On the Hugo Business

There have been a lot of calls in this thread and elsewhere around the internet for me personally to Say Something about the Hugo debacle. Caperton put up this post addressing the situation, which I stand behind, and Clarisse solicited the cross-posting of this piece by Maia. I’ve made a few limited comments, but I’ve mostly stayed silent on the whole thing. That’s for a few reasons:

(1) While Feministe is strongly associated with my name, there are many bloggers who have built this space, who have contributed to it, who write here and who edit here. I am trying to move Feministe away from the perception that it is “Jill’s blog”. While I’ve been here the longest of the current writers, and I’ve done a lot of work to develop this space, I did not create it and I have hardly done the majority of the work in nurturing and building this community.When the Hugo blow-up happened, I was dealing with professional and personal issues that took precedence over moderating blog comment sections, so I missed almost the entire thread on Clarisse’s initial post that kicked off this whole thing. Given that I had been out of it, and that Feministe is more than just me, and Caperton was on top of the controversy, it made sense to have someone other than me write the Feministe editors’ response post. Even though Feministe is run by a bunch of people, there is a perception that it’s my space. Regular readers may notice that I am posting less often and am participating in the comments less often. I want to give commenters space to share their opinions and thoughts without a perceived voice of authority stepping in and directing the conversation.

(2) For the last few months, I have been trying to stay out of these internet blow-ups that happen so very often, and to particularly limit how emotionally invested I get in anything that happens online. The past year has been an extremely rough one for me personally, and though I am very hesitant to put much personal information out there on the internet, I will say it has involved a series of medical issues which demand that I be extremely aware of my body and my stress levels. It has, to use the most cliched phrase possible, put things in perspective. This is not an excuse for non-responsiveness or lack of accountability to this community — people go through shit every day that is much worse and much more stressful and still maintain a seat at the table. It is a way of saying that I decided to choose myself over this blog. I made a choice not to look at what all the comments said, or what all the other feminist blogs were saying. I made a choice, when this was becoming extremely stressful and I was getting to the place where I was near obsessing over it, to close my laptop, walk away, and let the conversation continue without me. I realize that choice is a privilege, and my decisions were likely confusing or offensive or hurtful to some people. I’m ok with people being upset about those choices, or deciding that those choices demonstrate a lack of commitment to this community and deciding to take their readership elsewhere. We all have to figure out how to get through the day.

(3) Feministe does have many contributors, and our views on the Hugo situation are not identical. Caperton’s post was a very good one and I agree with it, but we are not a monolith, and the various individuals who contribute here have wide-ranging opinions on the whole situation and the best response. Given that, I didn’t want to put up a post that would be considered “Feministe’s Opinion” on this thing, since I don’t speak for Caperton or Sally or any of our past writers or contributors or moderators or tech support. Others have demanded that I stake out a public opinion in order to avoid the assumption that if you don’t say something about a blog post that you had nothing to do with, you support it. This is that post. So to be clear, this post is not Feministe’s Position. It is my opinion, which I’ve bitten my tongue on for a while, for all the reasons listed above.

The problem with silence, though, is that it can come across as complicit, and it also forces other people to make assumptions about what you think.

What I actually think is that trying to murder your girlfriend is abhorrent. Feministe is a community that centers women and feminist thought. There are all kinds of interesting discussions to be had about the possibility of radical change. There are all kinds of interesting conversations to be had about how forgiving even the worst things can be a political and feminist act. There are all kinds of interesting conversations to be had about fostering progressive communities in a culture where domestic violence and rape survivors are often told to not make waves and not to sideline “good men.” And I don’t want a progressive movement that doesn’t leave room for people to change — even people who have done the most reprehensible things. I want a movement that is open to those people, and that believes in redemption and radical change. Without the belief in the capacity for true change, what’s the point of progressivism? How do we have feminism without believing that people can radically alter their actions and their views? (A lot of these ideas were brought up and addressed in this comment thread, which I realize is long but is worth a read).

But I don’t want a dedication to the belief in radical change to come on the backs of survivors. I do want to foster a space that centers women and women’s needs. Theories about change and progress are important and they’re nice, but in the day-to-day work of building communities, sometimes other interests have to take precedence. The interests of women — and particularly of abuse survivors — take precedence here. And a former abuser who has truly changed his ways will, I believe, understand why that line is drawn. End of story.

So to that end, I won’t be linking to Hugo’s work. I’m not going to promote his work. I’m going to continue trying to make Feministe a space that focuses on women and women’s needs, and doesn’t ask abuse survivors to take a back seat because The Movement is more important. While this post is largely reflective of only my opinion, the decision to not link or promote Hugo’s work is one that all of the Feministe editors have agreed on.

I do wish Hugo good luck, personally, in his ongoing recovery and his work on himself. I do believe that human beings can change in beautiful and radical ways. There is almost no one who I believe to be irredeemable. But I also believe in protecting this community, so my personal well-wishes for Hugo — for all people who have done terrible, unforgivable things but are trying to make their way to something better — are just that: personal. Hoping that people are able to improve themselves does not mean that their work needs to be featured here, at the expense of other community members who are less visible and less powerful and have less of an internet footprint.

There have been calls in the comments here and elsewhere for Feministe to preemptively ban Hugo, and for me to email my internet feminist friends and form a united front against Schwyzer to take him down, and to make sure that he never teaches or writes about feminism again. A lot of commenters here and elsewhere feel strongly that that’s the best path forward, and the only way to prove that Feministe as an entity, and myself as an individual, actually care about women and abuse more than our own paychecks or popularity or internet fame or Professional Feminism.

Participating in a coordinated take-down is not something I am going to do. And if that’s interpreted as a lack of commitment to feminism, or taking Hugo’s “side,” I personally think that’s ridiculous but so be it. There is a tension here between embracing the possibility of radical personal change and also centering victims of violence. As the moderator of a feminist community, I choose to weigh the needs of victims of violence more heavily. But I don’t think it’s up to me to decide for the entire feminist internet that Hugo is entirely irredeemable and deserves to be permanently blacklisted everywhere forever and if you disagree you are bad for feminism. I think it is up to individual bloggers and commenters and whoever else to decide if they will read or link to Hugo in the future and to decide if they’re comfortable reading a website that links or discusses Hugo. The community here at Feministe has been pretty clear that Hugo’s work shouldn’t be posted here; I agree, and it’s not going to be posted. Other bloggers and editors at other sites might feel differently; I don’t think that makes them anti-feminist or terrible or deserving of being blacklisted themselves. At the end of the day, online feminism doesn’t have a clubhouse, and I can’t take away Hugo’s keys. I am also concerned about the precedent this sets. I think that most of the critiques of Hugo are fair, as are the concerns about a former abuser rising to a level of prominence in feminist spaces — especially given his ongoing issues with women of color and his treatment of younger women. But the reality of the feminist internet is that there is a corner of it that plays the take-down game for sport, and that sees any mistake or imperfection or disagreement as evidence that one is Bad For Feminism and should be permanently sidelined. It’s destructive. It’s something I believe is incredibly bad for feminism as a movement and as an idea, and that’s bad for community-building, and that serves to silence more people than it empowers. It’s something I’ve also been a part of, so I’m not suggesting that it’s an act by a group of Bad People; it’s a dynamic that is awfully easy to get sucked in to, and that I’ve participated in myself. And while I think the Hugo situation is in a whole ‘nother sphere as the usual feminist blog-wars in terms of the sheer horror of the acts involved, I avoid internet take-downs as a general rule because they are so often so poisonous, and because I frankly don’t trust a group of people on the internet to always choose the right person from whom to demand blood. Which, again, isn’t to say that I think the focus on Hugo here is misdirected. It is to say that I have a real hesitance to participate, because I dislike take-down culture generally and because I’m not convinced that next time we’ll all be setting our sights on a worthy target.

The idea that the only truly feminist way forward is a coordinated take-down also doesn’t center or help victims of violence. It doesn’t keep this community focused on positive change. I’m not sure what it does other than say that a few of us get to decide who is redeemable and worthy and who is not — and that we don’t just get to decide it for ourselves and the spaces we run, but we decide it for everyone.

Other Feministe editors may feel differently. I know that plenty of commenters and other bloggers do feel differently. I respect that and I have no interest in trying to interfere with someone else’s coordinated actions; I have no interest in suggesting that other ways forward are wrong or misguided. But I won’t personally be partaking in a take-down, even as I am committed to developing a feminist-centered and responsive, responsible community here, which means not linking or promoting Hugo.

I do wish I had addressed this sooner, and I apologize for giving the impression that my lack of commentary on the matter was because I didn’t care, or because I wasn’t taking the concerns of our community members seriously. I care a lot about this community, and about feminism as an idea, and about women as human beings, and about creating positive spaces online for women — I sometimes care about those things to an unhealthy degree. I recognize that Feministe is not now, and has not traditionally been, a positive space for many women. Remedying that is an ongoing process, and there are plenty of things that I have done (and not done) which have been detrimental to the end goal of creating a blog that really does reflect the social justice ideals of our contributors. There is also not one unified vision of how to achieve the ideals that we mostly share. I recognize that my position here doesn’t meet the desires or expectations or ideals of lots of people, and my ears are open to hearing those critiques, even as I can guarantee that I am not going to make everyone happy. I also think there has to be room in online feminism for good-faith differences in opinion when it comes to tactics, and how we best achieve shared goals (and even what our shared goals are). I hope that can happen here.


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564 comments for “On the Hugo Business

  1. ginmar
    January 17, 2012 at 11:52 am

    “What I actually think is that trying to murder your girlfriend is abhorrent.” What a curious way of putting it. It’s not really something that it’s possible to have a different take on it, is it? It’s not optional, it’s not ambiguous, it’s not really something there should be another viewpoint on it. I keep coming back to the all the people saying, “Sure, trying to kill your girlfriend is bad, but….

    Talk of change and forgiveness and wishing him well doesn’t apply here, I don’t think. This isn’t a tiff over doctrine over theory. This isn’t Mary Daly versus whomever. I don’t wish him well. Wishing him well means he gets away with more of this crap. He’s managed to frame it as being about him, his recovery. In the process, in all his talk about feminism, he’s consistently turned women into symptoms—-of his illness. Oh, gee, it’s tragic—-for Hugo.

    I don’t know about anybody else, but I have a real problem talking about forgiveness with a guy who’s so obviously not repentant about anything but getting caught. We’re not talking about some poor guy in the Deep South who got railroaded. We’re talking about a guy even now whose fans are talking about witch hunts and railing against his critics. Sure, let’s talk about forgiveness—–but switching to the general from this specific case is deceptive. I don’t think you can do it without it being a dodge. This is about Hugo, and he’s pretty much a lost cause as long as he eggs on his fans. His narrative is all about blaming everybody but himself for his actions. It’s funny how he’s the only one in his life who’s escaped unscathed so far from the consequences of his actions.

    Hugo’s illness is women. That’s all we are to him—well, that, and meal tickets. We’re like the beautiful things he busted while high and now regrets losing, but that doesn’t mean we’re human to him, even now. We’re bullet points on his resume.

    What I’m seeing are a lot of big time feminist speakers expressing sentiments, saying that they feel this or that, but it’s really not complicated. Schwyzer tried to kill his ex, gaslighted her, blamed drugs instead of himself, and did a lot more awful stuff. This really isn’t complicated. He tried to kill someone—and he made it all about himself. Not her. Not us. Him. It can’t be that hard to disagree that he’s a manipulative schmuck who doesn’t deserve any kind of forgiveness because he really does think it’s not his fault.

    He was clever enough to pick an excuse that apparently resonates with a lot of people, and based on what those people have said, it’s because too many of them view using drugs as a get-out-of-jail-free card in a life-saved game of Monopoly. (Just go check out the comments on Maia’s post on Alas. We’re getting in the way of his recover.)

    I really don’t understand why his defenders have chosen the rather dishonest tactic of baiting and switching from him in particular to addicts in general. Not linking or publishing him is well, it’s kind of like, “Let’s ignore it and maybe it will go away.” So many people are having trouble unequivocally condemning him in no uncertain terms. Why?

    It’s not enough to de link him and not publish him. If we can’t flat out say, “Nope, attempted murder is wrong, what does forgiveness have to do it,” we’re going to turn into a movement of ditherers who spend the time arguing about minutia. Forgiveness in general as a theory has nothing to do with this case. Hugo’s forgiven himself for his actions. He really doesn’t care if we do so because he think his is the only one whose opinions count.

  2. Echo Zen
    January 17, 2012 at 11:59 am

    Man, I’m sorry about the difficulties you had to deal with last year. (I would have emailed you less if I’d known.) :-/

    When I saw people were demanding Marcotte be banned from Feministe because she was friends with Schwyzer, that’s when I knew mob mentality had overtaken legitimate criticisms of Schwyzer, and I (along with other commenters I knew, who wanted discussion rather than ad hominem attacks) tuned out in favour of more vital matters. Personally I consider Santorum a much more dangerous threat to feminism than a professor at some college, but maybe that’s just I. Professionally I agree with Jill — health takes precedence over blogging, even if we recognise that as a privilege.

  3. Alex
    January 17, 2012 at 11:59 am

    “So many people are having trouble unequivocally condemning him in no uncertain terms. ”

    Because maybe some of us don’t believe it’s our place to “condemn” him. Maybe some of us think there should be a very clear divide between the vitriol a person deserves for being actively anti-feminist, for actively being an abuser and a terrible person, and then what he deserves for HAVING ONCE BEEN any of those things, but not any longer.

    Some of us believe in forgiveness when a person demonstrates that the person he used to be was wrong and why. If you don’t, fine. But quit trying to railroad your demands onto everyone else. Feministe reached a compromise; they won’t continue promoting him, but they’re not going to pretend he’s Ted Bundy when he’s obviously not.

  4. melittophily
    January 17, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    Oh, I don’t know Echo Zen – we aren’t aware of Rick Santorum RAPING or TRYING TO KILL anyone, and we aren’t aware that Rick Santorum has plans on perverting really important concepts like recovery and transformative justice in order to emotionally manipulate us into continuing to enable his narcissism.

  5. Hari B
    January 17, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    Jill, I salute you. Your post was bravely and very well stated. Yes, life has to take precedence over blogging–I’m sorry you even felt you needed to explain/apologize for that. Otherwise, I salute your clarity in naming what works for you and what won’t as regards the Hugo business, and your setting of boundaries on your personal issues as well as these more public ones. In the end, we can’t just be professional feminists, but real, daily feminists, if we are to change the world. Your courage in stating yourself clearly and setting your boundaries one way and other, were for me totally feminist acts–which I greatly appreciate.

  6. Athenia
    January 17, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    Thanks for this Jill.

  7. iatc
    January 17, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    I co-sign everything Ginmar said.

  8. January 17, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    Nothing to add except thanks, and that I appreciate and can agree with your approach.

  9. esoteric turtle
    January 17, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    When I saw people were demanding Marcotte be banned from Feministe because she was friends with Schwyzer, that’s when I knew mob mentality had overtaken legitimate criticisms of Schwyzer

    Can we at least argue in good faith here? No one demanded that Marcotte be banned because she is friends with Schwyzer (no one demanded that Marcotte be banned at all, though it does have a nice dramatic ring). After Marcotte posted a ridiculous, insulting comment about any Feministe readers who have any problem with Hugo’s past or with his current participation in the feminist movement, a few posters suggested that allying yourself with an abuser against abuse survivors is not the kind of behavior this site should tolerate.

    Marcotte’s friendship with Schwyzer was never the issue in question. The issue was the way she chose to support him in this case, by attacking and denigrating survivors and anyone who supported them solely to bolster an abusive attempted murderer of women, in matters that dealt directly with his abuse and attempted murder.

  10. January 17, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    Thanks for writing this. I’m sorry to hear that you’re dealing with health problems, but I’m glad to hear that you’re practicing very good self-care. That’s a skill that not enough people practice.

    I’m also glad to hear that you won’t be linking to Hugo’s work anymore. He’s got his own website, he has a steady job at Pasadena City College…it’s not like he needs the publicity, so he can have his own little corner of the internet where he can jabber on about whatever he wants.

    When I saw people were demanding Marcotte be banned from Feministe because she was friends with Schwyzer, that’s when I knew mob mentality had overtaken legitimate criticisms of Schwyzer …

    Yes. This exactly. Things were really getting out of hand. Part of me completely understands, because to see a former abuser rise so far in the ranks and gain so much affluence and credibility in gender studies, of all fields, is in itself triggering to an abuse survivor (like myself.) On the other hand, individuals can criticize Hugo. They can criticize his body of work, his history, and even the formatting of his website, if they like. I’ve read many such deconstructions of both his past and his present work. But it goes against so many of the fundamentals of feminism to “close ranks” and take down someone we (some of us, anyway) perceive to be some sort of interloper or spy. And also, this:

    Personally I consider Santorum a much more dangerous threat to feminism than a professor at some college, but maybe that’s just I.

    (From Echo Zen’s comment.) Hugo is more like an internet meme…exciting and interesting to pass around and talk about on the internet, but not a lot of clout out there in the real world.

  11. January 17, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    Nothing like using the word ‘mob’ to reveal what you really think. I mean, do you think those people were angry at the pallid response in so many quarters to a guy who tried to kill his girlfriend, especially when they might have real life experience with men like that? Marcotte disparaged people who criticized him, which is what words like ‘mob’ do as well.

  12. Bostonian
    January 17, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    I agree with ginmar, too! Attempted murder should indeed be taken seriously, and the cavalier way he talked about it was horrifying.

  13. January 17, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    Hugo’s an internet meme? Hey, thanks a lot. I guess you’re taking it upon yourself to speak for everybody who had experiences with guys like Hugo. People here seem a lot more determined to condemn Schwyzer’s critics than the man himself.

    So far we’ve seen ‘mob’ used to describe people who think he’s a snake oil salesman. Now this:

    Because maybe some of us don’t believe it’s our place to “condemn” him. Maybe some of us think there should be a very clear divide between the vitriol a person deserves for being actively anti-feminist, for actively being an abuser and a terrible person, and then what he deserves for HAVING ONCE BEEN any of those things, but not any longer.

    Some of us believe in forgiveness when a person demonstrates that the person he used to be was wrong and why. If you don’t, fine. But quit trying to railroad your demands onto everyone else. Feministe reached a compromise; they won’t continue promoting him, but they’re not going to pretend he’s Ted Bundy when he’s obviously not.

    Notice who’s being defended and who’s being attacked? It’s not about forgiveness. I like the ‘some of us’ because it’s so very passive aggressive—but the language flung at anybody who doesn’t buy Schwyzer’s sob story is hostility itself.

    Somebody else already accused people here of demanding Marcotte be banned, and someone else already endorsed it. Got any proof?

    A lot of women here have been victimized by men like Schwyzer, as well as silenced by him in particular. If you have to be Ted Bundy—-which no one, by the way, brought up till you did—–then it’s basically open season till the next poseur shows up.

  14. EG
    January 17, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    I’m so sorry to hear that you’ve been dealing with health issues, Jill. I send my wishes for a full and swift recovery, and for what it’s worth, I support your judgment call entirely. You do not have a duty to the Movement to put it ahead of your own health; God knows there have been enough Movements and organizations over the years demanding that women sacrifice their well-being. Feminism shouldn’t be one of them.

    On that note, I’m not even sure how it’s a privilege to have the choice to stop blogging. Surely it requires a greater degree of privilege to maintain one’s usual activities despite a health crisis and the stress it entails.

  15. Branwen
    January 17, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    As I recall, Marcotte’s take on this was that those of us who want a man who tried to kill a woman (as well as his numerous other bad actions) should gtfo of feminism and stop presuming to lecture women about how to “do” feminism was, in essence, that we are lacking in maturity and perspective. Her words were to the effect that after we had “lived as a human” for a few years, we’d see that we were wrong to be so critical of poor, poor Hugo. She was insulting and dismissive, as though we were making a big deal over someone who spilled a drink on the floor rather than someone who attempted murder. Also, when talking about “mobs” let’s not forget Hugo’s supporters and fans, who are hanging around his facebook page saying some truly vile things about the women who have been critical of him. For instance, one woman said that perhaps we should be dealt with “Saudi style” by having our hands cut off. Hugo “liked” that comment.

  16. Raven
    January 17, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    This is the most self-indulgent pile of horseshit I’ve ever read. God, I am so sick of you people. MY feminist movement doesn’t need to make room for admitted rapists and murderers. There is no controversy here, no difference in opinion, no petty quarrel. HE TRIED TO KILL A WOMAN. WHAT. IS. WRONG. WITH. YOU.

  17. January 17, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    She said decades, Branwen, not years. Apparently she’s decades ahead of us poor, earthbound, unenlightened peasants.

  18. Raven
    January 17, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    Branwen, I obviously agree with you about Hugo, but that comment about Saudi-style execution actually wasn’t about us (his “critics”). They were discussing abusers. Just wanted to correct that, sorry–Hugo does enough despicable things anyway :)

  19. Sheelzebub
    January 17, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    Oh, FFS. “People” were not screaming for Amanda’s banning (I saw one person suggest it in irritation after fucking patronizing and misogynist bullshit about how we’re all self-righteous for having concerns. Fuck that). Anger does not equal mob but it’s telling how quickly that’s used to silence and dismiss the very real concerns feminists have had over the support prominent feminists have been throwing to Hugo Schwyzer, the silencing his critics have gotten in certain spaces and on certain threads, and the cloying forgiveness/redemption bullshit that was flung about.

    Yet again–though I certainly don’t expect any of Hugo’s acolytes or his “accountability team” to listen–the issue most feminists who objected to this crap had was with the credibility and platform he got at the expense of women–a man who tried to kill his girlfriend and was happy to let everyone think it was a suicide attempt on her part, a man who shut down and berated women of color, a man who berated critical feminists by scolding us that he does this for a living (unlike us silly amateurs, who FUCKING LIVE IT.)

    I have a real problem with a man who’s been anything but feminist or progressive being afforded a platform and credibility by supposed feminist leaders and prominent (supposed) feminists. Forgiving someone doesn’t mean their entitled to make money off of our movement, that they’re entitled to speak for us, or that they are entitled to a platform or credibility. If HS was truly contrite, he’d get that. And if his “feminist” enablers were actually feminist, they’d advise him that he’s not entitled to any sort of leadership position within this movement, ESPECIALLY considering the fact that too many women have seen men who abuse and hurt women welcomed back into the fold while we’re told to eat shit.

    But you know, do go on blithering about mob mentalities and forgiveness and shit like that. Pay no attention to the line of “feminist” leaders who are linking arms around Hugo and turning their backs on us.

  20. Fanny Lynn
    January 17, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    I have a real problem with a man who’s been anything but feminist or progressive being afforded a platform and credibility by supposed feminist leaders and prominent (supposed) feminists. Forgiving someone doesn’t mean their entitled to make money off of our movement, that they’re entitled to speak for us, or that they are entitled to a platform or credibility. If HS was truly contrite, he’d get that. And if his “feminist” enablers were actually feminist, they’d advise him that he’s not entitled to any sort of leadership position within this movement, ESPECIALLY considering the fact that too many women have seen men who abuse and hurt women welcomed back into the fold while we’re told to eat shit.

    But you know, do go on blithering about mob mentalities and forgiveness and shit like that. Pay no attention to the line of “feminist” leaders who are linking arms around Hugo and turning their backs on us.

    What? What feminist leaders are linking arms around Hugo to protect him? Admittedly I haven’t been paying that much attention to this, but this is news to me.

  21. January 17, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    I’m really sorry to hear of your health problems, Jill, and I really appreciate your words on this issue and your decision to not further associate Feministe with Schwyzer. I also understand and appreciate why you don’t want to go further. I hadn’t really looked at it from a vigilante stand-point before and I don’t know how that will change how I look at the whole situation but it is definitely something to think about. Thank you.

    I am really disturbed by other commenter’s dismissal of the previous threads as exercises in “mob mentality” and “ad hominem attacks”, as well as their hyperbolic claims about people out for Amanda Marcotte’s blood. In the two Feministe threads of nearly 1500 comments there were maybe a handful of questionable comments, while the overwhelming majority were pointed, well-argued and articulate. Dismissing them all as ad hominem attacks and refusing to hear the good sounds an awful lot like what MRAs do when they invade threads.

    Why is Hugo Schwyzer so important to you that he is worth more to feminism than the voices of WOC, of survivors, of women in general? Why is he so important that he is worth a “yes, but… Santorum”?

    (I’m a different Alex from above, obviously.)

  22. January 17, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    #20, perhaps if you ‘haven’t been paying that much attention’ to this, you have some background to do before you criticize people who have.

  23. melittophily
    January 17, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    I’m going to repeat, repeat, repeat: the “Saudi-style” remark was not suggesting that Hugo’s critics should be dealt with that way, but rather, another disingenuous (and racist) strawman from Hugo’s fanbase – suggesting that if we do not unconditionally accept and never question Hugo’s supposed “transformation” on HIS OWN terms, that we do not believe in recovery or transformative justice on SURVIVOR’s terms. As if many of the very people criticizing Hugo and the enabling culture of internet feminism circling the wagons to protect him aren’t people who were writing about and working for transformative justice YEARS ago. And yes, Hugo “liked” that comment.

    For the most part, the accusations of being reactionary and mobbish are absolute bullshit. On this one specific detail I’m afraid it wasn’t, and that’s my heart nearly fell out of my ass when I saw it being interpreted and reposted that way. And I’m not afraid to say I’m disappointed that as far as I know, I was the only person until now saying WAIT NONONONO. Like, I’m pissed.

    But anyway, I’m consigning just about everything ginmar, esoteric turtle, and Raven have said here. Apparently women who are outraged about Schwyzer and the environment of Professional Feminism safeguarding and enabling him are a bigger problem than……. Schwyzer and the environment of Professional Feminism safeguarding and enabling him. Blackamazon and other radical WOC have been right – this isn’t one or two bad apples. This whole fucking *F*eminism is diseased and this is just one particularly nasty boil on its ass.

  24. Fanny Lynn
    January 17, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    #20, perhaps if you ‘haven’t been paying that much attention’ to this, you have some background to do before you criticize people who have.

    Prickly! By which I mean, I’m not obsessing over it. However I’m still curious who “the line of ‘feminist’ leaders who are linking arms around Hugo” actually entails.

  25. inasah.c@gmail.com
    January 17, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    CIRCLE THE WAGONS. right on schedule.

    • January 17, 2012 at 1:33 pm

      I’m not sure how saying that I’m not going to link to or promote Hugo’s work is “circling the wagons,” but ok.

  26. so_treu
    January 17, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    CIRCLE THE WAGONS. right on schedule…..

  27. January 17, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    #24, you could read every comment on the other feministe threads about this, and the one on Alas, but with your ‘prickly’ remark about ‘not obsessing over it’ that’s all the free education you’re going to get.

  28. samanthab
    January 17, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    Alex- Alex #1- and all the other promoters of this argument, you CAN’T forgive someone who has not done an injustice to you. That’s extraordinarily disrespectful to the woman involved, the only person whose choice it is to forgive or not forgive Schwyzer. Any argument that I or anyone else but her ought to “forgive” him is extraordinarily manipulative and erases that woman’s experience. And it irritates the hell out of me to be told that I’m a bad person because I can’t offer Schwyzer redemption. He has to earn that for himself, and as long as he’s asking “forgiveness” from people who are not in the position to offer it, he’s still putting his needs before that of women, or at least one woman in particular.

    It’s a good thing I never got to Amanda’s comment at the time. I don’t know how anyone can reasonably accuse other people of immaturity while taunting people like a 7 year old, a particularly sadistic 7 year old. It doesn’t surprise me given that her progressivism has always been about an inch deep, but the absence of surprise factor doesn’t make her comment any less callous or cruel.

    • January 17, 2012 at 1:57 pm

      And people seem to be under the impression that this post was a “defense” of Hugo, or that I’ve been actively defending Hugo since this thing happened. I’m not sure where that idea comes from.

  29. LotusBen
    January 17, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    I’m somewhat disappointed that Feministe is apparently choosing not to ban Schwyzer. Considering that one can get banned for one or two offensive remarks, I would think having a long history of extreme misogyny, abuse, exploitation, racism, cluelessless, and appropriation of the feminist movement for ego enlargement and financial gain would be sufficient preconditions for banning also. I totally get Jill that you have other more important priorities than this blog right now. I also agree the internet take down culture can often be really vicious and destructive; so I can sympathize with you not wanting to to feed into that even if in this case it may be warranted. But banning Schwyzer is not something that would take a lot of time and energy. It’s not the same thing as trying to get every feminist blog in the world to blacklist Schwyzer whether they want to or not. This is what I think it is: an important collective statement that we, the bloggers of Feministe, are not merely ignoring Schwyzer because many survivors find him traumatic, we actually oppose him. We’re not just doing this for the benefit of some of our community, we personally oppose him and what he stands for.

    People can be changed and radically transformed, yeah I agree with all that. I’m sure it’s slightly possible that the aforementioned Rick Santorum could be radically transformed and become a become a great feminist ally someday. But the reality is Hugo Schwyzer is currently a destructive influence within the feminist movement IMO. It seems to me that Feministe and Jill don’t agree.

    • January 17, 2012 at 2:09 pm

      People can be changed and radically transformed, yeah I agree with all that. I’m sure it’s slightly possible that the aforementioned Rick Santorum could be radically transformed and become a become a great feminist ally someday. But the reality is Hugo Schwyzer is currently a destructive influence within the feminist movement IMO. It seems to me that Feministe and Jill don’t agree.

      First, like I said, other Feministe contributors have different views on this than I do. This post is my opinion — the only Feministe policy is that we won’t link to or promote Hugo’s work. I do think that the presence of Hugo’s work is destructive to Feministe and to this community, which is why I will not promote it any further. Other feminist blogs and feminist individuals disagree about Hugo’s work and will continue to publish it in their spaces; I think that’s their prerogative, even though obviously I disagree. And other feminist blogs and feminist individuals think, as you said, that Hugo is destructive not only to the feminist spaces they frequent, but to feminism as a whole, to the point where he should be driven out of the movement entirely and out of every feminist space online and in real life. That’s also a position that I respect, and that I’m not going to suggest is anti-feminist.

      I don’t have any problem with other folks taking it further, or putting pressure on institutions to also not promote Hugo’s work or feature him as a speaker. What I do have a problem with is the insistence that if I personally don’t participate in that — if I’m not telling readers to go out and take Hugo down in every area of feminism — that I don’t care about women / abuse survivors / whoever and that I’m somehow enabling or promoting or standing up for Hugo.

  30. esoteric turtle
    January 17, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    What? What feminist leaders are linking arms around Hugo to protect him?

    Jezebel hardly counts as a feminist leader, but they not only delete any comment that makes any mention of Hugo’s past, they also ban (or de-star, depending) anyone who mentions it. The site is basically working very hard to make sure he is considered a feminist superhero and that his history of abusing and attempting to murder women is know to as few as its readers as possible.

  31. Miriam
    January 17, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    LotusBen @32: Personally, not promoting or driving traffic to Hugo’s website or work is far more effective than a symbolic banning of a guy that doesn’t comment here anyway. Setting that up as a conflict between the bloggers here and the rest of Feminism (TM) is a stretch.

  32. anonymous for this one
    January 17, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    There have been a couple of people I’ve seen mention this, such as Flavia Dzodzen on her own tumblr and it is this: Amanda Marcotte is an atheist, a movement atheist that writes extensively about atheism and YET, somehow Hugo Schwyzer gets a pass from her skepticism re: Christianity. It’s not just that Hugo is merely a Christian. What the issue is, is that Hugo largely credits his redemption and rehabilitation, to Christianity. I don’t get it: If Amanda thinks that Christianity is a form of make-believe, then why hasn’t she expressed skepticism over his “supposed” rehabilitation, which is based on a system of thought that is irrational (and according to her and many atheists) make believe? Where is her skepticism?

  33. melittophily
    January 17, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    It’s not just that it’s based on Christianity – it’s based on the worst kind of reductive and dangerous Christian redemption narrative of “I confessed my sins and now I am supposed to be absolved from everyone’s judgment and I am a COMPLETE DIFFERENT PERSON!” Yeah, only mobs of nasty bitches with no life experience would call that into question.

  34. Li
    January 17, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    Jill, while I disagree with you re: radical change (I don’t really think Hugo’s change has been sufficiently radical to address the fact that he’s dripping in super-gross sexism), I understand you not wanting to participate in a coordinated action against him. Personally, if I never hear or think about Hugo Schwyzer again it will be too soon.

    I’m disappointed that there isn’t a stronger collective action from the Feministe writers in banning Hugo or telling him not to comment here, but I also understand that consensus can’t be forced, and that functionally Hugo won’t be commenting here anyway.

    I have other thoughts, but I’m going to save them for when I can more cogently get them down.

    • January 17, 2012 at 2:51 pm

      Jill, while I disagree with you re: radical change (I don’t really think Hugo’s change has been sufficiently radical to address the fact that he’s dripping in super-gross sexism), I understand you not wanting to participate in a coordinated action against him. Personally, if I never hear or think about Hugo Schwyzer again it will be too soon.

      To be clear, I don’t know whether Hugo has radically changed or not, and that’s not my call to make. That might not have been clear in the post. I was just trying to say that, generally, I believe in radical change and I think the belief in change is necessary for progressive movements — that’s an ideology I hold generally, not one that I’m saying leads me to believe that Hugo is a different man. I don’t know whether Hugo as an individual has changed, and I’m not really interested in figuring it out via the internet. Some other people do believe that Hugo has changed, and that’s their prerogative. I bought it up because I keep seeing it come up in comment threads. My point was that conversations about change are interesting and important, but it’s not up to me to be the arbiter of who has changed and who hasn’t. It is up to me to moderate a feminist website. And since it’s impossible to know whether a particular individual has “really” changed — and since many community members here have pointed to examples that suggest otherwise, and since I’m not even sure it matters if someone has “really” changed when it comes to gate-keeping in a community — I am fine with not hosting the work of that individual here, while simultaneously hoping that he does actually change. Not so that he can be on Feministe again, and not so that he can be a prominent feminist, but because positive change is important and good. That was what I meant by the “radical change” section of this post. It wasn’t an evaluation of Hugo personally. It was me pointing out that “people can change” is a good position to have, but it doesn’t outweigh my interest in holding a space for women and abuse survivors.

  35. Tony_
    January 17, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    I’m not Marcotte, but it’s certainly possible to reject Christianity while at the same time acknowledging the other people might have been changed psychologically through a belief in a system. The opinion that the belief system is not true, does not necessarily invalidate the prospect of psychological change. Not every belief system or religion that has a powerful psychological effect must be true, or vice versa. I believe that religious fundamentalists were powerfully psychologically affected by their religion, that does not mean I share that religion.

  36. Drew
    January 17, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    Thank you, Jill. I’m sorry to hear about your health issues, and wish you the best in recovery.

  37. LotusBen
    January 17, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    OK Jill. Thanks for clarifying. I’m really sorry to hear about your health issues. And even if those weren’t complicating things, you’d still be under no obligation to put energy toward activism on a specific issue if it didn’t match your interests or inclinations, and it’s a shame that anyone would suggest otherwise. I’m really glad to hear, though, that you disagree with Schwyzer getting any traction on feminist spaces online. A lot of prominent feminsts still support him, and I feel angry about that because it reminds me of all the times powerful people get other powerful people to cover for them, no matter what’ve done, because power protects itself. The fact that Schwyzer is widely considered a feminist leader and expert to me is like something out of dystopian science fiction or The Onion, but then again, that’s the world we live in.

  38. number9
    January 17, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    I’m having a bit of trouble understanding how “I chose to privilege survivors at my space and so I’m not going to link or promote Hugo’s work” translate into “circling the wagons” or protecting anyone? Far as I can see, Jill isn’t protecting Hugo. She’s chosen not to get involved in any coordinated take-downs, but that still does not amount to protecting.

    I don’t blog, so all I can do is not give him “clicks” – so I don’t read his site and I don’t read the sites where he’s published and promoted, like Role/Reboot. I’m a former youth worker, and still involved in youth work, so if he came to speak to a youth provider in my area, I would contact them to let them know that it might not be a good idea. Not based on his past, but on his highly problematic work that he publishes right now, which I think makes him a bad candidate for working with youth (so I’m glad that he had to resign from a few youth projects he’s been involved in). I would not demand that they not invite him, but I would strongly advise them not to do so.

    But I think the idea that Jill, or anyone else, needs to form some kind of committee to ensure that he’s kicked out of internet feminism forever is, frankly, just over-the-top. As I said, if I saw him doing anything in my area of work, I would bring it up. If you, personally, feel that you have to contact every site and organization he works with and let him know your concerns, sure, I respect that. But other feminist spaces and people who run them have the right to chose how they respond. If you aren’t happy with that response, you have the right to not participate there, but you don’t get to dictate how they respond, and you don’t get to “kick them out of feminism,” internet or otherwise, based on your lack of satisfaction with their actions.

    Jill, I hear you on the reluctance of participating in take-down culture. It’s not even that Hugo doesn’t deserve it. But it often does seem that there’s a contingent of people that get involved in such things as if for sport, and I don’t want internet feminism to turn into Fandom Wank. And, yes, he does deserve it, but will the next person deserve it as well? And the next? When does it actually stop? For me, it’s not just that it’s a slippery slope, it’s also not good self-care to be involved in this type of thing. Sounds like that’s where you’re coming from as well, and I’m glad you’re choosing to do good self-care in this case.

  39. anonymous for this one
    January 17, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    @Tony

    I get what you are saying, but I’ve read Marcotte’s work re:religion and I wouldn’t call her a moderate atheist, not by a long shot. I think your point can be shared by other atheists, but I have never gotten the impression from Marcotte’s work, that she is particularly understanding about any aspect of religion.

  40. AMM
    January 17, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    I’m no fan of HS — I ended up looking at his web site a year or so ago, and was unimpressed by what I saw then (this even though I did not run across the story of him trying to kill his girlfriend.) I didn’t think it was appropriate to feature him at Feministe (or any feminist site) because IMHO what he says and does wouldn’t rate being featured even if he were female, and I firmly believe that the bar for men to be featured on feminist sites should be a lot, lot higher than for women.

    But I’m a bit dismayed at how much energy is being spent fighting over him. At this point, the same things are getting said over and over again, and they are not gaining in value or influence by being repeated.

    What is sad is that as a result of this obsession with this one man, other issues that were raised during the discussion are getting obscured. For instance:

    1. The issue of abusers, especially known abusers, being allowed free reign in progressive and feminist communities.

    2. The work and concerns of Women Of Color being ignored (or co-opted) in feminist and progressive communities.

    (I’m sure that there are other issues that I haven’t picked up on.)

    These issues would remain even if HS (and his writings) were magically transported to and held incommunicado on Tralfamador for the rest of his days. IMHO, these are serious issues, and they are getting drowned out by the brawling over this guy.

  41. Motive
    January 17, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    Jill,

    The sad thing is, I, as a newcomer to Feminism and feminist web sites, have found this whole mob thing terrifying. I can’t write what I think on here without getting bullied, judged, and every word I write torn apart.

    I feel incredibly sad about this. I had hoped to find a community of people I could feel empowered and inspired by, not terrified of.

    For the record, I have been the subject of monstrous bullying by non-feminist (religious-acting) women, and this whole Hugo thing smells exactly the same. Bullies, in the name of feminism. It is not protecting women. It is not protecting me nor empowering me. I’m scared. And that is my honest opinion. I’m really sad and sick to have found this kind of scary bullying on things called “feminist.” Using bullying to exact vengeance, to tar and feather a human. I find bullying disgusting and there is no excuse for it. Period.

    I want to say that your letter here is a bit healing to me – it is the most sane post I have read. Finally, I read from you a constructive, mature, hard-lined approach to a male writer/figure you are concerned about. Not full of insane vengeance and bullying. Ranting doesn’t accomplish anything except feeding fires of discontent.

    I applaud you for taking care of yourself. I applaud you for being willing to be misunderstood and criticized. I applaud you for deciding for yourself (rather than being bullied into it) when you felt it was right for you to respond. I hope that something good can come out of all of this — for both those who felt the need to spew bitterness rather than find a healthier way to do something about their concerns, for those of us who were detrimentally affected by the spewed vengeance, for those who felt their rage and decided to handle it constructively and powerfully, with dignity…..and for Mr. Schwyzer and his family. I hope some people will see the difference between an onslaught and a powerful, constructive campaign. Being ugly never makes things better.

  42. Laurie
    January 17, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    I support Jill’s response to this situation. And, in fact, if I were running this blog, I would continue to publish and/or link to Hugo’s work. I read blogs because I am interested ideas, especially ideas about feminism, and I want to read thoughtful, nuanced, and articulate explorations of the issues from a feminist perspective. Despite his past, and the fact that I often disagree with him, Hugo writes about feminism quite well. I don’t really care what he did in the past for purposes of figuring out whether I would read his stuff at Feministe or elsewhere, nor do I care whether he is genuinely rehabilitated in his heart or not. That’s between him and his conscience.

    That said, I speak only for myself and my personal preference. I understand why other people wouldn’t want to encounter Hugo on a feminist website — especially women who have survived violence at the hands of narcissistic men. (However, not all survivors necessarily want Hugo booted. I am a survivor, I have PTSD, I am agnostic as to the genuineness of Hugo’s rehabilitation and I still read and appreciate Hugo’s thinking and writing.)

    What I am getting at is that I don’t think there is any right or wrong answer to whether to link to Hugo or ban him from this site. This is definitely, imho, something on which reasonable feminists can disagree. Some blogs will put more of a priority on creating a sense of safety for survivors than others; but doing so comes at some expense to free discourse on the site in question. Blogs are inevitably going to strike different balances between safety and the free exchange of ideas, and different groups of readers will then gravitate towards different blogs depending on reader preference as to what constitutes the best balance. Personally, I am glad that there are some “safe spaces” but I’m also glad that there are blogs that are more rough-and-tumble.

  43. pheenobarbidoll
    January 17, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    Ok fine. Some of you think he’s a feminist ally.

    Good for you.

    Still hasn’t stopped him from being a racist ass, and his talking over WOC doesn’t make him MY ally. And if you support him regardless of the way he treats WOC, you’re not my ally either. But I guess THAT has been forgotten, and you all have the luxury of forgetting shit like that.

    Also- the circle the wagons comments are annoying. The manner which colonizing shitheads used to better kill more Indigenous people’s isn’t a cute catchphrase. Please stop.

  44. January 17, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    #45 There’s more important things to worry about. Brawling.

    #46: mobs, bullying, tar and feather, fighting, bullies, did I miss anything?

    It’s funny how Hugo’s defenders—or ‘not defenders’—-use this kind of language on people who criticize him, not tar and feather him. We’re a mob. We’re a witch hunt. We’re going to ‘tar and feather’ him. Jesus fuckin’ Christ already, the guy at the very least blamed one girlfriend for not saying no ‘enough’—-and he tried to kill someone.

    Out of more than a thousand comments on that one monster thread, how many were Schwyzer defenders, using this kind of silencing, gaslighting, and yes, sexist language, that portrays women as a mob, a group, a hive?

    They’re so forgiving and understanding when it’s Schwyzer. How come they’re so incredibly cruel when it’s women who’ve been harmed by men like him, or by his actions, or by the way he’s been sucking up to MRAs for years?

    There’s an awful lot of women who read this site who’ve been abused or attacked. I’d be willing to bet that only an extremely miniscule number of them have actually attacked someone, yet the language used to silence them all invokes violent acts and groups.

  45. melittophily
    January 17, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    AMM is absolutely correct.

    and @pheenobarbidoll, I agree with your first point and I apologize for having used that phrase. It is thoughtless and terrible.

  46. samanthab
    January 17, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    Laurie, if you care about people extending respect to you, perhaps you will likewise respect the mentally ill, of which I am one, by ditching the ableist comments? I don’t qualify as “sane,” and I don’t think that it’s fair to conclude from that fact that I’m incapable of reason or logic.

  47. Hari B
    January 17, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    number9–“For me, it’s not just that it’s a slippery slope, it’s also not good self-care to be involved in this type of thing. Sounds like that’s where you’re coming from as well, and I’m glad you’re choosing to do good self-care in this case.”

    Yes, this. I hear Jill choosing good self-care, and NOT to be a martyr to a man OR to Feministe or to any particular fans here. Again, for me, these among the most feminist possible personal acts–which makes them among the most difficult to do, and therefore among the most valuable. Valuable for Jill, and for those who can see something good in the example she sets.

    For the life of me, I cannot understand why anyone keeps giving this guy more of their juice, saying his name over and over, obsessing over his sins, and arguing over what is the right position to have concerning him. And I agree that he’s a special kind of dirtbag! I would praise him nor link him to no one! I never heard of him til recently–in the middle of the huffing over his confession–and was glad when things simmered down and people got onto better stuff (here and elsewhere).

    How about people stop giving him so much energy, saying his name, all that?

    How about a little more compassion, and if not also respect for her position on this issue, for an actual feminist like Jill–who has given much and just told us she’s not exactly feeling 100% lately.

  48. Laurie
    January 17, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    Samanthb, I just reread what I wrote and I don’t think I used the word “sane.” Maybe you are talking about someone else’s comment?

  49. Bostonian
    January 17, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    Motive, seriously, it is bullying to not agree with murder? To want a confessed would be murderer not actively participate in feminist discourse? Ginmar is right, you are defending the abuser at all costs.

  50. FashionablyEvil
    January 17, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    Samanthb, I just reread what I wrote and I don’t think I used the word “sane.” Maybe you are talking about someone else’s comment?

    I think this refers to Motive’s comment at 46. (“…it is the most sane post I have read. Finally, I read from you a constructive, mature, hard-lined approach to a male writer/figure you are concerned about. Not full of insane vengeance and bullying.”)

  51. Li
    January 17, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    Ugh. Warning, the trackback at 50 is full of all kinds of MRA grossness.

  52. Lindsay Beyerstein
    January 17, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    Anonymous, Amanda believes in people’s capacity to change. She doesn’t believe in the magic power of religion to wash away anyone’s sins. She thinks that people sometimes get their acts together, with or without the help of magic fairy stories.

    People change themselves, or they don’t. Religion has nothing to do with it.

    I’m an atheist, too. I’ve seen how AA can help people get sober in part by signing their lives over to a higher power. I don’t have to believe in AA’s higher power to believe that the AA program works for some people.

    It’s the same with people who do (or don’t) turn their lives around with religion. They may (or may not) have changed, but the truth of their religion is irrelevant to the truth (or falsity) of their personal transformation.

  53. Norma
    January 17, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    Jill, I’m sorry for the personal issues you’ve been dealing with. It sounds like you made an excellent choice staying out of fray. I respect your position on this issue and, incidentally, am happy with the choice Feministe made regarding HS. ( I agree with Caperton that preemptively banning HS–and only HS–gives him a special place at Feministe that he doesn’t deserve.)

    For the life of me, I cannot understand why anyone keeps giving this guy more of their juice, saying his name over and over, obsessing over his sins, and arguing over what is the right position to have concerning him.

    I agree with Hari B wholeheartedly on this. I learned about him through this controversy, and I’m sure many others did too. Despite his complaining about being persecuted, this controversy has been great for his notoriety and probably for his page views. He strikes me as a gigantic narcissist, and I hate giving him more attention.

  54. January 17, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    Aside from being accused of being a member of a mob or a tar and feather…mob….., being told to, basically, just get over it already is another revealing phrase. How many women here have been told to ignore it, it’ll go away, there’s more important things to worry about, you’re both just as bad, it takes two to tango, why won’t you let it go? and more. And then there’s ‘insane vengeance and bullying.’

    People who tell you to get over it, or not spend so much time on it, or make disparaging remarks about your concerns are not doing it for the good of anybody but themselves. They want the subject to stop being talked about. It makes them deeply uncomfortable. Given that the guy called himself an ‘accidental rapist’ and boasted about getting away with attempted murder—-which is being brushed off as a ‘mistake’—-one has to wonder why.

  55. January 17, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    Wishing you very well indeed, Jill, and a far better year this year.

  56. Norma
    January 17, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    Jezebel hardly counts as a feminist leader, but they not only delete any comment that makes any mention of Hugo’s past, they also ban (or de-star, depending) anyone who mentions it.

    Jezebel has being increasingly crappy for a while now, but the editors’ decision to keep publishing Hugo’s writing– including that delightful one about “facials” recently– is really the icing on the cake.

  57. January 17, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    In all the back-and-forth over how this brouhaha has played out, one person’s role is going largely unexamined.

    Schwyzer could have chosen to address his critics’ complaints fully and forthrightly when this all first broke. He didn’t. He could have chosen to take a break from writing about feminist issues. He didn’t. He could have entered into a dialogue about people’s concerns with him. He didn’t. He could have stepped down from some of the positions of responsibility he holds. He didn’t. He could have distanced himself from his MRA-ish defenders. He didn’t. He could have signaled to his feminist defenders that he considered many of the criticisms lodged against him reasonable. He didn’t.

    Instead he kept writing, and kept ignoring the things his critics were saying. He kept cheering on his proxies, even when they were missing the point. He kept drumming up sympathy for himself. He kept the argument going.

    That was all his prerogative, of course, but it was also his choice. It was his choice to drag this out, to play the victim rather than to mitigate the damage done. To the extent that this has been a diversion from other things people could have been doing, let’s put the blame where it belongs.

    And let’s also note that if the goal of this has been to do what Schwyzer refused to do — to mitigate the damage he’s been doing — much of that goal has been achieved. Schwyzer has been dropped by Feministe and Scarleteen. He’s been purged by the body-image groups he was working with. He’s stepped down as faculty adviser to his campus feminist club, and announced his intention to stop teaching women’s studies.

    Most internet campaigns don’t achieve anything like those kinds of real-world results.

  58. Lori
    January 17, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    This is an excellent post, Jill, and the one I most closely agree with on the Hugo matter. Thank you for posting this.

  59. Anonymous for this
    January 17, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    You know what I find telling ? That while Hugo gets named all of the critiques mostly by young women and women of colonabuse survivors are a faceless nameless mob.

    That many Of these women who have expressed stress hardship and abuse at these dynamics are disposable and cruel and unnamable because Jill is under stress. Because what they are asking for ALL of them every single one ( though unengaged and unsited) is a takedown . Not the ability to have safe environment or ACTUAL feminist dialogue about what and WHO decides transformative justice.

    Nope you see misogyny and racism and classism and erasure is bad UNLESS it makes an important person uncomfortable. Then well it’s up for debate . Not one where they get named but hey

  60. piny
    January 17, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    Actually, Norma, this controversy, and the concerted efforts of interested internet feminists, have already gotten him dumped from two websites apart and a couple of “projects,” IIRC. He’s been removed from Scarleteen, for example, which was uncomfortable with the idea of a (putatively reformed) serial abuser posting sex and romance advice for teenage girls.

    It’s impressive, and not what I would have expected at all. So, I have to disagree with you: his narcissism doesn’t thrive on every kind of attention.

  61. Norma
    January 17, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    Schwyzer has been dropped by Feministe and Scarleteen. He’s been purged by the body-image groups he was working with. He’s stepped down as faculty adviser to his campus feminist club, and announced his intention to stop teaching women’s studies.

    I wrote my notoriety-is-good-for-Schwyzer comment before I saw this above. Wow– did not realize that.

  62. Norma
    January 17, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    Agreed piny– I’m impressed and relieved.

  63. January 17, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    I should qualify what I wrote about Schwyzer’s intention to stop teaching women’s studies. He currently teaches one women’s studies course a semester, and he has posted on his blog that he is “leaning towards not” continuing to do so.

  64. January 17, 2012 at 4:12 pm

    #66

    I think we should get a dollar or something any time a Hugo apologist calls critics of Schwyzer’s actions a ‘mob’ or some variation. Angus brought up a lot of good points. Hugo’s been egging on his defenders and they’ve responded with accusations about mobs, witch hunts, hatred, and so forth.

  65. January 17, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    Sometimes, the only way to address an issue like this is one of those on-one-hand-but-on-the-other-hand posts. Issues involving people, especially controversial people are frequently messy and complicated. Rarely if ever are most subjects easily cut-and-dried, and that’s why I appreciate this post.

    It’s easy to get roped into to a group of people forcefully advancing an argument. I think that’s just part of being human. As Jill said herself, I’ve been in that crowd, too. I did make an attempt to look at multiple perspectives with the guy and I honestly still feel highly conflicted.

  66. piny
    January 17, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    I’m sorry to hear about your health problems, Jill. I hope you recover soon.

    I don’t think that this campaign to dump people who side with Schwyzer is guilt by association unto the seventh generation, exactly. I think it’s an attempt to alter the self-interested calculations that some of those people seem to be making.

    A lot of people who are pissed off at Amanda don’t she’s in thrall to a charismatic abuser, or even that she can’t recognize abuse. They think she’s being good to Hugo because, hey, it’s in her professional-feminist interests. They think, and I agree, that she would have no problem condemning abuse if this guy weren’t a buddy.

    And if enough people make it clear that they won’t promote a feminist blogger who attacks abuse survivors, she might decide that it’s not worth it to support Hugo. Same goes for Jezebel.

    That is, this isn’t bloodlust getting in the way of nuance and considered moral positions. This is a reaction to perceived cynicism–to the sense that considered moral positions are irrelevant to too many feminist bloggers.

    I think there’s some sense to that.

  67. January 17, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    When I saw people were demanding Marcotte be banned from Feministe because she was friends with Schwyzer, that’s when I knew mob mentality had overtaken legitimate criticisms of Schwyzer.

    This isn’t just an exaggeration, it’s completely false. Nobody demanded that Marcotte be banned. Nobody even asked that she be banned. One commenter said “I’d ban Amanda, too, were it my blog” in response to Marcotte’s snotty dismissal of the Feministe commentariat.

    That’s it. “I’d ban Amanda, too, were it my blog.” Not a demand, not a request, not a suggestion. Just a comment in passing.

    Some “mob mentality.”

  68. melittophily
    January 17, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    piny, I’m so glad you’re still around. thank you.

  69. melittophily
    January 17, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    piny, I’m so glad you’re still around. thank you.

  70. Miller
    January 17, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    Jezebel hardly counts as a feminist leader, but they not only delete any comment that makes any mention of Hugo’s past, they also ban (or de-star, depending) anyone who mentions it. The site is basically working very hard to make sure he is considered a feminist superhero and that his history of abusing and attempting to murder women is know to as few as its readers as possible.

    That’s interesting as the FB page started against him has deleted every hour on the hour for 24 hour cycles any voices that were not identical. Didn’t make it look good and opened it up to the obvious criticism.

    Also do not know if that’s a 100% true statement that Jez is ‘working’ to make him a ‘feminist superhero’–that’s quite a claim if you’ve got the ability to back that up with no room for doubt?

    As far as them hiding his history, I’m unconcerned since he doesn’t hide it–does that make sense?

  71. January 17, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    I don’t self identify as a feminist and so I read much of what was going on and didn’t comment until today. I don’t think that there can be much equivocation about what Hugo has done was wrong.

    I do understand what Jill is saying about the blog swarm. Once it starts, it can be brutal to undergo. I don’t think that this should be something Jill should have to undergo because she was not the one that tried to murder her gf, or wrote that disgusting piece on Jezebel. If people really have something to say, they should be saying it to Hugo directly. The man is after all on Facebook and on Twitter. I don’t people are participating in the call out culture in their responses because if ever a man deserved to be called out, it’s Hugo

    Sitting here talking about Hugo instead of to Hugo accomplishes nothing as far as I am concerned. He not respond, but you have a better chance of being heard directly instead of hashing it out here.

    Finally, I just wanted to add that I think that the suggestion that some who are defending him are doing so because it is advantageous to their career is probably very accurate. Online feminism has a long history of circling the wagons.

  72. Katniss
    January 17, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    womanistmusings, there are plenty of reasons why people may not want to speak directly to Hugo. He did, after all, try to kill a woman and to many of us he comes across as an abuser and a manipulator. Speaking just for myself as a survivor of abuse, I do not feel at all comfortable saying anything to him, even to condemn him. Aside from that, he has shown no willingness so far to truly own up to his behavior. I sincerely doubt he’s going to start doing so now.

    Plus considering how he comes across as extremely egotistical, do we really think he isn’t reading everything said about him?

  73. j.
    January 17, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    Ginmar nails it. So does Sheelzebub. And Branwen. And Piny.

    Jill, please don’t piss on our legs and tell us it’s raining. If you don’t have the time or energy or desire to go after Hugo at all, fine, but spare us the scolding rhetoric about “playing the take-down game.” Because the only game I see going on here is the jockeying for position in Feminism, Inc. The climate might get kind of chilly if you attempt to go after Hugo, I’m sure. Same deal for Amanda Marcotte.

    Ginmar, of course Amanda’s decades ahead of us. It’s her exquisite taste in music, restaurants, and clothing, not to mention her keen sensitivity to hipster oppression, that makes her a superior feminist.

    #36: You’re crediting Amanda with much, much more intellectual honesty and consistency than she deserves. As implied above, sucking up to Hugo is a career move.

    Yes, Fanny Lynn, how dare women be prickly on a feminist blog. My stars, someone hand me my smelling salts and position my chaise longue under me before I faint!!!

    AMM, #45: We can walk and chew gum at the same time, thanks.

    Motive, #46: Your “healing” is apparently more important than the safety of women who are triggered by Hugo and that of all the women he might encounter.

    Hari B., #54: Magical thinking at its stupidest. If we stand in front of a mirror and say Hugo’s name three times, will he appear behind us? Problems don’t disappear when you ignore them.

    • January 17, 2012 at 5:24 pm

      Jill, please don’t piss on our legs and tell us it’s raining. If you don’t have the time or energy or desire to go after Hugo at all, fine, but spare us the scolding rhetoric about “playing the take-down game.” Because the only game I see going on here is the jockeying for position in Feminism, Inc. The climate might get kind of chilly if you attempt to go after Hugo, I’m sure. Same deal for Amanda Marcotte.

      I didn’t say that people are “playing the take-down game” with Hugo. I said that I see the take-down game being played often enough in the feminist blogosphere that I’m not going to participate in a coordinated take-down even where it may be warranted. I didn’t scold anyone for having different views of what’s a good tactic here. There were calls for me to participate in taking down Hugo. My views on take-down culture are part of the reason why I’m not participating, and so I explained them. If I hadn’t explained them, people would still be wanting to know my stance on a coordinated effort to get Hugo out of feminism.

      Also, what position am I jockeying for in Feminism, Inc.? And how is Hugo going to help my “career” in any way? I’m genuinely curious, because that’s been brought up before, but I do not know what Hugo offers me (or has offered me in the past) career-wise or feminism-wise. What climate is going to get chilly if I attempt to “go after” Hugo? If you search the Feministe blog archives, the last time I mentioned Hugo was in 2009, to congratulate him on the birth of his daughter. As for Amanda, I’m not her so I can’t speak for her, but she runs Pandagon and writes for Slate, Reuters and a few other publications which are not explicitly feminist. How in the world does Hugo have any power or influence over her career? (I might genuinely be missing something here, but my hesitation to write about Hugo had absolutely nothing to do with any consequences in Feminism Inc — which by the way is not my employer, nor a place where I am looking to make a career).

  74. WitchWolf
    January 17, 2012 at 5:07 pm

    1. Hugo is a self-proclaimed and un-apologic attempted murder of a women.

    2. People can change I have watched people change.

    3. People who change have paid the price of that change, they have paid their dues to society, they have taken responsibility of their actions (not blaming others or addiction), Etc.. Hugo has done none of this, in fact he has rejoiced in the fact that he has done no prison time, he has reviewed the details of his attempted murder of A WOMEN with an attorney so he wouldn’t have to pay any penalty of dis closer. He used HER story to set him self up as a hero, rather than the villain. Hugo has done nothing to prove that he has changed rather than pay lip service and what is required so his money making venture could continue.

    4. To say it again – HE attempted to murder a women because HE chose that it was HER time to die –

    5. He says that he heard Sluts rather than working with women to reclaim the name – He equated women to cattle who needed to be hearded. What type of Feminist Heards Women??????>? What type of ally does this.

    6. Hugo still is exhibiting the behaviors of the type of man who wants to control a women, but he does it in the name of Feminism.

    Sorry Jill but it’s not about a witch hunt against, Poor Hugo, but it’s an attempt to warn women that an unrepentant, self-professed, unpunished attempted murder wants to tell them what they can and can not do with their bodies, teach them about Feminism — And wants to heard them into Sluthood –

    It’s about taking back Feminism — Making it a safe place for women to be leaders, to take care of women’s concerns, it’s about penalizing a man who has not been punished or affected in a negative way for attempting to murder a women HE deemed should die.

    • January 17, 2012 at 5:26 pm

      Sorry Jill but it’s not about a witch hunt against, Poor Hugo, but it’s an attempt to warn women that an unrepentant, self-professed, unpunished attempted murder wants to tell them what they can and can not do with their bodies, teach them about Feminism — And wants to heard them into Sluthood –

      It’s about taking back Feminism — Making it a safe place for women to be leaders, to take care of women’s concerns, it’s about penalizing a man who has not been punished or affected in a negative way for attempting to murder a women HE deemed should die.

      That’s totally fine. And I never said it was a witch-hunt against Hugo, or that my way of handling the situation is the only one true and good way. I explicitly said that I respect that there are differences of opinion here, and that people can hold different views of the appropriate tactics for themselves in their spaces, without being bad feminists / bad people / not caring about women / apologists for attempted murderers.

  75. piny
    January 17, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    Several of us here in this thread have already commented on his blog. I did, initially. So did ginmar. He went off-line until the furor had died down (or would have, normally), and then came back to offer his new pseudo-apology when he was sure that he could manage the situation to his advantage. There isn’t much point in talking to him directly.

    I also don’t agree that there’s any point in engaging with an abuser. You break ties, then you marginalize. Any engagement is an opportunity for him to redefine the conflict on his terms. He’s really good at that.

  76. Li
    January 17, 2012 at 5:20 pm

    womanistmusings, there are plenty of reasons why people may not want to speak directly to Hugo. He did, after all, try to kill a woman and to many of us he comes across as an abuser and a manipulator. Speaking just for myself as a survivor of abuse, I do not feel at all comfortable saying anything to him, even to condemn him.

    Among other things, the epic Hugo thread included a woman explaining how Hugo had tracked her using the email she used to comment on his blog and added her on facebook before leaving several inappropriate comments on her photos. Personally, I’m not willing for Hugo to have access to my email address even if it’s not one connected to my meatspace identity, so I can totally understand reticence to contact him directly.

  77. esoteric turtle
    January 17, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    That’s interesting as the FB page started against him has deleted every hour on the hour for 24 hour cycles any voices that were not identical

    Jezebel trying to keep its readers in the dark about a contributor’s murderous past doesn’t become magically okay, or even any less offensive, because someone started an anti-Hugo Facebook page and is moderating comments. That’s a nonsense justification.

    “Feminist superhero” is obviously engaging in a bit of hyperbole, but the fact remains that Jezebel regularly prints his articles, adding to both his presence and his “credibility” in the feminist blogosphere (whether or not Jezebel is a part of that is debatable–the editors themselves seem to go back and forth–but certainly Jezebel is a gateway to feminism and the larger feminist blogosphere for a whole lot of people). Beyond that, it penalizes any reader who has any problem with anything he says or does not just by deleting their comments, but also by de-starring them or banning them from the site altogether. Basically, the comment moderators are taking extraordinary steps, steps they have never taken for a female contributor who came under attack, to make sure that an abusive man who tried to murder his girlfriend is allowed to have a loud, prominent voice in feminism without having to face any consequences for all that silly, unimportant attempted murder stuff.

    You’re more that welcome to think a history of murdering women isn’t an important thing for readers of a supposedly feminist male writer to know, but for me and many other women, it’s a rather large deal, and certainly not a fact that should be censored on women-centric web sites for the comfort of the attempted murderer.

  78. WitchWolf
    January 17, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    I just wanted to add this:

    Hugo is whipping out his Nice Guy (TM) badge, he should get a pass because he is supposedly handsome, became interested in Christianity, he, as far as we know, hasn’t abused wife #4, he has changed because he has done X,Y,Z. he is a great, cough, feminist writer, he teaches at a 2 year college, the same one where he poached students to participate in sex games —

    he claims that the students were equal in age – but is 10 years equal in age? Can a 19 year old student be equal to a 29 year old man who holds a Dr and is an authority figure? Do we know all of his, um, sex games were totally consensual? Sure no rule against having sex with students, but you know, there is such a thing as common sense? He did this while supposedly a feminist? How can we tell the difference?

    Why does he get off of all of this – What next do we let Jerry Sandusky teach kids again, on his word. because he pulls out his Nice Guy (TM) credentials — after all he hasn’t molested millions of kids.

    How can we trust him?

  79. Hari B
    January 17, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    j.–“Hari B., #54: Magical thinking at its stupidest. If we stand in front of a mirror and say Hugo’s name three times, will he appear behind us? Problems don’t disappear when you ignore them.”

    There is nothing ‘magical thinking’ to say that the best way to stop shitheads like HS is to IGNORE them. It’s called shunning, ostracization, and it’s worked among humans for a very long time. And it just so happens, also, to free up a lot of personal energy for better things…even, in the case of some of you, the ‘better’ way of putting the Shithead in his place.

    I don’t believe in ‘ignoring’ abuse coming at me, or being done to someone in my space. Anything but. Resistance–raging resistance, even–is an important survival and liberation tool. And IMO, is best reserved for when it can do the most good rather than none at all.

    I have no objection to people’s feelings and opinions, as their own. I’m a very passionate person myself, and never let anyone tell me what I ‘should’ think or feel. Have your rage and your considerations of why it’s right–I pretty much agree with you, on this particular topic. What I do object to is how some posters here so firmly believe that the way THEY feel, and THEIR choices in addressing the problem, are the ONLY ‘right ways’ to feel and think about it.

    You’re mad at this guy, for what HE did and does. I respect that and would defend your right to your feelings and opinions. I do differ on tactics for eliminating such a blight from feminist spaces–which right now is arising pointing your rage for him, at others here who are NOT him. So, I reject your premise that everyone must feel, believe and act just as you do, in response to someone that everyone already agrees is a problem. I reject the deep disrespect demonstrated by some of you toward those here who don’t agree 100% with you–and most especially I reject the disrespect and outright shaming of Jill in this situation. Navigating shit like this is *hard*. Rageful shaming of someone trying to navigate it both good conscience, and with respect to her own well-being, does not help shift anything. It only makes you look like domineering assholes, trying to form the world and everyone in it to your image.

  80. Matt
    January 17, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    Schwizzy has said he is going to stop teaching women’s studies? Score one for the internets.

  81. January 17, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    If we can organize to condemn Roman Polanski, what’s the problem here?

    And I’ll be damned if I can find anything apologetic in this:

    Should my pre-sobriety historyShould my refusing to listen to women who have already told me this repeatedly disqualify me from teaching the courses I teach, from speaking about the topics I speak about, and from writing where I write? Do I need to make furtherany amends or participate more extensively at all in restorative justice? My take has always been that the work I do is part and parcel of that amends. But some detect self-aggrandizement rather than atonement. What’s the way forward?

    Those last three sentences, right there. He’s forgiven himself and decided what his punishment should be. Notice how he leaves out all specifics, doesn’t mention that he hurt women, doesn’t mention any details at all. It’s classic. I’m surprised he didn’t use the classic passive aggressive phrase, “what happened.” It’s only a matter of time.

    2. Are there problems with my writing today? I’ve got eight years worth of blog archives and thousands of posts on this site; I’ve also written extensively elsewhere. I’ve written things I regret, and I’ve changed my position on some issues (like pornography, for example) in recent years. Yes, I am regularly quoted out of context. But even allowing for the universal but lamentable habit of “cherry-picking”, are there still elements of my work that are deeply problematic?

    Don’t call yourself a feminist, because this paragraph? It’s all about him and his words, what will happen to him, his career, and so on. He’s not sorry. He’s pissed that he’s quoted ‘out of context’. If he just read his own comment section he wouldn’t need to answer this. Hell, if he’d been as feminist as he claims he is over the past few years….

    3. Does my modest fame/notoriety block or create opportunities for others? Do the speaking gigs and interviews I get mean that I’m taking what wasn’t mine to take? Should I give up teaching women’s history, working in positions of leadership in organizations that focus on women’s rights — not just because of my particular past, but because it’s fundamentally wrong for a man to hold these roles?

    Fame? Notoriety? How about his past actions, which he does not regret, and his present actions? How can he try and get away with asking these questions at this late date?

    Allies back you up. They don’t shoulder to the front of the line and take your place. Hugo has in fact made something of a name for himself for his ‘now now there young lady’ attitude on his website to feminists versus MRAs. Allies don’t brush off attempted murder as ‘notoriety’. Most of all, allies understand. Or they exert a lot of effort to try. When has Hugo ever listened to anybody but himself—and his lawyers?

  82. January 17, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    “Don’t call yourself a feminist” should be worded in such a way as to address Schwyzer’s statements. Sigh. Got too wrapped up in tags.

  83. BFR
    January 17, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    The idea that the only truly feminist way forward is a coordinated take-down also doesn’t center or help victims of violence. It doesn’t keep this community focused on positive change. I’m not sure what it does other than say that a few of us get to decide who is redeemable and worthy and who is not — and that we don’t just get to decide it for ourselves and the spaces we run, but we decide it for everyone.

    I think this is an important point, or rather two important points: one, a take-down doesn’t do anything for survivors of violence; two, take-downs risk setting up new unequal power structures (based on who is worthy and who is not) in the name of dismantling others (in which white male abusers get more say than women of color and abuse survivors).

    I agree with j that we can walk and chew gum at the same time, to which I would add that it’s not my business to tell other people which issues are the important ones, and I respect that it may be important to some people to silence HS. However, I do think one thing to take away from this incident is that we need to center abuse survivors and women of color more than we do. It does disturb me that an abuser is (still) getting the attention here. If we focus on HS to the detriment of focusing on abuse survivors and women of color, we’re doing it wrong. Even as we continue to critique HS, we need to do a better job of centering people who don’t have as much power as he does.

    I see some people calling for a take-down of HS because they believe that is a bigger, better action than simply refusing to link to him and, for many people, refusing to read him. But I wonder if that’s even true. A take-down would necessarily give Hugo and people who currently publicize him more visibility, temporarily. Refusing to link to him and avoiding people who routinely publicize him might actually do a better job of silencing him directly. The problems in the first place are that HS misuses power and has been given too much visibility. So I’m skeptical of a response that centers him, giving him more visibility and power.

  84. January 17, 2012 at 6:05 pm

    If we can organize to condemn Roman Polanski, what’s the problem here?

    I like this. It bears repeating.

  85. a survivor
    January 17, 2012 at 6:09 pm

    As a survivor of domestic violence, there’s something I want to say about all of this. Abuse is the reason I came to feminism. When I first left my abusive relationship, I was desperately trying to understand why. Why did he do this to me? How did this happen? With some good reading, some counseling, and some compassionate support, I began to get a grasp on the answers to those questions, and those answers necessarily led me to broader questions: Why is domestic violence so widespread? Why are abusers able to get away with it? Why doesn’t our system protect and support survivors and their children in the ways it should? And those questions led me to some feminist blogs and books, where I began to learn about the patriarchy, where I was given language and a structural framework with which to describe my experiences. And where I learned that what I’d been through was not the natural result of some deep, personal failing, but a consequence of power structures that I could work to dismantle. It was like having clean air to breathe for the first time in my life. After silence, fear, and shame, feminism gave me my voice back. It gave me a firm foundation on which to begin to build a new life. It offered a path to survival, despite the grim realities of the violence and oppression of women worldwide. And it continues to be a place of solace and strength as I move forward, years later.

    This is why it’s so deeply upsetting to find a man like Hugo Schwyzer allowed to teach women’s studies and sexuality courses, given a platform in feminist spaces, listened to and taken seriously by feminists who ought to know better. Everything about him just screams “unrepentant”; if you don’t believe me, please pick up a few books on the dynamics of domestic violence and read them, and then we’ll discuss it. His language and behavior are entitled, self-absorbed, and manipulative (read the original blog post he wrote about trying to kill his ex-girlfriend and note the minimization and justification and the weasely way he “accepts” responsibility for his actions while maintaining a pathos-filled, dramatic focus on his own pain and process of “recovery”). To watch a man exhibiting so many flashing neon warning signs currently, to make no mention of his disturbing history, be posted, defended, extolled, or even simply ignored in complicit silence in feminist spaces is triggering as hell.

    Feminism is the one place where I have been able to feel safe, where I have felt that people understand that sexism and misogyny are not just hypothetical ideas floating around in the ether, harming no one (at least, not anymore), where I have felt empowered to stand up and fight against the power structures that enable the violence and oppression of women on a horrifying scale. What will it mean for me, and for other survivors like me, if abusive men are allowed not only to participate in feminist spaces, but to co-opt these spaces for their own purposes, to talk over the women they are “allied” with, and to promote (or let their friends promote) the patriarchal view that women are responsible, or indeed, should have any part at all in, the abuser’s emotional work of “recovery,” and that includes the concept of forgiveness (outside of any private work one needs to do for one’s own healing from abuse).

    Change? Accountability? Forgiveness? Redemption? Why in the world would anyone think that feminist spaces are the appropriate place to hand-wring over these concepts in relation to one man, who hasn’t actually said or done anything that women (including the women of color he’s intentionally marginalized and discounted) haven’t already said and done better? Why does this man matter so much to some people that they are willing to prioritize his platform over the safety and well-being of survivors, for some of whom feminism is the only safe space they have in this world?

    I, for one, do not wish Hugo well, because I do not give a crap about his “redemption.” Instead, I wish his survivors well, and all survivors well, and all women who’ve been hurt by the system that magnifies his voice and enables his abusive behavior, consequence-free, at our expense. What’s important here is not redemption for Hugo, but accountability, and the feminist movement(s) can give him that, whether he likes it or not, by refusing to cater to his sense of entitlement in our space, at our expense.

    That is how change happens, not by cloying ingratiation to a man who has nothing positive to offer feminism and whose presence is triggering and destructive to so many who’ve worked harder for longer, and yet whose voices cannot rise above the deafening roar of those with the privilege to hold the bull horns.

    This is not a direct response to this post or to any one comment, just something I needed to say.

  86. Echo Zen
    January 17, 2012 at 6:12 pm

    Why is Hugo Schwyzer so important to you that he is worth more to feminism than the voices of WOC, of survivors, of women in general? Why is he so important that he is worth a “yes, but… Santorum”?

    Alex, if you’re referring to my earlier comment, I wasn’t defending Schwyzer or claiming he’s more important to feminism than other women are. I was thinking of the point Jill made in the first half of this post — that because she’s been (mostly) silent, she must be complicit. Jill decided not to comment (much) because, frankly, her life and health take precedence. And much like Jill, I stopped commenting because the discussion was devolving into claims that liberal feminists love rapists and that radical feminism is the only way forward — yes, it was mixed in with plenty of legitimate criticisms of Schwyzer (of which there were many), but I chose to step back because my time is better spent on things besides reasoning with a faux-feminist transphobes. Similarly my own silence — or anyone else’s — shouldn’t be interpreted as support for Schyzyer’s actions.

    I shouldn’t have derailed this discussion by bringing up Marcotte — the focus should have been on Jill’s right to set boundaries for how much of her health and life she’s willing to sacrifice for Feministe. For that I apologise.

  87. WitchWolf
    January 17, 2012 at 6:24 pm

    Hugo didn’t out his attempted murder of a women he deemed needed to die as a part of his repentance, forgiveness, or for instructional point of what not to do to a women, he did it because his friend who neglected his dog (his property) needed to be cheered up. Doesn’t anyone find this– disgusting? He equated an attempted murder of a women who went to him for shelter, because she was sexually abused earlier that night, because she trusted him, supposedly, to the neglect of “property” ( I don’t think that animals are property, I believe that they are part of a family – but the way he wrote it, he acted like the animal in question was the “guys” property rather than family) .

    His actions since the attempted murder hasn’t proved to be transformative. He is still using property definition to relate to women, like herding sluts, like equating what he did to neglect of property, like his revolting descriptions of women of color, he descriptions of the whiteification of Asian American men, when he describes impoverished students at his university calling them more sexual.

    No one is perfect, I am not looking for perfection, I am looking for him to own his actions and disappear.

    Calling to ignore him, reminds me of the abuse I suffered as a child, when I was told to ignore him, don’t give into him, he is a Nice Guy, he couldn’t/wouldn’t do what you say – It’s about silencing and devaluing a women’s experience.

    Yes, this should be an learning experience but not with Hugo doing the lecturing – He has no place in feminism, because he still continues to be an abuser –

    This isn’t about his one time addiction and what he did as an addict, it’s how he continues to use and manipulate women who come to him seeking advice. You can’t tell the difference between what Hugo was before his so called addiction and afterwards. He paid no price, he didn’t transform because he wanted to, only when MEN pointed out that he do so – Not one article not one of his writings did he say – You know it’s wrong to attempt to kill a women because you think you know better — He blames it on his addiction (which doesn’t change the person from gentle to monster it only makes you more you.)

    He is responsible for what he did as an addict. His being an addict doesn’t negate that he attempted to murder a women. His being an addict didn’t stop him from turning the gas on. His being an addict didn’t change what he did.

    So sorry, I won’t shut up, about abuse, not now, not ever.

  88. January 17, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    #92, how does unequivocally banning him and condemning him and then dumping him give him more attention? This should have been done from the first place, and if it had this would be over and done with. The only reason it hasn’t been is because he’s rich, white, male, and, as the Onion says, lends the movement legitimacy because if a man says it, well, then, it’s true. Not when women say it, because of course we so biased and all by our own experiences.

    This is the culmination of the opposite of call out culture. It’s Make Nice Culture, where even men who give off clear signals of hostility or sexism they refuse to examine are tolerated just because they’re perceived as needed. How many women have been attacked for not making nice with the Nice Guys who are politely sexist? All it takes to fool some people, it seems, are bad words. Translate “All those hairy-legged hussies lie about rape because they hate men,” into that civil language so prized by ‘feminists’ like Hugo and you’re good to go. Call bullshit on it, and there are few to no options.

    It’s easy to tear apart MRAs and others like them. It’s really hard to look at what we accept in our alleged allies, and apparently just about impossible to apply the standards to ourselves that we apply to others. It’s not mistakes or a simple lack of knowledge; he’s been told over and over what he’s doing wrong. He knows. He just doesn’t care. However, he says he does.

    Call outs tend to be of allies. Make Nice tends to be about people that are perceived as needed or valued—or rare, like men, because while progressive men are fairly common, truly feminist men are not. For whatever reason, they’re valued, and they’re valued more than women, even by other women. They get a longer string.

    Let’s face it, men who are feminist, no matter how underwhelmingly, are media stars. Feminists aren’t. Any guy who makes a career out of it, specifically, shouldn’t be asking ten years later, if he’s pushing his career on the backs of women. That’s the ultimate thing. Allies help. Allies have your back. Hugo has even before this repeatedly argued on behalf of MRAs and others of that sort. Right now his allies are counting on that weird thing that happens to internet arguments: it always gets blamed not on the unrepentant perpetrator, but on the victim who won’t surrender without justice.

  89. Lee
    January 17, 2012 at 6:35 pm

    This whole post is offensive to women as a whole, and I am sorry to have read it through. Defending a rapist and murder while deeming it forgiveness, while he silences WOC, and survivors. Shame on you for even thinking of being that accommodating to an egotistical jerk.

  90. January 17, 2012 at 6:57 pm

    Yeah, Echo Zen, out of more than a thousand comments, one—-or maybe two—-outliers brought up their obsession with hating transfolk. More than a thousand comments, and you’re willing to hold it against all those commentors, as if they endorsed that commentor.

    So you’re apologizing for lyingabout Marcotte’s banning, huh? What about the mob mentality crack?

  91. January 17, 2012 at 7:04 pm

    This is the culmination of the opposite of call out culture. It’s Make Nice Culture, where even men who give off clear signals of hostility or sexism they refuse to examine are tolerated just because they’re perceived as needed. How many women have been attacked for not making nice with the Nice Guys who are politely sexist? All it takes to fool some people, it seems, are bad words. Translate “All those hairy-legged hussies lie about rape because they hate men,” into that civil language so prized by ‘feminists’ like Hugo and you’re good to go. Call bullshit on it, and there are few to no options.

    It’s easy to tear apart MRAs and others like them. It’s really hard to look at what we accept in our alleged allies, and apparently just about impossible to apply the standards to ourselves that we apply to others. It’s not mistakes or a simple lack of knowledge; he’s been told over and over what he’s doing wrong. He knows. He just doesn’t care.

    QFT. Thank you, ginmar!

  92. Hanna
    January 17, 2012 at 7:04 pm

    Thanks for this post, Jill. I’m so sorry to hear about your health issues, and fully support your need to put your health first.

  93. Echo Zen
    January 17, 2012 at 7:15 pm

    Yes, I should have expended precious energy and time debating transphobes who were derailing a thread that was supposed to be about Schwyzer, but kept getting derailed into slamming Valenti and Marcotte and insinuating the latter should be banned because people don’t agree with all her views, as offensive as some might be. Nah, I’ll stick with helping the people around me and in my community — which, coincidentally, sounds like much the same decision Jill made. You’re welcome to your own views, though — you may not realise I actually agree with many of your previous comments, but I’m not (too) interested in pushing one view over another.

  94. Tony_
    January 17, 2012 at 7:21 pm

    I seriously disagree with the way all of this “went down”, and is going down. In the above extensive comments, I see a lot of unsubstantiated, inherently subjective, selective, and flat-out untrue characterizations about Hugo, used to the support the point that he should be purged out of feminism.

    Hugo’s a guy who has spent years, writing, defending, and promoting feminism. It’s his life’s work; he has essentially devouted his existence to this cause. His critics largely mock the idea that this decision to devote his life to this, or his work over the past decade should in any way count for him, or that it shows any personal light into his heart and what kind of person he is, to which I strongly disagree.

    The root cause of the purge would be Hugo’s self-admitted prior actions from over a decade ago. The net effect of this ‘business’ should be obvious- it’s a huge blow to openness within this community, as future feminist writers of any gender will be much more circumspect about sharing personal details that might in any way be politically incorrect. That includes even some of the people criticizing him today. The result will be that we have a lot of people in the movement who aren’t are sincere as we think they are, a false sheen of security about members of community for the sake of comfort, but which isn’t true.

    I also disagree, that feminism does not need male voices, prominent male voices, or even white male voices. Yes, some people, including some women, are more willing to listen to a white male than anyone else, but those people need to be reached as well. The additional message from this is a discouragement of white men from becoming involved in feminism, and I personally see that as a mistake from a strategic perspective, looking at the long term success of this movement into all corners of society.

  95. WitchWolf
    January 17, 2012 at 7:29 pm

    Tony I don’t think you are listening – The attempted murder of a women who came to him for help of which he has never took responsibility for and his continued conduct. PERIOD — Just because he has written things that might be supportive (or non-supportive) to a cause doesn’t make him important to that cause.

    Attempted murder of a women isn’t a LITTLE thing that can be swept under the rug, just because he may have done some good (which some dispute) doesn’t give him carte blanche – –

    I don’t mock his dedication towards Feminism, I question it?

  96. pheenobarbidoll
    January 17, 2012 at 7:30 pm

    “Hugo’s a guy who has spent years, writing, defending, and promoting feminism”

    Who fucking asked him? He’s also spent years ignoring and insulting women of color and shown by his own language to be a racist fuck.
    “It’s his life’s work”

    Yeah, well it’s MY fucking LIFE. He can pick a new job, I however can’t erase being female or not white enough.

    “about sharing personal details that might in any way be politically incorrect.”

    Trying to MURDER someone isn’t politically incorrect for fuck’s sake. It’s a goddamn felony and extends far beyond bad manners.

  97. Tony_
    January 17, 2012 at 7:37 pm

    There’s the thing; I think he’s tried to take responsibility for it as far as I know, of which acknowledging it is a big part. But what does that mean? It can mean different things for different people. As for his continued work– again, it’s inherently subjective. There’s a lot that I haven’t read– so it’s not to say that I necessarily approve of his writing. But it appears that a number of women have commented to him or written to him saying how he contributed to their introduction into feminism or becoming a feminist.

  98. January 17, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    101, Echo Zen, you’re being disingenuous.

    You choose to lie about that 1000+ comment thread by heavily implying it was all transphobes, and OMG, you have better shit to do than, maybe, be honest about it. Plus you’ve been corrected at least once now about Marcotte and so you’re either lying or careless.

    Parr for the course for Schwyzer defenders, really.

    And God forbid, Tony, that white men not get to put their two cents in because there can’t be one little thing they’re not a part of, can there? I mean, when I want to discuss a social justice movement, the first place I go for an expert opinion is on the group that profited by, perpetuated, and tries to crush it.

  99. esoteric turtle
    January 17, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    The net effect of this ‘business’ should be obvious- it’s a huge blow to openness within this community, as future feminist writers of any gender will be much more circumspect about sharing personal details that might in any way be politically incorrect.

    It takes a special kind of cluelessness (not to mention a complete lack of awareness of women as human beings) to dismiss people who have a problem with someone attempting to murder a woman as political correctness. Given that your entire comment is about how feminism should change to make it more comfortable for men and particularly white men, I guess this shouldn’t be a surprise, but dear god. Check your privilege.

  100. January 17, 2012 at 7:42 pm

    Hugo’s a guy who has spent years, writing, defending, and promoting feminism. It’s his life’s work; he has essentially devouted his existence to this cause.

    This is, not to put too fine a point on it, bullshit. Schwyzer is a community college history professor. His PhD was in medieval history, with no particular emphasis on women’s history.

    The guy writes frequently and speaks at least occasionally on gender issues, but from a position that’s not entirely within feminism — it’s more a matter of mediating between feminism and various other perspectives.

    To say that feminism is this man’s life’s work is just false. If he’d actually made feminism his life’s work, for starters, he’d have handled all this very differently.

  101. January 17, 2012 at 7:42 pm

    So, Tony, all it takes is for someone to acknowledge a felony or two?

    Oh, and it’s not subjective. He admitted it. He regrets getting caught for it. He regrets that people are being mean to him about nearly killing someone, and not for lack of trying at that. His GF, like so many other women in his life, apparently exists as a prop for Hugo to do his song-and-dance on.

    The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.

    Sheelzebub, I take it back about Polanski, now that I’ve thought about it.

  102. WitchWolf
    January 17, 2012 at 7:45 pm

    Tony — Where has he taken responsibility for his attempted murder of a women who came to him for shelter? Was it when he was too busy making excuses about his addiction problem? Where has he spent time in jail for his crime? Instead he calls an attorney to find out if he can still be legally held accountable for the crime before “fessing” up… When “fessing” up he didn’t do it to confess what he did, but rather to make a man who was charged with animal neglect to feel better about himself. He didn’t do it to show how the system failed, miserably the women he attempted to murder but, how a man can get away with attempting to murder a women, then supposedly change, but embrace his privilege at every turn, and it’s not his fault because all these other people let him get away with it, and the women’s family was really mean for not letting him see the women.

    What did he loose, what did he learn — Other than the men in his life telling him to change, not the women who he attempted to murder because he knew what was good for her.

    he doesn’t talk about his role nor does he own it.

  103. January 17, 2012 at 7:46 pm

    Hugo’s a guy who has spent years, writing, defending, and promoting feminism. It’s his life’s work; he has essentially devouted his existence to this cause.

    Yes, yes, we know Hugo has spent years making feminist noises without, even in your own words, doing anything that might help women or even refraining from abusing them. But his special man words are so precious, his year of talking about what I and other women here experience counts as his giving his entire existence to us! Please.

    No one admires me or the other women here because our lives, our existence as women are work we don’t get to put down. But Hugo has a blog! He can (and does) log off whenever he can’t take the heat, and for this we should be so grateful that the lives and safety of the women he’s hurt are just so much burnt offering.

    Are the expectations of male allies so low now that any abusive hack, so matter how oppressive and insulting his “efforts,” can be said to have “devouted [sic] his existence to” us just because he has a blog? Self-serving much, Tony_?

  104. January 17, 2012 at 7:46 pm

    I also disagree, that feminism does not need male voices, prominent male voices, or even white male voices.

    Very few people are arguing otherwise, and the folks who are, are doing so in no small part because Schwyzer has been such a total disaster.

    So as a white male supporter of feminism, let me just say thanks, Hugo. Thanks a whole bunch.

  105. LotusBen
    January 17, 2012 at 7:46 pm

    Yeah, murder as politically incorrect. Wow.That’s a new one.

    I mean what’s America coming to, right? Everyone gets on your case if you don’t recycle, or tell racist jokes, or try to murder people. Those damn liberals, they won’t even let us live in peace and be ourselves. I mean c’mon, it’s a man’s right if he wants to try to murder his girlfriend. We don’t need feminazi busybodies telling us first degree homicide and other violent felonies are wrong. Amirite????

  106. Athenia
    January 17, 2012 at 8:21 pm

    I think we all need to read The Revolution Starts at Home: Confronting Intimate Violence Within Activist Communities. I’m reading it right now. It’s very good!

  107. Matt
    January 17, 2012 at 8:32 pm

    Tony, are you saying that rich white men are being discouraged from “herding sluts”, supporting a dangerous christian redemption narrative, belittling PoC, and pushing themselves to the forefront of a movement that’s not about them?

    How unfortunate.

  108. melittophily
    January 17, 2012 at 8:35 pm

    Athenia – yes, because it demonstrates just how ridiculous this whole thing is with Clarisse and all these other liberal career fems pretending they just discovered this cool thing called transformative justice yesterday and NOW we need to talk about it, and ignoring the fact that a lot of women, many of the very same women Hugo helped to marginalize and criticing him now, have BEEN talking about this and trying to implement it – with people other than their precious smug white weasel dude. there are some moving examples in there of people perverting transformative justice within radical communities to recenter the perpetrator – but this shit Hugo’s posse is doing here is on another level.

  109. INotI4
    January 17, 2012 at 8:43 pm

    Ginmar doesn’t care about the content of anyone’s post, only about whether you’re on “Hugo’s side” or “the right side”. It’s feminism as war, where the only thing that matters is whether you’re a collaborator or not.

  110. Bostonian
    January 17, 2012 at 8:49 pm

    And INotI4 is totally neutral, right…
    Just finding the middle ground where we can support attempted murderers who write soft porn accounts of their attempts in peace.

    (barf)

  111. ginmar
    January 17, 2012 at 8:51 pm

    117 is another great example of how Hugo’s little fans will say anything vicious to further their argument. If they could listen and learn they wouldn’t be so easily by a guy like Schwyzer.

  112. esoteric turtle
    January 17, 2012 at 8:51 pm

    Ginmar doesn’t care about the content of anyone’s post, only about whether you’re on “Hugo’s side” or “the right side”. It’s feminism as war, where the only thing that matters is whether you’re a collaborator or not.

    When you can’t attack what the person is saying, attack the person. It might even work on people who haven’t bothered to read Ginmar’s thoughtful and substantive contributions on the topic, or who share the oft-repeated “Hugo’s side” opinion that as a white man who gives lip service to some basic feminist principles, he is so important to the movement that he should be above all feminist reproach forever, no matter what his actual actions. It won’t be true, but really, what does that matter?

  113. melittophily
    January 17, 2012 at 8:53 pm

    ginmar’s comments have been really substantive actually – in contrast to Hugo’s defenders who just can’t keep themselves from being dismissive and inferring that we’re “hysterical” or something.

  114. Bostonian
    January 17, 2012 at 8:56 pm

    I looked at Hugo’s blog, and he has some rabid defenders who come at every critique of Hugo with accusations of hysteria and jealousy.

  115. ginmar
    January 17, 2012 at 9:11 pm

    Thus far I’ve seen repeated accusations of not just hysteria, as the comment above me notes, but constant references to mobs, witch hunts, and so on. There’s also rather chilling references to ‘making a mistake’ which doesn’t apply here, unless these people go around accidentally almost killing someone. Finally, another popular one is to blame Schwyzer’s actions on chemical interference. It hardly needs pointing out, but screw it, I’ll repeat it: as the accusations of ‘people calling for Marcotte’s banning’ have shown, people who defend Schwyzer are very eager to present Schwyzer’s opponents as behaving badly, madly, and above all—-en masse. And with the purpose of discrimination and vengeance.

    While Hugo said he might moderate some comments on his posts—-where, again, his defenders are getting really vicious—-he has let stand numerous references to the Salem witch trials—at which powerful men harassed, railroaded, and finally executed nearly two dozen women and two men—-and comparisons of Schwyzer to a person suffering from a civil rights violation.

  116. WitchWolf
    January 17, 2012 at 9:22 pm

    Because “hey” it’s okay to attempt to murder a women that comes to you for shelter… Sure, there is a middle ground — What did she do to deserve to be murdered, she must have done something, he wouldn’t do attempt to murder a “good” women, because he is after all a Nice Guy (TM) — Why don’t you just let him be because you know it was just a little mistake! Really, just a small insignificant mistake, because after all his privileged he got to you know tell those women how to be better for the next attempted murder….

  117. January 17, 2012 at 9:32 pm

    Here’s the thing – either you support women and practice feminist values, and stop valuing the abusers and exploiters of women over women themselves – or, you know, if you’re honest you admit that you only care about women when it’s convenient to your personal narrative and website hits.

    Now, as for the railing against “condemnation” – I don’t have any particular power over Hugo, so the fact that, yes, I do bloody well condemn him for trying to kill a woman and raping another, and his sexism and racism and his using feminism as a way to fete himself and speak over women doesn’t really make an impact.

    I have absolutely no compunction about saying “this shit isn’t cool and I don’t want you in a movement that is supposed to decry everything you are”.

    There comes a point where you have to stop saying “MOB MENTALITY” and clutching your pearls and realize that a lot of people have, independently, decided this shit just isn’t okay.

    I’m an abuse survivor, I spent years being told that I was worth less than the man who abused me, and now I see this shit – so please, do not piss on the leg of this abuse survivor and tell me it’s a balmy spring shower because I really am tired of it.

    Sniffing and handwaving away valid criticisms of a huge group of women because this guy is “one of your own” – like Polanski and other men who you have railed against have not been – doesn’t make me feel safe. It shows me just how tissue-thin your dedication to “survivors” is.

    Feminists should be showing a united front towards Hugo, because we don’t need him. We do not need a privileged dude telling us what we should be, as feminists and as women.

    It really is *just that simple*. It really is *that easy*. It really is that black and white. Women, or people like Hugo, who use, speak over, and hurt women?

  118. Megalodon
    January 17, 2012 at 9:36 pm

    For the life of me, I cannot understand why anyone keeps giving this guy more of their juice, saying his name over and over, obsessing over his sins, and arguing over what is the right position to have concerning him.

    Despite his assurance to withdraw from “explicitly” feminist spaces, Schwyzer will still churn out bad things under cover of his supposed feminist credentials. Flavia Dzodan suggested why this all unfortunately consumes more attention:

    So, one would expect that this would have died the natural death that follows such storms in the feminist blogosphere. I thought nothing else could be added to the topic by now. However, because Schwyzer strives for the spotlight; and because he seems to need the spotlight, is that I feel compelled to challenge his latest post at Jezebel. Because I am a woman and a feminist, and a writer to boot, it is that I must challenge his androcentric, cis-centric, heteronormative, chauvinist, faux feminism. After all, I am as equipped as he is to claim the label, even if I lack the institutional and media backing that is afforded to him.

    http://tigerbeatdown.com/2012/01/12/hugo-schwyzer-wants-to-jizz-on-the-face-of-feminism-but-not-why-you%E2%80%99d-think/

  119. Megalodon
    January 17, 2012 at 9:40 pm

    While Hugo said he might moderate some comments on his posts—-where, again, his defenders are getting really vicious—-he has let stand numerous references to the Salem witch trials

    Yeah, those references and a bunch of comparisons to the KKK, calling people “Grand Wizards.”

  120. ginmar
    January 17, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    How does that even—-?? So abuse victims are oppressing the abuser? What kind of fucked up does someone have to be….? I just….No.

  121. EG
    January 17, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    That many Of these women who have expressed stress hardship and abuse at these dynamics are disposable and cruel and unnamable because Jill is under stress. Because what they are asking for ALL of them every single one ( though unengaged and unsited) is a takedown .

    Whoa, what? Where did this come from, even? Jill puts her health and dealing with personal concerns ahead of posting on a blog and somehow that means that women who have been victims of men’s abuse are disposable and cruel and unnameable? Because Jill decided that she, personally, is going to put her energies elsewhere than this particular thing?

    I shudder to think how many people, then, I have deemed disposable and cruel and unnameable by, you know, treating my depression or helping take care of my godson instead of taking part in any number of vital leftist activities for causes I have otherwise expressed my support of and commitment to. Here I thought I was just making a judgment call about whether or not I, personally, had the resources and time to do a particular thing or not.

  122. Kristin Rawls
    January 17, 2012 at 10:33 pm

    It’s been a while since I commented here, but I do have something to say about this:

    Why did feminism enable him for as long as it did?

    No, really. He’d already confessed to being a sexual predator. He practically made a career out of talking about how he’d been a sexual predator.

    His writing is full of smarmy, compulsive “confession-as-radical-act” crap that sounds like “confession-as-a-means-of-getting-off.” How many times do we need/want to hear about all the undergads he took advantage of when he first started teaching?

    Why is he afforded opportunities to speak and teach and call himself a “professor of gender studies” when he has no academic qualifications to back any of it?

    I looked at his site when I saw this post. I honestly just… He writes about all of this in euphemism. Calls it a “controversy about my past.” It seems to me that he sees the things he did “in his past” as “sins” rather than, you know, actual crimes.

    Honestly, I have questions about anyone who ever took him seriously. I never understood it. It’s always been about lazy platitudes and self-validation with him. Up to and including his new Jezebel article about how “jizzing on your face” is a healing, validating act for men (See link to Flavia’s post: http://tigerbeatdown.com/2012/01/12/hugo-schwyzer-wants-to-jizz-on-the-face-of-feminism-but-not-why-you%E2%80%99d-think/).

    This is not a dude who should be writing about sex in any paid venue. Why? Because we all know it’s some grand exercise in dealing with shit he’s done. I cannot be the only person who sees the business about how “he wants to jizz on your face” as a metaphor for his entire involvement in feminism.

  123. January 17, 2012 at 10:36 pm

    This bears repeating:

    I cannot be the only person who sees the business about how “he wants to jizz on your face” as a metaphor for his entire involvement in feminism.

  124. Politicalguineapig
    January 17, 2012 at 10:43 pm

    So, my five cents

    1. Hugo attempted to murder a woman, while on a binge. Addicts in the throes of addiction don’t think about other people, and even when they come out of addiction, tend to be stuck at the age they were when they became addicts. People often do things under the influence of drugs or their own wiring that they regret when they’re sober/thinking clearly.

    2. Hugo doesn’t seem to have empathy wired in, which makes it likely that he’s hid quite a lot of things under the rug. So far, he’s escaped consequences, which makes people angry.

    3. When a straight man decides to become a feminist, it’s worth looking at his reasons for doing so. After all, feminism doesn’t benefit straight men, so they must have an ulterior motive for expending effort on a cause that won’t benefit them.

    4. However, any time a man elicits an emotional response from a woman, or a group of women, he wins the argument.

    5. So, in the interests of not letting Hugo win, can we shitcan the emotional responses? Logic is the only way for women to get ahead.

  125. January 17, 2012 at 11:40 pm

    For all the yammering about restorative and transformative justice, I haven’t come across any indication that Hugo has actually engaged in any such process, all of which as far as I know require an individual to take responsibility for what they have done and accept the consequences decided upon by the participants. Euphemisms about “the controversy about my past” and “pre-sobriety behaviour” are not methods of taking responsibility. None of his defenders have been able to quote words of his demonstrating acknowledgement of and remorse for what he did, yet he manages to cast himself as the victim of mean, mean people who just won’t let anyone forget what he admitted to and, so far, hasn’t faced consequences for – and is clearly unwilling to accept.

    I have many of the same concerns about the fairness and effectiveness of the organized justice systems in the US and Canada, so I normally wouldn’t float the following as a good idea, but if Schwyzer really wanted to demonstrate responsibility and remorse, he would turn himself in to the police, confess, and accept the sentence handed down. Replace the preceding with a better, more effective idea if you can cook one up; I’m just trying to think about something that would require Schwyzer to accept binding social restrictions on his behaviour and place himself at the mercy of the people – and the society – he harmed through his actions and decisions. Right now, he comes across as wanting a pass on his past abusive acts and attempted murder, fer fuck’s sake.

  126. pheenobarbidoll
    January 17, 2012 at 11:41 pm

    I’d like to see the defense of THAT.

    I’ll wait. Since I’m a mean bitch who’s just mobbing and attacking a poor wittle male who tried to kill a woman and raped god knows how many.

  127. BBBShrewHarpy
    January 18, 2012 at 12:14 am

    To see why a very clear and public ban on Hugo is a valuable service to feminism, please read all the comments in response to his first blog post addressing the Clarisse/Caperton episode. Up until a comment from me, there is a stream of “oh hugo you’re so brave we love your honesty” blather. Following the start of the criticism the hugo-loving chorus changed slightly its tune. We were then treated to the “oh I was never into women’s studies until I discovered you, you’re so fantastic and how can these nasty feminists possibly know what they’re talking about as they haven’t been reading your blog for two whole months like I have” and, even worse, “I was abused but now I’m a survivor and I’ve discovered hugo and his amazing story and how sorry he is and how wise he is and I totally forgive him” (and thereby my own abuser). Transference much?

    Best case? He’s a harmless snake-oil guy who really has learned his lesson (if only because he got caught). Worst case? He fucks them. I’m betting on the latter, especially after reading the crossed-out quote from ginmar @90. I realize these women have agency, and I worry that I’m minimizing their experience, but I’m not engaging with them or contradicting them. Instead I’m proposing that an active banning by feministe would have a wider effect and reach on the newly minted feminist who might happen on the HS website, and think it’s really real, than a refusal to link him, which would be unnoticed by all but those of us in the know.

    @a survivor
    Thanks for sharing your history. I so cosign all you say (despite not having suffered as you did).

    @Angus
    Happy to hear HS is being pushed off his pedestal, if that is what is happening.

  128. Sarah
    January 18, 2012 at 12:30 am

    You’re more that welcome to think a history of murdering women isn’t an important thing for readers of a supposedly feminist male writer to know…

    Super friendly heads up—one of my girlfriends was a lawyer; when you say he has a history of ‘murdering women’—since that isn’t true—you might want to be careful…not just for the obvious reasons, but it also takes away from whatever point you’re making when and if you’re not truthful.

    Anyway–

    Super honestly here—reading the post was great; Jill is well-spoken. Reading the comments makes me tired and sad. Some of it is the nature of the web design; just one after the other—I’m having trouble keeping up. Anyway, I digress!

    But am told there is a big difference between what happened and the way we’re characterizing it here; he hasn’t been charged or convicted of anything—although he’s fully owned up to what he’s done.

    I’m just glad I’m not him right now. Sorry, I’m tired—tomorrow I go back to feminist work that enlightens me in every way —I need that right now—something positive to engage in and bring others in. Peace.

  129. WitchWolf
    January 18, 2012 at 12:33 am

    1. Hugo attempted to murder a woman, while on a binge. Addicts in the throes of addiction don’t think about other people, and even when they come out of addiction, tend to be stuck at the age they were when they became addicts. People often do things under the influence of drugs or their own wiring that they regret when they’re sober/thinking clearly.

    No they don’t think of other people only them – However it doesn’t change their personality or make them do things that they wouldn’t do, in fact it makes them be more themselves – They may regret doing the things while they were under the influence but it doesn’t negate them or remove them from what they might have done — if they were sober. So it doesn’t give them a free pass because they were addicts — But in order to move on to heal, they need to face what they have done and atone for what they have done. Hugo, has done none of this, instead he blames it on alcohol and drugs, rather than his own actions and manipulations.

    2. Hugo doesn’t seem to have empathy wired in, which makes it likely that he’s hid quite a lot of things under the rug. So far, he’s escaped consequences, which makes people angry.

    Hugo is a Narcissist – they are incapable of empathy. It’s every one elses fault except their own.

  130. librarygoose
    January 18, 2012 at 12:38 am

    4. However, any time a man elicits an emotional response from a woman, or a group of women, he wins the argument.

    5. So, in the interests of not letting Hugo win, can we shitcan the emotional responses? Logic is the only way for women to get ahead.

    I just don’t agree with this. Why isn’t it logical to be mad when some asshole douche calls himself a feminist and teaches it to young people, but is obviously not a feminist?

  131. WitchWolf
    January 18, 2012 at 12:39 am

    Sarah

    I have a lawyer friend too– Apparently Lawyers can be friends to all kinds of people – with many different specialties —

    *shrugs*

    It seems that Hugo also has many male lawyer type friends who advised him that it was okay that he attempted to murder a women who he deemed needed to die… He might not have killed the women but he sure did attempt to kill her – Potato/Potato — is still a potato – The fact that he premeditated the death of a women who he deemed better off death, without regard of her wishes and needs – Is still a sniveling slime bucket and an attempted murderer.

    Let’s see — What is the difference?

  132. Charlotte
    January 18, 2012 at 1:10 am

    I just wanted to say thanks for posting this. I wasn’t particularly expecting it or hoping for it and I didn’t even think it needed to be posted, but it’s nice to hear and I know this sort of thing can give people a lot of problems. I think the way you handled this is good because you’re making it clear you don’t approve and won’t be promoting him but that you’re not going to put your mental health on the line and go on some sort of a witch-hunt (I realize it’s a flawed analogy and Hugo’s done a lot of awful things but that’s the term that came to mind first so whatever).

  133. LotusBen
    January 18, 2012 at 1:12 am

    4. However, any time a man elicits an emotional response from a woman, or a group of women, he wins the argument.

    I agree that a great many men tell women not to express anger and dismiss, mock, and shame them when they do. But I think deciding to censor oneself as a result of this bullying isn’t gonna help one’s cause at all. Anger at Schwyzer is completely justified. Completely.

    Yeah, there will always be the toadying fucks on his blog who characterize the women angry at him as a “mob” and “hysterical.” That’s their problem. I think when women are mad at a powerful, abusive man like Schwyzer it’s a rebellious, admirable act. And this anger has already accomplished a lot, as pointed out by others–Scarleteen dropping him, him thinking about ending his teaching of Women’s Studies, etc., etc.

  134. Gost
    January 18, 2012 at 1:21 am

    I’m just a occasional lurker here so my views don’t count for much, but I wanted to say that I thought that this post was a very gracious and classy way of addressing a difficult issue.

  135. fellow survivor
    January 18, 2012 at 1:46 am

    I’ll be back at a later time to respond to Jill’s (much appreciated) post when I’m more awake, but for now, I really wanted to respond to “a survivor” at comment #94:

    “#94 …Everything about him just screams “unrepentant”; if you don’t believe me, please pick up a few books on the dynamics of domestic violence and read them, and then we’ll discuss it. His language and behavior are entitled, self-absorbed, and manipulative (read the original blog post he wrote about trying to kill his ex-girlfriend and note the minimization and justification and the weasely way he “accepts” responsibility for his actions while maintaining a pathos-filled, dramatic focus on his own pain and process of “recovery”). To watch a man exhibiting so many flashing neon warning signs currently, to make no mention of his disturbing history, be posted, defended, extolled, or even simply ignored in complicit silence in feminist spaces is triggering as hell.”

    THIS.

    As a fellow survivor of domestic abuse, I’ve had the *exact* same reaction to Hugo’s writing. I also found my way to feminism after leaving an abusive relationship and reading up extensively on the subject of domestic violence and what makes perpetrators tick. While exploring the feminist community online, it didn’t take me long to trip over Hugo’s work, and I had a very negative reaction to him even before learning about his abusive past. I’m glad that this controversy took center stage when it did, because I was having an increasingly difficult time reconciling his platform and contributions with my understanding of, and take on, feminism.

    As for discussions on forgiveness, change, redemption, etc., I would like to offer the following additional info, as I think our stance may seem harsh to anyone unfamiliar with the literature on domestic abuse —

    The literature regarding abusers is *very* clear on the fact that the vast majority of perpetrators DO NOT IMPROVE, and that of the very few who do, it is a long, arduous process that takes years of counseling, usually in a batterers intervention program. The literature *also* stresses that these people are Masters of Manipulation, and they can be very good at deceiving the people around them, including their therapists, into believing that they have changed for the better, all while merely honing more covert versions of their entitled, controlling, abusive ways.

    So while I very much believe in change, forgiveness, and redemption in the context of NON-abusers, once someone has crossed the line over into abusiveness, the same principles no longer apply.

  136. January 18, 2012 at 1:50 am

    #141…Jesus, can people stop using the term ‘witch hunt’ to describe people being angry at this guy? The witches were innocent, railroaded to death, and powerful men did that to them. One of the victims was effectively homeless. Another victim was a woman everybody agreed was a scold and a harridan. Still another was rich. Often property—that of the victims, that is—–was the real goal of the whole exercise.

    One of the victims was a slave.

    Schwyzer is not innocent, but is a powerful white dude who got away with trying to kill a woman. He’s been posing as an ally while exploiting his position and every advantage he has over many women. This is not a witch hunt. It’s trying to get justice. In fact, the witch hunt metaphor is not just backwards—the oppressed are criticizing the oppressor—-but it’s upside down as well. The guy is being hunted. He’s right there, same as he always has been.

    I swear to God, some people just get really twitchy when women won’t back down, and even more so when they’re right and they won’t back down.

    Any allusion to mobs, witch hunts, hysteria, and other outlandish crap is the very definition of debating in bad faith, at the very least. It invokes a whole bunch of stereotypes of women—-loud, unreasonable, hysterical, emotional, prone to exaggeration or confabulating, untruthful, prone to lie, provocative, hormonal—-and those are some things which Schwyzer’s defenders have actually used. Those things have a long history and they’ve been used to discredit women for centuries. Our supposed ally hasn’t said a peep about that.

  137. anonymous
    January 18, 2012 at 2:04 am

    @134

    I find it especially interesting that you brought the notion of turning himself in up because of the following reasons:

    He mentioned on his facebook that he was looking into reporting threatening e-mails (and perhaps physically threatening blog posts if I understood correctly) to law enforcement. I took this to mean reporting any internet based communication that included threats to his physical well being and/or death threats. Now, I have NO issue with him doing that – that is his right and I have no idea if he actually did that, but this is not my main point.

    My main point is this: since Hugo apparently believes other people should be held accountable to the criminal justice system, I find it especially telling that he himself made sure HE wasn’t and isn’t going to be held accountable to that same criminal justice system. In that blog post where he tells the story of his attempted murder of his ex-girlfriend, he says he checked with his lawyers first to make sure it would be safe for him to do so. So, he went ahead and told his story of attempted murder and his lying about it to police and getting away with it.

    So to me, I see Hugo effectively saying this with his actions: being held accountable to the criminal justice system is for other people, not me.

  138. Anon21
    January 18, 2012 at 3:22 am

    BBBShrewHarpy/136:

    Instead I’m proposing that an active banning by feministe would have a wider effect and reach on the newly minted feminist who might happen on the HS website, and think it’s really real, than a refusal to link him, which would be unnoticed by all but those of us in the know.

    I’m confused by what you mean by “active banning” here. What would this entail on the part of Feministe, exactly? Would it be a post much like this one, but also including a statement that he can’t comment on this site anymore? If that’s what you’re envisioning, why would you expect a post like that to catch more people’s attention than this post will?

  139. Miriam
    January 18, 2012 at 8:05 am

    WitchWolf @138:

    However it doesn’t change their personality or make them do things that they wouldn’t do, in fact it makes them be more themselves

    Cite, please. Research says across the board and has for decades that street drugs are not some kind of magical truth serum.

    Anyway, Jill, thanks for this post. It’s evident that this take-down culture is becoming the new litmus test for feminist credibility online and I’m glad to see prominent people openly resisting it.

  140. January 18, 2012 at 8:43 am

    I’m staying out of this, like I should have from the beginning. But I do want to correct the record: “Marcotte” is being used in such a way that makes it sound mutually exclusive from “survivor”. I have been out about being raped, less so about enduring some pretty ugly domestic violence. But as a survivor of both, to suggest that I’m an outsider from the category “survivors” who therefore can work against that category instead of speak as one is factually incorrect. Disagree with me, but please so on the merits, instead of denying my experiences.

  141. January 18, 2012 at 8:45 am

    Also, I am leaving it at that and, for mental reasons, not coming back. The mob mentality that forms during a takedown gives me flashbacks to my domestic violence experiences, and I don’t need that.

  142. Bostonian
    January 18, 2012 at 8:46 am

    Street drugs are not a truth serum, but the point remains, the drugs did not force him to abuse and plan to kill someone. That idea did not come from the drugs, but from his own mind. The drugs might have lifted some inhibitions, maybe.
    Plenty of people do various street drugs and do not end up trying to kill people.

  143. WitchWolf
    January 18, 2012 at 8:50 am

    Miriam

    Oh yes, you really want me to cite — the research on this — All of the 200 or so books and academic articles that I have personally read on this subject through the years. I don’t have my bibliography handy, but I will go and cite current examples.

    I didn’t say “Magical Truth Serum” I said that drugs don’t change a personality or make the person do things that they wouldn’t do other wise, but what it will do is allow them to do things that they would do if they were sober, if they had a chance to do it. Study after study suggests that an abuser is an abuser no matter if he is full of drugs or sober, they will find a way to act on their abuse while trying to blame the abuse on others.

    One passage states this about abusers

    As I look now at the interview notes I took from female partners of our clients, the phrases jump off the page at me: “He’s like two different people,” “He’s like Jekyll and Hyde,” “He’s completely different sometimes,” “His friends never see the other side of hint-they think he’s just a nice guy, just one of the boys,” “I never know which one is coming in the door at night” I have over 200 files with the same statements in them, all offered in response to my request for a description of their husbands. It wasn’t just those phrases either, it was the repetition in the descriptions of the men as moody, irritable, jealous, changeable. As one women put it, “He’s like living on an emotional roller coaster.”

    Donald G. Dutton. The Abusive Personality, Second Edition: Violence and Control in Intimate Relationships (Kindle Locations 995-999). Kindle Edition.

    Here is another quote about abuse and alcohol:

    Anguish is a constant demon for these men. Trauma symptoms such as insomnia, depression, and anxiety are daily experiences. Usually these are blotted out by alcohol, drugs, or rage, which overrides these more painful feelings. Rage is the magic elixir that restores an inner sense of power. What’s more, the abuse itself can be functional: A woman convinced that she is unattractive or deficient is less likely to attempt to bond with another man. In an instant of rage, the man’s unacknowledged powerlessness and jealousy evaporate.

    Donald G. Dutton. The Abusive Personality, Second Edition: Violence and Control in Intimate Relationships (Kindle Locations 1804-1807). Kindle Edition.

    I could go on and on if you wish with study after study — It’s up to you. Drugs and alcohol doesn’t change their personality and make them do things that they wouldn’t do but rather help them become numb and find release. This is very different from the alcohol changing them into something that they do not have. In the above quote it points out that the rage is already there — her actions are just an excuse to act on the rage and the alcohol is acting as a barrier for him to act on it.

  144. Sheelzebub
    January 18, 2012 at 8:56 am

    Oh, I get it. It’s an injustice when a dude who’s done something shitty to a woman gets accepted back into the fold and the women who criticize it are dismissed and belittled (and accused of being part of a hysterical witch-hunting mob). But when it’s a dude you all like and other women have the nerve to criticize this same dynamic within the feminist movement, it’s a mob-mentality and take down culture.

    And really Amanda, I’m sorry it’s causing flashbacks for you. Guess what? The support Hugo’s getting and the gaslighting bullshit we’re getting in his defense is hardly helping some of US with OUR OWN GODDAMN TRAUMA.

    I am not part of some witch-hunting take down mob when I say that it’s fucked up that his voice is being privileged over that of women, that he’s being given a platform and credibility that other women do not get, and that the women who claim to be feminist aren’t exactly listening to us.

  145. piny
    January 18, 2012 at 9:25 am

    I’m staying out of this, like I should have from the beginning. But I do want to correct the record: “Marcotte” is being used in such a way that makes it sound mutually exclusive from “survivor”. I have been out about being raped, less so about enduring some pretty ugly domestic violence. But as a survivor of both, to suggest that I’m an outsider from the category “survivors” who therefore can work against that category instead of speak as one is factually incorrect. Disagree with me, but please so on the merits, instead of denying my experiences.

    Oh, for fuck’s sake.

    Nobody’s denying your experiences. You, remember, told a whole bunch of women that their reaction to an admitted abuser was immature and inhumane. You knew that a lot of those women were survivors of intimate abuse–statistically, because they were women, and specifically, because a lot of them said so in those words.

    You disparaged their experiences.

    You dismissed their insights.

    You insulted them.

    And yeah, you’re a survivor? But you’re also an apologist. A cynical, shallow, dishonest apologist. And if you don’t want people to say that you’re siding with Hugo, don’t side with him! Don’t friend the bastard on facebook! And don’t involve yourself in a discussion when the most you can do is mock the women who are and remain invested in this before taking an internet break for the sake of your health.

    I swear to fucking God, you know what would have made this conflict a lot less protracted and furious for everybody? Fewer people taking indefensible positions in the first place. And you know what would make the aftermath a lot less agonizing for some of you? Fewer self-absorbed dissections of what, exactly, led you to take indefensible positions and why, exactly, you cannot completely abandon them now. Let the grownups bounce him off Scarlateen and go watch your Mad Men reruns. Please.

  146. Megalodon
    January 18, 2012 at 9:30 am

    Schwyzer’s supporters are playing a tried-and-true game. If anybody voices their objections or criticisms of him or brings up the subject of him unfavorably, Schwyzer’s supporters accuse that person of being “obsessed” or being monomaniacally focused upon Schwyzer. The only “reasonable” responses to him apparently are favorable discussion or no discussion.

    “Marcotte” is being used in such a way that makes it sound mutually exclusive from “survivor”. I have been out about being raped, less so about enduring some pretty ugly domestic violence. But as a survivor of both, to suggest that I’m an outsider from the category “survivors” who therefore can work against that category instead of speak as one is factually incorrect. Disagree with me, but please so on the merits, instead of denying my experiences.

    So because a person is a survivor, then that means that person is never capable of belittling or denigrating other survivors?

  147. Miriam
    January 18, 2012 at 9:45 am

    WitchWolf @152: While I have no issue with most of your statements about Hugo, I do take issue with these truisms. Neither of your quotations back up the statement I’m questioning that street drugs are the force that “allow [abusers] to do things that they would do if they were sober, if they had a chance to do it.” Are you saying that drugs lower inhibitions? That drugs make people reckless? Research agrees with that. Are you talking about the “addictive personality”?

    I’m not interested in pursuing this into the ground as it’s really a side issue. However this statement that drugs “makes them be more themselves” is an old belief about addiction that runs against all of the most recent, peer-reviewed literature on addiction. Street drugs do make people reckless and impulsive and do things they would find abhorrent sober, but this more often that not intersects with the kind of emotional disability that the addict is self-medicating for, and rectifying this abhorrent behavior becomes a major part of the recovery process. Understanding why and how addicts do what they do is important to social justice issues for a hundred reasons, and repeating outdated ideas like the one above adds to the stigma of addiction and detracts from our understanding of it.

  148. Iris
    January 18, 2012 at 9:55 am

    Hi Jill:
    Thanks for posting this. I am sorry to hear of your health issues. Please take care & accept (or not) the healing energy that comes with this comment.
    What I have to say about swizzle stick is hallelujah you have stopped linking to him. And, to think he once commented that my comment made him feel creepy. Oy.
    It seems to be true that some (most?) white men have to stick their noses into every thing around them whether it’s pertinent or not. I hope I can be more vigilant about clearly seeing the motivations of people before I get carried away with being so grateful they’re on my team.
    Being a 2nd wave feminist, I thought swizzle was creepoid for exchanging emails with former students about their current sex lives. I also thought I was just not “young” “modern” enough to accept this practice of swizzle.
    I was sad that I was feeling “too old” to continue to participate in feminism. (Totally brought on by myself, btw.)
    So in a weird way I have to thank swizzle for being such a self-admitted law breaker – one more time I am vindicated in my intuitive reaction to someone.

  149. piny
    January 18, 2012 at 10:01 am

    Or of turning into the E-erinyes because we’re supporting a rational, well-coordinated, on-point campaign to get a specific guy cashiered from the feminist blogosphere because he deserves it.

    (And, really,all of you who have already accomplished so much? I salute you. It really is solid, impressive work. Thank you.)

    Jill et alia warding off the spectre of call-out culture, don’t you understand that pre-emptively tossing all of this into the interwebz drama bin is really insulting? Provoking, too. It’s not fair, but it’s also not constructive. You’re implying that they’re doomed to finish with Madame Guillotine. And you’re implying that they are most histrionic when they are most collective, most coordinated. That at some point, vindictive momentum will take over and shit will burn down.

    Seriously, how dysfunctional an attitude is that? They’re doing an amazing job. They don’t deserve quarantine.

    Especially since we’re talking about googlebombing.

  150. pheenobarbidoll
    January 18, 2012 at 10:10 am

    A great deal of women here are experiencing (right now, not in the past) Hugo’s words and behavior as sexism.

    No one has the right to tell these women they must forgive the person who is subjecting them to sexism. Not past experiences and not present experiences.

  151. BFR
    January 18, 2012 at 10:23 am

    #92, how does unequivocally banning him and condemning him and then dumping him give him more attention?

    It’s possible that we have different ideas of what a take-down would look like, and even that my idea of what a take-down would look like is wrong. But the action Jill described, “for me to email my internet feminist friends and form a united front against Schwyzer to take him down, and to make sure that he never teaches or writes about feminism again,” would require people to talk about HS a lot, to engage in the outreach and discussion required to convince other feminists to shut him down. Ideally, this could be done behind the scenes via email or whatever, but realistically, I think it would be a pretty public enterprise. It would keep HS in the spotlight, at least for a while.

    Even if it worked, I don’t think a take-down is an ideal response, because it centers an abusive, racist man rather than the people he has silenced and hurt. Instead, if you and I and Feministe editors, for starters, just refuse to publicize him? We can effectively silence him without it being all about him.

    It has been all about him for too long. That is the problem. In my mind, a response that continues to be all about him cannot be a solution, and won’t bring justice.

    To be clear, this position isn’t an end point for me; I could be convinced otherwise. I want to be very open about the fact that I am not someone who has been directly hurt by HS. I am white, for example, and I do not have triggers that are set off by seeing his writing or writing about him. I do want to defer to women of color and abuse survivors who are more immediately and deeply affected by him.

    For me, though, at least for the moment, I think the best response to HS generally and “the Hugo business” on Feministe in particular, is to work on making the spaces I inhabit safer for women of color and abuse survivors in ways that center them, and their experiences, rather than focusing on one undeservedly-prominent man.

    • January 18, 2012 at 10:28 am

      Jill et alia warding off the spectre of call-out culture, don’t you understand that pre-emptively tossing all of this into the interwebz drama bin is really insulting? Provoking, too. It’s not fair, but it’s also not constructive. You’re implying that they’re doomed to finish with Madame Guillotine. And you’re implying that they are most histrionic when they are most collective, most coordinated. That at some point, vindictive momentum will take over and shit will burn down.

      Seriously, how dysfunctional an attitude is that? They’re doing an amazing job. They don’t deserve quarantine.

      I’ve been pretty clear that I don’t oppose other people doing whatever they feel they need to do in this situation. I am not implying they are histrionic or vindictive, or that they should be quarantined. What I do oppose is this “you agree with all of our methods or you’re against us” mentality. I oppose the idea that because I’m not participating, I am hostile to abuse survivors or condescending toward other feminist actions.

  152. Rob in CT
    January 18, 2012 at 10:26 am

    The guy sounds like a self-important jerk (to put it very mildly). I know very little about him, and frankly don’t care to learn. But having read this thread, the “anti” posters have had the better of the argument (IMO, of course). The most potent observation, it seems to me, is that this is a master manipulator. He says he’s changed. Why would you not start from the assumption that he’s being manipulative again? Granted, I’m of the opinion that people seldom *really* change. More likely they adapt…

  153. January 18, 2012 at 10:32 am

    I want to be clear that I’m not Hugo’s “friend”; I’ve worked with him. I was upset at the mob mentality and was wrong to get involved. I apologize. In the future, I promise to stay far, far away from these things. They cause me to have flashbacks and I may not behave as soberly as I should. I apologize for that.

    But I can’t engage. I apologize for getting involved, and maybe speaking out of turn. I should let you all have your trashing without touching it, because there’s no value to my presence, regardless of whether I agree or disagree with tactics or criticisms.

  154. piny
    January 18, 2012 at 10:44 am

    I would characterize, “‘you agree with all of our methods or you’re against us’ mentality” as a pretty histrionic, vindictive mentality.

    But what does participating even mean to you? Really, is this post more emotional heavy-lifting, or more personal involvement, than, here’s a link to the anti-hugo tumblr? This is the internet: doing your bit involves pasting in a graphic.

    You’re not just bowing out. You’re very formally abstaining. You’re making a really big deal out of why you cannot involve yourself in…posting an link farm or liking a facebook page. And that does place a lot of emphasis on this as an “internet blowup” instead of a specific response to a specific issue and a whole array of options. You yourself are making this all-in or nothing.

    I don’t think I agree with the way you’ve characterized the campaign, either. It’s more like a mailing list strategy, and I think a smart one. It’s not that you’re being attacked for your failure to take a leadership role here, or that the campaign is going after Feminist Leaders. It’s more, let’s make sure that all of our bases are covered, and let’s make sure to get Hugo where it hurts. Amanda, who writes for Reuters? Has a lot more power to dismantle the man’s reputation than some random woman on wordpress.

  155. piny
    January 18, 2012 at 10:50 am

    But I can’t engage. I apologize for getting involved, and maybe speaking out of turn. I should let you all have your trashing without touching it, because there’s no value to my presence, regardless of whether I agree or disagree with tactics or criticisms.

    Just…yes, please do just take your passive-aggressive bullshit and go away.

  156. Li
    January 18, 2012 at 10:53 am

    People keep talking about a “mob mentality” without actually explaining which behaviours or mechanics they’re referring to. You want to critique people’s behaviour? Fine. But actually critique it. It’s frustrating and obnoxious for people to characterise people’s actions as being part of a “mob” or, even more egregiously, a “witch hunt” and then pretending that those characterisations actually carry any meaning outside the obvious pejorative.

    And Amanda, that was the most passive aggressive non-apology I’ve read for a while.

  157. piny
    January 18, 2012 at 10:57 am

    Also, you know what makes people get really loud and angry? What makes them feel persecuted, like they’re not being taken seriously, like they’re not being respected? When you throw around terms like mob mentality and witch hunt. That’s infuriating. If that’s what you think is going on, fine, but people will react to that as though you have insulted them.

  158. debbie
    January 18, 2012 at 11:10 am

    I’ve been pretty clear that I don’t oppose other people doing whatever they feel they need to do in this situation. I am not implying they are histrionic or vindictive, or that they should be quarantined. What I do oppose is this “you agree with all of our methods or you’re against us” mentality. I oppose the idea that because I’m not participating, I am hostile to abuse survivors or condescending toward other feminist actions.

    Agreed, Jill. I also think it’s unacceptable that people are expecting you to put Feministe above your own health and well-being.

    I’m sorry that you had a crappy year. Just thinking about the post you wrote about your cat makes me teary eyed. I hope that this year is better for you.

  159. January 18, 2012 at 11:15 am

    Tony @ 106 says:

    “Hugo’s a guy who has spent years, writing, defending, and promoting feminism. It’s his life’s work; he. Has essentially devoted his existence to this cause.”

    This view illustrates a tremendous part of the problem. See, I am the same age as Hugo, and unlike him, it actually is my life’s work. The work I have necessarily had to undertake throughout the course of my life (including childhood) *in order to live*. This is not recreation for me; neither is it a career move. It is literally the stuff of life.

    Let’s be brutally frank here. This man has the platform he does because of his race, sex and class. Not because of his accomplishments or abilities. His much-promoted doctorate is *not* in feminist studies; his main claim to being worthy to teach feminist studies is that he’s read some feminist books. And a fairly limited range of feminist books at that—he’s copped to being unfamiliar with many feminist works by women of color.

    Now think about the number of women who have not only embodied feminism as their life’s work, but have studied feminism in depth, published academic work, written books, rolled up their sleeves and did feminist grunt work in movements that directly impact and improve the daily lives of women……who can’t get tenure, who don’t get lucrative offers to write nor speaking engagements. Who don’t get noticed, or even credit for their work.

    I’m not an academic. But like I said, I’m Hugo’s age (44); old enough to remember when the help wanted ads specified jobs by gender (cisgender). Old enough to remeber when women weren’t allowed in the building trades. I graduated from high school at 16, went to a community college probably a lot like the one where Hugo teaches (where I took more women’s studies and African American studies classes than Hugo did) and got my Associates at 18. Got married at 19, worked at low-wage no-benefit jobs until I was accepted into the IBEW apprenticeship at 21. I became the third female Journeyman Wireman in my Local, and its first female officer. I’m a survivor of domestic violence from my marriage and from my upbringing. I’m an unwed mother of a child born severely premature, who has residual issues from her prematurity (ADD, learning disabilities), and I get to experience the fun times (as in not) of negotiating my—and her—way through that system, in a low-income school in an urban school system in a rust belt city amidst a (largely) group of people who don’t value her or me and make ugly assumptions about us both—freely ignoring the evidence in front of them.

    My experience and life work? Is considered worthless to *f*eminism (god, do I love bfp for coining that term!). My struggles are considered irrelevant to *f*eminism, and my accomplishments worthless. My voice and the voices of women similarly situated are not valued.

    But Hugo’s is. Go think about that for awhile, Tony.

  160. piny
    January 18, 2012 at 11:22 am

    Agreed, Jill. I also think it’s unacceptable that people are expecting you to put Feministe above your own health and well-being.

    Listen, I don’t think this is accurate.

    First, I don’t think most people knew about Jill’s health problems. I think they figured that she was just refusing to get involved. They’re not being callous or cold-hearted. They just assume that it’s not normally hazardous to run a blog.

    Second, there are a lot of options in between taking a leadership position and taking no position. You can respond to people a little sooner, before they start to feel ignored. You can take some small measure to indicate support. You can link to what’s going on elsewhere and close comments. You can simply say, hey, personal reasons, am off-blog, have handed it over to x and y, treat them respectfully. Hosting an impassioned discussion can be a lot of work, but there are low-key, hands-off ways to deal.

    I don’t really care to put Jill on the spot here; I hope she does take care of her health. But…she’s not really being victimized, and I’m honestly a lot more interested in making sure that this campaign continues to succeed.

  161. FashionablyEvil
    January 18, 2012 at 11:33 am

    They just assume that it’s not normally hazardous to run a blog.

    Funny, I’m under the impression that running a feminist blog is fairly hazardous.

  162. debbie
    January 18, 2012 at 11:39 am

    I don’t think Jill is being victimized. When I said that I think it’s unacceptable that Jill is being asked to place Feministe over her own health, I was not referring to the expectation that Jill respond to the situation, which is reasonable since she is seen as the “owner” of Feministe, and readers did not have details about her health issues. She even apologized for taking so long to write about it.

    Jill has decided what she is able/willing to do about this situation on the basis of her medical issues. Maybe you think that’s bullshit. I think that Jill is in the best position to make decisions about what she can and can’t do on the basis of her health and well-being, and I also think it’s unfair to assume bad faith on her part.

  163. FashionablyEvil
    January 18, 2012 at 11:52 am

    BTW, I am not being flip in my response about running a feminist blog being hazardous–seeing the FNNT entries, the number of bloggers who have burned out, the overt sexual and violent threats that bloggers have received (and, in my understanding, receive on a pretty regular basis), and the lack of even rudimentary civility on non-moderated sites lead me to that conclusion.

  164. piny
    January 18, 2012 at 11:56 am

    YES. I DO think it’s bullshit. I think it’s TOTAL bullshit. I think that Jill should be moderating comments from her hospital bed, right up until the moment she strokes out. Bite me, please.

    You’re conflating critiques of Jill’s political position with critiques of Jill’s personal involvement. Many commenters are disputing arguments in the post about forgiveness and moral complexity, and (so far as I can tell) putting it in the context of Redemption and Can People Really Change and Oh God Please Just Shut Up. It’s been a big part of this whole debate, how much nuance we really want to introduce into a picture that’s very stark. And since she brings it up, people are complaining about it. I think I agree with what she’s saying–yay forgiveness, but otoh not at issue. I also can understand why people think the whole thing is an annoying red herring, and why they see it as an unacceptable moral position, not something reasonable feminists can reasonably disagree about.

  165. Angie unduplicated
    January 18, 2012 at 11:58 am

    It’s obvious that groups of men who slut-shame or gay-shame feminists are not called a mob, and that groups of men who claim the privileges of ejaculating on women’s faces are not called a mob.
    So why are women who want to defend a movement from one of these men who is also an attempted murderer, called mobs and/or witch-hunters? I’m another old Second Wave woman who still thinks feminism should be safe space from call-out culture and the type of woman-vs-woman emotional violence so many of us experience in workplaces and/or families.
    Jill, I am truly sorry about your illness and you need to protect yourself from stress at almost all costs, since your treatments immunocompromise you. Do take all the time you need and don’t allow anything we say to upset you. Thank you for your work on an amazing blog. Get well soon, if at all possible.

  166. WitchWolf
    January 18, 2012 at 11:58 am

    Miriam

    I will repeat one more time —

    Addicts personalities don’t change when they take drugs. Drugs don’t turn people into someone else — An abuser will abuse whether he is under the influence or not. Saying that there is new research that suggest otherwise is disingenuous at the best. It is also taking responsibility away from the addict and making it the responsibility of the drug and or alcohol.

    They might become more impulsive, they might have inhibitions removed, they might have lower judgement, they might not be able to determine right from wrong – But their personality is still there. They still will steal things that they like, they still will act on their thoughts and their bloated needs – But the drugs and or alcohol doesn’t make them do things that would go against their personality.

    Study after study shows that a person who is an abuser when drunk would could and often abuse when they are sober – It doesn’t take a normally “nice guy” and make them into an abuser.

    People who are addicted to drugs or alcohol do so to regulate emotions in two ways,.

    1. To Cope with negative feelings
    2. To Enhances positive feelings.

    Drugs or alcohol doesn’t make a person with rage less, rage filled, it will shape, focus, and move that rage into action. (the right medication can control the rage but it’s still there – it will not however tried will take the rage away.)

    There are dozens of studies that support this, again, if you want I can cite some of them.

    Also, an abuser, someone who will abuse, just isn’t an alcoholic, it’s comorbid with other disorders — Hugo has said that he had NPD (which he said — so typical of a Narcissist) — Usually people are not just diagnosed with NPD but substance abuse as well. Many have several comorbid conditions such as NPD, substance abuse, and Borderline Personalty Disorder or Antisocial Disorder — These three are a deadly combination for women who are friends and family for the abuser.

    So when someone says, I was a user back then, and I am different now makes me suspect. Especially with a man who is a self professed Narcissists who pretended to be a feminist before his actions and pretends to be one after, after he got caught, after his supposed transformation.

    The simple fact is that he has never paid for his attempted murder. I am watching a feminist community blame victims for voicing their fairs, to allow an attempted murder to speak for his victim (could you imagine if the victim was reading this, following Hugo, and see how people could support him?? What about her? Does she even matter to his Cheerleaders? Or his other victims that we would have to take his word for that they didn’t feel any of the abuse? It just pisses me off that Feminists can give voice to Hugo, to allow him to back into a community that he has admitted to lying and manipulating.

    The Victim is lost here – All his victims are lost, because he rights flattering words to people? Because his outward personality panders to people who he wants to impress, while degrading others?

    We have to believe him? Why? We have to take his word for it? Why? Just because he wrote somethings that some people might have liked, while others like myself felt like he was sending read flags and delivering abuser talk into a safe area.,

    There are some women who read about serial killers who became interested in feminism, does that make Ted Bundy or the Green River Killer Feminists? Women became feminists because of their own abuser, does that make them Feminists?

    What is so special about Hugo, because he has male genitalia– I wonder how much of his work would be speculative at best if he was writing as a women? But his specialness, his privilege has given him the ability to go back SOP with no restrictions, with no oversight, without change, only on his word.

    I wonder if he didn’t have that privilege if he would be allowed back in so easily — or suddenly reveal that they had attempted to murder a women to cheer up a buddy for abusing his property as well. Oh if these young feminist didn’t find him “husband” worthy — where would this discussion would be now –

  167. Miriam
    January 18, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    WitchWolf @ 176: I appreciate your clarification and I am in agreement. I didn’t want this to take over the conversation, but the original statement sounded a lot like the magical truth serum stuff that used to be ascribed to street drugs and I wanted to clarify. Thanks.

  168. WitchWolf
    January 18, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    La Lubu

    Well put – I would much prefer to study Feminism from you than a Dr. in Medieval Church History any day —

    (I am your age as well )

  169. silentbeep
    January 18, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    What I find especially saddening about Amanda “apology” is how it effectively shits on every survivor of abuse that has felt triggered by this man’s presence in feminism, especially the people that have spoke out in this very thread (for example #94 above).

    Amanda, I wish you had shut up about this entirely. Your defensive casual self-righteous dismissal of people’s anger, hurt and frustration over an attempted murderer in your faux apology, is really beyond the pale. How dare you.

  170. Echo Zen
    January 18, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    BTW, I am not being flip in my response about running a feminist blog being hazardous–seeing the FNNT entries, the number of bloggers who have burned out, the overt sexual and violent threats that bloggers have received (and, in my understanding, receive on a pretty regular basis), and the lack of even rudimentary civility on non-moderated sites lead me to that conclusion.

    Heck, I would have figured most folks know being a gendered female blogger is hazardous. Notice I didn’t say “feminist” — I remember Amptoons the blogger used to receive hate mail and violent threats for his feminist views, but as it gradually became known that Amptoons was actually (gasp!) a gendered male, the hate and threats tapered off into nonexistence. That in itself tells you everything. Jill may have the privilege of being able to quit blogging anytime because her reputation and credibility don’t depend on it, but that doesn’t make her blogging responsibilities any less taxing on her health.

  171. January 18, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    In relation to the “mob” accusation, here is what dictionary.com lists as definitions of a “mob”:

    1. a disorderly or riotous crowd of people.
    2. a crowd bent on or engaged in lawless violence.
    3. any group or collection of persons or things.
    4. the common people; the masses; populace or multitude.
    5. a criminal gang, especially one involved in drug trafficking, extortion, etc.

    It is very difficult for me to see how any of those definitions (except maybe #3 or #4, which are obviously meaningless and not what the “mob” accusers are talking about) could be reasonably applicable to the people who are horrified and dismayed at Schwyzer’s continued centering of himself in a position of power and authority over groups of women, both in person and on the Internet. They are not “disorderly or riotous”, “bent on or engaged in lawless violence”, or “a criminal gang”.

    The “mob” accusation is nothing but a disingenuous way to discredit and shut up people with very deeply considered and well-thought-out rational objections to Schwyzer’s positioning of himself and the behavior of others who enable his positioning.

  172. Q Grrl
    January 18, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    Oh if these young feminist didn’t find him “husband” worthy — where would this discussion would be now –

    Of all the issues that surround Hugo, young feminists being held responsible for how we “old” feminists go about our business of building and protecting our own space is not one. Knock it the fuck off.

    Jill — I appreciate your response, and I too hope that you can continue to find ways to help your body heal.

  173. WitchWolf
    January 18, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    Miriam #177

    Um, you said magical truth serum – I didn’t. I said in the original post that personalities don’t change they remain themselves.

    Truth Serum — is given to people to retrieve information from them they normally would not give up – So honestly — I am a bit confused at your equivalency …

    Enough said….

  174. evil fizz
    January 18, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    For those who are curious about the effects Angus mentioned, here’s Scarleteen’s note on their disassociation (scroll to bottom) and Healthy is the New Skinny’s press release on his departure from there.

  175. January 18, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    Amanda, it might be worthwhile for you to consider *why* you’ve been pubically out about being a survivor of rape but have been more oblique about being a survivor of domestic violence. Because frankly, I don’t think that choice was one of emotional self-care, but a coldly realistic decision based on how domestic violence *marks* a woman. How outing oneself as a survivor of it causes one to lose credibility. How, while *f*eminism has made room for a narrative of rape survival, it hasn’t for DV….not really. How DV is still typified as a “low class” phenomenon, and one that requires an image of helplessness from survivors.

    Which isn’t to say I blame you. Big blogger or no, you’re a lot more vulnerable than the class to which you aspire. If your image no longer matches expectations….what then?

    Understand, I’m not calling you out, or suggesting that you’re obligated to lead any charge re:DV. Just saying that you’ve crossed class boundaries that I haven’t, and that because of this you are more vulnerable in revealing yourself. I think it speaks to the inherent classism in *f*eminism that DV (and its survivors) has the reductive image that it does, and that women who want to be taken seriously have to shut up about it.

  176. Tom Foolery
    January 18, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    I’ve got a pair of questions for folks who state that the victims are lost here, and that forgiveness/redemption/whatever for Hugo is completely impossible. I caveat this by saying that I think he’s odious, the various armchair diagnoses about his narcism are spot on, and given his personal account, I’m scratching my head as to why he’s not in prison. These are more procedural questions than they are questions about substance.

    1. Hugo pretty clearly states that he was in the throes of serious depression when he attempted to murder his girlfriend, and that afterwards he sought treatment. What role does that disability play in how we judge his behavior?

    2. In terms of the erasure of the victims — while it’s pretty clearly unfair that Hugo gets to speak about his past with a huge megaphone while his victims don’t get to, isn’t it his victim’s prerogative to speak or not to speak about their experience? And if they’ve chosen not to, does that preclude Hugo from speaking about it in any way?

  177. pheenobarbidoll
    January 18, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    “What role does that disability play in how we judge his behavior? ”

    Not a very big one given that he has years under his belt for taking advantage of his female students, and given the power dynamics that make consent questionable at best, it simply fits a pattern. Depressed or not, his ability to deem women as non humans worth no consideration still presents itself. Before, during and after the attempted murder.

    “And if they’ve chosen not to, does that preclude Hugo from speaking about it in any way?”

    When it’s so a buddy doesn’t feel so bad about being an animal abuser, yep.

    I’m sorry but

    ” Hey, I feel awful about abusing an animal” is responded to with ” Don’t feel bad dude, I once tried to kill my girlfriend”

    is absolutely indicative of some deep issues. None of them are pro women or pro feminist.

    Then again, I’m the type who thinks both assholes should be under a jailhouse right now. Not in one, UNDER one.

  178. Annaleigh
    January 18, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    1. Hugo pretty clearly states that he was in the throes of serious depression when he attempted to murder his girlfriend, and that afterwards he sought treatment. What role does that disability play in how we judge his behavior?

    Show of hands please, every person who is dealing with depression or another mood disorder who has tried to kill someone (other than yourselves).

    Now everyone with depression or mood disorders who HASN’T tried to kill someone (other than yourselves), please raise your hands.

    What’s that you say, everyone raised their hands to the second and not the first? I thought so.

  179. Linda
    January 18, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    129
    ginmar 1.17.2012 at 9:52 pm | Permalink
    How does that even—-?? So abuse victims are oppressing the abuser? What kind of fucked up does someone have to be….? I just….No.

    Um ‘ginmar’—random people commenting on a blog are not “abuse victims”!

    Understand what I’m saying here…? Where the hell did you get off saying that?

    If someone writes something toxic and untrue on a blog comment; it’s possible ginamr, possible, that they might be called out on that—understand?

    It’s got nothing (that’s zero) to do with “abuse” “victims”

    Two different things ‘gimar’ two different things; thanks.

  180. Sarah
    January 18, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    @witchy-wolf

    The difference is you technically lied.

    The difference is you said he had a past of “murdering women”

    Do you have the bodies and police reports? Because if he actually MURDERED ‘women’ I for one, would like to know about it.

    Anyway—you said something *that wasn’t true* and I was just pointing that out—that’s all!!

  181. Fang
    January 18, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    1. Hugo pretty clearly states that he was in the throes of serious depression when he attempted to murder his girlfriend, and that afterwards he sought treatment. What role does that disability play in how we judge his behavior?

    None except to observe that it is largely a male phenomenon to kill a romantic partner/ex romantic partner, and that it has been poitned out ad infinitum that this is because men in a misogynist society feel entitled to act out their feelings on the women in their lives, to control the life and death of those women, and to fail to see women as anything but extensions of themselves and their desires.

    Depression may have influenced what happened, but misogyny that shaped how Hugo responded and why he made the decisions he did. And it is misogyny that continues to shape how Hugo talks about the attempted murder.

    Women are not required to be silent about misogyny just because a mental illness may be involved.

  182. Tony_
    January 18, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    La Lubu- No one is denying the existence of inequalities and unfairness within ‘feminism’. I was simply stating that I don’t think Hugo is being treated fairly, nor do I think his actions merit judgement as a political opponent. You can disagree with that and we do. But the existence of privilege alone doesn’t quality someone as a political opponent, let alone a justification for why someone should not be treated fairly. We all have some privilege.

    In any case, my characterization about his career (he’s clearly made a career out of this to some degree, and invested quite a lot in it over a long time, with at least some positive outcomes according to comments made at this site and others) wasn’t meant to say that his efforts and experiences should be prioritized above yours or a comprehensive definition of what I consider ‘real’ work.

  183. Sarah
    January 18, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    Okay just read this (food for thought):

    “Did you miss the part in Hugo’s essay where neither his girlfriend or their family wanted to press charges, and where the police concurred that since he hadn’t committed any crime, and there was no evidence that he had, he wasn’t charged, and therefore never committed “attempted murder” in any sense?”

  184. Sheelzebub
    January 18, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    isn’t it his victim’s prerogative to speak or not to speak about their experience?

    You’re assuming that a) the woman he tried to kill would get the same platform and credibility that he’s gotten and b) that it’s on these women to say something, even if it triggers the hell out of them. Take this into account: seeing your attacker use his assault against you as so much redemption wank, and seeing him accepted by the very people who should be on your side can devastate you. Read some of the threads in this blog on HS to see some examples of that. One of his students was actually (the quote) “completely destroyed” by the uncritical support he’s been getting.

    Also? I’m getting tired of repeating myself. I don’t care if HS has really changed (though I’m skeptical). I don’t care “why” he did it (I’ve been very seriously depressed and I never tried to kill anyone, and I doubt that it makes it okay for the woman whom he tried to kill. I also have relatives who are alcoholics and drug addicts, and they never planned and tried to carry out a murder. That’s a gross insult to me and to them).

    Yet again, because no one seems to be listening: I care that HS has a platform and credibility within this movement. I care that he has a leadership role, that he’s telling women what our lives and realities are when he was–and still is as has been pointed out by MANY women of color–part of the problem. I care that we’re supposed to cut him slack because this is his “life’s work” or this is his “job” when it’s not just our “job” its our LIVES. I care that prominent feminists rush to comfort him on social media, that some of them dismiss and deride other women who have valid criticisms. I care that prominent sites (OH HAI JEZEBEL) feature him as a regular writer and will not allow any criticism of him. I care that a feminist blogger (OH HAI CLARISSE) shut down critical comments about him and then proceeded to scold us about forgiveness and redemption, and erased the work women of color did on restorative justice. I care that we’re being gaslighted and lied about by people who should goddamn well know better.

    Look. I am not concerned with anyone’s redemption, let alone the redemption of a privileged White man who’s tried to position himself as a leader and spokesperson in our movement. I am concerned with liberation. I am not here to hold anyone’s hand while they try to become better people. It is not my fucking job. And I am tired of the bleating and yelling about how we should forgive and what kind of movement are we if we don’t take into account that people can change etc. That is not my fucking concern.

  185. silentbeep
    January 18, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    @Sarah

    @Sarah

    From Hugo’s blog : “The sheriff’s department didn’t arrest me because they assumed that the two of us were in a suicide pact. But I knew differently… My ex, once she regained her faculties, was devastated. As bad as things were, she didn’t want “out” — and felt shocked and unfathomably betrayed by…my unilateral decision to kill us both.”

    It’s a little more complicated than what you are implying in #192

  186. Li
    January 18, 2012 at 1:03 pm

    1. Hugo pretty clearly states that he was in the throes of serious depression when he attempted to murder his girlfriend, and that afterwards he sought treatment. What role does that disability play in how we judge his behavior?

    Given that mental illness doesn’t increase one’s tendency to commit violent crime but does substantially increase one’s likelyhood to be a victim of violent crime, I’d say the person whose mental illness matters would be Hugo’s victim. And given that his logic for trying to kill her included her “fragility”, her sadness and the fact that she had been sexually assaulted, I’m going to say that a disabled feminist analysis comes down even harder on Hugo than an abled feminist one.

    Thanks for implying that attempted murder is totes the result of depression (a mental illness I have) though?

  187. Katniss
    January 18, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    I was simply stating that I don’t think Hugo is being treated fairly, nor do I think his actions merit judgement as a political opponent. You can disagree with that and we do. But the existence of privilege alone doesn’t quality someone as a political opponent, let alone a justification for why someone should not be treated fairly.

    You don’t think the actions of trying to murder a woman and sexually exploiting young women might merit us judging Hugo as someone we don’t want as a “feminist ally”?

    Hell even if he hadn’t done those things, plenty of his writing is straight-up sexist, classist and racist. On that merit alone I judge him as a person I don’t want associated with a movement that’s important to me. That’s not “unfair”, that’s judging a prominent writer on the things he writes. It’s not like we’re making up his many -isms.

    His present behavior and writing alone makes him worth of being ostrasized from our movement. Add to that his ATTEMPTED MURDER and I’m really confused as to what you think is “unfair” about the negative reactions he’s getting.

  188. Miriam
    January 18, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    1. Hugo pretty clearly states that he was in the throes of serious depression when he attempted to murder his girlfriend, and that afterwards he sought treatment. What role does that disability play in how we judge his behavior?

    What role does it play in our judgement? None. He did what he did and these are the consequences of it. What role does it play in our understanding of it? Some. People do awful things to themselves and one another when our brain chemistry is off, whether due to drugs or mental illness. The addition of the personality disorder is interesting, if true, because it near-guarantees that HS is unable to change his core without major, long-term intervention, but any information we have about his therapeutic intervention at this point is second-hand or speculative.

    2. In terms of the erasure of the victims — while it’s pretty clearly unfair that Hugo gets to speak about his past with a huge megaphone while his victims don’t get to, isn’t it his victim’s prerogative to speak or not to speak about their experience? And if they’ve chosen not to, does that preclude Hugo from speaking about it in any way?

    In this case the problem is the size of the soap box. HS is not not-allowed to speak about his experiences, but regardless of whether his victims choose to speak, which is their prerogative, his soap box is taller and his megaphone is louder. Because there is unequal footing to begin with there is inherent inequality to the competing narratives. La Lubu @ 185 has a point as well regarding DV victims. Naming oneself as HS’s victim may upset HS’s dominant narrative, but it also involves taking on a label that has far-reaching negative implications in one’s personal life. In any case, that HS chose to speak about this in the way he did, in the context he did, points to some serious boundary issues and lack of judgement, highlighting again the question whether or not whatever interventions he’s undergoing are dimming the narcissistic tendencies.

  189. pheenobarbidoll
    January 18, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    And for all his excuses, one thing that has not changed?

    His fucking RACISM.

    He. Is. A. Racist.

    Then, and now.

    So someone please explain to me WHY I should forgive him of his past when he is still PRESENTLY A RACIST.

    Or why ANY woman of color should be subjected to him. Or why ANY woman of color should be in a position under his authority, on ANY subject at ANY time.

    He’s not only shown that he still has misogyny in his attitudes, but RACISM as well.

    So what, when women of color have an issue with this and fucking dare to open our non white mouths, we’re in a MOB? Or we’re trashing him? Or attacking him? Or internet piling on him?

    Those words? yeah. They’re a huge old race fail and sexism fail all wrapped up in one.

    Every single one of you who have spoken those words need to stop for a moment and ask yourself just how that comes off to women of color who have been subjected to that odious little man. Many of us experience that as racism. And you’ve just supported it.

    But WE are the one’s making it for us or against us?

    Yeah. Fuck you too.

  190. Sandy
    January 18, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    Which, again, isn’t to say that I think the focus on Hugo here is misdirected. It is to say that I have a real hesitance to participate, because I dislike take-down culture generally and because I’m not convinced that next time we’ll all be setting our sights on a worthy target.

    I have heavy reservations about the circular firing squad and take-down culture myself, but I hate this last thing you say here. We shouldn’t try to take down this shitty, sexist faux-feminist man’s platform because the next person might not deserve it? That’s assuming some things, there. That’s assuming that if we give the go-ahead and take one person down, taking people down will be absolutely ordinary, humdrum, the way of things. Hugo’s case is not ordinary, not business as usual. This case is extraordinary.

    Jill, I hope you feel better soon, and it’s good that you’re putting your health first.

  191. j.
    January 18, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    Navigating shit like this is *hard*. Rageful shaming of someone trying to navigate it both good conscience, and with respect to her own well-being, does not help shift anything. It only makes you look like domineering assholes, trying to form the world and everyone in it to your image.

    “You’re just as bad as Hugo! And stop being so RAGEY!!”

    Keep that critical thinking rollin’ in, Hari.

    Ginmar at #92 has this nailed. Too many people here are entirely wrapped up in the cult of “recovery” and “positive energy” — and of shunning all “negativity” and “bitterness” and “anger” and so many other states of mind attributed to women who speak up against injustice.

    Fuck your “positivity.” EchoZen, fuck your passive-aggressive whining. And Tony_, just fuck YOU and your overweening male privilege. Sideways, with a rusty bayonet. The fewer mansplaining, lying assholes like you hanging around feminist blogs, the better.

    Themmases:

    Are the expectations of male allies so low now that any abusive hack, so matter how oppressive and insulting his “efforts,” can be said to have “devouted [sic] his existence to” us just because he has a blog? Self-serving much, Tony_?

    You really have to wonder what skeletons “allies” like Tony_ have in their closets.

    PGP, thanks for bringing up the “addict” canard again. One more fucking time: Drugs and alcohol do not “make” you do anything you do not want to do, deep down. Note that I am not talking about shit like roofies and rape; I’m talking about getting hammered and screaming racist slurs at someone. Or raping someone. Or killing someone. “The demon rum” is yet another xtian trope used in precisely the same way as “The devil made me do it!” (And, Miriam, how about YOU provide a cite. Witch Wolf provided at least two.)

    And, really, PGP, you’re the last one to be lecturing anybody on “logical” responses.

    Sarah, thanks for lecturing us on proper legal language while you continue to defend a man who TRIED TO MURDER his ex-girlfriend, then lied about it, then, years later, used the story to get sympathy (assuredly without her knowledge). BTW, I suppose you also think that a rape victim who never pressed charges wasn’t “really” raped and shouldn’t “lie” about having been so?

    Piny, I want to take your comment #154 out for a round of drinks. Even though you were pretty much arguing with a brick wall. A solipsistic, elitist, intellectually dishonest, and passive-aggressive brick wall.

    Tom, I’ve got a long history of depression. I have yet to kill anybody. Your willingness to stereotype people with mental illness, and to make excuses for poor ickle misunderstood Hugo, is noted.

  192. Megalodon
    January 18, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    “Did you miss the part in Hugo’s essay where neither his girlfriend or their family wanted to press charges, and where the police concurred that since he hadn’t committed any crime, and there was no evidence that he had, he wasn’t charged, and therefore never committed “attempted murder” in any sense?”

    What is this person saying? In any sense? Except, if you believe Schwzyer’s account of his own actions, he did indeed attempt to kill somebody. He admits that. The fact that the victim and her family did not want to press charges and the fact that the police did not file charges do not mean that he “never committed” the actions in question.

    Lots of victims of sexual assault do not want to press charges out of fear. And police often do not charge sexual assault perpetrators. If the perpetrator of a sexual assault is not charged, does that mean he has “never committed” a sexual assault “in any sense”?

  193. Dao
    January 18, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    Tom, I’ve got a long history of depression. I have yet to kill anybody. Your willingness to stereotype people with mental illness, and to make excuses for poor ickle misunderstood Hugo, is noted.

    Likewise, history of depression, PTSD, and anxiety and I’ve yet to hurt or kill anyone. Mental illness does not equal violence, no matter how much the media and society would have us all think.

  194. Anon
    January 18, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    Several people have mentioned that Hugo has been blatantly racist (not to say that blatant is any worse than unconscious), but in all the conversations about this man, I haven’t actually seen much discussion about this point. What exactly did he do?

  195. Tom Foolery
    January 18, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    Thanks for implying that attempted murder is totes the result of depression (a mental illness I have) though?

    I didn’t imply that, he did. Is it my place to question the effects of a mental illness on someone who has it, especially when I don’t have it?

  196. j.
    January 18, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    Is it my place to question the effects of a mental illness on someone who has it, especially when I don’t have it?

    I guess reading up on it before opening your mouth isn’t a possibility?

  197. Megalodon
    January 18, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    Ginmar at #92 has this nailed. Too many people here are entirely wrapped up in the cult of “recovery” and “positive energy” — and of shunning all “negativity” and “bitterness” and “anger” and so many other states of mind attributed to women who speak up against injustice.

    I think this is a succinct description of Schwyzer’s entourage and acolytes. His defenders keep circling back to how important and beautiful it is to tell one’s story and bare one’s soul, and how dare anybody ruin these confessional, redemptive moments by actually being angry at what was confessed.

    That pingback link at Comment 28 pours on the redemption pornography really thick.

  198. Politicalguineapig
    January 18, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    J: And, really, PGP, you’re the last one to be lecturing anybody on “logical” responses.

    What do you mean by that? I have worked long and hard to operate by logic, and avoid emotional reactions like the plague. Emotional reactions are dangerous to women. I get that people are angry, but like I said, responding on an emotional level means that Hugo will win.

  199. Annaleigh
    January 18, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    I didn’t imply that, he did. Is it my place to question the effects of a mental illness on someone who has it, especially when I don’t have it?

    No, but plenty of people with mental illnesses (including me) are telling you that that is bullshit, because most of us never kill or try to kill anyone, and to try to allow Hugo to shirk accountability for his actions on account of his mental illness is fucked up.

  200. Sarah
    January 18, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    Again, just food for thought; I think these were written by same person; and to whoever yelled at me about ‘defending’–what I’m actually trying to do is make sure what we’re doing here is the right thing–I’ve been purposely reading other’s opinions so that I’m coming at this from a balanced perspective; I don’t want to be just reactive, I’d like to be measured in my approach–thank you.

    More food for thought:
     “First he’d have to be a “rapist” and “attempted murderer.” You must have court documents to share attesting to his rapes? Police reports charging him with attempted rape? Yes? Please share.
    Otherwise we’re stuck with the uneasy suspicion that you’re lying, or, at best, cherry-picking from his essay about the relationship where he wasn’t always sure if his girlfriend wanted to have sex, but went along with it to please him, and are calling that “rape.”
    Or his essay about the night he and his girlfriend were in a drug-fuelled co-dependent relationship, and he was so fucked up that he left the gas on in his oven, but when the cops came to his hospital bed, they refused to charge him with anything but being fucked up on drugs, and his girlfriend and her family didn’t want to pursue any charges?
    Is that the “murder” you were talking about? The “attempted murder” that wasn’t, and the “rape” that he was the only one to even briefly consider a “rape,” which his girlfriend didn’t consider a rape in any sense of the word?
    I hope not, because that would mean that you’re libeling up a storm on the Internet, which (unlike the two things Hugo’s been accused of, but didn’t do) is actually a crime.”

  201. Sarah
    January 18, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    He’s right; libel is a crime; and I think it’s worth being careful. Thank you.

  202. Sarah
    January 18, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    To#199 Pheen–

    Although I have various levels of discomfort in all the work of Hugo’s I’ve read–and have spoken out about it on his comments page and such–I’ve never seen any evidence of him being an actual racist at all.

    However, on the FB page against him, there’s this:

    “I’m glad that you criticised the MLK shit…”– Claire Mart

    Saying that MLK is ‘shit’—Now that’s racist & unforgivable, I can’t understand why that was allowed to fly.

  203. Katniss
    January 18, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    Sarah, Hugo HIMSELF said that what he did to his ex was attempted murder.

  204. mary
    January 18, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    Or his essay about the night he and his girlfriend were in a drug-fuelled co-dependent relationship, and he was so fucked up that he left the gas on in his oven…

    Um, did you miss where HS explicitly stated his intention in leaving the gas on was to kill his girlfriend? In fact he even detailed angling the gas toward his girlfriend’s face.

  205. Sarah
    January 18, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    I wonder how *she* feels about us bringing this up repeatedly; I know I’m very private and this would all make me very uncomfortable to have us all bringing it up so much over and over and over.

  206. January 18, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    Oh, Christ, more with the mobs.

    Did you miss the part in Hugo’s essay where neither his girlfriend or their family wanted to press charges, and where the police concurred that since he hadn’t committed any crime, and there was no evidence that he had, he wasn’t charged, and therefore never committed “attempted murder” in any sense?”

    Yeah, did you miss the part where Hugo told the cops that he and his ex had a ‘suicide pact’ and so he managed to discredit her even before she woke up? As for no evidence and no crime—that’s your interpretation, and it’s a flawed one, given that he’d pulled the stove out and turned the gas all the way up.

  207. Sarah
    January 18, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    It seems to be ‘out there’ as much as it possibly can at this point, for her sake, not his, I’m appealing that we cease.

  208. ilyka
    January 18, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    “Yes, but… people are entitled to freedom of speech. How dare you suggest that speech be censored by requesting that online forums be moderated?”

    “Yes, but… calling attention to misogyny just makes it worse. Don’t feed the trolls. You should just ignore it.”

    “Yes, but… do you have to be so angry and emotional and over-sensitive about it? That doesn’t help your argument or your cause.”

    […]

    It’s depressingly predictable. When an instance of misogyny gets pointed out on the Internet, in a forum big enough to garner more than a couple dozen comments, you’re almost guaranteed to see some or all of these types of comments. It’s happening now.

    From some website or another. Oh wait, it’s this one: “Why ‘Yes, But’ Is the Wrong Response to Misogyny.”

    As for the frequent use throughout this post and ensuing thread of dismissive, misleading, and scapegoating phrases like “internet blow-ups,” “take him down,” “a coordinated take-down,” “entirely irredeemable,” “permanently blacklisted,” “the reality of the feminist internet is that there is a corner of it that plays the take-down game for sport” (that obstinate corner that refuses to just fill the fucking gap, perhaps), and, of course, “trashing”–

    This post by occasional Feministe commenter Nanette may be illuminating in unpacking why these phrases remain popular, even when we’re talking about an admitted rapist (at least by the standards of enthusiastic consent promoted on this very blog) and once-aspiring murderer.

    For everything else, see Sheelzebub @ 194. If caring about those issues is playing the take-down game for sport, I call goalie.

  209. Megalodon
    January 18, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    However, on the FB page against him, there’s this:

    “I’m glad that you criticised the MLK shit…”– Claire Mart

    Saying that MLK is ‘shit’—Now that’s racist & unforgivable, I can’t understand why that was allowed to fly.

    Nobody was calling Martin Luther King “shit.” That Facebook post was in regard to how defenders of Schwyzer were likening him to Martin Luther King. Did you overlook that or are you trying to mislead people by omitting context?

  210. January 18, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    212 Sarah: you’re being deliberately dishonest by claiming that Schwyzer’s critics said that MILK is shit. How dishonest can one person get? They’re criticizing the shit that Schwyzer said about MLK. For fuck’s sake already.

  211. mary
    January 18, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    @ Sarah:

    If you suddenly give a shit about her privacy, you should criticize Hugo for making it public (as commiseration with someone who had accidentally let their dog out of the house, no less).

  212. Miriam
    January 18, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    Sarah,

    Although I have various levels of discomfort in all the work of Hugo’s I’ve read–and have spoken out about it on his comments page and such–I’ve never seen any evidence of him being an actual racist at all.

    Racism and classism are a long-documented critique of Hugo’s work online. If you google it, you’ll see what people are talking about.

  213. January 18, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    Yeah, Sarah, it’s really disgusting to claim you’re just doing it for her when it’s obvious you’re not.

  214. Sheelzebub
    January 18, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    I wonder how *she* feels about us bringing this up repeatedly; I know I’m very private and this would all make me very uncomfortable to have us all bringing it up so much over and over and over.

    I’ve brought this up in reference to this act of violence HS committed against her being used as so much redemption wank-fodder in his confessional post that also managed to completely belittle and diminish her. Oddly enough, all of the people who gushed about how “brave” Hugo was in writing about this didn’t give two shits about how this might affect the woman he actually tried to kill. That he admits he tried to kill, BTW.

    It’s telling that now, suddenly, when you’d like us to STFU about what Hugo’s done and your apology for it that you invoke her. But you and no one else in the “Hugo has changed shut up you awful witch hunting mob” club gave a fuck about her beforehand.

  215. Sarah
    January 18, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    No! I read the whole thing; the post had a QUOTE from Dr. King. A QUOTE.

    The context of the post was NOT ‘likening him to Martin Luther King.’

    Therefore saying that ‘MLK Shit’ is racist.

  216. Sarah
    January 18, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    “Yeah, Sarah, it’s really disgusting to claim you’re just doing it for her when it’s obvious you’re not.”

    No need to be bitch to me ginmar; no need to pretend you know what’s in someone else’s mind. I don’t appreicate your needless hate thank you very much. Please show some respect. Thank you.

  217. Sheelzebub
    January 18, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    Did you overlook that or are you trying to mislead people by omitting context?

    Consider the source.

  218. LotusBen
    January 18, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    Anon @204

    I’m not an expert on Schwyzer’s racism, but since I don’t see anybody else tackling your question I will. The main public incident I’m aware of happened back in 2008. The white feminist Amanda Marcotte from Pandagon wrote a blog post on immigration that was eerily similar to a another blog post written by WOC feminist brownfemipower (or BFP) several days prior. People noticed this and called Marcotte out for it, some saying it was appropriation, others saying it was outright plagarism. Marcotte said the similarity was a coincedence and that in writing the piece she had been inspired by an ACLU conference she had recently attended.

    Then, Schwyzer took it upon himself to defend Marcotte. He said Marcotte’s career was in jeopardy and that people shouldn’t accuse someone of something illegal like plagarism without unequivocal proof. He said Marcotte was in such jeopardy that no conversation about appropriation or the long history of white people stealing ideas from POC could occurr before all of Marcotte’s critics immediately retracted their baseless claims and apologized. People thought Schwyzer was trying to silence discussion and that he was using racially-informed rhetoric to do so. He even obliquely denied that white priviliege existed with a reference to “whatever privilege some folks imagine [Marcotte] possesses.” Granted, he didn’t drop the n-bomb, but I think it’s part of a pattern Schwyzer has of taking offensive stances informed by (possibly unconscious) racism.

    Here’s a link to what Schwyzer wrote on his blog about the incident:
    http://www.hugoschwyzer.net/2008/04/09/if-its-stealing-youd-better-prove-it-on-amanda-marcotte-bfp-and-alternet/

    Here’s a link to the comment thread on Feministe discussing it. Schwyzer is commenting under the handle “Hugo.” The quote I reference about the supposed absence of white privilege is taken from his comment @ 143.

  219. LotusBen
    January 18, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    Sorry. . .this is an extension of my comment @228. I forgot to post the link to the Feministe comment thread about the Marcotte/bfp/Schwyzer incident. Here it is:

    http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2008/04/10/this-has-not-been-a-good-week-for-woman-of-color-blogging/

  220. Sarah
    January 18, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    mega and ginmar are deliberately lying here–

    I just read it AGAIN to be *sure* and again–it was a separate quote after post–NOT in the post. NO where IN the post was anyone “likening him to Martin Luther King.” So evidently it is you two who are overlooking the context.

    Please do not defend racism; I truly do not appreciate it –thank you.

    • January 18, 2012 at 2:49 pm

      If caring about those issues is playing the take-down game for sport, I call goalie.

      I was overwhelmingly clear in the post that I don’t think that most of the criticisms of Hugo, and even the efforts to remove him from certain publications and positions, are “playing the take-down game for sport.” If you’re determined to accuse me of saying something I didn’t, though, there’s really nothing I can do about that, and it’s definitely nothing new.

  221. Katniss
    January 18, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    Sarah, did you seriously just use a gendered slur against ginmar? And you expect us to take you seriously?

  222. Sarah
    January 18, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    @mary–

    “If you suddenly give a shit about her privacy, you should criticize Hugo for making it public (as commiseration with someone who had accidentally let their dog out of the house, no less).”

    I guess you missed the point (entirely) my point was OUR responsibility after the fact. In other words, he wrote about it–but WE are keeping it alive to the point where I’m now concerned over what we’re doing to her. I don’t see how my concern is wrong.

    Second, I don’t appreciate you devaluing animal abuse. It wasn’t that someone ‘let the dog out’ the animal was neglected and I don’t see how not caring about animal abuse furthers our cause. Thank you.

  223. Sarah
    January 18, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    Sorry Katniss– I didn’t appreciate the abuse; apologies.

  224. samanthab
    January 18, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    Linda @189, 1 in 5 women are abuse victims. Since there are more than 5 women commenting in this thread, statistically the odds are that one of them has been an abuse victim. You’re in no position to accuse anyone else of misrepresentation. I’m a former abuse victim, and I don’t so much appreciate you throwing your privilege in my face.

    Also, Ginmar is not particularly stupid and might well have been able to retain in her not particularly stupid brain that commenters commenting in this thread had also commented about their experiences as abuse victims in previous threads. Or is the rule that we forget about anything that happened in the past, even if it was, what, a week ago? That would make us all particularly stupid, and yet it seems to be where Hugo supporters are asking us to go.

  225. Sheelzebub
    January 18, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    Oh, FFS. You don’t like liars but you seem to like yourself just fine, Sarah. The context of the MLK stuff was his supporters twisting MLK quotes to defend him and shame his critics (including the very many WOC who are critical of him).

    For someone who’s so anti-racist, you don’t mind it when your White male friend Hugo’s been racist to women of color, but whatever. Like your concern for the well-being of the woman he tried to kill, your concern about racism is very. . .convenient.

  226. Li
    January 18, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    Sarah, I’m going to break it down for you.

    The meaning of the phrase “that MLK shit” in context was “that shit that was related to MLK”, not “that shit MLK”. Please stop with the misrepresentation.

  227. January 18, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    Tony, you appear to have no understanding of what the words ‘privilege’ and ‘politics’ mean. Both refer to *power dynamics*—-references to the way power is exercized by whom and against whom. These aren’t abstract categories in some intellectual sparring, but concrete, visceral practices. Actions—verbs—not passive states of being.

    Privilege is a structural problem. Enshrined inequality. A set of practices that must be recognized, fought against and abolished. People (including your hero) who actively use their privilege to keep an unjust system intact in order to elevate themselves *are my political enemies*. Why shouldn’t they be?! They are already actively working against my interests and those of others similarly situated. I’m not going to make their job easier by pretending this isn’t the case.

    But, here you’ve highlighted another structural problem within (organized; mainstream; white middle-class; however you want to put it) feminism—not only has it internalized the pre-existing kyriarchy, but it has no structural framework with which to recognize and/or combat this kyriarchy. In fact, you alluded to such in your comment; vacuous statements about everyone having privilege are about as worthless as statements about how everyone has done something “bad”. Both are frequently trotted out to absolve responsible parties of their responsibility.

    My point in my previous statement (seeing as it flew right by you) is that *Hugo has no more academic credentials for teaching feminism than I do* (really, if reading some feminist books is all it takes, I’d say the vast majority of commenters on feminist blogs are way overdue for our professoriates), and a great deal less life experience. So why is taking away his platform within the feminist movement seen as so threatening? Enough to compare with mobs, witch hunts, the KKK (LOL sob)? (And much thanks to ginmar for her pointing out that *witches were innocent*)

  228. January 18, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    holy shit, sarah, would you please stop posing as the great white defender of anti-racism already?! what *i* don’t appreciate as a woman of colour is white women getting all up in arms about people criticism when hugo or others link themselves to MLK, but, you know, letting actual racist behaviour toward women of colour slide, because forgiveness. fuck that.

  229. mary
    January 18, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    I guess you missed the point (entirely) my point was OUR responsibility after the fact. In other words, he wrote about it–but WE are keeping it alive to the point where I’m now concerned over what we’re doing to her. I don’t see how my concern is wrong.

    Your attempt to place responsibility for the consequences of Hugo’s misogyny on people reacting to Hugo’s misogyny is something you should be ashamed of.

    Second, I don’t appreciate you devaluing animal abuse. It wasn’t that someone ‘let the dog out’ the animal was neglected and I don’t see how not caring about animal abuse furthers our cause. Thank you

    Seriously?

    Schwyzer bringing up his own acts of gendered violence is still a vile and inappropriate response either way. Do not attempt to derail this with self-righteous bullshit about what you ~appreciate~ about my supposed attitude toward animal rights.

  230. Sheelzebub
    January 18, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    No, Sarah. If *I* was that woman, as I said upthread and in numerous comments in these threads, I’d be devastated to see HS use his attempted MURDER of me as redemption wank, AND THEN see supposed feminists tell him how brave he is, give him leadership positions and accolades and credibility. I’d be devastated to see him get a platform and a voice, to see him given the credibility to speak for women–including the very person he WRITES about trying to kill. You want to take responsibility after the fact of his writing that particular post, here’s a tip: don’t minimize what he did, hand-wave it away, and act like the outrage he’s encountering now is some sort of horrible injustice.

    I’d also be livid at the women who supported him, who denied that he was ever trying to kill me because hey! I didn’t press charges even though the cops were willing to believe that it was a suicide pact and that besides, Hugo’s changed now. I’d be livid at the disingenuous of his defenders who now, suddenly cared about my welfare when their golden boy was being criticized. The same concerned supporters who minimized what he did and threw about terms like libel in reference to reactions to a blog post he wrote where he admitted he pulled the stove out of the wall and AIMED THE GAS NOZZLE AT HIS EX GIRLFRIEND’S FACE.

    You want respect? Stop acting like a fucking weasel.

  231. piny
    January 18, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    Oh, FFS. You don’t like liars but you seem to like yourself just fine, Sarah. The context of the MLK stuff was his supporters twisting MLK quotes to defend him and shame his critics (including the very many WOC who are critical of him).

    Don’t forget the commenters who compared him to MAYA ANGELOU.

    brb puking

  232. Anon
    January 18, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    @LotusBen

    Thank you for the links. I remember the Marcotte incident, but at the time I wasn’t aware who Schwyzer was so I didn’t remember his “delightful” contributions.

  233. Rachel
    January 18, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    Thanks to Piny and Ginmar for your comments. I’d like to co-sign all of them. I lack the energy to articulate all of that, and y’all have been in the trenches for days. TY. As for all the ‘mob’ and ‘witch hunt’ accusations, well, shoot. If wanting HS as far from *my* feminism as possible makes us a mob, sign me up.

  234. Megalodon
    January 18, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    mega and ginmar are deliberately lying here–

    I just read it AGAIN to be *sure* and again–it was a separate quote after post–NOT in the post. NO where IN the post was anyone “likening him to Martin Luther King.” So evidently it is you two who are overlooking the context.

    When somebody quotes a prominent person to make it look like that prominent person would be in philosophical and ideological support of another person on some certain controversy, I count that as “likening.” And it is also a distasteful appropriation. On the January 4 post, Schwyzer’s defenders were comparing him to Maya Angelou.

    Please do not defend racism; I truly do not appreciate it –thank you.

    Good grief. Claire Mart was thanking Alexandra Erin for criticizing a post from somebody call “H” who used a Martin Luther King quote in defense of Schwyzer. On Schwyzer’s January 15 post, Alexandra Erin responded to H by saying,

    Don’t you even start quoting MLK in defense of a man who led the defense of the racist imagery in Amanda Marcotte’s book “It’s A Jungle Out There”, to the considerable detriment of the women of color bloggers who pointed it out.

  235. Nell
    January 18, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    Sarah called ginmar a “bitch” (on a feminist blog) and yet demands our respect.

    It is ginmar to whom Sarah owes an apology and it is ginmar’s prerogative, and no one else’s, to accept or reject that apology.

    The rest of us have neither the right nor the obligation to offer forgiveness to Sarah.

    Not unlike (for the zillionth time!) Hugo’s attempted murder victim – it is she, and only she, who is in a position to grant the forgiveness that might lead to Hugo’s redemption.

    In the meantime, I see nothing in his words or deeds that justifies our entrusting him with a position of leadership in the feminist movement. Quite the contrary in fact.

  236. WitchWolf
    January 18, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    Sarah @ 190

    Hu? What? When did I call him a murderer of woman.

    I have always called him a self proclaimed attempted murderer of a women who came to him for shelter from sexual and possible physical abuse.

    I didn’t lie, period —

    I think you are confusing me with the person who you addressed in your fuzzy non-directed first post where — you claim to know a lawyer —

    I was responding that I too and many more people know lawyers and everyone has an opinion — and can be different. I was also mentioning that even, Hugo, knows lawyers, male, lawyers who told him of course he wouldn’t be punished by merely attempting to kill a women that he deemed needed to die.

  237. Megalodon
    January 18, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    Now that’s weird. Schwyzer’s first response to this whole situation (the one on January 4 called “A Response”) has disappeared. It is not on his chronological blog roll and the url gives an error page. Curious.

  238. piny
    January 18, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    His first response, round the start of the holiday week, was to pluck one off-hand crack at his “wrongness” and use it to laugh off the whole thing. Then, the controversy she did snowball, and his responses have been progressively more elaborate, if not more responsive.

  239. Bostonian
    January 18, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    The comments on that response page were getting really over the top with the MRA dude and whoever the hell H is . But most likely the unfavorable comments needed to be scrubbed, because those were clearly the most coherent comments on the page. H and the MRA were just getting more abusive and made less sense with every post.

  240. j.
    January 18, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    No, PGP. Society’s gendering of emotional reactions are dangerous to women. The solution is not to turn ourselves into Vulcans. The solution is to defend our right to be fully human.

    Sarah, you really need to attend concern troll night school. You’re not very good at this.

    Sheelzebub, careful, she’s going to “call you out” for demeaning weasels by associating them with dishonest people.

    Also, “H.” has to be one of Schwyzer’s thickest and most fatuous defenders. Arguing with them is like arguing with a Young Earth Creationist.

  241. Sandy
    January 18, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    Looks like my comment @ 200 got posted when it was nowhere near done.

    Which, again, isn’t to say that I think the focus on Hugo here is misdirected. It is to say that I have a real hesitance to participate, because I dislike take-down culture generally and because I’m not convinced that next time we’ll all be setting our sights on a worthy target.

    I have deep, heavy reservations about pile-ons, and I dislike take-down culture and the habitual circular firing squad myself, but I can’t get behind this last reason you give here. We shouldn’t try to take down this shitty, sexist faux-feminist man’s platform because the next person we try to take down might not deserve it? That’s assuming some things, there. That’s assuming that this situation is feminist business as usual. I posit that it is not. Hugo’s case–that of a former abuser, an attempted murderer whose privilege enabled him to evade consequences, a victimizer who took advantage of his students, who has risen to prominence and a high-profile position within online feminism, who continues to exhibit gross sexism, classism, and racism in his writings and whose presence in the movement triggers a large number of abuse survivors while he waxes about his past misdeeds and profits from the situation financially–is not run of the mill. Hugo’s case is really extraordinary.

    Jill, I hope things improve for you soon, and while I’m glad you broke your silence on the issue, it’s obviously good and right that you’re putting yourself first.

    Ginmar @ 97:

    #92, how does unequivocally banning him and condemning him and then dumping him give him more attention? This should have been done from the first place, and if it had this would be over and done with.

    Yes. And I disagree with 92 that getting rid of this man in an orchestrated way would do nothing for survivors. As plenty of survivors have come forward to say at this point, Hugo’s leadership presence in feminism makes them feel unsafe, makes them feel angry, makes them know that the feminists who supposedly have their backs (like plenty of people in their real lives who forgave their real-life abusers and expected them to do likewise) are prioritizing this supposedly reformed “slut-herding” abuser over them. Makes them feel like feminism is not a place for them after all.

    NakedCrip @ 126:

    There comes a point where you have to stop saying “MOB MENTALITY” and clutching your pearls and realize that a lot of people have, independently, decided this shit just isn’t okay.

    This.

    I haven’t said anything here that hasn’t been said before, but I wanted to add my voice in support. Because I cannot believe the number of people are totally blowing off survivors in the here and now because Hugo has an engaging and accessible writing style and brought me to feminism, or Hugo has Important Things to say, or Hugo’s just the latest feminist take-down fad by a commentariat that doesn’t know how to be human, or he’s changed doncha know. Of course survivors are not a monolith, WoC are not a monolith, women are not a monolith, but how many have to speak up saying the same damn thing before they’re listened to and not ignored by those who purport to care about marginalized voices? It appears to not matter, because their voices can be easily brushed off while his voice continues to be privileged (expect nothing from Jezebel, and you will not be disappointed).

    At least he won’t be at Feministe, at any rate. A big ‘rock on’ to those behind the campaign that has Hugo’s star receding a little. (I get the sense that it’s organized? I’ve been away for a little while and I can’t look at Facebook because I refuse to make one.) Yeah, we get that there’s no card anyone can take away, but if ever someone deserved to lose his feminist soapbox, it’s this guy.

  242. January 18, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    Yeah, Sarah, you can stop at any time. Stans like you are comparing him to MLK, then accusing critics of racism when they point this out.

  243. WitchWolf
    January 18, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    186
    Tom Foolery 1.18.2012 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    I’ve got a pair of questions for folks who state that the victims are lost here, and that forgiveness/redemption/whatever for Hugo is completely impossible. I caveat this by saying that I think he’s odious, the various armchair diagnoses about his narcism are spot on, and given his personal account, I’m scratching my head as to why he’s not in prison. These are more procedural questions than they are questions about substance.

    I never said that redemption is impossible for Hugo, it can be possible but what has he done to attempt to change his ways or develop in grow in a role where he can seek real redemption not mouthing redemptioning type words. But true actions and a true desire for redemption and not making money off his so called redemption.

    It’s not an armchair diagnoses of NPD, but a repetition of Hugo declaration of his own diagnoses of NPD – and substance abuse.

    1. Hugo pretty clearly states that he was in the throes of serious depression when he attempted to murder his girlfriend, and that afterwards he sought treatment. What role does that disability play in how we judge his behavior?

    This is a complicated issue- yes, mental illness is a serious disability that should be taken very seriously. Just because a person has a mental illness doesn’t mean that they get a free ride for their actions. It doesn’t mean that they can get away with, as in this case, with attempted murder.

    I was abused by someone with BPD, NPD, Bipolar-disorder — For 12 years I was emotionally and physically abused? Does that mean that I have to instantly forgive that person because they have a mental illness or that it’s not really abuse because the person was mentally ill? No, it can be a part of the over all picture of how I view the person. I can empathize with the person (but not sympathize with the person) I can seek understanding, but it doesn’t negate that my life has been forever changed because of the person’s actions.

    They also have the responsibility to get treatment, to get help for their illness and not to abuse others. Is this difficult to do — YES- Is it complicated by the fact that many Narcissists for instance believe that there is nothing wrong with them, or people with Bi-polar disorder might not choose to medicate themselves because they believe they are better and healthy when for others they might be out of control.

    So there isn’t one neat sound bite or instant remedy — but the victims should never be shamed into accepting an apology just because the person has a mental illness.

    2. In terms of the erasure of the victims — while it’s pretty clearly unfair that Hugo gets to speak about his past with a huge megaphone while his victims don’t get to, isn’t it his victim’s prerogative to speak or not to speak about their experience? And if they’ve chosen not to, does that preclude Hugo from speaking about it in any way?

    That’s the point isn’t it? Hugo didn’t talk about his experience to help victims of abuse to see the inner workings of a man spinning out of control, and is looking for redemption. He was talking about his experience to help easy the grief of man who got caught neglecting and animal (property) — He exposed his story not out of concern for the victim but his own self -serving interests.

    He didn’t speak with care and understanding of the victim and has made the story about him – and how bad it was for him. He didn’t use the tale to warn women of men who abuse, in fact he never took responsibility for abuse rather he blamed it on his addiction. He never has paid the price for his actions — so how could he be redeemed in the traditional sense?

  244. Branwen
    January 18, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    OK one more time, narcissism and sociopathy are not “armchair diagnoses” in this case. Hugo has boasted about having officially diagnosed NPD, and coyly hinted that several people have said he has sociopathic tendencies as well. No one is attempting to discredit him using the DSM, he has claimed the labels all on his own. (Not to mention the fact that while those words are associated with psychological labels, they are not JUST that, they also have clear and legitimate meanings in the English language that pre-date any set of diagnostic criteria and which still stand as valid.)

    As for his racism, in addition to the Marcotte debacle, take a look at some of his posts about his students, several of which were linked on the old thread. The comments making fun of the names and personal attire of Asian men in his classes, comments insinuating Latino men are more likely to be violent, comments leaning on the “spicy Latina” stereotype, and much more. It’s all there, out in the open, CURRENT. I’d love to see how one of his rabid stans can blame THAT on his “mental illness” and past drinking problems.

    What I haven’t seen mentioned yet is his current, rabid CLASSISM, a trait which he shares with Ms. Marcotte, who is practically boastful as far as her disdain for all those commoners in society she deems as being beneath herself. Schwyzer and Marcotte are two elitist, smug, classist peas in a pod and they don’t even try to disguise it. Being an elite WASP man and an elite white woman, now that they have been called out on it, I am sure they will soon marshal a fleet of excuses for that too–will it be a psychiatric diagnosis, a traumatic experience, an endocrine disorder, “exhaustion” ala a pop star, a convoluted tirade convoluting the despised “lower classes” with “right-wingers” or will they just outright say we’re “jealous”?

  245. Li
    January 18, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    You know what? I’m not willing to let Hugo be the sole metric by which the positive outcomes of these discussions are measured.

    As much as talking about Hugo grosses me out, I’m happy to have read so many cogent critiques over the last month. I’ve had the opportunity to sharpen my politics in a number of different areas by engaging in these discussions and to read the words of a bunch of smart, engaged people. Being more aware of work by women of colour on transformative justice? Valuable. Having a better set of tools to identify and understand abusers? Valuable. Getting better at situating myself in relationship to feminism? Valuable. And that’s down to the people who kept writing and critiquing no matter how furiously they were represented as unfair, judgmental and emotional.

  246. pheenobarbidoll
    January 18, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    Sarah-

    “Although I have various levels of discomfort in all the work of Hugo’s I’ve read–and have spoken out about it on his comments page and such–I’ve never seen any evidence of him being an actual racist at all. ”

    I have. He has a history of completely dismissing criticism by women of color in his effort to defend white feminists.

    The implications that women of color bloggers are just angry or the idea that white feminists are just doing what woc ask of them and gee, if they don’t do it right why can’t you woc just be happy—yeah. Racist. No other word for it.

  247. pheenobarbidoll
    January 18, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    Oh as well as his racist descriptors of woc and moc.

    I don’t appreciate your blindness to racism. Nor your attempt to defend it by questioning WOC’s experiences with ” well *I* didn’t see it”.

  248. Tony_
    January 18, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    Privilege is a structural problem. Enshrined inequality. A set of practices that must be recognized, fought against and abolished. People (including your hero) who actively use their privilege to keep an unjust system intact in order to elevate themselves *are my political enemies*. Why shouldn’t they be?! They are already actively working against my interests and those of others similarly situated. I’m not going to make their job easier by pretending this isn’t the case.

    I mean, with the exception of his sex, doesn’t this same critique apply to most of the well known white feminist bloggers, as well as a great deal of feminist academics, who have benefitted in some way from class and/or race privilege?

    But, here you’ve highlighted another structural problem within (organized; mainstream; white middle-class; however you want to put it) feminism—not only has it internalized the pre-existing kyriarchy, but it has no structural framework with which to recognize and/or combat this kyriarchy.

    So the purge of Hugo is a substitute, unstructural way to combat the kyriarchy? Is that it? What weight/role do the specific accusations and characterizations against Hugo have in the calls for him to be pushed out and what weight/role has this larger contextual critique that you’re bringing in (but which has been emphasized less than the former in the discussion)?

  249. sunhawk
    January 18, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    Firstly, I’m a little confused by what Jill means by “So to that end, I won’t be linking to Hugo’s work. I’m not going to promote his work.” because the interview with Hugo is still up unmodified, what does her declaration mean in terms of practical application – are you going to remove that article wholesale or just take down the actual article and replace it with a link to this article but leave the comments intact?

    Secondly, I’m baffled by the criticism that people have done anything wrong by wanting to spread the word about Hugo. We all know, as any student of the history of activism knows, that sometimes the best way to get people’s attention is to be loud and angry, that suggesting that anger and emotion are negative factors is pretty much a typical derailment by those seeking to discredit feminism. Obviously this guy has been around for far longer than he should have been in our feminist spaces, I guess it was easier to ignore the anger of other feminists when it touched on racism and classism, or he wrote stuff that wasn’t quite the level of “I tried to murder my ex” or “I raped my girlfriend”, but there are many questionable articles that Hugo has written that we should have had this conversation about excluding him years ago. If anything, I don’t think we denounce people enough when it comes to bad allies, let alone other feminists enacting a hurtful interpretation of feminism, I don’t think we’ve ever run the risk of starting some sort of denouncement snowball that we can’t control. Instead of addressing our collective failure to exclude Hugo long before now, some people are trying to condemn the call out? That’s really disappointing. The backlash against Hugo is merely a mirror being held up to our face, we need to see what the mirror is showing us and work to be better feminists, we need to get past any cognitive dissonance or discomfort, and so many people have explained the problems with extreme patience and eloquence, I think it’s disingenuous for anyone to say they don’t see what the problem is.

    All this talk of blacklisting sites and how unfair we’re being to Hugo, if you really want to create spaces that focus on victims over abusers, part of that effort is giving victims info beforehand about every website if there is a risk that something on that website will trigger them or make them feel victimized again, that’s what safe spaces are about. If any site out there hosts anything Hugo has written, survivors deserve to know about it. If any site out there sympathizes with Hugo or other abusers like Hugo, survivors deserve to know about it, so they can avoid those sites. Some people have a certain criteria of what makes a space “safe” and if your site doesn’t meet it, then it doesn’t meet it. You can either work towards more accommodation or decide your line lies elsewhere and accept that some people will not want to participate on your site as as result.

    Also Sarah your posts have become increasingly victim-blaming and just plain gross – all your questions about the accuracy of whether the women that Hugo tried to kill and whether it really happened, they sound word for word like out of a rape culture handbook. You should know that whether the violence against women has been reported to the police means nothing, you should know that not pressing charges is not an admission of anything on the part of the victim, and if you don’t know enough about rape culture or the statistics for reporting rape and assault to know how wrong your comments are, maybe you should go read about it before you post anything else.

  250. January 18, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    People keep crediting me with comment #92; I didn’t write it. I wrote 90 and 99, amongst others. Don’t ask me to look, please. Also, my hands aren’t clean so I’m not going to get too riled up about that troll.

    Someone asked how he got away with it for so long. Well, several years ago, a bunch of feminists (including myself) got disgusted with the way he and other (not always male) allies coddled MRAs in their comments that we objected and the response we got from the big blogs—-all routinely run by college-educated women—-was, “Don’t rock the boat, you’re crazy, you’re a troublemaker.” How come the guy who committed the original offense—and gets away with it because of the prevailing mood being, “Oh, shut up, you’re making everything less kumbayah”—is never the trouble maker, only the person who refuses to give up? How come the act of complaining is seen as weak, when often times you have a whole community arrayed against you?

    And if you dare to remember, you’re carrying a grudge. Sour grapes. Scorned. It’s amazing how many stereotypes you can invoke even if you don’t actually use them word for word—and how people will cling to that defense, as if ‘welfare queen’ refers to a down-on-her-luck monarch who has sunk so low as to need assistance.

    This was before Amp selling his blog to porn makers, and the prevailing thought process seemed to be: Well, we can’t do anything about him, so it’s you who are reminding us of him, so it’s you we’re going to shut down. They said all the same things as do Hugo’s defenders: oh shut up, let it go, this is not helping, mob!, witch hunt, torches, pitchforks. And crazy. Can’t forget crazy. And angry. Everybody else accepts him, he’s harmless. He’s inoffensive. Us lower class and low class women? We were offensive. Not him. Never him.

    Hugo’s defenders are following the playbook to the last note. I won’t re-iterate all the things they’ve said. But what’s wrong with discussing this till we’re happy with it? Why do so many people find it so threatening that we want to get to the bottom of this, make up our minds, and take a firm stand? We’ll be done when we’re done.

    Some of the stuff his stans are using are the sort of thing every girl hears in school, when some boy pulls her hair or her skirt and the teacher brushes it off with, “He likes you!” The idea that liking us would produce behavior that is more considerate rather than less is apparently unthinkable.

    People are really really eager to shut people up. What happens if we follow the string to its end? What would we find out? That it’s better to focus on faux troublemakers and blame them for trouble rather than on the actual trouble makers, and the fact that so many people would rather just let problems lie, instead of fighting them all the time, every time? That the actual troublemakers are coasting because people just don’t want to give a shit? That people have been complaining about Hugo for years and it wasn’t good enough till he confirmed it himself with his odious confessions?

    Just his own confessions are enough. It’s easy to say you’re sorry. Why are so many people devoted to playing Nice Girl and let him off the hook?

  251. Branwen
    January 18, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    “So the purge of Hugo is a substitute, unstructural way to combat the kyriarchy? Is that it? ”

    No, he is not being used as a scapegoat. He has been pushed out of the movement because he is actively harmful to women and has no place calling himself a feminist leader, “mentoring” young women, or teaching feminism to anyone.

  252. Sheelzebub
    January 18, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    Do you think Hugo is entitled to a leadership position within this movement? Do you think he’s entitled to speak for women? Do you think he’s entitled to teach about misogyny given his serious issues with misogyny?

    I mean, really, that’s what it boils down to, doesn’t it? It’s somehow criminal that a lot of women are uncomfortable with him speaking on our behalf, teaching people about misogyny when he not only benefits from misogyny but he has done actively misogynist things and continues to minimize them, and receiving credibility within a movement that is frankly unearned.

    It isn’t about “can men be feminists” or “can men be allies” or whatthefuckever. It’s “does a man who tried to kill his ex and allowed the cops to believe that it was a suicide pact, used her as more redemption wank-fodder, and routinely shut down WOC have the right to lead this movement”?

    A lot of prominent (and mostly White) feminists seem to think so.

    And I’ll say it again: if he was truly contrite, if he truly gave a fuck about the movement, he would not only understand the vitriol and outrage and take a step back, he wouldn’t have been angling for leadership positions and speaking gigs associated with the movement in the first place. He’d realize that he couldn’t just come in and run shit. He’d butt the fuck out in arguments among women (a la “if it’s stealing you’d better prove it”).

    And if his supporters gave a flying fuck about the movement, they’d advise him to do this very thing, and refrain from shaming women who have valid criticisms of the outsize role and credibility he has.

  253. Hari B
    January 18, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    j.–““You’re just as bad as Hugo! And stop being so RAGEY!!”

    Keep that critical thinking rollin’ in, Hari.”

    ?WTF? Oh right…we don’t have precisely the same viewpoint, which pisses you off, so you pick out a few words of mine to fit to the image of me you’d like to create…so creative of you. Such high level critical thinking, I really need to take a page from your book!

    Just in case you’ll actually read (and attempt to honestly understand) my words this time: Wasn’t telling anyone to “stop being so RAGEY”. I was saying–am still saying–that pointing your rage for HS, at allies like Jill, is out of line and does nothing so much as tear down the cause you would promote.

    Rage has it’s uses, and I’m all for it–when pointed in the proper direction, and made good creative use of. You want to be ragey at anyone within range who doesn’t exactly agree with your view of a problem and how to solve it? Drive away possible allies while wasting energy better spent making plans against the target of rage, with people who DO agree with you? mOkayyyy! Feel free. Just don’t expect those who know they are NOT the cause of your rage to take it politely or silently when you target them with your rage.

  254. January 18, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    How come people always complain about scapegoats only when the guy is dead-to-rights guilty and everybody knows it?

  255. Branwen
    January 18, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    “Rage has it’s uses, and I’m all for it–when pointed in the proper direction, and made good creative use of. ”

    I think the use of our anger to cause Schwyzer to lose a platform or three was a great productive use of anger, don’t you? I mean this is basic feminism, calling out a racist, classist misogynist and admitted abuser of women and discrediting his attempts to rewrite feminism to suit his needs. He’s not going to be lecturing teen girls about body image–because we got angry and moved to put a stop to it by drawing attention to his actions. He’s not going to be influencing teen girls looking for advice on sex–because we got angry and drew attention to his problematic views and got his articles removed from a big, influential site. He’s even reconsidering teaching women’s studies, because we got angry and made that position uncomfortable for him. Without anger, none of this would have happened. So can the shaming woo crap about negativity, please.

  256. FashionablyEvil
    January 18, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    Well, several years ago, a bunch of feminists (including myself) got disgusted with the way he and other (not always male) allies coddled MRAs in their comments that we objected and the response we got from the big blogs—-all routinely run by college-educated women—-was, “Don’t rock the boat, you’re crazy, you’re a troublemaker.” How come the guy who committed the original offense—and gets away with it because of the prevailing mood being, “Oh, shut up, you’re making everything less kumbayah”—is never the trouble maker, only the person who refuses to give up? How come the act of complaining is seen as weak, when often times you have a whole community arrayed against you?

    I’m not totally sure if this is rhetorical question or not, but people in power protect their own. When you’re questioning someone in power, you are rocking the boat: You are suggesting that things are not as they should be. And the people in power are very invested in things as they currently are–they have power under that scenario.

    There’s also the ugliness of “You’re just jealous!” which just adds a whole ‘nother layer of nastiness to the responses.

  257. piny
    January 18, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    THANK YOU.

  258. Tony_
    January 18, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    How come people always complain about scapegoats only when the guy is dead-to-rights guilty and everybody knows it?

    The only one to complain about scapegoats is ilyka @ 218. Branwen responded to a comment of mine, which was not directed at hir, specifically direct at someone else, and was a question responding to somethinv specific that they wrote. The only one who can respond to it is La Lubu.

    Branwen: Using this incident to fight the kyriarchy could be scapegoating, or it could be a legitimate way to circumvent the the lack of a ‘structured framework’ to fight the ways in which kyriarchy does permeate ‘mainstream’ feminism. Your interpretation of my question wasn’t the only way that it was meant to be interpreted.

  259. piny
    January 18, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    I was overwhelmingly clear in the post that I don’t think that most of the criticisms of Hugo, and even the efforts to remove him from certain publications and positions, are “playing the take-down game for sport.” If you’re determined to accuse me of saying something I didn’t, though, there’s really nothing I can do about that, and it’s definitely nothing new.

    Yes, well, chum in the water and all that.

    So…what are the criticisms of Hugo that are take-downs for sport? Have there been any? Is this threatening to turn into the bad kind of call out, the cultural kind?

  260. Kristen J.
    January 18, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    I’m surprised no one has brought up the idea that he may have made up the whole story to fit his redemption narrative. There is at least some evidence that he materially altered key facts over time.

    http://studentactivism.net/2012/01/07/was-hugo-schwyzers-confession-embellished/

    In which case he is not a candidate for redemption, but is instead using abusive narratives to forward his position within the feminist community.

  261. pheenobarbidoll
    January 18, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    Kristen J- Ha! You posted that as I was sitting here pondering the idea he may have made the whole thing up in a stupid, weak attempt to be all ” look how faaaaaar I’ve come”.

  262. piny
    January 18, 2012 at 5:23 pm

    …It sounds more like he changed the account to sound less dangerous to this woman. He gets to take responsibility for not getting them killed after all.

  263. pheenobarbidoll
    January 18, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    Or he waited until he was sure he wouldn’t face any real consequences before telling the whole story.

    Either way, none of the scenarios depict any CHANGE that we should be praising.

    And it still doesn’t magically disappear the fact he’s a fucking racist.

  264. Kristen J.
    January 18, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    Also re: Libel

    Please, please, please don’t play gotcha amateur lawyer on a blog with so many lawyer bloggers and commentors. We know you’re full of shit. FYI, the laws on defamation are well settled and readily accessible to lay persons through sources like Citizen Media Law or even EFF’s internet law treatise.

  265. January 18, 2012 at 5:35 pm

    What Branwen said @ 262. Hugo is not a “scapegoat” for kyriarchy, but an agent of it, *as evidenced by his actions*. What he *does*. What he’s *still doing*.

    Hey, Tony….know what happened yesterday? Over a million signatures were delivered in Wisconsin to recall Governor Scott Walker. Twice the number required. Hell, Wisconsin only has a population of 5.6 million (my source for all the above: Shakesville….I’d provide the link if I wasn’t on my phone). So, while Gov. Walker is hardly “The Kyriarchy” (TM)….I still think it’s a good thing that he will likely be tossed out on his ass in November, no longer able to do damage.

    We won’t have any systemic, structural way to combat the racism, classism, heterosexism, etc. within the currently narrow confines of (let’s go ahead and say it) Commercial Feminism until and unless the voices of women outside its narrow boundaries are respected, promoted, valued, and taught. Personally, I think the way forward to that end is to develop our own structures, our own feminisms that address our own issues, and act in solidarity with other women similarly situated. Women of color have already been providing this model for decades.

  266. Kristen J.
    January 18, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    @Piny

    Maybe. He changed it from “accidentally” to intentional tho…that seems like a pretty drastic revision. I believe the SOL ran regardless so maybe he changed his story and became more “open” after consulting with an attorney. Doesn’t explain why he edited the earlier version tho. I mean wouldn’t explaining the change of heart make more sense than revising a post from 07? Doesn’t that just raise more questions about your authenticity? I don’t feel strongly either way on this, I just wanted to add it to the mix since it seems like an important fact weighing on his trustworthiness.

  267. Tony_
    January 18, 2012 at 5:50 pm

    What Branwen said @ 262. Hugo is not a “scapegoat” for kyriarchy, but an agent of it, *as evidenced by his actions*. What he *does*. What he’s *still doing*.

    Ok, so according to you it goes back to his actions. All that stuff about how privilege inherently creates conflicts because it is a power dynamic, structural problems, enshrined inequality and your life experience is tangential– the most important thing is What Hugo Did. That’s fine– that’s the assumption I was operating under prior to reading any of your posts in this thread… and as I’ve already said that we have different interpretations of his actions.

    Actually, though, I do think it’s about more than his actions. It’s about the ideological imperative. We’ve seen this played out before. The actions are the props that allow the play to take place, but the script was written long ago. Fair enough. In this game, the ideological imperative is the end goal and it’s inherently a collective enterprise, so individuals must subsume themselves down to it, including Hugo.

  268. January 18, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    We’ve seen this played out before. The actions are the props that allow the play to take place, but the script was written long ago. Fair enough. In this game, the ideological imperative is the end goal and it’s inherently a collective enterprise, so individuals must subsume themselves down to it, including Hugo.

    Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

  269. Hari B
    January 18, 2012 at 6:07 pm

    Branwen: “Without anger, none of this would have happened.”

    Awesome. Been there, done that–it’s what the rage is for.

    “So can the shaming woo crap about negativity, please.”

    How bout YOU cut the projection of shame and negativity, Branwen? Ain’t Jill’s fault, what that asshole did. Ain’t my fault he did it, either. Ain’t anyone’s job but your own to feel what you feel and make choices about how to act on your feelings. It doesn’t make you a better feminist to be willing to blast everyone in sight with your rage–which is *exactly* your way of shaming me and others who dare to disagree with you. It doesn’t make me a worse feminist, to choose another way of acting on my own rage toward a perpetrator.

    I totally GET the rage at the perpetrator, I share that much with you. And I don’t LIKE the way you and some others here throw your shit around, all over people who didn’t earn the rage. See, to me, it just makes you guys another kind of perpetrator–bullies, yourselves.

  270. a survivor
    January 18, 2012 at 6:07 pm

    As plenty of survivors have come forward to say at this point, Hugo’s leadership presence in feminism makes them feel unsafe, makes them feel angry, makes them know that the feminists who supposedly have their backs (like plenty of people in their real lives who forgave their real-life abusers and expected them to do likewise) are prioritizing this supposedly reformed “slut-herding” abuser over them.

    THANK YOU. The public defenses (and jusitifications, minimizations, red herrings on “redemption,” etc.) of Hugo mirror very closely what so many of us encounter in our day-to-day lives as survivors, and that’s exactly why this whole thing is so triggering.

    I keep thinking about Kyle Payne and what happened with him back in ’08. I can’t for the life of me figure out why saying, “Hey, this guy Schwyzer is no good for feminism, let’s all please stop giving him a platform,” is even a controversial stance to take. I can’t think of one feminist who defended Kyle Payne, least of all Hugo (I’m not going to link to his blog, but see his “Open Letter to Kyle Payne” from ’09 if you’re wondering and you’re prepared to stomach some of the most blatant, disgusting hypocracy you’ve ever seen), so why in the hell is anyone defending a racist, classist, sexist abuser’s “right” to take up valuble space in a movement dedicated to ending racism, classism, sexism, and abuse?

    I really, really don’t get it. And it’s upsetting and disheartening to keep reading these defenses, but I’m also glad we’re having this conversation, and glad, like another commenter mentioned, to be learning some valuble things from it. I really appreciate the comments from ginmar, pheenobarbidoll, sheelzebub, branwen, megalodon, li, and others.

  271. Branwen
    January 18, 2012 at 6:09 pm

    You know I’ve gotten “A” marks on a course about the likes of Judith Butler, but I feel like I need Google Translate to comprehend wtf you’re on about, Tony.

    How hard is it to comprehend: Hugo took the position of “educating” women about feminism. Telling us how we should feel about sexuality, about body image, how to raise strong daughters, etc. Yet he had a history of abusing women, and a present of unexamined sexism, racism, and classism. He clearly still sees women as lesser, as props. It was inappropriate for him to presume to lead and “educate” feminists. It was apparent he was using this role in an inappropriate way, also. His presence in the movement, especially as a leader, especially in the role of silencing women (particularly women of color) was triggering to many women, and actively harmful. So, women gathered together to shut down his harmful role and raise awareness about what he was doing. We’re feminists; drawing attention to bad acts by men in power (ie the American Apparel guy, religious leaders, politicians, Polanski) is what we do.

  272. Bostonian
    January 18, 2012 at 6:20 pm

    Hugo moved his response page over here



    And is getting his usual tongue bath in the comments

  273. Bostonian
    January 18, 2012 at 6:21 pm
  274. Li
    January 18, 2012 at 6:26 pm

    Ugh, Bostonian, on top of all the other issues, that Hugo insisted that he would only engage in discussion in a safe space and that he would be the one to determine which spaces qualified as safe makes me fucking furious. But then, people appropriating the language of safer spaces to insulate their own privilege is a particular pet peeve of mine.

  275. Lorobird
    January 18, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    I’m with ginmar on this one. Hugo is a massively narcissistic man, he wears feminism like a bloody badge and deserves zero forgiveness from anyone, and we need to stop this bullshit and just shut him out of the discussion because he is simply not worth it. So, total campaign is probably too much effort – but ‘forgiving’ him, or treating him like he’s a victim? Yeah, no fucking way. I mean he’s also a racist, he didn’t just stop at trying to kill his partner.

    That said, it’s not up to Jill to lead any witch hunt or anything of the sort. I wish her the best in her recovery, and if anyone tries to pin responsibility on anyone else because they aren’t “doing enough”, well, fuck them too. Thanks for the balanced and calmed post, Jill.

  276. IrishUp
    January 18, 2012 at 6:34 pm

    “But then, people appropriating the language of safer spaces to insulate their own privilege is a particular pet peeve of mine.”

    This is also a typical abuser tactic; co-opting a successful defense or strategy of your target to use *back* against them. It’s (temporarily) confusing, if not down-right paralyzing, to be accused of the same behavior you’re trying to set boundaries against.

  277. January 18, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    It’s about the ideological imperative.

    No, son. It’s about survival. Of course we’re going to have different interpretations about what actions are harmful and triaging whether or not those harmful actions can/will impact us. We are differently situated. You seem to have a highly individualistic view of how/why one holds a political (or ideological, or historical, or pedogogical, or whathaveyou) perspective. I’m a firm believer that one’s perspective necessarily stems from one’s reality; that perspective is not an intellectual exercise but one of survival in every sense of the word. We get to where we’re going based on where we’ve been. It doesn’t serve me to take on perspectives that are detrimental to my being (if that doesn’t make sense to you, I don’t know what will).

    So. I’m not a believer in the Feminist Borg. I firmly believe that there is more feminism in the labor movement than there is in today’s feminist movement—mostly because the labor movement addresses everyday needs with more clarity, effectiveness, and immediacy than the feminist movement does (and has for quite awhile). I’m not concerned with “ideology”, as I can guarantee you that there is a lot of disagreement about the direction, history and future of the feminist movement from the commentariat here. We won’t all agree on where we’ve been and where we’re going and how we’re going to get there, because Class Woman sweeps many intersecting spectrums; we do not all have the same experiences because we are Class Woman (and there’s feminists who disagree with that statement. They’re wrong, but…hey). That’s why I think the way forward is via structures and organizing methods similar to the labor movement. But anyway…

    Don’t you find it interesting that there is such strong consensus amongst feminists (womanists, mujeristas, women’s liberationists, etc.) on Hugo? It shouldn’t be surprising that such a broad spectrum of women working toward liberation should hold that consensus, considering his actions….but it’s worth paying attention to the fact that so many women who normally disagree on a lot of structural and procedural actions re:feminism wholeheartedly agree that Hugo should have no part in speaking by, for, or as a feminist in public venues.

    Perhaps he speaks for you. He has never spoken for me. I resent the implication that he is being dismissed by women within the feminist movement for “ideological” reasons. He simply isn’t a feminist, period, exclamation mark. Feminist men (or men allied with feminism—I don’t really have feelings one way of the other how men in favor of women’s liberation identify as feminists, but that’s just me) don’t do what he has done and is doing.

    I don’t care what he does with his life. I don’t care if he is reformed, redeemed, whatever. From what I know of him, I don’t care to have anything to do with him—and that is not based on “ideology”, but practicality and experience. I find it easier not to trust those who’ve proven themselves to be untrustworthy. (again, if you don’t understand that, I don’t know that I can explain it to you. You haven’t had a good track record around here of listening to women, so perhaps reading some Gavin DeBecker will bring you around to some understanding).

    I don’t want him speaking for feminism. I don’t want there to be any confusion that he does not and cannot speak for me. I don’t want his voice privileged over the voices of women. I especially do not care to see his voice privileged over the voices of brilliant women of color as it has been and continues to be. I suggest you follow some of the links LotusBen has posted.

    You believe that he is a scapegoat, subsuming himself (or being placed in that position) for ideological purposes. The folks who’ve been posting on this thread and previous threads, the ones you haven’t been paying attention to, are very clear about the fact that he should never have been elevated to the ranks of feminist spokesperson in the first instance based on his existing racism and classism, his past practice of sexual exploitation of his students (a de facto abuse of power) and are incensed that the bar is set so low by those who share his privileges/identities that even in the case of attempted murder there whould be any “yeah, but…..forgiveness!” from anyone.

    Frankly, why this would be any more controversial than open calls for Newt Gingrich to not be recognized as speaking for feminists, I have no idea. You’ll have to explain that one to me.

  278. ilyka
    January 18, 2012 at 6:50 pm

    I was overwhelmingly clear in the post that I don’t think that most of the criticisms of Hugo, and even the efforts to remove him from certain publications and positions, are “playing the take-down game for sport.” If you’re determined to accuse me of saying something I didn’t, though, there’s really nothing I can do about that, and it’s definitely nothing new.

    I am not going to insult your intelligence by presuming you don’t know what dog whistling is, nor by belaboring the point that “yes, but” can take many other forms besides the two-word phrase, “yes, but.”

    I AM going to call bullshit on my being “determined to accuse [you] of saying something [you] didn’t.” Oh sure, that’s why I made certain to use direct quotes from your post, which all but “trashing” were.

    And you know, I stopped citing those phrases about halfway through your post, both because over-citing is tedious to read, and because I thought I’d provided enough direct quotes to forestall a “that’s not what I said” defense. Reading this response from you, I don’t think my continuing on, making sure to list all of them would have made any difference–you probably aren’t going to read Nanette, and you probably aren’t going to consider whether the dynamic she outlines might be playing a role in your use of these dog-whistle phrases. As you say, there’s nothing I can do about that, and it’s definitely not new.

    But it’s too bad. The first part of your post makes sense, rings true, and (I thought) was generally supportive, while nonetheless explaining why you’re limiting your investment in the matter. That’s your right; that’s every woman’s right. Won’t fault it.

    It’s when you get here:

    I frankly don’t trust a group of people on the internet to always choose the right person from whom to demand blood. Which, again, isn’t to say that I think the focus on Hugo here is misdirected. It is to say that I have a real hesitance to participate, because I dislike take-down culture generally and because I’m not convinced that next time we’ll all be setting our sights on a worthy target.

    –that the record screeches.

    I’ll be blunt: People have been asking me why I think there has been some reluctance on the part of some feminists to just dash off a quick “Hugo isn’t welcome here anymore” post. And I’ve said that my best guess is that somewhere, off in the listservs and backchannels, someone is apparently making a very persuasive slippery-slope, there-but-for-the-grace-of-God-go-we type of argument.

    Worrying that next time, “we” won’t be “setting our sights on a worthy target” only scans if Hugo is implicitly part of that “we.” See, because no one did this with Michael Moore–well, no feminists I saw, let me amend. I didn’t see any feminists worrying that if we used the #mooreandme hashtag, next time it might be one of us the feminist community came gunning for. Michael Moore, though part of a progressive community, was not felt to be part of a feminist community. So, no worries about who might be “next.”

    I don’t get why Hugo Schwyzer is felt to be part of a feminist community in light of the revelations of the last three weeks, and so I don’t understand the fear that ostracizing him, separating an admitted predator from potential prey, is heading down a slippery slope.

    This does not mean I don’t understand what you’re saying about events snowballing on the internet–I would remind you of that one time I made intemperate remarks about someone’s funny, funny sandwich Photoshop, and received a face full of over 700 comments denouncing me as a Republican agent for getting out of line like that. Call-out culture? Yeah, I might have heard some about that. Participated in it, too.

    But I resent like all hell any implication that “a group of people on the internet”–not survivors, not victims, not women–who want some distance between themselves and Hugo are leading everyone down a treacherous slippery slope and oh dear, Who Knows Where It Could Lead? Where Will It End? What If One of Us Is Next?

    Again: These concerns don’t make sense unless Hugo IS “one of us.” Think about it, or don’t.

  279. January 18, 2012 at 7:10 pm

    I especially do not care to see his voice privileged over the voices of brilliant women of color as it has been and continues to be. I suggest you follow some of the links LotusBen has posted.

    BTW, I think this particular statement needs some clarity. If you are wondering why I don’t specifically name the women I am thinking of, it is because they have been treated miserably in this place, and even worse by Hugo. I will not name them or link them in this space unless specifically given permission to by the women themselves. They don’t need any further hostility that would likely be generated from such mention here.

  280. Kristen J.
    January 18, 2012 at 7:37 pm

    I’ll be blunt: People have been asking me why I think there has been some reluctance on the part of some feminists to just dash off a quick “Hugo isn’t welcome here anymore” post. And I’ve said that my best guess is that somewhere, off in the listservs and backchannels, someone is apparently making a very persuasive slippery-slope, there-but-for-the-grace-of-God-go-we type of argument.

    This would make more sense if Jill hadn’t discussed her view of this dynamic outside of this context. I saw this particular section as referencing her prior views rather than being specifically about Hugo (which is essentially what she says). But ymmv.

  281. Tony_
    January 18, 2012 at 7:57 pm

    La Lubu,

    When I use the word “ideological” it’s not meant as disparaging as you seem to be taking it, it really isn’t. Nor was my earlier question a hint at scapegoating, as a couple people appear to have interpreted it as. I never said scapegoating. I have been listening to you, and what I have been getting from your comments, and the comments of numerous other women here, is a sense that this incident is can’t be looked at atomistically, that there’s a larger context to it all.

    When I look at this atomistically (without context), I do run into trouble. I mean, when I read off the long list of characterizations of Hugo as a racist, sexist, classist, abuser, etc. of course I agree that he should be taken down. How could I not? It’s obvious. He’s a scumbag. To be brutally honest, it’s just that when I go to Hugo’s blog and read the things that he’s written, his comments in what LotusBen linked, what other people linked, I don’t get that sense that the complete picture of him is X and Y and Z as he’s being accused. He’s certainly said and written a lot of sketchy stuff, that perhaps he needs to answer for. But he’s also been writing for years, and I can easily see a genuinely reformed, well intentioned person making a few such mistakes. I don’t know him personally. I just can’t convict (or acquit) him in my mind. Perhaps that’s just my blindness. Maybe it’s an egregious one– but it’s neither here nor there, and I really don’t want to argue it any more. My opinion on this particular matter should not be important, since this is about what women think, and women have spoken. I’m willing to set that aside.

    There’s nothing wrong with ideology here. One definition of ideology is “a body of ideas that reflects the beliefs and interests of a nation, political system, etc and underlies political action”. “the body of doctrine, myth, belief, etc. that guides an individual, social movement, institution, class, or large group” What is wrong with that? Nothing. Feminism, or whatever you want to call any political work that upholds equality and social justice and is backed up by a set of well-developed theories and ideas, is an ideology. It is also women’s lives. It is also survival. It is also struggle.

    That Hugo has to subsume himself for this ideology– all it means to me is that, although I haven’t convicted him in my mind of what he is accused of– I understand that his right or whatever to have a career cannot be disentangled from the content of what that career is. Namely, feminism, an ideology, with normative content. In other words, if he were to “win” this fight (and it looks like he’s not going to) what would be the consequences for feminism, and would it be worth it? In other words, the very fact that so many women have already spoken out against him, on an issue of gendered violence, has turned this into a power play. That he placed himself in this vulnerable position, is his fault and I do hold him responsible for. There are two outcomes to this power play– the privileged, tenured guy with the speaking and writing gigs prevails, or the survivors who have spoken out against him prevail. Only one of these outcomes is compatible with damage to the kyriarchy, the other upholds it.

    No doubt you find these a lot of mental gymnastics on something you see as very simple. Perhaps you don’t agree with the way that I’ve arrived at my conclusion. But why does it matter? My voice should not be important, and I’m worried that I’ve commented already too much. In any case, the end result is that I now agree with his exclusion from explicitly feminist spaces, whereas previously I disagreed with it.

  282. suspect class
    January 18, 2012 at 8:06 pm

    Also re: Libel

    Please, please, please don’t play gotcha amateur lawyer on a blog with so many lawyer bloggers and commentors. We know you’re full of shit. FYI, the laws on defamation are well settled and readily accessible to lay persons through sources like Citizen Media Law or even EFF’s internet law treatise.

    Thank you!

  283. shfree
    January 18, 2012 at 8:07 pm

    Ugh, Bostonian, on top of all the other issues, that Hugo insisted that he would only engage in discussion in a safe space and that he would be the one to determine which spaces qualified as safe makes me fucking furious. But then, people appropriating the language of safer spaces to insulate their own privilege is a particular pet peeve of mine.

    That also drove me up the stinking wall. HE was not the survivor. HE was not the one that needed the safe space, because his words were the trigger.

    Anyway. He has always smelled off to me, and I’m glad he won’t be supported from Feministe, and I’m extremely happy that Scarleteen cut him off, because I’m getting ready to point my daughter there. But how each blogger opts to deal with the Hugo situation is their own call, just as it is each of our own. I stopped going to Jezebel a while ago, and they guaranteed I won’t be back. And I never had much interest in Pandangon, the whole kerfuffle with the book and the nastiness with bfp put me off it for good. If I felt uncomfortable enough by the stance of the bloggers here, I would leave the site. And given that I’m prone to a shunning tactic, I’m comfortable enough with the positions they have taken as individuals thus far.

  284. Politicalguineapig
    January 18, 2012 at 8:48 pm

    J: Why not turn ourselves into Vulcans? Men respect Vulcans and hate emotional displays. Therefore, if women keep their emotions bottled up and exhibit a stiff upper lip, men will respect them more.

  285. LotusBen
    January 18, 2012 at 9:08 pm

    Politicalguineapig. . .I seem to remember on another thread you said women should deal with rapists by burning down their houses or coming at them with Glocks. Not that I necessarily disagree with that, but it seems strange that a person who expressed such a vigorous sentiment should be so oddly demure on the topic of whether expressing strong emotions is appropriate. You really think that sexist men will stop being sexist if women resort to Vulcan logic rather than anger?

  286. librarygoose
    January 18, 2012 at 9:40 pm

    We could all reach the level that Spock reached eventually, and decide that the best use of emotions is to learn to integrate them into ourselves, not to suppress or be controlled by them.

    Or we could go through Kolinar, and never have emotions again (but make our moms sad).

  287. PrettyAmiable
    January 18, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    But he’s also been writing for years, and I can easily see a genuinely reformed, well intentioned person making a few such mistakes.

    Why do you think he’s “genuinely reformed”?

    I don’t think anyone would accuse you of doing mental gymnastics. It’s pretty clear you haven’t put much thought into this at all. Every comment you’ve left on this thread is the same privileged crap that’s been spouted about Hugo since this issue has come to light except that you’ve consulted a thesaurus in advance. But whether the whining is coming from you or Amanda Marcotte or Hugo’s other fan club members who think it’s appropriate to advance the voice of an abuser over the voices of survivors, it really all sounds the same.

  288. Tom Foolery
    January 18, 2012 at 10:22 pm

    Why not turn ourselves into Vulcans? Men respect Vulcans and hate emotional displays. Therefore, if women keep their emotions bottled up and exhibit a stiff upper lip, men will respect them more.

    I used to think you were engaged in a byzantine act of satirical performance art with your comments, but now I’m genuinely wondering if you are, in fact, an alien sent to this planet to study us.

  289. January 18, 2012 at 10:22 pm

    Or we could go through Kolinar, and never have emotions again (but make our moms sad).

    I’m torn between cracking all the way up and having a rollicking side-tracking argument about the proper spelling of “Kolinahr”.

  290. librarygoose
    January 18, 2012 at 11:04 pm

    I’m torn between cracking all the way up and having a rollicking side-tracking argument about the proper spelling of “Kolinahr”.

    You see, I thought it had the “h”. But when I checked the it wasn’t there. I really do think it’s spelled with the h though. So criticism accepted.

  291. LC
    January 18, 2012 at 11:21 pm

    That was the worst rollicking side-tracking argument ever.

    I am disappointed.

  292. librarygoose
    January 18, 2012 at 11:23 pm

    …Anyone want to sidetrack argue over the new movie(s)? I, for one, view them as visual fan fic but refuse to include them into canon. I still like the first one though.

  293. Politicalguineapig
    January 18, 2012 at 11:43 pm

    TF: I am very non-neurotypical, for a start (possibly close to Asperger’s, but I have enough alphabet soup diagnoses to not want a new one.) Secondly, I spent a long time, from the age of eight, deconditioning myself from the idea of being a girl. It worked, but I don’t understand women very well as a result, and I understand men even less.
    Any way, on with the trainwreck.

  294. LC
    January 18, 2012 at 11:46 pm

    Wait, there are more than one new movie?

    I enjoyed the first, but thought trying to tie them in via time travel was a terrible idea. Just embrace the fact you are rebooting and don’t apologize for it.

  295. librarygoose
    January 18, 2012 at 11:52 pm

    I include the one that hasn’t been released yet, because Benedict Cumberbatch.

  296. LC
    January 18, 2012 at 11:58 pm

    Clearly I am behind on my film gossip.

  297. January 19, 2012 at 12:00 am

    Someone mentioned way elsewhere that the new movie should have tribbles in it.  I decided that if this happens, I will rage-quit the world.  The entire world.

    Also, librarygoose, I read a whole lot of non-canon fanfic (translated: “the numbered novels”), and so I have seen a whole mess’o spellings, so it’s hard to tell.

  298. LC
    January 19, 2012 at 12:00 am

    Of course, I kind of want Naveen Andrews as Kahn if we are rebooting.

  299. librarygoose
    January 19, 2012 at 12:54 am

    Someone mentioned way elsewhere that the new movie should have tribbles in it. I decided that if this happens, I will rage-quit the world. The entire world.

    Seriously? If so, I want to join your rage-quit. I will flounce so hard I will rip a hole into a new universe where I’m super-best-friends with Leonard Nimoy.

  300. DonnaL
    January 19, 2012 at 1:00 am

    Someone mentioned way elsewhere that the new movie should have tribbles in it. I decided that if this happens, I will rage-quit the world.

    But they would make such good ferkins. Much better than foxes .

  301. shfree
    January 19, 2012 at 1:09 am

    …I’ve been meaning to say this for some time, but is it just me, or does anyone else picture Nellie Olson stomping out of a room with those ribbons, a lacy dress with petticoats and bizarre curls when a poster pulls a flounce?

  302. LotusBen
    January 19, 2012 at 1:12 am

    It’s Nellie oleson. And thank God the Wikipedia blackout to protest SOPA is over because I didn’t know who that was.

  303. LotusBen
    January 19, 2012 at 1:12 am

    Oops I meant to capitalize her last name. Snark/proofreading fail.

  304. Miranda
    January 19, 2012 at 1:16 am

    This really helped me/spoke to me just now; hope it’s okay to share:

    “A belief that the behavior of others must be controlled—so that your observation of that good behavior will make you feel good—leaves you feeling vulnerable to their behavior.

    We would like to help you to understand that neither the good feeling you find when you observe wanted behavior, nor the bad feeling you find when you observe unwanted behavior, is actually the reason that you feel good or bad. The way you feel is only ever about your alignment, or misalignment, with the Source within you. It is only your relationship with the Source within you (with your own Inner Being) that is the reason for the emotions that you feel.

    While it is nice to find things in your physical environment that enhance your good-feeling alignment with your Inner Being, your understanding of why you feel good will make it possible for you to feel good regardless of the behavior of others.

    Understanding that the way you feel is really about your Vibrational relationship with your Inner Being—with the Source within you, with the expanded version of you who resides inside your Vortex—gives you complete empowerment and absolute freedom.”

    — Abraham
    Excerpted from Getting into the Vortex Guided Meditation CD and User Guide

  305. Lateef
    January 19, 2012 at 1:16 am

    Thank you to everyone who has participated in this discussion.

    Here’s what I posted on that feminism and religion post directed at Hugo:

    “I’m a man, and your story has touched me. In an attempt to be constructive, I say: stop trying to be a public feminist. Stop trying to teach feminism. Withdraw.”

  306. Kristen J.
    January 19, 2012 at 1:19 am

    The hate for tribbles is entirely inappropriate. I don’t know how the mods are allowing this blatant imaginary animal abuse to continue unabated. Tribbles are cute and furry imaginary animals. CUTE AND FURRY. **flounce**

  307. shfree
    January 19, 2012 at 1:28 am

    Yeah, well, you and your insistence on proper spelling and arrogant use of italics is OPPRESSING ME, LotusBen.

    **epic flounce with ribbons and bows**

  308. LotusBen
    January 19, 2012 at 1:48 am

    May I flounce, too?

    Um, yeah.

    **FLOUNCE!!!!!!!!**

  309. conductress
    January 19, 2012 at 2:04 am

    I haven’t been able to read this entire thread yet, but did want to say a few things before going to bed.

    1. Jill, I respect the way you’ve dealt with this. You’re entitled to your own ways of reading the situation and I imagine your considerations as a blogger are somewhat different than mine as a commenter.

    2. Comment #94 by “a survivor” really summed things up for me. I think this debacle has been an indication not only that we need to listen more to the voices of survivors, but perhaps also an invitation to become more familiar with those dynamics. I can see how easy it is for some people to read Hugo’s work and just think of him as some guy, maybe a little smarmy and with an unsavory past, but just a guy. For people who have lived through domestic abuse and manipulation and whatever else, there are all these little things about him that pings a radar because they’re attuned to it. I get it. I grew up with alcoholic parents and the things that ping my radar, well, my friends don’t pick them up because they didn’t grow up in that situation. So, to me, this is equally about listening to survivors and making a good-faith effort to really understand what they’re saying and figure out ways to apply it to future situations.

    3. ginmar, you’ve been spot-on in all the comments I’ve read. I don’t know how you keep that kind of momentum, but keep on keepin’ on, please.

  310. January 19, 2012 at 2:06 am

    This blatant hatred of tribbles, unreasonably florid and baroque flounces, and abuse of Benedict Cumberbatch‘s name (which of course should always be italicized) will not be countenanced. I won’t stand for it. [turn, flounce, door slam, door open, retrieve ribbons from door, door slam again]

  311. Branwen
    January 19, 2012 at 2:12 am

    I really am uncomfortable with people showing up specifically to clown around, off-topic, in the midst of such an intense (and for many, vulnerable) discussion.

  312. Annaleigh
    January 19, 2012 at 2:35 am

    I really am uncomfortable with people showing up specifically to clown around, off-topic, in the midst of such an intense (and for many, vulnerable) discussion.

    I’ve mostly lurked this thread, but yes, I agree. On the one hand I can see how it can ease some tension, but the scandal of Hugo’s presence in feminism, and the way it triggers people, may require that the funnies be made elsewhere.

  313. LotusBen
    January 19, 2012 at 2:42 am

    Sorry Branwen. I appreciate your contributions to this thread, especially at 255 and 266. This is a serious topic.

  314. January 19, 2012 at 2:50 am

    I apologize. After following this issue for some time, that little bit of levity did feel like a tension break, but I see now how it came across as disrespectful. I do appreciate the seriousness of this topic and the people who have been contributing to the discussion.

  315. Annaleigh
    January 19, 2012 at 2:53 am

    Jill, thank you for posting a response to this issue, I appreciate it. I’ll admit that I interpreted some of yours and other bloggers lack of response as perhaps unwillingness to alienate Hugo, and I’m glad that’s not the case. I hope you feel better soon and I can’t blame you for wishing to avoid the emotional explosiveness that topics like this arouse.

    Generally speaking, I’m glad there are some consequences now for Hugo, and that he won’t be giving teen girls sex advice on Scarleteen, and won’t be involved the body image project. I’m especially happy about Scarleteen, because, as a CSA and rape survivor, I am very behind the curve sexually, and virtually all of my sexual experience up to this point has been non-consentual. I’ve begun reading Scarleteen to get information that I ideally would have learned about as a teenager, if incest hadn’t made me completely averse towards sexuality back then.

    I think that we (a general we) should do whatever is feasible for each of us to defend ourselves as women, as feminists, as WOC, as survivors, etc. from predatory behavior like Hugo’s, and do whatever is within our means. I think that Feministe refusing to give a platform to Hugo, and Jill’s speaking out is a good start for the blog. If Feministe chooses to go further, that’s even better. I don’t blog, although I would like to start soon, so for now, when discussing feminist issues with friends who don’t know very much about feminism, I can and will refuse to send my friends in Hugo’s direction…unless I am linking as a teaching moment to show them what it is like when someone is racist, sexist, classist, and swimming in unexamined privilege. It’s a bit of a baby step, I think, but it’s something I can do.

  316. Annaleigh
    January 19, 2012 at 2:56 am

    Thank you Ben and Caperton. Much appreciated.

  317. a survivor
    January 19, 2012 at 3:56 am

    Thank you, Branwen. And thank you, LotusBen and Caperton. I must admit that after an intense and draining few days of following all this stuff, all the sudden flouncing made me smile, which I actually sorely needed. But of course, I can only speak for myself, and I wouldn’t want anyone else to feel like they couldn’t add something serious they wanted to say to a thread that seemed to have taken a left turn.

    Anyway, I have really, really appreciated this entire discussion. DV doesn’t seem to come up as much as you’d think in a lot of Internet feminist discussion, and it has been incredibly validating and, well, comforting, to have read so many thoughtful, insightful, and survivor-centered comments on this and other threads over the last few weeks.

  318. LC
    January 19, 2012 at 9:29 am

    Mea Culpa on encouraging that derail, all. My apologies.

  319. Kristin Rawls
    January 19, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    I am glad that bfp and others differentiated a robust transformative justice from Hugo’s self-serving wank on forgiveness. His perspective on restorative justice was shaped by the Mennonite church, which I think is instructive here. Anabaptists do not understand restorative justice in the same way that Angela Davis critiques our broken justice system. A long time ago, I was a member of a “liberal” Mennonite church, and I don’t believe the church understands restorative justice in any sense that most of us would recognize as “justice.” It is all about turning the other cheek and blessing the ones who have persecuted you for “great is your reward in heaven.”

    I am against the death penalty, and I’m against mass incarceration, but I cringe whenever I hear a white person utter the phrase “restorative justice.” It makes me sick. It is usually about smoothing over past “sins” rather than serving the victim. And the victim who is angry or reluctant to forgive is cast as an “angry” person – and forgiveness is bandied about because, you see, “it’s for your OWN GOOD. Anger is killing you.” Well, except that anger doesn’t kill you. Not in the same way that pointing the gas at a passed out woman will, anyway.

    The insistence that this sort of restorative justice is *for* the victim is, of course, disingenuous at best. When it involves a narcissist with a long history of abusive behavior, it is clearly self-serving. Why *wouldn’t* the religion that tells you to “come just as you are” welcome Hugo with open arms? Christians – even liberal Christians – love a good redemption story. And what Hugo’s “redemption” narrative lacks in sincerity, it makes up for in soap opera-esque plot twists.

    I’ve dealt with other diagnosed narcissists, and I know how they sometimes use religion to elevate themselves and find validation and praise. I would never suggest that all Christians are dangerous, but based on many, many years of experience in many different churches – I am usually able to pinpoint at least one or two abusers in every church I’ve ever attended. Forgiveness theology may work for some people, but it also creates a loophole for really, really dangerous abusers to “examine their pasts” and feel good about themselves again.

    Lots of Christians *love* forgiveness. And lots of liberals really like the concept of it as well. I once published a guest post here about a pedophilia advocacy group marshaling psychologists and other professionals to cast pedophilia as just one of many possible sexual orientations – and pedophiles as the sad victims of their desires, people who needed to tell their stories and be heard. I was horrified by the number of people who commented on behalf of pedophiles because, you know, it’s just SO SAD, and society hasn’t done a proper job of rehabilitating them, and they’re LONELY and OUTCAST and not NECESSARILY bad people. And shouldn’t pedophiles who have not offended be LAUDED for their fortitude? And then several folks raised questions about whether or not viewing child porn ACTUALLY constitutes an offense. I mean, viewers are not the ones VIOLATING the children, are they? And THEN a couple of actual pedophiles came to the thread looking for redemption and do some self-examination, and a few hundred comments in, I gave up and closed the thread. So, am I surprised there are feminists still defending Hugo? No, not so much. Not after that.

    But back to personal examination – it is not necessarily a good in itself. Some are suggesting that one problem with Hugo is his lack of “self-examination.” On the contrary, I’d say that Hugo has made a career out of fetishizing self-examination. He’s turned it into performance art, hasn’t he? For years, he has violated the personal boundaries of many readers by waxing poetic about his past again and again and AGAIN. I don’t think narcissists should be encouraged to “self-examine.” Or, at the very least, I don’t think Hugo should be encouraged to. I think Hugo just needs to go away and deal with his shit without continuing to make the public feel dirty and violated by his endless redemption song.

    And also? The man has disgusted me for years. I completely sign on with everyone else who has asked why people weren’t having this conversation UNTIL he confessed to attempted murder. If that’s the bar, then that’s pathetic. His rape apologism, his history as a sexual predator, his victim-blaming – but everyone was like, “Oh, look! A shiny white man feminist! Woo!” Don’t get me wrong. I’m glad that he’s FINALLY falling off his pedestal. On the other, I’m really horrified that it took THIS for that to happen.

  320. January 19, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    I just wanted to point out Irishup’s comment at 287, because it didn’t get enough attention:

    “But then, people appropriating the language of safer spaces to insulate their own privilege is a particular pet peeve of mine.”

    This is also a typical abuser tactic; co-opting a successful defense or strategy of your target to use *back* against them. It’s (temporarily) confusing, if not down-right paralyzing, to be accused of the same behavior you’re trying to set boundaries against.

    Schwyzer’s moving his post to a place where he’s only just now responding to comments—-and there’s no negative comments, it seems—-is a big part of this. He’s taken passive aggressive jabs at his critics for days, he’s been silent when his fans have talked about witch hunts and compared him to MLK, but only when he’s completely fawned over does he deign to respond.

    We deserve better. Most especially, the victims who’ve suffered from guys like this, deserve better. Guys like this pick one group of people—-people who can help his career or whatever—-to be nice to, to be polite to, to flatter and even just be polite and nice to. Many of us were not in that group. Guys like this have all sorts of people divided into groups; people who will be listened to, people who won’t be listened to, people who he can use with impunity. And people he can write about in that way he has, where to come forward would mean being touched by that slime he coats so many of his alleged confessions with.

    The price of his nice behavior with some people is paid by other people who see the other side of him—and get treated with scorn when they finally come forward.

  321. Kristin Rawls
    January 19, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    One more thing: I’m fine with Jill not leading the charge to do something about this. I do think that associating this with the terrible terrible aspects of “take-down culture” is patronizing, at best.

    And I really really liked feministe a lot better when Holly and piny wrote here.

  322. shfree
    January 19, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    I would also like to apologize for the derail into silliness. It was inappropriate.

  323. FashionablyEvil
    January 19, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    And I really really liked feministe a lot better when Holly and piny wrote here.

    You do realize that they haven’t blogged here since 2009?

  324. Kristin Rawls
    January 19, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    @Fashionably Evil: Of course.

  325. Kristin Rawls
    January 19, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    Anyway, what does that have to do with anything? Yes, I know they haven’t blogged here in a few years. What was your point there?

  326. Megalodon
    January 19, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    With the way that Schwyzer and his supporters dismissed or disparaged the angered readership, there was the implication that Schwyzer believed he had some kind of immunity or special status which would insulate him from the situation. I think some readers wanted an “official” Feministe response like this to confirm that Schwyzer did not actually have “friends in the right places.”

    When this situation first escalated, Schwyzer’s initial responses were complacency and condescension. On his Facebook page on Christmas Eve, he said, “I’m very grateful for Clarisse, and am sorry that she (and Jill Filipovic of Feministe) have endured so much calumny on my behalf this week.” I’m not sure if that particular post is still on his Facebook page, but it was mentioned on the prior Feministe thread. I think Schwyzer has been deleting and editing some of his prior posts for PR reasons.

    Aside from his use of the word “calumny,” he was presenting the bloggers of Feministe as his protection or shield who would absorb the outrage and “calumny” on his “behalf.” In other words, on his side.

    Perhaps Schwyzer really was just apologizing, without implying he had Feministe’s internal support. But I think he was saying, “Let the hysterical peons have their flamewar riot. It’ll be a chore for the Feministe bloggers. But they’re good girls. They’ve got my back.” That would not be out of character.

  327. January 19, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jan/18/outrage-culture-limits-free-speech

    (“1 step forward…..”)

    now let the backlash begin.
    sigh.

  328. jennifer
    January 19, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    Jill—thanks for sharing your thoughts and sorry to hear about your health problems.

    I’ve learned a lot from the discussion in the posts on this topic and am grateful to feministe for providing the space for discussion.
    Prior to this kerfuffle I had noticed Hugo only a little. I didn’t care for his overblown, self centered storytelling and skipped over that material, thereby completely missing the problematic way he continues to exploit the unwitting co-stars of his lurid personal melodramas. As for his general statements about gender issues, they didn’t seem much more than stating the obvious (or things stated previously by others), but I was glad to see a guy who seemed to be in a position of intellectual authority embracing feminism.

    Seeing what I see now (my view is that he does not appear to have the credentials to support his claims of scholarly authority and both his past and present behavior is incredibly problematic), I’m totally embarrassed that I had to have this pointed out to me by abuse survivors and women of color, and I’m grateful to the commenters who have spoken up and repeatedly responded in what I can see is at times a hostile and triggering environment.

    While I can understand that some may not want to think about HS or participate in actions critical of him, I disagree that speaking or taking action is only giving him positive attention and that the best thing for everyone to do is move on, or that the criticism is some kind of unwarranted personal attack. He’s going to keep promoting himself (he’s still writing new as well as promoting past “feminist” pieces), and negative information about him needs to stay on the radar screen or his privilege could put him right back where he was before. Also, people find him very triggering/upsetting and deserve the space to talk about it.

  329. librarygoose
    January 19, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    Sorry for the lateness, but I just want to apologize for the derail too. After all this ugly Hugo stuff a break into tribble jokes was tempting, but this really wasn’t the place.

  330. January 19, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    My apologies as well for kicking off the derail.

  331. January 19, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    Motive (said):
    The sad thing is, I, as a newcomer to Feminism and feminist web sites, have found this whole mob thing terrifying. I can’t write what I think on here without getting bullied, judged, and every word I write torn apart.

    I feel incredibly sad about this. I had hoped to find a community of people I could feel empowered and inspired by, not terrified of.

    For the record, I have been the subject of monstrous bullying by non-feminist (religious-acting) women, and this whole Hugo thing smells exactly the same. Bullies, in the name of feminism. It is not protecting women. It is not protecting me nor empowering me. I’m scared. And that is my honest opinion. I’m really sad and sick to have found this kind of scary bullying on things called “feminist.” Using bullying to exact vengeance, to tar and feather a human. I find bullying disgusting and there is no excuse for it. Period.

    I want to say that your letter here is a bit healing to me – it is the most sane post I have read. Finally, I read from you a constructive, mature, hard-lined approach to a male writer/figure you are concerned about. Not full of insane vengeance and bullying. Ranting doesn’t accomplish anything except feeding fires of discontent.

    I applaud you for taking care of yourself. I applaud you for being willing to be misunderstood and criticized. I applaud you for deciding for yourself (rather than being bullied into it) when you felt it was right for you to respond. I hope that something good can come out of all of this — for both those who felt the need to spew bitterness rather than find a healthier way to do something about their concerns, for those of us who were detrimentally affected by the spewed vengeance, for those who felt their rage and decided to handle it constructively and powerfully, with dignity…..and for Mr. Schwyzer and his family. I hope some people will see the difference between an onslaught and a powerful, constructive campaign. Being ugly never makes things better”

    here is your answer:

    a survivor :
    “As a survivor of domestic violence, there’s something I want to say about all of this. Abuse is the reason I came to feminism. When I first left my abusive relationship, I was desperately trying to understand why. Why did he do this to me? How did this happen? With some good reading, some counseling, and some compassionate support, I began to get a grasp on the answers to those questions, and those answers necessarily led me to broader questions: Why is domestic violence so widespread? Why are abusers able to get away with it? Why doesn’t our system protect and support survivors and their children in the ways it should? And those questions led me to some feminist blogs and books, where I began to learn about the patriarchy, where I was given language and a structural framework with which to describe my experiences. And where I learned that what I’d been through was not the natural result of some deep, personal failing, but a consequence of power structures that I could work to dismantle. It was like having clean air to breathe for the first time in my life. After silence, fear, and shame, feminism gave me my voice back. It gave me a firm foundation on which to begin to build a new life. It offered a path to survival, despite the grim realities of the violence and oppression of women worldwide. And it continues to be a place of solace and strength as I move forward, years later.

    This is why it’s so deeply upsetting to find a man like Hugo Schwyzer allowed to teach women’s studies and sexuality courses, given a platform in feminist spaces, listened to and taken seriously by feminists who ought to know better”

    (…………better then i could put it)

  332. January 19, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    Megalodon :
    “That pingback link at Comment 28 pours on the redemption pornography really thick”

    (yeah- yet another comment sensor.
    polite or not if you disagree,
    your comment is toast.
    pure cowardice……..)

  333. January 19, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    Oh, Gee. Darn. Ladies, do you hear that? A guy who claims he’s been bullied by mobs of women is going to take his ball and go home! Woe is us.

  334. aestas
    January 19, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    Some are suggesting that one problem with Hugo is his lack of “self-examination.” On the contrary, I’d say that Hugo has made a career out of fetishizing self-examination. He’s turned it into performance art, hasn’t he? For years, he has violated the personal boundaries of many readers by waxing poetic about his past again and again and AGAIN. I don’t think narcissists should be encouraged to “self-examine.”

    Lundy Bancroft talks about this. He debunks the myth that abusers abuse because of insecurity or some deep sense of inadequacy and explains that abuse actually arises from a place of profound entitlement, which ought to make sense to anyone who understands the patriarchy/kyriarchy. There is this idea that abusers just need to get in touch with their feelings. But LB explains that abusers are usually already very “in touch” with their feelings; it’s their victim’s feelings they need to “get in touch” with. I think this goes along with what you were getting at.

    Abusers tend to focus on their own feelings and their victims’ actions, but in order to be accountable, they need to focus on their victims’ feelings and their own actions. Self-examination of the sort that Hugo’s doing doesn’t accomplish this, which is just one reason why it’s so obvious to so many that he hasn’t changed. And in his case, the “victims” include not only his past (and almost certainly current) partner(s), but the students he slept with, the WOC/POC he’s sidelined and marginalized, and the survivors he’s dismissed, at a minimum.

  335. Megalodon
    January 19, 2012 at 7:13 pm

    (yeah- yet another comment sensor.
    polite or not if you disagree,
    your comment is toast.
    pure cowardice……..)

    Thank you, Captain Courageous, for your lucid drive-by.

    “Comment sensor”? If you mean that I “sensed” the pingback comment, I don’t see the problem with that. If you mean “censor,” then nobody censored the pingback comment, and nobody has censored Schwyzer or his supporters. They have the right to publish and disclose to their hearts’ content in their own spaces. They don’t have the right to a favorable reception, here or anywhere.

  336. Han
    January 19, 2012 at 8:03 pm

    @Megalodon I interpreted it to mean that the writer of the linked piece is censoring comments that disagree with him. Not sure though. There are only two commenters there that have expressed disagreement, and everyone else is fawning over him.

  337. PrettyAmiable
    January 19, 2012 at 8:13 pm

    How are you people defining “bullying”?? FFS

  338. WitchWolf
    January 19, 2012 at 8:13 pm

    So let’s see, um, Hugo Schwyzer isn’t a bully for attempting to murder a women who was defenseless and came to him after she was sexually abused by another man. He not only didn’t help her, feed her more drugs and alcohol, had sex with her (could she even consent at that point.) — THEN decided to take her life, because, as a man, he knew better than her.

    After the fact he let the authorities believe that it was a suicide pack instead of telling the truth – Then he alters his story about telling his psychologist/psychiatrist that opsy he premeditated the death of the women — (of which any mental health worker is required to report) who told the Sheriff — but older reports the Sheriff — did nothing??? (incompetent) — Sorry but this whole story smells of pampered privilege of a white uper-class male. Oppsy – but her family didn’t wanna press charges, but the Sheriff didn’t wanna, but the psychologist/psychiatrist didn’t wanna–

    Who is the bully – Rule one about Bullies – they bully, they change the facts so it looks like it wasn’t their fault. They abuse and hurt and harm, but they don’t have to pay for it because – it’s not their fault — If their victims didn’t look different, be different, be women, be so lame, be so victimly….

    But poor defenseless Hugo he didn’t do anything right, all you women are being horrible to him, look he said he was sorry, and he took time out of his studies of Medieval Church history to make sure all of us women have a LEADER – because you know — He knows how to take women….

    (Also did anyone want to vomit when he describes his ex-girlfriend — she smelled of sex (Umm NO!!!! DAMN IT WASN’T SEX IT WAS RAPE!) and the way he wrote it was almost like rape fantasy. It made me want to scream at the top of my lungs that this man has no right to teach women about rape, about sex, about being safe – If he writes this way — not 12 years ago – BUT IN 2011… He made is sound like it was sexy – and appealing because he decided to have sex with this women who needed to be treated for RAPE because he thought it was sexy!! I don’t care that he was on drugs – But he doesn’t see what was wrong with this???

    The women who are supporting him – Have no trouble with his description?????

  339. shfree
    January 19, 2012 at 8:51 pm

    I actually couldn’t give that thing Hugo wrote a solid read, because I found it distressing enough, so I missed that whole “smelled like sex” bit. Urgh. And to think he wrote this recently. What a wretched human being.

    But really, to echo so many, what I find most offensive is that he drags the woman he victimized back into HIS story, without her consent. It opens up her past to the internet, which might have been something she wanted buried forever. (He is far from an anonymous being, so it isn’t impossible for people who knew the both of them during that time to figure out who she was) And that doesn’t even TOUCH on the fact that he describes the fact that she was assaulted by a third party, which he had no business bringing into his story about himself at all.

  340. Kristin Rawls
    January 19, 2012 at 9:18 pm

    I think he writes about all of his female sexual partners this way. It’s particularly appalling when he does this with someone he’s planning to murder, but it’s his style. This is the same way he always wrote about fucking his students. It’s the same way that he wrote out all the details of his sexual relationship with his second wife, who turned out to be a lesbian. When she could achieve orgasm, what she would and wouldn’t do… He ends that particular piece at Jezebel by noting that she’s his only ex-wife who has refused to speak to him during his “amends” process. I feel like anyone who has ever had sex with Hugo is subjected to this sort of treatment. Well, women especially. He’s alluded to fucking men in the past, but seems not to dehumanize them in quite the same way.

    Another thing: I’ve encountered this sort of thing with a few other narcissistic “recovering” addicts in my time. The complete lack of personal boundaries, the compulsion to air these public confessions to as many people as possible… It’s not about the girlfriend he tried to kill, as many have pointed out. And it will never be about that. It’s about how she served as an object of his personal redemption. Almost killing her made him See the Light and Get Clean. Whew… A relief that she didn’t die, but if she HAD died, well, hey, it wouldn’t have been in vain because it would still have SAVED our Hugo. And that’s what matters at the end of the day, amirite?

    Seriously, I cannot put the contempt I feel – and have always felt – for this man into words. Yeah, I sometimes think redemption is possible, but it isn’t bloody likely when personality disorders involving predatory behavior are involved.

  341. a survivor
    January 19, 2012 at 9:22 pm

    My last comment seems to have gotten stuck in moderation, maybe because I tried posting under my usual name instead of “a survivor”? I’m re-posting below; sorry if it causes any confusion or annoyance for the mods.

    Some are suggesting that one problem with Hugo is his lack of “self-examination.” On the contrary, I’d say that Hugo has made a career out of fetishizing self-examination. He’s turned it into performance art, hasn’t he? For years, he has violated the personal boundaries of many readers by waxing poetic about his past again and again and AGAIN. I don’t think narcissists should be encouraged to “self-examine.”

    Lundy Bancroft talks about this. He debunks the myth that abusers abuse because of insecurity or some deep sense of inadequacy and explains that abuse actually arises from a place of profound entitlement, which ought to make sense to anyone who understands the patriarchy/kyriarchy. There is this idea that abusers just need to get in touch with their feelings. But LB explains that abusers are usually already very “in touch” with their feelings; it’s their victim’s feelings they need to “get in touch” with. I think this goes along with what you were getting at.

    Abusers tend to focus on their own feelings and their victims’ actions, but in order to be accountable, they need to focus on their victims’ feelings and their own actions. Self-examination of the sort that Hugo’s doing doesn’t accomplish this, which is just one reason why it’s so obvious to so many that he hasn’t changed. And in his case, the “victims” include not only his past (and almost certainly current) partner(s), but the students he slept with, the WOC/POC he’s sidelined and marginalized, and the survivors he’s dismissed, at a minimum.

  342. Kristin Rawls
    January 19, 2012 at 9:26 pm

    And… And? I think redemption is NOT something that other people can or should GIVE to someone else. Redemption is NOT achieved by virtue of Hugo convincing the victim that he’s changed. It’s not achieved by checking Things I’ve Done on Behalf of Women off on some list. It’s certainly not achieved in profiting off of one’s crimes.

    In any case, the appearance of redemption is what we’re going for here. Be polite, say the right words, dismiss the people who can see that things are off… Charm a few people when you need them… I’m a preacher’s kid. I know all about the appearance of redemption.

  343. Kristin Rawls
    January 19, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    @a survivor: Thanks for sharing that – it makes a lot of sense to me, and I completely agree… Hugo’s problem has nothing to do with needing to be in touch with his own feelings. Why should anyone be impressed that he does this? He’s a Man. Men Need to Cry More. Fine, I dispute the idea that this is what he needs (and what abusers generally need), but I have no problem with it if he wants to go and cry with his therapist. Or his sponsor. But feminism is not the proper audience for this.

  344. Nell
    January 19, 2012 at 10:14 pm

    [Your letter] is the most sane post I have read. Finally, I have read from you a constructive, hard-lined approach to a male writer/figure you are concerned about. Not full of insane vengeance and bullying.

    Where has anyone in this debate called for “exact[ing] vengeance” against Hugo Schwyzer? No one has made threats of death or bodily injury against him or his family. All we’ve asked is that he step down from his leadership role in the feminist movement. That he not profit from his position as a teacher/spokesman for feminism. Is the bar so low that we can’t find a male ally who hasn’t attempted to murder a former girl friend and then lied about it to both erase the experience of the woman and absolve himself of all responsibility?

    I haven’t been here all that long, but I am a long-time (as in, pre- Roe v. Wade) activist in the women’s movement. Maybe I’m being presumptuous in that I have no role in making the commenting policy, but in most feminist spaces it is unacceptable to employ racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, ageist, and ableist (e.g. “sane/insane”) language in forwarding one’s argument in debate.

  345. a survivor
    January 19, 2012 at 10:21 pm

    Another thing: I’ve encountered this sort of thing with a few other narcissistic “recovering” addicts in my time. The complete lack of personal boundaries, the compulsion to air these public confessions to as many people as possible… It’s not about the girlfriend he tried to kill, as many have pointed out. And it will never be about that. It’s about how she served as an object of his personal redemption. Almost killing her made him See the Light and Get Clean.

    One thing I’ve seen over and over is abusers using their own abusive history as a way to manipulate their new partners. It especially tends to work on either women who have no education on the dynamics of abuse and/or, horribly enough, women who have already been abused. They will explain away restraining orders, criminal histories, exes who won’t talk to them, having lost custody of their children (when that actually happens, which is pretty rare), etc. by saying that either:

    1. My ex was a horrible mean person who did all these terrible things just to hurt me for no reason, and now my life is ruined, poor me.

    Or 2. Yes, I made some terrible “mistakes,” but I have learned so much and am a Brand New Man now, so wise, so self-aware.

    The second can really appeal to women who have been abused before, especially if their abusive exes were never willing to admit what they’d done.

    Another thing: whether or not abusers can change, I think it’s pretty damn important that we all recognize that, in the real world, they almost never do. Because one of the things that makes it so incredibly hard for victims to leave is the idea, supported fully by the pervasive redemption narrative, that surely someday, when things get bad enough, he will change, and what if we invested all this time and love only to leave and have him change later, when it’s too late for us? This ties into the patriarchal demand that women do all of men’s dirty emotional work for them, because we feel responsible for searching for and finding the right combination of love, patience, forgiveness, therapy, treatment, whatever, that’s going to make everything all better, finally, for our relationships, and if they don’t change, it’s our failure, not theirs.

    Hugo has said that those of us who do not accept his “redemption” are “haters” and “not ‘real’ feminists.” It’s always about what’s wrong with us, never what’s wrong with them. And bloggers/feminists/commenters who act like the really important questions here are the ones about change and forgiveness (the kind that benefits the abuser) are perpetuating the damaging kyriarchal norms that make it so hard for so many women to get safe and stay safe.

  346. WitchWolf
    January 19, 2012 at 11:13 pm

    @Kristin Rawls

    Did he get his ex-wife’s permission to out her as a lesbian and use her intimate details in articles? I must of missed some of them — I saw his name and try not to read — It saves my stomach liner.

    Was ex-wife number 3 the same women that he was married to when he attempted to murder his ex-girlfriend?

  347. Kristin Rawls
    January 19, 2012 at 11:47 pm

    WitchWolf: Right, that was my point. He didn’t get his ex-wife’s permission to out her or post all the details of their sex life – at least, not if he’s telling the truth about having no communication with her since they split up. He also talks all about how he cheated on her. And then he sort of sounds puzzled about why she hasn’t wanted to have anything to do with him since their divorce. I don’t usually read him either, but with someone like him, I think it’s useful to keep tabs on his many, many failings. So I’ll go off and do a bit of reading if I can stomach it.

    I believe he said this was ex-wife number 2. Wait, he was married when he tried to kill his ex-girlfriend? I must have missed that part. He was married to ex-wife 3 when he did this? Wow… I had not realized that. I mean, it’s not like cheating particularly throws a wrench in the attempted murder. I just kind of boggle at all the damage he’s done to so many women, and much of it all around the same time.

  348. WitchWolf
    January 20, 2012 at 12:07 am

    Kristin Rawls

    there are a couple of different conflicting stories about who he attempted to murder (depending on which version of events or what makes him look less like a total loser — None make him less of a looser –

    1. She was a current girlfriend at the time (I think that was in the original — posting of the events that are now removed from his website)
    2. She was an ex-girlfriend and he was married at the time
    3. She was an ex-girlfriend and was separated or divorced at the time

  349. January 20, 2012 at 12:52 am

    La Lubu (if you’re still reading),

    I think that class certainly does play a role in the DV narrative. Particularly in the United States (since moving to Eastern Europe, I have discovered that it’s often the women dripping diamonds that tend to be more open and on-the-record about DV – possibly because we have a myth around here of the wealthy oligarch who will make all of your problems go away should you meet and marry him, and people have wised up to the idea that said myth is dangerous).

    However, I also think that at the end of the day, there are usually lots of complicated reasons why someone may not be as open about DV. And while I didn’t appreciate Amanda’s remarks about the Hugo business, this is an issue she needs space to grapple with privately, as we all do. Marking her decision as “cold” is assuming a helluva lot about her emotions on the issue. I’m saying this not as a means to take anything away from your otherwise excellent points, since you are someone I have a lot of respect for, if that should mean anything.

    At the end of the day, we’re all human beings here – and we’re talking about some deep seated problems, both in society and on an individual level. We all deserve ample breathing room when it comes to these topics. I myself will readily admit that there is a LOT of personal resonance for me wrt the topic of Hugo trying to kill his ex – and frankly, I still don’t know how to respond to it properly.

  350. January 20, 2012 at 10:26 am

    #353: That reflects the way school bullies used to be excused by saying the poor dears suffered so much themselves that their bullying was just another form of acting out. This of course turned the victims into symptoms.

    Turns out the bullies bullied because they could, because they liked it, and because they felt they were better than their victims. It’s so simple and makes so much sense, but there you go. How unreal it must be to be a victim of one of these guys and see people sympathizing with him—and then being brushed off. His recovery, his redemption, all that. By deliberately misidentifying bullies as being tormented souls, people who took this tack laid another burden on genuinely oppressed people—and on bullying victims.

    For all that Hugo’s defenders have whined about bullying, it’s pretty clear who’s attempting what. First they try and omit all mention of his acts, then they talk about redemption and crap, which is apparently the route that Feministing is going to take.

    No abuser has just one victim—and women are brought up to think that the biggest prize is reforming the Beast. But it’s also a duty. Fail, and it’s nobody’s fault but your own. The Angel of the Hearth myth lives on.

  351. Megalodon
    January 20, 2012 at 11:08 am

    First they try and omit all mention of his acts, then they talk about redemption and crap, which is apparently the route that Feministing is going to take.

    What? Has Feministing commented on this in any way? I thought the last time they mentioned Schwyzer was on December 21, linking to his Good Men Project resignation. A commenter called MadGastronomer mentioned this debacle on that post. But seems like nothing more was said of it on Feministing.

  352. Megalodon
    January 20, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    Oh, you mean that community post from “Nazza.”

  353. WitchWolf
    January 20, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    No, Feministing hasn’t mentioned anything about it. It’s disappointing.

  354. Madaline
    January 20, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    These are two different posts I just read on one of his sites (I don’t know which is which or care) anyway, parts of this made me pause. That’s all. Please don’t engage me on these points; they’re not my points to make; but something that has me thinking about writing about this on my page. In any case, just sharing as food for thought.

    Carry on.

    1. Nobody is saying Hugo hasn’t made some whopping mistakes, including Hugo himself. But only the victim has the moral right to expect him to make amends.

    Not self selected Feminist leader wannabees. Not Hugo haters. Not women and WOCs that have an ax to grind with his remarks or that are sexist or racist in their hatred that he even has a voice.

    What I despise in this situation is not that Hugo made mistakes 10 years ago, its that people that have always despised him and wanted him silenced have taken advantage of the circumstances surrounding his victim and used it to silence him. And not just silence him in their own feminist circles, but censor the rest of us from reading his views. Not only tried and are succeeding, but are still bullying others that don’t toe the line with their views and goals. Heck, its still going on right here, but also on many other gender issue sites that I frequent.

    It’s all about silencing his voice and appropriating it for their own personal egos. If you don’t want to read or support him, it is your right. When you silence his voice so everyone regardless of opinion lose that point of view, it’s censorship. And its dishonest.

    I am encouraged however. Many have fought against this, not because they worship Hugo, or are particularly enthralled with his writing, but because of the way his haters went about it. People just see it for what it is.

    2.

    “If you don’t want to read or support him, it is your right. When you silence his voice so everyone regardless of opinion lose that point of view, it’s censorship. And its dishonest.
    I am encouraged however. Many have fought against this, not because they worship Hugo, or are particularly enthralled with his writing, but because of the way his haters went about it. People just see it for what it is.”

    ~

    Exactly.

    EXACTLY.

    I don’t know you, but you are a welcome voice of reason and intellect and I respect your contribution; thank you. (You also don’t know me, so who knows what my praise is worth—but I thank you nonetheless)

    That above has been my point; it is and would be up to each of us as INDIVIDUALS whether we read or support Hugo or not.

    I in no way ‘worship’ Hugo—I also am not ‘enthralled’ with anything he’s written! There are some pieces I find really interesting, and some I take issue with; there are some that make me laugh—but I have not found the need for anyone to take me by the hand and lead me away from his writing in case my dedicate sensibilities are affected in some manner.

    I’m not so terribly fragile that I need a mob of radicalized comrades on the internet to protect me!

    I am not so delicate and frail that I need to be protected from this one, individual writer. And the way they’ve gone about it with such venom is insulting—to me personally and to all women as a whole.

    If their desire was pure and just to ‘alert us’—it would have been over when it started. The creation of 24 hour Hate Sites and endless cyber-lynching belies their intentions and purpose(s).

    I have not appreciated being called names simply because I disagree their antagonistic and often vile methods.

    Thank you again for your voice of reason—we all deserve a moment of calm.

    “No one can be reasonable and angry at the same time”

  355. Linda
    January 20, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    Wow, interesting & thank you for sharing.

  356. Lisa
    January 20, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    I guess I can see how some of those points make sense.

  357. Kristen J.
    January 20, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    I think we need to have an intervention for the abuse of the word “silencing.”

    Hugo has no personal experience being a woman. Telling him to stop speaking for women about their experiences or stop telling women how they should behave is not silencing him.

    Silencing is an important concept used to highlight when someone with greater institutional power intentially fails to include or shuts down someone with lesser institutional power in a conversation centered on the vector of the power embalance.

    When it comes to conversations about the lives of women, some upper middle class white cis dude is not being fucking silenced.

  358. Safiya Outlines
    January 20, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    Madaline – The points you make have been countered way upthread.

    To claim you can’t be reasonable and angry on a feminist blog of all places is utterly facile.

  359. Moishe
    January 20, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    I certainly wouldn’t recommend PCC to my stepdaughter when she’s old enough to go to college and if she’s interested in CC—certainly not if Schwyzer is still there and teaching anything related to feminism or putting himself out anywhere as a prominent feminist or as “Author, Activist, Professor, Shattering Gender Myths.” Granted, her college days are about 12 years in the future, but PCC itself bears significant responsibility here, not only for keeping Schwyzer on after he copped to screwing his students; not only for putting the fox in charge of the henhouse of making policy on student-screwing; but also for keeping him on after his attempted murder confession, his damaging and narcissistic capitalizing on his crimes and other offenses, and the ensuing outrage. At the very least, couldn’t PCC have barred Schwyzer from teaching feminism/women’s studies/sexuality—subjects for which he is neither behaviorally appropriate nor academically or life-experience trained?

    I’m a privileged, white, male professional, and a feminist. My wife and stepdaughter are WoC. My feminism is in large part due to my love and care for them, and for the other women who are or have been in my life.

  360. Bostonian
    January 20, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    “When it comes to conversations about the lives of women, some upper middle class white cis dude is not being fucking silenced.”

    I just wanted to repeat that for truth! Not wanting to have someone who writes soft porn about a murder attempt he threw in with his suicide attempt be linked from feminist sites is not a lynching, not a witch hunt, nor is it persecution.

  361. esoteric turtle
    January 20, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    When it comes to conversations about the lives of women, some upper middle class white cis dude is not being fucking silenced.

    Quoted for truth. As others have noted, Hugo and his supporters using the language of social justice to complain about the indignity of being called out by feminists for anti-feminist beliefs and acts is seriously gross. And so fucking indicative of white male privilege.

  362. Branwen
    January 20, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    “No one can be reasonable and angry at the same time”

    Bull. Shit.

    Also, anyone who uses the term “cyber lynching” should automatically lose the argument, ala a Godwin.

  363. IrishUp
    January 20, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    Madaline, (whispers) *your ass is showing*. It appears to be a very racist ass, I might add.

    FFS

  364. Q Grrl
    January 20, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    The opposite of reasonable is unreasonable. Not emotional.

  365. Megalodon
    January 20, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    These are two different posts I just read on one of his sites (I don’t know which is which or care) anyway, parts of this made me pause. That’s all.

    Yes, because I’m sure you found the other interchangeable, supportive comments to be unremarkable. All of these posts are comments on Schwyzer’s January 15 post on his own blog. The first post is from a commenter called “Michael.” The second one is from the commenter called “H,” in praise of “Michael’s” post. We know them both to be vociferous Schwyzer supports, especially “H.” This assumes that they are different people.

    Please don’t engage me on these points; they’re not my points to make;

    But you apparently agree or sympathize with these assertions and consider them worthwhile enough to introduce on this thread. That assigns some level of responsibility to you for these quoted comments, at least on this thread.

    but something that has me thinking about writing about this on my page. In any case, just sharing as food for thought.

    On your own page, you say? Would it be under “Madaline”? You know, there was another poster on this thread called “Sarah” who repeatedly posted unattributed quotes from Schwyzer’s supporters over here, but claimed she was only providing “food for thought.”

    On Comment 193:

    Okay just read this (food for thought):

    “Did you miss the part in Hugo’s essay where neither his girlfriend or their family wanted to press charges, and where the police concurred that since he hadn’t committed any crime, and there was no evidence that he had, he wasn’t charged, and therefore never committed “attempted murder” in any sense?”

    On Comment 210:

    Again, just food for thought; I think these were written by same person; and to whoever yelled at me about ‘defending’–what I’m actually trying to do is make sure what we’re doing here is the right thing–I’ve been purposely reading other’s opinions so that I’m coming at this from a balanced perspective; I don’t want to be just reactive, I’d like to be measured in my approach–thank you.

    More food for thought:
     “First he’d have to be a “rapist” and “attempted murderer.” You must have court documents to share attesting to his rapes? Police reports charging him with attempted rape? Yes? Please share.

    It is very nice of you to pick up where Sarah left off, offering us “food for thought.”

  366. Donna L
    January 20, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    “No one can be reasonable and angry at the same time”

    As Safiya Outlines has already pointed out, this is nonsense. I hate the way people just toss off these purported pearls of wisdom about how awful anger is, regardless of whether they have any basis in actual fact. Which they don’t, no matter how good they sound to some people.

    And the reference to “lynching” is equally nonsensical, as well as being offensive. Is Hugo Schwyzer being taken out and hanged from a tree without having any opportunity to defend himself? It seems to me that essentially all he does is try to defend and justify himself, and/or make all his bad acts part of his narrative of redemption.

    Before using “lynching” as a metaphor, people should be required to go to this website and view every single one of the photographs: http://withoutsanctuary.org/main.html

  367. Kathleen
    January 20, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    see also: how I tripped and my hand landed in this cookie jar and these cookie crumbs got on my face.

  368. Kathleen
    January 20, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    argh, wrong thread, sorry, carry on (ginmar has been right about everything btw) (sorry for interrupting tho)

  369. shfree
    January 20, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    Madaline, don’t tell us that we cannot engage you, and say that we are silencing others. It doesn’t matter if the words aren’t yours, your hypocrisy is showing.

    Note that at no point has Hugo’s site gone down, so his he has not lost his ability to speak to his audience. He still retains his job, and has his supporters. He always will. He has not been censored because people who can’t stand him don’t want him to have a public voice. There are lots and lots of people that I wish would shut the fuck up, and they don’t seem to listen to me, either, just as I am sure there are people that you would like to never hear from again that will keep yammering on and on and there isn’t shit you can do about it.

    I do admit that he only skeeved me out before, and the only reason I’m so vocally angry with him now is that he used the pain he caused to another person, and the pain that same person received from another, to further his own story. But I think that is enough of a reason.

  370. IrishUp
    January 20, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    Could someone leave us food for stomachs, instead? Maybe some baby-flavored donuts? The other thread made me hungry.

  371. chipchop
    January 20, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    Sorry to derail, but Linda and Lisa, I have a lot of reading to do for work, and I’m wondering if you could share some of your speed-reading tips with me? Since you both read, considered, and responded to Madaline’s 600+ word post within 2 and 3 minutes after it was posted, respectively I figure you must be real experts!

  372. IrishUp
    January 20, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    chipchop- I know one! When you come across sentences that you’ve read before, maybe even written? you can skip over them.

    Increases reading time by 20000%, acording to research.

  373. January 20, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    It will come as a shock to precisely no one that Madaline, Lisa and Linda are the same person (or at least commenting from the same IP address). And a quick search of their IP address on the Feministe backend reveals that Madaline/Lisa/Linda is also Miranda, Sarah, Linda, and Miller upthread.

    Madaline/Lisa/Linda/Miranda/Sarah/Miller will now be banned for sockpuppeting.

    • January 20, 2012 at 4:36 pm

      “No one can be reasonable and angry at the same time”

      But apparently one can be reasonable and also create five different commenting personas in order to pat themselves on the back in a blog comment section. Fascinating.

  374. LC
    January 20, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    But apparently one can be reasonable and also create five different commenting personas in order to pat themselves on the back in a blog comment section. Fascinating.

    The internet is full of mystery.

  375. January 20, 2012 at 4:59 pm

    Because it needs to be repeated over and over and over… Can there be a global ban on people using the word “lynch”? Particularly when talking about poor white men being yelled at on the internet? What utter racist crap (and I know Madaline was a sock, but seriously, this word keeps getting flung around in conversations without any acknowledgement of what it means and implies).

  376. Branwen
    January 20, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    Yeah “lynching” for its racism and “witch hunt” for its sexism. Neither one is appropriate when referring to some white guy getting yelled at on the internet, ffs.

  377. Laurie
    January 20, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    Holy mackerel. I abandoned this thread for a while because it seemed like it was going around and around in circles. But I am glad I came back to witness the most poorly executed sockpuppetry I have ever seen.

  378. Laurie
    January 20, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    Holy mackerel. I abandoned this thread for a while because it seemed like it was going around and around in circles. But I am glad I came back to witness the most poorly executed sockpuppetry I have ever seen.

  379. January 20, 2012 at 6:04 pm

    Nell asked:

    Where has anyone in this debate called for “exact[ing] vengeance” against Hugo Schwyzer?

    In comment number 164 on this thread, piny wrote:

    let’s make sure to get Hugo where it hurts….

    That comment also criticized Jill for not taking a larger role in the effort to “get” Hugo.

    I have no business telling feminists who they should accept or not accept in a leadership role, or in any other role. A great many people certainly have good reason for anger about what Hugo has done. But I have to say, from reading comments here and elsewhere on the web, that the expressions of this anger have gone beyond a desire to eject Hugo from a leadership role, or a teaching role, or indeed from any role at all in feminism. Some of what the anti-Hugo tumblr has posted and what the anti-Hugo facebook page contains shade into outright hate.

  380. Annaleigh
    January 20, 2012 at 6:26 pm

    I have no business telling feminists who they should accept or not accept in a leadership role, or in any other role. A great many people certainly have good reason for anger about what Hugo has done.

    Should have stopped there. God forbid that women should feel hatred to toward sexists, or POC towards racists, that try to co-opt our liberation movements for fun and profit.

  381. Donna L
    January 20, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    Some of what the anti-Hugo tumblr has posted and what the anti-Hugo facebook page contains shade into outright hate.

    Even if you’re right, is it really so awful if people decide that they “hate” Hugo Schwyzer for what he’s done? Anger is OK but hate is always bad? “Hate speech” is pejorative language directed at a vulnerable group or category of people without regard to their characteristics or actions as individuals. That has nothing to do with somebody deciding that they hate Hugo Schwyzer. And it’s not up to you to make a decision that what he’s done isn’t bad enough to merit people’s hatred

  382. WitchWolf
    January 20, 2012 at 6:33 pm

    Oh no– Women can hate! Run, Run, Run…

    Hate is a human emotions, and women should be allowed to express it.

  383. ginmar
    January 20, 2012 at 6:57 pm

    Wow, hate, huh?

    How shocking. How terrible. If true. Which it’s not.

    How come these people are so very very concerned about the inappropriate reactions of women to a guy who admitted attempted murder and rape and yet see nothing wrong in those who try and defend him while leaving out those facts?

    How come it’s hate when women protest against injustice, yet it’s a mistake when a white tries to kill a woman?

    Madaline’s post at 366 gave me a serious case of Roman Polanski backlash. Isn’t she/it concerned about the Roman Polanski victim Schwyzer’s victims, and isn’t it funny it takes the form of only listening to them when they get tired of the harassment (in the case of the girl/now woman that Polanski raped) or non-appearance in the case of Schwyzer’s victims? Other victims who are massively triggered just don’t count. And what do you bet if these victims did stand up and say something that didn’t benefit their attackers, Madaline/Sarah/the whole gang would instantly repudiate them?

    After first declaring that she doesn’t need to be led by the hand or whatever like those other weaklings people.

    Hugo’s defenders have used massively sexist language repeatedly, mischaracterized their opponents—-to the point that it’s hard to tell them apart from MRAs—–and have imbued it with violent threats.

    And here’s the thing, the thing that gets me, all the way back to his early days, when he was letting MRA trolls spout the worst misogyny you can imagine—-as long as they did it politely? He only objected when feminists got upset about it, and then his objections were to the women who kept pointing out that polite misogyny is still hatred of women, and if he was so bloody feminist and all, why didn’t that bother him?

    Schwyzer hasn’t said one thing about what his most offensive defenders are saying. In fact, in sneering at his critics, he has at least indicated passive approval of it—or indifference, which is even worse. His statements about his case are full of evasions and omissions. But the biggest omission is any recognition that a feminist would have to be appalled at these incredibly sexist terms used by his defenders, just as a feminist would have been appalled at the horrible sexist things his erstwhile MRA commenters used to say about women. He’s certainly commented approvingly on various offensive things his supporters have said.

    Feminism is a pretty simple thing, really. And when your defenders repeatedly invoke witch hunts and other classic sexist tropes in your defense—how come it’s always men who inspire this argument?—–one has to question how deep that layer of feminism really is. So sexism is bad except when it helps Schwyzer? Can you imagine not being absolutely horrified at using witch hunt on behalf of a man?

  384. ginmar
    January 20, 2012 at 6:58 pm

    Crap. The fifth paragraph sarcastic strike through should have ended after “Roman Polanski’s victim.” Can the mod fix it?

  385. Donna L
    January 20, 2012 at 7:15 pm

    Can you imagine not being absolutely horrified at using witch hunt on behalf of a man?

    But, but, what about all the men-witches who were persecuted too!?

  386. PrettyAmiable
    January 20, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    I have no business telling feminists who they should accept or not accept in a leadership role, or in any other role.

    Hmm. And what business do you have telling women how to feel?

  387. LotusBen
    January 20, 2012 at 8:17 pm

    Hmm. And what business do you have telling women how to feel?

    Hey, John doesn’t want to control your actions, just your inner neuro/physiological states. I’d say that’s an impressive exercise of restraint and boundaries on his part.

  388. Branwen
    January 20, 2012 at 8:30 pm

    So when women get organized and focused to shut down an abusive, racist, sexist, classist threat to our well-being and our feminist community, that’s “hate.” Because everything women do is about irrational emotions, clearly.

  389. January 20, 2012 at 8:55 pm

    Annaleigh, thank you for putting the issue so clearly. Nell, I think we have to say that for at least some of the people in this discussion, the issue has moved beyond simply ejecting Hugo from participation in organized feminism.

  390. trees
    January 20, 2012 at 9:18 pm

    @John Godfrey Spragge

    Do you think Mr. Schwyzer is a victim of undue persecution? Is resistance to his redemption narrative a sign on moral failing?

    It seems to me that dissenters are taking action in hopes of preventing him from committing further harm.

  391. January 20, 2012 at 9:34 pm

    LotusBen, hate may be a neuro-physiological state. Posting on a web site trying to rally everyone to hit a person “where it hurts”, setting up a facebook page devoted to denouncing someone and photo-editing their picture with a red “forbidden slash through it: those are choices.

  392. January 20, 2012 at 9:46 pm

    Trees, I hope I made it clear that the answer to both your questions is no. Talk of hitting him where it hurts, creating sites and facebook pages dedicated to total and unconditional denunciations of him, on the other hand, goes some way beyond simply removing him from feminist spaces. In any case, it seems fairly clear that he has already withdrawn from most of the feminist spaces where he had a presence, unless you count Jezebel, which most people here seem not to.

  393. Annaleigh
    January 20, 2012 at 9:47 pm

    LotusBen, hate may be a neuro-physiological state. Posting on a web site trying to rally everyone to hit a person “where it hurts”, setting up a facebook page devoted to denouncing someone and photo-editing their picture with a red “forbidden slash through it: those are choices.

    Yep, as are trying to kill ones ex-girlfriend, and openly mocking POC, among other things.

  394. LotusBen
    January 20, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    I agree John, those are choices. They are not choices I have a problem with, although you obviously disagree. Really, if that’s hate in your book I think you have a quite broad definition of what constitutes hate.

  395. piny
    January 20, 2012 at 9:53 pm

    Yup, we’re dumping Hugo like he’s an unplanned multiple pregnancy. It’s the greatest crime against humanity since the natural death of Jerry Falwell. Why, that red “forbidden” sign is more offensive to all right-thinking people than the confederate flag, the swastika, and the universal no-smoking sign.

    Are you guys the company he normally keeps? Because I’m starting to understand why his popularity is so reality-resistant. It’s like The Five People You Meet in Heaven married A Million Little Pieces. And had a bunch of ugly, ugly babies.

    I can’t do this anymore, I really can’t. This is not hard! I refuse to feel bad for not caring about the feelings of an asinine creep even if he does arguably have them. I am done treating this like some kind of serious debate. I never liked the guy. So sorry!

  396. LotusBen
    January 20, 2012 at 9:56 pm

    Yes, I agree John. Those are choices. They are choices I don’t have any problem with, although you obviously disagree. If that’s hate in your mind then I think you have a quite broad definition of what constitutes hate.

  397. WitchWolf
    January 20, 2012 at 9:57 pm

    So posting on a web page is worse than attempting to kill a women who came to you for shelter after a rape and continue to use his status and connections to get away with it. Then still sleeping with students, then using sexist, racist, and classist statements are nothing at all.. Trying to continue to tell women how to use their bodies, equating women to cattle and acting like a pimp while herding his cattle.

    Ohhhh John, poor, poor, poor, John.

  398. Kristin Rawls
    January 20, 2012 at 10:43 pm

    I’m kind of curious whether or not Madaline/Lisa/Linda/Miranda/Sarah/Miller is actually Hugo, though I guess Jill would have mentioned it. I mean, could he really have such an obsessive fan?

  399. Kristin Rawls
    January 20, 2012 at 10:45 pm

    And piny: That made me laugh out lough.

  400. Kristin Rawls
    January 20, 2012 at 10:46 pm

    Out LOUD, sorry, typo, and I fixed it, but had accidentally already hit “post comment.”

  401. PrettyAmiable
    January 20, 2012 at 11:27 pm

    Uhh, can we be clear that “hitting him where it hurts” in almost all cases is a euphemism for ignoring a self-proclaimed narcissist? You make it sound like we’re going to try to murder him, get off scot-free, then make a career off of telling white dudes how it is.

  402. Cara
    January 20, 2012 at 11:35 pm

    Feministe reached a compromise; they won’t continue promoting him, but they’re not going to pretend he’s Ted Bundy when he’s obviously not.

    As an aside, to whom is it ‘obvious’ that Hugo’s not a Bundy-type psycho?

    I’m not saying he is, I’m saying we don’t know anything, really. All we know is what he’s said about himself. That’s damning enough. And, no, I’m not personally interested in getting him fired or any of that crap.

    But the blind spot this guy generates around him is absolutely astonishing to me. It’s like he’s a cult leader or something–otherwise rational women are willing to throw him a parade for…what, again? What has he done that numerous female feminists haven’t done, and better, and for a longer period of time?

    Why does this entitled little drip get so much attention in the first place? Are we really so hard up we need to put some really problematic dude in the spotlight to make feminism palatable? To whom is this meant to appeal? Seriously, it’s like an ironic performance art piece about Stockholm Syndrome.

    And thank you, Jill, for the post, and I’m sorry you’re having a rough time.

  403. j.
    January 20, 2012 at 11:51 pm

    Oh, joy, we have here an “xtian peacemaker,” who feels entitled, like most of his co-religionists do, to stick his fucking noise in things that don’t concern him and try to make sure everybody is niiiiiiice to one another. Especially us hateful, hysterical, ragey women.

    Fuck off, John, you fucking self-righteous civility troll. Take your “xtian peacemaking” and shove it up your ass.

  404. WitchWolf
    January 21, 2012 at 12:13 am

    For me — “hitting him where it hurts”

    Would mean taking his platform away, making women aware of what he has done, allowing him to slither back — wait– Snakes are pretty cool — disappear — into being the nothing that he is.

    Again -it’s not just about his past (which is horrendous and enough on it’s own) it’s his continued actions that make him deplorable.

    I want to take away his ability to profit off of his actions, I want to make sure that he is not in a position to harm others. I really want him to get what he has done and what he has continued to do.

  405. Lateef
    January 21, 2012 at 12:22 am

    John Godfrey – will Hugo continue with his withdrawal from feminist spaces? Will he withdraw from public feminism? Will he stop trying to teach feminism?

    These are critical issues, and “hitting him where it hurts” can mean just that.

    Hugo’s life and liberty aren’t on trial. But his credibility is. And if he continues to try to be a public feminist, his credibility will continue to shrivel.

    For Hugo, the right response is painful: withdrawal.

  406. shfree
    January 21, 2012 at 12:55 am

    And we are entitled to ignore the fuck out of him, to disparage him as much as we damn well want. He has triggered enough women, grievously insulted enough women, particularly WoC, that it boggles my mind that anyone would come in here and make some sweeping statement that some women’s actions toward him have been veering too much into hate.

    And frankly, the more people come here to defend him the more irate I get. He isn’t going to be promoted or linked from here. Caperton has stated that none of his postings are going to make it through moderation (assuming he attempts to post at all, which I highly doubt he would at this point) So all your lecturing and finger-wagging about how mean we are is for naught, and all of your high handed language just makes you look like assholes who don’t give a shit about the women he’s hurt.

  407. January 21, 2012 at 3:15 am

    PrettyAmiable, I get the part about ignoring. But when I want to ignore someone, I don’t generally put up two whole web sites specifically and exclusively devoted to them and, I don’t fill three or more web log postings with thousands of comments.

    WitchWolf, I don’t gauge the morality of my actions against people I despise.

  408. librarygoose
    January 21, 2012 at 3:21 am

    What about when you view someone as a threat, so you make sure other people know exactly how threatening they are? People are not in a huff about Hugo, they view him as a misogynist and want him to stay out of feminism and not teach it to people. So, the websites make sense if you want people to know that some asshole is running around being a racist douche nozzle. Ignoring is only cool if you just don’t want to hear from the person, but don’t care if they continue to expound their bullshit.

  409. a survivor
    January 21, 2012 at 5:21 am

    Why does this entitled little drip get so much attention in the first place? Are we really so hard up we need to put some really problematic dude in the spotlight to make feminism palatable? To whom is this meant to appeal? Seriously, it’s like an ironic performance art piece about Stockholm Syndrome.

    Yes. Yes, it is.

  410. January 21, 2012 at 5:32 am

    librarygoose, Hugo’s history, his assertion of privilege with racialized women bloggers, his betrayal of his students by sleeping with them, and his drug-fueled attempt at murder suicide make him problematic, to say the least, as a teacher of womens’ studies or as an activist in feminist work. A great many people think he should leave that work. To say more than that, to object to such things as his putting his picture on his blog, to set up both a facebook page and a tumblr account dedicated to denouncing him on any possible grounds gives him attention.

  411. MadGastronomer
    January 21, 2012 at 6:33 am

    What it does, John, is make it more and more likely that people who search for his name — potential employers, volunteer coordinators, people who book speakers, and especially students — learn the truth about him, learn what he’s done and continues to do and how problematic he is. THAT is the point of doing it, to make it as likely as possible that people who might be taken in by his claims will see the truth. It gives him the kind of attention that, ultimately, he will NOT want: attention to the truth about him.

  412. Eccaba
    January 21, 2012 at 8:09 am

    Well, I want him out. Back when I was a burgeoning feminist I did read his blog on occasion. We’re talking 2004? or so. I stopped after a little while because I became interested in better work, better work that was done largely by women. Initially however, I was excited to read stuff by a man who “cared”… this is exactly why we need to be careful with who has a platform, who gets to make the introductions. Later the stuff with bfp and Marcotte’s book happened and I got to see *f*eminism’s ugly, racist backside. I then abandoned Pandagon and Hugo entirely.
    As such, both him and Marcotte have been off my radar for some time. I wish I could be shocked, but really I’m just saddened that we are still having this conversation. He needs to go. I will be calling his school and making a formal complaint. Someone who has these kinds of issues with violence, sexism, racism, etc. should never teach a women’s studies course. What is wrong with the school anyway that they would have A MAN who’s NEVER STUDIED women’s studies in an academic setting teach women’s studies. Are “women’s issues” really that much of a joke to academia?
    Lastly, I’d like to bring up one more problem with him that hasn’t been mentioned. Appropriation, specifically of Jewish tradition/religion. He has written numerous times about stuff like publicly wearing tiffilin in an Orthodox neighbourhood. Its all very nice from the his point of view. He talks about great relations with his neighbours and how they look at him “curiously” when he wears his tiffilin. Christians have a history of massacring and forcibly converting Jews. As someone who was Orthodox, I guarantee you there a lot of people in his neighbourhood who find his behaviour offensive. Naturally, he doesn’t even take the time to wonder how his behaviour might make other people feel.
    I bring this up not because it is his worst crime, but because it all matters. And that’s the crux of the problem isn’t it? Hugo only ever regards his own feelings. How can a man with a problem like that teach women’s studies?

  413. January 21, 2012 at 9:52 am

    [Trigger Warning – this comment mocks Feminist outrage!]

    You people are missing some of the most problematic things in this man’s tawdry past. I’ve studied his writing closely, and let me tell you there’s some very troubling signs of privilege, entitlement, condescension, paternalism and, quite frankly, thinly veiled narcissism in the way he writes about his chinchillas. Presenting himself as some sort of noble rescuer? Talk about White Knighting! Read his post ( and I don;t dare link to it here) about trying to determining the sex of Rocky Shimon and tell yourself that this man’s whole being isn’t suffused with heteronormative cisgendered transphobia of the ugliest kind. And don’t get me started over his racist observations on their color!

    Sure – on the surface he may seem to be fond of them. Shallow people who are naively taken in by smooth charmers might even say he’s “affectionate” toward the little rodents. But, speaking as someone whose a survivor of past unfairness, any exposure to a man pretending to be affectionate is deeply, deeply triggering.

    Won’t someone please, please, think of the chinchillas!

  414. PrettyAmiable
    January 21, 2012 at 9:59 am

    I don’t fill three or more web log postings with thousands of comments.

    Well neither did any one of us, genius. It was a collaborative effort. If you make this assertion against us, you’re officially a part of it.

    I get the part about ignoring. But when I want to ignore someone, I don’t generally put up two whole web sites specifically and exclusively devoted to them

    Yeah, it’d be just awful to notify other people that this guy is an actual menace to society before going on lockdown, right? You want to know why it keeps happening? It’s because people like you are so terrified to admit that women have a right to be angry with someone and to express that anger. If you stopped acting like such assholes, this would die down. But, as long as you assholes run around telling the wimminz how to react like they have any clue why feel this way, we’re going to do shit to spite you.

  415. January 21, 2012 at 10:06 am

    librarygoose, Hugo’s history, his assertion of privilege with racialized women bloggers, his betrayal of his students by sleeping with them, and his drug-fueled attempt at murder suicide make him problematic, to say the least, as a teacher of womens’ studies or as an activist in feminist work.

    Awww, gee. You don’t say?

    “Assertion of privilege?” Please. He was downright vile—it wasn’t mere one-upmanship he was engaging in. “Problematic?” WOW, if this isn’t a bright shining example of why that word should be retired. You need to ask yourself why you are deliberately using language to downplay his actions. Words that distance him from the damage he caused.

    But more saliently: you have no problem if an individual feminist finds individual offense against him, after individually seeking out or otherwise discovering his history. If she then individually ignores him, that’s fine.

    What you are opposed to is any collective, organized action to make his history visible to those who would otherwise not know of it, and any collective, organized action to ensure that he does not speak from a platform of authority within the feminist movement and/or that he not hold any position of authority in any capacity.

    You aren’t opposed to action against him that takes place only within the hearts and minds of single individuals. You are simply opposed to nonviolent organized political action, because that is unfair—using the power that results from a group of individually powerless people banding together in order to check the power of someone with institutional and historical power and privilege. Do I have that right?

    Because I suppose right now, as I’m typing this, you are also visiting websites that expose Ron Paul’s racism, because hey—that’s all in the past, and he didn’t really know who wrote/said that stuff, and those organized white supremacist folks just happen to be his friends, so, it’s all problematic….but if an individual wants to ignore him that’s fine, but they should let it go at that. Amirite?

  416. j.
    January 21, 2012 at 10:10 am

    Oh, look, the asshole who wrote the so-called “Female Privilege Checklist” has sharted in this thread. Clean-up on Aisle 5!

  417. piny
    January 21, 2012 at 10:20 am

    So, your chance to make a stupid joke is more important than your chance to not mock women for not liking abusive assholes.

    Good one, dude. Hilarious. I’m sure you’d be just as derisive towards a campaign against a (recovered!!eleventy!) pedophile scout leader–those helicopter parents and their insane demands! He hasn’t molested anyone since The Goonies came out!

    You can disagree with the theory ‘n privilege bits all you want, but here’s the thing: in a just world, this man would be incarcerated or at the very least unemployed. In a just world, he would be made to live with the shame he obviously isn’t capable of feeling. He would not be an authority, and his supporters would not be lecturing about trust and forgiveness to women who have been beaten by their husbands and raped by their boyfriends.

    This is your chance to show that you can respect reasonable advocacy on behalf of women, because it is eminently reasonable to not want this guy lecturing to teenage girls about consent. This is your chance to show that you’re not full of shit!

    And you’ve failed.

    Hope you never encounter a similar situation among any women who care for you, because I’m not optimistic.

  418. Dao
    January 21, 2012 at 10:23 am

    Oh, look, the asshole who wrote the so-called “Female Privilege Checklist” has sharted in this thread. Clean-up on Aisle 5!

    Not to mention the “The Victim Privilege List” which has to be one of the most ill-intentioned, bullshit lists I’ve ever read as a “victim” of DV and attempted rape.

    Go shart somewhere else Fog. Dare I say you must be gazing through the fog of male privilege?

  419. WitchWolf
    January 21, 2012 at 11:08 am

    Wow – if we just don’t like him we should ignore him — that’s all. We aren’t allowed to vocalize and state why we don’t, inform others of his actions, act to make sure we have a voice?

    John —

    Really

    Wow..

    amazing — So that’s how change is done – You don’t like someone — you keep quiet allow it to happen over and over again, and because he is a wicked nice dude — we should shut up and do nothing – Sounds like John hasn’t been paying attention.

  420. j.
    January 21, 2012 at 11:40 am

    I dunno, WitchWolf, I’d say John’s been paying excellent attention.

    You see, his goal isn’t justice for victims. His goal is to get women to shut up about Hugo. He knows that a great way to do this is to attempt to shame us with smarmy xtian balderdash about “forgiveness” and “redemption,” as well as paint us with misogynist tropes. He didn’t have to call us scorned harpies bent on wreaking vengeance; it’s implied in his oh-so-civil remarks about how “obsessed” we are about Hugo.

  421. Cara
    January 21, 2012 at 11:48 am

    So, in the interests of not letting Hugo win, can we shitcan the emotional responses? Logic is the only way for women to get ahead.

    There’s nothing “illogical” about emotional responses. In fact, they’re often perfectly, entirely rational. Yes, even if we silly women are the ones experiencing them.

    Framing righteous anger as “hysteria”, appropriate disgust as “being holier-than-thou”, or sadness as “weakness” all fall under a standard technique for discrediting women’s perfectly rational responses to the heaps upon heaps of horseshit we have to wade through on a daily basis.

    It’s adding insult to injury when it’s suggested that we not express emotion (because emotion means we’re girls and girls are stupid because only girls feel things, unless guys feel things, in which case it’s “understandable” because they’re oh-so-in-control, unless of course they’re not in control because some dumb broad drove them to madness…).

    Emotion’s not wrong. Expressing emotion’s not wrong. It’s perfectly right and moral and intelligent, in fact. How the hell else do things get done? Do you think any substantial change in the status quo has ever happened because there was a nice civil sit-down with the powers that be?

    Quit buying into that bullshit framework. Hugo is “winning”, if you want to call it that, because it’s already set up so that he can’t lose.

    He made sure he wouldn’t be prosecuted before he spoke up, he’s letting the poor saps who want to believe they’re special to him do his dirty work for him, and the fact that he doesn’t really care about anyone but himself guarantees that he can’t be harmed in any other way.

    All he has to do is absolutely nothing and he’ll come out of it unscathed. But speaking up (emotionally or not) might give other people the insight they need not to be taken in by someone like him again.

  422. January 21, 2012 at 11:51 am

    Sounds like John hasn’t been paying attention.

    John doesn’t have a grasp on what institutionalized power is, is maintained or how it is abused—let alone a handle on how difficult it is to combat that entrenched power, especially from a marginalized position.

    This isn’t a individual situation. It’s not a coincidence that he has been tacitly allowed to abuse his authority within PCCC (seriously John, go re-read that post on how “Don’s” assurances to Hugo that he wasn’t doing anything wrong but being “indiscreet.” Then pass along that reading material to a woman you know and respect, and ask for her take on that—-if she would feel comfortable challenging a lower grade she suspects she received for saying “no” to sex with a horny professor, were she at a college with people like that in positions of authority). It’s not a coincidence that the police assumed that the attempted murder of his ex-girlfriend was a “suicide pact”, without consulting her once she became conscious. It’s not a coincidence that Hugo describes his ex-girlfriend as “smelling of sex” after she just informed him that she’d been raped; he was crystal-clear that he was sexually excited by the fact she’d just been raped.

    Are you listening, John? You think that it’s terrible, just terrible that so many mean women on the internet are informing all the various platforms where he has/had credibility of his history, so they can make an informed decision on whether or not they want him to represent them.

  423. January 21, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    So, in the interests of not letting Hugo win, can we shitcan the emotional responses? Logic is the only way for women to get ahead.

    What Cara said @ #434, but also, this anti-emotional attitude runs completely counter to scientific research on the role of emotions in higher-level decision making. I highly recommed reading Dr. Antonio Damasio’s Descartes’ Error; it’s not light reading (Dr. Damasio is a neuroscientist, not a novelist), but it’s fascinating. He has another book, The Feeling of What Happens: Body, Emotion and the Making of Consciousness that delves further into the fact that emotions are essential to one’s ability to make successful higher-order decisions vital to one’s well-being and survival.

  424. Nell
    January 21, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    Might I point out that while John initially quoted piny’s words “get him where it hurts” correctly, he has since in every subsequent comment changed her words to “hit(ting) him where it hurts.”

    A small, but I would maintain, not insignificant, difference.

  425. January 21, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    A small, but I would maintain, not insignificant, difference.

    And well in keeping with the history of maintaining that any opposition to abuse of power by people who are on the receiving end of that abuse of power, as the “violent” actions of “mobs”.

  426. librarygoose
    January 21, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    So, it’s all a-okay for feminists to be mad as long as we do so in a quiet manner so we don’t upset people?

    *whispers*

    Fuck that and Fuck you too, John.

  427. Cara
    January 21, 2012 at 2:06 pm

    Call-out culture? Yeah, I might have heard some about that. Participated in it, too.

    But I resent like all hell any implication that “a group of people on the internet”–not survivors, not victims, not women–who want some distance between themselves and Hugo are leading everyone down a treacherous slippery slope and oh dear, Who Knows Where It Could Lead? Where Will It End? What If One of Us Is Next?

    Again: These concerns don’t make sense unless Hugo IS “one of us.”

    Ilyka, this has bothered me, too. Not that I care if anyone dashes off a post denouncing Hugo, that’s not my business. But characterizing all the anger in response to his revelations (especially his reasons for doing it and the way he did it) as somehow hysterical or irresponsible bothers me. It feels like an internalized misogyny thing.

    No, actually, it feels like some “Oh, God, the un-fun branch of feminists are yelling again and making the cool ones look stupid” bullshit. Which I guess is a subtype of the same thing.

  428. Kristin Rawls
    January 21, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    All of the “Scumbag Schwyzer” content on quickmeme has disappeared all of a sudden. Odd, that.

    And speaking of “censorship”…

  429. Hari B
    January 22, 2012 at 9:03 am

    Thanks very much for the link to La Lubu’s post–insightful and compelling to this feminist. Otherwise, some comments from this feminist on this commentary and Jill’s original post.

    First–survivor, as another survivor of intimate male-partner violence, I deeply appreciate your comments here. You helped me see that some part of my objection to the commentary here was about triggering…an important insight and one that has shifted my attitude about this convo some. Thanks for being courageous and vulnerable enough to speak here of yes, a situation of one’s personal history that is more likely to garner suspicion and victim-blaming rather than dignity or sympathy. And I know this so well by now that it didn’t even occur to me to out myself as a survivor til you led the way…or even to consider, before you spoke, how much my emotional reactions to people here were simply triggering for me.

    That said, I more than understand the intense rage expressed so thoroughly and at such length by so many here. Hard as it may be to believe, during the period when I was experiencing and escpaing my abuser, I was every bit as adamant about my need to be enraged, and to express the reality of my trauma in every way it impacted my/family’s life (indeed, my own rage, grief and trauma were very much worsened by my children’s trauma). Many were those who accused me of being ‘too angry’, ‘just obsessed’, ‘defeating my own cause’ and blah blah ad nauseum blah. I took as long as I took to do that, and be damned to any ignorant, blind, mansplaining, womyn’s oppression-avoidant moron who dared to tell me otherwise…and many of my most vocal detractors were other womyn. Talk about further trauma, especially as all of those womyn professed to be womyn-identified feminists.

    So–I apologize for appearing to just not get it at all. For seeming to want to silence anyone in any way, when I know too well how important it was *to me*, to speak of things so important for so long a period of my life. That was stupid of me, at best. I do get it–and even if I think some might not have gotten my point so well, I do see how poorly I expressed that point and ended seeming to present an opposing point entirely.

    Which brings me back to my original point, that I’ll try to express better now than earlier. But first, I want to say that it is NOT that I entirely agree with Jill in her choices or the points she made. I actually do agree with a lot of the critiques of her post. For me, supporting her in general was only about respecting the choices and boundaries she set for herself. And in this case, because I know, also as a direct result of the abuse I suffered, that poor health/low energy is something that one must attend to FIRST. A point especially important for womyn to acknowledge, as being a womyn in patriarchy is about nothing so much as the demand that we sacrifice ourselves, body and soul to others, no matter the cost. So I still support Jill in that sense; I also think it’s possible that her viewpoint *now*, may and even probably *will* shift in some ways as her health/energy improves (not saying I know *how*–not at all–just noting that as I’ve reclaimed my own health, I could address some things differently than when I was sickest). I simply choose to see her, as I see us all–works in progress whose lives and minds can change over time.

    Back to that original point finally…it’s about Free Speech, actually. I’m a firm believer in free speech generally–and all the more, as I said, for those surviving trauma. And I have seen a drawback to free speech–one that I think is not missed at all by our gov’t, in fact: people who are allowed to speak freely, all too often spend the bulk of their energy in talk, venting their anger as such, and as analysis of an oppressive situation. Then, once relieved of the internal pressures, most people just continue on in the same ol shit, their will to make change subsiding as their anger is subsided via talk. I have seen this work, time and time again, to derail action for change. Free Speech as a constitutional right is a very slick strategy, because of this fact. People satiated through talk are not people who foment revolutions, usually. Just sayin…give it a thought.

    NOT that anyone should stop talking, or only talk nice, or any other bs along those lines. But what I found, in surviving abuse (it took less than a year to get him out of my home, but another 3 yrs to make him stop his siege via our community, the courts, finances, etc–and he wreaked FAR MORE harm after he was gone than when he lived with us)…what I found in my work to make him go away, and to otherwise heal self/family, is that talk only went so far. I’m not sure if I’d survived without so much intense talking about it, for the very value of venting some of the energy that might otherwise have killed me if I’d kept it locked inside…but in the end, the talk that helped the most was *strategic* talk: talk about what I could *do* to win the war he brought upon us. Talk accompanied by clear decisive action of every sort that might help. The talk reserved mainly to venting, and to analysis of the situation (no matter how powerfully true my analysis), would not, could not make the changes I needed to happen.

    And when it comes to choosing to shun people who are abusive, sociopathic utter creeps like HS–even that is not something I do entirely silently. As with my abuser, whom I learned to shun, I also told people why I shunned him and why they should, too (but I learned to do that in few words, in keeping with my wish not to spend energy on him). As I’d do with any who tried to persuade me to give any energy to the likes of HS–tell them why I think he’s dangerous, period, and refuse to engage in further discussion of him. What I found in my own situation was that it took a long time…but in time, others too began to see what I meant about my abuser. As clever and manipulative as he was (HS reminds me so sickenly of him), in the end he outed himself for what he was. This was, I believe, partly because I refused to engage with him directly–because then, no one could say there was any evidence that *I* somehow contributed to his actions by virtue of ‘relationship’ or ‘interaction’ between us.

    With that, not trying to say what anyone else should do, or how they should do it. Sure not trying to say what anyone should feel, or how they should express themselves. Only trying to make my original point clearer, if possible. This talk is important on various levels–important personally, for those who need to speak; important too, as interaction with others and how we help each other see things from more POV, bring forward more possible tactics, etc. Just saying that for me, ‘Free Speech’ was not enough, and in some ways presented a real threat to my getting free, and to my healing. Just saying–the talk has it’s uses, and the strategic-talk followed by action has other uses we must avail ourselves of, to most thoroughly get the job done.

  430. BBBShrewHarpy
    January 22, 2012 at 10:15 am

    Hari I have a feeling you are going to get a lot of flak for this post too. I’m a newbie here and have no issues with anyone, and no real triggers except disgust on all the HS stuff, so please take this as disinterested but well-meaning advice. It seems to me that one of the reasons you draw such fire is that whatever you post appears to suggest you are ahead on the curve compared to everyone else. Even here, when talking about recovery from abuse, there is a “you will eventually come around as I did” tone to your account.

  431. Hari B
    January 22, 2012 at 11:35 am

    BBBShrewHarpy–thanks for that, taken as intended (I think!)

    I ventured my last post knowing what you say may be true. Nonetheless, I posted because through following this thread some things did shift and clarify for me–as already lengthily stated, so I’ll leave it that ;-) I wanted to share, because I *do* see people like HS as a danger to feminism/all womyn as well as to individual womyn. I have a reputation to uphold (in my local parts) of not standing around silently when abusers do their thing, after all.

    And I just can’t control the way people read me…especially, if never given the benefit of being quoted, to point out which of my words were found offensive, and how. That kind of feedback is not commonly practiced here. I’ve seen others quoted, yes. When it’s not a quote to show approval, it’s generally a quote used for simple purpose of ridiculing the poster, for who knows what reason–maybe just a difference of opinion, which some apparently find intolerable on the face of it.

    Honest, specific feedback is *always* appreciated and taken to heart by me. Honest statements of ‘we disagree on that point’ are always respected by me. Bashing, shaming and ridiculing is seen, on the other hand, for what it is….and, mmmm….not about me, and not my problem.

    As for ‘tone’–that is the #1 problem in internet comm, no? Maybe there should be an “internet comm 101” for people to check out, just like we have a “feminism 101”. If people want to read a ‘tone’ in someone’s words, and not check it out before reacting…well, again, not about me and no way for me to control them.

    Like I said, I like boundary setting! In fact I consider it to be a very powerful and totally feminist survival tool.

    thanks again…I think ;-)

  432. BBBShrewHarpy
    January 22, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    Hari said:

    As for ‘tone’–that is the #1 problem in internet comm, no? Maybe there should be an “internet comm 101″ for people to check out, just like we have a “feminism 101″. If people want to read a ‘tone’ in someone’s words, and not check it out before reacting…well, again, not about me and no way for me to control them.

    Ack! I said “tone”; I really do know better, honest.

    Thanks for taking my post kindly, the way it was intended.

    I’m a bit frustrated with this thread in the same way as I was a bit frustrated with Jill’s post. It seems to me that apart from a few MRA types and Sarah The Sockpuppet, there is a general consensus of horror and disgust regarding HS, and I fear that will be lost for the record because of the 400+ comments that follow any post on the subject, which might pass, without patient reading, for debate about HS himself.

    My original reaction to Jill’s post was concern for the person who discovers feminism in the near future, falls upon HS, does some more reading…. and gets no clear signal from here about just how bogus and dangerous HS is. I had suggested “active banning” rather than a refusal to link or endorse him, which is the route Jill is taking, but it wasn’t clear what I meant by “active banning”.

    After reading LaLubu’s post linked above by Blue Milk, I think she captures what I would recommend, in the following statement:

    My suggestions for moving forward:

    Adding a declarative mission statement to the blog. Who/what is Feministe, and what are this blog’s objectives? How does it plan to reach them? What is the framework for its evolution? What are its obligations to its readers and/or responsibilities to feminist movement?

    I would call this a charter, and in the charter there would be, in addition to the suggestions from LaLubu, a section on “Fakers”, people posing as pro-feminist whom Feministe deems not to be consistent with their charter. This is where HS’s name would appear (though not linked!), along with other fakers. The charter wouldn’t be a blog post, it would be another red button on the red line.

    Thinking about this more, I would not have this charter open for comments, but I would copy and paste its current contents and post them as a blog post open to comments, then add a link to the blog post in the charter text. The charter text would be an organic document, amended according to evolving thought, new input, feedback from the commentariat, the outing of new fakers (all at the discretion of the Feministeriat). Then every 6 mos – 1 yr, the current charter could be recopied/pasted into a blog post, opened for comments, and the new post linked in the charter (in an extra link following the link to the first time it was posted), and so on, every 6 mos-1yr. We would then have an uncommented, clean charter, that reflected the current Feministe mission statement, and links to its evolution therein. But this isn’t my blog or my call.

  433. WitchWolf
    January 22, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    So you are against Free Speech?? Because of… And how would you envision locking down speech to better suit your world view?

    How do we go about enforcing your views to protect, what? As you say the future of Feminism?

    Sorry, but that doesn’t make sense to me.

    Hugo is a danger to Feminism – Blocking him at any angle is IMPORTANT so that women aren’t subjected to his idea of what feminism is.

    People should be enraged, angry, and have the ability to show these things.

    The idea of women “toning” down falls in the stereotype that women shouldn’t have a voice, shouldn’t be able to have her riotous anger, should be allowed to vote because she is unable to understand male things.

    The anger is a natural part of what it means to be human – Angry people get things done – It feeds the process rather than break it down.

    So, I say rage on, allow women to be human.

    How you handle things are just that, how you handle things.

  434. January 22, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    I’d like to thank La Luba for helping me find a better way to express my thinking. La Luba called the problem systemic. I agree. To me, that means you cannot deal with problems simply by focusing on an individual. People who have done oppressive and exploitive things have claimed the mantle of ally of the oppressed before, and they will again. Ejecting Hugo from feminist spaces will not by itself solve these problems.

    Of all the things Hugo has done or claimed to have done that justify excluding him from participating feminist, or indeed any in anti-oppression work, his racist assertion of privilege against bfp and others stands out. The community could potentially resolve that act by means of a restorative justice process of some description, but Hugo has clearly declined to participate. That alone would justify neither linking to him nor promoting his work in any other way until and unless he changes his mind and the community (and the survivors of his misbehaviour) work out a restorative justice process. This should apply to everyone, and warnings about Hugo and anyone else who does what he did should focus on that, and the justified anger the people he directly offended and the community at large feel, not the specific person or net presence that is Hugo.

  435. BBBShrewHarpy
    January 22, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    @WitchWolf:

    Were you speaking to me?

    If so, then I’m sorry I gave the impression of not encouraging free speech. To the contrary, I find the discussion very healthy and don’t wish to silence anyone.

    What I suggest is *in addition* to the blog posts + commentariat input, a “This is where we stand”-type statement from Feministe that has links to the history of the statement and therefore to the input of the commentariat, but stands by itself, for someone who has not been engaged to find as an entry point. Six months from now, these posts will be buried… someone looking for information will stumble on one, perhaps read the comments, perhaps follow some links, will wonder why Caperton is apologizing for Clarisse’s closing her comments, will wonder why Jill is explaining why she has been quiet, will not know why Amanda Marcotte popped in… and it’s really a lot of work to sort through this, even for someone who has followed it in real time. Old threads are difficult to put in context and parse for overall meaning. The fact that HS has been banned will just be reflected in no further posts/links to/comments from in his name and this could be perceived as lack of interest on his part rather than a banning by Feministe. I don’t think these things are equivalent: I feel a statement by Feministe should be much stronger than just not featuring HS on the site. That is the source of my frustration, not any venting of emotion, or tone.

    The tone comment was to Hari in order to express to her why I thought sometimes people jumped down her neck, but I think I should have used “words” rather than “tone”.

  436. Hari B
    January 22, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    WitchWolf– “So you are against Free Speech?? Because of… And how would you envision locking down speech to better suit your world view?”

    I’m not sure who you are talking to, but I know for sure that neither BBBHarpyShrew nor me said anything of the sort.

    “Angry people get things done – It feeds the process rather than break it down. ”

    I totally agree. At least, I’ve seen anger serve things getting done, feeding the process, if the angry people don’t squander all their energy in talk.

    Free Speech is a tool like any other, with it’s uses and it’s drawbacks. Saying this is not at all related to being “against Free Speech, or tellling anyone to tone it down–I really don’t know how you got there, at all.

  437. librarygoose
    January 22, 2012 at 5:13 pm

    I want to know why I can’t hate Hugo as an individual. He represents bigger problems, and he’s a smarmy fuck. So why do I only get to discuss how he is problematic to feminism as a whole? I mean, I don’t hate him on the level I hate some people, but why shouldn’t I think and say he’s a fucking douche?

  438. January 22, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    The community could potentially resolve that act by means of a restorative justice process of some description, but Hugo has clearly declined to participate. That alone would justify neither linking to him nor promoting his work in any other way until and unless he changes his mind and the community (and the survivors of his misbehaviour) work out a restorative justice process.

    John, I want to be crystal-clear about this: I have no interest in any restorative justice process that involves Hugo. I do not advocate his removal from public feminist discourse as some sort of leverage until he comes with another, “sorry, and I really mean it this time!” schtick. He lacks empathy for others, and that makes any attempt at restorative justice a futile one.

    I also want to be crystal-clear that many survivors of abuse, especially female survivors (myself included), had our lack of forgiveness for our abusers held against us. Used as evidence that we were the “real problem”. No. HELL NO. I reserve the right to cut toxic people out of my life like cancer. This is every bit a form of self defense as valuable as blocking a punch.

    Please. Go read Gavin DeBecker. He’s a man. You’ll at least take him seriously, and consider what he has to say.

  439. LotusBen
    January 22, 2012 at 8:53 pm

    I want to know why I can’t hate Hugo as an individual. He represents bigger problems, and he’s a smarmy fuck. So why do I only get to discuss how he is problematic to feminism as a whole? I mean, I don’t hate him on the level I hate some people, but why shouldn’t I think and say he’s a fucking douche?

    Because Jesus wouldn’t have done that, and strong emotions are scary for John.

  440. January 22, 2012 at 9:24 pm

    librarygoose, I would like to make it clear that a truly likable, transparently sincere, honest and absolutely non-smarmy person can’t get a pass on arrogant racism. Or on sexually exploiting their students. Or on trying to kill a significant other. I like Jay Smooth’s insistence on treating racism as something perfectly nice people do, and perfectly nice people need to get called on. And the same thing holds for sexism, homophobia, ableism, and transphobia as well.

  441. January 22, 2012 at 9:26 pm

    LotusBen, you have literally no idea how absurd that attempt at psychoanalysis is.

  442. LotusBen
    January 22, 2012 at 9:32 pm

    LotusBen, you have literally no idea how absurd that attempt at psychoanalysis is.

    John, I wasn’t attempting to psychoanalyze you. I was attempting to mock you. And absurdity is a good tool for mocking someone. Of course, I don’t care if you found it funny or not because you weren’t the target audience for the humor, merely the butt of the joke.

  443. MadGastronomer
    January 22, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    To me, that means you cannot deal with problems simply by focusing on an individual. People who have done oppressive and exploitive things have claimed the mantle of ally of the oppressed before, and they will again. Ejecting Hugo from feminist spaces will not by itself solve these problems.

    It will solve the problem of Hugo being active in feminist spaces, and the harm he, personally does thereby. Because the problem isn’t only systemic, it is individual as well. And if we don’t fight the individual instances of the problem, how are we going to fight the systems problem? Why are you trying so hard to deny that Hugo must be ejected from feminist spaces for the protection of women?

    This should apply to everyone, and warnings about Hugo and anyone else who does what he did should focus on that, and the justified anger the people he directly offended and the community at large feel, not the specific person or net presence that is Hugo.

    I . . . what?

    How do we separate what he’s done from him? His actions are what’s being condemned at FuckNoHugoSchwyzer and elsewhere. Getting the word out about his actions is what will warn people about how dangerous his actions are. But his actions are not separate from his person. To talk about them, we must talk about him. People are not going, “He’s an asshole, therefor he’s done bad things,” or something. We’re saying, “He has done all of these bad things, so he should be kept out of feminism.” Yes, we’re angry at him for what he’s done. Yes, some of us hate him for what he’s done. AND? Your love-the-sinner-hate-the-sin bullshit is not something the rest of us have to subscribe to.

  444. January 22, 2012 at 10:20 pm

    You cannot deal with problems simply by focusing on an individual. People who have done oppressive and exploitive things have claimed the mantle of ally of the oppressed before, and they will again. Ejecting Hugo from feminist spaces will not by itself solve these problems.

    Nobody said it would. But it might help to mitigate the concrete damage that Schwyzer has done, and is continuing to do, to feminist communities and organizations:

    http://studentactivism.net/2012/01/22/hugo-schwyzer-is-still-doing-harm/

  445. January 22, 2012 at 10:34 pm

    John, does the word “discernment” mean anything to you?

  446. thebewilderness
    January 22, 2012 at 10:43 pm

    That above has been my point; it is and would be up to each of us as INDIVIDUALS whether we read or support Hugo or not.

    Heavens forefend that any organized effort be made to remove a predator from a position of authority in feminism! Criminy!
    Sometimes I wonder if a person actually hears what they are saying.

  447. WitchWolf
    January 22, 2012 at 10:51 pm

    Hari B said

    Back to that original point finally…it’s about Free Speech, actually. I’m a firm believer in free speech generally–and all the more, as I said, for those surviving trauma. And I have seen a drawback to free speech–one that I think is not missed at all by our gov’t, in fact: people who are allowed to speak freely, all too often spend the bulk of their energy in talk, venting their anger as such, and as analysis of an oppressive situation.

    This is where I questioned whether you like Free Speech or not… This tells me that you might not.

    So I am confused.

  448. shfree
    January 22, 2012 at 11:58 pm

    librarygoose, I would like to make it clear that a truly likable, transparently sincere, honest and absolutely non-smarmy person can’t get a pass on arrogant racism. Or on sexually exploiting their students. Or on trying to kill a significant other. I like Jay Smooth’s insistence on treating racism as something perfectly nice people do, and perfectly nice people need to get called on. And the same thing holds for sexism, homophobia, ableism, and transphobia as well.

    I don’t think that a truly honestly nice person would attempt to kill another person, and then be so flip in their retelling of it, quite frankly. And yeah, Jay Smooth does have a lot of great things to say about when nice people mess up and say racist things. But you know, there are people that are just flat out racist, too. And I’m willing to say that Schwyzer is one of those people. People are allowed to think that Schwyzer is an asshole, stop trying to take away that right.

  449. librarygoose
    January 23, 2012 at 12:06 am

    I would like to make it clear that a truly likable, transparently sincere, honest and absolutely non-smarmy person can’t get a pass on arrogant racism. Or on sexually exploiting their students. Or on trying to kill a significant other.

    But Hugo isn’t one. He isn’t likeable (by me). And really, I think it’s okay to say that genuinely likable people don’t try to kill their significant other or sexually exploit anyone. Also, if this hypothetical person is so sincere, I think their racism is sincere, and I reserve the joy of pointing it out and demanding they acknowledge their fucking behavior.

    PS. I never claimed to be one of genuinely likable people. Especially to racist, homophobic, transphobic, sexual exploiting attempted murderers. I hate them.

  450. January 23, 2012 at 12:52 am

    MadGastronomer asked me:

    Why are you trying so hard to deny that Hugo must be ejected from feminist spaces for the protection of women?

    I’m not. If you believe you need to eject Hugo from feminist spaces for the protection of women or for any other reason, go right ahead. I have said from the start that I don’t propose to tell anyone to accept him in any space, in any role whatever.

    If you want to argue you have a right to hate him, fine, except hate confuses what looks like a pretty clear picture to me. Hugo has more than justified anyone who feels it necessary to exclude him from anti-oppression spaces. He has done things that would justify excluding anyone, even a really nice person, even someone you like. From a perspective that recognizes that people like Hugo will find their way into feminism and other progressive movements again, reciting Hugo’s offenses, as angrily as necessary, makes more sense than calling him a miserable smarmy weasel who did bad things. First, people like Hugo think of themselves as OK people. So if you want to say that racism will get ejected from anti-oppression spaces, if you want to set boundaries, I believe you will have more effect if you emphasize the boundaries apply to really nice people as much as to smarmy weasels. Also, Hugo obviously has friends who clearly don’t recognize what you say about him. If you want to reach them, it makes sense to stick with the facts.

  451. January 23, 2012 at 1:04 am

    Angus, I don’t think Hugo told his partners at Healthy is the New Skinny or at Scarletteen about his racism, either.

    However, to clarify one more time: I don’t under opposed ejecting Hugo from feminist or other anti-oppression spaces. I have never opposed ejecting him from these spaces. I just want him ejected in the way that lets us deal most effectively with the next version of Hugo appear in anti-oppression spaces.

  452. MadGastronomer
    January 23, 2012 at 1:13 am

    If you believe you need to eject Hugo from feminist spaces for the protection of women or for any other reason, go right ahead. I have said from the start that I don’t propose to tell anyone to accept him in any space, in any role whatever.

    Then why do you keep telling us we shouldn’t be doing what it takes to make sure he’s excluded from as many feminist spaces as possible, which is to let as many people as possible know what he’s done?

    hate confuses what looks like a pretty clear picture to me.

    How? How does that confuse anything? The only person here who seems to be confused is you.

    So if you want to say that racism will get ejected from anti-oppression spaces, if you want to set boundaries, I believe you will have more effect if you emphasize the boundaries apply to really nice people as much as to smarmy weasels. Also, Hugo obviously has friends who clearly don’t recognize what you say about him. If you want to reach them, it makes sense to stick with the facts.

    You are simply wrong. Your tactics have been tried, and they fail every fucking time. Go look up the tone argument and related subjects. Do your homework.

    People who want to believe that Hugo is ok also want to believe that he’s never done anything racist, or at least that he won’t do so anymore, so it won’t actually change anything about their opinions, because they just want him included, and will try to make him an exception to the rule no matter what the rule is.

  453. Annaleigh
    January 23, 2012 at 1:34 am

    Jesus Christ, John. It’s exhausting trying to listen to you lecture women on how we ought to handle or not handle a predator who has infiltrated our movement, and continued to abuse many more women all the while.

  454. January 23, 2012 at 2:36 am

    Hugo wrote a post about men deflecting criticism by insinuating that women are irrational man bashers. It was the only thing I’d read by Hugo, and I thought it was a pretty good essay. I didn’t know anything else about him.

    I linked that piece in comments here, without knowing about his history. I should’ve looked into the source I was linking, and I’m very sorry for any distress I caused by bringing him into the comments here.

  455. Annaleigh
    January 23, 2012 at 2:57 am

    Hugo wrote a post about men deflecting criticism by insinuating that women are irrational man bashers.

    It’s ironic that Hugo’s defenders are doing just that, isn’t it?

  456. January 23, 2012 at 6:57 am

    Angus, I don’t think Hugo told his partners at Healthy is the New Skinny or at Scarletteen about his racism, either.

    This is certainly true. But I have no idea what your point is.

  457. Hari B
    January 23, 2012 at 8:40 am

    WitchWind:

    “Hari B said

    “Back to that original point finally…it’s about Free Speech, actually. I’m a firm believer in free speech generally–and all the more, as I said, for those surviving trauma. And I have seen a drawback to free speech–one that I think is not missed at all by our gov’t, in fact: people who are allowed to speak freely, all too often spend the bulk of their energy in talk, venting their anger as such, and as analysis of an oppressive situation.”

    This is where I questioned whether you like Free Speech or not… This tells me that you might not.

    So I am confused.”

    Hmm, I think I might have screwed up formatting of quotes, so this might look strange…if so, ooops.

    Anyway, WitchWind, first I tremendously appreciate your taking the time to quote me by way of pointing out what bothered you. It is SO helpful to me. I see now just how you could have gotten there. I talk a lot, so then I try to cut to the chase, and sometimes cut it too short to be clear.

    I see how I verbally conflated the ‘political trick’ of Free Speech with Free Speech as an important matter in a situation like this…there are common threads of note, IMO, but I didn’t state it well. So, I’ll just ditch the part where politics enters in. Is this clearer, below?

    I’m a firm believer in free speech generally–and all the more, as I said, for those surviving trauma. And sometimes we end up spending the bulk of our energy in talk alone. We talk quite needfully in venting anger as such, and in analysis of an oppressive situation; only the individual knows how much of this she may need. Still if we put too much energy into talking, we might not have enough energy left for action.

    Thing is, I’ve seen this far too often in my own life, and the lives of others around me, to doubt the risk we run of running out so much energy in mere talk that we lose sufficient steam to act. Again–just saying that talk has important, even crucial value to persons and to groups, and that includes emotionally passionate talk. And like all other tools, it has limits of usefulness and outright drawbacks that have done me, anyway, some good to recognize.

  458. Hari B
    January 23, 2012 at 9:14 am

    LotusBen: “John, I wasn’t attempting to psychoanalyze you. I was attempting to mock you. And absurdity is a good tool for mocking someone. Of course, I don’t care if you found it funny or not because you weren’t the target audience for the humor, merely the butt of the joke.”

    See, this is what really baffles me about feministe commentary on the whole–this whole trend of making people the butt of jokes, when you disagree or simply don’t understand what another poster says. What, is this a ‘cooler than thou’ In-Group, unwelcoming to newcomers–and unwelcoming of alternate points of view? It is exactly this kind of unself-conscious, completely unabashed juvenile style of comm here that leaves me wondering…a lot of things about feministe and commentariat.

    I am NOT here to defend John in the least. I totally agree that it’s perfectly righteous to know and hate HS as scumbag very personally, as well as having a greater interest in serving feminism on the whole by working to get him OUT of feminist spaces. (then again, I am ALWAYS surprised when any womyn, ever, accepts men’s presence in feminism–except for their possible value to other men. B/c a simple yet powerful fact for womyn in patriarchy is that we’ve already had to deal with men’s voices/ideas/presence overrunning our lives for so goddam long. For me this translates to the simple yet powerful idea that to free ourselves from patriarchy, a first step is to QUIT listening to men about stuff–ESPECIALLY feminist stuff. Call me an old-fashioned radfem if you will, or simple minded or whatever–JMO and one that works really well for me).

    In any event–what exactly is the purpose and ‘power’ of this habit of mocking/ridiculing people? To me it seems an ultimate expression of powerlessness in the mocker/ridiculer–all the while posing so intently as a show of ‘power’; it seems as well an expression of sheer petulance intended to stop communication rather than serve it.

    I agree, if John wants to learn in this process as well as teach, he needs to wrap his head around things like how perfectly ok it is for people to personally hate HS *along with* working for the benefit of feminism on the whole. Hell, that it’s perfectly ok to JUST hate him personally, without giving a hoot about feminism on the whole.

    But this whole commentariat theme of mocking/ridiculing as a way to express one’s feelings? It’s stupid. It’s counterproductive, and really, really juvenile–takes me straight back to middle school. Hey, don’t let me stop you (as IF, eh?). I just wish the mods would stop allowing it. I wish the people here would stop, as a group, feeding and approving this crap.

    Rant done! Flounce!

  459. EG
    January 23, 2012 at 9:40 am

    what exactly is the purpose and ‘power’ of this habit of mocking/ridiculing people?

    Since this is something I do a lot, I’ll answer.

    I can think of quite a few points:

    1) It’s fun.

    2) Making fun of arguments, points of view, and implicit assumptions that support and inform patriarchy, racism, misogyny, homophobia, etc., is actually quite an effective way of undermining them. Not only is it a critique, but it is a critique that refuses to accord the argument/pov/assumptions being mocked the dignity of being taken seriously. One of the ways to tell how powerful that kind of critique is to look at how hard authoritarian regimes come down on it.

    3) A mocking tone, ranging from affectionate teasing to aggressive sarcasm, is a standard part of normal, everyday discourse for many people, depending on regional/ethnic cultures.

    4) Moderating comments to get rid of a certain tone that you don’t like is just a tone argument writ large (“Why can’t you be nicer to people?”). I don’t want to be nice to certain people. Some kinds of disagreement I learn from, even if my opinion ultimately doesn’t change. The kind that I mock, however, no. I’m mocking them precisely because I see no value in them.

    5) It relieves boredom. Thread after thread of po-faced sincerity would be so dull I can hardly contemplate it without yawning.

    6) As to creating an in-group–some opinions are, for me, beyond the pale of what is acceptable. I don’t want to make people who hold them feel welcomed. Depending on the opinion and the person holding it, I may want to help them change it, but I may not, either because I think that’s not a realistic goal, or because I find them so repugnant that I have no interest in helping them in any way, shape, or form. In those cases, it is deliberately part of an exclusionary strategy. Feminism may be for everyone, in the words of bell hooks, but that doesn’t mean that all opinions have to be welcome.

    7) When an opinion is so disgusting as to be quite upsetting, humor is a way of coping with the implications of that opinion; it can serve the same function as gallows humor.

    As to it being juvenile…I disagree. There is a long, long tradition of political commentary via mockery–it can be incredibly effective; just ask Stephen Colbert. Humor is an incredibly powerful tool used by adults in almost every situation I can think of. Why we shouldn’t use it for aggressive and argumentative purposes is beyond me.

  460. piny
    January 23, 2012 at 10:01 am

    I’ll be honest, I have no patience for anyone who thinks that mockery is bad. If I can’t tease, I want no part of your revolution. I’m also watching a thread dismantle itself under the weight of a dull and pointless argument about the difference between hating the (unrepentant) sinner and hating the sin. Wit is good for deflating.

    Like EG said, it is fun.

    The protagonist of The Ship Who Sang said, “I have a sense of proportion,” when asked whether she had a sense of humor.

    Wit is a way of introducing perspective shifts and making connections, and that’s why it’s such a valuable tool for people who are attacking settled or unexamined assumptions. That is, marginalized people, people defending marginalized perspectives.

    It’s also a way to say things in a memorable way: like nursery rhymes, jokes are passed on intact. They’re a good way to communicate for that reason, and they make good hooks for more detailed, more seriously phrased arguments.

    And yes, when wit targets foolishness, it will tend to be sharp.

  461. DonnaL
    January 23, 2012 at 10:10 am

    I completely agree with what EG and Piny said.

    What, is this a ‘cooler than thou’ In-Group, unwelcoming to newcomers–and unwelcoming of alternate points of view?

    I’m a newcomer, almost as much as you. I’ve felt welcomed here, by most people.

    As for “unwelcoming of alternate points of view,” you’re a fine one to talk! More seriously, yes, of course some alternate points of view are unwelcome, and unacceptable, here. Like your views of trans people, since I’m sure that’s what you’re referring to. It’s not 1980 anymore, thank God or the FSM.

  462. Hari B
    January 23, 2012 at 10:17 am

    Wow, EG, a totally stunning, well-rationalized defense of your methods.

    Apart, that is, from your making the assumption that I think ppl should always be ‘nice’, ie, boring—and the further assumption that I am against humor/teasing in these discussions–or think every POV should be welcomed (indeed, I wish feministe would make a more pointed statement of it’s purposes, to prevent *every* POV from arising here) very well done. I mean, too bad you had to lean so hard on those assumptions…and take your points outside of this kind of setting in order to prove yourself right (political satire, a la Colbert, has real differences from this very person-to-person comm, just to name one thing)…anyway, apart from all that, your rebuttal was practically seamless!

    Here is the only point I will bother to refute:

    “A mocking tone, ranging from affectionate teasing to aggressive sarcasm, is a standard part of normal, everyday discourse for many people, depending on regional/ethnic cultures. ”

    The fact that you have clearly spent NO time or energy whatever, in analyzing either the personal or political reasons for this ‘norm’, and the ways that it maintains social heirarchies all the way to overt oppression of groups, just tells me that like most people, you simply have spent NO time or energy whatever, in analyzing the reasons for this ‘norm’ and the ways that it maintains social heirarchies, etc. In other words, great rationalization but unconvincing nonetheless.

    Whatever, my derail is done. I’d gladly enter a convo intended to discuss this topic, but this is indeed a derail and I’ll shut up about it now :D

  463. piny
    January 23, 2012 at 10:27 am

    Smiley!

    Way to prove that you really don’t need to use conventional snark to be an aggressive, disrespectful jerk to other people.

    I mock people when I want them to understand that I think they’re being stupid, irritating, silly, or just awful. It’s handy. And I’m not going to apologize for openly showing that attitude towards people who have done plenty to provoke it.

    And if you’re seriously going to argue that your comment didn’t define mockery very negatively–bullying, bad faith, clannish, shallow behavior–well, disco chicken gif, Ron Swanson gif, skeptical Oprah gif, because that’s ridiculous.

  464. Megalodon
    January 23, 2012 at 10:30 am

    In any event–what exactly is the purpose and ‘power’ of this habit of mocking/ridiculing people? To me it seems an ultimate expression of powerlessness in the mocker/ridiculer–all the while posing so intently as a show of ‘power’;

    Nonsense. Mockery and ridicule cross the class boundaries all the time. The oppressed and downtrodden mock the powerful and dominant. The powerful and dominant mock the oppressed and downtrodden. (You know, office parties in which white-collar professionals dress up as deported immigrants)

    it seems as well an expression of sheer petulance intended to stop communication rather than serve it.

    Sometimes people think that certain assertions presented do not merit further discussion or communication, and should be ridiculed. And they’re not always wrong.

  465. pheenobarbidoll
    January 23, 2012 at 10:37 am

    Wow Hari B, way to use conventional shaming tactics against women who don’t disagree in sweet, ladylike ways.

  466. Hari B
    January 23, 2012 at 10:38 am

    DonnaL.: “Like your views of trans people…”,

    You have no idea of my views of trans people. No. Fucking. Idea.

    But your 2nd statement tells me exactly why you say this:

    “since I’m sure that’s what you’re referring to.”

    The reason you say that is the same reason you think you know anything at all about my views on trans people, same reason you don’t like me much: you think it’s all about you. If I disagree with you, I’m clearly hating on you as a transperson–*and* I’m hating on all trans people.

    I call bullshit.

    I actually wasn’t thinking of you, when I made my earlier comments. My comments were based on trends I’ve seen in many people, in every thread on feministe that I’ve read or posted on. It ain’t about you, and it sure as hell ain’t about trans people, whatever you like to tell yourself.

  467. piny
    January 23, 2012 at 10:48 am

    Nonsense. Mockery and ridicule cross the class boundaries all the time. The oppressed and downtrodden mock the powerful and dominant. The powerful and dominant mock the oppressed and downtrodden. (You know, office parties in which white-collar professionals dress up as deported immigrants)

    Wit is a traditional refuge for people who want to speak but can’t–nursery rhymes, political cartoons, allegories, songs, dense slang: all of these are how powerless people get at the powerful. Hen party, anybody?

    But like EG said, it’s not only something oppressed people do. It’s something people do. It’s like saying that gravity is oppressive, or courteous speech, or earnestness. It’s just one way people communicate.

  468. piny
    January 23, 2012 at 10:49 am

    Hon, are you sure this isn’t just a problem with you?

  469. Hari B
    January 23, 2012 at 10:51 am

    piny: (from 2 posts) ” And yes, when wit targets foolishness, it will tend to be sharp.”

    “I mock people when I want them to understand that I think they’re being stupid, irritating, silly, or just awful. It’s handy. And I’m not going to apologize for openly showing that attitude towards people who have done plenty to provoke it.”

    Quite so, piny…you have said it so well.

    But as for you and others now shaming me for using the very tactics against *you* that have often been used against me and others here…well call me properly confused! I mean, it almost seems like the problem is not that I use those tactics, but I use them as well or better than y’all do–when, in MY opinion (my very bad opinion as a newbie-not-in-the-In-Group who prolly shouldn’t even have an opinion until y’all have told me what it is). ..when one or more of YOU is expressing awful ideas or behaving like a jerk! Golly, how awful of me.

    So which will it be? These tactics are ok, or they’re not? Why shouldn’t *I* have some of this good fun, too? Oh right, I forgot the middle school rules–only SOME people can be cool, because otherwise it woudn’t be a proper heirarchy! Damn, I’m so socially inept…

    Pile on, people, as you please. Yep, sure as shit stinks, I can be as sharp or sharper than anyone here. Only diff is, I don’t prefer it as a mode of comm–and it’s ‘fun’ fairly soon becomes pretty boring to me b/c I have more interesting things to do than upmanship and much more interesting things to think about than the next sharp witted barb.

    Now, I really am going to shut up about this. Carry on.

  470. EG
    January 23, 2012 at 11:08 am

    Hari B, you’re absurd. (There’s an example of not being nice without mocking.) But you’re not just absurd: the vitriol you just directed at DonnaL, who is one of the most patient and kindest commenters here (unlike myself) makes you a real jerk.

    A jerk who doesn’t get sarcasm, to boot. Let me spell this out for you: when Donna wrote “since I’m sure that’s what you’re referring to,” she was being sarcastic. She was using sarcasm and mockery to point out the cognitive dissonance you employ to on the one hand claim that we need to worry about making people feel unwelcome and the extraordinarily unwelcome atmosphere for trans people you helped to perpetuate on the other thread by rehashing radfem attacks on trans people’s analyses of their own experiences on the other thread.

    I think I see the problem. It’s not that you don’t like mockery because it’s mean or juvenile; it’s that you can’t keep up with even the most basic use of sarcasm. Well, that is a problem, but it’s not one of mine. It’s yours.

    By the way, since you waxed eloquent in the other thread regarding your views on trans-ness, it’s a bit rich for you to tell your interlocutor that she has “no fucking idea” what your opinions are. If that’s the truth, it speaks volumes about your poor communication skills. Of course, that’s not news, given your response to me; if you don’t understand that you are indeed making a tone argument about “appropriate” ways to disagree and putting humor and teasing out of that category, then again, you need to work on your writing skills.

    Your feeble attempt to address my point about regional/ethnic cultural differences in how mockery is used in communication rests entirely on the assumption that I am part of the dominant culture, and that that was what I was thinking of. I’m not, and it wasn’t. I was thinking of the way Jews have traditionally used humor in communication, especially urban Jews; that’s a part of my cultural heritage, and I’m not going to give it up because you can’t handle hurt feelings.

    As to the rest of your really impressively wrong-headed response…the idea that a thread without mockery of various kinds would be boring isn’t an assumption about your opinion. It’s an observation I have made. Everything: it’s not always all about you.

    You may find Colbert to be different from person-to-person mockery. I do not. I will never be a pastry chef who turns out flawless desserts every day at my own patisserie, but that doesn’t mean that my baking isn’t a good idea, or that it has no similarities in its effects (the creation of a sweet treat).

  471. piny
    January 23, 2012 at 11:09 am

    Now that I’ve had the last word, this discussion is OVER!

    We’re not shaming you for being a jerk. We’re saying that it’s hypocritical–and obnoxious–to shame other people for being snarky and then speak in such an aggressive, nasty, insulting way. Your comments prove that there’s no reason to focus on humor in any discussion about bullying. You demonstrate that it’s not remotely difficult to denigrate people with a straight prissy face. Feel free to be vicious, but don’t pretend that’s not what you’re doing, and don’t try to blame other people for lowering the discourse, supporting “heirarchies,” and bullying outsiders.

    And as far as this?

    Pile on, people, as you please. Yep, sure as shit stinks, I can be as sharp or sharper than anyone here. Only diff is, I don’t prefer it as a mode of comm–and it’s ‘fun’ fairly soon becomes pretty boring to me b/c I have more interesting things to do than upmanship and much more interesting things to think about than the next sharp witted barb.

    Oh, bless your heart, I’m sure you’re not usually like this, of course not, you have far better things to do than lower yourself to catfights with mean girls like us here. You’re full of it.

  472. January 23, 2012 at 11:12 am

    Now, I really am going to shut up about this. Carry on.

    You keep on saying this, but then you keep on talking…

  473. EG
    January 23, 2012 at 11:21 am

    it almost seems like the problem is not that I use those tactics, but I use them as well or better than y’all do….Yep, sure as shit stinks, I can be as sharp or sharper than anyone here.

    This is actually the funniest thing you’ve ever said on this site. But you be sure to let me know when you start in on being sharp. I wouldn’t want to miss that.

    Has anybody else noticed how people who feel the need to explicitly say that they can so be sharp and witty almost never are? Didn’t Dana in that thread about Jill’s unfortunate TSA experience make the same claim?

    I don’t prefer it as a mode of comm–and it’s ‘fun’ fairly soon becomes pretty boring to me b/c I have more interesting things to do than upmanship and much more interesting things to think about than the next sharp witted barb.

    In your case, I can see how this would preclude mockery. But for many of us, arriving at the next sharp-witted barb doesn’t require as much time and effort as you clearly need; it just comes naturally in a matter of seconds, leaving our minds unencumbered and perfectly able to contemplate other topics.

    I do like, though, how you’ve moved from the classic tone argument to another good old classic: the “how can you think about X when Y is so much more important” argument. I’m almost eager to see what oldie-but-goodie you’re going to hit next.

    But I wouldn’t want you to have to put in any more great effort in order to come up with the barbs you claim to be so good at; it’s evident that doing so would leave you with little or no brain-space to meditate on more important topics. Please do go think about them, then. And report back when you’ve come up with something worth sharing.

  474. Esti
    January 23, 2012 at 11:26 am

    Hari, I really think you need to step back and consider whether the problem is that you’re not in the “in group” (which is a laughable comment about this community, as there are some very serious disagreements and divisions among the commentariat as a whole as well as among the subset of the commentariat that has taken issue with you on various topics) or whether the problem is that people disagree with specific things you have said.

    You seem to think that those two things are the same — that until you gain access to the Inner Circle by parroting whatever the Feministe overlords have decided is the One True Feminism, people will refuse to listen to your wisdom. The actual truth is that a number of commenters — who are individuals, with divergent views of their own — have found many of the things you’ve said here to be insulting, offensive, misguided, or simply wrong.

    You’re not being excluded for not being cool, you’re being disagreed with on the merits of your views. If you can’t understand the different between the two, then I don’t know what else to say to you.

  475. piny
    January 23, 2012 at 11:29 am

    This is actually the funniest thing you’ve ever said on this site. But you be sure to let me know when you start in on being sharp. I wouldn’t want to miss that.

    I know. If you were snarky, you’d be much more popular.

  476. DonnaL
    January 23, 2012 at 11:39 am

    You have no idea of my views of trans people. No. Fucking. Idea.

    Really? You only repeated them what seemed like 400 times on that other thread, over and over and over again.* But I have no idea.

    *Including how much you love trans folk, especially your old friend whom you met 25 years ago, the famous Non-Dysphoric, Derision-Snorting, Trans-Woman [Womon? Womyn? I can never remember the singular.] Of course you do. And, yes, I’m mocking you. The alternative would be to rip your head off (figuratively-speaking), and I’m too much of a lady for that!

  477. FashionablyEvil
    January 23, 2012 at 11:53 am

    [Womon? Womyn? I can never remember the singular.]

    I think I’m going to start using “womon.”

  478. trees
    January 23, 2012 at 11:58 am

    @DonnaL

    If it makes you feel any better, you should know that Hari B is also a recognized authority on issues of race since she knows some POC.

    From the recent Beyonce thread, Hari B says:

    whatev, trees. Do you get that reading people’s comments on the internet, I have no idea what color they are? Or that what is a race-issue for you/some is not necessarily a race issue for all? I know POC who share my view that ppl (of all races) make too much of the whole celeb thing, regardless of celeb race; I know POC who think Beyonce is a total sellout, too. So don’t try to tell me I just don’t get it cuz I’m white.

    At this point I’m leaving the field to you.

    I didn’t respond, but she comes right back to inform all that:

    Still think it’s more of a celeb privilege issue than a racial one. But, not to say there aren’t some intersections….

  479. DonnaL
    January 23, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    The alternative would be to rip your head off (figuratively-speaking)

    I will withdraw that comment and substitute something like “angrily destroy your arguments,” since some people are happy to seize on any such angry metaphor used by a trans woman and use it to accuse all trans women, everywhere, of advocating violence against non-trans women, just like the men they supposedly are.

  480. WitchWolf
    January 23, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    Hari B @472

    Umm the name is WitchWolf not WitchWind —

    Any way– it seems that you want freedom of speech as long as it follows your idea of what freedom of speech is. This is not freedom of speech, this is something else.

    It also sounds like the only way one, according to you, to have free speech if we don’t think about it to much, and make sure our words are okay with you.

    This doesn’t make sense.

    I am still confused as to whether you are a free speech supporter or not.

  481. piny
    January 23, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    I will withdraw that comment and substitute something like “angrily destroy your arguments,” since some people are happy to seize on any such angry metaphor used by a trans woman and use it to accuse all trans women, everywhere, of advocating violence against non-trans women, just like the men they supposedly are.

    Well, as long as you’re not refraining from ripping her head off in order to satisfy the patriarchal belief that women are less likely to resort to violence.

  482. January 23, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    indeed, I wish feministe would make a more pointed statement of it’s purpose, to prevent *every* POV from arising here)

    The reason we haven’t done that is that a) that’s not Feministe’s purpose, and b) Feministe doesn’t have a defined “purpose.” It’s a few bloggers blogging blog posts that commenters comment on. As Jill pointed out in this post, we’re not a hivemind, a monolith, or a corporation where we sit around a conference table deciding what “we” think. We disagree about things, we post things that others wouldn’t post, we come at things from different perspectives, since we’re fairly different people, and we bring in guest bloggers who also have different thoughts and perspectives. God help us if we had to sit down and figure out what “our” mission is.

    And for the record, we (as a community in the general sense) do accept different points of view. But to be blunt, that doesn’t mean we have to respect every point of view. If someone came in on this thread and said, “Hugo was kidnapped by the Canadian government in 1998, and this Hugo is a replacement, so we can’t judge him for the actions of the other Hugo,” we’d definitely let it through moderation, but we wouldn’t waste time trying to debate it like it’s a worthwhile theory. When the news does a medical story a new vaccine and doesn’t hunt down an antivaxxer or a homeopathist for a competing viewpoint, that doesn’t mean they’re biased–it means a non-science viewpoint isn’t relevant in a science piece as it might be in a political piece.

    So if a person comes in with a different point of view, it’ll almost always (with some exceptions, as noted in our comments policy) make it to the thread. But if the person defends it and defends it and defends it and it doesn’t take hold, that doesn’t necessarily mean everyone is closed-minded–it might mean that person is just wrong, or at least uninformed or off-base. I’m not saying that’s what’s happening here, necessarily, but it does happen. With alarming frequency.

    And frequently, when people are immediately hostile toward a newly presented point of view, it’s because it’s not actually new–it’s already been discussed to the hilt and it’s something people have been having to defend against since time immemorial. Sometimes it’s just basic questions (thus the creation of Finally Feminism 101 as an excellent resource), sometimes it’s misconceptions, sometimes it’s prejudice, and sometimes it’s flat-out bigotry. And it’s a lot to expect of someone to respond with patience to an argument that’s been thrown at them a hundred times before.

    this is indeed a derail

    Correct.

  483. Kristin Rawls
    January 23, 2012 at 8:21 pm

    I’d like to request help spreading the word about something. To be clear, I don’t write for Scarleteen and never have, but I am quite troubled that Schwyzer continues to drag their name through the mud. He stated in a recent video – as well as on his blog – that he has written “many” articles for them. Yet he’s actually only written 3 or 4. Please tweet, write and spread the word. Scarleteen is a small feminist non-profit, yet Schwyzer is trying to take them down with him. See this post:

    http://studentactivism.net/2012/01/22/hugo-schwyzer-is-still-doing-harm/

    Here’s the relevant part:

    A friend just pointed me to a January 17 video interview, posted online this afternoon, in which Schwyzer made the following remarks:

    “I wrote many pieces for Scarleteen.com, a well-known, wonderful site that teaches young people about sex ed — I think it’s the best sex ed site for teens there is. Scarleteen dissociated itself from me, and actually took down many of the pieces that I’d written, acknowledging that the pieces themselves were valuable, but that my past so thoroughly compromised those pieces that they could not stand behind them.”

    I asked Heather Corinna about this, since it was my impression that he’d only written a handful of pieces for them over a period of years, and she said my impression was essentially correct. He’d written two posts for their website and contributed content to two more. (They took one of those four pieces down before the current scandal broke, after deciding it didn’t meet their needs.)

    Schwyzer was never a regular volunteer at Scarleteen. He never did direct service work for them. He wrote three or four pieces for them. That’s it.

    And because of that marginal relationship, they have been the target of some anger and confusion in recent weeks, from clients and friends with legitimate questions about how they wound up affiliated with a man with a history of domestic violence and sexual predation. And how does that man respond? By exaggerating the extent of his relationship with them. By wrapping himself in their mantle. By pulling them close at a moment when to do so can only compound the trouble he’s already caused.

    Oh, and what did Scarleteen actually say when they took down his stuff? They said this:

    “Previously unknown information about this writer and his history has recently been made available to Scarleteen, information and history with which we have very serious conflicts. For the benefit of the safe environment we always aim to create for our users, and in accordance with the ethics and practices of our organization as a whole, we no longer wish to be associated with him or his work, which is why his contribution here was removed. He had contributed to two other pieces, one of which was removed, and the other of which is down while we create a new piece instead. We apologize for the loss of content any of our readers found of value, and intend to make up for that loss with new content.”

  484. Kristin Rawls
    January 23, 2012 at 8:29 pm

    I just posted the details, but it’s awaiting mod, possibly because I used a link. The gist:

    Schwyzer said on his blog and on a January 17 video that he wrote “many” articles for Scarleteen. In fact, he only wrote 3 or 4, per Scarleteen’s account of their relationship with him. And none of them recent. Yet he continues to drag their name through the mud. He’s written far more, for example, as a guest blogger at Feministe.

    Scarleteen is on the receiving end of a lot of vitriol they don’t deserve. Please help spread the word and clear their name. They don’t deserve to be taken down with him.

  485. piny
    January 23, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    Huh. Sounds like he has a wee exaggeration problem.

  486. LotusBen
    January 23, 2012 at 10:10 pm

    Yep, sure as shit stinks, I can be as sharp or sharper than anyone here.

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    You know, I always took Hari as a bit of a humorless, pompous blowhard who is only capable of writing comments that are the size of the five regular-sized comments put together. But this! This supremely self-aware, self-deprecating sendup of her own inability to be witty by ironically proclaiming she can be sharper than anyone here when she self-evidently can’t almost belies the point that she can’t be funny and prompts me to want to reassure her: Hari, don’t sell yourself short.

    Wait. What? Really? Oh. Oh? Oh.

    She was being serious?

    Never mind.

  487. Kristin Rawls
    January 23, 2012 at 10:52 pm

    piny – Well, maybe it’s as innocent as “slight exaggeration,” but I tend to think not. Hugo knows exactly how much he’s written for that blog – he wrote about it in his blog, and Scarleteen had just given him permission to re-publish his stuff on his own site – once they took it down.

    Yet, he makes it sound like they have a long and close relationship of many years. In fact, they don’t. This man, who is SO SORRY and SO CONTRITE about all he’s done is trying to take a small feminist non-profit down with him. As punishment for removing his work.

    Incidentally, if you do go to his blog, you will find four links to an extended video he taped last week. In that video (Part 1), he says he’s “gotten past” referring to the outrcry as a “kerfluffle,” but he hasn’t gotten *that* past it since he unironically calls it a “kerfluffle” again – about 7 minutes later in part 2.

    He also speaks in extremely vague terms – he repeatedly hedges about whether he really did anything violent. Indeed, he says, well, so my friend transcribed this bit:

    “There was this reaction of shock and revulsion… Having this man disclose this thing about his past, uh, an act which struck many people as an act of violence against a woman. What does it mean to have a male feminist leader who in his past, even if it was a long time ago and even if that past was compromised by addiction, what does it mean to have a male feminist leader who once tried to kill a woman – and himself! – but still tried to kill another person. And who had a history of sexual acting-out with women who were in a subordinate position to him? Is there a comeback from that? Or should that be sort of a permanent ban from feminist spaces? Because having someone who was a so abusive, and I think we can stipulate that maybe that behavior was abusive… forget the maybe, we can stipulate that it was abusive. Having that person be a feminist teacher or a feminist writer, someone that people link to and respect and ask to speak, that can be very triggering and painful for survivors of violence. And this thing has snowballed ever since.”

    Note, it “struck many as an act of violence.” That’s the IMPRESSION it gave folks. It’s not a matter of fact, in other words. He thinks this is a story that was open to individual interpretation.

    And another thing, which I post because it struck me as, well, strange, is this quote:

    “Christians have never understood the darkness of the redeemed. And what goes for Christians goes damn straight for feminists.”

    It just sort of… Um, well, it “struck” me as kinda inappropriate, and has me wondering if Jill, Amanda and others who have hedged about condemning him actually read him? Little context is given for this remark, and the interviewer never asks him to clarify.

    Isn’t Amanda Marcotte a Skeptical Atheist? I wonder how she feels about having to follow the Christian “forgiveness” mandate that Hugo articulates here? I wonder how any of his defenders and friends reconcile this with feminism?

  488. thebewilderness
    January 24, 2012 at 12:33 am

    I’m sorry he did that to Scarleteen, though I am not surprised.
    At this stage of development for the abuser it is all about inflating their importance to the community in order to keep his supporters interested in his suffering. I don’t imagine he gave a moments thought to the effect it might have on Scarleteen.
    I hope the people at Scarleteen will take a firm stand on this.

    Hari B, I am not a part of the community here either, although I have read off and on for some time and feel I know who many of the regulars are. My suggestion to you would be to stop digging.
    Read “A Modest Proposal” and as much Molly Ivins as you can find. You will develop the skill to differentiate between middle schoolers ranking on each other and adults mocking willful ignorance.

  489. thebewilderness
    January 24, 2012 at 12:41 am

    “Christians have never understood the darkness of the redeemed.

    That is rather an astonishing thing to say considering how very many Christians are the redeemed. And in fact Hugo claims to be a redeemed Christian himself.
    One thing that never ceases to amaze me about narcissist abusers. They never stop digging. Never.

  490. MadGastronomer
    January 24, 2012 at 6:09 am

    OK, wow. I just followed John Godfrey Spragge’s link back to his blog, and the top post was on Schwyzer. In it, John referred to the WOC Schwyzer has attacked as “racialized women web-loggers he has offended.” (here)

    John, large groups of people are racialized. Behaviors are racialized. Characteristics are racialized. Individuals are not. These individual women are not “racialized”. They are Black women, or Women of Color, and they identify themselves as such. That’s not just something that’s been done to them. I’m not sure what you think the word means — and I’m not sure you’re still reading this thread — but this is not how to use it.

  491. piny
    January 24, 2012 at 7:20 am

    Incidentally, if you do go to his blog, you will find four links to an extended video he taped last week. In that video (Part 1), he says he’s “gotten past” referring to the outrcry as a “kerfluffle,” but he hasn’t gotten *that* past it since he unironically calls it a “kerfluffle” again – about 7 minutes later in part 2.

    I watched part 1 when I saw it linked on tumblr, and couldn’t stomach the others. Maybe tonight. They’re…really something. It’s striking, honestly, how completely incapable he is of engaging the controversy on its own terms. It’s not “triggering.” It’s outrageous. And one of the reasons it snowballed was that he refused to take any of it seriously, even though this isn’t the first time he’s heard comments like this. It’s not the first we’ve made comments like this.

    As far as intentional or not…I think it’s a case of “stupid or evil? yes!” with this level of narcissism: there’s no way of knowing, probably even for him, and there’s not much point in asking. I don’t think he’s aware of what he’s doing, but I think he’s doing it on purpose, you get me?

  492. piny
    January 24, 2012 at 7:25 am

    “Christians have never understood the darkness of the redeemed. And what goes for Christians goes damn straight for feminists.”

    It just sort of… Um, well, it “struck” me as kinda inappropriate, and has me wondering if Jill, Amanda and others who have hedged about condemning him actually read him? Little context is given for this remark, and the interviewer never asks him to clarify.

    Yes, it’s…stuff like that. He doesn’t strike me as reformed at all. if you want to get Christian about it, I don’t think he’s speaking from a position of humility or remorse. If you really read his essays and listen to him talk, there are these flares of defensive anger at people who dare to think badly of him because of everything he’s done. That’s not reasonable, and it’s not an attitude that will get you anywhere in recovery.

  493. piny
    January 24, 2012 at 7:30 am

    Also, I suppose it doesn’t make much sense to get into this here, but feminism has grappled with that darkness. First because abuse creates a lot of dark and painful feelings in the victims of abuse, and second because women are traditionally supposed to smile and eat it up. There’s a ton of feminist literature about women’s rage, madness, and terror. Because women’s fury is terrifying and potentially destabilizing. In fact, it’s kind of a big feminist trope, and an anti-feminist stereotype, the angry dyke bra-burners. It’s…oh, the hell with it. I’m just gonna stamp NOT REMOTELY FEMINIST on the guy’s forehead and be done with it, okay?

  494. PrettyAmiable
    January 24, 2012 at 8:22 am

    I am an atheist. I reject the entire Christian framework. It is wrong, as far as I’m concerned. I want nothing to do with a Christian feminism. What goes for Christians does not go for me.

    Is that clear Hugo?

  495. mary
    January 24, 2012 at 11:23 am

    Ugh!! Hugo’s “it struck many people as an act of violence against a woman” BS is exactly why I think the questions about whether men can participate in feminism, or whether people can be redeemed, is a red herring in his case.

    It’s fully possible to believe in principle men have a place in feminism and that people can change, while rejecting Hugo Schwyzer for failing on both counts as an individual.

    “It struck many people…” ugh, how is this not exactly the same spirit as “I’m sorry you were offended”?

  496. WitchWolf
    January 24, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    There is an excellent book on Forgiveness – It’s an academic book and has many different articles in it.

    Before Forgiving: Cautionary Views of Forgiveness in Psychotherapy edited by Sharon Lamb

    Sharon Lamb practices and has written many academic articles on Feminist Therapy

  497. Kristin Rawls
    January 24, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    mary: It *is* just like “I’m sorry you were offended…”

    piny: “I don’t think he knows what he’s doing, but I think he’s doing it on purpose.” YES. It’s hard to put this into words, but it’s a thing I’ve noticed with other narcissists.

    It’s partly the fact that many narcissists think *everyone else* is just as calculating as they are. And that informs a lot about how they treat other people. At least this is true of the ones I’ve known. So, I doubt that Hugo thought very much about what he was doing to Scarleteen, and he just did what he did because that’s what he DOES. And he thinks it’s what anyone else would do too.

  498. Kristin Rawls
    January 24, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    Yes, it’s…stuff like that. He doesn’t strike me as reformed at all. if you want to get Christian about it, I don’t think he’s speaking from a position of humility or remorse. If you really read his essays and listen to him talk, there are these flares of defensive anger at people who dare to think badly of him because of everything he’s done. That’s not reasonable, and it’s not an attitude that will get you anywhere in recovery.

    Right, I agree. I really think he takes up the rhetoric of religion and recovery because he’s good at using them to manipulate people. I don’t think he’s remorseful at all, and I also don’t think he’s in recovery. Maybe he’s not using drugs or drinking, but I’m beginning to wonder if compulsively writing every detail of his sexual history – and indeed, every other sordid thing he’s ever done – is also part of the addiction. Increasingly, I think that’s what this is, and his publishers and defenders are just enabling.

  499. WitchWolf
    January 24, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    Kristin Rawls @513

    Right on about Narcissists — they lack empathy and what impact their actions have on others, they are the center of the universe and they lash out at everyone who doesn’t see the world in his own view. They don’t have the ability to understand boundaries — Their pain, their hurt, and their suffering are more important than anyone else.

    This is supposedly after he *cough* has been cured of NPD — He is acting in the same way as a typical Narcissist.

    (BTW — the above doesn’t imply that because he is a Narcissist that he isn’t responsible for his actions. He is –)

  500. DouglasG
    January 24, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    Mss Donna/Fashionably – I distinctly recall that at one time womyn was the singular of wymyn, but it could easily have changed while I’ve been out of the loop. I have a vague memory of someone playing one of those words in a Scrabble tournament, but can’t recall whether or not it was challenged, successfully or not.

  501. EG
    January 24, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    I heard that “womyn” was the singular of “wimmin,” but it’s all so appallingly stupid that I wish I didn’t remember that.

    Also, I hope that whoever tried to play those in Scrabble not only lost on the challenge, but got drummed out of respectable Scrabble circles everywhere.

  502. im
    January 24, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    I had read some (not very much, only things linked to) stuff from Hugo. I perceived no horribleness in these very few articles. And then this comes out. I doubt that Hugo is in recover; I think he is probably remorseful. The remaining knowledge is that he is intelligent and probably truly does want to help feminism even if he is so bad and wrong (and racist? Don’t know about that, or what type of racism i.e. privileged/othering vs false superiority vs hatred) that he will hurt it if he tries and must not deal specifically with feminisim.

    I guess I feel both hatred and pity for him. In any case, he must be marked for life for these abuses, and that mark must be time-stamped.

    I am unclear on how he is damaging Scarleteen other than claiming to have been more important than he actually was. Not defending, just unclear.

    Did anybody notice his posts getting a bit more messed up after his past was revealed?

  503. Kristin Rawls
    January 24, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    On Scarleteen: They have been on the receiving end of a lot of anger at Hugo, lots of people wanting to know how they could ever work with him. Well, they hadn’t worked with him in the past few years *at all.* They’re a small non-profit, meaning they depend on donations to get by. They have probably lost financial backing for this. And yet he describes their relationship as a longstanding one that involved “many” articles, etc.

    I think his writing has become increasingly alarming over about the past year.

    And, hey, did y’all hear that he deleted his confession from his blog? The whole post? Well, he did. It’s gone. Anyone have a screenshot?

  504. Annaleigh
    January 24, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    I am unclear on how he is damaging Scarleteen other than claiming to have been more important than he actually was. Not defending, just unclear.

    People who go to Scarleteen for help but who had no real exposure to Hugo, or had no clue of Hugo’s past, are very upset that Scarleteen had an abuser writing for them. He hadn’t written very much for them, and Scarleteen didn’t take very long to get rid of him, but by lying and saying he had more to do with Scarleteen than he did, he almost seems to me to be sort of forced teaming with Scarleteen, and so doing, plant the seed of doubt in some people’s minds that he lied by omission to Scarleteen’s staff and cause them to believe that Scarleteen knew about this all along and are just now reacting to save their own hides. Does that help?

  505. piny
    January 24, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    And, hey, did y’all hear that he deleted his confession from his blog? The whole post? Well, he did. It’s gone. Anyone have a screenshot?

    I believe the commenter in the original interview thread called attention to a year-old post; then he posted a new version in his update after the new year. Are they both gone? I can’t look right now.

  506. Kathleen F.
    January 24, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    I’m beginning to wonder if compulsively writing every detail of his sexual history – and indeed, every other sordid thing he’s ever done – is also part of the addiction. Increasingly, I think that’s what this is, and his publishers and defenders are just enabling.

    I think this is exactly right. Hugo keeps insisting that the judgments people are making about him are only about his past, his past, his past, he’s said it a billion times. But there are ways he could have disclosed his past that would have been far less awful than what he actually did and wrote.

    The biggest problem with Hugo’s current attitude is that he seems to believe–certainly at the time he wrote the pieces about the attempted murder, his affairs with his students, and the “accidental rapist,” and he’s said nothing since to indicate that he now regrets those pieces or how they were written–that his past, now that he’s “reformed,” is actually an asset and not a hindrance to his effectiveness as a feminist activist. Why else write in such intricate detail exactly what his mindset was when he did those things, and exactly how he carried out the acts?

    The only remotely plausible defense would be that it’s important to understand how and why victimizers do the things they do, and who better to explain than someone who’s been there? But someone as smart as Hugo should know this is bullshit; yes, understanding the patterns of abuse does require some analysis of the mindset of abusers, but a version of feminism that focuses on that to the exclusion of the experiences of survivors of this type of abuse is doing a real disservice to women.

    So the real reason Hugo writes the way he does about his past crimes isn’t for “feminist” reasons, it’s because he can’t stop focusing on himself, and he’ll grasp at any damn straw to justify blogging that’s All About Hugo All The Time–even, or especially, when it’s The Worst Of Hugo. (As piny said, I don’t think this is a conscious thought process on his part; making whatever he writes all about himself is just the most natural impulse for him, to the point where he doesn’t even think about it.) It is absolutely worth pointing out very loudly that it’s not Hugo’s past (though that’s bad enough and would certainly be enough for feminist spaces to justify declining to officially associate with him) but the way he writes about his past to center his own abusive behavior and decenter the victims of abuse, that’s doing the most harm right now.

    By the way, WOMYN and WIMMIN are acceptable in both the North American and international Scrabble dictionaries, but WYMYN isn’t. Lexicography’s a funny thing.

  507. piny
    January 24, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    Hope it’s okay if I link these here? I feel like it’s important that people know what we’re talking about. If not, feel free to edit. I understand if it’s a violation of the no-Hugo policy.

    His post from earlier this month is gone.

    Now there’s this post, which doesn’t contain any description of the attempted murder or any specific reference to the attempted murder, only, “my pre-sobriety history.”

    It does link to this reprint of the first post from earlier this month. That post contains a reference to attempted murder, but very few details.

    He also has links up to the video series, in which he discusses the attempted murder and his abusive behavior towards his students.

    Can we stop talking about this man as someone who might be trying to be accountable? It’s getting difficult, if you start at his blog or stay with it, to figure out why everyone’s upset.

  508. trees
    January 24, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    The remaining knowledge is that he is intelligent and probably truly does want to help feminism even if he is so bad and wrong (and racist? Don’t know about that, or what type of racism i.e. privileged/othering vs false superiority vs hatred) that he will hurt it if he tries and must not deal specifically with feminisim.

    Is this a ranking of racism? Is one type super awful, but another type is maybe okay? Why are his issues with sexism so much more apparent, but his issues with race so questionable? None of this is new, and there has been ample evidence of both for many years now.

  509. Cara
    January 24, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    I totally agree. At least, I’ve seen anger serve things getting done, feeding the process, if the angry people don’t squander all their energy in talk.

    Hari, is it your intent to sound smug and passive-aggressive, or is that simply a function of your word choice?

    But this whole commentariat theme of mocking/ridiculing as a way to express one’s feelings? It’s stupid. It’s counterproductive, and really, really juvenile–takes me straight back to middle school. Hey, don’t let me stop you (as IF, eh?). I just wish the mods would stop allowing it. I wish the people here would stop, as a group, feeding and approving this crap.

    Rant done! Flounce!

    Ah. Passive-aggressive it is, then.

    You have no idea of my views of trans people. No. Fucking. Idea.

    Oh, my. Such language. Dear, oh dear.

  510. Kristen J.
    January 24, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    @piny,

    Jeez…see, suspicious. I mean repentant usually means that you aren’t still trying to hide your mistakes. I hope someone had the foresight to screen cap it. Maybe the original is still in google cache?

  511. January 24, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    Hm, I might have copied and pasted it. Let me check.

  512. January 24, 2012 at 5:17 pm

    I copied and pasted something called, “An update on where things stand.” Including the horrible comments by some of his supporters. This was a few days ago.

    He’s complaining on Twitter about being silenced by lawyers.

  513. Kristen J.
    January 24, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    @ginmar

    Hahahahaha….that may be the funniest use of the word “silenced” in the history of talking.

  514. January 24, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    I have copies of three of his posts on this stuff (“What You Need To Remember,” “A Very Long Post,” and “A Response”) that he’s since deleted or amended, and don’t object to passing them along. My email address is on my website.

  515. WitchWolf
    January 24, 2012 at 5:44 pm

    Now he is saying he can’t talk about his past – Oh – I guess his talk with his lawyers before he published was a lie, or wait, this is most likely a lie.

    I just wonder if he keeps a running timeline lie generator ???

  516. LC
    January 24, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    WitchWolf, it could be that while the original lawyer talk about the murder attempt was true, the possibility of losing income/writing gigs etc. is bothering him, and a lawyer has advised him that taking everything down is better because having them up means people can point to specific reasons they might no longer want to be associated with him.

  517. WitchWolf
    January 24, 2012 at 7:14 pm

    LC it could be -But I have a feeling he didn’t disclose every thing –

  518. Kristin Rawls
    January 24, 2012 at 7:47 pm

    He’s complaining on Twitter about being silenced by lawyers.

    Can you imagine having him as your client? I mean, seriously… Anyone remember how Jerry Sandusky felt compelled to go on air and give interviews in which he incriminated himself when he’d repeat questions back to himself: “Am I sexually attracted to young boys?”

    Hugo can’t *not* talk about himself. I would imagine representing him or advising him in any legal capacity is an absolute nightmare. The compulsive use of narrative and the ensuing defensiveness – these are the two things he really can’t control. Which is just to say… He’s been smart enough to fool many, many people for some time, at least when he thinks he needs them. But he’s been unraveling pretty quickly, I think, toward a meltdown of Charlie Sheen proportions.

  519. Kristin Rawls
    January 24, 2012 at 7:55 pm

    I wonder if an ex filed a lawsuit?

  520. January 24, 2012 at 8:09 pm

    Could be the attorney for the school that told him to shut up.

  521. Kristin Rawls
    January 24, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    “The California Penal Code states that “willful, deliberate and premeditated attempted murder” carries a maximum sentence of life. In California there is “no statute of limitations for any offense carrying a life sentence.”

    http://www.ehow.com/about_6688402_statute-limitations-attempted-murder.html#ixzz1kQbMalEr

  522. WitchWolf
    January 24, 2012 at 8:23 pm

    La Lubu that makes sense, because they could be in trouble –

    He might have been reported to the school and was told that he has done harm to PCC.

  523. January 24, 2012 at 8:30 pm

    Can’t imagine the HR person at the school is having a good time….

  524. Annaleigh
    January 24, 2012 at 8:30 pm

    I wonder if PCC knew about this before all the shit hit the fan?

  525. Donna L
    January 24, 2012 at 8:47 pm

    Or else he’s planning to sue everyone in the feminist blogosphere for libel and for tortious interference with his contractual relationship with his school. Attempted murder? What attempted murder?

  526. Kristin Rawls
    January 24, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    Or else he’s planning to sue everyone in the feminist blogosphere for libel and for tortious interference with his contractual relationship with his school. Attempted murder? What attempted murder?

    The thought crossed my mind, though I don’t know on what basis he would do that. We told the truth.

  527. Computer Soldier Porygon
    January 24, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    I think they’re probably aware to some extent? He’s written before about a colleague who thinks he should have been fired back when his sex with students shit came to light and apparently has warned students and newer faculty off him.

    http://www.hugoschwyzer.net/2010/03/02/reprint-on-rebuilding-trust/

  528. WitchWolf
    January 24, 2012 at 9:19 pm

    He said the PCC knew about it, when it happened, I believe I could be wrong. He was bragging about being tenured at the time.

  529. LC
    January 24, 2012 at 9:54 pm

    Witchwolf:

    LC it could be -But I have a feeling he didn’t disclose every thing –

    I would be shocked entirely none.

  530. Donna L
    January 24, 2012 at 10:00 pm

    The thought crossed my mind, though I don’t know on what basis he would do that. We told the truth.

    Of course: every blogger and commenter who criticized him told the truth about what he’d written, and everything else was just people’s non-actionable opinion based on what he wrote. But the fact that someone doesn’t have an actionable claim, and knows they don’t have an actionable claim, doesn’t necessarily stop them from commencing a lawsuit in the hope that people (especially if they don’t have the money to defend against it) will be intimidated into “ceasing and desisting.” Not all lawyers are above cooperating in their clients’ desires to bring frivolous lawsuits for the purpose of harassing their enemies.

    That said, I think it’s unlikely that he would attempt to go down that road; it would simply guarantee more extremely negative publicity, with only a small possibility that it would actually do him any good.

  531. Kristin Rawls
    January 24, 2012 at 11:01 pm

    But the fact that someone doesn’t have an actionable claim, and knows they don’t have an actionable claim, doesn’t necessarily stop them from commencing a lawsuit in the hope that people (especially if they don’t have the money to defend against it) will be intimidated into “ceasing and desisting.” Not all lawyers are above cooperating in their clients’ desires to bring frivolous lawsuits for the purpose of harassing their enemies.

    Right, this is the Church of Scientology’s usual MO.

  532. trees
    January 24, 2012 at 11:14 pm

    I know I must be late to the game, but I just discovered the Fuck No, Hugo Schwyzer tumblr. This must be the sort of thing that John Godfrey Spragge took issue with a bit up thread. That site seems way more about ridicule than violence; there’s even a photo of Schwyzer with a cute little hat. I’ll have to check out that Feminists Against Hugo Schwyer Facebook page.

  533. Donna L
    January 25, 2012 at 12:03 am

    He’s written before about a colleague who thinks he should have been fired back when his sex with students shit came to light and apparently has warned students and newer faculty off him.

    http://www.hugoschwyzer.net/2010/03/02/reprint-on-rebuilding-trust

    This is what he says about this colleague:

    This colleague has warned students and newer faculty about my past; from what I hear she doesn’t trust that this leopard has indeed changed his spots. I’ve confronted this fellow professor about these “warnings” she feels compelled to issue, and she’s been frank with me that she thinks I ought to have been fired “back in the day”. “Once a lech, always a lech”, she says, and she’s clear that I’m a “disaster waiting to happen.” Fortunately, she seems to be in a minority of one.

    Who knows? Maybe she’s right.

  534. Sandy
    January 25, 2012 at 11:01 am

    Wow. I thought briefly about screencapping the “on what you need to remember, on what you need to forget” post, but then I was like, naaah, it’s not like he can take that down and keep any credibility. Lulz. It’s a good thing it’s impossible to ever find deleted things on the interwebz.

    “Christians have never understood the darkness of the redeemed. And what goes for Christians goes damn straight for feminists.”

    Yeah…. No. You are appallingly wrong, dude.

    Cara @ 440:

    characterizing all the anger in response to his revelations (especially his reasons for doing it and the way he did it) as somehow hysterical or irresponsible bothers me. It feels like an internalized misogyny thing.

    No, actually, it feels like some “Oh, God, the un-fun branch of feminists are yelling again and making the cool ones look stupid” bullshit. Which I guess is a subtype of the same thing.

    QFT. This, plus a strong dose of “Oh well, haters feminists gonna hate.”

    I’ve been pondering why the last part of the original post bothers me so much (aside from the imo totally wrong idea that it won’t center or help survivors and others to oust Hugo from his self-appointed leadership position). I think part of it is a few phrases you use. The phrase “demand blood” really stands out to me. Because deciding that we don’t want this guy in a leadership role in feminism makes us vicious and violent (hey, possibly hysterical?), amirite? It’s an obnoxious metaphor; it smacks of the characterization of a big chunk of the commentariat being a raging, irrational feminist mob who doesn’t know how to be human, rather then relatively calm and definitely collected individuals coming to similar conclusions about a messed-up situation and taking action as a community. And it bothers me I just felt compelled to write that we’re “relatively calm” just now. Because if we’re pissed, if we feel rage, we must be irrational and not thinking straight, mmmhmm. How freaking stupid and sexist is that, and in this a feminist forum of all places, and yet there they are in your post, code words for us being an irrational angry mob, demanding blood. Code words, loaded language, hyperbole, I’m not sure how to say it exactly, but there it is. I don’t think there was a good place for that sort of hyperbole in the course of explaining why you don’t wish to participate in organized community action against Hugo or stand with those who are. No need to insult us, y’know?

    NOW BRING FORTH THE HUMAN SACRIFICE….. er. I mean.

    I am glad you said this:

    And while I think the Hugo situation is in a whole ‘nother sphere as the usual feminist blog-wars in terms of the sheer horror of the acts involved

    and I agree completely. The Hugo situation and the usual feminist blog-war are worlds apart. So I find it regrettable that while agreeing people are not out of line for wanting Hugo to stop leading and making money off their movement, you personally are willing to shrug off his past abuses and his current racism and sexism rather then give so much as a nod to those who want to stop this guy from being our spokesperson. Ok, he’s in perma-mod here at Feministe, but overall, out there in the world, you’re truly okay with letting him go preach his crappy version of feminism from the highest platform he can get? On the grounds that take-down culture sucks and “next time” the seething, bloodthirsty mob of wimminz who may or may not be doing this “for sport” might start foaming at the mouth over someone who doesn’t deserve it? “Next time” – that’s another bit that says to me yeah, business as usual, better not to get too involved, this is just another case of them working themselves up into a froth and waving their pitchforks around.

    As people have said upthread, I don’t think there’s a good slippery slope argument to be made here.

    And ugh, I hate making this post. I have a lot of respect for you, Jill. I’m grateful you ended your silence on this topic. I hope your life situation improves and like some other people I find myself thinking of you and your kitty from time to time… but it really feels like you’re skirting this issue, and I can’t shake how much parts of this post really bug me.

    Shoutout to just about everything La Lubu said in her excellent Open Letter. Worth a read and multiple rereads. Angus Johnson, you too. Thank you.

  535. Sandy
    January 25, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    Er, Johnston, not Johnson. My bad.

  536. Kristin Rawls
    January 25, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    Global Comment has a great – and very comprehensive – piece up about this. Probably the best I’ve seen yet:

    http://globalcomment.com/2012/why-do-some-feminist-spaces-tolerate-male-abusers/

  537. Miriam
    January 25, 2012 at 9:08 pm

    Kristin, that’s a great summary. Do you know who wrote it? I’m annoyed that I can’t see who did on the page.

  538. Sandy
    January 26, 2012 at 10:16 am

    @ Miriam – it says it’s by “Feature Writer Grace.” I agree, it’s a thoughtful write-up.

  539. Iris
    January 26, 2012 at 10:56 am

    @Kristen – thanks for the link. I agree – it’s very comprehensive. Reminds me that it’s so easy to get sucked into that whole fantasy of Beauty and the Beast – that how men act towards women is directly tied to our success at taking abuse. We are conditioned to believe that men can be redeemed from their abusive ways towards women by the love of a good woman who takes the man’s abuse and in so doing transforms him into a non-monster who stops abusing.

    I am aware of the cultural conditioning pushing me to feel gratified/completed by a man’s attention/approval. Such a lot of energy expended for such an elusive reward. Such a stupid paradigm.

  540. Kristin Rawls
    January 26, 2012 at 11:38 am

    The author is on Twitter @graceishuman and blogs here:

    http://arewomenhuman.me/

  541. im
    January 29, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    @trees:
    If you think that demands for genocide or apartheid, hostile stereotyping, nonhostile/patronizing stereotyping, and unintentional privilege blindness are all the same seriousness, I will not feel compelled to agree with you. So yes, it is. None of them are ever OK, but I doubt Hugo did the first item on that list.

    I PERSONALLY do not know about Hugo’s alleged racism. I do know about his crimes in the past, the issue of his highly suspect redemption claims, and one or two recent posts (after the sordid story came out) that seemed kind of messed up, mostly an entitled sort of way. The only thing I know FROM HIM is that he wrote a piece on lack of a racial identity and/or ethnic pride among the numerous subcategories of “European” that make up ‘white’ Americans. ( with an eye to breaking down the supposed monolith of whiteness) And I didn’t see a problem with this although I know I am not qualified to judge it, being privileged.

  542. Joe
    January 29, 2012 at 9:14 pm

    One thing that MRA’s and feminists (at last) have come to agree on is that Hugo Schwyzer is a scumbag. Common ground! Who’d’ve thought it?

    I already knew about Hugo’s cheerful collusion in cuckolding/paternity fraud, and considered him to be a repulsive human being for that alone.

    When I read his account of the time he !tried to murder! his then gf while in a drugged stupor, and he went on to say he realised he just had to forgive himself for that deed? I nearly puked. In Hugo’s world that he came very close to murdering someone, that the victim didn’t forgive him, nor did her family is not an issue. For Hugo, it’s all about him. Forgiving himself. Ugh.

    The guy has zero sense of personal accountability and has the morals of a weasel.

    Responsibility and accountability applies to all adults, men and women alike. People who seek to weasel out of that, are utterly untrustworthy.

  543. esoteric turtle
    January 30, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    One thing that MRA’s and feminists (at last) have come to agree on is that Hugo Schwyzer is a scumbag. Common ground! Who’d’ve thought it?

    Not so much, no. MRAs have been coming out of the woodwork over the last few months to talk about how unfairly he’s been treated just because he tried to murder one woman one time.

  544. piny
    January 30, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    Also, this is kind of like praising Ron Paul for being anti-Rockefeller Drug Laws: he’s a sour racist crank, and that makes everything else irrelevant, even the tiny number of good things. But anyhow, a man tried to murder his ex-girlfriend.

  545. jorge
    January 30, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    I dunno. I think Schweitzer had some pretty decent ideas… A very weak tea feminism.. Get them hooked, you know?

  546. DanteAl
    January 30, 2012 at 11:47 pm

    Paternity fraud? Seriously? Is that a reference to the time when Hugo…didn’t blab to his ex’s husband that the two had been sexually involved, and that therefore the ex’s son *might* be Hugo’s? (Not *was* Hugo’s—*might be*).

    Seriously? A man is committing “paternity fraud” when he doesn’t blab his ex’s sexual history to her husband? In the sane world, most of us would call that discretion. Most of us would call that respect for marital privacy, a healthy desire to not intrude into the marital relationship. Most of us would think it’s the ex’s job to decide if/when to tell her husband, and it’s the husband’s job to get a damn paternity test if he’s really that concerned.

    I’m a man and to me the really strange thing about these “MRAs” is that they seem to think “paternity fraud” (which they have a weird definition of) is equivalent to rape or castration. If I found out that one of my children had a different bio-father, I would still love them, and I would not hate my wife for concealing it from me. Especially if it wasn’t an outright lie, if she simply wasn’t sure. And I think most dads would agree with me. Ultimately my sperm isn’t what made me a dad.

    As for Hugo: he’s scum and should not be lecturing anyone on anything. This is not complicated.

  547. DanteAl
    January 30, 2012 at 11:50 pm

    Also, “cuckolding”? Really?

    If “Joe” is any example, these MRAs are just trying to bring back the days when male adultery was a mere pecadillo but female adultery was high treason. Newsflash, Joe: adultery is hurtful but very human, whether men do it or women. And “paternity fraud” is a bad thing, but far from the end of the world.

  548. GFeld
    February 1, 2012 at 8:24 pm

    DanteAl- I guarantee you most men would have a problem with their wife concealing the fact that they may not be the biological father of their child- and rightly so. It’s deception, and it’s wrong. It is not the child’s fault, of course, but the wife- that is not conducive to a healthy marriage, unless of course the circumstances had been agreed upon beforehand. Should something like that happen to me, there would almost definitely be a divorce. The trust would be destroyed.

    All that being said, I do think that the situation was overblown. It was very clearly a gray area.

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