A Bit More on OSB

In e-mail:

“So, you’re saying you’re for the Open Source Boob project? Really?”

Well. I’m for the idea of demystifying breasts to young men who fetishize them to the extent of not being able to process the fact there is an actual person that they are part of, yes. My understanding of the project was that this was a component of the thing, although I fully admit that inasmuch as my knowledge came after the fact and based on what I remember being told about it at lunch, it may have been at variance with how it was envisioned by the participants, or how it was otherwise reported. How I saw it, however, was that if some women wanted to attempt to mitigate mammary hyperfocus in socially underdeveloped male geeks via this sort of offer, I was fine with that and wished them luck with it.

Would it be something I would suggest as a way to address this particular issue? Not particularly, since generally I neither wish to intimately touch nor be intimately touched by strangers, breast-bearing or no, and I’m not entirely sure the attempted procedure would (how to put this politely) work as desired in all cases. Do I think it’s an idea that is widely portable to different contexts? Really, no. But if women wanted to try it in an environment where they themselves felt comfortable, well, okay, fine. You kids have fun with it. As I said, I think my understanding of the concept and its goals was different from other folks.

I also think it mattered who I first heard about it from. I first heard about it after the fact, and in person, from a woman who participated in it and had fun with it, who thought it went well, and was generally happy about the whole thing. Most everyone else on Teh Internets heard about it from The Ferrett. In real life, the Ferrett is a perfectly pleasant, albeit clearly unfiltered, sort of guy; I had a breakfast with a group that included him and his wife at Penguicon and had fun talking with him, not about open source boobs, but who would win in battle: a bear or a shark (I went with the shark). Sadly for The Ferret, in the entry in which he wrote about OSB, he comes across as generally skeevetastic, especially if you don’t know him; the people who don’t know him constitutes most of Teh Internets. The Ferrett now has to live with the mess. That’s his online karma. He does seem to accept it.

My point is, however, that me hearing about it in person from an enthusiastic female participant rather than from a guy writing about it on the ‘Net gave me a different starting point on it than most people got: a female positive one rather than male skeevetastic one. Your mileage may vary on this, of course. Nevertheless, I toss it out there for your consideration.

102 thoughts on “A Bit More on OSB

  1. Well, I didn’t get the same kind of skeevetastic vibe from The Ferrett’s recounting of the project that you did, but maybe that’s because I read your account first and it colored my perception. No matter.

    In any event, should I be confronted at any point with one of these female participants, I will most likely exercise my right to refrain from participating, and to keep my damn hands to myself. I can’t speak for the rest of you, so if you’re so inclined, go ahead; good luck with that.

  2. I’ve read your posts and the linked posts and I still don’t see any downloads, code or other options for installing boobs on the Kubuntu Linux laptop I have at home. Nor has anything appeared in the Canonical libraries when I run Adept, or in any of the extended libraries I’ve authorized Adept to check. If I had any idea what I should type into APT-GET, I’d be willing to try installing open source boobs on my machine from the command line, but I’m starting to suspect that boobs continue to be proprietary software (except in the case of older implants, which I’m told are sometimes develop into a hardware solution).

    I wouldn’t mind having boobs on at least one of my machines at home (heck, if there’s an open source boobs solution for my Windows machine, I’d be willing to give that a try). But the fact that it appears somebody is trying to use “open source” to describe something that is in actuality a closed-source or restricted option is confusing or frustrating. If I have to pay for boobs, just tell me. Don’t leave me groping for alternatives, and don’t sow FUD in the open source community, we have enough already.

  3. [Deleted for anonymous trolling. I know, I know. Anonymous trolling on a thread about breasts? Who knew it could happen? -- JS]

  4. As a participant, none of the horrible things that people presented as “things that could happen” actually happened.

    However, I recognize and accept that ‘nothing bad happened’ is not an excuse for not thinking ahead that something bad -could have- happened, and thus, I think the project was doomed from the start.

    Things were handled kinda poorly back in January, when random people were being asked, but I wasn’t there and can’t speak for that – I know simply that the buttons were an attempt to fix the flaws the originators saw in the initial attempt.

    It worked, in the setting it was in, at the time it happened. But as far as encouraging it to happen elsewhere or with other people? I can’t go that far.

    As someone who met Ferrett this weekend, and have known the other people involved for a few months, all I can say is that no one in the original group had anything skeezy in mind, and they are a fantastic, loyal, sweet group of friends. I’m honored to be numbered amongst them, and I really wish that this hadn’t turned into the clusterf*(k it did, because a lot of people who had nothing but positive intentions are stinging from some of the horrible things that were said.

  5. Re:who would win in battle?: a bear or a shark (I went with the shark).

    Jack Nicklaus beat Greg Norman on a regular basis. :)

  6. Again, I have to agree with Scalzi on this one. The concerns are legitimate and modern sexual etiquette is a maze of metaphorical shoals for sure, but if the participants are willing there should be no problem.

  7. John, I hate to say it, but I was shocked by your unscientific approach to this subject. What kind of bear? What kind of shark? We need parameters.

  8. Well, see, Craig, this was my problem too. It was presented to me as a Grizzly, but the shark was left unspecified. I personally assumed a mako or above. Also there was some dispute as to how much water: four feet or six feet. In four feet, it’s just about even; in six the shark has a clear advantage. Unless it’s a polar bear.

  9. Oh, come on. theferret has posted stuff like this for years, ever since his 2004 series of posts on how to get more people reading your LiveJournal. Want more examples of skeeve? Try this and the followup here for starters. He’s not some innocent guy who just accidentally misspoke one time, he has a history of posting deliberately controversial stuff, and a majority of the time it’s about women and/or sexuality.

  10. Stacia:

    You mean to say he presents differently online than in person? That’s unpossible!

  11. Dang, the bear vs. Shark discussion is so much more interesting.

    Myself, I have a substantive rack. I get tired of people talking to my chest. I love the t-shirt that says “With a brain like this who needs these?” I’m all for people to quit objectifying my breasts, including my husband who has been known to say “I’m sorry, I didn’t hear anything you just said, I was staring at your chest.” So, in a controlled, understood situation, check them out, get over it, and move on for the love of invisible pink unicorns.

    Now, Polar Bear vs. Great White Shark. That’s just scary to think about. Bloody too.

  12. Shark in a heartbeat.

    The whole fact that people are still talking about OSB means people either need to STFU about OSB or really talk about the B in OSB.

    Me, I need to muse to come in PDQ.

  13. What’s the saying? Oh, yeah. “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

    Maybe that’s the road to heck, since the sum total damage from this seems to be that some people on Teh Internets got upset. (Yes, it could have gone south, but it didn’t.)

  14. John, what stacia brings up is also a fair point. Hell, the fact that he’s a fairly popular lj writer goes against him a bit in this case; I am surprised that he wrote it the way he did… and that he was then taken aback that people responded to his words. He even said at one (paraphrasing) that considering the activity, it wouldn’t matter how anyone described it, that it wouldn’t matter what words were used.

    But…

    He also has claimed that he didn’t feel he could write from women’s perspectives because he’s not a woman. Writers write from other genders’ perspectives all the time, right? The fact that he could not find it in himself at all to maybe see that his wording or that post’s affected how others would view what he described is just… I don’t want to call shenannigans, but it certainly boggles MY mind.

    And y;know, there were positive intentions, but frankly that doesn’t matter. Intent of an action does not mitigate the impact an action makes. When you express yourself poorly, or you offend someone, it doesn’t matter how utopian or good-natured your intentions were; you have to deal quickly, contritely, and compassionately *with the result of your expression* of your initial idea.

    His later clarifications were shot through with matrydom and passive agressiveness that casts dout on whteher he was really willing to do that.

  15. Hey, the whole OSB thing offends me.

    Experience tells me that asking to touch a boob is consenting to being knee’d in the groin.

    No button will trick me into the Charlie Brown/Lucy kick the football thing…

  16. Shawn Struck:

    “John, what stacia brings up is also a fair point.”

    I’m not aware of saying it was not, nor am I aware of saying that he should have been surprised what the reaction to his words were. He owns his words; he owns responsibility for them. I am saying in real life, he’s perfectly pleasant and not in the least creepy — or at the very least not in the least bit creepy around me. That people present differently online and in real life is not surprising.

  17. Shawn Struck:

    I didn’t miss her point. I merely addressed a different point. It happens.

    Clearly the bear holding the shark WINS.

  18. Hmm, I’ve caught a shark* while fishing and lived to tell the tale. If I caught a bear while fishing, I’d be very frightened. Therefore, on the badass scale, shark<me<bear. Clearly the bear could beat the shark

    *it was a little one of a species that doesn’t grow very big, but since makos are open-ocean critters, I’ll assume that a bear is more likely to encounter a little shoreline hugging dogfish.

  19. Would the shark have a lazer on his head? Did I just reference Austin Powers? In 2008?

    Well, assuming heavy hitters in both leagues (eg. great white vs. polar bear), I’d have to say the shark has the definite advantage. In any level of water in which the shark can survive and move, say 4 or 5 feet minimum, I think a motivated great white will win. However, sharks are scavengers, so I doubt it would be unlikely to hang around if the bear got in a lucky swat at the start.

    In open water at sea, I still think the shark wins. It has the advantage of speed and manoeuvrability.

  20. If this happened in a workplace it would be classified a hostile environment and liable to a law suit.

    For a lot of attendees conventions are work places as well a social occasions, which is why you can deduct the costs on the tax return as business expenses.

    What people do in privacy is all their own business, i.e., get a room. Public display of inappropriate touching forces it to be the business of others, whether they want it to be not. That’s unfriendly, hostile and aggressive.

    Kids attend conventions. I don’t think I’d like mine seeing this stuff, which at best immature and silly, and at worst are misogynist and sexist.

    Still, conventions are in a sense outside the ‘real world,’ in the same way bars, strip clubs and movie theaters are, so it is easy to forget that what you and your friends are all up in, for others, may be not so much.

  21. The entire premise of OSBs is flawed; it is as unstable as a vial of nitro balanced on a polar bear ‘s back while shark surfing the arctic ocean. The old line “familiarity breeds contempt” is a truism that applies to almost everything in life…except boobs. Tania supports this with “my husband who has been known to say “I’m sorry, I didn’t hear anything you just said, I was staring at your chest.””. This occurs daily in our house (my wife while rather more than pert is not particularly stacked still drives me to distraction) and likely occurs and many/most households with embarrassing frequency and will so until universal heat death. So the idea that males, be they George Clooney or hobbledehoy (let’s not even start with Chang) will become accustomed to breasts is absurd, we only learn to camouflage our observations and attempt to listen as we wonder just what the look like today…if they have changed…are they flushed, cold, happy…and hell I’m a leg man.

  22. I think it’s not too early to print up “I was there at the great OSBP debacle” t-shirts.

    My two cents. The internet is making whales out of minnows. And the ferret is reveling in the infamy.

  23. Wait…giant radioactive zombie bears fighting alien sharks with overdeveloped brains and antigravity devices to keep them from flopping around on the ground. Now there’s a battle I’d like to see.

    What were we talking about? *grin*

  24. http://www.walrusmagazine.com/blogs/2008/03/19/i-come-by-it-honestly/

    To quote: “When he was eighteen years old, my great uncle Tom Kelly got into a fistfight to the death with a bear. And won.”

    No sharks were involved, however, so it’s not germane, I guess. Nor are there boobs.

    My response to the OSB thing is basically “eh.” In my experience, sci-fi conventions are weird, and contain substantial pluralities of oddly socialized people with utopian leanings and heinleinesque attitudes about sex. It’s not as weird as MLA (although the costumes are better), but it’s pretty darn weird.

  25. I actually own a T-shirt that says “You do not need to look at my breasts. These are not the breasts you are looking for. Move along.”

    I must find out where it’s gone…

    And btw, #2? You made my day. :-)

  26. AFDD:

    I remember you wearing that shirt at the Glasgow Worldcon. I remember being very amused by it.

  27. I don’t know this guy in real life. He may be a prince of a fellow.

    The Internet persona of the controversial entry is childish and embarrassing (at least, I would suggest he should be embarrassed by it). “OH HIGH SCHOOL MELTED AWAY WHEN I TOUCHED HOT STRANGERS’ BOOBS” is not something we hot strangers particularly want to read.

    This seems like the Ann Coulter argument here: “Oh, he’s not really like that!” is somewhat orthogonal to “This Internet piece was pretty squicktastic.”

    And the surly teenaged fauxpology doesn’t help. But this is just one hot stranger’s opinion.

  28. Well, as I said, Ferrett’s words are his words, and he’s got to deal with him. There is a schism in how he presents online and in the real world. This should not be entirely surprising.

  29. Angie @ 4: However, I recognize and accept that ‘nothing bad happened’ is not an excuse for not thinking ahead that something bad -could have- happened, and thus, I think the project was doomed from the start.

    Doomed? Yes. However, I don’t necessarily think that stupidity is something to blame someone for.

    I just finished reading an article by Cory that referenced Schneier’s Law, and I can see vast parallels with this situation.

    Any person can create a Utopian system that they can’t find fault with. Of course, as soon as it hit the blogosphere, it collapsed almost instantaneously under it’s gender politic problems because anyone can attack it and find fault with it.

  30. The other part of that arguement, ST @ 32, is that no person’s utopia is exactly the same as any other person’s utopia. Which is probably why utopias always turn into distopias in SF.

  31. Followup thought: Because of the utopia/distopia result and the Heinleinesque “freeing of boundaries” aspect, it seems like the OSB debate is ideal for the SF con. How cool is that?

    Oh, and AFDD @ 28? I’d love to have that shirt!

  32. I’m with you. Bears swim pretty well, but the shark wins hands down just because, you know, it’s a shark.

    I’m curious: do you remember if the woman described it as “a movement”? Or did she just describe it as something fun that happened basically between friends? Because I’ve said in my LJ that my reaction to a woman posting similar to/the same as theferret would have skeeved me out, but a woman or theferret who hadn’t described it as something that should be spread far and wide would have caused me to shrug instead of feeling skeeved out.

  33. SisterCoyote:

    I don’t recall her discussing it as a “movement,” no. I think that was someone else’s ambition/ill-advised statement.

  34. In a weird small-world coincidence, the bear attack victim yesterday was the father of a 3rd grader in a grade school class taught by someone in my social circle.

    But I’ve known more people killed or injured in shark attacks (used to spend all summer being a boat/beach bum on Tomales Bay in Marin County, California) than bear attacks. And there are less pine trees to climb out at sea. So I have to go with sharks as the more significant hazard.

  35. No good can come of this.

    It’s not your battle.

    Just walk away.

    Uh…I mean the bear-shark thing.

    You can discuss that OCD topic all you want. I’m just staying far far away from that one.

  36. An Eric @2:

    Indeed, rivkat (an actual IP lawyer) has explained:

    Who is supposed to be doing the open sourcing here? For those of us who aren’t Cylons, there aren’t many copies. Bodies are rivalrous (and this fellow’s very professions of happiness at being *granted access* indicate that he knows this). And a big part of the project of feminism has been to establish excludability as women’s fundamental right, when it hasn’t been the default.

    To call for women’s bodies to be “open source” is simultaneously to reject the authority of women over their bodies–a fragile enough authority already–and to commodify, to thingify, women’s bodies into fungible copies: the neat trick of reducing us to our bodies and then denying us control over them. (In real open source, you don’t get to say no to a user you don’t like. That’s kind of the point of open source: everybody gets to play.

    So when the ferret person is shocked that people are reading his proposal as coercive–well, even if there *weren’t* the cultural background he’s so madly denying, the concept he picked is at best wrongheaded and strikes me as quite revealing about the actual agenda.)

    This is why rivkat says calling this project “Open Source” is a category mistake of the ugliest kind. Just because a person is embodied, is physical, doesn’t mean she’s a commodity.

  37. Errors in terminology aside, I suspect it was called “Open Source” because Penguicon is a combination science fiction and open source computing convention. More evidence that it was context-specific.

  38. I was going to quibble with the ‘demystification’ idea, because surely that’s what Wikipedia is for nowadays, but then I realized that the real problem comes from the rest of the opening sentence:
    “to young men who fetishize them to the extent of not being able to process the fact there is an actual person that they are part of, yes.”

    Which makes the argument seem to be that allowing sad young graphic-literary men to grope certain parts of random strangers will help them to de-fetishize and de-objectivise women (for the record, I don’t think you’re making that argument, John, just summing it up). But the problem, there, seems two-fold:

    First, it strikes me as somewhat akin to the ancient practice of attempting to treat victims of animal attacks by treating the animals. Or attempting to heal a nail-puncture wound by applying medicine to the hammer.

    And second, why stop there? Lots of con-goers also fetishize schoolgirls, right? Shall we book a fieldtrip?

    Also: ‘skeevetastic’ seems to sum the whole thing up rather well.

  39. Will Entrekin:

    “for the record, I don’t think you’re making that argument, John, just summing it up”

    Oh, good. It’s nice when people make such distinctions.

  40. I don’t get why women wear shirts that have writing on the front if they don’t want people looking at their chests – doesn’t that defeat the purpose?

    Now, if you *really* wanted to be OSB, you’d put the writing in braille…

  41. How can this thread have gone on as long as it has without mentioning . . .

    – the Animal Planet show Animal Face-Off (at this link you can actually match up a Polar Bear against a Great White in their little Flash game),

    – the now-defunct post-punk band from Michigan, or

    - Chris Bachelder’s excellent-if-messy-and-postmodern novel, Bear v. Shark, that probably kicked off this whole debate for the first time back in 2001 when it was published.

    Well, consider it done.

  42. More evidence that it was context-specific

    OK, I can see how the *original* idea was context-specific, where it should be parsed “Open Source” *beat* “Boob Project”. But TheFerret’s post was certainly *not*, that was the whole point: it should be a movement! Free boobies for all! My weaning issues, let me show you them!

  43. Meanwhile, vito-excalibur at LJ has started the Open Source Women Back Each Other Up Program:

    This is not a joke. This is not satire. This is not a test.

    Here’s my pledge: if I see somebody groping you in public, and you’re not moaning Yes! Yes! Yes!, I will break through your Somebody Else’s Problem invisibility field and come over and ask if you’re okay.

    And there are even the Y Chromsome Reserves:

    YCR members should be proactive, following a “Friends don’t let friends be Creepy Guys” policy. More than serving as distractions for Creepy Guys or as back to the Backup as described, we YCR men can look at our friends, and say, “Dude, you’re being a dick. Stop it.” before things get to the point where the Backup has to intervene. And, if a situation warrants it, we can educate them in the wrongness of said behavior, so that they go forth and be Creepy no more.

    Or even “skeevetastic”.

  44. Doctor Science @ 47–

    That is awesome. “Dude, you’re being a dick. Stop it,” made me laugh aloud. Funny ’cause it’s true. Go forth and be creepy no more, indeed.

    Many people need that phrase on a continuous mental spool, I think.

  45. Well. I’m for the idea of demystifying breasts to young men who fetishize them to the extent of not being able to process the fact there is an actual person that they are part of, yes.

    You know, women manage to demystify male parts just fine without needing a public license to grope–or any other serious help, really.

    I’m having trouble respecting any man who can’t do the same. Seriously, if any guy can’t figure out there’s a human being behind those breasts, and believe it, on his own, I do not want to interact with him in any way.

  46. My first introduction to this was from unfunnybusiness, a Fandom Wank-associated community, so my impression of The Ferrett was skeevetastic.

    Now, he may be, or he may be not skeevetastic, and the whole plan may have been, or may have not been a positive thing for women. I shall leave that for people who believe that they have a stake at this issue, and who are willing to debate the matter.

    But I did enjoy the resulting fracas, and how the Ferrett kept bungling his responses, and it’s kept me entertained for almost a whole day now.

  47. I want to point out that a creepy person, in real life, might only seem creepy to some people and not to everyone. I know that I’ve had to point out to my husband what I found unsettling about another person and usually he says that he had a sense that something wasn’t right but was not able to put his finger on it and at other times he just shrugs.
    @2 in some releases the said enhancement is a feature and in others it is deprecated (mainly some of the early model implants). I wouldn’t advise seeking it out any further lest you install the latter.

    What about a bear vs a land shark?

  48. Anonymous:

    “Seriously, if any guy can’t figure out there’s a human being behind those breasts, and believe it, on his own, I do not want to interact with him in any way.”

    Which is all well and good, but still leaves a clueless dude out there potentially being an asshole to women, now, doesn’t it. I also suspect that leaving clueless men to figure this sort of stuff out entirely on their own will not lead to long-term happiness for anyone. Because they’re clueless, you see. And whether you want to interact with him, chances are soon or later, in the natural course of having a life, you will have to, or someone like him.

    I’m not saying the particular solution tried here to fix this state of affairs is the correct one, but to the extent these women tried, I think it’s a nice gesture.

  49. Disclaimer: I was not there. I am not a ‘Con person due to physical distance and financial difficulty.

    The most disturbing piece of this fecal puzzle (the whole ball of fertilizer is fragrant, if you catch my drift), in my opinion, is the notable lack of reading comprehension and resistance to accurate facts.

    specifically in the Feministing entry on the topic. Mac the Libertarian is roundly lambasted for his insistence on accuracy, even if you disapprove of the events.

    It appears that the only allowable reaction is hatred, here. Noone seems to think that maybe, just maybe, a clear visual indication of “it’s ok to talk to me about sex” might be a good thing. Instead it’s threats of violence (The Open Source Ball Kicking/Knuckle Sandwhich project, various comments and personal journal entries), denigration of Theferret as skeevy, and insults towards his manhood and physicality.

    I, quite frankly, am ashamed to be a fan of any sort right now.

  50. One slant on the OSB thing that I have only seen pointed out by lj user legionseagle, is that, with the reasonably substantial percentage of men who are red/green colour-blind, wasn’t it a really bad choice to make badges in those colours?

  51. “It appears that the only allowable reaction is hatred, here. Noone seems to think that maybe, just maybe, a clear visual indication of “it’s ok to talk to me about sex” might be a good thing. Instead it’s threats of violence (The Open Source Ball Kicking/Knuckle Sandwhich project, various comments and personal journal entries), denigration of Theferret as skeevy, and insults towards his manhood and physicality.”

    Having made just this point on one blog, somehow I became akin to The AntiChrist and was called everything from a slimey dickhead to, well, actually that was the worst.

    It did generate somewhere near 100 responses, something I have yet to do on my own personal blog, so that was nice, I guess. It wasn’t my intent, but it was certainly eye-opening, if just to the extent that there are a lot of women out there aching to “Take out the Boys” and not in a good way.

    I would not have participated, much for the same reasons John didn’t, and furthermore feel the whole thing was ill-advised, although that is admittedly easier to see in hindsight.

    @28 – my wife has a shirt depicting two side by side D20s with the “20″ side pointing out which reads “Yes, they’re natural.”

  52. Corby:

    First, please notice how you are conflating “it’s ok to talk to me about sex” with “it’s OK to fondle my breasts”. *Please*. Notice the different body parts involved. Notice that talking is not gender-specific, but breast-fondling is. Think about it. Does your lack of fondlable breasts mean that it’s not ok for people to talk to you about sex?

    Second, I strongly recommend that you read synecdochic’s post about the fine line between sex-positive and just trying to get laid a lot.

    Third, if men like you (and John) are upset by women who want to “take out the boys” because we can’t trust men not to be booty-hunters, *you* have to monitor each other’s behavior. We women can’t convincingly tell a man “dude, stop being a dick” when the general culture says “real men are dicks”. (look at TV ads for a while if you don’t believe me.) It takes a man to say friends don’t let friends be Creepy Guys.

  53. Which is all well and good, but still leaves a clueless dude out there potentially being an asshole to women, now, doesn’t it. I also suspect that leaving clueless men to figure this sort of stuff out entirely on their own will not lead to long-term happiness for anyone. Because they’re clueless, you see. And whether you want to interact with him, chances are soon or later, in the natural course of having a life, you will have to, or someone like him.

    I think what I object to is the idea that it’s somehow the responsibility of the women dealing with guys like this to educate them, rather than the responsibility of the guys to figure this out.

    Yes, letting guys like this roam the world at large causes problems for us all. But the proposed solution–which like you said, isn’t yours, but is still the one we’re discussing–suggests the way to deal with guys who are too creepy to understand women are human beings is … to give them some time to indulge in their creepiness in order to demystify the things they’re being creepy about.

    I think the problem, as others have pointed out, is that to a guy, someone like this may be merely clueless, remind them a little of themselves when younger even if they weren’t that bad, maybe you even feel a little bit of sympathy for the poor guy even while knowing his behavior really isn’t right.

    To a woman, it’s demeaning at best and threatening at worst. And to hear that the solution is that–not that the guy should be tossed out on his ear or otherwise have it made clear his behavior is inappropriate, but instead that the women whose lives he’s making unpleasant should help him out by giving him what he inappropriately wants …

    … there are not words for just how icky that is.

  54. Anonymous:

    “I think what I object to is the idea that it’s somehow the responsibility of the women dealing with guys like this to educate them, rather than the responsibility of the guys to figure this out.”

    Well, I’d be as delighted for other guys to take these guys aside and explain the world to them. Aside from that, you do seem to suggest you live in a world where clueless people somehow get clues on their own. While I like your world, and wish I could live there, in the world that I live in, clueless people often remain clueless until someone rather mercifully clues them in.

    In this particular case, as I understood it, the women decided they wanted to do the in-cluing, and did. How you go from that and suggest that it has globally now turned into the women’s responsibility to educated poorly-socialized geeks is a bit beyond me.

    Mind you, you’re free to tell the women in this particular case they shouldn’t have taken this particular educational mission upon themselves. At which point I suspect you would be told “you’re not the boss of me,” and henceforth largely ignored.

  55. And whether you want to interact with him, chances are soon or later, in the natural course of having a life, you will have to, or someone like him.

    However given the not-insignificant chance that said creep might be a dangerous creep, and the unbelievably strong social pressure to not be MEAN, why should I take on the responsibility to do the educating here? Why is it my job to nicely explain to the creep that he’s being a creep? When I’m the offended party?

    And, in all likelihood, there is no nice way to say, to some of these over-sensitive entitled guys, “No, I don’t find you attractive and I don’t want to sleep with you or in fact touch you in any way.” There’s no way to not make that be a rejection, and those rejections so often result in abuse, more resentment of women–or worse, a refusal to take the hint. If you’re polite they don’t believe you, and if you’re not polite you’re written off as a bitch.

    Sure, this is not universal: but it’s common enough, particularly among the guys who are sufficiently short on social skills to begin with to not understand that they’re coming off skeevy or creepy.

    So in suggesting women do the educating, you’re putting the burden on us to put ourselves in social and possibly physical danger because some entitled jackass can’t get past the idea that he’s got a right to some booty.

  56. Well, I’d be as delighted for other guys to take these guys aside and explain the world to them.

    Are you willing to be Mr Explains the World to them? I am not asking ironically — I mean, to what extent are you (as a Big Name Guy) willing to tell other males when their behavior is starting to become inappropriate, before it becomes actively creepy? Are you willing to tell your friends when they’re getting skeevetastic?

    I think the ‘net dynamics would be *totally* different if one of the women involved had been the one making the big online post. I get the feeling that the con event started with them, not TheFerret — is this your impression, too? In any event, *even though* the PenguinCon event seems to have been female-instigated, it’s TheFerret who made the post and manifesto, and it’s his skeevetastic take on things that the vast majority of people are responding to.

  57. Doctor: First, please notice how you are conflating “it’s ok to talk to me about sex” with “it’s OK to fondle my breasts”. *Please*.

    No he’s not.

    I think you just proved Anonymous Cowherd’s point.

  58. In this particular case, as I understood it, the women decided they wanted to do the in-cluing, and did. How you go from that and suggest that it has globally now turned into the women’s responsibility to educated poorly-socialized geeks is a bit beyond me.

    Well, theferrett was suggesting the world would be a better place if more women did this, which is where the creepiness comes in.

    That this was a fine and empowering thing for the small group of folks involved, I have no argument with. But theferrett’s post was about turning it into a movement, which is a whole other matter.

  59. Cofax:

    “So in suggesting women do the educating, you’re putting the burden on us to put ourselves in social and possibly physical danger because some entitled jackass can’t get past the idea that he’s got a right to some booty.”

    You’re making the same error of assumption that Anonymous is making, to wit, that noting that it’s helpful for clueless men to be educated, and by noting that some women in this case decided to do some educating, that I am therefore implying or suggesting that the responsibility for cluing the clueless falls exclusively on women. As I said earlier, I’m not entirely sure how one gets from one to the other.

    Anonymous:

    “Well, theferrett was suggesting the world would be a better place if more women did this, which is where the creepiness comes in.”

    Well, then I suppose you need to bring that up with The Ferrett, as I am not he, nor does what he’s written have much bearing on what I’ve written here.

    Dr. Science:

    “Are you willing to be Mr Explains the World to them? ”

    If you go through the archives of the site you’ll find I do a lot of world-explaining to geeks and/or men, so yes, I’ve done it before and I imagine I’ll do it again. However, this is neither here nor there as to whether others, regardless of gender, choose to do the same thing.

  60. I’ve read many of the posts on this including theferret’s. Yes I think all the facts should be pointed out etc. But the fact is it’s not so much as “hate” in the comments here (and elsewhere) as “fear”. We live in a society that blames the victim. If someone had been wearing the green button, and had been raped, do you think that wouldn’t have been brought up in court? Do you think that wouldn’t be a defense that she/he had “given implied consent” or “confusing messages” about her/his availability? The fact that no one was raped/hurt or harmed (though since not all 40 people wearing badges have stepped forward yet and told their side which means you can’t say for certainty that no one was harmed) doesn’t mean that this isn’t a whole can of worms. And I still haven’t heard back from anyone if they had checked ID’s and can assure us that everyone involved (gropers and gropees) were of age.

  61. Well, Vail, if this is a genuine concern for you, I do invite you to investigate it yourself and post your findings. I’m not sure why you expect other people to do it for you.

  62. Actually that’s an interesting reply Mr. Scalzi. I think that everyone should be concerned if under aged girls/boys were involved. Why yes, I would be happy to take on defending children by myself. Thank you for being so caring of others.

  63. I have faith, Vail, that your time will not have been completely and utterly wasted in a concern-trollish pursuit. All the best to you in this endeavor.

  64. Hmmm. I must be missing something. Taking into perspective all of the possible (perhaps even probable) ways the effort could have ended badly, and the fact that others simply did not agree with the ferret’s idea, *and* that I was led to his link by a hostile source…I did not get any “skeevetastic” vibe from him at all. (Perhaps, because I read the updated version with all the clarifications…but I read the original post first and I kinda shrugged. Read too much Nancy Friday, maybe?) No one who wasn’t wearing a button was asked and if you were it only meant you *could* ask and wasn’t a free-for-all grope&orgy.

    Some pointed out that there was a sexual dimension to his experience. Well, d’oh, s’boobs. I don’t see how that logically leads to skeevedom either. So now it’s the suggestion that other women should opt-in? Whatever the consequences of trying to make this a better supported initiative I don’t think the mere suggestion makes him sleazy because it’s clear from the posts that it was a positive experience for all those involved. At worst it makes him naive about possible reactions but it seemed sensible to me that IRL the group kept it a tight knit close group of friends and to get it on a wider scale he used a fairly impersonal medium.

    We all have different limits on certain ideas and reactions but I’m not sure why the differences should make one a prude or a skeeve? (And only one side of this argument seems to be throwing such names around.)

    However given the not-insignificant chance that said creep might be a dangerous creep

    Yikes. If you’re a clueless young male chances are you’re dangerous? That’s quite a fate to work under.

    So in suggesting women do the educating, you’re putting the burden on us to put ourselves in social and possibly physical danger because some entitled jackass can’t get past the idea that he’s got a right to some booty.

    I missed this bit. Where did Scalzi put the onus on us women to cure hapless, likely dangerous sexual predators (one does lead to the other!) about personal boundaries?

  65. Hmmm actually I am truly not being a troll. I think that these people rather unwittingly opened up a huge problem for themselves. But I don’t think it’s trollish to bring up that they may have (completely unknowingly) involved a minor in their activities. Does it excuse them for doing so? No it doesn’t. They need and everyone needs to think of these things before they try them out. If the first woman they had approached, at the first con, had been say a mature 15, had been felt up and later her parents had heard about it, these people could be facing charges, even if the girl had been willing. It is a very big concern. And I hope that everyone, male and female makes sure to work towards making our cons, and our world safe for minors.

  66. Vail, you may assume that my absolute lack of concern on this score comes from knowing some of the people involved and knowing that they are neither stupid nor capricious, and also from knowing that in general Penguicon does not attract hordes of teenagers below the Michigan age of consent. If you’re going to be concerned about this, you’ll also have to be concerned about the open drinking in the halls (which there was) and whether underage folks got drinks as well. As it turns out Penguicon and its attendees are typically very good at following laws and rules because they are typically law-abiding people who also don’t want to cause troubles for the convention.

    As I said, if you are genuinely concerned, I invite you to look around and see what you can find. On this end, however, an absence of evidence on what you’re particularly concerned about does not imply that something happened that we don’t know about. Based on my experience of the people and the convention, it implies that nothing of the sort happened.

  67. Let me see if I understand:

    Some women put on buttons granting permission for people to ask to touch them.

    Are we castigating them for making their own decisions about their bodies? For making their own decisions (and exerting control over) talking about their bodies?

    Did I miss a memo here, or are we supposed to hate these people for making us feel threatened because we didn’t participate? OOoo! So scary! Some clueless nerdboy might ask us about our breasts! And because we are oh so weak and helpless in the face of social pressure to be nice and submissive?*

    Or are we castigating theferrett for being a skeevetastic drooly nerd boy? Okay, I could get on board with that, but reading his latest, he seems pretty repentant. Perhaps there is nothing to see here, and we should move on?

    *granted, most of us, me included, do have some problems with that, but that’s my problem, not theirs. Boundaries, you know?

    John, I’m not sure that this reply isn’t a too trollish. Have i gone too far?

  68. Vail:

    My 13 year old daughter spent most of Saturday-day running around penguicon mostly unsupervised. (Granted, I know tons of people there and they knew she was there, so if anything stupid happened, odds are someone that knew her and/or me would have witnessed it.

    However, I felt completly safe dropping her off in the anime room, or leaving her in a room where we’d both been to a panel and she wanted to stay for the next one. She and another girl approximately her age managed to make their way from the anime room to the consuite for Dr. Pepper and snacks and back again without being accosted.

    Now. That said, I took her to a sitter by 9pm when the partying started. Next year, if we get a room, she’ll be escorted back to our room, set up with video games and tv, and will not be allowed to partake in the party scene. Not at 14. Not at 15. After that, we’ll talk.

    But during the day, when there were lots of kids around? I never for a moment worried for her safety, and I’m generally overprotective.

  69. As near as I can tell, it was consensual, it was small-scale, and it doesn’t seem like anyone was pressured into participating, and I’m not going to impugn the autonomy of any of the women who put on green buttons.

    But it is a bummer that so many people are being turned off sci-fi by this. It’s not hard to predict that some people in the wider world (where non-consensual groping is a fact of life for many women) were going to think this was pretty lame.

    And it’s also a bummer that so many people criticizing this extremely small group of people (men and women both) choose to do so by resorting to the worst stereotypes of sci-fi fandom.

  70. This is about the birth of the Open Source “Boob” Project.
    If you were there, you already know, if not, here it is:

    It was about women wondering why it was strange and only sexual to touch another woman’s breasts. It was about one woman saying “I would like to touch your breasts.”, and being allowed.
    And it was about the women that were there actually touching each other’s breasts, and feeling how they differed from their own. Not in a sexual way, but in a “what the adult human body feels like” way.

    It was about a woman then saying to her male friends that it would be perfectly fine for us to feel them, too, not a big deal at all. Because men are shut out of any interaction with women’s bodies that isn’t sexual, unless we’re doctors. And how can that be a good thing? And then it was about those people not wanting to be restricted to touching the female form, because the male of the species is also quite often touched only when it’s time for sex, so then we decided that breasts alone were not enough, but the buttocks are also important and interesting parts of both the male and the female.

    And it was good. It was enlightening. I know my wife had never touched another woman’s breasts before. I had never touched another man’s ass before, either. Each body shape has it’s own type of feel, and they are pleasing to the touch.

    Then it became a project. A project to ask other people if they can understand and respect the idea that a touch doesn’t have to be a precursor to sex. That we (women and men both) own our bodies, and can be responsible and respectful and touch each other, too.

    After that convention in January, those same initial friends talked about it some more, and thought that it might be something to take to another convention, one where we had hundreds of friends and acquaintances between us. And so the idea of a button and a name was born. The name “Open Source Boob Project” was catchy, though not very accurate, but we didn’t think we needed anything better, considering our small audience. The green “Yes” button was only to indicate that the person wearing it would be happy to talk about it, and possibly extend their field of trust to include being touched by someone. The red “No” button was often argued against, for many of the same reasons that have been brought up everywhere since the story broke. But in the end, we knew we had at least one woman that would wear a “No” button and be more than happy to talk about the project, so they were made as well.

    Over the course of a three day weekend, I was asked about my button many times. I probably touched 15 women’s breasts, around that many women’s butts, and nearly 20 men’s butts. Of those, not a single one was pressured to allow it, nor were any of them uncomfortable in any visible way about the subject. During that same period, some women in the group did easily double that for touching other women’s breasts, as far as I understand them. Several of the men involved touched nobody’s body outside of their relationships. We provided explanations to anyone that asked about the buttons, though.

    Those green and red buttons that were being passed around as “peer pressure’? Outside of the group of 15 total people talking about this between January and April (a few of which did not come to the convention), our button-keeper tells us that she gave out, a total of 24 green buttons and 1 red button, all of which were by request. In a convention of nearly 1100 people.

    Now look, I understand that we live in a society that makes women’s bodies a commodity. That’s what started the whole concept. Why SHOULD women’s bodies be that way? In what tiny way can we address the issue in a microcosm? Why is there such a huge taboo for simple touch in our society? Those are the starting questions for how we got here. We wanted to understand how we can look at the isolation that a lack of touch imposes on us as individuals, and to use consensual touch in a positive way to make us feel more connected to each other. Nobody ever seriously proposed extending this project in time or size. Because there are people that would abuse the idea. And because it simply wouldn’t work in any positive fashion in our mainstream culture.

    If we had proposed that, then everyone should have gotten angry. But we didn’t. We set the limits, we were careful about how we talked about it, we were cautious about where we were and who we were talking to, we worked very hard to make sure that we did not offend anyone that we spoke to about it.

    And I think that it would have been no problem for anyone if theferrett hadn’t made the post he did. Now, he’s a friend of mine, and I had participated in the project, so when I read what he’d written, I said “Yeah, like that!”, not realizing that from the light and happy place that the project was, the post wasn’t significantly damning. But from the outside, without the filters of fun that everyone had, without the inside knowledge of how we were very careful not to offend or to touch anyone inappropriately, it looked really freaking bad. I’m not really blaming him, because when he wrote it, he was looking at it from the same side that I was initially.

    Regardless, this was an Open Source [Human Interaction] Project. This one was named for a body part. There will be another project. It will most likely involve some form of human contact. Maybe it will be a song, hugs, non-verbal, or any number of other interesting ways to communicate and see how we can grow closer. In the meantime, try not to dwell on the downsides of what would have happened if we’d taken this project fully public, since that wasn’t ever the plan, and won’t ever be the plan. Try to spend some time thinking about how human touch affects you, how the way you talk or write to someone else enriches or diminishes you, or how much nicer it would be to hug someone and explain than to call them names.

  71. Well, I finally got around to reading from a few different sources about this, and I’m going to have to go with Marcotte on this one:

    http://pandagon.blogsome.com/2008/04/24/7098/

    Sounds like a bunch of stupid, immature shit. “Funsexyfeminism that really panders to the patriarchy and has nothing to do with feminism. More to do with the ability to put women on the level of free software. Lovely.

  72. Lisa @78 – I’m not sure anyone is saying it wasn’t, on some level, stupid or immature. I think it was a failed experiment, personally, Look at the fallout.

    But that blog post misses the point and just lashes out in anger. So do the readers of said blog who started yelling “Fuck you” to a guy that said “I’ve never seen anybody walk up to a girl and ask to grope them.” You’d think he raped their fathers and shot their Bible considering the vehemence he was attacked with.

    If you wish to align yourself with that specific group and mentality then you will never begin to understand the disproportionate level of response the whole thing has generated.

  73. Corby @ 78: Disproportionate response. Huh.

    Here’s a well-reasoned, calm post on the subject. And a pullquote to go with it.

    “I’m just saying statistically, the chances are good that a few predators will be in ANY reasonably sized group of people, and you have no idea who they might be. Think about the message they are receiving, by watching another guy grope your boobs publicly. You might as well paste a sign across your forehead that says VICTIM.

    “Does that seem harsh? GOOD – and let me tell you, that is not an exaggeration! You know what real predators, men who commit stranger rape, look for in a victim? Someone easy to approach, easy to get close enough to, so they can get ahold of you and overpower you quickly and easily. And this little experiment? Just gave this guy an opening with every single woman at that Con, period.”

    Is anyone else aware that April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month? What great timing.

  74. @80 – Please. There were about 40 people involved out of 1000 and most people had no idea this was going on until well after the fact. They all pretty much knew each other and, with the exception of one incident at or around 1 AM, apparently there was no public groping.

    While I am sure there are rapists everywhere, Con goers are a fringe group of a fringe group and most of them either know each other by name or have a working knowledge that kicks in when they are introduced.

    We aren’t talking about group sex on a platform in Times Square forcibly pulling in every passerby and destroying their innocence. We are talking about a very limited experiment involving mostly friends that hardly made itself known.

  75. I responded to the other post because I didn’t realize a more recent one was up, but I just wanted to thank John for standing up for our basic integrity here.

    I lamented many times over the weekend about how I was the youngest member in the group (how horrible, right?) and I’m 26. I hope that passes muster, as far as age goes. See my post on John’s original Open Source Boobs for my own view on it, but there were NO children involved. Approximately half of us have children at home and the ones I have met are pretty much the most level-headed, fantastic, cute kids I’ve ever met.

    But thank you for raising the question of whether or not we were perhaps knuckling the buds of 12 year olds, or even 16 – I can assure you we were not, although you are, as John said, still welcome to follow up and research that.

  76. Always forget to add bits! Blah, of course that was directed to the gentleman/lady who originally brought up the concern and not at the rest of you fine folk

    (How do I work these darn typie thingies, anyways?!)

  77. Corby @82

    You are no doubt aware of the controversy on the DragonCon boards about how (not if) the Open Source Boob Project will be implemented at DragonCon? Not by its original initiators, I believe, but by other people who picked up on theferrett’s manifesto, and are planning to take the Movement onwards.

    I think when you comment that

    Please. There were about 40 people involved out of 1000 and most people had no idea this was going on until well after the fact. They all pretty much knew each other and, with the exception of one incident at or around 1 AM, apparently there was no public groping

    it might be helpful think about the “Open Source” part of the “Project” rather than the “Boobs” part, which seems to be distracting everyone.

    The code’s out there and the code is being embedded into lots and lots of other applications. And it doesn’t matter what safety routines and cut-outs were built into the original application. Open Source merely says that the new developers can use those routines if they so wish. But if they want to strip them out – or off – just to get to the core software, then they can do that, to.

    That’s what Open Source means, isn’t it? The original developers don’t get to say where the stuff ends up.

  78. legionseagle@82

    Actually I wasn’t. Even so …

    What does that have to do with this?

    We are not talking about that. We are talking about this. Maybe they will have learned something and will do it differently or not at all. That has no bearing on this specific event, and I stand by my statement.

  79. Cory:
    What you observed at the con is one part of the discussion. What it means for this practice to be made into a movement and extended to other spaces is another issue, which is not resolved by individual women at one con feeling threatened or unthreatened. The discussion for DragonCon is showing that it IS.

  80. MikeT #75: But it is a bummer that so many people are being turned off sci-fi by this. It’s not hard to predict that some people in the wider world (where non-consensual groping is a fact of life for many women) were going to think this was pretty lame.

    The impression I’m getting from a lot of the responses to this is that non-consensual groping is in fact no less a fact of life for women at SF cons, quite aside from this whole particular affair. (I don’t know if you actually meant to imply that this sort of sexist imposition usually stops at fandom’s door, but it seemed worth addressing.)

  81. I don’t think most people will remember this beyond the next couple of weeks, actually.

  82. Shawn – my name is Corby. With a “b”. It is right there, spelled correctly, numerous times.

    Also, I have said I was not in attendance at this con. I only have the word of the participants and other con goers for what happened.

    However, none of them seem to be up in arms about this, and many more had no idea it was going on.

    That DragonCon wants to do it even through this much back lash – well, that says something about them that just does not apply to the originators who naively did not think about this aspect. Now that is has been exposed, for anyone else to do the same thing is incredibly ill-advised.

  83. Corby Kennard @79

    If you wish to align yourself with that specific group and mentality then you will never begin to understand the disproportionate level of response the whole thing has generated.

    I think after all this, all that’s been said, the massive number of posts that this whole thing has generated, that is one of the most disturbing things I’ve read.

    I’m fully respectful of the claim that all of this started innocently, was meant inoffensively, and in good fun and with mutual consent among the parties. Intentions are not always indicative of results, however.

    And if you think the level of response is disproportionate, I’d hazard you stopped actually reading the objections and yes, the fears, being discussed by women *not involved* some time ago. And missed the point.

    The guy who got trounced on Pandagon deserved it, unless, of course, you believe the statement of one guy, who has never seen a woman’s breast be groped should stand as an absolute truth of it never happening. Did you actually read the comments of the women posting there, or did you just see him get his opinion handed back to him like the shoddy think-work it was and decide every other person posting in that thread had an issue as opposed to Notorious P.A.T. once more disclaiming that guys are misunderstood and maligned for no reason?

    No, seriously; does it not occur to you that perhaps the very fact that response actually appears so disproportionate that there might actually be something to it? I’m not talking about the hypothetical 12 year olds getting groped at the con, or being scarred for life by seeing such a thing in the hallways — I am talking about the fact that the visceral, gut reaction of so many women is so vehement for a reason.

    I’ve been to enough sci-fi/fantasy, fan and media cons to know that folks, in general, get up to things for the sheer freedom and fun of it at cons. I’m not trying to change con culture in all its geeky wonderfulness, but I will point out that at this point, the actions, and more specifically theferrett’s presentation of those events at the outset, have a great deal to do with the reaction.

    This reaction is only disproportionate in isolation. That so many women are both reacting viscerally and viciously to the idea of it, and are commenting over and over again across more than a hundred individual blogs and journal entries with their stories and their fears and their experiences and yes, their anger, should tell you something.

    If you want to be absolved of any responsibility for the reaction, then by all means, feel free to view this as the events at PenguiCon merely ripping the scab off a wound that’s been festering for decades, if not longer.

    You know, if it makes you feel better.

    I, of course, would feel better if the best result of this could be that a few more guys might come to rethink how their motives and actions — no matter how innocent and normal it may be in their own heads — might look from the perspective of someone who has a whole lot less access to your inner thoughts than you (or anyone else does) does to their external personhood.

  84. Everyone keeps bringing up that “no one without a button was asked” but, uh, I must be reading it wrong then, because it sure reads as though the woman in the blue princess outfit was approached and asked just based on her clothing, before the buttons, as well as other women that first night. And as I’ve said elsenet, I want to hear from her, and the first, (or any) woman who declined the fondling.

  85. maygra@91

    PAT was abused by the group. He said “This is so weird. I’ve never seen anything like that before.” He didn’t say it never happened, but the knee-jerk response of the riled up group, men and women, beat the shit out of him.

    Penguincon WAS an isolated incident. So, yes, thank you. The reaction was disproportionate.

    I don’t really have to think about how my actions look to others. If anyone has an issue with how I am acting, well, they have only to ask me what I am doing, and I will tell them. They rarely have to, though, because I basically live the way I think we all should, with consideration for others.

    So feel free to lump me in with “everyone else”. Just know that you are incorrect to do so.

    Maevele@92

    That was before the OSBP was a “thing”. That was part of the impetus prior to the event. The girl in blue was also known by the people in the group, just not the ferrett who wrote the piece – and he wasn’t the one who approached her, it was a woman. Also, while he doesn’t make it apparent, there are only a few hundred people at these local cons and most of them ARE known, if not by name by face. There are rarely “strangers” at con, and if there are, they are treated very differently than the regulars. So, no, I really don’t think, based on con culture and the comments of the people involved that completely random people were accosted.

  86. Corby Kennard @93

    Given that I didn’t lump anyone in as “everyone else” I’m not exactly sure what group you think I’m lumping you into, unless it was the group I was willing to give the benefit of the doubt to.

    Just to be clear, I don’t think the reaction has been disproportionate. I think that seeing this as only an isolated incident is the mistake.

  87. It IS an isolated incident! It is the context that you and everyone else getting all bent out of shape about this are not paying attention to!

    Context is the most important part of this whole thing and you throw it away. That is why you don’t think the reaction is disproportionate, because you refuse to recognize the context.

    That’s your choice, but it is what makes you and every single other person decrying this as some sort of misogynistic fantasy groping orgy completely wrong.

  88. Well, Corby, given that I haven’t decried this as a misogynistic fantasy groping orgy (but it’s interesting that you use that to identify it rather than maintaining your perception of it as an innocent unpressured exploration of non-sexual sexuality) in either this thread or the previous one on Scalzi’s blog, I don’t think I’m the one doing the lumping. Nor have I ignored the context of this incident, thank you, I just disagree that you can only look at it in isolation.

    About the only thing I’ve decried in this whole fracas is the inability of people to look at the response scale of this thing and actually see that it’s indicative of a larger problem than most people want to acknowledge.

  89. maygra:

    Well, it’s even worse than it appears, sadly, as other has poked around more, with theferret’s other livejournal posts:

    Like in http://theferrett.livejournal.com/535109.html where he says

    “Unfortunately, I can’t decry the process of “asking repeatedly,” mainly because it’s the only stimuli a lot of women respond to. Frankly, I think any woman who has to be begged fifteen times before she eventually accepts should be drug into the back alleyways and beaten, because her rampant need for a string of pleadings trains the wrong sort of men that no doesn’t mean no. And then we should go beat up the men for good measure.”

    And just as bad:

    http://theferrett.livejournal.com/534169.html

    “But these guys aren’t rapists; they’re enthusiasts. You dressed to provoke a certain reaction, and you got that reaction — just not from the guy you were hoping to attract. And yeah, I’m sorry that the guy was enough of a lout to think that waxing rhapsodic over your boobs was sweet talk that would inevitably lead to the boudoir, and I can even get that it’s tiresome fending off the aroused masses… but the idea that he was wrong for approaching you is just stupid.

    You went trolling for men. You caught some. Yeah, you have to throw some back, but don’t blame the men for that.”

    So, it looks like previous comments about this not appearing in a vacuum were even more spot on than people realized.

  90. Shawn, you are a rabble rouser. The blogs you should be reading are the ones that are by the girls involved. Also, there are people on this blog that were involved that disabuse your notions.

    Maygra, I was giving more direct words to the passive aggressive comments people have been putting out there. I use those words because that is how people are making this sound. There is nothing at all interesting about my description – it is a reflection of what others are saying.

  91. There is nothing at all interesting about my description – it is a reflection of what others are saying.

    It’s a reflection of what you interpret others as saying.

  92. Argh. I’m an idiot for not coming back to actually respond in the discussion I briefly participated in. I still haven’t figured out what the point is of saying theferrett is a nice guy in real life. A lot of people are constrained by face-to-face social pressure. I’m sure he’s no different. The Internet and alcohol both loosen tongues to a remarkable degree.

    As for people not remembering this beyond 2 weeks, it’s still getting a lot of play today, a week after it hit. I think this is going to be one for the ages.

  93. Shawn, she only slightly altered her position AFTER reading ferretts blog. Which, as I have stated and others involved have stated, was a poor representation of the “event”. You should read more than the highlights. You should also read the comments, where she states that the “event” itself was not the issue, but the way ferrett talked about it.

    I don’t read your blog so I cannot comment on that person.

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