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ED of About-Face Joins Metafilter July 21, 2010 4:07 PM   Subscribe


That's pretty awesome. Shame about the comment right below it.
posted by koeselitz at 5:15 PM on July 21, 2010


Pretty sure it'll be gone soon, though – gah, shouldn't have mentioned it in the first place, sorry...

Anyway, that is pretty cool. I missed that thread, but I'm going through it now. It's interesting reading. Thanks.

posted by koeselitz at 5:16 PM on July 21, 2010


On the tone of our blog: snark and sarcasm is an awesome way to express anger articulately without seeming overly academic and serious. It works, and it's funny.

An excellent point.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:26 PM on July 21, 2010


koeselitz, gone.
posted by cjorgensen at 5:29 PM on July 21, 2010


Good stuff all 'round.
posted by turgid dahlia at 5:37 PM on July 21, 2010


She's made one comment. But I am so excited!
posted by Wolof at 5:41 PM on July 21, 2010


Missed that, too.

Good FPP.

Love the way she did that JenJenniJennifer progression for her username; I don't remember seeing that here before.
posted by jamjam at 5:47 PM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Surprising how few comments that FPP attracted; I expected it to score a century while I slept. It's as if people have somehow exhausted their weekly quota of M/F argy-bargy.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:59 PM on July 21, 2010


That's pretty awesome. Shame about the comment right below it.

Pretty sure it'll be gone soon, though – gah, shouldn't have mentioned it in the first place, sorry...


And now it looks like you're referring to my comment.
posted by Jaltcoh at 6:05 PM on July 21, 2010


Ubu, it's all recipes from here on out.

I'm just lazy and hungry enough to want to make this tonight.
posted by Aizkolari at 6:09 PM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


And now it looks like you're referring to my comment.
posted by Jaltcoh at 9:05 PM on July 21 [+] [!]


Ah - it wasn't referring to your comment then? 'Cause I thought Jaltcoh's comment was fine, though I disagreed with it.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 6:10 PM on July 21, 2010




Ah - it wasn't referring to your comment then? 'Cause I thought Jaltcoh's comment was fine, though I disagreed with it.


For the record it was a comment of mine that I regretted and self flagged to help bring it to the mods attention.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:20 PM on July 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Sorry, missed this at a first glance. There was a crappy comment from furiousxgeorge, flagged heavily and removed fairly quickly.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:20 PM on July 21, 2010


And, timing.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:21 PM on July 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


There was a crappy comment from furiousxgeorge, presumably flagged heavily and removed fairly quickly.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:24 PM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Salvor Hardin: “Ah - it wasn't referring to your comment then? 'Cause I thought Jaltcoh's comment was fine, though I disagreed with it.”

No, no, I didn't mean Jaltcoh's comment – let this be your lesson, kids: don't blunder into threads and bellyache loudly about little comments that are probably going to be deleted soon. Bellyaching loudly is usually a bad idea in general. If you want examples, read my comment history. Heh.
posted by koeselitz at 6:26 PM on July 21, 2010


Surely you can think of one. OK, here's a common stereotype, for example: "Women are bad drivers." Now, try plugging it into my formula. It's pretty sexist, isn't it? In fact, it would be so viciously sexist that I don't even want to type it out.

Watch it Jaltcoh, go any further and you will have made essentially the same comment as I did. :P
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:29 PM on July 21, 2010


Watch it Jaltcoh, go any further and you will have made essentially the same comment as I did. :P

Oh, then I'm sorry your comment was deleted!
posted by Jaltcoh at 7:16 PM on July 21, 2010


No your not.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:19 PM on July 21, 2010


You are not. Damnit!
posted by cjorgensen at 7:19 PM on July 21, 2010


Yes I am. However, I'm at an obvious disadvantage in that I haven't actually seen the comment.
posted by Jaltcoh at 7:39 PM on July 21, 2010


Watch it Jaltcoh, go any further and you will have made essentially the same comment as I did.

Well, he would have had to call women bitches, as a start. Honestly, I was fine letting it lie and it seems like you recognized as well that it was a crappy comment, but if we're gonna go there let's not pretend that what you wrote was "I'm uncomfortable with this bit of language because it seems like a similar metaphor with gender-roles reversed would be received less well."
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:41 PM on July 21, 2010


Well, he would have had to call women bitches, as a start.

Not ALL women dude, just some based on a conditional statement.

My comment fit exactly in the formula:

"Any ____ who engages in [behavior antithetical to other group's wellbeing] is a [unflattering animal]"


but if we're gonna go there let's not pretend that what you wrote was "I'm uncomfortable with this bit of language because it seems like a similar metaphor with gender-roles reversed would be received less well."


Which I am not pretending, I said Jaltoch taking it one step further would be doing what I did.

Cortex, I self flagged and explained I regretted it in this thread before you got here, you can back off at this point. I was warning Jaltoch to stick with his intuition and not make a post like mine. The argument is entirely correct, it just doesn't have to be made so bluntly.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:59 PM on July 21, 2010


I was warning Jaltoch to stick with his intuition and not make a post like mine.

Your warning was that he not go "any further". I disagree with that characterization; I think you went, not "any" further, but "a whole lot" further. You would have had trouble making your argument any more bluntly, and its weird to me to see you bothering to defend it in any capacity.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:14 PM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]



Surely you can think of one. OK, here's a common stereotype, for example: "Women are bad drivers." Now, try plugging it into my formula. It's pretty sexist, isn't it? In fact, it would be so viciously sexist that I don't even want to type it out.


The next step was to type it out. I picked the most likely unflattering animal to call a woman, it is a good guess the average person would too if deciding to make this point.

It's late, it was a bad comment, you might want to call it a night on this one. I self flagged it probably before anyone even read it and warned others not to go there and you are still in my face which is just silly. You can defend the concept of an argument without defending using sexist language to illustrate it.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:20 PM on July 21, 2010


emilyd22222, you don't know Jen Berger personally do you? You aren't helping to promote her nonprofit by using Metafilter, are you?

Something just seems off about this all and I thought I'd just ask to clear it all up.
posted by anniecat at 8:24 PM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


emilyd22222, you don't know Jen Berger personally do you? You aren't helping to promote her nonprofit by using Metafilter, are you?

Jesus. Of course not. I hadn't even heard of About-Face until yesterday.
posted by emilyd22222 at 8:34 PM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


anniecat, do you know Jen Berger? It seems like you might, and you'd ask another member if she did as a red herring. Something just seems off about you asking and I thought I'd just ask to clear it all up.
posted by boo_radley at 8:54 PM on July 21, 2010 [5 favorites]


What are you afraid of, boo-radley? What have you done, what are your crimes?
posted by Meatbomb at 9:06 PM on July 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


The entire Grey seems to be devoted to protesting too much.

I suggest we nuke it from orbit, just to be sure.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:10 PM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


I just want to apologize to emilyd22222, whose meta threads lately seem to have sparked weirdly disproportionate GRAR. I have no idea why, as she generally has the best intentions.

Anyhow, I liked her thread on the blue, and I think it's neat that Jennifer Berger showed up. And that's about that.
posted by koeselitz at 9:16 PM on July 21, 2010


...and furiousxgeorge – I wouldn't worry too much, I don't think cortex is trying to be 'in your face,' he just wanted to be clear about what happened... no biggie, eh?
posted by koeselitz at 9:20 PM on July 21, 2010


Always cool when the subjects of posts show up. Good post all around.
posted by IvoShandor at 9:24 PM on July 21, 2010


I can see how that's distasteful to some people, but it's OK -- we can agree to disagree!

This is metafilter, we can just disagree, we don't need to hold hands afterward.
posted by doctor_negative at 10:09 PM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


hand holding? i thought we were hugging in a recipe circle.
posted by nadawi at 10:53 PM on July 21, 2010


Yes, and the one who finishes last has to eat the donut.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:08 PM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Brother meatbomb: Is Jen Berger our long lost sister? Was I adopted? Is boo-radley the scary gentleman who hangs out on the street corner?
posted by special-k at 1:43 AM on July 22, 2010


Yes, yes, yes.
posted by Meatbomb at 1:59 AM on July 22, 2010


One of you is hugging a little low. Not that I mind. Where's the tipjar?
posted by yerfatma at 5:34 AM on July 22, 2010


We need a nice easy shorthand name for the logical fallacy that goes "Ah, but if you took the word [structurally privileged group] and replaced it with the word [structurally underprivileged group], would you think that was an OK thing to say then? Huh? Huh?"

It seems to be a Metafilter favorite.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 5:53 AM on July 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


"game rhinoing"
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:16 AM on July 22, 2010 [1 favorite]



Brother meatbomb: Is Jen Berger our long lost sister? Was I adopted? Is boo-radley the scary gentleman who hangs out on the street corner?


He would have gotten away with it, too, if it hadn't been for us kids.
posted by anniecat at 6:28 AM on July 22, 2010


I apologize if I'm seeming a little to critical of this org, it's that I'm just critical about this stuff in general because there are donor interests that can drive the interests of the org at times. I work with nonprofits and much of my disillusionment came from seeing how we hide stuff to look good. I grew up believing nonprofit=good guys, corporations = bad guys, but then I came to my first job after my master's degree and got a taste of what happens behind the scenes and how the program analysis and marketing can create deception to fulfill the need to look successful and right. I tell alums of my college who call me for jobs and internships that they need to be careful in evaluating what they're getting into and what they might be promoting. It isn't that we're a bunch of evil people behind the scenes, but we have motivations that we argue over and shortcuts that we wearily avoid or give into excitedly because there's a big check involved or promise of continued, unrestricted support.

So I look at nonprofits somewhat critically, and I'm sorry if that makes me seem like I'm raining on a parade when we should all just be like, oh nonprofits are good simply because they aren't for profits.
posted by anniecat at 6:49 AM on July 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


Meatbomb: "What are you afraid of, boo-radley? "

Dying alone. Discovering the things I value are intrinsically worthless. Diabetes. Dying with others. Conflict. Being taken advantage of.
posted by boo_radley at 7:14 AM on July 22, 2010 [5 favorites]


Damn what a great post anniecat, I couldn't agree more based on my own non-profit career to-date. At the same time, it honestly gave me perspective into what for-profit companies do to. In the end, companies strive to continue to exist, and will do whatever it takes to continue and to grow larger. From BP to Greenpeace, the #1 goal is to stay alive (just like a person, with or without the supreme court ruling). I've made my peace with it by trying to see the whole picture of each organization's effect, rather than its intention, cuz the marketing material never has the whole truth.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:21 AM on July 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


How about mockery from online communities?

Oh wait. That's me.
posted by slogger at 7:39 AM on July 22, 2010


How the hell is it that I never make it onto anyone's fear list? I mean, what the heck do I have to do? Jump out of your closet with a chainsaw?
posted by quin at 7:44 AM on July 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


eh, that's a start
posted by Jpfed at 8:13 AM on July 22, 2010


quin: "How the hell is it that I never make it onto anyone's fear list? I mean, what the heck do I have to do? Jump out of your closet with a chainsaw?"

Assessing potential threat

Target: quin

Friend: false
Enemy: false
Interaction: 0
Past conflicts: no
Aggressive online persona: false
Location Awareness: 0.0000 - 0.0001
Owns chainsaw: Unknown

Analysis: Potential terrorist
posted by double block and bleed at 8:31 AM on July 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


might I point out that the awesomest comment in that thread was from bilabial? It is clear that some members of metafilter have such good relationships they cannot imagine the scenarios she illustrates: the agency (or lack thereof ) of women from socio-economic groups that are alien to the majority of the membership here.

Many of us are very lucky in both our current status and partners, but others of us recall the pressures of being in that situation. I wish it were as Jalcoth imagines it, a co-equal decision, and maybe with enough talking and education we'll get there. But we're a far ways from it yet.

bilabial you rock!
posted by Wilder at 10:46 AM on July 22, 2010


We need a nice easy shorthand name for the logical fallacy that goes "Ah, but if you took the word [structurally privileged group] and replaced it with the word [structurally underprivileged group], would you think that was an OK thing to say then? Huh? Huh?"

Except that it's not a logical fallacy. In fact, it's LOGIC.
posted by msalt at 12:05 PM on July 22, 2010 [2 favorites]



We need a nice easy shorthand name for the logical fallacy that goes "Ah, but if you took the word [structurally privileged group] and replaced it with the word [structurally underprivileged group], would you think that was an OK thing to say then? Huh? Huh?"

It seems to be a Metafilter favorite.


We need a shorthand name for the fallacy of "Offensive stereotypes are okay in some situations as long as we aren't discussing [structurally underprivileged group]." Oh wait, we have one, it goes, "Do as I say, not as I do."

It's shitty either way, though it is obviously more shitty when applied to an underprivileged group, that doesn't make it okay to use against a privileged group.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:08 PM on July 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


Except that it's not a logical fallacy. In fact, it's LOGIC.

Except that in the real world, neatly replacing one word with another or one group with another and pretending that it just works like that without a whole lot of contextual baggage is applying logic ineptly. It's the sort of LOGIC that makes pragmatic discussions about real-world issues frustrating as hell because it injects some impossibly pat and nuance-free bit of sophist judo into much more complicated situations.

That there are challenges with asymmetry in how perceptions and prejudices and biases play out is a totally valid point. Discussing that point in context is generally doable, though it should be plainly obvious to anyone whose ever had a difficult discussion about a topic like this that it needs to be done with care. A cutesy "ah but what if it were X instead of Y" whatif is very, very rarely a good example of that.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:26 PM on July 22, 2010 [11 favorites]


What are you afraid of, boo-radley?

Can't speak for him, but I was initially a little startled to see Scout in that ham costume.
posted by scody at 1:06 PM on July 22, 2010 [5 favorites]


I just want to apologize to emilyd22222, whose meta threads lately seem to have sparked weirdly disproportionate GRAR. I have no idea why, as she generally has the best intentions.

Seconded.
posted by zarq at 1:13 PM on July 22, 2010


I just want to say that "sophist judo" is awesome and I want to use it every hour on the hour.
posted by *s at 1:57 PM on July 22, 2010


"Except that in the real world, neatly replacing one word with another or one group with another and pretending that it just works like that without a whole lot of contextual baggage is applying logic ineptly."

I'd argue that the failure in logic came initially when one word was applied broadly to one group when a complicated matter was being addressed. Switching the assignment of words to groups merely places the initial faulty logic in high relief. Neither are productive to a nuanced discussion of a complicated matter but in the latter case it is employed absurdly to illustrate the fault in assigning a single descriptor to a diverse group in a complicated situation. Raising hackles in the process isn't helpful though.


And that's as het as I'm gonna get.
posted by vapidave at 2:29 PM on July 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


I thought the deleted comment was conversationally inept but logically sound and insightful, cutting right to the heart of the matter. The thing about contextual baggage is that it can serve to obscure an issue as well as illuminate.

I'm not criticizing the deletion, I thought it upped the ante of grar and responded to an unacceptable slur off-site with one on-site. More of a riposte than grappling, and I don't see the deception.
posted by Manjusri at 2:37 PM on July 22, 2010 [1 favorite]



I just want to say that "sophist judo" is awesome and I want to use it every hour on the hour.


Heh, it's exactly how I argue. It constantly leads to trouble. I'd rather throw someone off balance with their own words and logic than type up a bunch of stuff they are just going to ignore anyway, but it can also lead to sinking to the level of what I am arguing against or lower, as it did in this case.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:49 PM on July 22, 2010


Can't speak for him, but I was initially a little startled to see Scout in that ham costume.

And based on precedent, anyone asks me to "bust up a chifforobe" for them, and you'll find me at a dead sprint in the other direction.
posted by quin at 3:03 PM on July 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


In fact, it's LOGIC.

Logic is a way of structuring relationships among concepts, not a synonym for "irrefutably correct." The above statement makes as much sense as saying "In fact, it's GRAMMAR" to support the claim that there is no difference when you take the sentence, "He cooked the cakes" and substitute the direct object "the cakes" with another direct object, "the books."

Pointing out that these are grammatically identical cuts no ice in a dispute over whether or not someone is right to be more upset at being accused of cooking "the books" than cooking "the cakes." Obviously, the real fight is one of meaning.

In this case, the point of dispute is over whether [structurally underprivileged group] has any characteristics such that it can be substituted for [structurally privileged group] without changing the moral rectitude (or lack thereof) of making the original statement about [structurally privileged group]. It's a dispute over meaning and truth, not logical soundness. We've got to make an empirical investigation here.

I don't mean this to be a call out of you in particular, msalt, because this is really common -- but it's also a really frustrating and really inappropriate way to shut down debate.
posted by Marty Marx at 4:24 PM on July 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Er, actually logic is a very rigorous discipline. Think geometry for example. And it informs meaning sometimes. But I - and I'm sure others here - would agree that it is only one tool to resolve these discussions.
The problem with empirical reasoning as it relates to society is that it changes over time. Logic arrests the swing of the pendulum.
posted by vapidave at 5:35 PM on July 22, 2010


I just want to say that "sophist judo" is awesome and I want to use it every hour on the hour.

Personally, my preference is more towards I-kid-o.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:57 PM on July 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


game warden to the events rhino: “We need a nice easy shorthand name for the logical fallacy that goes ‘Ah, but if you took the word [structurally privileged group] and replaced it with the word [structurally underprivileged group], would you think that was an OK thing to say then? Huh? Huh?’”

msalt: “Except that it's not a logical fallacy. In fact, it's LOGIC.”

Well, there are several things going on here. First of all, it's not always LOGIC to replace names of structurally underprivileged groups like that; not all structurally underprivileged groups are exactly the same. You can say that WOMEN have traditionally taken a second place in society to MEN, but you can't exactly say that BLACK PEOPLE have traditionally taken a second place in society to MEN – that's not even entirely coherent, and if it is true in a certain sense it's a complicated sense.

The trouble with the "replacement" type of argument – argument by analogy – is that it's almost always just a kind of shorthand designed to skip over the difficult process of rationally arguing a specific case. "Yes, but it's just like X" is an appeal to our prior understanding of another case; it doesn't add rationally to our understanding of the case at hand unless a connection is made, and frankly the assumption that we will always agree on X isn't always a great one. At best, it means that we're just extending the range of things we agree on without actually saying why we believe what we believe about those cases. At worst, the person making the argument by analogy, in their grasping about for an X that they're certain everyone will agree on, ends up escalating the seriousness of their charges or overstating the case they're trying to state. Note that Godwin is really just an over-escalated argument by analogy that ends up at "yes, but it's just like HITLER." The difficulties inherent in finding an analogous case that we all broadly agree on are large, and the unfortunate thing about argument by analogy is that it can only really serve to make a person feel as though they ought to agree with us, since it doesn't really deal directly with the case at hand. That said, it can be a useful tool for examining our conclusions and being sure that we're being rationally consistent.

furiousxgeorge: “We need a shorthand name for the fallacy of "Offensive stereotypes are okay in some situations as long as we aren't discussing [structurally underprivileged group]." Oh wait, we have one, it goes, "Do as I say, not as I do." ¶ It's shitty either way, though it is obviously more shitty when applied to an underprivileged group, that doesn't make it okay to use against a privileged group.”

I don't think you're characterizing the situation quite fairly. First of all, nobody said that we can't talk about structurally underprivileged groups; I don't think there's anything wrong with discussing what's going on here. Second of all, I am not at all offended by the played-out, arcane, and relatively mundane stereotype "men are pigs." And I have to say – "offensive" doesn't mean much. Pretty much everything is "offensive" to somebody: lima beans, public nudity, raisins in everything, slugs, excrement, etc. Offensiveness means nothing. If you want to argue that invoking the "men are pigs" stereotype is wrong, you are going to have to argue that it is genuinely and harmfully sexist.

This is a common confusion people seem to have – they think that just because something offends them (or anybody) it is wrong. But offense isn't necessarily an indicator of bias. And I'm not applying a double standard here, either; if a woman said a man was being sexist because he said "hello" to her on the street, and because she found the word "hello" offensive, would we agree with her? No. Offense is not the metric of bias. And I have a hard time seeing how you're going to demonstrate to me that the old "men are pigs" line is genuinely and harmfully sexist at this point.

One of the major differences you're glossing over is the relative harm involved. It is certainly true that stereotyping any one person, whether they're from a majority or a minority, and pigeonholing them based on an expected set of characteristics is wrong. It's unjust, and it can be cruel. This can be done to a man as easily as it can be done to a woman, and it is just as wrong in either case. But that's certainly not happening here; no person is being called out and pointed up and called a pig, nobody is being written off because of their gender. At worst, a subset of males are being called piggish; but that's certainly not the same thing as personal indictment. Since this isn't personal at all, you have to look to whether this actually causes harm in society; and I have to say that I don't think you can argue that it does. I do not know anyone who believes that men are pigs. I don't know anyone – women included – that hates all males, believing they're gross, disgusting, foul, or immoral. (I want to note that I do know males who seem to feel this way about women.) So what harm does this do? None.
posted by koeselitz at 6:27 PM on July 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


koeselitz, beautifully put :)
posted by doctor_negative at 6:39 PM on July 22, 2010


pfft. he was just paraphrasing Kant, asserting that offense is not a kind of harm, and claiming that broad-brush negative stereotypes are not directed at individuals, so individuals cannot claim harm anyway, even if offense was a kind of harm.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:47 PM on July 22, 2010


Whoops, I meant Mill.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:49 PM on July 22, 2010


It's a dispute over meaning and truth, not logical soundness validity.
Naturally, in complaining about misuses of logic, I make one myself.

@vapidave: I'm not saying that logic isn't rigorous. I'm definitely not riding the deconstructionist train here. I'm saying that it doesn't do what it is being invoked to do. Specifically, logic does not render true the unspoken premise that [structurally underprivileged group] and [structurally privileged group] are the same in all relevant respects for substitution. We'd have to examine the concepts themselves or the objects to which they refer; and while that examination will itself employ logic, the assertion that the substitution is logical presumes the very thing in dispute: the result of that examination.
posted by Marty Marx at 8:02 PM on July 22, 2010


Analogies do not require the things being compared to be identical in order to be sound. They do however require better framing in order to achieve their desired effect: to foster understanding. The deleted comment was pretty much guaranteed to do the opposite, and so is teaching young women that a healthy way to think is to view the vast majority of men as pigs.
posted by Manjusri at 9:36 PM on July 22, 2010


You can break it down however you want, but you won't find broad support for the idea that it is okay to use offensive stereotypes about a generalized group, not around here anyway. Do you support that idea? If not, what else is there to discuss?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:46 PM on July 22, 2010


Brother meatbomb: Is Jen Berger our long lost sister? Was I adopted? Is boo-radley the scary gentleman who hangs out on the street corner?

Yes, I am your long-lost sister. And no, I have never met emilyd22222 in any way. (Thanks for welcoming me -- still getting up on etiquette etc. tho)
posted by jenjennijennifer at 10:14 PM on July 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


koselitz: it's not always LOGIC to replace names of structurally underprivileged groups like that; not all structurally underprivileged groups are exactly the same.

True. I spoke too broadly. "Reverse discrimination" activists and the like are clearly missing the boat, in a 10-year-old kid "BUT IT'S NOT FAIR!!!!!!!" kind of way.

In this case however, the argument is about an ad that plays on the common and offensive stereotype that "men are pigs" (or, more commonly, "men are dogs.") Men as well as women use this; in fact I hear it mostly from male standup comedians, and it's used largely to justify their advocacy of cheating on your wife/gf. But it's still an offensive and stupid stereotype. The logic here is that you can't consistently complain about reductive sexist stereotypes about women while, or especially BY, promoting reductive sexist stereotypes about men. Not if the wrongness of this type of stereotype is your moral justification for opposing them.

Some argue that the ad doesn't truck in this stereotype, it just says men who don't use condoms are pigs, not all men. Again, I think replacing the name of the group demonstrates the fallacy. If you describe some members of a group with an offensive stereotype about the entire group, you are not simply calling out the behavior, you're invoking the stereotype. If Glenn Beck described Latinos or Blacks who do something objectively suboptimal (say, not pay child support) with a common negative racial stereotype, everyone here would call him out for bullshit sophistry if he said "No, I'm not stereotyping, I'm just saying that not paying child support is bad." And substituting men for Latinos or Blacks in this example does IMHO logically demonstrate the flaw with the pigs ad.
posted by msalt at 11:11 PM on July 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


I still like Stitcherbeast's comment about this from the Arabian Goggles thread:
"Ads often use veiled insults to sell their product. Shame the target into defensively protecting himself or herself into not being a target of shame anymore - by buying the advertised product, of course.

The male response is supposed to be, "What are you talking about? I'm not a pig. Why, I'm not like those pigs at all! Me, I'm the handsome guy! That's why I get to hump the beautiful lady! Why, I wear condoms all the time!"

Ads always objectify their targets. Here, we see men being objectified. Hell, the woman in the ad is an object as well.

Arguing over whether this is misandry OR misogyny is very silly. It's both more and less of both of these. This is what happens when we objectify groups of people to sell products.
posted by Sticherbeast at 3:03 PM on March 4 [16 favorites +] [!]"

posted by ServSci at 9:18 AM on July 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


if you took the word "apples" and replaced it with the word "oranges", would you think that was an OK thing to say then?
posted by Challahtronix at 11:44 AM on July 23, 2010


Another fantastic and relevant comment by grobstein I found a couple clicks deep from ServSci's linked thread:

"It's not a Man's World. It's Some Men's World. The most powerful positions in society are still filled disproportionately by men, but it's a big mistake to regard this as the dominance of "men" generally. The worst positions in society are also disproportionately filled by men. Men are much more likely to be the victims of violent crime, to be incarcerated, to commit suicide, and to be lonely and friendless at any stage of their life. Men are more likely to drop out of school at most stages. I think it's a decent guess that men are usually less happy, though I don't know what the research says. We could have a debate about whose "fault" this is and whether it's the result of "sexism," but that doesn't matter.

This matters because when you target men monolithically, you're not only targeting the winners of sexism -- you're targeting a huge boatload of losers. If you say it's okay to portray "men" as buffoons (etc.) because they benefit from sexism, you're saying it's okay to heap punishment on a huge crowd of human beings who are losing, who do not reap significant benefits from sexism and who need help, not punishment.

Women and feminist ("sensitive") men are believed to be more compassionate, but they (along with society broadly) tend to share this blindspot for the suffering of the worst-off males, of losers. "Loser" actually is a curious expression -- it has no inherent gender, but it's almost exclusively applied to men. If you are a man and your life is in bad shape, and you're not achieving anything, you are a target of contempt.

Let's not build our sexism-free utopia on the backs of the worst-off.
posted by grobstein at 10:55 AM on August 7, 2009 [155 favorites -] [!] "

posted by Manjusri at 12:39 PM on July 23, 2010


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