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just because you say "strinkingly beautiful" instead of "way hot" doesn't make it any less dumb
September 22, 2009 2:43 PM   Subscribe

This can be the thread for talking about hot babe whistleblowers; alternately, it can be the thread asking the people talking about hot babe whistleblowers to focus more on the whistleblowing aspect.

An interesting story has been turned into a goddamn gross CJ. Well done.
posted by Optimus Chyme to Etiquette/Policy at 2:43 PM (607 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

I repeat from the thread:

That she is good looking affects the media's handling of the whole affair. This is an interesting facet. Not less valid than anything else we can talk about. OK?
posted by krilli at 2:45 PM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Before I post in this thread I need to know if OC is hot.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:45 PM on September 22, 2009


This is an interesting facet.

I for one, couldn't give less of a shit about who you think is hot.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:46 PM on September 22, 2009 [8 favorites]


I saw this thread coming and sort of wanted to preempt it with a MeTa link to some YTMND saying 'SHUT UP YOU FUCKING IDIOTS' or something but I didn't and here we are.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:47 PM on September 22, 2009


Sys Rq: Have a hug.

I repeat: That she is good looking affects the media's handling of the whole affair.
posted by krilli at 2:47 PM on September 22, 2009


That she is good looking affects the media's handling of the whole affair.

Your first comment was: "While I read up on the case and background: That is a strikingly beautiful woman."

How did you know her looks were important to the story before you'd read it?
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 2:48 PM on September 22, 2009


What was wrong with the original comments? All of a sudden we have a completely different post?
posted by Max Power at 2:49 PM on September 22, 2009


How did you know her looks were important to the story before you'd read it?

Because I started reading first and then saw the pictures.

It's still true: That she is good looking affects the media's handling of the whole affair.
posted by krilli at 2:49 PM on September 22, 2009


I am just back from the funeral. I deleted most of the comments from that thread. Please try again.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:49 PM on September 22, 2009


krilli: I repeat: That she is good looking affects the media's handling of the whole affair.

But you commented on her attractiveness before you read about the case and the background. This sounds like bullshit, sir.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:50 PM on September 22, 2009


That she is good looking affects the media's handling of the whole affair.

Strange then, that your comment didn't mention the media's handling of the whole affair.
posted by rocket88 at 2:50 PM on September 22, 2009


@shakespeherian:
I repeat: I started reading first and then saw the pictures. You're jumping to conclusions.

@rocket88:
I thought it was obvious.
posted by krilli at 2:51 PM on September 22, 2009


That she is good looking affects the media's handling of the whole affair. This is an interesting facet.

You have offered not one microscropic iota of proof whatsoever about how her looks may or may not have affected the media handling of this story, nor have you contributed anything even remotely interesting or thought-provoking regarding this supposed "facet" of the story The fact that you would evidently like to sleep with her is irrelevant to the story and irrelevant to the thread -- and most certainly NOT INTERESTING to anyone other than yourself.
posted by scody at 2:51 PM on September 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


Before I post in this thread I need to know if OC is hot.

Optimus Chyme is unbelievably hot.

That she is good looking affects the media's handling of the whole affair.

That she is good looking affected your handling of the whole affair, and that caused a problem in the thread.
posted by The World Famous at 2:51 PM on September 22, 2009 [3 favorites]


Jessamyn got to it five minutes before I did. Agreed that it was a terrible way to open the thread. That doesn't make you a terrible person or anything, krilli, but it was not as you introduced the subject anything like pointed or germane analysis of the situation.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:52 PM on September 22, 2009


I thought it was obvious.

You know what should have been obvious? That your comment would derail the thread horribly.

Congrats!
posted by Sys Rq at 2:52 PM on September 22, 2009


Optimus Chyme is unbelievably hot.

Okay, thanks. I needed to know that in order to know the full story. If OC was not hot, that would seriously affect how Metafilter responded to the Metatalk thread.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:52 PM on September 22, 2009 [4 favorites]


Eh. It doesn't seem so much a CJ as it is a Tri J or a See Saw J or something.
posted by setanor at 2:53 PM on September 22, 2009


krilli: I repeat: I started reading first and then saw the pictures. You're jumping to conclusions.

I think maybe I jumped to these conclusions because your first comment in the thread was 'While I read up on the case and the background, that is one strikingly beautiful woman.' That seemed to indicate that that meant that you had not read about the case and the background.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:54 PM on September 22, 2009


tThe fact that you would evidently like to sleep with her is irrelevant to the story and irrelevant to the thread

I'm sorry, where do you feel that I said that?

That she is good looking affected your handling of the whole affair, and that caused a problem in the thread.

What problem would that be? There's plenty of discussion related to the actual whistleblowing that appeared in between my comment and subsequent discussion of that. My comment didn't actually impede any sort of "higher discussion".
posted by krilli at 2:54 PM on September 22, 2009


If the argument is that her (um, subjective) hotness affects the media's handling of her story, wouldn't this kerfuffle prove the exact opposite? She's been largely ignored by the so-called MSM, and the original post links to a magazine nobody reads.

Now if she was blonde bombshell like Valerie Plame, there'd be something to talk about. Meowr!
posted by turducken at 2:54 PM on September 22, 2009


I always thought OC was a guy. I'm confused.
posted by desjardins at 2:55 PM on September 22, 2009


Anyway, there may be some merit to discussing why AmCon filled their cover with a giant photo of her face.
posted by setanor at 2:55 PM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


That she is good looking affects the media's handling of the whole affair. This is an interesting facet.

Media outlets are more likely to report this, and blogs are more likely to pick it up, and she is more likely to be believed (by some) because she is attractive rather than unattractive. This is true. But you didn't post that.

On preview: jessamyn deleted the offending comments. Good call; thank you.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 2:56 PM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


I thought it was obvious.

So it wasn't worth mentioning, whereas your assessment of her attractiveness was? I don't get it. Were you concerned that some readers might get caught up in the story and fail to appreciate how good-looking she was?
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 2:56 PM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Here's the thread from last time we went over this issue if anyone wants peruse it.

Regardless of whether or not you think that saying the equivalent of "The woman featured in this post is attractive!" is offensive or sexist, saying those sorts of things adds nothing to the conversation and will just upset the people who do find those comments to be offensive.
posted by burnmp3s at 2:56 PM on September 22, 2009 [8 favorites]


There was one little comment about her looks, you ninny.
posted by xmutex at 2:57 PM on September 22, 2009


I always thought OC was a guy. I'm confused.

Guys can't be hot?! Flagged for sexism!
posted by Fezboy! at 2:58 PM on September 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


krilli: That she is good looking affects the media's handling of the whole affair. This is an interesting facet.

You didn't say that in your first comment, though. You simply said she was strikingly beautiful. Maybe if you'd taken a moment to expound upon the effect her appearance might have on coverage of this news, you wouldn't have a deleted comment and a MeTa thread in your name and you might have some defense against accusations of piggish sexism. As it stands you didn't, you don't, and here we are.
posted by carsonb at 2:59 PM on September 22, 2009


barack obama attractive

Just pointing out that people do this to men as well (hell, first hit is to Cheney saying Obama is attractive).

I was in close proximity to Obama on two occasions. Both times the woman around me commented on how hot he was. One waxed poetic about his lips. It's no less embarrassing.
posted by cjorgensen at 2:59 PM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


There was one little comment about her looks, you ninny.

Three or four, actually, and then a bunch of "oh for fucks sake" after that.
posted by Sys Rq at 3:00 PM on September 22, 2009


cjorgensen: Just pointing out that people do this to men as well

Can we just copy all of the contents from the last I'd-Hit-It thread and be done with all the stupid arguments that are about to take place here?
posted by shakespeherian at 3:01 PM on September 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


You know what should have been obvious? That your comment would derail the thread horribly"

OH ZING WELL DONE SIR
Well, I assumed I could trust the other participants to come up with something good. In my personal circle, we tend to discuss personal beauty as a fact related to the discussion, as it is quite interesting how a person's appearance affects any interpretation of what they say or do. The only failure I will admit is to not anticipate the significantly negative interpretation of what I said.

Media outlets are more likely to report this, and blogs are more likely to pick it up, and she is more likely to be believed (by some) because she is attractive rather than unattractive. This is true. But you didn't post that.

No, but we've fucking finally got to that point because we carried on with that line of discussion.
posted by krilli at 3:01 PM on September 22, 2009


If you look at the past covers of The American Conservative, you'll see that they usually employ illustrations.

This was the cover of the Edmonds issue.

You tell me.
posted by Joe Beese at 3:02 PM on September 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


Attractive woman is attractive.
posted by chillmost at 3:02 PM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


you wouldn't have a deleted comment and a MeTa thread in your name and you might have some defense against accusations of piggish sexism. As it stands you didn't, you don't, and here we are.

I couldn't care less – actually we're slightly ahead as we're sort of slowly getting this very thread turned into a discussion about the world, once the terrible sexist steam has finished escaping.
posted by krilli at 3:03 PM on September 22, 2009


I know it is for many reasons wildly impractical and ill-advised, but times like these make me wish for a sandboxed snapshot of trainwrecky threads before necessary pruning was performed, for forensic analysis.
posted by dirtdirt at 3:04 PM on September 22, 2009 [4 favorites]


*raises hand* What's a CJ?
posted by adipocere at 3:04 PM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Three or four, actually, and then a bunch of "oh for fucks sake" after that.

Three. Specifically krilli's opener quoted above, then one along the lines of "I was thinking the same thing", and then one with something like "She's hot! Who cares about the story, I can't wait to take a shower."
posted by burnmp3s at 3:05 PM on September 22, 2009


Twenty bucks, same as in circle jerk.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:05 PM on September 22, 2009 [4 favorites]


... and she is more likely to be believed (by some) because she is attractive rather than unattractive.

And she's very probably LESS likely to be believed by others because she's pretty.
posted by krilli at 3:06 PM on September 22, 2009


krilli: actually we're slightly ahead as we're sort of slowly getting this very thread turned into a discussion about the world

wow that was really brilliant of you to purposefully bring that up in such a way that it would foster a deep and meaningful conversation about sexism and the way that women are unfairly judged primarily on appearance in fact that is the main reason i hit on women at bars
posted by shakespeherian at 3:06 PM on September 22, 2009 [11 favorites]


Yeah, I really think you're piling on this guy way too much for being the first commenter in that thread and inadvertently "setting the tone" or what have you.
posted by setanor at 3:06 PM on September 22, 2009 [3 favorites]


Well, I assumed I could trust the other participants to come up with something good.

*blinks*
posted by scody at 3:06 PM on September 22, 2009 [5 favorites]


I couldn't care less – actually we're slightly ahead as we're sort of slowly getting this very thread turned into a discussion about the world,

Boorishness: For The Greater Good of The World!
posted by carsonb at 3:07 PM on September 22, 2009


"She's hot! Who cares about the story, I can't wait to take a shower."

I'm pretty sure that was less than a hundred percent sincere.
posted by setanor at 3:07 PM on September 22, 2009


strinkingly beautiful

You take that back. You DIDN'T just call somebody strinkingly beautiful.
posted by kingbenny at 3:08 PM on September 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


I can't figure out if I would have found a comment that just said "NICE TITTIES WOO!!" more offensive than this disingenuous pseudo-intellectual bullshit about "personal circles" and "facts related to the discussion."
posted by nasreddin at 3:08 PM on September 22, 2009 [7 favorites]


In my personal circle, we tend to discuss personal beauty as a fact related to the discussion, as it is quite interesting how a person's appearance affects any interpretation of what they say or do.

Now you know the difference between your personal circle and MetaFilter. Welcome!
posted by The World Famous at 3:08 PM on September 22, 2009 [6 favorites]


disingenuous pseudo-intellectual bullshit about "personal circles" and "facts related to the discussion.

Pretty sure that only came up beacuse of this callout.
posted by setanor at 3:09 PM on September 22, 2009


How odd. That's one Golden Shower of Hits I'd never thought I'd see abbreviated.
posted by adipocere at 3:10 PM on September 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


nasreddin, sorry, how would you have preferred that I express my thoughts?

Please consider that I am not a native speaker of English.
posted by krilli at 3:10 PM on September 22, 2009


What's a CJ?

What's a Cron Job? 50 megabytes, same as in data center.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:12 PM on September 22, 2009 [13 favorites]


The only failure I will admit is to not anticipate the significantly negative interpretation of what I said.

Dude. You've been here since 2004. Really?? You had no idea??
posted by desjardins at 3:14 PM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Please consider that I am not a native speaker of English.

krilli, your English is fine (truly, I'm not being snarky). It's not the actual language that's the issue, so much, but the content. Starting off a discussion about a serious topic by saying, essentially, "SHE'S HOT" is generally frowned upon here. Not because any mention of beauty, desirability, etc. is automatically taboo on Metafilter, but because in the context of a thread about another topic entirely, commenting SHE'S HOT is a derail -- and not just any derail, but a derail with sexist overtones that plenty of us (men and women alike) find offensive.
posted by scody at 3:15 PM on September 22, 2009 [18 favorites]


then one with something like "She's hot! Who cares about the story, I can't wait to take a shower."

I'm pretty sure that one was completely facetious.

I'm glad the bullshit was deleted, but some small part of me will mourns the several dozen favorites I lost when my "Jesus fuck what the hell is wrong with you people? What are you, twelve?" response to those comments was deleted. I'm pretty sure this makes me a bad person.
posted by dersins at 3:16 PM on September 22, 2009 [18 favorites]


Look.

I have control over what I say and do.

You have control over what you say and do.

What I'll be doing, or not:
- I'm not going to start censoring myself all that much. However, I will spend an extra moment bulletproofing any remarks. The truth is that I am not particularly sexist, for instance. So I will take some mild extra care to make my comments reflect that truth.

What I suggest you do:
- Give an iffy comment some 10-15 minutes to grow into an useful discussion. Ask, don't assume.
- Try to take the conversation into territory you feel is intelligent by saying intelligent things, instead of relying on external deletion.

How's that?
posted by krilli at 3:17 PM on September 22, 2009


Does she eat with her mouth open, talk about inane celebrity shit, drink too much, or wear too much perfume? I need to know these facts (and more, I've got a 100-point checklist) before I can declare with any authority that "I'd hit it"--and I know y'all are waiting for my verdict.

You're not?
posted by maxwelton at 3:18 PM on September 22, 2009


Try to take the conversation into territory you feel is intelligent by saying intelligent things

Why don't you take your own advice and start with this instead of ending with it.
posted by cashman at 3:22 PM on September 22, 2009 [3 favorites]


The truth is that I am not particularly sexist, for instance.
posted by krilli at 3:17 PM on September 22

Well, you think so, which is all fine and dandy. But if you ask the guys holding up monkey puppets at anti-Obama/birther/teabagger rallies, they tell you that they're not racist. Maybe they even, in their deepest hearts, believe that they are not racist.

But you engaged in some pretty egregiously sexist behavior. You took a thread about a whistleblower and immediately made the disucssion about her looks. And not in the "hey American Conservative only published this because she's hot" or whatever but rather the simple - and stupid "she is hot that is all" sense. If that's not sexist - the reduction of an accomplished, intelligent woman with quite a story to tell us into a simple vessel for sexual desire - than I don't know what the fuck is.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 3:23 PM on September 22, 2009 [33 favorites]


What I suggest you do:
- Give an iffy comment some 10-15 minutes to grow into an useful discussion.


Are you addressing this to me, to the moderators, or to the tens of thousands of Metafilter members? Although I don't know that it matters much, seeing that "an iffy comment" can derail a thread in well under 10-15 minutes (since the vast majority of the tens of thousands of members here won't have read your directive), which gives the moderators that much more work to take care of to keep the place in order. Like it or not, they're the ones who make the call whether iffy comments get to stay or go, not you.
posted by scody at 3:24 PM on September 22, 2009


> - Give an iffy comment some 10-15 minutes to grow into an useful discussion.

It usually doesn't. Hence the rapid deletion of iffy comments that appear at the top of the thread.
posted by dhruva at 3:26 PM on September 22, 2009


Give an iffy comment some 10-15 minutes to grow into an useful discussion. Ask, don't assume.

Ha, no thanks, I think our current system works better. As some other people have already pointed out, most of us who can predict how MetaFilter conversations play out saw that the first few comments of that thread were going to result in a massive derail into the same old argument about sexist comments. When I (and I assume a lot of other people) see comments like that, we flag them using the flagging system and one of the mods comes in and cleans up the derail mess. Then we can rehash the argument in a MetaTalk post like this one, instead of ruining a completely unrelated thread. I've seen plenty of threads were the mods weren't able to clean up derails right away, and the results were in no way preferable to a speedy deletion and suggestion to take it to MetaTalk.
posted by burnmp3s at 3:26 PM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Optimus Chyme, it was an ambiguous comment &ndash a failure I have admitted – and was interpreted in a manner almost completely unrelated to how I had thought about it to begin with.

Saying something ambiguous that is interpreted as sexist doesn't make me sexist.
posted by krilli at 3:27 PM on September 22, 2009


OK, this is really kind of a sad callout right now.

If you back someone into a corner all of a sudden and try to forcibly extract an explanation for something that was done just moments ago without thought and you're going to get some confused, knee-jerk reactions.

I'm pretty sure you guys don't need to tear him to shreds. Even if you don't think he gets it. You're just forcing him to be more defensive, forever dragging this out.
posted by setanor at 3:28 PM on September 22, 2009 [7 favorites]


So I will take some mild extra care to make my comments reflect that truth.

Just think before you open your mouth. Or hit "post."

- Will this comment add to the discussion?

- Will this comment be perceived as a derail if I leave it as is? Is there a larger point I'm trying to make that may not be apparent if I just write three or four words instead of three or four sentences?

Like that.
posted by rtha at 3:29 PM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Jesus fuck what the hell is wrong with you people? What are you, twelve?"

If it helps, I nodded a lot before I deleted that comment and the many others agreeing with it.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:30 PM on September 22, 2009 [5 favorites]


If you had actually said something like "the fact that she's hot has nothing to do with American Conservative's coverage", and contrasted her with say Charlie Sheen, then we wouldn't be having this conversation.

The fact that you said "I'd hit it" means that we have to (again). Your intent doesn't matter at all.

This isn't just about intent, it's about a sexist derail and a complete lack of constructive comment.
posted by bonehead at 3:30 PM on September 22, 2009


Why don't you take your own advice and start with this instead of ending with it. - cashman
Sorry? I didn't get that. Start where? I'm sweating my balls off trying to be smart here. So ... I am trying to follow my own advice.

@scody
I'm addressing nobody in particular. If it makes sense to you, I'm addressing you.

@dhruva, @burnmp3s, thanks.

Still, I stand by the spirit of what I said re. trying to turn it intelligent. It's what I'll be trying to do at least. FYI :D
posted by krilli at 3:31 PM on September 22, 2009


The truth is that I am not particularly sexist, for instance. So I will take some mild extra care to make my comments reflect that truth.

I think that will be fine. We're a little tougher on early comments that can make a thread go all hoppitamoppita right up front, so if you're having trouble getting a sense of tone from a thread, giving it a little bit can be a good idea.

I don't find it particularly useful to talk about whether people are or aren't sexist, as long as they can basically act non-sexist for the purpose of MeFi discussions. Thanks krilli.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:32 PM on September 22, 2009 [9 favorites]


But you engaged in some pretty egregiously sexist behavior.

Calling someone 'striking beautiful' is egregiously sexist? I know it was dumb, but really, if this is your bar, maybe you need to unclench a little and perhaps venture out in the world.
posted by xmutex at 3:33 PM on September 22, 2009 [11 favorites]


rtha, yep.
posted by krilli at 3:33 PM on September 22, 2009


Saying something ambiguous that is interpreted as sexist doesn't make me sexist.

The ambiguously sexist duo!

*whistle*

"Ace, I would sure hit that!"
"Whew! Me too, Gary. What a fine bitch she is!!"
*a dog runs over, Ace pats the dog on the side*
"What's everybody looking at???!"
posted by cashman at 3:35 PM on September 22, 2009 [6 favorites]


Calling someone 'striking beautiful' is egregiously sexist?

In fairness, we've been over this many, many times before, in several painfully lengthy threads.

The conclusion then (with which I did not at first agree, but came to do so through listening to the opinions and arguments in the threads) was this:

To reduce a story about a woman's accomplishments to a discussion of her physical attributes is, in fact, egregiously sexist, regardless how complimentary the discussion of her physical attributes might be.
posted by dersins at 3:38 PM on September 22, 2009 [22 favorites]


Calling someone 'striking beautiful' is egregiously sexist? I know it was dumb, but really, if this is your bar, maybe you need to unclench a little and perhaps venture out in the world.

I don't know the context of the original comment, but if the very first response to a post where a person risks her job and her life to expose the truth about government corruption is "Man, she's hot (or "strikingly beautiful"); probably why she gets so much press hey fellow-penis-bearers????" , then yes, that is an incredibly sexist comment. One of the burdens of being an attractive woman is that people assume your accomplishments are solely due to your looks.
posted by muddgirl at 3:39 PM on September 22, 2009 [5 favorites]


To reduce a story about a woman's accomplishments to a discussion of her physical attributes is, in fact, egregiously sexist, regardless how complimentary the discussion of her physical attributes might be.

Yes.

But one comment doesn't reduce a whole story into anything.
posted by krilli at 3:39 PM on September 22, 2009


Try to take the conversation into territory you feel is intelligent by saying intelligent things

Q: If a train with a hot whistleblower leaves Detroit traveling east at 40 MPH and a train with a brilliant engineer leaves Boston traveling west at 60 MPH, at what time will the whistleblower and the engineer be hittin' it?
A: Once the trains started up, the AC finally kicked on, and the hot whistleblower was able to cool down a bit, which is a good thing, because there are a lot of crossings between Detroit and Boston and the whistleblower was very busy blowing the whistle. Later, the brilliant engineer, being brilliant, was able to hear the other train coming and divert before there was an unfortunate collision. The investigation following the near disaster revealed that the train traffic controller had been hitting the sauce, and fell asleep on duty.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:40 PM on September 22, 2009 [7 favorites]


Calling someone 'striking beautiful' is egregiously sexist?

No, but the reduction of an accomplished, intelligent woman with quite a story to tell us into a simple vessel for sexual desire is. i know you can read so I'm going to ask politely that you try a little bit harder to understand the difference, and understand why context counts.

if this is your bar, maybe you need to unclench a little and perhaps venture out in the world.

Don't push me, sweetheart.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 3:41 PM on September 22, 2009 [4 favorites]


"Man, she's hot (or "strikingly beautiful"); probably why she gets so much press hey fellow-penis-bearers????"

It was more like, hi, the first thing I noticed thanks to the giant photo of her plastered on the cover image in that article was that she's attractive, now back to the article (not ideal to post so soon in the thread, making the story appear to have been distilled to that comment), not so much hoooo boy i'd hit her men amirite?
posted by setanor at 3:42 PM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


@muddgirl, which is Extremely Interesting.

I think in high-profile cases / serious allegation / stuff that can impact the doings of the world, where the person is good looking or very charming, if the case is something you want to support, it's probably a good idea to fact-check extra well and really build up a bulletproof understanding. So that you can try to knock the discussion away from Obama's hips or Edmond's face, and even away from the "Hey is this sexist? Are we sexist now?" discussion, and back to the issue.
posted by krilli at 3:43 PM on September 22, 2009


Saying something ambiguous that is interpreted as sexist doesn't make me sexist.

To generalize though, saying something that is interpreted as being offensive to some people does mean that you've made an offensive comment, regardless of your intent when making the comment. For example, if a little kid learns a racial slur and stands saying it without realizing what it means, people still have a right to be upset if they hear the kid saying it.

There are no hard and fast rules about what statements definitely are offensive and what statements definitely aren't offensive. It all depends on the context of the statement, the audience, etc. But when a large group of people point to a specific comment of your's and say "Hey, I'm offended by that!", and you weren't purposely trying to be offensive, usually it's a good idea to a) Apologize for accidentally offending people b) Figure out why your comment was viewed as being offensive and c) Try not to accidentally offend people the same way in the future. None of that means you have to censor yourself and avoid speaking your mind, just that you need to be aware of who your audience is and what sorts of comments they find to be offensive.
posted by burnmp3s at 3:44 PM on September 22, 2009 [4 favorites]


But one comment doesn't reduce a whole story into anything.

It did in this case. Total derail. Totally idiotic. Unless you can admit that, the terrorists have already won.
posted by KokuRyu at 3:45 PM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


hoppitamoppita is my new favorite word.
posted by desjardins at 3:45 PM on September 22, 2009 [6 favorites]


None of that means you have to censor yourself and avoid speaking your mind, just that you need to be aware of who your audience is and what sorts of comments they find to be offensive.

I'm pretty sure if this thread had been way less agressive right off the bat and more like this we wouldn't still be having this discussion.
posted by setanor at 3:45 PM on September 22, 2009


Saying something ambiguous that is interpreted as sexist doesn't make me sexist.

We've had some pretty epic discussions of this stuff in MetaTalk threads past, which I'm guessing you haven't seen, but which are playing some role in other people's feelings about the norms around here. The point isn't whether you personally are sexist, obviously we're not equipped to judge that here. The point is that comments like "oh hey she's hot" or whatever, even if they are mild, complimentary, etc can only go two ways: either they prompt a bunch of irritated responses (like this), or they don't get responded to (or people chime in with "yeah, she is hot!") and set a really offputting tone to the site as being a sort of boy's-club where it's a salient aspect of any story about a woman whether the group finds her attractive. Even if you're not individually personally sexist, and even if you make a comment like that completely ironically, it can still contribute to the derails or the offputting boy's-club tone.
posted by LobsterMitten at 3:45 PM on September 22, 2009 [4 favorites]


Setanor - flip the gender for a second. If the whistleblower had been an attractive man would krilli have made such a thoughtless comment about his appearance?

"hi, the first thing I noticed thanks to the giant photo of him plastered on the cover image in that article was that he's attractive"

I really don't think so. A men's appearance is not noticed as much as a woman's. That is sexist. There's no two ways about it.

I am not calling krilli a sexist. I am calling the comment sexist.
posted by muddgirl at 3:46 PM on September 22, 2009


@setanor, close. It was more like "Hm. Whistleblowers, I'm in Iceland and we seriously need more whistleblowers here, these days. Wonder how the media is handling this case. Ah, she's handsome. That's pretty interesting: Most of the Icelandic banking superstars are very handsome. Hmm ... "

And omitting all that BRILLIANT thinking, I posted what I did.
posted by krilli at 3:46 PM on September 22, 2009


Muddgirl - I don't think AmCon would have produced a cover like that if it was a man, as Joe Beese pointed out. So, I mean, you're right, anyway.
posted by setanor at 3:48 PM on September 22, 2009


But one comment doesn't reduce a whole story into anything.

krilli, please consider that you've said your piece and really don't need to answer every comment here from now on. Seriously, you're not helping yourself at all. Just move on.
posted by mediareport at 3:50 PM on September 22, 2009


    But one comment doesn't reduce a whole story into anything.
It did in this case. Total derail.

I disagree. There was discussion directly related to the whistleblowing issue immediately after the first few "bad" comments.
posted by krilli at 3:51 PM on September 22, 2009


I repeat: That she is good looking affects the media's handling of the whole affair.

I had heard a ton about this case back in 2002 when she initially blew the whistle, but I hadn't known until this meta talk post (not even the thread on the blue, since the comment was deleted) what she looked like.

And now that I've seen her, I don't think her looks are really that remarkable. I mean she doesn't look bad or anything, but i wouldn't really call her strinkingly beautiful, or strikingly beautiful either.
posted by delmoi at 3:52 PM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


krilli, please consider that you've said your piece and really don't need to answer every comment here from now on. Seriously, you're not helping yourself at all. Just move on.

Well, from some of the comments in here, he might feel like he's going to be seen as that douchebag sexist fucktart every time he shows up in a newer thread. So, you know, that's not easy to let lie.
posted by setanor at 3:52 PM on September 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


@mediareport, why do you care what I do?

(And frankly, I don't much care about my reputation here. I think I'm mildly ahead anyway.)
posted by krilli at 3:52 PM on September 22, 2009


Anyway, I still think there should be some good shorthand for when a CJ isn't quite a CJ. I mean, you need a lot of people for that.
posted by setanor at 3:54 PM on September 22, 2009


My actions and thought process:

Click on link.
Wonder if this is the whistleblower story I read about the other day, but which?
Go to look for a picture to hopefully jog my memory.
She's pretty, but not familiar.
But she does look like a little bit like Marina Sirtis.
She doesn't look like anyone connected to the other whistleblowers I remembered.
Noted "We Are Not All Keynesians Yet" headline and wondered if someone would show up in my bedroom wearing black gloves. "We noted you aren't a Keynesian yet, Mr. Adipocere. Care to tell us why?"
Am I thinking she looks like Marina Sirtis because I have First Contact in right this moment?
Decide that nobody will be coming to convert me to Keynesianism.
Remembered that Travis McGee's buddy's boat was named the Keynes or something like that.
Wondered briefly if I were going mad.
Remembered that I had only heard the whistleblower story on NPR, not saw it, and all because I had a stupid factory radio installed.
Grimly expected someone to make a comment about her looks and that some storm would appear about it, no matter how far down the thread went.
Grimly expected to hear some buried news report two weeks later about an untimely accident/suicide/totally-unrelated-we're-honest-about-this murder.
Started reading article, then realized that probably nobody will go to jail over it, with the possible exception of Sibel Edmonds.
Where she will be shivved in a totally-unrelated-we're-honest-about-this murder.
Knew I was going mad. Or maybe getting less than four hours of sleep per day for the past few days.
Decided to just hit the thread and the MetaTalk thread, because the analysis of the article and the associated derail fight will be slightly less grim than watching all of this come to naught, yet again, because it looks like Bush & Co. are now home free.
Decided I needed a pick-me-up.
Oooh, mocha!
posted by adipocere at 3:54 PM on September 22, 2009 [6 favorites]


adipocere: You win!
posted by krilli at 3:54 PM on September 22, 2009


Decide that nobody will be coming to convert me to Keynesianism.

If the packet of flight tickets on the table next to me is any indication, you're wrong.
posted by setanor at 3:55 PM on September 22, 2009


I disagree. There was discussion directly related to the whistleblowing issue immediately after the first few "bad" comments.

With all due respect, and I rarely do this, you are wrong. The thread was basically going two directions

- the "what are you 12??" direction
- the "let's talk about the thread" direction

Both were battling for dominance, only one was at all fruitful. You can walk away from this whole thing thinking whatever you want about how that thread and this one are going, but your early comment in that thread seriously affected the way it went in a way that might not have been salvageable without mod intervention [which, yes, is a counterfactual since we did, in fact, intervene]. Usually nothing on MeFi gets to the point where it had as many flags as your comment and the few immediately following it.

Again, your intentions may have been nothing but mildly snarky and a derailed thread is certainly not the end of the world, but it did happen.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:58 PM on September 22, 2009 [7 favorites]


All this eviscerating and nobody wants to bash him for using @ notation?
posted by SpiffyRob at 4:03 PM on September 22, 2009 [7 favorites]


Q: If a train with a hot whistleblower leaves Detroit traveling east at 40 MPH and a train with a brilliant engineer leaves Boston traveling west at 60 MPH, at what time will the whistleblower and the engineer be hittin' it?

Even if the plane crashes on the border of the U.S., you can't bury 'survivors!'
posted by ericb at 4:04 PM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Speaking of Sexist this comment on the Lilly Allen thread, where a poster linked to topless pictures of her at a swimming pool and basically used that to try to discredit her views on copyright was really over the top. I think they just wanted an excuse to link to them, but it came across in a really condescending way.
posted by delmoi at 4:04 PM on September 22, 2009 [4 favorites]


Well, from some of the comments in here, he might feel like he's going to be seen as that douchebag sexist fucktart every time he shows up in a newer thread.

It is hard to stop being seen as a "fucktart" if you continue to dig your hole deeper and deeper. The thing is, I might have given him the benefit of the doubt before seeing his posts in this thread -- but now? After that ridiculously disingenuous "oh I said she was hot because it was pertinent" shit? Not a chance.

Or, let's put it this way. Next thread that deals with Obama, I'm just gonna start off by mentioning, "Hey, that guy is strikingly black!" Who would have a problem with that? It's true, and pertinent, right? Unclench, dudes!
posted by Frobenius Twist at 4:08 PM on September 22, 2009


..there should be some good shorthand for when a CJ isn't quite a CJ. I mean, you need a lot of people for that.

Oh, honey...I've got some DVD/online videos that prove you wrong! Three's never 'a crowd' and four's never 'too many.'
posted by ericb at 4:15 PM on September 22, 2009


Maybe he went to go ride his skateboard
Maybe he went to see the Circle Jerks

posted by porn in the woods at 4:17 PM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


I heard he went to get a sideways haircut.
posted by The World Famous at 4:18 PM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


It is hard to stop being seen as a "fucktart" if you continue to dig your hole deeper and deeper. The thing is, I might have given him the benefit of the doubt before seeing his posts in this thread -- but now? After that ridiculously disingenuous "oh I said she was hot because it was pertinent" shit? Not a chance.

It's certainly your choice to put a person in boc, but just remember it is a choice.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:22 PM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's certainly your choice to put a person in boc, but just remember it is a choice.

"In boc" is Latin for what, exactly?

My money is on 'likes to fuck chickens.'
posted by mudpuppie at 4:35 PM on September 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


Latin for putting baby in the corner, literally "baby of corner."
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:37 PM on September 22, 2009 [7 favorites]


On reflection, that "fucktart" jab was uncool. Apologies. It's not like I've never made typos on metafilter before . . . .
posted by Frobenius Twist at 4:39 PM on September 22, 2009


Hoppitamoppita!
posted by everichon at 4:40 PM on September 22, 2009


Yeah, that was weird. Like Dershins said - WTF, are you people twelve?
posted by Artw at 4:41 PM on September 22, 2009


Fucktart was entirely intentional. I thought it was something like someone who tarts up threads that shouldn't be tarted with.
posted by setanor at 4:42 PM on September 22, 2009


> I couldn't care less

Yup, you've made that clear. If you cared, you might actually listen to what people are trying to tell you instead of sticking your fingers in your ears and repeating "I'm not sexist!" (hint: nobody thinks they're sexist, any more than they think they're racist) and "That she is good-looking affects the media's handling of the whole affair" (of which you have offered no proof, and which in any case is irrelevant to the MeFi thread). I won't think of you as "that douchebag sexist fucktart" from here on out, but I will think of you as "that clueless guy who won't listen to anybody else and has poor judgment about MeFi comments."
posted by languagehat at 5:00 PM on September 22, 2009 [7 favorites]


American Fucktart staring Jason Biggs.
posted by pwally at 5:02 PM on September 22, 2009


> An interesting story has been turned into a goddamn gross CJ. Well done.

:(
posted by cj_ at 5:04 PM on September 22, 2009 [34 favorites]


Speaking of Sexist this comment on the Lilly Allen thread, where a poster linked to topless pictures of her at a swimming pool and basically used that to try to discredit her views on copyright was really over the top.

Yeah, I regret that comment. I had a whole internal thought process that I completely failed to verbalize and it just came out in this horrible blargh of failing to make my point.

For the record, my point was this: Lily Allen is presenting herself as an expert on a complex subject. She has never given any indication that she has any qualifications as an expert in that subject, other than the fact that she's a pop star (who often behaves like a cartoon caricature of one). Thus, why should we accept her as an expert?

I totally failed at making that point. This was entirely My Bad.

I apologize.

posted by dersins at 5:11 PM on September 22, 2009 [4 favorites]


"In boc" is Latin for what, exactly?

"In a box," duh! WTF, are you 10 or something?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:16 PM on September 22, 2009


It could have been worse. It could have turned into a discussion about Ralph Nader
posted by dng at 5:18 PM on September 22, 2009


I'd like to suggest that all users print out the following list and tape it to your monitor:

fantastic comment
double comment
HTML/display error
offensive/sexism/racism
noise
derail
it breaks the guidelines

Now before you hit 'post', look at the list and ask yourself which item best describes your comment.

(I know...I left out 'other'.)
posted by rocket88 at 5:22 PM on September 22, 2009


Ralph Nader has strikingly beautiful Corvairs.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:24 PM on September 22, 2009


I totally failed at making that point. This was entirely My Bad.

I apologize.


See how you do it?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:25 PM on September 22, 2009 [7 favorites]


Wow, I don't know what to say except a community that can't keep it's pants on, or a community that can't get beyond a comment like "While I read up on the case and background: That is a strikingly beautiful woman." is about as immature as you can get. If that comment was all it took to derail the thread then I'm not sure we can speak to each other like adults at all. Some of you are placing far to much onus on krilli than is fair based on that one comment. I'm embarrassed for you.
posted by nola at 5:26 PM on September 22, 2009 [10 favorites]


Yeah, I noticed that lily allen thing too. it bugged me for a second, but then I figured there was some other point being made that I was missing. Based on dersins' comments in this thread, I'm further convinced that there was something else going on with that link.
posted by billyfleetwood at 5:29 PM on September 22, 2009


I hadn't seen that when I made my comment, dersins. Thank you.
posted by The corpse in the library at 5:35 PM on September 22, 2009


I don't know what to say except a community that can't keep it's pants on, or a community that can't get beyond a comment like "While I read up on the case and background: That is a strikingly beautiful woman." is about as immature as you can get.

1. This is Metafilter and taking our pants off is how we roll.

2. This isn't 50,000 people flipping out about it, just some of the regulars taking offense and hashing it out in MetaTalk as opposed to the thread, which is what's supposed to happen.

3. Why are your pants still on?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:36 PM on September 22, 2009


Some of you are placing far to much onus on krilli than is fair based on that one comment.

Oh, I think it's fair to say that people are reacting to the approximately two dozen comments krilli has made in this thread as well.
posted by scody at 5:37 PM on September 22, 2009 [3 favorites]


If that comment was all it took to derail the thread then I'm not sure we can speak to each other like adults at all.

We get sent to our room (MetaTalk) when we're bad, and if we're really bad we have time outs. I like to think we're trying to be adults. But sometimes some of us have to sit at the little short table in the other room with the plastic cups and plates while the real grown-ups have their own conversation.
posted by The World Famous at 5:38 PM on September 22, 2009


I just want to make it clear that I didn't have pants on in the first place. That said, Optimus Chyme is strikingly beautiful.
posted by little e at 5:42 PM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


hoppitamoppita

Love at first sight.
posted by Kwine at 5:46 PM on September 22, 2009


That said, Optimus Chyme is strikingly beautiful.

True story: last time I was in New York, OC and I were walking near Park and Lexington. He had his pants off, naturally, and suddenly there was Clive Owen walking towards us (he was filming that Julia Roberts movie at the time). Well, Clive Owen took one look at Optimus's classical Greek beauty and sighed heavily, a shadow crossing his face, stung with the realization that for all the movie roles and women throwing themselves at his feet, he'd never be as strikingly beautiful (sans pants or not) as Metafilter's own Optimus Chyme. Poor Clive Owen. I will say that OC was totally classy about it, and barely even let on that he realized what had happened.
posted by scody at 5:53 PM on September 22, 2009 [5 favorites]


He had his pants off, naturally

. . .

and barely even let on that he realized what had happened.

I see what you did there.
posted by The World Famous at 5:56 PM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


We've had some pretty epic discussions of this stuff in MetaTalk threads past, which I'm guessing you haven't seen, but which are playing some role in other people's feelings about the norms around here.

Required reading for MeFites

November 15, 2007: Hysterics (four panels): 570 comments

November 16, 2007: Discussion Point (jennydiski): 1163 comments.

November 23, 2007: Your thoughts on current and future changes to make Metafilter more woman friendly (Brandon Blatcher): 1005 comments.

December 5, 2007: Sexism debate, displaced (CitrusFreak12): 597 comments

December 29, 2007: Battle of the Flickr All-Stars (chuckdarwin): 444 comments

January 23, 2008: Boooooooooobs. (thehmsbeagle): 775 comments

I was going to pull out key comments from each thread, but that's an overwhelming task plus subject to editorial bias. Have fun.

Let me also say that reading these threads opened my mind and made me a better person. Seriously.
posted by PercussivePaul at 6:06 PM on September 22, 2009 [131 favorites]


and now the thread is all about the election and people who voted for Nader. Awesome.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 6:11 PM on September 22, 2009 [3 favorites]


hoppitamoppita

"Hop. Hop. Hippity-hop. Barrington made tracks in the fresh snow." *
posted by ericb at 6:17 PM on September 22, 2009


Ah, November and December of 2007, they bring back such memories.

*curls into ball in corner, sobs quietly*
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:18 PM on September 22, 2009 [3 favorites]


hoppitamoppita

Exactly one Google hit. Let's fix this, people!
posted by ersatzkat at 6:22 PM on September 22, 2009


...and in my brain, the dancing pumpkin goes "hoppitamoppita!!!
posted by ersatzkat at 6:23 PM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Whether someone is hot or not affects how I handle my affair, and by affair I mean penis.
posted by klangklangston at 6:36 PM on September 22, 2009


When do we get a non-controversial post that sparks totally inclusive sexy talk that climaxes with 100% site-wide arousal and satisfaction?
posted by The Straightener at 6:48 PM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


I went over to Reddit when I saw the discussion here being derailed to “Sibel is hot” . The Sibel Edmonds thing shows 4 unique posts (and counting) on Reddit. The most popular iteration there so far is titled, “Most-gagged person in US history gives an interview after her under-oath testimony (not a porn star).

To my eye Sibel Edmonds is passably attractive, but not at all the kind of woman who would stand out at a party. On the other hand Valerie Plame is exactly the kind of woman who would stand out at any party... the prototypically pretty American blonde. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t recall any “ she’s so hot” reaction to Valerie Plame.

So what’s going on?

The Valerie Plame thing was pretty easy to digest... just a few bad apples. But Sibel Edmonds’ disclosures open up a pandoras box and, if you take her straight up, it’s a paradigm shift. No matter how skeptical of the government you were going in, the government looks, at best, like a cancer on the way out.

Sibel Edmonds is hot.
posted by Huplescat at 6:49 PM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


While I read over the rest of this completely overblown - and bad, IMHO - call-out: Give krilli some fucking slack.

He and I can't be the only ones who saw the picture at the top and thought, "wow, she is quite beautiful." In fact, nobody seems to be arguing against that claim. Saying that someone is beautiful is not, in any world that I have ever inhabited, de facto offensive. It is complimentary, and it takes a lot of mental contorions to turn that into, "the only thing that matters here is that she is attractive, which is the only rubric by which women should be judged."

Thankfully, krilli made it abundantly clear that he wasn't saying that in his initial comment. While I read up on the case and background: That is a strikingly beautiful woman. People are jumping up and down on him for commenting on her attractiveness before reading what she has to say. His comment, worded another way, is "I'd like to just mention that she is strikingly beautiful right now, as that is my immediate impression, because her picture comes first in this article, while I continue to read her story."

In other words, there was really, absolutely nothing disrespectful here. Imagine that this story were being played on CNN while you were in a room with your friends, and Sibel Edmonds's picture was floated before there was any real substance to the piece. One of your friends remarks, "Wow, she's beautiful," while making it clear that he's actually interested in what the story is about. Would you cart him outside for everyone to have an intervention about what a sexist fuckhead he is for even thinking that and verbalizing it? Or would you let it slide as a natural reaction to the impulse every single one of us has of being attracted to beauty? Because seriously, this absolutely bullshit call-out is the former.

Two things:

1. Krilli, while I defend your deleted comment, the subtext you're trying to give it here just doesn't hold water. Defend yourself, absolutely, but don't be disingenuous about it.

2. It consistently amuses me that thoughts about how smart/funny/charming/etc someone is are considered cool while remarks about someone's beauty are verboten. Do we really believe that someone is smart or not due to the effort they put into it? Or funny? I understand that attractiveness carries more sexist negativity with it, but Krilli didn't bring any of that with his comment. He said that she was beautiful, and that he was reading her story, in a way that made it clear that he was going to read it anyway. He didn't demean her, or anyone else. His only "crime" appears to be having commented first, and starting a following derail which really seems to be more the fault of those in this thread who would find offense in the most trivial and inoffensive places.
posted by Navelgazer at 6:49 PM on September 22, 2009 [16 favorites]


When do we get a non-controversial post that sparks totally inclusive sexy talk that climaxes with 100% site-wide arousal and satisfaction?

The Givewell callout was sort of like that.
posted by ryanrs at 6:51 PM on September 22, 2009


Addendum: If Krilli actually said "I'd hit it" at any point, then all bets are off here.
posted by Navelgazer at 6:52 PM on September 22, 2009


Navelgazer, perhaps you should re-read this thread:

December 29, 2007: Battle of the Flickr All-Stars (chuckdarwin): 444 comments

The problem is that those types of comments bring about an atmosphere uncomfortable to many women on Metafilter.
posted by ryanrs at 6:56 PM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Oh, also, Christina Hendricks is freaky hot. It will blow your mind."

Uh-oh (?)
posted by ericb at 6:59 PM on September 22, 2009


Yep. This is exactly why I said I was glad not to have been the one who said it.

But seriously, I sincerely regret have contributed to what was obviously fated to be a horrific and inappropriate derail.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:01 PM on September 22, 2009


I don't think krilli's comment was sexist, so much as it was shallow and pretty dumb. Also, sexist. It was really sexist.

Anyway, all this circle jerk talk leads me to believe that there should be an FPP about Keith Morris. He's all strikingly beautiful-like.
posted by "Elbows" O'Donoghue at 7:03 PM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Na, it's true that Hendricks is freakishly hot.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:07 PM on September 22, 2009


That's why his axe was always catching on fire.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 7:14 PM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


But just to play devil's advocate for a minute, is this really necessarily about sex? Haven't you ever just seen one of those faces (regardless of gender) that unexpectedly takes your breath away, and then leaves you with a sort of vague, wistful feeling that stays with you for a few more seconds? Well, it happens to me every so often, and whatever it's about, it doesn't really seem to have a whole lot to do with sex or even sexuality.

still, thanks for the courtesy delete, jessamyn.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:17 PM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't think krilli's comment was sexist, so much as it was shallow and pretty dumb. Also, sexist. It was really sexist.

When I read a comment like this and many others I feel like I'm reading from another century in the distant past. Your ways are so far advanced from mine, have you all evolved your genitals off like Ken and Barbie? Do people still use Blu Ray in your time? How did you get to be so different from us early primates?
What a wondrous futuristic time. Are there flying cars in your time?
posted by nola at 7:17 PM on September 22, 2009 [5 favorites]


>The problem is that those types of comments bring about an atmosphere uncomfortable to many women on Metafilter.

That thread is about an FPP that ended by saying "Also, she's hot!" Which is far from offensive to me but at least makes sense in the "why would you frame this as masturbatory material?" realm of things. That's not cool. Krilli's comment was harmless except for the derail of offended comments it needlessly produced, and which he is now blamed for despite the fact that his comment wasn't actually, you know, sexist.

It's an odd feeling for me to be saying this, as it goes against my general worldview, but to be actually offended by the initial comment that brought about this call-out is to be looking for anything which could possibly be twisted to be seen as offensive.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:18 PM on September 22, 2009 [3 favorites]


but to be actually offended by the initial comment that brought about this call-out is to be looking for anything which could possibly be twisted to be seen as offensive.

Oh please. It's been explained repeatedly what the problem was, so this insistence on boiling it down to a very specific straw man (if straw men can, in fact, be boiled) is disingenuous. But just to reiterate, again: it wasn't that it was problematic along the lines of some dumb OOH, GREAT TITS, I'D LIKE TO GAG HER MYSELF, AMIRITE? comment. It was problematic because of the special combination of A) playing into what is, frankly, a pathetic sexist cliche of men judging women, first and foremost, on their looks before their deeds, ideas, actions, etc., and B) the fact that -- particularly in the context of the information contained in the post itself -- a 100% guaranteed derail.

Jessamyn has already noted that the first several comments in the thread were flagged all to hell. I would suspect that some of those flags listed "sexism" as the reason. I would suspect that some of those flags listed "derail" as the reason. I would suspect that some of those flags listed "it breaks the guidelines" as the reason. I would suspect some of those flags listed "noise" as the reason.

And you know what? All of those reasons are, in fact, correct. And that's why the comments were nuked, not because we women of Metafilter are a bunch of shrinking violets whose delicate sensitivities must be protected by a roving gang of Church Ladies with their knickers in a twist.
posted by scody at 7:40 PM on September 22, 2009 [22 favorites]


Navelgazer, did you do the required reading?
posted by PercussivePaul at 7:43 PM on September 22, 2009


Since so many have already explained very articulately what the derail was (and I can think of a few ways the attractiveness of a person could be worked into a conversation on media coverage - there are mass comm studies done about such things, but attractiveness is a tricky/subjective thing) - and also since there were several people in the thread hopping in and pointing out the derail - I'll just go off tangent and say that I'm delighted to add hoppitamoppita to my vocabulary.
Someone really shop pop over to urban dictionary and add that.
posted by batgrlHG at 7:45 PM on September 22, 2009


Krilli's comment was harmless except for the derail of offended comments it needlessly produced, and which he is now blamed for despite the fact that his comment wasn't actually, you know, sexist.

I flagged the comment not because it was outrageously offensive (I don't think it was), but because I don't think it was appropriate comment for this forum. As we discussed at length back in the sexism threads, many of us do not want this to be a community where a woman's looks are always on the table for discussion, where every thread that involves something a woman did includes a referendum on "Is she hot? Yes/No". Partially because it makes for an atmosphere where women are devalued and less likely to participate in the discussion , and partially because it's so freaking boring and we, as a very smart gang, have better things to talk about.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:46 PM on September 22, 2009 [12 favorites]


And yeah, it was a sexist comment, as well as being a derail. Perhaps he was clueless to it being sexist, but honestly? It was.
I'd give him a pass for the ESL, but after the remarks in this thread...getting harder to.
posted by batgrlHG at 7:49 PM on September 22, 2009


shop pop?! Should pop. Grrrr, bad self editing.
posted by batgrlHG at 7:50 PM on September 22, 2009


nola: How are you not getting that it's patronizing and reductive? To the brahs who commented about her appearance, how she looks is her only trait. And what's the point? There's a big photograph of her in the linked article. Everyone who actually bothers to read the thing knows exactly what she looks like. There's just this reprehensible paucity of any kind of critical thinking that engages more than "does this woman look like the women in a TV commercial? y/n"
posted by "Elbows" O'Donoghue at 7:52 PM on September 22, 2009


the original comment was ill-advised and inappropriate. and my follow-on comment didn't help matters. but for my part, i really did have one of those moments where i just sort of gasped when i saw sibel edmonds' picture for the first time. for me, it was at least partly because i remember following this story when it first broke, and then i've sort of been living with it in the back of my mind ever since. i wish i'd been disciplined enough to resist the urge to add to the derail though.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:00 PM on September 22, 2009


I really can't believe that saying someone is "strikingly beautiful" is considered the equivalent of "I'd hit it". I feel like I've been transported back to second grade recess, where if you said you liked someone of the opposite sex a chorus of "oneirodynia wants to marry you!" would be the refrain at lunchtime.

Making the observation that someone is attractive is not sexist. One can't possibly infer anyone else's attitude or treatment of other people by a statement that has no demeaning language whatsoever. For fuck's sake, Christina Hendricks is gorgeous. Saying that doesn't make her untalented or less intelligent, and it doesn't mean I want to sleep with her. If some childish person wants to take a statement like that and thinks it's a license to be a demeaning twit, then yeah, that's a problem. But the statement itself shouldn't be.

On preview: sorry, I totally disagree with this: playing into what is, frankly, a pathetic sexist cliche of men judging women, first and foremost, on their looks before their deeds, ideas, actions, etc.,

How can anyone not immediately have an impression or a response to someone's appearance, if that is the first thing they see? I do it all the time- and then I shake their hand, or RTFA, or introduce myself, or cross the street, or a million other things. I find it hard to ascribe to other people bad intentions or their lowly opinion of my gender if they happen to do the exact same thing. I'm certainly not going to judge one person on one comment on the internet, and just assume that because a man made it about a woman it's because he thinks that women are meant to be objectified. I mean, that's also a sexist cliche.

many of us do not want this to be a community where a woman's looks are always on the table for discussion, where every thread that involves something a woman did includes a referendum on "Is she hot? Yes/No".

Now, this is a good reason for the comment not to exist. However, I think it would be more helpful to point that reason out in the thread than just delete the comment.
posted by oneirodynia at 8:02 PM on September 22, 2009 [8 favorites]


Really? Your powers of Internet telepathy are so far advanced that you can read the minds of people commenting from hundreds of miles away and know that they are thinking how she looks is her only trait?

Damn, I gotta get me some of that Internet telepathy. Sounds like a sweet deal.
posted by adipocere at 8:02 PM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


scody: thanks for your response, but that's not exactly what I'm talking about.

A derail is a derail, and I think the mods are correct in deleting them. Frankly, I wish derails would be deleted more often, but I understand that the mods are only human.

I also don't think the women of Metafilter are a bunch of shrinking violets. I've met too many of them to believe anything of the sort. My point is that:

1. Krilli's initial comment was, in itself, pretty innocuous and not laden with any sexism except by the absolute lowest standards of "there is beauty" as being oppressive. The derail is the issue.

2. The comment is only a issue because it was first. desrins's Lily Allen comment was something like tenth in that thread, but didn't derail anything, and in fact wasn't called out until this thread despite the fact that it was basically "look, naked boobies, she can't have valid opinions!" If krilli's comment had been a few comments down no one would have cared.

3. 100% guaranteed derail is a little bit of an exaggeration. Particularly because almost all of the derail consisted of comments citing offense to the (again innocuous) comment itself.

The comment had unfortunate placement, and led to an unfortunate derail, and Edmonds's story deserves more than that, and that was the ultimate result.

But in this case, a commenter called the subject of a thread "strikingly beautiful," with no derision, no disrespect, no lewdness and no lascivious or explicit phrasing.

If that is actually offensive, if people anywhere need to be defended from such harm, please explain to me why, other than that his comment came early in the thread and that other people who were not krilli derailed with it.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:08 PM on September 22, 2009


Now, this is a good reason for the comment not to exist. However, I think it would be more helpful to point that reason out in the thread than just delete the comment.

We pointed it out here, and the commenter "couldn't care less" apparently, so I see no reason why the original thread should have to suffer under the weight of the derail.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:10 PM on September 22, 2009


*tiredly sets up lawn chair, plops down with bag of stale popcorn*
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:15 PM on September 22, 2009 [4 favorites]


I'll trade you some of this george dickel for some of you stale popcorn.
posted by nola at 8:17 PM on September 22, 2009


How can anyone not immediately have an impression or a response to someone's appearance, if that is the first thing they see? I do it all the time- and then I shake their hand, or RTFA, or introduce myself, or cross the street, or a million other things.

I don't think the problem is so much with having the impression as feeling the need to voice it. If you met someone, let's say, a business associate, and just before shaking her hand said "Before we start the meeting, I just have to say you are strikingly beautiful." you would in fact be acting pretty boorishly, and your associate would be correct to call you on it and end the meeting right then and there.

That's what happened here.
posted by donnagirl at 8:20 PM on September 22, 2009 [22 favorites]


christ you dummies

no one said in the gary gygax obit thread "HOLY SHIT WHAT AN UGLY-ASS DUDE"

do you get it yet
posted by Optimus Chyme at 8:26 PM on September 22, 2009 [7 favorites]


@mediareport, why do you care what I do?

(And frankly, I don't much care about my reputation here.


That much is obvious--as if that horrible @ notation isn't obnoxious enough, you choose to bold it...
posted by Chuckles at 8:31 PM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Your powers of Internet telepathy are so far advanced that you can read the minds of people commenting from hundreds of miles away and know that they are thinking how she looks is her only trait?

Actually, the post is coming from inside the house!!!
posted by The World Famous at 8:31 PM on September 22, 2009


do you get it yet

No I don't get it yet. Like I said I'm from another time. A time were monkeys evolve from MEN?!
posted by nola at 8:33 PM on September 22, 2009


If you met someone, let's say, a business associate, and just before shaking her hand said "Before we start the meeting, I just have to say you are strikingly beautiful." you would in fact be acting pretty boorishly, and your associate would be correct to call you on it and end the meeting right then and there.

This isn't a very good analogy. Half the shit that gets said on Metafilter would be incredibly boorish if said to the face of the subject.
posted by Bookhouse at 8:38 PM on September 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


But in this case, a commenter called the subject of a thread "strikingly beautiful," with no derision, no disrespect, no lewdness and no lascivious or explicit phrasing.
If that is actually offensive, if people anywhere need to be defended from such harm, please explain to me why.


Here is a story about an author whose books are controversial in the Netherlands.
-Hey, she's strikingly beautiful.
-Oh, yeah, she is so pretty, wow.
-I don't think she's all that.
-For the Netherlands she's pretty average.

Here is a story about a mathematician who discovered an important result.
-Let me just begin by observing that she's strikingly beautiful.
-Totally, I love it when beautiful women are smart.
-I have a new crush!

Here is a story about a head of state in Africa whose administration is corrupt.
-Man, she's strikingly beautiful.
-Who has links to more pics? She may be corrupt but man she's lovely.
-Just goes to show that beauty corrupts, you know?

Here is a story about a musician who's blind but plays the trombone and has taught other blind children music.
-I have to say, she's really strikingly beautiful.
-Her hair is great.
-It's the inner beauty shining through, you know?
-I love her work, but come on, she's not that good looking.

etc, on and on.

It's not that "she's beautiful" is offensive on its own. But women's appearance is often treated as public, worthy of comment even in circumstances where appearance is beside the point. And it gets tiring, for women (or, for some women?), because even when the comments are positive they all have the subtext of "and it's a good thing she's beautiful, because she's succeeding on a performance measure that's significant."

All those comments are reinforcing a certain set of ideas about what's salient in discussions of a given person, what "counts" about them, what criteria are legitimate to judge them on. In discussions of women, in some social circles, appearance is always treated as salient, so it's always conversationally appropriate to comment on it. Those circles are exhausting and demoralizing -- even when the comments are all positive -- and are ones that I (and many women) will tend to avoid as much as possible.
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:48 PM on September 22, 2009 [88 favorites]


Also I think my perspective is a little skewed by the fact that among my circle of friends and acquaintances, it wouldn't be viewed out of the ordinary for a guy to describe even another guy's appearance as striking (if it were). But point taken.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:48 PM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


This isn't a very good analogy.

The point is that, when directed at a woman from a man, the phrase "strikingly beautiful" can have a creepy and sexual vibe or otherwise be inappropriate. Several people in this thread are arguing that the phrase is completely harmless and that no one should have a problem with it being said, even though there are obvious every day situations where men do not make those kinds of statements because they know that doing so would be inappropriate in certain contexts.
posted by burnmp3s at 8:49 PM on September 22, 2009


(for clarity, those are made-up examples to show how this stuff gets old, they're not actual metafilter examples)
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:50 PM on September 22, 2009


"Before we start the meeting, I just have to say you are strikingly beautiful." you would in fact be acting pretty boorishly, and your associate would be correct to call you on it and end the meeting right then and there.

I don't really consider MetaFilter to be anything like a business meeting.

We pointed it out here, and the commenter "couldn't care less" apparently, so I see no reason why the original thread should have to suffer under the weight of the derail.

If it says in the thread that the comment was deleted because we don't want to go down the path of discussing how people look, you have the same amount of derail in the thread you have now, and hopefully no MeTa at all. Pointing it out in the thread is less about the one commenter, and more about everyone else understanding.

But whatev- we had the thread where it was seemingly OK to hint that Lily Allen is clearly not worth listening to because she gets naked at the beach, and then we had this one where people are telling someone they've never even met that he's a sexist jerk for saying a woman is attractive. That disconnect is depressing.
posted by oneirodynia at 9:00 PM on September 22, 2009


we had the thread where it was seemingly OK to hint that Lily Allen is clearly not worth listening to because she gets naked at the beach

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that most people are going to object to that too, and the fact that it didn't get flagged may be just its position in the thread, and the fact that it remained suggests that the mods didn't see it or whatever. I don't think you can argue that that kind of thinking is positively endorsed around here, just that it managed to slip by.
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:09 PM on September 22, 2009


I don't really consider MetaFilter to be anything like a business meeting.

oneirodynia, just to clarify, you started in with all the examples of times you can't help but notice someone's attractiveness - I was going with your "shaking hands" example, not just pulling business meetings out of my ass because I think Metafilter is so much like them.

Now, can we move on to the next damn agenda item? I'm pretty sure it's freaking "what are favorites for?".
posted by donnagirl at 9:11 PM on September 22, 2009


> hoppitamoppita Love at first sight.

awwww. *bats eyelashes*
posted by hoppitamoppita at 9:12 PM on September 22, 2009 [3 favorites]


And I think your second point is addressed way, way, waay up the thread by muddgirl:
I am not calling krilli a sexist. I am calling the comment sexist.
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:13 PM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Well, now it's become the Joe Beese Obama Gore sucks thread. So that's nice too.
posted by dirigibleman at 9:22 PM on September 22, 2009


the fact that it remained suggests that the mods didn't see it or whatever.

I saw it flagged, clicked it, scrolled a little and was like * shrug * and didn't get it. Since it's been mentioned again I looked at it again and yeah, it was pretty annoying. But it didn't screw up the thread and dersins said he could have used better word choice. End of story.

I think this callout was a little over the top -- Optimus Chyme is known for his strong language -- but that doesn't obviate the fact that starting off a political-filter type post that happens to be about a woman with a comment that's like "hey I didn't even read this yet but wow she's pretty" is annoying to a bunch of people male and female alike and would be something we'd prefer not to see here. It doesn't start a discussion, it's derailing and as something we see here more than never, it's tiresome. I made a few totally polite comments to that effect earlier in the thread and that's where my personal opinion stands. No big deal.

The fact that krilli seems to have gone into protest-too-much mode (for which I can't blame him to some extent, but feel like it's a little too much in another sense) seems to be responsible for some of the more strident responses in this thread.

The comment was a minor deal. Being sort of a defensive pain about it is, unfortunately, a larger deal.

Also cortex is on a month-long road trip and I am still returning from a funeral. This isn't anyone's particular fault, but may have some bearing on exactly how response times have factored in to this whole thing. If krilli's comment had been removed earlier, this might have not gotten quite so heated.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:23 PM on September 22, 2009


Hugs for Jess!!

Everybody needs one!
posted by pearlybob at 9:39 PM on September 22, 2009


second that.
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:54 PM on September 22, 2009


The comment was ill-advised. There's no real need to comment that you haven't really read the source material of the post yet because there are no prizes for being among the first five commenters in a thread. Popping in to add something to that confession that isn't particularly germane to the discussion isn't going to help you have a deeper, more nuanced discussion later when you have read the contents of the post. You don't have to stake out a position in advance in the discussion. It just adds noise.

I know the commenter's intention was to come back and enjoy the intellectual stimulation of a discussion on the substance of the post, but that off-hand comment made me roll my eyes, write off the thread, and look for intellectual stimulation elsewhere. I'm pretty sure that I'm not the only one.

on preview, I see Jessamyn beat me to it, but dang it, it's been bugging me for a while regardless of wether it is as benign as "Hey, this looks cool, I'm going to go read it now! Thanks" or as button-pushing as "Hey, I haven't read this yet, but damn, that guy looks just like my cousin Pauly."
posted by julen at 10:10 PM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


no one said in the gary gygax obit thread "HOLY SHIT WHAT AN UGLY-ASS DUDE"

To be fair, no looks particularly good when they're dead.
posted by juv3nal at 10:22 PM on September 22, 2009


oneirodynia: "Making the observation that someone is attractive is not sexist. One can't possibly infer anyone else's attitude or treatment of other people by a statement that has no demeaning language whatsoever."

Well, that's true. I think that's the distinction between the "boyzone" conversations and straight-up sexism. When these issues were first raised, it wasn't even broached as an issue of harboring sexism, it was just that some of the language made women feel excluded, like MetaFilter was a men's locker room. It's not necessarily that someone is acting in a sexist way (though that would qualify), it's more distinctly that MetaFilter wants to foster an environment that is inclusive, and comments about how attractive a woman is don't fit into that model.

What possible discussion can follow "She's beautiful", other than "I think so, too" or "I don't think so"? That doesn't seem like a good fit for MetaFilter to me. Talk about the content of the post. Talk about the issue at hand. Don't talk about the attractiveness of those involved, unless you have a concrete point of how it relates to the content of the post. Otherwise you risk offending people, or just simply making them feel like they aren't a part of the conversation. We don't have to tar-and-feather people who say something that is mildly objectifying, but we do need to remove the comments and let them know (and the rest of the community know) that those aren't the kind of comments we want to see here. Does anyone really think the quality of the conversation is degraded by removing the comment? Was it possibly improved? That's all there is to it.
posted by team lowkey at 10:22 PM on September 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


"All those comments are reinforcing a certain set of ideas about what's salient in discussions of a given person, what "counts" about them, what criteria are legitimate to judge them on. In discussions of women, in some social circles, appearance is always treated as salient, so it's always conversationally appropriate to comment on it. Those circles are exhausting and demoralizing -- even when the comments are all positive -- and are ones that I (and many women) will tend to avoid as much as possible."

A couple years ago, my girlfriend and I were back in my hometown for New Years. We weren't going out to the annual retro dance party, since the last time we'd tried we waited in line for three hours on mushrooms and then couldn't deal with the throbbing lights and Pulp's "Common People."

We were too old.

So we went with another friend to her friend's New Years party. The invitation said to bring friends. We ended up there and it was immediately apparent that we grossly misjudged the tenor of the party. I wore jeans; our host greeted us in a black cocktail dress with pearls. My girlfriend blamed me, I blamed our friend Raquel. Her lumpen boyfriend Kevin said, "Thank God, I thought I was going to be the only one in jeans."

It was one of those parties where you suddenly realize that something has gone very wrong with your life, where, on this night of new beginnings, you can't figure out how to start over, only that you've fucked up somehow. They were executives and grad students, urban planners and architects. I tried striking up a conversation with the guy wearing a tight sweater and an ironic mustache—he was a composition major in Berkeley; he made music on electronic experimental instruments. No, you wouldn't have heard any of it. No, it didn't sound like any music you'd ever heard either, nor did he listen to anything you'd be interested in.

Oh.

This woman, a light-skinned black woman in an outfit that made you wonder if she was trying to ironically recall the sister from Fresh Prince of Bel Air, is standing between the punch bowl (in the breakfast nook) and the refrigerator, blocking five or six of us into the kitchen. She's a writer, she's working on a book. A novel. A novel about how, because women lose all sexual attractiveness after they turn 30, they lose all value to society, and that's unfair. In it, her main character is a successful woman who, after turning 30, has her life fall apart. She's fired, her partner leaves her for a younger woman, et cetera.

A few of us object. There are plenty of attractive women—"Sexually attractive," she reminds us—there are plenty of sexually attractive women over 30. No, no, this woman says. You guys don't know how it is. She'd just turned 30, and she knew that men just didn't look at her like they used to. She'd been passed over for promotions because she wasn't hot anymore. That's why she was writing the book, to tell it like it is. To let us all know.

Wait a minute, our friend Raquel, she was pretty attractive. Big wide smile, good figure. Unbeknownst to Kevin, my pal Pat (a mid-20-something like myself) had hooked up with her a couple months back. And she'd just turned 40. C'mon, Raquel, you're pretty hot!

It was, of course, a tactical error to mention that Raquel was of a certain age. The writer pounced on her, repeating, "So, you know what it's like? You've lost all your power! No one cares what you think anymore! No one cares what you think!"

Raquel, who's got the sheepish mien that women with enormous breasts often get when asked about their bodies, finally stalked off, rolling her eyes. Kevin and I managed to get the painted shut back door forced open and escaped that way, taking my girlfriend with us. When the snowball fight forced me back inside, the writer was talking to two women about my age, maybe younger, warning them about their future uselessness.

"No one will want you," she said, and the girl in the princess cut black dress shoved a little cheese in her mouth and said, "Too true."
posted by klangklangston at 10:25 PM on September 22, 2009 [11 favorites]


That comment by dersins is really disgusting and should be deleted, apology or not.
posted by kathrineg at 10:31 PM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


couldn't deal with the throbbing lights and Pulp's "Common People."

We were too old.


The day I am too old to enjoy "Common People" is the day you have permission to shoot me in the head.
posted by scody at 10:51 PM on September 22, 2009 [4 favorites]


In my personal circle, we jerk off.
posted by brevator at 10:53 PM on September 22, 2009


We were too old.

The day I am too old to enjoy "Common People" is the day you have permission to shoot me in the head.


It's not really a mushrooms kind of song.
posted by Bookhouse at 11:11 PM on September 22, 2009


Bow tie daddy don't you blow your top
Everything's under control
Bow tie daddy don't you blow your top
Cause you think you're getting too old
Don't try to do no thinkin'
Just go on with your drinkin'
Just have your fun, you old son of a gun
Then drive home in your Lincoln

posted by Meatbomb at 12:34 AM on September 23, 2009


That comment by dersins is really disgusting and should be deleted, apology or not.

dersins thinks "disgusting" may be overstating the case a bit, but doesn't disagree with the conclusion.
posted by dersins at 2:35 AM on September 23, 2009


dersins also regrets his use of the third person in the previous comment.

also, in this one.

posted by dersins at 2:52 AM on September 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Termite Testicles! I go offline for one day and I miss a BoyZoneTM?!
posted by cavalier at 4:01 AM on September 23, 2009


You are not the kind of person who would use the third person.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:19 AM on September 23, 2009


> I don't think the problem is so much with having the impression as feeling the need to voice it. If you met someone, let's say, a business associate, and just before shaking her hand said "Before we start the meeting, I just have to say you are strikingly beautiful." you would in fact be acting pretty boorishly, and your associate would be correct to call you on it and end the meeting right then and there.

Yes, this. And those of you stubbornly repeating the tired bullshit about how it wasn't sexist and hey, he didn't say "I'd hit it" and all you complainers are a bunch of oversensitive [insert epithet of choice]... you really need to educate yourselves, because you have no idea what you're talking about and are just going on your ignorant knee-jerk reactions. Read the threads PercussivePaul so helpfully linked to and then come back and talk like adults. If you're too lazy to do so, then do the rest of us the favor of staying out of the discussion. This is complicated stuff, and you're not doing anyone any favors by pretending the answer is simple, all you have to do is forget sexism and keep repeating "But there's nothing wrong with saying someone is beautiful!"
posted by languagehat at 6:07 AM on September 23, 2009 [5 favorites]


Pride and wrath.
posted by krilli at 6:23 AM on September 23, 2009


Hoppitamoppita! What a wonderful phrase
Hoppitamoppita! Ain't no passing craze
It means no deletions for the rest of your days
It's our problem-free philosophy
Hoppitamoppita!

Hoppitamoppita?

Yeah. It's our motto!

What's a motto?

Nothing. What's a-motto with you?

That word will solve all your problems

That's right. Take krilli here
Why, when he was a young horndog...

When I was a young horn dog

Very nice

Thanks

He found his comments lacked a certain appeal
He could clear a thread tryin' to keep it real

I'm a sensitive soul though I seem sexist
And it hurt that the point my friends always missed
And oh, the shame


He was ashamed

Thought of changin' my name

What's in a name?

And I felt frustrated
How did ya feel?

Everytime that I mastur....

Hey! krilli! Not in front of the kids!

Oh. Sorry.

Hoppitamoppita! What a wonderful phrase
Hoppitamoppita! Ain't no passing craze

It means no deletions for the rest of your days

It's our problem-free philosophy
Hoppitamoppita!
Hoppitamoppita! Hoppitamoppita!
Hoppitamoppita! Hoppitamoppita!
posted by Floydd at 6:41 AM on September 23, 2009 [4 favorites]


Pride and wrath: two of seven deadly sins? Or awesome LOLcats caption?
posted by taz at 6:45 AM on September 23, 2009


It could have turned into a discussion about Ralph Nader

Ralph Nader could be a UPS man and he still wouldn't be hot. (The little bastard.)
posted by octobersurprise at 6:49 AM on September 23, 2009


hell, first hit is to Cheney saying Obama is attractive

Worst. Slashfic. Ever.
posted by EarBucket at 6:50 AM on September 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


I am calling the comment sexist.
posted by muddgirl


Sexist: "that woman is strikingly beautiful."

Not sexist: "that man is totally hotness on a stick, fat notwithstanding."
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 6:53 AM on September 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


Nice selective quoting, genius. Did you expect us to not even click the link?

"The same reason it would be "okay" to have an advertisement showing Jake Gyllenhall being all shirtless and muscley as the Prince of Persia, but not okay to have a picture of Val Kilmer being shirtless and tubby, and hence undesirable.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:26 PM on August 24"


Yeah... don't really have a problem with "tubby" Val Kilmer. I still think he's totally hotness on a stick, fat notwithstanding. I also don't have a problem with Carter's "flabby butt". It looks pretty similar to my own butt. But then again I don't consciously or unconsciously value people based on whether or not I'd personally want to sleep with them.
posted by muddgirl at 2:38 PM on August 24


Not even to mention that a) the shit about HBC was because it was not even related to the original thread at all except as part of an ad on the site the link went to and b) Kilmer's attractiveness was actually part of the discussion because of ROU_Xenophobe's claim that Kilmer would be "unacceptable" and c) why do I even both because you and all your little buddies are cherry-picking comments and then lying about both the content and the context and basically you should be perpetually ashamed of yourselves
posted by Optimus Chyme at 7:07 AM on September 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


Someone is right for all the wrong reasons and someone is wrong for all the right ones.

Krilli stated a fact that is true with the media. They do pay attention to beautiful people more than unattractive people. But the way Krilli went about it was wrong. The post links to a story and then gives off an impression that Oh yeah the lady is pretty and this is the only reason anyone should care. Instead of the Media sounding like a bunch of jerks, Krilli shifted the blame to himself.

As for the call out, the message was needed but the call out wasn't. A PM to Krilli stating:

" Hi, your FPP seemed sexist. What gives?"

is really all that was needed.

The reply to the PM would have been:

"Oh I'm sorry I was only stating that American Media is more likely to write a story about an attractive person doing something rather than an unattractive person because beauty sells papers. "
posted by Mastercheddaar at 7:25 AM on September 23, 2009


Krilli stated a fact that is true with the media.

Not until this callout thread. his original comment was (paraphrased) "I haven't read the article yet; I'm about to. She is strikingly beautiful."

They do pay attention to beautiful people more than unattractive people. But the way Krilli went about it was wrong. The post links to a story and then gives off an impression that Oh yeah the lady is pretty and this is the only reason anyone should care. Instead of the Media sounding like a bunch of jerks, Krilli shifted the blame to himself.

Uh, krilli did not post the FPP and the FPP is not about how the lady is pretty.

As for the call out, the message was needed but the call out wasn't. A PM to Krilli stating:

" Hi, your FPP seemed sexist. What gives?"

is really all that was needed.


what

okay here just, i don't know, read this
posted by Optimus Chyme at 7:33 AM on September 23, 2009


Read the threads PercussivePaul so helpfully linked to and then come back and talk like adults. If you're too lazy to do so, then do the rest of us the favor of staying out of the discussion.

I understand your frustration, but writing comments like the above doesn't facilitate a nuanced discussion on this complex subject.

If the goal is to educate people, demanding that they spend at least a day reading several long essays and then calling them names if they don't and then topping that off with an encourage shut up fails spectacularly encouraging others to consider your point.

Clearly, education may not have been the goal here and that's fine, but then it prompts me to ask "What was the goal?" Because the only one I can see just another devaluing of humans beings, while further widening of the chasm between those don't understand sexism and those who do.

To me, this whole thread and its insistence that krilli must be crucified is pretty ugly and a sad state of affair. Sexism is of course bad, but equating a poor comment on website with all the ills that sexism has and will bring cheapens the discussion and pushes away those most in need of a bit of enlightenment about the issue.

krilli, your points about her beauty affecting coverage of the story are interesting and good fodder for discussion, but you never really brought them up. Instead, you reduced that line of thought to a single sentence which is very easy to misinterpret and when called it on (whether that call out was right or wrong) you didn't go anywhere with those points, but instead chose to get down in the trenches about the sexism issue.

I so annoyed with all of you I'm putting my pants back on.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:34 AM on September 23, 2009 [13 favorites]


with an encourage shut up fails spectacularly encouraging others to consider your point.

Should be: "with an encouragement to shut up fails spectacularly at convincing others to consider your point"
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:45 AM on September 23, 2009


The only "CJ" I saw was the one Optimus Chyme started at the top of this page. Props to the moderators for nuking the inane/derailing comments from the FPP, and shame on the rest of you for jumping in to heap scorn on another user. I used to think these "callouts" were entertaining, but actually they are the single worst feature of MetaFilter.

Double shame on the male participants; when a man says "oh, I know, sexism and objectification of women is such a problem, I'm so with you on that", he's saying it to ingratiate himself with the women listening and get that much closer to getting into their pants.
posted by Maximian at 7:45 AM on September 23, 2009


Double shame on the male participants; when a man says "oh, I know, sexism and objectification of women is such a problem, I'm so with you on that", he's saying it to ingratiate himself with the women listening and get that much closer to getting into their pants.

Whaaa?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:47 AM on September 23, 2009


Double shame on the male participants; when a man says "oh, I know, sexism and objectification of women is such a problem, I'm so with you on that", he's saying it to ingratiate himself with the women listening and get that much closer to getting into their pants.
posted by Maximian


sounds like something an ugly person would say
posted by Optimus Chyme at 7:53 AM on September 23, 2009 [6 favorites]


Did you know that the Colombian army issues tweezers to its troops in lieu of razors? Most of them have such sparse beards that they just pluck them out every few days.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:58 AM on September 23, 2009


he's saying it to ingratiate himself with the women listening and get that much closer to getting into their pants.

That has not been my experience. Your world sounds unpleasant.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:59 AM on September 23, 2009 [16 favorites]


Jesus, people, let's all take a walk. Stretch your legs, get a little fresh air. It's stifling in here.
posted by ocherdraco at 7:59 AM on September 23, 2009


Optimus Chyme: "The truth is that I am not particularly sexist, for instance.
posted by krilli at 3:17 PM on September 22

Well, you think so, which is all fine and dandy. But if you ask the guys holding up monkey puppets at anti-Obama/birther/teabagger rallies, they tell you that they're not racist. Maybe they even, in their deepest hearts, believe that they are not racist.

But you engaged in some pretty egregiously sexist behavior. You took a thread about a whistleblower and immediately made the disucssion about her looks. And not in the "hey American Conservative only published this because she's hot" or whatever but rather the simple - and stupid "she is hot that is all" sense. If that's not sexist - the reduction of an accomplished, intelligent woman with quite a story to tell us into a simple vessel for sexual desire - than I don't know what the fuck is.
"

maybe cut the guy a little slack?

holy shit.
posted by Gravitus at 8:00 AM on September 23, 2009


If only it was that easy, Maximian.
posted by rocket88 at 8:00 AM on September 23, 2009


what

okay here just, i don't know, read this
posted by Optimus Chyme at 7:33 AM on September 23 [+] [!]


Ok this made me laugh! The snark is strong in you. You are classic Mefi sir... never change.
posted by Mastercheddaar at 8:01 AM on September 23, 2009


I can't believe there are people who genuinely believe and will throw down over the idea that it's NOT sexist to judge a woman solely by her appearance, especially in the context of her achievements.

People, it's not that it's offensive to REALIZE that someone is attractive. What is offensive and DOES make women (rightfully) uncomfortable is the idea that our bodies are ALWAYS legitimate topics of discussion and judgment, regardless of the context. Because no matter what we do or say, our bodies are ALWAYS how we are defined before all other characteristics, and they are always considered to be not fully ours or our business alone, but within the public domain and thus always open topics for discussion.

This attitude is why random men I've never seen before in my life feel totally fine approaching me on the street at telling me that I'd be prettier if I smiled more, or that they like my hair colour but next time they think I should dye it (their favorite colour). Is it offensive that they merely observe my hair colour, or my facial expression? No, what's offensive is the assumption that they should get a say in what I do with my face or hair. That I totally value their opinion on these things which are the most relevant things in my life. It's particularly frustrating to face this in the context of my work, when I'm actually working my ass off to, like, accomplish shit, and contribute something meaningful to my community and the world? And I'm sorry, but dudes, discussing the physical charms of various male celebrities is not the same thing and does not afford you an understanding of how pervasive and infuriating this shit is in the day to day lives of non-celebrity women. The one thing Sibel Edmonds and I have in common is that neither of us makes our (current) living based solely on our looks - yet it still considered okay for people to make comments that imply that we do, by making our appearance the focus of the conversation rather than our skills or hard work.

What frustrates me isn't that krili felt that a woman was attractive. What frustrates me is the context and the sense of entitlement behind him deciding that his judgment of her attractiveness was the most relevant and interesting thing about the article, and thus the only thing worth commenting on.

WHEW. Okay, I had to get that out. I'm done now.
posted by ellehumour at 8:08 AM on September 23, 2009 [27 favorites]


when a man says "oh, I know, sexism and objectification of women is such a problem, I'm so with you on that", he's saying it to ingratiate himself with the women listening and get that much closer to getting into their pants

Do these women's pants make my ass look big make me look like an ass?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 8:13 AM on September 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


What frustrates me is the context and the sense of entitlement behind him deciding that his judgment of her attractiveness was the most relevant and interesting thing about the article, and thus the only thing worth commenting on.

I'm curious and asking in all seriousness: What makes you know that's what is going on in this situation?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:18 AM on September 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


I got a suggestion for Ellehumour. Next time some random guy says something like change this or smile more, pick out some physical trait you feel he need to improve and then tell them what it is. I think it would be funny if you told a guy that he would be more attractive if he hit the gym more and the twinkys less.
posted by Mastercheddaar at 8:29 AM on September 23, 2009


Read the threads PercussivePaul so helpfully linked to and then come back and talk like adults. If you're too lazy to do so, then do the rest of us the favor of staying out of the discussion.

Heh. Read a few thousand comments first, then you can discuss this.
posted by smackfu at 8:40 AM on September 23, 2009


Actually, it's 4500 comments. Yikes.
posted by smackfu at 8:41 AM on September 23, 2009


@ Brandon Blatcher: Uh, what makes you know that it isn't? The context that the comment was made in is pretty clear. The rest, to me, seems like that Occam's razor thing the kids are always talking about these days.

Anyway, does it really matter what the intent was when the impact of the comment was so disruptive and frustrating and clear?

@ Mastercheddaar: yes, but if I do that then I am a totally unreasonable bitch, and it is justified that he say all kinds of nasty things to me and I don't like to participate in that kind of confrontation, generally speaking. My choice becomes either open myself up for criticism, insults, and possibly worse (attempted or outright assault have been cases when I've shot down guys over this kind of thing before - seriously, I Could Tell You Horror Stories), or quietly accept some privileged bullshit until I can make a graceful escape.

In case you haven't gathered, both these options suck. Which is why this is a problem!
posted by ellehumour at 8:51 AM on September 23, 2009 [12 favorites]


Amen, ellehumour. Just... yes.
posted by muddgirl at 9:10 AM on September 23, 2009


goatse
posted by Damn That Television at 9:13 AM on September 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


> Heh. Read a few thousand comments first, then you can discuss this.

Here's a condensed version, for those amongst us who haven't time to do the hard yards.
posted by arachnid at 9:16 AM on September 23, 2009


Read the threads PercussivePaul so helpfully linked to and then come back and talk like adults. If you're too lazy to do so, then do the rest of us the favor of staying out of the discussion.

Yeah, I don't have any disagreement with you but that's going a bit far and isn't something I would classify as laziness.
posted by haveanicesummer at 9:33 AM on September 23, 2009


BB: I'm curious and asking in all seriousness: What makes you know that's what is going on in this situation?

Not speaking for ellehumour, but I'd put it as sense of entitlement that takes it for granted that it's somehow important or helpful or, at best, harmless, to give voice to one's reaction to a woman's appearance, a propos of nothing, in a public forum. Several comments above explain how it's NOT harmless.

It's possible of course that some people who make these kinds of remarks don't get that Metafilter actually is a very public and heterogeneous forum, not a private hangin' out with friends chatroom.

Also, thanks to the people who've said that those previous gender threads inspired them rethink. It's helpful to be reminded that conversations about touchy topics can be productive. I'm sure those people can't just be trying to get into my pants. They've never even met my pants.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 9:42 AM on September 23, 2009 [5 favorites]


Leaving aside derogatory insults, everybody should insist: stupid unthinking responses exacerbate doofishness, obviously. Let's ontologically verify each catchphrase, unless nattering ninnies' ill-thought language ingratiates. Never guess, unless sure.
posted by waraw at 9:55 AM on September 23, 2009 [4 favorites]


If only there was some easy way to remember that...
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:59 AM on September 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


> Heh. Read a few thousand comments first, then you can discuss this.

Yeah, obviously my suggestion was over the top, but reading a few comments in this thread and actually thinking about them instead of responding with sophomoric crap like "But she is beautiful!" would suffice.
posted by languagehat at 10:32 AM on September 23, 2009


Hoppitamoppita
posted by Kabanos at 10:33 AM on September 23, 2009


Double shame on the male participants; when a man says "oh, I know, sexism and objectification of women is such a problem, I'm so with you on that", he's saying it to ingratiate himself with the women listening and get that much closer to getting into their pants.

Yes, because we are all brainless little idiots that would hop in the sack with any smarmy, insincere con artist that flatters us in any way. The "my hero" complex - *bats eyelashes.*

Get a grip. Some guys are saying that because they are evolved, they get it.
posted by madamjujujive at 10:35 AM on September 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


I'm not going to rethink anything coz somebody wants to pull the "i know more than you do about what you're REALLY thinking" card on people. I think a lot of people want to frame odd resentments all the time in political ways and I am so out of the whole "listening to that" game.

That said, I think the "public forum" issue really gets to the heart of a lot of angst about these matters (and something that's helped me understand these things.)

The whole "audiences" thing is much more useful to me as a "why you should shut up about this" litmus then the whole "this is really meaning this which is an adjunct of this which is a substrate of this which is related to how this other dude--not you!--said about this" which makes my head ASPLODE.
posted by Non Prosequitur at 10:37 AM on September 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


The context that the comment was made in is pretty clear.

That's my point here.

To you it's perfectly clear what's wrong with the comment, but to those who say those comments, it isn't very clear at all. That, to me, is one of the central issues here, where you have people viewing the same situation in different lights and both insisting that their way is right and everyone goes away mad and hasn't learned a thing.

Anyway, does it really matter what the intent was when the impact of the comment was so disruptive and frustrating and clear?

I think it should, because otherwise you're crucifying people who didn't intend harm, rather than reaching out and educating them as to what's gone wrong.

Not speaking for ellehumour, but I'd put it as sense of entitlement that takes it for granted that it's somehow important or helpful or, at best, harmless, to give voice to one's reaction to a woman's appearance, a propos of nothing, in a public forum.

Ok, lets take it a step further: How is that a sense of entitlement?

I ask because I said something very similar to krilli's comment when I saw Valerie Plame testifying about the CIA leaks. It was something along the lines of "Wow, she's stunningly beautiful" and I'm honestly wondering what the harm was in saying that.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:43 AM on September 23, 2009


Double shame on the male participants; when a man says "oh, I know, sexism and objectification of women is such a problem, I'm so with you on that", he's saying it to ingratiate himself with the women listening and get that much closer to getting into their pants.

This thing that you said is a dumb thing, and it's kind of chafing to have that be the next thing to come out of someone's mouth after praise for our work as mods because it makes me worry that I'm actually doing a really bad job but am living in Opposite World and just haven't realized it yet.

I'm certain there are plenty of sleazy no-account motherfuckers out there who live under rocks and can't tell a woman from a glory hole except that you have to be marginally more polite to the former at first, &c, but if you're one of them please be a pal and don't try and convince the world that the majority of us who aren't living that spectacular subterranean dream are riding on the same gross circuit. Ech.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:55 AM on September 23, 2009 [35 favorites]


I'm certain there are plenty of sleazy no-account motherfuckers out there who live under rocks and can't tell a woman from a glory hole except that you have to be marginally more polite to the former at first, &c, but if you're one of them please be a pal and don't try and convince the world that the majority of us who aren't living that spectacular subterranean dream are riding on the same ugly circuit.

That was a strikingly beautiful sentence.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:58 AM on September 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


What frustrates me isn't that krili felt that a woman was attractive. What frustrates me is the context and the sense of entitlement behind him deciding that his judgment of her attractiveness was the most relevant and interesting thing about the article, and thus the only thing worth commenting on.

Man, I don't like being said to have a "sense of entitlement". That actually hurt a bit.

A sense of what exactly is behind you deciding to comment on my personality?

And ellehumour, did you see the deleted comments? Did you see them?
posted by krilli at 11:04 AM on September 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


BB, several people, including myself, have gone out of our way to point out what is harmful and problematic about Krilli's comment - even, in my case (and possibly in others?) at the expense of a certain extent of peace of mind.

I, and every woman everywhere, deal with sexism on a daily basis. You seem to think that it is my responsibility to educate people who make comments that make me uncomfortable - it is not. I cannot force you or anyone to understand, because I cannot force you to accept my experiences as legitimate. If you (and Krilli, etc) were honestly invested in learning anything at all, you'd see that I and several others have already answered the questions you are asking. We've already explained where the harm is, we've pointed out how it manifests a sense of entitlement.

And frankly, I've had what feels like exactly this conversation with countless other people, so please excuse me if I seem a bit exasperated at the thought that voicing my opinion apparently means I'm obligated to have it YET AGAIN, with YET ANOTHER group of people who apparently aren't willing to actually think about things themselves without me holding their hand through the entire process.

Please don't make your ignorance, or the ignorance of others, my responsibility. No one is being "crucified" here. Someone made a thoughtless comment and he's being held accountable - that's not "crucifying", it's fair.

Heaven forbid I ever say "this makes me uncomfortable as a woman" and have that statement actually be respected and considered legitimate without having to gently guide the person who is making me uncomfortable through an Intro To Womens' Studies class. Heaven forbid any woman's experiences ever be considered as valid as the assumptions made by men.

Okay, I really need to disengage from this argument, because I had WAY too much coffee this morning and I'm already too jittery for this. I apologize if I've been unclear - but I'm not going apologize for "crucifying" someone or not attempting to explain things thoroughly.
posted by ellehumour at 11:06 AM on September 23, 2009 [25 favorites]


when a man says "oh, I know, sexism and objectification of women is such a problem, I'm so with you on that", he's saying it to ingratiate himself with the women listening and get that much closer to getting into their pants.

Oh, so that's why I didn't say anything.

Here I was thinking it was because I was exhausted from putting up vinyl siding, rather than my not wanting to get into girlpants.*

*Exception: girlpants on twiggy emo twinks, rawr.
posted by CKmtl at 11:08 AM on September 23, 2009


Heaven forbid we be charitable in interpreting each other rather than making charges we can't bother to back up. Not everyone made uncomfortable by something gets a ready-made legion stomping out the draw-bridge in their defense but those magic words ("sexism!") sure put a kibosh on any attempts at clear thinking, especially on the gray. Clearly it's the people paying attention to what you're sayinig who're the assholes here, not the people (whom you so fairly mix them with) who walk up to you and comment on your hair (wtf?) Your caffeine jitters are not krilli's problem.
posted by Non Prosequitur at 11:14 AM on September 23, 2009


krilli, I think the entitlement may have been evident when you breathlessly bounded into the thread and said ( and admittedly, I'm slightly paraphrasing here): "Hay guise, is this the part of the internet where we talk about how important my boner is?"
posted by "Elbows" O'Donoghue at 11:16 AM on September 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh, fine - Krilli, before you work yourself up even more, maybe you should consider that there's a certain level of entitlement involved in DEMANDING that a person justify their reaction to your comment, and implying that they MUST be ignorant of the situation (because they disagree with you) - especially since in my initial comment here, I dissect and explain exactly how I interpreted your remark to be a really entitled thing to say:

"...The one thing Sibel Edmonds and I have in common is that neither of us makes our (current) living based solely on our looks - yet it still considered okay for people to make comments that imply that we do, by making our appearance the focus of the conversation rather than our skills or hard work.

What frustrates me isn't that krili felt that a woman was attractive. What frustrates me is the context and the sense of entitlement behind him deciding that his judgment of her attractiveness was the most relevant and interesting thing about the article, and thus the only thing worth commenting on."

On the other hand, thanks for proving my point, I guess.
posted by ellehumour at 11:22 AM on September 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


The issue of addressing the sexism in krilli's comment (and subsequent justifications for the comment) has been handled expertly in this thread by Optimus Chyme, dersins, LobsterMitten, and ellehumour, to name a few.

What I would like to address are the people who are urging the above posters to back off krilli, insisting that the community is immature if we cannot let his comment slide, or that this call-out is unnecessary, or that we should be ashamed for heaping scorn on krilli, or that we should just cut the guy some slack. A few of the users posting these sentiments have admitted that the original comment was indeed sexist, but their point is that it's just not that big a deal.

There is no delicate way to say this: You are wrong. It is a big deal. Your insistence that it's not is a backhanded way of saying, "All you people objecting to sexism are out of line. Women need to just sit down and shut up and take it already, cause you don't have it that bad."

Well the reason we don't have it as bad as we used to is because the women (and their male allies) who came before us stood up and spoke out. And they did so in the hopes that we would one day reach equality. Not in the hopes that one day it would be way better and then the men could go back to telling us to sit down and shut up again.

In one of the threads PercussivePaul linked above, occhiblu quotes and links to Kate Harding's epically awesome post "On Being a No-Name Blogger Using Her Real Name" For those reluctant to open another tab, I'll repost what are (to me) the most powerful points (and it pains me severely to cut so much out of Ms. Harding's brilliant essay, but I know that as long as it is it is unlikely it will be read by most people):

*****

But here’s where all this victimy girl shit concerns you:
• every time you don’t tell your buddies it’s not okay to talk shit about women, even if it’s kinda funny;
• every time you roll your eyes and think “PMS!” instead of listening to why a woman’s upset;
• every time you call Ann Coulter a tranny cunt instead of a halfwit demagogue;



• every time you say, “I don’t understand why thousands of women are insisting this is some kind of woman thing”;
• every time you tell a woman you love she’s being crazy/hysterical/irrational, when you know deep down you haven’t heard a word she’s said in the past 15 minutes, and all you’re really thinking about is how seeing her yell and/or cry is incredibly unsettling to you, and you just want that shit to stop;
• every time you dismiss a woman as “playing the victim,” even if you’re right about that particular woman…

You are missing an opportunity to help stop the bad guys.


‘Cause the thing is, you and the guys you hang out with may not really mean anything by it when you talk about crazy bitches and dumb sluts and heh-heh-I’d-hit-that and you just can’t reason with them and you can’t live with ‘em can’t shoot ‘em and she’s obviously only dressed like that because she wants to get laid and if they can’t stand the heat they should get out of the kitchen and if they can’t play by the rules they don’t belong here and if they can’t take a little teasing they should quit and heh heh they’re only good for fucking and cleaning and they’re not fit to be leaders and they’re too emotional to run a business and they just want to get their hands on our money and if they’d just stop overreacting and telling themselves they’re victims they’d realize they actually have all the power in this society and white men aren’t even allowed to do anything anymore and and and…

I get that you don’t really mean that shit. I get that you’re just talking out your ass.

But please listen, and please trust me on this one: you have probably, at some point in your life, engaged in that kind of talk with a man who really, truly hates women–to the extent of having beaten and/or raped at least one. And you probably didn’t know which one he was.

And that guy? Thought you were on his side.


*****

(all emphasis is hers)

So maybe these call-outs are annoying to you, maybe you're tired of seeing people address sexism in-thread and you wish we could all just ignore it and move on, maybe you're irritated by reading the same arguments over and over again. So be it. Please feel free to flag and move on, and to ignore MeTa to your heart's content. Just don't tell people offended by sexism to sit down and shut up and take it.
posted by philotes at 11:28 AM on September 23, 2009 [34 favorites]


I just want to add that, on top of everything I am saying and ellehumour is saying and other people are saying in regards to thoughtlessly sexist comments on this sight...

This isn't a personal issue or an academic issue. It is an issue that directly affects Metafilter and the quality of the posts and discussions here. I know that a few well-regarded contributors have given up on Metafilter because of the boyzone issues already discussed, and I think that's one of the reasons so many of us are "piling on" krilli. I don't want to lose any more well-respected, thoughtful contributors because they feel tired of having to constantly defend themselves or their entire race/sex/gender, or constantly work to carve out a space where they can be treated like a real person and not an object.
posted by muddgirl at 11:30 AM on September 23, 2009 [10 favorites]


We're brought out some pretty big guns here and seen somewhat harsh definitions of my personality and civility. Before I stop I am going to ask people to read and consider my original comment before they judge me, and also to try to see my intentions. I'm asking this for myself - mostly to put the request out so I can know that it is there.

This is what I said:

While I read up on the case and background: That is a strikingly beautiful woman.
posted by krilli at 11:39 AM on September 23, 2009


Yeah, you shouldn't have made that comment. You should have read up on the case and background and then commented about something other than her striking beauty.
posted by The World Famous at 11:41 AM on September 23, 2009 [16 favorites]


Now that that's settled, let me get back into the kitchen and make you some pie.
posted by waraw at 11:42 AM on September 23, 2009


While I am waiting for the pie: You are a strikingly beautiful woman.
posted by smackfu at 11:45 AM on September 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Which just made me think of this:
Lisa: Alright, look I did not ask for the stupid award.
Beth: If I were you I'd be upset too. I mean you? Cute? Come on.
Lisa: I am not entirely uncute. I... I... Why are you being nasty about this?
Beth: I'm not being nasty. You're pretty. You're very pretty in fact. But cute, I don't think so.
Lisa: Well I wasn't aware there was a difference.
Beth: Well of course there is a difference. Pretty means pretty. Cute means pretty but short and/or hyperactive - like me.
Lisa: Uh huh. What is beautiful?
Beth: Beautiful means pretty and tall.
Lisa: Gorgeous?
Beth: Pretty with great hair.
Lisa: Striking?
Beth: Pretty with a big nose.
Lisa: OK, you're making this up.
Beth: That's ridiculous, why would I make it up?
Lisa: Voluptuous?
Beth: Pretty and fat.
Lisa: Sexy?
Beth: Pretty and easy.
Lisa: Exotic?
Beth: Ugly
posted by smackfu at 11:47 AM on September 23, 2009 [4 favorites]


This is what I said:

While I read up on the case and background: That is a strikingly beautiful woman.


What if you hadn't found her to be strikingly beautiful, krilli? Would you have felt it okay to point out that you considered her only average looking or that you thought she was ugly? Do you really think that it is less objectifying to express your approval of someone's looks to the world than your disapproval? It may be, at first glance, less insulting, but it is not less objectifying. Which is why at second glance, it is also still insulting.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:56 AM on September 23, 2009 [12 favorites]


Calling someone 'striking beautiful' is egregiously sexist? I know it was dumb, but really, if this is your bar, maybe you need to unclench a little and perhaps venture out in the world.

It's a contextual thing.

* If the post is about a woman who is pursuing something that pertains to her appearance -- maybe she's introducing a new physical-fitness regimen, or she's a makeup artist or fashion designer, or she is an actress in a high-glamour role - then we're all going to be looking at how she looks anyway.

* If, however, the post is about the contents of her brain -- what the hell do her looks have to do with it in the first place? Sure, it's a nice thing to say, but if someone's effectively standing in front of you holding out their Masters' Thesis or making an intellectual argument, and you comment on their appearance, it implies that you're completely ignoring the very intellectual argument they were trying to make for the sake of contemplating their appearance.

Look at it this way. Say you made a post to the Blue about how you had discovered incontrovertible proof about the existence of Atlantis, and you had a whole bunch of links that you'd slaved over for months, and were presenting this to all of us. And the very first comment was someone saying, "....wow, I bet you've got a really big dick."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:07 PM on September 23, 2009 [4 favorites]


I think the uproar is less over the objectification of women and more over thread-shitting. People would have been just as annoyed had you posted:

While I read up on the case and background: phfthphfthphfthphfthphfth!!!!!

It's just as relevant to the thread and only slightly less intelligent.
posted by JeffK at 12:09 PM on September 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


While I read up on the case and background: That is a strikingly beautiful woman.

And I had a banana for lunch. Which is to say "who cares that you think she's pretty?" The thing that's so weird about that statement is that not only is it not starting a discussion, it's just sort of ... I dunnow a weird non-sequitor in the ways that it's not mildly pesty. Again, I think this is a low-end deal as these things go, but the fact that you, krilli, don't seem to really grok it is the only reason I think it's being belabored here.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:10 PM on September 23, 2009 [10 favorites]


wow, I bet you've got a really big banana
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:14 PM on September 23, 2009


Krilli, I think everyone here has in fact seen that comment and what they've been trying to tell you for the past several hundred responses is what was wrong with the comment and the fact that you said it. This discussion is not based upon a misinterpretation or misreading of what you said- it's based upon the fact that it's becoming increasingly obvious that you, and some others in the thread, might not understand why exactly what you said was so problematic.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 12:16 PM on September 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


I bet you've got a really big banana

a strikingly beautiful banana.
posted by scody at 12:22 PM on September 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


The kind of banana I'd like to cover in ice cream and fudge and chopped nuts IF YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN.



Anybody wants me, I'll be at Dairy Queen.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 12:26 PM on September 23, 2009


Jessamyn's analogy actually didn't quite work for me, because the "strikingly beautiful" comment made me go "Meh - tonedeaf;" but the "I had a banana for lunch" comment made me go, "Oh, man - I'm starving. I could really go for a banana right now. Oh, hey - I bought bananas yesterday. Mmmmm, bananassssss!"
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:28 PM on September 23, 2009


Has anyone said "I'd strike that" yet?

Please don't.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:36 PM on September 23, 2009


Double shame on the male participants; when a man says "oh, I know, sexism and objectification of women is such a problem, I'm so with you on that", he's saying it to ingratiate himself with the women listening and get that much closer to getting into their pants.

Nah, it's not "men" that do this, just creeps like you.
posted by futureisunwritten at 12:48 PM on September 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


And I had a banana for lunch.

Exactly! Some people need to try a little harder to put the "filter" into MetaFilter. As I'm typing this, I've got probably 19 totally irrelevant stream-of-consciousness lizard brain semi-thoughts churning around in my head. But I don't feel some irresistible compulsion, or even a mild temptation, to spew them all out at you in all their incoherent, beside-the-point glory.

I kind of can't imagine anyone going into that thread and typing, "While I read up on the case and background: gee, I wonder where my car keys are" or "While I read up on the case and background: I used to have a briefcase just like that one!"

But "While I read up on the case and background: OMG tehHAWTtie" is somehow relevant?

Every time this issue comes up, it reminds me of this several-week period many years ago at my job, where it seemed like every day or at least a few times a week, as I walked into my office hallway, two senior male coworkers (and these are supposed to be educated, "thinking" people) would routinely survey and make some comment about my attire. "Very pretty dress . . . but I'm not sure about those shoes." or "Nice outfit" or "Oh, I see you're wearing the PINK shirt today." Totally innocuous remarks, no leers -- absolutely no "hey baby" or harassing subtext.

And yet, it was so grindingly tiring and objectifying and discomfiting and demeaning, day after day, week after week. I couldn't get dressed for work without thinking about the potential reactions or hating the idea of facing that goddamned Project Runway-esque gauntlet. I finally told them to knock it the hell off because "oddly enough, I didn't take out $20k in grad school loans to become a terminally-degreed clotheshorse."

If you do happen to routinely register details of people's appearance (lots of us don't really register that stuff, believe it or not), fine. What exactly makes it so difficult to keep these earthshaking observations to yourself like the other 5,000 random thoughts that cross your mind every minute?
posted by FelliniBlank at 12:58 PM on September 23, 2009 [14 favorites]


I bet Dormant Gorilla wants a banana right about now.
posted by ericb at 12:59 PM on September 23, 2009


Two thoughts: I wish I were the kind of person who can hit the "remove from recent activity" button because as tired as I am of having discussions like this, I'm almost more tired of reading them - they make me feel sad and discouraged; I'm hungry now, and I'm going to heat up some leftover Indian pizza.
posted by rtha at 1:06 PM on September 23, 2009


And yet, it was so grindingly tiring and objectifying and discomfiting and demeaning, day after day, week after week.

Oh god, yes, tiring is exactly the word. I enjoy dressing nicely, but I hate the fact that every time I get dressed in the morning, I automatically sort through my upcoming meetings for the day, so I can predict if the same group of men who tend to comment on my appearance will have something "special" to say about this skirt or that dress or those boots. And the thing is, I work in an art museum with lots of liberally-lefty-progressive-feminist-sensitive-artist men, and I STILL have to do this inner calculation every day about if and when I'll have my appearance called into the conversation, and by whom, and if I'm in the mood to discuss how tall I am YET AGAIN, for the thousandth time in my adult life, CAN WE JUST TALK ABOUT THE PROJECT, PLEASE, or would you like me to imply that your cock looks great in those pants the way you just implied that my ass looks great in this dress?

Seriously. Every woman in this society is aware that her looks are being judged every day, in ways that are subtle and ways that are not-so-subtle, in ways that are intended to be pleasant, and ways that are intended to be demeaning, in ways that are sometimes flattering and in ways that are sometimes gut-wrenching, and in ways that are in no way comparable to the general experience of men in society.

Some men actually get this. These men are awesome, and have achieved the appreciation and love of the women in their lives. Some men don't get this. These men are less awesome, and will have to keep doing without.
posted by scody at 1:13 PM on September 23, 2009 [9 favorites]


Maximian:
Double shame on the male participants; when a man says "oh, I know, sexism and objectification of women is such a problem, I'm so with you on that", he's saying it to ingratiate himself with the women listening and get that much closer to getting into their pants.


Maybe the worst part about this comment is that it really implies that women are just making up all this sexism shit and they're a little bit crazy and paranoid but don't worry because MEN know what's really going on and MEN understand that the little ladies need to relax and just go make me a sandwich or something but gee golly my erection is awesome so maybe I'll lie to her (cuz there's nothing wrong with that) and go 'Oh yeah suuuuuure I believe you now take off all your clothes hotstuff' because that's normal and real and how MEN ought to behave.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:18 PM on September 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


"It's not really a mushrooms kind of song."

No, it's not. That year was probably the last year of trying hard to go all out for New Years, the last hurrah. There was a regular dance party at the Blind Pig, called "The Bang!", that was the first regular hipster dance party in the Metro Detroit area (a claim that seems ridiculously parochial now). It had been going for about four years at that point, and I knew the guys who organized it—I'd written about the first one in my old column. They'd made mix tapes full of stuff like the Larry Levan "C is for Cookie" mix and random Brit pop and hair metal—"Common People" was on every single one of them, because the crowd always went nuts. But by four years in of monthly shows, well, I could have told you the whole play list and most of the order.

Anyway, we got there at around 10pm. Despite nominally being on the list, I had this idea that I was going to stand in line with the rest of the folks because that'd make a better column. It was Michigan, so that meant that it was a crisp, clear night of about 3°, and the line went all the way down First Ave. to the Kiwanis Thrift (open only on Saturday mornings between 9:00 a.m. and noon). I was shivering in a Mao jacket, jeans and a t-shirt; I knew I'd likely be too hot once I got inside. My girlfriend at least had a winter coat—some sort of camel hair affair—but had worn a skirt and had her legs clenched together like the cold could get her pregnant.

We had planned on a long night, sharing a fat eighth of mushrooms in the car, and a joint of fluffy long-haired weed grown in a neighbor's basement. The plan was to peak about midnight in a glorious flood of flashing lights and love for the world, along with the greatest hits of the '80s and '90s.

Instead, we were stuck in line. A long, cold line that wasn't moving—the club was at capacity, even my purported listedness couldn't get me in. It'd been packed since 9:00 p.m., when the doors opened. So, we stood, shuffling to keep warm, secretly cheering every time someone was thrown out. Someone would come staggering, arms splayed and head forward, grabbing the wall for support, and we'd move one step closer to Being Inside. Far in front of us, we could see friendships fray and dates end as one person from a party was admitted, the rest held in frigid purgatory.

"I'll wait for you inside the door!"

We made friends with the couple in line behind us, Tony and Liz. They were scruffy and underdressed, him in a green army jacket and jeans, her in some cute babydoll number that had gone stiff in the cold. We bummed Parliaments, which was lucky because it was my girlfriend's brand and I've never really learned how to inhale cigarettes. They'd moved up from somewhere warmer, maybe Kentucky or Missouri, so that she could finish her pharmacology degree and he got a job at an Ypsi liquor store. They were sweet and earnest and new to the bite-ass cold of Michigan winter.

About an hour in, having moved up four spaces in line, we decided we might not ever make it in. I'm garrulous and sweating, the mushrooms are starting to edge out the pot. Tony and I figure, fuck it, we might as well be drunk in line; the girls press $20 into our hands and say they want something fruity, something we don't have to mix. We nip down to the liquor store on Main, where a tremendously fat and hairy dude college student is spending his New Years behind the counter, selling champale and doing Word Jumbles from the magazine rack. He's got the door open, despite it being freezing out, and I can't tell if the waffling haze is atmospheric or chemical interference. The electronic eye keeps going ping-pong, ping-pong, ping-pong.

"Jesus, I don't know what to get, man. I can barely think."
"It's got to be liquor, right?"
"What does Liz like?"
"Pucker, I think."
"Fuck that."

At Tony's liquor store, they've just gotten this new liquor, Hypnotiq. It's blue and comes in a frosted bottle; it looks classy, and I'm too absorbed with flipping a nip of Goldschlager over and over like a snow globe. They've got Hypnotiq here, and when Tony points to it, the man mountain says, "Hip-no-teek" like Hercule Poirot. "Girls love that," he says, wagging his eyebrows. I start giggling, Tony shoves the paper bag under his arm, and I start lecturing him about how the real virtue of that liquor store is the 89¢ liters of Ukranian beer with the soccer balls under the cap, the only place in town to get them, as we jog back to the girls.

The girls are glad to see us, and Hypnotiq tastes like gin and Squirt. While we were gone, the line moved four yards at least, but we can still only hear the music when someone gets kicked out. Four bars of Elastica, four bars of Journey. We can see that the club next door has cycled through their line, and we start to think about abandoning this. But that club, Club Millennium (the millennium now several years past), used to be a furniture store, and you can see the women dancing listlessly in the front store window on gray upholstery, paid to gyrate while skimmed by lasers, looking like a diorama designed to highlight the spiritual emptiness of rave culture in post-industrial America.

Liz says, "There's no way I'm going in there," but I go off to investigate anyway. The club is less than a third full, the men in shiny shirts and the women in metallic mini skirts, Ann Arbor's venue for all of the displaced Long Islanders who come to school at U of M. The thick-neck doorman wants $50, "Because there's a champagne toast at midnight."

"Fuck that, I'd rather freeze," says my girlfriend.

We're finally moving up after a large group of obvious teenagers are all thrown out. They're attempting to cling to the door in a giant clot, and one of them pukes on the bouncer as the bouncer pushes on his stomach to get him out. He's young and spindly, in jeans cut off at his knees and a sleeveless Crass t-shirt. Some of his friends are thrown out with him, and hang around, then throw a bottle at the door before scattering. The kid sits against the alley wall opposite the door and keeps shouting incoherent abuse. Some girls look out the door at him, say they'll meet him later, and then go back in.

He keeps saying that they shouldn't have thrown him out, he was drunk before he went in. One of his buddies comes back and leaves him with a bottle in a brown bag, and he's alternately sipping on it, muttering, and crying. It's a soft sob, but it's hard to watch while getting ready to party. He's sitting, and we're waiting, for about 20 minutes, watching the sobbing transition to shivering, before he lies face down, starts puking, and then stops moving. People start wondering if they should do something—it's cold enough to freeze to death out here, and the kid is wet with sweat, tears, beer, whatever. Someone a few places ahead of us asks if she should help him; her date says, no, I know him, he's an asshole.

We keep drinking, we finish the bottle of Hypnotiq. My girlfriend and I keep saying, "No-teek, no-teek" over and over. The kid is still there, not moving. I go up and ask the bouncer about him, they say they called the cops on his dumb ass 45 minutes ago. I'm starting to go into the horrible hallucinatory fugue where I'm sure he's going to die, and I'm sure that it will haunt me forever, and we can't just let someone die, right?

So, I make an incoherent cell call to 911, where after every answer I mentally congratulate myself for keeping it together.

"What address, please?"
"Well, he's not moving, so we're concerned he may have drunk too much." ("Way to keep to the point.")
"What address, please?"
"He's wearing cut-offs and a t-shirt." ("That way, they'll know who it is.")
"What address, please?"
"Why do you want to know where I live? I'm not at home! I have a CELL PHONE." ("I think I handled that pretty well.")

Jeez, no wonder so many people die. 911 operators are totally condescending.

An ambulance rolled up some 20 minutes later, 20 minutes full of impatient, impotent fussing.

"Do you think I should call them again?"
"No, no, you did great, dude. Totally responsible."

The EMTs roused the kid, who immediately tried to bite them, and wrapped him in a warm blanket. Part of his pants tore off when they lifted him; his piss had frozen them to the ground. While this was going on, one of the guys from The Bang came out and distributed noise makers and party hats to the line; it was quarter-to and we didn't figure we'd make it in, and we didn't want to ditch Tony and Liz. We celebrated the New Year out there in the cold, a rippling count-down throughout the line. We could hear a little of the music from inside, and Slade backed our shitty Auld Lang Syne.

We finally got to go in about twenty minutes past midnight. Both my girlfriend and I were peaking pretty hard, and the stifling humidity and rank heat hit us hard. Pressed against throngs of sloppy writhing hipsters, unable to get a breath of clean, clear air for all the cigarette smoke and hot panting, with the light show and disco ball and Santa hats and some sort of spinning prize box, it was too much without everyone else singing along to "Common People," and much too much with "Common People" hollered like an unironic football chant.

We made brief apologies to Tony and Liz (for months after, his name would show up on my caller ID and I'd have no idea who I knew named Tony) and drove my shitty Acura back home, to sleep fully clothed on top of the sheets.
posted by klangklangston at 1:22 PM on September 23, 2009 [15 favorites]


Well, in that case, I totally would have left right with you, too, "Common People" or no.

Also, this...
"What does Liz like?"
"Pucker, I think."
"Fuck that."

...is the opening scene to a screenplay by now, I assume?

posted by scody at 1:26 PM on September 23, 2009


krilli, you're so tone deaf I don't think you'll get this, but we as a community lost Occhiblu and others for shit like you pulled there, except multiplied by others echoing that inane shit time and time again. It is so demoralising.

I'm sorry you've been made the subject of this instance personally, but I had sincerely hoped we were WAAAAAY beyond comments like that at the beginning of a really interesting thread.

Just the simple fact that we lost a contributor of the calibre of Occhi should give anyone pause for thought, a little reflection, a little humility, and if you didn't know her then google.
posted by Wilder at 1:27 PM on September 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


Maybe the worst part about this comment is that it really implies that women are just making up all this sexism shit

Sorry, you beanzed it. I was referring only to the pretense at sympathy I see coming from (straight) men all the time. Sexism obviously exists and is a complicated issue, but loud, vague prattle about it from men in the presence of women often represents shallow attempts to get attention. Pardon my cynicism.
posted by Maximian at 1:40 PM on September 23, 2009


"...is the opening scene to a screenplay by now, I assume?""

Heh. Sure. I mean, for a while I prided myself on being the only writer I knew in LA who wasn't working on a screenplay, but as that's not going so well, might as well join 'em. Unless somebody here wants to make it into a very special episode of The Mentalist.

It's at least a better story than the New Years I spent as the only guy on acid at a party of a bunch of people I knew from high school, because the other guys that were going to do acid with me didn't show up or got too drunk too fast. That was the Y2K party, and it really sucked.

I guess this is all my, "Howd'ya like them bananas?"

posted by klangklangston at 1:42 PM on September 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Me: I'd put it as sense of entitlement that takes it for granted that it's somehow important or helpful or, at best, harmless, to give voice to one's reaction to a woman's appearance, a propos of nothing, in a public forum.]

BB: Ok, lets take it a step further: How is that a sense of entitlement?


OK, so here's the status quo: some people consider it so normal it's unremarkable, the act of publicly announcing their assessment of somebody's attractiveness.

Your question: How is that a sense of entitlement?

I have two reactionsn to this:

1. Speaking generally and not to your Plame comment: it takes for granted that such public evaluations are a net good, or at best, that there's no harm. A speaker with no sense of entitlement that his/her public evaluation was a net good or harmless would, when informed that it was in fact harmful, apologize and likely not to do it again. (And perhaps respectfully request, but not demand or expect, a pointer for where to find out more info on why it's harmful. Eg, I appreciate the way you asked for further clarification.) Rather than defend, defend, defend (which has the cumulative effect of demanding). Wouldn't they?

2. Nothing teaches like experience. I think a lot of hetero men (not all, of course) have no idea what it's like to hear those remarks day in, day out. Obviously, you personally are not responsible for the pervasiveness of such observations. At the same time, there's an aggregate effect from your remark combined with all the others, here and IRL. I sometimes imagine a day where girls and women take it for granted that it's positive or at least harmless to announce their judgments of random men's appearances. It wouldn't be a compassionate day, but it would be more efficient at illustrating the harm than thousand-comment threads.

Not snarkily -- do we need to explain why being the passive targets of those remarks is exhausting and demoralizing? I understand that it would not have been your intent that any women reading your comment be its "target," but that is the impact for a lot of us. To quote LobsterMitten again, intended or not, there's cultural subtext: "and it's a good thing she's beautiful, because she's succeeding on a performance measure that's significant."
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 1:43 PM on September 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


Maximian: "Maybe the worst part about this comment is that it really implies that women are just making up all this sexism shit

Sorry, you beanzed it. I was referring only to the pretense at sympathy I see coming from (straight) men all the time. Sexism obviously exists and is a complicated issue, but loud, vague prattle about it from men in the presence of women often represents shallow attempts to get attention. Pardon my cynicism.
"

False consensus bias. Additionally, fuck off.
posted by kathrineg at 2:02 PM on September 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Sorry, you beanzed it. I was referring only to the pretense at sympathy I see coming from (straight) men all the time.
posted by Maximian at 1:40 PM on September 23


Did you know even straight men - who are not one homogeneous hivemind, contrary to your assertion - can have mothers, sisters, daughters, and (hold on to your butts this is the crazy part if one is an aspie goon shut-in) friends whom they don't like to see reduced to the status of objects?

As strange as it may seem to those unnamed individuals who learned everything they know about women from PUA Youtube videos and rape manga, there are actual real honest-to-goodness men with friends who are women. Sometimes they even talk about feminist issues without trying to have sex with them.

Your idea - that a man could only care about sexism and misogyny to get laid - is so gross that I hope beyond hope that it's an elaborate troll. Because that means you believe it.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 2:04 PM on September 23, 2009 [8 favorites]


I'm sorry you've been made the subject of this instance personally, but I had sincerely hoped we were WAAAAAY beyond comments like that at the beginning of a really interesting thread.

The problem is there is not as much "we" here as we might want. Heck, what tiny fraction of the existing userbase even read or comment in these MetaTalk threads? And the big ones were almost two years ago now. How many users have joined since then who have no idea? Someone the other day posted a Whatever happened to occhiblu? thread, and they've been around 9 months.
posted by smackfu at 2:04 PM on September 23, 2009


It's funny about these discussions, really don't want be sucked into them, but I find them too fascinating to pass up most of the time. Anyway:

BB, several people, including myself, have gone out of our way to point out what is harmful and problematic about Krilli's comment

I respectfully disagree. I think there's a lot of other shit that women have to unfortunately deal with that's getting loaded on krilli and that comment.

For instance, in your first comment in the thread you seem to be reacting as those the comment is all about judging a women solely on her appearance. I see nothing in that comment that indicates that. I see nothing that indicates krilli wants to possess her or control her or tell her she should smile more.

You seem to think that it is my responsibility to educate people who make comments that make me uncomfortable - it is not.

Then how does one get people to step making uncomfortable comments if they don't confront and educate?


And frankly, I've had what feels like exactly this conversation with countless other people, so please excuse me if I seem a bit exasperated at the thought that voicing my opinion apparently means I'm obligated to have it YET AGAIN, with YET ANOTHER group of people who apparently aren't willing to actually think about things themselves without me holding their hand through the entire process.

Speaking as black dude, no I'm not going to excuse you for pulling the "Oh go look it up" card. Either you want to change things or you don't. If you're tired or exasperated, ok, I understand that and sympathize with you on that front, but at the end of the day, there's still a person who doing something that harms or offends you and either you're going to take the time to work with them about it or not. The choice is yours.

I cannot force you or anyone to understand, because I cannot force you to accept my experiences as legitimate.

You don't have to, for what it's worth, I already believe your experiences are legitimate.

Heaven forbid I ever say "this makes me uncomfortable as a woman" and have that statement actually be respected and considered legitimate without having to gently guide the person who is making me uncomfortable through an Intro To Womens' Studies class. Heaven forbid any woman's experiences ever be considered as valid as the assumptions made by men.

No one said you can't do this or that, or say this or that or that you as woman shouldn't be respected. I find it odd that you're throwing in all this attitude and presumption that people are discounting your thoughts and feelings.

I asked a question (How is that a sense of entitlement?) and rather than answering it you proceeded to go down the path of speaking for every woman, telling me what I think your responsibility is (thanks), go on to say the harm has been explained, that it manifests a sense of entitlement (did you even read the question I asked?), then pull the "I've already explained this to other people, I can't do it anymore" card, call me ignorant and then finish up with solid round of "No one ever takes a woman seriously"

At this point, answering the actual question asked seems like it would have been easier.


Please don't make your ignorance, or the ignorance of others, my responsibility. No one is being "crucified" here. Someone made a thoughtless comment and he's being held accountable - that's not "crucifying", it's fair.

Nah, its crucifying because he already agreed to think more carefully about his comments, at which point everyone should be "Cool. So English isn't your first language? Where ya from? Do you guys go pantsless too?" In short people should move on. It seems like it's turned into an opportunity to vent about sexism, which while understandable, isn't really helpful.


On preview:
Bless you cybercoitus interruptus for giving a thoughtful answer. I'll chew on that and respond later, but seriously, thank you for taking the time to not only do it, but to treat it as the honest query that it was.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:12 PM on September 23, 2009 [5 favorites]


Hugs anyone?
posted by josher71 at 2:18 PM on September 23, 2009


: Seriously. Every woman in this society is aware that her looks are being judged every day, in ways that are subtle and ways that are not-so-subtle, in ways that are intended to be pleasant, and ways that are intended to be demeaning, in ways that are sometimes flattering and in ways that are sometimes gut-wrenching, and in ways that are in no way comparable to the general experience of men in society.

Yeah, prettymuch. Similarly, I learned at a very young age that my ideas would be ignored, dismissed, or downplayed more when I was the only female speaking up, because guys persist in the belief that a female "outdoing" them in any way is severely threatening to their Y chromosomes. As far as our society has come, such ideas are pervasive enough that they go unrecognized as problematic or belittling. This is why, when someone does or says something unwanted or unnecessary or offensive in reaction to my gender, I tend to do nothing about it. Just like most women.

The reason this discussion is even taking place on MeTa is that someone took the view that males of the MeFi microcosm might be able to understand, at the least intellectually. Someone had some hope that an entire community could possibly, just for once, 'get it.' Maybe. Please?
posted by zennie at 2:22 PM on September 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Maximian: "Pardon my cynicism."

you misspelled douchebaggery.
posted by shmegegge at 2:27 PM on September 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Hugs anyone?

Hugs were invented by the patriarchy as a way to convince women to press their boobs against men.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:41 PM on September 23, 2009 [4 favorites]


Then how does one get people to step making uncomfortable comments if they don't confront and educate?

Oh, however will people learn if I don't educate them. Such a dilemma.

Seriously, though, please don't tell me how I "should" respond to sexist commentary; that's incredibly patronizing. And also:

At this point, answering the actual question asked seems like it would have been easier.

I actually did answer your question. In my first comment here. Which was why I was so frustrated that you immediately demanded a further explanation of a point I'd already explained:

"What frustrates me is the context and the sense of entitlement behind him deciding that his judgment of her attractiveness was the most relevant and interesting thing about the article, and thus the only thing worth commenting on."

And you know what? I'm not giving you "attitude". I'm disagreeing with you, and being as civil as I can while simultaneously trying to explain to you why this kind of shit bugs me. You know who's giving attitude? My beau "Elbows" up there. Strangely, no one is accusing him of being antagonistic, or asking that he sacrifice his time and peace of mind in order to educate people. Wonder why.
posted by ellehumour at 2:46 PM on September 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


Sys Rq: Hugs were invented by the patriarchy as a way to convince women to press their boobs against men.

Sidehugs to the rescue!
posted by shakespeherian at 2:47 PM on September 23, 2009


Okay, perhaps I was mistaken, and every sympathetic comment from men about sexism is genuine. I'm sorry for painting with such a broad brush. But it is certainly the case that many men will pay lip-service to concerns about sexism and then carry on being sexist. Some men I know in real life behave in this way, and conversations I've had with my female friends have borne this out. Is this not a real issue?

I shouldn't have been so flippant earlier in the thread. My entire point was more along the lines of "first cast the beam out of thine own eye" and "callouts suck". But I see now how I've been part of the problem. I was trying to point out what I percieve as some general hypocrisy, but that wasn't a good idea and was not particularly constructive. Broadly accusing mefites of this attitude was pointless. I'm sorry for angering anyone I angered.

you misspelled douchebaggery.

No, I'm pretty sure "cynical" is the right term for "generally distrustful of others' motives". I guess that could make me a "douchebag" as well. But I'll try to work on that.
posted by Maximian at 2:49 PM on September 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


loud, vague prattle about it from men in the presence of women often represents shallow attempts to get attention.

Cruising MetaTalk probably ranks among the least effective ways of gaining womanly attention. Like, barely a peg above standing on the street corner wearing a "My Name's Bob / Wanna Fuck?" sandwich board.
posted by CKmtl at 2:50 PM on September 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


I know a black guy. I have a coloured friend.

When he was young, everybody was being really racist to him in this white, white country up north. It was pretty bad, he said. People didn't say hello, talk to him, were less polite to him than everyone around him, shop staff avoided servicing him.

When he got older, he realized that he had been so paranoid about people being racists that his face was scrunched up into a mask of fear and anger. His shoulders were clenched. He was filled to the brim with bias, and he scared people off.

When he relaxed a bit and started acting more casually, turns out that most everyone was real nice and friendly and almost nobody gives a shit what color he is, but that people do think scary people are scary.

(Context: I live in Iceland. There is basically only racism against Polish people and Asians, not blacks. The unspoken majority opinion re. color is "Blacks are cool because they are in movies and NBA.", because we have very selectively imported only a certain segment / cave wall projection of American entertainment culture.)
posted by krilli at 2:57 PM on September 23, 2009


Lesson: if only you women would stop scowling, you'd be so much prettier!
posted by scody at 3:00 PM on September 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


:D
posted by krilli at 3:01 PM on September 23, 2009


Wait, what? Are you actually suggesting that... Women? Bring sexist remarks? On themselves?I am seriously having a WTF reaction to your latest comment, krilli, so I'd be grateful if you could explain further. Preferably without the "some of my best friends are _____" framing. It might just be an American sensitivity, so you might not be aware of it, but that phrase (and the variant you just used) is seen by most as the weakest of weak sauces when it comes to proving that one isn't racist/sexist/whateverist.
posted by shiu mai baby at 3:06 PM on September 23, 2009


I know about that phrase, I was making fun of myself when I used it.

It was just a semi-related story about how you find what you're looking for.
posted by krilli at 3:07 PM on September 23, 2009


his face was scrunched up into a mask... His shoulders were clenched... and he scared people off

It is sometimes difficult for Mrs. IRFH to tell when I am angry, because I have been in chronic pain for years, and so it is not uncommon for me to be scowling in pain without even realizing that I am doing it. So I find that it's helpful to occasionally remind her that it's not really so hard to tell when I'm being an asshole, because it will be a day ending in "Y" and I will be talking.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:08 PM on September 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


My beau "Elbows" up there. Strangely, no one is accusing him of being antagonistic, or asking that he sacrifice his time and peace of mind in order to educate people. Wonder why.

It's cause we all knew he had a penis. Not because he's hilariously calling someone else entitled for asking why exactly you're calling them entitled enough to want to change THEM according to your little froth-spewing-episode. This point is just proven by the insane dragging-ins of people claiming that a woman who's crying is always right, someone's commenting on their clothes, jesus what the fuck. I'm not going to stop telling someone they look awesome today especially if they say I made their day just coz some person on the internet is weirded out by it. Sigh. Why can't we deal with it like normal human beings sensitive to other human beings rather than bring the binary-gender pickaxe into the picture.
posted by Non Prosequitur at 3:10 PM on September 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


A speaker with no sense of entitlement that his/her public evaluation was a net good or harmless would, when informed that it was in fact harmful, apologize and likely not to do it again.

But is it really a sense of entitlement if he met it as an comment on how the media would treat the story?

Nothing teaches like experience. I think a lot of hetero men (not all, of course) have no idea what it's like to hear those remarks day in, day out.

I would agree with that.

I understand that it would not have been your intent that any women reading your comment be its "target," but that is the impact for a lot of us.

Understandable, but that gets into meaning and intent and who's responsible for what. I can't say that I have a definitive answer to that, but it seems like a huge grey area.

To quote LobsterMitten again, intended or not, there's cultural subtext: "and it's a good thing she's beautiful, because she's succeeding on a performance measure that's significant."

That's a culture subtext, but is it the cultural subtext going on here?


Seriously, though, please don't tell me how I "should" respond to sexist commentary;

I don't believe that happened and if it did, rest assurred it was inadvertent and I apologize for doing so.


"What frustrates me is the context and the sense of entitlement behind him deciding that his judgment of her attractiveness was the most relevant and interesting thing about the article, and thus the only thing worth commenting on.

I respectfully submit that you're reading a lot into that comment. He already explained what he meant by the comment (however poorly he phrased it), so I'm not sure why you're assigning other motives to it.


You know who's giving attitude? My beau "Elbows" up there. Strangely, no one is accusing him of being antagonistic, or asking that he sacrifice his time and peace of mind in order to educate people. Wonder why.

I'm not sure what you mean here.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:12 PM on September 23, 2009


zennie, which fucking troglodyte world do you live in where men are threatened in their Y chromosome by woman-put-forth ideas? What the hell this thread is srsly frustrating me.
posted by Non Prosequitur at 3:12 PM on September 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


binary-gender pickaxe

That made me laugh out loud. Probably not for the reasons you were going for, though.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:13 PM on September 23, 2009


Ok, humor noted. Still can't figure out how your story relates to the topic at hand, however. Unless you really are saying that we wimminfolk are all het up over nothin' because we're being hysterical wimminfolk just looking for an excuse to be offended. Or some such condescending bullshit. If I'm reading you wrong, though, I again invite you to clarify your point.
posted by shiu mai baby at 3:14 PM on September 23, 2009


This point is just proven by the insane dragging-ins of people claiming that a woman who's crying is always right, someone's commenting on their clothes, jesus what the fuck. I'm not going to stop telling someone they look awesome today especially if they say I made their day just coz some person on the internet is weirded out by it.

Those pants make your cock look great, if a bit small.
posted by scody at 3:15 PM on September 23, 2009


It's not only krilli who's getting a bad rap.
*I figured this thread could use a dose of funny.
posted by gman at 3:16 PM on September 23, 2009


> It was just a semi-related story about how you find what you're looking for.

WOMEN ARE NOT LOOKING FOR SEXIST CRAP. THEY GET IT ALL THE TIME ANYWAY.

Jesus.
posted by languagehat at 3:17 PM on September 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


ellehumour your first comment in here had some really good points and it made me sit up and listen but now you're kind of swinging at anything that moves. But thanks for helping me understand a little better where some folks are coming from on this. Point of view is really is everything. I still don't think some peoples reaction to krilli's comment was proportional but at least I understand your point of view better now. This is without a doubt complicated and as a father of a 20 month old daughter it matters to me, but I think it would be good if people understood that for alot of men, a comment like While I read up on the case and background: That is a strikingly beautiful woman seems very innocent and I think krilli saw it that way as well, I really think a person's intentions need to be a part of the equation. Giving people the benefit of the doubt is a great way inculcate mutual trust. If I could get my point of view across as deftly as you did with your first comment I have no doubt much of our disagreement would vanish. I hope that I have.
posted by nola at 3:17 PM on September 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Let's talk about it, scody. Is it ever okay to compliment a woman? If I tell the lady in the reception that she's the best-dressed person in the university and she responds well to it I'm the asshole because _____ . If I tell my ex-roommate that her facebook picture is amazing and she tells me "you just made my day" I'm an asshole because _____ . If a woman tells another woman something looks great on her is that raging misogyny? I can't even keep track anymore.
posted by Non Prosequitur at 3:18 PM on September 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


shiu mai baby, sincere thanks for asking me to clarify.

I presented "my black friend" 99% as an allegory on how any human can get into trouble inside themselves, and in their immediate environment, if they fail to recognise their bias and impact on the environment. Being "the only black guy" in a Nordic country is surely a very challenging task in this regard.

My unspoken point is that I do feel there are folk in this thread who are all het up over nothin' because they're being hysterical folk.
posted by krilli at 3:20 PM on September 23, 2009


Ooh, dude, don't do that.
posted by klangklangston at 3:24 PM on September 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


Is it ever okay to compliment a woman?

There is such a thing as social context. It's something you sort of have to learn by living.

The point of this MeTa, though, is that a MetaFilter post about a whistleblower who happens to also be a woman is not the correct social context in which to make comments about the physical attractiveness of that woman.

I don't get why we think we have to solve all of the sexism problems in everyday interactions through this thread. I would be satisfied if all we solved was the urge of one or two MeFites to make that sort of comment on MetaFilter. Can we stick to that?
posted by The World Famous at 3:25 PM on September 23, 2009


scody: upon re-reading your comment. I'm sorry you feel that you have to select your wardrobe carefully according to whom you're going meet just coz they might say something. You shouldn't have to put up with that. But I think it's very very strange to decide that we can't .. talk about .. things anymore. Can I say did you get a haircut or is that problematic too? Weird.
posted by Non Prosequitur at 3:25 PM on September 23, 2009


I do feel there are folk in this thread who are all het up over nothin' because they're being hysterical folk.

Not that I don't disagree that some people seem more angry than maybe my personal moral compass would indicate is appropriate, but I feel that you're taking the piss at this point and I'm sort of done listening to you. The other boy mods may be able to help you.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:26 PM on September 23, 2009


I do feel there are folk in this thread who are all het up over nothin' because they're being hysterical folk.

atrolsezwut?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:28 PM on September 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think krilli's trying for funny and anyone who doesn't find it funny is just a humorless bitch, right?

Signed,

humorless bitch
posted by rtha at 3:32 PM on September 23, 2009


krilli you need one of two things right now:

1. to stop
2. a timeout
posted by shmegegge at 3:35 PM on September 23, 2009


But is it really a sense of entitlement if he met it as an comment on how the media would treat the story.

But BB, how could anyone possibly take that meaning from the plain language of what he wrote? Sure, he explained it somewhat later, but acknowledged that his first response was to her attractiveness, and that he felt the need to share that.

People are saying "give Krilli the benefit of the doubt" but that's a separate issue from educating him why what he wrote would be read as offensive to many people.

(Which, frankly, becomes more difficult after My unspoken point is that I do feel there are folk in this thread who are all het up over nothin' because they're being hysterical folk..)

Sure, I don't think he was being intentionally hostile, so in that way I am happy to give him, personally, the benefit of the doubt and think he's probably a good guy who said something unintentionally sexist when meaning to make a comment about media treatment of (attractive) women.

However, when it comes to the comment itself, I think it's perfectly reasonable to read its plain language, which essentially pushes a lot of people's buttons because it speaks to the frequent objectification of women that many others here have spoken so eloquently about. And therefore, it was both a derail and an inappropriate comment.

Basically the issue is who has the burden of these situations-- should women bear the burden of giving every single comment the most deferential benefit of the doubt and assuming that something that seems sexist on its face is, in fact, not so? Or should it be on the person making the comment to ensure that his or her comment is not offensive to anyone?

Personally, I think it is perfectly reasonable to ask people to think through their statements to ensure that they are not facially sexist (or racist or whatever) and, in fact, express whatever more complex thought that they intended to express, rather than "wow, she's hot."
posted by miss tea at 3:38 PM on September 23, 2009


Let's talk about it, scody.

We've been talking about it, Non Prosequitur. You are drawing only the broadest of straw men from the conversation, which suggests to me that you are asking the question in bad faith.

This is in contrast to someone like Brandon Blatcher in this thread, who seems to me to be sincerely trying to discuss the specific questions of sexism, women's experience, etc., and so even as he's made statements that others have disagreed with, he's made it clear that he's reflecting on the answers and information he's received here.

I suggest that you read the (admittedly) epic Sexism On Metafilter and In Society threads linked to above, or at least re-read the answers from the women -- and a number of the men -- in this thread in a humble spirit of seeking to learn something about the experience of women dealing with the countless elements of male privilege that you take for granted every day (even if that something may be uncomfortable to you). Then come back and ask some real questions without the straw men, generalizations, and exaggerations.

Better yet, why not ask some of your fellow men in this thread about these questions? This is not me being snarky. I won't call them out specifically because I don't want to volunteer them for Consciousness Raising Duty, but it should be pretty clear that there are more than a few men right here who completely get what plenty of women here are talking about. Why not ask them what you're missing? Women are expected to have this "so, enlighten me already" conversation more times that you can possibly imagine. It's tedious and tiresome and some of us have been doing it for decades. Ask some fully enlightened guys to explain it for you.

On preview: I'm sorry you feel that you have to select your wardrobe carefully according to whom you're going meet just coz they might say something. You shouldn't have to put up with that. But I think it's very very strange to decide that we can't .. talk about .. things anymore.

I appreciate your compassion. (Again, not being snarky.) However, no one has suggested that it therefore follows that we can't... talk about... things. You are trying to discredit what numerous women and men have said about sexism through the obvious absurdity of a sweeping generalization that is not supported by the facts at hand.
posted by scody at 3:45 PM on September 23, 2009


OH MY GOD LAYDEEES KRILLI IS RIGHT!

We are just het up because of our crazy female ailments! Manual massage of our ladyparts in the only cure!

I'm seriously done here.
posted by muddgirl at 3:46 PM on September 23, 2009


Not quite done: "You're just being hysterical" fills out my Bingo card. What do I win?
posted by muddgirl at 3:49 PM on September 23, 2009 [4 favorites]


To my peeps here not gettin' it, which includes you, Krilli:

Look, first off, I'm not speaking for the women here. But I am speaking as a dude who's been called on the carpet, figuratively, here in MeTa about this stuff.

Here's how this goes: Krilli said something that pissed some people off. Right, got that? Some of them are women, some of them are dudes, but the overall context is sexism. Did Krilli want to piss them off? Nope, that's pretty clear. But the thing is, it's really rare to be able to argue someone out of being pissed off. Seriously, I've tried. I may try again—I've got that kind of stupid where sometimes you keep doing something stupid because you can't see how it's like all those other times you did something stupid until you're done doing it. BUT LEARN FROM MY MISTAKES.

Anyway, so we've got a fair number of people all, like, C'mon, don't be stupid. If I hadn't already gotten chewed out about it, I'd probably say, "Retarded," but like how I tried to break myself of the habit of calling shit "gay" except when I was 100% sure that everyone that I cared about would get that I was joking and doing it for a reason (or at least when I was prepared to put up with arguing over it), I'm now trying not to use "retard" so much, even though every time I think of Boston, the first words that come to my moth are "wicked retahded."

So, they're saying "Don't be stupid, man. That comment is stupid." And we all pretty much acknowledge that they're right, that it was stupid—you woulda phrased it differently if you could, and then we might be having a discussion, not an argument, but even then it's something that would have at least gotten a "Tha's ignorant," from at least somebody.

Now, the thing is, when you piss somebody off for saying something stupid, some people respond to that by wanting you to acknowledge and apologize, to submit to their righteousness. I know, I'm one of 'em, it happens. It's because in an argument, you can't punch someone in the face for being oh my god so fucking dense, no matter how frustrating it gets—especially over the internet. If they could go upside your head, they probably wouldn't keep belaboring the point. They'd just smack you, and that'd be the end of rhetoric.

But that's the impulse, at least for me, behind a whole lot of, "I shouldn't have to tell you why this is stupid. It's not my job to teach you not to be stupid." It's like, as an adult, you should get that. Otherwise, you should be smacked and shut up. It's not an attitude looking for thesis, antithesis, synthesis. It's a stop-being-stupid thing.

And so because they can't hit you, they're going to call you names and that frustration over whatever stupid shit you're up to is going to get fed into all the other times when they've been upset about something similar. I may think that the charge that language like this is a BIG DEAL is slightly overblown, but you're getting an escalation in language because you're not acceding to the basic point. This is because your dumbness becomes frustrating. If you'd just said, "Oh, yeah, my bad. I won't do that again. Thanks for the catch," instead of getting defensive and trying to tell people how to read things, you wouldn't have gotten as much blowback, except from a couple of folks who can get into that tone with a quickness (OC will bust your chops but good, but who am I to judge the fighty?).

So yeah, it would be a nicer place and maybe more productive if we had a learning circle after somebody says something that pisses you off, but getting pissed off is a legitimate reaction, and, like I said, you're not going to be able to argue somebody to not pissed off. And blaming hysterics? Dude, that's poking a bear with a stick, y'know? Watch yourself with English idiom, because even the most adroit of us still stumble pretty often.

And since there's a wide variety of voices here, you can recognize that both, say, BB and ellehumor have something valuable to say and that you'd best slap on that learning cap, because it's no one's fault but yours if you stay stupid.
posted by klangklangston at 3:49 PM on September 23, 2009 [5 favorites]


Boy, I got fake folksy and colloquial, didn't I? Sorry about that, y'all. Sometimes, it's just how I think.
posted by klangklangston at 3:53 PM on September 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Seriously, klang, it was like getting popped upside the head by Paula Deen. Mmmm. Buttery!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:55 PM on September 23, 2009


Sorry - Dean, ya'll.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:55 PM on September 23, 2009


"You're just being hysterical" fills out my Bingo card. What do I win?

A vibrator and some beautiful yellow wallpaper.
posted by scody at 3:56 PM on September 23, 2009 [16 favorites]


Boy, I got fake folksy and colloquial, didn't I?

Boy howdy did you ever!
posted by dersins at 3:56 PM on September 23, 2009


I read those threads. I read them when they happened. They drove me up the wall too. I don't like arguments like metatalk-style arguments that become a huge jumbled mishmash of resentment and high-horsing and god-knows-what-else. I know, the obvious response is so-what-are-you-doing-in-here. I only asked you about the whole compliment on clothes thing coz you were the one who brought it up. I find it strange is all. Again, with my two random examples above, was I the asshole there? I don't mind men answering it either.

Listen, I totally understand if a woman I want to hear from walks into a room and someone's like "you're hot" I'd be pissed, not just because it annoys her but because it's irrelevant and a fairly potent thing to drag into somewhere just like that. Like I said in my first comment here the way I think of it is not so much "thoughtcrime!!" as much as to what level something is verbalized and in what context. I also understand how "you're cute" is a buttonholing thing with condescending overtones. etc. etc. But when the response to all these threads on mefi tends to be "don't say X/Y/Z EVAR" ("so how'd you get started in this field?" because it may suggest that the woman is a three-headed hydra for being a woman in the field, or the world "bitch") and I turn around and men and women in real life in different continents are always saying that in all sorts of permutations to each other I just, I don't know, my head spins.

on preview: klang, what annoys me is never "don't say this." Sure, whatever, sorry, I was wrong. But what annoys me is the political baggage ("and I was also a major sexist for saying it!")
posted by Non Prosequitur at 3:57 PM on September 23, 2009


YOU BETCHA
posted by klangklangston at 3:57 PM on September 23, 2009


Pssst, IRFH: it's y'all. Since we're on the Southern pedantry kick and all.
posted by shiu mai baby at 4:02 PM on September 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


Oh, absolutely, smb! Just a typo. My bad. Word processors have made me a lazy, lazy little non-self-editor!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:08 PM on September 23, 2009


My unspoken point is that I do feel there are folk in this thread who are all het up over nothin' because they're being hysterical folk.

And just the other day someone was asking why occhiblu left.

Just because you say English is not your first language and it's possible someone taught you the word without explaining its history or meaning or why you shouldn't use it to specifically refer to women who are disagreeing with you, google the etymology of hysterical
posted by hydropsyche at 4:11 PM on September 23, 2009


I do feel there are folk in this thread who are all het up over nothin' because they're being hysterical folk.

So the thing is, there are a few different readings someone could take to this comment:

1. You sincerely think there are hysterical women-folk in here who don't know what they're saying or are making ridiculous arguments because their tempers have gotten the better of them, as opposed to the more level-headed folks not prone to such flightiness or whatever.

2. You're fucking around with coded language to get a rise out of folks.

3. You're sincerely trying to express the value-neutral notion that non-specific and non-grouped people in this thread are over-reacting to some of the issues at stake, and you've stumbled unknowingly onto one of the worst possible ways to express that.

I'm trying to be a little open-minded and generous and shit today because spending several hours in an airport makes me naturally inclined to be otherwise, so I'm going to go with the idea that we're mostly dealing with number (3) here, but you're free to clarify on that if you think you can do so without making things worse, which, honestly, generosity or not isn't seeming like the way things are going with this thread.

The generous interpretation here is that you are merely tonedeaf, that you really fundamentally don't realize how crappy some of the specific turns of phrase you've introduced into this discussion are to those who have heard them before on sundry occasions.

I'd say that the Stop Digging advice some folks have offered might be worth seizing on at this point, in any case; the previous discussions about this stuff are pretty good, are very much worth reviewing, and if you have time to keep coming back to this and dropping stuff like The Story Of The Black Guy Who Brought It On Himself or how folks are "het up" and "hysterical", you have time to start doing your homework and reading through those old discussions and maybe finding a way to calibrate your understanding of some of this stuff as perceived by others such that you can dial down the tonedeafness the next time it does come up. If you want to discuss this stuff in good faith without badly misunderstanding or being badly misunderstood, there's not really a shortcut, you're just gonna have to buckle down and do some self-education.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:22 PM on September 23, 2009 [12 favorites]


*sigh*

I tried, krilli.
posted by mediareport at 4:31 PM on September 23, 2009


Non Prosequitur - Accept some shades of gray. Is it an "asshole" thing, a "major sexist" thing, to tells someone they look good today? No. But the point here is, lo and behold, it's not always as simple and innocent a thing as you might have thought -- for example, we have a few anecdotes from women in here about how once you multiply that by five times a day, it gets old. It has the effect of reinforcing harmful gender imbalances (or however you want to characterize the norm that women are to be judged on their appearance). And it can have that effect even when the person saying it is a lovely, nonsexist, friendly kind fellow.

That's the claim. The claim isn't that men who comment on women's appearance are terrible, or personally sexist, or should never speak again, or that they should be strung up, or any other exaggerated strawman claim.

The claim is that apparently innocent compliments of that sort can add up, over time, despite best intentions, to an atmosphere that will choke women (or, some women) out of metafilter. Fill metafilter up with 10% or 20% comments on women's appearance and female users will be scarcer around here. This is practical advice, not an accusation.
posted by LobsterMitten at 4:31 PM on September 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


"klang, what annoys me is never "don't say this." Sure, whatever, sorry, I was wrong. But what annoys me is the political baggage ("and I was also a major sexist for saying it!")"

I'm on a jury now, and the judge keeps repeating to us the phrase, "Proof beyond a reasonable doubt is proof that leaves you with an abiding conviction that the defendant is guilty of the charges. The evidence need not eliminate all possible doubt because everything in life is open to some possible or imaginary doubt."

No one is saying that you should never say things, nor that there is always "political baggage." But I feel like you keep arguing for cases in which possible or imaginary contexts excuse something. You asked if you could compliment Scody on her hair or her clothes—No, honestly. You don't know her. She's never remarked on your clothes. It's rude to do so, and I can say that it's rude beyond a reasonable doubt. I don't need to exclude all possible situations in which that wouldn't be rude.

And if you don't like the political baggage, well, y'know what, there are a lot of people who hate that baggage. The way that they're trying to get rid of it is by not going places they need their bags for. I hate that I can get tarred as a sexist, but it's not women's fault—it's sexist assholes. So I try to not act like one unless I know, beyond a reasonable doubt, that people will get that I'm not a sexist asshole and won't perceive me as one.

I've complimented Scody's sartorial sense, but in a bar where we were meeting as friends and after clothing had been brought up as a topic. Because I didn't want to be an asshole.

Really, the secret might be to treat everyone as if you're trying to milk a freelance gig out of them. After they broach a topic, flatter them, but not before, and remember that relationships are long term things (so I might say that someone looks nice if I've established a couple months ago that it's OK to talk about clothes with them).

But, y'know, then there's my girlfriend. I've been dating her for about seven and a half years, and while she is attractive, she gets told that fairly often in a way that belittles her (especially from other women). So I try to be more careful about it, despite the fact that she knows it's with good intentions. And from reading this forum, I know that's not an uncommon thing. There's another MeFite who gets frequent comments on her appearance, and I don't think I'm ever going to be the type of pal who compliments her like that. At the very least, I find it tremendously boring, since she's got a lot of other pretty great attributes. In fact, there are a huge number of women on MeFi who I think are attractive, but, y'know, it's never really come up, for the following reasons:

—Most people, men or women, are attractive if lit properly.
—It's not really a two-way conversation.
—THERE ARE OVER 50000 OTHER THINGS ON MEFI THAT WE COULD BE TALKING ABOUT, so it just doesn't really come up.
—It's a pretty fraught area that I just don't want to have misinterpreted by women whom I'm friends with.
posted by klangklangston at 4:34 PM on September 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


Uncle klang shines up real nice when he's off the crack pipe, yes sir.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:37 PM on September 23, 2009 [5 favorites]


And let me cut off the rejoinder I can already hear brewing:

No, krilli's one comment doesn't amount to 10% of the comments around here. What I meant is that the reason we had those epic discussions before was over this practical question about what the norms of conversation will be here -- and in particular, what kinds of comments would get deleted because they eroded (even unintentionally) those norms. It seems to me the conclusion that was reached in those threads was that even lighthearted, ironic, friendly, well-intentioned joking around about "i'd hit it", or earnest comments about how beautiful some woman is in a thread about her national security whistleblowing, can be deleted because -- even though alone they are not all that bad -- they add up over time.
posted by LobsterMitten at 4:38 PM on September 23, 2009


I for one like Klang's beard.
posted by Bookhouse at 4:38 PM on September 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


I must quickly say that I did not realize what "hysterical" really means. And for that I am actually, honest to god, sorry.
posted by krilli at 4:42 PM on September 23, 2009 [4 favorites]


what annoys me is never "don't say this." Sure, whatever, sorry, I was wrong. But what annoys me is the political baggage ("and I was also a major sexist for saying it!")

Yes. And part of the problem with conversations like these is someone says, "that was a sexist comment", and a defensive "I am not sexist!" reaction kicks in. Which, yes, it's confronting to be told you've said something sexist, but you are not actually being called sexist (in this instance, anyway. Not everyone is good about calling out the behavior, rather than the person). You can be a decent, upstanding, well-intentioned person and still say something awkwardly that causes offense. And really, from what I've seen around here (and I've been around longer than my sign-up date indicates), generally people are pretty good about pointing out the behavior as a problem, rather than the person, at least in the early rounds.

I really think a person's intentions need to be a part of the equation. Giving people the benefit of the doubt is a great way inculcate mutual trust.

This is a good point, nola. It needs to go both ways in any conversation. When someone says, "that was a sexist remark", being confronted with a defensive "you're just a feminazi/fuzzy-headed liberal/hysterical/over-sensitive" reaction doesn't help, either. Conversations like this would have a better chance of not ending up in name calling if people used very precise phrasing when calling out (e.g. "Are you aware that your comment could be offensive/perceived as sexist") AND if people weren't assumed to "just have an axe to grind" when doing the calling out. Yes, the world is an imperfect and unfair place, and sometimes we do run into people with hair-trigger offense-taking reflexes. And sometimes we say shit that's offensive without meaning to, and ought to take a deep breath, check the defensive reaction, and attempt to learn how not to cause inadvertent offense again. (I say "we" because I'm absolutely including myself in the class of people who say things that deserve to be called out, even though sexism isn't usually the charge in my particular case.)

that frustration over whatever stupid shit you're up to is going to get fed into all the other times when they've been upset about something similar.

So very true. And as comments from LobsterMitten, cybercoitus interruptus, and klangklangston have pointed out, there is a huge weight of frustration on this front that many women carry every day. And knowing that, what's amazing to me isn't the amount of ire in this thread, but the amount of civility.
posted by EvaDestruction at 4:44 PM on September 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


See klang I won't agree with you there about the freelance-gig thing. If I meet a friend in a bar and she hasn't broached clothes I still think it's okay to say she's looking good. It really depends on the person and the type of relationship doesn't it. Whatever. I don't say these things on mefi. So I think I'm clear with that angle if my memory serves me right!!
posted by Non Prosequitur at 4:44 PM on September 23, 2009


It's a pretty good beard right now. I trimmed it, trying to look all respectable, as no doubt the only man in the history of America who was trying to get onto a jury. I've wanted to see the inside of deliberations since I was a kid, and even the tedious part is pretty thrilling to me.

I will say that when I came home from the first day of selection, that I did tell my girlfriend how surprised I was at how young and attractive both of the attorneys were, but that was another one of those, Hey, there's a thing that I coulda done if I was smarter and disciplined when I was young! conversations, with a bit of an aside about how of course they're attractive—they're LA Lawyers. They're probably cast rather than hired. And the judge looks like the dad from Family Matters (or Die Hard, depending on where you saw him first).
posted by klangklangston at 4:44 PM on September 23, 2009


May I explain?

I said this:
"My unspoken point is that I do feel there are folk in this thread who are all het up over nothin' because they're being hysterical folk."

It was terrible. I realize this now. However, please bear with me for just this one point, it was a response to this question by shiu mai baby:

Still can't figure out how your story relates to the topic at hand, however. Unless you really are saying that we wimminfolk are all het up over nothin' because we're being hysterical wimminfolk just looking for an excuse to be offended.

See how I took out the "wimmin" parts? I didn't like the harsh stuff directed straight against my personality and intentions. My point was to illustrate that what I was saying wasn't about women, just about misunderstandings and aggression ... but then I left "hysterical" in.

And the ship sank. (Which I truly hope isn't a metaphor for anything else than my humiliation.)
posted by krilli at 4:48 PM on September 23, 2009


I know a black guy. I have a coloured friend.

Holy shit, still digging!
posted by futureisunwritten at 4:49 PM on September 23, 2009


That's great, krilli. Now, I implore you to immediately, without hesitation, walk away from this thread.
posted by EatTheWeak at 4:49 PM on September 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Uncle klang shines up real nice when he's off the crack pipe, yes sir."

everybody knows its meth
posted by klangklangston at 4:50 PM on September 23, 2009


I have seen klangklangston in a variety of settings and with several lighting schemes. He is always strikingly beautiful. And I have on at least one occasion commented on his sartorial sense. Specifically, I noted that he was wearing the baseball cap associated with the team to which I swear allegiance.

of course they're attractive—they're LA Lawyers

Of course.
posted by The World Famous at 4:52 PM on September 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


Thanks for explaining, krilli.
posted by LobsterMitten at 4:56 PM on September 23, 2009


Yes, thanks from me, too. That's one instance that seems like a good candidate for the English-As-A-Second-Language file.
posted by scody at 4:58 PM on September 23, 2009


Thanks for the clarification, krilli. That actually kind of makes some sense. I can see how that could happen.

Now, try to extrapolate from that how maybe other things you have said here also come with more baggage than you previously understood. Such as that it's really not cool to make offhand comments about women's appearance around here. So take that idea, and like the other misunderstanding, instead of arguing the point, try to take it seriously as a norm we are trying to establish here for the benefit of the entire community.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:58 PM on September 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


"Specifically, I noted that he was wearing the baseball cap associated with the team to which I swear allegiance."

Up 4-1 in the top of the 3rd!
posted by klangklangston at 4:58 PM on September 23, 2009


Six to one! Just after I commented, two-run homer!
posted by klangklangston at 5:01 PM on September 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm on a jury now, and the judge keeps repeating to us the phrase, "Proof beyond a reasonable doubt is proof that leaves you with an abiding conviction that the defendant is guilty of the charges. The evidence need not eliminate all possible doubt because everything in life is open to some possible or imaginary doubt."

The judge for the trial I was a juror (alternate) on a few months ago said the same thing. A lot. Must be a thing they teach you in judge school.

Go Tigers!
posted by rtha at 5:10 PM on September 23, 2009


: zennie, which fucking troglodyte world do you live in where men are threatened in their Y chromosome by woman-put-forth ideas? What the hell this thread is srsly frustrating me.

What world? Oh, I live in DC.

OK. One example: Two men are replacing the washers in a faucet. I'm there too. It's a really old fixture that's put together in a way we haven't seen before. I take one look at it, and suggest taking a wrench and turning part of the handle, which to me looks like it is shaped for a wrench. They look at me, and continue fiddling with the thing. Fifteen minutes later, they finally try my idea, and are visibly frustrated when it works. Not embarrassed, not laughing... they're irked.

Repeat various forms of the above, ad infinitum, since my birth. You want to talk about seriously frustrating? Ask any female professional in a traditionally male field.

Not a troglodyte world, just reality.
posted by zennie at 5:19 PM on September 23, 2009 [6 favorites]


If the regularity of providence wasn't so strikingly beautiful I would happily vote for a team of stealth contributors to finagle a sexism/feminism/inappropriate comment callout every year just for the theatre-sports enjoyment of watching another herd of blinkered deludees gain some semblance of wide-angled vision. I like Mefi sometimes but I love some of you a whole lot. Thanks. xxoo
posted by peacay at 5:29 PM on September 23, 2009


I will admit to a totally appearance based bias for some women. It is this: the less attractive the woman news caster, the more seriously I take her. Why? Because I generally know this means she wasn't hired for her looks.

So when you have a Christiane Amanpour I tend to give her some credibility she may have not earned (used as an example only, since I know her work). I also take a Melissa Theuriau and pretty much write her off (again, only as an example since I know nothing about her).

Of course women like Greta Van Susteren and Nancy Grace are proof positive this is a crappy bias.

I wish the US was like other countries and a bit more honest about this. Rather than having a "newscaster," which to me, implies some level of professional journalism, I wish we had "news presenters," which implies someone articulate and attractive paid to read the news (and I presume from either sex).

Where this is most pronounced is with the Money Honeys. I seldom (read: I can't remember a time, but am unwilling to say never) where I have seen an unattractive woman giving financial advice or commentary.

Hell, even Joey Ramone wrote a song about Maria Bartiromo. Do you think he would have done this about Michael Sivy or Robert Reich?

Like it or not people base opinions off of looks. Should they? No. Do they yes? And yes, women have to deal with this more than men. And like someone commented above, this doesn't always work out to the woman's advantage (I really tried to find the comment to link to, but rereading this entire thread has been a bit much).

Sibel Edmonds has been a hero of mine, long before I ever knew what she looked like. It wasn't until the meta post that I ever saw a photo of her. The only previous coverage I've heard regarding her has been on NPR (where obviously you can't see what she looks like). She is admirable, honorable, and attractive. It's too bad the first two qualities couldn't have been highlighted first, and the last noted, but ignoring that she is pretty seems dumb.

Also, it seems shitty to me, that this objection comes up more often when discussing pretty/sexy/attractive women than it does when talking about the ugly ones. I bet a thread about Margaret Thatcher and her accomplishments, that happens to note that she wasn't the sexiest woman in Britain, wouldn't elicit an immediate metatalk call-out. But you know if she was hot and could pole vault it sure would.

This all said, I don't find Sibel Edmonds as so yummy that I am clamoring for her to be in FHM. I get the point of not bringing up how sexy she is, but I am missing the desire to retire to the shower. She actually kind of reminds me of my mom.

Let the transanal evisceration begin. You know, for being honest and pointing out these things are considerations, and the pretty people don't always get the world handed to them, and men have to sometimes deal with this as well.

p.s. what the fuck does hoppitamoppita mean?
posted by cjorgensen at 5:32 PM on September 23, 2009


But BB, how could anyone possibly take that meaning from the plain language of what he wrote?

I missed the original comments in the Meta thread and for some reason came to the conclusion that it was clear early on what his intention was. But perhaps I was mistaken?

People are saying "give Krilli the benefit of the doubt" but that's a separate issue from educating him why what he wrote would be read as offensive to many people.

On that I disagree just because if person A is giving person B the benefit of the doubt, person A bound to be less fighty when talking to B, which encourages B to actually listen and therefore learn. Nobody likes to be yelled at or thought of as bad and when they're approached in that manner, it's very human to get defensive, which gets in the way of actually have a discussion instead of an argument.

Basically the issue is who has the burden of these situations-- should women bear the burden of giving every single comment the most deferential benefit of the doubt and assuming that something that seems sexist on its face is, in fact, not so? Or should it be on the person making the comment to ensure that his or her comment is not offensive to anyone?

I don't think there's a single answer that fits all situations. It's probably better to be aware that this exists and be prepared to do bit of navigating for each individual instance.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:34 PM on September 23, 2009


Metafilter: overthinking a strikingly beautiful plate of beans
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 5:36 PM on September 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


"Go Tigers!"

8-1 in the 4th off a 2-run shot by Big Mig! We're doing it, folks! If we keep commenting, the Tigers may end up with more runs this game than they've had all season (it's been a dry season).

The judge had a notebook that he read from, so I assume that it's out there somewhere. I found something similar in the CITA, but I'm sworn to not actually do any research regarding what the law is or about the case while I'm serving (which is just insanely tempting, but I've held off so far), so I'm not gonna try to find an exact match.

I'm just glad we're done with voir dire, as the judge said the whole thing should take six days and voir dire took three, mostly because of douchebags trying to get out of jury duty wasting everyone's time. Like, seriously, Mr. Entertainment Lawyer, you're going to tell the judge that you don't know the difference between criminal and civil proceedings regarding compelling a witness to testify? That you just assume that anyone who, "I think they call it 'Pleading the fifth,'" is guilty?

Seriously, we had to waste an hour with this jerkoff being asked bright line questions (the judge even said "bright line") and him hemming and hawing about how he just had these preconceptions, man, before he had to answer the question about occupation, where it came out he was a lawyer. And sure, I'd bet he's a shitty lawyer, because a good lawyer should realize that the way off of the jury is to talk about something you did in law school makes you unfit to serve because you identify with the prosecutor or the defense counsel—they'll use their peremptory challenges to take you off in a second! Then you don't have to dick around with your fakety answers about how you're biased because of some constitutional issue or because you disagree with the reasonable proof standard.

Tigers update—9-1 in the 5th!
posted by klangklangston at 5:37 PM on September 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


I served on a jury when I was 18, klang. Loved it. It was very eye-opening about the limitations of the law. The city's lead prosecuting attorney was in the jury pool. Everybody got a good laugh about it. He got a lot of reading done.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:42 PM on September 23, 2009


zennie: ": zennie, which fucking troglodyte world do you live in where men are threatened in their Y chromosome by woman-put-forth ideas? What the hell this thread is srsly frustrating me.

What world? Oh, I live in DC.

OK. One example: Two men are replacing the washers in a faucet. I'm there too. It's a really old fixture that's put together in a way we haven't seen before. I take one look at it, and suggest taking a wrench and turning part of the handle, which to me looks like it is shaped for a wrench. They look at me, and continue fiddling with the thing. Fifteen minutes later, they finally try my idea, and are visibly frustrated when it works. Not embarrassed, not laughing... they're irked.

Repeat various forms of the above, ad infinitum, since my birth. You want to talk about seriously frustrating? Ask any female professional in a traditionally male field.

Not a troglodyte world, just reality.
"

This happens to everyone. You think you're the first person to have an idea turned down and that turned out to be right? I worked as a commercial construction superintendent for 12 years and had that shit happen daily. They are not irked you are a women and that you were right, they're irked that they were wrong. Simple as that. I mean this in the nicest way possible really.

My wife and I are both into fixing up our house, our cars, our possessions, etc... We are both very handy and both have our own sets of tools that we like and chose to suit our needs. She gets irked when I recommend a certain approach and I get irked when she recommends a certain approach.

More often than not, we let each other figure out what to do without the peanut gallery chiming in. If I want her help, I ask for it. If she wants my help, she asks for it. It's not a pissing match. We want to learn a solution on our own terms. Sometimes this is alone, sometimes we work together on the project.

Don't necessarily assign motives to others actions. You don't know what they are.
posted by Gravitus at 5:50 PM on September 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Did Occhiblu really quit because of boyzone? Can somebody point me to this, because I missed it.
posted by Marnie at 5:53 PM on September 23, 2009


For what it's worth I don't think the onus is on zennie to prove this [devaluation of female opinion] happens, it kinda does obviously, even if this particular example is mistaken. The mixed up jumbling of everything was annoying me back when I wrote that and she just put it in a really stark and clear-cut way that was obviously not accurate.. so again, shades of gray.
posted by Non Prosequitur at 5:54 PM on September 23, 2009


Can somebody point me to this, because I missed it.

I assume here, although she didn't even post in that thread.
posted by smackfu at 6:12 PM on September 23, 2009


because a good lawyer should realize that the way off of the jury is to talk about something you did in law school makes you unfit to serve because you identify with the prosecutor or the defense counsel

There was a guy in our jury pool who had: been a prosecutor; been a public defender; is now a (private) criminal defense attorney. The judge asked him if he thought he could be objective. He answered that regarding the case itself, yes, but he wasn't sure he'd be able to keep from second-guessing the decisions of the prosecutor, defense attorney, and the judge herself. He really wanted to serve on a jury, he said, but knew it was unlikely he'd ever get picked. The judge didn't make either attorney use up a challenge - she dismissed him with thanks.

And while I am very happy that your Tigers are doing so well, the Giants have taught me that even so many runs, if acquired early enough in the game, cannot keep a team from snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. YMMV, of course, and I hope it does.
posted by rtha at 6:19 PM on September 23, 2009


Also, people doing the lulzy "strikingly beautiful" comments in other threads can stop it right fucking now.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:26 PM on September 23, 2009 [4 favorites]


: They are not irked you are a women and that you were right, they're irked that they were wrong. Simple as that.

Um, no. Sorry for my lack of storytelling finesse, but that's not what happened. Of course people get frustrated when they're wrong, but I am around these guys enough to be able to observe the differences in how they interact with other guys and how they interact with women. And I know the two men in question well enough to know how they respond to each other's suggestions. One of these things is not like the other.

Frankly, it's rather presumptive to tell me it's all in my head, whether you're trying to be nice about it or not. I have my own set of tools as well, thank you.
posted by zennie at 6:36 PM on September 23, 2009 [9 favorites]


zennie, while I agree with your overall sentiment against misogyny and I understand your anger, I do not think there is anything about the "Y chromosome" or the biological nature of men that causes some of them to be threatened by ideas from women. I think that it is sexist to claim that men are genetically incapable of listening to the ideas of women. I would also urge consideration of the fact that there is more to being a man or a woman than genetics.
posted by Danila at 6:47 PM on September 23, 2009


Is it ever okay to compliment a woman? If I tell the lady in the reception that she's the best-dressed person in the university and she responds well to it I'm the asshole because _____ . If I tell my ex-roommate that her facebook picture is amazing and she tells me "you just made my day" I'm an asshole because _____ . If a woman tells another woman something looks great on her is that raging misogyny? I can't even keep track anymore.

Let me make it simple for you, Non sequitur.

When you told the lady in reception that she's the best-dressed person in the university, were you interrupting her in the middle of her trying to give you a message?

When you told your ex-roommate that her facebook picture was amazing, was she in the middle of a story about how she is applying for her master's?

When you heard one woman tell another that "something looks great on you," did that woman interrupt the other woman when she was in the middle of an involved story about how her boss was looking down on her?

My bet is that no, you weren't interrupting those people in the middle of trying to discuss something more serious. And so that is why in THOSE situations you weren't being an asshole. But if they HAD been trying to get you to focus on something more important and you instead responded with "your hair looks cute," THEN the fact that you were ignoring the very serious thing they needed you to focus on because you were just standing there thinking they were pretty would have pissed them off.

In short: are you also paying attention when they're saying something serious? Yes? Good. Compliment away, then. But if they're trying to talk to you about something important, FOCUS ON WHAT THEY'RE SAYING INSTEAD OF HOW CUTE THEY LOOK.

That's really all there is to it.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:49 PM on September 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


They are not irked you are a women and that you were right, they're irked that they were wrong. Simple as that. I mean this in the nicest way possible really.

While zennie may or may not be correct in her reading of the experience she had (I have no idea, since I don't know her, and I wasn't there), I find it...interesting that your take on it is that she's flat-out wrong. No wiggle room, no possibility that she may be the best judge of an experience that she herself has had. But because you haven't had it - had an idea or suggestion dismissed out of hand because of your gender - her understanding of it can't possibly have been true.

Dismiss or belittle a woman's interpretation of her own experience? Bah! That never happens!

I've had similar experiences to zennie's, though it's been a while. I've been in meetings where I've said "Hey, how about [this thing]?" and been shot down. No big deal. Until, five minutes later, a guy says, "Hey, how about [thing I said five minutes ago]?" and everyone goes "Great! Let's do it!" And to have that happen again, and again, and then again - well, the conclusion seems pretty obvious.
posted by rtha at 7:02 PM on September 23, 2009 [16 favorites]


Danila, when I say that someone feels one of their chromosomes is in immediate peril due to a social situation, I mean that as a figure of speech. :)
posted by zennie at 7:10 PM on September 23, 2009


They are not irked you are a women and that you were right, they're irked that they were wrong. Simple as that. [...]

Don't necessarily assign motives to others actions. You don't know what they are. -Gravitus

posted by LobsterMitten at 7:13 PM on September 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


In case that's not clear: Gravitus, you're also engaging the in same mind-reading exercise when you try to guess at why these guys were annoyed. (I'll agree that your alternate explanation is one that's worth considering, for sure, but there doesn't seem to be any reason to say zennie's interpretation is obviously wrong while yours is obviously right, unless you can "assign motives to others' actions".)
posted by LobsterMitten at 7:16 PM on September 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


"I've had similar experiences to zennie's, though it's been a while. I've been in meetings where I've said "Hey, how about [this thing]?" and been shot down. No big deal. Until, five minutes later, a guy says, "Hey, how about [thing I said five minutes ago]?" and everyone goes "Great! Let's do it!" And to have that happen again, and again, and then again - well, the conclusion seems pretty obvious."

See, the thing is that this does happen to everybody—there was even that FedEx commercial about it. It's a trope. But what happens, and I think this is true if you try to keep an eye out in conversations, is that it happens to women more often. Women are disproportionately disadvantaged by this due to a whole slew of factors, from simple bias to communication styles, largely because guys hold the power. But you see it in plenty of privilege situations—the most notable being discrimination against the young. That's slightly more "fair" in that everyone goes through it, but it's no less stupid nor counter-productive.

Now imagine if everyone treated you like you were a kid your entire life and there was no way to age out of it. Then imagine being told that everyone gets treated like that, so it's no big deal.
posted by klangklangston at 7:21 PM on September 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


Uh, obviously that wasn't really disagreeing with RTHA, but rather elaborating.
posted by klangklangston at 7:23 PM on September 23, 2009


cjorgensen: seriously? do you want to sit at the grown up table?

1. Nobody is upset that you find some women attractive and some unattractive. Enjoy!

2. Nobody is all that interested to hear about which women you find attractive. Thanks for keeping it to yourself unless it's relevant to the conversation, for all the many reasons discussed above!

3. Nobody is discussing whether attractiveness influences hiring in media. I'm guessing we all agree it does, okey dokey, not our subject here.

4. Nobody is disputing the claim that "people base opinions off looks". Indeed, that's so often shoved into womens' faces that it's irritating to be constantly fucking reminded about it, as if that's a good way to formulate opinions on things like national security whistleblowing (it's not, everybody here agrees it's not, so looks are irrelevant to discussions of national security whistleblowing, we now resume the thread already in progress)

5. "ignoring that she is pretty seems dumb" - I can't begin to imagine why. Try this on for size: "ignoring that she is bipedal seems dumb", "ignoring that she has eyebrows seems dumb", "ignoring her amazing boobies seems dumb". There are lots of things we ignore for irrelevance or suppress for politeness, in various conversational contexts. People in this thread are suggesting why it's not relevant that's she's pretty, and why if it's not relevant it's the kind of thing maybe better left not discussed at Metafilter.

6. "I bet a thread about Margaret Thatcher and her accomplishments, that happens to note that she wasn't the sexiest woman in Britain, wouldn't elicit an immediate metatalk call-out." You are sorely mistaken about this.

7. "I don't find Sibel Edmonds as so yummy that I am clamoring for her to be in FHM. I get the point of not bringing up how sexy she is, but I am missing the desire to retire to the shower. She actually kind of reminds me of my mom." Please see point 1.
posted by LobsterMitten at 7:32 PM on September 23, 2009 [13 favorites]


or rather, please see point 2.
posted by LobsterMitten at 7:32 PM on September 23, 2009


It's quite simple, and I'm probably over-simplifying this because I'm a wee bit tired.

1: Don't be an asshole.
1a) Don't behave in ways that are asshole-ish, even if you yourself are not an asshole (of course you're not an asshole, but even people who are not assholes can do things that are quite asshole-y in flavor).

2: Don't make off-topic comments
2a) cComments about how hot, beautiful, ugly, or French a person mentioned in the post are off-topic unless the post itself is about the hot-ness, beauty, ugliness or Frenchness of someone who is hot, beautiful, ugly or French

3: Sexism callouts are not always about you
3a) But sometimes they might relate to something you've noticed or done, so try to keep an open mind

4: I'm very sorry if you feel bad because of any of these discussions. I doubt anyone comes into a sexism thread thinking "aw yeah, going to go to town on some wangs and make people cry" - if you do feel bad because of something here, we can discuss it and figure out what went wrong.
posted by subbes at 7:48 PM on September 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


I've had similar experiences to zennie's, though it's been a while. I've been in meetings where I've said "Hey, how about [this thing]?" and been shot down. No big deal. Until, five minutes later, a guy says, "Hey, how about [thing I said five minutes ago]?" and everyone goes "Great! Let's do it!" And to have that happen again, and again, and then again - well, the conclusion seems pretty obvious.

Yeah I can see how that would be really frustrating.
posted by nola at 8:11 PM on September 23, 2009


When I wanna talk shit about women's appearances, I watch America's Next Top Model.
posted by klangklangston at 8:28 PM on September 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Can I touch your beard?
posted by nola at 8:31 PM on September 23, 2009


klang! 11-3 Tigers! w00t!

Now if the Giants can only avoid getting their asses handed to them AGAIN by the last-place team, I will have a happy night.
posted by rtha at 8:32 PM on September 23, 2009


LobsterMitten yawn, or, you know, 2. or 7. or 8. or whatever...ignore what I wrote, take shit out of context, score easy points, and honestly, kinda bore me. Fuck, I could have written your response. Thanks for addressing what I wrote.

Maybe try again?
posted by cjorgensen at 8:33 PM on September 23, 2009


I was in no way trying to ignore what you wrote. I think what you wrote is a big middle finger to everything we've been talking about here. That is how it reads to me. I'm not being flippant at all. If it wasn't intended that way, then I'm misunderstanding you, but I'm certainly not trying to misunderstand. My response (except for the jibe about the grownup table, ok, I'll retract that) is meant to address your points directly.
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:41 PM on September 23, 2009


MetaFilter: go to town on some wangs and make people cry
posted by Joe Beese at 8:48 PM on September 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


> p.s. what the fuck does hoppitamoppita mean?

hey!
posted by hoppitamoppita at 8:57 PM on September 23, 2009


LobsterMitten, ok, will reread tomorrow, and probably memail you. I didn't intend what I'd written as any kind of middle finger. I am missing how what I wrote comes across as that, so obviously didn't make it to the last quarter of this thread (or am way confused).

And yes, the "grownup table" comment probably set me off in a way that precluded me from reading your response in a mature manner.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:59 PM on September 23, 2009


Metafilter is hostile to Indians fans. :(
posted by Kwine at 9:06 PM on September 23, 2009


As a chief poster in the defense of krilli's comments near the top of the thread, I'd like to use this moment to apologize. Well, apologize, clarify some things, and then explain what I've learned in the intervening 24 hours.

I have a bad habit of not returning to threads where I may have embarrassed myself, you see. Last night I was in the frame of mind of a young criminal defense attorney (actually 3L student in a criminal defense clinic) on his very first case. I had to miss my highly fascinating "Free Speech in the 21st Century" class because that was the only time my client aid he could make it to the clinic for an interview. This particular class was to be on pornography, obscenity and hate speech, which I had been planning to write my final paper on, so I was particularly peeved. The professor, a higly accomplished woman in the field of copyright and free speech law, is also very fond of using Catherine McKinnon in her arguments (in a very neutral way), and as I had spent my first semester of 1L year in a great seminar with a woman who was (is, I guess) a chief protege of Janet Halley's, I was psyched for this class, but clients come first, so I had to miss it.

And then of course the client didn't show.

So I came into this MeTa (after reading the scrubbed, and very interesting original thread) both eager to actually discuss the concept of certain aspects of the Male Gaze devaluing the speech of women as a whole (which is one of McKinnon's chief propositions, and one which I find to be provocative, brilliant, and yet far from black-and-white in myriad ways) and also rearing to play my part of the defender, both of which had been robbed of me earlier in the day.
Anyway, LobsterMitten was the first to really answer my "why is this itself offensive" question and did so beautifully, so color me edified. At least somewhat.

Here's the thing - I understand where the offense was coming from now, and know that it is a true place. I also know that I have no personal experience from which to draw to get it on a visceral level. Thanks be to scody for trying to translate the experience to men with the line about "those jeans make your cock look great, though a little small," but I can honestly say that such a comment woudn't bother me. Probably because I haven't had to deal with it ever day of my life since I was twelve or whatever, but again, no experience.

But I'm not just speaking (entirely) myopically here. I've grown up having women constitute over half of my close friends, almost all my life. I've also grown up, however, mostly in the worlds of theater, film and tv, all worlds in which attractiveness is a big part of the game for members of either sex, and as (I'm assuming) a result of this, the women I'm friends with have not only not discouraged, but encouraged notes and compliments on their appearance. Appearance is far from the only - and far from the most important - aspect of these women's lives, but it is something they work at and take pride in, as they take pride in a well-accomplished bit of acting, singing, editing, directing, assistant directing, design, writing, or any number of other things. This is only to say that there are diff'rent strokes for diff'rent folks, I guess.

Secondly, I need to apologize most chiefly for implying (or really, just about flat-out claiming) that some people in this thread and in the original derail were being oversensitive or looking for offense. "Oversensitive" (which I never said, I don't think, but definitely implied) is a bullshit concept that assumes that a person's thoughts on a matter are invalid. I was perhaps too careful to avoid using it upthread, which should have been a warning sing to me about what, really, was the point I was trying to make? I'll get to that point in a moment, but for now I'll say that I stand by the idea that people here were "looking for offense," but with the addendum that doing so might not be such a bad thing, really.

LobsterMitten and others have gone out of their way to explain the situation in ways that make it clear to me that even if krilli's comment was not intended to be demeaning (which I don't think it was) and was even harmless on it's own (which I think it was) that its effect is still damaging. I (kind of) get it now, the need to fight against giving an inch on this subject because it's so easy for the other side to then take the mile and see no distinction. I feel the same way about other issues (problematically here, about free speech) so I do understand the need to fight on all fronts to make any progress. That is admirable, not that my opinion saying so was needed here.

So... to clarify some comments above: I don't have any problem with the comments' deletions. Krilli's initial comment was noise, and led to a derail. Whether it was sexist is obviously not up for me to judge and others have made the point passionately and eloquently that they found it so, and that's enough for me. My ideal world is one in which we all recognize ourselves a sexual beings and can revel in that without it tainting the other aspects of our lives, struggles and characters, but that is neither the real world nor necessarily anyone else's ideal.

I find it troublesome that this discussion of what I believe to be a highly complicated issue so easily became polarized, and that krilli himself became the crux of that polarization, though krilli, let's be honest, jessamyn is right and you brought most of that upon yourself here.read your own "black friend" story above for the proper analogy. Still, I understand your defensiveness here, and I don't believe you deserved to have the whole of past, future, real and hypothetical Metafilter boyzone issues land on your shoulders here. Still, stop digging. Your only cementing your "that guy" status here in a way that you probably won't like in the future.

I will say one more thing here that I'm pretty sure is on-topic, but I'd like to make it clear that I'm not trying to equivocate this to women's trials dealing with sexism in a male-dominated world. A great deal of men out here are terrified of women - not like "can't handle a woman suggesting the correct way to do plumbing" and not like "have to demean women to prop themselves up," but rather are good guys, who respect women, but have themselves been shaped by years of rejection, laughter and, yes, physical judgment by some women, and ilve in a world that deems them insufficient as a result. These men find themselves hopping from one foot to the other not knowing what is appropriate to say and when because every friendly conversation with a woman is an emotional gamble for them that they, by society's strictures, can't really talk about.

Women go through worse, undoubtedly, but there are a lot of good men out there who could benefit from charitable readings, and yes, a little education. The onus shouldn't be on the women to handle that, but a lot of times the real world moves out of the idealistic hypothetical and into the practical, and the men are unlikely to learn about interacting properly with women from other men.

Thank you to everybody participating in this discussion. I think you're doing more good than you know.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:43 PM on September 23, 2009 [14 favorites]


cjorgensen, cheers, long night. Your comment spends a lot of time commenting on whether you find various women attractive, in what seems like exaggerated detail deliberately meant to say "neener neener, I'm doing the thing that upsets you, watch me go". I took it as childish/trollish and was fighty in response. Stepping away now, see you tomorrow.
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:46 PM on September 23, 2009


Just a footnote about an idea that sometimes lurks around the edges in discussions of this stuff, the idea that feminists are against men:

My ideal world is one in which we all recognize ourselves a sexual beings and can revel in that without it tainting the other aspects of our lives, struggles and characters [...]

These men find themselves hopping from one foot to the other not knowing what is appropriate to say and when because every friendly conversation with a woman is an emotional gamble for them that they, by society's strictures, can't really talk about.

-Navelgazer

Yes. Sexism, misogyny, the weirdly strict gender constructs and hierarchies we have now are bad for women and men both. If we take it that feminism (or one branch of feminism) seeks to undermine those things, it's clear that feminism is not against men, but rather seeks freedom (from these harmful roles) for men in the same way it seeks freedom for women.

posted by LobsterMitten at 10:01 PM on September 23, 2009 [13 favorites]


Still, I know I can't be the only one here who sometimes finds faces of either gender strikingly beautiful in a purely Platonic, aesthetic sense (meaning, in the same way a great piece of architecture might strike you as beautiful)? At least some of you experience that, right?

(And please believe me, I'm not asking this as a sly way of defending the offending comments. Those comments, in context, were undeniably wrong on a lot of levels.)
posted by saulgoodman at 10:16 PM on September 23, 2009


"Can I touch your beard?"

Possibly, though my beard is notoriously stoic.

"klang! 11-3 Tigers! w00t!

Now if the Giants can only avoid getting their asses handed to them AGAIN by the last-place team, I will have a happy night.
"

It was us, we made it happen! (Sorry Kwine.)

I was a little disappointed that the 11-year-old girl who lives downstairs from us wasn't around; she's a big Indians fan (an Ohio chauvinist overall) and I wanted to get my Michigan gloat on. (Actually, since her weird Go Ohio! attitude is because her mom has some maybe made-up health ailments and is dumping her here from Ohio. The word from her dad is that this is going to be permanent, and was sprung on him a week after school has started here—he had her for the summer, and her mom just didn't come out to get her. But the girl thinks it's just until her mom's [phantom] bad back gets better. Her mom is still in Ohio, and has a real resentment toward Michigan—a popular Midwest prejudice, but one that sounds really bitter coming out of the kid. Anyway, because of all that, it's more fun to pretend that I tease her than it would be to do it.)

Go Tigers!
posted by klangklangston at 10:21 PM on September 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


saulgoodman: I am a very straight man and can assure you that I find people of both genders strikingly attractive in fully platonic ways. There are men that I see on tv or in movies whose beauty fascinated me, as well as women who strike me the same way but for whom their beauty doesn't translate into sexual desire one iota. You are not alone.

But that appears to not be what we're talking about here.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:23 PM on September 23, 2009


My bet is that no, you weren't interrupting those people in the middle of trying to discuss something more serious. And so that is why in THOSE situations you weren't being an asshole

This is right, but... but...

What is being discussed here is neither of those situations, but one in which a person approved the appearance of her face on the cover of a magazine. I am not saying that Edmonds "asked for" or "deserves" any and all repugnant commentary that might come her way--just that, by virtue of going public and especially in this way, she was (I assume knowingly) willing to take this on. Not the same thing as just showing up at work, or attending a business meeting.

Probably being called "strikingly beautiful" is the least of Edmonds's worries. At any rate, she has to be aware that more people will see the image on the newsstand (or internet equivalent), than will read the story.

What we're talking about is complex, as many have pointed out. But the complexity has to do not just with a gender divide, but with a public/private divide. Look at the Levi Johnston thread, for example: comments such as, "just do the nude spread already" and more posts, less obnoxious, about his physical appearance. Which are justified, some may say, about a person who is an attention whore. But that's a judgment call, no?

What about when Hillary Clinton appeared on the cover of--Vanity Fair, was it?--all in saintly white? Would comments on this have caused offense? Good god, Robin Givhan has a career writing about stuff like Condoleezza Rice's black boots, Michelle Obama's inauguration attire, and whether Cheney should have worn different clothes in Germany (not in that order of course).

As a woman approaching 40, I don't want to undercut the deep concerns of other posters here. But I would like for us to make some fair distinctions. Commentary on nationally distributed photos which were (presumably) approved by the subjects is NOT equal to catcalls on the street or personal comments about body or clothing in the workplace.

On this subject--Dersins's undeleted (but apologized-for) comment in the Lily Allens thread is worse in some ways than what we're talking about here, because it relies on paparazzi photos rather than approved publicity. Both Levi Johnston and Sibel Edmonds chose to publicize their stories in the way that they did. I'm not equating the seriousness of their stories, here (there's no comparison)--just the media concessions they made to getting their stories out. The cynical side of me says the only marketing difference is AmCon's budget, vs Vanity Fair's.
posted by torticat at 10:31 PM on September 23, 2009


Navelgazer: "The onus shouldn't be on the women to handle that, but a lot of times the real world moves out of the idealistic hypothetical and into the practical, and the men are unlikely to learn about interacting properly with women from other men."

Hmm. I think that men can actually do a lot of good at teaching other men how to behave respectfully, kindly, and appropriately towards women; they really should look out for opportunities to help each other.
posted by kathrineg at 10:36 PM on September 23, 2009


and whether Cheney should have worn different clothes in Germany

Criticizing the (highly criticizable) way the Vice President of the United States of America presented himself at an official visit to a Holocaust memorial service (in Poland) is not remotely the same as randomly remarking in some random thread that some random face on some random magazine is, in your opinion, good-looking.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:42 PM on September 23, 2009


"just that, by virtue of going public and especially in this way, she was (I assume knowingly) willing to take this on. Not the same thing as just showing up at work, or attending a business meeting."

Oh, dude, don't do that either.

Look at it this way: If she's choosing to "take this on," that means that other women in her position—whistleblowers—might decide that it's not worth dealing with the guys who will attack or dismiss based on looks.

That means fewer whistleblowers. That means more cover for evil bastards who violate our constitution and lie to us about our security.

That's a BAD THING. I'm willing to give up a little bit of privilege—being able to say that a woman's strikingly attractive apropos nothing—in order for there to be more whistleblowers. Wouldn't you? What benefit does that privilege give you relative to what you're giving up?

Or, to put it a sillier way, Why do you hate our freedom?
posted by klangklangston at 10:43 PM on September 23, 2009


(strikingly ridiculous)
posted by Sys Rq at 10:47 PM on September 23, 2009


I can't be the only one here who sometimes finds faces of either gender strikingly beautiful in a purely Platonic, aesthetic sense (meaning, in the same way a great piece of architecture might strike you as beautiful)? At least some of you experience that, right?

Of course. I have most certainly seen men and women who are breathtakingly beautiful; I can and do aesthetically appreciate human beauty as much as I can appreciate beauty in nature and art, and I am confident that many, many men and women in this thread have the same experience.

But -- as I know you know, but just to underscore it here -- the judgments women face on a daily basis (both positive AND negative) really have fuck all to do with the Platonic appreciation of ideal beauty.

In fact, negative judgment is the inevitable other side of the same coin here, but one we haven't really discussed directly. Because for every "positive" comment I've gotten, I've gotten just as many negatives. Seriously. I was literally emotionally scarred for years by a thoughtless comment about my "homely" looks at the age of 14 by a makeup artist for a film I auditioned for. I was told by a drama teacher at the age of 17 that I should think about learning comedy or improv, because I was too horse-faced to ever seriously compete for leading roles. Then, I overheard someone say at an improv audition a few years later that it was a good thing I was so funny, because no one would ever want to fuck me if I was horse-faced AND boring, too.

I gave up theater and comedy shortly thereafter. I also gave up the idea of learning guitar and joining a band, too, because I could no longer endure the thought of being judged every time I went onstage -- seriously, it literally made my chest hurt, it made my heart clench, it made me crumple inside. That was about 20 years ago. I wish, every day, that I had been more confident, that I had been strong enough to resist the terrible messages that were sent to me EXPLICITLY because I failed to be a beautiful woman in a culture that seemingly prizes beauty in women above all other traits.

But more than that, I wish, every day, that my younger self had never been told those terrible things in the first place.
posted by scody at 10:51 PM on September 23, 2009 [8 favorites]



Oh, dude, don't do that either.

Look at it this way: If she's choosing to "take this on," that means that other women in her position—whistleblowers—might decide that it's not worth dealing with the guys who will attack or dismiss based on looks.


klang, please! I'm laughing here. Really. Not at you, but at this discussion.

I was talking about someone calling the whistleblower "strikingly beautiful."

I don't think that's going to stop any serious person from doing what she's doing.

If it's going to stop her, she can publish her findings without agreeing to have her photo on the cover of a magazine--or with no photo at all. Which would be a perfectly honorable choice.

The main reason for the cover is to draw attention. If you don't recognize this, you know nothing about publishing!

And yes, I feel like I just stepped in a hornets' nest.
posted by torticat at 11:14 PM on September 23, 2009


What is being discussed here is neither of those situations, but one in which a person approved the appearance of her face on the cover of a magazine.

What is being discussed here is what kind of conversational norms we want to have at Metafilter. Even if Edmonds would be thrilled to the gills about the comments, that doesn't mean those kind of comments are good to have here. The case for removing them doesn't rest on her reaction to them, or some sense that we're sparing her feelings.
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:17 PM on September 23, 2009 [5 favorites]


I wish, every day, that my younger self had never been told those terrible things in the first place.

So do I. Thanks for sharing this, scody.
posted by EvaDestruction at 11:17 PM on September 23, 2009


: hopping from one foot to the other not knowing what is appropriate to say

hoppitamoppita
posted by zennie at 11:26 PM on September 23, 2009


These epic sexism threads that crop up regularly? I'm going to start calling them dongboats.
posted by felix betachat at 11:34 PM on September 23, 2009




rtha: "They are not irked you are a women and that you were right, they're irked that they were wrong. Simple as that. I mean this in the nicest way possible really.

While zennie may or may not be correct in her reading of the experience she had (I have no idea, since I don't know her, and I wasn't there), I find it...interesting that your take on it is that she's flat-out wrong. No wiggle room, no possibility that she may be the best judge of an experience that she herself has had. But because you haven't had it - had an idea or suggestion dismissed out of hand because of your gender - her understanding of it can't possibly have been true.

Dismiss or belittle a woman's interpretation of her own experience? Bah! That never happens!
"

It's just an opinion. If that makes me a sexist pig in your eyes then so be it. I'll rest easy tonight either way.
posted by Gravitus at 12:01 AM on September 24, 2009


What, there's no room between 'good guy' and 'sexist pig'? Given what rtha actually said, I'd have gone with, 'polite, intelligent guy who responded to a woman's story about guys dismissing her ideas by dismissing her ideas.'

I can understand why people are defensive on this subject, but that type of black-or-white response is exactly why I usually just keep my mouth shut. You just did what Non Prosequitor did when he responded to my commentary that I have more difficulty having my ideas heard among men with, 'oh, so you live in a hellish world of troglodytes'. No, I live in a society where everyone is conditioned to think about men one way and women another way, and therefore often have a biased perception.
posted by zennie at 6:00 AM on September 24, 2009 [6 favorites]


If that makes me a sexist pig in your eyes then so be it.

It doesn't. I have no idea what you're like; I don't know you at all. But your statement to zennie made it seem like you really hadn't read a whole lot of what's been said in this thread. Are you sexist? No idea.

torticat, the thing about this: I was talking about someone calling the whistleblower "strikingly beautiful." I don't think that's going to stop any serious person from doing what she's doing. is that there are two conversations (at least) about this happening here. One is about the appropriateness of a remark like that in a Metafilter thread - the post wasn't about what whistleblowers wear when they testify - and said early in a thread, a remark like that is obviously going to derail stuff. And make for an epic meTa. It's not an insulting remark, no. But in a post that has nothing to do with how this woman looks, what does it add to the discussion? Who cares?

As for the other discussion(s) - well, you seem to be saying that you've read the thread. I haven't had enough coffee to recap.
posted by rtha at 6:01 AM on September 24, 2009


> feminism is not against men, but rather seeks freedom (from these harmful roles) for men in the same way it seeks freedom for women

This is the thing I most wish people would understand about feminism.

> It's just an opinion. If that makes me a sexist pig in your eyes then so be it. I'll rest easy tonight either way.

I don't know if you're a sexist pig, but you're certainly somebody I intend to ignore from now on. Yes, yes, don't bother to say it, I know you don't give a shit.
posted by languagehat at 6:17 AM on September 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


I was talking about someone calling the whistleblower "strikingly beautiful." I don't think that's going to stop any serious person from doing what she's doing.

No, but it could distract other people from taking that serious person....well, seriously.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:20 AM on September 24, 2009


The epic sexism threads opened my eyes in a lot of ways and (I think) have made me a better person. I'm really happy that no one seems to be on the verge of flaming out or closing their accounts this time. This thread and the others like it always remind me of how much better Metafilter is than anywhere else I've seen on the web.
posted by minifigs at 6:25 AM on September 24, 2009


These epic sexism threads

This is only about 400 comments, that's not epic.

Back in the day, the women folk had to get up early and make the comments from scratch, while the men spent all day out in the server farms tending to each byte by hand. You kids got it easy these days!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:27 AM on September 24, 2009


You know who's giving attitude? My beau "Elbows" up there.

Agreed (not on the beau part though, as I don't understand it). I'd love to see a moratorium on *ever* referring to another member's genitals in anger or as part of an argument. If we've set the bar at "do not comment on a woman's appearance outside of certain specific contexts" (and I think we have and, if we are gonna set a bar at all, I'm cool with setting it there), then really it's a no brainer, I think, to say that it's every mefite's birthright to have their body parts left out of heated discussions (i.e. obviously not relevant AskMe threads).

Wonder why.

Me too, for perhaps different reasons. I don't think it's because Elbows is (presumably) male and therefore gets a free pass, if that's what you are saying. More likely a combination of 1) his comment being so far over the top that no one wishes to engage it, and 2) the snark was directed at the appropriate target for this thread's mob.
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 6:33 AM on September 24, 2009


I'd love to see a moratorium on *ever* referring to another member's genitals in anger or as part of an argument.

I'd
love to see a moratorium on ever referring to anyone's attractiveness when doing so isn't germane to the discussion at hand.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:38 AM on September 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


I thought that question was settled (and said so).
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 6:43 AM on September 24, 2009


Zero tolerance!
posted by smackfu at 6:47 AM on September 24, 2009


I'd love to see a moratorium on ever referring to anyone's attractiveness when doing so isn't germane to the discussion at hand.

If there's one thing I've learned from Metafilter is that applying rigid rules to every situation isn't always for the best.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:59 AM on September 24, 2009


To be more clear EmpressCallipygos, are you advocating for mod intervention on all such comments or just a general community standard or what? I realize I may be leaping to conclusions here and thinking "OH NOES THEY WANTS TO SILENCE US!!" so if you could clarify that would be great.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:05 AM on September 24, 2009


If there's one thing I've learned from Metafilter is that applying rigid rules to every situation isn't always for the best.

Well, yeah, but people shouldn't need to have a rule created to just enforce common bloody respect.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:08 AM on September 24, 2009


The rule (as I understand it) is, pretty clearly, irrelevant references to attractiveness* will be deleted and you're more likely to get your shit torn up in MeTa than if you broke some other community norm.

* Especially comments early in threads (reinforcing pre-existing policy) and especially comments about females (boy-on-boy appreciation is sorta celebrated and girl-on-boy is sorta minimal IMO [or awesome "in context" in OC's]).
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 7:21 AM on September 24, 2009


Zero tolerance!

Tolerance for some, miniature [!] flags for others.
posted by zennie at 7:25 AM on September 24, 2009 [5 favorites]


The rule (as I understand it) is, pretty clearly, irrelevant references to attractiveness* will be deleted and you're more likely to get your shit torn up in MeTa than if you broke some other community norm.

Generally, yeah. Realistically we only have a few enforcement options as mods within the larger community.

- delete comments
- delete comments, apply in-thread threat [i.e. "don't do that again or else you're banned/timeouted"]
- delete comments, lecture user
- delete comments, ban/timeout user

I'd probably shift it a little to say "irrelevant references to attractiveness/sexiness that bear no relation to the topic of a thread..." or something. The big deal is, in a thread about something totally different, this sort of thing isn't great for community discussion. Even in a thread where the topic is, somewhat, the attractiveness of the subject [the Amanda Palmer thread comes to mind] comments that are just your personal opinion of how attractive you find someone and/or whether you'd like to have sex with them are sort of off-topic and annoying.

Thing is, I think krilli's comment might have been fine if it had expanded along the lines he talked about in this thread. "She's an attractive person, I sort of wonder how much that did/did not have to do with this magazine's decision to put this story front and center...?"

And, as far as the gender things go, it has less to do with whether certain gender combinations are or are not okay in this sort of situation, but that some of them are 1) much more prevalent here 2) much more heavily discussed here 3) much more reinforcing of sort of normative pervasive societal issues that we take a proactive stance to not have replicated here. We've seen this with our approach to sort of casual ironic racist remarks and casual ironic homophobic remarks as well, it's not just a "be nice to the ladies!" thing.

I'm aware that last issue may rankle but flat out, we have not had the same sort of "that sort of thing makes me uncomfortable/annoyed" response to the very rare guy-on-guy "hey he's hot" comment than we have gotten to the pervasive "I'd hit it" days of yore. If this is because people have been biting their tongues, then please speak up.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:39 AM on September 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


I am a big fan of treating each other respectfully and setting a high bar for community standards. I am not a fan of moratoriums and zero tolerance policies. I think the mods do a fine job of pruning the more egregious examples of disrespectful activity in the Metaverse, and the community pressure and reeducation efforts in MetaTalk serve well to add further incentive to conform to basic community standards. I suspect that anything much beyond what is already in place would be counterproductive. Just one man's opinion.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 7:52 AM on September 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


Okay, totally off-topic here, but I've always wondered off-hand how many of my comments/threads have been deleted or flagged. It might be interesting to have a very generic "difficultness" number that is displayed on your profile page (and your profile page only) that calls to your attention whether or not you're a troublesome member.

I guess I've always been a bit paranoid that it is only jessamyn's high tolerance for jerkiness that has kept her from ripping me a new one from time to time.
posted by Deathalicious at 7:55 AM on September 24, 2009


On postview: what It's Raining Florence Henderson said. I think that MetaFilter has rarely done well with (or hell, even implemented) "all-or-nothing" policies on behavior in the site. It's better to say, "Under normal circumstances it's considered jerky behavior to make remarks about a person's appearance unless directly related to the thread in question" and then allow special cases to leak through when appropriate. Otherwise, if we make it a hard and fast rule, then all the numbnuts wander in to say, "How come X gets to stay but my precious Y got deleted?"
posted by Deathalicious at 7:58 AM on September 24, 2009


I've always wondered off-hand how many of my comments/threads have been deleted or flagged.

This is the sort of thing we're pretty much not going to make public. You can email us and we'll give you some ballpark estimates of this thing for you personally, and sometimes even about other users if you're having trouble with them [i.e. it's sometimes helpful to hear "no it's not you, that person is really difficult on the site" or "actually it's pretty much you, everyone else gets along with them fine"] but the whole deal with the community is that you learn these things via interaction which is a much richer experiene than just getting served a number.

And yes, I'm aware that this can apply to favorites too.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:59 AM on September 24, 2009


It's better to say, "Under normal circumstances it's considered jerky behavior to make remarks about a person's appearance unless directly related to the thread in question" and then allow special cases to leak through when appropriate. Otherwise, if we make it a hard and fast rule, then all the numbnuts wander in to say, "How come X gets to stay but my precious Y got deleted?"

For the record, this is what I actually think as well. My only call for a moratorium was in response to and hosted from Uranus's call for a similar moratorium on referring to genetalia in the heat of battle -- I don't think either one calls for a hard-and-fast rule, and I feel that they're both low blows.

In short: I wasn't calling for a moratorium so much as I was snarking about someone else's call for a similar moratorium with a somewhat childish "so THERE" kind of reaction.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:09 AM on September 24, 2009


This is the sort of thing we're pretty much not going to make public.

Very good idea. Well considered.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 8:18 AM on September 24, 2009


Some advice. No, you didn't ask for it. Yes, this is at the bottom of a very long thread and unlikely to be read. No, I am not an expert in all things dealing with human relations. Nonetheless:

1. You don't have to say (or write/post) every idea that comes into your head. It is often better to consider the likely effect it will have before doing so, and remain silent if that effect is not a desirable one.

2. If you say something, and someone reacts to that remark differently than you anticipated/desired (like, taking offense): it matters little whether or not you meant to do that. If your statement upset someone, it will usually not un-upset them to know that you didn't mean it "that way". In fact, your efforts to protest what you meant will often make matters worse. Better to simply apologize.

I hope you, dear reader, learn these earlier in life than I did and that they serve you as well as they have me.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 8:26 AM on September 24, 2009


Deathalicious: I've always wondered off-hand how many of my comments/threads have been deleted or flagged. It might be interesting to have a very generic "difficultness" number that is displayed on your profile page [...]

jessamyn: This is the sort of thing we're pretty much not going to make public. You can email us and we'll give you some ballpark estimates of this thing for you personally, and sometimes even about other users if you're having trouble with them [...]

Or just look at favorites.
posted by Chuckles at 8:30 AM on September 24, 2009


hey, you know what? LobsterMitten is pretty awesome. I just added her as a contact, filed under "Awesomeness."
posted by shmegegge at 8:31 AM on September 24, 2009


And yes, I'm aware that this can apply to favorites too.

ARGH! How did I not read to the end of that comment..

[DELETE][DELETE] <-- not working :(
posted by Chuckles at 8:32 AM on September 24, 2009


It might be interesting to have a very generic "difficultness" number that is displayed on your profile page (and your profile page only) that calls to your attention whether or not you're a troublesome member.

Just reiterating Jessamyn that this is really not something that's gonna happen. It could be interesting, but interesting isn't a sufficient reason to go in that direction (which is also why we exclude some kinds of data from the Infodump, for example), and I don't think it'd be useful in a way that would outweigh the potential negative drawbacks of going there.

If you are a troublesome member (which is a tricky descriptor to figure out how to apply, lots of people can cause trouble in one way or another, history matters but so do attempts to reform over time, etc), there's a good chance we'll end up having a conversation about it at some point. Probably not in a literal "I am writing to tell you you are trouble" vein, but at least in the sense that folks who genuinely cause friction on the site somehow usually end up in conversation with us—whether on site or via mail, whether mod-instigated ("Hi, there's a problem") or user-instigated ("Why did you do x, y, z re: my site activity).

Like Jess said, the experiential nature of figuring out the site and your interactions with it is a lot more important, and a lot more nuanced, than any Trouble Index could be. If you're worried about any negative perception from our side of your interactions with the site, you are welcome to ask and we'll do our best to let you know if anything is now or has previously been up, that's fine.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:40 AM on September 24, 2009


I would like to know my score on the "Oh, Jesus, just shut up already" index.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 8:43 AM on September 24, 2009


Ok, no hard-and-fast rule. You guys wanna reserve the right to pull on each other's dicks, go for it. I'll actually enjoy the show. But, with some allowances for blue-vs-gray, I'd think that if krilli's comment has to go, then Elbow's should be gone as well. It adds nothing to the discussion that wasn't already said and said better, it merely attacks in one of the most personal ways possible. As a member of this community, I think krilli should be able to expect to have penis left out of the discussion, especially if he is expected to leave Sibel Edmonds's face out of it.

Maybe the allowances for acceptable behavior in MeTa mean Elbows' snowflake gets to stay. Whatever. I'd just like to see some community discouragement for that kinda crap instead of just letting it sit there unchallenged. Makes me wonder how serious some of you really are about fostering an atmosphere of open discussion, rather than just venting about your personal peeves.
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 8:43 AM on September 24, 2009


PercussivePaul: Let me also say that reading these threads opened my mind and made me a better person. Seriously.

Thank you so much for this. I'm still reading. Would multifavorite your comment if I could.

LobsterMitten: But women's appearance is often treated as public, worthy of comment ...

Ditto for your comment. Very well put.
posted by tarheelcoxn at 8:50 AM on September 24, 2009


if krilli's comment has to go, then Elbow's should be gone as well.

That's really not how the site works. Elbow's comment (I assume you mean this one) was

- in MeTa, which is hugely different
- making an obvious snarky comment
- that happened to use the word "boner"

That's not against the rules. No one said anything personal or directed at krilli. The comment was, paraphrased: "krilli thinks it's important that we know that he is aroused by this image" which, while I think it's snarky and annoying, isn't against the rules. So, for the record, that sort of thing is snarky and annoying. Also for the record that's not enough to get something removed from MeTa. We delete almost nothing from MeTa. That's not likely to change.

You've been on this website in one form or another for eight years, I'm not sure why the difference between krilli's comment and Elbow's isn't more apparent. Let me know if there's another way I can explain it.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:57 AM on September 24, 2009 [2 favorites]



It might be interesting to have a very generic "difficultness" number that is displayed on your profile page (and your profile page only) that calls to your attention whether or not you're a troublesome member.


As I alluded to above, and as cortex and jessamyn mentioned, no. To put it bluntly: if you make something a metric, there's always someone who will try to maximize it.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 8:59 AM on September 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


hee, you said boner.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:00 AM on September 24, 2009


It's really hard to not be sexist about some things. For some reason, almost all of my close friends in Asheville are women. We have a big ole D&D game, mostly comprised of lesbians and / or activist feminists. Having a lesbian grandma, sister, and gay uncle has formed me from a young age to love me some gay folks and women. And yet, the other night, I was rightfully called out for loving James Bond films. I was talking about how I loved them and it pissed my D&D group right off.

I spent about 10 minutes trying to defend my choice before realizing I was....well....wrong. And that my comments were inappropriate for my audience. That should have been really fucking obvious to me, but it's reflective of how sexism really is a big freakin cultural problem. The best of us can let that ooze out sometimes (not saying I'm the best of us or whatever, just making a point) and its a constant battle.

Why was I writing this? Oh yeah.

My point is that the war on sexism is difficult. The enemy is insidious and deep rooted. And we're probably never going to get to the point where folks are Not Sexist At All. But its a war worth waging, and takes a lot of hard work, and kind education by my friends and lover is a gift I appreciate more than they probably know. I think MeFi has a great opportunity of playing that educational role for me and more folks here. That's a Good Thing. Let's be nice about it, and spread the wisdom instead of attacking the person.
posted by lazaruslong at 9:14 AM on September 24, 2009


Let's be nice about it, and spread the wisdom instead of attacking the person.

Wait, are you saying that we should "be nicer" about educating people (which is Not Our Damned Job In The First Place)?

Or are you saying other people should be nicer to us folks who are going out of our way to educate in the face of blatant attempts to deny the validity of our personal experiences and academic knowledge?

Because I definitely agree with the second option.
posted by muddgirl at 9:20 AM on September 24, 2009


I'm not sure why the difference between krilli's comment and Elbow's isn't more apparent.

I'm pretty sure I get the difference, just putting an idea out there about how these things are inconsistent. I completely disagree that it wasn't a personal attack on krilli. Somehow calling a woman beautiful is a personal affront to both the woman (who will never read it) and to all the women of metafilter, but misquoting somebody to saddle them with overtly sexual, overbearing words is just shooting the shit?
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 9:21 AM on September 24, 2009


All this animosity will seem so trivial when we're all dying of canary pox.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:21 AM on September 24, 2009


Somehow calling a woman beautiful is a personal affront to both the woman (who will never read it) and to all the women of metafilter, but misquoting somebody to saddle them with overtly sexual, overbearing words is just shooting the shit?

I don't believe that's what jessamyn said. Let's check.

"The comment was, paraphrased: "krilli thinks it's important that we know that he is aroused by this image" which, while I think it's snarky and annoying, isn't against the rules. So, for the record, that sort of thing is snarky and annoying. Also for the record that's not enough to get something removed from MeTa. We delete almost nothing from MeTa. That's not likely to change."

Nope, that doesn't look like "just shooting the shit" to me.

Although, you've raised a very good point. If the woman in question will never read krilli's comment, then why, since her attractiveness had nothing to do with the matter at hand, was it necessary for him to say that in the first place?....
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:31 AM on September 24, 2009


calling a woman beautiful is a personal affront to both the woman (who will never read it) and to all the women of metafilter, but misquoting somebody to saddle them with overtly sexual, overbearing words is just shooting the shit?

I am going to politely suggest that this is a hot button issue with you that is causing to to miss the large contextual differences in these two comments.

krilli's comment
- first in a thread
- in MeFi where comments are sometimes removed
- off-topic
- caused a derail (not his fault maybe, but it happened and is true)
- people objected to it
- heavily flagged

elbow's comment
- middle of a thread
- in MeTa, where comments are rarely removed
- on-topic, though still rude
- did not cause a derail
- you objected to it
- not heavily flagged

These are mostly, large differences, not minor ones. The whole reason we have guidelines and not hard and fast rules is so that reasonable people can look at all the things that affect how comments are viewed by the people of this site, on the site, and make reasonable decisions. It's possible that you don't like the way this site is moderated and the decisions that we make, but I think they're at least fairly consistently applied guidelines.

As a possible correlary, you might recall a female user who would occasionally make amusing comments about being topless in a sort of light friendly manner. These were okay, and people making comments about these comments (even though they would talk about her appearance, sexual characteristics, whatever) were generally okay because no one minded. That's context and it's the sort of thing we consider when we decide what to delete and not to delete, what to call out and not to call out. I know it's tough when you have a strong reaction to things that are not shared by the rest of the community -- it happens to me sometimes as well -- but I think this is one of those cases.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:35 AM on September 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


That's fine, jessamyn, and perhaps largely true. What are you asking me to do? Not say my piece? Say it different somehow?
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 9:40 AM on September 24, 2009


Wait, are you saying that we should "be nicer" about educating people (which is Not Our Damned Job In The First Place)?

It takes a village...

Or are you saying other people should be nicer to us folks who are going out of our way to educate in the face of blatant attempts to deny the validity of our personal experiences and academic knowledge?

People should be nicer to others in general, not because they've put themselves on a cross.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:41 AM on September 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


People should be nicer to others in general

How would you suggest people respond when someone isn't being nice, though?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:43 AM on September 24, 2009


muddgirl: I'm saying both.

I know it sucks to try and be nice and educative to someone being offensive or sexist. No doubt. But I'm glad that people have been that way to me. Its made me a better person. I can only hope that same tactic will work on others.
posted by lazaruslong at 9:43 AM on September 24, 2009


"I would like to know my score on the "Oh, Jesus, just shut up already" index."

I need to know how my beard ranks against other members' facial hair.

NEED TO KNOW.
posted by klangklangston at 9:43 AM on September 24, 2009


And if it doesn't work on others, at least in the context of MetaFilter, and they continue unabated, its only a matter of time before they will be gone. In real life, after a few attempts, you can just avoid that person and write em off.
posted by lazaruslong at 9:44 AM on September 24, 2009


Wait, are you saying that we should "be nicer" about educating people (which is Not Our Damned Job In The First Place)...


And I know this isn't going to be very popular, but I would humbly submit that yes, this is our job. Sexism is a cultural component for many people, and its up to other more enlightened folks to shepherd change through patient education, or failing that, less-patient talking-tos.
posted by lazaruslong at 9:46 AM on September 24, 2009


That's fine, jessamyn, and perhaps largely true. What are you asking me to do? Not say my piece? Say it different somehow?

I think you should be clearer drawing a distinction between things that you think a moderator should be dealing with [i.e. "this comment should be deleted"] and things the community needs to keep in mind [i.e. "people may not be considering that there are parallels between this comment and this other comment"]. Unless you really are saying that we should moderate differently on this point in which case we're in "agree to disagree" land and you have sort of a choice to make about how you feel about that.

I also think you need to be a little clearer that you do understand how the community works, you just disagree with it. To my mind a lot of what you're saying has to do with how you think the top-level rules of the community need to be different, but I may have that "if all you have is a hammer...." problem in MeTa. It seems to me that you're not conceding that there are big differences between those two comments that you've chosen to draw comparisons between, and to me, those differences are the salient determining features.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:47 AM on September 24, 2009


less-patient talking-tos.

....But wait, isn't it these "less-patient talking-tos" that cause people to say, "now, look, you have to be NICE when you educate people"? When exactly do we get to stand up and assert our individual boundaries and demanding individual respect without being chided for failing to "educate people nicely" or accused of "putting ourselves on a cross"?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:49 AM on September 24, 2009 [4 favorites]


My mother once told me, "You catch more flies with honey."

"Yeah," I said, "But you kill more flies with poison."
posted by klangklangston at 9:52 AM on September 24, 2009


So true. You attract flies with honey. But what if you don't like flies?
posted by The World Famous at 9:57 AM on September 24, 2009


It might be interesting to have a very generic "boner" number that is displayed on your profile page (and your profile page only) that calls to your attention whether or not you get boners a lot.
posted by drjimmy11 at 9:58 AM on September 24, 2009


I need to know how my beard ranks against other members' facial hair.


Normally I would challenge you to a beard-off right here and now, but last night I trimmed it real short for a job interview, plus I accidentally turned the clippers around somehow and took a big chunk out around my jawline on the left side. So I'll need a little time.
posted by drjimmy11 at 10:01 AM on September 24, 2009


I think you should be clearer drawing a distinction between things that you think a moderator should be dealing with ... and things the community needs to keep in mind

I meant the latter. If the *community* was more consistent, there would be enough pushback against "ha ha your privates are engorged" that it would be subject to deletion. Someday...never had any expectations of that specific comment actually going anywhere.

It seems to me that you're not conceding that there are big differences

I felt I was pretty clearly conceded the biggest difference with 'blue-vs-gray'. Another big difference, to me, is community-member vs non-member. But, ok, let me clearly state that one comment is not exactly like another. Also snarking about genitals sucks too. That's my position.
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 10:08 AM on September 24, 2009


How would you suggest people respond when someone isn't being nice, though?

Continue to be nice, while firmly not taking any shit from anyone. How to do this varies for each situation though and can be tricky.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:23 AM on September 24, 2009


....But wait, isn't it these "less-patient talking-tos" that cause people to say, "now, look, you have to be NICE when you educate people"?

Speaking only for myself, I think it's important to be nice when educating strictly because it makes people more receptive to learning.

Believe if I could verbally mock people for being stupid and have them learn from that, I'd be so there. But my experiences have taught that it doesn't work and just breeds resentment.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:28 AM on September 24, 2009


I know it sucks to try and be nice and educative to someone being offensive or sexist. No doubt. But I'm glad that people have been that way to me. Its made me a better person. I can only hope that same tactic will work on others.

I'm saying there are spaces and times to be "nice", and there are spaces and times to be blunt. Your friends are nice to you because they are your friends. They can give you the benefit of the doubt because they have a history with you. There is no benefit of the doubt here because we cannot tell whether Random Offensive Commenter on the internet is a troll or just clueless. How many times do I have to get burned in the ass before I can start to assume that ROP is a troll?

Also, I think this thread started out very nice. It's weird that some people are re-framing this.
posted by muddgirl at 10:44 AM on September 24, 2009


> reiterating Jessamyn

That was one of the movie industry's attempts to replicate the success of Chasing Amy; for some reason, it didn't do nearly as well.
posted by languagehat at 10:52 AM on September 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


People didn't like the revelation that Silent Bob isn't actually silent, but that Jessamyn is just deleting all of his comments.
posted by The World Famous at 10:54 AM on September 24, 2009


Also, I would like to offer a big thank-you to the folks who are going out of their way to educate in the face of blatant attempts to deny the validity of their personal experiences and academic knowledge; y'all have far more patience and tolerance than I have been able to muster, and you're doing good things for MetaFilter.

Also, I too had the bad judgment to trim my beard recently, so I'll have to stay out of the beard-off.
posted by languagehat at 10:55 AM on September 24, 2009


snarking about genitals sucks too.
-and hosted from Uranus

I would be happy if we didn't have any snark along those lines. What I really think sucks about comments like the one you're discussing is that it's a strawman, and introduces a bunch of sexual content to krilli's comment that is guaranteed to get everybody more worked up on both sides. He didn't really say stuff that was overtly sexual, and so then we go down the rabbit hole of defending/attacking against that spurious and beside-the-point claim.

This leads to a lot of wasted effort and increasingly bad feelings all around, in discussions like this.

On the one hand, it's maybe useful to the gents to see how apparently innocent comments can read as more sexualized than intended; the kind of thing that might make you think twice about saying something like that. But on the other hand, I think when people get annoyed by comments that are on their faces innocent (i.e., nonsexual), it's often because of the weight of a lot of other experiences and we need to be careful to be accurate in what we lay at one person's feet. It can be tempting as a rhetorical flourish, but it's worth resisting. It's very helpful to explain why what that person said brings in all these other associations they may not have recognized, but it's not helpful to claim that's what they effectively "said" in the first place. (Claiming that makes everybody stop listening.)
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:56 AM on September 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


Let me add my support to the notion of a beard-off. My beard is luxurious. If my beard could earn favorites, I'd have Astro Zombie's score dwarfed inside a week.
posted by EatTheWeak at 11:00 AM on September 24, 2009


zennie, in case it wasn't clear from my follow-up, I apologize. I was being disingenuous :/ It's a bit strange in that I don't feel I have a lot of empirical evidence for this idea but I've always held it as a sort of intellectual precept so I sort of slipped up on keeping them reconciled. Well one way in which it's obvious is when women are denied access and participation to things altogether, but I meant that I don't have a lot of personal evidence that within those participatory contexts women are subtly shouted down. I tend to stop talking when someone else is talking which can totally end up bypassing me if I don't cut back in again so I totally can theorize that if women are expected by society to act in that listener-y way they get cut out of the loop and so on. Also on the level of just "who's taking the decision-making role in this short term issue [plumbing etc.]" there's always a lot of ad-hoc dominance games being played that I'm no good at & again I can theorize that women get cut out of that loop disproportionately.
posted by Non Prosequitur at 11:06 AM on September 24, 2009


I would be happy if we didn't have any snark along those lines. What I really think sucks about comments like the one you're discussing is that it's a strawman, and introduces a bunch of sexual content to krilli's comment that is guaranteed to get everybody more worked up on both sides. He didn't really say stuff that was overtly sexual, and so then we go down the rabbit hole of defending/attacking against that spurious and beside-the-point claim.

I'm with both of you guys on this one, LM and AHfU.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:08 AM on September 24, 2009


I didn't take it personally, Non Prosequitor. Thank you for explaining your mindset.
posted by zennie at 11:19 AM on September 24, 2009


the other night, I was rightfully called out for loving James Bond films. I was talking about how I loved them and it pissed my D&D group right off.

I spent about 10 minutes trying to defend my choice before realizing I was....well....wrong. And that my comments were inappropriate for my audience


I'm sorry, what? Love what you love, yo.
posted by Bookhouse at 11:29 AM on September 24, 2009


Love what you love, yo.

But know your audience, yo.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:31 AM on September 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


the other night, I was rightfully called out for loving James Bond films. I was talking about how I loved them and it pissed my D&D group right off.

I spent about 10 minutes trying to defend my choice before realizing I was....well....wrong. And that my comments were inappropriate for my audience


Agreeing with Bookhouse, here. Your comments may have been inappropriate, they may be surprised and dismayed at knowing your film preferences--but unless you were arguing that the films couldn't be seen as sexist, I don't get this.

Or maybe you were trying to say that everyone should like them? Your decision to drop the subject sounds like a good one. If they were saying, "You shouldn't like that," though, I'm not sure where they get to say that politely.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 11:38 AM on September 24, 2009


Love what you love, yo.

But know your audience, yo.


I dunno. If he was waxing rhapsodic about Ursula Andress's physical attributes, yeah, don't do that. But if not, come on.
posted by Bookhouse at 11:49 AM on September 24, 2009


: Wait, are you saying that we should "be nicer" about educating people (which is Not Our Damned Job In The First Place)...

: And I know this isn't going to be very popular, but I would humbly submit that yes, this is our job. Sexism is a cultural component for many people, and its up to other more enlightened folks to shepherd change through patient education, or failing that, less-patient talking-tos.


I was trying to figure out what about this line of thought was making my blood pressure rise. I think it strikes a nerve as a variation of "put others first," and its corollary, "put yourself last." These lessons I learned from my grandmother, my mother, my aunts, and to some extent priests and other religious folk... and I'm fighting to unlearn them.
posted by zennie at 11:50 AM on September 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


My beard is luxurious. If my beard could earn favorites, I'd have Astro Zombie's score dwarfed inside a week.

beard or gtfo.
posted by dersins at 12:50 PM on September 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think it strikes a nerve as a variation of "put others first," and its corollary, "put yourself last."

Muddgirl and I have been going back and forth in MefiMail, discussing issues and one of the things that's stuck me is the interpretation that being nice while educating means essentially being a doormat, which isn't what I meant at all.

Of course a person shouldn't put up with abuse or verbal attacks that cross certain lines and yes those lines can vary based on the person. But if you're actually trying to educate then mocking or yelling tends not work, especially when you're attacking someone's core beliefs or beliefs they not have realized that have.

So no, I don't think it's intended as "put others first" but rather a more practical "what works best to reach and teach people".
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:05 PM on September 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


I would humbly submit that yes, this is our job. Sexism is a cultural component for many people, and its up to other more enlightened folks to shepherd change through patient education, or failing that, less-patient talking-tos.

It's the job only of people who can muster the patience to do it one more time. It's obnoxious to lay that as a Duty (& ok I see that it was "humbly submitted" not "You must do," but the distinction may not be clear to some) on people who for all we know may have been doing it for an unimaginably loooong time, with interminable frequency, in contexts that left severe tender spots or scarring. Those people don't have any obligation of the sort, though I concede they would probably help the cause of clear communication and reaching the widest possible demographic if they kept out of these conversations altogether rather than venting unfiltered rage and frustration. Understandable rage and frustration, to my mind, but counterproductive considering the vast multitudes who are of the mindset "WTF that remark was totally harmless WTF is wrong with you?".

Off to catch up on the thread now. Except to say this thread feels to me more luminous and less heated than the previous ones, and thanks to all who contributed to that, dissectors, explainers, rethinkers, people I often disagree with who've come back to contextualize remarks, y'all are why this site feels like home.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 1:21 PM on September 24, 2009


Counterproductive to voice it, rather. I mean, the voicing, that's key to what set this whole thread off in the first place.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 1:22 PM on September 24, 2009


But if you're actually trying to educate then mocking or yelling tends not work, especially when you're attacking someone's core beliefs or beliefs they not have realized that have.

Agreed that if you are trying to educate, than yelling doesn't work.

However, expecting someone to constantly be an "educator" and to teach boorish people things about respecting others, when those people should have learned from Bert and Ernie way back when they were in their Underoos, can get a little infuriating. Yes, there are a lot of "teaching moments" out there, but sometimes it can be tiring to have to be the "teacher" when you just know that others have been trying to teach them the same lesson again and again and again, and when you yourself have tried to teach them to others again and again and again.

Teaching is best done patiently, but sometimes you wish you didn't HAVE to be the teacher, and you just want to be the individual asserting your own self, you know? Sometimes it's about "this is what it's like to be a female in this society" and sometimes it's about "why do you STILL not get that this is okay?"
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:24 PM on September 24, 2009 [5 favorites]


If they were saying, "You shouldn't like that," though, I'm not sure where they get to say that politely.

Some stuff is harmful just by existing, being popular, being recommended. I have absolutely no problem telling people--especially my loved ones and friends--when I think that a piece of media is harmful. To women, to people in general, whatever.

Best example of this ever: Tucker Max. If a friend of mine was like "oh, there's going to be a movie of his book, that's awesome" I would tell her that she might not know this already, but it's a piece of shit, the ads in NYC are sickening and misogynistic, and I would appreciate it if she didn't spend money on it or recommend it to any of her friends. And I think that's my right. I don't think it's rude.

You might not necessarily agree that the Bond movies are harmful, but the principle involved is solid.
posted by kathrineg at 1:37 PM on September 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm saying there are spaces and times to be "nice", and there are spaces and times to be blunt.
Love what you love, yo. But know your audience, yo.


This is a really important point, said 2 different ways, I think.

In my experience (to be clear --USA, Oregon, in my 40s, working at a place that's 80% female, up through the last 3 CEOs), you could almost say there are different cultures among men and among women. To be simplistic, women's culture is more 'nice', even when there are no men around. It's important to say pleasantries, directness is seen as harsher and more confrontational, etc.

I don't think these cultures translate well, and online you can't tailor your response. (IE "You look nice!" reads very different from a woman to a woman, than from a man to a woman, etc.)

I think one reason women's voices aren't heard among groups of men sometimes is that, by male standards, they can seem too "nice" ie mousy, unsure, tentative. Conversely, typically male discourse in a more female environment often comes off obnoxious, stupid, aggressive or even vicious. And our main cross-gender relationships (with parents and lovers) are the main templates we have for bridging the gap -- and also some of our messiest, most emotional and primal experiences.
posted by msalt at 1:39 PM on September 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


Also keep in mind that it's very rare to encounter a "teaching moment" where the would-be student actually wants the lesson. There are some people, in some contexts, who'd see any attempt to say, "You know, that type of comment can sound pretty sexist" as more evidence that "feminazis" are patrolling for thought crimes, or whatever.
posted by Ms. Saint at 1:42 PM on September 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Men have a huge responsibility to educate other men. If someone has sexist ideas, habits, or views towards women, it is going to be harder for a woman to educate him than it is for another man.

Women, in my opinion and in general fact, are typically polite and even deferential to men who are behaving boorishly. That's where you step in--you have more ability to tell other men what to do and have them listen. Use that privilege to advance a good cause.

So, men, when you see or hear something that is questionable, PLEASE step in and correct the man involved.
posted by kathrineg at 1:46 PM on September 24, 2009 [5 favorites]


but sometimes it can be tiring to have to be the "teacher" when you just know that others have been trying to teach them the same lesson again and again and again, and when you yourself have tried to teach them to others again and again and again.

But isn't that what being a teacher is?

I get what you're saying and I guess it's just comes down to different points. Yeah, people should know X, but the fact is they don't and if someone doesn't point out a few things to them they may never be challenged and be forced to look at their own viewpoints.

I'm not saying you have to spend hours with a person and hold their hand every step of the way, but when the opportunity comes up I do believe it's important to try and address that person and the issue rather than insisting they go read a book or what have you.

Hell, I've gotten a mefimail or two when some black issue comes up (Not YOU DJ) with the person and the person asks me some question and wants to know my opinion and some days I really don't want to be the black ambassador or I'm really busy and want to watch "Robot Chicken" rather than go three rounds about race stuff. But usually I do it (usually) and think it makes a difference not only to others but to myself. YMMV.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:49 PM on September 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also keep in mind that it's very rare to encounter a "teaching moment" where the would-be student actually wants the lesson. There are some people, in some contexts, who'd see any attempt to say, "You know, that type of comment can sound pretty sexist" as more evidence that "feminazis" are patrolling for thought crimes, or whatever.

There are also other considerations: will I lose my job, will I not get the next promotion, will the boss start giving me bad shifts or cut my hours, will my coworkers ostracize me, will this man continue to harass me, will this escalate a bad situation to a violent situation...
posted by kathrineg at 1:52 PM on September 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


But isn't that what being a teacher is?

I already have to be the teacher to the people who really matter to me: my partner(s), my close friends, people in positions of direct power over my life. That's where I use up all my patience.
posted by kathrineg at 1:55 PM on September 24, 2009


Hell, I've gotten a mefimail or two when some black issue comes up (Not YOU DJ) with the person and the person asks me some question and wants to know my opinion and some days I really don't want to be the black ambassador or I'm really busy and want to watch "Robot Chicken" rather than go three rounds about race stuff. But usually I do it (usually) and think it makes a difference not only to others but to myself. YMMV.

Right -- you USUALLY do it. But that means that there are just times when you don't, and you just want to say "fuck it, I'm not getting paid to be your Human Decency Tutor."

Think about one of those times when that happened -- and now imagine if someone came up to you when you were IN that frame of mind and started lecturing you about how "you should be nicer when you're trying to educate people". You'd be a little peeved at the least, no?

That's just the mood you're catching here right now. Everyone is entitled to not want to ALWAYS be the teacher. You've even admitted thus yourself.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:56 PM on September 24, 2009


>but sometimes it can be tiring to have to be the "teacher" when you just know that others have been trying to teach them the same lesson again and again and again, and when you yourself have tried to teach them to others again and again and again.

But isn't that what being a teacher is?


The difference is that usually teachers willingly accept that role in some way. No one should be forced into "being a teacher" 24/7, is all we're saying.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:57 PM on September 24, 2009


I'm glad that we periodically have these conversations on Metafilter. I've learned a lot. While I do frequent feminist blogs to hear what they have to say, it's hard to learn practical means of dealing with sexism, especially of dealing with it in non-feminist spaces where people are not familiar with the kinds of tropes feminists already understand. Just reading the numbers of people talking about and dealing with the comment in question has been edifying.

Just wanna say thanks for all the good food for thought.
posted by Axle at 1:59 PM on September 24, 2009


Yeah, this thread has gone amazingly well. I'm sorry I was so grumpy, and I'm glad so many people were so willing to be teachers. But as katherineg and EmpressCallipygos said, nobody should be expected to be Gender Teacher to the World, and for damn sure nobody should be criticized for not doing it on any particular occasion.
posted by languagehat at 2:12 PM on September 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh, and: real teachers are paid money to teach. It's their job.

Unless someone here is, like, a professor in gender studies, no one here is getting paid anything to fight sexism one ignorant person at a time.

But, you know, I'd be way more active in this type of thread if there were some sort of reimbursement system. If anyone's offering...
posted by Ms. Saint at 2:14 PM on September 24, 2009


Muddgirl and I have been going back and forth in MefiMail, discussing issues and one of the things that's stuck me is the interpretation that being nice while educating means essentially being a doormat, which isn't what I meant at all.

I think I understood what was meant. The issue is, women are already socialized to be nice in that sense-- to be non-confrontational and patient and nurturing and all those things teachers are supposed to be. Maybe the word "nice" has unintended connotations. Regardless, I won't be made to feel responsible for improving the character of everyone around me. Hey, forget random strangers, I've got my hands full adjusting the attitudes of my female friends.
posted by zennie at 2:15 PM on September 24, 2009


I would appreciate it if she didn't spend money on it or recommend it to any of her friends.

I think there's an important difference between directly/indirectly supporting a film financially simply liking it after having already seen it. Pretending to not like a film due to ideological reasons even after seeing and enjoying the film would be disingenuous in my opinion (which is different than legitimately not liking a film for ideological reasons).

And really, I don't think it's necessary or practical to stage a disorganized and silent boycott all forms of entertainment that don't line up with progressive ideals. I try to watch any enjoyable film regardless of what kind of message it has or what kind of story it tells, and I don't feel like a particularly bad person for doing so.
posted by burnmp3s at 2:15 PM on September 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


hey, you know what? LobsterMitten is pretty awesome. I just added her as a contact, filed under "Awesomeness."

I agree, I'm not really sure if I've made up my mind about all this but I'm trying to listen and she has done a fine job of making the case. What ever you feel about the issue understand that for some of us this is not obvious.
I can't think of anytime here on metafilter when I've voiced an opinon on a woman's looks and something about saying "she's hot" is not my style but I always assumed that was just my style and not a value. So when someone says something about a woman's appearance I don't automatically think it is rude. I'm not sure why that is but I'm just being honest.

At any rate it's is very helpful to hear some of the points of view coming out now late in the thread, precisely because this stuff is not obvious to some of us. So thanks for being clear those of you who took the time.
posted by nola at 2:52 PM on September 24, 2009


The worst thing about being forced into the whole "teacher" role is when you go ahead and do it, and use examples from your own life, and then are told that they are invalid, or that you are wrong. That's also where frustration comes in.
posted by gaspode at 3:04 PM on September 24, 2009 [11 favorites]


This is all just musing; it's not aimed at anyone in this discussion. "Teaching" has connotations of being a one-way deal -- I the more knowledgeable, more evolved, more right-thinking lah-di-dah-di-dah person conveying information to you, the ignoranimus student. Although most of us who teach for a living strive to have way more egalitarian classrooms than that, there are still those associations.

I prefer to think that everybody (who wants to) has been engaging in some learning in this thread; I sure have. The "learning-centered" model in education says that we are individually responsible for our own learning, that we contribute to the learning of others, that learning is a collaborative enterprise, and that everybody has at least a little knowledge or info to contribute to the process.

I'm perfectly willing to have a civil, honest, searching conversation on this issue with people who feel the same so we can all learn something, but it's neither my place nor my special duty as a person in possession of two X chromosomes to school other grown adults of any gender.

The perception that people in generally less privileged or less culturally dominant groups need to be the "_______ Ambassador/Educator" is annoying on a couple of levels. First, it suggests that not only do my individual views represent the group but that the group is monolithic in its views, but y'know, I actually don't have especially deep insights into Womanhood, the Experience Thereof.

Second, it reflects the same old sense of majority/dominant-group entitlement by assigning extra responsibility and work to members of the less privileged group. Privileged group members are allowed to say/do offensive things more or less with impunity, but the people they're offending are expected to a) be tolerant and polite and cut the offenders slack, b) not ever make offensive comments themselves, and c) make a special effort, in the gentlest and least confrontational way possible, to accommodate the privileged folks' educational needs.

So basically Offensive Person A's need to be educated trumps Offended Person B's desire not to interact with people who make her/him feel like shit -- because the person on the receiving end of the cruddy behavior is supposed to be nobler, better, more able to rise above, etc. , and there's yet another inequitable layer of expectation.
posted by FelliniBlank at 3:27 PM on September 24, 2009 [4 favorites]


Think about one of those times when that happened -- and now imagine if someone came up to you when you were IN that frame of mind and started lecturing you about how "you should be nicer when you're trying to educate people". You'd be a little peeved at the least, no?

No really, I can sympathize with not wanting to do it. My point is that you should try and if someone is asking an honest question, you sure as hell shouldn't be saying "Hey your ignorance isn't my problem and besides I'm tired of explaining this shit to people"

That's just the mood you're catching here right now. Everyone is entitled to not want to ALWAYS be the teacher. You've even admitted thus yourself.

I don't think I said everyone must be a teacher at all times, so I'm not sure what there is to admit.


No one should be forced into "being a teacher" 24/7, is all we're saying.

No one is forcing anyone to be a teacher. I'm not sure where the disconnect is occurring, probably both sides, but it's certainly happening.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:35 PM on September 24, 2009


you sure as hell shouldn't be saying "Hey your ignorance isn't my problem and besides I'm tired of explaining this shit to people"

Why not? Really, I'm not being snarky: why not? Many of us have literally been called upon to explain this shit to people HUNDREDS of times. We've been asked to do it in school, at work, in our families, in our relationships. I've been challenged on public transportation, in grocery stores, in doctor's offices. And more often then not, these really are just honest questions. But you know what? Sometimes, I am tired after having worked a long day. Sometimes, I am having a conversation with someone else. Sometimes, I would like to be left the hell alone. Sometimes, I sincerely fear that I will start crying or screaming when I have to explain for the hundredth time why shit is, you know, shit. This is on account of me being human, not some Goodwill Ambassador For Female Experience Robot.

And yet: we "should try" and we "sure as hell shouldn't" ever get impatient, after years and years and years and years and years of the same discussion. Why is that?
posted by scody at 3:57 PM on September 24, 2009 [6 favorites]


And really, I don't think it's necessary or practical to stage a disorganized and silent boycott all forms of entertainment that don't line up with progressive ideals. I try to watch any enjoyable film regardless of what kind of message it has or what kind of story it tells, and I don't feel like a particularly bad person for doing so.

I don't see why it would be impractical to avoid movies or music that bother you. You can just...not watch them or listen to them.

Also note that, if you are a white guy (if you're not, apologies) maybe you can just ignore this stuff. Fine. They are not "ideals" to me, they are my life and my environment. When a movie is misogynistic it is directly aimed at me and it takes a lot of mental energy to disregard that in order to enjoy a film. If a movie is really, really hateful I don't want to hear someone talk about how great it is.

Of course we can disagree about what is and isn't misogynistic and make our own decisions about what to do, etc. No one is trying to force you to burn your James Bond collection or whatever.

(warning, triggers for rape below).

Although I reserve the right to negatively judge anyone who sees these ads or these ads and then goes and sees that film.

It's not about "progressive ideals" it's about my being able to walk down the street in my OWN NEIGHBORHOOD without seeing a poster that says "deaf girls can't hear you coming"

Oh, here are some other quotes from this great movie [via Amanda Hess]


On women:
- “She may be a vacuous slut with no taste, but at least she’s not a stripper.”
- “I’d rather mainline Drano than listen to another minute of your whore prattle.”
- “Your gender is hardwired for whoredom.”
- “I don’t like her because she’s a negative fucking bitch, not because she has tits.”
- “Fat girls aren’t real people.”
- “Cum dumpsters.”

On fun:
- “Ready to get shit-faced and grab some titty!?”
- “We can’t all go after the girl with low self-esteem.”

On what women are good for, beyond fucking:
- “I will gut you and grind you into pig fodder.”
- “Get away from me or I’m going to carve a fuck hole in your torso.”
- “I want to shoot every one of these bitches.”
- “The only way I can cut you deep is with a battle axe and a running start.”
- “Rape’s not funny, but murder can be.”
posted by kathrineg at 4:03 PM on September 24, 2009


BB: But is it really a sense of entitlement if he meant it as an comment on how the media would treat the story?

Behind that one comment, no. Krilli, your subsequent defenses, interspersed with commenters pointing out that "While I read up on the case and background: That is a strikingly beautiful woman" strikes them hard in places rubbed raw, did suggest to me a sense of entitlement. Because of that whole, y'know, refusing to apologize for something already highlighted several times as hurtful thing (I think it was klang's? comment that laid this out beautifully).

See, your comments looked to me like "I get that my comment triggered bad emotional baggage for some, but I expressed my actual thought poorly, here's what I really thought, and because what I really thought is completely unrelated to what the upset folks are upset about, there's no reason I should apologize for inadvertently posting a comment that is, on its face, indistinguishable from ["assholish" might be too strong] thoughtlessly harmful comments."

As opposed to, ". . . here's what I really thought, and I apologize for posting something indistinguishable from irrelevant stupidities that I myself abhor." Of course you did apologize later and thank you for that. I'm just bringing this up because I'm trying to answer BB's question. I don't think it's unreasonable to have attributed the ongoing trivialization evident in

once the terrible sexist steam has finished escaping . . . knock the discussion away from the "Hey is this sexist? Are we sexist now?" discussion, and back to the issue. . . . "[black friend" anecdote brought up to illustrate that] you find what you're looking for. . . . I do feel there are folk in this thread who are [upset] over nothin'

to the author's feeling entitled to refuse to listen, or reflect on how the original poorly filtered words iterate IRL daily, un/intended, unlooked-for microaggressions, that cumulatively are far from "nothin,'" and are in fact a Big Deal. A Big Deal encompassed, unintentionally, in the original comment, but encompassed nonetheless. And then your subsequent dismissive comments, quoted above, exacerbated my impression that you felt entitled to not bother thinking about why people might be justified in reacting badly or expecting an apology.

It's possible of course that some of the conflict may have come from the "you're sexist vs your comment was sexist" confusion, the thread's fast pace, ill-timed attempts at humour, or other factors I haven't thought about, so if my interpretation was entirely incorrect, my apologies.

Me: I understand that it would not have been your intent that any women reading your comment be its "target," but that is the impact for a lot of us.

BB: Understandable, but that gets into meaning and intent and who's responsible for what. I can't say that I have a definitive answer to that, but it seems like a huge grey area.

It's not gray for commenters who have explained how processing the interminable stream of these remarks is exhausting and demoralizing. It's gray for you because...you acknowledge that negative effect, but you feel that there's some sort of net positive in voicing those remarks that counterbalances it? Or what?

Me: To quote LobsterMitten again, intended or not, there's cultural subtext: "and it's a good thing she's beautiful, because she's succeeding on a performance measure that's significant."

BB: That's a culture subtext, but is it the cultural subtext going on here?

It's the cultural subtext for people who are subjected to it all the freakin' time and would like it to be minimized in at least this one corner of the world. Since the burden on them is large compared to the burden of going, "This person's stunning! Is there a compelling reason to announce that publicly? Hmmm. No," I'd also consider it the cultural subtext of a world that's best left behind. What else do you put forward as candidate for the cultural subtext?
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 4:06 PM on September 24, 2009 [4 favorites]


Oh, here are some other quotes from this great movie

I...I... I was literally dumbstruck when I followed those links and read those quotes, kathrineg. I think I sat staring at my monitor in dazed astonishment with my mouth half-open for a good minute or two. Long enough, anyway, for a co-worker to walk by my office, glance in the door, and ask with concern if everything was OK.

I mean, I've heard the name Tucker Max, and heard him referred to as a scummy sleazoid, but I had no idea. I mean No. Fucking. Idea.

It makes me want to find the guy who suggested I read Max's book, grab him by the lapels and shout "JESUS FUCK WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU?"

I mean. Fuck. Jesus fucking fuck.
posted by dersins at 4:31 PM on September 24, 2009


And I guarantee that there are people, plenty of people, who if you object to the Tucker Max stuff will just say you don't have a sense of humor.
posted by LobsterMitten at 4:37 PM on September 24, 2009


Why not? Really, I'm not being snarky: why not?

Good question and it gave me pause. Ultimately, IMO, it boils down to being rude, whether it's a man saying it to a woman or vice versa. If someone asks you a question, you should be polite and civil about answering it.

And yet: we "should try" and we "sure as hell shouldn't" ever get impatient, after years and years and years and years and years of the same discussion. Why is that?

Yeah, we all should try to rid the world of ignorance. No, we can't do it all the time, we're only human, but yeah, we should try.

I don't believe I said women shouldn't get impatient.

It's not gray for commenters who have explained how processing the interminable stream of these remarks is exhausting and demoralizing. It's gray for you because...you acknowledge that negative effect, but you feel that there's some sort of net positive in voicing those remarks that counterbalances it? Or what?

To me it's a gray area because the same situation is being viewed between two different filters. Yes, I get that some people don't think it's a gray area, my point was that some do. In those cases who's right or is anyone? Like I said, I don't have definitive answer in the sense that there's one that can apply to every situation. In the end it depends on the specifics I think.

What else do you put forward as candidate for the cultural subtext?

I'm not putting forth there is one one, only that people are seeing things differently and in light of that how do people bridge that gap in a positive way?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:43 PM on September 24, 2009


500!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:44 PM on September 24, 2009


One of the main reasons I respect the hive mind less and less over time is the enthusiasm the most vocal mefis seem have for taking offense at every little thing.

Some girls are pretty. Get the hell over it and grow the hell up.
posted by stubby phillips at 4:45 PM on September 24, 2009


Or don't. Time doesn't heal all wounds.
posted by stubby phillips at 4:47 PM on September 24, 2009


One of the main reasons I respect the hive mind less and less over time is the enthusiasm the most vocal mefis seem have for taking offense at every little thing.

We're called MeFites, you insensitive jerk!
posted by Sys Rq at 4:51 PM on September 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


Thank you for the patience, cybercoitus interruptus. Regarding these comments:

once the terrible sexist steam has finished escaping . . . knock the discussion away from the "Hey is this sexist? Are we sexist now?" discussion, and back to the issue. . . . "[black friend" anecdote brought up to illustrate that] you find what you're looking for. . . . I do feel there are folk in this thread who are [upset] over nothin'

This was mostly in response to what I perceived as attacks on my persona – being called a dumb boor, things like that. Also that a derail is a derail, whether it is in the form of "tits! fap!!", or calling someone names because they could be interpreted as insensitive. Also I do feel that there is a false dichotomy going on: Of course sexism is a problem. It is retarded. But also I feel that for instance seeing a "sense of entitlement" in my vacuous comment is seeing a problem where I think more letting-goness would work better. But please remember my mortification and shame over having said the "hysteria" thing.

Now I've been thinking about some things being said about "sexists usually think they aren't sexist".

Regarding that, I want to illustrate my background. I don't know if it's a good idea.

This is a picture of my grandmother. On her own, she started and ran one of the two largest advertising agencies in Iceland in the '60s through the '90s. My grandfather was second in command - distinctly second because she was obviously better at running the agency. She designed the Icelandic currency and passport.

My girlfriend is a mathematician.

I have more female friends than male. (Platonic.) I've simply often found women more reasonable and easier to talk to, for me personally. It's just happened that way.

The dean of my school, Reykjavik University, is female. I greatly respect her for her decisiveness and open, charming get-it-doneness – she is the perfect gentleman. Because penis is simply not necessary for being a gentleman.

It is however unfortunate that history has given the situation where the word gentleman, so incredibly masculinity-oriented, is probably the quickest and most widely understood way to describe what is simply a mature person.

But this is my approach in life: Gently reclaim words and concepts which attribute maturity and goodness to one gender or the other, using them persistently in such a way that we can have the old splendor of the idea of the good actions and attitude of a 'gentleman', while we disconnect it from the binding to gender.

I don't know if I can really fit this into the context, not explicitly, but I hope some good may come of me saying this.
posted by krilli at 4:54 PM on September 24, 2009


It is retarded.

FYI, many members of Metafitler are bothered by the use of the word "retarded".
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:00 PM on September 24, 2009


Aaaaaaaa

Thanks, Brandon.

And I will quickly apologise.
posted by krilli at 5:07 PM on September 24, 2009


Before this thread, I wasn't aware of Tucker Max on any level. Now he's on the ever-growing list of people I'd like to run down in the General Lee. Taking that prick off the board would be worth ruining the suspension in a Dodge Charger.
posted by EatTheWeak at 5:25 PM on September 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


And I guarantee that there are people, plenty of people, who if you object to the Tucker Max stuff will just say you don't have a sense of humor.

But.. but... even leaving aside the hateful stuff, he's not actually funny.
posted by dersins at 5:30 PM on September 24, 2009


I've actually met Tucker Max. They ran a story on him at Hustler.

I can also say that I get it, but his schtick is so fucking one-dimensional… He's like the Carlos Mencia of misogynists.
posted by klangklangston at 5:36 PM on September 24, 2009


krilli, the problem here was not with who you are as a person. The problem was that the shallowness and poor timing of your remark offended community members, and then you tried to gloss it over.
posted by zennie at 5:38 PM on September 24, 2009


Someone thought Tucker Max was funny enough to make a movie out of?

Oh, god, no.
posted by goo at 5:42 PM on September 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Some girls are pretty. Get the hell over it and grow the hell up.

And if the post is about a woman who did something that has nothing to do with her looks, we don't give a fuck if you think she's pretty. Stop being twelve already.
posted by rtha at 5:43 PM on September 24, 2009 [3 favorites]

So no, I don't think it's intended as "put others first" but rather a more practical "what works best to reach and teach people"
Part of the trouble is that being nice isn't necessarily the best way to reach people. Everyone likes to say that, of course, they'll listen to politely worded logic. We're all rational people here. In practice, sometimes you have to yell to get anyone's attention.

I worked on a project with a guy at one point who thought I was angry all the time. In practice, I was only angry the tenth time I had to repeat myself. "Larry, we're at the deadline/past the deadline/two days past the deadline/etc. Do you have your part ready yet?" But everything up to "Larry, turn off the damned World of Warcraft and lift a fucking finger!" was tuned out as "oh, it's that female nattering again". And, of course, the yelling just got me tuned out as "oh, it's that hysterical female again." I finally wound up passing all my contributions through a male, just to get things done. (And then quit in disgust, but that was later.) He thought I shouldn't yell - if only I were nicer and more patient he'd be willing to listen to me...

A lot of times the people insisting that women should be explaining this stuff with sweet, infinite, patience have actually been told this stuff over and over before. They just don't notice until someone smacks them down over it.
posted by Karmakaze at 5:44 PM on September 24, 2009 [6 favorites]


BB: Here is why it's unfair: you go out of your way to defend the person who made the comment, ignoring his dismissiveness over people's concerns. Giving him the benefit of the doubt. Fair enough. But then you pick out the one or two people who got a little frustrated, proceeding to spend much of the rest of the thread criticizing them for it. Where's your benefit of the doubt for them? If you think krilli has reason to be defensive, don't you think the women who have to deal with the impact of this every single day have just a little more reason to be frustrated? After all this?

Here's a question: this is Metafilter, not exactly known for its gentle handholding. This is Metatalk. Do you demand the same patience and equanimity from Mefites here over other issues? If not - why this?

6 marathon threads PercussivePaul linked to - in addition to this one, over 500 comments so far. All the women who have come in, again and again, to explain with patience in face of dismissiveness, mockery and scorn. Is that not enough patience for you? How much patience would satisfy you?

How many more marathon threads of patience would it take before you feel that yes, enough, maybe it shouldn't be up to women to explain and defend themselves anymore?

You don't seem to feel it's reasonable to ask people like krilli to read previous threads on this subject, as they are too long. But we delete doubles, and expect people to refer to previous threads, all the time. Are you really expecting women to put in the time for 500- to 1000-comment threads every time something like this comes up, to say the same thing again?

May I suggest that women may have better things to do than say the same things over and over again, in the face of hostility and defensiveness, to have their explanations picked apart and mocked, their way of explaining criticized, their concerns dismissed and invalidated, not even knowing if they are wasting time on a troll, with comments like this as their reward? May I suggest that eventually, however much they want to educate people, however much they care about Metafilter, that they will feel tired? It's piss easy to be inconsiderate and dismissive. Explaining things with patience and care, on the other hand, takes real time and effort. Even if you manage to educate some people this time, more will come along. It never ends.

Then some will just go quiet. But you will not see it.

Since you feel entitled to criticize the way women are doing it, why don't you invest that effort into doing the educating, and take some of that burden off women's shoulders?

All this is to say: do you see that however well-meaning you are, you are coming off as placing an unfair burden on women who already have enough of this burden to deal with? The mefites in these threads doing the explaining already have the patients of saints.
posted by catchingsignals at 6:51 PM on September 24, 2009 [17 favorites]


One of the main reasons I respect the hive mind less and less over time is the enthusiasm the most vocal mefis seem have for taking offense at every little thing.

Some girls are pretty. Get the hell over it and grow the hell up.


You know, I think it's worth calling it out loud and clear: this comment is what sexism looks like. Hey women -- tired of being catcalled from cars? Tired of being judged for your appearance? Tired of all of that sexist bullshit? Well guess what: on top of that, some guy is going to come along and tell you that's it's your fault; that there isn't actually anything wrong except your choice to take offense at "every little thing."

I think it's perversely appropriate that at the end of a thread that imho has actually been relatively good as these things go for Metafilter, someone has shown up and given us a great example of pure, unvarnished sexism at work.
posted by Frobenius Twist at 7:05 PM on September 24, 2009 [7 favorites]


Part of the trouble is that being nice isn't necessarily the best way to reach people. Everyone likes to say that, of course, they'll listen to politely worded logic. We're all rational people here. In practice, sometimes you have to yell to get anyone's attention.

I really agree with this. Thorough explanations provided in polite tones are probably less effective than experience, changing community norms (and social change is never polite), and displays of disgust/offense/anger so strong that people are forced to sit up and take notice. It might not be the person who is on the receiving end of the "impolite argument" who learns anything (maybe just not the first time, or maybe not ever), but plenty of other people may notice and think, because they are open to learning other perspectives.

This post by Melissa McEwan talks about how sometimes even the people who are closest to us, who are ostensibly our allies in life and/or professionally, and who have heard all of this before and may even have sat in the same classrooms, read the same books, and been with us through our daily experiences of oppression (sexist, racist, classist, ableist whatever we all have something)...can still "not [get] it on so many things, so many important things" and be convinced that we are the ones who are just taking things too personally.


A lot of times the people insisting that women should be explaining this stuff with sweet, infinite, patience have actually been told this stuff over and over before. They just don't notice until someone smacks them down over it.


I think this is a good point as well. They rarely seem blindsided. Opinions have already been staked out. You can't teach someone who isn't seeking any kind of an education. Except maybe in the school of hard knocks, but that school's not very polite.

I also want to agree with those who say there have been plenty of "educational" explanations from multiple angles in this thread. People have tried "teaching" by sharing personal experiences, using metaphors and analogies, and I daresay the research and statistics may not be far behind if we go another 500 comments. There has been precious little "I'm right, you're wrong, shut up". The last sexism thread I participated in found those attempts at "education" met with dismissiveness and derision, and I'm happy not to see anything as bad as all that here.
posted by Danila at 7:05 PM on September 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


I like to think that I'm neither sexist (or racist) but undoubtedly drop a klanger from time to time because I don't engage my brain before opening my mouth (or pressing "post comment").

I'm a pretty shy person when it comes to "complimenting" people I'm not close to, so have rarely said anything along the lines of "OMG you're so pretty,"--but if I did, I wouldn't have seen how my "kind words" might not be as appreciated as I might hope them to be. The cashier at the store or the person serving me my food or a professional colleague almost certainly doesn't give a rat's ass if I find them pleasing to look at or not.

For me, the motivation would be the same one that has me saying "wow" when regarding a stunning sunset or particularly captivating artwork. I could even see myself having looked upon it as a good work--everyone likes compliments, right?

I think a disconnect for many men is they (may) go through most of their lives without hearing a spontaneous "you look so handsome" even once, or very rarely--the unexpected nature of such a compliment is so different that it can really make your day--akin to finding a four-leafed clover. Some inappropriate comments about the appearance of beautiful women may come from that environment of scarcity; we don't think about what it would be like to hear about our looks several times per day, nor what it would be like if the only thing we heard about was our looks rather than our work or our ideas. And we definitely don't (generally) have to deal with creeps who compliment us and expect us to give back something in return.

This thread in particular has made me think about these issues, so many thanks.

(When I was a kid, I thought I might be a writer and be incredibly articulate, and that day never arrived, so apologies about confusing half-thoughts and muddled language.)
posted by maxwelton at 7:19 PM on September 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


I don't think I said everyone must be a teacher at all times, so I'm not sure what there is to admit.

If you don't think that everyone must be a teacher at all times, then why the hell are you responding to the people who say "sometimes I just don't want to be a teacher" by saying "but don't you think teaching people is good???" Maybe they do. But they just don't want to RIGHT NOW, and yet there you are nagging them about how imPORtant it is to be a teacher, and....

On review: what catchingsignals said.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:28 PM on September 24, 2009


Where's your benefit of the doubt for them?

Krilli apologized and said he'd be more careful in the future. I think that's a fair response from and don't really see the need to pile on.

If you think krilli has reason to be defensive, don't you think the women who have to deal with the impact of this every single day have just a little more reason to be frustrated?

Is that we're going with this, who's been injured more and therefore has more moral weight?

Look, you seem to want to extract a pound of flesh from me about this, which is fine, but we're looking at this in different ways.

To me it boils down to krilli admitted he was wrong and promised to do better. No one said ok cool, thanks for saying that, except for Jessamyn.

Instead, he's promptly told he's wrong about not being sexist , compared to teabaggers to which he pointed out that saying a sexist comment doesn't exactly make him sexist.

Seriously, the guy explained why he said what he said and what he meant and yet people are still wanting to lay the entire shitty aspect of sexism on him and this one comment. I understand the desire to vent, but jesus give it a rest. No one else seems to be giving him the benefit of doubt, I might as well.

As to whether I've advocated patience in other situations, the answer is yes.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:31 PM on September 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


I think a disconnect for many men is they (may) go through most of their lives without hearing a spontaneous "you look so handsome" even once, or very rarely--the unexpected nature of such a compliment is so different that it can really make your day--akin to finding a four-leafed clover. Some inappropriate comments about the appearance of beautiful women may come from that environment of scarcity; we don't think about what it would be like to hear about our looks several times per day, nor what it would be like if the only thing we heard about was our looks rather than our work or our ideas. And we definitely don't (generally) have to deal with creeps who compliment us and expect us to give back something in return.

You've reminded me of a cartoon I once saw, actually.

It was two panels: the FIRST one was captioned, "what men THINK the 'compliments' women get are" and the panel depicted a woman walking down the street, passing guys who were saying things like "that's a lovely coat you're wearing!" and "good day to you, fair maiden!" and "here, don't walk over this puddle, let me spread my coat out for you."

The SECOND panel was captioned, "what women ACTUALLY get for "compliments," and it showed the same woman walking down the same street past the same guys, only they were all instead saying things like "whoo-WEEE shake that hot can, mama" or "looking GOOD, sweet tits" or "DAMN she can sit on my face anytime...."

That second kind sucks, you know.

Part of the problem a lot of you guys may be facing is that often, if we've heard the FIRST kind of compliment, all too often it's just a segue for the SECOND kind -- and we don't know whether you're about to spring that second kind on us, sometimes.

So you know those guys who catcall women? The ones who tell women like me whom they have never met that "I sure would like to suck your pussy" (honest to god, a complete and utter stranger said precisely that to me on a sidewalk in broad daylight) -- you know those guys?

Can you help us out by telling them to knock it the fuck off? If you want a bit more leeway about paying friendly compliments, those are the guys who are ruining it for you.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:35 PM on September 24, 2009 [5 favorites]


If you don't think that everyone must be a teacher at all times, then why the hell are you responding to the people who say "sometimes I just don't want to be a teacher" by saying "but don't you think teaching people is good???

I did a search for "sometimes I just don't want to be a teacher" and "but don't you think teaching people is good", which you have in quotes, but there were no hits for those quotes except for your comments, so I'm not sure what you're talking about.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:37 PM on September 24, 2009


To be honest, Brandon, I'm not even talking about krilli's comment any more -- I'm reacting entirely to what is coming across as your expectation that women should just "suck it up" if guys do dumb crap because it's some kind of "teaching moment." Sometimes they don't want to. You've said that you've never said that they had to 24/7 -- and yet, you are coming across as nagging the women who aren't.

Honestly, I'm entirely focused on the whole issue of "you're claiming that you never said I had to do this all the time, but it sounds like you're nagging me when I'm not".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:39 PM on September 24, 2009


I did a search for "sometimes I just don't want to be a teacher" and "but don't you think teaching people is good", which you have in quotes, but there were no hits for those quotes except for your comments, so I'm not sure what you're talking about.

....It's called "paraphrasing."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:40 PM on September 24, 2009


people are still wanting to lay the entire shitty aspect of sexism on him
jesus give it a rest. No one else seems to be giving him the benefit of doubt

I think we've gotten clearer about that now, even though earlier on in the thread it might have been feeling that way. There has been a LOT of "even though he didn't intend to offend anyone" and "of course he personally may be nonsexist, it's just the comment we're taking issue with", all through the thread and especially over the last, say, 300 comments or so.
posted by LobsterMitten at 7:47 PM on September 24, 2009


I think we've all had our say here, so I'm just going to close this up now.
posted by Meatbomb at 7:58 PM on September 24, 2009


That is, I think there is a lot that we're all agreeing to, by this point.

-The particular comment was not the kind that is good for the site, for the reasons outlined above, live and learn.

- It's ok/good to delete comments like that because we're trying to create an environment with certain conversational norms.

- It's a good idea to be diplomatic when responding to a callout,

- It's a good idea to be diplomatic when explaining why you're offended by something or why some comment carries baggage the commenter may not have intended,

- It's a good idea to give people the benefit of the doubt, whether they're making a comment you think is maybe-offensive, or if they're getting upset over something when you don't immediately understand why they're upset.

- It's not the obligation of each person to explain patiently all the baggage that might be associated with a comment, and it's tiring and understandable that people just don't want to have to go through the whole rigamarole again.

- But it's great when people do have the energy to do this because then the audience who's giving them the benefit of the doubt (taking them at their word about their own experiences for example) will be able to learn from the explanation, and you get more flies with honey etc.

(I'm guessing we all pretty much agree on those things, no?)
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:01 PM on September 24, 2009 [7 favorites]


also pie.
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:02 PM on September 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm reacting entirely to what is coming across as your expectation that women should just "suck it up" if guys do dumb crap because it's some kind of "teaching moment."

That's not my view and I'm sorry if that's what was conveyed. I don't think anyone has suck it up and do things they aren't comfortable with. I do think teaching moments occur and people should try to do it. Clearly we'll have to agree to disagree on that.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:08 PM on September 24, 2009


If you want a bit more leeway about paying friendly compliments, those are the guys who are ruining it for you.

To be clear, I'm not, personally, looking for that leeway, but I'll take your advice to heart, non-the-less. I was trying to explain where the more "decent" variety of compliment may have its origin.
posted by maxwelton at 8:08 PM on September 24, 2009


[pie is good]
posted by zennie at 8:08 PM on September 24, 2009


BB: I guess we disagree as to whether this was an apology. To me it reads as extremely disrespectful and dismissive, and in no sense an apology. And this is what I meant, when I said that I felt you were giving him the most charitable interpretation, but not extending the same courtesy to others.

For what it's worth, I disagree with that particular comment of Optimus Chyme's - firstly because I've seen that Jay Smooth video, and secondly because yes, it is entirely possible to say something that comes off as sexist without being sexist. But that was just one comment. I would suggest that 95% of this thread has not been a reaction to krilli's original comment, but rather to his dismissiveness here. Look at how people reacted to dersin's comment, which some people thought was worse than krilli's. Dersins apologized, took people's concerns on board, explained what he meant. And that was it. When krilli admitted that he was not aware of the meaning behind calling women hysterical, people accepted and thanked him for it, and that was the end of that.

I don't know if you were referring to me when you said "you seem to want to extract a pound of flesh from me about this", but that is certainly not my intention, nor I believe anyone else's. People merely would like acknowledgement and understanding of their concerns - that's just as human as defensiveness over perceived attacks on your character. But to save myself from adding to your feeling that people are piling on, I'll bow out here.
posted by catchingsignals at 8:08 PM on September 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


"I think a disconnect for many men is they (may) go through most of their lives without hearing a spontaneous "you look so handsome" even once, or very rarely--the unexpected nature of such a compliment is so different that it can really make your day--akin to finding a four-leafed clover."

In Florence, there's a long walkway that leads up to the train station. It's bounded by trees, paved with cobblestones, really, a beautiful European encomium to adventure and romance.

My family and I were seeing none of it. We were late for a train, and taking the long strides strides that being a tall family accords, my father, mother, brother and me.

A man to my left is watching us from his bench, and gets up, as if to meet us. He's a slight man, olive with close-cropped hair, and he moves to intercept. As we draw up to him and he starts to meet our gait, he says, "Can I say something to you?" and pauses, a little ahead of us.

"Sure," I say, not breaking stride. By now, I've been hassled by pan handlers, beggers, buskers, sharps, grifters, wheedlers, swindlers and men who sell wind-up dogs, all over Europe and America. He scurries a bit to catch up.

"Your beard… You are a very attractive man," he says, little legs pumping like a dachshund.

"Really?" I say.

"Oh yes," he says.

"Thank you very much," I say, and he falls away like a leaf in an eddy, as we sweep onward.


To this day, I'm not sure what that was all about. But my brother's given me no end of shit over it.
posted by klangklangston at 8:11 PM on September 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


To put it bluntly: if you make something a metric, there's always someone who will try to maximize it.

Oh holy crap. I never even thought of that...someone shooting for a higher number. Motion withdrawn.
posted by Deathalicious at 9:18 PM on September 24, 2009


Someone thought Tucker Max was funny enough to make a movie out of?

Oh, god, no.


Thankfully, it appears that that "someone" was Tucker Max himself, as the movie is self-distributed. In an industry as soulless as film, it gives me a small amount of hope that distributors nationwide saw this property with solid "mental real estate" value and still decided that they didn't want to associate themselves with it. The A.V. Club review is illuminating, if only to serve as a shining and somewhat bizarre example of the site's principle of approaching anything they review on it's intended level.

I'd never heard of Tucker Max until I encountered him via two delightfully scathing pieces on Progressive Boink. When an old roommate brought his book home one day a few years back, I most definitely shared my piece on how fucked up that was.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:21 PM on September 24, 2009


I did not know who Tucker Max was until this thread.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:42 PM on September 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


To put it bluntly: if you make something a metric, there's always someone who will try to maximize it.

Every few years, some health educator type gets the clever idea of putting breathalyzers in bars, so you can make sure you aren't too drunk to drive before leaving. Guess what happens?
posted by msalt at 9:45 PM on September 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


"I did not know who Tucker Max was until this thread."

It's like learning that there are people who think donkey punches are real and legitimate.
posted by klangklangston at 10:00 PM on September 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't see why it would be impractical to avoid movies or music that bother you. You can just...not watch them or listen to them.

Well, on the one hand part of the fun of films for me at least is seeing films that do bother me. For some films making people uncomfortable is the whole point. But anyway the point I was trying to make was that if a film doesn't bother me, I don't feel the need to avoid the film or pretend I don't like it just because it bothers other people. To me film preferences are a personal thing. That's why I personally disagree with your statement that someone should not "spend money on it or recommend it to any of her friends" even though she presumably enjoyed the book and is looking forward to seeing the film. If she wants to see it then it's fine if she goes and sees it. But you're right that you're free to explain why you think the movie sucks and why you think they shouldn't see it.

Also note that, if you are a white guy (if you're not, apologies) maybe you can just ignore this stuff. Fine. They are not "ideals" to me, they are my life and my environment.

Yeah, I'm a white guy. I realize I'm in a privileged class, etc.

Of course we can disagree about what is and isn't misogynistic and make our own decisions about what to do, etc. No one is trying to force you to burn your James Bond collection or whatever.

I think we're pretty much agreeing here. I was mainly responding to lazaruslong's weird statement about realizing that he was wrong for loving a film series, which you were indirectly defending. My main points were that people love whatever films they happen to love, and that effecting changes in the content of films by avoiding certain ones is in my opinion not worth trying to do.

It's not about "progressive ideals" it's about my being able to walk down the street in my OWN NEIGHBORHOOD without seeing a poster that says "deaf girls can't hear you coming"

I agree that's pretty messed up.
posted by burnmp3s at 10:12 PM on September 24, 2009


I do think teaching moments occur and people should try to do it.

Brandon, here's where I think you keep drawing flack for this: the "people" in this case are, by definition, women. Under cover of simply advocating "patience," you are essentially volunteering all women for a teaching duty that you, by virtue of being a man, are never called upon to perform.

Now, sure, there are men who DO step up to educate about sexism; this thread is a perfect example of that (this is where I fist-bump cortex, OC, The World Famous, languagehat, and klang, just to name a few). But really, when it comes to the burden of teaching moments regarding SEXISM, it is women who disproportionately bear that burden... and you keep essentially insisting that we should bear that burden as politely and constructively as possible, as often as possible, even though you and your fellow men, by definition, will never have to be expected to bear the same burden.

This is what rankles. Women in this thread have already been doing precisely this sort of heavy lifting -- with as much good humor and patience as we can muster, often in the face of rudeness and mockery and dismissal -- for decades. Each of us has taken on countless teaching moments, in countless ways, with countless men, in countless private and public settings. And yet... you seem unable to acknowledge that we already bear this disproportionate burden, which in turn means that your conclusion regarding what "people" should do (a seemingly benign, progressive, "can't we all get along politely" proposition regarding teaching moments) boils down, in practice, to a man telling women -- yet again -- what we "should" do.
posted by scody at 10:44 PM on September 24, 2009 [8 favorites]


Krilli: I want to illustrate my background.

Cool photo of your grandmother!

please remember my mortification and shame over having said the "hysteria" thing.

Yes of course, I appreciate that very much. I'm sorry I didn't make more clear that I was absolutely in a letting-bygones-be frame of mind and didn't intend to rehash your comments in a "Shame on you, again!" kind of way, at all. I did want to explain why I had interpreted the dismissive comments as entitled.

This was mostly in response to what I perceived as attacks on my persona – being called a dumb boor, things like that. Also that a derail is a derail, whether it is in the form of "tits! fap!!", or calling someone names because they could be interpreted as insensitive. Also I do feel that there is a false dichotomy going on: Of course sexism is a problem. . . . But also I feel that for instance seeing a "sense of entitlement" in my vacuous comment is seeing a problem where I think more letting-goness would work better.

I officially retract my characterization of your original comment as due to a sense of entitlement. Possibly for the subsequent, dismissive ones too. I get that they were inspired, understandably, by frustration at being what you considered unfairly maligned. They (not you personally) still strike me as unnecessarily belittling, suggestive of a default barrier to listening to or considering the possibility of justifiable reasons for people's anger.

I mean, I imagine myself making a vacuously heteronormative offhand comment and LGBTs reaming me for it. The idea of defending myself with "I'm not particularly homophobic, can we please get back to the real issue" instead of thinking, "Shit, did I fuck up in a way I didn't realize there was to fuck up?" and hastily replaying my words in my mind and trying to see my words from their perspective...well, I know I have blind spots and that I'll keep discovering more. So I sure as hell wouldn't announce several times that they're just flat-out wrong and worked up over nothing.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 1:06 AM on September 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


BB: To me it's a gray area because the same situation is being viewed between two different filters. Yes, I get that some people don't think it's a gray area, my point was that some do.

And my question sought the rationale for considering it gray. A rationale, even. Having acknowledged that there's considerable negative effect, why still consider it gray?

In those cases who's right or is anyone? Like I said, I don't have definitive answer in the sense that there's one that can apply to every situation. In the end it depends on the specifics I think.

I can't think of specific situations where there's a net positive effect of voicing these kinds of remarks to random not-familiar women, or about random women in a heterogeneous public forum. What's the, or a, net positive that mitigates the negativity enough to result in "gray"? I'm sincerely trying to understand.

I'm not putting forth there is one one [cultural subtext], only that people are seeing things differently

Sorry for interpreting "That's a culture subtext, but is it the cultural subtext going on here?" as indicating you had the cultural subtext in mind, then. I'm still interested in hearing more about thoughtful rationales or cultural subtexts sticking up for the utility or effect of voicing these kinds of remarks. Ones that deal with the negativity that others upthread have explained.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 1:17 AM on September 25, 2009


scody: you seem unable to acknowledge that we already bear this disproportionate burden, which in turn means that your conclusion regarding what "people" should do (a seemingly benign, progressive, "can't we all get along politely" proposition regarding teaching moments) boils down, in practice, to a man telling women -- yet again -- what we "should" do.

I agree with this analysis. I feel I should mention that BB also does this when the burden IS proportionate, eg with people of colour in a racism MeTa thread. Just putting that in there to show that BB is equal-opportunity that way.

FWIW I think the disconnect about teaching moments lies in repetitions of "You should try," which implies, not deliberately on your part I expect, that people haven't been. Trying. When in fact they have been for far too long and at taxing intensities.

the opportunity comes up I do believe it's important to try and address that person and the issue rather than insisting they go read a book or what have you.
My point is that you should try and if someone is asking an honest question, you sure as hell shouldn't be saying "Hey your ignorance isn't my problem and besides I'm tired of explaining this shit to people"

If someone asks you a question, you should be polite and civil about answering it.
we all should try to rid the world of ignorance. No, we can't do it all the time, we're only human, but yeah, we should try.


There's no grace for the occasional ranty stack-blowing that's only human and that we tend to see in threads like this because these threads are like, Neo fighting endless waves upon waves of Agent Smiths in The Matrix Reloaded, except Neo isn't really just human. (But, I add quickly, they've been worth it for me because apparently there is clear communication and learning going on, so yay for people who take an interest in others' perspectives! and this particular therad has far fewer Agent Smiths.)

So the repetition of "you should try" can be reasonably interpreted as "everyone must be a teacher at all times" if you see what I mean.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 1:53 AM on September 25, 2009


[lastest jessamyn neologism]
posted by fleacircus at 2:11 AM on September 25, 2009


> I did a search for "sometimes I just don't want to be a teacher" and "but don't you think teaching people is good", which you have in quotes, but there were no hits for those quotes except for your comments, so I'm not sure what you're talking about.

OK, I've been giving you the benefit of the doubt, but this is disingenuous bullshit. You know exactly what she's talking about; you're just entrenched in your conviction of your own righteousness and brilliance. Why not just admit you got carried away with the "teaching moment" thing and it's really not your business to try to shame women into "being nice" to sexists?
posted by languagehat at 5:49 AM on September 25, 2009 [4 favorites]


I was a little surprised to see BB's name at the end of that weak-ass dodge, myself.
posted by fleacircus at 6:32 AM on September 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wow I did not know who Tucker Max was either.

Christ, What an asshole.
posted by Mastercheddaar at 7:53 AM on September 25, 2009


Yes, Manhattan is plastered with those stupid-ass posters about his movie. I have been covering them up when possible but damn, I'm just one person. I decided to do this after seeing a 13-year-old girl see one and just crumple...
posted by kathrineg at 7:59 AM on September 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


What I learned from this thread is that I'm not alone.
posted by fleacircus at 8:02 AM on September 25, 2009


I have to admit that once BB mentioned being an ambassador for black people, I've been giggling over the idea of a Blackbassador, whom you could ask all your important black-people-related questions.

Dear Blackbassador,

My black coworker hates avocados, but eats guacamole. Is this typical of black people?

Dear Blackbassador,

I've been invited to a black family's house for dinner. Is it more important that the wine I bring be sweet or fortified?

Dear Blackbassador,

When playing pick-up basketball, I notice black guys always choose other black guys for their team first. Is there something they know that I don't?

In my head, the Blackbassador would always dress in tasteful evening wear, and could also fly.
posted by klangklangston at 8:05 AM on September 25, 2009


I have been waiting and waiting and we've gotten to 549 comments and nobody yet has mentioned the typo in the title. Therefore, I am going to mention it: strinkingly! Strinkingly beautiful! I think strinkingly might be my new favorite adverb. It works best if you say it in a terrible mock European accent, i.e., streeeeeeenkeeeeengly, babeeeee, you are streeeeenkeeengly beeeyooooteeefulll and I think I will use it all the time. In my head.
posted by mygothlaundry at 8:14 AM on September 25, 2009 [3 favorites]


I've been giggling over the idea of a Blackbassador, whom you could ask all your important black-people-related questions.

Paul Mooney had a bit on Chappelle's Show where he would do this.

And Chappelle also had the opposite, a game show where all of the questions were black-people-related.
posted by burnmp3s at 8:16 AM on September 25, 2009


"Yes, Manhattan is plastered with those stupid-ass posters about his movie. I have been covering them up when possible but damn, I'm just one person. I decided to do this after seeing a 13-year-old girl see one and just crumple..."

LA too, especially the corner near my house with the abandoned gas station.

I had kind of wondered what they were about, because we just had the deaf one—I assumed it was going to be some, like, comedy remake of Children of a Lesser God or something.
posted by klangklangston at 8:23 AM on September 25, 2009


I remember the Chapelle Show bits, but two things are different with my idea: The word "Blackbassador," which is mildly clever, and that the Chapelle Show is off the air so it's totally fair game to rip off.
posted by klangklangston at 8:25 AM on September 25, 2009


Also, the bit where he can fly.
posted by klangklangston at 8:25 AM on September 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


I have been waiting and waiting and we've gotten to 549 comments and nobody yet has mentioned the typo in the title.

It's been mentioned a bunch of times, it's a fucking typo, get over it.

I've followed this entire thread, and I have read several of the previous threads referred to. Pretty sure I have learned a few things, and pretty sure these threads are helpful.
posted by Dumsnill at 8:35 AM on September 25, 2009


The typo in the title is excellent! I'm a big fan of typos myself, for instance today at work I received an email that had been forwarded to the whole room asking for help with swapping a shit on Saturday. It's kind of meaningful, really. She wrote shit but she meant shift and I laughed. He wrote sexist shit without meaning to and he got shat on, then he tried to justify himself and became a laughing stock.

I guarantee you that he'll think harder before he hits post next time. That's good, right?
posted by h00py at 9:08 AM on September 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Depends on how boring you want MeTa to become, I suppose, but yeah.
posted by Dumsnill at 9:19 AM on September 25, 2009


I think the disconnect about teaching moments lies in repetitions of "You should try," which implies, not deliberately on your part I expect, that people haven't been.

Actually, I think that "teaching moments" is a red herring that points to the real problem. If your attitude is "I'm totally right, people I oppose are morally wrong, and people who don't understand or accept my view are ignorant or biased. And I'm sick and tired of endlessly repeating this shit to you ignorant cretins" -- well then the problem is your attitude. No matter how right you might happen to be, it will be very difficult to persuade anyone, and you'll cement your opponents' views much more often.

This is true for anyone, man, woman, liberal, conservative, Mother Theresa or Nelson Mandela. Even someone as consistently right as me. If you keep "explaining" something over and over and you're not being heard, it's possible that all those people are idiots. But it might be worth reconsidering how you make your points.
posted by msalt at 9:34 AM on September 25, 2009


The implied clause of "you should always do your best to teach" is, "to be a good and worthwhile person."

Universal imperatives are tricky that way.

It's not that people are opposed to teaching; they're opposed to the implication that if you are lackadaisical about teaching, you're not a good and worthwhile person.

Making both clauses independent would probably bridge the divide.
posted by zennie at 10:20 AM on September 25, 2009


> Actually, I think that "teaching moments" is a red herring that points to the real problem. If your attitude is "I'm totally right, people I oppose are morally wrong, and people who don't understand or accept my view are ignorant or biased. And I'm sick and tired of endlessly repeating this shit to you ignorant cretins" -- well then the problem is your attitude. No matter how right you might happen to be, it will be very difficult to persuade anyone, and you'll cement your opponents' views much more often.

Actually, I think your comment is a red herring. Can you point to any comment in this thread that is trying to persuade people rather than simply snark (as I'm afraid I was doing) that fits that description? People have been very patient and gone out of their way not to treat others as ignorant cretins. If you don't think that's true, then you haven't read this thread at all carefully. And if you agree but for some reason wanted to make an irrelevant point about straw men—well then the problem is your attitude.
posted by languagehat at 10:26 AM on September 25, 2009


I think we should all teach, every chance we get. But then again, I grew up back when teaching often involved corporal punishment. So I will happily enlighten any maggot who is boorish in my vacinity, but my lessen plans may sometimes resemble basic training more than Montessori.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:29 AM on September 25, 2009


Can you point to any comment in this thread that is trying to persuade people rather than simply snark (as I'm afraid I was doing) that fits that description?

This (heavily favorited) one?

Ellehumour starts out saying: "What frustrates me is the context and the sense of entitlement behind him deciding that his judgment of her attractiveness was the most relevant and interesting thing about the article, and thus the only thing worth commenting on."

I don't read this as an accurate depiction of krilli's comment at all. It may be an accurate depiction of the implications of what he said, and why it's a bad thing. But the attribution to krilli that her looks are all that's matters to him is complete bullshit in my reading. In fact, I see "while I read up" as krilli stating that he knows he is being superficial and has yet to digest the important stuff, which is quite different than "this superficial comment *is* the important stuff".

So BB challenges this notion. "What makes you know that's what is going on in this situation?"

Elle: "Uh, what makes you know that it isn't?" And "Anyway, does [intent] really matter?"

BB: "I think it should, because otherwise you're crucifying people who didn't intend harm."

So far, I think, that's pretty good back-and-forth between two people sincerely engaged in a discussion. So when elle comes back with "you seem to think that it is my responsibility to educate people who make comments that make me uncomfortable" and "I'm obligated to have it YET AGAIN, with YET ANOTHER group of people who apparently aren't willing to actually think" ....

Well, I'm pretty much like "huh?" Nobody put any responsibility or obligation on ellehumour to participate in the discussion. BB's original comment about education was in response to you, languagehat. So why is she calling people that don't agree with her "[un]willing to actually think about things themselves", ignorant of basic premises ("Intro To Womens' Studies class"), and dismissive of her point of view ("Heaven forbid" x2)? Where is that coming from? Not the thread from what I could see, but really it seemed like she was reacting to things that happen to her outside of metafilter. So, yeah, that does sound like "you ignorant cretins" to me when it's pointed at someone who is making a good faith effort to engage her.

But, that's just one comment and I don't mean to pick on ellehumour. She contributed much to this discussion. I just think it's just an example of an attitude on display sometimes in this thread and "these" threads because you asked for one. "If you don't think that's true, then you haven't read this thread at all carefully" ... hey, look, there it goes again. "I'm right and if you disagree you haven't or can't read gud."

Also, I'm not sure why snark gets excluded from what msalt was trying to say. It's possibily primarily what he is referring to.
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 11:43 AM on September 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think we should all teach, every chance we get.

What irks me (and yes, my emotions are my own problem) is that it usually seems the education goes one way: there are the wrong people, and the modern enlightened people, and the primitives need to learn how to operate properly in society, on MeFi, etc.
posted by Meatbomb at 11:44 AM on September 25, 2009


As opposed to what, Meatbomb? The education should go both both ways? Are you suggesting that the modern enlightened people need to be educated by the wrong, primitives to learn how to operate less properly in society, on MeFi, etc.?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:49 AM on September 25, 2009


klang, you've told that story (which, I grant you, is a nice story in itself) before in this context. And I['ve responded to it before. Here's a quote from my previous response:
klangklangston, am I right that this encounter ( "Uh... I just wanted to tell you," he said, matching pace with us, "that you are a very attractive man." stands out in your mind as unusual?

I ask because such an encounter would not be unusual for me or most of my female friends. Indeed, if it stood out at all in my memory, it would be as a remarkably innocuous interaction, not as an upsetting advance.

For the record, I'm over 35, of average-ish attractiveness, a little overweight, and I dress modestly and sport a full head of gray hair. And still I get much more aggressive come-ons than the remark you describe, and my civil demurrals often lead to hostile responses*. It was significantly worse when I was younger, slimmer, and less adept at deflecting the attention.

*By civil demurrals, I mean remarks like "No, thank you" or "I really can't talk [gesture toward book I'm reading]; I'm studying for an exam" and by hostile responses I mean everything from "Jeez, if you're gonna be that way about it..." to "Well, FUCK YOU THEN."

Compared to these interactions, which still happen to me maybe ten times a year, having a man give a disapponited look as you walk away from his (intended) compliment strikes me as mild.
I imagine you agree (as you seem to in the thread to which I linked) that, when it comes to unsought public assessment of one's physical appearance, the experiences of men and women are vastly different. So I'm wondering (earnestly wondering, not snarking: what's the point you're making by telling that story?
posted by Elsa at 11:56 AM on September 25, 2009


msalt: If your attitude is "I'm totally right, people I oppose are morally wrong, and people who don't understand or accept my view are ignorant or biased. And I'm sick and tired of endlessly repeating this shit to you ignorant cretins" . . . it might be worth reconsidering how you make your points.

If you're referring to me (you might be, since you're quoting me), I made a progression of comments in this thread that demonstrate the opposite of "I'm totally right." I thought I was explaining why I took the original position I did. If you were referring to me, please quote the bits you criticize as needing rewriting due to betraying this "I'm totally right" attitude. If you weren't, well then, just ignore this paragraph. Fuck, when I think of all the time I put into editing and re-editing to minimize chances that my framing of my points might get people's backs up...

Meatbomb: it usually seems the education goes one way:

I've asked a couple of times for education as to why my position ("conversations in this public forum would be better without gratuitously announced judgments about random women's looks") is wrong, or grayer than I think it is. I'm always happy to be educated. It can be fun (after the initial sting goes away). Educate away!
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 12:02 PM on September 25, 2009


Hi, I've been lurking here, trying to get up to speed with this issue on MeFi. Maybe I have soemthing to add on this point:

what's the point you're making by telling that story?

Obviously I can't speak for Klang, but I was considering telling a similar story* earlier on in the thread. My point would have been to illustrate why it is difficult, if not impossible for men to empathize (I know your pain) on this issue. Sympathize (I understand your pain), of course, but it's not as strong of a reaction. I don't mean this as an excuse, just as a rationale for why it seems like guys have a tough time grasping the true effect of this problem. (I'm trying.)

*I live on Capitol Hill in Seattle, the center of gay life in the city. I'm a straight guy, so all advances from men are unwelcome. I've gotten innocuous advances, like when my (much more attractive) friends and I walk into a gay bar, dudes say "oh, the cuties are here." I've had people on the street tell me straight-up, "nice bulge." I always feel flattered and amused, never threatened or annoyed by this behavior. This is because, although these advances occur more often for me than for most men, they are still uncommon and novel. I will never, even in this unusual situation, recieve 1% of the catcalls than almost all women do in all situations in this country.
posted by martens at 12:19 PM on September 25, 2009


I always feel flattered and amused, never threatened or annoyed by this behavior. This is because, although these advances occur more often for me than for most men, they are still uncommon and novel.

I would suggest that a more fundamental reason that you're not threatened or annoyed is because you instinctively know that, almost certainly, nothing bad is going to happen to you -- and by bad, I mean anything from being yelled at if you shrug off the comments, to being chased, to being physically assaulted. When women receive these types of remarks from strangers on the street, however, we do not have the same assurance.

Indeed, part of the issue is not just that such comments are annoying; it's that they are profoundly intrusive. They are reminders that our privacy and safety in public cannot always be taken for granted. Your safety is very likely not threatened if you walk into a bar and a man says "nice bulge." My safety, however, may be threatened if I walk into a bar and a man says "nice tits."
posted by scody at 12:44 PM on September 25, 2009 [9 favorites]


"I imagine you agree (as you seem to in the thread to which I linked) that, when it comes to unsought public assessment of one's physical appearance, the experiences of men and women are vastly different. So I'm wondering (earnestly wondering, not snarking: what's the point you're making by telling that story?"

Ok, well, since you're asking nicely, I'm going to try hard not to be as defensive as I kind of reflexively feel.

The comment this time was in response to the prior comment, about how men don't get complimented, and how it's like finding a four-leaf clover. This isn't, as you seem to have assumed in an earlier thread, the only time I've been complimented by a stranger in public. It was one of the notable times, in part because it ended so abruptly—it was an absurd moment, more than anything else, and by remembering it, I'm thinking about the absurdity of being complimented like that. It was obvious that the guy wanted something more, likely to sell me something or somehow monetarily gain, but who knows—maybe Florence employs civic complimenters to make sure that everyone in the city has at least one ego-boosting moment.

But I'm from the Midwest, and of German stock—my people, "my people," aren't comfortable with compliments. Or at least, I'm not, not really, especially overt ones. They feel debasing for both parties, like the person giving the compliment has adopted an attitude of servile flattery, and that social situation feels very awkward. Am I supposed to return the compliment, even if I feel it's insincere? Compliments are things that I accept from people I know and respect, unless they're obviously just casual banter—I wouldn't necessarily be brusque at a bar over it.

So, the feeling was foreign, and that was compounded by the literally foreign setting. And I reacted by rote, by character, thanking him and literally moving on.

There's all that, and then there's that the anecdote is one that I find humorous (again, because I think it was fairly absurd), and still ambiguous. It is true, it did happen, though I think that this is the most literary of the retellings. And I was in a literary mood, pretentious as that sounds to say. I was working on writing, and had written up two previous anecdotes—one much more germane than the other, but both rather fun to think about, and so decided to go for a third. What the hell, I like to write!

Now, as to why I was feeling kind of defensive about this, well, because I felt like I was being asked to justify a "conversational" aside. I was using it as petite rhetoric, to undermine an assertion about complimenting, but in an oblique way (deconstructive, though I wince to call it that). But it wasn't a particularly well considered comment in terms of argument—I spent more time thinking about alliterative poem forms (I kept thinking of "elegy" and eventually just had to look the damn word up) than I did about support or rebuttal. Further, I'm always kind of defensive by default about things that I write—I feel like people either get them or they don't, and I have proportionately less interest in explaining or clarifying things as they get more "creative," which is a bad tendency and one that tends to make me either beloved or hated by editors (because I don't complain when things are changed by fiat, but have little patience for hashing over things as discussions).

And finally, I was feeling a little bit peevish because I knew that to sort of unpack all of that, from a 150 or so word comment, would require at least all of this boring egotistical dross.
posted by klangklangston at 12:45 PM on September 25, 2009


Oh, yeah, and when I write something that people don't get, having to explain it reminds me that I'm a bad writer and that it's my fault that they missed it. (Which, I realize, is a little bit crazy as a response.)
posted by klangklangston at 12:49 PM on September 25, 2009


When women receive these types of remarks from strangers on the street, however, we do not have the same assurance.

Yes, good point. And I get that completely. But some guys here seem to object to the notion that they shouldn't make friendly, well intentioned remarks about a woman's appearance. The menacing angle is easy for anyone to understand (or at least it should be), but the frustrating, "do I have to put up with this crap for my whole life" stuff is a little more foreign, and that's what I was trying to clarify. Admittedly, my experience is a bad illustration because it is about getting leered at by strangers, not about having my pants complemented by a co-worker.
posted by martens at 1:01 PM on September 25, 2009


>I'm reacting entirely to what is coming across as your expectation that women should just "suck it up" if guys do dumb crap because it's some kind of "teaching moment."

That's not my view and I'm sorry if that's what was conveyed. I don't think anyone has suck it up and do things they aren't comfortable with. I do think teaching moments occur and people should try to do it. Clearly we'll have to agree to disagree on that.


But I'm not even disagreeing with you about that in the first place.

I'm not sure why what I'm saying is not coming through, BB: but let me try one more time.

I was never disagreeing with you on principle, I was only disagreeing with your tone. I was disagreeing with what looked like a mixed-message in your tone and in the timing of what you were saying.

I agree that people SHOULD try to be calm and patient and teach others. I also think people should be quiet and polite, should always take the high road, should always be patient, etc.

But: I also understand that people get frustrated and at wits-end about things, and sometimes they CAN'T always be patient. We're human. We do that. It sounds -- at least I think so -- like you understand that too.

Now: because I understand that people are human, and cannot ALWAYS be patient -- when I see someone who is clearly upset, frustrated, and at wits-end, and when they say that they are sick of trying to be patient all the time, I forgive them that lapse in patience -- because, as we have established, they are human, and cannot always be patient and calm. So when I see someone in that state, I do not remind them that "teaching moments can always occur" because they are incapable of being sufficiently patient in that one moment, and because I know that in that one moment, my reminder is going to sound to them like I expect them to be superhuman and always be patient and saintly and yadda yadda yadda. And that is why when people say things like "I never said I wanted to be a teacher in the first place" or what have you, that is why I say nothing, because they already know that themselves and are just having a much-needed venting session and will calm down in a minute.

That was what I was getting at -- it looked to me like you weren't even allowing people the space to be human for a moment, even though you were claming you were. People already know that teaching moments always occur -- but people also get frustrated, and need to be given the space to not want to be feel like they are being obligated 24/7. They want to know that they can take a break for a second. And the way to give that space and let them collect themselves is to not remind them that "teaching moments always occur." They know that already. What they NEED to hear is that we'll cover for them while they calm down.

And if, instead, you try to remind them about "teaching moments" again, it's going to come across to them like you expect them to not ever have to take a break from teaching. And then nobody's gonna be happy.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:03 PM on September 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Speaking of woefully idiotic sexist remarks: Metafilter's own running joke Zambrano!
posted by Burhanistan at 1:08 PM on September 25, 2009


Wow. Zambrano:

Younger women will want you, so why settle for an older model?

That is some... literal objectification.
posted by martens at 1:13 PM on September 25, 2009


*snort* As I know I'm not going to be capable of a "teaching moment" in Zambrano's case, I just flagged it.

Which could also teach him a lesson, come to think of it....
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:22 PM on September 25, 2009


Please don't do this. I'm not a fan of the callout-within-a-callout.
While I don't share Zambrano's opinion, the AskMe question it answered was specifically asking for personal experience data points from males and Zambrano's is a valid one. No need to publicly chide him for it.
posted by rocket88 at 1:22 PM on September 25, 2009


While I don't share Zambrano's opinion, the AskMe question it answered was specifically asking for personal experience data points from males and Zambrano's is a valid one.

Upon reflection, you're right; my apologies.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:24 PM on September 25, 2009


No need to publicly chide him for it

He went beyond expressing his own motivations and proceeded to accuse anyone who didn't agree as "rationalizing" their impulses away.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:31 PM on September 25, 2009


He went beyond expressing his own motivations and proceeded to accuse anyone who didn't agree as "rationalizing" their impulses away.

Naturally. This is also the same mindset (that he and others have displayed in other posts) that asserts that no one is naturally monogamous; therefore all people cheat in relationships at one time or another; therefore anyone who expects monogamy is a fool, and anyone who says they don't cheat is a liar.
posted by scody at 1:36 PM on September 25, 2009


Scody and Burhanistan: you're right about that, but that was in a thread that was actively soliciting male opinions about attractiveness. this MeTa was about someone who offered an unsolicited opinion about attractiveness, so at least Zambrano has some plausible justification, I'd say.

In other words: I see it as the difference between ordering a cake from a baker and he overdoes it by adding cupcakes; and walking past a bakery on your way to the cobblers' and the baker runs out and throws cupcakes at you.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:40 PM on September 25, 2009


The Zambrano reference is kind of tangential at best under the circumstance, yeah, though I will say that defending that particular comment on the basis of topicality is like defending a stopped clock based on temporality.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:44 PM on September 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


What kind of bakery are we talking about here?
posted by Burhanistan at 1:44 PM on September 25, 2009


A bakery that works exclusively using poo.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:49 PM on September 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Hey, it's his opinion, and he's entitled to it. I was surprised there weren't more answers like that given that the question was basically framed like "Is it really possible for men to find older women attractive or are they just keeping themselves from gagging by fantasizing about Megan Fox?" I would have preferred a phrasing that didn't sound so incredulous about the sexiness of older women but the thread turned out better than I hoped. Maybe it was another teaching / learning experience.
posted by Marnie at 1:56 PM on September 25, 2009


> Hey, it's his opinion, and he's entitled to it.

And we're entitled to our opinion of him.
posted by languagehat at 4:50 PM on September 25, 2009


We're too old for him, anyway, lh.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:56 PM on September 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


Thank god.
posted by rtha at 8:05 PM on September 25, 2009


I guess we disagree as to whether this was an apology.

I'd agreed it's not a perfect apology, but the guy is getting raked over the coals and having a lot of intentions read into his actions. To me he did one of the most important things, recognize it wasn't welcome here and promise to do better.

Brandon, here's where I think you keep drawing flack for this: the "people" in this case are, by definition, women. Under cover of simply advocating "patience," you are essentially volunteering all women for a teaching duty that you, by virtue of being a man, are never called upon to perform.

Actually I had written women first and then changed it to people because I do think women shouldn't be the only ones doing this, it should be both women and me, i.e. people.

So no, I'm really not getting how I'm "essentially volunteering all women..."
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:00 AM on September 26, 2009


There's no grace for the occasional ranty stack-blowing that's only human and that we tend to see in threads like this because these threads are like,

That's probably me and my personal high standards pushing myself to try, because I know there are certain times when everyone won't, because they're human. Yes, it's tiring and yes there's a thousand other valid reasons why someone, male or female, may not try to do any number of things. But it's a missed opportunity and I've seen to many missed opportunities that simmer and stay with people and form or harden their opinions. Am I asking for superhuman levels of effort? On some level, yes, but that's just my personal thing and it's expected from everyone, no matter their gender, color or whether they liked prefer Kirk or Picard.

At this point, others should probably just chalk this up to me wanting more on this front from everyone (including myself) and not to take it as some special demand from women. Yes, as a black dude, I consider it my job and responsibilty to educate ignorant folks about race, 'cause if I don't who will? No, I won't succeed everytime, but in the greater scheme of things, I do believe it will make a difference. It's a choice I've made for myself and the one I'm most comfortable with. But these are not your choices (the general you) nor do they have to be and if I've given the impression that this choice must be done my way and no other, then I sincerly apologize for doing so.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:06 AM on September 26, 2009


OK, I've been giving you the benefit of the doubt, but this is disingenuous bullshit. You know exactly what she's talking about; you're just entrenched in your conviction of your own righteousness and brilliance

Earlier today, a friend and I were talking about painting cars in crazy colors, doing wild, asymetical design, brilliant watercolor like colors, etc, etc really off the wall stuff. At one point I suggested having different brightly color tires, so blues, pinks, oranges, etc. The buddy just looked at me and said "Yeah, but if tires aren't black, you'll see all the dirt on them" OH YEAH, DUH.

The moral of the story is that I'm not a genius and sometimes miss obvious stuff. But thank you for assuming the worst about me, despite my many years here, it's what makes this place such a wonderful community.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:07 AM on September 26, 2009


Having acknowledged that there's considerable negative effect, why still consider it gray?

Because some people do not realize that there is considerable negative effect and exact negative harm can vary based on the situation and speaker and audience. Hence why I say it's a gray area.

I can't think of specific situations where there's a net positive effect of voicing these kinds of remarks to random not-familiar women, or about random women in a heterogeneous public forum.

What's a net positive effect? Sure, you have your definition of what that is, while others may differ. It could be simple as bonding or light conversation or the deeper conversation that comment has spawned here in MetaTalk.

I'm still interested in hearing more about thoughtful rationales or cultural subtexts sticking up for the utility or effect of voicing these kinds of remarks.

Good question and one I've been thinking of. Putting it in a more personal context, I thought about what it would mean if the comment had been "Oh she's black". My answer is that however distasteful that remark had been made, I still would want the remark made if that that's what the person was thinking becaues it sparks conversation and thought about where that comment (and those like it) come from. So yeah, hee, I'd consider a potentially good teaching (and learning) moment. Teaching becaue it's an opportunity to point out what is and isn't acceptable and learning because it's interesting to find out where that train of though is coming from so one can be a better teacher about the subject in the future.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:21 AM on September 26, 2009


Ok, I had a comment with broken links in it, Jess pulled it and told me about it, and now we're crossing in Mefimail.

Jess, here's the full correct comment, feel free to delete the other to have it all make sense and thank you.

I was never disagreeing with you on principle, I was only disagreeing with your tone. I was disagreeing with what looked like a mixed-message in your tone and in the timing of what you were saying.

Ok, fair enough. Tone and timing do matter and people have a right to vent.

However, that doesn't give ellehumor the right to ??? on krilli's personality and decide that she knows what's going in his head, particularly after he explained exactly what he meant by his poor choice of words in at least elevan comments (
1
, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, and especially 11). Despite all of that ellehumor ignores all of that and says no, actually what he meant was "that his judgment of her attractiveness was the most relevant and interesting thing about the article, and thus the only thing worth commenting on," which was proceeded by a long litany of the very real evils of sexism and the terrible shit women have to put up with. I'm not really sure what one has to do with the other.

He never said, he repeatedly explained what he was trying to do and yet negative motives are still attributed to him.

When I asked her how she knew what going on this situation, the reply was "Uh, how do that wasn't going and anyway the context of the comment was clear (never mind what the guy actually said) and in the end, does it really matter what the intent was if the comment was so disruptive?"

Bottom line, to me, is that the question I asked was never answered, ellehumor just pulled the "Oh, we already explained what was wrong with the comment" card, which sidesteps the actual question I asked i.e. "how do know that's what was going on in his head when he made taht comment?" Instead a lot of other stuff was pined on krilli's admittedly poor comment.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:27 AM on September 26, 2009


He never said, he repeatedly explained what he was trying to do and yet negative motives are still attributed to him.

I think this is the crux of the metafilter hatestorm movement. It's easier to pile on the hapless victim when you don't make any attempt to understand what he's trying to say. It all boils down to the same mentality as fark, but from a different angle.
posted by stubby phillips at 10:24 AM on September 26, 2009


> But thank you for assuming the worst about me, despite my many years here

Your many years here, and my respect for your contributions, are what made me give you the benefit of the doubt. Since you're admitting your remark was DUH material, I'm not sure why you're so upset. This is MetaTalk, BB; we don't coddle criminals. But I'm sorry if I made you feel bad and will gladly buy you a beer at the next MeFi Reeducation Seminar.
posted by languagehat at 10:25 AM on September 26, 2009


Make it a chocolate and bacon milkshake and we're good.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:36 AM on September 26, 2009


You're on!
posted by languagehat at 1:28 PM on September 26, 2009


BB: No, I won't succeed everytime, but in the greater scheme of things, I do believe it will make a difference. It's a choice I've made for myself and the one I'm most comfortable with. But these are not your choices (the general you) nor do they have to be and if I've given the impression that this choice must be done my way and no other, then I sincerly apologize for doing so.

Thanks BB. I expect you've come to the conclusion already that you'd trigger much less criticism in future threads if you frame the point just like this, as "my personal choice" to try every time, because of xxx reasons. The other way sounds like chiding.

Because some people do not realize that there is considerable negative effect
So yeah, hee, I'd consider a potentially good teaching (and learning) moment.

We're actually agreeing, then. I thought you were defending people behaving that way even after becoming aware of its negative effects. Of course I don't fault anybody for the behaviour if nobody has ever told them before.

stubby phillips: metafilter hatestorm movement. It's easier to pile on the hapless victim when you don't make any attempt to understand what he's trying to say.

"When you don't make any attempt to understand what X is trying to say" went both ways. I'm thinking of those belittling comments of his. I'm not trying to continue the pileon here (I appreciate and respect his later exchanges with me), but it's an important part of how some of the thread went. Each "no attempt to understand" fed the other, so, frustration and damnation all around. "Hatestorm"-type hyperbole can be put back on the shelf. It's pretty clear most of us moved past demonizing the other side a while ago. It feels good. Chocolate and bacon milkshakes all around!
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 8:46 PM on September 26, 2009


The Hon Salad is recommended.

Hopkins used to proudly say "Welcome to Bawlmer, Hon!" on one of its graduate admissions pages, but I can't find it now.
posted by jgirl at 9:53 AM on September 29, 2009


Ok, not to pile shit onto an already full bandwagon (wow, mixing metaphors--this thread has kept me up past my bedtime), but I read this comment and just couldn't let it drop:

There is basically only racism against Polish people and Asians, not blacks.

I'm sure this isn't meant to, but it kind of implies that racism against Polish people and Asians is ok. Again, perhaps we ought to think before we post?
posted by inara at 7:37 PM on September 30, 2009


I feel entitled to take this, the 600th comment, as my own.
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 7:31 AM on October 1, 2009


I feel entitled to take this, the 600th comment, as my own.

Flagged as noise so I can steal the 600th comment
posted by PercussivePaul at 11:31 AM on October 1, 2009


I've just come across a piece by blogger "Tami" entitled Marginalized folks shouldn't always have to be "the bigger persons" that reminded me of the discussion here. An excerpt:
Teaching moments are wonderful, but I think that no marginalized person is obligated to swallow justified hurt and anger to better "teach" the privileged or "squash" the mess or racism. That people of color are nearly always asked to do so in the face of prejudice is spiritually wearying and a tyranny.

I wrote this over on Anti-Racist Parent in response to a parent who wondered how to address the impact of his aunt's racism on his mixed-race family. But, you know, it's not just people of color who are constantly expected to show extraordinary compassion when faced with bias. It is women, gays, lesbians and the transgendered. It is the disabled, the obese, immigrants and the poor. Ask any marginalized person and it is a safe bet that they have been told "have a sense a humor," "don't be so PC," "that's just how so-and-so was raised," "here's a great teaching moment, "you have to understand some people won't be comfortable with x, y, z," "he didn't really mean it."

Today, when an "ism" shows its face, too much public sympathy rests with the offender and not the offended. As I've written before, in these times, hearing someone branded a racist is likely to upset more folks than encountered racism. Stick any bias in there--sexism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia...and the result is the same. It is, I think, the way the status quo defends itself when it gets tired of treating certain people equally.

Certainly, the point of calling out bias is to make people more aware of it and to reduce it. And, as the old adage goes, one catches more flies with honey than vinegar. Cajoling and gentle prodding is often more effective than angry shouting. And women, people of color and other groups learn early to pick their battles, lest they be branded bitter, angry or over-sensitive. There are just some dull aches that have to be swallowed. We try to pick our battles strategically, but it is stressful and ultimately soul-destroying to have to work so hard to ignore so much--to constantly be forced to show benevolence in the face of rude and dehumanizing treatment.
She continues, analyzing additional examples of the "teaching moment" philosphy, and solidly rejecting it. She calls attention to this trend in polite society to show more compassion to the homophobe than the homosexual, give more consideration to the misogynist than the feminist, and to show more concern for the feelings of the racist than those of the person of color. Her essay concludes:
I believe in using the most effective means to change, but I also believe in calling "isms" for what they are and not coating them in equivocations and wishy-washy language that lets oppressors feel good about themselves.

Sometimes, someone else needs to be the "bigger person."
If you have a few minutes to read her post in its entirety, it is well worth it.
posted by philotes at 12:16 PM on October 1, 2009 [4 favorites]


philotes, thank you -- that's a fantastic post.
posted by scody at 12:42 PM on October 1, 2009


She calls attention to this trend in polite society to show more compassion to the homophobe than the homosexual,

It struck me as possible confirmation basis in that she says there's a trend, but never backs it up. No doubt it's hard to put numbers to such a phenomenon, but for what it's worth her experiences do not match mine. That sort of people who have say "Have a sense of humor" or "it's just him/her, just ignore him" tend to be increasingly smaller or more isolated over the years.

As to her thesis, 'Marginalized folks shouldn't always have to be "the bigger persons"', well, yeah, but I don't think anyone is arguing that.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:34 AM on October 2, 2009


No doubt it's hard to put numbers to such a phenomenon, but for what it's worth her experiences do not match mine.

...And you're saying that just automatically makes her wrong?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:58 AM on October 2, 2009


Not at all, just that her experiences do not match mine.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:17 PM on October 2, 2009


To elaborate, I wouldn't have come to the conclusion that society demands moreof the marginalized segment than the ones actually doing the marginalizing. To me, it's interesting that there are different views on this, so I'm curious about how Tami came to her conclusions.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:20 PM on October 2, 2009


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