Can We Please Respect Women Expressing Joy? November 15, 2015 7:37 PM   Subscribe

It happens everywhere. Women express happiness vocally and commenters, (men and women) can't help but talk about how annoying their voices are. I see it all over the Internet. Can we not do that here?

Currently see the puppy thread. I've commented on it at least once before, but have seen it here many times over. Can we please just let women express joy without policing their voices constantly?
posted by [insert clever name here] to Etiquette/Policy at 7:37 PM (297 comments total) 35 users marked this as a favorite

Although your point is well-taken, I don't think the comments in that thread are calling out women especially, just squealers in general (which MeFites have a low tolerance for). For example, there were several comments about how annoying the kids' whining was in the swimming bears thread, and I don't take those as critical of children in general. But I totally agree about the denigration of women's voices in society at large.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 8:12 PM on November 15, 2015 [6 favorites]


Yeah, also, depending on your computer's sound situation, loud high-pitched noises can be a problem ... My laptop's crappy speakers literally rattle inside the case with the shriek and the sound of the "shriek" itself is unbearable above a certain volume because of the audio distortion. I'm not bothered by shrieks in real life or on television, but I appreciate a heads up on internet videos so I can turn down and then CAUTIOUSLY turn up to a level that neither rattles my computer nor my eardrums.

Some things are obvious -- roller coaster videos always involve screaming. Train whistles are a problem, so train videos. Alarm bells. Shrieky children. -- other things, like the puppy video, I wouldn't think to turn down in advance if I didn't see someone comment about shrieking.

I know that digitally reproduced audio of shrieking can also be a problem for people with some kinds of hearing aids, too.

I really don't think the problem is the women, or even the women shrieking; it's the shrieking's audio reproduction not working great on everyone's setup. I would prefer to enjoy their joy at a moderate volume and so appreciate knowing to turn down first and then raise the volume to where its comfortable.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:22 PM on November 15, 2015 [6 favorites]


I found the repetitive "Yay!" and "Whee!" in that video super-annoying. I mute cute animal videos as soon as it's established that there will be humans making noise instead of just cute animals. (That means I mute 90% of cute animal videos regardless of who's in them.)

There's definitely a reprehensible pattern of criticizing women's voices in North American society. However, I don't see that being replicated in the only Metafilter link above.
posted by wintersweet at 8:25 PM on November 15, 2015 [15 favorites]


I never heard anything that sounded like what people were complaining about. No shrieking or high pitched noises. Maybe it was an issue with peoples' speakers? I actually kind of enjoyed the people saying "whee," but maybe that's because my partner and I were saying roughly the same things ourselves. I mean - how can you see puppies and NOT go "aww, look at the lil guys!"?
posted by teponaztli at 8:38 PM on November 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


I *loooove* cats and dogs and puppies and babies and kittens and squirrels and such, but I am also pretty sure that no one except me really gets any significant enjoyment out of me going OH HEEEEEYYYY SQUIRRELCATBABY FRIEND WHO'S THE BEST SQUIRRELCATBABYFRIEND IS IT YOU? IS IT YOU? YEESSS IT IS, so I don't feel too bad about being moderately irritated when hearing others do much the same thing. I'll take this as a reminder to not complain about it though.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 8:39 PM on November 15, 2015 [5 favorites]


You can be annoyed by someone, and even express that annoyance, without being "disrespectful." What is the specific disrespect you think you're seeing in that thread?
posted by toomuchpete at 8:50 PM on November 15, 2015 [15 favorites]


I think that those articles on reactions to women's voices are extremely interesting. I have myself noticed that I tend to prefer lower-voiced women and have trouble taking, (for example, in West Wing terms) Ainsley Hayes as seriously as I take CJ Cregg. And not just because she's a Republican. So that is something I am going to try to be mindful of in the future.

However, high-pitched squealing - whether emitted by a rabbit, puppy, horse, kitten, child, woman or man; electric guitar, synthesizer, bagpipe or theremin - is really obnoxious to me. Sometimes a shriek is just a shriek.
posted by Athanassiel at 8:53 PM on November 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


Well, there was recently a small puppy in my airspace and he was being gently menaced by a stuffed fox, and this caused him to emit a sound that apparently he considered "growling" but that in fact was nearly supersonic in pitch, and there were some yaps, too, or yips or maybe yeeps is the word for it, and this was in a living room with plenty of sound-baffling books and rugs and stuffed furniture, and nevertheless it was earsplitting. This is close to half the cuteness of cute baby animals that make noises, the high yeeping they do that is at once excruciating and hilarious. If your ears hurt and you feel bad about blaming a baby animal that made you laugh, go ahead and pin it on the humans if it makes you feel better, but the offenders in that video were the puppies and if you don't believe me, crank up the volume all the way and listen again. But you won't because my GOD, the ECHOES.
posted by Don Pepino at 8:57 PM on November 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


The women in the video are repeatedly described as squealing and shrieking. They apparently suck as a result of their high-pitched excitement. Someone (rhetorically, not literally, I realize) suggests violence. The first comment only says that the soundtrack is nightmare fuel, so it's not 100% clear whether they're referring only to the women, or also to the puppies, who are actually the source of some of the highest pitched noises in that video.

I don't think this is the most pressing issue in the world, and I'm sure no one was consciously thinking 'Women, so fucking annoying, amirite?' as they typed their comments in that thread. But I'm kind of surprised that the immediate response to this thread has been to completely dismiss the possibility that there was gendered vocal policing happening in a thread where a quarter of the posts talk about the voices of a group of women.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:58 PM on November 15, 2015 [93 favorites]


I had to just turn the puppy video off because of the overall noise echoing in the pool area made it unpleasant, and it was supposed to be pleasant. I thought it was a mix of womens' and men's voices but the concrete area and the shape of the pools got to me. I can't turn down videos on my new brilliant phone yet. It wasn't a matter of gender. For me.

Voices are alright, as long as they are genuine not forced, and especially if they are joyous. I won't be practicing misogyny any time soon. I like miso.
posted by Oyéah at 9:05 PM on November 15, 2015


"Shriek" is a word that tends to be used for women and children (and some animals), and men who are being mocked for acting like women or children. It's not always used in ways that uphold the sexist status quo, but it's quite often used in ways that uphold the sexist status quo. Whenever one goes to use it, it's worth thinking about whether one would describe grown men using similar vocal inflections (like baby-talk when playing with children or animals) as "shrieking."
posted by jaguar at 9:12 PM on November 15, 2015 [44 favorites]


True confession: when I left my earlier comment, I hadn't watched the video in question because it does not particularly fill my day with joy to watch puppies in a pool. Not disrespecting anyone who does, I am just not much of a dog person. Having made it through 30 seconds I can say that the puppies' high-pitched yips were totally more ear-splitting than the squeals and admiring expressions of cuteness emitted by the humans. Some of whom, I'm pretty sure, were men. However I did also find the baby talk incredibly annoying, as I always do. So yeah, definitely one for the mute button.

As a reference point, I have been known to physically recoil and cover my ears in genuine pain when the brakes on a tram or car or something squeal at a certain frequency. I have been given many strange looks for that too. Clearly my ears are unpleasantly sensitive to high pitches.

Agreed that discrimination against women's voices is totally a thing. But I still think that's not automatically what's going on when it comes to high-pitched squeals.
posted by Athanassiel at 9:14 PM on November 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


OK, so we've had a dozen comments mostly disagreeing with the example. Is this something we can discuss in more general terms, perhaps using other examples? I don't think a mass vote on this particular video is going to be all that constructive.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 9:17 PM on November 15, 2015 [5 favorites]


Is this an issue that women have an issue with, or is this an issue where a woman has an issue with it?

Because if this is a thing that many women feel they are having an issue with, everyone (men and women) should be more conscious of it.

But if this is one person's issue that others don't share, then it seems like this is a really disingenuous callout.

Personally, I'm going to just see other responses and stay quiet.
posted by hal_c_on at 9:28 PM on November 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


I wouldn't say disingenuous instead of simply mistaken. OP could think it was a generalized discomfort when it was not. I have no idea if it is generalized just saying it isn't disingenuous.
posted by Justinian at 9:30 PM on November 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


The OP kindly included two articles discussing the phenomenon in the post. Yes, this is a thing.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 9:31 PM on November 15, 2015 [33 favorites]


'Is it a thing on metafilter?' is what I'm saying.
posted by hal_c_on at 9:33 PM on November 15, 2015


Yes, I have been annoyed a few times here at women in a video being described as "shrieking" and then bunches of comments focusing on how awful the shrieking is to the point where the use of the word at all is becoming a pet peeve.
posted by jaguar at 9:33 PM on November 15, 2015 [20 favorites]


Yes, this is a thing on Metafilter.
posted by misfish at 9:34 PM on November 15, 2015 [26 favorites]


The voices are primarily women. I've listened to it several times tonight to make sure my sexism/woman policing radar was not going wonky. Towards the end, a male voice is briefly heard saying a phrase and there are a couple quiet single word things said by a man or men, the rest are excited women, primarily but not limited to the camera holder.

There are dog yips, to be sure, but the commenters mostly complain about how in the video humans suck due to their noise generation. Is it some random coincidence that it's women the one that are perpetrating the crime that is apparently punishable by death? Or that cast humanity into the "suck" category? That they are harming and scaring the dogs (because people apparently have never been around dogs and don't know how to get them excited?)

I hear some people say "it's not the women, it's just the squeals" and yet that is always what they say. It's not the women, it's the horrible up talk. It's not the women, it's that darn vocal fry. It's the baby talk (which happens to be a necessary part of human language development; but beware the woman who use it around a cute animal where judging can take place.) If only women would just learn to talk differently. Or shut up all together.

I'm just tired of hearing how women are doing happy and excited wrong, among all the other things we do wrong.

With all the explicit hatred based on their voices, how can I not assume a systematic bias.

And if high pitch voices really do irritate you, what other inherit or socialized women traits do you hate? If this is the only one, why is it okay to hate it anymore than other traits women have?

I've run across it here many times. I haven't been making a list and checking it twice, so finding those examples may be a challenge. I do know I commented on one somewhat recently and the offending comments and mine was deleted, as it should be. But it wasn't the first, i doubt this will be the last.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 9:39 PM on November 15, 2015 [44 favorites]


But if this is one person's issue that others don't share, then it seems like this is a really disingenuous callout.

If this is a thing, then it should be easy to find specific examples in the called-out thread. Unless the post was edited, in the text of the OP, there appears to be only one link to a Metafilter thread and none to any comments as specific examples.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 9:41 PM on November 15, 2015


The thread only has 20 (oops, 21 now) comments, many of which are only a single sentence long, and over a quarter of which have something to do with this issue. I don't think reading the whole thread to see the conversation in context is a really huge ask here.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:47 PM on November 15, 2015 [11 favorites]


I totally think the links to external articles about how this is a real thing are bringing up real points about discrimination against women's voices, but with this dog post, I just hate when people fuss over animals like they're children. For that matter I don't like when people fuss over children like they're not people.

I'm starting to get to the point where I feel like Metafilter is too moderated for me, and I feel like im on the in crowd of PC police/cabal side of things usually. Weird.
posted by sweetkid at 9:47 PM on November 15, 2015 [56 favorites]


Yes, I choose a relevant, current topic it was happening right now. Here is another I just rememebed. I'll keep dredging my brain for more. But how about considering what myself and a couple other women have said at face value rather than assuming it's what, disingenuous because you didn't notice it?

Do I, as a woman, need to make sure I keep a log of past transgressions? Or will that swing the pendulum to far in the axe to grind territory?
posted by [insert clever name here] at 9:54 PM on November 15, 2015 [16 favorites]


I think, regardless of this specific example being on point or not, policing women's voices is obviously a thing and regardless of anything else that occurs in this thread it's a good idea for everyone to keep that in mind when writing future comments. Thanks for posting, [icnh].
posted by Drinky Die at 9:59 PM on November 15, 2015 [19 favorites]


Agreed, and my comment wasn't saying there's nothing to discuss. Sorry for getting the thread off on the wrong foot by being literal-minded.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 10:24 PM on November 15, 2015


The example being a complicated one with echoes and puppies and poor sound and whatnot mostly makes me wonder if people in the same situation but with deeper voices would have had the same likelihood of generating negative responses, and I think that would have lowered the chances of the video being criticized, so the MeTa seems on point to me. I suspect some people in that thread are already aware of the problem intellectually, but giving high-pitched voices with harmless markers of socialization your full attention and respect in a quiet office environment is one kind of understanding and continuing to at least be cool about it when things are all excited, amplified, mixed in with puppies barking, or presented as an aesthetic matter is another kind of understanding that even if harder still seems worthwhile.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 10:38 PM on November 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


Yes, this is a thing. And yes, the negative comments made me avoid that thread after watching the video.
posted by mochapickle at 10:39 PM on November 15, 2015 [6 favorites]


I'm starting to get to the point where I feel like Metafilter is too moderated for me, and I feel like im on the in crowd of PC police/cabal side of things usually. Weird.

Respectfully, then maybe it's not exactly helpful adding to the Gaslighting X-planashion Chorus of how this Thing is totally not a Thing because of your personal preferences.
posted by romakimmy at 11:08 PM on November 15, 2015 [48 favorites]


I'm someone who tends to be sensitive to those whose affectations are loud/gregarious/excited in a variety of situations, high or low pitched. It seems innate and has been present since childhood. I admit my first reaction is to find the callout uncharitable, but honestly it's making me think through stuff that I never have before, so it's worthwhile and I can't easily dismiss it.
posted by naju at 11:10 PM on November 15, 2015 [6 favorites]


I skipped that post (because while puppies are cute, that video was already posted a million times on Facebook and isn't all that great to begin with). But looking at the comments there now, I agree that there is an excessive amount of attention being paid to the soundtrack.

It's thanks to posts and comments here that I now notice when people are excessively criticizing how women talk (eg vocal fry), and some of those comments look like a variation on that.
posted by Dip Flash at 11:17 PM on November 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


That thread really bummed me out--I'd seen the video before and was all set to read people being moderately charmed by it. Instead, there's a bunch of comments about how puppies are great and humans suck, and how you should mute the audio so you don't want to kill the squealing people.

The thing we-the-internet do where we police and criticize women's reactions to things is absurd to me. Men can yell and punch the air and body slam each other and we're meant to interpret all of those things as perfectly reasonable (and normal, and non-violent) reactions to happiness, but god help us if a woman coos or exclaims over how great something is. Super annoying, amirite?
posted by MeghanC at 11:17 PM on November 15, 2015 [29 favorites]


I didn't understand the first couple of comments in the puppy thread. There was no music (lame music of derider's preference often being a "nightmare fuel" trigger), and nobody's torturing the little pups, so it took me a few comments to grasp what those complaints were about.

In the wake of all the truly horrific shit that goes on in the world, some cooing at puppies doesn't rank on the "people suck" spectrum.

I was making d'awwws and hoojy-woojies about the puppies and I wasn't even in the pool with them!

I've never grasped the whole antipathy toward women's voices. I mean, I've heard men (and women) complain about women talking, but I don't feel whatever it is that makes people react that way.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 11:27 PM on November 15, 2015 [8 favorites]


People think the voices are annoying because they've been taught that "mommish" voices, high-pitched voices, etc. are uncool, vapid, uncalled for, etc. Women nag, they baby talk, they uptalk, they should just shut up.

You can find high-pitched noises annoying and not call them "nightmare fuel," I'm quite sure. The nightmare fuel isn't the sound itself. It's the context of the sound-- sick, women and their shrill doting!

So yes, a volume warning is sometimes appreciated. But "these women are evil and the stuff of nightmares" is total misogyny, plain and simple. Judging people on their voices is almost never-- never?-- a useful thing to do.

If you find yourself doing it reflexively, you should unlearn it.

And if you're a woman who finds this all overkill, try hosting a podcast or radio show for a few weeks. Literally everything you do will be hateful, insipid and evidence of how you should be physically assaulted! I assure you!

Unless you think women shouldn't have those jobs, this is an issue for women.
posted by easter queen at 11:46 PM on November 15, 2015 [55 favorites]


Also I always hear the "but I've always hated this, since childhood" defense and while I'm sure there are some people out there who legitimately have a disorder where they can't overcome it... most people can overcome it. Once you accept deep down that women aren't inherently aimless jibber-jabberers it gets easier.
posted by easter queen at 11:48 PM on November 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


Sorry if it sounded like I was downplaying anything earlier. I absolutely think this is a problem, and I think the puppy thread is a great example because of how tame the audio was compared to the comments in response.

I don't know, like I said, nothing sounded the least bit objectionable to me, and I was really surprised to see how harsh peoples' reactions were. I guess I wanted to give people the benefit of the doubt, and think that maybe it was crappy speakers, or something. If that ended up downplaying stuff, yeah, I'm sorry. I'm not very comfortable with calling people out. Maybe not very helpful.
posted by teponaztli at 11:59 PM on November 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


You can find high-pitched noises annoying and not call them "nightmare fuel," I'm quite sure.

Yes. I am sensitive to loud and high-pitched noises (and, as an aside, thank heavens for the phasing out of CRT screens -- my old roommate used to leave his television on and muted every night, and that would keep me awake on the other end of the apartment), but I'm not going to complain about someone's laughter or exclamations of excitement. It's not like these are things people can reasonably change -- any annoyance I feel with them is on me. I hadn't previously considered the sexist aspect of complaining about high-pitched voices, but it certainly makes sense. I have no reason to doubt it exists and is a problem in general. And if that's the case, then I'm sure it is a problem here, too.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 12:17 AM on November 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


Anyone who doubts this is a thing should spend more time in the opera world, where the word "diva" is still a term of some currency, and see the difference in how sopranos and tenors are treated and talked about.
posted by thetortoise at 12:20 AM on November 16, 2015 [7 favorites]


For those who wanted more examples, there's this recent Joanna Newsom thread.

I don't want to pick over the puppy video excessively, because people are certainly entitled to like or dislike different things for different reasons, and I don't think this is something that really can (or should) be moderated, but it's not hard to find examples around here or anywhere else.
posted by thetortoise at 12:51 AM on November 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


I've heard women podcasters criticized for voices that seem really normal to me (the hosts on Stuff You Missed in History Class, for example), so it seems like a thing to me.

As for baby talk to animals, when I got my cat, I thought I would speak to him as an adult. That didn't last too long, although a couple of years later, I just sing dumb songs to him and whisper that he's a good boy.
posted by GenjiandProust at 1:49 AM on November 16, 2015 [11 favorites]


Good call! Let's have more joy from ladies, not less!

(I'll admit to being slightly irritated by vocal frey, though. I think it's a generational thing. I don't remember many people talking like that in the 90s [the only time that mattered obvs]. It's bad for vocal cords, and my [totally unsubstantiated] feeling about it is that fuzzing things up like that is a way for people to hide or soften themselves, like a kind of post-feminist retro lady camo. Almost as though those who use it might feel a supported, clear, focal tone [whether high or low in pitch] might be seen as overly direct. My worst and probably unfounded suspicion is that it's about trying to sound sexy or something. Interested to know what people actually mean and make of it.)
posted by cotton dress sock at 1:55 AM on November 16, 2015 [6 favorites]


*fry.
posted by cotton dress sock at 2:02 AM on November 16, 2015


Ok, so here is Naomi Wolf agreeing with me and everyone disagreeing with her because men do the fry thing also. And here is a celebration of young women's creativity. I can agree it's creative, and ok also it's not actually horrible to want to be sexy or anything else, of course. Some dispute about how healthy it is. (Get off my lawn already.)
posted by cotton dress sock at 2:19 AM on November 16, 2015


Maybe it's not the voices themselves, but the fact that being part of an audio-video artefact, they're under some sort of magnifying glass. I'm pretty sure that being where the vid is taken wouldn't give the same impression, because the focus would shift more freely and be somewhere else.
posted by nicolin at 2:38 AM on November 16, 2015


Maybe vocal fry wasn't much of a thing in the 90s (though that strikes me as eminently unlikely) but it sure isn't a modern phenomenon, as anyone with a fondness for the jazz greats will attest.
posted by Dysk at 3:12 AM on November 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


For those who wanted more examples, there's this recent Joanna Newsom thread.

I am an enormous fan of Joanna Newsom's earlier stuff, to the point where I bought multiple copies of Ys as a broke college student for friends just so I could feel like I was financially supporting her, and... to be honest, I don't think that this argument holds muster. Newsom's voice, especially on her first two albums, was a remarkably challenging listen. She employs yelps, whines, yowls, and a manner of other highly abrasive lyric techniques for impact, and reportedly only stopped when she developed vocal nodes while touring for Ys.

I'm not saying this all as a complaint. In fact, Have One On Me, her follow-up to Ys fell so utterly flat for me because of her more refined/less challenging voice, that I pretty much dropped off the Newsom bandwagon altogether. The person who compared her to Meredith Monk was on point: I never listened to Newsom as a pop/folk artist, and I think she damaged the instrument I was most interested in hearing her perform. But, as a broke college student, my roommate would attempt to break my computer when I played Monk's The Tale, and I never once attributed it to sexism that he did so.

(I still have my haaaaaaaaandsuh! Oh ho ho ho ho ho ho ho!)

There're plenty of similarly confrontational/irritating forms of shrillness in music that have nothing to do with women, and I find they have a similar effect on listeners. There's 100 Kaba Gaidi, for instance, a folk performance (band?) consisting of a hundred bagpipes playing in unison, and while it's one of my favorite sounds of all time, I think I may've gotten genuinely punched for playing it in some situation. My favorite band/the best band of all time is, similarly, abusively shrill, and hey! so is my third-favorite band!, and that turns a lot of people off to both.

I think that sounds are, to some extent, acquired tastes. I do know people who are generally repelled by women's singing voices—a close friend of mine pretty much couldn't do woman singer-songwriters, which bothers me on a bunch of levels—and I know (fewer) people who hate listening to men sing. I do think that there's probably a cultural bias against women here, both because vague personal experience suggests there might be and because this is the year 2015, where isn't there a cultural bias against women? But this is still a bit trickier than some aspects of sexism, because we're talking about personal preference/taste, and even if preferences and tastes are shaped by sexist social contexts, that doesn't stop them from being the ways in which people parse the world, in a way that I feel is different from holding personal beliefs (which I'm way more fine militantly calling out). Taste is really tricky; changing taste is really hard. I have had a lot of experience with attempting to argue with people about their tastes, and it just doesn't work.

I thought the video of the puppies was especially abrasive. I wouldn't have thought to comment on it, normally, but I also hadn't watched it until this thread, because the sounds of people cooing over adorable things on camera generally irritate me, for reasons that go beyond sonic timbre. I dunno: I though that Amanda Marcotte article was good/relevant and I think that a lot of people hate on women's voices just for sounding like women. I also think that "loud cooing over puppies" and "Joanna Newsom's voice" are two instances where I don't want to say that the problem is "sounding like women".
posted by rorgy at 4:24 AM on November 16, 2015 [6 favorites]


It didn't even occur to me to give a noise warning in the FPP because I live with a dog and make those noises at him all the time. His little butt waggles so happily when I sqee at him. I live for his butt waggles. So I talk to him high pitched a lot. Hold on let me go check and see how much I care if humans find it annoying.
posted by phunniemee at 4:25 AM on November 16, 2015 [19 favorites]


I'm starting to get to the point where I feel like Metafilter is too moderated for me, and I feel like im on the in crowd of PC police/cabal side of things usually.
Weird.

Respectfully, then maybe it's not exactly helpful adding to the Gaslighting X-planashion Chorus of how this Thing is totally not a Thing because of your personal preferences.


This response uncharitably ignored the first sentence of my comment. And actually wasn't very respectful despite starting with that word.
posted by sweetkid at 4:40 AM on November 16, 2015 [30 favorites]


It didn't even occur to me to give a noise warning in the FPP because I live with a dog and make those noises at him all the time.

Yeah, I watched the video after reading this thread and braced myself for all the terrible noise. And then I was bewildered because all the sounds are perfectly normal - how the hell else do you talk to puppies jumping into a pool for the first time I literally don't understand??! But then I'm someone whose voice gets higher the smaller the thing is (when I'm watching tiny hamsters eat tiny things only puppies can hear me, ironically) so I guess I'm an annoyer rather than an annoyee.

But yes, I do think it's gendered inasmuch as, like jaguar points out, the words used to describe the sounds women make when joyful are very different from the words used to describe men, and that's not an accident. I don't think this MeTa is calling for more moderation, just a little more self-awareness from people, so I'm fine with that.
posted by billiebee at 5:07 AM on November 16, 2015 [13 favorites]


The sound on that video was loud and echoy and harsh. There were people and puppies making noise in an echo chamber.

I didn't take any of the comment to mean the women's voices. I took it to mean the jarring echoy dissonance that was very unpleasant.
posted by sio42 at 5:10 AM on November 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


>> I'm sure there are some people out there who legitimately have a disorder where they can't overcome it... most people can overcome it.

There are people with diagnosable disorders who have a problem with some kinds of sound. There are people without diagnosable disorders who have a problem with some kinds of sound. That's valid without any other qualification. Nobody should have to show a certificate for me to be able to believe that their distress is legitimate. How they handle the rest of it (get earplugs, get better speakers, take rests from being around people etc etc) is their responsibility. This has nothing to do with 'overcoming' (a word that's unpleasantly associated with ableism), these aren't on the whole disorders that can be healed, just managed and cared for well enough.

However, just because your distress is legitimate doesn't mean you get to be a dick about it, especially not a sexist dick. And also, let's try to throw sick people under the bus a little less, possibly?
posted by disso at 5:13 AM on November 16, 2015 [12 favorites]


"Say something nice or don't comment" is a good policy for cute videos, I suppose. It'd be different if you could get substantial discussion of audio production or elocution here.
posted by michaelh at 5:38 AM on November 16, 2015 [6 favorites]


I just hate when people fuss over animals like they're children

WHOA WHOA WHOA
posted by josher71 at 6:16 AM on November 16, 2015 [14 favorites]


i wonder how much this has to do with how people communicate when they are caretaking. I mean, I think the vocal fry thing is a gendered criticism, totally. But this is what happened to me when I was being an asshole on Friday:

I was at a crowded Starbucks Friday. There was some well-dressed dude with his well-dressed tiny brood, one in a stroller and one sort of wandering around with her hands in her mouth.

Little kids and people who like spread their lives over a large square footage while in public annoy me, because I am in a wheelchair and I just want to get in line for my fucking eggnog latte with an extra shot.

So I was like already annoyed because this dad dude couldn't figure out whether he was in line or not and I was like (silently) come on dad dude. Don't take your tiny children into Starbucks without a fucking plan because some of us need our coffee and are not fucking around.

And so I was just poised to resent this dude because I was an impatient asshole who had mobility concerns that this dude's brood was like making more difficult, just because it was stroller and squatting dad dude and wee child wandering around like Starbucks was her living room.

And then the dad dude started talking to his kids and that's when I started to HATE him. Because he wasn't shrill but he was LOUD and he was using sort of baby talk and referring to himself in the third person, like, "DO YOU WANT DADDY TO FINISH YOUR YOGURT" and I was like these sounds are in my ears and the fucker still doesn't know whether he's in line and he's apologizing to me and somehow this leads to my resenting him more.

And then this dude and his brood take up the one handicapped accessible seating spot, sprawling all over the place with fucking toys and whatever shit comes with kids. And the guy was still like "DO YOU WANT DADDY TO DO" whatever the fuck the kids couldn't do because they were we children.

And when it came to the time that I had to ask him for some space at the disabled seat, I was just fuming. I mean, I tried to believe that his usurping the disabled spot was the proximate cause, but really it was the fucking baby talk and loud DADDY DADDY DADDY DADDY

So when the dude was like oh so sorry I usurped the disabled spot with all my children to whom I must refer to myself in the third person I told him: DUDE WHAT YOU DID WITH THE SEAT THERE WAS NOT COOL AND NO I DON'T WANT YOU TO MOVE I WANT YOU TO STOP BEING UNCOOL.

And I mean at least 15% of my bitchery came from the fact that fuck me not again I'm right here in my wheelchair do people not see that I have nowhere to sit and 85% of it came from if I hear one more offer of "DO YOU WANT DADDY TO DO X" I was going to tell DADDY TAKE THEM SOMEWHERE ELSE

So the puppy stuff didn't bother me, but the DADDY stuff sure did, and I think caretaking is the common element there. And there's a gendered aspect to caretaking, so woman take it on the chin.

But I am still the asshole in the story, above.
posted by angrycat at 6:21 AM on November 16, 2015 [27 favorites]


"Say something nice or don't comment" is a good policy for cute videos, I suppose.

Or just ditch all 'cute' content that doesn't have anything else redeeming or interesting about it; that would be my preference. It's not like the entire Internet isn't completely saturated with adult human beings fawning over neotenised animals.

Sorry, the entire world of 'cute' is like fingernails on a blackboard for me, and I'm inclined to get unreasonably annoyed by it.
posted by pipeski at 6:21 AM on November 16, 2015 [9 favorites]


But I am still the asshole in the story, above.

It's not a zero-sum game. You could easily both be assholes :P
posted by Dysk at 6:26 AM on November 16, 2015 [13 favorites]


"Say something nice or don't comment" is a good policy for cute videos, I suppose.

Or just ditch all 'cute' content that doesn't have anything else redeeming or interesting about it;


the one thing that should never be protected here is "cute"; nor should it be banned. Cute's a long and brutal war, a frontier that is forever shifting, never clearly defined. It's just one of those things.

Speaking of which. I'm currently living with a dog that cannot NOT bark whenever it hears another dog bark or whimper or even breathe heavily on TV or online. It makes me very angry sometimes but how angry can you get at someone who looks like this?
posted by philip-random at 6:34 AM on November 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


It makes me very angry sometimes but how angry can you get at someone who looks like this?

I don't understand how anyone can be anything other than fearful and angry at wolf-creatures like that (this goes for literally any dog), but hey, different strokes for different folks.
posted by Dysk at 6:38 AM on November 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think people picking apart the given examples and finding reasonable explanations why this is not a complaint about women but about (x other reason to be annoyed) are missing the point.
It's about the sheer volume of complaints about unpleasant sounds which mysteriously all turn out to be made by women, with few equivalent complaints about the sounds of men talking. Each individual example can probably be argued away, but that's not the point.
posted by Omnomnom at 6:48 AM on November 16, 2015 [40 favorites]


Just for the sake of context, here is how policing of women’s expressions of joy happens in real life.

Part one: From about six months old, girls are rewarded for squeeing over the things they like, ostracized/judged/punished for expressing enjoyment in the ways boys do (shouting, running around, roaring, punching, grunting, guffawing— not ladylike! not cute! girls Don’t Do That!), so girls either learn to codify their enjoyment in gendered ways or to put up with endless complaints, forever, about how they continue to ignore the rules.

Part two: girls are told the things they like are stupid (makeup, dolls, glitter) and shallow. It is hard to be constantly given gifts (makeup, dolls, glitter) and told that all girls like these gifts and then be told that you are stupid for liking these things. It is confusing, to be totally honest! Compliance is not sufficient. It has to be compliance and self-denigration for being so stupid as to comply. It also often bleeds into a lot of women assuming that, if they like things, the things are probably stupid.

Part three: girls and women start to silo their enjoyment. Don’t try to tell boys or men about the things you like. These things are stupid, but they are still so cool and fun when you are alone with other girls, because those other girls just get it. And even if you are taking multiple AP classes or attending an Ivy League school or running a business or handling a corporate merger or writing a dissertation, it is still fun to hang out with other women and talk about the things that everyone knows are pointless dumb girls things. And your voice gets higher and it is fun to do that together. It is fun to sit with your friend who has suffered through several medical emergencies and traumas and go “oh my goshhhhhh lookit the little baby duckiesssssss!” It is fun to take a break from the constant slog of being a woman to be a girl again, just for a minute.

Part four: Some of us make the mistake, at some point, of showing such enthusiasm to a man we trust, and getting a response like some of the offhand comments in that thread. I remember doing this once with my father— I was so excited, and laughing, and my mouth was wide open with joy, and he gave me this look of confusion and mild repulsion and he said “you need to calm down.” It happened a few more times before I stopped showing that kind of joy. I learned my lesson. He’s a kind and loving man, really, but he is repulsed by my high-pitched wound up happiness.

Part five: Every time a comment is made about how objectively annoying it is when people make those noises, I remember the look on his face. Calm down. It isn’t that exciting. Keep your voice down.

I know that approximately zero people here on metafilter make these comments with the intention of silencing women or reinforcing gender constructs. But it still sucks to feel like you have to restrain and police your own happiness and pleasure because you “sound so annoying”. And it sucks to see comments reminding you of how repulsive your cries of unmoderated happiness are to so very many people. You know that episode on Scrubs where JD starts resenting his girlfriend, played by Mandy Moore, because she always says “that’s so funny!” instead of laughing? I do that myself, sometimes, to keep myself from getting carried away when laughing. To keep my voice down.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 6:55 AM on November 16, 2015 [257 favorites]


So - I work in accessibility, and over the past few years, I've had to warn organizations about taking hard-line "we'll kick you out" policies when it came to their scent-free policies. The reason leading to that is because scent sensitivities are, by large, psychosomatic. Which isn't to say that the symptoms that people suffer are not real - these are still very real physical symptoms of discomfort, distress, and so forth. But frequently, the root cause and trigger behind a scent isn't an allergy to a molecular compound or anything physical, but rather, the perception of a scent driving a feedback loop that manifests as physical symptoms.

This is key, because over the past few years, I've witnessed a lot of white people claiming that PoC were violating scent-free policies where I personally, could not detect any issue whatsoever. If you asked what exactly the smells were, unevitably, the complainant would point out ridiculously racist stereotypes - oh, they smell like curry, or like fish, or like mothballs and sandalwood. The PoC in question were never actually wearing any scents; it was just because the smells and the bodies of PoC are marked out as non-neutral, while scents from white people are considered "normal". But in addition, PoC were likely to be singled out when they were using products because the products they used were considered in the same way, whereas the products of white people weren't being considered as anything odd - even if white people were objectively using stronger smelling products than PoC at a venue.

Here's the point of my message - for those of you thinking that reactions to the voices of women comes down to purely personal preference or purely sensitivity to high-pitched sounds, you're wrong. These white people would have likely considered themselves highly progressive and strongly anti-racist. But at the same time, these unquestioned racial biases were actually producing physical symptoms: headaches, migraines, shortness of breath. This is how deeply, deeply engrained our cultural biases are. You can be sure that the same cultural biases that work against the voices of women are also impacting our perceptions and reactions here.

I don't fault anyone experiencing these symptoms or distress in reaction to the bodies of PoC, or to the voices of women. Even if you're aware of these things, again, the deep-seated nature of these biases means that even if you're aware doesn't mean you can do anything about it except in a very slow way where you're chipping away by unlearning these things. But at the same time, please consider if voicing your distress unthinkingly is really the best way to go about it. The white people who were vocally complaining about the way PoC smelled were creating deep systematic exclusions against PoC that I had to go on the policy level to avert. Over here, a number of women have stated that this issue is really problematic systematic shit as well - why does your need to voice how disturbing you find the voices of women take precedence over their fair participation here?
posted by Conspire at 7:08 AM on November 16, 2015 [65 favorites]


Or just ditch all 'cute' content that doesn't have anything else redeeming or interesting about it;

Yes, because clearly the appropriate response to the possible over-policing of women's voices is to also over-police women's interests. That will definitely fix things.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:16 AM on November 16, 2015 [28 favorites]


Or just ditch all 'cute' content that doesn't have anything else redeeming or interesting about it;

*checks most frequently used tags list*

SILENCED ALL MY LIFE
posted by phunniemee at 7:19 AM on November 16, 2015 [15 favorites]


So - I work in accessibility, and over the past few years, I've had to warn organizations about taking hard-line "we'll kick you out" policies when it came to their scent-free policies. The reason leading to that is because scent sensitivities are, by large, psychosomatic. Which isn't to say that the symptoms that people suffer are not real - these are still very real physical symptoms of discomfort, distress, and so forth. But frequently, the root cause and trigger behind a scent isn't an allergy to a molecular compound or anything physical, but rather, the perception of a scent driving a feedback loop that manifests as physical symptoms.

You work in accessibility and advise companies that people are always making up their allergies? Good lord.
posted by thetortoise at 7:23 AM on November 16, 2015 [8 favorites]


Anyone who doubts this is a thing should spend more time in the opera world, where the word "diva" is still a term of some currency, and see the difference in how sopranos and tenors are treated and talked about.

Having spend most of a lifetime in the world of classical singing, I'm not sure what you mean by this. If sopranos and tenors are treated differently -- and I will allow that they often are, although it very much depends upon the type of soprano or tenor we're talking about -- it undoubtedly has much to do with the fact that "some sort of light soprano" is by far most common (and thus least priced) voice type in the business whereas leading-role tenors of any sort are by far the most rare (and thus most prized) voice type in the business. I don't see what this has to do in he least with the social phenomenon of policing women's speaking voices.
posted by slkinsey at 7:24 AM on November 16, 2015


You work in accessibility and advise companies that people are always making up their allergies? Good lord.

I literally just said that the physical symptoms are very valid, but that people were using uncritical scent-free policies in very inadvertently racist (and transphobic) ways. But this is a derail, and I'd rather not get into it with you.
posted by Conspire at 7:25 AM on November 16, 2015 [13 favorites]


As much as I enjoy a good ole reminder that people think my people "smell like curry" maybe that's not really related to the topic here and we could avoid the comparisons to other types of oppression/ism.
posted by sweetkid at 7:27 AM on November 16, 2015 [16 favorites]


I 1000% support the general request to all within earshot that the next time you feel like hopping into a thread to voice your 1 sentence of displeasure with some secondary aesthetic aspect of a linked thing on Metafilter, whether it is a woman's voice, the font or layout of an article, the sideways camera hold of a phone video or the fashion choices of anyone involved in anything non-fashion related, please, please, can we don't?
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:37 AM on November 16, 2015 [38 favorites]


I think an excellent start would simply be to start putting some much firmer brakes on the cascade of "I don't like this/the writing [which is secondary to the content up for discussion] sucks/the audio quality is suboptimal/this person's work is unimportant to me/etc" threadshitting. Posts are not polls, and offering your thumbs-down vote is not mandatory.

If the puppies are oppressing someone, or the video was taken at the canine equivalent of Seaworld, or the soundtrack is weird eldritch chanting that is manifesting some kind of demon in your living room, those things warrant a comment. "This is a thing I don't like!" is not useful commentary. If it doesn't belong on Metafilter, FIAMO. If you just don't like it, MO.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:40 AM on November 16, 2015 [18 favorites]


Other people like cute things and aren't Clockwork Oranging you into watching them.
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:42 AM on November 16, 2015 [14 favorites]


"Say something nice or don't comment" is a good policy for cute videos, I suppose. It'd be different if you could get substantial discussion of audio production or elocution here.

For me, it's more like "If you're going to be critical, you need to think harder about whether your comment is interesting, productive, and adds to the discussion." That Joanna Newsom thread was a good example of this. Positive innocous comments, while not terribly interesting, generally glide by in discussions. Negative comments that are some variant of "Well, I sure don't like this!" aren't interesting AND tend to create further negative responses, and then suddenly we are having a very strange and stupid derail, like whether we can divine the creepiness of music buyers from their taste in records.
posted by selfnoise at 7:43 AM on November 16, 2015 [15 favorites]


or the video was taken at the canine equivalent of Seaworld

oh god I'm picturing a whole tank full of scuba puppies
can I kickstart this
posted by phunniemee at 7:44 AM on November 16, 2015 [5 favorites]


Yeah I think if people just don't like a genre of thing they should just skip it. I hated My Big Fat Greek Wedding but saw no reason to share that opinion in the sequel thread for that movie.
posted by sweetkid at 7:47 AM on November 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm not sure why disapproving of a thing requires a higher editorial standard than liking the same thing. If you're going to call out one thing for vacuity, why not the other?
posted by pipeski at 7:53 AM on November 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


And I think it can be semi-reasonable to indicate that an audio track might not match up with the video as expected, in a "Lots of people talking loudly; you may want to turn your speakers down" sort of way. But it seems like that may tend to encourage a dozen other people to comment in increasingly over-the-top ways about "shrieking" and physical violence, so I don't know about that, either.
posted by jaguar at 7:53 AM on November 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


Part four: Some of us make the mistake, at some point, of showing such enthusiasm to a man we trust, and getting a response like some of the offhand comments in that thread. I remember doing this once with my father— I was so excited, and laughing, and my mouth was wide open with joy, and he gave me this look of confusion and mild repulsion and he said “you need to calm down.” It happened a few more times before I stopped showing that kind of joy. I learned my lesson. He’s a kind and loving man, really, but he is repulsed by my high-pitched wound up happiness.

That is so sad it actually made me cry right here at my desk.
posted by JanetLand at 7:55 AM on November 16, 2015 [35 favorites]


I'm not sure why disapproving of a thing requires a higher editorial standard than liking the same thing. If you're going to call out one thing for vacuity, why not the other?

Because one is something people regularly ignore and the other leads to fightiness and derails, or as selfnoise already explained:

Positive innocous comments, while not terribly interesting, generally glide by in discussions. Negative comments that are some variant of "Well, I sure don't like this!" aren't interesting AND tend to create further negative responses, and then suddenly we are having a very strange and stupid derail, like whether we can divine the creepiness of music buyers from their taste in records.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:00 AM on November 16, 2015 [12 favorites]


If the puppies are oppressing someone, or the video was taken at the canine equivalent of Seaworld, or the soundtrack is weird eldritch chanting that is manifesting some kind of demon in your living room,

This club has everything:
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:03 AM on November 16, 2015 [51 favorites]


This is how deeply, deeply engrained our cultural biases are.

Where I work, when we introduced food waste recycling, we had to get outside translators for Vietnamese, Somali, Amharic, Tigryina and Oromo for the presentation while my coworker handled the Cambodian, Cham and Chinese.

One of the first things I noticed about the complex was that the hallway windows on every floor were always thrown open. Part was because some people want to smoke various things in their apartments, which is expressly forbidden. And then there was the smell of cooking. A lot of different people dislike smelling the unfamiliar cuisines. The hallways are always cold this time of year.
posted by y2karl at 8:04 AM on November 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


I want to say when someone posts a video they enjoyed, a debate about whether or not it is enjoyable tends to be very low quality conversation. And I want to edit the "Someone is wrong on the internet" cartoon into a variant that says "Someone is enjoying themselves on the internet." (Gosh that's terrible! Let's put a stop to it.) /end snark

I'm going to spend Thanksgiving with relatives who are louder than vacuum cleaners and who en masse seem almost as loud as jet engines. Most videos have pause buttons and most computers let you turn down the sound. Is it worth complaining about unpleasant sounds that you have the power to control? (You can have my sympathy about real life sounds that are loud, piercing or unpleasant.)
posted by puddledork at 8:15 AM on November 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


I (a woman) also found the squealing really annoying, but I think it's often worth interrogating why I find things annoying, so thank you for this thread.
posted by naoko at 8:17 AM on November 16, 2015 [14 favorites]


I have a really low tolerance for squealing and shrieking, to the point of having to occasionally stop and remind myself what a great and lovable person my own son is when he makes horrible noises of this ilk.

That said, I don't consider the voices in the video to be shrieking or squealing. They were just ladies modulated somewhat upward, the way you do when you talk to awesome puppies.

I am not presenting this as any kind of authoritative statement, just more anecdata for the pile.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:31 AM on November 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


How are you the asshole, angrycat? You have given me solace. The next time I'm in some horrible hellhole stabix, I'll remember you and feel less alone in the world.
come on dad dude. Don't take your tiny children into Starbucks without a fucking plan because some of us need our coffee and are not fucking around.

Remember the bear-eats-kayak video? With the lone woman kayaker with no way off the windswept island other than the kayak and no food and winter coming? Nobody could even watch the bear because they were too traumatized by a human female using her vocal chords to make audible sounds.

You must never listen to this...I think you- you should not keep it. You should destroy it.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 10:33 AM on October 1 [95 favorites +] [!]

I get that she was upset but she went from speaking to the bear like it was a recalcitrant kindergartener to full on wailing like she was the toddler very quickly. Someone needs a nap. Bear was all, sheesh lady, quit wailing. From the transcript i thought she'd sound more stern and less like it was big meanie bear snapping all her crayons in half.

She needs a cat. Get used to them pushing ornaments off the shelf and scratching up the furniture, you don't take any destruction personally.
posted by kitten magic at 8:32 PM on October 1 [1 favorite +] [!]


I am on Team Bear..

I am not sure how I was able to get through the video. I am happily surprised the bear didn't come back to finish her off. At least give the bear some earned respect. It is Mr. Bear.
posted by AugustWest at 8:52 PM on October 1 [1 favorite +] [!]
posted by Don Pepino at 8:31 AM on November 16, 2015 [21 favorites]


I'm starting to get to the point where I feel like Metafilter is too moderated for me, and I feel like im on the in crowd of PC police/cabal side of things usually.

I find this baffling. If you're doing a thing and people say "hey that's a thing that makes me feel bad" why is that not an opportunity to learn how to do that thing differently, or stop doing that thing?

Is the drive to do whatever you want to do, damn other people, so strong? What's the point in engaging in a community if you're not, on some level, having that kind of back-and-forth? Because if that's not what you're doing, it's more like just shouting at other people.
posted by odinsdream at 8:39 AM on November 16, 2015 [13 favorites]


I'm going to offer my usual reminder that in order for If you don't like it, don't click on it to work, posters should actually say what they're linking to, preferably above the fold. Keep in mind that you just read the article or watched the video, and we haven't. Doing anything else is just micro-rickrolling.
posted by zamboni at 8:43 AM on November 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


Whew. This MeTa is even more depressing than the thread it's calling out. Greatest hits:
☑ But "shrieking" really is intolerably annoying, which means this is not a gendered phenomenon
☑ But more women MeFites need to post comments admitting that they find it problematic before I deign to acknowledge the original complaint as valid
☑ But the OP is simply mistaken
☑ But I, a man, don't see the problem here; I need you to give me an example
☑ But the example you gave me is wrong, I need better examples

In an attempt to turn the tide, here is a BuzzFeed video of drunk women being surprised with adoptable rescue puppies. [cw: women reacting to baby animals with unbridled delight, women emoting, women speaking]
posted by divined by radio at 8:47 AM on November 16, 2015 [99 favorites]


I'm starting to get to the point where I feel like Metafilter is too moderated for me, and I feel like im on the in crowd of PC police/cabal side of things usually.

I find this baffling. If you're doing a thing and people say "hey that's a thing that makes me feel bad" why is that not an opportunity to learn how to do that thing differently, or stop doing that thing?

Is the drive to do whatever you want to do, damn other people, so strong? What's the point in engaging in a community if you're not, on some level, having that kind of back-and-forth? Because if that's not what you're doing, it's more like just shouting at other people.


I find this is a really outsized response to what I said here.
posted by sweetkid at 8:50 AM on November 16, 2015 [14 favorites]


I 1000% support the general request to all within earshot that the next time you feel like hopping into a thread to voice your 1 sentence of displeasure with some secondary aesthetic aspect of a linked thing on Metafilter, whether it is a woman's voice, the font or layout of an article, the sideways camera hold of a phone video or the fashion choices of anyone involved in anything non-fashion related, please, please, can we don't?

Yes, I can wholeheartedly agree with this!

And I'm out of this thread now, because now I feel like crap for having unavoidable physical responses to noises (even though I don't think I tend to comment and say so). So thanks for that!
posted by wintersweet at 8:53 AM on November 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm going to offer my usual reminder that in order for "If you don't like it, don't click on it" to work, posters should actually say what they're linking to, preferably above the fold. Keep in mind that you just read the article or watched the video, and we haven't. Doing anything else is just micro-rickrolling.

I'm going to offer my usual helpful assessment that anyone who clicks on "intrepid band of puppies take a swim for the first time," a post that is tagged both "cute" and "PUPPIES" and "video," and isn't ready for the possibility that there might be some kind of audio reaction to said cute puppies involved, is a super mega dummy.
posted by phunniemee at 8:54 AM on November 16, 2015 [28 favorites]


this puppy thread is weirdly hostile and I'm wondering if this isn't about some collective end of year weariness/more global angst/upcoming holiday problem.
posted by sweetkid at 8:57 AM on November 16, 2015 [6 favorites]


Now I feel bad for the woman with the kayak :-(
And I can only imagine what I would have sounded like in an equivalent situation (a camel trampling my motorcycle during my trip around the Sahara would qualify, I think) and if in such a case someone were to complain that the sounds I was making weren't pleasing to their ears, they would be very welcome to go and take a flying fuck at a rolling doughnut.
posted by Too-Ticky at 8:58 AM on November 16, 2015 [10 favorites]


When the bear vs. kayak story first broke, TWiB drew a parallel between that video and the Vine of woman at the Apple store.
posted by pxe2000 at 9:02 AM on November 16, 2015


this puppy thread is weirdly hostile and I'm wondering if this isn't about some collective end of year weariness/more global angst/upcoming holiday problem.

Right? Literally the entire thought process behind the puppy video was "wow, lots of horrible things happening in the world the last few days, good thing I just found this cute puppy video I can post to make people happy!"
posted by phunniemee at 9:03 AM on November 16, 2015 [13 favorites]


Yeah, sorry about that phunniemee. They are crazy cute puppies! And so blond.
posted by sweetkid at 9:04 AM on November 16, 2015


I appreciated the warning about the noise because I completely want to watch cute puppies swimming and completely don't want to listen to human comments. It's not like the negative commenters were trashing the video. I didn't see anyone saying the puppies weren't cute. Not like the pit bull puppies with flowers where people were trashing the actual content. There I see a difference. Like sweetkid I did not like my big fat Greek wedding and so skipped the sequel thread but in this case I can't wait to watch the puppies swimming... on mute
posted by biggreenplant at 9:06 AM on November 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


I think it's a generational thing. I don't remember many people talking like that in the 90s [the only time that mattered obvs]. It's bad for vocal cords

Vocal fry is not bad for vocal cords, if you read any authority who claims otherwise (including some people who call themselves speech pathologists) they are revealing shocking ignorance about human physiology, and in fact some languages have "fry" (read, glottalization for a distigmatized term) as lexical properties of words that disambiguate them from other words. It's also a normal dialect feature among some subgroups of English (actually cross-cutting gender).

It is right to say that it is a generational thing, though:
He also interviewed Stanford linguist Penny Eckert, who confessed that she found the sound of vocal fry so grating she decided to conduct an informal poll of her students to see if they did too. What she discovered surprised her: While Eckert heard a reporter who creaked as sounding less authoritative than one who didn’t, her students perceived no such difference in authority. And she was able to duplicate those results in a larger study of 500 adults: Those over 40 were bugged by vocal fry, and those under 40 weren’t. Eckert concluded that it was she who was “behind the curve.” Or, in other words: Cringing inwardly when somebody talks is one thing, but making pronouncements about how other people should speak is another.
posted by advil at 9:09 AM on November 16, 2015 [29 favorites]


DO YOU WANT DADDY TO FINISH YOUR YOGURT

i'm reading (very slowly and intermittently) a (rather technical and over my head) book that was recommended here on mefi, called Affect Regulation, Mentalization and the Development of the Self. i don't claim to understand it fully, and i have only your report on what you saw, but the main thread in the book is about how this kind of talking to children (i think - the examples in the book so far focus on stronger emotions, and perhaps younger children) - this "do you want", explicitly calling out their feelings, is actually critical to them becoming (normal, emotionally competent) adults. it's only through them (the children) listening to this kind of talk that they fully build a picture of themselves, with wants and desires, that can be observed and controlled.

anyway, knowing that has made me more tolerant of this kind of thing.
posted by andrewcooke at 9:16 AM on November 16, 2015 [18 favorites]


In an attempt to turn the tide, here is a BuzzFeed video of drunk women being surprised with adoptable rescue puppies . [cw: women reacting to baby animals with unbridled delight, women emoting, women speaking]

I am not usually a squealer, but if someone surprised me with a big squirming pile of puppies I'd make all those sounds and more. That video is adorable.
posted by Dip Flash at 9:17 AM on November 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yeah I think if people just don't like a genre of thing they should just skip it.

I'm trying to imagine what a music FPP would be like without its assortment of "Your favorite band sucks" comments.

And....I can't. It's like trying to imagine a color that hasn't been seen before.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:21 AM on November 16, 2015 [7 favorites]


A more general thing about voices on videos of this kind is that it's almost always the camera holder talking, who also is a little too close to the microphone and, as his/her attention is divided between filming and squee-ing, makes words and sounds come out a little* randomly. I definitely have watched/heard many many YouDudes say inane things with weird voices that made me click away from whatever I was watching.


* understatement filter activated
posted by Namlit at 9:25 AM on November 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


100% of the videos I shoot of my kid are soundtracked by my voice doing something truly loathsome and high-pitched. In a different, better world, I wouldn't notice.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:30 AM on November 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


I 1000% support the general request to all within earshot that the next time you feel like hopping into a thread to voice your 1 sentence of displeasure with some secondary aesthetic aspect of a linked thing on Metafilter, whether it is a woman's voice, the font or layout of an article, the sideways camera hold of a phone video or the fashion choices of anyone involved in anything non-fashion related, please, please, can we don't?

I can get totally behind this, so long as you do not include on this list "complaining and being dismissive of people doing geography / data mapping projects using the fucking loser Mercator projection". Surely that is a knee-jerk hate that the entire community can nurture and support?

Is it OK to introduce a little levity here? Not really to add substantially for the arguments pro/con, but just to help us all love each other? And not to be dismissive because point totally taken!

One thought I had was that Joni Mitchell could be described as kind of "shrill" or "shrieky" or whatever, and also gets huge props for being excellent. I love her, I only wish she would love me back. Here she is at her high pitched best: California, Same Situation.

It is not always women, but I guess then it is a new minefield of hating on (or loving) "girlish" or "feminine" sounding men. In this video, Angel Boys, we discover that his high voice is actually very much the lesser of two evils. Trigger warning - brown note might make you poop a little bit in your pants.
posted by Meatbomb at 9:31 AM on November 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


andrewcooke, wouldn't it help the children to learn the personal pronouns, the youness, the me-ness, the they-ness, the him-ness, the her-ness of the world, the self as distinct from the Other, the personhood of one's parents, their separateness from the almighty, tinychild "self," if Daddy were to say, "Do you want me to eat your yogurt" instead of "Do you want Daddy to eat your yogurt?" And wouldn't it similarly help them learn to navigate their world and know their selves if Daddy were to say, "Don't wander all over the stabix and get in people's ways, please, no, particularly don't sit there because that's the only table up in this bitch that that person can use, do you see the wheelchair? That wheelchair means you get out of the way unless you want to grow up to be a giant asshole that people read about on the internet and shake their heads."
posted by Don Pepino at 9:32 AM on November 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


See also: squee.
posted by soren_lorensen at 9:32 AM on November 16, 2015


I think the best way to comment on the squeeling is to mute your volume, not volume your displeasure.

I don't like high pitched sounds regardless of who or what generates them, but the first thing that came to mind for me was, "No way in hell I get into that pool with all the likely dog pee in there."
posted by AugustWest at 9:45 AM on November 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


here is a BuzzFeed video of drunk women being surprised with adoptable rescue puppies yt .

Oh God I love this more than life itself! I literally laughed (I love listening to people squee and laugh uncontrollably) and then I cried a tear ("I've had such a hard Friday") and then I laughed again ("I shouldn't have drank whiskey, I can't protect them!") and if I had actually been there then no glass within a mile would have survived. I WANT TO GET DRUNK AND HOLD PUPPIES RIGHT NOW THANK YOU!
posted by billiebee at 9:48 AM on November 16, 2015 [21 favorites]


Misogyny is a real thing, and it does come out pretty frequently in the way people's voices are characterized. I have literally had people characterize my text-only posts as shrieking and screeching. And not just the all-caps ones with multiple exclamation points, either. Regular ones. And you can go to pretty much any YouTube video in which something shocking is happening, and if there is a woman rightfully screaming or something, the comments will disproportionately focus on the woman's voice, regardless of how horrific the central event is.

It is a real thing.

But another real thing is being annoyed by certain noises, sometimes for reasons that have nothing to do with sexism. That video didn't bother me, but excessive emotional outbursts often do. That does include sudden celebratory sounds like woots or squeals or those big HOOF sounds people make. It also includes crying, screaming, unnecessarily loud or persistent talking, and all kinds of other stuff. I live with men, so most of my examples are from men, but I'm pretty egalitarian about being bothered by excessive and/or sudden emotional outbursts no matter who is doing it. So I'm sure other people experience the same type of thing.

The double standard is real, but it's also subtle and not easy to prove on an individual basis. And accusing someone of misogyny is, IMO, serious enough that it shouldn't be done lightly, based on a single individual thing. The reason that little microaggressions like that can be so pervasive is specifically because individually, they are plausibly deniable. You can't tell from a single instance whether someone has an issue with women overall or whether they have an issue with a specific thing a specific woman is doing.

I mean, some of the criticisms are over the top, like wishing physical harm to people who are making a sound you don't like on a video you don't have to watch seems overdramatic at best. Even announcing that you don't personally care for a specific type of sound, even in a measured way, has pretty low informational value.

But I really don't think it's fair or justified to specifically call out individual gripes as misogynistic unless they're explicitly gendered. It needs to be addressed as a general trend rather than on an individual basis.

And FWIW, I'm not passively aggressively addressing anyone specific, but it is a thing I've seen happen quite a bit.
posted by ernielundquist at 9:49 AM on November 16, 2015 [17 favorites]


I use Daddy in a lot of communication w my kids because it gives me great joy to state out loud the unbelievable and wondrous fact that I am someone's Dad while my kid still isn't old enough to tell me to STFU about it.

Not sorry.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:52 AM on November 16, 2015 [16 favorites]


a BuzzFeed video of drunk women being surprised with adoptable rescue puppies

Wait, so those people were paid to get drunk and play with puppies?! I so want to work at BuzzFeed.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 10:03 AM on November 16, 2015 [6 favorites]


I use Daddy in a lot of communication w my kids because it gives me great joy to state out loud the unbelievable and wondrous fact that I am someone's Dad while my kid still isn't old enough to tell me to STFU about it.

When they're a little older, try this one on for size: "I'm the damn paterfamilias!"
posted by slkinsey at 10:04 AM on November 16, 2015 [10 favorites]


As a parent of small children, let me assure you that anyone's opinion of the frequency of my utterance of the world "Daddy" is somewhat lower on my list of concerns than the question of whether dark matter exists in the universe.
posted by selfnoise at 10:10 AM on November 16, 2015 [8 favorites]


Some days I'm convinced that most ardent proponents of vocal fry are misogynists who don't want women to be taken seriously. In all honesty, vocal fry and uptalk make me ashamed to be female.
posted by pxe2000 at 10:13 AM on November 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


@Don Pepino - as i said, i'm no expert, but, at least with younger children, the idea seems to be that there's a very difficult balance between being empathetic while also signalling that the parent is in control. it's hard to explain, and i may not have understood, but basically when you see a parent mimicking (almost mocking) a child, with a screwed up angry face, saying "who's an angry boy? he's so angry" the child needs to be able to see themselves in the face, to understand the identification of anger, but also to understand that the parent themselves are not angry.

as i think i said or implied earlier, i may be extrapolating this to older children incorrectly, and i really don't understand it all.

also, i have to say, that people who talk in very educated, perfect english to their kids always sound a little stuck-up.
posted by andrewcooke at 10:14 AM on November 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


Policing minority self-expression is a huge problem in social discourse. There is incontrovertible evidence that we do this - that we marginalize the self-expression of disadvantaged minorities in order to try to reinforce the status quo. And phrasing it like the marginalization is a personal choice is one of the many rhetorical tools majority folks use to legitimize their choice to support the biased status quo.

We say we are progressive. We say we care about each other. So let's step up and do this hard thing - learn that we're yet again consciously or subconsciously supporting the biased, sexist status quo. Maybe train our ears to hear and our minds and bodies to celebrate joy in its many forms, including these, feminine ones, and not be so whiny about learning to find MORE joy in life?

(Also, I'm allergic to a great many things scent-wise but I still know enough not to make an ass of myself by making a big deal of it at a conference - if I get an allergic reaction, I go deal with it. If someone seems to have positively bathed in a perfume, I may choose to say something, but if I do, I do it with an open heart. There are so many more distressing things to focus on, don't you think?)
posted by kalessin at 10:18 AM on November 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Male vocal fry is real now, because women are linguistic innovators.

Feminist women self-hatingly despise us, men want to be us! Oh the life of a regular woman.
posted by easter queen at 10:20 AM on November 16, 2015 [18 favorites]


Don Pepino, as a frequent babysitter of children, 85% of the time it doesn't matter what the fuck you're saying, you're basically begging them to identify with and listen to you. Thus the baby talk and lack of pronouns.
posted by easter queen at 10:22 AM on November 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


In an attempt to turn the tide, here is a BuzzFeed video of drunk women being surprised with adoptable rescue puppies yt . [cw: women reacting to baby animals with unbridled delight, women emoting, women speaking]

All of the buzzfeed surprise-animals videos are incredible and a sure-fire way to have a little happy-cry on a bad day.

But this video is the best, because of:

"I've had bunnies bigger than this. My bunnies would eat you. But they're dead."
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 10:22 AM on November 16, 2015 [9 favorites]


You must please yourselves, of course. But it is a perilous path you tread.

"I have a small child and I've found that I've now started talking to adults the way I talk to my small child, like asking them what color things are or if they remember the name of their friend."
Guest Bailiff Elliott Kalan, on the Judge John Hodgman podcast, 10/29/2015
posted by Don Pepino at 10:24 AM on November 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


Yes, raising children makes you a little crazy. It also changes you, no matter how middle-class and iconoclastic and hip and Metafilterian you are. Heaven forbid. :(
posted by easter queen at 10:26 AM on November 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm not a big fan of public displays of unbridled joy, particularly of the squeeing variety, and in fact the word "squee" makes me die a little inside. But then again, I'm not a big fan of people being loud in random public spaces for any reason (random as opposed to events where high volume is expected rather than intrusive, such as concerts, sporting events, and fireworks displays, etc.). I cringe at baby talk whether aimed at babies or animals, whether employed by men or women in high tones or low tones. I do not speak that way to babies or animals, and whether as a direct result or not, babies and animals like me very much, even the ones who do not ordinarily take to strangers. What I am saying is that I am one of the people who very much personally dislikes the type of loud, public, over-the-top squeeing under discussion. I am totally willing to consider that this preference has its basis in some form of misogynous impulse unwittingly absorbed at an early age, but at this point in my life, it is what it is. A personal preference.

All that as a preamble to the point that I consider my general curmudgeonly negativism to be a flaw, and that I think it is my problem, and that I shouldn't make it anyone else's.

Complaining in a thread where others are expressing joy seems like a pernicious kind of evil to me. I suspect that I have been guilty of this, but where I have, I have been wrong.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:28 AM on November 16, 2015 [20 favorites]


What I am saying is that I am one of the people who very much personally dislikes the type of loud, public, over-the-top squeeing under discussion. I am totally willing to consider that this preference has its basis in some form of misogynous impulse unwittingly absorbed at an early age, but at this point in my life, it is what it is. A personal preference.

If you really think this is true, you can probably change it. If you don't want to, it's because your self-image is more important to you than not unconsciously discriminating against women.
posted by easter queen at 10:33 AM on November 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


[Comment removed, I know that the word came up already in a more self-referential story telling way upthread but I think we're better off if we don't just straight up start calling each other assholes in here.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:38 AM on November 16, 2015 [5 favorites]


If you really think this is true, you can probably change it.

You are misreading that comment if you think he's not saying he is currently working to change it. He's inviting other curmudgeons to join him in changing.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:40 AM on November 16, 2015 [5 favorites]


Although, if I'm the asshole in question, yeah, probably.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:40 AM on November 16, 2015


I cringe at baby talk whether aimed at babies or animals

Pfff, baby talk is fine with me. What annoys me is people who refer to themselves as a pet's Mommy or Daddy. And yes, I've had pets; I just happen to be fine with the fact that they're not my biological offspring.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 10:42 AM on November 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


Vocal fryyyyyy Frank Ocean - Songs for Women.

Those vocals are 95% vocal fry, ranging from subtle to the full on robot voice thing in the la de dah part.

Uptalk? Mark Cousins on Roeg's Bad Timing

Mark Cousins can work in uptalk five or six times in a sentence. He seems uptalkey even by Irish standards.

I get that vocal affectations can be annoying to certain ears, but the weirdest thing about the annoyances with those ones is when people act as though men don't do them. Men do the fuck out of both of them.
posted by ernielundquist at 10:42 AM on November 16, 2015 [9 favorites]


"Some days I'm convinced that most ardent proponents of vocal fry are misogynists who don't want women to be taken seriously. In all honesty, vocal fry and uptalk make me ashamed to be female."

How long have you worked for the Respectability Police? I've heard that the pay isn't bad and the benefits are pretty good. Some people say that it's stressful to be secretly working for the patriarchy, but it sounds exciting! Secret agent stuff and you get to work as a junior partner to men.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 10:43 AM on November 16, 2015 [28 favorites]


Vocal fry is not new or especially female-coded in my mind, and I find it unendingly amusing and puzzling that other people view it as such. It puts me immediately in mind of Tom Waits and Louis Armstrong.
posted by Dysk at 10:48 AM on November 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Both sexes fry. Guy Raz of the TED radio hour fries like a mad thing. Radiolab.
posted by Don Pepino at 10:56 AM on November 16, 2015


Now I'm wondering. Has it ever been observed in anyone who is not a US American?
posted by Too-Ticky at 10:57 AM on November 16, 2015


It puts me immediately in mind of Tom Waits and Louis Armstrong.

Tom Brokaw.
posted by notyou at 10:57 AM on November 16, 2015


Now I'm wondering. Has it ever been observed in anyone who is not a US American?

Just a bit up the page.
posted by phunniemee at 11:00 AM on November 16, 2015


"Some days I'm convinced that most ardent proponents of vocal fry are misogynists who don't want women to be taken seriously. In all honesty, vocal fry and uptalk make me ashamed to be female."

You would be wrong. Made that FPP specifically because someone whined about a woman's vocal fry in a cute baby single link fpp just like this one. Sorry not sorry for editorializing, either, because god forbid I actually want to be taken seriously myself for the content of my words rather than the register I speak them in.

This MeTa is really depressing me.
posted by sciatrix at 11:01 AM on November 16, 2015 [22 favorites]


Now I'm wondering. Has it ever been observed in anyone who is not a US American?

A lot of the older men in my Danish family do it.
posted by Dysk at 11:01 AM on November 16, 2015


And yes, this is a fucking problem on Metafilter. It is a problem anywhere that people comment on tone of voice, on elocution, and on dialectical problems. Preferences regarding accent, tonality, and vocal tics are frequently used to police the speech of women and rural/poor people in particular and I'm so fucking done with people who refuse to consider that their "inherent preferences" have consequences that stretch beyond their personal aural enjoyment.
posted by sciatrix at 11:03 AM on November 16, 2015 [33 favorites]


Yeah, I think there's a big difference between having something that personally grates on your nerves even if that is rooted in some sort of misogynist or racist impulse, and verbalizing that impulse publicly, especially without making it clear that it's your problem, not the fault of whatever is causing your ire. For example, I have zero problem with what angrycat and IRFH have said in this thread.

With that being said, I absolutely do think this is an issue, and I'm glad we're able to discuss it. Some of the comments in that puppy thread linked in this post are just one example of this.

I will admit that I'm definitely very sensitive to certain sounds. For example, the puppy video and the bear eating the kayak video didn't bother me, but the kid in this video (from this FPP) did really irritate me. In general, the sounds of kids shrieking, playing, shouting, whining, cause me to feel something that ranges from mild irritation to violent white hot rage, but, um, that's totally my problem. The sound of styrofoam and cotton balls (yes, they do have a sound!) makes me feel like my ears are bleeding. Don't get me started on ticking clocks or the people in the apartment below me talking/watching TV. On a related note, misophonia is a thing.

However, I this is completely my issue. Small children are not in fact persecuting me with their relentless squeals and other sounds of joy, no matter how much it might feel that way.

Of course, the small children thing is probably at least in part related to my general dislike of small children (as a whole; individual kids I know are fine and even great). After all, I have no issue with dogs barking or whining, no matter how loud or frequent, probably because I just want to snuggle them always, at all times.

I guess my point is that it can be true that certain people have specific sounds that trigger them, but this doesn't cancel out the fact that there is a broader issue of people expressing negative attitudes about sounds and speech patterns that are coded as being female, which makes this something worth being aware of and trying to avoid going forward. I'll nth that the vocal fry thing is a particularly widespread and pernicious example of this.
posted by litera scripta manet at 11:04 AM on November 16, 2015 [11 favorites]


If you really think this is true, you can probably change it.

You are misreading that comment if you think he's not saying he is currently working to change it. He's inviting other curmudgeons to join him in changing.

The interesting thing for me is that when I find one of these ugly threads inside myself, I generally find that the first and most effective way to pull on that thread is to change the behavior associated with it. So, yeah - I'm generally working on trying to keep the really negative shit to myself. The result of that often has the interesting side effect of removing or at least greatly reducing the ugliness at the root of that thread. Sometimes it doesn't. So I don't know - maybe the preference will change with the realization of its ugly source and the work done to avoid spreading the ugliness? Maybe not? Maybe by now it really is just a personal preference. I don't know. There's plenty of other ugliness inside this head to keep it company, frankly. But residual internal ugliness is no excuse for bad manners, either way it plays out. First do no harm, was and remains my point. Any excuse for joy should be a celebration.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:05 AM on November 16, 2015 [9 favorites]


Seriously. If this FPP were about how Metafilter receives 50% of its job applications from women but hires only 10% female employees, we'd all sit up and listen.

Not taking women seriously on paper is very similar to not taking them seriously when they speak! (or, when they express joy or do something "shrieky," filing that away as another strike against women/that woman.) It's almost exactly the same.

If you were in the study where people rated female applicants lower than male applicants despite the exact same qualifications, and you did the same, how would you defend yourself? "Well, I might have learned it due to misogyny when I was young, but now it's just a part of me. I just respect men more than women... women annoy me more... men inspire more confidence. When men speak, people listen!"

Also, sorry if I'm not being nice enough to men who admit being slightly misogynist, but are trying to change? Like, I respect that you're trying, but it's still not easy to read this thread. Kudos for being honest but it is not easy to just give out backpats (especially when random men and women find it more important to defend the changing misogynists than the principles themselves).
posted by easter queen at 11:07 AM on November 16, 2015 [19 favorites]


The interesting thing for me is that when I find one of these ugly threads inside myself

The morgellons of misanthropy?
posted by prize bull octorok at 11:10 AM on November 16, 2015 [11 favorites]


I'm not asking for back pats. I'm asking people with similar impulses to check their own shit, too.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:10 AM on November 16, 2015 [19 favorites]


Now that I'm thinking about it, a lot of the time, people will be super-annoyed with certain behaviors and affects when women do them, but somehow manage to miss the fact that men do them as well. There are tons of behaviors that are often seen as stereotypically female that really aren't.

If you think women are disproportionately noisy or talk too much, you are really giving men a pass. Men are SUPER LOUD sometimes, and they are all blah blah blah all the time.

If you think women are emotional and irrational but men aren't: LOL.

If you associate passive aggression with women, allow me to introduce you to all of the men in the universe.

I mean, all of those things bug me to varying extents in different contexts. I get that. I get being annoyed. I don't get only being annoyed when it's women doing them. If you don't even notice that men do them, then yeah, that is very likely some weird (irrational, emotional) bias against women at work.
posted by ernielundquist at 11:11 AM on November 16, 2015 [42 favorites]


I'm not asking for back pats. I'm asking people with similar impulses to check their own shit, too.

Great, but I'm being called out by other people for not being 100% down with the state of people's shit, so I don't really need to hear it from everyone.
posted by easter queen at 11:14 AM on November 16, 2015


This MeTa is really depressing me.

Yeah. Yeah, they do that.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:16 AM on November 16, 2015 [8 favorites]


Part one: From about six months old, girls are rewarded for squeeing over the things they like, ostracized/judged/punished for expressing enjoyment in the ways boys do (shouting, running around, roaring, punching, grunting, guffawing— not ladylike! not cute! girls Don’t Do That!)

I want to zoom out and include a "what about the men" comment, since patriarchy hurts everyone, there's a lot of policing of the happy behavior of little boys, to make sure their expressions masculine enough. (Ouch.)

I definitely like the comment that I quoted. It stuck with me as I read down the thread. And then when people (I didn't check genders) mentioned that they dislike squeeing, I thought about the fact that boys are discouraged from squeeing and encouraged to jump up, run around and pump their fists [instead]. Or they are encouraged to look blank and say nothing. It doesn't startle me that people who are shushed for squealing, turn around and shush others. (And, of course, telling people how to behave falls heavily downwards, doesn't turn and rain upwards particularly often.)

I think thinking about how negative feedback is wielded against kids of every gender is helpful. Why must expressions of delight be moved down to a lower register and a muffled calmness?
posted by puddledork at 11:16 AM on November 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


What annoys me is people who refer to themselves as a pet's Mommy or Daddy.

when someone refers to their pets as their "furbabies" i just get up and get my things and leave in total silence
posted by poffin boffin at 11:18 AM on November 16, 2015 [38 favorites]


I mean, all of those things bug me to varying extents in different contexts. I get that. I get being annoyed. I don't get only being annoyed when it's women doing them. If you don't even notice that men do them, then yeah, that is very likely some weird (irrational, emotional) bias against women at work.

Yes, exactly. If you hate those things, they're not somehow worse when a woman does them than when a man does them. But people act like they are.

Even I notice that I have this bias; I've spent many years of my adulthood unlearning it (because there are a lot of ideas in my mind that women are shrewish, bossy, stupid, etc., and they magnify these normal behaviors). I realized that if I wanted to hate on women for being women then I was giving everyone else a license to hate on me when my voice accidentally went too high or I said something not 100% sober and composed. Basically, I was sick of being a Cool Girl. And it led me to kind of resent the entire idea of Coolness and our Cool Identities that mean it's more important to say "but I just HATE baby talk" than to investigate how that hatred of baby talk is actually gendered and to give women more leeway when they do the Hated, Uncool thing.

puddledork, I agree. Probably a lot of the "I just HATE that behavior" from men comes from having cultivated a disgust toward it themselves, so they would act sufficiently masculine. Of course, women receive the brunt of the hate, but I'm sure it's just a part of our conditioning, for everyone.
posted by easter queen at 11:19 AM on November 16, 2015 [9 favorites]


I violate it myself a lot, but the three-posts rule is a good thing to remember: If you have to post twice to clarify what you said, you're better served by just vanishing. People don't remember That Time User X Said Slightly Problematic Thing Y And Then Vanished From The Thread nearly as much as they remember That Time User X Got Into A Huge Fucking War About Whether Y Was Really Problematic.
posted by Etrigan at 11:20 AM on November 16, 2015 [7 favorites]


One reason why I think this is important is that it can be so, so exhausting as a woman to feel like you need to police the way you speak because if you don't, people will judge you, ignore you, berate you, assume you're stupid, etc.

I used to drive myself crazy trying to strip out I think/I feel/just/actually/etc from my vocabulary. When I was doing a teacher training course for a major US test prep company, one thing they relentlessly pointed out was the use of I think/I feel. I was one of two women in that training, and we were the ones who were most likely to do that.*

That was definitely not an isolated incident, however. It's a common trope in "Advice for Women" articles. (For example, this and this.)

On one hand, I understand the reasoning behind it. At the same time, women who are too assertive in their speech or actions are often penalized for it, so it's not like this is a thing women do just because they're weak or lack self confidence or whatnot.

And whatever the reason for it, it's so tiring to have to police every word that comes out of your mouth and the tone you use when you say the words. Obviously to a certain extent I adjust how I speak and write depending on the context, but I've reached the point where I'm just not willing to try to strip all or even most of these tendencies out of my speech.

*Incidentally, of the group of 9, the two women and one man were the only three people to get hired permanently after the training period. Everyone else was fired over the course of that training. It was basically like "Survivor" but for teaching.
posted by litera scripta manet at 11:23 AM on November 16, 2015 [15 favorites]


People don't remember That Time User X Said Slightly Problematic Thing Y And Then Vanished From The Thread nearly as much as they remember That Time User X Got Into A Huge Fucking War About Whether Y Was Really Problematic.

I agree - several times I've thought "hey, your original comment didn't make me think you were an idiot, just maybe not as thoughtful and well-informed as you'd hope. It's your twelve-paragraph defense of point three of your rebuttal to the idea that it wasn't the best comment ever that is making me question your judgment."
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:25 AM on November 16, 2015 [6 favorites]


I love Amanda Marcotte and I somehow just knew that Lexicon Valley episode would have to come up.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:32 AM on November 16, 2015


Shockingly, I don't actually care whether you think I'm an idiot. Sorry if I came off as shrill and undignified.
posted by easter queen at 11:32 AM on November 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


Always appreciated when a bunch of men show up in a thread about problematic sexist behavior and tell women to be quiet, though. A+ job.
posted by easter queen at 11:33 AM on November 16, 2015 [10 favorites]


I'm starting to get to the point where I feel like Metafilter is too moderated for me

My take is more that there are people who like to talk about these issues a lot more than I do and while I think moderation is mostly where it's been, the conversations on these topics that happen in MeTa are longer and bumpier than they used to be. And as someone who used to hang out here a lot to talk about policy (and, well, because it was my job) it's less fun than it used to be because I feel like there are a lot of people coming here because they're terribly disappointed (that may be my perspective only) and it's hard to deal with people's bad feelings especially you maybe don't always agree with what they think will assuage them.

I don't disagree that this is partly because of other tensions (Beiruit/Paris, holidaytime, shorter days in the Northern Hemisphere) but I also think people feel pressure to change because of a lot of people asking them to for reasons that sound decent and plausible. And as someone who, like you, feels mostly on top of social issues and that I do the right thing most of the time, many times these threads don't make me feel like changing, even if I agree with the people who raised the concern. Which may be my own short-day crabbiness or what, but I feel more pressured here than I used to be, to express my good intentions correctly, that I would get less benefit of the doubt for the 15 years I've been a mostly good egg. I can only imagine how other people feel who may not even agree with the first principles of these various requests.

Even though I'd still rather be here than anywhere else if I'm hanging out online, I just wanted you to know that I know where you are coming from.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 11:33 AM on November 16, 2015 [126 favorites]


What annoys me is people who refer to themselves as a pet's Mommy or Daddy.

I have entire rants in the holster for this one that we can get into an another day when it isn't a derail. But shit yes, I hear you.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:34 AM on November 16, 2015


I have to echo this - as someone who has been policed several times (by other women and men!) over particular types of voices that I've experimented with, going into a thread to shit-talk about how someone sounds annoying doesn't seem to align with MeFi's values as a place to have a constructive dialogue and community. I've been seeing this a lot in some FPP posts, with unadulterated aggression, and it makes me really uncomfortable and not want to participate. This unadulterated aggression is what I already experience on a daily basis, mostly from men who are used to taking up a lot of space, and women who carry on the same attitudes of being rewarded for alienating women.

I don't see why the poster, the MetaTalk poster, and other commentors who are calling out the sexism, don't have their emotional labor be recognized and rewarded. MetaFilter has benefited off from the emotional labor thread, and I deeply hope the community continues to take that with them.

And as a MeFite, if I don't like a FPP post, I just don't participate in it unless I'm genuinely confused or curious about why it was considered a FPP post, but that was only one example that I can think of for myself.

And yes, these microaggressions and attitudes get carried over to things like women's respect in the workplace and community, because it is part of a framework and ideology that makes it okay to do so.

I think it would be better off people just didn't come into be negative into a thread, and then get upset when being told off that they are negative and not helping, especially if they are unwittingly promoting sexist attitudes that they don't have to bear the weight of negative effects.
posted by yueliang at 11:46 AM on November 16, 2015 [11 favorites]


Yeah, the exhaustion litera scripta manet mentions is why I just have zero patience for this kind of "oh the high pitch is irritating and hurts my ears and so annoying!" commentary at this point. Amplitude, maybe you have an issue, but I'm just completely unwilling to deal with pitch whining at this point in my life. I'm sorry that I'm out of the emotional labor necessary to slowly and gently explain, with a lot of attention to people's feelings, why this isn't okay. I get that for many people it is not a conscious or chosen response to these kinds of sounds. But it is so wearing and it is so tiring and I have such limited patience for it now and I am so tired of being gentle about it sometimes.

It is also why I will almost certainly flag any post on elocution or tone otherwise into oblivion. Because I have literally never seen a post about that which wasn't some level of class or gender policing of dialects, with varying and generally minimal levels of self awareness. And I'm just fucking done. There is no fucking way to please everyone with your speech when you're marked Other on some axis--this ain't just a gender thing--and I am completely out of energy to put up with it. Perception is not the same thing as objective sensation, and as Conspire points out upthread our unconscious assumptions and associations absolutely influence how we perceive sensory stimuli.

Probably all of that is a sign I need to take a step back from this thread, so I'm going to do that now. But I have a whole lot of strong feelings here and it just drives me absolutely up the wall that people don't stop and think about the cost to actually requiring women to think about their speech in this way so as to not be 'annoying.'
posted by sciatrix at 11:46 AM on November 16, 2015 [22 favorites]


Here's the This American Life episode (transcript) where they read their hate mail about vocal fry, which is pretty much only directed towards the women despite Ira Glass being a notorious vocal fry-er. I didn't see it posted above (although it's mentioned in one of sciatrix's links).
posted by tofu_crouton at 11:55 AM on November 16, 2015


My take is more that there are people who like to talk about these issues a lot more than I do and while I think moderation is mostly where it's been, the conversations on these topics that happen in MeTa are longer and bumpier than they used to be.

I agree with all three points in this sentence, and have noticed that even relatively benign and well-crafted MeTa posts have been going poorly more often. I'd go a bit further with the first point, in that more than a few people obviously enjoy (or at least get a lot out of) anger and conflict over and above enjoying talking about the issues.

I tend to find the underlying issues really interesting but I increasingly don't find any pleasure in the conflict, and that is definitely changing how I engage with MeTa posts and FPPs on specific issues. It's a bit like how when I was young I thought it was normal that going out would mean navigating bar fights, and eventually I learned that I would have a much better time by picking places that don't attract the people looking for fights. There can be great reasons for the anger and for the conflict, but it isn't always personally healthy or rewarding to engage with it.
posted by Dip Flash at 11:57 AM on November 16, 2015 [13 favorites]


I don't know, I don't think anyone who is a marginalized user particularly enjoys the anger and conflict portion either, when there is enough strife in daily living (and if you do, I won't speak for you.)

I just think in trying to introduce conversations about political consciousness and awareness of how most attitudes target the 'Other' and trying to have nuanced conversations about it, anger and disappointment is bound to come up, especially because no one wants to be seen as a 'bad person'. But it's not really about targeting who is a 'bad person' in the community, that is completely toxic and very unproductive and antithetical to MeFi - it's the need to point out unconscious biases that exclude certain types of dialogues and discussions, and how that is important for discussions especially on an intelligent website like MeFi. But I think it's better than bottling it up and having users of a community slowly float away.
posted by yueliang at 12:01 PM on November 16, 2015 [8 favorites]


Hold on let me go check and see how much I care if humans find it annoying.

I would say this image pretty much summarizes how I feel at this point about anyone who wants to criticize my speech patterns.*

With that being said, especially given everything that's happened in recent days, I think it's worth keeping in mind that:

Everyone needs a hug.

Or a puppy to snuggle. Or a beer. Or a cup of hot chocolate. Or a nap. Or all of the above.

*There are some days when I've seriously considered setting that image to be the desktop background for my computer because I love it that much. Ever since I first saw it on some random website, I have been waiting for the perfect moment to post it.
posted by litera scripta manet at 12:08 PM on November 16, 2015 [7 favorites]


People think the voices are annoying because they've been taught that "mommish" voices, high-pitched voices, etc. are uncool, vapid, uncalled for, etc. Women nag, they baby talk, they uptalk, they should just shut up.

Very much this. But the thing is that it's how you are supposed to talk to babies & animals Because. They. Respond. to. High. Pitch. Talk to them in a low pitch and they may think they're being punished or warned against an action. In a psycholinguistics class I took the professor discussed this as an nearly-automatic feature of child-rearing. Yes, it can be goofy and dorky but you get dorky & goofy with babies and puppies- they're not freaking business associates, they have tiny brains and they need reassurance with baby talk. It's a universal thing called 'caretaker speech'.

I had an ex tell me not to do it to his infant son, he asked if I had ever been around children. Of course I had, I grew up babysitting. That's how you talk to little ones. That's why 'googoo gaga' is practically instinctual, it's 'happy talk', babbling and play, NOT AN ACTUAL CONVERSATION THAT THEY ARE INCAPABLE OF HAVING. (Yes I must yell that).

At the SPCA, we're trained to do "happy talk", where you say "good boy!" etc in a high voice. Animals can't understand content for chrissakes, just pitch! So if you say "you can do it" in a deep voice, they hear "DON'T DO THAT". They hear "bad boy!" even if you mean "good boy". Pretty much any training manual will tell you that. And yes people treat them like tiny children because that's roughly where their tiny brains are at.

The echoey pool and cheap speakers accentuated the effect, and I hate high pitch noises too, but people bitching about women's styles of talking has just really gotten to be too much. Maybe that thread isn't the best example of it, but the constant refrain of "you should shut up" gets tiresome when you're a woman so you may tend to hear sexism even if it's not fully there (but it probably is, just like racism usually is), like how people constantly bombarded with racism may perceive it even if it's not there. That's where the "PC" debate comes in.

You too would begin to take knee-jerk offense if you were constantly policed & publicly shamed and corrected (Ironic, NO?). The message is always: "Attention Vagina Owners, Your Vocal Upfrywhatever/Dress/Face/Body/Entire Being Will Be Monitored At All Times. You Are Incorrect Always. Please Make the Necessary Changes".

So enjoy that shoe while it's on your foot as you're complaining about the PC police.
posted by GospelofWesleyWillis at 12:09 PM on November 16, 2015 [29 favorites]


Everybody needs a consensual hug :(
posted by yueliang at 12:10 PM on November 16, 2015 [7 favorites]


If you think women are disproportionately noisy or talk too much, you are really giving men a pass

Unsurprise!
posted by Pyrogenesis at 12:11 PM on November 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


The ask is a simple "hey can we not crap on how women express joy?" and that's what the discussion should be about, but it seems that everything's fair game to be mocked today. So far we've crapped on "cute" videos, vocal fry, misophonia, how parents talk to their children, and how pet owners refer to themselves and their pets. And I don't know if its a bunch of crummy filibuster attempts to squash the topic or just because we now use MeTa to free-form whine about anything that bothers us.

What's next, residents of Sombertown?
posted by kimberussell at 12:13 PM on November 16, 2015 [17 favorites]


The ask is a simple "hey can we not crap on how women express joy?" and that's what the discussion should be about, but it seems that everything's fair game to be mocked today. So far we've crapped on "cute" videos, vocal fry, misophonia, how parents talk to their children, and how pet owners refer to themselves and their pets.

One thing that Metafilter has taught me; people will absolutely thread the needle to find the thing that is still okay to hate on or be a shitlord about, when the alternative is "hey, maybe I could just not be an asshole today and see how that feels".
posted by selfnoise at 12:16 PM on November 16, 2015 [43 favorites]


Ugh, I'm listening to the TAL episode linked above; unbelievable. Too squeaky? Complaint. Too gravelly? Complaint.
posted by odinsdream at 12:17 PM on November 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


I will admit that I'm definitely very sensitive to certain sounds. For example, the puppy video and the bear eating the kayak video didn't bother me, but the kid in this video (from this FPP) did really irritate me. In general, the sounds of kids shrieking, playing, shouting, whining, cause me to feel something that ranges from mild irritation to violent white hot rage, but, um, that's totally my problem. The sound of styrofoam and cotton balls (yes, they do have a sound!) makes me feel like my ears are bleeding. Don't get me started on ticking clocks or the people in the apartment below me talking/watching TV. On a related note, misophonia is a thing.

I think that's an interesting FPP to compare it to because there are literally people who responded positively to the high-pitched voices of the children in that thread who are also in Metatalk now saying that they just don't like any kind of high-pitched sounds because their speakers are bad or whatever.

Ugh, I'm listening to the TAL episode linked above; unbelievable. Too squeaky? Complaint. Too gravelly? Complaint.

I mean, if you ever want to prove to somebody that misogyny is a thing, play them this episode of This American Life where people are complaining about the voices of the reporters and not one of them mentions Ira Glass.
posted by one_bean at 12:20 PM on November 16, 2015 [9 favorites]


The ask is a simple "hey can we not crap on how women express joy?" and that's what the discussion should be about, but it seems that everything's fair game to be mocked today. So far we've crapped on "cute" videos, vocal fry, misophonia, how parents talk to their children, and how pet owners refer to themselves and their pets.

Or perhaps people are making some important links between a societal norm on shitting on things that are regarded as traditionally feminine and gendered, and this is an example of acceptable misogyny that people are trying to point out as really /not/ acceptable? I mean, that was already pointed out upthread.

A handy guide to microaggressions is very useful here, that also includes a category for communication styles.
posted by yueliang at 12:21 PM on November 16, 2015 [5 favorites]


Going to move away from this thread now, because it's starting to get to the point where it's affecting me trying to create my first FPP.
posted by yueliang at 12:22 PM on November 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


I don't particularly like high pitched squealing noises. They bother me on a weird, visceral, fingernails on chalkboard level. So when I hear them in a video, I tend to turn the volume down or tune them out.

In a this-will-probably-be-amusing-to-outsiders juxtaposition, I also have a 7 year-old daughter daughter who squees in the most kawaii manner at every given opportunity. She squees at puppies. At kittens. At human babies. At seeing her favorite singers on tv or hearing them on the radio. She squees at tv shows she likes, and when we serve her french toast for breakfast. At pokemon and bugs bunny and snoopy and clothes she likes and.... man it gets on my nerves.

And yet, I don't say anything. Because she's happy and this is how she likes expressing that happiness, and why in the world would I stomp on that? Let her be happy and give voice to it the way she wants. She's only young once, after all.

Actually, that's not true. I do say something. Lately I've been having to speak with her brother who has started telling her she's "being annoying." Reading a fiendish thingy's eye-opening comment, I realized that I have also had to tell him that his sister is entitled to like the things she likes and that's perfectly okay.... including the color purple, sparkly clothing, nail polish, cute stuffed animals, etc., etc.... and he shouldn't tell her they're stupid, or she's stupid for liking them. Or she's being "too loud." Or "making weird noises."

But it just occurred to me that I haven't told him why beyond "that's not nice" and "don't say that." And I should, because instilling deeper understanding in him would be a good idea. Both in how he treats his sister, and other girls. And when he gets older, how he treats women.

Thanks for posting this, [insert clever name here]. It's given me a lot to think about.
posted by zarq at 12:49 PM on November 16, 2015 [76 favorites]


"Or perhaps people are making some important links between a societal norm on shitting on things that are regarded as traditionally feminine and gendered, and this is an example of acceptable misogyny that people are trying to point out as really /not/ acceptable?"

I haven't gone back and re-read the thread, but I think that all or most of these were mentioned by people who thought it would be a good idea to discuss other things that bugged them and then people responded with arguments making the point you're making. Which is a good point. It's not an accident that some of these other things were mentioned in this thread. But I think the person to whom you're responding was pointing out that it was odd and suspect that people thought that this would be a good thread to mention all the other things that bugged them.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 12:59 PM on November 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


So far we've crapped on "cute" videos, vocal fry, misophonia, how parents talk to their children, and how pet owners refer to themselves and their pets.

We need a consensual group hug


I semi-apologize if I went over the top, but it seemed a little ridiculous to have to defend a basic feature of human-animal bonding, as well as human-baby bonding, which is joyful babbling (yes it's a thing, not to get evo-psych but it's a primal basic thing. Watch how animals & babies respond to it by giggling and tailwagging).

The woman in the video was not, after all, saying to her colleague, "Who got their budget report in by the end of the fiscal year? You did! Yesss you did, oh yes you did shmooopywoopykins!"
posted by GospelofWesleyWillis at 1:02 PM on November 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


zarq... I have snatched up your comment and am getting tears all over its warm velvetysoft floppy ears. I shouldn't have drank whiskey because I can't protect it. All my bunnies are bigger than your comment (they're dead). Thank you thank you for being on the verge of telling your son this excellent thing.
posted by Don Pepino at 1:05 PM on November 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


The woman in the video was not, after all, saying to her colleague, "Who got their budget report in by the end of the fiscal year? You did! Yesss you did, oh yes you did shmooopywoopykins!"

Is that...is that not how we're supposed to do that?
posted by billiebee at 1:10 PM on November 16, 2015 [38 favorites]


The woman in the video was not, after all, saying to her colleague, "Who got their budget report in by the end of the fiscal year? You did! Yesss you did, oh yes you did shmooopywoopykins!"

BEST STAFF MEETING EVER.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:11 PM on November 16, 2015 [21 favorites]


Everything about this comment is excellent.
posted by odinsdream at 1:12 PM on November 16, 2015 [6 favorites]


Thanks for being a rocking dad, zarq! :)

After I wrote that little stroll down memory lane up there, it reminded me of my friend. She’s a genius professor who had multiple job offers, even in the current humanities market. She is one of the hardest working and smartest people I know.

She has never told me about something she likes or is interested in without apologizing for it beforehand.

“I know this is dorky but..."

“I know this is silly but..."

“You’ll probably think this is kind of stupid, but..."

Never once has she ever talked about anything dorky or silly or stupid. These are things like “I know this is dorky but [I am excited about my current research in a well-established field]” or “I know this is silly but [I love trying out new recipes and inviting people over to eat them]”.

The things she likes are COOL and INTERESTING and AWESOME. But she was raised in a house where the things women care about are stupid boring garbage, and her default viewpoint is still to assume that the things she likes are dumb.

I am glad your daughter is growing up in a place where she will be getting the opposite message.

(I did too, actually— my comment above describes interactions I had with my dad in my twenties, not as a child. As a child I was never ever judged or mocked for liking unicorns or wanting my room painted purple or caring about My Little Ponies (v 1.0). It was the not growing out of occasional explosions of childish pleasure that seemed to be what jarred, in later years.)
posted by a fiendish thingy at 1:12 PM on November 16, 2015 [33 favorites]


a fiendish thingy, this puts me in mind of the various business advice given to women by women for success, and one of them is the avoid qualifying/excusing your opinions and ideas by avoiding saying things like "just" (e.g. "I just want to propose" versus "I propose"), and so on.
posted by kalessin at 1:33 PM on November 16, 2015 [1 favorite]



or the video was taken at the canine equivalent of Seaworld

oh god I'm picturing a whole tank full of scuba puppies
can I kickstart this
posted by phunniemee


I read this as the "cocaine" equivalent, so I was very confused!

I love this thread, as a woman who has been told to "tone it down" vocally since I was small. For reasons of joy.
posted by agregoli at 1:57 PM on November 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


I find this baffling. If you're doing a thing and people say "hey that's a thing that makes me feel bad" why is that not an opportunity to learn how to do that thing differently, or stop doing that thing?

Is the "thing" in this sentence the shrieking, or the complaining about the shrieking?

(Seriously asking.)
posted by Sys Rq at 2:01 PM on November 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think the context makes it clear it's about the complaining, but maybe it was only clear to me.
posted by ODiV at 2:04 PM on November 16, 2015


zarq... I have snatched up your comment and am getting tears all over its warm velvetysoft floppy ears. I shouldn't have drank whiskey because I can't protect it. All my bunnies are bigger than your comment (they're dead).

:D

Thank you thank you for being on the verge of telling your son this excellent thing.

I appreciate that and thank you. But I just want to say that I sincerely don't post things like that to get pats on the back. And don't think I deserve one, either. I think it's good for people to know when they've said something that has made someone stop and think -- or touched them in some way.

And in retrospect I've been handling those interactions between my kids kinda poorly. Thinking about it, he used to complain when she sang in the car, because "it was annoying" and "too loud" and he "couldn't hear." He gets annoyed if she makes up character voices when she reads stories to herself aloud. I'm going to speak with him about all of it. But it would have been better for her had it happened before now. In hindsight, this lesson is a long time coming.

On the up side, a nice thing about being a parent of young kids is that course corrections can lead to positive changes, even if you don't get around to making them right away.
posted by zarq at 2:05 PM on November 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


I just read that thread and these were the only comments I noticed about noise until the Meta - unless some were deleted: (emphasis mine)

Yeah, mute the sound or you will want to kill the shrieky people.

I guess you all have never taken a bunch of puppies swimming for the first time, so it makes sense that you would not be familiar with the fact that this activity produces involuntary high-pitched noises in humans.


if I were a pup, I'd be scared by the human squealing.

It was mentioned a total of three times and all three comments said human/people and not women specifically.
I don't understand using that thread for this Meta.
posted by NoraCharles at 2:13 PM on November 16, 2015


Additionally there are the first two comments in the thread.
posted by phunniemee at 2:16 PM on November 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


i just want to say my hating on the referring to himself in the third person loudly daddy anecdote was not an effort to hate on children or hate on dads who refer to themselves in the third person as daddies but rather my own effort to unpack why i found that guy so irritating and what sort of vectors there were in terms of caretaking/gendered/speech/whatever that others find annoying in the context of this discussion. i thought it was somewhat relevant, and not in the sense of HERE'S ANOTHER ANNOYING FUCKING THING FUCK THAT THING

and as noted, i was the asshole there. here's to loud self-referential dads: you have probably earned the right to refer to yourself in third person loudly. and i don't mean that in the petulant way it sounds.
posted by angrycat at 2:16 PM on November 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


sweet kid: I find this is a really outsized response to what I said here

That's because it's a response to a thing you didn't actually say about a thing not really being a thing.
posted by Room 641-A at 2:23 PM on November 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


It's come up with other cute animal video posts, too. I remember I was surprised when a couple of the comments to this post were about the "screechy" narrator and the orientation of the video. To me neither of these things were noticeable. I also haven't figured out why people are bothered by vocal fry but then I'm 29.
posted by chaiminda at 2:24 PM on November 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


I guess I'd like to point out that, while it certainly doesn't justify anyone's response to the sound, especially telling people they suck or calling for violence, which is inexcusable, that the "shrieking" sound is generally considered intolerable and often painful is a well-documented and studied thing that can be modeled pretty well. Our auditory system processes different types of sounds really differently, and it's probably not so simple as "people associate high pitched things with women and therefore don't like them." The data even show that it's not so simple as "different strokes for different folks." Most people will find shrieking type sounds to be very unpleasant (though normal distribution and all that).

The pleasantness of a sound is usually quantified by its loudness, its roughness, its tonality and its sharpness, with sharpness making the greatest contribution to pleasantness, and loudness only contributing when the level of the sound is over a normal conversational level (20 sone). The model that's generally used is:

P/P0 = e^-.7R/R0 * e^-1.08S/S0 * (1.24-e^-2.43T/T0) * e^-(.023N/N0)^2, where R is rougheness, S is sharpness, T is tonality and N is loudness.

Sharpness tends to increase with frequency and critical band rate, so the higher fundamental frequency (pitch) you have, the sharper it will be. Combine that with loudness, which increases unpleasantness of a sound rapidly at high levels, tonality, which decreases with frequency (meaning higher pitches are worse), and roughness, which is a function of spectrum and critical bands and is probably widely variable depending on the exact shriek, but in general, the acoustics of the shriek are going to make it a pretty unpleasant sound for most people. Your neurons literally fire differently depending on the frequency and spectrum of the sound, and you can account for the pain people get from different auditory signals this way. It's not a total mystery or just mushy variable psychology differences.

That's all I wanted to say; I don't think people are wrong for feeling annoyed by the sound and feeling that that annoyance isn't entirely based off of cultural conditioning and misogyny. That said, the way people react to that sensory input (like writing mean comments) may be steeped in sexism and the like, and it's important to separate these two things.
posted by Lutoslawski at 2:28 PM on November 16, 2015 [20 favorites]


Google results, "I hate the voice of ... "

- people from Norwich
- tha man on Forest Gump
- my sisters (many results - is this a meme?)
- the announcer (female)
- that bitch who's filming
- Adam Levine
- the Daleks
- Johan Farham & Jimmy Barnes
- the old Italian man next to me
- reason
- the male IA
- the game host (gender unknown)
- her voice actor in the anime

I understand that there is often sexism behind the complaints on women's voices, and that the style of critiques is often misogynist - but the idea that the It's about the sheer volume of complaints about unpleasant sounds which mysteriously all turn out to be made by women, with few equivalent complaints about the sounds of men talking doesn't work for me. Or rather, I don't see a gender imbalance in complaints about how people sound.

(for what it's worth, I found that the puppy video had normal puppy-talk. I was ready for something truly harsh after reading the discussion)
posted by kanewai at 2:29 PM on November 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Is that...is that not how we're supposed to do that?

I'm irony-tone-deaf (due to early overexposure)so I can't tell if that's a joke above or a genuine question. But my point was of course, it's about context-appropriateness, that baby-talk is for babies & animals and the woman in question was doing a perfectly normal thing that animal trainers do. In fact, you reward dogs with 'good boy!" in a high voice. This is a training method, and she's doing that in the video when she says "yay!". In addition, of course to acknowledging the dang-cuteness of pups swimming for the first time. (My first link was fucked, here's this on caretaker speech in case the point hasn't been rammed home enough)

But Blatcher's right, should be in all staff meetings always as we will see productivity skyrocket.

This is a reach but I feel the need to link this. Baby talk can also be filed with Paralanguage, or you might say...um, meta-talk.

BTW, I just want to say thanks to the people who posted really insightful stuff about the denigration of feminine expression- having so much internalized sexism growing up, this is so valuable you don't even know (or maybe you do!)
posted by GospelofWesleyWillis at 2:33 PM on November 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Google results, "I hate the voice of ... "

This is intended to demonstrate... what, exactly? It certainly isn't demonstrating anything related to this thread or the issues raised within it.
posted by dialetheia at 2:54 PM on November 16, 2015 [19 favorites]


From the point of view of the video's sound, it's also just BAD. It has the character of the sound pickup being right next to the woman who's recording the video's mouth, so everything she says is super loud, and the acoustics of the enclosed pool space are awful and I personally had trouble telling the difference between some of the puppy yips and some of the exclamations from the video recorder and some of the other people in the room.

All that said, and sort of saying the obvious that better sound recording acoustics and design would probably be more pleasurable for all viewers, except those of us who really like amateur video sound quality quirks, I still totally support and believe the idea that a lot of the complaints about the video's particular sounds were gendered and biased and kind of shitty, and that they seemed to reinforce social sexist biases.
posted by kalessin at 2:58 PM on November 16, 2015


zarq, I wasn't trying to give you a cookie for being a dad because it never occurred to me you could possibly be one of those; somehow I'd got it in my head you were the other sex (I don't pay very good attn., it is true). The sad thing is, had I known you were a dad I wouldn't have said what I said exactly because of it's being liable to be taken as a cookie. But I meant it and still do, that comment made me really happy. It seems like there's hope for the world if people will stick up for squee-ing children. Once when I was a terrible bristly early adolescent I griped that my mother was singing off tune and my father said, "never ever try to stop someone from singing because they're happy. A happy person is the best sound." He has perfect pitch and I would have expected him to back me up on that, but instead he said exactly the right thing, and not in a mean way, just explaining. It made me love everybody in the family.
posted by Don Pepino at 2:59 PM on November 16, 2015 [8 favorites]


Late to the game... I suppose I could've unpacked my comment more, but it just didn't seem necessary at the time - my comment was really about the quality of the recording and echo (and perhaps the playback, as I watched it on my phone). To me it really came off as that horror movie mockery of a joyful circus scene. In person I suspect it wouldn't have bothered me at all. I totally squealed while watching that video, and I will continue to squeal every time I encounter a tiny/small/full-sized/giant puppy. It was just the recording for me. Nevertheless, I'll try to be more cognizant of the unspoken implications in the future.
posted by obfuscation at 3:16 PM on November 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


MetaTalk: You could easily both be assholes.
posted by klangklangston at 3:22 PM on November 16, 2015 [15 favorites]


dialetheia: "This is intended to demonstrate... what, exactly? It certainly isn't demonstrating anything related to this thread or the issues raised within it."

I think it was fairly clear that kanewai intended to demonstrate that complaints about voices are not inordinately about women's voices. And it was in response to a comment in this thread by Omnomnom, which is why it quoted that comment.

I'm not agreeing with kanewai, by the way. I think using the expression "the voice of" in the Google search will, by virtue of English grammar, necessarily pull very different results than a search like "I hate ~ voices" or "I hate the sound of ~" or the like. It just kinda bothers me that you disagree with him/her but instead of saying "this is why that is wrong" or "this is why that example doesn't apply" you're doing the "I don't understand what you are saying" feigned incomprehension thing.
posted by Bugbread at 3:26 PM on November 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


Thanks for posting, icnh, especially the linked articles. Reading them was the first time I'd come across this idea since I was about 16 and studying sociology in school. Our teacher mentioned the idea that criticism of women's angry voices as being screechy was not a fact, just an example of bias; of people treating male things as normal and female things as wrong. It was a massive scales-falling-from-the-eyes moment for me in the way that I understood the world (I had a lot of those in that class - thank you, Mrs Robinson).

Unfortunately I was too tender in years and confidence for that realisation to help me stand up to the much older guy who worked as a butcher in the supermarket where I had my Saturday job. He decided, around the same time, that my voice was amusingly squeaky, and every time I spoke in his earshot would start making squeaking noises over the top of me in a way that 1. rendered me inaudible and 2. made me feel like the most shameful, ineffectual little mouse of a human being that ever lived. Unfortunately I solved the problem not by shouting at him to fuck off and die, but by just stopping talking in his presence - or at all much when I was at work - and coming to feel generally self-conscious about and ashamed of my "squeaky voice".

I've carried some of that lack of vocal confidence through the whole of the rest of my life, and - having forgotten about that bastard butcher until just now - had never connected the two.

Thanks for posting.
posted by penguin pie at 3:27 PM on November 16, 2015 [18 favorites]


For someone without a horse in this particular race (I'm deaf in one ear: all y'all sound "screechy" to me on the street), it's fascinating to watch newer members ignore/discount the feedback of (female!) members/mods like jessamyn and sweetkid.
posted by Xavier Xavier at 3:28 PM on November 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


expressing enjoyment in the ways boys do (shouting, running around, roaring, punching, grunting, guffawing

Apparently you didn't stop by my house growing up, because us boys got the smackdown for that sort of behavior.

But thank you for that comment. It's been interesting thinking about the way my own expression has been policed over my lifetime, and comparing/contrasting with your description.
posted by conic at 3:34 PM on November 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah. Yeah, they do that.

It's a bug, not a feature.
posted by Tanizaki at 3:35 PM on November 16, 2015


Late to the game, too. I must say that I am more than a little bemused by the fact that a man can mock and belittle a woman in the gray and be a feminist, too. And to the applause of a multitude of favorites. Which takes policing female expression to a whole other level. This is a bumpy thread, indeed.
posted by y2karl at 3:38 PM on November 16, 2015


it is interesting that Shakespeare notes the low nature of Cordelia's voice as an excellent feature. Hmm.
posted by angrycat at 3:44 PM on November 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


shit. Just realized my vernacular pronoun usage could be wildly misinterpreted. By "all y'all" I meant "all humans who speak," that's all. Carry on.
posted by Xavier Xavier at 3:51 PM on November 16, 2015


I feel bad that my contribution to this thread earlier was all Devil's Advocate and no "yeah yes there's a wretched trend here", so let me add that this is not limited to the pure sound of women's voices, and extends all the way to the way that women write online. Probably the most memorable instance of this, to me, was the Jenny Lawson post about big metal chickens, which was absolutely goddamn hilarious but had hordes of men leap online to talk about how, not only is Jenny Lawson annoying, but probably her husband secretly fantasizes about divorcing her and there is no way she is in a happy marriage if she does whimsical things to tease her hubby and then blogs about it.

Back then, I recall that thread feeling utterly draining and exhausting, but here we are in the future where there've been four MeTas in a single week that were longer and more vicious than that thread and here we are everybody! Welcome to the new status quo!

I remember a thread, several months past the Lawson one, that got way uglier and was centered around a queer black blogger with a similar style, but the name's entirely eluding me right now. Anyway, yeah, this is a recurring systemic problem, and I apologize for adding to the consensus of voices here pushing against the OP for this thread. Didn't mean to add to the general exhaustion. :(
posted by rorgy at 4:02 PM on November 16, 2015 [5 favorites]


(I didn't reread that post before sharing it, but literally the first comment on that thread is "15 YEARS AND ONE DAY IS DIVORCE PAPERS". Ugh.)
posted by rorgy at 4:05 PM on November 16, 2015


The woman in the video was not, after all, saying to her colleague, "Who got their budget report in by the end of the fiscal year? You did! Yesss you did, oh yes you did shmooopywoopykins!"

I have pretty much said this to a coworker, except for that last bit, which would have been disrespectful. Everyone needs a bit of praise now and then.
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:07 PM on November 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


I remember a thread, several months past the Lawson one, that got way uglier and was centered around a queer black blogger with a similar style, but the name's entirely eluding me right now.

this is the gayest of all the possible things: going to a meshell ndegeocello concert, with a goddamned lesbian, that is being held in a motherfucking FOLK MUSIC SCHOOL.

The really hilarious part is that Sam Irby gets criticized for "masquerading at writing", but a piece by her in a different register is praised.

It's certainly not that writing that has stereo-typically feminine features is routinely denigrated - no, it's just that this author doesn't know better.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 4:09 PM on November 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


jessamyn: And as someone who, like you, feels mostly on top of social issues and that I do the right thing most of the time, many times these threads don't make me feel like changing, even if I agree with the people who raised the concern. Which may be my own short-day crabbiness or what, but I feel more pressured here than I used to be, to express my good intentions correctly, that I would get less benefit of the doubt for the 15 years I've been a mostly good egg. I can only imagine how other people feel who may not even agree with the first principles of these various requests.

I'm not quite sure what you're trying to say here. How it reads to me is that you're expecting a cookie for being "a mostly good egg" even if sometime in the future you do or say something that's problematic. And it also reads like you're sympathizing with or excusing people who don't appreciate having their -ist behavior pointed out to them and voice their displeasure at being asked to try not doing the -ist thing anymore. Am I interpreting your words correctly? I really hope I'm not because that would be so disappointing.
posted by i feel possessed at 4:11 PM on November 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think there needs to be some room for gray areas here.

I am going to make it clear at the outset that I am NOT complaining about this particular situation, but just illustrating.

Most of the windows in my house face toward the back. A couple of giant picture windows in the main living room, plus windows in the master bedroom and bath facing out there. And we leave them open during the day in warm weather to accommodate the swamp cooler and just to keep the air circulating.

The woman who lives behind us has about eight grandchildren and a zip line in her back yard, just a couple of yards from our open windows. So some weekends, there will be a Scream Day or two, where I can't watch a movie or listen to music or anything over the constant screaming sounds. They're screams of joy, for the most part, but they are screams nonetheless and they are still a little viscerally jarring, plus they drown out other sounds. (They're young enough that I can't even guess at the genders of individual screamers.)

Now, this is fine. She's a really great neighbor and a wonderful person, and her grandchildren are all cute and really good kids, and I would never dream of begrudging her zip line. She even asked us before she put it up. She's the actual official World's Best Grandma who puts the lie to everyone else's coffee mugs. I am FOR her zip line and her grandchildren, and I generally just modify my plans to spend more time out of the house and in the slightly quieter front rooms.

But what if it wasn't just on weekends, or not just in the summer? What if all those kids lived there and screamed all day every day? I mean, that'd be an extreme case, but I'm hoping it's extreme enough that everyone can relate.

The point being that some people have sensory issues. A lot of noises, such as screaming, are sort of dual purpose joy/distress signals, and prolonged exposure can result in sustained high stress levels, and even if some of those behaviors correlate to gender, it doesn't mean they're causative.

Again, I am 100% on board with the general premise that there are a lot of very gendered perceptions about these things, but I am not down with categorically lumping those with sensory issues in with misogynists.
posted by ernielundquist at 4:20 PM on November 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


"Having sensory issues" and "complaining online about other people's voices, in spaces that are not about sensory issues, especially in ways that reinforce the idea that women are annoying" are different things. I think people can separate the two.
posted by jaguar at 4:23 PM on November 16, 2015 [17 favorites]


No one has done that, so I think it'll all be okay for you, ernielundquist.
posted by agregoli at 4:24 PM on November 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


Right. It didn't happen in the thread from the OP, but not much did happen in that thread. It absolutely does happen, though, including here.
posted by ernielundquist at 4:30 PM on November 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


(I'm listening to the TAL bit on complaints about vocal fry, and hearing Ira Glass play up his own as he reads comments from listeners saying they're regular TAL listeners but turn off the program any time anyone (by which they mean, "Any woman") with vocal fry speaks is cracking me up.)
posted by jaguar at 4:32 PM on November 16, 2015 [6 favorites]


How it reads to me is that you're expecting a cookie for being "a mostly good egg"

Huh.

Am I interpreting your words correctly? I really hope I'm not because that would be so disappointing.

This thread isn't about me and I'm not going to dig in here with "What I meant was..." but yes, that's not at all what I intended and not even the sort of person I am. Feel free to email if you want to discuss.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 4:35 PM on November 16, 2015 [16 favorites]


Sorry, jessamyn, I literally couldn't tell so I asked. Will take it to memail.
posted by i feel possessed at 4:40 PM on November 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


How it reads to me is that you're expecting a cookie for being "a mostly good egg" even if sometime in the future you do or say something that's problematic. And it also reads like you're sympathizing with or excusing people who don't appreciate having their -ist behavior pointed out to them and voice their displeasure at being asked to try not doing the -ist thing anymore.

Considering part of jessamyn's comment was about receiving less benefit of the doubt on the whole, for well-intentioned remarks, this response itself seems like exactly what she's trying to talk about. Especially when jessamyn takes great care in explaining herself in ways I can only aspire to. When you can't even express the problem without having it basically jumped on and misinterpreted in a curt, accusatory way, this indicates something worrying to me.
posted by naju at 4:42 PM on November 16, 2015 [49 favorites]


[Couple of comments deleted. Don't pick fights in here. Having a decent discussion is hard enough even without little side fights breaking out.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 4:46 PM on November 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


Check your mefimail, Xavier Xavier.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 4:52 PM on November 16, 2015


On the subject of the thread, seems like there are two main topics happening here:

a) In general, women are subject to lots of petty double-binds, and criticism of voices is one of those, so folks should be mindful when they're complaining about a woman's voice and reconsider whether they might be moved by bad stuff.

b) That one thread about puppies, was it an apt or inapt example.

I think everybody or just about everybody can get behind (a).
It looks to me like people are disagreeing over (b), but mostly in a respectful way that still acknowledges (a).
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 4:55 PM on November 16, 2015 [7 favorites]


Done. Thanks, LM.
posted by Xavier Xavier at 4:56 PM on November 16, 2015


You too would begin to take knee-jerk offense if you were constantly policed & publicly shamed and corrected (Ironic, NO?). The message is always: "Attention Vagina Owners, Your Vocal Upfrywhatever/Dress/Face/Body/Entire Being Will Be Monitored At All Times. You Are Incorrect Always. Please Make the Necessary Changes".

If the frankly egregiously hurtful practice of using genitals as a shorthand as if they were equivalent to gender could die in a fire, the world would be a better place.

Again, I am 100% on board with the general premise that there are a lot of very gendered perceptions about these things, but I am not down with categorically lumping those with sensory issues in with misogynists.

I have very high sensitivity to sounds. You know what's awesome? Computers. They have volume controls. And pause and close buttons. I don't have to listen to any sounds on my computer that I don't want to. It's awesome.

Please don't lump those of us with sensory issues in with the misogynists or the complainers like that. We generally don't wade in to threads to talk about how much sounds on a linked video or what have you suck. We're accustomed enough to dealing with it in all sorts of situations that a frustrating noise on a video (short of those shock-scream things specifically) barely even registers, because of how easy it is to control or avoid.
posted by Dysk at 4:59 PM on November 16, 2015 [18 favorites]


This Is Just To Say To Zarq

I have snatched up
your comment
that was in
the icebox

and am getting tears
all over
its warm velvetysoft
floppy ears.

Forgive me for the whiskey
my bunnies
so big
and so dead
posted by ActingTheGoat at 5:05 PM on November 16, 2015 [5 favorites]


Yes yes yes the patriarchy hurts everyone. And gives me an excuse to link to Dar Williams and pretend I'm still in college.
posted by atomicstone at 5:37 PM on November 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


And gives me an excuse to link to Dar Williams and pretend I'm still in college.

We also would have accepted this one.
posted by mudpuppie at 6:03 PM on November 16, 2015 [5 favorites]


Huh.

Wow. If even Jessamyn can be attacked for a rather level response in a thread about women expressing themselves...

Wow.
posted by hal_c_on at 6:04 PM on November 16, 2015 [18 favorites]


This will go better if we can not turn this thread into a dissection of that exchange. In general when we get to the point in a thread where we're questioning people's comments about comments about comments, many levels deep, it's a sign we've gotten well off the track of productive conversation about the actual topic.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 6:19 PM on November 16, 2015 [6 favorites]


Please don't lump those of us with sensory issues in with the misogynists or the complainers like that. We generally don't wade in to threads to talk about how much sounds on a linked video or what have you suck. We're accustomed enough to dealing with it in all sorts of situations that a frustrating noise on a video (short of those shock-scream things specifically) barely even registers, because of how easy it is to control or avoid.

I have made it very clear that I wasn't bothered by the video, and I wouldn't have found it necessary to comment even if I had been. And I checked to make sure I wasn't being ambiguous, and I wasn't: I am not the one doing the equating.

I have been accused of internalized misogyny many times for being sensitive to certain sensory issues that are stereotypically associated with gender. It happens, whether you've personally experienced it or not.
posted by ernielundquist at 6:19 PM on November 16, 2015


in fact some languages have "fry" (read, glottalization for a distigmatized term) as lexical properties of words that disambiguate them from other words. It's also a normal dialect feature among some subgroups of English (actually cross-cutting gender).

Yes, but even in those languages and dialects, people aren't (generally) continually hopping along on their glottises from stop to stop. I'm sure fry isn't as dangerous as it's been supposed, but there's got to be some upper limit of strain (for some, depending on people's particular anatomies and how they use them. Looks like there's a "relaxed" fry and a "tense" fry, and it's therapeutic sometimes too. The more you know, hunh.)
posted by cotton dress sock at 6:22 PM on November 16, 2015


Oh and this is late :/ sorry
posted by cotton dress sock at 6:22 PM on November 16, 2015


*glottisses.
posted by cotton dress sock at 6:32 PM on November 16, 2015


See I thought you were saying "glottsies." Tee hee.
posted by grumpybear69 at 6:35 PM on November 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Reading this thread--and agreeing strongly with a lot of voices and a lot of opinions, the perniciousness of pervasive deprecation of typical women's expressions chief among them--I find myself hearing the music of Sachiko M in a whole new (feminist) light.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 7:19 PM on November 16, 2015


Setting aside the context of particular comments in this thread, I'd like to suggest that if giving someone a cookie will reinforce good behavior, then maybe just...give them a cookie? Think of it like training a puppy. Cookies are abundant and of low value. And I'm tired of hearing this stupid phrase.
posted by uosuaq at 7:24 PM on November 16, 2015 [5 favorites]


(I didn't reread that post before sharing it, but literally the first comment on that thread is "15 YEARS AND ONE DAY IS DIVORCE PAPERS". Ugh.)

Knock, knock motherfucker!



Of all the posts I've made to Mefi (over 800!) the reaction to that one surprised me the most. She named the giant metal chicken Beyonce, and Victor screamed "It's not a nice chicken!" at the UPS guy.

What's not to love?
posted by zarq at 7:25 PM on November 16, 2015 [9 favorites]


you aready got a cookie from me, benson. In a totally other contentious meta months and months ago. I said, omg, is ur name benson upside down? And you were all looking bored at the ceiling polishing your nails on your lapel chortle chortle about it. Let me tell you something, that is not the attitude of somebody who wants another cookie.
posted by Don Pepino at 7:27 PM on November 16, 2015 [5 favorites]


Also, I'm sorry but the whole Big Metal Chickens thread was made awesome by:

You know, I was sympathetic to this woman until Mrs. Pterodactyl connected it to that damn sting ray she left in the tub to scare me. Fucking "Rachel Ray."
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 4:52 PM on June 24, 2011

posted by zarq at 7:34 PM on November 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


Oh hey, here's where men come in and do a little dance of distraction because it has been deemed that the conversation has run its course. Isn't it cute?

(Referring to some of the comments above yours, zarq, not yours.)
posted by mudpuppie at 7:37 PM on November 16, 2015 [6 favorites]


Spoken like somebody who owns a ceiling, you snooty one-percenter!
[also, if I forgot to mention it on that occasion, I can't claim credit for "uosuaq" myself, a friend came up with it]

On preview:
[and apologies for derailing the conversation]
posted by uosuaq at 7:38 PM on November 16, 2015


I am absolutely willing to do a little dance if it gets me a cookie.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:41 PM on November 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


[Several comments deleted, please skip the football jokes?]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 7:41 PM on November 16, 2015


It's ok mudpuppie, I should probably not be commenting about the BMC thread so much in here anyway. :)
posted by zarq at 7:42 PM on November 16, 2015


I don't know if that behaviour is limited to men, when it happens here in mefi, mudpuppie, though I agree with you in that I find it a little aggravating.
posted by smoke at 8:04 PM on November 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


Think of it like training a puppy. Cookies are abundant and of low value.

The problem is that the dominant group tends to assume that any- and every-one in the non-dominant group is obligated to provide cookies and treat-training without complaint at any and every random moment.

They should be no more obligated to train random people any more than you should feel obligated to provide training to any random puppy that happens to wander into your general vicinity.

It's easy to suggest "Just give 'em a cookie" when you're not the one who's expected to hand out cookies 24/7/365.
posted by soundguy99 at 8:08 PM on November 16, 2015 [13 favorites]


Oh hey, here's where men come in and do a little dance of distraction because it has been deemed that the conversation has run its course. Isn't it cute?

No. Of course, it's not just men, and it used to mostly be recipes, but I'm not going to try and break down the gender issues there.

I do think it's not great for there to have been a, 'You say you have a physical limitation or reaction, but I'm here to tell you I don't have it so you're just a misogynist' side of things though. Like you can only believe in the difficulties you personally experience, or that no-one can genuinely have a problem if you don't let them.

(I have a pretty high squeal tolerance, which I would have to considering I'm finding it harder not to say, "Kitty!" in a high-pitched voice when I see a kitten. My only concerns involve too much volume or repetition.

I'll also say that our cat died two weeks ago and I miss him dearly, except for that one meow he had that could cut through steel and usually prefaced a whap on the face at 4 am. He was a very good meower, and I used to play a game where I would walk up to him, he'd meow, I'd take two steps back and then return, he'd meow... our record was 11 before he stopped.

I just wanted to share that because I dreamed about him last night and cute puppy and kitten videos are a bittersweet balm.)
posted by gadge emeritus at 8:13 PM on November 16, 2015 [5 favorites]


The problem is that the dominant group tends to assume that any- and every-one in the non-dominant group is obligated to provide cookies and treat-training without complaint at any and every random moment

I was not aware that I was expected to expect cookies. This is one of those NotAllMen/YesAllWomen things?
posted by conic at 8:17 PM on November 16, 2015


To be clear, I agreed entirely with Joseph Gurl's comment pointing out the double standard applied to men yelling in comparison to women. I didn't think adding a joke after agreeing would have read as an attempt at distraction. Sorry!
posted by Drinky Die at 8:19 PM on November 16, 2015


That is... kind of exactly the problem? Good for you for not expecting cookies, but wanting accolades for (or simply needing to mention) not being part of what is a pretty widespread pattern/derailing tactic/what-have-you seems to indicate a certain degree of not getting it.
posted by sagc at 8:20 PM on November 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


(re: conic, not Drinky Die.)
posted by sagc at 8:20 PM on November 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


I thought that was a joke?
posted by sweetkid at 8:32 PM on November 16, 2015


It was a joke.
posted by conic at 8:34 PM on November 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


Ah - my apologies.
posted by sagc at 8:36 PM on November 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Sometimes it is really hard to tell! Especially in a thread like this.
posted by futz at 8:37 PM on November 16, 2015


I certainly don't think anyone should feel obligated to "give a cookie". I just want to suggest that (to switch up the metaphor again) between (a) a puppy who poops on the rug, (b) a puppy who doesn't poop on the rug if given a treat, and (c) a puppy who doesn't poop on the rug even without a treat, (c) is best but (b) is at least tolerable. Many people want acknowledgment for being good. It would be better if we were all more saintly, but I think we should just accept this as part of human nature and not call people out for it so often. Prefer actual outcomes to moral purity. *You* don't have to be the one to give the puppy a treat, just be glad it didn't poop on the rug this time and don't scold it for eyeing the treat-bag.
posted by uosuaq at 8:39 PM on November 16, 2015 [1 favorite]



Sometimes it is really hard to tell! Especially in a thread like this.


I'm still not sure how this thread got to be "like this." It seemed like most people generally agreed with the premise that women's voices and vocal styles are often belittled, but most of this seems to be people talking past each other.
posted by sweetkid at 8:46 PM on November 16, 2015 [7 favorites]


MetaTalk: people talking past each other
(actually that kind of works for some values of "meta" in Greek)

[I'm still derailing, I guess, but I don't know what else really needs saying after LM's comment]
posted by uosuaq at 8:56 PM on November 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Does anyone here find loud high-pitched vocalizations more unpleasant than loud low-pitched ones? I'm no big fan of the shriek or squee (unless Junko, Michael Jackson, Yoko, Ami Yoshida, or Betty Davis is doing it), but shouting men always seem far more threatening and abrasive to me. I really, really dislike men's raising their voices (at a TV sports game, for instance).
posted by Joseph Gurl at 8:57 PM on November 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


So there's a lot of snark on Metafilter and snark on certain tops seems to be widely accepted (I dunno, do people still complain about George Bush? Donald Trump I guess. ). In ye olden dayes people would complain more broadly about more things in addition to all the other terrible things people used to do (the cooter clock, casual transphobia, etc). And people are, en masse, mostly better about casual sexism et al but they sure still do like to complain about stuff. Hey, I too have negative responses to lots of stuff all the way from burning hatred to smouldering apathy. But sometimes there's an overlap between complaining and sexism. I get that policing women's behaviour is a thing. Sometimes complaining is just complaining and sometimes it's inseparable from something larger and a lot worse.

I'm not sure that I have an actual point other than observing that people love to complain about anything and everything. And as others have pointed out better than I could, sometimes it's policing, sometimes it's just crankiness. I suspect people get colourful in their statements of dislike because it is acceptable in some contexts around here but when it gets in to others it becomes problematic. So as much as I love to tell the world how much dumb stuff is dumb, it ends in fighting more often than not. metafilter's orthodoxy only allows for certain spaces in which to express negativity. While is fine and probably true of every forum on the internet outside of 4chan where negativity is the only acceptable form of communication.

Did I find the puppy video enjoyable? Nope. The dogs were mostly just confused and the "soundtrack" was not my idea of a good time. But whatever. If there ever was "one Metafilter" there isn't one any more. (And was there ever one Metafilter where all posts were for all members? Probably not) Some posts are just not for me - not that I'm forbidden from them but just that they're not my personal interest. And again, that's fine.

In conclusion, Metafilter is land of contrasts. FIAMO.
posted by GuyZero at 9:17 PM on November 16, 2015


I'm still not sure how this thread got to be "like this." It seemed like most people generally agreed with the premise that women's voices and vocal styles are often belittled, but most of this seems to be people talking past each other.

Yeah, this is my sense as well. Maybe some of this is due to the thread starting out with several comments that seemed pretty dismissive, even though as a whole most people seem to be agreeing with the premise. I also think, especially early on, the discussion got a bit too bogged down in a back and forth over whether the FPP linked in the post was a good example of this seemed to be intended not as a specific callout but more of a starting point to a discussion.

In a certain way this thread has stayed more on topic many other MeTas, and it hasn't gotten to flameout levels of fightiness, but it does feel like there's a lot of misreading of comments or responding more strongly to comments than is warranted. It's like we're all collectively having a hard time reading the room or something. I don't know. Maybe it's just one of those days? It seems like one of those days.

For my part, I feel like I may have missed something (and I'm too tired to re-read this entire thread right now), but was anyone actually outright dismissing people who are sensitive to sounds? Because it seems like there are several comments saying that this happened, but I don't remember seeing it really happen. (I say this as someone who mentioned upthread that I have rage-y responses to certain sounds, so it's not something that I'm unsympathetic to or unaware of.)

Regardless of whether there were comments to this effect, I hope the takeaway isn't that it's wrong for people to have extreme reactions to certain sounds. I didn't start this MeTa, but my impression is that the goal was more about bringing attention to the fact that some of this reaction may be (consciously or unconsciously) tied into misognistic attitudes that have permeated our broader cultural landscape, and so it would be great if, going forward mefites as a whole could try to be more mindful of this before they post a comment that is critical or dismissive of someone who demonstrates "typically female" vocal patterns because women are frequently subjected to that kind of thing.

but I don't know what else really needs saying after LM's comment

I think LobsterMitten's comment is a very good distillation of the important points of this thread. One other specific nuance I would add is that, particularly in lighthearted FPPs like the cute animal videos, maybe give a little extra consideration before posting a critical/negative without adding anything of substance, especially if the shitty comment is calling out something that is often tied to female expressions of happiness (or even female expressions of unhappiness, as in the bear eats a kayak FPP).

To end on a lighter note:

>It's come up with other cute animal video posts, too.

That dog teaching a puppy to go down the stairs video is so amazingly adorable, and it really brightened my day. If anyone else is drained from reading this MeTa post or watching the news or maybe because you spent your day waiting to get the "all clear" because someone thought today would be a good day to email a bomb threat to the school where you teach (yep, that was my day), well, go watch that video. It's very cute. (I can't vouch for sounds because I listened to it on mute since I was too lazy to get headphones and I didn't want the computer dog sounds to wake up my dog.) I also really loved the Big Metal Chicken FPP but YMMV.
posted by litera scripta manet at 10:14 PM on November 16, 2015 [10 favorites]


I don't know if it's because of unrelated shit, but I found this thread incredibly depressing to read. It's like everyone agreed that there's a problem we should all be aware of, but people were still hurt, still needed to let each other know how much they suck. And I don't even think I can write this comment without it coming back to me, because I guess talking about "nastiness" is just something people do when they don't want to accept hard truths, or something. And I don't want to accidentally associate jessamyn with any of my own nonsense, but I'm at least glad she said something about how much it isn't fun to read these threads. It can't just be me who feels a little miserable reading these threads.

Shit, I don't even know what I'm trying to say here.
posted by teponaztli at 10:36 PM on November 16, 2015 [7 favorites]


GuyZero: I'm not sure that I have an actual point other than observing that people love to complain about anything and everything.
That's very nice, but it's not exactly a new thought and this thread does have an actual point, as stated quite succinctly in the title. It's a very simple request. I don't think 'people love to complain' and 'FIAMO' are useful replies; if you answer is 'no', then at least go ahead and say it.
Or close the thread and go elsewhere if you're not sure you have an actual point. That's fine too.
posted by Too-Ticky at 10:53 PM on November 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


but was anyone actually outright dismissing people who are sensitive to sounds?

There was this, which rubbed me the wrong way at first.

It felt to me like the kind of not-in-good-faith comment you'd see pop up in threads requesting people consider using Trigger Warning tags, brushing the request off with a "Ok, maybe you're right that this particular thing evokes a visceral reaction in you, and not just making it up, but it's all in your head, so if you just tried harder it wouldn't be an issue."

But then I thought about it and realized that the dynamic is not the same at all, that this was well deserved anger directed at rude behavior and not someone going "Ugh, this doesn't affect me, why should we change up the status quo?"

So instead of trying to counterpoint it, I just kept reading the thread, and appreciating that it's given me a lot to think about. Even that post.
posted by radwolf76 at 11:04 PM on November 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


Does anyone here find loud high-pitched vocalizations more unpleasant than loud low-pitched ones?

Hi! Not just vocalisations, all sounds. High pitched noises are intensely physically painful for me. I deal with this by having decent ear plugs for situations that are likely to require them (gigs), adjusting that dial when using computers, or removing myself from situations involving a lot of screaming kids (or animals or adults). I might get annoyed at the sources of the sounds, but it has never occurred to me to suggest that kids or adults squealing are the problem, rather than my fucked up sense of hearing.

(Animals, though. Animals can go do one. Especially dogs. Brrr, dogs.)
posted by Dysk at 1:45 AM on November 17, 2015 [5 favorites]


but was anyone actually outright dismissing people who are sensitive to sounds?

Yes. Routinely.

Also, the cookie formulation is a good case of dismissing anyone's reaction as childish if they want to disagree with your formulation of their behaviour, and could be done without. Consider that users might not be asking for a reward in not behaving a certain way, just asking not to be diminished and/or scolded when they're not actually doing a specific behaviour that's being regarded as wrong. Treating your fellow adults like children because they're not agreeing with you is an effective provocation, which is why it's used, but should also be why it's used a lot less.

It's also like a number of users believe 'scratch a MeFite, find a bigot', and it's not a mindset that works particularly well in a community, especially one of any size or diversity. So jessamyn might not be looking for a cookie for her reputation over 15 years on MetaFilter, just would think maybe accusations of internalised misogyny shouldn't be the first reaction to any response other than full and unequivocal agreement.
posted by gadge emeritus at 3:03 AM on November 17, 2015 [30 favorites]


but was anyone actually outright dismissing people who are sensitive to sounds?

Yes. Routinely.


I have to strongly disagree with this. People were dismissive of using sensitivity to sound as a reason to excuse or validate talking about how annoying women's voices are, but I haven't seen anyone saying that sensory issues aren't real (unless you really want to take an intensely uncharitable reading of what people mean when they talk about preferences and how those are shaped).
posted by Dysk at 3:41 AM on November 17, 2015 [14 favorites]


This is becoming a bit of a snake eating it's own tail with arguments about how to argue, how to respond, etc. For the sake of utility, I'll echo LM, and say it seems that the main point is that the OP has asked that we be aware of the too-common reflexive criticism of women's voices and suggests we be mindful of this on the site. Regardless of how we each individually interpret any given example, it's a real thing that does sometimes happen here, so let's try to avoid it.

We actually all seem pretty much in agreement on that basic premise, so it just seems like a good point that we can all keep in mind.

If there are issues about this as a site suggestion that need to be further discussed, okay, but I'm inclined to close this otherwise.
posted by taz (staff) at 4:44 AM on November 17, 2015 [6 favorites]


Okay, but nobody miss this comment and the video nestled in it. It's the reason for the thread and maybe all threads. It is possibly the reason for the world.
posted by Don Pepino at 5:00 AM on November 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


Since I told some stories about the unintended effects these comments can have, I just wanted to say— I myself have some level of misophonia, I am frequently irritated by high pitched noises. I am not in any way EVER saying that people who find high pitched noises annoying are secretly full of misogyny juice.

But at the same time, as a misophonia sufferer, I also know that my responses are not objectively true. I often find the sounds of other people breathing to be intensely irritating. But I know that saying “please stop breathing” is not a thing humans get to say. “The sound of your hand touching your pants is making me really stressed out” is an unreasonable demand to make. It is on me to recognize that these stressors are real to me, but also that I don’t get to tell other people that the sounds they are making are horrible life ruining sound pollution. Those people are breathing and wearing clothes. I support these things.

I guess I told some of my stories because I just want us all to remember that dismissing some noises as objectively bad/irritating/painful is tied to lived experiences of “you are embarrassing yourself by feeling free to express emotions” for some people, many of them female people.

Does that mean say nothing when noises annoy you? Nooooooo. But there is a difference between “the people making high pitched noises on this video are horrible and annoying” and “as someone who hates high pitched noises, I had to mute this video immediately, FYI”. The second one warns other people who might have the same problem, but without blaming the people in the dog video for making normal noises (or puppies themselves, NEVER blame puppies for making puppy noises).

I mean, when I hear thirteen year old girls squealing in a Panera, it isn’t music to my ears because of the sound itself. I think “awwww, have fun, ladies,” and then I move to a different table and put in my headphones, because good, healthy, normal human interactions are often a nightmare to listen to for anyone not directly involved in them. I don’t want the interaction to stop, I just don’t want to listen to it happening. I feel like conflating the two is part of the confusion/frustration in this thread.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 6:01 AM on November 17, 2015 [44 favorites]


a fiendish thingy, this is a nice comment about the boundaries.

I have migraines that are exacerbated by noise, and they're frequent. High-pitched noises, loud noises, and especially low, rumbling noises - it's a grab bag that I don't think is due to internalized misogyny.

I came into this thread thinking, "Really, people are complaining about the fact that people don't like high pitched squealing?" -- and then, in part due to powerful comments like yours, I realized that this really is about the way women's voices are denigrated and policed.

At least for me this thread has worthwhile despite the disappointing turn it's taken, with so many defensive comments about how it has nothing to do with misogyny, about how women's voices really are just more objectively annoying, about how we're ignoring people with sensory issues, etc, and less about what we can do as a community to denormalize misogyny.

So here is my take:

My issues are my issues. Sometimes things bother me and I should be careful when I complain about them, because (a) the people I'm complaining about didn't do anything wrong, and (b) my complaints can prop up systematic biases. A good example of this is complaining about children's perfectly normal behavior in public, which - which it might legitimately annoy me for reasons that have nothing to do with sexism - can really, really easily slot into a larger pattern of policing mothers.

So before complaining, I should ask myself:

1. Do I really need to mention this issue?

2. If yes, how can I word it so that I'm not doing collateral damage? E.g., if I see a video with a lot of high-pitched vocalizations and I think it should have been warned for because of my auditory issues, how can I make it about me, and not about women? This requires thoughtfulness, because the simplest and easiest statement is often going to be indistinguishable from prejudice ("ugh, that gave me a headache") - and whether it's coming from a place of prejudice or not it can still prop it up.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 6:50 AM on November 17, 2015 [19 favorites]


A note on cookies: because of my mystical strident activist status, I get prompted for cookies all the time. I guess my stridency makes the cookies extra good? When one has rhetorical momentum, having to pause and give out cookies can rather derail one's point. And can often act as a status quo reinforcing micro aggression. So there are at least two reasons not to cave to requests for cookies. Especially ill-timed ones.

I do know and understand that these reasons decidedly do not always apply to threads on Metafilter, though.
posted by kalessin at 6:56 AM on November 17, 2015 [5 favorites]


If there are issues about this as a site suggestion that need to be further discussed, okay, but I'm inclined to close this otherwise.

Glad this wasn't closed and we didn't miss out on the excellent recent comments.
posted by lalex at 7:21 AM on November 17, 2015 [5 favorites]


I also think it would be a mistake to close the thread at this point, because it may be diverging in important ways.

The thread first seemed to be about whether the puppy thread was an example of failure to respect women's modes of expression. Early responses seemed to say "no", but then that was interpreted as saying that the problem doesn't exist AT ALL, rather than that the problem was not evident in the thread in question. Most of the community seems to, in fact, think that this is a problem in society, though this being a 'text-based' community it's hard to see it cropping up regularly here as an internal issue. Unless I missed it, no other MeFi threads were linked to as evidence of this being a problem here, but the vast majority of members (myself included) recognise that this is a problem "in the real world".

A second point seems to have emerged through this discussion, however, notably in the case of Jessamyn's comments. Is the culture of MeFi changing so that even a longtime user/former mod with basically unimpeachable credentials on "thinking shit through in a considered way" can be jumped upon for failing to agree (or rather, failing to agree in the right way) with the premise currently on the table as the "right thinking view"? As she said, "I feel more pressured here than I used to be, to express my good intentions correctly, that I would get less benefit of the doubt for the 15 years I've been a mostly good egg. I can only imagine how other people feel who may not even agree with the first principles of these various requests."

I think we've become a community too ready to jump on the slightest mis-phrase, the slightest momentary lapse of thought in knocking out a quick answer, and the slightest disagreement with the perceived "right" approach or ideology. All of these things have been on display in this thread and other recent MeTas. Maybe it's the result of a decade of crazy partisanship in US politics, maybe it's a broader cultural trend related to the rise of identity politics and social media, maybe it's something else. But whatever it is, it's not a trend for the better.

We can be better as a community in the way in which we deal with sexism, homophobia, transphobia, nationalism, classism, racism, etc, without also giving up being a community that is better at tolerating flaws and imperfections in our members and reasonable disagreements between those members.

MeFi increasingly feels to me like an unhappy place to be, where people are too often "walking" on eggshells.
posted by modernnomad at 7:43 AM on November 17, 2015 [56 favorites]


If anyone else is drained from reading this MeTa post or watching the news or maybe because you spent your day waiting to get the "all clear" because someone thought today would be a good day to email a bomb threat to the school where you teach (yep, that was my day), well, go watch that video. It's very cute. (I can't vouch for sounds because I listened to it on mute since I was too lazy to get headphones and I didn't want the computer dog sounds to wake up my dog.)

Wonderful, wonderful video (the cat example in the comments still makes me laugh), but the thread contains a complaint about the woman's screechy voice (which segues into a too-long discussion about how "mom" can't understand how to use landscape mode).

Look, I get noise aversion. If I hear the slightest hint of eating sounds, I will glare at you so hard while trying to stop my skin from crawling off my body.

But whenever I hear complaints about women's voices when they're doing things like talking to animals (dogs, cats, bears) - that's how higher-pitched voices often sound, especially when they're primarily addressing themselves/their pets (or bears) (or children) instead of a public audience.

I don't think I'm alone in constantly second-guessing how I talk in terms of vocabulary and syntax. Throw judgements about how I sound, regardless the words I use, and I'm reminded of the horror of hearing my voice on tape for the first time (Do I really sound like that?). Even if the person I'm speaking to isn't judging me, I'm judging me and second-guessing how I sound more than what I'm saying. So any mention of annoying female voices, even passing ones, reminds me of how I can be discounted because of how I speak when I get excited. Or when I fry to compensate for years of uptalk. Or when I shriek when something excited me. Or when I have to fake shriek when other people are excited because, like a fiendish thingy, I've been conditioned to police my excitement and can no longer react spontaneously.

This criticism is real, it's exhausting, and it's especially jarring when, given a heavenful of adorable puppies, that's what you choose to focus on.
posted by bibliowench at 7:54 AM on November 17, 2015 [6 favorites]


phunniemee: I'm going to offer my usual helpful assessment that anyone who clicks on "intrepid band of puppies take a swim for the first time," a post that is tagged both "cute" and "PUPPIES" and "video," and isn't ready for the possibility that there might be some kind of audio reaction to said cute puppies involved, is a super mega dummy.

While I wouldn't use the word dummy, I agree with the general sentiment that the puppy post was fine. I'm actually giving the side-eye to stuff like Hardy Boys Covers, The Asteroid Hunters, and Humans of Los Angeles.
posted by zamboni at 8:08 AM on November 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


modernnomad: "A second point seems to have emerged through this discussion, however, notably in the case of Jessamyn's comments. Is the culture of MeFi changing so that even a longtime user/former mod with basically unimpeachable credentials on "thinking shit through in a considered way" can be jumped upon for failing to agree (or rather, failing to agree in the right way) with the premise currently on the table as the "right thinking view"? As she said, "I feel more pressured here than I used to be, to express my good intentions correctly, that I would get less benefit of the doubt for the 15 years I've been a mostly good egg. I can only imagine how other people feel who may not even agree with the first principles of these various requests." I think we've become a community too ready to jump on the slightest mis-phrase, the slightest momentary lapse of thought in knocking out a quick answer, and the slightest disagreement with the perceived "right" approach or ideology.

I agree with this, and I received a little off-site nastiness in the form of accusing me of being a closet misogynist for disliking the noise of train whistles (which are apparently LADY WHISTLES, who knew?) and while now I'm trying to turn it into an amusing absurdity (I will foreverafter refer to "the train whistles of internalized misogyny"), it really upset me in the moment and there were a LOT of comments in this thread that I felt were along the same lines -- that your "lived experience" is only acceptable if it falls into certain categories of lived experience, and that our default assumption is that everyone is a racist, sexist, ableist jerk and we must point that out at all times in all possible settings. My default assumption is that we're all trying our best, and, sure, we're all products of our time and can do better, but people are basically good. Which isn't so different, except that I feel like I'm starting from the idea that people WANT to do better, and part of MeFi has shifted to an attitude of thinking, "Everyone is terrible and wants to be an oppressor" and it makes me really unhappy.

There have been threads I have recently opted not to participate in (particularly about religion) because I know that engaging with them in a constructive or nuanced fashion would be perceived as oppression (by certain posters). And not too long ago I had the unpleasant experience of talking about something that was my experience as a woman and being told it wasn't valid by other female MeFites, and what I thought was at work there was that I'M MIDDLE AGED and so my life experiences are no longer of interest or relevance to some younger posters who feel free to disregard and demean the lives of people who aren't 20 and in college and living in what is, I fully admit and am curious to read about!, a very different world than the one I went to college in. But it feels pretty shitty to be told you're a bad and wrong person for what is essentially BEING OLD and having had different experiences in a different world of 20 years ago. (I wasn't even being like "This is the way the world is," I was being like, "Gosh, it was so different 20 years ago, my thoughts were formed in this setting, and sometimes it's hard for me to think about these issues in new ways," and was brushed off like, "THAT'S BECAUSE YOU ARE BAD AND WRONG AND SHOULD FEEL BAD, OLD IRRELEVANT MOM-PERSON.") It felt ironic because some of these same posters would be like, "Women's voices are always being silenced!" but were engaging in the same silencing tactics because they viewed my middle-aged mom-voice as outdated and uninteresting and irrelevant.

MeFi increasingly feels to me like an unhappy place to be, where people are too often "walking" on eggshells."

Yeah.

I'm sorry my post here is kinda undirected ranting, but some of the nastiness I've seen lately has been very emotional for me, but I was also clear that if I objected to the nastiness, I'd be accused of using silencing tactics. So I don't know what to do other than not engage at all. It's very frustrating.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:20 AM on November 17, 2015 [121 favorites]


Most of the community seems to, in fact, think that this is a problem in society, though this being a 'text-based' community it's hard to see it cropping up regularly here as an internal issue. Unless I missed it, no other MeFi threads were linked to as evidence of this being a problem here, but the vast majority of members (myself included) recognise that this is a problem "in the real world".

This seems a weird characterisation. It is a problem in the real world but Mefi is not exempt. We very much saw the real-world trend of harsh criticism of women's voices, especially high-pitched ones, on display in the thread in question. Doubtful that any individual was doing it out of spiteful misogyny, but the net effect is the same - that misogynist trend.
posted by Dysk at 8:20 AM on November 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


Unless I missed it, no other MeFi threads were linked to as evidence of this being a problem here, but the vast majority of members (myself included) recognise that this is a problem "in the real world".

bear kayak thread, including the comments that Don Pepino conveniently pulled out.
I get that she was upset but she went from speaking to the bear like it was a recalcitrant kindergartener to full on wailing like she was the toddler very quickly. Someone needs a nap. Bear was all, sheesh lady, quit wailing. From the transcript i thought she'd sound more stern and less like it was big meanie bear snapping all her crayons in half.

She needs a cat. Get used to them pushing ornaments off the shelf and scratching up the furniture, you don't take any destruction personally.
posted by kitten magic at 8:32 PM on October 1 [1 favorite +] [!]


I am on Team Bear..

I am not sure how I was able to get through the video. I am happily surprised the bear didn't come back to finish her off. At least give the bear some earned respect. It is Mr. Bear.
posted by AugustWest at 8:52 PM on October 1 [1 favorite +] [!]
another puppy vid

ctrl+f "vocal fry" for discussion on how this comes up on Actual Mefi and not just IRL. there were lots of comments (links where provided) about this on mefi and i'm not super happy to have to do the work for you and reread the thread to prove that things i know were in the thread are in the actual fucking thread.
Yes, I have been annoyed a few times here at women in a video being described as "shrieking" and then bunches of comments focusing on how awful the shrieking is to the point where the use of the word at all is becoming a pet peeve.

Yes, this is a thing on Metafilter.

I've run across it here many times. I haven't been making a list and checking it twice, so finding those examples may be a challenge.

Yes, I choose a relevant, current topic it was happening right now. Here is another I just rememebed. I'll keep dredging my brain for more. But how about considering what myself and a couple other women have said at face value rather than assuming it's what, disingenuous because you didn't notice it?

You would be wrong. Made that FPP specifically because someone whined about a woman's vocal fry in a cute baby single link fpp just like this one. ...And yes, this is a fucking problem on Metafilter. It is a problem anywhere that people comment on tone of voice, on elocution, and on dialectical problems. Preferences regarding accent, tonality, and vocal tics are frequently used to police the speech of women and rural/poor people in particular...
mods i feel like "mefi is nasty and overmoderated" should be a separate thread. because right now:

I think everybody or just about everybody can get behind (a).
It looks to me like people are disagreeing over (b), but mostly in a respectful way that still acknowledges (a).


i'm unclear whether the people who think this is a nasty thread think it is because (a) is not a good enough reason for a meta, or the way this thread is discussed is a more general problem, which means this thread isn't specific which means i need other examples than just this. or even because disagreement on (b) means mefi is overmoderated. which seems excessive as a claim if there isn't more examples which, again, i think belong in another thread.
posted by twist my arm at 8:28 AM on November 17, 2015 [5 favorites]


It felt ironic because some of these same posters would be like, "Women's voices are always being silenced!" but were engaging in the same silencing tactics because they viewed my middle-aged mom-voice as outdated and uninteresting and irrelevant.

To be fair, Eyebrows, it's your Midwest accent they were objecting to, not your middle-aged-Mom voice.

i keed because I love. your guest spot on the podcast was great.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 8:39 AM on November 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


mods i feel like "mefi is nasty and overmoderated" should be a separate thread

Agreed. There is definitely a new cultural schism forming here and we should probably tackle that head-on. This thread has in many ways feels like bizzaro Metafilter.
posted by grumpybear69 at 8:41 AM on November 17, 2015 [8 favorites]


i keed because I love. your guest spot on the podcast was great.

idk...Eyebrows, I decided to stop liking you after you made me realize I've been pronouncing pedant wrong my entire life. That's not the kind of revelation I can get over lightly.
posted by phunniemee at 8:44 AM on November 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


Oh no, how is it pronounced?
posted by mudpuppie at 8:50 AM on November 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


I wrote the "overmoderation" comment and it was incorrectly phrased - I meant moderation as well as community self policing. I also led my comment agreeing with the overall goals of the Meta and included an offhand comment about people talking to dogs and children that I'm not really ideologically attached to.

So maybe I shouldn't have said anything that wasn't in agreement with the OP, but, I kind of figured that since I agreed with the general premise and said "oh I don't like it when people talk to dogs like children btw" someone would say something like "I hear you, but..." or something if they really wanted to disagree, but I was pretty surprised by stuff like this:

Respectfully, then maybe it's not exactly helpful adding to the Gaslighting X-planashion Chorus of how this Thing is totally not a Thing because of your personal preferences.


and this:
I find this baffling. If you're doing a thing and people say "hey that's a thing that makes me feel bad" why is that not an opportunity to learn how to do that thing differently, or stop doing that thing?

Is the drive to do whatever you want to do, damn other people, so strong? What's the point in engaging in a community if you're not, on some level, having that kind of back-and-forth? Because if that's not what you're doing, it's more like just shouting at other people.


I mean yeah, I've been here a long time but that doesn't mean I won't change anything about the way I engage here, but the users who posted these comments were being way out of line wrt what I actually wrote and seemed to be looking to take down an incalcitrant sexist who just would not stop insisting that the voiceover was so annoying or whatever and I mean, i didn't even post in the initial thread.
posted by sweetkid at 8:53 AM on November 17, 2015 [21 favorites]


oh I meant to add, yeah, based on the backlash I got here for saying anything about moderation or user behavior, yeah no I'm not starting a Metatalk about it.
posted by sweetkid at 8:54 AM on November 17, 2015 [4 favorites]


It seems to me we've had a lot of these "We are Insufficiently Respectful to ______" posts recently and there may be a diminishing return in having them so frequently.
posted by Mid at 9:26 AM on November 17, 2015


I looked it up, mudpuppie. Turns out it's "PEDn't," not "ped-ant." Which is pretty mortifying to me, but look at it this way: Now we can tell others!
posted by Don Pepino at 9:34 AM on November 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


I had been saying peedn't. It's not pronounced peedn't.
posted by phunniemee at 9:35 AM on November 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


a fiendish thingy, I just wanted to say I really appreciate you sharing your experiences in this thread. Your comments made me rethink this issue in a pretty major way.
posted by capricorn at 9:37 AM on November 17, 2015 [10 favorites]


Many of the more recent metatalk posts complaining about sexism and racism on mefi have objected to a pattern of behavior rather than just a single comment or several comments. If the post itself only complains about a one specific incident or thread, commenters may point out that it is part of a larger problem, and include examples.

This may be an organic development. But it may also be a response to a common metatalk pattern: individual complaints about behavior which offends are very often met with dismissive, defensive comments that there isn't a problem, that the person complaining is being too sensitive and/or that calls for censorship are horrible.

Since the onus is then being placed on the group who are being affected to prove to both the community and the mods that there is a problem, they tend to respond aggressively to dismissive comments. A normal reaction.

It seems to me we've had a lot of these "We are Insufficiently Respectful to ______" posts recently and there may be a diminishing return in having them so frequently.

Case in point.
posted by zarq at 9:38 AM on November 17, 2015 [12 favorites]


Anyone who corrects someone else on the pronunciation of "pedant" will immediately disappear in a swirl of self-referential ennui, so you don't really need to worry about it.
posted by Etrigan at 9:38 AM on November 17, 2015 [17 favorites]




Case in point.

Not sure what you mean. Accepting everything you say about a pattern of behavior, I still think having repeated posts on the subject over the course of a couple of weeks brings diminishing returns in the sense of persuading others and changing behavior. In fact, I would say that having repeated posts on the same general idea of sexism/racism/other -ism that are each keyed off of a different specific incident or thread tends to magnify the exact problem you are talking about.
posted by Mid at 9:45 AM on November 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


Anyone who corrects someone else on the pronunciation of "pedant" will immediately disappear in a swirl of self-referential ennui, so you don't really need to worry about it.

My boyfriend specifically calls me a pederast when he means pedant just to force me into correcting him. So far no swirly disappearances, just to be absolutely clear and correct. Sorry.
posted by Dysk at 9:46 AM on November 17, 2015 [13 favorites]


Hey, Eyebrows, where exactly was the train whistle thing or the age thing? I'm trying to understand the situation a little better. The discussion here didn't seem to back it up, but you said the whistle one was off-site? Feel free to drop me a MeMail if that would be more comfortable.

FWIW I would like to cosign everything a fiendish thingy and Dysk are saying about sensory processing issues and overt pain. I actually typed up a couple of paragraphs about that the other day and deleted them because I thought they might only make things worse and that I couldn't eloquently say what I wanted to. I'm really glad that both of them have managed to say what I really wanted to get across.

I'm very torn right now on the utility of specific examples on posts like these. For microaggressions like those described in the post itself, the whole problem comes because of a series of small, subtle things. In and if themselves they aren't problems, and so each individual incident is very susceptible to people arguing that that comment wasn't really a big deal--because on its own it wasn't! But in the aggregate they are a problem, and that's where the issue lies. At the same time, including no examples in the post is vulnerable to people either dismissing it as not a real thing or assuming that only the directly offensive comments (as opposed to the pattern of little cuts we're really trying to get at) is the problem. I have no idea how anyone is supposed to craft a MeTa to get at those problems.
posted by sciatrix at 9:55 AM on November 17, 2015 [12 favorites]


Not sure what you mean.

When you characterized metatalk posts as:

"We are Insufficiently Respectful to ______" posts

...it felt dismissive as hell. Insufficiently respectful? In many cases, any kind of 'respectful' would be an improvement.

You're talking about people who are upset enough to publicly say they're offended or upset or ashamed that other members are making racist or sexist comments. A topic that is virtually guaranteed to cause a heated discussion. I'm pretty sure they're not doing it to be pedantic.

Accepting everything you say about a pattern of behavior, I still think having repeated posts on the subject over the course of a couple of weeks brings diminishing returns in the sense of persuading others and changing behavior. In fact, I would say that having repeated posts on the same general idea of sexism/racism/other -ism that are each keyed off of a different specific incident or thread tends to magnify the exact problem you are talking about.

Telling people that their concerns can wait until the majority is ready to handle them is not great on many levels.
posted by zarq at 10:01 AM on November 17, 2015 [20 favorites]


Accepting everything you say about a pattern of behavior, I still think having repeated posts on the subject over the course of a couple of weeks brings diminishing returns in the sense of persuading others and changing behavior.

There must be something I'm missing, because apart from rare cases, MeTas about any given subject don't really pop up. If anything, they come once every couple of weeks rather than several times in a similar time period.

In fact, I would say that having repeated posts on the same general idea of sexism/racism/other -ism that are each keyed off of a different specific incident or thread tends to magnify the exact problem you are talking about.

If someone makes a post without examples, people will ask for them. If they post a single example but point to a pattern of behavior, people will ask for more examples or dismiss that particular one. If they post several examples, people accuse them of exaggerating.

It's a no-win situation.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:03 AM on November 17, 2015 [10 favorites]


Speaking as a person who is often on the short end of the majority-minority stick, what I'm usually looking for is the majority to show ANY INCLINATION WHATSOEVER to consider my observation/experience/point/proposal. What I usually get, in sharp contrast, is to be called any one of a form of oversensitive, hyperbolic, paranoid, whatever fits the situation and makes it so the majority doesn't have to LIFT A FINGER or do shit in order to address the issue.

Which is why I keep posting comments here saying that yes, I think that sexism is a problem in calling out squeaky joy as a problem when squeaky joy is what a person is wired or raised or inclined to do in puppy (and other) situations. Because joy should be enjoyed, and as many folks have said here, especially Dysk, who has an actual physiological problem with hearing squeakiness (as opposed to an inclination), we are using computers to watch these internets, and computers generally have sound and volume control. So like, use it if it bothers you.
posted by kalessin at 10:12 AM on November 17, 2015 [21 favorites]


ahem, kaff, capricorn, ahem, I'm afraid, kaff... harumph! ...afraid that is not quite correct.

You see, properly pronounced, pedant is trochaic. Hurrr, hum, see note five, here, "A trochee is a beat in poetry where the stress falls on the first syllable, then lifts on the second, falls on the third, lifts on the fourth, etc.: 'Let us go then, you and I.' An iamb is a beat where the stress lifts on the first syllable, falls on the second, etc.: 'And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells.'"

Huuurrrrhem, and thus, capricorn, I think you cannot fail to conclude that the famed Mancini two-beat is, burrrrr, kaff, harummmph, iambic, and therefore... not apropos.

Ahem, that is to say, simplifying greatly, of course, chuckle, kaff, harumph.

Sniff.

Shoots cuffs, gazes ceilingward, falls into suspended animation to await the pedant's batsignal, the clarion call of squee, in order of course to douse it with old cold dishwater.
posted by Don Pepino at 10:39 AM on November 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


Couple comments deleted. This is getting well off the main subject and there's no reason this should turn into a highly personal fight. Folks, bear in mind how it comes across when you criticize women's voices. I'm closing this.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 10:48 AM on November 17, 2015 [4 favorites]


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