Weekly Open Thread with Feminazgul!

Our open thread this week is hosted by a Feminazgul, which is even worse than a Feminazi! Please natter/chatter/vent/rant on anything* you like over this weekend and throughout the week.

Feminazgul by RivoClavis on deviantART

So, what have you been up to? What would you rather be up to? What’s been awesome/awful?
Reading? Watching? Making? Meeting?
What has [insert awesome inspiration/fave fansquee/guilty pleasure/dastardly ne’er-do-well/threat to all civilised life on the planet du jour] been up to?

* Netiquette footnotes:
* There is no off-topic on the Weekly Open Thread, but consider whether your comment would be on-topic on any recent thread and thus better belongs there.
* If your comment touches on topics known to generally result in thread-jacking, you will be expected to take the discussion to #spillover instead of overshadowing the social/circuit-breaking aspects of this thread.

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55 comments for “Weekly Open Thread with Feminazgul!

  1. Donna L
    January 17, 2014 at 8:02 pm

    I don’t want to dignify grantland.com with a link to the story in question, but it’s truly horrible. Basically, it’s about the writer discovering and disclosing a stealth trans woman’s history in the course of writing a story about a golf putter she invented — after which she committed suicide. He calls her a “troubled man” at the end (rather than the brilliant woman he thought originally) and describes how a “chill went up his spine” when he found out the big secret. No apologies, no regrets; he’s proud of the story and so is grantland. The horrified reaction is all over twitter, and there’s a thread at Shakesville at http://www.shakesville.com/2014/01/careless-cruel-and-unaccountable.html.

    As I said in a comment there, sometimes I hate the world. Yes, this woman’s lies about her education and employment history may have been relevant. Although it doesn’t seem like the person who invested money in her invention cared very much, and it seems to me that the real story (dropped by the writer after he find out about her history) is whether her invention really worked, not whether she really had conventional credentials. Her trans history? Not relevant. Being stealth? Not lying.

    I await the inevitable hundreds of tweets and blog posts from TERFs and other trans haters applauding the story with great glee and saying that it “proves” that trans women are liars, frauds, “con men,” and deceivers.

    • Donna L
      January 17, 2014 at 8:20 pm

      I am just so upset and furious about this. So she wasn’t a saint. So she was cantankerous. So what? How does that excuse what he did?

      He has not responded, of course, to anyone’s tweets, including a few I sent to him, including:

      Donna L ‏@bodysnatcher226 33m

      @calebhannan “Troubled man”? “Chills up your spine”? Reprehensible. Inexcusable. Her trans history? Irrelevant. Shame on you.


      Donna L ‏@bodysnatcher226 7m

      @calebhannan Lying about her credentials? Maybe relevant, although her investor didn’t seem to care much. >

      Donna L ‏@bodysnatcher226 7m

      @DeeshaPhilyaw @calebhannan Not disclosing her trans history, to avoid exactly the sort of garbage you wrote? Not a lie. Hurt nobody.

    • Computer Soldier Porygon
      January 17, 2014 at 8:39 pm

      I was just reading about this on twitter and I feel so sick. I think the story of a brilliant woman with faked credentials and an invention that really works (if it does indeed work, what I know about golf shit could be written on the head of a pin) would have been fascinating, but we can’t have nice things, I guess, and instead we get this disgusting transmisogynistic mess. And I feel also like it’s a way to take the credit for an invention away from a woman. Everything about this makes me want to hurl myself into the sea

    • January 17, 2014 at 9:48 pm

      That was an absolutely terrible story. That writer needs to have horrible, horrible things happen to him, for what he did to that poor woman.

    • January 17, 2014 at 10:21 pm

      Donna, could I bug you for a link that goes neither to grantland (what a bunch of douchebags to publish that) nor to Shakesville? I’d do it myself but I don’t have enough identifying info…. sorry :( What you’ve said of the case sounds awful, simply awful.

      • Donna L
        January 17, 2014 at 10:39 pm

        This is apparently a link to a pdf that someone did, so people wouldn’t have to go to grantland: bit.ly/1eHFBFv

      • January 17, 2014 at 11:48 pm

        Thank you, Donna. The link works. And GOD THAT GUY IS A CREEP.

    • January 17, 2014 at 10:21 pm

      Is “stealth” a common term used of trans people, Donna? It creeped me out a bit, because it seems to make ideas like “privacy” and “nobody else’s goddamn business” sinister. :(

      • Donna L
        January 17, 2014 at 10:42 pm

        I don’t think it’s a great word, but it’s certainly a word that’s been used by trans people themselves for decades, along with “woodworking,” for someone who doesn’t disclose their history to anyone, and cuts ties to anyone they used to know (which I have no idea if Dr. V actually did) — as opposed to disclosing to a few but not to most, which is pretty much how I lead my life.

      • January 18, 2014 at 6:47 pm

        Ah, thanks. I couldn’t quite wrap my head around trans people using it themselves (might’ve been simpler if I’d framed the question better, duh!). I could see it being used all too easily in a blaming way by trans phobes.

        I wonder how on earth woodworking was chosen for cutting ties and being private about one’s history? Mind you it’s a rather nice term, since woodworking’s a great skill (plus Mr K has done carpentry stuff since he was a little tacker, so it has good associations for me).

      • EG
        January 18, 2014 at 6:55 pm

        Blending into the woodwork, perhaps?

      • Donna L
        January 18, 2014 at 7:41 pm

        That’s exactly what it means, EG.

    • SophiaBlue
      January 17, 2014 at 11:05 pm

      I’m so angry about this it’s hard for me to put together coherent thoughts. People are trying to say it’s about the fraud, but the story is structured so that the fact that she’s trans is treated as the big “reveal.” And no matter what she did outing her to several other people (let alone publicly after she died) is horrible.

    • Evan Carden
      January 21, 2014 at 3:32 pm

      Grantland replied. It was pretty close to an apology, link is to a salon piece on the reply, not grantland itself.

  2. January 17, 2014 at 8:40 pm

    [Content note: sexual harassment]

    Yesterday when I was on my way to Santa Cruz, a group of 3 men and 1 woman boarded the train. They were a loud group of friends, but I didn’t pay much attention to them because I was on my laptop listening to music. (I was also trying to keep a low profile because I was under the influence at the time.) And then one of the men from the group points at the woman and screams “DO YOU WANT THIS PUSSY?” at me. I was so shocked I had no idea what to say. I just stared at the floor and chuckled nervously. The woman then said “Awww, look guys you’re making him [sic] blush!” and laughed at me along with the rest of the group.

    They proceeded to ask me if I smoked cigarettes (???) and I said no. To make myself feel more comfortable I told them to be careful with forcing the train door to stay open when the train is about to depart (they were doing that prior to boarding). And then they left me alone. They started talking to each other about certain sexual positions in an extremely graphic level of detail, and at that point I exited the train because it was my stop. I’m so sick of being harassed like this.

    • Computer Soldier Porygon
      January 17, 2014 at 9:00 pm

      Ugh, I’m sorry that happened. Public transit can be such a gauntlet run and it just sucks so much.

      • January 17, 2014 at 9:15 pm

        Indeed. I live in San Jose and I often stop in downtown SJ to wait for the bus going towards Santa Cruz. And I’ve been through at least 3 dangerous incidents so far in the SJ area. I’m really tired of this city.

      • Computer Soldier Porygon
        January 17, 2014 at 9:50 pm

        Well, unrelated KIND OF but while I have you on the line haha – I’m going to SJ to visit a buddy of mine in Feb. I’ve never been. Is there anything you’d recommend to do there?

      • January 17, 2014 at 10:04 pm

        Well, there’s a museum downtown called The Tech Museum which is kind of cool, but nothing beats the Exploratorium in San Francisco. Other than that, it’s probably best if you ask your friend. There could be some concerts going on, but I wouldn’t know since I don’t try to look for concerts (I’m under 21 so naturally a lot of concerts are off-limits for me, thereby discouraging me from looking for concerts in the first place). Sorry I can’t help out much. Part of it is also because I’m really tired of San Jose. It’s the second most boring city I’ve ever lived in. Milpitas is at #1, which is close to San Jose.

      • gratuitous_violet
        January 17, 2014 at 10:06 pm

        Oh, Ally, your posts about SJ public transit take me down memory lane in such a bad way. I went to elementary through high school in downtown and east side San Jose, most of it in a uniform plaid skirt and polo no less, and even over a decade later I think of those times taking the light rail and bus home as the single most awful learning experiences about being vulnerable in public of my young life. The guy who said i reminded me of his mom and that he was going to follow me home and ask my parents to marry me. The guys who managed to pull me out the back door of the bus together when it was too crowded for anyone to notice. The man who leaned over and began whispering in my ear after i already elbowed his hand off my thigh.

        Sadly that last guy was one of the only times a stranger ever intervened on my behalf. An older lady with a prosthetic leg who was a regular on the route threatened to slap him silly with her leg if he didn’t leave me alone. Everyone looked at her like she was disturbing someone, of course, and I was too shy to say anything as he scuttled away, but I’ll never forget the smile she gave me and how grateful I felt.

        People I knew from home would ask why I’d wait to take the bus home with the kids I knew from school who wore colors and would smoke weed with me, and were utterly confused when I told them I felt safer with my “scary” peers than by myself in a schoolgirl skirt at the mercy of every random on the 64 that day.

        I actually live in San Jose again, and I’m so sorry to hear that it sounds like nothing has changed.

      • Computer Soldier Porygon
        January 17, 2014 at 10:19 pm

        It’s the second most boring city I’ve ever lived in. Milpitas is at #1, which is close to San Jose.

        Hahahaha. Well, I also have friends in SF and Santa Cruz I’m hoping to see, so I don’t know how much time I’ll actually be spending in San Jose. I’ve never been to the bay area at all and I’ll only be there for three or four days. Luckily my friend has a car. I’m hoping he will be generous with the driving.

      • January 17, 2014 at 10:20 pm


        All of that sounds terrifying. :( I’m so sorry. Most of my bad experiences have been in and around the Alum Rock to Santa Teresa light rail route. One time a man threatened to beat me up if I didn’t “tell the sheriff to go away.” What an asshole. There was also the time these two Muslim girls were harassed about their religion and ogled at from head to toe. The worst was when I heard a man threatening to brutally rape a woman who walked past him.

      • January 17, 2014 at 10:52 pm

        @Computer Soldier Porygon

        Well, I also have friends in SF and Santa Cruz I’m hoping to see, so I don’t know how much time I’ll actually be spending in San Jose. I’ve never been to the bay area at all and I’ll only be there for three or four days. Luckily my friend has a car. I’m hoping he will be generous with the driving.

        Just so you know, if you ever want/need to take the bus to Santa Cruz, it’s $5 one way from SJ ($10 for a day pass). And it costs $7 one way on the Caltrain from SJ to SF ($14 for a day pass). Those two cities are much more interesting, by the way. Some places I really like in SF are Crissy Field and Pier 39 (which is close to Ghirardelli Square!).

      • gratuitous_violet
        January 17, 2014 at 11:28 pm

        Hey Computer Soldier (love your handle reference btw), and I can’t figure out how to reply to where you actually asked for what to do in San Jose:

        Depends, what do you like to do? I spend most of my free time eating in San Jose’s endless supply of awesome hole-in-the-walls and drinking at dive bars with metal bands playing in them, but also I’m in my 20s and like crappy live bands so those may not be your cup of tea! But if you want a rec for a great bowl of pho or Oaxacan food or one of our three gay bars let me know!

        We also have a sadly small dance scene because everyone goes to SF, but FUR CON is this weekend which is THE BEST WEEKEND IN San Jose nightlife possible.

      • Computer Soldier Porygon
        January 18, 2014 at 6:05 am

        Depends, what do you like to do? I spend most of my free time eating in San Jose’s endless supply of awesome hole-in-the-walls and drinking at dive bars with metal bands playing in them, but also I’m in my 20s and like crappy live bands so those may not be your cup of tea!

        haha! eating and drinking at shows (not big into metal tho) is more or less exactly what I like to do

    • January 17, 2014 at 9:02 pm

      [Content note: transmisogyny, dysphoria]

      Speaking of harassment, I just remembered the time my dad laughed at me and told me that long hair makes me look like Michael Jackson. That’s one of the most triggering thing’s he’s said about my appearance. I hate being reminded of this body. Like I’m doomed to forever look like an “effeminate man” no matter what I do to make myself feel better about my body. Fuck you, dad.

      • January 18, 2014 at 3:31 am

        Speaking of harassment, I just remembered the time my dad laughed at me and told me that long hair makes me look like Michael Jackson. That’s one of the most triggering thing’s he’s said about my appearance. I hate being reminded of this body. Like I’m doomed to forever look like an “effeminate man” no matter what I do to make myself feel better about my body. Fuck you, dad.

        That sucks Ally. This may sound stupid and in no way am I comparing it your situation but it might add a bit of perspective- or you can just laugh at me ;)…when I was 13-14- I wished I looked like Michael Jackson, or David Bowie…or indeed a more ‘effeminate man,’ mostly because it suited the type of clothing I liked to wear. Plus my personality tends towards hippy/lovechild.stoner and I wouldn’t have the slightest idea what to do in a fist fight, yet, facially and body type wise, I look like some sort of movie extra in a film about bikers or bar brawls. I’ve learned to love offsetting my masculine looks with a more feminine sartorial élan, but it really bugged me.

        Again, Ally, in no way am I implying my situation is at all as serious as yours, I just thought you might find it interesting/funny, because at the time I honestly was taking it just as hard as you were, and now that I look back at it with your example in mind, I just feel ridiculous…

    • SophiaBlue
      January 17, 2014 at 11:14 pm

      Ugh, I’m so sorry about that, Ally.

  3. January 17, 2014 at 9:47 pm

    So as of this week I was still fucking fighting with Service Canada, after thinking everything was resolved. No check ever came, instead i got a letter saying that xxxx amount was being applied to my claim (basically saying i get nothing) and I spent two weeks trying to get a hold of the working who was assisting me, leaving various voicemail messages on a couple different messages she had given me, with no response for over two weeks.

    Finally I ended up scouring Service Canada’s website for any number I could get a human being on, ending up on a generic info line where the guy told me that i could either call the help line (which I did, and it wasn’t fucking helpful) or visit my local Service Canada office (the same people who lost my record of employment) which I ended up doing had what was almost my first time being kicked out of a government office.

    They basically turned down my application based on a clerical error my human resources department made. When I spoke to my HR manager, she took steps right away to rectify the situation by having the company compensate me for what I should have gotten from EI (because my workplace is that kind of awesome). However, in the meantime, I had called the customer complaint number that Jane had given me, and yesterday the gov worker called me at home while I was at work.

    I called her today, she said they reversed the decision, they processed the payment and I should get the check next week. I told her that I will believe it when I see it, and asked why she didn’t return my phone calls the previous two weeks. She denied it, said she tried to contact me. I called bullshit, I said she had my cell number, my work number AND my home number, and I am the only one who checks the voicemail on any of them.

    So, we’ll see what happens. At any rate, I let this woman know what I thought if her and Service Canada, because this whole thing has been utter bullshit.

    I have said this a few times over the last week and I will say it again. It’s a pretty bad sign when having to deal with a government office ranks higher on the list of “worst experiences ever” than having goddamned cancer.

    • Kat
      January 19, 2014 at 2:33 pm

      I remember my last dealing with service canada. they woundn’t let me file my claim until after I had my surgery. I had all the relevant dates and information. I wanted to get a jump on everything because there was no way I could make it to the office from were I lived after surgery. I could barely walk. i think i was in tears. they have some stupid policies but then again so does the OSAP.

      • January 19, 2014 at 3:44 pm

        Yeah, the waiting period is absolute BS. OSAP is a pain in the ass too, as is the national student loan service centre but I find they are at least communicative and sometimes helpful.

        Yeah, there has been a lot of tears this week. After I went to speak to them in person I spent a good five minutes in my car literally screaming at the top of my lungs, I was so done.

  4. Hannah
    January 17, 2014 at 11:45 pm

    I have had a series of internal crises this week.

    This started with a fit of jealousy over the idea that a friend of mine might be into my girlfriend and that really upset me. Which is annoying because I have an open relationship and have been with others but that seems to have subsided.

    Next I had a crisis about my sexual orientation and self identity. I have co morbid mental illnesses and this is first period in my life where I feel as though I can define myself as stable but I am uncomfortable with that word for some reason so I have personally settled on “reformed crazy person”. As for my orientation, I’ve been slowly sliding from “in the closet” to bisexual to pansexual to more panromantic- homosexual and that’s also added a certain level of comfort to my life. I like labels, I know not everyone does and I don’t care how anyone else labels but I need them

    I just realized I’ve spent so long afraid people will see what I don’t want them to see, by which I mean my general queerness. But I’m pretty open about my relationship which has helped. I’m just more comfortable now and with that is coming a shift in my clothing, I spent most of high school wanting to be this hot androgynous goth girl headfuck and yet I was so scared of being read as gay and that’s all changing.

    • PrettyAmiable
      January 18, 2014 at 12:58 pm

      I’ve never been in an open relationship because I don’t think I’d ever feel secure in it, but I’d had a period where I hooked up with guys whilst not caring whether they were hooking up with other people. One – it’s okay if your feelings towards your approach change, and two – even when I was in the open hooking up stage (and once, well before I started hooking up with my best friend), it’d been explicitly stated that friends of ours were off limits (frankly, I tend to think this rule is super important for all people because of how bad it can get). It’s okay if how you feel about your approach to your relationship changes as long as you’re willing to have an open (honest) conversation with your girlfriend. Don’t let yourself continue to feel bad because you feel like you set something in stone when you first started dating. You absolutely have to be your own advocate.

      Also, a friend of mine fell for a guy I had dated and it ruined our friendship. He never had any interest in her, and a combination of jealousy and insecurity made it impossible for her to be friends with me, even after he and I stopped dating. If your friend gets to the point where zie can’t be a good friend to you, don’t forget that zie sucks – not you.

  5. January 18, 2014 at 12:11 am

    Well, that week of 40C + weather is over at last. Fingers crossed we don’t get another this summer. Fingers also crossed for the fires across Victoria being put out and nobody else dying.

  6. EG
    January 18, 2014 at 4:52 pm

    It’s really bugging me how many people I know on-line and on Twitter who are uncritically lauding Amiri Baraka without an acknowledgment of his anti-semitism. Really fucking bugging me.

    • Donna L
      January 18, 2014 at 6:39 pm

      His anti-Semitic poetry was as bad as anything I’ve seen, and even though I know he renounced his anti-Semitism at some point later on, I can’t forgive him for his 9/11 poem. And nobody can tell me that that wasn’t anti-Semitic.

      • EG
        January 18, 2014 at 6:53 pm

        Exactly. Renouncing it means jackshit if you actually continue doing it.

      • TimmyTwinkles
        January 21, 2014 at 12:07 pm

        Flimsiest defense of “I’m not anti-semitic I’m anti-zionism” I’ve ever seen. An anti-semitic rant doesn’t magically become anti-zionism because it mentions Israel.

      • Donna L
        January 21, 2014 at 1:34 pm

        As I mentioned on twitter about this, the exact same myth was common at the time, but with the word “Jews” instead of “Israelis.” All Baraka did was substitute the latter for the former — as if even he seriously believed that there were 4,000 Israeli citizens working at the World Trade Center!

    • January 18, 2014 at 6:42 pm

      It’s really bugging me how many people I know on-line and on Twitter who are uncritically lauding Amiri Baraka without an acknowledgment of his anti-semitism. Really fucking bugging me.

      Don’t you know that in death ‘anti-Semitic’ translates as ‘polarizing’ or ‘controversial’?

      • EG
        January 18, 2014 at 6:59 pm

        The NYT talked about it. I guess it’s just that I expect progressive activists to be at least as thoughtful as the damn Times.

        Wasn’t Hettie Jones, his first wife, Jewish, as well? Hettie Cohen? One wonders how that shook out for their kids.

      • Donna L
        January 18, 2014 at 7:39 pm

        Yes. And if I’m not mistaken, some of his kids may identify as Jewish.

        And then there’s his homophobic poetry, but I guess he renounced homophobia, too.

        That said, I do think a lot of his poems are wonderful. So it’s sort of a T.S. Eliot/Ezra Pound thing, although I never liked Pound’s poetry at all.

      • EG
        January 18, 2014 at 8:18 pm

        Well, like Yeats. Sexist jerk who flirted with fascism (I always think of “When You Are Old” as “Crap Poem from a Dude.”). But an amazing poet.

      • January 18, 2014 at 8:26 pm

        (I always think of “When You Are Old” as “Crap Poem from a Dude.”)

        The tl;dr of at least 30% of Yeats’ poetry is AND THEN YOU’LL BE SORRY. I say this as a fan.

  7. January 19, 2014 at 9:04 am

    I nominate Madonna for “Fauxpology of the Month”:


    • trees
      January 19, 2014 at 10:39 am

      She is parenting two African children…shivers…pobrecitos

      • January 19, 2014 at 1:54 pm


        If that a term of endearment for her white son, can you imagine…?

    • EG
      January 20, 2014 at 7:56 am

      Oh, Madonna, fuck right off. “It was not intended as a racial slur” this, “I am not a racist” that, “It is a provocative word” my ass. It is a racist word, it doesn’t matter how you intended it, and nobody gives a shit about the state of your inner heart. Tell that to your therapist and stop using that word.

  8. Chataya
    January 19, 2014 at 2:37 pm

    Sometimes I wish it were possible to burn a website to the ground and piss on the ashes.

    • January 20, 2014 at 2:22 am

      Oh, wow. What website? >_> If you feel ok saying?

      • Chataya
        January 20, 2014 at 9:15 am

        I don’t mind; in fact, the more people know the better. FurAffinity recently hired a known sexual predator to recode the website. Here is a good summary of the entire thing.

        Also a lot of people are being really shitty about the whole thing, bringing up false rape accusations, victim blaming, the usual. And the owner of the site said that it wasn’t rape because the victim willingly drove over to his house.

      • makomk
        January 20, 2014 at 6:22 pm

        Oh, not again. For anyone here not up on the details, there’s a long and deeply unpleasant history involving both Zaush and Fur Affinity. It goes back to at least 2010 when a hacker leaked a bunch of personal messsages from FA, including messages from the site owner to a woman who’d been sexually assaulted by the same guy discouraging her from talking about it publicly, and general rape aplogy. Somehow this doesn’t seem to have affected the popularity of either the site owner or the rapist.

        (Oh, and I’m not sure the guy can even code, so it’s a mystery why they hired him in the first place. It looks like they’ve also managed to drive away the few competent software developers who were still somehow willing to code for them by doing this. Again. FurAffinity has a famous habit of doing that; it looks like he may be basing his work on abandoned code by another actually-competent developer they alienated.)

  9. DouglasG
    January 22, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    As a former small boy who never had to wear a helmet for cycling but who would have gone for the yellow and pink one with flowers every time, I’m finding this morning’s post of the Prudie live chat troubling, although at least for once the title, “Help! My Brother Made His Son Choose a ‘Manly’ Tricycle Helmet.” fit in with my take on the situation.

    I’m not sure whether Prudie was overly certain that a 2-year-old girl would have been allowed to choose a “boy’s” helmet without an attempt at gender policing. And at least she did twice wish that the poor little boy had been allowed the helmet he’d wanted. But she accepted too much in hearsay evidence, and her conclusion that “gentle steering” wasn’t out of line still has me feeling stuck in the bad court position halfway between the baseline and the service line. A few reflections:

    * I wish the LW had been clear on whether she’d established that her brother’s imposition of the Manly Helmet really had been gentle steering, or if she’d just taken his word for it. Recalling what my mother used to describe as gentle steering, I affirm with confidence that, if the boy is half the budding drama queen I was at his age, gentle it wasn’t.

    * I’d want to know the context in which LW’s brother had mentioned the incident before putting his bringing it up in the Plus column. More so, though, the mention’s provoking a lively discussion doesn’t seem to me to equal his soliciting other opinions. As for Prudie’s assuming a lack of a punitive response, I’ll be content for the boy’s sake to hope strongly that she was right, but my own experience suggests to the contrary.

    * Haven’t enough people who aren’t even that high up on the Homophobic Ladder learned by now that, “But, but, but… but he’ll get bullied!!! is, although (or because?) it’s a legitimate concern in some situations, the socially acceptable way to mask, “But, but, but… but my friends will tease me if my kid looks or acts like a [bleep]!”? I just wish people like LW would regard that concern as the starting point for the conversation rather than accepting it as the ace of trumps.

    Earlier today, ending gender policing struck me as having a similar feel to lowering the incumbency return rate in Congress, but the comments at Slate are too depressing for me to continue.

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