Thus Spake Zuska

Why Are You So Angry?

Thegoodman really, really wants to know.

If you do not consider yourself a failure, that is great. Why then are you so angry about this situation? If it has worked out well for you, what is driving your passionate hatred for our patriarch society?

Like many gender discussions/arguments, your approach has made me feel guilty for being a man. This doesn’t accomplish anything positive since I soon get defensive because I cannot help it that I am a man and I shouldn’t feel guilty about just as you shouldn’t feel guilty for being a woman.

This is hilarious in so many ways. Let’s recap. I explained how petulant whiny white d00ds make the same boring complaint over and over and over and over and over and over and over again, believing themselves to be the first clever souls ever to have come up with it, and then listed several calm responses I often used, each of which, even the pissy one, were intended to engage the petulant whiners in some reflective thinking. Then I described what was going on in my mind while I was spoon-feeding Diversity 101 to the petulant whiners, even though we all know I never allowed myself to say any of those angry thoughts out loud. Because part of my job was, in fact, the spoon-feeding. We may debate whether the spoon-feeding does much good at all, but in any case, I was paid to spoon-feed.

So, my dear Zuskateers. While I’ve been away, occupied with allergies, migraines, and the Morris Arboretum plant sale, you have apparently taken on Zuska’s Outreach Project for D00dly D00ds. I stand in amazement at your handiwork. Through over 250 comments now you have explained, reasoned, provided links, illustrated points, discussed. And Thegoodman, who has trotted out every tired douchey trope we’ve all encountered eighty bazillion times before he showed his sorry self on this blog, is puzzled by the presence of anger. Oh, he occasionally will acknowledge that you are passionate about this subject, in a most condescending fashion – it’s a sweet way of saying “I see you are all emotional about this, and so I can’t expect you to be rational, or draw upon facts, the way I do, but that’s okay, I excuse you, and admire your feminine passion.” Calling what he’s seeing “passion” has two effects: it dismisses the arguments being made as non-logical, non-intellectual, and it downgrades the seething anger many of us are carrying around from dealing with douchey d00ds all our lives to just a quaint little “passion”, something sweetly feminine.

I have news for you, Thegoodman. I am not passionate about discrimination and inequity. I am fucking angry.

So many things in that epic thread caught my attention but I’ll just focus on a few things here.


First, eatmycheesywedge comments FTW!

MPL provides this awesome answer to one of my clever questions to the wah wah lament:

“What do you think men need that they aren’t getting, that a men in engineering program [could] provide?”

Education about the advantages people who aren’t white men don’t have, and why helping women and minorities gain a foothold in the sciences shouldn’t be threatening.

Hahahahahahahaha! If only!

Another awesome answer to a nagging, trollish question:

“But, back to the question: is the most effective means of doing away with systemic discrimination name calling?”

Well, in a way, yes : I mean, calling discrimination by its name.

Thank you, Christophe Thill!

Ruth provides a much-needed correction:

“The story about the people dismissing resumes simply because they are women or not white is just ridiculous. I am sure it is true,”

Well if it’s true, it is hardly ‘ridiculous’, is it?

Luna_the_cat with simple sense:

if people could just “do it all on their own”, then it would be done by now. There wouldn’t BE any disparity between numbers of male & female CEOs, or black & white scientists.

Cara weighs in with welcome comic relief:

Oh, good grief.

I am trying to help you understand how they [affirmative action programs] are perceived [by white men].

Of course you are. How useful to have this heretofore completely secret knowledge. It’s not like it’s in the fucking water or anything.

Which of course makes Thegoodman wonder, why are you so hostile?

Really, ladeez! Why so angry and mean? Why can’t you just spoon-feed with nice, soothing, silky-soft friendly language and avoid curse words and not make AllGoodMen feel bad about themselves and not make them worry that anything might have to change in any substantive manner? Why? Aren’t you getting paid to do that? Oh…..wait…..no, you’re not. That was MY job as a Professional Diversity Person, several years back. You aren’t being paid anything to listen to Thegoodman be a clueless douche, are you?

Which brings me to these three comments I’d like to link for discussion.

Thegoodman is very concerned about all us ladeez. “Bitching about how its a white mans world won’t get you anywhere.”

DK later tells us this:

I’m sorry, I can’t let this one pass up.

“Affirmative action pisses off white guys more than it helps minorities get jobs. Is that worth it? It causes every single woman and minority to be questioned if they belong or not.”

Reread this statement. Please. It is arguing from an inherently privileged position. There is the tacit assumption that these white male opinions *matter*. Because they do. Because white men run the show. It is such a base assumption that “what white males think” = “what people think” that they are interchangeable.

When has the opinion of black people towards white people ever mattered? Maybe when they make white people feel guilty.

Part of being a disadvantaged group is worrying about pissing off white males.

Then Samia observed:

Of course, what they don’t know is how much problematic, hurtful shit comes out of their mouths (in the classroom and office) that I can’t comfortably comment on because of the power imbalance between us. When I’m relying on someone for rec letters, networking opportunities, or general career advice and support, I have to decide whether or not I want to risk a beneficial professional relationship. And when I’m like, 30-40 years junior to some of these guys, I’m gonna tend to let some of the fuckedupness slide. It sucks because we have to let SOME things slide to get ahead, but then the people who fuck with us get to keep thinking they’re Totally Progressive, Y’all! and hold us up as little token examples. *sigh*

But I’m always thinking pretty much exactly what you wrote here. It’s like damn, y’all want MORE?

Anyway. Thanks for vocalizing something I’ve been thinking and feeling for a while now. I found this post cathartic and validating.

Why are we so angry? Because we have to make strategic choices, far far too often, about letting the “fuckedupness slide” to get ahead, and risk letting the perpetrators think they are Totally Progressive. Because even if we are getting one little table scrap labeled “Scholarship for Others” or “Women’s Program” or “Multicultural Student’s Pizza Party” out in the alley behind Maison Blanche Très Exclusive, listening as the revelers gorge on the carefully prepared delicacies of a world rendered to their liking, some helpful douchebag is going to come along and tell us how our table scraps are poisoning us, and pissing off the revelers to boot.

Perhaps bitching doesn’t get us “anywhere”, per se, but it relieves the throbbing vein in the forehead. As Samia notes, it is cathartic and validating. And as can be seen later in the thread, non-completely clueless d00ds may pick up a point or two when we gather together and disgorge our anger in a safe space in public.

But wait, you may finally persist in asking. What about the poor white d00ds? I mean, the white d00ds who are actually poor? Let’s let skeptifem answer:

Class isn’t a separate issue. bell hooks writes a lot about “white supremacist capitalist patriarchy” and does an awesome job of showing how connected it all is. The domination of others via class and the valuing of shit like military spending over social programs is directly related to institutionalized sexism and racism.

I don’t know why the lower class white dudes can’t just do some labor organizing, that includes all sorts of people screwed over by classism. Lower class white guys are more likely to be hired for jobs, period. They are more likely to have a way out of poverty. That doesn’t make poverty suck less, but it does illustrate that poverty isn’t experienced the same for everyone, and that not being a white dude can make poverty harder.

Yes, the poor white d00d. I will shed many more tears for him when he becomes less inclined to see his skin color as an important marker of his status and more inclined to understand his economic status as the salient factor that connects him to other poor people, no matter their skin color or gender. Then, of course, his rallying cry will not be “what about poor white d00ds?” It will be “what about us poor men and women of all backgrounds?”

Wake me up when that revolution comes. Till then, I’ll be ranting moronically ranting about morons for your pleasure, here at the blog.

Hugs to you all, my dear Zuskateers, for creating such incredible conversations with and for each other.

Comments

  1. #1 becca
    May 10, 2010

    “What, the [Confederate] flag? Oh he’s just expressing his rich cultural tradition of dumassedness”

    “Black history month! Where’s our White history month?! Where’s our White Panthers? Where’s the White and Decker cordless sander?”

    “Confederate flag? What’s that? That there’s my Dukes of Hazard flag, signed by Roscoe P Coltrane hidself.”
    “You don’t know what the Confederate flag stands for, do you?”
    “Nope.”
    “Do you know what KKK stands for?”
    “Kendra Krisko Kringlesack”
    “Huh? Maybe they should have a white history month!”

    I know, wrong on many levels. The fact remains for thegoodman to consider: if the writers of The Cleveland Show demonstrate more social insight than you, you might wanna learn some stuff.

  2. #2 Yvonne
    May 10, 2010

    I have to admit, once the thread gets over a hundred posts with half by the same fool, I start wanting to talk about them in the third person. Like an anthropologist.

    Look at how thegoodman simultaneously claims he is pro-equality while accessing his privilege in the phrase, “…but my deep seeded feelings about women are that they are equal.”

    Equal to what, exactly? He has no need to specify because it is understood who all others are compared to.

  3. #3 D. C. Sessions
    May 10, 2010

    I don’t know why the lower class white dudes can’t just do some labor organizing, that includes all sorts of people screwed over by classism.

    Of course it couldn’t have anything to do with the LCWDs believing it when they’re told that their problem isn’t the UCWD who begrudgingly pays them (or owns the TV station) but rather the (!W|!D) who wants to move up to where the LCWD gripes about being.

    Sorry — living in Arizona lately has been worse than usual with it seems like the whole damn state blaming their underwater mortgages in Maricopa [1] on “illegal immigrants” whose families were here before statehood.

    [1] If you’d ever seen Maricopa you’d get the joke.

  4. #4 Dender C
    May 10, 2010

    Howdy! You raise some very good points about the inherent unfairness of the current “balance” of power. I suppose calling it a balance would be wrong though, perhaps more like a wheel of power… Sounds like a better allegory really, White Men at the middle, away from all the dirt and rocks and excrement that those at the rim have to deal with directly. Even if it does somewhat imply that whitemen don’t really have a choice where the wheel goes, which I have to say isn’t entirely accurate. Being a white man is a goddamn superpower. Theres an inherent superiority and legitimacy to arguments, better pay and more paying opportunities. I’ll be honest, theres been a time or two that I’ve needed a job, walked in to a place, and gotten it only to hear that they’d been sitting on several other applications of minorities. Granted, I’m a bit, erm, beefier than average and it was a labor job, there is NO doubt in my mind that the strength of my arms was a secondary concern. I like that it happens for me, and I don’t like that it happens at all. Contradictory? not at all. While I ENJOY the benefits, I don’t agree that the privilege provided by chance of skin and gender is fair.

    Now, I could go on about who I am, what my background is, and give the gory details of my life, but I’ll spare you the most of it. Short version – People should be equivalent. Not equal, as long as there is enough diversity in the genepool to allow for both geniuses and retards, there will always be an inequality. But I’ll be happy with equivalents, that a white guy and a (insert marginalized group of choice) would be judged on merit alone. People can go on about vocal minorities, or quippy comments on intelligence but at the end of the day, menfolk have it easier. I hope that changes. yeah, I know, give up the Superpower? Its only fair though. And till it does, I hope to see many more people up in arms about this. You do some fine work.

    – I’m a privileged white male, and I don’t have to approve of your message.

  5. #5 joy
    May 10, 2010

    “[…] the seething anger many of us are carrying around from dealing with douchey d00ds all our lives […]

    I have news for you, Thegoodman. I am not passionate about discrimination and inequity. I am fucking angry.”

    Indeed. Exactly.

    I loved it when Isabel chimed in to tell us all to stop being so “angry” and “irrational” as well. If she’s not in fact “thegoodman” under a different handle, you should do an entirely different post about female apologists for the patriarchy, using her as a prime example.

    Thanks for letting me and other women express our seething rage here, Zuska. Seriously. Thank you.

    Also, I will leave it up to the more patient here to comment upon the amazing douchiness of “Short version – People should be equivalent. Not equal, as long as there is enough diversity in the genepool to allow for both geniuses and retards, there will always be an inequality”

    and “I’m a privileged white male, and I don’t have to approve of your message.”

  6. #6 D. C. Sessions
    May 10, 2010

    Also, I will leave it up to the more patient here to comment upon the amazing douchiness of

    Ummm… I think you’re setting the bar pretty low for “amazing.”
    It’s such a fiercely competitive field, after all.

  7. #7 Queef
    May 10, 2010

    Calling discrimination by its name isn’t the same as childish name calling.

  8. #8 joy
    May 10, 2010

    “Ummm… I think you’re setting the bar pretty low for “amazing.”
    It’s such a fiercely competitive field, after all.”

    I think I just have a low tolerance. Twenty-five years in Teh Patriarchy, and all.

    “Calling discrimination by its name isn’t the same as childish name calling.”

    Live your life as a woman for twenty or more years, and then try that one again.

  9. #9 Queef
    May 10, 2010

    Oh, so all women get the right to act like assholes without condemnation purely because they are women?

  10. #10 joy
    May 10, 2010

    “Oh, so all women get the right to act like assholes without condemnation purely because they are women?”

    No, for the one millionth time — women have the right to be seethingly angry, and express their seething anger, purely because they are an oppressed class.

    Go ahead and read what Zuska wrote. Again. For real this time.

    Also, are all men allowed to tell all women to shut up and, essentially, cater to them, simply by virtue of the fact that they are men?

  11. #11 Zuska
    May 10, 2010

    Queef, you crack me up. Seriously. You feelings are SO hurt…by what? By reading a blog post about why women are angry? If confronting the explicit examination of women’s anger about patriarchy is seriously upsetting to you, why don’t you just spend all your time at this site?

  12. #12 thebewilderness
    May 10, 2010

    “Affirmative action pisses off white guys more than it helps minorities get jobs. Is that worth it? It causes every single woman and minority to be questioned if they belong or not.”

    Sure, cuz everyone knows that it is far far worse to be questioned about whether you belong or not than it is to never be let in the door by the same asshats who question if you belong or not.

    As an aside, why should I give a shit if affirmative action disturbs the white males sense of entitlement to preferential treatment?
    I consider that a good thing.

  13. #13 Comrade Svilova
    May 10, 2010

    why should I give a shit if affirmative action disturbs the white males sense of entitlement to preferential treatment?

    This exactly.

    And:

    Why should I care if my language seems too “angry” or “strident” or “bitchy” to men who are always going to demand that I play nice and cater to their needs first before addressing my own? I’ll make noise if I want to!

  14. #14 Isabel
    May 11, 2010

    “I loved it when Isabel chimed in to tell us all to stop being so “angry” and “irrational” as well.”

    Fucking liar. I never said anything close.

    “They are more likely to have a way out of poverty. That doesn’t make poverty suck less, but it does illustrate that poverty isn’t experienced the same for everyone, and that not being a white dude can make poverty harder. ”

    And being well-off is an advantage for women. Not all women experience sexism the same. Upper class women are better off than poor women. Glad we cleared that up! Hey Nails go back to IBTP. They’re over there complaining right now about what a drag out is when the luxury hotels are full and you have to stay at a B&B! I mean, there’s no privacy in those tacky places.

    Zuska, you have made the closest to an actual admission yet that class doesn’t count as a privilege!

  15. #15 joy
    May 11, 2010

    “Joy, you are irrational!”

    Direct quote. Search yourself. Now who’s the fucking liar, you fucking liar?

    You are finding no sympathy, or empathy, here. Why do you keep trying?

  16. #16 becca
    May 11, 2010

    i am not an angry girl
    but it seems like I’ve got everyone fooled
    everytime I say something they find hard to hear
    they chalk it up to my anger
    and never to their own fear.

  17. #17 Zuska
    May 11, 2010

    Zuska, you have made the closest to an actual admission yet that class doesn’t count as a privilege!

    Isabel, I really can’t see how you could possibly get this out of what I posted. The end of my post is actually an argument that white men who are poor should consider their class as a more salient factor than their race in choosing their alliances. In any case, you could only operate under the delusion that I would hold that opinion if you had studiously avoided reading anything else I’ve ever written pertaining to class issues on this blog.

  18. #18 joy
    May 11, 2010

    “you could only operate under the delusion that I would hold that opinion if you had studiously avoided reading anything else I’ve ever written pertaining to class issues on this blog.”

    This may be, in fact, the case here, regarding everything Isabel comments on.

    It seems at least that she really enjoys twisting things to suit a strange end. A strange and still obscure end.

  19. #19 Cara
    May 11, 2010

    Zuska’s back! Yay!

    We tried to clean up but the troll poo is everywhere. It’s not even good for fertilizer. Nothing grows in it.

    I have to admit, once the thread gets over a hundred posts with half by the same fool, I start wanting to talk about them in the third person. Like an anthropologist.

    Me too. I think Isabel and Queef should get their own blog. “Frick and Frack Talk Smack”.

  20. #20 Dunc
    May 11, 2010

    … and then listed several calm responses I often used, each of which, even the pissy one, were intended to engage the petulant whiners in some reflective thinking.

    Well, there’s your problem… Reflective thinking is so much harder than just being a whiny little shit.

    As an aside, why should I give a shit if affirmative action disturbs the white males sense of entitlement to preferential treatment?
    I consider that a good thing.

    Damn straight. If you’re not alarming the over-entitled, you’re not doing it right. Nobody ever won anything by pleasing the opposition.

  21. #21 Kierra
    May 11, 2010

    From thegoodman:

    the only way to get the bigots to understand the problem is to play nice. “You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar”

    To which I respond:
    http://xkcd.com/357/

  22. #22 SKM
    May 11, 2010

    the only way to get the bigots to understand the problem is to play nice. “You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar”

    And you know what catches the most flies? Horseshit.

    Fortunately, we’re not about catching flies around here.

  23. #23 Miss Andrist
    May 11, 2010

    Hmm. This is, amazingly, for the males – non-males, you can probably skip this since you already understand what I’m about to explain because it apparently hasn’t been made QUITE PAINFULLY EMBARRASSINGLY CLEAR ENOUGH YET. Although, if you feel compelled to read, by all means (at least somebody will have, right? Ha. *sigh* This is copy pasta from part of a post I wrote somewhere else almost exactly a year ago.)

    Just like I see similarity and the potential for solidarity between the deaf community and the autistic community, I see parallels between the womens’ rights movement and the autistic / disabled rights movements. They amount to the same thing: demanding acknowledgement of our human dignity, participation and recognition in society as fully human members, and the freedom to pursue and fulfill our full human potential free from the artificial restrictions and limitations placed upon us by others. Women’s rights are human rights; disabled rights are human rights. All infringements of human rights come from the exact same place: the existance of a dominant class that defines a subclass of people and assigns that subclass inferior status – less than human, for whatever reason.

    IS THAT REALLY SO FUCKING MUCH TO ASK?

    You aren’t limited by our perceptions of what white men don’t get to do. But you get to decide what we aren’t allowed to do, then insist it’s because we can’t – when the only shortcoming is your inability to admit that confining us to the prison of your myriad projected insecurities does not actually resolve your shortcomings in any way. You create this optical illusion and insist that it is an accurate measuring tool and the standard of comparison. And we pay for it, each and every one of us, with lifetimes devoid of experiences and achievements that you refused us.

    Because you believe your insecurities, vulnerabilities, the ones you banish with your little funhouse parlor trick that you defend with hive-minded egomaniacal fanaticism, are indeed worth more than our right to meaningful lives.

    And you actually think we should feel fucking sorry for you.

    Six thousand years of relentless hate-fueled persecution later, we get Title IX and affirmative action, which you have cored almost hollow in less than two decades. Even though we still have to live every day in very real fear of you, you feel bad because you hurt us and that matters why? Because when men’s feeling hurt, men make women hurt, you say. Oh shit. We almost forgot! Men are dangerous when men are not happy. Thank god you were here to remind us!

    Do you realize that, because you are a man and we are not, expressing that particular “opinion” – pissing men off causes men to harm us – is in fact a thinly veiled threat? You’re threatening us. You’re threatening us collectively with the collective consequences of men’s collective backlash against all women for this little spasm of insubordination. You’re trying to control our behavior through intimidation and fear by reminding us of The Consequences. And you’re so incredibly insulated by privilege after privilege that if you’re even deigning from on high to read this at all, you are probably stunned speechless and wounded right to your poor privileged quick and your mind is churning over how you meant well but you were attacked and nobody gave you a chance even though you really wanted to be on our side [wanted us to be on your side, but you can’t tell the difference.]

    Men, including you, have attempted to redefine reality to better suit yourselves based upon what you have decided we can and cannot do. Your perception of our limitations requires enforcing those limitations, individual man against individual woman, armed with your weapons of terror since time immemorial, and you have hunted us to every corner of the earth. You, individual man, want to think that you’ve done us no harm – but your fellow men do, and you know they will not listen to us, and your failure to object – not here to us, but there to them – shows us that you are willing to grant them the permission of your silent inaction. As long as that is true, your plaintive insistence to us that you are not the monster even while you collude with him against us is the most despicable willful self-delusion and treachery.

    Dear Mr. Onegoodman:

    If you feel guilty, that’s usually your indicator that you’re doing something wrong. You know, from your conscience? You may have heard of it. Maybe you can look it up in urbandictionary. Probably between “axe-gash” and “donkey punch.”

    The hottest pits of Hell are reserved for those who, in the face of great moral conflict, maintain their neutrality.

    -Miss Andrist
    Lover of Men

  24. #24 DuWayne
    May 11, 2010

    What wonderful fun, Izzy’s popped in to play!!!

    Queef –

    Calling discrimination by its name isn’t the same as childish name calling.

    And calling fucking clueless stupidity by it’s name isn’t the same as childish name calling.

    Oh, so all women get the right to act like assholes without condemnation purely because they are women?

    No, women get the right to be fucking pissed about how they are treated, purely because they are women.

    Izzy –

    Fucking liar. I never said anything close.

    Followed by;

    Zuska, you have made the closest to an actual admission yet that class doesn’t count as a privilege!

    And you wonder why people don’t take you seriously…

    Fucking liar.

  25. #25 April
    May 11, 2010

    I wouldn’t even respond to those guys.

  26. #26 Cara
    May 11, 2010

    Good for you. Some of us think batting them around is useful. You don’t have to.

  27. #27 Queef
    May 11, 2010

    So I guess that some women really do think that they should act like assholes because they often have it rougher than men. Thanks for clearing that up.

  28. #28 Comrade Svilova
    May 11, 2010

    Ah, little Queef. It’s interesting what kind of behavior you believe deserves the name “asshole.”

    Poor thing. If only the women would be sweet and nice to you, and recognize the witty, woman-positive humor in your adorable moniker, then you’d deign to compliment us and give us your whole-hearted approval.

    And personally, there are few things I care about more than the approval of men such as yourself. I’ll change my behavior STAT to make you happier so you might condescend to give your approbation to the feminist cause.

  29. #29 Queef
    May 11, 2010

    No, not really Comrade. I don’t want sweetness or assholeness, just uncluttered coverage of the issues like so many other bloggers here prove weekly that they’re capable of carrying out. But thanks for assuming.

    I suppose it’s too much to ask.

  30. #30 Comrade Svilova
    May 11, 2010

    Coverage uncluttered by feminism? Probably that is too much to ask of a feminist blog.

  31. #31 Queef
    May 11, 2010

    I wasn’t aware that feminism included pointless condescension.

  32. #32 i just lurk here
    May 11, 2010

    I must say, nobody does self-pitying passive-aggressiveness like Queef.

  33. #33 Zuska
    May 11, 2010

    I must say, nobody does self-pitying passive-aggressiveness like Queef.

    Quoted for the sheer pithy awesomeness of the observation!

  34. #34 Isabel
    May 11, 2010

    “The end of my post is actually an argument that white men who are poor should consider their class as a more salient factor than their race in choosing their alliances.”

    And when they approach the issues as you suggest, then you will sympathize, is what you actually said. In the meantime, screw them. They’re white dudes, and that’s what counts! They’re white dudes – that’s what counts.

    My point was that white upper-middle-class women and white lower-class men each have a major strike against them in American society. Both have two major advantages.

    And in your last paragraph, after declaring all lower-class white men racists who you will have sympathy for when they stop finding status in their skin color and instead make the alliances you feel they need to make, you are doing the same thing TheGoodman’s doing, saying you’ll respect them when he they take the approach you approve of.

    Joy, saying you are irrational is not the same as saying women should stop being angry. I know you seem a little self-involved, but really. I think women should be much more angry, and should express it in many more ways, and more creative and effective ways, than they currently do.

    But there is no need for irrationality to enter the picture. And why do you think I am here looking for empathy and sympathy? In this case, I was actually arguing for a little sympathy and empathy toward someone else, that we are all (rightfully) disagreeing with.

  35. #35 Mu
    May 11, 2010

    I always wonder whether working in the high tech/science R&D field makes you miss all these discriminatory things people whine about. In my (admittedly small) company, half the degreed (is that a word) people are women, half the management is. Not because they are women, but because they are good. If I put out job offers, I get more women than men that qualify.
    But then, affirmative actions doesn’t make you pass engineering or chemistry classes, so by the time people have graduated, how they got into the program isn’t really relevant anymore.

  36. #36 joy
    May 11, 2010

    “I know you seem a little self-involved”

    HAHAHA.

    Pots, and kettles, and all.

    Is it because I said I was good at writing?
    God forbid a woman says she is GOOD at something (that someone else, multiple someones else, has told her she’s good at, but she personally does not think she’s that good at).

    Also, tell that to my counselor, who tells me I constantly dissociate and throw myself under the bus.

    I think I just like to relate my own experiences to larger ones, and I see my struggles as common struggles.

    And if we aren’t all a little self-involved … well, who else is going to look out for us?

    Certainly not men. Certainly not society.

    Society tells women to be selfless. To sacrifice themselves for men, and children, etc. Well, fuck that. Your telling me to do the same is not going to make me cave and say, “You’re right, Isabel, maybe I should just don my mourning cloth and retreat to the kitchen like a good little girl.”

  37. #37 Comrade Svilova
    May 11, 2010

    Thanks for putting it so well, I Just Lurk Here.

    As someone said upthread, I really appreciate the opportunity to dissect these tired arguments online. It makes it much easier for me to then respond to these arguments when I confront them in real life. I have come to realize from my time on this blog that I really don’t have to apologize all the time for my beliefs and my out-spoken commentary. I can take up space, I can have an opinion, and I can take action in the world as my male friends do.

    And it’s been interesting to me to find that I’ve actually had a better experience socially when I do speak out about issues that matter to me. I know that isn’t always the case, so I feel fortunate that my feminist perspective has helped me rather than hindered me socially.

    Recently on this blog, certain commenters have suggested that anger and honesty will not help feminists convince men to be feminist allies. However, I’m fortunate to know men (and women) who have open minds and a deep respect for me; people who will actually take a moment to reconsider a sexist comment made in haste; people who are willing to examine their privilege once it’s pointed out to them; and people who respect me more because I’m passionate, sometimes angry, and always forthright and honest about my belief that women are people.

    We all have blind spots and areas of imperfection. It takes a strong person to be willing to reexamine themselves when someone else points out a possible area for improvement. I hope that some of the people who are very defensive and offended by the justifiable anger of women and minorities and poor people will eventually come to understand how justifiable that anger is. And one day, I hope to see more and more people respond to that anger by looking at the society that creates situations that call for that emotion, and changing that society rather than asking those who are angry to stifle their emotions to mollify the social structures that have caused their justifiable anger.

  38. #38 Miss Andrist
    May 11, 2010

    Haha! Oh, Joy, you’re such a goose! Don’t you know that thinking about ourselves for even one split second – even if we’re still thinking about Teh Menz while we’re thinking about ourselves, makes us inexcusably self-involved? And if we think about ourselves without thinking about Teh Menz at all, well, we’re heartless, conniving, narcissistic menaces to society.

    Joy. Every time you think about yourself, God kills a kitten.

    Now get in the kitchen and make Isabel a samwich.

  39. #39 joy
    May 11, 2010

    Anyway, I only said that — as any of the things I’ve said here — to illustrate the point.

    In this case, that great works by women (and I don’t even make great works! just works! but they pass for okay because what we are supposed to idolize as “greatness” is actually middling bullshit, and the “great” people we’re encouraged to venerate are a bunch of jackasses; in this case, Kerouac was a wifebeating poseur, Cassady was a drunken serial rapist, Ginsberg, whose first name I can’t even be bothered to spell correctly, was a child molester, Burroughs was a woman-killer … and none of their works except maybe HOWL are even any good at all)
    are constantly lost because we live in this sea of patriarchy wherein our work is devalued next to swine slop created by people who just happen to have dicks.

    THAT was the point. Glad you missed it, though. It’s not like that never happens when people find out I (like any other woman; I’m sure people can relate to this, which is again my fucking point) have a vagina, then automatically deduce that I am incompetent and incapable of any sort of thought.

    No big deal.

  40. #40 Isabel
    May 11, 2010

    “You’re right, Isabel, maybe I should just don my mourning cloth and retreat to the kitchen like a good little girl.”

    WTF? I just said you should be expressing MORE ANGER. Just channeling it in an effective, constructive, creative way. How did you morph that in your head to “retreat to the kitchen like a good little girl”??

    THAT’S the ‘irrational’ part of your commentary.

  41. #41 Miss Andrist
    May 11, 2010

    Hey Mu?

    We don’t.

    I program in 7 languages and because I pee sitting down, I make sixty-two cents on my boss’s dollar and although I have twice the experience, education and credentials, I am not even on staff, because HIS boss is “weirded out” by “the whole girl thing.” The total n00b who doesn’t know an array from an object is a staff developer. I’m a freelancer.

    I’m acutely aware of the sexism in high-tech. Thanks for asking, though.

  42. #42 joy
    May 11, 2010

    “I just said you should be expressing MORE ANGER. Just channeling it in an effective, constructive, creative way.”

    HEADDESK

    HEADDESK

    HEADDESK

    REPEAT

  43. #43 Queef
    May 11, 2010

    I don’t get the self-pitying or passive-aggressive part. I don’t feel sorry for myself, nor am I being indirect about my complaint. But, hey, whatever makes you feel better.

  44. #44 Isabel
    May 11, 2010

    Also, all my opinions were in reference to how everyone was demonizing one particular poster. I have NO problem with women expressing anger. Both in the moment, and directed in organized ways.

    But you are definitely all crazy, and not because you are women, but because you are freaking out because I have a different opinion about how rich white men and poor white men are considered together disparagingly as ‘white men’ in this discussion with usually greater disparagement toward the less sophisticated (less “enlightened”) poorer group.

    That has nothing to do with telling women not to express their anger. But piling on one poster, who has entered the conversation and has suffered his own discrimination, is disturbing to me. He seems to be describing a very common, however flawed, strategy of working class Americans which is to not complain, suck it up and show those assholes, etc. You should have told him right away his opinions were inappropriate for the blog and not engaged him at all if you are sincere about that.

    Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe this snarky demonizing of strangers on the internet is a totally healthy thing, but it depresses the hell out of me.

  45. #45 Isabel
    May 11, 2010

    And Joy,

    You seem really fixated on some idea that I am criticizing you personally, and how you are expressing your anger. I don’t care how you express it, but if it is directed at a total stranger, along with the anger of half a dozen other women, I get to speak up too, especially if I see where that person may be coming from.

    I don’t even mind that you want to argue with him, but in that case it is definitely disingenuous when you accusing him of trolling.

    We ALL get to speak up, get it?

  46. #46 SKM
    May 11, 2010

    I don’t get the […] passive-aggressive part. […]. But, hey, whatever makes you feel better.

    LOLOLOLOLOL!

    *wipes tears of laughter from eyes*

    My chronically-dry eyes feel all freshly washed. Thanks!

  47. #47 becca
    May 11, 2010

    Shorter drama:

    feminists: “Wow, that sexist d00d is sure a jerk”
    Isabel: “Hey! He’s just expressing his rich cultural tradition of Pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps Americanism!!! Don’t hate!”
    feminists: “And by that, you mean rich cultural tradition of dumassedness. Look, we’re likely currently poorer than mr. ‘suck it up’, we know being poor sucks. We’re doing all these other things to combat classism and poverty. Which, obviously, have a disproportionate impact on women. Sexist d00d is still a jerk”
    Isabel: “NOooooooooooooo! None of that other stuff matters if you don’t defend Mr. I-was-raised-in-a-trailor d00d! You sick twisted crazy bitch OPPRESSORS!!!”
    feminists: dot
    dot
    dot

  48. #48 Queef
    May 11, 2010

    Glad you enjoyed it ;)

  49. #49 becca
    May 11, 2010

    now now, SKM, I think Queef is right. 1) self-pitying doesn’t sound right so much as “self-worshiping”. Narcissism is utterly inadequate a word to describe such singular obsession and inability to see beyond one’s self. 2) passive aggressive? I’m pretty sure that’s aggressive-aggressive. As much as somebody can be without offering direct physical threats.

  50. #50 joy
    May 11, 2010

    “You seem really fixated on some idea that I am criticizing you personally, and how you are expressing your anger.”

    Maybe because you address a third of your comments to me, telling me to shut up, stop being so self-involved, be less angry, be more angry, be angry differently, stop having faith in my creativity, be more creative …

    You are like my ex, who used to beat me while screaming, “WHY DO YOU LET ME BEAT YOU?”
    That is a comparison, by the way, and also a form of figurative speech.

    Pray tell us. In what ways are we women allowed to express anger? And at what? How angry is too angry and how angry is not angry enough? What do you deem constructive? Since you are so concerned with what (you perceive, from commentary left on a blog post) we are doing and how (you perceive, from commentary left on a blog post) we are doing it.

    Please. Tell us what to do. We’ve been just waiting for YOU, the voice of reason, to come along all this time.

    You have been told again and again why Thegoodman was, and is, considered a troll. And you’re also the one who is “freaking out” — because you keep insisting that we are ALL WRONG and YOU ALONE are right. About … something that has also been repeatedly addressed (ie, intersectionality, and the Good Old Oppression Olympics).

    Then you like to tell US (I think you also told Cara, and/or Luna, and/or Zuska, but I know there was at least one other) that WE are delusional and “missing the point.”

    What are you trying to prove?

  51. #51 joy
    May 11, 2010

    What becca said. Again. Since it clearly needed to be said … again.

  52. #52 Queef
    May 11, 2010

    When/where have I worshiped myself or made veiled threats, becca?

  53. #53 SKM
    May 11, 2010

    I don’t know, becca–maybe it’s the fact that my mother’s (latest) hip replacement went smoothly this morning and I’m therefore in a good mood, but Queef’s total obliviousness to his own unoriginality and predictability is cracking my shit up at the moment.

    I mean, “glad you enjoyed it ;)” ? Complete with smiley?!

    BWA-hahaahahaha-ha!

  54. #54 Queef
    May 11, 2010

    SKM laughs plenty, but never seems to spell out exactly what he or she finds funny.

  55. #55 Queef
    May 11, 2010

    For instance, SKM used the words “unoriginal” and “predictable” to describe my comments, but then goes on to not say exactly what is “unoriginal” or “predictable” about them.

  56. #56 tawaen
    May 11, 2010

    Isabel @ 44

    …how rich white men and poor white men are considered together disparagingly as ‘white men’ in this discussion with usually greater disparagement toward the less sophisticated (less “enlightened”) poorer group.

    Should we give them brownie points because they honk at us from a Honda rather than leer at us from a Lexus?

    Sure, the poor may be discriminated against, but that doesn’t mean all discrimination is equal. That poor white man will never know what it’s like to be a working-class black woman. Also, sex is (generally) fixed while class is at least somewhat a matter of perspective (and can change without major surgery). So while class discrimination definitely exists, it doesn’t automatically affect half the population on a daily basis. And anyone who contributes to discrimination (no matter if they are discriminated against themselves) looses a great deal of my sympathy.

    I sincerely hope you weren’t defending TheGoodMan because, honestly, I read parts of that commentary and I saw nothing worth defending. Any discrimination he may have suffered clearly didn’t give him any insight into what systemic and institutionalized discrimination really does to people. Seriously, some people whould be happy living on two beans a day as long as they knew most people only got one. He’s a sexist tone troll, and I see no reason pretend he has anything useful to contribute other than serving as an example of what blind priviledge looks like.

  57. #57 Quietmarc
    May 11, 2010

    In my office, where I do a lot of customer service work, I snark, complain, get angry, and raise my voice and aside from 1 comment once from a manager of a different department my approach is fine. A colleague of mine, who works in collections and you would think would have more latitude with that sort of thing is -continually- told to be less aggressive, smile more, etc, etc. I’m male and she’s female. It’s crazy to see it play out in real life like that, especially since my workplace is relatively progressive.

    I say the world needs more angry women. It’s easy for me to just forget the daily injustices that non-white males encounter, and sometimes it takes an angry woman to shake me out of it. Love these posts and the comments.

  58. #58 SKM
    May 11, 2010

    SKM laughs plenty, but never seems to spell out exactly what he or she finds funny.

    Not my job, m’dear–not my job. Some days I take it on; some days I laugh along.

    (A message you might have taken from the post, had you grokked it.)

  59. #59 Queef
    May 11, 2010

    I’ll continue being unoriginal and predictable then.

  60. #60 SKM
    May 11, 2010

    I say the world needs more angry women. It’s easy for me to just forget the daily injustices that non-white males encounter, and sometimes it takes an angry woman to shake me out of it. Love these posts and the comments.

    @Quietmarc, you clearly mean well and I for one appreciate your input. As an angry-but-in-a-good-mood woman, I’ll still ask you to re-read your last paragraph from the point of view of an angry-but-in-a-good-mood woman.

    I’d say the world needs to make fewer women angry. And I’d say it’s your responsibility to shake yourself out of it, not any woman’s, angry or otherwise.

    Same goes for me with respect to my various areas of privilege.

    Tough hearing, but them’s the breaks.

  61. #61 Yvonne
    May 11, 2010

    But you are definitely all crazy…

    Maybe this snarky demonizing of strangers on the internet is a totally healthy thing, but it depresses the hell out of me.

    Then stop doing it.

  62. #62 SKM
    May 11, 2010

    I’ll continue being unoriginal and predictable then.

    Yes you will–and it’s totally my fault since I didn’t cure you by clarifying, because you absolutely would have listened to me!

    I humbly apologize–I have let you down and opened you to further ridicule. My bad.

  63. #63 Queef
    May 11, 2010

    You seem certain that I wouldn’t have listened. I don’t know why. Must be my fault.

  64. #64 Quietmarc
    May 11, 2010

    SKM> You’re right…it’s my responsibility to deal with my own hang-ups, but nobody’s perfect, and I believe that everyone, to some degree or another, sometimes needs a helping hand.

    If I were to take a stab at rephrasing my last paragraph, I might say something about how right now anger is an appropriate response, that if people aren’t angry, they aren’t paying attention. When I say we need more angry women, I think what I mean is that women should have the ability to express anger (and whatever else they please) at injustice, and that they shouldn’t have to face being shut down, patronised, cut off, accused of mental illness, told to be quiet, etc, etc. Reading the discussions in these few threads has made me be more aware of my own freedoms: when I’m frustrated, I can say so without reprisal, yet someone in a similar situation as mine cannot, mainly because of our gender difference.

    I’m a relatively new reader on scienceblogs (mostly lurking for about a year), and one of the great things that I’ve got out of it are the posts about culture and diversity. Reading blogs like Zuska, Isis, erv, etc has made me examine how I fit into these issues, and what I do to make things better or make things worse. Unfortunately, I do tend to stick my foot in my mouth.

    Mainly, I wanted to express my appreciation for the people who have taken the time to tell their stories, to post links, to smack down the smack-down-deserving, to educate, and a thousand other things. I’m not a complete stranger to the full-time job this is (while white and male, I’m also gay), but I’ve got a ways to go. Having access to these discussions (and the “angry women” in my life) makes the journey a little easier.

    Okay, back to being “Quiet” again….

  65. #65 Cara
    May 11, 2010

    For instance, SKM used the words “unoriginal” and “predictable” to describe my comments, but then goes on to not say exactly what is “unoriginal” or “predictable” about them.

    Posted by: Queef

    The important people either already know or have shut up and read enough to figure it out.

    HTH

  66. #66 Cara
    May 11, 2010

    I don’t want sweetness or assholeness, just uncluttered coverage of the issues like so many other bloggers here prove weekly that they’re capable of carrying out. But thanks for assuming.

    I suppose it’s too much to ask.

    Posted by: Queef

    Oh, poor Queef. :( All this time I never realized your browser was stuck on this one site.

    Or that one of us is your mother and therefore required to see to your little heart’s desires.

    Or that you were incapable of getting “your own motherfucking blog, asshole” (as the French say).

  67. #67 SKM
    May 11, 2010

    Quietmarc@64, it looks like you and I are pretty much in agreement.

    And thanks for the clarification.

  68. #68 Cara
    May 11, 2010

    because I have a different opinion about how rich white men and poor white men are considered together disparagingly as ‘white men’ in this discussion with usually greater disparagement toward the less sophisticated (less “enlightened”) poorer group.

    What absolute, complete and utter bullshit.

    There are, indeed, two types of White Guys: Those who show respect when they show up in someone’s conversation and those who let their privilege do the talking. They’re treated accordingly and it has fuck-all to do with their “sophistication”.

    And what do you mean by lumping “less sophisticated” and “less enlightened” in with “poorer”? That’s all YOU, Trollabel. How’s that petard treating ya?

  69. #69 Comrade Svilova
    May 11, 2010

    SKM used the words “unoriginal” and “predictable” to describe my comments, but then goes on to not say exactly what is “unoriginal” or “predictable” about them.

    Wow. SKM, you’re really letting him down. It’s not like he could just go read the comments threads on any of Zuska’s posts … or Finally Feminism 101 … or the million other resources available to him to help him understand feminism — and the completely unoriginal response to feminist thought that he’s exhibiting. It’s all on you — and since you won’t explain, he’ll be in the dark forever.

    (/sarcasm)

  70. #70 ambivalent academic
    May 11, 2010

    There is a deeply sad irony in what Queef wrote @63:

    “You seem certain that I wouldn’t have listened. I don’t know why. Must be my fault.”

    The irony being that this sentiment is so sincerely felt by women everywhere – the most obvious example being those in abusive relationships, but more broadly, any woman living in this patriarchal society.

    Of course, Queef means this sardonically, and is so obtusely stubborn about singing the “what about the menz?” refrain that he cannot see that his sorry attempt at guilt-tripping all of us is the precise same guilt-trip leveled at us by society and the precise same guilt trip we are railing against.

    It is breath-taking to watch someone utter the same words and utterly fail to connect the damn dots.

  71. #71 thebewilderness
    May 11, 2010

    I don’t get the […] passive-aggressive part. […]. But, hey, whatever makes you feel better.

    Google is your friend.

  72. #72 Yvonne
    May 11, 2010

    It is breath-taking to watch someone utter the same words and utterly fail to connect the damn dots.

    Yup. And that’s why even when I try to interpret Queef’s posts as highly ironic, “look how much I’m teaching you about your own feminist blinders” satire, it just fails miserably.

  73. #73 SKM
    May 11, 2010

    It’s not like he could just go read the comments threads on any of Zuska’s posts … or Finally Feminism 101 … or the million other resources available to him to help him understand feminism — and the completely unoriginal response to feminist thought that he’s exhibiting.

    Yes–one wonders, how did I learn the patterns of predictable response well enough to recognize them so clearly in Queef? Did I simply absorb the information through my vaginal walls?

    (Hint: no.)

  74. #74 DuWayne
    May 11, 2010

    Ahh, Izzy, always a good one for the irony…

    But you are definitely all crazy…

    Queef –

    Fuck you and your fucking whining – it is so very old. Here is a clue – people get angry about a host of topics and sometimes they express their fucking anger in ways that may not seem productive to you, but which are productive nonetheless. Catharsis, just for starters, is not self indulgent. Sometimes it is critically important to maintaining some sense of sanity in a fucked up world.

    I frankly not only don’t care that it offends your apparently delicate sensibilities. It isn’t about you motherfucker – has nothing to do with you, except that you insert yourself into it and become part of the fucking problem. You essentially have come along with some driving need to tell women that they aren’t doing feminism right. Who the fuck do you think you are? I mean seriously – you’re just about as fucking irritating as Christians who know “just what [I] need to get right with God,” because everyone knows atheists are just angry with god.

    You make me rather crankier than the goodman, because you are an insidious little fuck who pretends to be so bloody reasonable. I am so very glad you are concerned with the framing of Zuska and several other women, it warms the cockles of my heart. If you are truly that concerned, then why don’t you go find some of these really nice, respectful feminists who know their place and how to behave properly.

    Or you could just fuck off. Your pathetic mewling is just painfully embarrassing.

  75. #75 Queef
    May 11, 2010

    I’m just momentarily here to help y’all vent, DuWayne. Feed away.

  76. #76 Yvonne
    May 11, 2010

    I’m just momentarily here to help y’all vent, DuWayne. Feed away.

    Queef is enjoying getting us to vent at him. This is a specific kind of sickness. He is like the man in the car seeming to ask for directions, but when you stop to help, you find he’s jacking off and smiling at you. It’s all the same dominance game. Any response will feed him, including my third person commentary. But really, like SKM, I’m writing for the lurkers.

  77. #77 Cara
    May 11, 2010

    This is a specific kind of sickness. He is like the man in the car seeming to ask for directions, but when you stop to help, you find he’s jacking off and smiling at you. It’s all the same dominance game. Any response will feed him, including my third person commentary.

    Well, yeah. His username is a passive-aggressive plea for attention. ANY attention. But his sticky keyboard is not my concern.

  78. #78 momentarily delurking
    May 11, 2010

    *delurking due to Yvonne’s comment @76*

    To all insightful commenters on this wonderful blog – and ZUSKA… many, many heartfelt thanks from a woman that has been lurking here for too long, accepting and internalizing (learned/institutionalized) woman-shame for too long, and is finally, FINALLY acknowledging her long suppressed anger.

  79. #79 ginger
    May 11, 2010

    Yeah, thanks, joy and Cara and Zuska and Svilova and you others, for fighting the good fight. I’m just too damn tired to deal with it, but thank you.

  80. #80 Yvonne
    May 11, 2010

    Cara @77: Totally agreed. Did not mean to imply at all that we should be.

  81. #81 joy
    May 11, 2010

    I messed up and put this over on “Wah Wah White Men” by accident, but it belongs here.

    @ Cara, #68

    Yes, it occured to me after the hopeless feeling of having been subjected to utter crazymaking lifted —

    “Oh — she thinks women took Thegoodman to task – because they were biased against him for supposedly being poor -, not just because he was a troll who doesn’t listen! Oh!”

    Let’s do a little comparison, shall we?
    Thegoodman — acts like a good old middle class white dood (is also supposedly married to a doctor now, so he IS a middle class white man). Gets taken to task for his failure to grasp the issues at hand.
    DuWayne — contributes to the discourse, grasps the actual issues, is an actual working class man. Does not get looked down upon or taken to task.

    Women ARE smart enough to grasp the difference, you know. We don’t ALL wear class blinders to which we are utterly oblivious. Our response to thegoodman has nothing, NOTHING to do with his supposed poverty and everything to do with his being an obtuse dick who refuses to listen. Those two things are linked in NO ONE’s mind but Isabel’s.

    People who aren’t Isabel — does that sound about right at all? Honestly, I’ve been puzzling about it for however many days this has been, because I really did just want to know what the POINT of this whole round-and-round could be.

    Isabel, explicitly stating, “Do any of you think you may be harshing on this guy because he comes from a (supposedly) poor background? Why do you think so, or why do you think not?” might have saved a lot of crazymaking (although, as I pointed out, it still doesn’t apply, because the dude is acting like a middle-class ass AND another working-class man was not similarly taken apart).

    And I call it crazymaking because the same tactic — purposeful vagueness and obtuse avoidance — is a classic abusive strategy to wear people down and watch them slowly lose it as they try to figure out what you mean and you keep insisting they are stupid. Eventually they either blow up at you or start thinking they ARE stupid, and then you’ve won! Haven’t you? Because either they are angry and you can dismiss them as crazy and irrational, or you’ve even got them to SAY THEY ARE STUPID.

    Hopefully you’ve enjoyed watching this unfold as much as Queef likes to watch people get angry at his purposeful idiocy. It must have been immensely satisfying, knowing no one could ever win as long as you were hiding all the cards!

  82. #82 momentarily delurking
    May 11, 2010

    Was reminded again by Samia’s and Zuska’s comments above about experience validation and I appreciate a place to ‘disgorge our anger in a safe space in public’.

    Personnally, so many thoughts are JUST crystalizing-

    but there is the fear about what is a ‘safe place’ IS- professionally and personally (see Isis’ reminder).

    Hence the imperative need for the discussions taking place on this blog and other like-minded venues.

  83. #83 Isabel
    May 12, 2010

    “”Do any of you think you may be harshing on this guy because he comes from a (supposedly) poor background? ”

    Jesus Christ people at least stop making up quotes! That was not my point at all.

    I love how everyone is saying class inequality is no big deal. Hilarious. I bet upper-class women don’t look down on lower class men at all!

  84. #84 joy
    May 12, 2010

    Well, if that isn’t your point, what IS your point? You refuse to answer that.

    Because we have told you, we KNOW about intersectionality. We KNOW that class is also a problem. You continue to say that, no, we don’t think about class at all! And you know we don’t. Because you … are us … ? You can read our minds! And/or are smarter than any of us are.

    Please. Stop crazymaking and state what you actually mean, without the smug condescension and oblique sidestepping.

  85. #85 joy
    May 12, 2010

    “I love how everyone is saying class inequality is no big deal.”

    NOW who is making up shit that people NEVER SAID, and saying we said it?

    Seriously, again, a classic abusive tactic. Have you been reading a book about male domestic abusers and decided you would pretend to be one on a feminist blog? Or are you truly just delusional?

    There is a difference between reducto ad absurdum, which is what I sometimes do, and purposefully, willfully avoiding reading what other people write and/or making shit up.

    I am also reminded of a time when my mother, who was very fond of the “You can never win!” tactic of abuse, told me to “clean the sofa on the porch.” I cleaned the sofa that was on the porch. She beat me, for not dragging the sofa -from the living room- onto the porch to clean it.
    The next time she told me to clean the sofa, I cleaned both sofas, and she beat me for not listening to her.

    Are you having a really good time here, Isabel? Do you really enjoy this?

  86. #86 Cara
    May 12, 2010

    I love how everyone is saying class inequality is no big deal. Hilarious. I bet upper-class women don’t look down on lower class men at all!

    Isabel, who is “everyone” and when did they say that? Or anything remotely RESEMBLING that?

    I told the other troll he was whining about being brought up in a trailer because HE WAS. Who was the class snob when he was sniveling about that? Not me.

    He was also the one who was nattering on about how Zuska is wrong about feminism, because he’s not poor anymore so life is totally what you make it and one’s station in life has nothing to do with any kind of systematic prejudice.

    Are you having a really good time here, Isabel? Do you really enjoy this?

    How can he be happy when upper class women won’t date him?

  87. #87 joy
    May 12, 2010

    “How can he be happy when upper class women won’t date him?”

    Cara FTW!

    I am really into thinking of hir as either an abusive d00d (or, “a d00d”, depending on your thoughts about the matter) or a truly crazy lady who really likes watching people spin themselves in circles via the “Read My Mind, Because I Can Read Your Mind, and Also You Will Never Win With Me!” Abuse Tactics. I imagine for the right kind of sociopath, such exercises can be immensely satisfying.

  88. #88 ginger
    May 12, 2010

    Classism is a huge deal. Probably more injustice occurs on the basis of socioeconomic status than on the basis of anything else.

    But it’s classist AND sexist bullshit to try to blame misanthropy on the woman experiencing it by claiming she has mistaken some legitimate social discourse of the lower classes for thuggish behavior.

  89. #89 joy
    May 12, 2010

    Not to mention that thuggishness is not a solely lower-class thing.

    In fact, the “discourse” that thegoodman was spouting, was SO middle- to upper-middle class that it wasn’t funny. I never would have pegged him for ever being “poor” if he hadn’t made the claim, and many of us don’t believe his claim anyway.

    This was not class discrimination at work. This was troll removal at work. See, again, the example of DuWayne for a working class person who somehow managed to avoid getting “yelled at” by “angry” feminists.
    What is the magical difference between these two commenters? One had unexamined male privilege mutually exclusive of class issues; the other did not. Guess which was which. This one’s easy.

    Idiocy is not confined to any social class, I’m afraid.

    Also, haven’t we all had enough of the Oppression Olympics? Seriously. If you are a poor Black woman, or a Hispanic woman who’s been trafficked and has no immigration papers, you’re gonna have a hard time saying, “Oh yeah, it’s definitely CLASS that’s the worst problem I face.”

  90. #90 Christophe Thill
    May 12, 2010

    Why then are you so angry about this situation? If it has worked out well for you, what is driving your passionate hatred for our patriarch society?

    So Mr “good man” thinks that people should be happy with injustice, as long as they don’t suffer from it personally? Or is there something I didn’t get?

  91. This is a response to the initial blog-entry, i.e. I haven’t read the comments; so if what I’m about to write is already covered, well…

    I am “Thegoodman” (being white, male and ignorant about what vocabulary, examples and definitions are normally used in the relevant field of enquiry. or putting it bluntly I am a layMAN) in many discussions I enter, including this one.

    What I want to address is the frustration over ignorance that is targeted (in for example: “You aren’t being paid anything to listen to Thegoodman be a clueless douche, are you?”).

    I agree that it’s almost sickening having to make the same point over and over and over and over… Being interested and curious I want new stuff: Wow, crash, bang, boom! and hopefully the feeling on homing in on deep insights at the end.

    But (and here I’m doing the same point thing) we all do. And regardless of how much I enquire and dig for answers, it’s not gonna help anyone but my own understanding of things.

    What it is, I believe, we are dealing with, is not just a gender-gap, but a “knowledge and understanding”-gap. Insights, I believe, though they may require talent, aren’t handed to us without at least a tad of effort. For some, it is harder to choose, as to whether or not to make that effort, e.g. in situations where something you can’t rule over, like being a woman, is playing against your wishes.

    But and this is a big but, just because you’ve made the effort, you cannot expect that everyone else has (whether they should or not, is not the point I’m making).

    So one way of dealing with the knowledge gap, I’ve understood as a pretty widespread technique, is trying to educate.

    Nah, fuck it, I’m feeling sick of myself…

    http://www.mindhacks.com/blog/2010/05/eight_minutes_of_inc.html

  92. #92 Queef
    May 12, 2010

    Are you high, Christoffersson?

  93. #93 Pteryxx
    May 12, 2010

    I agree that it’s almost sickening having to make the same point over and over and over and over…

    Insights, I believe, though they may require talent, aren’t handed to us without at least a tad of effort.

    Please consider these two statements in light of each other. At what point does the student need to step up and take responsibility for bringing about insight?

    “Credibility is a basic survival tool. When I was very young and just beginning to get what feminism was about and why it was necessary, I had a boyfriend whose uncle was a nuclear physicist. One Christmas, he was telling — as though it were a light and amusing subject — how a neighbor’s wife in his suburban bomb-making community had come running out of her house naked in the middle of the night screaming that her husband was trying to kill her. How, I asked the physicist, did you know that he wasn’t trying to kill her? He explained, patiently, that they were respectable middle-class people. Therefore, her-husband-trying-to-kill-her was simply not a credible explanation for why she was fleeing the house yelling that her husband was trying to kill her. That she was crazy, on the other hand….”

    -Rebecca Solnit

    http://articles.latimes.com/2008/apr/13/opinion/op-solnit13

  94. #94 Michelle
    May 12, 2010

    Thanks for linking that article, Pteryxx.

  95. #95 Thegoodman
    May 12, 2010

    Wow, I’ve been gone a few days and apparently many of you hate me despite misunderstanding many of the things I’ve said. I don’t know who Queef or Isabella are and I honestly haven’t thoroughly read most of their posts, I can’t say that I agree or disagree with them.

    I’d like to point out a few things.
    1. My awareness of sexism, and all discrimination, has increased dramatically since the initial discussion.
    2. I will work on being more sensitive to these issues.
    3. I am a pacifist. Zuska is clearly not. This is the biggest difference in our opinions on the matters discussed and in the grand scheme of things, I feel like I agree with her on many of the broader points. Our approach to dealing with these issues is vastly different (as is our perspective).

  96. #96 ambivalent academic
    May 12, 2010

    As I understand it, passivism precludes violence which is distinct from anger. (And I can’t think of a single instance in which Zuska has been in favor of violence.)

    Anger can be a very useful tool for inspiring and motivating change via non-violent means. Do you think that civil rights activists who promoted “passive resistance” did so out of apathy rather than anger over the terrible treatment they faced in their day-to-day lives.

    The issue is further compounded by the fact that anger is not a socially acceptable emotion or expression for women. It’s unladylike, and when women express anger they are often characterized as “hysterical”, “crazy”, “over-reacting”, or a thousand other denigrating labels which attempt to dismiss their anger. Even/especially when a man in the same position would have every right to be angry. Do you see how your dismissal here in this thread of women’s RIGHT to express and experience this emotion is perpetuating a very sexist dichotomy between what women are allowed to express/experience and what men are allowed to express/experience?

    If you choose to reject anger as an emotion, and neither express nor experience it, that is your right as an individual human being (and if it works for *you*, hey great!). But telling other individual human beings which emotions they *should* or *should not* express or experience is an exercise in trying to control those individual human beings. When a male human being is trying to exercise this sort of control over female human beings’ emotions and expressions (nay, over their very persons), this is an example of sexism.

  97. #97 Thegoodman
    May 12, 2010

    Anger can be a very useful tool for inspiring and motivating change via non-violent means.

    I disagree. I think that anger leads to violence. To tell people it is perfectly acceptable for them to be angry about things is a path to violence. Again, this is just my opinion and I am not telling anyone what to do, so please don’t read it that way.

    I think it is unbecoming of ANY person to be visibly angry about anything. People need to calm down and think things through. We are all guilty of over reacting at times but to encourage this anger is counter productive.

    I don’t think women need to calm down. I think everyone needs to calm down. I don’t think it is unlady like for a woman to express anger. I think it is unprofessional for ANY human to express anger. Thinking I am telling you this simply because you are a woman and I am man is a childish approach.

    I am not telling anyone they SHOULD or SHOULD NOT be angry. I am telling them that their anger is making them look foolish. If they choose to continue on with there tirades and hysterical behavior, I cannot stop them. The only thing I can do is tell them that how they are acting is hindering their ability to influence my opinion.

    Maybe I am misunderstanding the entire feminist movement. I was under the impression that the ultimate goal was equality between all men and all women, especially in the work place. I am starting to think that the entire point of the movement is to simply be pissed off at the inequalities women suffer from men. Which is it? The latter seems very counterproductive to the former, and the former seems to prevent expression of the latter.

    Why do so many of you deem my expressions of opinions as some sort of control over females? What is so threatening about a male who has a few opinions that are different than your own? Why should I view your opinions as anything other than your attempts to control me?

  98. #98 Zuska
    May 12, 2010

    Thegoodman: if you seriously want to work more on these issues, then stop commenting until you’ve completed the following reading list and thoroughly digested the contents.

    1. All of Feminism 101 (google it)
    2. Allan Johnson’s “The Gender Knot”
    3. Mary Jackman’s “The Velvet Glove: Paternalism and Conflict in Gender, Class, and Race Relations
    4. Cynthia Burack’s “The Problem of the Passions: Feminism, Psychoanalysis, and Social Theory”

    Bye now.

  99. #99 Dick
    May 12, 2010

    I am a pacifist. Zuska is clearly not. This is the biggest difference in our opinions on the matters discussed

    Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! That, and your mighty penis! Which rules!

    I think it is unbecoming of ANY person to be visibly angry about anything. People need to calm down and think things through.

    Goddammit, that pisses me off. If you didn’t have a penis I’d say you needed to shut the fuck up.

    Maybe I am misunderstanding the entire feminist movement.

    Who can figure out what those bitchez are about anyway? So much work to have to read shit and listen. Best to just keep telling them what we think, and hope they’ll see sweet reason.

  100. #100 skeptifem
    May 12, 2010

    I think it is unbecoming of ANY person to be visibly angry about anything. People need to calm down and think things through. We are all guilty of over reacting at times but to encourage this anger is counter productive.

    Wow, that is a horrible way to live. That is like 1950’s emotional repression style shit (where people have to be pleasant all the time). Anger is completely normal, making it pathological is unhealthy because it is a universally experienced emotion. People who are expressing it by doing things like venting or activism are reacting constructively to their perfectly normal emotion. People who are violent are problematic in the way that they react to their anger, not because they have anger. I spent a good chunk of my life putting on a smile when I really felt angry, and I can say with 100% certainty that expressing anger constructively is a million times better than trying to not express it at all. Anger can (and does) lead to things like constructive conflicts or resolution of problems. Without anger it can be hard to confront other people about their angering behavior.

    Anger always comes from the same place- it comes from a expectation of how the world ‘should’ be. When the expectations of what the world should be are irrational (like thinking that you “shouldn’t” have to be in a traffic jam ever, and therefore getting extremely angry) then it becomes problematic. Anger aimed at something rational (like if your boss keeps staring at your tits) can lead to fixing the problem.

    All that time I spent putting on a happy face lead to doing a lot of research on anger and finding out hey- I am normal, and I don’t need to put a bunch of effort into emotional perfectionism. Feeling angry is normal, especially when I am subject to something extremely unfair. How I respond to my emotions is what determines my health, period. Anger isn’t unique in that way at all, if I am depressed it can lead to behavior that hurts me, but I do not have to react that way. Anger leading to violence is like depression leading to suicide, it can happen, but it is not necessarily a logical progression when there are several healthy reactions to those feelings.

  101. #101 skeptifem
    May 12, 2010

    Oh yeah, and as far as ‘everyone’ needing to calm down, and this not being about men or women… this is the tricky thing about privilege. You can’t give it away or opt out or decide not to have it. Society grants it to people like you collectively. Your behavior and words may vary in effect because of privilege or lack of it, and you can’t do much to change that. I can’t tell a black person they are “really articulate” and say it isn’t about race, I cannot talk from a race neutral perspective. I am speaking from a white perspective, and I always will, when I speak about things connected to race I will never be talking about it in a way that is for everyone. I really cannot know what it is like for non white people, and I am just pretending when I say something racialized isn’t for the purposes of my argument. I don’t get to determine what is racialized and what isn’t. I can’t tell the person hearing it to delete their race from how they hear it either, it is impossible. What I can do is stop saying stuff that so closely resembles racism when I realize that I have done that. It is just like the rest of our lives- we all fuck up, and have to try and do better in the future. Fucking up because of privilege doesn’t feel good, and it messes with our self image as a person who isn’t racist/sexist/whateverist, but it is the truth. Asking women to not be visibly angry(as a part of asking everyone not to be) is a long standing tactic of sexist people, making it seem like if women were just nicer about everything the men would change their misogynist ways, when in reality they won’t give two shits no matter how the message is presented. It is very hard to hear about expressing anger as a negative behavior without hearing “be a lady” or that we shouldn’t be ourselves for other peoples comfort. There are things that will never have the same meaning to you as me because of all this shit in the way, and it makes communication extremely difficult. Women do not have the luxury of assuming the best in dudes all the time, that kind of shit means that you get blamed for whatever sexist stuff happens later on. Those of us who have tried generally find out the hard way that being on the look out for this kind of crap is way easier than trusting and being fucked over by sexist dudes.

  102. #102 DuWayne
    May 12, 2010

    I was so very done with this conversation, but this is bullshit;

    I disagree. I think that anger leads to violence. To tell people it is perfectly acceptable for them to be angry about things is a path to violence.

    Anger does not inherently lead to violence. That is right up there with your biggest crocks of shit thus far. Anger is an emotion and we simply do not have control of our emotions. We can control what we do with our emotions and to some degree we can control what we care enough about to have an emotional response to. But the emotions themselves are always and have always been beyond controlling.

    The expression of anger, on the other hand, not only doesn’t inherently lead to violence, it is often an essential component of avoiding violence. Bottling anger up is what leads people to suddenly snap and commit drastic, dramatic actions. Venting anger is healthy and is an important component of good mental health.

    I am not going to address the rest of your drivel, because it is pointless.

    I would add Mary Fausto-Sterling’s Myths of Gender to Zuska’s list. And if you are actually interested in understanding gender and the fallacious nature of gender binaries, I would recommend Undoing Gender by Judith Butler and Sexing the Body: Gender Politics and the Construction of Sexuality also by Anne Fausto-Sterling

  103. #103 Cara
    May 12, 2010

    I think it is unbecoming of ANY person to be visibly angry about anything.

    He means he doesn’t think WOMEN should get angry.

    He’s perfectly happy to passive-aggressively try to incite anger in other people (at his outrageously obtuse, amply demonstrated GALL) and then say, “What? What did I do?”

    His own anger at being “raised in a crappy trailer”, though, is perfectly rational and reasonable. Whatever happens to HIM is an outrage, but if something happens to a woman it’s just evolution and they should suck it up and deal.

  104. #104 Cara
    May 12, 2010

    Wow, I’ve been gone a few days and apparently many of you hate me despite misunderstanding many of the things I’ve said.

    We don’t hate you. That implies caring or investment of some sort. You’re just the troll who wandered in.

    And nobody misunderstood you, you just don’t understand yourself very well. Your privilege is oozing all over stinking things up but you can’t detect it because you live in that head.

  105. #105 becca
    May 12, 2010

    Guys, poor thegoodman is just doing simple projection here. He doesn’t know how to be angry in a socially-responsible way. That was ABUNDANTLY clear in his treatment of Luna. We shouldn’t be defending anger to him- he’s not mature enough to handle anger. He doesn’t know righteous indignation from abusive rage. Let him be.

  106. #106 SKM
    May 12, 2010

    I agree with becca, and add that a society which pressures boys to acknowledge and express no emotion except destructive rage plays some role here.

    PHMT, and all that.

  107. #107 Pteryxx
    May 12, 2010

    I’m still willing to give it another shot, terrible odds or no.

    To tell people it is perfectly acceptable for them to be angry about things is a path to violence. Again, this is just my opinion…

    But unfortunately, your opinion is incorrect. It is acceptable for someone to be angry when they have been wronged. Suppression of anger can lead to further psychological damage. Part of abuse counseling involves allowing survivors to feel and work through their suppressed anger. Here’s a random example:

    “Anger Expression Group addresses a victim’s right to be angry while focusing on the safe expression of anger. Anger triggers, self-discipline and techniques for self control — including “time-outs” — are explored.” (from asafeplaceforhelp.org)

    A victim has a right to be angry. Their anger is real. Real wrongs were committed against them.

    With that in mind:

    I am not telling anyone they SHOULD or SHOULD NOT be angry. I am telling them that their anger is making them look foolish. If they choose to continue on with there tirades and hysterical behavior, I cannot stop them. The only thing I can do is tell them that how they are acting is hindering their ability to influence my opinion.

    You are admitting that you withhold your respect from other people, in this case women, based on their self-expression. But this is real anger, at real injustices, that you are dismissing as “foolish” and “hysterical”. Anger isn’t a fancy hat donned to impress you. Survivors are angry because we have every right to be.

    For your consideration, here is another statement by a group of people who were systemically wronged. I suggest paying particular attention to the long list of unredressed and escalating grievances. It’s written in strong, emotion-laden, yet formal language, and contains no overt personal attacks. It’s also very familiar to most of us.

    http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/declaration_transcript.html

    If that document is credible to you in spite of its anger, but feminists angry at the systemic oppression of women are not worthy of respect. Why are they not?

  108. #108 Djinna
    May 12, 2010

    Absolutely agreeing with all of the thanks for those with the patience to call out the feminist bingo card spots in Thegoodman’s posts. I love a good troll as much as the next djinn, but d00d, I gave up on reading his posts on the Wah Wah thread after he pulled the “you just don’t know what white dudez think of people who might possibly have benefited from affirmative action!” bit. As if none of us have ever had the misfortune of hearing Rush Limbaugh and his ilk’s comments on President Obama, or Sonia Sotomayor’s confirmation hearings, etc. Definitely, the manly White D00d perspective is completely lacking in our culture.

    So, yes, thank you to those with the patience to wade through it! And, did he ever explain why he feels the need to call himself The goodman, as opposed to A goodman? Because that’s some serious implied misandry to me, implying that he’s the only good man to be found, instead of one of many. Unless his given name happens to be Theodore Goodman, or Thego Odman. Glad to see everyone making fun of his chosen handle, and how it’s as “are you TRYING to undermine every point you pretend to want to make?” as Queef’s.

  109. #109 Queef
    May 12, 2010

    I made points?

  110. #110 Thegoodman
    May 12, 2010

    I am clearly outmatched here. No matter what I type it is twisted and turned to make me out to be saying something I am not. I am clearly not a writer and I am not nearly as clever with words as most of you.

    “…feminists angry at the systemic oppression of women are not worthy of respect. Why are they not?”

    I never said anything like this. Like I have done many times before, I have misrepresented myself via my ill spoken words. Anger is normal and everyone gets angry at times. Don’t misconstrue this to mean that I am somehow allowing you to be angry, I am agreeing with all of you about anger.

    When that anger manifests itself as tirades that refer to everyone as a “mother fucker” and blame all white men on earth for every problem we have on earth isn’t, to me, acceptable. I felt it necessary to comment on the post based on the tirade at the end.

    I seem to have wandered into a feminist man hating club and clearly wasn’t the intended audience for Zuska’s post. Despite how stupid many of you think I am, I have learned a lot, my awareness of sexism and discrimination in general has been raised significantly, and I am slightly more aware of the privileges I have as a white male.

  111. #111 Miss Andrist
    May 12, 2010

    @Thegoodman:

    Why do you think women should have to stop and make allowances? Why do you think this is a useful application of our energy?

    I’m curious.

    -Miss Andrist
    Lover of My Shotgun

  112. #112 Miss Andrist
    May 13, 2010

    @Thegoodman:

    What difference does it make to women? What good does it do us? Have you considered that some of the women you seem to think hate men might actually hate men for very legitimate reasons? How many people on this blog do you think have been raped? How many of those people do you think have been raped by women? How many have been beaten? Exploited? Terrorized? Do you honestly think it is possible for women to exert the kind of physical threats and intimidation over men? Because if we could, I’m sure we would and domestic violence would incident at equal rates; perpetrators of sexual violence would not skew almost 100% male.

    You tell me, since you seem to think you have the answers. Enough to try to criticize women for being angry about our (shared) experiences having been harmed, severely and in many cases irreparably, ALWAYS by men. Why should I waste my time making exceptions for white men? White men don’t stop to make exceptions for me.

    You’re not giving us any reasons to not hate men. You’re insisting that all our pain – the rapes, the beatings, the exploitation, the fear – is not as important as the feelings of Those Men You Swear Exist (but I doubt many of us have ever met). And alienating those men? Maybe we SHOULD alienate all men. We can’t tell which ones of you are the ones who will hurt us, so aren’t we safer when none of you are around?

    Seriously. Cry me a river.

    -Miss Andrist
    Who Has No Sympathy Whatsoever

  113. #113 Isabel
    May 13, 2010

    “But it’s classist AND sexist bullshit to try to blame misanthropy on the woman experiencing it by claiming she has mistaken some legitimate social discourse of the lower classes for thuggish behavior.”

    wow, just wow. How did you get that? “the woman”? “she”? I specifically referred to “them” i.e. “the mob”. I said I guessed where he was coming from, not that he was having legitimate discourse. I made no reference to individual discussions people were having with him as far as arguing with him. I did say that I agreed with the people who were arguing with him, but that the whole mob attacking him on a personal level was ugly.

    And there are no thugs around here just trolls that are eagerly and gleefully being fed. for “practice” or something

    Even if I do agree that thegoodman was probably not who he says he is. He doesn’t really have the voice of a native speaker, and yes his story certainly seems too good to be true. all the more reason to ignore him.

    Another observation; people around here seem to have trouble handling three variables. Yes class is major. We cannot, and should not, ignore it when discussing inequality.

  114. #114 Zuska
    May 13, 2010

    Sweet mother of christ, if I had a dime for every time I heard the “oh noes, you must be man haters!” blah blah I would be a very rich lady retired and living in some sunny clime watching the oil wash up on shore right now.

  115. #115 Zuska
    May 13, 2010

    Following up on Pteryxx @107 above, some of you may be interested in this comparison of the Declaration of Independence vs. the Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions from the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention. Read all the way to the end and see if you still have some stuff there to be angry about…

  116. #116 ginger
    May 13, 2010

    Sorry, Isabel, I was thinking of about a half-dozen discussions I’ve witnessed lately at ScienceBlogs where commenters insisted that a woman who reacted badly to having her behind touched by a stranger or to being ordered to smile or to being called by various endearments at work by co-workers was being a classist because those are all behaviors of the lower class. Which they aren’t.

    On a rather unrelated note, there are lots of people, not just sexists, who think that anger is inherently violent and destructive, and a net negative. It’s one of the Sixteen Precepts of Zen Buddhism, for example. I just think that needs to be acknowledged, that it’s possible to be worried about a woman’s anger, and about women’s anger, as part of being worried about all anger. Since the precepts are voluntarily undertaken by those who would learn, though, probably the very first step in practicing nonviolence is to refrain from participating in giant fights on the internet, even if one’s primary message is, “Hey, anger is bad for you and your movement. Don’t be angry. Be, like, harmonious.”

  117. #117 Pteryxx
    May 13, 2010

    Thank you, Zuska, for that link to the Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions. I’m embarrassed to admit that I’d never heard of it before, or realized that I’d essentially been scooped 162 years ago. I have a lot to learn still.

    To Thegoodman @110: It’s not a matter of twisting your words to say something you’re not saying. Those words and phrases you’re using have a meaning, one that most commentors here have been grappling with for years or decades. For whatever reason, you are not cognizant of that meaning. With your words, you are waving weapons around with no regard for the damage they do. And these are weapons that have a long and brutal history. They should be recognized for what they are and treated with respect.

    People here aren’t inventing excuses to be angry at you or “hate you” (not the same thing). You are being hurtful. You are causing damage. And you’re not the first, or the tenth, or even the hundredth person to say these same hurtful things to any individual woman. You’d really like to believe that those feminist women just like to hate and complain, because then you haven’t done anything wrong. Your hands would be clean. But the problem is still there, in your words, even if you’ve never consciously harmed or insulted a woman, even if you proclaim yourself non-sexist. It’s endemic to our society, present to some degree in everyone, and may take many years of work to root out, if ever.

    This is McEwan’s essay on, not hating the men in her life, but being unable to trust them:
    http://shakespearessister.blogspot.com/2009/08/terrible-bargain-we-have-regretfully.html

    And this is Starling’s famous essay, “Schrodinger’s Rapist”, which I suggest for its insight into how most women must conduct their lives:
    http://kateharding.net/2009/10/08/guest-blogger-starling-schrodinger%E2%80%99s-rapist-or-a-guy%E2%80%99s-guide-to-approaching-strange-women-without-being-maced/

  118. #118 DuWayne
    May 13, 2010

    I seem to have wandered into a feminist man hating club and clearly wasn’t the intended audience for Zuska’s post.

    Damn, you got me there. Deep down I really hate myself for having a penis and beige skin. And yes, my self loathing manifests itself in a deep seated hatred for all penis sporting types of the world.

    BURN THE MENZ!!!!!11!!1!! BURN THE MENZ!!1!!!1!!1!11!!

    AHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    You are really grasping and grasping hard now. Seriously, if that is what you have, you might want to give it up…

  119. #119 OleanderTea
    May 13, 2010

    Why can’t you just spoon-feed with nice, soothing, silky-soft friendly language and avoid curse words and not make AllGoodMen feel bad about themselves and not make them worry that anything might have to change in any substantive manner?

    If you do it right, this can be unnerving as well.

    Just sayin’. It’s fun to shake things up every so often.

    @Tehgoodman: *patpat* Yes, sweetie, we know….you’re one of the GOOD ones. *patpat*

  120. #120 Miss Andrist
    May 13, 2010

    “I seem to have wandered into a feminist man hating club and clearly wasn’t the intended audience for Zuska’s post.”

    @DuWayne:

    Hey man, don’t mock him too hard. That sentence indicates an important leap of understanding in terms of his own privilege because he’s dead fucking serious.

    No, he’s NOT the intended audience of Something. Very possibly, for the first time in his life. Skip the manhater whatever that these pseudo-MRAs seem to think is so incredibly original (like everything else they come up with. They’re interchangeable. Srsly.) Just focus on the part where he’s like “wow, this ISN’T about me!” This is a MONUMENTAL REVELATION.

    @TheGoodman

    That’s right. This is not about you. Feminism is about WOMEN. What’s pathetic is it took you 110 posts to reach the understanding that NOBODY ASKED FOR YOUR OPINION. Feminism is about WOMEN. I might be so bold as to suggest you check out Twisty’s magnum opus on the subject.

    “Hear me, O afflicted dudes: If you truly do “get” feminism, you know that, like all oppressed classes, women, as a matter of survival, are intimate to the point of exhaustion with the drives, appetites, illnesses, angsts, yearnings, hopes, dreams, great works, and bodily functions of the oppressor. We grasp these things utterly and without omission because we do not live in a cave; they are the default subjects of all art, literature, music, science, film, blogs, dinner conversation, science fiction, advertising, journalism, legislation, TV, the Internet, religion, technology, sport, and miscellaneous culture both low and high. The minute some dude tells me something I don’t already know about dudeliness, I’ll eat a bonobo.

    Therefore this blog — the author and readers of which have been soaking in male experience since the cradle — is in fact unconcerned with male experience.

    Yup.

    This blog is unconcerned with male experience. For real.

    This blog is concerned, solely, with radical feminist theory. Well, that, and Cool Whip. The difference between “male experience” and “radical feminist theory” is substantial enough that anyone who has gotten this far should be able to perceive it, therefore I expect all future commentary to reflect the following:

    Pedantic assholes, naturally, are still prohibited, but henceforth, whether openly assholic or not, any comment that purports to enlighten the Blametariat by expounding on or from the male point of view will be more or less regarded as a block of government cheese.”

    — end quote

    See? You’re being that pedantic asshole, and we are regarding you like said block of government cheese. Get it? Fabulous. Now, go read the rest of Twisty’s post. Then read the rest of Twisty’s blog. Then go read Nine Deuce at Rage Against the Man-chine. She’s got lots of nice reading links when you get done with the two hundred some posts.

    If you simply are incapable of hearing a woman, Julien Real over at A Radical Profeminist – another white male – makes it his business to explain things in your language. Go there, where you ARE the intended audience.

    And I over at Screaming Banshee would love to hear what you think about those three. (I feel pretty solid about where you’re at with Zuska.)

    *eyeroll*
    -Miss Andrist

  121. #121 Spartan
    May 13, 2010

    Have you considered that some of the women you seem to think hate men might actually hate men for very legitimate reasons?

    Not to disagree with your primary point Miss Andrist, but at some point it does become illegitimate. Does the argument, “We can’t tell which ones of you are the ones who will hurt us, so aren’t we safer when none of you are around?” legitimize hating black people using the same logic?

  122. #122 Yvonne
    May 13, 2010

    @Spartan. Your whole premise is false becuase you aren’t applying the law of privilege correctly. It is the existence of unearned privilege that is the target of anger towards men as a group. The intention of individual men is not the issue. We aren’t ultimately angry at all men because some men rape us. We are angry at maleness as a holder of unearned privilege and we are angry at every man who doesn’t recognize their privilege and do something about. And yes, because all man hold this privilege whether they want it or not, some days we’re just gonna hate every single penis in existence. It happens. It’s part of the process of creating the antidote to the poison. For a good life, though, the anger is a means to expelling the poison and yes, sometimes it can become a poison in itself, but there is no rule to how this happens and in the end we’ve just got to let everyone be their own moral compass.

  123. #123 Spartan
    May 13, 2010

    Good points Yvonne, but can you please define exactly what the ‘law of privilege’ states, or at least the part that invalidates my argument? I’m having trouble coming up with any possible definition of that law that legitimizes hating/alienating men based on what I specifically quoted, “we can’t tell which ones of you are the ones who will hurt us”. I can definitely understand hating assholes who do not recognize their privilege, but I don’t believe that literally ‘all’ men hold this privilege; do you really think that all flamboyantly gay men also enjoy these benefits?

  124. #124 SKM
    May 13, 2010

    but I don’t believe that literally ‘all’ men hold this privilege

    That’s where you’ve gone wrong.

    And yes, oppressions intersect (that’s where what you refer to as “flamboyantly gay” men come in). Nobody here has said otherwise. This is very basic stuff–it’ll go much better if you do your own homework instead of asking individual posters here to spell everything out point-by-point. That’s not snark, by the way–it’s long experience.

  125. #125 Yvonne
    May 13, 2010

    Also Spartan: go back to your analogy and see if you can tell how you’ve equated white people with “people” and made black people a special category.

  126. #126 Spartan
    May 13, 2010

    SKM, it’s basic stuff that every single man holds this privilege? What’s even more basic is that, ‘extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence’, and I seriously doubt you have it. You seem to contradict yourself anyway; don’t you think that one effect of oppression is that privileges are reduced or eliminated? Talk about ‘very basic’. Perhaps to the point where certain flamboyantly gay, obese, poor, homeless men are not privileged in any tangible way? The answer is of course, duh, there are always exceptions.

    Which is all at best tangential to my point. True or false: is it bigoted to hate all men because you can’t tell which ones might hurt you?

  127. #127 Comrade Svilova
    May 13, 2010

    Spartan, did you read the Schrodinger’s Rapist article? AT BEST women are just suspicious of every man we meet. So it’s not necessarily about hate. Does that make you feel better?

    And yes, sometimes when a woman has gone through her day being harassed, having to listen to rape jokes, compelled to stroke male egos and flatter male co-workers/bosses/family members, it gets to a certain point where she despairs of finding a man who doesn’t display these characteristics.

    The very same characteristics that you are displaying as you play the “reverse bigotry!” and “I know logic and you don’t!” cards.

    What is great about the Schrodinger’s Rapist article is that it points out that the burden is on men to prove they’re decent guys (just as we expect a political candidate to prove he or she is capable of the job) rather than on women to make allowances and give every man we meet the benefit of the doubt. I don’t vote for someone unless I have some level of confidence that the candidate deserves my vote. And I don’t socialize without some evidence that the candidate for my attention deserves my time.

    And usually I’m pretty suspicious of most men, because I’ve generally met way too many men who treated me really terribly. I worry that the next man I meet will act in a similar way, and I expect him to indicate to me that this is not the case before I’ll take him out of the “suspicious” filme. If that harshes your mellow, blame the many, many men who have treated me poorly over the years. Don’t blame me for not being super nice and generous to you “just because.”

  128. #128 Spartan
    May 13, 2010

    go back to your analogy and see if you can tell how you’ve equated white people with “people” and made black people a special category.

    Uh no, I can’t, especially since you’ve put ‘people’ in quotes when the only reference I made to ‘people’ are ‘black people’. Feel free though to directly quote me and spell out how you’ve interpreted it; this is science-blogs, so don’t forget to show your work.

    Maybe you should go back to my analogy and see if you can tell how I’ve equated one target of hatred, men, with another, black people, and compared the ‘reasoning’ behind both; I thought it was pretty obvious.

  129. #129 Yvonne
    May 13, 2010

    Uh no, I can’t, especially since you’ve put ‘people’ in quotes when the only reference I made to ‘people’ are ‘black people’.

    Um. Yeah. Exactly.

  130. #130 Comrade Svilova
    May 13, 2010

    Yvonne, I have a suspicion that he doesn’t get it. Oh, wait, we now have additional evidence that he doesn’t get it.

    No one has to “shown their work” now, Spartan, since you completed the problem for us on the board. Thanks.

  131. #131 Cara
    May 13, 2010

    Spartan, there are several links to educational writings in the hundred or so comments above yours.

    If you GENUINELY are interested in learning, you might want to stop posting and start reading.

    Otherwise, your constant insistence upon taking the posters’ time with 101 stuff just might make you look like one of those “Schroedinger’s Assholes” mentioned above. And I’m sure you don’t want that. I have no doubt that you are absolutely sincere and want to understand. I don’t think for a minute that you’re trying to troll.

  132. #132 Spartan
    May 13, 2010

    Yvonne, you are being absurd. References to ‘black people’ does not equal ‘equating white people with people’. What group of people in America were disadvantaged by the enactment of Jim Crow laws? How does your answer to this question not also ‘equate white people with people’, whereas my reference to black people within the context of bigotry does? Do you actually disagree that ‘black people’ are not a special category in America when discussing racism and bigotry? I can understand you not understanding my point but the normal response is to ask for clarification, not to dodge my questions and give a response implying some kind of racist statement on my part, especially when you won’t/can’t even back it up.

    Comrade, let me make one thing clear although it should be entirely irrelevant: I don’t disagree with this post nor with the vast majority of what feminism entails. It is possible to question the validity of one comment here without that meaning I disagree with all of it, true? I don’t disagree with your initial response to me, except for your bullshit about what ‘cards’ you’re hallucinating that I’m playing, or that I’m looking for you to make me ‘feel better’ or want you to be super nice; where the hell did you get that from?

    I don’t disagree that the burden is on men to prove their decent guys, and based on your experience with men, which indeed sound like it’s sucked, I think your placement of men in the ‘suspicion’ bucket until they prove otherwise is somewhat justified. What I was getting at, before being sidetracked defending myself against things I did not say, is are non-black-people then also justified in being suspicious of black people until they prove otherwise, specifically within the context of crime? Let’s just take two justifications for your suspiciousness: the fact that a disgusting percentage of women are sexually assaulted or worse by men, and that the men you have encountered personally by and large are not decent guys. Some racists use similar arguments: the fact that the proportion of black men in prison is out of whack with their proportion of the population, and that the black people they’ve encountered are also not ‘decent’. (To be absolutely clear, which seems necessary here, I fully realize and personally believe that the reason so many black men are in prison are because of racism and inequities in our justice system. However, even if our justice system was perfect and the proportion of black men in prison was representative of their committing crimes, I still don’t think that justifies being bigoted towards them).

    I’m not saying that your suspicion is bigoted, but I wonder at what point it would become so. Yes, being suspicious is better than ‘hating’ to answer your question, but what I specifically responded to referred to ‘hating’. On the one hand, if you were walking down the street and there was a man following a good distance behind you, it’s difficult to say that you aren’t justified in being suspicious that you might be sexually assaulted. On the other hand, if a black man is following a good distance behind you, is it justified to be suspicious that you are going to be robbed? I don’t know, I don’t think it’s a simple question, and would be interested to know at what point you think your suspicions of men could go too far.

  133. #133 Spartan
    May 13, 2010

    Thanks Cara; you’re correct in that I’m not a troll. I am somewhat familiar with Fem 101, but maybe I’ve missed where it justifies hating anyone because of their gender/race because you don’t know which ones of that gender/race are going to hurt you.

  134. #134 Yvonne
    May 13, 2010

    Do you actually disagree that ‘black people’ are not a special category in America when discussing racism and bigotry?

    And just who in your little equation was hating the black people? Other black people?

    It’s so nice to know that the only explanation you find credible for my response is that I just don’t understand the point you’re making.

  135. #135 Yvonne
    May 13, 2010

    I’ve missed where it justifies hating anyone because of their gender/race because you don’t know which ones of that gender/race are going to hurt you.

    I missed where the thread got hijacked to be about something no one here has justified. Oh wait. @132. Thanks.

  136. #136 Comrade Svilova
    May 13, 2010

    Spartan, I appreciate that your intent was not to be sexist. However, the way I read your conversation with Miss Andrist, it came across as a baiting, “let’s debate about technicalities” comment when you responded to her statement that some women may hate men for legitimate reasons.

    There’s a difference between bigotry towards people of color and “reverse sexism” directed towards men (to use your example). And it boils down to who has privilege and who doesn’t. There’s simply no way that a woman will have more male privilege than a man, even if in other areas (race, able-bodiness, wealth, etc.) she is more privileged than he is (see SKM’s remark). Miss Andrist’s comment is wisely pointing out that many women who hate men have come to that position after years of very legitimately awful experiences at the hands of men exercising their male privilege.

    If a person of color concludes that all white people are racists it’s unfortunate, and I might want desperately to prove that it’s not true about ME, but ultimately, if I need to blame someone for the horrible, horrible wrong that’s being done me by a black person who decides that he or she simply can’t trust me based on his or her experiences with racist white people…well, I should blame the people who have treated him or her so poorly, and vow to try to avoid that kind of behavior myself. I hope that I wouldn’t expect this hypothetical individual to constantly give every white person the benefit of the doubt after years of evidence to the contrary.

    When you ask if it is bigoted for a woman to express hatred of men based on years of personal, anecdotal experience of being treated hatefully by men I wonder what solution you would propose. Is it the burden of that hypothetical woman to ignore her experience and continually try to make friends with men despite her disinclination based upon years of experience?

    Given that the title of this thread is “Why are you so angry?” I just want to say that, while I wouldn’t say I hate men (because I am fortunate to know several wonderful men) I am frequently very angry with most of the men in my life (including these wonderful men). It’s not bigotry; it’s a defensive reaction.

  137. #137 Comrade Svilova
    May 13, 2010

    Sorry for double-posting, but I realized that most of what I was saying was cribbed from Kate Harding’s great comment on the excellent Schrodinger’s Rapist thread. (Thanks so much for linking that, Pteryxx! I’d read it a long time ago and lost my link, couldn’t remember which blog it was from.)

    The whole comment bears reading:

    http://kateharding.net/2009/10/08/guest-blogger-starling-schrodinger%E2%80%99s-rapist-or-a-guy%E2%80%99s-guide-to-approaching-strange-women-without-being-maced/#comment-113998

    But I will just quote this section as being particularly apt:

    …this is not just a man/woman thing. It is an “assessing the threat of a more privileged person” thing. I, for instance, am Schrodinger’s White Supremacist to every POC I meet, Schrodinger’s Homophobe to every gay person, etc. (If you’re white and straight, so are you! Welcome to the club!) Now, because I’m a woman, I’m statistically much less likely to get violent — but enough white, straight women are hateful assholes that I can’t fault anyone who does not share my various layers of privilege for assuming that said layers might, in fact, make me an asshole!
    ….
    Nobody owes you their trust. And people who belong to oppressed groups have a damned good reason to be wary of people who don’t belong to the corresponding privileged ones — which means yes, those of us who have the privilege will sometimes have to prove ourselves. Is it unfair? Well, shit yes, systematic oppression is unfair in many ways, most of them far more damaging than that one.

  138. #138 Pteryxx
    May 13, 2010

    @ Comrade Svilova, you’re welcome, and thanks for making me proud to be a compulsive article-hoarder ;>

    I was in a huge college class once, theater-sized, and happened to sit in a front corner near the only two black students in a class of a thousand or so. Several well-meaning strangers pulled me aside after class and said, “Why are you sitting next to them?? (with big frightened eyes). Come sit by us where you’ll be safe!” But since all during school, *I* had been the geeky outcast that nobody would sit near, I found this hilarious. Suddenly average white college kids find me acceptable when there’s a better target for the THEM label? *snicker* Needless to say, I kept my seat. For one thing, nobody else ever tried to take it from me.

    To address @Spartan’s comparison: There’s reason for a woman to distrust men when she has been repeatedly insulted, harassed, threatened, and perhaps even physically injured by multiple men over many years. But a white person does not have reason to distrust black people as a group simply because they’ve been told that black people are threatening and untrustworthy, when no black person has ever done anything to them. I don’t think the other students in my class had all been robbed by black people and thus came up to warn me. They’d most likely never shared a room with a POC before, and didn’t have brains or sensitivity enough to see people sitting there and not stereotypes.

  139. #139 Spartan
    May 13, 2010

    Thanks for the substance and link Comrade; good stuff. I usually wait for someone to actually tug on the line before accusing them of baiting, but in this context I can understand how it may have come across that way.
    I definitely need to digest how you are incorporating ‘privilege’ and how it changes the equation, but I do see where you are coming from.

    The reason I bristle at ‘hate men because I don’t know who will harm me’ is because it takes the exact structure of arguments I’ve heard from racists. I’m in the Detroit area and have heard the stories of how badly some of them were treated by black people which they use as justification for their bigotry. To paraphrase you, is it the burden on these people to ignore their experience and not fear and hate blacks? I think their position is fairly called ‘bigoted’. One ‘answer’ is that these racists are ignoring the empirical fact that many black people do not behave this way and therefore their position isn’t logical when dealing with individuals. Yet I think I agree that when I change that to women hating and fearing men because they could be raped for instance that position does seem logical, even if it justifiably bigoted (yes I know bigotry is probably too strong a word) because obviously you know that not all men are rapists. Yes, obviously like I said, I need to give it more thought.

    As far as what I propose, good question. I propose that, in our current society, you ignore my attempts to be logical and do absolutely whatever it takes for you to stay safe.

  140. #140 Miss Andrist
    May 14, 2010

    @Comrade Svilvoa:

    Nice to meet you; thank you (and all others) for taking your valuable time and energy to be here. I would like to take a sec to express my appreciation for your remarks, in particular for your rebukes of male privilege attempted at my expense most recently. I’ll also mention, because it’s always nice to hear when you’re right, that you were absolutely dead right in your identification of Spartan’s attempt at baiting. (Not that we play that bullshit but the point remains: it pleases me when privilege is neatly declined like an overcharged credit card, hehe.) Similarly, Cara and Yvonne respectively, and all the other contributors with their goddamn fabulous heads screwed on properly, and a special mention to Zuska the hostess, for providing this feminist forum for our collective, shared women’s concerns and experiences, and to Joy for re-acquainting me with this little corner of teh interwebs.

    (It just occurred to me that I totally barged into the dialogue without so much as a howdy-do. So, check out me fixing that. ^_^)

    @Spartan:

    I wasn’t talking to you. Did you notice?

    If not for the time and effort invested by others, I wouldn’t bother to respond to you at all. Why should I? I wasn’t talking to you to begin with. Furthermore, you are not entitled to a reply from me just because you can roll up into town calling my name. You do not have a right to my attention; I have many other, better things I can and plan to do, but I will stop and lay some shit down for the sake of the womanity assembled.

    Anyway, nice to meet you. I am, arguably, the absolute worst person in this conversation to try to pull bullshit on. For the sake of posterity, I am not amused and I am unimpressed.

    I do not have time to play make-believe with you. You have (and virtually every other male participant in this dialogue but I am talking to you), up to this point, willfully exercised the classic abuser tactic of deflecting attention from the REAL issue by misquoting, misrepresenting, and taking out of context, attempting to put words into our mouths – whatever it takes to drag the women who generously grant you their valuable time and energy, who do you the dignity of a response AT ALL – down your little garden path. In doing so, you divert our attention and energy from the topics we intended to discuss, and reduce this dialogue to a big showcase starring yourselves with everyone having wandered far, far afield from what ACTUALLY matters TO US. Petty, childish demands for our attention occur in the form of our own words twisted, distorted, misrepresented ideas and concepts, and you are so flagrantly disrespectful that you don’t even see yourself throwing this back in our faces. Classy.

    I have absolutely no patience for that happy horseshit.

    In fact, I will call all your bullshit each and every time I am thusly inclined, because frankly, I’ve talked to chatbots who have a better understanding of what I’m saying.

    I am not interested in insipid attempts to distort either the issue or myself with cartoonish attempts to recast, rehash, or redefine either the dialogue or myself. I am extraordinarily articulate, so feel free to quote me in context because I always say exactly what I mean. Educating you and nurturing you is not my fucking job. I am not responsible for your deficiencies; keep that firmly in mind before you presume to hold me responsible for correcting your ignorance. I might decide the “question” you’re trying to ask is just too fucking stupid to be worth answering, because I can do that – such as, if you can’t figure that shit out on your own, then the problem is the system architecture and no amount of effort from me will ever fix that. It should come as no surprise when I exercise my right to go do something that actually rewards and benefits me. Get it?

    Fantastic.

    Now, I believe you were demonstrating your ignorance of the mechanics of privilege and oppression by attempting to equate phobic aversion in trauma victims to the power of racial oppressors, because you’re not just ignorant, you are embarrassingly oblivious and downright fucking obtuse as far as picking up on the experience ranges or motivations of the human beings around you.

    Newsflash: you are standing in a room full of raped women. All of us? No. Most of us? Yes. Which of us? It is neither my privilege to presume to speculate, nor to divulge those speculations, and none of us is obligated to reveal a goddamn thing to you or anyone. And how do I know this? Simple, I can tell. Why, can’t you?

    So you can’t figure out what the difference is between myself – and us as a group – learning that men are by default rampaging monsters, and racism? Warning: this is one of those questions that tows that irreparable stupidity line especially because you’ve willfully maintained your ignorance in spite of the answers graciously offered to you, which I have no doubt cost some of the contributors considerably in ways you are insensate to.

    The difference between phobic aversion caused by post-traumatic stress disorder and racism is, the first is caused by enduring trauma while acutely powerless and / or abjectly helpless. The second is caused by having and wielding power, control, and domination over and at the expense of other people.

    Get it?

    If you don’t feel like shit at this point, you’re a monster. And you should feel like a buffoon, because that shit should have been painfully obvious. No one should have to make this more clear for you; if you still don’t get it, it’s because you either can’t or you won’t. The end. Moving on.

    So, I keep a shotgun these days. Wanna ask me why? Yeah, a 10-gauge. And a bucket full of slugs. Because I frankly do not care if you think you’re not one of those guys. I do not care if you think all men are not like that. I do not care why men do what men do to us. All I care about is being safe and my 10-gauge makes me very, very safe. Because I get to do that. I have the right to be safe. I have the right to defend myself. I expect to be attacked in the future because I have been attacked in the past. I have the right to learn from my experiences. And you are only the ten thousandth man to insist that I am being unfair, because you genuinely expect me to care about “fair.” Funny, when I want to know why I don’t get to speak for fear a man might take offense, the chorus I hear from men is life’s not fair, but when I get to learn that men hurt women because MEN HURT WOMEN, I’m being prejudiced?

    Well, GOOD.

    If “prejudiced” is how you spell “not dismembered in a dumpster,” GOOD. Fine with me. If “prejudice” is how you spell “not beaten unrecognizable,” GOOD. Sign me up. And I still don’t give a shit whether you object to relinquishing your privilege, as indicated by the fact that I didn’t ask.

    And if I’m being an “asshole?” Tell it to my fucking shotgun. Because yes. I have the right to be an asshole if I choose to, without fear of what men will do to me – just like men get to do, every single day. And if the only way I can enforce my right to speak freely and live safe and undisturbed is by keeping a shotgun close at hand and staying within my home and the shelter of Texas property law, the question you should be asking is why men are so determined to stop me and all of us from speaking and living without fear? Hell, why are YOU so determined to stop us from speaking without fear?

    And last but not least: with all members of a privileged class, when faced by members of oppressed classes, word to the wise. Demonstrating respect for the real experiences that are not yours, and the consequences of oppression that you will never live, are generally perceived as understood courtesy. Understood courtesy means deference to our experiences as being exponentially more harmful than can EVER be appropriate for you, who lives free of enduring them, to cavalierly treat as if subject to debate.

    Have you ever wondered why we are not just in armed combat against you? It’s not because there’s a shortage of kitchen knives in this country. It is because we believe in your humanity, against all the evidence. – Andrea Dworkin, “I Want A Twenty-Four Hour Truce In Which There Is No Rape”

    -Miss Andrist
    Lover of Men

  141. #141 Comrade Svilova
    May 14, 2010

    Spartan, I’m glad we’re reaching more of an understanding! I wonder if another distinction between the “whites bigoted against blacks” and “women bigoted against men” is that in the examples you mentioned in which privileged people have negative assumptions about the underprivileged the assumption is the stereotype of the “black mugger.” For a lot of women, I think that their legitimate reasons to be frustrated with many of the men in their lives include but are not limited to rape and violent assault. In addition to those horrors, women also face daily, irritating, humiliating discrimination that is almost invisible to the people perpetrating it.

    So I’m going to hypothesize that privileged people might dislike underprivileged people because of a stereotyped fear of dramatic violence (in the example you raised), but that underprivileged people might resent the actual daily humiliations they’ve experienced (in addition to institutionalized violence). For most people who believe in the stereotype of the black mugger, it is a kind of cultural fantasy that they should not indulge. Whereas very few women, I would argue, have never experienced discrimination from men. Our concerns about whether a man is going to treat us well stem from years of actual experience with poorly wielded male privilege.

    Let me put it this way: I’ve never met a man who didn’t at some point use his male privilege against me. And I know there have been times when I’m with friends who are black or Latino/a that I’ve inadvertently said or done something offensive. Privilege is so pervasive that I sometimes just don’t want to deal with men, because I assume they’ll exercise their privilege offensively — even though it might be accidentally or ignorantly. I know that I have done and probably will do the same in the future where my own privilege is concerned. The burden really is on everyone to minimize the extent to which their unearned privilege hurts others, not on the underprivileged to make allowances.

  142. #142 skeptifem
    May 14, 2010

    Spartan- you are seriously asking a bunch of women (many who are rape survivors) to worry more about your opinion of how logical they are than their own safety? Think about what that says about you for a minute. I am really to worry about how fair my behavior is when there is not any sense of fairness in society for victims of assault? Women who are raped who report it are extremely unlikely to have anything really done about it, and have to deal with the psychological damage by themselves (unless they have a shitload of money). How the hell is prioritizing petty crap like what some random person on the internet thinks of me over my SAFETY supposed to be ‘logical’? And again, if I am raped there is pretty much nothing I can do. I am not one of those worthy people (the virginal middle to upper class stay in doors and never drink/someone elses wife) that the police and society give a shit about as victims of violence. I have absolutely everything to lose, and what the fuck would men gain from my fairness? is it anywhere near comparable in value? I doubt it.

  143. #143 Thegoodman
    May 14, 2010

    “I know that I have done and probably will do the same in the future where my own privilege is concerned. The burden really is on everyone to minimize the extent to which their unearned privilege hurts others, not on the underprivileged to make allowances.”

    This is what I have been trying to say about myself for over a week now.

  144. #144 joy
    May 14, 2010

    Comrade –

    Have you ever seen the “o/a” turned into just the ‘@’ sign (ie, Latin@, Chican@)? It’s so cool! Just letting you know so you can use it in the future and feel like one of the cool kids.

    Aka, the cool kids who are against discrimination and like being inclusive.

  145. #145 tawaen
    May 14, 2010

    @ thegoodman

    “I know that I have done and probably will do the same in the future where my own privilege is concerned. The burden really is on everyone to minimize the extent to which their unearned privilege hurts others, not on the underprivileged to make allowances.”

    This is what I have been trying to say about myself for over a week now.

    I see. English isn’t your first language.

  146. #146 Yvonne
    May 14, 2010

    Spartan: Yes, dismiss me by labeling me absurd, list a bunch of whack job theories for what I must be thinking that you have no evidence for at all, and then describe racism without *ever mentioning the white people who create it*. All why positioning your actions as some kind of norm.

    But I’m going to back up for you because as you, yourself, have stated, you don’t have the theoretical background yet to understand a lot of the terms in play. The big one for you to get in our exchange is that people with privilege will inadvertently do things that support the mechanisms of their privilege. *This does not make them (us) bad people.*

    You are not a racist for couching your description of racism in passive constructions thus eliding the role of whites. (You ask who was disadvantaged by Jim Crow, but you do not ask who enacted Jim Crow, who enforced Jim Crow.) You have added to the narrative that racism is about Blacks and not whites. You have obscured, for just a brief moment, that whites play the central role in racism. You did that without thinking, without even knowing you were doing it. That’s how easy it is to add to oppression. (And understand that this works regardless of your own race.)

    If you don’t believe this is an issue, try recasting your questions and statements about race with white people as the active subject of your sentences. How different does that feel?

    Privilege as the term is being used here, is not something that benefits the individual. In fact, it often hurts the privileged individual. It exists often as an absence: not getting profiled, not being suspected, not being ignored. It is very hard to see.

    I am not debating you. I am trying to show you something. You can whine and squirm and refuse to see it out of ego or whatever. All I can do is help you to see it.

  147. #147 jat
    May 14, 2010

    @Thegoodman:
    “This is what I have been trying to say about myself for over a week now.”

    What, that you accept the burden to minimize how your unearned privelege hurts others?

    I’m afraid you really are NOT good at expressing yourself, then.

  148. #148 Yvonne
    May 14, 2010

    I wrote:
    Privilege as the term is being used here, is not something that benefits the individual.

    I meant “Privilege isn’t something that exists to benefit the individual.”

  149. #149 Spartan
    May 14, 2010

    you are seriously asking a bunch of women (many who are rape survivors) to worry more about your opinion of how logical they are than their own safety?

    Really skeptifem? That’s what I’m doing? My computer has a neat copy and paste function as I bet yours does so feel free to directly quote me. I thought the tentativeness of my statements was clear, with, “Not to disagree with your primary point Miss Andrist”, “Good points Yvonne”, “I think your placement of men in the ‘suspicion’ bucket until they prove otherwise is somewhat justified”, “I’m not saying that your suspicion is bigoted”, “I don’t know, I don’t think it’s a simple question”, and one you apparently didn’t read at all since it directly refutes what I’ve quoted above, “As far as what I propose, good question. I propose that, in our current society, you ignore my attempts to be logical and do absolutely whatever it takes for you to stay safe.” (And if you think that because I said ‘what I propose’ that means that I’m asking anyone to worry about anything, I’ll note that I was specifically asked by Comrade what I propose). Yep, I sure sound cocky and egotistic…

    Yvonne and skeptifem,
    I take full responsibility for not being clear with my point, specifically the analogy to racism which I think you have misconstrued Yvonne and which I am holding you blameless for.

    In response to my statement concerning ‘hating anyone because of their gender/race because you don’t know which ones of that gender/race are going to hurt you.’, Yvonne, you said above, “I missed where the thread got hijacked to be about something no one here has justified.” Well, you may have interpreted the first comment I responded to, which was @112, differently than I, which did read to me close to how I paraphrased it. Temporarily setting aside the justification or any ramifications of it, hating someone because of what gender or race they are is pretty much the definition of bigotry, agreed? I then, admittedly perhaps confusingly, compared women hating men because of what some may do to them to racists hating black people because they have perhaps been the victim of a crime perpetrated by black people. The reason I brought up this analogy is because I assumed that everyone here would agree that these racists are ‘wrong’ and are indeed bigoted. And because I saw these arguments essentially utilizing the same reasoning and one is pretty clearly bigoted to me, I stated in my original comment that perhaps bigotry against men *could* become illegitimate if taken too far.

    Now, when we do incorporate the justifications and ramifications of both of these ‘bigotries’ (which I’ll again state is probably too strong a word), there is a clear imbalance in that men, especially white men, escape pretty much unscathed from bigotry aimed their way, unlike women and blacks. Thus my agreement with Comrade that I find her ‘sexism’ if I can call it that towards men justified, for safety’s sake if nothing else. The question I threw out there is to what extent does this situation that justifies anti-men bigotry also then justify these kind of racist justifications also. If you want to say that anti-men bigotry doesn’t matter because it doesn’t affect its targets, fine. I’ll just note that Yvonne makes a good point though, “Privilege as the term is being used here, is not something that benefits the individual. In fact, it often hurts the privileged individual.” I think that ‘bigotry’ also hurts the bigoted individual by the same reasoning.

    The way I’m currently looking at it, this just adds another layer to the fucking-over of women by the overall male advantage that exists. I do believe that bigotry can affect the bigot negatively just like privilege, so not only do women have to constantly be on guard and protect themselves, they pretty much have to engage to some extent in another negative, sexism, because there isn’t any other practical alternative. And they presumably have to hassle with trying to maintain that without letting it justify racism for instance based on similar but notably different justifications. I don’t envy you.

  150. #150 SKM
    May 14, 2010

    so not only do women have to constantly be on guard and protect themselves, they pretty much have to engage to some extent in another negative, sexism, because there isn’t any other practical alternative.

    Just a note that, like “privilege” and “oppression”, “sexism” (like other *isms) is a technical term from sociology. These terms have specific definitions different from common-parlance understandings of these words.

    *ism = prejudice + power

    That is,there’s no such thing as “reverse racism” or “reverse sexism”, since non-white folks and women of all races do not have institutional power to back up their prejudice.So, women can have gender-based prejudice against men, but that is not properly called sexism.

    I don’t point this out to take away from Spartan’s point, but to clarify for those just learning the terminology. If Spartan, thegoodman, or some lurkers here go to advanced-level spaces and start talking about women’s “sexism” against men, or “reverse racism”, they’ll likely get a poor reception.

    (NB: I’m a biologist, not a sociologist; I learned this stuff on my own, and some sociologists may well disagree.)

  151. #151 Cara
    May 14, 2010

    Temporarily setting aside the justification or any ramifications of it, hating someone because of what gender or race they are is pretty much the definition of bigotry, agreed?

    Actually, no. An oppressed group simply cannot be “reverse” racist or sexist. It doesn’t work. The reasons for their wariness are well documented and amply demonstrated. If you’d read “Schroedinger’s Rapist”, you might understand a little better.

    I’m curious, Spartan. If it truly reads to you like women are justifying hatred of men, why do you care? The whole fricking system justifies hatred of women (or, if you want to deny “hatred”, let’s say demeaning, belittling, etc.). Why do you care if a few women get justifiably angry enough to say “I hate men”?

    Because what you’re doing is playing devil’s advocate and debate team and “I’m just asking” when you have no real investment in the answer. It’s an intellectual exercise to you, to amuse you briefly–which, again, pretty much demonstrates the role women are expected to play (entertainers, servants, those who are “on call” at a moment’s notice in case someone important, usually a man, sometimes a child, wants something, no matter how trivial or how easily the person could do that work themselves).

    It’s not an intellectual exercise or a game to us. We live this.

    It seems like you can see how this “let’s play ‘technical foul’ ” attitude would hurt POC, but not how it might be damaging to women of ALL colors.

    Or maybe you don’t really care, because, after all, isn’t that what women are for, to make things nice and easy for everyone else?

  152. #152 Comrade Svilova
    May 14, 2010

    SKM, thanks for clarifying for me that I was not saying that women being “sexist” towards men is justified. As you note, because of privilege, it is impossible for women to be sexist towards men.

    Joy, thanks! I knew I’d seen something cooler than o/a or a/o somewhere, but couldn’t remember what it was.

    Cara, excellently put. The debate team tactic is something that really gets old.

    And finally, GoodD00d: Really?

  153. #153 Spartan
    May 14, 2010

    SKM, thanks for the clarification. I never intended to use the word sexism any differently than it’s common usage, gender-based prejudice.

    Cara, I have read Schroedinger’s Rapist. I don’t believe I’ve said once that anyone is unjustified in their gender-based prejudice, but ultimately gender-based prejudice is a necessary evil; do you deny that? What is unjustified is projecting this bullshit about this is all amusing to me or is a game or I’m playing devil’s advocate or I think women are to make things nice and easy for everyone else. Argumentum ad telepathy?

    Ya see, in most conversations on lots and lots of topics, it doesn’t usually matter what race or gender or religion or nationality any person making a statement is; any points stand on their content alone, and it doesn’t matter if they are asserted by a woman or a Democrat of a Mormon or an otter. Do you spend much time visiting blogs and weighing what people talk about in the comments against your standard of ‘real investment’? Seriously, have I walked in and struck up a conversation about the historical justifications for the US dropping the atomic bomb on Japan in front of a bunch of Hiroshima survivors? If I have, it was inadvertent, and I’m not trying to be rude or insensitive. I just noticed that Zuska makes some mention of certain statements that are verboten here, and if I’ve veered into that territory it was not intentional.

    But ultimately Cara, yes, guilty, you caught me, I don’t really care too much what some random person on the internet thinks.

  154. #154 SKM
    May 14, 2010

    I never intended to use the word sexism any differently than it’s common usage, gender-based prejudice.

    I know. That’s a problem. You misused the word.

    I used the phrase “common-parlance” to be polite and acknowledge that most people do not know what the word means. But I’m rethinking that. To say “common-parlance” as I did, or “common usage” as you did, implies that that usage is normal and sociology’s usage is a special, arcane, niche usage. That is not so. The term moved from social sciences into the larger language. Next time I’ll be clearer.

  155. #155 SKM
    May 14, 2010

    Ya see, in most conversations on lots and lots of topics, it doesn’t usually matter what race or gender or religion or nationality any person making a statement is; any points stand on their content alone, and it doesn’t matter if they are asserted by a woman or a Democrat of a Mormon or an otter.

    I strongly disagree with this idea.I wish it were so, but it is not.

    Unfortunately, I cannot expound much, as my mother just got home from her second hip replacement, but I’ll say that people use many cues to suss out the key identifiers of interlocutors online (even unconsciously) and communicate with them according to associated stereotypes.

    In person, of course, the role of stereotypes and assumptions is even more pronounced.

    Sadly, our ideas do not in fact stand or fall on their own merits.

    Try posting under a clearly feminine nym for a while–it’s an interesting experiment that some men try and learn from.

  156. #156 Spartan
    May 14, 2010

    That’s a problem. You misused the word.

    Ah, no. At worse, I have caused a misunderstanding by using the word differently within the context of this discussion, but well within it’s common and acceptable usage.

    To say “common-parlance” as I did, or “common usage” as you did, implies that that usage is normal and sociology’s usage is a special, arcane, niche usage.

    That’s not the only implication nor necessarily the most obvious one. Like many words, both usages can be normal. Nor does the origin of the word place boundaries on how the meanings of words can and do validly evolve, unless you think that ‘theory’ still only means ‘contemplation’.

  157. #157 Spartan
    May 14, 2010

    Sadly, our ideas do not in fact stand or fall on their own merits.

    Point taken, but in many cases it is also obviously fallacious, a la ‘ad hominem’.

  158. #158 Zuska
    May 14, 2010

    Seriously, Spartan, try the experiment SKM suggests. Select a clearly feminine ‘nym and then go post in some forum where you are used to having your words treated with authoritah and see how much respect you get.

  159. #159 Spartan
    May 14, 2010

    I will, it’ll undoubtedly be interesting and probably eye-opening. I don’t frequent that many blogs, probably Dispatches more than any, but I don’t think that’s a good choice as it’s probably an atypical commenting environment. And again I’m not expecting that my words be treated with any authoritah nor respect; see: ‘random people on the internet’.

  160. #160 skeptifem
    May 15, 2010

    Ya see, in most conversations on lots and lots of topics, it doesn’t usually matter what race or gender or religion or nationality any person making a statement is; any points stand on their content alone, and it doesn’t matter if they are asserted by a woman or a Democrat of a Mormon or an otter.

    Oh, the old “we are all really the same even though your status in society has given you a radically different life experience than mine” thing. It does matter because you can’t erase your privilege or lack of it from yourself when you speak. People who do not grow up privileged have their lives altered by that in very profound ways, and so do people who grow up with privilege. Failing to understand that is your problem. The way you keep trying to “win” a non debate (see, people here are trying to communicate with you, not dominate you in a geeky internet way) shows how little you care to understand this issue. Ask questions to understand the point of view of people who live it, don’t expect us to want to win some wanky debate on the internet about what our lives consist of. Put away your list of logical fallacies for a second and try to listen to what is being said. I don’t really feel like convincing you of stuff that you are completely resistant to absorbing. that is feminism 101 territory, and I have been snubbed too many times to deal with it anymore.

  161. #161 skeptifem
    May 15, 2010

    Oh, on the contrary- Dispatches is the perfect place. It is full of liberal d00ds who I have seen in full misogynist action before. You know, the outraged-about-racism-but-not sexism-(unless its about abortion rights)-types.

    There are studies out there about how much hateful and violent crap gets thrown at women on the internet, simply for being women. I mean hell, look at friggin youtube sometime. I would pick a rachel maddow one actually, because I have yet to see a video of her that does not contain extensive critique of her sexual orientation AND appearance. She isn’t on TV to be good looking or titilate anyone, but plenty of men take it upon themselves to slam her for not doing so (or for doing it too well). Contrast with vids of dudes.

  162. #162 skeptifem
    May 15, 2010

    If you don’t feel like shit at this point, you’re a monster. And you should feel like a buffoon, because that shit should have been painfully obvious. No one should have to make this more clear for you; if you still don’t get it, it’s because you either can’t or you won’t. The end. Moving on.

    I friggin love reading your posts, Miss Andrist. You should really write more- I love your blog & bookmarked it. It made my night correct somehow, after a crazy day at work. <3

    I love the Dworkin quote at the end. Nothing pisses me off more than the amount of hate heaped on her by people who never read anything she wrote. She had some really cool shit to say. Her writing is amazing and thought provoking, people don’t even need to agree with it to get something out of it. I wish that more people would fucking read her before deciding she is wrong outright.

  163. #163 Comrade Svilova
    May 15, 2010

    Is there no irony in coming to a feminist blog and informing the feminists there about the meaning and use of the word “sexism”?

    And Spartan, if gender-based prejudice is a necessary evil, who is to blame for the gender-based prejudice that some women have against men? Perhaps you could take this discussion somewhere where it would actually be noticed by the people who are to blame for women’s suspicions of men. Instead of lecturing us here, which almost feels like you’re implying that women should do something about sexism. Like racism, which is really a problem of white people, sexism is a problem of men.

  164. #164 Spartan
    May 15, 2010

    Miss Andrist,

    Impressive! A pity that you are responding to the Spartan-in-your-head and not me. I see maybe four sentences that actually respond to something I said; bravo! You start out with the incredibly compelling ‘thread-jack’ argument and ‘I wasn’t talking to you’, which belies a pretty basic misunderstanding of what actually happens and is accepted in blog comments, especially on SB. I’ve occasionally lurked on Shakesville, precisely to learn about things that I can never fully understand or experience, and SKM is gracious enough to make it clear that it is a safe space and not really a place for debate, apparently in recognition of something that should be obvious who’s visited a blog or two, that many if not most other blogs *are* places for debate and airing opposing ideas. She understands that; why not you?

    What you and some others don’t apparently get is that I am not making any kind of anti-feministic meta-comment nor defense of men or our patriarchal society. It’s been a couple years, but my point actually came from a conversation with a Christian woman friend, who also believes the apparently radical idea that prejudice against anyone because of their race or gender is ultimately wrong, and pertinent to her, not exactly in full agreement with Christ’s teaching concerning how you treat your neighbors and enemies. There was no dispute however, that the blame for that falls squarely on men, and that it would be absolutely foolish and unsafe to have any other attitude towards men she does not know very well. Thus she was incrementally more resentful of men for essentially requiring her to adopt a somewhat un-Christ-like, to her’, position. Yea, what a dumbass she apparently was…

    Despite what you think, I do care if I’ve, as you state I have, been disrespectful of someone’s experiences here. I think you’re the second person who’s brought up that there are most likely women here who have been raped, which I never doubted. The question I have is, what specifically have I said that is disrespectful to them? If I truly took into account that there are victims of sexual assault here, I would realize that I was incredibly offensive and insensitive when I said (insert Spartan quote).

  165. #165 SKM
    May 15, 2010

    Just a point of clarification:
    I’ve occasionally lurked on Shakesville, precisely to learn about things that I can never fully understand or experience, and SKM is gracious enough to make it clear that it is a safe space and not really a place for debate,

    That is factually incorrect. Safe space and space for debate are not mutually exclusive. Debate is welcome and encouraged at Shakesville. I am not going to argue that fact here, by the way. People are welcome to come and read for themselves. Most of those who claim that debate is unwelcome at Shakesville are concern-trolling there and get sore when called out on it, in my experience. (I don’t mean Spartan, of course, who has said he lurks.)

    It’s true that Shakesville is not a place for winner-take-all high-school debate-team championship contests, though. If that’s one’s bag, the rest of the internet is one’s oyster.

    This, though? SKM is gracious enough to make it clear that it is a safe space and not really a place for debate

    Looks like backhanded concern-trolling to this experienced moderator.

  166. #166 SKM
    May 15, 2010

    She understands that; why not you?

    Do not pit me against other women here. Thanks.

    Seriously, the “pat-on-the-head-for-being-more-reasonable-than-most-of-your-kind” approach is very old and tired.

  167. #167 Comrade Svilova
    May 15, 2010

    my point actually came from a conversation with a Christian woman friend, who also believes the apparently radical idea that prejudice against anyone because of their race or gender is ultimately wrong

    When Miss Andrist says “Have you considered that some of the women you seem to think hate men might actually hate men for very legitimate reasons?” and you respond with “at some point it does become illegitimate,” a couple of things come to mind.

    1.) It seems to me that you are changing the conversation from a conversation about women and their anger to a “what about the men?” lament on “reverse sexism”;

    2.) it could also seem like blaming the victim, saying that those women should not hate men — without addressing Miss Andrist’s point about who is responsible for the hate;

    …and for me, the end result is not that I’m frustrated because I don’t want a debate. Debates are great; I’m frustrated because I feel that you’ve used several tactics that are very common when non-feminists join debates with feminists. (I’m not saying that you’re a non-feminist; you have just come across as such to me in this thread.) These include:

    1.) “what about the men?” (Sometimes the subject really is and should be women, their feelings, and their experiences. Saying “at some point this becomes illegitimate” sets yourself up as the arbiter of what are acceptable emotions and what are not acceptable emotions — just like the people Zuska wrote this post about in the first place.)

    2.) victim blaming (At the very least, statements that sound like “your anger is illegitimate” need explicit acknowledgments that you’re not trying to diminish the experiences of the people whose emotions you’re policing/criticizing; and when people point out to you that they feel you have not made this clear, protests that you didn’t diminish anyone’s experiences ring hollow. If your original statement was misunderstood, maybe it’s not because we’re crazy and imagining things. Perhaps it could have been worded better to begin with.)

    3.) Pitting women against each other and holding up one or two women as examples of “reasonable” behavior rests on the false assumption that women are all alike; that if one woman feels a certain way, all others should/can respond the same way; and finally, it again sets you up as the ultimate arbiter of what kind of behavior is acceptable in a woman.

    The original post was about reclaiming an emotion/behavior (anger, which can, of course, extend to hatred) that is usually considered unacceptable in women. So many men (and women) tell women that “I understand why you’re angry, but …” with some addition about how that hurts the woman’s cause, looks bad, or makes other people feel badly. When you join this thread to inform us (and yes, that is how it comes across) that we should really be keeping in mind that all gender-based prejudices are wrong, it seems to me that I’m hearing the same thing that this thread was originally supposed to be critiquing. Maybe, just maybe, one single blog thread can actually be about the legitimacy of women’s anger without us having to apologize for when that anger changes into hatred or be lectured about how wrong that anger (which is often perceived as hatred) is.

    And that is why I am frustrated with this discussion. Not because I’m too weak or illogical to engage in debates, but because I’ve had this same conversation hundreds of times — in person as well as online — and I’m tired of the same old same old.

  168. #168 Spartan
    May 15, 2010

    Looks like backhanded concern-trolling to this experienced moderator.

    Well of course it does; I’m a man and you are a woman so you are entirely justified in interpreting that in the most negative way. Could it possibly mean that I like the way that you make the ground rules clear up front on your blog? Do you not do that because you know full well that the norm in the blogosphere is for comment sections to be largely free-for-alls? Most importantly, is there any way I could have conveyed any of that without your accusation of concern-trolling?

    Seriously, the “pat-on-the-head-for-being-more-reasonable-than-most-of-your-kind” approach is very old and tired.

    Ha, yea, about as old and tired as assertions that rely entirely on you reading my mind. I’m obviously annoying far too many people though, so I’ll bow out. (which must be the act-like-you’re-taking-the-high-road-so-as-not-to-upset-the-gentle-wimmen-folk ploy; and I’m the one referred to as cartoonish)

  169. #169 Spartan
    May 15, 2010

    Fair enough, Comrade. I honestly appreciate the explanation of how what I said was perceived. I had no intention of changing the conversation; many to most long comment threads accommodate several side conversations just fine.

    it could also seem like blaming the victim, saying that those women should not hate men

    Again fair enough. I specifically said to you above, “Yet I think I agree that when I change that to women hating and fearing men because they could be raped for instance that position does seem logical,”, but I’ll fully acknowledge again that I may not have been clear.

    As far as the tactics, I never intended my statement to be ‘what about the men’, which I mistakenly thought would be somewhat evident when I immediately compared it to certain justifications for racism. If I said anything close to ‘your anger is illegitimate’, which is in direct opposition to the post which I also stated I agreed with, it was unintentional but something I said may well have been fairly interpreted that way. As far as the assertions that I’m ‘demanding attention’ or responses from anyone, the ‘ultimate arbiter’, ‘lecturing’, ‘informing you’, and everything else Miss Andrist projected, to me you can say that about any disagreement on any blog and is entirely tangential and irrelevant to the content of what’s actually been said.

    Which is exactly where I’m wrong. This is not a political debate or a discussion of scientific or legal topics, and in the context of this kind of discussion within the context of society in general that puts women at a distinct disadvantage to say the least, and with the participants involved here, it is not valid nor fair for me to expect anyone to divorce the who is saying something from the what specifically is being said, which I do think as a general rule should be the case in other discussions. Everything I said seemed to be interpreted in the most negative way, which is fine when evidence is provided that shows that that is the most reasonable interpretation, and none seemed to be provided. What I failed to take into account is that the ‘rules’ are indeed validly different on this topic because of the group that I am a member of and who I am talking with, and it’s not even close to being as simple as you treating me based on how the worst men have treated you. I’m obviously not concerned about asking questions that some may find stupid, but I am concerned if I’ve hurt anyone’s feelings, and especially if I’ve said anything that anyone here felt was belittling to their experience, and for that I apologize. Yvonne, I specifically apologize to you for referring to your comments to me as absurd; I interpreted your statement about putting ‘black people in a special category’ as a tiresome straw man swipe and swung back; within the broader context of what was being discussed what you said was not absurd and I was wrong. And now my bow out is for real, and I know, overdue. To those who took the time to explain their perspective, thank you; to those who were pissed off at me, you should be and thank you also for explaining your perspective.

  170. #170 Cara
    May 16, 2010

    What is unjustified is projecting this bullshit about this is all amusing to me or is a game or I’m playing devil’s advocate or I think women are to make things nice and easy for everyone else. Argumentum ad telepathy?

    EmpathySequence:Aborted. Comprehension fail. Prepare troll for launch.

  171. #171 Comrade Svilova
    May 16, 2010

    Spartan, I appreciate your apology, but I do want to note that it’s not because you’re a man that some of your statements come across in ways that perhaps you didn’t intend. It’s the words and phrasings — as I said, they are very familiar and come from both men and women (though usually only directed at people in under-privileged groups). If you observed in several of the related threads how DuWayne’s comments were received, I hope you’ll see that we aren’t responding to your comments negatively because you’re a man.

    It’s because you are using male privilege when engaging in this thread — something DuWayne (and many other men, I can think of a bunch at Shakesville) manage to avoid.

  172. #172 SKM
    May 16, 2010

    Could it possibly mean that I like the way that you make the ground rules clear up front on your blog?

    I think you may have me mixed up with Melissa McEwan. Shakesville is her creation, and she wrote the commenting policy, which is indeed put right up front where it belongs. I think it’s a good policy and I stick to it when moderating, but I want to be clear and not take credit for others’ work.

    And I based my conclusion on your contrast of “safe space” with “debate” and “airing of opposing ideas”, not on your presented gender or mine.

    Too busy for threads today, though, so my best to all.

  173. #173 SKM
    May 16, 2010

    Ha, yea, about as old and tired as assertions that rely entirely on you reading my mind.

    I don’t need to read your mind when I can read your words. They are all we have to go by here, and people have explained to you very clearly how they have drawn conclusions from your words.

  174. #174 joy
    May 16, 2010

    Dear Miss Andrist —

    Golf clap. Fantastic. Especially this:

    ” … the question you should be asking is why men are so determined to stop me and all of us from speaking and living without fear? Hell, why are YOU so determined to stop us from speaking without fear?”

    Comrade (I use only that part of your handle because it delights me) —

    Thank you. I believe what you are experiencing is “outrage fatigue.” I have it as well, which is why I gave up commenting on here.

    My response to Spartan has just been a mental “hahahaha” trailing off into an exasperated sigh and ending in a facepalm.

    It is disturbing when men do the pitting-against-each-other thing (okay, Spartan, here, have a concession, some women do it too, but ANTIFEMINIST women; thus, we all assume you are an antifeminist man). It infantilizes us down to the level of toddlers, where the toddler who is so frustrated she simply starts to cry is denied a cookie in favor of the one who can suck it up and “use her words.”

    It is also reminiscent of the times on the playground where the child who’s been bullied so many times that she begins to scream at her abusers, is sent to the principle’s office, while the children who offer no visible response are patted on the head.

    Both of these metaphorical scenarios have something in common.

    1. They reduce reasonable, intelligent adult women to the level of children, who need guidance from reasonable adults (men). I shouldn’t have to tell you why this is fucked up.
    And no, I am not going to defend my choice of the descriptive “fucked up.” It’s FUCKED UP, and there is no better way to put it. Before you even argue, Spartan, I am a writer, and I put much deliberate thought into my word choice. Profanity it is.

    2. They privilege repression of emotion and adherence to patriarchal norms over legitimate expression. A child who’s overstimulated in preschool should be allowed the opportunity to take a break, not punished for asking for help. A child who’s being bullied should be allowed the opportunity to stand up for herself, not face punishment for reasserting her human rights.
    Anger is a way of accomplishing many things. As I see it, one of those things is, in a way, a cry for help. Seeing an outpouring of rage from another person tends to draw other people into the conversation, often on the side of the angry person.

    An expression of anger may or may not have this as its driving motive (“I’m gonna get mad so that someone else can stand up for me!”), but it often has this as a side effect. And I’d argue that is a good thing. Human solidarity can go a long way towards helping someone who’s been wronged feel as though they are less alone, less crazy, less liable to be taken advantage of in the future.

    (Which is why children who express justifiable anger are singled out, isolated, made examples of, and punished — we start ‘em young on the path towards feeling like completely helpless, broken human beings.)

    3. They punish a person who is expressing a legitimate emotion, and teach her that she is in fact a helpless object completely at the mercy of others.

    Do you enjoy this, Spartan? Do you like being a teacher to us silly little women? Telling SKM that she has a gold star and that the rest of us need to go to the principle’s office? Oh, and Miss Andrist … no recess, and we ARE calling your parents if you don’t shape up.

    It’s not as though we’re stupid, either. Unless your name is Spartan (before you start, my name IS actually “joy”, thank you, we’re done there), you’ve picked a handle that is warlike and confrontational, and evocative of a society that placed value on the repression of emotion. Ironically, other than that which could lead to bellicose rage.
    Oh, and women were considered nothing but breeding machines for the next generation of Spartan warriors.
    We know this — we have been to school. We have read books. Just like you. Thank you.

  175. #175 Spartan
    May 16, 2010

    SKM,

    I think you may have me mixed up with Melissa McEwan.

    Indeed I have; my mistake and sorry for the confusion.

    joy, I chose Spartan because Michigan State was my alma mater.

  176. #176 joy
    May 16, 2010

    “joy, I chose Spartan because Michigan State was my alma mater.”

    In this case, I will say — okay, that was my mistake.

    However, I do think it further illustrates the point that others have made here, that regardless of one’s “intent,” all we have to go from are one’s words and one’s actions. And words and actions tell us things, regardless of how much extollers of relativism and existentialism would like to tell us they don’t.

  177. #177 Spartan
    May 16, 2010

    However, I do think it further illustrates the point that others have made here, that regardless of one’s “intent,” all we have to go from are one’s words and one’s actions.

    Agreed and conceded joy. Worse in this case is that all you have to go on is my words, which to me, can almost always imply different things; someone posting something that is in disagreement with a comment may have an honest disagreement, or they might be a troll. How the above sequence was reading to me would be similar to a scenario where you made the observation about ‘Spartan’ above (and thanks, that interpretation hadn’t occurred to me), I let you know that it just has to do with MSU, and that was ignored and people continued to use your original interpretation of my handle as the justification for assigning various anti-feminist notions to me. Again, that’s how I *did* see it, but I became way too adversarial and didn’t first acknowledge that yes, what I initially posted most certainly could have led you to the conclusion that I was talking down or lecturing or what-have-you, but that was not it’s intent, and then proceed with the banal point I was noting. That I utterly failed to do and my defensiveness completely and legitimately confounded any attempts to explain myself.

    I don’t know if this of any interest, but I had found this clip from 20/20 about an interesting experiment concerning unconscious biases of men, that is utterly embarrassing to my gender.

    http://tinyurl.com/2bqzrtn

    I knew this occurred, but it really hits home to actually see it in action. It also reinforces something someone said above to me, essentially that women have to live with this kind of shit, and far more, every day.

  178. #178 joy
    May 16, 2010

    Spartan, in case you didn’t notice —

    My interpretation of your handle happened a mere three or four comments ago.

    People, including myself, thought you were antifeminist long, long before that.

    And this comment, three or four comments ago, was the first time I commented on you.

    Nice shot at blaming your antifeminist tarring all on me, though. Too bad most people can read and look at numbers, or it might have worked.

  179. #179 joy
    May 16, 2010

    Cookie for admitting that our experiences are valid, though. Sweet.

    It’s on men now to stop embarrassing themselves. Not on women to quit being embarrassed – if that makes any sense.

    Miss Andrist has a great metaphor that compares male privilege, and superficially the male genitalia, to guns. It’s great if you never mean to shoot anyone. It’s great if you never have. It’s great if you’ve never even used the fact that you have a gun, to get your own way or intimidate other people. It’s great if you’re even aware that having a gun de facto privileges you above people who are unarmed.

    But people are still going to be a little wary of you, if not outright terrified of, you — until all people stop shooting other people, and gun violence (gendered violence, rape, male-privileged behavior) becomes an antiquated term.

  180. #180 Spartan
    May 16, 2010

    Nice shot at blaming your antifeminist tarring all on me, though.

    Sorry for that joy, that was not what I intended. I was just making an analogy as to how I misinterpreted the flow of the thread, and was intending no statement on your observation of my handle nor blaming you in any way.

  181. #181 joy
    May 16, 2010

    Okay — I get it now. and it’s cool.

    Here’s another super awesome lesson for you! Women go through this allll the time, online and in real life! So now you can think about how you felt on here, whenever you see it happening elsewhere, and hopefully head it off (ie, call out the dude responsible if it’s not you, or backtrack and quit doing it if it is you).

    Human empathy, for the win (if you will).

  182. #182 Comrade Svilova
    May 16, 2010

    In the end, I’m really glad to have been a part of this discussion; it’s always great on the internet to see things progress to a degree of more understanding between the people involved. And I’m glad to know the genesis of your handle, Spartan, since I had made the same assumption as Joy.

    Hope everyone had a good Sunday, and best wishes.

  183. #183 Spartan
    May 16, 2010

    Ditto Comrade, and fwiw the most valuable ‘more understanding’ I’m taking away from this is that my comprehension of things like male privilege, despite thinking I understand ‘fem 101′, is rudimentary, and I should have recognized that a couple days ago. I understand what white male privileges are, but except in the most blatant cases, I don’t fully recognize how they are perceived as being ‘exercised’ for example, a term that has been used a couple times in this thread that I unfortunately don’t fully ‘get’ yet.

    Which is for me to figure out by myself. And which I promise will be from lurk mode for the foreseeable future.

  184. #184 angrier
    May 16, 2010

    angry? they said I take my job “too personally” and I don’t need to get paid equally because I “enjoy” my work. wish me luck in my lawsuit for discrimination and retaliation, the charges are filed in federal court. my actions are angrier than words. at least I’m not alone in all this anger.

  185. #185 Miss Andrist
    May 17, 2010

    Angrier:

    Amen. My boss told me on the down-low that despite being the best candidate by miles and a bargain-basement rate, he had to salvage me from the junk pile expressly because the project manager was “weirded out’ by a “girl developer.” He sent me a link to what I’m worth versus my hourly and I did the math: sixty-two cents on his dollar. I discreetly went through the roof.

    @Spartan: you wanna know what privilege is? It’s hiring someone for half the honest value of their labor and having them THANK YOU for the opportunity to make sixty-two cents instead of zero cents – because that person is going to be exploited no matter what but at least it’s not stripping, and they are so acutely aware of the chance to retain their dignity that they are GRATEFUL.

    Food for thought.

    -Miss Andrist

  186. #186 SKM
    May 17, 2010

    Spartan, I put this in another thread and Zuska has mentioned it too, but Allan G. Johnson’s The Gender Knot is a good introductory book aimed largely at a male audience.

  187. #187 Yvonne
    May 17, 2010

    Spartan @169Yvonne, I specifically apologize to you for referring to your comments to me as absurd;

    This is incorrect. You did not refer to my comments as absurd. You referred to me as absurd:

    @132: Yvonne, you are being absurd.

    If you are really willing to start looking at your own role in the expression of male privilege, ask yourself why this rhetorical device was so readily at hand that you used it without thinking in a thread about the ways that women’s legitimate expressions of anger are reduced to childish irrelevancy. You instinctively knew that calling me absurd would give your swing that extra pop.

    If you really want to take responsibility for your own actions, realize that you have been infected with a worm, a bit of malware that is not currently under your control. It is not there for your benefit, but it uses small-term gains as camouflage. You are less inclined to notice this invader because in your lived experience what it gives you looks so much like an innocent advantage.

    It is hard for humans with our beta-cortexes (reptile brain has been honed to precision with a few hundred million years of evolution, but the neo-cortex is still in beta) to see past these short-term advantages and see the larger network of consequence.

    (And apologies to all for skirting the Matrix, but I just read an article in the Atlantic on the conficker worm.)

  188. #188 Yvonne
    May 17, 2010

    Damn, I missed this: I’ll just note that Yvonne makes a good point though, “Privilege as the term is being used here, is not something that benefits the individual. In fact, it often hurts the privileged individual.”

    Please note that I corrected this statement in @148.

    Privilege certainly does benefit the individual. That’s how it hides itself. The benefits, however, are short term and really end up just corroding the ability to empathize.

  189. #189 thebewilderness
    May 19, 2010

    Worse in this case is that all you have to go on is my words, which to me, can almost always imply different things;

    Of course they can. But only if you operate on the basis of the Humpty Dumpty language rules, where bowing out means going on at length, and the words mean whatever you say they mean.

  190. #190 SKM
    May 19, 2010

    But only if you operate on the basis of the Humpty Dumpty language rules, where bowing out means going on at length, and the words mean whatever you say they mean.

    This is an important point. Context is key. A word like, say, “feminization” means something very different in a biology journal club than it does on Fox News.

    So, when I point out that “sexism” as used in the ongoing discussion is a technical term from sociology, it is a weak dodge to insist that another meaning from a different context is just as valid.

    I am referring to Spartan’s response #156 when I pointed out that he was misusing the word “sexism”:

    Ah, no. At worse [sic], I have caused a misunderstanding by using the word differently within the context of this discussion, but well within it’s [sic] common and acceptable usage.

    No. He did not cause a misunderstanding; he displayed one.

    I know it sounds rough to hear that, but in a biology journal club you are expected to know what your terms mean (or ask and respond accordingly if you are uninformed), and we should strive for that here as well.

  191. #191 Comrade Svilova
    May 20, 2010

    @SKM, regarding the use of words:

    One of the more frustrating things I deal with is when I’m in a discussion with someone (usually a white man, but not always) who declares “You can’t tell me what a word means or how and when to use a word!” This comes up often because I’m very sensitive to the use of words like “midget” or “dwarf” — either to describe Little People or as general derogatory terms. But of course it also comes up with gendered words, especially words whose gendered connotations are less apparent to people who are either male or deliberately unaware (words like “hysteria,” for instance).

    This is what I want to say to these people (but I never seem to manage to get it out properly).

    Ahem, actually I can tell you what a word means and how and when it’s acceptable to use it. Obviously, you don’t have to listen to what I’m saying or use the word in the way I ask you to, but I wish you would think about the implications of your passionate defense of your freedom to use certain offensive words as you define them and whenever you prefer to use them.

    You’re saying that your right to use a certain word — and your right to define the word as you see fit, ignoring the educated and informed views of others at will — trumps other people’s rights to be treated with respect, trumps their right to have their preferences for the language used to describe them respected, and finally, trumps their right to not be degraded and humiliated by charged language. Just because you don’t see why these words are problematic doesn’t mean they aren’t problematic. And just because you are never offended by the language used to describe you doesn’t mean that other people don’t have the right to ask that they not be repeatedly humiliated and disrespected via speech. Finally, perhaps the fact that you don’t understand that words can be hurtful and the fact that you don’t respect the wishes of marginalized people to control even a little part of their public image is not because you are wiser, smarter, and stronger than the marginalized people. Perhaps it is because your invisible privilege blinds you to the reality of discrimination that makes up the lives of others.

    Sorry to go on, and my apologies if I’ve derailed the thread. This is something that I feel very passionate about and I’m not sure what to do with this anger in my real life, where the men I care about all take this same position of “my right to use words trumps your right to not be degraded.” Sigh.

  192. #192 Yvonne
    May 20, 2010

    Sorry to go on, and my apologies if I’ve derailed the thread.

    That wasn’t a derailing. That was a getting to the very heart of the matter. Thank you.

  193. #193 skeptifem
    May 20, 2010

    Shit yeah, Comrade! It is like you know someone is a douchebag instantly when they complain about “PC” language for that exact reason.

  194. #194 Comrade Svilova
    May 20, 2010

    Thanks a lot for the solidarity!

  195. #195 Queef
    May 21, 2010

    Comrade, a once gender-derogatory term can lose that connotation over time though, ja? I think “hysteria” is a good example of that. These days, in most usage, those who are called hysterical aren’t just women. Plenty of men “go hysterical.” And the intention behind saying that to those men isn’t “emasculation” or something. Hysterical has become simply synonymous with crazy.

  196. #196 Comrade Svilova
    May 21, 2010

    When a woman is called “hysterical” it is a method of dismissing and silencing her voice. When a man is called hysterical, it is a way of dismissing him by associating him with female “craziness.” Yes, actually, this is how the language functions in the opinions of many, many people. When talking with such people, do not use “hysterical” as a descriptive unless you’re willing to be seen as either ignorant or prejudiced/sexist.

    In this dialogue, who said that the derogatory term has lost its negative connotation? A man. Who feels that it is still derogatory? A woman. Hmm, I wonder if your comment possibly, perhaps, in some way illustrates my point that blindness to the derogatory nature of a term is directly related to privilege?

    And that’s all I’m going to say to Queef about this. I’m saying it for the benefit of lurkers who might be reading and wondering the same thing. But Queef, I’m sorry, you are apparently very deaf to the connotations of words and utterly determined to disregard any connotation ascribed to a word by anyone other than yourself.

    Words aren’t just used by one person, they are used to communicate. Unlike Humpty Dumpty (thanks for bringing him up, Bewildress!) we can’t just assign a meaning to every word we use without considering the meaning it has for the other people in the conversation. And I can’t freaking stand how many people (men usually) nonetheless believe that they ARE Humpty Dumpty, and because they don’t see a derogatory connotation — or because they say that a derogatory connotation doesn’t exist — it doesn’t. Because a word means something to them, they feel that they can ignore the meaning(s) it has for the people to whom they are speaking.

    Now I’m getting wound up again. Queef, before you respond, recall that the overall point of my comment was privilege and how it functions in people’s understandings of terms. So until you can actually examine your privilege and step outside it, your comments will (probably) simply demonstrate the problem I’m talking about. And doesn’t that ever get tedious? To be “Example 2B” of anti-feminist discourse?

  197. #197 SKM
    May 21, 2010

    a once gender-derogatory term can lose that connotation over time though, ja?

    Perhaps–if the original prejudice that made the term bigoted has been lost to the sands of time, which is not the case for “hysterical”. “Hysterical” is still used to dismiss women as irrational–it is used more often against women than men, and when used against men, it is used to denigrate them by comparing them to women, who are still assumed to be beneath them.

    As Comrade S. says, I am not going to argue this here either–it’s just too damn basic.

    Also, even if the word hysterical had “become simply synonymous with crazy” (which it has NOT), it would still be grossly disablist*–plenty of mentally ill folks are just as rational as anyone else, and often more so. Finally, “hysterical” is a tired fallback word–a cliche.

    In sum, there are plenty of reasons not to be an asshole by using the term “hysterical” against anyone, for any reason.

    *just a note: using “blind” and “deaf” to mean “ignorant” or “not understanding” is also disablist; I suggest trading in those tired metaphors for fresher, less prejudicial ones.

    A bright spot: one can avoid a lot of discriminatory language just by avoiding cliches!

  198. #198 Comrade Svilova
    May 22, 2010

    Thanks for the reminder, SKM. I realize I’ve been using “blind” and “deaf” when talking about those who willfully or accidentally ignore their privilege, and I will find other ways of expressing that.

  199. #199 Cara
    May 22, 2010

    Comrade, a once gender-derogatory term can lose that connotation over time though, ja? I think “hysteria” is a good example of that.

    Wrong again, dude. Thanks for playing, though.

  200. #200 Helen Huntingdon
    May 23, 2010

    It’s a major identifying characteristic of a domestic abuser when he, confronted with a legitimate grievance, insists on talking about his feelings rather than about the effects of his actions on others.

    It always kind of amazes me when these guys out themselves on the internet that way. But thanks, doods, for warning us what you really are.

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