"Silly little pet theory" October 31, 2010 6:46 PM   Subscribe

I'm genuinely curious to know if others find the use of the word "unpleasant", when directed at a female member, to be sexist? Ouisch dropped this comment and when asked to elaborate she attributed it to a "silly theory" she has which she explains here. I don't see it, but I'd be interested in further explanation.
posted by gman to Etiquette/Policy at 6:46 PM (550 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

Well, here's one example I recall pretty vividly.
posted by Ouisch at 6:47 PM on October 31, 2010


(it's not specifically "unpleasant" on that occasion, but rather "not very bright.")
posted by Ouisch at 6:48 PM on October 31, 2010


I'm also interested in hearing other people's take on this, particularly anyone who goes by an openly feminine username.
posted by Ouisch at 6:49 PM on October 31, 2010


Giving this unpleasantness more air time than it really deserves is silly.
posted by crossoverman at 6:50 PM on October 31, 2010 [9 favorites]


Is it that describing a female commenter as "unpleasant" is dismissive in a really condescending way? As in "you're a girl, you're supposed to be pleasant and agreeable, not arguing with me"?

Having read Ouisch's theory, I can't tell whether it's that women are sometimes dismissed for being women, or that "unpleasant" is a sexist way of dismissing them. The former seems pretty obvious, the latter a bit more tenuous.
posted by fatbird at 6:56 PM on October 31, 2010


Well, I read through the thread, and by the time Sara C pulled out "They just think I pissed in their cheerios because I'm not all breathless about this rally," I was of the opinion she was being unpleasant. Beat your horse all you want, but sooner or later, someone's going to call you on it.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:56 PM on October 31, 2010 [11 favorites]


Sigh. Now we can get all fighty about a perversely fighty thread on the subject of how we shouldn't be so fighty.
posted by octothorpe at 6:59 PM on October 31, 2010 [7 favorites]


It doesn't have to be fighty if you don't want it to be. Yes, I am sensitive to this, and yes I may seem angry about it. But I make an honest effort not to be nasty, though I'm far from perfect in that regard.
posted by Ouisch at 7:00 PM on October 31, 2010


But I *will make an honest effort not to be nasty.
posted by Ouisch at 7:00 PM on October 31, 2010


I have a little theory that MetaTalk serves as a substitute for intimacy.

Discuss.
posted by found missing at 7:00 PM on October 31, 2010 [31 favorites]


I mean.. had the comment been something like "you're a woman so you must not be very bright" then that would be sexist and stupid. But, that's not what the comment said. So it wasn't sexist, it was just rude.

Any more brain busters?
posted by pwally at 7:05 PM on October 31, 2010


Ouisch said: I'm also interested in hearing other people's take on this, particularly anyone who goes by an openly feminine username.

I think my username is pretty much "openly feminine" (i.e. it's my first name and initials) so I hope my experience can provide at least some anecdotal data:

I've been involved in some contentious arguments on Metafilter before. I've been insulted, I've been pooh-poohed, I've received various other crankinesses, but not because I'm female. I've also been guilty of insulting, pooh-poohing, and being cranky with other members (I don't make a habit of it, and it's never my finest hour), but not because I'm female.

I think it would be the height of disingenuousness to react to every perceived slight by saying "OMG you must be insulting me simply because I'm female!" As if there couldn't possibly be any other reason for someone to argue with, or react negatively to, me.

You know, sometimes people are unpleasant on the internet. Sometimes Mefites argue, and insult, and dismiss each other. Most of the time (barring someone specifically saying "I am treating you this way because you're female!") I think it's best to give people the benefit of the doubt that they're acting negatively because they're human, not because they're sexist.
posted by amyms at 7:06 PM on October 31, 2010 [20 favorites]


Here is where Ouisch was called 'unpleasant' in a previous thread. I skimmed through the comments that have the word 'unpleasant' in them, and except for sara c and ouisch, i couldn't find any others, but i didn't go through all 10 years obviously.
posted by empath at 7:07 PM on October 31, 2010


Oh crap.
posted by pwally at 7:07 PM on October 31, 2010


For what it's worth, I don't think the posters in that thread were calling me out based on gender. I'm pretty sure it's that they're mad that someone is saying something negative about something they think is awesome.

I also think it's entirely possible that I don't fully know the etiquette of discussions on the Blue - I generally don't comment on the Blue, and if I do, I try to keep it positive. In fact I really only intended to make my first comment, but then one thing led to another and suddenly I was Having A Big Argument On MetaFilter. So it's also possible that people reacted so negatively because I broke some unspoken rule. Maybe other people can shed light?
posted by Sara C. at 7:09 PM on October 31, 2010


I think there actually may be a bit of gender thing for phrases like 'unpleasant' or 'not being nice', because people tend to be more blunt with men here and just call them 'asshole' or say they're acting like a jerk, or whatever.

But I can assure you that people here do not pull punches when calling men out on aggressive in-thread behavior.
posted by empath at 7:12 PM on October 31, 2010


I don't think anyone would come out and say they were criticizing someone for their (perceived) gender. They may not in fact think that that is what they are doing. But this is how bias works -- it is often hard to pin down.

This is my gut reaction. I previously had a female username, and I abandoned it because I felt a sense of discomfort with how I perceived people responded to me in arguments. Under my current (more gender-neutral, at least to me) username, I didn't disclose my gender until a few months ago. I perceived less hostility, but then again, it could be confirmation bias on my part.

But there is a lot of feminism 101 stuff that goes down here that I think people are unaware of. It might not be such a bad thing to discuss openly.
posted by Ouisch at 7:15 PM on October 31, 2010


I once met an aristocrat. He was unpeasant.
posted by jonmc at 7:16 PM on October 31, 2010 [12 favorites]


Oh bleeding fucking hell, not another one.
posted by Splunge at 7:17 PM on October 31, 2010 [10 favorites]


I also think it's entirely possible that I don't fully know the etiquette of discussions on the Blue - I generally don't comment on the Blue, and if I do, I try to keep it positive. In fact I really only intended to make my first comment, but then one thing led to another and suddenly I was Having A Big Argument On MetaFilter. So it's also possible that people reacted so negatively because I broke some unspoken rule.

Here is how you state an unpopular opinion on metafilter, if you don't want the thread to turn into a clusterfuck:

FPP: Isn't this thing awesome?

8 people: OMG, so amazing.

You: Actually, it's not amazing, because what this doesn't tell you is that they are made out of pure, concentrated evil.

10 people: What, how can you say that, i don't think that's correct, etc.

You: Sorry that you all don't agree with me, however if you'd like more information, please read this website.

Then you leave the thread, no matter how much people want to continue arguing, you leave.

-----

The problem with having an unpopular opinion is that the thread turns into an inquisition if the unpopular person stays in the thread, and then the tread is one person vs metafilter and it's kind of boring and ends up getting personal and shitty if it goes on too long. I try to do recognize this happening when it happens to me and get out more than I used to, but I still get sucked in more often then I like.
posted by empath at 7:18 PM on October 31, 2010 [14 favorites]


Look, I'm sorry if I dropped a bomb and derailed the original thread. It was probably not the time or place for it. But I was pretty willing to drop it after making my main points.

Now that the MeTa thread is open, however, we may as well make the best of it.
posted by Ouisch at 7:19 PM on October 31, 2010


But there is a lot of feminism 101 stuff that goes down here that I think people are unaware of.

I don't think there's much chance of that. We have a thread like this every month or so.
posted by empath at 7:20 PM on October 31, 2010 [4 favorites]


In fact I really only intended to make my first comment, but then one thing led to another and suddenly I was Having A Big Argument On MetaFilter. So it's also possible that people reacted so negatively because I broke some unspoken rule.

I haven't been following this closely because I'm traveling today (hello from an airplane and a dying laptop battery!), but what I got at a glance is that people were in part just reacting to you doing that Digging Into A Big Argument, especially since the thrust of it seemed like a kind of low-stakes "I don't like this thing that you like and I'm gonna make sure you know it" thing. You can tell someone "I don't dig it" and leave it at that, and if that was your initial instinct that's largely fine, but, yeah, protracted dissing of things other people seem to have positive feelings about is a pretty good recipe for derail and a personalization of an argument.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:21 PM on October 31, 2010 [3 favorites]


I dunno...the topics of sexism and feminism are pretty broad. I doubt we've covered all of it.
posted by Ouisch at 7:21 PM on October 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm betting 325 comments, any takers?
posted by Splunge at 7:21 PM on October 31, 2010 [4 favorites]


...and 306 of them will be mine, because it is my shameful habit.
posted by Ouisch at 7:23 PM on October 31, 2010


I'm betting 325 comments, any takers?

Straight up or will you give me odds?
posted by electroboy at 7:23 PM on October 31, 2010


You want over or under?
posted by Splunge at 7:24 PM on October 31, 2010


I dunno...the topics of sexism and feminism are pretty broad. I doubt we've covered all of it.

You've got some metatalk reading to do, I think :)

Start here.
posted by empath at 7:25 PM on October 31, 2010


You want over or under?

How about Price is Right rules?
posted by electroboy at 7:25 PM on October 31, 2010


Ouisch, is this responding to empath's last comment? Because that seems pretty clearly directed at Sara, given her statement that she feels unfamiliar with etiquette on the blue.

Perhaps you are perceiving attacks that aren't necessarily there, clouding a true reading of people's comments?
posted by Orange Pamplemousse at 7:26 PM on October 31, 2010


That was almost 3 years ago??? It seems like only yesterday...
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:26 PM on October 31, 2010


Okay, 326. I bet 1000 quatloos.
posted by Splunge at 7:26 PM on October 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm also interested in hearing other people's take on this, particularly anyone who goes by an openly feminine username.

I inadvertently chose a covertly feminine name -- people keep thinking it rhymes with "Kathleen" (rather than just being a part of an eating utensil). So I get called "her" and "she" every so often, and people once in a while say not-nice things to me, but I've never noticed any connection between the two. So there's one totally anecdotal and unrepresentative observation.
posted by Forktine at 7:27 PM on October 31, 2010


We're seriously drifting into performance art territory with this one.
posted by Cyrano at 7:27 PM on October 31, 2010 [10 favorites]


Orange: No, I was responding to Splunge.
posted by Ouisch at 7:27 PM on October 31, 2010


Hmm... I'll go 327 then.
posted by electroboy at 7:27 PM on October 31, 2010


I would like to hear from all the feminine usernames.
posted by found missing at 7:28 PM on October 31, 2010 [3 favorites]


Okay. Bet.
posted by Splunge at 7:28 PM on October 31, 2010


Okay, now the masculine names.
posted by found missing at 7:29 PM on October 31, 2010


Let me clarify:

This was a response to this comment by Splunge.
posted by Ouisch at 7:29 PM on October 31, 2010


Okay, now quadrupeds.
posted by found missing at 7:29 PM on October 31, 2010


I'm pretty sure it's that they're mad that someone is saying something negative about something they think is awesome.

What upset me (and I'm not really that upset, but I felt it was appropriate to say you pissed in my cheerios, so that's something) isn't that you thought it wasn't awesome, but that you commented enough and quickly enough to make the entire thread about how you didn't think it was awesome. There was no room to breathe around your fight, and so there was no way to have any other discussions.

I think when you started out, you said some things that were pretty interesting, and you provided an important point of view to the whole event... But then it just became way too fighty.
posted by meese at 7:30 PM on October 31, 2010 [3 favorites]


GAH NO

this comment by Splunge

Bleeding fucking hell.
posted by Ouisch at 7:30 PM on October 31, 2010


Ahh, my mistake.
posted by Orange Pamplemousse at 7:30 PM on October 31, 2010


I would like to hear from all the feminine usernames.

did you mean to say 'all the ladies in the house, make some noise!'?
posted by empath at 7:30 PM on October 31, 2010 [6 favorites]


look, i've read people here who were willing to cut off their hands to prove a point, i've seen people call each other every rude and dirty word in the book, i've seen flames the size of mt everest erupt here, arguments where banhammers fell like hail and red button pushing became a plague, and you're worried about someone calling someone "unpleasant"?

no, that just doesn't make sense
posted by pyramid termite at 7:30 PM on October 31, 2010 [6 favorites]


Anyone from Chicago here tonight?
posted by found missing at 7:31 PM on October 31, 2010 [4 favorites]


amyms: I think my username is pretty much "openly feminine" (i.e. it's my first name and initials)

OMG. I always thought you had named yourself after more than one amym, and were probably a dude.

P.S. There is no such thing as an amym.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 7:31 PM on October 31, 2010 [11 favorites]


I am also a "Woman of Metafilter" and I unimpressed with Ouisch's memo.

Look, it's okay to accuse people of misogyny. But please provide some evidence to back up your assertion. "Just a theory I have" is not compelling evidence and is not being fair to the community.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 7:31 PM on October 31, 2010 [22 favorites]


Okay, now quadrupeds.

some of us have SIX legs, you know
posted by pyramid termite at 7:31 PM on October 31, 2010 [4 favorites]


I guess the fact that she'd been told to fuck off kind of did it for me, pyramid.
posted by Ouisch at 7:32 PM on October 31, 2010


As an adjective username, I've got all kinds of little theories about you. Yes, you, the one right over there, wearing that thing. You know who you are.
posted by Drastic at 7:32 PM on October 31, 2010


I would not in any way assume "Ouisch" was a female name, so there goes your theory.
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:32 PM on October 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Should I just describe what I ate today now, and make the thread complete or do I have to stay up late?
posted by jonmc at 7:32 PM on October 31, 2010


fourcheesemac: I said earlier that Ouisch was a more neutral name. But I have referred to myself as female in threads.
posted by Ouisch at 7:33 PM on October 31, 2010


Or how about we ban any use of negative words, because after all everyone has an identity that might be offended.
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:34 PM on October 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Should I just describe what I ate today now, and make the thread complete or do I have to stay up late?

Let me save you the trouble! Blah blah at the bodega blah blah something fried blah blah limited edition potato chip blah blah some sugary drink with a crazy name.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:34 PM on October 31, 2010 [13 favorites]


As with many charges of sexism (or racism, ageism, etc.), this is so, so speculative. If Bookhouse (the one who called Sara C. "unpleasant") uses the word regularly and even-handedly to describe men and women, then it's not sexist. It might still be a poor choice of words. In fact, I would argue that it's pretty inappropriate most of the time. I think it's often a condescending and cowardly to say this about a man or a woman. If anyone wants to especially dislike condescending insults that are directed against women, OK, I can't really argue with anyone who feels that way, since that's what it is: a feeling. But I feel that if an insult is inappropriate when directed at women, it's presumptively just as inappropriate when directed at men. (Note: presumptively, not necessarily.)

There might be a time and place to call someone on the internet "unpleasant," but Sara C.'s comments in that thread weren't it. Her comments were completely reasonable. (Note: "reasonable" is a much lower threshold than "correct.") One of them was mildly (not viciously) snarky. ("OK, so basically you are not at all political and just dug the chance to be in the same zip code as a celebrity. Woo. OMG I have seen the light.")

Rory Marinich responded with "Go fuck yourself." Sara C. didn't even respond to this by insulting back -- she just said, "I disagree with you. It's OK." I think she was being remarkably conciliatory there. Then, Rory responded by saying twice that Sara C. "made me tell you to go fuck yourself." And then Sara C. got told she was being unpleasant. Hm.

The sexism debate might be interesting, but I'm more disturbed by the fact that a usually intelligent website like Metafilter seems to have some quota of comments that have to be viciously mean and filled with cyber-bluster, e.g. telling Sara C. to "Go fuck yourself" because of her expressing her reasonable opinions. (That comment got at least 20 favorites.) I've been called an "asshole" for expressing a reasonable opinion in an extremely mild manner (and the comment also got 20+ favorites). Is that sexist against me as a man with an obviously male username? Maybe, since that word is generally directed against men. (I wrote this before reading empath's comment making a very similar point.) But really, so what? What matters more is: the more people on this site express themselves through personal insults ("You're ______") instead of reasoned arguments ("I strongly disagree with what you're saying because ______"), the more our level of intellectual honesty descends to that of most YouTube comments.
posted by John Cohen at 7:35 PM on October 31, 2010 [12 favorites]


Oiish

Ouisch: "GAH NO

this comment by Splunge

Bleeding fucking hell.
"

Just to clarify, the bleeding part had nothing sexual about it. It was more in the concept of getting kicked in the teeth than anything to do with anything else.

Like: Fuck these MetaBullshit threads calling out people and it's getting really annoying lately.
posted by Splunge at 7:35 PM on October 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


Or, not "at least 20 favorites," but "at least 17 favorites." Same point.
posted by John Cohen at 7:37 PM on October 31, 2010


I didn't think it was sexual. Or maybe you are joking. I am...so confused about everything right now.
posted by Ouisch at 7:37 PM on October 31, 2010


The sexism debate might be interesting, but I'm more disturbed by the fact that a usually intelligent website like Metafilter seems to have some quota of comments that have to be viciously mean and filled with cyber-bluster, e.g. telling Sara C. to "Go fuck yourself" because of her expressing her reasonable opinions.

Totally agree with this, John Cohen. And maybe I am only sensitive to it when it's lobbed at women, but it is a bigger problem in general.
posted by Ouisch at 7:38 PM on October 31, 2010


I thought that you thought that it was a menstrual comment.
posted by Splunge at 7:39 PM on October 31, 2010


No. lol

But I appreciate the thought!
posted by Ouisch at 7:39 PM on October 31, 2010


Or how about we ban any use of negative words, because after all everyone has an identity that might be offended.

tbh your username makes me kind of sadface because I am violently lactose intolerant and I long desperately for mac & cheese.
posted by elizardbits at 7:39 PM on October 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


It was not.
posted by Splunge at 7:39 PM on October 31, 2010


Let me save you the trouble! Blah blah at the bodega blah blah something fried blah blah limited edition potato chip blah blah some sugary drink with a crazy name.

Actually, I had some canned herring snacks in horseradish sauce, some grilled hot peppers marnated in garlic and parsely, a few proscuitto and provolone stuffed cherry peppers and some gorgonzola cheese.

and a beer.
posted by jonmc at 7:40 PM on October 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


Ouisch said: I guess the fact that she'd been told to fuck off kind of did it for me, pyramid.

Why is there a motivation to attribute this to misogyny? People are perfectly capable of telling other people to "fuck off" without extraneous gender politics entering into it.
posted by amyms at 7:40 PM on October 31, 2010 [11 favorites]


Meh, in both cases "unpleasant" seems to mean 'I'm not looking to escalate this argument or get involved in a new one, but you're sort of coming over as a dick with the boatload of fighty comments, regardless of whether or not I sympathize with your position.'

While I don't doubt there are people on MeFi whose sexist attitudes colour their interactions with the community (Don't ask me for examples; I'm going by the law of averages, not by anyone's conduct in particular), I don't think gender has much of anything to do with these examples, unless, possibly, an awareness of MeFi's relatively enlightened attitude encouraged the commenters to go with a more polite, sex-neutral adjective to avoid the appearance of gender-biased speech.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:41 PM on October 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


No, I was right the first time! Both the "Go fuck yourself" and the "You're being really unpleasant" comments got around 20 favorites each. Whatever. The reason I point out the favorite count is: this is an example of how personal insults and cyber-bluster in place of reasoned discourse are actively encouraged on the site. That's unpleasant.
posted by John Cohen at 7:42 PM on October 31, 2010 [4 favorites]


I'm the person who used the word "unpleasant" in the thread. I'm sorry that I dropped the comment, as even with the best intentions (as I hope I had) comments like that don't help much. I try to stay out of political arguments on the Blue (although obviously I'm not perfect in that regard). And I really wish that I'd noticed that Rory had told Sara to fuck off before I commented, as I hope that would have led me to not making the comment and in effect piling on.

Reading MetaFilter and MetaTalk has opened my eyes to casual sexism, including my own, more than anything outside of being married (living with a woman is a good way to realize the content of your invisible backpack). So I'll admit that there might be some (subconscious on my part) truth to this:

I think there actually may be a bit of gender thing for phrases like 'unpleasant' or 'not being nice', because people tend to be more blunt with men here and just call them 'asshole' or say they're acting like a jerk, or whatever.

Mea culpa. Sara, I thought you were being sorta a jerk in that thread, but I know your intentions were good and I wish I'd just let it ride. Cool?

(I hope so because it's Halloween here and I'm going out).
posted by Bookhouse at 7:42 PM on October 31, 2010 [8 favorites]


I suppose because she was THEN called "unpleasant" when I thought her reactions were quite a lot less unpleasant than telling people to fuck off.

In my opinion, women are often attributed to have anger or unpleasantness out of all proportion to what they've actually said or expressed. This may have been an example, though obviously it is unprovable, and I wasn't intending to specifically target Bookhouse.
posted by Ouisch at 7:43 PM on October 31, 2010 [3 favorites]


you know, i keep seeing these big long argumentative threads and more and more, it just makes me feel like not talking much about anything serious here
posted by pyramid termite at 7:43 PM on October 31, 2010 [16 favorites]


Then, Rory responded by saying twice that Sara C. "made me tell you to go fuck yourself."

Jesus christ, I thought you were kidding. I'm so glad I stayed out of that thread. I felt similarly to Sara C. about the rally as I mentioned elsewhere but I had an idea that wasn't going to be a welcome feeling to have in a thread that was going to turn into an excuse for Metafilter to congratulate itself on being so awesomely temperate and reasonable. Except when some people make us tell them to go fuck themselves, I guess.
posted by enn at 7:43 PM on October 31, 2010 [3 favorites]


Totally agree with this, John Cohen. And maybe I am only sensitive to it when it's lobbed at women, but it is a bigger problem in general.

Thanks. And to be clear, I do think you have a point about the word "unpleasant" — both with regard to how it could be specifically misogynist and how it was used in that thread. I've just seen so many other wildly inappropriate personal insults lobbed on Metafilter that I don't think sexism is the most likely explanation.
posted by John Cohen at 7:45 PM on October 31, 2010


And I believe that was the second time he said it, enn. He was reiterating his first "go fuck yourself" in the comment you linked, if I am not mistaken.

This gave me unpleasant memories of the kathrineg exchange I linked above, where she was called "not very bright" twice during a thread where she seemed quite reasonable to me.

I drew the (admittedly somewhat paranoid) inference that perhaps female usernames could bias people, even unconsciously, to respond with more defensiveness than they would to more neutral names. And I say this given my past experience with a gendered name.
posted by Ouisch at 7:46 PM on October 31, 2010


electroboy: "Hmm... I'll go 327 then"

I think I'll get this one.
posted by Splunge at 7:46 PM on October 31, 2010


Can we please close that topic? No good is going to come from leaving it open.

Shame on Sarah for threadshitting, and shame on rory for calling her out on it in that manner. You guys ruined what could have been a good discussion.
posted by schmod at 7:46 PM on October 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Instead of just sort of playing anger hockey in this thread, one could actually test this theory.

One would simply need to gather a decent-sized sample of MetaFilter threads that turned combative, and do a count of the occurrences of the word 'unpleasant,' and map it to poster gender.

I would totally volunteer to do this for you, but unfortunately, I can't, because I have a thing.
posted by silentpundit at 7:47 PM on October 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


The sexism debate might be interesting, but I'm more disturbed by the fact that a usually intelligent website like Metafilter seems to have some quota of comments that have to be viciously mean and filled with cyber-bluster, e.g. telling Sara C. to "Go fuck yourself" because of her expressing her reasonable opinions. (That comment got at least 20 favorites.)

Yes, agreed. I don't know if there's anything sexist in what Rory Marinich said, but it's wholly uncalled for, and what I find intensely disturbing is that a whole lot of people favorited a comment whose content was essentially "go fuck yourself," directed at someone whose opinions, though unpopular, were expressed throughout that entire thread in a calm way. AND all of this was in defense of the Rally to Restore Sanity and reasoned discussion . . . oh, sweet irony!
posted by Frobenius Twist at 7:47 PM on October 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


protracted dissing of things other people seem to have positive feelings about is a pretty good recipe for derail and a personalization of an argument.

This is also my opinion.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:48 PM on October 31, 2010 [4 favorites]


So it's also possible that people reacted so negatively because I broke some unspoken rule. Maybe other people can shed light?

Well, I had a strong negative reaction to your response to Rory Marinich after he wrote a long, passionate comment, specifically directed at you. You pulled one sentence out of it, and responded to that one out-of-context quote with a bit of throwaway dismissive sarcasm. While his "Go fuck yourself" might have been an overly strong response, I really couldn't blame him for being frustrated. You were trying to understand why people were excited about the rally, he tried to explain, and you posted "I'm also not required to read your 2000 word essay on why politics is stupid and doesn't work." If you're going to engage in a debate and expect to be taken seriously, then yes, I'd say that reading the thread in question is, in fact, required, particularly when the comment is specifically directed at you. If you feel it's too long to read, perhaps that's a sign that you're done with the thread.

For what it's worth, I didn't feel like most of what you had to say was a derail, but rather how things go when a thread is about "Yay, X! Wasn't X great?!" and someone responds with "Well, actually, I think X wasn't so hot, and you guys are kinda lame for thinking it is." The pro-X people get mad that someone pissed all over their schmoopy, and the anti-X people, feeling outnumbered, will often get their back up and dig in. That's what it looked like to me, anyway.

On preview: John Cohen, I think some frustration is to be expected when you post a long response to a specific user who seemed to be looking for explanations, and that have that response dismissed not once but twice. I don't think it's fair to Rory to make him the bad guy here either, except to maybe suggest a milder response.
posted by booksherpa at 7:48 PM on October 31, 2010 [26 favorites]


I just read the whole thread and the way the thing devolved was a little depressing and while I can see why people might be bothered that Rory Marinich would tell Sara C. to go fuck herself I also think it was not unearned. His first comment in the thread was a quite long description of what the rally meant to him, and what he felt the message was. It was long but I think well-written and I think he made some good points. The thing that set him off in his next comment was that Sara C who I gather did not bother to read his whole comment, cherry-picked one small part of it, quoted it out of context and used it to belittle his point of view in a pretty snarky way. Frankly, that was kind of unpleasant. Should he have told her to go fuck herself? Probably not. But I think if you're going to have an argument with someone you probably should read their whole comment first and attempt to grasp what they're getting at, rather than just skip most of the text and snipe at them with the part that you think supports your argument.
posted by wabbittwax at 7:50 PM on October 31, 2010 [22 favorites]


I suppose my point, if there is one, is that it might be useful for people (myself included) to stop and consider one's own potential biases before responding with off-the-cuff vitriol. "Am I responding fairly? If not, is it because I'm taking something too personally, or am I possibly engaging with some examined prejudice that colours my remarks?"

I admit I probably need to do this as much as anyone when it comes to gender. But also when it comes to race, religion, etc. I find myself uncovering tons of biases that affect my analyses and words. I can't believe that I'm the only one.
posted by Ouisch at 7:50 PM on October 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


I have a little theory; I add a soupçon of praxis, et voilà! La commune populaire!
posted by Abiezer at 7:50 PM on October 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think I'll get this one.

You sir, do not know how The Price is Right works.
posted by electroboy at 7:51 PM on October 31, 2010


I'm not sifting through 10 years of comments, but here is a male member referring to another male member as "unpleasant" because he feels other words are too harsh.
posted by gman at 7:51 PM on October 31, 2010


I was sort of hoping people would use the thread to post links to photos of signs they thought were particularly interesting. I never imagined it would turn into an analysis of the rally itself, complete with context based on the corporate parent of the event and comparisons to Viet Nam protests.

It's not been a BAD thread, but it certainly wasn't what I expected when I made the FPP.
posted by hippybear at 7:51 PM on October 31, 2010


I'm female and think I have a reasonably obvious female username ("lass").

"Unpleasant" doesn't carry the extra freight for me that a word like "hysterical" would, but I can see why some women would react badly to hearing it in an argument. Under the right circumstances I might be one of them. I thought Bookhouse's comment was a bit of a pile-on after Rory Marinich's middle-finger, but Bookhouse's explanation makes sense to me.

I have favorite numbers turned off, so I don't know how many favorites a particular comment gets most of the time. The favorite counts John Cohen referred to weren't on my radar until he mentioned it.
posted by immlass at 7:52 PM on October 31, 2010


I said 326. If it goes lower, I win no?
posted by Splunge at 7:53 PM on October 31, 2010


One would simply need to gather a decent-sized sample of MetaFilter threads that turned combative, and do a count of the occurrences of the word 'unpleasant,' and map it to poster gender.

I wouldn't necessarily limit it to the term "unpleasant," but there are plenty of phrases that could probably be identified as "sexist dog whistles" of a sort. Shrill, whiny, hysterical, stupid, etc.

I think a qualitative study could ACTUALLY be done on this in real life. I've sort of tongue-and-cheek suggested that in memail before. I'm not the one to do it, however, for obvious reasons.
posted by Ouisch at 7:53 PM on October 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


I also wouldn't map it to actual poster gender, per se, but presented gender: either a female-sounding username, or someone who identifies (by photo or text) as female in their profile. I often check the profiles of people I'm speaking with.
posted by Ouisch at 7:56 PM on October 31, 2010


What I mean is, if the thread is dead or killed before 326, I win. Right?
posted by Splunge at 7:57 PM on October 31, 2010


Both the "Go fuck yourself" and the "You're being really unpleasant" comments got around 20 favorites each. Whatever. The reason I point out the favorite count is: this is an example of how personal insults and cyber-bluster in place of reasoned discourse are actively encouraged on the site. That's unpleasant.

Obviously neither are examples of MeFi at its best and this a highly subjective datapoint, but getting a 'Go fuck yourself' (Which I have received, deservedly, more than once here) wouldn't get my back up as much as really condescending and smarmy dismissal like "OK, so basically you are not at all political and just dug the chance to be in the same zip code as a celebrity. Woo. OMG I have seen the light."
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:57 PM on October 31, 2010 [4 favorites]


I'm not gonna say anything 'cause I don't want this is my recent activity.
posted by nomadicink at 7:57 PM on October 31, 2010


I'm proud to be unpleasant, and my user name (if not my smooth complexion and razor-sharp cheekbones) is obviously male.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 7:57 PM on October 31, 2010


Ouisch: "I wouldn't necessarily limit it to the term "unpleasant," but there are plenty of phrases that could probably be identified as "sexist dog whistles" of a sort. Shrill, whiny, hysterical, stupid, etc."

No. Now you're lumping other words which actually are loaded together with "unpleasant" and "stupid".
posted by gman at 7:58 PM on October 31, 2010 [5 favorites]


Awww hell.
posted by nomadicink at 7:58 PM on October 31, 2010


Her comments were completely reasonable. (Note: "reasonable" is a much lower threshold than "correct.") One of them was mildly (not viciously) snarky. ("OK, so basically you are not at all political and just dug the chance to be in the same zip code as a celebrity. Woo. OMG I have seen the light.")

I completely and totally disagree. Her comment was completely insulting by misrepresenting Rory as starstruck, and then said "I don't have to read what you wrote, I can misrepresent you if I feel like it."

That is like the complete opposite of "reasonable".
posted by 23skidoo at 7:58 PM on October 31, 2010 [8 favorites]


getting a 'Go fuck yourself'

Also, just to be a little more clear. Had this not been Halloween, had cortex not been on a plane and me at a party, a comment where one member told another member to go fuck themselves would not have lasted more than an hour or two. Unfortunately, we had a few hours with no one minding the store and this turned into a metadiscursive situation with people behaving badly. So, sorry for being away for a few hours, but for those of you who maybe don't see the point of the light moderation we do have, this is sort of an excellent object lesson.

Rory should not have said that. His comment is now inextricable from that thread. Sorry about that.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:59 PM on October 31, 2010 [10 favorites]


No. Now you're lumping other words which actually are loaded together with "unpleasant" and "stupid".

I guess I think those words can be loaded, depending on context. Women are accused of being "unpleasant" if they are not submissive, in my opinion. And it is pretty well-known that women were considered to have inferior intellects for a long time. These are not entirely neutral terms.
posted by Ouisch at 7:59 PM on October 31, 2010


Okay, going to bed. Good luck, electroboy
posted by Splunge at 7:59 PM on October 31, 2010


But there is a lot of feminism 101 stuff that goes down here that I think people are unaware of.

Alas, that course has a couple prerequisites:

Commitment to the Community 015, and
Not Your Fucking Soapbox 085.

Come back when you've done your homework.
posted by felix betachat at 8:00 PM on October 31, 2010 [3 favorites]


Oh sorry. I'm a n00b and fail at the internets! Mea culpa.
posted by Ouisch at 8:01 PM on October 31, 2010


Well, I had a strong negative reaction to your response to Rory Marinich after he wrote a long, passionate comment, specifically directed at you. You pulled one sentence out of it, and responded to that one out-of-context quote with a bit of throwaway dismissive sarcasm. While his "Go fuck yourself" might have been an overly strong response, I really couldn't blame him for being frustrated.

QFT. I favourited that line of Rory's - though I readily concede in the cold, fridgey-smelling light of meta that perhaps I shouldn't have - because I felt Sara C's response to his comment basically boiled down to the "go fuck yourself", but hers was in response to Rory's good faith attempt to engage in a dialogue. I felt his frustration, and in that context, I didn't really feel "go fuck yourself" was any more or less better than the snarky, dismissive paragraph that motivated it.
posted by smoke at 8:02 PM on October 31, 2010 [9 favorites]


No, just at fostering civil discourse among the people who spend time here.

I'm sure you didn't mean it, though.
posted by felix betachat at 8:02 PM on October 31, 2010


awwww boo-boo. don't be that way.
posted by Ouisch at 8:02 PM on October 31, 2010


I wouldn't necessarily limit it to the term "unpleasant," but there are plenty of phrases that could probably be identified as "sexist dog whistles" of a sort. Shrill, whiny, hysterical, stupid, etc.

I would submit to you that if you interpret 'stupid' as an epithet driven by sexism, you are probably looking for sexism a bit too hard.
posted by silentpundit at 8:03 PM on October 31, 2010 [11 favorites]


It'll be interesting to see if other women have similar experiences to yours, Ouisch. I can't help but think that a comment's tone is set, at least a little, by the commenter's name-whether it's a gender thing or anything else. Particularly if the user isn't someone who comments enough that they have a generally accepted persona on Metafilter. So the username is often the only piece of context we have-it wouldn't surprise me to find that it matters.

I am female but I think my username is neutral (perhaps even skewing slightly male sounding?) and I've caught a little heat for it being an obnoxious name (or perhaps for my obnoxiously living up to it) but that's it. There are a few running around who sound like drivers from Talladega Nights or something-and I don't mean that in a bad way, more in the sense that they sound like a Dash Riprock rather than an Alexander kind of person. And I suspect it colors my view of their comments some. So I would say it wouldn't surprise me that an overtly feminine (or for that matter, overtly of any other particular group) would elicit a consistent response from some other users. I would hope that we'd all try not to allow whatever knee jerk feeling we get to make us act out against that person but... maybe that is wishful thinking. Interesting theory.
posted by supercapitalist at 8:03 PM on October 31, 2010


Again: context. Also history.
posted by Ouisch at 8:04 PM on October 31, 2010


feminine user name reporting for duty.

I did not think the comments made to Sara C were sexist or that remarks directed at her were discounting her or dismissive because she was a female. People were frustrated with her opinions, but I did not see anything sexist about that. Not even the "fuck off." That may have been impolite but I didn't see it as sexist.

We aren't hothouse flowers. I would not take it as sexist if someone called me unpleasant while in the heat of a political argument; whereas, if they called me a stupid bitch or a c*nt, I likely would.

Sara C, I think it was fine that you stated your opinion and you made some good points. But I think volume might have been an issue. I only offer the observation because you asked about negative reaction. You made about 10% of the comments. That can lead people to think you are trying to dominate the conversation even if from your point of view you are just trying to engage or respond. I think it's hard to be in the minority in a discussion and go against the prevailing sentiment; maybe you didn't need to reply to everyone. Sometimes less can be more to keep people from tuning you out.
posted by madamjujujive at 8:05 PM on October 31, 2010 [18 favorites]


1. For the record, Rory memailed me and apologized and we totes hugged it out.

2. I'm not sure I realized that the whole TL;DR 2000 word essay was WRITTEN FOR MY BENEFIT, and frankly, wow, that is a lot to write AT someone and demand that they read it before being allowed to move forward with the discussion. When I wrote "I am not required..." it was generally because I felt shitty that someone apparently wrote this long reply FOR MY EYES ONLY, and was mad that I didn't read and comment substantively. I kind of feel like when you throw out upwards of like 800 words on a site like this, you can't honestly be angry when people skim.

3. Somewhere in there, I got really frustrated at the way that people seemed to want to have it both ways - on the one hand, it was a super earnest expression of hopeful and creative political energy, but on the other hand, "y'know, I really just went because my friend works for Colbert and I thought it'd be a laugh". Not just Rory (though that is why I pulled that particular sentence "out of context" to mock), but generally everyone. Because you really can't do that, rhetorically speaking - you either get to be outraged that somebody would hate on an obviously fruitful and important political expression, or you get to go out and have a good time and no sweat.

4. Basically, I got a bug up my ass that People Are Wrong On The Internet. So I shat all over your comedy politics shindig. Sorry. Again? Have I apologized? Yeah.
posted by Sara C. at 8:06 PM on October 31, 2010 [9 favorites]


I suppose I felt it was possible SaraC was being held to a higher standard of conduct (and perhaps a "ladylike" standard) because she was called unpleasant for disagreeing sarcastically, while another person seemed to get off with telling her to go fuck herself without the same censure.
posted by Ouisch at 8:07 PM on October 31, 2010 [3 favorites]


And... scene
posted by found missing at 8:11 PM on October 31, 2010


"This gave me unpleasant memories"

are you being sexist towards yourself? is this performance art?


anyway. i'm a female. i'm openly female on here. i identify as female in my profile.

i understand being concerned about the message that females should be quiet and sweet and bubbly. i am annoyed when i am told to smile. i hate when i raise my voice and i'm met with shock and an attitude of "hey there, little lady!". i was raised in a very male dominated (and to my mind, misogynistic) church and was told many times that women should endeavor to "keep sweet."

having said that - i think it borders on dangerous for the community to be so sensitive towards perceived sexism that we don't allow women to be questioned or challenged as people. i like the vigorous debate on this site and i would be sad if someone didn't respond honestly just because i'm a woman.

i wouldn't blink an eye if i were called unpleasant if there were no other misogyny red flags. there are some words, intent or not, that are just inherently sexist (i could list them, but we all pretty much know the standards). for the rest of it, you have use context. i just can't find a sexist context for this exchange that isn't mostly pushed by personal bias.
posted by nadawi at 8:11 PM on October 31, 2010 [27 favorites]


I think it's dickish not to use caps.
posted by found missing at 8:12 PM on October 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


I suppose I felt it was possible SaraC was being held to a higher standard of conduct (and perhaps a "ladylike" standard) because she was called unpleasant for disagreeing sarcastically, while another person seemed to get off with telling her to go fuck herself without the same censure.

I think this is a stretch and that the more likely explanation for the different standard is that Sara C. was criticizing a popular event in which many MeFites participated and Rory was supporting it.
posted by enn at 8:14 PM on October 31, 2010


I am not attempting to argue that the word "unpleasant" is inherently sexist, and I am trying to discuss this in good faith.

My point is that it is worth questioning when words like "unpleasant" are used against someone openly presenting as female when they are disagreeing with the prevailing sentiment of the thread -- even strenuously or sarcastically -- when other posters are being far less "pleasant" by using phrases like "go fuck yourself."

Women have historically been held to a higher standard of "pleasantness," I guess you could say, than others. Sometimes it seems as though, in arguments, this expectation is sometimes betrayed.
posted by Ouisch at 8:14 PM on October 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


I suppose I felt it was possible SaraC was being held to a higher standard of conduct (and perhaps a "ladylike" standard) because she was called unpleasant for disagreeing sarcastically, while another person seemed to get off with telling her to go fuck herself without the same censure.

I totally understand where you're coming from, and I will also freely admit that as a man, I can't speak to the female experience here. What makes it difficult is that there is, in my opinion, often gendered unpleasantness and general tone-deafness when it comes to women and misogyny on metafilter (eg that whole recent "pussy" debacle), so such things do definitely happen here. I would submit, though, that in this particular case, we have a classic example of metafilter members getting fighty because that's what people often do on metafilter, and that there isn't necessarily any gendered aspect to it.
posted by Frobenius Twist at 8:16 PM on October 31, 2010


"Feminism 101," twenty-six hits on Google for the site metafilter.com. Yeah, I think we're aware.

I am not your nigel.
posted by adipocere at 8:16 PM on October 31, 2010


the more likely explanation for the different standard is that Sara C. was criticizing a popular event in which many MeFites participated and Rory was supporting it.

Perhaps so. I am not without bias myself. But this was not a circumstance I took in isolation, as I've mentioned. It reminded me of other instances that bothered me.
posted by Ouisch at 8:16 PM on October 31, 2010


Yeah, I think we're aware.

I guess I disagree.
posted by Ouisch at 8:17 PM on October 31, 2010


When I wrote "I am not required..." it was generally because I felt shitty that someone apparently wrote this long reply FOR MY EYES ONLY, and was mad that I didn't read and comment substantively. I kind of feel like when you throw out upwards of like 800 words on a site like this, you can't honestly be angry when people skim.

Respectfully, baloney. If you actually skimmed what he wrote, you would've been able to tell that the general tone of what he was saying was not "omg look, famous people". If your skimming skills are such that you glossed over everything he wrote except the part where he said he knew someone who was working there, well that's not skimming at all.
posted by 23skidoo at 8:17 PM on October 31, 2010 [6 favorites]


I have done some amateur analysis of Metatalk threads. You can tell a lot about the thread's eventual length based on the 'launch' rate: the rate of comments per minute over the first few hours. This thread has launched very well, and 326 is way low. I'd take the over on 600, if anyone will take my action.

I'm not sure whether Sunday evening EST is a good or bad time to start a big thread; my gut says it's a bad time, but that isn't backed up by anything. If my gut is rate...could be a big one. Go team!
posted by Kwine at 8:19 PM on October 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


I kind of feel like when you throw out upwards of like 800 words on a site like this, you can't honestly be angry when people skim.

Yeah, you don't have to read it (shh... I skimmed it, myself), but you shouldn't really respond to it unless you read it. It's not that he was writing to you, specifically, but he was responding directly to something you said, and then you responded directly to what he said. Generally, on Mefi, we expect that if you're going to engage directly with someone's post, you'll actually make sure to understand it and respond to it accordingly.
posted by meese at 8:21 PM on October 31, 2010 [13 favorites]


If my gut is rate...could be a big one. Go team!

Factor in holiday and mod travel and I think you're pitching a little low here. Ouisch's fainting couch could make an epic longboat keel.
posted by felix betachat at 8:21 PM on October 31, 2010


My...fainting couch?
posted by Ouisch at 8:22 PM on October 31, 2010


My point is that it is worth questioning when words like "unpleasant" are used against someone openly presenting as female when they are disagreeing with the prevailing sentiment of the thread -- even strenuously or sarcastically -- when other posters are being far less "pleasant" by using phrases like "go fuck yourself."

Like I said before before, some folks get irked more by smug, profanity-free dismissals than they are by terse and cursey insults - I know Aggressive Swearing>Carefully Worded Prickishness in the MeFi Hierarchy of Poor Conduct, but saying or implying that people condoned the former in this case because of gender, or that the 'unpleasant' label had any sort of relation to suffragettes being told that "Nice Women Don't Want The Vote" is a huge fucking stretch.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:22 PM on October 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


having said that - i think it borders on dangerous for the community to be so sensitive towards perceived sexism that we don't allow women to be questioned or challenged as people. i like the vigorous debate on this site and i would be sad if someone didn't respond honestly just because i'm a woman.

A thousand times yes, and thank you for enumerating this.

This is the attitude of the world I want to live in, and the one I thought we all wanted to live in. I actually got kind of a thrill when an argument erupted between a male and a female Mefite and sexism wasn't called.

For a while, anyway.
posted by silentpundit at 8:28 PM on October 31, 2010 [4 favorites]


"omg look, famous people"

Oh, come on. "OMG look, famous people" is like 90% of why ANYBODY actually showed up. Nobody would actually go to a non-rally sponsored by nobody in the name of no public figure with no connections to any political cause or movement, with nothing in particular on the agenda.
posted by Sara C. at 8:28 PM on October 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


There was one week when I was feeling easily irritated by some comments, and a male member who is no longer active on Metafilter said all my comments that week sounded uncharacteristically angry, so he was asking me if I was okay. Which had a nice intention, but it sort of offended me and I waited out the offended feeling before thanking him for his concern because I honestly believe he was just being nice.

I don't like participating in these men of Metafilter vs. women of Metafilter arguments, but it seems okay for the men to use the work "fuck" every other word and when women get a little sarcastic or sound upset, it's worse because then we're "angry women."

But I want to take this opportunity to voice a somewhat related complaint: I hate it when some sympathetic members (possibly women but equal possibility of it being men)start a comment with, "Oh honey,..." to a female poster. It's weird to me. It sounds fake and theatrical. I hated it when Jennifer Aniston did it on Friends and I hate it in real life and I don't like reading it. It's like that Office Space quote--- "Someone's got a case of the Mondays!"

But maybe other people like it. It just annoys me. So carry on.
posted by anniecat at 8:28 PM on October 31, 2010 [3 favorites]


Sara C., you're doing it again.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:28 PM on October 31, 2010 [12 favorites]


I'm not touching this one with a 20-foot fucking pole.
posted by 1000monkeys at 8:31 PM on October 31, 2010 [4 favorites]


2. I'm not sure I realized that the whole TL;DR 2000 word essay was WRITTEN FOR MY BENEFIT, and frankly, wow, that is a lot to write AT someone and demand that they read it before being allowed to move forward with the discussion. When I wrote "I am not required..." it was generally because I felt shitty that someone apparently wrote this long reply FOR MY EYES ONLY, and was mad that I didn't read and comment substantively. I kind of feel like when you throw out upwards of like 800 words on a site like this, you can't honestly be angry when people skim.

Well, I think the point is: you cherry-picked one sentence from it, and used that to belittle Rory. You didn't have to do that. It's not a huge deal if you didn't read it, but if that's the case don't reply. And especially don't go on and act as if you don't understand his point, after he had explained it in painstaking detail, in a post that you ignored.

I'm not trying to chastise, but I think this is part of the etiquette thing you're missing out on. We all are guilty of missing an important part of someone's message, but there's no need to continue to call his sincere post "TL;DR" and act as if he's the one being totally unreasonable.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 8:31 PM on October 31, 2010 [3 favorites]


the more likely explanation for the different standard is that Sara C. was criticizing a popular event in which many MeFites participated and Rory was supporting it.

Perhaps so. I am not without bias myself. But this was not a circumstance I took in isolation, as I've mentioned. It reminded me of other instances that bothered me.


In this case, at least, I think it was pretty clearly that Sara C. had the balls (pun intended because jokes always make everyone happy and never go awry and further sour a tense discussion) to go against the sentiment of the thread. Mob mentality is an ugly thing, and let's face it, everyone loves Jon Stewart.
posted by silentpundit at 8:33 PM on October 31, 2010


"I'm not touching this one with a 20-foot fucking pole"

That's a bit long for a fucking pole. A vaulting pole, maybe, but for a fucking pole that length would be considerably more than necessary.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 8:34 PM on October 31, 2010 [13 favorites]


Oh, come on. "OMG look, famous people" is like 90% of why ANYBODY actually showed up. Nobody would actually go to a non-rally sponsored by nobody in the name of no public figure with no connections to any political cause or movement, with nothing in particular on the agenda.

Dude. DUDE.

I didn't write 2,000 words. I was very concise. No skimming necessary.

I did not say that 90% of the people in attendance had no interest in famous people. I said that to summarize Rory's comment as anything close to "omg famous people" is unreasonable.

By pulling a quote from me, and then pretending it's about something else, and ignoring everything else I said, you show that you're not just bad at skimming, you're bad at reading for meaning.
posted by 23skidoo at 8:36 PM on October 31, 2010 [5 favorites]


I have an ambiguous handle name, but I'm female, a feminist, and I was actually surprised when the term "unpleasant" was associated with misogyny, both in general and specifically for that interaction. In my last professional career (which variously occurred in the worlds of big business, government contracts, & high tech), "unpleasant" was a word we used regularly for people of both genders. It was a genteel, almost kind or gentle-seeming term that we could use instead of "flaming asshat" or "power-mad Torquemada" or "bitter and vindictive shit-stirrer." (Plus, we could pass it off as "Oh, no, I stammered. I said you were um, pleasant!" if overheard by the wrong person.)

I've generally found professionally and in my time on Metafilter that gender-inflected insults were a little more obvious and well, traditional (hysterical, panties in a bunch, shrill, and other words that have a stronger woman-centric usage history). That sort of disdain tends to head for the standards, in my experience. There are exceptions, of course. There always are. Of course, I've been here forever, but I'm not particularly well known and probably not immediately identifiable as a woman here, so my input may not be as valuable as you were hoping for.
posted by julen at 8:37 PM on October 31, 2010 [7 favorites]


I didn't read much of the above after I figured out that nothing used was CATEGORICALLY insulting 51% of the population.

I'm all about making fun of chicks and dudes...just as long as it isn't because they're chicks and dudes.
posted by hal_c_on at 8:38 PM on October 31, 2010


Oh, come on. "OMG look, famous people" is like 90% of why ANYBODY actually showed up.

Yo Sara, why don't you stop assuming you know what vast numbers of people think and what motivates them? It's bloody irritating for one, and can lead to hurt feelings and arguments as you should have already gathered for two. Crikey.
posted by smoke at 8:38 PM on October 31, 2010 [6 favorites]


Again, I was basing the use of "unpleasant" more on the context of the thread, where other people's unpleasantness was quite in evidence, but not similarly called out.
posted by Ouisch at 8:38 PM on October 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


My...fainting couch?

Ah, my bad. Should've said "troll bridge."
posted by felix betachat at 8:38 PM on October 31, 2010 [3 favorites]


You seem to have a thing for me. Have we had dealings in the past? Care to clarify?
posted by Ouisch at 8:40 PM on October 31, 2010


Again, I was basing the use of "unpleasant" more on the context of the thread, where other people's unpleasantness was quite in evidence, but not similarly called out.

to me, this is like "but why aren't there threads about X when we allow threads about Y?" - if you want to call people unpleasant - you should do so. one person called another person unpleasant - even with your couple of examples, this just doesn't seem like a gender motivated problem.

you are, of course, free to disagree. however, if you participate in these feminism threads with any regularity, you'll see that a lot of who women who are considered the big feminist names around these parts also don't agree with you. not that they get to say "this is/is not offensive to all women" - just that, even the people who are in the trenches of this stuff don't find it troublesome.
posted by nadawi at 8:45 PM on October 31, 2010


It's totally fine if other feminists, even "the big feminist names around these parts" don't agree with me.

But it is something that has bothered me enough that it finally came out. Perhaps it has objective merit, perhaps it is worth discussion, and perhaps not. But it is my view, and my experience.
posted by Ouisch at 8:48 PM on October 31, 2010


Ouisch: "Women are accused of being "unpleasant" if they are not submissive, in my opinion."

Until this thread I thought you were a male, Ouisch, since I never looked at your profile. I saw that "unpleasant" comment towards you a day or two ago, and took it as someone trying to politely tell you that you were going overboard or starting to get overly snarky or rude. I found it far more polite than that user telling you to shut the hell up. So yes, I took "unpleasant" as a self-restraint of politeness.
posted by IndigoRain at 8:49 PM on October 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


yes, i understand that. you've said many, many, many times that this is just your view. is there something about your view that you think we're missing? do you think we'll all start agreeing with you if you just say it one more time?
posted by nadawi at 8:49 PM on October 31, 2010


Sara C.: 2. I'm not sure I realized that the whole TL;DR 2000 word essay was WRITTEN FOR MY BENEFIT, and frankly, wow, that is a lot to write AT someone and demand that they read it before being allowed to move forward with the discussion. When I wrote "I am not required..." it was generally because I felt shitty that someone apparently wrote this long reply FOR MY EYES ONLY, and was mad that I didn't read and comment substantively. I kind of feel like when you throw out upwards of like 800 words on a site like this, you can't honestly be angry when people skim.

There's no one looking over your back to check to see if you've read everything in a thread, but mentioning it is generally considered bad form. Also, mocking someone's earnestness is rude.

Rory Marinich shouldn't have let his anger get the best of him, but neither should you, nor anyone else. But, hey, it's what humans do, so it's no big deal. My rule of thumb is that if I'm seeing red or getting anxious about getting my response in right now it's time to step away from the thread.
posted by Kattullus at 8:50 PM on October 31, 2010 [5 favorites]


yes, i understand that. you've said many, many, many times that this is just your view. is there something about your view that you think we're missing? do you think we'll all start agreeing with you if you just say it one more time?

I didn't start this thread. I am simply repeating my position for those who seem to have missed some portion of it.

If you disagree, fine. I'm not going to twist your arm to agree with me. I agree to disagree.
posted by Ouisch at 8:51 PM on October 31, 2010


Again, I was basing the use of "unpleasant" more on the context of the thread, where other people's unpleasantness was quite in evidence, but not similarly called out.

to me, this is like "but why aren't there threads about X when we allow threads about Y?" - if you want to call people unpleasant - you should do so. one person called another person unpleasant - even with your couple of examples, this just doesn't seem like a gender motivated problem.

Exactly. You're totally free to call people on their unpleasantness when you see it.
posted by 23skidoo at 8:52 PM on October 31, 2010


You seem to have a thing for me.

It could just be that felix betachat is feeling frustrated or annoyed by your apparent inability to provide more signal than noise to a discussion on a subject you claim to care about. I don't know if you guys have butted heads before (It would seem that you haven't) but I know that's why I feel annoyed.

Implying that some sort of weird stalker thing is going on is pretty scummy, particularly in the context of this conversation. If you didn't mean to imply that, maybe you could stand to put a little more consideration into your own comments.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:54 PM on October 31, 2010 [7 favorites]


is there something about your view that you think we're missing?

And a few people, yes, seemed to be missing things that I said. That's why I added some comments, and perhaps repeated myself for their benefit.
posted by Ouisch at 8:54 PM on October 31, 2010


then, are you just bored? when earlier this month you called a mefite an asshole in metatalk, this seems a strange hill to plant your flag on.
posted by nadawi at 8:55 PM on October 31, 2010


Thanks Alvy.
posted by felix betachat at 8:55 PM on October 31, 2010


Implying that some sort of weird stalker thing is going on is pretty scummy, particularly in the context of this conversation. If you didn't mean to imply that, maybe you could stand to put a little more consideration into your own comments.

I'm sorry, but he told me this was Not My Fucking Soapbox, referred to my "fainting couch," and called me a troll. His name seemed familiar to me; I sincerely wondered if we had clashed at some point in the past.
posted by Ouisch at 8:56 PM on October 31, 2010


I am simply repeating my position for those who seem to have missed some portion of it.

Are you positive about this?

We've all been so convinced of something that we just honestly can't see why anyone who disagrees could have possibly successfully understood our position correctly.

But, that's definitely an instinct that should be resisted.

I would encourage you to second-guess your own assumptions here, especially since the position you're so convinced of is that there is some malevolent creeping misogyny that lives in the hearts of all men, and that's a deeply unfair and unrealistic and negative attitude to carry around.
posted by silentpundit at 8:56 PM on October 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


So it's also possible that people reacted so negatively because I broke some unspoken rule. Maybe other people can shed light?

I think the only unspoken rule you may have broken is "know when to drop it." In the thread, and now, it's starting to feel like you're so passionately defending your point that it looks like you want to convince us all of How Right You Are, and...that's not going to happen. Not because of you or your argument, but...no one is ever going to agree 100% with everyone about anything ever. There is a point at which the harder you try to defend your argument, the less it looks like it's about your argument and the more it looks like "look what a smart person I am." And that point is different in every argument. You just...passed that point and stayed in the game.

As to the matter at hand:

Ouisch, I didn't get any particular vibe off the word "Unpleasant" as such. However -- the fact that you introduced that comment with "Attention to all the women" or whatever -- THAT was the thing that made me go "bzuh?" I mean, not being unpleasant is also good advice for the men, so..."why is this specifically being directed at women" was what confused me. I would have had the same reaction if you followed up your "attention to the women" comment with "don't be a dick" or "don't be an asshole" or "don't be a figbash" rather than "don't be unpleasant."

So I think it was the fanfare that put people's noses out of joint rather than the concerto.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:57 PM on October 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


when earlier this month you called a mefite an asshole in metatalk, this seems a strange hill to plant your flag on.

Again, I didn't start this thread. I am not planting my flag on any hill.

I made a comment on the Blue that got called out. I am here to explain it to people who genuinely missed some of the premise.

For those who get the premise but disagree, okay. We disagree then.
posted by Ouisch at 8:57 PM on October 31, 2010


I don't usually look at user names and try to assign gender. In fact, I often misread user names (amyms? I'd never even parsed amy as a part of that). On the other hand, the thread seemed to have quite a large number of mefites who seemed pretty excited to talk about a large event that actually seemed to be positive for a change. I mean, how many times do people complain about posts that are essentially LOLbatshininsane/LOLBeck?

It seemed like an event that a lot of people wanted to talk about, share about, and generally just feel good about (which is pretty rare in a political context). Then SaraC. wades in (among others) to tell everyone how awful it was because Stewart wasn't talking about how evil the right is, or how evil it is that Viacom had some sort of hand in the proceedings.

As far as I've read (honestly, I was hoping more for links of favorite signs, and kind of gave up), SaraC. managed to derail the thread, and cause a lot of negative response from a thread that, honestly, I knew was coming, and had kind of looked forward to. And yeah, some of her responses were downright unpleasant. As in, it wasn't pleasant to be told that "that thing you like? and really enjoyed? You're a noob and you're doing it wrong."

That's pretty unpleasant. In fact, it's downright dickish. Assy, even. But unpleasant is a bit more polite.
posted by Ghidorah at 8:59 PM on October 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


So I think it was the fanfare that put people's noses out of joint rather than the concerto.

I think you are probably right. It was a pretty off-the-cuff comment, and an unintentional derail on my part. Probably not my finest moment, but it was rooted in something I genuinely felt and that bothered me.
posted by Ouisch at 9:07 PM on October 31, 2010


are you bored?
posted by found missing at 9:08 PM on October 31, 2010 [3 favorites]


SaraC. managed to derail the thread

Disagreeing with you is not derailing the thread. It was a thread about the Stewart rally. She talked about the Stewart rally.

As in, it wasn't pleasant to be told that "that thing you like? and really enjoyed? You're a noob and you're doing it wrong." That's pretty unpleasant. In fact, it's downright dickish. Assy, even.

I don't think it's any of those things to criticize a political group that other people enjoy. That's sort of what you sign up for when you get involved with political activity. It's not as though she was attacking people for their taste in still lifes; she was disagreeing with their beliefs about the way the country in which she lives ought to be governed.
posted by enn at 9:08 PM on October 31, 2010 [8 favorites]


"Feminism 101," twenty-six hits on Google for the site metafilter.com. Yeah, I think we're aware.

Near the end of a recent 500+-comment MeTa thread, a community member of longstanding proposed that script automatically asterisking certain words would protect sensitive eyes from gendered slurs, misapprehending that the insult was drawn from the ugliness of the word as an entity, rather than from its subtext (Not referring to a kitteh). Maybe the community doesn't need Feminism 101, but based on the number and character of threads in MeTa over the past few weeks, there are some conflicts around -isms the HiveMind is trying to thrash out.

My impression is that the degree to which words or phrases are disproportionately applied to people perceived as having qualities connoting female gender does not map 1-to-1 with the degree to which those words or phrases are intended to be negative, nor to the degree to which those words or phrases are genuinely damaging. Other connotative and denotative qualities of the words, as well as context, are at least as important. "Hysterical" and "nice girl" are two examples that come to mind - "hysterical" denotes someone so out of control of his/her faculties that there is no appealing to the rational, and both denotes and connotes the feminine, based as it is on an antiquated diagnosis of womb-sickness; "nice girl" is uniformly applied to the feminine, diminutive, denotatively harmless, and potentially devastatingly dismissive.

"Unpleasant" is relatively low on the genderedness scale, but I think it does fit in with some notions about allegedly feminine strategies of persuasion, and I can see where Ouisch is coming from.

(Uh, I might have no business in here, being a major noob. But I figure the mods know what they're doing - excruciating though these massive threads must be for them- and if they wanted to restrict newbies from MeTa they'd have done it by now.)
posted by gingerest at 9:08 PM on October 31, 2010 [4 favorites]


Oh my god, the "not very bright" thread. I remember that very distinctly.

Multiple people then contacted me and told me that they felt singled out in threads for being obviously female.

I think I will go through and do some searches and see what I can find. The condescending shit like that stopped pretty handily when I got a less ladylike username.
posted by the young rope-rider at 9:09 PM on October 31, 2010


are you bored?

No. But it is a topic I care passionately about, and I was called out by name.

Perhaps I should go hang out with gman, wherever he's gone off to.
posted by Ouisch at 9:10 PM on October 31, 2010


Disagreeing with you is not derailing the thread.

Misrepresenting what another member wrote can hardly be called disagreeing with them.
posted by 23skidoo at 9:12 PM on October 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


honestly, I was hoping more for links of favorite signs, and kind of gave up

I have a feeling that some enterprising publisher will be printing a coffee table book of them for the holiday season.

Holy shit - did I just come up with the one multi-million dollar idea I will ever have in my life?
posted by Think_Long at 9:13 PM on October 31, 2010 [4 favorites]


Holy shit - did I just come up with the one multi-million dollar idea I will ever have in my life?

And then go and share it with hundreds of intelligent, enterprising souls?

How very unpleasant for you.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:14 PM on October 31, 2010 [3 favorites]


a community member of longstanding proposed that script automatically asterisking certain words would protect sensitive eyes from gendered slurs, misapprehending that the insult was drawn from the ugliness of the word as an entity, rather than from its subtext

He's a longstanding grouch and that comment was, as near as I can tell, his version of "kidding"

There are going to be sexist jerks and uberfeminists in every community that doesn't chase off people for being either one of those things. My feeling, speaking mostly for myself but someone who has been here for a while, is that it's useful to not just see who is making the jerky comments but what sort of response they get from the site at large, if you can assess such a thing.

So, I'm not too concerned with the odd one-off annoying comment [of any political stripe] as much as I'm concerned about pile-ons and weird mob mentality. I think there's a forest-trees thing that sometimes happens, and a single comment can seem more of a bellwether than maybe it actually is. But sitting around wondering if one crack is going to beget a bunch more is not that satisfying. And we're a chatty bunch, so people talk about these things. Whereas other people see "let's talk about this" as if they're getting dragged into couples therapy by their significant ther against their will.

That said, if you're here and playing the long game (as I am by profession but other people are by choice) watching trends can be more useful than jumping in to every altercation. I didnt' see "unpleasant" in this context as anything other than an "I'm going to be polite first, but this is reallt grating on me" sort of thing. Whether that's a choice that came about because of the gender of the commenter, I have no real idea.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:16 PM on October 31, 2010 [3 favorites]


ATTENTION METAFILTER: Ignore my previous comment, carry on with the legitimate discussion please. Thank you.
posted by Think_Long at 9:16 PM on October 31, 2010 [3 favorites]


And yes, I realize the Stewart rally was trying to present as in some way "non-ideological," and I think this is maybe why people are more upset about criticism of it than they would be about other political events. But it's a misleading way to present it. It's a very common political tactic — "vote for me! I'm not a politician!" or "unlike my opponent the ideologue, my ideas are completely pragmatic and no one could possibly disagree with them in good faith." Look, for instance, at the way the Economist uses the word "political" to mean populist or leftist, in contrast to the neo-liberals whose beliefs it paints as non-political consensus opinion. It's a nice way to make your fellow believers feel good about themselves but it's not actually true, and Stewart has an ideology as much as Glenn Beck or Keith Olbermann do, with which it is permitted that we disagree.
posted by enn at 9:19 PM on October 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


I am not planting my flag on any hill.

Nonsense. You came into a thread that was already a couple hundred comments long and cried "Sexism!" about a comment that had occurred hours earlier. You commented in defense of a poster who had proven clearly capable of responding to her critics herself, who had posted more than a dozen comments after the one from Rory you were upset with, and who said herself that she didn't see sexist intentions. You spent your first 5 comments over in the rally thread being coy about your point of view, and jumped feet first into this MetaTalk thread with 3 comments as soon as it was posted. If you didn't come to plant your flag, why did you come in?

I'm not denying the presence of sexism on Metafilter, and in every other place women and men gather, but perhaps you picked the wrong battleground this time around?
posted by booksherpa at 9:21 PM on October 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'd argue that most of what Sara C. seemed to be against was the idea of a comedian trying to get people to be less assholeish towards each other. The argument that Daily Show fans are apolitical doesn't wash. I'm pretty sure a study came out (can't remember when, sorry) showing that viewers of Stewart/Colbert tend to be a lot more aware of politics than others. Hell, they both make it a point to have politicians on their shows on a regular basis. Condemning the rally because of:

Especially considering that said rally was basically planned as a rally against giving much of a shit about politics, and it was organized by professional event organizers and promoted on TV and such. It shouldn't be that hard to get people to go - there wasn't even a cohesive cause that the event was created to raise awareness for. It was basically a Rally For Fans Of That One Really Popular TV Show.

says to me that it's more likely that Sara C. doesn't watch either show. Stewart has, for a long time, decried the bile in American politics. Asking people to be decent isn't telling them to give in to what the other side wants. It's just, y'know, asking people to stop hurting America.
posted by Ghidorah at 9:21 PM on October 31, 2010


I don't know if "unpleasant" has a specifically gendered quality. I do know the number of men who quickly pop into threads where women have raised questions in order to complain or mock the very existence of the thread -- not to discuss the subject, or to weight in with their opinion, but instead just to make a wisecrack or a one-note complaint -- is pretty damn high.

So you don't agree. That's fine. But some of you seem to think there shouldn't be a discussion, or we discuss it too much, or we don't have anything new to learn from the discussion. But it is the fact that we have these discussions that makes MetaFilter pretty unique on the Web, for being lightly moderated and having so many members and having a generally pretty open posting and commenting policy. Look elsewhere on the web and see how women are typically treated -- there was a delightful hashtag on Twitter a few days ago called something like "women should stop doing this," and it was just a volcanic explosion of sexism.

It's threads like this that put MetaFilter above the mass of rage and bigotry that seems to define so much of the rest of the web, because Matt has wisely given the people who come here a place where they can raise subjects that are important to them, and ask questions, and detail concerns. And to come in at the start and mock it? It's just threadshitting. And it happens soooo much in threads about race and gender, and the fact of that is where MetaFilter shows itself not to be so great at addressing those subjects.

Please quit it. It's threadshitting, and it poisons the discussion at the outset here as much as it does on the Blue, and these are important discussions, if only because they give members the opportunity to feel their concerns have a place they can be aired.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:24 PM on October 31, 2010 [19 favorites]


If I was being coy, or sarcastic, I felt I was doing so in the way that most people do on the blue. And, honestly, if there was coyness, it didn't last very long -- I did answer gman's question.

I'm here talking about it in MeTa not as a participant of the Nerd Thunderdome (as jessamyn would put it) or as a fight to the death, but because this topic sincerely interests me. I think people are making good points, even those who don't see what I saw.

Maybe again, I'm being paranoid, but I feel like this is getting a bit more intense and sort of personally hostile at this point.
posted by Ouisch at 9:25 PM on October 31, 2010


SaraC. managed to derail the thread

She expressed a view that you, personally, do not agree with. It is really quite unfortunate that she is being blamed for the uncivil way in which people responded to her, through unfair and false accusations of derailing the thread.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:28 PM on October 31, 2010 [5 favorites]


if only because they give members the opportunity to feel their concerns have a place they can be aired.

So, is it sexist if I say that this kind of white knight bullshit is unpleasant?
posted by felix betachat at 9:30 PM on October 31, 2010


Is it assholish if I say that automatically painting male feminists as "white nights" is both condescending and paternalistic?
posted by Ouisch at 9:31 PM on October 31, 2010 [11 favorites]


while we're on the topic of feminism and men vs women and typical responses to females on the internet - a bit of schmoopy...

a few months ago i was asked on twitter by a male member of this site if i ever got any creepy mail from the men after my particularly sexually charged answers*. i'm going to paraphrase my answer (and make it longer! the beauty of the internet!) - i've gotten possibly one or two sort of borderline "ugh, that's sort of gross" memails/emails/twitters, but i've gotten far, far more positive, enlightening, and joyful memails - mostly from other women on this site. i have been respectfully encouraged and complimented in my, uh, thoroughness.

i do think this is the only forum type site i've ever belonged to where that was the case (and i've been foruming/bbsing/online journaling/etc since the mid 90s as female). nothing is perfect and there are creeps everywhere - but i'm thankful to have a place where i can talk about porn and sex and lube and relationships and not worry that i'll have a hoard of men drooling all over my email.

metafilter: thank you for being (mostly) awesome.



*to the couple of people who emailed me about a recent answer - i haven't forgotten you! i just want to put together a link filled response and haven't gotten around to it.
posted by nadawi at 9:31 PM on October 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


make that knights
posted by Ouisch at 9:31 PM on October 31, 2010


I don't know what your problem is tonight, friend, but you're making a poor showing of yourself in this thread. There isn't a useful comment you've made, and they have all been dismissive, unpleasant, and insulting.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:32 PM on October 31, 2010


That was to felix, if you couldn't guess.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:33 PM on October 31, 2010


"I have a little theory that MetaTalk serves as a substitute for intimacy.

Discuss."


Yes, it's where I come for my hugs. That's what MetaTalk is for, right? It says so right under this box.
posted by Jacqueline at 9:35 PM on October 31, 2010 [3 favorites]


Anything else aside, I think that referring to this thread as 'Ouisch's fainting couch' is a pretty good example of sexism. The imagery invoked by that phrasing has a long, clear, gendered track record. I don't think that particular phrasing would be levelled at a man.
posted by Kwine at 9:35 PM on October 31, 2010 [11 favorites]


Despite my username, I have a beard and mustache.
posted by Sailormom at 9:35 PM on October 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


If that's so, then I'm exactly right when I characterize the rally as being an outdoor Con for people who know little or nothing about politics and don't care to start now.

Sure, maybe I used the wrong word when I said derail. Or maybe I've been reading through her comments, and seeing how offhandedly insulting they are. Hell, the thread was about a rally that centered around the idea of being less nasty to each other.

Probably because I am political, and proud of it, and not terribly inclined to be "civil" or whatever.

And the entire thread seems to be about Sara C. and her version of the event. One person (a couple others, though not to the same extent) changing the entire course of a thread, taking on all comers, and being dismissive, if not insulting, to most of the people who posted. Sorry, not a derail. But unpleasant? Hell yes. Regardless of gender. Essentially claiming that all of the members posting positive comments "know little or nothing about politics and don't care to start now," unpleasant is probably the nicest way to describe it.
posted by Ghidorah at 9:37 PM on October 31, 2010 [6 favorites]


So, is it sexist if I say that this kind of white knight bullshit is unpleasant?

Yes, it's incredibly sexist, not to mention highly uncharitable. You probably already know this, but since your main role in this thread seems to be that of misogynist jerk, I will explain it anyhow: "White knight" is a phrase used only when the person you are accusing of "white knighting" is a male, coming to the defense (or so you believe) of a female. It implies that you apparently believe that the only reason men would ever fight misogyny is to get into girls' pants, which means that you are, in fact, intensely sexist.

Coupled with your ugly "fainting couch" comment earlier, you have provided a masterclass in masculine-aggressive condescension towards women. Congrats! In a thread devoted to the discussion of what does and does not constitute misogyny on metafilter, you have conclusively provided a black-and-white example of such.
posted by Frobenius Twist at 9:42 PM on October 31, 2010 [16 favorites]


Astro Zombie, I'll thank you to lay off the ad hominems. There's nothing wrong with me tonight. I was reacting to a nasty misuse of the community's discussion space by a fairly recent member who has neither educated herself on the community's history of discussions on this topic, nor exhibited much interest in doing anything other than scoring cheap points. My track record on this site speaks for itself. In this case, there wasn't much to do but point out the stupidity. I probably shouldn't have let myself get pulled down into the muck, since it's clear that Ouisch is only interested in being fighty.

But look, it's also really fucking tiresome the way you feel the need to pop into every thread on gender issues and give a witness. You're usually a really bright, clever and insightful guy. But this shaming and condescending that comes out of you whenever sexism is the topic of discussion has really lowered your stock in my book. You may not care, and that's fine. But it's a bit sad to see a poster I used to admire reducing himself to a johnny-one-note.

It's possible to disagree with someone's gender politics and even to think, in the privacy of one's own heart that the person you're conversing with is prejudiced. But to say so, at every opportunity in a sanctimonious tone accomplishes nothing and diminishes oneself. That you chose this ugly spectacle of a thread to try to call me (& my ilk, I guess) out is a sign that you need to refocus. Friend.
posted by felix betachat at 9:44 PM on October 31, 2010 [9 favorites]


by a fairly recent member who has neither educated herself on the community's history of discussions on this topic

I'm afraid you're mistaken here. I have read the past threads on sexism, and I did mention that I previously commented under another username.
posted by Ouisch at 9:46 PM on October 31, 2010


I feel like this is getting a bit more intense and sort of personally hostile at this point.

My apologies, then; such was not my intent. I have absolutely no issue with you personally, or anyone spotting and calling out sexist behavior on the site. I just felt that your jumping into that thread as you did was unnecessary in that specific instance - Sara didn't seem to need "rescuing" or feel that the comment was meant to be sexist, and your participation threatened to derail a thread already teetering. I'm all about fighting sexism when it rears its ugly head, but part of that fight is saving your energy for the actual battles.

Considering that my husband has now asked me a couple of times if I'm done with the people being wrong on the internet, I'll walk away and go sleep now, just in case it's me.
posted by booksherpa at 9:47 PM on October 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'll walk away and go sleep now, just in case it's me.

A fine idea. I'll do the same.
posted by felix betachat at 9:48 PM on October 31, 2010


"But look, it's also really fucking tiresome the way you feel the need to pop into every thread on gender issues and give a witness."

I don't. I think it's great, he's always thoughtful and coherent, and I appreciate it very much.
posted by the young rope-rider at 9:49 PM on October 31, 2010 [8 favorites]


My track record on this site speaks for itself.

I don't care about your track record. I care above your behavior tonight. You chose to be some sort of thread police, deciding for the community what is and isn't worth discussing, and doing so by lobbing insults and derision, and if you think that puts you above a "relatively new member" by virtue of your excellent behavior, you're way off. You shat all over this discussion, tossing out little ad hominem grenades of your own -- fainting couch? White knight? Really?

Your effort here has been to smear a discussion you don't approve of with contempt, which doesn't demonstrate some mastery of MetaTalk, or even an understanding of it. It just makes you another loudmouth who doesn't know enough to keep his mouth shut when he has nothing valuable to say.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:49 PM on October 31, 2010 [4 favorites]


(Shit. So as not to seem passive aggressive in laying into AZ and then seeming to duck away, I will be glad for your reply, whether here or in MeMail. But this dead horse of a thread is good & beat.)
posted by felix betachat at 9:50 PM on October 31, 2010


*snore*
posted by felix betachat at 9:50 PM on October 31, 2010


It's possible to disagree with someone's gender politics and even to think, in the privacy of one's own heart that the person you're conversing with is prejudiced.

You have got to be kidding. Please tell me you are joking now. You used the phrase "fainting couch" intentionally to get a reaction, and your smirking use of the "So, is it sexist if I say that [insert sexist phrase]" was quite clearly meant to goad. And then, after goading people into responding just as you wanted them to, after you dropped multiple loaded and sexist bombs into an already heated and difficult conversation, you now play the ridiculous "oh my god I am so hurt that you would read that into what I said" game. At the very least, own up to the fact that you got exactly the response you wanted when you played the role of sexist, assholish jester.
posted by Frobenius Twist at 9:51 PM on October 31, 2010 [5 favorites]


it's also really fucking tiresome the way you feel the need to pop into every thread on gender issues and give a witness.

And I have one thing to say in response to this:

Too fucking bad. You disagree with me, go ahead and make your case. You think it's annoying that I comment, well, I paid my five bucks, and I will speak when and where I want when I feel I have something to contribute, and if that annoys you, there must be some sort of pillow somewhere you can sob into.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:52 PM on October 31, 2010 [6 favorites]


Another female username datapoint reporting for duty. I've never noticed any sexism directed at me in MetaFilter discussions. But I'm also probably a particularly bad judge of it, because when MetaFilter is slow I read Reddit (where the sexism is pervasive and unapologetic), plus we've also recently established that I'm too dense to notice when I'm being insulted in general. :)
posted by Jacqueline at 9:55 PM on October 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


I can ignore this whole thread and it won't make any difference, right?

You guys.
posted by unSane at 10:00 PM on October 31, 2010


Yes, it's incredibly sexist, not to mention highly uncharitable. You probably already know this, but since your main role in this thread seems to be that of misogynist jerk, I will explain it anyhow: "White knight" is a phrase used only when the person you are accusing of "white knighting" is a male, coming to the defense (or so you believe) of a female. It implies that you apparently believe that the only reason men would ever fight misogyny is to get into girls' pants, which means that you are, in fact, intensely sexist.

You aren't honestly saying that you can divine a person's motives down to this extreme level of specificity from a common idiom, are you?

For one thing, your assertion that 'white knight' can only refer to a male coming to the defense of a female is false. True, the literal reference is that, but as language does, the signifier has come to mean more than what it originally signified. Just as 'Coke' can mean 'Pepsi' sometimes, a 'white knight' is simply a savior of some kind. It's a very broad concept.

Of course, to be fair, it was brought up in what appeared to be a deliberately agitating context, so you may have guessed right in this case.

But the notion that certain words are 'code words' that reveal festering, oozing evil in the heart of the speaker, is not only absurd, but it's ugly.

When someone says 'tar baby' to mean 'sticky situation,' for instance, is NOT incontrovertible evidence that they are a racist. It means they have read Uncle Remus.

I have called people 'pussies,' before. When I did, I was not mentally picturing a vagina. I did not cast about in my mind for some way to compare someone to a woman. I highly doubt that anyone does when they use that word. Sort of like when I say 'pussy' to mean 'vagina,' I don't picture a cat.

Appeal to motive is not a valid mechanism of debate.
posted by silentpundit at 10:12 PM on October 31, 2010


Cue someone objecting to the sexist connotations of pillow sobbery.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:13 PM on October 31, 2010


One of the things I genuinely like about metafilter is how ungendered the discussions are. I know that there's a lot of talk about not having it be a boy zone, and that's awesome. It's great that there are discussions about feminism and how to be inclusive. But by and large, gender doesn't enter into threads around here, and I think that's great. For the most part, unless the post directly relates to gender, it doesn't come up at all. It's refreshing and wonderful, and I can't get enough of it. Gender pervades so much of society, it's great to have somewhere to come talk about things where it doesn't color the discussions or the responses to posters all that much. "Unpleasant" is a distinctly ungendered word, and it's gotten lobbed at both sides of the aisle.
posted by stoneweaver at 10:23 PM on October 31, 2010 [3 favorites]


At the top of this thread, it was about the word "unpleasant." Just for fun, I skipped the middle and came down here, and it's about "pussies." How interesting.
posted by davejay at 10:45 PM on October 31, 2010


"are you bored?"

Tomorrow morning all the other MeFites are going to wake up and read this at work and laugh at us for being the poor losers who didn't get invited to a Halloween party and thus spent our evening on MetaTalk drama instead. :)
posted by Jacqueline at 10:46 PM on October 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


If anyone wants to borrow my 10-foot pole so they can not touch things with it, I'm over here.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:50 PM on October 31, 2010 [5 favorites]


This is probably gonna make me sound dumb but I learned the word "hysteria" from a Def Leppard song where the singer was using the word in reference to himself, and when I looked it up in the dictionary there was nothing at all about the etymology of the word. It wasn't until well into university that I learned that some people consider it sexist, and even then I thought it was a pretty obscure piece of trivia. In short, I hope people will give others the benefit of the doubt sometimes, cuz some of us just aren't clever enough to be loading our comments with the kind of nuance some people are seeing.
posted by Hoopo at 10:51 PM on October 31, 2010 [7 favorites]


Cool Papa Bell has a 10-foot pole? I'll be right over.
posted by hippybear at 10:53 PM on October 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oh, sorry. Was that sexual or sexually harassing? I apologize.

(I'm still coming over. What do you like to drink?)
posted by hippybear at 10:54 PM on October 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


If anyone wants to borrow my 10-foot pole so they can not touch things with it, I'm over here.

Hah. My pole is double the size of your pole. [I'm beginning to think that's what approx. 50% of these discussions end up being about, anyways].
posted by 1000monkeys at 10:55 PM on October 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


I wish we had more discussions about my pole.
posted by Ouisch at 10:57 PM on October 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm not denying the presence of sexism on Metafilter, and in every other place women and men gather, but perhaps you picked the wrong battleground this time around?

This.

Plus, Ouisch? I am pretty sure that you have managed to cause many people to now have bad associations with your user name. I for one had never noticed you before. Now you are always and forever going to be that annoying chick who picked the wrong hill to die on.
posted by msali at 11:00 PM on October 31, 2010 [3 favorites]


"I wish we had more discussions about my pole."

Yeah, this discussion about the relative sizes of the male MeFites' poles is exclusionary towards women. I call sexism!

Ouisch, we should start discussing the relative stickiness of our situations, or something.
posted by Jacqueline at 11:00 PM on October 31, 2010


I wish we had more discussions about my pole.

You don't have a pole. Silly woman.



:-P
posted by 1000monkeys at 11:01 PM on October 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well, this was productive.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:06 PM on October 31, 2010


I'm only half Pole :(
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 11:07 PM on October 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


I mentioned on the other thread, and also figure I should quickly mention here, that I TOTALLY didn't mean "go fuck yourself" to be rude. I have a bad habit of throwing out curse words when I'm with friends and occasionally bring that habit over to MetaFilter and I'm very, very sorry for not using "Sheesh", which is the patchy word I should have used instead.

So, I'm sorry both for this case and for any other lapses of polite language I've had. I love this site super loads and if it ever sounds like I'm being grumpy or mean I promise that I'm not meaning to be. On the other hand if I say "Sheesh" at you then probably I am behind you with a knife plotting future corpse storage.

And super apologies to Jessamyn, who wrote me last year about not using that phrase. I'm sorry! It will never happen again! You're my favorite mod! Cortex is smelly!
posted by Rory Marinich at 11:13 PM on October 31, 2010 [6 favorites]


Lately, I've been into mojitos. Bring some lube.

;-)
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:14 PM on October 31, 2010 [5 favorites]


Further apologies for:

* Misspelling Sara's name as "Sarah"
* Misspelling "Jewish" as "Jewis"

If this means I have to give back some of my bar mitzvah money, let me know.

posted by Rory Marinich at 11:16 PM on October 31, 2010


But the notion that certain words are 'code words' that reveal festering, oozing evil in the heart of the speaker, is not only absurd, but it's ugly.

Women are seen as more aggressive than they're being, more talkative than they are and more unpleasant than the statement they're making is. This wasn't one of those times as far as I read it. Code words and dog whistles exist but seeing them where they aren't is as destructive to conversation as when they are used like that. The same I think for pussy and other recent metatalk words. Context and good faith, if not outright overly charitable readings, are a better way to go just for my sanity. If by the eleventieth comment they're obviously using it as a code word then fine, but otherwise it's probably just a word.

Otherwise you just can't have a conversation at all, or by the time you comment it's too hard to claw your fingernails out of the keyboard again to make it worth it. I do read this stuff as pretty stifling although I definitely see where people get it from - anyone who read that as anti-women probably isn't a screeching harridan, just making a judgement based on previous contexts which is fair enough - but a good way to test is to try to see the simplest reading as your first choice until they say something twatish enough to make it reasonable that they were being a twat all along. Nothing against twats, not looking forward to the twat metatalk.

Can't say I love that men seem to jump in quick to dismiss everything though, it seemed like a reasonable if wrong assumption to me. Personally I see where it comes from but in this case disagree.
posted by shinybaum at 11:24 PM on October 31, 2010 [3 favorites]


Or there's the Mae West response...

"You know someone with a ten-foot pole?"
posted by hippybear at 11:29 PM on October 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


...not looking forward to the twat metatalk.

I very much am. It is such a fun-sounding word, its etymology is bound to be entertaining.
posted by silentpundit at 11:30 PM on October 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


You don't have a pole. Silly woman.

bullshit. not only that, but my pole is far superior - it's always hard, comes in interchangeable sizes, i can walk around the house with it but i don't have to take it to the beach (unless i want to), and it will never ever accidentally impregnate someone! i'd measure mine up against a man's pole any day (and i have!)
posted by nadawi at 11:32 PM on October 31, 2010 [5 favorites]


"Twat" sounds like a musical instrument to me. Something twangy. Kind of like a mouth organ.
posted by Rory Marinich at 11:37 PM on October 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


The neighbor kids are still running around shrieking on their sugar highs and my Ambien isn't working*, so I'm just going to stay up clicking + on all comments making innuendos about poles. Good times.

[*Yet -- please disregard any incomprehensible comments that I may post later tonight.]
posted by Jacqueline at 11:40 PM on October 31, 2010 [4 favorites]


I would love it if I could accidentally impregnate someone.

On purpose, sure, that'd be neat too. But, like, ACCIDENTALLY brings up visions of old fears about coed swimming pools!

Exciting.
posted by Ouisch at 11:45 PM on October 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


I have it on poor-to-decent authority that when you're working with a pole of at least ten feet in height, the best you can hope for is accidentally impregnating someone.
posted by silentpundit at 11:49 PM on October 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


Can somebody come up with a very clever pun about North and South poles? Like 69ing or something? I want one in this thread and I'll forward a fair five favorites for the favor.

(Rates subject to deflation, income tax; expected outcome one or half a favorite.)
posted by Rory Marinich at 11:55 PM on October 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


so I'm just going to stay up clicking + on all comments making innuendos about poles. Good times
Mwahaah I was just going to comment on that :-) Girl after my own heart!
posted by 1000monkeys at 11:56 PM on October 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Can somebody come up with a very clever pun about North and South poles?

'kay. I'll be North and you be South.
posted by 1000monkeys at 11:57 PM on October 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


...and then we can have a 'cataclysmic pole shift'
posted by 1000monkeys at 11:58 PM on October 31, 2010 [3 favorites]



Can somebody come up with a very clever pun about North and South poles? Like 69ing or something?


Oh, you mean the Polar Position?
posted by silentpundit at 11:59 PM on October 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


this is way better than recipes
posted by Jacqueline at 12:04 AM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I got a pole dancer for my twenty-first birthday. I was furious. My friends KNOW I prefer swedes.

Disclaimer: I am twenty
posted by Rory Marinich at 12:06 AM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


C'mon, man. Where's MY favourite? :-(
posted by 1000monkeys at 12:07 AM on November 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


Right there :-)
posted by Rory Marinich at 12:07 AM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Woot! :-D
posted by 1000monkeys at 12:09 AM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


damnit, i took ambien over an hour ago yet i still don't feel crap. i think i ate too much leftover candy after the trick-or-treaters were done and all that chocolate is keeping me up.

choose my own adventure, mefites! should i...
a) take a second ambien
b) wake up my husband for a ride on his pole
c) find something to watch on hulu or netflix-on-demand (recommendations?)
d) all of the above
e) none of the above

?
posted by Jacqueline at 12:15 AM on November 1, 2010


bbbbbbbbbbbbbbb





B!
posted by 1000monkeys at 12:20 AM on November 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


well that was fun for him but i still have insomnia (although at least he stopped snoring)
posted by Jacqueline at 12:41 AM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


f) Other -- read this thread again
posted by salvia at 12:48 AM on November 1, 2010


once was more than enough
posted by Jacqueline at 12:51 AM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


C) Netflix-on-demand. Recommendation: "Louie." The show starring Louie CK that finally embodies his often stolen comedy.

DISCLAIMER: Can often be, in the parlance of our times, too real for you, Billy.
posted by silentpundit at 12:54 AM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


hmm, i seem to have chosen g) cry myself to sleep while reading Wintergirls
posted by Jacqueline at 12:55 AM on November 1, 2010


This thread is very moist.
posted by loquacious at 1:19 AM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


No, this thread is unpleasant.
posted by dersins at 1:50 AM on November 1, 2010


What's wrong with being sexy?
posted by Joseph Gurl at 1:55 AM on November 1, 2010


It's a fine line.
posted by trondant at 2:14 AM on November 1, 2010


This was a strange thread, IMO.
posted by nomadicink at 3:48 AM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


fourcheesemac: I said earlier that Ouisch was a more neutral name. But I have referred to myself as female in threads.

I don't follow your posting in that much detail. And that's my point.

Sometimes being unpleasant is just unpleasant. When male-identified users do it, they get called "dicks" actually. I think I am going to take offense. I was born with one. IT'S NOT A CHOICE.
posted by fourcheesemac at 4:30 AM on November 1, 2010


DON'T BELIEVE THE POLES. GO OUT AND VOTE.
posted by fourcheesemac at 4:31 AM on November 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


You. HAVE. To. Be. Shitting. Me.

Okay, I'm staying right out of this one. There are limits.
posted by Decani at 4:32 AM on November 1, 2010


Ouisch: "If I was being coy, or sarcastic, I felt I was doing so in the way that most people do on the blue. And, honestly, if there was coyness, it didn't last very long -- I did answer gman's question."

You did indeed, and when pressed on the matter, you responded with a now deleted comment which read, "lol ur cool". Part of the idea behind this MeTa thread was to illustrate that calling out the word "unpleasant" as sexist, cheapens your cause. It makes it harder for future legitimate claims of sexism on this site to be taken as seriously as they should be.
posted by gman at 4:47 AM on November 1, 2010 [9 favorites]


shinybaum: Nothing against twats, not looking forward to the twat metatalk.

Way ahead of you.
posted by Kattullus at 5:09 AM on November 1, 2010


you responded with a now deleted comment which read, "lol ur cool".

Dude, you were being sarcastic to me, too. Sorry if I ruined feminism for you. But I would suggest that you opened this Meta in hopes that I would get a new one torn for me, and it didn't exactly happen. Let it go.
posted by Ouisch at 5:22 AM on November 1, 2010


But I would suggest that you opened this Meta in hopes that I would get a new one torn for me, and it didn't exactly happen.

Sometimes when people explain their reasoning for doing X, it's best to just take them at their word as opposed to affixing your own personal negative spin on it.
posted by nomadicink at 5:31 AM on November 1, 2010 [7 favorites]


Feminism seeks to address all manner of issues, big and small. That women can (and do) utilize the tenets of feminism in every aspect of their lives does not undermine the history of the feminist movement, but instead does it a great honor. Feminism was never meant to be restricted to suffrage and equal pay, held in reserve like a finite quantity that could run out if it's used for "the little things." Feminism is a renewable resource.

I think this is an important quote. Calling out sincerely perceived sexism -- even if people think you're WRONGITY WRONG WRONG WRONG -- doesn't somehow cheapen or undermine feminism.

And I think I'm going to have to leave it at that. This Meta has actually been pretty unpleasant for me, believe it or not, being the barf frosting of the shit cake of yesterday evening, when my cat was diagnosed with cancer. Not that you need to give me sympathy, but I would appreciate a bit of the laying-off. I think it's been pretty thoroughly hashed out -- or at least it has been for me. I saw something a lot of other people didn't see, but which a few people can agree with. Alright then.
posted by Ouisch at 5:35 AM on November 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


nomadicink: perhaps so. But I think we can all agree that Meta call-outs have a pretty ragey pile-on expectation. Though I admit that perhaps gman's motives were totally not in this line -- it felt that way to me.
posted by Ouisch at 5:37 AM on November 1, 2010


Can I take the over on 350? Splunge is gonna get destroyed here.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:39 AM on November 1, 2010


Look, I'm really sorry to hear about your cat, I am, but dropping that in-thread is pretty manipulative. As for MeTa call-outs having a "pretty ragey pile-on expectation", this usually happens when someone can't let go of their point and decide that they need to post fifty comments defending it.
posted by gman at 5:43 AM on November 1, 2010 [9 favorites]


I thought you wanted an explanation. I was here to offer it.
posted by Ouisch at 5:44 AM on November 1, 2010


Wow, this thread is frustrating.


I'm also interested in hearing other people's take on this, particularly anyone who goes by an openly feminine username.

Ouisch, your argument by innuendo here did your overall concern a disservice. You provided two examples (out of all the examples you claim to have seen here at MetaFilter) to back up a pretty heavy charge. Your specific concern seems so picayune that it really requires extraordinary evidence. I agree, in general, that there is a history of accusing unaccommodating women of being “not nice,” or “unpleasant,” but precisely because those phrases are also in common currency, one must build a careful argument around the accusation of sexism with them as evidence. This is especially true on a website where slights and slurs are exchanged constantly. Derision is, unfortunately, part of the tenor of the site, and is not typically gendered.

But, I basically consider you to have been disingenuous here not simply because you would not provide evidence for your (in the circumstances) extraordinary claim, but because you just continued to assert it, and assert it as an unfalsifiable “feeling,” in the face of disconfirming evidence. By far the majority of women, including Sara C., who responded to your call for “other people’s take on this,” said that they did not experience this as sexist, or as part of a general trend. Despite getting what you claimed to want, both explicitly, and in the implicit sense of getting a check on your “gut feeling,” you persisted in reiterating your extraordinary claim. I think that’s bullshit, and does far more harm than good to the cause of raising awareness and changing attitudes about sexism (on MetaFilter and elsewhere). You essentially came across as a concern troll in this thread, which is always frustrating, but is most frustrating for me with an issue I care about.

I was also pissed to see the willful use of sexist responses to Ouisch in this thread. Performance art, point-scoring, or tone deaf, they all seemed horribly unwelcome.
posted by OmieWise at 5:59 AM on November 1, 2010 [14 favorites]


(Uh, I might have no business in here, being a major noob. But I figure the mods know what they're doing - excruciating though these massive threads must be for them- and if they wanted to restrict newbies from MeTa they'd have done it by now.

Just want to note that you have every right to be here, and to speak your mind. Welcome to Metafilter. :)
posted by zarq at 6:04 AM on November 1, 2010 [6 favorites]


Calling out sincerely perceived sexism -- even if people think you're WRONGITY WRONG WRONG WRONG -- doesn't somehow cheapen or undermine feminism.

It does when most of the other feminists are saying that you've mis-perceived, and yet you continue to insist that you were right, and, what's more, that those who disagree with you only do so because they don't understand how feminism works.
posted by OmieWise at 6:15 AM on November 1, 2010 [3 favorites]




But I would suggest that you opened this Meta in hopes that I would get a new one torn for me, and it didn't exactly happen.

I'll suggest that you're upset that virtually no one is agreeing with you that "unpleasant" is being used on Metafilter in a sexist way, and so you're trying to cast doubts on the sincerity of the stated reasons for this MeTa. That's uncool.
posted by 23skidoo at 6:22 AM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't recall insisting that I was right and others were wrong. I did, however, affirm that I have an opinion, though I am genuinely interested in hearing other people's opinions. When I felt they'd misunderstood my premise, I explained. When I felt they understood but disagreed, I actually read their comments and thought about them. Also, feminists are allowed to disagree about stuff sometimes.
posted by Ouisch at 6:22 AM on November 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Is it true that Metas are never opened as an aggressive maneuver against someone you disagree with? If so, then I guess I shouldn't have entertained the possibility.
posted by Ouisch at 6:25 AM on November 1, 2010


No, of course that's not true, but I stated my reasoning in both the post and a subsequent comment. You then made a choice to contradict what I said and create my motives for me.
posted by gman at 6:28 AM on November 1, 2010


Ouisch, perhaps you should step away from this thread for a while? I say that politely, but you just seem really fighty for no good reason. I realize it's important to you and I understand that, but whatever point you're trying to make is getting lost in the constant.

I mean, look at this: "Is it true that Metas are never opened as an aggressive maneuver against someone you disagree with? If so, then I guess I shouldn't have entertained the possibility."

You're justifying your behavior on the premise that sometimes X happens, so it's totally fine if I entertain the idea it's happening here. That's a pretty weak argument, IMO.
posted by nomadicink at 6:30 AM on November 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


Ouisch, I'm sorry to hear about your cat.
posted by zarq at 6:32 AM on November 1, 2010


Also pretty nooby here but, between "fainting couch" here and Pareidoliaticboy's now-deleted presentation case of racist terms in the "Anglo oppression callout" thread, I'm wondering if Metatalk threw a Halloween party with a "Victorian Metafilter" theme. Is there some sort of performance art going on here?
posted by DNye at 6:32 AM on November 1, 2010


Is it true that Metas are never opened as an aggressive maneuver against someone you disagree with? If so, then I guess I shouldn't have entertained the possibility.

Instead of entertaining the possibility simply because other people have started passive aggressive MeTas in the past, it seems like a better idea to judge each MeTa's earnestness on its own. What are the reasons that make you think THIS MeTa was started insincerely? "Well, sometimes MeTas are started insincerely" is really a weak reason.
posted by 23skidoo at 6:33 AM on November 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Part of the idea behind this MeTa thread was to illustrate that calling out the word "unpleasant" as sexist, cheapens your cause.

I think this is more than merely being interested in further explanation. It sort of makes me think of some kind of lesson-teaching via Metatalk. Which is pretty well-known for being a disagreeable place for those who've been called out.

I'm sorry if I've attributed motives to gman unfairly. I did engage with him in good faith when he opened the thread. That statement, however, gave me cause to reconsider.

If I am wrong, again I apologize.
posted by Ouisch at 6:41 AM on November 1, 2010


Ouisch, you seem to be looking for monsters under every bed. Sometimes people are unpleasant. Sometimes they're men, sometimes they're women. I agree with suggestion that you step away for a bit -- you're adding a lot of aggro into the thread with this sort of hand-wavey "oh i guess only I have the special glasses that allow me understand what's REALLY going on here". It's distasteful (unpleasant?), and I think does a pretty big disservice to this community. Yes, this community is not perfect (is any?), and yes, there are members who bring with them certain sexist attitudes and/or phraseology. But damn, you're really reaching with this one.
posted by modernnomad at 6:44 AM on November 1, 2010


I take Bearwife at her word that she was genuinely interested in responses to the word "pussy," and so I also take gman at his word here. He has an opinion on this, obviously, but hasn't been especially aggressive about forwarding it in this thread. When somebody is not making a lot of comments in their own thread, I suspect they're listening.
posted by Astro Zombie at 6:46 AM on November 1, 2010


I apologize.
posted by Ouisch at 6:47 AM on November 1, 2010


I hate getting paid less than male people. I hate that I have to tread really carefully between being considered weak and being considered a bitch. I hate that many people don't hear me when I talk about technical issues, because they assume that gray hair and girl parts render me incompetent. I hate when rape and violence are used to silence and subjugate women. I dislike not being able to pee standing up.

Unpleasant? I'll worry about being called unpleasant when I get an Equal Rights Amendment in the USA. Until then, yes, Metafilter is often a Boyzone, but tries harder to listen than many boyz.
posted by theora55 at 6:56 AM on November 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


I have a feminine username - heck, I outright call myself a girl (note that I'm 26 and have been self/state-supported since I was 18).

Yes, in my experience some users feel they can treat me as less than a fully grown and sane adult. Those users are generally assholes (there are a lot of them around, if you keep your eyes open). I despise dismissive language in general, and dismissive language directed towards women is particularly gross.

So thanks for bringing this up, Ouisch.
posted by muddgirl at 7:05 AM on November 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


Ouisch, for what it's worth, if gman hadn't questioned your assertion of sexism in that thread, I might have. Your comment seemed to come out of the blue to me because "unpleasant" seems to be a neutral, nongendered word (and a relatively polite and civilized insult for mefi!) and I could not see evidence of sexism towards Sara C in that thread. And when asked about it, you seemed to expect a fight right from the get-go, yet from my perspective, it was a reasonable thing to question. Ascribing gman's motive in this metatalk as being to tear you a new one seems ungenerous at best. I could certainly be wrong, but it seemed he genuinely wanted to address the issue you raised without derailing that thread. I see no snark in the way he posted it and he seemed to take care to link to your actual words. There's always a few outliers in any thread, but by and large I think people in this thread - gman included - are coming from a point of good-faith.

I once worked in an environment where the sexism was pretty overt and many of the men pretty reprehensible. It probably would have been a good scenario for a harassment suit. For a time, it left me pretty angry at men in general and the experience gave me a bit of a hair-trigger on perceived sexism for awhile. If you've suffered some bad experiences, maybe your gut meter is on a similar hair trigger setting. Or maybe your recent events are coloring things, too - so sorry about your poor kitty. I don't think there is anything wrong with raising issues for discussion and it might have been received better if you raised that issue here yourself rather than in that thread. And without more evidence to point to, it also might have been more productive raised as a question than an accusation since it appears based primarily on your own feelings and experience.
posted by madamjujujive at 7:12 AM on November 1, 2010 [8 favorites]


Okay, I've seen like three different users in the past twenty minutes log on to tell Ouisch how she was totally wrong. I think she gets it, she's apologized a few times. Can we stop now? Maybe go eat some half-price Halloween candy or something?
posted by palomar at 7:20 AM on November 1, 2010


If she keeps insisting she's right or some variation on that theme, people will probably continue chiming in with where they think she's mistaken. So it goes.
posted by nomadicink at 7:23 AM on November 1, 2010


maybe it's time you took your own advice and left the thread for a while.
posted by palomar at 7:27 AM on November 1, 2010


Good advice.
posted by nomadicink at 7:31 AM on November 1, 2010


Ok, I'm back.
posted by nomadicink at 7:32 AM on November 1, 2010 [8 favorites]


To answer the original question:
1) The overuse of the word "unpleasant" when a woman or a feminine user name is stating an opinion can be sexist.
2) The incident in question did not, to me, resemble that.
3) Unpleasant, in general, is not a loaded word.
4) I have found that when I use a feminine user name or picture in other places, that I get patronized a lot more than when I have a neutral name. It has not, as of yet, happened on Metafilter. (Though I guess my user name here is kind of neutralish.)
5) Ouisch, I disagree with you on this particular instance. It might have been more worthwhile to find different instances of "unpleasant" to demonstrate the point further (if you honestly believe "unpleasant" is a loaded word, regardless of context), because this particular usage did not seem motivated by gender. I'm sorry about your kitty, that sucks.

Now I have to go do my, for real, graduate level feminism homework. Ironically, I hate this class with the power of ten thousand suns and am only taking it for the comp credit.
posted by wending my way at 8:03 AM on November 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


now i remember why i deleted my account in the first place. should have left it that way.
posted by palomar at 8:10 AM on November 1, 2010


FWIW, I do not think the word "unpleasant" is de facto sexist when directed at a woman, despite how this post was framed. ("I'm genuinely curious to know if others find the use of the word "unpleasant", when directed at a female member, to be sexist?")

I think my original comment provides the context I was referring to.

Again, I accept that people may still disagree, even given the context. I am open to listening to those disagreements and considering them, especially when I'm reading and interpreting things in the future. I just find it important to state that it was the context and the behaviour I objected to, and not the actual word itself.

This point seems to have been repeatedly buried under the misapprehension that I think the word "unpleasant" is somehow misogynist. Of course I don't.
posted by Ouisch at 8:13 AM on November 1, 2010


Also, I don't think Sara C. was being unpleasant at all. She was expressing her well-informed opinion respectfully. I don't know if it was sexist to label her behavior as "unpleasant", but it was certainly wrong-headed.
posted by muddgirl at 8:15 AM on November 1, 2010


Also, I can't believe that so many commenters passed on taking jabs at the guy who claimed that Glen Beck's rally had 1 million attendees! The thread is too long to point that out now, but it's such a classic.
posted by muddgirl at 8:17 AM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


She was expressing her well-informed opinion respectfully. I don't know if it was sexist to label her behavior as "unpleasant", but it was certainly wrong-headed.


She was misrepresenting what another member wrote because what we wrote was too long. It's not wrong-headed to call out that behavior as unpleasant.
posted by 23skidoo at 8:28 AM on November 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


She skimmed a comment and extracted out the important bits. We all do that.
posted by muddgirl at 8:32 AM on November 1, 2010


She skimmed a comment, picked out one sentence that was in no way representative of the entire comment, and then mocked another member for that one sentence. That sentence was not "the important bits" of what was written.
posted by 23skidoo at 8:34 AM on November 1, 2010 [11 favorites]


Also, I can't believe that so many commenters passed on taking jabs at the guy who claimed that Glen Beck's rally had 1 million attendees!

Maybe he thought they meant Jeff Beck.
posted by jonmc at 8:34 AM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Glenn Beck did have a million people at his rally, assuming you're using the same counting systems that cavemen used, who counted on their fingers, and where there is 1-10, and then anything bigger than that is "one million."
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:36 AM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


She skimmed a comment, picked out one sentence that was in no way representative of the entire comment, and then mocked another member for that one sentence. That sentence was not "the important bits" of what was written.

Agreed.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:39 AM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


She was dismissive and condescending---it wasn't a real march, just a fakety-fake one.

Unpleasant is an adequate descriptor of that behaviour, in this instance.
posted by bonehead at 8:42 AM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I would encourage you to second-guess your own assumptions here, especially since the position you're so convinced of is that there is some malevolent creeping misogyny that lives in the hearts of all men, and that's a deeply unfair and unrealistic and negative attitude to carry around.

I wholeheartedly support this statement.

I'm as feminist as the next hippie-college graduate who tries to smash the partriarchy in her free time, but... at the same time, if I were to read bad motives into every single possible objectionable word that anyone used ever - that would be a totally exhausting lifestyle.

See for instance: I always call my husband out on telling me to "calm down" because no, it's never gone well for him and no, I don't need to "calm down," thanks anyway. At the same time, his default expression of affection is "cute" and while some people see this as a belittling word, I know him well enough to know that he truly means this as a compliment and I don't get pissed about it. (Also helps that English isn't his first language, and so he doesn't necessarily always get that some terms have baggage - I cut him a lot of slack with this.)

Same on MetaFilter. There are times when someone is saying something, even inadvertently, that's just offensive. And then there are times when they say something that if you turn your head and squint... could maybe possibly be taken the wrong way. If you're truly this offended by the term "unpleasant," I honestly can only imagine that you're really exhausted with dealing with the outside world and how oppressive it feels to you. Not everyone means the worst by what they say and it helps to open up positive discourse for social change and whatnot to recognize when there really is something going on that needs talking about and when someone has merely hit your particular button.
posted by sonika at 8:42 AM on November 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


She skimmed a comment, picked out one sentence that was in no way representative of the entire comment, and then mocked another member for that one sentence. That sentence was not "the important bits" of what was written.

Should have been more clear: I don't think her estimation of "important bits" was correct (actually I don't know - I skimmed the comment as well) - I don't think it's important whether or not you agree with her estimation of the important bits. What I'm saying is that her "unpleasant tactics" are far to common on Metafilter, and if they are noted then it is not as a personal attack on the behavior but rather an attack on the tactic.

"You are being unpleasant" is a different kind of criticism than "Don't take me out of context."
posted by muddgirl at 8:43 AM on November 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Sorry to um, attempt to re-rail the discussion or whatever.

My pole, it vibrates.
posted by sonika at 8:43 AM on November 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


Nothing against twats, not looking forward to the twat metatalk.

Way ahead of you


That whole thread makes me sad. Fragile conversations are okay and everything, I was overly presumptive about how robust it was here. I suppose you don't get rid of boyzones without breaking a few twats.
posted by shinybaum at 8:44 AM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


She was dismissive and condescending---it wasn't a real march, just a fakety-fake one.

See what I mean by far to common? to read Sara's extensive comments and distill "it was a fakety-fake march" should be shocking to me, but I understand that most people don't read every word of every comment.
posted by muddgirl at 8:44 AM on November 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Hi, I am just showing up here having read the majority of comments in this MeTa thread, and having mostly avoided the source of this recent hullabaloo.

Point the first: I'd say that Ouisch (who I had no idea was female, etc.) is a little too aggressive in her rooting out of sexism. Or something. She has an angry-looking picture in her profile and seems to be here to throw down.

Point two: I think that sexism is more readily addressed on MeFi by addressing the individuals as individuals (private message, dropping a message to a mod about that particular offender) than it is by calling out general trends that are not, in fact, trends. If an entire thread turns into a boyzone clusterfuck, then call it out. If we have institutional sexism, whether it be in the selection of what is deleted or the tone of comments allowed on the site, then call it out.

To be honest, I seldom think about a commenter's gender, and I'm often wrong. I've thought some women were men, some men were women, and some people who seemed pretty neutral have piped up on ask.mefi as very sexual beings. It's a pretty diverse world, but I'd rather be called "unpleasant" than I would a "abusive cock" or a "horrible bitch" any day. Let's not get rid of more civil dialog.
posted by mikeh at 8:45 AM on November 1, 2010


a) I don't see gender
b) ew, aggressive women (pulling a face does not equal aggressive)
c) wilful ignoring of a posters actual commenting history of untrolly, unfighty comments so that she seems to be a feminazi as opposed to a reasonable good faith participant who had an opinion

Yay.
posted by shinybaum at 8:55 AM on November 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


Near the end of a recent 500+-comment MeTa thread, a community member of longstanding proposed that script automatically asterisking certain words would protect sensitive eyes from gendered slurs, misapprehending that the insult was drawn from the ugliness of the word as an entity, rather than from its subtext

Yes, that would defeat the purpose.

I dislike all vicious epithets against people based on their category (woman, man, gay, straight, white, black, etc.). But I don't mainly dislike them because my feelings are so sensitive and need to be protected.
posted by John Cohen at 8:55 AM on November 1, 2010


I'm not really here to "throw down."

The angry-looking picture is meant as a joke. I don't assume the many members who have/had profile pictures containing guns are pointing them at me.
posted by Ouisch at 8:58 AM on November 1, 2010


That is, throw down.
posted by Ouisch at 8:59 AM on November 1, 2010


Tone matters, perhaps more than content. Her first post was dismissive, her second brought in the no-true-Scotsman, I've been to the real thing. Rightly or wrongly, a lot of people reacted to that as if it were condescending and the thread was off the tracks from that point on. She tried to backtrack later, but it was too late by then.

Her error was not in content, but in tone. I don't think this is about gender so much as it is about someone who made her point in a poor way. It's a common mistake, and calling her out on it was fine. How else is she going to learn?
posted by bonehead at 9:05 AM on November 1, 2010


What I'm saying is that her "unpleasant tactics" are far to common on Metafilter, and if they are noted then it is not as a personal attack on the behavior but rather an attack on the tactic.

"You are being unpleasant" is a different kind of criticism than "Don't take me out of context."


In a text-only discussion-based website, taking someone out of context is really unpleasant. The fact that it's commonplace doesn't somehow absolve it of it's unpleasantness. I don't have a problem with labeling certain behaviors as unpleasant.
posted by 23skidoo at 9:05 AM on November 1, 2010


I'm not really here to "throw down."

That may be so, but you're giving off fighty vibes. You keep arguing things that aren't there and insisting that you're right and others have bad intentions. When it's pointed out that you're mistaken, your response is "Well it happens sometimes" as opposed to "Oops, my bad" or you mingle the two.

That can easily be seen as combative, despite what you intend.
posted by nomadicink at 9:13 AM on November 1, 2010


In a text-only discussion-based website, taking someone out of context is really unpleasant. The fact that it's commonplace doesn't somehow absolve it of it's unpleasantness.

My point is that an isolated incident of calling someone "unpleasant" may not be sexist. But choosing to target a specific person for such a label may have sexist motives. In other words, Sara C.'s behaviors may be labeled unpleasant because she is perceived as an argumentative woman, while an argumentative man would be labeled something different. I did not see Sarah C.'s behavior as out of the norm for Metafilter - fighty, yes, as Metafilter has been fighty since like 1999.

I just find it curious that so many people were offended specifically by her fighty comments over anyone else's fighty comments, and I don't think it's too much to wonder if gender has something to do with it. Maybe it doesn't.

Fuck it, who cares? Anyone who read's this comment is just going to see "gender has something to do with it" and assume that's my whole argument, and I'll be miserably right once again.
posted by muddgirl at 9:24 AM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I messed up her username 12 different ways.
posted by muddgirl at 9:25 AM on November 1, 2010


That may be so, but you're giving off fighty vibes.

And the other people here aren't? She's been a hell of a lot more patient with people in this thread than I would have been in her place.

Why are you trying so hard to get her to stop discussing this, but not focusing on other people's responses to her?
posted by zarq at 9:30 AM on November 1, 2010 [8 favorites]


shinybaum, fair game on my mention of the picture. It's very likely neither here nor there, but it's a pretty common attitude that conversations on the web (although not mefi) are very often hostile, and she mentions that as her "internet face," and I got the impression of hostility from a few comments here. So, that's where I'm coming from. Aggressive women are fine, aggressive men are fine, assuming all conversation taking place on the internet leads to aggression, not fine. I'm likely reading more into it than what is there. I'd say the same if it was a man in the picture. Ouisch has done a pretty good job of explaining that's not her, and I believe her. She's not here for that. End of story, for me.

Also, I don't believe I ever used the word "feminazi," nor would I ever use it seriously on or off the web. It's just not a word I use. You're the only one using it on this thread. The rest of my comment was about ways I feel are effective in confronting people who are dealing with others in a sexist manner. Take what you will from that part of the comment.
posted by mikeh at 9:49 AM on November 1, 2010


She has an angry-looking picture in her profile and seems to be here to throw down.

I don't know whether to laugh or cry at this. Is this a performance-art mockery of the tone argument? Do you seriously think it's okay to go to the profile of a woman who is discussing sexism on metafilter and critique her picture? Either this is a joke (bad taste!) or you are being serious (yikes!) and either way, I think it's time for me to go watch cute puppy videos or something and get the fuck out of here before I start shouting.
posted by Frobenius Twist at 9:51 AM on November 1, 2010 [11 favorites]


And I wouldn't say that I don't see gender, I would say that I don't consciously pursue that information often, and I am often surprised by my misconceptions. Like a few people upthread, I never saw the "amy" in amyms and had for some reason shoved her into some default probably-male category in my mind (sorry, amy!). In other recent memory, there was a gay male I thought was female until I managed to click on his profile, a few older individuals who I thought were much younger, and a few white people I wrongly stereotyped as black.

I think part of what the issue here is, is that we're all used to interacting with others in fairly stereotypical ways and MeFi isn't just cross-group in one town, it's worldwide and a reasonable cross-section of a lot of groups. Our shared language, triggers, beliefs, and culture is in flux with every new member. Working out what we mean when we say things is just part of the territory.
posted by mikeh at 9:55 AM on November 1, 2010


Frobenius, it was a connection between that and the comment on her page, and my own insecure projections about how people communicate on the web. Mea culpa.
posted by mikeh at 9:56 AM on November 1, 2010


MetaFilter: insulting, pooh-poohing, and being cranky.
posted by ericb at 9:56 AM on November 1, 2010


Apparently, in my ham-handed attempt to mention that it's hard to present your opinions and image without being misunderstood on the web, I outed myself as a sexist asshole?

It's a funny picture! Sheesh.
posted by mikeh at 9:59 AM on November 1, 2010


She has an angry-looking picture in her profile and seems to be here to throw down.

My profile is a painting of a Negro Leagues baseball player and I'm as white as they come.

I'm so white, I'm clear. I'm so white, for Halloween, I stripped down to my shorts and went as Liquid Paper. "Hey, baby. I may not be Mr. Right, but I am Mr. Correct."

So, climb down off the hobby horse, mm-'kay?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:00 AM on November 1, 2010


And the other people here aren't?

Yes, that's exactly what I said.

Why are you trying so hard to get her to stop discussing this, but not focusing on other people's responses to her?

Because I disagree with her and didn't notice particularly flightiness in other people's responses.
posted by nomadicink at 10:00 AM on November 1, 2010


Metafilter: some women were men, some men were women, and some people who seemed pretty neutral have piped up on ask.mefi as very sexual beings.

(Incidentally, if we've crossed the exciting Rubicon of looking at female members' profile pictures and criticising them for looking too angry, can we also start maybe suggesting that we'd have more time for their arguments if they smiled a bit more, or put on some makeup? The possibilities here are pretty much limitless...)
posted by DNye at 10:01 AM on November 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


if we've crossed the exciting Rubicon of looking at female members' profile pictures and criticising them for looking too angry, can we also start maybe suggesting that we'd have more time for their arguments if they smiled a bit more, or put on some makeup?

Ha! I am both smiling and wearing make-up in my profile picture.

This may be because it was taken about a year ago and I was not so very, very tired back then.
posted by sonika at 10:03 AM on November 1, 2010


My profile picture is an extremely accurate representation of my day-to-day appearance and behavior.
posted by elizardbits at 10:05 AM on November 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


"But choosing to target a specific person for such a label may have sexist motives. In other words, Sara C.'s behaviors may be labeled unpleasant because she is perceived as an argumentative woman, while an argumentative man would be labeled something different.

I just find it curious that so many people were offended specifically by her fighty comments over anyone else's fighty comments, and I don't think it's too much to wonder if gender has something to do with it. Maybe it doesn't.
"

There are two things worth replying with here:

First off, saying that something "may" have something to do with something else isn't just a statement you can lay out and leave without arguing with evidence, especially when there's an implication of anti-social or anti-community behavior. It's related to the idea of ad hominem fallacy, where by imputing a gender motive, you ignore the idea that someone could legitimately find someone else's behavior unpleasant. This is especially true in border cases, where in order to treat the incidence as meaningful and not noise, a demonstrated repeated pattern has to be shown.

Just saying that something maybe sexist, maybe not, is an unfair attack hedged in vague language; it's an attack by implication, an attack by gossip. Think about how you would feel if I said that you using this mode of criticism was maybe because your gender tends toward gossipy attacks, but maybe not. It's unfair, in part because it places the burden upon you to show that you weren't acting in a way that comports with stereotypes about your gender, but rather that you really believe the views you stated as you stated them.

Likewise, that MetaFilter is fighty isn't an excuse for fighty behavior; that's the tu quoque fallacy. It's entirely permissible for someone to call someone else unpleasant for behavior they consider unpleasant without that person having to call out every instance of unpleasant behavior. If and when the word "unpleasant" becomes disproportionately aimed at women, that's when it's worth calling it out as sexist. Otherwise, as per above, that's bullshit.

Further, while I'm annoyed at the sexism charge, I will take a moment to defend the "Go fuck yourself." That was a fair response to a bullshit charge, and the grousing about incivility there is misplaced. There should be no inherent taboo against telling someone to fuck off, and decorum should not inherently be a goal here.
posted by klangklangston at 10:06 AM on November 1, 2010 [19 favorites]


Frobenius, it was a connection between that and the comment on her page, and my own insecure projections about how people communicate on the web. Mea culpa.

Gotcha, and I understand that it's hard to convey tone properly on the interwebs. I see that you were trying (I assume) to insert some levity into your comment; unfortunately, that might be misread in a heated discussion. (And I'm certainly not trying to position myself as a paragon of moral superiority or anything -- I have often made jokes that turned out in a way different than I'd intended, oh my yes I have).
posted by Frobenius Twist at 10:07 AM on November 1, 2010


Mikeh, fair enough. My user picture used to be a hamster and the one I have now is a bit unsmiley but I don't think it says anything about how I want to present myself on the web. On Livejournal I used to think of people as their icons and was shocked they weren't all hot vampires when I met them.
posted by shinybaum at 10:08 AM on November 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


I don't think she was being unpleasant, I think she was being a jerk. "Unpleasant" is just a more pleasant way of putting it.
posted by spaltavian at 10:11 AM on November 1, 2010


There should be no inherent taboo against telling someone to fuck off, and decorum should not inherently be a goal here.

Just for the record, there's not a taboo about telling someone to fuck off, there's a guideline. Please don't do this on MetaFilter, it's completely antithetical to the little reminder under the box and if you can't do this on a continued basis we will actually ask you to either leave or straighten up your act.

This isn't because telling someone to fuck off is oh so terrible, but because it's shitty behavior that is totally avoidable. It's not something that's one of those borderline "oh maybe I misunderstood you" things, it's just flat out being a jerk to someone. As always we all have the MeFi we dream about versus the one we actually have, but the "don't tell other people to fuck off" is pretty well part of the MeFi we have. If you don't like it, that's your prerogative, but it's definitely part of how we moderate the site.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:17 AM on November 1, 2010 [12 favorites]


Do you seriously think it's okay to go to the profile of a woman who is discussing sexism on metafilter and critique her picture?

While I think using a profile picture to get an idea of what a MeFite is about is as useful as phrenology, I also think it's silly in this case to infer a gender angle from mikeh's comment. It was wrong-headed and ridiculous, as was the time when klang got flack for pointing a gun at the camera in his pic (I think that's what Ouisch was referencing), but it's to muck it into a sexism thing is pretty wrong-headed and ridiculous, too.

Incidentally, if we've crossed the exciting Rubicon of looking at female members' profile pictures and criticising them for looking too angry, can we also start maybe suggesting that we'd have more time for their arguments if they smiled a bit more, or put on some makeup? The possibilities here are pretty much limitless...


Oh, great.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:20 AM on November 1, 2010


In other words, Sara C.'s behaviors may be labeled unpleasant because she is perceived as an argumentative woman, while an argumentative man would be labeled something different.

There were other women and men (and genderless usernames) arguing similar points in that thread. Her behaviour was called out in particular.

I did not see Sarah C.'s behavior as out of the norm for Metafilter - fighty, yes, as Metafilter has been fighty since like 1999.

People, men and women and other genderless usernames are rude on Metafilter all the time. Pointing out bad behaviour is also a norm.
posted by bonehead at 10:22 AM on November 1, 2010


My profile picture is an extremely accurate representation of my day-to-day appearance and behavior.

My profile picture reflects the mood of alertness and happiness to which I aspire.
posted by bearwife at 10:23 AM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


If we don't have a long-ass contentious thread about a touchy subject at least once a week, God kills a litter of puppies, right? Because, otherwise there's really no excuse.
posted by jonmc at 10:23 AM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yes, that's exactly what I said.

I think it's clearly implied.

felix betachat made several sexist comments to attack her.

mikeh brought up her profile picture to try to paint her as a combative troll.

She's apologized repeatedly. You're now telling her to shut up and leave her own callout thread.
posted by zarq at 10:26 AM on November 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


First off, saying that something "may" have something to do with something else isn't just a statement you can lay out and leave without arguing with evidence...where in order to treat the incidence as meaningful and not noise, a demonstrated repeated pattern has to be shown.

I agree with you here, and that is part of the reason why I said I was interested in other responses by members who may or may not have experienced this. It was an attempt to perhaps gather some data, though of course it's not exactly systematic. Since the thread existed, I thought it was worth sincerely checking out the assumptions I'd allowed myself to indulge on the Blue in a sarcastic comment. I admitted to personal bias and the possibility that I could be expressing paranoia.

Likewise, that MetaFilter is fighty isn't an excuse for fighty behavior...There should be no inherent taboo against telling someone to fuck off, and decorum should not inherently be a goal here.

Not sure I'm really parsing this.

If and when the word "unpleasant" becomes disproportionately aimed at women, that's when it's worth calling it out as sexist.

And this is what I was concerned about. Apparently lots of people disagree and don't see it the way I did. Okay -- I could be wrong. I don't think it's crazy to talk about, though, which was purportedly the point of this thread.

Wouldn't tu quoque -- used in the sense you use it -- also radically discredit any claims of a double-standard right out of the gate? Because I was never calling any one single person hypocritical (i.e. saying that Rory Marinich had accused Sara C. of unpleasantness while he himself was being unpleasant), but rather I was expressing my opinion that Sara C. was being held to a higher standard of conduct by others in the thread.

Maybe I'm splitting hairs at this point, but this was genuinely my concern from the very beginning. Sorry if I haven't expressed it well.
posted by Ouisch at 10:26 AM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


For what it's worth, I'm also an annoying chick whose username is hereafter besmirched with unpleasant associations. Really, I feel like some of the responses in this thread actually support my point more than they undermine it.
posted by Ouisch at 10:30 AM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: Sorry if I ruined feminism for you.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 10:33 AM on November 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Really, I feel like some of the responses in this thread actually support my point more than they undermine it.

Some of the responses support the unsurprising idea that sexism is alive and well on MetaFilter. Most of the people who disagree with your point about the use of "unpleasant" would very much agree with you about that. I know I would. But that general point does not prove your specific point, which is my point.
posted by OmieWise at 10:36 AM on November 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


the chick-dude and annoying-not annoying continua are orthogonal
posted by found missing at 10:36 AM on November 1, 2010


The "fuck yourself" language choice was unfortunate, since it's one of those phrases that makes you wrong no matter what came before. And in this case, what came before "fuck yourself" could not have been calculated to be more dismissive and insulting.

It's awfully nice of Rory Marinich to have apologized. Sara C. cherrypicking through his comment to call him a starfucker was indeed obnoxious. At that point, she wasn't making any grand points; she was just belittling another user in the ugliest way she could.

That sort of unpleasantness needs to fuck off.
posted by breezeway at 10:36 AM on November 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


She's apologized repeatedly. You're now telling her to shut up and leave her own callout thread.

Nope.
posted by nomadicink at 10:36 AM on November 1, 2010


Well, to be fair, I don't think gman is in danger of foreverafter being disliked by all Metafilterian kind. Even if I did call him "dude."
posted by Ouisch at 10:37 AM on November 1, 2010


felix betachat made several sexist comments to attack her.

Since he seems to have removed himself from this MeTa and I've elected myself to speak on his behalf once already, I think it's worth pointing out that the only sexist comment felix made to Ouisch was the 'fainting couch' thing. felix's main point here seems to be that he feels she hasn't been an honest dealer, more interested in stirring the shit than having a proper discussion. While I think it was a very inflammatory and needlessly provocative term, especially in the context of the MeTa, the dramatic prop of a fainting couch (Which he later compared to a troll bridge) is an apt reference if you think another actor is being disingenuous. A horrible choice of words given the circumstances, but apt if you have doubts about a party's good faith.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:51 AM on November 1, 2010


Do you seriously think it's okay to go to the profile of a woman who is discussing sexism on metafilter and critique her picture?

Sometimes, yes? It's generally not a good thing to go digging around in somebody's --anybody's-- profile looking for some sort of gotcha to score points with. But if that somebody includes something as eye-catching as the photo on Ouisch's profile and couples it with multiple strongly-worded comments, it is natural for people to click through, notice it, and mention it if it supports their larger point ("Ouisch seems angry"). If that were the whole of mikeh's comment, it might seem more problematic to me, but I read it as rather parenthetical to what he was trying to say.

But you seem to be saying it's particularly not OK because Ouisch is a woman, and this is where I'm having difficulty following your logic. If there was anything in mikeh's comment vaguely resembling the notion of "I would/not hit it" I would understand better a tone of "I don't know whether to laugh or cry at this". I'd even get it better if he'd said "angry [word meaning female]," but he said "angry looking" which, objectively, I think it is (though also funny).

So I feel like I'm missing something when you say "do you seriously think that!? Yikes!? Really!?" which itself seems kinda combative and assumes anyone who doesn't think like you do has some kind of problem.
posted by Dano St at 10:54 AM on November 1, 2010


Also pretty nooby here but... Is there some sort of performance art going on here?

Oh, grat, now we have to kill another one of 'em... That's the second one today, and it's only Monday. Would you people please be a little more obtuse, even the newbs are on to you...
posted by OneMonkeysUncle at 10:54 AM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure a study came out (can't remember when, sorry) showing that viewers of Stewart/Colbert tend to be a lot more aware of politics than others.

Daily Show Viewers Knowledgeable About Presidential Campaign, National Annenberg Election Survey Shows.
"Viewers of late-night comedy programs, especially The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on Comedy Central, are more likely to know the issue positions and backgrounds of presidential candidates than people who do not watch late-night comedy, the University of Pennsylvania’s National Annenberg Election Survey shows."
'Daily Show' Viewers Ace Political Quiz.
"On top of that, 'Daily Show' viewers know more about election issues than people who regularly read newspapers or watch television news, according to the National Annenberg Election Survey."
posted by ericb at 10:55 AM on November 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Previous FPP: Is Jon Stewart the Most Trusted Man in America?
posted by ericb at 10:57 AM on November 1, 2010


For what it's worth, I'm also an annoying chick whose username is hereafter besmirched with unpleasant associations.

Again, is this asserting MetaFilter treated you differently for being a woman? Because I'm pretty confident "don't be that guy" would absolutely crush "don't be that girl" in a google fight.
posted by Dano St at 11:03 AM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think it's worth pointing out that the only sexist comment felix made to Ouisch was the 'fainting couch' thing. felix's main point here seems to be that he feels she hasn't been an honest dealer, more interested in stirring the shit than having a proper discussion... A horrible choice of words given the circumstances, but apt if you have doubts about a party's good faith.

OK, so quite new to Metafilter here... how does this work? A suspicion of bad faith entitles you to one free throw about someone's gender, as long as it's kept to just one? How about their race or religion?
posted by DNye at 11:04 AM on November 1, 2010


I think for irony to really work, it is important that some people don't get it.
posted by found missing at 11:06 AM on November 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


A suspicion of bad faith entitles you to one free throw about someone's gender, as long as it's kept to just one? How about their race or religion?

It was a response to a statement that felix betachat had made several sexist comments to Ouisch; it wasn't an excuse for the one that he did make.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:09 AM on November 1, 2010


"Just for the record, there's not a taboo about telling someone to fuck off, there's a guideline. Please don't do this on MetaFilter, it's completely antithetical to the little reminder under the box and if you can't do this on a continued basis we will actually ask you to either leave or straighten up your act.

This isn't because telling someone to fuck off is oh so terrible, but because it's shitty behavior that is totally avoidable. It's not something that's one of those borderline "oh maybe I misunderstood you" things, it's just flat out being a jerk to someone. As always we all have the MeFi we dream about versus the one we actually have, but the "don't tell other people to fuck off" is pretty well part of the MeFi we have. If you don't like it, that's your prerogative, but it's definitely part of how we moderate the site.
"

I know it's a guideline and how you moderate the site. And while I generally agree with how you moderate the site, and definitely wouldn't have wished this weekend's MeTa crapflood upon you, I disagree in this instance and, as usual, feel no particular shame about voicing my disagreement or making a case for my disagreement.

"Fuck off" is a blunt response, but labeling it as shitty behavior, especially in a blanket "guideline," removes any consideration of context, and privileges those able to needle and dress their jerkish behavior in robes of rhetorical finery over those honestly expressing their feelings. To delete "fuck off," but not delete other obvious jerkishness is to make a claim that "fuck off" is necessarily and significantly different, and I disagree, in that I think there are contexts in which "fuck off" is justified, and I think this is one of them.

Doing a quick search to look at the way the phrase "fuck off" is used on Metafilter, I think it's a stretch to argue that not telling other people to fuck off is part of MetaFilter now. It may be part of your ideal, but members have a pretty long and rich history of telling other people to fuck off and/or themselves, whether other members, people who wrote articles that we link to, or just general groups of strangers. You could argue that it's rarer directed from one member to another, but it's certainly not unknown and there's no particular reason to view it as beyond the pale.
posted by klangklangston at 11:15 AM on November 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


She's apologized.

Ouisch didn't engage the argument to some folks' satisfaction, no. I would imagine that's because she wasn't expecting to a) get called out, b) to have gman, the instigator of the call-out, to entirely disappear from the thread for eleven hours, all the inquiring-minds-want-to-know framing notwithstanding, nor c) to have a bunch of invective hurled at her by felix betachat, who's fainting couch comment was, ironically enough, proof that even if you have a hair trigger, or are "looking for monsters under the bed", or what have you, there are actually people who address women using sexist language on Metafilter. And I don't read her comments as particularly "fighty". I read her comments as pretty even-tempered, actually.

I am a woman, I didn't agree that "unpleasant" in this context was necessarily a euphemism for "shrill, lady-brained anti-logic", but the direction this callout has taken is gross, particularly using a clearly silly profile picture as evidence that someone is gunning for a fight. That's just a new low. I mean, do we think that Gator is here to eat us all for breakfast? Ridiculous.

Personally, I vote for closing MetaTalk up for a while. I think it engenders a lot of bad blood on the site.
posted by TryTheTilapia at 11:18 AM on November 1, 2010 [8 favorites]


Sorry, really slammed with work today & can't digest things properly just yet.

But yes, Alvy's right: "Fainting couch" was an idiotic thing to say. It obscured my larger point about good faith discussion and dragged the conversation down in a way that I sincerely regret.

But a judicious scan of the thread and a survey of the comments and tone adopted by Ouisch will clearly illustrate that she was not acting in good faith and was, rather, just trying to stir shit up. Meeting that posture with scorn and strong language wasn't sexist, nor was it out of bounds. She was gaming the system and several folks here seem happy to help her along simply because they like seeing accusations of sexism get traction in our ongoing conversation. Aside from really out of bounds insults and abuse, any argument for prior restraint over what language can be used on this site is going to get my most jaundiced eye.

(I really can't reply more substantively at the moment, but I'll jump in tonight to say a bit more.)
posted by felix betachat at 11:23 AM on November 1, 2010


mikeh brought up her profile picture to try to paint her as a combative troll.

Since I've already done my little dance of shame, can I at least say that I brought up her profile as a whole to question her intentions of creating a new account?

Ouisch said that she had been subjected to the wrong type of attention due to her username. To combat that, she created a new profile with a non-feminine name, a profile that is straightforward about being female, and a comment that she's showing her "internet face" with an image I perceived as expressing anger or something of the sort. Not female anger, not trollish anger, whatever.

She then was kind of jokily sarcastic about her "theory" instead of flagging or just saying her point at the outset.

I came to the conclusion, kind of jokily referencing the picture, that she didn't really create a new profile to avoid arguing issues. Then, probably because of my presentation of that, I got called out for being a sexist.

I'm not trying to paint (or tar-brush) anyone, I was just questioning. A few people, who don't immediately read as sexist to me, have done the same. I think my question about her intentions was answered directly, and I will tread lightly in the future when thinking about referencing profiles.
posted by mikeh at 11:24 AM on November 1, 2010


but the direction this callout has taken is gross, particularly using a clearly silly profile picture as evidence that someone is gunning for a fight

Again, not my intention, and I've commented half a dozen times to state that wasn't my intention. It's great to keep using it as a strawman for "people are using ad hominem arguments in this thread," though.
posted by mikeh at 11:26 AM on November 1, 2010


To combat that, she created a new profile with a non-feminine name, a profile that is straightforward about being female, and a comment that she's showing her "internet face" with an image I perceived as expressing anger or something of the sort.

Sorry; I thought I had made it clear that this was a fairly recent development. Like, since about mid-summer. I purposely left gender off my profile for a long while, and then I reconsidered.
posted by Ouisch at 11:27 AM on November 1, 2010


Ouisch will clearly illustrate that she was not acting in good faith and was, rather, just trying to stir shit up.

You are completely mistaken in this assumption. I have actually had this discussion, in private, both over memail, separate email, and in person with a few different Metafilter members in the last couple of years. It has bothered me for some time, and I assure you that stirring shit holds no special attraction for me. Discussing things I think are important and that bother me -- well, yeah.
posted by Ouisch at 11:29 AM on November 1, 2010


Nope, you did make it clear later, and I got the rest of the picture (pun intended). I have my way of dealing with things I deem offensive which I mentioned upthread, and you have yours, and I don't think you've been trollish or really combative. It's just a difference in approach.
posted by mikeh at 11:29 AM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


A suspicion of bad faith entitles you to one free throw about someone's gender, as long as it's kept to just one? How about their race or religion?

Race? No. But it's open-season on believers around here.
posted by Mick at 11:31 AM on November 1, 2010


TryTheTilapia: "Ouisch didn't engage the argument to some folks' satisfaction, no. I would imagine that's because she wasn't expecting to a) get called out, b) to have gman, the instigator of the call-out, to entirely disappear from the thread for eleven hours, all the inquiring-minds-want-to-know framing notwithstanding"

cortex asked us to either drop it or take it elsewhere. I felt that it was important to discuss the matter, and didn't wanna continue doing so where it wasn't welcome.

I disappeared from 11pm EST til 7:45am for a few reasons. The first being that there really wasn't much for me to defend as I explained myself and what I was looking to get out of this, quite clearly. Secondly, I like to take the approach of presenting my case and then allowing others to offer up their opinions without attempting to stifle them by jumping on every comment which may not agree with me. Finally, and most importantly, I *do* sleep.
posted by gman at 11:33 AM on November 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Race? No. But it's open-season on believers around here.

OH GOD NO PLEASE DON'T BRING THAT IN ALSO Too many difficult issues at once . . . you might have just divided by zero.
posted by Frobenius Twist at 11:38 AM on November 1, 2010

But a judicious scan of the thread and a survey of the comments and tone adopted by Ouisch will clearly illustrate that she was not acting in good faith and was, rather, just trying to stir shit up.
I do not agree that any such thing has been "clearly illustrated". I would, in fact, be far more likely to describe your behavior as seeking to stir shit up.
posted by Karmakaze at 11:39 AM on November 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


I've been wondering...shouldn't dividing by zero just result in ∞ ?

Does it have to make the universe implode?
posted by Ouisch at 11:40 AM on November 1, 2010


It's really unfortunate that people had to come in here and be sexist toward Ouisch. I fully disagree with her original point in this instance but a few guys had to come in here and make it sexist. Sigh.

Ouisch, unpleasant and stupid which are two words you've cited as being gendered sexist insults "in context" just aren't. Any context that would make those words sexist would have to be such a sexist context that the words themselves wouldn't really be the main sexist part, they'd just be generic insulting window dressing on a pile of misogyny.

However, "annoying chick," "fainting couch," and "white knight" which got lobbed into this thread at you or topics related to you were completely uncalled for an misogynistic. They were sexist in this and just about any context I can think of.

I hope the amount of well-reasoned disagreement from people who aren't yelling at you or shutting you down will maybe make you reevaluate "unpleasant" which is so frequently used in general conversation as to not be considered by most to be a misogynist term.
posted by haveanicesummer at 11:41 AM on November 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


I hope the amount of well-reasoned disagreement from people who aren't yelling at you or shutting you down will maybe make you reevaluate "unpleasant"

Oh yes. Trust me, I'm thinking about it. I even said that I thought people disagreeing with me were making good points. This has not been an entirely unproductive conversation, in my opinion. Though not exactly fun, either.
posted by Ouisch at 11:44 AM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've been wondering...shouldn't dividing by zero just result in ∞ ?

Well, if we get ∞ when we divide any number by zero, that would be the same as saying that ∞*0 = every number, which doesn't make sense. (In general, one has to take care with expressions involving ∞ -- in calculus, one can be more rigorous about what is meant by "∞*0"). From a mathematical point of view, division by zero is simply not allowed: one declares by fiat that such things are illegal, since otherwise things would go haywire as I mentioned above. (In general, there are other sorts of mathematical objects where you can multiply by anything you want, but where there are some things you are not allowed to divide by. That's where stuff starts getting fun!).
posted by Frobenius Twist at 11:45 AM on November 1, 2010


Dividing by zero makes things unpleasant.
posted by 23skidoo at 11:48 AM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


So...zero can't even be divided by itself?

I honestly know nothing about this, but I was wondering about it while doing some math for school.
posted by Ouisch at 11:49 AM on November 1, 2010


I think we're all feeling a little tender after some of the fighty threads about sexism of late.

That said, every goddamn one of you who pulled the "Oh, not another one" shit in this thread needs a big ol' steaming cup of act-right. Apparently, we can have endless MetaTalk threads about copyright and Linux and geocaching, but you are kind of missing the point that more than 50% of humanity are women and girls every day of their goddamned lives, and there is still a lot more boyzone fuckery than zero on this site.

Flag it and move on or something, but stop dismissing women's concerns about boyzoning here with sexist bullshit like "fainting couch" and "annoying chick" because you are just proving the goddamned point. If you like edgy sexist crap, go post on Gawker or wherever.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:54 AM on November 1, 2010 [21 favorites]


a few guys had to come in here and make it sexist.

Am I reading you correctly that your examples are "annoying chick," "fainting couch," and "white knight"? Because the first was written by a woman, the second was apologized for, and the third is dudes fighting among themselves. Among 350+ other comments, I do not find them to be compelling evidence that they "made the thread sexist" in the sense of "shitty towards women".
posted by Dano St at 11:56 AM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Nope, can't even divide 0 by 0. Here's a brief reason why: Perhaps 0/0 should be 1. After all, 0*1 = 0, and then we "divide by zero." Also, it's certainly true that any other number divided by itself is 1. But then by that same argument, 0/0 should be 2 also, since 0*2 = 0 as well. So we run into trouble! Which should it be? The answer is: to avoid logical problems, we just make it illegal to divide anything by 0.
posted by Frobenius Twist at 11:56 AM on November 1, 2010


So we run into trouble! Which should it be? The answer is: to avoid logical problems, we just make it illegal

I feel like this should be a humourous metaphor for something larger, but I'm not really up to the task right now.
posted by Ouisch at 11:59 AM on November 1, 2010


What happens if you break the laws of math? Do you get a citation?
posted by sonika at 11:59 AM on November 1, 2010


Unless the person who wrote "not another one" above meant "not another passive-aggressive MetaTalk thread which invites people to pile on someone with which the OP disagreed on the Blue," in which case I concur wholly. If that person meant "not another thread in which women talk about experiencing sexism on MeFi"* then I've got a cup of act-right with their name on it.

And now, off to my fainting couch Récamier. Named after a kick-ass writer, if you please.


*Even though I don't actually agree with Ouisch about the original thing, though I do think that women on the Internet and in other arenas of life are expected to be "pleasant" a lot more than men are, I think calling her out for having a different opinion on whether the comment was sexist is self-indulgent bullshit.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:59 AM on November 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Because the first was written by a woman, the second was apologized for, and the third is dudes fighting among themselves.

None of the above make the comments less sexist. Women can make sexist comments toward other women.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:00 PM on November 1, 2010 [5 favorites]


Meeting that posture with scorn and strong language wasn't sexist, nor was it out of bounds. She was gaming the system and several folks here seem happy to help her along simply because they like seeing accusations of sexism get traction in our ongoing conversation.

Ah, OK - so, the whole fainting couch thing wasn't in your eyes sexist, although others might have thought so, but it was idiotic, because by looking so much like sexism it allowed others to think that sexism was happening, or at least behave as if it was. You might want to have a word with Alvy Ampersand, who thinks that it was sexist, but that it is worth pointing out that it was the one and only sexist thing you said.

So, I'm getting from this that it's OK to meet a posture you don't like with scorn and strong language, and that this strong language can look sexist as long as it isn't actually sexist, and as long as it is being used to combat bad faith or gaming the system by a woman, especially because women have the unequal advantage that their claims of sexism are given traction by people indulging in white knight bullshit. Gotcha.
posted by DNye at 12:00 PM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Dano, this is the source of the annoying chic quote:

Now you are always and forever going to be that annoying chick who picked the wrong hill to die on.

The "two dudes" fighting was, instead, me being told I am annoying for participating in threads about feminism. For asking people not to shit in these threads. So it's not entire orthogonal to the subject of how women are treated on this site.

And the fact that the "fainting couch" thing was apologized for doesn't negate the fact that it was in this thread.

So I'd say they're pretty salient examples.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:02 PM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I do see that the author of the "annoying chick" line was a woman. It don't know whether that makes it not sexist at all, but it was pretty dismissive.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:03 PM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


None of the above make the comments less sexist. Women can make sexist comments toward other women.

Sure, and dudes arguing among themselves about gender could be sexist could be sexist as well. But without other supporting arguments, I don't find them compelling. For example, there has been exactly zero sentences posted that attempt to explain what was sexist about "annoying chick".
posted by Dano St at 12:06 PM on November 1, 2010


What about the fact that the word "chick" is there?
posted by mikeh at 12:10 PM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


But yes, Alvy's right: "Fainting couch" was an idiotic thing to say. It obscured my larger point about good faith discussion and dragged the conversation down in a way that I sincerely regret.

These are the two comments you made that I thought were sexist. If you and Alvy don't think the White Knight comment was sexist, that's fine. We disagree. But I note that I'm not the only person here who thinks it was, especially since it appeared right after your 'fainting couch' comment.

But a judicious scan of the thread and a survey of the comments and tone adopted by Ouisch will clearly illustrate that she was not acting in good faith and was, rather, just trying to stir shit up. Meeting that posture with scorn and strong language wasn't sexist, nor was it out of bounds.

I didn't read her that way. And pretty much all of your comments in this thread other than your rant at Astro Zombie until you left last night seemed like one-liner snark, including a complaint that she wasn't fostering civil discourse.

I felt you were sniping from the sidelines. And considering that there have been a hell of a lot of discussions on MeTa where women have pointed to direct examples of the boyzone attitude on MeFi, it seemed uncharitable to attack her for with sexism in a thread where she was talking about it.

She was gaming the system and several folks here seem happy to help her along simply because they like seeing accusations of sexism get traction in our ongoing conversation.

Really? OK, who? Please name names. Because if you're going to accuse people of having an agenda, it would be best if you were open about it.

I didn't give my opinion of whether "unpleasant" was right or wrong in this thread because I felt that as a guy, I'm not necessarily the best authority to tell women what they should feel when someone makes a potentially sexist comment at 'em. At worst it might seem dismissive and paternalistic.
posted by zarq at 12:12 PM on November 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Am I reading you correctly that your examples are "annoying chick," "fainting couch," and "white knight"?
posted by Dano St


Sorry I was wrong in referring to them all as guys. However, in felix betachat's apology for "fainting couch" he still said he wasn't being sexist. Nor do I personally feel that apologizing for something makes it go away completely. I wasn't claiming they made the entire thread sexist, that was not my intent. I just think it wouldn't have been that hard to think "Thread about sexism? Maybe I should be extra careful about which terms I use to disagree with the female poster I'm arguing with." Clearly from some of her responses Ouisch feels piled on here and when she remembers the thread I'd like it not to be for those gendered terms, but for the reasonable disagreement with her point.
posted by haveanicesummer at 12:13 PM on November 1, 2010


when she remembers the thread I'd like it not to be for those gendered terms, but for the reasonable disagreement with her point.

That would be nice, actually. Really nice.
posted by Ouisch at 12:14 PM on November 1, 2010


I do see that the author of the "annoying chick" line was a woman. It don't know whether that makes it not sexist at all, but it was pretty dismissive.

Yeah, I would go with dismissive. The sentiment is the same if you change "chick" for "person." The fact that the subject is female is tangential to the fact that the main point here is the subject is annoying. The subject is not annoying because she is female, so in that sense, I don't read "sexist" in there.

(Not that I endorse this statement, I just don't find "chick" to be too problematic in this instance, though yeah, "person" or some other gender neutral term would have made it less of a hot-button comment - especially in this kind of a thread where we are gazing deeply into the navels of our words.)
posted by sonika at 12:15 PM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


What about the fact that the word "chick" is there?

Explain it more, please, because I see chick used in casual writing often, and I can't remember anyone having a problem with it.
posted by 23skidoo at 12:17 PM on November 1, 2010


Thanks for that explanation, haveanicesummer. That makes a lot of sense to me, and totally agree that pile-ons suck.
posted by Dano St at 12:18 PM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I called out "annoying chick" as being sexist because it has sexist connotations. I don't tend to click people's profiles to discover their gender though so I didn't realize the poster was female. Naturally some women call each other chicks with no negative intent or slant and this may have been a case of that. I doubt I'd have mentioned it knowing that.
posted by haveanicesummer at 12:19 PM on November 1, 2010


like seeing accusations of sexism get traction in our ongoing conversation.

I wonder if he means me. If so, I will respond, but, honestly, this will be the last time I interact with felix in this thread, as I think his behavior here has been sniping at the sidelines, as you have said, with the sole exception of taking issue, at length, with the fact that I participate in this thread.

The answer is no, I don't enjoy it when people accuse each other of being sexist. I think such accusations are rarely useful, and often misplaced. I think an awful lot of sexist behavior is done innocently and ignorantly, and accusing somebody of being a sexist as a result just puts them on the defensive.

But I also think there is an awful lot of unexamined behavior that can be alienating to women, and unnecessarily so. And I think the huge rush to dismiss people's opinions based on them raising the specter of sexism is one of those things. I dislike threadshitting in general, and, especially in threads where subjects like racism and sexism come up, I think it has the cumulative effect of sending a message that we don't take the topic seriously. Especially when it's coupled with people being ironically sexist in the thread as some weird way of emphatically making their point that it's no big deal.

Felix apparently believes that this sort of sniping, coupled with veiled accusations and pretty much an explicit statement that he wishes I would shut up, are consistent with the sort of "fostering civil discourse" he mentioned in one of his earliest chastizing comments in this thread. He is mistaken.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:22 PM on November 1, 2010 [5 favorites]


You realize you're just blithering, yes?
posted by Dano St at 12:31 PM on November 1, 2010


Did you read the comment I was responding to?
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:33 PM on November 1, 2010


You're dividing two wrongs by zero.
posted by Dano St at 12:34 PM on November 1, 2010


Well, I will admit to not being the most civil sparring partner in the past. Now can we stop dredging through my posting history? Or is your point how dare I criticize felix for being uncivil when I have been similarly uncivil? That also seems to be diving two somethings by a something else.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:36 PM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


In the words of Bart Simpson:

So, you're one of those don't call me a chick, chicks eh?


It's a casual diminutive that might be cool amongst friends, but I wouldn't call a guy I don't know "bro," and I wouldn't refer to someone as a "chick" if I don't really know them. Saying someone is annoying doesn't need a gender tag unless you're throwing it in to make a point.

Example: "He's stupid." versus "He's a stupid man."

It's partially in the inflection, but in written language, that can be hard to infer.
posted by mikeh at 12:38 PM on November 1, 2010


today during my 15 minute trip into a grocery store three elderly clerks said to me at different times in the store:

"can i help you, young lady?" (i'm nearly 30)
"why the long face? SMILE!"
"whoa there, little lady!" (semi-jokingly after he ran into me)

oklahoma. still a boyzone.

this thread seems pretty useless now. it got nasty and sexist in the middle and then instead of discussion turned into a pile on and reverse pile on.
posted by nadawi at 12:40 PM on November 1, 2010


uh, three male clerks (2 were elderly, one wasn't). must preview writing before hitting post.
posted by nadawi at 12:40 PM on November 1, 2010


If you and Alvy don't think the White Knight comment was sexist, that's fine.

You're sort of moving the goalposts here, zarq. You said, "felix betachat made several sexist comments to attack [Ouisch]." My point was that only one of his comments actually fit that description. I concede that I'm being pretty literal here, but at the same time, people've been dogged by misrecollections and inflations from MeTa, and didn't want to see FB saddled with a reputation as That Guy Who Went On A Totally Sexist Tear On That Lady That Time.

The white knight thing I didn't care for, as it is a very loaded term, but I've occasionally found some of Astro Zombie's comments, however articulate or accurate, to be a little highhatted myself. Even though I didn't like how FB expressed it, I knew where he was coming from. That's nothing personal against AZ, mind; it's totally my problem, not his.

You might want to have a word with Alvy Ampersand, who thinks that it was sexist, but that it is worth pointing out that it was the one and only sexist thing you said.

Like I said above, I was responding and refuting a specific statement. In most of your comments here you seem interested in misrepresenting others and/or needlessly introducing weird dynamics that can only serve to muddle things up even more. Kind of unpleasant, that.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 12:47 PM on November 1, 2010


Goddamnit, you people, I went to sleep light night pleased that I'd helped steer the discussion towards happy fluffy innuendos and now I check back 12 hours later and you're all back to fighting. This is why we can't have nice things.
posted by Jacqueline at 12:55 PM on November 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'M SICK A' THE HIGH HAT! (Puts on hat and coat and leaves; shoots The Dane in the head.)
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:56 PM on November 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


I didn't give my opinion of whether "unpleasant" was right or wrong in this thread because I felt that as a guy, I'm not necessarily the best authority to tell women what they should feel when someone makes a potentially sexist comment at 'em. At worst it might seem dismissive and paternalistic.

Yeah, but it wouldn't be.

Dude, it's okay to have an opinion on something. Even to say it out loud.

Especially when it's to combat this growing sense that men can get called 'sexist' basically all the damn time and have to just sort of sheepishly nod our heads, like 'yeah, we sure are, but we'll just try not to make it obvious.'

I'm saying, no. That's bullshit. Yes, there is such a thing as misogyny, and it sucks, just like all irrational hatred of any group of people sucks. But Christ, why would we just let this narrative unfold that at best, motivates men to treat women with kid gloves (as you just admitted to doing) which basically perpetuates the gender inequality problem further, and at worst, turns our world into a place where every penis is a potential weapon, and men are saddled with shame just for being what they are?

At some point we have to recognize that in trying to correct previous social injustices, we run the risk of simply swinging the pendulum to the other side. The goal is to keep the pendulum in the center, isn't it? Or are we just going to play tetherball with it until the entire human race dies out because we're all just so fed up of taking crap from one another?
posted by silentpundit at 1:02 PM on November 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


The goal is to keep the pendulum in the center, isn't it?

I guess that depends on where you see the center as being. If the pendulum is "sexist" on one end and "not sexist" on the other, the middle is still half-sexist.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:05 PM on November 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


I thought that the use of "unpleasant" was in keeping of the tone of the rally.
posted by frecklefaerie at 1:05 PM on November 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


In most of your comments here you seem interested in misrepresenting others

Ms. representing, if you please.

Slightly more seriously - dude, you're the one who decided that it was for some reason important that a precise and accurate numerical tally of sexist statements made by Felix, according to your count, was reported. In your own words, you felt it was worth noting. I have no idea why you wanted to do that. It seemed a bit weird to me. Still, it's a shame that you are upset by my completely accurate representation of that weird-seeming thing that you did.

And, no, I don't think pointing out that women are regularly dismissed because they don't look right, or they haven't adopted a suitably conciliatory tone is a weird dynamic. The fact that women are etc - that's a weird dynamic - see nadawi being told to change the way she's looking by a total stranger in a store, just above.

Again, it's a shame that pointing this out is what you find disquieting, but there's not a huge amount I can do about it.
posted by DNye at 1:13 PM on November 1, 2010


the middle is still half-sexist.

I took "not sexist" as the center, with prejudice against women at one end of the continuum and prejudice against men at the other. That seems to obviously follow from paragraph that preceded it.

However, my tetherball pole doesn't have any place near it for taking a crap, so that part confused me a tad. Great idea though. I hate having to stop a good tetherballing to go to the potty.
posted by Dano St at 1:20 PM on November 1, 2010


Example: "He's stupid." versus "He's a stupid man."

Both of those statements have gender tags.

Look, our language happens to work in a way that we frequently use pronouns, and pronouns are gendered.

In the case you're referring to, the speaker was referring to someone in the second person, therefore his choices are 'annoying chick (or some other gendered noun),' or 'annoying person (or 'poster' or some other non-gendered noun).'

Is your point that nouns can be loaded with sexist rage but pronouns don't have that feature, so they're okay?

Sorry in advance if I seem snippy. I just really, really dislike the notion that you can prove that someone has evil in their heart through meticulous lingual micro-parsing.

My working theory is that no one in this thread is sexist. Even those of us who've had negative experiences with the opposite gender in the past and now have some degree of prejudice that we are every day challenged to work through and set aside, by recognizing that that part of our brain is trying to protect us, but is being way irrational about it.

That's not sexist, it's human.
posted by silentpundit at 1:23 PM on November 1, 2010


I'm not sexist, but I am sexy.
posted by nomadicink at 1:28 PM on November 1, 2010


People have to specify what imaginary pendulum they're talking.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:28 PM on November 1, 2010


Honestly, all this assuming-people-have-evil-in-their-hearts thing is getting to me.

I don't assume this about ANYONE, sociopaths excepted. Discussing perceptions of sexism in discourse and behavioural expectations is not the same as standing up, pointing my finger, and yelling, "YOU THERE! MAN! YOU HAVE EVIL IN YOUR HEART!!"

This is something I simply do not believe, and would not want to believe, about people in general. Do people make mistakes? Yes. Often. Are those mistakes sometimes reflective of sexism? Yes. Often. Does it make them EVILDOERS, in my eyes? Absolutely not.
posted by Ouisch at 1:28 PM on November 1, 2010


And if the human race dies out, it's not going to be because of my whiny feminist ass. I'm married to a man and maybe we'll even have BABIES someday. Whiny, feminist babies.
posted by Ouisch at 1:31 PM on November 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


People have to specify what imaginary pendulum they're talking.

There is cake at one end and bacon at the other. I WANT THE PENDULUM TO SWING BOTH WAYS AT ONCE GODDAMMIT
posted by Frobenius Twist at 1:31 PM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


...are you saying you swing both ways?
posted by Ouisch at 1:33 PM on November 1, 2010


Is your point that nouns can be loaded with sexist rage but pronouns don't have that feature, so they're okay?

I guess? Something in the inflection, putting the emphasis on "man" or "woman" is kind of a hallmark of sexist speech. I don't think anyone here is sexist, either, for what it's worth.
posted by mikeh at 1:33 PM on November 1, 2010


If my choices are "cake" and "bacon" then absolutely yes! If my choices are "sex with cake" and "sex with bacon" I may have to be more circumspect in my answer.
posted by Frobenius Twist at 1:34 PM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Honestly, all this assuming-people-have-evil-in-their-hearts thing is getting to me.

Whoa there, one person said the word evil in the whole thread. Cut that out!
posted by mikeh at 1:34 PM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I am having trouble understanding what you mean. Please provide photographic depictions ASAP.
posted by Ouisch at 1:34 PM on November 1, 2010


strangely, 'bacon with sex' and 'cake with sex' seem to be unproblematic.
posted by unSane at 1:35 PM on November 1, 2010


No but you have to admit there is a MASSIVE amount of thread-copping going on right now.
posted by unSane at 1:36 PM on November 1, 2010


it was for some reason important that a precise and accurate numerical tally of sexist statements made by Felix, according to your count, was reported. In your own words, you felt it was worth noting. I have no idea why you wanted to do that. It seemed a bit weird to me. Still, it's a shame that you are upset by my completely accurate representation of that weird-seeming thing that you did.

Again, sexist statements made against Ouisch, of which there was one, and for which FB did the right thing and acknowledged his mistake. Yet your comments and zarq's made it sound like there was a whole raft of them. Was just the one okay? No, but it was recanted. Does that make everything okay? I guess that up to each individual. But it pisses me off when people misrepresent, simple as that.

I don't think pointing out that women are regularly dismissed because they don't look right, or they haven't adopted a suitably conciliatory tone is a weird dynamic. The fact that women are etc - that's a weird dynamic - see nadawi being told to change the way she's looking by a total stranger in a store, just above.

The conversation takes a turn towards a member's profile picture and perceptions inferred from that picture (Which isn't a great idea, like I said before). You come in and bring up how women are judged by their appearance, which, while an unfortunate reality in our society, had nothing to do with the topic at hand. No one was making conclusions on Ouisch based upon her physical appearance (Aside from the GRAR face), attractiveness, or anything like that. So yeah, you were introducing a weird dynamic.

Again, it's a shame that pointing this out is what you find disquieting, but there's not a huge amount I can do about it.

I think you give yourself a bit too much credit. It's sort of funny in a MeTa ostensibly about people being careful or sensitive about language that I'm getting pushback from you about being accurate in what you're saying. At this point I'm pretty confident there isn't much you can do about that, either.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 1:36 PM on November 1, 2010


Yes, one person. But he made the point a couple of times. I avoided it the first time because it seemed hyperbolic. Not so lucky the next time.
posted by Ouisch at 1:37 PM on November 1, 2010


Sooner or later, all threads turn to talk of food. Or science fiction.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:37 PM on November 1, 2010


There is cake at one end and bacon at the other.

In the middle, there is cakon. And there is where we feast.
posted by 23skidoo at 1:37 PM on November 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Whiny, feminist babies.

Thank you for naming my new band.
posted by nomadicink at 1:39 PM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


bacon cake sounds so gross. nearly as gross as bacon martini.
posted by nadawi at 1:39 PM on November 1, 2010


goddammit why can I not make correct links?
posted by Ouisch at 1:39 PM on November 1, 2010


Fuck it, just Ctrl-F for "evil." You'll see what I was talking about.
posted by Ouisch at 1:40 PM on November 1, 2010


I was raised to believe that things which hurt others are evil. Sexism, I was also raised to believe, is one of those things.

Sexism is not the force that makes someone get mad in an argument and tell a girl to go fuck herself. That's probably better called something like...I don't know, rudeness?

No, sexism is the force that deprived women of voting rights, access to education, access to kind of everything for the majority of our country's existence, and which is still perpetuating that gigantic-scale oppression throughout the world today.

That to me, is a really big effing deal, and the idea that I have to labor over which words I am about to use, lest society think of me as party to such offensive cruelty, is patently ridiculous.

Either sexism is a big deal, or it isn't. I'm saying it is. I'm saying it takes away human dignity, and is therefore evil.
posted by silentpundit at 1:44 PM on November 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


I was raised to believe that things which hurt others are evil.

Hee, define "things which hurt others". Not a serious question, just noting the vague edge there.
posted by nomadicink at 1:47 PM on November 1, 2010


Sexism. Lightning. Bees.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:48 PM on November 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


You know...like, alligators and such.
posted by silentpundit at 1:49 PM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sexism is sometimes a big deal, but sometimes it's a small deal that can be addressed on a one-on-one basis. If I said "HOLD THE PHONE, HE JUST MADE A SEXIST JOKE" and started a discussion group amongst my friends every time someone said something off-color, I'd be a jerk. If I quietly tell that friend that I'm not into that sort of humor because it degrades everyone, that is, to me, a better reaction.

On the other hand, if a friend yelled at his wife to shut up and/or get back in the kitchen, that'd be a "let's talk here and now" situation.

So in the abstract, it's a big deal, but in the reality, we don't need a 1000 comment thread with accusations and misconstrued intentions every time someone says something that may not even be off-color.
posted by mikeh at 1:50 PM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I linked this article above, but the point bears repeating:

Feminism seeks to address all manner of issues, big and small. That women can (and do) utilize the tenets of feminism in every aspect of their lives does not undermine the history of the feminist movement, but instead does it a great honor. Feminism was never meant to be restricted to suffrage and equal pay, held in reserve like a finite quantity that could run out if it's used for "the little things." Feminism is a renewable resource.

The idea that feminism should be kept under glass, broken only in case of a "real" and "serious" emergency, is predicated on the erroneous assumption that "the little things" happen in a void, as do, presumably, the "real" and "serious" things, when, in reality, they are interwoven strands of the same rope. And as soon as one begins to judge the worthiness of feminists' attention on a sliding scale, even generally-regarded "serious issues" like equal pay are dwarfed by global concerns like sex trafficking or government-sanctioned use of rape as a tool of war. It doesn't have to be one or the other—feminists can multi-task.

And, in a very real way, ignoring "the little things" in favor of "the big stuff" makes the big stuff that much harder to eradicate, because it is the pervasive, ubiquitous, inescapable little things that create the foundation of a sexist culture on which the big stuff is dependent for its survival. It's the little things, the constant drumbeat of inequality and objectification, that inure us to increasingly horrible acts and attitudes toward women.

Irrespective of intent, the recommendation to "ignore the little stuff," so often intertwined with accusations of looking for things about which to get offended, is not just ill-advised, but counter to the ultimate goal of full equality. It's like a knife in my gut when I see feminists accusing other feminists of "hurting the cause" by focusing on "the little stuff," because that's It—that's the stuff, that's the fertile soil in which everything else takes root and from whence everything else springs, that's the way that the fundamental idea that women are not equal to men is conveyed over and over and over again.

Which, quite frankly, means that if even we had to look for it, we'd be right to do so.

posted by Ouisch at 1:54 PM on November 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


You're sort of moving the goalposts here, zarq. You said, "felix betachat made several sexist comments to attack [Ouisch]." My point was that only one of his comments actually fit that description. I concede that I'm being pretty literal here, but at the same time, people've been dogged by misrecollections and inflations from MeTa, and didn't want to see FB saddled with a reputation as That Guy Who Went On A Totally Sexist Tear On That Lady That Time.

That's fair. Okay, I said 'several' when I should have said 'two' with regard to felix' comments.

Also, I specifically mentioned mikeh's comment in my initial complaint because I wanted to point out that felix wasn't the only one who said something I thought was sexist. I wasn't intending to pile-on against him.

Msali's "annoying chick" comment also sounded vaguely sexist to me, but to be honest I didn't think it was problematic enough for me to lump in with the others. Plus, and this is sort of embarrassing to admit, Not only didn't I know msali was a woman until this thread, but I initially read her name as msalt, who's a guy. So gender confusion all around on my part.

To be clear re: Felix, it was two poorly chosen phrases in a row that bothered me. That's all. I'm not saying the guy's a misogynist or that he has a history of... well, anything.

The white knight thing I didn't care for, as it is a very loaded term, but I've occasionally found some of Astro Zombie's comments, however articulate or accurate, to be a little highhatted myself. Even though I didn't like how FB expressed it, I knew where he was coming from. That's nothing personal against AZ, mind; it's totally my problem, not his.

OK.
posted by zarq at 2:00 PM on November 1, 2010


What does feminism have to say about the boy who cried wolf?
posted by found missing at 2:02 PM on November 1, 2010


"...that's the way that the fundamental idea that women are not equal to men is conveyed over and over and over again."

This sounds perfectly fair. I would like it very much if sexism accusations would only get thrown around when someone is legitimately trying to communicate in some way that women are not equal to men.
posted by silentpundit at 2:02 PM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't know, found missing, but if you're keen, I guess you could read up on the topic.
posted by Ouisch at 2:05 PM on November 1, 2010


hmm, not covered
posted by found missing at 2:07 PM on November 1, 2010


Sorry. I guess that means feminism is broken :(
posted by Ouisch at 2:09 PM on November 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


I disappeared from 11pm EST til 7:45am for a few reasons. The first being that there really wasn't much for me to defend as I explained myself and what I was looking to get out of this, quite clearly. Secondly, I like to take the approach of presenting my case and then allowing others to offer up their opinions without attempting to stifle them by jumping on every comment which may not agree with me. Finally, and most importantly, I *do* sleep.

Thanks for clarifying and I hope the resulting thread has been edifying.
posted by TryTheTilapia at 2:11 PM on November 1, 2010


It seems unreasonable to me to expect MeFi to be a utopian environment free from all those human characteristics that make the world a shittier place.

It seems counterproductive to me to accuse others of -isms that are, at best, exceedingly subtle. In my opinion, seeing the "unpleasant" comment as sexist verges on being paranoid; and calling it out as sexist was uncharitable and foolish.

There are a *LOT* of cultures represented on MeFi. It is literally impossible for them to all co-exist without friction.

We can do two things to make MeFi a better place:

1. Be charitable in your interpretation of another's intentions and ideas.

2. Reserve your accusations and vitriol for the glaringly obvious bullshit. Don't sweat the small shit.

We will have better communication and a happier community if everyone put their feelings of being offended into perspective.

Even if someone does drop a shocking -ism turd into a thread, MeFi is a lot less shitty than the cesspool and raw sewage of the real world.

Perhaps in addition to "everyone needs a hug," we need "don't sweat the small shit."
posted by five fresh fish at 2:14 PM on November 1, 2010 [7 favorites]


I mean, do we think that Gator is here to eat us all for breakfast?

I bet you'd be great with a nice Hollandaise sauce.
posted by Gator at 2:21 PM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sorry. I guess that means feminism is broken.

No problem. As a man, I can fix anything.
posted by nomadicink at 2:25 PM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


It would be so awesome if that were true. I could keep you busy for a while.
posted by Ouisch at 2:26 PM on November 1, 2010


Like, you could fix my hair and makeup. And maybe fix some pancakes too.
posted by Ouisch at 2:29 PM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Dude, it's okay to have an opinion on something. Even to say it out loud.

Especially when it's to combat this growing sense that men can get called 'sexist' basically all the damn time and have to just sort of sheepishly nod our heads, like 'yeah, we sure are, but we'll just try not to make it obvious.'


No, that's not what I'm saying at all.

I have opinions and I certainly have no problem voicing them. But there are added factors involved when we discuss sexism that may make me less likely to step in and say, "I think you're wrong," when a woman says something is bothering her about the way she's being spoken to by men. Too often, women who express such feelings have been dismissed, argued with or ridiculed by men for speaking up. It would be easy for me to say something that could inadvertently be harmful, so when I do open my mouth I try keep that in mind.

To be clear, I'm not treating women as hothouse flowers here, nor am I ashamed to be a guy. But I might not wander into a thread to offer my opinion if I don't think it would be helpful. Sometimes, the best thing any of us can do is listen.

At some point we have to recognize that in trying to correct previous social injustices, we run the risk of simply swinging the pendulum to the other side. The goal is to keep the pendulum in the center, isn't it? Or are we just going to play tetherball with it until the entire human race dies out because we're all just so fed up of taking crap from one another?

Look at it this way: let's say that pendulum has been swinging far to the right for generations because our culture has told women that their feelings, experiences and beliefs don't matter. If the ideal is a centered pendulum, and we want to move more towards the center from the right, then perpetuating those same non-centrist messages aren't going to help.
posted by zarq at 2:30 PM on November 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Addendum: I think threads like this one tread perilously close to "we had to destroy the village to save the village."

Has this thread improved the community? I don't think it has. It looks like several people have decided to become mortal enemies. Several others are now painted and -ists of one sort or another. A lot of anger has been sprayed all over the place. Nothing was resolved.

In my opinion, even if whoever it was had been egregiously, stunningly sexist in the MeFi thread, as a rare outlier of behaviors on MeFi it could not possibly have been as harmful to the community as this thread has been.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:32 PM on November 1, 2010 [6 favorites]


Like, you could fix my hair and makeup.

*pulls pruners off toolbelt*

Straight cut or layers?

And maybe fix some pancakes too.

Nah, as a male I can tell you want waffles.
posted by nomadicink at 2:35 PM on November 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm almost ashamed to admit that you're 100% spot-on about the waffles.
posted by Ouisch at 2:37 PM on November 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm almost ashamed to admit that you're 100% spot-on about the waffles.

Right? I've been on a waffles kick lately, pancakes sound so dull and circular and stackish. Waffles are like carved golden goodness with built in pockets for butter and syrup!

I don't understand chicken and waffles though, that's just weird.
posted by nomadicink at 2:47 PM on November 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


MetaFilter: Ctrl-F for "evil."
posted by hippybear at 2:50 PM on November 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


Huh. More of this, OK...

Again, sexist statements made against Ouisch, of which there was one, and for which FB did the right thing and acknowledged his mistake. Yet your comments and zarq's made it sound like there was a whole raft of them. Was just the one okay? No, but it was recanted. Does that make everything okay? I guess that up to each individual. But it pisses me off when people misrepresent, simple as that

Well, first up show me where I suggested there was "a whole raft of them" - I believe you are misrepresenting, or probably more precisely misremembering or confusing me with someone else. What I said was that the fact that only one sexist statement had been made (by your count) seemed an odd reason to handwave it. That remains the case. So, please don't misrepresent.

You may of course justify that misrepresentation by some eccentric method of reading, since your idea of "recanting" appears to be saying Ah, my bad. Should've said "troll bridge" - that is, insulting somebody again. Or is your idea of recanting saying Meeting that posture with scorn and strong language wasn't sexist, nor was it out of bounds - that is, not recanting at all? Either way, that's a misrepresentation also.

But I get where you're coming from now - you're a sort of numerical chronicler of Metafilter, right? If somebody suggests that something has happened more times than your tally suggests, you step in to correct them? You're sort of like Count von Count?

Which is an awesome thought, but not as awesome as saying:

No one was making conclusions on Ouisch based upon her physical appearance (Aside from the GRAR face)

Yes, nobody was commenting on Ouisch's appearance, except for her face. Just like the guys who tell women to smile in convenience stores. No part of her physical appearance apart from her face, though.

Now, if I believed that you were acting in bad faith with these misrepresentations and tergiversation, I would be entitled to say something abusive to you, right? That would be, as you said, apt. But I now have this mental image of being hectored by a fuzzy-felt vampire with prosopagnosia. And that's just a really charming image.
posted by DNye at 3:11 PM on November 1, 2010


No love for crepes? Like, with sweet & juicy fresh strawberries, the best premium vanilla ice cream you can find, and topped off with double-thickened cream whipped up nice & fluffy with a pinch of sugar and a splash of Grand Marnier?
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:14 PM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Okay, to reiterate, I apologize for my ill-chosen use of the phrase "fainting couch." It was unwise and hamstrung what I was trying to do in the thread. There's a lesson in there for me about being effective and careful in my choice of words. I'll take it and the lumps that come with it.

Having opened myself up to the charge of sexism, there isn't much I can do to repair things here. There's always someone who gets the donkey's head in these threads and it's to my discredit that I let it get put on me. Those of you who think you've discovered the sexist cancer that lurks at the bottom of my sick soul can pat yourselves on the back all the way to fuckoffsville. I'm grateful to those of you who've recognized that I was trying, initially, to argue forcefully against restricting speech on this site and to shame a fairly recent member for trying to force some sort of idiotic site-wide ban on the use of common, non-offensive terms. I agree that I diminished my own case by letting Ouisch's inflammatory statements get to me. I'll work harder on checking my tone in the future.

A final thought: there is a clear internet-wide problem with sexism and intimidation of women. MetaFilter is blessed to have excellent moderators and a robust immune system to protect against this taking root here. But if we start demanding absolute ideological purity or implementing harsh speech-codes, then our community will suffer as a result. One of the great things about this site is how plainspoken and fiercely intelligent its members often are. Vigorous conversation can be messy and if you try to tidy things up by shoving people into narrow ethical categories, then you'll have chosen ideological purity over honesty. That might be the kind of MetaFilter people prefer. I, for my part, would not find such a community welcoming.

Oh, and "white knight" I'll stand by. Astro Zombie is a big boy and his choice to insert himself consistently and with unctuous condescension into every single thread on gender issues is diminishing his otherwise considerable charisma. Astro Zombie, I guess you've chosen not to respond to me further in this thread. I think that's a great first step. Given your sanctimony and your increasingly consistent tone of judgmental incivility, I think it best that we avoid interacting with one another in the future. I gather neither of us thinks much of the other. Let's leave it at that and let the site go on self-correcting.
posted by felix betachat at 3:19 PM on November 1, 2010


You could just not talk with/about Astro Zombie anymore, you don't have to dedicate a paragraph to taking potshots at him before doing so.
posted by Kwine at 3:36 PM on November 1, 2010


It looks like several people have decided to become mortal enemies. Several others are now painted and -ists of one sort or another. A lot of anger has been sprayed all over the place. Nothing was resolved.

glad I ate those shrooms last night and went for a long walk.
posted by philip-random at 4:05 PM on November 1, 2010


If my choices are "cake" and "bacon" then absolutely yes!

Nope. The choices are "cake or death."
posted by ericb at 4:07 PM on November 1, 2010


Look at it this way: let's say that pendulum has been swinging far to the right for generations because our culture has told women that their feelings, experiences and beliefs don't matter. If the ideal is a centered pendulum, and we want to move more towards the center from the right, then perpetuating those same non-centrist messages aren't going to help.

All I'm calling for is for centrism. I'm saying it's important we don't replace an unfortunate history of codified misogyny with an equally unfortunate future of codified misandry.
posted by silentpundit at 4:20 PM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I was trying, initially, to argue forcefully against restricting speech on this site and to shame a fairly recent member for trying to force some sort of idiotic site-wide ban on the use of common, non-offensive terms.

Everything he says is true.
posted by Ouisch at 4:38 PM on November 1, 2010


I'm late to the party, and from what I've skimmed here I'd agree that the original "unpleasant" remark would *not* have struck me as gendered in the slightest. I do have an observation to make about the following:

Ouisch: In my opinion, women are often attributed to have anger or unpleasantness out of all proportion to what they've actually said or expressed.

Yes, you are correct that this phenomenon regularly occurs IRL. It's well documented in the work of negotiation scholars like Linda Babcock. The footnotes in Women Don't Ask are full of studies that analyze exactly what you're talking about. Ask For It is a practical how-to manual. One of its chapters summarizes a major topic in Women Don't Ask -- the disproportionate penalization women get from men and other women, just for being assertive + insufficiently nice and decorative -- and suggests ways to get around the problem. ("Be relentlessly pleasant," is the one that sticks in my memory.)
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 4:40 PM on November 1, 2010 [8 favorites]


Yes, nobody was commenting on Ouisch's appearance, except for her face. Just like the guys who tell women to smile in convenience stores. No part of her physical appearance apart from her face, though.

Yeah and why is everyone always laughing at Rage Guy?
posted by Hoopo at 4:49 PM on November 1, 2010


...initially, to argue forcefully against restricting speech on this site and to shame a fairly recent member for trying to force some sort of idiotic site-wide ban on the use of common, non-offensive terms

Could you please point to the exact comments where Ouisch "tr[ied] to force some sort of idiotic site-wide ban on the use of common, non-offensive terms"? I ask because I do not see where she did that in either this or the original thread. Perhaps I missed a comment. It's possible, of course. Both are lengthy threads.

I *do* see Ouisch speaking about the reason why she thinks the word "unpleasant" is a "dog whistle" before you commented, and that's about it. Did I miss something? Was a comment deleted from the thread where she called for site-wide censorship of various words that offend her?

If I missed a comment, then that would explain a lot. But if I didn't, then what are you referring to?
posted by zarq at 5:12 PM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


All I can say is, usually I'm all down with the popcorn and the discussion of language because I am a word geek and maybe a bad person to boot, but I'm damn glad I was away from my computer while this thread was a-brewing.

Because fuck, man. Poor mods. Mods, you guys are sweet bastions of patience.
posted by angrycat at 5:22 PM on November 1, 2010


Mods, you guys are sweet bastions of patience.

I spend all my time making charts, I am not patient at all [note: that was before this weekend]. That said, this particular discussion/disagreement is less centered around a policy issue than an etiquette issue and, as such, it doesn't involve me particularly much. I've been reading and advising but am pretty happy to sit on the sidelines on this one.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:27 PM on November 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Whiny, feminist babies.

Ha. I'm having a baby in March and I'm just picturing the little dude* coming out clutching a copy of "Bodies That Matter" and instead of crying at wet diapers, crying when I put him in predictably gendered clothing.

* By which I mean, I've seen the equipment and it matches the standard for "dudehood." Babby's free to be whatever gender ze chooses, but for me, I gotta know WHICH STEREOTYPICAL ONESIES to buy! I'm already perpetuating the patriarchy! And capitalism! Oh feminist baby, I'm gonna give you plenty to whine about.
posted by sonika at 5:29 PM on November 1, 2010 [7 favorites]


Does that correlate somehow with stock market fluctuations?
posted by Ouisch at 5:29 PM on November 1, 2010


It gives true visual representation to the term "drunkard's walk."
posted by klangklangston at 5:31 PM on November 1, 2010


Well I thought Ouisch's pic was funny.
posted by Max Power at 5:33 PM on November 1, 2010


Can we please get back to discussing poles and who is or isn't being touched with them?
posted by Jacqueline at 5:56 PM on November 1, 2010


Can we please get back to discussing poles and who is or isn't being touched with them?

I have a pole in my uterus RIGHT NOW!
posted by sonika at 6:07 PM on November 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


I thought he was from Portugal?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:08 PM on November 1, 2010 [6 favorites]


I have a pole in my uterus RIGHT NOW!

Ah, you went the IVF route.
posted by nomadicink at 6:10 PM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I thought he was from Portugal?

Apparently, someone, somewhere has a lot of asplaining to do.
posted by sonika at 6:16 PM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I gotta know WHICH STEREOTYPICAL ONESIES to buy

Dress the little dude in these and he can be the patriarchy-fighting monster of GRAR! Problem solved.
posted by tallus at 6:26 PM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Dress the little dude in these and he can be the patriarchy-fighting monster of GRAR! Problem solved.

Wow, that's perfect. I was just talking about having him be a dinosaur for his first Halloween next year. LOVES IT! Will stop threadhogging now!

posted by sonika at 6:29 PM on November 1, 2010


Well I thought Ouisch's pic was funny.

For real. A silly angry face. Isn't the silliness obvious?

I guess I should make it clear that in real life, I am not a rabbit ambulance, let alone rabbit or ambulance.
posted by oneirodynia at 6:46 PM on November 1, 2010


I have a pole in my uterus RIGHT NOW!

Is it a batpole?
posted by jonmc at 7:07 PM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Nah, that'd be robbin' Robin.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:16 PM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


As long as it's not the Riddler.
posted by jonmc at 7:22 PM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wow. Finally the Japan time zone thing works out for me. I went to bed last night thinking everything was resolved with talk of poles:

Or there's the Mae West response...

"You know someone with a ten-foot pole?"
posted by hippybear at 11:29 PM on October 31


and I wake up, and check it out, and hey, it was. Everyone is back to talking about poles and cute baby clothes. It's like there was no fighting or GRAR all night long.

/reads through thread.

Oh.
posted by Ghidorah at 7:43 PM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Purposefully shaming people is lousy behavior, whether or not you're sexist about it.

Punishing people, shaming them, slapping them upside the head...not cool.
posted by the young rope-rider at 8:10 PM on November 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


I guess I should make it clear that in real life, I am not a rabbit ambulance, let alone rabbit or ambulance.

I real life, I have a chicken on my shoulder right now.
posted by dersins at 8:55 PM on November 1, 2010


Was it after the chip?
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:59 PM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I lost my 10' pole in White Plume Mountain.
posted by clavdivs at 9:15 PM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I guess I should make it clear that in real life, I am not a rabbit ambulance, let alone rabbit or ambulance.

A vegan is hitchhiking down a country road when someones pull over to pick them up. They are just setting off when all of a sudden a rabbit runs out in front of them. The driver slams on the brakes but alas it is too late and there is a horrible crunching sound. They get out and rush to the front of the car but the rabbit is lying there, lifeless. Just as the vegan begins to break down in tears, the driver says "No problem I've got this covered", "Are you a vet?" the vegan asks and the driver says "No I'm a hairdresser". "What good is that"says the vegan but the hairdresser just wanders off to the back of the car. they open the trunk and come back with a can. The vegan looks at them aghast as the hairdresser begins to spray the rabbit. Just then the rabbit starts to twitch so the hairdresser gives it a couple more sprays and then the rabbit pops right up. It runs to the side of the road and then turns round and waves at them. the vegan looks on in amazement as the rabbit runs up the side of a hill. Halfway up it stops, turns round, and waves at them again before disappearing over the horizon. "Oh my God!That was a miracle!"say s the vegan"What have you got in that can?". "Oh nothing really", says the hairdresser, "just a little hare reviver and a permanent wave".


I would also like to make it clear that nothing in my profile picture should be taken as an endorsement of the republican party candidate for Delaware, despite any resemblances to the contrary.
posted by tallus at 9:28 PM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


How will you step forward from the top of a hundred-foot pole?
posted by unliteral at 9:31 PM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I would like to talk about Peaches' clever song "Tent In Your Pants" (NSFW)

She talks about poles a lot in that song, like Maypoles, your tongue sticking to poles...it is really relevant here I think.
posted by the young rope-rider at 10:25 PM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


So, when you guys sort this out, can someone send me a memo letting me know if I can say "unpleasant"?

Yours, with bated breath.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 10:52 PM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


If a pole up the uterus is like a pole up the ass, put me on for ten feet.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:57 PM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


If a pole up the uterus is like a head up an ass, count me out.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:01 PM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


so...this is anatomical, the pole is fine but fuck the head. this is
unpleasant and I demand a detailed explanation
posted by clavdivs at 11:18 PM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


If a head up the ass is what you prefer, go for it. I care not one whit for what others do for thrills, so long as it's consensual. Oh, radical me.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:21 PM on November 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


to argue forcefully against restricting speech on this site and to shame a fairly recent member for trying to force some sort of idiotic site-wide ban on the use of common, non-offensive terms

Actually, this isn't true. Ouisch didn't even start this thread. I disagree with her reading of the word as used in the original thread, and I think it was not at all a great idea to bring up her theory at that point... but she did not start a metatalk thread about "unpleasant."

So, for example FFF talking about how damaging this thread has been, and the many people feeling terribly irritated (I was one for a while there) that we're having a metatalk thread to discuss "unpleasant," of all things — do keep in mind that ouisch didn't start this thread, much less attempt to "force some sort of idiotic site-wide ban" but rather made the far lesser (and way more common) error of provoking a derail in a blue thread by mentioning (blurting, even) something that she had been thinking about. We all blurt.
posted by taz at 11:22 PM on November 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


Just send us the list when you're done. "Shrill" was on there too, I'm pretty sure. Can't keep track, at this point. Truly. You might wanna notify the SOED while yer at it.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 11:48 PM on November 1, 2010


what? Because I reminded people that ouisch didn't actually start this thread, you think I'm trying to oppress you? I said I disagree with her reading of "unpleasant," and I've never advocated for banning any words (and never would), so I don't know what you're seeing in my comment to charge me with making a list.
posted by taz at 12:02 AM on November 2, 2010


I don't know what you're seeing in my comment to charge me with making a list.

Well, surely, it is seeing something a case of seeing something that isn't there. After a while I can't help but wonder if this earnest insistence that it is there is not a form of wish fulfillment.
posted by tallus at 12:59 AM on November 2, 2010


I'm saying it's important we don't replace an unfortunate history of codified misogyny with an equally unfortunate future of codified misandry.

Do you seriously believe that's going to happen? Anywhere? or just on Metafilter? Because I agree with you that it'd be bad, but it seems like a really far-fetched possibility. If we ever get the pendulum to swing to a neutral position with no misogyny, I'll start worrying about it going too far the other way.

Also: there is no proposal for a list of banned words on Metafilter. If there were, the mods would never take it seriously. I'm not sure why any discussion of language use assumes that a site-wide ban is going to happen, but it makes people look like paranoid delusionals with no idea of MeFi history when they suggest that feminists/anti-racists/anti-@'s are determined to suppress their speech. MeFi has very few hard and fast rules, and relies on people having common sense and basic consideration for others in order to run smoothly. If that's too much for people to manage, they can go to Fark instead.
posted by harriet vane at 5:01 AM on November 2, 2010 [6 favorites]


Forget it, Taz, it's "feminists-are-coming-to-take-away-our-awesome-language-town."
posted by Astro Zombie at 5:04 AM on November 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


If a pole up the uterus is like a pole up the ass, put me on for ten feet.

Man, I hope not. Otherwise there are some anatomical anomalies going on that I really don't want to deal with.
posted by sonika at 5:20 AM on November 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Because I reminded people that ouisch didn't actually start this thread, you think I'm trying to oppress you

YOU ARE. I have my night vision goggles on and I can see all of you, hiding out there in the jungle, just waiting for us men to fall asleep in front of the tv, so you can rip control right from our hands. I SEE YOU OUT THERE CHARLIE CHARLIZE AND I'M NOT SCARED OF YOU.
posted by nomadicink at 5:21 AM on November 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


damn. I was sure you were looking at the poles.
posted by taz at 5:43 AM on November 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


I am not a tree hugger.
posted by nomadicink at 5:59 AM on November 2, 2010


You know who else was looking at the Poles?
posted by OmieWise at 5:59 AM on November 2, 2010 [3 favorites]



look, i've read people here who were willing to cut off their hands to prove a point, i've seen people call each other every rude and dirty word in the book, i've seen flames the size of mt everest erupt here, arguments where banhammers fell like hail and red button pushing became a plague, and you're worried about someone calling someone "unpleasant"?


Mefi lost it's Mojo.
posted by sgt.serenity at 6:01 AM on November 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Amundsen?
posted by taz at 6:04 AM on November 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I always wondered why he went South first.
posted by nomadicink at 6:11 AM on November 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Wow, a true veteran of the Internet Wars. We salute your bravery in this, the month of Remembrance.
posted by Ouisch at 7:02 AM on November 2, 2010


But I see it's no big deal to call folks with Southern accents rednecks. I mean, it's not a big enough deal for me to start a MeTa thread about it, but as someone with an accent thicker than that guy in the video, who actually does find the term "redneck" to be offensive, in that I would not wish to be presumed to be one, since it implies that one is a racist, sexist, homophobe of little education or insight, I did want to point that out. Somewhere. So I picked here. And that's all I wanted to say about it. Carry on.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 7:06 AM on November 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


I love you, BOP, but in point of fact, I did not start this thread, and would not have.

I made a sarcastic comment clumsily airing one of my personal beefs, and someone didn't like it and thought it was worth a 500+ comment MeTa thread.

I think calling people rednecks merely because of an accent is a shitty thing to do.
posted by Ouisch at 7:12 AM on November 2, 2010


Love you too, Ouisch, but I wasn't trying to imply that you started this thread, and, in fact, don't need a summary of the whole thing, since I've already read it, and my comment has absolutely nothing to do with you.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 7:22 AM on November 2, 2010


Okay, just sayin -- it seemed to be a thing going around. Bit sensitive and all.
posted by Ouisch at 7:27 AM on November 2, 2010


I'd like to thank everyone for helping me kick Splunge's sorry ass.

Although, to be fair, the game was rigged. Never agree to the Price is Right rules when there's only two of you.

And never go up against a Sicilian when DEATH is on the line.
posted by electroboy at 7:47 AM on November 2, 2010


Or at the very least, never go first when you've agreed to Price is Right rules.
posted by electroboy at 7:51 AM on November 2, 2010


Redneck reads like chav to me. I've always wondered if there's something I'm missing but it never seems to scan as anything remotely comprehensible outside of a class context.
posted by shinybaum at 7:53 AM on November 2, 2010


YOU HAVE NO CHOICE, PUNY BEING!
DON PARDO CHOOSES WHEN YOU COME DOWN!
posted by Dano St at 8:13 AM on November 2, 2010


Do you seriously believe that's going to happen? Anywhere? or just on Metafilter? Because I agree with you that it'd be bad, but it seems like a really far-fetched possibility. If we ever get the pendulum to swing to a neutral position with no misogyny, I'll start worrying about it going too far the other way.

And in the meantime, all men are suspect and that's fine?

In addition, as a feminist I know enjoys pointing out, there are matriarchal societies in the world.

So technically, it can happen and does happen.

Do I think it would happen here? No. I believe we'll tend toward equality along all social dimensions, and of course there will be backlash against that most hated of historical oppressors, white men, like me. Even though almost none of us have ever personally oppressed anybody. But if that's what it takes to achieve equality, then so be it.

But, that doesn't mean it shouldn't be called out for what it is--counter-productive.
posted by silentpundit at 8:33 AM on November 2, 2010


More than once, perhaps not here, but in real life and other places, I've made sure to distinguish between "good ol' boy" and "redneck". As in, "well, yeah, it's a small town, but they're more good ol' boys there than rednecks, and I like stopping at the bar there" or something similar.

I think it's an important distinction.
posted by hippybear at 8:49 AM on November 2, 2010


Funny, "good ol' boy" holds more negative connotations than "redneck" for me.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:00 AM on November 2, 2010


nomadicink, you're right. You weren't trying to get her to shut up. I was pissed off yesterday and didn't read carefully. My apologies.
posted by zarq at 9:17 AM on November 2, 2010


"In addition, as a feminist I know enjoys pointing out, there are matriarchal societies in the world."

Not really.
posted by the young rope-rider at 9:21 AM on November 2, 2010


Hillbilly, redneck and good ol' boy are as different as hardpack, powder, spring corn, slop, crust...
posted by unSane at 9:47 AM on November 2, 2010


And in the meantime, all men are suspect and that's fine?

You haven't really demonstrated that's the case.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:28 AM on November 2, 2010


I feel like we just got done with a pretty good demonstration in this and the other thread.

In fact, the 'silly little pet theory' in question is essentially what I'm afraid of becoming an established working theory in the general consciousness.

Sometimes it feels like it already is.
posted by silentpundit at 11:29 AM on November 2, 2010


"Those of you who think you've discovered the sexist cancer that lurks at the bottom of my sick soul can pat yourselves on the back all the way to fuckoffsville." ... "I'll work harder on checking my tone in the future."

I do think you could try a bit harder...
posted by haveanicesummer at 11:36 AM on November 2, 2010


Strangely enough, early editions of Websters Dictionary include a definition of hillbilly as
"a Michigan Farmer".

there are matriarchal societies in the world."

Not really.


have you been married with children?
i mean no offense but...
posted by clavdivs at 11:36 AM on November 2, 2010


I feel like we just got done with a pretty good demonstration in this and the other thread.

Really? Where in this thread or the last one did anyone say all men are suspect? And if you can find that moment, then find the moment when there was a roar of approval that would suggest there is anything like a consensus, or even mild support, for that viewpoint.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:39 AM on November 2, 2010


have you been married with children?

Um, what? What are you trying to say, here?
posted by zarq at 11:48 AM on November 2, 2010


I cut off my hand once. It was unpleasant.
posted by mr.marx at 11:48 AM on November 2, 2010


Is fuckoffsville like Gob's Fuck Mountain?
posted by neuromodulator at 12:00 PM on November 2, 2010


How do we filter out the teases? We don't let them in.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:03 PM on November 2, 2010


Check your lease, buddy.
posted by SpiffyRob at 12:16 PM on November 2, 2010


You're a good man zarq. I apologize for all those drawings on the bathroom wall :)
posted by nomadicink at 12:21 PM on November 2, 2010


Really? Where in this thread or the last one did anyone say all men are suspect? And if you can find that moment, then find the moment when there was a roar of approval that would suggest there is anything like a consensus, or even mild support, for that viewpoint.

That's fair.

How do we filter out the teases? We don't let them in.

You're fired.
posted by silentpundit at 12:34 PM on November 2, 2010


I'm an idea man, Michael.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:34 PM on November 2, 2010


They were my ideas.
posted by SpiffyRob at 1:16 PM on November 2, 2010


Wireless Crapability: I think that one speaks for itself.
posted by SpiffyRob at 1:17 PM on November 2, 2010


Personally, I don't trust anyone that posts to threads with over 500 comments and doesn't die.
posted by yerfatma at 1:26 PM on November 2, 2010


Fuck you, Sitwell.
posted by neuromodulator at 1:33 PM on November 2, 2010


There's a very similar insistent-person-with-unpopular-idea-against-everyone type thing going on in this thread that may be getting a little overheated.
posted by Artw at 2:10 PM on November 2, 2010


Woah, Artw, you weren't kidding. Eesh.
posted by the young rope-rider at 2:15 PM on November 2, 2010


Yeah, we saw that this morning. I'd have said something while it was going on if I'd seen it, just as a general "not so much with the taking on all comers stuff", but by the time we were on the scene it seems like dude had gone to bed.

If he doesn't come back and start whipping things up again, it's pretty much just a "well, that sucked" situation and not much else to say.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:29 PM on November 2, 2010


Eureka! I know how we can solve this u-word problem once and for all!

All we need to do, see, is to try and think of another word that would indicate that a woman is behaving u---------ly without actually using the u-word, if such a word even exists. Perhaps something metaphorically obfuscatory. Of course, if a male user should ever happen to exhibit u---------ness (or whatever the male equivalent is, if there even is one) on the internet (it hasn't happened yet, but it might not be entirely impossible) we'll have to go digging for a word for that, too. Or, I suppose we could go with a more gender-neutral descriptor that isn't as loaded with blatant misogyny as unpleasant.

CAUTION: The preceding comment has been thoroughly doused in sarcasm. Do not expose to flames.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:53 PM on November 2, 2010


Funny, "good ol' boy" holds more negative connotations than "redneck" for me.

Just goes to show how nebulous these terms are, and how often they have meaning in the mind of the user and the ear of the hearer which may not actually be congruent.

FWIW, I'd never heard of "unpleasant" being a term which had different loaded meaning for women than for men until it was brought up on the Blue.

Perhaps that is also one of those nebulous things.
posted by hippybear at 3:07 PM on November 2, 2010


electroboy: "I'd like to thank everyone for helping me kick Splunge's sorry ass.

Although, to be fair, the game was rigged. Never agree to the Price is Right rules when there's only two of you.

And never go up against a Sicilian when DEATH is on the line
"

Wow. I guess I was away for a bit. Okay the Quatloos are in the mail. Along with a yummy drink powder that is totally not iocaine. Trust me.
posted by Splunge at 5:21 PM on November 2, 2010


>>Funny, "good ol' boy" holds more negative connotations than "redneck" for me.

>Just goes to show how nebulous these terms are, and how often they have meaning in the mind of the user and the ear of the hearer which may not actually be congruent.


I think they are strongly regional terms, too. I now live in the northwest, and while those terms get used all the time, they don't carry any weight. People use them very lightly and it's hard to imagine anyone getting insulted by them. (And people use them very imprecisely -- I've been called a redneck, and when that happens I want to channel Bentson and say "I've know rednecks...")

I've also lived in the south, and those terms are strikingly, even shockingly, different there in terms of the cultural baggage they carry. Living here, we can use them in ways that we'd couldn't if we lived elsewhere, and the open boundaries of the internet can bring those different uses in focus in surprising ways.
posted by Forktine at 8:04 PM on November 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


unpleasant is hardly even a word anyway; just pleasant (a perfectly nice word) with "un" added. I far prefer annoying, abhorrent, irksome, lousy, nasty, obnoxious, rotten, sour, troublesome and/or uncool (yeah, also an "un" word but this time, it works, rules being made to be broken and all that).
posted by philip-random at 10:24 PM on November 2, 2010


And in the meantime, all men are suspect and that's fine?

AZ's already covered this, but since I was the one who asked you the question, I'll respond too.

If it were true that all men are suspect, then no it wouldn't be fine, it would be misandry. But there's no evidence that it is true, so I'm not going to waste my time worrying about it. I suggest you bump it down a few notches on your "societal ills to be concerned about" list until there's any kind of proof that it's a common thing on MeFi (or anywhere else, for that matter).
posted by harriet vane at 3:12 AM on November 3, 2010


Forktine, can you explain a bit? I'm from the south, and here the term can be used as a mock insult between people who are considered rednecks, say to tease someone who is a serious fan bluegrass, but otherwise it's a pretty intense expression of class bigotry.

The term is frequently used on MetaFilter in a way that leaves no as about the level of hate intended - "you're/they're all a bunch inbred racist, homophobic redneck bigots" -but I'd rather not assume that kind of hatred if somebody is in fact using a phrase like "fucking rednecks" casually or jokingly. Can you explain how the term is used in the northwest, what's meant by it, how it's taken?
posted by nangar at 1:53 PM on November 3, 2010


Of course, I'm an illiterate redneck. I meant "leaves no doubt about ..."
posted by nangar at 1:57 PM on November 3, 2010


Can you explain how the term is used in the northwest, what's meant by it, how it's taken?

I can't speak for the entire northwest, but here's my experience. I hear it get used a few different ways. One is by the ultra-urban (think of a total caricatured hipster, metrosexual, lives in a Seattle neighborhood like Capitol Hill), and they are pretty much meaning it in the way you cite on MeFi -- nasty, classist, etc.

Another is affectionately, by the western rodeo/cowboy/rural kind of person. You know, might have a "cowgirl up!" sticker on the truck, non-ironic wearer of Carhartt vests, maybe a well-worn circle from the chew in their back pocket. That's more like "fuck you, I'm a redneck and proud of it!" Synonymous with liking certain kinds of music, cultural references, big ass trucks, etc.

And like Hippybear says, that's different than Good ol boys, which is more... less rodeo, more farmer, maybe, with an uncomfortable blending of money. Like, you might see one variety at the feed store, and another at the local country club, and both of them are going to complain about those fucking Californians and west siders.

And then redneck gets used both jokingly and disparagingly by/about people who like to dress up in camo and go hunting, go mudbogging, or just drink (ironically or non-ironically) cheap beer and rock out on a Friday night. They sure as shit aren't rodeo/cowboy people, but they aren't good ol boys and they aren't effete urbanites, either. That's maybe more like that "you know you are a redneck when..." comedian guy.

The biggest difference compared to the south is that there isn't the same traditional overlay with racism. (I'm not saying our rednecks aren't racist, in their own way -- just that it's different, and a much smaller part of the image.) So it doesn't carry that nasty insinuation of sheet-wearing and cross-burning, and has a lot more positive overtones of Marlborough Man and John Wayne, plus PBR bull riding and bringing home enough elk meat for the winter.

Or at least that's my sense, from where I live. I might be talking out my ass for all I know; I'm not a redneck expert.
posted by Forktine at 5:59 PM on November 3, 2010


I agree with the last statements. In the NW the rednecks don't wear sheets. They're casually bigoted, not viciously racist. And a kind of culture unto itself, involving "being a rural kid."
posted by five fresh fish at 10:08 PM on November 3, 2010


Thanks for your reply, Forktine. Interesting and makes sense.
posted by nangar at 3:06 AM on November 4, 2010


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