

    What does post-structuralism have to do with anything here?

  325. DouglasG
    DouglasG January 18, 2012 at 9:48 pm |

    Ms Donna – Thanks both for the kind words and for setting such a good parenting example. I’m sorry your teens were so perilous, and those of so many of our rising generation still are.

    Of all the tragic ways to have to learn about conditional love.

  326. librarygoose
    librarygoose January 18, 2012 at 10:12 pm |

    The things you are advocating have real-world antecedents. Advocating them when people have been through exactly those things and been demonstrably and spectacularly harmed by them is fucked up in the extreme, and yes, it’s a function of your heterosexual privilege to act as if these things are simply academic, or some kind of utopian toolbox. Queers don’t have that luxury.

    This should just be the copy-paste answer to FST.

  327. FST
    FST January 18, 2012 at 11:10 pm |

    They really went about it the wrong way. If anything, it would be far more productive to encourage homosexuality and try to convert children into same sex lifestyles. It’s not ideal, but it’s a start.

  328. librarygoose
    librarygoose January 18, 2012 at 11:17 pm |

    If anything, it would be far more productive to encourage homosexuality and try to convert children into same sex lifestyles.

    *sigh* If you don’t see a problem with using the word “convert” in any context with same sex relationships, I don’t know what to say. Also, WTF?

  329. Raincitygirl
    Raincitygirl January 19, 2012 at 2:05 am |

    I’m pretty sure FST is just trolling. He doesn’t believe his own shit, he just wants to derail.

  330. thinksnake
    thinksnake January 19, 2012 at 2:11 am |

    Am just hoping he learns how to dance better at this point.

  331. DonnaL
    DonnaL January 19, 2012 at 2:54 am |

    I’m pretty sure FST is just trolling. He doesn’t believe his own shit, he just wants to derail.

    I could, of course, be wrong, but I have a distinct feeling that he may be for real. It’s not like there aren’t, and haven’t always been, people who think like that.

  332. Drew
    Drew January 19, 2012 at 3:10 am |

    FST: Five Star Troll?

  333. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable January 19, 2012 at 8:28 am |

    Dance better? Come on, what troll has advocated self-mutilation as a way to end sexual urges. That’s some commendable dancing.

  334. FST
    FST January 19, 2012 at 10:04 pm |

    Okay, convince me. Convince me that it’s actually possible for a heterosexual relationship to not be inherently sexist and manipulative. Convince me that men are capable of being more than just the tamed wild animals that we seem to be from my evaluation.

    Men in different contexts have committed rape. I have never raped anyone, but that’s because of how I was raised. If I were raised differently, I would rape women. Ergo, all men, whether they’ve actually done it or not, really are rapists. Other men have killed people. I’m nonviolent, but only because of how I was raised. I was raised to abhor violence. If I was raised differently, I would be violent. I might have even killed people if the situation presented itself to a version of me raised differently. Therefore, I am a murderer at heart. Whether or not I’ve actually done anything violent is irrelevant.

    All men are rapists, thieves, murderers, and abusers, and that includes me. Convince me that I’m not inherently evil. Convince me that my disgusting testosterone isn’t, in a sense, “Satan’s hormone.” You can’t, because I am evil. My very existence is a horrible crime against women and against nature, and the only reason I should continue existing is to try and make up for it.

  335. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig January 19, 2012 at 10:45 pm |

    FST: Everyone hurts someone at some point, just by existing. Evil is not gender specific. I’ve done some spectacularly hurtful things in my life, and I’ve had some evil things done to me too. And, ya know, I’ve thought about killing people,* and I’m sure most people have had at least one murderous thought cross their minds. Yet, I’ve never murdered anyone. I’ve had suicidal thoughts too, but so far I’m still here and I haven’t made any serious attempts at killing myself.
    I’m still kinda grappling with the het stuff. I’m not in a relationship, but I’m in a situation that could turn into a relationship. I figure it starts by figuring out stuff that you can agree on, and treating each other with respect. And realizing that just because someone is female or male, doesn’t mean that they’re automatically good at something. My mom, for example, cannot cook anything beyond scrambled eggs or cookies. I can’t clean at all. My grandfather hates machines.
    I would be the first one to tell you that I don’t hold with non-violence. I’ve trained in martial arts for years. I’ve debated getting a gun license. And yet, most people I interact with think of me as a sweet young woman. They make this mistake because I treat everyone I come across with respect, and I’m a polite person.

    *No one specific, just in response to certain situations. I half-jokingly offered my services as a hitman to a friend once, and I know that if anyone hurts me or my family, they won’t ever make it to court.

  336. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable January 19, 2012 at 10:47 pm |

    Men in different contexts have committed rape. I have never raped anyone, but that’s because of how I was raised. If I were raised differently, I would rape women. Ergo, all men, whether they’ve actually done it or not, really are rapists.

    Sure, if you define rapist as “person who has not raped someone but could if life were devoid of context which its not.”

    How the fuck could anyone convince you of anything when you’re beginning with such ridiculously flawed premises? I don’t co-opt the language of logic while misapplying it. Sorry, bud.

  337. FST
    FST January 19, 2012 at 10:54 pm |

    The fact that it is even possible that I could somehow be made to commit rape means I’m a rapist in essence. No matter how you try, you can’t get two electrons to exert an attractive force between each other. They are inherently incapable because they have the same sign in their electric charge and their mass is far to small for gravitational forces to be significant. Thus, toward each other, electrons are inherently repulsive. You can therefore never accuse them of being attractive toward other electrons, were one in a strange enough mood to anthropomorphize subatomic particles.

    This is not true for me. There are certain ways in which my mind could be conditioned so that I would be evil. Thus, the potential for evil must exist within me. If it didn’t, then it would be impossible to condition me to do evil. Because this potential exists, I must be inherently evil. Beings that are good do not have the potential to do evil, so I must not be good.

  338. Raincitygirl
    Raincitygirl January 19, 2012 at 10:56 pm |

    Well gosh, FST, your shiny logic has sure convinced me. I guess it’s high time you went to the nearest police station and gave yourself up so you can be jailed for life as a threat to public safety. Run along now.

  339. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable January 19, 2012 at 10:58 pm |

    The fact that it is even possible that I could somehow be made to commit rape means I’m a rapist in essence.

    Yeah, if you completely redefine the word “rapist.” And only then. Flawed premise is flawed. Dumb troll is dumb. :(

  340. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable January 19, 2012 at 10:59 pm |

    I guess it’s high time you went to the nearest police station and gave yourself up so you can be jailed for life as a threat to public safety. Run along now.

    Hahahahaha. Natural conclusion of initial flawed premise, actually.

  341. FST
    FST January 19, 2012 at 11:11 pm |

    A rapist is someone who does not respect the inherent humanity of women. (I don’t really consider it to be bad if a man gets raped.) Since I have failed to always treat every single woman I know with nothing but complete and total respect, I have the mindset of a rapist already.

    A murderer is someone that does not respect the right to life of other human beings. Considering that I have sometimes subconsciously wished bad things on other people, I already have the mindset of a murderer.

    Whenever you fail to uphold a principle 100%, you’ve completely failed the principle altogether. Any mistake in adhering to a principle is permanent, absolute, and unforgivable. To say otherwise is to deny the very essence of the principle.

    If you do some introspection, you’ll all see that you have the mindsets I described as well. You’re just dismissing my metric because you don’t want to see yourself as bad people. Classic self-defensive psychology.

  342. BBBShrewHarpy
    BBBShrewHarpy January 19, 2012 at 11:23 pm |

    From FST:

    No matter how you try, you can’t get two electrons to exert an attractive force between each other. They are inherently incapable because they have the same sign in their electric charge and their mass is far to small for gravitational forces to be significant. Thus, toward each other, electrons are inherently repulsive. You can therefore never accuse them of being attractive toward other electrons, were one in a strange enough mood to anthropomorphize subatomic particles.

    Actually, Cooper pairing in superconductivity is possible because of a small attraction between two electrons at very low temperatures.
    It is a consequence of quantum states, and may appear somewhat paradoxical, but nevertheless… Physics! It works!

    Oops wrong blog.

    Anyway, I think that if one follows your arguments it appears that you yourself are capable of rape and therefore a rapist. It seems to me that to generalize from your own experience and perception of yourself, and the potential you feel within you to be a rapist, to a world where all men are rapists is not reasonable.

    I am sorry you are so troubled, and hope you resolve your self-hatred to become at peace with yourself and your sexuality, but I really don’t think that most men harbor those same feelings, and it’s probably not because of their unenlightened state or their upbringing.

  343. librarygoose
    librarygoose January 19, 2012 at 11:27 pm |

    For fucks sake, half that shit applies to women as well. The times I have wished people harm explicitly and out loud is…well, a bit. Does that make me a murderer? Or is it only men because men are somehow special? What you state could apply to literally every human. Should we nuke now and let life try again with shrimp or something?

  344. FST
    FST January 19, 2012 at 11:31 pm |

    Cooper pairings are the result of bosonic statistics emerging at low temperatures, and really aren’t an attraction. The exchange of virtual vector bosons always produces a positive energy between two charge densities of the same sign. This comes from the W(J) factor in the exponential derived from solving the Gaussian (or free) path integral in quantum field theory.

    I have no desire, currently, to rape anyone. In fact, I’ve never had such a desire, and I found objectification offensive long before discovering academic feminism. However, it is conceivably possible that some sort of prolonged mental conditioning could reprogram me to commit acts of sexual violence. That potential would not exist if I was inherently incapable of rape.

  345. FST
    FST January 19, 2012 at 11:34 pm |

    It doesn’t only apply to men. However, we are by far the more evil gender. Testosterone is FAR higher in males than females, and it leads to sexual desire, aggression, stimulation of muscle growth, and several other things. If we had a matriarchal society banning all men from holding any positions of political power, the world were almost certainly be a better place.

  346. librarygoose
    librarygoose January 19, 2012 at 11:39 pm |

    You know, it’s one of my pet peeves when women are denied the ability to be horrific human beings.

  347. LotusBen
    LotusBen January 19, 2012 at 11:40 pm |

    FST, are you sure you aren’t a fundamentalist Christian? Because there is only one other place I have heard these arguments articulated: by the people who come up to me on the sidewalk and say, “If you’ve ever said a harsh word to your brother, then you’ve committed murder. If you’ve ever lusted in your heart, then you’ve committed adultery. And since murder and adultery go against the 10 commandments, you are a mortal sinner and going to Hell unless you believe in Jesus.”

    In any event, your logic is ridiculous. You may not care about men being raped, but you do care about women being raped. Well, I have news for you. Women have raped other women in the course of human history, too! Therefore, given your logic, because it is possible for a woman to rape another woman given the right eaqrly childhood conditioning and circumstances, all women are rapists, too. Women are inherently evil, just like men.

    Also, given the right conditioning you could have become an astronaut. In fact, all men have the potential to be astronauts. Therefore, all men really are astronauts, whether they’ve been in outer space or not. Given the right childhood upbringing, you could have been a world-class tango dancer. In fact, all men have the potential to be world-class tango dancers. Therefore, all men are world-class tango dancers.

    It’s an amazing world we live in, isn’t it?

  348. DonnaL
    DonnaL January 19, 2012 at 11:41 pm |

    Why are people even continuing to engage with FST? What’s the point? He’s convinced of his own sinful nature, eager to universalize it, and shows no interest in seeking either counseling or a dominatrix. All that a group of women arguing with him probably does is cause him to have more bad thoughts (I prefer not to think about the specifics), and then to punish himself for them. Personally, I have no interest in participating in that, and I’m not sure why anyone else would want to. Never mind that it’s one of the more flagrant derails I’ve seen in some time.

  349. BBBShrewHarpy
    BBBShrewHarpy January 19, 2012 at 11:50 pm |

    Cooper pairings are the result of bosonic statistics emerging at low temperatures, and really aren’t an attraction. The exchange of virtual vector bosons always produces a positive energy between two charge densities of the same sign.

    You have said nothing I didn’t say in my original post. Either you don’t understand this and have used Google Fu to pretend you do, or you don’t see that other people (women, no less!) also know things about the universe.

    Either way, I don’t think the behavior of electrons at low temperatures is very pertinent to the argument that all men who act on sexual impulses are rapists who objectify women. Neither is your particular, specific experience, which can be used to draw conclusions only about your particular, specific self.

  350. FST
    FST January 19, 2012 at 11:51 pm |

    No, I’m not a fundamentalist Christian. I’m a strong atheist and a naturalistic materialist. I just agree with the idea that people, especially men, are inherently evil.

    As for why it’s not as bad when men get raped, it’s because we’ve collectively raped women so much that when one of us gets raped, it’s kinda like vicarious payback. Because we’ve raped women so much, we kinda deserve it when it gets paid back to us.

    Crying about male rape victims is just “But what about the menz?” whining, and mentioning that some women, sometimes, are evil, is just the very “Yes, but” derailing that this page rallies against.

  351. Matt
    Matt January 19, 2012 at 11:51 pm |

    FST is definitely trolling based on his understanding of radfem principles. Unless he was sufficiently abused in some manner there is no way his apparent self hate could be brought to exist without intense pressure.

    As for the atheist claim, its highly unlikely that any atheist would ever take the position he is taking. Although he is right that any person is capable of rape under proper circumstances its just not logical to progress from any sort of atheism to the thoughts and behaviors he describes.

  352. DonnaL
    DonnaL January 19, 2012 at 11:51 pm |

    Sorry to leave you out, LotusBen; I should have said “a group of women plus one evil man arguing with him.”

  353. Matt
    Matt January 19, 2012 at 11:52 pm |

    His last post clinches it, huge troll. He did manage to get a pretty long discussion going so he is a semi talented troll.

  354. LotusBen
    LotusBen January 19, 2012 at 11:54 pm |

    Good point Donna. FST’s first post was at 272, and now we’re at 351 with almost every post between relating to FST and his bizarre sexual theories. Almost 100 posts of this crap; it’s pretty ridiculous.

  355. DonnaL
    DonnaL January 19, 2012 at 11:54 pm |

    And, no, I very much do not agree that every person is capable of rape under “proper circumstances.” I usually hear that only as a kind of self-justification that rapists like to use.

  356. FST
    FST January 19, 2012 at 11:56 pm |

    I have a degree in physics. I didn’t use “Google-fu,” as the somewhat racist term goes.

    The coupling of two electrons produces two different possible spin multiplets. One acts like a (composite) spin 1 particle and the other acts like a spin 0 composite.

    It’s still not the case that individual electrons are attracted to each other. Cooper pairs can experience attractions to other Cooper pairs, due to the same-state attraction that bosons experience, but individual electrons do not experience attraction to other individual electrons.

  357. LotusBen
    LotusBen January 19, 2012 at 11:57 pm |

    Lol it’s OK Donna. I decided not to talk to him anymore 4 days ago, but he just didn’t go away so unfortunately I got sucked back in unwisely for one last post.

  358. BBBShrewHarpy
    BBBShrewHarpy January 19, 2012 at 11:59 pm |

    DonnaL, you make me smile a lot.

    Sorry for being complicit in the derail. I’ll take my quantum mechanics and sign off now.

  359. FST
    FST January 20, 2012 at 12:00 am |

    Except that it doesn’t justify rape. They may use it as an excuse, but that doesn’t make it one. The truth is that the Milgram experiment pretty much destroys any possible hope that humans are decent or good. Humans suck, and the best you can hope for is to try and live up to the ideal principles while simultaneously realizing how much of a pathetic failure you are for not meeting them.

  360. EG
    EG January 20, 2012 at 12:21 am |

    The truth is that the Milgram experiment pretty much destroys any possible hope that humans are decent or good.

    Ah, the experiments that demonstrated that one-third of people will refuse to carry out orders to torture people. I believe I’ve made my points about those experiments in other threads.

  361. FST
    FST January 20, 2012 at 12:22 am |

    Nobody completely refused altogether.

  362. LotusBen
    LotusBen January 20, 2012 at 12:26 am |

    I don’t know if any mods are reading this thread anymore, but in my opinion FST has repeatedly crossed the line and should be banned, lest he bring his garbage on to any other thread.

    I’m pretty sure his comment @ 347 saying that men “are by far the more evil gender” is unacceptably sexist.

    Even worse, his sentiments @ 352 that when men are raped they “kinda deserve it.” Blatant rape apologism.

  363. FST
    FST January 20, 2012 at 12:31 am |

    I’m not apologizing for women being raped, so why does it matter?

  364. Jadey
    Jadey January 20, 2012 at 12:33 am |

    FST,

    By which do you mean that no one refused to participate in the experiment altogether? There is no evidence for that, as studies such as Milgrim’s would generally not report a refusal rate in that sense anyway. As well, the experiment was specifically designed to not begin as apparent “torture”, and many people refused to continue early on, especially in variations of the design which brought them in closer contact to the learner/victim or which reduced the apparent authority of the actor playing the experimenter (in some variations, nearly all participants quit the moment the learner protested and appeared to revoke his consent).

    This is all quite clearly documented in the many publications of these experiments, some of which are easily searchable and accessible online.

    (On a side note, WHY AM I RESPONDING TO A STATEMENT SO BLATANTLY STUPID. Someone help me.)

  365. FST
    FST January 20, 2012 at 12:37 am |

    The second they heard that electrical shock was used, they should have walked off. Failure to do so is immoral.

  366. LotusBen
    LotusBen January 20, 2012 at 12:37 am |

    FST, seriously, get the fuck out of here.

  367. thinksnake
    thinksnake January 20, 2012 at 5:38 am |

    Donna: Don’t forget us genderqueers in the arguing with FST!

    FST: What the fuck. Seriously, what the fuck.

  368. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable January 20, 2012 at 8:07 am |

    Like I said, if you redefine rapist…

    Dumb troll still dumb :(

    Anyone else convinced that he’s an MRA in disguise trying to get us to go, “ZOMG OBVS ALL MEN ARE RAPIST?” Idiot.

  369. FST
    FST January 20, 2012 at 8:39 am |

    You know, this isn’t the only place that I post. Just ask anyone on the Nationstates forums about FST and they’ll give you plenty of confirmation. They don’t agree with my positions, at all, but they can certainly vouch for the fact that I am no troll.

  370. thinksnake
    thinksnake January 20, 2012 at 8:47 am |

    I’ll have a look for you on NationStates then. But that’s a very fragmented community, with lots of different subgroups, so I doubt we’ll just run into one another. I generally stay out of NSG because I don’t have the spoons to deal with it most of the time. And no, I see no reason to out my handles there.

    Also, as I’m sure you realise, NS has a very different concept of troll to here. Every community has different standards when it comes to that. So no, trusting to another community doesn’t necessarily mean jack shit.

  371. FST
    FST January 20, 2012 at 11:20 am |

    So what notion of trolling do you guys have, then? Enlighten me.

    You were all insinuating that I don’t really believe what I claim to believe. That is a falsehood on your part. NSG can vouch for that, if you care to do the research.

  372. Thursday Round-Up | Femina Invicta
    Thursday Round-Up | Femina Invicta January 26, 2012 at 6:13 am |

    […] Why “Yes But” is an inappropriate response to misogyny […]

  373. A NSGer
    A NSGer January 27, 2012 at 5:21 pm |

    I have (attempted) to debate with FST on NationStates, and I believe that he is serious when he says those sorts of things. He genuinely believes them and will not be convinced because he is enclosed in a sexist bubble.
    Yes, men can be seen as abusers of women. Sexuality evolved when some members of a species began producing smaller egg/sperm things (Before there was a difference between the two) and the other members made larger whateverthey’recalleds. Eventually, the larger ones just became stationary to conserve resources and the smaller ones carried only what they needed to fertilize the larger ones. But this does not mean that men are evil. It simply means that males played first in the evolutionary arms race.

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