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July 19, 2010 9:49 PM   Subscribe

My hat is off to the frustrated females (and sympathizers) in this thread.

There's a lot of really amazing (and impressively patient) explanations, anecdotes, and rebuttals in the comments. I'm impressed that people on all sides of the subject have been able to keep this discussion civil. Go MetaFilter!
posted by hermitosis to MetaFilter-Related at 9:49 PM (277 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

In b4 all of the stupid recipe comments.
posted by mlis at 9:58 PM on July 19, 2010 [17 favorites]


Not remotely cool or funny, MLIS.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:09 PM on July 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


Holy shit, one of the first five comments is by DU! And derisive, to boot! I mean, what're the fucking odds on that?

I thought it was sort of funny, MLIS.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:13 PM on July 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


There is a much higher concentration of men willing to listen and learn about the ugly, hidden parts of being a woman here on Metafilter than in any IRL community I've ever been a part of. So, hats off to the guys, too. And thanks.
posted by oinopaponton at 10:16 PM on July 19, 2010 [26 favorites]


Yeah, when I first read the thread my initial reaction was

gnnnnnnnnnnnnnnRARRRRRRRRRRRRRRR urglefurglefurgle

So I stepped away to avoid stirring things up. I'm glad that folk more sensible than I stuck around to explain things in a calm and reasoned manner. Yay MeFi!
posted by Kattullus at 10:19 PM on July 19, 2010


All of the anecdotes sounded perfectly credible to me going on what my mum, sister and various friends have told me, but I thought I wouldn't say that in thread so as not to look like a big old suck-up (didn't stop me doing it here, obviously).
posted by Abiezer at 10:21 PM on July 19, 2010 [5 favorites]


There are a few trolls who always show up for sexism threads and I recommend jacalta's UserNotes script to help keep track
posted by mlis at 10:24 PM on July 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


All of the anecdotes sounded perfectly credible to me going on what my mum, sister and various friends have told me, but I thought I wouldn't say that in thread so as not to look like a big old suck-up

Just so you know, ladies, I'm here to protect you from those nasty condescending sexists!
posted by shakespeherian at 10:34 PM on July 19, 2010 [7 favorites]


just kidding you know i love you Abiezer
posted by shakespeherian at 10:34 PM on July 19, 2010


Just so you know, ladies, I'm here to protect you from those nasty condescending sexists!

I guess I was foolish for jumping in like a knight in shining armour. Bah.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:39 PM on July 19, 2010


What's wrong with an iPod dock that's easy to do dust on? Sounds like a great idea to me.
Beats doing it off the top of an amplifier, anyway.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 10:44 PM on July 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


KokuRyu, I didn't want to drag it off topic, but I appreciated your comment about chilling climates in your poli sci department. The department I described in my story was a frozen wasteland for women - they'd hire a newly minted PhD, give her all the scutwork and the undergraduates, provide the bare minimum of summer research funding, schedule her for promotion/tenure application at the first possible moment, then reject her. They did this every couple of years while I was there, and I know that the subsequent job searches were very difficult for those women. The experience of female PhD candidates in that department was even worse, given the power imbalance. It was like working in a strange throwback universe, except that they still don't have a tenured woman in that department more than 10 years later.
posted by catlet at 10:45 PM on July 19, 2010


Apology accepted, KokuRyu.
posted by mlis at 10:47 PM on July 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


I guess I was foolish for jumping in like a knight in shining armour.
I go for the underpants on the outside and bath towel cloak when I'm defending the laydeez. Frankly, I look such a prat either way, might as well go the whole hog.
posted by Abiezer at 10:47 PM on July 19, 2010 [7 favorites]


I go for the underpants on the outside and bath towel cloak when I'm defending the laydeez.

I don't even know what you look like and the mental image made me laugh.
posted by rtha at 10:49 PM on July 19, 2010


Outside of what, Abiezer?

I've only ever been defended by a stoned Phish fan, so I'm used to flip-flops and shirts with antelopes on. Armour - especially the shiny kind - is a big step up!
posted by catlet at 10:51 PM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


I sometimes chat with my neighbors cat when I take out the trash. Today Rosie was all like meow. And I was like, not much but I'll bet you 5 bucks that MFIF thread is going to be in Meta before I go to bed.
I'm pretty sure she said meh instead of meow as she walked away.
posted by special-k at 10:54 PM on July 19, 2010 [6 favorites]


It's amazing to me how *well* metafilter does these conversations. We may have disagreements and get (legitimately) upset with each other, but generally speaking people get heard. Thank you members and mod-members, all. You make this a good place to have conversations that aren't stifling in either direction, no small feat.
posted by stoneweaver at 10:55 PM on July 19, 2010


MetaFilter: gnnnnnnnnnnnnnnRARRRRRRRRRRRRRRR urglefurglefurgle
posted by homunculus at 10:56 PM on July 19, 2010 [11 favorites]


I never understand these threads. What's wrong with being sexy?
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 11:04 PM on July 19, 2010


I'm not drunk enough for this thread. Give me an hour.
posted by eyeballkid at 11:13 PM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


All of the anecdotes sounded perfectly credible to me going on what my mum, sister and various friends have told me, but I thought I wouldn't say that in thread so as not to look like a big old suck-up (didn't stop me doing it here, obviously).

You know what? There are some kinds of "me too!" posts I really appreciate. That is one of them. One of the things that frustrates me the most about Girl Threads on MeFi is the cavaclade of support that comes via favourites vs the relatively small handful of people left to open their mouths and fight the good fight in the thread.

marsha56's comment:
Gee, thanks for the support guys. Nothing makes my day like having female stories of discrimination getting dismissed by men who can't possibly have had the life experiences to judge the lives of women coming forward and bearing witness to the cluelessness and dim-witted entitlement displayed by too many of your gender.
143 favorites. That's really nice. It's just not very useful.

I think threads like that can be a chance to look at the issue and think about what it means to you personally to be an ally and how that plays out for you, online and off. It's way, way easier to make a thoughtful post in a thread than it is to confront waitstaff in a restaurant or a salesperson at a car dealership or an employer at an office, so you know... step up on the easy shit at least.
posted by DarlingBri at 11:20 PM on July 19, 2010 [5 favorites]


It is amazing how quickly some men will dismiss the observed experiences of scores of women just because, well, it can't be that bad.
posted by nestor_makhno at 11:22 PM on July 19, 2010 [7 favorites]


To be fair, I think that the website itself is kind of crap.

It's self-defeating to say, "Hey women, come post here about how you are mistreated by men but don't actually do anything to change it!"

Someone brought up the analogy of being a father and I think that's pretty accurate. People assume you don't know what the hell you're doing.

And, if the analogy stands, I'm pretty sure there wouldn't be a FPP to a website with stories from fathers about how people assumed they couldn't change a diaper.

You change the damn diaper and move on. I've experienced blatant sexism but would rather get my JD and prove them wrong than revel in how unfair it is. Change the damn diaper.
posted by karminai at 11:37 PM on July 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


It's self-defeating to say, "Hey women, come post here about how you are mistreated by men but don't actually do anything to change it!"

Wouldn't telling people that, "Yes, these things do indeed still happen" count as doing something to change it? Obviously, there are plenty of people in denial about the continued existence of sexism. And if it doesn't exist, what's to be fixed?
posted by zerbinetta at 11:45 PM on July 19, 2010 [8 favorites]


The website is inclusive, though. It caters to women, evident by the tag "My fault, I'm female," and the description "Do you sometimes feel that you're female, and it's all your fault? ... Basically it's FML, but with sexist bosses, stone age attitudes, pay gap stories, and plenty of ranting."

I think the discussion about sexist bosses and pay gaps is valuable and certainly justified. But the site itself, saying to other women "yeah this sucks, too bad" , notsomuch.
posted by karminai at 11:51 PM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm super-thrilled by how the thread is going. I love it when we can talk about these issues like motherfucking adults.
posted by lunasol at 11:52 PM on July 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


karminai, I get what you're saying but for me, as a guy, the site actually helped me to remember/recognize the day-to-day sexism that women deal with, so that alone makes it worthwhile, in my opinion.

Talking about it can actually do a lot of good, especially if (as the site claims) it is the quickest-growing site on blogger right now.

People read, people learn, people hopefully change their actions. The guys reading it probably won't be the same guys doing shit which creates stories to be told on the site, but they might change their ways if interacting with women in smaller ways, which is still a net-positive.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:52 PM on July 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


I guess I was foolish for jumping in like a knight in shining armour. Bah.

Kokuryu: I personally thought your participation in that thread has been awesome. I really appreciate it when men can share their thoughts and opinions on gender issues in a way that isn't dismissive or over-protective of women. Well, actually, appreciate it when men do that in any discussion, but it's especially ragestroke-inducing when they don't do so in a conversation about sexism.
posted by lunasol at 11:56 PM on July 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


It's self-defeating to say, "Hey women, come post here about how you are mistreated by men but don't actually do anything to change it!"


Except that it's not about being mistreated by men, it's about sexism. Men can be jerkbags to women without being sexist, and women can be sexist to other women (and men, too, really).
posted by oneirodynia at 12:21 AM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Men can be jerkbags to women without being sexist, and women can be sexist to other women (and men, too, really).


Absolutely. This site, however, is not a good example of that. 8/10 of the stories on the first page depict women being patronized by men, and the other two do not specify a gender.
posted by karminai at 12:33 AM on July 20, 2010


Can we get onto the recipes yet? Because that thread made me hungry for something made from eggies.
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:35 AM on July 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


Well reading the linked blog helped me see that there isn't something weirdly wrong with me that causes me to have so many of those same kinds of experiences.

The funny thing is, I read the FPP before reading the thread comments. And I thought the FPP might be a little weak because these "little things" are so prevalent and common for women that I thought the comments would have amounted to "this is all old hat". I thought it might be too basic (even though I myself had just been surprised that other women experience this stuff so often). But then I kept seeing comment after comment asserting that the blog is exaggerating (or people are being hypersensitive to small slights). Even after many female commenters came in and said "nope" from experience, there were still comments saying it couldn't really be that bad.

I am referring to comments like this:

I find it astonishing that they could possibly happen as often as implied. Sure like racist encounters you'd remember them, but I'd be shocked if they were much more than an anomaly.


Undoubtedly many of these situations are truly offensive and irksome examples of sexism, while many are knee-jerk over-sensitized reactions to innocent comments. I can't really describe the curve apart from that it's gotta have at least some spread that way.

I used gender as the primary basis for a recommendation because I made more money doing it, and if I were bartending again, I'd probably pick up right where I left off. Honestly, although I'm sure it's annoying to some, I don't it's a big deal.


To me, one thing they all have in common is some guy who would never have experienced these things because he's a dude assuming he knows something about it. Every time I just want to ask how they would know how common any of this is? It's not bad to be ignorant about something that would normally be outside of your personal experience. What gets my goat is when people proceed to expound on something they don't know anything about. How would you know if it's a big deal? Who are you to talk about "knee-jerk over-sensitized reactions to innocent comments"?

I'm not saying people can't have opposing opinions. But it is not a coincidence that these are all men. Who are through no fault of their own going to be more ignorant about this kind of thing than women. When you're ignorant about something you should ask questions or do something to learn more about it. It feels like sometimes people are trying to have it both ways: it's simultaneously so shocking that they can't believe it could be happening AND it's easily explained with "oh, you need to stand up more for yourself".

This is probably a bad analogy, but it feels like you telling me that you have this DREAD DISEASE that does such dreadful things that I don't believe it can be real. But if it is real, have you tried drinking more water? Because when I have indigestion that works for me. You probably didn't drink enough water and that's why this thing I never even knew existed until today is affecting you so badly.
posted by Danila at 12:38 AM on July 20, 2010 [15 favorites]


Eggy-Weggs? I would like... to smash 'em.!
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 12:41 AM on July 20, 2010


One of the things that frustrates me the most about Girl Threads on MeFi is the cavaclade of support that comes via favourites vs the relatively small handful of people left to open their mouths and fight the good fight in the thread

I am terrified to wade into these threads. I am uncomfortable with the idea that a Man has to to step up to legitimize women's issues. Is that not promoting the core problem? That thread is full of women doing the job just fine without my male perspective. I read every word of it, and feel more educated about the matter than before. It lines up perfectly with what I have witnessed with regards to women in my life, and society at large. But I sorta feel that this is fucking obvious to anyone who doesn't have their head in the sand (male or female) and willfully disregard it. I don't think there are a lot of people like that here on mefi, which is pretty amazing, but the two or three people that shit in every thread on the subject with their dismissal of the issue or "reverse sexism" derails are very noisy wheels.

I guess what I'm trying to say is I think women handled it just fine and it is a great, eye-opening read, for people who want their eyes opened. If I'm wrong that speaking up is unhelpful I would reconsider, though. I just default on the side of treading lightly for these contentious things because I don't want to inadvertently be an asshole.
posted by cj_ at 1:02 AM on July 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Also, I think a comment with a 100+ favorites carries a lot more weight than you give it credit for. It sends a pretty powerful message in the context of this website.
posted by cj_ at 1:04 AM on July 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


You never go full sexist.
posted by Deathalicious at 1:12 AM on July 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


143 favorites. That's really nice. It's just not very useful.

At least one of those favourites comes from me. While I'm certainly not against opening my giant gob and speaking up in these threads, they often happen while I'm asleep and I didn't even get two thirds of the way through the thread before work this morning. Favouriting particular comments is about the only way many people can contribute, at least until after work tonight, when threads have often lost steam and degenerated into five people having a circular argument with each other.

really should be working now, but I read metatalk on my phone while I wait for my work PC to boot up and wanted to say, well, that.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 1:15 AM on July 20, 2010 [6 favorites]


I've stayed out of that thread on the grounds that my responses to the "well, it can't be that bad, ladies" brigade are probably going to be obscene at best.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:17 AM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


What gets my goat is when people proceed to expound on something they don't know anything about. How would you know if it's a big deal? Who are you to talk about_______________?

One thing I've realized, and have begun to notice, is just how common this is across the spectrum regardless of the topic.
posted by P.o.B. at 1:20 AM on July 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm a chronic mansplainer. The thread reminded me of how even I, saintly and perfect as I is, can be an utter unbearable buttmunch. Always useful to have these reminders from time to time.
posted by Deathalicious at 1:20 AM on July 20, 2010 [6 favorites]


Yeah, Army of Kittens is right. I'm one of that cavalcade of favourites, and that's because this thread started while I was asleep and was up to a hundred comments before I even saw it, and had even more by the time I finished reading it and the linked blog. But I liked the comment anyway and wanted to favourite it, so I did.
posted by harriet vane at 1:23 AM on July 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Man I should've read the whole thread before commenting. One last thing:

It's self-defeating to say, "Hey women, come post here about how you are mistreated by men but don't actually do anything to change it!"

I totally disagree. I actually think that a lot of men (if not most, or even all) who act this way don't do so consciously and with malice. I believe that drawing attention to how ridiculous these attitudes are is extremely valuable. As enlightened on the subject as I like to think I am, the thread was still slightly shocking to me. Shocking that it's so common. There's some stuff I see (like waiter's assuming I'm paying even if it's my girlfriends credit card in question, and so on), but from a male perspective, it seems anomalous. How would I know otherwise? There's only one way, and that's for women to, you know, tell me. I learned something today, from a discussion that wouldn't take place in a forum I read were it not for the website in question.

As a result of the discussion this has generated (no doubt in other places besides mefi), maybe a few people that behave this way will be more self-conscious about it. Maybe a few more people who wouldn't have gotten angry about it and spoken up will. This is how social change happens. Just getting the information out there so that it is a known issue is the first step, and I don't think it matters what the medium is. Blog, zine, newsletter, cathartic anonymous venting. It's all the same.

It's frustrating that some people don't acknowledge that these are issues when so many words have been spilled on the subject for so many years, but change is also an uphill battle.
posted by cj_ at 1:26 AM on July 20, 2010 [10 favorites]


You hit your favorite limit for the day. [!]

Damn you, fascinating comments! See what you have wrought!
posted by Deathalicious at 1:36 AM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


I was unclear in my post above. My issue isn't with the thread at all, nor the sentiment, and I agree that reading these stories can help men and women define lines in their own lives between okay and not-okay. I just think the setup of the website is disappointing, because rather than taking the opportunity to form a community based on support and a common goal to fight against sexism, or even offer proof to men and women as to the sad ubiquity of these stories, they are defining themselves as an FML site exclusively for women.

That goes against what I believe as a woman. It's not "Fuck My Life," it's, "I'm proud to be a woman and I will continue to make sure that men and women respect that."
posted by karminai at 1:47 AM on July 20, 2010


I hear you, but I think the lack of explicit activism makes it more likely to be participated in and read by people who shy from such things on principle. The website is strictly women venting their frustration and not calling for change, which in my experience shuts down a lot of people's critical thinking faculties before they even consider the subject matter. Maybe it is better to have some separation between raw testimonial and political activism so that people who respond negatively to the latter still get the message, without all the baggage they already carry about feminism. Maybe it's a little harder for some people to dismiss these anecdotes as "radical feminazis" when nothing is being promoted.

Obviously some people still do (as evidenced by the thread), but the mental gymnastics they have to perform to get there makes their arguments a lot easier to refute.
posted by cj_ at 2:04 AM on July 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


cj_: "I am uncomfortable with the idea that a Man has to to step up to legitimize women's issues. Is that not promoting the core problem?

In the most gentle way, part of the core of the problem is that you think this is a women's issue. That, right there, is a problem. It is not a woman's issue. It is a basic human dignity issue. If you have a daughter, it's a parenting issue. If you have a female partner, it's a family issue. It is, to be trite about it, your issue.

Here is a flawnalogy:

It's really easy for me to say I support gay marriage. That's nice. Being silent in a discussion where people are arguing against it is not helpful. Leaving gay people to fight that ground alone is not supporting gay marriage. Respecting the debating skills of gay people so much I stand on the sidelines admiring their verbal acuity is not supporting gay marriage.

It is also hard to make people believe that a space is welcoming to gay people when every time there's a homophobic altercation, the striaght patrons avert their eyes. Silence is not support. Pick up a bar stool already.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:08 AM on July 20, 2010 [23 favorites]


My problem with that analogy is that heterosexuals stepping up to legitimize the civil rights issues of homosexuals isn't a trope that I'm playing into by doing so. They are fundamentally very different issues. Gay men and women have the problem that something like 97% of the population self-identify as heterosexual (I realize this is a problematic number). On the other hand, women are actually half the population, and I feel they can defend themselves very adequately and eloquently and are doing so in the thread. When there are a couple willfully ignorant people that refuse to listen, I feel uncomfortable with idea of me turning it all around just because I'm male. Isn't the problem that they only take men seriously?

I don't have any answers here, just explaining why I am hesitant to jump into these things. I have seen people called out because they are "knights in shining armor" before. Here.
posted by cj_ at 2:22 AM on July 20, 2010


Also: I don't think it's a strictly women's issue, and I wish you didn't get that from my probably poor wording. I am perhaps not expressing myself clearly. But I do think women are infinitely more qualified to actually talk about it than me. That's all I'm saying.
posted by cj_ at 2:24 AM on July 20, 2010


ArmyOfKittens: "While I'm certainly not against opening my giant gob and speaking up in these threads..."

Yours is in fact one of my favourite giant gobs.

My comment was not meant to be a slight at any individual poster, it was just meant to encourage the people who may have been thread-sitting to speak up. And I understand about sleep and day jobs. Speaking of sleep, I see the day shift has arrived, and I do not think I have anything more I can actually contribute to either thread, so I leave you all to it.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:25 AM on July 20, 2010


DarlingBri, I always thought that 143 favourites is a lot better than 50 comments all saying the same thing in different words. Maybe it's just how my brain works, but after too much of reading "me too" comments it just shuts off and loses track.
This way it's much better to focus and say "so THIS is something a lot of people agree with or find noteworthy, I had better read it really carefully."
posted by Omnomnom at 2:44 AM on July 20, 2010 [6 favorites]


In the 7/19/2010 battle for most ostentatious, unnecessary, and pandering display of "Look at Me, I'm Mr. Sensitive!" we have a tie between Astro Zombie, for his brilliant performance in the rape post, and hermitosis, for spawning this thread. Congratulations to all!
posted by cucumber at 2:54 AM on July 20, 2010


I'm usually the late morning to early evening shift around here. I'm glad these threads to reasonably well here, and doubly glad our moderators have a form hand in making that a fact.

I also did a lot of favoriting in that thread. Largely as a move of solidarity. I felt I was saying, I hear you, this thing you said is eloquent and well reasoned. Thank you for standing up and being counted on my behalf.'

I do wish more men would comment to say, 'wow. This sucks. I'm going to actively work to stop behaving this way, and I will not tolerate this rudeness in my colleagues/peers/family members.'

Dudes, we don't need you to defend us. We want you to hear us.

Here's the thing. (these numbers are made up) if thirty, or even ten guys stop by a thread and say, 'I never see this happen/I've only once made a comment like this/it's just a joke, can't you tell?' WHILE only three guys stop in to say 'ya, my mom once got the same treatment from _____, and it pissed me off. I'm sorry to hear it's not totally isolated. Now I understand why she reacted the way she did.'

Um wow. I get run on sentence-itis when I can't sleep.

Anyway, those different numbers? If you guts who recognize the problem stay quiet, other readers see the cohesive 'male' statement as 'no big deal/stop whining/you're making this up to get attention'

And that is not a message that cultivates continued discourse.

It's hard to say this stuff about being harassed. It's even harder to say it in dismissive environments.

Since the understanding and enlightened guys can't use willpower to silence or persuade every single dismissive or jerky guy, please use the tool you do have. Your voice.

Speak on your own behalf. This is behavior that you want stopped because it's wrong. So, please, speak up and say that, because it's a valid and valuable statement.
posted by bilabial at 2:59 AM on July 20, 2010 [5 favorites]


Whoah cucumber. Are you really reading these guys as pandering?

Um. Wow.

Just. Wow. (and given how long winded I'm feeling that's saying volumes, that you've knocked me nearly speechless.)
posted by bilabial at 3:01 AM on July 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


In the 7/19/2010 battle for most ostentatious, unnecessary, and pandering display of "Look at Me, I'm Mr. Sensitive!" we have a tie between Astro Zombie, for his brilliant performance in the rape post, and hermitosis, for spawning this thread. Congratulations to all!

You've just won our other contest! Congrats!
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 3:23 AM on July 20, 2010 [35 favorites]


Yeah, Cucumber's comment is exactly what turns me off of participating in these issues. Thanks for making my over-wrought point for me, dude. I guess?

Bleh.
posted by cj_ at 3:24 AM on July 20, 2010


In the 7/19/2010 battle for most ostentatious, unnecessary, and pandering display of "Look at Me, I'm Mr. Sensitive!" we have a tie between Astro Zombie, for his brilliant performance in the rape post, and hermitosis, for spawning this thread. Congratulations to all!

Do not be a dick, dude. I know you have not been here long, but this is uncalled for.
posted by joe lisboa at 3:28 AM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


I know you have not been here long

A cursory read of his participation on this account makes it pretty clear to me he's a "brand new day" guy with a lot of personal axes to grind.

Fuck you, whoever you are, for also being a coward.
posted by cj_ at 3:34 AM on July 20, 2010


Don't let morons like that stop you from participating, cj_. Everyone can see they're hateful idiots, and no-one worth caring about will judge you harshly for it.
posted by harriet vane at 3:51 AM on July 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


I almost always cringe reading MeFi threads about sexism. Then I remind myself it's usually just one or two asses making the thread embarrassing. Then I remind myself what discussions about sexism are like almost everywhere else on the general interest web.

Then I uncringe a little bit.
posted by mediareport at 4:03 AM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


In the 7/19/2010 battle for most ostentatious, unnecessary, and pandering display of "Look at Me, I'm Mr. Sensitive!" we have a tie between Astro Zombie, for his brilliant performance in the rape post, and hermitosis, for spawning this thread. Congratulations to all!

Gosh, aren't you just the king of awesome.
posted by Astro Zombie at 4:49 AM on July 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


By the way, people were acting like my request that it not be turned into a referendum for men's issues was out of the blue. It was, in fact, prompted by this comment, which sounded to me like a swarm of "men are oppressed to, just look at how much child support I have to pay" comments, or comments about reverse sexism, or the like, might alight on the thread like cicadas during their 13-year cycle.

I'm glad to see it didn't, but it's not unheard of on MeFi. Quite the opposite.
posted by Astro Zombie at 4:55 AM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Stupid FPP generates only slightly less stupid conversation.

Women are awesome. Men are too. Except when they both suck.

When do the recipes start?
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:06 AM on July 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


In the 7/19/2010 battle for most ostentatious, unnecessary, and pandering display of "Look at Me, I'm Mr. Sensitive!" we have a tie between Astro Zombie, for his brilliant performance in the rape post, and hermitosis, for spawning this thread. Congratulations to all!

Hi cucumber! I see you're new!

I'd recommend you hang around more before you make comments like that about two long-standing members who have consistently shown themselves to be passionate about issues of equality among genders, race, class and sexuality. Otherwise you look like a bit of an ass.

Unless of course you are a returning former trolling member or a sockpuppet, in which case, bravo, you still look like an ass, only intentionally.
posted by piratebowling at 5:20 AM on July 20, 2010 [9 favorites]


I guess I'm lucky: I've seen a lot of anti-semitism in my life, and some ageism, but I can't really think of any examples of sexism.
posted by amro at 5:23 AM on July 20, 2010


Stupid FPP generates only slightly less stupid conversation.

Yeah, 7 links to the Daily Mail should've been tipped me off to not get involved. Some day I'll learn not to rise to the bait. Today was not that day, I guess.
posted by cj_ at 5:25 AM on July 20, 2010


i just thought it was a weak post.
posted by msconduct at 5:31 AM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


I did go back to the rape thread to reread what I had written. It's true, and I am glad somebody called me on it -- my only point in contributing additional data points, helping to try to locate a study, and discussing the question of how violence toward women can give privileges to even men who find rape reprehensible, was, in fact, a performance on my part, designed to show off how super-hippie sensitive I am to the women of the site, whose approval I desperately crave. There can be no other reason why a man might ever engage in such behavior. We're all just pandering to women, when we should be dismissing them, and it was time for somebody to set things right.
posted by Astro Zombie at 5:31 AM on July 20, 2010 [13 favorites]


Also, I think a comment with a 100+ favorites carries a lot more weight than you give it credit for.

It doesn't seem to take a lot for a comment to get that many favorites in this kind of thread. Pretty much any personal story will get tons of favorites, just to show solidarity. So I would tend to disagree, I think it carries less weight.
posted by smackfu at 5:36 AM on July 20, 2010


I am not following you, SmackFu. Why would people showing solidarity with a personal anecdote carry less weight, rather than be a demonstration that a large group of people have responded positively to a comment, as with every other time a comment is favorited?

Perhaps I just don't understand what "these sorts of threads" is that makes those responses suspicious, or less valuable.

If anything, when I get a lot of favorites because I have made some half-witted joke, that's less valuable. I'm not turning them down, mind you, but I'd say, on the whole, people sharing significant experiences in a direct and a personal way adds a lot more to this site than the endless parade of Oscar Wilde hand-me-downs I have to offer.
posted by Astro Zombie at 5:41 AM on July 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think the bar to get a 100+ favorites is lower in a "women, tell your stories" thread.
posted by smackfu at 5:50 AM on July 20, 2010


(Which to be clear is only relevant in the context of "100+ favorites is MEANINGFUL".)
posted by smackfu at 5:52 AM on July 20, 2010


But I do think women are infinitely more qualified to actually talk about it than me. That's all I'm saying.

I see your point and I think there's something to it, so hopefully this won't come across as disagreeing with you. But I think there's some merit when men comment supportively in these types of threads, and it's certainly not because we are any better at putting forth the argument or more qualified to do so.

It's because one reason problems like this persist is because of people who don't listen to what women are saying. They tend to write this stuff off as "just women complaining", or something equally dismissive. Wasn't there a (now deleted) comment to that effect near the beginning of the thread early on?

So I hope that if men speak up as well, we'll be able to get through to a few more people who otherwise wouldn't listen, and get them to see this as a real thing. Which, yeah, is sort of perpetuating the problem, but is also a way of using the problem against itself, if you see what I mean.
posted by FishBike at 5:53 AM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Before I clicked, I guessed this was about the false-rape-allegations post.
posted by box at 6:04 AM on July 20, 2010


... and now cj_'s account is disabled. That sucks.
posted by FishBike at 6:09 AM on July 20, 2010


I've been trying to get less involved in those kinds of threads because they are very much anger-making for me. They are great discussions to have, and I'll read every word, but I've learned that extensive participation makes me feel cranky and upset, and doesn't seem to change much of anything.

In other words, my hat is off to those who have the patience and the calmness to engage thoughtfully, meaningfully, and repeatedly in these threads.
posted by Forktine at 6:16 AM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


"To be fair, I think that the website itself is kind of crap."

This was my only criticism. The stories don't read as real. At least many don't. It's like post secret. You know 90% of that is made up crap. That doesn't mean some aren't interesting and moving, but they end up lacking credibility.

It's obvious that stuff like that happens and that the stories resonate, but they still don't read as genuine to me. I can give many reasons why this is the case, but a quick compare/contrast with the stories in the meta-thread to that site proves my point.

The tone of each story is nearly the same. If you dropped them in "writes like" I bet you'd get the same author 90% of the time. The initials make each post nearly anonymous. It's one-sided (no one can ask questions of the OP and get a reply). They are all nearly the same length. Etc.

Some of the stories are far out there. I'm sure that there are real stories just as far out there as these. But when you have one story setting off a bullshit meter it calibrates for the entire site.

I think sexism and gender issues are a decent discussion to have, but it would have been nice if it had been motivated by a better site.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:16 AM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


This was my only criticism. The stories don't read as real. At least many don't. It's like post secret. You know 90% of that is made up crap. That doesn't mean some aren't interesting and moving, but they end up lacking credibility.

I'm having the same problem with GMH and LGMH. I want to believe, but a lot of the stories are eyeroll-worthy. Is it the nature of sites like that, that they skew toward the unbelievable?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:27 AM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think the bar to get a 100+ favorites is lower in a "women, tell your stories" thread.

Perhaps that in itself says something which we should be paying attention to.

Especially in a thread where so many women are pointing out that they have been demeaned or treated like shit in a wide variety of situations and cultures, solely because of their gender.
posted by zarq at 6:41 AM on July 20, 2010 [7 favorites]


In the 7/19/2010 battle for most ostentatious, unnecessary, and pandering display of "Look at Me, I'm Mr. Sensitive!" we have a tie between Astro Zombie, for his brilliant performance in the rape post, and hermitosis, for spawning this thread. Congratulations to all!

posted by cucumber at 5:54 AM on July 20 [+] [!]


That's a shame, I was hoping to win "Most Ironic Username to Have While Being Told to Go Fuck Yourself", but it looks like that race is all sewn up.
posted by hermitosis at 6:41 AM on July 20, 2010 [28 favorites]


In the 7/19/2010 battle for most ostentatious, unnecessary, and pandering display of "Look at Me, I'm Mr. Sensitive!" we have a tie between Astro Zombie, for his brilliant performance in the rape post, and hermitosis, for spawning this thread. Congratulations to all!

I see you're sprinting hard in the authentic, but still an asshole race. Congratulations, you're in the lead!
posted by Hiker at 6:42 AM on July 20, 2010


This was my only criticism. The stories don't read as real. At least many don't. It's like post secret. You know 90% of that is made up crap. That doesn't mean some aren't interesting and moving, but they end up lacking credibility.

During my freshman year, one of the earliest days, my dorm had this ice breaker exercise. I made a friend there and we were talking with a group late night, and she started telling this one story about the first time she had sex that sounded insanely familiar. I later realized her story sounded way too similar to the sex scene in The Bell Jar.
posted by anniecat at 6:49 AM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter is depressing sometimes.
posted by KokuRyu at 6:49 AM on July 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


You know, I try to imagine how life was like for my mom (born in the '30s, in the US south), with all the "separate but equal" crap, and I can't do it. Having to drink from a separate water fountain, or get on a bus and not being allowed to sit in the front of it. Having to enter through separate 'colored' doors. Not being allowed in theaters or restaurants. Being served last, not being able to look white people in the eye. Facing small and large injustices every day.

I try to imagine it - living that on a day to day basis, and I can't do it. I try to, and I just feel trapped, and powerlessness and rage.

I think this is human. I hear of injustice or abuse or human misery of any sort, pretty much throughout human history, and I just can't imagine living through it.

I think it must be like that for some men when they hear about the experiences of some women. That they just can't imagine what thousands of small data points of small injustices are actually like. Anything, from being ignored in a meeting, to having your abilities questioned, to being objectified, to, I don't know, truly horrible things - violence against women: rape, being sold into sexual slavery, etc., makes them feel trapped, and powerlessness and enraged. So they imagine that people are lying, exaggerating, misunderstanding the situation, minimizing, basically, beyond questioning, which I think is healthy, refusing to believe it could be that bad, because they themselves don't like the idea of having to live such a life.

Which I think is human nature. But what I can't understand is why, beyond the whole denial thing, so many men think that so many women would bother to make shit like this up.
posted by anitanita at 6:51 AM on July 20, 2010 [29 favorites]


I kind of wish there was a MyAsk equivalent for MeTa and the front page.
posted by smackfu at 6:52 AM on July 20, 2010


Yes, smackfu, since I am just a dimwitted female who needs guidance, please tell me exactly where and how I should use my favorites.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:59 AM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Someone wants a fight. Sorry.
posted by smackfu at 7:05 AM on July 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think the bar to get a 100+ favorites is lower in a "women, tell your stories" thread.

Then explain what you mean by this because using the phrase "lowering the bar" comes across as "all you women stick together" and "it doesn't take much to get your favorite when women's stories come up."
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:11 AM on July 20, 2010


What's amazing about these threads is how so many of the posters simply dismiss any comment that doesn't neatly fit within their worldview. Anyone who disagrees needs to "get better informed" and listen more, or is told to shut up.

All they do is teach men to better recognize when to condescend to women. Well done.
posted by gjc at 7:22 AM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Most Ironic Username to Have While Being Told to Go Fuck Yourself

Hey look, hermie is fantasizing about mefite crotches again.
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 7:30 AM on July 20, 2010


I think there is a qualitative and quantitative difference between the vicious sexist (who consciously thinks that women are inferior and/or acts to entrench the sexist status quo) and the clueless sexist (who does not realize the ingrained sexism and patriarchy in society to the extent of denying that it exists). We don't see many of the first kind who admit that they think this way. On the other hand, once the sexism has been pointed out and demonstrated to the second kind, they become the first kind if they continue to deny that it exists after that.

You're on notice.
posted by norm at 7:30 AM on July 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


All they do is teach men to better recognize when to condescend to women.

What would the alternative be? Would you expect people to, in Astro Zombie's words, deliver a Gender Studies curriculum individually to each person who doesn't have the background to understand this stuff? It's not a reasonable expectation. It would be like reading a thread on evolution, noting that a few people say "Clearly, this information is wrong, and the world was created by an intelligent designer," and expecting an elementary lesson in evolutionary biology to be presented. The ground has been well covered, and unless there is a new point to be made, it's not reasonable to expect an argument which has historically garnered little support to be catered to with a detailed response.

All they do is teach men to better recognize when to condescend to women.

How men react is up to them individually. Some may refuse to consider their own views deeply or give credence to the value of others' experiences, and thus will choose to continue their relationship with women as a "condescending" one. Meanwhile, others are choosing to actually think about things.
posted by Miko at 7:33 AM on July 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


Hey look, hermie is fantasizing about mefite crotches again.

Each crotch is a special snowflake.
posted by hermitosis at 7:33 AM on July 20, 2010


Hi folks ... What's going on? What did I miss? I was just over here rearranging my collection of 10-foot poles ...
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 7:38 AM on July 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


Each crotch is a special snowflake.

Do you attempt to catch them on your tongue?
posted by waraw at 7:38 AM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


These are not the recipes I was hoping for.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:48 AM on July 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


There are a couple newer users in that thread that really should catch up on the discussions we've had on this before.
posted by yeti at 7:50 AM on July 20, 2010


You want to talk about outrageous, made-up examples? You should look at some of the dialogue in recent movies that passes as entertaining and acceptable ways for men and women to talk to each other.

I'm not talking about scenes demonstrating what a jerk somebody is. I'm talking about good 'ole ingrained sexism, going unnoticed and posing as witty banter, positive character development, or, my favorite...How To Flirt. And the best part is when the recipients of these bon mots eat it up! ESPECIALLY when it becomes a faux-demonstration of "Look, woman retort. Woman like man. She liberated. Later he win her. Then they fuck or whatever happily ever after."

My recent fave is Julia Roberts and Nick Nolte in I Love Trouble. What a vile piece of crap. If I had time, I'd go pick out some choice lines. Other movies that I can recall spewing some benign-but-definitely-there sexist BS, off the top of my head...the remake of The Thomas Crowne Affair. How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. Sex and the City. Hot Tub Time Machine. I'm sure all y'all can think of more...and find the words that could fit right in to FMIF.

To be fair, dialogue/actions in these movies don't do any favors for men either. Badly written is badly written. Point is, we should set our sights and standards higher and recognize this crap for what it's worth. This shouldn't be an acceptable model for how to communicate or behave.

Not to say that some (but not all) of these movies have some redeeming qualities. Sexist dialogue ain't one of them.
---
I'm upset that cj_ closed his account.
posted by iamkimiam at 7:50 AM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


In the 7/19/2010 battle for most ostentatious, unnecessary, and pandering display of "Look at Me, I'm Mr. Sensitive!"

Brand New Day only works when you change your behavior.

I, too, thought the thread was an example of a so-so link that spawned a lot of interesting discussion that I am still digging through. I appreciate that these threads are sometimes too much for people, and that's totally okay.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:56 AM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


So, let me get this straight ... this is an uncivil thread about how civil another thread is?
posted by crunchland at 8:03 AM on July 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Then explain what you mean by this because using the phrase "lowering the bar" comes across as "all you women stick together" and "it doesn't take much to get your favorite when women's stories come up."

I took it to mean that favorites given out as shows of solidarity will necessarily have more to do with the ingroup / outgroup dynamics of this website, and less to do with, well, all the other factors that make for interesting reading. In certain contexts, a show of hands will say less about a piece of writing than it does about Metafilter itself, about its political fault lines or nerves of common pain, or about its clubhouse language, its media fixations and immortal memes. I imagine I'm not the only person to prefer reading at the [10 favorites +] level to the [170 favorites +]. The latter is often some kind of righteous "me too" in a politically divisive thread, its inevitable chaser of favorites like the freeze-frame high-five coda to every bad 80s movie. Awesome skateboarding, Tyler.
posted by kid ichorous at 8:11 AM on July 20, 2010 [10 favorites]


Clearly we now need to have a civil discussion of the phenomenon of uncivil discussions of civil threads. Just not here.
posted by yhbc at 8:11 AM on July 20, 2010


There's a secret MetaFilter section for that, but only one person has ever found it.

Paphnuty.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:20 AM on July 20, 2010


Awesome skateboarding, Tyler.

I think I want this to be a meme.
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:25 AM on July 20, 2010


I imagine I'm not the only person to prefer reading at the [10 favorites +] level to the [170 favorites +]. The latter is often some kind of righteous "me too" in a politically divisive thread,

You know you can turn the favorites off, right? I didn't see the numbers on any of the comments that I favorited, I just favorited those things that I felt were well expressed or related something that was so relevant to what I have undergone that it was like a sucker-punch to the gut.

If you want to call that "righteous me-tooism" feel free, but you come off as an insensitive jerk. Instead, why not imagine a whole thread devoted to memories of being kicked in the nuts. Now imagine that one of the commenters tells his story in such a way that is so vivid, so real that it brings back the memory of when you, too, were kicked in the nuts. Does your hand not reflexively reach out to hit the + button? Or maybe we just use our favorites in a different way than you.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 8:45 AM on July 20, 2010


I hope cj_'s disabled account is temporary.

In my insomnia last night, I went through some of the old posts tagged boyzone. I have to say that, while it's fairly common to see people say "MetaFilter doesn't do sexism well," that thread has gone far better than I thought it would, and it's gone better than I think it would have a few years ago.

Also, I have a recipe ready to go once we get to that point. It includes chocolate, nuts, butter, wheat flour, and white sugar. I'm not supposed to eat any of that these days, but today I think it's time for ultimate brownies.
posted by catlet at 8:45 AM on July 20, 2010


It's never a particularly great thing when people close their account - but I think that's just a part of metafilter. I can count the times (on just one hand) that I wanted to hit the disabled button.

I'm sure that many of us have felt angry or disrespected and needed to step away. To take the additional step of hitting the disabled button sometimes helps make the point that the reason why you're not here is that you're angry/disappointed/etc.

But I think it's okay. Cj_ also has the choice to come back when they want, and hopefully they will.
posted by anitanita at 8:45 AM on July 20, 2010


"I'm proud to be a woman and I will continue to make sure that men and women respect that."

This.

It was a long hard uphill battle from being born in the sixties in Calcutta with a family whose surname and address were recognized in the city to becoming my own person, gender and all with a global passport and work that matters in a place that rocks.

Why would I want to say "its not my fault" and undermine myself for someone else's gratification?

I have nothing to apologize for nor gloat about.

Tat tvam asi.
posted by infini at 8:49 AM on July 20, 2010


Or maybe we just use our favorites in a different way than you.

This is pretty clear when I see something like this comment, which got 249 favorites. Normally 249 favorites is totally sidebar worthy but not so much here.
posted by smackfu at 8:55 AM on July 20, 2010


Which is to say that comment got favorites because of this, which kid ichorous explained better than I:

I took it to mean that favorites given out as shows of solidarity will necessarily have more to do with the ingroup / outgroup dynamics of this website, and less to do with, well, all the other factors that make for interesting reading.
posted by smackfu at 8:59 AM on July 20, 2010


This is pretty clear when I see something like this comment, which got 249 favorites. Normally 249 favorites is totally sidebar worthy but not so much here.

Comments are not automatically sidebarred when they reach a favorite "threshold." Most often, they are sidebarred because they relate something that the mods feel the community might be interested in seeing, but might have missed because it was buried in a thread.

I sympathize with the idea that highly favorited comments should convey "teachable moments," especially in threads like this. I really do. But that's not the only reason why people favorite comments.
posted by zarq at 9:13 AM on July 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


"Normally 249 favorites is totally sidebar worthy but not so much here."


The reason that comment got 249 favorites and the reasons comments get sidebarred are not necessarily the same. There's overlap, for sure, but it'd be disingenuous to draw a correlation between why a highly favorited comment that isn't sidebarred is reflective of some hegemonic bias within the community.
posted by iamkimiam at 9:35 AM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Normally 249 favorites is totally sidebar worthy but not so much here.

There are a lot of factors that lead to fave count amplification, and they tend to be multiplicative, and not all of them are things that line up naturally with what we look at as being sidebar material. Many things that go on the sidebar don't have an exceptional number of favorites (at least before the sidebarring), and plenty of comments get a lot of favorites but never end up sidebarred. We tend not to sidebar comments that don't stand well outside of context, or that are ideologically charged, or would be easily read as not "here's an interesting comment" so much as "here is a stance we endorse".

So, yeah, that's not a comment that would be sidebarred. But it's not unique for being a comment with a pile of favorites that doesn't get sidebarred.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:35 AM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


If it makes you feel better, favorite it. If it keeps a thread from filling up with a bunch of "me too" comments, favorite it. Favorites aren't a limited resource.
posted by crunchland at 9:42 AM on July 20, 2010


Favorites aren't a limited resource.

I just found out that they actually are. For the first time ever, I got the "You hit your favorite limit for the day."

Reading MetaFilter without my favoriting button is almost painful.
posted by marsha56 at 9:50 AM on July 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


tehloki might have some tips on dealing with the loss of the [+].

Maybe try to remember the good times you had with it?
posted by ODiV at 9:54 AM on July 20, 2010


Yeah, between the "false accusations of rape" thread and this one, I don't think I'd have the patience to that many in that thread had, to explain that grass is green to people who'd never seen grass but insisted it was red.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:02 AM on July 20, 2010


Comment from the FPP:

"Yes, if I could have married rich and been coaxed into having kids, I would take the opportunity and hire a nanny, and you can bet your boots I'd take that opportunity to do whatever I felt like doing all day, no matter what anybody thought. Screw Mommy and Me, it would be Mommy and Martinis. The nanny would probably be justified in calling child services on me for being drunk all day by the pool. The women I know who quit their jobs to raise a family have traded the stress of a boring, unfulfilling paid job for the unenviable stress and unguaranteed reward of raising kids (which I hope is somewhat fulfilling to them, seems so or else why do it, unless someone's making you), and frankly, they work way too hard at being good parents. I read somewhere that back in the day, it was perfectly fine to give the baby a shot of brandy to quiet them down. Who knows what it did to their development, but maybe babies today are going to grow up to be just a little too smart and well developed for their own good (again, I kid about getting the baby drunk, though no pun intended).

I never said I was a role model."


In all seriousness, I keep coming back to this comment, trying to puzzle out if anniecat is trolling.

Does anyone else have an opinion?
posted by zarq at 10:06 AM on July 20, 2010


cj_: "I hear you, but I think the lack of explicit activism makes it more likely to be participated in and read by people who shy from such things on principle. The website is strictly women venting their frustration and not calling for change, which in my experience shuts down a lot of people's critical thinking faculties before they even consider the subject matter. Maybe it is better to have some separation between raw testimonial and political activism so that people who respond negatively to the latter still get the message, without all the baggage they already carry about feminism. Maybe it's a little harder for some people to dismiss these anecdotes as "radical feminazis" when nothing is being promoted.

Obviously some people still do (as evidenced by the thread), but the mental gymnastics they have to perform to get there makes their arguments a lot easier to refute
"

Yeah, it's like they're being too emotional or something...
posted by ShawnStruck at 10:08 AM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Instead, why not imagine a whole thread devoted to memories of being kicked in the nuts. Now imagine that one of the commenters tells his story in such a way that is so vivid, so real that it brings back the memory of when you, too, were kicked in the nuts.

So someone offers, for your consideration, a single-link opus called She Took The Kids. It looks like a greatest hits compilation culled from thousands of anonymous email forwards, all "real life men" dangling at the "wrong end" of a divorcee suit gone bad, condensed into pat testimonials and teaching moments.

What if it generated hundreds of supportive comments from men? What if the most favorited comment on Metafilter were an admonishment against casting too critical an eye on these chain emails?

What if this sort of thing happened, give or take, every week or two?

Would taking favorites as a sort of index for interesting reading make much sense? Would Metafilter seem to have an unusually large, Reddit-shaped appetite for mra blognoise? Would you feel comfortable participating in those threads?
posted by kid ichorous at 10:08 AM on July 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


In all seriousness, I keep coming back to this comment, trying to puzzle out if anniecat is trolling.

Does anyone else have an opinion?


I have the same question and have tried very hard to approach my concerns lightly even though the inside of my head is swarming with angry bees. I've decided not to answer any further comments along these lines as the subject of childcare is obviously too charged for me, but man, that totally doesn't read like anything good from here.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 10:20 AM on July 20, 2010


Does anyone else have an opinion?

You have no sense of humor?
posted by Crabby Appleton at 10:22 AM on July 20, 2010


Would you feel comfortable participating in those threads?

Speaking only for myself, I think you're too far into your hypothetical for me to understand what you're actually saying.
posted by norm at 10:23 AM on July 20, 2010


Not that I don't think she made some serious points. So what bothers you? The points or the flippant tone?
posted by Crabby Appleton at 10:24 AM on July 20, 2010


Instead, why not imagine a whole thread devoted to memories of being kicked in the nuts.

I could imagine that, but then I remember the time I called for a curveball, and Dustin Boyle, for the first time in his entire fucking 13-year-old life, snapped it off just right, so that I missed it with my mitt and it hit the ground right behind the plate and rebounded up into me.

And when I remember that, I also remember the subsequent hour I spent lying on the cool green grass behind the dugout. Just lying there and shuddering.

Really, Dustin? THAT is when you finally figured out you put most of the pressure on the seam with your index finger? Jackass!
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:24 AM on July 20, 2010


every week or two?

Oh come on, even I would quit that site. Every six months or so? Yeah I could manage that.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:27 AM on July 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


Yay, I get to post about the Dunning-Kreuger (pdf) effect! (kinda) in response to this: "What gets my goat is when people proceed to expound on something they don't know anything about. How would you know if it's a big deal? Who are you to talk about_______________?" From wikipedia:
The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which an unskilled person makes poor decisions and reaches erroneous conclusions, but their incompetence denies them the metacognitive ability to realize their mistakes
Everyone does it! But it is extra-harmful and we should be extra-careful in this situation. It is not okay to dismiss people's expert opinions about systematic bigotry. And yes, women are experts when it comes to experiencing sexism. So are some men who notice it and take the time to learn about it.

But if you're a man and you're disagreeing with several women about sexist behavior, you should consider that you're disagreeing because you don't know enough about what you're talking about to know that you're wrong.

It's like being a twice-a-year golfer and arguing with someone on the PGA tour. It doesn't matter how confident you are. If you think that he's crazy for using the 9-iron, you're probably wrong.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 10:28 AM on July 20, 2010 [14 favorites]


Not that I don't think she made some serious points. So what bothers you? The points or the flippant tone?

For me? All of it, really. The condescension towards women who work from home and/or stay at home with their children. The idea that families who hire nannies are wealthy. The insinuation that life was better when people fed their babies brandy because now we collectively care too much about our children. As I say, it's probably too charged a subject for me and I'll admit that I can't possibly respond objectively - but what bothered me was the whole thing, though I'm sure that if the substance had been framed in a less caustic tone, I wouldn't have the same reaction.

Then again, "trolling" or not, she seemed to be gunning for some kind of reaction, so I guess her method was effective in that it did elicit one.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 10:29 AM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


In all seriousness, I keep coming back to this comment, trying to puzzle out if anniecat is trolling. Does anyone else have an opinion?

Actively trolling? I don't think so. I think it was a mixture of the usual judgment you hear people make about other people's parenting choices and hyperbole for the sense of humor.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:29 AM on July 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Would you feel comfortable participating in those threads?

Speaking only for myself, I think you're too far into your hypothetical for me to understand what you're actually saying.


pithy comment #230998:

That's a feature not a bug. This is MeTa, what on earth are we good for if not overthinking that plate of beans.

And the corn.

Eyes the peas.
posted by infini at 10:32 AM on July 20, 2010


You have no sense of humor?

Granted, sometimes I don't.

What makes you think she was joking?
posted by zarq at 10:32 AM on July 20, 2010


Does anyone else have an opinion?

Yes. Champagne in the morning, martinis in the afternoon.
posted by octobersurprise at 10:33 AM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think the most interesting thing about the thread linked above isn't the collection of stories. Most of the stories in FMIF are ones I've heard before in one way or another, ones that have happened to me or someone I know. To me they're banal, everyday; they're just life. You get ignored, or someone talks down to you, or says something inappropriate. Whatever, it happens all the time. It's nice to see people have a place to vent, but, to me, none if it is news.

However, what did make me react and take notice was the total deafness from so many Mefites that this is even happening on a regular basis. Which is like learning that there is an entire segment of the population who are unaware of what popcorn smells like.

Yes, popcorn exists. Yes, it is surprisingly common even if you don't see it in your normal life. It's just shocking that there are people who have made it into adulthood not believing it really exists.
posted by Alison at 10:36 AM on July 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


What if this sort of thing happened, give or take, every week or two?

When it does, I'll be willing to entertain that discussion. Until then, let's discuss the actual thread, instead of trying, and failing, to create an obnoxious parallel that everybody universally agrees would be a bad thing.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:36 AM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


I just re-read anniecat's comments in context of the thread, and I think to suggest she's trolling is uncharitable. The objections to her comments as stated above have more to do with how she said what she said than what she actually said in the context of that conversation.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:42 AM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


The objections to her comments as stated above have more to do with how she said what she said than what she actually said in the context of that conversation.

I would like to stipulate that I would still find it objectionable if someone said that they thought that kids were better off when their parents gave them brandy to quiet them down, even if they worded it really nicely.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 10:43 AM on July 20, 2010


You're making my point for me- that part of her comment was an aside, and not relevant to the comment as a whole.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:44 AM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


not relevant to the comment as a whole.

?? Honestly not getting that. How are some objectionable things relevant and others aren't?
posted by grapefruitmoon at 10:45 AM on July 20, 2010


I think there are two types of dudes, apparently. There are the type that do this all of the time. Then there are the types that would never do it. When a thread comes up that says "I can't believe men do X to women" there are two reactions from the types that would never do it. One type says "I agree, all men are assholes." The other group, seeing thier own experience, can't believe there are that many people doing stuff like that and think it is a rare occurence.

Both are wrong.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:49 AM on July 20, 2010


Hmm, maybe "not relevant" puts it too strongly. But it's definitely an aside to the main point of what she's saying in the context of the conversation.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:50 AM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


It only takes one dude to be an ass to create a lifetime's worth of anecdote.
posted by smackfu at 10:50 AM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Lets call it the 'perception filter' - i don't find it objectionable for example it barely touched my consciousness (red flagger buttons) but the foreskins all over the blue embarressed me greatly and I kept wanting to shove that thread under the carpet or behind a cushion somewhere, away from public view.
posted by infini at 10:51 AM on July 20, 2010


It only takes one dude to be an ass to create a lifetime's worth of anecdote.

Imagine what it's like if you experience guys who are asses all the time, as everybody in the thread repeatedly stated! Why, you'd be rich with anecdotes! You'd be an anecdote millionaire!

You seem unexpectedly dismissive of this, and haven't really given any reason why.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:58 AM on July 20, 2010



In all seriousness, I keep coming back to this comment, trying to puzzle out if anniecat is trolling.

Does anyone else have an opinion?


Based on other comments of hers over the last year or so, I think it's more about class resentment and frustration than misogyny/breeder-hating. Like a lot of people on the internet, I think anniecat is having a rough time.
posted by availablelight at 10:59 AM on July 20, 2010


In the 7/19/2010 battle for most ostentatious, unnecessary, and pandering display of "Look at Me, I'm Mr. Sensitive!" we have a tie between Astro Zombie, for his brilliant performance in the rape post, and hermitosis, for spawning this thread. Congratulations to all!
posted by cucumber

Poor little cucumber!

Nobody wanted you in their salad and now you're all withered, limp, and slimy at the bottom of the vegetable drawer.

I'd be peevish too.
posted by jamjam at 11:04 AM on July 20, 2010


You seem unexpectedly dismissive of this, and haven't really given any reason why.

I hate women, obviously.
posted by smackfu at 11:04 AM on July 20, 2010


That guy certainly gets around!
posted by unknowncommand at 11:06 AM on July 20, 2010


Or maybe I have mother issues. I don't know, what's an acceptable answer in your mind?
posted by smackfu at 11:10 AM on July 20, 2010


I hate women, obviously.

So you have no actual intention of justifying your remarks, or even explaining that I am misinterpreting them and you don't mean to be dismissive?

Typically, you seem ready to call out what you see as misbehavior in a thread. Making comments that leave people with questions and then refusing to discuss them is misbehavior.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:14 AM on July 20, 2010


Ah, you got a second non-answer in under the gun.

I guess my question is if you think women are exaggerating their experiences of constantly being talked down to and minimized. Because your comments in this thread sure make it sound like you do. And, if so, why?
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:15 AM on July 20, 2010


Currently looking at my eggie drop soup in a totally different light.
posted by functionequalsform at 11:16 AM on July 20, 2010


I've already broken my rule of trying to defend myself in MetaTalk so I'm just going to bow out. I'm sorry if this leaves you feeling unsatisfied.
posted by smackfu at 11:18 AM on July 20, 2010


jacalta's UserNotes script

Does anybody actually think this is a good idea? Why not just call it the "grudge-o-matic" and be done with it?

I mean, hell, if somebody did something to piss me off, and my brain was good enough to forget about it, I consider that a feature, not a bug.
posted by Afroblanco at 11:21 AM on July 20, 2010 [10 favorites]


Amen, Afroblanco.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:22 AM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've already broken my rule of trying to defend myself in MetaTalk so I'm just going to bow out.

I don't know what to say. You're a nice guy and all, but you seem perfectly happy to drop in and snark, but perfectly unhappy to have an actual discuss. If you think it's impossible in MeTa, perhaps you shouldn't merely not defend yourself -- if that's what you call answering an honest question with sarcasm -- but of staying out of MeTa altogether.

But I may be confused about the purpose of MeTa. I thought it was to raise issues so they can be hashed out. That sort of discussion is a two-way street, in my experience, and you really only seem interested in one direction that it can go.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:24 AM on July 20, 2010


Yes, an actual discuss. I omit needless syllab.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:25 AM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


I just re-read anniecat's comments in context of the thread, and I think to suggest she's trolling is uncharitable. The objections to her comments as stated above have more to do with how she said what she said than what she actually said in the context of that conversation.

The complaints I (and grapefruitmoon) raised in the thread were about her comments' context.
posted by zarq at 11:27 AM on July 20, 2010


Based on other comments of hers over the last year or so, I think it's more about class resentment and frustration than misogyny/breeder-hating. Like a lot of people on the internet, I think anniecat is having a rough time.

That makes sense. I'm sort of glad I didn't bite back, then.
posted by zarq at 11:28 AM on July 20, 2010


Does anybody actually think this is a good idea? Why not just call it the "grudge-o-matic" and be done with it?

I don't think it's a great idea in a lot of potential cases—the "grudge-o-matic" label describes those problematic cases pretty well, indeed—but ultimately if there's a tool that a specific person finds helps them avoid bad interactions on the site in a way that's not overtly disruptive to other people, then, okay.

This is the same as my take on killfiles, something else we'll never implement server-side on Metafilter: I don't think it's a good casual-use tool, but some folks find themselves in a position where it's either use the tool or have trouble staying on the good side of the community guidelines, and in that case by all means use the tool. Keep it to yourself and I don't care how you manage to keep out of dustups, whether it's a killfile or a "remind me of my bad/notable experiences with user x" script or a bunch of post-it notes on your monitor.

Make a public thing of it or use it as a prop for being crappy on the site, then, okay, you will hear from me. But I don't think that was jacalata's intent with building it and I'm not going to assume that's anyone's intent in using it unless they display evidence to the contrary with bad behavior.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:32 AM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


(And that's speaking, for all that, only to the narrow case of using jacalata's script to keep negative notes on someone, which is also I think not by far the sole use of it. Noting someone's interests, profession, cool hobbies, good deeds, etc. are all in the scope of the few things I've heard from people that they use the script or other approaches to accomplish.)
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:35 AM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Does anybody actually think this is a good idea? Why not just call it the "grudge-o-matic" and be done with it?

Because it's a great way to help me keep track of the real names of mefites I meet at meetups, their non-mefite friend or spouse's name, a link to a great comment they made (searching favorites is hard), etc. My note in jacalata's profile, for instance, lets me know that she's the one who made the script. I'd estimate that I've used it as a way to remember people who irritate me approximately twice.

It's just a useful tool. Assuming that it can only be used for grudgey reasons is, um, unimaginative.
posted by rtha at 11:38 AM on July 20, 2010


Wait -- who are you again?

(Check UserNotes)

Oh. You.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:38 AM on July 20, 2010


Tools, schmools. Depends on how you use it, no?

(I might install it and start tracking various MeFites porn star names, sitting and standing prefs, and their favorite memes, whee!)
posted by iamkimiam at 11:51 AM on July 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


...and frankly, they work way too hard at being good parents. I read somewhere that back in the day, it was perfectly fine to give the baby a shot of brandy to quiet them down. Who knows what it did to their development, but maybe babies today are going to grow up to be just a little too smart and well developed for their own good (again, I kid about getting the baby drunk, though no pun intended).

I never said I was a role model."


"In all seriousness, I keep coming back to this comment, trying to puzzle out if anniecat is trolling.

Does anyone else have an opinion?"

zarq,

I may be outing myself as a hesitant fool here.

Anniecat's comment bothered me so much that I quietly mefimailed it to a commenter I hugely admire (who wasn't participating in the thread) - asking whether my very sour gut reaction was justified.

Usually I am fairly sure of my own opinions. Part of my own uncertainty was - definitely - not wanting to extend anniecat's derail into a full on debate about SAHMs versus Other Mothers.

But part of it was being genuinely unsure whether anniecat was fully aware of how she sounded. (If there's some private tough stuff going on, then...I'm glad I backed off.)

So, yes, others here did have an opinion - even if they aren't quite sure, stupidly, what that opinion was!
posted by Jody Tresidder at 12:06 PM on July 20, 2010


Assuming that it can only be used for grudgey reasons is, um, unimaginative.

I was mostly referring to MLIS's comment above :

There are a few trolls who always show up for sexism threads and I recommend jacalta's UserNotes script to help keep track
posted by Afroblanco at 12:11 PM on July 20, 2010


the Dunning-Kreuger effect!

syracuse my nakedness excuse
i just had an invention in the bath:
a nunchuck of teutonic syllables
(to better knock your heads outside your hats)
for naming things is sexier then math

internet prepare to die of boredom
and take me on the good name of my tool:
my lexicology, it is imported
(and even wikipedia must kneel)
pretend i did not write this at cornell
posted by kid ichorous at 12:12 PM on July 20, 2010


My UserNotes for cortex are just a bunch of slash fiction with Astro Zombie.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:15 PM on July 20, 2010 [7 favorites]


That's no fiction. MeMail me for the photos.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:19 PM on July 20, 2010 [6 favorites]


Yes, I think the D-K effect is a pretty slick re-branding of an old and busted argumentative fallacy, and a fast lane to circular reasoning. Incidentally, the only people equipped to understand why are those willing to engage in protracted rhyme battles on the internet. What a strange coincidence.
posted by kid ichorous at 12:20 PM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


OK, so this exchange...

languagehat: While I'm here, I'd like to apologize to the women in this thread for the clueless and/or offensive comments of some of my fellow males

Argh. I like what you write 99.999% of the time, but this is a misstep. You're not responsible for what other men say, just as I am not responsible for what other women, blue-eyed, or short people say. To apologize for the actions of your "fellow males" reeks of the white knight syndrome mentioned elsewhere. Address them directly.
posted by desjardins at 12:34 PM on July 20 [+] [!]


...reminds me of one of the best forum sig banners I've ever seen.

(I kinda hope DarkPony is a girl.)
posted by snuffleupagus at 12:43 PM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't get it. Please rescue me from my confusion. ::holds up beans for inspection::
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:52 PM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Astro Zombie: "Can I suggest that any man who would like to take this opportunity to explain how hard it is to be a man, and how the law is somehow against them in divorces, or whatever, just to start a thread on that, rather than turn this thread into a referendum on your issues?"

Some people will use masculinity issues to argue against feminism. That's obviously not a very useful point, and your example about divorce rates fall into this category.

But I definitely think that it's hard to be a man. It's hard in ways that many women wouldn't be able to understand immediately (just as it's hard to be a woman and most men don't instinctively understand). And it doesn't need to be anti-feminist.

So I guess what I'm trying to say is: please don't conflate the first type of anti-feminist drivel with arguments about masculinity or gender roles for men. I think they're two very different things.

I agree that it doesn't really belong in a thread about women's experiences, which is why I'm posting this comment here instead of in the original thread.
posted by anonymuk at 12:59 PM on July 20, 2010


So I guess what I'm trying to say is: please don't conflate the first type of anti-feminist drivel with arguments about masculinity or gender roles for men. I think they're two very different things.

I think the problem is that, regardless of whatever the real issues are facing men, when people bring them up in a thread about women's issues, it is a very noisy derail that also serves to silence discussion on women's issues.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:11 PM on July 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


But I definitely think that it's hard to be a man. It's hard in ways that many women wouldn't be able to understand immediately (just as it's hard to be a woman and most men don't instinctively understand). And it doesn't need to be anti-feminist.

I understand and have witnessed how difficult it can be to be a man, and in my experience it's often for similar reasons women have it so rough (sexism, strict gender roles, general patriarchy). I think that getting rid of gender imbalance would ultimately be beneficial to both men and women (and everyone in between).

Thanks for being thoughtful enough not to post this in the original thread. It is a discussion worth having though, definitely. I doubt there is a single woman posting here who doesn't think men are important and integral components in their lives in one way or another. There are plenty of men who I care deeply about, and I wouldn't belittle their experiences or dismiss the problems they face for the world.
posted by audacity at 1:12 PM on July 20, 2010


Does anybody actually think this is a good idea? Why not just call it the "grudge-o-matic" and be done with it?

For me, it's not a way to keep track of grudges so much as it's a way to save time. There are some users who make very predictable comments about some topics, and I very predictably disagree with them on those topics. That's fine -- I'm not necessarily right, and they're not necessarily wrong. It is what it is. But I don't have the kind of memory to always be able to match the users with their subject matter, so by leaving a note (and hincandenza had one), it reminds me that that person isn't, for my money, worth engaging on that topic.

That may seem dismissive, but I don't mean it to. For me, getting into a back-and-forth with, say, hincandenza wrt sexism would just come to no good; the conversation wouldn't go anywhere, and it would only end up as a huge pile of frustration (for me, and possibly for the mods). I know this, so why do it? The UserNotes script helps me remember when to not bother.

And hey, by the way, cucumber's entry into my field of vision taught me something valuable: The UserNotes script doesn't work for people who have opted out of MeMail.
posted by mudpuppie at 1:13 PM on July 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


"Yes, I think the D-K effect is a pretty slick re-branding of an old and busted argumentative fallacy, and a fast lane to circular reasoning."

Except that it is consistently supported by evidence, namely multiple high-quality studies including the one I linked. Most argumentative fallacies...not so much.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 1:23 PM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


But I don't have the kind of memory to always be able to match the users with their subject matter, so by leaving a note (and hincandenza had one), it reminds me that that person isn't, for my money, worth engaging on that topic.

Yeah. I pretty much shortcut all of that by just trying to avoid arguments in general. (doesn't mean I always succeed, though)

Somebody Will Always Be Wrong On The Internet.
posted by Afroblanco at 1:26 PM on July 20, 2010


"It is also hard to make people believe that a space is welcoming to gay people when every time there's a homophobic altercation, the striaght patrons avert their eyes. Silence is not support. Pick up a bar stool already."

Yes, this.

My husband got thrown out of a beer festival a couple months ago for getting into a fistfight provoked by confronting a smarmy bitch who was being nasty to our lesbian friends. "This is the LADIES' room," she sneered loudly when our friends entered. Our friends may have butch haircuts and wear androgynous clothing but they also have HUGE FUCKING WOMAN TITS so there's no way to genuinely confuse their gender. The bitch was just trying to be mean and make them feel bad.

One of our friends was so upset that she wasn't having fun anymore and wanted to leave early, so my husband demanded to know who had said it and then he went and cussed the bitch out until her husband threw the first punch. So then we all had to leave early, but everyone was in much better spirits!

Our lesbian friends said these sort of remarks get made to them all the time and they were just too weary to confront people anymore. But they did seem to enjoy the spectacle of someone else's outrage on their behalf.

I am so proud of my husband!
posted by Jacqueline at 1:29 PM on July 20, 2010 [14 favorites]


So, that's kinda funny. But it's a little backwards and ironic to me that the Husband needed to Protect the lesbians. It'd have been better if the more confident of the two had simply asked the hetero bitch "if that's the case, shouldn't you be in a dog run?"
posted by snuffleupagus at 1:41 PM on July 20, 2010


Yeah. I pretty much shortcut all of that by just trying to avoid arguments in general. (doesn't mean I always succeed, though)

That's exactly my point! Having the note, for me, greatly assists me in avoiding what I know in advance will quite likely turn in to an argument. (I'm not an argumentative person, so I like to steer clear of them when possible.)

It's a totally different thing to interact with someone who has no history (that you know of) of posting and then defending to the death opinions that you find really offensive. You go into that kind of conversation with a clean slate, thinking you might be able to point out some of the flaws in their reasoning and learn something about their perspective in return, and then maybe end up on common ground. But if it's someone from whom you pretty much know what to expect, again, why bother?

For example, I don't get into political debates with my father. I love him dearly, and we can talk about a lot of things, but we can't talk politics. Now, he's my father, so I don't need a UserNote for him, but say a sibling brings home someone new. Say that person ends up just being a staunch advocate of seal clubbing. If after three Sunday dinners of debating about seal clubbing, with no sign whatsoever that this person was even going to consider the fact that seal clubbing might be a tad bit wrong, I'd jot down that UserNote and know not to participate in any discussions about seal clubbing with them. My Sunday dinner, and everyone else's, would be much more pleasant for it.

And that's why I like the script.

(And I'm only telling you because you asked, and no one has asked for recipes yet! I made some good plum chuntey a couple days ago, by the way.)
posted by mudpuppie at 1:44 PM on July 20, 2010


That's exactly my point!

Well, I think we're missing each others' point. On the internet, I try to avoid discussing things that I actually care about with people who disagree with me. In-person is a different story.

(once again, I'm not saying that I always succeed. sometimes I fail spectacularly. but I do try.)
posted by Afroblanco at 1:47 PM on July 20, 2010


see this is why I'd rather just shove all this under the rug and continue slowly pushing the mountainside
posted by infini at 2:09 PM on July 20, 2010


Except that it is consistently supported by evidence, namely multiple high-quality studies including the one I linked.

Look, you realize that it walked you through an enormous loop of circular reasoning, right?

Pop social psychology theories are not passwords to truth and reality. Casually diagnosing the Dunning-Kreuger effect as a means of vitiating arguments you disagree with is an enormous bundle of ugly assumptions glossed in a slick scientific term. You've reduced the problem to one of upper and lower cognitive planes, where one group - the one you disagree with, apparently - is burdened with some a kind of keep-digging ignorance that they cannot easily transcend without resorting to the authority of the other. Those - the ones you agree with - are the experts. We should all listen to them. What a convenient fucking diagnosis.

To say that women are implicitly experts on gender discrimination is to commit that term to such a circular design that the male perspective is reduced to some ridiculous act of gender ventriloquism.
posted by kid ichorous at 2:12 PM on July 20, 2010 [9 favorites]


From my PoV there are pros and cons to gender in any culture, some more acute at points than others. Instead of battering my head against changing people's minds and attitudes I just perceive them as immovable columns and workaround them. To the best I can. I figure in the long run people's attitudes and approaches to the world are slowly changing, it takes a couple of generations as they were saying on William Easterly's blog, so I'd rather work on something else with some shorter term results.
posted by infini at 2:12 PM on July 20, 2010


My hat is off to the frustrated females (and sympathizers) in this thread.

Yes. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
posted by twirlypen at 2:14 PM on July 20, 2010


Afroblanco I was mostly referring to MLIS's comment above

and

Does anybody actually think this is a good idea? Why not just call it the "grudge-o-matic" and be done with it?

I mean, hell, if somebody did something to piss me off, and my brain was good enough to forget about it, I consider that a feature, not a bug.


Not a grudge thing, User Notes makes the site easier to read. There are at least 4 trolls I am thinking of, who show up for sexism threads and do a drive-by routine, dropping offensive comments without any effort to participate in a discussion.

And yet in every thread some people wind up taking them seriously and respond to them. It seems to me it is helpful to have a reminder that a troll is a troll.
posted by mlis at 2:27 PM on July 20, 2010


"But it's a little backwards and ironic to me that the Husband needed to Protect the lesbians."

Oh, they're perfectly capable of sticking up for themselves, they're just worn out from doing it constantly. So they enjoyed seeing someone with fresh energy get outraged and confrontational on their behalf.
posted by Jacqueline at 2:27 PM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


(Also, as a middle-class, white, heterosexual, Christian, able-bodied man who mostly associates with the same, my husband doesn't encounter a lot of opportunities to get outraged over discrimination.)
posted by Jacqueline at 2:29 PM on July 20, 2010


I am not the best spokesperson for UserNotes so I am glad mudpuppie and cortex spoke to it as well. Just want to add that is a very useful tool, sometimes I see a really nice user page with interesting links and I make an entry. Then the next time I see the user name and mouseover it the script reveals what I had written before.
posted by mlis at 2:45 PM on July 20, 2010


I might have mentioned this observation before, but I think that MetaFilter members tend to have a high opinion of the hive. Consequently, when it turns out that the asshole distribution is similar to real life, the disappointment manifests violently. I like to think we are a little 'better' than the real world, but probably I just like the liberal bias. Really, there are just as many 'bad' parents, assholes, chauvinists, rapists, stalkers, people that leave a bag on the seat beside them on crowded public transport, etc. Shit, I answer some Ask questions like I'm a fucking priest. I promise you, I'd be lucky to even get in a church.
posted by doublehappy at 2:47 PM on July 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


There are at least 4 trolls I am thinking of, who show up for sexism threads and do a drive-by routine, dropping offensive comments without any effort to participate in a discussion.

I really hate how we require people who disagree with the majority to take extra care to frame their arguments and ensure they've adequately defined every term they've used in their comment, and to provide disclaimers and qualifications and links to their life history (so we can judge their experience and authority and 'right' to say what they're saying). Meanwhile, if you agree with the majority position, you can just drop in, write a 3 line post calling someone an asshole, get favourited 30 times.

Some people don't believe that Palestine should exist. Some people don't believe speeding is any better than drunk driving. Some people don't believe women experience chauvinism in anywhere near the levels suggested in that thread.

What's more, when they make a comment, for the most part, they believe they are participating in discussion. MetaFilter has a huge member base, history, in-jokes, etc. and pretty much any behaviour you see has precedent. I've often misread a poster's intention and made a joke before later realising the solemnity of the subject under discussion in other people's minds. I suspect that, of the people driving by your sexism threads, one or two are trolling, but the rest of them actually believe the position they regularly expound at the expense of their MetaFilter reputation.

I made an honest, stream-of-consciousness (almost - I did some editing), comment in that thread, and I got called out for being dishonest on the grounds that the caller couldn't imagine anyone presenting themselves in the way I did. Thanks for your input, caller, but not everyone is the same, and not everyone thinks about themselves in the same way.

I haven't really put any time into interpreting anniecat's comment, but I can appreciate the sentiment if it was intended in earnest, and I think I appreciate the social commentary if it wasn't.

What I really want to know is why Hugh Grant isn't in more movies.
posted by doublehappy at 3:04 PM on July 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


I stopped feeling civil when I read cucumber's comment.

Then I went and looked at cucumber's other comments.

Cucumber has a long way to go before matching up to hermitosis or AZ,. I see among other things that cucumber doesn't t write well, doesn't proofread his/her own comments, doesn't cite to supporting materials, and generally doesn't impress. That's as of yesterday or any other day of the month since cucumber joined MeFi land.
posted by bearwife at 3:11 PM on July 20, 2010


anonymuk But I definitely think that it's hard to be a man. It's hard in ways that many women wouldn't be able to understand immediately (just as it's hard to be a woman and most men don't instinctively understand). And it doesn't need to be anti-feminist. [...] I agree that it doesn't really belong in a thread about women's experiences, which is why I'm posting this comment here instead of in the original thread.

For what it's worth, I thought mixing provided a pretty elegant example of one way to comment usefully about anti-male bias in a thread about anti-female bias.
posted by hat at 3:13 PM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


I made an honest, stream-of-consciousness (almost - I did some editing), comment in that thread, and I got called out for being dishonest on the grounds that the caller couldn't imagine anyone presenting themselves in the way I did.

Your "honest" comment, in a thread about how women experience (pervasive) sexism on a somewhat regular basis (no they don't! yes they do! no they don't!), included the following:

I don't care if you're successful, if you're a woman, I want to either have sex with you or make snide comments about your weight or less than perfect facial features.

You weren't called out for being dishonest. You were called out for being a jackass. The person who called you out was very charitable in entertaining the possibility that you were just showboating. When really, you were just being a jackass.
posted by mudpuppie at 3:14 PM on July 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


I don't really proof my posts either.
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:17 PM on July 20, 2010


Your comment is appreciated though, bearwife.
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:17 PM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Maybe rather than the mods tacitly letting this thread become an outlet for ire directed against one douchebag upthread, that comment could be deleted and the discussion refocused.
posted by turgid dahlia at 3:20 PM on July 20, 2010


Also, I was amused to notice that if you Google "This account is disabled" site:metafilter.com, you get twenty-nine results: twenty-eight MetaTalk threads and one user profile.
posted by hat at 3:21 PM on July 20, 2010


Maybe rather than the mods tacitly letting this thread become an outlet for ire directed against one douchebag upthread, that comment could be deleted and the discussion refocused.

I don't even know which comment you are referring to, but if its hundreds of comments back in a thread and has already been replied to a bunch then no we're not doing that. Otherwise the flag queue or an email to us [or even a link really] would help out.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:25 PM on July 20, 2010


Holy shit. AZ and hermitosis (and everyone else), I apologize. I haven't been sleeping well and last night I took the first sleeping pill I've ever taken, hours before my above comment was written. I don't remember writing that and don't know wtf. I don't know if I was irrationally angry, trolling, or just confused. I don't actually think like that when I'm awake. Seeing my name on a comment that I have no memory of writing and that I think is obnoxious is one of the weirdest things that has ever happened to me.

Again -- I'm really sorry about that.
posted by cucumber at 3:29 PM on July 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


I made an honest, stream-of-consciousness

So you were making a funny when you said all you wanted from women is to have sex with them etc. You must be wicked fun to work with.

What's weird is that, despite the neverending, exhausting list of stories most women could tell about men being jerks, the vast majority of men I (and likely most of us) encounter are not jerks. Bagger at the supermarket is not a jerk. Clerk at the drugstore: not a jerk. Guy from AAA who came to take me and my car off the freeway when it broke down: not a jerk. Guys who run the taqueria near my house: not jerks. Etc.

In other words, being a jerk is apparently not that difficult, since so many men seem to manage it. I guess the guys who go out of their way to be assholes just have a good work ethic, right?
posted by rtha at 3:29 PM on July 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


Gotcha. I just figure that as soon as somebody drops a turd that has, give or take, the next dozen comments shaking their fists at how stinky it is, flags or not, it seems like a not-very-useful direction for a Talk thread to take. Pure troll or misanthropic innocence, hatred and disbelief and anger channelled towards a single individual utterly dilutes the passion that people are going to feel for the subject at hand. When it goes from "sexism is bad, let's talk about how bad it is for a while" to "fucknuts is a dickshit", well, thread over, don't you think?
posted by turgid dahlia at 3:33 PM on July 20, 2010


Err my comment in reply to jessamyn, naturally
posted by turgid dahlia at 3:34 PM on July 20, 2010


Look, fraud detective, I'm sorry for the strenuous phrasing; let me give an example of what I mean and then step away for a while.

A male friend of mine had his license suspended, and somewhere in navigating the various fees and paperwork, he committed a pretty stupid oversight and drove (suspended license and all) over to the registry. So a cop decided to sit his scofflaw ass down and instill in him a healthy respect for the rule of law. He explained to my friend that he could easily throw him in lock up for the night. And that this would involve several very graphic sexual assaults. "On the first night they'll line up and take turns on you." He stated that it was wholly in his power - in the law's power, I guess, metonymically - to have my friend raped. No recourse. I imagine him honing his big shot "rape speech," delivering the horrible thing to empty rooms, adding and erasing words like a salesman shining his curveball in a David Mamet script.

I have never heard any woman talk about that particular kind of experience - an officer of the law using the direct threat of sexual assault to control you, to bring you about like snapping a leash. But even if it hadn't ever been spelled out so point blank for me, his story hit home. The threat of rape is a governing factor in the interplay of law and the male psyche. Have you never seen any of the awful "Scared Straight?" It's not subliminal, it's pedestrian. It walks down the fucking street, waits at the crosswalk.

I don't think my friend need surrender ownership of the terror of his experience to any special authority; I don't think offering it up for dissection to a default feminist criticism is entirely proper; I don't think calling it a fragment of gestalt Patriarchy, god of the wage gaps, makes a lick of sense. My friend - like other friends and family who've been on the inside of a prison - is too often the afterthought to such criticism. He's the asterisk.
posted by kid ichorous at 3:39 PM on July 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


Some people don't believe speeding is any better than drunk driving.

Judging by the general responses in the speeding ticket AskMes, I'd say the majority of people around here would agree.
posted by P.o.B. at 3:50 PM on July 20, 2010


Apology accepted, Cucumber. I've been on poppers and kava for about a week now.

The weird, and distressing, thing is that it doesn't seem to have affected what I write at all.
posted by Astro Zombie at 4:00 PM on July 20, 2010


If you speed whilst drunk you're going to get home and off the road quicker.
posted by turgid dahlia at 4:00 PM on July 20, 2010


Well, at least off the road.
posted by snuffleupagus at 4:02 PM on July 20, 2010


I wasn't making a funny - that's a pretty standard attitude in my workplace, and one I have found myself defaulting to on occasion.
---
In other words, being a jerk is apparently not that difficult, since so many men seem to manage it. I guess the guys who go out of their way to be assholes just have a good work ethic, right?

It only takes one or two sexist assholes a week for sexism to appear pervasive.
---
You weren't called out for being dishonest. You were called out for being a jackass. The person who called you out was very charitable in entertaining the possibility that you were just showboating. When really, you were just being a jackass.

Well thanks for the charity, guys, but I can look after myself. I am totally aware that having that attitude and behaviour makes me an asshole. In fact, my entire comment was about how I'm starting to realise how much of an asshole I've been: I've been in my own little world where everyone thought I was funny and the people that didn't were frigid bitches. So, my point is, calling me out as a jackass doesn't achieve much. It's like telling Elton John he's gay, and who the fuck is Nikita? The blog the FPP linked to wasn't amazing, but I recognised the situations described therein, and posted my thoughts. I really can't imagine anyone posting something like I posted in the way I posted it - i.e. without a lot of apparent sarcasm (I hope) - unless they really meant it.

But I think my point stands about majority/minority opinions here - everywhere, really. We hold minority arguments to a higher quality requirement.

>COMMENT
>AGREEMENT
>AGREEMENT
>AGREEMENT
>JOKE
>AGREEMENT
>DISAGREEMENT, REASONS, THOUGHTS, REFLECTION
>YOU'RE AN ASSHOLE, MY UNCLE DIED IN 'NAM
>JOKE ABOUT DISAGREEMENT POSTER
>OH. MY. GOD. YOU SUCK MAN
>FLAGGED
>ACTUALLY AGREE WITH THE DISAGREEMENT GUY
>WELL YOU'RE NOT EVEN AMERICAN, OR A WOMAN, SO FUCK OFF
>AGREEMENT WITH ORIGINAL POST, WELL OUT OF CONTEXT AT THIS STAGE
>LET ME DEFEND MYSELF, I REALLY DO THINK THIS FOR THE FOLLOWING NINE REASONS
>TAKE IT TO META, GUYS
>HEY ASSHOLE, ONE OF THOSE REASONS HAD A TYPO SO YOUR ETNIRE ARGUMENT IS INVALID
>JOKE
>GUYS CAN WE ALL JUST AGREE THAT DISAGREER IS A TROLL?

posted by doublehappy at 4:16 PM on July 20, 2010 [7 favorites]


I have never heard any woman talk about that particular kind of experience - an officer of the law using the direct threat of sexual assault to control you, to bring you about like snapping a leash.

That's nice for you. In my less wonderful experience than yours, I have heard of and dealt with officers of the law sexually assaulting women themselves. It can be a quid pro quo demanded on a traffic stop, or a lovely experience visited on women in custody by jail and prison guards. Sometimes they even get impregnated by these officers responsible for their safety behind bars.

Your friend isn't an asterisk -- he was subjected to an improper use of threats by a law enforcement officer. That is bad, and something we all can and should complain about. But if you think only men are subject to sexual threats and for that matter sexual assaults by law enforcement and corrections officers, I am sorry to say you are mistaken.
posted by bearwife at 4:22 PM on July 20, 2010 [14 favorites]


>GUYS CAN WE ALL JUST AGREE THAT DISAGREER IS A TROLL?
>APOLOGY
>FAVORITES
>HEY YOU WRITE REALLY WELL
>MAKE OUT
>MAKE OUT
>MAKE OUT
>RECIPES

sorry

posted by yaymukund at 4:23 PM on July 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


I have never heard any woman talk about that particular kind of experience - an officer of the law using the direct threat of sexual assault to control you, to bring you about like snapping a leash.

Lucky you. I've heard plenty of similar stories, and worse. By the way, Stark County's going to have to pay up on this one, thankfully.

Hope Steffey got violated, one of the idiots who did it to her couldn't take the pressure and quit (well, you know, not before suing the news station for reporting on it).

Isolated incident? Not really. Talk to one of my friends who got pulled over and arrested after a speeding ticket that got sent to the wrong address never reached her...her time in jail was just delightful, too, as were the threats issued to her by the arresting officer after he'd handcuffed her and forced her into his backseat.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 4:24 PM on July 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


>GUYS CAN WE ALL JUST AGREE THAT DISAGREER IS A TROLL?

And this is usually where it ends, on MetaFilter. We don't take kindly to troll callout talk [or tell people to take it here] and we'll often remove it from slower-moving threads. That said, people need to be looking like they're making a genuine attempt to get along with other posters in the thread, whoever they are, and whatever they're talking about. To be honest, I haven't really done a top-to-bottom read of that thread. However, just showing up and saying "I think this somewhat insensitive thing" without any contextualizing or as we sometimes say, ability to read the room, is usually not a great way to kick things off.

But more important is what happens next. Sometimes when people are insensitive, other people call them out on it, politely or impolitely. And sometimes it ends there. Rarely, there is some sort of pile-on. More often what happens is that the person who was sort of insensitive in the first place now FLIPS OUT at people calling them on their bullshit. And this isn't necessarily a gender thing, I've seen it happen with all gender [or phone] combinations. But my feeling after years of watching this stuff is this

- insensitive comments happen and are to be expected, not everyone feels like you do about whatever
- people's slightly twitchy responses are the same thing, maybe someone had a bad day, maybe you hit a sore spot
- once you know you pushed a button with someone, the escalating flip outs are, to my mind, the most avoidable part of these bad scenarios and the most likely to lead to a lot of really serious bullshit in threads.

If you didn't mean to offend/piss off the person, just make your apologies [or not] and move on. If what you're offended/angered by is the other persons offense/anger (and we see this an embarassing amount, to my mind), you should walk away or take that to email or think "I am making this site a worse place by my insistence that people emotionally react to things the way that I think they should" and make a more reasonable comment instead. Or consider that maybe you were actually steeling for a fight and all you really wanted as plausible deniability.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:35 PM on July 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


Here's the thing. (these numbers are made up) if thirty, or even ten guys stop by a thread and say, 'I never see this happen/I've only once made a comment like this/it's just a joke, can't you tell?' WHILE only three guys stop in to say 'ya, my mom once got the same treatment from _____, and it pissed me off. I'm sorry to hear it's not totally isolated. Now I understand why she reacted the way she did.'

I can see that. But, as far as I can tell, making a comment supportive of women in these situations has the same outcome as taking a stand on Apple products (or cat declawing or circumcision, apparently, although I haven't been around long enough to see that) - for a minority, it's equivalent to theatrically removing your gloves and throwing them to the ground, then using your ungloved fingers to draw a target on your head. Although I suppose gender issues might be more fiercely felt than mobile technology or cats. Possibly.

That's not a great situation, but in a moderation-light, all-comers community it's presumably inevitable. Is there a solution?
posted by DNye at 4:57 PM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


It only takes one or two sexist assholes a week for sexism to appear pervasive.

Actually, yeah, I've had the good fortune to be reminded of that on a pretty regular basis for pretty much my whole life. Glad to know, though, that you're beginning to realize that you don't have to be a part of the problem.
posted by rtha at 5:26 PM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh look! A report by a couple of academics about the national problem of police officers pulling over women in often-bogus traffic stops just so the cops can commit sexual harassment and/or assault.
posted by craichead at 5:28 PM on July 20, 2010 [7 favorites]


But if you think only men are subject to sexual threats and for that matter sexual assaults by law enforcement and corrections officers, I am sorry to say you are mistaken.

Yeah, bearwife - in hindsight, that comment was hugely ignorant. The about-face is well deserved.

Issues and examples specific to the rights of female prisoners do come up less often in the literature than to men and minors; as for anecdote, I've simply never met a woman with an open criminal history. It doesn't matter - statistics are no excuse for demoting people to asterisks. Even the landmark HRW article (that seemed to stir the government from a completely willful blindness) treated the rape of women as qualitatively different - "custodial" abuse - and as a disjunct issue. Your point is taken.

I do think think there are sometimes crossed swords between discussion of rape as a thing that happens in the private sphere - in the absence of the law - versus one where the law is institutionally complicit. The one tension can be used to militate harsher criminal penalties, higher conviction rates, ad-hoc legal classifications, registries, tracking braclets, and so on; the other tends to be folded into arguments for criminal rights in the abstract and large, and so pulls in the opposite direction.
posted by kid ichorous at 5:29 PM on July 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


It only takes one or two sexist assholes a week for sexism to appear pervasive.

Well and this is the rub, right? Does it take only a few sexist assholes a week for sexism to BE pervasive [i.e. when many women are the subject of sexism, even if it's just two super prolific assholes] or does it take a few assholes for it to SEEM pervasive, meaning that women being on the receiving end of ongoing harassment is really just two guys so it's not that big a deal?

And I guess for me it comes down to: if all I had to worry about, as a woman in the US, was catcalling and dismissive shitty remarks I would be okay with that sort of thing as maybe the cost of being human. Since this sort of thing is often associated with the threat of physical harm, or other sort of pervasive and shitty stuff that also happens to women much more than it should [domestic abuse, wage gaps, you know the list] then it becomes a symptom of a deeper problem.

So yeah, maybe there are two assholes that catcall everyone [actually in my town I think that is sort of true] but they'd be really busy assholes if they were also dating and beating up all the victims of domestic violence in my town/county/state/country. Like most other folks, I think that addressing sexism will be great for all genders and I'm often frustrated that sometimes these discussions take this sort of "if you're not part of the solution..." tack that I feel can be actively unhelpful. But, as I've said above, learning when to just let things go, and when not to, is a sort of delicate thing when you're discussing topics that push a lot of people's buttons. Everyone can do better.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:37 PM on July 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


Thanks for the gracious response, kid ichorous. Just to make it even more complicated, did you know the feds have passed a law, the Prison Rape Elimination Act, dealing specifically with rape of men, and women, in a custodial context? So there you have both a criminal offense, with sentencing consequences, and at the same time an important step toward acknowledging the basic human rights of criminals.

It is easier, I think, to just acknowledge that sexual assault is a crime, even if it has a legal context, and that every human being, whether or not they themselves have committed a crime at some point, is entitled to be protected from it.
posted by bearwife at 5:40 PM on July 20, 2010


kid ichorous, I think one important distinctor in tracking sexual aggressions by law enforcement et al is that a lot of the assaults on women take place without ever getting close to a custodial situation, whereas to get that same kind of power over a man you have to actually lock him in a cell.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 6:01 PM on July 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: Everyone can do better. Starting with me.
posted by joe lisboa at 6:05 PM on July 20, 2010


I'd like to apologise for my comments recently as well, I have been taking cod liver oil which has made my joints so smooth and supple that naughty comments fly straight onto mefi.
posted by sgt.serenity at 9:03 PM on July 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


Apology accepted, sgt_serenity. I've been on poppers and kava for about a week now.
posted by cucumber at 9:18 PM on July 20, 2010


It is amazing how quickly some men will dismiss the observed experiences of scores of women just because, well, it can't be that bad.

I blame the patriarchy.
posted by fuse theorem at 9:29 PM on July 20, 2010


Pretty awesome, isn't it? I've never felt more relaxed or vasodialated.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:53 PM on July 20, 2010


AND Jalepeno Poppers are damn tasty!
posted by P.o.B. at 10:03 PM on July 20, 2010


My smooth muscles are pretty much the opposite of constricted. oh yeah.
posted by cucumber at 10:06 PM on July 20, 2010


DarlingBri, I appreciate your call to action, and I totally support what you're saying.

At the same time, I want to drop a comment here in order to officially register myself (as a female participant) as having done my part for that thread by staying out of it.
posted by ErikaB at 10:17 PM on July 20, 2010


I can't speak for anyone else, but the issue for me is one of tone. I don't dismiss that these things happen. I'm sure they do, and I'm sure it is awful and exhausting.

What I do dismiss is the conclusion that it is a structural, patriarchal, etc., etc. And the implications or outright demands that men have no dog in this fight and should just pipe down.

Because the reality is that these jerks who do these things are, by and large, jerks to EVERYONE. After calling a waitress "sweetie", they generally move on to telling people how to fix their cars, wondering aloud whether the small guy in line ahead of them is "one of them gays", telling black people how to act whiter and on and on and on. They don't use sexist/racist language because society makes it acceptable, they use it because they know it isn't acceptable and they enjoy getting a rise out of people and proving what big men they are.

What bothers me, and I presume at least *some* of the "trolls", is the implication that getting shat upon by assholes is solely the domain of everyone but white guys. I'm sure we get less of it, but it isn't a contest. Keeping score denies the actual reality of it. 10 hurtful comments toward men versus 100 toward women doesn't equal 90 hurtful comments.
posted by gjc at 6:27 AM on July 21, 2010


gjc: Because the reality is that these jerks who do these things are, by and large, jerks to EVERYONE.

You're rather missing the point. If you read that thread, I think you'll find that nobody is talking about the blow-hard, sound-of-his-own-voice asshole nobody likes and who treats everyone (or everyone who isn't exactly like him) with contempt.

Nobody is saying that crappy stuff doesn't happen to everyone, or that the world is not filled with equal-opportunity morons. We're saying that crappy stuff that happens to you because of your gender is sexism, and that a fairly routine amount of it goes on.
posted by DarlingBri at 7:17 AM on July 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Some other injustices I'd like to see addressed: a lot of men would love to have women shouting about how attractive they are on the street, it's hard to be the one who has to risk romantic rejection all the time, and white men are the one group it's still OK to discriminate against.

Slightly more seriously, your experience is not my experience, gjc. In my experience, people usually have a pretty good sense of what is tribe-acceptable and what is not. Giving someone advice on how to fix their car may be boorish but is usually tribe-acceptable. Use of racial slurs outside tightly defined and pre-vetted groups is usually not. Saying you don't want to a train a female employee because she will get pregnant and leave anyway, I would say, is assumed to be tribe-acceptable in a far wider circle than using a racially offensive term to describe a black or minority ethnic employee would be.

MFIF is not primarily relating the behaviour of people who are actively trying to cause offence. It's mainly relating the behaviour of people who didn't have any sense that what they were doing was unacceptable, or even offensive - that it's just natural to give men the bill in a restaurant or assume that the doctor in a couple has to be a man. It's (sorry) structural sexism, which actually helps neither gender.
posted by DNye at 7:20 AM on July 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Don't bother; if gjc has read all the relevant threads and still doesn't get it, it's a waste of breath trying to explain it to him.

Yeah, dude, there's no such thing as patriarchy, it's all just a few blowhards being jerks to everyone, and for some inexplicable reason women feel compelled to whine about it. You nailed it.
posted by languagehat at 7:22 AM on July 21, 2010 [7 favorites]


No such thing as patriarchy?

O Hellooooaaaaa out there, excuse me the rest of the great big percentage of the human population is totally into variations of this shit, patriarchy is oppressively all too common all across Asia. I cannot speak from experience of Africa though...
posted by infini at 7:25 AM on July 21, 2010


What I do dismiss is the conclusion that it is a structural, patriarchal, etc., etc.

This. Is. Privilege.
posted by anansi at 7:35 AM on July 21, 2010 [17 favorites]


Metafilter: I've never felt more relaxed or vasodilated.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 7:43 AM on July 21, 2010


I'm sure we get less of it, but it isn't a contest

Every discussion, by itself, is a contest of sorts; the topic of the conversation has somehow "won" out over other topics to be discussed. And I think that your implicit knowledge of this fact has led you to believe that the existence of a discussion of the crap that women get implies that the crap that men/intersexed/whoever people has been judged less worthy of discussion.

And I do think that's what bothers you: What bothers me, and I presume at least *some* of the "trolls", is the implication that getting shat upon by assholes is solely the domain of everyone but white guys.

But I'd like to draw a distinction between the competition that occurs between potential topics of conversation and a hypothetical competition between the "actual severities" of the plight of various groups. The competition that occurs between topics of conversation is strongly influenced by the topic of the post itself- much more strongly than the severity of the topic. This is okay because there are so many fora for discussion, and so many opportunities to discuss things, that no one forum must necessarily be dedicated to the mose severe issues of the moment. That's why it's ok that there's no FPP right now about the omnipresence of violence in men's upbringing influencing their behavior as adults. That's why it's ok that there's no FPP right now about Somalian warlords, or detecting asteroids capable of producing extinction-level events, or ocean acidification, or...

I think that, because of the many fora and many opportunities for discussion, the competition between topics is reduced. Taken as a greater whole, it isn't a contest. So it's ok for a post to exist that just talks about women and the shit they go through. The existence of that post does not actually, in the greater scheme of things, imply anything about the suffering of other groups.
posted by Jpfed at 7:52 AM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Because the reality is that these jerks who do these things are, by and large, jerks to EVERYONE.

Hi. I'm a white guy. I'm also a feminist. I like to think of myself as a fairly decent individual, and I am too shy and self-conscious to go around being a jerk to everyone, or even to anyone, mostly. I have, however, upon occasion, made groundless assumptions about the abilities and intelligence and interests and desires of complete strangers based entirely on their sex or race. Sometimes, I have probably done so in a way that was noticeable to these strangers. Sometimes, I have probably been condescending to them. Often and always, I have benefited from others doing the same thing to me, because of my white maleness, but I doubt that anyone has ever benefited from me doing this to them. I am ashamed to acknowledge that I have participated in this behavior, but it is nevertheless the case.

I am part of the patriarchy. I am sexist and racist, sometimes, and I try not to be, but it is very difficult because of the society surrounding me. This is the nature of the beast.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:01 AM on July 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


Because the reality is that these jerks who do these things are, by and large, jerks to EVERYONE.

Why do you think this is the reality? It's possible to be sexist, racist, homophobic, whatever, and still behave like a decent human being to everyone who isn't part of a group you hate. I don't understand why someone who is racist would necessarily be sexist or whatever. It's not like there's the good guys, and they have no flaws, and then way over there are the bad guys, and they have a monopoly on prejudice and every one of them is prejudiced in every possible way and is rude to everyone.

People are not so simple and one-dimensional. Some of them are rude to women but not to men. This happens for various reasons: because they know when they can get away with something and when they can't. Because when they're condescending and insulting to women they don't realize they're being rude. Because it wouldn't occur to them to treat men (superior) the same way they treat women (inferior).

Snap out of denial! Join us in the real world.
posted by prefpara at 8:21 AM on July 21, 2010 [9 favorites]


"Now imagine that one of the commenters tells his story in such a way that is so vivid, so real that it brings back the memory of when you, too, were kicked in the nuts. Does your hand not reflexively reach out to hit the + button?"

You, madam, have clearly never been kicked in the nuts. My hand doesn't reach to favorite, my hand reaches to protect my nuts while I wince.
posted by klangklangston at 8:40 AM on July 21, 2010


lets face it, we will never know the other gender's particular aches and pains and sorespots, can't we all just know that work around it? At least not perpetuate it on each other
posted by infini at 9:02 AM on July 21, 2010


I like the assumption that because some men will express their privileged over anybody they can bully, there somehow is no patriarchy. It's like claiming there is no racism because the KKK is also antisemitic.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:47 AM on July 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


Jpfed: That's why it's ok that there's no FPP right now about the omnipresence of violence in men's upbringing influencing their behavior as adults. . . . Taken as a greater whole, it isn't a contest. So it's ok for a post to exist that just talks about women and the shit they go through. The existence of that post does not actually, in the greater scheme of things, imply anything about the suffering of other groups.

There have been some FPPs about men and ideas of "masculinity" (eg, 1, 2). I'm grateful to the men who comment introspectively in them about personal experiences. They're few and far between, but I always hope to read more such stories.* The outpourings from women in the sexism threads focused a lens on things that are typically not mentioned (unmentionable, really), much less hashed out, in polite conversation. But at least, IME, it's acceptable for girls and women to share amongst themselves about it. Whereas it seems that boys and men, typically, don't even have that. Some educators like Jackson Katz and various organizations are getting a toehold; some fathers and mothers create that space for their male children (minors, not adult children). More venues would be better.

*I know some of the reluctance of men to share has to do with not wanting to risk getting their necks chopped off by an angry mob or even just one machete-wielding individual. Angry reactions, IIRC, tend to occur more frequently when the "personal story" part of the comment is interlarded with implied or outright denials or judgments of other demographics' personal experiences; accusations that feminism is responsible for the injury, or for creeping totalitarianism that has as its goal the regulation and regimentation of romantic/sexual thinking and behaviour; or the comment has been dropped in an inappropriate context, derailing the topic. Etc.

Other times, anger happens because of miscommunication at one or both ends, or because someone's having a shitty time IRL and is taking it out here. Other times, of course, the machete really has got a wacko at the other end.

All of which is just to say, in future threads about "what it means to be A Man," I hope more guys of various demographics will consider volunteering personal stuff. It helps build bridges, and lets lurking minors, who may be wrestling with these issues, know that they're not freaks.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 12:13 PM on July 21, 2010 [18 favorites]


Amen, cybercoitus interruptus.
posted by Miko at 12:36 PM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


a lot of men would love to have women shouting about how attractive they are on the street
Should have grown up round my way; north country lasses were wont to tell you their mind.
posted by Abiezer at 2:08 PM on July 21, 2010


a lot of men would love to have women shouting about how attractive they are on the street

But "a lot of men" would not become suddenly, acutely aware of the size and strength differential of the person making the comments, as a woman is, when a man does this to her. It is the feeling of vulnerability to the person saying it that makes this scary.

And sometimes it's just anger at the arrogance of it. Seriously, does any man really feel like a woman is going to turn around in her tracks and decide to have sex with a total stranger right there in the street because he yells lewd comments at her?
posted by misha at 3:28 PM on July 21, 2010 [6 favorites]


a lot of men would love to have women shouting about how attractive they are on the street

A great big giant part of this is that men are already, in our society, fully actualized people who are pretty much never treated as consumable objects; one of the results of this is that women shouting about how attractive they are on the street would be an aberration and weird and exceptional and probably a genuine compliment rather than an expression of someone demeaning them and reducing them to a product that they desire to obtain and use.
posted by shakespeherian at 3:37 PM on July 21, 2010 [5 favorites]


Seriously, does any man really feel like a woman is going to turn around in her tracks and decide to have sex with a total stranger right there in the street because he yells lewd comments at her?

A few years ago I was walking down the street and a guy said "Hey, shorty!" He was talking to another petite woman walking behind me who immediately stopped and started flirting with him. I was dumbfounded, but apparently sometimes that approach works.
posted by miss-lapin at 4:17 PM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


But "a lot of men" would not become suddenly, acutely aware of the size and strength differential of the person making the comments, as a woman is, when a man does this to her. It is the feeling of vulnerability to the person saying it that makes this scary.
Having genuinely had the experience of women shouting at me in the street and cracking smutty jokes when I used to work in a pub, you hit the nail on the head here. The entire dynamic was completely different and that this could be the case only confirmed to me the genuine existence of the "structural, patriarchal" aspects of sexism that gjc finds hard to credit.
For me those are warm and light-hearted memories of occasional incidents in my long lost youth; for pretty much every woman I know what on the surface might appear to be similar experiences were part of a daily gauntlet of bullshit they had to run just to go about their business. Ingrained sexism poisons the well.
posted by Abiezer at 4:49 PM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


A few years ago I was walking down the street and a guy said "Hey, shorty!" He was talking to another petite woman walking behind me who immediately stopped and started flirting with him. I was dumbfounded, but apparently sometimes that approach works.

Music video or it didn't happen.
posted by doublehappy at 4:52 PM on July 21, 2010


I'm sure you'd find one somewhere in Kylie Minogue's back catalogue.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:57 PM on July 21, 2010


(Just in case... when I said that, I was joking. I don't think being catcalled is something women should be grateful for, or for that matter that men are the only group who risk romantic rejection or that white men are the only minority it's OK to discriminate against. Although since I got a whole MetaTalk thread about my strident, rescuer feminism, that may be obvious.)
posted by DNye at 4:59 PM on July 21, 2010


A few years ago I was walking down the street and a guy said "Hey, shorty!" He was talking to another petite woman walking behind me who immediately stopped and started flirting with him. I was dumbfounded, but apparently sometimes that approach works.

Maybe she knew him already? Because if not, that's the very first successful incident of shorty-fishing I've ever heard of.

More anecdata: A friend used to run a mural project in a medium-sized city; to scout locations, he'd go on ridealongs with city workers. These guys catcalled women all day long and were emphatically shut down over and over and over. My friend asked why the hell they did it, and they said a) it was entertaining, b) it was a way to bust on each other. They noticed the women's responses: total freeze-out, sigh or eyeroll or other visible reaction, slight smile, full-on smile and/or eye contact, disgusted glares and hand gestures. If one guy got a visible reaction, the other guy had to get a slight smile or better on the next round. They prized the rare full-on smilers but they also mocked them as fugly or desperate.

But it was mostly about male competition/bonding. The women were incidental. Which kind of explains why it gets so ugly, so fast when a woman talks back. It's a blatant violation of the way things work (does your dog tell you to fuck off? your free weights?) and has to be met with maximum force.
posted by dogrose at 7:40 PM on July 21, 2010 [21 favorites]


you know, I have gotten so much out of that thread and reading the shared experiences but a recent comment there has my blood about boiling and I want to freaking scream.
And I'm frustrated because 1 person being (in my view) extremely or willfully obtuse and sarcastic is harshing me and I just want to be all GRAR!!!!!
I don't know whether to respond or just let it lie. Am I being fighty if I do? Cowardly if I don't?
thanks for letting me vent
posted by pointystick at 7:54 PM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


But it was mostly about male competition/bonding. The women were incidental. Which kind of explains why it gets so ugly, so fast when a woman talks back. It's a blatant violation of the way things work (does your dog tell you to fuck off? your free weights?) and has to be met with maximum force.
posted by dogrose at 10:40 PM on July 21 [2 favorites -] Favorite added! [!]


great comment, and perhaps the saddest of all. laydeez, they not even instred in us. it's all about who can piss louder in the trash can.
posted by toodleydoodley at 8:37 PM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


But it was mostly about male competition/bonding. The women were incidental.

With all the standard disclaimers that it's not the same thing with situations reversed due to power imbalances...

...it is worth noting that a similar thing happens amongst women, eg on hen's nights or with high school girls on excursions: comments are thrown at random males partly to provoke a reaction, but more importantly as a form of group bonding.

I'd speculate that it's just one of the common ways that group bonding occurs in social psychology, only that when groups of men do it, it comes loaded with a whole background of power, privilege & and an omnipresent overhanging threat (however remote the actual likelihood) of sexual or other violence.
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:27 AM on July 22, 2010


Hey wait, I've now read this thread (after getting over the mortification of my earlier sleeping comment). You people who brought up my commenting history and compared them to those of others are unmitigated assholes. I've been reading mefi and contributing to it since 1999 through different accounts and names, though no one knows it. And even were that not the case it would be mostly irrelevant.

My apology stands. I was and am embarrassed and mortified by the comment I made when I was asleep. But some of you are douches. And if I were a fancy popular favorite person the mods would have owned your shit. I"m not so they didn't.

So let me be the one to tell you that bringing up a user's typing history isn't cool. sheesh. (I mean, not that I care in real life, but someone has to stand up for users who aren't on the 'cool' list)
posted by cucumber at 12:30 AM on July 22, 2010


I tried that 'I was asleep' defence the last time I robbed a post office, but the judge was having none of it.
In fact, in her summing up she waxed all philosophical and speculated that the somnambulant self may in fact be closest to the true personality. Three years and all I got was half a sheet of second class stamps and a bag of rubber bands.
posted by Abiezer at 12:38 AM on July 22, 2010


I think cucumber's right on that point - it's generally frowned upon to bring up what people have said in the past as ammunition in a current discussion. People change, quotes can be taken out of context, comments can be made when drunk, etc etc. Stick to the here & now. Not that I claim to speak for the mods or the general community, but that's my understanding of the norms here. Another norm is to take this kind of discussion of principle to MetaTalk.
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:40 AM on July 22, 2010


Abiezer, you don't have to believe me. That's ok. I will just tell you it's true. If it weren't true why would I care at this point? If I were really a sexist asshole why would I even try to disown my earlier comment?

If you want to know more, that night I told high school friends I looked forward to our vacation in Venezuela. Now, I'm sure Venezuela is a great place but I'm embarrassed to admit I bet I couldn't find it on a map. I also told a woman friend that I really liked our wedding. Even though we aren't married and I'm not even attracted to her.

I was dreaming. This isn't really an "excuse" (I don't really care what people who know me as 'cucumber' think of me), it just is.

If you don't believe me, then, ok. But it's true. Weird stuff went on when I was dreaming. It's pretty appalling but also pretty weird, interesting, and sort of awesome once you get beyond the mortification (if you're me).
posted by cucumber at 12:48 AM on July 22, 2010


Fair enough, cucumber - to be honest I don't even recall the comment in question, it was just the idea of sleep posting seemed unlikely (hence being jokey about it too). I work the other way as a rule; own what you've said and done and expect the same of others, but then don't imagine that one incident or remark is the be-all and end-all of a person. As I don't with you. Though you might have spotted that I am a serial knob in MeTa and drawn your own conclusions.
posted by Abiezer at 12:57 AM on July 22, 2010


Abiezer, be jokey all you want dude. I'm powerless (obviously) to stop you. The only point I want to make is I disown my above comment because it was made in a bizarre dream state and I, as a conscious person, think it's repugnant.

Mock it and play with it all you want. Just please don't think it's some window into who I really am.
posted by cucumber at 1:01 AM on July 22, 2010


(also, my point about people bringing up posting history etc... is totally not about you, Abiezer) (not that you care but I've been reading and enjoying your comments/posts for years) My point about earlier comments/posts is that although I love the mods and they are certainly fair & awesome and articulate, it's bullshit that no one got reprimanded for the treatment of me above and if I were a popular person things would be different on that score.
posted by cucumber at 1:07 AM on July 22, 2010


Yep, I realised. As Ubu has said above, you're right about that - reprimand I don't know (inasmuch as I don't think the mods are too swayed by popularity, more by the egregiousness of the offence) but certainly not the done thing to trawl comment histories was my understanding too.
posted by Abiezer at 1:19 AM on July 22, 2010


Yeah that sucks but day[9] is awesome.
posted by cucumber at 1:30 AM on July 22, 2010


I still don't understand what was offensive about cucumber, but maybe that's just my bad eyesight
posted by infini at 2:19 AM on July 22, 2010


I am totally aware that having that attitude and behaviour makes me an asshole. In fact, my entire comment was about how I'm starting to realise how much of an asshole I've been: I've been in my own little world where everyone thought I was funny and the people that didn't were frigid bitches. So, my point is, calling me out as a jackass doesn't achieve much. It's like telling Elton John he's gay, and who the fuck is Nikita? The blog the FPP linked to wasn't amazing, but I recognised the situations described therein, and posted my thoughts. I really can't imagine anyone posting something like I posted in the way I posted it - i.e. without a lot of apparent sarcasm (I hope) - unless they really meant it.

Oh man. So you weren't satirising or employing hyperbole? It did have all the elements for a perfect spoof - and I was hoping it was one because the alternative is depressing.

Good luck with changing your attitude.
posted by Omnomnom at 5:11 AM on July 22, 2010


Another norm is to take this kind of discussion of principle to MetaTalk.

heh - with the professional white background on the plain theme, i didn't realise we were already in MetaTalk. sorry if that made no sense.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:39 AM on July 22, 2010


I just thought it gave MetaTalk an extra splash of meta, UbuRoivas.
posted by catlet at 7:24 AM on July 22, 2010


Discussions about behavior on MetaTalk should be taken to MetaMetaTalk.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 9:29 AM on July 22, 2010


Discussions about behavior on MetaTalk should be taken to MetaMetaTalk.

I thought we were meant to take them outside into the street?
posted by Jody Tresidder at 9:45 AM on July 22, 2010


Maybe this explains where all the missing members go - they descend to MetaMetaTalk, and remain bickering there until one day it's MetaMetaMetaTalk, and so on and so on, each level snarkier than the one before.

There are even ordeals particular to each level, like the one where all your bad posts are paraded & mocked in front of a jeering community, or the one where you feel an overpowering urge to flameout, but no matter how hard you try your words are converted to statements wildly praising George W Bush or hipsters. I hear there's even a level in which you find yourself stuck in an interminable Israel/Palestine thread from which you cannot escape until you have served out your time.

Eventually, you reach the final Metalevel, and finally encounter the mythical quonsar right in the centre: a huge, sprawling, Jabba the Hutt like figure, oozing snark and bile from each & every hideous pore. In abject desperation, you memail frantically for rescue, but the horrifying truth freezes your insides like a draught of liquid nitrogen, and you realise with certainty that there truly is no cabal, and you are hopelessly & eternally alone.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:44 PM on July 22, 2010 [9 favorites]


But then you just re-mort with a new name. The hardest part is picking the skill you want to make permanent for that ascension. I think I'm going to choose Selective Blinders.
posted by catlet at 3:04 PM on July 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


I think I'm going to choose Selective Blinders.

I read that first as selective binders and I thought, huh, kinda boring and a bit dorky. But hey! It's MetaFilter where kinda boring and a bit dorky are par for the course. Although, come to think of it, selective binders is now strangely interesting to me. Is your skill, the skill of binding or of just picking out really great binders?
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:26 PM on July 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oh, this character's a Virgo. The entire office supply skillset is automatic with the sign choice. (Kinda low on charisma, though.)
posted by catlet at 7:02 PM on July 22, 2010


NCBI ROFL: Writing emails as part of sleepwalking after increase in Zolpidem [Ambien].
posted by homunculus at 10:02 PM on July 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Related: BP Cleanup Workers Gone Wild
posted by ODiV at 9:07 AM on July 23, 2010


This is scary
posted by infini at 9:15 AM on July 23, 2010


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