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Girlzone August 15, 2012 7:45 AM   Subscribe

Don't just get a lawyer, get a shark.

I remember when this place was accused of being a Boyzone. Now, it's simply become openly hostile to men. Woman asks for divorce advice, and, predictably, out come the masses, advising her about how it's not just her right, but that it's actually a 'good thing' to extract as much as possible from the husband.

Unfortunately, this imo has become the standard attitude around here, and not just about divorce cases. Women are poor victims, men are the bad guys. Aren't we supposed to a bit more enlightened that this?

/rant
posted by eas98 to Etiquette/Policy at 7:45 AM (1967 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite

You forgot the #mensrights tag.
posted by inigo2 at 7:47 AM on August 15, 2012 [96 favorites]


When men ask for advice about divorce, people on AskMe invariably tell them to get aggressive lawyers.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:48 AM on August 15, 2012 [60 favorites]


That all seemed like pretty standard divorce advice to me, nothing sexist that I saw. I'm missing the need for outrage here.
posted by Forktine at 7:50 AM on August 15, 2012 [15 favorites]


In the case cited, the marriage seems to be a sham and the husband seems to be a cad.
posted by goethean at 7:50 AM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


In this specific case, the husband let the wife support him at the start, and then withdrew his financial support to leave her in a debt hole while looking like he's about to split. IN THIS CASE hell yeah she deserves that money.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 7:51 AM on August 15, 2012 [15 favorites]


Men and women in AskMe both frequently get told to get lawyers that will protect and defend their legal rights to their home and property. This particular situation seems like one that could be well-served by having not just competent, but possibly aggressive counsel.

Your impression of this site is quite different from my own.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:51 AM on August 15, 2012 [87 favorites]


What, advising someone to get a lawyer during a divorce is "openly hostile to men"? Good god. Have you never actually been divorced?
posted by koeselitz at 7:51 AM on August 15, 2012 [10 favorites]


Mefites tend to respond to "my marriage appears to be imploding badly, how do I handle this" with "hire a lawyer to handle it correctly" pretty much regardless of who is married to who and who is posting. That's not a Girlzone thing, that's a Don't Get Fucked In Your Divorce thing.

I don't love the phrasing of the comment you're quoting in the post, for what it's worth, but that's one comment in the thread, not a summation of the whole of Metafilter. If you have other specific examples you're concerned about maybe link them here as well, but I basically agree with other jessamyn here: I am not seeing on the site what you are seeing.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:55 AM on August 15, 2012 [7 favorites]


It's not up to you to judge AskMe suggestions. The only person's opinion that counts is OP's (unless we're talking illegalities and such).

Having said that, I'm not sure you understand what boyzone means. The term refers to behavior that's stereotypical of teen boys, such as sexist talk, ruminations on tits&ass, etc. So suggesting that someone gets a shark (lawyer) doesn't even compare. Sure it might be seen as unsound advice but sexist or hostile to men? Not really.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 7:56 AM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have a good feeling about this thread.
posted by Justinian at 7:56 AM on August 15, 2012 [56 favorites]


There is a certain gleefulness to a that comment that is a little gross, but what should the advice to the OP be? Don't get a lawyer?

I haven't seen similar men's divorce threads, but if they are similar to this as others are saying, I don't think there's much to talk about.
posted by Bookhouse at 7:57 AM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


To be clear, I do not object to advice about seeking legal advice. I am complaining about the zeal with which such advice is given. Divorce sucks, and relationships ending sucks. But this stick it to the man attitude is not appropriate here.

As far as this particular case, as usual, we don't know what their arrangement is/was, so the marriage being considered a 'sham' and the guy a 'cad' seems presumptive.

So tell the girl to get a lawyer, answer her question. But:

How would you like half of the retirement accounts? How about some spousal support until you're done with residency? How would you like that med school debt eliminated?

Jesus, is this a divorce, or winning the lotto?
posted by eas98 at 7:58 AM on August 15, 2012


Are you objecting only to a perceived "girlzone" in divorce/relationship threads, or in all threads?

"How would you like half of the retirement accounts? How about some spousal support until you're done with residency? How would you like that med school debt eliminated?" Jesus, is this a divorce, or winning the lotto?

Depends - do you think she had a marriage, or a parasite?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:00 AM on August 15, 2012 [11 favorites]


But this stick it to the man attitude is not appropriate here.

I'm not sure that his genitalia are the main reason that people find him deserving of punishment. Also, most grown women appreciate being called women, not girls.
posted by the young rope-rider at 8:02 AM on August 15, 2012 [105 favorites]


Jesus, is this a divorce, or winning the lotto?

Again, it doesn't matter. The original AskMe poster has been given a lot of advice and it's up to her to decide on a course of action.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 8:02 AM on August 15, 2012


So tell the girl to get a lawyer, answer her question. But:

How would you like half of the retirement accounts? How about some spousal support until you're done with residency? How would you like that med school debt eliminated?

Jesus, is this a divorce, or winning the lotto?


Those are either partner's legal rights in community property states. Yeah, I don't love the tone of that comment, either, but I like the tone of your callout even less.

Remember, too, that her husband gained something important from his marriage to her--citizenship. Whether or not the marriage was a sham from his side, the facts as presented to us are clear that she brought something important to the marriage that he apparently wanted, and once he had obtained it he checked out of the relationship. Again, that's the questioner's perspective, but that's all we get in AskMe, the questioner's perspective.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:03 AM on August 15, 2012 [27 favorites]


Jesus, is this a divorce, or winning the lotto?

If your complaint is only and specifically about that one comment, this may not really be something that merits a whole Metatalk thread. You framed this as a systemic issue on the site, so if you're not just hanging that on this one comment from this morning it'd be helpful if you could try and either put together some further examples of stuff you think is problematic or substantiate the complaint more descriptively.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:03 AM on August 15, 2012 [24 favorites]


It was only 40 years ago that a women couldn't even initiate a divorce in some (many?) states. Suggesting that she make sure her rights are well represented in court is not only appropriate, it's utterly responsible.
posted by COD at 8:03 AM on August 15, 2012 [16 favorites]


Is it shark week already?

Messaging the mods didn't work?
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:04 AM on August 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


Are you objecting only to a perceived "girlzone" in divorce/relationship threads, or in all threads?


Well, I do think there has been a shift over the years, not necessarily just on MeFi, but perhaps in society as a whole. I presented that thread as a starting point for such a discussion, but it appears that I am in the minority on this. And that's fine, if there is no such need for a discussion. We can close this case then, unless people are really looking for a popcorn event.

Thanks to all for the discussion.
posted by eas98 at 8:05 AM on August 15, 2012


Unfortunately, this imo has become the standard attitude around here, and not just about divorce cases. Women are poor victims, men are the bad guys. Aren't we supposed to a bit more enlightened that this?

/rant


If you really believe this, it's better to come up with several examples and to construct a non-ranty Metatalk post that articulates what the problem is, as you see it, and suggestions for how to make alleviate said problem.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:07 AM on August 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


> Now, it's simply become openly hostile to men.

There is nothing in your example that supports this assertion even a little bit. I think you're projecting.
posted by desuetude at 8:07 AM on August 15, 2012 [10 favorites]


Well, I do think there has been a shift over the years, not necessarily just on MeFi, but perhaps in society as a whole.

Ah, yes, that is why single mothers are at serious risk of poverty and hunger. Because things are so stacked up in their favor. Good call.
posted by the young rope-rider at 8:08 AM on August 15, 2012 [74 favorites]


Yeah, that particular poster seemed wholly unaware of the legal implications of divorce in their entirety, which would suggest an aggressive lawyer. An assertive, informed person might not need aggression as much, but it sounds like she'd be stood in good stead to have a strong advocate.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:09 AM on August 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


If mefi is so hostile to men, how do you explain this?

*flexes pectoral muscles*
*thousands of Christmas crackers explode in celebration*
posted by Greg Nog at 8:09 AM on August 15, 2012 [114 favorites]


Messaging the mods didn't work?

Should have tried massaging the mods.

SHARK WEEK.
posted by phunniemee at 8:09 AM on August 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's only that one particular comment that is at all greedy sounding. And don't forget... in this case it sounds like the husband used his wife to get citizenship. In which case, he owes her. And in any case a lot of divorces do end with both parties getting half the assets and half the debt. It's not like the answerer said, "Take everything he has!"

You're seeing things that aren't there.
posted by orange swan at 8:09 AM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I am complaining about the zeal with which such advice is given.

Have you read this thread? It's full of zeal. Did you see this comment? It's a lawyer zealously defending someone's right to be homeless. We're practically soaking in zeal around here and it isn't disproportionately directed toward the mens.

I did think that the advice, given by Ruthless Bunny, was, as the kids say, eponysterical.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:09 AM on August 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


Well, I do think there has been a shift over the years, not necessarily just on MeFi, but perhaps in society as a whole.

I hate to break it to you, but I think you just blew your chances of everyone dropping this after that last comment.....
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:10 AM on August 15, 2012 [12 favorites]


hello, I am a man who has been known to slap his wife on the butt when she passes by and I disagree with your thesis.
posted by boo_radley at 8:11 AM on August 15, 2012 [11 favorites]


but perhaps in society as a whole.

OH MY GOD THE DREAD SPECTRE OF EQUALITY

RUN FOR YOUR LIVES
posted by elizardbits at 8:11 AM on August 15, 2012 [180 favorites]


and she has also been know to literally punch me in the sternum like a carnie hammering a tent peg into asphalt. It all works out, I guess.
posted by boo_radley at 8:12 AM on August 15, 2012 [21 favorites]


octobersurprise: " It's a lawyer zealously defending someone's right to be homeless. "

is this a lawsuit or an episode of extreme makeover home edition
posted by boo_radley at 8:14 AM on August 15, 2012


on another board I'm on shark week = menstruation

You're welcome.
posted by the young rope-rider at 8:14 AM on August 15, 2012 [12 favorites]


Yes, that is what I mean when I say shark week. Although my most savage predations on land and at sea take place the week before, tbh.
posted by elizardbits at 8:15 AM on August 15, 2012 [21 favorites]


It's not winning the lotto to receive what you are legally entitled to in a divorce. Dividing the retirement accounts, resolving debts acquired during the marriage and setting spousal support isn't greed. It's what needs to be accomplished to dissolve a marriage. The people who help you do that are lawyers.

Not sure why this question created such angst for you eas98, but there's nothing there for a call out.
posted by 26.2 at 8:16 AM on August 15, 2012 [10 favorites]


We're gonna need a bigger boat.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:17 AM on August 15, 2012 [27 favorites]


i think what you might be seeing is generalized sympathy bias and not anti-dude bias. if somebody of either gender writes in and says they're being done wrong, it's common for them to get sympathy or commiseration. i don't think you would have to search very hard to find plenty of examples of dudes being disrespected or messed around with and getting very sympathetic askme responses. i would find and link a few were i not so gosh-darn ass-lazy.
posted by facetious at 8:18 AM on August 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


Yes, that is what I mean when I say shark week.

What do you mean when you say "Candygram!"
posted by octobersurprise at 8:19 AM on August 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


Maybe it's just my perception, but it doesn't seem as if men ask nearly as many divorce related questions as women.
posted by ODiV at 8:19 AM on August 15, 2012


I presented that thread as a starting point for such a discussion,

We need links to comments, egregious threads, callouts by name, a re-hashing of old arguments with new people (and a sprinkling of helpful 'previously' links to MeTa), clueless newcomers making age-old mistakes and baseless assertions.

Then, and only then, can this be the MeTa I've been hoping and dreaming for - a 400+ comment barnburner.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:19 AM on August 15, 2012 [6 favorites]


One should live every week like it's Shark Week.
posted by Egg Shen at 8:23 AM on August 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


eas98: "Well, I do think there has been a shift over the years, not necessarily just on MeFi, but perhaps in society as a whole. I presented that thread as a starting point for such a discussion, but it appears that I am in the minority on this."

I can see how you'd prefer to retcon it that way.
posted by mkultra at 8:23 AM on August 15, 2012


It was odd that some people seemed to want the asker to get her hands on everything she possibly could without any evidence she was entitled to it.

But then Americans, it seems, love to sue people so maybe it was just that.
posted by Reggie Knoble at 8:23 AM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Reggie Knoble: "But then Americans, it seems, love to sue people so maybe it was just that."

hey I heard there was some weather in Bristol for you to complain about, you should probably see about that.
posted by boo_radley at 8:25 AM on August 15, 2012 [17 favorites]


But then Americans, it seems, love to sue people so maybe it was just that.

Now that's just libelous. I will see you in court, sir.
posted by griphus at 8:26 AM on August 15, 2012 [28 favorites]


It was odd that some people seemed to want the asker to get her hands on everything she possibly could without any evidence she was entitled to it.

Any evidence other than state laws about community property rights, you mean?
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:27 AM on August 15, 2012 [12 favorites]


It was odd that some people seemed to want the asker to get her hands on everything she possibly could

You mean everything to which she might be legally entitled?
posted by elizardbits at 8:29 AM on August 15, 2012 [36 favorites]


I'd really like to see some advice to men who are getting or considering divorce, just to compare, but am having trouble finding some. There was this recent question which came to mind as a possibility, but it did not specify gender. Interestingly some answers assume a male spouse (or just use the male pronoun as generic?).
posted by ODiV at 8:32 AM on August 15, 2012


Ah, here's one that I almost missed for some reason. Looks like his friend is getting told to get a lawyer who will look out for his financial interests (ie: not take on her recent debts).
posted by ODiV at 8:36 AM on August 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Any evidence other than state laws about community property rights, you mean?

NJ & NY don't have community property laws as far as I know, division of assets is based on a lot of factors, very few of which anyone knew.
posted by Reggie Knoble at 8:38 AM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Some recent advice for divorcing gentlemen: here (includes suggestions that the gentleman get his own attorney rather than continuing with a collaborative divorce because the lady is being financially reckless), here, here (this gentleman is looking to represent himself), here (where the consensus is basically "If she has a shark, you get a shark"), here, and so on.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:40 AM on August 15, 2012 [9 favorites]


I'm so sick of men getting shouted down here when we just want to have a little fun talking about buns and boobs.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:43 AM on August 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


This thread is a reminder to me of what some of the male members of my family seem to think (incidentally, all divorced from women who didn't fight for what was rightfully partially theirs); that women are "winning" now because they are losing a lot less.

The scale is tipping, but it's a hell of a long way from girlzone. Go look at poverty statistics for women and children as a primer to how much further things have to go before men are at risk of anything less than parity.
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 8:43 AM on August 15, 2012 [44 favorites]


NJ & NY don't have community property laws as far as I know

Yes, they are both extremely complicated about property division! I stopped reading the thread before the update from the OP, so didn't know she had revealed the states in question.

However, DarlingBri's comment--which I presume is the one to which the OP here is objecting--was also made before the OP had revealed which states were her and her husband's states of residence. So DarlingBri was playing the odds that they were community property states.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:44 AM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Since it sounds like it's particularly that comment, did you flag the individual comment in question?
posted by rmd1023 at 8:44 AM on August 15, 2012


The general tone of response in this thread is a wider problem than anything else that's been raised herein, I'd say. It isn't actually necessary to adopt a jerkish tone in response to a MetaTalk complaint, no matter how silly, misguided, or ranting that complaint might be.

As for the complaint and the wider discussion it was intended to spark...I disagree. The linked comment isn't lovely, but I definitely haven't perceived a wider problem of hostility toward men on AskMe. I think it's not uncommon to find distasteful zeal on AskMe, particularly comments in relationship threads that seem a bit too quick and delighted to recommend "Dump that loser!!", and I think the linked comment may be just another instance of that.

Put differently, AskMe could sometimes be better about remembering that there is probably another side to every story and that even if the OP's version were 100% accurate, the person on the other side of the equation is a human being and not simply the sum total of his/her behaviors as characterized in-thread.
posted by cribcage at 8:44 AM on August 15, 2012 [14 favorites]


Wow, I don't know why I completely forgot about tags in my searching. Thanks, Sidhedevil.

But yeah, from what I can see, lawyers often (always?) get recommended to men to look after their interests. Determining the zeal with which it happens would be a touch difficult.
posted by ODiV at 8:46 AM on August 15, 2012


Boyzone, girlzone, whatever happened to the Nickelodeon Blast Zone?
posted by shakespeherian at 8:46 AM on August 15, 2012 [9 favorites]


The general tone of response in this thread is a wider problem than anything else that's been raised herein, I'd say. It isn't actually necessary to adopt a jerkish tone in response to a MetaTalk complaint, no matter how silly, misguided, or ranting that complaint might be.

I used to think it was just a Hollywood convention that if two guys start fighting in a bar than everyone in the bar will begin breaking bottles over each other's heads, but I've learned that it isn't.
posted by Egg Shen at 8:47 AM on August 15, 2012 [12 favorites]


Here's a Q from a guy who caught his wife cheating and wants to save his marriage: My heart is breaking

Sample comments:
"Divorce her skank ass. Call a good lawyer. And go find a new, better mom for your son. This one's broken."

"Either take the kid and leave or kick the bitch out and tell her to go live with the 22 year-old. Then get a good divorce lawyer."

"Find a good divorce lawyer."

"For the love of god, self, and country... leave her."

"I fifth the advice to get a good lawyer; a shark in fact. There's too much anger here (or will be a soon as the denial ends) for a mediated divorce to work."

And then there's:
"Dear Doormat:

Please take the following steps, in order:

1. Stop being a doormat.

2. Get a lawyer."
posted by zarq at 8:47 AM on August 15, 2012 [45 favorites]


shakespeherian: "Boyzone, girlzone, whatever happened to the Nickelodeon Blast Zone?"

Trick question. You just want us to say, "I don't know" so the....

*gets buried under green slime*
posted by zarq at 8:48 AM on August 15, 2012 [34 favorites]


Thank you, zarq! I was looking for that very AskMe, but I only got as far back as May of this year before I just got overwhelmed by all the divorces people are getting.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:49 AM on August 15, 2012


I really hope we've come at least a little ways in four years and we wouldn't see those same answers now.
posted by ODiV at 8:49 AM on August 15, 2012


(Er, to be clear, the "skank" and "bitch" stuff. Not the "find a lawyer" stuff.)
posted by ODiV at 8:50 AM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Put differently, AskMe could sometimes be better about remembering that there is probably another side to every story and that even if the OP's version were 100% accurate, the person on the other side of the equation is a human being and not simply the sum total of his/her behaviors as characterized in-thread.

That's all we have to go on. Yes, it's inappropriate to say "Your spouse is the devil!" but it's also not appropriate to question every MeFi asker as if one were opposing counsel.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:50 AM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sidhedevil, GMTA! It's the first one that came to mind when I saw this meta. Mostly for Optimus', pastabagel and Taz's comments.

ODiV: "I really hope we've come at least a little ways in four years and we wouldn't see those same answers now."

Optimus Chyme definitely had a way with words.
posted by zarq at 8:53 AM on August 15, 2012


zarq: "GMTA"

?
posted by boo_radley at 8:54 AM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Great Minds Think Alike"

Errr.... it sounds a lot less humble when you spell it out.
posted by zarq at 8:56 AM on August 15, 2012


Given that the U.S. Census has indicated that women's income, on average drops by 37%, and men's by just 10%, it seems reasonable to advise the OP to make sure she doesn't get taken advantage of in divorce as she had been in marriage, tone questions aside. You'll have to find better evidence for your GirlZone contentions.
posted by *s at 8:57 AM on August 15, 2012 [10 favorites]


This seems more like the current tone of most "I guess I should get a divorce" Asks these days. Again, "protect your financial assets" is a frequent refrain.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:57 AM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


What was the point of the question anyway?

The only possible answers seem to be:

1) Get a lawyer

or

2) Don't get a lawyer

And the asker specified in the question that she couldn't afford a lawyer so what was anybody supposed to add?

There is no real answer so it seems like chatfilter, IANAL/IANYL type stuff.

And a mod had to specifically approve the question as it was submitted anonymously.

as she had been in marriage

Cite?
posted by Reggie Knoble at 8:58 AM on August 15, 2012


This Ask elicits "talk to a lawyer" even though the asker hadn't mentioned considering divorce.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:59 AM on August 15, 2012


> Well, I do think there has been a shift over the years, not necessarily just on MeFi, but perhaps in society as a whole.

Ah, a member of the Poor Oppressed Men Brigade! Sorry, you want room 12A, Just along the corridor.

> We can close this case then, unless people are really looking for a popcorn event.

An excellent idea.
posted by languagehat at 8:59 AM on August 15, 2012 [10 favorites]


There is no real answer so it seems like chatfilter, IANAL/IANYL type stuff.

Oh, you're just unhappy the question was even asked at all. I suggest you follow my lead; don't read Ask.
posted by octobersurprise at 9:01 AM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yes, it's inappropriate to say "Your spouse is the devil!" but it's also not appropriate to question every MeFi asker as if one were opposing counsel.

That isn't the choice we are faced with, at least in any of the AskMe threads I have ever read. I don't understand Eas98 to be advocating that the OP should have been questioned before help was given, and that certainly wasn't my suggestion. It would also be infeasible in anonymous threads.
posted by cribcage at 9:04 AM on August 15, 2012


Reggie Knoble: "What was the point of the question anyway?

The only possible answers seem to be:

1) Get a lawyer

or

2) Don't get a lawyer

And the asker specified in the question that she couldn't afford a lawyer so what was anybody supposed to add?
"

Here's what the question asked: "What do I do if he files for divorce? I cannot afford a lawyer, I have so much medical school and credit card (because he barely pays anything to support me and he hasn't for years) debt. How do I afford a lawyer? Is it common to get free consultations?"

Looks to me as if there's a very specific question being asked there. Not just "Should I get one or not" but "do I really need one, and if so, are there any affordable options open to me?"
posted by zarq at 9:05 AM on August 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


There are actually plenty of useful and highly specific answers that can be given to someone in that situation. They range from "James Jones of the Smith and Jones law firm in Parsippany is good and works on contingency" to "try Legal Services of New Jersey" to "contact the dean of students at your medical school and see if there is some kind of legal aid program that might also cover graduates who are currently doing residencies."

I don't see how it's "chatfilter" at all.
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:06 AM on August 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


There is no real answer so it seems like chatfilter, IANAL/IANYL type stuff.


It doesn't seem like you actually read the whole question.
posted by rtha at 9:06 AM on August 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


I hope she ends up getting useable advice. That's a really scary, crappy situation to be in.
posted by batmonkey at 9:08 AM on August 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


as she had been in marriage

Cite?


It's in the question. The husband got his citizenship and financial support and then, when it was time for her to pursue her education, quit supporting her and drifted away:

the husband let the wife support him at the start, and then withdrew his financial support to leave her in a debt hole while looking like he's about to split

Also, can I just say how much I dislike "Cite?"? It seems so unnecessarily sniffy.
posted by *s at 9:09 AM on August 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


Hmm.

Yes, because moving away from "I'd hit that!" and "Make me a sammich!" chatter and telling women to get decent divorce lawyers means that we're turning into a "girlzone."

As opposed to just....not being actively hostile and disrespectful to women?

:|
posted by Narrative Priorities at 9:11 AM on August 15, 2012 [48 favorites]


What do you mean when you say "Candygram!"

I leap out from behind a hedge with a giant novelty candy cane and whack my hapless victim on the knee.
posted by elizardbits at 9:12 AM on August 15, 2012 [14 favorites]


All I know is that every few days Keith Duffy, Stephen Gately, Mikey Graham, Ronan Keating, and Shane Lynch get a Google alert that leaves them terribly confused. Will nobody think of the Irish?
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 9:13 AM on August 15, 2012 [13 favorites]


*s: "Also, can I just say how much I dislike "Cite?"? It seems so unnecessarily sniffy."

Yes, agreed. Amazing how people took the conceited and unthinkingly testy "citation needed" and thought, "this needs to be optimized somehow."
posted by boo_radley at 9:14 AM on August 15, 2012 [6 favorites]


She didn't even specify a location in the original question so there weren't any specific answers that could have been given unless you just wanted to start listing law firms across the whole of America hoping to get lucky.

And local law firms are pretty easy to google.

Zarq: How do I afford a lawyer doesn't seem answerable by anyone who doesn't know her specific financial situation and the free consultation thing is going to come down to where she is and what local lawyers do, which wasn't included originally.
posted by Reggie Knoble at 9:19 AM on August 15, 2012


remember that guy who said on metatalk a few times something about "getting [one's] panties in a bunch?" I ask because I hate the word 'panties' so much it makes me grit my teeth, and also who says that
posted by angrycat at 9:20 AM on August 15, 2012 [8 favorites]


OH GOD A WOMAN HIRED A LAWYER
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:22 AM on August 15, 2012 [26 favorites]


angrycat: I have a similar teeth-gritting response to the phrase "pearl-clutching".
posted by rmd1023 at 9:22 AM on August 15, 2012 [8 favorites]


The shift to Girlzone has been nothing but positive for me. Thanks to my previous AskMe question about not making friends in a new city, I took up scody's advice to tattoo the Woman Power Emblem with inscription "KILL ALL MEN" on my forehead. Ever since then I've been getting way more attention and looks on the street. Thanks GirlzoneFi!
posted by naju at 9:24 AM on August 15, 2012 [9 favorites]


Here is some useful advice the OP received:

-Yes, no fooling, get a lawyer. No, really.
-There might be advantages to filing in one state over another
-You can get a free consultation (not everyone knows this)
-If you do not figure out a way to afford it, you may lose out on things to which you are legally entitled.

More useful than many AskMes! and I say this as someone who gets her panties in a bunch over awful, awful legal advice on AskMe on the regular!
posted by *s at 9:24 AM on August 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


The husband got his citizenship and financial support and then, when it was time for her to pursue her education, quit supporting her

I've heard similar stories often enough that I would be completely unsurprised if this was the case, but I didn't see the financial support mentioned until this MeTa.

Reggie Knoble: I don't see how she could afford to not have a lawyer, no matter which state she's in. Getting advice from people who have been in similar situations is a lot of what AskMe is about. When that advice is a unanimous chorus, it can be extremely helpful.
posted by ODiV at 9:25 AM on August 15, 2012


Reggie Knoble: " Zarq: How do I afford a lawyer doesn't seem answerable by anyone who doesn't know her specific financial situation and the free consultation thing is going to come down to where she is and what local lawyers do, which wasn't included originally."

I don't hang out on Ask much. But over time even through my own minimal participation, I've learned that part of the process of asking questions and soliciting answers is finding out that people may need more information to answer them effectively than you initially think. I know I've certainly asked questions where follow-up info was requested and needed.

So even though the relevant info may not be included in the original question, that's not necessarily going to be a reason why the mods refuse to approve an anonyQ. The things you're mentioning are things the OP didn't take into consideration but should have, and now she has the opportunity to fill in the blanks for us to ponder. Whether the question is answerable as given or not, that doesn't mean it's not worth asking, yes?
posted by zarq at 9:26 AM on August 15, 2012


*s: The asked never said she provided financial support. Just that she sponsored his becoming a citizen.

There is no inidaction that he split one he got citizenship. The citizenship was four years ago. In fact there is no indication that he "split" at all. We don't know how they came to live in different states.

There is also no evidence that he withdrew financial support as there is no evidence there ever was financial support or any agreement he would pay her debts.

Some couples do maintain some, or even total, financial independence.

You have made a leap on every point you made based on the assumption that he is a bad guy and even invented a couple of details to make him an even worse guy.
posted by Reggie Knoble at 9:30 AM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I didn't see the financial support mentioned until this MeTa

Sponsorship has a financial support component.
posted by *s at 9:31 AM on August 15, 2012 [12 favorites]


When I post an answer on Ask, I feel like I'm giving back to the site in a concrete way. I heartily recommend it.
posted by Egg Shen at 9:32 AM on August 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


In fact there is no indication that he "split" at all.

In what other way would you then interpret this statement?

he has chosen to drift from me and live his life separately
posted by elizardbits at 9:34 AM on August 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Can someone explain what Shark Week means please? I feel so uncool and out-of-touch.
posted by Joh at 9:36 AM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Discovery Channel does a Shark Week every year and it is going on now.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:37 AM on August 15, 2012


also no evidence that he withdrew financial support

How do you read this?

because he barely pays anything to support me and he hasn't for years

It's hard to discuss this because it seems you're not reading the question.
posted by *s at 9:40 AM on August 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


Can someone explain what Shark Week means please?

This really belongs in AskMe.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 9:41 AM on August 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Now, it's simply become openly hostile to men.

Yes, a certain subset of men would probably be in a world of hurt if the pendulum actually did swing the way you fear it might. Just so you know, that's not really happening. But it's interesting to think about why some men fear that so much.
posted by heyho at 9:41 AM on August 15, 2012 [16 favorites]


Some couples do maintain some, or even total, financial independence.

You seem weirdly invested in making up fictions to prove the innocence of someone you don't even know. Keep going, you sound like a creep.
posted by octobersurprise at 9:46 AM on August 15, 2012 [8 favorites]


ThePinkSuperhero: "Discovery Channel does a Shark Week every year and it is going on now."

A number of friends of mine on Facebook also use that phrase to talk about their periods.

Leading to much confusion in status message comments....
posted by zarq at 9:46 AM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


There have been a few threads where, in my opinion, a pile-on ends up adding an unfair/unnecessary male-negative tone to the discussion.

Unless there are some very glaring comments that were deleted, this was not one of those threads, and I don't think that it's an overwhelming problem on Metafilter. I've only seen it happen once or twice here.
posted by schmod at 9:46 AM on August 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


("Shark Week" has also become a euphemism for "I have my period." I only figured this out recently, and suddenly my twitter feed made a LOT more sense.)
posted by Narrative Priorities at 9:48 AM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, I do think there has been a shift over the years, not necessarily just on MeFi, but perhaps in society as a whole.

Perhaps you should take it to SocietyTalk, then.
posted by xingcat at 9:50 AM on August 15, 2012 [6 favorites]


Sponsorship has a financial support component.

Ah, thanks. I know nothing of US immigration (obviously) and was wondering where the financial thing came from.
posted by ODiV at 9:50 AM on August 15, 2012


All I know is that every few days Keith Duffy, Stephen Gately, Mikey Graham, Ronan Keating, and Shane Lynch get a Google alert that leaves them terribly confused. Will nobody think of the Irish?

Not Stephen Gately. :(
posted by kmz at 9:51 AM on August 15, 2012


*s: It's ambiguous at best. Did he pay 50% of the bills when they lived in the same house and stopped when he had to get seperate accomodation which he pays for entirely? Did they agree to such an arrangement at the time. That would meet the requirements of "barely pays anything to support me and he hasn't for years" without making him out to be a shit. I have exactly as much evidence fir that stuff I just made up as you do for your claim of her being taken advantage of in marriage.
posted by Reggie Knoble at 9:52 AM on August 15, 2012


She didn't even specify a location in the original question

Now you want it both ways. You complained that answers were given based on the laws of community property states before the states were specified; now you're arguing that if answerers don't know what state she's in, they can't give any useful answers.

This is just casuistry. "Contact your medical school's dean of students to find out if there's any program that covers legal aid graduates through their internship and residency" is one answer that can be given without knowing what state she's in. "Many states have referral sites for low-income people needing lawyers; you can Google phrases like 'low-income lawyer referral' to find out if your state has such a service" is another. "When I got divorced, I had no money and represented myself. Here are some books I found helpful; there are probably more that offer state-law-specific advice" is another.
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:52 AM on August 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Bunny Ultramod: "All I know is that every few days Keith Duffy, Stephen Gately, Mikey Graham, Ronan Keating, and Shane Lynch get a Google alert that leaves them terribly confused. Will nobody think of the Irish?"

I hate myself for getting this joke.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:54 AM on August 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


Oh wait wait I just saw a video relevant to this: hey white guys.

God forbid that metafilter skew girlzone (though it doesn't), as compared to, you know, all of society.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:56 AM on August 15, 2012 [9 favorites]


OH GOD A WOMAN HIRED A LAWYER

OH GOD SOMEONE TAUGHT A WOMAN TO READ
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:57 AM on August 15, 2012 [33 favorites]


NEXT THEY'LL BE HAVING IDEAS
posted by elizardbits at 10:00 AM on August 15, 2012 [18 favorites]


So is this projecting digital or analog?

I fear it's so big it's 3D IMAX.
posted by inturnaround at 10:02 AM on August 15, 2012


Hans Zimmer soundtrack.
posted by elizardbits at 10:05 AM on August 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


Don't just get a lawyer, get a shark.

I remember when this place was accused of being a Boyzone. Now, it's simply become openly hostile to men. Woman asks for divorce advice, and, predictably, out come the masses, advising her about how it's not just her right, but that it's actually a 'good thing' to extract as much as possible from the husband.

Unfortunately, this imo has become the standard attitude around here, and not just about divorce cases. Women are poor victims, men are the bad guys. Aren't we supposed to a bit more enlightened that this?


A person divorcing should listen and do what a competent attorney tells them to do.

This is not about you.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:08 AM on August 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


Just to be clear, I don't think MetaFilter skews towards "girlzone". This place definitely can be a pretty unwelcoming place for women sometimes, but the worst thing about it is, when women bring it up they usually end up being drawn into vicious and unkind arguments about why MetaFilter isn't a boyzone.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:08 AM on August 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


Hans Zimmer soundtrack.

How the hell did that even happen? That user had a total contribution of 1 comment anywhere on the site before their post.
posted by kmz at 10:19 AM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Errr.... it sounds a lot less humble when you spell it out.

Easily fixed by completing it: "Great minds think alike. Or fools never differ."

posted by yerfatma at 10:20 AM on August 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


A few days ago I was at the pool when a man and two women walked in and set up their stuff a few yards away from me. The man then proceeded to spend the better part of two hours regaling his companions and anyone else within earshot with tales of his bitter divorce. The women made a few comments indicating they had their own tales of woe involving divorce, but their role seemed mainly to be to agree with him. He had tales of adultery, substance abuse, kiddie porn and every other sort of misbehavior short of homicide involving his ex and her new boyfriend. Yet somehow he didn't get custody of his kids or otherwise come out ahead because the system is corrupt and stacked against him specifically and men in general. He did admit to having dirty dishes in the sink at the home visit, but they totally made up the bit about mold in the shower. In fact, he even went as far as to tell the judge he was running a kangaroo court (from the witness stand, no less!) because the judge didn't charge his wife with perjury when he should have. Evidently he has now fired his second attorney (they are all in cahoots anyway) and plans to represent himself in his (certain to be successful) appeal.


Don't be that guy.
posted by TedW at 10:21 AM on August 15, 2012 [32 favorites]


KokuRyu: "but the worst thing about it is, when women bring it up they usually end up being drawn into vicious and unkind arguments about why MetaFilter isn't a boyzone."

...which is what happened here except in reverse. People are mocking the op pretty freely in this thread, to a greater extent than I think his post deserves.

This isn't directed at you KokuRyu, but rather the rest of the people here:

He said something which was proved to be wrong by evidence. It happens. Do we need to also to make him out to be a knuckle dragging caveman who thinks women belong barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen, silent yet not heard?
posted by zarq at 10:25 AM on August 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


All I know is that every few days Keith Duffy, Stephen Gately, Mikey Graham, Ronan Keating, and Shane Lynch get a Google alert that leaves them terribly confused.

Stephen Gately not so much.
posted by MuffinMan at 10:26 AM on August 15, 2012


elizardbits: "NEXT THEY'LL BE HAVING IDEAS"

IDEAS NOT ABOUT APPLE PIES AND DELICIOUS ROASTS
posted by boo_radley at 10:26 AM on August 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


Well, I do think there has been a shift over the years, not necessarily just on MeFi, but perhaps in society as a whole.

This was the comment that stuck in my craw and set my MRA-sense tingling.
posted by kmz at 10:30 AM on August 15, 2012 [9 favorites]


How the hell did that even happen? That user had a total contribution of 1 comment anywhere on the site before their post.

Now I'm wondering that myself.

I call for a full-scale investigation. Or more sand kitten videos.
posted by Egg Shen at 10:31 AM on August 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


How the hell did that even happen? That user had a total contribution of 1 comment anywhere on the site before their post.

We dropped the pre-post comment requirement to one comment a while back to see what would happen, mostly in response to the fact that we (a) were not seeing dumb spammers particularly stymied by the comment requirement and (b) were seeing good-faith users who were only active on Ask previously being confused by why they couldn't post on Metafilter.

Basically, one comment is less of an arbitrary obstacle for the actual users, and spammers don't seem to care how many random non-sequiturs they're required to post before barfing on the front page and will get banned just as quick for it in any case.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:32 AM on August 15, 2012 [8 favorites]


Do we need to also to make him out to be a knuckle dragging caveman who thinks women belong barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen, silent yet not heard?

This is a strange way to defend the OP... but yes, we all promise to take your neutral, non-inflammatory words of guidance under advisement!
posted by heyho at 10:37 AM on August 15, 2012


I once knew an older woman (a lesbian if it matters) who was called for jury duty on a case for spousal abuse--a man battering a woman. She was asked some general question like could she decide the case fairly and honestly. Her reply was that she would vote for conviction no matter what. She said that because there had been so many men who had beaten their wives and never been convicted, never even been reported, that the scales of justice were skewed heavily against women, and it would take decades, maybe centuries, before any sort of real justice on the whole was achieved. And well, if a few men were falsely convicted along the way, just think of all the women who went to their graves without seeing a man charged for their crimes. (She did not get on the jury.)

I sort of feel the same way in divorce cases. Women, as a whole, have been historically screwed over by marriage and divorce laws. A few women using those same laws against men will take centuries to even out all the damage we've begot. We are not yet in some perfect state of equality or justice. I say have at 'em.
posted by mattbucher at 10:38 AM on August 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


I think having to be silent yet not heard is probably the hardest part of being a woman :/
posted by King, in the hall of the mountain at 10:39 AM on August 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


What do you mean when you say "Candygram!"

FOR MONGO.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 10:45 AM on August 15, 2012 [12 favorites]


Do we need to also to make him out to be a knuckle dragging caveman who thinks women belong barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen, silent yet not heard?

No.

But given some choice words the OP had to offer a little while back about booth babes and how angry feminists are ruining E3, I'm not exactly inclined to be generous, either.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 10:45 AM on August 15, 2012 [10 favorites]


(She did not get on the jury.)

I feel like that may have been her goal. Either that or you have met a woman who would have made the worst spy, ever.
posted by griphus at 10:46 AM on August 15, 2012 [7 favorites]


heyho: "we all promise to take your neutral, non-inflammatory words of guidance under advisement!"

This is all I'm asking. ;)

Seriously, we don't need to mock the guy into total oblivion or make it sound like he thinks women hiring lawyers or learning to read is some sort of existential horror for making a single, somewhat defensive-sounding meta post.
posted by zarq at 10:46 AM on August 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


I would be the best juror ever, I am sure. BY GOD do I love judging people.
posted by elizardbits at 10:47 AM on August 15, 2012 [11 favorites]


elizardbits: "NEXT THEY'LL BE HAVING IDEAS"

IDEAS NOT ABOUT APPLE PIES AND DELICIOUS ROASTS


Hey! Only some of my ideas are about pies.

The others are about prosciutto.
posted by phunniemee at 10:48 AM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's true that the tone and content of AskMe answers could often be more thoughtful, and that everyone involved might be well solved if they were. That is not what this MeTa thread is about, though, and to pretend that it is glosses over the ridiculous contentions put forth by eas98, and by extension supports his claim that the site has become "openly hostile to men." When the truth seems to be that the questioner in this case was simply given advice that would also likely have been given to the husband had he asked his own question, we can conclude that eas98 is looking for men to be treated preferentially and "girls" to be dismissed with poor advice. I'm not sure anyone should want to hang their "AskMe could do better" argument on that hook if they want it to be taken seriously.
posted by OmieWise at 10:50 AM on August 15, 2012 [9 favorites]


Narrative Priorities: " But given some choice words the OP had to offer a little while back about booth babes and how angry feminists are ruining E3, I'm not exactly inclined to be generous, either."

Unless of course there's a history I'm unaware of... *sigh*
posted by zarq at 10:52 AM on August 15, 2012


zarq: Unless of course there's a history I'm unaware of... *sigh*

Yeah. I think twice before dragging up posting history, but this is egregiously sexist.
posted by gilrain at 10:54 AM on August 15, 2012 [16 favorites]


I guess I'm not okay with you telling us we can't respond, zarq, just because you disagree with what we're saying or how we're speaking. Yes, we understand that you got there first and cleared up all the confusion with your links, thereby negating whatever it was that might be said by someone showing up later to the thread. But that's not how it works.

There is nothing wrong with taking a man to task for saying what he said. He said something inflammatory, but by your reasoning we should drop it because you think we're being impolite? This is rich.
posted by heyho at 10:55 AM on August 15, 2012 [7 favorites]


PROSCIUTTO PIES
posted by shakespeherian at 10:55 AM on August 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


I answered that question with "lawyer up" and it has nothing to do with gender. It has to do with my experience of divorce.

It's amazing how civil, calm, and orderly the process can go when the biggest, baddest, meanest motherfucker in the room is sitting on your side of the table. My ex-wife and I parted amicably. One of the reasons we were able to do so is because we BOTH hired attack dogs of divorce attorneys and let them shred each other before we stepped in to shape a reasoned agreement.

Advising the OP to hire a shark is just sound advice. She can keep him on a leash if it doesn't get ugly. But if it does, she needs a shark on the end of that leash, not a blowfish.

This MeTa screams Man's Rights Fainting Couch and kinda creeps me out.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 10:58 AM on August 15, 2012 [51 favorites]


I tried warning you all back in '04 when we decided to let women join Metafilter that this would happen.
posted by perhapses at 11:00 AM on August 15, 2012 [13 favorites]


Why not close this one up instead of it devolving into a pileon of the OP?
posted by Burhanistan at 11:01 AM on August 15, 2012 [10 favorites]


Hee hee, Man's Rights Fainting Couch is my new band.
posted by *s at 11:01 AM on August 15, 2012 [14 favorites]


HAY LADEEZ I BROUGHT PIE
posted by BitterOldPunk at 11:02 AM on August 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


ALL PILE ON!
posted by gilrain at 11:03 AM on August 15, 2012


Do we need to also to make him out to be a knuckle dragging caveman who thinks women belong barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen...

Then who would do the vacuuming?!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:03 AM on August 15, 2012


heyho: "I guess I'm not okay with you telling us we can't respond, zarq, just because you disagree with what we're saying or how we're speaking.

I didn't tell you anything. I made a request. Which is why my comment: " Do we need to also to make him out to be a knuckle dragging caveman who thinks women belong barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen, silent yet not heard?" was phrased as a question.

There's a difference.

Yes, we understand that you got there first and cleared up all the confusion with your links,

This isn't about me or what I posted. I was obviously not the only person who posted links or disagreed with the OP. Quite a few people weighed in earlier in the thread and some of them posted links to more questions than me. Two mods weighed in, too.

What's come afterwards was a somewhat mild but imho unecessary pile on.

There is nothing wrong with taking a man to task for saying what he said. He said something inflammatory, but by your reasoning we should drop it because you think we're being impolite? This is rich."

I'm not trying to silence you, heyho. I'm not saying it needs to be dropped. I'm saying, I think it makes more sense to address what was actually said than what people assume his opinion on the subject.

Feel free to disagree.
posted by zarq at 11:04 AM on August 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Unless of course there's a history I'm unaware of... *sigh*

I didn't need the history, the post is full of Men's Right's Activist dog whistles. In case you don't know what that is, it's a profoundly disturbing and misogynist movement.

MRA bullshit is insidious and dangerous and should be countered whole-heartedly at every opportunity, whether or not you like the tone of the people doing the countering.
posted by the young rope-rider at 11:04 AM on August 15, 2012 [51 favorites]


Advising the OP to hire a shark is just sound advice. She can keep him on a leash if it doesn't get ugly. But if it does, she needs a shark on the end of that leash, not a blowfish.

I want to go to the kinds of aquariums you frequent.
posted by Greg Nog at 11:04 AM on August 15, 2012 [37 favorites]


gilrain: " Yeah. I think twice before dragging up posting history, but this is egregiously sexist."

Ugh. Nevermind.
posted by zarq at 11:05 AM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


a blowfish on a leash would be awesome and actually pretty scary.
posted by the young rope-rider at 11:06 AM on August 15, 2012 [9 favorites]


I used to think it was just a Hollywood convention that if two guys start fighting in a bar than everyone in the bar will begin breaking bottles over each other's heads, but I've learned that it isn't.

Oh yeah, maybe someone gets hit by an errant punch, but it's more like: when someone walks into the saloon and starts a fight, suddenly some people are running over to pull a ping pong table out of the wall like a Murphy bed, while other people are going "it's ON!" and heading to the back room to fire up the PS3 and finally we'll find out who the fucking FIFA master is, and two or three people jump onto the bench of the piano and pull a cord and it turns into a clown-painted Wurlitzer and people are hopping on and off the bar doing improv skits inspired by the actions in the fight, and people have formed a ring around the fight itself, but they're laughing at the ineptitude and offering advice ranging from "Balls! Always go for the balls!" to demonstrating how to really punch someone FFS, or tsking and saying how this would be better solved with cheroots and quiet conversation, then someone punches that guy and says, "Cigarillos!", while the mods watch from behind the bar with sniper scopes and fire precise, polite bullets.

Well, I do think there has been a shift over the years, not necessarily just on MeFi, but perhaps in society as a whole.

In terms of where I think that is coming from, maybe you are right. But if so, it's because men need to be better than they have been. Man up, men.
posted by fleacircus at 11:06 AM on August 15, 2012 [7 favorites]




They don't let me in aquariums any more. There was an Incident.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 11:09 AM on August 15, 2012 [7 favorites]


Why not close this one up instead of it devolving into a pileon of the OP?

I don't particularly agree with the OP, but you've been here long enough to know the mob needs its pound of flesh.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:10 AM on August 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


the young rope-rider: " I didn't need the history, the post is full of Men's Right's Activist dog whistles. In case you don't know what that is, it's a profoundly disturbing and misogynist movement.

MRA bullshit is insidious and dangerous and should be countered whole-heartedly at every opportunity, whether or not you like the tone of the people doing the countering.
"

You get that I'm not an MRA propnent, yes? Or a defender? That I frequently have contributed a variety of clear and unambiguous feminist opinions here, in many, many boyzone threads? That I've spent a lot of time here attacking misogynistic and MRA-type bullshit tnhat has been voiced on Metafilter? You've spent enough time reading my comments and posts, and interacting with me to know my point of view on this and many other subjects related to women and women's rights.

I did not read this post as being full of MRA dog whistles. I read it as a mildly defensive comment made by someone whose history I was unfamiliar with and did not recognize as an anti-feminist.
posted by zarq at 11:11 AM on August 15, 2012


the mob needs its pound of flesh

Dibs on the tenderloin. I'm having a BBQ. Thx.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:12 AM on August 15, 2012


The tenderloin is a terrible cut for a BBQ, no matter what kind of BBQ you're thinking of. If it's low-and-slow kind of barbecue, the TL isn't fatty enough for that technique; and if it's the grill-it-over-direct heat kind, well, I guess it would work if you cut the tenderloin into steaks and grilled them, but for that, I'd rather have a porterhouse. For low-and-slow, shoulder or butt would probably work best.
posted by rtha at 11:22 AM on August 15, 2012 [11 favorites]


I'm going to ignore you telling me your feminist cred, because it's not relevant to this conversation we're having right now and I'm already familiar with your contribution to this site (and I also like you quite a bit in general).

I did not read this post as being full of MRA dog whistles. I read it as a mildly defensive comment made by someone whose history I was unfamiliar with and did not recognize as an anti-feminist.


That is my point. Just like I'm sure I would miss some anti-semitic dog whistles because I don't identify as Jewish, I'm sure you miss some anti-feminist/misogynist dog whistles because you're not a woman. Or just because you're a fallible human being and sometimes people miss things (which, to be clear, is okay and doesn't make you a bad person or whatever).

My point is that maybe if a bunch of people in a thread are assuming someone is sexist, maybe it's not because they're rude jerkfaces but because they see something you don't. Next time it might be better to hold off on criticizing people for making those kinds of assumptions until you have a complete grasp of the situation.
posted by the young rope-rider at 11:26 AM on August 15, 2012 [25 favorites]


MRA bullshit is insidious and dangerous and should be countered whole-heartedly at every opportunity, whether or not you like the tone of the people doing the countering.

Oh, c'mon. Really? If I substitute MRA with WRA how would that be recieved?

I've stayed out of the thread since I last suggested it be closed, but in the end, the comments have more or less validated what I was suggesting.
posted by eas98 at 11:26 AM on August 15, 2012


We regularly had grilled pork tenderloin growing up. It tasted like Sunday nights. It was indirectly responsible for my brother ripping his knee apart. True story.
posted by phunniemee at 11:27 AM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh, c'mon. Really? If I substitute MRA with WRA how would that be recieved?

Why don't you try it and find out? I dare you.
posted by the young rope-rider at 11:28 AM on August 15, 2012 [12 favorites]


eas98, people disagreeing with you =/= "society changing to become misandrist."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:28 AM on August 15, 2012 [7 favorites]


If I substitute MRA with WRA

Never heard of a WRA. I have, however, heard of the ERA.
posted by *s at 11:29 AM on August 15, 2012 [17 favorites]


I've stayed out of the thread since I last suggested it be closed, but in the end, the comments have more or less validated what I was suggesting.

Now you're just trying to get your ass banned, aren't you?
posted by msali at 11:29 AM on August 15, 2012


I did not read this post as being full of MRA dog whistles.

FWIW, zarq, I absolutely did.

If I substitute MRA with WRA how would that be recieved?

Aaaaaand there's another one.
posted by KathrynT at 11:29 AM on August 15, 2012 [31 favorites]


If I substitute MRA with WRA how would that be recieved?

It would be kind of like if you asked why there isn't a white history month: Some people would sort of recoil in horror and some people would probably agree with you.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 11:30 AM on August 15, 2012 [32 favorites]


Now you're just trying to get your ass banned, aren't you?

Why in the world would I be banned? Because I am not in agreement?
posted by eas98 at 11:31 AM on August 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


I've stayed out of the thread since I last suggested it be closed, but in the end, the comments have more or less validated what I was suggesting.

Did you miss the part where users were posting counterexamples of the kind of thing you were talking about?

The selective reading you must be doing to get a "more or less" validation at this point is astounding.
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 11:32 AM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


What if there were an... MRSA day? ~ tents fingers, looks wistful ~
posted by boo_radley at 11:32 AM on August 15, 2012 [9 favorites]


The tenderloin is a terrible cut for a BBQ, no matter what kind of BBQ you're thinking of. If it's low-and-slow kind of barbecue, the TL isn't fatty enough for that technique; and if it's the grill-it-over-direct heat kind, well, I guess it would work if you cut the tenderloin into steaks and grilled them...

True, I wouldn't BBQ a tenderloin in the literal low-and-slow definition of BBQ, but I actually have a very delicious direct heat grill recipe that involves a spicy lime & garlic marinade, then 15 to 20 minutes of grilling, turning the tenderloin every 2 minutes. Then, rest for ten minutes in foil with reserved marinade (not the same marinade that the raw meat sat in). You wind up with a yummy cut that has tasty char on the edges, yet is still tender and juicy on the inside. Slice for sliders, layer in Hawaiian rolls with a pineapple salsa.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:33 AM on August 15, 2012 [7 favorites]


Eddie. Dude.

Go have a swim or something. It's a nice day out. Give yourself a little break from here for an hour, it may do you good.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:33 AM on August 15, 2012


Assuming you're participating in good faith, what sort of comments were you hoping for?
posted by griphus at 11:33 AM on August 15, 2012


eas98: Why in the world would I be banned? Because I am not in agreement?

No, it's because you're obviously a sexist, and a lot of us feel like we don't need blatant, unapologetic sexism in this community.

However, the mods are more merciful than us, and you probably won't be banned. Unfortunately for the rest of us.
posted by gilrain at 11:34 AM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you write your name in the snow with your pee, don't take it as a criticism of your man parts when people get upset that you ruined the snow.
posted by perhapses at 11:36 AM on August 15, 2012 [18 favorites]


imagine a clock exploding at this point.
posted by boo_radley at 11:36 AM on August 15, 2012


Unpopular or even incorrect opinions aren't grounds for a banning.
posted by cjorgensen at 11:38 AM on August 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


...there isn't a White History Month?
posted by shakespeherian at 11:39 AM on August 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


cjorgensen: Unpopular or even incorrect opinions aren't grounds for a banning.

There has to be some limit. Is hate speech grounds for banning? I bet it is, and so it becomes a matter of where you draw the line. I'd call this an edge case. In my book, it's close.
posted by gilrain at 11:39 AM on August 15, 2012


And when's white history month, anyway??
posted by inigo2 at 11:39 AM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


damnit.
posted by inigo2 at 11:39 AM on August 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


If there's Women's Rights why can't there be Men's Rights? If there's a Black History Month why can't there be a White History Month? If people have Gay Pride Parades why can't I have a Straight Pride Parade? The world keeps oppressing the white straight males, we're the only people left that it's safe to discriminate against. Why can't anyone see except me :( thanks Obama
posted by naju at 11:40 AM on August 15, 2012 [22 favorites]


Well. That certainly clarified and defused things!
posted by batmonkey at 11:40 AM on August 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


The WRA is the Wisconsin Realtors Association.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:40 AM on August 15, 2012 [8 favorites]


And when's white history month, anyway??

In July, when there's more daylight hours for our endless parades.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 11:41 AM on August 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


I wish we had some sort of way to do sociological experiments in laboratory conditions because I would love to see what, if left to their own devices, people would come up with to bring to the Straight Pride Parade.
posted by griphus at 11:41 AM on August 15, 2012 [30 favorites]


I always had a suspicion that realtors in Wisconsin were keeping me from reaching my potential. Thanks for proving me right.
posted by perhapses at 11:42 AM on August 15, 2012 [9 favorites]


...there isn't a White History Month?

There are 11 of them!
posted by MoonOrb at 11:42 AM on August 15, 2012 [6 favorites]


And a 12th that I call White Complaining Month!
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:42 AM on August 15, 2012 [51 favorites]


Go have a swim or something. It's a nice day out. Give yourself a little break from here for an hour, it may do you good.

In other words: Go and get out of our convesation, so we can all think alike and smile and nod our heads in agreement.

Look. A community is about diversity. People may not agree with me, I may not agree with them. But what do we want? A place where only 'approved' points of view are allowed to exist and be articulated?

I made a point with the OP, and a lot of people shouted me down. Fine. But as mentioned by others, it just keeps going. Don't agree, say so. But suggesting that I hate women, that I'm sexist, that I be banned.. Why? Am I not allowed to have an opinion?

I ask these questions seriously. If you want a community where everyone thinks the same, you can do it. In some ways, you are already doing it, by ostracizing all dissenters and thinking that you all alone are the enlightened ones.

In the end, though, I don't think this will be a better place because of it.
posted by eas98 at 11:43 AM on August 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'll be at your house in time for supper, Flo!
posted by rtha at 11:43 AM on August 15, 2012


thinking that you all alone are the enlightened ones

Well, we did unlock our badges.
posted by perhapses at 11:45 AM on August 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


But suggesting that I hate women, that I'm sexist, that I be banned.. Why? Am I not allowed to have an opinion?

You are allowed to have an opinion, but your right to an opinion does not preclude your capacity for sexist articulations.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:45 AM on August 15, 2012 [6 favorites]


Is hate speech grounds for banning? I bet it is, and so it becomes a matter of where you draw the line. I'd call this an edge case. In my book, it's close.

Man, no. Misogyny makes me want to barf but the dude hasn't said anything in this thread that even comes close to hate speech. "Well, what if you were saying these things about MEN'S rights?" isn't hate speech, it's just another guy on the internet being dumb about privilege. I'll freely admit that it makes my skin crawl a little when people say stuff like that (or "Well, I do think there has been a shift over the years, not necessarily just on MeFi, but perhaps in society as a whole," for example, when trying to argue that misandry is a big problem), but I don't think I'd stick around any site where expressing so mild an opinion (thickheaded as it may be) were a bannable offense, or even an edge case.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 11:46 AM on August 15, 2012 [83 favorites]


Awesome, I love when conversations turn into bumper stickers on both sides of an argument.
posted by boo_radley at 11:46 AM on August 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


I made a point with the OP, and a lot of people shouted me down.

Because you were wrong. You were asked to provide other links to back up your initial assertion that this is some sort of sitewide phenomenon rather than just you being cranky about one particular answer. It's okay to be cranky at a particular answer. But it's dishonest to present your crankiness as if it's the result of This Big Thing Happening Everywhere! when it's not.
posted by rtha at 11:46 AM on August 15, 2012 [14 favorites]


EmpressCallipygos wasn't telling you to leave forever. She was suggesting your blood is getting het up and maybe a break would get you blood colded back down so that reasoned conversation can occur, instead of the hysterical shrieking we associate with the blood boils.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:46 AM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


A place where only 'approved' points of view are allowed to exist and be articulated?

A place without creepy sexism would be rad, thanks.
posted by elizardbits at 11:46 AM on August 15, 2012 [22 favorites]


Also, your right to have an opinion does not preclude our right to have opinions about your opinion. Namely, I think your opinion is ridiculous, wrong, and highly likely to be the result of you reading too many MRA blogs.
posted by the young rope-rider at 11:46 AM on August 15, 2012 [18 favorites]


oh but wait, FAMOUS MONSTER with a great save. GJ there.
posted by boo_radley at 11:46 AM on August 15, 2012


I think most people knew how this post was going to go from the outset and that's too bad.

Making the assumption that eas98 was making a good faith observation, and not stunt posting, or committing performance art, the first comment out of the gate was "Hey ignorant fuck, doncha know yer dumb? Amirite, everybody? Favorites represent!" Fine, it was actually, "You forgot the #mensrights tag." Which is just coded speech for "I'm on the correct side of this debate and part of the enlightened club."

What's wrong with this? Well, it pretty much eliminates any chance of any kind of engagement. It also puts someone in the position of going, "Shucks, I never thought of it that way," or doubling down. Most people are going to dig in, especially when many of the responses were of no substance.

If I didn't have an opinion on this issue already I don't think I'd be much swayed by the arguments posed by the less-than-rational crowd.
posted by cjorgensen at 11:47 AM on August 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


Who's suggesting that you be banned? Who's saying that you're not allowed to talk? The "Go take a walk in the big room" idea is hardly one that EC came up with on the spur of the moment that applies only to you, it's a common suggestion to people who appear to be digging into an argument and getting their blinders on. You are plenty allowed to have an opinion, but don't be surprised when people then tell you they think you are distasteful and full of it.

And yes, you are saying sexist things here. The idea that pointing that out is equivalent to suggesting that you be banned or SILENCING ALL YOUR LIFE is delusional.
posted by KathrynT at 11:47 AM on August 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


If I substitute MRA with WRA how would that be recieved?

Substitute MMA for MRA and suddenly this conversation becomes FULL CONTACT!!
posted by octobersurprise at 11:47 AM on August 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


In other words: Go and get out of our convesation, so we can all think alike and smile and nod our heads in agreement.

No, eas98, people were suggesting that you take a walk because you're saying things that are (likely inadvertently) offensive and seem upset and it's easier to have productive conversations when cooler heads prevail.

It's possible that either you realize these things are offensive and are saying them anyway, of course (in which case, ew, and how is that good for the community?), or that you are totally cool as a cuke right now but don't see what's so offensive about the stuff that you said ("Oh, c'mon. Really? If I substitute MRA with WRA how would that be recieved? "). It's possible that you're not aware of the larger cultural problems with men's right's activisim and the actual--not cultural bogeyman stereotype--goals of feminism. In which case, I feel kind of sad for you, because there's a lot of that information readily available, both on metafilter and elsewhere.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:47 AM on August 15, 2012 [7 favorites]


I would love to see what, if left to their own devices, people would come up with to bring to the Straight Pride Parade

I am sitting here trying desperately to imagine what it would be like and failing.

Also my undergrad science building had a giant tank with a native east coast pufferfish in it. She was shy and lovely with remarkable eyes. A pufferfish on a leash would be adorable but not good as an offensive creature even disregarding the whole difficulty of walking with a fish. Maybe a little bowl with motorized wheels that had wifi sensors in the fish's brain to move the tank as it willed? You'd probably just irritate the fish with its inability to move in three dimensions though.
posted by winna at 11:48 AM on August 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


What Bunny ultramod and PhoBWanKenobi are saying is indeed what I intended.

And, for the record, I just told my own self to do it in another thread where I was getting het up. And, ironically, it was a thread about gender roles.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:49 AM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


You'd probably just irritate the fish with its inability to move in three dimensions though.

This is the exact reason pufferfish have an edge over Khan Noonien Singh!
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:50 AM on August 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


I think the mainstream (if not exactly straight) equivalent to a gay pride parade might be a mardi gras parade.
posted by rmd1023 at 11:50 AM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I tentatively advance the proposition that women are people.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:50 AM on August 15, 2012 [11 favorites]


Who's suggesting that you be banned?

Now you're just trying to get your ass banned, aren't you?
posted by msali at 7:29 PM on August 15 [+] [!]


Fair enough, that is somewhat ambiguous but

However, the mods are more merciful than us, and you probably won't be banned. Unfortunately for the rest of us.
posted by gilrain at 7:34 PM on August 15 [1 favorite +] [!]


and

There has to be some limit. Is hate speech grounds for banning? I bet it is, and so it becomes a matter of where you draw the line. I'd call this an edge case. In my book, it's close.
posted by gilrain at 7:39 PM on August 15 [+] [!]


aren't.
posted by Reggie Knoble at 11:51 AM on August 15, 2012


Who's suggesting that you be banned?

gilrain came close, others implied it.

> hysterical
1610s, from L. hystericus "of the womb," from Gk. hysterikos "of the womb, suffering in the womb," from hystera "womb" (see uterus). Originally defined as a neurotic condition peculiar to women and thought to be caused by a dysfunction of the uterus. Meaning "very funny" (by 1939) is from the notion of uncontrollable fits of laughter. Related: Hysterically. cite
posted by cjorgensen at 11:52 AM on August 15, 2012


I would love to see what, if left to their own devices, people would come up with to bring to the Straight Pride Parade

We have the best float this year! It's two twin beds in a dark room!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:52 AM on August 15, 2012 [28 favorites]


FAMOUS MONSTER, I was reacting more to the whole picture of this person's involvement with the site, especially this previous post, for instance. I view the combined effect as being very similar to rather blatant racism... and just as I think racism of the same degree as these posts are sexism shouldn't be allowed to fly here, neither do I think sexism should be.

I admit that this has me a bit worked up, though.
posted by gilrain at 11:52 AM on August 15, 2012


EVERYONE IN THE POOL
posted by shakespeherian at 11:53 AM on August 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yeah, just to be clear, while I don't think it's fair to ask us to pretend this guy doesn't have some eyebrow-raising stuff in his comment history, I also don't think he's some Terrible Asshole who should be banned.

I wish we were all a little better at operating in the place between THIS IS GREAT and YOU ARE A BAD PERSON AND SHOULD FEEL BAD. As others have pointed out, hyperbolic condemnation doesn't really help anything. And if my previous comments in this thread helped fuel that particular train, then I'm sorry I phrased them that way.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 11:53 AM on August 15, 2012 [8 favorites]


I'm just glad this site operates as a democracy and we, the users, sit down and vote on who gets banned.
posted by griphus at 11:54 AM on August 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


In other words: Go and get out of our convesation, so we can all think alike and smile and nod our heads in agreement.

No, it's because sometimes giving yourself a moment to cooldown and reflect changes how you phrase your thoughts.

No one is telling you to close your account and go away forever. It's a suggestion to give yourself a moment to reflect instead of react.
posted by 26.2 at 11:54 AM on August 15, 2012


ricky and lucy had twin beds. standards.
posted by clavdivs at 11:54 AM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


You'd probably just irritate the fish with its inability to move in three dimensions though.

This is the exact reason pufferfish have an edge over Khan Noonien Singh!


Plainly some of the teachers of Kirk were Augment pufferfish!
posted by winna at 11:55 AM on August 15, 2012


Also, it's so hot here that EVERYONE needs to go swimming.
posted by 26.2 at 11:55 AM on August 15, 2012


Let's be super clear: no one gets banned because someone says in a thread they should be banned, and saying people should be banned in conversations usually doesn't really help anything at all. It's fine to talk about why you think some given kind of or example of behavior is problematic, etc, but let's leave it there.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:55 AM on August 15, 2012 [21 favorites]


I tentatively advance the proposition that women are people.

Don't be silly sir we're malevolent parasites who co-opt the best gestures of mankind's brains in order to pursue our foul schemes for total gender domination.

oh no ive said too much.
posted by winna at 11:58 AM on August 15, 2012 [7 favorites]


Even if he's a terrible asshole, that doesn't mean he should be banned. Metafilter doesn't ban people just for being terrible assholes. (Fortunately for me!)
posted by KathrynT at 11:59 AM on August 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't think I'd stick around any site where expressing so mild an opinion (thickheaded as it may be) were a bannable offense, or even an edge case.

I don't think it's bannable by the rules of metafilter (and the mods haven't banned some of the more ridiculous and out-there obvious misogynists so I doubt this guy would get banned for a few hinting comments) but at the same I think you're experiencing it as much more benign than it actually is.

I hate having people like this around because they hint at their underlying sexism and then when you call them on it, people defend them and tell you you're reading way too much into it, and you should react to every comment like you can't remember the shit he posted a month ago and he just needs some time to learn and blah blah blah.
posted by the young rope-rider at 11:59 AM on August 15, 2012 [23 favorites]


the young rope-rider: "I'm going to ignore you telling me your feminist cred, because it's not relevant to this conversation we're having right now and I'm already familiar with your contribution to this site (and I also like you quite a bit in general).

I mentioned my history to explain that you were lecturing me about something I actually, honest-to-goodness, was familiar with. And I felt very strange having to defend myself on this topic to you and heyho, because I've had conversations with both of you in the past about similar issues and we've pretty much been in agreement!

I also felt you were accusing me of defending some men's rights bullshit, which bugged the hell out of me.

I've been in MeTa pile ons. They suck, and they've been the direct cause of my taking a break from mefi a couple of times. So now, when I see them happening to other people and I think it's happening unfairly, I try to say something. Here, I thought the thread was getting overly angry and accusatory didn't see why and spoke up.

Obviously, I missed some underlying context.

FWIW, I like you quite a bit too. And have a great deal of respect for your opinions and contributions here.

That goes for heyho, too.

That is my point. Just like I'm sure I would miss some anti-semitic dog whistles because I don't identify as Jewish, I'm sure you miss some anti-feminist/misogynist dog whistles because you're not a woman.

True. I missed some underlying context recently in another thread, about something Mayim Bialik said in an essay. Which also surprised me because I thought I was well-versed on the subject being discussed.

Or just because you're a fallible human being and sometimes people miss things (which, to be clear, is okay and doesn't make you a bad person or whatever).

My point is that maybe if a bunch of people in a thread are assuming someone is sexist, maybe it's not because they're rude jerkfaces but because they see something you don't. Next time it might be better to hold off on criticizing people for making those kinds of assumptions until you have a complete grasp of the situation.


Fair enough. In the past, when I felt I wasn't on solid ground, I've tried to ask questions rather than jump to conclusions. Will try to do that more often in the future.
posted by zarq at 12:00 PM on August 15, 2012 [15 favorites]


I am genuinely curious... is obvious-to-everyone-but-the-poster racism, and admitted involvement in white power groups, grounds for banning? If not, then I can accept that the same policy extends to sexism, and that the site is simply more open than I would prefer, and that that's fine.

If not, then I suggest it is a double-standard, because racism and sexism are equally damaging to the community.
posted by gilrain at 12:03 PM on August 15, 2012


I don't think anyone here needs to be banned, but some people here should feel as if they have been banned.
posted by octobersurprise at 12:08 PM on August 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


It wouldn't be the end of the world if GirlZone was even remotely close to a real thing. Seeing as it's not a real thing -not even if you squint so hard your tear-ducts turn into tiny little diamonds- the point is moot.
posted by Doleful Creature at 12:08 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I am genuinely curious... is obvious-to-everyone-but-the-poster racism, and admitted involvement in white power groups, grounds for banning? If not, then I can accept that the same policy extends to sexism, and that the site is simply more open than I would prefer, and that that's fine.


In my opinion, being a racist should not be a banable offense. Making blatant racist screeds or linking to racist sites when you have been told not to do either, should be. I don't believe we should ban people for what they think, only for their behavior, if said behavior clearly, and repeatedly warrants it.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:10 PM on August 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


I mentioned my history to explain that you were lecturing me about something I actually, honest-to-goodness, was familiar with.

Assuming you didn't know about the MRA movement was actually me giving you the benefit of the doubt because I know you.

I was not lecturing you, it was a couple of sentences at most. You being a feminist and having said feminist things does not give you a pass from me ever disagreeing with you about anything regarding feminism or sexism, nor does it mean you are permanently educated about all things feminism--none of us are. If I seem terse it's because I am. While I see why you feel defensive and attacked, I also really don't like the feminist street cred thing. It reads to me as an attempt to make your defense of feminist ideas transactional instead of just the right thing to do. I'm sure that's not the reading that you intended, but it sticks in my craw anyway.
posted by the young rope-rider at 12:11 PM on August 15, 2012 [7 favorites]


Like pretty much every other pile on, by the 100th person telling the OP that hurf durf they're a terrible human being it's less about the OP and more about a familiar roster of people coming into show how superior and smart they are and how they have a better set of opinions.
posted by MuffinMan at 12:11 PM on August 15, 2012 [10 favorites]


In my experience, actual racists and frothing sexists are usually so full of negativity that we can just wait them out and sooner or later they just explode and are gone.

On web forums. In the real world, they wind up getting elected to Congress.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 12:12 PM on August 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


I want to more about tear-duct diamonds.
posted by clavdivs at 12:12 PM on August 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


Also, zarq, I think it is kind and thoughtful for you to stand up for people whom you think are being unfairly piled onto...on-piled...can't really figure out the sentence construction. But I think it's a good impulse, and like I said, I don't have a general problem with you as a person or as a member of this community.
posted by the young rope-rider at 12:12 PM on August 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Fine, it was actually, "You forgot the #mensrights tag." Which is just coded speech for "I'm on the correct side of this debate and part of the enlightened club."

Actually, it was pretty clear from the original post that some kind of point about "men's rights" was being made, so he may as well use the word. It's not my fault it's (rightfully) derided. But if recognizing that makes me part of the "enlightened club", so be it.
posted by inigo2 at 12:13 PM on August 15, 2012 [6 favorites]


s/Banned/Benned
posted by hellojed at 12:13 PM on August 15, 2012 [6 favorites]


Like pretty much every other pile on, by the 100th person telling the OP that hurf durf they're a terrible human being it's less about the OP and more about a familiar roster of people coming into show how superior and smart they are and how they have a better set of opinions.

And you manage to top them all with this particular cherry. The sundae is now complete!
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 12:13 PM on August 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


onto whom you think people are unfairly piling. I think.
posted by endless_forms at 12:14 PM on August 15, 2012 [6 favorites]


You know that scene in "Little Miss Sunshine" where the kid who took the vow of silence write out to Steve Carrell that he hates everyone, and then underlines "everyone" for emphasis?

Yeah.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:15 PM on August 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


But there is obviously a shift happening in society and in this very thread. It's a highway to the dangerzone.
posted by perhapses at 12:15 PM on August 15, 2012 [6 favorites]


Well, at the very least, we can say this thread led to the discovery of one of the most awkward sentences in the English language.
posted by griphus at 12:16 PM on August 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


for you to stand up for people whom you think are being unfairly piled onto

" ... on to whom you think are being unfairly piled."
posted by octobersurprise at 12:18 PM on August 15, 2012 [7 favorites]


The infinitive is still split.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 12:18 PM on August 15, 2012


Like pretty much every other pile on, by the 100th person telling the OP that hurf durf they're a terrible human being it's less about the OP and more about a familiar roster of people coming into show how superior and smart they are and how they have a better set of opinions.

You can't be above-the-mess and in-the-mess at the same time. You have to pick one. Welcome to the mess.

(I am spoiling my above-the-mess status to let you know this, you're welcome)
posted by Kwine at 12:19 PM on August 15, 2012


gilrain: "I am genuinely curious... is obvious-to-everyone-but-the-poster racism, and admitted involvement in white power groups, grounds for banning? If not, then I can accept that the same policy extends to sexism, and that the site is simply more open than I would prefer, and that that's fine."

Occasionally, people have been banned when the mods have thought they were engaging in hate speech. Overly racist, antisemitic and sexist comments (either individually or in some nasty combination) have all gotten people banned. And a couple comments have been made that I thought should have gotten people banned, but didn't. The mods take each case individually.
posted by zarq at 12:19 PM on August 15, 2012


Where's a grammar fairy when you need one?
posted by endless_forms at 12:21 PM on August 15, 2012


The infinitive is still split.

Yeah. What the hell is that "to" doing in there?
posted by octobersurprise at 12:22 PM on August 15, 2012


people onto whom other people are unfairly piling? people who are being subjected to unfair pilings-on? ARRGHH
posted by the young rope-rider at 12:22 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm your huckleberry.
posted by clavdivs at 12:22 PM on August 15, 2012 [6 favorites]


BLESSED EXCHEQUER SOMEONE GAVE CLOTHING TO A FEMALE
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:23 PM on August 15, 2012 [6 favorites]


The unfairly piled-upon.
posted by griphus at 12:23 PM on August 15, 2012 [27 favorites]


and
for you to stand up for people whom you think are being unfairly piled onto is a good thing?
posted by clavdivs at 12:24 PM on August 15, 2012


BAM, we have a winner. A+ griphus.
posted by the young rope-rider at 12:24 PM on August 15, 2012


We need to contract the phrase into a new word, obviously. I don't think "unfpiled" has any negative connotations.
posted by gilrain at 12:24 PM on August 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


I just hope that all of you on Metafilter know, whether you are girlzones or boyzones, that you are all my friendzones.
posted by koeselitz at 12:24 PM on August 15, 2012 [7 favorites]


All this on-piling is something up with which I will not put!
posted by rmd1023 at 12:24 PM on August 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


"...on to piles comprised unfairly of people who stood you up"
posted by perhapses at 12:25 PM on August 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Okay, now I'm just really, really glad I'm not the only one who immediately pictures Ferengi when someone brings out Men's Rights crap.
posted by griphus at 12:25 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


pile-ee?
posted by *s at 12:25 PM on August 15, 2012


Those upon whom the piling has been unfair.

BOOYAH MOTHERFUCKERS
posted by elizardbits at 12:25 PM on August 15, 2012 [7 favorites]


I just hope that all of you on Metafilter know, whether you are girlzones or boyzones, that you are all my friendzones.

Damnit, not again!

*rips up loveletter*
posted by kmz at 12:25 PM on August 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


I can see for piles and piles.
posted by naju at 12:25 PM on August 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


Metafilter doesn't ban people just for being terrible assholes.

Yes, it can happen to you!

Or you're not as much of a jerk as you'd like to think.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:27 PM on August 15, 2012


I can see for piles and piles.

Yeah, that proctology residency isn't easy.
posted by griphus at 12:28 PM on August 15, 2012 [7 favorites]


WILL PILE FOR SEE'S
posted by gilrain at 12:29 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


"and not as demands, such as:

Come here.
Stop!
Go and make me a drink.
Politeness strategies (for instance, indirect speech acts) can seem more appropriate in order not to threaten a conversational partner in their needs of self-determination and territory: the partner's negative face should not appear threatened. As a result, the imperative mood does not require someone to be direct, confrontational, nor over-bearing."

some issues with the wiki but still.
posted by clavdivs at 12:30 PM on August 15, 2012


There's a lot of free-floating anti-male energy on MeFi/AskMe. I've come to expect it. The worst part is that a lot of it comes from men.

If you're the OP and you're male, people here will expect the worst of you. They'll play armchair Freud pick apart your word choices to prove you're an evil sexist bastard. There's pretty much no limit to how people will twist your words to make you look like a terrible person. Like, I remember one time someone accused a guy of possibly being a wife-beater because he didn't get along with his wife's cat and wanted her to get rid of it. Ridiculous shit like that happens here ALL THE TIME.

Anyway, I don't expect this to change. It doesn't even piss me off that much anymore. A lot of MeFites are, I'm sorry, pretty orthodox in their thinking, even though they sit somewhere on the left side of the American political spectrum. I've just come to accept that I do not share the same values with a lot of people on this site, including possibly some of the moderators.

I don't get upset about it anymore.
posted by Afroblanco at 12:32 PM on August 15, 2012 [11 favorites]


When I was in college, I gathered a group of friends, men and women, to go to the local mall. The mall had a center court with four branches extending out of it, each one leading to an anchor store. Once inside the mall, we split up and set a time to run into each other at the center. As we walked back toward each other in the center, I bent down to tie my shoe. Someone tripped over me, which caused a chain reaction. Within seconds, we had created a pile on in the middle of the mall. We slithered and crawled over each other for a couple minutes until security showed up. We apologized to each other and exited the mall.
posted by perhapses at 12:35 PM on August 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


Metafilter: We slithered and crawled over each other for a couple minutes until security showed up.
posted by gilrain at 12:36 PM on August 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


Let me just say that I am glad that zarq and the young rope-rider made up because I was about to pull some hide-under-the-covers-until-it's-all-over shit.
posted by zizzle at 12:39 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


the young rope-rider: "Assuming you didn't know about the MRA movement was actually me giving you the benefit of the doubt because I know you.

OK. I didn't read it that way, but okay, no problem.

I was not lecturing you, it was a couple of sentences at most.

It was the tone and content of your comment more than its quantity that I was reacting to. And admittedly, I was also feeling defensive because of what heyho had said.

That said, I do understand now why you were (rightfully) pissed off.

You being a feminist and having said feminist things does not give you a pass from me ever disagreeing with you about anything regarding feminism or sexism, nor does it mean you are permanently educated about all things feminism--none of us are.

If I seem terse it's because I am. While I see why you feel defensive and attacked, I also really don't like the feminist street cred thing. It reads to me as an attempt to make your defense of feminist ideas transactional instead of just the right thing to do. I'm sure that's not the reading that you intended, but it sticks in my craw anyway."

Of course! That's NOT what I was trying to say or imply. I certainly wasn't trying to imply I'm infallible or anything, or in any way beyond criticism.

I felt you were trying to call me out for being some sort of an idiot about feminism and defending a misogynist, without giving me any benefit of the doubt. My reaction was intended to say, "don't you think I can tell if someone's being misogynistic" (which.. well, um.... obviously no, I can't,) and "knowing what you know about me, do you think it likely that I'd be supporting misogynistic crap?"

.: "Also, zarq, I think it is kind and thoughtful for you to stand up for people whom you think are being unfairly piled onto...on-piled...can't really figure out the sentence construction. But I think it's a good impulse, and like I said, I don't have a general problem with you as a person or as a member of this community."

Thanks. Hugs all around. :)
posted by zarq at 12:40 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


The infinitive is still split.

... that's not a real(look for MeFi's Own!) rule.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:40 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oooh, are we going to talk about grammar now?
posted by someone is wrong on the internet at 12:41 PM on August 15, 2012


Ridiculous shit like that happens here ALL THE TIME.

I haven't seen the shit you're talking about, but I'll take your word for it that it does happen.

But you realize that this isn't what's going on here, right? Like, this is straight up MRA/misogynistic bullshit in unambiguous terms.
posted by kmz at 12:42 PM on August 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


If you're the OP and you're male, people here will expect the worst of you.

In all honestly I don't see this-- if anything, my impression is that you are seeing a general Internet Skepticism that is directed at persons regardless of sex. I could be wrong.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:45 PM on August 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


I hate having people like this around...

That's a bristling sentiment to read, almost irrespective of whatever the second half of that sentence might be. You're entitled to your opinions obviously, both on how people should behave and on what the community makeup should be, but I would suggest that this is pretty inflammatory language and it's the type of thing that I'd probably long remember someone having said.
posted by cribcage at 12:45 PM on August 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


If you're the OP and you're male, people here will expect the worst of you. They'll play armchair Freud pick apart your word choices to prove you're an evil sexist bastard. There's pretty much no limit to how people will twist your words to make you look like a terrible person. Like, I remember one time someone accused a guy of possibly being a wife-beater because he didn't get along with his wife's cat and wanted her to get rid of it. Ridiculous shit like that happens here ALL THE TIME.

Ridiculous shit like that happens in here all the time when it comes to women talking about being harrassed and assaulted. Or if you're the OP and you're theist.

I dont think it's any sort of free-form anti-anything orthodoxy, it's more a matter of "sometimes people disagree with you, and sometimes they agree wtih you."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:46 PM on August 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


You're entitled to your opinions obviously, both on how people should behave and on what the community makeup should be, but I would suggest that this is pretty inflammatory language and it's the type of thing that I'd probably long remember someone having said.

I will live with this. Somehow.
posted by the young rope-rider at 12:48 PM on August 15, 2012 [11 favorites]


drink the pain away!
posted by elizardbits at 12:49 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


like fuji apple juice is just stone cold awesome for example
posted by elizardbits at 12:49 PM on August 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


nice save
posted by the young rope-rider at 12:50 PM on August 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Ridiculous shit like that happens in here all the time when it comes to women talking about being harrassed and assaulted.

Oh God, yes. It's like clockwork. Just when you think it's safe someone pops in and says, "Wait a minute. Can it really be that bad, or is she exaggerating?" and then it's, "Why are you so mad, I was just asking a question!?"
posted by ODiV at 12:52 PM on August 15, 2012 [13 favorites]


But you realize that this isn't what's going on here, right? Like, this is straight up MRA/misogynistic bullshit in unambiguous terms.

I feel like "mens' rights" is kind of a punching bag around here, to the point that all you have to do to discredit someone is accuse them of being part of that movement. Men are often treated unfairly in divorce proceedings, and false rape accusations DO happen. You don't have to be part of some movement to recognize these facts and wish to remediate these problems.

But the minute you take the man's side in these conversations, people trot out the "mens' rights" label and throw you in with a bunch of men who you may not actually agree with. And of course, they always pick out the most bitter, ridiculous members of that movement whenever they want to discredit it. Of course, it's not okay to do that with feminism -- and I'm sorry, but like any other movement, it does have its share of bitter, ridiculous people -- but with men it's fair game.

Once again, I don't expect this to change. It's part of the atmosphere of the place.

(For the record, I don't consider myself part of the "mens' rights" movement but I don't deny there are situations where men are treated unfairly.)
posted by Afroblanco at 12:52 PM on August 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


i concur
posted by elizardbits at 12:52 PM on August 15, 2012


oh my god what horrendous timing
posted by elizardbits at 12:53 PM on August 15, 2012 [102 favorites]


hah, i do remember that 'wanting to get rid of the cat' example. it was pretty bad. though that was probably more to do with a whole bunch of nerds more comfortable dealing with computers and animals than they are with human relationships than it was to do with any systemic hatred of men.

(oddly, the 'animals over people' crowd also appear to be lots of the same people whose comments here frequently involve ONE LINE IN ALL CAPS BECAUSE THAT'S HOW IT'S DONE ON THE NET WHEN YOU'RE BEING WITTY.. i have no idea why.)
posted by modernnomad at 12:56 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


FWIW I haven't come across an accusation of men's rights as ad hominem where there wasn't some shitty sexist stuff going on. Maybe this is a function of my lack of Ask participation, but the atmosphere you are describing isn't something's have noticed, at all.


And I gotta say it....at the end of the day, women have stuff a whole lot worse in this area. The occasional poorly aimed misogyny critique is a pretty easy problem to get over and deal with. Institutional iced abuse and oppression? Not so much.
posted by lazaruslong at 12:56 PM on August 15, 2012 [6 favorites]


Those upon whom the piling has been unfair.

Let's see, I can never get this straight, that one comes before "Those that, at a distance, resemble flies" but after "Those that are included in this classification," right?
posted by enn at 12:57 PM on August 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


Institutional iced = institutionalized. Gah.
posted by lazaruslong at 12:57 PM on August 15, 2012


If I had best friends, I'm fairly sure some of them would be men.
posted by perhapses at 12:58 PM on August 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


You know, every time my mom tells me about some woo thing she's into like homeopathy or Horse Rubbing Allergy Therapy or whatever-the-fuck, the moment, I mean the moment I express the slightest hint of skepticism she's all WHY DO YOU HAVE TO BE SO NEGATIVE ABOUT EVERYTHING DO YOU JUST HATE KNOWLEDGE UGH YOU'RE SUCH A CYNIC

And that's kind of how some of the complaints in this thread feel.


Of course, it's not okay to do that with feminism -- and I'm sorry, but like any other movement, it does have its share of bitter, ridiculous people -- but with men it's fair game.

Well as long as we're making claims without backing them I'll go ahead claim that I think that the feminist movement has done a much better job of policing itself than the MRA movement which seems to be pretty OK with promoting the most bitter, ridiculous, members of the group. Just my observation though.
posted by Doleful Creature at 12:58 PM on August 15, 2012 [12 favorites]


[NOT MENIST]
posted by shakespeherian at 12:58 PM on August 15, 2012


(For the record, I don't consider myself part of the "mens' rights" movement but I don't deny there are situations where men are treated unfairly.)

I think the big deal here is that the people who tend to align with MRA specifically, as opposed to just advocating fair treatment for everyone, tend to be noxious button pushers. Not everyone certainly but in the US (this is really different in the UK fwiw) the movement has a bad rep that makes it turn into a bit of a self-selection process. Reasonable people who are for fair treatment of men tend to not align themselves with the MRA movement in the US. And the publicface of MRA in the US tends to have lot of anti-woman rhetoric mixed in with other reasonable aims and requests.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:59 PM on August 15, 2012 [24 favorites]


Wow, I'm sort of surprised to find myself agreeing with sidhedevil on a sexism issue, but hey, here I am. "Get a hard, aggressive lawyer" is bog standard advice, given to everyone male and female. If there's anything prejudicial going on here, it's the (understandable, and also standard) assumption that the MeFi member's side of things is the accurate one.
posted by tyllwin at 1:00 PM on August 15, 2012


Of course, it's not okay to do that with feminism

Where do you get the idea that it ISN'T okay to do that with feminism? I've seen lots of threads where people have talked about the more aggregious examples of feminist. And I've been one of them.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:01 PM on August 15, 2012


I think the big deal here is that the people who tend to align with MRA specifically, as opposed to just advocating fair treatment for everyone, tend to be noxious button pushers.

And they seem to focus almost exclusively on the tearing down of support for women (women's shelters, legal prosecution for rape) instead of building up support for men.
posted by ODiV at 1:01 PM on August 15, 2012 [24 favorites]


it's actually a bit depressing that instructions to get an 'aggressive' lawyer are so common, regardless of gender. more jurisdictions with mandatory mediation prior to allowing things to progress to litigation would be a wonderful thing.
posted by modernnomad at 1:02 PM on August 15, 2012


I'm looking forward to the Homophobe Defense Brigade coming to the rescue the next time there's pushback against some homophobe spouting "different opinions".
posted by kmz at 1:03 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't think it's bannable by the rules of metafilter (and the mods haven't banned some of the more ridiculous and out-there obvious misogynists so I doubt this guy would get banned for a few hinting comments) but at the same I think you're experiencing it as much more benign than it actually is.

Maybe? I don't know - don't get me wrong, this sort of discourse isn't something I tend to just laugh off or whatever - it tends to raise some serious hackles for me and also just generally aggravates the shit out of me. And to be clear, I think it'd be really nice if the site (at a minimum) were a place where no one had weird-assed women issues. When I called it a mild opinion, I was comparing it to outright hate speech.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 1:03 PM on August 15, 2012


(this is really different in the UK fwiw)"

Really? I did not know that. Very interesting! Some time when it feels like there's 2^32 channels on the internet but nothing on, I want to make a point of checking that out. I assume this is sort of how "libertarian" tends to mean something different as well.
posted by rmd1023 at 1:04 PM on August 15, 2012


modernnomad: A lot of legal advice is depressing to me. I've heard suggestions that a driver who hits and kills someone should not tell a grieving family that he's sorry for their loss. That you should avoid talking to the police without a lawyer in case they try to misrepresent what you say later in court.

Though I guess this is a bit offtopic.
posted by ODiV at 1:05 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Maybe it's just my perception, but it doesn't seem as if men ask nearly as many divorce related questions as women.

You should see us ask for directions.
posted by arcticseal at 1:05 PM on August 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


And they seem to focus almost exclusively on the tearing down of support for women (women's shelters, legal prosecution for rape) instead of building up support for men.

Right, yes, and, well, the vast majority of feminists are in it for equality, not reflexive female superiority. MRA principles are pretty much built on assuming that women are selfish witches who just want to unseat the patriarchy and steal that power for themselves. Rather than, you know, unseat the patriarchy and strive for equality instead.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 1:06 PM on August 15, 2012 [17 favorites]


And I gotta say it....at the end of the day, women have stuff a whole lot worse in this area. The occasional poorly aimed misogyny critique is a pretty easy problem to get over and deal with. Institutional iced abuse and oppression? Not so much.
posted by lazaruslong at 8:56 PM on August 15 [+] [!]


On Metafilter?
posted by Reggie Knoble at 1:06 PM on August 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm looking forward to the Homophobe Defense Brigade

Homophobophiles?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:06 PM on August 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


it's actually a bit depressing that instructions to get an 'aggressive' lawyer are so common, regardless of gender

It's much easier to put the brakes on a hard lawyer and give on a point than it is to negotiate when your lawyer doesn't want to be hard-nosed.
posted by tyllwin at 1:06 PM on August 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


Imagine a world where men having tremendously weird and awful issues with women was never chalked up to a difference of opinion.

Now imagine that Teen Wofl is true and you get ice cream, as well.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:07 PM on August 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


Your impression of this site is quite different from my own.

Goddamn. Swap in ANY NOUN YOU WANT for "this site," and get your inflection right, and this easily surpasses "bless your heart" as a go-to ice-cold response to anything so inane that it doesn't warrant actual discussion.
posted by Mayor West at 1:07 PM on August 15, 2012 [14 favorites]


YAY WOFLS
posted by elizardbits at 1:09 PM on August 15, 2012 [7 favorites]


And to be clear, I think it'd be really nice if the site (at a minimum) were a place where no one had weird-assed women issues. When I called it a mild opinion, I was comparing it to outright hate speech.

The best expression of why I find this kind of shit particularly galling is probably found in scholarly work on microaggression. It's not exactly what I was talking about, but it's close.
posted by the young rope-rider at 1:09 PM on August 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


the 'animals over people' crowd also appear to be lots of the same people whose comments here frequently involve ONE LINE IN ALL CAPS BECAUSE THAT'S HOW IT'S DONE ON THE NET WHEN YOU'RE BEING WITTY.

FOUR LEGS GOOD TWO LEGS BAD.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:10 PM on August 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


The best expression of why I find this kind of shit particularly galling is probably found in scholarly work on microaggression. It's not exactly what I was talking about, but it's close.

oh word, point taken.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 1:10 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


A lot of legal advice is depressing to me. I've heard suggestions that . . . you should avoid talking to the police without a lawyer in case they try to misrepresent what you say later in court.

I wish it were otherwise, but I find it more depressing when people don't follow this advice.
posted by *s at 1:11 PM on August 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Why in mathowie's name is this thread still open?
posted by Aizkolari at 1:11 PM on August 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


Take Me To The Pileon

If you feel that it's real we're on trial
And I'm here in your MeTa
Like a fish in your sea
I am hiding from sharks of my own invention

Through a jaded eye your throne
Is the one true girlzone
Take me to the pileon for inspection
Take me to the pileon for correction

Take me to the pileon
Lead me through the gray
Take me to the pileon
Of the MRA

Take me to the pileon
Lead me to the exit
Take me to the pileon
If I am a sexist

Well we know he's not feminist
And we're told he shouldn't make the list
It's not enough to say he's wrong
Won't feel clean until he's gone
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:14 PM on August 15, 2012 [8 favorites]


Why in mathowie's name is this thread still open?

This is the community, behaving as communities do. It isn't always a smooth ride or totally logical as discussion proceeds from point A to point B.

In the end, it's people talking, hashing stuff out.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:17 PM on August 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


scholarly work on microaggression

Is this the study of stabbing people with tiny forks?
posted by elizardbits at 1:17 PM on August 15, 2012 [11 favorites]


A lot of legal advice is depressing to me. I've heard suggestions that a driver who hits and kills someone should not tell a grieving family that he's sorry for their loss. That you should avoid talking to the police without a lawyer in case they try to misrepresent what you say later in court.

The first part is changing, in some jurisdictions — saying "I'm sorry" is not considered a confession of guilt (unless the person goes on to say something like "I totally didn't see you" or "it was all my fault"). As far as the latter, yes. That's advice from both lawyers and police.

I think I get what you're saying, but to me it's not the advice that's depressing, it's that the legal system is the way it is.

The best expression of why I find this kind of shit particularly galling is probably found in scholarly work on microaggression. It's not exactly what I was talking about, but it's close.

CITE PLEASE …because I would like to read some of the articles of which you speak.
posted by Lexica at 1:18 PM on August 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


WIT WIT WIT WIT
posted by shakespeherian at 1:19 PM on August 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


...it's that the legal system is the way it is.

And that the world is the way it is, yes.

I wasn't saying it was bad advice or anything.
posted by ODiV at 1:20 PM on August 15, 2012


Afroblanco: "There's a lot of free-floating anti-male energy on MeFi/AskMe. I've come to expect it. The worst part is that a lot of it comes from men."

It matches some persistent anti-female "energy" on Mefi, Askme and Meta. Much of which comes from men as well.

Honestly, I don't think MeFi is biased in one direction or another, nor is one form of hate speech being protected over another. There are a number of people who consistently stick up for men and the male perspective in MeFi threads about rape and harassment, for example.
posted by zarq at 1:21 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


There are a number of people who consistently stick up for men and the male perspective in MeFi threads about rape and harassment, for example.

This is true, but I think it's more topical to say that there are people who consistently stick up for the patriarchal status quo in threads about rape and harassment. Those are not the same thing, and part of the static in this thread is people conflating them. (It's also kind of the problem with the men's rights movement as it exists in America vs. the idea of men's rights in general.)
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 1:24 PM on August 15, 2012 [27 favorites]


shakespeherian: "WIT WIT WIT WIT"

Comedy is hard :(
posted by boo_radley at 1:24 PM on August 15, 2012


It really isn't, not after you learTIMINGn the secret.
posted by griphus at 1:25 PM on August 15, 2012 [6 favorites]


I learned that from elizardbits
posted by boo_radley at 1:26 PM on August 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


actually, I think I cracked on that years ago in some other MeTa. I think you owe me a nickel.

and another hat.
posted by boo_radley at 1:26 PM on August 15, 2012

Lexica:
"The first part is changing, in some jurisdictions — saying "I'm sorry" is not considered a confession of guilt (unless the person goes on to say something like "I totally didn't see you" or "it was all my fault")."
I made the mistake of telling a frightened sixteen year old "Sorry. You probably didn't see me coming," in order to let her know I wasn't mad at her for turning in front of me and causing a collision. Her mother arrived and tried to turn that into a confession of guilt - without telling us. I had assumed we were all on the same page - it was pretty much physically impossible for this to have been my fault - bet as soon as the police arrived an hour later her first words were, "It's his fault!" and then accused me of changing the story when I protested.

NEVER try to be nice. Especially if someone's mother shows up before the police.
posted by charred husk at 1:27 PM on August 15, 2012


JUST LEAVE ME HERE TO DIE
posted by elizardbits at 1:27 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


If it were up to me, boo_radley, you would have all the hats in the world.

Mainly because I want to see the TF2 economy implode for my amusement.
posted by griphus at 1:28 PM on August 15, 2012


restless_nomad: "This is true, but I think it's more topical to say that there are people who consistently stick up for the patriarchal status quo in threads about rape and harassment.

Yes. Exactly.
posted by zarq at 1:29 PM on August 15, 2012


Comedy is hard :(

You who else was hard? That's right: Han Solo in the carbonitezone!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:29 PM on August 15, 2012


Too big to fail, griphus.
posted by gilrain at 1:29 PM on August 15, 2012


I hate to interrupt but scientists at the LHC have just discovered free-floating anti-male energy. It's not just a theory anymore!
posted by perhapses at 1:29 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


i can only assume elizardbits really likes cats.
posted by modernnomad at 1:30 PM on August 15, 2012


With stone cold apple cider?
posted by zarq at 1:31 PM on August 15, 2012


This is the community, behaving as communities do. It isn't always a smooth ride or totally logical as discussion proceeds from point A to point B.

In the end, it's people talking, hashing stuff out.


To me there seems to be very little talking stuff out and a great deal of piling on and joking about a community member who apparently supports an unpopular point of view
posted by Aizkolari at 1:31 PM on August 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


There's a lot of free-floating anti-male energy on MeFi/AskMe.

When was the last time metafilter had a good smudging?
posted by octobersurprise at 1:31 PM on August 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


elizardbits: "JUST LEAVE ME HERE TO DIE"

Well we sure ain't gonna drag you anywhere.
posted by boo_radley at 1:31 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Back on-topic, it kind of surprised me to see the "get a shark!" advice. I thought there was a recent trend toward mediation?
posted by Afroblanco at 1:32 PM on August 15, 2012


I am a puppy person, actually.
posted by elizardbits at 1:32 PM on August 15, 2012


i give up
posted by elizardbits at 1:33 PM on August 15, 2012 [14 favorites]


You want to bring a gun to a knife fight, not the other way around.
posted by griphus at 1:33 PM on August 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


All trends toward mediation are temporarily suspended during shark week.
posted by perhapses at 1:34 PM on August 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


oh my goodness.
posted by boo_radley at 1:34 PM on August 15, 2012


i give up

That was glorious serendipity and you must persevere.
posted by winna at 1:35 PM on August 15, 2012


All trends toward mediation are temporarily suspended during shark week.

I was told to live every week like it's shark week.
posted by Afroblanco at 1:35 PM on August 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Actually, you know what, fuck that, if I was getting divorced I would totally want to be represented in court by an adorable puppy.
posted by elizardbits at 1:37 PM on August 15, 2012 [8 favorites]


I don't get it.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:37 PM on August 15, 2012


Scrambles, Rover, Fido & Rosenbaum, LLP
posted by griphus at 1:38 PM on August 15, 2012 [9 favorites]


The court will take a 15 minute recess for whuffles.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:40 PM on August 15, 2012 [10 favorites]


We can close this case then, unless people are really looking for a popcorn event.

Who wants beer?
posted by ericb at 1:40 PM on August 15, 2012


OBJECTION!
The witness is leading the attorney! With a leash!
posted by charred husk at 1:40 PM on August 15, 2012 [6 favorites]


Metatalk is post after post of proof of the theory that humans evolved humor in order to deal with hassles. Note also the appropriate domain hosting that paper.
posted by gilrain at 1:43 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Snow Buddies (2008)
Space Buddies (2009)
Spooky Buddies (2011)
Treasure Buddies (2012)
Uncontested Buddies (2013)
posted by perhapses at 1:43 PM on August 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


IF THE LEASH FITS YOU MUST ACQUIT!
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 1:44 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I was just in the police station in Hollywood. (I use their bank machine.) You know what they were watching.

Oh yeah. Shark week.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 1:44 PM on August 15, 2012


2014 - special revival of Benji the Hunted
posted by elizardbits at 1:44 PM on August 15, 2012


Actually, that's not the attorney on a leash. It's a pufferfish planning to sue because it can only move in 2 dimensions.
posted by rmd1023 at 1:44 PM on August 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


A film at which I wept openly and without shame.
posted by elizardbits at 1:45 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Hi, honey, it's me. Can you pick me up? No, I just use their bank machine."
posted by perhapses at 1:47 PM on August 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


Benji the Hunter is way better.

he eats mercenaries in the jungle
posted by shakespeherian at 1:48 PM on August 15, 2012


> You wind up with a yummy cut that has tasty char on the edges, yet is still tender and juicy on the inside. Slice for sliders, layer in Hawaiian rolls with a pineapple salsa

I'd just like to point out that I believe I live somewhere near you and I have been known to accept dinner invitations.
posted by The corpse in the library at 1:51 PM on August 15, 2012 [6 favorites]


What do you mean when you say "Candygram!"

Ah, memories of the Land Shark: "Candygram, my foot. You get out of here before I call the police. You're the shark, and you know it."

I miss Gilda.
posted by ericb at 1:56 PM on August 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


Now, it's simply become openly hostile to men.

No, it really hasn't. It's just a place where moronic sexist commentary isn't appreciated.
posted by MartinWisse at 1:56 PM on August 15, 2012 [11 favorites]


Benji: Surviving the Game was my favorite. The scene when Benji tricks Gary Busey and Rutger Hauer into shooting each other in the crossfire is a classic.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:58 PM on August 15, 2012 [6 favorites]


Benji: Heat was pretty decent even if he was only actually in the one scene with DeNiro.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:59 PM on August 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm just saying, inviting the corpse in the library to dinner is basically asking for a visit from the Sherwoof and his Depuppies.
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 2:00 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


if I was getting divorced I would totally want to be represented in court by an adorable puppy.

The Shaggy DA.
posted by octobersurprise at 2:00 PM on August 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Benji: Heat was pretty decent even if he was only actually in the one scene with DeNiro.

Yeah, but the 15 minute scene of him pooping all over downtown LA was a bit too gratuitous for my tastes.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:01 PM on August 15, 2012


That was Pacino.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:02 PM on August 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


Back on-topic, it kind of surprised me to see the "get a shark!" advice. I thought there was a recent trend toward mediation?

Most courts require a period of mediation, which in my experience, is not at all helpful when the parties are deeply polarized. It helps only if you want it to, or if there is some kind of basis for an agreement between you two already and you just need help ironing out details. If there is some kind of power imbalance already working its way through the relationship, I don't believe that mediation the way that I experienced it is appropriate, sometimes the best way to navigate a high-conflict family/divorce issue is through an aggressive lawyer, whether you are a man or a woman.
posted by lakersfan1222 at 2:02 PM on August 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Actually, you know what, fuck that, if I was getting divorced I would totally want to be represented in court by an adorable puppy.

Previously.
posted by Cocodrillo at 2:03 PM on August 15, 2012


Hollywood is bullshit because they won't film my Shaggy DA meets Klute fanfic.
posted by Sticherbeast at 2:04 PM on August 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


I feel like "mens' rights" is kind of a punching bag around here, to the point that all you have to do to discredit someone is accuse them of being part of that movement.

Largely because the whole men's rights movements is a bunch of pathetic losers who want to blame everybody but themselves for their failings, who feel they're oppressed when asked politely not to rape anymore.
posted by MartinWisse at 2:04 PM on August 15, 2012 [9 favorites]


imagine a clock exploding at this point.

Imagine a cock exploding at this point.
posted by ericb at 2:06 PM on August 15, 2012


The phenomenon is more the result of AskMe answerers' tendency to identify with the Asker and the Asker's POV (probably inevitable, given the context) than it is a result of Girlism or Boyism.
posted by notyou at 2:07 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


That was Pacino.

He not only chews the scenery, he chews the rug, the sofa, and his co-star's shoes.
posted by octobersurprise at 2:07 PM on August 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


Hollywood is bullshit because they won't film my Shaggy DA meets Klute fanfic.

No, that sort of stuff is mostly filmed in the Valley.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 2:08 PM on August 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


He not only chews the scenery, he chews the rug, the sofa, and his co-star's shoes.

Nicely done! Very nicely done!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:09 PM on August 15, 2012


Maybe because WGN showed it so frequently on Sunday afternoon, Benji III: The Domination was my favorite. An evil Yorkie's spirit possesses a sexy '80s woman, conferring upon her the powers of a dog, then sets her to attacking all of the Yorkie's enemies, dog-style. Until Benji steps in for a truly epic battle that tests the limits of his Benjutsu, that is.
posted by ignignokt at 2:10 PM on August 15, 2012


Word to the wise, pass on Benji: The 120 Days of Sodom.
posted by prize bull octorok at 2:13 PM on August 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


Yeah - the ending was a Lot too salty for my taste.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:16 PM on August 15, 2012 [11 favorites]


Largely because the whole men's rights movements is a bunch of pathetic losers who want to blame everybody but themselves for their failings, who feel they're oppressed when asked politely not to rape anymore.

I don't think he's arguing otherwise; his point is that classifying a person's comments as MRA is a lazy/easy way to dismiss their point of view, and isn't always used correctly or fairly.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 2:24 PM on August 15, 2012 [6 favorites]


Did anyone else see Benji 2: Electric Scooby-Doo?
posted by shakespeherian at 2:29 PM on August 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


The Alan Smithee version?
posted by ODiV at 2:31 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


You're all forgetting Benji: On Golden Kong, which is a moving work on aging, remembrance and the grace of coming to terms with the brevity of existence.
posted by winna at 2:35 PM on August 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


God, wouldn't it be great if we could just scream "HIGHWAY TO THE DANGERZONE" at odd moments?
posted by angrycat at 2:36 PM on August 15, 2012 [10 favorites]


No, no. The ultimate is Before Benji Knows You're Dead. That opening scene where Benji is humping Marisa Tomei

Aw, shit. Sorry everyone. I should have known that typing humping Marisa Tomei would set off the boyzone alarms. Can a mod shut those things off, please?
posted by perhapses at 2:40 PM on August 15, 2012


That was Pacino.

I read that as Palillo. How come no obituary on the blue? :(
posted by Melismata at 2:41 PM on August 15, 2012


God, wouldn't it be great if we could just scream "HIGHWAY TO THE DANGERZONE" at odd moments?

No one is stopping us.

For my part, I plan to adopt the practice. No one who knows me in the meat lands would bat an eye. They'd roll their eyes, but they do that anyway.
posted by winna at 2:42 PM on August 15, 2012


The meat lands sounds like where you go to get food after the apocalypse.
posted by ODiV at 2:44 PM on August 15, 2012 [6 favorites]


Also possibly the place to which you are exiled as foodstuffs when you betray your postapocalyptic community.
posted by elizardbits at 2:53 PM on August 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


I didn't betray them! I was just politely suggesting that an oligarchical system was perhaps not the best way to set up a society.

Stupid meat lands.
posted by ODiV at 2:54 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Guys. GUYS.

You're all missing the real scandal here:
cortex: but I basically agree with other jessamyn here

Other jessamyn? Are there shadow mods we don't know about? Now that cortex (or is it "other cortex"?) has let the secret slip, will their be retribution?
posted by katemonster at 2:57 PM on August 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


DAMMIT, there, not their.
posted by katemonster at 2:57 PM on August 15, 2012


DELICIOUS meat lands

see this is what i'm talking about, you apostate
posted by elizardbits at 2:57 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Other Jessamyn" is the strange Jessamyn who lives on the other side of the magical portal behind the bricked-up door. She has button eyes, and if she wins the game with you, she gets to sew buttons on YOUR eyes, too. If you win, you save Metafilter's own John Hodgman.
posted by rmd1023 at 3:01 PM on August 15, 2012 [18 favorites]


Shadow Mods wander the Meat Lands hunting for strawmen and snarks. Always wandering. Always hunting. The Shadow Mods in the Meat Lands.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:03 PM on August 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


Melismata: " I read that as Palillo. How come no obituary on the blue? :( "

Wolfgang Amadeus Horshack
posted by zarq at 3:04 PM on August 15, 2012


The Shadow Mods in the Meat Lands. Sounds like Grillzone to me.
posted by perhapses at 3:04 PM on August 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


> Actually, it was pretty clear from the original post that some kind of point about "men's rights" was being made, so he may as well use the word.

Right. We're in agreement. But when the first thing anyone says is "You're a bad person and aught to feel bad about that," rather than addressing the actual concern, you managed to waste an opportunity to actually engage someone on an issue you obviously care about. If the goal was to alienate and score cheap points, then great, no harm. Sometimes that's exactly what I'll do if I think the person is engaging as a stunt poster or performance art.

Presuming eas98 was attempting to accurately present his observations of this site you did nothing to refute them.

I think his stance quickly fell apart when he failed to offer further evidence of man-wronging, but putting a label on something, even if an accurate label, just so it can be dismissed, leaves the situation either exactly as you found it or makes it worse.

I've seen what he complains about, but I've taken the exactly same data and came to different conclusions. A man might get shouted down in a discussion because he lacks a vagina and therefore somehow has no standing in feminist issues, but that's rare enough no one can argue it's systemic. Sometimes people say shitty things. I've read comments that could actually support the GrlZone argument, but I think that argument is too silly to try to defend.
posted by cjorgensen at 3:06 PM on August 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


It is said that travel to the meat lands is no longer safe, now that the enclaves of the neighboring fruit zone are at war again. Seek asylum in the realm of whole grains until this time of troubles has passed.
posted by prize bull octorok at 3:06 PM on August 15, 2012


"more jurisdictions with mandatory mediation prior to allowing things to progress to litigation would be a wonderful thing."

Crazies gonna crazy. My state has mandatory mediation, but in a relationship where one person is crazy, it's going to angry litigation anyway. And the thing is if we assume everyone has an equal chance of being crazy, you get four possible pairings: Crazy-Crazy, Crazy-Not, Not-Crazy, and Not-Not. 75% of those are going to litigation.

Which obviously the world doesn't work that way but people who get to a divorcing place are frequently pretty angry and it only takes one crazy-angry partner to turn a divorce into a nightmare.

I'm glad my state has mandatory mediation, even if all it does is help the Not-Nots have faster and more pleasant divorces, but I don't think it does much to reduce the level of intensely aggressive divorce litigation.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 3:08 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Is it me or have there been a lot of obit posts recently?
posted by the man of twists and turns at 3:12 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


YES. We're all getting old, oh god, it sucks, I am having the same hip problems as my 76 year old boss, what is happen, dnw.
posted by elizardbits at 3:14 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Your impression of this site is quite different from my own.

Dayum. I'm remembering that one.
posted by immlass at 3:14 PM on August 15, 2012


Mostly men too, I think. Why does the world have it out for men!?

sorry
posted by ODiV at 3:15 PM on August 15, 2012


Do you feel like Metafilter is becoming a DeadZone?
posted by perhapses at 3:15 PM on August 15, 2012


perhapses: "Do you feel like Metafilter is becoming a DeadZone?"

KillMe
posted by zarq at 3:16 PM on August 15, 2012


Which obviously the world doesn't work that way but people who get to a divorcing place are frequently pretty angry and it only takes one crazy-angry partner to turn a divorce into a nightmare.

Amen to that. I have an uncle the depth of whose poor relationship judgment is only coming to light now, twenty-some years after the wedding.

I am having the same hip problems as my 76 year old boss, what is happen, dnw.

My arthritis is acting up, you damn kids better be good this weekend. *shakes cane*
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 3:21 PM on August 15, 2012


AskZombie?

("Can I eat this?" questions would be awesome in AskZombie.)
posted by rtha at 3:22 PM on August 15, 2012 [6 favorites]


ETMFA
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:24 PM on August 15, 2012 [16 favorites]


rtha: " ("Can I eat this?" questions would be awesome in AskZombie.)"

Anybody know Rob's phone number?
posted by zarq at 3:25 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hopeme hive mind: Brain is labelled Abie something. [More inside] Abie Normal. Can I eat this? Brainnnnssssssss!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:25 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


A restless nomad with a cane. Yes.
posted by Namlit at 3:26 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Based upon my understanding of the zombie population, they don't really worry about what they are going to eat.
posted by perhapses at 3:26 PM on August 15, 2012


A result of restless nomad leg syndrome, no doubt.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:27 PM on August 15, 2012


Settled nomads tend not to need canes.
posted by perhapses at 3:29 PM on August 15, 2012


Sorta good to hear it's arthritis. I have been reading a lot about sharks of late...
posted by Namlit at 3:33 PM on August 15, 2012


*shakes cane*

So that's what that little STAFF button means.
posted by perhapses at 3:36 PM on August 15, 2012 [10 favorites]


It's really not true that you have to be an asshole to win cases or get a good result for a client. It's usually the opposite, in fact. I've ground down opposing counsel with my politeness - they literally don't know what to do next because they only know how to handle confrontation.

The appropriate advice is to get a lawyer that's right for the client. The "get a shark" comments seem to be emotional reactions to bad behavior on the part of the misbehaving spouse, and while they may be well-intentioned they are often misguided.
posted by moammargaret at 3:36 PM on August 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


I know! I just found out I have to have a hip replacement~! A fucking hip replacement like I'm some kind of goddamn granny.

How can I be a secret cool sex goddess with a goddamn artificial hip!!!!
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 3:38 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


("Can I eat this?" questions would be awesome in AskZombie.)

Dear AskMe, can I eat this? Special agonizing need for brains inside.

Follow-up question to you fine folks helping my horde get through the locks to the other wing of the office building. (Previously link.) We found a lot of food there! Even though our horde is even bigger now, there's still lots left over. I'm not sure how this happened, but there's a few mismatched detached eyeballs. Can we eat those?
No. That would be unreasonable.
posted by Drastic at 3:40 PM on August 15, 2012 [9 favorites]


How can I be a secret cool sex goddess with a goddamn artificial hip!!!!

Spring for the pneumatic actuator.
posted by LordSludge at 3:43 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Gravy: You're a SECRET COOL CYBERNETIC SEX GODDESS. More than human. Better. Hotter. Faster.

I had ankle surgery almost half a year ago to clean all the grit and bone chips out of my ankle, and now I'm still trying to figure out what's inflamation and what's a patch of really bad bone-on-bone arthritis. Cortisone shot last week hasn't done much, but tomorrow I go see about a brace. I sort of figured this would start happening a decade or three down the line. Not already. Dammit.
posted by rmd1023 at 3:45 PM on August 15, 2012


How can I be a secret cool sex goddess with a goddamn artificial hip!!!!

You can't. This is the Internet. You already let the secret out.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:47 PM on August 15, 2012


It is 2012, where the fuck are my roboknees.
posted by elizardbits at 3:47 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yes, SLoG, you're so sexy you have cybernetic hips. To handle the sexiness that mere flesh and bone would crumble under, clearly.
posted by KathrynT at 3:48 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Give Shark Zombie Island a wide berth. Take the Highway to Danger to Pileon Valley and pass through the mountains of Girlzone along Prosciutto Pie Ridge to get to Meatland. If you reach Benjy World you took the wrong mini fork in the road.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 3:49 PM on August 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


It is 2012, where the fuck are my roboknees.

First, change your name to elizardwithrobobits.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:51 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I picture robits as being metallic hobbits-- R2D2 crossed with Frodo.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 3:53 PM on August 15, 2012


Hope me Robo Wan Gandolbi! You're my only hope!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:57 PM on August 15, 2012


firing off hot lines with startling precision
like a sniper using humor for ammunition
posted by lazaruslong at 4:09 PM on August 15, 2012


Don't just get a shark, get a roboshark.

The circle is now complete.
/thread
posted by Doleful Creature at 4:13 PM on August 15, 2012


Reasonable people who are for fair treatment of men tend to not align themselves with the MRA movement in the US

Oh, so it's like PETA. For dudes.
posted by newpotato at 4:21 PM on August 15, 2012 [17 favorites]


Is it just me, or is it nearly impossible to read : "How can I be a secret cool sex goddess with a goddamn artificial hip!!!!, without changing "hip" to "vagina"....

I know, it's probably just me....
posted by HuronBob at 4:21 PM on August 15, 2012


Oh, so it's like PETA. For dudes.

Pretty much, yep.
posted by KathrynT at 4:31 PM on August 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


newpotato: Oh, so it's like PETA. For dudes.

I'd favourite that, but there's no way in hell I'm going to be the one to ruin your perfect favourite count.
posted by gman at 4:34 PM on August 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


I picture robits as being metallic hobbits-- R2D2 crossed with Frodo.

Hope me Robo Wan Gandolbi! You're my only hope!


Why can't I watch this movie RIGHT NOW?!?
posted by MCMikeNamara at 4:38 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


For the record, I am against keeping dudes in cages and squirting hair care products into their eyes.
posted by perhapses at 4:38 PM on August 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


That was pretty well sorted out, rn. I'd rather a reasoned debate than just letting group dynamics take care of dissent. Its very counterproductive if, you know actually are on the left.
posted by sgt.serenity at 4:41 PM on August 15, 2012


For the record, I am against keeping dudes in cages and squirting hair care products into their eyes.

Unless you know, you're into that kinda thing.
posted by The Whelk at 4:52 PM on August 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


For the record, I am against keeping dudes in cages and squirting hair care products into their eyes.

Well, outside of marriage.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 4:52 PM on August 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


kink shaming!
posted by elizardbits at 4:53 PM on August 15, 2012


Kink shaming is the only thing that gets me going these days.
posted by The Whelk at 4:54 PM on August 15, 2012 [9 favorites]


Please don't misunderstand me. I'm okay with either keeping dudes in cages or just squirting hair care products into their eyes but not both at the same time. Geez, people!
posted by perhapses at 4:56 PM on August 15, 2012


It has to be a red plastic cage (NOT FOAM) not it just doesn't work
posted by The Whelk at 4:59 PM on August 15, 2012


"Don't just get a shark, get a roboshark."

"It is 2012, where the fuck are my roboknees."

I'm on it!
posted by roboton666 at 5:17 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've stayed out of the thread since I last suggested it be closed, but in the end, the comments have more or less validated what I was suggesting.

No, not really. Still projecting.
posted by desuetude at 5:18 PM on August 15, 2012


"Right, yes, and, well, the vast majority of feminists are in it for equality, not reflexive female superiority. MRA principles are pretty much built on assuming that women are selfish witches who just want to unseat the patriarchy and steal that power for themselves. Rather than, you know, unseat the patriarchy and strive for equality instead."

Yeah, but in practice this is all much more confusing, I think. To everyone.

In the context of larger society, both civil rights and gay rights moved from an advocacy for the oppressed group from within the oppressed group to a sociopolitical position, in wider society, that opposes an institutionalized injustice. Originally, it made no sense to people to hear non-blacks be involved in civil rights or non-gays in gay rights. Now, it's what liberal-minded people expect in each other, regardless of their race or orientation.

But this isn't yet the case with women's rights and sexism. This tells us a great deal about what hasn't been accomplished yet, how much strong and organized resistance there truly is to feminism, why racially-motivated and homophobic killings are front-page news when misogynist killings are commonplace and mostly unremarked upon.

The removal of privilege truly does hurt those who are privileged — it was eye-opening for me in a recent thread to see many people who seemed very emotionally invested in asserting that opposing and removal of privilege wouldn't result in the formerly-privileged person being in a worse position than before. But the privileged will fight tooth-and-nail to protect their privilege, and more to the point, because they don't perceive their privilege as a privilege (that is, an unfair advantage) then they will perceive its loss, or its potential loss, as an injustice. This is why they'll fight tooth-and-nail and be pissed as hell about it. People are invested in the idea that opposing privilege won't result in the privileged being worse-off because this seems like it's the message framing of the privileged: "you just want to take what I have". But, yeah, to some degree that's exactly the case because what you have you don't have any right to possess.

The only effective long-term response to this is to truly reveal the existence of the privilege — that is, eventually get the majority in the society to agree that it exists and is unfair. At that point, the privileged will still fight to preserve it, but they will be forced to do so indirectly or behind facades. More to my point here, though, is that this transition means that it's understood within the majority that the absence of the privilege is the way things ought to be, that its presence is wrong and that because it's wrong everyone who is aware of this should oppose it. Because it's wrong. This is the moment when "identity politics" becomes "justice".

But before that happens, it's seen by the majority (and including many in the oppressed group) as mostly a zero-sum game of merely power.

As long as it doesn't make much sense, or feels "wrong", to most people, including feminists themselves, for a man to be a feminist, it will be the case that on some level it will make sense to people that this is really about one team fighting another team for dominance and that MRA makes sense as a balancing against women's rights.

There are white power groups and all that and there will long be such scum — but they are truly fringe. And, yeah, there's grievance among whites in our culture in general but it's now expressed in dog whistles. In contrast, the opinion that men are widely discriminated against on the basis of their sex is commonplace. It's not limited to MRA forums and fringe sites. It's found in this very thread, on MeFi, which is relative to American society, pretty left of center.

People in our culture still primarily see all this through the lens of "men versus women". The War Between the Sexes. It's an ancient comedic trope that is no less prevalent today than in the past. Only a minority take seriously the idea that this truly is a deep matter of justice and, among them, most of those don't fully grasp what that implies. We've internalized the idea that slavery is evil so deeply that it provokes such intense horror that practically no one in our culture doesn't instinctively feel a desire to oppose it, even if fictionalized. And yet...sex slavery provokes no such response. That women in many parts of the world are, in practical if not legal terms, at least as much enslaved as those whom the word "slavery" calls to mind...provokes no such response. Right now people don't take feminism and anti-sexism very seriously, except as power politics, except as it being about "us" versus "them" — and that includes people on both sides of the debate. As long as that's the case, opinions such as "there's a bias on MetaFilter against men" will seem reasonable to far more people than it should.

"Oh, so it's like PETA. For dudes."

Yes and no. But in the sense that they discredit everyone who happens to agree with them about anything, including some things which are important, then yes. There's still some bias against fathers in custody cases, for example, but MRA has totally co-opted that position as part of their "courts hate men and always side with those bitches of ex-wives" general misogyny. My "no" is, I suppose, in that I think that PETA is wrong about 65% of the time while MRA is wrong about 98% of the time. But more importantly, it's that PETA isn't fighting to protect the privilege of the animal overlords who enslave us while MRA...well, you see the problem.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 5:21 PM on August 15, 2012 [61 favorites]


This thread has gone off so many rails I've lost count.

It's truly a wonderful specimen in the metatalk taxonomy.
posted by roboton666 at 5:22 PM on August 15, 2012


Some of those rails are decorated with triglyphs.
posted by flabdablet at 5:24 PM on August 15, 2012 [14 favorites]


flabdablet, that Wonderland Tea Party with Stephen Fry and the Acropolis was the perfect palate cleanser to all of this.
posted by cmyk at 5:52 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think I've watched it probably 50 times over the years. It really is panacea.
posted by lazaruslong at 5:56 PM on August 15, 2012


I vote we form a senate, advisory panel, or steering committee or something and I nominate Ivan Fyodorovich to said panel.
posted by Ad hominem at 6:11 PM on August 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


Perhaps a blue ribbon commission and we send Ivan on a fact finding junket.
posted by Ad hominem at 6:12 PM on August 15, 2012


Ooh, how about Sweden?
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 6:15 PM on August 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


If Assange ever ends there we will need a person on the ground there. You will of course be compensated in favorites.
posted by Ad hominem at 6:19 PM on August 15, 2012


I volunteer to be the person you have to explain things really slowly to.

I wonder if there's a living in that. Hm.
posted by maxwelton at 6:22 PM on August 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


Speaking of Sweden...so, I've been watching Wallander and then the other day decided to look up an actor on the web (Angela Kovács as "Ann-Britt", because I have a crush on her and I suspected, rightly, that she's almost exactly my age) and discovered to my great distress that the actress who played "Linda Wallander", Johanna Sällström, killed herself not too long after those first 13 episodes aired. And the episode I was watching involved her character being upset and visiting a mental hospital. This all made me much more sad than I expected about someone half the world away who died five years ago. Sällström had only a couple years before barely survived, with her young daughter, the tsunami in Thailand.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 6:23 PM on August 15, 2012


Maxwelton: that living is called management.
posted by roboton666 at 6:26 PM on August 15, 2012 [6 favorites]

schmod: There have been a few threads where, in my opinion, a pile-on ends up adding an unfair/unnecessary male-negative tone to the discussion.

Unless there are some very glaring comments that were deleted, this was not one of those threads, and I don't think that it's an overwhelming problem on Metafilter. I've only seen it happen once or twice here.
This. I completely agree with OP's premise that this place does seem to have a strong anti-male stance- or to put it another way, a fierce wind blowing against even hinting that somewhere, any man might actually suffer or not have a perfect "privileged" life because of his testicles. If you were foolish enough to suggest that, you'd be shouted down by a cadre of MeFites accusing you of "making it all about men", "mansplaining", etc, and whose script clearly states that all women suffer impossibly, and all men are triumphant and living high on the hog because patriarchy, oh and also, poverty, and income inequality, and also enforced gender roles in third world countries that none of us have ever even visited.

And then the dismissive comments come that suggest anyone who even mentions the possibility that the "pendulum has swung too far" on Metafilter, or that a commenting behavior of some posters is bullying and rude and hateful, is simply branded as some date raping ex-frat "bro" who's only worried about women "losing less". Or a mod emails you and tells you your opinions are "scary".

The term for this kind of behavior is "gaslighting", and it is the one thing Metafilter does really well when it comes to issues of #mensrights.



And yet... all that said, I also agree that the linked AskMe thread is about the worst hill to die on about this pattern of behavior, as it sure seemed like a pretty standard-issue divorce thread.
posted by hincandenza at 6:39 PM on August 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Back in my 1L year I was acquaintances with a guy I'll call Jerry. Now Jerry was an interesting guy to be around, in that he was hyper-logically-minded, like his internal monologue was in lojban or something. This wasn't like Aspbergers' or anything, but he was a kid just out of a very prestigious economics program in undergrad and had a very, very ordered way of thinking that didn't like ambiguity.

He was also in a section chock-full of leftist public interest advocate types.

So one day we're discussing libel in class, and a case comes up where a latino worker in Texas was berated by his boss, within the boss's office but loudly enough for everyone outside to hear, including the boss repeatedly calling the worker a "spic."

So Jerry raises his hand on the obvious-to-him question of, "well, can that qualify as libel if it's true?" The real questions in the case were more along the lines of "publication" (and to be clear, it was actually a common-law "slander" case but that is a meaningless distinction in almost any case nowadays.) But to Jerry the question was: "'Spic' means 'Hispanic,' and the plaintiff in question was, indeed, Hispanic, so doesn't that just bring up an obvious truth defense?"

The room went livid, and the next hour was spent with Jerry trying to defend himself to a room of people telling him how racist he was.

That night he sent out an email to the whole section, trying to explain himself and apologize. He had apparently never heard or read the word "spic" before, and didn't understand the depths of its hatefulness. (And I believe this. I grew up for my first fifteen years in Houston and never heard it. I've only really ever come across it on a NOFX album title and in this case, maybe in a movie or two.) He then, a little while later, after apparently stewing a bit (or maybe getting some direct replies that weren't so open to his apology) angrily took it back, claiming victimhood in the whole matter.

It wasn't a half hour before the whole school had gotten these emails forwarded along.

The professor tried to use the next class period to cool things down, but to no avail. Jerry ended up transferring at the semester.

I guess my point is that it is a good and fine thing to be right. But it is not the only thing.
posted by Navelgazer at 6:40 PM on August 15, 2012 [9 favorites]


Don't ever inform anyone on an askmefi they do not need a lawyer after someone has previously stated to lawyer-up because lawyers exist for two reasons.
1. The ills of society require a savvy predator.
2. Predators require deep pockets.
posted by vozworth at 6:51 PM on August 15, 2012


I want to know where men are living that they see that "the pendulum has swung too far" because as a woman, I'd love to spend some time there.

The disadvantages men face in the west, which are real--having the burden of mandatory military service or registration for same where women do not; being biased against in child custody matters; being less likely to be hired in some traditionally "female" professions like child care and teaching young children; being apt to receive longer jail terms for property crime; having fewer facilities for domestic violence services (I am sure there are many others, but these are the ones that come to mind)--are not the result of feminism. They are legacies of the gender essentialism baked into our legal, economic, and social system, gender essentialism that says men are fighters and providers and women are caregivers. Most feminists would love to see that shit disappear, too.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:03 PM on August 15, 2012 [167 favorites]



The term for this kind of behavior is "gaslighting", and it is the one thing Metafilter does really well when it comes to issues of #mensrights.


It's not gaslighting. People don't say those things to you (and I believe most of the incidences you mentioned happened to you, hincandenza) to make a person doubt their memory and perception. They say them because they believe them to be true of who they say them of. Honest disagreement is not gaslighting.
posted by Green With You at 7:07 PM on August 15, 2012 [20 favorites]


Or a mod emails you and tells you your opinions are "scary".

You are living proof that the mods here don't ban people just based on them having fucked up sexist opinions. The fact that they work with you to try to let you stay here--which includes giving feedback on your behavior--is to their credit. To see you throw that back in their face like you're being persecuted is so classically you. Always the victim, no matter what. Shine on, dude. Shine on.
posted by the young rope-rider at 7:26 PM on August 15, 2012 [19 favorites]


being biased against in child custody matters

If I recall correctly, when men actually ask for custody they usually get it. That is not to say that there's no bias, but I think what primarily happens is that men are happy to let women have the kids, the responsibility, the lowered standard of living, and the higher risk of poverty.
posted by the young rope-rider at 7:28 PM on August 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


If I recall correctly, when men actually ask for custody they usually get it. That is not to say that there's no bias, but I think what primarily happens is that men are happy to let women have the kids, the responsibility, the lowered standard of living, and the higher risk of poverty.

No, in many cases there is an implicit assumption that "mother is best." Like Sidhedevil said, sexism can cut both ways.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 7:31 PM on August 15, 2012


I wish, instead of this thread becoming a sexism/mens' rights shitshow, entertaining as it is, everyone had just copied the OP with "citation needed" after every ridiculous and unsupported generalization. I would use it in the classroom in a logical fallacies / argument unit.
posted by nakedmolerats at 7:32 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Really? I'm totally willing to believe that, but I just haven't seen the evidence for it. I will have to go look again tomorrow. There might also be a situation where men don't ask for custody because their lawyers tell them not to bother. Either way, this is an actual question that can be solved with facts so I should probably not speculate any more than I already have.
posted by the young rope-rider at 7:32 PM on August 15, 2012


I completely agree with OP's premise that this place does seem to have a strong anti-male stance- or to put it another way, a fierce wind blowing against even hinting that somewhere, any man might actually suffer or not have a perfect "privileged" life because of his testicles. If you were foolish enough to suggest that, you'd be shouted down by a cadre of MeFites accusing you of "making it all about men", "mansplaining", etc, and whose script clearly states that all women suffer impossibly, and all men are triumphant and living high on the hog because patriarchy, oh and also, poverty, and income inequality, and also enforced gender roles in third world countries that none of us have ever even visited.

The thing is, though, when you make these points (and I am saying "you" because you are most often the person who says these things), it comes across as if the subtext is "and therefore you women should shut up and listen to MY pain." In other words, the reason people are shouting YOU down is because you try to shout THEM down FIRST.

And if you hadn't done that, then perhaps maybe, JUST maybe, you'd notice that in none of the complaining women are doing in those threads, we aren't saying that it doesn't happen to a handful of men. We aren't saying it's a zero-sum game. It's not like if women demand respect, that that respect has to be taken away from you.

YOU'RE the one that's trying to make it a zero-sum game, and the reason you get the pushback is because you're pushing first.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:33 PM on August 15, 2012 [16 favorites]

Green with you: Honest disagreement is not gaslighting.
I completely agree. Not agreeing: most everyone who uses the term "gaslighting", as if any honest disagreement or attempt at nuancing is a conspiracy to silence women's voices.
the young rope-rider: To see you throw that back in their face like you're being persecuted is so classically you. Always the victim, no matter what. Shine on, dude. Shine on.
So you're saying I wear the mantle of victimhood? Teapot, kettle.
Sidhedevil: I want to know where men are living that they see that "the pendulum has swung too far" because as a woman, I'd love to spend some time there.
Honestly? Seattle, the Capitol Hill neighborhood (historically gay-friendly and youthful), and working at companies like Microsoft that take sexual harassment very seriously and are populated by people far less likely to engage in bro-ish behavior, and who avoided the testosterone-steeped upbringing that apparently affected these unnamed men perpetrating evils on the world.

That's not to say some people who work at places like this aren't total douchebags, but I think they're largely a scorned minority, they're behavior is looked down on (or they are fired if they are overt), and both in word and deed it seems to be pretty verboten. Many women are in authoritative positions or managers, not simply individual contributor roles, and I can't imagine a single co-worker not being loathed by his peers if he were to voice sexist opinions. The closest I saw was an older guy who worked there in the early part of the decade and wanted to talk about his strip club exploits at lunch "with the guys"- and to a person, everyone told him it was creepy and not okay.
posted by hincandenza at 7:33 PM on August 15, 2012


a fierce wind blowing against even hinting that somewhere, any man might actually suffer

the problem with this comic exaggeration is that it does not correspond to anyone's actual position

If you were foolish enough to suggest that, you'd be shouted down by a cadre of MeFites accusing you of "making it all about men"

kindly link to an example of this happening

"mansplaining"

see above re: link

and whose script clearly states that all women suffer impossibly

this is incorrect

and all men are triumphant and living high on the hog because patriarchy

this is also incorrect

posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 7:36 PM on August 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


Wait, I worked at MS at one point. You're saying that was an environment which has swung too far in favor of women?
posted by maxwelton at 7:37 PM on August 15, 2012 [17 favorites]


"The disadvantages men face in the west, which are real--having the burden of mandatory military service or registration for same where women do not; being biased against in child custody matters; being less likely to be hired in some traditionally "female" professions like child care and teaching young children; being apt to receive longer jail terms for property crime; having fewer facilities for domestic violence services (I am sure there are many others, but these are the ones that come to mind)--are not the result of feminism. They are legacies of the gender essentialism baked into our legal, economic, and social system, gender essentialism that says men are fighters and providers and women are caregivers. Most feminists would love to see that shit disappear, too."

Amen.

That should be shouted to the heavens.

You have to look to contexts that are even more narrow and insignificant than MeFi to find anything that even remotely might satisfy the claimed "over-compensation" or whatever. None of the things that men have any real, widespread grievances about, those things you describe and a few others, are the product of over-compensation. They predate feminism, they are themselves expressions of the patriarchy.

But this is really frustrating for me because I believe that dismantling the patriarchy and much of the rest of the work of improving the lives of women (in advanced democracies) will require changing male gender roles and how men live as well as how women live, and those things which are explicitly oppressive to men are good places to start — but MRA and likeminded have co-opted the discussion about many of those things. It really pisses me off. I strongly believe that we are badly overdue for the transition I described previously and the existence of MRA is both a symptom and a cause of this.

I mean, it's just now almost thirty years since I became a feminist. And during those first ten, in the eighties, I'd thought that a good fit for me would be to work on the male side of things. And I have in my personal life, by example and such. But in the larger political context, what happened is that right about that time the misogynists co-opted all of these issues on the male side and poisoned them. I really don't have words for how angry this makes me. For this reason alone I have a personal grudge against any man who goes on and on about these injustices. They're making it impossible for feminists to oppose those injustices, to even talk about them because the men's rights folk use the few explicit examples of how men get the shitty end of the stick to...argue that women don't get the shitty end of the stick and women's grievances are all in their heads. So fuck the MRA and everyone like-minded.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 7:37 PM on August 15, 2012 [57 favorites]


I wish I could find the study, L'Estrange Fruit, but I remember reading that while men do not receive sole custody nearly as often as women, they were more likely than women to reach the custody agreement they sought. Now maybe it's because they're advised to seeking realistic settlements by their lawyers based on the gender imbalance in family law or any number of reasons. I'll try to track down the study though, because it was interesting and it would be informative to see the sources.
posted by ODiV at 7:39 PM on August 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


So you're saying I wear the mantle of victimhood? Teapot, kettle.

LOL. Like I said, keep on keepin' on.
posted by the young rope-rider at 7:40 PM on August 15, 2012


Ivan, I am once again incredibly grateful for your eloquent, thoughtful posts on this subject.
posted by gilrain at 7:44 PM on August 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


"Really? I'm totally willing to believe that, but I just haven't seen the evidence for it. I will have to go look again tomorrow."

There has been a quite a bit of change in the last thirty years. But it's not quite as rosy now as you describe. Mostly, it's because both jurisdictions differ and sitting judges differ. Over time, most of both have come to embrace a more enlightened position. Far from all, however.

And there are some very strong essentialist beliefs about sex and parenting that a large majority (arguably something close to universal) in our culture still believe so that even when codified bias is eliminated, there will still be systematic institutional bias because the institutions reflect the culture.

That said, it should be mentioned that there are other respects in which family courts are biased against women and those, too, will probably endure until the culture is transformed.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 7:45 PM on August 15, 2012


Honestly? Seattle, the Capitol Hill neighborhood (historically gay-friendly and youthful), and working at companies like Microsoft that take sexual harassment very seriously and are populated by people far less likely to engage in bro-ish behavior, and who avoided the testosterone-steeped upbringing that apparently affected these unnamed men perpetrating evils on the world.

That's not to say some people who work at places like this aren't total douchebags, but I think they're largely a scorned minority, they're behavior is looked down on (or they are fired if they are overt), and both in word and deed it seems to be pretty verboten. Many women are in authoritative positions or managers, not simply individual contributor roles, and I can't imagine a single co-worker not being loathed by his peers if he were to voice sexist opinions. The closest I saw was an older guy who worked there in the early part of the decade and wanted to talk about his strip club exploits at lunch "with the guys"- and to a person, everyone told him it was creepy and not okay.


The world is a large, large place and Seattle is one tiny, tiny part of it. I'm glad this is the culture you work in but this is one company, and over the past 6 years I've been:

-prepositioned for sex by my boss
-denied a promotion because another boss would only work with men
-had a guy trying to hire me staring down my cleavage during an interview
-had a boss request I show cleavage when clients come round
-found out a couple of my female colleagues were making several thousand less p.a. than men in the same jobs for no reason I could see

Rest assured there is still plenty of work to be done right here in the 'privilliged' west, and that it doesn't feel at all like things are swinging in my direction.
posted by everydayanewday at 7:48 PM on August 15, 2012 [17 favorites]


Wish I could upvote Ivan more.

Dudes! Feminists don't want to be "like men". We don't want to be better than men. We want everybody to be free to be whoever the hell they want, without gender roles hurting them for it. When MRA's complain that men get discriminated against for custody, feminists think that sucks too. The same system creates and traps us all in shitty gender roles. It would be so great if we could work together on it.

I really, truly would like to make a career out of building coalitions between groups that think gender essentialism hurts everyone - but much of what I have seen of the current men's rights movement does not seem to want to work for solidarity.
posted by nakedmolerats at 7:51 PM on August 15, 2012 [19 favorites]


"I wish I could find the study, L'Estrange Fruit, but I remember reading that while men do not receive sole custody nearly as often as women, they were more likely than women to reach the custody agreement they sought."

That's kind of the larger argument in a nutshell, though, isn't it?

A subtle thing about privilege as a social institution is that it's normative. In this, it's restrictive. Men are allowed to be and do and have more than women, but that doesn't mean that men can be anything, do anything, have anything. So there are limits and those limits represent injustices when those things shouldn't be decided on the basis of sex.

But privilege represents power and agency in general — where there's privilege, there's usually agency and power in some respect. If men are generally privileged in our society, then they are generally empowered and have agency. And so, where they find that their rights are limited, where they are the victims of injustice, they will find that their grievances are taken more seriously and more likely to be addressed. So, as a rule, in family courts father's interests carry more weight all other things being equal — which they aren't.

So this doesn't mean that men will be treated fairly when they demand to be treated fairly in a context where normally they are not. It does mean that when men and women both demand fairness, the man's claims will be taken more seriously. If the terrain is highly unfavorable for men, as it has been in custody cases, then the result will be that in aggregate men will see judgments that favor them relative to the built-in bias. Fathers will still get primary custody less often than mothers, but they will be in aggregate more successful at negotiated custody agreements.

This is an example where it's a mistake to take some simple and absolutist position — either fathers or mothers are favored in family courts — and assume that it can be proven or disproven as a simple and absolute claim. That is, assuming that if you prove your opponent wrong in some respect, that means you're right. In fact, both positions can in some essentially important respects be correct.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 8:05 PM on August 15, 2012 [18 favorites]


That's kind of you to say, gilrain. I appreciate you doing so.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 8:10 PM on August 15, 2012


Mefite goes into cage. Cage goes into comments. Shark's in the comments. Our shark. MetaShark.

We're going to need a bigger boat.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:14 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Or a mod emails you and tells you your opinions are "scary".

Private emails are one of the ways we talk to people about things that we think might be better off not made public, to try to address things before we take public mod action. If you'd prefer we said that sort of thing to you in threads, we'll be happy to. Once you bring things like this up publicly (and feel free to reprint thatemailminn context if it's mine) it becomes sort of awkward to stay mum about stuff.

Also, I have a cane this month. We should somehow riff on that this month r_n.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:18 PM on August 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


I don't need a cane so much as a squad of husky litter bearers and possibly someone to bring me drinks with umbrellas in them, but we can definitely work up a crotchety-old-lady routine between us.

(Note to everyone else: be afraid.)
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 8:21 PM on August 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


(A joke about the latin word cane goes here.)
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 8:24 PM on August 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


I want you to know, hincandenza, that I come to this conversation from the very opposite direction you do. I went on an extended break (read: quit, but found that I really didn't want to leave MetaFilter and returned) because I felt that things things I considered misogynistic and sexist beyond decency were getting ever more common. I concluded that whether the community was changing or I was getting less tolerant of bullshit was irrelevant, getting angry about what people on the internet say wasn't how I wanted to spend my days.

That said, I want you to think about something. It's the simplest trick in the book, but it opened my eyes way back in the day. The next few times you're in some sort of large meeting or other kind of situation where there are a number of people of both sexes, make a quick count of how many men are there and how many women there are. Once you've done that, pay attention to what the gender-split is when it comes to talking and what the percentages are. I've yet to come across a meeting where the split isn't depressing.

Last week, for instance, I went to a panel discussion on queer literature. In the audience there were twenty women and four men (myself included). During the Q&A section, three men asked questions, one woman.

Heck, I went to a big group discusion round-table at a feminist conference, where there were around fifty women and six men. About twenty of the women spoke, and five of the six men (no, I wasn't the sixth, I'm ashamed to say).

My point is that in groups like that it's glaringly obvious that individual women are less likely to have their say than individual men. It's an obvious societal disadvantage, and it's even present in very feminist environments. In less feminist environments it's a lot worse (I gave myself the rule a few years ago that I would never speak at a public meeting unless at least two women had already had their say... it's rare that I have to worry about whether I should speak or not).

This structural disadvantage for women is propagated all the way through society (more politicians are male, more writers are male, more university professors are male etc.) but you can observe it at work in very contained social settings.

The logical conclusion one draws from that simple observation is that women's voices are heard less often than those of men, and that when it comes to negotiating the social contract (apologies to Rousseau for mangling his metaphor) men's concerns and men's issues dominate the proceedings. And in any negotiation, when certain issues dominate, they are going to be the focus of the settlement. Men are doing just fine, there's no need to defend anything, really.

Now, the next step is where I think you and I will part ways, but that's alright, difference of opinion is fine once the facts are settled. For me, what follows from that conclusion is that women need to be louder so that they can be heard, so that their issues and concerns are listened to at the (metaphorical) negotiating table. For most men, used to talking easily and calmly about their issues and concerns, it is discombobulating to hear someone raise their voice or interrupt another person (incidentally, another depressing counting game is man-interrupts-woman vs. woman-interrupts-man). However, unless these issues and concerns are shouted, they are simply not going to be discussed. A lot of people (both men and women) experience that shouting as hostile, but it isn't hostile, it's desperate.

Anyway, that went on a lot longer than I intended, but you should at least try that counting game a few times, it's depressing to witness structural injustice at work, but society is pretty depressing sometimes.
posted by Kattullus at 8:27 PM on August 15, 2012 [66 favorites]


I just found out that the "backfires" I heard the other night from a car driving on the street outside my house were actually gunshots. From a .357. Based on where the casings were found, they must have been pointing the gun the opposite direction. I can say that with some certainty because otherwise I would be dead.

So I guess my point is: Ha ha, women! You missed me again!*

*Also: Holy fuck!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 8:27 PM on August 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


That's not to say some people who work at places like this aren't total douchebags, but I think they're largely a scorned minority, they're behavior is looked down on (or they are fired if they are overt), and both in word and deed it seems to be pretty verboten. Many women are in authoritative positions or managers, not simply individual contributor roles, and I can't imagine a single co-worker not being loathed by his peers if he were to voice sexist opinions.

Wait, I don't understand. This is an example of how the pendulum has "swung too far?" Women have equal roles and leadership alongside men, and discrimination (social or employment-based) is not tolerated, but it's too far? That seems like what we should all be aiming for.
posted by c'mon sea legs at 8:27 PM on August 15, 2012 [37 favorites]


> That's not to say some people who work at places like this aren't total douchebags, but I think they're largely a scorned minority, they're behavior is looked down on (or they are fired if they are overt), and both in word and deed it seems to be pretty verboten. Many women are in authoritative positions or managers, not simply individual contributor roles, and I can't imagine a single co-worker not being loathed by his peers if he were to voice sexist opinions.

The thing is, I'm not seeing why this is a bad thing. What you're describing sounds like a pretty normal environment where men and women work together and generally respect each other. I'm not sure how how this represents 'the pendulum swinging too far the other way'.
posted by nangar at 8:30 PM on August 15, 2012 [6 favorites]


I completely agree with OP's premise that this place does seem to have a strong anti-male stance- or to put it another way, a fierce wind blowing against even hinting that somewhere, any man might actually suffer or not have a perfect "privileged" life because of his testicles. If you were foolish enough to suggest that, you'd be shouted down by a cadre of MeFites accusing you of "making it all about men", "mansplaining", etc, and whose script clearly states that all women suffer impossibly, and all men are triumphant and living high on the hog because patriarchy, oh and also, poverty, and income inequality, and also enforced gender roles in third world countries that none of us have ever even visited.

And yet, were I to actually ask you to demonstrate this with examples, you would not be able to do so without misrepresenting the points of view of others on this site in the same way you are misrepresenting them here.

In every thread where this is an issue, there is protracted -- protracted -- discussion that men may be disadvantaged in many ways, and that their privilege asserts itself collectively, rather than individually. That men, as a whole, tend to get a better end of things, even if, individually, some men may not.

But, good lord, don't let that get in the way of that giant fucking cross you're building yourself.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 8:35 PM on August 15, 2012 [11 favorites]


Seriously, folks, do not tell people to fuck off. It's inflammatory, unproductive, and all of you have bigger vocabularies than that.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 8:39 PM on August 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


Canes.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 8:44 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


"It's inflammatory, unproductive, and all of you have bigger vocabularies than that."

You really are channeling a grouchy grandmother, huh?

I have this swirly blue aluminum cane that I use that probably is tacky as hell but I sort of like it. What I really want is a sword cane, but apparently those are not mechanically reliable as canes and are only "decorative". Which is extremely disappointing to me.

All in all, though, I think it's for the best because, otherwise, some motherfucker would get stabbed sooner or later.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 8:45 PM on August 15, 2012


SEE, THE JOKE IS YOU SAID "HUSKY" AND CANE MEANS DOG IN LATIN

OH, THE MONSTROUS CLEVERNESS OF ME
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 8:46 PM on August 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


Obligatory.
posted by oinopaponton at 8:50 PM on August 15, 2012


You really are channeling a grouchy grandmother, huh?

I actually wasn't kidding about my arthritis acting up. I am cranky as fuck tonight.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 8:50 PM on August 15, 2012


sea legs and nangar: I believe the subtext we are meant to get is "but I've seen this kind of fair-minded workplace in two places where I've worked, so clearly the complaints that it isn't happening in society as a whole are invalid."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:51 PM on August 15, 2012


Someone just put up an FPP; as I am reading it I came upon a particularly apt paragraph:
Underscoring this point is the fact that there is something that calls itself a Men’s Rights Movement, but it consists of nothing but knee-jerk anti-feminism. It is made up primarily of angry, alienated men who have fully bought into the myths of hegemonic masculinity and gender roles, and not found the success and happiness that the myths implicitly promised. Since feminism is the only movement around that is attempting to dismantle those myths, they conclude that feminism is the cause of their unhappiness. If not for those meddling feminists, things would be okay. They would argue that this is a mischaracterization, but a thorough examination of their arguments reveals that this is, in fact, their sole intellectual basis. Any analysis of any issue that does not begin and end by blaming feminists, or preferably all women, is immediately discarded. Thus, lacking the social analysis tools feminists pioneered, they can accomplish nothing but surly misogyny and occasional outbreaks of violence. The authors of this book spent quite some time attempting to find MRAs who could be engaged in a constructive manner, but eventually gave up. If men’s rights are to be addressed on any kind of serious level, it will have to be by feminism.
posted by Forktine at 8:53 PM on August 15, 2012 [20 favorites]


restless_nomad: "I don't need a cane so much as a squad of husky litter bearers"

When I read this I pictured a litter being pulled by a team of these...
posted by the_artificer at 9:02 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


C'mon guys, get some manners. Why tell people to fuck off when you can goad and bait them and misrepresent their comments?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:02 PM on August 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


When I read this I pictured a litter being pulled by a team of these...

That would be totally fine, I'm not picky. Whoever's bringing me drinks better not be shedding in them, is all.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 9:05 PM on August 15, 2012


Wait, I don't understand. This is an example of how the pendulum has "swung too far?" Women have equal roles and leadership alongside men, and discrimination (social or employment-based) is not tolerated, but it's too far? That seems like what we should all be aiming for.

I wanted to say this so instead I'll just make it all italics-y and put it here again.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:09 PM on August 15, 2012 [6 favorites]


What about a squad of husky husky litter bearers, also bearing you?

Somehow.
posted by cmyk at 9:10 PM on August 15, 2012


Why tell people to fuck off when you can goad and bait them and misrepresent their comments?

Because treating hincandenza the same way he has treated some of us isn't going to solve anything.
posted by zarq at 9:11 PM on August 15, 2012


I wanted to say this so instead I'll just make it all italics-y and put it here again.

Me too, so I'll second-hand favorite it.
posted by Forktine at 9:12 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


As someone mentioned earlier, this needs to be the month that the staff tags are literal. Two mods down...
posted by maryr at 9:12 PM on August 15, 2012


It's hilarious that hincandenza would list Microsoft as a place where "the pendulum has swung too far" in favor of women. This is a company where, out of 16 senior executives, only one is a woman. In 2006, 25 percent of the workforce was women and less than 15 percent of executives of rank corporate vice president or higher.

I have to wonder what the makeup of Microsoft would be like in a world hincandenza would think was fair? Maybe split the meager gains women have made there in half—drop from one-quarter to one-eighth female employees, and maybe make the sole female senior executive work part-time?

Scary indeed.
posted by grouse at 9:25 PM on August 15, 2012 [26 favorites]


On, piling, metatalk for the use of. I know, I know.

But I think those who are distressed by the "shouting down" of the OP here should have a look at his posting history, and the many previous (futile) attempts made to reasonably engage with him.

If anyone has contributed to making Mefi a "hostile environment", it's eas98.
Examples 1 2 3 4 5 6 ... and oh gods, on and on.

Sometimes, a troll is a troll is a troll.
posted by Catch at 9:34 PM on August 15, 2012 [37 favorites]


My husband and I, between us, have a combined twenty-plus years at Microsoft, and I have witnessed appallingly, appallingly sexist behavior there. From the interviewer who asked if I was getting married soon, because (as he told me straight up to my face) he didn't want to have someone who was going to leave to have children, to the GPM who kept (yes, more than once) hiring strippers for the ship parties, it just really is laughable to me that this is the example of the place where the pendulum has swung too far.
posted by KathrynT at 9:36 PM on August 15, 2012 [29 favorites]


but MRA and likeminded have co-opted the discussion about many of those things.

MetaFilter isn't the only place I submit links; I submit to reddit a whole bunch too. When I run across articles about improving mental health care (for men), homeless advocacy and solutions, and violence-reduction strategies, I'll flip them to r/MensRights.

They usually don't get any attention.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:50 PM on August 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


But this is really frustrating for me because I believe that dismantling the patriarchy and much of the rest of the work of improving the lives of women (in advanced democracies) will require changing male gender roles and how men live as well as how women live, and those things which are explicitly oppressive to men are good places to start — but MRA and likeminded have co-opted the discussion about many of those things. It really pisses me off. I strongly believe that we are badly overdue for the transition I described previously and the existence of MRA is both a symptom and a cause of this.

I so totally agree with this.

One of the areas where I have a lot of hope is in the growing "pink boy" movement, where parents and teachers - male and female - support boys who want to wear pretty things and bright colors, and play with dolls and the like. One of the aspects of European Feminism is focusing on increasing the value of feminine things, from the deep ones like nurturing to the ones which earn more ridicule, like fashion.

I've got to say, though; this thread is deeply ironic to me given I started my morning reading an MRA thread explaining that women really need to be beaten so we don't behave like chimps.


On a side note - someone above mentioned that men can't be feminists; I believe men can and most feminists of my ilk (anti-kyriarchial is the easiest way to describe us) agree. The gorup which tends to want to exclude men that I know of are the Radical Feminists and, well... we don't have much in common as far as I', concerned.
posted by Deoridhe at 9:53 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


What I really want is a sword cane, but apparently those are not mechanically reliable as canes

My mother collected canes when we lived in England. She doesn't have a sword cane, but she has a working cane that has a removable handle with a flask inside, which is almost as cool IMO.

Also, do not mess with cranky arthritic ladies, we will fuck your shit up, yo. (and I'm not even a mod!)
posted by immlass at 10:02 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


After I'd already booked a vacation for next month it transpired that I might need surgery before I go, and I'm secretly hoping that it gives me an excuse to swoosh around London with a fancy cane.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 10:11 PM on August 15, 2012


I am waiting to develop a few more outward signs of Age and Wisdom, and then I'm going to carry a shooting-stick about with me.

There's something so confident and hard-boiled about them - "You jerks can stand around and be all awkward and uncomfortable, I'm going to sit down right here and send my bearer for a Gin Fizz".
posted by Catch at 10:11 PM on August 15, 2012


The big deal with the cane was that I don't have one so when I got my "avulsion fracture" my choices were big wonky crutches or the cane that came with my Mr. Peanut costume. Monocle optional.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:18 PM on August 15, 2012 [10 favorites]


Sorry, restless_nomad.
posted by desuetude at 10:21 PM on August 15, 2012


or the cane that came with my Mr. Peanut costume

This is one of those explanations that requires more explanation.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:35 PM on August 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


And if not photos, at least fanart.
posted by elizardbits at 10:49 PM on August 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Omigod, women are allowed to be in charge of things sometimes at Microsoft? and you're not allowed to insult them for no reason? Well, I'm convinced! This feminism thing has gone Too Far, I say. Let's stick to the bare minimum of not being allowed to beat or rape them in the streets, and letting them vote once in a while. A basic six-year education should suffice for that, it's not like they'll need to own property or sign contracts. As long as we emphasise the skills needed to bear children and bake pies, so their brains don't overheat from the reading and writing. Really, it's for their own good.
posted by harriet vane at 10:51 PM on August 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


jessamyn: "The big deal with the cane was that I don't have one so when I got my "avulsion fracture" my choices were big wonky crutches or the cane that came with my Mr. Peanut costume. Monocle optional."

Pictures, plz. With monocle.
posted by gingerbeer at 10:56 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is not me wearing it. No photos of me with cane at this point.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:59 PM on August 15, 2012


That photo raises so many canon questions.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:01 PM on August 15, 2012 [10 favorites]


Somehow, this seems appropriate here: Straw Feminists.
posted by ocherdraco at 11:35 PM on August 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Catch reminded me of why I have such a viscerally repulsed response to seeing eas98 saying anything at all about gendered dynamics. Ugh. Probably not going to forget this time.
posted by batmonkey at 11:50 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

KathrynT: My husband and I, between us, have a combined twenty-plus years at Microsoft, and I have witnessed appallingly, appallingly sexist behavior there. From the interviewer who asked if I was getting married soon, because (as he told me straight up to my face) he didn't want to have someone who was going to leave to have children, to the GPM who kept (yes, more than once) hiring strippers for the ship parties, it just really is laughable to me that this is the example of the place where the pendulum has swung too far.
Huh, see I haven't seen that stuff there. At tech companies I've been at, they have "How to interview" training, where they explicitly tell you not to ask things about age, or family life, or children, etc which could be troublesome if you say "no hire". Keep it professional and focused on demonstrable skills and past work related to the job, etc. Isn't... that a good thing? Which divisions where you in that these things were being done- and what did you say or do to stop it or call it out? I have never seen a place at Microsoft where someone would hire strippers for a ship party- jesus, everyone knows that'd get you fucking fired. Honestly, you're basically telling me something that sounds like science fiction!
grouse: I have to wonder what the makeup of Microsoft would be like in a world hincandenza would think was fair? Maybe split the meager gains women have made there in half—drop from one-quarter to one-eighth female employees, and maybe make the sole female senior executive work part-time?

Scary indeed.
Yeah, really scary, because that's totally what I said! Jesus christ, why can't you be more like Kattullus and try to engage someone in good faith? I appreciated and liked that comment, because for starters it assumed I was a human being, who isn't a sociopath or a monster, and is probably not anti-woman. I know, crazy huh?

Although I do think MS has, in the middle-to-upper management ranks, some of the same "old boy network" problems (myself and molybdenum would joke how every damn VP had a perfectly appropriate VP name like "Dave" or "Steve"), the rank and file seemed pretty evolved in my experience. And really, the "executives are all white men who went to the same exclusive prep school" thing isn't just about sexism. This is an echo of grobstein's "It's not a Man's World, it's Some Men's World".

And I wasn't saying MS was a case of things going too far, although I can see where people would enjoy pretending that's what I said. I'm all for equality, yay, and do agree that in tech companies the male/female ratios aren't ideal (but that will take time to fix, as more women graduate with degrees, or pursue IT as a field)! At our last company meeting, one of the questions raised to the owner was "How can we hire more women?" Sounds like a plan- I do believe that if you have something other than a 50/50 split, that there's some force affecting hiring- although not always one you can control.


Rather, I was saying that on Metafilter that the pendulum seems to be overswung. If you read my first comment in this thread, that seems to be pretty clearly what I was talking about, since I was quoting the OP's claim that Metafilter has become a "girlzone".

By and large I think Microsoft and companies like it are pretty decent, that Seattle and my neighborhood wouldn't really like the catcalling bros showing up... and thus if you're like me and you live in that world you don't see these situations of rampant unbelievable sexism. It's not just me; the comment I was looking for earlier was the start of jacalata's contributions in this thread, where she answered a direct (sarcastic) question, just as I did, of basically 'What magical fairy land do you live in that these things aren't big problems?!'. Naturally, her response were not well received, and she became more and more defensive. It's funny to read even now because of how textbook the exchanges went.

Actually, hifiparasol wrote a good comment in that thread as well that captures a lot of what I'm trying to say here. If you live in that world, then come on to Metafilter and have the "The Sexist Dickheads versus The Righteous Feminists" war being waged, you can't help but think "Where the heck do you people live that it's this bad all the time?!" hifiparasol also captures well the fear that even when you try to be earnest, balanced, and careful in your wording, you still run the risk of blanket dismissals such as "Nice guy (tm)".

And while I've made this point multiple times before, it feels like Metafilter, largely populated by people who would agree almost uniformly about gender rights, seems to also allow a one-sided "airing of grievances" in gender related threads, or proxy battles on Metafilter substituting for actual confrontation with flesh-and-blood people in your real life. And the "girlzone" part I agree with is the notion that certain expressed viewpoints- which might be hateful or prejudiced- are not really policed around here.
posted by hincandenza at 12:50 AM on August 16, 2012


And I wasn't saying MS was a case of things going too far, although I can see where people would enjoy pretending that's what I said.


No. People are responding to this comment of yours.
You quoted Sidhedevil and made a direct response.
An "Oops, I screwed up and didn't read Sidhedevil's question clearly" might go down, but this big revisionist rant hasn't got any legs.
posted by Catch at 12:59 AM on August 16, 2012 [6 favorites]


No, I did mean what I said just a few minutes ago. I interpreted Sidhedevil's question similar to the jacalata response I'd linked, which is "Okay, if you're genuinely curious, there are places where in daily life and at work I think most gender and race issues are pretty muted to non-existent". And that if you live in that world, Metafilter can seem like it's coming from some parallel universe of agitated, angry people.

But you just want to believe the worst fucking thing you can about me, so go ahead. I can't stop you, and I don't even fucking care anymore that you people are so quick to judge.

I'm out of this thread, go make uncharitable assumptions about someone else. Or post comments selectively quoting me and calling me names, it's no skin off my teeth either way.
posted by hincandenza at 1:17 AM on August 16, 2012


Hoo roo.
posted by Catch at 1:22 AM on August 16, 2012


I don't even fucking care anymore that you people are so quick to judge.

Quick? No way, dude. My opinion of you has been formed from reading your comments for years. Nothing quick about it.
posted by grouse at 1:42 AM on August 16, 2012 [34 favorites]


get a shark

Look! I'm Woody! Howdy howdy howdy.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 2:13 AM on August 16, 2012 [19 favorites]


I just wanted to point out that even in the liberalist of places, cat-calling, misogyny, and rape still happen. I understand that you're contributing in good faith, Hincandenza. But you made a really salient point and I don't know that you caught it. Thus, if you're like me and live in this world you don't see these situations of rampant, unbelievable sexism. Part of that is almost certainly because you are male. But you're right - things are different in different places, and as Jacalata said, not all women experience sexism and whatnot to the same degree. That doesn't mean it is not a problem. You also point out that sexism isn't the only force keeping society unequal, and that men without the right background are discriminated against in a variety of ways, too. There is an important conversation to be had about intersectionality and stuff, but consider that a thread about cat-calling or rape or general misogyny might not be the place to do it, and when you (or others) try to change the conversation to something you care more about, there is probably going to be pushback.
posted by ChuraChura at 3:48 AM on August 16, 2012 [18 favorites]


when you (or others) try to change the conversation to something you care more about, there is probably going to be pushback.

I would be happy to be proven wrong, but I have literally never seen hincandenza try to change the subject in threads about feminist topics to anything besides how women are mean and/or liars.

I'm sure people will think my comments to and about him are rude and unwarranted or whatever because he hasn't said anything too awful in this particular thread, but a lot of people (primarily women) have been hurt and made to feel unwelcome or frightened due to his comments here, and I'm not going to act like that never happened, especially not when he himself is bringing up his past participation here (and recasting himself in the role of Victim of Evil Feminists.) It's all bullshit. He has been given so many chances and been the benefactor of so many deletions that it would make your head spin. No one is making a snap judgment of him based on one or two paragraphs. My opinion has, as grouse says, been formed by literally years of inappropriate and misogynist commentary.
posted by the young rope-rider at 4:20 AM on August 16, 2012 [40 favorites]


I haven't worked at Microsoft since the end of 2001, but at the time, there was a whole lot of sexism, same as the rest of the high tech industry.

I haven't had to use my cane for a while, but I am about to go see about getting a brace for my arthritic ankle. Why don't we have, like, stem-cell cartilage replacement therapy available in the local drug store Minute Clinic yet?
posted by rmd1023 at 5:13 AM on August 16, 2012


Avulsion-fracture-veterans represent!

I'd actually found my cane last summer lying out on the curb a couple doors down from my building, and some instinct made me pick it up and take it inside - "maybe someone visiting me will hurt themselves and need it," I thought. Little thinking that I would be the person that would need it myself in six months' time.

Although, I was really tempted to get the 8-ball cane from this site. And someone else dared me to get the gold skull cane "just so I can see you using it."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:45 AM on August 16, 2012


I have a stick I found in the woods I take on hikes. I sanded it, treated it with oil and now when I go stumping around outside I feel a tiny bit like gandalf.

'You shall not pass!' I say in my head to the bicyclists who don't shout when they whip from behind me on trails on the wrong side, and I picture them being eaten by balrogs.

I have a cane, too, but however dapper I feel when walking about accompanied by its cheerful tick-tick on the floor people give a healthy person funny looks when they are be-canèd so I desist.
posted by winna at 6:04 AM on August 16, 2012 [10 favorites]


La Trec's cane was full of bourbon.
posted by The Whelk at 6:04 AM on August 16, 2012


Hmm, somehow I'd have thought Lautrec's cane would have been full of absinthe.
posted by ocherdraco at 6:16 AM on August 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Hincandenza, I hope you're still checking in on this thread, because I'm really going to try and be as fair and non-jerky in this response to your earlier comments as I can be.

So. A few things.

I want to suggest that, while I believe that you've written completely sincere, good-faith descriptions of your neighborhood and your workplace as you have experienced and perceived them, I would ask that you consider -- just consider, even if you think I'm wrong -- that your perception and experiences may be different than those of other people working and living alongside you, women and men alike. Consider that a strictly-enforced set of rules and guidelines in an office environment doesn't erase a life of experiences and opinions and biases that one has accumulated before starting that job, but only regulates how those biases and opinions can manifest themselves in the office. Consider that a lack of fratboy bro types may mean that sterotypical harassment of women in bars and on the street is much much rarer where you live, but that there are other, more insidious forms of bias and harassment than are harder to point a finger at and harder to draw boundaries against. Consider that, because these more subtle and insidious biases and behaviors aren't directed at you and/or aren't happening at your expense, they may be flying under your radar.

What I mean when I say that these milder, subtler forms of bias and behaviour can be more "insidious": when someone is overly harassing you or making awful comments, particularly in an environment with a strictly enforced set of social or professional rules, it's very clear what's going on and it's very simple to point it out and deal with it. If your boss propositions you for sex, it's obvious that you should report him; if a man in a bar tries to drunkenly grab you, no one will tell you you're overreacting if you get him kicked out of the bar. (NOTE: I mean no one in a relatively safe space like what you've described, as I'll get back to in a moment, that is still very much not true in lots of other places.)

But what do you do in that moment where, when sitting at lunch in the break room, you're listening to a very pleasant, very polite, very work-appropriate conversion about two coworkers, one of whom is on paternity leave and one of whom is on maternity leave. In discussing the man, they talk about how it's so nice that he stayed home to help out, how it's great that he's made the time to see his kids when they're still small; then they discuss his upcoming return to the office, and how so-and-so will have to get him up to speed. In discussing the woman, they mention how cute the photos she posted on Facebook were, try to remember how old the baby is, mention how she brought the baby in to visit a couple of weeks ago; someone asks when she'll be back, and the reply is a sort of knowing smile and a "well, we'll see, I mean her leave is over in a month..." and then the conversation shifts to how the wives and friends of the people at the table often said they wanted to go back to work after the baby, but then changed their mind and never came back, because really it's just a practical decision, childcare is so expensive, and if her whole salary is just going to go to childcare anyway it just seems silly for her to make such a big sacrifice and be away from the kids.

You are listening to this conversation, and you are thinking a lot of things: "Hey, if she says she's coming back to work, shouldn't we just take her word for it?" "Hey, what if the man doesn't come back to work, why aren't we having that conversation about him?" "Why are we talking about how great it is that he's taking time off, but for the woman it's just a matter of course and not really worth commenting on?" "Maybe if you paid her the same as you pay the other engineers at her level, you wouldn't be assuming that her salary isn't worth it when balanced against childcare." "And what if she just wants to keep her job even if it doesn't make a ton of money, why are you assuming that she would stay home with the baby if she can possibly manage to, maybe she just likes having a job!"

You don't say any of those things. The conversation is pleasant and low-key and light, and the last time you said these kinds of things in the lunch room, everyone got uncomfortable and made excuses to leave, or else said more explicitly sexist things while trying to explain themselves that made you even MORE uncomfortable, and it made you feel weird and like an outsider, or like a troublemaker, and you like this job and like being a well-regarded part of the team. So you don't say anything at all, and your coworkers continue with their lunch, probably not having noticed the storm of silent frustration that has clouded your afternoon.

Now, you, Hincandenza, may have read all of that and thought that the hypothetical "you" was being ridiculous, or overreacting. But I have been that person many, many times in many, many different situations. And coworkers or friends who think I'm being silly or difficult or overreacting are why I often sit there silently instead of saying anything. Because I have only so much energy, and sometimes I can't afford to spend it on a long, unpleasant conversation about how people I know are being subtly sexist. Or racist. Or classist. Or any number of other things.

And then I carry that frustration with me, and it informs how I participate in places like Metafilter, because the frustration has become such a huge part of my life over the years, and the same is true for many people, and I think it's useful to discuss the nature of the frustration and the things that cause it in relevant conversations here.

All of that said: Let's assume that your perception is completely accurate, and your workplace and your neighborhood aren't a source of small frustrations and humiliations for other people, and things really ARE much better for your neighbors and your coworkers than they are for other people.

That is not true of many - most - other places. Not just in other countries, I mean in the US, in lots of liberal and forward-thinking cities and towns. When users of this site come into a thread and talk about their experiences with sexism or misogyny, they are discussing real things that happened to them, and real, often hurtful experiences that they had. If your reaction is, "Jeez, where are YOU, because nothing like that happens around me" -- even if you're RIGHT, and nothing like that happens where you are, that doesn't make the experiences of other people irrelevant or invalid. Why argue with them about it? It isn't a difference of opinion; it's "This happened to me."

If you come in to that conversation and tell people that your experience doesn't match theirs, at worst they will say a less polite version of what I said above -- that you probably aren't aware of all the problems around you because you have the luxury of not noticing them. At best, they will say, "You're lucky not to experience these problems, but please don't argue against my descriptions of my own life."

Hincandenza, many of the men and women on Metafilter are sad and upset about the shitty and misogynistic things that happen to women in our culture. Most do not enjoy this frustration. Being angry is exhausting. Being sad is terrible. I know it can feel like people are just looking for something to be upset about, but from our perspective, there's NO END to things to be upset about, and it's just a matter of when we run out of patience and snap. Once you begin to notice just how bad things are, it feels like a black, bottomless pit has opened up beneath you. It's a terrible, hopeless feeling. And when people seem angry in conversations like this one, it's because they've been fighting against the pull of that bottomless pit of awfulness -- for years, for their whole lives. So when someone tells them they're making too big of a deal about it, or they're being unfair, or they just WANT to be angry and have made a choice to see things this way, it can be infuriating. They want to point at the pit and be like "JESUS ITS RIGHT THERE ARE YOU STUPID?"

But not everyone can see it. And not everyone can see how HUGE it is. And not everyone believes us that its even there.

And that's why we all need to be patient with each other.

It's just really, really hard sometimes.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 6:18 AM on August 16, 2012 [103 favorites]


We're not allowed to go trawling through people's comment histories, so I'll just say that before assuming good faith it might be instructive to search comment histories with the search term 'So. Much. Hate. For you people.'
posted by winna at 6:36 AM on August 16, 2012 [7 favorites]


Look! I'm Woody! Howdy howdy howdy.

This is my favorite line in the whole movie. I also like the part in the back of the pizza truck where Woody gets smashed up against the window. But that shark was just hilarious.
posted by phunniemee at 6:42 AM on August 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


Oh god, right before I clicked and checked in on this thread this morning, I literally wondered "hmm, hincandenza hadn't insert his jackass self yet".

So "glad" to see some things never change.
posted by kmz at 6:45 AM on August 16, 2012


Sometimes I just decide (arbitrarily?) to assume good faith because doing otherwise makes me sad and bitter and angry, and ends in my acting like more of a jerk than I had intended. :/
posted by Narrative Priorities at 6:49 AM on August 16, 2012 [9 favorites]


"At tech companies I've been at, they have "How to interview" training, where they explicitly tell you not to ask things about age, or family life, or children, etc which could be troublesome if you say "no hire". Keep it professional and focused on demonstrable skills and past work related to the job, etc. Isn't... that a good thing?"

They teach this everywhere. You know what? Men still get preference in hiring. In studies, given two equal resumes, one with a man's name and one with a woman's, most male executives (who are, of course, the overwhelming share of executives generally) choose the male candidate and find some justification in his resume that makes him a better candidate than the woman. When the resumes are swapped, so the woman now has the "better" resume, the male executives find justification to hire the man, something in "his" resume that makes him the clearly better candidate. It's not their resumes. It's their maleness.

Plus, a lot of this stuff is honored more in the breach. Among the worst "illegal questions" interviews I've ever been on have been at law firms that handle employment law. Knowing the law -- even knowing the serious consequences of breaking the law -- doesn't prevent people from breaking it. I would be SHOCKED if you were working somewhere with no male preference in hiring.

"I'm all for equality, yay, and do agree that in tech companies the male/female ratios aren't ideal (but that will take time to fix, as more women graduate with degrees, or pursue IT as a field)!"

This usually doesn't help. In fields that women have been entering in large numbers for 40 years, there's no change at the top. Women enter these fields in droves, and men who enter at the same time are promoted above them. Employers make assumptions that women don't want to be supervisors. Or they'll want to quit when they have kids (not if! when!) and don't promote them because it'll be a hassle. Or they just don't see women as as capable as men. Or they promote men because they have a problem with women being in authority positions over men. Whatever. But women entering, say, law in large numbers has barely moved the needle on partnerships and top corporate jobs.

Or we can look at education, a paradigmatic case of a highly-educated workforce becoming hugely feminized -- and therefore, lower and lower status than it used to be. (So's the pastorate; the more women who enter the pastorate, the lower-status a profession men perceive it to be and fewer men enter it. But it doesn't affect the percentages of men in leadership. Token female and we're done.) 75% of elementary school teachers in the U.S. are women. Only 10% of superintendents are women (and around 50% of elementary school principals and 20% of high school principals). Women have been the overwhelming majority in the teaching profession long enough for the entire profession to have turned over TWICE now, and women STILL aren't represented in the leadership ranks in anything like their representation in the workforce. So even in overwhelmingly female-dominated workforces, men are placed in positions of authority. Not because "we need more women entering the field." It's because there's a cultural preference for men in positions of authority, perpetuated by men already in positions of authority.

(Why so many more women principals of elementary schools than high schools? People will freely tell you that women can manage little kids just fine, that's a mom-like job, but for teenagers they'll only respect authority coming from a man. Especially the boys.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:55 AM on August 16, 2012 [80 favorites]


It is never being a jerk to assume the best of people. I figured you didn't know for the same reason I wouldn't know, because if you haven't seen the pattern there's no reason to assume bad faith.

Personally, I still think that people can change, no matter their history, but I figure that arguing on the Internet is not going to be the modality of that change at this point.
posted by winna at 6:55 AM on August 16, 2012


We're not allowed to go trawling through people's comment histories, so I'll just say that before assuming good faith it might be instructive to search comment histories with the search term 'So. Much. Hate. For you people.'
posted by winna at 2:36 PM on August 16 [1 favorite +] [!]


Why not just link to what you want to link to instead of this passive aggressive bullshit?
posted by Reggie Knoble at 7:05 AM on August 16, 2012 [11 favorites]


The only thing I am ever going to change into is an even bigger jerk, I think. Although I refuse to rule out "cyborg".
posted by elizardbits at 7:06 AM on August 16, 2012 [6 favorites]


Reggie Knoble: “Why not just link to what you want to link to instead of this passive aggressive bullshit?”

Reggie, that was a pretty massive event for a lot of people in this community. There was an easy enough reference to follow there, and I might not have brought it up the same way, but I don't think you can fault winna for remembering it or feeling it's particularly relevant or even for mentioning it that way. Given the fact that that conversation changed the way a lot of us felt about Metafilter and the community, it's probably going to be a point we talk about. And, yeah, it's part of hincandenza's past here, whether he wants it to be or not.
posted by koeselitz at 7:17 AM on August 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


(Actually that reference doesn't work at all. Meh.)
posted by koeselitz at 7:19 AM on August 16, 2012


While I'd never say that this place has become hostile to men, I've certainly seen Askmes that would have a very different set of answers if the roles were reversed. In this post, for example, anonymous's friend is unhappily married to a man with depression and has asked what she should be telling her friend to do. Most of the responses are along the lines of "get-a-lawyer" and/or discuss divorce options. But if anonymous' friend was a man who had had an affair because he was unhappy with his depressed wife, I suspect most of the responses would be that he should be getting the poor woman help, not fucking around on her. And I would also expect that any poster that recommended that said husband "scrub every piece of evidence of any affair from all email accounts and computers" before researching divorce lawyers would be called out as misogynistic.
posted by kisch mokusch at 7:20 AM on August 16, 2012


I think there's a pretty significant difference between "ON JANUARY 4TH, 2008 IN THREAD #14513 YOU POSTED THAT YOU DID NOT ENJOY CARROTS AND YET HERE YOU ARE SAYING YOU LOVE CARROTS" and pointing out that someone said some rather nasty things that reflect on any further assumptions of good-faith participation. Especially consider that we all have the ability to contact the mods and say "hey, I wrote this stuff in sort of a bad place and I'd rather not have it stay up there and continue to reflect poorly on me."
posted by griphus at 7:21 AM on August 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


Maybe so. But why say you aren't allowed to trawl comment history before telling people to do just that and providing a search term?

Its just an example of the mealy mouthed snideiness that goes on all the time where a straight "fuck you" gets deleted.

I'm not going to start arguing again because its pointless but some of the behaviour toward hincandenza was just mean bullying and that was part of it.
posted by Reggie Knoble at 7:24 AM on August 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


It is too bad you are apparently incapable of considering how many people on this site consider hincandenza's comments to be unpleasant, alarming, disturbing, and bullying too.
posted by elizardbits at 7:34 AM on August 16, 2012 [15 favorites]


> But if [IMAGINARY ALTERNATE SCENARIO], I suspect most of the responses would be [SOMETHING THAT SUPPORTS WHAT I BELIEVE]

You know, that sort of argumentation never goes well. Why not just stick to the world we all live in?

> some of the behaviour toward hincandenza was just mean bullying

I don't think anyone's heart is going to bleed for hincandenza. If he stops behaving in his annoyingly predictable knee-jerk way, maybe people won't be so mean to him.
posted by languagehat at 7:35 AM on August 16, 2012 [17 favorites]


So. Many. Hats. For you languagehat.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:36 AM on August 16, 2012 [6 favorites]


Its just an example of the mealy mouthed snideiness that goes on all the time where a straight "fuck you" gets deleted.

There's a parallel here. (It's a strained one, but I'm going to make it anyway.) To:

Consider that a lack of fratboy bro types may mean that sterotypical harassment of women in bars and on the street is much much rarer where you live, but that there are other, more insidious forms of bias and harassment than are harder to point a finger at and harder to draw boundaries against. Consider that, because these more subtle and insidious biases and behaviors aren't directed at you and/or aren't happening at your expense, they may be flying under your radar.

Which is very well said. The strained parallel is, that's a weakness of the mods coming down visibly (and justifiably for the type of site metafilter tries to be, though in practice it's cat-herding) on overt FUCK YOU NO FUCK YOU behavior is that it forces the driving energy behind that kind of thing into more passive-aggressive forms that are gotten away with. They're harder to police, because many people will deny that it's even there or that it's a problem; every individual example of it can be waved away and rationalized and justified and it's being unreasonable (even hysterical!) to point out.

Like I say, strained. Also, it made me glad to hear there are such things as working canes with flasks in them. I'm filing that away for whatever future day I have need of a cane. I'm wagering I'll get a lot more use out of a flask than a sword.
posted by Drastic at 7:37 AM on August 16, 2012


You know, that sort of argumentation never goes well. Why not just stick to the world we all live in?

Well it's just an opinion languagehat, and I worded it as such.
posted by kisch mokusch at 7:38 AM on August 16, 2012


Yes, but what if the sword is made of bacon?
posted by elizardbits at 7:39 AM on August 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's richly ironic to me to have you defending hincandenza against this alleged bullying; he is pretty much a classic bully. I first took note of him in a thread where he called one of my friends ugly for politely disagreeing with him about something. That comment, and many others like it, have since been deleted. So people like you can keep scratching your heads and wondering why I don't like him and considering it bullying to react badly to his comments if you want to.

For the record, here is my comment that is probably what Reggie is referring to when he says hincandenza was being "bullied". Feel free to scroll up to see what I was responding to.
posted by the young rope-rider at 7:40 AM on August 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Why not just link to what you want to link to instead of this passive aggressive bullshit?

Because the mods will delete it and issue a warning to anyone who posts it, that's why. We are not allowed to go through and post other people's comment histories. Site policy.

Of course, there's no rule against linking to one's own comments. I responded to hincandenza in that thread and could link that without breaking the letter of the policy.

But the policy is in place to prevent witch-hunts. It's there to help people let go of the past, grow and move on from it. It is there because people do change and mature, and their minds and opinions may change. It's patently unfair to folks to harp on their pasts for years. So we're being asked by the mods to live in the moment. I'm not entirely convinced this is the best idea, as it is an attempt to divorce people from their pasts and remove accountability for the things they have said. But it's site policy, so we have to operate within it.

So even linking to one's own comments in the same thread in response is a bit of a violation of the spirit if not the letter of the law.

There's nothing stopping us from discussing what people have done, though.

FWIW, the last time I spoke up in a thread about similar issues about a month and a half ago, Hincandenza ranted at me in two different threads, accusing me of deliberately mischaracterizing him. All while accusing me of all sorts of things I wasn't in fact doing: arguing in bad faith, trolling for favorites, "racking up your brownie points of post-gender enlightment buxx" (whatever the hell that means,) etc. When I asked him to back up specific accusation he was making against me with cites and links, he didn't. The conclusion I drew was that he was trying to bully me into silence. Perhaps I was misinterpreting his intentions towards me, but I don't think so.

That incident will affect my current impression of him and his comments, as well as any response I may make to him -- and whether I can link to it or not it still happened. You are seeing folks attempting to work within the rules of the site while referring to an incident that similarly made an impression on them.
posted by zarq at 7:43 AM on August 16, 2012 [13 favorites]


Hincandenza once told me that I should stay out of feminist-issues-related threads because I bring a lot of baggage to them.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:47 AM on August 16, 2012 [44 favorites]


Actually, before we all start thinking that Capitol Hill in Seattle is some sort of uber-enlightened neighborhood -- I and a friend of mine were cat-called there two weeks ago.
posted by KathrynT at 7:50 AM on August 16, 2012 [9 favorites]


Zarq. The rule against trawling comment histories is violated just as well by linking and by telling anyone who cares to exactly what to search for. If one is wrong so is the other.
posted by Reggie Knoble at 7:51 AM on August 16, 2012


zarq: "Because the mods will delete it and issue a warning to anyone who posts it, that's why. We are not allowed to go through and post other people's comment histories. Site policy. "

Well, Catch's comment still stand with no mod warning.
posted by the_artificer at 7:55 AM on August 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


But the policy is in place to prevent witch-hunts. It's there to help people let go of the past, grow and move on from it. It is there because people do change and mature, and their minds and opinions may change. It's patently unfair to folks to harp on their pasts for years. So we're being asked by the mods to live in the moment. I'm not entirely convinced this is the best idea, as it is an attempt to divorce people from their pasts and remove accountability for the things they have said. But it's site policy, so we have to operate within it.


I had thought this was to prevent ad hominem snark/derails on the Blue. I'm very surprised to see that it applies in Metatalk. How else are people to back up claims that there's an ongoing problem? I'm very grateful for the posts further up which have laid out eas98s history of deeply misogynistic and sexist posting. You can see what happens when a poster's history like this is hidden - women who call them on their sexism face being told it isn't a problem and that they're overreacting and should give the sexist the benefit of the doubt. If the policy on the site is one that allows racist, sexist or homophobic comments, then surely the flipside should be that it should be ok to call it out in Metatalk when a poster develops a pattern of such comments - not in the least because it helps to stop the invalidation of people being told they are being over-sensitive or over-reacting when they are on the receiving end of racist, sexist or homophobic attacks. We have 'creepy dudes' in our friend circle here - what is to be gained by telling people they can't warn each other and support each other in the face of such people?
posted by Flitcraft at 7:55 AM on August 16, 2012 [26 favorites]


Its just an example of the mealy mouthed snideiness that goes on all the time where a straight "fuck you" gets deleted.

Absolutely I should have posted 'here is data that you should consider' with a link. I didn't want it to get deleted under some Brand New Day metric I don't completely understand.

However, it was not intended to be a fuck you to anyone, but it was certainly meant to be an example of WHY people react strongly to that type of 'poor me, the gender police are so mean' posturing.

I thought about just sending a pm to NA about it, but figured that other people should see it. In future I will link straight to things that are relevant and take my chances on it getting deleted.
posted by winna at 7:59 AM on August 16, 2012


Very well said, Flitcraft.
posted by gilrain at 7:59 AM on August 16, 2012


Because the mods will delete it and issue a warning to anyone who posts it, that's why.

Well no, not always.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:01 AM on August 16, 2012


Reggie Knoble: "Zarq. The rule against trawling comment histories is violated just as well by linking and by telling anyone who cares to exactly what to search for. If one is wrong so is the other."

Personally, I'd say it violates the spirit of the rule, yes. Not the letter. Just my opinion, though. Obviously, I'm not a mod.

Then again, my description of hincandenza's interaction with me in my last comment could conceivably be considered a violation of the spirit of the rule. I guess it's a matter of perspective.
posted by zarq at 8:03 AM on August 16, 2012


Brandon Blatcher: " Well no, not always."

To repeat something I said to you when you raised this in that thread, that's your posting history, not your comment history.
posted by zarq at 8:04 AM on August 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yes, but what if the sword is made of bacon?

You make a good point. This will depend on when and why I need a cane. There's a good chance at that stage of my life, my doctor will be trying to limit my bacon intake. Probably because of pendulum too far misandry, and my copay will probably have to be in the form of post-gender enlightenment buxx.
posted by Drastic at 8:05 AM on August 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


the_artificer: " Well, Catch's comment still stand with no mod warning."

Out of curiosity, did you flag it? I didn't notice that comment until you pointed it out, but just flagged it.
posted by zarq at 8:05 AM on August 16, 2012


To repeat something I said to you when you raised this in that thread, that's your posting history, not your comment history.

Sure, but I don't see why trawling one would be ok, but not the other. My point here is that there doesn't seem to be a blanket ban on going through a user's history. It's the most aggressive and hostile trawling that receive mod attention.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:07 AM on August 16, 2012


Brandon Blatcher: " It's the most aggressive and hostile trawling that receive mod attention."

*nod* You're probably right.
posted by zarq at 8:08 AM on August 16, 2012


The funny thing is that I have a feeling that the real Redman has a better sense of the far-reaching consequences of casual misogyny than our Reggie Knoble does.
posted by elizardbits at 8:09 AM on August 16, 2012


elizardbits: "Although I refuse to rule out "cyborg"."

Cyjerk.

Jerkborg.
posted by boo_radley at 8:10 AM on August 16, 2012


Cyboorg?
posted by boo_radley at 8:10 AM on August 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


I think the comment trawling that the mods see as problematic is the type where the trawled comment(s) is unrelated to the current discussion or is used as a sort of J'ACCUSE! THERE'S NO WAY YOU COULD REALLY MEAN WHAT YOU'RE SAYING HERE ABOUT KITTENS, LOOK WHAT YOU PREVIOUSLY SAID ABOUT PUPPIES
posted by shakespeherian at 8:10 AM on August 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


> I was really tempted to get the 8-ball cane from this site. And someone else dared me to get the gold skull cane "just so I can see you using it."

My aunt-in-law uses a cane made from a bull's penis. She likes to wait until someone has expressed curiosity and is holding it before telling them what it is.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:13 AM on August 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Out of respect for my own ignorance and innocence I will assume that your aunt-in-law is extremely short?
posted by shakespeherian at 8:15 AM on August 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


And also, maybe not comment trawling that, far from being petty or a cheap rhetorical shot, actually does reveal a long history of hateful, hostile verbal attacks on this site's women and feminists.

I'm still, today, a bit disappointed to learn the the mods take the "fair and balanced, tell both sides" approach to issues like racism and sexism.
posted by gilrain at 8:16 AM on August 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Because the mods will delete it and issue a warning to anyone who posts it, that's why. We are not allowed to go through and post other people's comment histories. Site policy.

Of course, there's no rule against linking to one's own comments. I responded to hincandenza in that thread and could link that without breaking the letter of the policy.


This is sort of codifying it more than it really is. What we have is a general expectation that people will not drag old drama into new threads just for the drama or the gotcha and will not go around making it their mission to make someone else's time here shittier as some sort of grudge-match process, which is where the most problematic history trawling stuff has historically come in. Especially so on the blue and the green when it's more likely to be a total "I can't stop talking about my disagreement with / dislike of this person" derail just about every time.

We all have history here and to the extent that sometimes that ties in with what's being talked about it's gonna come up and if you're not being like a weirdo or a dickass about it then linking to something you think is relevant from prior discussions can make sense and is not some bright-line forbidden "we must pretend the past did not exist" thing in general.

But it's easy to do it in sort of a crappy or drama-escalating way, so we want people to think about the how and the why of it if they're going to go there and figure out if they're somehow necessarily aiding the conversation or just getting a shot in. It's a tricky balance which is why we at the very simplest formulation of this idea don't really encourage diving into someone's history, because that's the only guaranteed way not to end up doing something unnecessarily sort of grudge-y seeming or whatever.

I feel like if you are in a position where you are thinking of a specific past undeleted thing on the site you need to refer to to say what you're wanting to say, the question to ask yourself is not "do I link it or just refer to it", it's "do I feel like bringing this up either way is a legitimate thing to be doing here". That's step one. If you feel like it's not really so okay, declining to actually link doesn't really help anything.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:17 AM on August 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


I'm not. I want the comment history of misogynists and racists to be preserved out in the open for reference purposes.
posted by elizardbits at 8:18 AM on August 16, 2012 [11 favorites]


trawl so hard metafilter wanna fine me.
posted by cashman at 8:18 AM on August 16, 2012 [5 favorites]


I'm still, today, a bit disappointed to learn the the mods take the "fair and balanced, tell both sides" approach to issues like racism and sexism.

That's an unfair characterization. Their approach seems to be more, "reasonable people can disagree about certain things", not "it's totally ok to say that women are bitches because that's a 'side' ".
posted by modernnomad at 8:18 AM on August 16, 2012


The Cal Academy of Science has a nightlife thing we go to sometimes. There's alcohol and so no kids. And that's when they bring out the penis bone cart. A cane made from an elephant seal penis bone would be a heck of a cane.

Also, if someone is going to accuse me of saying that all men are horrible sexist rapists, they better be ready to back that shit up with links.
posted by rtha at 8:20 AM on August 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


I feel like if you are in a position where you are thinking of a specific past undeleted thing on the site you need to refer to to say what you're wanting to say, the question to ask yourself is not "do I link it or just refer to it", it's "do I feel like bringing this up either way is a legitimate thing to be doing here". That's step one. If you feel like it's not really so okay, declining to actually link doesn't really help anything.

This actually clarifies things for me a lot, thank you. Honestly, I probably should have pinged one of you all with a question before posting that comment, because that would have been the best way to handle it. I will remember that for the future.
posted by winna at 8:21 AM on August 16, 2012


zarq: "Out of curiosity, did you flag it? "

Nope, because I don't agree that a someone's comment history should be totally out of bounds.
posted by the_artificer at 8:22 AM on August 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


...when sitting at lunch in the break room, you're listening to a very pleasant, very polite, very work-appropriate conversion about two coworkers, one of whom is on paternity leave and one of whom is on maternity leave.

You know, I was going to mention that the statement that most of us are unaffected by gender roles just isn't in line with MY experience, as a guy.

I'm the main caretaker of my children, and my wife is the main wage earner for the family. There is a crap load of ways society lets me know that I'm bucking the norms for the culture: dirty looks from Moms at story time at the library; friendly mockery; the praise for being so confident in my manliness (or something) that I'm willing to diminish it by doing work that women would normally do; etc. Heck, I even had to wrestle with the idea that somehow I wasn't pulling my weight just because I was only watching the kids, something I'd never think if my wife was staying at home. Recently I've noticed is that I always feel the need to justify our decision when it comes up. In fact, I just deleted my standard explanation from this comment.

Anyway, the point is that just because their not codified legally anymore doesn't mean that gender roles aren't enforced socially or even internalized individually. Don't even get me started on how frickin' gender specific baby toys are.
posted by Gygesringtone at 8:26 AM on August 16, 2012 [46 favorites]


some Brand New Day metric I don't completely understand

Brand New Day is a reference to the fact that sometimes people will decide (possibly entirely voluntarily, possibly as more of a rehabilitation agreement with the mods) to reboot their life on Metafilter with a new account unconnected publicly to their old one. When this works well it can be a good thing; someone who has a cloud over their activity on the site from some crappy old behavior but who has turned their shit around and is behaving well these days may just be, viola, some random new well-behaved person. Sometimes it doesn't go that well, but, you know, optimism.

Where comment history stuff interacts with BND stuff is mostly that it's extra problematic for someone who has figured out that New User is Old User to get confrontational with "HEY NEW USER WHAT ABOUT THIS THING YOU SAID AS OLD USER" stuff because that fucks pretty directly with the attempt to let people start over by tying things back together all over again and making the identity connection much more broadly known. So we discourage that specific type of thing in particular for that situation-specific reason.

It's worth saying that the spirit behind that—the idea that people can try and make a change and get into a better place with the interactions on the site—is not something that really needs to be treated as an "only if they get a new account" thing and I think it's generally pretty great when people can try and give people fair reassessments over time and react to what they're doing lately vs. what they've ever done. But there's not such a clear issue of an enforcement mechanic in the general case.

I'm still, today, a bit disappointed to learn the the mods take the "fair and balanced, tell both sides" approach to issues like racism and sexism.

I feel like you are being deeply unfair here and I do not know why.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:27 AM on August 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


modernnomad: Their approach seems to be more, "reasonable people can disagree about certain things", not "it's totally ok to say that women are bitches because that's a 'side'".

I would agree with that approach. However, eas98's comment history doesn't illustrate someone reasonable disagreeing about certain things. It is much closer to your second example. I am not at all trying to exaggerate when I call it 'hateful'.

You may refer to my and Catch's selections from his history, if you haven't. I can't imagine those posts being characterized as anything but blatantly, unambiguously sexist.

I accept, but don't like, that it is allowed here.
posted by gilrain at 8:28 AM on August 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yeah I'd also like to point out that all of this 'Hey it's possible you aren't noticing sexist behavior because it isn't targeted at you!' also is applicable to me, an ardent feminist, because I'm a dude. I'm a dude and I am a strong feminist and all the time terrible sexist shit happens that I don't notice because I'm as much a part and product of systematized patriarchy as anyone else. This is why it is so important to listen to women when they talk about their experiences.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:29 AM on August 16, 2012 [29 favorites]


gilrain: "I'm still, today, a bit disappointed to learn the the mods take the "fair and balanced, tell both sides" approach to issues like racism and sexism."

That's a pretty dishonest way to put it. A more apt phrasing, IMO, would be, "It's OK to hold unpopular/boorish views, it's not OK to throw those views in other members' faces." I don't pretend to speak for the mods, but I'm pretty sure the goal is to not allow threads to be continually derailed by a couple of loudmouth users.

If you are so bothered by the mere presence of people who think antithetically to the way you do, then I think MeFi isn't the best place for you. For me, it's in fact one the best things about this place.
posted by mkultra at 8:30 AM on August 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


The Cal Academy of Science has a nightlife thing we go to sometimes. There's alcohol and so no kids. And that's when they bring out the penis bone cart. A cane made from an elephant seal penis bone would be a heck of a cane.

One of the locations of Seattle seafood favorite Ivar's has named its bar area the Whalemaker Lounge because it contains two whalemakers, which are what daddy whales use to make new babby whales.

They are too large to be used as canes by ordinary humans.
posted by grouse at 8:31 AM on August 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


cortex: I feel like you are being deeply unfair here and I do not know why.

I really don't want to be unfair, honest!

Would you agree that eas98's history on this site has been sexist? To me, it feels like it's not a matter of opinion.
posted by gilrain at 8:32 AM on August 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


This is why it is so important to listen to women when they talk about their experiences.

But I wanna talk about my important experiences with teen wofl and you're all OH GOD WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO ME

posted by elizardbits at 8:33 AM on August 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


I did not comment on the original post, so I have no bias here. However, generally my attitude when I answer AskMe's is to divorce my own personal morality from the advice I give, unless advice on ethical issues appears to be implicitly solicited as part of the question. Occasionally, if my recommendation involves doing something I can't in good conscience advise, I may add a disclaimer saying something like "The advice I offer is likely to be effective, even though I think it's cruel and/or unfair."

Personally speaking, when I write an AskMe, I want solid pragmatic advice that gets results, not people telling me what I "should" or "shouldn't" do according to their individual moral codes (most of which are arbitrary). "Get a ruthless lawyer" is good advice that will bear fruit. If she needed ethical advice, the OP would have visited her spiritual councilor. For pragmatic advice, there's MetaFilter.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 8:34 AM on August 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


If you are so bothered by the mere presence of people who think antithetically to the way you do, then I think MeFi isn't the best place for you. For me, it's in fact one the best things about this place.

At the same time I think it is important that there be some community effort, aided by the mods, to keep women and minorities from feeling that this place is hostile to their existence.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:34 AM on August 16, 2012 [5 favorites]


teen wofl is not an experience it is a lifestyle choice
posted by shakespeherian at 8:35 AM on August 16, 2012 [7 favorites]


A more apt phrasing, IMO, would be, "It's OK to hold unpopular/boorish views, it's not OK to throw those views in other members' faces."

I'm a bit confused about people who keep saying that people are trying to police other people's views and beliefs and that people should only be judged for their actions or by what they say. How could we know about them if people never talked about them?
posted by the young rope-rider at 8:36 AM on August 16, 2012


grouse, we have to go there for drinks the next time I'm in visiting your fine city!
posted by rtha at 8:36 AM on August 16, 2012


Would you agree that eas98's history on this site has been sexist?

He's said some stuff that I think is pretty problematic about gender relations stuff, yeah. Our policy is not "that's great, fair and balanced", it's "we aren't going to automatically ban someone for having ugly opinions". That doesn't mean they won't get pushback (here's a thread full of it in this case, for example). That doesn't mean that we won't take action if things escalate or someone just flips the fuck out.

But it's relatively hard to get banned here if it seems like the problem is more you just having an outsider opinion if you're not going nuclear with it. This is not exceptional to sexism, it's a general thing. Metafilter deals with a lot of stuff by talking about it, which can be hard and frustrating and a little ugly sometimes, and I know that people will never agree on what the right balance point is between "everything is permitted" (not our policy) and "say something gross and you're banned" (also not our policy).
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:38 AM on August 16, 2012 [6 favorites]


and you're all OH GOD WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO ME

There are other threads, elizardbits.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:39 AM on August 16, 2012 [10 favorites]


At the same time I think it is important that there be some community effort, aided by the mods, to keep women and minorities from feeling that this place is hostile to their existence.

How many users expressing opinions that you feel are sexist are enough to make things hostile, keeping in mind that the mods already delete stuff that is way over the line.

Right now there seem to be a handful of users (and I am fully aware that I am probably now on that list) that get called out as sexist pretty regularly.

That seems like a pretty tiny ratio. But does it need to get lower?
posted by Reggie Knoble at 8:41 AM on August 16, 2012


But it's relatively hard to get banned here if it seems like the problem is more you just having an outsider opinion if you're not going nuclear with it.

I don't want to put words in anyone else's mouth, but this is basically the "fair and balanced, tell both sides" approach to issues like racism and sexism. Namely, that someone saying that when you get tired of bitchy, uppity American women you can just get a Latin one (racist and sexist, yay) is a minority opinion, just like thinking the US should go back to the gold standard, and not an inherently nasty and hurtful thing to say about other members of the site.
posted by the young rope-rider at 8:43 AM on August 16, 2012 [8 favorites]


That first sentence should be in italics, it's a quote from cortex.
posted by the young rope-rider at 8:43 AM on August 16, 2012


All right, that's what I assumed. I accept the policy, and I think I understand why it's in place. I know you and the other mods are reasonable people, and I will continue to like and respect you all.

However, it's not unfair of me to be disappointed that the line between "everything is permitted" and "say something gross and you're banned" is drawn to the "everything" side of "consistent, repeated, clearly sexist attacks on mefite women and feminists". I would prefer that it be drawn on the "banned" side.
posted by gilrain at 8:43 AM on August 16, 2012


You misunderstand. I am being descriptive rather than prescriptive.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:43 AM on August 16, 2012


Hincandenza once told me that I should stay out of feminist-issues-related threads because I bring a lot of baggage to them.

Hincandez said YOU bring baggage to feminist-issues threads? That's deeply ironic.

it's not unfair of me to be disappointed that the line between "everything is permitted" and "say something gross and you're banned" is drawn to the "everything" side of "consistent, repeated, clearly sexist attacks on mefite women and feminists". I would prefer that it be drawn on the "banned" side.

But this is for your own protection. And mine. And young rope-riders, and every individual person's in here. Because sure as shit, there's an idea you have that you are in the minority about, and other people would be offended by, and if the day comes when you express it and inadvertently cause a shitstorm, wouldn't it be a great thing that the mods are more inclined to ban your comment rather than banning you?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:45 AM on August 16, 2012 [8 favorites]


Also, cortex, I feel like you and I might be talking about different comments and I feel like I might have mischaracterized what you said. If so, I apologize. I was talking about the comments linked by catch upthread.
posted by the young rope-rider at 8:47 AM on August 16, 2012


EmpressCallipygos: sure as shit, there's an idea you have that you are in the minority about, and other people would be offended by

If I ever air in opinion on this site as clearly bad and outright hurtful to others as sexism or racism, then I absolutely hope a mod will shut me down before I cause any more damage to the other members of the site.
posted by gilrain at 8:47 AM on August 16, 2012


Shut you down permanently?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:50 AM on August 16, 2012


I never thought I'd feel this bit of sympathy for anyone on "the other side" (which "side" has extended essentially the opposite to me on many occasions) but I am so tired of seeing threads devolve into Righteousness That Does Not Allow For Nuance vs. Everyone Else.

It's still bullying and dismissiveness - an unwillingness to hear anything outside the party line - and I find it not only hypocritical but quite frankly boring because it squelches participation and does not allow for evolution in discussion. I absolutely agree it is maddening to hear the same kneejerk shit over and over, but the righteousness is its own form of kneejerk, and the repeated shoutiness is exhausting and rude.
posted by flex at 8:50 AM on August 16, 2012 [13 favorites]


It's richly ironic to me to have you defending hincandenza against this alleged bullying; he is pretty much a classic bully.

It can be as ironic as you want it to be, that doesn't change the fact that you've made 20+ comments here, many of which have the tone of someone who's speaking to an audience that has their back and knows it. Regardless of whether I side with hincandeza's views or yours, I feel like you and the other folks responding to him are the ones who're operating from a position of power here, and for many people, a bully situation is all about those dynamics, regardless of who is on the right or wrong end of things.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:50 AM on August 16, 2012 [13 favorites]


EmpressCallipygos: Shut you down permanently?

If the hurtful behavior were repeated and consistent, yes absolutely.
posted by gilrain at 8:51 AM on August 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


How many users expressing opinions that you feel are sexist are enough to make things hostile...

Honestly? A lot. Mainly because most of it isn't occurring in the overt GRAR GYNOCRACY! fashion but rather as "funny" comments about T&A in movie poster threads and assertions that women don't have it so bad, really in threads about street harassment. Loud idiocy about pendulums is the tip of the iceberg.

That seems like a pretty tiny ratio. But does it need to get lower?

Are you asking if the less people should be called sexist? I totally think less people should be called sexist on this site. And the single, best way to not be called sexist is to not be sexist.
posted by griphus at 8:51 AM on August 16, 2012 [6 favorites]


If I ever air in opinion on this site as clearly bad and outright hurtful to others as sexism or racism, then I absolutely hope a mod will shut me down before I cause any more damage to the other members of the site.

Okay, but many of the examples being cited are more of an insidious build towards an overall bad feeling than outright vicious, fucked up attacks like those for which other people have been rightfully banned. I mean, I agree that slowly creating an environment of shitty behavior is also A Bad Thing in general, I also (mostly, sometimes) feel like people should be given a chance to change their evil ways? Maybe?

ugh idk.
posted by elizardbits at 8:52 AM on August 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Ctrl-f-"hincandenza".

*leaves satisfied*
posted by ominous_paws at 8:54 AM on August 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


The other day in the Captain Awkward thread I had a comment favorited by the young rope-rider and another one favorited by hincandenza. I felt like I should have gotten some sort of Achievement Unlocked message.
posted by burnmp3s at 8:55 AM on August 16, 2012 [30 favorites]


that doesn't change the fact that you've made 20+ comments here, many of which have the tone of someone who's speaking to an audience that has their back and knows it.

20 out of 600+ really isn't all that much....

Regardless of whether I side with hincandeza's views or yours, I feel like you and the other folks responding to him are the ones who're operating from a position of power here, and for many people, a bully situation is all about those dynamics, regardless of who is on the right or wrong end of things.

Quite frankly, the first few times I remember speaking to hincanadenza, I was making an honest attempt to reason with him in a sincere effort to be supportive. My efforts were repeatedly and aggressively smacked down.

I would posit that what you see as "bullying" is more like the frustrations of people who've tried reaching out to help and had that flung in our faces, and so we're done.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:55 AM on August 16, 2012


And I don't mean "the first few times I remember speaking to hincandenza" in this thread. I'm talking ever in life.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:57 AM on August 16, 2012


If I ever air in opinion on this site as clearly bad and outright hurtful to others as sexism or racism, then I absolutely hope a mod will shut me down before I cause any more damage to the other members of the site.

This is a very poorly thought-out comment in my opinion because it implies that racism and sexism are always clear. You strongly need to learn that most of the examples of such are in fact opinions that vary by culture and person.

For example, Turkey denies to this day that the Armenian Genocide was in fact a genocide. If I refer to it as such, am I being racist towards people of Turkish Ethicity?

Likewise, several passages of major religious text such as Islam are deeply disrespectful of woman's rights. If we criticize Islam for these passages, are we being Islamophobes? Or are we in fact being sexist by NOT criticizing Islam?

The idea that racism or sexism are largely clear-cut and "obvious" is completely laughable and implies a very simplistic view of such topics.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 8:57 AM on August 16, 2012 [7 favorites]


gilrain: "However, it's not unfair of me to be disappointed that the line between "everything is permitted" and "say something gross and you're banned" is drawn to the "everything" side of "consistent, repeated, clearly sexist attacks on mefite women and feminists". I would prefer that it be drawn on the "banned" side."

As a fan of democracy and free speech, I find your continued insistance on turning this discussion into a referendum on eas98's posting history, with the implication that he should be banned for it, rather fascistic and increasingly offensive to my sensibilities. And yet, it's allowed, long after the mods have addressed it, because that's how the site works. You don't have to like everyone here.
posted by mkultra at 8:58 AM on August 16, 2012 [10 favorites]


Regardless of whether I side with hincandeza's views or yours, I feel like you and the other folks responding to him are the ones who're operating from a position of power here, and for many people, a bully situation is all about those dynamics, regardless of who is on the right or wrong end of things.

I don't think I understand this. Every member here has the power to type things and then press "post", right? Nobody is physically stronger than anyone else, or able to stop other people from typing things and pressing "send", or able to delete posts.

Basically I don't understand what the equivalent of smushing someone against their locker is supposed to be...
posted by running order squabble fest at 8:59 AM on August 16, 2012


wolfdreams01: The idea that racism or sexism are largely clear-cut and "obvious" is completely laughable and implies a very simplistic view of such topics.

I absolutely do not believe that they are largely obvious, and have never implied that. I believe that this case is obvious.
posted by gilrain at 9:00 AM on August 16, 2012


Yeah, gilrain, you're being terrible and obnoxious and at behaving at least as badly as the folks you're railing against.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 9:00 AM on August 16, 2012


I don't think I understand this. Every member here has the power to type things and then press "post", right? Nobody is physically stronger than anyone else, or able to stop other people from typing things and pressing "send", or able to delete posts.

Basically I don't understand what the equivalent of smushing someone against their locker is supposed to be...
posted by running order squabble fest at 4:59 PM on August 16 [+] [!]


A pile on.
posted by Reggie Knoble at 9:01 AM on August 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


to sir with millipedes: you're being terrible and obnoxious and at behaving at least as badly as the folks you're railing against

Jesus, am I? I really hate to come across that way.

All right, I'll drop it now, then. I don't want to be That Poster.

I'm sorry for the ruckus, people. cortex, thanks for letting me get all of that off my chest in public. It was important to me.
posted by gilrain at 9:03 AM on August 16, 2012 [6 favorites]


First, this is a horrible meta. OP needs to look in the mirror and think about the path he has chosen.

That mans rights stuff is ridiculous. Posters like Pogo_Fuzzybutt are most representative of what I think is a great way to bring up shitty things that happen in a responsible way, at the complete other end of the spectrum (away from the mra nonsense).

I don't care about people saying "get a shark". Whoopie do.
This place isn't and never will be a girlzone. Never.
I'm also adding to the folks who have experienced Microsoft and know it has its sexism.
American society is, as has been said, structurally sexist. It isn't even a question.
(forgive me for responding to each thing, I just read through the whole thread)

I'm kind of in zarq's footsteps, not wanting to be lumped in with jackasses who assert ridiculous things such as these. This is a separate but related discussion, but I did run into issues in the creepy dude thread and it has happened before, where I thought some anti-metafilter things were happening. In that the discussion on this site rarely ends with people saying "Don't analyze what we're talking about. Don't think scientifically. That is a problem". I wanted to ask you all for help.

I resigned to just listen, so I have been. I'm just not sure how that "Don't look for causes or understanding" works with the site. Mefi will never be a girlzone but some of these threads go weird places where the accepted convention is to not analyze the problem. And the problem is universally agreed upon to be men's behavior. That shouldn't drown out women's experiences, which are more important - but in my opinion it shouldn't eliminate any real examination of men's behavior in an attempt to solve the problem.

Back to zarq's comments in this thread, I stopped posting in that thread because I would be crushed to be repeatedly lumped in with or even anywhere near men's rights people. I almost did the same thing as zarq, linking to places on metafilter where I literally called out creepy behavior, or to posts I've made about sexism and disparities in American society. Not because I want past on the back, but because I am not one of those mra dipshits, am the opposite of them, and actually trying to attack and solve the problems.

Unfortunately I hit a sticking point when trying to explain my personal thoughts, based on my experience, about what drives creepy men's behavior. And the explanation in my opinion is shitty choices men make and it is no fault of any woman, period. I get the "don't make it about you" problem. I get that. I am not a geek defender or a man defender. I also agree that it is important to just listen many times, and suggested as much in that thread, but was told that was not really the case there.

So I am looking for insight on how to proceed with what is usually metafilter-like behavior - analyzing behavior and providing links - but is causing problems and angering people in a few of those threads. And if the answer is "your thoughts and analysis are not wanted or needed", then I guess I have to take that for what it's worth. I hope that placing this here isn't a derail, but if it is, please memail me instead of responding here. In basketball when two teammates go for a rebound and start fighting for it, a teammate or one of the two will call out "same team!", so the teammates aren't fighting one another. So I'm basically calling "same team" here, so I'm not fighting with my teammates, and instead we're focused on beating sexism.

And lastly, this is a silly callout. Mefi is not and will never be a girlzone.
posted by cashman at 9:03 AM on August 16, 2012 [8 favorites]


I am not sure it is wise to redefine a pile-on as being bullying. Sometimes you are just going against the prevailing currents, and so you will get more than a single response. We have no mechanism for selecting one person as our representative. And so, if you say something that a lot of people are likely to disagree with, you are likely to get a lot of disagreement.

This is not the same thing as bullying. It may seem a little unfair if you're not on the side of the current, but, then, what's fair? A person has a nonmainstream opinion -- and one that is sometimes hurtful to other members. We can't go through and ask for parity in opinions, and we can't ask people not to be hurt, or not to express their hurt.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 9:05 AM on August 16, 2012 [13 favorites]


My understanding of the current moderation regime is that tone matters a lot more than content, which I think is as it should be. This comment is my expression of support for that approach. I am not persuaded that people should be prevented from expressing minority opinions, even racist or sexist ones (for example), as long as they do so without what I believe is referred to as "grar."
posted by prefpara at 9:05 AM on August 16, 2012


Jesus, am I? I really hate to come across that way.

I actually think the criticism of you was meant ironically.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 9:06 AM on August 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


I am not sure it is wise to redefine a pile-on as being bullying. Sometimes you are just going against the prevailing currents, and so you will get more than a single response. We have no mechanism for selecting one person as our representative. And so, if you say something that a lot of people are likely to disagree with, you are likely to get a lot of disagreement.

This is not the same thing as bullying. It may seem a little unfair if you're not on the side of the current, but, then, what's fair? A person has a nonmainstream opinion -- and one that is sometimes hurtful to other members. We can't go through and ask for parity in opinions, and we can't ask people not to be hurt, or not to express their hurt.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 5:05 PM on August 16 [+] [!]


It depends on exactly what is said but if you want to see some examples a pile on is the place to look.
posted by Reggie Knoble at 9:07 AM on August 16, 2012


> I don't want to put words in anyone else's mouth, but this is basically the "fair and balanced, tell both sides" approach to issues like racism and sexism. Namely, that someone saying that when you get tired of bitchy, uppity American women you can just get a Latin one (racist and sexist, yay) is a minority opinion, just like thinking the US should go back to the gold standard, and not an inherently nasty and hurtful thing to say about other members of the site.

So your position is that anybody who says anything nasty and hurtful about other members of the site—and presumably you would take the word of those members that it was nasty and hurtful—should be banned?
posted by languagehat at 9:14 AM on August 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


(Also, am I the only person imagining the poster of the original AskMe getting an actual shark?)
posted by running order squabble fest at 9:15 AM on August 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


Accurately pointing out something shitty someone has said or done, or has a history of doing, does not equal bullying, or silencing, or oppression.
posted by elizardbits at 9:15 AM on August 16, 2012 [7 favorites]


> Jesus, am I? I really hate to come across that way.

Like Bunny Ultramod, I think that was meant ironically. I sure hope so, because if it was serious it was deeply stupid.
posted by languagehat at 9:15 AM on August 16, 2012


The idea that racism or sexism are largely clear-cut and "obvious" is completely laughable and implies a very simplistic view of such topics.

OK, but for real, this is not an issue with the kinds of comments eas98 has made in this thread and elsewhere. Just because there can be murky examples of racism or sexism doesn't mean that we need to pretend that bright-line examples are murky.

The mods have a difficult juggling act to do, here. On the one hand, it's not their job to enforce Good And Correct behavior, or to make choices about whose views about the kinds of murky issues you describe are Good And Correct. But on the other hand, the creeping microaggressive hostility bullshit does have a chilling effect on members of the site, and that's pretty clearly something that the moderators DO want to do something about. I haven't been a member here that long -- three years? -- but the sexism stuff has improved from my perspective even in that time, and when I go back and read threads from 2007 or 2004 or whatever, it's like a slap in the face how much chillingly awful sexism was slung around this joint.

It's hard. From my observations, what's been most successful is when people are willing to flag or push back on stuff in-thread. As more people are realizing that actually reading this stuff is NOT just the cost of being on the internet, they speak up and say "No, this isn't OK with me, you're being a jerk." And we have this conversation more and more, and the tenor of the place slowly changes; both because some people stop talking, AND because some people stop being awful. I know the latter exists because when I do go back and read old threads, some of the gutwrenching comments are said by really surprising people, people who would not only not say that today but would in fact call out other people who used language like that.

I don't know what the answer is. Overall, I think Metafilter does a pretty good job of trending in the right direction in an organic and crowd-supported way, but I definitely feel the frustration of having the choice be to either roll with the shitty microaggression, or call it out myself and brace myself for the inevitable fight. I'm kind of a loudmouth who enjoys a good dustup, so the second option isn't always a bad one for me, but I know that other people will feel differently.
posted by KathrynT at 9:15 AM on August 16, 2012 [13 favorites]


So your position is that anybody who says anything nasty and hurtful about other members of the site—and presumably you would take the word of those members that it was nasty and hurtful—should be banned?

Nope. I do think that classifying racist and sexist things as "opinions", as separate from things that are jerkish or whatever--is misleading. I think they are inherently jerkish. I also clarified later in the thread that cortex and I might have been talking about different things and that I might have misread him.

I'm kinda done with you today and with this thread in general, so enjoy I guess.
posted by the young rope-rider at 9:17 AM on August 16, 2012


Privileged people interpret attempts at equalization as being anti-them. No matter what, it's always about them.
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 9:21 AM on August 16, 2012 [15 favorites]


Everyone
posted by Burhanistan at 9:23 AM on August 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I mean. Giving others the same rights you have doesn't take anything away from you. (the general you, not you personally ESA. obvsly but this is the internets so.)
posted by elizardbits at 9:23 AM on August 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is a separate but related discussion, but I did run into issues in the creepy dude thread and it has happened before, where I thought some anti-metafilter things were happening. In that the discussion on this site rarely ends with people saying "Don't analyze what we're talking about. Don't think scientifically. That is a problem". I wanted to ask you all for help.

I was in that thread and it was pissing me off royally, because some men in the thread were insisting that analyzing the behavior of creepers was the problem when the whole OP link was about how the men around creeper dudes enable them, and how not to be that enabling dude when your women friends are dealing with a creeper. Since my experience is that a lot of these creeper dudes are deliberate predators, to me moving that conversation to "what about the mindset of the creeper?" is a total fucking derail and is frequently (not suggesting in your case) a jackass move designed to get the man saying it off the hook for enabling predators and people who make my life miserable.

Also it verges on being mansplaining in the strict definition when the women in a thread are saying "x is the problem" and men in the thread are explaining to them that "y is the problem". No, the fact that creepers exist is a problem, but the problem we're talking about in that thread (or were) is enabling creepers and please don't tell me enabling creepers (and other misogynists) isn't the problem when I have so many examples of how it is a huge problem in my own life. /rant over
posted by immlass at 9:24 AM on August 16, 2012 [10 favorites]


Its still mansplaining even when the subject of the thread is men and male behaviour?
posted by Reggie Knoble at 9:26 AM on August 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Its still mansplaining even when the subject of the thread is men and male behaviour?

It's mansplaining when you tell me (a woman) what my problem is, yeah. That's exactly mansplaining: using your privilege as a man to override my lived experience as a woman.
posted by immlass at 9:29 AM on August 16, 2012 [24 favorites]


It depends how it's done. If you're negating what women are saying about their personal experiences, then yes, it can be. If you're giving a male perspective while understanding that it's just that -- a perspective -- than no, that can be helpful, if it's appropriate and doesn't override what women are saying.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:30 AM on August 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


The "lived experience" thing can be tricky, of course -- once everyone's subjective lived experience has to be given equal credit, then you're kind of stuck with also having to accept a lot of the shit that comes out of the men's rights folks mouths, because that too is how they see their own 'lived experience'.
posted by modernnomad at 9:32 AM on August 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


I would posit that what you see as "bullying" is more like the frustrations of people who've tried reaching out to help and had that flung in our faces and so we're done.

I can understand that. I've been in the same boat here on MeTa many times, and seen it play out here under many variations (My responses have usually ranged from fairish to the truly shitty). I agree with Bunny Ultramod that it's not a good idea to automatically define the subject of a pile-on as a victim of bullying, though similar dynamics are at work in both situations. But here in this MeTa, there are people participating with power and a social mandate. I don't think hincandeza has either of those things.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:39 AM on August 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


*shrug* I've been the target of what felt like a pile-on, and not once did I feel like the people who were locking horns with me should have stood down; if anything, I was wishing more that the people who emailed me messages of support had spoken up. I always had the option of walking away, and I finally used it, just like hincandenza also did.

Maybe the way to stop "pileons" isn't through discouraging talk, but through encouraging newer posters.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:43 AM on August 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


For example, Turkey denies to this day that the Armenian Genocide was in fact a genocide. If I refer to it as such, am I being racist towards people of Turkish Ethicity?

The government of Turkey are racist towards Armenians.

Likewise, several passages of major religious text such as Islam are deeply disrespectful of woman's rights. If we criticize Islam for these passages, are we being Islamophobes? Or are we in fact being sexist by NOT criticizing Islam?

If you only criticize Islam and not other religions which also have many sexist passages in their texts, then yes you are being Islamophobic. If you don't criticize all religions which have sexist religious texts, then yes you are being sexist.

Next?
posted by kmz at 9:44 AM on August 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


kmz, there is no one unified field theory of offensiveness or anything, no matter how hard you may try to make it be so.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:50 AM on August 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think there is an interesting distinction though if you look at eas98s comments. He's posted some vile stuff on the blue minimising sexual assault - but it's a debate board, nasty minority opinions are matters for debate. Where I think it gets highly questionable though, is him taking his sexism and misogyny into askmefi and attacking women who have had the courage to speak up about sexism and domestic violence - sometimes in very abusive terms. In this meta he attacks people trying to help a woman in a bad marital situation where she is at a disadvantage, and by extension attacks all of us for not being anti-woman enough in our askmefi answers for his taste. I think that is really deeply creepy and messed up and a problem for the mods to mull over and consider. I can't see how it is helpful or good for people asking questions about divorce or sexism to be attacked by someone with this kind of posting history.
posted by Flitcraft at 9:51 AM on August 16, 2012 [22 favorites]


A good point, Flitcraft, and that's precisely why we have the flagging system.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:52 AM on August 16, 2012


The "lived experience" thing can be tricky, of course -- once everyone's subjective lived experience has to be given equal credit, then you're kind of stuck with also having to accept a lot of the shit that comes out of the men's rights folks mouths, because that too is how they see their own 'lived experience'.

Yes, but: what the "lived experience" model helpfully does is confine a person's comments to their own actual experience, as one individual. Now, that experience could be extremely unusual, placing them out on an unlucky fringe of society; it could be a slightly less random and bizarre thing of which there might be a small minority of people who have that experience in common, or it could be the unhinged ravings of a self-deluder or paranoiac.

What happens then is that we can compare the personal, lived experience with the experiences of others and begin to see patterns and determine how widespread these experiences are. That's when we can start to see broad, powerful societal mechanisms that do this or do that to people.

The truth of lived experience is true for that person, but it isn't a powerful social force unless it's something that is also reported as true by many, many people, in strikingly similar ways. This was the entire principle behind the consciousness-raising groups of the early women's movement: turning the personal into the political, understanding that it wasn't just that "you are bad at math," or "you're a prude/slut" as an individual (to give a super simple example, I'm rushing), but that you were the target of much larger and widely held stereotypes that have been used across populations to coerce and control behavior.

So a guy is free to say his own lived experience is that of being persecuted by the raging, triumphant feminists of today's changed world. And he might really feel that. But unless we start to see him backed up by a large number of other men who say "You know, that happened to me too, and I'm going to join you in speaking out against it," it falls back into perspective as probably a rather unique issue which may be largely attributed to more individual-level causes.

This is also why it really is so helpful, when someone starts spouting shit like that, for other men to say "Huh, I really can't say that's been my experience." When other men remain silent, it appears to women, and also to the men claiming persecution, that they have the quiet support of the majority. Only when members of that seeming majority step out of the circle of complicity and say, in larger numbers, "that's not the way I see it" does it powerfully communicate that that perspective is more idiosyncratic.
posted by Miko at 9:55 AM on August 16, 2012 [45 favorites]


* nodding at Miko *

And to go back to what cashman was saying above -- listening to how many women are speaking it is indeed what we wish you'd do, rather than analyzing or trying to help, because that's exactly what we're trying to collectively do. Hearing our individual stories is only part of it -- hearing just how many of them there are is the rest of what we wish you'd do, because hearing how many of them there are is what helped a lot of us start getting past the "maybe it's just me" roadblock to realizing "wait, no, it's NOT just me and it's REALLY FUCKED UP."

That's how just sitting and listening will help. Because the more stories you hear, the more you'll be aware of it as a general overall situation. Others in here have said that men simply aren't tuned into that kind of gender inequity on a subtle level; and understandably so, because you haven't been subjected to it to the overwhelming extent we have. Listening to more and more accounts of women's experiences is how you can become more aware of it.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:01 AM on August 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


The "lived experience" thing can be tricky, of course

Oh, yeah, absolutely. But there were a bunch of women posting lived experience in that thread about social support for creepers and how difficult creepers made their lives particularly when they got no backup from people around them, and then we got a bunch of "be nice to poor socially maladjusted dudes". It was almost a textbook case of women being afraid of serious harm (in this case, sexual assault/molestation) vs men being afraid of being laughed at, multiplied by actual harms having happened to women and theoretical harms happening to men.

When other men remain silent, it appears to women, and also to the men claiming persecution, that they have the quiet support of the majority.

Yes, thank you. Which also ties back nicely into the topic of that thread, about how social support, particularly from men, enables creepers/predators to do their thing. I'm heartened by how many men speak up around here to support women and distance themselves from anti-feminists and outright misogynists. I'm glad and grateful that they have my back.
posted by immlass at 10:05 AM on August 16, 2012 [11 favorites]


People are perfectly capable of reading in one moment and then typing in the next.

You don't need to literally sit in silence without contributing in order to read what has been read.
posted by Reggie Knoble at 10:07 AM on August 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


When I first heard of a group for men's rights I thought "Hey, yah, there are a lot of problems everyone dismisses like how it used to be illegal for women to wear pants, but no one has ever fought for the right for men to wear dresses, and when I worked at Hallmark as a teenager they refused to hire a male manager because "what would a man want to work in a cards and gifts store, hahaha" and I got stuck with this awful (female) manager who never showed up on time."

But then it turned out that's not what they are about at all.
posted by Dynex at 10:08 AM on August 16, 2012 [6 favorites]


*said*
posted by Reggie Knoble at 10:08 AM on August 16, 2012


Where I think it gets highly questionable though, is him taking his sexism and misogyny into askmefi and attacking women who have had the courage to speak up about sexism and domestic violence - sometimes in very abusive terms.

Which, flag that shit when you see it, drop us a line if it's more complicated somehow. But take into account that the system seems to be more or less working on that front; there's a couple more recent deleted things, there's Catch's two askme examples from five and seven years ago.

I think people sometimes (a) have shitty opinions and (b) show poor judgement in how they engage on ask (and other parts of the site, obviously) but that's why we have a flagging system and the ability to delete stuff and why we talk to people about their behavior, in public and private. We'd rather make it work with someone than give up on them, and obviously that has to be a two way street but short of banning someone what we have is working with them, and banning is not done by popular vote.

In this meta he attacks people trying to help a woman in a bad marital situation where she is at a disadvantage, and by extension attacks all of us for not being anti-woman enough in our askmefi answers for his taste.

And gets a bunch of very clear pushback on that, from the userbase at large and from mods specifically. Again, it is not always exactly pretty but this is the system pretty much working as intended.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:09 AM on August 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm really glad you're aware of it, I did think about the two most egregious examples being a while back but the fact that this meta was being made indicated that the problem was still there, but if the mods are looking out for this sort of thing, that's a big relief. Perhaps the reason the worst comments are so far back is because people are more willing to flag and stuff like that is being caught.
posted by Flitcraft at 10:19 AM on August 16, 2012


Perhaps the reason the worst comments are so far back is because people are more willing to flag and stuff like that is being caught.

I think this is largely true. A quick skim through catch's list shows a bunch of stuff that would not only be flagged to hell but likely end up in Metatalk if we didn't delete it, which we would - the usual caveat about stuff getting responded to before being flagged likely doesn't apply, because people do flag egregious sexism like mad.

The more subtle stuff is harder - harder to recognize, and harder to fix by deletion. In many cases I think it's more productive for the site as a whole for stuff to be explicitly called out and refuted by multiple people, which is usually what happens. It does strike me that very often, the pile-on-ees in sexism or rape threads are new-ish users, not old hands - people who hang out here for a while learn that certain things, like minimizing rape, attacking the victim's credibility, or things of that nature are received very, very negatively. And that's progress, of a sort.

(And sometimes when I am feeling particularly vicious and the comment is on the exact right place on the spectrum I will think "I am going to let that stand as a record of how much of an ass you are being right now." Fortunately that particular confluence doesn't happen often.)
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 10:27 AM on August 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, this probably is just me, but I am now hearing eas98, with the voice of Robert Shaw, doing Quint's speech from Jaws:

Very first light, Chief, feminists come cruisin', so we formed ourselves into tight groups. You know, it was kinda like old squares in battles - like you see in the calendar, named "The Battle of Waterloo" - and the idea was: feminist comes to the nearest man, that man he starts poundin' and hollerin' and screamin' and sometimes the feminist will go away... but sometimes she wouldn't go away. Sometimes that feminist, she looks right into ya. Right into your eyes. And, you know, the thing about a feminist... she's got lifeless eyes. Black eyes. Like a doll's eyes. When she comes at ya, doesn't seem to be living... until she bites ya, and those black eyes roll over white and then... ah then you hear that terrible high-pitched screamin'. The ocean turns red, and despite all the poundin' and the hollerin', they all come in and they... rip you to pieces.
posted by running order squabble fest at 10:33 AM on August 16, 2012 [11 favorites]


People are perfectly capable of reading in one moment and then typing in the next. You don't need to literally sit in silence without contributing in order to read what has been read.

I think many of the complaints, Reggie, come from the fact that what the men in that thread WERE trying to say were actually not helpful, because they were not addressing the problem at hand. And, if the men had been indeed really and fully listening, they would have UNDERSTOOD that what they were saying was not helpful. Hence the "WE JUST WANT YOU TO LISTEN RATHER THAN FEELING LIKE YOU HAVE TO JUMP IN AND HELP" complaints.

If you want to chalk it up to a gender difference, then: sometimes women do complain because we DO want to simply be heard and acknowledged rather than helped, and if you jump in and try to help that means you're not giving us what we need. So if you're saying something like "but have you considered that maybe the guy is just [foo]" and not saying something like "wow, that must really suck, I'm sorry," you're gonna get pushback of the sort you're complaining about.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:38 AM on August 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


(And sometimes when I am feeling particularly vicious and the comment is on the exact right place on the spectrum I will think "I am going to let that stand as a record of how much of an ass you are being right now." Fortunately that particular confluence doesn't happen often.)

I didn't flag a comment today, for exactly that reason. It got deleted - I assume someone else flagged it. It is probably for the best.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:41 AM on August 16, 2012


But it's relatively hard to get banned here if it seems like the problem is more you just having an outsider opinion if you're not going nuclear with it.

Except y'all banned Faze.

That action spoke volumes about this site. Obviously, I didn't protest-quit or anything stupid like that. But I have seen moderators make decisions (mostly involving comment deletions) based on their own personal values and perceived values of the community. I dunno, maybe y'all need to make decisions like that to keep the piece. It's your job, not mine, I ain't gonna tell you how to do it.

Another thing that strikes me as weird is how the mods here will weigh in on topical/opinionated discussions. I don't think it's weird or bad or unkosher or anything, but if I ran a site like this, I'd probably try to avoid it. Whether you like it or not, when a mod says something, it always carries extra weight. Especially when the mods are as visible as they are here.

Again, not telling you how to do your jobs. I've never ran a site like this, probably never will, and know nothing about the nuts-and-bolts of it. But you cannot act like your own opinions and values do not effect your actions or the community.
posted by Afroblanco at 10:57 AM on August 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


y'all banned Faze

I assumed he just returned to his home dimension.
posted by Egg Shen at 10:58 AM on August 16, 2012 [15 favorites]


sometimes women do complain because we DO want to simply be heard and acknowledged rather than helped, and if you jump in and try to help that means you're not giving us what we need.

That's why keeping silent is the safest course of action. Might not be the best for everyone, and it might make the group I'm supposedly a member of seem uncaring, but you can't hear me nodding. I daresay you don't need my support or validation in any case.

There's a narrow path somewhere in there, and I've fallen off it by even addressing the verges.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 10:58 AM on August 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


(keep the piece == keep the peace)
posted by Afroblanco at 10:58 AM on August 16, 2012


That's why keeping silent is the safest course of action. Might not be the best for everyone, and it might make the group I'm supposedly a member of seem uncaring, but you can't hear me nodding.

...I respect your consideration, but monklike silence isn't exactly necessary. Especially when there's a guy who's Not Getting It. Particularly when the complaint on the floor is "man, so many guys just keep silent and let the jerks get away with it."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:04 AM on August 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


*nods*
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 11:05 AM on August 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm still, today, a bit disappointed to learn the the mods take the "fair and balanced, tell both sides" approach to issues like racism and sexism

If we don't at least listen to the opinions of those who differ with us, then we will be arguing with straw men made up in our heads, much as we often accuse those on "the other side" of doing.
When we disagree with someone, often we say, "did you even READ what I wrote?" Be the change you wish to see, etc.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 11:07 AM on August 16, 2012 [6 favorites]


Faze was banned?
posted by griphus at 11:18 AM on August 16, 2012


kmz, there is no one unified field theory of offensiveness or anything, no matter how hard you may try to make it be so.

Well yes, obviously. I was being glib and somewhat flip. (Flib? Glip?)

But I do think there's often way too much equivocation in these kind of things. Witness all the people (not here for the most part, thankfully) saying that Dan Cathy merely has "different opinions" that we should "respectfully disagree" with instead of calling him the bigoted asshole that he is.
posted by kmz at 11:18 AM on August 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Actually, before we all start thinking that Capitol Hill in Seattle is some sort of uber-enlightened neighborhood -- I and a friend of mine were cat-called there two weeks ago.

I grew up in Seattle, hung out on Capitol Hill since I was old enough to catch the bus by myself, and lived on the Hill for most of my adult life. It's not going too far out on a limb to say that it is one of the more tolerant, liberal neighborhoods in the entire country.

So it usually comes as a surprise to most that along with the University District, Capitol Hill has the highest instances of rape and sexual assault in the city. Or at least it did when I was working on community outreach programs with the SPD east precinct.
posted by billyfleetwood at 11:19 AM on August 16, 2012 [11 favorites]


It sounds like what you want is for men who agree with you to speak up and men who disagree or just don't agree entirely to pipe down.

No thread is the property of any one group and no thread is (or should be) anyones soapbox.

If discussion is to be defined so narrowly then perhaps a blog that deals with that subject specifically rather than a generalist site is the best option.
posted by Reggie Knoble at 11:21 AM on August 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


I really dislike that the word mansplaining exists. Yes, I adore portmanteau words, and I fully grasp the concept of this one, but I don't adore that word at all.

I think it's a fine example of lumping all men together into one big, stupid mass that thinks/acts as a single entity (that hurts women), and I really wish people wouldn't do that; not people in this thread specifically — I mean people in general; all of us. In a broader conversation about how men and women have trouble communicating, it's poison.

I feel like I understand why men roll their eyes all the way back when they hear it: it's attempting to define them, and it also defines some pretty bad behavior, so it's sort of threatening in one way, and wrong about a whole swath of men in another way, so it must also seem eye-rollingly stupid and more than a little short-sighted. It has the word man right in it — not some men; man. And if you are, indeed, a man, I can't see how that wouldn't sound like someone lumping you in with the men who do that sort of thing all the time, and attempting to shame the baby along with the bathwater, if you will.

It rubs me all the wrong ways. I'm not suggesting that people stop using it on the site; I'm not trying to police anyone's language. But man alive, sometimes I really, really get it, and "it" is something I'd rather didn't exist: men lumping all feminists/women into one big, stupid mass (that hurts men) that ends up not defining me, but rather just pissing me right the fuck off and making me resent them for it. It's a bitch that it's a two-way street sometimes, but I think it really is a two-way street.
posted by heyho at 11:21 AM on August 16, 2012 [25 favorites]


griphus: Faze was banned?

Yeah, that's a banning that I firmly disagree with.
posted by gman at 11:23 AM on August 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Reggie, if I give you the last word in our specific interchange will that make you happy?

*chucks you under chin* Is that what you want, kiddo? Just let me know.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:24 AM on August 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


*chucks you under chin* Is that what you want, kiddo? Just let me know.

This doesn't help constructive dialogue within the community.
posted by modernnomad at 11:25 AM on August 16, 2012 [16 favorites]


Even if, like you, he doesn't know when to stop, he probably doesn't need to be condescended to in such a ridiculous manner.
posted by gman at 11:25 AM on August 16, 2012 [12 favorites]


This doesn't help constructive dialogue within the community.

Neither do testy little snarks that "it SOUNDS like what you want is for everyone to agree with you."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:26 AM on August 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


Two wrongs etc....
posted by modernnomad at 11:27 AM on August 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Okay, but I really can't see why Reggie is so insistent upon claiming the right to Speak The Male Perspective in threads that deal with female experience.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:29 AM on August 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


high roads are for suckers, amirite?
posted by boo_radley at 11:29 AM on August 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


oh dammit, I just got elizardbitsed.
posted by boo_radley at 11:30 AM on August 16, 2012 [6 favorites]


EC, you have very little self-awareness and should probably not try to be so clever.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:30 AM on August 16, 2012 [10 favorites]


Hey, I'll be in Scotland afore ye.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:30 AM on August 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


Because as soon as the first comment in the entire thread was a crack about "mensrights", that was kind of inevitable.
posted by modernnomad at 11:31 AM on August 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Except y'all banned Faze.

I was newly on board when this went down but I can say with confidence that Faze was not banned simply for having an outsider opinion.

Another thing that strikes me as weird is how the mods here will weigh in on topical/opinionated discussions

This is a tricky thing, especially here. Some communities, the mods are mods by fiat - they're hired from outside, they do their jobs by the numbers, and while they develop a connection to the community it's always one-way. That is not how Metafilter is run - all of the mods were community members first, and remain community members after being brought on as employees. Our status informs our participation, for sure - we're all really unlikely to get into a shouty fight on the blue or make deletable jokes on the green, just because we are more hyper-aware of conversational dynamics as well as the rules. But we're all members with our own interests and opinions, and of course that informs our participation too. I think the mod staff as it stands doesn't participate much in the most heated of threads, but we don't have a mandate to avoid them, either.

And I personally think it's useful to be visible on some topics - visible as gay, visible as female, visible as Jewish, adopted, whatever. Because of my mod status, I can help set the tone that these subgroups are open, accepted, and welcome here more than the average user can. I don't get into arguments much, but I am also not going to refrain from commenting, because my being invisible and unknowable is actually a net negative for the site in a couple of different ways.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 11:32 AM on August 16, 2012 [24 favorites]


This is a deeply disappointing thread that I wish had been closed up early on for being a useless post, but now it's the kind of thing the mods really can't close without a couple of ass-aches complaining that's a tacit endorsement of the other side. There are a lot of posters I really like being unnecessarily inflammatory because they can. Man/ women/ transgendered/ whatever, "Sing When You're Winning" is an even worse philosophy of life than it is an album.
posted by yerfatma at 11:38 AM on August 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


oh shit, you did not just diss Robbie Williams.
posted by jacalata at 11:41 AM on August 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


Just a thought for those who feel that allowing sexist/racist/nasty things to exist on the site makes it an unwelcoming place for those in the attacked groups: every time I've seen a hateful remark on Meta, I've seen a dozen people taking the poster to task. That doesn't make me feel threatened, rather it makes me feel safer, because so many people have my back.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 11:42 AM on August 16, 2012 [9 favorites]


Afroblanco: "Except y'all banned Faze."

My impression was that he was banned because he was disruptive. Not just for having an outsider opinion. He was basically a read-only, hit and run user who would make inflammatory comments that invariably started massive arguments and left threads in an uproar.

A bunch of people who have been banned (faze, joannemullen, lon mem, trurl, faze, optimus chyme) weren't just folks with dissenting opinions. They were considered a disruptive influence by the mods.
posted by zarq at 11:46 AM on August 16, 2012


Oh, and thanks for clarifying, cortex. Good to know.
posted by zarq at 11:46 AM on August 16, 2012


Point of order:

A bunch of people who have been banned (faze, joannemullen, lon mem, trurl, faze, optimus chyme) weren't just folks with dissenting opinions. They were considered a disruptive influence by the mods.

I'm not certain those posters were all banned as such. I know Optimus Chyme actually left of his own volition.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:47 AM on August 16, 2012


EC, then he came back and got banned.
posted by ocherdraco at 11:48 AM on August 16, 2012


"It sounds like what you want is for men who agree with you to speak up and men who disagree or just don't agree entirely to pipe down."

This wasn't directed at me, and I try to not let myself do this, but ... Honestly? I want men (or whomever) who are wrong to stop being wrong. I realize this is naive, and I realize is actively childish to think that arguing loudest and longest so everyone else gives up is not actually changing anybody's mind, but it's not that I want people to shut up about their dissent; it's that I want their minds to have been changed and the world to be better!

I think people who keep responding to an argument like this and telling the same people why they're wrong over and over aren't trying to silence others; they're trying desperately to convince them.

I just stopped myself from arguing like this a couple days ago when I had dinner with my most Republican friend who was all enthusiastic about Paul Ryan and was being Lord Wrongley of Wrongton Abbey about it, and saying all this crazy stuff about the budget that just isn't even in the same neighborhood as True. But I realized we'd just spend the next hour going, "WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG! WRONGY WRONG WRONG." at each other if I did, and I wouldn't have ever convinced him.

Anyway. Sometimes it's worth fighting the good fight, I think especially in a public forum like this. Other times it's worth dropping it. I think rope-rider and others in this thread are grown-ups who can decide that for themselves.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 11:48 AM on August 16, 2012 [14 favorites]


optimus chyme is "on the reserve", isn't he?
posted by boo_radley at 11:49 AM on August 16, 2012


EC, then he came back and got banned.

Really? Huh. 'kay, my bad.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:49 AM on August 16, 2012


Did furiousxgeorge hit the big red button himself?
posted by the_artificer at 11:50 AM on August 16, 2012


EmpressCallipygos: " I'm not certain those posters were all banned as such. I know Optimus Chyme actually left of his own volition.

*shrug* The rest then.

Faze was banned.
joannemullen "self closed" and is apparently not welcome back.
Trurl was banned.
Lon Mem was banned.
posted by zarq at 11:51 AM on August 16, 2012


He came back under a fairly obvious sockpuppet and subsequently got banned, iirc.
posted by elizardbits at 11:52 AM on August 16, 2012


And that one dude who hated Allie Brosh got banned.
posted by elizardbits at 11:53 AM on August 16, 2012


And that European dude with the expensive face creams.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:53 AM on August 16, 2012 [6 favorites]


the_artificer: "Did furiousxgeorge hit the big red button himself?"

Aw shit. He said he was skirting the edge of a permaban a couple of weeks ago.
posted by zarq at 11:53 AM on August 16, 2012


Did furiousxgeorge hit the big red button himself?

Oh damn, he was just here. What happened there?
posted by cashman at 11:53 AM on August 16, 2012


Oh damn, he was just here. What happened there?

I don't want to go into a ton of detail but the short version is there was a bunch of stuff we had asked him to stop doing and he wasn't able to stop (both on the site and on the back end.)
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 11:56 AM on August 16, 2012


the_artificer: Did furiousxgeorge hit the big red button himself?

Technically yes, but there was waterboarding involved, and as you can tell by the time stamps on his comments, sleep deprivation as well.
posted by gman at 11:58 AM on August 16, 2012


And that one dude who hated Allie Brosh got banned.

That was performance art.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:59 AM on August 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Didn't he creepily threaten cortex in a MeTa as well though? Or something?
posted by elizardbits at 12:04 PM on August 16, 2012


Aw, man. I liked furiousxgeorge.
posted by Sticherbeast at 12:15 PM on August 16, 2012 [8 favorites]


Me too. :(
posted by zarq at 12:20 PM on August 16, 2012


Wow, that's a huge shame. I knew he'd been given a timeout, wasn't aware of the ban.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:25 PM on August 16, 2012


He made quite a few good posts but he seemed frequently cross over into disruptive when he'd decide he wanted to have an argument.
posted by the_artificer at 12:26 PM on August 16, 2012


And that European dude with the expensive face creams.

That sounds like Zambrano.
posted by triggerfinger at 12:30 PM on August 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


Or Zumpano.
posted by box at 12:32 PM on August 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Tao Lin got banned and all he ever wanted was our love.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:43 PM on August 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Didn't he creepily threaten cortex in a MeTa as well though? Or something?

Are you talking about this? (If nothing else I am deeply amused that it appears to be cortex's most-favorited comment.)
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 12:44 PM on August 16, 2012


I liked furiousxgeorge.

I hope he'll be back.
posted by Egg Shen at 12:49 PM on August 16, 2012


restless_nomad: “Are you talking about this? (If nothing else I am deeply amused that it appears to be cortex's most-favorited comment.)”

As I recall, cortex was (maybe is?) more than a little unamused about that. Maybe he's gotten over it.
posted by koeselitz at 1:02 PM on August 16, 2012


oh dammit, I just got elizardbitsed.

The proper term is "elizardblitzed"
posted by Slap*Happy at 1:27 PM on August 16, 2012 [5 favorites]


Not elizardbitten? Verb conjugation, yo.
posted by phunniemee at 1:32 PM on August 16, 2012


phunniemee: "Not elizardbitten? Verb conjugation, yo."

And here I thought that only cake and fish tacos had anything to fear in her presence......
posted by zarq at 1:34 PM on August 16, 2012


Also sammiches, I do believe.
posted by phunniemee at 1:36 PM on August 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


And that blond vampire dude, if he is afraid of love.
posted by winna at 1:38 PM on August 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


Didn't he creepily threaten cortex in a MeTa as well though? Or something?

Not that I recall, no. He has killed me several times in Tribes: Ascend, but in all fairness I was trying to steal his team's flag.

As I recall, cortex was (maybe is?) more than a little unamused about that. Maybe he's gotten over it.

Yeah, a pile of favorites for banning someone is always a weird outcome. I understand the mechanics behind it but they're not what we think of as Crowning Moment of Awesome material. It sucks when shit gets to the point of being unfixable with someone who isn't just some shitfaucet spammer.

And it's kind of a no-win thing because a conspicuous YER OUTTA HERE thing always feels weirdly public in a way I don't really like but when it happens more quietly on the back end there's this "wait you secretly banned them, wtf" thing that can come with it. But so it goes.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:42 PM on August 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


I understand the mechanics behind it but they're not what we think of as Crowning Moment of Awesome material.

He told you to get some balls. And in a clear demonstration of testicle-having, you immediately banned his ass. Personally, I thought that was just an awesome demonstration of Darwinism in action, which could only have been made funnier if you had said, "MY BALLS, LET ME SHOW YOU THEM. SCHMUCK."
posted by zarq at 1:47 PM on August 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


I mean, I know that's not why you banned him. But it was pretty damned funny.
posted by zarq at 1:48 PM on August 16, 2012


FWIW I favourited that as a sort of sign of solidarity with you for taking the abuse, not so much because I was celebrating the other guy being banned. I obviousy can't speak for everyone else.
posted by Infinite Jest at 1:49 PM on August 16, 2012 [8 favorites]


the best response to the "balls" remark would have been to grow a pair of balls in some agar

and then to give those balls a mod status all their own
posted by Sticherbeast at 1:53 PM on August 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


I have a sword cane, but I don't have a permit for a concealed weapon. A cane with a flask, now, that would be useful. Also, do not mess with cranky arthritic ladies, we will fuck your shit up, yo. (and I'm not even a mod!) Well, yeah, isn't that the reason for the cane?
posted by theora55 at 2:02 PM on August 16, 2012


Yeah, a pile of favorites for banning someone is always a weird outcome.

I favorited that mostly because I was grateful. It was like the time I had to bounce a drunk customer out of the T-shirt shop. It was an unpleasant scene, but everyone was just so relieved when the door hit him in the ass, because it was over.
posted by Devils Rancher at 2:03 PM on August 16, 2012


"Yeah, a pile of favorites for banning someone is always a weird outcome. I understand the mechanics behind it but they're not what we think of as Crowning Moment of Awesome material. It sucks when shit gets to the point of being unfixable with someone who isn't just some shitfaucet spammer."

I did not favorite it, but I do think that that was something very much worth being proud of. Not so much the banning, which I agree was only sad, as the amazing amount of opportunity given that led up to it, even if it turned out to indeed be inevitable. I think the amount of effort put into helping folks fit in here is truly awesome, and while it might seem normal to you guys, is really a inspiring and unique thing about this place.
posted by Blasdelb at 2:05 PM on August 16, 2012 [5 favorites]


and then to give those balls a mod status all their own

Next up on the list of "Strange Potential Sockpuppet names..."
posted by CrystalDave at 2:35 PM on August 16, 2012


This whole argument would make more sense to me if there were any women on metafilter.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:38 PM on August 16, 2012 [6 favorites]


To those with artificial joints, upcoming hip implants, injuries, and other unfortunate events requiring canes, may I present the Cane Masters!?

My husband has one due to his two hip implants (and newly diagnosed lower back arthritis, yay!). However, after all the bullshit he's heard me spout about my ex's and crappy man experiences in general throughout my entire life, he whips out his cane and proceeds to show me what I should do if anyone ever attacks me.

I also know the proper Jason Bourne technique for stabbing a man in the throat with a pen. And many other Cold Steel knife fighting techniques, as well as a few Filipino stick fighting techniques.

Because he never, ever wants to see me put down again, mentally or physically, by anyone. Not just some white dude who espouses crap on the internet. To give me the confidence that he has, in a threatening situation, to walk away, consider that it's their problem and nothing to do with you, and no, I really don't care what other people think about me.

I was in a bad relationship for many years. It culminated in me getting shoved around. I left.

Was later invited to speak about the topic of domestic violence. Lots of stories, from women from all walks of life.

I've also heard stories from men, about what they have had to suffer. Being shoved by his wife, into a doorjamb, and now he walks on crutches due to the back injury.

People hurt each other. They hurt each other with their fists, and they hurt each other with their words. The problem with the word-hurting is that you can't see the scars, it's internal bleeding that can't be staunched. I was treated like an object for 9 years. It took me a long time to get that this other person didn't love me when he said he loved me, he, in fact, hated all women and thought nothing more of them than a dirty dish rag. I don't hate the original OP for feeling angry and disenfranchised, but I do hate that particular man who was a jerk to me, and probably still is, to other women. And I feel sad and angry for the other human beings, male and female, who blamed me for this person's misbehavior.

So my knee jerk reaction is that guys who make these sorts of comments are, in fact, pretty similar in mindset to my ex's. I don't really care why anymore, as I can't take the time to personally psychoanalyze every disenfranchised white male in the States. I just know I don't like it. It's creepy, it's dumb, and it indicates a mind that is unwilling to see both sides of any coin, let alone that hotbed of infamy: sex.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 2:39 PM on August 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


Also: you can totally have hot sex after hip implants.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 2:56 PM on August 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


Also: you can totally have hot sex after hip implants.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 10:56 PM on August 16 [+] [!]


Only after hip implants?
posted by Reggie Knoble at 2:58 PM on August 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


That said, I want you to think about something. It's the simplest trick in the book, but it opened my eyes way back in the day. The next few times you're in some sort of large meeting or other kind of situation where there are a number of people of both sexes, make a quick count of how many men are there and how many women there are. Once you've done that, pay attention to what the gender-split is when it comes to talking and what the percentages are. I've yet to come across a meeting where the split isn't depressing.

Oh, Kattullus -- my assistant and I went to the mini- Tools of Change (O'Reilly) publishing conference in Austin just before SXSW this year, and the very moment the panel on gender in publishing started, EVERY SINGLE GUY IN THE ROOM (save perhaps one or two) got up and left, to the point of causing a giant spike on the live Twitter-stream that could best be summarized as "WTF was THAT?" (such as...).
posted by bitter-girl.com at 3:00 PM on August 16, 2012 [10 favorites]


A little something to lighten the mood: Kate Beaton's latest comic, ATTACK OF THE STRAW FEMINISTS
posted by Doleful Creature at 3:15 PM on August 16, 2012 [15 favorites]


Holy shit is that awesome.

The balloon break at:

"You should be glad"/"to see us"

is a special kind of genius.

(I'm sure comic folk have a fancy word for that.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 3:27 PM on August 16, 2012


Only after hip implants?

posted by Reggie Knoble at 5:58 PM on August 16


Heh. No. I have a kid who got past b/c to prove it. 1982. When my husband was my assistant, the night they asked me to run lights for the Flamenco dancers.

I walked down the aisle of the darkened theater, and spotted a man, bending over to tie his shoe. His hair fell in front of his face, and then he looked up.

I thought he was 18, but he was really 29, newly returned to Maine due to a dance injury. But he could still dance, boyo, yes he could. And he had a dancer's body.

I remember sitting on the steps of my dorm, granite cold, under the lights, talking and talking. Him sneaking into my room, and wearing my girly bathrobe to the men's wing to use their bathroom at 3 a.m.

I'd say before implants is good, as well.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 3:29 PM on August 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


"Which, flag that shit when you see it, drop us a line if it's more complicated somehow. But take into account that the system seems to be more or less working on that front; there's a couple more recent deleted things, there's Catch's two askme examples from five and seven years ago."


I'm glad the system is working, but I feel like the emphasis on examples from five and seven years ago might imply to some that I had to go barrel-scraping, or digging real deep to find some "dirt".
I honestly couldn't stomach spending enough time in eas98 World to put together a comprehensive gotcha comment of Misogyny's Greatest Hits - and that really wasn't the point of the exercise. I closed a lot of tabs when the taste of ashes got too strong. Anyone who cares can cast an eye over his more recent work.

Even if only a few unlucky souls get to read, flag, and delete his most egregious comments nowadays, I think this post proves that in seven years, he hasn't changed a bit.


I'm not at all for banning members like this, I'm surprised the suggestion even came up. Flag him and move on, by all means, but what the flagging system may be masking is that this is a person who all your good faith, well reasoned arguments will be wasted on.

I'd like to apologise too, for the bit of kerfuffle my post called, I haven't been around very intensively for the last *mumble mumble*, and I obviously missed the Brand New Day policy discussion.
Last time I was here, in fact, this was all fields.

And if we are going to post Kate Beaton repeatedly in this thread - Mystery Juice!
posted by Catch at 3:49 PM on August 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


called=caused, goldurnit.
posted by Catch at 3:51 PM on August 16, 2012


A little something to lighten the mood: Kate Beaton's latest comic, ATTACK OF THE STRAW FEMINISTS

Fucking awesome!!!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:04 PM on August 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


The straw feminist's legs are modeled after mine, I see. Love Kate Beaton sooooooo much.
posted by the young rope-rider at 4:52 PM on August 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


And if you are, indeed, a man, I can't see how that wouldn't sound like someone lumping you in with the men who do that sort of thing all the time, and attempting to shame the baby along with the bathwater, if you will.

I get that guys who want to be allies to women and feminists really object to "mansplaining" because they think it's too broad a descriptor. However, even the best allies can trip over their own toes and end up being on the ignorant side of an explanation. I try to be a good ally to people of color and trans gendered people, but I know of cases where I cisplained and I have caught myself about to whitesplain before I deleted a post. It is easy as the privileged person to explain to someone something they have a lot more experience with, especially if you're an inveterate know-it-all, and often the less privileged person is just going to roll with it and excuse themselves instead of pointing it out. If they point it out, you're getting a gift - they think you're worth it.

A certain amount of being an ally is coming up with a way to respond to generalized critique of an institution like sexism or racism through a description of the behavior of the privileged to the less privileged that isn't being defensive and threatening to take your toys and go home because they're so mean. I'm lucky in a way; I've experienced it from both sides because I'm female but white and cis gendered - I have been the fucked-up-at and the fuckee. I've learned to own my mistakes, to be open for critique that might be barbed, and to grieve for the times I figured out - far too late - how I provided a microaggression which broke someone else.
posted by Deoridhe at 5:18 PM on August 16, 2012 [9 favorites]


ATTACK OF THE STRAW FEMINISTS

This is great. And true. I'm scared, and it's too soon.
posted by OmieWise at 5:50 PM on August 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yes. As a scaaaaaaaary feminist I can tell you that comic is 100% accurate.

Some of us wear sandals and don't shave. Sometimes we wear sandals and don't shave SIMULTANEOUSLY.

It's a burden, bringing about the end of civilization through hairy legs and breezy footwear, but by god somebody's got to do it.
posted by cmyk at 6:32 PM on August 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


I don't shave my legs because I am morally opposed to causing widespread suffering by forcing other people to see my horrible lower limbs.

The other day I bought some mary jane shoes with hiking boot soles off the internet. I thought they were going to be MAGICAL AWESOME but instead they look like those pointy-toed courtier shoes and peter pan's slippers got together and had the world's ugliest baby shoes. They're so ugly they're adorable.

They're held together with bungee cord material, which baffles me as a shoe construction device.
posted by winna at 6:47 PM on August 16, 2012


"I get that guys who want to be allies to women and feminists really object to 'mansplaining' because they think it's too broad a descriptor. However, even the best allies can trip over their own toes and end up being on the ignorant side of an explanation."

I'll just point out in an aside that there's a huge assumption implicit in what you wrote (involved in your choice of the term "ally") that is not universally shared by everyone who considers themselves feminists and you ought not take it for granted. It's absolutely not something I want to discuss here and now, in fact this whole line of discussion I don't really want to touch even with a ten-foot pole, but, even so, I think it's worth pointing out.

Anyway, with regard to mansplaining, it really is a thing. Like the tone argument, it really exists and it really is a problem. It's both a practical problem and represents an underlying problem. In this it's just like the tone argument. We can't just say that it doesn't happen, it doesn't exist, it's not a problem, because it is all these things.

However, also just like the tone argument, there's ambiguity. If it were just the ambiguity about whether someone is truly deploying the tone argument as a bad-faith maneuver, then that would be manageable. Difficult and sometimes unpleasant, but manageable. We could come up with a rule-of-thumb and/or processes to deal with the ambiguous situations.

But it's not only ambiguous on that side, it's ambiguous on the other side, on the side that alleges that someone is using the tone-argument as a bad-faith tactic. Are they making this allegation in good faith? If we have a rule-of-thumb that is to take such allegations as true barring some convincing evidence otherwise, then the temptation to misuse such allegations as a tactic in itself increases.

Worse, in reality a large portion of people who use the tone-argument do so in some weird and hard-to-pin-down combination of complete sincerity and rhetorical convenience. It's very often neither purely in good-faith or purely in bad-faith. And even worse, just the same is true with regard to accusations against others of using the tone-argument in bad-faith.

Not to mention just being mistaken because one is touchy or having a bad day or whatever.

None of this is to argue that we shouldn't contest tone-arguments, or conversely that there's no defense to allegations of them.

It's that an absolutism coupled with a certainty of being in-the-right greatly increase the degree to which everything devolves into rhetorical tactics with which we bludgeon each other for dominance.

All of this is true with regard to mansplaining.

I keep finding myself in MetaTalk threads in the last few months arguing that a majority of bad outcomes in discursive situations such as these arise from people jumping to negative conclusions about someone's character on the basis of slim evidence. What happens with a lot of stuff is that we abstract certain behaviors into signifiers of larger personalities and then to moral characters and, at that point, we can make those all-important in-group or out-group determinations with comfort. We know who the enemy is. And while many of us might argue about what truly is the "right" way to treat our enemies, the problem is that this hasty process of determining who our enemies are is an error-prone process which wrongly identifies friends as foes. And sometimes makes foes of former friends.

The most amazing thing to me about how I think MetaFilter changed from when I was here from 2004-2008 and now is that there are, I feel certain (though I am aware but baffled that others disagree) far fewer "bad" people here and/or those who participate in bad-faith. There's still a few. This is true across the board, in ways that manifest across the different kids of discussions we have here. There was stuff regularly posted that was hatefully, explicitly misogynist here that wouldn't last one-minute now and would result in a banning.

No matter how often this is discussed, it's still as if people (including me) don't truly get the "whole racism/sexism isn't about a bad person, but about bad institutions" thing. We talk over and over again about how saying that statement X is racist doesn't mean that the person who said X is some member of a white power group, or whatever. That we're all at least a little racist in some of our thinking because we're products of a racist culture, though improving. That it's far more productive to talk about bad ideas and bad behaviors rather than implicitly or explicitly accusing someone of being an evil racist. Or that someone on the defensive about something they did or said isn't being necessarily accused of being an evil racist. We know these things, but we forget them. We forget them because racism and sexism themselves are evil in some sense, they hurt people and they badly hurt many individual people. It's the most natural thing in the world to respond viscerally and strongly to things we identify as racist and sexist. And, in doing so, to associate the people who say and do those things with being "bad people".

But I think the overwhelming majority of people here aren't bad people. (Or, to the degree to which many of us arguably are, we're probably "bad" in ways that aren't so easily marked and categorized.) A few people may demonstrate through their long histories that they are, indeed, hateful people who intend harm to many others on the basis of identity. But most are just people, right about some things and wrong about others, high-minded and petty, kind and cruel, who have good days and bad days. If we resist the impulse to diagnose bad character on the basis of a few traits (about which we're often idiosyncratically sensitive because of our individual personal histories) and give people the benefit of the doubt, occasionally we'll be letting an asshole off the hook. Often, though, we'll find that people surprise us positively.

There's a specific person in this thread with whom I had a personal conflict with of such an intensity that I abstracted that person into ... I don't know, a kind of caricature? But a comment in this thread has deeply surprised me and forced a re-evaluation and I'm reminded that people are complicated. We have conflicts for complicated reasons that are products of specific times and places and we are far too quick to rush to eternal judgments on their basis. A different person with whom I had a conflict with in the past memailed me with a nice, kind, and complimentary memail because of this thread.

It may seem like I've gone afield from talking about mansplaining, but I haven't. Because while I think that all these abstracted things are very useful and real, and I'm certainly not arguing that we should throw them out because they're difficult and complicated, I am arguing that we should be careful with these abstractions because it's so damn easy for us to allow these abstractions to stand in the place of actual, living individual human beings who are complicated like ourselves and usually no better and no worse than ourselves.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 7:04 PM on August 16, 2012 [14 favorites]


Holy crap, giant thread.

While this is not really the discussion happening, and the linked post is not the best example (or even, necessarily an example)...uhhh, I do feel that MetaFilter conversations often tolerate or ignore misandry, and that some of the more visible flavors of feminism here do routinely include ideas or attitudes I personally find toxic.

I've gotten the sense that, as the site grows and discusses feminism more, those attitudes have been less well received, though. This post from May is a good recentish example of that, I think; the original article is kind of a by the numbers lazy theory feminism post, and enough people in the thread were apparently exhausted enough of that to have a pretty good discussion instead of drawing battle lines or shouting in the echo chamber. There kind of is still some of that there, but I remain hopeful.
posted by byanyothername at 7:31 PM on August 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think some good things are coming out of this thread. I am not completely settled on what to do in the next thread that appears, but I guess I'll feel my way through it keeping the comments here in mind, and hope for the best.

Like for the creepy dudes thread I saw a thread via popurls on Reddit (of all places) just now, where Joseph Gordon Levitt says of the character he plays in 500 days of summer:
The (500) Days of Summer attitude of “He wants you so bad” seems attractive to some women and men, especially younger ones, but I would encourage anyone who has a crush on my character to watch it again and examine how selfish he is. He develops a mildly delusional obsession over a girl onto whom he projects all these fantasies. He thinks she’ll give his life meaning because he doesn’t care about much else going on in his life. A lot of boys and girls think their lives will have meaning if they find a partner who wants nothing else in life but them. That’s not healthy. That’s falling in love with the idea of a person, not the actual person.
And in the thread, currently the top response is a guy reacting to that and saying he's been acting that way, and he now gets that he should stop. So normally, that would be a great thing to link to, right. The Problem is male behavior - here is a guy explaining male behavior in a way that clearly has had an effect on guys who are exhibiting what is basically a form of creepy behavior. And it is propelled by the media. I was alluding to things like that in the thread, linking videos and scripts, which is standard Metafilter behavior, but it was not well received at all. My thought process is the same thing - the problem is male behavior, I recognize some of the influences that lead people to have these warped and creepy conceptions of how to be, I can point that out and then I or anyone else who reads it can essentially see right through a creepy person's personality and call it what it is, hopefully reaching current creeps and creeps in the making/choosing. I never shouted down any women, I never said women's experiences were invalid or that it was their fault or anything like that at all. But in some of these threads this pretty typically fine metafilter behavior is causing a problem.

I admire the mods here and marvel at their ability to solve problems and work through things without trying to paint a big black and white line, so I know this is a complex thing that is going on. I like posting things about sexism and discrimination, especially since I come across a lot of research and helpful information. I'm just trying to get a better handle on navigating these waters. Perhaps it would work best to post things and make it explicit that it is directed at guys, who are perhaps more receptive to this sort of thing. I don't know. I know there is no consensus, and each thread will be different. I'm again posting in good faith. I'm just trying to come up with some workable ideas between typical metafilter posting and 'just listening' mode so that this doesn't continue to aggravate people in what is already typically a contentious thread.

I'd love to hear from moderators on this issue if you have feelings one way or another.
posted by cashman at 7:56 PM on August 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


Perhaps it would work best to post things and make it explicit that it is directed at guys, who are perhaps more receptive to this sort of thing.

This will not work out the way it might in an ideal world. Any attempt to say "this person should read this, that person shouldn't" not only doesn't do a damned thing, it irritates just about everyone and is edging rather close to editorializing besides.

I appreciate what you're trying to do here, cashman, but you're running afoul of the often-problematic goal-oriented post type. This doesn't lead to the best posts, and it very often leads to frustration on the part of the mods, the OP, and often everyone else. If someone is saying something interesting about an interesting topic, feel free to share it on that basis, but if someone is saying that you think people ought to read so that they can become better people, please step back and consider that you're not really approaching it in the most successful way.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 8:16 PM on August 16, 2012


Ok. Thanks!
posted by cashman at 8:20 PM on August 16, 2012


There's a specific person in this thread with whom I had a personal conflict with of such an intensity that I abstracted that person into ... I don't know, a kind of caricature? But a comment in this thread has deeply surprised me and forced a re-evaluation and I'm reminded that people are complicated.

I agree, cortex has come a long way.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:19 PM on August 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


cashman: if you had a blog where you tried to work these things out in your own head and inviting others to dialogue, I would read it (and maybe participate). I think proactive approaches are good for metabolising huge, emotion-driving topics like this and would love to see it in progress.
posted by batmonkey at 9:43 PM on August 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


I keep finding myself in MetaTalk threads in the last few months arguing that a majority of bad outcomes in discursive situations such as these arise from people jumping to negative conclusions about someone's character on the basis of slim evidence....the problem is that this hasty process of determining who our enemies are is an error-prone process which wrongly identifies friends as foes.

Well, your aim in saying this is honorable, but I do think you might need to allow for the fact that the evidence isn't always slim. I don't know if you lurked while you were away, but often folks in these threads are familiar characters to one another, more often than you may realize, and they may have engaged in lots of dialogue, even privately, which you may have missed in your absence. I don't think what you're seeing is really leaping to bad faith as often as it may seem, simply because you are approaching some of these more recent interactions with a blanker slate for either or both individuals. It's kind of like being a kid in the 80s and saying "US, Russia, we're all human, why can't we just get along?" Sometimes it may be pure leaping to assumptions, but I can think of at least one case where you seemed to think people were just being needlessly rude, but there was a lot of backstory you just may not have been privy to, and that may have made it seem like an utterly irrational scenario of personality nastiness, when there was more water under the bridge than that.

At meetups and over the years I've often found that people whose views I really disagree with and find odious can seem to be decent, quite likable people in many of their dimensions and can be friends, even, to a certain degree, or at least friendly. I think that's a fairly normal experience and has helped to humanize a lot of site relations; even though I haven't met everyone, generalizing from even a few of those experiences makes the strong case that not everyone who acts like an ass online is an ass all the time and to all people.

But I still can't say it's always "bad faith" to strenuously object to thinking which, to me, seems odious. Sometimes it's reasonable, but it doesn't mean, for all of us, that we hate people or turn them into "foes." But when you've been around the barn with a specific user a few times, and find that they continue to rebuff or smugly dismiss a certain number of earnest attempts to communicate or pursue dialogue, it's fair to be a little shorter with them next time around.
posted by Miko at 10:10 PM on August 16, 2012 [15 favorites]


"But I still can't say it's always 'bad faith' to strenuously object to thinking which, to me, seems odious. Sometimes it's reasonable, but it doesn't mean, for all of us, that we hate people or turn them into 'foes.' But when you've been around the barn with a specific user a few times, and find that they continue to rebuff or smugly dismiss a certain number of earnest attempts to communicate or pursue dialogue, it's fair to be a little shorter with them next time around."

I pretty much agree with you. Somewhere in this I'm trying to make a distinction between combating a specific bad behavior (even a history of bad behavior) and the tendency to step away from another person's complex humanity and decide that they're a bad person.

I'm not in the least arguing that we oughtn't contest and oppose bad behavior wherever and whenever. I am arguing, though, that even when there's a history of bad behavior it's simplistic and self-serving to feel very certain that someone is a bad person — because that negative judgment about their character has all sorts of practical consequences that go far beyond simply contesting and opposing their bad behavior. It has a very strong influence on how we, ourselves, behave — and almost never to the better, but usually to the worse.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 10:42 PM on August 16, 2012


Behaving well and at least courteously towards people I disagree with online, even people whose behavior feels personally reprehensible, people toward whom I feel strong, deep, serious negative feelings, has the extraordinary benefit of making me feel better about myself, about my own capacity for generosity and self-control. Most often this exercise of self-control takes the form of refraining from comment, but sometimes it's an effect on my tone, my diction, my effort to avoid attack or defense and instead look for whatever common human stuff I might share with whoever it is who upsets me. There's usually something, usually more than I like to admit.

It's also much easier to practice this sort of fellow-feeling empathy in the low-stakes arena of an online community. The worst I can experience is hurt feelings; the worst damage I can do is to hurt other people's feelings. And my own choices about how I speak, what I say, who I say it to, all those sorts of choices can have practical consequences in terms of not hurting other people's feelings. I can practice being a better person in a practical way here. It's sort of wonderful.
posted by cgc373 at 11:05 PM on August 16, 2012 [11 favorites]


> Again, not telling you how to do your jobs. I've never ran a site like this, probably never will, and know nothing about the nuts-and-bolts of it.

If you don't know anything at all about how to run a site like this or how the moderators do their jobs, what was all that about where you gave all the examples of where you would have done things differently?
posted by desuetude at 12:20 AM on August 17, 2012

But I have seen moderators make decisions (mostly involving comment deletions) based on their own personal values and perceived values of the community. I dunno, maybe y'all need to make decisions like that to keep the piece. It's your job, not mine, I ain't gonna tell you how to do it.
How else is any mod, not just here, going to make decisions other than on "their own personal values and perceived values of the community"? Other than banning straight up spammers, there will always be a subjective element involved.
Another thing that strikes me as weird is how the mods here will weigh in on topical/opinionated discussions. I don't think it's weird or bad or unkosher or anything, but if I ran a site like this, I'd probably try to avoid it. Whether you like it or not, when a mod says something, it always carries extra weight. Especially when the mods are as visible as they are here.
It strikes me as one of the things that make this place great, that the mods in general behave just like other users and carry their modness lightly, so to speak. I never get the impression that a cortex or a taz or whoever speak as mods in any discussion, except when they're acting within their remit. For me, the difference between when they're speaking in their official capacity and when they're just shooting the breeze like the rest of us has always been clear.
posted by MartinWisse at 1:19 AM on August 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


...uhhh, I do feel that MetaFilter conversations often tolerate or ignore misandry

Gretchen, stop trying to make fetch happen! It's not going to happen.
posted by running order squabble fest at 2:04 AM on August 17, 2012 [17 favorites]


I would personally be very comfortable with people calling out misandry when they see it. Even though it rankles a little bit to have to set the example all the time or be called a hypocrite, and even though getting combatively legalistic about all following the same new rules is sort of a classic response to having to change behavior, it's fair to expect people committed to egalitarianism to join you in condemning misandry.

The only thing I've seen raised that seems to warrant examination as a complaint of misandry here is the word "mansplain." I admit that I personally find the term "mansplain" a funny coinage that resonates quite a bit with my own experiences in communication, and, as Ivan F said, does describe a real communications phenomenon which is well established in gender studies research, I can also see how it strikes people as offensive, and many feminists agree about that. IT may be one of the terms that's really not appropriate in well-meaning discourse. I'd be just as happy to describe that particular phenomenon using more specific words.

What I can't do is ignore the phenomenon of speech and communication patterns that arise from male privilege, and avoid calling that sort of thing out, though. oticing or discussing the phenomenon isn't misandry. But using a word like "mansplain" can conceivably be, because it assumes that this is a particularly male way of speaking that all men do habitually, a characteristic shared by all men which one can expect men to regularly do, and that's not true in my experience. Some men never do it.
posted by Miko at 5:53 AM on August 17, 2012 [14 favorites]


Yeah mansplain is one of those words that if we see people using it in AskMe we'll often axe it the way we'd try to axe other sexist non-contributive responses. I agree that while i can sometimes find it amusing or illustrative personally, it overgeneralizes in a way that doesn't work in a larger "you know we're not all friends here and share the same assumptions" context that it might otherwise.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:54 AM on August 17, 2012


I keep thinking we need some new portmanteau with "bloviate" and some other word that implies talking over people. "Filibuster" maybe?
posted by Karmakaze at 7:02 AM on August 17, 2012


Amusingly, "bluster" is already a portmanteau of those.
posted by gilrain at 7:05 AM on August 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


Trigger warning: I was mansplaining the tone argument because of my privilege.
posted by gman at 7:09 AM on August 17, 2012 [7 favorites]


I still hope "mansplay" catches on. That's the term to describe the behavior of some guys on public transportation who sit with their legs thrown wide apart, taking up most of a bus or train seat.
posted by Drastic at 7:14 AM on August 17, 2012 [15 favorites]


I keep thinking we need some new portmanteau with "bloviate" and some other word that implies talking over people. "Filibuster" maybe?

If you liked mainsplain, you'll love broviate.
posted by Forktine at 7:25 AM on August 17, 2012 [37 favorites]


I still hope "mansplay" catches on. That's the term to describe the behavior of some guys on public transportation who sit with their legs thrown wide apart, taking up most of a bus or train seat.
posted by Drastic at 3:14 PM on August 17 [+] [!]

I thought the word for that was "Tall" (or even just average height, but thats two words).
posted by Reggie Knoble at 7:32 AM on August 17, 2012


I still hope "mansplay" catches on. That's the term to describe the behavior of some guys on public transportation who sit with their legs thrown wide apart, taking up most of a bus or train seat.

I always describe this as 'Holy jeez, my testicles are so large my legs don't work correctly, sorry everyone on the train!'

The same way whenever I hear some jackass revving his engine I say aloud 'I'll bet his penis is really big!'
posted by shakespeherian at 7:34 AM on August 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


When I was crossing 6th avenue the other day some douchebag in an SUV was rolling into the crosswalk trying to make his SUPER IMPORTANT RIGHT TURN TO GET TO THAT RED LIGHT OMG and was revving his engine over and over and over until I turned to him and screamed OH MY GOD YOUR PENIS MUST BE FUCKING IMMENSE. I am not sure he heard me over the revving of his penis but it certainly made me feel better.
posted by elizardbits at 7:42 AM on August 17, 2012 [7 favorites]


What would you have said if it was a woman?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:43 AM on August 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


I thought the word for that was "Tall" (or even just average height, but thats two words).

Yeah I think it is a mix. I think some people do it intentionally, but for me and others, you do it because it hurts otherwise to sit in cramped spaces. My kingdom for aisles on a plane wide enough that I can leave my leg out there without a cart drive by. That shit hurts.
posted by cashman at 7:44 AM on August 17, 2012


I am not sure he heard me over the revving of his penis but it certainly made me feel better.

Twist ending: he was speeding to the hospital in order to treat a serious case of priapism.
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:44 AM on August 17, 2012 [8 favorites]


Oh, no, it's not that they're just tall. Men and women differ in their use of space and their expectations for how they are allowed to behave in space. It's well documented.
Men are more conservative in facial movement and body contact. However, they do tend to be unreserved in sitting styles: sprawling, stretching and spreading out. The intensity level for women drops for the sitting position -- they tend to draw in, keeping arms and legs close to their bodies....The goal for men, however, depends upon the task. Want to appear in charge? Use the body to control the discussion space.
Men take up space, lots of space. They’re taught to spread arms and legs all over the place, make wide gestures, power through crowds. They’re taught to expect everyone to get out of their way and be affronted when that doesn’t happen.
One way to indicate acceptance of one's place and deference to those of superior status is to follow the rules of "personal space." Sommer has observed that dominant animals and human beings have a larger envelope of inviolability surrounding them -- i.e., they are approached less closely -- than those of lower status.18 Various authors have subsequently shown that this rule applies between men and women, with women both having smaller personal space than men and tending to yield space to men when the two sexes come into proximity.19 And women's time, like their space, can be invaded readily.
I don't have time to search up more links, but gendered communication also takes in the use of the body in space and the messages it tends to send. There's also an underlying confidence, which might arise from the widely mutually supported sense of group dominance we call "privilege," that the person taking up excess space is entitled to take up that space.

My family is full of tall people - my father is 6'3", my brother 6'4", I have a cousin who's actually 6'7". I grew up around these folks. They are polite. They don't get on a subway or bus and extend their feet into the aisles and their arms along the seat backs, even though they are tall and even though they definitely feel crunched sometimes. They don't do that because they were raised with a basic level of respect for others and the need to share resources. So that theory just doesn't stand up to even anecdotal experience: just one tall person behaving respectfully disproves the necessity of "mansprawl."
posted by Miko at 7:48 AM on August 17, 2012 [49 favorites]


for me and others, you do it because it hurts otherwise to sit in cramped spaces

"Excuse me, do you mind if I stretch my legs out there?"
posted by Miko at 7:49 AM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


whenever I hear some jackass revving his engine I say aloud 'I'll bet his penis is really big!'

I think I first heard this back in the 80s on an Ellen Degeneres standup bit: yelling at people like that "Sorry about your PEEENNNISS!"
posted by Miko at 7:51 AM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


I hope people on the planes I'm on don't think I'm doing that. Because I am in pain. I just take it if someone has to sit next to me, or if I'm on a plane. But I'm saying that I'm sure plenty of people assume something horrible, when in actuality, it is pain.

Like I said before in my reply, I think it's a mix. And certainly for me I am not doing any of those things.
posted by cashman at 7:53 AM on August 17, 2012


Oh, no, it's not that they're just tall. Men and women differ in their use of space and their expectations for how they are allowed to behave in space. It's well documented.

That's awesome Miko.

I really think it's more than just people being in pain. Catch the Tube. You'll see fairly short guys doing it. You'll see guys leaning their arms over the armrests onto your side of the armrest, when they really don't need to (even on those sweet new trains on the Jubilee Line that are made for contemporary bodies and so the seats are much wider than on the old trains).
posted by Infinite Jest at 7:56 AM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Like I said before in my reply, I think it's a mix. And certainly for me I am not doing any of those things.

Right, possibly not, which is why I just implied that if you need to do that, and you might, it is good to just ask permission before you encroach on people's spaces. "Do you mind" is fine. I fly a lot and people do this all the time - when they want to use/share the seatrest, kick their seat back, put their legs out. Those people are really respectful and gracious and it would be nice for others to be equally considerate, not assume they all have the right to as much space as they can bully themselves into by fiat.

Flying is uncomfortable for everyone, and we all do what we can to endure it, but a little simple politeness goes a long way to indicating that you don't expect everyone else to make themselves even more uncomfortable so you can be a little less uncomfortable.
posted by Miko at 8:00 AM on August 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh I "close up" as soon as anyone needs or is near the space I'm in. I never recline my chair on a flight, because I know how annoying and painful it is for the person (like me) behind you. It never even gets to the "be polite" point because I just withstand the pain and "close up" almost immediately.
posted by cashman at 8:05 AM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


My favourite is when a foot magically appears halfway up my armrest when I'm in the window seat on a plane. And I'm not using "favourite" sarcastically, unless of course I don't happen to have any ice left in my drink that I can place between their toes.
posted by gman at 8:05 AM on August 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Miko: "My family is full of tall people - my father is 6'3", my brother 6'4", I have a cousin who's actually 6'7". I grew up around these folks. They are polite. They don't get on a subway or bus and extend their feet into the aisles and their arms along the seat backs, even though they are tall and even though they definitely feel crunched sometimes. They don't do that because they were raised with a basic level of respect for others and the need to share resources. So that theory just doesn't stand up to even anecdotal experience: just one tall person behaving respectfully disproves the necessity of "mansprawl.""

Yeah, just as a data point, I'm 6'3" and generally try to compact myself into as small a space as possible when sitting on the subway or bus -- if I'm even sitting at all. I usually stand. But when sitting, I don't sprawl. That's in part because I try to be cognizant of my personal space and want to be polite, but also because I don't particularly like strangers touching or leaning against me.

Or in some cases, sleeping on me. :P
posted by zarq at 8:25 AM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Infinite Jest: " Catch the Tube. You'll see fairly short guys doing it."

I wonder if it's also a cultural thing.
posted by zarq at 8:34 AM on August 17, 2012


Funny, for me the mark of dominant asshole isn't sitting with legs stretched out, but sitting with them wide apart, as if they need the entire subway bench for their balls.

I've talked to my husband about this and he assures me that it doesn't actually hurt one's balls to sit with one's knees closer together. I mean, it's more comfortable to spread 'em, but it is for me, too (I've always had ample thighs, even when I was a kid). But little girls are taught that it's rude/crass to sit with one's legs spread apart.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:36 AM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I've always thought of that behaviour as Crystal Ball Syndrome.
posted by peppermind at 8:52 AM on August 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


Metafilter: I am not sure he heard me over the revving of his penis but it certainly made me feel better.
posted by gjc at 8:55 AM on August 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


I've ridden a lot of public transit and been on airplanes and whatnot, and I agree that the jerky guys are the ones who invade your space as if they're entitled to it. There's no "Oh, sorry," or "Do you mind if..". There's just "I'm going to press my thigh against yours because my balls are SO HUGE LOOK HOW MANLY I AM.

Once I, ah, accidentally whacked a guy in the head with my backpack as I was getting off the bus - he was sitting in the outer of the two seats, legs spread all over the place, and when I said "'scuse me" and stood up as my stop was approaching he just sighed and kind of turned sideways rather than standing up and getting out of the way. Oops, backpack.
posted by rtha at 8:55 AM on August 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


There's a load of reasons why small guys would try to make themselves look bigger & taller than they are. To categorise it as simple dickish behaviour is pretty unempathic. Unfortunately, explaining those reasons here will seem like a "white mans tears" derail. You can put my reticence down to a desire not to be shouted at again by the more right-on members of metafilter.
posted by zoo at 9:03 AM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Umm. It's not about balls, it's about the shape of the thighs and butt (at least in my case). Big dudes on little seats have a tough time "keeping it together" - feet together, we wind up brushing knees (skeeves me out), knees together, and I'm playing footsy as the feet spread out (likewise.)

I once considered buying a sleeping bag strap to bind my legs together at the knees on the train. Instead I got to the train station a half hour early to be the first one to snag one of the little "solo seats" at the end of the car. (I was the last stop each way, so it worked.) I was crammed in there pretty good, but it beat trying to avoid invading someone else's bench space.

Skinny little guys sitting all akimbo? Yeah, they're airing out the junk.
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:06 AM on August 17, 2012


There are lots of valid reasons for wanting to sit with wide-open thighs and take up more than one subway seat, but unfortunately none of them trump the social norm that it's one fucking seat per person.
posted by prefpara at 9:06 AM on August 17, 2012 [26 favorites]


That's a handy way to win an argument without even stating a case.
posted by gilrain at 9:06 AM on August 17, 2012


That was in response to zoo.
posted by gilrain at 9:06 AM on August 17, 2012


Stupid patriarchy works to mess this up as well. I have been told (in the past week, no less) I'm not being manly enough if I'm being cognizant of the space needs of others. That I am cowering. Man our society sucks sometimes.

Gygesringtone's comment above, is right on: "There is a crap load of ways society lets me know that I'm bucking the norms for the culture: dirty looks from Moms at story time at the library; friendly mockery; the praise for being so confident in my manliness (or something) that I'm willing to diminish it by doing work that women would normally do; etc."
posted by cashman at 9:12 AM on August 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


There's a load of reasons why small guys would try to make themselves look bigger & taller than they are. To categorise it as simple dickish behaviour is pretty unempathic.

So what are those reasons, then, when the guy is sitting next to a woman smaller than him, or a kid? Because I've been on the receiving end of that kind of thing from guys of all sizes; if they're four years old, I give them a break, and likewise if they've said "Oh sorry" or "Do you mind if..." If you are a small guy sitting next to someone who you don't need or want to intimidate or otherwise warn off, there's really no excuse for it. Being someone who wants to appear bigger for whatever reason does not mean you have to be rude or impolite, either.

I am an ordinary-size female who is not terribly intimidating, physically, and who is also not terribly impressed by alpha-dog-type body language from anyone.
posted by rtha at 9:18 AM on August 17, 2012


I have been told (in the past week, no less) I'm not being manly enough if I'm being cognizant of the space needs of others. That I am cowering.

Yeah, it's a pain in the ass. The way to look at that (as someone who has spent some time thinking and talking about posture in public as a safety issue) is that it's critical to know what you are doing when you are doing it. If you are unconsciously stepping all over other people's space, or unconsciously pulling yourself in and flinching away, in both cases you may be causing reactions in the people around you that you did not intend and do not want. If you are conscious of the behaviors, you can decide moment-to-moment whether you need to be big and appear like a poor target or be small and respectful of other people's space.

This applies to men and women, although the outcomes in any individual situation might differ.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 9:19 AM on August 17, 2012 [10 favorites]


On the "guys spread out on seats on public transit so they can show off their massive balls" argument:

It's more comfortable to spread out. It's also rude, since space on public transit is, by definition, communal, and spreading out lays claim to more of that space than is appropriate.

But, I think if we're going to generalize, our generalization ought to stop with "it's rude," rather than continue to "it's rude and it's about guys showing off their balls," since it's likely that the guys who spread out like that on subway or train seats do so whether anyone else is there or not.

Also, at least in my experience, the "taking up more space than is socially appropriate on public transit" thing is pretty typical behavior of both women and men. I would agree that a man is much more likely to manifest this behavior by sprawling with legs apart than a woman is. Seeing a woman do that would be quite uncommon.
posted by MoonOrb at 9:22 AM on August 17, 2012


Well I don't have my arms spread all over the place but I do have to sit with my legs apart becasue the distance betwen the front of the seat I am sitting on and the back of the seat ahead is shorter than the length of my femurs (on most public transport and in the back of all the cars people in my socioeconomic bracket can afford).
posted by Reggie Knoble at 9:22 AM on August 17, 2012


Umm. It's not about balls, it's about the shape of the thighs and butt (at least in my case). Big dudes on little seats have a tough time "keeping it together" - feet together, we wind up brushing knees (skeeves me out), knees together, and I'm playing footsy as the feet spread out (likewise.)

Do you think the same isn't true for women? Because it is. We have thighs and butts too. We usually have more thighs and butts! But we're taught from the time we're like, four, that ladies don't sit with their legs spread apart . The key is to put your feet hip-width apart and your knees directly over them. It's not super comfy, but it keeps all feets and knees in the right place. And, apparently, it keeps us from liking like we're extending a sexual invitation. Which is really a big part of what it's all about, I suspect.

(I don't think it's literally about "showing off" one's balls. It's just how it looks.)

It might be more about "women are taught to sit in certain ways and to take up as little space as possible and men aren't." I think MoonOrb is right--men sit that way whether people are around them or not.

Which is precisely what makes it rude. It's rude not to think of the spatial needs of others on a crowded subway car, to use that space as if you're alone. Women are socialized from a really young age to take such things into account; from the sounds of it, men are socialized to flaunt that to assert one's claim/manliness.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:30 AM on August 17, 2012 [21 favorites]


It's not about balls, it's about the shape of the thighs and butt (at least in my case). Big dudes on little seats have a tough time "keeping it together" - feet together, we wind up brushing knees (skeeves me out), knees together, and I'm playing footsy as the feet spread out (likewise.)

Nothing about this is different for women. I always had a hard time with the "keep legs and ankles together; don't prop an ankle on your knee; cross your ankles, not your knees" prescriptive behavior I was taught as a girl. It's not comfortable. Sitting with your legs spread to either side is more comfortable for everyone - unless it means you're taking up the space allotted for someone else. In those scenarios, you have to pull yourself in - knees, feet, and all - to be polite, no matter what's more comfortable for your own thighs and butt. There's no difference for men and women on that.

Basically I can't think of any physiological reason why men need to have more lax standards for respectful public behavior in use of space than women.
posted by Miko at 9:31 AM on August 17, 2012 [9 favorites]


There's a load of reasons why small guys would try to make themselves look bigger & taller than they are.

Most of the people however were talking about big guys using up all the space and then some, no?

Anyway, yeah, who cares about the why. It's rude, and men, because of the society we live in, are less socialized to be considerate of others in a public area.

Happily, many many men are aware of this and keep their bodies to themselves! Yay those guys!
posted by gaspode at 9:32 AM on August 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


> But I think the overwhelming majority of people here aren't bad people.

furiousxgeorge for instance, unless he was some kind of jeckyll/hyde personality who was completely different in memail, which I can't see, from what he was out in the public threads, which I can.


> That's why keeping silent is the safest course of action.

I do my very best to avoid man- and straight- and cis- and whitesplaining by just smiling to myself and keeping my 'splanations locked up in my little ole heart. I grant I have slipped up on that now and then but hope to have no slipups whatever in the future. It helps to remember that the range of attitudes seen here has shrunk to a minuscule--microscopic!-- subset of the range available on the site earlier, let alone in the wider world. Entertain the larger view!
posted by jfuller at 9:45 AM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you are a normal sized person of any gender (and normal in this case is "not a pro basketball player") and you are sitting starfished in the centre seat on a three seat row on a crowded train, then you are a moron and a douchebag, especially when you act super put-upon when people ask you to sit like a human being and make room for others. See also: women who refuse to hold their huge hobo purses in their lap and use up an adjoining seat instead. But yes, I've noticed a disproportionate number of the starfishers are dudes.
posted by elizardbits at 9:49 AM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


img
posted by infini at 9:53 AM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


In the interests in fairness, the huge hobo purse thing, which pushing aside draws glares as if you are the very boot of the patriarchy stamping on women forever, is also problematic. And while both genders have examples of it, the Perfumed Stinking Cloud Aura does seem to be more of a woman thing in the public transport context. And there's no way to push that aside.

Basically, from an egalitarian sort of view, the problem is other people.
posted by Drastic at 9:54 AM on August 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Trust me, lots of guys do the Perfumed Stinking Cloud Aura thing too. I used to have a neighbour who used so much cologne, I could smell it in the hallway ten minutes after he'd left the building. He was a great guy, but living there nearly killed my sense of smell.
posted by peppermind at 9:59 AM on August 17, 2012


Giant hobo purses ARGHHHH. And also people who don't take their backpacks or messenger bags off when getting on a crowded bus or train. I noticed this particularly when I moved to San Francisco; in DC, it seemed to be common for passengers to removed the bulky bag and let it dangle down by their knees or rest between their feet (minding the strap so no one trips on it). Here, people leave their bags on, which effectively makes them two-people thick and also accidentally hits lots of people in the head.

Then there was the time the guy was smoking crack on the bus - but he was polite and blew his smoke out the window! the day the skunk tried to get on the 49 at Market and Van Ness was another banner day in Muniland.
posted by rtha at 10:00 AM on August 17, 2012 [7 favorites]


There should be some kind of device required for those people that only disperses a small set amount of their chosen scent per 24h period. Maybe linked to their bank account so if they try to use it twice in one day they have to pay a $100 fine. Or some large surly thug comes to their house and punches them in the stomach.
posted by elizardbits at 10:02 AM on August 17, 2012


Our housemate is a big fan of some sort of scent - I don't know if it's a lotion or a perfume, or both. But our cat Yorvit, who spends a lot of time upstairs in our housemate's space, frequently smells like this perfume/lotion, as if he's just come from a spa or something.
posted by rtha at 10:09 AM on August 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


I observe the "men taking up more space" thing every day. I ride a parking shuttle that ferries students (and the rest of us) around a large university campus. Many of the rides on my line are in the Greek system - heading to their frat/sorority houses in the late afternoon.

The young women get on and sit two to a row, facing forward. The young men get on, sit one to a row, sprawled sideways, knees splayed, with their legs in the aisle. In the cases I see, it is obvious it has very little to do with seat size or height of the men, and has everything to do with the expected behaviors of their subculture.

And I really wouldn't give a shit, except they leave their legs in the aisle and expect the rest of us to step over them (I guess) which is real ass-wipe behavior.
posted by Squeak Attack at 10:13 AM on August 17, 2012


zoo: "There's a load of reasons why small guys would try to make themselves look bigger & taller than they are. To categorise it as simple dickish behaviour is pretty unempathic."

Insecurity is not a reasonable excuse for rudeness, no matter what body shape someone is.
posted by zarq at 10:18 AM on August 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


When a female driver is displaying unfriendly behavior I make fun of her tits and infertile gonads.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:23 AM on August 17, 2012 [7 favorites]


it is obvious it has very little to do with seat size or height of the men, and has everything to do with the expected behaviors of their subculture.

Well, you know, two guys could fit side by side in a two-seat row, but if you sit that close to another dude while there are still other open seats, people might think you're gay or something. #thehorror
posted by Miko at 10:23 AM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


rtha: "Giant hobo purses ARGHHHH"

The worst is when someone carrying one traverses the length of the bus, blithely decapitating everyone sitting on the aisle. A few days ago, I watched someone's bag come towards me, smacking everyone in the head. As she passed, I raised my forearm, deflecting the big leather bag o' crap away, off her arm and onto the floor.

She was pissed off. Shit happens. She'll know better next time.
posted by zarq at 10:26 AM on August 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


Well, you know, two guys could fit side by side in a two-seat row, but if you sit that close to another dude while there are still other open seats, people might think you're gay or something. #thehorror

As a tall and broad shouldered guy, I literally can't get much smaller. City buses are awful. I usually can't sit in a single seat, they just aren't large enough. This why I prefer to sit next to a slim person, as I can hopefully use some of their space without being obnoxious about it. The best way to do this is to sit on the inside, near the window, so they don't feel closed in. When sitting next to a large person, be it man or woman, we usually just have to grimace through it.

Armrest wise, I thought it was just an unspoken rule to use half of it, unless the other person isn't using it all. If it's a long trip and you take the whole armrest, that's ok for a while, but then you swivel your arm in, so just your elbow is resting on it and let the other person have some armrest time if they need or want it. All of this is done silently, has anyone else noticed this?

The spread legs thing is annoying, but just one of those territorial things that happen when strangers are in close quarters.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:27 AM on August 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Insecurity is not a reasonable excuse for rudeness, no matter what body shape someone is.
posted by zarq at 6:18 PM on August 17 [1 favorite +] [!]


What if it was closer to fear than insecurity?

Smaller humans taking steps with their body language and demeanor to avoid looking weak and victim like in the presence of larger humans comes up quite a bit here and usually in a positive light.
posted by Reggie Knoble at 10:29 AM on August 17, 2012


Maybe 10 years ago a friend of mine posted a long thing in her LJ about women being socialized to take up as little space as possible, figuratively and literally. Ever since then I've tried to be aware of when I'm doing that--scrunching up for no reason but a kneejerk socialized response, slinking away, giving people I'm walking past enormously wide berths for no real reason, etc. I did it all the time! It's been kind of gratifying to unlearn some of that. Obviously I don't shove people or invade space, I just don't give up mine before it's even necessary or whatever first, just out of some weird sense of feminized duty. This is especially great at packed shows where because I'm 5'2 I used to pretty much get squashed and never see anything. Now when people do that subtle gradual "encroach on your personal space little by little until they're in front of you somehow" thing I stand my ground, not combatively but just yeah, like hey, I'm here just like you (and hey, I was here 20 minutes earlier than anyone else because I'm a huge dork and oh god, I drove 9 hours to this city to see Codeine! so that's why I'm at the front of the stage anyway), and I don't have those problems anymore. Useful stuff.
posted by ifjuly at 10:31 AM on August 17, 2012 [11 favorites]


What if it was closer to fear than insecurity?

Smaller humans taking steps with their body language and demeanor to avoid looking weak and victim like in the presence of larger humans comes up quite a bit here and usually in a positive light.


That would be a perfectly reasonable point if we were discussing any situation remotely like that.
posted by MoonOrb at 10:39 AM on August 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


Reggie Knoble: " What if it was closer to fear than insecurity?

I'm unconvinced that fear is a reasonable excuse for rudeness when it comes to assuming a posture that deliberately infringes on someone else's space if they are not infringing on yours to begin with, and not being threatening or aggressive in any way towards you.

Smaller humans taking steps with their body language and demeanor to avoid looking weak and victim like in the presence of larger humans comes up quite a bit here and usually in a positive light."

Context matters. Being rude to someone because you feel cornered and threatened by someone else's aggressive or threatening speech or behavior is a hell of a different situation than sitting like a starfish on the subway simply because can.
posted by zarq at 10:40 AM on August 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


....because "you" can.
posted by zarq at 10:41 AM on August 17, 2012


Then there was the time the guy was smoking crack on the bus - but he was polite and blew his smoke out the window! the day the skunk tried to get on the 49 at Market and Van Ness was another banner day in Muniland.

You know it's too hot in Texas when this comment can make me actually yearn to be home in The City.
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:44 AM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


That would be a perfectly reasonable point if we were discussing any situation remotely like that.
posted by MoonOrb at 6:39 PM on August 17 [1 favorite +] [!]


Zarq was responding to Zoo who said:

There's a load of reasons why small guys would try to make themselves look bigger & taller than they are.

It wasn't a narrowly defined situation at all.
posted by Reggie Knoble at 10:44 AM on August 17, 2012


"Giant hobo purses ARGHHHH"

Not having heard "hobo purse" before, that ARGHHHH made me look through the thread to see if had something to do with hobo SPIDERS. Hobo spiders carrying purses? In purses? Purses full of hobo spiders?
posted by small_ruminant at 10:51 AM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


What if it was closer to fear than insecurity?

Smaller humans taking steps with their body language and demeanor to avoid looking weak and victim like in the presence of larger humans comes up quite a bit here and usually in a positive light.


Most women are, on average, smaller than most men. And yet the stories about the spread-legged-arm-sprawing public transit riders are mostly about men.
posted by rtha at 10:52 AM on August 17, 2012 [6 favorites]


Reggie Knoble: " It wasn't a narrowly defined situation at all."

Sure it is. We're specifically speaking of a situation where a guy (presumably short) is sitting with his arms and legs spread akimbo, so that they are either pressing up against the person sitting next to them or forcing said person to compress into a smaller space to avoid personal contact.

I hope you're not trying to apply my comment to all possible situations where a short person might try to increase perception of their size, since that's obviously not the context in which my reply was made.
posted by zarq at 10:54 AM on August 17, 2012


me : Again, not telling you how to do your jobs. I've never ran a site like this, probably never will, and know nothing about the nuts-and-bolts of it.

desuetude : If you don't know anything at all about how to run a site like this or how the moderators do their jobs, what was all that about where you gave all the examples of where you would have done things differently?


Totally a specious argument on your part.

If I were the President, I would not nuke Iran.
If I ran a powerful corporation, I would not dump toxic waste on unsuspecting villagers.
If I were Superman, I would use my powers for good and not evil.

If I were a moderator on a site where people regularly had vicious arguments about sensitive issues, I'd probably hesitate to take a public stand.
posted by Afroblanco at 10:59 AM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sure it is. We're specifically speaking of a situation where a guy (presumably short) is sitting with his arms and legs spread akimbo, so that they are either pressing up against the person sitting next to them or forcing said person to compress into a smaller space to avoid personal contact.

That wasn't what Zoo said. He said:

There's a load of reasons why small guys would try to make themselves look bigger &
taller than they are.


He didn't say anything about pressing up against anyone or forcing anyone to compress.

The discussion of how men sit in general wasn't narrowly defined as the above either. It also included just taking up more than one seat on a row where the other seats were vacant.

If you were just talking about that situation then fine. But the person you were responding to didn't seem to be.
posted by Reggie Knoble at 11:03 AM on August 17, 2012


I'm unconvinced that fear is a reasonable excuse for rudeness when it comes to assuming a posture that deliberately infringes on someone else's space if they are not infringing on yours to begin with, and not being threatening or aggressive in any way towards you.

And trying to "look bigger" by taking up more space may actually encourage a more violent interaction than one you'd have if you were ust minding your own space. If it's territorial, should you be acting agrressively territorial around someone you think is threatening you?

Doesn't make sense. And yeah, I don't observe "I'm afraid" to be the reason guys do this. BEcause some do it even if there are no bigger people, or even no other men, on the bus/subway. It's a habit. It's an entitled habit. It's okay to be honest about it.

As a tall and broad shouldered guy, I literally can't get much smaller.

I'm quite certain that your general demeanor and mannerisms make it clear you aren't just being a self-involved, inconsiderate jerk trying to command an unreasonable amount of space or establish yourself as Alpha Bus Rider.
posted by Miko at 11:12 AM on August 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Just because the discussion of how men sit in general wasn't explictly defined to exclude situations where a person could feel threatened or scared doesn't mean those situations were obviously implicated by any of the other comments. That's why your comment, which was so oblivious to the context of the discussion, could only be reasonably interpreted as sophistry, and it's why you got so much pushback on it.
posted by MoonOrb at 11:15 AM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Reggie Knoble: "If you were just talking about that situation then fine."

Yes, that's all I was referring to. That's why I mentioned assuming a posture that deliberately infringes on someone else's space in my reply to you.

I can't for the life of me remember what the scientific term for it is, but lots of animals try to make themselves look bigger / fiercer purely as a defense mechanism. Birds. Cats. People. Infringe on their territory and they'll puff themselves up and look menacing. I'm just saying that a guy spreading his legs wide so they press against other people on the bus or subway doesn't strike me as as a defense mechanism, but rudely aggressive.
posted by zarq at 11:18 AM on August 17, 2012


Insecurity is not a reasonable excuse for rudeness, no matter what body shape someone is.

Insecurity is not a reasonable excuse for rudeness (or other bad behavior), but it is often an correct explanation.
posted by LordSludge at 11:19 AM on August 17, 2012


I think the pushback was more like "Wait, I do that." And that kind of pushback, the "am I being implicated, NOW I MUST DEFEND MYSELF" mode that we see happen on here all the time, actually is pretty bad for conversation.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:19 AM on August 17, 2012


Male and tallish here. Yep, jokes aside, PhoBWan's husband's right. Sitting this way has nothing to do with balls. (Sitting with your knees together, or cross-legged, does not hurt your balls at all. I'm male and I can attest to that. The male body is not as poorly constructed as all that.) For tall people in cramped spaces, it's a matter of whether there's room for your knees or not. On the the bus, I'll sit sideways if I'm not lucky enough to grab one of the seats that's not immediately behind another seat, but I'll scoot over into a less comfortable position if someone takes a seat next to me.

The other part of PhoBWan's comment, "little girls are taught that it's rude/crass to sit with one's legs spread apart", I think captures the rest of it. People will sit that way fairly often just because it's comfortable unless they're taught not to, and guys aren't taught not to.

What distinguishes assholes from non-assholes, I think, is their willingness to shift their position to accommodate other passengers or not.

It bugs me a little to find out that people are thinking "huh, airing out your balls, are you, you fucking jackass?" every time they see me on a bus, just because people with long legs sit funny in cramped seating if there's enough space available. But, you know, never pass up a chance to be judgmental.
posted by nangar at 11:22 AM on August 17, 2012 [7 favorites]


Bunny Ultramod: "I think the pushback was more like "Wait, I do that." And that kind of pushback, the "am I being implicated, NOW I MUST DEFEND MYSELF" mode that we see happen on here all the time, actually is pretty bad for conversation."

Speaking of defense mechanisms. :)
posted by zarq at 11:22 AM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


And trying to "look bigger" by taking up more space may actually encourage a more violent interaction than one you'd have if you were ust minding your own space. If it's territorial, should you be acting agrressively territorial around someone you think is threatening you?

See, I've always heard the opposite. That looking like a victim is more likely to get you victimized.

I hate public transit and am always thankful to return to my small town after being in a large city. I definitely try to limit myself to my own space to give everyone around me room.
posted by ODiV at 11:23 AM on August 17, 2012


Not having heard "hobo purse" before, that ARGHHHH made me look through the thread to see if had something to do with hobo SPIDERS. Hobo spiders carrying purses? In purses? Purses full of hobo spiders?

Psst: We've gone from making fun of male anatomy to making fun of homeless people. Please do keep up.
posted by Big_B at 11:27 AM on August 17, 2012


But, you know, never pass up a chance to be judgmental.

There is a huge difference between being physically incapable of fitting into a small confined space due to the length of your legs and this.
posted by elizardbits at 11:29 AM on August 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


See, I've always heard the opposite. That looking like a victim is more likely to get you victimized.

Depends on the context, yeah? On a bus or train crowded with commuters, it's unlikely that you will need to aggressively take other peoples' space in order to avoid looking like a victim. On an empty bus or train, it's possible to take up space without invading anyone else's, and to project a "leave me alone" or "I am awake and aware of what's going on" in a way that probably isn't going to automatically challenge anyone else into a game of "You lookin' at me??!"
posted by rtha at 11:30 AM on August 17, 2012


Yeah, agreed. I think we've just got two conversation streams going on now based on some guy in an empty train taking up space and some other jackass taking up enough room for two on a crowded bus.
posted by ODiV at 11:34 AM on August 17, 2012


Basically I can't think of any physiological reason why men need to have more lax standards for respectful public behavior in use of space than women.

I think it's worth pointing out that this statement is different than "no men need to have more lax standards." In other words, yeah situations exist in which an individual man might be physically need to be excused from the standards, and that doesn't really effect if men as a group need the exemption.
posted by Gygesringtone at 11:34 AM on August 17, 2012


Also, you know what I hate? Loud talking. It doesn't take up physical space, but it feels like an intrusion nonetheless. I really don't care what you had for lunch or how wasted you were last night.
posted by ODiV at 11:37 AM on August 17, 2012


I'm quite certain that your general demeanor and mannerisms make it clear you aren't just being a self-involved, inconsiderate jerk trying to command an unreasonable amount of space or establish yourself as Alpha Bus Rider.

I DARE YOU TO SIT NEXT TO ME ON A BUS. ON A MONDAY MORNING.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:39 AM on August 17, 2012


Not having heard "hobo purse" before

First google image hit for me. I carry one of these and they don't mix well with public transit unless you pay a lot of attention to what you're doing. Like any large bag, they should be ahead or behind in the aisle, not alongside where they hit sitting people in the head.

Good news for people who hate them: apparently we're going back to tiny purses these fall according to the Fashion Gurus I Read.
posted by immlass at 11:40 AM on August 17, 2012


It doesn't take up physical space, but it feels like an intrusion nonetheless.

The closest I have ever come to actual vigilante justice was when some dude was loudly listening to the numerous tear-filled messages left on his voicemail by his recently dumped girlfriend, on speakerphone, in the middle of an LIRR train. Ugh, I hope his underwear is eternally infested with angry weasels.
posted by elizardbits at 11:41 AM on August 17, 2012 [7 favorites]


The other passengers would probably have helped you hide the body.
posted by ODiV at 11:42 AM on August 17, 2012 [7 favorites]


Psst: We've gone from making fun of male anatomy to making fun of homeless people. Please do keep up.

Yes this is exactly what happened.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:49 AM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, we're now making fun of that guy from The Simpsons who has extremely long legs but has a tiny, tiny car.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:50 AM on August 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


I mean, it seems like there is a middle ground between shrinking violet and starfish bro body language -- the whole "assertive vs. aggressive" thing. Like ifjuly I noticed that I used to sort of crumple up in public situations and so I found it really helpful to unlearn that as well. But of course, what's "assertive" and what's "can you remove your junk from my thigh" varies according to the situation and the crowdedness of the shared space, as rtha and Miko were saying.
posted by en forme de poire at 11:51 AM on August 17, 2012


Why would you not take off your giant messenger back when sitting in a bus seat? As someone who regularly wears a giant messenger bag, it's freakin' uncomfortable to sit down with it on because it pushes you forward onto the edge of the seat. Also they're specifically designed to be easy to swing around to the front of your body. What you want to do if you're sitting for a short time is just swing it around and kind of hug it while it's on your lap. If you're sitting for a long time you just take it off and put it by your feet like a normal human being. Leaving it on your back makes no sense at all.
posted by Scientist at 11:52 AM on August 17, 2012


Whenever I see a guy with his legs all splayed out on the subway I got and sit on his lap and tell him what I want for Christmas.

which is usually a seat on the subway
posted by shakespeherian at 11:53 AM on August 17, 2012 [22 favorites]


I hate it when people take up too much space on the subway, but part of me hopes that the next time anyone calls anyone out for doing that, that the splayed-leg subway rider will then stand up to reveal that he cannot help but have the mantis-like gait of a thri-kreen. He will then berate the complainer for mocking his Permanent Mosey condition, and then proceed to use his innate psionic powers before finally finishing off the complainer with chatchka attacks.
posted by Sticherbeast at 11:53 AM on August 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


That looking like a victim is more likely to get you victimized.

This is highly context- and cultural-defendant. Also, some of the most physically competent (and lightning-fast, scary dangerous ) people I know don't engage in 'threat display' or other territorial behaviors at all.

They know they don't need to.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:54 AM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


The closest I have ever come to actual vigilante justice was when some dude was loudly listening to the numerous tear-filled messages left on his voicemail by his recently dumped girlfriend, on speakerphone, in the middle of an LIRR train. Ugh, I hope his underwear is eternally infested with angry weasels.

It reminds me of an inexplicable experience I had on the last NJ transit train out of Penn Station, when an incredibly drunk dude was loudly having a protracted feelings talk with (presumably) his girlfriend that suddenly segued into ordering a large number of spicy tuna rolls, in the same tone of voice, such that I couldn't pinpoint when the transition happened. Or maybe his girlfriend worked at a sushi place.
posted by en forme de poire at 11:56 AM on August 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


*culture-dependant.

I REGRET NOTHING.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:58 AM on August 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


What has this thread become.
posted by cashman at 11:58 AM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't think shrinp knows what's up with the whole hobo purse thing either, fwiw.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:00 PM on August 17, 2012


I encounter the legs-splayed dude on trains and buses around here all the time. I always say "pardon" or "excuse me" to remind these guys to get out of my way, but they almost never do. One day, I decided to just turn straight toward the offender (whose legs were so far apart I had less than half a seat to sit on) and say very firmly, "your balls are not that big, please move your leg." It was incredibly effective.

It is now my policy to do this every. single. time.
posted by phunniemee at 12:00 PM on August 17, 2012 [24 favorites]


I think the pushback was more like "Wait, I do that." And that kind of pushback, the "am I being implicated, NOW I MUST DEFEND MYSELF" mode that we see happen on here all the time, actually is pretty bad for conversation.

So you're talking about my response. I do do that. I didn't get all caps crazy with it, I mentioned that if you see me sitting that way, it isn't because I'm an alpha male jackass, it's because I'm uncomfortable in the seat. I feel like we're all on the same team here, but there is some weird thing where some of us are being lumped in with the other team. No matter what, it still isn't as bad as women have it in our society. It's just counterproductive to me, to argue with or yell at the people who are on your side.
posted by cashman at 12:03 PM on August 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


I used to sit on buses with young men who did this. Now, I am just as tall as them, and so my legs need just as much room. And yet there I was, with my legs being forced out into the aisle because they were in full-on splay leg peacock-slash-fight-or-flight display mode. But I learned pretty quickly that the only thing they found worse than not being able to spread their legs out was having their legs touched by another man. So I would just lean in a little, as though it was unconscious. And, bit by bit, their leg would move back to a reasonable level of closure, and they and I were able to share space equitably, although there is a possibility they thought I was sexually interested in them.

Alas, I am sure this would not work for a woman.

I feel like we're all on the same team here, but there is some weird thing where some of us are being lumped in with the other team.

There is a degree where it is useful to say, well, I'm not doing what is being talked about in the way that is being talked about, so they must not be talking about me. And there is another degree where it is useful to ask, might I actually be doing that thing, or is it possible that's how it is coming off?
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 12:07 PM on August 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


You know what I hate? Toddlers.
posted by LordSludge at 12:09 PM on August 17, 2012


You know what I hate? Toddlers.

How many could you take in a fight?
posted by cashman at 12:11 PM on August 17, 2012


How many could you take in a fight?

Fewer than you'd think. Toddlers are wily, and they fight dirty.
posted by KathrynT at 12:12 PM on August 17, 2012 [12 favorites]


City toddles all carry knives.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 12:14 PM on August 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


"Fewer than you'd think. Toddlers are wily, and they fight dirty."

Like Ewoks, sans conscious.
posted by Tevin at 12:15 PM on August 17, 2012


*conscience.
posted by Tevin at 12:15 PM on August 17, 2012


I mentioned that if you see me sitting that way, it isn't because I'm an alpha male jackass, it's because I'm uncomfortable in the seat.

This is what I was talking about above. If you know that by sitting with your legs spread wide in the middle of the seat you are performing a territorial marking behavior that discourages other people from sitting near you, you can decide whether or not you actually want to be sending that message and modify your posture or not. Whether or not you mean it that way is entirely irrelevant.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 12:15 PM on August 17, 2012 [11 favorites]


en forme de poire: "an incredibly drunk dude was loudly having a protracted feelings talk with (presumably) his girlfriend that suddenly segued into ordering a large number of spicy tuna rolls, in the same tone of voice, such that I couldn't pinpoint when the transition happened."

Hey man, a good sushi chef is hard to find.
posted by mkultra at 12:16 PM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


See, if you know how toddlers think, you can best know how to beat them in a fight.
posted by cashman at 12:16 PM on August 17, 2012


I used the word "pushback" to describe the derail on one of Reggie Knoble's comments.

My view of the conversation (paraphrased):

Some people are all "It bugs me when guys act like they gotta make room for their balls on public transit."

And then other people are all "It can be uncomfortable for a guy to sit in a small seat"

And more people are like "Yeah but I'm talking about when it's totally unnecessary"

And then there was "I hear that but it's still totally rude and maybe because dudes are insecure"

And then Reggie Knoble comes in with "Yeah, but what if it is more fear than insecurity, since MeFite is so supportive of people acting in ways to avoid looking weak and like a victim,"

So I was all like, "Dude, no one here was talking about that and you know it," and a bunch of other people said something similar.

And Reggie Knoble was all "Well, it's theoretically possible that people could have been talking about that since we didn't precisely define the parameters of the discussion,"

And then I was like, "That's a pretty dumb argument to make considering the context of the discussion we were having," and I used the word "pushback" to describe how a number of people, including me, jumped all over Reggie Knoble for defending his argument on "dudes could be trying to be easily victimized."
posted by MoonOrb at 12:16 PM on August 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


(And to be clear, "eh, the train's not that crowded and I don't give a fuck" is a perfectly reasonable decision to make. The point is that it should be a decision, not an unconscious behavior.)
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 12:17 PM on August 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Psst: We've gone from making fun of male anatomy to making fun of homeless people. Please do keep up.

What has this thread become.

Well, as someone who is just trying to catch back up with this thread, it appears to me as if we've gone from discussing whether MetaFilter has become a Girlzone to complaining about mansplaining and how rude men are on public transportation. Which, as much as I generally approve of freeform conversations, and may or may not agree with any particular point, I have to admit, it would make me a little uncomfortable if, having thoroughly lambasted someone for suggesting that MetaFilter might be on some level becoming unfriendly to men, we then turned this thread into yet another discussion of random things that suck about the patriarchy.

I mean, yeah: mansplaining sucks. Men taking up too much space and revving their engines and listening to voicemails from their brokenhearted exes in public sucks. But this seems like a really poor choice of threads to have that conversation. Or is it just me? If it's just me, I'll happily move along.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:22 PM on August 17, 2012 [9 favorites]


Alas, I am sure this would not work for a woman.

I (a very petite woman*) have found that it works quite well, at least in NYC. Mind you, I do it a little more aggressively than it sounds like you do, so it is obviously intentional. I have not yet had a man mistake this for me hitting on him. And yeah, I do it in (longish) skirts too. But then, I also will sit wide-stanced in a short skirt if there's no one across from me. It's comfortable! I also make sure to sit "normally" as soon as the train starts to fill.

*I think this is part of why it works. I obviously do not need to spread my legs that much for comfort, so it's quite clear that I'm reacting to the amount of space they are taking up.
posted by (Over) Thinking at 12:24 PM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


> But this seems like a really poor choice of threads to have that conversation.

Hey, it's another opportunity to air random grievances, display just how special and quirky one is, talk past each other, and interpret other comments uncharitably.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:28 PM on August 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


I mean, yeah: mansplaining sucks. Men taking up too much space and revving their engines and listening to voicemails from their brokenhearted exes in public sucks. But this seems like a really poor choice of threads to have that conversation.

A thread complaining about GirlZone morphs into a thread about how men suck. Not sure if that's a self-fulfilling prophecy, or it means the feminists win this thread, or what... But damn if it's not hilarious.
posted by LordSludge at 12:29 PM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


One day, I decided to just turn straight toward the offender (whose legs were so far apart I had less than half a seat to sit on) and say very firmly, "your balls are not that big, please move your leg." It was incredibly effective.

The Best Thing I ever witnessed on public transit was when I still lived in DC. I was on the bus home, and there was a young guy (late teens, early 20s) taking up a number of seats with his sprawliness. The bus wasn't jammed, but there were very few unoccupied seats.

Then a very dignified, matronly black woman gets on the bus (sprawly young guy was also black). She stands, steely-eyed, in front of the bank of seats where sprawly guy is sprawling; this was in the days before cell phones, so he's just pretending he doesn't see her. Finally she says, not shouting but loudly enough for the back half of the bus to overhear:

"Honey, have you been to the doctor?"

"Huh?"

"Because how you're sitting is just like how my uncle sits when his piles are acting up. Are you having trouble with piles? I can give you the name of a good doctor for that."

The *snap* of the young man closing his legs and sitting up straight was almost audible over the not-quite-muffled laughter of other passengers.
posted by rtha at 12:30 PM on August 17, 2012 [67 favorites]


Was that intended as a sampling of what you are criticizing?
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 12:30 PM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


That comment was to Burhanistan.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 12:30 PM on August 17, 2012


It is possible that this only applies to myself, but speaking as a man (as I tend to do), I don't think there's anything Girlzoney or unfriendly to men to this conversation. This isn't a conversation about how awful men are, at all. At least not as far as I can tell.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:32 PM on August 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Hey, it's another opportunity to air random grievances, display just how special and quirky one is, talk past each other, and interpret other comments uncharitably.

No, human spaceflight is not a waste and has consistently provided material and scientific rewards to the world.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:32 PM on August 17, 2012 [8 favorites]


A thread complaining about GirlZone morphs into a thread about how men suck.

"Men"? I can't speak for everyone, of course, but I was never speaking of all men everywhere in the world in anything I've said, and never do. If I've given that impression, I for one apologize.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:32 PM on August 17, 2012


Like Ewoks, sans conscious.

Shaved Ewoks.
posted by LordSludge at 12:32 PM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, as someone who is just trying to catch back up with this thread, it appears to me as if we've gone from discussing whether MetaFilter has become a Girlzone to complaining about mansplaining and how rude men are on public transportation. Which, as much as I generally approve of freeform conversations, and may or may not agree with any particular point, I have to admit, it would make me a little uncomfortable if, having thoroughly lambasted someone for suggesting that MetaFilter might be on some level becoming unfriendly to men, we then turned this thread into yet another discussion of random things that suck about the patriarchy.

This seems odd to me because many many threads about women's rights and feelings turn into threads about men's feelings. It feels to me like most discussions of the patriarchy turn into discussions about men's feelings, actually.

Anyway, if the leg-splaying thing was really about appearing physically threatening, you'd think that little girls and small women, who are just as physically at risk for assault, would be taught to do this, too. But we're not. So.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 12:33 PM on August 17, 2012 [6 favorites]


Ewoks are delicious with couscous.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:34 PM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ewoks are delicious with couscous.

Ugh. Tastes like toddler.
posted by LordSludge at 12:36 PM on August 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


many many threads about women's rights and feelings turn into threads about men's feelings. It feels to me like most discussions of the patriarchy turn into discussions about men's feelings, actually

And when that happens it bothers people and gets called out, as it should.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:36 PM on August 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Clearly you have never tried Jonathan Swift's Irish Cookbook!
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 12:37 PM on August 17, 2012


i am a tall woman. my legs go with someone who is about 6'1, 6'2 (i'm only 5'10, but i'm much longer from the waist down than the waist up). i have broad shoulders. i have long arms. i have big thighs and hips to go with them. i manage to sit (sometimes incredibly uncomfortably) in my own space. i was absolutely raised in a religion that has strict gender roles and encourages girls, and then women, to be smaller, subservient, and polite at all times - i hadn't really contemplated that connection before.
posted by nadawi at 12:37 PM on August 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


And then I was like, "That's a pretty dumb argument to make considering the context of the discussion we were having," and I used the word "pushback" to describe how a number of people, including me, jumped all over Reggie Knoble for defending his argument on "dudes could be trying to be easily victimized."

Three people responded to that comment.

One was you. One was Zarq and one was rtha.

Zarq and rtha were perfectly reasonable, you were kind of snarky.

I would hardly charecterise it as a number of people jumping all over me and it is a little bit wierd that you would.
posted by Reggie Knoble at 12:52 PM on August 17, 2012


stood up as my stop was approaching he just sighed and kind of turned sideways rather than standing up and getting out of the way.

I never understand why people do this. You would prefer having my crotch or ass in your face and probably getting hit by one of my bags over just standing up? Most dick move things at least come out better for the dick.
posted by Kwine at 12:56 PM on August 17, 2012


Anyway, if the leg-splaying thing was really about appearing physically threatening, you'd think that little girls and small women, who are just as physically at risk for assault, would be taught to do this, too. But we're not. So.

On the other side of the coin, though, I actually got some great lessons in body language from an older woman who, while quite petite, nevertheless always looked powerful and authoritative. As I remember part of this was not being afraid to take up enough space to be comfortable. Another was doing things like intentionally not getting out of the way when a man was walking towards her, which she mentioned was definitely a learned behavior on her part. So I think acculturation could certainly be leading women to preemptively cede their control of public space, and that it could be liberating and rewarding to throw off some of those cultural expectations.

(I'm not talking about going totally sprawly-balls, of course - just moving a bit in that direction from a more constrained type of body language.)
posted by en forme de poire at 12:57 PM on August 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


you'd think that little girls and small women, who are just as physically at risk for assault, would be taught to do this, too.

Not that I believe the original premise, necessarily, but wouldn't our patriarchal society have any interest in not teaching women how to assert themselves?
posted by ODiV at 12:58 PM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


A thread complaining about GirlZone morphs into a thread about how men suck.

I'm a man and I think this thread has been about how jackasses suck.
posted by arcticseal at 12:59 PM on August 17, 2012 [15 favorites]


I don't think there's anything Girlzoney or unfriendly to men to this conversation. This isn't a conversation about how awful men are, at all. At least not as far as I can tell.

So if there were a thread about how shrill some women are on their cellphones, and how others sit it an annoying fashion, and still others are alpha-woman assholes who need to be put in their place... you wouldn't find that even a teeny bit BoyZone? I sure would.

I dunno... Maybe it's an appropriate counter-balance to all the bullshit that women have to deal with because of our screwed up culture. I do think Mefi swings GirlZone sometimes. But it swings BoyZone others, probably more often than GirlZone -- but I haven't been keeping score.

I just wish we could all come together AS PEOPLE and focus on this toddler problem.
posted by LordSludge at 1:00 PM on August 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


Not to make metafilter too GayZone, but ... Getting rid of heterosexuals would help to cut down on the toddler problem. (not completely, but still)
posted by rmd1023 at 1:04 PM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


We have gone... past the MetaZone.
posted by CrystalDave at 1:09 PM on August 17, 2012


Aw, I wanted to go to the DangerZone.
posted by ODiV at 1:11 PM on August 17, 2012


So I think acculturation could certainly be leading women to preemptively cede their control of public space, and that it could be liberating and rewarding to throw off some of those cultural expectations.

Oh, I agree completely, and I'm very thankful for my sister giving me Riot Grrrl lit when I was a tween about how you should swing your arms when you walk and pick your nose on the train when men look at you and touch their balls (which has happened more times than I care to remember). But in my experience, those lessons come late, well after we get lots of stuff about how girls should sit and how they should make room for others and how they shouldn't cause a scene. The larger cultural message is still one of women minimizing themselves.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 1:12 PM on August 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


The ToddlerZone is for immediate loading and unloading of diapers only. There is no changing in the MetaZone.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:15 PM on August 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


"Men are more conservative in facial movement and body contact. However, they do tend to be unreserved in sitting styles: sprawling, stretching and spreading out. The intensity level for women drops for the sitting position -- they tend to draw in, keeping arms and legs close to their bodies....The goal for men, however, depends upon the task. Want to appear in charge? Use the body to control the discussion space."

When I'm in a meeting where people are being jerks and talking down to me, I will sometimes consciously adjust my body language so that I take up an awful lot of the chair. I lean back and look relaxed and maybe a little bored, rather than politely attentive. I let my arms take up a lot of space and open up my chest instead of keep my arms low to the table and in front of my chest. As a Uterus-American, I find it AMAZING how people become more deferential when you start taking physical postures of power, especially physical postures of power more typical of men. Sometimes even when you don't SAY anything in the meeting, people will say afterwards, "She seemed really aggressive ..." Humans are weird. It's all very fascinating.

(But I have also discovered that some stereotypically feminine traits can "win" meetings, especially contentious ones; letting everyone have their say, restating what someone else has said (in terms that advance your opinion), speaking last after the main arguers have worn themselves out and you can summarize in a way that favors your point of view and makes you sound like a reasonable reconciler -- I've seen women "win" meetings all these ways. I don't think it's conscious -- I think they're applying feminine methods of communicating in ways that have had favorable outcomes for them in the past -- but it's fascinating.)

nangar: "It bugs me a little to find out that people are thinking "huh, airing out your balls, are you, you fucking jackass?" every time they see me on a bus, just because people with long legs sit funny in cramped seating if there's enough space available."

We're not, I promise. Awkwardly-large (in whatever dimension) people who are aware of others around them are obviously aware of others around them. There's an enormous difference between a dude who's taking up a seat and a half because he thinks he's entitled to it, and a dude who's taking up a seat and a half because his knees can't go forward-facing in the space between rows. Your body language makes it obvious. You may even find women preferentially sitting next to you, or sitting their children next to you so they don't take up much space, because it is obvious you are not a jerk and therefore a safe and non-threatening seatmate.

Guys who are just oblivious because they're absorbed in their book or looking out the window or whatever and have sprawled into a second seat will, when you say, "Excuse me," pull their knees back in and say, "Oh, so sorry!" and rearrange themselves to be comfortable and not-spawling. They are also not jerks.

When it's 8 million degrees out and there's no A/C on the train and you've got your legs spread all the way out, I'm pretty sure you're airing your balls. But I don't blame you. That must be uncomfortable.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 1:15 PM on August 17, 2012 [27 favorites]


Metafilter: Going totally sprawly-balls.
posted by Devils Rancher at 1:16 PM on August 17, 2012 [8 favorites]


too many baby diapers have already been changed on the dinner table of the metazone
posted by elizardbits at 1:21 PM on August 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


So you're talking about my response. I do do that.

cashman, the sense I've gotten reading your responses is that you actually don't do the thing that people are complaining about (spreading out and taking up more than one seat regardless of whether the car is crowded or whether there's somebody sitting next to you), and that instead what's happening is that you so strongly want not to seem rude, you're perceiving criticism where there likely isn't any.

From what you've described, you really aren't doing the rude thing. I mean, this part:
Oh I "close up" as soon as anyone needs or is near the space I'm in. I never recline my chair on a flight, because I know how annoying and painful it is for the person (like me) behind you. It never even gets to the "be polite" point because I just withstand the pain and "close up" almost immediately.
You are not the problem. Your behavior does not match the behavior that's being criticized. You are, if anything, being so considerate of the people around you that it's causing problems for you.

On preview, what Eyebrows McGee says here is dead on the money, IME:
Awkwardly-large (in whatever dimension) people who are aware of others around them are obviously aware of others around them. There's an enormous difference between a dude who's taking up a seat and a half because he thinks he's entitled to it, and a dude who's taking up a seat and a half because his knees can't go forward-facing in the space between rows. Your body language makes it obvious.
Similarly with people who have physical issues that affect how they sit. Somebody who's taking up two seats but who's holding a cane or looks like they're dealing with pain is pretty clearly not doing it to be a jerk.
posted by Lexica at 1:27 PM on August 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


When it's 8 million degrees out and there's no A/C on the train and you've got your legs spread all the way out, I'm pretty sure you're airing your balls. But I don't blame you. That must be uncomfortable.

For some reason, this comment has me wondering to what extent my laptop is currently irradiating my balls.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:29 PM on August 17, 2012


Probably because it's 8 million degrees out and there's no A/C in the house.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:32 PM on August 17, 2012


Guys, if we talk about our balls enough, I'm confident we can bring this thread back to BoyZone... WHO'S WITH ME???
posted by LordSludge at 1:33 PM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


But I learned pretty quickly that the only thing they found worse than not being able to spread their legs out was having their legs touched by another man.

Elmer shivered in delight. The funny, bunny looking man had just gotten on the subway. Immediately Elmer spread his legs in the seat, taking up so much space.

The bunny man's eyes swept the car and then narrowed in Elmer's direction. His lips curled into a slight smile and began walking towards Elmer.

Tonight, he would share his carrot.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:38 PM on August 17, 2012 [9 favorites]


I don't mind toddlers, unless they're accompanied by a 3'x4'x3' stroller, and an adult who for some reason is surprised and angry that it won't fit down the croweded corridor they have decided to take it down.
posted by Quonab at 1:38 PM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's a weird phenomenon, really. After reading so many comments about seating stance and balls, I just suddenly, found myself really uncomfortably aware of my current stance and anatomy. I imagine it would have happened if we'd been talking about ear canals or eyeballs, too. Just was funny. A comment about wide stance and hot balls (so to speak) just made me really conscious that, crap, it's really hot in here, and I could really use some airing out, as it were.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:40 PM on August 17, 2012


Brandon, you're making me want to spouse you back all over again.
posted by heyho at 1:42 PM on August 17, 2012


Also, I think it's time to baste the toddler.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:43 PM on August 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


My four month old has started sprawling out in bed. Lately, by morning she has half the bed to herself and then my wife and I are squished up in the other half.
posted by ODiV at 1:43 PM on August 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


put your manties in the freezer for about ten minutes, flo. REFRESCANTE!
posted by elizardbits at 1:44 PM on August 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


My four month old has started sprawling out in bed. Lately, by morning she has half the bed to herself and then my wife and I are squished up in the other half.

This is how it begins. May God give you strength.
posted by LordSludge at 1:46 PM on August 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


My four month old has started sprawling out in bed. Lately, by morning she has half the bed to herself and then my wife and I are squished up in the other half.
posted by ODiV at 3:43 PM on August 17 [+] [!]


My cat does this, but he takes his half from the middle.
posted by patheral at 1:51 PM on August 17, 2012 [13 favorites]


"This is how it begins. May God give you strength."

Then, before you know it, you're waking up with their finger inside your nose at 5:43am, directly pressing that part of your brain that's responsible for figuring out how to get away with murder.
posted by Tevin at 1:52 PM on August 17, 2012 [12 favorites]


complaining...how rude men are on public transportation

Hmph. I was simply noting the behavior of a very specific set of young men in a very specific circumstance. Not all men, not all public transportation. And I think the discussion of how men and women are socialized to hold their bodies differently in shared public spaces is very interesting.

I'm 44 and I've been working on stopping it for years, but I still always look down when I pass a strange man in the street. I tell myself I'm not going to do it and I do it anyway! What is that?!

when men look at you and touch their balls (which has happened more times than I care to remember)

Holy shit! This happens to other people?! See, I've learned something new. I wince now when young men in those polyester basketball shorts enter my office, because they seem like the most frequent ball / penis touchers. One guy managed to touch his groin three times while asking me where the bathroom was and getting an answer.
posted by Squeak Attack at 1:54 PM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh man. I remember this guy I knew online (don't judge me) from an IRC channel (really, please don't) was going to lend me some Dreamcast videogames. So I go over to his apartment, he gets the games for me and then "Hey, the Simpsons is on!" So I sit down on the couch to watch the Simpsons with him.

And then over the next five minutes his hand went lower and lower until it was wrist deep down the front of his pants, his fixed straight ahead. I suddenly remembered that I had somewhere to be.

Now I'm sure some guys find this relaxing. But I just met you!
posted by ODiV at 2:01 PM on August 17, 2012


his gaze fixed straight ahead.
posted by ODiV at 2:02 PM on August 17, 2012


All this ball touching is utterly baffling to me.

This thing, with the ball-touching and looking straight at someone, I don't want to believe it happens but I'm sure it does.

I just ... shiver
posted by Tevin at 2:07 PM on August 17, 2012


And then over the next five minutes his hand went lower and lower until it was wrist deep down the front of his pants, his fixed straight ahead.

Both of my wife's brothers do this. I have never done this my entire life. IT'S DISGUSTING. If I ever catch one of my own sons doing this there will be some very stern words. Very. Stern. Words.

And possibly enforced piano lessons (you need something to with your hands?! I'll show you what you can do with your hands young man!)
posted by Doleful Creature at 2:12 PM on August 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


Yeah, I always wonder what stimulates that response in some dudes. Is it a guarding thing when faced with even the slightest confrontation (which I guess eye contact can be for some people)? Or is it some form of ill-conceived gift, like your cat bringing you a dead mouse? Is it like a security blankie? In your pants?

I mean I guess it could just be that some dudes really like touching their balls. Little kids of any gender are always whackin it whenever they get a chance, maybe some people just don't grow out of it.
posted by elizardbits at 2:13 PM on August 17, 2012


ODiV: "And then over the next five minutes his hand went lower and lower until it was wrist deep down the front of his pants, his fixed straight ahead. I suddenly remembered that I had somewhere to be."

Marge isn't bad, she's just drawn that way.
posted by mkultra at 2:14 PM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


It generally seems like they're checking to make sure everything is still there. It's not a sexual overture in the least. Except for bathroom guy. i had my doubts about him.

But yet, we are in a (semi) professional setting, they are an arm's length from me, and I can see them touching their bits.
posted by Squeak Attack at 2:16 PM on August 17, 2012


Wasn't that the Al Bundy move? Plop on the couch, hands down the pants. I always thought that was just a weird, made up quirk. Never witnessed it, myself.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:18 PM on August 17, 2012


And now I have just had a tragic moment of l'esprit d'escalier in which I remember wanting to accuse someone of being late to their NO MA'AM meeting earlier in the thread.

sigh.
posted by elizardbits at 2:20 PM on August 17, 2012


Wasn't that the Al Bundy move? Plop on the couch, hands down the pants. I always thought that was just a weird, made up quirk. Never witnessed it, myself.

I've seen it plenty of times. As long as you don't intermittently sniff your fingers, I'll keep pretending not to see anything and it's all cool.
posted by Forktine at 2:22 PM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


His hand kept drifting lower and lower,
until his entire arm up to the shoulder
was deep inside of his pants,
until his hand emerged from his pant cuff,
until his entire forearm emerged from his pant cuff,
until he used that same hand
from that same forearm
to pull his own head into his own trouser waist;

and the process continued,
for this ouroboros of the couch,
for this infinitely regressive Mandelcrotch,
until he became as small
and dense
and as hard
as a diamond.

This diamond,
when placed into an appropriate ring setting,
allows you to marry anyone you please

anyone at all

even babes
posted by Sticherbeast at 2:23 PM on August 17, 2012 [13 favorites]


And it's kind of a no-win thing because a conspicuous YER OUTTA HERE thing always feels weirdly public in a way I don't really like but when it happens more quietly on the back end there's this "wait you secretly banned them, wtf" thing that can come with it. But so it goes.

Did a boatload of shit get deleted from that thread? 'Caus my recollection (or possibly my hallucination) was of (1) "Jez, when the hell will this clown stop throwing his shit tantrum in this thread"; (2) "Cortex is being unbelievably patient with this clown, I don't think I've *ever* seen an exchange like this (where one side is being a complete raving asshole, and the other is calmly responding) go so long."; (3) "Oh. Totally understandable. And a frank & succinct conclusion."

But looking at it now, the only evidence that there was a real shitstorm is the favorites count. I'd expect cortex's final response to be more along the lines of riffing off of Shel Silverstein's "It Does Not Pay to Be Hip":
"Football, baseball, volleyball, or basketball,
Handball, pinball, bowling ball?
"
then flipping it back with, say, "What kind of balls do you need?", followed with something about timeout, playing by the rules, etc.

Which, if my recollection is correct, is also a kind of no-win thing, because looking at it now, there's not a lot of context available to see the build up. Otoh, keeping a useless shitstorm around, especially if it's going to be cited/remembered, isn't all that great either, for a number of subtle reasons.

On the other other hand, if this is all my hallucination, I'm not especially thrilled with that, but I figure "that'd be a personal problem", and not much of a Metafilter issue..
posted by Tuesday After Lunch at 2:23 PM on August 17, 2012


Wasn't that the Al Bundy move? Plop on the couch, hands down the pants. I always thought that was just a weird, made up quirk. Never witnessed it, myself.

I do that unconsciously at home sometimes, when i'm alone. The hand goes only like an inch down the pants, though, like belt height, so it shouldn't come anywhere near any incriminating parts. I caught myself doing this once or twice in the company of close friends and my mind let out a big "WTF!" to itself.

Anyway, it's a warm and comfortable position to hang your hand in, i don't think it should be lumped with any sort of sexual thing.

I watched a lot of married with children as a kid, i don't know if there was some brainwashing involved.
posted by palbo at 2:32 PM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Did a boatload of shit get deleted from that thread?

Nope, was genuinely a very short thread. As I recall, though, it was relatively soon after another Meta thread about or involving that person in which most of the memorable stuff actually happened.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 2:34 PM on August 17, 2012


>A thread complaining about GirlZone morphs into a thread about how men suck.

"Men"? I can't speak for everyone, of course, but I was never speaking of all men everywhere in the world in anything I've said, and never do. If I've given that impression, I for one apologize
.

No, I didn't mean you -- or anybody in particular. Just calling out one of the twists the thread took that I found ironic. Not sure who initiated that whole lookit-this-douchebag things tbh.

But I did want some clarification on one of your earlier comments (if you're still around?):

Okay, but I really can't see why Reggie is so insistent upon claiming the right to Speak The Male Perspective in threads that deal with female experience.

I don't disagree with you here that some men want to stamp their opinions where they may not be welcome, but doesn't this strongly imply that there are some threads where the male perspective is not welcome. Should some threads, then, be explicitly GirlZone?
posted by LordSludge at 2:34 PM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also I just wanted all of you know that as a result of a previous comment I made in this thread I have inspired myself (I know, I know) to launch an extensive prank on my mother involving the aforementioned throwaway joke known as Horse Rubbing Allergy Therapy.

Thanks MeTa, without you my life would be so normal. *hug*
posted by Doleful Creature at 2:39 PM on August 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


restless_nomad: Nope, was genuinely a very short thread.

Huh. Tuesday After Lunch strikes me as a bad time for dropping acid.
posted by gman at 2:40 PM on August 17, 2012


I know a guy who noticed that many guys tended to relax a bit and get more comfortable with him if he sort of touched his own crotch occasionally while they were talking to each other - his theory was that it was creating a "yeah, we're laid back guys being chill" kind of ambiance. (Not, like, groping himself. More like a precursor to checking if his fly was open sort of touching.)

On the other hand, i was once at a poker table down at Foxwoods, and this guy sat down at the table and proceeded to unbuckle and unzip his pants. After a few minutes of incredulously trying to not look at this, i realized he was just getting comfortable, apparently, and was not about to start waving his dick around, but I was all set to start yelling "PUT YOUR FUCKING PANTS ON, SIR" before things got uneventful again.
posted by rmd1023 at 2:41 PM on August 17, 2012


Should some threads, then, be explicitly GirlZone?

Glad you said it and not me. I think it could be useful as a tag or something. If it is useful for the majority of the thread's participants to be able to tell stories, share experiences and not have men speak, I'm all for it. Because in my opinion, pretty standard metafilter commenting (sharing links and offering information, analyzing behavior) causes problems in those threads. I'm sure that has a good chance of being taken completely uncharitably, but I think it is a valid suggestion if the problem keeps reoccurring. And for sure a wealth of people who frequent these threads say it keeps reoccurring.
posted by cashman at 2:42 PM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wasn't that the Al Bundy move? Plop on the couch, hands down the pants. I always thought that was just a weird, made up quirk. Never witnessed it, myself.

I haven't seen it in years, but when I was a youngster, it wasn't uncommon to see an old man sitting in a public place (eg. bus station, Five & Dime store) with his hand inside his pants. It wasn't a sexual thing, it was a personal comfort thing. Some female comedian (Elayne Boosler?) had this neat joke of "Why do men do this?" (demonstrating putting hand partly down pants) "Well, I finally figured it out -- that's where the sleep button is." (demonstrating falling back and snoring)
posted by Tuesday After Lunch at 2:42 PM on August 17, 2012


ODiV: "My four month old has started sprawling out in bed. Lately, by morning she has half the bed to herself and then my wife and I are squished up in the other half."

My wife has just plain given up. A couple of nights a week, I wake up with 2 four year olds sprawled across our bed, using me as a pillow or foot rest... or mattress, while my wife is comfortably sleeping alone on the living room couch downstairs.

Soon we'll be ditching the toddler beds for twin beds. I'm seriously considering getting them ones comfortable enough for me to sleep on, since I'm pretty sure at some point there will be an uprising and we'll lose our bed to them forever.
posted by zarq at 2:43 PM on August 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Al Bundy never went so far as the wrist though, usually stopping where the fingers met the hand, often leaving his thumb out. Whether this was because of the television censorship of the era or a personal comfort issue, we may never know.
posted by ODiV at 2:46 PM on August 17, 2012


cashman: "Glad you said it and not me. I think it could be useful as a tag or something. If it is useful for the majority of the thread's participants to be able to tell stories, share experiences and not have men speak, I'm all for it."

Participation is part of the Metafilter learning process. We ask questions and get answers. We voice assumptions and people give us additional information to work with, that either reinforce what we already know or change our minds. We learn through discussion, not one-way lectures.

I would hate to see Metafilter become a censorship-reinforced echo chamber.
posted by zarq at 3:00 PM on August 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm pretty sure at some point there will be an uprising and we'll lose our bed to them forever.

My son pulled the switcheroo a few times -- "Daddy, will you lay down with me?" I'd squeeze myself into his little bed, & scrunch up uncomfortably until we both drifted off, to wake up 4 hours later, with a neck ache, all alone. Where do you think he was? Sprawled across my side of my bed, next to his mom.
posted by Devils Rancher at 3:07 PM on August 17, 2012 [13 favorites]


That is a frighteningly intelligent child. :D
posted by zarq at 3:09 PM on August 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


I don't disagree with you here that some men want to stamp their opinions where they may not be welcome, but doesn't this strongly imply that there are some threads where the male perspective is not welcome. Should some threads, then, be explicitly GirlZone?

I think that was poor phrasing on my part.

What I mean is: suppose the topic of the thread was something like (and I'm reaching back into the past for a topic here) women's experiences dealing with men who corner them on elevators and crowd them into the corner in an attempt to talk to them. There are many women commenting on how uncomfortable they personally feel when such a thing happens to them, and some are also speaking to why such a move can be perceived as aggression rather than "friendliness."

It just strikes me that, in a conversation like that, it is readily apparent that women are taking the opportunity to just say "hey, listen, this is what this kind of thing is like from our perspective. We know that YOU know what it feels like for YOU, but maybe you didn't know what it feels like for US, so....yeah, just something to think about." Maybe a few of the women even come in to say "and for the record, we KNOW that there are guys who just plain don't get that this is an appropriate thing to do to women. In fact, the fact that we know some guys don't get this is exactly WHY we are talking about this, so those guys WILL get it, in plain English."

And even so, in a thread like that, the "male perspective" wouldn't be entirely unwelcome (to me, at least, not speaking for others of course) depending on context. In a thread like that, a guy could come in and say, "huh, I think I did something like this and this is what my perspective was. Didn't mean anything harmful at all; but yeah, now that I think about it in this other light, maybe you've given me something to think about." Or a guy could say "hmm, this is what I was thinking when I did that, but it seemed to me like she was okay with it because [foo baz schmeh,] so maybe something like that's okay? If she hadn't been cool with it, I'd have stopped, though."

Where I think the problem comes in is with the guys who say "he was just TALKING to her, I don't see WHAT the problem could be" or "hey some guys don't get socialized so women should cut us some slack" or "men are socialized to be aggressive so women should just take that into account when this kind of thing happens" or"I talked to a woman in an elevator and she was cool with it so clearly y'all are making it up or you're oversensitive or something." Or even, "see, you women aren't afraid because of [foo], you're really afraid because of [baz]."

It just feels like if women express themselves about something, or express a preference that they say a lot of women, in their experience, have about something, a number of men will react with shock and suspicion and try to nitpick it to death: "Why would you possibly not like that? I don't see what the problem is with that. What are your reasons? And what about this one woman I met this one time who was okay with it?" These same men, I wager, would -- if a male friend of theirs happened to say "y'know, I really don't like it when people do [schmeh]," would say, "really? Huh. Okay, thanks, good to know." Or even "really? Huh. Well, this is what my intent was, for the record, but yeah, sorry it didn't read that way."

I just wish I knew why women didn't get the same kind of "that's how you react to that? Huh. I never knew that. Thanks for letting me know."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:11 PM on August 17, 2012 [18 favorites]


These same men, I wager, would -- if a male friend of theirs happened to say "y'know, I really don't like it when people do [schmeh]," would say, "really? Huh. Okay, thanks, good to know." Or even "really? Huh. Well, this is what my intent was, for the record, but yeah, sorry it didn't read that way."

I'd actually take that wager. My experience is that guys who are douchily dismissive to women are also generally all-around douches, at least when it comes to taking crit.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:19 PM on August 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


I just wish I knew why women didn't get the same kind of "that's how you react to that? Huh. I never knew that. Thanks for letting me know."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:11 PM on August 17 [+] [!]


This is no different to any other subject.

I'm sure we can all discuss Isreal/Palestine, circumcision or cat declawing in person with our friends who we know well in calm measured tones (mostly).

But here? The knives come out every time.

For all kinds of reasons. Text communication is trickier than face to face, often we are speaking to people we don't actually know, people are douchily dismissive on both sides and before you know it you have a clusterfuck.
posted by Reggie Knoble at 3:26 PM on August 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


For all kinds of reasons. Text communication is trickier than face to face, often we are speaking to people we don't actually know, people are douchily dismissive on both sides and before you know it you have a clusterfuck.

brohammed, if (just picking an example out of the air here) i were having a face to face conversation about rape with someone and they kept trying to make the conversation be about false accusations of rape, calm measured tones would not be on the menu
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 3:30 PM on August 17, 2012 [13 favorites]


brohammed

What the fuck is that about?
posted by Reggie Knoble at 3:36 PM on August 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


So if there were a thread about how shrill some women are on their cellphones, and how others sit it an annoying fashion, and still others are alpha-woman assholes who need to be put in their place... you wouldn't find that even a teeny bit BoyZone? I sure would.


I would, but only because of the coded language you're using here-- 'shrill' and 'put in their place.' A thread about some annoying habits of some annoying women in American or UK culture does not strike as BoyZone.
posted by shakespeherian at 3:37 PM on August 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


Whoa there Bro Diddley, it's just another way of saying BROSEPH.
posted by elizardbits at 3:37 PM on August 17, 2012 [11 favorites]


alt: brosquito
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 3:38 PM on August 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


"Broham is actually pronounced brohym, its an irish slang turm for brother or friend, made popular by the irish mob.
Hey, whats up broham wanna knock-over a 7/11?"
posted by clavdivs at 3:40 PM on August 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


Bromo sapien
posted by twist my arm at 3:41 PM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


bro hamma
bro hamma-ramma dim don....
bro hamma
posted by clavdivs at 3:41 PM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


basically whichever portmanbreau you like
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 3:43 PM on August 17, 2012 [14 favorites]


"Rectal brolapse": When a dude just has to prove that he's an asshole. Example: See this comment.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:47 PM on August 17, 2012 [9 favorites]


But here? The knives come out every time

on older merchant vessels perhaps.
posted by clavdivs at 3:50 PM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Pit of Despair. It is the Pit of Despair in here. Don't even think about trying to escape, the chains are far too thick.
posted by cashman at 3:51 PM on August 17, 2012


Actually, I was just leaving.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:54 PM on August 17, 2012


Leaving the GirlBrone?
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 3:58 PM on August 17, 2012


I'll help you, bro.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:58 PM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


brohammed

That was not at all helpful to this discourse.
posted by mimo at 4:02 PM on August 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


brosferatu
posted by twist my arm at 4:09 PM on August 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


Napoleon Bronaparte and Empress Brosephine.
posted by elizardbits at 4:11 PM on August 17, 2012 [7 favorites]


That was not at all helpful to this discourse.

But it did serve to belittle the subject so.... there is that.
posted by LordSludge at 4:14 PM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'll help you, bro.

ugh god i don't care how clean that bathroom might be. don't touch the urinal and don't squat under it while someone stands precariously on top of you to pee in it. urinals always make my brain go squicksquicksquick.

(i hope the picture-taker took some time to turn that into a Teaching Moment. after capturing for posterity, obvs.)

and-- brotus the barber beefcake
posted by twist my arm at 4:19 PM on August 17, 2012


Q: What do I do when...

It just feels like if women express themselves about something, or express a preference that they say a lot of women, in their experience, have about something, a number of men will react with shock and suspicion and try to nitpick it to death: "Why would you possibly not like that? I don't see what the problem is with that. What are your reasons? And what about this one woman I met this one time who was okay with it?"

A: Answer them. They're not dogs, they're not brick walls; they're people who are asking you for more detail.

This is the part I just don't get: how is asking you questions about something you just said nit-picking? I feel like if you really want to get a point across, you can't be coming from a defensive position. Just state your case. When they ask for clarifications, clarify. I don't understand how a single one of those questions was out of line in any way. I mean, really... "What are your reasons?" is nit-picking?


I just wish I knew why women didn't get the same kind of "that's how you react to that? Huh. I never knew that. Thanks for letting me know."


I'm not sure, but is it because you're simply not answering them? Because I answer them, and they don't give me shit; they typically thank me, sometimes repeatedly.

I'm honestly not dogging you, EC. I really just don't understand.
posted by heyho at 4:23 PM on August 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


Because in most of the instances where that kind of reaction is common, like for instance talking about sexual discrimination or harassment, the questioner gets very aggressive and Perry Mason about it and they go on and on with their questions like you were trying to get away with something by being honest about something that happened to you. Oh, and they also frequently take a tone as if they are the rational person from planet Logicon and you are some feeble creature from a mysterious star where the normal laws of understanding don't apply.

Frequently it is more like hostile cross-examination by someone who is making it clear that they think the only reason you experience the world as you do is because you're just not thinking about it in the obviously correct way that they do than an actual conversation with another person who regards you as their equal. It is maddening.
posted by winna at 4:40 PM on August 17, 2012 [35 favorites]


someone who is making it clear that they think the only reason you experience the world as you do is because you're just not thinking about it in the obviously correct way that they do than an actual conversation with another person who regards you as their equal. It is maddening.
posted by winna at 12:40 AM on August 18 [+] [!]


Yes, yes it is.
posted by Reggie Knoble at 4:42 PM on August 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


> "I have been told (in the past week, no less) I'm not being manly enough if I'm being cognizant of the space needs of others. That I am cowering."

I don't disbelieve this, but I am baffled and curious ... who SAYS this? To like, another person? How does that happen?
posted by kyrademon at 4:51 PM on August 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Aw, I wanted to go to the DangerZone.

Would you describe that as a zone... of danger?

6'5" here, as a data point, and I am very aware that anyone sitting on the aisle seat when I am in the window seat in a cramped area is going to suffer, if I physically cannot fit my legs solely into the seatwell.

On planes, this is actually not a huge problem - nobody objects to you getting out of your seat and standing in the aisle, because everyone assumes you are trying to avoid DVT. On buses and trains, if the seatwell is not usable, I'll try to move to the aise. If that's not possible, the person on the aisle seat will probably need to spill into the aisle somewhat. It's mathematically awkward, but I'll winch myself in (briefly uncomfortably) and rest my knees on the seat in front of me if a trolley is going past.

None of that is related to standard NY or Boston subway seating, where people face each other in benched seats (without dividers), and which I suspect is what people are talking about here. I have no problem, in New York, in keeping my shoulders as the widest part of my body, and in bending my knees so I am not resting my feet in the lap of the person opposite. Those who cannot do this, for whatever reason, have my sympathy - I'm big enough to know how awkward being an obstacle for other people feels.

BART and LA Metro seating is arranged differently, and poses different challenges - more like airplane seating, in fact.
posted by running order squabble fest at 4:55 PM on August 17, 2012


That's what kills me. Especially with gender issues, we so often talk past each other, assume false motivations, and otherwise dismiss each others' opinions as somehow invalid. Men do it to women here, and women do it to men. It sucks all around, and generates more heat than light. Seems like we're making progress, but goddamn it's slow going.
posted by LordSludge at 4:55 PM on August 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


My experience is that guys who are douchily dismissive to women are also generally all-around douches, at least when it comes to taking crit.

Good point.

Answer them. They're not dogs, they're not brick walls; they're people who are asking you for more detail.

What I see in here, though, is that quite a few are asking for more detail and receiving those explanations, and continuing to ask the same questions.

And, I do answer. And often in the same threads you do. I'm not sure why you're thinking I'm saying I don't.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:57 PM on August 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


My experience is that guys who are douchily dismissive to women are also generally all-around douches, at least when it comes to taking crit.

or in some cases they might only respect other men as perceived equals and therefore be more inclined to respond as an equal.

Should some threads, then, be explicitly GirlZone?

no. because boyzone isn't a place where mens' opinions are respected and men are given a safe space. boyzone is (in my understanding) a place or atmosphere where women are explicitly not welcome and made to feel unsafe by all the stuff that has been discussed previously on MeFi re: the patriarchy etc.

i think what folks have been asking for is not a place where men aren't allowed to talk or are made to feel disrespected, which would be girlzone, but rather a place where we are all equals who still understand that there's a lot of baggage in these types of discussions and we would--all of us--therefore walk a little more softly than usual.

but some of that baggage includes women not being taken seriously when discussing serious shit (rape/murder) and less-serious shit (catcalling), so when it comes up on metafilter, you know, keep that in mind and act accordingly.

Because in my opinion, pretty standard metafilter commenting (sharing links and offering information, analyzing behavior) causes problems in those threads.

i think this may be an issue of "letter of" vs "spirit of," eg. a guy "analyzing behavior" when he doesn't believe any woman has a good reason to be suspicious of men randomly approaching her in inappropriate times/places/ways-- the assumptions that person is making is going to be pretty obvious to many women and is one of those things that will set off the oh-no-you-di'n't in these threads, especially those posters who've partaken in these discussions for years with, in some cases, no progress.

on preview, this:

Frequently it is more like hostile cross-examination

and this

And, I do answer. And often in the same threads you do. I'm not sure why you're thinking I'm saying I don't.
posted by twist my arm at 5:13 PM on August 17, 2012 [11 favorites]


It gets exceedingly tiresome to be accused of believing all men are rapists when not only do I not believe that, but I have said repeatedly and unambiguously that I dot believe that.
posted by rtha at 5:18 PM on August 17, 2012 [7 favorites]


Don't not dot. I don't know what dot is.
posted by rtha at 5:28 PM on August 17, 2012


Has that happened here, rtha? Genuinely curious, because I don't remember ever seeing that actually trotted out around here, except as an obviously stupid extreme (in the linked comic, for example). Not saying it didn't happen, just that these threads are long and I might have blocked something that dumb out.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:29 PM on August 17, 2012


"This is the part I just don't get: how is asking you questions about something you just said nit-picking? I feel like if you really want to get a point across, you can't be coming from a defensive position. Just state your case. When they ask for clarifications, clarify. I don't understand how a single one of those questions was out of line in any way. I mean, really... "What are your reasons?" is nit-picking?"

Because a lot of times it's more like a woman says, "He walked up to me, shouted 'Nice hooters!' and grabbed my boobs," and she's challenged, "What POSSIBLE evidence do you have that he wasn't admiring owls outside the bar -- it WAS night, after all -- and tripped and just HAPPENED to grab your boobs while trying to catch his balance? Jesus, give the guy the benefit of the doubt!"

Yes, I'm sure that for many situations we could come up with a totally absurd situation in which aggressively unwanted and inappropriate behaviors were totally unintended and the perpetrator is a perfectly nice schlemiel. But it's like being in torts class, seriously: yes, I suppose you could shoot the duck that falls on the other duck that falls on the second guy which makes him shoot the third guy, but IT SEEMS LIKE A REALLY STRAINED EXPLANATION.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:31 PM on August 17, 2012 [32 favorites]


Has that happened here, rtha?

(think she's probably talking about stuff like the hey-whatcha-readin' thread with subsequent, yeah... don't know if it happened in this thread. not going to look.)
posted by twist my arm at 5:33 PM on August 17, 2012


I'd be sad to hear that anyone pulled that particular sad cliche out of their ass anywhere on MetaFilter.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:36 PM on August 17, 2012


Oh, yeah, to clarify: not in this thread, at all. Other threads though - elevator thread and related meTa spring most immediately to mind - yeah. Apologies for the confusion.
posted by rtha at 5:37 PM on August 17, 2012


I think I was away during the elevator thread incident. Sorry to hear it was such a turdfest.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 6:00 PM on August 17, 2012


I think the elevator thread was kind of a kick in the gut to many female community members. I know it was for me.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:04 PM on August 17, 2012 [30 favorites]


I've been taking the stairs ever since.
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:06 PM on August 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


Well, shit. I'm really sorry to hear about that.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 6:18 PM on August 17, 2012


I don't disbelieve this, but I am baffled and curious ... who SAYS this? To like, another person? How does that happen?

Those societal messages are strong. They're the same ones that say "the man is supposed to pay for the meal" and "the man should be taller than the woman". It's the same ones that tell women their worth is based on having children and supporting their husband, and then to top it off, gets older women to shame their daughters with it. A lot of us know these are bad messages, but when the entire weight of society is forcing socialization on you, it is hard for many people to resist these messages for extended periods of time. It is a fight. To help keep women in their place, patriarchy keeps men in their place. And women, of course, get the worst of this. After meetings at work if I'm cleaning up I'm asked why I'm doing it, and told not to worry about it. Meanwhile women are expected to clean up. I could go on and on, but I'm sure women are quite familiar with these situations.

i think this may be an issue of "letter of" vs "spirit of," eg. a guy "analyzing behavior" when he doesn't believe any woman has a good reason to be suspicious of men randomly approaching her in inappropriate times/places/ways-- the assumptions that person is making is going to be pretty obvious to many women and is one of those things that will set off the oh-no-you-di'n't in these threads

Maybe people thought I was doing that, after seeing it happen so many times. But if you look at my replies in the creepy dude thread, I was solely referencing men's behavior, and blaming it solely on men. No second-guessing or even mention of women was done on my part. Men's behavior is the problem, I was specifically, again, talking about the societal messages that exist that lead men to make bad choices that are entirely their fault, and they choose to behave in creepy ways. I didn't reply to the earlier comment that said I was making "goal oriented" posts, but that isn't at all what I was doing. It's just standard metafilter behavior - adding insights and links. I didn't tell any women anything about their behavior at all. And I made sure to make it clear that nothing excused the behavior of the men.

But I get if people are so used to that happening, they assumed I was doing that. I'll just try to navigate better and hopefully things improve. At the end of the day, I believe we're fighting for the same thing. Equality, and the end of a ridiculously sexist society.
posted by cashman at 6:20 PM on August 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


It gets exceedingly tiresome to be accused of believing all men are rapists...

One of the the take-aways** from the Schroedinger's Rapist thread was that women should treat all unknown men as potential rapists because "We. Can't. Tell." It's a nuanced difference, to be sure, but still hurtful and Othering to hear that I, as a man, should be treated as a rapist -- even if you don't believe that all men are actual rapists.

** Not trying to put words in your mouth; totally possible you weren't even around for that thread. One of the challenges of discussion here is that it's hard to keep individuals' opinions strictly separate. But that was one of the main themes of the thread - and, get this, I can totally see the validity from a woman's perspective.
posted by LordSludge at 6:35 PM on August 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Frequently it is more like hostile cross-examination by someone who is making it clear that they think the only reason you experience the world as you do is because you're just not thinking about it in the obviously correct way that they do than an actual conversation with another person who regards you as their equal. It is maddening.

Yes, it totally is. It's more than maddening - it's hurtful, it's dismissive, and many times it's bullying.

So what I don't understand is the disconnect when those who make this complaint will all too often turn around and do the same damn thing to others.

You don't get a pass on rude behavior just because you think you're obviously in the right.
posted by flex at 6:37 PM on August 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's not that women SHOULD, it's that from repeated experience women LEARN to do so. And that hurt feelings do not trump people's personal safety.
posted by elizardbits at 6:38 PM on August 17, 2012 [19 favorites]


(My comment above is not specifically directed at winna, it is just my thoughts bouncing off her quote.)
posted by flex at 6:38 PM on August 17, 2012


Men's behavior is the problem, I was specifically, again, talking about the societal messages that exist that lead men to make bad choices that are entirely their fault, and they choose to behave in creepy ways.

Cashman, I get where you're coming from, and I don't think you're doing anything wrong per se, but when you focus on the creepers (who many women think are operating on bad faith or at least with giant privilege chips on their shoulder), you seem to me like you're missing the point. What I'm interested in in that thread isn't the insights into the behavior of the creepers, because men "explaining" the reasoning creepers use has, historically, been about men excusing their behavior ("he's just not a socially adept guy, what do you expect?"). Where you could offer some awesome insights about what men are thinking is "why do men give creepers a free pass?" and "what things can women say or do to get men to stop ignoring creepers/harassers in their circle and the complaints of the women around them and do something supportive/helpful?".

For me that discussion wasn't about creepers at all, it was about the rest of the men in those circles and the "bros before hos" backup that men give other men even when other men are creepers who make the women in their circles miserable, up to and including molestation/assault.
posted by immlass at 6:42 PM on August 17, 2012 [8 favorites]


Well; one factor is the trend for feminist posts on MetaFilter to be outragefilter. That gives the same bunch of folks an opportunity to go grind their axes, and it's not really surprising that the thread turns into a pit of vipers if the original post is hurtful to somebody. Once someone is hurt, good faith discussion pretty much dies in the water.

There also seems to be a lot of long term butthurt, deliberate misrepresentations of others' feelings after the thread is done, overly rigid worldviews... It's sucky. I don't like it. For the record, I don't have any grudges against people I've gotten into heated debates with here; and I've gotten too heated more often than I'd like to admit. Some of you are some of my favorite people on the site, in fact.

I don't know. I think MetaFilter discussions of feminism and gender issues have gotten much better in some ways, but they're still often uncomfortable for me for multiple reasons, and a lot of the most well regarded threads on the site look to me more like a triggering mess of verbal vomit built on a mountain of trauma.
posted by byanyothername at 7:06 PM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


But it's true LordSludge and sadly it's necessary. Because like elizardbits said, men are worrying about being misunderstood and having their feelings hurt, while we are worrying about being raped and murdered. And no, that's not hyperbole.

And that's the fault of the creepers and harrassers and rapists and murderers. It's not the fault of the rest of the men, and it sucks for everyone and so it goes.
posted by gaspode at 7:06 PM on August 17, 2012 [10 favorites]


One of the the take-aways** from the Schroedinger's Rapist thread was that women should treat all unknown men as potential rapists because "We. Can't. Tell."

I dunno, I felt like the more prevailing message was "no matter how awesome and decent a guy you know yourself to be, you cannot get pre-approved as an Obviously Awesome And Decent Guy and avoid being an unknown quantity by every woman you encounter". Which is a further distinction from the above.

Which, still, yes, it sucks for all involved that there's this systemic nature of the world where women and men both having to occupy that less than groovy dynamic sometimes, but it felt like most of the "oh so we're all potential rapists then I guess" stuff was more coming from guys having trouble with the lack of a pre-approval process than with women actually exhorting other women to actively consider all men potential rapists until proven otherwise.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:11 PM on August 17, 2012 [27 favorites]


Well, yes, but hopefully no one is worried about being raped and murdered in the thread, while men in the thread are worrying about being misunderstood and having their feelings hurt.

So, within the context, at least, of that thread, it seems to appropriate to consider as legitimate concerns of being misunderstood and having feelings hurt.
posted by MoonOrb at 7:11 PM on August 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


And, I do answer. And often in the same threads you do. I'm not sure why you're thinking I'm saying I don't.

EC, I'm sorry, I don't mean to imply that you don't answer people; I was responding to just that paragraph I quoted. I was saying that when someone is asking a question, even asking insistently, I have a lot of success if I just answer it. I find they calm down if I remain calm, is all.


Unrelated to that in particular... maybe it's dangerously naive of me, but I think a lot of the time men who start out being a little aggressive in "girlzone" threads are simply trying to suss out whether you're feeding them a line of bullshit or a line of truth. It's a perfectly legitimate first thought when coming across new information that four or five people in the discussion are a little offended that you don't already know. And some people express themselves super awkwardly/defensively when they're trying to figure out if they're being fucked with, but I sort of enjoy giving them one free pass in the hope that I can maybe draw them in so that they'll listen to what I have to say. Sometimes you just have to be the first one to express respect and be the nice guy or something... I don't know why! But whatever works, and it always reminds me of this Paul Klee sketch.

I've had a fair amount of success with explaining some of these issues to men, yes, even on metafilter. I find it's much easier if I simplify it and just offer information to them calmly and without formatting, and I try to remain hyperaware of coming off in a condescending tone. If they didn't respond by being utterly civil to me, I wouldn't engage further. It hasn't happened to me yet, so take from that what you will. I'm either really goddamn lucky and have been just that lucky for like 25 years, or I'm doing something right. I hope it's the latter, but you never know, I suppose.
posted by heyho at 7:16 PM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's a nuanced difference, to be sure, but still hurtful and Othering to hear that I, as a man, should be treated as a [sc. possible] rapist -- even if you don't believe that all men are actual rapists.

Speaking as a dude, I'm going to suggest that being raped is probably a worse experience than being hurt and othered on the Internet.

With that in mind, it feels like hitting the fainting couch with the force of a thousand exploding suns is an odd response to people saying "I am nervous about the possible risk of being assaulted by men I have recently met".
posted by running order squabble fest at 7:17 PM on August 17, 2012 [29 favorites]


One of the the take-aways** from the Schroedinger's Rapist thread was that women should treat all unknown men as potential rapists because "We. Can't. Tell." It's a nuanced difference, to be sure, but still hurtful and Othering to hear that I, as a man, should be treated as a rapist -- even if you don't believe that all men are actual rapists.

So I'm not the most fluent in gender studies language, but what on earth are you trying to do with the verb "othering" here?

If you are a heterosexual guy, you are absolutely "other" in that framing, in that you are not in the group that is likely to be date raped, for example. You are not likely to be sexually harassed in a threatening manner on the bus, etc etc etc through all the examples in that thread.

How could a woman who doesn't know me possibly look at me and tell if I am a rapist or not? If we are drawing venn diagrams, I'm in the "potential rapist" circle, not the "at high risk of being raped" one. So yeah, in that discussion I'm "othered" and rightly so. In a discussion of what it's like to be a man in those situations, things are reversed and I'm the "us" instead.
posted by Forktine at 7:36 PM on August 17, 2012 [11 favorites]


Thanks for the discussion all.
posted by cashman at 7:36 PM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sorry all, gotta run. Flight just landed and I have a few hours yet to drive. Thanks for the conversation.
posted by LordSludge at 7:40 PM on August 17, 2012


LordSludge - this is kind of exactly what I mean. I don't think the guy sitting at the table in the resto where I'm waiting for my food is a rapist. Frankly, I'm not thinking about him at all.

Most of y'all don't even appear as more than blips on my (urban kid, YMMV) radar. You only ping if you do something that I might need to watch out for. Like, if you and I are alone in an elevator together and we just ride in it and get out at our floors, I've assumed pretty much nothing about you.

But if you stand too close, act too familiar - I'm still not going to assume you're a rapist. I am going to assume you're someone I should be wary of.

I said the in a different thread, but it's still true: it wasn't women, mostly, who taught me to be wary of men. Men have taught me to be wary of men. I'm aware that this might not be fun to hear, but it isn't personal: you, LordSludge, have not taught me this, as far as I know. But pretty much the only people who have taught me that lesson are men.
posted by rtha at 7:48 PM on August 17, 2012 [18 favorites]


Doh. Memail me if you want, LordSludge.
posted by rtha at 7:49 PM on August 17, 2012


I liked furiousxgeorge.

I hope he'll be back.


Trurl came back; so I guess anything is possible.
posted by banshee at 8:06 PM on August 17, 2012


Well, yes, but hopefully no one is worried about being raped and murdered in the thread, while men in the thread are worrying about being misunderstood and having their feelings hurt.

i really don't mean to be a dick here, but people are worried that their concerns about being raped and murdered are being treated on par with men worrying about being misunderstood and having their feelings hurt. and every now and then, concerns about being raped and murdered are discounted and dismissed entirely.

and the hurt feelings on both sides are necessarily informed by this environment of sexism that we were all born into and are all continually affected by. and any man (or woman) who doesn't understand that is going to come onto a site like metafilter and wonder "how come i say this stuff all the time and people are only flipping out about it here? clearly mefites are crazy and wrong." in some cases that's an exaggeration and in other cases it's not at all.

So what I don't understand is the disconnect when those who make this complaint will all too often turn around and do the same damn thing to others

You don't get a pass on rude behavior just because you think you're obviously in the right.

you don't mention specifics so i'll only reply generally here--not in every case, but in some cases it's because what men consider "rude" behavior from women is not considered "rude" coming from a man (like themselves, natch). and, as in the above example, it's not fair to compare feeling apples to rape and murder oranges.

or, one man's same damn thing is another woman's are you fucking kidding me, not this straw feminist. again. (genders can be totally reversed there as well)

anyway, i wouldn't consider many of the women here rude. admittedly, potential confirmation bias. even if i'm wrong, i don't understand why people can't FIAMO and just engage with the many many reasonable posters who are arguing in good (if tired) faith.
posted by twist my arm at 8:56 PM on August 17, 2012 [7 favorites]


I think I am just missing some context then, because I'm confused. I don't understand why or how a woman's fear of being raped or murdered would be compared side by side to a man's concern that his feelings would be hurt/he'd be misunderstood. I was imagining, based on the comment I responded to, that in the context of discussing horrible things that women endure, that it was somehow inappropriate even in that context, to worry that a man was being hurt or misunderstood because in other, much different situations, women endure things that are so so so much worse. But now I'm thinking I perhaps misunderstood the comment.
posted by MoonOrb at 9:18 PM on August 17, 2012


I think I am just missing some context then, because I'm confused.

The context is generally a woman saying "when men do this, women are afraid of being raped and/or murdered" and a man saying "I might do that sometimes and it's embarrassing to be lumped in with those other bad men" and the women all saying together "dude, you have missed the point in a pretty spectacular way."
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 9:22 PM on August 17, 2012 [31 favorites]


"But it's true LordSludge and sadly it's necessary. Because like elizardbits said, men are worrying about being misunderstood and having their feelings hurt, while we are worrying about being raped and murdered. And no, that's not hyperbole."

Earlier in the thread there was discussion about how men aren't as likely to see the ways in which women are treated differently. At the time, I sort of thought about writing how it is possible for a man to be very aware of this for a limited time, and that it's...eye-opening. Or, more to the point, extremely disturbing.

And the quote above gets to the heart of it.

I'm not really interested in discussing the experience of being a man who is aware of sexism and misogyny. I'd like to have that discussion with someone — so far the only productive and, well, gratifying and soul-easing discussions about this I've ever had have been with one or two women who've been my romantic partners and feminists, where there's a lot of trust and shared understanding between us. Otherwise, though, it's not really a discussion a man can have for the obvious reasons. It makes it about the man, which is wrong and feels wrong on many levels.

I mention it, though, not at all in a "share our feelings" or "feel the pain", but in a "this is a huge barrier to communication and minefield" sense that is involved in many of the reasons these discussions between men and women about sexism and misogyny and sexual violence against women go wrong.

Because while it's certainly true that what's at stake is very unequal, as described above, I think that women don't quite understand how profoundly disturbing — sickening — it is for men to feel like they're guilty of rape-by-association. It's profoundly psychologically challenging.

I can't speak for other men. But from when I first really and truly opened my eyes thirty years ago and watched and saw on an hour-to-hour basis all the ways that women were treated differently than I was, to ten years later when I worked in rape crisis, the degree to which I am totally open and aware to this is the degree to which I feel covered in filth and that cannot live in this world. It makes me despair and want to be dead, literally to kill myself. If I were female, I'd at least be able to have some righteous sense of being wronged. As it is, I feel unclean, at the very least an unwilling collaborator. People are reading this thinking that I'm writing hyperbole. But when I worked in rape crisis, literally two-thirds of the women closest to me in my life disclosed to me their experiences of surviving sexual violence. Two-thirds. That includes my mother, my grandmother, my sister. But not only them, women I knew as acquaintances and college friends would disclose to me, too, after we'd talked about the subject a few times. It's all around us, most women are very aware of this, and most men are totally oblivious.

There is so much implicit in this. Thirty years ago, in that first six months or so of suddenly seeing the world as it was, there were many times when I felt like I wanted to go back to being ignorant. I've never felt this way about anything else, before or since. But with sexism and the actual gulf that separates every women in our society from how I live as a man — I still feel that yearning for a blissful ignorance all the time. That's just the part of seeing the world as being far more unjust and ugly than you thought it was and finding it so much worse that you realize you can't do almost anything about it. Help at the tiniest of margins, at the most. But the other part is that the group you're a part of are the bad guys. That in ways you can't control, you are benefiting from this injustice, too. And, yes, that people you like and love see you sometimes, consciously and unconsciously, as one of those bad guys and dangerous to them.

Who would want to "wake up" into that world? Women have lived in it all their lives. But for the most part, ordinary men have to actually see something they've lived with but never recognized. They have to completely rearrange their understanding of reality and, in doing so, they have to rearrange their own place in it and how they think about themselves. And not in positive ways. Many people, men and women both, naively think that being a male feminist and being aware of this stuff provides me or people like me with some sense of moral superiority, that that's what we get from it. I don't have words to describe how totally backwards that is. This doesn't put me on the side of the angels!

I've gone more in that direction I very much didn't want to go. But I guess I couldn't avoid it because this is all why it's so difficult to talk with men about this stuff. For your average man, engaging on it offers absolutely no pleasant alternatives. That's not the best language — what I mean, is that it offers no alternatives that aren't deeply upsetting. For the minority who are actually misogynist and hateful or willfully participating in sexism, it's a challenge because they're not engaging on their own terms where they have the advantage. For the rest of the men, the possibilities range from accepting the reality of a world that is very ugly that we really can't change, through a natural defensiveness because of guilt-by-association. I can't think of any single example that crystallizes this more than "women look at any given man and worry about being raped". Men aren't freaked out when hearing that because they worry that this means that they can't hit on women (okay, a small minority probably reacts badly for that reason). They freak out because the implications of this about the world and our lives — our lives, both men's and women's lives — are very dark and ugly and sad. The implications are challenging on every level — sense of other people, how society works, justice, relationships, and our sense of ourselves.

The thing that drives me nuts is that I feel intuitively that in the midst of all the crappiness that is being confronted by this, there exists the chief opportunity for changing things. There's almost nothing more disturbing than waking up to the reality that the world is shit, but once you've awakened to it, you have the eyes to see how to make it less shitty. It's like all these awful threads we have here that hurt so many feelings are perhaps in some sense inevitable — not that we couldn't do better, or that all the hurt feelings were individually necessary. But some pain is unavoidable because these are painful truths. I don't wish on any person, man or woman, the sudden realization that the person with whom you share an elevator is afraid that you might attack them and sexually violate them just because you fit a profile. But somehow people have to understand that this is the world we actually live in and that it's wrong and we have a responsibility to change it to the better world we imagine it could be.

Unfortunately, I just don't know how to ease the pain of that awakening, that new awareness. In general, the resistance to this awareness and the pain it causes is universal; women have as many reasons to not see things as they are as men do. The big difference is identity and complicity, but those things have parallels across the sexes, too. I don't know how to make it less threatening. I don't know remotely how to make it attractive. Because the world as it is, is painful and threatening and ugly and so the awareness of its truth is all these things.

I guess the only thing I can say is that we could perhaps be more empathic and understanding that these things are threatening and difficult, for both women and men, and build-in to our engagements on these topics some forgiveness for how it's basically impossible for all of us to work through this stuff discursively without sometimes feeling poked in the eye, or reacting badly, or being angry, or whatever. Because this stuff elicits shitty feelings that we mostly don't want to have. And we're all imperfect.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 9:55 PM on August 17, 2012 [33 favorites]


Can someone link the elevator thread please?
posted by Kwine at 9:56 PM on August 17, 2012


Elevator thread: MetaFilter. MetaTalk.
posted by zarq at 9:59 PM on August 17, 2012 [7 favorites]


Thanks zarq.
posted by Kwine at 9:59 PM on August 17, 2012


You're welcome. It actually also spawned another MeTa thread, and a new site policy.

I know at least one member flamed out as a result of the first MeTa: Orthogonality. Others might have as well.
posted by zarq at 10:03 PM on August 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


totally what r_n said.

i would add that the inappropriateness is not like, can we please have a moment of silence. nor is it the oppression olympics (my pain is worse than your pain, you can't say nuthin').

it's more like-- if you're hearing about something in-depth, perhaps for the first time, (creepers, rape culture, domestic violence, workplace sexism, what have you), why is it there is always a reliable pushback taking a completely predictable turn and being driven by the usual suspects. if it were me, if it seemed plausible, my reaction would hopefully be, wow that's f-ing horrible. how can this be going on around me all the time? what can i do?

also, i don't think that men shouldn't feel hurt when they're lumped in (initially) with potential rapists (as a completely ingrained self-defense mechanism, so nothing personal), nobody's saying it's not allowed or even that it shouldn't be expressed. but expressing it does unfortunately fall into a by-now standard trope of the discussion of women's issues being turned into men's issues (me too-ism), men not taking women's concerns seriously (so you're saying i'm a rapist?!), ultimately men putting their own needs before those of women (how am i supposed to get laid if i can't talk to ladies?).

i think it's possible to express that hurt but it takes a lot of sensitivity. and again, to me the reasonable reaction would be, ok-- tell me what not to do so i can look like not a rapist because that would be sending the WRONG SIGNAL.

to be clear, i think metafilter has changed for the better-- but then again, i didn't read the elevator threads in their entirety. i'm glad that those so affected have decided to stay.
posted by twist my arm at 10:12 PM on August 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh Christ, that thread. I still have nightmares.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:24 PM on August 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


I know at least one member flamed out

Orthogonality might have been abrasive a lot of the time, but that was not the outcome I had hoped for. I kinda miss him.
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:25 PM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


As PhoBWan said, that elevator thread really was a gutpunch. Some of the things said there, both to me and to the other women trying to explain what the hell it's like to be us in this world, really hurt. Deep down gut level hurt.

I remember memailing Loquacious about this stuff, either in that discussion or one of the subsequent ones, to thank him for throwing his hat in - because, all gender identity and expression aside (and I really hope I am not handling this incorrectly; if I am I will apologise) - because we refer to Loq as he and, even discussing those things, that gives his words more weight. He was mad as hell about that. Not at me, but at the situation where he wound up damn near speaking on behalf of other posters who couldn't keep going in that thread.

One of the friends I've known longest is a guy who has about a full inch on me, if he's wearing heavy shoes. He is as intimidating as a sleeping kitten. He can't handle bugs. And yet, when I am out places with him, I know for a fact that I am safer than when I am in those same places alone, because the creepers who scan the crowds see him, assume that I am somehow 'his,' and elect to find a woman on her own. Easier targets.

It's exhausting to live all of this and know that it's sort of a secret life, an unseen life, because the predatory fuckers don't do this around the guys who get freaked when they have no idea why they're being lumped in with rapists on the Schroedinger scale of potentially hazardous strangers. It's exhausting explaining it again and again, trying not to lose my temper, trying to remember that the same questions -- but it was daylight! but you knew him! but other people trusted him! -- are being asked because people don't know, rather than because people deliberately are trying to turn the knife. It still hurts, either way.

I have so many stories I could tell here. So many. The friend who can pick me up with one arm, who shadows me when we're out in public because she has Survived Things, and does not feel safe even in crowded places without some kind of backup. We sit side by side at the coffee section in bookshops, both of us with our backs to the wall. We don't talk about it. We don't need to.

Even with all of that, even with all of those things rattling around in my head -- it is worse to stay quiet, to pretend that this doesn't go on, to play along with the fiction that everything is fine. It is worse to think that there is nothing that can ever be done to change this.
posted by cmyk at 10:37 PM on August 17, 2012 [20 favorites]


Oh yeah, the elevator thread, aka the thread that ruined my fucking birthday, thanks metafilter, that was rad. next year i'd like to just be maybe stabbed with a salad fork if that's okay.
posted by elizardbits at 10:53 PM on August 17, 2012 [9 favorites]


*scribbles in notebook*
" July 4" "salad fork"

posted by Catch at 11:12 PM on August 17, 2012 [11 favorites]


maybe add "stab" so you don't forget and do something stupid like wrap it up in a box with a bow?
posted by twist my arm at 11:18 PM on August 17, 2012 [7 favorites]


It actually also spawned another MeTa thread, and a new site policy.

I'm confused and forgetful. What was the new policy? Was that when we started doing pre-approval MeTas over some holidays?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:23 PM on August 17, 2012


That was when we started putting corks on the salad forks.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:29 PM on August 17, 2012 [9 favorites]


Was that when we started doing pre-approval MeTas over some holidays?

Wasn't that the Thanksgiving weekend right after where that first went down? A 24 hour hold on new MeTas until more mods were hired to cover nights and weekends?
posted by infini at 11:56 PM on August 17, 2012


I somehow missed the whole elevator thread and had to have elizardbits show it to me earlier this evening and now I am so. fucking. angry. that it happened.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:08 AM on August 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


One of the the take-aways** from the Schroedinger's Rapist thread was that women should treat all unknown men as potential rapists because "We. Can't. Tell."

I'm sorry to hear that was your impression from that thread, because I tried repeatedly to express something more nuanced in that thread: that any stranger who attempts to impose himself upon my attention despite my clear social cues that I don't want to engage with him is someone to be wary of.

For example:
I don't think it's even necessary to introduce the question "Is he a rapist" into the dynamic. If I am on the bus reading a book (and I am always reading a book. I take the bus because I can read on it, which buys me an extra hour of study time every class day over other transit methods), then it would be courteous of a stranger not to assume that his or her desire to chat with me, or flirt with me, or pick me up supercedes my desire to read my book.
And here:
To a great many people, an unsolicited and blatantly sexual sexual message is threatening. Let me break down some reasons why: the person issuing the "invitation" is loudly breaking several boundaries of widespread social interaction, e.g., we don't usually yell at strangers, we don't usually trumpet sexual interest, we don't usually try to jump from strangerhood into sexual relationships. A person who disregards these pretty basic social boundaries may not respect other social contracts, including the prohibitions against touching strangers, beating up strangers, and raping strangers.
And here:
It's the cheerful willingness of intrusive strangers to disregard these cues and clues that puts me on my guard. If a stranger disregards or misses a whole series of socially accepted clues, I start wondering what other clues and social boundaries they will disregard or miss. I get wary --- not so much of their intent as of their ability to gauge another person's boundaries.
And here:
[this Kate Harding thread on the subject] points out that the male-privilege of expecting female attention in public is not solely expressed in lurid catcalling or other sexual attention, but also in the more innocuous guise of, for example, the little old man who thinks you should chat with him and let him pat your hand rather than reading your book or listening to your iPod.
And here:
As I pointed out above, my perception of risk goes up sharply when the person trying to get my attention has already ignored my strong social cues indicating that I don't want to engage with him. (These cues are the focus of the linked article, too.) If a stranger is willing to ignore widely respected social guidelines simply because he desires the pleasure of my attention, I am very wary of him. If he is oblivious to or disrespectful of these socially agreed upon boundaries, I wonder what other boundaries he will ignore.
It seemed to me that that was the overwhelming sentiment women expressed in that thread: A) that strangers --- mostly men --- frequently ignore the common social or conversational cues that we wish to avoid engaging with them and insist upon receiving some attention; B) it's reasonable to wonder if someone who so insistently or unknowingly blows past those socially agreed-upon boundaries will also ignore other, more crucial boundaries and cause us harm.
posted by Elsa at 12:12 AM on August 18, 2012 [64 favorites]


There is something maddening about the fact that this is a fairly straightforward, common sense understanding of the thread and the views expressed in it, and yet when it comes up up on the blue, as it does now and then, it is inevitably characterized as "all men are rapists."

It's like people genuinely don't want to listen to the points being made, but instead desperately need to characterize it as something else that allows them to play victim.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 12:24 AM on August 18, 2012 [15 favorites]


The corks on the forks was the right thing to do, though. Ruprecht could take his eye out.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 12:25 AM on August 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


Great. Now I desperately want someone to do a Corks On The Forks variation of this tune.
posted by cmyk at 12:30 AM on August 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


I've got culture coming out of my ass.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:31 AM on August 18, 2012


Did you listen when I said "don't eat the agar?"
posted by maxwelton at 12:33 AM on August 18, 2012 [6 favorites]


"It's like people genuinely don't want to listen to the points being made, but instead desperately need to characterize it as something else that allows them to play victim."

I wasn't here for that elevator thread (for which I'm thankful and I have no intention of reading it now) and while I think that what you describe certainly does happen (because there are people — like the MRA folk we've been talking about — who want the mantle of victimhood so as to justify their own hatefulness) I also think that it's really oversimplifying things to make it that a) only certain men are suspected of being potential rapists and b) only certain men of suspect motives would ever feel defensive about being suspected of being a rapist.

It's not as if every woman, and every survivor of sexual assault, is given a handbook with which they consult a list of things to be suspicious about. Different people have different sensitivities and react differently in different situations. There are survivors who hardly ever feel unsafe and hardly ever suspect others of being predators, and then there are survivors who almost always feel unsafe and who suspect most people of being predators.

A big thing that I found doing rape crisis work and listening to people's stories and everything is that everyone is different — and while there are some generalizations you can correctly make about stuff, they're still generalizations and with something as sensitive and painful as sexual assault, it's especially important not to impose your generalization on any individual survivor. This isn't just a problem with non-survivors and/or men, it's very often a problem with survivors vis a vis other survivors, as they generalize from their own experience onto others and often without realizing they're implicitly invalidating experiences that differ from their own.

And there's something deeper involved with trying to limit the scope that I think is very problematic. I think that the impulse to say that only a small minority of men doing certain things cause women to be frightened, and that therefore only that small minority of men should be defensive, is psychsocially akin to the very strong impulse to make sexual violence against women almost exclusively about stranger rape. Which, in fact, accounts for only a minority of sexual violence committed against women. Because, in fact, the majority of rapes are committed by men known to the victims. Usually by people who are trusted in some sense by the victims. Making this about scary, aggressive men is turning what is actually a deep, endemic, widespread social problem into something more remote, exotic, and supposedly controllable. But it's not remote or exotic, and it's not controllable by thinking it's exotic.

No, most men do not frighten most women most of the time. But most women find themselves frequently frightened by the possibility of sexual violence. This represents a huge chasm of experience between men and women. It's something we should all be aware of. Women should be generally angry about it and men should be put on the defensive about it. All women and all men.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 1:47 AM on August 18, 2012 [12 favorites]


It's a nuanced difference, to be sure, but still hurtful and Othering to hear that I, as a man, should be treated as a rapist -- even if you don't believe that all men are actual rapists.

I had a male classmate who didn't have much money. My school was a fly-in one, so we would all gather once a month, and then people would leave again. I was part of a small population who lived locally, and several months in, after he and I had talked a few times, he asked if he could sleep over at my place so he didn't have to pay for a hotel the night before his flight out. I told him I'd think about it.

This was a week after the rape trial where a woman let a drunk friend sleep on her couch and he raped her. He was acquitted because she let him into her apartment. The overall attitude of the people prosecuting the case was that she had consented for sex by letting him sleep on her couch. That argument won.

So I spent an afternoon thinking about what I would do if he raped me. I wanted to believe he wasn't a rapist, but I knew that if he was I wouldn't be able to legally prosecute him, and I would struggled to even report him to our school. I decided if he did rape me, I'd move to a different schedule so I wouldn't be in the same classes as any of the people in case he was kicked out of the school, because chances are several of the women would be openly hostile toward me if he was; he was a very popular person. I decided it was worth the risk despite the significant social and safety cost I could be taking on.

At dinner I told him he could stay at my place.

Getting ready for bed the night he stayed over (he was sleeping on an air mattress in my bedroom), I put on several layers on my lower body. My thought was that if he did rape me, it would be harder, so I might get away without actually being raped. We had a long, fun conversation; I liked talking to him.

He didn't rape me. I was hugely relieved, and he continued to sleep over at my place until classes ended.

One of the last times he stayed over, we were talking about trust and consent. He responded to something I said defensively, asking if I really thought he wouldn't be sensitive to consent, and I responded without thinking, "Of course not. I let you sleep at my house." It took some explaining for him to realize I had to do a rape threat assessment before agreeing, and when he realized this he was really surprised. He was also gratified that I trusted him enough to let him potentially fail, instead of simply refusing him access because of the significant personal and social cost.

I didn't want to do the rape threat assessment.

It is hard for me to have the fact I do this assessment thrown in my face as some sort of attack on men when it's the best defense I have over handling rape when it happens to me.

It is also hard for me to see the language "Othering" used in such a way. Othering is language used to describe a systematically discriminatory system and how the not-standard is treated within it, and frankly women defending themselves against rapists are not the standard in this system, rapists are.
posted by Deoridhe at 1:54 AM on August 18, 2012 [84 favorites]


TL;dr - Schrodinger's Rapist is rational planning for women; you plan for the worst and hope for the best.
posted by Deoridhe at 1:58 AM on August 18, 2012 [10 favorites]


Jessamyn, yes.. Metas require approval on holiday weekends. Originally raised iirc, as 'we're revisiting the idea of shutting down mefi during holidays.'
posted by zarq at 4:25 AM on August 18, 2012


Ivan: the thread Bunny is referring to is not the elevator thread, it's the "Hi, Whatcha Reading" thread. The two are different.

It's like people genuinely don't want to listen to the points being made, but instead desperately need to characterize it as something else that allows them to play victim.

This is exactly the phenomenon I was complaining about here, and why I get so frustrated to be told "so if guys are genuinely trying to understand, just answer their questions". There is a difference between someone asking questions because they truly don't understand and are confused, and someone asking questions because they don't believe what you're saying and are trying to pick your statement apart.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:01 AM on August 18, 2012 [12 favorites]


> Elevator thread: MetaFilter. MetaTalk.

Man. Thank god I was on a self-imposed MeFi break that summer. Holy crap.
posted by languagehat at 7:08 AM on August 18, 2012 [6 favorites]


I just want to thank Ivan Fyodorovich for his two thoughtful and, for me, thought-provoking posts.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 7:56 AM on August 18, 2012 [6 favorites]


I posted the "elevator thread", as in, that's my FPP. The only reason it happened on a holiday is because that's not a holiday here in Canada (we'd already had our holiday July 1) and I didn't clue in to "oh yeah, it's Fourth of July" before I posted.

I did not expect it to bring on what it brought on, if I haven't made that clear enough already (I think I did at the time); I had seen a big change in how MetaFilter denizens handled feminist issues over the past few years and basically thought "we've evolved" enough that discussing them would not blow the fuck up like that.

I am feminist. I make feminist-issue posts if I think they have particular angles the MetaFilter community would be interested in, that could spark a nuanced discussion. I do not make feminist-issue posts out of outrage or with the intent to spawn outrage. I do not enjoy when feminist-issue threads become an "us vs. them" on things that I accept as basic - for instance, that women have the right to share their experiences and men listening to them should not be kneejerk-defensive about it.

twist my arm: I think you are thinking I'm responding to the line of discussion re: women sharing their experiences and men dismissing them. I am not. I agree wholeheartedly that in this society when women share their experiences, men tend to dismiss or minimize them. When that happens, that is wrong. It should not happen. It makes me angry to see.

What my earlier comments in this very long thread address are those on MeFi who feel that because they're obviously right, they can belittle or out-shout or out-argue any other person's participation that is not hewing to the accepted party line. I find this hypocritical. I have been on the receiving end of this myself here on MeFi more than once. I can't stand dismissive hostility from a sexist POV towards a feminist POV. Yet too often the same people who complain about that happening, will do it right back - to both those that have what they see as a sexist POV, and to those they see as having a too-radfem POV.

I don't like that kind of behavior, it is rude no matter who it comes from - even if I agree with your point (and many times I do).
posted by flex at 8:03 AM on August 18, 2012 [16 favorites]


There are issues that come up on metafilter that relate to disabilities. I have, unfortunately, flipped out in such threads (sorry, everyone). What in retrospect I noticed happening was: Me: "Supercharged statement of extreme emotion related to the post as it relates to persons with disabilities" Some other person: Maybe "yes but that it not so important because blah blah blah" or even worse "entitlement". THAT is when I flip out to the extent I make posts that are not cool. Again, sorry about that. I'm trying a new approach where I only respond to something if I can make a joke out of it, which is necessarily limiting.

This is not an excuse but an explanation: The X described in the post relates to a past experience I've had that was acutely physically painful/inconvenient/humiliating. So I'm hurting when I comment X. Then some person who does not use a wheelchair and somehow does not possess magical ESP to understand where I'm coming from says something that is ignorant, but understandably so. Then I feel like my favorite playground, metafilter, is a manifestation of the blah blah related to the post that has hurt me and hurts other people to. Then RAGE PARADE. Then the person who meant no harm is like, "Dude!"

That isn't an explanation for all my bad posts, but definitely some of the worst of them.

W/r/t the gender thing, unless it comes to straight-up-rape (the frequent metafilter claims that Assange was set up and my responses to those claims comes to mind), I feel like very articulate people have done my work for me, so I don't speak up so much.

So I think that's one way to parse the bullying/opinion line. The person who has been mocked and derided for his views is like "Dude!" and the folks responding are responding from positions that relate to pain they've experienced and others have experienced and will experience. Then you get a hurricane of posts that are sort of unconsciously feeding off of the bad feelings people have.

So, other words: Sinners should accept criticism gracefully. But if they don't, tearing them apart in a thread accomplishes not a whole lot. Hate the sin but love the sinner, that kind of thing.

But if somebody is shitting up a thread with arguable misandry, I think that's an argument for mod intervention. Not ban hammer, but get out of the thread command. Because otherwise it's people yelling "CITIZEN'S ARREST!" and that's not so good (yeah I know stolen bicycle exception whatever)
posted by angrycat at 9:34 AM on August 18, 2012 [7 favorites]


Because while it's certainly true that what's at stake is very unequal, as described above, I think that women don't quite understand how profoundly disturbing — sickening — it is for men to feel like they're guilty of rape-by-association. It's profoundly psychologically challenging.

This is obviously something you have thought a lot about, and feel intensely about. I hope my respect for that comes through here.

But "guilty of rape-by-association"? That makes no sense to me. As a tall heterosexual white dude with a middle class job and a good education, I benefit from most aspects of our sexist system, while a few other aspects hurt me in limited ways. That sexual violence is so pervasive is sad and distressing, but is not something for which I carry guilt at a personal level.

It's absolutely something that impacts my life at an intimate level -- my female friends, sexual partners, and family members experience this violence and harassment daily. The fear of and the aftereffects from violence structure my relationships with women, and prevent freer and more trusting connections.

But privilege is a sticky thing -- I can't get rid of it just because it comes from things I disagree with. I have to own who I am and live in the place where I am. I am not guilty of rape-by-association, but I am a beneficiary of the ways in which the risks of sexual violence is concentrated, I can be be conscious of that, and I can ensure that I am acting in ways that make the situation better rather than worse.
posted by Forktine at 9:44 AM on August 18, 2012 [24 favorites]


well shit flex, that's too reasonable for me to disagree with so i won't.

that being said, you're still speaking very generally here so it's hard for me to comment on any specific instances that may cross the line that we both may agree on. i kinda don't want to name names this far down the thread b/c everyone seems to be getting along at the moment, but are you talking about (for example) EC's chuck-under-the-chin comment?

b/c i would agree that it's not helpful and it's easier to make the case for yourself when you avoid that type of rhetoric. but she did back off almost immediately, and keep in mind the response was to Reggie Knoble who spent his first comments defending the green card marriage husband, defended eas98 and then hincandenza as well. not to mention some comments that also came off to me as a guy needing to get in his 2¢.

doesn't excuse her comment, but there was an escalation there that is pretty typical. point being she didn't start off out-shouting or belittling and dialed it back, which many of the guys on the other side never do.

if you're talking about the first comment of the thread, i'm sorry but i don't think posters like eas98 and hincandenza deserve the initial benefit of the doubt that you would extend to someone whose posting history is less blatantly one way or the other. (doesn't mean you get to be a dick or otherwise break the guidelines! but i feel like the mods are pretty good at discouraging over-the-line comments and the userbase tries to self-police in this way.)

do you think at least some of the time, the angry comments you're referring to are in response to the out-shouting and belittling that women suffer on a daily basis in little and small ways? because it is hard to keep cool all the time, fighting honorably when your opponent has no problem throwing sand in your eyes.

not to pull a fox news, but for example there are those who would read Deoridhe's awesome, calm, reasoned comment and called her paranoid. or instead of the positive interaction she had with the house guest, if he had instead stayed skeptical and turned dismissive, think about what that grind does to you after a decade or 3.
posted by twist my arm at 9:49 AM on August 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


Yeah, flex, I somewhat generally agree with you. As mentioned by twist my arm, though, it's hard to say when you're speaking in generalities (I see why you'd do so, but still).

My issue with the concept of "rudeness" as it relates to conversations like these is that I find many, many sexist* statments, no matter how "politely" expressed, to be inherently insulting and hurtful. There's no polite way to say that women aren't good at taking care of children**, for example. It's just never going to be polite. I find it understandable to respond to statements like those with rudeness. That's life in a social setting--insult a bunch of people, and they're going to be pissed off and act like they're pissed off, and that includes the occasional snarky comment.

I don't even think hypocrisy really enters into it ever, actually, unless you think the primary problem with sexism is that it's rude. I don't think that at all. I think the primary problem with it is that it makes women's lives substantially more difficult on an everyday basis, makes it more difficult for us to have fulfilling careers and relationships and sex and makes it difficult even for us to love ourselves and care for our bodies. In some situations it is literally physically dangerous to be a woman, and in many situations it is emotionally and mentally dangerous. That is what bothers me about sexism. Not that it's rude.

There is also the other problem with "rudeness" as a concept in discussions of sexism and feminism, which is that women are pegged as "rude" and "aggressive" much more easily than men are for the same exact words and behavior. It's not fair and it's a big part of why "rudeness" and being the "bigger person" really get lots of attention in conversations like these. Being polite and pleasant is expected of women much more than it is of men. Like I said above, though, if you insult a bunch of people and then expect them to continue being pleasant to you--you're dreaming. And that's what happens in a lot of these threads.

*not just sexist opinions, but that's the topic of the thread right now, so...
**I don't want to repeat actual sexist stuff so here's a fake sexist thing

posted by the young rope-rider at 10:21 AM on August 18, 2012 [29 favorites]


if you insult a bunch of people and then expect them to continue being pleasant to you--you're dreaming

word. fucking WORD.

you know the funny thing is it took me like an hour to write my previous comment b/c i was concerned about coming off biased and not wanting to call out people from 3 days ago when they were probably no longer reading and couldn't defend themselves. i didn't want to quote anyone out of context so i gathered EVIDENCE like i needed to defend my ass in court. used all manner of hedge words just in case.

a lot of times those sexist comments the young rope-rider mentions come off like, hey whatever, it's just my opinion and it's just the internet. i imagine those people closing their browsers and going on about their day like nothing happened. the women that push back hard-- even if nobody says it, i know they get up from the computer, hearts heavier and outlooks grimmer than before the shitfest. they're fighting to be heard and fighting to change minds. there's no acceptable compromise position to discrimination. how do you shake hands and "good game" someone who thinks there's a secret recipe to not getting raped that women just need to follow and they'll be fine...
posted by twist my arm at 11:10 AM on August 18, 2012 [25 favorites]


Man, do I wish I hadn't gone back and reread the elevator thread and the related MeTa.

I really, really appreciate having people like the young rope-rider and EmpressCallipygos here, that they continue to post despite the fact that members have been hostile and hateful toward them, that they continue to fight the good fight.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:37 AM on August 18, 2012 [31 favorites]


not to mention some comments that also came off to me as a guy needing to get in his 2¢.

Pence, thank you very much. We use real money where I am.

(Have I done it again? Hopefully someone will be along in a minute to act like a dick toward me seeing as that is what I clearly deserve).
posted by Reggie Knoble at 1:29 PM on August 18, 2012


Hopefully someone will be along in a minute to act like a dick toward me

i hope no one does.

and yeah, that's how your tone struck me. i only brought it up as a tiny example of how these arguments get escalated. but you're entitled to your opinion and you haven't said anything that i need rehashed. others wayyyyyyyyy upthread responded to your comments that i disagreed with and that was enough for me.
posted by twist my arm at 1:46 PM on August 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Reggie, I'm curious—what was the point of your parenthetical? I mean, I can see why you typed it out—I type out snarky responses all the damn time—but why did you go ahead and post it?
posted by dogrose at 1:51 PM on August 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


twist my arm, I sent you MeMail in response. I speak in generalities partially because to be specific is read as an attack and treated as such. I also speak in generalities because I don't want to deal with another "Righteousness That Does Not Allow For Nuance vs. Everyone Else" shoutfest. (For transparency's sake, I typed a few snarky things into this parenthetical and then I kept deleting them.)
posted by flex at 6:01 PM on August 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


"But 'guilty of rape-by-association'? That makes no sense to me. As a tall heterosexual white dude with a middle class job and a good education, I benefit from most aspects of our sexist system, while a few other aspects hurt me in limited ways. That sexual violence is so pervasive is sad and distressing, but is not something for which I carry guilt at a personal level."

I am not entirely unsympathetic to your argument, but I think you're being psychologically unrealistic. Do you or have you never felt guilt-by-association about anything? The thing is, we're not absolute individuals and within the context of society we exist as part of classes of people and parts of our own selves arise from and exist within that context of shared identity. If this weren't so, all these class oppressions couldn't exist in the first place.

Furthermore, the more that I think about it, the more I feel that this "clean conscience" principle is morally suspect in principle, too. I guess it's very American in its implicit notion of the supremacy of the individual. But I don't think that you really can or should separate out the privilege from the guilt for the injustice that results from that privilege, and in a more brutal sense to the degree to which one's social identity is as part of a group, is the degree to which one must share moral responsibility for that actions of that group, in aggregate, including its crimes.

In the context of sexual violence against women, it's not as if the individual rapist represents the entirety of the moral responsibility for that assault. There is a vast and diffuse enabling complicity, conditioning, and willful blindness that hides behind every individual assault. Sexual violence against women is simply the most explicit manifestation of patriarchal misogyny and the impetus behind each act is not limited to the individual criminal. If group Y systematically and institutionally oppresses group X it is absolutely wrong to limit the responsibility for each act of oppression to the one individual most proximate in volition to that act. It's wrong and it's convenient to everyone else who is complicit.

We do have to draw lines and of course it's true that some people are more guilty than others. But there's something that bothers me about this denial of shared guilt because it has the practical effect of diffusing the benefits of the crime across the entire class while only holding one or a few proximate individuals responsible for its harm. When a government pursues an official policy of invasion and torture, who is held responsible for the crimes? And who benefits? When Europeans or Canadians generalize about Americans because of US policy, leftist Americans get defensive and say, hey, those aren't my policies. Christians say those aren't my beliefs and practices. It's almost as if all the bad things that happen and continue to happen and continue to happen the same ways via the same institutions are all the sole responsibility of a few people who make a few decisions at some moment in time. Does that sound like the truth? It doesn't sound like the truth to me, it sounds like a fantasy of avoiding responsibility.

I do strongly agree that bad things come from collective prosecutions of guilt. But I think that people mistakenly (and self-servingly) equate collective prosecutions with collective acceptance of guilt. They think that if it's wrong for someone else to prosecute guilt against some class, then that means that it's wrong for that class to accept guilt. But the two are very, very different. They're different in principle and they're extremely different in practice. The world would be a better, not worse, place if people were more inclined to accept collective guilt.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 6:50 PM on August 18, 2012 [6 favorites]


flex, sent you one back. and i sincerely hope whatever you were typing in the parentheses was not directed at or because of me.

and i said generalities because that's how i would describe those specific comments, not because there is anything wrong with generalities, uh, in general. peace.
posted by twist my arm at 7:07 PM on August 18, 2012


Forktine: But privilege is a sticky thing -- I can't get rid of it just because it comes from things I disagree with. I have to own who I am and live in the place where I am. I am not guilty of rape-by-association, but I am a beneficiary of the ways in which the risks of sexual violence is concentrated, I can be be conscious of that, and I can ensure that I am acting in ways that make the situation better rather than worse.

Ivan: There is a vast and diffuse enabling complicity, conditioning, and willful blindness that hides behind every individual assault.

twist my arm: a lot of times those sexist comments the young rope-rider mentions come off like, hey whatever, it's just my opinion and it's just the internet. i imagine those people closing their browsers and going on about their day like nothing happened. the women that push back hard-- even if nobody says it, i know they get up from the computer, hearts heavier and outlooks grimmer than before the shitfest. they're fighting to be heard and fighting to change minds. there's no acceptable compromise position to discrimination. how do you shake hands and "good game" someone who thinks there's a secret recipe to not getting raped that women just need to follow and they'll be fine...

I think some men truly and honestly feel they are being unfairly judged as potential rapists by women and not only do not understand why, but also feel tremendously insulted by the assumption. They therefore aren't necessarily going to feel compelled to listen when they feel attacked or misjudged.

Whether they realize it or not, most men are beneficiaries of our patriarchal society, even if they are not conscious of those benefits or perhaps their own assumptions. Learning this requires moving past emotionally defensive reactions towards empathy.

And that means listening. To the women who are giving voice to their own fears. Rather than dismissing them, because whether we men recognize it or not, those fears come from a very real place: from a very specific reality that those women live every single day.

During the Schroedinger's Rapist thread, I watched tzikeh speak repeatedly about this, far more calmly than I think I could have managed in her place. I remember reading her comments and deliberately refraining as much as I possibly could from addressing what she was saying, so it might be heard and valued. This comment in particular has stuck with me:
Durn Bronzefist: How about we listen to each other? No? No good? Alright then. Laters.

No. No good. Not about this. I'm deadly serious. This is a one of the main problems of the conversation we're having here, and of any conversation between (some) men and (most) women about rape and rape culture.

We don't have to listen to you; you have to listen to us. Nothing you have to say has any bearing on how we have no choice but to live our lives in a world you don't live in. You might be the best guy ever--a saint of a human being--but nothing you say to us on this topic makes any kind of difference in our experiences in a culture in which misogyny is so unbelievably ingrained that men (and some women) don't know or see about 90% of it until they bother to look really, really closely. Again, I recommend this discussion.

Men don't get a pass on feeling uncomfortable in this conversation. You should feel uncomfortable. When confronted with an involved and complex discussion of racism, I learned very quickly that I did not have the right to counter what POCs were saying with "but but but" and "I'm not like that" and "well, but you should also listen to me--shouldn't we listen to each other, after all?" That's the classic derail in which I try to make their discussion about their lives into a discussion about me, which is what you and several others here are trying to do. What I had the right to do was shut up and listen to them, and ask questions about what I didn't understand, so that I could learn about their world--a world that I don't live in. You can bet your ass that I was uncomfortable. But I also became so much more aware of the pervasiveness of racism in our society--so much more than I could possibly have imagined. Beyond anything I might have thought I'd known. So yeah, I don't have to listen to you about your thoughts about where I live, because You Don't Live Here.

You don't want to face the fact that you quite probably don't understand what we're talking about, and would rather be glib or smug? Nothing we can do about that, but that makes you a great big part of the problem. You clearly have no desire to do the work required to gain serious understanding, because then you'd have to admit that you're wrong.

But it is obvious that you would rather not entertain the notion that you might learn things that will make you uncomfortable--that, or you truly believe that women should have to listen to what men have to say about women's lives in a discussion of something only women can, and do, experience. If that's the case, as you say, laters.
posted by tzikeh at 3:05 PM on October 8, 2009 [66 favorites -] [!]


I watch men on MeFi defend themselves all the time in these threads with the same arguments: "I'm not like that." "People I know don't have anything to fear." "My job isn't like that." "I've never seen that happen, so it can't ever happen." "They're not listening, perhaps because they don't have a frame of reference. Perhaps because they don't want to have one. Perhaps because they bristle at being lumped in with the dregs of humanity. But we need to listen more to women on this topic, and spend a hell of a lot less time defending our honor.
posted by zarq at 7:53 PM on August 18, 2012 [43 favorites]


I don't like having strange women worry that I might be a rapist. I don't blame them, though. As far as I can tell, it's the rapists I should be angry at.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 8:21 PM on August 18, 2012 [27 favorites]


those are powerful words from tzikeh. thanks for digging them up from the rubble.

unfortunately i can imagine being in Durn Bronzefist's position of, after a long contentious thread, being true to my word and bouncing the fuck out of there. when things get that heated it's really hard to read what tzikeh said and not kneejerk latch on to "If that's the case, as you say, laters" and letting it eat at me instead of giving her the benefit of the doubt and just listening.

i feel like making that u-turn requires this humility and willingness to stand still that most of us are not capable of, especially not in the heat of the moment. and that humility that precedes an understanding of the other side is something that can only be given freely, not demanded, not coerced after being exposed to a perfectly eloquent speech.

also i still remember, in the elevator thread, being so unbelievably irritated at richard dawkins. the idea of agreeing with (or giving a pass to) strident voices when they're on your side and hating them when they come from the opposing side is not new, it comes up on metafilter a lot. but i was really struck-- as an atheist i felt like dawkins was not as obnoxious as some people say, but seeing him being this tone-deaf professorial jerk about women's issues-- i felt a moment of kinship with religious people who have been saying that about him for awhile.

anyways. it's strange how far across the chasm can be. i just want results damnit. if a perfectly eloquent speech won't do it, then just give me the personal mad-lib instruction manual to your brain that will unlock your agreement and support!
posted by twist my arm at 9:09 PM on August 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


will unlock your agreement and support!

This is what might be getting under their skin though. You don't want a discussion, you will give no quarter. The only options he has is either to capitulate or depart, he has no options of being able to convince you of his points, so why continue to engage in discussion.
posted by zabuni at 9:54 PM on August 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Zarq, I favourited that comment so hard I think I bruised my finger. A second and well earned favourite for tzikeh's comment.
posted by arcticseal at 9:55 PM on August 18, 2012


This is what might be getting under their skin though.

no, i know, and i was self-parodying what i know gets under my skin after awhile. there was a dropped hamburger tag somewhere.
posted by twist my arm at 10:00 PM on August 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


no, i know, and i was self-parodying what i know gets under my skin after awhile.

I could see that, especially after the 5 millionith person who flounces out of a conversation. It's kinda like being the mods. Given some of the conversations I've seen about race and gender, I don't think I would have the fortitude to not start typing out insults in all caps while yelling at the monitor.
posted by zabuni at 10:52 PM on August 18, 2012


This is a one of the main problems of the conversation we're having here, and of any conversation between (some) men and (most) women about rape and rape culture.

We don't have to listen to you; you have to listen to us.


Yea, that does sound like it would be a big problem for any conversation about rape and rape culture, if some people aren't trying to engage in two-way communication but just trying to talk at the other side who doesn't get to say anything. Perhaps 'conversation' is not the right word for it, and calling it that is contributing to false expectations.
posted by jacalata at 2:05 AM on August 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


whoa, unexpected: I thought commenting in the thread would override my previous Remove From Recent Activity, but apparently not.
posted by jacalata at 2:10 AM on August 19, 2012


But if some people in the conversation have vastly less experience and knowledge of the topic, why should they expect equal time with the dozens (hundreds?) of people who are very experienced yet always get their knowledge dismissed? I don't demand equal time in conversations about molecular biology and nitpick the statements of experts in the subject, because I don't know shit about it unless I'm willing to shut up and listen. It's like climate change deniers complaining because people listen to climatologists and peer-reviewed reports instead of the email their uncle sent them.
posted by harriet vane at 3:47 AM on August 19, 2012 [28 favorites]


And a conversation that is mostly between experts and takes respectful questions and comments from noobs (not cross-examination & accusations of lying) is definitely still a conversation.
posted by harriet vane at 3:50 AM on August 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


I both love and hate tzikeh's comment — I'm having a strange ambivalence about this in general. My comments above on this specific subtopic could be seen as arguing both sides.

I think that tzikeh's comment is the first word on it, but not the last word. That is to say, until men first truly listen to women and accept the reality of rape culture, there's no point for them to be present in any sort of "conversation". Later, maybe, once the reality of rape culture is assimilated, we can productively discuss how men in general fit in with all this, what men can do to change things, what it means to be complicit, all of that. But that conversation can only happen within a context where the existence of rape culture isn't being disputed and women's attested experiences aren't being contested. And the thing is, that's almost never the case (outside of a small, tightly controlled environment). It's certainly not the case in these discussions on MeFi.

What happens instead is that the existence of rape culture is disputed and women's attested experiences are contested. Women are put on the defensive and it becomes all about how some men feel unfairly compared to or suspected of being rapists. It's not as if how well-intended men feel and think about this don't matter — of course it matters in many different respects, including in the practical sense of how to solve these problems collectively. But privilege in general functionally denies its very existence — if you want to give it some mysterious meme-esque angency, you can imagine that it works very hard to convince people that it doesn't exist. The well-intentioned man protesting that it's unfair to suspect him of being a rapist is functioning as a privilege-denier, though unintentionally.

This is the underlying rationale for my previous argument — people who are members of an oppressor class should accept collective guilt, rather than resist it, because they're protected by a status quo as members of the oppressor class whereby, as individuals, they're very resistant to accepting responsibility for the oppression with which they are complicit. They're teflon, it's hard to get anything to stick. Because they're institutionally and culturally shielded. They're psychosocially shielded. ("It's a few bad apples and I really hate those guys.")

"I think some men truly and honestly feel they are being unfairly judged as potential rapists by women and not only do not understand why, but also feel tremendously insulted by the assumption. They therefore aren't necessarily going to feel compelled to listen when they feel attacked or misjudged."

Yours, tzikeh's, and my two comments deal with why and how men should behave differently, but I'd like to return to my earlier comment where I attempted to get across just what it really means for men to listen. When you write:

"They're not listening, perhaps because they don't have a frame of reference. Perhaps because they don't want to have one. Perhaps because they bristle at being lumped in with the dregs of humanity. But we need to listen more to women on this topic, and spend a hell of a lot less time defending our honor."

I think you're greatly underestimating just how challenging it really is for men to listen to and accept the worldview that is implicit in this "listening". This is why I'm pushing back so hard on the point that Forktine and others made — the one that basically says that it's only the rapists who should be defensive.

When I've been writing these comments, it's been one of those experiences where I feel myself sort of circling around some previously unconnected ideas, collecting them together, and finding an important unifying theme that suddenly makes a bunch of things more comprehensible to me than they were before.

The most constrained and well-understood example illustrating the general principle is, for me, the whole acquaintance versus stranger rape thing. I've had strong opinions about this for over twenty years. I feel and believe very strongly that the emphasis on stranger rape — in terms of fear, law-enforcement, and education — is counter-productive, a sort of unthinking and culturally instinctive means to avoid addressing the larger problem. There's this confluence of motivations for looking there, for problem solving there ... as opposed to, say, here, among friends and coworkers and where we're comfortable. It's not as if stranger rape isn't horrifying and something we should fight with all our strength — it's that characterizing rape as stranger rate leads us to misunderstand its nature, to ignore the underlying cultural impetus, and to largely ignore all the varieties of rape which don't conform to that narrow comprehension of it. All of which conspire to accept most of the status quo while contesting only a small portion of it.

So in terms of men feeling defensive, I think that there's a relationship to the stranger rape thing. That is to say, men don't want to be compared to the stereotypical monster attacking women in parking lots or climbing through windows, because they don't want to be seen as monsters, and they also defend themselves by strongly asserting, hey, I'm not someone who attacks women in parking lots of climbs through windows. Which, you know, is probably true but only accounts for a small portion of sexual violence committed against women. More to the point, though, is that as we look at all the things that sexual violence can be and is, all the ways in which women feel unsafe, are made unsafe, are threatened and constrained, and all the ways in which people participate in making those things possible, then the web of responsibility and guilt becomes wider and wider and all those men who feel so sure of their innocence stop to seem so innocent. At which point ... what? What happens then?

Either we evade the responsibility and guilt — the reality — or we accept it and find ourselves in a universe that is extremely ugly, unjust, and is so in ways that make us feel badly about ourselves as human beings. That's expecting a lot from people. From men.

On the other hand, it's absolutely fucking necessary.

I don't think it's helpful to talk about this listening thing as if it doesn't implicitly mean turning peoples' worlds upside-down and making them feel like shit about everything. Well, okay, maybe it is helpful if our strategy is to lead people unknowingly to things that they otherwise wouldn't approach themselves. I dunno — some of that is probably necessary, just as a practical matter. But at some point cushioning the blow (and by that I mean both by the people dealing the blow and the people who think they are accepting the blow) becomes a way of avoiding it, or avoiding the larger truth of it.

Oh, hell, here's another way of saying part of what I'm trying to say. Years ago, when I was at St. John's College, where we all read the same books and discuss what we read in earnest-but-disciplined seminars, I found that I became very frustrated sophomore year when we began reading all the religious texts. Suddenly these fellow students who'd been amazingly mature and rational (I was older) about difficult material were letting all the typical cultural baggage into the classroom, when they hadn't before. (They weren't letting the texts speak for themselves, taking them on their own terms, but were recapitulating all the stuff they'd earlier learned about these texts and what they supposedly mean, for example.) I was miserable, becoming disillusioned with my fellow students and the school. Until one memorable evening with one of my professors. We talked about all this for a couple of hours but one thing in particular he said to me stays with me to this day, that made it all make more sense to me. He said that given that we live in a judeo-christian culture, he'd not be pleased if the classes weren't filled with a lot of difficulty and people bringing in "baggage" but, rather, he'd be both disappointed and disturbed. It would signify that the students weren't truly engaging with the material and the ideas. Or that they were the vanguard of a secret invasion of robots or aliens.

I don't think that there's any way to avoid the difficulty and hurt-feelings and defensiveness and all sorts of other extremely unpleasant crap when we discuss these issues. Because the fact of the matter is that sexism and misogyny and sexual violence against women is both all around us, forms the fabric of our social lives, and also hurts individual people very badly, in different ways, even including men. That men are defensive is in some sense a good sign because, partly, it indicates that they feel both the correct moral repugnance and some sense of shared responsibility. That we're defensive and threatened by the reality of it, by women fearing us, is a good sign because it means that on some level we're being made aware of the implications of the reality of what sexual violence is. There's no way for women to tell their stories without it being painful for them, because their stories are about pain; and there's no way for men to hear these stories without sharing some of that pain, in one form or another. There's just not a painless way to do this. There's an empowering and productive way to do this, but that's not the same thing as being painless.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 4:44 AM on August 19, 2012 [14 favorites]


As of right now this thread has approximately 86,000 words (with attributions and some others excluded). The top of the word frequency list, excluding many words I (arguably) arbitrarily elided as uninteresting, in order, is:

people, men, women, think, thread, know, them, see, say, why, time, make, person, man, point, good, bad, need, she, our, him, site, right, her, behavior, threads, problem, sexist, having, trying, banned, guy, everyone, talking, sexism, guys, work, woman, discussion, mods, male, world, experience, years, wrong, rape, agree, try, divorce, conversation, read, tell, shit, opinion, lawyer, rights, thought, opinions, mra, history, gender, example, question, advice, feminist.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 5:23 AM on August 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think you're greatly underestimating just how challenging it really is for men to listen to and accept the worldview that is implicit in this "listening". This is why I'm pushing back so hard on the point that Forktine and others made — the one that basically says that it's only the rapists who should be defensive.

Others might have said that, but I certainly didn't. My point was fairly limited: that it is possible to not connect with the idea of "guilty of rape by association" while also acknowledging and owning all of the ways in which one is benefited by a system of pervasive sexual violence, and taking conscious steps to play a positive rather than negative role.

I am unclear why you think it's a good approach to try and make all men defensive, but I'd suggest that it isn't going to be particularly productive politically or personally. Violence reduction is not where I have experience, but the evidence-based harm reduction programs I know about are extremely careful to not use that approach.
posted by Forktine at 5:46 AM on August 19, 2012 [5 favorites]


I'd just like to say that the last, I dunno, forty or so comments have had a lot of heavy thinking and clear, respectful communication, and strike as an example of what these conversations look like when we're able to do them right.
posted by longtime_lurker at 6:33 AM on August 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh god. I have to participate in this thread. The entitlement and victimization are nauseating. Why does the crazy fringe always prevail these threads? I should participate in this thread. Bring some perspective into the discussion. It's unthinkable that this thread should continue without considering basic facts X and Y. I must participate in this thread. I will spend hours arguing on the internet, frittering my time away arguing with increasingly hostile strangers. I will be the crazy fringe. I will not participate in this thread.
posted by deo rei at 7:28 AM on August 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Is that supposed to be helpful, deo rei? Or funny?
posted by cgc373 at 7:31 AM on August 19, 2012


It's too early on this coast for performance art.
posted by rtha at 7:42 AM on August 19, 2012 [5 favorites]


I am unclear why you think it's a good approach to try and make all men defensive

i'm thinking Ivan doesn't want to make men defensive. I think he's correlating defensiveness with "turning peoples' worlds upside-down." Perhaps defensiveness is neither sufficient nor necessary, and Forktine is an example of that?
posted by twist my arm at 7:43 AM on August 19, 2012


I have no problem whatsoever with Ivan's position. I am, however, pretty fed up with his using the issue to talk about himself at colossal length.
posted by Wolof at 7:50 AM on August 19, 2012 [7 favorites]


I am unclear why you think it's a good approach to try and make all men defensive.

It strikes me that it isn't exclusively the women's fault if men become defensive listening to the impact of sexism on women.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:51 AM on August 19, 2012 [9 favorites]


So in terms of men feeling defensive, I think that there's a relationship to the stranger rape thing. That is to say, men don't want to be compared to the stereotypical monster attacking women in parking lots or climbing through windows, because they don't want to be seen as monsters, and they also defend themselves by strongly asserting, hey, I'm not someone who attacks women in parking lots of climbs through windows.

I've been circling around something with your comments, Ivan, and this touches on it but isn't quite there. The thing about sexual assault--and the "why do men support creepers?" thread gets right at it--is that while what women are generally told is to fear stranger rape, the ugly truth is that most women are sexually assaulted by men they know. That's something that a lot of people (men and women) have a lot of trouble internalizing, even for women who have been sexually assaulted by men they know. See: every AskMe where the "was this rape? this was rape" discussion comes up.

Because we're told rape is so awful, so terrible, "the fate worse than death", nobody wants to admit they're complicit. And yet our (American, specifically, but others too) culture entitles men to take actions that amount to rape, even sometimes legally amount to rape. That's got to be a mindfuck for men just as it is for women. It's got to be a lot easier to be a denier than it is to really confront that you (generically), a man, could be doing something that terrible.

I don't like the idea of collective guilt for that or any of our other collective social sins (like, say, the racial issues in this country). What I do like is the idea of collective responsibility for helping against injustices that we benefit from. A guy who's done a turn at rape crisis has certainly been on the barricades, and that's probably a really hard way to internalize all the things one can learn about rape. But I don't think every man has to learn it that hard--and the "not supporting creepers" thing is a comparatively easy way for men to step up, although admitting your bros are behaving in a rapey way, which is what I suspect is the underlying issue, may also be a bigger mindfuck than I think it is because as a woman, I've learned not to be surprised when I figure out some guys are creepers/harassers/misogynists/etc.
posted by immlass at 7:51 AM on August 19, 2012 [20 favorites]


i'm thinking Ivan doesn't want to make men defensive. I think he's correlating defensiveness with "turning peoples' worlds upside-down." Perhaps defensiveness is neither sufficient nor necessary, and Forktine is an example of that?

I don't know. It's hard to tell. Ivan, I appreciate that you're generally being thoughtful but your rhetorical approach also obscures your point and creates a situation in which a dialogue is nearly impossible.

(I, for one, missed where you said this in response to me way upthread--"As long as it doesn't make much sense, or feels 'wrong', to most people, including feminists themselves, for a man to be a feminist, it will be the case that on some level it will make sense to people that this is really about one team fighting another team for dominance and that MRA makes sense as a balancing against women's rights."--an assertion that doesn't match my experiences as a feminist at all. Men are feminists. It is not wrong, nor does it feel wrong, for men to be feminists, and most feminist women I know feel the same way. But the style of discourse both made that point frustratingly easy to miss and nearly pointless to address.)

And that's the thing, or part of the thing. Many of the women here have already been chased out of the conversation or generally feel worn down about it and some of the women participating are not being addressed at all so that the men can talk about the finer philosophical points and so it's a conversation about listening that's essentially entirely left to the men--to argue about collective guilt, or what-not, a topic which is perhaps interesting in an abstract philosophical sense but doesn't really get very close to the point of it at all.

Which is part of what makes metafilter seem to me at times to still be frustratingly boyzone.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:53 AM on August 19, 2012 [26 favorites]


I'd just like to say that the last, I dunno, forty or so comments have had a lot of heavy thinking and clear, respectful communication, and strike as an example of what these conversations look like when we're able to do them right.

I'm not sure I agree either. There's part of me that appreciates some good points made, and the other part of me that observes that here we are again, talking about the feelings and psychology of men.
posted by Miko at 8:04 AM on August 19, 2012 [29 favorites]


Miko, I feel like it's in the interest of the minority to talk about the psychology of the majority, IF that creates a strategic advantage for the minority.

I've been exhausted and frustrated by trying to explain to a guy some of the issues touched upon in this thread, and I get the frustration that it's like we have to fucking explain AGAIN thing.

Howevs. if it's a question of how to win the conversation -- and mostly I don't try so kudos to those who do so in a respectful manner, it's more than I want to try to do -- I think male psychology is very important.
posted by angrycat at 8:51 AM on August 19, 2012


I see all the arguments for it, believe me, and have been at it for years of course; and yet it's funny - even in a thread beginning with "has MeFi gone girlzone?" we end up delving into the inner conflicts of maleness.

What does "win the conversation?" mean?
posted by Miko at 8:54 AM on August 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


on preview:

fuck it, just deleted everything i was going to write because i see i was about to contribute to the problem in question.

Miko (and PhoB), it's been a long-ass thread, and i think the original question "is this place a girlzone" has been answered with an overwhelming FUCK NO-- from mods, women, and men. respectfully* what do you think the thread should be about at this point? i understand you're describing something that has already happened (and happens in these threads all the time) and may be too late to turn around. in the interest of not letting that continue to happen after it's been pointed out, is there something specifically, or any woman's post that you feel was given short shrift and could stand some elaborating?

i understand if you're just sad that it happened yet again and you are perhaps merely making visible note of it. for those still reading. to learn to do better next time and pay attention when it's happening, or whatever.

*you (Miko) can't know how much i reallyreallyreallyreally mean that. there's lots of intelligent posters here, but in terms of posting style you're the one that always stood out to me in terms of being able to lay the gentle educational smackdown. i've always preferred it to the grandstanding grar that can permeate at times. and yes, i mean "stood out" in a world with lhats, cortexes, jessamyns, LobsterMittenses, IRFHs, etc.
posted by twist my arm at 8:56 AM on August 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


i understand if you're just sad that it happened yet again and you are perhaps merely making visible note of it. for those still reading. to learn to do better next time and pay attention when it's happening, or whatever.

Pretty much. It's just worth observing. It's in itself an example of why this isn't a girlzone. I suppose those conversations have to happen somewhere and that people should carry on, but it's a reminder of the embedded notion that important conversations are about men.
posted by Miko at 9:03 AM on August 19, 2012 [16 favorites]


Pretty much. It's just worth observing. It's in itself an example of why this isn't a girlzone. I suppose those conversations have to happen somewhere and that people should carry on, but it's a reminder of the embedded notion that important conversations are about men.

Also that they're couched in a rhetorical style enjoyed by a privileged class--emotionally removed, calm, and logical. Because, really, the stakes are fairly low for those engaged in it.

I know that, as a woman, I get really, really angry when I think about all the ways in which my liberties are still encroached upon by the patriarchy--angrier still when people suggest that my attempts to work toward equitable wages, rights over my body, heck, even a right to take up physical space--is a threat to their majority control of the world. I do my best not to be rude about these things, but it's at times difficult. These are emotionally charged issues! I mean, I cried--a lot--back last summer when that elevator thread was happening. It was the only time I ever seriously considered closing my account.

I was told then that I shouldn't consider metafilter a safe space for women and women's stories. This is the biggest fundamental way that it seems to me that metafilter is not a girlzone and is, rather, fundamentally a boyzone. I hate that it boils down to an either/or dichotomy, but it certainly feels that way. I suspect those like OP and others who are angry about the presence of feminist discussions here would see any indication that metafilter be a space space for women as marking it as fundamentally "girlzone." I wish that wasn't the case. I wish I felt like this was a space where women could share their stories and experiences without being asked, over and over again, to consider how our anger and our pain over legitimate threats to our rights, liberties, and physical safety make men feel bad. Because this is clearly a safe space for men's pain and anger, to be discussed and examined again and again. It's not nearly equitable, much less girlzone. Even as I find metafilter to be loads better than many other diverse communities on the internet.

Essentially, I want to favorite the young rope-rider's comment a thousand times:
My issue with the concept of "rudeness" as it relates to conversations like these is that I find many, many sexist* statments, no matter how "politely" expressed, to be inherently insulting and hurtful. There's no polite way to say that women aren't good at taking care of children**, for example. It's just never going to be polite. I find it understandable to respond to statements like those with rudeness. That's life in a social setting--insult a bunch of people, and they're going to be pissed off and act like they're pissed off, and that includes the occasional snarky comment.
And I wish we, as a community, could start thinking about what tolerating sexist microaggression from certain community members does for whole other populations of community members, no matter how "politely" those microaggressions are phrased. Particularly when addressing those microaggressions leads to the justifiably hurt members of those sub-populations to be labeled as "bullies," as happened in this thread and has happened in the past.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:29 AM on August 19, 2012 [56 favorites]


I just woke up from a dream where there was an art prize sponsored by MeFi, the MeFi Art Prize. There were 18 semi-finalists, about 50/50 gender split. But to advance to the finals, all of the women artists had to undergo a GYN exam in a public arena. And despite the fact that I firmly believe that I have a right to style or ignore my bush however I like, my biggest anxiety in this dream was to make mine more palatable for casual public viewing by the membership of MetaFilter.

I could spend 2 years in analysis breaking down this dream, because in all its nuanced facets, it reflects pretty much exactly how I feel about this place and the price I feel I pay by choosing to be here.

So no, I don't think MeFi is a Girlzone. Even my subconscious isn't that fanciful.
posted by DarlingBri at 10:02 AM on August 19, 2012 [8 favorites]


I'm not sure I agree either. There's part of me that appreciates some good points made, and the other part of me that observes that here we are again, talking about the feelings and psychology of men.

But isn't that because – forgive me if I'm wrong – the issue of "understand what women go through" is largely a male-centric issue? The instigator of this thread, the people who've posted the grariest comments, and pretty much the only people having an issue with this concept are men. Not entirely, but close to.

Women buy into this hurtful worldview, too, and when you're dealing with them the same situation comes up: the topic turns to be specifically about the women who "don't get it" and their psychologies. If a discussion about "Hey, can you understand this?" fails, the follow-up discussion will inevitably be "Why do you find this difficult to understand?" That discussion centers around the people who fail to get it – in this case, largely men.

This thread has not been entirely that discussion. There've been a lot of personal stories from women, attempts to explain what it's like to deal with these things which men don't notice, and those are all enormously valuable. I'd bet big monies that somebody's been reading this thread without saying a thing, possibly even a non-user, and that those stories have changed his perspective on this whole feminism thing. That happened to me sophomore year in college with the long-ass Discussion Point thread. Hearing women eloquently speak about their experiences in a context that doesn't often exist offline should not be undervalued. That's the key good thing about threads like these.

But it is important when you're discussing these things with an audience that you understand enough of that audience's headspace to make a meaningful connection. Communication and rhetoric and "marketing" are especially vital in forum threads where your audience is hundreds-strong and any one of those people can instigate a lengthy and frustrating derail. Knowing what sorts of arguments spring up in these threads doesn't make you any better at defusing them or working around them. Which is why there are commenters here who've been criticizing some of the totally-in-the-right posters here for rudeness and vitriol and suchlike: it's understandable to be frustrated by this shit but alienating the people who cause it just guarantee it's going to happen again and again and again and the misunderstanding is on both sides. On one side the misunderstanding goes a level deeper than it does on the other, but the point of arguments isn't to be right, it's to convince the other side, and that higher-level misunderstanding still serves to prevent discussion.

Now, I'd totally understand if people on MetaTalk are convinced that progress is impossible and it's better to vent emotionally than to argue rationally. Flamewars are one of my favorite things in the whole world and I think they're healthy to the community as a whole. But if the intent here is to have a discussion in which people-who-are-wrong are gradually persuaded to be less wrong, and those wrong people are largely male, then, yeah, male psychology is going to play a part.

The irony is that the reason these guys are so defensive, I'm pretty sure, is because of sexism and objectification of women and the bullshit internalizations those result in. It's not being brought up levelheadedly here, but you can see it in arguments like hincandenza's: when you're told, starting when you're 9 or 10, that liking a girl means kissing and fucking her, and that girls only like boys who are good at kissing/fucking them, then it's hard to see through that and just goddamn talk to a girl like she's a normal person. It's even harder if there's another guy around, because then there's a competition by default, and if the girls like another guy more than they like you it suggests you're bad at kissing/fucking and therefore you're not a good man and therefore you must live in agony at the thought of liking these girls who you're starting to be hormonally yanked towards.

Multiple layers of weird beliefs start piling up here: the idea of women as purely sexual creatures (that is, lacking mind-pieces that aren't sexual); the idea that they're judging your sexual capacity in every interaction with you, and that there's such a thing as "sexual capacity" period; the idea that other men are competing with you for these resources, and that it's possible to be better or worse at this competition than other men. And this is all before puberty has even properly kicked in. Add how terrible schools are at teaching healthy sexual education, and as a middle school lad it's easy to think that this is entirely the correct way to look at the world, since nobody's contradicting it.

From this you can derive the PUA movement, or the party-and-drunken-sex frat mindset, or a lot of the conventional sexism, pretty easily. But it's also easier to understand where that weird defensiveness comes from in guys: they still often view themselves as sexual "candidates" whose behaviors are being assigned points. For them, rape is a breach of a woman's right to choose her partner, mixed with some force and violence that's scary but not, like, the worst thing ever; for them "rape culture" is a stupid phrase because they don't get that rape culture is that very assumption about women, that they're these sex objects who pretend to be people, that what makes rape horrifying is ultimately the way it reduces a human being to somebody's possession which they brutally, utterly control. Rape is about power, not about sex, and the power lies in how the woman is reduced to something inhuman.

If you're still living with this messed-up perspective, it's easy to conclude that rape culture is women trying to eat their cake and have it, that feminists are trying to abuse the power they already have over men (the power to sexually judge) in order to grasp more power, and that a lot of the conversation about sexism, the patriarchy, what-have-you, is grossly unfair to men. Not to mention it's reinforced by how wounded you feel because they're telling you that you're acting the wrong way – and in your mind, it's not "acting the wrong way towards another human being." It's "acting the wrong way to get laid."

My former college flatmate got pissed off when I tried explaining to him why his girlfriend hated when he called other girls cunts. "I get that I'm just reducing them to their vaginas," he said. "I get why that's so offensive. But that's all that some girls are." Later, when he was using Facebook to "scout" freshmen girls before going to parties to know which ones were single, he grew violently, scarily angry when I told him I thought his approach was nasty and made me feel uncomfortable. He wasn't getting these girls drunk, he wasn't raping them. Yeah, he was going out of his way to line up girls, multiple girls, for potential hook-ups. How dare I feel bad about his acting honestly? (Where by "honestly" he meant he was seeing three girls simultaneously without telling any of them, but never using the word "girlfriend" to describe them.)

There's a deeper, fundamental disconnect between guys who think this way and people who're trying to convince them otherwise. It's not just stubbornness or idiocy on their part, or even intentional rudeness. I was totally that guy until a few years ago, which is part of why I don't like how harsh some of the response to them can get: it's possible to turn them around, relatively easily even, if you start in the right place. I don't totally know what that right place is, but it involves something even lower-level than what's sexist and what's not. Something about how much it sucks for people to ignore all the interesting human things about you because they've been tricked into thinking they "have to" do that shit. And I'm reasonably certain that's a very very common experience that boys have starting at a young age. For me it started in the 6th grade, and by 8th the locker room talk was all tits and fucking. (Also whether or not you were gay. Come to think of it, that kind of sexual mindset would help explain certain facets of homophobia as well.)

Now, ALL THAT SAID:

That kind of abstracted, theoretical parlor-room discussion isn't necessarily the way these threads ought to go. Because as PhoBWanKenobi and other users here are pointing out, there are plenty of people here who already do not feel like welcome contributors. The shit that comes out of the assorted sexists' mouths is highly-offputting to a lot of people, the "let's start all over again with the basics" discussions are exhausting and never-ending, the frustration that the commenters who're trying to explain this over and over again feel is wholly justified, and the digressions as to whether or not said frustrated commenters are too aggressive or too mean or what-have-you serve to ignore the real problem, which are these behaviors that are hugely, hugely destructive for participatory conversation.

Tone arguments may or may not be warranted in some cases, but either way they turn the discussion into one about tone, not about issues. So when the tone of the discussion isn't the one you want to see here, then instead of complaining about that, perhaps support the people whose tone you dislike while yourself setting the kind of tone that you think would be useful.

This thread's helped me understand something I've been uncomfortable with but also wrong about: it is not always the job of people affronted, people wronged, people upset to fix the people making them feel that way. They have a right to express the way they feel, and if somebody's making them feel nasty, it's okay to say that openly and with an edge to it.

Do you feel like they're not speaking their mind "usefully" enough? Great! That means you're detached enough from this cause to see both who you agree with and how you think they might reach common ground with the other side. Do that, instead of blaming people for being right in the wrong way.

(I have been guilty of that on this site dozens upon dozens of times over, and realizing that, I am truly sorry for making things here worse on many occasions. I am young, and stupid, and often an ass, and I will try to get better from here.)
posted by Rory Marinich at 10:03 AM on August 19, 2012 [17 favorites]


But isn't that because – forgive me if I'm wrong – the issue of "understand what women go through" is largely a male-centric issue?

No, it's not a male-centric issue. The first people who need to understand what women go through are women themselves. In fact, they are experts on this. And the more threads we have with this sort of focus, the harder and harder it is to understand.

it is not always the job of people affronted, people wronged, people upset to fix the people making them feel that way

Yes. That's right. And just at this particularl point in time, which will probably pass but is my reality at this moment, I'm not all that willing to help people reform their fucked up worldviews by opening up my own life experience, rhetorical efforts, personal pain and vulnerabilities. And maybe that means I'm "right in the wrong way," but that's all right.

It may be that a bunch of men want to carry on a conversation about why they're not more sympathetic to women, and that is probably a good conversation to have, but I'm somewhere between feeling my contributions are not welcome, and that I just don't want to make any more contributions to this effort which is really only quite indirectly about me, or MetaFilter, or women in general.
posted by Miko at 10:11 AM on August 19, 2012 [8 favorites]


Essentially, I want to favorite the young rope-rider's comment a thousand times: ...

And I wish we, as a community, could start thinking about what tolerating sexist microaggression from certain community members does for whole other populations of community members, no matter how "politely" those microaggressions are phrased.


So if you're "justifiably" hurt and are not one of the "certain community members" we should favor you owning your rudeness 1000 times over. We should question, however, a policy that tolerates polite microagressions from said certain members (who invariably are straight white males)?

Stay the course, MetaFilter.
posted by Dano St at 10:18 AM on August 19, 2012


it's better to vent emotionally than to argue rationally.
Forgive me for being uncharitable. But it is a good thing that we have men to argue rationally while women vent emotionally.
posted by ChuraChura at 10:20 AM on August 19, 2012


... is how that seems to read.
posted by ChuraChura at 10:22 AM on August 19, 2012


So if you're "justifiably" hurt and are not one of the "certain community members" we should favor you owning your rudeness 1000 times over. We should question, however, a policy that tolerates polite microagressions from said certain members (who invariably are straight white males)?

I don't believe I've ever been rude to those community members, but I think it's important to note that sexist community members are often vitriolic toward female members not because of what those members have done but because of perceived injustices in the wider world whereas the community members who have been called out as bullies (here, the young rope-rider) are responding to language and behavior director toward them on the actual site.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:23 AM on August 19, 2012 [13 favorites]


Yeah, and the stupidly obvious thing I realized as I puzzled over this thread was how craptastic it is to insist that the only conversations which exist are the idealistic ones in which people try to show infinite compassion and understanding for shallow idiocy.

When somebody asks whether MetaFilter's a girlzone, I think the conversation about why somebody would be deluded enough to think that's a reasonable question is a useful one to have. But it's also useful to have a place for people to express how frustrating it is that this still keeps popping up on MetaFilter, and the tones of the two separate discussions are quite different from (and possibly preclude) each other.

Somebody above drew a connection between this and MeFi's frequent theist shitstorms, and I think that's a neat connection to make. In both cases I think there needs to be a potential way for a thread to not be derailed into lowest-common-denominator arguments. Pockets where certain stances are NOT okay to take, because they'll derail a much more interesting thread that allows for a wider range of voices.

Forgive me for being uncharitable. But it is a good thing that we have men to argue rationally while women vent emotionally.

My bad; that was totally unintentional. This is a hugely crappy, stressful, emotional issue. I was trying to say that maybe it is a good thing for people to have a place here to speak their minds without the restrictions of a tidy, courteous, formal discussion.
posted by Rory Marinich at 10:27 AM on August 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


polite microagressions

I can't parse this. Can you explain further?
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:27 AM on August 19, 2012


Well 1,000 comments in, and the discussion has turned into the usual conversation about how depressing it is to have to explain rape culture again. Intercut that with people begrudgingly explaining rape culture *again* for no discernable reason.

Metafilter isn't anywhere near being a girlzone, but it does have an aspect of well meaning political correctness that tends to overwhelm otherwise normal conversation by driving straight into zealous explanations and expectations about privilege.

Sometimes I can see the point of that, but other times it's damned frustrating. It's not so much that I hate being called a rapist from time to time, it's that it happens with such boring regularity.

I'm of a general belief that for a small but strident portion of metafilter, the framing of conversations towards an overwrought and over-studied version of inclusivity is done for political and self-aggrandising purposes. There's no proving that of course, but the ease with which some people can pick up on unfairness and then start overwhelming the conversation with social justice language is frightening.

These conversations are usually anything but inclusive.

So no. It's not a girlzone. But if the last 1/3 of this thread is anything to go by, metafilter does sometimes drift towards an almost competitive right-onness.
posted by zoo at 10:36 AM on August 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


I can't parse this. Can you explain further?

Small comments that reveal disdain toward women generally but are phrased in a way that doesn't outright violate the standards of polite communication. It can be as small as repeatedly referring to women as "girls" and can also include repeatedly interrogating women on their expertise on a subject or questioning their experiences/perceptions of experiences. All of these behaviors can individually look perfectly polite but as an overall pattern of behavior contributes to an atmosphere of hostility.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:36 AM on August 19, 2012 [26 favorites]


Rory, I am sorry. I know that's not what you were saying and I took the most aggressive and least helpful approach.
posted by ChuraChura at 10:43 AM on August 19, 2012


Either we evade the responsibility and guilt — the reality — or we accept it and find ourselves in a universe that is extremely ugly, unjust, and is so in ways that make us feel badly about ourselves as human beings.

But the universe you describe --- the ugly, unjust universe of sexism and rape culture --- isn't some new and exotic landscape. It's our native landscape; if someone is seeing it for the first time, that doesn't mean that it didn't exist before; it means they weren't looking at it. More than that, it means that when someone else's different experience suggested that they had an obscured view, they covered their eyes.

If I take someone on a guided tour of my neighborhood and point out landmarks they never noticed before, they'll learn something about the history and culture of the town. But I'm not interested in hearing them tell me at great length and repeatedly, "Hey, I never even knew that landmark was there, let me tell you what I thought was here."

And if they start looking only in one direction or telling me that I'm imagining or exaggerating aspects of the landscape that they refuse to examine closely, I'm giving up on the tour.

That's expecting a lot from people. From men.

I don't think it is asking a lot. As other have mentioned above, when I (a white person) get to hear African-American friends talk about racism, I feel sick and angry at the injustice. I feel guilt, both diffuse (for the cultural system which privileges me) and specific (for my own unthinking acceptance of some aspects of that privilege).

What I don't do is tell those speakers at length about my own experience in that culture, because I recognize that they already know plenty about my experience as a white person. The dominant cultural viewpoint is a big chunk of the cultural and experiential language: everyone speaks it to some extent. I know that my friends of color already have the vocabulary to speak that language; they don't need my input.
posted by Elsa at 10:52 AM on August 19, 2012 [29 favorites]


> It's not so much that I hate being called a rapist from time to time, it's that it happens with such boring regularity.

I must have missed something. Where were you called a rapist?
posted by languagehat at 11:04 AM on August 19, 2012 [20 favorites]


I'm not sure I agree either. There's part of me that appreciates some good points made, and the other part of me that observes that here we are again, talking about the feelings and psychology of men.

In fairness, though, this entire thread began as a discussion of male feelings (nutty though they were).
posted by Forktine at 11:10 AM on August 19, 2012


> It's not so much that I hate being called a rapist from time to time, it's that it happens with such boring regularity.

I must have missed something. Where were you called a rapist?


I second that question, especially since I repeatedly stated, both explicitly and implicitly, here and elsewhere, that "I don't think it's [always] necessary to introduce the question 'Is he a rapist' into the dynamic."
posted by Elsa at 11:13 AM on August 19, 2012


Hyperbole languagehat. Would you have preferred *potential* rapist? And should I assume that your comment was an actual request for links or was that just snark?
posted by zoo at 11:13 AM on August 19, 2012


tends to overwhelm otherwise normal conversation

I'm not sure what sort of "normal conversation" you were expecting to have in a MeTa post titled "Girlzone" that contains the sentences, "Women are poor victims, men are the bad guys. Aren't we supposed to a bit more enlightened that this?"
posted by soundguy99 at 11:15 AM on August 19, 2012


That kind of hyperbole is really damaging to the conversation since it specifically steps all over the nuance many people are going to great lengths to provide.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 11:15 AM on August 19, 2012 [34 favorites]


Hyperbole with rape is tricky to pull off well.

To a woman you've never met before, you are a potential rapist. Because you're a stranger, and they don't know if they can trust you, and rape is a frighteningly common occurrence.

This is seriously not hard.
posted by Rory Marinich at 11:16 AM on August 19, 2012 [6 favorites]


And I'm not particularly making any comment about you or your motivations Elsa. FWIW, I agree with you.

My wider point was not about being called a rapist, it was about a tendency towards a certain style of Social Justice conversation.
posted by zoo at 11:17 AM on August 19, 2012


Would you have preferred *potential* rapist?

well it would've been closer to accurate without causing the headscratching and motive-questioning that comes with hyperbole on a topic that you already know puts people on edge leading to an inevitable rehashing of the points that you're already bored with.

a certain style of Social Justice conversation.

do you think retroactively using smaller words or "nicer" language would've made eas98 not post this thread?
posted by twist my arm at 11:22 AM on August 19, 2012


My wider point was not about being called a rapist, it was about a tendency towards a certain style of Social Justice conversation.

Then that is the point you should have made to begin with.
posted by rtha at 11:24 AM on August 19, 2012 [5 favorites]


To a woman you've never met before, you are a potential rapist
And I don't have a problem with this.

Rory Marinich, The fact is that you assume that I don't get this point, and I do get it. I'd hazard that most people *get* it. There is an insistence though and a desire to prove that people who disagree with you on any minor point don't get it.

restless_nomad mentioned nuance, and she's right. I could have been more more careful in what is a reasonably nuanced conversation. But this goes for you too. I'm making a point about using the language of social justice for political gain, and you're jumping in and misinterpreting my comment to imply that I don't get that women need to treat men as potential rapists.

I hate to say it, but you're kind of proving my point.
posted by zoo at 11:26 AM on August 19, 2012


Hyperbole and exaggeration are counterproductive in serious conversation, and reasonable people are very likely to ignore remarks like that.

If you want engage in a conversation, converse. Don't exaggerate for shock effect. When someone contributes zingers and potshots to a conversation, I (and I'd wager many other people) start to view all of that person's contributions skeptically, if we register them at all.
posted by Elsa at 11:30 AM on August 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


rtha: That was the point I made to start with. It's maybe not the point you assumed I made, or you want me to have made, but it's the point I made.

twist my arm: I don't thing anything would have stopped the post being made, and as I've said, I disagree with the implication that metafilter is a girlzone. Seriously, what are you asking me?
posted by zoo at 11:30 AM on August 19, 2012


[I hasten to add: of course, you can and may continue in any tone you want. It seems counter-productive, but that's your call.]
posted by Elsa at 11:31 AM on August 19, 2012


Miko: There's part of me that appreciates some good points made, and the other part of me that observes that here we are again, talking about the feelings and psychology of men.

A part of me wishes that general site etiquette here was that men would shut up in threads about feminism and related issues. The other part of me realizes that it's never going to happen and that seriously proposing that would trigger the kind of flamewar that would have people quitting in droves.

That said, it's tiresome to the point of biting-through-the-desk irritation to see most every feminism thread focus on straight men, and being dominated in terms of participation by men. And it especially drives me up the wall that discussions about feminism and related issues invariably get taken over by male voices.

One way that women are suppressed is by drowning out what they say. Whether a man is saying feminist or feminism-critical things is almost (but not quite) irrelevant, just by adding to the volume of male voices they serve to limit the amount of attention women receive.

Of course this wouldn't really be an issue if discussion-participation was even remotely near gender-parity, but it isn't.

And now I'll stop being a raging hypocrite and just shut up.
posted by Kattullus at 11:33 AM on August 19, 2012 [7 favorites]


That was the point I made to start with. It's maybe not the point you assumed I made, or you want me to have made, but it's the point I made

Well, no. It may have been the point you were trying to make, but it's pretty clear that it's not the point that came across.

This is a big part of the larger topic, really. Scalzi put it well the other day - you don't get to decide what people think of you, how they react to you, or how they understand what you say. The essence of communication is trying to match up what you intend with what the other person interprets, but it's imperfect at best, and insisting that all failures are by the other person is pointless and counterproductive. This is true whether it's a point you were trying to make in online conversation or the way you choose to sit on the bus.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 11:35 AM on August 19, 2012 [25 favorites]


Elsa. I wasn't trying to exaggerate for shock value. It wasn't a potshot, I wasn't trying to say that people say "all men are rapists" on metafilter. It was (for me) a convenient and hyperbolic shorthand for the conversation that's being had about rape culture. I honestly didn't think people would read it as me saying that they like to call people rapists on metafilter, I meant it more in the sense that I don't mind being called a rapist on metafilter. It's the lie of me not minding it which is meant to be hyperbolic. I probably wouldn't like it at all.

I don't however mind being seen as a potential rapist. It's up to me to prove my trustworthiness in this arena, and I completely understand any women who decide that I can't be trusted.

Anyway - I've managed to derail the conversation *again*, so it's probably a good point to bow out.

Carry on with your conversation about how you're increasingly frustrated at having to explain to men on metafilter about privilege and rape culture.
posted by zoo at 11:38 AM on August 19, 2012


Elevator thread: MetaFilter. MetaTalk.

My memory is that I read the first few comments in the original thread and then just bailed, and didn't show up for the Meta, either. I couldn't bear to participate, and I wonder how many other women in the site felt the same way.
posted by jokeefe at 11:40 AM on August 19, 2012 [6 favorites]


the language of social justice for political gain

People talk about this a lot. Perhaps its because I didn't go to college, but I have never seen this in action. Could someone provide an example, perhaps from Metafilter? (that is not snark).

That was the point I made to start with

Many times, when we send signals (language, visual, body, etc.) we interpret them ourselves, and expect others to interpret them in exactly the same manner. Since people have different knowledge and experiences, and because there are many steps for misinterpretation or message breakdown between creating a message and the audience understanding it, if we don't want to be misunderstood, we must make an effort to be as clear as possible.

I agree with r_n, that may have been the message you wanted to send, but it was not the message that was received.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:41 AM on August 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


well meaning political correctness that tends to overwhelm otherwise normal conversation

I don't agree.

But then, I probably don't agree with your definition of "normal conversation," either.

In the conversations that I normally participate in, "well meaning political correctness" is called "not being a jerk," and no one seems to have much of a problem with it.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 11:44 AM on August 19, 2012 [9 favorites]


There's no proving that of course

Ah, please excuse me. I did not realize you had already disavowed any responsibility of proof on your part.

/that was snark.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:45 AM on August 19, 2012


/that was snark.

That kind of hyperbole is damaging to the conversation since it steps all over the nuance many people are going to great lengths to provide.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:47 AM on August 19, 2012 [5 favorites]


There's no need to be condescending. Frankly, I don't know what level of clarity I'd need to accomplish to break down such staggering levels of cognitive dissonance.

And this "You need to write it in a way people can understand" meta-argument is rubbish. Especially in the midst of a conversation where those self same people are expressing frustration that they just can't make people understand certain things.

It's up to us to both comprehend what we're reading and to write with clarity. Lack of communication is a failure with two failing parties, not just one. I clarified after being made aware that what I said was not understood. What else is there except for the recieving party to make the same effort to understand.
posted by zoo at 11:53 AM on August 19, 2012


I'm of a general belief that for a small but strident portion of metafilter, the framing of conversations towards an overwrought and over-studied version of inclusivity is done for political and self-aggrandising purposes. There's no proving that of course, but the ease with which some people can pick up on unfairness and then start overwhelming the conversation with social justice language is frightening.

Since I'm a person who speaks in the vernacular of social justice, I want to tell you that you're mistaken. This is how I talk. It's normal for me--how I see things and interact with the world.

I'm making a point about using the language of social justice for political gain

I'm disturbed that you think people talk this way for "political gain"--more over, what do you think the "political" goals are for those of us who talk this way? Do you think we're trying to take over metafilter or something? Because frankly, in the years that I've been on metafilter, there's always been some degree of conversation that's been made in the vocabulary of social justice (my favorite was the gleeful, but quickly nixed by mods, "Fat bitches stand up!" MeTa about members who were into fat acceptance). If anything, it sometimes feels like those of us who are still talking this way and are having these conversations are holding on to an era in which it was more okay to talk in the SJ vocabulary in which we're accustomed. It's not a new thing; we're not trying to make metafilter something that it's never been.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:57 AM on August 19, 2012 [17 favorites]


And this "You need to write it in a way people can understand" meta-argument is rubbish.

It isn't. You made a hyperbolic comment in a thread that's already got a lot of heat to it; a number of people responded in ways that showed they didn't understand your point. You restated your point without the hyperbole.

Sometimes, especially in a text-only medium like this one, miscommunication is going to happen no matter what, even if all participants are trying to be as clear an non-snarky as possible.

My point is that your hyperbole undermined the point you were trying to make. If it hadn't, you wouldn't have needed to respond and restate.
posted by rtha at 11:59 AM on August 19, 2012 [5 favorites]


and then start overwhelming the conversation with social justice language is frightening.

Conversations about sexism are conversations about social justice. "Social justice language" is appropriate for those conversations, just as economic language is appropriate to inflation conversations, medical jargon is appropriate to surgical conversations, and mathematical terms are appropriate to conversations about algebra.

To have some participants using the complex, nuanced language of academic or political disciplines doesn't prevent others from using informal or colloquial language --- and some of us do both at the same time. Complex discourse is not the enemy of understanding.
posted by Elsa at 12:01 PM on August 19, 2012 [35 favorites]


Frankly, I don't know what level of clarity I'd need to accomplish to break down such staggering levels of cognitive dissonance.

Maybe you could start off by not using jerky, dismissive language like this?
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 12:14 PM on August 19, 2012 [8 favorites]


My memory is that I read the first few comments in the original [elevator] thread and then just bailed, and didn't show up for the Meta, either. I couldn't bear to participate, and I wonder how many other women in the site felt the same way.

I participated in both threads, regretted it, and have taken a much more wary approach to Metafilter since. I really love this site, and that thread was a kick in the gut. I now keep a closer eye on who I'm engaging with, because after that thread I realised that I could be joking around with someone who thinks that they have a god-given right to casual misogyny.
posted by ukdanae at 12:21 PM on August 19, 2012 [18 favorites]


"Social justice language" (which I am not totally convinced is a monolithic thing) is generally concerned with facilitating difficult conversations by creating neutral terms that don't trigger emotional reactions in the way that casual terms can. I am a fan of that goal, and of making people more conscious of the effects certain terms and rhetorical devices often have.

It does have a bit of a backlash effect, because people who learn about the underpinnings of language are much more aware of its effect, and it's hard not to challenge problematic language. In a mixed environment like this, that can cause some static. But personally, I think it's generally static that's worth the hassle, because the more people are aware of what they're saying and doing, the less inadvertent assholery we get. (Deliberate assholery is a much easier phenomenon to cope with as a mod, for sure.)
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 12:30 PM on August 19, 2012 [8 favorites]


I'm of a general belief that for a small but strident portion of metafilter, the framing of conversations towards an overwrought and over-studied version of inclusivity is done for political and self-aggrandising purposes.

You seem to have possibly disclaimed this entire comment (or just despaired of any of us understanding it) but I was napping so I'll go ahead and respond anyway. You're accusing people of taking an extremely serious topic as an excuse to look cooler and gain power, right? Anyone in particular? Or are you just happy to tar everyone who is the least bit passionate as completely self-interested? Let me assume you were talking about me (oh no, I am STRIDENT) and answer you as though that were a good-faith mistaken assumption.

I profoundly don't give a shit whether I'm "cool" or popular on metafilter, or I wouldn't get involved in these kinds of discussions. It hardly adds to the number of people who care for me.

Do I care whether I generally do the right thing by the people here, and by the site? Yes. That is different than being powerful or popular, and it looks different.

If it makes you feel better to believe that no one could actually feel or think the way I do--okay. But that's all on you; that's how you choose to see the world, and it seems rather bleak.
posted by the young rope-rider at 1:21 PM on August 19, 2012 [18 favorites]


Rory, can I ask. If you imagined switching the context for a moment, can you imagine saying the racial parallel of the first two-thirds of your long comment to a group of people who have to, say, watch when and where they can go out in their own neighbourhood, because many of them have had the shit beaten out of them, some of them more than once, for their race, and many of them are still coping with the traumas and their aftereffects? Let's say they then come on Metafilter, and faced the same shit in conversations here as women do, translated to a racial context. Victim-blaming, It's really [racial majority] that's suffering, It's all gone too far, You haven't considered how the [racial majority] people who aren't racist feel when you find yourself wary and sometimes scared of them, it hurts their feelings so, Maybe you are really the racist ones. etc.

Would you say to these people facing racism all their lives that it's understandable to be frustrated by this shit but alienating the people who cause it just guarantee it's going to happen again and again and again and the misunderstanding is on both sides? Would you tell them, But it is important when you're discussing these things with an audience that you understand enough of that audience's headspace to make a meaningful connection. Or go into graphic detail about what's really going on in the minds of people who don't really see them as fully human, that they're these sex objects who pretend to be people etc.. What does it feel like to read all that as a woman?

(I am not at all getting at you, your comment was just the most recent one. I know you care and want things to be better for women. If I didn't think you cared, I wouldn't bother.)

These threads and what women say in them, described as telling stories. Sharing experiences. Venting.

Seems to me it's often self-defence. It's reaching out for community, getting some reassurance that it wasn't your fault, that it wasn't something you did or didn't do that caused it (oh but it's so hilarious to throw gaslighting in women and feminists' faces!), that you weren't making too big a deal out of it like people told you, that there wasn't something wrong with you, you didn't have to keep it all inside, you could talk about it without feeling shame, you're not alone.

Earlier it was asked why it was not okay for analysis.

You analyse when you feel more secure and safe. You analyse with emotional distance.

These is no fear behind any of these long (and short) comments calling for analysis and understanding and dialogue. No urgency, no anger, no fear, no loss, no sense of something deeply personal at stake, nothing that would make you say, instead of Let's analyse this and look into that and really understand their motivations and cultural upbringings and appeal to them and maybe it'll change -- if you felt any of that, really, maybe you would just say FUCK THEM, THIS STOPS. Because if you were on the receiving end, you would too. And you would not appreciate or value people saying to you afterwards, Maybe the people who intruded on your space and sense of safety and treated you as less than human have their reasons, and if we understood them surely it would be better. You would not say that after your mother or your sister or your girlfriend or wife or female friend has been harassed or assaulted, can I offer some analysis?, can I offer some reasons they might have been that way, would that comfort you, would it make things better for you?

I mean, do you hear the emotional distance behind Hearing women eloquently speak about their experiences in a context that doesn't often exist offline should not be undervalued. That's the key good thing about threads like these. I can't remember if one or more than one women have said in this thread that they cried because of some of these threads. I know they have said so in others. But to hear some of you speak of it, it's as if it's a bunch of girlfriends getting together for a venting session or something.

Earlier, cashman kept asking why analysis was not okay in these threads, why when he might have some understanding and insight into the 'creeper' guys and he thought he might be able to reach them, why it was not okay and helpful even. Some possibilities:

1) Woman after woman talking about how they have been hurt, their lives constrained, some of them traumatised and having to live in fear -- what does it say about a man that that is not enough? Such that it needs to be twisted around to appeal to their self-interest, oh I understand how you're feeling, the pressures of dating and sex on men are so hard, I feel you brother? Why are they not expected to care about other people (women being people) like we do with everything else?

2) Yes, as mentioned it echoes and is often near indistinguishable from the men who take over these conversations with their self-absorption and "what about how men feel?" Sorry they ruined it, but it is what it is. It has become one of those social context things, where the pricks have ruined it for everyone, and now we have to step extra carefully. Blame them.

3) Are you sure that understanding men's feelings and appealing to them would actually stop it from happening to women? Is it actually helping? Because that's the thing that matters above all else, right? And if it is obvious to you, why is it not obvious to all the women who are objecting and explicitly telling you that it doesn't help? Wouldn't they be very interested in exploring that option, if they thought it would help at all? Why are they telling you that it's not helping?

Even then, I can imagine if a woman asked in one of these threads, "Why are so many men this way?" You can come in with your analysis and insider insight and personal experience, and it'd be fine and welcomed and appreciated, as long as it's about protecting women rather than protecting men's feelings and image. Women would know when it's helpful, wouldn't they? It's about them after all. They're the ones who have to live it.

Feel free to reach out to men when you're with men by themselves. Like the parallel I tried to use earlier, you wouldn't be all sympathetic and appeal to a racist person's feelings in front of someone who gets racist abuse all the time. Right?

There are still people saying, oh why won't you try to reach out and engage, with patience and even-tone? When even in this thread, there were still people trying to respectfully reach out to and connect with hincandenza. It's been years. But it's never enough.
posted by catchingsignals at 1:30 PM on August 19, 2012 [22 favorites]


There are still people saying, oh why won't you try to reach out and engage, with patience and even-tone? When even in this thread, there were still people trying to respectfully reach out to and connect with hincandenza. It's been years. But it's never enough.

Only 2% of the site uses MetaTalk. Even those of us who participate heavily may not be familiar with comments a user has made in the past, or prior controversies they have become embroiled in.

Even though I agree with your point, perhaps it's not the whole story.
posted by zarq at 2:06 PM on August 19, 2012


Since I'm a person who speaks in the vernacular of social justice, I want to tell you that you're mistaken. This is how I talk. It's normal for me--how I see things and interact with the world.

Same for me. I'm glad I don't run in circles where disrespectful terms are common. I know they exist. But like others, I take reasonable offense at the suggestion that I'm getting something awesome out of being a feminist, or even out of being a woman, because of all the embiggening it apparently gives my sense of self or public stature. I don't know if you've ever spoken out against anything that a large and entrenched system of oppression would rather not stop doing, but it's actually not all that fun and power-giving.

It is probably a lot easier to stay contemptuous and dismissive of your opponents, though, if you belittle their motivations in a way that lets you claim superior and more authentic and dispassionate motivations, though. So I can see how that might be working out for you.
posted by Miko at 2:07 PM on August 19, 2012 [15 favorites]


Only 2% of the site uses MetaTalk. Even those of us who participate heavily may not be familiar with comments a user has made in the past, or prior controversies they have become embroiled in.

I know zarq, wasn't thinking of your comment earlier in the thread at all, and actually thought people were being unnecessarily harsh to you, but you guys worked it out and I thought I might've missed something, so didn't say anything. And I think I favourited one of Ivan Fyodorovich's let's not judge people's whole person too quickly comments, because of course, sure. But there's a limit. And, in the case I was talking about, it's not at all been just in MetaTalk, as I'm sure you know. Plus I was just thinking of the people in this thread, who by definition use MetaTalk. I don't remember seeing any new names, but if that's the case feel free to let me know here or by MeMail -- of course it's understandable if people are not familiar with someone's past, that's unavoidable and not a problem at all.
posted by catchingsignals at 2:36 PM on August 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


My memory is that I read the first few comments in the original [elevator] thread and then just bailed, and didn't show up for the Meta, either. I couldn't bear to participate, and I wonder how many other women in the site felt the same way.

Awhile back I posted this FPP on the heels of a big gender discussion thread after which things were supposedly better. I really couldn't get over the fact that folks had to sit there and calmly and rationally deal with the posters saying that we had to be careful not to malign cops, that she could have consented while drunk, that the conviction failure was her fault for showering, and that without video of the actual rape we'll never really know.

I resented it like fuck that folks had to calmly and rationally deal with these people so as to not be dismissed as emotonal, illogical and hysterical and because that's how we're supposed to do things here when really the appropriate response was WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU YOU SCARY MOTHERFUCKERS?

It's actually supposed to be better here than it is in the wider world. MeFi is often accused of being a progressive echo chamber. And that fact coupled with that thread literally tore away a piece of my faith in humanity.

That was my experience and I don't really care if people think I overreacted or it wasn't that bad or it was really very polite in there or whatever; I pretty much stopped engaging in gender issues on MeFi after that. It is painful how repetitive and pointless it is.
posted by DarlingBri at 3:04 PM on August 19, 2012 [21 favorites]


Answer them. They're not dogs, they're not brick walls; they're people who are asking you for more detail.

No they're not. They're arguing in bad faith: you tell your story, they nitpick it to death. If you reject their questioning you're obviously afraid to be caught out in a lie, if you go into them, they'll sooner or later find a reason to doubt you or rewrite the incident, if you get angry or frustrated about it, than clearly you're hysterical.

It's a fairly common, incredibly obnoxious "debating" tactic, used in all sort of situations but especially effective if you're a straight white male using it to dismiss the experiences of, well, anybody, who isn't. This is because in most online situations the former will outnumber the latter, won't have experienced the harassement themselves, not even secondhand, would (giving the benefit of the doubt) never do this sort of thing themselves, so find it hard to believe the original poster in the first place, while the doubter does sound superficially reasonable.

I first noticed this pattern myself more than a decade ago on a science fiction newsgroup where a Black fan described her experiences just walking around New York when some mr Logic had said that racism was dead. The person who tried to do his trial lawyer on her was slightly too direct and blatant and suddenly a lot of things fell into place.

Which is why, if you want to argue in good faith about this things, you need to be very careful about denying people their own experiences, especially if you don't share their background. There are some things you can understand intellectually, but never grok. You can ask questions, but you have to be careful in how to frame them so as not to dismiss other people's lived experiences.
posted by MartinWisse at 3:07 PM on August 19, 2012 [42 favorites]


In a discussion about sexism sometime back, someone told a story about something that happened to a female relative. Someone else came along and said that unless the thing the relative experienced happened 50 years ago, then it didn't happen.

There are lots of people walking around who assume that if they didn't see something, it didn't happen. If they don't experience something, it doesn't happen. That if they can't imagine how it would feel, or they imagine feeling differently from someone else, that that other person's experience is invalid. If it didn't happen to them, it doesn't exist, and anyone claiming to have experienced it is lying.

It's difficult to remain calm and rational in the face of "arguments" like that.
posted by rtha at 3:21 PM on August 19, 2012 [29 favorites]


I've stayed out of this thread, and have been staying out of them lately in general, because I just can't do it anymore. Above, we were accused of "using social justice language for political purposes". Personally, I am tired of my body and my health being used for political purposes, and I really can't waste any more energy on men who still insist that my right to my sanity, my health, and my body is secondary to their right to sex and to not ever even for a moment feel slightly uncomfortable or to ever even for a moment examine their privilege.

Kudos and much love to all of you who can do it. I just can't anymore. I'll stick to answering Ask questions about grad school and cats.
posted by hydropsyche at 3:38 PM on August 19, 2012 [36 favorites]


I'm sad that a lot of women have had enough and leave gender topics alone now. I'm new here, and a woman, and I'm just starting to notice how often I silence myself in real life - How much I've been conditioned to be quiet and hedge my needs in qualifications. I find myself learning a lot from other women's voices in these threads as I don't live in an open minded place that is aware of these issues. It bums me out that these voices that help me see that I'm not alone and not just being hysterical are walking away. Though I completely understand why.

It just saddens me that even here these threads end up silencing women. I don't join in because I am not brave enough to have my own voice and when women walk away because of being ground down by constant questioning of them I question if I will ever find it. And it sucks that the responsibility is on the women to keep trying to speak out. It be nice if men just asked and listened.

Sorry if this offends anyone or comes off as sexist to either genders. I'm new to exploring this and don't have the words to say what I mean (and yes, that was another apology that I automatically make. damnit!)
posted by kanata at 3:41 PM on August 19, 2012 [18 favorites]


rtha, I remember that! It was in the "My Fault, I'm Female" thread.

The Story

The denial

Since I am finally commenting in this thread, I will point out that a search of AskMe gives 26 examples of questions and 96 examples of comments using the word "wifey" to refer to one's spouse. I cringe inwardly every time I see that. "Wifey" is one-word microagression.

Finally, I am really tired of these threads leading to the departure of female voices from MetaFilter.
posted by ambrosia at 3:43 PM on August 19, 2012 [7 favorites]


Only 2% of the site uses MetaTalk.

Far more than that, actually. About a quarter of the total number of logged in users who drop by the site as a whole in any given week drop by Metatalk. It's still a minority, certainly, but it's not a vanishingly small slice like that.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:43 PM on August 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


"Wifey" is one-word microagression.

Wow, I did not know that. Not that I've ever used it (I really can't stand adding the "ee" sound on the end of stuff. The English often drive me crazy with it). I just assumed it was like "hubby".
posted by ODiV at 3:50 PM on August 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


when you're told, starting when you're 9 or 10, that liking a girl means kissing and fucking her, and that girls only like boys who are good at kissing/fucking them, then it's hard to see through that and just goddamn talk to a girl like she's a normal person. It's even harder if there's another guy around, because then there's a competition by default, and if the girls like another guy more than they like you it suggests you're bad at kissing/fucking and therefore you're not a good man and therefore you must live in agony at the thought of liking these girls who you're starting to be hormonally yanked towards.

Multiple layers of weird beliefs start piling up here


Thank you for saying it better than I did. The problem is clearly male behavior, so I'm not sure why it would be baffling that the subject turns there. I get why people don't like that, however. I wrote much, much more, but I'll just save it for the next time this thread appears, since we're not going to move to solve any problems, and we'll just repeat a Thousand Comment zone thread again in 10 or 12 months.

I will say I think we should not talk about race and try to compare it to sexism. I obviously can't speak for all black people, but I'll tell you if there was a thread about racism and a bunch of white people jumped in and started problematizing racist white people's behavior and trying to figure out why they thought the way they did and what was the best way to combat that and end racism, well I'd turn a darn cartwheel. So if that isn't how women feel in these threads, I don't believe the comparison isn't apt.
posted by cashman at 3:52 PM on August 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


Man, this is really difficult. It seems like this is a problem with no solution.

I believe very, very, very strongly that the only way for anything to change is for women to keep saying what they think, for men to keep replying to it even if it is ridiculous/sucks/is discouraging/is hurtful, and for women to keep replying again.

I think we can have our safe spaces and we can feel safe in those spaces, and they will be like a little bubble and the minute we exit them we will be blasted with the politicians and frat boys and street harrassers and "nice guys" who feel owed our attention, and all the normal men who just can't understand what the big deal is.

They can't understand what the big deal is if we don't keep telling them because nobody else is going to.

But I understand completely why women feel discouraged, beaten down, and hopeless like none of this has a point or matters or it is just not how they want to spend their short time on this earth.

I just don't know what the solution is. I feel like it is easy for me to say that I want them to keep posting so that I can keep talking to them, because for me personally that is not an emotionally devastating thing. Coming from my fundie church background I usually feel like internet arguments are gentle as a feather compared to what was yelled in my face by large angry men when I was a child. But I know not everyone feels that way at all. What is the solution??
posted by cairdeas at 4:00 PM on August 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


So if that isn't how women feel in these threads, I don't believe the comparison isn't apt.

I think the comparison works when we're talking about pay disparities, social expectations, advertising (to an extent) and similar "softer" issues. I think it really falls down when we talk about rape, assault, abuse, etc. If you reimagine your example using lynching instead of the generic "racism", you might see the problem with examining lynchers' motives being the conversational priority over, you know, making them not lynch people.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 4:07 PM on August 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Thanks for the reply. I don't agree. I think those people (lynchers) took in societal messages that told them that black people weren't human. I think the people around them who would smile in pictures did the same thing. But no, that would be great if people did that. Assuming we had the internet at the time, figuring out what was going through these people's minds and what made them be that way. I would absolutely not want to only tell the story of people who'd gotten lynched, I'd want to figure out who did it, why, and how they got that way. Else you just wait for it to happen again and again.

So I disagree, it isn't a good comparison. I'd elaborate further, but it would derail further.
posted by cashman at 4:13 PM on August 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


catchingsignals, everything you said was dead on. It's difficult for me to imagine that level of oppression period, let alone to women – but I'm trying.

Woman after woman talking about how they have been hurt, their lives constrained, some of them traumatised and having to live in fear -- what does it say about a man that that is not enough? Such that it needs to be twisted around to appeal to their self-interest, oh I understand how you're feeling, the pressures of dating and sex on men are so hard, I feel you brother?

That was enough for me; I read through all the long MeTas I could find before joining in part because I didn't want to be the asshole college kid who forced the rediscussions. Which is why I think these long, frustrating threads ultimately do some people some good. But clearly some people can read those stories and still not be moved by them – and I don't know how the hell they do that. It fascinates me; it makes me realize that even among men I'm privileged in ways I don't understand, and I want to understand, because those are the people I'd personally want to reach.

But you're right – I approach this as an "issue I want to know more about", and I read these threads trying to understand, and I've commented way too often as somebody trying to express ideas amidst something far less clinical. Which is selfish and makes things worse for others.

I mean, do you hear the emotional distance behind "Hearing women eloquently speak about their experiences in a context that doesn't often exist offline should not be undervalued. That's the key good thing about threads like these." I can't remember if one or more than one women have said in this thread that they cried because of some of these threads. I know they have said so in others. But to hear some of you speak of it, it's as if it's a bunch of girlfriends getting together for a venting session or something.

Hearing it put that way is kind of shocking, and appalling. Thank you. I'm going to duck out now and have a long think before jabbering again about things like this.
posted by Rory Marinich at 4:14 PM on August 19, 2012 [15 favorites]


I really appreciate your reply Rory, thanks, and I don't and didn't think you were being selfish at all, just that maybe you weren't quite in touch with what many people carry into these conversations. Really appreciate you caring and understanding.
posted by catchingsignals at 4:19 PM on August 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


So I disagree, it isn't a good comparison. I'd elaborate further, but it would derail further.

Yeah, I think if you are going to insist that there's a right way to have this conversation and it's not the way the majority of invested people want to have it, there's kind of nowhere to go from there.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 4:22 PM on August 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Just from chance, I went from reading through this thread to this one. First, it's an interesting (and heartbreaking topic. I got a lot out of reading it, since I really know very little about autism.

But, given the juxtaposition between this thread and that one, I was also struck by the tone of the thread. (Or, at least, most of it.) That thread is largely about testifying -- about people who have struggled with eloping autistic relatives expressing what they have experienced and what it feels like to live their lives. It's powerful. It was valuable for me, as an outsider with only extremely limited contact with any autistic persons, to get that insight into their lives. It also appears to be valuable for those who contributed, as they got to share, to inform, and to gain validation.

And, for the vast majority of that thread, that is it. Those who have experienced shared their experiences. No doubting of those experiences, no belittling, no undermining. Just sharing, for the most part. I think it's worthwhile to consider how that thread differs from threads where women try to share their experiences with sexism/harrassment/etc.
posted by meese at 4:22 PM on August 19, 2012 [19 favorites]


Yeah, I think if you are going to insist that there's a right way to have this conversation and it's not the way the majority of invested people want to have it, there's kind of nowhere to go from there.

I'm saying if people think that black folk want to talk about the problems but would react adversely to a bunch of white people coming into a thread and talking about how racist white people think, in an attempt to attack and end racism, I believe those people would be wrong. It doesn't happen to work the same way.
posted by cashman at 4:27 PM on August 19, 2012


But I understand completely why women feel discouraged, beaten down, and hopeless like none of this has a point or matters or it is just not how they want to spend their short time on this earth.

Repeated for truth. Slightly longer life expectancies aside, women are only alive for a limited time, just like men. And, just like men, women want to spend that time enjoying life rather than having the same tedious and upsetting discussion over and over. The problem is that the alternative to having this discussion -- at least for women who believe that they are fully realized human beings who deserve respect -- doesn't allow for very much enjoyment of life.
posted by oinopaponton at 4:32 PM on August 19, 2012 [5 favorites]


I'm saying if people think that black folk want to talk about the problems but would react adversely to a bunch of white people coming into a thread and talking about how racist white people think, in an attempt to attack and end racism, I believe those people would be wrong.

First of all, I want to say comparing everything to racism is unhelpful and tends not to end well, and I'd like to move away from it. I regret continuing the metaphor at all.

But it's worth pointing out that you are again describing a scenario where a bunch of disadvantaged people are talking about issues that affect them and coming in and saying they're doing it wrong. Maybe you're a person of color and have intimate understanding of those issues - you haven't mentioned it so far, so I'm assuming you're not, but please correct me if I'm wrong. But regardless, whether or not you are correct, you are not likely to get a positive reception using that strategy.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 4:39 PM on August 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


but please correct me if I'm wrong

You happen to be wrong. I was not trying to use a strategy, I just noticed it was happening and talked about it. I don't always bell hooks it, but comparing oppressions here doesn't work in my opinion. Anyway, I thank you again for replying to me.
posted by cashman at 4:45 PM on August 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Assuming we had the internet at the time, figuring out what was going through these people's minds and what made them be that way. I would absolutely not want to only tell the story of people who'd gotten lynched, I'd want to figure out who did it, why, and how they got that way. Else you just wait for it to happen again and again.

We actually do have the internet now, and there are places you could go to see how people like that think, and try to engage them about how they got that way. The thing is, I don't want to go to those places. There are certainly some activists that do - if I were anti-hate-crime lawyer or worked for the SPLC or something I might need to spend time doing that - but I doubt I would do it recreationally, in my off hours. And I doubt I would come on MeFi to ask whether we thought it was a non-lynching zone yet, or respond positively to that inquiry.

It's a tough hypothetical, as you say. There are limits to the applicability of any analogy .There's a certain degree to which civil rights/oppression arguments have a lot in common, and can be usefully compared, and another degree to which they're each unique in their particulars.

I'm not a MeFite of color, so I don't really know how firsthand how welcoming it would be to have white supremacists on our site to argue with and dissect. I can say for certain that if that kind of thing were anywhere near as common as hassling women is, it would be an easy dealbreaker for me.

I can think of times we have had some Asks and things that touched on how to improve cross-cultural relations, and they've sometimes been contentious and sometimes been helpful, often both in one thread.
posted by Miko at 5:10 PM on August 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


I was not trying to use a strategy

You may not have been attempting a strategy, but you were definitely, and I believe unconsciously, engaging in what others in this thread have called "trail lawyering" -- nitpicking the terms of the conversation, and the specific, in such detail that it makes conversation all but impossible, because even if the conversation uses the exact metaphors that you are comfortable with, and is phrased in exactly the way you think is most useful and helpful, it sets a precedent than women must have conversations according to conversational standard set to maximize the comfort of men. And there is always another man who can raise another objection, and we end up endlessly discussing the objections and the terms of the conversation, rather than having the conversation itself.

This is especially problematic because this is a conversation that is likely to be uncomfortable to a percentage of men by its very nature, and therefore no degree of managing the terms of the conversation is ever going to resolve that. But it ends up being a really good way to not have the conversation, even if it is not intended that way, And it happens so often -- every single time, in fact -- that even if it is unintentional, it's an incredibly effective silencing tactic.

By the way, people have made the case in the past that I participate in threads like this just to "white knight" or earn "brownie points." I don't. I would rather not have these discussions, but do because I have seen how enormously alienating they can be, and feel it especially my responsibility as a man who potentially benefits from this messed up circumstance to speak up when I see it happening. I suspect it has had exactly the opposite effect of making me popular on the site. I suspect people far prefer the jokey Bunny. I think I do as well. And it has alienated me, and i have thought about leaving as well, but men, in particular, don't improve a community by walking away from problems that men are making.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 5:16 PM on August 19, 2012 [15 favorites]


You be you Bunny, that's all Elmer wants.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:43 PM on August 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


I was just at Mel Blanc's grave a few days ago. It actually says "That's all folks" on it.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 5:45 PM on August 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


Great, thanks for $!%# spoiler alert.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:51 PM on August 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


There's a grave in Westwood that has an actual unspoiled surprise ending on it. Richard Conte. His grave says: 1910 - 1975 - ?

WHAT WILL HAPPEN WHEN WE REACH THE QUESTION MARK?
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 5:58 PM on August 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Elmer!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:15 PM on August 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


but you were definitely, and I believe unconsciously, engaging in what others in this thread have called "trail lawyering....it sets a precedent than women must have conversations according to conversational standard set to maximize the comfort of men.

Okay, we've reached the "take the comments uncharitably" phase, because no, I am not trying to shut anybody down. That whole comparing oppressions thing is from bell hooks. The first person I saw do the race comparison was in the creepy dude thread, and it was a guy who said it. It was one comment, so I didn't say anything then. I saw another comment that said it, so I made the comment I made. I do not think that amounts to shutting anybody down.

Anyway, No matter what, nothing is worse than what women go through. No matter what, this place isn't a girlzone and won't be. No matter what, guys should stop being creeps, and should work to end sexism and strive for equality.

I do hope that you can tell your friend apart from your enemy, and see the difference between a guy on the right side, trying to decipher, expose bring down patriarchy, making FPP's and trying to help, and the jackasses that make these MRA threads, are PUAs, and those who mock feminism and make sexist or microagressive jokes and brush off rape culture.
posted by cashman at 6:22 PM on August 19, 2012


That whole comparing oppressions thing is from bell hooks.

I'm not familiar with "bell hooks" - what do you mean by that?
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 6:29 PM on August 19, 2012


Okay, we've reached the "take the comments uncharitably" phase, because no, I am not trying to shut anybody down.

I said precisely the opposite of this -- that I don't think you are trying to do this. But this sort of behavior actually effectively does shut down conversation. I think you are engaging in good faith discussion, but the effect of nitpicking about every conversational detail is that people don't want to have the conversation, and so it doesn't happen.

I would hope that my friends are capable of taking criticism.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 6:30 PM on August 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Thanks Bunny Ultramod. restless_nomad bell hooks is a scholar who speaks about feminism and race. I'm sure someone else can encapsulate her position in these spheres better than I can, but essentially she made the point that it isn't about comparing racism and sexism, that comparing oppressions was not a thing to be done. I don't necessarily agree with that but in this case I did. But I think I've shot my mouth off here long enough. I will try to participate in acceptable ways in the future threads about these issues so that my participation is viewed as constructive. I've learned a lot here. Thank you all.
posted by cashman at 6:37 PM on August 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Wikipedia on bell hooks.
posted by Lexica at 6:46 PM on August 19, 2012


And I didn't mean to make it sounds as though I thought you, specifically, were nitpicking. It's like that scene in Summer School when one kid is making a buzzing noise in order to bother his teacher, and the moment he stops another kid starts.

But without any preplanning. It's just like, a conversation starts about something that men do that effects women, and one man protests about one thing, and, the moment that protest is addressed, somebody else jumps in with a different objection. And I really think it rarely is deliberate, and is rooted in people actually trying to make sure a fair conversation is being had. The trouble is this is the sort of conversation that is likely to feel inherently unfair to men, and so they are super ready to object, and s