An Anti-Feminist Walks Into a Bar: A Play in Five Acts

PROLOGUE

ACT I

ACT II

ACT III

ACT IV

ACT V

fin

317 thoughts on “An Anti-Feminist Walks Into a Bar: A Play in Five Acts

  1. Post-credits easter egg: GUY: Hey, little general? It’s just you and me…little general? Hello?

    LITTLE GENERAL: Don’t touch me, dumbass.

  2. Some of the Feminists I know would not have had a second act. The man would have been smacked down and would not have been able to crawl out of the bar.

  3. Sometimes I’m talking with friends of friends and going, come on, feminism, not hard people, and I feel like I’m bashing my head against a brick wall. Then I see gems like this and I go, oh good, I’m not bashing alone. Thank you for bashing some heads.

  4. Lady Mondegreen:

    “Trent Max” –ooh, what a manly name! He must be a real alpha, like “Max Power.”

    “It’s Power. Max Power.”
    I wonder how he takes his martinis. Shaken, or stirred.

  5. It’s nice to no I won’t have to lie about my marital status or sexual orientation anymore! With feminism in my heart, no creep will hit on to me ever again!

  6. This is a comment thread that would undoubtedly sprout trolls overnight, so I’m turning it off until the AM. It’ll open up again once I’m awake. Have a good night (or whatever the next eight hours or so will be, where you are).

    Update: Comments back on.

  7. Love it! I’d just made the mistake of looking at the comment thread on the Cracked article ‘7 Reasons “Gamergate” Proves Humanity is Doomed’ and I much appreciated having this as an antidote.

  8. This made me laugh because, back in the ’70’s, my friends and I were trying to figure out how to get rid of a guy who would not give up. Finally we decided I should tell him I was a feminist, as back then it was generally believed feminists were all lesbians. So we go back to our table and when he comes back and starts in again I say “No, thank you, I’m a feminist, you see.”. And right when the jukebox cuts off and it’s relatively quiet he bellows, “That’s OK, you won’t be after I (bleep) you!”. Fortunately, since it was relatively quiet, the bouncer heard, came over, and talked him into distributing his charm elsewhere. I hope the “I’m a feminist” technique works better nowadays.

    And how about a shout out to the bouncers of the world, under appreciated psychologists that they are?

  9. P. S. you know, there’s a lot of heated discussion of feminism on the Internet, from both sides, but in real life I can’t recall the last time I heard anyone even mention the topic. Israel is another such topic. I’m trying to think of some more.

  10. Perhaps FEMINIST T-shirts with large print (like those old Frankie Goes to Hollywood shirts) to cut down on unnecessary interaction.

  11. [Deleted for being too dumb to know the difference between feminism and misandry, and/or believing anyone here wouldn’t know the difference, and decrying purported strawman tactics while gathering hay himself. Be less stupid next time, Dann — JS]

  12. Love this. Especially since guys like our Trent here make it so darn difficult to make fun of them – they pretty much ARE their own caricatures. It’s not as if he merely believes he’s God’s very own personalized gift to women, oh, no, he’s actually planning on going Galt on us. How do you even satirize that?

  13. ALL OF THE JOY.

    Looking forward to you writing the sequel: Maximum Trent Going His Own Way: The Misandrying, where the titular character huffs off to join the MGTOW (Men Going Their Own Way) and discovers it’s, like, a total sausagefest.

    (Also: yay, Pharyngulites!)

  14. Mr. Scalzi, this is a thing of beauty. And here I always thought Twitter was useless; guess I’ve been following the wrong people. Bravo, sir!

  15. I’m always amused by the men who announce they can’t stand/won’t date feminists. For one thing, after three minutes of conversation with these Cro-Mags most women are crafting an exit strategy already. For another, nothing says, “I live in fear of EVERYTHING” louder than some twit who thinks an entire gender should be subordinate. Super sexy, right?

  16. I am deeply offended. There is no warning label. I narrowly missed ruining my keyboard because I was drinking a soda when I read this. Plus, this thread has made my ribs sore.

    Although, come to think of it, it does have Scalzi’s name on it. That might qualify as a warning label: ‘do not eat or drink while reading this post or comments.’

  17. This blog post is brilliantly lovely, and the comment thread is great fun, too. Why would any woman care that men who hate feminism won’t date them? Seriously? That road runs in both directions, honey.

  18. Tee shirts are definitely the way to go. Sell them in a bundle with one or more of your books and you can weed out idiots with great efficiency.

  19. Dann: ‘Anti-feminist’ may be the opposite of ‘feminist’, but ‘misogynist’ is not the opposite of ‘misandrist.”

  20. Dann,

    That’s some messed up math you’ve got there.

    Feminist=equality

    multiply both sides by -1: anti-feminist=anti-equality.

    we also know that misogynist = anti-equality

    therefore, anti-feminist=anti-equality=misogynist.

    or, anti-feminist=misogynist.

    On the other hand, misandrist=anti-equality

    therefore, feminist=equality != misandrist.

    or, feminist != misandrist.

    Q.E.D.

  21. Lynne,

    I agree.

    Greg’s comment is spot on. Trent is kind of a dick. Whether his is a misogynist….which is what John’s riff above suggests to me….or simply opposed to political feminism* are both conclusions that require a bit of a logical leap.

    *kind of depends on how you define it. IMHO, treating women like people with equal rights and equal pay (lots of etc., etc.) should be our societal objective; y’know…not being a dick, like Trent. Some people include other baggage such as socialism/communism within the definition of feminism. I’m all in favor of not being a dick. But some of that baggage should be loudly decried.

    But asking for that sort of nuance frequently results in getting called names.

    Like ‘dick”.

    Regards,
    Dann

  22. Trent may be doing a lot of things, but one thing he’s not doing is “asking for nuance” around what feminist means.

  23. Didn’t Samuel Delaney write a novella about a MGTOW dorm–in space! Unfortunately it was kind of a big sausage-fest with even the straight guys getting into a little situational homosexuality. Our MGTOW’s are more like DH Lawrence, women as servants. Women in their place. No intention of going their own way.

  24. But I’m not trying to get into an argument, because they never go anywhere.

    We can all believe as we’d like to believe, as long as we’re not stepping on each other’s toes.

    So, y’know, don’t step on so many toes. If a guy doesn’t like you because you’re a feminist, there’s a pretty good chance it’s because a feminist has said some really insensitive and downright mean stuff to him at some point (it’s happened to me a number of times, but, again, I blame it not specifically on feminism but on ideologies in general, which are usually of the “all or nothing” variety, and generally don’t leave much ground for real discussion).

    So, yeah, don’t be a close-minded ideologue (plenty of liberal progressive thinkers are incredibly close-minded, as I’ve come to learn, though their ideas are ultimately far less damaging and obnoxious than the close-minded folks on the other end of the spectrum).

    Thanks, and have a great day.

  25. I want to meet one of these man-hating feminists. I think I’ve met one, but she barely made an impression against all the feminist women I know who also love men. I’ve met a lot of the latter, starting from when I was a wee tadpole and my mother was hosting NOW meetings at our house back in the 70s.

    I’m sure those asshole-variety feminists exist, but I’m startled by how often some dudes hold up these rare beasts and declare that all swans are black.

  26. Dann:

    IMHO, treating women like people with equal rights and equal pay (lots of etc., etc.) should be our societal objective;

    So you’re a feminist, because that’s what feminism is. And you don’t hate men, so you’re not a misandrist. So you know that being a feminist does not equal being a misandrist. So when you had the earlier comment that feminism equal misandry, you were lying about yourself.

    This seems rather like Max whatisname’s logic. He, I’m sure, would agree that feminism (advocating equal rights) is equal to man-hating. But if a woman is a feminist and therefore a man-hater, why would she want to date men? There is then another strain of thought that goes with that which is the men’s rights idea that all women hate men and try to hurt men and take all their money and get social status by bartering with sex. Well, if a woman hates men, wants to hurt them and take all their money, why would she then tell them she’s a feminist, revealing her plan? She’d lie, in order to manipulate them. So his rant would make much more sense if he simply said that if he finds out that a woman is secretly a feminist (believing she has equal rights as a human,) he’ll stop dating her. (I.e. putting down deposits to possibly buy her as property.) He’s basically putting his ideological cart before his ideological horse.

    (And making us all think of the Monty Python’s Holy Grail skit where they are trying to figure out how to determine if a woman is a witch.)

    Any civil rights advocacy is always greeted with the claim that all, most or selected but apparently very important few in the group repressed, must hate the group who has got the higher civil rights under the current laws and social mores — women advocating for equal rights must hate men, black people must hate those called white, gay people must hate straight people or at least straight Christian families who think they are evil and probably pedophiles, etc. Anger at social injustice is always translated into personal threat — they are scary, hate-filled and coming to get you, and therefore, it’s not safe to give these people equal rights under the law and in society. It’s the very first characterization of any civil rights advocacy, allowing the group to be dehumanized and up to villainous conspiracy, and therefore, an argument to be made for not giving them legal definition as full and equal humans.

    If equal rights for women is defined as equaling hatred for men, the demand or request for the equal rights in society can be dismissed. And no dates with studs like That Guy.

  27. [Deleted for bad logic and horribly ironic lack of awareness of his own misogyny. Sorry, dude. Your ignorance of your own issues, willful or otherwise does not mean I have to allow your ignorance here – JS]

  28. This would be a good time to note to NOT ALL MEN that this particular thread is not a great place to exhibit a complete and utter lack of knowledge as to what feminism is, as opposed to whatever misinformed and/or ignorant and/or deeply terrified version of it that might be rolling about in your head. If you evince an evident lack of knowledge on the matter, I’ll likely Mallet your comment, because I don’t have time to 101 you on the matter, and no one else here is obliged to, either.

    Don’t worry, you have all the rest of the Internet to be wrong about feminism on.

  29. The post made me laugh and I also learned an awesome new word in the comments: “Randroid.” I love this place!

  30. I actually have a “Feminist” t-shirt, with a drawing of Hothead Paisan. I should dig it out and see if it still fits.

  31. If a person is an asshole to you it isn’t because they are or aren’t a feminist or part of some other group. They are just an asshole as well as whatever else they say they are.

  32. The fellow in the bar was an idiot and a wimp. Feminism is defined by each individual and has no meaning in a social setting, idiot. And lotion? Wimp.

  33. smitsmckey:

    I don’t like ideologies

    Which is an ideology. An ideology is a system of ideas and ideals. Your ideology is that others’ having ideas and ideals is bad. But I’m afraid that unless our brains stop thinking, we do all continue to have ideas and ideals about how people live together and treat each other and talk to one another. And those ideas and ideals form the society in which we all live. Even if you go off into the wilderness to live all by yourself, not communicating with another human soul, that’s an ideology.

    The feminist ideology is that women should be legally, socially and economically equal in rights and legal status to males (and that those of neither gender or trans also are equal.) It is part of the larger basic ideology that all human beings are equal and should be protected as equal under the laws of the countries in which they live. That they should not be discriminated against in terms of their bodies, economically, their work, their families, their spiritual beliefs, their skin color, etc.

    A little over a hundred years ago, women were not legally considered human beings in the United States. They were considered the legal equivalent of children — as wards of the government. If they married, they were legally the ward of their husband. They were not allowed to make numerous legal decisions on their own and their property was seen as belonging to their husband in trust. They could not vote because legally they weren’t full human beings and full citizens. A little over a hundred and fifty years ago in the U.S. women weren’t even legally wards. They were legally property, first of their families and then their husbands. They could not own property and start businesses in their own names. They could not inherit property and business assets — any thing that might support them as income was held in trust with some sort of male trustee who controlled it or lost to them.

    Feminism, the ideology that women are legally equal human beings, fought to change those laws and women’s legal status. They did it state and territory by state and territory at considerable risk of life and limb. The reason that you and I can now call ourselves strong, empowered, independent women and not go to jail for it in the U.S. and some other places is that previous women and allies fought for us to legally have the right to do so.

    Right now in Colorado, some wingnuts got on the schoolboard and attempted to change the U.S. history curriculum from an accurate record of events to removing or disparaging civil rights movements as evil. And teachers and students have been protesting this violation of their civil rights by politicians abusing their positions and making illegal regulations. They are having to fight a civil rights battle that was already fought long ago to get back their legal definition as citizens and humans under the law in the state government schools. And this is just one of thousands of such conflicts going on that determine whether you are legally a human being with rights or not, with people risking lives, jobs, finances, etc. to keep those rights.

    The ideology that you are a human being, that you have full and equal civil rights, including full control of your person and body, that these rights should be legally protected by the government and supported by your society — maybe that’s not an ideology you want to disdain if you actually want to call yourself empowered. Because if the law says you’re not human with equal rights, then you have no power. And the law isn’t going to back you unless we the people do the actual we the people thing and stand up for those rights, ideology though that may be.

  34. Wish I could remember the source, but there’s a Gloria Steinem quote I read at least 20 years ago that has stuck with me ever since.

    When asked by an obviously MaxWorshipMyPower! guy whether or not she was a lesbian:

    “That depends. Are you the alternative?”

  35. Kat, as a Colorado public school teacher, I don’t think what the JeffCo school board has tried to do is illegal. It’s immoral, I think, and asinine. But I’m pretty sure they’re within their legal rights to set any curriculum they like. Colorado doesn’t legally mandate a course of study out side of a requirement that basic subject areas (math, reading, writting, etc.) be addressed. Even the College Board will tell you that they write the AP curricula to be flexible enough to fit within state and local standards.

    The problem in JeffCo is the ideology. But it really has little to do with civil rights. It has t do with gaining votes and, ultimately, devaluing public education. Or at least shrinking it down small enough to drown in the bathtub.

    You can tell by the number of conservative culture war dog whistle phrases in the proposals and statements. For instance, the most recent statement coming from the JeffCo school board president mentions Common Core several times. Except Common Core standards only address math and language arts. There are no Common Core standards in social studies. So why is she even bringing it up? *tweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet*

    And that’s enough of this little aside from me.

  36. I used to think a sausagefest sounded like a good time. Then I realized they’re filled with misogynists, and I don’t LIKE misogynist men.

    I won’t date anti-feminists (for newcomers, I’m an aging gay man). There are some gay men who hate women, though it’s dramatically less common than it is among straight men.

  37. What with Lopsided Cat’s literary output, and JS’s venture into minimalist drama (I’m seriously considering suing Howard Tayler for wanton damage to my wallet by failing to give advance warning of the Surgeon General’s tendencies; does he have any idea how much a cup of classic cappuccino costs nowadays?), I may not have picked up the subtle nuances which lead Dann to believe that equal pay for women is not a political issue.

    Admittedly, I can’t think of any nuances, subtle or otherwise, which could logically support the view at all but I’m open to suggestions, though not for long; I’m off tomorrow for a week on a tall ship in the Mediterranean, where lending a hand hoisting sails is not regarded as a prerogative reserved for manly men, and climbing up to the Crow’s nest is an equal opportunity excursion.

    And as I lie on the widow net, soaking up the sun and the scent of the sea, I will remember how it got its title; working with sail on the bowsprit was so dangerous that they called it the widow maker.

    Oddly enough, MGOW don’t ever seem to do anything which would require them to actually take some risks, much less tackle the widow maker…

  38. “If a guy doesn’t like you because you’re black, there’s a pretty good chance it’s because a black person has said some really insensitive and downright mean stuff to him at some point” Ah, precious.

  39. This gave me a good laugh. How could this guy think that his announcement would be greeted by anything but relief and delight by feminists? You mean being a feminist discourages douchebags from going out with me? I’d better get a feminist tattoo then.

  40. You know I never understood why any man would refuse to date a feminist. I had some friends on my college football team who were real players and didn’t like feminists, but still dated them, after all the sex is still good right?
    Look you losers go ahead and date feminists, after all no one said you have to marry them.

  41. This if funny and all, but sometimes reading this blog is the only way I become aware that troglodytes like this still exist.

    Incidentally, I’ve been married to a feminist for 22 years, and she’s fantastic. Dumbass doesn’t know what he’s missing.

  42. Doc:

    Kat, as a Colorado public school teacher, I don’t think what the JeffCo school board has tried to do is illegal.

    Yeah, it is. First off because their rationale for the changes they are enforcing involves a fair heaping of religious ideology, so they are violating the first amendment because these are public high schools. And second, because they are trying to remove historical facts and substitute inaccuracies that could effect the kids’ AP test scores and thus their ability to get into colleges, etc. They are specifically and openly targeting civil rights movements and protests, thus creating discrimination against minority groups through the public government, etc. It’s basically a civil rights lawsuit field day, although it’s probably going to come down to more of a county regulation adjustment thing — if the protests work. In the meantime, the teachers are risking their jobs, and the kids their academic futures for it.

    The problem in JeffCo is the ideology. But it really has little to do with civil rights. It has t do with gaining votes and, ultimately, devaluing public education. Or at least shrinking it down small enough to drown in the bathtub.

    What makes you think gaining votes isn’t about civil rights? It’s the biggest civil rights issue we have. As is the devaluing of and civil rights discrimination in public education. The privatization of public schools attempt is partly about money, but its main purpose is to disenfranchise minority groups from political power and access to education. In Colorado, quite specifically, Latino groups. This is a political civil rights battle where these people are abusing their positions to attempt to wipe out any mention of civil rights protest movements by labor and by women and by, most particularly, non-whites, particularly the Civil Rights movement in the South and the Voting Rights Act. And if they can do it, then they extend more political power over the local, county and then state government, in order to enact unconstitutional laws and regulations to strip people of civil rights, restrict abortion access, prevent minorities from being able to vote, etc.

    Politics is civil rights and the law. Civil rights is politics. The wingnuts learned it early, and since their views don’t play as well at the federal level, they learned to get their people in to local position, like school boards, and push for creationism, school prayer, removing Latino and black history from curriculums, and so forth. A lot of people think that they can remove themselves from politics, that it has little to do with their lives. But they only get to live their lives through politics as politics makes the law. And one politician is not the same as another, especially when it comes to civil rights for all versus civil rights and control of the law for a few.

  43. Kat,

    I’m glad to be a feminist. Husbands and fathers of daughters should be feminists.

    I’m not a Feminist. IMHO, that involves a fair amount of dodgy ideology that undermines the human condition.

    What you missed is my original post in which I was attempting to tweak our esteemed host for his post that reeks of hay. IMHO.

    I thought it was a better comment than the one’s that are left above, but that is again IMHO.

    Regards,
    Dann

  44. The real pledge should be I wont date a woman who expects guys to pay for dates. Id be curious if the number of women who would refuse to date us would larger than the number of women who will become feminists over the other guys pledge?

    NOW needs a rule to boot women who dont pay on dates. Stop letting guys pay. You know if we do we expect to score right? That is oppressive to you.

    Rather pissed that this doesnt work on more women.

    So any ladies looking to be a sugar mommy? Did a round of p90x. Beta male on the market. Ill put out for a good steak. I know my place.

  45. All these anti-ideologues on today, it’s like it’s some new ideology or something.

    Or, they are just full of b.s.

  46. I’m not a Feminist. IMHO, that involves a fair amount of dodgy ideology that undermines the human condition.

    Well, see, there’s no such thing as a Feminist with a capital “F.” There were issues with some white women in campaigns to improve women’s civil rights of the “Second Wave” shutting out, discriminating, dismissing women of color. And consequently some women of color don’t feel comfortable with the word and prefer something else like womanist and to act separately — which is something white women need to work on — but the principle is the same. So that’s part of the whole discussion of civil rights. Because women are individuals. We have different thoughts. We have discussions. We write different things as part of that discussion. We are the product of our societies. We are all feminists and sexists both. We don’t always agree. And we have gone through different experiences and had to face different levels of threat and discrimination besides the general stuff.

    But the strategy is to pretend that there is a central focus called Feminist with a capital “F” out of all the different women and campaigns and issues and writings and events, and the people who created that strategy, akin to the Southern Strategy, were people — male and female — who opposed women having equal rights, and back in the 1970’s the ERA, women being paid the same as men, etc., because it was politically valuable to them. Particularly the Moral Majority from the 1980’s, who teamed up with conservative media, such as Murdoch when he arrived in the 1990’s. And what they worked very hard to do was to create the image of the Feminist, first as a man-hating lesbian, then as a man-hating, bra-burning, lying creature who wanted not just equality but to harm men and reduce their political power to nothing, etc.

    Which they’d done the same thing back in previous women’s rights efforts throughout history; and let them defeat the ERA, equal pay, and block a lot of stuff still today. Young women were thoroughly feminist in their views but they learned feminist as a dirty word from the media, as Feminist, which meant man-hating. Just like the black people who are going to start the race wars any second now.

    And one of the more effective ways to do it, and this is done by mainstream as well as right wing, is how prejudice works — take the actions or the writings of several women who are expressing extreme anger at injustice or looking at radical ideas or who are basically talking about anti-feminist ideas as feminist (or who are simply going through mental distress); declare these individuals to stand for all women or all women who are labelled Feminist or all feminists; denounce therefore as a scary threat so that certain women or all women can be dismissed, intimidated, etc; declare these women to have way more political power and control than any woman or women’s movement does; and lastly, come up with dystopian possible future scenarios that serve as an excuse for why women cannot have their civil rights. In other words, declare dodgy ideology that undermines the human condition.

    And so, in many states, if I’m pregnant, my body is the property of the state government. They can in fact execute me and force my doctor to rape me. And women are being thrown in jail for having miscarriages. And women are being prevented from voting in some states because they don’t have an original marriage certificate showing their name change. And women are getting raped in the military or on their campuses with no to little recourse. And women are still getting paid less for the same jobs with the same education and credentials and hours worked. Because you’re scared of the big Feminist bogeywomen who are going to undermine the human condition.

    It’s a dog whistle, Dann. And it’s one we’ve heard fifty million times over hundreds of years. Guys like the one above, who struts that no feminists need date him — they aren’t the hard part to women having equal rights under the law, or at least not now. Even other men’s rights folk may find him silly. Statements like yours, from regular equality minded folk like yourself, are the big obstacle to equal rights for women. Because the bogeywoman is very effective for preserving discriminatory laws against women.

  47. *I’m not a Feminist. IMHO, that involves a fair amount of dodgy ideology that undermines the human condition.*

    What the hell is “dodgy” about an expectation of equality – or at least that I am not considered less than merely because I don’t possess a y chromosome?

  48. Kat Goodwin. Thank you so much for your elegant words. You are incredible! You spoke to my heart that has trouble in putting this in writting! Again, thank you.

  49. In comments threads like this one or associated topics (harassment, etc), I’ll sometimes come across comments that are especially well-written, reasoned, clear, and snark-free.

    When I check to see who wrote those comments, it usually turns out to be Kat Goodwin.

    Thanks, Kat.

    (I haven’t nominated or voted in the Hugos for years, but, hey, Best Fan Writer? Just saying.)

  50. Kathrynne: Dann doesn’t mean not being a feminist and believing in equality. He is a feminist who believes in equality. But he believes there are also Feminists with a capital F who are different — they are the unreasonable ones who want much worse than equality.

    da beans — You mean “verbose words” — fixed that for you. :)

    Moraghannah — I like this one of yours; been getting this a lot lately: http://www.manfeels-park.com/comic/neurotransmitters/

    brucearthurs — I do too snark! Sometimes. Whereupon I am usually accused of being an unreasonable harpy. (That was snark.) I don’t think I qualify for fan writer. Also, I will never write anything as good as Kameron Hurley’s “We Have Always Fought.” http://aidanmoher.com/blog/featured-article/2013/05/we-have-always-fought-challenging-the-women-cattle-and-slaves-narrative-by-kameron-hurley/

  51. Kat,

    I’ve admired your posts for the last year or so on this blog as a lurker. You (and others here, but largely you) have helped me a lot to start to understand many things about privelege, feminism, harrassment and other gender(and human) issues that I was either confused by or oblivious to. Your comments on this thread, and how you engaged Dann in such a constructive manner inspired me to delurk. Thank you.

  52. In reply to the original (Trent’s) tweet:

    It’s not a “growing number of men are anti-feminists;” rather, it’s that a number of men who were *already* afraid of sharing power, of being called to treat women as equal human beings, and/or who were busy enjoying their wankerhood, have figured out that ten assholes farting in chorus is louder than ten assholes farting separately at random intervals.

    The men in *my* life aren’t afraid to share power with women and see them as equal to themselves, are polite on general principal (be it to females *or* males), *and* are aware of how the standard supported by these anti-feminists harms and insults males as well.

    Insults to MEN, you may ask? Why sure! The standard these people support insists “female=weak,” then uses “feminizing” insults against other men; it assumes all men are inherently rapist and “good” men merely control the “reflex” better (hence their reasoning that women have to “take up the slack” for those men who simply “can’t” control this “natural reflex” by ________ (insert slut-shaming reference to clothes, activities, locations, drinking, etc.)). Let’s see, what else? Oh yes, that “real men” are supposed to be overly aggressive and tough, and eschew any job or activity that’s been genderized as feminine (i.e. baking, doing dishes, nurturing children, gentleness, showing you care about something, talking to it instead of killing it—that kind of thing, not to mention all the careers that are To Be Avoided Because They’re Women’s Jobs).

    Here’s a typical example I saw a couple days ago:

    It was a meme with three photos: the first was a picture of President Reagan dressed in rugged gear in the woods, wielding a chain saw. The second was a picture of President Geo. W. Bush, dressed in outdoor clothes and cowboy hat, hauling a limb from a tree, with a tool being carried on his other shoulder (typical Marlboro Man pose).

    The third and largest picture was of President Obama: he was in some place that looked like it might be some type of philanthropic center for kids, with a young boy looking on as the President stood on a step-ladder and hung a curtail ruffle over a window in the place.

    The caption read, “Two Men and a Sissy.”

    This was my reply:

    “So helping out with doing improvements to what looks like either a charitable center for kids, or a school, is “sissy”? Hmmm… all you ladies that “like” this need to tell your husbands to quit doing the dishes, sweeping floors, cooking dinner, and helping with the kids… after all, you don’t want a SISSY, right? /endsarcasm”

    I don’t give a crap that this was set up as a political meme—what mattered to me was the blatant sexism being used as a lever for their political message.

  53. Kat – Yeah, I was pretty sure that I was ‘missing’ something. Oh wait – the y chromosome. My bad. He sees things just so much more… clearly. Or something. Argh.

  54. Xopher:

    I won’t date anti-feminists (for newcomers, I’m an aging gay man). There are some gay men who hate women, though it’s dramatically less common than it is among straight men.

    On the off-chance you’re thinking of misogyny as merely men hating women (I’m not certain that’s what you’re doing, but just in case)…
    I’m not sure how many people-hetero or homo- sexual-hate women, but misogyny is more than just hatred of women. Given the pervasive sexism and misogyny in the US, gay men are no more immune to it than heterosexual men. I realized a few years ago that despite being gay that I had many sexist beliefs. Confronting those beliefs was painful but necessary. Now, I feel like a much better person (examples of beliefs I ditched: 1. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being a woman, 2. it’s not an insult if someone calls me a girl/woman, 3. I don’t get squicked out watching two women kiss, 4. I have no issue seeing a woman naked, 5. the thought of being a woman doesn’t scare me,6. I don’t treat women as objects that I can touch at any time…there are more examples, and I don’t think for a second that I’ve shed all my sexist beliefs. It would be hard to given that I’ve been swimming in a culture of sexism all my life).

  55. Dann:

    I’m not a Feminist. IMHO, that involves a fair amount of dodgy ideology that undermines the human condition.

    See, this is how we know you don’t know what feminism is. Yes, it’s an ideology. But it’s an ideology that’s about pursuing social, political, and economic equality for women. That’s feminism. Whatever definition you have rocking around in that thick skull of yours is just a wee bit whole lotta wrong.
    There’s a simple solution for fixing this problem you have with your honestly uneducated opinion: go learn what feminism is. You think you have a clue. You have none. Get thee forth and learn.
    Toodles.

  56. It looks like we’ve now got a more socially acceptable epithet to refer to stupid people than the popular yet very dodgy “full retard.”

    “Dude, you just went Maximum Trent. Never go Maximum Trent!”

  57. Does the author’s comment about numbers ‘rocketing’ not imply that they are not acting and/or identifying themselves as ‘feminists’ before the ‘anti-feminist’ walks in?

    That is to say it seems to implies the position of being a feminist is one of personal or social convenience, and not a strict conviction based on ideals.

  58. Jari Sundell, “being feminist” and “calling themselves feminist” are not necessarily in one-to-one correspondence.

    Considering that this was a quick work of satire on Twitter, I’m not sure putting the wording under a microscope adds much to understanding its point.

  59. Ron: I learn stuff here too. And I’m not always constructive in my engagement. (Case in point, over on another thread I mistook a bit of satire by Ian Morris as trolling and got angry — still sorry about that Ian Morris.)

    Anybody can talk here. As long as Scalzi doesn’t feel you’re over-trolling or wasting time, he generally leaves it up. So feel free to de-lurk as much as you like. Recently I heard a quote that I think is something to keep in mind, because it reflects a lot of the conversations we have on these issues:

    “Racism should never have happened and so you don’t get a cookie for reducing it.” ― Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

    I.e. we work on ourselves and try to talk about the difficult stuff to get rid of the discrimination that should have never been there, and making an improvement on it doesn’t mean it’s gone and we are homefree. It certainly doesn’t mean people made targets of discrimination are homefree just because there’s a little less of it in a little corner.

    What someone like Maximum Trent reminds us is that we are Maximum Trent. His attitudes are general social attitudes that we’ve all had in one form or another, a society steeped in beliefs, in this case about women, that lay the groundwork for discriminatory laws and insist that women comply with the discrimination against them. And Scalzi’s little play reminds us of how utterly useless those beliefs are to everybody’s well-being and how little thought is actually behind them.

  60. I’m particularly amused by Act III.

    And, out in the real world, startled by some people I know who refuse to identify as feminist. Apparently the lunatic fringe (every political position has them) has come to dominate the associations with the term. My non-feminist friends still decry glass ceilings and enjoy owning property and being able to vote and so forth, though.

  61. I have a serious point to make about this. First off John, your assuming this guy goes to bars and hits on random women. There are 3.5 billion women in the world, having boobs does not make a women unique or interesting, its kind of a minimum qualification. So you shouldn’t assume this guy hits on every woman he sees. Contrary to popular liberal BS, most guys don’t do that. Most of us guys do NOT find the vast majority of women the least bit sexually attractive. If you are a woman reading this odds are you don’t make me horny. Most guys don’t make each woman horny, so why would we be any different? Though I am rather proud of my six pack (lost 35 pounds this year), I know most women are not horned out for me (though I do get hit on a hell of alot more.. considering I didn’t get hit on at all when i was fat its easy to get a multiplier).

    John made a post once about how he made an ass out of himself cause he was horned out for Mary Robinette Kowal. She does nothing for me. I did like her Hugo story though. Don’t have to be horny for her to like her writing. In that respect I am less cave man toward her than Scalzi was when they met. Colleen McCullough’s Masters of Rome series is (next to Wheel of Time) my favorite series. I will not be making a ‘fuck me Colleen McCullough Video’. Google her.Enough said.

    If a woman posts on the web and says I won’t date a guy because of ‘X’ and guys make fun of her for it and go ‘why would we want to date you anyway’, left wingers will get all offended. If a guy goes ‘I don’t want to have sex with a woman who has ‘X’ personality, you mock him.

    There are more women in the world than guys… just based on numbers we can afford to be more selective. I don’t care if a woman is a feminist or not. However, women who make posts mocking this guy come across as stuck up assholes. Odds are your not that special. Why would I want to date an asshole?

  62. Guess, being sexually attracted to someone does not equal “cave man” (or “cave woman”). Also, you are either misremembering or mischaracterizing the post if you think he said he made an ass of himself. I’m betting on “misremembering,” so here’s a memory refresher:

    http://whatever.scalzi.com/2012/08/10/a-tangential-personal-note-on-creepers-and-me/

    Also, I think you missed the tone of the original tweet (Trent’s) that made silly enough to be worthy of this type of mockery.

  63. Guess

    If a woman posts on the web and says I won’t date a guy because of ‘X’ and guys make fun of her for it and go ‘why would we want to date you anyway’, left wingers will get all offended.

    Hi. Non-straw left winger here. (Life-time Labour-voter and socialist, if you need credentials.)

    I would seriously mock any woman who stated that she would not date a man because that man was interested in equality for all people. I would mock any person of any gender who thinks that interest in equality for all people makes a person less worth knowing.

  64. @Guess. I think you’re ignoring the key part of Max Trent’s tweet that earned him all this mockery: “Ladies, make your choices.” It’s that assumption that women (and he means most if not all women) would care and would not want to disqualify themselves from his attentions (wherever they might occur).

    I don’t really care that much what any particular man’s dealbreaker is when it comes to potential partners. I do resent the implication that pairing up with a man is so central to my life that I should be concerned about any and every random guy’s particular dealbreakers.

  65. Guess: There is a huge difference between saying “I am not attracted to this particular personality type” ( which, as you say everyone has their own particular turn-ons/offs) and tacking “ladies make your choices” on to the end of it.

    The first is simply a statement of preference, the second implies that this person is such an unmissable dating prospect that women everywhere should be willing to fling aside all their civil rights and ideas of equality in favour of this guys’ magical wang…

    If wanting to maintain my equality under the law makes me a stuck up asshole…well there you go, I’ll take my chances with the odds stacked against me.

  66. Tony:

    On the off-chance you’re thinking of misogyny as merely men hating women (I’m not certain that’s what you’re doing, but just in case)…

    I’m not, but if my comments triggered this post, I’m glad I wasn’t clearer! Excellent.

    Guess: I think Trent is clearly an asshole.

    I think assholes should be mocked whenever it’s safe to do so.

    I think Trent should be mocked. I will join in mocking him. If you, Guess, think you can afford to be choosy and not date women who make fun of assholes like this, more power to you. They don’t want to date you either, so it’s all good.

    Also, what Daz said. If a guy I was going to date had good feminist sensibilities but was racist or Islamophobic, or seriously used the derisive phrase ‘social justice warrior’, I wouldn’t date him either. And probably I’d mock him.

  67. Guess, Guess,

    First off John, your assuming this guy goes to bars and hits on random women.

    He assumed nothing of the sort. The Guy in the play was not named Trent. He was a Guy. Trent’s tweet inspired the play; he didn’t star in it. The Guy in the play does go to bars and hits on random women. That’s his character.

    Contrary to popular liberal BS, most guys don’t do that.

    Inventing things liberals supposedly say doesn’t make it actually true, Guess. Most guys don’t necessarily hit on women in bars, but there is substantial empirical evidence, as well as scientific research, that at least a tiny percentage (numbering therefore in the millions,) of the male population does in fact sometimes hit on strange women in bars and nightclubs.

    If a woman posts on the web and says I won’t date a guy because of ‘X’ and guys make fun of her for it and go ‘why would we want to date you anyway’, left wingers will get all offended.

    They might, depending on what it is and what sort of mocking it receives, because women are a repressed group who have been victimized and discriminated against by men and by society in a variety of ways. And mocking women, especially women they don’t know, for standing up for what they don’t like, and for talking about sexism, is part of attempts to attack them, intimidate them, force them out of the public sphere, and so forth. Mocking the woman for what she said often includes rape and death threats and at the least it usually includes aggressive and gendered insults. Which is part of the culture of aggression and discrimination against women. See, you can pretend that you are talking about equal situations in society all you like, but the factors women have to deal with in society are not the same as what men get. Context actually has relevance.

    If a guy goes ‘I don’t want to have sex with a woman who has ‘X’ personality, you mock him.

    If a guy says I don’t want to date a woman who is not a redhead or who is a vegan, no one cares. But this guy stated that he is against feminism, does not believe women are equal human beings, and will not date any woman who thinks she’s an equal human being. He didn’t state a simple preference on dating. He stated a sexist belief about all women. And he’s being mocked for that sexist belief.

    However, women who make posts mocking this guy come across as stuck up assholes. Odds are your not that special. Why would I want to date an asshole?

    Max Trent’s Twitter post declared that he, and other men like him, are in fact special and that women should want to date him (but only non-human being women.) He is a stuck up actively sexist asshole. In your own words, why would women want to date him? (And it wasn’t just Trent. His was just the most fun out of a whole range of these types of tweets that became a viral pass around.)

    More to the point, however, was Trent’s declaration that he and other men don’t think women are equal human beings. He is also indicating that he believes women are so eager to get him and other super special men and financial rewards (dating) from men that they will give up on their equality to do so. (Which is similar to the belief you stated when you made your sugar mamma comments, showing that you are completely out of touch with actual reality about modern dating and women in the work world, as well as have a lot of trouble treating women as individuals.)

    So Trent wasn’t being mocked for his dating preferences about physical attraction. Trent was being mocked because he is an active and deliberate sexist and thinks he’s super special and that women are golddigging bitches who should accept that they are not equal human beings or, you know, they’ll be hung out to dry without a guy, without him. Horrors. He is being mocked because he is also out of touch with reality, including the reality that women who view themselves as equal human beings would have no interest in him at all.

    But Scalzi was more directly mocking not Trent himself but the mindset that Trent expressed, a mindset of many men, which was that women are not equal human beings. Which is why the guy was an everyman called Guy, not Trent.

  68. This whole page was a really good read, and I’d like to thank all that participated, and especially Kat Goodwin. Well said, all around!

  69. Xopher:

    Also, what Daz said. If a guy I was going to date had good feminist sensibilities but was racist or Islamophobic, or seriously used the derisive phrase ‘social justice warrior’, I wouldn’t date him either. And probably I’d mock him.

    You and me both.
    (also, I’m glad my concerns were misplaced re: misogyny)

  70. Kat Goodwin:
    I’m new around here, but I’m hopping aboard the ‘your comments are awesome and insightful’ train.

  71. Isn’t she amazing? She’s right more often than not, and always eloquent. I’ve actually sometimes started writing a reply to someone, then looked and seen that KG has said everything I was planning to say, and more clearly and eloquently than I could imagine being able to do.

  72. In writing something of substance, I find it harder-and more time consuming–to write short than to write long. You say what you meant to say, you edit it so that it says it more clearly (which may include adding, deleting, and rearranging, and then–to make it shorter–you have to do a whole lot of work to make the shorter version say what you meant. After she has taken the time and trouble to write out what she meant to say and expressed it so clearly, most of the time, I would hate to ask Kat to do even more work that would be necessary to shorten it and still have it express her intention.

    Or maybe Kate finds that her ideas flow fully formed from her fingers into the written word without needed any further work, in which case I am even more admiring of her writing skills than I was already.

  73. Add me to the “don’t change, Kat” klub.

    Kat’s writing is reminisicent of a dinner with friends, where the courses are paced to let you enjoy the food, the wine, and the conversations with company. It may be possible to produce quick, tasty, and nutritious comments but I relish taking the little extra time with Kat’s.

  74. Hi Kat,

    It is mildly amusing to see that you think that I am unaware of the really deplorable legislative acts that have been passed regarding abortion in the last few years.

    My whole point at the start…deleted so long ago…was that one did not need to accept the Feminist orthodoxy coming from organizations such as NOW and our plethora of collegiate women’s studies department as unalloyed gold to still be in favor of treating women equally.

    It isn’t an either/or condition. Which is the person of hay in John’s play.

    Perhaps if the play had been about a dick walking into a bar and refusing to date a feminist….

    Regards,
    Dann

  75. Dann, the guy in the play *was* a dick. Nobody said he was Everyguy. And nobody but you and smitsmkey18 is talking about orthodoxy and organizations and ideology. You keep dragging them into something that is about feminism, not this “Feminism” you keep referring to. There was nothing about orthodoxy or ideology in John’s play. Nothing. Nada. Not a single thing. So for straw men, look to your own posts.

  76. Whining about NOW and women’s studies departments? Is this a 90s revival? (Because if so, cool! I can bust out my flannel shirts again. Those were really comfortable.)

    @BW, I think it’s more that Kat is patient and willing to walk through all the steps to get somebody from Point Clueless to “oh, yeah, I see what you’re saying.”

  77. ::Busts out my flannel shirts along with mythago::

    Of course now I’m a middle aged feminist in a flannel shirt, and thus thoroughly protected from being of any dating interest whatsoever to Ilk of the Maximum Trent variety. Score!

  78. Dann:

    My whole point at the start…deleted so long ago…was that one did not need to accept the Feminist orthodoxy coming from organizations such as NOW and our plethora of collegiate women’s studies department as unalloyed gold to still be in favor of treating women equally.

    Care to explain what this “Feminist orthodoxy” is?

  79. I second Tony’s request. I really want to know what Feminist Orthodoxy Dann is hating on so passionately that he just can’t let this go.

  80. Perhaps if the play had been about a dick walking into a bar and refusing to date a feminist….

    Weird. I thought it was. It certainly read like one, and—our host being a proffeshnial author an’ all, wot knows how to string words together—I kind of assumed it read how he meant it to read.

    Also, I third the request for a definition of Feminist Orthodoxy.

  81. I must try to be more like Neil Degrasse Tyson.

    Shouldn’t we all?

    (Seriously, planetarium director sounds like a sweet gig to me.)

  82. It is mildly amusing to see that you think that I am unaware of the really deplorable legislative acts that have been passed regarding abortion in the last few years.

    I don’t think you’re unaware of them at all. That’s not why I brought them up.

    The problem is that whichever supposed “orthodoxies” Dann may be worried about, Scalzi has already looked at them, found them misinformed and non-interesting in his opinion, and deleted his original post, as Dann has mentioned, because he doesn’t want them to be rehashed here.

    So it’s not fair to ask Dann to produce the problems he has with feminist advocacy groups in detail when Scalzi has already said no on that line of discussion. We went into it a little. Dann registered his distinction in his beliefs, and he’s not the first. I registered my belief that this was old hat opposition to actual feminism that Dann might want to think about a bit more. We might get further with that if we hash it out; we might not. I’m willing to talk, but I’m not comfortable making him discuss with one hand tied behind his back.

    And it’s not probably relevant to the play and Trent, because Trent wasn’t distinguishing between feminism and Feminist bogeywomen. He was pretty much against flat out feminism. And the play, with a guy with the same view as Trent (but not Trent,) was about how such a statement of world view works both ways.

    As for my writing, I am verbose and methodical which comes out of my past professions and probably my nature. I don’t always have time to edit things down. I am sometimes popping in and addressing several people’s posts at once, since Scalzi prefers aggregate posts. And I have also found that when I leave stuff out for brevity on these issues, I get people telling me I’m unreasonable or unclear because I left stuff out. So I tend to babble to cover all the bases. But I am going to work on it.

  83. Dear Folks,

    OK, what kind of band is the Feminist Orthodoxy?

    Me, I’m thinking maybe covers for the Indigo Girls.

    For that matter if we have Orthodox Feminists, do we have Reform Feminists?

    They’re OK with a little bit of pig?

    (rimshot)

    Thenkyoo, thenkyoo, you’ve been a lovely audience, don’t forget to tip your server. We’re here five nights a week.

    pax / Ctein

  84. OMG, thank buddha for this thread: it’s been so productive of badly needed guffaws, not to mention terminology: “Maximum Trent”, “90s revival”, and the winner of today’s internetz, Ctein, for “Feminist Orthodoxy= Indigo Girls cover band” –I’m still mopping the coffee off the keyboard. A hattip to YOU, good sir!

    A round of applause for all of you (except the idiots)!!! (But even the idiots are necessary– a handball court needs a back wall.)

  85. [Deleted for being too dumb to realize that vomiting abject stupidity on a comment thread doesn’t prove anything other than he’s an idiot. Fuck off, Kelly, there’s a good lad – JS]

  86. ldgilmoure, it’s somewhat like the Jacobin calendar during the French Revolution, with all the months and days being given new names to purge the influence of the patriarchy. The months are 28 days long, of course, so there are thirteen months. The extra day is some kind of special festival. There will soon be schisms as different factions argue over who or what is to be celebrated on that day (because there are always schisms when there’s orthodoxy). The only major holiday to be retained from the old calendar is Easter, which reverts to celebrating the goddess of spring.

  87. [Deleted, unread, because Kelly Martin apparently does not understand what “fuck off” means. And because he doesn’t, off to the moderation queue for him. On the other hand, how entirely in character for a fellow of his inclinations not to stop bothering people when he’s told to go away — JS]

  88. Could all antifeminists please be so honest as to advertise their antifeminism? I have some doubts that none of them would date a pretty feminist, so a warning in advance would be appreciated – I wouldn’t date an antifeminist even if he was the most beautiful man on earth.

  89. Orthodox Feminism, Reform Feminism, haw. Orthodoxy can get stuffy and boring and hold us back, but orthodoxy in itself is not always a bad thing. The past informs the present too much for it to be ignored. We have to know where we came from in order to flourish in the future. Feminism is a dialectic. We cannot build the edifice without a foundation or scaffolding, even if we have to tear down the old one first.

    I bet Kat would be delighted with us if we went to visit her internet home to read her writings in their native habitat. What do you say, denizens of Whatever? (katgoodwin dot wordpress dot com). It’s right there in the blue glow of her username.

  90. SagiDiva: I can understand your point of view. After all, women shouldn’t be allowed to own any property of their own; that’s what their fathers or husbands are for. They shouldn’t be allowed to sign any contracts either; we wouldn’t want them to overheat their pretty little heads. Driving? Why should they want to be able to drive anywhere? Their husband or father or brother can drive them, in the unlikely event they need to leave the house. There’s never a reason for a woman to have a bank account of her own, either, and if a woman does work outside the home (shudder) she must quite immediately upon being married.

    And voting? Why, if women are allowed to vote, all SORTS of terrible things will happen.

  91. I didn’t found any of this funny, on neither side (nor between) of the thread. Maybe I don’t think it’s amusing making fun of an idiot for being true to his (or her) nature… or maybe I’m just too tired.

  92. Does the Feminist Orthodoxy have its own Feminist Inquisition for the Feminist Hetero Doxies? And if so, why have I never seen them in action?

  93. Haha…I think people overreact to feminism. I think women should be encouraged to being strong and I think men need to see that they are able to be a confident woman. Thanks for the laugh.

  94. Absolutely hilarious, nice to see a bit of humour when it comes to topics like this. Thanks for brightening my day. xD

  95. Wow, way to stimulate a conversation. I used to be hostile to the term feminism because I resented the fact that there needed to be such a term in the first place. Now I understand feminism to have evolved into more general humanist terms of choice, women and men choosing their lifestyles, options, employment, etc. Unfortunately, the rights portion-equal pay for equal work–of the term still need exist. Fortunately or unfortunately, my daughters, who live off the capital of their foremothers’ fight, see the term as a reminder that the patriarchal notions infused in culture need a reset.

  96. SagiDiva, I know just what you mean — being able to divorce an abusive husband and obtain custody of any children, and the concept of “marital rape”, is something no nice woman has to worry about. Voting? That means I’d have to seriously think about politics, and I could be taking a bath. Contraceptives? Gosh, why would I ever . . . .

  97. And just today, one of the riffs on the original tweet:

    What makes this particularly interesting is that Matthew Garrett, who’s been pretty instrumental in ensuring that Linux can work on laptops, announced that he won’t be fixing Intel bugs in the Linux kernel. Why? Because Intel recently pulled advertising from a gaming website that published pieces calling out the Gamer Gate crew on their misogyny.

  98. JS:

    As an aside, I suspect the most frustrating words in the world for the likes of Mr. Martin are “deleted, unread.”

    He’s probably crowing on an MRA subreddit about how you librul gammas don’t dare read his sophisticated intellectual arguments, since you would be utterly refuted by them.

    Meanwhile, in reality, “deleted, unread” is giving him a secret case of acid reflux. Or maybe diaper rash.

    Johnny Cake: Orthodox Feminism is where the men and women are completely separated, right? And the women shave their heads and the men have to wear hats all the time?

    SagiDiva: Please read Cally’s response a second time, with me saying “yeah, that” and “preach it, sister” every so often.

    Cally: Yeah, that! Preach it, sister!

    josemiguelsr:

    I didn’t found any of this funny, on neither side (nor between) of the thread. Maybe I don’t think it’s amusing making fun of an idiot for being true to his (or her) nature… or maybe I’m just too tired.

    There’s an Irish triple, “Three rudenesses: a young man mocking an old man, a healthy man mocking a sick man, a wise man mocking a fool.” But I think when the idiocy is genuinely harmful, and perpetrated from the privileged side (that is, punching down), ridicule is entirely appropriate and necessary.

  99. JoseMiguelsr:

    Maybe I don’t think it’s amusing making fun of an idiot for being true to his (or her) nature…

    When the idiot in question would like to take away or continue to block my rights, I don’t have an enormous problem with it. But Scalzi was more mocking the whole mindset that this guy shares. There were about a dozen tweets like this one that inspired the Twitter tale from different men which came out on Twitter at the same time and were passed around. His was just the best one of the bunch.

    But it’s okay to be tired about it. Goodness knows, it’s a tiring subject.

  100. call999charliiiscoming: “people assuming feminists don’t like men.”

    If you interpreted the play as saying that feminists don’t like men, you misread it.

    If “people assume feminists don’t like men,” those people are generally being mentally lazy. The word “assume” kind of gives that away.

  101. Dear Jose,

    If we were mocking him for being an “idiot,” that is, for any mental handicaps he might suffer, that would indeed be unamusing and insensitive. We are not. We are mocking him for his repugnant sociopolitical beliefs.

    If you imagine those are worthy of respect, welll… let’s not go there.

    Being asinine may be ‘true to his nature’ but that does not immunize him from mockery.

    And, that is doubtful. Such beliefs are not a matter of nature, immutable and constant. They are a matter of choice. He can change them if he so chooses. Such fatuous comments shows he does not. That makes him fair game.

    pax / Ctein

  102. Since the conversation here appears pretty mature, and Dann appears to have disappeared, let me furnish an example of an article and comment thread containing the kind of capital-F feminism I suspect he would object to:

    ——-
    I’m really becoming disenchanted with Clementine Ford’s articles lately. This seems to be saying that anyone who doesn’t follow her way is doing feminism wrong, like there’s a Leninist vanguard of the proper way. The unnecessary trolling typified by the “I bathe in male tears” article left me cold. As a feminist I understand that the structure of patriarchy is damaging to males and females and all genders. Being a male I do benefit, but that doesn’t mean every facet has been positive for me. I was a “pussy” because I didn’t want to play football as a boy; is Ford arguing that these young boys are unworthy of society’s care and protection just as equally as our girls?
    Watson is clearly standing up for equality. Equality is an issue for all genders. I understood that as the driving force of feminism.

    Sam
    ——–
    lol, as a male, and a feminist.
    (That’s only possible for transgenders)

    sarajane
    ——–
    @sarajane
    You said:
    “lol, as a male, and a feminist.”
    “(That’s only possible for transgenders)”
    That says all a man need know about feminism. Feminist will judge men as evil men, not on who they are as a person. So much for equality.

    JohnA
    ——–
    and there in lies the problem. feminists beating up feminists. your brand of feminism isn’t as good as my brand.
    the simple fact that the ‘internet went mad’ over watson’s speech shows she has hit a chord with many people, considerably more than ford’s tirade is likely to …

    p
    ——–

    For those here claiming that “feminism” always simply means “believing in equality”, there are quite a number of women like sarajane who will tell men they can’t belong to the club.

  103. Yes, they’re called RadFems. And sometimes TERFS (though that one doesn’t appear to be a TERF). There are extremists in every movement. But you can’t just capitalize it and expect everyone to know you mean the extremists.

  104. GuruJ, you might next want to go to Scalzi’s post titled “People Are the Problem and They Pretty Much Always Will Be”:

    http://whatever.scalzi.com/2014/09/27/people-are-the-problem-and-they-pretty-much-always-will-be/#comment-763654

    For “Atheists are as perfectly capable of being complete assholes as anyone else,” substitute “Feminists are as perfectly capable of being complete assholes as anyone else.”

    Feminism does mean believing in equality. Assholes who call themselves feminists and try to set up some other model do not have the power to redefine feminism for everyone, much as they might want to.

    “This seems to be saying that anyone who doesn’t follow her way is doing feminism wrong, like there’s a Leninist vanguard of the proper way.”

    She can say that. Freedom of speech and so on. She can even believe it. That doesn’t mean she’s right.

  105. People only judge things by the most extreme elements if they oppose them to begin with, or if they’re entirely ignorant about them.

  106. Sure. Not trying to judge anyone else’s views here.

    But it is my observation that whether I claim to be a feminist or not to be a feminist, I will be making a “wrong” choice in the eyes of some subset of people.

    So I think it’s rational for people — both men and women — to avoid using the term altogether. At this stage the term is poisoned. You will incur the wrath of all people who have deemed that the term should only be interpreted in their way, and want to judge you accordingly *regardless of your actual stated views*.

  107. GuruJ:

    Dann was perfectly mature. Dann just wants to believe that there are radical feminists who threatened civilization with dangerous orthodoxy that anti-feminists made up and have been distributing as their main argument for continuing discrimination for the last several hundred years. And look, if Dann at least is willing to go for the women are equal thing in theory if not in practice, it’s at least a social shift away from the idea of repression.

    The unnecessary trolling typified by the “I bathe in male tears” article left me cold.

    You know who else talks about bathing in the tears of men’s rights activists? John Scalzi. Repeatedly. And yet that doesn’t seem to be a particularly awful problem when he, a guy, does it and means it as sarcastic humor. The scaremongering on feminism by going after individual female writers and calling them Lenin, Hitler, French Terror guillotine operators or dangerous orthodoxists somehow in control of women’s rights activism is a time honored rhetorical tactic. It just doesn’t happen to be a very interesting one.

    Women are individuals. That’s what being equal is all about. That we have the right to be seen as individuals, the same as men, and the right to speak — and criticize and scream in outrage and do satire — whether we all agree with each other or not. Instead of talking about how women are speaking about feminism all wrong, how about you accept each woman as a separate being, and consider her words and whether you find them valuable or not. You’re going to do it anyway. You are doing it. And when you tell them that they are doing feminism all wrong, don’t expect a particularly acquiescent reaction.

    Look, I’m not slamming you here, GuruJ. You’re saying the same crap so many do, which seems to boil down to “one of you women is misbehaving and that’s a calamity, so discrimination in society has to stay till you all behave as proper ladies, there’s a good child.” The reality is that most women are writing about ingrained social practices and bad laws, cultural attitudes held far and wide by most people, and discrimination women actually face not only from the law, not only from men’s rights folk, but from everyday people on a daily basis. The urge to review that as them saying all men are evil and we must destroy them serves as a handy excuse to keep discrimination in place and not look too closely at it. It wastes time and energy on the part of people who are trying to talk about discrimination, which is its main purpose in the first place — to get people exhausted, intimidated and upset, so they’ll shut up and stop bugging the everyday people in society about the discrimination they allow to happen and to influence their thinking.

    But it is also largely ignored, that rhetoric, because it is so constant, so often used to silence and discredit the examination of discrimination in ourselves and our societies, that it is not worth attention. And so yes, you will often have female writers exasperatedly going, oh boo-hoo, you got your fee-fees hurt, I bathe in your tears. Just like Scalzi does.

    Unlike Scalzi does, they’ll get rape and death threats for it and possibly men trying to carry out those threats by stalking them. Because how dare they say that men’s feelings are not the most important freaking thing in the world when it comes to repression and discrimination of women. So yes, “I Bathe in Your Tears” is the first single of the Feminist Orthodoxy rock band. And as Scalzi likes to say, they’re delicious.

  108. Aside from being lame and unfunny, your little play is also inaccurate. Anti-feminist men are actually more appealing to women, so long as they’re not openly hostile.

    How Sexy are Sexist Men? Women’s Perception of Male Response Profiles in the Ambivalent Sexism Inventory

    Gerd Bohner, Katrin Ahlborn, Regine Steiner
    Sex Roles, April 2010, Volume 62, Issue 7-8, pp 568-582

    In Studies 1 to 3, German female students (total N = 326) rated the likability and typicality of male targets: a nonsexist, a benevolent sexist, a hostile sexist, and (in Studies 2 and 3) an ambivalent sexist. When targets were presented as response profiles in the Ambivalent Sexism Inventory (Glick and Fiske 1996) (Studies 2 and 3), the benevolent sexist was rated to be most likable but least typical, whereas the ambivalent sexist was rated to be highly typical. Thus, women were aware of a link between benevolent and hostile sexism and approved of men’s benevolent sexism, especially when it was not paired with hostile sexism. Likability ratings were moderated by participants’ own benevolent sexism and feminist attitude.

    http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11199-009-9665-x

  109. Kat:

    (You’re attributing comments to me that are actually quotes from someone else, but I just want to note that for the record and not otherwise derail the discussion.)

    I 100% agree that women, like men, should have the right to speak, criticize, scream and not be seen as somehow representative of an entire group. And that includes the right to be ill-informed, boorish, coarse etc. The differing experience of men commenters and women commenters sucks, but I’m not quite sure what I can do about it except for (a) never doing it myself and (b) if I ever moderate a community, having zero tolerance for it.

    But by the same token, I think it’s always legitimate for someone to say to or about the person exercising that right of free speech: I don’t think you are helping your espoused cause by acting in that way, and here’s why.

    I understand that men have probably said that exact thing to feminists ever since the cause was founded. But that doesn’t mean that the criticism is automatically invalid.

    The world moves on. I was born into a society where there was essentially no legislative discrimination against women. My view of what a woman’s role should be is radically different from that of my grandfather’s. There aren’t any binary victories any more that I’m aware of (ie women can’t vote / can vote). Now, the challenge lies in changing the system — in hearts and minds, in other words.

    I didn’t see Sam as claiming Clem Ford somehow spoke for all feminists. What I did see was Sam commenting that in his view, Clem Ford’s attempt to disenfranchise Emma Watson from *her* view of what feminism should be was counterproductive. And I tend to agree.

  110. Benevolent Sexist

    I find it fascinating that you apparently regard a sample of 326 female German students as representative of a global population of some 3.5 billion women. I’m also fascinated by the fact that the study doesn’t say what you say it does, but there’s no movie quote for that.

    On the other hand, coming closer to your home, a more recent study in the US found that sexist women who want casual sex are attracted to sexist men who want casual sex:

    http://www.springer.com/about+springer/media/springer+select?SGWID=0-11001-6-1224521-0

    Note that John’s play still stands; dating suggests more than one date, and the women in this study who responded to PUA tactics didn’t want to date…

  111. GuruJ: “But it is my observation that whether I claim to be a feminist or not to be a feminist, I will be making a ‘wrong’ choice in the eyes of some subset of people.”

    This frees you to claim what you believe about yourself without trying to please any subset or get them to accept your definition of yourself. That is a good thing.

  112. GuruJ: “So I think it’s rational for people — both men and women — to avoid using the term [Feminism] altogether. At this stage the term is poisoned.”

    The term may be poisoned in your eyes, Guruj, and in the eyes of those who hold the biases of you and your friends. The whole world does not believe exactly what you and your friends believe, nor does it have the exact experiences of you and your friends.

    This is something you should think about from time to time, may I just suggest?

    Also: You might look up that word “rational.” It does not, in fact, mean, “What I think is true.”

  113. GuruJ

    Aside from being lame and unfunny, your little play is also inaccurate. Anti-feminist men are actually more appealing to women, so long as they’re not openly hostile.

    Opening a conversation with the prejudice-displaying words “I will not date feminists,” isn’t hostile?

    “Not openly hostile” would seem to me to mean that their anti-feminism isn’t on display. You might as well have written “People who pretend to be nice often fool other people into thinking they’re nice.”

  114. Oops–Daz, you’re responding a comment by Benevolent Sexist, not one by GuruJ. I don’t think they are the same person.

  115. Benevolent Sexist, I think you’re missing the connection between the play and the tweet that inspired it. The guy in the tweet announces he won’t date feminists and “Ladies, make your choices.” So they do, in the play, but they’re not the choices the guy was expecting. The women were supposed to renounce feminism so that they would be eligible to be dated by him. That idea is hilariously silly to begin with, and the play shows it to be pathetic as well.

  116. GuruJ:

    But it is my observation that whether I claim to be a feminist or not to be a feminist, I will be making a “wrong” choice in the eyes of some subset of people.

    Absolutely. The same is true if you call yourself a liberal, or gods forbid a socialist (I think I still have my DSA card somewhere), or an artist, or a wo/man.

    I think the term isn’t as poisoned as all that. And claiming it publicly is still a useful strategy against the extremists.

    I grew to political consciousness in the 1970s, and at the time I was told that a man can’t be a feminist, because that’s a women’s thing, and men who used the term were “colonizing” it. There are still some women who think that, and they tend to be the ones who say trans women aren’t women and trans men are traitors, and other stupid shit like that. Google Cathy Brennan if you want to recoil in horror from one of the worst ones.

    Also, what BW said.

    Benevolent Sexist: When someone misses the point of something as completely as you just did, I have to conclude that you dodged it deliberately.

    *reads Stevie’s comment*

    Oh, I see, BS (apt initials!), you also missed the point of the study…or just decided to lie about it.

  117. GuruJ:

    My apologies. It was unclear to me that you were quoting. I could not get a handle on how you were doing separations. So let’s just say that my post stands as a response to, Sam is it? My response to Sam, who with a total lack of irony tells a woman writer that she is doing feminism wrong because she criticized aspects of another woman’s views (which is supposedly telling her she’s doing feminism wrong.)

    Do I agree more with Watson or Ford’s views? I agree more with Watson’s views while seeing points in some of Ford’s views. Should Ford bring her ideas on the table? Absolutely, with analysis, discussion and criticism of those ideas going on. But saying that a woman is not behaving properly as a woman or feminist toward another woman or feminist isn’t criticism. It’s the usual attempt to control and shut down activism and conversation to what people believe women should be allowed to say. Saying that it’s counterproductive for Ford to speak is not true. It is totally productive for Ford to speak, because women and/or feminists do not need to act, speak or even believe all the same things about how we should approach equality. That doesn’t mean that they don’t get criticized for their views, including for sexism in them. It means that the tone argument and the blackmail arguments aren’t criticism. They’re automatic, culturally learned defense.

    You did not grow up in a country without legislative discrimination against women because there is no country on the Earth that does not have legislative discrimination against women. There are some countries that have a lot less legislative discrimination against women, due to the work of activists not speaking at all politely and demanding legal protections of their rights and working for a long time to get them. But nobody has full equality legally or socially yet.

    And you are making the same tone argument that Sam and others make: she’s not speaking the right way about feminism, the way you think she should, it’s not polite enough. And the blackmail argument: it’s going to be counterproductive, people won’t help you get your rights that were wrongly taken away from you for the entirety of existence for no reason if you talk like that and don’t unite lockstep with all other women we approve of. Speak nicely or we (society) will hurt you. That’s Maximum Trent’s line too in his plaintive wail, and it’s the continuing institutionalized social refrain that makes gaining equality like moving through butter.

    Historically, you’re wrong. Social change and improved rights come from people being impolite and highly critical, from protest, wild and heated discussion, confronting bigotry that people feels impacts them including with best friends and relatives, lawsuits challenging discrimination, political activism, workplace activism, corporate boycotts, moms doing breastfeeding sit-ins, etc. Gay people didn’t get the right to be married in their countries or in some states in the U.S. by politely requisitioning it and all agreeing with each other and then staying quiet while self appointed arbiters of their rights decided whether they could have them or not. And people were bewildered, wary, uncertain, uncomfortable, and frequently irritated at that and still are. Which is what happens when they are being forced to confront realities of discrimination they never questioned or looked at before; it’s what happens when social change happens. It happens to all of us and our knee-jerk reaction is to deny that it’s necessary or say that it might become harmful, all while repression stays in place.

    What you and me and everybody has to understand is that this is survival. They are not going to stop (pick a rights group.) They are not all going to talk the way you think they should. They are not going to shut up and stop throwing out their ideas, experiences, challenges to try and get their rights from repression. Some of them will get killed for it, or raped or jailed or fired from jobs or lose relationships from it. They will have deep disagreements and society will whine about it and often try to block them. But they are not going to stop. You are wasting your time and others telling women writing about the sexism we all have to be nicer about it and not disagree with other women or women activists. You are supplying a social threat pretending to be social wisdom that most women have been told since they were about four years old. It’s really good for controlling women in the society. It’s not really good for getting them their equal rights.

    As for Benevolent Sexist: 1) there are no non-sexists. We’re all sexist. It’s just some of us are trying to progressively be less sexist to improve equality in the society. 2) There’s nothing benevolence about sexism. Sexism is the view that women are inferior and should be treated as such. Feminism is the view that they aren’t. It has nothing to do with individual men and what sort of women they each individually choose to date. That’s why the play is funny. Because the men saying it think they are exerting a new and powerful social control over all women. It’s myopic and it’s silly. You are free to date women who don’t care about your views of them. The rest of us don’t care that you do. It has no relevance to the bigger social issues.

  118. @delagar: True, rational means “acting or thinking in a way that is backed up by evidence”. Yes, I think avoiding the use of the word “feminist” is rational to people who want to avoid being jumped on by those at either extreme of the argument.

    @BW: Accepted and/or understood definitions of words don’t alter beliefs, but they do affect the nature of discourse we can have using them.

    @kat: I hear what you’re saying. But I think it’s important to separate legal rights from social and cultural equality. When there’s a legal barrier, the intent of men is irrelevant. Men could believe in equal rights all they liked, but women still wouldn’t have had the vote / would have been excluded from roles based on gender / etc etc. Shouting and forcing action in that scenario makes complete sense.

    Once the legal barriers have come down though, the situation is different. There’s no barrier to change except social ones. (Sometimes legislation to force change in a positive direction may make sense, but that’s a systems issue, not a rights one.) In this environment, I do think talking more than screaming makes sense, and I think that saying “tone matters” can be said with a genuine intent to foster more positive change in the system rather than to keep the status quo.

  119. GuruJ: “Accepted and/or understood definitions of words don’t alter beliefs, but they do affect the nature of discourse we can have using them.”

    I agree with that, and I refuse to let the word “feminist” be hijacked by extremists and by people who point to extremists and use them as “proof” that feminism is bad, or by people who say we shouldn’t use the word because people might think we mean the kind of stuff the extremists try to push. I think it’s important to calmly and firmly stand up for the term as it really means, not what scare-mongers and extremists try to pretend that it means.

    But since you have said that you think the term is poisoned, what term would you use instead?

  120. Dear GuruJ,

    And, sometimes, smacking people right upside the head when they misbehave is the best way to get them to behave.

    Really.

    And, sometimes, being all nice and sweet about it doesn’t get the change you want, because there’s no incentive to alter the status quo.

    Really.

    And, no, the legal barriers haven’t all come down. You are underinformed.

    Really.

    pax / Ctein

  121. BW: I don’t have an answer really. Egalitarian is the best I have heard but it’s a bit clinical.

    Ctain: Happy to be corrected. Got any examples from Western countries? (I have no illusions that this is fixed globally.)

  122. GuruJ:

    Yes, I think avoiding the use of the word “feminist” is rational to people who want to avoid being jumped on by those at either extreme of the argument.

    Actually no, there are no I get out of conflict discussions by avoiding a word strategies. Feminism applies to a very particular concept — the equality of women. Nobody has to use it, nor do you ever have to participate in a discussion of it if you’re not the one facing the issues. There are people who choose other terms, but those terms are no further going to act as a shield. It’s not the word that causes upset; it’s the concept of equality for women that does.

    But I think it’s important to separate legal rights from social and cultural equality.

    Legal rights are part of social, economic and cultural equality. They are all together; they are how women are viewed consciously and unconsciously by the society, and how women are discriminated against in the society by that view. Legal barriers exist, directly and indirectly, because of the intent of men. When laws are discriminatory, men (and women) not insisting that they be removed supports those laws in place. Women didn’t get the vote in countries simply by screaming about it; they got the vote because they screamed and men listened or felt pressured enough to agree to drop the legal barrier and pressure others to drop the legal barrier — because the social attitudes were changed from the screaming. To get the legal barrier dropped re voting, not only did they first have to change women’s legal status and a whole bunch of other laws about women, but they had to change an entire roster of cultural attitudes and social treatment of women about who women were.

    Once you get one legal barrier dropped, or get a law protecting women’s rights in place, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t dozens of other laws, local, provincial and federal, discriminating against them specifically and generally. A number of states in the U.S. have laws that allow employers to fire employees for any reason. Far right politicians, duly elected, put those laws in place and lawsuits have not so far dislodged them. They are unconstitutional in the U.S.; they are there anyway, and allow women to be fired for being women, for not having sex with their bosses, etc. A dental hygenist was fired by her boss because she was too beautiful and it distracted him. She sued for wrongful termination under federal law, and she lost because of the state law.

    A lot of the discrimination that women face in the workplace is legal and may not even be clearly evident to the company doing it. See this study: http://www.fastcompany.com/3034895/strong-female-lead/the-one-word-men-never-see-in-their-performance-reviews That sort of thing happens even in countries where women are well represented in government and business and it’s legalized discrimination. In Japan, women are socially expected to stop working when they get married and go have children. It’s not a law, but there are laws as well as cultural factors that make it difficult for women to go against it. It’s changing, but it requires a lot of women sticking their neck out — it’s walking through butter.

    It’s all connected, which is why we are constantly poking at all aspects of it, and not all with the same views. And why a lot of women are incredibly frustrated, talking about this stuff, whereupon they are labeled “extreme.” The reality is that when we’re dealing with civil rights, most of the time “extreme” means you’re making me uncomfortable talking about stuff I don’t want to talk about or in ways I find sufficiently not nice to me or what I expect people in X group to talk like. It means the other person is worried that they’ll get an angry blast of confrontation and that becomes way more important than the actual civil rights issue. And it’s tangled in cultural views of what women should be like (see the link above,) and what laws therefore women should be allowed to have regarding their rights.

    In this environment, I do think talking more than screaming makes sense, and I think that saying “tone matters” can be said with a genuine intent to foster more positive change in the system rather than to keep the status quo.

    Yes, a lot of well-meaning guys, and for that matter women, believe that — because they’ve been culturally taught it and don’t question it. And that helps the cultural status quo stay in place which keeps the legal discrimination in place. Which is why women are not equal citizens in any country on the Earth. Cultural stereotypes don’t change as the dominant attitude (and thus affect the law,) by just politely asking them to leave and assuring some folk that of course you don’t have those attitudes — when we all have those attitudes. The conversation is not going to be fun, because it’s about how what you and I think is normal and fair isn’t normal and fair, but in fact contributing to repression. And people would prefer not to have that conversation and not have folk be angry at them. But it’s going to be talking, screaming, protesting, actions, and relentlessly bringing it up and discussing ideas about it to get any change at all.

    It would be extremely nice if we could just go, do you realize that this law, this cultural practice, this social stereotypical view of women are discriminating against us and treating us as unequal citizens, so let’s just drop that, shall we — and have that actually happen. That never actually happens. Instead, the first conversation is always, what are you talking about, that’s not true. Then it’s, well it may be true but I’m not doing it, it’s the other people. And it goes on from there.

    When we do get change, that change becomes the new normal for the majority of people. They grow up with it and they don’t think about it and they don’t regard it as something that can still be threatened. The effort it took to change it historically is either ignored or considered to be just of that age, not relevant for now, or not as bad as historical records show. Why that discrimination is gone! Except it isn’t; it’s just lessened.

    And the same rhetoric that was used to protest proposed social and legal equality change in the past — the social and legal change now taken for granted — is used for additional proposals of further social and legal change. Including the complaints about how demands are too extreme, too rude, too unproductive, too unreasonable, endless and so impossible, too potentially threatening, too fast, too encompassing so that too many people feel targeted (by the folks who have been targeted all their lives for discrimination,) etc. It’s on autopilot. Which is why it’s so incredibly infuriating or at least wearying. Maximum Trent’s animus isn’t even really malicious. He just thinks feminists are unreasonable so he doesn’t want to date them.

    Since I’m being verbose, I’m going to do a second post because I want to put up some quotes from other people. I’m hoping that’s okay.

  123. Here are the quotes:

    “The new racism: Racism without ‘racists.’ Today, racial segregation and division often result from habits, policies, and institutions that are not explicitly designed to discriminate. Contrary to popular belief, discrimination or segregation do not require animus. They thrive even in the absence of prejudice or ill will. It’s common to have racism without racists.”
    — Eduardo Bonilla-Silva

    “Black and Third World people are expected to educate white people as to our humanity. Women are expected to educate men. Lesbians and gay men are expected to educate the heterosexual world. The oppressors maintain their position and evade their responsibility for their own actions. There is a constant drain of energy which might be better used in redefining ourselves and devising realistic scenarios for altering the present and constructing the future.” — Audre Lorde

    “People of color, women, and gays — who now have greater access to the centers of influence that ever before — are under pressure to be well-behaved when talking about their struggles. There is an expectation that we can talk about sins but no one must be identified as a sinner: newspapers love to describe words or deeds as “racially charged” even in those cases when it would be more honest to say “racist”; we agree that there is rampant misogyny, but misogynists are nowhere to be found; homophobia is a problem but no one is homophobic. One cumulative effect of this policed language is that when someone dares to point out something as obvious as white privilege, it is seen as unduly provocative. Marginalized voices in America have fewer and fewer avenues to speak plainly about what they suffer; the effect of this enforced civility is that those voices are falsified or blocked entirely from the discourse.”
    — Teju Cole

    “The problem is that white people see racism as conscious hate, when racism is bigger than that. Racism is a complex system of social and political levers and pulleys set up generations ago to continue working on the behalf of whites at other people’s expense, whether whites know/like it or not. Racism is an insidious cultural disease. It is so insidious that it doesn’t care if you are a white person who likes black people; it’s still going to find a way to infect how you deal with people who don’t look like you. Yes, racism looks like hate, but hate is just one manifestation. Privilege is another. Access is another. Ignorance is another. Apathy is another. And so on. So while I agree with people who say no one is born racist, it remains a powerful system that we’re immediately born into. It’s like being born into air: you take it in as soon as you breathe. It’s not a cold that you can get over. There is no anti-racist certification class. It’s a set of socioeconomic traps and cultural values that are fired up every time we interact with the world. It is a thing you have to keep scooping out of the boat of your life to keep from drowning in it. I know it’s hard work, but it’s the price you pay for owning everything.”
    — Scott Woods

    “We can’t work to fix something unless we first see and understand its effects. When women as a group are systematically targeted by discrimination, it means that men are elevated by default. This phenomenon is often referred to as Male Privilege. The term may sound a little bit like academic jargon, but it’s useful in helping describe the set of unearned advantages men automatically receive, and which women do not given the same social circumstances… One of the luxuries of being a member of the dominant group is that the benefits afforded us often remain invisible to us. This blindness allows many men to remain blissfully unaware of what roughly half of all gamers experience on a daily basis. We have been taught and socialized not to see it and to think of our own experiences as universal.”
    – Jonathan McIntosh

    “Racism should never have happened and so you don’t get a cookie for reducing it.”
    ― Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

    “If anything insulates sexism, it’s the idea that otherwise decent, good men can’t be sexist or can’t do/say sexist things.”
    – Tauriq Moosa

    Worth thinking about. Watson can talk, Ford can talk. We might think Ford is wrong in her ideas and say so. But neither of them have to stop talking, nor will it stop or retard social change if Ford is angry at what she considers major problems.

  124. Dear Guruj,

    I have to start off with “what Kate said.”

    Actually, that’s a given. Take what she has to say to heart.

    Always.

    Now, a bit more on this whole nice-tone argument. You really need to read up on the history of social movements. The 60s and the 70s in particular, will be informative. The civil rights movement, the women’s movement, the gay rights movement, the antiwar movement, the free speech movement. In the 80s, look at the AIDS movement. They did not achieve their ends by “being nice.” In most of those cases, they had tried to be nice for years, decades, even generations. It did not work. Oppression and bigotry maintain themselves as institutions because they benefit the perpetrators. They don’t just exist on a whim. Asking someone nicely to stop being an oppressor or a bigot when it’s beneficial to them to be so and they know it, it doesn’t get you very far.

    The pivotal moments, in fact, were all too often ones of extreme hostility and even violence. I don’t advocate that as a course of action. It’s abhorrent that it reached that point. But until there were riots, until buildings were blockaded, in some cases burned, the powers that be didn’t really have to pay attention, and most frequently they didn’t. Those are sad and unfortunate but real facts.

    Even if you still don’t believe being non-nice is an acceptable course of action, you need to learn that it is very useful that we people exist. We not-nice ones are the ones who make you acceptable. The AIDS movement didn’t get anywhere until Act Up came along. They seriously pushed the envelope. And by doing so, they made the ordinary activists seem utterly mainstream and acceptable. The telling, turning point came when the AIDS conference was held in San Francisco in 1990 and the Bush Administration actually deigned to send the secretary of Health and Human Services. He announced that he would meet with AIDS activists in San Francisco, the first time the federal government had acknowledged their existence. But he was very clear, he would only meet with the “responsible activists” not those Act Up people. Score! Without Act Up, none of the activists would have been called responsible by that administration.

    So, you want to be the rearguard? Fine. But show some respect and gratitude for those of us on the front lines, because we are the ones who make it possible for you to even be heard.

    And while you’re digging into history, look up the lyrics for Malvina Reynolds’ “It Isn’t Nice.”

    pax \ Ctein
    [ Please excuse any word-salad. MacSpeech in training! ]
    ======================================
    — Ctein’s Online Gallery http://ctein.com 
    — Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com 
    ======================================

  125. But I think it’s important to separate legal rights from social and cultural equality.

    Why? And further, why assume those are two separate, distinct types of equality that have no effect on one another?

  126. Kat,

    Male privilege, unconscious racism, systematic discrimination — they all exist, I’m not questioning that.

    But civil rights are civil rights: Being able to sit at the front of a bus. Being able to inherit property. Being entitled to vote.

    That’s different from the problems that women face now. For example, women aren’t prevented from being on a board or running for politics. It’s just that they generally have to successfully navigate a maze of pretty deeply sexist power structures to do so.

    In all the cases of discrimination at law that you describe, you are talking about laws which do or could try to prevent people being sexist or racist. Or to overcome systematic or unconscious discrimination, such as quotas for women on boards.

    But given that these laws are not strictly necessary to achieve equality (in the absence of discrimination they wouldn’t be needed) I think they need to pass a stricter test, namely: are there better alternatives? Would the net costs to society of enforcing this law be better spent on education programs?

    In short, the changes that need to be made in most Western societies now are policy decisions, not just questions of principle alone. I know that probably sounds cold but I don’t know how to put it better. I just don’t think the answers are as black and white as they used to be.

  127. Hi ctein: I’m not sure how you feel I’m not being respectful. I’ve acknowledged several times that activism can be necessary in some cases to make change happen.

    In any case, part of my issue with the current line of rhetoric that I don’t believe we are currently in a win-lose position where men have to be dragged to give up their privilege kicking and screaming.

    I believe there are changes that could be made to benefit men which would also benefit women. (Most notably, reducing the stigma on men dropping out of the workforce to become primary carers.)

    But it’s difficult to get that recognised by (some) feminists who believe that until equality for women is achieved, any efforts towards reduce stigma on men who wish to adopt non-traditional social roles is … I don’t know exactly. “Unfair”? Or at least, the suspicion is that we men are condescendingly wanting this change because “it helps women” and not because just maybe, we’d like the chance to be carers of our children too without financially harming our family?

  128. Stevie

    I find it fascinating that you apparently regard a sample of 326 female German students as representative of a global population of some 3.5 billion women.

    Please learn how science works. The results were replicated three years later with a Spanish sample.

    http://pwq.sagepub.com/content/37/4/494

    a more recent study in the US found that sexist women who want casual sex are attracted to sexist men who want casual sex

    OK, but in the German study, women preferred sexist men over nonsexist men for both short-term and long-term relationships:

    The sexual attraction ratings, although generally lower than the likability ratings, showed parallel influences of the profiles’ BS and HS, lending further support to Hypotheses 1 and 2. The way in which women see high-BS (and low-HS) men as “sexy” thus seems to be in terms of general likability and suitability as a long-term partner, as well as in terms of short-term sexual interest. Remarkably, again women perceived the benevolent sexist as more likable and as more sexually attractive than the nonsexist. Viewed from an evolutionary perspective (e.g., Buss and Schmitt 1993), one may conclude that displaying benevolent sexist behavior may have adaptive advantages for men in terms of both long-term and short-term mating strategies (see also Li and Kenrick 2006).

  129. Benevolent Sexist:

    “Please learn how science works.”

    You first. Studies of adolescents — as the Spanish study you note was — should not be offered up as indicative of anything as regards what adults want, nor are the preferences of the Spanish necessarily indicative of the preferences in the US, and (obviously) any correlation between what Spanish teens want and what Adult US humans want is even more suspect.

    So while it’s a nice try to palm that particular card, BS (your name abbreviates conveniently here), your assertions here are not precisely compelling.

    I will note anecdotally that all the sexists I know of are dateless wonders. But I’m perfectly willing to note that, also anecdotally, that the women I know have little patience for sexism.

    Also, while we’re on the topic, here’s some information on why “benevolvent sexism” is a stalking horse for much worse sorts. And look, it has studies.

    Finally, I would note that this little sidetrack on whether women like sexists is not precisely on topic to mocking a man who demands that women make a choice between being feminist and dating him. So, you know, let’s reel it in.

  130. Feminist extremists do not exist. Feminism is the radical notion that women are human. You cannot be “too extreme” with that, nor “too radical”. It just is not possible.
    There may be some feminists who claim that men are aggressive by nature (which is in no way different from what patriarchy says, by the way), but they are not radical feminists, and radical feminists are not “extremist” or “too radical”.
    If you actually read what they write, it does make a lot of sense. Men who claim to be feminists all too often are bad apples, especially if they want to have some kind of leading position in the feminist movement.
    No one is against male allies who call out other men on their bullshit, and spare women the rape threats. Scalzi is a good example on how to do that.
    The only thing some feminists are against is men telling women how to do feminism.

    Regarding TERFs, the suspicion that transwomen already have lots of internalized privilege by the time they decide to present as women, and are likely to dominate any given discussion because of that, may seem far-fetched to some, but the hate radfems get for this is just not justified.
    It is not radical feminists who beat up transwomen, it is sexist men. Keep that in mind. Why waste time on spewing hate against “TERFs” while you could work to provide safe spaces for transwomen instead?

    @”Benevolent” Sexist: Take your studies and be happy with them, I know that I know lots of beautiful single ladies (in Germany, no less) who would rather stay single than date a sexist asshole.
    In fact, I have been in love with an antifeminist. He was nice enough to mention his antifeminism on the first date. No more dates happened. And he is very handsome, just so you know. You will not be able to make up for assholery with good looks.
    There may still be enough brainwashed women who will fall for sexist men, but be assured, we are working on it. Soon, the reality depicted in Scalzis little play will become true.

  131. sellmaeth: “Feminist extremists do not exist.”

    Andy Warhol might disagree with you.

    Feminism is a great idea. But just because someone subscribes to a great idea doesn’t mean they are no longer capable of being an asshole, an extremist, or a shithead about that idea. The teachings of Jesus Christ are great ideas. But some christians can take those ideas and warp them into complete shitholery.

  132. Dear sellmaeth,

    I’m not going to get into the whole “extremist/radical” semantic diversion because it’s pretty damn silly and, besides, I’ve got no problem with someone being called a radical (I was part of Queer Nation which was considered far too “radical” and “extremist” for Act Up, which was way too radical and extremist for the run-of-the-mill gay activists. Somehow, remarkably, it didn’t ruin my life or my creds. Apparently one can survive wearing the badge.)

    But, your paragraph on TERFs caught my attention. If you’re talking about only literally beating up trans women, you’re right. At least so far as I know — I don’t know of any feminists who have physically assaulted trans women. But “beat up” in the more general sense? Every single trans woman I know can give you a long list of personal incidents where TERFs have individually and institutionally discriminated against and excluded them, cast aspersions on their very existence, denied their personhood and identity, and denied them already-existing safe spaces.

    So, yeah, hating on TERFs? I’m fine with that. They’re just another flavor of bigot in sheep’s clothing, and I am not the least bit impressed by their elaborate rhetoric attempting to justify their prejudices. History is filled with erudite bigots who could make it sound like they were speaking God’s own truth. Putting lipstick and a fancy dress on the bullshit and placing it on a Baroque intellectual pedestal doesn’t make it any less bullshit.

    Or we can even just call them TEFs, and avoid the loaded word. Don’t really care. They are what they are, no matter what name tag you slap on them.

    pax \ Ctein
    [ Please excuse any word-salad. MacSpeech in training! ]
    ======================================
    — Ctein’s Online Gallery http://ctein.com 
    — Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com 
    ======================================

  133. Dear guruj,

    Apologies for possible confusion. I don’t mean you’re not being individually respectful of us, I mean you’re not respecting the process and the place in politics for “in-your-face” action. I think you’re being entirely respectful of individuals here, and I think we are pretty much being respectful of you. Understand, though, that in good part that is because it appears that you’re… well… I can’t think of a delicate way to put this… Young. You don’t seem to know much of the history of the movement or of political movements in general in the second half of the 20th century. The points you’re raising are not only Feminism 101, they are Feminism 101 from the 1970s! The business about how feminism helps men? I can probably find you almost exactly your words in the very first issue of Ms Magazine (I know I can find it within the first year).

    Just because it’s old and basic doesn’t mean it’s untrue. We’re not saying that. It’s just not a conversation that, today, especially advances thinking. It’s basic research. Fortunately, you have the InterTubes. 20 years ago, we would have had to explain this to you, word by word, or send you out to buy a bunch of books. Today you can research it for free in the comfort of your own computer. So, much the same way that John suggests schoolchildren would be better to do their own homework instead of pestering him with questions about writing, we are gently suggesting that you really need to go get yourself better educated on the subject.

    Even your argument that things have changed and we’re now in the mopping-up phase of it all, so we don’t need the old tactics… You can’t believe how many times we’ve heard that in the 70s, the 80s, the 90s, and the Naughties. Said not to be a diversion, but with fervent belief and the best of intentions. While it is a truism that past performance is not a predictor of future returns, you will understand when we are skeptical upon hearing the same argument presented in a fifth decade. Maybe you will prove to be right. I wouldn’t bet much on it.

    Even mopping-up phases don’t eliminate the need for strong action. There really are strong personal and institutional forces that drive the status quo the way it is. People just don’t happen to be sexist, there are really good (by which I mean bad [g]) reasons for them to be sexist. That’s why status quo persists. It is a powerful thing and it does not simply evaporate. People have very vested interests in being sexist. Not all of them, and not all the same interests, but those interests exist.

    Here is a cautionary tale. It looks like we are in the mopping-up phase of marriage equality. It appears to be a done deal, we just have a few more years of lawsuits to fight out (not underestimating the burden incurred by that, but after decades of effort…) and we know how it’s going to land. Well, I’m pretty damn positive I know how it’s going to land (uh huh, you go on thinking that, Ctein).

    Except… Back in 1973 when the US Supreme Court ruled 7-2 that abortion was a constitutional right, a lot of us thought then that this would settle that matter. The constitutional law of the land, established by a huge margin– as people became accustomed to it being a normal part of life, they’d all come around. Or at least listen to reason and accept and tolerate the new status quo.

    That theory has worked out so well for us. Totally validated by historical data since.

    Not.

    (Speaking of laws that discriminate against women…)

    pax \ Ctein
    [ Please excuse any word-salad. MacSpeech in training! ]
    ======================================
    — Ctein’s Online Gallery http://ctein.com 
    — Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com 
    ======================================

  134. Kat Goodwin: thanks again for a banquet of words in a sound-bite world.

    As for tone trolling (yes, there’s a name for it): the fact is that sometimes there are advantages to soft-pedalling the message. It’s also true that those occasions are enormously outnumbered by the times when a call for courtesy is a disguised demand to shut up — to stop annoying the adults in the room.

    GuruJ: the “hearts and minds” argument has been around now since I was a kid and Barry Goldwater was my neighbor. Now I’m retired and looking back, there’s no way at all that the President of the United States would be dark-skinned if we’d taken Barry’s advice. Because Kat’s right: change makes people uncomfortable, and the path of least resistance is to pretend it’s not needed.

    Which means that there’s a very good chance that we’re fooling ourselves when we disagree with messages like Kat’s. And that, for those who value personal integrity, calls for some hard thinking.

  135. GuruJ:

    Male privilege, unconscious racism, systematic discrimination — they all exist, I’m not questioning that.

    And that’s all a part of civil rights. Civil rights are not purely about legal issues; it’s about changing social views so that not only do problematic laws get replaced, but that legal discrimination is abandoned by the society itself. Laws cannot do everything and any civil rights groups works on all fronts at the same time. And the laws in all countries are a mess. In a democracy, people elect lawmakers, and those lawmakers can change the civil rights laws or do laws to circumvent them or even simply put in regulations to circumvent them.

    That’s the deal with abortion restrictions and voter i.d. efforts in the States (which include but are not limited to laws.) It’s also the case in a country like Holland, for instance, which when it comes to gender, does a much better job at moving towards legal and social equality. When it comes to racial issues, however, there is a rising neo-nationalism that is virulently racists towards non-white and trying to effect laws. Civil rights efforts go in multiple directions towards both legal issues and social attitudes. Laws can be made that force corporations to review and prevent discrimination towards their female workers, but civil rights efforts also work at the same time to get corporations to understand the benefit of actually doing this for their companies, to change their attitudes — which create most of the discrimination — about women employees.

    Take the issue that you raised as it is personal to you — that a man is the one being the main home caretaker to his kids. This is actually not a non-traditional role for men; it’s just we have cultural prejudice that it should be considered non-masculine, that women should do it, and that this is a good way to control women as well. You have run into many women who believe in equality and yet have the sexist belief that a male should not be the chief child caretaker, or are deeply suspicious of men’s motives in being that caretaker. Those are beliefs, they are going to get aired and discussed, which is part of social change. They come out of our societies.

    There are millions of other women, however, who have worked for decades in countries to get legal, economic and social support for men to stay home as the kid raisers, which helps families and women too, but also creates more equal attitudes in society as a whole. Who have worked to get companies and governments to provide paternal and parental leave policies, to provide economic, government and social support so that families can choose to have either parent stay home, to advance the idea in society that childcare is a task of both men and women, not just a function of females.

    My husband grew up in a fair-sized middle class family with a mother who did all the childcare and housekeeping tasks pretty much and also had a career in government service. And yet my husband changed diapers, does laundry, cooks, etc. Because while my husband didn’t grow up in a household where chores and childcare were equal or considered equal or his father stayed home, he did grow up in a generation where social attitudes about male parental and household duties had changed in many countries. Not all men agreed to this social change, and certainly not all men had to have more equal chore sharing if they worked out with their wives or partners that the best arrangement was the mom as stay at home parent.

    But the average social expectation had changed to believe that dads should be present in the delivery room and helping the mom, not sitting outside, that dads would be involved a lot more in driving, feeding, washing, etc., of their children, and that males would help out more in household chores. It’s still wildly unequal on average, with women still bearing more of the tasks. It’s not a mopping up policy situation. But the general cultural climate and how we talk about these issues — what’s in the majority considered normal — did indeed shift in some countries and continues to shift.

    We grow up in an atmosphere that is sexist and all the isms. It seeps into every part of our lives. It comes out of our mouths without thought, and often without examination. Discussion about it is often repressed and silenced. It’s what’s normal. But what’s normal changes and there are many pushes towards equality. Some people have trouble catching up and others grow quite scared of particular aspects of that change — even when they are for equality, even when they directly benefit from equality as part of a repressed group.

    But when they are in a repressed group, it is critical on those issues related to that group, to understand that their ability to speak about it as they wish is routinely stifled and controlled by the society, that this is part of the repression. So when the women who don’t need feminism put up their hashtag, I will say that they don’t understand what feminism actually is in my opinion, I will criticize their views that they express for their content. But I will try, with the best of my self-reflective ability, not to mouth off about their tone, because it’s sexist and it’s silencing. And other women who do go off about their tone, who get angry at them, I will argue with their views I disagree with while considering points they raise with which I don’t — listening to them instead of only listening to men — but I will try, with the best of my self-reflective ability, not to tell them to stop being angry and that they aren’t doing feminism correctly. Because all of those things are one of the major tools society uses and teaches to attempt to control and silence repressed group’s speech, and thus, their rights. And I will also try not to use the blackmail approach, another controlling part of it, and I will point it out in others, even if it freaks them out. It’s an ingrained habit we all have and have to work on if we do want equality not just to exist, not just to be the law, but to be part of our thinking, like guys believing it’s their job to change their kids’ diapers — and there being changing tables in all the men’s bathrooms automatically and not even because of a law. Because it’s what’s normal.

    Which is why we have all these discussions about language and vocal freedom. Because it is very complicated, very ingrained forms of discrimination. Maximum Trent and guys like him are desperately trying to make those discussions go away, are clinging to an idea of cultural manhood that they were taught. And the point of the play is that this is not going to happen out in the real world.

  136. sellmaeth:

    Regarding TERFs, the suspicion that transwomen already have lots of internalized privilege by the time they decide to present as women, and are likely to dominate any given discussion because of that, may seem far-fetched to some, but the hate radfems get for this is just not justified.

    They aren’t getting hate for that, at least from the TERF-haters I know. I know cis women who have observed that phenomenon themselves, and yet have no patience for TERFs.

    They’re getting hate for trying to prevent trans women getting medical care, as Cathy Brennan has done. Or for doxxing trans women who are “passing,” for no other reason than that she hates them for being trans women, and to make their lives difficult, as she has (and others have) also done. Brennan is the only name that comes to mind, but she’s far from the only TERF who goes out of her way to troll, harass, and out trans women.

    It goes well beyond not allowing them into radfem spaces.

  137. @ctein: You’re right that I’m young and that I haven’t lived through much of what people on this site have. I’ll do my best to educate myself more. However, I do strongly believe in examining today’s evidence for today, and not expecting it to behave as if it were yesterday all over again. That’s the same fallacy that stockbrokers make just before a crash.

    @kat: I do understand why you want to privilege the free expression of people who are repressed in their actions over those of the dominant group. But I would invite you to consider the lived experience for most males under 35. Since we were born, our peer group of girls have been relentlessly been talked up while we boys were repeatedly told “shut up, you’re fine”. The double standard that leads to the male doofus being set against the perfect woman in advertising imagery, while the reverse would no longer be acceptable on mainstream media, is the same one that marginalizes the voices and opinions of young men.

    Now I’m hopefully self-reflective enough to understand and accept why that course of action was necessary. I also am lucky enough to have had a successful professional career, probably largely because of the unseen advantages I still receive as a bloke. Still, it’s never fun to feel repressed in your own thoughts and speech while women our age seem, in many respects, to have far fewer restrictions on what they can say and do.

    Again, let me stress: I get it. But whenever self-acclaimed “feminists”, whether meeting the definition of this group or not, seek to shut down the speech of men while saying to women, “hey you go girl” no matter what the message, I also completely understand why men, struggling to redefine their relevance, choose to act out by consciously rejecting a feminist movement that doesn’t seem to respect their perspective on life.

  138. GuruJ:

    Since we were born, our peer group of girls have been relentlessly been talked up while we boys were repeatedly told “shut up, you’re fine”.

    From observation of my sons and their male friends, it doesn’t seem to have been effective.

    Speaking as a father, they only start to grasp the concept that women are human at around 25 or so — and this, despite the best efforts of their little sister and myself. Said little sister, by the way, was told by one of her primary-school teachers that she couldn’t be an engineer when she grew up because she was a girl and “engineering is for boys.”

    Maybe that took. As it is, she has a PhD in research methods and is working as an epidemiologist. Someday I may forgive her teacher, but all in all it’s best I never see her.

  139. GuruJ:

    But I would invite you to consider the lived experience for most males under 35. Since we were born, our peer group of girls have been relentlessly been talked up while we boys were repeatedly told “shut up, you’re fine”. The double standard that leads to the male doofus being set against the perfect woman in advertising imagery, while the reverse would no longer be acceptable on mainstream media, is the same one that marginalizes the voices and opinions of young men.

    Yeah, no. See, you have a very skewed perspective of society that comes from privilege that you still have in society and that also comes out of you living in a world where women are seen as a bit more equal, thanks to efforts of social change that came before. So you think it’s fine now and women are more equal and men are getting squashed in favor of women. But that’s not what happens factually even in more equal societies.

    Young men’s voices and opinions aren’t marginalized. Men continue to run everything — governments, corporations, arts, religious groups, non-profits, finance, academia, etc. In your professional career, a woman in the same career with you, with the same education and experience, is less likely to be hired for jobs, promoted and reach anywhere near what you will have a shot at reaching your career because she is female. She will be talked over in meetings where you are listened to. She will be treated as a sexual object and an annoyance by her male co-workers. She may be sexually harassed. She has a much higher risk of being fired and laid off. On average, she’ll be paid less than you for the same job at every step and she will be allowed to negotiate less for raises.

    If she does reach a managerial position, she will be seen as strident, bossy and uncooperative for the same behaviors that will be considered positive attributes of confidence and leadership in you as a male. (That’s what that study I linked to showed — the people doing the performance evaluations had no idea that they were looking at women through a sexist and gendered lens and would be astonished to be called sexist, but they were.) She will be considered perfectly nice but inferior to men, a problem because she might run off to have a baby, and she will be herded towards low paying, lower status career paths in areas dominated by women stuck the same way. She will be nearly completely blocked from various possible careers — engineering, film director, etc., not because she’s necessarily poor, education, hours worked, etc., but because she’s female and seen as less capable. That list used to be a lot larger, but efforts of “talking women up” and some women managing to press through discrimination obstacles has helped in some countries. If some women press through, then it becomes more normal for women to be there and that slowly starts to shift the view that women just aren’t as worth having as employees or business partners or service providers as men.

    You may have bad things happen to you in life as an individual and you may be in another repressed group. Maybe you’re non-white in a white dominated society. You will then face the same sort of discrimination hurdles — not necessarily large, loud, illegal ones, though they can be, but the small, subtle, people don’t even know they are doing it ones that will still block you. White co-workers will start to feel threatened if you and other non-whites start to do well in their field; they’ll be worried about being squeezed out because non-white employees are starting to be treated slightly more like equals. They will consider you unreasonable and overly sensitive about the discrimination you face and the way you are talked to. It is a defensive reaction to social change and an attempt to deflect from examining actual power structures. It seems like the positive cheerleading is always for the repressed group, but that’s because the power group — and as a male, you are in a very big power group — has set up a very big wall in the society. That cheerleading? That’s the screaming. And you might feel that they can dispense with the screaming now, but the numbers alone say no, they can’t or the wall stays in place and can get higher.

    A very clear graphic representation of this I always find to be the orchestral auditions, which studies discovered were skewed to favor men over women performers. The women were evaluated as less competent and less likely to be hired. The people who were hiring the performers did not believe they were sexist, anymore than the performance review corporate folk did. They just felt that most women didn’t play as well as the men by the sound. But when they put up a screen so the audition was blind — the hiring person couldn’t see the gender of the performer, only hear them play, they all started picking more women to hire. There had been a bias. And despite there now being more women orchestral performers than before, they still have to do blind auditions because that sexist bias is still there. And women are still being shut out of being orchestral conductors: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/22/arts/music/female-conductors-search-for-equality-at-highest-level.html

    You want to think that it’s way better because it looks to your eyes like women are doing okay. But they are not. They are still being massively discriminated against. They are still having opportunities stagnated on average in favor of men. They are still less able to make a living. They are still less likely to get business loans, mortgages and venture capital investments. They are still not legally equal under the law. Everywhere, people including women talk about women in sexist terms, in stereotypes and dismissively as being too demanding about their rights — which is a helpful position to take to deprive them of their rights. And that’s in the very tiny amount of GOOD countries, where women have a legal and economic foothold for their rights and are not regulated purely to property and married off when they are seven (at least not legally.)

    Young men are upset that they are not being listened to (which comes mainly from them being young,) that they are not being praised and petted when they see women being encouraged — and being given some rare shots at opportunity to try to make up for the massive discrimination they face by those attempting social change — because they were raised in a society that taught them they should be praised and listened to as men and that women are not as good and important as men and could be ignored or at least should stay out of the way of the men, and therefore, women are being treated not in their proper place — beneath guys. And they don’t even get that they have that bias until someone makes them consider it. And when they do? A lot of young men decide that it’s bogus that they have a bias and use that as justification to slam women en masse for causing them problems.

    That’s what privilege is. The society is designed for you and to slant towards you, even if every individual young male does not do well, and it is designed to protect you from having to think about that and from that slant in society being criticized, much less dismantled. And when people break the code and those protections — at considerable risk to themselves — the reaction is often anger, defensiveness, denial and deflection, even from the nicest, kindest people in the world. And attempting to get women and other groups to shut up already about that inequality thing.

    It’s a thorny, tricky, ingrained mess, with people being on cross axises (white women have it more equal than black men on average in western societies, etc.) But equality efforts are not going to stop. And you can either whine that you don’t have as much male privilege as your dad did, like Maximum Trent up there, or you can keep looking and listening and getting more aware of actual power structures around you and how we all play into them. Decency doesn’t enter into it — the wall of discrimination is held up by decent people, by me and you, and it is still very much there.

    (I’m not doing so good on the verbosity thing, am I? Sigh. I just want to be clear what I’m saying because these are tricky issues.)

  140. Guru: The double standard that leads to the male doofus being set against the perfect woman in advertising imagery,

    Kat: Yeah, no. See, you have a very skewed perspective of society that comes from privilege

    Guru is at least correct about the male doofus thing being a thing.

    http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/demise-doofus-dad-ads-141018

    http://www.cnn.com/2012/06/12/living/dumb-dad-stereotype/

    It’s a crappy thing and acknowledging it as crappy shouldn’t be a big deal.

    Beyond that, Guru, I think the fundamental problem you’re running into stems from this:

    Guru: But it is my observation that whether I claim to be a feminist or not to be a feminist, I will be making a “wrong” choice in the eyes of some subset of people. So I think it’s rational for people — both men and women — to avoid using the term altogether.

    Sometimes organizations are so rotten to the core that you just have to leave. Sometimes the group is good, but even a good group will have the occasional asshole and make the occasional mistake. But even a good organization will be viewed as the fascist, communist, socialist, terrorist sleeper cell by some of their opponents.

    The problem you’re running into here is letting the worst of the worst decided what is good, and trying to find a course of action that will satisfy everyone. That’s not going to happen. It doesn’t matter if Obama invented a free, green energy source for the planet, insane birthers will say its just a plot to lull us into a false sense of security before he turns us over to his ISIL masters.

    YOU have to look at the group and decide if they’re good or at least good enough to stand with them. You can’t outsource that responsibility to anyone else. And joining which group would allow you to make the biggest difference in the world? If you’re really in favor of gender equality, would you make a bigger difference standing with other feminists or standing alone calling your self a “gender equality” person until the first sexist bigot comes along and says “gender equality” people are fascist, communist, socialist, terrorist sleeper cell people?

    That’s what it means to be a responsible adult: you have to choose for yourself. I’m not going try to tell you which way to choose, but the one thing I would try to impress upon you is that YOU have to choose for yourself, not the bigots, and not anyone else. Stand where your heart tells you is the right place for you to be. And stand there with the courage to know no matter where you stand, SOMEONE SOMEWHERE will tell you that you’re standing in the wrong place.

    make the choice that’s right for you.

  141. Scalzi, I think the researchers behind those studies understand how science works a little better than some writer of science fiction, and their general conclusions based on their specific findings are perfectly clear.

    [The rest of the post deleted because Benevolent Sexist is apparently under the mistaken impression he gets a vote in what is on topic and what is not. And he doesn’t! – JS]

  142. DC Sessions: Well, I can only speak from my experience. I shouldn’t have suggested it was a universal one, just that it would be not uncommon.

    kat: Yeah, I know about the orchestral auditions study. That was an eye-opening one for me too on unconscious bias. And frankly, I agree with pretty much everything you’ve written.

    I’m certainly not suggesting that “men are getting squashed in favour of women” as a general statement. I’m saying that there are now areas of debate where female feminists claim a right to speak and also deny the validity of the corresponding male experience, or indeed deny their right to speak entirely. It’s difficult to reconcile this with “equality” as a goal. (This isn’t just a sexism thing; there are people within most marginalized groups who claim a similar rhetorical high ground.)

    But even if this exclusion from debate is justifiable, it matters because when you shut people up, you don’t change their minds. They just stop listening. If they are in conversation with you, at least they are engaging with your position.

    Honestly in 90% of feminist forums I wouldn’t bother posting any of this because my contribution would be automatically deemed invalid. Even here I was 50-50 about whether to get involved, because frankly I have better things to do with my time than to get yelled at, and I wasn’t sure how my contribution would be received.

    Now I feel that way and I’ve chosen to try and inform myself on the issues. I’m committed to positive change on an individual basis but I doubt I’ll ever become an activist. And ultimately, it’s the mass of non-activists who have to be the targets if change is to happen.

    People used to say that they weren’t a feminist because they didn’t believe in the movement’s stated objectives. Now they say they aren’t a feminist even though they do believe in the movement’s stated objectives.

    To me that means that feminist activists are alienating feminist non-activists, which in turn means you’re losing a support base that could help make change happen faster.

    As a non-activist talking to activists on this site, I say: please don’t alienate the people who want to be on your side.
    By all means, fight hard to win the debate against conservative advocates making counter-arguments.
    Fight for change with those people who hold the power.
    We’re watching, even if we aren’t joining in.
    But although we sympathize, we’ll stay on the sidelines unless we feel our support will be welcomed.
    In part, that means accepting that we are less pure, less passionate, less devoted to the cause. We’ll probably be naive, misinformed. Sometimes we’ll be insulting or hurtful without intent or malice. That doesn’t make us the enemy.

    If you are a feminist activist, the actions of your hyper-activist peers do reflect on the whole movement, and its effectiveness. They make non-activists uncomfortable with the idea of publicly supporting the changes you want.

    Who are the inclusive figures in feminism today?

    Greg: The problem is not whether the word “feminist” denotes a good thing or not. As alluded to above, the problem is whether it’s possible to be a “feminist” without also being seen as an activist. I’m pleased the community on this site exists though — it gives me hope.

  143. Benevolent Sexist:

    “Scalzi, I think the researchers behind those studies understand how science works a little better than some writer of science fiction”

    Again, nice try, but no. The question is not whether they or I understand the science (or correlation), but whether you do. It’s pretty clear you don’t, not in the least because you don’t appear to notice that the very headline of the study — not to mention the abstract — clearly limits the study to a discussion of adolescents.

    What you do have, however, is a fairly pedestrian bag of rhetorical attempted tricks, like the one you just pulled, i.e., trying to make it about the credibility of the researchers, and not about your inability to understand the limits of their studies. Unfortunately for you, that’s not nearly good enough.

    Why don’t you run along, BS. Your bag of tricks isn’t nearly as impressive as you think it is.

  144. @Xopher: I hadn’t seen that. It sums everything up in a succinct and depressing (yet oddly also reassuring) way. Those are, indeed, the arguments made in more or less polite terms…over and over and over and over…

  145. Guru: The problem is not whether the word “feminist” denotes a good thing or not. As alluded to above, the problem is whether it’s possible to be a “feminist” without also being seen as an activist.

    Well, that’s still letting other people decide with you do. You’re creating an implied set of rules for you to follow that essentially says “if a single person sees me as an activist, then I shouldn’t be part of the label feminist”.

    If you really are behind the idea of equality for all regardless of gender (race, orientation, etc), then you should figure out how best to support that for yourself. Bigots will figure out for themselves. And people in the middle will figure out for themselves.

    If you are a feminist activist, the actions of your hyper-activist peers do reflect on the whole movement,

    it does, and that’s why if you’re a member of an organization, and some member does something that isn’t in line with the stated goals of the organization, that you should call them on it. If you’re a guy and you see a guy doing a catcall, you might call the guy on being sexist. if you’re a feminist and some other feminist is doing something against the stated committment of feminism of gender equality, you might call that person on their behavior.

    Even if you decide to eschew all organizations, you yourself could still fall short of your own commitment sometimes. You’re human. We’re all human. We’re all imperfect. So, if you fall off the track, do you pick yourself up and get back on track, or do you tell yourself that you’ve just ruined it for yourself? If you make a misstep, it may reflect badly on you for some people, but others are more interested not in the mistake itself, but in how you react after you made the mistake. Do you acknowledge it? Do you apologize for it, make ammends for it, be responsible for it and then get back to your commitment?

    For some, that you made a mistake might cause them to forever write you off as an ally, as a good guy, whatever. But what I’ve found is that if I apply that same strict reaction to myself, every mistake I make is an irrecoverable failure reflecting some fundamental flaw in my character, so I might as well give up on my commitments. Not very empowering. But if I take on my commitment from the point of view of I’ll make mistakes, but be responsible for them and do my best to get back on track, then there’s a path to make good on my commitments even though I’ll misstep. And I’ve found that approach works well when applied to other people as well. I might belong to some organization that isn’t perfect, but if overall the organization is responsible for its missteps, then it’s likely to actually make progress on its commitments, doing more good than harm.

    Your concerns seem to boil down to how you’ll be seen by others and how others in your same organization might do something that reflects badly on the organization and reflects badly on you. I’m suggesting that you look at it from the point of view of figuring out what you’re committed to (such as gender equality) and figure out how to best take a stand for your commitment and be responsible for when you miss the mark or fall off the track, and maybe apply that same approach to everyone around you.

  146. Kat Goodwin:

    I’m not doing so good on the verbosity thing, am I? Sigh. I just want to be clear what I’m saying because these are tricky issues.

    One of the more frustrating things about working with feminist women is that they so often exemplify the very internalizations that they see so clearly in others. Which may or may not be true in your case, Ms. Goodwin. I confess to being rather sensitized to that by a young woman I’ve been mentoring [1].

    Still, in case it matters, I think you’re doing just fine. For what that might be worth.

    [1] Let’s just say she’s playing Life at a very high difficulty level.

  147. The male doofus thing? It’s not new. Not remotely. I listen to old time radio shows, and it was A Thing back in the 1940s and 1950s (just listen to any episode of The Life of Riley or the Phil Harris/Alice Faye Show if you don’t believe me). Or The Great Gildersleeve. Fibber McGee and Molly, the list goes on and on. Lots and lots of male doofuses in old time radio. But you know what? They were all assumed to be at least minimally competent in things like having checking accounts (though they might be shown laboring mightily over getting the checkbook to balance).

    At the same time, shows like Family Theater, an extremely normative show whose tagline was “the family that prays together stays together” were also on the air, and telling us all that women shouldn’t have bank accounts, and especially not checking accounts. HERE‘s a link (realplayer) to the Family Theater episode “A Day to Remember”. Here’s some dialog between husband and wife from that show:

    W: “Mrs. Bartlet down the street stopped in yesterday, and do you know what she told me? She said that Mr. Bartlett opened a [shocked tone] bank account for her!
    H: “A bank account? For heaven’s sake, what for? Is he sick?”
    W: Oh no, no. He felt she should have her own money, to buy things and to pay the bills.
    H: “Polly, I hope you don’t approve of such an idea! A wife and mother has no business being involved in the sordid exchange of money. Dealing with collectors and tradesmen is not the duty of a self-respecting woman. And the hand that rocks the cradle shouldn’t be” [interruption here].

    Long story short, he “gives her” a checking account (but absolutely no information about how checks and bank accounts work), she screws up (again, due to having been given NO INFORMATION ABOUT HOW BANK ACCOUNTS WORK!) and ends up giving up the account with a happy little giggle about how foolish she is.

    She isn’t allowed any financial identity of her own. And to back this up, when she IS given a financial identity of her own, as a gift from her husband, she immediately screws it up, thus proving that women should only stand in the shadow of their husband’s legal and financial identity. The whole show is built around reinforcing this. And remember, this was a show about how YOUR family SHOULD BE. And it was broadcast only 56 years ago.

    My mother told me how many hoops she had to jump through to get a bank account of her own as recently as the ’70s.

  148. I’m not doing so good on the verbosity thing, am I? Sigh. I just want to be clear what I’m saying because these are tricky issues.

    Eh, I’m pretty sure I got out voted. >.>

  149. Cally: The male doofus thing? It’s not new. Not remotely.

    this was a show about how YOUR family SHOULD BE. And it was broadcast only 56 years ago.

    Yeah, I’m saying it wasn’t good then, and it isn’t good now. The “fathers can’t change a diaper” commercial is just as stupid as the “women can’t handle a checking account” TV show. Especially when they always skew the same way, which is to stereotypical gender roles.

    Feminism to me isn’t about making sure women can do everything men can do. It’s about making sure everyone can do what they want regardless of their gender.

  150. It’s about making sure everyone can do what they want regardless of their gender.

    We’re getting somewhere when people look at you with blank stares if you even imply that gender has a damned thing to do with it [1]. And much as I would love that to be in my lifetime, I really doubt it will be that soon.

    [1] Whatever “it” might be.

  151. Feminism to me isn’t about making sure women can do everything men can do. It’s about making sure everyone can do what they want regardless of their gender.

    Oh, certainly. But those male doofuses I was talking about weren’t generally being doofuses at traditionally female-gendered things; they were being doofuses at gender-neutral or male-gendered things. (Buying presents for the boss. Going fishing. Installing a doorbell.) This was in response to GuruJ’s apparent belief that men being presented as doofuses in entertainment was something that was a response to feminism in some way.

    I should note that women were also presented as doofuses in old time radio (Easy Aces is an egregious example), but, like the men, that was more about them as a person than being about What Society Should Be Like. Unlike that Family Theater radio show, which was absolutely about How Women Shouldn’t Have Bank Accounts unless, MAYBE, if their husband was very sick or dead.

  152. The doofus and the Family Theater show are two sides of the same coin.

    The Family Theater thesis is about someone who violates gender norms (expected incompetence) and Bad Things Come of It.

    The doofus is about someone who violates gender norms (expected competence) and Bad Things Come of It.

    The only real difference is that one is played as a morality play — a lesson taught, and learned — and the other as a comedy with the joke on someone who isn’t going to change.

  153. Cally: But those male doofuses I was talking about weren’t generally being doofuses at traditionally female-gendered things;

    So,I assume you didn’t see my link above?

    http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/demise-doofus-dad-ads-141018

    And you missed when I specifically said to you: “The “fathers can’t change a diaper” commercial is just as stupid”?

    It’s specifically an ad about how men cannot do traditionally female-gendered things: change a diaper. That’s just as sexist as a TV show saying a woman can’t handle a checking account.

    There really does seem to be a subset of feminists who can’t bear to acknowledge something as simple as the sexism inherent in the ad that puts down dads like that. I can’t wrap my head around why, but it occurs to me that they’re defining feminism as “equality for women” rather than “gender equality for all”. If folks want to focus on “equality for women”, I’m fine with that. Systemic discrimination tilts against women in general, so focusing on women makes sense since its needed more. However, when someone denies “gender equality for all” by saying the “dad’s can’t change diapers” commercials are OK, its an instance of micro-sexism. I’m not saying everyone has to march on the streets about the diaper dad commercial, but at the same time I would expect that folks get the hell out of the way of people who CAN see it for the sexism it is, rather than denying it, downplaying it, or similar tactics.

  154. Dear Kat,

    Your nuanced and brilliant verbosity saves likely a half dozen of us from posting the same thoughts but stated nowhere as well. I have no doubt that your insightful screeds REDUCE the total word count in the comments.

    ~~~~

    Dear guruj,

    “People used to say that they weren’t a feminist because they didn’t believe in the movement’s stated objectives. Now they say they aren’t a feminist even though they do believe in the movement’s stated objectives.

    To me that means that feminist activists are alienating feminist non-activists, which in turn means you’re losing a support base that could help make change happen faster.”

    Toss into that Cally’s historical perspective on male doofuses.

    Both of these go towards your remark about judging facts as they are now rather than relying on the historical context. It makes you say dumb things and lead to dumb conclusions (which is not the same as saying you are dumb, very much not, ’cause if you were, then proper context wouldn’t change your dumbness).

    Lots of people have ALWAYS said that they aren’t feminist because while they “agree with the principles” they don’t like how “those feminists” act. They have been doing it since Day One. It never goes away, it never even diminishes in volume. It is most assuredly not a stronger influence now than it was 20, 30, 40 or 50 years ago. It’s a classic dismount. It’s why they get branded “man haters,” “women’s libbers,” and “bra burners” (and you might want to look up the history of that one — not just the falsity of it, but the intentional allusion to “book burning”).

    Single points of data don’t lead you to correct conclusions. To put it technically, you need trend analysis. The way you’re thinking about this is kind of like you’ve just moved into a new house, you step outside in the morning, and it’s hailing. And you say, “Oh my God, it’s hailing! This is unprecedented! What is behind it!?” … without having looked into the history of weather where you live. Maybe it hails every day. Or maybe it’s uncommon, but it still happens on occasion (like snow and tornadoes where I live [San Francisco Bay Area]). Or maybe it really is unprecedented. But until you learn the meteorological history of the area, you don’t know.

    In fact, almost every single one of the cautions you’re raising as being either unprecedented or exhibiting an unfavorable trend is historically incorrect. Asserting that X is caused by Y and that it’s a new or worsening thing is a difficult position to support when X has happened many times before.

    If getting actively involved and identified makes you personally uncomfortable to the degree that you can’t do it, then that’s the way it is. Until you figure out how to keep it from making you acutely uncomfortable, you have to live with it and make your choices accordingly. But that does not mean there is an objective and rational external reason for you feeling that way. The world has not suddenly become a more hostile place towards feminism and feminists, nor towards men.

    The Who said, “Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.” In this case, there isn’t even a new boss.

    ~~~~

    Dear Greg,

    I don’t know any feminists, offhand, who would think the husband-diaper commercial was okay. Not just because of what it said about men, but because of the strong message it sends that this is a woman’s responsibility.

    Given the immense reach of the inter-web, I’m quite certain you can find some feminist somewhere, who has applauded this. ‘Cause you can find pretty much anything out there if you look.

    Who gives a shit?

    As you pointed out to guruj, you don’t judge a movement by the extreme weirdos and wackos and you don’t make your own decisions on it based upon them. It makes sense to call them out, directly, when they say something fabulously stupid, but spending energy beating your breast elsewhere about it? By your own excellent, pragmatic analysis, that’s a profound waste of time.

    But, collectively, are feminists going to get as upset at the stick the takes a whack at men as they do when that stick takes a whack at women? No. And they shouldn’t. It doesn’t mean they’re approving of the stick, but when the folks who are getting the worst of the shit in life from sexism gets smacked with a stick, it’s a bigger and more serious problem than when the folks who aren’t do. So, yes, outrage gets modulated because, you know, this isn’t a discussion of theoretical abstracts on the frictionless plane level playing field where cows are all spherical and of uniform density, this is about the crap that happens in the real world.

    pax \ Ctein
    [ Please excuse any word-salad. MacSpeech in training! ]
    ======================================
    — Ctein’s Online Gallery http://ctein.com 
    — Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com 
    ======================================

  155. ctein: spending energy beating your breast elsewhere about it?

    Yeah, Guru brought it up as a concern with identifying as feminist, so not sure how this qualifies as “elsewhere”. Also, re: “beating your breast”? Did you just “tone argument” me?

    But, collectively, are feminists going to get as upset at the stick the takes a whack at men as they do when that stick takes a whack at women? No. And they shouldn’t.

    Shouldn’t? Is that from the handbook of how to be a proper feminist? I need to order a copy of that.

  156. Greg quotes Cally: “Cally: But those male doofuses I was talking about weren’t generally being doofuses at traditionally female-gendered things;” and then responds

    Greg, did you miss the “I was talking about” part of her statement? Not what you were talking about.

  157. Dear Greg,

    I am not going to get sucked into another one of your semantic diversionary games. You know exactly what I meant. We’re done.

    Ctein

  158. Robin, Guru was the first to bring up the male doofus in advertising as a sexist thing. It is in fact a sexist thing, and I provided a couple links showing its a sexist thing.

    That Kat wanted to wave it all away as privilege, that Cally wanted to change the subject to other, less-sexist male doofuses and how sexism against women was really bad 56 years ago, and that you want to reinforce the topic change, is all energy being expended to avoid acknowledging some simple sexism that Guru was talking about.

    Why avoid acknowledging diaper dad ads are sexist now and focus on some show that was sexist against women 56 years ago? Seriously, I don’t understand this. Just acknowledge that there is sexism that harms men, put it in the pile of all the other sexism in the world, and move on.

    Hey, ctein, remember when you were telling me it was “elsewhere”? Well, here it is.

  159. If “fathers can’t change diapers” is an OK message, then who changes diapers? And does that mean that diaper-changers won’t be able to do other things, because diapers?

    Not a message I would expect any stripe of “feminist” to be happy about. At least once they think through the implications.

  160. GuruJ:

    I’m saying that there are now areas of debate where female feminists claim a right to speak and also deny the validity of the corresponding male experience, or indeed deny their right to speak entirely.

    You want a cookie for being feminist. You don’t get a cookie for being feminist because you should be feminist. You want your voice to be heard because as a male, you are used to expecting that your voice gets to be heard. That’s what society taught you to take for granted; it’s a right women don’t have in the society. You do not feel that women have the right to say that they don’t want to talk to you, and that they don’t find what you have to say about their rights and experiences of particular value. It’s your privilege and you feel that privilege threatened. Women are not equal to you and therefore, they can’t deny you, get angry at you, or not consider your input about their rights not important. That is what you have been taught by society since you were small. And when women challenge that, say we don’t need you, you have nothing new to say and this conversation we’re having doesn’t have to involve you, you therefore get upset, perplexed and defensive. Why would these women not want to hear you? They can’t do that! You’re one of the good guys! And that’s ingrained, habitual sexism. And same for black people not listening to white people on racism, etc.

    From the time that they are small, women are told in an enormous variety of ways that they must be compliant, placating, polite, care-taking, conciliatory, deferential, etc. They must let men speak and consider men speaking very important and their words serious, before thinking to speak themselves. They must not act like a boss if they are a boss, they can only show initiative if men allow it, they are not supposed to be proud, angry or any emotion that men don’t find ladylike or appropriate for them. They must not make men look bad, must not mock them, must take men’s feelings into account. They must not act more intelligent than men on important subjects, they must not act like they are more expert than men in important things, including feminism (mansplaining.) They must not be too sexual but always sexually accessible. They are told to make other people, particularly men, feel good and not alienate them. All of these things work to control women and their behavior, block women from opportunities, and most critically, marginalize and quiet their voices, wipe them from the historical record altogether if possible, and definitely keep them from shining too bright a light on discrimination against them.

    That’s what the alienate advice is for. It’s a blackmail threat. You only get your rights if I allow them and I and others will only allow them and help you get them if you behave the way I want you to and never criticize me in a way I don’t like, etc. That’s not equality. It’s bigotry and control. Do you honestly think that you have to say that to any woman ever as advice? That she has not been told this since she was small? That it has not been used by people in a dominate group both who are opposed to equal rights and sympathetic to them? It’s routine, systemic sexism. It’s noise. And it’s completely unreliable. If you’re going to flounce off every time you hear something you don’t like, every time you don’t get to horn in and try to take over the conversation, what use are you? Allies who shut up and listen and learn are way more useful.

    And it’s not true, either, that zombie pearl of wisdom. Trying not to alienate people means the status quo remains and there’s no increase in equality. Alienating people — shouting, demanding, standing up for one’s own agency — which these women in the forums were doing with you — does work and is working. It was alienating to the nice orchestral directors to put that screen up in the auditions. It was calling them sexists, wasn’t it, when they didn’t think they were. And it worked.

    When blacks in the U.S. South were trying to end segregation, whites sympathetic to their cause counseled them to be patient, polite and respectable, not so loud, don’t push too hard too fast, don’t do those restaurant sit-ins, let your white allies negotiate on your behalf, don’t alienate us because you need our help. Which was wrong. The sit-ins and all the rest confronted the U.S. population with this massive discrimination, made them as uncomfortable and upset as possible, the black people ran the movement, argued with each other about how to do it, and it couldn’t be swept under the rug or minimized as not so bad. They shook up the world and changed it. And that is how all these changes happen. It isn’t fun. It’s risky. But it works.

    That’s what Trent is trying to do, in his way — the blackmail threat. He is telling women that being a feminist is hostile to men, is talking over men, is alienating women’s dating prospects, and so they should stop if they want to date him and other prime male flesh. And the point of the play, again, is that it’s a useless threat because women know it’s not true. Even The Guy’s lotion knows.

    If a woman says something you don’t agree with, or seems angrier than you think she should be, or won’t let you talk to her about feminism, tough shit. That doesn’t mean there’s a problem with feminism and challenges to sexism. And nobody is obligated to guide you through it. You want to help, go talk to guys about why feminism is an inalienable right and a good thing for all. And nobody is obliged to praise you for doing that because it shouldn’t have to be done if we were equal and it’s the right thing to do.

    You’re still working through your privilege. We all are. But working through it takes listening, more than speaking. Because the people you are listening to have spent their lifetimes being silenced by discrimination. And a lot of them are not going to shut up and listen to you, no matter how wrongheaded you think that decision is — despite the risks to them for doing that. Which include getting rape and death threats from other men for not letting you speak in that forum.

    As for the “male doofus” commercials, as others have explained, that’s an old sexist stereotype. The male is a doofus about housecleaning and childcare because those are the woman’s jobs. The woman is supposed to take care of the man and kids, act as a servant and substitute as his mother. She is intelligent only in that she is his prize possession at running his household. In a more modern version, the guy would know where the diapers are in the house and the mom doesn’t and nobody thinks that’s weird. Which is why there’s a lot of protests about sexism in advertising and the media. :)

  161. This made me laugh, which I needed because it’s midterms week and I’ve been crazy busy/stressed.

    Thanks, Mr. Scalzi!

  162. Kat: See, I think you’re missing the point. You say that feminism is about equality but at the same time that I can’t expect feminists to listen to my experiences (of course I shouldn’t tell women how they should interpret or react to theirs).

    You say that a good ally shuts up. But how does that help if they think you are wrong? What you are saying is that you want cheerleaders, not allies.

    I appreciate that Greg had the courtesy to acknowledge what I was saying.

    This is not about credit. I don’t really care whether people think I am a good feminist or not. But I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t think I might make a difference explaining my perspective.

    ctein: Sorry, but appeals to self as authority only get you so far. You have your experience, I have mine. We aren’t going to get any further if that’s the only line of argument you have.

  163. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t think I might make a difference explaining my perspective.

    I’m about ready to invoke Poe. Nobody is this self-absorbed. And I work with teenagers for a living.

  164. doc: What would you rather? That I presumed to speak for everyone? That I was just here to troll for my own self-amusement?

    I have no illusions that I am anything special. But if big things are the product of lots of small interactions, I don’t see why it’s so self absorbed to believe that debate can change people (including me).

  165. Greg:

    Quoting Ctein:
    But, collectively, are feminists going to get as upset at the stick the takes a whack at men as they do when that stick takes a whack at women? No. And they shouldn’t.

    Shouldn’t? Is that from the handbook of how to be a proper feminist? I need to order a copy of that.

    Greg, Ctein was quite right to refuse this gambit. This is something you do when you’re angry, and it never ever leads anywhere good.

    If Ctein had said “And why should they?” you wouldn’t have been able to respond as you did, and it clearly means the same thing. General principle: when you criticize a statement that you couldn’t have criticized had it been phrased slightly differently, you’re quibbling. Nobody likes quibbling.

    But it’s worse than just the single quibble. Quibbling gives the impression that you’re playing a game where you try to score points off others in the thread, and that undermines any points (in a different sense) you may be trying to make, because that’s not what most of us are here for, and frankly that game bores us to tears.

    For me, once I can tell you’ve become angry, I start skipping your comments, because I know you’re about to start arguing with the people rather than about the topic.

    I hope you’ll take this as it’s meant, and not treat me as another person you have to win against.

  166. Xopher, that’s a much nicer way to put it than I would’ve. Must be because as a man you identify with Greg more than I do. ;) (That’s a joke. Everyone clear on that?)

    I see: GuruJ positing (among other things) that a type of sexism is a response to feminism; Cally replying that no, it predates the feminist movement by decades, with examples and further comment on the details of the portrayals; Greg telling her no, you’re not talking about my cites about much more recent things (which were outside of the scope of her response); me telling Greg that she was actually talking about her own comment, not his; Greg telling me that I, Kat, and Cally should all be talking about what GuruJ said and what Greg said, not anything else, and that we three women’s comments that aren’t direct responses to what those two men said are clearly efforts to avoid acknowledging that sexism against men exists too.

    What’s the term for that, again?

    You want your voice to be heard because as a male, you are used to expecting that your voice gets to be heard. … And when women challenge that, say we don’t need you, you have nothing new to say and this conversation we’re having doesn’t have to involve you, you therefore get upset, perplexed and defensive.

    And again Kat says it best.

  167. Guru: female feminists claim a right to speak and also deny the validity of the corresponding male experience,

    Kat: [proceeds to deny anything valid about his experience and recasts everything he said as sexist behavior. Uses “privilege” to dicto simpliciter a particular man into having all the worst traits of all men with zero evidence.]

    Well, that sure proved him wrong, Kat. Good job.

    Xopher, I try to respond to what people actually say. If you change what Ctein actually said to something he didn’t actually say, then yes, my response to what he actually said won’t make sense. Not sure what that proves. Much of his comment was imperative statements about how feminists are/should be. Change that one sentence to a question doesn’t really change teh comment much.

  168. Robin: GuruJ positing (among other things) that a type of sexism is a response to feminism;

    Well, no, not exactly what he said.

    Guru: The double standard that leads to the male doofus being set against the perfect woman in advertising imagery, while the reverse would no longer be acceptable on mainstream media, is the same one that marginalizes the voices and opinions of young men.

    I don’t see it as actively created as a response to feminism, just that if you eliminate women-cant-have-a-checkbook comedy, you are left with men-cant-change-a-diaper-alongside-perfect-women comedy. I don’t think feminists went out of their way and actively created a commercial just to present men as doofuses. More like one bad stereotype was removed, leaving another bad stereotype.

    Greg telling me that I, Kat, and Cally should all be talking about what GuruJ said and what Greg said, not anything else

    Oh good grief, you tell me I can only respond to Cally: “did you miss the “I was talking about” part of her statement? Not what you were talking about.”. And I responded that I was talking to what Guru had posted. It’s OK when you do it, and bad when I do it? not sure how this rule of yours works.

    that we three women’s comments that aren’t direct responses to what those two men said are clearly efforts to avoid acknowledging that sexism against men exists too.

    Did you acknowledge its sexist and I missed it?

    I saw D.C.Sessions acknowledge it was sexist, but I missed it if anyone else did.

  169. GuruJ:

    We’re going long again, but only because I think you’re worth it. :)

    See, I think you’re missing the point. You say that feminism is about equality but at the same time that I can’t expect feminists to listen to my experiences (of course I shouldn’t tell women how they should interpret or react to theirs).

    You’re missing the point. Feminism is not about equality for men because you already have more than equality — you benefit from inequality. Feminism is about equality for WOMEN, because women are denied equality. Unlike men, they aren’t allowed to talk among themselves, share their experiences and have their voices listened to without men jumping in and demanding that the men’s experiences be heard instead, said men pretending that society is fair and gives women turns to speak when it does not, and that men’s experiences are something the women don’t know about and oh so important when it comes to women’s equality. You are coming in and demanding that women listen to you and getting mad when they dare to refuse. That’s sexism. It doesn’t make you a bad person, GuruJ, it just makes you a typical entitled guy.

    Men’s experiences do not have to be forced on women because the entire society is devoted to letting men share their experiences, and for that matter, forcing women to hear them and place more value on them than their own. Men dominate books, news stories, movie and t.v. stories, all the arts, all the non-fiction, all the business, finance, technology, etc. We hear men’s experiences — and advice from them about what we should do and how we should behave — constantly, we are forced to hear them, we know them, we are taught them in school. While men’s experiences are vaunted in society, women’s experiences are ignored, surpressed, interrupted and belittled. It’s not an equal system where we get to take turns. Women’s turn is stolen from them, and they are threatened and scolded when they try to take a turn.

    Everything you’ve said so far in this thread has been said thousands of times before by men. We already know what you are saying, and much of it is ignorant of the actual woman’s movement. Yet the idea of actually just listening to women about the sexism they experience without insisting on inserting yourself into it and forcing them to listen to you, a man, just like society continually forces them to do under the idea that women are inferior and must listen to men, upsets you. Because men must be listened to and women should always be willing whenever a man wants them to. That’s not equality for women. It’s dominance of men.

    The idea that you might learn more from listening to women than inserting yourself in the conversation just doesn’t make sense to you yet. Because society taught you that forcing your views and stories on women is normal, and that this is more important than what women might have to say or teach you if you don’t interrupt them for once. An ally who refuses to listen unless he gets to lecture isn’t an ally. They aren’t going to treat you as an ally because you’re repressing their speech and trying to make it all about you and what you want to say, rather than hear them.

    That hostility that you fear women are receiving for feminist action — they are, because the feminist action is working. The more complaints about how women are uppity and alienating? The better we’re doing at fermenting social change. Stevie I think brought up Samuel Delaney talking about how when he was one of the few black writers of SFF, he didn’t experience a lot of direct racism and most of the white writers considered themselves liberal. But Delaney predicted that when there were more black SFF writers, when they started to do well and were not just seen as odd tokens, then the more open hostility towards them was going to start. That those black writers would be seen as a threat, as too pushy and demanding in the business, as getting favoritism and not really having talent, as complaining too much about inequality for black writers in the field, of not letting white people speak and listening to them seriously, etc. And indeed, that’s what has happened. Black writers in SFF, especially black women writers, have been accused of fermenting trouble over nothing, taking over the Hugo awards, being not really talented, causing hardship to non-black authors and so on.

    And the same for women writers and fans in SFF, and in atheism, alt lit, technology, gaming industry — name a spot, we women are terribly misbehaving it seems, mostly by insisting that we get to speak, including about sexism, and that no, we don’t have to listen to men say the same sexist pompous condescending things that have been said to women on the issue of their rights for hundreds of years. For a woman to say that it is actually not her job just because she’s female to soothe the ruffled feathers of men’s feelings is considered a horrible crime. But telling a woman that how dare she piss you off talking about her rights or not listening to you and valuing what you say? Yeah, we’re not supposed to get annoyed about that at all because sexism.

    It’s presented as a hypocrisy, as if the world were equal. If the women get to speak, then the men should get to speak! Except, A) no one’s keeping you from speaking but that doesn’t mean that they have to listen to you themselves — if they are equal and not your subjects; and B) women don’t get to speak out in society without men trying to stop them. We don’t get to speak unless we take the right and insist on it. And the claim that men’s speech is getting squashed if women aren’t forced to listen to them is not true and an attempt at further dominance. So you can keep rehashing that entitlement script, GuruJ, or you can realize that women are disadvantaged in speech and so you are helping them be more equal in society if you are willing to listen to them without always insisting that you, a man, get to speak once again and talk over them. Just think about it.

    For instance, right now, there’s a man at a forum I sometimes participate in who refuses to accept my decision not to listen to him or talk to him for the last several years. He regularly attempts to talk at me, causing confusion for other participants, and sometimes disrupting conversations thereby. And recently, these attempts have apparently escalated. So I have poor options. I can leave the forum and stop participating, being driven out of the public space and silenced. I can continue to ignore the man as he attempts to interrupt most conversations I’m in and get my attention. Or I can give in to the forced interaction, give him the attention he wants, which is a sickening and threatening prospect and a huge waste of my time. I haven’t decided yet. It’s a much lower level situation than catcalls on the street or rape and death threats online, but it’s a regular occurrence that women have to deal with.

  170. I think we’re beginning to go around in circles and devolve into personal attacks, so I won’t comment much further. I wanted to try and have a constructive conversation and it has been, mostly.

    My parting thought is this: I think “feminism” can either be defined as the fight for women’s rights, or the fight for equal rights, but not both.

    If you define it as the former, then men by necessity can’t have a driving role in the movement. It makes the idea of an “ally” of feminism logically consistent with being a supporter rather than directly setting the agenda. If you’re honest about that, then at least people understand that you think men’s issues are someone else’s problem to fix.

    But if you want feminism really, truly, to mean “the fight for equality”, then I don’t see how you do that without acknowledging that men may have their own ideas about how they would like to change the world to be more equal as well. Even if men’s problems are only 10% compared to the 90% of women’s problems in the world, it sets a very different tone for how people should work together to fix things.

    I appreciate all of you engaging with me .. really. You’ve been civil and passionate, I couldn’t ask for much more.

  171. Dear Xopher,

    Thank you very much. I’m learning not to respond to Greg and his willful misreadings. It’s a tough slog. He’s very good at baiting.

    As Dickie Smothers used to say, “That’s not a compliment.”

    ~~~~

    Dear guruj,

    No, I am not appealing to self as authority. I am telling you you are massively ignorant of history in ways that lead you to patently false conclusions about the import of your experiences. I have given you examples, both personal and impersonal, as illustrations and as pointers for further research on your part, but what I have repeatedly recommended is that you go educate yourself.

    As it stands, you are in ignorant error on many points. You truly don’t know what you’re talking about.

    Apologies for the bluntness, but sugar-coating it seems to have been counter-productive.

    In response to your comment to Kat about equality, you do not get treated as women’s equal in every single regard, because YOU ARE NOT! She has explained, at considerable length, how you come to the table with a deck stacked heavily in your favor. If you demand no less than equality for yourself on the negotiable points, that still leaves the deck stacked in your favor.

    If you are truly interested in equality for women, and not just preserving your own perks, you have to be prepared to give something up, to more evenly balance the scales. Listening more than talking seems like a rather small price.

    If you can’t do that, you’re no help and no real ally.

    Again, I regret the need to be so blunt, but it does appear to be necessary.

    pax / Ctein

  172. Kat: Feminism is not about equality for men

    From Emma Watson’s speech at the UN: “For the record, feminism by definition is: “The belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. It is the theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes” As an example of sexism against men, Emma gives the example “When at 18 my male friends were unable to express their feelings.”

    So, that’s the problem right there, Kat. You’re defining your own version of feminism that builds into it your own personal biases. Personally, I would suggest that when you are discussing feminism with other people, that you bring up your definition sooner than later so that people who subscribe more to the “gender equality for all” definition, for people who subscribe more to the current 2014 definition of feminism, then they can see you for what you are. It would probably clear up a lot of confusion at the beginning.

  173. Also from Emma’s speech: Gender equality is your issue too. Because to date, I’ve seen my father’s role as a parent being valued less by society despite my needing his presence as a child as much as my mother’s.

    oh, man, that’s some funny stuff right there.

    Who knew Emma was such a horrible not-feminist looking for a cookie….

  174. Men’s roles as parents and caregivers are devalued by a society that still sees nurturing and caregiving as the roles of lower-caste individuals (women, servants), so there is still a lot of resistance to valuing men in those roles that still have a less-than connotation. Like other cultural assumptions, these things are ingrained and will take more time to root out, and the key to it is still going to be working toward equality for women. This devaluing of males in caregiving positions is a side effect of women’s inequality, and to be able to claim nurturing and caregiving roles as their own, men should indeed work toward equality for women in every sense, especially cultural, for their own benefit as well as the benefit of their mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, spouses, sisters, brothers, and friends.

    There are women whose sexism (which we all have, as Kat noted) includes devaluing men in these roles for various reasons–some have internalized the cultural bias that men in these roles are less-than, some feel that these roles are the prerogative of women because in the world in which women have been less-than, these roles give women at least some power, which they are reluctant to give up. Nobody said that all feminists or all women are shining exemplars. In fact, woman-as-angel is another one of those leftovers of patriarchal culture that we can do without. But turning away from feminism is not going to help males to become valued in traditionally less-than roles.

  175. Kat Goodwin:

    Per your point post S. Delaney, WOC in SFF etc:

    Research indicates that very small numbers of minorities are not treated by the majority as a threat, but when they reach roughly 10% the majority starts to react defensively [1]. Obviously this doesn’t apply to women per se but probably does to “uppity women.”

    Get enough raisins in the rice pudding, though, and they become normal [2].

    I suppose being on the “threat detection radar” is an accomplishment, although obviously not a comfortable one. In that sense, I’ll congratulate you [3] for having excited [4] Greg, GuruJ, et al out of their ground-state comfort zone.

    [1] Fits Northern response to African-Americans, Hispanics, and other small minorities as they grew, POC in Northern Europe, religious minorities, etc.
    [2] Aerodynamic analogies suggest themselves but then I’m weird that way.
    [3] Plural
    [4] Quantum physics sense

  176. Hey Xopher, is this a “quibble”?

    Does Kat’s “Feminism is not about equality for men” clearly mean the same thing as Watson’s [feminism is] “The belief that men and women should have equal rights ”

    does BW’s “ the key to it is still going to be working toward equality for women.” clearly mean the same thing as Watson’s “We don’t often talk about men being imprisoned by gender stereotypes but I can see that that they are and that when [men] are free, things will change for women as a natural consequence”

    Because it doesn’t feel like they clearly mean the same thing. It feels to me like they’re saying almost entirely different things.

    I mean if it were the same thing, when Guru mentioned doofus dad things, folks like Kat could have quoted Watson talking about her father’s role as a parent being less valued by society being an instance of sexism, and explaing the doofus dad thing being a portrayal of that sexism on TV.

    Since Kat told Guru that expressing concern for male sexism is him “coming in and demanding that women listen to [him]. …That’s sexism…. it just makes you a typical entitled guy.” That seems to be saying something entirely contradictory to what, say, Emma Watson was saying is feminism and what is sexism.

    Xopher, you wanna know why I responded to Ctein’s “should” post? Because his entire post spoke of the way all Feminists collectively are and should be, with no regard to the possibility of any other valid definition. He was decreeing by fiat what is the one and true definition of Feminism and all others are false religions. It isn’t quibbling to point that out.

    And then Kat came out and gave her universal, speak for all feminists, definition of Feminism, specifically to label Guru’s version of Feminism as really being a form of male privilege and sexism. And Guru’s version of feminism, if you fiddle a few words, clearly means the same thing that Watson was saying is her definition of feminism.

    I don’t expect people to say “feminism is this” and always add a qualifier like “for me” at the end. But when someone with a different but valid definition brings their definition to the conversation, I’d expect folks to somehow acknowledge two valid but different definitions.

    A lot of what I’ve been objecting to on this thread has been people making proclamations of their definition of feminism being the only valid definition of feminism, and all other definitions are heresy.

  177. [Deleted because BS apparently didn’t read the comment policy and doesn’t understand that he’s been invited off the thread – JS]

  178. BW

    I might as well join you in being malleted; I cancelled my response to BS when JS told him to play elsewhere, but, since s/he’s returned, writing as someone who initially read Combined Honours at University, including an arts and a science degree, I entirely agree that BS is totally clueless as to how science works.

    It’s interesting to note that s/he is still pretending that the U.S. study doesn’t exist…

  179. Greg, there are probably lots of feminists or feminist leaning people who would accept you and who would engage in dialog with you. The in-group people here clearly won’t. That does not make them wrong or bad and it does not make you wrong or bad. It just means that you constantly trying to get their approval or acquiescence tends to validate their perception of you as a man-splainer.

    You have some cromulent philosophical points (emphasis on “some”), but the people here who identify as feminists tend to define themselves with respect to activism on various issues. Unless you are trying to get a policy shift in some movement or other that you are going to actively participate in, they are not going to take you seriously. You should probably find a space with a more abstract bent or at least a different school of thought. If you want to make a difference in how men are imprisoned by sexism, you can go out and try to change that. Honestly, I am guessing you could do that even without interacting with “feminist” groups, either by acting on a purely personal level or with the help of women who do not self-identify as feminists (but who probably are anyway) or with men who identify as feminists regardless of how others label them.

    For the record there are things that I agree with Greg on, things that I agree with Kat et al. on, things where I disagree with both of you and things where I go WTF did that come from (I am looking at you boys-don’t-think-of-girls-as-human-until-25; I like to be tolerant of different viewpoints, but you can piss right off with bells on.)

  180. privateiron

    At the moment, boys don’t think of girls as human until they’re 25 is the only thing preventing me from despatching Vlad Taltos to the LSE with a bonus scheme for how many rugby players he can take out.

    A quick search should tell you why…

  181. PrivateIron: constantly trying to get their approval or acquiescence

    Actually, I would have been happy if folks could simply speak for their version of feminism, rather than always resorting to the “All feminists are [this] and anything else is sexist heresy” Feminism is an idea, and the ideas of “gender equality for all” and “gender equality for women” aren’t mutually exclusive. unless someone wants to make them exclusive

    Oh well.

    As a decent consolation, Kat came out and blatantly stated her true principle “Feminism is not about equality for men”, which then can easily be presented to folks and they can accept it or reject it. It seems more often than not, people don’t say their views quite so baldly but rather dance around with mumbo jumbo about feminism is just this way because privilege and sexism and so on. Racists don’t often come out and say blatantly racist stuff, usually they dance around the issue and resort to dog whistles and so on.

    To actually come out and state flatly that feminism isn’t about equality for men, is a huge step. And when the next GuruJ comes along and says he’s not sure about identifying as feminist because of doofus dads or whatever, rather than get into a long protracted debate with Kat telling him he’s sexist and privileged and give all these round about reasons for why, Kat can simply come out and say “You’re sexist because feminism isn’t about equality for men” and then the person can decide if they’re a feminist by Kat’s definition (and Emma Watson is sexist) or if they’re a feminist by Emma Watson’s definition and Kat is something else entirely.

    If everyone were so honest about their position on feminism, that would help achieve something I was talking to Guru about: responsibility. If someone is looking to act on their commitment to equality regardless of gender, but accidentally joined a group filled with people like Kat, that person will end up greatly disappointed. If someone is looking ot act on their commitment to equality only for women, and Kat is so frank about her position up front, that person knows who they can talk to act on their commitment.

    This is definitely progress in my book. And if she does that every time she’s scolding a GuruJ or someone similar, that would be even better. Makes things real clear where a person stands.

    Maybe folks like Ctein, Robin, and Cally would be so bold as to say they too agree that the idea of “Feminism is not about equality for men”, we could start a real movement here towards responsibility for your beliefs. Probably not, but a person can hope.

    Anyway, good progress I say.

  182. Greg

    Describing a woman as ‘scalding’ someone is so sexist it makes my incredibly straight hair curl. You have chosen to use a word which is invariably used by misogynists to describe women who are daring to question male authority; I don’t know whether you realise this or whether it’s unconscious but either way it’s really not going to encourage people to take you seriously…

  183. Stevie, Perhaps “reprimand” would suit you better? merriam-webster doesn’t indicate either as sexist, so if reprimand doesn’t work, you’ll have to suggest an alternative. “condemn”?

    “Excommunicate from the church of Feminism” is a little wordy.

    “disparge”? Hm. “to describe (someone or something) as unimportant, weak, bad,” Yeah, actually that fits pretty well. Guru’s concern about doofus dads is unimportant and being concerned about it is sexist/bad.

  184. GuruJ:

    No, I’m not trying to make a personal attack. I’m trying to show you behaviors and attitudes that we all have, that are socially ingrained, and that affect personal interactions, that make the women’s experience of your actions very different from your view or intent of those actions. Society’s status quo is sexist. Men are legally, socially, culturally and economically set above women as superior. As part of that, society says that women, being inferior and subordinate, must listen to men if men want to talk to them.

    These women who didn’t want to listen to you are doing so to stand up for their equality. They are saying that they are equal human beings and as equal human beings, they aren’t your subordinates, they don’t have to listen to you because you are a male, they can choose to just talk to the women in the forum. They are also trying to tell you that when men insist on horning in on conversations without respecting that choice that it can create an unsafe, unequal space for women, that it ruins what women are trying to achieve in those particular conversations.

    That doesn’t mean that these women never talk to men about sexism and civil rights, nor that they think men have no role to play in advancing feminism (the equality of women.) Nor does it mean that the fight for civil rights or feminism will be destroyed, or that men will lose equality, or that all the men will run away if they can’t be part of one conversation among millions. Those are all claims that have been regularly made — again for centuries — to try to force women to do things that they don’t want to do, because women are just supposed to go along and do whatever men want them to do and listen to them. This is not an attitude that is just being encouraged by you, this is the dictate of the society we’re all in that women have to deal with every day.

    Now, if you can persuade a woman that she might change her mind and hear you — without harassing her to do it — fine. But if the claim is simply that in standing up for her equality that she doesn’t have to hear you just because she’s a female, she is destroying the civil rights movement, then very few women are ever going to take that seriously. And if what you want her to listen to is the standard blackmail threat about allies, very few women will find that of any value. In any case, since women are individuals, it’s an individual choice. Allies respect that. Allies sometimes just listen. I appreciate that you listened to me. But not every woman may make the same decision about you. And that’s real equality.

  185. I’d just like to point out that ‘scold’ and ‘scald’ are not the same word. ‘Scold’ is the one with the sexist baggage. ‘Scald’ means to burn with hot water.

    Mnemonic: To scold is cold; to scald is…caliente!

  186. Kat, your line:

    And if what you want her to listen to is the standard blackmail threat about allies, very few women will find that of any value.

    Nicely folds us right back to Our Host’s opening of the play, but a change of demands and threats.

    I really don’t know if you planned it that way, but it’s a lovely thing regardless.

  187. PS:

    kat: Actually, I wasn’t talking about any personal attacks on me; I meant the exchanges of Greg, Xopher, ctein etc. I have tried to squelch any personal reaction to what people have written here because we have to stay focused on issues rather than personalities to make any progress.

    And I agree with Greg. Feminism shouldn’t be ashamed of being about fighting for rights for women. No-one asks black people to fight for the rights of Mexican illegal immigrants in the US. Everyone only has so much energy and in fact trying to solve everyone’s problems can detract from the focus of the advocates.

    My personal view, not that it matters, is that feminism shouldn’t try to co-opt people like Emma Watson, Dann, and me who genuinely think that progress towards equality can be achieved without excluding male voices. And I am frustrated that Emma’s speech was co-opted by whatever genius decided that her message was summed up as #heforshe — which casts men back into the role of allies — rather than anything reflecting Emma’s actual message that we should be equal participants in the process.

    There’s a legitimate argument that we are wrong. But that’s OK, it’s all part of the process. I don’t know whether the people who rallied behind MLK and Malcolm X ever figured which of them “actually” was more effective in driving change. And no matter what we disagree on, I am glad you are out there and agree with MLK’s sentiments after Malcolm X’s assassination:

    While we did not always see eye to eye on methods … I always had a deep affection for Malcolm and felt that he had the great ability to put his finger on the existence and root of the problem.

  188. Kat: “And if what you want her to listen to is the standard blackmail threat about allies, very few women will find that of any value.”

    Oh lordy. If someone says “feminism for me is about equality for all”, then looks at your statement that ” Feminism is not about equality for men”, then them saying “sorry, that’s not aligned with my commitment” isn’t blackmail. Disagreeing with you isn’t blackmail, Kat.

    This isn’t a “hearts and minds” argument. This isn’t a “more flies with honey than vinegar” argument. This is you trying to control the definition of a word that isn’t yours to control. When you say ” Feminism is not about equality for men”, you’re trying to take away a very real, very valid definition of feminism which is “gender equality for all”.

    You liked to say on another thread that no one speaks for your atheism. Well, stop speaking for everyone’s feminism.

  189. Wow, I didn’t realize how big the numbers have gotten. Emma Watson just tweeted: “Between 20th Sep & 2nd Oct there were 1.1million #HeForShe tweets from 750K different users, reaching 1.2 BILLION unique Twitter users,”

    That’s a huge impact in a really short time.Very cool.

  190. Greg, I don’t see anything contradictory or even mutually exclusive about your two definitions. They can be reconciled by noting that most ‘sexism against men’ arises out of gender essentialism (to which most feminisms are firmly opposed), or the idea that things coded as ‘feminine’ (feelings, child rearing etc) are lesser. Together these two things imply that men are incompetent at ‘women’s business’ and those who engage in it are not being proper men. I suspect that when you think you hear feminists saying ‘feminism isn’t about sexism against men’ what they are saying is that when we fix these ideas, which are still essentially bad ideas about women, then these problems for men will also go away. If female coded work and behaviour is not seen as lesser then society will not flip it’s nut when men do those things.

  191. Greg, there’s an important difference between “about gender equality for all” and “about equality for men.” The second one centers men.

    You may not think that’s a big deal, but in a society that is all about men, where nearly everything is set up to advantage men (and white men at that) at the expense of women (and all people of color), it’s an important distinction.

    Feminism Victorious will result in equality for men. But since men are in the “greater-than” position now, that’s a loss, on balance, for the average man. Loss of privilege feels like oppression to a privileged person. And one of the privileges men enjoy is having everything be about them. It’s OK if something’s about everyone, but the “not about YOU” feels like a slap in the face, doesn’t it? But it isn’t.

    Feminism is not about (that is, focused on) men. At all. It’s about women. That’s a key thing to internalize. To some extent it’s about women interacting with men, but centering the women, the women’s perspective, the women’s issues and needs.

    It’s not about “equality for men” because that would mean pushing men down. Feminism isn’t about pushing men down, but about raising women up. And men will lose privilege as a result of that…and be better off.

  192. angharad: I don’t see anything contradictory or even mutually exclusive about your two definitions.

    There’s nothing inherently mutually exclusive about “equality for all” and “equality for women”. It becomes exclusive when the “equality for women” people start calling the “equality for all” people sexist and privileged and such. When that happens, I believe its the “one true scotsman” fallacy, with a lot of nastiness thrown in: you’re not a real feminist. You’re confused by your privilege and don’t know what real feminism is.

    Xopher: It’s not about “equality for men” because that would mean pushing men down.

    Uh, I’m going to call BS here. You’re portraying the fact that you don’t support equality for men as if you were doing men a favor. Not buying it. Imagine men telling women that men won’t do something that women want because the men decided not doing it is best for women. It’s entirely patronizing.

    I prefer Emma Watson’s view of it, that improving gender equality for anyone makes gender equality better for everyone: “We don’t often talk about men being imprisoned by gender stereotypes, but I can see that they are, and that when they are free, things will change for women as a natural consequence. ”

    that’s a loss, on balance, for the average man. Loss of privilege feels like oppression to a privileged person. And one of the privileges men enjoy is having everything be about them. It’s OK if something’s about everyone, but the “not about YOU” feels like a slap in the face, doesn’t it?

    No, equality doesn’t feel like a loss to me. No, loss of the spectral evidence that is privilege doesnt feel like oppression to me. No, it doesn’t feel like a slap in the face.

    Stop mind reading me. Stop telling me how I feel especially if your logic ends up being something like “Reading your mind, I can see that equality feels like a loss to you, therefore, based on teh thoughts and feelings I just projected into your mind, let me explain why these thoughts show you’re wrong.”

  193. [Deleted again! Sooner or later BS will clue in that he’s done with this thread – JS]

  194. [Deleted because Benvolent Sexist is apparently a child who must stompy stomp his widdle feet when he’s told to go away — JS]

  195. Stevie if I wasn’t clear, I didn’t use the word scold to invoke a medieval torture device. please feel free to use one of the previously suggested substitutions

  196. Greg

    I regret to have to inform you that the medieval period ceased before the Scolds Bridle came into use; it’s that danged history again.

    In 1972, the year in which I graduated from University, a woman was charged with being a Common Scold in New Jersey by a Grand Jury; neither the Jurors nor the Prosecutors saw anything wrong with a law specifically designed to silence women. It took the intervention of the higher Courts to disabuse them of that notion:

    ‘To a die-hard male chauvinist the public utterances of a dedicated woman’s liberationist may be those of a “communis rixatrix” yet his judgment would immediately run afoul of basic 1st Amendment concepts. A neighborhood gossip could, with but little imagination, be indicted as a Common Scold. To state the proposition reveals its absurdity. If N.J.S.A. 2A:85-1 purports to make criminal the common law offense of being a Common Scold it is void because of its vagueness and is constitutionally unenforceable.

    By definition only a woman can be a “Common Scold.” A man might be “troublesome and angry” and by his “brawling and wrangling among” his “neighbors break the peace, increase discord and become a nuisance to the neighborhood” yet he could not be a common scold. Commonwealth v. Hamilton. . . . The discrimination between the sexes is obvious. It is senseless. It is unconstitutional under the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th amendment. United States v. York; Commonwealth v. Daniel’

    The full judgement is at:

    http://courtroomcast.lexisnexis.com/acf_cases/8992-state-v-palendrano

    Your complaints about women scolding you have a long and dishonourable history; the arguments put forward about the ‘tone’ in which women speak have the same long and dishonourable history. It isn’t surprising that women note your use of a term which was used for centuries to justify the criminal prosecution of women who spoke, and your position appears to be exceedingly close to the ‘die-hard male chauvinist’ the Judge referred to…

  197. Gosh, this is a first; I’m in moderation and John is in New York. It’s at times like this that I realise that I haven’t quite got this Internet thing mentally sorted. John’s physical location is completely irrelevant and yet my brain insists that it is…

  198. Stevie, I used the word “scold” a grand total of one time on this thread. You objected with your hair-curling episode that “scolding” is only ever used by chauvinists. I offered you multiple words you could substitute.

    You ignore that and continue the accusation. I try once again to tell you my intention is no where near what you’re saying it is, and point back to the possible suggestions for a substitute.

    You ignore that as well, and come after me a third time with your accusation. posting a wall of text over a single word.

    Your last post starts off with some pedantry. Medieval times went from 500 to 1500 AD, and the scold bridal torture device was first used in 1567, so ah HA, it’s not medieval, and clearly I don’t know my dang history. I’ll keep your pedantry in mind next time I accidentally describe people on hunger strikes being force fed via nasal tubes as a medieval form of torture, because you know, they didn’t have nasal feeding tubes back then. You sure showed me that one.

    You then close your latest post with “your position appears to be exceedingly close to the ‘die-hard male chauvinist’” who calls a woman a scold for “daring to question male authority.”

    Yeah, no.

    Guru came in and suggested a definition of feminism that happens to directly map to the exact same definiton that Emma Watson used in her speech, he then pointed out doofus dads as an example of sexism against men, which almost directly maps to an example that Emma Watson gave in her speech.

    In response to this, Kat tells Guru “You are coming in and demanding that women listen to you and getting mad when they dare to refuse. That’s sexism.”

    Kat is calling Guru “sexist” for having a position indistinguishable from Watson’s. And if Watson is sexist, I’m the fucking Earl of Sandwich.

    THAT is what I’m criticising Kat for. She’s being absurd. She takes a valid notion of feminism and calls it sexist. Me criticizing THAT nonsense is VASTLY different from Kat “daring to question male authority”.

    And you? You are quibbling at least based on Xopher’s definiton: General principle: when you criticize a statement that you couldn’t have criticized had it been phrased slightly differently, you’re quibbling. Nobody likes quibbling.

    You’ve written a wall of text over a single word. I have tried multiple times to clarify and offer substitute words to phase my point slightly differently, and you keep trying to prosecute me based on your twisted interpretation of that one word I used. And with your last two posts, you have started to actually do some thought projection into my head, implying you know my intentions better than I do. I explain my intent, and you keep coming back with ‘no, let me tell you what your intent was”. At which point, it seems clear you’re not interested in discussing this in good faith, and you’re just looking for some spectral evidence to prosecute me with.

    Or maybe you’re just having more problems with your IPad/Hawk? Dunno. Either way, it’s getting tiresome.

  199. No, Guru accused feminism of causing or encouraging the stereotype of doofus dads. “The double standard that leads to the male doofus being set against the perfect woman”. When I responded with historical information: popular radio shows of the 40s and 50s about doofus dads (well, uncle in one case), and an anti-feminist very popular and normative radio show of the time, you accused me of somehow not wanting men to be equal. Even though that exact same “male doofus being set against the perfect woman” thing was exactly what I was talking about. Those doofuses in those radio shows had wives or housekeepers who could change a diaper with one hand while whipping up a perfect souffle with the other. Feminism didn’t cause that. Feminism may, eventually, cure that.

    As for your videos, I didn’t respond to them because this computer doesn’t do video well, so I don’t usually bother to go to video links. It is rather interesting, though, that you’re heaping calumny on my head for preferring to talk about what Guru was saying rather than what you were. Entitled, much?

  200. It’s not quibbling to call out the use of a word, when the word itself is offensive. This doesn’t apply to ‘should’ because a) the verb is used in both the quibbled-with and non-quibbled-with versions and b) ‘should’ is not offensive in every context, as you should know.

    ‘Scold’ is offensive in every context. So is the B word, and the C word, and the N word (when used by white people). Further examples are left as an exercise.

  201. Greg

    I specifically noted that it was possible that you were unaware of it.

    In those circumstances all you had to do was spend a few minutes doing some basic research which would have enlightened you; instead of spending some time fruitfully you went into full-on woe is me rant mode. You are not a poor sad victim of wicked feminists; it was your completely over the top responses to women speaking which paralleled those identified by the Judge in the Palendrano case.

    Incidentally, the only time I used the word chauvinist was in commenting on the Judge’s use of the word; you appear to have hallucinated its existence in my posts prior to that.

    The stuff about the wall of text is fatuous; I quoted sufficiently from the 1972 judgement to enable people to know what it was about and the principles it was decided on. I appreciate that you perceive trying to get the facts right as pedantry but your perceptions are irrelevant; like it or not the world does not revolve solely because you are standing on it.

    My trying to get the facts right may be of use to others, which is why I do it…

  202. Cally: Guru accused feminism of causing or encouraging the stereotype of doofus dads.

    No, he didn’t. Pointing out a double standard doesn’t mean feminism caused it.

    you’re heaping calumny on my head for preferring to talk about what Guru was saying rather than what you were. Entitled, much?

    Ah, entitlement, an accusation that can be leveled against any male in a feminist conversation, regardless of his actual statements or behaivor.

    Well, lets look at what Guru was saying.

    Guru: I think avoiding the use of the word “feminist” is rational to people who want to avoid being jumped on by those at either extreme of the argument.

    Yep. A whole lot of jumping on in this thread from the “feminism is only about women and everything else is sexist” end of the spectrum.

    Guru: female feminists claim a right to speak and also deny the validity of the corresponding male experience,

    yep. plenty of that here too.

    But lets remove Guru from the equation entirely and we’re still left with a fundamental problem:

    Kat: Feminism is not about equality for men

    From Emma Watson’s speech at the UN: “For the record, feminism by definition is: “The belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. It is the theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes”

    So there are direct conflicts of how to define feminism.

    And removing Guru from the equation, we’re still left with Emma Watson’s own version of doofus dads: I’ve seen my father’s role as a parent being valued less by society despite my needing his presence as a child as much as my mother’s.

    So, fine, remove Guru’s words from the debate because he’s a man, and he’s “privielged” and I’m a man, and I’m “entitled”, and you’re still left with Kat’s definition of feminism being in hostile conflict with Emma Watson’s definition, to the point that Watson’s definition, at least when that definition is spoken by a man, is called sexist and privileged and entitled.

    Xopher, you’ve turned into a fine rules lawyer. And that actually depresses me a bit.

  203. (crosspost, sorry)

    Stevie: I specifically noted that it was possible that you were unaware of it.

    yes, that’s why after I clarified twice, you had to keep going, four times over now. sure.

    I appreciate that you perceive trying to get the facts right as pedantry

    Ooooh.. nice rhetorical maneuvar. taking your pedantry about an iron torture device being technically not medieval because 1567 is after 1500, and turning it into you “getting the facts right” about everything in general, wrapped up in a nice back handed compliment to boot.

    I’d give that like a 9 or so. Nice one.

    My trying to get the facts right may be of use to others,

    Yes, we need to establish to others that 1567 is 67 years after the middle ages, because, well, it proves Greg is wrong about it being “medieval”, and therefore wrong about everything in general.

    Good lord.

    You want to get the facts right? I didn’t use “scold” to describe Kat because she was “daring to question male authority”. So, your massive walls of text over that single use of the word was misplaced. This was established in my first response. You kept digging. I clarified again. You kept digging. I clarified yet again, and here you are, once again, wielding the weapon that is “YOU SAID SCOLDING, HOW DARE YOU!”. That’s your goal, right? To keep attaching that negative thing to me, and it doesn’t even matter that it was clearly not my intent, i’ve said as much a dozen times now, and you just don’t care.

    Trying to get the facts right? You’re trying to get SOME facts right and you’re doing your DAMNDEST to get one very specific fact as wrongity, wrong, wrong for as long as you can wield it.

  204. What pleases me most about this thread is that the quibblers who NEVER have anything useful to say in ANY conversation about feminism, racism, rape, equality, etc., have already identified themselves in previous threads. Note to self: It seems I can continue to skip those comments, as was proven here.

  205. Ah geez. I know I said I was going to shut up but since people seem to misunderstand my point on doofus dads:

    The “perfect woman” used to mean the “perfect domesticated woman”, sure. Now it’s the high-flying professional who comes home from her high-paying job as a lawyer after demolishing her male counterpart with perfect hair and makeup to discover that her husband has proven himself inept at domestic duties (or just sat on the couch playing XBox, whatever).

    Of course there are stereotypes embedded in that for women, many still harmful. But the overarching message is that women are more competent in everything. There’s no space left for the guy to be “better” at.

    The 50s stereotypes were far, far different because they reinforced *respective social roles*. The consolation was explicit: you might not be able to cook but at least you can balance the chequebook, and vice versa.

    Now, men are getting squeezed out of their traditional role but there is no new place for them to go. This isn’t some abstract, theoretical thing: women get better grades, there is pretty good evidence that their social skills make them better managers on average.

    In the bullying behaviour of many men, behind all the macho crap, I see people with deep fears and insecurities. That their usefulness in the world is disappearing … not just a role of privilege but any role at all.

    I’m not excusing bad behaviour. But empathy is never a wasted thing when you want to change the world.

    And Xopher, two points:

    – I am not being “pushed down” if i get access to something I don’t get at the moment. For me to be able to request part-time work to look after my kids without having it be a career-ending move would be a big improvement to my life.
    – making a big deal about “scald” is just the kind of activist pedantry which makes people roll their eyes at political correctness. You want to never use the word because of its history? Go for it. Explain why you don’t use it to others if you must. But this thought-policing of others? Oy.

  206. Xopher, well, I’m learning. I’m a “gender equality for all” person, but apparently I’m not sure what that’s called. This thread was a shock for me as to how directly combative some people are to the idea of feminism being ‘gender equality for all’. Adamantly opposed to the idea? Really? I did not expect that AT ALL.

    Watson’s speech makes a good point: And if you still hate the word—it is not the word that is important but the idea and the ambition behind it.. Maybe it’s time for a word that replaces “feminism”. It’s the idea that’s important, not the name.

    “We are struggling for a uniting word”

    Honest to god it seemed pretty straightforward to me at the start of this thread that “feminism” was the right word. Of course, “feminist” is the right word. But cheese and rice. Clearly some people don’t want Feminism to be all-inclusive, uniting concept. I just didn’t think it was so blatant.

    “but the good news is we have a uniting movement. It is called HeForShe”

    It does have some linguistic issues associated with it. How does one speak of the idealism behind HeForShe? Heforshe-ism? Doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue.

    I suppose lacking any good replacement term, I’ll identify as feminst, but maybe with a clarification that I’m a equality-for-all feminist. And if you want to a equality-for-women feminist, that’s fine. But still don’t know what to do with the “equality-for-women-but-anything-else-is-sexism-damn-you!” I wonder what the percentage breakdown of those three categories is for people who identify as feminist. If its a clear majority that are “damn-you”, then maybe a new vocabulary term is needed for the “equality for all” people. If its a small minority, then I just put up with it I suppose.

    This was one of the most shocking threads I’ve ever been on. I started out “of course Watson is talking about feminism” and I ended up at “apparently some feminists violently disagree with what Watson said” and it kind of boggles my mind. But, I guess, keep learning, try to help and hope someone sorts it out.

  207. When someone points out the focus that feminism has always had in contrast to someone else’s alternative definition of feminism, labeling the expression of the view you disagree with as “violent” or “combative” is neither accurate nor useful. I think it would help to remember that this is a wide-ranging discussion, not a war. Differences in opinions and beliefs are welcome here, as you know. Using the language of aggression to depict exchanges of perspectives isn’t likely to do anything but bring the Mallet down.

    GuruJ, I disagree with you on some things, but I think you have expressed yourself well and have shown a desire to listen as well as speak. I hope you stick around.

  208. Greg

    As a question of fact, the walls of text are yours, as is obvious to anyone reading these comments.

    And I don’t know how to say or do anything which would help you; like Xopher I’m sad about what’s happened to you…

  209. Hm, so, searching for “feminist hate heforshe” comes up with sites where feminists hate Emma Watson’s heforshe campaign.

    http://www.rolereboot.org/culture-and-politics/details/2014-09-hating-heforshe-campaign-doesnt-make-bad-feminist/

    It is written by K. M. Deaver is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Feminist Theology and Ethics in Chicago. And she hates, hates, hates heforshe. No, really, she put “hate” in the title of her article to describe how she felt about heforshe, she hates it that much.

    Her biggest complaint seems to boil down to HeForShe is asking men to join in the movement to achieve gender equality, and men have privilege they will never ever want to give up, so men will never ever really help achieve equality. Well, at least she’s upfront about how she really feels about it.

    The short of it is that this no-men! version of feminism really is a thing from the folks with PhD’s in feminism. Which may be old-info for others, but is news to me. Crazy, insane news, but news.

  210. BW: labeling the expression of the view you disagree with as “violent” or “combative” is neither accurate nor useful.

    Seems like calls for linguistic accuracy keep going in one direction. Trying to get Stevie to stop with the BS and accept that the baggage she attached to “scold” was never anywhere in my intent, nor did my usage meet her own definition, was an exercise in futility.

    But Ok, “violent” wasn’t the best word. “combative” maybe. So, a better word?

    I’ve said I don’t see “equality for women” as contradictory with the idea of feminism as “equality for all”. The two could coexist in an organization and work together towards a lot of common shared goals. There’s a lot of overlap, and there’d also be some places where each pursues different goals. That to me would be a difference of opinion.

    But that’s not what this is. Kat is trying to define “feminism” for everyone, exclude more inclusive defintions, and try to relabel people with Watson’s definition to be anti-feminist and sexist.

    So what do you call it when someone doesn’t just have a difference of opinion, but wants to kick you out of the organization and make you the enemy of that organization?

    That’s a totally serious question. I don’t know a word that describes that. Which was why I went with “combative” for trying kick the nonbelievers out, and “violent” was hyperbole, but its what comes to mind when someone tries to relabel an ally as an enemy. I can be more “hands on”, so my terminology sometimes skews to that direction. And maybe thats why I can’t think of anything that isn’t based in the physical. but if there’s a better word, I’ll try to expand my vocabulary.

  211. In fact, it’s become a thrash that’s all about the argument instead of the subject matter. The sooner you close the thread the better, IMO.

Comments are closed.