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To The Dudebro Who Thinks He’s Insulting Me by Calling Me a Feminist

Over the weekend, some dudebro with a history of shitting on women took this picture of me (which you may remember from here) and meme-ized it, with the intent, given his personal history and predilections, of mocking me — both for my views as regards women, and for wearing a dress.

Well, this dudebro clearly knows his way to this site, where the picture was originally posted, by me, so let me go ahead and address him directly.

Dudebro: Let me detail for you the various ways this picture has utterly failed you as an attempt to ridicule me.

One: This picture was taken as a result of a dare, to wit: if people on Twitter pledged $500 to the Clarion Foundation in a half hour, I would take a picture of myself in a regency dress, of which there just happened to be one in the house because my friend Mary Robinette Kowal, writer of a number of successful, award-nominated regency-era fantasies, was visiting and had one with her. Twitter came through with $600 in the allotted time, and, well, fair’s fair.

So when I see this picture, what I am reminded of is that I have the power, with just a simple, entirely mild instance of cross-dressing, to raise hundreds of dollars in minutes for a worthy charitable organization. If you had that power, would you not use it? Well, actually, I don’t imagine you would use it, since the idea of being a man in a dress apparently fills you with sniggering, confused terror. Fortunately for Clarion, I don’t have that problem. Which brings us to this:

Two: Mocking me as a feminist means you are mocking me for this:

Aw, SNAP, bro. Someone hand me the phone, because it looks like I just got TOLD.

Now, bear in mind that I know this isn’t what you mean by “feminist.” What you mean by “feminist” is GWAAAAARGH UGLY WOMEN WHO WON’T LET ME HAVE SEX WITH THEM AND THEIR COWERING MALE GAMMA SLAVES WHO HAVE COME TO SNATCH MY MANLY TESTICLES AND ROAST THEM OVER A BONFIRE OF HUSTLERS AND PORN BLU-RAYS AND THEN MAKE ME WATCH WITH ALL MY OTHER EMASCULATED DUDEBROS WHILE THEY FEAST ON OUR HOT BARBEQUED DUDE OYSTERS GWAAAAAAARGH, although I’m sure you have many layers of self-justifying verbiage that helps you avoid confronting this fundamental reduction of your views. Nevertheless, that’s not actually what “feminist” means.

Sorry. I know this hard for you to grasp. If you want to take a moment to process the news, we can pause for a few.

Ready? Okay, let’s move on.

Three: Let me draw your attention to something in this next image:

Now, I see you going “wha?” to this, so let me explain. When you use a picture to mock someone, the idea is that you show them as an object of ridicule — that your life, whatever else it is, is better than theirs in a fundamental way. But, here’s the thing. I may be a dirty dirty feminist, but I’m also a feminist with five acres of really awesome lawn, on which rests a lovely, large house, in which I have lots of very cool things. I got the lawn and house and things by being successful — that’s right! I am financially successful through work! It’s not like, say, I’ve generally failed at everything I’ve done and have wealth from living off family remittances. Nope, I worked for this stuff. Go me.

The point is that whether you processed this in your brain or not when you slapped up the picture, what you’ve ended up doing is showing me exhibiting some of the benefits of being who I am — and one of the things I am, as you maintain, is a feminist. I am not saying that being a feminist is sufficient for having a successful career, big house and a ridiculously large lawn that is the size of a New York City block — but on the other hand it certainly hasn’t hurt me in acquiring those things, has it. And as you clearly believe in correlation as causation — Because I am a feminist, I have worn a dress — then you should also believe that because I am a feminist, I have a nice lawn, a nice house and a nice career.

So, yes: this is what a feminist looks like: A successful man standing on the land he owns, enjoying his life and all the opportunities it affords him, including wearing a dress if he feels like it, which clearly he does. Mock away, chuckles.

Four: Which conveniently brings us to the next point:

Or, to put it another way, after some random dudebro has attempted to insult me on the Internet by taking a photo of me in a dress that I’ve already posted on my own site and slapping the word “feminist” on it, all I have to go back to is a successful career, a loving family, a circle of amazing friends and talented peers, and a social system whose systematic biases favor me in nearly all cases as a well-off straight white man. Even when I put on a dress.

I mean, I know that’s not much compared to the awesome power of a random Internet dudebro calling me a word I don’t find in the least bit insulting, but it will have to suffice. Somehow

It would be nice to live in a world in which any time a dudebro tried insulting someone else, that person had the same level of insulation from the effects of the attempted insult as I do — we don’t, and this dudebro is working hard to keep it that way. I know one of the reasons he’s working so hard on it is because even if we’re not there yet, we’re well on our way to it. Rear guard actions are always the most frantic.

Speaking of which:

Five: Seriously, now: “This is what a feminist looks like” qualifies as arch mockery in your world? Dudebro, please. This is so much more devastating:

Look, I don’t want to tell you your job, but you’ve got a slightly chubby, slightly balding middle-aged dude in a mint green regency dress here. There is so much to work with. That all you’ve managed is “Hurrrrr hurrrr feeeeeemineeeeeest hurrr” is not just disappointing, it’s a waste of awesomely good meme material. If you can’t do better, dude, you might as well turn in your Reddit membership right now.

But I know, little dudebro. I know. In your world, calling another dude a feminist is the worst possible thing you can do. So one more picture for you:

I mean, these are my choices, right? One or the other? Well, then, if these are my choices, I know which way I am going to go. Which, I suppose, means that by your definitions, this was right all along:

Yes. Yes it is.

By John Scalzi

I enjoy pie.

656 replies on “To The Dudebro Who Thinks He’s Insulting Me by Calling Me a Feminist”

First: I know that this will be one of the threads in which the Mallet will get a workout. Here is the comment policy. Abide by it. Also, for this thread I’m going to be itchier on the Mallet hand, so aim for being extra polite to each other, please.

Second: For those interested in how I approach feminism and relate to it, please go here.

Third: To pre-empt the question of “If this shit doesn’t bother you, why did you just spend so much time talking about it?”, the answer is that this is a fine opportunity for an object lesson. No doubt, however, the dudebro in question and his little friends will see it otherwise.

Love ya, John.

Really.

And… jeweltones? With your complexion? Dude… an “autumn” palette would work MUCH better. Think russet, spruce, pumpkin…

Just trying to help. Which, obviously, you don’t need, since you’ve cornered ‘awesome’ already on this one, but hey… you left the comments on.

The dudebro is just jealous because you have a lot more self-confidence to be able to a) throw out the challenge of “If you donate $x in y time I will take a picture of me in a dress”, b) to follow through with the challenge, and c) you look WAY better in it than he would.

I’m impressed. I haven’t even worn a dress since that wedding I was in back in 1996, and I own a vagina. (Also, not everybody can pull off cap sleeves like that. But you would be better served by a deeper green hue.)

Gently John, gently. Blasting someone like this may leave lifelong trauma. May make them doubt their life choices. May cause them to consider your words and the truths they contain. Nah. Go right ahead, mallet swinging, for the fear and stupid is deep.

I keep thinking that we males will grow beyond this behavior but I fear that there will always be ugly little boys like Dudebro that are so afeared of the womens and so insecure of their manhood that it will just never end.

I know that in my teens and early twenties I could be guilty of some of that shit but I grew up. But as we’ve seen from the behavior of the racist homophobic dipshit or guys like dudebro, some little boys just never want to grow up and leave Never Never Land. And I shake my head…

But the real manly issue here is: how the FUCK do you get that lawn mowed, and watered? Do you pull a big rotary mower behind a small tractor? That’s what we do with the yard on our farm. Because even on a riding mower that would take an insane amount of time. I am assuming that you do the sensible manly thing and hire it out (a real man knows when to delegate) but still…that’s a lot of grass.

I was doing a fistpump at the very first image before I realized it was supposed to be an insult. “Yay John Scalzi!… oh, wait, was I supposed to think that was bad somehow?”

Cyrano de Bergerac would be so proud. (“Really? Is that all you got?”)

You could accessorize with some sheep next time. Win/win, vis-a-vis the whole pastoral Regency vibe plus the large expanse of grass that needs grooming.

Aside from the fact that you wouldn’t take the time to shave your chest for this picture — not the beard, mind you, just the chest — I’m amazed that nobody but me finds the feathered hat thingie (why yes, I do follow fashion trends and terminology closely!) more hilarious on you than the dress.

Excellent takedown.

I’m in a similar boat to Ann up at 12:19. I wear a skirt maybe twice a year, maybe. Last time I wore an actual dress… I’m thinking close to 10 years probably.

I do find it fascinating that we aren’t that far removed time-wise from people flipping out over women wearing “male” clothes. I wonder if after a similar amount of time a guy in a dress will be regarded the same way a woman in pants is regarded now?

The first picture reminded me of that picture of Patrick Stewart, wearing a T-shirt that says, “This is what a feminist looks like.” I was nodding along, thinking “Right on!” before your post made it clear that the first picture was supposed to be insulting.

First, I am shocked – but pleasantly shocked – that the comment thread hasn’t yet required mallleting – or even kittening – yet.

Second, I feel sad for you Scalzi… I mean, I’m sure that somewhere deep in your soul, you really, really hope that this posting will somehow result in a dudebro learning something valuable. I fear, alas, that your work in that regard will be in vain.

Third, as a straight white male, I gotta admit that I couldn’t have done this. You got bigger stones than I do, Scalzi, and I am jealous of your awesomeness. There, I said it.

Keep on doing right, sir.

Certainly you need a darker, deeper color — you’re very obviously not on the market for a spouse (Krissy would object, methinks), and you’re far too old to wear debutante colors anyway. And that’s not even going into the fact that the pale mint green is so not your color. You need an elegant bib necklace, though, to properly pull off that style. Emeralds and sapphires, I think. In gold, natch. And a bigger feather (or two), maybe dyed dark green.

So your a feminist and a kick ass writer. Joss whedon is also a kick ass writer who has called himself a feminist. Therefore if your a feminist you are a great writer… why would any one not be a feminist?

Hey, you and I have pretty much the same body type. But that color would look way better on me. As for the original “joke,” it fails on at least two levels. Proof of this is that at first I thought you were the originator of the caption and were trying to say something about how feminists weren’t all necessarily women, etc. Or that feminists were courageous and didn’t give a damn what people think. So I guess dudebro has managed to fail both at being funny and at being insulting. This is most likely the tip of a submerged iceberg of Fail that is both tragic and horrifying to contemplate.

1) Yeah, mint green is a tough color for anybody to pull off. It’s especially tough with dark chest hair.

2) More seriously, I am continually *amazed* at the juvenile behavior of dudebros (in particular) and a certain subset of the Internet (in general). It’s like Beavis and Butthead laughing at one of their in-jokes.

This is awesome.

It also puts me in mind of the line “never pick a fight with a man who buys (digital) ink by the barrel.” Taking a swing at a successful author in their chosen medium when they command a much larger audience and exponentially larger vocabulary is just a very efficient way to look like a moron.

Love you John, you’re awesome, and this response is awesome. As is all the work you do to help educate people who don’t understand issues like this.

[quibble]But…I wish you hadn’t taken the economic dig at dudebro. Having come to this directly from looking at some bills with a bit of an “oh, shit”, this article wasn’t as empowering as I’d have hoped. Just a minor thing, but I wanted to mention it.[/quibble]

Keep up the good work!

Generally speaking, dudebro and his ilk suck. But the silver lining of their existence is how they inspire you to write these awesome, funny, dead-on-the-money posts. Thank you for this, it made my day.

Out in the sun without so much as a bonnet, shawl or even stays? The scandal! And an evening hair ornament in the afternoon? Really, how can you hope to be presented at court looking so undignified?

I have to agree, jewel tones would work better.

Dudebros are forever-teens. No matter how old they get they will always be teenagers, mentally and emotionally. Maturity is a concept that remains alien and incomprehensible.

Doesn’t get much “manlier” than telling off a dudebro while your chest hair curls over your ruffly bodice. Go get ’em, John, you rock! And don’t listen to these negative comments, you look positively fetching in sage…

Dudebros will never understand that being secure enough in your identity to wear a dress and be a feminist makes you 10x the man that they will ever be.

How much of a man can you be if wearing a dress threatens your manhood?

Point number 5 is the one for me. I get harassed a lot as I bike to work each day and it’s always the same old bullshit. “Faggot!”, “Get off the fucking road!”, etc.

Really, that’s the best you can do? Even, “Can’t you go any faster?” would be a welcome change. I mean, that’s easy. I could come up with a half-dozen better insults in 30 seconds.

Ahhh, Cyrano.

I could be completely wrong, but I think the guy`s intention was not to make fun of you by calling you a feminist, but instead to make fun of feminists by saying they are a bunch of “slightly chubby, slightly balding middle-aged dude(s) in a mint green regency dress” or “male gamma slaves” just to use your own self descriptions.

I’ve had a particularly frustrating, head-desking 48hrs with dudebros so this was the best goddamn thing ever!! Thank you thank you!

Also, seconding on the warm, rich russet tones being a far better choice than the mint green. And if Dudebro had any idea how comfortable empire waisted gowns could be, he’d be peeved that patriarchal norms are what’s preventing men from being able to share in the comfortable, flattering glory of those dresses.

I just laughed so hard I choked. Anyone who’s wondering why you wrote this piece if you didn’t care clearly hates fun.

Folks saying mint green doesn’t look good on anyone: I’m guessing it looks good on Mary, who actually owns the dress. She’s got the coloring for it. And as for the style not suiting anyone–I’ll grant that it doesn’t really suit Scalzi. But I know a lot of women who can rock the **** out of a regency dress. One of them is on the cover of Mary’s latest novel, Without A Summer.

To read this post, you’d think feminism was all about men lording their wealth and power over other men.

Mocking someone by suggesting he has less money and power than you is not particularly feminist. Nor is attributing bad behavior to lack of monetary success.

Thoroughly enjoyable post, but, I gotta point out… Dudebro wasn’t insulting you, John. He was using a picture of a man in a dress to insult women; any insult that backwashed onto the man in the dress was secondary to his purpose. It wasn’t about you.

Very much enjoyed the whole blog! I’ve sold many of your titles in our used bookshop, but so far hadn’t read one. I think I need to change this soon…Oh, and I agree about the mint green – not your color.

It’s like watching a drunk in a nightclub go up to Groucho Marx’s table, convinced he’s got a zinger that will leave Groucho spluttering in mute rage, then having to take that long, long, lonely walk back to his own table, dragging his canoe and his goat behind him…

Evan:

It’s entirely possible. Of course, if that was indeed his intent, he failed at that, too. It’s a failure on many levels!

Linda:

“Mocking someone by suggesting he has less money and power than you is not particularly feminist.”

However, I did not suggest that; I don’t know this fellow’s circumstances at all. I did suggest that attempting to use the word “feminist” to marginalize me was not going to work, because I had things that in the dudebro world (and also in much of the larger world) are signifiers of success. If using “feminist” as a rhetorical tool for marginalization did not succeed here for this among other reasons, it throws into doubt its tactical use for the same purpose elsewhere.

It’s certainly the case that I am using what I strongly suspect are his own signifiers against him rhetorically, and that’s rubbing you the wrong way. And that is, of course, fair enough.

Right, somebody has to say it: The dress? OK. But then you’d have to dye the dog, because that’s a color clash that hurts.

Everything else I can agree with and applaud. (Well, except for “*slightly* balding”. You only put that in to see who reads the whole thing, right? Right..?)

My Grandaddy was a respectable member of his community – an engineer who held two patents, executive VP of the local power company, active in his church. And I have a photo of him in drag taken at a a charity event/roast in the 1970’s – along with two other members of the power company’s board. (He would certainly not have called himself a feminist, but I’m pretty sure he would have slapped said dudebro upside the head for not thinking before saying something dumb like that.)

I could use the work, and I would totally rock the riding mower in an Earth-tone regency ball gown (with tear-away train for safety’s sake.)

My fascinator would have to be a bit more flamboyant, though…more than slightly balding here. ;)

Might I suggest Period Drag Photo shoots for charity?

Mr. Scalzi, you rock!!!! You totally owned the Dudebro. You’re scathing retorts to his lame attempts at scorn are only exceeded by your brilliant writing style in your awesome works of fiction. Old Man’s War is by far one of the best sci-fi novels I’ve read in decades. I read where someone compared you to Robert Heinlein like it was an insult and you put them in their place. I was glad of that as I grew up reading and loving Heinlein’s works. Your work is on a solid par with Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Phillip K. Dick and Ray Bradbury who are my all time favorites which now includes your name as well. Rock on, live long and prosper and keep pouring out more the great science fiction I crave.

Thanks for all you do,
John

Dudebro seems to have missed one important piece of info… Folks you historically did NOT want pissed at you because they were the proudest and nastiest badasses in the neighborhood and would eat your entire villages ass for lunch… Spartans, Romans, Samurai, Highlanders. Men in skirts!

We gotta keep john from learning about people who attack him… there has not been alot of social commentary lately (yeah I know, he is busy), but the ones where he responds to criticism usually aren’t that interesting or inciteful. Got it, guy pissed you off. Got it, guy who did this is probably a jerk.(note the probably because I have no access to what this guy posted to know for sure).

John: I understand why you could get mad at criticism like this, but your analysis of things where you are not being attacked tend to be a lot more interesting. Plus you are real busy right now and don’t have a lot of time for these long posts. Just ignore people like this… I don’t agree with a lot of what you say, but you generally say it better when your not responding to someone attacking you.

All responding does is give the guy more fuel for the fire anyway. Might as well just ignore him. He probably gets a kick out of getting you to write a really long post about him.
With a pic like that you have to expect it to land on some t-shirts somewhere…

ok yeah I know its ‘whatever’, and John has stated that he will write about whatever he wants, but this is a comments section and I am critiquing the post.

Completely and totally AWESOME. I would be proud to call you a friend. (though I am more in favour of wild flower front yards and sort of meadow than big green water sucking up lawns… ) Still, GO YOU.

I’m a living history person, so what _I_ always find amusing about people thinking it’s insulting for a man to wear a dress is… you know, all little children, regardless of gender, wore dresses til they were well out of toddlerdom until…what, 100 years ago? It’s just easier to get at the diaper that way, and the kids don’t grow out of them as quick. And it’s not like they had ultrasounds to tell them whether they were getting a bepenised child in advance. And then if you go back about 1000 years, everyone wore …call it a tunic, call it a dress, whatever… it went from shoulders down the legs and was unbifurcated. The length had as much to do with how much fabric you could afford as it did with your gender.

Anyone feel like taunting a Roman Centurion for wearing a skirt? And don’t forget, a favourite hobby for a Scotsman in a kilt is tossing around entire trees.

“Might as well just ignore him. He probably gets a kick out of getting you to write a really long post about him.
With a pic like that you have to expect it to land on some t-shirts somewhere…”

If said troll wants to link back to a long piece mocking his incompetence, he’s surely welcome to, particularly if it invites malletees. Considering what it seems to have accomplished (so far) is about 100+ posts of very entertained people, I’d say John could consider this a successful post!
Also, I’m pretty sure John wasn’t concerned the pic would get out, as he mentioned above.

On another note, the idea that dudebro trolls like the guy who meme-ed the pic should just be ignored is tired. Ignoring them doesn’t make them go away, so why should John not have some fun at their expense and re-assert his place as one of the good guys in the process?

Heh. My friend sent this to me. You’re on my team. Team MintChocolateChip for equality and against oppression. Thanks for putting this into words so well. It makes me even happier that I didn’t even realize you were a meme by the time I saw this link. Congrats on using your new found internet fame for positive things.

and btw…..i hear it’s all about REDS this fall so……just sayin’.

Guess: “I understand why you could get mad at criticism like this, but your analysis of things where you are not being attacked tend to be a lot more interesting.”

Couldn’t disagree more. This was in some ways the perfect post–insightful, funny, snarky, and it included a pet picture!

Just the kind of thing I’ve been coming here for years to read.

Hehe, the dudebro is probably foaming at the mouth just about now. Maybe he needs a rabies shot? :D

As for your color choice – I agree that it is not a good color for you – perhaps you might have accessorized it with something in a more daring color?

I salute you, sir!
That was expertly done (though I agree that perhaps Dudebro was trying to insult female feminists, saying we all look terribly mannish, or that we’re some strange mockery of true femininity or something equally asinine).
Either way, you have outdone yourself in this post. I lost it when I came the jewel-tone meme photo.
Well played, sir. Well played.
*curtsies and exits*

I am absolutely appalled at the comments to this post!

Whether one agrees with you that jewel tones would be more flattering (they would not) or that “Autumn” shades would work better — I think you might be a Summer, not an Autumn — the most important issue here is CLEARLY historical accuracy.

The ideal gown for you would be in Turkey Red, either as a roller print or a solid: the former in cotton, the latter in silk or velvet. If it’s your intention to wear the dress solely to stroll your copious lawns, I would suggest the print, perhaps with a nice fichu to fill in the neckline. At this time of year a shawl is probably not called for, but you might take one anyway — it would soften the look. And let’s face it — you’re poorly accessorized with the possible exception of the dog. Was there not a reticule you could borrow as well?

Ok, Mr. Scalzi wins the Intraweebs forever.

Scalzi: 10,000,000,000,000*^100^100. Moron: -10,000,000,000,000*^100^100. Result: Mr. Scalzi.

Dudebro stinky sweat socks should go take a bath and return to spewing vaguely racist gibberish while intoxicated at a sports bar (as such people usually do).

I suspect Dudebro’s ears are ringing because he just got schooled. Hell, he just got a graduate degree in put downs.

Don’t mess with the Scalzicce is what I always say.

Speaking of what you look like, do you happen to have any relatives in Canton, Ohio? The absolutely kick-ass fiddler playing at the Romanian Festival on Sunday looked so much like you I about sprained a muscle whipping my head around doing a double-take!

Mr. Scalzi, can you teach me how to pwn morons as exquisitely as you do? I try using Vulcan-style logic, with careful arguments like a chess strategy, but the morons just say their favorite buzzwords (usually ones which I just debunked) and declare that I suck. I would be honored to study at the feet of such a master pwner of morons.

Sir, I have no clue who you are or what you are about. I found this article in my newsfeed on Facebook. But you have my utter admiration and respect for each paragraph and each re-edited meme. Thank you for this post.

I hope you don’t mind yet another comment praising your splendid post. Not only does reading something like this provide me with sheer enjoyment, but it’s reassuring to see intelligent, thoughtful humans refusing to stay silent on such issues, which also happily prevents the frightened, confused haters from taking up all of the bandwidth. Posts and pictures such as yours are what we need to share, not the lame attempts at denigrating what one doesn’t understand.

As to the dudebro who utterly failed Clever Meme 101, while it would be interesting to see any attempted reply, I don’t have great hopes for his cognitive ability to process your writing and understand the scope of your reaction, assuming he has the reading comprehension skills to finish the post in the first place.

I have pictures somewhere of Trevor in a pink tutu (for charity) on a car rally in France. The French barely raised an eyebrow, being used to charity stunts, and merely offered him brandy.

I think it’s just the mint green being overshadowed by the vast expanse of green lawn that makes the color seem weak.

And I thought the feathered hat was a nice substitute for a Regency-era Mohawk. Wonder what Stiff Little Fingers would have sounded like in 1820?

@Scalzi

However, I did not suggest that; I don’t know this fellow’s circumstances at all.

It’s a fair bet that someone who spend their days posting meme-pics on Reddit is not rolling in success. There are many reasons someone might have less money and power than you. Mocking some of them would be unworthy of any decent human being, feminist or not. But if it’s because the fellow is a sore, bitter dickwad who rails at feminists on Reddit and blames others for his loserdom instead of helping either himself or others who would help him in return, that is totally worthy of mockery, even if that wasn’t what you were about here. Let’s not pretend all poverty and powerlessness is equally unearned. It’s an insult both to the people who really can’t get out of it and the people who have to equate them with professional Reddit trolls.

I have to disagree with Carmen Piranha, I think the chest hair totally makes the ensemble work. Although I would prefer to see you in a nice hunter green or burgandy.

The alt tags are unfortunately empty for every image. Any chance the meme text could be added? If a set of images ever needed alt text it is these ones…

“I may be a dirty dirty feminist, but I’m also a feminist with five acres of really awesome lawn, on which rests a lovely, large house, in which I have lots of very cool things. I got the lawn and house and things by being successful — that’s right! I am financially successful through work! It’s not like, say, I’ve generally failed at everything I’ve done and am living off remittances from family. Nope, I worked for this stuff. Go me.”

You forgot to mention the role that your straight white male privilege has played in your ability to have a successful career that has given you a very lovely house and a very lovely lawn.

@mattmarovich

Why? Because of your own preconceived notions about people who spend their days posting meme-pics on Reddit?

Because, AFAIK, no one ever got paid for posting meme-pics on Reddit. So someone who spends their days doing so – as opposed to, for instance, someone who does so once in a while for the lulz – is mathematically unlikely to be applying elbow grease to the general betterment of either his own circumstances or anyone else’s. Even a casual perusal of Reddit demonstrates that certain subreddits are infested with such trolls. I’m not saying this particular dickwad is one of them. I’m saying his behavior fits the profile.

Here, here!
Very good, John, although to be frank, I was expecting, somewhere in there, a picture of a manly Scotsman in a kilt (Charlie Stross?) and a claymore, and you daring the dudebro to call *him* a feminist.

I must agree with Jenn about the ‘jewel tones’ comment.

Thank you sir – I giggled madly.

I do have to agree with the posts about the dress not quite being your color and I think you should have accessorized more. As an long-time recreationist, it has been my experience that shoes are usually the hardest piece of garb to come up with but I can’t see what you are wearing in the picture so here’s to dresses long enough to hide the footwear unless you had on particularly good shoes in which case that’s a shame.

Far too busy with other stuff today to comment in-depth, but I’ve been skimming the followup convo on Twitter, and I do find it interesting that I’m not alone in some of my concerns about this.

But it is kind of a no-win situation, though. On the one hand, oppressors won’t listen to the people they oppress, or anyone they can easily lump in with them, which is why allies that oppressors can identify with/respect are important. A post like this is clearly silly posturing, but it’s posturing in the only code the dudebros understand.

On the other hand, attempts to assert status equal to or greater than the oppressors can sometimes come with a nasty side effect of implying that the oppressed somehow deserve their lower status. One of the reasons I kind of detest the whole “what a feminist looks like” campaign is the implication that women who do fit a classic feminist stereotype are to be avoided. Truth is, some of us ARE fat, hairy-legged dykes, and we deserve the same rights and respect as a pretty, 19-year-old straight woman. (And then there are the other issues with intersectionality and modern feminism, but that’s a topic for another day.)

Taken in context, I get the point of this post, and I do think it can have some useful effects on its intended targets. But I can also see how people seeing this out of context might see it as doing more harm than good.

I wish you hadn’t gone down the “I have 5 acres and I am successful” avenue, because that’s pretty classic alpha posturing, and exactly the sort of shit you’re nominally arguing against here.

But otherwise, this is terrific. Mint green is definitely your color. I would have guessed with that chest hair that you were a Summer more than a Winter or a Spring, but mint does compliment your skin tone.

All I’m saying is that you seem to be going based off your own mental image of what a Reddit troll looks like in your head which, since you don’t know the guy, is pretty much a fictional construct based on your own biases and assumptions.

Now, could the rest of your comments be valid? Sure, but I think you misunderstood what Scalzi was going at when he was talking about his own success (at least in my understanding of what he was talking about).

As a feminist who more often than not tends toward the “ugly, mannish” end of the spectrum, if the original troglodyte intended the meme to mean “Feminists are ugly and mannish. HAR!” well then bring it on. If the worst he’s got boils down to “Feminists are insufficiently decorative” that’s cool. I doubt he’s adding a sheen of ethereal beauty where he treads either. Still the world manages to spin on its axis.

As for the dress, am I the only one who thinks Krissy would look smashing in some gentleman’s regency evening wear?

you are just as bad as the dudebro by doing this.. do you think his little mind will even concive what you are saying… I think not … very childish … very well typed but childish

Jackie M:

“I wish you hadn’t gone down the “I have 5 acres and I am successful” avenue, because that’s pretty classic alpha posturing”

Heh. As noted upthread, it was done for a specific reason, i.e., using the dudebros tropes for success against him.

A Mediated Life:

“I’ve been skimming the followup convo on Twitter, and I do find it interesting that I’m not alone in some of my concerns about this.”

Indeed, it’s been an interesting day on Twitter, and the observations there have been both interesting and enlightening.

Sarah:

“You forgot to mention the role that your straight white male privilege has played in your ability to have a successful career that has given you a very lovely house and a very lovely lawn.”

Well, except for the part in the piece where I explicitly note that I benefit from “a social system whose systematic biases favor me in nearly all cases as a well-off straight white man.” So there is that. And as other have noted, if you go through the site, you’ll see other examples of me talking about my personal bundle of privilege. Here’s one. Here’s another.

Neil Seelye:

“do you think his little mind will even concive what you are saying”

You make the rookie error of assuming I am writing only for the dudebro.

@mattmarovich

Sure, but I think you misunderstood what Scalzi was going at when he was talking about his own success (at least in my understanding of what he was talking about).

Actually I was responding to his reply to Linda, not his original post. As I said in my first comment, it may not be what he implied in the original post. Indeed, as John’s noted in the OP and reiterated in the comments, he’s objective was to beat the dickwad at his own game.

All I’m saying is that you seem to be going based off your own mental image of what a Reddit troll looks like in your head which, since you don’t know the guy, is pretty much a fictional construct based on your own biases and assumptions.

I have no idea, nor could I care less, what he looks like. I’m saying there are a finite number of hours in the day, and many Reddit trolls either spend them whining about “feminists” and others they blame for their misery, or they’re sock-puppet accounts for tag-teams of users, which is almost as pathetic. This particular dickwad’s obsession is a red light indicating a good chance he’s one of them. As I said, it’s a fair bet. I never said it was a stone-cold certainty.

And now, because I have other obligations, I must bow out of this discussion.

“Heh. As noted upthread, it was done for a specific reason, i.e., using the dudebros tropes for success against him.”

Hmm. Thing is, we live in an age where it’s increasingly difficult to tell really on-point satire from reality? It felt too much like the real thing.

But your intent is noted, and the point is taken.

This is fantastic! You are awesome! And so much sexier than any dudebro for the fact that you are articulate, thoughtful, sarcastic, and witty! (And you look good in a regency dress, which typical dudebros can’t pull off!!)

I’m not sure I get this whole thing. John has his picture taken in a dress. John gets offended when someone modifies the picture and labels him a feminist, yet John self identifies as a feminist. Where is the foul in this?
Wouldn’t the high road have been simply to append ” yeah and proud of it” to the meme?
A similar situation would be someone like Larry the Cable Guy being photographed with an AR-15. In this hypothetical situation, someone else creates a meme saying “Motherf***ing Gun Nut”. Mr. The Cable Guy’s response would probably be to modify the picture and add the words “Damn Straight”. That’s how I would have rolled on this, but I’ve got nothing to prove to the dudebros.

[Deleted because the post is one long potential derail. Scorpius, this comment thread is not about your relationship to feminism, and we will take as read you have some issues with it as you understand it. Moving on – JS]

sorry ,, let me rephrase that… do you this dudebro or his little friends minds will concive and comprehend what you are saying… and i would expect this from some teens blog not a sucsessful adults blog… You are just trolling a troll Pointless

GF Dad:

“Wouldn’t the high road have been simply to append ‘yeah and proud of it’ to the meme?”

The easy road is not necessarily the high road. As noted in the first comment, there was an opportunity for an object lesson here.

Also, see the epigraph for the site.

Neil Seelye:

“You are just trolling a troll”

You may also benefit from reading the site’s epigraph.

Oh very nicely done. For some reasos reading this brought the mockery scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail to mind.

With John Scalzi secure in the castle taunting the dudebros in the mud.

This was just about as funny as the “Your mother was a hamster and your father smelled of elderberries” line too.

:)

I’m with Helen S. noting that I first saw the photo and original caption and was “yay! awesome”

My sister was last seen in a dress, for HER OWN WEDDING, back in the mid 90s…

Also, everyone has already chipped in with color options (keeping in mind it’s a borrowed dress and what was available.)… I want to add that for you as WELL AS MYSELF the Empire waistline on these Regency dresses, is a good choice.

I’m saying there are a finite number of hours in the day, and many Reddit trolls either spend them whining about “feminists” and others they blame for their misery, or they’re sock-puppet accounts for tag-teams of users, which is almost as pathetic.

Gulliver, the thing you’re missing is that leisure time can be a factor of privilege.

Sure, there are unemployed and underemployed people who spend their time being dicks on the internet. But there are also very well employed people who do precisely the same thing.

Scalzi, for example, is a very successful man who nonetheless finds a lot of time to share his opinions online. Now as it happens, his opinions aren’t the same as the reddit trolls you’re talking about–but the fact that he has a clue is not a factor of his financial circumstances.

Many people who are Wrong On The Internet are in personal positions of power and privilege. In fact, just as Scalzi’s power and privilege insulate him from trolls, power and privilege also insulates trolls from the consequences of their actions.

Scalzi’s bit about his success compared to those who live off remittances from their family did rub me the wrong way the second time I read the post. There are perfectly lovely people who are unemployed, underemployed, or relying on income other than wages for a whole host of reasons.

But also this: Scalzi makes a good point that he’s so well-insulated from this nonsense that he can laugh it off, but people without his privileges often can’t. For others, online harassment has real consequences. And the stereotype that internet trolls are all sad pathetic losers in their parents basements comes perilously close to “you should just ignore the bullies because they’re just jealous of you.” It may be an attempt to belittle the bully, but it has a side effect of dismissing the very real harm they can do.

I’ll say it once again – Scalzi, you’re one of the good ones. We may not always agree on every single thing, but I suspect that you and your Kristine don’t agree on every single thing either. But when it comes to a good grasp on basic human dignity, you’ve got it…and you also have a wonderful ability to snark creatively and effectively. Sarcasm is a quality that I value.

Last night, some misogynist dudebro called me “snarky” as an insult. Snarkiness is one of my superpowers. I don’t know why he thought I should be insulted by my own superpower.

I was enjoying this until you say people who do not have “things” and are financially successful are failures and losers. Way to mock other people in your attempt to make someone else feel bad for attempting to mock you.

Well, in a way, the dudebro is a little bit right. That picture is an embarrassment. After all how in the world did a self-respecting man get himself caught on camera in Regency dress WITHOUT ANY OPERA-LENGTH GLOVES???!?!? Sartorial fail.

Oh no! There’s a prophecy about all of this!

And Lo! The Evil that desires to relieve the alpha men of their manly members by means most foul shall cometh. And you shall know it is cometh by the form it takes: that of a twisted visage of man, balding and chubby, wearing the garb of a regency dress. Truly I say unto you, it shall be mint green. Let the alpha men beware when these signs shall come to pass.
–Revelation 17:23

The end times are coming, when people will be judged by things like integrity and talent, instead of gender and skin colour! Noooooo!

[Poe’s law warning: I am not being serious here.]

If you ever feel the need to experiment with other forms of period dress (perhaps in colors that would be a bit more flattering to you), drop me a line. My closet is open to share with all other feminists.

rusty:

“I was enjoying this until you say people who do not have ‘things’ and are financially successful are failures and losers.”

Ah, but I didn’t say that (see upthread for further discussion). Nor, given my own personal history, would I be likely to think that.

I think the “remittance” line may be a source of this confusion. The point there was I got what I have through work, not inheritance or trust funds (i.e., unearned well-off-ness). I’ve gone in and made a tweak to make my intent there a bit more obvious.

I applaud you sir. I feel that I must say, that a burgundy dress with gold trimmings and a black feather with red accents would have suited you better. Good job wearing an empire waist, that style has a tendency to make any one with a hit of a belly look pregnant.

I want to add my name to those who saw the first image and said, “Alright, and?” I really didn’t realize that was the “insulting” image at first. I thought is was humorous and whimsical, you know, the way John often is.

However, I am going to have to complain about the use of “dudebro” as an insult/identifier. I am not sure what it means. I also know that both of those terms have been applied to both me and friends of mine (yes even [the horror, the horror] fraternity brothers). I mean I my day to day casual wardrobe it polo shirts, shorts, boat shoes and Ray Bans, often with a ball cap that is *gasp* backwards (cut me some slack, I came of age in the late 90s early 00s. It was a thing, I swear). Does this make me a “Dudebro?” I am sure that I am a “bro,” after all, I was in a fraternity, and that is where the term comes, you know “brothers.” But I never really have been sure about dude. Again, I came of age in a time when just about everyone was a “dude.”

But am I exempt from the “dudebro” category because I am a feminist (I really try anyway, but that damn privilege keeps getting in the way. At least I am working on it!) anti-racist, anti-heterosexist, anti-genderist, anti-classist?

I guess my point is this: I am often judged, wrongly, because of the way I look/dress/talk (that damn Southern accent). So instead of trying to categorize people into stupid social constructs, let’s just but this POS in the category that he belongs: misogynistic, sexist, homophobic assholes. I think it is a little more accurate anyway.

But, great freakin’ job putting the pissant in his place.

Apparently in some peoples’ minds, response = anger. However, one can respond to asshattery by mocking it without being in the least offended or pissed off by it. Those who insist John’s response was based on anger seem to be missing that point (as do a lot of people on the Internet apparently).

Add me to the mass applause, but although I know your quite sensible policy against giving the dudebros (or is that dudbro?) and other trolls any internet link fuel, I’d like to know who he is and if he has a picture (wearing anything) online, because that would be just screaming for its own memefication:

“This is what a man who hates women looks like.” (Because that is MY general definition of a non-feminist male)

“This is what a line of humans who stopped evolving long ago looks like.”

“This is what a roadblock to human progress (yes, ALL humans) looks like.”

Or I could just dig up an old pic of Osama Bin Laden and caption it “This is what a man who considers ‘feminist’ an insult looks like.”

I have to agree with ULeagueHub on this one: Definitely something from the autumn palette. Now if *I* wanted to criticize you, it would be about that environmentally unfriendly lawn. Native plants in rainscaping for all! Resist the tyranny of the mower!

Ha!

As per #5, I do feel that the empire waist is not a flattering style on most of us, and perhaps something Victorian would have been more flattering. Alternatively, I feel that you could rock a Mad Men getup, or one of those 1940s shirt-dresses.

Also, pastels and pale-skinned people (especially brunettes) are not often mixy things. One of nineteen reasons I’m glad I didn’t spend my adolescence in the 19th century. ;)

One — OH SNAP, someone got TOLD!

Two — I have also experienced that delightful moment of someone limply calling me as “militant bitch”, and delighted in telling them “Seriously, is that the best you got? That’s supposed to be an insult, when I’m standing on my own feet and defending my opinion? Pathetic.” The howl of rage from them when they fail is like music in my ears. :)

Three — may I suggest darker green and gold, that would be so much nicer. Also, accessories, accessories, accessories! A parasol with lace trimmings would be quite nice.

Four — yes, that’s one example of how a feminist looks like. Confident!

Five — I’m awaiting eagerly for the day when guys can wear skirts and rock dresses without any attempts to shame them for doing so. A friend of a friend went to local RPG con wearing a very colorful sari, and he said that it was the most comfortable experience in a ‘con ever, as it was delightfully breezy and non-clingy and he wasn’t sweating like he had been in an earlier ‘con.

I agree with the comment on Autumn tones and accessorizing…you need a shawl, bonnet and/or parasol…think of the sun browning your fair skin, my dear.

And someone please tell Mr. Neil Seelye that the c-word for “have an idea” or “get pregnant” is spelled C-O-N-C-E-I-V-E. His repeated mis-spelling of this word (two posts) really detracts from his argument.

Finally, as a feminist “B*tch” (Dang straight!), I thank you for your support.

To which the troll replies, “LOL U MAD?”

Your response is awesome, but I fear any form of argument on the Internet is still a zero-sum game when dealing with mental invalids like dudebros who can simply reset the argument and hide behind anonymity.

Still, your takedown was epic. Best deconstruction of a forced meme of a dude in a dress on a lawn with a dog who happens to write great sci-fi I’ve seen today.

Off topic, I know, but I just took one look at that lawn and had to visualize your lawnmower as being some kind of a hovercraft with scythe blades.

(I didn’t want to dignify DudeBro with my attention.)

The “jewel tone” bit reminds me a bit of Steve Martin in Roxanne where he gives 50 better insults. Waste of potential indeed!
One thing I would recommend. Use a parasol next time to protect your skin ;)

I must confess that I’ve only started following you and looking your books since that thing with the sfwa, since I didn’t know that much about Science Fiction to beging with, but with this post you ultimately show how much you rock.
=)

P.S: I personally love the one about the Jewel Tones.

@Matt Mikalatos: Dudebro just got his ass kicked by a guy in a dress.

There’s this wonderful YouTube footage of three punks in Wales bothering people on the street until they decide it would be fun to pick on a passing tranny. Who turned out to be some cross-dressing MMA cage fighter…

Cue the screaming, the running away, the falling down in a daze…

Your response is great! Hahaha, dudebro, I love it….but I honestly don’t even get the dudebro’s original insult…was it supposed to be mean? Funny? Sarcastic? Truth?? I just don’t know, I’m just so confused by his meme…

To me, one of the most interesting/disturbing things about the whole image is the way I just cannot seem to stop myself from trying to stare at your breasts. I’m like, “stop it, eyes, stop it! There’s nothing under that dress we want!”, and yet, my eyes won’t stop it.

I wouldn’t have figured an amusing picture of a dude in a dress would make me stop to consider just how much I’ve been–or have allowed myself to become–conditioned to connect the sight of a low neckline with the action of inspecting the goods thereunder, but well, there you go.

As they say, the first step is becoming aware you have a problem…

Thank you so much for all of this! It brought me my first smile/laugh of the day. Thank you for being a strong (and I mean that in a deeper way that physical) feminist male, who is articulate and has a great sense of humor. With all the negative going on in the world this was great to find. My female partner works at UPS as a truck driver (the huge 18-wheelers not the package trucks). On a daily basis she gets treated very… poorly at best by many of the other male employees. This is especially true if her hair happens to be cut “too” short. The play cruel “jokes” on her, harass her with misogynistic conversations going on next to her, and threaten her physically – but all in ways that management will ignore (not surprising as they run on intimidation and oppression as well). Anyway, it is wonderful to see something like this, especially on a Monday morning. And I love the picture.

Honest to god I thought it was supposed to be a compliment or that it was you posting that first picture. I had to read more carefully to see that someone was trying to insult you with it…
a)Thank you for being the kind of man that is a feminist, raises money for charities and recognises that mint isn’t really your colour and
b)You rock that take down.

“Well, except for the part in the piece where I explicitly note that I benefit from “a social system whose systematic biases favor me in nearly all cases as a well-off straight white man.” So there is that”

Except that’s not in the paragraph where you’re bragging about your lovely material things (which are in fact quite lovely!). You say you got those things because you worked hard. You should know better than to say that. Your work did not get you that lawn. Privilege did.

There are many hardworking feminists out there who probably work harder than you do who will never be able to have cute photo shoots in adorable dress in a lovely lawn that they own. Because they weren’t born playing on the lowest difficulty setting.

It’s very painful to see that even as you’re trying to make this into an object lesson about how dude bros can’t hurt you, you do come across saying, “look at me, look at my nice stuff! I earned it!” But there are a lot of women and people of color and glbt people who still have obstacles that prevent them from being able to have the nice things that you have.

“You say you got those things because you worked hard. You should know better than to say that. Your work did not get you that lawn. Privilege did.”

Unless “Privilege” is a secret pseudonym Scalzi used to write over the years, I’m pretty sure it was his work that earned him that lawn. That you would say “you didn’t earn that” with a straight face is quite grotesque.

Thank you for several minutes of gleeful bliss. Well played.

Oh, and Jason Black, I was having the same problem as you–only I’m female with a wife. I think the mint green and neckline must compliment John more than it might have seemed on first glance. Hope you kept that dress John, because it’s magic.

Heheh. I made and wore a camo dress back in 2010, back when I still had long hair. The only reason why I’m not posting or linking to the pics is because I’m a bit ashamed of what my sewing skill was like back then. If I had a better dress . . .

. . . no, wait, that means I should go and MAKE a new one already.

Atom:

Rain and mowing. When there’s no rain, it goes yellow.

Sarah:

“Except that’s not in the paragraph where you’re bragging about your lovely material things”

Nope, but it is there, and says what you say I did not say. As I writer I had reasons for putting it where I did. You are free to disagree with the placement, of course.

“Your work did not get you that lawn. Privilege did.”

Actually, my work did get me the lawn. Privilege made it rather less difficult for me to get the work that got me the lawn, and to be paid well for it, and probably more so than other people would have been. Which I suspect is to your point.

Yes, mint, is not your color.
Perhaps something in cloth of gold, with a purple lined cape, some shoes to mince in and a powdered wig? Don’t forget the lime stockings.

In fact, as (male) feminist who is very fond of Georgette Heyer, I’ll pledge $50 to a charity-of-your-choice for a picture of you dressed in regency era Masculine Man garb, with appropriate meme text.

All I can say is that it’s a crying shame that you’ve already used up the title Your Hatemail Will Be Graded. This article should be the centerpiece of a book with that title.

Hi,

Patrick Rothfuss posted this on his site. Before then I had not followed you, though I have read many of your works. (Redshirts causes me to worry about my sudden bladder release EVERY time I read it).

That said, you now have a new follower. You do the human race, and also all of us males, specifically, great justice by existing.

Thank you.
-Colt

I thought you looked better in the Little Black Dress. But with that lawn, you could do jewel tones, and you’ve got a figure that would let you do an appropriate orange without totally looking like the Great Pumpkin the way some of us would. (On the other hand, to do that hat, you either need more hair, or enough less hair to claim it’s a mohawk.)

Also, I am saddened that there are feminists that are attacking you. Though not shocked. Every special interest group has individuals that bite the hands of helpers.

You have, obviously, taken up a stand on their side and spent quite a bit of effort in doing so. I can’t imagine many people would continue to rally a cause that bite those that try to help.

Sarah, please realize that at least myself and people in my own circle who are pro women’s rights would be much less vocal about such things because we really don’t want our heads to be bitten off by those we support.

I feel trying to diminish Mr. Scalzi’s accomplishments as a way of striking out as a feminist against a “White Privileged Male” can only hurt your cause, due to Mr. Scalzi’s own stance on the subject matter.

I feel a better stance is to be pushing positively for women’s rights Sarah, as opposed to bring others down to the level of women by lessening their accomplishments (which has indeed been done to women for far too long), which is the message I get from your post personally.

Thanks,
Colt

A Regency period dress? When surely there are just so many better choices? Regency, with that miserable puff sleeve and ugly square neck and, worst of all, stupid under-boob constriction.

Any other period would be an improvement!

@ J.S. Lucens – “you need a shawl, bonnet and/or parasol…think of the sun browning your fair skin, my dear.” Accessorize yes, shawl, definitely, but that is an evening gown, not a day dress, therefore the plume is fine, though for a person of his age a turban would probably be more seemly, and no parasol. A reticule would be appropriate, and a fan, absolutely, but as I said supra, the one thing no person of quality of either sex would be caught dead in a public place without is gloves. I can only assume Ms. Robinette’s didn’t fit.

I absolutely demand quality humour from friends or foes alike. I see your response as outrage for some dudebro’s stupidity and low grade humour – that I can understand! You seem to be comfortable embracing the awkward moment. Embrace that you embrace them. Once you master the awkward moment….it just becomes awkward for everyone else, such as dudebros etc. Dudebros have absolutely no power in the face of one who has mastered the art of the awkward moment. You rejoice in how it hangs there….twisting in the huffing puffing breaths of someone far less comfortable with themselves and far less capable of creative insults, slurs or otherwise.

I hate it when people go for the low hanging fruit. It always takes the form of sarcasm, it always takes the easy way out and it always gets a few laughs from their toolish friends who wouldn’t know a good piece of hate mail if it was wrapped around a brick and thrown through their front window.

Well done sir!

This reminds me of when my older brother insults me by calling me a “liberal”, then gets mad when I reply “You’re damn right I am!” The poor guy just can’t figure out why I’m never insulted by being called the equivalent (in his mind) to a heretic.

Way to go, Scalzi. As usual, way to fucking go.

GF Dad:

It’s a little busy, design-wise.

Colt:

People are free to disagree with me or point out where they think I’ve made an error. I assume they speak for themselves when they do. And anyway, I didn’t write the piece for the “cookies,” and I also was perfectly aware people would come to it with their own point of view. In other words, it’s fine.

I’m curious how many commentators got the hammer, though it takes little to imagine the content. Perhaps having this read as a complete lovefest gives an incomplete feel about those reading this. Perhaps you could leave a few troll examples intact to provide contrast. By the way, I loved this.

God I love you John. I swear if I was still teaching health I’d just bring up a dozen or two select postings of yours and the whole unit on mental and emotional health would be covered. Bullying – got it. Coping with being poor – got it. Worried about fitting in, other peoples views, peer pressure, standing up for yourself when you are wronged? Got it all.

Too bad this doesn’t fit into a math curriculum.

This delights my heart. Like others, I thought it was your own meme until I read the text. Massive insult fail.

Gloria Steinem used to tell the story of how she arrived in a new town, to be confronted at the airport by people carrying signs that said “Gloria Steinem is a Humanist.” She mistook them for friends at first.

mattmarovich: That same song played in my head! No shit.

Helen: I want it on a t-shirt.

Evan: I think you may be right, but the post is still a lot of fun. And as Scalzi points out, it’s yet another level of FAIL.

Frank:

Might I suggest Period Drag Photo shoots for charity?

Oo, oo! I like it! I have a houppelande already! …but of course it’s not really drag if men and women both wore it in the period in question (14C). Rats.

Guess: Insightful, Guess. Full of insight.

Which your comment kinda isn’t. This is a brilliant post. However, I do hope you’re right about the t-shirts, because I want one.

Ray: Oh, you’re in for a treat! Check out the rest of the blog. Seriously, you won’t be sorry.

Vala: The “jewel tone” bit reminds me a bit of Steve Martin in Roxanne where he gives 50 better insults. I’m almost sure that you’re aware that the original play by Edmond Rostand had that bit in it. But not completely, hence this.

Jerome (and later, Brian): Do you really not know that ‘dudebro’ is what we call these MRA losers? Because they’re always calling each other ‘dude’ and ‘bro’, to a degree considered excessive in a person too old to be in a fraternity?

saikochriskun: WTF do you mean by that? Is that what it looks like, another idiot attempt to insult Scalzi?

Hal Taft:

Actually I’ve only malleted one comment today, and it wasn’t for trolling — it was just not particularly on topic. I suspect I may be swinging the mallet more this evening once some of the troll folk come home from work.

Saikochriskun:

Sub-standard. Up your game.

And Xopher, you know better than to engage.

This is what a man looks like. And by ‘man,’ I mean someone who does the right thing at the right time. And by that, I mean a man OR a woman. Thanks for sharing this elegant and well-written bit of reverse-shaming.

“I feel a better stance is to be pushing positively for women’s rights Sarah, as opposed to bring others down to the level of women by lessening their accomplishments (which has indeed been done to women for far too long), which is the message I get from your post personally.”

Colt, are you a woman? Because if you’re a man, this is textbook mansplaining

As a transgender woman, I must ask. Why did someone think this stunt was worthy of financial reward. Do you think there might be a tinge of self hate and shame when I and the thousands of transgender persons see this image? Could it be that that hurt was worth more than $500. Should you perhaps donate some money to one of the transgender organizations that are fighting for equality of housing, employment, insurance and on an on for a most misunderstood groups?

@Sarah

Colt, are you a woman? Because if you’re a man, this is textbook mansplaining

Question for you: if Colt is a woman, would you consider it more valid than if Colt was a man? Because what you wrote seems to imply that and that seems a little sexist..

John, I dearly love this piece and the message it’s sending about how “feminist” is actually a very poor word to use to mock someone for the reasons you outline. Having said that, re-reading point number 3 and the mention of material things and success does, on second pass, seem to read a little “off”.

I completely understand the point you’re trying to make: That because dudebro thinks that “feminist” is a dirty word and something that should be able to be used against you to hurt you because he thinks it’s negative, you’re pointing out that in fact, being a feminist has not hurt you or your success. You’re happy, you have a nice home, nice things, all the markers that a dudebro alpha male should see as a sign of success, but in his view you shouldn’t have because you’re a hetero cis man comfortably wearing a dress and proudly feminist. And yet you do, so look, being a feminist is not a bad or harmful thing!

I think what some people are reacting to is this line: “But, here’s the thing. I may be a dirty dirty feminist, but I’m also a feminist with five acres of really awesome lawn, on which rests a lovely, large house, in which I have lots of very cool things. I got the lawn and house and things by being successful — that’s right! I am financially successful through work! It’s not like, say, I’ve generally failed at everything I’ve done and have wealth from living off family remittances. Nope, I worked for this stuff. Go me.”

I’ve read your fantastic pieces on privilege and I don’t think that you’re ignoring the fact that your success and ability to have these things has been influenced by your privilege – as you say, the social privilege you have helped you get the opportunities that made it more possible for you to work and earn enough to have the nice lawn, etc. Which yeah, go you! On the other hand, I can also see how the way that it’s worded, “I am financially successful through work” can rub someone the wrong way, as it sounds really close to the “I succeeded through hard work and if you didn’t, you’ve failed” line.

Also, speaking as someone who has benefited from “living off family remittances” (my parents died while I was young, but had the foresight to have enough money set aside that I was extremely lucky to go through higher ed without accruing student debt and before it came to an end, helped me get a running start as an adult), that particular line did kind of sting. I know I was extremely lucky to have parents who were able to make that money available for me in case anything happened to them, but I haven’t always been successful and there were times when having that money available was what kept me from sinking into a point where without it, I would not have been able to work my way back up and get myself to the place where I am now, which I am proud of, because I did work for it.

I don’t think any of that is your intention, but I can see how the way that first paragraph in Point 3 is worded could cause some “splash damage.” I think the 2nd paragraph gets that point across much better, but that’s just my opinion. Really appreciate your willingness to consider these points.

Quick meta: I find the number of people objectifying our host (jokingly or not) due to the dress kind of fascinating. May have to go write my own godawfully-long post about classical conditioning and female-coded costuming.

“Question for you: if Colt is a woman, would you consider it more valid than if Colt was a man? Because what you wrote seems to imply that and that seems a little sexist..”

Yes, I would. And I’m sorry that I assumed that someone with the name Colt was a man.

Jeanne:

“Why did someone think this stunt was worthy of financial reward.”

I suspect mostly because some people on my Twitter feed wanted to see me in a regency dress and/or wanted to support the particular charity I was promoting at the time. I do occasional fund drives of various sorts, and this was one of them.

The topic of the subtext of cross-dressing and what means in a larger context was discussed quite a bit over on Twitter today, and I found the discussion enlightening. My views on transfolk are on public record, and I would not intentionally cause distress to any; that being said, a few people have pointed out where I may have stepped in it, and of course I am listening to them and considering their words.

Do you have a favorite trans* charity in particular?

@Annalee

Sure, there are unemployed and underemployed people who spend their time being dicks on the internet. But there are also very well employed people who do precisely the same thing.

In my anecdotal experience – I I’ll concede that it is merely anecdotal – people who are successful in meat-space tend not to have as much time to troll Reddit as many a Reddit troll does.

I myself, who have gobs of privilege, must temper the amount of time I spend online lest it interfere with my offline life. For instance, I should be prepping for the 7 o’clock black belt class, not typing this.

Now, there are certainly people who are privileged with oodles of leisure time because they were born with a silver spoon their families never took out of their mouths, but that’s rather different from being successful. Success ≠ wealth or a big yard, but it does require time. No amount of privilege can create time. Privilege can free up time that can then be directed towards success, which is one reason people without it have a harder time on average achieving success. But if someone commits the bulk of their leisure time towards trolling Reddit, they’re still not going to succeed. Privilege yields opportunities, opportunities losers can still waste. I’ll bet this dickwad is an exemplar.

Scalzi’s bit about his success compared to those who live off remittances from their family did rub me the wrong way the second time I read the post.

Fair enough. I don’t really take issue with taking issue with that; my point was tangential that we should no more assume all down-and-out cases are hard luck stories than we should assume the opposite. There are a lot of reasons a person may not have success. Being a loser is one, and it’s the one that I think likilest in the case of inveterate Reddit trolls.

There are perfectly lovely people who are unemployed, underemployed, or relying on income other than wages for a whole host of reasons.

I never did or would suggest otherwise. But, by the same token, not all who do are perfectly lovely people, and some who are not do indeed ensure their own failure.

And the stereotype that internet trolls are all sad pathetic losers in their parents basements comes perilously close to “you should just ignore the bullies because they’re just jealous of you.”

I think professional internet trolls tend to be sad pathetic losers on general principle, regardless of where they live. I never said they should be ignored. Sometimes they should, and sometimes they need a good virtual kick in the seat of the pants.

It may be an attempt to belittle the bully, but it has a side effect of dismissing the very real harm they can do.

I don’t see those as mutually exclusive. Belittling bullies doesn’t mean they’re harmless.

@Sarah

Your work did not get you that lawn. Privilege did.

Both, actually, in Scalzi’s case.

@Colt

Also, I am saddened that there are feminists that are attacking you. Though not shocked. Every special interest group has individuals that bite the hands of helpers.

Disagreement is not attack and feminism is not a special interest.

Sarah, please realize that at least myself and people in my own circle who are pro women’s rights would be much less vocal about such things because we really don’t want our heads to be bitten off by those we support.

So you would speak out for half the human race’s rights and liberties if not for a handful who denigrated your efforts? o_O

For some reason I’m reminded of an uncle’s comment a few decades ago about the book titles ‘Tough guys don’t dance’ and “Real men don’t eat quiche” He said, ‘Tough guys dance when they want to, and Real men eat what they feel like eating. Worrying about other people’s definitions pretty much disqualifies you.

I saw this on my FB feed and my first thought was, “Where did you get that dress, cuz I want one”…seriously where did your friend get it or the pattern if she made it herself, cuz I totally need a regency-era dress in my closet

I was initially really confused by this post, because I thought the dress shot looked kind of bad ass and couldn’t figure out why sticking “this is what a feminist looks like” could possibly be an insult. I guess I have been hanging out with the right people.

Wonderful rebuttal of a very lame statement. I agree with you completely on everything you have to say about “dudebro.” If it matters. Which it probably doesn’t, nor should it. So, here’s my rub. People with money to spend on non essentials, such as 5 acres of lawn, are copied by those with less money to spend on non essentials, although they still have some of that. I just wonder if you had used a large portion of that 5 acres on something just as beautiful as lawn, but with less thirst for water which is in short supply in some parts of the world (even in some parts of the U.S), then perhaps, as a role model, you could have contributed to another worthy cause. Water conservation, not just by you, but by those people who are not original enough to figure things out for themselves and just copy from others. Just a thought, from someone who means absolutely nothing to you, and rightfully so. Of course it IS your property, and it IS your decision to make. Just a thought…

@Sarah

Yes, I would.

So, if Colt was a woman what she would say would be valid but, if he was a man, it’s not? How is that not sexist?

And I’m sorry that I assumed that someone with the name Colt was a man.

I’m pretty sure people can name themselves anything on the internet.

Dear. Mr. Scalzi. I would like you to be my boyfriend in a platonic non-stalker #JohnScalziMyBoyfriend kind of way. #5 – totally channeling Cyrano.

Bravo,#JohnScalziMyBoyfriend.

In slightly less fangirl mode, I am constantly reminding anyone who will listen that feminist is not a bad word. Any woman with credit in her own name should ask her mother for a recent history less. Scarcely a generation ago –with a job of my own and over 18– as a single woman I needed my father to co-sign my credit card application and my first apartment rental agreement. As a lesbian I’m shocked how many other lesbians are squeamish about being called feminists when I’d be embarrassed if anyone thought I *wasn’t*.

So thank you for getting it and thank you for putting a mint green Regency dress on it.

P.S. Having my teenaged daughter read this so she can have yet another example of what a feminist looks like for reference. Plus she’ll totally get the #5 homage to Cyrano.

“So, if Colt was a woman what she would say would be valid but, if he was a man, it’s not? How is that not sexist?”

Oh come on, you sound like those white guys who are complaining that NK Jemisin is a racist.

How is it not mansplaining? What if a verifiable dudebro had written it?

Sarah: If only privilege, and not achievements, earned Scalzi his big lawn, then I, being a Cis White Male™ (cue Empire Strikes Back theme), would have such a lawn too, because it simply would have been bestowed upon me at birth by the Privilege Fairies, descending from Heaven on pearly wings, strumming harps. Alas, this never happened. The day I have such a lawn will be the day I reap the rewards of earning it, my dumb biological luck at being able to play the Life Game at the lowest difficulty setting notwithstanding. I am also aware that there are people who’ve played life’s game at a much harder difficulty setting than I, who have such a fantastic lawn and more. So if I’m going to catch up, it’s on me, and only me.

It’s a shame that you’ve only chosen to take the negative out of John’s marvelous demolition of a misogynist cretin, but it is, of course, your right. But if you think Scalzi is a man oblivious to his privilege, you clearly haven’t been reading his blog long.

Jeanne: Support transgender groups? Awesome idea. John’s on the case.

@Sarah

I’m asking about the implications of your question. You started off with your criticism of what he wrote with the “Are you a woman?”

So, if Colt was a woman, would you have judged the words written differently?

“How is it not mansplaining? What if a verifiable dudebro had written it?”

At the moment I’m not judging his words, I’m legit trying to understand yours because the implication of them is that you would’ve judged it differently based on the writing. And, if that is the case, I’m wondering how that falls in line with a feminist belief?

@Sarah

I think Colt’s fair-weather moral rectitude is hypocritical regardless of sex or gender. But perhaps you meant you would be more understanding of someone who didn’t have male privilege being concerned about other women and allies attacking her. At least, that’s the most charitable interpretation I can make of your comment. That said, as I said to Colt, disagreement is not attack.

John, I’m currently teaching a sci-fi and ethics focused composition class (we’re actually just finishing up Old Man’s War this week!) and would love to share this with my students on Wednesday. Can I have your permission to have my students dissect this as they’re thinking about word and image and general blogging principles?

(They’re loving the novel, by the way. In addition to the required purchase of the novel, I think I may helped you sell several sets of the rest of the series.)

“But perhaps you meant you would be more understanding of someone who didn’t have male privilege being concerned about other women and allies attacking her. ”

That is what I meant. I probably didn’t phrase it as well as I should have. That comment got me a little emotional and heated.

@Gulliver I can concede that it may have been a disagreement as opposed to an attack in some regards, but to tell someone that they have earned nothing in their life and it was instead only attained due to their race and gender, screams attack to me. Perception trumps reality on the internet. If she meant it different, I personally did not see it. My apologies if I took it wrong, but there aren’t many “non verbal” cues to go off of online. I will endeavor to question before accusing next time.

@Sarah Assuming I was a man is just fine. I still can’t quite see what destination you are hoping to arrive at with your comments though. You are obviously a feminist, and feminism wants equality. By your statements you have shown that you give less credence to the comments of a male over a female. In your estimation, would equality in this circumstance mean men should give you (women) less credence because you are female?

It feels like your line of thinking might actually just be perpetuating the problem by recreating it from the female perspective.

I feel everyone should be heard and their words weighed without bias. Even the opposition can provide accurate assessments and words of truth. The problem is I, and it appears many other folks here are on the side of feminism, but our words don’t count as much to the cause of woman because we are male. That’s just no good.

@Gulliver There are plenty of horrible things happening in this world for me to rally behind and attempt to back. I cannot back them all realistically. If one of them habitually pushes away help, or feels the need to criticize the efforts of individuals without reinforcing the fact that they at least appreciate the effort to help their cause… I feel as though I am justified to spend less effort backing their cause and find another cause that would like MORE of my attention.

I can and will continue to back women’s rights regardless of attacks from either side, but could I feel comfortable showing up to a woman’s rights rally if there are multiple activists that look at me negatively because I am a white male? I’m not looking for justification for my thoughts, but those are the thoughts I have.

So far, I have been extremely lucky. Almost all of the ladies who fight for the cause are very careful to check their friendly fire, as it were. So, a few stray shots from the internet will not deter me from the cause of human equality.

I just wish special interest groups were more like the homosexual movement. It is not often you hear a gay individual speaking negatively of a straight individual. As far as I have seen, their movement has only ever focused on achieving equality, not vocalizing dislike for other peoples privileges. I feel this has resulted in A LOT of great things happening with their movement in many states.

By that same token, I feel that the words of Sarah, and other individuals who use a “shame on you” approach, diminish the cause of equal human rights whenever those words make it into mainstream media or into the world where people respond with stubborn refusal when faced with negativity aimed at them (Not all forums are as understanding or logically minded and calm as this one).

I was ultimately just trying to say “Hey don’t go after us! We’re on the same side!” Apparently I’ve slightly failed at that. Honestly, my bad.

Speaking as a straight male 56 year old 250# blue collar worker who wears a Utilikilt (Properly, I might add…) pretty much every day unless he is running a weed eater or some such… remind me NEVER to do anything to irritate you, sir… surely serious verbal anger on your part would require skin grafts or at the very least copious quantites of aloe vera gel… btw, LOVE the entire Old Mans War series so much I tell friends and fellow aspiring authors “I wanna be a REAL writer like John Scalzi when I grow up.”
A copy of “Agent to the Stars” is nearing the top of the “to be read” pile next to the bed…

I have several points, all relatively shallow
1. Pastels are tricky to pull off for many people, your dark hair does help.
2. a choker would go nicely
3. going without stays is a historically accurate and appropriate choice. Many women wore stays during the regency period but it was about as common to go without as it was to go braless in the late 60s early 70s. Not exactly shocking.
4. I am jealous of your yard. I have a deck, it is uninspiring.

Colt:

“I was ultimately just trying to say ‘Hey don’t go after us! We’re on the same side!’ Apparently I’ve slightly failed at that. Honestly, my bad.”

It happens.

Speaking for myself, I don’t mind all that much when folks who see me as an ally (potential or real) step in and question methods, motives and tactics. Sometimes there’s something they see as obvious that you miss or don’t see as important, and it being pointed out isn’t a bad thing. As I noted elsewhere, it help if you recognize a) you’re not perfect, b) you’ll make occasional mistakes and c) criticism is not designed to make you feel defensive.

Mr. Scalzi, Applause for using your Internet power to do good.

It’s funny, though: the second thing I thought was that darker, more intense colors would suit you better.

*Slowly claps…* that was awesome…
I just ended here from pat rothfuss facebook and i have to say that by reading this i think i’m going to start reading your books… I’ll give them a try…
Also at least where i come from femenist groups are like the woman version of masculinist groups (i dont know if thats the proper word… sorry english its not my first languaje…)… not much like asking for equal rights but with things like ”women are better than men”, ”men only think about sex” etc… Where i come from people dont think of themselves as feminist for opinions like yours… they are just normal opinions…

Also, just to get this out there way ahead of time, as I have started to do recently on many potentially troll-attracting threads, when I retire for the night I’m going to turn off the thread and open it up again in the morning. Expect the thread to close around 11pm Eastern time, and open again sometime around 8:30 am tomorrow.

Best chuckle I’ve had in a week. The dress is not your best color; in the circumstances, that’s understandable and acceptable. Decades ago my wife and some of her friends “did my colors” (the results showed that I picked good colors for myself, though, and someone else didn’t.) That theory has moved on, now (as has my hair and beard coloring), to twelve or sixteen “seasons” and I have no idea what my current season is.

“It feels like your line of thinking might actually just be perpetuating the problem by recreating it from the female perspective.”

I suppose it’s a possibility that IN THE VERY DISTANT FUTURE an evil devious Matriarchy could emerge, with Amazons keeping men as drone workers and sources of sperm…

You have inspired me, John.

I know quite a few manly men who are feminists. They, as well as I, wear kilts. (man-skirts for the uninitiated.)

I’m going to spend some time in the immediate future trying to arrange a time and place for a group photo, to go along with yours.

@Colt

Well, what causes you commit your resources to are your prerogative. Echoing Scalzi, speaking for myself, I choose based on where I think I can contribute the most useful impact for making what I would consider a better world. Appreciation doesn’t enter into it. I don’t think any movement or camp owns what’s right. The Society for Cutting Up Men doesn’t own feminism or equality.

And now, it would be pretty embarassing to be be late to a class I’m teaching, so au revoir.

I just wish special interest groups were more like the homosexual movement.

You just put a hole in your foot, dude. Feminism is not a “special interest” and there’s no “homosexual movement” except in the minds of the extreme right. It’s the Gay Rights movement.

Your phrasing is revealing your agenda. Or perhaps it’s subverting your communication of what you really believe, but in either case it’s leaving a very negative impression.

I guess I’m inclined to give you the benefit of the doubt, and assume your heart is in the right place until I see more evidence.

I was right with you up until the bit about the five-acre lawn (…seriously, feminism is just being fair. Who would be against being fair?). Unless you’re grazing sheep or hosting a croquet tournament, wouldn’t you be better with a garden?

I really want that dress. It’s awesome. Is it handmade?
(I’m a dude. Who wears dresses cos they’re comfy. And I look super pretty in them.”

I’ll add to the meme…because this page about this picture is what is going to make this guy go buy one of those books that gave you the awesome lawn and the ability to raise $600 for charity in 30 minutes. Special thanks to dudebro for the introduction.

Closest I ever got to this was when some jackass on the street called me fat, and all I could think of was “You think I didn’t know?”

But this was pure genius. I hope the dudebro is pulling out his hair trying to think of a comeback. He’ll never win.

I’ve been looking for an alternative to replace the ubiquitous term “douchebag.” Thanks to you, I’ve decided to start using “dudebro,” on the principle that they have even less value in the world.

I so love this, I so love you for writing it, and if I knew you I’d probably ask you to marry me! But then again, I’ve never wanted to marry anyone. Partly because there’s too many dudebros out there that think I need them for something without realizing I make more money than most of them do. And they don’t understand the difference between need & want. And if they do realize it, suddenly I’m a feminist bitch. And so I remain a feminist happy person, not feeling bitchy at all because there are people like you in the world! Thanks for the laughs along with the statement and the support!

Aaaawww YEAH!!! High Fiving, Fist Bumping and whatever other approval gestures are appropriate. Dudebro, you just got schooled, ruled and totally tooled, may as well bow in defeat and back away quietly. NOTHING you can do will give you the come back you are going to desperately want. NOTHING.

BEST. POST. OF. THE. DAY.

Great collection of memes. I was totally confused, as many were, that the 1st picture was intended to be an insult. I thought you had some new charity thing going on until I read the post.

I’m not sure I was ready for seeing you that many times in a row in the same dress. We really need to do something about your wardrobe. Maybe a fundraiser for a Trans organization with you in different period dresses & accessories?

The weird thing about men being threatened by feminism is that we have benefited from it just as much as women.
We have more money – many of our partners now work as well as sharing childcare duties – women are willing to admit to enjoying and wanting sex and, if you’re single, you don’t need to marry a woman for her to go to bed with you. We’re also closer to our children. My wife insists I do 50 per cent of childcare duties. Men of my grandad’s generation had much less to do with their kids.

Dudebro is not likely to get the point.

* * *

“It is dark under the lamp.”

Privilege is pervasive, systemic, normative. So much a part of the “background” that it’s often invisible – read: very hard to see. This is particularly true even for people who are trying to see it.

Shining a light on privilege from a privileged standing often casts a shadow on one’s own privilege. The trick is to realize that one is still standing in it.

Count me as another who thought that John had captioned the first pic, and was very confused until I sorted the whole thing out. It never really occurred to me that that was supposed to be an insult, which probably proves that I don’t hang out enough with the wrong people, and don’t have enough Internet fame to have attracted my own collection of mentally substandard haters. :)

Ah well. I’m far from right wing. I’m just not very good at explaining myself is all. Shooting myself in the foot may be what I did, though I do promise my intent is pro equal rights to EVERYONE.

Have a nice night folks.

When I first saw the photo posted I thought you were making an awesome point, That you were manly enough to wear a dress and a feather (on a frankly beautiful lawn with a dog at your feet) and assert that you supported equality for both genders. Which is awesome.

When I read further and realized that dudebro made the photo as an insult, all I could think of was… well that didn’t work. I mean other dudebro’s may recognize the insult for what it was intended, but if you hadn’t explained it I wouldn’t have known.

Which I guess is a way of saying… poor dudebro, one day I hope he gets the message he put out by mistake, courage is wearing a dress and saying women rock.

@colt:

By your statements you have shown that you give less credence to the comments of a male over a female. In your estimation, would equality in this circumstance mean men should give you (women) less credence because you are female?

When someone is a subject expert, their opinions and conclusions carry more weight on that subject than the opinions and conclusions of someone who hasn’t done their homework. That’s not bigotry; it’s just common sense. You’re not prejudiced against your doctor if you take your mechanic’s word over theirs regarding how a car works.

Your first post is an example of the ‘tone argument,’ which suggests that women would have more allies/rights/respect if we were just nicer. The problem with it, aside from the inherent contradiction of suggesting that people only deserve equality if they’re polite, is that there is never a nice enough that will prevent those goal-posts from moving. The only way for women to be ‘nice enough’ to keep from being accused of ‘attacking’ men is to tell men that they are doing great and don’t need to change anything.

The fact that you apparently weren’t aware of that when you posted is a pretty good indication that you are not a subject expert when it comes to sexism.

There are, of course, women who have homework to do on sexism. We don’t walk into the world understanding the ways that society mistreats us, and we’re as poisoned as everyone else by cultural notions that we deserve that treatment. But since we’re the ones who get kicked in the teeth by it, and the ones who have to learn to haul ourselves back up to our feet every time it happens, we are significantly more likely to become subject experts than men are.

Sexism is a societal power structure. It conditions us all to believe that men’s opinions matter more than women’s, even on subjects where the woman has demonstrably superior expertise.

Mansplaining is where a man explains something to a woman because he’s assuming that his opinions on the subject will be valuable to her, even in the face of evidence that she knows more about it than he does. You wouldn’t assume your mechanic needs you to tell them how to do an oil change, and yet you seem to have assumed that Sarah, who has to navigate sexism as a normal part of her life and who’s clearly done a lot of homework about it, needs you to tell her how to fight it.

Which is both an example of that power structure at work, and evidence that you don’t see that power structure working. Which means your opinions on that power structure and how to dismantle it don’t carry as much weight as the opinions of people who actually see it and know how it works.

Are we SURE this wasn’t meant to be a compliment? I mean, to me, that looks like a compliment. “THIS IS WHAT A FEMINIST LOOKS LIKE: IN A DRESS WITH AN AWESOME DOG. DON’T YOU WANT TO BE A FEMINIST, TOO, SO YOU CAN GET AN AWESOME DOG?”

Wait, that’s your *lawn*? Dude, I am green with envy. But not *that* shade of green, because really. (Okay, not so envious. I mean, the thought of *mowing* that sucker makes me faint. But I like the whole I-can-play-regulation-soccer-in-my-yard thing.)

I feel trying to diminish Mr. Scalzi’s accomplishments as a way of striking out as a feminist against a “White Privileged Male” can only hurt your cause, due to Mr. Scalzi’s own stance on the subject matter.

Sarah, John is a major feminist ally who advocates very hard on behalf of women from the position of being a best-selling author and important blogger. Going after him while he’s applying the beatdown to a douchy dudebro is undermining, it’s discourteous and it’s very poor strategy.

If you want to overthrow patriarchy, you probably need allies. Thus you should not crap on them while they’re clobbering someone on your behalf.

When I saw you post it on Twitter, I assumed you’d captioned it yourself as a way of mocking whatever blather was being blathered about the picture of you in a dress. I honestly didn’t realize it was supposed to be the alleged insult itself until now.

If you want to overthrow patriarchy, you probably need allies. Thus you should not crap on them while they’re clobbering someone on your behalf.

If someone steps on your foot while ‘clobbering someone on your behalf,’ and you say “ouch, please watch out for my foot!” Are you crapping on them? Or are you just pointing out that they–however unintentionally–have done something that hurt you?

Scalzi, as you can see from my first post in this thread, I didn’t have the same reaction to it that a lot of other people are having (though I think they’re making valid points). But I want to say that I have a lot of respect for the way you handle being called out.

“Mansplaining is where a man explains something to a woman because he’s assuming that his opinions on the subject will be valuable to her, even in the face of evidence that she knows more about it than he does. You wouldn’t assume your mechanic needs you to tell them how to do an oil change, and yet you seem to have assumed that Sarah, who has to navigate sexism as a normal part of her life and who’s clearly done a lot of homework about it, needs you to tell her how to fight it.”

I love your post so much! I want to bake it cookies or something!

What I wonder is this: were there jewel tones in the Regency period? Perhaps for winter gowns, but not for a lovely summer frock such as this. Lovely, and flattering for nearly all figures!

And HELL YES to your edits on the memes. Five stars. Would read again.

Personally I think a nice peach color would work, but you’ve gotten lots of comments on colors. I am finding it hard to believe there are people who can’t accept a man in a dress. It’s not threatening…it’s just…a dude. In a dress. Big whoop, ‘s like saying women can’t wear PANTS.

That said, have you got any plans in the future for doing more wacky fundraising?

Also I very much disagree that you’re bragging about your material things. You’re pointing them out, but I don’t get that sense of swagger that goes with bragging. People arguing about white privilege and “people born playing on the lowest difficulty setting” are ignoring huge numbers of factors that allow people to become rich or stay poor. Your excellent writing and snarkiness have earned you respect. You use them words good-like, so people pay attention. That’s your job, to write and be snarky, poignant, decided, emotional, etc. I’m just not getting any sense of ENTITLEMENT in this post; you’re just pointing out that you look really good on your lawn with your (huge) dog and therefore that defeats the purpose of belittling you. Not like, “Haha I have a huge lawn, Dudebro, and you don’t! I R SUCCESSFUL WHITE MAN U SHUD LICK MY FEET, PEON!” It’s just not a factor as far as I am concerned.

Beautiful writing. Pat Rothfuss pointed out this pointed post on Facebook.

As a Cis Female, it is not my place to tell transgendered folks whether something is hurtful to them or not — if it hurts, it hurts, and saying otherwise won’t change that. But just so you know, some cisgendered people — not all, but some — can see a cis male with no inclination to emphasize the socially feminine aspects of his appearance and see that he has put on a costume associated with cis female individuals living during the era of Jane Austen, writer of extremely heteronormative sexual fables, and say to ourselves: This is a person doing something manifestly out of character for him. (Is it the full goatee that gives away the game? The glasses that do nothing to emphasize what I feel certain are very fine eyes? Maybe a little of both.)

I have a few trans friends, and I know they struggle to be perceived for who they *are* in the light of social expectations how they “should” look. Again, I’m not saying you don’t have a right to your feelings — if Mr. Scalzi’s picture offends you, so be it. But look, what kind of friend would I be if I couldn’t discern between Scalzi and the careful efforts of my trans female friends to groom their hair, choose their clothes and accessories and apply cosmetics in a way that conveys “this is who I am”? He’s a person in garb that does not remotely reflect how he thinks of himself; my transgendered friends are dressed EXCLUSIVELY in garb that speaks to who they are.

As a fan of Mr. Scalzi’s work, I saw this photo when it first appeared, and the context was, basically, someone has brought an item of clothing into my house which I would ordinarily never wear. If people want to make X amount of donations, I’ll take a picture of myself wearing it — what do you think, internet? It could just as easily have been a British colonial military uniform or a fuzzy pink bear suit or a latex Cyberman costume.

I worry this is starting to sound defensive, so I’ll just sum up as best I can: My friend Roberta has XY chromosomes and wears dresses on the daily — I would never confuse her with Mr. Scalzi anymore than I would confuse President Obama with Jay-Z. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen, and that there isn’t a tremendous amount of unpleasant attention is drawn to transgendered men and women when they move through the public sphere. But a friend of mine mentioned recently that he had no idea how many people believed in his right to marry his boyfriend until Facebook was suddenly covered with red equal signs, so maybe this will be one small red equal sign to say, that I see and admire the courage of transgendered people, your determination to be true to yourself, and John Scalzi in a dress doesn’t remind me of you in the least.

There are pictures of me in a college art project wearing a dress. Seriously. My outfit was well matched, and the dress was (dare I say it?) actually kind of comfortable. I had a problem with the heels, but probably due to lack of practice. Oh, the project was on the sexism of fashion and I did it in the interest of….wait for it…wait for it…wait for it…

FEMINISM!

This was in the early 1980’s, no less.

@Colt,
To reiterate and expand on some of the (very gentle) pushback you’ve received for your comments (particularly the one at 7:35): you seem to think that any social justice movement is a lost cause if it fails to elicit the sympathy and understanding of the status quo; in this case feminism’s inability or unwillingness to placate the feelings of (white) (straight) men. You’re mistaken. Struggling against a systematic oppression that explicitly benefits the status quo will never enamor one to members of that status quo. We often say that this isn’t a zero-sum game, but that’s not quite right. You’re going to feel slightly uncomfortable when women, when lesbian and gay folk, when people of color, when trans folk disagree with you and won’t back down. You’re used to winning. Take that ever-so slight twinge of disappointment you feel, and apply a rather large multiplier. Imagine experiencing that every day. That’s what non-straight, non-white, non-male identified people feel. Do yourself a favor. Don’t lecture them about how they need to make you feel secure, comfortable, less alienated at their rallies. It’s very obnoxious. It’s not about you. These hypothetical rallies don’t owe you anything. You can contribute without having your hand held and, if you aren’t willing to do so, they’ll all survive just fine without you.

It’s pretty clear that Dudebro will not suddenly change his entire life view from this post. And I think we all agree that it’s even a slight probability that he’ll learn to up his insult game.

The real value of John’s take down is a model for those of us who are targets for the dudebros of the world. I grew up as the daughter of a single mother in a very conservative part of the country during the REagan administration, and I was frequently attacked for being “smart,” “feminist,” “liberal,” etc. It took many years and time at a women’s college to come to the realization that these were just descriptives, not real crimes.

I would love to reach back thirty years and sit that girl down to read this, and then point out that they can only make you made, frustrated, irate, burned if you let them. Laugh back at the put-downs, and take the real criticism with grace and introspection. And recognize that your right to be yourself outweighs anyone’s right to tell you who to be.

Thanks, John. I loved it.

A resolute statement of conscience, spoken with conviction and pride in the face of cowardice and spite.

Yours, John Scalzi, is the manliest post on the Internet.

Men can definitely be feminists too. So long as you believe in the radical notion that women are human beings, you’re a feminist. And I know a lot of men who care about their mothers/wives/sisters/daughters/nieces/ladyfriends.

I immediately thought of Iggy’s photo (and quote) as well – I’m surprised that only two other people mentioned it…

“I’m not ashamed to dress “like a woman” because I don’t think it’s shameful to be a woman.”

Another great post. I have a feeling that there is no way to insult you, John. You’re confident and successful and most of all very happy with your life. I would guess that your detractors can’t say the same and that’s why they waste time trying to deride you.

Only a misogynist would believe that calling someone a feminist is an insult. Just as silly as some conservatives thinking that calling someone a liberal is a put down.

@Snuff I’m not sure that I feel that social justice movements are a lost cause if they don’t elicit sympathy or understanding. I feel that it is a negative to the cause if it’s supporters turn on each other. I’ve since been reassured that in this instance it was simply criticism and not rebuke, which clears the air.

But, I also look at which social justices have seen returns, and which groups of a given cause helped to cause them. I’m no expert at all on any of this, but neither are most people… we just have what we perceive. I would say that not many people look at the Black Panthers and say “those people helped African Americans push towards equality”. They have been painted as militant and aggressive to a fault (not necessarily reality, but perception). Whereas people actively attribute Martin Luther King, a man who never really used negative speech as one of the large reasons for the push of equality.

Using the gay rights movement as an example again, they don’t seem to be very critical of other people so much as focusing on bringing themselves up to the same level.They have seen some pretty awesome returns.

I’m not trying to say that the words typed about men and male privilege aren’t true, but as that white male that has had the riot act read to him multiple times and mostly agree (many on this page) I have a perspective that many do not have. I have the perspective of how somebody who may not already be behind the cause will perceive the words that we’ve seen here tonight.

People just don’t seem to respond well to ANY approach that makes them feel uncomfortable. I would honestly believe they go AGAINST said approach more so because of, what I consider, it’s antagonistic nature.

I don’t see very many championed causes moving forward due to criticism or negativity. Many might and I just might not see it.

My other reason for basically saying “this is not the way”, is simply because I haven’t seen it working. I live in Texas and in fact I’ve seen it working itself the OTHER direction (which is just downright despicable). So yes, I have serious doubts about the methodology of calling someone out who is on your side, because then I have to wonder what is said to those that aren’t on your side and whether it helps or hurts.

But, regardless of what any of us think about methodology etc, it sounds like we are all (except for one) on the same page where across the board equality is concerned. We want it.

I’m going to regret waking up and thinking “I want to see what else is being typed one more time then I’ll roll back over” in the morning! Great discussions though.

Um so this is an awesome rant, the person who made the meme is awful, etc. But you missed the point of his insult intentionally, right? Like, he wasn’t insulting you – at all. He wasn’t saying haha, look at this guy, he’s a feminists. He was saying haha, feminists are like this guy. Which is to say, he was calling feminists ugly and mannish. So I present a short, short version of 5 reasons it’s still a stupid meme:
1) It’s a stupid and obviously wrong statement
2) Even if it were true, I’d rather a slightly-less-than-conventionally-attractive person who’s not a bigot anyday.
3) The poster totally pulls off that dress and comparing feminists to someone brave enough to post that picture can only be a compliment
4) Lawn. Kickass lawn. Totally jealous of that place.
5) Fuckoff, asshat dudebro.