Revisiting misogyny on Metafilter June 11, 2014 11:05 AM   Subscribe

The comments of this Metafilter post about misogynist songs at Trader Joes demonstrates that our work to keep Metafilter free from sexism is far from over.

There were many comments in there demonstrating the problems with the overall thread - mansplaining, talking over women commenting in the thread, saying "well Woman In My Life is ok with X therefore all you other women should agree!". And while there were a good number of commentors trying to reel in the meta-misogyny and sexism, they are fast becoming outnumbered and overwhelmed.

I suspect that a lot of the commentors there were not around during the constant discussions about Metafilter's Boyzone atmosphere (I noticed a couple of other comments on that thread making a similar remark). It took a lot of effort for Mefi to get to where it is when it comes to misogyny and respecting women's voices, and I'd hate for that to be rapidly erased.

I wanted to start this MetaTalk thread because there was a lot of discussion on the Mefi post about how the post itself was going, and with 300+ comments there already I figured it would be better to hash out site-related qualms here on its own thread.
posted by divabat to Etiquette/Policy at 11:05 AM (1979 comments total) 36 users marked this as a favorite

I was labeled a sexist misogynist. I reached out to Nora Reed to explain why, and she said it was not her responsibility to tell me. If anyone would care to examine my remarks in that thread and explain it to me, I would really appreciate it. I really thought that I was being even-keeled, and as my last comment just noted, if a man had pulled the same stunt, I'd have the same advice for him.
posted by Roger Dodger at 11:16 AM on June 11, 2014 [5 favorites]


I read that thread but did not post in it, and I share your dismay at some of the comments on it (although I think it was really just 1 or 2 prolific posters who were responsible for the vast majority of the WTF quotient)

One thing I was wondering about, though, and didn't see mentioned in the thread was the title of the FPP itself: "Take it easy babe." Was that supposed to be addressed to the author of the blog post? If so, I think that was really sexist and condescending and I'm surprised that didn't come up in the thread.
posted by Asparagus at 11:17 AM on June 11, 2014


I don't think labeling people who self-identify as feminists and leftists as "sexist and misogynist" or the use of snarky neologisms like "mansplaning" help maintain a healthy, respectful discussion, help further mutual understanding, or advance our common cause.

Asparagus: it's a line from the goddamn song that started the whole shitstorm. Jesus Christ on a Segway.
posted by entropicamericana at 11:18 AM on June 11, 2014 [62 favorites]


One thing I was wondering about, though, and didn't see mentioned in the thread was the title of the FPP itself: "Take it easy babe." Was that supposed to be addressed to the author of the blog post? If so, I think that was really sexist and condescending and I'm surprised that didn't come up in the thread.

It's one of the lyrics to "Under My Thumb," the song being discussed by the subject of the FPP.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:19 AM on June 11, 2014


It's a Rolling Stones lyric.
posted by elizardbits at 11:19 AM on June 11, 2014


Roger, I just did that on the blue.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 11:21 AM on June 11, 2014


I don't think labeling people who self-identify as feminists and leftists as "sexist and misogynist" or the use of snarky neologisms like "mansplaning" help maintain a healthy, respectful discussion, help further mutual understanding, or advance our common cause.

Nor is repeatedly disparaging feminists as being as bad as misogynists because their tone supposedly alienates people, without a single shred of evidence to back those assertions up. Which is another thing that happens in every thread about feminism.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:21 AM on June 11, 2014 [53 favorites]


Asparagus: "Was that supposed to be addressed to the author of the blog post? If so, I think that was really sexist and condescending and I'm surprised that didn't come up in the thread."

Oh, man. Context is king paramount.
posted by boo_radley at 11:22 AM on June 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


Isn't that the thread where somebody commented that he was gonna to start "cut(ting) dudes' dicks off until they fucking listen"? I guess you're right that we haven't progressed all that much since the days we thought it was rhetorically ok to rape an Ann Coulter.
posted by 0 at 11:22 AM on June 11, 2014 [5 favorites]


Nor is berating and swearing at a person who is not intimately familiar with the Rolling Stones.
posted by Melismata at 11:23 AM on June 11, 2014 [37 favorites]


I read something recently about how hastags like #yesallwomen served a similar function to feminist consciousness-raising sessions. Our world is so toxic, so steeped in unthinking misogyny, among other things, that it becomes invisible. It's just this pervasive thing, barely noticed or acknowledged, and so when people use the hashtags, suddenly there is an eruption of "Oh my god, this is shitty! And it really does happen all the time!"

But this is often women speaking to women, and men remain outside of the discussion, or are unaware of it, or ignore it, all of which is a mark of privilege -- they don't participate in these things because they don't experience what is being discussed, and so can ignore or dismiss it.

As a result, we end up with one group of people who are tremendously savvy to how privilege tries to ignore or silence the discussion, and another group of people unthinkingly engaging in those very silencing tactics, but thinking they are engaged in good-faith discussions. They think the most important thing to discuss is tactics, and their ideas for what tactics work best, never mind that they are men and haven't tried anything that they are talking about. They tone police the complainer, and think they're being helpful. But every single time, they are moving the discussion away from the subject of misogyny. Or worse, they just decide the subject is beneath discussion, leap in early, and make a few shitty jokes at the expense of the discussion.

I'm glad women are getting consciousness raising. I think men need it as well.

Asparagus: it's a line from the goddamn song that started the whole shitstorm. Jesus Christ on a Segway.

This kind of shit has got to stop. Try being respectful to your fellow posters, for fuck's sake.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:23 AM on June 11, 2014 [125 favorites]


Snip snip snip!
posted by shakespeherian at 11:23 AM on June 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


Isn't that the thread where somebody commented that he was gonna to start "cut(ting) dudes' dicks off until they fucking listen"?

Nope.
posted by KathrynT at 11:24 AM on June 11, 2014 [4 favorites]


How do you talk over someone in a linear thread where everyone has a box to type in and can respond at leisure?
posted by biffa at 11:24 AM on June 11, 2014 [21 favorites]


Right, it is pretty unreasonable to ask someone to be familiar with the lyrics to a song that is the subject of the post.
posted by entropicamericana at 11:24 AM on June 11, 2014 [5 favorites]


0: "Isn't that the thread where somebody commented that he was gonna to start "cut(ting) dudes' dicks off until they fucking listen"?"

No. Not unless it was deleted. And if it was deleted, the rest of your argument is pretty much moot.
posted by zarq at 11:24 AM on June 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


Thanks Misantropic, again!
posted by Roger Dodger at 11:25 AM on June 11, 2014


biffa: "How do you talk over someone in a linear thread where everyone has a box to type in and can respond at leisure?"

Easily. By dismissing and demeaning them and then getting a bunch of other people to pile on. Classic silencing tactics.
posted by zarq at 11:25 AM on June 11, 2014 [22 favorites]


It was indeed deleted. Still somebody felt comfortable going there.
posted by 0 at 11:25 AM on June 11, 2014


It was a dumb comment and was rapidly deleted, yes. I'm not sure an argument based on the implied acceptability of dumb shit that gets rapidly deleted makes a lot of sense.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:25 AM on June 11, 2014 [24 favorites]


It was indeed deleted. Still somebody felt comfortable going there.

Yes. A man.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:25 AM on June 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


Personally, I feel like the article in question was shitty clickbait and lumping it in with "feminist posts" does a huge disservice to the wealth of excellent, diverse, thought-provoking material posted to the Blue about women's experiences. I say this as a feminist but also as a man so apply what grains of salt you will.

I found this thread frustrating because, even aside from the piece's problems, I think an article describing a political process, posted to a political journalism site, invites a more analytical and critical discussion than, say, a personal anecdote posted to someone's blog. I actually think it's really condescending to instantly port anything tangentially related to "feminism" or "women" to the discursive realm of lived experience, which is by nature personal and beyond critique.
posted by threeants at 11:26 AM on June 11, 2014 [40 favorites]


0: "It was indeed deleted. Still somebody felt comfortable going there."

So what? It was deleted.
posted by zarq at 11:26 AM on June 11, 2014 [5 favorites]


Also, that thread has been a mess six ways to sunday and as much as I think it's okay if people want to address specific site-view stuff related to it it would be great to not have this just turn into a rehash or grudgematch about it. I appreciate divabat coming at this from a "let's talk about the site and sexism" perspective and think that'd be a hell of a lot more productive and useful of a conversation to have than Yeah But That Trader Joes Post Tho.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:27 AM on June 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


btw, Roger Dodger, if you're participating in a discussion about feminism and women's issues and someone says your statements are reminding them of other sexist, misogynist derails, and you instantly demand that the entire thread change topic to whether you personally are a sexist misogynist? That's a pretty solid example of what divabat is talking about. You did it there, you're doing it here. I say this not to make it personal about you, but to point out that this is one extremely common way that conversations about women's issues get derailed into talking about men, and I don't know what to do about it.
posted by KathrynT at 11:30 AM on June 11, 2014 [98 favorites]


I didn't comment on that thread because I was conflicted.

1. The words to the song are heinous.

2. I like the Rolling Stones

3. I hate censorship.

4. I think the author took it a bit too far

5. It wouldn't occur to me to get in an uproar about the song at Trader Joes, but maybe it should.

So I did not make up my mind about what I wanted to say, and so I said nothing. Except now, because I've thought about it.

As for misogyny, I guess in this instance it's a third world problem. Did we get our girls back? Are women still sex slaves? Do I still make .66 for every dollar a man makes? I have bigger fish to fry here.

But then, am I guilty of minimizing an entrenched misogynistic idea, that could very well be contributing to the larger problem?

I think any post from a feminist viewpoint is going to run into these problems. There are people who are going to wonder why you're blowing something out of proportion. There are people who are going to think that you didn't blow it up enough! There are people who are threatened by something they have accepted as normal and good for all these years, and who now have had their eyes opened, and you've pissed them off.

Good posts comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.

And yes, there are some right assholes here.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:30 AM on June 11, 2014 [58 favorites]


Wow, people are in a rotten mood these days. What's up? Usually this kind of fighting only happens right before the holidays.
posted by Melismata at 11:30 AM on June 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


Self-identifying as feminist or leftist does not mean you are suddenly absolved of misogyny or that you can never be sexist. Indeed that self-identification puts more responsibility on you to actually be aware of how you perpetuate sexism (intentionally or not) and examine how you can better integrate feminism into your daily actions.
posted by divabat at 11:31 AM on June 11, 2014 [62 favorites]


I guess I start from the presumption that if I don't share somebody's experience, I am not going to know what tactic works best. As a man, I get a different response when I call in to complain than a woman does. As a man, I get different responses when I write an article. Tactics that work for me might do nothing at all for them, and so I would never presume to lecture somebody about what they should have done differently because something different would have worked for me.

I mean, I have argued with the police before and been treated as an irate citizen. Were I a person of color, that tactic may have had a different outcome.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:31 AM on June 11, 2014 [14 favorites]


Really it was a terrible post to begin with, the equivalent of someone's blog.
posted by 2bucksplus at 11:31 AM on June 11, 2014 [13 favorites]


I ended up not posting this in that thread, but it seemed that a lot of people read the blog post and thought that the author had picked some random cashier or stockboy to start grilling about the radio selections, when in fact she was directed to the guy she addresses in the blog. He was the human in the store she was supposed to direct complaints to. He gave her the store manager's info, she couldn't reach him, and she complained about his unreachability. But her blog post was not about how "Kyle Soandso is such a jerk because he wouldn't personally take that song off the radio".

Towards the end of the thread I posted something that included the question: Can we take this [thread] as a micro example of the exact phenomenon she was talking about? That women's opinions, complaints, feelings, depictions in our culture are often not taken seriously?

I did mean it as a question, an invitation to consider further. And yet within a few minutes, I was shouted down by someone who literally informed me that my interpretation, my opinion, was WRONG. Objectively wrong. And maybe I worded it poorly, or maybe it was taken as a directive rather than a question???
posted by nakedmolerats at 11:32 AM on June 11, 2014 [8 favorites]


But this is often women speaking to women, and men remain outside of the discussion, or are unaware of it, or ignore it, all of which is a mark of privilege -- they don't participate in these things because they don't experience what is being discussed, and so can ignore or dismiss it.

This, and the rest of Bunny Ultramod's comment, is a good analysis of the situation.

To the end of consciousness raising, of why arguments like #yesallwomen happen and why they are needed, Melissa McEwan recently posted a powerful piece "We Need to Talk About This."
posted by audi alteram partem at 11:32 AM on June 11, 2014 [6 favorites]


Okay, I get it, I think. So offering advice about how things can be accomplished can be viewed as a silencing tool? Seriously, I'm trying to understand.
posted by Roger Dodger at 11:32 AM on June 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


Christ, Roger Dodger, look "mansplaining" up.
posted by sukeban at 11:34 AM on June 11, 2014 [20 favorites]


I guess I start from the presumption that if I don't share somebody's experience, I am not going to know what tactic works best. As a man, I get a different response when I call in to complain than a woman does. As a man, I get different responses when I write an article. Tactics that work for me might do nothing at all for them, and so I would never presume to lecture somebody about what they should have done differently because something different would have worked for me.

I mean, I have argued with the police before and been treated as an irate citizen. Were I a person of color, that tactic may have had a different outcome.


All good points, but/and this is sort of the exact kind of conversation I was looking to have in the thread itself.
posted by threeants at 11:34 AM on June 11, 2014


I think a few people got a bit wrapped up in how much they don't like the way the author handled this particular situation, and a couple others made some statements in the context of the wider discussion that were not great. A lot of people seemed to be conflating the two.
posted by Hoopo at 11:35 AM on June 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


See, this isn't even a conversation.
posted by Roger Dodger at 11:35 AM on June 11, 2014 [23 favorites]


...our work to keep Metafilter free from sexism is far from over...

And in the very next sentence...

...mansplaining...


posted by one more dead town's last parade at 11:35 AM on June 11, 2014 [24 favorites]


I don't know much about how women experience the world because I'm a man, but I do go into Trader Joe's 2-3 times a week.

People were telling me that Trader Joe's employees were poorly paid (they are not), that its only aging hippies who shop there (not the case at all), and that it is staffed by people on the lower end of the socioeconomic ladder.

All of this, of course, goes against my lived experience, but people who never step foot in a Trader Joe's were telling me how a Trader Joe's actually is.

So, thanks to that thread, I have a slightly better idea of what it is like to be a woman.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 11:36 AM on June 11, 2014 [48 favorites]


You may not like the word mansplaining, but it describes a phenomenon women experience and need a word to describe, and is not sexist, and has been thoroughly addressed in previous discussions.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:37 AM on June 11, 2014 [58 favorites]


Roger Dodger: The issue is that in a thread where people are trying to talk about either the community as a whole's response to sexism - or, in that thread, about having to deal with misogynist content in public spaces - you are pulling attention away by demanding that people try to educate you personally. This is despite many other people already posting many, many times the answer to your question - but because it wasn't addressed specifically to you, you don't seem willing to listen.

This isn't the thread about you, Roger Dodger. But it does demonstrate the larger problem of the marginalised being demanded to personally educate and hand-hold the non-marginalised even when previous efforts have shown to be futile. I don't mind education in and of itself personally - but it gets tiresome when the other party doesn't seem willing to listen.
posted by divabat at 11:37 AM on June 11, 2014 [50 favorites]


I don't think labeling people who self-identify as feminists and leftists

Self-identification matters little. Your behavior marks you as what you are.

I don't think labeling people who self-identify as feminists and leftists as "sexist and misogynist" or the use of snarky neologisms like "mansplaning" help maintain a healthy, respectful discussion, help further mutual understanding, or advance our common cause.

Oh no, not snark! Some opinions and behaviors deserve as much ridicule as they deserve patient counter-argument. I talked about this a while ago in the Elliot Rodger thread.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 11:38 AM on June 11, 2014 [7 favorites]


sukeban: Christ, Roger Dodger, look "mansplaining" up.

Yes, let's look up that dummmmb fuckin' word.
There has been disagreement among women regarding the usefulness of the term. Given its gender-specific nature and negative connotation, the word has been described by some feminists as being inherently biased, essentialist, dismissive, and a double standard. Some other feminists, however, find the term useful for exposing the ways that male privilege can manifest itself in social interactions. Still others argue that the term is too easily misunderstood and misappropriated and is therefore counterproductive in calling out problematic behaviour. They cite the coinage of the term "womansplaining" to describe a woman interacting with someone in a condescending manner as evidence of this misappropriation.
posted by gman at 11:38 AM on June 11, 2014 [10 favorites]


Previous MeTa on mansplaining contains several viewpoints on how the term can function in a productive conversation to address sexism.
posted by audi alteram partem at 11:38 AM on June 11, 2014 [9 favorites]


...mansplaining...



Hey, if you can come up with a word explaining the extremely common real-world occurrence of men explaining things to women in a fashion that is either implicitly or explicitly belittling because of gender differences, often used as a tactic to silence or otherwise minimize women's contributions to a conversation, and it doesn't take an entire paragraph like I just did, you're free to do so.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:39 AM on June 11, 2014 [103 favorites]


*shakes his head and steps out of the thread*
posted by entropicamericana at 11:40 AM on June 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


traderjoesplaining
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 11:40 AM on June 11, 2014 [12 favorites]


Good God, let's not turn a thread about something that affects women into a thread about how offensive the word mansplaining is. That's literally the sort of diversionary tactic that this thread was created to address.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:42 AM on June 11, 2014 [131 favorites]


Roger Dodger: "Okay, I get it, I think. So offering advice about how things can be accomplished can be viewed as a silencing tool? Seriously, I'm trying to understand."

Kinda, yeah. there's a few versions of this. Here's an option that seems pertinent to this situation: Your advice was already followed by the woman, but there's an implicit assumption that she was too dumb\ intimidated\ etc to try it without having a man propose it. ex: "why didn't you talk to management" "I did... "

Another version is basically "well, who asked you?". Sometimes men present answers to things that aren't really problems in the way that the man perceived. The advice is off target, or makes assumptions about the situation that are unfounded in hurtful ways.

and so on.
posted by boo_radley at 11:42 AM on June 11, 2014 [7 favorites]


"But this is often women speaking to women, and men remain outside of the discussion, or are unaware of it, or ignore it, all of which is a mark of privilege -- they don't participate in these things because they don't experience what is being discussed, and so can ignore or dismiss it."


It's also possible that some men decided to not to participate in the discussion because if they express any kind of disagreement -- no matter how reasonable or unsexist -- they get labeled as misogynist/sexist/mansplainers.

Can't say I blame them. If you don't want to create an echochamber for yourself, don't turn the debate into a bunch of personal attacks.
posted by mikeand1 at 11:42 AM on June 11, 2014 [31 favorites]


So offering advice about how things can be accomplished can be viewed as a silencing tool?

Well absolutely. Why is it that you presume to know how to do something better than someone else?

Your gender colors your experience. It may seem obvious to you that all you have to do is X and Y and Bob's your uncle, problem solved. But if I were to take that same tack, I won't have the same success with it, because we are different genders and because the world works differently depending on who you are.

If you were born male and white in the US, then you're at an advantage. The system was set up with you in mind and so your ways of dealing with it will work more often than not.

A man is a leader, a woman is bossy.

A man is assertive, a woman is a bitch.

A man is stupid, a woman is blond.

It gets old, and I find it interesting that there are still white men out there, who don't even see that the world is a completely different place for them than it is for women, people of color, immigrants, non-Christians.

Nothing is more annoying than someone who is privilaged, telling someone who isn't how easy it is to just cowboy up and get it done.

I'm not bitter about my experiences, they've made me a strong, capable person, but when someone tells me that MY experience is less informed than THEIR experience, and that I need to try it their way before I can be angry that my way didn't work...no. That's disappointing and as far as we've come, there's quite a way to go yet.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:42 AM on June 11, 2014 [54 favorites]


No, offering advice about how you think things can be accomplished because you assume that the woman trying to accomplish things has a) not already done so or b) might, just possibly, have a totally different experience trying to use those tactics as you do, because you're a man and she is not, is a silencing tactic, because the woman in question now has to have a discussion with you about how no, she already did XYZ and it didn't work, and you say "oh but that's not how I think it would go based on my experience". If you fail to recognize that your experience, as a man, is very likely to be significantly different as a woman's experience, even when taking the same action, it's dismissive and disrespectful, and veers the whole discussion away from even acknowledging the woman's feelings about the matter.
posted by Kpele at 11:42 AM on June 11, 2014 [30 favorites]


not all mansplainers
posted by elizardbits at 11:43 AM on June 11, 2014 [118 favorites]


It's also possible that some men decided to not to participate in the discussion because if they express any kind of disagreement -- no matter how reasonable or unsexist -- they get labeled as misogynist/sexist/mansplainers.

Cite?
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:43 AM on June 11, 2014 [5 favorites]


There was some discussion on the other thread about how the attention seemed to be overly on the way the writer presented her case than what the case was actually about.

Now I see that in this thread, something very similar has happened: a conversation about Metafilter and sexism instantly derailed to my use of the word "mansplain". Because I knew of no other term that succinctly described the effect I observed (and honestly I wasn't trying to be snarky).

Thanks for proving my point.
posted by divabat at 11:43 AM on June 11, 2014 [24 favorites]


Yes, the mainsplaining entree with a side order of tone argument. A wildly popular meal.
posted by elizardbits at 11:45 AM on June 11, 2014 [42 favorites]


Cite?

Won't that just lead to an argument over whether any provided example is actually an example or not, and then be taken as more evidence of derailing the topic?
posted by Justinian at 11:45 AM on June 11, 2014 [7 favorites]


No, offering advice about how you think things can be accomplished because you assume that the woman trying to accomplish things has a) not already done so

Better yet, there were many instances of people in the tread saying that the writer should have done X, when she described in detail in the article, how she had done X!
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 11:45 AM on June 11, 2014 [9 favorites]


Martin Seligman reports that the most annoying series of scientific studies that he had ever read was the work by Alloy and Abramson reporting that depressed people are less subject to a host of cognitive biases. Lots of good arguments against this one, but there's evidence across a host of different bias-inducing tasks that depressed people judge their skills more accurately, their ability to change things more accurately, etc etc. There exists evidence against it too, it's a hairy old psychology thing with plenty of shit studies and plenty of good studies disagreeing.

It's got to be noted, though, that besides the manifold terrible symptoms of depression, there is one that stands out in particular to me: depressed people have psychomotor impairment: their physical movements are significantly impaired, and their capacity for thought at all is significantly impaired.

If you carry forth Seligman's oft-repeated and oft-disputed statement that unipolar (not bipolar, which has easier-to-tell biological roots) depression is a pathological case of pessimistic thinking, there's an abstraction to make with regards to the capacity of action and the capacity of truth, I feel.

That is, that it might be the case that these two quantities, the capacity of action and the capacity of truth are opposed. I note the shaky foundations, but I always found that the claim that the raising of consciousness and the establishment to truth will necessarily lead to action very under-examined. And there is speech as inducement towards action and speech as inducement towards truth.

I leave this statement abstract because I don't know what I feel about this, so I will say this abstract thing that I know.
posted by curuinor at 11:45 AM on June 11, 2014 [7 favorites]


Yes, the mainsplaining entree with a side order of tone argument. A wildly popular meal.

even more popular yet when washed down with some two buck chuck
posted by MoonOrb at 11:46 AM on June 11, 2014 [4 favorites]


Roger Dodger: “I was labeled a sexist misogynist.”

I think the best thing for you to do would be to ease up on acting as though "sexist" or "misogynist" is a violently evil accusation. It is not. It's a description of stuff that people do.

It's like racism. If somebody says I did a racist thing – or even tells me that I am racist – it's my responsibility not to respond by complaining that I've been "labeled" a racist. The correct way to respond is to approach it rationally: "what did I do that seems racist?" If they can tell me, clearly, and they're right, then I can correct it. If they're wrong, well, whatever. They're wrong.

Now, I want to say that I've been told I was racist or sexist on this very website, so I know how it feels. It can be tough not to take it personally. It can be very difficult not to get a bit outraged at how people are tossing around a word I don't like and connecting me with it. But things like racism and sexism are serious, so we need to be clear on them, and we need to approach them directly. Anything else will only lead to confusion.

What matters is not what people "label" us. What matters is what we are. If someone says you said or did a racist thing, the key is to focus on the thing they say is racist, and to listen to their argument carefully and honestly with the aim of correcting the problem or creating understanding.
posted by koeselitz at 11:47 AM on June 11, 2014 [82 favorites]


divabat, I'm sorry for indulging in this derail. I believed that "hash out site-related qualms here on its own thread." was a pretty big tent, and if somebody had a question about this that seemed honest, I might take that question up on my own. I apologize for the derail and will take anythings else between me and Roger Dodger to memail.
posted by boo_radley at 11:47 AM on June 11, 2014


"Cite?"


No. I've had it. Too many people in this thread have already demonstrated that they are incapable of debating in good faith. I've wasted too much time on it already.
posted by mikeand1 at 11:48 AM on June 11, 2014 [11 favorites]


Just shopping at Trader Joe's is an expression of white, middle class privilege, really.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:48 AM on June 11, 2014 [10 favorites]


Yes, the mainsplaining entree with a side order of tone argument. A wildly popular meal.

But the portions, they're not small enough!
posted by rtha at 11:48 AM on June 11, 2014 [6 favorites]


Thanks for proving my point.

I'm not sure what your point is. There were several vocal pro feminist people who were handling objections just fine. Not sure a MeTa was needed, but clearly we differ and that's fine.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:49 AM on June 11, 2014


Count me in among those who were too gobsmacked by the thread to post anything in it. The pervasiveness of sexism in pop culture is an interesting topic, but the comments about how This Is The Senescence Of The American Left were like DO NOT ENGAGE alarum bells.
posted by psoas at 11:50 AM on June 11, 2014 [22 favorites]


Just shopping at Trader Joe's is an expression of white, middle class privilege, really.

Except for the fact that, in L.A. at least, it's actually one of the more inexpensive supermarkets. (Though it's true that they tend to be in middle-class neighborhoods.)
posted by scody at 11:52 AM on June 11, 2014 [7 favorites]


"My point" being that the "zomg why did you use the word 'mansplain'" seemed like a derail and a diversion.

boo_radley I didn't think you were derailing, but I appreciate the concern (and I'm not the ultimate arbitrater on what makes a derail, so.)
posted by divabat at 11:54 AM on June 11, 2014


If someone says you said or did a racist thing, the key is to focus on the thing they say is racist, and to listen to their argument carefully and honestly with the aim of correcting the problem or creating understanding.

Yeah, it is important to remember that in a society built on a foundation of racism and misogyny, it is very literally impossible not to unconsciously participate in it. When somebody tells you you did something racist or sexist, it isn't an accusation against you personally, but instead potentially identifies a place where you have unconsciously absorbed a societal ill.

I suppose there needs to be a destigmatization of the phrase, but, then, it's mostly stigmatized by the people who have privilege, and so they are the one responsible for taking the hurt out of it. From what I have seen, black people witness so many small acts of racism all the time, and women experience so many little acts of sexism, that it's sort of understood that that stuff is out there in the ether all the time, and people will say stupid, thoughtless things all the time. You're not damned if they call you on it, you've just blundered a little, no big deal. It's the people who are called on it who respond with a hostile "HOW DARE YOU IMPUGN MY VERY SOUL," which makes it enormously difficult to let people know when they've blundered.

Just shopping at Trader Joe's is an expression of white, middle class privilege, really.

It was my neighborhood grocery in Hollywood, which is mostly a recent immigrant neighborhood with one of the largest Thai communities in the world.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:55 AM on June 11, 2014 [27 favorites]


Bunny Ultramod: "You may not like the word mansplaining, but it describes a phenomenon women experience and need a word to describe, and is not sexist, and has been thoroughly addressed in previous discussions."

So we can't come up with another word that isn't derogatory? We should all quit bitching about it?
posted by I am the Walrus at 11:55 AM on June 11, 2014 [5 favorites]


Ooo boy.
posted by Justinian at 11:56 AM on June 11, 2014 [9 favorites]


You may not like the word mansplaining, but it...is not sexist

Other than the inherent sexism, maybe.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 11:56 AM on June 11, 2014 [7 favorites]


So we can't come up with another word that isn't derogatory? We should all quit bitching about it?

lol that you think you've made a good point there
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 11:56 AM on June 11, 2014 [36 favorites]


I'm happy to call it relentless tedious douchebaggery if that will make you feel better, since a douche is also something that is bad for women.
posted by elizardbits at 11:56 AM on June 11, 2014 [83 favorites]


Yes, the mainsplaining entree with a side order of tone argument. A wildly popular meal.

Whenever possible, one should eat the rude.
posted by bfranklin at 11:57 AM on June 11, 2014 [9 favorites]


If y'all want to form an independent committee to research possible replacements for "mansplain" and bring us a report in 8-12 weeks, go crazy, but maybe just let it drop for now.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:57 AM on June 11, 2014 [83 favorites]


So we can't come up with another word that isn't derogatory? We should all quit bitching about it?

I suppose you could open another thread about it, although I can't imagine what good it would do, but you're derailing this one, and that's a gender-neutral asshole thing to do.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:57 AM on June 11, 2014 [11 favorites]


Wow, people are in a rotten mood these days. What's up? Usually this kind of fighting only happens right before the holidays.

Personally, I'm in a bad mood because of Elliot Rodger, George Will, that shit-for-brains Washington Post op-ed about domestic violence, and a couple incidents of creepy shit I have experienced lately. Things just feel especially sucky, and I am angry and on-edge. I've been mostly laying pretty low on MeFi, but I totally went off on someone on Facebook yesterday who deserved a smackdown but didn't deserve the nasty way in which it came out. I would appreciate it if people tried to understand that when they're arguing about a particular incident, that incident exists in a bigger context in which women are feeling especially under threat and with good reason.
posted by naoko at 11:57 AM on June 11, 2014 [67 favorites]


divabat: "My point" being that the "zomg why did you use the word 'mansplain'" seemed like a derail and a diversion.

Right, then maybe don't use it if you don't want people to tune out what might be an important topic. It's like PETA; they do some great work and have an important message, but their delivery converts no one. I stop reading at the word mansplain.
posted by gman at 11:58 AM on June 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


Yeah, it is important to remember that in a society built on a foundation of racism and misogyny, it is very literally impossible not to unconsciously participate in it. When somebody tells you you did something racist or sexist, it isn't an accusation against you personally, but instead potentially identifies a place where you have unconsciously absorbed a societal ill.

An accusation of racism or misogyny may not always be a personal attack, but it is also a tactic used to discount people's arguments or experiences that do not comport with the accuser's ideology a fair bit. And it's not trivial to tell which is which.
posted by bswinburn at 11:58 AM on June 11, 2014 [10 favorites]


There was some discussion on the other thread about how the attention seemed to be overly on the way the writer presented her case than what the case was actually about.

Yes, this exactly. I also felt there was a lot of "tone attacks" based on her behavior. It was wrong of her to call that guy out by name. It was wrong of her to use her power as a blog editor to write this rather than going through "appropriate channels". Etc. She should have made less of a scene and gone through customer service first. She should have become an executive (??) to execute "real change".

Basically, a lot of different critiques of HOW she addressed the issue that seemed to demonstrate, even within the thread, that there was no way for her to talk about this issue without someone telling her it wasn't the right way.

And yeah, some people might and can see those critiques as just a Person thing, not a woman thing. But when there are multiple women and men in the thread saying it seems like a gendered thing, maybe it's worth thinking about.
posted by nakedmolerats at 11:58 AM on June 11, 2014 [9 favorites]


Right, then maybe don't use it if you don't want people to tune out what might be an important topic.

Yes, if only her tone had been more acceptable.
posted by elizardbits at 11:59 AM on June 11, 2014 [46 favorites]


I stop reading at the word mansplain.

And yet you don't stop participating.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:59 AM on June 11, 2014 [92 favorites]


Man, this thread is just Lewis' Law writ large.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:59 AM on June 11, 2014 [9 favorites]


I stop reading at the word mansplain.

Apparently not.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:59 AM on June 11, 2014 [4 favorites]


Bunny Ultramod: I suppose you could open another thread about it, although I can't imagine what good it would do, but you're derailing this one, and that's a gender-neutral asshole thing to do.

Sure, because this one's going places and will have the desired outcome.
posted by gman at 12:00 PM on June 11, 2014 [5 favorites]


Be the change, man.
posted by DingoMutt at 12:00 PM on June 11, 2014 [10 favorites]


zombieflanders: Apparently not.

I can be more clear if you'd like - I stopped reading the actual post at that word. How's that?
posted by gman at 12:01 PM on June 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


An accusation of racism or misogyny may not be a personal attack, but it is also a tactic used to discount people's arguments or experiences that do not comport with the accuser's ideology a fair bit. And it's not trivial to tell which is which.

A really bad way to tell which is which is to immediately deny the possibility that you could have said or done something X-ist.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 12:01 PM on June 11, 2014 [15 favorites]


I'm not even sure you can "derail" a Metatalk about a thread by talking about site issues related to that thread. What other site issues are being discussed here? So far all I've seen are Roger Dodger's stuff and the mansplain thing.

If there are other site issues to be talked about then lets talk about them. But I'm not seeing anyone even trying?
posted by Justinian at 12:02 PM on June 11, 2014 [5 favorites]


And yet you don't stop participating.

Be the change you want to see.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:02 PM on June 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


I can be more clear if you'd like - I stopped reading the actual post at that word. How's that?

And yet you continue to hold forth on the problem, having admitted that you not only didn't follow the extensive discussion, but steadfastly refuse to do so, So There.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:02 PM on June 11, 2014 [6 favorites]


Here I thought the firefight shitshow popcorn threads were going to dry up once the Metatalk queue was made permanent. It'd been a quiet couple of weeks.
posted by echo target at 12:03 PM on June 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


An accusation of racism or misogyny may not always be a personal attack, but it is also a tactic used to discount people's arguments or experiences that do not comport with the accuser's ideology a fair bit.

So what words do you propose we use for identifying racism or sexism? Or should we stop identifying them altogether?
posted by scody at 12:04 PM on June 11, 2014 [11 favorites]


i say we call it notniceism
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 12:04 PM on June 11, 2014 [9 favorites]


Yes, because it might hurt the feelings of the bigoted. That's the real crime.
posted by elizardbits at 12:05 PM on June 11, 2014 [38 favorites]


Count me in among those who were too gobsmacked by the thread to post anything in it. The pervasiveness of sexism in pop culture is an interesting topic, but the comments about how This Is The Senescence Of The American Left were like DO NOT ENGAGE alarum bells.

Yup.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:05 PM on June 11, 2014


Justinian: I suppose you're right, in a way - the way the thread has gone demonstrates the issues Metafilter has with discussing sexism. What I want to see is those issues addressed so that it doesn't happen again, rather than recreating the exact same problems here, and I'm grateful to commenters like Bunny Ultramod, Ruthless Bunny, zombieflanders, elizardbits, and others for their support.

I'll be frank and say that the way that thread went made me seriously reconsider my Mefi donation.
posted by divabat at 12:06 PM on June 11, 2014 [6 favorites]


I also felt there was a lot of "tone attacks" based on her behavior. It was wrong of her to call that guy out by name. It was wrong of her to use her power as a blog editor to write this rather than going through "appropriate channels".

How are these questions of tone? Whether she used the guy's name or not is not a matter of tone, it's a matter of substance. She made this guy into a public figure against his will to her site's millions of readers. I can see how reasonable people might disagree on whether or not that was justified, but I don't see how you can possibly argue that her naming or not naming him is only a question of tone. It's clear to me that when you are a senior editor at a major media outlet, choosing either to name someone or to allow them to remain anonymous is a substantive act.
posted by enn at 12:07 PM on June 11, 2014 [36 favorites]


Also, I would like to point out that the "calling behavior sexist is silencing" argument is the delightful flip-side to "how can we know what's sexist unless you tell us" argument. If women call it out, we're attacking men (and therefore we only have ourselves to blame for the continuation of sexism). If we don't call it out, we're refusing to educate men (and therefore we only have ourselves to blame for the continuation of sexism).
posted by scody at 12:07 PM on June 11, 2014 [158 favorites]


I did mean it as a question, an invitation to consider further. And yet within a few minutes, I was shouted down by someone who literally informed me that my interpretation, my opinion, was WRONG.

Hi there. I think you're talking about me. If you'd like to discuss that exchange, I'd be happy to do so here—or via MeMail, which I've just switched on, since this MeTa seems to be going not awesomely. To respond quickly, I'm sorry that you felt shouted down. I read the first paragraph of your comment as squishing together a bunch of criticisms so as to marginalize and brush them off, and I read the second paragraph as implying there was sexism in the fact those criticisms had even been raised. I disagree pretty strongly with that, but I'd be happy to continue the conversation directly. Maybe you and I misread each other's comments.
posted by cribcage at 12:09 PM on June 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


zombieflanders: And yet you continue to hold forth on the problem, having admitted that you not only didn't follow the extensive discussion, but steadfastly refuse to do so, So There.

Holy fuck, I really need to spell this out for you, eh? I (me) stopped (no more) reading (looking at) the actual post (the words written by divabat up top) at that word (mansplaining).
posted by gman at 12:10 PM on June 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


*shakes his head and steps out of the thread*

No. I've had it. Too many people in this thread have already demonstrated that they are incapable of debating in good faith. I've wasted too much time on it already.

I stop reading at the word mansplain.

Ah, the old rhetorical chestnut of taking my ball and going home.
posted by kmz at 12:11 PM on June 11, 2014 [20 favorites]


"My point" being that the "zomg why did you use the word 'mansplain'" seemed like a derail and a diversion.

I really dislike the word and am not surprised when it causes a derail. Sure, there are plenty of people who feel it's usage is perfect, while there's clearly others who don't. That latter will always find problems with its usage. Perhaps a different choice of language in terms of that word would be good.

Personally, I go with asshole, because everyone has one of those.

What I want to see is those issues addressed so that it doesn't happen again...

You can not control how anyone else on this site responds. This is fight and battle that will literally have to played out over years, possibly decades on this one site to get where it where you want it to be. That doesn't mean you shouldn't fight for what you believe in, but the goal you have in mind does seem impossible.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:11 PM on June 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I think there's sort of a fuzzy line here between being vigilant of the tone argument and failing to accord a national-level writer the agency she deserves as a political being, which could potentially come in the form of critique.
posted by threeants at 12:11 PM on June 11, 2014 [6 favorites]


That's inception-level-mansplaining.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 12:12 PM on June 11, 2014 [5 favorites]


Cortex has already asked that we table the discussion of mansplaining, and the FPP author has said that she would have chosen a different word.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 12:12 PM on June 11, 2014 [4 favorites]


when a man on the internet tries to justify "mansplaining" to me in his explanation, isn't that mansplaining too?
posted by bruce at 12:12 PM on June 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


Also, I would like to point out that the "calling behavior sexist is silencing" argument is the delightful flip-side to "how can we know what's sexist unless you tell us" argument. If women call it out, we're attacking men (and therefore we only have ourselves to blame for the continuation of sexism). If we don't call it out, we're refusing to educate men (and therefore we only have ourselves to blame for the continuation of sexism).

It's a super insidious and gross technique used by oppressors in virtually every instance these days, this coopting of language used by the oppressed to call out oppression, and using it for their own needs. See also: various instances of creepshotters claiming that they are being "kinkshamed" for wanting to get off on nonconsensual sexualized images of random women, MRAs saying that women have the "real privilege" because the women choose not to have sex with them, etc.
posted by elizardbits at 12:12 PM on June 11, 2014 [73 favorites]


I'll be frank and say that the way that thread went made me seriously reconsider my Mefi donation.

The reason why this site is worth supporting is that we get far, far more things right than we get wrong, in sharp contrast to pretty much every other available avenue for online discussion.

Even in the wake of a debate that goes poorly here, I'd gently suggest you remember what a great place this is before you huff and puff and talk about taking your coupla bucks and going home.

No disrespect to your actual arguments. But that little addendum there didn't come off well.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:13 PM on June 11, 2014 [34 favorites]


gman: Did you only participate in the thread to complain about the word 'mansplain'? Did the sentences prior to that not give you enough invitation to consider how Metafilter can deal better with sexism?

Dismissing my thread (which I tried to craft as carefully as possible, and I appreciate cortex for noticing) based on the one word is in itself exemplerary of the way sexism plays out here and elsewhere - our attempts at drawing attention to an issue that affects us gets ignored because we didn't couch things in the softest of language.
posted by divabat at 12:13 PM on June 11, 2014 [29 favorites]


The turtle is on its back, why aren't you mansplaining to it?
posted by planetesimal at 12:13 PM on June 11, 2014 [9 favorites]


zombieflanders: And yet you continue to hold forth on the problem, having admitted that you not only didn't follow the extensive discussion, but steadfastly refuse to do so, So There.

So there what? Tell me where I "admitted" I didn't follow "the extensive discussion". I stopped reading divabat's post here when I saw that word. The end.
posted by gman at 12:14 PM on June 11, 2014


when a man on the internet tries to justify "mansplaining" to me in his explanation, isn't that mansplaining too?

No.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 12:15 PM on June 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


So what words do you propose we use for identifying racism or sexism? Or should we stop identifying them altogether?

I'm not suggesting you use other words. I am suggesting people don't automatically assume that a person reacting as if it's personal attack is acting irrationally. As it is used as a personal attack.

Just because someone calls something "mansplaining", doesn't make it so.

Just because someone calls something "sexist", doesn't make it so.

Just because someone calls something "separate but equal", doesn't make it so.

It's perfectly acceptable to think, "huh, this person called me a racist/sexist, but upon reflection, I am not acting in that manner. They are either wrong in their assessment, or full of shit."
posted by bswinburn at 12:15 PM on June 11, 2014 [13 favorites]


It's not about you and how you feel about one word, dude.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 12:15 PM on June 11, 2014 [22 favorites]


So there what?[...]The End.

Thanks for illustrating how you acted without me having to do it for you. Consider this line of discussion dropped per the OP's and mod's requests.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:16 PM on June 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


[gman, drop it. All comers, likewise. Massively tired of this sidebar.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:16 PM on June 11, 2014 [14 favorites]


DirtyOldTown: It's not such a "great place" when I can't be sure that people like myself would be treated with respect. Just because it's better than many other places doesn't make it perfect or infalliable or immune to criticism.
posted by divabat at 12:16 PM on June 11, 2014 [4 favorites]


I don't think there is a single part of this discussion that might not be improved by everybody taking a five minute break and having a nice tea or something. The vitriol to engagement ratio is waaaaaay off right this second.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:17 PM on June 11, 2014 [12 favorites]


Since a motion to adjourn is always in order, can I ask that this thread be closed? I don't really see any good outcome for this.
posted by wenestvedt at 12:17 PM on June 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


Just because someone calls something "mansplaining", doesn't make it so.

Just because someone calls something "sexist", doesn't make it so.

Just because someone calls something "separate but equal", doesn't make it so.


Each of these things is just like the others
All of these things are just the same

It's perfectly acceptable to think, "huh, this person called me a racist/sexist, but upon reflection, I am not acting in that manner. They are either wrong in their assessment, or full of shit."

Usually, it goes "huh, this person called me an X-ist, but upon exactly one picosecond of reflection, which I will not demonstrate in what I say next,"
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 12:18 PM on June 11, 2014 [10 favorites]


How are these questions of tone? Whether she used the guy's name or not is not a matter of tone, it's a matter of substance. She made this guy into a public figure against his will to her site's millions of readers. I can see how reasonable people might disagree on whether or not that was justified, but I don't see how you can possibly argue that her naming or not naming him is only a question of tone.

I meant for "tone attacks" to be an analogy, as in most of the critiques of her behavior, I saw as analagous to someone saying "you're shouting or sounding angry or etc so I'm not listening to your point".

For example, I saw far less criticism of her for "exposing" the guy's identity or taking his right to privacy. The attacks on her "outing" him were more rooted in a) how mean she was to yell at him when he couldn't do anything about it and b) especially because it wasn't an issue worth being upset about anyway. The criticism, to me, seemed more about the manner of her behavior (was it "mean" to expose him, was it "oversensitive" to be upset at all) .
posted by nakedmolerats at 12:18 PM on June 11, 2014


Just because it's better than many other places doesn't make it perfect or infalliable or immune to criticism.

That's entirely true. And I'm not going to tell you how to criticize it. I'm just saying that the money thing was a sour note there, to my ears. Two cents and all of that.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:19 PM on June 11, 2014 [5 favorites]


So one thing that keeps coming up in threads about common experiences of sexism in Europe and the US is the "first world problems" thing. It's incredibly frustrating to be literally told that just because you're not being raped in a Nigerian jungle, a given situation is a. not sexist and b. not worth being discussed and improved upon. It reminds me of Richard Dawkins' "Dear Muslima" comment - the Rational Wiki calls it the "not as bad as" fallacy.

Like the "first world problems" comments, this irritates me. I've spent some time in parts of the developing world and hung out with ladies there (and been a lady there), and you know what? Even in the developing world - and, I would bet, in Nigeria - small-scale misogyny is fucking irritating, even in light of larger systemic problems. When I went to the market with an Ivorian friend and some guy shouted the equivalent of "Hey sexy," she got angry. Even in light of the frequent domestic abuse she was suffering from. Women would get pissed off at their husbands trying to sleep with other women, even if they'd had clitoridectomies. One woman told me she wished that a popular artist didn't release a song that started out with the sound of a woman being slapped and crying about it because it was upsetting and anti-women. Ladies out dancing at the Diskoteca in Peru would tell off men who started grinding, even in light of a pretty big rape problem in the area. Women in India don't like cat-calling and get angry about it, even though cat-calling pales in comparison to gang rape.

Microaggressions are still OBNOXIOUS. And though you personally may think there are bigger problems in the world, solving the small ones can help solve the big ones. I know we don't like getting all prescriptivist here, but it'd be GREAT if people would stop using the "not as bad as" technique to make women feel small, bad, and selfish for trying to change the small sexist things on the way to changing the big ones.
posted by ChuraChura at 12:20 PM on June 11, 2014 [297 favorites]


All comers, likewise. Massively tired of this sidebar.

Yet, it keeps coming up, indicating it's an issue for some.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:20 PM on June 11, 2014 [4 favorites]


ChuraChura: Thank you. The comment of "third world problem" bothered me but I couldn't articulate why until your comment. (Technically I'm a third-worlder who is temporarily residing in the first-world - so this shouldn't matter to me?)
posted by divabat at 12:22 PM on June 11, 2014


If you spend this much time explaining why a word is or isn't helpful, it may be a shitty word.

Use the word all you want, but don't be surprised when you get a negative reaction to it.
posted by lattiboy at 12:22 PM on June 11, 2014 [6 favorites]


Personally I'm sort of frozen in place, deer-in-headlights style, like when a family argument at Thanksgiving turns ugly. I should leave but I can't look away.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:22 PM on June 11, 2014 [4 favorites]


"an issue for some" describes everything
posted by psoas at 12:25 PM on June 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


Divabat, I'm just curious- can you share what you think Metafilter (meaning, the mods, I guess) could or should have done to help make that thread go better?

Because even though I saw a lot of sexism in that thread, I don't know if there were specific comments that were in my view slam-dunk cases of "should be flagged for deletion." But I may in part feel that way because those attitudes are so pervasive that they don't stand out the way the use of an offensive slur would, for example.
posted by Asparagus at 12:25 PM on June 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


Hide under the table with the pumpkin pie.
posted by elizardbits at 12:25 PM on June 11, 2014 [10 favorites]


If you spend this much time explaining why a word is or isn't helpful, it may be a shitty word.

It may also be that derailing a conversation about a large and consistent issue by focusing on a single word is an all-too-common and shitty debate tactic.
posted by Etrigan at 12:25 PM on June 11, 2014 [52 favorites]


I just donated another $5 right now. Matt, please use that to buy the mod on duty an ice cream cone or a shot of rye or something. Thanks.
posted by prize bull octorok at 12:25 PM on June 11, 2014 [64 favorites]


Good idea, elizardbits. You got a deck of cards? I've got vodka.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:26 PM on June 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


the french revolution was initiated by revolutionaries. then hardcore revolutionaries came along and guillotined them, and then the true zealots came along and guillotined THEM. i will be interested to see whether the true zealots in this bloodless analogue succeed in creating a perfect metafilter.
posted by bruce at 12:26 PM on June 11, 2014 [5 favorites]


can we at least agree that "Every Breath You Take" is far worse than the song TFA was complaining about ?
posted by k5.user at 12:27 PM on June 11, 2014 [6 favorites]


Asparagus: I think the mods were doing the best they can and I don't envy their position.

What I found utterly disappointing about the thread has been addressed by a lot of commentors in that thread and in this one, which I addressed in the actual FPP: dismissing the writer's concerns as somehow being a betrayal to socialism (or whatever), taking attention away from the core issue through derails about tone arguments, basically not listening to women or taking them seriously. As I mentioned before, what I would like is for the Mefi posters to be more aware about how their comments perpetuate misogyny and sexism.
posted by divabat at 12:28 PM on June 11, 2014 [16 favorites]


the french revolution was initiated by revolutionaries. then hardcore revolutionaries came along and guillotined them, and then the true zealots came along and guillotined THEM. i will be interested to see whether the true zealots in this bloodless analogue succeed in creating a perfect metafilter.

If your point is that you think people are too easily offended, say that.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:29 PM on June 11, 2014 [6 favorites]


I'm a zealot for caring about feminist issues?
posted by agregoli at 12:29 PM on June 11, 2014 [6 favorites]


. i will be interested to see whether the true zealots in this bloodless analogue succeed in creating a perfect metafilter.

As no heads are being lopped off, and what is being requested is a voluntary cognizance of behavior that makes conversations about women's issues difficult, and as past examples of this have actually driven women off the thread, I would suggest your analogy is flawed.

can we at least agree that "Every Breath You Take" is far worse than the song TFA was complaining about ?

It was actually written as a critique of stalkery tropes in love songs, and Sting was appalled at how it was received.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 12:29 PM on June 11, 2014 [14 favorites]


Personally, I'm in a bad mood because of Elliot Rodger.... I would appreciate it if people tried to understand that when they're arguing about a particular incident, that incident exists in a bigger context in which women are feeling especially under threat and with good reason.

Men were the main victims of that mass murder, and the murderer's manifesto was about killing men and women. So even your prime example of how women are "especially under threat" isn't a good example.
posted by John Cohen at 12:30 PM on June 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


If you spend this much time explaining why a word is or isn't helpful, it may be a shitty word.

Or maybe people just don't listen and then refuse to offer any viable alternatives as shorthand when asked because they know that's how they can shut down the conversation.

To get back to the point of the OP: We still can't even have threads about rape or sexual harassment or women being fucking murdered for being women without a bunch of people (often the same ones over and over) coming in to nitpick women's lived experiences, find any way they can to denigrate feminists and/or a nebulous "left," or just plain be nasty towards women for saying their piece. It may not be a boyzone, but that bar is so low even Barbados Slim couldn't limbo under it.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:30 PM on June 11, 2014 [40 favorites]


Yeah, I don't think telling people who have passions or causes they care about that they're zealots is a great thing to do. Being blase isn't useful.
posted by boo_radley at 12:30 PM on June 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


Um, no. Let's not get into Elliot Rodger. He hated women, that's why he did what he did, full stop.
posted by agregoli at 12:30 PM on June 11, 2014 [45 favorites]


nakedmolerats, thanks for explaining. Certainly, there were plenty of tone arguments in that thread. But I think there is a legitimate privacy argument to make too, one which is not off-topic or a derail, though you are probably right that it was not generally being made in the thread. (The privacy thing hits a little close to home for me, I am a private person and the idea of being dragged into the national spotlight like that literally makes me sick to my stomach to think about so it was hard for me to avoid picturing myself in the Trader Joe's worker's position when I read the Alternet post.)
posted by enn at 12:31 PM on June 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


the beatles' "run for your life" is much worse than "every breath you take". i was a little offended the first time i heard it, which was before most of you were born.
posted by bruce at 12:31 PM on June 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


John Cohen you owe metafilter 5 more dollars.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 12:32 PM on June 11, 2014 [23 favorites]


there are a lot of worse songs. and?
posted by agregoli at 12:33 PM on June 11, 2014


Jesus Christ, I give up.
posted by naoko at 12:33 PM on June 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


often the same ones over and over

This is such LOL coming from you. You post more nasty comments in gender threads than a dozen of the people you are complaining about do combined.
posted by 0 at 12:33 PM on June 11, 2014 [9 favorites]


Men were the main victims of that mass murder, and the murderer's manifesto was about killing men and women. So even your prime example of how women are "especially under threat" isn't a good example.

yeah he only wrote a hundred-odd pages about how he was going to commit murder because of how frustrated he was that women would not give him access to their bodies as he felt he deserved so yeah he's definitely not a good example of something that should make women nervous and good on you for reminding us that men were the real victims here
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 12:33 PM on June 11, 2014 [99 favorites]


not listening to women or taking them seriously

Honest question - is this still a problem when it's other women saying they have higher priorities than railing against ancient Rolling Stones songs, or is it just when men dismiss it? Treating "women" as though they were saying a single monolithic thing in that thread is a bit misleading.
posted by dialetheia at 12:34 PM on June 11, 2014 [17 favorites]


Men were the main victims of that mass murder, and the murderer's manifesto was about killing men and women. So even your prime example of how women are "especially under threat" isn't a good example.
Women’s issues are often dismissed as a niche concern, but we constitute half of the human population. Once that’s recognized, it’s not hard to see how hating us can inflict significant collateral damage among all people—including the men who are our partners, our relatives, and our colleagues. Misogyny kills men, too. [...]

Men who loved women also incurred Rodger’s wrath. “I will destroy all women,” Rodger wrote. “I will make them all suffer for rejecting me. I will arm myself with deadly weapons and wage a war against all women and the men they are attracted to.” Rodger viewed women as objects, and he resented other men for hoarding what he viewed as his property. “If I can’t have them,” he wrote, “no one will.” [...] Every year, a number of men die at the hands of other men who murder the current partners of their ex-girlfriends or ex-wives. [...]

Elliot Rodger targeted women out of entitlement, their male partners out of jealousy, and unrelated male bystanders out of expedience. This is not ammunition for an argument that he was a misandrist at heart—it’s evidence of the horrific extent of misogyny’s cultural reach.
posted by scody at 12:34 PM on June 11, 2014 [90 favorites]


This is such LOL coming from you.

far more hilarious coming from you tbh
posted by elizardbits at 12:35 PM on June 11, 2014 [16 favorites]




You guys realize you're just name-calling now, right? Maybe everybody take a break for a few minutes?
posted by jbickers at 12:36 PM on June 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


is this still a problem when it's other women saying they have higher priorities than railing against ancient Rolling Stones songs, or is it just when men dismiss it?

Not Problematic: "I have other priorities than this, but fight the good fight, sisters!"

Problematic: "I have other priorities than this, and your priorities should line up with mine or you're part of the problem."

Really, really problematic: "I have other priorities than this, and your priorities should line up with mine or you'll just cause otherwise sympathetic people to turn against you, you monster."
posted by KathrynT at 12:36 PM on June 11, 2014 [57 favorites]


We still can't even have threads about rape or sexual harassment or women being fucking murdered for being women without a bunch of people (often the same ones over and over) coming in to nitpick women's lived experiences, find any way they can to denigrate feminists and/or a nebulous "left," or just plain be nasty towards women for saying their piece.

Honestly, and with zero snark or malice intended, I think this is just a thing that'll have to acknowledged as happening and then kinda ignored. People just don't learn very easily. We could speculate on why and what not, but ultimately they're just a small part of the puzzle. Just address the issues, as Bunny Ultramod did a good job of doing or ignore'em.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:37 PM on June 11, 2014


not listening to women or taking them seriously

Honest question - is this still a problem when it's other women saying they have higher priorities than railing against ancient Rolling Stones songs, or is it just when men dismiss it? Treating "women" as though they were saying a single monolithic thing in that thread is a bit misleading.


I don't think divabat is using "women" as a monolith there. She's saying that actual multiple womans were not being listened to or taken seriously.
posted by Etrigan at 12:37 PM on June 11, 2014 [9 favorites]


Men were the main victims of that mass murder, and the murderer's manifesto was about killing men and women.

DONT. EVEN.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:37 PM on June 11, 2014 [72 favorites]


I mean, is the contention that there is not sexism and misogyny on display in various threads on Metafilter? I suppose it's possible that someone could contend that, but I think it'd be tough. Given that, what's the pushback about?
posted by shakespeherian at 12:37 PM on June 11, 2014 [1 favorite]



Hi there. I think you're talking about me. If you'd like to discuss that exchange, I'd be happy to do so here—or via MeMail, which I've just switched on, since this MeTa seems to be going not awesomely. To respond quickly, I'm sorry that you felt shouted down. I read the first paragraph of your comment as squishing together a bunch of criticisms so as to marginalize and brush them off, and I read the second paragraph as implying there was sexism in the fact those criticisms had even been raised. I disagree pretty strongly with that, but I'd be happy to continue the conversation directly. Maybe you and I misread each other's comments.


I do really appreciate this (and look, we are hopefully having a Productive Discussion!)

I can see how I could have been read as marginalizing the critiques, though I did and do feel that all those attitudes were present in the thread.
I do think there were sexist attitudes in at least some of those criticisms.

My major issue with your comment was not that you disagreed with me but that you said
"So you can brush off all criticism of her tack as sexist or tone-argumenty or whatever else, but you are mistaken."

Maybe it's just a sticking point for me, but these discussions seem to go better when neither side engages in telling the other that they are point-blank wrong. And by flatly saying "you are mistaken" rather than "I think the critiques were more about xyz".... it feels like you are using your perspective as Objectivity and you have the power to determine whose perspective is right and wrong, and that is the same dynamic that often makes women feel like they are being dismissed as just plan Incorrect, rather than having a different opinion.
posted by nakedmolerats at 12:38 PM on June 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


God, if I could just ignore people who get up in my craw I'd have a much happier craw.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 12:38 PM on June 11, 2014 [9 favorites]


okay here's the deal: if you want me to explain why you were doing sexist or misogynist things and send me a memail, and you don't want me to mock you and/or tell you I don't give a shit about whether I hurt your goddamn feelings and then block you, you've gotta use your first message to ask about rates or make me an offer, because I spend a lot of time reading shit about feminism and spent four years of college studying it and asking me to educate you one-on-one for free does not exactly show that you value my goddamn time
posted by NoraReed at 12:38 PM on June 11, 2014 [52 favorites]


Hey, if you can come up with a word explaining the extremely common real-world occurrence of men explaining things to women in a fashion that is either implicitly or explicitly belittling because of gender differences, often used as a tactic to silence or otherwise minimize women's contributions to a conversation, and it doesn't take an entire paragraph like I just did, you're free to do so.

I'm not sure why it's necessary to make that kind of ad hominem argument at all, using any words. When so much of your point is about who is saying something, rather than the content of what they're saying (as is true with a lot of this thread), it tends to be unconvincing. No one is right or wrong because he's a man, and no one is right or wrong because she's a woman. As long as the focus stays on the body of who is speaking rather than the content of what they're saying, people are predictably going to get defensive. (Some may see this as a feature rather than a bug.) Yes, in an ideal world, everyone would be perfectly open-minded about being lectured on how their privilege and relation to past oppressors has tainted their opinions. That may be a valid point in the abstract. But in the real world, the ad hominem approach is usually not that effective.
posted by John Cohen at 12:39 PM on June 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


I don't actually have any pumpkin pie. Or vodka. But I did get motivated and make some pumpkin bread muffins. Theyll be ready in about ten. And I have some beer. And țuică.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:41 PM on June 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


Thank you, scody. I actually said, "For Fuck's Sake" aloud when I read John Cohen's comment.
posted by zarq at 12:41 PM on June 11, 2014 [21 favorites]


What KathrynT and Etrigan said, pretty much.

Brandon Blatcher: I really don't understand this idea of "well this is always going to happen, so just ignore it". Why bother pushing for change at all if all we had to go was "ignore" the status quo?
posted by divabat at 12:41 PM on June 11, 2014 [4 favorites]


is this still a problem when it's other women saying they have higher priorities than railing against ancient Rolling Stones songs

You know what? I have higher priorities than railing against ancient Rolling Stones songs.

Not because I don't think they're awful and sexist and should go away. But because I am enormously, painfully, physically exhausted with all the crap I have to endure as a woman in this world. And I only have so many spoons.

If other ladies have time and spoons enough, more power to them. And dudes, stop assuming if we're not fighting something actively, we support you. We are all of us walking wounded at this point.
posted by corb at 12:42 PM on June 11, 2014 [48 favorites]


As a counterpoint to the speculation upthread that a bunch of "people" (meaning, I suspect, "men") would have commented in that thread, but didn't, because of the risk of being labelled sexist:

Hi! I am a man. I would have commented in that thread, but didn't, because of the risk of actully being sexist. I had a gut-level irritated response to that post which, when I attempted to put it into words, turned out in every variation to be one of the items on my own list.

A little bit of introspection was enough to convince me that if the things I wanted to say were so closely correlated to standard sexist reflexive responses, that was was probably because the emotions underlying them were rooted in unexamined sexism. "Hey!" I wanted to say,"I LIKE the Rolling Stones. And I Am Not Sexist! Therefore that song cannot be sexist!"

So, that momemnt of self-examination was enough to demonstrate that I didn't have anything useful to add to the discussion. But that doesn't mean I was "silenced" in any meaningful sense. It just means that my own feelings on a subject aren't necessarily worth putting in front of a community of several thousand people, most of whom I respect quite a bit, and many of whom have bigger concerns than my bruised privilege to deal with.
posted by Ipsifendus at 12:43 PM on June 11, 2014 [226 favorites]


scody is giving some realness about how misogyny hurts men too, yall.

And I might also venture that our culture encourages this kind of shouty, dismissive, what-about-x-though situation as a tool of all kind of oppressions, not just misogyny. If we spend all our time flaming, fighting, and refusing to see other perspectives, the status quo continues, and it is a shitty status quo. So yes, I am publicly willing to say that the original blog post that generated this Metatalk had some elements of shitty clickbaity journalism to it. BUT, there were a lot of gendered insults and critiques of her in the original FPP that a lot of people picked up on too, and even a shitty clickbait writer doesn't deserve that, and it would be nice if we could analyze both those things.
posted by nakedmolerats at 12:43 PM on June 11, 2014 [6 favorites]


Ipsifendus, that was stupendous.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:46 PM on June 11, 2014 [7 favorites]


But in the real world, the ad hominem approach is usually not that effective.

There are some major assumptions here. A list:
1. The Internet is not the real world.
2. Convincing people is the only goal.
3. Convincing people is the highest goal.
4. Any given statement is done to convince.
5. If a statement does not convince me, it will not convince anyone.
6. I am a person capable of being convinced.
7. I am a person worth convincing.

There are undoubtedly others.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:47 PM on June 11, 2014 [27 favorites]


So, that momemnt of self-examination was enough to demonstrate that I didn't have anything useful to add to the discussion.

I wonder then, if there would have been a discussion at all. What is the point of posting something like this on MetaFilter? To expect that everyone will somehow agree?

As I pointed out in the thread, the Stones and middle-class Boomer youth culture in the 60's was meant to be controversial. Now that they're just another billion-dollar corporate machine we tend to forget that, and just treat them like the background noise they always were.

Of course, other people may have different opinions than I do on the subject, which is why we create a post on a great site like MetaFilter. I don't understand why we always have to pretend we're all liberal arts majors publishing the Columbia student newspaper or something and agree, using the same progressive vocabulary of "privilege" this and "oppression" that.

I certainly mastered the lingo 25 years ago, though.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:52 PM on June 11, 2014 [11 favorites]


The word "mansplaining" is just a word some people parrot to shut other people up; anyone should ignore it and continue contributing.
posted by michaelh at 12:52 PM on June 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


Thank you, sir.
posted by Etrigan at 12:53 PM on June 11, 2014 [6 favorites]


Gentlesir, please.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:54 PM on June 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


We have literally been begged to drop the mansplaining derail.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:54 PM on June 11, 2014 [14 favorites]


I wonder then, if there would have been a discussion at all.

I don't understand. If people refrain from discussions because they recognize that they won't add anything useful, then... there won't be any discussions? There are lots of discussions I refrain from entering because I have nothing useful to add, and yet threads about Star Trek and barbecuing and giving birth and running marathons continue without me.
posted by scody at 12:54 PM on June 11, 2014 [24 favorites]


Well, no, that's incorrect. I have never used the word "mansplaining" to get anyone to shut up, but thanks for the invalid assumption.
posted by agregoli at 12:54 PM on June 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


cortex, exasperated, asked us to stop the derail.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 12:54 PM on June 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


I don't understand why we always have to pretend we're all liberal arts majors publishing the Columbia student newspaper or something and agree, using the same progressive vocabulary of "privilege" this and "oppression" that.

I use it because it clearly and directly describes the subject I am discussing. But kudos to you for somehow having grown out of the ideas they represent.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 12:55 PM on June 11, 2014 [10 favorites]


cortex, exasperated is the new girl, interrupted
posted by elizardbits at 12:55 PM on June 11, 2014 [43 favorites]


So it's cortex using 'mansplain' to shut people up!

CONSPIRACY
posted by shakespeherian at 12:56 PM on June 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


I wonder then, if there would have been a discussion at all. What is the point of posting something like this on MetaFilter? To expect that everyone will somehow agree?

No its to discuss the issue! Cribcage was someone who I disagreed with but at least I could do so knowing they were engaging in good faith and they weren't just parroting stupid sexist old tired boring arguments.

using the same progressive vocabulary of "privilege" this and "oppression" that.

*rolls eyes, they fall out*
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 12:56 PM on June 11, 2014 [6 favorites]


cortex, exasperated is the new girl, interrupted

...or the Best Downfall Video Ever
posted by scody at 12:57 PM on June 11, 2014 [6 favorites]


I don't understand why we always have to pretend we're all liberal arts majors publishing the Columbia student newspaper or something and agree, using the same progressive vocabulary of "privilege" this and "oppression" that.

ha ha right of course because OF COURSE only childish tedious college freshmen (nice snipe at libarts too btw) would care about things like this, wow what a useful contribution to this discussion you have provided, well done indeed
posted by elizardbits at 12:57 PM on June 11, 2014 [56 favorites]


Is someone going to have to be forced to condescendingly explain that we're done talking about mansplaining?

Because when I tried to draw a diagram of how that would work, I had to use a moebius strip.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:57 PM on June 11, 2014 [10 favorites]


cortex, exasperated, at Tanagra
posted by Greg Nog at 12:59 PM on June 11, 2014 [74 favorites]


Don't forget rich new york ivy league tedious college freshmen.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 12:59 PM on June 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


I knee-jerked in that thread and felt shitty about it. Not something I've never done, and I do have kind of admittedly radical views on art and what art is and interpretation and whatever, and to be fair I was cranky yesterday for unrelated reasons, but I've been trying to think about why the blog sort of brought out a bad reaction in me, because I think it's the same reason that made the thread go so, so poorly.

And I don't know - the post managed to sort of touch on so. many. tedious and hot-button issues - art, censorship, misogyny, retail, class, history, TJs, and it was a really easy post to have a grar reaction to. I think there's a good argument that it was a pretty not great post to begin with. It was like a jumble of all the things that tend to get people riled up, but not super obviously so. It was all kind of embedded in this one weird slice of life at a TJs and pulling it apart turned into a huge mess.

I think part of the issue honestly is that if there is one thing I've learned here is that you can have a pretty dissenting opinion about something, but if you put it forward in a reasonable way people are generally amenable to being respectful and considering your opinion and such. And I don't think we in the thread nor the author of the blog post did a great job of that all around. I'm not really sure there was a great way for that thread to go. I regret commenting in it.
posted by Lutoslawski at 12:59 PM on June 11, 2014 [19 favorites]


I've noticed this phenomenon lately with infuriating sexist crap increasing on the site. I thought that it was people who hadn't been here very long who were coming out of the woodwork with offensive sexist derails, but when you look at the user numbers a lot of them are people who had accounts for eons but hadn't posted.

I don't know what that says, but it is pretty irritating.
posted by winna at 1:00 PM on June 11, 2014 [15 favorites]


I don't see how this problem is solvable, really. There are always going to be men saying I disagree with you that am shaming/silencing/dismissing any particular woman's voice. These threads on Metafilter are encouraging that they happen at all, as the interent is a cesspool of opinions that run roughshod over anyone trying to patiently explain societal truths. I appreciate the women here for being as patient as they are, honestly. The word exhausting doesn't even cover it, but at least there's a place here for it, and mods who care.
posted by agregoli at 1:01 PM on June 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


I would say that it was modsplained to us, but that would mean cortex could tune it out because it would mean he's been just as silenced all his life, obvs.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:01 PM on June 11, 2014


I don't understand why we always have to pretend we're all liberal arts majors publishing the Columbia student newspaper or something and agree, using the same progressive vocabulary of "privilege" this and "oppression" that.

This is the best George Will parody I've ever read.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 1:01 PM on June 11, 2014 [58 favorites]


when you look at the user numbers a lot of them are people who had accounts for eons but hadn't posted.

The douchebeacons of Mefi are lit! The MRAs call for aid!
posted by elizardbits at 1:01 PM on June 11, 2014 [50 favorites]


I am an atheist for the most part, but I will pray for this thread.
posted by Drinky Die at 1:03 PM on June 11, 2014 [6 favorites]


exaspersplained
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 1:03 PM on June 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


Is there a feminist Jay Smooth on the net? Given how often that video gets posted here, it seems really peculiar that people seem to completely ignore his point when it comes to gender issues.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:04 PM on June 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


I wonder then, if there would have been a discussion at all. What is the point of posting something like this on MetaFilter? To expect that everyone will somehow agree?

Believe, I am not so deluded as to believe that my opinions or thoughts or feelings are universal. Still less do I believe that, absent my contributions, discussions at metafilter will somehow fail to occur. Honestly, that concept seems ludicrous enough that it can't be what you meant to be asking about, but I'm not seeing any other way to interpret the question.

I don't understand why we always have to pretend we're all liberal arts majors publishing the Columbia student newspaper or something and agree, using the same progressive vocabulary of "privilege" this and "oppression" that.

I am not "pretending" anything, and I don't imagine most people are. Perhaps your resistance to the idea that we should collectively exercise greater care in how we express ourselves here has something to do with the faulty assumption that that care amounts to "pretending"

I certainly mastered the lingo 25 years ago, though.

How about the concerns that gave rise to that lingo?
posted by Ipsifendus at 1:05 PM on June 11, 2014 [21 favorites]


Whoo, i love the comment Ipsifendus linked to.

Philosophy students basically play Logical Fallacy Bingo and get really good at learning how to say what they want to say, without accidentally stepping in a Fallacy Trap and losing the conversation.

I wonder if there's a place for using Sexism Bingo (e.g. studying derail techniques, identifying them in the wild, and learning how best to avoid employing them oneself) or Derail Bingo to help people say what they want to say without falling into a Sexism Trap and losing the conversation.

(this comment is 50% joking (no such thing as winning a conversation after all) and 50% serious (if anyone's interested memail me))
posted by rebent at 1:06 PM on June 11, 2014 [5 favorites]


Sorry, skimming a bit on mobile and didn't realize the gman/derail mod comment had broader implications.
posted by michaelh at 1:07 PM on June 11, 2014


Maybe it's just a sticking point for me, but these discussions seem to go better when neither side engages in telling the other that they are point-blank wrong.

That's not unfair. I think you're right.

When I write comments, I'm ambivalent about this. On one hand, I feel like "IMO" goes without saying for almost every comment that's posted. I tend to dislike including it. It's like having a conversation about rules and feeling compelled to constantly state, "But of course, there are exceptions." Usually I feel like it elevates the conversation to leave unstated what everyone implicitly understands.

On the other hand, I'm aware of the smoothing effect certain language can have. Eg, "It will rain tomorrow," versus "I think I heard rain is likely tomorrow." Sometimes I do deliberately insert that language. I know the room can be fighty and snarky, and if that extra effort can mitigate the possibility that my comment will be read as fighty without diluting my point, I'll try to throw it in.

and look, we are hopefully having a Productive Discussion!

I hope so, too. And even if disagree on the particulars of that or another thread, I hope we'll both walk away having disagreed in a friendly way, ready to agree heartily in the next thread about poetry or the history of ketchup or casting Ben Affleck as Batman.
posted by cribcage at 1:08 PM on June 11, 2014 [4 favorites]


...I had to use a moebius strip.

Won't somebody please think of the platonic solids!
posted by Pudhoho at 1:08 PM on June 11, 2014


Is there a feminist Jay Smooth on the net?

yeah there is he's called Jay Smooth
posted by NoraReed at 1:08 PM on June 11, 2014 [29 favorites]


I would say that it was modsplained to us

In the MeTa there's a thousand things I wanna say to you

posted by scody at 1:09 PM on June 11, 2014 [4 favorites]


The douchebeacons of Mefi are lit! The MRAs call for aid!

Sons of Metafilter! Sons of Reddit! My brothers! I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me! A day may come when the courage of dudes fails, when we forsake our bros and break all bonds of fellowship. But it is not this day! An hour of Tumblrs and tyrannical SJWs when the age of bros comes crashing down, but it is not this day! This day we fight! By all that you hold dear on this earth I bid you stand, men of MeFi!
posted by zombieflanders at 1:12 PM on June 11, 2014 [12 favorites]


As a mod, I'm most interested in what and why and how that thread turned into such a shitstorm, like on a ten miles up sort of level. Like from a level so high we could separate some of the visceral knee-jerk reactions and the following reactions to reactions.

It's obviously a strong combo of issues, but I think at the core it's an op-ed about a microaggression, and a lot of people debated aspects of those two vectors. Was the op-ed strong enough or too strong? Was the microaggression something worth fighting to change or was it too "micro" to spend energy fighting?

Throw gender, wealth, and power dynamics into the mix and we had a powder keg.

Does that sound about right if read in a detached-from-the-biggest-obvious-issues sort of way? I'm trying to figure out how to predict/re-rail these kinds of things, what we could do as mods to prevent them from spiraling, but this one is super tough.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 1:12 PM on June 11, 2014 [26 favorites]


replace the horn of gondor with the cowbell of misandry, etc etc
posted by NoraReed at 1:13 PM on June 11, 2014 [9 favorites]


Matt, it was also the headline of the op-ed, which was very clickbaity, did not represent the actual text of the op-ed, and was, frankly, really unfair to Trader Joe's.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 1:16 PM on June 11, 2014 [9 favorites]


I'm trying to figure out how to predict/re-rail these kinds of things,

I know the thread got one flag.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:16 PM on June 11, 2014


I don't really know how we're supposed to act anymore. I thought the original claim, that "Under My Thumb" is sexist, wasn't terribly convincing but okay, it's worth debating. I also thought the author of that piece acted like an asshole about it, both in the store and by publishing the piece. But the thread turned into full-on "if you attack THIS woman you are attacking ALL women" so I left before I could be accused of being an MRA apologist.
posted by 2bucksplus at 1:17 PM on June 11, 2014 [30 favorites]


Microaggressions are still OBNOXIOUS. And though you personally may think there are bigger problems in the world, solving the small ones can help solve the big ones.
posted by ChuraChura


[+] ALL the favourites

I think the thing that annoyed me most were comments that were saying, essentially, this is no big deal and you should just toughen up or you'll never make it in the Real World. And that the best way to affect change in terms of sexism was to become a CEO or judge (imsorrywhatnow?) But not the comments themselves - everyone's entitled to their opinion. Rather the response when women pointed out that it isn't so easy to brush off when you're surrounded by it all the time, and anyway why should we have to. If you don't want to be labelled sexist, you could say "ok then, maybe I'm wrong, just my opinion." If you do want to be labelled patronising or sexist or whatever, go right ahead with: No YOU are wrong and I am too right and I know women who would agree with me and everything and I'm going to repeat myself over and over again.

I'd like this MeTa to have the effect of some people thinking that maybe they should just listen a little more, that's all. Maybe if even one person gets to thinking just slightly differently about how they feel when they're called out for sexism and realises it's not about them, it's about their behaviour - which is totally within their power to change - then it hasn't been a waste of time. Either way, thanks for trying divabat.
posted by billiebee at 1:17 PM on June 11, 2014 [22 favorites]


Does that sound about right if read in a detached-from-the-biggest-obvious-issues sort of way? I'm trying to figure out how to predict/re-rail these kinds of things, what we could do as mods to prevent them from spiraling, but this one is super tough.

I think it's the same sort of thing that's led to a lot of "Trans 101" type MeTa posts and links in FPPs. A lot of the routine objectionable stuff on those topics seems to have been tamped down, and a lot of the issues on this FPP (and this MeTa) are straight out of Feminism and Microaggression 101.
posted by Etrigan at 1:17 PM on June 11, 2014 [6 favorites]


Does that sound about right if read in a detached-from-the-biggest-obvious-issues sort of way?

Yes, but I would also add that the fact that it was about sexism in popular culture -- especially a band as embedded in the cultural experience and therefore many people's personal lives as the Rolling Stones -- also triggered a whole 'nother set of reactions. The first is around the song itself (is it sexist or not? Does liking a sexist song mean you like sexism?); the second is around the idea of critiquing culture (is criticizing culture the same thing as censorship?).
posted by scody at 1:18 PM on June 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


Matt, it was also the headline of the op-ed, which was very clickbaity,

I repeatedly refrained from saying that the author was not responsible for the headline, because those are usually authored by a copy editor or whoever edited the piece, but she's an editor so I just don't know. I think it is useful to approach these things like they sometimes do sports events, where they throw out the highest and lowest score. Maybe approach an FPP by throwing out the thing that most irritates you but also the thing that you most agree with?
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 1:19 PM on June 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


I think long term the best way out of situations like that is for more people to make posts that are so much better, and not comment on the bad posts' threads, so that more members will feel like lower quality stuff isn't appropriate or worthwhile for MeFi.

I realize that's not exactly an actionable fix by the mods, but it is something many members of the community can help with and doesn't create more work.
posted by michaelh at 1:21 PM on June 11, 2014 [4 favorites]


I think the viral/clickability strength of the headline is part of the general "op-ed was too strong/not strong enough" dynamic.

Anyway, it got barely any flags, very slowly, which is also a head-scratcher. I think people had such a visceral reaction to any single aspect of it that they commented disapproval instead of flagging?
posted by mathowie (staff) at 1:21 PM on June 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


mathowie: "I'm trying to figure out how to predict/re-rail these kinds of things, what we could do as mods to prevent them from spiraling, but this one is super tough."

Smacking people's heads together could work.

There were a lot of defense mechanisms in play in that thread. Sarcasm. Dismissiveness. Assumptions of all stripes. Anger. Outrage. Annoyance. Humor. A variety of comments defending or denying people's privilege. It snowballed quite quickly.

You won't be able to interrupt those defense mechanisms effectively. You may be able to help people see eye to eye though. Or grudgingly accept each other's right to be Wrong.

I suspect one of the reasons MetaTalk is better at helping people to resolve their disagreements is the mods are more actively involved in discussions, and people are willing to speak their minds without too much derision. (Of course, that last bit's relative.)
posted by zarq at 1:24 PM on June 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


In retrospect, I should have flagged it.
posted by agregoli at 1:24 PM on June 11, 2014 [7 favorites]


On the mod end, there were a whole lot of snippy, dismissive, "this is just bullshit" drive-by comments at the very start, and those can really set the tone for the entire discussion. If you think it's a shitty article, flag it. There are a ton of threads about stuff I think is nonsense, but I don't pop in immediately just to let everyone know how ridiculous I find it.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 1:24 PM on June 11, 2014 [14 favorites]


I think at the core it's an op-ed about a microaggression

That's interesting, because as I read the article, I thought it was about what is acceptable in a song lyric today versus 50 years ago. But I work in the music business, so of course that's the lens I'm going to look at it from on first read. I think this was a uniquely flammable article that everybody naturally brings their own baggage to.
posted by jbickers at 1:24 PM on June 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


I think people had such a visceral reaction to any single aspect of it that they commented disapproval instead of flagging?

I feel like that's a thing that happens sometimes, yeah. It's easy to get swept into having your say about something problematic and thus get distracted from the more direct route of just signaling "this isn't such a great idea" with a flag.

Which, it's a very human thing, I get it and I've done it, but, oof, I'm still a little mystified how the original post ended up with so few flags and so many embroiled arguments about among other things the quality of the content in the barely-flagged post.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:25 PM on June 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


They might also have been a little more optimistic about the way the thread could have gone in - a discussion about what gets played in overhead speakers, how much control do people really have over those playlists, how background noise can still be damaging.

The post in and of itself didn't seem like it would be danger bait at first (and I say this as someone who has made posts that were immediately deleted not because the links themselves were suspect but because they could have led to contentious threads), which may have explained the lack of flagging.
posted by divabat at 1:26 PM on June 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


Brandon Blatcher: I really don't understand this idea of "well this is always going to happen, so just ignore it". Why bother pushing for change at all if all we had to go was "ignore" the status quo?

Well, specifically I said this "Just address the issues, as Bunny Ultramod did a good job of doing or ignore'em."

Basically, people are always going to be assholes or something that irritates. This is known, especially in the comments on a website. Sure, Metafilter may be better at this, but there's still plenty of ignorance that occurs on the site. It is known. So when I suggest ignore it, consider "Does answering this comment really fix anything? What about this other comment in the thread? Or another?" Where can yo do the most good for your cause and do you have realistic goals.?I personally don't think "never having to explain this again" is realistic, but that's my point of view.

Ignore the little stuff, concentrate on the big stuff and don't let the bastards grind you down.

I'm trying to figure out how to predict/re-rail these kinds of things, what we could do as mods to prevent them from spiraling, but this one is super tough.

The original post was pretty terrible, imo, because it's either agree with Op-ed or don't, with little grey on s sensitive subject. To me, it's flip of the coin on how those threads will go. Either it's going to be sharing thread, where the majority share and talk about their experience or people are going to get combative about it.

Ultimately, it's women trying to communicate some of their viewpoints to larger audience that is often being introduced to it for the first time or might just being a bad day. There will be friction there for some time.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:28 PM on June 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


I opened the FPP when it had only one or two responses. I just went 'ugh' and moved on without flagging.
posted by Pudhoho at 1:29 PM on June 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


Ignore the little stuff, concentrate on the big stuff and don't let the bastards grind you down.

Enough little stuff grinds anything down, even rocks.
posted by winna at 1:29 PM on June 11, 2014 [45 favorites]


I didn't flag it because I didn't blame people's behavior in the comments on the quality of the article. It wasn't the article's fault.
posted by zarq at 1:31 PM on June 11, 2014 [5 favorites]


Does that sound about right if read in a detached-from-the-biggest-obvious-issues sort of way? I'm trying to figure out how to predict/re-rail these kinds of things, what we could do as mods to prevent them from spiraling, but this one is super tough.

Yeah, you have it about right, from where I sit. The only addition I'd make is that there is also the unfortunate tendency of human beings to sometimes continue to be angry based on their initial impression, even after the facts of the matter have shown that impression to be inaccurate. People in the thread were railing against what they imagined the author to be saying, in some cases.

Like, if you picture the thread as a group of conversation strands, there are a lot of them and they're all happening simultaneously. There's a bit of crosstalk here and there but a lot of the sprawl of the thread happened because the post just managed to exist at the center of a tangle of hot-button issues.

As far as what to do about them: This is probably one of the many reasons I'm not a moderator, but I don't see threads like that as being especially avoidable. They're like weather - they just happen. Sometimes there's a shit-fight and sometimes there isn't.

If anything, I'd think this is also a product of its time. We're in the early going post-Elliott Rodger and people are pretty on edge, on both sides of things. Sometimes, whether a fight starts is a function of how likely a person is to see a fight where one may or may not have been intended to be. It may not have happened if it had been made before the spree or if it had been made a little while from now when (if) the conversational temperature returns to the normal low simmer.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 1:34 PM on June 11, 2014


I know part of the Metafilter ethos is "There aren't a lot of hard and fast rules", but I'm almost starting to think there may be a need for an official call from the refs regarding the appropriate way to engage with an FPP.

One of the key divides I see here, which comes up frequently in threads about touchy subjects, is whether or not comments should focus on the actual specific content of the links in the FPP or if comments should instead try to limit themselves to discussing the "larger issue" an FPP brings up instead of getting hung up on details.

In this case, the content of the FPP was the anecdotal, first-person account of a woman who heard a song with misogynistic lyrics being played as background music during a visit to the grocery store and the story of what she experienced when trying to make a complaint with the store about the incident.

From a certain viewpoint, it comes off as really strange and unfair to see people get heavily criticized, shamed and have unsavory labels thrust at them for simply having the audacity to comment on the content of the text in an FPP link. As one example, if the author of the subject article herself brings up the tactics she used to get her complaint heard by the appropriate, responsible people at TJ's, should it not therefore be fair game to discuss the potential efficacy of those tactics in the comments?

But I can see, if you come to Metafilter with the view that we should be discussing not the specific (arguably minor) details surrounding an FPP but instead having a more noble, high-level discussion about the larger societal issues an FPP brings up (in this case, the pervasiveness of casual, everyday misogyny and the difficulty of effecting change in this area), having people get hung up on things like whether or not the manager should have been outed by name in her article, whether she should have waited out the weekend before writing this piece, etc., could come off as distracting from the main, more important point.

My understanding is that either method of commenting is currently allowed, but perhaps some of the strong reaction and fightiness would indicate this needs revisiting so people have a better idea of what is acceptable and what is not?
posted by The Gooch at 1:35 PM on June 11, 2014 [16 favorites]


I didn't participate in the thread, despite the topic being interesting and, as divabat said, having several facets entirely worthy of discussion. I didn't participate because I predicted, rightly or wrongly, that I would likely have vitriol directed at me for not being feminist enough and that, if I responded by trying to defend my point, I would then be accused of trying to make the discussion about me.

That just didn't seem like a great use of my time.

I didn't flag the post mostly because flagging a post about a woman's experience of sexism for deletion seems kinda... anti-feminist.
posted by 256 at 1:36 PM on June 11, 2014 [9 favorites]


Kind of like how every single FPP about drugs turns into "Drugs are not bad and should all be legal and you are a bad person if you disagree with that."
posted by Melismata at 1:37 PM on June 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


Yep, like zarq, I didn't find the article that bad but flagged the hell out of the comments.

I think it's kind of unfair that a 'light' post on microaggression is responded to by 'flag it and move on' so it can be removed but a 'light' post on a new music video would get to stay. I mean the problem isn't 'light' posts - it's that people are being jerks (so. much. jerkiness).

I don't know if I'm being clear here. I'd just be really really disappointed if all of sudden certain topics have to put into perfectly crafted, excellently argued posts because some people can't help give their 2 cents.
posted by hydrobatidae at 1:38 PM on June 11, 2014 [9 favorites]


I'm still a little mystified how the original post ended up with so few flags and so many embroiled arguments

Is it just me wondering if it's some kind of unconscious reaction to all the peace and love and warm fuzzies* that has been a result of the State of MetaFilter crisis? Personally I made a couple of sarky comments in the thread where I normally try not to. I'm not proud but it kind of felt a bit like...something to get my teeth into? (And also I meant them, but anyway.) Maybe we were scared that we broke the place.

"I love you guys!"
"I love you more!"
"Shit. Have we lost our edge?"
"You suck!"
"No YOU suck!"
"Oh thank fuck."


*I still love the warm fuzzies
posted by billiebee at 1:39 PM on June 11, 2014 [6 favorites]


It wasn't the article's fault.

I disagree. This fight escalated because some people thought they were talking about this particular situation at face value, and other people thought they were talking about microaggressions as a broader thing of which they see this as yet one more example. People weren't having the same argument and they ended up talking way past each other because the framing was so narrow - is this individual case an outrage, or is it an outrage that women are exposed to crap like this so constantly that it becomes background? Obviously the latter makes a better discussion, but the post as framed was really more the former case. I don't blame people for responding to the stated content of her piece instead of the broader issue which was not really included in the FPP.
posted by dialetheia at 1:40 PM on June 11, 2014 [37 favorites]


FAMOUS MONSTER: " As far as what to do about them: This is probably one of the many reasons I'm not a moderator, but I don't see threads like that as being especially avoidable. They're like weather - they just happen. Sometimes there's a shit-fight and sometimes there isn't."

I'd be curious to see if a mod comment briefly summarizing debunked points in a fast-moving thread would help calm things down. Even people who skim threads might pay close attention to a smalltext comment since they stand out. One's eye picks up on them.

For example:

[Here are the known knowns:
* Point 1
* Point 2
No need to repeat what's already been said, folks.]

posted by zarq at 1:41 PM on June 11, 2014


mods don't have time for that, though. We should all be reading the thread before commenting.
posted by agregoli at 1:45 PM on June 11, 2014 [6 favorites]


zarq, I've left something like a mid-thread "[no, really, it's been established that x, please stop going nuts about not-x]" comment every great once in a while on the blue but it's not something that I think is likely to scale well, for a couple reasons:

1. It's often not 100% crystal clear what the deal is in a situation, and mods jumping into assert that a probably should be treated as a definitely could be super touchy.

2. We will not always have the time and ability to be sure of the specifics of a situation even if in theory or in practice those specifics are knowable. Especially in a fast-moving thread (or two or three), most of our time is going to go to trying to just keep pace with flags and such rather than corralling known knowns.

So I think the principle is fine but as a proposition for something to become regular practice it's a big ask and not all that realistic.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:45 PM on June 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


And yet within a few minutes, I was shouted down by someone who literally informed me that my interpretation, my opinion, was WRONG. Objectively wrong. And maybe I worded it poorly, or maybe it was taken as a directive rather than a question???

The first person who shouted you down is pretty much openly an MRA so no worries on your end.
posted by elizardbits at 1:47 PM on June 11, 2014 [18 favorites]


dialetheia, those are good points. Will have to think about them.
posted by zarq at 1:51 PM on June 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


yeah pretty much if TFB tries to shout you down in a feminism thread that means you're doing something right
posted by NoraReed at 1:52 PM on June 11, 2014 [24 favorites]


cortex: " So I think the principle is fine but as a proposition for something to become regular practice it's a big ask and not all that realistic."

*nod* I'm definitely not trying to frame this as a strong suggestion or an actual request that y'all do it. I don't think it would be practical. Am just sort of wondering aloud.
posted by zarq at 1:53 PM on June 11, 2014


I think this was really important, and was lost in the thread, and so I am copying it:

"A crude but often revealing method of assessing male bias in lyrics is to take a song written by a man about a woman and reverse the sexes. By this test, a diatribe like "Under My Thumb" is not nearly so sexist in its implications as, for example, Cat Stevens's gentle, sympathetic "Wild World"; Jagger's fantasy of sweet revenge could easily be female—in fact, it has a female counterpart, Nancy Sinatra's "Boots"—but it's hard to imagine a woman sadly warning her ex-lover that he's too innocent for the big bad world out there." (Willis 2011:136)
posted by kbanas at 2:00 PM on June 11, 2014 [6 favorites]


elizardbits: "The douchebeacons of Mefi are lit! The MRAs call for aid!"

sound the horn of goondor
posted by boo_radley at 2:03 PM on June 11, 2014 [8 favorites]


it has already been established as a cowbell, boo_radley

though I had someone also suggest an eigenharp

posted by NoraReed at 2:05 PM on June 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


I thought the post itself was kind of meh and was a little irritated that she looped in Eliot Rodgers into the discussion like "in this post Rodgers society" as though THAT was some sort of seismic event in the abuse toward women narrative, which it isn't really was sort of annoying (granted, it's tragic and horrifying and a classic example of how some men's feeling of entitlement toward attention/sex from women can incite abuse and violence).

Reading the discussion though, I was interested in the conversation around how pervasive misogyny is, even in the music you hear at the store -and didn't think "no one listens to the background music anyway so who cares" is really a viable excuse.

This fight escalated because some people thought they were talking about this particular situation at face value, and other people thought they were talking about microaggressions as a broader thing of which they see this as yet one more example. People weren't having the same argument and they ended up talking way past each other because the framing was so narrow - is this individual case an outrage, or is it an outrage that women are exposed to crap like this so constantly that it becomes background?


I can really see how this is true, and it's a common frustration of mine - it's like a game of telephone sometimes where people will cut and paste part of the OP or someone else's comment while either willfully or mistakenly missing the person's larger point, and everyone ends up on a side discussion even if they largely agree.

I don't know, though, I understand how people can be irritated at the way the post was written and framed and the whole print-out-lyrics-and-take-them-to-the-guy approach, but still, if you really dig your heels in to discuss that instead of the larger issue of what's going on with pervasive misogyny basically everywhere, I don't think you should be that surprised that people will have some issues with it on Metafilter. I mean as much as "people are going to be assholes" or whatever and we can't ever have a sexism free safe space on Metafilter (which is cool with me actually) , we're also not going to have a space where no one's ever called out for sexism or misogyny.

If someone says you're being misogynist or sexist, who cares? I don't see why it starts these huge huffy derails about "but my wife says I'm a feminist" or whatever.
posted by sweetkid at 2:06 PM on June 11, 2014 [15 favorites]


That thread is a shitshow. Metafilter at its worst. If I had a bingo card for Lewis' law, I could have filled almost every space. And it's a potentially interesting topic, too, precisely because there are a lot of different facets to talk about--but the most important thing turned out to be a bunch of people, many of whom qualify as The Usual Suspects in feminism-related threads, had to make it all about them as usual.

can we at least agree that "Every Breath You Take" is far worse than the song TFA was complaining about ?

Jumping back to an old point in the thread: I'm pretty sure Sting said it was a satire on every creepy romantic song he'd heard at the time they put it out and he's creeped out by people using it in their weddings.
posted by immlass at 2:08 PM on June 11, 2014 [9 favorites]


Metafilter has become--with respect to certain social and political issues--Tumblr for grownups.

Honestly, I see more irrationality/unreasonability on this site than any other site I follow closely and/or comment on, and it always comes from the left. (I'm mostly a liberal, though a largely-centrist-y liberal, incidentally. It would be very difficult to paint me as a conservative (though several here have tried...)).

Disagree with someone over someone else getting extremely bent out of shape about playing the Rolling Stones...at...and I am not making this up...Trader Joes? Then you are a misogynist, jack.

Consider, if you will:

...
But this is often women speaking to women, and men remain outside of the discussion, or are unaware of it, or ignore it, all of which is a mark of privilege -- they don't participate in these things because they don't experience what is being discussed, and so can ignore or dismiss it.

As a result, we end up with one group of people who are tremendously savvy to how privilege tries to ignore or silence the discussion, and another group of people unthinkingly engaging in those very silencing tactics, but thinking they are engaged in good-faith discussions. They think the most important thing to discuss is tactics, and their ideas for what tactics work best, never mind that they are men and haven't tried anything that they are talking about. They tone police the complainer, and think they're being helpful. But every single time, they are moving the discussion away from the subject of misogyny. Or worse, they just decide the subject is beneath discussion, leap in early, and make a few shitty jokes at the expense of the discussion.


Yeah, you know what? I know as much about this stuff as the people who tend to lecture me about it around here, and, to be perfectly honest, I seem to have thought much more deeply about it. But disagree with those people here, and the only question is "why are you so confused?" The possibility that you might be right--or even have a right to an opinion at all--is simply not considered. Rational disagreement is "mansplaining" or WTF ever cute, unserious terminological abomination is being deployed this week to allow the lefty-left to convince itself that it is always right about everything, and that disagreement with their orthodoxy is simply evidence of counter-revolutionary attitudes.

I think that there are interesting questions in this vicinity, and, actually, that the "Under My Thumb" question was one of them. A little bit, anyway.

But I don't go to MeFi for serious discussions of such things.

What you find here is a rather nasty, very dogmatic echo chamber--and one in which people are commonly accused of bigotry for failing to be enthusiastically and unthinkingly nutty.

Actually, I find that looking in on these threads actually pushes me to the right. So I just come around here less, and try to get myself to stay away from the social/political threads. (As you can see, I failed this time...)

Wanna have a cool discussion with people about H. P. Lovecraft, or find something interesting about trains or BtVS, or whatever? MeFi's a good place. Wanna have a rational, dispassionate, at least minimally objective discussion about social and political issues? I advise you to go elsewhere, my friend... Because around here you are going to find things like actual apparent grownups mouthing mindless, faddish nonsense like "check your privilege," and people shrieking "OMG HE SAID 'NOT ALL MEN'!!!111" if you correct some outlandishly false universal generalization about males.

Hell, I don't even always disagree with the local left-lefty orthodoxy. But I almost always disagree with the way the orthodoxy is defended. And, to my mind, the character of the reasoning that leads to a conclusion is at least as important as the conclusion itself. (But, of course, questioning dogmatic, fundamentalist fervor will be re-interpreted as "tone-policing" or some similar nonsense...)

I could go on...but why bother? As I've said in the past: no sense getting all bent out of shape about this. MeFi simply isn't a place for free and open discussion of certain issues. With respect to those issues, there is a local orthodoxy, and that orthodoxy is no more up for discussion here than it is at, say, FreeRepublic. If you are looking for that other thing, then go some other place. There are a very large number of places where people really are interested in thinking through such issues, without pre-ordained conclusion, and without attempting to badger or shame people into agreement.

In summary:
MeFi: Tumblr for grownups
posted by Fists O'Fury at 2:09 PM on June 11, 2014 [28 favorites]


If someone says you're being misogynist or sexist, who cares? I don't see why it starts these huge huffy derails about "but my wife says I'm a feminist" or whatever.

It's funny, because if someone catcalls (general) you on the street, or sends you an anonymous rape threat in email because you wrote about sexism, you are often advised to just ignore it, it's just trolls, it's just whatever and why are you making such a fuss. But if someone is called sexist or racist? Well, that's clearly a national tragedy and everyone should stop and listen to why that's wrong and what should be done about it.
posted by rtha at 2:11 PM on June 11, 2014 [87 favorites]


I'm pretty sure Sting said it was a satire on every creepy romantic song he'd heard at the time they put it out and he's creeped out by people using it in their weddings.

Sting copped to it being about trying to control his ex-wife here: "Once I'd written and performed it, I realized it was quite dark. My intention might have been to write a romantic song, seductive, enveloping and warm. Then I saw another side of my personality was involved, too, about control and jealousy, and that's its power. It was written at a difficult time."
posted by scody at 2:12 PM on June 11, 2014 [16 favorites]


Wow you're totally right, you have changed my mind completely, my anger at rape culture is just faddish nonsense!

thank god you were here to educate me
posted by elizardbits at 2:12 PM on June 11, 2014 [25 favorites]


I say "Under My Thumb" is creepier than "Every Breath You Take," because it's clear that Sting is being deliberate creepy but that Mick didn't give a crap.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:13 PM on June 11, 2014 [4 favorites]


Metafilter has become--with respect to certain social and political issues--Tumblr for grownups.

That's ridiculous. We don't even have the IMG tag.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:13 PM on June 11, 2014 [18 favorites]


Or, on seeing scody's quotation, never mind, everyone's bad.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:13 PM on June 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


MeFi: Tumblr for grownups

[passes out blowing dogwhistle as hard as possible]
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 2:14 PM on June 11, 2014 [28 favorites]


They might also have been a little more optimistic about the way the thread could have gone in - a discussion about what gets played in overhead speakers, how much control do people really have over those playlists, how background noise can still be damaging.....
posted by divabat at 4:26 PM on June 11


This is how I felt. My problem, from a FPP standpoint, is that there were two major issues in the event that were presented simultaneously in the article:

1) Person hears problematic music being played in a grocery store that is very upsetting to them.
2) Method by which the person tries to have the musics removed.

In regard to #1: my personal opinion was that the song is offensive, but even if it wasn't to the vast majority of people, the author should have the right to complain and ask if the song can be removed.

In regard to #2, however, I wasn't able to take the article in good faith. If her main goal, as she states it, was to have the song removed, she could have at least attempted to call the company that actually provides the music and decides what's on the playlists, or Trader Joe's corporate. Yes, she has the right to be upset. Yes, she has the right to complain. But I'm suspicious of the methods that she used to achieve her main goal. Her article read to me like she went to the store and metaphorically flailed around, then went to the internet and flailed around some more. Maybe I would have had less of a problem with this if she wasn't a journalist who should know how to research who to talk to when looking for information.

I didn't post any of this because the thread seemed to be moving in a "all things must be discussed together and can't be separated," direction. Which is many times good, but not in this case, in my opinion*

*I'm biased by my lived experience. I successfully had a sexist song removed from the playlist of Detroit Pistons home games. To have the song removed, I had to call a few people and work my way up. This lead to a few dead ends, but I was eventually able to get to the person in charge of the playlists, and that person removed the song. It took a fair amount of effort and phone tag, but it can be done. Just maybe not by the first few people that you talk to.
posted by Shouraku at 2:14 PM on June 11, 2014 [29 favorites]


Metafilter: never mind, everyone's bad
posted by elizardbits at 2:14 PM on June 11, 2014 [6 favorites]


Fists O'Fury: "
MeFi: Tumblr for grownups
"

I guess we go to tumblr for different things then.

elizardbits: "Metafilter: never mind, everyone's bad"

metafilter: perhaps the truth is somewhere in the middle
posted by boo_radley at 2:14 PM on June 11, 2014


Really though all I hear when someone says "too much like tumblr" is "these minorities are gettin uppity and i don't like it one bit".
posted by elizardbits at 2:15 PM on June 11, 2014 [89 favorites]


and without attempting to badger or shame people into agreement.

This this this this

It happens with all hot-button topics around here (rape, trans*, drugs, I/P, etc.)

It's like, we're all trying to mind our own business, and be the best person we can be, and suddenly we're bad people just for trying to weave our way through a complicated society? It reminds me of the time at my church years ago, when we had both a white priest and an African-American one, and I was called a bad person for not noticing this fact, and how wonderfully diverse the church was. What do people gain from being so nasty to others?
posted by Melismata at 2:15 PM on June 11, 2014 [6 favorites]


Honestly the only place I've ever seen Tumblr equated with this notion of 'stupid social justice' is in the particularly MRA-y corners of Reddit, so frankly I would try to stay pretty fuckin' far away from using that kind of description as pejorative.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:16 PM on June 11, 2014 [24 favorites]


Okay but being the best person you can be sometimes involves being ashamed to once have believed terrible things, or having your eyes opened to those terrible things in your current belief system. It's all part of growing up.
posted by elizardbits at 2:17 PM on June 11, 2014 [26 favorites]


At what point does disagreement become "talking over" and "shouting down"? Honestly not trying to derail or dismiss the MetaTalk thread through nit-picking. Also not really looking for a hard and fast rule since that's often impossible, especially here. But since the analogies get used here on MetaTalk and people obviously feel this way, how can one identify if what they're writing is a disagreement or a shouting down?

I will probably just continue to comment in good faith and trust the community, but is that good enough?
posted by ODiV at 2:18 PM on June 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


I still love all of youse folks and if you wanna come over and have some of these pumpkin bread muffins and drink Romanian hooch with me, you're all invited.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 2:18 PM on June 11, 2014 [5 favorites]


MeFi: Tumblr for grownups

Given the amount of slash on my dash, there's a lot more interest paid to what women want on tumblr than there is on the blue.
posted by immlass at 2:18 PM on June 11, 2014 [15 favorites]


I mostly associate Tumblr with people nerding way the hell out over TV shows I've never watched. Oh, hey, FanFare.
posted by prize bull octorok at 2:19 PM on June 11, 2014 [5 favorites]


Can we at least make a token effort not to call one another names or lump one another into categories? This thread makes me practically ill for how crappy both sides are being to one another.
posted by ElliotH at 2:19 PM on June 11, 2014 [14 favorites]


MeFi: Tumblr for grownups

Oh my, pass me the smelling salts. How very dreadful.

*sigh* Now I'm sad because once upon a time being compared to Livejournal would have been the go to dismissive metaphor to silence marginalized voices.
posted by kmz at 2:19 PM on June 11, 2014 [15 favorites]


I mean it's not necessarily that you are a bad person, but to refuse to acknowledge basic facts about the world around you such that you end up denying the constant and pervasive lived experiences of minorities CAN IN FACT present you in not the best of lights.

(the general "you" not you in particular)
posted by elizardbits at 2:19 PM on June 11, 2014 [11 favorites]


I think it's the same sort of thing that's led to a lot of "Trans 101" type MeTa posts and links in FPPs. A lot of the routine objectionable stuff on those topics seems to have been tamped down, and a lot of the issues on this FPP (and this MeTa) are straight out of Feminism and Microaggression 101.

Metafilter used to have a bad reputation for transphobia, bad enough that I stumbled across criticism of it on other sites. Now it's one of the better general-purpose forums on the internet. Awesome.

(By "one of the better" I don't mean good. Metafilter's being sort of less overtly transphobic than it used to be isn't something we get to throw a parade about, nor can we assume that it's going to automatically get better over time.)

Clearly the 101 approach helped. Can anyone link to an actual "feminism and microaggression 101" document? Because if such a thing were available it might be a good idea to provide a link to it at the start of threads like this before they start going wrong.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 2:19 PM on June 11, 2014 [5 favorites]


if there's anything I've learned from Tumblr and people ragging on Tumblr it's that people are really, really threatened by people younger than them who are more well-educated and well-versed in sociological issues such as privilege than them, and they really are into using their platforms to shit on those people

but because so much of Tumblr is made up of young people, especially young women, people figuring out their identities, and the woman and girl dominated sides of fandom, people are much more able to get away with shitting on it than they are at shitting on other places, because the big group of the most vocal Tumblr users are members of marginalized groups doing things that are often frowned on by the mainstream

and, like, I've been following these corners of the internet since I was a kid, and people really are able to do some pretty revolutionary things carving out their own spaces with their goddamn fingernails and have to put up with a lot of abuse for it, they really have to defend the space they have, both in that space (there's a lot of harassment on Tumblr, especially from people who come from places like /r/tumblrinaction specifically to harass POC, queer people, disabled people and women) and the reputation of that space from people happy to shit on it on sites like here, so I find it really, really offensive when people use the "Tumblr" label dismissively like that, because it uses something a lot of people have worked really hard for and learned a lot for

anyway if you were wondering why I mentally substitute "DAMN FEMINISTS/QUEER FOLKS/WOMEN GET OFF MY LAWN" for any comments mentioning Tumblr in that light, that's why

also I've heard our bad reputation for transphobia mentioned around the web and considering that a significant portion of our great trans users left I really don't think we can say we're doing well there, we have a lot of work to do
posted by NoraReed at 2:22 PM on June 11, 2014 [59 favorites]


MetaFiltr
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 2:22 PM on June 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


I really question the judgment of someone who reads this site and walks away thinking, "This place should be more like reddit"
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 2:23 PM on June 11, 2014 [18 favorites]


Something we all need to view.
posted by Talez at 2:24 PM on June 11, 2014 [10 favorites]


gotes.jpg?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 2:26 PM on June 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


Yes. It has lots of cute little goats showing us how to be more mature.
posted by Talez at 2:27 PM on June 11, 2014


Phew.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 2:27 PM on June 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


gotes.jpg?

I clicked on the link and only afterwards saw the url. Thankfully, it is in fact a picture of cartoon goats so I stopped screaming.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 2:28 PM on June 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


Hmm. I'm all over the map on that one.
posted by Melismata at 2:28 PM on June 11, 2014


I was told to look at a picture about goats back in the 90s and I was forever traumatized.
posted by zombieflanders at 2:29 PM on June 11, 2014 [7 favorites]


ElliotH: "Can we at least make a token effort not to call one another names or lump one another into categories? This thread makes me practically ill for how crappy both sides are being to one another."

Yeah this. It's pretty telling when actual comments of people attempting to have a conversation are met with derision and sarcasm. When you do that you aren't interested in hashing out a damn thing, only in keeping the fire going.
posted by Big_B at 2:29 PM on June 11, 2014 [11 favorites]


It was not goats.
posted by zombieflanders at 2:29 PM on June 11, 2014 [13 favorites]


Sting copped to it being about trying to control his ex-wife here:

So yeah. As I was trying to say in the thread, art has a point of view, it must, and it's not always the point of view of a 100% awesome, not-flawed person. It could be because the author created a bad character as "satire" (though that's so often a cop-out to excuse darlings like, say, Louis C.K., when his work verges on being textually indistinguishable from Andrew Dice Clay's). It could also be that the author is himself a jerk, and that's his point of view. Ultimately most of us will never meet the author, and the work is the work.

I think some of the friction may be coming from strong, gut-level anti-censorship reactions a lot of people here have (myself included). While I'm well aware the 1st Amendment does not guarantee the right to be muzak in Trader Joe's, I doubt that most of us would want to live in a world where the only art we're exposed to is from a completely sanitized, "good" point-of-view. I believe sexism is pervasive in our society, and it sucks. I think we can always work towards having a better, more tolerant community. I also believe art makes the world a better place. There's a discussion to be had there, and it's not black-and-white at all.
posted by drjimmy11 at 2:30 PM on June 11, 2014 [12 favorites]


Let me find that illustration of the girl representing tradition and the girl representing progress sharing the cup of unity...
posted by DirtyOldTown at 2:30 PM on June 11, 2014 [4 favorites]


I'm just going to keep on ignoring that thread, and apparently this one too, because this is all really gross, and I prefer to think Mefi has avoided all this MRA crap that has actively infested most of the rest of the internet (puts fingers in ears)
posted by likeatoaster at 2:35 PM on June 11, 2014 [8 favorites]


> I doubt that most of us would want to live in a world where the only art we're exposed to is from a completely sanitized, "good" point-of-view

Good thing nobody's campaigning for that, then.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:36 PM on June 11, 2014 [13 favorites]


BTW, klang just redeemed the original thread. If you wanted to drastically expand your knowledge of Snow's Informer, head on over.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 2:36 PM on June 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


If someone says you're being misogynist or sexist, who cares?

Because they are implicitly/explicitly saying you are a bad person because of that.
posted by Sebmojo at 2:37 PM on June 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


> they are implicitly/explicitly saying you are a bad person because of that

But that's the thing. They're not. They're saying, or at least if it's me, I'm saying, "you have done this one thing that is sexist, don't do it again." And if you don't do it again than that's it, it's done.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:39 PM on June 11, 2014 [16 favorites]


And, on topic: I didn't post in the original thread because it made me angry. Ideology should not trump art.
posted by Sebmojo at 2:39 PM on June 11, 2014


^^ corpse in the library (with the problematic assumption) that's them assuming that is how people will take it, which is an empathy failure. Aren't we trying to increase empathy?
posted by Sebmojo at 2:40 PM on June 11, 2014


It's all part of growing up.

Part of growing up, too, is perhaps coming to understand and accept that not everyone may not immediately share your personal understanding of the world. In that light, one might perhaps begin to ask what these kinds of posts are about: Is it about mature discussion of a broader set of ideas, or is it about didactic instruction — or perhaps just simple venting — at people who are not considered mature?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:41 PM on June 11, 2014 [12 favorites]


If someone says you're being misogynist or sexist, who cares?

Because they are implicitly/explicitly saying you are a bad person because of that.


Actually, no, they're just pointing out that the thing you're saying or doing is misogynist or sexist. If you choose to see that as someone telling you that you're a bad person, that's your problem.
posted by palomar at 2:45 PM on June 11, 2014 [27 favorites]


Who said anything about Ideology?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 2:45 PM on June 11, 2014


I think metafilter in general has had a lot of good feminist threads. The ones that invariably go bad are the "look at this terrible thing that happened" types, and I would lump the discussed thread into that category. I understand why people want to talk about those events, but they don't seem to go well.
posted by Esteemed Offendi at 2:46 PM on June 11, 2014 [2 favorites]



Because they are implicitly/explicitly saying you are a bad person because of that.


No, they're not. They're saying you're doing a misogynist/sexist thing. Also even if you take it to mean "I think you're a bad person" who cares?

That sort of thing derails every single discussion. I don't even know who on earth I would think of as a "bad person" except for like, oppressive dictators or something, but not people I talk to every day. However people I talk to every day are constantly saying sexist, misogynist things.

A few days ago I was out with a few friends, a couple (man and woman) and basically the man said so many questionable, misogynist things (and he'd consider himself a feminist) but I basically just stopped arguing back and was like, "I guess maybe you're right about that" instead of gently questioning his assertions because trying that got a lot of "well, biology," type responses which is exactly what happened the last time we all hung out and has happened before when I hang out with couples, when the guy and I get into some huge debate and the girlfriend/wife says little or nothing and I basically feel like everyone, me included, just thinks I'm a crazy woman rather than just a person with an opinion.

Like the real world is full of SO MUCH "well, no, you're wrong" that I don't feel super shocked if I encounter it here as well and am not sure why anyone would.
posted by sweetkid at 2:46 PM on June 11, 2014 [19 favorites]


Ideology should not trump art.

Not sure who's arguing this.

One comment I did see in that thread was scody's where she acknowledged loving the Stones but finding that song gross.

A lot of people here and else where are able to have ideology, if you will, about an artist and their art and still like their work, or most of it.
posted by rtha at 2:47 PM on June 11, 2014 [8 favorites]


As a mod, I'm most interested in what and why and how that thread turned into such a shitstorm, like on a ten miles up sort of level.

Polarizing threads put off people who have sort of a partially formed opinion, or a desire to talk it through slowly. If you walk into a room and people are having what reads as an actual fight about some issue you're sort of on the fence about, you feel like you don't belong, because everyone's all shouty and hating on each other and everybody feels like crap and you're sitting there going 'er, well, I don't know...'

So you feel like you have to have total clarity, plus a willingness to defend whatever you say, and you'd better say it right.

So yeah, it turns away those who are interested but not willing to invest in a shitstorm.

At least, that's how I felt about it, and why I didn't comment. (Or at least I think I didn't. Now feel like I should run and check.)
posted by A Terrible Llama at 2:48 PM on June 11, 2014 [10 favorites]


> ^^ corpse in the library (with the problematic assumption) that's them assuming that is how people will take it, which is an empathy failure. Aren't we trying to increase empathy?

Yes. Empathy with the people who are getting pricked by the racist or sexist comment.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:50 PM on June 11, 2014 [12 favorites]


Actually, no, they're just pointing out that the thing you're saying or doing is misogynist or sexist. If you choose to see that as someone telling you that you're a bad person, that's your problem.

Except that quite often, as seen in this thread, the pointing out is accompanied by little insults such as "Jesus Christ, I can't believe you said that" which generally implies that the person thinks you're bad.
posted by Melismata at 2:50 PM on June 11, 2014 [4 favorites]


It isn't a predictor, but I think threads where people directly reply to one another, rather than making general arguments to the room often lead to this flavour of unpleasantness. (There is a reason why debating chambers require you to address your comments to the chair).
posted by ElliotH at 2:52 PM on June 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


Ideology should not trump art.

This is an odd blanket statement. Lots of art sucks, for a wide, wide variety of reasons: lack of care in composition, failure to fulfill the perceived intentions of its creator, failure to engage honestly with its subject matter, plain old ugliness, and, yes, falling afoul of some bit of ideology or another. "Birth of a Nation" may have been innovative in a lot of ways cinematically, but that truth does nothing to immunize it from charges of racism, because hooly shit is that ever racist.

Some art is great is a few respects and lousy in others. Some is lousy enough in some respects that it's no longer suitable for display or performance in public without some careful acknowledgement of what is now problematic. "Playing in the background at the supermarket" probably doesn't clear that bar.
posted by Ipsifendus at 2:54 PM on June 11, 2014 [11 favorites]


Honestly, I'm not sure why "someone on the internet might think bad things about me" is a point of debate here. Who gives a shit if someone doesn't like you? Are you not capable of moving on with your life when someone doesn't like you? Have you never heard the saying that other people's opinion of you is none of your business?
posted by palomar at 2:54 PM on June 11, 2014 [5 favorites]


It seems a shame that so much ire has been exchanged over a link to a pretty poorly-written piece. The subsequent conversation didn't go well, but then exchanges have been over a piece that seemed to intend more to extract outrage-driven click-throughs than anything else, so the outcome could be seen as predictable. On re-reading, the post-facto editing of Meredith Hunter's gender suggests that, at least, the author did not really know the victim was male, which makes it a pretty odd example to use to connect the song with misogyny (especially when its lyrics can do that on their own).
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:55 PM on June 11, 2014 [5 favorites]


which generally implies that the person thinks you're bad.

Again I'm not really sure what effect "Thinks you're a bad person" or "thinks you're bad" is even supposed to have, but I like the idea of thinking you're sort of a tourist in discussions if it's not about something you experience every day. I've made comments in trans* discussions that I got called out on and that I had thought were reasonable and fine. However, even if the person was angry at me when calling me out on it, and even if I didn't think they were right to call me out, the truth is that they had more personal experience and context to comment than I do. For me it's sort of a theoretical, somewhat academic exercise for my brain, not a real thing I experience every day to be trans*.

It doesn't hurt to step back and think of it that way, and the person upset with me for a misstep doesn't need to take the exact perfect most helpful tone when explaining my misstep. They really don't.
posted by sweetkid at 2:56 PM on June 11, 2014 [24 favorites]


"Jesus Christ, I can't believe you said that" which generally implies that the person thinks you're bad.

That actually sounds to me like a pretty clear example of saying "the thing you said was terrible" rather than "you are terrible."
posted by naoko at 2:58 PM on June 11, 2014 [18 favorites]


Ideology should not trump art.

So if someone started singing "Coon Coon Coon" which bills itself as "The Most Successful Song Hit of 1901" you'd have absolutely no problem? If it came over the speakers in Trader Joe's would you still have that problem?
posted by Talez at 2:59 PM on June 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


I was interested in the idea behind the piece. I've heard music with lyrics I hated in stores plenty of times, but it never crossed my mind to do anything about it other than roll my eyes. I wish the piece had been better written, that the writer had known the corporate structure of Trader Joe's better, that she had been nicer to the person she talked to face-to-face and not used his full name, and that she had known Meredith Hunter was a man.

Maybe then we could have had an interesting conversation about confronting the little needles of day-to-day sexism we run into.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:59 PM on June 11, 2014 [17 favorites]


On re-reading, the post-facto editing of Meredith Hunter's gender suggests that, at least, the author did not really know the victim was male, which makes it a pretty odd example to use to connect the song with misogyny (especially when its lyrics can do that on their own).

That was so heinous and tone deaf and awful and it really deeply grossed me out. The incident itself could have easily stood on its own merits, there was no need to try and tie it to a wholly unrelated and badly misinterpreted tragedy that happened decades ago, and imo to do so revealed some not excellent things about the writer's character.

THAT SAID, this is not the primary reason the thread was terrible. Although I guess I understand if that made it difficult for people to assume good faith on her part.
posted by elizardbits at 3:03 PM on June 11, 2014 [11 favorites]


The worrying about someone thinking you're bad thing is particularly exhausting to me because it's always a bunch of dudes who are worried that someone might think they are sexist as if we really give a shit about the individual people on the internet who subscribe to a dominant cultural paradigm that affects our lives on a daily basis. Responding to "what you says reflects a dominant cultural paradigm that is misogynistic" with "HOW DARE YOU CALL ME A SEXIST" is incredibly self-centered, annoying as shit and also an attempt to derail a thread about a culture-wide issue to make it about one single man, and doing so reflects a dominant cultural paradigm in which it is okay for a man to take over a conversation like that and make it all about his feelings, which is sexist.
posted by NoraReed at 3:04 PM on June 11, 2014 [69 favorites]



Does that sound about right if read in a detached-from-the-biggest-obvious-issues sort of way? I'm trying to figure out how to predict/re-rail these kinds of things, what we could do as mods to prevent them from spiraling, but this one is super tough.

It was a single link op-ed OutrageFilter post. Yeah, it didn't get flagged much, and I don't know why that is, but still - fact remains.

I think you guys should take closer looks at single link Op-ed FPPs. I'm not so sure they are really Best of The Web and only rarely it seems do they tend to foster any sort of meaningful discussion here.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 3:04 PM on June 11, 2014 [8 favorites]


I wish the piece had been better written, that the writer had known the corporate structure of Trader Joe's better, that she had been nicer to the person she talked to face-to-face and not used his full name, and that she had known Meredith Hunter was a man. Maybe then we could have had an interesting conversation about confronting the little needles of day-to-day sexism we run into.

I agree with this. Her article reminded me of the saying: "when you're right, don't ruin it by becoming the new bad guy."
posted by Shouraku at 3:05 PM on June 11, 2014 [6 favorites]


I agree with this. Her article reminded me of the saying: "when you're right, don't ruin it by becoming the new bad guy."
Walter Sobchak: Am I wrong?
The Dude: No you're not wrong.
Walter Sobchak: Am I wrong?
The Dude: You're not wrong Walter. You're just an asshole.
Walter Sobchak: Okay then.
posted by Talez at 3:07 PM on June 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


Ideology should not trump art.

Under My Thumb is not art. It's (formerly) commercially popular music that's almost a half-century old. It's okay for it to fall out of popularity because people think it's gross now.
posted by immlass at 3:08 PM on June 11, 2014 [5 favorites]


I agree with this. Her article reminded me of the saying: "when you're right, don't ruin it by becoming the new bad guy."

How about the saying "Perfect is the enemy of good"? Requiring perfect victimhood and perfect activism from anyone speaking out is a long-established way for oppressors to comfortably shut their ears.
posted by northernish at 3:11 PM on June 11, 2014 [15 favorites]


What? OF course it's art. That doesn't say anything about this thread or anything, but songs are art.
posted by Justinian at 3:12 PM on June 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


Yeah, you know what? I know as much about this stuff as the people who tend to lecture me about it around here, and, to be perfectly honest, I seem to have thought much more deeply about it.

You seem to think you have, at least, so points for that.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 3:12 PM on June 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yeah, it didn't get flagged much, and I don't know why that is, but still - fact remains.

To be clear, for me at least "didn't get flagged much" isn't so much of an issue of like "ergo I can't delete it"—I'll nix what seems like a sufficiently bad post even if it has zero flags—as it is a "I don't know to go take a close look at something I'm not getting a clear Take A Look At This message about". It not getting flagged much is an impediment to us being super likely to look at it early and closely.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:13 PM on June 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


How about the saying "Perfect is the enemy of good"? Requiring perfect victimhood and perfect activism from anyone speaking out is a long-established way for oppressors to comfortably shut their ears.

I actually agree with this as well. However, my personal opinion is that she wasn't even good (in my opinion of her handling, not her right to be upset).
posted by Shouraku at 3:15 PM on June 11, 2014


What? OF course it's art. That doesn't say anything about this thread or anything, but songs are art.

Even songs by Pitbull? Hmmm????

Checkmate.
posted by hal_c_on at 3:17 PM on June 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


Under My Thumb is not art. It's (formerly) commercially popular music that's almost a half-century old. It's okay for it to fall out of popularity because people think it's gross now.

What? OF course it's art. That doesn't say anything about this thread or anything, but songs are art.

Even songs by Pitbull? Hmmm????

Checkmate.


I'm sure the ghost of Walter Benjamin is delighted to read this sub-argument, but could we please not have a derail about whether "Under My Thumb" or pop music in general is art?
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 3:18 PM on June 11, 2014 [6 favorites]


Bicycle helmets
posted by planetesimal at 3:20 PM on June 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


I like the "what is art" argument a lot but this isn't prolly the time.
posted by NoraReed at 3:21 PM on June 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


Pitbull is deinitely art as is Under My Thumb and lol at the implication that we are not all of us always already interpellated by ideology.
posted by Greg Nog at 3:22 PM on June 11, 2014 [11 favorites]


Although I guess I understand if that made it difficult for people to assume good faith on her part.

This is the problem I have with some online writing. There's a culture that says "oh, you want to write about this, well why don't you find things that support YOUR ideas and write about it". Thats fine. But we should consider that writing to come simply from that perspective.

And then there's writing which is more of an investigation of a topic, and based on the outcome and facts found, THEN there is a clear thesis and opinions based on fact. This makes the writing and writer seem credible.

So its kinda hard for people to trust the author. It just seems like she was just looking for things in a superficial manner which would support her already established view. And when you screw up something as simple as 'Meredith was a male' your cred falls apart along with your story. People start to wonder if everything else in the writing is of the same quality.
posted by hal_c_on at 3:23 PM on June 11, 2014 [5 favorites]


How about the saying "Perfect is the enemy of good"? Requiring perfect victimhood and perfect activism from anyone speaking out is a long-established way for oppressors to comfortably shut their ears.

It is sort of easier to take someone's complaints about gender suppression more seriously if they don't make the mistake of assuming someone named "Meredith" is female.

Yeah, maybe mistakes like that shouldn't be relevant if the arguments and evidence are sound. But people gonna people and if she as a putative journalist can't be arsed to look simple facts up, why should anyone take her word on anything else she might have to say ?
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 3:25 PM on June 11, 2014 [4 favorites]


THAT SAID, this is not the primary reason the thread was terrible. Although I guess I understand if that made it difficult for people to assume good faith on her part.

The stalwart defense of the author by people now saying how shitty the thread was is kind of annoying.

I somehow have a tab open with average Trader Joe's employee salaries which was posted by one of the people twisting themselves into knots defending the authors behavior.
posted by lattiboy at 3:27 PM on June 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


Eh, there's probably a difference between 'got a fact wrong, no matter how easy to fact-check' and 'lying about her own lived experience.'
posted by shakespeherian at 3:28 PM on June 11, 2014 [11 favorites]


So as it stands: author didn't fact check the Meridith thing, or wrote it poorly and then corrected it without highlighting the correction = easy to dismiss everything she wrote
Numerous people insist she bullied a minimum-wage clerk, and that her income vastly outstripped his; disproven by basic Googling = no problem, people who did the googling are twisted in knots
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 3:31 PM on June 11, 2014 [11 favorites]


Please direct me towards the comment of mine which you have wrongly construed as a stalwart defense of the author. Or did you mean someone else aside from me when you said "people" while directly quoting my comment word for word?
posted by elizardbits at 3:33 PM on June 11, 2014


if she as a putative journalist can't be arsed to look simple facts up

To be fair, the person was called Meredith. I've only ever read that as a girl's name so she maybe didn't think she needed to fact-check it? Obviously she was wrong, but it's not like he was called David and she thought "that was probably a woman who died at the gig because the Stones are so sexist" or whatever.
posted by billiebee at 3:34 PM on June 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


THAT SAID, this is not the primary reason the thread was terrible. Although I guess I understand if that made it difficult for people to assume good faith on her part.

Agreed, but the whole piece felt click-baity and I still don't understand why a link to it remains, especially since the author made such significant changes to it after the fact. It hasn't lead to much in the way of interesting discussion, which seems self-evident. Usually, we share links to stuff that is interesting, beautiful, worthy of passing around and sharing, but there's little here but an excuse for certain people to have license to shout at other certain people. Maybe this is the place for that. I don't question my financial gift to Metafilter, but I am starting to question a little to what extent perhaps that click-bait outragefilter might have contributed to decreased traffic, as outrage media spread its claws over the web. Which isn't to say I haven't enjoyed venting at evil myself, particularly where gay rights were concerned, but as I get older, I see its pernicious effects when triggered by lazy thinking and lazy writing. Again, maybe this is the place for that; it depends on what kind of community people want, as defined by what posts they share and what conversations they have. Maybe this is just where we are and that's that.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:38 PM on June 11, 2014 [14 favorites]


The talk upthread about trans members we've lost to fighty MeTas and insensitivity got me wondering if anyone is in touch with ArmyOfKittens, and if so, if they might send her a heyhowareyamefimissesyou.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 3:38 PM on June 11, 2014 [10 favorites]


ODiV: "At what point does disagreement become "talking over" and "shouting down"? Honestly not trying to derail or dismiss the MetaTalk thread through nit-picking."

Just in my own experience, when I feel talked over or shouted down, it's usually because the shout-down-er isn't actually listening to or trying to understand my points; he's using the time when I'm talking to frame what his next argument is going to be.

When I am in a position of privilege (as a teacher, or as an elected official), I try to be very conscious of making sure I understand where someone is coming from and what they are trying to say, before I respond. When you're in a position of power or privilege, even just diffuse social privilege, it's very, very easy to minimize or dismiss others' complaints that don't already fit into your worldview. A lot of people, especially when stressed or upset, don't express themselves clearly, use poor or muddled phrasing, confuse their points, or lash out. There are some threads on MetaFilter where I'm interested in the topic, but I really don't get where people are coming from, and in that case I generally shut up and read and try to understand.

Sometimes something as simple as saying, "I hear what you're saying," can help a conversation go more smoothly. Acknowledging the other person's point. Sometimes people preface a comment on MetaFilter by saying, "PosterJoe's point made me think of something related, this is a little tangential to his point, but my thought is X, Y, Z," when they want to be clear they're not ignoring Joe's main point and arguing past him, but just adding some related thoughts Joe made them think of.

When I feel talked over or shouted down for being a woman, by men, whether in "real life" or on the internet, generally the running theme is, they don't really care to listen to what I have to say, they're just going to make their point, come hell or high water, and anything I say is just going to be used as a jumping off point to make their next point. They're not going to actually respond to my concerns or my comments, and if it's a nuanced, complex point, they're definitely not interested in understanding its complexity.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 3:40 PM on June 11, 2014 [45 favorites]


This is a side comment from my above comment but I wanted to make it separately since it's a little off the point in a different direction, and I feel like the next part isn't phrased well, but it's a point I feel like I need to make, so everybody cut me a little slack if I didn't phrase it well.

Being called a racist is shitty (especially when you acted in ignorance rather than malice), and it's a powerful word with the power to wound. But being called racist is not nearly as bad as racism. I don't think "sexist" or "misogynist" are quite as powerful as words, but even if they are, being called a sexist isn't a pleasant experience, but it is nowhere near as unpleasant as being on the receiving end of sexism. I acknowledge that it hurts to be called sexist, especially if you aren't sexist and your actions or motives have been misconstrued. That sucks, and I'm sorry. But the way to fix the problem where you are called a racist or a sexist is not to demand people stop using the words, but to fix the world so that they become meaningless words. You know when being wrongly called sexist will no longer have the power to hurt you? WHEN SEXISM STOPS DOING INCREDIBLE HARM TO WOMEN. The patriarchy hurts everybody.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 3:40 PM on June 11, 2014 [66 favorites]


So as it stands: author didn't fact check the Meridith thing, or wrote it poorly and then corrected it without highlighting the correction = easy to dismiss everything she wrote
Numerous people insist she bullied a minimum-wage clerk, and that her income vastly outstripped his; disproven by basic Googling = no problem, people who did the googling are twisted in knots



Oh god, it isn't just the Meredith thing. It was a lot of other weirdness, such as an editor with a PhD not doing any "basic googling" to find somebody who could actually make a change at TJs and completely ignoring Muzak, the company who provides the songs until the last paragraph.


Please direct me towards the comment of mine which you have wrongly construed as a stalwart defense of the author. Or did you mean someone else aside from me when you said "people" while directly quoting my comment word for word?

I was listing other things I feel made the thread go terribly, not trying to call you out specifically.
posted by lattiboy at 3:42 PM on June 11, 2014 [6 favorites]


Oh god, it isn't just the Meredith thing. It was a lot of other weirdness,

I guess I don't understand. She representedt what she was trying to say in a manner you found to be imperfect. So what? The whole of her point gets tabled and instead we end up with an extended discussion of what she did wrong?

You literally just insisted that a site member had twisted themselves up trying to defend her, and then, when called on it, said that's not what you meant. At this moment, do we bypass everything you're trying to communicate and instead focus exclusively on how badly you espressed that one point?
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 3:49 PM on June 11, 2014 [7 favorites]


When I say "stalwart defense" and "twisting into knots" I'm referring to people I can't imagine being supportive of the author's behavior in any other context or situation.

Printing out the lyrics to a song you heard on a previous visit, streamed from a 3rd party, which is contracted by a giant corporation, of which the employee may or may not be a local manager of, and then putting that persons full name on your website is not awesome behavior and I'm seriously surprised that people are seemingly fine with it.

That is "angry old man complaining about small print details of a coupon to cashier" behavior. If you've worked in retail the last sentence will make more sense..
posted by lattiboy at 3:51 PM on June 11, 2014 [11 favorites]


Was a MeTa really necessary? I mean i'm not going to tell someone to Sit Down or whatever, but i'm a good portion of the way through that thread and basically every time someone says something shitty they get called out, and the person who called them out gets immediate air support.

The System Is Working, from what i can see, is my point.
posted by emptythought at 3:51 PM on June 11, 2014


Like i mean, this meta has become way more mean spirited and shitty than the actual thread has gone, anywhere i've seen.
posted by emptythought at 3:52 PM on June 11, 2014 [4 favorites]


Like i mean, this meta has become way more mean spirited and shitty than the actual thread has gone, anywhere i've seen .

I've felt for a while that this type of thing is a consequence of MeTa being less moderated than other areas of the site, combined with the frequency that people make MeTas on contentious issues, along with the fact that it's also common for people to make a MeTa when they're upset.

So on one hand you have much more license to be mean spirited and shitty and on the other you have the conditions making mean spiritedness and shittiness somewhat more probable.
posted by MoonOrb at 3:56 PM on June 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


That is "angry old man complaining about small print details of a coupon to cashier" behavior. If you've worked in retail the last sentence will make more sense.

I worked in retail for a decade, and I'm going to say that structuring things like "obviously people who disagree haven't had experiences that would make them actually know what they're talking about" is a pretty crappy way to argue. That may not be how you meant it, but it also showed up in the thread, and I'd ask people to be cautious about that sort of thing, because we don't know what experiences other people have had. They may be equally experienced and just disagree.

I mean, I've also worked in journalism and a lot of the "she's a crappy journalist" aruments sound to me like things that people who don't know anything about journalism would say, but people can decided for themselves what is and isn't journalism they trust.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 3:58 PM on June 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


I tend to stay out of these kinds of threads because I worry my virulent misanthropy will be interpreted as misogyny. But it was worth reading for klang dropping knowledge on "Informer."
posted by Bookhouse at 4:06 PM on June 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm going to say that structuring things like "obviously people who disagree haven't had experiences that would make them actually know what they're talking about" is a pretty crappy way to argue

On the other hand, relevant.
posted by shakespeherian at 4:07 PM on June 11, 2014


I worked in retail for a decade, and I'm going to say that structuring things like "obviously people who disagree haven't had experiences that would make them actually know what they're talking about" is a pretty crappy way to argue.

That wasn't my intention. "Angry old man..." makes more sense if you've ever interacted with an older customer who wants you (a cashier/shift manager/ect) to change corporate policy on a whim. Somebody who has not worked retail might not be aware of that type of customer.
posted by lattiboy at 4:08 PM on June 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm not going to argue over the general use of the word "mansplaining." The site norms are what they are. But I do think divabat is expanding the meaning of it considerably to include an expression of disagreement about how matters should have been handled. Likewise "talking over" is a real, physical behavior that happens in IRL conversations and characterizing online discussions with that term is similarly an expansion.
posted by tyllwin at 4:11 PM on June 11, 2014 [6 favorites]


What matters is not what people "label" us. What matters is what we are. If someone says you said or did a racist thing, the key is to focus on the thing they say is racist, and to listen to their argument carefully and honestly with the aim of correcting the problem or creating understanding.

I think this presumes that someone's opinion of your behavior is necessarily correct. I think it also presumes that what you say or do = what you are.

It may be more effective for all concerned to focus on the results and effects of racist, sexist, misogynist, etc. actions than simply to try to pin labels on people that often put them on the defensive. Sometimes when people get backed into a corner their immediate response is to react aggressively and strike back, not to listen and try to reach understanding.

I'm glad women are getting consciousness raising.

Not trying to derail the conversation but consciousness-raising isn't new. Plenty of women were trying to raise their consciousness back in the 70s. However, the heard tell collective consciousness largely did not include that of women of color or women below a certain socioeconomic level. I'm not sure the situation is significantly better this time around even though it's much easier now to communicate the concepts in a widespread manner. That's probably another discussion for another time.
posted by fuse theorem at 4:12 PM on June 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


On the other hand, relevant

I probably phrased myself poorly. I meant: Don't assume other people's experiences when they disagree. They may share your experience but simply have come to another conclusion.

But then, I really like old men.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 4:13 PM on June 11, 2014


That last sentence looks different on my computer than it sounded in my head.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 4:13 PM on June 11, 2014 [27 favorites]


I'm not going to argue over the general use of the word "mansplaining." The site norms are what they are. But I do think divabat is expanding the meaning of it considerably to include an expression of disagreement about how matters should have been handled. Likewise "talking over" is a real, physical behavior that happens in IRL conversations and characterizing online discussions with that term is similarly an expansion.

talking over someone in a text forum is inherently different than talking over someone in a vocal discussion venue. Realizing that the way it occurs varies from how communication is taking place is not an "expansion" any more than realizing failing to yield in a vehicle can vary depending on the circumstances, what type of road you're driving on, etc.

Mansplaining is also a very "i know it when i see it" thing. Some folks take this to mean it mostly doesn't exist unless it's a particularly egregious case everyone can agree on and see. It's not just disagreement, it's the way the disagreement is presented especially when it relates to how the person they're disagreeing with "should" be reacting, or whatever.
posted by emptythought at 4:14 PM on June 11, 2014


I'm an exceedingly shrill and equally humorless feminist, but I dismissed the link/article discussed in the OP as meaningless clickbait as soon as I opened it. (Yes, even women can be oblivious to microaggressions. Especially when articles elaborating on accumulations of same seem to misgender Meredith Hunter in their first handful of sentences. @#$%@#$!) When I noticed it was garnering an unusual amount of comments, I started to read the discussion, and it dawned on me almost immediately that things on my dumb list of dumb shit that gets posted in threads about sexism were appearing as responses -- responses to the meaningless clickbait! What? How?!

Could adult humans really get so defensive about an acknowledgment of background radiation-style misogyny, however clumsy? Could an article this clickbait-y really inspire multiple iterations of "But I am not sexist, personally, so you should not be talking about your obviously incorrect notions of sexism in front of me like I'm not even here" and heaps of "But I do not receive this behavior as gendered/sexist, and since it is invisible to me, your idea that it is gendered/sexist is invalid," not to mention every tone argument imaginable? They could, and they did. And here I'd sort of figured we all knew about things like this, how sometimes straws can break backs, and how sometimes you just need to Stand Up and Say Something, even if it's just to an employee or two at Trader Joe's and then your blog.

I kept scrolling, and it all just kind of morphed into this giant blob of sadness that honestly reads to me like one of the most cringe-inducingly sexist discussions I've ever read here. After countless 101s, after this thread and this thread and this one and many more that I am too exhausted to link. OMG. And then I thought, Huh, I've been actually getting that feeling around here more often lately, but I am very, very tired, so I haven't wanted to start a discussion about it because I would want to participate and I don't have the energy for it at all.

So anyway, thanks, divabat. I am too tired to engage with anything else in this thread but I just wanted to say thanks for starting this MeTa. A hale and hearty +1 to everything you wrote.
posted by divined by radio at 4:15 PM on June 11, 2014 [66 favorites]


I worked in retail for a decade, and I'm going to say that structuring things like "obviously people who disagree haven't had experiences that would make them actually know what they're talking about" is a pretty crappy way to argue.

Um, like saying that someone criticizing an article must not have had experiences that would make them actually know what they're talking about? Because that seems to be all over too.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 4:21 PM on June 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


Because that seems to be all over too.

Like what?
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 4:24 PM on June 11, 2014


From divabat's original post:

And while there were a good number of commentors trying to reel in the meta-misogyny and sexism, they are fast becoming outnumbered and overwhelmed.

I'm one of the people who saw this happen in the post and decided not to comment at all lest I be steamrolled by the rising tide (how's that for mixing your metaphors) of ad hominem, sexist attacks. A fighty tone might raise the number of comments and fan the flames, but it doesn't make for good conversation, or much of a conversation at all.

Given the way these threads usually go, and the way this thread is going, I'm kind of stumped about whether we can discuss The Issues of The Day in a civilized, inclusive way. Not how—whether. And that makes me sad, because MetaFilter is somewhere I go for nuanced conversation and varied perspectives.

Sorry if this doesn't add much to the conversation, but I feel distressed at how Every. Single. Conversation. about issues that really concern me and others somehow descends into a miasma of the behavior they are purportedly there to discuss/deconstruct.
posted by mynameisluka at 4:27 PM on June 11, 2014 [7 favorites]


but I dismissed the link/article discussed in the OP as meaningless clickbait as soon as I opened it.

I am actually wondering, as a legitimate question, why people dismissed this as clickbait. I mean, I may not agree with all of the author's methods, however, I never had any reason to believe that her story wasn't an accurate retelling of the microaggressions that she faced and tried to correct.
posted by Shouraku at 4:28 PM on June 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


Was a MeTa really necessary? I mean i'm not going to tell someone to Sit Down or whatever, but i'm a good portion of the way through that thread and basically every time someone says something shitty they get called out, and the person who called them out gets immediate air support.

The System Is Working, from what i can see, is my point.


This is an extremely exhausting and dispiriting thing to have to do over and over and over. It is even exhausting and dispiriting to read without participating.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 4:32 PM on June 11, 2014 [6 favorites]


Printing out the lyrics to a song you heard on a previous visit, streamed from a 3rd party, which is contracted by a giant corporation, of which the employee may or may not be a local manager of, and then putting that persons full name on your website is not awesome behavior and I'm seriously surprised that people are seemingly fine with it.

That is "angry old man complaining about small print details of a coupon to cashier" behavior. If you've worked in retail the last sentence will make more sense..


I worked in retail for years. Given the amount of totally insane things people complained about* I'd have welcomed someone complaining about something for such a substantive reason. I didn't want to listen to some of the crap they piped in either, but it's not like that was a complaint that was going anywhere.


*One that I remember fondly was about our evil pricing of prunes more expensively than dried apricots, a complaint where the person got so irate that she had to be escorted out of the shop without us even getting a chance to say anything. Also they threw (unpurchased) bags of prunes to punctuate their sentences.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 4:39 PM on June 11, 2014 [6 favorites]


I try to stay out of discussion about these kinds of issues, because I just don't have anything useful to offer, I don't think, but this comment
What you find here is a rather nasty, very dogmatic echo chamber--and one in which people are commonly accused of bigotry for failing to be enthusiastically and unthinkingly nutty.

Actually, I find that looking in on these threads actually pushes me to the right. So I just come around here less, and try to get myself to stay away from the social/political threads. (As you can see, I failed this time...)

Wanna have a cool discussion with people about H. P. Lovecraft, or find something interesting about trains or BtVS, or whatever? MeFi's a good place. Wanna have a rational, dispassionate, at least minimally objective discussion about social and political issues? I advise you to go elsewhere, my friend... Because around here you are going to find things like actual apparent grownups mouthing mindless, faddish nonsense like "check your privilege," and people shrieking "OMG HE SAID 'NOT ALL MEN'!!!111" if you correct some outlandishly false universal generalization about males.
is about Metafilter itself, and stirs me to respond a bit before my morning coffee wears off.

I think that most people here, at least people who are actively engaged commenting members of the site, the sort of folks who spend (as I do) more time in Metatalk than any other part of the site, would find this risible.

But I'll tell you -- it's the overwhelming opinion about Metafilter in places other than Metafilter amongst people who know about Metafilter but don't come here. I've seen this kind of opinion expressed about MeFi all over the place over the years.

I bums me out a bit, because at the same time as I think there's some small element of truth to it, I think it's also basically looking at an aspect of the site culture (one that I am sometimes mildly exasperated by, too, sure) that makes the community a far, far better, more inclusive, more interesting place than it would otherwise be.

People who are driven away or driven to scorn by the ways (which really have become more front-and-center in the last 5 years or so) in which the community here, or at least many members in it and the moderators, attempt to nudge conversation away from paths that end in sexism and racism and homo- and transphobia and all the rest of the nasty pits that gape open all over much of the rest of the internet -- well, it's not so much our loss as theirs, I think, which I acknowledge is ironic if inclusiveness is something to be valued.

And that's an attitude and a statement that, even if not shared generally, does certainly lead to concerns about echo-chambering (a concern and discussion that is evergreen, here and in every web community). I don't think it's something that needs to be worried overmuch about, as long as a) it is stated explicitly, as it always has been, that all are welcome and you can and should think what you like but we expect certain standards of behaviour to be followed and b) that care is taken, on an individual level, to just step back from the pile-on/flameout dynamic that crops up all too often.

Metafilter is seen in many places as a beacon of rational discussion, thanks in large part to steady hands on the tiller and a culture that values words and the ways they are used. Metafilter is also seen as a place where people simply love arguing about minutiae and can sometimes be, yes, dogmatic and hectoring (which is an impression I think that people have of the membership much more than the administration and staff).

For my part, I sometimes grow mildly weary of our collective inclination to hammer at bumps until they are smooth too, but I absolutely and steadfastly think, even if it gets upsetting and in the heat of arguments can lead to valued voices simply giving up, even if it means that in many places around the web at large people point at the latest Airing of Grievances and sigh 'they're at it again', that it's valuable and positive overall. It's talking about things, and disagreeing, that keeps things fresh, and gives us the opportunity to discard, personally and collectively, stuff that isn't working, and come up with new stuff that will work better.

At the same time, I am inclined to agree that while pointing out things like privilege and prejudice and all the other bad things -- in the service of wanting a better community and a better world overall -- can sometimes end up in the nets being cast a little too widely. People can disagree -- holy shit can they disagree -- about stuff, and doing our damnedest to listen to them and assume good faith until bad faith is unequivocally demonstrated goes a long way.

Which is what the whole hugs thing is about, of course.

So sorry if this is too off-topic, although I reckon it's germane. I'm not trying to explain anything to anyone -- as usual, I'm just nattering on at length about my own personal feelings about this stuff.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:44 PM on June 11, 2014 [46 favorites]


I am actually wondering, as a legitimate question, why people dismissed this as clickbait.

http://www.alternet.org

If you click the link above, you'll end up at alternets homepage. The list of articles there will give you an idea of what that site is all about.
posted by valkane at 4:48 PM on June 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


Sometimes something as simple as saying, "I hear what you're saying," can help a conversation go more smoothly.

And somtimes NOT saying things like "Jesus Christ, what a thing to say" can also help conversations go more smoothly.
posted by Melismata at 4:52 PM on June 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


I liked that quite a bit stavros, and found myself nodding along.

I want to pull quote and highlight the hell out of this:

assume good faith until bad faith is unequivocally demonstrated
posted by DirtyOldTown at 4:52 PM on June 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


If you click the link above, you'll end up at alternets homepage. The list of articles there will give you an idea of what that site is all about.

Thank you for that, it explained a great deal.
posted by Shouraku at 4:53 PM on June 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


Thank you for that, it explained a great deal.

You're very welcome.
posted by valkane at 4:55 PM on June 11, 2014


Yeah, it didn't get flagged much, and I don't know why that is,

Yeah, I didn't flag it, because a cursory read made it feel like Op-Ed (and, to me, clickbaity op-ed), and that kind of thing is just not for me - though I recognise it as a common and popular-with-many 'genre' of post.

To put it more succinctly: I see op-ed posts of similar levels of quality posted all the time; flagging seems to be redundant. They don't often go as badly as that one (I suppose there is more furious agreement if it's about republicans, or whatever), and a lot of members seem to enjoy them - and I kinda feel like I shouldn't really try to enforce my tastes on mefi as a whole so just leave it.

I don't know if lots of people felt this way, but I'm sure lots of people feel this way about particular types of posts.
posted by smoke at 4:59 PM on June 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


And to expand on this a little: I do subscribe to the view that shitty OPs can make for shitty threads, however I get resentful of the implication of this: that OPs dealing with 'hot' topics like feminism or trans stuff or whatever should have a much higher bar to clear than other, weak OPs about other topics, that are allowed to stand and go fine. It's not fair that it places a burden on those invested in these topics - that are often rife with injustice, anyway. And so that's also why I don't flag them. We should be able to have weak OPs on topics like feminism without the userbase dragging each other off a cliff.

PS I know some people hate the whole 'tone' argument thing, but I can't help feeling the OP and especially this thread would have gone approx a thousand times better without people being really sarcastic and/or biting. I know the issues offend, hurt, inflame, etc; still the sarky hyperbole just degrades dialogue and upsets people.
posted by smoke at 5:07 PM on June 11, 2014 [12 favorites]


But I'll tell you -- it's the overwhelming opinion about Metafilter in places other than Metafilter amongst people who know about Metafilter but don't come here.

It's also an opinion held by some of us who have been here a long time.
posted by DWRoelands at 5:08 PM on June 11, 2014 [9 favorites]


"Yeah, you know what? I know as much about this stuff as the people who tend to lecture me about it around here, and, to be perfectly honest, I seem to have thought much more deeply about it."

I would find it a bit presumptuous if a woman told me she knew as much about what men deal with than I did; I have found it presumptuous in the past when New Yorkers have told me that they knew as much about the Midwest than I did (me having grown up there).
posted by klangklangston at 5:09 PM on June 11, 2014 [9 favorites]


I held back because I know I don't really have the facility to lay out my thoughts in a manner which will actually reflect the depth and the thought of my feelings on the topic. What really shocked me reading the thread though was that I thought going in that, while a little thin, the post and the article was something that reasonable people could disagree about and not end up shouting at each other over. Shouraku mentioned the two different points in the article that were at play, namely:

1) Person hears problematic music being played in a grocery store that is very upsetting to them.
2) Method by which the person tries to have the musics removed.


I figured that 1) would be a no-brainer and the discussion would mainly center around 2) somewhat amicably. But as noted it didn't end up that way. Certainly not a great thread.
posted by Carillon at 5:11 PM on June 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


It's also an opinion held by some of us who have been here a long time.

Well, sure. I was responding to something a site member said upthread, so clearly there are folks here who feel that way too.

Everyone's entitled to their own opinions about stuff, and everyone is equally able to shape the culture of the place through their participation (or, equally, to let the status quo ride by not actively participating). It's a glorious experiment, and nearly 15 years on, I still enjoy watching it and thinking about it as it evolves.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:15 PM on June 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


I find myself repeatedly frustrated with the catch-22 of trying to challenge sexism.

The jump is so fast from, "I don't like that" to "stop pearl clutching / you are tumblr / get out of your ivory tower" with a side of "stop being so cruel / stop being so sexist, women / you are terrifyingly hurtful".

I don't have a fix for it. All I know is that since the last couple shootings I've had difficulty eating and sleeping. I feel hunted. I'm checking for guns. The recent militia actions across the country, the other shootings, and the disturbing number of people who approve of the idea that women who don't offer sex without ever being a slut deserve to be shot.

I'm tired of reading about women concealing sexual harassment, assault, and rape because of the negative effect it would have on their careers, and who get repeatedly blamed for being harassed, assaulted, and raped.

I'm tired of how ubiquitous it is, and how "shut up and take it" seems to so much be the message people say over and over again. Don't bother the nice store clerk. Don't bother your nice friends. Don't bother the nice published author. Don't bother the nice public speaker. Don't bother the nice political figure. Don't bother the nice blog. If only you weren't such a woman, they wouldn't have had to do things to you.

At every level - shut up and take it. Don't be so sensitive. Don't clutch your pearls. Don't use complicated language. Don't seem educated. Don't write badly. Don't use words we don't like. Don't object to what we did. Don't think you can get away without explaining it all on demand.

Often the demands are directly contradictory or impossible - you can object when this is the most serious sexism with a side note of why don't you just become a CEO already and stop bothering us with this nonsense.

I hurt.

I physically ache.

I feel immense pain.

I would like there to be a world where a woman can object to a song and not have her be described as a horrible person who should shut up.
posted by Deoridhe at 5:15 PM on June 11, 2014 [85 favorites]


Fists O'Fury: "Actually, I find that looking in on these threads actually pushes me to the right."

I haven't read the Trader Joes thread. I'm commenting here because my impression is that this thread isn't about the Trader Joes thread, but about misogyny in MeFi. From what divabat said at the start of this MeTa, I totally agree with her and her goals. However, I'm not about to wade into the Trader Joe's thread, nor to read every comment in this thread, for exactly the reason Fists stated.

I'm a liberal guy. Not ultra-left wing or anything, but every time one of those "Answer these questions to find out your true political persuasion" quizzes gets posted on MeFi, the quizzes say "You're a leftist. Not far-left, but left". I went to a very leftist university, though. And there were so, so many idiots. There was so much irrationality, so many logical fallacies. And what happened was, it ended out swinging me more to the right while I was there. When I'd come back home and talk politics with friends, they were always surprised about how less liberal I'd become while going to a very liberal university.

That wore off within the first year after graduation. I went back to my more innate leftist beliefs, and those have stayed pretty consistent for the last, let's see...18, 19 years?

So, while I may not agree with all that Fists O'Fury said in that comment, this part rings true.
posted by Bugbread at 5:32 PM on June 11, 2014 [6 favorites]


...so much of Tumblr is made up of young people, especially young women, people figuring out their identities...

I did not know that.

...there's a lot of harassment on Tumblr, especially from people who come from places like /r/tumblrinaction specifically to harass POC, queer people, disabled people and women...

Wait, what the actual fuck? There's actually a subreddit for that?

Any chance someone could send me some links where I could read more about this Tumblr demographic and the harassment they're subjected to? (I'm not going to dignify the subreddit itself with my time.)

Sorry for the derail, but I figure this thread's already gone off the tracks. Maybe if I can learn something it'll help redeem this whole mess somehow?
posted by Guernsey Halleck at 5:33 PM on June 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


Person over-reacts and responds inappropriately to offensive media content, therefore discrediting herself, her group and the general category of her opinions!

Whew. Glad we got that settled.
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:33 PM on June 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


mathowie: "I'm trying to figure out how to predict/re-rail these kinds of things, what we could do as mods to prevent them from spiraling, but this one is super tough."

cortex: "It's easy to get swept into having your say about something problematic and thus get distracted from the more direct route of just signaling "this isn't such a great idea" with a flag."

This week I used the "I've already posted three times in this thread, maybe that's enough" idea for the first time (I'm pretty sure I got that Jessamyn), and stopped posting in a thread that was drawing me in more than seemed appropriate, and it actually felt really good to NOT go overboard on that thread.

I wonder if you could set up a sidebar that would automatically appear in contentious threads, urging people to think about taking a step back?

Something like:

if (number of comments > x) and ((number of comments / number of participants) > y) then

show sidebar:
This thread seems to be getting a little contentious. Please consider adopting the WAIT ("Why am I talking?") strategy and a voluntary three-comment limit to help make this thread better.
Just an idea.
posted by kristi at 5:35 PM on June 11, 2014 [3 favorites]




What? OF course it's art. That doesn't say anything about this thread or anything, but songs are art.

Music is an art form but Under My Thumb is a commercial product made under commercial constraint for sale to a mass audience. Acting like it's some Deep Artistic Statement and somehow not playing it as background music in the supermarket is censoring an Important Artistic Work is just bullshit, and should be called for such more often.
posted by immlass at 5:40 PM on June 11, 2014 [4 favorites]


kristi: "This week I used the "I've already posted three times in this thread, maybe that's enough" idea for the first time...I wonder if you could set up a sidebar that would..."

I really dislike the "three comment" rule-of-thumb, because while it can help keep a small subset of super-vocal people from totally dominating a conversation, I think the greater effect it has (on the blue, not here) is to dissuade people from looking at threads as discussions and to think of them more as "places to go, loudly declare your opinions, and bail". I've seen people making really interesting points and discussion say "Well, I don't want to talk too much, so I'm out of here".

I know the mods are overtaxed and understaffed, but I've found the approach where mods come in and say "Hey, user X, let's not make this thread entirely about you" to be far more effective than creating a general culture that promotes declarations over conversations.
posted by Bugbread at 5:44 PM on June 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


I just thought of a good point. How is this an acceptable FPP when she posts the employees full name? you can get banned on here for doing that to someone. Is it ok because it's by proxy or something?

Literally, from the anchor post of the FPP, "I returned to Trader Joe’s to speak to a harried name redacted". If you open it and cmd/ctrl+f "speak to a harried" it's right there.

Should we really be giving this sort of thing airtime, even if it's speaking truth to power or whatever?
posted by emptythought at 5:45 PM on June 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


It's not the naming but the personal details, i.e. "doxxing", which some of us (including me in a round about way) got close to. I feel bad about that.

Your overall point stands though, and this, for me, is clearly outragefilter which is frequently deleted.
posted by Big_B at 5:49 PM on June 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


It's only doxxing if it's somebody we like.
posted by Justinian at 5:50 PM on June 11, 2014 [6 favorites]


I love that idea kristi. A couple of variations that come to mind:

Displaying the message only if that user has commented greater than n times?

Forcing users in threads of that nature who have commented sufficient number of times to go through a 'preview wall' of a few seconds wait? (Message like "This thread seems contentious, please read through your comment for (n counting down) seconds and remember that Everyone needs a hug.")
posted by ElliotH at 5:51 PM on June 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


If its one thing Metafilter hates, its Trader Joes employees.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 5:51 PM on June 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


I literally have never read an article in a newspaper that does not name the people spoken to in the article. She named him because that's literally what every single journalist on earth does. In the old days, they used to print addresses as well, so you knew specifically who was being written about.

There are a few exceptions. Rape victims go unnamed. Children, sometimes. He doesn't fall into any category I know of that involves excluding his name.

I feel bad about that

You should, because it was your repeated insistence on declaring him to be a low-paid non-manager -- in a situation where he had already been named and his place of employment identified -- that made me fact check your claim.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 5:51 PM on June 11, 2014 [17 favorites]


I think that posting someones full name, which along with a location can be used to easily find them on social media especially when you're going "And this persons sucks because XYZ" is doxing for all intents and purposes.

This isn't a newspaper article, this isn't capitol J journalism or some investigative report. This is "i had a customer service issue and this employee didn't help me so i'm posting their full name".

Is there not a marked difference between this and the 6 oclock news doing a special report on some scummy mini mart that's paying cash for EBT cards or something? because it seems like an obvious difference to me.

Posting someones name in this sort of situation is essentially making yourself judge dredd. It's inviting the internet hate machine.
posted by emptythought at 5:55 PM on June 11, 2014 [13 favorites]


I am less interested in a discussion of what is journalism than I am in a discussion of what is art. It's journalism enough that we don't get to criticize her by inventing on the spot special rules that apply to this story but not others that we idiosyncratically think is real journalism.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 5:57 PM on June 11, 2014 [6 favorites]



Whew. Glad we got that settled.


did you mean to post this in both this thread and the one on the blue or are you just having a Bad Tab Day
posted by elizardbits at 6:00 PM on June 11, 2014 [6 favorites]


So do i not have a legitimate grievance that his full name was posted? because people in the thread are literally googling him and finding out info. You, in fact, were one of the people who did that.

I'm not trying to be a nit picking asshole, and i've already said i take no issue with objecting to the song being played on whatever muzak/DMX/etc service they use. It's just like, why publicly throw that guy under the bus?

It's either an angry spite thing, or it's a trying to be a Real Journalist thing. And both are kinda gross. I just can't think of a legitimate reason that would be ok, and i would pretty damn angry if i was him and my name had been posted online. It's additionally, somewhat against the social norms for this site from what i've seen over nearly a decade.

I don't think i'm inventing on the spot special rules either. This isn't the Times, it's basically a blog post. I could seriously see this post having been deleted before it amassed 10 comments if a big pull quote including his name had been copy-pasted into the FPP. But putting it behind a link makes it cool?

I just think a fairly clearly defined line is being crossed here, and that people are lumping in taking issue with that with the general nitpicking of every little detail of what she said.
posted by emptythought at 6:01 PM on June 11, 2014 [8 favorites]


A Bad Tab Day for me is when all I have to drink is Diet Coke.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 6:02 PM on June 11, 2014 [4 favorites]


"I think that posting someones full name, which along with a location can be used to easily find them on social media especially when you're going "And this persons sucks because XYZ" is doxing for all intents and purposes. "

That's nonsense. It's better for everyone if the default for news stories (which the headline very much positions this as) is to give full names of anyone you talk to. It's part of the general idea that the public should be able to fact-check the journalism too.
posted by klangklangston at 6:03 PM on June 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


So do i not have a legitimate grievance that his full name was posted?

I have no idea if that grievance is generally legitimate.

But it's probably not relevant in a thread discussing sexism and misogyny on MetaFilter, except perhaps as an object lesson in how pervasive said sexism and misogyny are.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 6:05 PM on June 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


emptythought, I generally agree with Bunny Ultramod on politics but I 100% agree with you that it was shitty of the author to include the manager's name. I really doubt she told him that she was going to publish this, as she didn't speak to him as a journalist but as a customer.
posted by oinopaponton at 6:06 PM on June 11, 2014 [10 favorites]


You, in fact, were one of the people who did that.

Yes. I googled information that he himself made public in order to fact check claims about his position and salary. That's actually why you publish these things -- so the discussion can be based in fact, not presumption. Because, left to presumption, she was a rich woman who screamed at a bag boy, or whatever the conveniently dismissive fabrication was.

I didn't email him. I didn't threaten him. I didn't link to any of his information. As far as I can tell, he has had the exact same experience from this than anybody has when they are presented in a less than flattering light in a news story. And a lot of people have defended him.

I mean, I once wrote a song about Stephen Slater, the Jet Blu attendant who quit his job dramatically. He didn't ask to be a public figure, nor to have me pen an ode to him. Maybe it's unfair, but if it's unfair, it's always unfair for the news to do it, not just in this one instance.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 6:07 PM on June 11, 2014 [5 favorites]


"It's either an angry spite thing, or it's a trying to be a Real Journalist thing. And both are kinda gross. I just can't think of a legitimate reason that would be ok, and i would pretty damn angry if i was him and my name had been posted online. It's additionally, somewhat against the social norms for this site from what i've seen over nearly a decade. "

No. Here on MeFi, there's an expectation that our identities are tied to our screen names, and many people have legitimate reasons to keep those names separate from their other identities. In journalism, full names should be used as a matter of public record. It's part of what separates journalism from gossip columns.

"I don't think i'm inventing on the spot special rules either. This isn't the Times, it's basically a blog post. I could seriously see this post having been deleted before it amassed 10 comments if a big pull quote including his name had been copy-pasted into the FPP. But putting it behind a link makes it cool?"

Alternet is a journalistic outlet, and dismissing a blog as not bound by the rules of journalism — in fact, explicitly held to different rules unconnected with the level of formality — is ridiculous. It's that kind of thinking that leads to people just putting specious bullshit up on blogs because whatevs, it's not journalism. Dude spoke for the company in an official role. Dude should know, honestly, that as soon as someone identifies themself as a journalist, that you kick that up to the PR folks so that you don't get caught out as a First Mate (or whatever) making policy pronouncements for Trader Joe's, and if you do make 'em, then you're fair game to have those quotes printed with your name attached. Seriously, this is as silly as arguing that you shouldn't publish photos taken in public that have people's faces in them because they could be identified.
posted by klangklangston at 6:08 PM on June 11, 2014 [5 favorites]


Dude should know, honestly, that as soon as someone identifies themself as a journalist, that you kick that up to the PR folks

Sure, but I don't see where she ever identified herself as a journalist (I just went back and checked, but correct me if I'm wrong).
posted by oinopaponton at 6:11 PM on June 11, 2014 [6 favorites]


But it's probably not relevant in a thread discussing sexism and misogyny on MetaFilter, except perhaps as an object lesson in how pervasive said sexism and misogyny are.

And i think we're doing a bad job at discussing this sort of thing if we're going to let that sort of stuff go because we have more important things to discuss or something.

I'm not shitting up the main thread, or derailing the discussion about those issues. I specifically brought this up in MeTa(and a MeTa which is about that thread!) because this seemed like the appropriate place.

Oinopaponton covers most of my grievance here. She wasn't interviewing him, she essentially wrote something that would be a write in "from one of our readers" on consumerist.

Dude should know, honestly, that as soon as someone identifies themself as a journalist, that you kick that up to the PR folks so that you don't get caught out as a First Mate (or whatever) making policy pronouncements for Trader Joe's

Where did she do this? As far as i can tell, she presented herself as a customer and then posted this when she didn't get a real response. She didn't go and go "hey i'm a journalist, i'm trying to figure out what's up with this".

You're elevating this to a level of something that it's not. If he knew he was speaking officially, and it would be published, and still gave this crap answer then we'd be talking about something completely different. But he didn't, from the information we have available.

When the TV News, or whoever, does a "stealth sting" where they pretend to be customers they blur faces and don't give names.

And Bunny, the fact that you didn't harass him or try and find more of his personal information is not some guarantee no one else outraged by this story wont. This is the internet, we've covered this a lot on here.
posted by emptythought at 6:13 PM on June 11, 2014 [11 favorites]


Yknow, as a former Tumblr SJW type, I have a LOT of criticism against the way Tumblr does social justice: without nuance, too absolutist, didactic, UScentric.

I wouldn't class Mefi like that at all.
posted by divabat at 6:13 PM on June 11, 2014 [5 favorites]


So do i not have a legitimate grievance that his full name was posted?

I don't have an answer in a general sense, regarding the ethics of communication in the wide world. I think pointedly naming people can be anywhere on the train line from slighty weird to totally shitty, and it depends a lot on the context and apparent motive.

But there is not a general policy on Metafilter that links can not lead to stuff that has people's real names in them. The policy we have here about such stuff is specifically about not taking personal details off of mefites' non-google-indexed profile pages and introducing that stuff into indexed discussion threads on the site.

I think there's a decent argument to be made that it wasn't good post material, and I think you could fold a "this seems like a weirdly personal point of identification to include in the article" aspect into that argument pretty reasonably. But there's no "this should never have been posted because it violates a Metafilter policy about real names" grievance, no.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:13 PM on June 11, 2014 [4 favorites]


It's considered polite to identify yourself as a journalist, but it's not universally required. If it were, a lot of investigative reporting would never get done. There are certain situations where you are ethically obligated to identify yourself as a reporter, but speaking to an official representative of a company acting in his official capacity is not one of them.

I'm going to guess she didn't know she was going to write this story when she spoke to him. I complain to businesses quite frequently, and generally don't say "by the way, I am an art critic and this might show up in my story."
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 6:16 PM on June 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


This does really blur the line between poorly written op-ed and overly-specific Yelp review.
posted by lattiboy at 6:16 PM on June 11, 2014 [8 favorites]


And i think we're doing a bad job at discussing this sort of thing if we're going to let that sort of stuff go because we have more important things to discuss or something.

Okay, I'll try this another way.

In a MeTa post that is clearly and unambiguously about discussing how MeFi in general handles sexism and misogyny, is it more important to:

a) discuss how MeFi in general handles sexism and misogyny

or

b) ignore how MeFi handles sexism and misogyny and instead focus on something that someone else did on a site which is not bound by MeFi's rules?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 6:17 PM on June 11, 2014 [7 favorites]


But I'll tell you -- it's the overwhelming opinion about Metafilter in places other than Metafilter amongst people who know about Metafilter but don't come here. I've seen this kind of opinion expressed about MeFi all over the place over the years.

I think it has some truth to it. So what? I mean, nothing but your own blog is likely to have discourse at whatever exact point one thinks is perfectly balanced on some sort of "troglodyte to PC pearl-clutcher" scale. I can find great value here even knowing that MeFi is more PC than I'll ever be. I can find value on Reddit, too, even knowing that there are some very icky people there.

I mean, really, there about a million places where I can use "bitch" as a verb or a gendered insult and no one will bat an eye. It's fine that this isn't one of them. I don't want it to be, for that matter, because here, we get to hear and interact with people who just aren't going to hang out in a place where that's the norm. Having to roll my eyes from time to time is a cheap price for that climate.
posted by tyllwin at 6:20 PM on June 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


So what?

Precisely. That's the (rhetorical) question I tried to address in the rest of my comment.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:22 PM on June 11, 2014


In a MeTa post that is clearly and unambiguously about discussing how MeFi in general handles sexism and misogyny...

This MeTa is about that, but it was also posted in response to that thread and links directly to it. If i have an issue with the thread, should i have made another meta?

I'm obviously not going to at this point because i'm pretty much done with the issue i had, but yea just asking.

I wasn't going STOP THE PRESSES KILL ALL PREVIOUS DISCUSSION, nor was i talking over anyone. If it was interpreted that way, i'm sorry.
posted by emptythought at 6:22 PM on June 11, 2014


I'm almost certain that most of the posts on /r/tumblrinaction are parodies. Hilarious, but parodies. I simply refuse to believe there are that many schizophrenics running around unmedicated.
posted by codswallop at 6:24 PM on June 11, 2014


I don't see a problem with naming someone who is the public face of that particular TJ's. It's part of the job of being a manager.
posted by gingerest at 6:25 PM on June 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think the cognitive dissonance here is that those coming at this from a vaguely anti-feminist angle (whether intentionally or by just stumbling into the cliches) are taking this little article -- basically a one-anecdote blog post -- and reacting to it as though it were a treatise. If it even presents a thesis, it's an extremely narrow one. And there's very little "shaming" going on in it. The dialogue with the manager might be maybe a little embarrassing for him, but the overall effect is to show that he's dismissive out of ignorance, not out of malice, and by the end he agrees that some of the songs might not be totally appropriate.

So there's a disconnect between the really mild thing the linked article is, and the strength of reaction being mobilized against it.

It's not a great article! But the kneejerk anti-feminist reactions to it are much worse.

And it doesn't help that these reactions (unintentionally?) participate in a longstanding pattern of taking even the most mildly feminist things and reacting to them as though they were beyond-the-pale radicalism.
posted by nobody at 6:29 PM on June 11, 2014 [13 favorites]


It's considered polite to identify yourself as a journalist, but it's not universally required.

I work with journalists. It is still, even in this day and age, considered ethical behaviour to tell people when they are on the record. And unethical/shady not to.

This was a personal grievance made public, not investigative journalism. An op-ed, not an article. Did she go to J School? If so, she should know this. She should not have used his full name here.
posted by zarq at 6:30 PM on June 11, 2014 [25 favorites]


That's the (rhetorical) question I tried to address in the rest of my comment.

I don't take issue with you Stavros, more with the people who express that attitude.
posted by tyllwin at 6:32 PM on June 11, 2014


Moving back to the original topic of the post at hand, I don't even know what to say to the women of MeFi (let alone the world).

I think the vast majority of men on MeFi--or at least I hope so--are in favour of equality and an end to -isms in general. And really, it's up to us to kill this fucking boyzone crap.

Who's in?

I simply refuse to believe there are that many schizophrenics running around unmedicated.

Could we please not do this?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 6:32 PM on June 11, 2014 [11 favorites]


I don't know which journalists you work with, but I worked with one of the most highly awarded food critics in America. She never identified herself when she went to a restaurant. She did then, as she does now, wear disguises, and use a credit card that would prevent her from being identified. She does this because the service changes when people know she's a critic.

Had this author said "I am a journalist," she would have gotten a markedly different response, and it would not have represented the experience of a non-journalist. It would have been a story about a company managing the press, instead of the way they respond to an individual woman's complaints. That's a different story.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 6:34 PM on June 11, 2014 [10 favorites]


I just think a fairly clearly defined line is being crossed here, and that people are lumping in taking issue with that with the general nitpicking of every little detail of what she said.

I think the way you see that line in your head may be a lot starker than it actually is in reality, on MetaFilter. cortex explained how he sees it and I just wanted to chime in that, yeah, being a manager of a public place and having people know your name as a result is something that happens. On-site doxxing or even wink-wink not-quite-doxing (i.e. I am going to link to whois with someone's phone number so you can all call them) are not okay.

I find op-eds on Alternet usually sketch city (and yes, I'm sorry, clickbaity) but I wasn't around today and didn't flag this, as I suspect many people weren't. For people who disliked the post: please use the flagging feature. For people who get into giant same-as-always monster-grudge-wars, please reconsider the utility of those grudge wars on a more thinly-staffed MetaFilter, a place where people still think it's okay to argue about comments that were live on the site for eleven minutes as if they reflect the opinions of anyone (and weren't stupid ironic jokes in the first place, dude you KNOW BETTER than to make those jokes).

I simply refuse to believe there are that many schizophrenics running around unmedicated.

Don't do this. My SO's schizophrenic son is quite well-medicated and sometimes the medication just doesn't work and it's fucking heartbreaking and we would all weep with joy if he were well enough to post shit on Tumblr. Stop.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 6:35 PM on June 11, 2014 [66 favorites]


I would cede to Zarq's experience as a working publicist with years of experience on this one, Bunny.

If it amounts to a hill of beans, I would add that my own years of experience working in PR, and also as a journalist, accord with his take. Obviously, restaurant reviewing is an exception - it is one of very few on a general level. In my experience, failure to declare on/off record signifies a rookie mistake, or unprofessionalism. As the number of amateur journalists with little to no training have exploded, so too has the practice of not doing this.
posted by smoke at 6:39 PM on June 11, 2014 [11 favorites]


So. Have we sorted out what it is we wanted to sort out? I just can't seem to follow if that has happened or not as the original meta was framed? I wish sometimes contentious metas including a kind of series of checkboxes that we could tick off.

(x) mainsplaining for and against
(x) individual call outs for misogyny and bafflement at being called misogynist
(x) journalistic quality
( ) how we can improve mefi as a result of this meta

That last one.... Its the one that is the struggle isn't it?

Here's what I've learned thus far:

I might be slightly immune to the general culture of misogyny in the West and if I am I need to fix that for my daughters' sakes.

We all still get fighty here sometimes. Even IF the topic is actually important.

Covering important topics doesn't apologize for and allow lazy journalism from pros. Doxing included. That part was ungood. Gender of teller and topic not material.

The lyrics from the stones.

The rapper snow is deep (for real)

Bafflement isn't a word but should be.
posted by chasles at 6:41 PM on June 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


I would cede to Zarq's experience as a working publicist with years of experience on this one, Bunny

Um, I was the editor in chief of an Alternative newsweekly, the art critic for City Pages for three years, and recently had my own column at MinnPost for three years, as well as being a Premack Award winner for public affairs reporting and having written for The Guardian.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 6:43 PM on June 11, 2014 [14 favorites]


The more I think about it the more I think something wrong is going on if you can read the article's mild back-and-forth with the manager and think it's painting him in such a bad light that it risks Internet Feminist Retaliation. His response is average. He is not a special-case misogynist anyone would bother getting personal about. To think otherwise suggests you're responding to a phantom feminist menace.
posted by nobody at 6:45 PM on June 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


The appeal to authority argument is unfair, here, because Bunny's open about his identity on the internet and zarq's not.
posted by gingerest at 6:49 PM on June 11, 2014


This was a poorly written flamebait article by an obnoxious "author, cultural theorist, producer, and media consultant" with a Ph.D. from NYU who was somehow unaware that Meredith Hunter was a man, and then had the intellectual dishonesty to quietly edit out that rather telling mistake. How is this junk a good post for MetaFilter?
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 6:50 PM on June 11, 2014 [12 favorites]


It's true. And I actually am Bunny Ultramod from the widely despised band The Ultramods.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 6:50 PM on June 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


Look I'm not gonna get into a dick measuring competition with you - our experiences differ; I believe Zarq's experience is the norm, and I believe he knows more about this than you, and I'm well aware of how stringed you feel that your bow is.
posted by smoke at 6:50 PM on June 11, 2014 [9 favorites]


Well, PR people have a right to their opinion, but if you don't want to measure dicks, don't wave yours around first.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 6:53 PM on June 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


To think otherwise suggests you're responding to a phantom feminist menace.

This is not at all why I am bothered by her using his name and I don't understand why you would think this. The op-ed doesn't paint him in a terrible light. He's a middle manager who reacted about how you would expect a middle manager to react. Her use of his name bothers me because I don't see why she chose to include it at all except out of spite, as her problem is with corporate policy.

I am a feminist (and a woman) if it matters.
posted by oinopaponton at 6:53 PM on June 11, 2014 [13 favorites]


I regret doubling down on attacking the article in the original thread, and apologize if my posts ultimately contributed to a negative community vibe. My opinions on the piece itself stand, but I should have FIAMOed and helped make room for a more constructive conversation. I think I was trying to outline the ways in which I felt my issues with the article were distinct from those of the misogyny-denial squad, but probably failed majorly at that by getting way too invested in ultimately not-so-important elements and drowning out more germane perspectives.
posted by threeants at 6:56 PM on June 11, 2014 [6 favorites]


This is not at all why I am bothered by her using his name and I don't understand why you would think this.

Sorry, I think I got seduced by my language a bit and didn't notice it was unclear. "To think otherwise" meant specifically those who thought publishing his name risked retaliation being directed toward him. (And nothing you said suggested that's where your concerns were coming from, so it wasn't meant to be directed at you at all.)
posted by nobody at 7:02 PM on June 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


Let me restate myself more politely. I agree that its almost universally a good practice to identify yourself as a journalist. But there are some circumstances where it can be counterproductive, and there are some circumstances, such as when you're just going about your daily life and only later decide you're going to write about it, where it is unreasonable to expect that the identification is going to be made. I weave in anecdotes from my daily life all the time, as do many journalists, and in none of them did I identify myself as a jouranalist.

I mapped out specific examples of places where it's actually counterproductive to identify yourself, and mentioned that if she had done so, she would have wound up being managed as a member of the press, reather than responded to as a regular customer.

All this is valid. And people can disagree. Journalists disagree about that line all the time. But if that disagreement is exclusively based in an appeal to authority, well, I have some authority as well, and it's odd that it's discounted.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 7:07 PM on June 11, 2014 [8 favorites]


Thanks, nobody. This is such a hot mess of hot buttons that it's hard to keep track.
posted by oinopaponton at 7:10 PM on June 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


All I know is that if I was a cab driver in Bangalore or Montevideo and a guy got in my cab and introduced himself to me as Thomas Friedman, I'd make up some *crazy* shit about my country's economy and cultural values for the lulz.
posted by spitbull at 7:11 PM on June 11, 2014 [11 favorites]


(I actually agree with Bunny, despised or not, on the matter at hand. I have no opinion about whose dick is bigger, it's just not fair to zarq that someone else entered him into the dick-measuring contest which he's bound to lose because he can't open his pants as fully. Oh, this metaphor is gross.)
posted by gingerest at 7:11 PM on June 11, 2014 [5 favorites]


Well, PR people have a right to their opinion, but if you don't want to measure dicks, don't wave yours around first.

I'm not "waving anything around." Nor am I appealing to authority. I am speaking only from my professional experience. I find the metaphor particularly distasteful and would appreciate it if you and gingerest would drop it.

There is a huge difference between investigative journalism, public affairs reporting or acting as a restaurant critic and what this specific journalist did, in filing an op-ed regarding a personal grievance. She was not acting as a reporter or critic until she felt personally slighted. You cannot fail to understand the distinction.
posted by zarq at 7:20 PM on June 11, 2014 [24 favorites]


In all fairness, I was the one who dragged dicks into this thread. I hereby vow to keep dicks off my keyboard, and I sincerely wish I had said "fish-measuring" or something instead - perhaps more absurd, but certainly less... disturbingly visual.
posted by smoke at 7:23 PM on June 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


I understand the distinction. I was pointing out that there is no universal rule that one must always identify one's self as a journalist, which seemed to be your point.

But, then, I think my participation in this particular discussion has run its course. I have made my point, and I realize that this thread, which is about misogyny on MetaFilter, has become a referendum on journalistic ethics in one individual linked story, and I don't wish to continue to derail the subject.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 7:26 PM on June 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


"Her use of his name bothers me because I don't see why she chose to include it at all except out of spite, as her problem is with corporate policy. "

Because you include the names of people you quote to protect both them and you.

If she was going to quote him, which she appears to, she should both use his name (or note that he refused to give it, as she did with the call center woman) and have identified herself as a journalist.

Sometimes there's a need to talk to people without identifying yourself, but it increases the libel risk, and is something reporters generally have to get their editors to sign off on, just like using anonymous sources.

These are the ethics I was trained with, at least.

It's also worth noting that this is nominally a column under "economics," rather than an op-ed (or really, opinion piece, since it's weird to think of anything on the web as "opposite the editorial"). It wasn't great journalism, but a lot of the objections here are weird.
posted by klangklangston at 7:32 PM on June 11, 2014 [4 favorites]


I kinda skimmed a little but since we're talking about journalistic standards and all I assume we've solved patriarchy now?
posted by shakespeherian at 7:39 PM on June 11, 2014 [9 favorites]


I simply refuse to believe there are that many schizophrenics running around unmedicated.

Could we please not do this?


Ahhh, don't worry. My comments get deleted fairly quickly.
posted by codswallop at 7:40 PM on June 11, 2014


That's not an excuse for being shitty.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:41 PM on June 11, 2014 [26 favorites]


Ahhh, don't worry. My comments get deleted fairly quickly.

Not in meta they don't. It's a pretty high bar here, and even if they were, they get quoted, which confuses later readers. Also, you did catch the bit about fewer mod hours, right?
posted by cjorgensen at 7:44 PM on June 11, 2014 [8 favorites]


Music is an art form but Under My Thumb is a commercial product made under commercial constraint for sale to a mass audience.

for the love of little christmas cookies we already have enough grand debates going on in this thread we do not need to add the whole "Is Pop Culture Truly Art" minefield on top of the shit-and-corn-dog trifle that is this thread already
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:46 PM on June 11, 2014 [11 favorites]


shit-and-corn-dog trifle that is this thread already

If there ever was a time to bring back recipe posts in Meta...
posted by lattiboy at 7:57 PM on June 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


Ideology should not trump art.

Sorry I didn't respond to this earlier. I had to get back to work -- at the art museum where I'm employed, editing a catalogue about artists who used their art to protest the ideology of Hitler's regime.

But please, get me up to speed about how anyone who ever offers a critique of popular culture is an authoritarian who wants to censor all art while taking a shit on the 1st Amendment.
posted by scody at 8:06 PM on June 11, 2014 [16 favorites]


Bunny Ultramod: "I understand the distinction. I was pointing out that there is no universal rule that one must always identify one's self as a journalist, which seemed to be your point.

Not exactly. I should have been clearer that I was speaking about this situation, and similar instances.

I don't wish to continue to derail the subject."

Neither do I. Consider it dropped.
posted by zarq at 8:55 PM on June 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


What's up? Usually this kind of fighting only happens right before the holidays.

♫ ARE YOU READY FOR THE SUMMERRRRR?!? ♫
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:04 PM on June 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


These two threads make me so fundamentally sad. Just... really down. I've been following and reading for nearly 2 days.

I've had a little bit too much time on "the internet at large" lately, and I thought this was the place I could to escape. The place where I don't have to face whether or not my experience as a woman is valid or not.

The reason this is affecting me is because last night I went to a pizza place, ordered a slice, and the guy goes, "What the bitch wants, the bitch gets." And today, I had an iced coffee overflow and when I tried to suck off the excess, a passerby said, "I'll give you something to suck on."

That combined with people out to actually kill people like me because we dare to not give them attention, plus women on the internet constantly having to defend/be aggressive online and in real life has really put me on edge.

And now this. It truly is a hotbutton topic that I wish we could do better.

As much as I appreciate this Metatalk and the way it was framed, I don't think we're going to solve anything here. Because people can't even agree IRL how to deal. We literally don't even have a vocabulary that isn't attacked. It is a site problem and it's also a massive, massive societal problem.

I have no solutions for either. I wish I did. My life (and the lives of every woman ever) would be better if I did. I just hope that Mefi can continue to be the place I love, full of smart, funny, insightful, weird, opinionated people I've grown to care about. I want it to be better.

There is so much pain and misunderstanding in these threads. It's...ugh.

I'm just gonna go hug my idiot dog, avoid the internet for a little bit, and listen to this.






Please dear god don't let that song be terrible and i just don't know it yet
posted by functionequalsform at 9:20 PM on June 11, 2014 [56 favorites]


Here's Tom Petty's memory of his recording of that song:

"At the session George Harrison sang and played the guitar. I had a terrible cold that day, and George went to the store and bought a ginger root, boiled it and had me stick my head in the pot to get the ginger steam to open up my sinuses, and then I ran in and did the take."

That's utterly lovely.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 9:31 PM on June 11, 2014 [10 favorites]


I'm just gonna go hug my idiot dog, avoid the internet for a little bit, and listen to this yt .

Please dear god don't let that song be terrible and i just don't know it yet


That one's fine (thanks, Tom), but you probably don't want to dig too far into Johnny Cash's catalog at the moment.
posted by FelliniBlank at 9:33 PM on June 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


the widely despised band The Ultramods.

Those guys are such rip off of Keyboard Cat
posted by Hoopo at 9:51 PM on June 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


yeah no you definitely have to go back to that pizza place and beat the guy to death with his own dismembered femur

sorry i don't make the rules
posted by elizardbits at 9:53 PM on June 11, 2014 [34 favorites]


I definitely yelled something like NOBODY CARES WHAT YOU THINK before grabbing my jamaican patty and running down the street.

Didn't make sense, don't care.
posted by functionequalsform at 9:56 PM on June 11, 2014 [10 favorites]


Whatever you chose to do was the right choice, because I don't second-guess any woman's reaction to her own street harassment (woo solidarity) but I hope you briefly considered accidentally-on-purpose slopping some of that iced coffee onto the passerby's crotch.
posted by gingerest at 10:06 PM on June 11, 2014 [13 favorites]


calling in your local Feminist Vigilante Gang on the pizza guy is also allowed
posted by NoraReed at 10:24 PM on June 11, 2014 [17 favorites]


I just read most of this thread in one go, so a little late on this response, but:

I agree that backlash against feminism has been creeping up around the site in general. I think silencing tactics need to get more mod attention and action, more quickly. "This thing that happens to you is a stupid thing to care about and we should talk about this other thing instead" needs to stop being an ok comment.

As for lack of flagging on that thread, I suspect it may have been at least partly because of the monstrously fast pace of the commenting. I commented fairly early, and then said, "What the fuckity fuck?" several times when I saw the rising "X comments since your most recent comments" numbers for that thread on my Recent Activity. It seemed like it got unmanageable unhumanly quickly, and in so many weird directions (socialism! censorship! women should become CEOs and stop complaining until they are!), that I wouldn't even have known where to start in flagging, or figuring out what was a derail, or labeling certain comments hyperbolic, because it seemed like every other comment was a hyperbolic derail in a brand-new direction.

The only structural/mod thing I could even imagine having helped was some sort of selective downtime to keep people from posting so much.
posted by jaguar at 10:52 PM on June 11, 2014 [11 favorites]


Selective downtime would be a terribly bad precedent. The mods already ask people to step away if they can't handle posting in a thread. Making it some sort of formal process is not good.
posted by Justinian at 10:53 PM on June 11, 2014


I suspect it may have been at least partly because of the monstrously fast pace of the commenting

Yeah, I was reading it as fast as I could, and every time I got to the bottom of the page it would say 56 new comments and I'd read again and see 38 more, and so on. It was kind of fast and crazy there.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:54 PM on June 11, 2014 [5 favorites]


Sorry, yeah, I wasn't actually suggesting selective downtime.
posted by jaguar at 10:55 PM on June 11, 2014


The author of the Alternet piece the FPP linked to could have written an article about misogyny in Anglophone pop music. But she didn't. She wrote an article about how she had complaint at a retail chain, and the peon she complained to didn't hop when she told him to hop, because corporate bureaucracy and policy something something. You shouldn't be surprised that people commenting in the thread ended up discussing the article the FPP was about and focused on what it focused on.

A hypothetical article about the pervasiveness of misogyny in Anglophone pop culture could have been a lot more interesting and would have been a lot more interesting to discuss, but that's not what we got.

It's worth noting that a number of the people who criticized the author's 'blame the peon' tack early in the MeFi thread, and here in MeTa, are fairly prominent Mefi feminists, not 'MRA concern trolls who came out of the woodwork'.
posted by nangar at 11:16 PM on June 11, 2014 [19 favorites]


What I find most ironic about this whole thread is the absurd lack of self-awareness displayed by the well-off people driving it.

I'd really like to know how many of you have spent a significant amount of time in Third World countries dealing with people who are dying for the lack of clean drinking water. Or how many days you've spent working on behalf of women in places where the infant mortality rate is sky-high because they can't get the most basic level of prenatal care.

I'm pretty sure that number is close to zero. Because people who have done those things have a fundamental level of awareness -- they have the basic knowledge that THE MUZAK YOU HAVE TO LISTEN TO AT TRADER JOES IS A COMPLETELY FUCKING STUPIDLY TRIVIAL PROBLEM BY COMPARISON.
posted by mikeand1 at 11:33 PM on June 11, 2014


If she was going to quote him, which she appears to, she should both use his name (or note that he refused to give it, as she did with the call center woman) and have identified herself as a journalist.

Yeah, it's disappointing to see doxing get rationalized. Not the best side of the community, for sure.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:34 PM on June 11, 2014 [7 favorites]


mikeand1--Wow.

churachura had an awesome comment above that directly addresses the argument you make and you should really read it.

Other option is to go back in time and un-do that thing you just posted, because, whoa.
posted by MoonOrb at 11:35 PM on June 11, 2014 [60 favorites]


I'd really like to know how many of you have spent a significant amount of time in Third World countries...

I'm pretty sure this couldn't get any more textbook of an example of "Something bad exists in the world, so anything that isn't addressing that is irrelevant and you don't care about the Third World!?!".

On preview: Yeah, read churachura's comment. Your comment has no relevancy here.
posted by CrystalDave at 11:42 PM on June 11, 2014 [11 favorites]


hey mikeand1. I come from a technically third-world country (though it's getting to first-world status in terms of development). My family comes from one of those countries with people dying of lack of water and high mortality rates etc etc.

That doesn't make my concerns or this FPP that I made any less relevant. That doesn't mean I care about any of these issues less.

Also you're assuming that "third-world" countries are these backwards monolith that is too poor to have their own sense of culture or internationalisation or whatever. Never mind that many "third world countries" have far surpassed the US in terms of embracing mobile tech, or that many of them are much more aware of the world than many Americans seem to be, or whatever.

No. We must all be dying of thirst, because not wanting to be confronted with remnants of culture that remind us of how unwanted we are in society is just a bourgeois thing.

Don't speak for people like us, please. Your concern-trolling is not welcome here.
posted by divabat at 11:48 PM on June 11, 2014 [72 favorites]


mikeand1: "What I find most ironic about this whole thread is the absurd lack of self-awareness displayed by the well-off people driving it."

If you knew any of the examples of irony in Macbeth, YOU WOULD REALIZE THAT WHAT YOU'RE POINTING OUT IS COMPLETELY UNIRONIC BY COMPARISON.
posted by Bugbread at 11:50 PM on June 11, 2014 [10 favorites]


THE MUZAK YOU HAVE TO LISTEN TO AT TRADER JOES IS A COMPLETELY FUCKING STUPIDLY TRIVIAL PROBLEM BY COMPARISON.

It's part of our culture and it's worthwhile for for people in our culture to talk about. I mean, do you refuse to talk about stuff on TV and the price of gas at the local stations because global warming and omg what about Syria?

The culture we live in affects us directly and we're part of it, so it's an important thing for us to talk about.
posted by nangar at 11:51 PM on June 11, 2014 [10 favorites]


Comment deleted. The "but other problems exist" line of argument was off-topic enough in its own right I feel but it has been made and responded to; doubling down on it with belligerent sarcasm will not improve this already-tricky discussion for anyone.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane (staff) at 12:32 AM on June 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


The reason this is affecting me is because last night I went to a pizza place, ordered a slice, and the guy goes, "What the bitch wants, the bitch gets."

Fuck. Ing. Hell.
posted by billiebee at 1:48 AM on June 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yes, mefi has suddenly collapsed into a patriarchal cesspit - I just wonder what thing could be done to re-adjust the imbalance ? What on earth could it possibly be ? Perhaps other mefitez would like to make some posts on my behalf to search for the answer as we mull over this head scratching imponderable ?
posted by sgt.serenity at 1:55 AM on June 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


last night I went to a pizza place, ordered a slice, and the guy goes, "What the bitch wants, the bitch gets."

One time when I was a teenager I went to the shop, bought something from the lady, paid, and was given change. I said "Thanks a lot!" and turned to go.

"Excuse me?"

"Huh?"

"WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY?"

"I, uh, I said 'Thanks. Thanks, a lot'?"

"Oh. Fine then."

When I got outside I realized that she'd heard me say 'Thanks, slut!', and I felt my face go hot and I never returned to that shop ever again. I also tried to stop mumbling so much.

Unfortunately I don't think the same kind of amusing misunderstanding happened at your pizza place.
posted by um at 2:20 AM on June 12, 2014 [6 favorites]


Yes, the music in Trader Joe's is trivial. So if there's a problem with the music in Trader Joe's -- like an offensive song in the playlist -- that problem should be trivial to fix!

The author of the article pointed out this (trivial) problem, but Trader Joe's didn't seem to take it seriously (weird!), so she wrote about it, which makes sense -- she's a writer, and getting public pressure could help fix this minor problem with Trader Joe's music.

I assume everyone agrees that (1) Trader Joe's has control over what music they play and (2) Trader Joe's should not play songs that customers (even a small number!) find offensive, right?

But the gut responses of people in that thread were super weird -- look at the first 10 or so comments -- commenters think the author is a threat to creative expression, or she's a rude classist who picks on working-class people, or she's the death knell of progressivism, or she's a fascist censor, etc. I call these "gut responses" because a lot of this popular snark showed that the authors didn't read the full article.

If the music at Trader Joe's is trivial, then why are people immediately critical when a woman wants to change it? Why is there so much incoherent criticism and pushback of the author in that thread?

I'm an academic white dude; I have no idea what it's like to be a woman. But I can imagine that if my minor, reasonable requests reliably triggered a sandstorm of biting, empty criticism, I would lose hope pretty fast.

So yeah. If you think the music at Trader Joe's isn't a big deal, but you find yourself really irritated by someone who tries to improve the music at Trader Joe's, then you should think really carefully about what's actually bothering you. And before expressing your irritation, you should realize that people will hear what you say.
posted by serif at 2:30 AM on June 12, 2014 [51 favorites]


Please direct me towards the comment of mine which you have wrongly construed as a stalwart defense of the author. Or did you mean someone else aside from me when you said "people" while directly quoting my comment word for word?
posted by elizardbits at 12:33 on June 12 [+] [!]


Dude. I have been reading your comments since the start of this meta. I never thought u were a fan.

When I used "people", I meant people. Not you. Hope that clears up the confusion.
posted by hal_c_on at 2:41 AM on June 12, 2014


I'd really like to know how many of you have spent a significant amount of time in Third World countries dealing with people who are dying for the lack of clean drinking water.

That would be me, and I'm simultaneously capable of being bothered by misogyny when I encounter it here. We contain multitudes, and there's no contradiction in caring about several things.
posted by Dip Flash at 3:46 AM on June 12, 2014 [13 favorites]


a little irritated that she looped in Eliot Rodgers into the discussion like "in this post Rodgers society" as though THAT was some sort of seismic event in the abuse toward women narrative,

I know what you're saying, but I think actually the Rodgers situation was a kind of sea change for all of us. I'm not quite sure why, but I see a lot of us angry and not willing to put up with shit we once were anymore. Maybe because it validates that these micro and macro aggressions are, in fact, the precursors to violence, but I think more because it's a visible example that no, no matter how obvious it is, even if the guy makes a motherfucking manifesto talking about how much he hates women and wants to keep them down, society does not value us enough as humans to consider it a hate crime.

So maybe it wasn't a seismic event in the abuse towards women narrative, but I definitely feel like it was a seismic event in the women fighting back response.
posted by corb at 3:47 AM on June 12, 2014 [33 favorites]


I didn't comment in the Trader Joe's question because it seemed to be the BunnyUltramod show. Even though BU had some good points the amount of comments and immediate emphatic responses left no room for expansion of any other viewpoint and other viewpoints then became entrenched and angry the opposite way.

Also what is with the comparisons to trans* threads and treatment of women in Metafilter??? You know, apart from the fact that trans*women are women? Please. I am new to Mefi (but lurked for years) and it seems to me that in general women are able to speak up and get their points across. In the thread in question much of the animosity came (as mentioned by someone else) in the framing vs the topic.

Discussions of trans* issues until recently were horrific here. In fact I joined Mefi to support the survivors of abuse in the woody Allen thread and to be an ally to our trans* members. I'm not trying to deny the existence of microagressions but *come on* the current discussions around trans* issues and those in a clickbait thread about Muzak are not the same
posted by biggreenplant at 5:16 AM on June 12, 2014 [7 favorites]


if you don't want to measure dicks, don't wave yours around first.

This is why dudes sometimes are not the best kinda people to participate in threads about feminism or misogyny.
posted by hal_c_on at 5:17 AM on June 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


I put a MeTa into the queue about this, but it got killed.

I think the post was just ridiculous at face value, almost hysterical at it's root, and it drew out the worst in everyone.

For Christ's sake, someone is bitching about hearing a 48 year old song in Trader Joes? Oh but it is so fucking politically correct now?

Switch positions here, and I make an FPP about how offended I was after hearing I Am Woman at Whole Foods? Think there would be any outrage there? Fuck no. Depending on the hour of the day, there is a HUGE anti-male bias here.

I say grow the fuck up. It's an old Rolling Stones song and nothing else. It wasn't directed at her as an insult, in fact she probably wasn't even born yet when the thing came out.

The notion she thinks this is some great injustice thrown at her in the aisle of a supermarket speaks to narcissism, and bores the fuck out of me.

I don't know the numbers, but I would guess last night alone there are double digits of women in this country who either died or ended up in an ER because of abuse.

And you want to talk about a song from 1966 while you are shopping for your organic kale.
posted by timsteil at 5:18 AM on June 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Switch positions here, and I make an FPP about how offended I was after hearing I Am Woman at Whole Foods?

That verse where they endorse the SCUM manifesto is a bit much, isn't it?
posted by robself at 5:22 AM on June 12, 2014 [17 favorites]


hysterical bitching, you say
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 5:22 AM on June 12, 2014 [60 favorites]


I don't know the numbers, but I would guess last night alone there are double digits of women in this country who either died or ended up in an ER because of abuse.

And you want to talk about a song from 1966 while you are shopping for your organic kale.


wow I can care about more than one thing at a time.

am I magic?
posted by winna at 5:23 AM on June 12, 2014 [47 favorites]


The notion she thinks this is some great injustice thrown at her in the aisle of a supermarket speaks to narcissism, and bores the fuck out of me.

I don't know the numbers, but I would guess last night alone there are double digits of women in this country who either died or ended up in an ER because of abuse.


It's amazing to me how much of this thread and its parent are dedicated to telling women the things that they should care more about than x. One day I hope someone draws up a convenient list so I never bore anyone with any of my trivial issues.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 5:26 AM on June 12, 2014 [62 favorites]


Depending on the hour of the day, there is a HUGE anti-male bias here.

haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
posted by ominous_paws at 5:28 AM on June 12, 2014 [12 favorites]


These threads have solved the physics problem of achieving perpetual motion.

Hey, maybe misogyny can be used for something productive, like generating enough energy to keep the MeFi servers going!
posted by spitbull at 5:31 AM on June 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


Unfortunately I don't think the same kind of amusing misunderstanding happened at your pizza place.

Reminds me of an extremely embarrassing moment when I said, "hey, Paige," to a fellow club member and everyone thought I called her a bitch.

I did manage to go back, but I don't mumble that name quite as much now.
posted by michaelh at 5:31 AM on June 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


It's the sneering and hostility that just tires me out. And the same damn thing over and over again.

And of course the damned if you do, damned if you don't aspect of the whole thing. When complaining about microaggressions, harrassments, things that are just part of the culture as a reflection of toxic aspects of that culture, I've often been told "well, why don't you say something? speak up! I would give the man a piece of my mind!"

**speaks up**

"what the fuck do you care about that for!? Grow up! Shut up! It's nothing compared to infant mortality/drinking water/rape etc etc etc"

I just don't know what to do about it.
posted by gaspode at 5:32 AM on June 12, 2014 [67 favorites]


Although I suppose that relies on an endless supply of misogynists coming in to be be outraged at the previous 50,000 words they didn't read . . . and surely we will hit Peak Misogynist soon.
posted by spitbull at 5:32 AM on June 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Switch positions here, and I make an FPP about how offended I was after hearing I Am Woman at Whole Foods? Think there would be any outrage there? Fuck no. Depending on the hour of the day, there is a HUGE anti-male bias here.

1) lol that you think a song about a sexual power struggle and "I Am Woman" are even remotely comparable

2) I'm a dude, and even if this site had the anti-male bias that it has only in the delusions of MRAs and their apologists, who would give a shit. That would be good. That would be a shining exception to the rest of the whole damn world.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 5:33 AM on June 12, 2014 [19 favorites]


The idea of someone being so offended by a thread on a MetaTalk that they have to join it 500 comments in to shout down the entire premise of a huge, sprawling multi-thread, multi-year conversation on the site with "you're all stupid and trivial and just grow up" -- and then doing so by calling people stupid for being too interested in trivial matters -- is rich, rich, rich.

I don't know the numbers, but I would guess last night alone there are double digits of women in this country who either died or ended up in an ER because of abuse.

And here you are shouting into the wind, at the bottom of a long, contentious MetaTalk, about "hysterical bitching" because someone else found something interesting or problematic in the world that didn't seem like a big deal to you. Don't you have a third world country to save or a patient to treat for multiple stab wounds?
posted by spitbull at 5:38 AM on June 12, 2014 [37 favorites]


I'm truly not sure what the number of abused women has to do with whether or not it's OK to be irritated by something (though if we're still running in circles about the original thread's topic in Metatalk, I suppose you could argue that by not playing a song from the perspective of an abuser, you're ... supporting those abused women, or at least not glorifying their abusers?). Surely every time something irritates you, you don't think "Well, this clearly isn't as bad as prison rape or the number of children dying of malaria," and forget that you were ever bothered. In fact, most of these threads seem to be testament to that fact.

The world is full of nuance, humans are full of the ability to multitask, and doing something about something "trivial" precludes no one from doing something about something "serious."
posted by ChuraChura at 5:39 AM on June 12, 2014 [6 favorites]


Or how many days you've spent working on behalf of women in places where the infant mortality rate is sky-high because they can't get the most basic level of prenatal care.

HAHAHA. I love that you got so stupidly specific about what one must do before one complains. My partner does EXACTLY what you wrote. I don't know the number of days, but it is in the hundreds. We'll be in Trader Joe's later this week. I'll ask what she thinks then report back to you. Since her opinion matters now, I'm sure you'll open your fucking ears.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 5:41 AM on June 12, 2014 [27 favorites]


Also, why can't people grow the fuck up? They get all hissy and emotional and complain and whine for the tiniest things. I mean someone wrote about how they politely brought some attention to a corporation about how they didn't like their experience in the store, and people FLIP THE FUCK OUT.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 5:51 AM on June 12, 2014 [13 favorites]


Seriously, there are men rotting in terrible, cruel prisons here in America right now. There are men dying in wars all over the world. There was just a story about men serving as slaves on fishing boats in Thailand and we're instead talking about the trivial, dubious complaint of anti-male bias on Metafilter? Get some perspective, dude.
posted by Drinky Die at 5:55 AM on June 12, 2014 [47 favorites]


What I find most ironic about this whole thread is the absurd lack of self-awareness displayed by the well-off people driving it.

I'd really like to know how many of you have spent a significant amount of time in Third World countries dealing with people who are dying for the lack of clean drinking water. Or how many days you've spent working on behalf of women in places where the infant mortality rate is sky-high because they can't get the most basic level of prenatal care.

I'm pretty sure that number is close to zero. Because people who have done those things have a fundamental level of awareness -- they have the basic knowledge that THE MUZAK YOU HAVE TO LISTEN TO AT TRADER JOES IS A COMPLETELY FUCKING STUPIDLY TRIVIAL PROBLEM BY COMPARISON.
>

I'm just curious... do you do any actual work yourself in these Third World countries you're so worried about? Or is it just a cute little rhetorical tool for you to make yourself feel like you're better than other people? And if your concern for these issues is so great that you feel it's necessary to leap into a 500+ comment thread and castigate everyone participating because it's not important enough... why did you even post here? You wasted valuable time that could have been spent handing out PlumpyNut to dangerously undernourished children. Doesn't that make you a terrible person, by your own metrics?
posted by palomar at 5:59 AM on June 12, 2014 [6 favorites]


The fact that this is trivial in comparison to, say, infant mortality is ostensibly true. The same thing can be said about almost every single post on the front page right now. I mean, one of the links goes out to a blog I do about theater in Omaha in the early years of the state. I'll go ahead and say that this is a minor concern compared to infant mortality.

And yet nobody is busting into that thread and complaining that there are greater concerns in the world. In fact, most peolle aren't commenting at all, which is fine. If something isn't to your interests, you move on to something else, as this is a great big world and there is room enough in it for us to have multiple interests, of many levels of importance, and to not be interested in other things.

But to go into a thread about women's issues and complain about triviality, and not to do the same in any other thread? That doesn't communicate a sophisticated sense of the ranked importance of the matters of this world. It communicates a sense that this woman's issue is uniquely trivial, so trivial it must uniquely be spoken out against and mocked.

That's not a gesture that speaks to a clearheaded sense of what's important in this world. It's a sexist gesture, and is precisely the sort of gesture that this thread was opened to address.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 5:59 AM on June 12, 2014 [41 favorites]


> I honestly can't tell if that's satire, Drinky Die.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:00 AM on June 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


in an alternate universe, the same thread about dr dre would have been interesting. i wonder if his misogynism would have been obscured and excused as thoroughly as mick's was.
posted by nadawi at 6:00 AM on June 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


(It's a satirical comment on how people who make arguments about "You must solve the third world problems before you complain about your own issues!" generally don't hold to that advice for their own complaints.)
posted by Drinky Die at 6:02 AM on June 12, 2014 [9 favorites]


I'm just curious... do you do any actual work yourself in these Third World countries you're so worried about?

I want to know if he actually read the thread before he posted. Evidence points otherwise.
posted by Think_Long at 6:04 AM on June 12, 2014


Of course he didn't. Does anyone really ever read the thread they shit in?
posted by palomar at 6:05 AM on June 12, 2014


To be fair, I try to read the threads, but then I remember the AIDS crisis in Africa and I just don't have the time!
posted by Think_Long at 6:11 AM on June 12, 2014 [18 favorites]


I don't know the numbers, but I would guess last night alone there are double digits of women in this country who either died or ended up in an ER because of abuse.

In harassment threads women get lectured on misunderstanding what men do to criminalize harmless flirting. In rape threads they get lectured on their lack of focus on false accusations regardless of situation. In threads about abuse and violence they get lectured about not talking about abused men enough, or that there's some mitigating factor that is as bad or worse than misogyny. They get lectured with five-dollar words dripping with condescension by men who claim to know oh-so-much more about the world and feminism than they do. In threads about "small" but systemic problems they get yelled at for not seeing the big picture. In threads about large-scale problems they get accused of being sheltered by their comfy first-world lives.They get accused of not being angry enough when they fail to list out all the major problems in the world. They get accused of being too angry when their "tone" is "alienating" to people who compare examining their own possible issues is akin to worries about being brainwashed by the feminist crazies. They can't even mention specific subgroups of men in any of these situations without having "not all men" thrown in their face. They can't suggest that, at one point in their lives, any given man has done something sexist or even misogynist (even with the caveat of it being something they were unaware of) without being branded liars and harpies, even though it's something most feminist male allies would readily admit to. They get accused of being as bad or worse than the misogynists themselves, of being mentally ill, of being misandrists, of being fascist in thought and deed, of being saboteurs of "real" progress.

And these are all things that have happened just since the FPP about Elliot Rodgers went up two weeks ago.

Of course, it's not a recent thing, nor is it limited to the blue. Hell, I see over half of that just in this MeTa. This happens in a percentage of threads about harassment, rape, abuse, and all the other forms of violence--micro or macro--against women so close to 100% as to be indistinguishable. Often times, as it was in the TJ thread and the Elliot Rodgers thread and many others, these come up out of nowhere as some sort of pre-accusatory nastiness. Sometimes the alleged deranged activism is even used as an excuse as to why whatever shitty thing described in the FPP happened. I feel like the point of divabat in posting this MeTa was to illustrate this (and I'm fine with being corrected if I'm wrong about that), to show it's still a problem that can't and shouldn't just be hand-waved away. Apparently that's too much to ask for some.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:13 AM on June 12, 2014 [101 favorites]


One day I hope someone draws up a convenient list so I never bore anyone with any of my trivial issues.

Maybe timsteil can make us an app for that! How convenient would *that* be?

I will say that it's awfully nice of timsteil to come into a thread like this and give such a crystal-clear demonstration of the problem we're tangling with - much appreciated, dude, thanks!
posted by rtha at 6:13 AM on June 12, 2014 [11 favorites]


Think_Long, you could have rebuilt seventy-five village wells in the time it took you to type that comment.

I hope you are ashame.
posted by winna at 6:13 AM on June 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


almost hysterical at it's root

Hooooooooly shit. Although I am cognizant that this has been a long, difficult couple of threads, and that the moderation staff is reduced and therefore stretched thinner, I have to say, timsteil, that was a giant stinky turd of a remark.
posted by Ipsifendus at 6:15 AM on June 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


Switch positions here, and I make an FPP about how offended I was after hearing I Am Woman at Whole Foods? Think there would be any outrage there?

Not if you posted it in AskMe, where it would most likely be welcomed with a flood of excellent suggestions that would benefit you greatly, provided you were able to sit still long enough to comprehend them.
posted by Pudhoho at 6:19 AM on June 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Not that a man's opinion is necessarily wrong on any topic related to misogyny, but the best tactic for a man participating in this sort of discussion is to just listen. There's no real need to step in with a knee-jerk reaction and DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT BECAUSE I CAN'T BE WRONG and THERE ARE WORSE THINGS IN THE WORLD. It's good to just listen. Let it resonate, and if you still disagree with what is being labeled as misogynistic then carry on as you were, there's no helping you right now.

I found this comment insightful:

The fact that this is trivial in comparison to, say, infant mortality is ostensibly true. The same thing can be said about almost every single post on the front page right now.

And yet nobody is busting into that thread and complaining that there are greater concerns in the world.

Folks need to stop advocating for some sort one-problem-at-a-time stop-the-presses form of activism. No one is going to parachute into fantasy country X and liberate all its women before they take care of an immediate, local issue, just because the parachute scenario is the bigger victory. This is one way we can improve the discourse around women's issues on Metafilter.

If you're lurking and looking over the number of comments here and can read the general tone of the discourse, how can you not see that there's definitely a teachable moment here, that there is something worth all of the vitriol?

I thought the initial post was thin and showed some poor journalistic tendencies, but I definitely don't think of that Stones song the same way (I'd never given it a second thought before) anymore.
posted by GrapeApiary at 6:27 AM on June 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


Switch positions here, and I make an FPP about how offended I was after hearing I Am Woman at Whole Foods? Think there would be any outrage there? Fuck no. Depending on the hour of the day, there is a HUGE anti-male bias here.

You'd be offended by a song that doesn't mention men at all? Because not mentioning men is the height of anti-male bias. (Why am I not at all surprised by this.)
posted by rtha at 6:32 AM on June 12, 2014 [49 favorites]


timsteil: "Depending on the hour of the day, there is a HUGE anti-male bias here."

There is an anti-asshole bias on Metafilter. An anti-misogyny bias. An anti-MRA bias.

There is no "HUGE anti-male bias" here. If there were, you'd likely have been banned by now. Along with a few other folks.

No, at most there are a few women who seem very sick and tired of taking an endless stream of shit from men. I certainly can't blame them for that.
posted by zarq at 6:34 AM on June 12, 2014 [21 favorites]


rtha, that is a good comment and you should feel good.
posted by Too-Ticky at 6:34 AM on June 12, 2014 [3 favorites]



There is an anti-asshole bias on Metafilter. An anti-misogyny bias. An anti-MRA bias


Sometimes I wonder.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:37 AM on June 12, 2014 [5 favorites]


Switch positions here, and I make an FPP about how offended I was after hearing I Am Woman at Whole Foods? Think there would be any outrage there?

Here are the lyrics to Under My Thumb.

Here are the lyrics to I Am Woman.

And here's what I would like from you, before this conversation goes any further, because I have a lot to say about this subject but I would like to be as fair to you as I possibly can.

I would like, if at all possible, if you would please confirm whether or not you believe the lyrics to Under My Thumb and the lyrics to I Am Woman are equally objectionable, and that either both or neither of them contain a depiction of a fucked-up dynamic between men and women.

Again, Under My Thumb is a song whose lyrics talk about how great it is (and how the song's narrator is responsible for the fact) that a woman now does what she's told; how she speaks when spoken to; how she cannot look at other men but he can look at other women.

And I Am Woman is a song whose lyrics talk about being a woman who considers herself to be wise and strong.

Do you believe these two songs are analogous in their depiction of gender dynamic? Does I Am Woman offend you? If so, what is it about the song that offends you? More to the point, what is it about Under My Thumb that leads you to say that switching positions would result in writing about I Am Woman instead?

These are not rhetorical questions; please take a few moments to ruminate over them before answering. Once you have, I will be happy to engage in this discussion with you. Thank you.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 6:40 AM on June 12, 2014 [58 favorites]


There is an anti-asshole bias on Metafilter.

If only
posted by Reggie Knoble at 6:40 AM on June 12, 2014 [5 favorites]


There is an anti-asshole bias on Metafilter.

First they came for the dicks and I said nothing...
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:48 AM on June 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


I'm a man and I find Metafilter a totally welcoming place for men who do their best to respect women. If you're a man, in a thread, telling how it is about sexism, and you find yourself feeling unwelcome, it's not a bad idea to check with yourself about why this is and what you are doing.

FWIW, I went into the TJ-Muzak thread feeling like I could see both sides and like it probably wasn't as big a deal as the woman in the OP was making it out to be, but the patient, thoughtful explanations of many commenters in that thread -- I'm thinking here especially of Frowner, scody, Bunny Ultramod, KathrynT, and others whom I'm forgetting at the moment -- have pretty much brought me around. Culture does matter; and misogyny at the near-subconscious level of grocery-store muzak is actually pretty gross and something worth spending a certain amount of energy resisting and working to change.

So, you have my thanks for your efforts and your patience, folks. It does make a difference.
posted by gauche at 6:55 AM on June 12, 2014 [35 favorites]


Hope that clears up the confusion.

Since I was addressing that comment to someone who was not you, I think the only confusion here is yours.

unless you just accidentally outed your own sockpuppet, in which case, well done indeed
posted by elizardbits at 6:55 AM on June 12, 2014 [10 favorites]


This thread could easily be about music. A lot of music is problematic and we listen to it and even sometimes sing along to it anyway. A lot of music is problematic.

Not the music I listen to, mind, I mean the music you listen to. I listen to electronica so I can have the high moral ground in such discussions.

This thread could also easily be about comments. A lot of comments are problematic and we read them and sometimes we [+] them anyway.

Anyway someone once had a thread about the problematic, and that was a good thread. Go on and read that and tell me I'm wrong.
posted by vicx at 6:58 AM on June 12, 2014


The notion she thinks this is some great injustice thrown at her in the aisle of a supermarket speaks to narcissism, and bores the fuck out of me.

Great. How about, if you're so bored by threads like the TJ one you're referring to, you stop reading and commenting in them? How about you never again comment on a thread about women and their experiences that you think is boring or stupid? How about you just leave those threads alone -- and the MetaTalk threads that occasionally spring up to discuss them -- so that I never have to read another willfully smug, dismissive, infuriating comment like the one you dropped in the middle of this thread?

You know what "bores the fuck out of me"? Your opinions on whether or not women have a right to be angry or upset about something.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 6:59 AM on June 12, 2014 [37 favorites]


You know what "bores the fuck out of me"? Your opinions on whether or not women have a right to be angry or upset about something.

Yeah I feel like maybe you meant to put your "This article sucks" comment in the original MeFi thread, not here where people are trying to have a metadiscussion about the issue of how we talk about sexism on MetaFilter? Your comment is mostly just about you.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 7:04 AM on June 12, 2014 [9 favorites]


Anyway someone once had a thread about the problematic, and that was a good thread. Go on and read that and tell me I'm wrong

Needless to say, I have had the song "Under My Thumb" stuck in my head since the thread began. And I don't really mind it, because, by many standards, it's a genuinely great song, although, by one important standard, it's got issues. But that problematic art thread is right -- we can like things that have issues. I like HP Lovecraft, although, as an Irish Jew, he probably would have seen me as the real world analog to the corrupt fish people at Innsmouth.

Fortunately, I can enjoy the song when I want, in the way I want, cognizant of the song's problems, and aware that they don't have the sort of impact on me as a man as they might on a woman.

In general, I love garage rock too, which always heavily borrowed from the Stones. But, oh my God, were those guys fucked up about women. It's like the soundtrack to sexual neurosis as snarling, countercultural posturing. I love their music, but thank God I wasn't their girlfriend.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 7:06 AM on June 12, 2014 [5 favorites]


Could a mod weigh in here on the MeTa that was allegedly "killed?" Was he just, like, told it wasn't necessary because there's already one MeTa on the TJ FPP going? Was it nuked because it was laden with vitriol? Is he just making that shit up?
posted by MoonOrb at 7:11 AM on June 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


So, I remember a conversation I was involved in online (probably in the blue) about sexism in video games. Someone commented that the problem wasn't that a game was about a male character, but that the game was about a male character in the context of almost all the games being about male characters. Reading that, I realized that, even if a game designer have REALLY good artistic reasons for making a game about a male character, it's really challenging for anyone to tease those reasons out from the knot of general sexism that makes male the default.

I've been trying to apply that idea to my life. I mean, let's say that I have a really good tip about how the author could've more effectively gotten the song removed. Me saying that (while it might be true, and may not be coming from any sexism on my part), happens in a context where critiques of a woman talking about sexism in her life are used to discredit the claims and move the discussion away from her claims. So, in these conversations, I don't bring up that stuff, because I don't want to take part of that larger pattern. I don't want to give the impression that I think you need to be perfect to complain.

That's a choice I've made. It's not because my speech has been chilled by some imaginary mob out for male blood. It's not because I'm afraid of being called a sexist. It's not because I'm interested in being part of an echo-chamber. It's because by not saying them I can make people's days slightly nicer. It's because it's something I can do that makes the Metafilter slightly less hostile to women. It's also because, selfishly, I'd like to not have to stop and consider if my comments are part of a sexist pattern, and one way to help that pattern go away is by not participating in it.

That's not a choice I can, or want to, make for anyone else. Maybe you have some great suggestions about how the author of the piece should've acted. Having them doesn't make you sexist, but because of the culture you're in, saying them means you're participating in a sexist pattern, even if you do so unintentionally. Maybe what you have to say is important enough that you're willing to make that trade. All anyone can really ask is that before you hit post, spare a moment to consider that the context of comments often has just as big an impact on the reader the as the content.
posted by Gygesringtone at 7:28 AM on June 12, 2014 [32 favorites]


Shut up, annoying person! No, you shut up about saying shut up! No, everyone should express their feelings! No, people should back off and listen without judgement! No, I want to let you know what a fuckwit I think you are for thinking that thing that you think which I don't agree with! etc., etc., ad nauseum.

I get annoyed by what I consider to be trivialities, it's true. I mostly just spray spittle on my monitor and stay away from typing it out because it's just my fucking opinion and we all know the cliche about that. The way I feel about something may be wildly different from how others feel about it but how is my contempt for their feelings going to be of use to anyone? Just because it doesn't affect me the way it does them doesn't mean that their feelings are bullshit. And often, if I shut the fuck up for long enough, whilst I still may consider it to be a trivial thing *to me* I often will learn exactly why others don't think it's so trivial and is in fact a small and nasty cog in something so large that I hadn't even noticed because it's everywhere. And as horrible as those revelations can be it's good to be reminded, every now and then, that the world is so much bigger than just our individual experience of it.
posted by h00py at 7:30 AM on June 12, 2014 [8 favorites]


You know, as much as I don't care for a lot of the current (IMO) over-sensitivity of MeFi, the idea that things are somehow "anti-male" is so fucking silly I just can't process it. CANNOT.
posted by lattiboy at 7:57 AM on June 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


You know, as much as I don't care for a lot of the current (IMO) over-sensitivity of MeFi, the idea that things are somehow "anti-male" is so fucking silly I just can't process it. CANNOT.

And yet it comes up pretty much every single time we have a MeTa about feminism. That's less "silly" and more "horrifying" if you ask me.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:59 AM on June 12, 2014 [16 favorites]


I tend to think that not many people actually got better about feminist issues, they just learned to stay out of these threads because they would be argued with . But then you have a thread like this one about taking away the Rolling Stones, and they couldn't resist adding their comments.

But I'm the pessimistic sort.
posted by smackfu at 8:07 AM on June 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


It amazes me that, in a thread about showing respect to people (gender be damned, that's basically what this is about, right?), people can't show respect to people.

A bit wearisome....
posted by HuronBob at 8:08 AM on June 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


I assume everyone agrees that (1) Trader Joe's has control over what music they play and (2) Trader Joe's should not play songs that customers (even a small number!) find offensive, right?

I doubt whether everyone agrees to 2). A lot of people find (for example) any kind of rock and roll, or any kind of hip-hop, offensive. For businesses to ban something at the first complaint would really be problematic.

I've spent a lot of time working for a big-box book chain that plays CDs they are trying to sell. Comments about the music being offensive happened on a daily basis for so many different reasons. Mostly people's problem was with the genre. It was possible to complain and to get individual songs removed and in fact this happened on a regular basis. I am now kind of ashamed that I didn't do more about certain music. But no, I don't agree with 2). Some of the things people complain about are seriously not offensive enough to get rid of. Do the people complaining deserve a hearing? Yes.

And honestly, I think Trader Joe's should reconsider this case.
posted by BibiRose at 8:11 AM on June 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


I avoided the thread on the blue and this thread, not because I didn't have anything to add, but because it wouldn't have been helpful - I felt myself coming down on the side of "Really? World's fucked up as it is, and she's offended by a forty-eight-year-old song?"

Intellectually, I recognized that feeling was wrong and broken, but still the feeling was there. Best thing to do is not to give it (another) voice.

Woke up this morning, read a few more comments on both threads, some back and forth about whether she should have said this or done that. Had opinions about those details as well, but I was beginning to notice something. There's a recurring theme, something that's getting repeated over and over and over again, but every repetition of the theme is being missed because the words are being dissected instead of heard.

Now, if you're male, and you're involved in a back and forth about one detail or another, it won't have the same impact unless you drop the argument for a moment and focus, but I promise it'll be worth it, if you can:
Bullying, catcalls, threats, violence, hitting, raping, ogling, groping, dismissing, belittling, objectifying, condescending, and a thousand other ways of grinding a person down. Mention it, and be ridiculed. Complain about it, and the treatment gets worse.

All the time. Never goes away, even with people you hope you can trust, 'cause you never know, and you never know.

Every. Fucking. Day.

And then the world tells you you're overreacting when a fifty-year-old song about finally taking control of some uppity bitch makes you see crimson because it's playing in a fucking grocery store.
So yeah, everyone needs a hug and whatnot, but before turning all Gregory House on a complaint about misogyny, maybe step back and try to see that theme running through the thread, 'cause I'll bet you it's there.
posted by Mooski at 8:11 AM on June 12, 2014 [14 favorites]


Sorry, instead of "at the first complaint" I should have said, "just because there is a complaint." One reasonable complaint may be plenty.
posted by BibiRose at 8:12 AM on June 12, 2014


But then you have a thread like this one about taking away the Rolling Stones.

Nobody is taking away the Rolling Stones. They will still be available at the store and online and maybe even at a concert venue near you one day. One song with extremely sexist lyrics just might get pulled off a Muzak playlist that people hear in the grocery store.

Some men in this thread are exasperated that women care enough about the lyrics of the ambient music in the store to expend any energy trying to fix it, particularly when there are more important world problems to solve. I'm exasperated that (some) men care enough about hearing the song they like, regardless of the way it affects other people around them, to spend that much energy on defending Under My Thumb.
posted by immlass at 8:18 AM on June 12, 2014 [9 favorites]


The notion she thinks this is some great injustice thrown at her in the aisle of a supermarket speaks to narcissism, and bores the fuck out of me.

Oh, for fuck's sake.

Today, I woke up and traveled to work. On the way to the subway, I got to hear no less than three shitty guys call out to me to try to get me to talk to them and one who tried to demand that I smile. I opened up my Facebook while waiting for the train, and was greeted with the news that the VA was rating female PTSD claims from military sexual trauma at much lower rates than male PTSD claims from combat. Another female veteran was talking about her experience going into a VA and being asked for her husband's social security number. Another post was a man with a "funny meme" about how women should be cooking in the kitchen with lingerie on.

Once I was actually on the subway, I had to deal with a man who used the excuse of the crowded subway train to push himself against me and leer at me. When I got off the subway train and into work, I had to deal with one phone call from a client who wanted to talk about how sexy my voice was instead of his situation.

If there was music playing in my office that was sexist as fuck after that first hour and a half, it would likely irritate me. I might not say anything, but it would bother me. And it would bother me because it was piling on top of a lot of other things that happened today -that happen EVERY day.

Of all the things that could possibly be, narcissism is not one of them, and the fact that you think it does says something about you, not about me, and not about the woman who had a problem with that song being played.
posted by corb at 8:25 AM on June 12, 2014 [77 favorites]


Yeah, but on the other hand, some of us might not be able to hear one overplayed Rolling Stones song when we buy our groceries, so take one for the team, will ya?

robble robble
posted by tonycpsu at 8:32 AM on June 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


Now that our moderation resources are more limited, I would be totally okay if the mods decide to put a brake on threads that get out of control, and close the comments. There is no productive discussion taking place in that thread, or this.

Alternatively, I'm also okay with the mods choosing to delete posts that only contain a single link to a poorly-researched article. It seems like this post had all of the ingredients for a shitstorm in the comments: An article about a traditionally-incendiary topic; a reasonably valid thesis; too much hyperbole; and sloppy underlying research.

I'm not saying that the OP is responsible for the mess that erupted in the comments, but I do think that the discussion would not have gone off of the rails if there was a bit more framing and context around the article. A "Try again tomorrow with a bit more framing" deletion would have probably been wise.
posted by schmod at 8:36 AM on June 12, 2014 [5 favorites]


I'm also okay with the mods choosing to delete posts that only contain a single link to a poorly-researched article.

flagging is the way to achieve this.
posted by sweetkid at 8:45 AM on June 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


Wait, where in the article is the "too much hyperbole"?

If it were going to have been deleted, I'd think it would've been on the basis of being a bit thin (which it is), not hyperbolically incendiary (which I have trouble seeing).
posted by nobody at 8:49 AM on June 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


I wonder if timsteil knows the root etymology of "hysterical?" He may not.

(Hint, it's the same as "hysterectomy.")

The word might as well include an implied "bitch" when used as an insult, especially against a woman or a feminist argument. Ironically, using it that way proves the feminist point.

Ah, the classics. Yes, misogyny is deeply and even unconsciously embedded in the language we use. "Hysterical" means, in essence, "out of control like an only an ovulating woman can be." "Hysteria" means "acting like a crazy woman."

Some people might not know that still, so it's worth saying it explicitly so no one wonders why people might take offense at a common word. It's a high toned version of "uppity."
posted by spitbull at 8:53 AM on June 12, 2014 [5 favorites]


I mean, can you even have too much hyperbole?
posted by gauche at 8:54 AM on June 12, 2014 [6 favorites]


But then you have a thread like this one about taking away the Rolling Stones, and they couldn't resist adding their comments.

First the Feminazis came for the Rolling Stones, but I was not a Rolling Stone...
posted by scody at 8:55 AM on June 12, 2014 [7 favorites]


First the Feminazis came for the Rolling Stones, but I was not a Rolling Stone...

It's papa who's gotta be concerned about this, not you!
posted by MoonOrb at 9:08 AM on June 12, 2014 [6 favorites]


We will never reach peak hyperbole.
posted by Pudhoho at 9:09 AM on June 12, 2014


I mean, can you even have too much hyperbole?

oh god now we're bringing FRIENDS reruns into this....
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:12 AM on June 12, 2014 [5 favorites]


Switch positions here, and I make an FPP about how offended I was after hearing I Am Woman at Whole Foods?

I'm pretty sure I've never heard I Am Woman played in any store, anywhere, ever. Or on the radio, for that matter. In fact I'm pretty sure the few times I have heard it played, it was in an ironic context of some sort. Huh.
posted by prize bull octorok at 9:13 AM on June 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


A woman can be a misogynist.

I know this because I just googled it and found a Yahoo Answers thread and the best answer was from Melody and I liked her answer because it was non-judgemental and acknowledged the problematic.

Melody explains that misogyny could be related to trust issues with women, perhaps stemming from a relationship with a mother or mother figure in childhood that was full of conflict and hostility.

Now that is something real. If you don't trust women and their intentions or actions then you might act defensively even when there is no actual threat. I'm a little bit like that but so is my mother. She has trust issues with women too, we are alike in that respect.

So you might have defensive responses to words and actions from women that are not intended to be threatening. If those responses were directed outwardly all the time you would have a pathology. That sort of response becomes an aggressive form of misogyny that is highly problematic.

I'm almost done with this comment but I'd like to also add that men and women can also be a misandrist. I googled that too (do you mistrust or hate men). Add your tales of misandry here -> (personally I don't really trust people so I got a double barrel blast of trust issues)

I don't think we should try to eliminate misogyny and misandry altogether because it is IN us and that stuff can't get undone.

I do think we can temper non-pathological misogyny and misandry in mefi conversations by putting it out there, but I don't really think it can really be done away with. It will always be.

Pathological misogyny and misandry however we should recognise as harmful and problematic. Point it out and mod it on metafilter the way one would weed a garden.

If you are very enthusiastic about improving misogyny and misandry, be a mother, be a father, or a mother-figure or a father-figure who is worthy of trust. Remember that trust has to be earned, even by parents.
posted by vicx at 9:16 AM on June 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


huh
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 9:20 AM on June 12, 2014 [9 favorites]


First the Feminazis came for the Rolling Stones

I realize you're joking, but it kind of brings to my mind the question of why no one is really going after the Rolling Stones for this here. Their involvement with the song is referenced in the past-tense, which is true as far as its creation is concerned, but their financial involvement is ongoing.

I'm absolutely not saying that the discussion "should have" gone in that direction or that the complaints "should have" been directed at them or anything like that. I'm just interested as to either why they're not really considered as responsible party or why I'm under that misapprehension.

I suppose it could be that because they're artists which affords a certain amount of protection and that they wrote and recorded the song ages ago that their business interests in the song are largely ignored in this case. Or maybe it's that they likely have labels/management making all of these decisions for them so they're not going to be micromanaging (or even necessarily owning) their own back catalog.

It's been a long couple of threads though and I've learned that the way I see a thread isn't necessarily how a thread actually is. What might be my "this is something no one is considering" is someone else's "this is a given and boring".

Also, sincerely thanks for your response, Eyebrows McGee.
posted by ODiV at 9:21 AM on June 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


Maybe you have some great suggestions about how the author of the piece should've acted. Having them doesn't make you sexist, but because of the culture you're in, saying them means you're participating in a sexist pattern, even if you do so unintentionally

This sort of gets back to the issue I brought up earlier in the thread - is it acceptable to comment on the specific content of an article in an FPP link, or are there separate, special, unspoken rules that apply when an FPP is about sexism (or other issue of prejudice and discrimination) stating that commenters should refrain from discussing the minutia of the links and instead limit their comments only to discussing the greater societal issue the links bring up?

This FPP was a single-link anecdotal account of how the author went about trying to get a song with misogynistic lyrics removed from the Muzak playlist at a particular Trader Joe's store. If I'm reading your comment correctly (and those who have expressed similar sentiments in the thread), it reads to me as saying, "Comments about this story should be exclusively limited to discussing the larger issue of the pervasiveness of everyday, casual sexism. Discussing other aspects of the article, even if they were brought up by the author herself, will be viewed as perpetuating sexism and misogyny. What aspects of the story you choose to take interest in says a lot about you, consciously or unconsciously".

Which doesn't seem fair to me, in a way. In the same way people in this thread have rightly shot down the ridiculous idea of "How can you care about this (supposedly minor) thing when there is a MUCH WORSE THING going on in the world" by accurately pointing out that it is possible to care about more than one thing at a time, it is also true that one can feel the author of this article is on the side of angels, while also thinking she unfairly misdirected a lot of her anger at an impotent middle-manager and low-level call center worker who simply have not been given the power by their employer to tangibly do much to aid her. My profile picture makes it obvious that there is a sense in which I am hopelessly unqualified to make this statement, but I think people should be allowed to discuss whatever part of an FPP link they find interesting without fear of having unflattering labels thrust at them because someone else deems it trivial compared to some other aspect of the same link.There appears to be a kind of special pleading being suggested in threads like this, where if someone is fighting the good fight, as the author was here, comments about her method should be verboten (unless they are supportive).

(This, of course, is an entirely separate issue from the egregiously sexist and misogynstic comments that littered both the FPP and this thread, which were disheartening for sure).
posted by The Gooch at 9:21 AM on June 12, 2014 [9 favorites]



Melody explains that misogyny could be related to trust issues with women, perhaps stemming from a relationship with a mother or mother figure in childhood that was full of conflict and hostility.


No, misogyny is related to the patriarchy and overwhelming sexism against women that pervades every part of our culture. Yes, women can say and do misogynist things, too, like my female spinning instructor who said that hair replacement treatments don't work as well for women because they lose hair because they're "crazy," not for legitimate reasons like men do (???).

It's just...it's everywhere.

Add your tales of misandry here


no, let's not.
posted by sweetkid at 9:22 AM on June 12, 2014 [28 favorites]


Needless to say, I have had the song "Under My Thumb" stuck in my head since the thread began.

Me, too. Unfortunately, it's not a Stones song I like very much, for a variety of difficult-to-articulate musical reasons, so it's especially vexing that the radio in my head will. not. stop.


about taking away the Rolling Stones

Not to make this too much of a call-out, but I think phrases like this are often what people are concerned about when they talk about bad MetaFilter reactions to feminist-related threads.

No-one in this thread or the one on the blue is talking about "taking away the Rolling Stones" - and what does that even mean, anyway? As immlass points out above, "Under My Thumb" and the rest of their songs will continue to be available in a gazillion other places.

So characterizing either the linked article or comments in the thread in such an exaggeratedly catastrophic way will, I think, often lead to heightened tempers on the part of people responding, and/or a derail where the "discussion" quickly degenerates into a back-and-forth of "It's censorship!!", "No it's not!!", "Is too!!", etc. etc. etc.

I guess my point is, if you (generic "you", not specifically smackfu) think that a statement like "taking away the Rolling Stones" is either an amusing bit of hyperbole or a "close enough" way to characterize a thread or comment - maybe you should step back and re-think that. Many people will, understandably, not be amused or find that kind of phrasing accurate enough and will find it difficult to impossible to engage with your larger point.

If you (again, generic "you") genuinely think that that phrase was an accurate way to describe what was happening in the linked piece, the thread on the blue, or here . . . . shit, I don't know what to tell you.
posted by soundguy99 at 9:23 AM on June 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


I read the original thread before it blew up, and I've been reading this thread with a kind of horrified fascination. It just keeps going!

When I first read the op-ed, I didn't think it was worth a link here; it seemed too trivial. The responses here have really opened my eyes, though.

If I make the most charitable assumption, some of the responses illustrate exactly the problem: misogyny is so pervasive that it's accepted as normal. When you accept misogyny as normal, it seems like a bizarre overreaction to get upset over a misogynist song being played over your supermarket's speakers.

If you don't accept misogyny as normal, then what should seem bizarre is that a woman going about her daily business can't avoid media that demeans her. You should be boggled at that. It should concern you more than whatever flaws there are in the op-ed.

I'm really grateful to all of the commenters in the original thread and in this one who have taken the problem seriously and have tried (however futilely) to make this a discussion of the important issues, whether about our culture or about MeFi.

We need to have this conversation on MetaFilter and elsewhere, but if it's going to be productive, everyone who participates needs to start from common belief that Misogyny Is Bad. We need to not just pay it lipservice. We have to actually believe it and then see where that takes us.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 9:24 AM on June 12, 2014 [41 favorites]


I'm just interested as to either why they're not really considered as responsible party or why I'm under that misapprehension.

As an artist and a feminist who deeply enjoys some incredibly problematic works (I sang Batti, Batti, o bel Masetto for an AUDITION once), for me, it's because artists are often working from the heart, and the heart is frequently a shitty and problematic place. Eminem was really, really mad at his mother when he wrote Cleaning out my Closet, and maybe for good reasons. It doesn't mean the song isn't misogynist. It doesn't mean it's not a good cathartic listen for someone who's having problems with their own mother, either. Music is frequently conceived of, produced, and consumed in a place where not much sober, intellectual examination is taking place, and that's OK too.
posted by KathrynT at 9:31 AM on June 12, 2014 [30 favorites]


while also thinking she unfairly misdirected a lot of her anger at an impotent middle-manager

Wait, does the article even express any anger? I definitely don't see anything that could be called anger directed at the store employee in that dialogue.

I'm harping on this and the "hyperbole" comment because it feels to me like reading "anger" and "hyperbole" where it doesn't exist is part of the sexism problem to begin with.
posted by nobody at 9:32 AM on June 12, 2014 [10 favorites]


I am trying very hard to keep up with the comments, but I am really sucking at it, so if I'm repeating something or saying something wrong, sorry in advance. I'm a slow reader, I guess.

I think one of the big things to understand about microaggressions is that they don't occur in a vacuum. They're cumulative. That is how they work. Collectively, they have a powerful influence on our perceptions and experiences. As a woman, many of us encounter them far too regularly to even count, much less address. Nobody has the time and energy to address them all, and nobody should feel obligated to.

But since they function collectively, I think the best way to address them is the same way. That is, we address them as we feel like it. If you're in a bad mood one day, if you have the time and feel like going after some minor incident and addressing it, in a public way, even in an over the top way, that's cool! Thank you! We should all be doing that. I'll try to get the next one! These incidents are only minor when they're taken individually, but if some little thing just fucks you off one day, odds are pretty good it's been at least a low-level annoyance for a lot of people who came before you. People who heard that song in TJ's, said UGH, but were busy running errands and didn't have the mental energy to say something and face the inevitable dismissals and accusations that come along with pointing out a minor issue.

A lot of status quo defenders rely very heavily on ignoring and dismissing what they see as non-big issues. You know, they tell you to toughen up about microaggressions, as though women aren't already tough as hell about them already, they deny the existence of subtle cultural factors. Rape culture and patriarchy in particular are HUGE triggers for jerky kneed anti-feminists. Those are kind of grown-up concepts. They're relatively abstract and they're complicated. And you'll never understand them if you can't shut up and listen for a second. But a lot of people don't, and that, I suspect, is a big reason that so many people think 'patriarchy' means them specifically, and think that the things we talk about as elements of 'rape culture' mean that ogling someone on a subway is actual rape. (Seriously, go make an anthropological expedition to reddit. It is a very common belief that feminists think that someone looking sideways at them is rape. And yeah, reddit is a cesspit, but it is an extremely popular, totally mainstream cesspit.)

A grocery store playing Under My Thumb is not the biggest deal in the world to anyone. It's just one more little microaggression, just like all the others. Neither is people ordering you to smile, staring at you on a bus, someone accidentally brushing up against you, invading your personal space, talking to you like you're a child, making sexist assumptions at work, or whatever. But those things all add up to big issues, and they all deserve callouts, but only a fraction of them ever get addressed. So I'm A-OK with there being an element of surprise. Maybe you'll get away with shit like that nine or ninety nine times, and then BOOM SURPRISE CALLOUT. And if every now and again, someone makes a big public deal out of a minor incident, good. That is absolutely fine. If you don't want that to happen to you, you should work on not doing that shit rather than nitpicking the tactics of the person who is reacting to you.
posted by ernielundquist at 9:36 AM on June 12, 2014 [42 favorites]


or are there separate, special, unspoken rules that apply when an FPP is about sexism

No, not rules. No one is asking for different rules for threads about sexism. I don't speak for all people, but I am asking for a basic level of self-awareness from all users in all threads about how they treat women, both women as fellow MeFi users and women as writers and subjects of posted articles.
posted by jaguar at 9:36 AM on June 12, 2014 [10 favorites]


(Following up on what I wrote a few comments up, if the tone of this mild article gets read as anger and hyperbole, how are these readers parsing actually angry feminist writing? Is it, like, multiply the anger by 10, or is it exponential.)
posted by nobody at 9:45 AM on June 12, 2014 [5 favorites]


I guess my point is, if you (generic "you", not specifically smackfu) think that a statement like "taking away the Rolling Stones" is either an amusing bit of hyperbole or a "close enough" way to characterize a thread or comment - maybe you should step back and re-think that.

I should have said "what they see as 'taking away their Rolling Stones'."
posted by smackfu at 9:49 AM on June 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


That's how I read your comment, smackfu, and I agree with you -- that a lot of the initial reactions felt like "THEY'RE COMING TO TAKE MY GLIMMER TWINS."

I understand it, to a certain extent. There's a healthy knee jerk freedom of speech impulse to us Americans, and it pops up frequently in these sorts of things, even though maybe it shouldn't. I mean, she wasn't asking for a ban on the Stones. She was just asking if this situation, as background noise while she shops, was the best place for it. That's a decision companies make all the time, and doesn't represent censorship or the stifling of speech, anymore than I am stifling speech when my upstairs neighbor is blasting his stereo at three am and I ask him if maybe there might be a better time or volume for that.

Although, in reality, I don't ask him, and am not nearly as polite about addressing his music as this author was about addressing Trader Joe's. But if an FPP were made about my war against my neighbor's music, I think I would get a lot more understanding, in general, than this author has gotten about her concerns about a grocery store's.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 9:58 AM on June 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


Kutsuwamushi and KathrynT both sum up positions which don't necessarily reconcile. They are both true to me.
posted by vicx at 9:59 AM on June 12, 2014


Kutsuwamushi and KathrynT both sum up positions I find hard to reconcile.

How so?
posted by zombieflanders at 10:00 AM on June 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


zombieflanders has it. And I'm a little annoyed that it's still But That Trader Joes Thread Tho and not about the site in general.

I looked back at my MeTa posts and saw some from 4-5years ago when I pointed out some really problematic painful ways Mefi comments can go. It seemed like things were changing for the better, but now they've quickly regressed - and I still wonder if a lot of that is coming from new people.

On the topic of whether this post deserved an FPP: I've had similar posts deleted for being too flimsy or weak or not enough to stand alone. I wonder how this is different?
posted by divabat at 10:01 AM on June 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


I think one of the big things to understand about microaggressions is that they don't occur in a vacuum. They're cumulative. That is how they work. Collectively, they have a powerful influence on our perceptions and experiences. As a woman, many of us encounter them far too regularly to even count, much less address. Nobody has the time and energy to address them all, and nobody should feel obligated to.

Another thing: if you try to discuss it as a collective/cumulative/cultural/societal problem, people will insist that it's important to talk about specifics instead, but if you try to discuss a particular incident (or even a list of particular incidents) the incidents get dismissed as either trivial or as a thing that happened for some non-misogyny reason.
posted by naoko at 10:03 AM on June 12, 2014 [16 favorites]


>> You know, as much as I don't care for a lot of the current (IMO) over-sensitivity of MeFi, the idea that things are
>> somehow "anti-male" is so fucking silly I just can't process it. CANNOT.
>
> And yet it comes up pretty much every single time we have a MeTa about feminism. That's less "silly" and more
> "horrifying" if you ask me.

But that's their lived experience! Some people experience those things as anti-male. Are we about to hear how it's sometimes OK to deny people's lived experience after all? For instance, when they're obviously wrong about what their experience was? Fuller holds breath, hoping.
posted by jfuller at 10:04 AM on June 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


It seemed like things were changing for the better, but now they've quickly regressed

A sad part of me wonders if this is because the most prominent female moderator has moved on to the next stage of her career, and everyone who had been keeping their mouths shut because they knew she'd squelch them down now feels free to speak more openly. I hesitate to even type that because I don't want it to come across as blaming jessamyn for leaving, or for criticizing the way the site has handled the staffing issues overall, but it's been on my mind since before this MeTa was opened and I think it's an issue that the remaining Mefi staff may need to actively consider.
posted by KathrynT at 10:11 AM on June 12, 2014 [14 favorites]


On the topic of whether this post deserved an FPP: I've had similar posts deleted for being too flimsy or weak or not enough to stand alone. I wonder how this is different?

I'd guess that other thin posts might have attracted more flags?
posted by MoonOrb at 10:11 AM on June 12, 2014


zombieflanders. Why did you reply while I was in the edit window making sure I would not be misunderstood. Less than 30 seconds!

Kutsuwamushi and KathrynT both sum up positions which are true to me. Logically they look to be at odds. Still I like them both.

That is what I intended to be understood in my comment.
posted by vicx at 10:11 AM on June 12, 2014


Kutsuwamushi's point doesn't seem to me to be at odds with mine at all.
posted by KathrynT at 10:14 AM on June 12, 2014 [6 favorites]


...are there separate, special, unspoken rules that apply when an FPP is about sexism (or other issue of prejudice and discrimination) stating that commenters should refrain from discussing the minutia of the links and instead limit their comments only to discussing the greater societal issue the links bring up?

I can only speak for myself, and was explaining my choice. Which, yes I do apply different rules to what I say in conversations about sexism, because the context of sexism is different than the context surrounding other topics. Yeah, that might not seem fair, but since I don't talk about every aspect of every FPP anyway, I feel like factoring in one more thing in that decision making process isn't that much effort. Especially since it helps to avoid being part of the system that makes me have to make that choice in the first place.
posted by Gygesringtone at 10:14 AM on June 12, 2014


Fuller holds breath, hoping.

Well, this isn't directed at me I don't think, but I will go on record as saying yes, I am totally willing to recognize that timesteil really does feel that a song that doesn't mention men at all is anti-male, and he is allowed to feel that!

That shade of blue looks *great* on you, by the way.
posted by rtha at 10:17 AM on June 12, 2014 [12 favorites]


The other day on Facebook in the context of a friend posting a link to Schroedinger's Rapist, a friend of the poster's said that being treated as if he were a potential rapist was extremely, extremely abusive to him. When I called him on it, he trotted out that same "you're invalidating my lived experience" bullshit. I expect it on Facebook, and I guess I should expect it here, too. It just makes me sad to actually see it here. It also makes me want to tear my own ears off, and I literally cannot understand how so many of the women here are able to put up with so much of this shit with such continued patience.
posted by hades at 10:18 AM on June 12, 2014 [5 favorites]


zombieflanders. Why did you reply while I was in the edit window making sure I would not be misunderstood.

?

The edit window is for minor changes, not adding a whole other post, so I'm not sure what was wrong about my response. It showed up in the "x new comments" dialog and I asked for a simple clarification.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:18 AM on June 12, 2014 [5 favorites]

It seemed like things were changing for the better, but now they've quickly regressed - and I still wonder if a lot of that is coming from new people.
I don't get the sense that it is. Some of the worst comments are coming from longtime Mefites. It seems like there's been a bit of a pendulum swing for a while, and it may be that some posters are now emboldened because Jessamyn isn't a mod here anymore.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 10:20 AM on June 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


But that's their lived experience! Some people experience those things as anti-male. Are we about to hear how it's sometimes OK to deny people's lived experience after all? For instance, when they're obviously wrong about what their experience was?

Trolling is very unattractive and I wish you wouldn't do it.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:20 AM on June 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


On the topic of whether this post deserved an FPP: I've had similar posts deleted for being too flimsy or weak or not enough to stand alone. I wonder how this is different?

I feel like I'm gonna come off as a broken record here, but the difference is this barely got flagged anywhere near the start of its life, so we weren't getting any real useful "hey, this is a flimsy-ass post" feedback during the window where it would have made a difference, basically. There's an element of chance there—if the post had happened to fall into my lap somehow when it went up, I think I would have killed it, but so goes the crapshoot.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:20 AM on June 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


I literally cannot understand how so many of the women here are able to put up with so much of this shit with such continued patience.

As bad as it is here, it is much, much worse other places.

What a jolly thought for a Thursday afternoon!
posted by winna at 10:20 AM on June 12, 2014 [8 favorites]


You'd be offended by a song that doesn't mention men at all?

All that roaring is very disturbing
posted by InfidelZombie at 10:23 AM on June 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


Could a mod weigh in here on the MeTa that was allegedly "killed?"

timsteil submitted a terse Metatalk post that read:

"This post seems to be drawing out the worst of everything in every MeFite, and going nowhere good. For the love of Mike please kill it before it kills us."

restless_nomad wrote back a note to commiserate about it being a frustrating thread, acknowledge that it had been barely flagged and that by that point it had been up long enough that deleting it after the fact seemed like a poor option, and basically saying "hey, are you sure this is specifically something you want a community discussion about".

We got no response to that; in the mean time, this post hit the queue and framed the whole thing a little more carefully; we posted this one instead.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:25 AM on June 12, 2014 [6 favorites]


But that's their lived experience! Some people experience those things as anti-male. Are we about to hear how it's sometimes OK to deny people's lived experience after all?

I think it's appropriate here to quote metafilter's own elizardbits from above:
"It's a super insidious and gross technique used by oppressors in virtually every instance these days, this coopting of language used by the oppressed to call out oppression, and using it for their own needs."
posted by soundguy99 at 10:26 AM on June 12, 2014 [29 favorites]


Wait, does the article even express any anger?

Assuming this is a question really looking for answer. I think a certain amount of anger can be assumed based on the fact that she heard the song on a Friday evening and by Monday, she had twice gone back to the store to complain, made several phone calls, and published an article in which she accuses three TJ's employees of "defending racist, sexist, and misogynistic' songs," two of them by full name*. That sort of expediency, and outright aggression, is at least suggestive of strong emotion.

Anger may not be the best word. I'd probably go for something like "entitled". The rest of the comment you quote from is really good though, so I don't think we should quibble about a single word.

* Did you know Alertnet has also published their names under the URL www.alternet.org/tags/firstname-lastname? Guess what google sees on those pages?
posted by 0 at 10:26 AM on June 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


But that's their lived experience! Some people experience those things as anti-male. Are we about to hear how it's sometimes OK to deny people's lived experience after all?

Yeah, just as some whites during Jim Crow experienced the behavior of "uppity" black folks as outrageously disrespectful.

Just as some fundamentalist Christians experience the fact of gay people getting married (or simply existing) as anti-Christian.

Are we about to hear how sometimes it's OK to accept bigotry because the bigots experience it differently from the people who are at the receiving end of bigotry, and how resisting oppression is actually the more oppressive act? scody doesn't hold breath.

the question of why no one is really going after the Rolling Stones for this here.

Well, we discussed the Stones more directly in the original thread, but that conversation was quickly derailed into the "but is singing about treating a woman like a dog really sexist, or are you ladies-with-the-vapors just too hyper-PC sensitive and/or unsophisticated in your understanding of unreliable narrators to understand that Mick Jagger was clearly making an ironic comment about misogyny several years before that word was even part of mainstream parlance?" derail. (Also: we just don't understand the essential transgressive nature of rock, man, and therefore we want the government to step in and censor all forms of pop culture and fine art that anyone has ever found offensive, ever.)
posted by scody at 10:28 AM on June 12, 2014 [21 favorites]


We got no response to that; in the mean time, this post hit the queue and framed the whole thing a little more carefully; we posted this one instead.

Thanks--very seriously, the transparency is much appreciated.
posted by MoonOrb at 10:33 AM on June 12, 2014


Anger may not be the best word. I'd probably go for something like "entitled".

That was the company's failing. When a customer has a complaint, you give them a clear process for resolution, and a timeline for when she can expect her response. She was sent up a vague chain of command, given telephone numbers that did not reach who she was told they would reach, wasn't told when the person would actually be available, and was given no timeline for resolution. I mean, the resolution may have been "we can't do anything about this, but we have passed your concerns to Muzac," but that's more than she was given.

Yes, she was entitled. She was entitled to good customer service. Even customers who are wrong are entitled to that. She didn't get it. Had I been in that circumstance, getting what felt like a runaround, I would have lost my temper. And men get to do this, because they are told it is simply being aggressive and having high standards. All she did was simple follow up and, oh my god, how dare she.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:33 AM on June 12, 2014 [11 favorites]


I think a certain amount of anger can be assumed based on the fact that she heard the song on a Friday evening and by Monday, she had twice gone back to the store to complain, made several phone calls, and published an article in which she accuses three TJ's employees of "defending racist, sexist, and misogynistic' songs," two of them by full name*. That sort of expediency, and outright aggression, is at least suggestive of strong emotion.

You're really scrapping the bottom of the barrel there. She did journalistic work when she had free time to do so, so she was obviously angry? What would have been "non-angry" apart from just sitting down and being quiet?
posted by sukeban at 10:33 AM on June 12, 2014 [3 favorites]



restless_nomad wrote back a note to commiserate about it being a frustrating thread, acknowledge that it had been barely flagged and that by that point it had been up long enough that deleting it after the fact seemed like a poor option, and basically saying "hey, are you sure this is specifically something you want a community discussion about".

We got no response to that; in the mean time, this post hit the queue and framed the whole thing a little more carefully; we posted this one instead.


hey, that makes sense. I'm liking the way the MetaTalk queue is working so far.
posted by sweetkid at 10:37 AM on June 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


She did those things on a Friday and Monday. That's her fault. Women are only allowed to complain on Tuesdays.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 10:38 AM on June 12, 2014 [23 favorites]


And it will always be Next Tuesday.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:39 AM on June 12, 2014 [11 favorites]


Thanks, KathrynT and scody. Yeah I saw a bit about whether the song was actually misogynistic or not but I saw it as all framed about their long-past artistic creation of it and nothing about any current-day ties (eg profit). That's not to say it's something that needs to be talked about in addition or even instead of what was and is being discussed. But that we view them as artists first and foremost so we'd primarily discuss their relation to the song in that context makes sense.

I didn't realize the discussion of the song itself had been derailed that badly. My thread-sense must be off. I almost want to read it again from the beginning, but ugh...
posted by ODiV at 10:43 AM on June 12, 2014


The rest of the comment you quote from is really good though, so I don't think we should quibble about a single word.

At this point this is just hilarious really.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:46 AM on June 12, 2014


our work to keep Metafilter free from sexism is far from over.

I think a callout on this is fine. its not fine to say that the entire site is somehow working towards one thing or another. it isn't.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:47 AM on June 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


I wonder if part of the low-flags is that some people felt like they didn't want to leave dodgy comments standing and so felt the need to say something in response to make sure their side was heard? I know I had that feeling when I saw the thread, but there were enough people stating my position by that point that I didn't have to threadsit as much.

I agree that a Feminism/Microaggressions 101 may be useful at this point in time.

Oh and thanks for letting this go through on the queue: when I saw a queue had been set up I did wonder if someone else had made a post for this already, but then I also figured that if that did happen it'd show up eventually.
posted by divabat at 10:49 AM on June 12, 2014


Ironmouth: I would say that the willingness of sections of the community to confront these issues as it happens on Metafilter regularly (and this is not a new struggle) counts as "working towards" something - and for many of us it's part and parcel of working towards a world free of sexism.

If a lot of this can be attributed to jessamyn's departure then that is highly troubling (again, not saying this is jessamyn's fault, but that is doesn't reflect well on us).
posted by divabat at 10:52 AM on June 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


MisantropicPainforest, what do you mean huh?
posted by vicx at 10:52 AM on June 12, 2014


I don't know what was meant, but I favorited it because your comment read like something that would get posted on facebook in Comic Sans over a glittery out-of-focus image of a kitten or possibly an otter.
posted by winna at 10:57 AM on June 12, 2014 [10 favorites]


I don't think I'm at odds with KathrynT either.

Recognizing that pervasive misogyny is serious and harmful doesn't mean that we have to purge misogynist art from our cultural experience. It does mean moving beyond the acceptance of pervasive misogyny as normal, though.

It's not like we've never had to deal with the bigotry in some popular works becoming less acceptable over time. It's not a simple issue, but it's not a new one either.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 10:58 AM on June 12, 2014 [9 favorites]


I mean 'huh' as in 'wtf' as in utter confusion.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 11:00 AM on June 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


The low-flags thing is in reference to the FPP rather than the comments, no? I know I flagged several comments, including Mr. Snippy up there. I didn't flag the FPP, however, even though I considered it weak and predicted things would not wendell.

I think the primary reason, in my case, is that user 'monospace' does not ring a bell with me. If it had been a name I recognized as an axe-grinder I would have definitely been more apt to flag it. Part of it also is that I have heard the message of giving women the space to discuss these things and do make a real effort to heed it. (I didn't notice monospace was male until now.)
posted by 0 at 11:01 AM on June 12, 2014


not saying this is jessamyn's fault

Of course not. But these things do require moderators basically "riding herd" on them to keep them from becoming out of control shitstorms a lot of the time. The work is unfun and unrewarding but it's easier to do if the underlying topic (microexamination of microaggressions in the interests of exploring and unpacking sexism) is one that is close to your heart.

None of MeFi's mods are overtly sexist. There are varying degrees to which they are anti-sexism crusaders which should be just fine. And there is a big difference, to me, between saying you'd like your favorite website to not be sexist and saying you want it to be actively anti-sexism. So saying "our work to keep Metafilter free from sexism is far from over" is referring to a subset of MeFites when it says "our" and the implication is that people who are not activist about eradicating sexism are maybe not MeFites? Not good MeFites? I'm not certain, but I don't think one can say that. Not everyone is working to eradicate sexism from MetaFilter, for better or for worse, and that's just true, however you may personally feel about it. And how one does personally feel about that may affect how they discuss these topics with each other in threads like this one.

My Perfect MetaFilter would be sexism-free probably, but my realistic MetaFilter would have thin grar-inducing threads like this MeFi one being deleted pretty speedily.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 11:06 AM on June 12, 2014 [20 favorites]


My Perfect MetaFilter would be sexism-free probably, but my realistic MetaFilter would have thin grar-inducing threads like this MeFi one being deleted pretty speedily.

Like I previously said, awesome commenter.
posted by hal_c_on at 11:15 AM on June 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think misogyny is harmful. I'm not gobsmacked why it exists because I know why it exists.
It exists because pain and loss are real. In my opinion it is a psychological condition.
posted by vicx at 11:15 AM on June 12, 2014


It's a sociological condition and I think is pretty widely accepted as such. Pathologizing it as psychological or medical in origin is pretty ridiculous.
posted by sweetkid at 11:18 AM on June 12, 2014 [24 favorites]


Huh?
posted by Pudhoho at 11:20 AM on June 12, 2014


Sorry but I think there's something really vile about blaming the existence of widespread misogyny on untrustworthy women.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 11:20 AM on June 12, 2014 [33 favorites]


Mp, Yes. There would be something vile about blaming the existence of widespread misogyny on untrustworthy women.

Sweetkid, Psychological and medical don't go together.
posted by vicx at 11:25 AM on June 12, 2014


I also think misogyny is sociologically harmful.
posted by vicx at 11:27 AM on June 12, 2014


What is happen
posted by shakespeherian at 11:30 AM on June 12, 2014 [7 favorites]


I'm not gobsmacked why it exists because I know why it exists.

Why does it exist?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 11:31 AM on June 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


It exists because pain and loss are real.

Clearly elaborate what you mean by this.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 11:32 AM on June 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


What is happen

I think those facebook gifs have attained sentience.
posted by winna at 11:33 AM on June 12, 2014 [11 favorites]


This feels like reading an artist's statement about an installation made of instagram filters.
posted by elizardbits at 11:35 AM on June 12, 2014 [9 favorites]


Psychological and medical absolutely go together, but like others I'm interested in why you blame women for misogyny but say you're not blaming women, vicx.
posted by sweetkid at 11:35 AM on June 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


> Wait, does the article even express any anger? I definitely don't see anything that could be called anger directed at the store employee in that dialogue.

The article presents people like the employee she talked to as the reason why there's sexism in America. It has nothing to with people who manage and select playlists at Muzak or radio stations. It has nothing to do with creatives who work for advertising companies deciding to focus on women's insecurities about body image in advertising campaigns. It has nothing to do with upper-level managers at Trader Joes or any other company. It has nothing to do people who manage websites like hers and what kind of advertising they decide to run and how they decide to handle stories about rape and sexual harassment. It has nothing to do with people in her own demographic group really liking songs like this and making them so goddamn popular in the first place. Nope. It's all because of people like Kyle who couldn't get the playlist fixed.

There's no way well-educated upper-middle class professionals like the author could have anything to do with sexism in our culture, or have anything to engage in self-examination or think about in that context, even though they're the ones who control policy at media companies and other organizations they own and work for, and make up a big chunk of the market for popular media, who keep feeding her misogynist claptrap because people in her demographic group like it. No, it's all because of peons.


Everything wrong with society is always the fault of those with least power in it. That's the view taken by most MeFites.
posted by nangar at 11:35 AM on June 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


MisantropicPainforest, what do you mean huh?

I can't speak for Misantropic, but in the context of a discussion of sociological sexism as it appears on Metafilter and elsewhere, your comment, which focuses on an individual person's mistrust/hatred of women and supposes it to be caused by untrustworthy mothers or mother figures, is a non sequitur.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 11:38 AM on June 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


That may literally be the worst paraphrase and most blinkered attempt to understand a relatively simple piece of writing I have ever seen. Perhaps you should just stick to directly quoting, because you could not have gotten it more wrong.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:40 AM on June 12, 2014 [16 favorites]


The article presents people like the employee she talked to as the reason why there's sexism in America.

You're entitled to your interpretation but I don't think there's any truth to this reading at all.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:40 AM on June 12, 2014 [8 favorites]


That was directed at nangar, if it's not clear.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:41 AM on June 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


Everything wrong with society is always the fault of those with least power in it. That's the view taken by most MeFites.

That's not my view, and I've rarely if ever heard a similar view expressed here. In fact it's typically quite the opposite. Cites, if you don't mind?
posted by donnagirl at 11:41 AM on June 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


That was directed at nangar, if it's not clear.

I was worried I'd missed something. Thanks.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 11:42 AM on June 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


some of the responses illustrate exactly the problem: misogyny is so pervasive that it's accepted as normal. When you accept misogyny as normal, it seems like a bizarre overreaction to get upset over a misogynist song being played over your supermarket's speakers.

You know what this makes me think of? Fallout.

When you're playing Fallout, at least the recent releases such as New Vegas, they've gone to a lot of trouble to include, in among the innocuous songs, really fucking jarring ones, as in, songs that would never, ever come on the radio now because of being so offensive. It's part of the ambience, to show that in among these things that we think of as idyllic, evil, awful shit lives. And it works, it contributes to that sense of horror. And we recognize those songs as jarring, because they would never play today.

There are songs playing today that in thirty years, I hope are so offensive as to never see radio time. But it's not that those songs will become offensive, by the magic of passing time, in thirty years. It's that they're offensive right this minute, but people aren't recognizing it because we're so steeped in the culture.

Think of these lyrics in the context of anthropological visitors to a strange culture, and it may make more sense.
posted by corb at 11:43 AM on June 12, 2014 [13 favorites]


I was worried I'd missed something. Thanks.

Sorry about that.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:45 AM on June 12, 2014


At this point, it seems more productive to argue about mansplaining.
posted by planetesimal at 11:46 AM on June 12, 2014


Sorry about that.

No worries. This Exchange: or, The Utility of Direct Quoting
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 11:47 AM on June 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


> That was directed at nangar, if it's not clear.

It was clear.
posted by nangar at 11:54 AM on June 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Everything wrong with society is always the fault of those with least power in it. That's the view taken by most MeFites.

We're through the looking glass here, people. White is black. And black is white. Maybe Oswald is just what he said he was. A patsy.
posted by scody at 11:56 AM on June 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


Everything wrong with society is always the fault of those with least power in it. That's the view taken by most MeFites.

I think you typed 'MeFites' when you meant 'Republicans.'
posted by MoonOrb at 11:59 AM on June 12, 2014 [7 favorites]


To be fair, the only reason I care about the rights of women, LGBT people, and the working class is because I am a paid apparatchik of the all-powerful communist homogynocracy.
posted by scody at 12:09 PM on June 12, 2014 [28 favorites]


we agreed not to discuss that in public at our last meeting comrade scody
posted by elizardbits at 12:10 PM on June 12, 2014 [34 favorites]


Does this mean another round of self criticism?
posted by Pudhoho at 12:14 PM on June 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


We can do that but first we have to eat some cookies and have tea.

We have the best tea at our meetings that we don't actually hold.
posted by winna at 12:16 PM on June 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


My 20ish daughter heard the song in our local TJs and thought Mick was singing "Under my bum".
posted by Ideefixe at 12:18 PM on June 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


How about a cooler filled with ice-cold beers?
posted by Pudhoho at 12:21 PM on June 12, 2014


To be fair, the only reason I care about the rights of women, LGBT people, and the working class is because I am a paid apparatchik of the all-powerful communist homogynocracy.


Paid? And here I've been giving away the milk for free for years like a C-H-U-M-P.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:40 PM on June 12, 2014 [11 favorites]


they've gone to a lot of trouble to include, in among the innocuous songs, really fucking jarring ones

Yeah, I hate Johnny Guitar too.
posted by Justinian at 1:02 PM on June 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


As far as never getting an answer from me re my initial MeTa, I have nothing in my inbox, unless it got sent to an old AOL address that I haven't used in years. That would be totally my fault for not updating my info or checking it after the fact.

My take on it is this.

1. Woman is insulted by a 48 year old song she heard in a supermarket aisle.

2. Fine. Express your indignation to a cashier who had nothing to do with it.

3. Take it up with the store manager, who had nothing to do with it.

4. Fine. So follow it up the food chain and maybe somewhere you will find a doofus VP of something, who when presented with a menu of options about what kind of music to play in their stores, chose "Classic Rock", because he is just edgy that way. Maybe Bob Seger makes people want to buy shit. Who knows.

5. As far as the "WHY SHOULD I HAVE TO LISTEN TO THIS WHILE I AM SHOPPING?" sentiment? It's what happens when you walk out your front door lady.

I'm not crazy about seeing a White Sox flag flying on my North Side street, but I live and let live. The world is full of little annoyances. They are mosquitoes in August.

6. Yes I guess if you want to sit down and deconstruct the lyrics to a 48 year old song you might well find a sort of misogyny. Shit there are probably a hundred more songs over the years that are worse in that regard.

7. I find the term "mansplaining" highly offensive. It's kind of like "cuntsplaining" if you ask me. If I express an opinion on something, I shouldn't have to have it judged and filtered through my testicles before it is deemed worth of you to mock.

8. Back to the original point. It's a damned song from 1966, that was a top 40 hit, and it came up in rotation while this woman was shopping in a yuppie store.

It wasn't a direct insult to her. It was not an assault. She was not insulted personally. There's half a chance she never even would have noticed it. But this time she did.

But this whining crap about it is just insufferable. If she feels victimized in some way, fine. Sue the fuckin Rolling Stones. See how that goes.

If you walk out your door, you are likely to find things that are going to piss you off on a daily basis, and there's not much anyone can do about that.

But please, just don't get all precious about it like the world is here to hurt you and you deserve something because of that.

You're not special or deserving. You are another pair of feet walking around until you aren't anymore.
posted by timsteil at 1:19 PM on June 12, 2014 [2 favorites]



7. I find the term "mansplaining" highly offensive. It's kind of like "cuntsplaining" if you ask me.


What the hell. You find 'man' and 'cunt' equivalent?
posted by sweetkid at 1:22 PM on June 12, 2014 [96 favorites]


Ironmouth: I would say that the willingness of sections of the community to confront these issues as it happens on Metafilter regularly (and this is not a new struggle) counts as "working towards" something - and for many of us it's part and parcel of working towards a world free of sexism.

What I'm saying is that people often try and bolster their point by saying "everyone" is behind what it is they are saying. No need for that. Just make the callout.

IMHO, over self-policing and attempting to get everyone to hew to a single political line is what is slowly, but surely killing this site. Its not just the revenue issue from Google. 5 years ago, you didn't see threads with 12 comments on them very often. The mods have been awesome--they are focused on personal conflict and not a particular point of view (no matter how wrong that point of view is)--we can and should be strong enough to hear a disagreeable view and respond to it properly and responsibly.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:23 PM on June 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


son you got issues
posted by elizardbits at 1:23 PM on June 12, 2014 [78 favorites]


> I'm not crazy about seeing a White Sox flag flying on my North Side street, but I live and let live

I'm a baseball fan, don't get me wrong, but this isn't a just comparison to living as a girl or woman in a sexist society.
posted by The corpse in the library at 1:24 PM on June 12, 2014 [30 favorites]


upon which in retrospect i could not possibly be bothered to elaborate because 01) gtfo and 02) the footie is on
posted by elizardbits at 1:24 PM on June 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


What the hell

I'm not going to link to it, but sadly that's not the first time that equivalence has been made here.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:24 PM on June 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


I'm not crazy about seeing a White Sox flag flying on my North Side street, but I live and let live.

This is literally the most ludicrous, inept analogy I have ever seen.
posted by naoko at 1:25 PM on June 12, 2014 [35 favorites]


As far as never getting an answer from me re my initial MeTa, I have nothing in my inbox, unless it got sent to an old AOL address that I haven't used in years.

Ah, yup, that appears to be the case. We were wondering why we didn't hear back!
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 1:26 PM on June 12, 2014


I have nothing in my inbox, unless it got sent to an old AOL address that I haven't used in years. That would be totally my fault for not updating my info or checking it after the fact.

The email on your account is still set to an AOL address. Please update it today if you can.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 1:27 PM on June 12, 2014


what in the actual fuck.
posted by gaspode at 1:27 PM on June 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


Analogies can't be literal.
posted by spitbull at 1:27 PM on June 12, 2014


I find the term "mansplaining" highly offensive. It's kind of like

Jesus fucking christ, dude. Put this down and walk away.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:28 PM on June 12, 2014 [74 favorites]


I'm not crazy about seeing a White Sox flag flying on my North Side street, but I live and let live.

I'll swap you a SportsBall Fan Flag of your choice if you want to take on the weird whistles during your morning commute, the guy grabbing my phone and entering in his number and then calling his phone from my phone to get my number, and the people who judge my running shorts. Man I'd love to swap all of that. I'd love for that to be the annoyance I face just on the way to Trader Joe's.
posted by jetlagaddict at 1:28 PM on June 12, 2014 [39 favorites]


Analogies can't be literal.

I guess my Chris Traeger voice doesn't come through well in text.
posted by naoko at 1:30 PM on June 12, 2014 [5 favorites]


I'm not crazy about seeing a White Sox flag flying on my North Side street, but I live and let live.

You know, I wouldn't compare people's concerns about sexism to the fact you have to see a reminder that your baseball team is slowly losing its dominance over Chicago due to not having won a World Series for 100 years.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:33 PM on June 12, 2014 [10 favorites]


that comment is kind of like bad
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 1:33 PM on June 12, 2014


this is literally like that time I witnessed a bad analogy.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 1:33 PM on June 12, 2014 [16 favorites]


jetlagaddict: "the guy grabbing my phone and entering in his number and then calling his phone from my phone to get my number"

Whhhaaaattttt

how do you not just, i dunno, atomic knee people or mace the shit out of them
posted by boo_radley at 1:34 PM on June 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


It's not like it's a *Yankees* flag, for Pete's sake.
posted by uosuaq at 1:35 PM on June 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


timsteil: "You're not special or deserving. You are another pair of feet walking around until you aren't anymore."

And oh yeah, please remember this as people react to your horribad analogy.
posted by boo_radley at 1:35 PM on June 12, 2014 [9 favorites]


that comment seems over the line even for metatalk - i flagged, but now that it's stayed and been responded to, i'd like to put my vote in for deleting shit like that in the future.
posted by nadawi at 1:35 PM on June 12, 2014 [20 favorites]


If only being female in a patriarchal misogynist society was a little annoyance, like mosquitoes in August.
posted by inertia at 1:37 PM on June 12, 2014 [12 favorites]


My soul hurts.
posted by hydropsyche at 1:37 PM on June 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Liz what did you say your killfile script is called?
posted by shakespeherian at 1:38 PM on June 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


how do you not just, i dunno, atomic knee people or mace the shit out of them

because we'd be charged with assault and it's pretty unsafe to enter into close combat with someone who likely outweighs/outsizes us by a lot. also, it's just expected that we'll take shit like that (although, were he to later stalk and rape her she'd be seen as guilty for not stopping him somehow).
posted by nadawi at 1:38 PM on June 12, 2014 [28 favorites]


does that killfile script block people?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 1:38 PM on June 12, 2014


how do you not just, i dunno, atomic knee people or mace the shit out of them

Fear of either getting beat down or arrested for "overreacting".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:38 PM on June 12, 2014 [9 favorites]


sweetkid I think it's worse; the comparison is to "woman," because when a man engages in that behavior it's "mansplaining" but when a woman does it it's "cuntsplaining."
posted by MoonOrb at 1:38 PM on June 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


or does it just block really bad analogies.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 1:39 PM on June 12, 2014 [1 favorite]



sweetkid I think it's worse; the comparison is to "woman," because when a man engages in that behavior it's "mansplaining" but when a woman does it it's "cuntsplaining."


Yea I understand that.
posted by sweetkid at 1:40 PM on June 12, 2014


Although a littoral analogy is possible.
posted by spitbull at 1:40 PM on June 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


sorry, then
posted by MoonOrb at 1:40 PM on June 12, 2014


Shorely this . . .
posted by spitbull at 1:40 PM on June 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


Don't call me Shorely.
posted by The corpse in the library at 1:42 PM on June 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


no need to be sorry. I was *literally* shocked to see that comparison tossed out so blithely though (by timsteil). I flagged the comment too and then irritatedly responded
posted by sweetkid at 1:42 PM on June 12, 2014


W O W
posted by Narrative Priorities at 1:42 PM on June 12, 2014


EmpressCallipygos: "
Fear of either getting beat down or arrested for "overreacting".
"

Yeah, I'm sorry, I know that's the case, but holy shit, the absolute gall of people, goddamn.
posted by boo_radley at 1:44 PM on June 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


...timsteilsplaining?
posted by gatorae at 1:44 PM on June 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


On the other hand, if it ever happens again, you can say "thanks, now I've got your fingerprints for the police."
posted by spitbull at 1:45 PM on June 12, 2014 [10 favorites]


"5. As far as the "WHY SHOULD I HAVE TO LISTEN TO THIS WHILE I AM SHOPPING?" sentiment? It's what happens when you walk out your front door lady.

I'm not crazy about seeing a White Sox flag flying on my North Side street, but I live and let live. The world is full of little annoyances. They are mosquitoes in August.

6. Yes I guess if you want to sit down and deconstruct the lyrics to a 48 year old song you might well find a sort of misogyny. Shit there are probably a hundred more songs over the years that are worse in that regard.

7. I find the term "mansplaining" highly offensive. It's kind of like "cuntsplaining" if you ask me. If I express an opinion on something, I shouldn't have to have it judged and filtered through my testicles before it is deemed worth of you to mock.
"

Dude, come the fuck on, you're better than this. Seriously. I'm really taken aback — I was taken aback by your previous comment, but seriously, "cuntsplaining"?

I've talked to you before and I didn't think you were an asshole — you're coming across like a GIANT asshole.

You've described sexism as a normal part of the world, ignored women on why that's fucked up, denied that "Under My Thumb" is pretty fucking misogynistic when it's directly about subjugating a woman in order to punish her, and obviously not understood what "mansplaining" means despite it being covered about a million times, then upping the ante with something really fucking vile?

Come on, Tim. What do you think your nephew would say if you said that in front of him? He'd probably be pretty disappointed, right?
posted by klangklangston at 1:54 PM on June 12, 2014 [21 favorites]


I think that may be the single most offensive comment I've seen allowed to stand on this site. In part because of how completely bizarre and unnecessary it was.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 1:55 PM on June 12, 2014 [21 favorites]


5. As far as the "WHY SHOULD I HAVE TO LISTEN TO THIS WHILE I AM SHOPPING?" sentiment? It's what happens when you walk out your front door lady.

Uh...that's kind of the point?
posted by threeants at 1:58 PM on June 12, 2014 [42 favorites]


Actually, I wonder if we shouldn't just take a "give 'em enough rope" tactic -

Do go on, tim. (prepares to take notes)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:59 PM on June 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


you're better than this

Is he? Perhaps we should take advice frequently given on the green, which is to believe what people tell us about themselves. He has taken the opportunity to make two comments in this thread, presumably of his own free will, and these are things he's chosen to let us know about what he thinks and how he views the world. I will do him the courtesy of believing him.

And I'm pretty sure I'm remembering correctly other comments made here in the grey, by this same mefite, that have made it clear that this attitude is not an aberration or the result of just really having a bad day.
posted by rtha at 2:00 PM on June 12, 2014 [33 favorites]


I think that comment is a pretty solid example of what happens when people try to stand up and say misogynist shit is offensive and unacceptable.

People, people who maybe never came off as misogynists or assholes before, tell you that your concerns are insignificant, that you are small and insignificant, and that's just life, sweetheart.
posted by inertia at 2:04 PM on June 12, 2014 [31 favorites]


find the term "mansplaining" highly offensive. It's kind of like

You're being awful here and continuing to argue against the original post in a place where it's not at all appropriate. You, and people like you, and this sort of ranty watch-me-bitch performance art are why we can't have useful discussions in this community space. That and the fact that people, including me, seem to be unable to just flag you and move on. I'm really hoping you're just having a bad day.

I've seen less-crappy things deleted from this thread than your creepy "I'm just gonna slip the C word in here" screed. I'm sorry your comment stayed. I understand why it did, but you are taking advantage of the light moderation in this space to play Offensive As I Wanna Be games and it's rude and inconsiderate.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 2:04 PM on June 12, 2014 [89 favorites]


Hey something everyone can finally agree on; that comment was ridiculous.
posted by Justinian at 2:04 PM on June 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

5. As far as the "WHY SHOULD I HAVE TO LISTEN TO THIS WHILE I AM SHOPPING?" sentiment? It's what happens when you walk out your front door lady.

Uh...that's kind of the point?
Ex-fucking-actly. Misogyny, we're soaking in it. And we better not complain about it, noooo, no need to get hysterical, little ladies.
posted by gaspode at 2:04 PM on June 12, 2014 [11 favorites]


That's good trolling.
posted by planetesimal at 2:08 PM on June 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


does that killfile script block people?

It's called diediedead and it indeed blocks people 100%, you will not even see FPPs or asks posted by them. It is very satisfying but make sure to install it on all computers you use or otherwise you will find yourself engaged in stupid arguments with terrible people while at work.
posted by elizardbits at 2:08 PM on June 12, 2014 [14 favorites]


You can complain, you just can't bitch about it.
posted by zombieflanders at 2:08 PM on June 12, 2014


OH GOD NO IT'S ON USERSCRIPTS.ORG
posted by elizardbits at 2:09 PM on June 12, 2014


After this and several other instances (various users), I'm really wondering what it takes to get banned.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 2:09 PM on June 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


I mean, on the bright side, "It's what happens when you walk out your front door lady." is actually a pretty decent working definition of microaggression.

ever the optimist
posted by threeants at 2:09 PM on June 12, 2014 [9 favorites]


I'm never sure what to do on MeTa when I see an awful comment that nevertheless contains some kind of conversation-relevant content. My sense is that comments are almost never deleted here unless they're doxxing another user or especially vicious to a specific person. I flag things sometimes but it always seems extraneous as mods are always watching these threads.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 2:10 PM on June 12, 2014


elizardbits: "OH GOD NO IT'S ON USERSCRIPTS.ORG"

i tried to warn people
posted by boo_radley at 2:11 PM on June 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


I was probably super unhelpful in both flagging the comment and responding to it, which makes it more complicated to delete. Apologies, mods.
posted by naoko at 2:12 PM on June 12, 2014


Alright, given that deleting remarks at all on metatalk is a rare occurrence, and that timsteil's second comment has been responded to multiple times, once by a mod no less, I can see why the comment is going to stand. But boy howdy, I'd appreciate some sort of indication that crap like that, in a thread like this, isn't acceptable.
posted by Ipsifendus at 2:13 PM on June 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


It was a little like watching a firework go off. It's really hard not to want to point and go ooh.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 2:13 PM on June 12, 2014 [7 favorites]


I find the term "mansplaining" highly offensive. It's kind of like

Sorry, Tim, but you're about as bad at analogies as you are at opinions. I hope you apologize, but I don't predict you will.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 2:14 PM on June 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Stuff on Metatalk doesn't really get deleted. Even offensive stuff.
posted by Justinian at 2:14 PM on June 12, 2014


Since I guess we're talking about plugins now, comments from boo_radley's MeTa on the demise of userscripts.org may be of some assistance.
posted by zombieflanders at 2:14 PM on June 12, 2014


Yeah, we can't really delete it since it's been responded to so much, but timsteil, you just earned a week off from the site.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 2:14 PM on June 12, 2014 [71 favorites]


i flagged it and then waited for a mod to weigh in on it before responding. if it seems pretty clear that it will stay and then i feel like it's fair game to make my displeasure with the comment (and lack of deletion) known. i do understand the impulse to repeat the worst part of the comment in an objection, but i sort of wished as a group we'd do that less.
posted by nadawi at 2:14 PM on June 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


where i'm living, mosquitos in august give you malaria

according to the bill & melinda gates foundation, "malaria occurs in nearly 100 countries worldwide, exacting a huge toll on human health and imposing a heavy social and economic burden"

you itch and you scratch and it's annoying because you can't go outside without getting bitten, but maybe you don't think it's a big deal, hey it's just mosquitos in august

and then you get violently ill and maybe you even die

so, man, your analogy was less crap than you thought. those harmless, normal little mosquitos aren't actually harmless at all. it's just that you don't know it.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 2:14 PM on June 12, 2014 [39 favorites]


That is actually a pretty great comment and I'm glad it's staying. I want to etch it in stone to show people, see, this is what men look like when you hurt their feelings by calling out their shitty behaviors. This is what you look like when you don't listen to people who are patiently explaining something to you.

Also, it has the beautifully ironic mansplaining of the term mansplaining. Because it doesn't even mean what he thinks it means, but he's still reallyreally mad about it and is gonna tell everyone why.
posted by ernielundquist at 2:15 PM on June 12, 2014 [39 favorites]


(if i had previewed i would have edited out the part of my comment about displeasure w/ lack of deletion, a week off seems a fair response. thanks, mods)
posted by nadawi at 2:16 PM on June 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


The mods should send him a bill.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 2:17 PM on June 12, 2014


Jesus fucking Christ. I bend over backwards to read people as generously as possible in these discussions but every time, even when I don't agree at all with the original complaint, it always always ALWAYS has to come down to Lewis's Law: comments on any article about feminism justify feminism.

To anyone who has complained about being misread or not being given the benefit of the doubt in these conversations, THIS is why we can't have nice things.
posted by dialetheia at 2:17 PM on June 12, 2014 [10 favorites]


I feel like giving him more attention for his shittiness is just enabling him to sit at home feverishly masturbating over all the uproar he's caused. So the only further thing I have to say about this tragic loser is that ideally his handful of lube will turn into a handful of gravel mid-yank.
posted by elizardbits at 2:19 PM on June 12, 2014 [5 favorites]


Maybe timsteil is actually a huge feminist whose mission is to embarrass the slightly-more-subtle MRAs into shutting up
posted by shakespeherian at 2:20 PM on June 12, 2014


shakespeherian: "Maybe timsteil is actually a huge feminist whose mission is to embarrass the slightly-more-subtle MRAs into shutting up"

they'd just start hooting "false flag!" and getting lathered up about that.
posted by boo_radley at 2:21 PM on June 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


I don't know if I'm right in bringing this up here, but I just saw that palomar disabled her account after a mod-scolding in the Dan Savage thread, and I'm pretty fuckin' bummed about it. I understand completely that the mods need to prevent threads from becoming just individuals sniping at each other, but the brusqueness of the note coming right after C.A.S.'s condescending "Doesn't seem to me like you get the spirit of this place" left a bad taste in my mouth. I hope she comes back, her voice was invaluable in threads about feminism and body acceptance.
posted by brookedel at 2:26 PM on June 12, 2014 [20 favorites]


I feel sligthtly embarassed for him. I don't feel BAD, and am deliriously happy he can't comment for a week. But yeah, embarassed. I mean, the sentiments were offensive, sure, but so obvious. Not interested in community, and not even a good troll. Eep.
posted by agregoli at 2:28 PM on June 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


that's how I feel about most men tbh
posted by NoraReed at 2:33 PM on June 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


Not all men? ; )
posted by spitbull at 2:35 PM on June 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Reading that comment by timsteil was akin to being suddenly slapped in the face with a dead fish.

Being slapped with a dead fish wouldn't actually hurt too much and I'd get over it, but the shock of it, combined with the revolting smell, would probably cause tears of anger to spring to my eyes.
posted by Squeak Attack at 2:38 PM on June 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


Come back soon, palomar.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 2:49 PM on June 12, 2014 [27 favorites]


but I just saw that palomar disabled her account

Wait, what? Fuck.

Please come back soon, palomar.
posted by rtha at 2:58 PM on June 12, 2014 [7 favorites]


agreed, hope that's temporary.
posted by sweetkid at 2:59 PM on June 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


I understand completely that the mods need to prevent threads from becoming just individuals sniping at each other, but the brusqueness of the note coming right after C.A.S.'s condescending "Doesn't seem to me like you get the spirit of this place" left a bad taste in my mouth. I hope she comes back, her voice was invaluable in threads about feminism and body acceptance.

It made me angry. Someone I've never seen before (to my point made earlier about people with older accounts popping up to troll feminists) spends half the thread goading palomar and then she gets in trouble for it.

If she's reading this or someone knows her, please tell her I hope she feels she can come back sometime because I always appreciate her passion, clarity and knowledge.
posted by winna at 3:09 PM on June 12, 2014 [23 favorites]


What a mess the last couple of days have been.

When there is so much knee-jerkery (from all sides) there's no room for discussion.
I have felt unwelcome to voice an opinion in that thread, and in this one, with the guarantee of being immediately labeled "trivial" or "misogynist".

Metafilter has influenced and recorded a lot of my personal evolution over the last thirteen years, and I'd like to thank the community for that before we part ways.
posted by Catch at 3:11 PM on June 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


For context, there was a sort of wham-wham-wham-wham string of deleted comments that prompted the mod note, it wasn't a general commentary on the appropriateness of palomar discussing the topic or an endorsement of anybody else's behavior in there. Someone can be totally on the right side of an argument and still be sort of going overboard all of a sudden to the point where we have to clean up and leave a note.

I know it might be a distinction that doesn't always feel like one, but palomar didn't get in any trouble as far as we were concerned, it was just a "please cool it" sort of situation. I hope she comes back soon too, and I totally appreciate her frustration with that whole thing regardless of the dry modly-duty explanation aspect.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:15 PM on June 12, 2014 [5 favorites]


re: mansplaining, dudes are working REALLY HARD to not understand what it means. Mansplaining should be disgusting to men who aren't horrible. When I see the phrase "White supremacists," I don't get into a lather because it isn't FAIR!!!! I'm white, so the word white shouldn't be part of that descriptive term!!!!! a term that describes a certain phenomenon that is inherently linked to whiteness and toxic notions of whiteness as a marker of superiority!!!!!!!!!!!!!! TAKE THE WORD OUT IT IS A WORD THAT DESCRIBES MULTIPLE THINGS AND SOME OF THEM ARE NEO-NAZIS BUT ONE OF THOSE THINGS IS ME AND ANOTHER OF THOSE THINGS IS MY BROTHER AND ANOTHER OF THOSE THINGS IS BRAD PITT AND HOW DARE YOU SAY THAT BRAD PITT SUPPORTS RACISM!!!!

The word "man" being in the word "mansplaining" does not make that word a universal descriptor of men who explain things. The word "white" in the term "white power" does not mean that every white person in the world secretly longs to get swastika tattoos. Sometimes, words mean one thing in one place, and another thing when being used elsewhere. There is no transitive property that means you are somehow being slandered whenever the term mansplaining is used. The implied critique embedded in the word doesn't come from the term "man", otherwise He-Man and Batman and Manwich and Man Ray would all weep themselves to sleep all night. The critique is embedded in the behavior being criticized, which is something that men specifically do.

Lacto-ovo vegetarians don't get insulted by the insult "lactivists," for example (unless those vegetarians are also militant formula-is-murder types), because the root "lact-" itself is not where the criticism lives. People who call "mansplaining" a gendered insult do not appear to understand how language, gender, or insults work. It is truly bizarre.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 3:17 PM on June 12, 2014 [80 favorites]


For context, there was a sort of wham-wham-wham-wham string of deleted comments that prompted the mod note, it wasn't a general commentary on the appropriateness of palomar discussing the topic or an endorsement of anybody else's behavior in there.

If an in-thread mod note scolds someone for comments that have been deleted, it seems like that note should probably indicate that there have been deletions.

Otherwise it risks giveing the impression that it's the comments still remaining that brought about the mod note, sending the wrong message about what's considered unacceptable?

(And if not for the purpose of signalling that to the group at large, what's the point of a public mod note.)
posted by nobody at 3:28 PM on June 12, 2014 [5 favorites]


I dunno. I get the feeling that a lot of the people applying the term to others don't really know what mansplaining is either. The author of the piece really deserved a lot of the criticism she got in the original thread, and I think Roger Dodger made very good points (but then kind of got off track WRT to incomes, etc.) about the level of effort it appears she actually made before dropping the involved parties' names all over the internet.
posted by smidgen at 3:29 PM on June 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


(Which is to say, I don't know what was deleted, but in its current context that mod note seems really unnecessarily harsh)
posted by nobody at 3:30 PM on June 12, 2014


I hear you, nobody. There were probably better framings for that mod note. Just wanted to be clear where it came from.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:32 PM on June 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


I get the feeling that a lot of the people applying the term to others don't really know what mansplaining is either.

It is true, that sometimes people do not understand what the words they use really mean. I have a friend who still says "pacific" instead of "specific."

Obviously the answer to that is not "some people use words incorrectly," but instead, "both of those words are now banned, sucks that we have to rename an ocean and everything but what are you going to do, that's the rule when words are used wrong"
posted by a fiendish thingy at 3:34 PM on June 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


We (two women) bought a house in November. The next-door neighbors are very nice, but the man is just absolutely convinced that two women are unable to deal with the ins and outs of home maintenance. We have both received countless bits of unsolicited advice from him -- like stuff regarding the automatic sprinklers, how/when best to mow, how best to maintain the koi pond (which is not even visible to him since it is in the back yard), why we should probably park on one side of the driveway instead of the other. Every time I pull up the driveway and see him in his yard, I brace myself for another little bit of wisdom from him.

(I'm handy, by the way, and thus far he as not told me anything that I didn't learn from my dad 15 or 20 years ago.)

I was telling my mom about this on the phone one day. I don't remember if I used the word 'mansplain' -- I might have, because I've referred to him that way to others. In any case, I had to explain to her why his offerings of advice offend me. Basically, it's because they indicate to me his certitude that we are incompetent and how could two women know anything about the fundamentals of lawn care and other mysteries of home ownership???

My mom pulled the "Oh, he's just trying to be nice. He doesn't mean any harm," which was accompanied by an audible eye roll.

My response to her was: "Mom, do you think he'd be having the same conversations with either of us if one of us was a husband?"

She was quiet for a minute, and then simply said "Oh" in a way that made me understood that she got it.

For whatever reason, I've never gotten a lot of the really aggressive attention from men that other women experience on a constant basis, and I'm grateful for that. But you just can't escape it. No matter what you call it, it's THERE.
posted by mudpuppie at 3:38 PM on June 12, 2014 [39 favorites]


Sorry, I didn't mean to imply that it should not be used at all -- I just think it's started to be thrown about too carelessly, that's all.
posted by smidgen at 3:41 PM on June 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm a teacher and if I'm trying to get a student to see something my way, I talk to them. I personally don't label them and create a vocabulary around them. I don't make witty sarcastic remarks at their expense. I don't call their views shitty. I don't get other teachers and gang up on them.

I talk to them - I try to see why they think a certain way without insulting them. I engage them and ask them questions, try to find common ground, and then try to move from there. If they curse me out (and they often do) I take a deep breath and realize they're struggling; they know they have no argument and are going for shock value/deflection.

Once they reach this stage, their anger drowns out anything I would try to say and I know it is time to walk away for a bit. We call a time-out. This is one of the hardest parts of being a teacher - taking the verbal abuse and not engaging the fight - but when I remind myself that fighting with them is the absolute worst thing that I can do if I am trying to get them to see things another way, it makes it easier to hold my tongue. If I fight and engage them, they'll see me as an enemy, and who listens to their enemy? I let them know I care and I'm sorry they can't see what is in their best interest and give them some space. I'll try again another time.

Anyway, sometimes it works and there is much rejoicing. But sometimes, there does come a point where I have to just walk away because the student's belief is just too deeply embedded and strong that I alone can't change their mind about it. I really, really hate when that happens, but its a matter of self-preservation and there are other students whose beliefs aren't so deeply embedded who need me. I like to think that maybe I laid a foundation that someone else might be able to build upon, but that is the optimist in me.

-----

As a teacher, I've also seen where there is a big shock to the school, something big happens and kind of rocks everyone's world for a bit. We all pull together and get through the crisis, but not soon after, there's this odd pressure release valve thing that happens, like all the tension has to explode. People have short tempers and act out of character. It really sucks when that happens, but usually after the steam blows off, things settle down again.
posted by NoraCharles at 3:49 PM on June 12, 2014 [14 favorites]


You know, I was less than 50 yards from my house, having had a lovely commute for once - crossing the street, laden with heavy packages, and a car barely stopped for me, tried to go around me even instead of waiting the two seconds for me to cross. I said, "Can you wait a second, sheesh?" and the man driving put his finger up to his lips as he passed, and gave me a patronizing face, "shushing" me. Cause women are in the way and always be talking, right? I know it sounds mild, but this thread and the microaggressions elsewhere are wearing on me.

Stupid to even post this here, but gah. It's all the TIME with this shit! Women trying to be living their lives while swimming in this hostility of our very existence! Fuckin' remember that!
posted by agregoli at 3:55 PM on June 12, 2014 [5 favorites]


I'm a teacher and if I'm trying to get a student to see something my way, I talk to them. I personally don't label them and create a vocabulary around them. I don't make witty sarcastic remarks at their expense. I don't call their views shitty. I don't get other teachers and gang up on them.

Thank you for doing that.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:58 PM on June 12, 2014 [5 favorites]


I am also a teacher! One time, one of my students said "What if JESUS had been aborted?" as if this was going to make me allow students to write essays on abortion. "What if Hitler had been?" I asked, and the student said "um...?" and so different teachers can have different pedagogical approaches, I guess.

Also, the metaphor is not very useful. It is sort of not the job of women struggling to live their lives to act as handholding teacher types to every dude in the world. Sometimes words discovered in anger are still true, and sometimes finding a way to describe that thing you and all your friends have experienced one million times is worthwhile, even if Men on the Internet do not like the word.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 3:58 PM on June 12, 2014 [40 favorites]


I'm a teacher and if I'm trying to get a student to see something my way, I talk to them.

yeah, but as a teacher, that's part of your job, is to teach. Just as the student's job is to listen to what you're saying and treat you and your body of knowledge with respect, and work to learn. I'm not a teacher; I don't always want to spend my energy and time (for free!) to help lead people towards a new, gentler understanding. Sometimes I just want to buy my dang chili-lime cashews without being reminded that some guy got rich singing about how happy he was to have finally overpowered me.
posted by KathrynT at 3:58 PM on June 12, 2014 [33 favorites]


I am so curious, mudpuppie: why does your neighbour care about which side of the driveway you park in? How could that be useful advice for anyone?
posted by jeather at 4:00 PM on June 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm an old lefty academic cranky dude who sometimes rolls his eyes at the preciousness of Today's Kids' social justice discourse (with which I am surrounded, as my career connects me to the political culture of much younger people, ironically I'm supposed to inspire them?) even as I recall my own generation's struggles with language. We were the original targets of "politically correct" as a put-down, you young whippersnappers! We had discursive struggle down to a damn art.

As a product of that era (80s-90s lefty academia, where we lost by "winning" in some ways -- mostly a failure to theorize intersectionality or criticize our own institution), I have since developed some historical perspective that makes me realize we were too attached to in-group language and obfuscating jargon (which really came from a place of insecurity vis a vis the sciences, for those of us in borderline social science fields especially).

So on the one hand, as an male lefty whose ideological fights (and personal life, even more to the point) were not as focused on gender equality struggles as they might have been despite talking the feminist talk (I'm trying to make up for that now, but it's harder to change when you're old), I would caution young activists not to be too invested in your discourse of the day, and not to defend a mere word to the death just because it has a kick of truth and -- let's admit it -- because it raises the hackles of the opposition to hear it. We had those words too, both to insult our enemies and make ourselves sound bigger. Mostly they sound silly to me now, or a bit embarrassing that we took them so, so seriously as interventions in practice.

That said, as someone who has tried to come to a fuller consciousness about the gender dimensions of intersectional struggles for social justice only really in the last decade (one of cringeful self-recognition of both my debt to male privilege and my own misogynistic ways of thinking and acting), the first time I heard "mansplaining" (which was in fact on Metafilter and not that long ago) I totally got it.

Zing. I do that. Not even, but *especially* when I'm trying to sound like a feminist (the irony catches a lot of us guys on metafilter, I've noticed -- it's a feature and a bug of the textual medium that all you have are words, and they can be interpreted in such diverse ways. I think most men have had the experience of believing we were expressing ourselves as allies only to have it backfire and be perceived as self-congratulation, a phenomenon known to those of us focused on anti-racist struggles, the advanced version of "some of my best friends are . . .").

I knew it the minute I saw the word and while it stung to realize that (and it should!) it did not raise any hackles for me (and I do get my hackles occasionally raised by totalizing critiques of all sorts, even when I agree with their core argument and sympathize with the desire to reframe everything around one's own key issues -- hey, I do it with social class and Indigenous rights).

I have since found it a useful concept for self-regulating my interactions with women colleagues and students and friends. I try to "mansplain" a little less since I learned the term and the concept. And that is progress. It's a reason to use words like that.

I never took it as an insult to men "in general," but as a useful bit of discourse analysis, very practical and useful and specific to a Thing That Actually Happens in the world. Heck, a Thing That I Do.

So while I gently caution my younger activist colleagues, whose energy I admire and invest with hope, not to insist that "mansplaining" contains no sharp tip of critical steel -- it's not neutral, it just inverts a stereotype in a way that shames the beneficiary of that stereotype -- I would much more caution any fellow male human who thinks of himself as basically a progressive, equality-embracing, good guy/ally sort not to let your first reaction to being criticized be your final reaction. There is no progress without critique. You are a member of a class of people, for the purposes of this issue, whether you like it or not. You aren't all men, and you don't speak for all men, and you might be and probably are trying your best. But especially if you are white and economically privileged, you really have not experienced a world in which your membership in a class of people was an inescapable aspect of your identity in the world, a condition on your right to self-realization, or a constant target for violence against your class, regardless of any other power you might have in the world.

Guys, when a feminist critique makes you feel like your biological endowment condemns you to always being perceived as an Inferior Other, congratulations. You now know how it feels to be a (any) woman, or a person of color, or a poor person, or a disabled person. The experience should enhance, rather than diminish, your desire for equality and solidarity. No matter how progressive you are, you still own misogyny and have an obligation to try harder to do something about it.
posted by spitbull at 4:04 PM on June 12, 2014 [64 favorites]


You'll get used to it.
posted by oneswellfoop at 4:04 PM on June 12, 2014


I am so curious, mudpuppie: why does your neighbour care about which side of the driveway you park in? How could that be useful advice for anyone?

Oh yes, I suppose that's rather an odd thing to say without context.

It's because the tree that overhangs the right half of the driveway is an Asian hackberry, and Asian hackberries are subject to horrible infestations of wooly aphids, and wooly aphids excrete a sticky substance that will soon coat your car and which is very difficult to get off. Plus, the driveway gets all sticky and the sticky sticks to your shoes and you track the sticky into the house and onto the floors. That's why, a few weeks ago, he told me we should park on the left side of the driveway and not under the tree.

He apparently didn't see me out there a couple of months ago pre-treating the tree with a systemic pesticide so that we would not have the aphid infestation, which I was doing because I KNOW WHAT THE FUCK I AM DOING MISTER.
posted by mudpuppie at 4:08 PM on June 12, 2014 [30 favorites]


I particularly like how his advice isn't even good advice. (Of course, that's what makes it bonus point mansplaining.)
posted by jeather at 4:12 PM on June 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'm not a teacher; I don't always want to spend my energy and time (for free!) to help lead people towards a new, gentler understanding. Sometimes I just want to buy my dang chili-lime cashews without being reminded that some guy got rich singing about how happy he was to have finally overpowered me.

Shouldn't we treat the disease as well as the symptoms?

And yes, if you are trying to explain why these things offend you to the people who do it, you are indeed a teacher; we are all teachers of something!
posted by NoraCharles at 4:14 PM on June 12, 2014 [5 favorites]


Shouldn't we treat the disease as well as the symptoms?

Sometimes we all want to take a break from the responsibility of both of those things.

Even soldiers get R&R sometimes. I'd really like that myself as well.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:19 PM on June 12, 2014 [6 favorites]


Shouldn't we treat the disease as well as the symptoms?

There's nothing about being born with two X chromosomes or currently presenting as a woman that obligates me to do either of those things.
posted by KathrynT at 4:20 PM on June 12, 2014 [32 favorites]


even if we were always ready and willing to be teachers, we're going to have different methods - just because one method works for you in a classroom setting doesn't mean that same method will work for everyone, especially in a situation where the teacher/student lines aren't drawn so starkly. we've had men who are mefites (not all mefite men!) say that aggressive reactions to entrenched misogyny is why they changed their outlook on these things and in some cases moved from pua stuff to straight up feminist allies.
posted by nadawi at 4:24 PM on June 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


Grown men aren't schoolchildren, and more to the point, women aren't their teachers or their mommies, and it's not our job to hold their hands individually and gently introduce them to concepts that frighten or confuse them.

The public discourse mansplaining started with Rebecca Solnit's Men Explain Things to Me. She didn't use the term in that, but women recognized the phenomena and picked up on it and talked about it, and the word was coined by someone else as a shortcut to explain the phenomenon of men assuming they have natural authority on topics that a woman or women actually have greater expertise in. It's an easily Googleable term, and there are tons of clear, concise explanations of it out there. And mansplainers tend very strongly to not listen to women very well, anyway, so not only am I not obligated to hold their hands and walk them through topics that are difficult for them, but it's probably going to be fruitless anyway. I mean, they're already not listening to lots of smart, articulate women. Why would I be different?

I'll be happy to explain it individually to men if they pay me, but otherwise, they're just wasting my time.
posted by ernielundquist at 4:27 PM on June 12, 2014 [35 favorites]


I get paid to teach, and I don't come here to work.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 4:28 PM on June 12, 2014 [10 favorites]


insisting that the oppressed educate their oppressors on how to act like the most basic of decent human beings is a gross tedious tired out saggy ass nasty old microaggression and im not fucking interested byyyeeee
posted by elizardbits at 4:29 PM on June 12, 2014 [31 favorites]


I teach, too. I am paid to do so. I just got home from teaching today. I am a woman.

I am off the fucking clock right now...as off as possible, anyway, and although I took plenty of gender studies coursework in college, it is not my discipline.

Here is something that a male student has done to me in the middle of a lesson: interrupted me, reached over, took the actual brain I was teaching from out of my hands while I was speaking, and started lecturing the women at the table about the most important aspects of the brain for this particular course. I will tell you there was one person at that table who knew what was on their lab final, and it was not that guy. I was so shocked--and so were the women--we just stood there, jaws dropped for a minute, because you have got to be fucking kidding me. And I honestly had never thought anyone would do that, so it took a minute for me to redirect that kid. How much handholding and listening to him and preciousness did that guy deserve? Was that a learning moment about sexism to be treasured? He directly stole education time from his professional-school classmates.

Seriously, that line of "just teach them patiently how to be human" is some saccharine syrupy craptasticness right there.
posted by Uniformitarianism Now! at 4:40 PM on June 12, 2014 [51 favorites]


I am a therapist. If users here need me to use my professional skills in letting them process their feelings without judging them and in focusing all of my attention on their feelings and needs and none on my own, they can damn well pay me $100 an hour to do so.

Otherwise, I will continue to show other users the respect due to all human beings but also claim my right to be respected and listened to as an equal with my own feelings that are just as important as everyone else's. I'm not going to reward shitty behavior in my personal life just because I'm trained to deal with it in my professional life.
posted by jaguar at 4:55 PM on June 12, 2014 [25 favorites]


I don't think treating men as infantile students does anyone any favors. It supports the patriarchy, like advertisements that show men as inept parents and housekeepers that women have to take care of.
posted by desjardins at 4:58 PM on June 12, 2014 [22 favorites]


And yes, if you are trying to explain why these things offend you to the people who do it, you are indeed a teacher; we are all teachers of something!

Awesome! What is my Blackboard login so I can give a whole lot of people F's in basic human decency?

Or put sad face smilies on their deportment cards or whatever the life teacher procedure is.
posted by winna at 5:09 PM on June 12, 2014 [19 favorites]


Seriously. Anyone who is literate enough in both English and computer skills to hang around this place has enough brain cells to do a site search and/or web search.

hey jaguar you got a sliding scale? ;-)
posted by rtha at 5:09 PM on June 12, 2014 [6 favorites]




Jeez. I've been coming in and out of this thread to see how the reconciliation process is going, and it just gets worse and worse.

And the funny thing is, its about basic shit. Why are people digging their heels in on stuff like "women are obligated to teach blah blah", "i dont owe you anything after i call you out".

What the fuck, metafilter?

On the other hand, I'm kinda glad the modagement team hasn't closed this active thread down. Maybe it'll be cathartic or some shit.
posted by hal_c_on at 5:29 PM on June 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


timsteil: "I'm not crazy about seeing a White Sox flag flying on my North Side street, but I live and let live. The world is full of little annoyances. They are mosquitoes in August."

As a fifth-generation Cubs fan, I rule your analogy off-point, offensive, and the sort of thing I'd expect from a Cards fan.

Just kidding, even Cards fans don't drop c-bombs. There are things in this world worse than White Sox fans, worse than Cards fans, worse than Packers fans, and it turns out you are it.

Did you know Harry Caray cries in heaven every time someone tries to defend being a complete asshole using Cubs analogies? WAY TO GO THERE, SPORT-O.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:30 PM on June 12, 2014 [11 favorites]




Jeez. I've been coming in and out of this thread to see how the reconciliation process is going, and it just gets worse and worse.


How is this helpful?
posted by sweetkid at 5:32 PM on June 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Happy travels, Catch.
posted by 0 at 5:33 PM on June 12, 2014


The word "man" being in the word "mansplaining" does not make that word a universal descriptor of men who explain things. The word "white" in the term "white power" does not mean that every white person in the world secretly longs to get swastika tattoos. Sometimes, words mean one thing in one place, and another thing when being used elsewhere. There is no transitive property that means you are somehow being slandered whenever the term mansplaining is used. The implied critique embedded in the word doesn't come from the term "man", otherwise He-Man and Batman and Manwich and Man Ray would all weep themselves to sleep all night. The critique is embedded in the behavior being criticized, which is something that men specifically do.

The bizarre thing is, I agree with you, but I don't agree with your explanation using "white power".

A loaded (made-up?) word would be "whitesplaining". Not all white people should be offended when that's used, but then again, to someone who is not in your culture of whatever, they will be all "hey, you can't say that".
posted by hal_c_on at 5:35 PM on June 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


How is this helpful?

How is THIS helpful?
posted by hal_c_on at 5:35 PM on June 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Baseball is a game for louts.
posted by Pudhoho at 5:37 PM on June 12, 2014


Wow, I'm confused. I came in here to say a few things to try to help people understand each other and stop fighting and I get attacked?

Ok, have a good night all, time to walk away.
posted by NoraCharles at 5:41 PM on June 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


hal, cut it out.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:45 PM on June 12, 2014


People disagreeing with you, and noting that your well-meaning suggestion is problematic, is not attacking you.
posted by gingerest at 5:48 PM on June 12, 2014 [29 favorites]


A loaded (made-up?) word would be "whitesplaining". Not all white people should be offended when that's used, but then again, to someone who is not in your culture of whatever, they will be all "hey, you can't say that".

Huh? Whitesplaining, cissplaining, straightsplaining, etc., and so on - none of these is exactly non-Euclidean geometry. I can easily imagine any of them happening. What?
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 5:52 PM on June 12, 2014 [5 favorites]


I can easily imagine any of them happening.

I mean the idea of mansplaining is that someone in a priveleged group speaks down to an oppressed group. So I guess that can happen, but I've never heard the terms "whitesplaining" or "richsplaining" before.
posted by hal_c_on at 5:54 PM on June 12, 2014


Ok. A cursory google search tells me that those terms do exist. oops.
posted by hal_c_on at 5:56 PM on June 12, 2014


I've seen both "whitesplaining" and "cissplaining" in the wild, as well as plain old "splaining".
posted by sculpin at 5:57 PM on June 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


Don't 'splain me, bro.
posted by planetesimal at 5:59 PM on June 12, 2014


That's actually a gorgeous example right there of a thing all or most of us do about some things at least occasionally, which is to assume that if we haven't heard of it or experienced it or seen it, it doesn't exist.
posted by rtha at 6:00 PM on June 12, 2014 [16 favorites]


That's actually a gorgeous example right there of a thing all or most of us do about some things at least occasionally, which is to assume that if we haven't heard of it or experienced it or seen it, it doesn't exist.

Yes, just like Zzyzx.
posted by hal_c_on at 6:03 PM on June 12, 2014


I've been to Zzyzx, actually, as part of a science program that included some focus on women in science (and also crazy stuff about remote sensing and Mars)! It's a really beautiful place!
posted by ChuraChura at 6:09 PM on June 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


It's awful that this whole thread has been salted with yet more ZOMG MANSPLAINING = MISANDRY nightmare, but I just wanted to add a data point.

There was a similar thread a couple of years ago where I objected to the term for the usual stupid reasons, and y'all were sufficiently patient to take the convince me that I was being a stone-cold, A-grade, 100% fuckknuckle. That hurt, but it was good for me. I have worked to change my approach to these issues. So thanks for that. Discussing this over and over again is aggravating, but it does make a difference.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:36 PM on June 12, 2014 [20 favorites]


I am so confused. How do I be a decent human being that people love and respect? I try. I do. I try to treat people the way I want treated. I try not to get mad when that doesn't work. I expend a lot of energy to insure I refer to people how they want. I try to let it pass when people use terms I hate. I try to pretend that any one religion or superstition is no less important than another. I try to use good faith and imagine words in the best possible light. I try. I really do. So let's make a list of how people can go through life without hurting others and if it's possible I will abide by it.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:42 PM on June 12, 2014


There's only one rule that I know of, babies—God damn it, you've got to be kind.
posted by Justinian at 6:45 PM on June 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


I am so confused.

Whatever else there is to say, posting the same paragraph-long comment in multiple metatalk threads simultaneously is kind of noisy and not okay. I'll leave this one here but I nixed the rest.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:48 PM on June 12, 2014 [7 favorites]


I feel kind of bad for divabat. I'm sure she hoped this would go differently. But just because it's a total mess doesn't mean it's a total waste.
posted by uosuaq at 7:17 PM on June 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


I don't think it's ever a waste, really. Even all the really shitty comments help cement the point. There's some twisted benefit to that.
posted by mudpuppie at 7:23 PM on June 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


Discussing this over and over again is aggravating, but it does make a difference.

I can see members being frustrated over this. On one hand it's brought up, and accomplishes something (at the personal, oft-unseen, micro-level rather than the all-encompassing macro-level). On the other hand it isn't the responsibility of any one person to "teach".

So the way that I see it is:

Discuss this brand new concept to people who may have (for whatever reason) 'missed' it, or understand that you have the opportunity to stamp out this ugly attitude, but you choose not to. Calling out any individual and not following up about why the fallout occurs is akin to taking a potshot and running off. My vote leans heavily towards the former plan.

I feel kind of bad for divabat. I'm sure she hoped this would go differently. But just because it's a total mess doesn't mean it's a total waste.

I think her intentions were awesome. Every so often, I see someone with that...FIRE in their belly. And it's these people who will actually accomplish something lasting far beyond the volume of their voice or text. Let's not stifle that shit.
posted by hal_c_on at 7:29 PM on June 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


Discuss this brand new concept to people who may have (for whatever reason) 'missed' it, or understand that you have the opportunity to stamp out this ugly attitude, but you choose not to.

the problem with this plan, as explicated in basically every thread about this, is that women are generally surrounded by people who do not understand or have missed this startlingly new concept called "don't be a misogynistic jerkface" literally every single day and probably most of the hours

today: I got catcalled. A neighborhood group had a report of someone who gave her a list of the home repair instructions...to give to her husband. A classmate who gave a sales pitch for her app only be asked how much she makes because her pitch-ee needs a wife for his son.

heck there are still 1.5 hours left in today! except I'm giving up, because that's just today.
posted by jetlagaddict at 7:34 PM on June 12, 2014 [10 favorites]


[Comment deleted. If you are trying to make a joke you are showing incredibly poor judgement.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:40 PM on June 12, 2014


a fiendish thingy: "The word "man" being in the word "mansplaining" does not make that word a universal descriptor of men who explain things. The word "white" in the term "white power" does not mean that every white person in the world secretly longs to get swastika tattoos."

!! I think this is a perfect way to introduce the topic to some folks in a way that they will begin to understand and not just focus on the "man" part of the -splainin'. Thanks, a fiendish thingy!
posted by barnacles at 7:41 PM on June 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


the problem with this plan, as explicated in basically every thread about this, is that women are generally surrounded by people who do not understand or have missed this startlingly new concept called "don't be a misogynistic jerkface" literally every single day and probably most of the hours

today: I got catcalled. A neighborhood group had a report of someone who gave her a list of the home repair instructions...to give to her husband. A classmate who gave a sales pitch for her app only be asked how much she makes because her pitch-ee needs a wife for his son.


Yeah. I'm talking about metafilter. I'm not saying that you should go up to some moron who catcalls you, to 'teach' him.
posted by hal_c_on at 7:44 PM on June 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yeah. I'm talking about metafilter. I'm not saying that you should go up to some moron who catcalls you to 'teach' him.

At a certain point, it's pretty much the same? Like I love Metafilter, but the fact that it's words on a screen doesn't make it less personal. I've tried-- and I am not as eloquent as many on this site-- but I'm also tired. Some moron who catcalls me and some moron who defends sitting across three seats on the train or some moron who hates maternity leave or whatever-- they're kind of all the same moron.
posted by jetlagaddict at 7:48 PM on June 12, 2014 [10 favorites]


Even on Metafilter it gets tiring. And even when some of us are trying to educate (see: comments on this thread and the others) people aren't really listening - or they are, but we don't know about it because it takes place quietly. And it's not fair to expect us to educate over and over and over, when you don't know if the person is actually paying attention.

Even in classroom situations you need both the teacher and the student to listen.
posted by divabat at 7:53 PM on June 12, 2014 [12 favorites]


I'd like to think I was only showing ordinarily poor judgement, cortex, but I've never once objected to having a comment deleted (I think this might be my fourth time) and I'm not about to.
The non-jokey part of my comment was to the effect that I certainly hope hal_c_on didn't interpret my previous comment as "stifling".
posted by uosuaq at 8:02 PM on June 12, 2014


And it's not fair to expect us to educate over and over and over, when you don't know if the person is actually paying attention.

You are absolutely right; it's totally unfair. It just is, there's no getting around it. But seriously,this is how "it is". Asking sincerely, is there ANY other alternative you see as being effective?
posted by hal_c_on at 8:05 PM on June 12, 2014


hal_c_on: Putting the onus on the person being educated to actually pay attention and listen. Why should all the attention be on the educator role?
posted by divabat at 8:06 PM on June 12, 2014 [15 favorites]


divabat:

In a fair world, we'd all be like "psshhaw- this mofo has had 20-40+ years to learn this shit. I am not responsible for teaching this person ANYTHING he has willfully ignored over that time."

In the real world, I'm all like: "yeah, we gotta talk in a civil manner to this dude who thinks its ok to verbally harass women, otherwise he won't be receptive to it...and the problem will continue on and on and on".

Putting the onus on the person being educated to pay attention and comprehend won't accomplish much. By continuing to spread their ideas, they are explicitly saying "yeah, i live in this world, and i ignored all the stuff about treating people nicely". Putting the responsibility on them is CORRECT, but it just won't accomplish anything as they have shown that they just don't give a shit.

And just for clarification, I am NOT putting the responsibility on women to do this. I'm putting the responsibility on ALL mefites.
posted by hal_c_on at 8:14 PM on June 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Talking in a civil manner, as you suggest, hasn't helped at all (again, see all the threads referred to here).

If you want it to accomplish much, take responsibility as the educated-to person. Don't pass it all onto the people who are already working hard anyway whether or not you are paying attention.
posted by divabat at 8:16 PM on June 12, 2014 [5 favorites]


If you want it to accomplish much, take responsibility as the educated-to person. Don't pass it all onto the people who are already working hard anyway whether or not you are paying attention.

Ok. Nobody is under ANY obligation to "educate" or "teach" or whatever.

I'm just saying that telling people who see women as 2nd-class people to "take responsibility for learning how to treat people" won't work. If it did, we wouldn't have people being dicks to each other after kindergarten.
posted by hal_c_on at 8:20 PM on June 12, 2014


hal_c_on, is there a nice way to tell you that you're mansplaining right now?
posted by dialetheia at 8:23 PM on June 12, 2014 [15 favorites]


I'm just saying that telling people who see women as 2nd-class people to "take responsibility for learning how to treat people" won't work.

I'm pretty sure it will work better than coddling them like idiot children. People who behave like fuckwits need to face consequences, not hand-holding.
posted by misfish at 8:25 PM on June 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


And just for clarification, I am NOT putting the responsibility on women to do this. I'm putting the responsibility on ALL mefites.

So you're going to start throwing in with us now, right? Since you understand how this should work?
posted by Snarl Furillo at 8:27 PM on June 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


I'm pretty sure it will work better than coddling them like idiot children. People who behave like fuckwits need to face consequences, not hand-holding.

What consequences? They have gotten through life without any consequences, thats why they continue to hold onto their beliefs.
posted by hal_c_on at 8:28 PM on June 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


t just is, there's no getting around it. But seriously,this is how "it is". Asking sincerely, is there ANY other alternative you see as being effective?

So the onus is on me to metaphorically repeatedly beat my head against a wall until it is bloody enough for some dense man to take notice? He might offer me a bandaid but he won't grok the reason why I am injured and hurting to begin with. Repeatedly attempting to educate people is exhausting and more often than not is met with hostility. "It is" is a poor excuse. Men should educate their sons AND peer group. Speak up dudes.
posted by futz at 8:28 PM on June 12, 2014 [5 favorites]


this dum
posted by planetesimal at 8:29 PM on June 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


hal_c_on, is there a nice way to tell you that you're mansplaining right now?

Amazing. Having a discussion with someone, respecting their views, and offering my own is mansplaining.

Awesome. I'm out.
posted by hal_c_on at 8:30 PM on June 12, 2014 [6 favorites]


dialetheia,

btw, i appreciated your answers about the "biotic pump" question. thanks, yo.
now im out.
posted by hal_c_on at 8:32 PM on June 12, 2014


What consequences?

Perhaps some mild, easy to handle consequences like being ungently pilloried on a website.
posted by misfish at 8:32 PM on June 12, 2014 [8 favorites]


Dude, I was honestly being sincere about trying to go for the nice way! I don't think you were doing it maliciously. But you just walked in here and started responding to every commenter, making this conversation about you, and defending your idea instead of listening when women tried to point out how your idea might not work for them.

Thanks, I dug that question and had fun answering it! No hard feelings I hope.
posted by dialetheia at 8:35 PM on June 12, 2014 [9 favorites]


hal_c_on, is there a nice way to tell you that you're mansplaining right now?

Amazing. Having a discussion with someone, respecting their views, and offering my own is mansplaining.


but that's what the "education" looks like.


Awesome. I'm out.


And that's why people are reluctant to think the "education" will work.
posted by sweetkid at 8:38 PM on June 12, 2014 [54 favorites]


I figure the "uneducated" fall into two broad categories, viz. those you might have some hope of reaching and those who are hopeless (but thankfully mortal).
I think there are people that might be reached but who are not going to do the work themselves, and however exhausting it might be, it would be progress if they could be reached.
Putting the onus on them is less exhausting but not effective. I think hal_c_on has only been trying to express this sort of pragmatic view. How do you actually make progress?

In a fair world, we'd all be like "psshhaw- this mofo has had 20-40+ years to learn this shit. I am not responsible for teaching this person ANYTHING he has willfully ignored over that time."

In the real world, I'm all like: "yeah, we gotta talk in a civil manner to this dude who thinks its ok to verbally harass women, otherwise he won't be receptive to it...and the problem will continue on and on and on".


I don't think there's a nice *or correct* way to tell hal_c_on that that was mansplaining.
posted by uosuaq at 8:39 PM on June 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Hal_c_on: You clearly identify as an ally, and want to respect the views of the women in this thread. You have just responded to a woman who has objected to your perspective as being less supportive than you intend by saying you're "out", i.e. refusing to participate further in the discussion at all, even to listen. This suggests to me that the reception from men with an "ugly attitude" to whom this is a "brand new concept" will be orders of magnitude more hostile.

It's not only not the responsibility of women to teach men this stuff, it's not necessarily even safe for us to do so.

(I'm addressing this to you in the hopes you're not really "out" but are still listening.)
posted by gingerest at 8:41 PM on June 12, 2014 [12 favorites]


divabat, do you believe that everyone who has worked in retail or customer service and expressed some sympathy for the store manager in the "take it easy" thread because they'd been in his shoes is a misogynist bigot? Do you think the only reason anyone brought that aspect of the article up is because they wanted to derail the thread and prevent a discussion of misogyny in popular culture from happening?
posted by nangar at 8:42 PM on June 12, 2014 [4 favorites]



I don't think there's a nice *or correct* way to tell hal_c_on that that was mansplaining.


it was mansplaining though. The correct way to say someone is mansplaining is by saying "that is mansplaining."

I have many male friends who mansplain, but I have one who knows he does it. He was like, "I mansplain, I know I do it." I was like, "no you don't!" and then I thought about it, and he totally does. He does it even though he knows what the term is and doesn't want to do it.

He's not doing it on purpose though, and I feel like he is definitely making an effort. And when he does do it, I kind of get a sense of where he's coming from and don't feel battled into this corner of "ok, guess you're right."

Basically you're not a bad person or stupid or horrible if you are a person who mansplains from time to time, and women will still like you, even love you and be friends with you and marry you and etc. But that doesn't change your mansplaining into something else.
posted by sweetkid at 8:46 PM on June 12, 2014 [11 favorites]


Mortal? Also, we women were just told to educate men but now there seems to be no nice or correct way to do so. Am I misreading what you are saying?
posted by futz at 8:50 PM on June 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


it was mansplaining though

Can I ask how so? I get that hal_c_on and I are just male-wannabe-allies, but where did things go wrong?
posted by uosuaq at 8:53 PM on June 12, 2014


Can I ask how so? I get that hal_c_on and I are just male-wannabe-allies, but where did things go wrong?

I think any time a member of a non-oppressed group tells a member of an oppressed group that they have to deal with reality "as it is," they're treading on very very very thin ice.

Because we women ARE dealing with reality as it is, every single day, while men can treat these problems as an intellectual exercise. If you haven't lived as a member of the group you're advising, you really really really shouldn't be telling us to accept the reality of oppression. Trust me, we did that at about age 7; catch up before giving us advice.
posted by jaguar at 8:57 PM on June 12, 2014 [40 favorites]


I should have phrased that more gently, it sounded less mean-spirited in my head. But the thing that makes it mansplain-y to me is that when people told hal_c_on why they didn't agree with what he said and why it wouldn't solve the problem, he started arguing "this is how it is in the real world" and asking what their great solution is if his isn't the answer, instead of engaging with what they said. I totally get that he was trying to help, but he was basically telling women that he knows better about them about both the problem and its solution. Telling women how they should solve sexism is textbook mansplaining.
posted by dialetheia at 8:59 PM on June 12, 2014 [14 favorites]


"Catch up" was needlessly inflammatory; I'm sorry.

My frustration, which is a good sign that I'm being mansplained to, comes from the assumption in hal_c_on's comments that women somehow haven't taken the basic step of accepting that misogyny and oppression exist. The comments are therefore extremely removed from the reality of actual women's lives, and when several people pointed that out, he doubled down.
posted by jaguar at 9:00 PM on June 12, 2014 [5 favorites]


> I think there are people that might be reached but who are not going to do the work themselves, and however exhausting it might be, it would be progress if they could be reached.

You can learn a lot if you listen and take time to look into shit. This is true in educational settings, and it's even more true in real life (and MetaFilter is part of real life in this sense even though it's not IRL). You can't expect the world to spoon-feed everything to you. You have to make an effort to learn and understand and find sources you can learn from.
posted by nangar at 9:11 PM on June 12, 2014


There are things in this world worse than White Sox fans, worse than Cards fans, worse than Packers fans, and it turns out you are it.

I am totally stealing this EPIC BURN except I'm going to replace Cards with Cubs and Packers with Bears.
posted by desjardins at 9:11 PM on June 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


Hal_c_on: You clearly identify as an ally, and want to respect the views of the women in this thread. You have just responded to a woman who has objected to your perspective as being less supportive than you intend by saying you're "out", i.e. refusing to participate further in the discussion at all, even to listen. This suggests to me that the reception from men with an "ugly attitude" to whom this is a "brand new concept" will be orders of magnitude more hostile.

It's not only not the responsibility of women to teach men this stuff, it's not necessarily even safe for us to do so.

(I'm addressing this to you in the hopes you're not really "out" but are still listening.)


Ok. I was listening, but since you want me to participate, then cool. I will.

I left not because of divabat's words, but because someone came in and said "you're mansplaining". I don't need to be subject to that kind of bullshit.
posted by hal_c_on at 9:14 PM on June 12, 2014


it was mansplaining though. The correct way to say someone is mansplaining is by saying "that is mansplaining."

I have many male friends who mansplain, but I have one who knows he does it. He was like, "I mansplain, I know I do it." I was like, "no you don't!" and then I thought about it, and he totally does. He does it even though he knows what the term is and doesn't want to do it.

He's not doing it on purpose though, and I feel like he is definitely making an effort. And when he does do it, I kind of get a sense of where he's coming from and don't feel battled into this corner of "ok, guess you're right."

Basically you're not a bad person or stupid or horrible if you are a person who mansplains from time to time, and women will still like you, even love you and be friends with you and marry you and etc. But that doesn't change your mansplaining into something else.


that is whitesplaining.
posted by hal_c_on at 9:16 PM on June 12, 2014


There are things in this world worse than White Sox fans, worse than Cards fans, worse than Packers fans, and it turns out you are it.

I am totally stealing this EPIC BURN except I'm going to replace Cards with Cubs and Packers with Bears.


You can't use a chicago burn as a packer's burn! Freaking wisconsinaians.
posted by hal_c_on at 9:17 PM on June 12, 2014


Thank you for your answers, jaguar and dialetheia.
There may be earlier comments by hal_c_on in this (what, 800 comment?) thread that I've missed, so I don't want to commit to defending everything he might have said.
What *I* saw was hal_c_on saying that you can't just expect the ignorant to educate themselves, so what's the strategy to educate them? This was in response to, I think,
If you want it to accomplish much, take responsibility as the educated-to person.
(And to think I got back onto this thread, after a couple jokes, just to thank divabat for starting it...)
All I understood hal_c_on to be saying in his response was that if the educated-to person *isn't listening*, then how do you get their attention?
It seems like a fair question (and a very unfair situation).
posted by uosuaq at 9:18 PM on June 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


My frustration, which is a good sign that I'm being mansplained to, comes from the assumption in hal_c_on's comments that women somehow haven't taken the basic step of accepting that misogyny and oppression exist. The comments are therefore extremely removed from the reality of actual women's lives, and when several people pointed that out, he doubled down.

Wait, what? Are you saying that I think that "women somehow haven't taken the basic step of accepting that misogyny and oppression exist."

Where do you get that from, or do we just make stuff up now?
posted by hal_c_on at 9:19 PM on June 12, 2014


I left not because of divabat's words, but because someone came in and said "you're mansplaining". I don't need to be subject to that kind of bullshit.

Saying "that thing you're doing is X", isn't a personal attack, it isn't bullshit, it's an attempt to educate about another point of view. Which is what the last 50 or so comments have been about.
posted by zug at 9:21 PM on June 12, 2014 [18 favorites]


that is whitesplaining.

What are you trying to prove here?
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:21 PM on June 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


hal_c_on, you kept giving suggestions about educating people. Women kept saying, That doesn't work. You kept saying that people not understanding oppression is just how "it is" -- as if we don't know that already. We know that, and while knowing that, women were saying that your suggestions don't work. You reacted as if women simply didn't understand how the world works and if you just explained reality to us, we would then agree with your suggestions. You left no room for the possibility that we understand reality and your suggestions don't work.
posted by jaguar at 9:25 PM on June 12, 2014 [25 favorites]


that is whitesplaining.

What? How?
posted by sweetkid at 9:27 PM on June 12, 2014


I'm not white either. And that comment isn't about telling a POC how they should relate to their race, so it's not whitesplaining.

nangar: where did you get that assumption from?
posted by divabat at 9:29 PM on June 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


hal_c_on, is there any way of attempting to educate you gently as to why your approach won't work and why your continued insistence on it is infuriating that will convince you? And if not, if there's no way the "gentle education" approach can work on you in this manner, why do you think it will work on anyone else? Because right now, you are currently being an extremely prime example of that which you claim to rail against.
posted by KathrynT at 9:30 PM on June 12, 2014 [36 favorites]


oops neither one of the women you are conversing with are white
posted by elizardbits at 9:31 PM on June 12, 2014 [21 favorites]


Yea I am totally not white so
posted by sweetkid at 9:32 PM on June 12, 2014 [5 favorites]


This is like a fish hook in my hypothalamus.
posted by planetesimal at 9:34 PM on June 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


You kept saying that people not understanding oppression is just how "it is" -- as if we don't know that already. We know that, and while knowing that, women were saying that your suggestions don't work. You reacted as if women simply didn't understand how the world works and if you just explained reality to us, we would then agree with your suggestions. You left no room for the possibility that we understand reality and your suggestions don't work.

Did you forget my sentences above, where I said:

Asking sincerely, is there ANY other alternative you see as being effective?

Is that leaving no room for the possiblity that my suggestion doesn't work? Heck, I'm not even hung up on my idea of "teaching people" because its unfair to the people who aren't messed up.

I'm just saying that STICKING TO THE STATUS QUO WILL LEAD TO THE STATUS QUO...WHICH MEANS NO CHANGE!

or is that mansplaining?

posted by hal_c_on at 9:34 PM on June 12, 2014


I shouldn't have to tell you to knock it off twice in the same night. I think you had the right idea stepping away earlier. Do it for real now.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:37 PM on June 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


is there ANY other alternative you see as being effective

yes

the wicker man
posted by elizardbits at 9:37 PM on June 12, 2014 [26 favorites]


I'M IN A GLASS CASE OF EMOTION
posted by uosuaq at 9:39 PM on June 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


wicker mansplaining
posted by NoraReed at 9:42 PM on June 12, 2014 [12 favorites]


I see one effective alternative, which is for allies to handle the outreach to their fellow members of the dominant class, rather than asking exhausted members of the oppressed class to do so. Needs to be done sensitively, though, with "nothing about us without us" as a guiding principle and without expecting cookies for exhibiting the minimum standard of human decency.

I might genuinely be whitesplaining, though.
posted by gingerest at 9:42 PM on June 12, 2014 [9 favorites]


I shouldn't have to tell you to knock it off twice in the same night. I think you had the right idea stepping away earlier. Do it for real now.

What the fuck? Fine, cortex.

Everyone else, please feel free to memail me. I don't claim to be an "ally" or whatever. I think its horrible how there are certain groups of people in the world who are seen as second or third rate people. The people who treat them that way won't change because they have very little incentive to.

I have more incentive to tell people why its rude to ask me when i learned english, than those people have to learn about why its offensive.

Stay cool, metafilter.
posted by hal_c_on at 9:43 PM on June 12, 2014


Thanks, NoraCharles, for saying what you did. Sometimes the people complaining the loudest about how bad feminist threads are here on Metafilter feel like the ones most invested in taking the discourse level down. I'm tired of all the infantilization, sarcasm and contempt. Divabat posted this thread about how to do better, so...

We have had requests for Feminism 101 links in the beginning of some threads. Maybe that is not a bad idea. Maybe we should also have 101 links on general site etiquette, too. Like:

DO skip a thread if you personally think the issue being discussed is a non-issue.
DON'T rant about how Some People Are Really Suffering.

DO give people the benefit of the doubt and try to read their comments as charitably as possible.
DON'T use inflammatory terms like 'feminazis' and 'hysterical' OR 'neckbeards' and 'mansplaining'.

DO remember that very few issues boil down to black or white, 100% right vs 100% wrong.
DON'T assume someone will agree with you if you just keep stating your position often enough.

DON'T bring up that One Comment User X Made in 1993 that still pisses you off.
DO eat some crow and admit you have occasionally been User X in the past.

DON'T ridicule other members with infantilizing sarcasm (even if it gets you easy favorites).
DO point out other Merites' fantastic comments (even if it gets them more favorites than you!).

DON'T feed the trolls (or continue to pile on after 5 or 10 people already responded to them).
DO FIAMO!
posted by misha at 9:46 PM on June 12, 2014 [11 favorites]


wicker mansplaining

I assume this is where you try to patronise someone, but it just comes out all "NOT THE BEEEEEEEESSSSARRGARGAGH"
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:47 PM on June 12, 2014 [10 favorites]


Yea I am totally not white so
posted by sweetkid at 12:32 AM on June 13 [2 favorites +] [!]


I guess I am technically like 21.2% white but colonialism hey what you gonna do. My comment still wasn't whitesplaining though because it had nothing to do with race.

Also I really was being genuine. That's the kind of thing that really makes me feel like "educating allies" is fruitless work.
posted by sweetkid at 9:47 PM on June 12, 2014 [5 favorites]


mixed race guilt high five
posted by elizardbits at 9:49 PM on June 12, 2014 [8 favorites]


I guess I am technically like 21.2% white but colonialism hey what you gonna do. My comment still wasn't whitesplaining though because it had nothing to do with race.

I think that whole thing was a failed attempt at snark mixed with an unexamined assumption.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:53 PM on June 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


And that comment isn't about telling a POC how they should relate to their race, so it's not whitesplaining.


My comment still wasn't whitesplaining though because it had nothing to do with race.


Wait, hang on. Obviously neither of you is whitesplaining on any level whatsoever, but I thought I understood mansplaining/whitesplaining/etc. and now I'm not 100% sure. My understanding was that mansplaining is when a man condescendingly explains something to a woman because he assumes that he, as a man, knows better, regardless of whether the topic at hand is gender. In Rebecca Solnit's piece, for example. the guy is lecturing her about the content of her own book. Cases where men tell women how to do feminism better are particularly egregious, but not the only cases. Similarly, whitesplaining would involve white people being pompous know-it-alls when talking to POC and because they assume they know more, regardless of the topic. Am I off-base here?
posted by naoko at 10:02 PM on June 12, 2014 [5 favorites]


Because we women ARE dealing with reality as it is, every single day, while men can treat these problems as an intellectual exercise. If you haven't lived as a member of the group you're advising, you really really really shouldn't be telling us to accept the reality of oppression.

I don't at all pretend to know what's in the heads of people who say this stuff, but as a boring old person, I can kind of see alternative readings for "deal with it" as it applies to my own experiences. 'Cause I've had to learn myself, and have to keep relearning, that no matter how spitting mad I get or how hard I throw myself at these incidents and issues, I do also need to "deal with it" in the sense of:

a) keep my expectations low, or just do it for the sake of doing something constructive without thinking I'll necessarily get somewhere. Sometimes people do get somewhere, like the marriage equity project; many folks are reeling at even that modest bit of progress within any one human's lifetime, when so many other times, people slog away just as hard and get no. where.

and

b) pace myself. Because, trust me, there will unfortunately still be plenty of sexist crap to be spitting mad about in one's boring old age, so you don't want to blow an artery or tire yourself out too soon, like the FPP guy who covers race issues.

and

c) balance mindfulness, cultural critique, and self-examination with trying not to beat myself or others up too hard out of frustration. I get really unsettled when I see blog post titles like "I Was a Teenage Misogynist." I mean, yes, it's meant to be semi-comic, and I'm sure she was one, I know I was/am, we all are/were, and I enjoy interrogating and introspecifying. But y'know, the blogger was also a teenage kid; even boring old personages are occasionally still teenage humans. I get this possibly inaccurate sense sometimes that many young feminists/progressives currently cut themselves zero slack and feel compelled to be . . . I dunno, hypervigilant to their own foibles and those of their friends and foes and the world, and ON ACTIVE DUTY all the time. I hope everyone is taking snack and rest breaks.

Hell, I could (and actually did) spend six hours fretting about, "OK, is Twilight misogynist, or is it misogynist to think Twilight is in some respects stupid, because it's misogynist to mock things women like? Except if some women hate Twilight because it's misogynist, is it then misogynist to defend women's right to like Twilight because it's dissing the women who hate Twilight, or is it more misogynist to think Twilight is somewhat fun and the sort of thing I would have liked when I was 13? Because most of the stuff I liked at 13 was muy unhealthy and definitely misogynist. And if you think Robert Pattinson is hilarious and awesome for saying that Edward vampire guy is a fucking stalker asshole, well, is that misogynist because he's insulting Stephanie What'sherface?" And that's not necessarily six hours wasted, except it's all in service of finding some way to flagellate myself in the political re-education camp that is my mind. But in reality, we're all just up to our eyeballs in a pool of misogyny, and we do have to deal with the fact that this is going to be the case for the foreseeable future.
posted by FelliniBlank at 10:06 PM on June 12, 2014 [5 favorites]


Also I really was being genuine. That's the kind of thing that really makes me feel like "educating allies" is fruitless work.

I feel like, one, Google exists and I don't understand why people don't use it. Like, don't you feel happy and excited that you found something out for yourself? I also feel like, when people need or want to learn pretty much anything else on the planet, they follow a socially predictable and repeatable pattern. You don't decide to learn French and immediately jump on a plane to Quebec and demand the flight attendants teach you how to conjugate. You don't take up quilting by going to the county fair, pigeon-holing some lady with a nice triple Irish chain, and interrogating her on how to block, step by step. If you want to learn how to throw a baseball, you don't write to Pedro Martinez and ask him to send back an instructional video. People get training to learn how to drive, and file their taxes, and interact socially, and use software. If you want to know the basics of something and you are already on the internet, you can google any combination of "intro to THING" and "THING for beginners" and "THING 101" and "what does THING mean in other THING" and get a handle on things quick. But when it comes to learning about oppressed people and their lives, you're supposed to be able to just grab any person you see who knows something about THING and that person is supposed to teach you everything you want to know and know exactly what you mean when you phrase something poorly and spend as much time as you, not they, want on the material, and you also want the out of being able to dismiss all of it at the end if it wasn't presented exactly how you wanted it presented when you demanded on a whim that a person who isn't a professional teacher but is an expert in something teach you how to do that thing.

Also, when you're the teacher? You never know when the lesson will be bleep-blooping along when all of a sudden the student drops a see you next Tuesday and you suddenly have a migraine and an eye twitch.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 10:07 PM on June 12, 2014 [29 favorites]


Hal_c_on, I think the firm putdown of people to educate their own damn selves about an issue is awesome. There are masses of resources thanks to Dr Google - people who are eager to explain issues, who have put together videos and podcasts and FAQs and memoirs and all sorts of great resources. But there is a huge difference between asking to be educated about something and being told "Look it up" and then going:

A: Thanks, I will. (Google search and research later) Oh I see what you meant, this is my better-informed response.

or

B: No. NOW. Tell me now. You're such a selfish jerk to everyone, excluding me from this knowledge. Tell me now.

One of them is demanding time and attention from someone else that they don't owe you because you can't be bothered to do the damn work yourself.

I get asked 101 questions on several personal topics over and over by people who I know could find it out but don't for some reason. There is a huge difference to me when I feel up to discussing this stuff and when I have to slap a smile on and do it out of work obligations at an emotional cost to me. Metafilter is not a job for anyone - even mods don't have to answer non-mefi questions.

This is different if you're like stuck in a remote village with no internet and someone asks a hard question because there are no resources except you and you may feel obliged to educate. But you're on metafilter. The web is literally one tab away with thousands of resources waiting for you.

The community bar that commentors RTFA or educate themselves about basic issues will improve the site. And people. I read up on Mormon missionaries yesterday because of a thread, posted one comment and then realised although I disagreed with some comments, I didn't know enough to contribute meaningfully beyond reading and learning from people who knew more. That's how it works.
posted by viggorlijah at 10:13 PM on June 12, 2014 [7 favorites]


DON'T use inflammatory terms like 'feminazis' and 'hysterical' OR 'neckbeards' and 'mansplaining'.

Mansplaining is a fine term we should keep using.

You never know when the lesson will be bleep-blooping along

¬_¬
posted by bleep-blop at 10:15 PM on June 12, 2014 [27 favorites]


FelliniBlank, what's your point?

I am dealing with it, in the sense that I do not spend all day in bed paralyzed by the pervasive misogyny of the world. I still find it useful to speak about that pervasive misogyny, because speaking about it makes me feel better and, as far as I understand, leads to better health (mental and physical) outcomes for members of oppressed groups. I am happy to be told that I am misreading your comment, but it seems to imply that people who discuss the injustices they face every day are somehow wallowing rather than dealing. And various psychological studies disprove that, and I can probably dig them up if you need them, but I'm hoping maybe you just quoted my comment and were riffing rather than disputing?
posted by jaguar at 10:15 PM on June 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


Yes, I was just applying the phrase you mentioned to my own situation. I'm glad you don't get paralyzed by pervasive misogyny. I don't think I do either, but it does grind at times and certainly has been one (of many) factors in my disengagement from a lot of social interactions.
posted by FelliniBlank at 10:26 PM on June 12, 2014


Google exists and I don't understand why people don't use it. Like, don't you feel happy and excited that you found something out for yourself?

I don't know, as a person who didn't grow up in a particularly progressive environment or was exposed to a lot of different ideas or philosophies, the opportunity to solicit guidance from a website where members are pretty educated and savvy on a number of subjects is pretty attractive. Particularly when it comes to a topic that seems as fraught as this one, I would personally feel overwhelmed slogging through it on my own if I were so motivated. Sure, there's a whole big internet out there, but it's sort of like being in a rowboat with a map but no compass. It's the pitfall of autodidacticism; if I don't know thing one about the subject, how can I evaluate the materials I'm educating myself with? I'm not saying that as a result, all those who can educate must do so and plus, they should be flattered, consarnit, just that that may be a factor behind some people's requests for help.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:29 PM on June 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


61,200 results for "microagressions feminism" - the first page includes a wiki, a site dedicated to explaining them and several articles written for people just learning about the phrase.

It's a question of cost. We could post an ask.metafilter to look for answers from people who want to answer feminism 101 stuff. We could step away from the thread and look for the answers or email someone at a website designed to answer these questions and wait.

But no, damnit, people want an answer right now so they can immediately be educated and participate in a difficult conversation, EVEN IF providing that education takes the time and effort of other people in the conversation. This happens predominantly where there's a power differential whether by gender or age or race etc because effort flows downward.

You feeling personally overwhelmed and not knowing how to evaluate the material does not mean you get other people's time and attention at a cost to their ability to participate in the conversation.
posted by viggorlijah at 10:50 PM on June 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


So here's a suggestion that I follow myself:

When I realize that I have no good background or experience with major issues faced by groups of whom I am not a member, I google "[x group] blog." I then read through the results until I find a blog that seems well written (many of these are on Tumblr. If you have an issue with Tumblr, get over it). I then read that blog a lot, and follow links to other blogs. Soon, I have a good reading list of people of X group writing about their experiences, and I get to learn from people who are voluntarily teaching about their experiences.

But! (Here's the trick!) I NEVER COMMENT ON THE BLOGS. EVER. Most of the members of oppressed groups who are producing well-written blogs have no fucking interest in anything I have to say. Which is mainly why they are so well written; they are not pre-defended against non-oppressed group members.

I have seen extraordinarily honest and compelling blogs go private when too many people started putting pressure on the writers to do 101 stuff. Metafilter users are smart; if you want to read the smart writing, you need to learn to shut up and listen. Become a professional lurker.

We are living in an age when you can access the life story of almost any type of person, at any moment. The only way you can screw it up is to talk too much.
posted by jaguar at 10:52 PM on June 12, 2014 [36 favorites]


You feeling personally overwhelmed and not knowing how to evaluate the material does not mean you get other people's time and attention at a cost to their ability to participate in the conversation.

Agreed, that's probably why I didn't say that.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:54 PM on June 12, 2014


(And a good start for race issues is This Is Everyday Racism.)
posted by jaguar at 11:00 PM on June 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


Oh! And! Even if you disagree with something on the blogs you've found, you still do not comment! That is the second part of the trick. The third part of the trick is that you do not dismiss the entire blog just because you disagreed with something; instead, you keep reading and keep trying to understand.
posted by jaguar at 11:03 PM on June 12, 2014 [6 favorites]


I'm personally not a huge fan of "Just Google It" in and of itself, mostly because Google gives different results for different people and there are plenty of sources that are dodgy and evaluating sources is more complex than people realise. But that doesn't make it the responsibility of the oppressed to do the heavy lifting in educating, especially in a context when they hadn't signed up to do so.

And honestly, a lot of times where "so educate me!!!" comes up, it's in situations where education is already happening. Like in these threads, as an example, many commentors were already explaining in various ways how sexism affects them, why this is still a problem, and so on.

If you want to be educated, one of the first things you can do is to pay attention to the conversation already happening. You'll get a lot of education there already. Also it will give you more specific things to look for, which can help with your search for further information. A lot of places where these conversations are taking place would likely have their own links and resources, so you can start there too so you can see what perspective they're coming from.

elizardbits i wanted to message you this but you disabled mefimail, but thank you for your hilarious comments - if it werent for you and sweetkid and jaguar and many other people supporting me i probably would have hit the 'disable account' button like i keep threatening to every 4 years
posted by divabat at 11:05 PM on June 12, 2014 [22 favorites]


elizardbits i wanted to message you this but you disabled mefimail, but thank you for your hilarious comments

I can only assume that elizardbits disabled memail because the constant torrent of 'thanks for being so funny' memails threatened to overflow her laptop and flood her living room.

posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 11:21 PM on June 12, 2014 [15 favorites]


Perhaps we can construct and install a bat-signal type of device which illuminates the sky with an enormous yellow smiley-face.

posted by Pudhoho at 11:31 PM on June 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


The device would have to project Teen Wolf .gifs.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 11:34 PM on June 12, 2014 [5 favorites]


Of course. Select your favorite and I'll submit the work order.
posted by Pudhoho at 11:42 PM on June 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


If you intend to infuriate her into smashing her keyboard, Teen Wolf is the answer.
posted by viggorlijah at 11:43 PM on June 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


If you intend to infuriate her into smashing her keyboard, Teen Wolf is the answer.

Well, shirtless pictures of Tyler Hoechlin at the very least.

posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 11:50 PM on June 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


We could be classy and project a triskelion.
posted by viggorlijah at 12:07 AM on June 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


viggorlijah: You feeling personally overwhelmed and not knowing how to evaluate the material does not mean you get other people's time and attention at a cost to their ability to participate in the conversation.

Alvy Ampersand: Agreed, that's probably why I didn't say that.

Right. You said,

I would personally feel overwhelmed slogging through it on my own if I were so motivated.

and

I'm not saying that as a result, all those who can educate must do so and plus, they should be flattered, consarnit, just that that may be a factor behind some people's requests for help.

I already know that some requesters' motivations may come from a well-meaning, non-malicious place. Good intentions are better than shitty ones, yes. Still, they can't neutralize the concrete effects: they want people to donate time and energy to explaining stuff for the hundredth time, with no guarantee or likelihood of thanks or appreciation. Or merely that our words will be listened to and thoughtfully considered as a gateway to learning more about a foreign topic! Frankly, what's actually GUARANTEED when you do explain this stuff again is another series of Whack A Moles popping up to criticize what you've said, how you've said it, and complaining about us feminists not getting how reality works, and/or why don't we STFU already. Which leads to many of us burning out.

Good intentions + shallowly considered words/actions can play a part in perpetuating cycles of dysfunction. The above pattern plays out over and over and over again. It's like a law of physics.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 12:13 AM on June 13, 2014 [7 favorites]


Related searches: tyler hoechlin abs

how does google know??

posted by NoraReed at 12:44 AM on June 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


Look, we could play it safe and project Tom Hardy with a puppy, or David Gandy doing anything.
posted by gingerest at 12:47 AM on June 13, 2014


I think part of the reason why I get frustrated with "why don't you just gently teach men to not be oppressive" is that a good chunk of the time there is no way to combine gentle enough with teaching. And because almost invariably no one will actually reply to my walls of text, or if they do it will be to the last sentence, which is usually slightly humorous in an attempt to soften any internal rebukes to make them gentle enough.

But once more into the breech.

Bugbread: I went to a very leftist university, though. And there were so, so many idiots. There was so much irrationality, so many logical fallacies. And what happened was, it ended out swinging me more to the right while I was there. When I'd come back home and talk politics with friends, they were always surprised about how less liberal I'd become while going to a very liberal university.

I have to admit, I am always baffled by this phenomena.

I believe it exists. I don't think I've read a single social justice thread where someone hasn't said, "I disagree with how you are telling us to not be racist/sexist/homophobic/transphobic. It makes me want to be prejudiced against those people you are defending."

I just fundamentally don't understand it.

Every Civil Rights figure on the planet could all tell me I suck as a human being and should go kill myself, and I still wouldn't want to be racist.

Currently, a ton of men tell me and women like me that we should be raped, murdered, and left in a ditch. Still not hating men in general.

I've really objected to the racism and sexism in Skeptical communities and been deeply hurt and offended by the things prominent skeptics have said. Still not planning to be a creationist, and to be honest while I wish Bigfoots existed, the evidence just isn't there to support their population. Sadness.

Most of my hobbies actively tell me I shouldn't exist, both because I'm fat and because I'm female, but I manage to continue loving Sci Fi, Fantasy, Video Games, etc... Usually the reasons I shouldn't exist are really, really fallacious and easily disproven - but it still doesn't inspire me to become the Anti-Geek.

There have been white gay men who have been really rude to women and ethnic minorities. Still a fan of them being able to get married, adopt kids, and not get murdered. Also a fan of recognizing a non-trivial number of gay people are women and/or ethnic minorities - a fact which seems to get lost sometimes.

I mean, to be honest, even within feminism I expect some feminists to object to my opinions using strong language, but it doesn't make me not want to be a feminist. I've agreed with and disagreed with just about every feminist on this page; not going to use gendered slurs against them, not even ironically.

I fundamentally don't understand "you're on my side, you're making arguments badly in some manner, so I want to switch sides." I'm usually more on the, "You're on my side, that's a stupid argument, HERE LET ME MAKE A BETTER ONE. 8D 8D 8D 8D 8D." That kind of conditional-support response always feels like a threat to me - like people in cheap suits walking around and saying, "Nice social justice movement you've got here. Shame if anything happened to it."
posted by Deoridhe at 12:53 AM on June 13, 2014 [56 favorites]


FelliniBlank hit the button?
posted by klangklangston at 12:54 AM on June 13, 2014


If you want to be educated, one of the first things you can do is to pay attention to the conversation already happening.

Oh yes, this exactly.
Women who address sexist and misogynistic comments are often heckled and badgered by both the men who made the comments, as well as their tag-team brain-brothers, under the guise of 'education'.
This must end. It will end: even if only by the intercession of the moderators, which is the least desirable outcome.

Guys, when a woman informs you that your language/behavior/attitude is misogynistic, believe her.
Don't take it personally, because she is not attacking your person. She has addressed your behavior, which you can change.
If you truly desire an education, get off your hind legs and exercise some restraint.
Women are not a public utility. Please stop treating them as such.
Fill your well of introspection from the aquifer provided by the conversation already happening.
It's all there, at your fingertips. Watch and learn.

Nobody expects anybody to arrive perfect and unencumbered.
Misogyny is institutional, like the roots of a tree that interfere with the plumbing of your house.
You didn't plant the tree, but you can thwart its roots.
posted by Pudhoho at 2:15 AM on June 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


get off your hind legs

*eyeroll* Why should I have to hear about a Pudhoho comparing men to dogs while I’m reading metafilter?
posted by 0 at 4:28 AM on June 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


If only there were a nearby website where people could ask questions about the questions and controversies surrounding different issues.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:33 AM on June 13, 2014 [9 favorites]


It's a horse thing, not a dog thing. But I agree that the less comparing of men to horses, the better.
posted by taz (staff) at 4:33 AM on June 13, 2014


Because I have a nice treat for you, M. Zero.
posted by Pudhoho at 5:04 AM on June 13, 2014


I think part of the reason why I get frustrated with "why don't you just gently teach men to not be oppressive" is that a good chunk of the time there is no way to combine gentle enough with teaching.

I get frustrated with it not because it's a bad idea - because it is, in fact, a good idea - but because in our culture, women are too frequently expected to be gentle just because they are women. So when we're asked to be gentle - even in situations where gentleness is appropriate - my innate response is anger, and a lot of "I've already been gentle too many times, more than I can count, more than I should have been. Why are you asking even more of me?"
posted by corb at 5:11 AM on June 13, 2014 [11 favorites]


Yes, it's far better to compare men to centaurs.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:16 AM on June 13, 2014


As in the typeface?
posted by Pudhoho at 5:28 AM on June 13, 2014


hal_c_on, is there any way of attempting to educate you gently as to why your approach won't work and why your continued insistence on it is infuriating that will convince you? And if not, if there's no way the "gentle education" approach can work on you in this manner, why do you think it will work on anyone else? Because right now, you are currently being an extremely prime example of that which you claim to rail against.

This is a really good point. I thought about it a lot. I compared it to when I see people on metafilter saying some kind of prejudiced thing. Initially, I had been all 'hey your ideas don't matter because you are racist or homophobe or whatever'. Later, I realized that my focus should be on changing that stuff rather than humiliating that person so they leave, calling them out so they get defensive, or just being a dick to them so I feel like they know I have a problem with them. So I started memailing people about it in private.

After a while, I said 'hey...I'm gonna memail the people who say awesome things too, it'll reinforce saying awesome things'. And people appreciated that. They still do. Hell, I had just memailed someone I was engaging in this thread a few days ago to tell them how I appreciate their discussions on here.

So yeah. That's the way to do it. I seriously don't feel as if I was not taking the perspective of women into consideration, not hearing out the other side of the argument, or just using my privilege as a male to trump their argument. But maybe I'm wrong.

Did you guys perceive it that way? What can I do to prevent that in the future?

I understand that I will never have the perspective of a woman, but I do have one as a man. Why does that matter in this thread? Because some men are the problem.

My insight, as a male, is that the dudes who are misogynists don't care about gaining a new perspective. I absolutely agree that it is their responsibility as Homo sapiens, but they aren't thinking about the moral and social implications of their thoughts and actions. They just aren't, and that's why they continue to exist. Sometimes they just don't care even if they have thought about it. To put the onus on them is correct and fair, but it does no good because they have no incentive to be different.

The focus of this thread is how to make that happen, right? Anybody got any suggestions?
posted by hal_c_on at 5:37 AM on June 13, 2014


After a while, I said 'hey...I'm gonna memail the people who say awesome things too, it'll reinforce saying awesome things'.

*checks MeMail. weeps*
posted by billiebee at 5:42 AM on June 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


"Get up on your hind legs" is a pretty established idiom, if a little obscure in the US, and it might be better if we responded to the substance of the suggestion than engage in mock outrage over it.

The problem with "Under My Thumb" is not the one line in which a woman is compred to a dog, despite the headline of the FPP, which was one quote pulled from hundreds. It was that the song was pervasively misogynist.

Latching onto a single sentence and using it to represent an entire argument, and latching onto a single idiom from several paragraphs and using it to distract from the substance of the paragraph? Shitty.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 5:42 AM on June 13, 2014 [8 favorites]


Happens all the fucking time, Bunny.
posted by 0 at 5:45 AM on June 13, 2014


Is that your excuse for being shitty? Try to be better.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 5:52 AM on June 13, 2014 [6 favorites]


I agree that the less comparing of men to horses, the better.

but I'm so strong and handsome
posted by Greg Nog at 5:55 AM on June 13, 2014 [8 favorites]


Happens all the fucking time, Bunny.

Do better.
posted by shakespeherian at 5:55 AM on June 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


0, it's okay if you don't want to participate in this particular discussion; it's definitely not a required activity. But if you just want to drop in to express disgust that we're having the conversation at all, please don't do that.
posted by taz (staff) at 5:55 AM on June 13, 2014 [4 favorites]


I strongly suspect 0 was attempting to add some levity, which, unfortunately, was met with unintended consequences.
posted by Pudhoho at 5:58 AM on June 13, 2014


If that's the case, fair enough. And i apologize for snapping. It can be hard to read a room, and I have failed at it in the past myself.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 6:00 AM on June 13, 2014


Yah. If you were here in Seattle, I'd suggest we go over to Bill's and see how much of his liquor we could drink.
Unfortunately, you're not. And they've pretty much razed Bill's place in order to build an apartment building on top of it.
posted by Pudhoho at 6:04 AM on June 13, 2014


If you were in Omaha, I would recommend the Homey Inn, where they have champagne on tap, one wall is covered with newspaper clippings of Omaha tragedies, there is a claw machine that dispenses sex toys, and you can order Italian food from the skirting-the-edge-of-legality Beatles-themed Sgt. Peffers.

Have I previously indicated that Omaha is crazy? I feel like I have.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 6:09 AM on June 13, 2014 [5 favorites]


Isn't that the place where you can eat steak all day and not spend more than 25 bucks?
Or am I confusing Omaha with Tinker?
posted by Pudhoho at 6:11 AM on June 13, 2014


Bunny, I feel your attempts to derail the point that Parramore's behavior was obviously highly classist by focusing ad nauseam on whether Kyle made above minimum wage were very much in the same shitty vein.
posted by 0 at 6:16 AM on June 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


When someone remarks "A stitch in time saves nine" do you demand to examine the needle?
posted by Pudhoho at 6:20 AM on June 13, 2014


Bunny, I feel your attempts to derail the point that Parramore's behavior was obviously highly classist by focusing ad nauseam on whether Kyle made above minimum wage were very much in the same shitty vein.

Well, I think your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:22 AM on June 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


How did you know about the elderberries thing? Anyway, I'd rather you didn't bring up painful memories from my childhood here.
posted by 0 at 6:27 AM on June 13, 2014 [6 favorites]


My insight, as a male, is that the dudes who are misogynists don't care about gaining a new perspective. I absolutely agree that it is their responsibility as Homo sapiens, but they aren't thinking about the moral and social implications of their thoughts and actions. They just aren't, and that's why they continue to exist. Sometimes they just don't care even if they have thought about it. To put the onus on them is correct and fair, but it does no good because they have no incentive to be different.

The hard cases may never change, but publicly calling out the hard cases can change the minds of the fence-sitters. I was a fence-sitter. I read a lot of arguments against the hard cases. Some of them were polite. Some of them were furious. The latter shocked me out of my stupor - see how angry people are at the stuff I and my friends believe and do! - and the former convinced me not to return to it. This didn't happen a long time ago. I remember it well.

The onus is on the privileged people who will never change, but it's also on those who can, and polite, private argument isn't the only way to bring them around.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 6:30 AM on June 13, 2014 [16 favorites]


Anyway, I'd rather you didn't bring up painful memories from my childhood here.

Only after you stop calling other people out for petty bullshit disagreements about things they said in other threads.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:33 AM on June 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I don't think 0 was joking any more. I think 0 suffers from terrible reading comprehension and a markedly immature and unnuanced understanding of class.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 6:34 AM on June 13, 2014 [4 favorites]


things they said in other threads.

?
posted by 0 at 6:35 AM on June 13, 2014


A couple of comments deleted. Let's go ahead and drop the 0 derail and further personal sniping altogether.
posted by taz (staff) at 6:41 AM on June 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


?

I was going to take issue with this disingenuousness, but on preview, taz said to drop it. Let's move on.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 6:49 AM on June 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


Well, the accusation that two people who are not white were "whitesplaining" did help make a cold, rainy and otherwise miserable Friday the 13th morning much more amusing. :D

(Sorry, hal. It was funny.)
posted by zarq at 6:53 AM on June 13, 2014 [5 favorites]


Even though the sexism threads can be exasperating, I'd like to thank everyone who relates their experience, stories and feelings here. It's much, much appreciated.
posted by ersatz at 7:06 AM on June 13, 2014


Did you guys perceive it that way? What can I do to prevent that in the future?

Talk about what men should do, or about what you are going to do, not about what women should do.
posted by jaguar at 7:08 AM on June 13, 2014 [34 favorites]



And that comment isn't about telling a POC how they should relate to their race, so it's not whitesplaining.


My comment still wasn't whitesplaining though because it had nothing to do with race.

Wait, hang on. Obviously neither of you is whitesplaining on any level whatsoever, but I thought I understood mansplaining/whitesplaining/etc. and now I'm not 100% sure. My understanding was that mansplaining is when a man condescendingly explains something to a woman because he assumes that he, as a man, knows better, regardless of whether the topic at hand is gender. In Rebecca Solnit's piece, for example. the guy is lecturing her about the content of her own book. Cases where men tell women how to do feminism better are particularly egregious, but not the only cases. Similarly, whitesplaining would involve white people being pompous know-it-alls when talking to POC and because they assume they know more, regardless of the topic. Am I off-base here?


I don't know naoko - in my experience/understanding, whitesplaining is different because when I experience it, it's more like "You should be happy to talk about your cultural background! People are curious! I wish *I* were diversity!" or whatever, or "This is how Indian Americans should educate ignorant white people" sort of thing, whereas mansplaining covers "men thinking they know more about x topic than women."

I don't know, I haven't had the experience that white people have felt they were *smarter* than me because they're white. Oh, sometimes they think they know American culture better than I do, despite the fact that we all grew up in the US.
posted by sweetkid at 7:42 AM on June 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


FelliniBlank hit the button?

Well, crap. I really wish that these kinds of threads did not end the loss of community members. And I hope FB comes back.
posted by SLC Mom at 7:56 AM on June 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


I haven't had the experience that white people have felt they were *smarter* than me because they're white.

I'm sure we (white folk) do this more or less selectively depending on the perceived racial background of the person we're taking to and the cultural stereotypes associated thereto.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:57 AM on June 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


I agree.
posted by sweetkid at 8:00 AM on June 13, 2014


I don't know, I haven't had the experience that white people have felt they were *smarter* than me because they're white.

Not precisely the same thing, but over the past 8 years I have been mistaken for the cleaning lady in my office by maybe half a dozen (usually wealthy) white businesspeople who came to meet with my boss. And these are only the ones who said something about it either directly to me or within my earshot.

Otherwise, I think we both would have had a lot more experiences with whitesplaining if we didn't have obvious american accents. PoC's with native accents absolutely have to deal with white people treating them like they're morons on a daily basis.
posted by elizardbits at 8:06 AM on June 13, 2014 [20 favorites]


yea I fully agree that my perception might be wrong/biased by my own personal narrow experiences with race stuff, not a universal statement. Naoko's question definitely made me think about this and my perception more deeply (cool).

the only time I've been mistaken for "service class" I think based on my skin color was when I went to stay at a fancy hotel after I had a fire in my apartment - I showed up in sweats with my hair in a frizzy bun after dealing with people cleaning smoke and connecting things in my apartment all day, and a black man came up to me as i was going in and was like, "are you here for a shift?" and I was SO CONFUSED until I figured out what he was talking about and was like oh, no.

Then the white staff gave me a four tier upgrade because they felt bad for me because I had a fire in my apartment. I don't know, race is weird.
posted by sweetkid at 8:15 AM on June 13, 2014


"but I'm so strong and handsome"

And 15 hands at the withers!
posted by klangklangston at 8:34 AM on June 13, 2014 [9 favorites]


"Otherwise, I think we both would have had a lot more experiences with whitesplaining if we didn't have obvious american accents. PoC's with native accents absolutely have to deal with white people treating them like they're morons on a daily basis."

This is something that I see in the subway all the time, where a white dude will either presume to lecture some Latino about the transit routes, or will ask a question of the Latino, get a perfectly reasonable answer, then turn and ask me the same question like I gotta cosign to make it legit.
posted by klangklangston at 8:37 AM on June 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


sweetkid: "I don't know, race is weird."

Very. For any given minority, depending on the region of the country they are living in, unconscious racism may also impact them in different or unexpected ways.
posted by zarq at 8:38 AM on June 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


I will accept only one point of comparison between a man and a horse, and it certainly does not apply to me

my feet are not surrounded by cartilage and laminae, as hooves are
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 8:40 AM on June 13, 2014 [4 favorites]


yeah, that's why blanket "POC" type terms and the tendency to interchange "POC" with "black" kind of bothers me - I think something is talking about me, but it's not, it's talking about black people only, which is fine, but just say that?

Also my saying it's weird doesn't mean I just thought of it now. My anecdote was meant to illustrate my understanding of how racism impacts me in different ways than it does other minorities.
posted by sweetkid at 8:41 AM on June 13, 2014


From hal_c_on, pretty far upthread, but this is worth engaging with imho:

This is a really good point. I thought about it a lot. [. . .] I seriously don't feel as if I was not taking the perspective of women into consideration, not hearing out the other side of the argument, or just using my privilege as a male to trump their argument. But maybe I'm wrong.

Did you guys perceive it that way? What can I do to prevent that in the future?


It's interesting to me that you say that, because from my perspective, that was exactly what you were doing. You came in to say "Women, you should be acting like X," and when women said "No, that doesn't work and isn't practical because of ABC," you got increasingly smug and condescending about why our concerns were immaterial and irrelevant, even going so far to pull out the "hey, look, it's not MY fault, it's just the way things are!" line, which is pretty high on the list of condescending irritations. It's also interesting, because the same line of reasoning had been advanced upthread by NoraCharles and had been already addressed there; the implication is that you either didn't read the whole thread or thought that the point needed re-introduction even though it had clearly already caused a lot of irritation.

So, there's the answer to your first question. Yes, I perceived it that way. As to what you can do to prevent that in the future; first, make sure that your big new idea is actually new, rather than treading extremely well-worn and threadbare ground. And second, if you get immediate pushback, don't double down; stop and brainstorm possible reasonings behind that pushback, re-read the thread, examine how you're feeling in response to the pushback, maybe do a little internet research to see if this is a common thing women hear all the time. Accept that women are the best experts on their own experiences, and that if they're telling you you're wrong, you probably are. Even if it makes no sense to you as to HOW you could possibly be wrong.
posted by KathrynT at 9:11 AM on June 13, 2014 [35 favorites]


yeah, that's why blanket "POC" type terms and the tendency to interchange "POC" with "black" kind of bothers me - I think something is talking about me, but it's not, it's talking about black people only, which is fine, but just say that?

Or Hispanic, but only the right nationality/shade of Hispanic....yeah, I feel you.
posted by corb at 9:24 AM on June 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


Oh man, I got shooed out of Tumblr for a long while because I objected to the way people were using "POC" for stuff that only really applied to African-Americans (not even just Africans half the time) and how race is more complicated then that for some people.
posted by divabat at 9:25 AM on June 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


Heh, divabat, a number of the African-American - written Tumblrs I read are expressing annoyance that people are using "POC" way too broadly, too. You're not alone!
posted by jaguar at 9:27 AM on June 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: Understanding is impossible because words.
posted by Mooski at 9:30 AM on June 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


jaguar: Now they are? It was the African-American Tumblr contingent that shooed me out for that reason!
posted by divabat at 9:31 AM on June 13, 2014


divabat: Perhaps you helped shift the discussion? I don't know. I'm definitely seeing more reminders that "POC" is useful as a political concept but not always useful when discussing individual experiences.
posted by jaguar at 9:36 AM on June 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


my feet are not surrounded by cartilage and laminae, as hooves are

we are all relieved you will never suffer from laminitis, then, because that is a major source of ouch for the ponykind!
posted by winna at 9:51 AM on June 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


There are traditionally male-dominated discussion spaces that are not friendly to newcomers, no matter how basically interested, smart, and willing they are to learn. Basic, simple, easy questions asked by n00bs on many Linux forums are generally met with condescension, RTFM (read the fucking manual), a link to the wikipedia article on man, and so forth.

These are not good communities to emulate. The best communities in that space are the ones that do the most handholding; the best distros are the ones with the most welcoming and patient community members. Community members who keep answering the same stupid questions, over and over again, when they crop up -- while still managing to dig deep into more complicated (actual) problems.

I would much rather MetaFilter be a place where ignorance (even barely excusable, quasi-willful ignorance) was responded to with links to MeFi comments that were relevant, or a link to an external blog post that answered the question, or that took the time to write a thoughtful, relevant reply.

RTFM (google it, I'm not teaching a class here, learn on your own time, however you want to put it) is not good conversation. I strongly disagree with the now-common refrain of "do your own homework" or "pay me, then maybe I'll talk to you about this subject I'm interested in."

I also disagree with the idea that posting information doesn't make a difference. It sure does, and if you don't see that, then it's a gap in your own lived experience blinding you to the reality of the effect you're having on people reading the thread but not posting.

I learn so much from these discussions, but very little from "google it yourself."
posted by jsturgill at 10:59 AM on June 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


Jsturgill, if you believe that a more gently educational atmosphere would be beneficial, there is literally nothing stopping you from taking up that charge and gently educating people yourself.
posted by KathrynT at 11:13 AM on June 13, 2014 [28 favorites]


Jsturgill: except that's ALREADY happening, often without prompting, and still people aren't listening. As I said, paying attention to the conversation already happening will teach you a lot.
posted by divabat at 11:15 AM on June 13, 2014 [9 favorites]


I would much rather MetaFilter be a place where ignorance (even barely excusable, quasi-willful ignorance) was responded to with links to MeFi comments that were relevant, or a link to an external blog post that answered the question, or that took the time to write a thoughtful, relevant reply.

If you have the free time to spend hours of your life answering the same moronic questions over and over again, you are free to do that. But as a woman I spend enough of my life coddling idiots that I'm damnsure not going to feel obliged to explain things for the seven millionth time to people who are (not quasi but wholly) willfully ignorant.

Seriously, if you can answer the same questions for years and not start to get testy about people who can't operate the google, feel free. But don't expect everyone to be that saintly.
posted by winna at 11:15 AM on June 13, 2014 [14 favorites]


I'm not a big fan of the "if you believe that, then you should..." trope. It functions to derail the discussion from whether or not "that" is true. (See also: "Al Gore claims the climate is warming, but did you know he lives in a big house and often flies on planes?" Whether the climate is actually warming is a more important question than whether Al Gore is a hypocrite.)
posted by uosuaq at 11:18 AM on June 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'm not a big fan of the "if you believe that, then you should..." trope.

What? If someone believes educating people in these threads is the answer, they should do that instead of insisting other people do it. What is there to be a fan or not a fan of? No one is going to post "please don't educate" to other people who are doing so. No one does that now, in my memory, to people who post links to Feminism 101 Type things, except for people who get offended by the education and leave the thread.
posted by sweetkid at 11:21 AM on June 13, 2014 [7 favorites]


It functions to derail the discussion from whether or not "that" is true.

Then no, I don't believe it's true.

But if someone else wants to bang their head against a wall, I am not going to stop them.

Also, it's very different to have a noob friendly environment about software than about the basic facts of female existence. Why? Because the people who are wanting to learn about the software are motivated, whereas most of the people asking dumb obvious questions about female existence just want to waste our time and jerk our chains.

I'm not a Linux install, thanks so much.
posted by winna at 11:24 AM on June 13, 2014 [21 favorites]


There's a difference though between learning Arch Linux, which is a like tinkering hobby of an operating system, and which most people will never encounter, and should-be-bog-standard treating women like coequal human beings. One I can understand enthusiasts helping folks through esoterica. The other should not be esoteric, inaccessible, or niche.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:27 AM on June 13, 2014 [4 favorites]


is not good conversation.

Those responses aren't meant to be "good conversation." They respond to the way sexism operates in discourse through consistent evasion of substantive, productive conversation.

And there's plenty of good, informative engagement from feminist perspectives on Metafilter in addition to the justified push-back against sexist evasion and provocation.
posted by audi alteram partem at 11:27 AM on June 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


Fine, but the *thread* should be about whether or not that *is* the answer, not about whether an individual poster is living up to their suggestion. Again, what I'm not a fan of is turning a discussion about "what is to be done?" into "yeah, but what are *you* doing?" or "well, you go do that then".

Winna's response to the effect of "we've tried that, it's not working and we're sick of it" stays on the "what is to be done?" topic, i.e. it actually addresses (well, rejects) jsturgill's comment rather than jsturgill.
posted by uosuaq at 11:28 AM on June 13, 2014


Jsturgill: except that's ALREADY happening, often without prompting, and still people aren't listening. As I said, paying attention to the conversation already happening will teach you a lot.

People are listening. I get so much from these conversations. Conversations that don't happen when you get frustrated and burned out and decide it's useless. The idea that answering these questions does not help the community as a whole is wrong.

That particular idiot may continue to act like an idiot in that particular thread, but there are other people reading the thread who will get something out of it... and it may start to sink in with that particular idiot the fifth time they are told something similar, or the 20th.

Because the people who are wanting to learn about the software are motivated, whereas most of the people asking dumb obvious questions about female existence just want to waste our time and jerk our chains.

Dumb obvious questions about female existence are not (always) about wasting your time and jerking your chain. They're sometimes simply about ignorance, and a perspective that is so narrow that the obvious isn't obvious yet to the asker.

This thread, and many others about the state of MetaFilter's treatment of women and LGBT issues, and many other social justice topics, routinely have comments from posters with privelege thanking the community for exposing them to thoughts they weren't having on their own.
posted by jsturgill at 11:33 AM on June 13, 2014 [6 favorites]


Another problem with the Linux forum analogy is that Linux forums n00bs are generally asking questions, not telling long-time users how best to use an OS they've been using their whole lives.
posted by matcha action at 11:34 AM on June 13, 2014 [28 favorites]


the thing is, jsturgill's suggestion is very much more "what are YOU doing" and "you go do that then," and I believe it's fair to point that out. Because of the number of men who have told me that what is necessary is for "people" to engage men in a certain way for greater success, a vanishingly tiny percentage of them are actually willing to engage men that way themselves. They want me to do it. And that's even outside of the offensiveness of comparing a computer operating system which nobody is born learning how to use to my own lived experience.
posted by KathrynT at 11:35 AM on June 13, 2014 [14 favorites]


Personally, I think there is a lot of really good conversation when people who are knowledgeable about basic concepts around racism, sexism, etc, discuss their own experiences and the nature of identity in different societies. Things as complex as the fact that my brother and I have completely different views on what racism is and isn't and how to deal with it despite having the exact same racial background.

It's like that whole conversation is written in invisible ink though, when people keep insisting we're not helping people understand or effecting the right kind of change with what we're doing, and insist we switch gears to educate them instead.
posted by sweetkid at 11:35 AM on June 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


And, I mean, I DO a lot of patient education around here. I've done some of it in this thread. I just want to be able to stop occasionally without men tut-tutting at me from the sidelines. This shit is hard work and virtually thankless.
posted by KathrynT at 11:39 AM on June 13, 2014 [30 favorites]


It's like that whole conversation is written in invisible ink though, when people keep insisting we're not helping people understand or effecting the right kind of change with what we're doing, and insist we switch gears to educate them instead.

Exactly!

When I started learning about trans issues, I didn't barge in and demand that everyone stop their conversations and cater to my ignorance as a cis person. I listened, I quietly followed up suggested links, I made an effort.

It's massive, massive entitlement to expect that women should stop their conversations to cater to ignorance about the basic issues of feminine existence.
posted by winna at 11:41 AM on June 13, 2014 [15 favorites]


And, I mean, I DO a lot of patient education around here. I've done some of it in this thread. I just want to be able to stop occasionally without men tut-tutting at me from the sidelines. This shit is hard work and virtually thankless.

I meant to communicate that the patient education is useful and appreciated, not tut-tut at you from the sidelines.

The idea that the patient communication is useless seems poisonous to me. I get the frustration, and the need to vent. But it's still poison.
posted by jsturgill at 11:44 AM on June 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


Jesus Christ, this is exactly why I never felt at home in RPG/Magic the Gathering/video games/computer culture as as kid. Women aren't install.exe
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 11:45 AM on June 13, 2014 [4 favorites]


Jsturgill, if you believe that a more gently educational atmosphere would be beneficial, there is literally nothing stopping you from taking up that charge and gently educating people yourself.

I've yet to ask someone to pay me to talk to them on a message board about something I learned in college. I am being the change in the world I want to see. *sparkles*
posted by jsturgill at 11:45 AM on June 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


I meant to communicate that the patient education is useful and appreciated, not tut-tut at you from the sidelines.


Well you did not succeed in that communication one bit, frankly. If you want to say thank you, say "thank you."
posted by KathrynT at 11:45 AM on June 13, 2014 [7 favorites]


Again, what I'm not a fan of is turning a discussion about "what is to be done?" into "yeah, but what are *you* doing?" or "well, you go do that then".

Then in a conversation about sexism, you're putting 100% of the responsibility for action on women. And so many of us are very, very tired of being not just quietly expected, but repeatedly told outright that we need to take that action -- action to eliminate sexism! to eliminate our own oppression! This is especially trying when it comes from men who are openly disinterested in doing anything except telling women that we need to stop whatever we're doing in order to patiently, calmly, and consistently educate men who don't agree that we deserve to be treated like human beings.

Not-all-dudes, I beg of you: If there is one thing you take from this conversation, let it be that you do not have any kind of standing when it comes to telling women what we should do, think, or say, or how we should react when it comes to issues related to our gender, especially when we're talking about being on the receiving end of sexism. I know you don't agree that [whatever] is sexist. I know you think it's not a big deal and We Should Just and whatever. And I know, more than anything, that you are absolutely certain that you're right. But you aren't. Not about this. Sorry, them's the breaks.

Don't tell us how we need to address sexism on a structural or societal level, and don't give us the old 1. Woman/Women Just Need/s To... 2. ??? 3. Profit!!! when we are relating our experiences on an individual level. If you think you're being helpful, you're not. Please trust me on this.
posted by divined by radio at 11:46 AM on June 13, 2014 [28 favorites]



The idea that the patient communication is useless seems poisonous to me. I get the frustration, and the need to vent. But it's still poison.


Poison? That is ridiculous to me, when we have so so so many comments about how this isn't bad because The Third World, or What Do You Expect, or all the timsteil stuff, or.

Also, I mean plenty of people have been TRYING the patient communication and people just double down and get angry.
posted by sweetkid at 11:50 AM on June 13, 2014 [7 favorites]


No one is saying that patient education is a bad thing. It's a great thing. It is just not a mandatory on-call service required of all female users on this site, or of women in the world in general.
posted by jaguar at 11:51 AM on June 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


I was trying to make a point about discussing an issue vs. discussing (or dismissing) jsturgill (or whoever). I hope that doesn't amount to putting 100% of the responsibility on women for anything. It's a general point, and I used an example about climate change.
posted by uosuaq at 11:56 AM on June 13, 2014


No one is saying it's a mandatory on-call etc., either, I hope.
posted by uosuaq at 11:57 AM on June 13, 2014


I'm too white to 'splain whitesplaining much ("Hey, black ladies! You guys should all get professional looking, low maintenance bobs like mine, so you don't have to fuss with your hair before work!"), but for mansplaining, it's just that the "here is how I, as a man, would deal with sexual harassment" type things are the most obvious and egregious examples. In those cases, men who are doing the pontificating are obviously not paying attention to what women are saying at all about their experiences, and they really don't have analogous ones. That's why they so often come up with solutions that would get us fired or physically injured.

Probably the most common type I encounter, though, is this: A woman brings up a subject or fact that a mansplainer is not already familiar with, and the man assumes that she is making it up or has grossly misunderstood something the man is familiar with. Then, if it happens in public, sometimes another man will interject and say, "Oh, hey, no. That's a real thing," at which point the mansplainer directs his attention to the male interjector to have him verify and explain. More than once, my husband has had to redirect someone by telling them he learned about something from me.

And I am literally talking here about men assuming I imagined cell phone bands, colony collapse, the USB standard, fuel injection, the entire field of linguistics, and the ability to boot a computer from an external drive. And oh wait, the men who, when I tell them those stories, assume that I somehow misconstrued those interactions or that maybe I was being super inarticulate somehow.

So now, take one of these guys and imagine trying, as a lady, to explain something as nuanced as a social phenomenon to them. 'Splainings are like that. Someone who is doing that to you has already demonstrated that they are automatically discounting everything you say to them. Trying to educate them is futile, so I tend to approach them strictly from a behavioral modification angle. I'll just point out how stupid they look, maybe laugh at them, tattle on them to their boss, something like that.

I mean, I am actually in real life very patient. I am also really good at explaining things and have been paid pretty good money for that. And if I genuinely believe that someone is asking a question in good faith and is paying attention, I will do that for free as time and inclinations allow, like I am right now. But when some dude rolls up and demands that I immediately drop everything and hold his hand through explaining some broad phenomenon from the very beginning, all while policing my tone to make sure that I'm being nice and gentle and maternal with them, all without having even made a cursory effort to look at Wikipedia or Google his search terms (I always try it in DuckDuckGo just to make sure it's not my search bubble), then oh god, no. I've been there, and I'm not wasting any more of my time on that. I'm just going to make fun of that guy instead.

There are lots of perfectly good explanations and experiences in this thread already. It's long, yeah, but it's a complicated subject. If people keep asking the same basic questions over and over, it's not going to make it any more concise.

PS tho, those Linux forums ugh. Fun fact, dismissive LMGTFY guys: Your shitty "Let me Google that for you" answer to a very specific question is now, predictably, the top Google result. Learn how to computer, buttfaces who do that. Not the same thing at all, though.
posted by ernielundquist at 11:57 AM on June 13, 2014 [14 favorites]


Poison? That is ridiculous to me, when we have so so so many comments about how this isn't bad because The Third World, or What Do You Expect, or all the timsteil stuff, or.


Also, I mean plenty of people have been TRYING the patient communication and people just double down and get angry.


ChuraChura's response to that thought is powerful. Hugely well received, lots of favorites. It's also 101-level stuff. I'm very glad it was posted!

No one is saying that patient education is a bad thing. It's a great thing. It is just not a mandatory on-call service required of all female users on this site, or of women in the world in general.

The primary thing I wanted to add to the discussion was to point to a community that is often dismissive of ignorance in counterproductive ways and suggest strongly that we could learn something from their failures.

It feels like a bit much to take my words as applying to just women (these same things crop up when talking about racism and gender issues, at the very least) or to take it as a call for "a mandatory on-call service required of (etc.)"
posted by jsturgill at 11:59 AM on June 13, 2014


Talk about what men should do, or about what you are going to do, not about what women should do.

Hi jaguar. When did I ever say that "women should do this"? You were engaging with me at the point at which I said:

And just for clarification, I am NOT putting the responsibility on women to do this. I'm putting the responsibility on ALL mefites.


I think its highly unfair that you are implying that I am saying the exact opposite of what I'm stating.

From hal_c_on, pretty far upthread, but this is worth engaging with imho:

This is a really good point. I thought about it a lot. [. . .] I seriously don't feel as if I was not taking the perspective of women into consideration, not hearing out the other side of the argument, or just using my privilege as a male to trump their argument. But maybe I'm wrong.

Did you guys perceive it that way? What can I do to prevent that in the future?

It's interesting to me that you say that, because from my perspective, that was exactly what you were doing. You came in to say "Women, you should be acting like X," and when women said "No, that doesn't work and isn't practical because of ABC," you got increasingly smug and condescending about why our concerns were immaterial and irrelevant, even going so far to pull out the "hey, look, it's not MY fault, it's just the way things are!" line, which is pretty high on the list of condescending irritations. It's also interesting, because the same line of reasoning had been advanced upthread by NoraCharles and had been already addressed there; the implication is that you either didn't read the whole thread or thought that the point needed re-introduction even though it had clearly already caused a lot of irritation.

So, there's the answer to your first question. Yes, I perceived it that way. As to what you can do to prevent that in the future; first, make sure that your big new idea is actually new, rather than treading extremely well-worn and threadbare ground. And second, if you get immediate pushback, don't double down; stop and brainstorm possible reasonings behind that pushback, re-read the thread, examine how you're feeling in response to the pushback, maybe do a little internet research to see if this is a common thing women hear all the time. Accept that women are the best experts on their own experiences, and that if they're telling you you're wrong, you probably are. Even if it makes no sense to you as to HOW you could possibly be wrong.


Hey. I really appreciate this engagement, KathrynT.

To be 100% clear, your assumption that I didn't read the ENTIRE 700+ comments before I spoke last night is entirely true.

If I SOUNDED condescending and smug, that wasn't my intention. I WAS engaging with you guys in good faith....up to the point where I "doubled-down". I pretty much gave up at that "im out" point, and when I came back, that 'whitesplaining' was NOT in good faith. I know it, you know it. Everyone knows it. But everything else was.

Well, the accusation that two people who are not white were "whitesplaining" did help make a cold, rainy and otherwise miserable Friday the 13th morning much more amusing. :D

(Sorry, hal. It was funny.)


Oh my god. That was so horrible. Of all the mefites, in all the threads, in all the subsites...I had to call out sweetkid as "whitesplaining". Ugh. I sincerely apologize, and no that wasn't done in good faith. And yes, I'm guessing it was hillarious for the onlookers, but I want to make sure that I send out a public apology to sweetkid. I'm really really sorry for calling you white.

And for clarification I NEVER called divabat white. I know she's not white.


Oh man, I got shooed out of Tumblr for a long while because I objected to the way people were using "POC" for stuff that only really applied to African-Americans (not even just Africans half the time) and how race is more complicated then that for some people.


...


jaguar: Now they are? It was the African-American Tumblr contingent that shooed me out for that reason!
posted by divabat at 6:31 on June 14 [+] [!]


Yeah, that sucks doesn't it. Maybe if people stop shooing out other people who don't match the exact perspective they have, the conversation could actually be INCLUSIVE rather than EXCLUSIVE.
posted by hal_c_on at 12:00 PM on June 13, 2014 [4 favorites]


No one is saying that patient education is a bad thing. It's a great thing. It is just not a mandatory on-call service required of all female users on this site, or of women in the world in general.

Again, jaguar. I don't think ANYONE in this thread (since I joined in), has said that its the obligation of women to do this. So bringing that argument up is a kinda "where is this coming from?"
posted by hal_c_on at 12:01 PM on June 13, 2014


So bringing that argument up is a kinda "where is this coming from?"

Where it's coming from is a lifetime of observation that the men who suggest that "everyone" should do this are so very rarely willing to do it themselves. The implication is pretty hard to avoid. Plus, if you truly believe that this is the responsibility of "everyone," why don't you start by DOING it, rather than by talking about doing it? Particularly when many, many women are already doing it?
posted by KathrynT at 12:05 PM on June 13, 2014 [10 favorites]


Where it's coming from is a lifetime of observation that the men who suggest that "everyone" should do this are so very rarely willing to do it themselves. The implication is pretty hard to avoid. Plus, if you truly believe that this is the responsibility of "everyone," why don't you start by DOING it, rather than by talking about doing it? Particularly when many, many women are already doing it?

Ok. So what I'm hearing is that when you hear me say "everyone", you don't see that I'm making it a call out for males to do so too, but it seems as if I'm harping on females to continue doing something which they are actually frustrated about. Makes total sense now, and I apologize for making it seem as if the obligation is on women.

But since we are correcting the implications of others, when you say I should "start", you are STATING that I am not doing it. It makes it seem as if everything I am saying is academic arguing rather than practical discussion to resolve a problem. I'm not offended or anything, but I just want to point out that when its assumed that women who are ALREADY frustrated with this aren't doing it, it becomes even more frustrating when someone says "well why don't you start educating". I can see them saying "what the fuck...I already AM doing this." The same can be applied to anyone else who is already doing something, but then is told to "start" doing it.

So yeah, this isn't really a new idea, suggestion, or even something I haven't incorporated into my life. Maybe in this thread, we should assume that people are actively working to end this bullshit, and are frustrated at meeting with resistance like a brick wall.
posted by hal_c_on at 12:12 PM on June 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


It sure does, and if you don't see that, then it's a gap in your own lived experience blinding you to the reality of the effect you're having on people reading the thread but not posting.


You can't reasonably expect women to assume we have any positive effect on people who read but don't post, if they, y'know, don't post. Some of men have said that you acknowledge or even appreciate (yay!) our efforts and I'm grateful for those. The trouble is, your comments are way outnumbered by the assholes, who have no inhibitions about letting their resentments hang out all over each stage of the thread. It would help if more of you let your appreciation hang out all over the thread, in comments, not just favourites.

most of the people asking dumb obvious questions about female existence just want to waste our time and jerk our chains.

And those that are well-intentioned apparently have missed, skipped over, or ignored many comments about how much answering these questions over and over again costs us. Or perhaps they read those comments, but rather than soldiering on with looking stuff up despite feeling overwhelmed, they would rather that we keep on bearing the lion's share of the cost, year in, year out.

Guys who want to learn how to do better re inadvertent sexism could go back to one of the original Metafilter sexism threads (2007) and read those (or re-read, cuz personally, I often find I've forgotten great comments that I read the first time), then move on to the ones in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013. See for yourselves what's changed (no "I'd hit it" etc) and what's still the same now in 2014 ("women's perspectives are wrong / too angry / why do women get annoyed at my well-meaning questions?"). Seven years! Are we supposed to be Perpetual Explaining Machines with infinite resources? And if reading all those threads feels like too much work, think about how much work it was and is for the people who actually on the front lines answering and explaining and taking hits here and IRL simultaneously.

I will acknowledge that leaving behind "How dare women tell me that my interpretation of harassment [or whatever] is wrong!" and dealing with "Hey, patient education right here right now would be more constructive than being annoyed cuz annoyance doesn't help your cause" is progress, sort of.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 12:13 PM on June 13, 2014 [5 favorites]


I meant to communicate that the patient education is useful and appreciated, not tut-tut at you from the sidelines.

The idea that the patient communication is useless seems poisonous to me. I get the frustration, and the need to vent. But it's still poison.


This is a genuinely sweet sentiment and there's nothing wrong with it as a first step but women in these threads don't really need thanks, we need a fucking break. We need men to talk to other men about this stuff when it comes up, rather than talking to us to tell us we're doing a good job. Please talk to other men who need patient education so we can catch our breath once in a while. If there really are men who have learned so much about feminism here, we really need them to speak up more often. Please, I'm sincerely asking you to do this, humbly and often. That would genuinely help mute than even the most kind-heated message of thanks.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 12:13 PM on June 13, 2014 [9 favorites]


You can't reasonably expect women to assume we have any positive effect on people who read but don't post, if they, y'know, don't post. Some of men have said that you acknowledge or even appreciate (yay!) our efforts and I'm grateful for those. The trouble is, your comments are way outnumbered by the assholes, who have no inhibitions about letting their resentments hang out all over each stage of the thread. It would help if more of you let your appreciation hang out all over the thread, in comments, not just favourites.

This is a good fucking point, and one that I hadn't considered. Why SHOULD women feel as if their "gentle educating" is doing so good when they meet head on with someone who just uses a slur to reinforce the patriarchy? I agree that this would be frustrating.

Seeing my comments in THAT context, I can see why you guys responded the way you did.


We need men to talk to other men about this stuff when it comes up, rather than talking to us to tell us we're doing a good job. Please talk to other men who need patient education so we can catch our breath once in a while. If there really are men who have learned so much about feminism here, we really need them to speak up more often. Please, I'm sincerely asking you to do this, humbly and often. That would genuinely help mute than even the most kind-heated message of thanks.

I hope EVERYONE reads this.
posted by hal_c_on at 12:17 PM on June 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


Microaggressions are still OBNOXIOUS. And though you personally may think there are bigger problems in the world, solving the small ones can help solve the big ones.

*lightbulb*

You've reminded me of a line from a play I read once - it was part of a monologue by a guy who was arguing that his latest big idea for stopping racial and class warfare was to crack down on people for littering - "because people who aren't surrounded by trash don't feel the need to arm themselves against 'filth'."

The small stuff gets under your skin, and makes you less inclined and less prepared to deal with the big stuff.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:20 PM on June 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


winna: "When I started learning about trans issues, I didn't barge in and demand that everyone stop their conversations and cater to my ignorance as a cis person.

Lots and lots of people in trans threads have done and still do exactly that, though. We've literally had multiple metatalk threads started by people asking, "Why was my [transphobic] comment (which was made out of ignorance and/or unconscious entitlement) deleted?"

It's massive, massive entitlement to expect that women should stop their conversations to cater to ignorance about the basic issues of feminine existence."

I agree. However, (and forgive me for stating the obvious here,) regretfully that is not behavior which can magically stop overnight. Re-educating people and undercutting defensive attitudes takes time and effort. Overcoming majority privilege on many issues is almost always a long, uphill battle. And it usually involves having people who are in the majority talk to their peers. In this case, men speaking to other men about their treatment of our fellow women.

My sense of this as someone who tries hard to be a good ally (I fail sometimes, but for better or worse I keep trying) is that one of the better things I can do as a guy is to encourage my fellow men to do as you say and more: To Listen. Learn. Ask questions. Keep an open mind and stop reacting defensively. Educate themselves. Discard old assumptions. Understand that what's being discussed is not about them and shouldn't be turned into a discussion about them. Etc. And I try to remember that this is a generalist website with members from a huge range of backgrounds who are at currently at many different stages in their lives, including what they know, learn and accept.

And when another guy says something I think is sexist and asinine, I try to call it out and stomp hard on the sentiment. To help make sure it doesn't fester.

I understand the frustration you're feeling. I wish there was an easier solution.
posted by zarq at 12:30 PM on June 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


Hal_c_on: There's an unfortunate socialized expectation that when a man enters the conversation, he's supposed to be in charge of it. When you make sweeping statements like "I'm putting the responsibility on ALL mefites," you're being presumptive about a handful of things, including that it's your position to put the responsibility on anyone, that "all MeFites" having responsibility answers the complaint of women saying that the responsibility is unjustly placed upon them (they're part of all mefites too), and that this is a problem that you can solve here if you can just convince the (primarily female at this point) audience to buy in.

Something that I find helps when I find myself doing this sort of stuff: Stick to "I" action statements. Instead of worrying about what other people are going to do, say that you're going to work to educate people in the future. That's what you want, right? Then, when you're doing that, don't presume to represent women; their opinions and experiences aren't monolithic, and there's no need to fansub them while so many women are here to participate.

I hope that helps you feel less frustrated and more able to be a proactive party to decreasing the common frustrations of women trying to engage here.
posted by klangklangston at 12:31 PM on June 13, 2014 [40 favorites]


+1000 everything klang said, with the addition that the way you hyper-responded (often somewhat dismissively, if only from frustration) to each commenter and instantly redirected the conversation to be about you and your recommendations really underscored the feeling that you came in and decided you needed to take charge of the conversation on behalf of women, which comes across as patronizing and presumptuous.
posted by dialetheia at 12:36 PM on June 13, 2014 [14 favorites]


Lots and lots of people in trans threads have done and still do exactly that, though. We've literally had multiple metatalk threads started by people asking, "Why was my [transphobic] comment (which was made out of ignorance and/or unconscious entitlement) deleted?"

Oh, absolutely. I didn't mean to imply (and now I'm a little worried that I might have) that the issue we're discussing here is not a widespread pattern when people in a position of privilege join conversations about systemic social issues that don't affect them.

What I was attempting to illustrate was that the way to participate in a conversation about something you don't know that is fraught with sensitive issues is that the person who doesn't understand the basic challenges of someone else's life should take ownership of their own ignorance.
posted by winna at 12:38 PM on June 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


winna: "What I was attempting to illustrate was that the way to participate in a conversation about something you don't know that is fraught with sensitive issues is that the person who doesn't understand the basic challenges of someone else's life should take ownership of their own ignorance."

Completely agree.
posted by zarq at 12:41 PM on June 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


Something that I find helps when I find myself doing this sort of stuff: Stick to "I" action statements. Instead of worrying about what other people are going to do, say that you're going to work to educate people in the future. That's what you want, right? Then, when you're doing that, don't presume to represent women; their opinions and experiences aren't monolithic, and there's no need to fansub them while so many women are here to participate.

I never thought I was taking charge of the discussion, but I see how it can seem that way when I make general statements. Cool.

Oh, I do NOT represent women. This is why I have such a huge fucking problem with the word "ally". People use that term and feel they CAN now speak on behalf of the people they claim to be an ally for.

"I'm not a gay male, but I am an ally." I hate when people say that shit. It makes it seem as if their words are as powerful as someone who has actually gone through the experience of being a gay male.

The ONLY person I represent it myself. Shit, I won't even speak on, or represent my culture or my gender because as you say, the experiences aren't "monolithic".

BUT...I see how some of these things seemed like that. I'll be more mindful.

+1000 everything klang said, with the addition that the way you hyper-responded (often somewhat dismissively, if only from frustration) to each commenter and instantly redirected the conversation to be about you and your recommendations really underscored the feeling that you came in and decided you needed to take charge of the conversation on behalf of women, which comes across as patronizing and presumptuous.

I seriously thought that responding to people would NOT make it seem as if I was dismissing anyone. But yeah, I see how my responses lead to some frustration. Thanks for the input.

Oh by the way, I was discussing what you said about the biotic pump with my enviro science friend. What ended up in the conversation is that the biotic pump DOES exist...but its mechanism lay somewhere BETWEEN transpiration and "totally affecting the weather patterns". I guess the dispute right now is "where is that point where the biotic pump IS affecting the weather. I think we're going to have to wait for technology or data to catch up to the pet-theories sprouted by scientists whose life's work would be proven by the way the mechanism actually works.
posted by hal_c_on at 12:59 PM on June 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


No one is obliged to step into a thread and educate. Throttling back some to avoid burnout may be a good idea. I don't think there should be this pervasive pressure of expectation to educate.

I do wish it were less acceptable to step into a thread and very pointedly and vocally refuse to talk about something you know a lot about, though.
posted by jsturgill at 1:00 PM on June 13, 2014


I do wish it were less acceptable to step into a thread and very pointedly and vocally refuse to talk about something you know a lot about, though.

Agreed. Especially when that something is the topic of the thread. It makes me wonder "then why are you here?"
posted by hal_c_on at 1:02 PM on June 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


> Guys who want to learn how to do better re inadvertent sexism could go back to one of the original Metafilter sexism threads (2007) and read those (or re-read, cuz personally, I often find I've forgotten great comments that I read the first time), then move on to the ones in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013.

> We need men to talk to other men about this stuff when it comes up, rather than talking to us to tell us we're doing a good job. Please talk to other men who need patient education so we can catch our breath once in a while.

On this note: This comment and this follow-up (trigger warning on the second, vivid description of sexual assault and rape) from 2009, written by a man and directed to another man - and I don't mean to direct them toward anyone in this thread, five years later - are absolutely, memorably thunderous. But the really excellent comment by that person, in that thread, in a much more moderate vein, is this one:
And the only reason I am telling this story, which is still raw and humbling and shameful, is to remind all the "allies" out there that we can fuck up just as bad as anyone else, and we shouldn't let our supposedly enlightened views take the place of mindful thought and action.
That's solid, patient education, man to men, using real-life examples to make a useful point about how men of good will should think and act. I think it makes a pretty good model.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 1:05 PM on June 13, 2014 [9 favorites]


Maybe in this thread, we should assume that people are actively working to end this bullshit, and are frustrated at meeting with resistance like a brick wall.

This is exactly what I was trying to get to with my earlier comments. Addressing women as if we are not already doing the work you were suggesting is what triggered my frustration.
posted by jaguar at 1:22 PM on June 13, 2014


... which I understand you understand now. (Not trying to restart something, just acknowledging that you got what I was trying to say.)
posted by jaguar at 1:23 PM on June 13, 2014


Addressing women as if we are not already doing the work you were suggesting is what triggered my frustration.

My suggestions did not rely on the assumption that this work was not already being done. They were directed at people in the thread (not all women) who made it clear that they wanted no part of the educating (any more).


But I understand how my words were frustrating, and I'll be mindful of that in the future.
posted by hal_c_on at 1:29 PM on June 13, 2014


I do wish it were less acceptable to step into a thread and very pointedly and vocally refuse to talk about something you know a lot about, though.

Is that a thing that happens a lot? What I see is people in threads talking about the things that are linked, and someone or ones comes along and either wants to know every 101-type thing about that subject, and only from the people right there in the thread (that is, they won't just go google or click links that are already in the thread), or they do a "I don't know much about this subject but nitpicknitpickchallengepickpickpick" and I don't think it's weird or wrong when people who've already by in the thread decline to play those games. That's not the same as marching into a thread about string theory and declaring that although you are the leading expert in the world, you are just there to tell people you ain't gonna talk about it.
posted by rtha at 1:29 PM on June 13, 2014 [19 favorites]


I do wish it were less acceptable to step into a thread and very pointedly and vocally refuse to talk about something you know a lot about, though.

when that something is the topic of the thread. It makes me wonder "then why are you here?


Those comments come after hundreds of others, and they point out that women's unpaid labour is being taken for granted in these sorts of threads, much like IRL. I didn't make one of those comments but I don't think they're objectionable because they're a polite if sharp expression of the frustration of having one's time and energy taken for granted. I'm here because sometimes these conversations take interesting directions and bring out incisive illuminating comments, when they're not being suffocated by the same old derails.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 1:30 PM on June 13, 2014 [9 favorites]


"I'm putting the responsibility on ALL mefites,"

I feel like, as I've said before, the responsibility for making sure we don't need to have another MeTa like this falls 100% on the men of MetaFilter. Not the women at all.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:32 PM on June 13, 2014 [11 favorites]


(Well, the men of the world but we're discussing MeFi specifically so..)
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:34 PM on June 13, 2014


For me, what I saw in that thread was:

- She should not have complained;
- She complained to the wrong people;
- She expects the whole world do do her bidding:
- She is a rich woman who has no right to complain to a poor store clerk;
- She should have known the manager was out and unreachable

I am not sure if she would have been attacked for complaining if she had been a man. Maybe, maybe not. But the general tone or feeling I got was that she was being attacked for complaining and being out of line in how she complained. And then the thread escalated (as we all know).

My experience in complaining, or rather, protesting, opening my mouth, has been that I did something wrong to provoke the behavior. If I keep my mouth shut, then I am a doormat and should just put on my big girl panties. In short, I cannot win no matter what I do and thus, I have to have a thick skin. If I cry, I am manipulating someone, if I get angry, I am a bitch, if I am nice, I am subservient. No makeup, I am lazy, makeup, I am painted up like a tart. Hair up, elegant, hair down, whore. Nice clothes, pretty, but not too nice or I will be whoreish and it's my fault a guy looked at me or came on to me. Talk nicely to a guy and I am asking for sex or a come on. Be mean and I'm a bitch. Thanks for solving that problem, now, can you go make me a sandwich, by the way, the bathroom needs cleaning and we're out of toilet paper. Oh, and I am feeling bad about my life, can you pump me up and tell me how wonderful I am and then give me a blowjob and oh, I am out of clean shorts and my shirt needs ironing. What are we eating this week, do you have the grocery list ready? Oh I have a great idea for you, why don't you take your hobby and make a business out of it and support me so I can be a philosopher/artist/novelist, ha-ha? No, no, you don't need to go to school and take courses, just learn it on your own. You'll never be anything without a degree, sorry the old bosses told you that, but you may as well forget those promotions they promised you. Yes, I would love some more coffee. The cable guy came on to you? Were you wearing a bra? I slept with 10 girls in high school, you got pregnant in college, well, girls shouldn't spread their legs, you know. You are so brave for having a child out of wedlock! You want to join the Army? Well, a girl like you would sit around and answer the phones. I'm sorry but someone complained that your outfit on casual Friday was too revealing, so this is a warning. No, you can't have a raise or promotion or even a title change, because even though you do all of that work, you're still really a secretary/we don't have the head count, the big boss is grouchy today. Oh can you go pick up my dry cleaning? What were you doing with that guy anyway? You're just a hysterical woman, what are you getting all bent out of shape for? Are you on your period?

None of this applies to my current situation. It's just sort of a random slice o' life snapshot from the last 50 years.

I know a lot of guys (and people in general) want to fix things. Heck, I want to fix things! I feel like the #1 thing I can tell guys is: have some empathy and say, "wow, that sucks, I'm sorry to hear that." And that's it. Validate the experience. The #2 thing would be if you see a guy acting like a jerk, in a sexist manner, tell him that's not cool (such as Matthowie giving that dude a time off). #3 Is there anything I can do to help? #4 If someone tells you something is hurting them, listen.

For instance: when my daughter was 9, my ex used to put on the beauty pageants, and when I protested, he wanted to know what was wrong with a harmless beauty pageant? (He failed to listen) When my daughter was 10, she came to me and said she felt fat and ugly and wanted to go on a diet. She was neither of these things, but well, media and life and boys at school (who in 5th grade were calling her a bitch and it took me going to the principal because the male teacher didn't really do anything), that stuff, plus maybe her stepdad watching beauty pageants, had gotten to her already, at age 10. So I feel like it really was important to validate this woman's right to complain. It affects us all, women, mothers, daughters, sisters, men and society as a whole. I am a Stones fan, and I still think the song is not something I'd want my daughter to hear at a grocery store.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 1:55 PM on June 13, 2014 [43 favorites]


> Anybody got any suggestions?

See, I may be alone in this, but this is what made me feel that you (hal_c_on) were trying to take charge of the conversation.
I no longer have that feeling now. But it might still be useful feedback.
posted by Too-Ticky at 1:57 PM on June 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


Participating in the thread to share our experiences in relation to the topic at hand is not a signal for "btw I am here for all your educational needs!". (Or, what rtha said.)
posted by divabat at 2:02 PM on June 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


hal_c_on: " "I'm not a gay male, but I am an ally." I hate when people say that shit. It makes it seem as if their words are as powerful as someone who has actually gone through the experience of being a gay male."

The term generally means someone who supports gender equality, equal and civil rights and challenges discrimination, homophobia, transphobia and sexism. I learned the term when I volunteered for Gay Men's Health Crisis back in the early '90's. It fits me, so I still use it. It's not intended to make the person saying it sound like they've lived as {fill in the blank}. Only that they're supporting others.
posted by zarq at 2:03 PM on June 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


Hi. I'm a long time lurker who has been away for a while. I came back earlier this week, popped into the TJs thread and became very very confused. I try hard not to be an asshole to anybody, but I definitely have no background in academic feminism, and I don't recall having read anything in the boyzone discussions. So anyway, the rules of the discussion about TJ were completely unclear to me. Having read that thread, this MeTa, and done a ton of googling, I have learned a lot, and I have a somewhat better sense of how it works, but I'm not yet there.

I have a couple questions which I would be very grateful if I received answers.

Can someone tell me if there are there any documents that lay out the rules of feminist discussion as it is done on Metafilter? I didn't see anything in the FAQs or wiki, but I could have missed it.

Also, Generally what is the scope where these rules apply? Obviously, in the TJ thread, the Dan Savage thread, this Meta, etc. But, for example, does it apply to the #womenaretoohardtoanimate thread?

Thanks for your time.
posted by jaut at 2:16 PM on June 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


There are no rules per se, jaut. However, there are some links upthread to some of Metafilter's seminal (and long, I'll admit) discussions of the treatment of women and women's issues on the site. Reading those would get you up to speed probably faster and with less effort than any other course of action.
posted by KathrynT at 2:31 PM on June 13, 2014 [5 favorites]


jaut: There aren't any documents specific to Metafilter that I know of - a lot of it comes from listening to the women speaking on the thread, as well as resources that often get linked in such threads.

The rules would apply across the board - it tend to boil down to "don't speak over women, trust that they know best what their own experiences are like, and respect what they say without taking them for granted".
posted by divabat at 2:32 PM on June 13, 2014


I am a Stones fan, and I still think the song is not something I'd want my daughter to hear at a grocery store.

Is this still being discussed, or something else? Or does this thread need to be shut down or what?
posted by hal_c_on at 2:46 PM on June 13, 2014


The Stones discussion is more appropriate for the other thread: this thread is discussing sexism with Metafilter writ large.
posted by divabat at 2:51 PM on June 13, 2014


Can someone tell me if there are there any documents that lay out the rules of feminist discussion as it is done on Metafilter?

I don't think there are any.

Generally what is the scope where these rules apply?

Aside from jargon, which is generally only going to crop up in Those Threads, most of the concepts are universally relevant. Such as, don't hold women to a higher standard for commenting than men, don't try to explain away or invalidate a woman's experience.

Some language that's common elsewhere on the Internet should be avoided, because it's rude as hell at the very least: calling people bitches, saying "I'd hit it," etc.

Systemic issues such as "the patriarchy" and "rape culture" are generally things that the site culture now accepts as existing. Mocking them as concepts is generally going to not be well received.

I thought someone earlier in the thread linked to a "Feminism 101" blog with some easy-to-read info that's relevant, but I can't find it in the thread now and may have stumbled across it somewhere else on MeFi.

So, there's that.

----

By the way, if I have a distinct lack of history of trying to educate others, this is a decent example why. Even with the thread moving slowly, I'm still finding it hard to respond before others do. I just can't, 99% of the time, participate in a fast-moving thread. The doofuses have doofused and moved on long before I notice. (And when that's not the case, half the time I'm the doofus.)
posted by jsturgill at 2:52 PM on June 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


Dude. One tiny comment to touch back to a post that prompted this thread, not at all a detail but a writing flourish ending a detailed and thoughtful comment?

That's not a derail to close. You're making noise to dominate this thread and get attention at the expense of the people - mostly women - who are discussing beyond why Hal_c_on and other nice guys don't need to understand the basics to participate in a complex issue.

Seriously. Stop commenting and go read some of the suggested topics and come back later.
posted by viggorlijah at 2:53 PM on June 13, 2014 [6 favorites]


hal_c_on, you've commented 34 times in this thread; assuming you did have something interesting and worthwhile to say in the first place, surely you must have said it by now.
posted by jamjam at 3:51 PM on June 13, 2014


A couple other people have commented nearly that many times. You should call them out too, jamjam.
posted by uosuaq at 3:56 PM on June 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


FWIW I wasn't offended by being mistaken for white, I just didn't think my comment was splaining of any kind. It was pretty directly a response to the kind of discussion that's like "mansplaining is a bad term and basically you're saying someone's a bad person if you say they're doing something misogynist." I was saying that that's not true.
posted by sweetkid at 3:59 PM on June 13, 2014


Participating in the thread to share our experiences in relation to the topic at hand is not a signal for "btw I am here for all your educational needs!". (Or, what rtha said.)

Yes it is. It is for me. I am here to share my experiences and yes, I do want to educate people. My son is a man. If you don't want to do that, fine. I have a stake in this, a daughter, a son, a grand-daughter. I want to relate to men. I love men. My Dad is a man. My brothers are men. Men are not my enemy. I know about the patriarchy. I have lived it my whole life. I am not sure if you were trying to put down my lived experiences or not, but I sort of agree with NoraCharles and SpitBull and some of the others. Are you saying I can't educate people or I am a patsy? Because yes I can. I can educate all I want.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 4:58 PM on June 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


Marie Mon Dieu: You can choose to educate if you wish. I'm saying that not everyone chooses to do so and we need to respect that.

(And I'm not sure where "men are not my enemy" is coming from, because I don't think any of us have actually said that.)
posted by divabat at 5:02 PM on June 13, 2014 [16 favorites]


And yknow, sometimes we do want to educate, but not now. Or we've done it a zillion times already and are getting tired of repeating ourselves in the same thread. Or we're not as qualified to speak beyond our personal experiences much less in an educational role. Or our situation is complex enough that a post on an online messageboard isn't going to cut it.

Nobody is saying you're a patsy for wanting to educate others. What we're saying is that that shouldn't be an assumed role, that if people don't want to do it then that's fine, and if people want to do so then respect them for taking their time and don't take them for granted when they do.
posted by divabat at 5:05 PM on June 13, 2014 [7 favorites]


No one said Men are the enemy and no one said you can't educate. In fact, many people have been doing that in this thread, quite eloquently.
posted by sweetkid at 5:05 PM on June 13, 2014 [4 favorites]


"No one said Men are the enemy"

Not all men!
posted by klangklangston at 5:08 PM on June 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


OK, so if men should be educating (and I agree they should, I try to IRL) how do I do that on MetaFilter without sounding like I'm mansplaining or sounding arrogant for speaking about something that I lack first hand experience of?

In the past I have deliberately stayed out as it seemed wrong of me to try to explain the situation to men in thread while there are a whole bunch of women who actually experience this stuff doing a good job of explaining.
posted by ElliotH at 5:12 PM on June 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


Eh, I'm sorry! I am a woman and I get the need to not educate. I do. And I get the frustration of men who want to fix it and the frustration of women who don't want to put up with the men who want to explain how to fix it. I feel for all of those things. And I am very sorry if I put it badly.

Sometimes, as a woman, I feel like I not only have to explain myself to men, but to other women. I didn't express myself properly. I did it wrong. I gave my life experience but that doesn't count. And that was what I was hearing.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 5:15 PM on June 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think one way of men stepping up without mansplaining is if you see a woman eloquently explaining things, cosign her. Highlight her words. Give her credit and (ugh I hate to phrase it like this but) put the weight of your privilege behind them.
posted by (Over) Thinking at 5:16 PM on June 13, 2014 [32 favorites]


Thanks (Over) Thinking. I'm going to take the favourites you've attracted as people being generally supportive of that approach. I'll try and do just that next time I see a place it seems useful.
posted by ElliotH at 5:27 PM on June 13, 2014


yea I regret that I have but one favorite to give to (Over)Thinking's comment, it's great.
posted by sweetkid at 5:28 PM on June 13, 2014


Isn't another part of the education question bound up in the way that most of the time when a man makes a "well, just educate me!" plea in a thread here, it's immediately after being called out for bad behavior? And that a good portion of the time it turns out that the real purpose was so they could nitpick around the edges of whatever the response might be, still trying to win a "No, see, I wasn't behaving badly" argument?

I guess some good faith requests for education might get lost in that bathwater, but it really feels like that fighty undercurrent underlies a lot of these requests for 101 info, and it can be hard to separate the two.
posted by nobody at 5:35 PM on June 13, 2014 [20 favorites]


Oh, I do NOT represent women. This is why I have such a huge fucking problem with the word "ally". People use that term and feel they CAN now speak on behalf of the people they claim to be an ally for.
"I'm not a gay male, but I am an ally." I hate when people say that shit. It makes it seem as if their words are as powerful as someone who has actually gone through the experience of being a gay male.

I totally get this but I don't know what word is better. "One of the good ones" is about all I can think of, and it's, uh, got some problems of its own. I think one of the biggest problems with the word "ally" (that doesn't pertain to "one of the good ones") is that it's self-bestowed, and what one's trying to say with "I'm an ally" is often "Really I get you and I am not a Y-ist", which is really centering oneself instead of the members of any class oppressed along axis Y.
I used "ally" above as shorthand for "dominant class member who wants to help us deal with -Yism instead of just standing by saying 'Yism sucks and I'm sure glad I'm not a member of the oppressed class(es), whew'."

I think one of the hard things about striving towards human decency is that belonging to one oppressed class doesn't translate into any sort of automatic understanding of how to be decent to people oppressed in another class within that axis or along other axes of oppression. I mean, it's really painfully obvious when I put it that way, but geez it's hard to resist that impulse to defensiveness instead of acceptance and reason and behavioral change.
posted by gingerest at 5:37 PM on June 13, 2014 [5 favorites]


OK, so if men should be educating (and I agree they should, I try to IRL) how do I do that on MetaFilter without sounding like I'm mansplaining or sounding arrogant for speaking about something that I lack first hand experience of?

I think the big thing is to speak up but be humble. It's not your job to be The New Boss In Charge Of Feminism and talk over the women in the thread and "explain" what they mean. You can make it more like emphasizing what women are already saying, sharing resources that you've found helpful, and if you're asked to back off, back off.

Obviously other people will other ideas and preferences and I'm not an expert.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 5:39 PM on June 13, 2014 [8 favorites]


OK, so if men should be educating (and I agree they should, I try to IRL) how do I do that on MetaFilter without sounding like I'm mansplaining or sounding arrogant for speaking about something that I lack first hand experience of?

In the past I have deliberately stayed out as it seemed wrong of me to try to explain the situation to men in thread while there are a whole bunch of women who actually experience this stuff doing a good job of explaining.


Speaking for myself, I'm generally perfectly happy to see men speaking up to educate other men about misogyny or feminist issues. Occasionally I'll see that my husband has tweeted something like "hey guys, I just saw one of us doing [x] to a woman — don't do that!" I like that — it feels like evidence that he understands why these things are important rather than anything else (like "he's just making feminist noises to attract feminist women" or something stupid like that).

It's when a man speaks up to educate women about misogyny and feminist issues (what they are, what they should be, how women ought to respond to them) that it often goes off the rails.
posted by Lexica at 5:50 PM on June 13, 2014 [20 favorites]


In the MetaFilter community, we probably have enough women who are already willing to speak up about such things. "How do I educate?" is a tougher question offscreen.
posted by uosuaq at 5:51 PM on June 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


When I think of the most supportive men I know, the most important thing they do is to call out bad behavior by other men. Men tend to be so much less likely to write off a man calling them out than a woman calling them out. A man calling you out is a real challenge, a woman calling you out is easily dismissed as whining. It's way less about the explaining part than it is about the call-out part, to me.

Also, I wish I could favorite nobody's comment 1000 more times, because there is such a huge difference between asking for education from a genuine desire to learn vs. asking for education so that you can more effectively rules-lawyer your way into winning or dominating the argument.
posted by dialetheia at 5:52 PM on June 13, 2014 [18 favorites]


As a man myself, what I try to do mostly is to tell assholes when (& how) they're being assholes when it seems like they're overwhelming a thread, and to mostly shut up when women are explaining their experiences.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:00 PM on June 13, 2014 [12 favorites]


More: Men explaining feminist ideas to men.

Less: Men explaining feminist ideas to women.

(It's highly unlikely to be mansplaining if you're addressing men.)
posted by jaguar at 6:03 PM on June 13, 2014 [26 favorites]


And yknow, sometimes we do want to educate, but not now. Or we've done it a zillion times already and are getting tired of repeating ourselves in the same thread. Or we're not as qualified to speak beyond our personal experiences much less in an educational role. Or our situation is complex enough that a post on an online messageboard isn't going to cut it.

Nobody is saying you're a patsy for wanting to educate others. What we're saying is that that shouldn't be an assumed role, that if people don't want to do it then that's fine, and if people want to do so then respect them for taking their time and don't take them for granted when they do.


I understand that.

I guess... where I am coming from is I was a speaker at a women's conference, about domestic violence. Me and another woman and a university woman who had a PhD. in women's studies.

All of the women in our audience had had an episode of domestic violence. About 99% of them. But about none of them had ever spoken up about it. In fact, one woman came to me afterward to thank me for talking about it because she had been raped and forced to marry her rapist by her family because she got pregnant, and later escaped and yet, she had been too ashamed to speak about it until that day.

Among the other women were one who had shot her husband because he tried to kill her, and another who barely escaped being stabbed. But very few who had not been a victim of domestic violence, including me. Pretty much no way I could have educated them. But we started a round circle, to talk about it. How we could address it.

I have been the victim of domestic violence and have had severe PTSD from it. I have every reason to hate men. I regret saying anything about women hating men. It's true, no one should be put in the position of educating anyone. I respect that. I just want to be crystal clear that if I choose to educate that I am not going to be subject to scorn from the women here on this site. That's all.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 6:33 PM on June 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


I think maybe we all take some risk of "scorn" from other women, though, when we step up to educate, because we're actively speaking for other women, and that's a risky business. There's going to be arguments about priorities and representation and intersectionality, and about what feminism is and isn't. I work hard not to take that dissension personally - it's very much not about me. The cultural instruction that women are a monolith is ubiquitous, and even smart women feminists are just as subject to that instruction as anybody else. I'm going to try to speak for women in the loosest sense but I work to stay aware that I don't have any special dispensation to do so, and that my experience isn't necessarily representative, especially not of women who are members of other oppressed classes.

As well, in terms of fighting between women, there's some tension about the way that always, a few people who belong to an oppressed class are threatened by the notion of working against that system (whether they're actively benefiting from the institution of oppression, or whether they can see that whatever comes to replace it may be worse for them or someone they love, or whether they just identify with the dominating class more than with their own class or whatever) - we all do what we must to survive, so there's always going to be some women who side against feminism (or whose notion of feminism is mostly about whether they've got theirs). Not necessarily women who actively post at MetaFilter, but culturally. Again, women aren't a monolith.
posted by gingerest at 7:14 PM on June 13, 2014 [13 favorites]


Educating people is a real gift from people to other people and this site shines at sharing and teaching in circles rather than hierarchies. No one should scorn someone for doing that.

But there needs to be an awareness that complaining about not being educated to asking in a way that has been rebuffed earlier in the thread is entitling yourself to a gift. And this seems to occur more often in threads about feminist issues by men towards commentators who are not men. Way more than it should.

Teach if you can. People will thank you. But the issue here is the 'students' who are complaining about not being taught how they want to be, not the teachers themselves.
posted by viggorlijah at 7:45 PM on June 13, 2014 [11 favorites]


"what I try to do mostly is to tell assholes when (& how) they're being assholes"

yessss come to the dark side
posted by klangklangston at 8:50 PM on June 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


It's massive, massive entitlement to expect that women should stop their conversations to cater to ignorance about the basic issues of feminine existence.

Men tend to be so much less likely to write off a man calling them out than a woman calling them out. A man calling you out is a real challenge, a woman calling you out is easily dismissed as whining.

Teach if you can. People will thank you. But the issue here is the 'students' who are complaining about not being taught how they want to be, not the teachers themselves.


I'm training to be a teacher. I like explaining things. BUT when it comes to explaining feminist issues and the experiences and effects of male chauvinism and misogyny, I often find that the male 'inquirer' seeks not understanding, but justification. They want me to justify my feminist position according to their 'understanding' of the 'real' situation.

That's one reason why men explaining feminism, male chauvinism and misogyny to other men is so important. It relieves women of the assault of having to justify the validity of their experiences and it cuts through the much of the 'whinging' aspect because, ugh, the females' perspective is legitimised by other males.

This is an incredibly important discussion with so many layers. I am female, strong, outspoken and very aware of patriarchy's effect on my life and those of my friends, and I have learned good things about feminism, language and alternative perspectives from this thread.
posted by Kerasia at 1:44 AM on June 14, 2014 [35 favorites]


Datapoint: I did not post in that thread because it would have taken too long to figure out how to frame a comment as a feminist and a woman.

Parramore is new media savvy and has a career trajectory far removed from "English PhD struggling to make ends meet as an adjunct." This is someone who's either inherited or built a network of connections that she's working to the fullest-- ironically in the cause of economic justice.

I had a visceral reaction to her tactics and felt nothing but sympathy for the worker. I cannot imagine making another person uncomfortable for this particular reason or using my power in this way. Everyone is different, and Metafilter threads grow from the input of members. I do not mean to critique anyone, but to state that as someone who does feminism in ways recognizable to feminists here, I agreed with some of the comments made by the men. It's a tough distinction to draw quickly in a thread so I just didn't do it.
posted by CtrlAltD at 7:26 AM on June 14, 2014 [21 favorites]


> when it comes to explaining feminist issues and the experiences and effects of male chauvinism and misogyny, I often find that the male 'inquirer' seeks not understanding, but justification. They want me to justify my feminist position according to their 'understanding' of the 'real' situation.

Fuck yes.
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED at 7:52 AM on June 14, 2014 [5 favorites]


Metafilter doesn't (yet) do class well, CntrlAltD. Class/Gender Intersectionality is Social Justice 201, down the hall.

We get a lot of bourgeoissplainin' around here, even in the most progressive discussions of gender and sexuality and sometimes race and ability.

Unsurprising when you look at the self-reported occupations of most of us.

I'm not exempting myself from the charge either.

But your perspective is a refreshing reminder of a kind of perfectly legitimate feminist critique we don't see enough of here because relatively few of us identify with store clerks. (And that guy probably had an English PhD too; as you have discovered cultural capital does not pay the bills in America.)

Rough thread, but lots of good humansplainin' mixed in. Everyone gets a cookie.
posted by spitbull at 8:12 AM on June 14, 2014 [13 favorites]


Well, if I'm included in that critique, I was a clerk for 10 years, and he is a store manager, so you're starting off with your facts wrong
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 9:38 AM on June 14, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'm not including you then.

The point still stands. "Manager" comes in various flavors. But ok let's talk about who picked the vegetables at Trader Joe's.

Which again doesn't excuse misogynistic Muzak. That's the point about intersectional critique.

I did say most of us. And I've been a store clerk and worse before, but I don't identify as working class because it was not my destiny to remain so. I do know there are working-class mefites, but you surely know what I mean.
posted by spitbull at 9:55 AM on June 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


That's just the sort of comment, Bunny Ultramod, that kept women like me and apparently CtrlAltD from feeling like our perspectives were welcome in the thread.

Maybe if you're a guy in a feminism thread, you could dial back the snappy style shut-downs when a woman is sharing her perspective. Maybe you can participate without coming across like you're showing some of us women how to do feminism.

Apparently some feminism isn't feminismy enough, or it's too tainted by class sensitivities, or axes of other kinds of authorities, or whatever, and those shadings, despite being reflective of our own experiences, don't count, inspire eye-rolly frustration about why aren't you listening to women and this is a derail and oh she didn't say it right and so are subject to snappy shut-down.

If we're listening to opinions formed by people's lived experiences, those responses just as much as the 'mansplaining' contributions hinder a welcoming environment. Women, as noted, are not a monolithic entity. We should be able to have a variety of opinions on the piece, with a variety of prioirities arrayed in different order, without being made to feel like traitors to the cause.
posted by Lou Stuells at 10:47 AM on June 14, 2014 [39 favorites]


I wasn't trying to start another argument. I liked CntrlAltD's point that there are often multiple feminist perspectives on the same situation. Positionality FTW!


Mostly I meant to offer everyone a cookie. And not one of those crappy Archway ones, but a really nice black and white from a good Jewish deli.
posted by spitbull at 12:26 PM on June 14, 2014 [2 favorites]


But to be fair I think Bunny was snarking at my comment, only thus indirectly at CntrlAltD, and to be fair I did have a key fact wrong and Trader Joe's managers (called "Mates") start at around 60k.
posted by spitbull at 12:29 PM on June 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


Somewhere along the way, this thread became less about the actual specifics of feminism, and more about "how to engage in a productive discussion without discounting the experiences or words of others who may have different experiences and thoughts".

I think thats great.

I came into this thread going "hey, i dont quite understand why this is being said, why can we not agree on this thing". Some people talked to me in good faith and said "hey listen, besides that question you're posing, perhaps you shouldnt talk like that here because some people might perceive it as you 'telling people what to do'."

i was very vocal about accepting responsibility for my words (my words may have had an effect on others that I didn't think about before writing). That was actual help. It really was. I appreciate that.

Now there's another group of people on here saying "hey, the way this other group is talking in a way that says that their prescription talking about this experience is making me feel as if its telling me what to do."

That shouldn't be discounted, either.


Also, if someone here is in Santa Monica, I'd love it if you went to Izzy's, got a reuben sandwich on a kaiser roll, that big ass pickle, the best cole slaw i've ever had, dat clump of hot fries, a tray of different mustards and just ate it all. Then I want you to get that black and white cookie from glass case near the register because spitbull says we all deserve one. Eat an extra one for me while you're hoping that you didn't get a ticket for parking your car near the hospital.
posted by hal_c_on at 1:55 PM on June 14, 2014 [3 favorites]


Also, if someone here is in Santa Monica, I'd love it if you went to Izzy's, got a reuben sandwich on a kaiser roll, that big ass pickle, the best cole slaw i've ever had, dat clump of hot fries, a tray of different mustards and just ate it all. Then I want you to get that black and white cookie from glass case near the register because spitbull says we all deserve one. Eat an extra one for me while you're hoping that you didn't get a ticket for parking your car near the hospital.

Alack! This is something I could get behind but I am far from this land of Reuben sammich bliss.

I will have to make do with some homemade gazpacho (secret ingredient: kosher dill pickle) and a big glass of water so cold it hurts to pick it up.
posted by winna at 2:23 PM on June 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think there's a fair point to be made about signals some of us read in the piece regarding conflicts between 'academician vs. shopkeeper/tradesperson.' It might even have an inverse relationship to income - the scholar or artist toiling away for intangible reward vs. the corporate cog selling out for the sake of bourgeois comforts. I went to art school and my dad sold auto parts, so skipping back and forth over those lines has been an exploration in interesting territory for me, and perhaps part of the reason I took different impressions from the piece than other participants did.

I think those are interesting territories to explore, and while they shouldn't eclipse the topic of microaggressions and institutionalized misogyny, I think they were an important element in the article in part because they seemed completely invisible to the author and absolutely overlooked, denied, and derided by many commenters. I think there was room in the discussion for exploring the phenomenon. YES there were a lot of bingo card comments in the thread, but I felt that anything not-lockstep with ONE topic was classified in a very binary fashion as AGAINST that topic, against feminism, against women being heard, and a deflection by anti-feminists, defensive men, or apologists.

The topic the author wanted to discuss was the only topic 'allowed', it seemed, and to explore the issues I noted above was to risk being accused of committing a misogynistic act of discussion sabotage.

My natural response when reading 'this thing happened' accounts is to put myself in the position of each participant and play What Would I Have Done (And Would It Have Been Better/Worse)? I don't recall ever seeing anything in an employee handbook for the sort of complaint raised in the article. Independent problem solving seems secondary to presenting a unified company 'face' in retail chains. So 'refer to the next person up' or 'refer to the customer complaints line' would be the default first steps - pretty close to what happened (though of course the system is imperfect - probably it works better for 'my milk was spoiled' than this, and that really shouldn't have been a shock.) In Parramore's shoes, I would have acted a lot differently. The reasons I would have acted differently - and, I think, to greater effectiveness - are reasons derived from what I learned in working those kind of jobs.

Her job is to research and communicate, and she's got quite a bit more schooling than I've got. Maybe I've got a raging case of Dunning-Kruger, but I feel she did a bad job in bad faith. She should, in this instance, be smarter than me because she's got more education and influence than me, and we're apparently on the same side in this fight. It's important, it counts, she's got a voice and she's speaking for me and my cause, but she's playing dumb and it pissed me off. I shouldn't be made to feel equated to an MRA apologist by other mefites because I felt that way about this FPP.

Also I would very much like a black and white cookie... a nice soft fresh one. The treats local to me run more towards local ice cream and Finnish dessert bread, which is nothing to complain about. In the rare treat of being near a proper deli though my inclination is to opportunistically gorge, python-style, and then sleep for a month.
posted by Lou Stuells at 3:05 PM on June 14, 2014 [21 favorites]


and wait wait wait. If it's on a kaiser roll (or, as we call it in my house, a sling roll) --is it actually a reuben?
posted by Lou Stuells at 3:10 PM on June 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


and wait wait wait. If it's on a kaiser roll (or, as we call it in my house, a sling roll) --is it actually a reuben?

Oh my god. If there wasn't a cue for the Meta, I would totally call you out.
posted by hal_c_on at 3:46 PM on June 14, 2014 [2 favorites]


I don't want to be all "Now we must talk about food!" but I have a black and white cookie story that is also a MeFi story. I posted a thing in AskMe about teaching people how to use computers. A nice MeFite from NYC sent me a MeMail thanking me for it, saying she has to teach people how to teach people to do this at her job and it's frequently challenging. I offered to send her a copy of my book since I have a few extras. She said sure and gave me her address and asked if there was anything I wanted from NYC. Well when I was a kid and we'd visit my grandmother in Englewood (and see relatives in Teaneck and Hackensack) we'd go by the Butterflake bakery and get some of the most incredible cookies in a cardboard box with the red and white string and everything. We had okay snacks at home but these were unreal. So, every time someone says "What do you want from NYC?" I always ask for black and white cookies. So she sent me a few, and some coffee beans from Brooklyn Roasting Company and they arrived just before I got back from a trip so they were a little banged up but still: free internet cookies (and coffee) and it was just a wonderful combination that could not be beat. And that is my cookie story.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 3:56 PM on June 14, 2014 [16 favorites]


It took me a long time to try them because they look like the disappointing sugar cookies that function solely as a substrate for pretty frosting and sprinkles.

Nothing could be further from the truth. B&W cookies are a Big Deal and I just noticed the retired badge and have feelings that aren't easy to verbalize.
posted by Lou Stuells at 4:53 PM on June 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


That's just the sort of comment, Bunny Ultramod, that kept women like me and apparently CtrlAltD from feeling like our perspectives were welcome in the thread.

I'm not clear on what you're referring to. My comment was directed at spitbull, and specifically to the comment that presumes what other people's experiences are. I think it's best to not assume that someone is unsympathetic or ignorant of class issues simply because they don't agree with you. It's also a good idea not to assume the financial circumstances of your fellow posters simply because they are focusing on an issue that effects women instead of exclusively focusing on the subject of class.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 4:54 PM on June 14, 2014


B&W cookies are a Big Deal

I'm from central New York, where the black and white (vanilla shortbread base, fondant, NYC/Long Island) mutated into the half-moon (spongy chocolate cake base, buttercream, Utica) (or the other way around depending on who you ask I guess), but my parents are from Long Island and I do know the difference but l use black and white and half moon interchangeably.

I did this once at a meeting of Scrabble club when asking someone to pass me one from a bakery tray and both Archibald and his wife immediately said, in unison, "They're HALF-MOONS." Which kind of a) typifies every interaction I had with them but b) would have actually been kind of funny if I had liked either of them even a little bit and c) still makes my blood boil three years later whenever I get a half-moon (often), which d) probably proves I was more of the problem in that relationship than I wanted to admit.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 5:40 PM on June 14, 2014 [4 favorites]


But Bunny Ultramod, you do this all the time. Make assumptions about other Mefites, I mean. In the Trader Joe's thread, for example, you assume that people who questioned the lazy journalism or the author's choice to print the retail manager's full name are misogynistic.

Can you see why those actions might make others feel unwelcome?

You also accused anyone who didn't agree with you about that of derailing the thread. But you were the one who brought up the wholly unrelated aspect of women's wages, an actual derail.
posted by misha at 6:17 PM on June 14, 2014 [12 favorites]


Also, if someone here is in Santa Monica, I'd love it if you went to Izzy's, got a reuben sandwich on a kaiser roll, that big ass pickle, the best cole slaw i've ever had, dat clump of hot fries, a tray of different mustards and just ate it all. Then I want you to get that black and white cookie from glass case near the register because spitbull says we all deserve one. Eat an extra one for me while you're hoping that you didn't get a ticket for parking your car near the hospital.

I am in Santa Monica, slowly emerging from a week-long haze of toothaches, pain meds, and nothing but liquids and this is the best damn thing I've heard in days. As soon as I'm able, I will walk (no parking tickets!) over to Izzy's and do this even though the half-sours and B&W cookies and hard salami are better at Fromin's.

Lou Stuells, CtrlAltD, I can't speak to the recent threads since I'm behind, but I appreciated the general sentiment of your comments, thank you.
posted by Room 641-A at 6:34 PM on June 14, 2014 [3 favorites]


But you were the one who brought up the wholly unrelated aspect of women's wages, an actual derail.

I didn't. Please go back and reread the thread.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 7:12 PM on June 14, 2014 [2 favorites]


and wait wait wait. If it's on a kaiser roll (or, as we call it in my house, a sling roll) --is it actually a reuben?

No. A Reuben must be grilled, or it is not a Reuben.

Would you call it a Reuben if it were made with turkey ham? No, you would not - and someone would be on their way to the gulag.
posted by Pudhoho at 7:21 PM on June 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


You'd call it a goyben, you schmuck.
posted by gman at 7:34 PM on June 14, 2014 [3 favorites]


A Georgia Reuben has turkey. It's also sometimes called a California Reuben.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 7:37 PM on June 14, 2014


I am in Santa Monica, slowly emerging from a week-long haze of toothaches, pain meds, and nothing but liquids and this is the best damn thing I've heard in days. As soon as I'm able, I will walk (no parking tickets!) over to Izzy's and do this even though the half-sours and B&W cookies and hard salami are better at Fromin's.

Hi, friend. Would you mind taking pictures and sending it to me? Its called "Rabbi Reuben's Reuben" (with pastrami, of course) The ONLY picture I see is the picture thats on the menu in the restaurant.

Also, if you were joking...so was I. hahaha cry cry cry.
posted by hal_c_on at 7:55 PM on June 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


A Georgia Reuben has turkey. It's also sometimes called a California Reuben

Ironically mostly up north in ohio and Michigan. And (ewww) it's usually got BBQ sauce instead of Russian dressing. It's not great IMHO
posted by chasles at 8:16 PM on June 14, 2014


Thank you KathrynT, divabat and jsturgill for your information. That's pretty much where I am already, besides the 7 year review of MetaTalk. That helped, but it still wasn't fully making sense to me.

The topic the author wanted to discuss was the only topic 'allowed', it seemed, and to explore the issues I noted above was to risk being accused of committing a misogynistic act of discussion sabotage.

Thank you, Lou Stuells and CtrlAltD, because that totally answers why I found the conversation in that thread so confusing.
posted by jaut at 8:18 PM on June 14, 2014


Bunny Ultramod, you were addressing spitbull's comment expressing appreciation for CtrlAltD's contribution. Your comment seems to demonstrate that you find more value in making a dismissive potshot than in any of the substance of the conversation they're having, or in any of the points that CtrlAltD bothered to address.

And for that matter.. 'the guy was a manager so your facts are wrong' is a proclamation that presupposes a hell of a lot: that there's an appreciable difference in class between managers and clerks, that class and income are aligned, that a person who is a jerk to a cashier would treat a store manager much differently, etc.

It's not a contribution you're making; it's a shut-down. It's phrased to read as dismissively as possible, that cute thing with the 'this is not even worth punctuation lol' is all the rage with the cool kids.

I have a hard time believing your communication is good-faith communication, I hope this helps you understand why.
posted by Lou Stuells at 8:40 PM on June 14, 2014 [11 favorites]


(A California Reuben doesn't have avocado? Why would I waste the effort of pronouncing that many syllables in ordering one, if there is no avocado?)
posted by Lou Stuells at 8:44 PM on June 14, 2014 [2 favorites]


Well, I don't expect to convince you of good faith when you have interpreted bad faith, but my participation in these threads is in earnest. The fact is, in the thread that instigated this, there was a repeated gesture to paint the story as "privileged woman harasses minimum wage employee," which both colors the story against the author and wasn't based in any established or shared facts, and that was what I was responding to originally. We can disagree with the author's point of view, or the way she wrote the story (and, as I have repeatedly said, I probably wouldn't have done it as she said, but I also know that tactics that work for me may not work for others), but we should have shared facts, and not invent facts that support our narrative.

I rankled when spitbull declared that those of us who disagreed on the question of class were somehow unsympathetic to the experience of clerks. It's an unfair characterization and also repeats an inaccuracy that paints the author in an especially bad light. That was the sum of my objection, and you can accept that or not, which is your prerogative. It is, however, entirely consistent with my participation here.

I'm sorry my typo dropping the punctuation offended you. There are a lot of them in my posts on the thread, and I would ask you to read them charitably, as all of them are accidental.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 8:56 PM on June 14, 2014 [19 favorites]


You might have unexamined class privilege.

paints the author in an especially bad light

Does it?
posted by Drinky Die at 2:11 AM on June 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think 0 suffers from terrible reading comprehension and a markedly immature and unnuanced understanding of class.
...
I think it's best to not assume that someone is unsympathetic or ignorant of class issues simply because they don't agree with you.

posted by 0 at 5:11 AM on June 15, 2014 [7 favorites]


I'm not the subject of this thread. I will duck out now so we can return to the actual topic, and if you have particular issues with me, feel free to memail or start another thread on me.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 6:06 AM on June 15, 2014


And thus ended the Bunny Ultramod Show for another thread.
posted by gman at 6:09 AM on June 15, 2014 [4 favorites]


*eyeroll*
posted by shakespeherian at 6:12 AM on June 15, 2014 [2 favorites]


Returning to the actual topic sounds like a very good plan.
posted by taz (staff) at 6:31 AM on June 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


Somewhere along the way, this thread became less about the actual specifics of feminism, and more about "how to engage in a productive discussion without discounting the experiences or words of others who may have different experiences and thoughts".

I think thats great.


I don't know, I think it's kind of crappy to the people who are most effected by the specifics of feminism, and want to discuss specific instances of sexism on Metafilter.

Would you call it a Reuben if it were made with turkey ham?


Turkey ham? No, turkey pastrami, probably, but if regular pastrami or corn beef is available, you risk a disappointed sigh from me. Oh and does a reuben still count as a reuben if the pastrami's made from moose? Because if not, my 99% home-made (no cave for cheese aging) reubens I've been eating have been nothing but tasty tasty lies.
posted by Gygesringtone at 6:37 AM on June 15, 2014


> I'm not the subject of this thread.

After 53 comments by you (so far) it might as well be. Not to mention another 57 in the thread that spawned this meta. You have totally won both of 'em and can afford to rest on your laurels.
posted by jfuller at 6:58 AM on June 15, 2014 [5 favorites]


53 comments out of 1030 is kind of not a lot.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:40 AM on June 15, 2014 [4 favorites]


That's like saying Bill Gates doesn't have a lot of dough when you consider the total sum of all the other money in circulation.
posted by gman at 7:43 AM on June 15, 2014 [3 favorites]


....Funny, I thought you were returning to the topic of this thread anyway.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:48 AM on June 15, 2014 [2 favorites]


53 comments in any single thread is a lot, particularly a contentious one.
posted by stp123 at 8:01 AM on June 15, 2014 [4 favorites]


meanwhile the people whining about those comments are the ones who caused them by their constant sniping which necessitated responses

irony is a harsh mistress
posted by elizardbits at 8:06 AM on June 15, 2014 [14 favorites]


Man, what an idiotic and insulting derail this comment-counting nonsense is.
posted by koeselitz at 8:13 AM on June 15, 2014 [15 favorites]


That whole point about how important it is to say 'sorry I didn't realize I was participating in a way that made it harder for some women to feel welcome to share I didn't realize I was coming across the way you perceived it' - I thought we were using that now instead of 'you're misunderstanding the men, dear.' And I thought we were way past 'I'm sorry if you were offended' p-a non-apologies.
posted by Lou Stuells at 8:19 AM on June 15, 2014 [8 favorites]


free internet cookies

It's been a few years since I got my traditional birthday cookies from 'the Internet.'
Was it something I said?
posted by jonmc at 8:38 AM on June 15, 2014


How many of the comment counters addressed their concerns via the contact form?
posted by Pudhoho at 8:42 AM on June 15, 2014


Is there a collective noun for 'concern troll'?
posted by shakespeherian at 9:09 AM on June 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


MetaTalk: Was it something I said?
posted by billiebee at 9:10 AM on June 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


53 comments out of 1030 is kind of not a lot.

It's 5.14 % of the total thread. NASA was about to put men on the moon with 5% of the entire federal budget. Upping the amount of nitrogen in the air by %5 would have major effects on life as we know it. 5% more in your paycheck would matter as would 5% less.

Other useful facts about 5%:

5% is more than 4%.

Its a multiple of 10, 50 and 100%

P-values are often coupled to a significance or alpha (α) level, which is also set ahead of time, usually at 0.05 (5%).

5%. It's not joke kids.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:42 AM on June 15, 2014 [7 favorites]


And I thought we were way past 'I'm sorry if you were offended' p-a non-apologies.

I think you should start to consider the possibility that you have gone a bit over the top and got as much apology as was deserved.
posted by bleep-blop at 10:02 AM on June 15, 2014 [2 favorites]


> 53 comments out of 1030 is kind of not a lot.

What's striking about it is not gushing logorrhoea per se. What's striking about it is that the top commenter in both the original feminism-related thread and this feminism-related meta is a dude. And, in both cases, the same dude.
posted by jfuller at 11:14 AM on June 15, 2014 [6 favorites]


What's striking about it is that the top commenter in both the original feminism-related thread and this feminism-related meta is a dude. And, in both cases, the same dude.

Out of curiosity (and as someone who is trying, perhaps with varying success, to be very conscious about not engaging in ways that take up the wrong amount of conversational space), is there a simple way to see the number of posts per person in a given thread?
posted by Dip Flash at 11:23 AM on June 15, 2014


Man, what an idiotic and insulting derail this comment-counting nonsense is.

It is only a derail when it is a critical statement about a popular viewpoint or personality.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:33 AM on June 15, 2014 [10 favorites]


over the top

Hysterical, even, one might say.
posted by Lou Stuells at 11:39 AM on June 15, 2014 [4 favorites]


Yeah, people comment a lot when they are interested and they care about the topic. Sometimes that can be bad for a thread. In this case I don't think it was.
posted by Drinky Die at 11:42 AM on June 15, 2014 [7 favorites]


Blazecock Pileon: “It is only a derail when it is a critical statement about a popular viewpoint or personality.”

No, I object in principle to all comment-counting. Commenting here is free. If someone is posting the Treaty of Westphalia, it's one thing, or at least has a whole lot of consecutive comments; but if someone is just discussing and responding, without escalating or acting like a turd, then it's just commenting. The trick of "let's tally up all your comments in a way that makes it sound like you just won't shut up" has been used against me before, too, and it's obnoxious. So you could say that I'm taking this personally, but only because I don't think it matters one whit how many comments a person has in a thread.
posted by koeselitz at 11:45 AM on June 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm sympathetic, kose, cause there have been times where I was shouted down with comment counting, but there have also been times where I dominated threads while not actually adding anything interesting or productive to the conversation. Comment counting can help quantify that. It's easy to post a lot of comments as an individual and feel like you are just part of the conversation until someone says, "Hey, psst, you have posted a full 10-20% of the total comments in the thread. Maybe back off here?"

As I said though, I don't think Bunny has done anything wrong here, just giving my thoughts on comment counting in general.
posted by Drinky Die at 11:53 AM on June 15, 2014 [2 favorites]


Hey, remember when this thread was about misogyny on Metafilter instead of

A) the value of Bunny Ultramod's comments here

B) the number of Bunny Ultramod's comments here

C) the number of comments anyone posts in any thread, regardless of content
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 12:02 PM on June 15, 2014 [9 favorites]


First we had to argue with a member by proxy and then when he spoke up to clarify we had to tell him he was talking too much.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:06 PM on June 15, 2014 [8 favorites]


Idk, I generally agree with the positions BU has taken here, and I also feel this has become the all about BU show, and it's BU, not the people he's arguing with, who bears primary responsibility for this. All BU needs to do to is not respond to every comment.

I think what's troubling me about this is that when it's been the all about ___ show for different commenters here, there's been not nearly as much sympathy for the viewpoint that someone simply must have the ability to respond to each and every argument raised. It feels inequitable to me, I suppose.
posted by MoonOrb at 12:40 PM on June 15, 2014 [6 favorites]


Dip Flash, there is a greasemonkey script called Metafilter Navigator which among other things shows at-a-glance how many comments users have made in a thread. I don't see it online right now, but here's a MetaTalk thread about it.

I think Bunny U made important points in thread and was glad he did.
posted by zarq at 12:53 PM on June 15, 2014 [3 favorites]


I don't think it matters one whit how many comments a person has in a thread.

Surely you'd agree, though, that whatever anyone's personal feeling about the criticism, it is one the community has historically cared about. Taking up all the air in the room has been leveled at other users for a long time, which is why we all instantly know what's meant by "quit making this thread the ____ show." Mods have said it, both publicly and (reportedly) privately. And it's been specifically raised before with men on gender topics.

53 comments out of 1030 is kind of not a lot.

I suppose that depends how you look at it. You can compare X to Y, as you did, or you can compare one person's X to everybody else's X. I'm not going to say either comparison is invalid, but they're different things and I don't think one is relevant if people are objecting to the other.

I think what's troubling me about this is that when it's been the all about ___ show for different commenters here, there's been not nearly as much sympathy for the viewpoint that someone simply must have the ability to respond to each and every argument raised.

Agreed. And to address the mods: I don't think you're great about addressing the attitude that certain comments "necessitate" response. In the more egregious case where someone posts a shitty comment and "causes" a momentary pile-up, you're mostly great about clean-up and chastising that user. But you could be a lot better, in general, about chastising the other people who equally "caused" the pile-up by electing to respond. Mostly you don't. You've asked people to be more diligent about flagging. You should tell them to be more diligent about moving on.
posted by cribcage at 12:54 PM on June 15, 2014 [5 favorites]


This comment-counting derail reminds me of an incident where a city bus, occupied only by its driver, skidded and sideswiped a lamp post one dim winter morning.

When the police arrived, they were greeted by half a dozen 'passengers' - each presenting complaints of whiplash.

Once again, did any of the gripers use the contact form to alert a moderator to their concerns while the conversation was happening?

No? Move along, folks. There's nothing here to see.
posted by Pudhoho at 1:04 PM on June 15, 2014


At this point we are discussing:
  • Misogyny
  • Class Privilege
  • Teaching of people
  • Over-commenting by individuals
  • Moderation
  • Sandwiches
All in the same thread.

I realise this is all in proud MeTa tradition, and I think they're all vital discussions to have. But maybe a number of other threads would yield more healthy discussion? As we flash past the 1000 comment mark with no end to the arguments it seems highly unlikely that a representative sample of the community will be able to participate meaningfully.
posted by ElliotH at 1:04 PM on June 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


Moderation sandwiches...mmmmm....
posted by MoonOrb at 1:06 PM on June 15, 2014


100% organic!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:12 PM on June 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think nitpicking the quality of customer service the author of the article got from a local manager at a retail chain is a derail from the larger issue of the prevalence of misogyny in pop culture. Bunny Ultramod hammering away at his insistence that poor customer service was the issue we should be discussing here, attacking anyone who disagreed with him and nitpicking the issue to death is a big part of why that thread turned into a giant derail and why we didn't get to talk about misogyny in pop culture very much.

So, no, I don't think the comment counting is a derail at all. Bunny didn't turn the thread into a derail all by himself, but no one else was as persistent about making sure that was only thing we talked about as he was. His behavior in the original thread is a big part of why we're here.

I know Bunny considers himself a feminist ally, but if you're telling women to shut up when they're trying to discuss something that's important to them, because you don't think they're discussing it the right way, focusing on the right issues, or coming to exactly the right conclusions, then you're not helping, and maybe, just maybe, you should stop to consider you might be doing something wrong.
posted by nangar at 1:14 PM on June 15, 2014 [7 favorites]


I agree with TFA, if not the methods of the author.

It was a huge and useless derail to compare salary to power. Clearly the executive editor of a popular website read by millions has more power than the staff of a grocery store no matter the relative income.

It's possible to simultaneously agree with the author of an article and find fault with their methods and it doesn't require too much imagination to believe that those complaining about the methods are doing so because they want the author to be succesful in their endeavor.
posted by vapidave at 1:37 PM on June 15, 2014 [8 favorites]


The discussion of class issues on Metafilter in general, and the presentation of class issues in threads relating to sexism and other forms of discrimination (intersectionality), are things Metafilter doesn't do particularly well, as mentioned upthread. One of the reasons for that is there's a history with a particular user (whose account is disabled, although I don't recall whether he buttoned or was banned) who tended to argue loudly and repetitively in threads about discrimination and related issues that classism was the real problem and whatever problem to do with race, sex, gender, sexuality, etc. other people were seeing meant they were interrogating the text from the wrong perspective.

There's a lot of that behavior out there and many of us come to these discussions sensitive to "stop bothering us with your issue when the important issue of class is out there". I don't have a strong opinion one way or the other about the class issues in the OP link for this MeTa, but I do feel the gear when someone, particularly a man, walks into a conversation where folks, particularly women, are discussing misogyny in a particular situation and wants to make it all about the struggle of class vs class, it's going to come off badly unless he's careful. That's doubly true on the blue precisely of the history of derailing both on Metafilter and in real life.

The class issue is not radioactive and I wouldn't want it to be, but it would be nice if people would read the room and consider how they present class-related concerns without dismissing misogyny, and, of course, vice versa.
posted by immlass at 1:41 PM on June 15, 2014 [11 favorites]


> How many of the comment counters addressed their concerns via the contact form?

I didn't because I didn't start reading the original thread until after the MeTa was posted and it was mostly inactive, but I wish someone had because I think a note from one of the moderators along the lines of 'you don't have to make this thread all about you' might have been helpful.
posted by nangar at 1:44 PM on June 15, 2014


For me, Bunny was doing the thing I was saying I want feminist allies to do - he was arguing a point that I was flat out too ground down to deal with. (Ground sdown by being a woman in society, not just tiresomeness in a MetaFilter thread.) He may have taken it a little too far but he wasn't alone in that - people just wouldn't drop it.
I'm sorry some women felt excluded - this is a fine illustration of the point that we aren't a monolith - and I hope they can take notice of the fact there were many female voices in that thread and take encouragement to participate. No one should be shut down by one person's voice in a thousand-post thread and that is an important issue.
posted by gingerest at 2:18 PM on June 15, 2014 [13 favorites]


That last bit is shaped like a non-apology apology, but it was "I'm sorry" in the sympathetic sense, not the one that expresses responsibility and penitence. In my extremely literal household, this is a clarification that I have to make a lot, for circumstances like disappointing weather, so if it was obvious to you please don't take it as an insult.
posted by gingerest at 2:33 PM on June 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


It's possible to simultaneously agree with the author of an article and find fault with their methods and it doesn't require too much imagination to believe that those complaining about the methods are doing so because they want the author to be successful in their endeavour.

I'm a pretty die hard feminist, but even I try to avoid commenting in such threads. I said this earlier, but what made me feel excluded is the "she can do no wrong" pile-ons. In the case of the TJ article, I agreed with the author's premise and distress, but not with all of her methods. It just feels to me like people are taking the "perfect is the enemy of good" mantra to include any action that a person takes in response to an offence, and any disagreement with the offended person's actions is tantamount to shaking hands with the MRA. I just generally don't believe that supporting someone's activism should require that you provide blanket support for everything that they say or do, without any criticism or disagreement. It seems so very all-or-nothing. You're either all in, or you're out. Really not the type of atmosphere that I would dare wade into.
posted by Shouraku at 4:41 PM on June 15, 2014 [27 favorites]


I just generally don't believe that supporting someone's activism should require that you provide blanket support for everything that they say or do, without any criticism or disagreement.

I'm also a feminist who didn't necessarily agree with all of the author's methods, but I also didn't think it was important enough to say anything because the fundamental idea was good.

The difference between thinking the author didn't handle the issue correctly because ladies get too bothered about about casual misogyny and thinking she had good reasons to be bothered but could have handled it differently is a really important line but also a really fine one. It's extremely difficult to differentiate in the best of circumstances, particularly in an environment that is still grappling with feminism 101, and while I can understand being frustrated by it, personally I don't think it's a failing of that thread or MetaFilter in general that we can't always manage it yet.
posted by jess at 5:39 PM on June 15, 2014 [20 favorites]


jess: “I'm also a feminist who didn't necessarily agree with all of the author's methods, but I also didn't think it was important enough to say anything because the fundamental idea was good.”

Yes, I felt that way too. Well said.
posted by koeselitz at 5:41 PM on June 15, 2014 [4 favorites]


I am also a feminist who did not agree that how the author approached it was the most productive way possible. (But then, how many of us manage to do everything in our lives in the most productive way possible?) At the same time, I didn't get the sense that the people criticizing her on that front were (for the most part) doing so from a place of intersectionality. A lot of the criticism along that line that I saw seemed to be coming from a place of trying to invalidate what she was saying, rather than from a place of trying to expand and more fully flesh out what she was saying. I appreciated what Bunny Ultramod was saying about the class issues and how they related to the misogyny issues. A lot of the class issues seemed, given how they were raised in thread, to be more about shouting down the feminist/anti-misogynist points than they did about helping people come to a more fully-rounded view of the situation.

Without meaning to sound dismissive, I find that once I've reached the point that the way somebody is using punctuation (or failing to) is reading as a personal dis, I'm probably at the look at that bitch eating crackers stage and would do well with some time away from the computer.
posted by Lexica at 6:14 PM on June 15, 2014 [16 favorites]


I'm also a feminist who didn't necessarily agree with all of the author's methods, but I also didn't think it was important enough to say anything because the fundamental idea was good.

This is kind of my point. Thinking that the author's methods aren't as important as the fundamental idea is a valid opinion that was overwhelmingly shared in the thread. That wasn’t my issue. My issue was that people who thought that the author's methods were worthy of discussion were dismissed as being the enemy of perfection. Methods of activism should, in my opinion, be open to respectful discussion even if they aren’t seen as being as important as the fundamental idea. More than one issue can be discussed inside of a thread (assuming that they're related to article in question, of course).

The difference between thinking the author didn't handle the issue correctly because ladies get too bothered about about casual misogyny and thinking she had good reasons to be bothered but could have handled it differently is a really important line but also a really fine one.

What I saw happening in the thread was that there was a loud minority who were using her methods to invalidate the offence that she face. Yet, there was another minority that agreed with her, but thought that her methods were both worthy of discussion and problematic. The problem was that the two topics, of her fundamental idea and her methods, were tied together is such a way that the author's methods were no longer acceptable as a topic of discussion at all. I most certainly don't think that the thread was a failure, but I also think that just because something is a fine line, or not as valid as the main idea, does not mean that it's beyond reproach. It's really unfortunate that there were people who seemed to think that the author was out of line for being offended, but taking that to mean that all people who disagree with her methods are disagreeing with her main point was unfortunate collateral damage that I was sad to see.
posted by Shouraku at 6:24 PM on June 15, 2014 [13 favorites]


As it seems we've run out of musical and literary careers to promote, perhaps the mods might like to close this one up ?
posted by sgt.serenity at 6:27 PM on June 15, 2014


...once I've reached the point that the way somebody is using punctuation (or failing to) is reading as a personal dis, I'm probably at the look at that bitch eating crackers stage and would do well with some time away from the computer.

I'm not sure that's entirely fair.
posted by Lou Stuells at 6:32 PM on June 15, 2014


I'm not sure that's entirely fair.

Having read each of the comments you cite as they came into the thread, and having taken care to phrase my comment in terms of "I-statements", I think it is fair.

If the way that somebody is or is not using punctuation is coming across as a personal insult, it's probably time to take a break.

Note: this is a suggestion, not an order. Based on my own experience, however, if I keep commenting once I've hit "look at that bitch eating crackers" stage… it doesn't usually wind up well.
posted by Lexica at 6:39 PM on June 15, 2014


I'm with Lou Stuells. Deliberate omission of punctuation can be intentional. I don't think it was unreasonable of her to read Bunny Ultramod's typo as an intentional expression of contempt, even if we take him at his word that it wasn't.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 6:44 PM on June 15, 2014


Methods of activism should, in my opinion, be open to respectful discussion even if they aren’t seen as being as important as the fundamental idea.

I would have liked to have that discussion, but I think the well was poisoned by some of the early comments that discussed it being "A or B" instead of "A and B", i.e., "her complaints had merit AND I wish she'd gone about it differently because [reasons]". Once the question of methods became linked to a denial of the validity of the author's complaint, talking about methods was difficult to impossible.

My own comment in the thread was positioned carefully because there was so much pushback against the idea that any sort of complaint about the music in the store was "mean girls taking away my Rolling Stones", which makes me want to laugh (bitterly) about the (un)likelihood of that as a near-term outcome.
posted by immlass at 6:44 PM on June 15, 2014 [3 favorites]


but I think the well was poisoned by some of the early comments that discussed it being "A or B" instead of "A and B", i.e., "her complaints had merit AND I wish she'd gone about it differently because [reasons]". Once the question of methods became linked to a denial of the validity of the author's complaint, talking about methods was difficult to impossible.

Yeah, you said this better than I did. This is what I was trying to get at.
posted by Shouraku at 6:47 PM on June 15, 2014


I do appreciate that, Rustic Etruscan, thanks.
posted by Lou Stuells at 6:47 PM on June 15, 2014


(I admit it feels a bit nervy to quibble with someone named Lexica re: the finer points of written communication, though.)
posted by Lou Stuells at 6:53 PM on June 15, 2014


oh lol "deliberate omission of punctuation can be intentional"

what a dork, I hope my meaning was clear
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 6:56 PM on June 15, 2014


Methods of activism should, in my opinion, be open to respectful discussion even if they aren’t seen as being as important as the fundamental idea.

This is the case when participants in a discussion agree that whatever fundamental goal is at stake is worth pursuing, and is generally appropriate for a activist or focused group with that goal in mind. MetaFilter is not that space, where instead the goals that some members pursue are called into question by other members.

Using the discussion of tactics and means in order to dissuade, derail, and delgitimize end goals is a time-honored tradition, and unless you can be sure that every other person in that conversation shares the goals, individuals have to prove their bonafides.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:16 PM on June 15, 2014 [2 favorites]


sgt.serenity: "As it seems we've run out of musical and literary careers to promote, perhaps the mods might like to close this one up ?"

Well, that's a shitty thing to say.
posted by gingerest at 7:17 PM on June 15, 2014 [7 favorites]


It's extremely difficult to differentiate in the best of circumstances, particularly in an environment that is still grappling with feminism 101

(Not directed at the commenter I quoted)

I feel like there is a tendency for feminists here to assume that they have an advanced understanding of the subject. It might do us all well to discard that notion. This 101 thing really took off at some point in the recent past. It makes me feel ick. What happened to humility and having an open mind about learning from each other?

Intersectionality seems to be the default way that many people (came to know?) talk about feminism. It's good for self reflection because it makes the personal political. However, it amplifies lived experience at the expense of other kinds of concerns: outrage at injustices suffered by others or passions acquired by learning or training.

Missing from feminism on Metafilter of late is this recognition: you can be a feminist and do work that is not about you. Well there some recognition of a particular kind of work in that vein. It's called being an ally. But there is so much more to it than that. Online discourse about feminism fails to acknowledge the variety of work feminist women do and have done on behalf of other women, children and men for centuries, going back at least to the Abolitionist movement in the early 19th century.

And intersectionality is just one way to talk about gender. There is feminist legal theory, feminist critiques of the state and analyses women's movements outside the West, just to name of few kinds of feminist writing that I rely on in my work.

Yes those fields might rely on gender binaries, but well, no theory is perfect. Not even intersectionality. I am really not sure what going beyond feminism 101 would mean on Metafilter.

I know that people really feel strongly about educating Metafilter about feminism. I am here to say that as a feminist I think that doing so will backfire. I doubt that the internet can serve as a vehicle for personal change of that sort. I am not sure what the feminism 101 tenets are or whether I'd recognize them. It's not about me, and all that.

That's just my two cents.
posted by CtrlAltD at 8:18 PM on June 15, 2014 [7 favorites]



If the way that somebody is or is not using punctuation is coming across as a personal insult, it's probably time to take a break.


Also, it strikes me that if the punctuation of someone's comment is the only thing you criticize, that's kind of like admitting that you can't find anything else wrong with it.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:26 PM on June 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


To be fair, the criticism of the punctuation seemed to be the least important criticism of the statement, and it's kinda odd that it's the punctuation that's now getting the most attention. So there's that way to look at it, too.
posted by MoonOrb at 8:32 PM on June 15, 2014 [7 favorites]


I am not sure what the feminism 101 tenets are or whether I'd recognize them. It's not about me, and all that.

I have thought sometimes that the 101 stuff in comments here is intended in part as an attempt to weed out folks who come into gender threads (feminist and trans related, in particular) operating in not-great faith and demanding education with the intent of derailing and nitpicking. Of course, that unfortunately means that people asking in good faith get dismissed along with the would-be derailers.

If there were an obvious way to thread the needle on this, we'd probably already be doing it.
posted by immlass at 8:57 PM on June 15, 2014 [4 favorites]


Mmm, but there are things that are, if not feminism 101, then woman-life 101 in the same way that the bathroom panic and asterisks discussions are trans 101. Like "But he said something complimentary" discussion of street harassment and "I know a woman who says this is okay" discussion of anything. Even the mansplaining discussion - we've said everything there is to say about it multiple times now, and it utterly displaces discussion of other topics. (Which, for me, means I'm giving it up as a term - I'll find some other way to describe it, because my life is too short to go around about it AGAIN. It just wears me out.)
posted by gingerest at 9:19 PM on June 15, 2014 [3 favorites]


and it's kinda odd that it's the punctuation that's now getting the most attention."

some of us are underemployed copy editors
posted by klangklangston at 9:25 PM on June 15, 2014 [4 favorites]


I find most feminism 101 comments condescending, honestly, and wish we saw far less of that tone.

I saw a comment up thread by zombieflanders accusing men here of lecturing women with "five-dollar words dripping with condescension". I can't recall any comments I would characterize in just that way, but I do agree that I don't care for the patronizing smugness of members chiding other members of equal status as if they were children, whoever is doing it.

I feel like comments of that nature too often get a pass when they are made by popular members, espousing a popular opinion. I would much rather the mods nix that sort of stuff across the board.
posted by misha at 9:30 PM on June 15, 2014 [9 favorites]


Of course, that unfortunately means that people asking in good faith get dismissed along with the would-be derailers.

For people who are hesitant to join the discussion because they aren't sure of the 101 tenants or are afraid of putting a foot wrong, providing a link to a 101 resource within the post allows them to more easily join the discussion. It could actually allow for greater inclusion than not providing that resource would.

Of course, people asking for education in bad faith aren't going to use the resource, and in that sense, ending the derail with a link to the resource is sort of exclusionary. But it's just exclusionary to people who only want to derail the discussion about the link/topics-at-hand and not those who actually want to join the discussion.

I doubt that the internet can serve as a vehicle for personal change of that sort.

For what it's worth, I've actually learned a lot about social justice from the internet in general and from MeFi in particular. Just this week, I posted an AskMe looking for resources on ableism, because I haven't been able to find many resources on my own, and that thread has gone reasonably well.

I find that people are actually very generous with their knowledge and time here, and in my experience, most questions *do* get answered. I also trust that the amount of respect that I get here will be reasonably commiserate with the amount that I've given others. That's not true everywhere, and personally, I really appreciate that.
posted by rue72 at 9:32 PM on June 15, 2014 [6 favorites]


I feel like comments of that nature too often get a pass when they are made by popular members, espousing a popular opinion. I would much rather the mods nix that sort of stuff across the board.

I'd be very surprised to find that popularity figures into the mods' decision-making process.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:57 PM on June 15, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'd be very surprised to find that popularity figures into the mods' decision-making process.

I would not be surprised if it played into numbers of flags, though.
posted by Dip Flash at 10:03 PM on June 15, 2014 [4 favorites]


What makes a member "popular", misha? I have the impression I have heard you mention this notion in the past but I could be wrong and it seems creepy to do a site search to confirm or disconfirm this impression. If I'm right, I'd like to know more about this - what is your metric?

My impression of popularity is that users with a lot of contacts have a sort of amplifying effect from the activity sidebar - if they make a comment or post that gets some favorites, it turns up repeatedly in a lot of users' sidebars and everyone goes trooping over to have a look at what funny or smart thing their friend has said this time. So threads that interest one of those highly-connected members will get a lot of attention, and that sort of reinforces the centrality of those users to the site. I'm not sure that translates to popularity in the real-world sense, though, and I don't think the mods care about who expresses an opinion except in cases where someone's already got a pattern of good or bad faith going on. Obviously, the mods are going to notice and come to recognize people who are very heavy posters and people whose presence in a thread changes the traffic of that thread, but that's not the same as liking or disliking the content of that person's opinion - it is just a straight-up issue of whether there's name recognition and a pattern of behavior associated with the poster dictating whether there's closer examination of what's said.
posted by gingerest at 10:12 PM on June 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


I am really not sure what going beyond feminism 101 would mean on Metafilter.

It would mean we could have a discussion in which women's right to exist on equal footing with men would not be questioned.
posted by jaguar at 10:13 PM on June 15, 2014 [12 favorites]


People say time and again that they've made big strides in learning from fellow mefites, and very often point to specific comments and threads that were really helpful in making a transformative understanding for them.

Maybe we can use this and collate some of the good stuff? People could nominate posts and threads they found particularly effective and illuminating for topics like these. Maybe as subtopics in Best Of? There's so much quality here, literally years of it, more if we're counting by accumulated life experience.

Hearing "XYZ wrote a comment explaining the details of exactly what you're asking about, here check it out" and linking to something from another user on-site has a much different tone from 'google feminism 101 dude.'

I know it's such an awesome time for a project.
posted by Lou Stuells at 10:18 PM on June 15, 2014


Gingerest, I will give an easy answer that comes to mind.

Elizardbits is often hilarious. That's just obvious. It's a Thing. If you read Metafilter, chances are you've favorited a billion comments of hers. I know I frequently favorite her stuff. She's got a great Tumblr, too.

Now, one of the few actual written-into-the-site-from-day-one guidelines here is not to attack other users personally. Don't be a dick, everyone needs a hug, etc. People get passionate, tempers get riled up and we all know it happens sometimes anyway. I will cop to having done it myself. Generally, the mods delete that stuff (and most of the time even when it is your stuff being deleted you realize it's for the best, too). You might see more of it stand on the grey, because the grey is more about hashing site issues out, but on the Blue, that's just Not Acceptable Behavior. Technically.

I personally feel that recently elizardbits' humor in some threads has been very biting stuff which is very obviously made at one or another member's' expense, though. The wording was still hilarious, but the pointedness (again, in my opinion, obviously) made it mean and too personal. Clearly breaks the guidelines. And yes, I flagged that stuff.

Elizardbits is popular. Funny stuff gets favorited. The people she is making fun of? Sometimes not my favorite people, either. The mods are only human. Her stuff stands. But should it? Just because it breaks the rules in a funny way? And if the other user gets upset and retaliates, but of course is not so good with the punchlines--who do you think is most likely to get the mod "knock it off" admonishment in the thread?
posted by misha at 10:58 PM on June 15, 2014 [9 favorites]


Not to mention the complete lack of punctuation ;)

Circle of life.
posted by futz at 11:27 PM on June 15, 2014


You know, this thread is getting into some weird territory of people calling out specific members instead of actually talking about the post topic, and I don't really want to encourage this at all, but data on the back end does not support your complaint here, misha. And deleting comments that are "members chiding other members of equal status as if they were children," is not really the sort of thing we do, or are ever likely to do, unless those comments happen to be wrapped into some personal spat, derail, or similar behavior that we moderate for.
posted by taz (staff) at 11:33 PM on June 15, 2014 [9 favorites]


And if the other user gets upset and retaliates, but of course is not so good with the punchlines--who do you think is most likely to get the mod "knock it off" admonishment in the thread?

The website you are describing sounds truly terrible so I am glad that you are absurdly wrong.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:34 PM on June 15, 2014 [3 favorites]


Everyone's least favorite website has a sub, r/Feminism that has a decent primer in the sidebar.

I'm loathe to link it here but r/ainbow now has 30,105 readers and considered discussion as well as sidebarred links to lots of other related subs.

Please don't go to r/ainbow with an agenda or axe, it's not a purity test kind of place.
posted by vapidave at 12:06 AM on June 16, 2014


misha: " The mods are only human. Her stuff stands. But should it?"

This is a callout, and I think if you're going to go this route you need to recognize that and actually go with it, instead of saying some stuff that's frankly a bit vague about a particular person. As far as I can tell, the person you're talking about hasn't broken any guidelines. Snarkiness is not against the rules.