Hypocrite Women

Posted: November 8, 2011 in Feminism, Freedom of Speech, misandry
Tags: , , ,

I found myself agreeing with almost the entirity of this article by Brendan O’Neill in the Telegraph, about the ‘female bloggers’ and their campaign to ‘stamp out misogyny’ online. Especially this paragraph:

‘According to the Guardian, these campaigners want to stamp out “hateful trolling” by men – that is, they want an end to the misogynistic bile and spite that allegedly clogs up their email inboxes and internet discussion boards. Leaving aside the question of who exactly is supposed to do all this “stamping out” of heated speech – The state? Well, who else could do it? – the most striking thing about these fragile feminists’ campaign is the way it elides very different forms of speech. So the Guardian report lumps together “threats of rape”, which are of course serious, with “crude insults” and “unstinting ridicule”, which are not that serious. If I had a penny for every time I was crudely insulted on the internet, labelled a prick, a toad, a shit, a moron, a wide-eyed member of a crazy communist cult, I’d be relatively well-off. For better or worse, crudeness is part of the internet experience, and if you don’t like it you can always read The Lady instead.’

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/brendanoneill2/100115868/the-campaign-to-stamp-out-misogyny-online-echoes-victorian-efforts-to-protect-women-from-coarse-language/

I would add to Brendan’s article that feminist women, though, are also capable of ‘coarse language’ and ‘hate speech’, some examples of which I gave in my last post on this issue.

http://quietgirlriot.wordpress.com/2011/11/03/the-female-of-the-species/

Indeed, a relatively high-profile feminist blogger, stavvers, has called O’Neill himself some nasty things, most memorably: ‘a dangerous weeping syphillitic chode’

http://stavvers.wordpress.com/2011/11/07/brendan-oneill-is-a-dangerous-weeping-syphilitic-chode/

This ‘hate speech’ on the part of feminist women does not negate O’neill’s points. Rather it shows the contradictory nature of their position, and even the hypocrisy of their claim that they want to ‘stamp out’ misogyny and hate speech. I think, really, they want to stamp out criticism of feminism and debate. This is borne out by the cries for tougher moderation on blogs and newspaper fora, and for the end to anonymous commenting online that have followed the articles by ‘female bloggers’ about their plight.

http://www.iaindale.com/posts/time-to-stop-anonymous-commenting

There is something else I have noted about this distressing discourse. One of the key arguments from the feminist female bloggers, is that men don’t receive rape threats but women do.

But the whole point of contemporary feminism, we might be forgiven for thinking, has been to show how men, and only men, are capable of and guilty of rape. And women, and only women are able to be victims of rape. In UK law, ‘rape’ only occurs when a penis is inserted into an orifice without consent. So it is rather clever and manipulative to take the fact that women don’t threaten men with ‘rape’ as an example of the specific misogynist abuse women receive from men, when this is done in a context where men cannot even be acknowledged as victims of rape at the hands of women.

Well done feminists!

Another slight of hand is where they say that they can predict the criticisms of their campaign and their twitter hashtag #mencallmethings – ‘whatabouttehmenz’? ‘womencanbenastytoo’ etc . But just because a criticism is predictable it does not mean it is not valid. And I say, once again, no, seriously, what about the men?

You know what. Even if this was a case of men being misogynist across the internet, if men are the ‘perpetrators’ of sexist online abuse against women, wouldn’t it be worth talking to them and trying to understand where they are coming from, in order to try and stop their behaviour?

As Mark Simpson has pointed out on a number of occasions, even when men are the subject of a discussion, whether it be positive or negative, they often are denied a voice. Who is silencing whom?

As far as I am concerned these feminist female bloggers and journalists do not want an end to misogyny in the form of online abuse. Because without it they would lose their special victim status. And this latest cacophony of wimmin shouting at men, is all about maintaining that status.

Your cries are falling on deaf ears here, ladies. I have heard it all before.

Comments
  1. From having looked at it, it seems that the ‘feminists’ on the #mencallmethings hashtag are socially regressive and would like to return to a society where men are not allowed to be impolite to women. I blame Downton abbey.

    Then again, while attempting to call out some of the more disturbing conflation of being impolite to a lady on the internet with IRL rape, I am accused of ‘Mansplainin’, which I had to look up as it’s not a phrase I am familiar with. Seems it’s OK if the traffic is in the other direction.

    But what would I know, I’m just a walking penis.

  2. clarifying questions for your essay says:

    So when a man responds to a blog post I wrote about, say, rescuing dogs with an email saying that he would like to rape me and then burn my body, instead of being worried, alarmed, and offended, instead you suggest that I should email him back and try to understand where he is coming from? Even if I get 20 emails like that a day?

    I wonder why you think that it is the job of women to fix and help unstable, violent people.

    I wonder why in this situation, you prize understanding the letter-writer over protecting and defending the victim (and even if he doesn’t get to rape and burn me, I am still victimized–I have been terrorized, which was the aim of the email.)

    I wonder why, in your essay, the feelings of *those men who choose to email horrifying things to women in an attempt to silence them* are more important than the physical and mental safety of the women they are addressing. Do these same men threaten other male bloggers with rape when they disagree? That would be a bigger question. And if the answer is no–if the threat of rape is included in an email ONLY BECAUSE the intended recipient is a woman, and the email writer is using this threat to silence her ONLY BECAUSE culturally rape is a huge “power play” men have over women–then that’s the bigger question in my mind.

    Nobody ever said ALL men talk this way. Why are you defending those that do? Do you believe it is correct to socially interact based on threats of gendered violence?

    • I think you need to re-read my section on rape:

      ‘There is something else I have noted about this distressing discourse. One of the key arguments from the feminist female bloggers, is that men don’t receive rape threats but women do.

      But the whole point of contemporary feminism, we might be forgiven for thinking, has been to show how men, and only men, are capable of and guilty of rape. And women, and only women are able to be victims of rape. In UK law, ‘rape’ only occurs when a penis is inserted into an orifice without consent. So it is rather clever and manipulative to take the fact that women don’t threaten men with ‘rape’ as an example of the specific misogynist abuse women receive from men, when this is done in a context where men cannot even be acknowledged as victims of rape at the hands of women.

      Well done feminists!’

      • Jay Stevens says:

        That is the most ridiculous argument supporting rape rhetoric I think I have ever heard. Well done!

      • clarifying questions for your essay says:

        I’ve replied to you about that patently ludicrous defense in specific twice below, so *you* need to re-read your section on comments.

      • CC says:

        You didn’t address her question at all. You completely misdirected it in the direction you wanted it to go in. Please address her question, how you you suggest she handle it?

    • Quite sure this interjection will be unwelcome (perhaps even ‘predictable’) but …

      It seems to me that QRG’s quote was : “Even if this was a case of men being misogynist across the internet, if men are the ‘perpetrators’ of sexist online abuse against women, wouldn’t it be worth talking to them and trying to understand where they are coming from”

      I can’t see where it says ‘rape threats’ in that sentence. You’ve jumped straight to there from ‘misogyny’ and ‘sexist abuse’.

      I’ve had misandry and sexist abuse levelled at me (today in fact), so I’d say there’s some clear blue water between that and threats of ‘gendered violence’. Would you agree ?

      • clarifying questions for your essay says:

        A large proportion of this abuse (across the board and for me in specific) has constituted rape threats, so I don’t see why addressing the issue with greater specificity is any kind of detraction.

        Here are some more experiences: http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/helen-lewis-hasteley/2011/11/rape-threats-abuse-sex-female

        However, even to take your point: Any time I have personally spent in the past try to explain (!) to online misogynists (!!) why their hardcore ideas about women being

        subservient
        lesser
        weaker
        always less intelligent
        always less driven
        undeserving
        incapable of higher thought
        driven only by brute feeling, like an animal
        in need of a good fucking
        frigid
        uptight
        controlling
        bitches
        (!!!!!!!)

        are mayyyybe? Possibly? Just-so-slightlily erroneous?

        Predictably, even when served on my prettiest plates, with the nicest garnishes and sweetest smiles? Not much I said was really doing anything to change any minds. Why? BECAUSE THEY ARE MISOGYNISTS and they did not log on to the internet thinking “I hope a lovely young woman will show me the truth today, as long as she acts totally stupid about it so I am not threatened. Oh, and as long as she doesn’t ask me to treat her as human going forward. TOO MUCH WORK.”

        I don’t believe anyone *should* be being an asshole to anyone else based on this kind of bullshit. I don’t hate all men. I hate men who hate me, who are trying to damage me or a class I belong to (female being one). I sure as hell resent specific women defending a man’s right to damage me based on the idea that I can’t threaten him back as horrifically by law (???).

        • yes I included my last post about the NS article in this piece. you obviously haven’t read it carefully:

          http://quietgirlriot.wordpress.com/2011/11/03/the-female-of-the-species/

        • Carecrow says:

          @clarifying

          Here’s an article that follows up on the NS one you cited.

          http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/nov/05/women-bloggers-hateful-trolling?newsfeed=true

          It mentions 5 women (4 left-wing feminist women and 1 token right-wing woman who, incidentally, identifies as feminist but “not by any contemporary definition”) sharing their experiences in internet abuse.

          You might also be interested in Farrow’s own blog post ‘It’s not just the men’ a response to the Guardian article (you know, the one in which she was cited).

          “Some of the nastiest, most insidious, most hurtful comments have been from women. The two people who have caused me the most online grief over the past year have been women. Their motivations are complex, but the stuff from the woman has been more threatening (the death at the hands of the rusty scissors comment was a woman) and more personal. It is WOMEN who have been spiteful, it is WOMEN who have threatened to carry this forward into real life and it is WOMEN who have thought it acceptable to drag my children into this debate. It is WOMEN who have said “your baby makes me want to be sick” and WOMEN who have gone off on crazy vendettas.The men tend to tell me how much they would like a good f*ck and then move on.”

          I don’t understand your resistance in accepting male victim-hood or female committed abuse. I don’t see how it serves you or supports what I presume is your belief in equality.

          Let me pre-empt you before you accuse me making a straw man.

          I used to agree that greater specificity wasn’t any kind of detraction but I’m afraid it is. It is also inexcusable. When you take a subject like internet abuse (which isn’t a very broad subject to begin with) and omit some of those who are affected by it and some of those who perpetrate it, you are guilty of condoning it. A lack of criticism in the face of evidence that shows you are capable of it is ignorant either by design or condition. Specificity is not an excuse for turning a blind eye. Pathetic qualifiers like the one in the NS article “Of course, women are not immune from being nasty: I have no doubt that there are many female commenters posting unpleasantly” are not excuses either.

          Ask Farrow if she considers those comments to be more than just ‘unpleasant’.

    • Titfortat says:

      Im wondering why you dont just delete the email at the first hint of nastiness? Im amazed at how many people actually read that kind of crap all the way through. As a victim of multiple beatings I have learned to not fear something until its banging down my door or my skull. The one thing about people who rant is that they remind me of barking dogs. Few of them will ever bite you and out of those few most cant even hurt you because they are just ankle biters. ;)

      • clarifying questions for your essay says:

        I’m wondering why you would prefer that the victim should have to change behavior (delete emails, skim all messages ahead of time, put on a happy face, try to ignore it, try to pretend it’s not happening, fear leaving the house, blocking strange phone calls at night, getting restraining orders) rather than the offender having to change behavior (not email violent threats).

        • Titfortat says:

          Do you read all your spam? I dont have an issue with you trying to hold your abusers accountable. I just think it requires a lot of mental energy and in my opinion its a waste of time(unless its happening in real time).

          F-false
          E-evidence
          A-appearing
          R-real

          Just like the pedophile waiting to snatch your kid just around the corner. Your rapist or abusers are rarely if ever a stranger. You would do better by paying more attention to the people close to you than some wacko’s on the internet.

        • redpesto says:

          Isn’t the point of a restraining order that the offender either changes their behaviour – or they go to jail? Or are you waiitng for their behaviour to just stop spontaneously?

  3. clarifying questions for your essay says:

    Additionally, US laws do not rest upon orifice insertion in order to prosecute rape, and there are prosecutions here for female-on-male rape (although for a variety of reasons it is not common, underreporting, cultural shame etc). So while I would say that your argument regarding “sleight of hand” / legal trickery when it comes to the legal possibility of women threatening men with rape, that’s also disingenuous and not entirely related. Something doesn’t need to be directly prosecutable to be a threat, and a great number of the women sharing their stories today are not in the UK.

    By your logic, wouldn’t UK women be MORE likely to threaten men with rape if there’s no chance of them getting prosecuted for it? Your logic is very good for a criminal defender on television but not germane here.

    I wonder why you are so upset and feeling the need to defend *the men who made these threats.* Because again, that is who is being discussed. There are two groups implicit in this discussion: Men who threaten women online, and men who do not. Twitter is discussing the former. Are you even talking about the same thing?

    • Titfortat says:

      Seeing as rape by a woman is going to be somewhat more difficult than if done by a man I can see why they rarely would use it as a threat. Now what I would like to know is why rape is ALWAYS considered more violent then lets say, beating someone to a pulp. I would have no problem finding women using those kinds of threats(physical intimidation) on the internet. Lets face it, if women are equal to men(which I agree with) then they can be just as violent. Our gender may be one reason why we express that violence differently.

      • clarifying questions for your essay says:

        It’s exactly more violent than beating to a pulp because it is one way. Any fistfight I have ever been in, I was giving it back (except when I was a child – which is one reason child abuse is considered horrific. It’s “not picking on someone your own size.” A relatively defenseless person). When two men fight, they are hitting each other. When someone is raped, it is being done to them, and they can’t do it back. It’s just DIFFERENT. (This is why rape is horrifying to men, too. If men e-mailed EACH OTHER serious rape threats online, then I think you would be upset, too. You should try to imagine being a woman and what that feels like.)

        (Incidentally – until it happens to you, maybe you can’t understand completely, but it sure looks assholish when people who haven’t been raped act skeptical about the experiences of people who have. Similar to how I would not try to explain to a Black friend how I’m sure racism isn’t so bad. It’s assholish.)

        Nobody should be threatening anyone, and the point of discussing men’s threats against women online is NOT to say “Men are bad, but women are perfect!” It is to say, “This is happening.” I wonder why some people are so upset to have it pointed out that some men act this way?

        • Titfortat says:

          Violation is just that. And not ALL men or women can fight back. The assholish thing is to not acknowledge the fact that men can and do get abused, violated and threatened just as much as women. The fact that it may be expressed differently does nothing to lessen the impact. You may feel your violation(rape) is more impactful but I have a sneaky suspiscion you havnt been on the receiving end of a particularly nasty beating. By the way, that includes the one’s that ARE NOT one on one.

        • In general I’ve liked what you’ve written here, but I do have to take issue with the idea that male on male violence is “both ways”. While there is a large section which is drunk young guys going out to get into a fight, by and large the majority is muggings and group attacks, which are not instigated by beta-males toe-to-toeing in an attempt to become an alpha, but are the result of rather more complex interactions between class and aggression.

          To be fair, the existence of male-on-male rape in strict hierarchical structures of mutual victimisation, such as the military or the prison system, does have some explanatory power for the revulsion we feel at rape as opposed to other kinds of violence. In such circumstances it basically redefines the sexual act as one of aggressively enforcing a social structure in which the rapist is at the top and the raped person at the bottom. The language that surrounds such acts, of making someone “your bitch”, implicitly regenders a raped male and assigns the lesser status of femininity to them, which is in itself a part of the shaming act because of the way our culture trains men to understand the value of their masculinity.

          Rape is particularly ugly to us because it acts as a signifier for the brutality of our social structures and the lack of real distance between civilised humans and our chimp-like ancestors.

          Nobody likes to have the basis for their perceived relative status challenged, and rape does precisely that to everyone who believes that we’re not a bunch of self-brutalisers. It’s hardly unexpected that it should therefore produce a cognitively dissonant reaction from the population, like war, racism and genocide.

          • gay men call ‘bottoms’ their ‘bitch’ all the time. It’s not some system of power in society it’s just how men who have sex with men negotiate sex. read Freud and Foucault and Bersani.

        • Elise says:

          “When two men fight, they are hitting each other.” What universe do you live in? There is such a thing as a small man getting beat up by a large man. Or two large men. Or two large men with weapons. Or a woman he doesn’t want to hit. Or a woman with a weapon he doesn’t want to hit.

          If you want people to understand your experiences, have a little understanding for theirs.

  4. clarifying questions for your essay says:

    “But the whole point of contemporary feminism, we might be forgiven for thinking, has been to show how men, and only men, are capable of and guilty of rape”

    I do not forgive you for thinking that, and neither would any accredited academic or sane person on the street. That’s like saying that the entire point of the civil rights movement was to prove that only white people are capable of lynching. Way to recast an entire social movement in terms of one paranoid fear about the “ruling majority.” That’s why I wanted the right to vote: To show that men are rapists! That’s why I want to right to birth control: Because all men are raping me all day every day! That’s why I want to make equal pay as a man in my position: Because my penis-having coworkers spend all day raping it up!

    It’s erroneous to use the word “logic” when it comes to your reasoning; you might try instead something like “grasping at straws to validate an emotional reaction.” I feel sorry that you can’t consider this issue in terms of the women who are terrorized by threats every hour. I feel sorry that you are working so hard to defend the right to make threats of rape. I feel sorry that you also want to silence these women. I wonder why you are working to silence women so hard.

    • I am an accredited academic. I have a PHD

      • clarifying questions for your essay says:

        Well, then you should be embarrassed by your reasoning, because it is really substandard. There’s no law on the UK books saying that it is explicitly illegal to set fourteen badgers ablaze and launch them at a pedestrian, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not possible to a. threaten doing so, and b. do so, and that it wouldn’t be harmful. I can’t believe you are not being willfully obtuse on this point, so contorted is your argument.

        If the only reply you have to my questions is to state that you have a Ph.D., then that’s all there is to say, really. Glad this wasn’t your thesis!

    • Henry says:

      I keep seeing, in this debate, the totally false insinuation of some conspiracy by some or all men to “silence women” – that you now blithely accuse QRG of with no evidence (why does that not surprise me…?)

      How can we be convinced of this? The idea that men are complicit in trying to ‘silence’ women is ludicrous. You might even call it “grasping at straws to validate an emotional reaction”

      What you might be trying to do, of course, is to recruit more women to your cause – by creating more suspicion against men, incidentally.

      You deliberately only take a narrow view of the blogosphere/internet. Once again, we find ourselves talking about female victims of male behaviour, and the casual dismissal of any traffic the other way. (I bet you did a lot of research into it – or did you just ask for female bloggers to get in touch? Heard of confirmation bias?)

      It hardly gives me the impression you want to understand anything. A (probably small number of) men behaving like idiots is just ammunition for you to persuade women to stick together and fight men. And how your heart bleeds for men: “When I’d finished drying my tears for the plight of middle-aged white men in our society…”

  5. redpesto says:

    The funniest part of the ‘panel ‘ article on Comment is Free on this topic is that the women manage to come up with such feminist solutions as:

    - calling the police (Helen Lewis-Hasteley)

    - challenging comments below the line (‘Immediately you engage, the worst of it simply slips away’ – Zoe Williams)

    - better comment moderation on blogs and self-moderation/peer pressure from commenters (Bella Mackie, Comment is Free)

    – naming and shaming (Catherine Redfern, the fword)

    In other words, the same strategies as anyone else would use. As one female blogger put it: ‘when bullies react they always go for the low-hanging fruit: your sex, your appearance, your family. Religion, race, orientation. The hooker thing. Whatever they can get’ – because bullies are lazy, mean and stupid, whatever gender they are.

  6. Hi there! Here’s John Scalzi, bloke with a penis, talking about this.

    http://whatever.scalzi.com/2011/08/31/the-sort-of-crap-i-dont-get/

    There is a difference between an insult and hate speech. And hate speech does not have to merely take the form of particular noted words. Any two socially constructed groups with unequal power structures will, with the reliability of electron flow between two dissimilar metals in an electrolyte, create a flow of controlling actions and language by individuals. It doesn’t have to be on gender or race grounds, it can be any ad hoc social construction where power and respect is unequally distributed. That’s just what happens.

    Why do men do it? Well, I’m pleased you asked. I’m inclined to suggest it’s because men are struggling to live up to a complex and contradictory set of masculine values, and because buried deeply but strongly within that intensely hierarchical and aggressive value system is a chivalric notion of female inferiority. The weighting of ability based on gender has been shown fairly conclusively to have significant effects on hiring practices, role negotiation, even on ability. Although the relative value of a female vs a male action is mostly taught subconsciously, when it is taught deliberately it tends to be dressed as a positive virtue wrapped in a set of values about the behaviour that you should expect of women. Quiet, dutiful, grateful, etc etc, i.e. the correct and compliementary other half of being a good male “provider and protector”.

    Men who don’t deal very well with the fact that the social expectations on them don’t make any kind of sense often default to a kind of fundamentalist aggressive petulance, and in the late 20th century there is an easy scapegoat for this lack of place in the world. Rather than blaming the contradictory expectations society places on them, the strictly policed and narrow creation of masculinity and femininity, they believe (in a very typical cognitive bias expressed by all human beings when given the choice between “this hasn’t worked because I fucked up” vs “this hasn’t worked because someone else fucked up”) that since they played by the rules as best they can, the fact that it still appears to leave them unhappy and failing to adequately understand the world and get the promised rewards must be the fault of all these women who, by failing to play by the proscribed roles, are spoiling it for everyone.

    (This is also the default position of a lot of women who, having played the quiet, dutiful, deliberately stupid, chaste’n’sexy role expected of them for years and found that it hasn’t worked, don’t reject the whole pot of gendered social expectation as a crock of shit, but blame other women for not playing by the rules and thus spoiling it for everyone. Or of peasants who blame the revolutionaries for the crackdowns by the gendarmes, or of slaves who blamed Moses when the Egyptians stopped giving them straw for their bricks. “Why can’t you just be a good [girl/boy/slave/negro/subject] and do as you’re told!?”)

    Since they are also geared up by the expectations and training of society to believe that their own aggressive impulses are good and that female action is less valuable than their own, when you multiply all these tendencies by the other demographic factors that Teh Interwebs bring to bear, you end up with a typical situation on open access avenues beloved of free speech loving white, male, wealthy libertarians like Brendan O’Neill where female voices get shouted down by overwhelming numbers of male ones challenging her right to write on whatever it is she has got into her pretty little head to be upset about now. As Scalzi points out, it’s not that men never get abused, but that the pattern, vehemence, content and quantity of the abuse which women are expected to put up with as a matter of course outweighs that faced by men, and can be positively exhausting for female writers trying to do their damn job. As he says, women face a surfeit of gendered criticism for posting about cheese, about knitting, about who they went out for dinner with on holiday. This cannot and does not fit a model where gendered aggression towards women online is simply “criticism of feminism”, and opposition towards this aggression an attempt to silence that criticism.

    Of course, pointing out shit like this about male behaviour, just like saying that people are bad at negotiating relative risk or that they are biased towards their own tribal grouping in ethical decisions, is something that people can intellectually understand when used to discuss suitably separated and othered individuals or social groups but which they cannot internalise in relationship to their own cognitive processes or those of their immediate peer group. It registers as a criticism or even an accusation of moral failing. So the reaction you get is, of course, as aggressive as you’d expect if someone was under the impression that their character was being attacked and that someone was calling them a bad person. And with aggression you get the notable contradictions and the inability to have any kind of reasonable discussion, such as the idea that women who call Brendan O’Neill a professional cunt who constantly expresses contrarian opinions for profit are frail little flowers who’ve been watching too much Downton Abbey. Quite how that *even fucking works* is beyond me, but as with most systemic stereotypes designed to blame the inequality of a particular power relationship on those lower down the ladder rather than on the system or those exerting more overall control of the system (“Those lazy Mexicans come over here and steal all our jobs by working longer hours for less pay!”), the contradictions are ignored because the response is not one of rational deduction but of emotionally charged defense of relative status and position, which by definition cannot allow for criticism of the structure that determines relative status.

    Men’s voices are thus often “silenced” by other men, who don’t respond to the question “why do men abuse women online?” with answers to that question, either “why do I do it” or “why do other men of my acquaintance do it”, but rather with “well men get insulted too” or “you just want special treatment” or “help help I’m being oppressed”. The number of men capable of comprehending a criticism of gendered behaviour, even gendered behaviour they may not themselves exhibit, without interpreting it as a personal criticism is far outweighed by the number of men who just resort to shouting. Once again, we willingly participate in our own oppression.

    Brendan O’Neill, it appears, habitually believes that anyone who objects to abuse is pretty much just a professional victim who is in it for the money and who only has themselves to blame for the fact that their lives aren’t as fabulous as his. There is, obviously, another set of implicit social values here that are more general class than specifically gender based, which is a rejection of environmental and structural factors as a determinant of social status and capacity and a fetishisation of “choices” as the principle determining factor in life outcomes. The tendency of White Male Wealthy Libertarians to downplay the impact of luck and structural inequality on the outcomes of people at the bottom of the power distribution pile can be better understood once we analyse the reciprocal impact of that argument, that acknowledging it means they would have to reconsider the extent to which luck and structural inequality are responsible for their own positions of relative security, as opposed to inherent superiority or the degree to which they can weight their own choices as “good” rather than “lucky”. It’s definitely worth interrogating the position “men should be allowed to say whatever they like to women and women saying otherwise are just crybabies and should shut up” in the light of this broader cognitive bias to interpret unequal distributions of power within a population in a particular, self-serving manner, but that’s almost infinitely beyond the scope of a comment on a blogpost which has already crammed far too much into a too small space.

    If you choose to interpret these reactions as “an attempt to stamp out criticism of feminism” than that is entirely your right, but I don’t see how it reflects any understanding of the mechanisms by which gendered expectations affect the behaviour of actors in social groups.

    • clarifying questions for your essay says:

      THANK YOU

      • I am totally and utterly surprised by that reaction from you, QRG, I really am.

        QRG: “But just because a criticism is predictable it does not mean it is not valid. And I say, once again, no, seriously, what about the men?

        You know what. Even if this was a case of men being misogynist across the internet, if men are the ‘perpetrators’ of sexist online abuse against women, wouldn’t it be worth talking to them and trying to understand where they are coming from, in order to try and stop their behaviour?

        As Mark Simpson has pointed out on a number of occasions, even when men are the subject of a discussion, whether it be positive or negative, they often are denied a voice. Who is silencing whom?”

        Me: “Here’s a male voice explaining the reaction from a male perspective, with reference to another male perspective”

        QRG: “BOORRRINGG! CBA!”

        This is, of course, so unlike your normal response that I am *literally* lying down right here on the floor until I can recover from the shock. Someone fetch me the smelling salts and loosen my corsets! Put on some Downton Abbey! I am afaint and aflutter!

    • I have read some of this and it is based on a belief that men hold more power than women, and power over women in society. I don’t agree as you know so I don’t accept your argument.

      • Actually it’s based on beliefs about the way gender is constructed and the effect this has on behaviour, including acceptable targets for male aggression. Men are rendered effectively powerless but told they should be fully independent agents, the break between those two effects of gender creates (among other things) an aggressive response, generally biased against those perceived to be breaking the “rules”: uppity women being one of the main targets, although you don’t have to be uppity and don’t have to be a woman. The “power gap” in online discourse comes mainly from persistence, ubiquity and the response from society that it’s just something women should deal with and not complain about, not from a one dimensional system.

        But I guess you could misunderstand goddamn everything instead! That’s a good plan too! Otherwise you might have to, I dunno, attempt to understand masculinity rather than some fantasy caricature of men, and who’d want that?

        Also, re above, if you can’t tell the difference between power relationships in a consensual male relationship and a prison rape, what makes you think you can in any way claim to be some kind of expert on the understanding of sexual power and negotiation, rather than some kind of remedial student resitting “cocks 101″ in summer school?

    • Henry says:

      Sorry mate could you repeat all that. I dozed off.

  7. “And with aggression you get the notable contradictions and the inability to have any kind of reasonable discussion, such as the idea that women who call Brendan O’Neill a professional cunt who constantly expresses contrarian opinions for profit are frail little flowers who’ve been watching too much Downton Abbey. Quite how that *even fucking works* is beyond me,”

    It’s only beyond you because you’ve misconstrued what I said, probably willfully. I have no axe to grind, nor have I made any comment whatever about “women who call Brendan O’Neil a professional cunt”, which of course he is, as are most columnists these days, in most of the newspapers, because being a cunt gets page hits which equals ad impressions which equals cash.

    Obviously I presume that you’re talking about my comment, if not, well, whatever.

    I did read the rest, I’m bothered by this bit :

    “systemic stereotypes designed to blame the inequality of a particular power relationship on those lower down the ladder ”

    There rather seems to be an implicit acceptance on your part that one’s gender is (as you might say) a primary determinant of one’s place on this ladder you speak of. You are implicitly accepting this inequality.

    Also, have I misunderstood, or are you in fact arguing that freedom of speech (which yes, includes the opportunity to say vile horrible things – though currently I believe that in most public fora, things such as threats of violence are legally actionable) benefits “rich, white, male, libertarians” more than others ? Really ?

    Apropos of nothing, I was in the audience of a talk by Prof. Germaine Greer at the weekend, I’m sure you will be familiar with her work. You might be interested to know that she described herself a libertarian. As a result, I’m having some difficulty with you implying that there exists some kind of tension between libertarianism and feminism.

    • It’s only beyond you because you’ve misconstrued what I said, probably willfully. I have no axe to grind, nor have I made any comment whatever about “women who call Brendan O’Neil a professional cunt”,

      I may well have misconstrued it. It rather seemed that you were saying the #mencallmethings hashtag was the domain of scarequotefeministsscarequote who wish to return to a life where men can’t be rude to women at all for fear of social opprobrium. That many of the women populating that hashtag are people I know called O’Neill a professional cunt, or a “syphillitic choad” in one case mentioned above, certainly gives me the impression that there is a degree of oversimplification going on here.

      Perhaps my misunderstanding is of assuming the conflation implicit in your comment was reflective of a personal conflation of women who criticise gendered aggression online with women who want to go back to a mythical 19th century, rather than an unintended side effect of editorial brevity or something. I apologise if this isn’t the case.

      There rather seems to be an implicit acceptance on your part that one’s gender is (as you might say) a primary determinant of one’s place on this ladder you speak of. You are implicitly accepting this inequality.

      Within the subset of global hierarchical relationships, those which use gender as a social determinant place “feminine” below “masculine” with very few, limited exceptions. Acknowledging that this is true no more accepts it as either necessary or beneficial than acknowledging the relative status of slaves to their owners in 17th century America. Understanding that these values are culturally positioned in that way, and that one of the mechanisms by which the “ladder” (really more of a 4d spiderweb but that’s harder to shoehorn into a metaphor) is maintained is by getting people on each rung to resent those below them and so work against their own interests as long as “those people” are disadvantaged even more, relative to themselves, is, I feel, an important part of working to dismantle the whole thing. I explicitly acknowledge this inequality, I do not accept, implicitly or otherwise, that it is correct.

      Also, have I misunderstood, or are you in fact arguing that freedom of speech (which yes, includes the opportunity to say vile horrible things – though currently I believe that in most public fora, things such as threats of violence are legally actionable) benefits “rich, white, male, libertarians” more than others ? Really ?

      Not per se. I would argue that Rich White Male Libertarians tend to be of the social group which faces little of the dedicated invective that comes from being part of a class without a high cultural value, and thus tend to imagine that racially motivated, homophobic or misogynistic abuse is just like being called a bastard by a random dude. There is a lack of imagination which fails to understand the concept of systemic abuse and symbolism. Most people can understand that there is a difference between writing “Gaz was Ere” on your garage door and spraypainting a swastika on a Jewish family’s front door, but that is because it represents something we have been culturally inculcated to regard as “pure evil”. At many stages below that of specifically representing the Nazi holocaust, we find ourselves unable to comprehend the way in which specific language can form part of a system of oppression. There is a legal and ethical battleground between the poles of “freedom of speech” which run from “we should not artificially restrict that which is allowable, as much as possible, because the benefits of allowing full expression of dissenting opinions are worth the downsides that some people will take advantage of such liberalism to be abusive,” to “haha I get to call you a niggerbitchqueer and you can’t stop me, sucker! I’m going to rape your dog!”

      One result of this WMRL bubble living is that they tend to overstate the benefits and downplay the disadvantages, as well as to neglect the mention the very real work that has to be done by non-governmental actors in maintaining the non-poisoned discourse which “freedom of speech” is supposed to preserve. If we do not work to keep the people who would just shout “your mum is a pedo!” to some kind of minimum, we will end up with a situation where “freedom of speech” does not bring us the benefits it is supposed to. Freedom of speech is not there to enable people to abusively protect their social status, that’s a negative secondary effect that should be constantly addressed.

      As far as Greer’s libertarianism, without context I’d have absolutely no way of knowing whether what she called libertarianism matched the socially insouciant “I got mine” tendency which is, albeit with much deviation from the mean, typical of the WMRL set. Libertarianism is a pretty amorphous catch all and, as with most large and ill-defined groupings, talking about a general tendency over a population should not be taken to mean that any given randomly sampled member of that population will exhibit all or most (or, possibly, any) of the characteristics in question. Outliers are not trends.

  8. KJB says:

    As far as I am concerned these feminist female bloggers and journalists do not want an end to misogyny in the form of online abuse. Because without it they would lose their special victim status. And this latest cacophony of wimmin shouting at men, is all about maintaining that status.

    Right, right… So how does that explain all the women getting abuse for things totally unrelated to feminism? Like Gluten-free Girl? http://glutenfreegirl.com/warm-brown-rice-and-grilled-vegetable-salad/

    Also, Brendan O’Neill makes the point that crudeness and rape threats are not the same thing (fair enough) and then himself makes them out to be the same thing:

    ‘For better or worse, crudeness is part of the internet experience, and if you don’t like it you can always read The Lady instead’

    If this is so – all Internet abuse is just ‘crudeness,’ including rape threats – then why do you complain about being abused by feminists? Surely it’s ‘part of the internet experience’ and if you don’t like it, you should just read The Lady instead?

    • I complain about it but I don’t suggest it should be ‘stamped out’. I put up with abuse from feminists. what I won’t put up with is feminists pretending to be innocent victims in all this.

  9. marc2020 says:

    Eh I swore I was going to keep out of this not my fight and all that but I feel compel’d to say something even if I do turn out to be completely and utterly wrong in my assumptions.

    First off online abuse is not okay no matter who it happens too I read some of those twitter hashes and was appalled that anyone could speak that way about a fellow human being. They are not worthy of my understanding.

    Which is fine by the anonymous internet commenter because they don’t want to be understood. They’re there to provoke a reaction from the people they are tormenting not engage in peaceful debate and unfortunately with this whole twitter campaign and the various blog posts they got one.

    See the kinds of commenter’s that would say this vile shit have a very narrow view of human interaction at least in the online world, even the most thoughtful and reasoned of responses is not going to sway them all they’ll think is “Ha I provoked a reaction I win”. Its a game to them a game where even the simple act of acknowledging there presence makes them the victor. Most of them I’d even go so far to say aren’t even hardcore misogynists (although I don’t know that for sure), they are using the language of the misogynist to get there precious reaction and thus validate their existence.

    The only sure fire way of deterring them unfortunately is by robbing them of the attention they desperately crave which unless you have advanced modding software means just ignoring them and this ain’t easy especially if you’re trying to make your blog as friendly and welcoming as possible.

    Yet one think that bothered me about the tag was well the tag its self #MenCallMeThings how exactly do you know for sure “men call me things”? The nature of anonymous comments is that they could be anyone surly.

    • Very good points marc2020 and I agree.

    • I also agree, marc. I think you’ve belted that one out of the park, in fact.

      This whole conversation sucks because it starts with a necessary concession “You’re right, people shouldn’t talk to other human beings that way,’ and then opponents trying to use that concession to keep the other party off balance to through the entire debate. It’s the oldest trick in the book, you point out that bear attacks on children have risen and then no one can stand against your ‘Kill All Bears’ bill without being tarred as pro bears attacking children. As far as censorship campaigns go, it’s almost the only trick in the book.

      No, I don’t want trolls attacking people on the internet. No, I don’t want more censorship laws, annonymity restrictions, or our industrial prison complex being fed more and more people based on a widened definition of assault. My only answer would be to focus on more modding software and more discussions with people fresh to the internet that troll-sharks swim in these waters. Instead of thinking of oneself as just a victim , which troll victims are, think of oneself as part of the greatest free speech experiment in history. Because once the pandora’s box of regulation is open, I don’t think it will close again. Any net cast out is going to catch things never intended by the caster. How kindly is the morality monster going to look on slash fiction, yaoi fanart, fan-dubbed anime and fanslated manga, file sharing, licensed character infringement, people producing unlicensed flash games, dissenting politcical opinions, gay pornography, etc. It’s amazing how any group can support a theory that those in power delegitimize almost everything about that group, and then quest for those in power to start exorcising everything that those powers find illegitimate.

      Then again maybe this isn’t a cal lfor intervention. Maybe this is just someone complaining on the internet.

  10. Tim says:

    I took a look at the hashtag and I have a question: Are those dudes that get cited actually dudes or is this “All the girls on the Internet are actually dudes” at work? Because if it is, that would be hilarious :)

    Also, what I find a lot more annoying than women talking about how they were insulted are those self-flagellating men on the stream that go “If you are a dude and you think this does not concern you because you are not running around and threaten people, think about what you are NOT doing. Are you stopping it from happening?!”.

    Like I am fucking responsible what other people do!

    • yeah it’s the male femanists isn’t it- imposing their masochism on everyone else.

      • Yup, all male feminists are masochists.

        If someone wanders over to Ta-Nehisi’s joint and calls him a jumped up field nigger, what’s the decent response? If I say “don’t be racist” does that make me a masochistic white guy, attempting to throw myself on these hand grenades which are just part of the deal of being Black on the internet? Is racism just something white people do which we can’t be expected to prevent ourselves from doing and black people should just deal with, deleting the emails and not giving it a second thought?

        It’s not a regression to victorianism to believe that, even if you happen to hate women, you should probably keep those opinions to yourself, just the same as nobody minds if you’re a racist as long as you don’t tell anybody about it and crawl back under your rock. “Freedom of speech” does not mean that everyone else has to silently tolerate you being a fuckhead to other people.

        • tu quoque says:

          Male feminists are masochists because they believe that men have a special duty to protect women from the bad behavior of other men, even if the men are no better equipped to fix the situation than the female “victims.” Yet, they never hold women accountable for the actions of other women and their abuses toward men. They rather are the first to squawk NAWALT (Not All Women Are Like That). This double standard they hold is especially masochistic, as men are more oppressed in every rubric than women in western societies.

          • I don’t think you understand what “masochistic” means.

            Or, for that matter, “oppressed”.

          • tu quoque says:

            And you would be wrong; try again.

          • OK then. Would you like to give me a definition that is not “people who gain pleasure from pain” or explain how “believing they have a special duty to protect” fits that definition? Because, otherwise, I’m going to continue to think that you don’t know what the word means.

          • And that’s not how you’re supposed to use a semicolon, either.

          • tu quoque says:

            “Would you like to give me a definition that is not ‘people who gain pleasure from pain’ or explain how “believing they have a special duty to protect” fits that definition? Because, otherwise, I’m going to continue to think that you don’t know what the word means.”

            Um, the cultural expectation that an oppressed class (men) should protect and run to the aid of a privileged class (women) is abusive. The zeal and constancy that male feminists have in promoting a standard that is abusive toward themselves suggest they get some kind of perverse pleasure out of suffering on behalf of women. This is really quite obvious; why is it so difficult for you to understand?

            “And that’s not how you’re supposed to use a semicolon, either.”

            Yes it is; try again.

        • Tim says:

          This is less about saying something about behaviour I find unacceptable and more about people trying to shame me into doing some kind of duty I apparently swore in by being born male.

          If I call someone out on shitty behaviour then I do so because I think it is the right thing to do not because someone else bugged me so long that I started to believe that I have some kind of god-given obligation or something like that.

  11. elissa says:

    Well, whatever the actual impact of being called a “cuntish Babylonian whore slut” may have on the average female blogger, my larger worry is rather with the opposite. What does uncontested, meaningless, unwarranted, sycophancy have on that same fragile female blogger’s mind?

    I submit that the latter is by far, the greater of the two evils. I just checked Doyle’s post on this very matter, and below is a sample of “inbox” material:

    - This post is miraculous, sublime, inspired, empowering!
    - Brilliant post.
    - Thank you for fighting back. Please don’t ever shut up.

    That’s some real ugly stuff there. I propose that the above will turn your mind to mush in no time at all – unwarranted praise impacts brain chemistry!!

    • I lol’d XD

      Oh no! That was a compliment. o.O My robot brain is melting from the illogic. Curse you, elissa! You’ve only delayed the inevitable Android Apocalypse, but we will have our day!

  12. redpesto says:

    “Are you stopping it from happening?!” – are other men expected to throw themselves in front of the keyboard before the troll fires one off?

    Okay, sorry, I’m snarking…but it is as though ‘netiqette’ never existed.

  13. Alex says:

    I’m an ex-feminist male and unaligned anarcho-libertarian, though my identification with feminism was always secondary to my primary concern as a individual human being. Here is my opinion.

    The concept of hate speech is designed to silence people, no matter how much it is dressed up in the discourse of social justice. You only need to look at the way the ADL deploys it against people that criticise their involvement with the Freemasonic B’nai Brith and Israeli military intelligence (including an act of actual terrorism on US soil which was whitewashed). Hate speech is already being deployed to protect misandry and feminist sectarianism, by their authoritarian appeals to the state to get a specific section of speech that is nebulous and requires hermeneutic authority to decipher, (and therefore open to priestly abuse), banned. It is being used to close down real debate all across the board, by the state. A section of speech which establishment feminists engage in, (like Cath Elliot calling all average men rapists, though you probably know this: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/oct/04/facebook-hate-speech-women-rape ). Her claims are utterly scientifically and analytically unsubstantiatable, I wonder why Cath gets trolled, I wonder? Is it because she herself is troll?

    Catholicism and Protestant sectarianism is a thing of the past in the UK, but the state powers that be, and its discourse, still requires de facto sectarianism to continue producing its illegitimate power, though they will draw their power from wherever possible. Despite feminism being internally varied, it is being used as a part of the state arsenal of massification, similar to the way massification is being used in the war on terror, by the real inheritors of British sectarianism, the EDL, SWP and Islam4UK. The hate speech paradigm distracts us from the real issues at hand and that is the proliferation of governmental abuse and hidden activity that slips by under the radar, cojoined with the anonymising function of Marxism which shuts down alternative ‘conspiracy theorising’ about state and corporate behaviour and its actors. Call me rabid, call me what you will, but I don’t care as I’m not a baby with an oedipal problem that requires the power of the state to protect my hideous discourse or censor another individuals.

    “That’s because you’re a male and white…”

    That’s because you’re the real racist and sexist, and I’m not.

    • Hi Alex thanks for your comment you express it very well.

      Yes I think ms Elliott gets a lot of crap because she doles it out and very pointedly.

    • Henry says:

      Yes “hate-speech” is a piece of newspeak. One of these new words created political reasons. Once the feminists (or whoever) persuade us there is such an identifiable thing as “hate-speech” – by talking about it as if the concept has meaning – they will then move to have a law introduced to ban it.

      And don’t be surprised if the law turns out to benefit women exclusively and not men. Like the whole of the debate we’re seeing – which partly exists to maintain this picture of men as evil and women as victims (before we know the facts properly about the posts and emails, this narrative is the one being pushed)

      Whether there is a law, or just an agreement within particular groups to identify and stamp out “hate-speech” – the definition of which will always remain vague and open to interpretation by the person using it – the effect will be another restriction on free speech.

      The term was created for no other reason

  14. Doug1 says:

    1) Girls are MUCH more sensitive to criticism, online and off, than men have learned to be. Not that men don’t feel it sometimes too.

    2) Girls expect men to care about their complaints of mistreatment to when made to men and other women both. Men know that often other men and especially women won’t care and will expect them to just “man up”, toughen up, and so on.

    I think neither of these things were brought on by feminism, though they are both further enabled by it, the second especially. In some traditional societies, e.g. the NE Asian ones, women were basically expected to toughen up a great deal as well.

    • hi Doug interesting points there – I agree with you about ‘man up’. In a way you could say feminists exploit the pressure on men to ‘man up’ by emphasising the supposed vulnerability of women.

  15. KJB says:

    I complain about it but I don’t suggest it should be ‘stamped out’. I put up with abuse from feminists. what I won’t put up with is feminists pretending to be innocent victims in all this.

    Erm… so does that mean you think that they deserve to receive rape threats or not?

    Also, where/what is this campaign you speak of? I’m genuinely confused, as I’ve been looking for it. All that I’m seeing is that some female bloggers, and PZ Myers, have said that they don’t want to receive threats of sexual violence, or be attacked purely on the way they look. I don’t really see what’s contentious about that? People have attacked male bloggers that I’m close to based on their race and/or looks – if it’s ‘politically correct’ to oppose that, then I am.

    I’m also curious as to why you put hate speech in quotes, and how exactly that insult by stavvers is hate speech. Has she incited people to murder Brendan O’Neill?! Furthermore, what makes a ‘relatively high-profile feminist’ according to you? Many people you describe as such I’ve only ever learnt about thanks to your blog.

  16. Scott says:

    Brendan O’Neill is really only saying “Man up, feminists!”, though. And, of course, whats “serious” and “not that serious” depends on a lot of factors, not all of which are simply subjective. Crude insults can be part of a pattern of behaviour of silencing or bullying. Its not always about just being “sensitive”.

    On the other hand, neither he, nor anyone here, is arguing that anyone deserves to be threatened with rape.

  17. leta says:

    I stopped arguing with feminists online because of the sheer silliness of it. In my experience I have always found women are equally as insightful and intelligent as men are. But for some reason when I argue the same way against feminists as I do others I’m always called a troll or mocked and I am told to change the way I argue or told to be silent. The thing is I refuse to do that not because I hate women but I think women and men are equals. I find myself arguing against feminists who want me to treat men and women differently and I just cant force myself to do that… it just goes against everything I believe in.

  18. poet says:

    “But the whole point of contemporary feminism, we might be forgiven for thinking, has been to show how men, and only men, are capable of and guilty of rape. And women, and only women are able to be victims of rape. ”

    I have to call bullshit on this. The strongest voices in contemporary feminism are those which keep stating, again and again, that *the patriarchy hurts everyone* (or call it kyriarchy, which is more accurate), and that *men can be rape victims too*.

    Your idea of what feminism looks like seems to be informed by the “man-hating feminist” cliché that arose in reaction to some radical feminism outliers during the second wave. Feminism is far from monolithic, and while the movement has produced some pretty extreme anti-male viewpoints those are neither mainstream nor contemporary.

    Please read up on this before you continue to make general accusations against all “feminist women”.

    • Oh I have ‘read up’ on it. And your posts are not very poetic so far. Your name is misleading.

      I was raised by feminists in the 1970s and have been involved in feminism ever since and studied gender to PhD level.

      kthnxbai

    • Henry says:

      Well from a certain point of view (mine actually) there exist a ridiculous number of inequalities against men and the continual attempt to add to them by Harriett Harmann, and by loud voices in newspapers that consider themselves centre-left, all that DOES constitute an extreme anti-male viewpoint.

      Paul Valery was right: “That which has been believed by everyone, always and everywhere, has every chance of being false” And it’s happening now.

      I’d be interested (not being cleverly ironic here – for once!) to hear what you reckon mainstream feminism thinks – the main 2 or 3 branches if you think it’s too ‘variegated’

  19. @mcduff – try and remember who runs this blog. I don’t like rudeness aimed at me on my own turf.

    Thanks.

  20. “In UK law, ‘rape’ only occurs when a penis is inserted into an orifice without consent.” I think I remember reading in the news a while back that in the UK the definition has now been widened, although that could just be in Scotland.

    • yes I think it was just Scotland. In the UK they made ‘sexual assault’ as a crime more similar to ‘rape’ in terms of definition and sentencing but it is significant they dont call it ‘rape’ unless a penis is involved.

  21. I don’t know if this song is an ode to male Feminists or simply the song Charlie Sheen plays for his married friends the next morning after he takes ‘em out drinking…..

    (I love metal, less politically correct than porno and more eville than alcohol ;) )

  22. dungone says:

    Hi QRG, this is a very timely post. Thanks

  23. […] I thought feminists’ ‘fragile’ response to nastiness online is accompanied by hypocrisy whereby they dole it out as much as anyone. That too has been borne out in the last couple of […]

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