Most sexist lyrics pissing match most unexpected January 25, 2007 9:00 AM   Subscribe

A thread that reads like a piss-contest between participants who can quote the most sexist lyrics they can think of is not what I'd expect from AskMefi.

Maybe I am mistaken, but from the tag "who goes the hardest on these boards?" I don't think the post is anything but "entertainment" at the expense of women.
posted by Sijeka to Etiquette/Policy at 9:00 AM (205 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

You meant to link this, methinks.
posted by koeselitz at 9:01 AM on January 25, 2007


Also, I fuckin' go the hardest on THESE boards, yo.
posted by koeselitz at 9:03 AM on January 25, 2007


Bitchesain'tshitFilter?

It's a weird one. Juvenile in apparent intent, sure, but we are talking about pop-culture here—citation of mainstream published works is pretty above-the-board.
posted by cortex at 9:05 AM on January 25, 2007


What are the most inspirational religious rock songs you have ever heard? See [more inside]
posted by Plutor at 9:10 AM on January 25, 2007


The title was, "Who goes the hardest on these broads."

Regardless, how is this any different than any other question asking for lyrics, other than the fact you don't like the content?
posted by dead_ at 9:11 AM on January 25, 2007


I don't really like it. Change the disfavored class to race or sexual orientation rather than gender, and I'm pretty sure it'd be deleted without question.
posted by footnote at 9:12 AM on January 25, 2007 [2 favorites]


I'd say Sijeka made the right call in the original thread. This might be the stupidity talking, but I'm pretty sure I read something about how AskMetafilter isn't really supposed to be used for the purposes of settling bets (or in this case, winning contests).

Mysognistic hip-hop is (truly) an immensely fascinating topic (in fact, I was just reading an essay called "Love Hurts - Rap's Black Eye" about this) but without the context of intelligent discussion, it's just a gut-wrenching collection of unsettling, out-of-context verbal abuse.
posted by Milkman Dan at 9:12 AM on January 25, 2007 [2 favorites]


Mysognistic hip-hop is (truly) an immensely fascinating topic

I agree with you 100 percent. It is incredibly fascinating and worthy of a much deeper look than even many of the best essays have given it.
posted by dead_ at 9:14 AM on January 25, 2007


I didn't think it would last long enough for me to get my vote in. When I actually did write out my answer I wimped out and just linked to the lyrics rather than post 'em in the thread. I still feel sorta dirty.
posted by mullacc at 9:15 AM on January 25, 2007


Sorry about the missing link.

Yes I do think context is everything. If it gives space to consider what those lyrics mean/ analyse them/ contest them/ understand them, then fine.

If it is just a list of sexist lyrics after mysogynistic choruses (with commenters taking pride in being able to remember humiliating paragraphs from those songs), than it gets a bit offensive for 1. women 2. askmefi readers.

No question that such a thread would be deleted if it was about race/disabilities/etc.
posted by Sijeka at 9:17 AM on January 25, 2007


dead_: "[Mysoginistic hip-hop] is incredibly fascinating and worthy of a much deeper look than even many of the best essays have given it."

The place for giving it that in-depth look sure as shit isn't in a stupid, juvenile AskMe that just asks people to list off those lyrics to win a contest.

Delete it. Nothing will be lost. And somebody can build a nice post for the front page of metafilter if they feel as though this is an important and relevant topic to be discussed.
posted by koeselitz at 9:19 AM on January 25, 2007


with commenters taking pride in being able to remember humiliating paragraphs from those songs

I feel like this might be directed at me, so I want to note that I'm currently employed as a hip-hop journalist, and misogynistic lyrics are a major part of the genre--a genre which I am incredibly familiar with. I'm not making value judgments, just answering the question, a question that I am qualified to answer. I think violence/hatred/sexual degrading comments made toward women are bad.
posted by dead_ at 9:20 AM on January 25, 2007


Latest comment : "A thread that reads like a piss-contest between participants who can quote the most sexist lyrics they can think of is not what I'd expect from AskMefi."

Well, everyone makes mistakes. Now you'll know better, and next time you won't be so surprised.
posted by Bugbread at 9:21 AM on January 25, 2007


Regardless, how is this any different than any other question asking for lyrics, other than the fact you don't like the content?

You make a good point. Any other questions asking for people to share their (favorite, best, worst, whatever else) lyrics should be deleted too.
posted by mendel at 9:22 AM on January 25, 2007


I suspect the dude who posted this question was sitting around yukking it up with his brahs, yeah, and I don't really care if the thread gets deleted (even if I did reply). But for my purposes, if it sticks around, it's actually a useful thread because it's a veritable repository of asshole-dom. Now I know of even MORE rappers whose records I won't be buying. (Not being disingenuous there--I did find a lot of the replies useful.)

And frankly, as a woman and a feminist, I want to announce thaat I PWNED everyone else's weak-ass replies with my answer. That is all.
posted by veronica sawyer at 9:26 AM on January 25, 2007


Sorry about the missing link.

When you put it that way, it's fairly appropriate no?

Also this is at least the second question from reenum to end up in MeTa. His good sports-site question was in the gray too, though it was no fault of his own. Not that it means anything, just notable.
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 9:28 AM on January 25, 2007



What are the most misogynist arias you have ever heard?

A group of friends and I are trying to find the most misogynist and outlandish examples of misogynistic opera. Don Giovanni is a fairly good play, but we can only use a romantic antihero once.

posted by ardgedee at 9:29 AM on January 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure I read something about how AskMetafilter isn't really supposed to be used for the purposes of settling bets (or in this case, winning contests).

Or getting ideas for your TV show.
posted by fixedgear at 9:31 AM on January 25, 2007


What are the best murder ballad lyrics you know? I'm partial to ones where the victim is a woman?
posted by OmieWise at 9:33 AM on January 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


Metatalk's Patented can'o'worms. Race, gender, oppression. Liberals, freedom of speech, hip hop, violence.

Wohoo! Let's see what we can do here.

1) Open up a can of 'black hip hop culture is predominantly inherently, violently misogynistic; significantly more so than other modern cultures'.

2) Add a little on OJ: 'When asked, they said that despite the evidence pointing towards his guilt in the horrendous murder of a woman, black women still cheered at his release, for "getting one over on the man" '

3) Sit back and wait for the shitstorm.
posted by lalochezia at 9:34 AM on January 25, 2007


We've done this sort of thing before.

(This sort of thing being searching for songs with certain types of lyrics or themes)
posted by dead_ at 9:35 AM on January 25, 2007


You make a good point. Any other questions asking for people to share their (favorite, best, worst, whatever else) lyrics should be deleted too.

I hate this kind of lame equivocating when people attempt to justify offensive stuff here. The poster is SPECIFICALLY asking for something pretty gross, not just being chatty.

Would you be OK with a post asking for "the best Polish jokes" or "the harshest insults for homosexuals"?
posted by mkultra at 9:36 AM on January 25, 2007


Change the disfavored class to race or sexual orientation rather than gender, and I'm pretty sure it'd be deleted without question.

We have had Ask MeFi threads on the most gay bashing songs/jokes, with similar call-outs like this asking that they be deleted.

For whatever reason, someone asked a question about the ugly side of some slice of culture and people are answering the question with examples, and yeah they can be disturbing. It's not a great question or premise for a question, but I can't really see a difference between the question and every other "help me settle a bet" questions when you view them from ten miles up.

But it's important to remember the people answering the question with examples aren't the ones that wrote the words originally nor are they believers of the message, they're merely answering the question. They're not endorsing it or the message behind them.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:37 AM on January 25, 2007 [4 favorites]


Waah.
posted by beerbajay at 9:37 AM on January 25, 2007


Would you be OK with a post asking for "the best Polish jokes" or "the harshest insults for homosexuals"?

If you're "doing research for xxxxx" then any question is okay around here.
posted by dead_ at 9:37 AM on January 25, 2007


You know, I'm a girl, and I'm a rap fan. And I have a really inappropriate sense of humor.

And yet, something about a number of responses in that thread makes me twitchy. I would like to believe that people are just "answering the question", but there's a pretty pronounced element of glee about some of the responses.

:\
posted by thehmsbeagle at 9:44 AM on January 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


dead_: "If you're "doing research for xxxxx" then any question is okay around here."

But the poster isn't 'doing research.' He's laughing about this crap with his buddies, who have come up with a contest. I know this is a subject that you take interest in, but believe me, the poster doesn't take the same interest.

Also, that question should be deleted if merely because EVERY SINGLE ONE OF REENUM'S QUESTIONS HAS HAD THE GODDAMNED "there's [more inside]" CRAP ATTACHED.
posted by koeselitz at 9:45 AM on January 25, 2007


We also had a very similar discussion about asking about ethnic stereotypes. Which is not to say we can't discuss it again, but just to point it out.

My own view is that those lyrics are pretty abhorrent, but talking about them isn't. Once you think that it's ok to talk about things that are uncomfortable, it's hard to decide what's a good reason to talk about them and what's a bad reason. I tend to shy away from slippery slope arguments, but those kinds of value judgments do seem to occur on a slippery slope.

My line above about murder ballads isn't just a throwaway: I think the context of the lyrics matters to those concerned about them. I rarely hear someone criticizing Ralph Stanley for singing Omie Wise. Not only are murder ballads seen as less offensive on their face, the performers of those songs are viewed as performers, not as folks with no shame whose ids are truly on display for all to see. To put it another way, when someone sings a murder ballad that makes them more of a performer, not less of one; when someone sings a violent rap song the feeling seems to be that they're actually revealing themselves, becoming less of a performer and more of a person espousing a set of views.
posted by OmieWise at 9:46 AM on January 25, 2007


I agree with Omie Wise (as I pretty much always do).
posted by veronica sawyer at 9:48 AM on January 25, 2007


I think it's important to point out, for people who might not know, that men aren't the only ones making rap music like this. Women are making the same type of sexually explicit music aimed directly at men, and a reverse question like this could have been asked, with similarly graphic answers.

Just look at artists like Shawnna, Chyna White, Gangsta Boo (who raps about putting razors in her mouth and then performing fellatio), La Chat, Diamond D, Princess Superstar, Peaches, Lil Kim, Khia, etc., etc.
posted by dead_ at 9:49 AM on January 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


My own view is that those lyrics are pretty abhorrent, but talking about them isn't.

Yes, but they don't talk about them. The thread lists them.Which is the disturbing element - there is no room for discussion, since the thread was asking for "examples" for a "contest".

... Was I to answer with a "I don't have an example but I have some objections" then I would be posting aginast the rules of AskMefi which specifies I have to stick to the question asked.
posted by Sijeka at 9:53 AM on January 25, 2007


When I saw the question, I naturally assumed it was for research or a study of some kind, whereas you assumed it was entertainment. There's no way to know, really. This person may be working to ban rap for all we know.

Personally, by the way, I really like rap, but don't listen to it because it's so hard to avoid all the ridiculousness in the lyrics. This has made me pretty much give up on it.
posted by xammerboy at 9:54 AM on January 25, 2007


Hello all,

I am the one who started the thread. I was actually only asking for song titles. The quoting of choruses was not something that was explicitly asked for in the question.

I apologize for any trouble this has caused, but at the same time, I cannot control people's responses.
posted by reenum at 9:55 AM on January 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


when someone sings a violent rap song the feeling seems to be that they're actually revealing themselves, becoming less of a performer and more of a person espousing a set of views.

That's certainly the feeling, but having interviewed many of these individuals, it's not always the case. Many of these guys are despicable in the way they live their lives, but many are just playing to a paying audience--making money off what works, whether or not they believe it.

A lot of what has happened lately (2000 - present) has been emulation of the gangster era misogyny (1988 - 94), which was mostly posturing in the first place, rather than a real set of views that these guys lived by.

Regardless of whether or not it's simply copying or posturing, the effects are felt by those who assimilate this stuff and assume that all rappers (read: black men) are drug using man-whores who will fuck anything, smoke anything and shoot anything.

The emulation is particularly apparent in underground hip-hop, which is becoming increasingly more misogynistic, a surprising trend. Looking at artists who paved the way in conscious hip-hop (Mos Def, Common, The Roots, Talib), it's surprising to see so many new underground artists (people who should be followers of the aforementioned) slipping increasingly misogynistic lyrics into their songs.

That said, I agree with OmieWise, but I feel that like murder ballads, misogynistic lyrics can be looked at just as deeply and hopefully can provide a way to better understand a certain part of American culture.
posted by dead_ at 9:57 AM on January 25, 2007


But it's important to remember the people answering the question with examples aren't the ones that wrote the words originally nor are they believers of the message, they're merely answering the question.

And that's key. The question is not, "hey, what do you say to a bitch to keep her in place?" It's squicky territory, but we're talking about existing cultural artifacts. If we can brook personal questions about the ethics of romantic chest-shitting, I think we can deal with some ugly impersonal hiphop lyrics.

What are the best murder ballad lyrics you know? I'm partial to ones where the victim is a woman?

The Banks of the Ohio is a personal favorite.
posted by cortex at 10:00 AM on January 25, 2007


Reenum:

Really, it never crossed your mind that asking for input on a contest on the most woman-hating rap lyrics EVAR would make people feel weird?

I'm just sort of baffled. I'm trying to imagine my best girlfriends and I sitting around and having a contest wherein we gather text fragments that are spectacularly hateful of men.

(I'm failing.)
posted by thehmsbeagle at 10:00 AM on January 25, 2007


dead_ absolutely. Great post. There is a difference reading your comment on meta and reading the thread itself.

Again, context is everything.
posted by Sijeka at 10:01 AM on January 25, 2007


Yes, but they don't talk about them. The thread lists them.Which is the disturbing element - there is no room for discussion, since the thread was asking for "examples" for a "contest".

There is no room for discussion on any AskMe thread:
Open-ended chatty questions that don't offer a problem to be solved are detrimental to the long term usefulness of the site.

That's why everyone's posted only songs, not sociological dissections. And as far as I can tell, no one in the thread has endorsed these lyrics.

So what's your point? Isn't that why you posted this meta thread, to discuss your concern?
posted by veronica sawyer at 10:02 AM on January 25, 2007


Was I to answer with a "I don't have an example but I have some objections" then I would be posting aginast the rules of AskMefi which specifies I have to stick to the question asked.

Buh?
(Not that I don't actually agree with you. Didn't Meatbomb have a question deleted that was along the lines of "what's the most offensive joke you've ever heard?")
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 10:03 AM on January 25, 2007


I'm with koeselitz's suggestion about making a FPP with the links to the essays rather than that thread. Not a good example of the power of the hive mind...actually very grade 8 locker room, all for a contest. Least anyone call me 'sensitive' and shit, I'm a pretty liberal sort of person - legalize drugs, legalize prostitution, heck I'm open to lots of stuff. But a guy who puts the word 'broads' right in the title, and is doing this to win a contest? Uh, yeah, I hope that doesn't happen a lot more in the future.

Sijeka, thanks for the call out on it.

mullacc, linking to the lyrics was fine. You helped provide content without getting lost in the malestrum of 'top this, boyz' one upmanship.

Actually maybe veronica sawyer's right - leave it up so we know which artists to avoid and which posters to avoid if we're ever in Kansas...
posted by rmm at 10:04 AM on January 25, 2007


there's a pretty pronounced element of glee about some of the responses

There's no going to be no simple way to seperate wheat from chaff here, but note that there's a distinction to be made:
- glee at the audacity and skillfulness of an awful lyric
- glee at seeing an agreeably misogynistic message

Again, there's an obviously juvenile bent to the question, and I'm not claiming that everyone who laughs at audacious misogynistic lyrics has a women's studies background to balance it against, but lets not conflate the two very, very different responses.
posted by cortex at 10:08 AM on January 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


Sijeka writes "... Was I to answer with a 'I don't have an example but I have some objections' then I would be posting aginast the rules of AskMefi which specifies I have to stick to the question asked."

Well, that's right, but what's wrong with that? What if the question were asking for a place to get an abortion, and you felt strongly that abortion was wrong? Would it be ok to really want a place to talk about it? What if it was asking for movies with scenes of gay sex? What if it was asking for a list of corners on which to buy meth in Cleveland?

There are a lot of potential questions to which you might object, and about which you might have something to say. The rules, though, are that the site is for people to ask and answer questions, and although not all questions are allowed, any one user's discomfort with the subject matter doesn't preclude the question. If that is true (and I pretty much think it is), then what are the criteria for limiting this question?

I'd like to be clear that I'm not a big fan of rap (at least since the first Jungle Brothers album), and reading through the thread was a discomfiting experience for me too. Were the question about ways to stalk someone, or ways to effectively beat someone without leaving marks, I would say that there would be a concrete harm that we could point to as a reason to close the question. But as it stands, not only would it smack of censorship to me to close it, I'm not sure I can identify what the harm is. Surely everyone who sees the question on the front page already knows that some rap has misogynistic lyrics? Surely no one mistakes quotation for statements if they click into the thread? Seriously, what's the harm, not of the songs themselves, but of the thread listing the songs and the lyrics?
posted by OmieWise at 10:08 AM on January 25, 2007


A front-page post might not be a bad idea, except for the fact that it would probably get a meta call-out as well.
posted by veronica sawyer at 10:09 AM on January 25, 2007


mendel : "You make a good point. Any other questions asking for people to share their (favorite, best, worst, whatever else) lyrics should be deleted too."

mkultra : "I hate this kind of lame equivocating when people attempt to justify offensive stuff here."

Huh? Mendel's comment wasn't equivocation or an attempt to justify offensive stuff, it was saying "this is bad, and should be deleted, and so should other "share your favorite / most hated / whatever lyrics" posts".

thehmsbeagle : "there's a pretty pronounced element of glee about some of the responses."

True, but in this case I don't get the feeling that it's latent misogyny, it is just the same kind of glee people have when watching a splattercore movie. Laughing at insanely gory movies doesn't indicate some sort of latent approval of murder.
posted by Bugbread at 10:09 AM on January 25, 2007


(Um, I meant that in reference to the people who suggested the topic was better suited to a front page post.)
posted by veronica sawyer at 10:10 AM on January 25, 2007


Flag it and move on. Flag it and move on. Flag it and move on. Flag it and move on. Flag it and move on. Flag it and move on. Flag it and move on. Flag it and move on. Flag it and move on. Flag it and move on. Flag it and move on. Flag it and move on. Flag it and move on. Flag it and move on. Flag it and move on. Flag it and move on. Flag it and move on. Flag it and move on. Flag it and move on. Flag it and move on. Flag it and move on. Flag it and move on. Flag it and move on. Flag it and move on. Flag it and move on. FLAG IT AND MOVE ON!

How many times does it need to be repeated until you get it?
posted by Dave Faris at 10:10 AM on January 25, 2007


Echoing what rmm said, I find it bizarre how many lyrics rather than links are in this thread. Definitely stinks of shock-value posting and one-upmanship, which seems to me a reiteration of the glee these rappers display in singing such audacious things. It's not exactly respectful to women to toss these lyrics around the web, you know. A link would be in better taste.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 10:10 AM on January 25, 2007


As this is a callout of more or less the entire thread, I feel vaguely obligated to explain myself.

I view hard core rap and hip hop as basically akin to horror movies; they're over the top disturbing, and we're drawn to them because they're disturbing, not because they represent our actual beliefs somehow. It's an outrageous examination of a really quite horrifying aspect of our culture.

Now if you want to make the case that even a satirically/critically mysogynist song can have a negative impact, since not all listeners approach it with an academic stance - I'm sure you'd be right. And yet, I'm sure it's perceived the other way, too; I know lots of hip hop fans, men and women, people who've read Andrea Dworkin and people who've never heard of her, and not one of them is abusive or hateful towards women. If the poster of that question is one of the really mysogynistic, non-critical thinkers, then that does give the thread kind of a gross feel. But that's not the only way to approach the topic, and he's not the only one who'll see it.

And I hope this doesn't come off as "some of my best FRIENDS are feminsts!" I just mean that it's possible to discuss this topic without naively accepting the surface content of the lyrics.
posted by rkent at 10:11 AM on January 25, 2007


Is it any worse than asking about misogynist lyrics from the 1950's? "Johnny Get Angry" and "He Hit Me (and it felt like a kiss)" sprung to mind when I read this thread. Both questions are about pop culture, and this one just happens to be current.

For me, this is different than Meatbomb's question (re: offensive jokes), because it's not like someone is going to go around repeating these lyrics to negative effect. When my sister forgets to empty the dishwasher, it's not like now I'll be able to say, "Yo, bitch wake up; you stupid ass, dirty ass, nasty ass slut."
posted by unknowncommand at 10:13 AM on January 25, 2007


Dave Faris : "Flag it and move on. Flag it and move on. Flag it and move on. Flag it and move on. Flag it and move on. Flag it and move on. Flag it and move on. Flag it and move on. Flag it and move on. Flag it and move on. Flag it and move on. Flag it and move on. Flag it and move on. Flag it and move on. Flag it and move on. Flag it and move on. Flag it and move on. Flag it and move on. Flag it and move on. Flag it and move on. Flag it and move on. Flag it and move on. Flag it and move on. Flag it and move on. Flag it and move on. FLAG IT AND MOVE ON!

How many times does it need to be repeated until you get it?"


Get what?

That that's what you want us to do?
- You only need to say it once, we'll believe you.

To get that "it works, and is the best way to enforce community norms"?
- In that case, I don't think there's a magic number of repetitions at which people will get it. You'll need to provide some evidence.
posted by Bugbread at 10:16 AM on January 25, 2007


I flagged Dave Faris' post.
posted by dead_ at 10:17 AM on January 25, 2007


And moved on.
posted by dead_ at 10:18 AM on January 25, 2007


thank god I barely understand half of what they're rapping about anyway
posted by matteo at 10:19 AM on January 25, 2007


It's not exactly respectful to women to toss these lyrics around the web, you know. A link would be in better taste.

Actually, a link would generate added pagerank confidence for the linked lyrics, potentially increasing their visibility in the long term. So, in that sense, not linking is a more respectful way to contain such things.

The distinction is really kind of silly and technical. Any one who feels that reading such lyrics would be an unrewarding or too-unpleasant experience would pass the thread by.
posted by cortex at 10:22 AM on January 25, 2007


Confidential to Dave Faris: god help you if you'd put blink tags around that.
posted by cortex at 10:23 AM on January 25, 2007


Dave Faris: "..."

Geez, man. It's just a metatalk thread. How painful can it be for you?
posted by koeselitz at 10:27 AM on January 25, 2007


Is it any worse than asking about misogynist lyrics from the 1950's? "Johnny Get Angry" and "He Hit Me (and it felt like a kiss)" sprung to mind when I read this thread.

Seriously. "Brown Sugar," anyone, or "Under My Thumb"?
posted by Skot at 10:31 AM on January 25, 2007


I am the one who started the thread. I was actually only asking for song titles. The quoting of choruses was not something that was explicitly asked for in the question.

No?

So, I ask you MeFites, what are the most woman-hatingest lyrics you've ever heard? Oh, our contest also allows for lyrics about women double-crossing the rapper, or the rapper talking about how stuck-up a woman or group of women are and what he'd like to do to them as a result.

You may not have been asking for"choruses" but neither does the word "titles" appear anywhere in the question. However, "lyrics" was explicitly asked for in the question.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 10:33 AM on January 25, 2007


In one of my bands, we cover "Under My Thumb" right now. Lyrically, there's a very "ehhhhh...sketchy..." feeling, but it's a tremendous goddam pop song.
posted by cortex at 10:35 AM on January 25, 2007


cortex: You're entitled to that technically sound opinion, but it's definitely more damaging to my sense of belonging in a community to see these lyrics parroted by many voices in the space I choose to inhabit than referred to by name in links I can choose not to click.

And again, I disagree that I should have passed the thread by on the basis of not wanting to read hundreds of slurs. The question didn't ask for such a thing. It asked for songs.

That said, Feminist women love Eminem! ;)
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 10:39 AM on January 25, 2007


Okay so songs vs. lyrics wasn't clear. I came down on the side of expecting songs to be referred, as did the OP.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 10:43 AM on January 25, 2007


And again, I disagree that I should have passed the thread by on the basis of not wanting to read hundreds of slurs. The question didn't ask for such a thing. It asked for songs.

But, again, if the clear intent of the thread was to catalogue (whether via quotes of or links to) such lyrics, and reading such lyrics would bother you, why would you go into the thread? To look at but pointedly refrain from clicking on the links you expected to find? Links that almost necessarily would have similarly (if less voluminously) misogynist title text?
posted by cortex at 10:53 AM on January 25, 2007


Once more, our telepathic abilities have failed an innocent AskMe poster. Even though he asked for "woman-hatingest lyrics," we should have known he wanted song titles. The shame!
posted by Kirth Gerson at 10:53 AM on January 25, 2007


MetaFilter: Smack my bitch up.

broads of kanadaaaaaa


tetsuo?





.

posted by loquacious at 10:59 AM on January 25, 2007


See, the obvious solution is to ask for rap music that is respectful to women! Nobody gets offended by the post, which is much, much, shorter. Then, the Asker and his buddies can go down to the Rap section of the music store, pick out the dozen CDs that aren't hateful to women, set them aside, look at what's left, and have the answer to their real question.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 11:02 AM on January 25, 2007


I gave two answers, both with quotes of the lyrics in order to show why I thought that those particular songs were examples of songs with misogynistic lyrics. These songs exist, this person asked about them, I knew of a few, and I answered his question. I don't think telling people about the existence of songs that have sold millions of copies is making the world a worse place. I am not sure why this is different than the racist jokes question. I think that it is a gray area. It may be bad though.
posted by ND¢ at 11:03 AM on January 25, 2007


Green Eyed Monster: you are incredibly ignorant about an entire genre of music.

pick out the dozen CDs that aren't hateful to women

Ha, ha. Clearly never been in the rap section, have you?
posted by dead_ at 11:04 AM on January 25, 2007


cortex, come on, I'm not fainting dead away here. I'm not bothered, even, by the content. The lyrics don't bother me, I've got some of them memorized.

My critique comes from my surprise at how many posters blithely inserted large portions of hateful lyrics for all to see, and find such a pile-on more indicative of their joy in posting shocking material than their interest in keeping misogyny at arm's length while obliging the OP by referring to the misogynist content.

I'm not running home to cry about this. It is a very popular and lengthy askme thread today, and it's my critical thinker's job to wonder why.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:04 AM on January 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


I don't mean to imply that you are some be-vapored little thing, Ambrosia Voyeur, but, again, I see the distinction as questionable. If there's anything wrong with that thread, there would be nothing less wrong with it if people had religiously (and arbitrarily, and in my opinion counter-intuitively) constrained their answers to quoteless links.

"blithely inserting large portions of hateful lyrics" was answering the question. The lack of consistent explicit tongue-clucking doesn't seem like the make-or-break issue.
posted by cortex at 11:10 AM on January 25, 2007


I thought the question, as stated, was borderline but keepable and the title was shitty but I don't have to like every question. By the time I checked back in with it (after trying to find that NWA or Eazy-E song about keeping vaginas in the freezer, gross stuff) people were posting all these really skeevy lyrics which made the thread seem creepier than before. That said, I think this says more about the individual posters and whatever they get out of posting crappy anti-women lyrics (yes, that they did not write) than about the question, as Ambrosia Voyeur said.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:16 AM on January 25, 2007


I agree that it's questionable, and I think we're jointly describing that gray, fuzzy boundary from two sides of it. I hold to the idea that actually bringing that shit in my house by the barrowful, is, nastier than chiming in thunderously on where to get it, so to speak, but that is so my opinion.

I mean, I posted here trying to find a valid reason to feel appalled that so many knew so raunchy so fast. That's the only thing that freaks me out about this kind of music at all, is that it's got what seems to me to be an unusually large footprint for the specific type of nastiness it contains.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:20 AM on January 25, 2007


I'm not ignorant, I know there's plenty of rap out there that is respectful. I guess you didn't pick up on the joke. I'm sorry, my comment wasn't sensitive to people who either congenitally for from an accident, lack funny bones.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 11:21 AM on January 25, 2007


I think reasons matter and the fact that it is for some childish joke is beyond grody. I wish it would be deleted, but I'm not surprised it isn't.
posted by dame at 11:21 AM on January 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


I mean, I posted here trying to find a valid reason to feel appalled that so many knew so raunchy so fast...
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:20 AM PST on January 25

It was the early to mid 90's. I was in junior high. All the other guys were doing it. Now it is just nostalgia.
posted by ND¢ at 11:23 AM on January 25, 2007


Green Eyed Monster: Sorry for missing the joke. I guess it's just that kind of day for me today. Also, sorry for calling you ignorant.
posted by dead_ at 11:23 AM on January 25, 2007


I don't like the name tag between your toes.
I don't like the snot running out of your nose.
I don't like the stains on your pantyhose - just your cold stiff body when I hold you close.
I love rigor mortis when it just sets in.
I know where you're goin' I don't care where you've been.
A pillow in a coffin's just as good as a bed and baby how I love it when you fuck me dead.
Baby how I love it when you fuck me dead.

Every new girl's another three day affair.
I got to be gentle not to pull out your hair.
It really doesn't matter if she's gray haired and old.
It really doesn't matter if she's too young and cold.

Smiling in emergency a drag your O.K.
I'd rather make it with you when you're DOA.
Lying there stiff when it's time to play.
I can't wait till the undertaker goes away.
Hanging upside down when you're getting drained.
S&M pleasure on the wall when you're chained.
When you splatter love juices still remain and baby how I love you when you fuck me dead.
Baby I love it when you fuck me dead.

Baby, baby, I'll hold you close.
Quick, quick before you decompose.
Baby how I love it when you fuck me dead.
Baby how I love it when you fuck me dead.
Baby how I love it when you fuck.


*drops mic*

Goodnight, Internet-land.
posted by jonmc at 11:33 AM on January 25, 2007


It's alright, I still love you. (don't tell my boyfriend)
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 11:34 AM on January 25, 2007


The problem isn't the "asking" or the "discussing" -- it's the obvious "enjoying" inherent in the question.
posted by footnote at 11:37 AM on January 25, 2007


Ambrosia Voyeur, I think you've described our disagreement well. It may come down to this:

I hold to the idea that actually bringing that shit in my house by the barrowful, is, nastier than chiming in thunderously on where to get it, so to speak, but that is so my opinion.

I don't see it as my house so much as a room at a (generally well-behaved and quasi-chaperoned) party, neh?

That's the only thing that freaks me out about this kind of music at all, is that it's got what seems to me to be an unusually large footprint for the specific type of nastiness it contains.

By its audacity it is memorable; and the nastier oldschool stuff I remember, and in a few cases can recite verbatim, was learned from chanting recitations on the middle school bus. It's like a dirty joke, or a Lenny Bruce bit, or anything else that stands out on the merit of its construction and the dissonance of its message.

I can see why it'd freak you out a little bit, but people retain, and take pleasure at retaining, all kinds of things positive and negative. There is a neutral joy in applicable, on-demand recall; I'd argue even that this is the very engine that powers AskMe. That the things recalled are tasteless may be ancillary or paramount to the person enjoying being able to answer usefully, I think.
posted by cortex at 11:37 AM on January 25, 2007


jonmc: that'd better be in Canadian, so it rhymes.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:38 AM on January 25, 2007


The problem isn't the "asking" or the "discussing" -- it's the obvious "enjoying" inherent in the question.

The flipside is the feeling the that problem is in the willful reading of the worst possible motives into the "enjoying". Never ascribe to malice and etc.
posted by cortex at 11:42 AM on January 25, 2007


Wow, jon, you're totally obnoxious. I almost forgot.
posted by dame at 11:44 AM on January 25, 2007


(As a point of comparison, I found this question to be in considerably poorer taste. The content was milder by yards, but the explicit motivation was much shittier.)
posted by cortex at 11:46 AM on January 25, 2007


Pfft. Sack up.

sorry.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 11:47 AM on January 25, 2007


cortex, You know, if I had the ability to imagine that even half the people who know all the words to as many filthy rap songs as I do are in fact as well-balanced, sex-positive and politically progressive as I am, I'd be a remarkable optimist! I value optimism.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:51 AM on January 25, 2007


I posted lyrics. I was just pointing out the absurdity of a rap song, and I even juxtaposed it against a Beatles song to show that misogyny is not monopolized by rappers.

I do think it's odd and a bit unsettling that it was for a contest and in retrospect I probably wouldn't have posted had the purpose of the post registered with me. I regret offending people but I felt it necessary to point out, however cryptically, that misogyny is not just a rap thing.

Peace, Love, U.N.I.T.Y.
posted by cloeburner at 11:52 AM on January 25, 2007


**blows kisses**
posted by jonmc at 11:57 AM on January 25, 2007


Would you be OK with a post asking for "the best Polish jokes" or "the harshest insults for homosexuals"?

No, because it's goddamn chatfilter.
posted by mendel at 12:14 PM on January 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


What a pointless load of malarkey.

I don't like most hip hop, I despise misogyny, but I hateses this MeTa most of all.
Well said, OmieWise & veronica sawyer.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 12:21 PM on January 25, 2007


Nice, loquacious.
posted by clockzero at 12:33 PM on January 25, 2007


Maybe the question shouldn't have been deleted (I think it should have been) but it certainly never should have been posted. It was locker-room guy talk, the kind of thing those boys who posted it probably wouldn't have engaged in in a mixed-gender crowd of friends. Askme is great for asking questions you'd be embarassed to ask in public, but I don't think that should be a reason to discard all social norms of politeness.
posted by footnote at 12:48 PM on January 25, 2007


You know, if I had the ability to imagine that even half the people who know all the words to as many filthy rap songs as I do are in fact as well-balanced, sex-positive and politically progressive as I am, I'd be a remarkable optimist!

Surely you have the ability to imagine that more than half those people are somewhere between being as well-balanced, sex-positive and politically progressive as you are (we're presuming that would Very, yes?) and mouth-breathing, woman-hating misogynists, though. Like, actual human beings deserving of the benefit of the doubt and capable of quoting a thing without believing a thing?
posted by cortex at 12:54 PM on January 25, 2007 [2 favorites]


jonmc's predictable, dame. and. so. edgy.
posted by sleepy pete at 1:11 PM on January 25, 2007


Yes, I can imagine that. I never suggested that the posters believed in the sentiment behind the posted lyrics. My previous comment was meant to express my self-rebuke at not giving people the benefit of the doubt that they, too, might have tongue planted in cheek when they "appreciate" this kind of thing, rather than simply thinking it rules, and unquestioningly allowing it to proliferate in the lexicon without appropriate comment. The latter was my evaluation of the thread.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 1:12 PM on January 25, 2007


Gotcha.
posted by cortex at 1:15 PM on January 25, 2007


Also, I have to say, that thread is complete bullshit. I don't see any legitimacy in the "we didn't write it" or "they don't really mean it" nonsense that some people are bringing up here, it's just a way to avoid dealing with the ugly reality of misogyny. It's attitudes like those that enable misogyny and are complicit with misogyny by assuming the disingenuous role of the innocent bystander. Everybody is broken-hearted when they hear stories every goddamn day about women being killed and abused by men, but somehow many people can't seem to muster the courage to stand up to everyday misogyny. It's not ok, ever, and when you pass it along and act like you're not involved, you are arguably part of the problem. Sorry to get on a soapbox, but this really bothers me. There are a whole lot of good people doing nothing when it comes to this kind of thing.
posted by clockzero at 1:16 PM on January 25, 2007 [4 favorites]


clockzero, the purpose of music (or any art) is to express yourself, and that dosen't mean just your shining moments. Are you saying we should only listen to music that view women as perfect and wonderful? That would leave us what-the Lilith Fair chicks and the Carpenters, I guess. Sounds like fun listening.
posted by jonmc at 1:29 PM on January 25, 2007


I don't see any legitimacy in the "we didn't write it" or "they don't really mean it" nonsense....somehow many people can't seem to muster the courage to stand up to everyday misogyny.

What an unfair statement. Post hoc fallacy, too. You assume because a small portion of the mefi community (or the population at large, whatever) can rattle off misogynist lyrics, that they're all a bunch of womenhaters? You can't say that, and you don't know that.

I also know Skrewdriver lyrics. Does that make me a skinhead?
posted by veronica sawyer at 1:30 PM on January 25, 2007


It's attitudes like those that enable misogyny and are complicit with misogyny by assuming the disingenuous role of the innocent bystander.

Misogynistic assholes actually espousing and acting on misogynistic beliefs, and people explicitly praising those statements on the merits of their content are enabling and complicit in misogyny.
posted by cortex at 1:32 PM on January 25, 2007


I don't think that's what clockzero, said, veronica sawyer.
posted by dame at 1:33 PM on January 25, 2007


Your favorite misogynist gangsta rapper sucks (and lies about getting sucked).
posted by Burhanistan at 1:34 PM on January 25, 2007


Please, clockzero, will you clarify what you meant by that, then? I ask this because when I'm not sitting at my desk arguing with people on the interweb, I actually do spend time standing up to misogyny.
posted by veronica sawyer at 1:38 PM on January 25, 2007


Are you saying we should only listen to music that view women as perfect and wonderful?

You actually see that as what cz is saying? If I don't like misogynistic Hip-Hop, I can only listen to Lilith Faire? Do you look at everything in such a binary fashion?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 1:44 PM on January 25, 2007


No, kirth, I'm saying this. In the misogyny-free music world will songs like "Under My Thumb" "Like A Rolling Stone" and "Stay With Me" (all of which many people consider sexist) be off limits? Sexist or not, they're legitamite expressions (and great songs) of something genuine. But apparently we should 'stand up to them.'
posted by jonmc at 1:48 PM on January 25, 2007


clockzero : "It's not ok, ever, and when you pass it along and act like you're not involved, you are arguably part of the problem."

Yeah. And murder isn't ok, ever, and when you laugh at that scene in Dead Alive where the zombie entrails kill someone, you're arguably part of the problem.
posted by Bugbread at 2:05 PM on January 25, 2007


It boils down to this, for me: If it had been, "Tell me the most racist lyrics out there so I can win this contest," I don't think it would have stayed up. If the mods think that one would be fine, then ok. But if not...then this one isn't acceptable either.
posted by agregoli at 2:09 PM on January 25, 2007


Threads like this might be unpleasant, but they are still informative. The same way that post that dios just made but was mysteriously deleted tells us a lot about him. The bliss of ignorance does not justify its maintenance.
posted by troybob at 2:16 PM on January 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


If it had been, "Tell me the most racist lyrics out there so I can win this contest," I don't think it would have stayed up.

I think this is both true and unfortunate. I would enjoy such a thread, the same way I enjoyed this one. Maybe I'm easily entertained, but so what?

Are you people really this delicate, that you can't handle words on a screen?
posted by Bookhouse at 2:16 PM on January 25, 2007


I find it almost laughable that the same people who think a harsh, serious response to an Ask Me question is bad because it supposedly deters people from asking honest questions about personal matters DON'T think that a room full of white boys quoting their favorite misogynist rap lyrics at each other in order to win a contest isn't somehow going to make a black woman want to stop visiting the entire site altogether.
posted by The Straightener at 2:16 PM on January 25, 2007


Are you people really this delicate, that you can't handle words on a screen?

Riiiight, because disagreeing that this is a great AskMe post means that we're all sitting here sobbing our eyes out over it. Can we dispense with the delicate flower jokes?
posted by agregoli at 2:20 PM on January 25, 2007


I find it almost laughable that the same people

Neither here nor there on your larger assertion, but I'm curious if you're actually cross-referencing usernames between the two threads. Which ones are the same people?
posted by cortex at 2:20 PM on January 25, 2007


I didn't click to see the [more inside], but I (apparently charitably) assumed the question was for some kind of gender studies research. As it is, the question is pretty much crap, and a poor use of Ask.
posted by knave at 2:25 PM on January 25, 2007


because disagreeing that this is a great AskMe post means that we're all sitting here sobbing our eyes out over it.

Um:

make a black woman want to stop visiting the entire site altogether.

Must be a real crap post, then.
posted by Bookhouse at 2:30 PM on January 25, 2007


And I speak for everyone, huh? Take off those disingenious pants, they're constricting your logic center.
posted by agregoli at 2:31 PM on January 25, 2007


cortex, he might mean me, I made strong statements in at least one MeTa thread disagreeing with The Straightener's characterization of the an Askme questioner, and I've argued here that this AskMe should not be deleted. But, to clarify, I didn't take issue with strong answers to the question, in AskMe, to the Asker's question. I took issue, in two different threads, in MeTa, to comments that seemed more designed to insult him than to help him.
posted by OmieWise at 2:34 PM on January 25, 2007


cortex : "I'm curious if you're actually cross-referencing usernames between the two threads. Which ones are the same people?"

I'm going to make the bold guess that:
1) He isn't cross-referencing names but just saying "the same people who do A do B" because it makes his rhetoric seem more powerful and gives him more satisfaction looking back at what he typed and thinking "Man, I told them!!"
2) He also probably isn't checking if the authors are white or not before calling them white boys, for the same reason as in 1 above.

I'm making those two assumptions for two reasons:
1) They just seem really likely.
2) It gives my counterargument more punch, and gives me more satisfaction looking back at what I typed and thinking, "Man, I told him!!"
posted by Bugbread at 2:34 PM on January 25, 2007


And, Bookhouse, the answer to "Are you people really this delicate, that you can't handle words on a screen?" is, pretty much anywhere, in regards to any topic, "No, some of us can't, but yes, some of us can".
posted by Bugbread at 2:36 PM on January 25, 2007


Neither here nor there on your larger assertion, but I'm curious if you're actually cross-referencing usernames between the two threads. Which ones are the same people?

Not important and don't have time for that. Be uniform. If the feelings of the audience of the thread including the thread starter and its potential readers is a genuine issue to you, if you are truly concerned about group standards and their degrading through Ask Me responses do not, PLEASE, do not come to the defense of the thread in question here. If you do it's out of some misguided freespeech notion that isn't applicable when what is in question is the kind of community you want to be a part of and the kind of interaction it encourages or deters.

I would hope dudes would be above kicking into a thread like that not only because it makes you look dork but because by creating a compendium of the most heinous words ever spoken at black women you're very potentially making a sister out in the ether somewhere feel like complete shit. Seriously, look at the women's responses in this thread, I'm not making that up.

Rise above that kind of dumb shit. I mean, I'm all for dumb shit as a general rule but not at the risk of alienating an entire segment of society that I think this group could use a lot more input from (i.e., black women).
posted by The Straightener at 2:37 PM on January 25, 2007


And I speak for everyone, huh?

I'm sorry, I'm not trying to target you agregoll. I agreed with your basic point. What I'm saying is that I find it unfortunate that people in general, not you in specific, get so worked up --- which is why your point was correct, even if I don't think it should be. I should have been clearer that I didn't mean you specifically.
posted by Bookhouse at 2:42 PM on January 25, 2007


Not important and don't have time for that. Be uniform.

Wow.
posted by cortex at 2:44 PM on January 25, 2007


I find it unfortunate that mysogyny is alive and kicking on Metafilter every week.
posted by agregoli at 2:49 PM on January 25, 2007


The feelings or motivations of the people involved in the thread are irrelevant, as are those of the readers, whichever way they go on the issue. (Really, what kind of trend would we be starting to question the true motivations of any thread/question posted here?) This thread revealed something useful to know about how our culture is talking about women. (Myself, I knew of this kind of attitude in rap, but only in an abstract way; the examples are illustrative and shocking.) Wouldn't we rather more people be aware of that, rather than saying that it should not be discussed or shown to us? Immature responders notwithstanding, I would tend to trust the intelligence and quality of the MetaFilter community to get the difference between illustration and endorsement, and to make some good, if disappointing, realizations about the culture as a result.
posted by troybob at 2:50 PM on January 25, 2007


I woke up this morning, threw on my Lilith Fair '99 T-shirt, and went off on my way. Came home to mefi and saw this askme thread. Now I hate women.

Fuck you matthowie.
posted by bardic at 2:52 PM on January 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


The Straightener : "If the feelings of the audience of the thread including the thread starter and its potential readers is a genuine issue to you, if you are truly concerned about group standards and their degrading through Ask Me responses do not, PLEASE, do not come to the defense of the thread in question here."

If you're going to make arguments like "the same people who do A do B" without actually checking, even slightly, whether it's the same people or not, PLEASE, do not even make an argument on either side of the discussion. It's useless. You may as well say "I find it laughable that the same people who oppose the thread because it might scare off readers have no problem whatsoever with posting videos of child pornography". Whether your position has merit or not, your argument just becomes a useless non-sequitor.
posted by Bugbread at 2:57 PM on January 25, 2007


The Straightener: "I mean, I'm all for dumb shit as a general rule but not at the risk of alienating an entire segment of society that I think this group could use a lot more input from (i.e., black women)."

Just a tiny point: where exactly is it written that hip-hop only alienates black women? I'm trying hard to remember the last hip-hop record I heard that actually differentiated between black and white women, or gave differing levels of respect to one group or the other.

posted by koeselitz at 3:08 PM on January 25, 2007


jonmc:

No, I'm not saying that. Do you think that women who are not "perfect and wonderful" are deserving of abuse and violence? The kind of music being referred to in that AskMe question is not averring that there exist women who are human beings, that is, not absolutely perfect; it normalizes utterly pathological and frankly very disturbing attitudes about women and sex.

veronica-
What an unfair statement. Post hoc fallacy, too. You assume because a small portion of the mefi community (or the population at large, whatever) can rattle off misogynist lyrics, that they're all a bunch of womenhaters? You can't say that, and you don't know that. I also know Skrewdriver lyrics. Does that make me a skinhead?...Please, clockzero, will you clarify what you meant by that, then? I ask this because when I'm not sitting at my desk arguing with people on the interweb, I actually do spend time standing up to misogyny.

Actually, it's not a post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy, if that's what you meant, and neither is it unfair. I didn't say that anyone here is a womanhater, but I wouldn't be surprised if there were some people with misogynistic attitudes. My interest is not in labelling anyone. It's in pointing out how acceptable it is to talk about violence against women like it's either not a big deal or a total abstraction.

Misogynistic assholes actually espousing and acting on misogynistic beliefs, and people explicitly praising those statements on the merits of their content are enabling and complicit in misogyny.

What you're saying is true, cortex, but misogynistic attitudes don't just come out of nowhere. It would certainly be nice for decent men to have a clean conscience because they don't personally engage in violence against women or praise such acts, but if we really care about it and if we're going to be honest with ourselves, we can't just sit back and feel good about our lack of involvement in the whole business while misogyny and violence continue all around us. There are lots of people who may not appear to be "misogynistic assholes" but nevertheless have misogynistic attitudes.

On preview

bugbread:
Yeah. And murder isn't ok, ever, and when you laugh at that scene in Dead Alive where the zombie entrails kill someone, you're arguably part of the problem.

It's not the same at all. If you can't see the difference, maybe you should read some feminist scholarship.
posted by clockzero at 3:09 PM on January 25, 2007


As someone who posted some lyrics in the thread in question, let me state for the record that many, many years ago I did a zine. This zine had an issue themed around guns and violence. As part of that issue, I had an article about violent lyrics in song (going all the way back to early R&B/R'N'R like "Knock Her Down").

The lyrics I was able to quote (Schoolly D & Geto Boys) are also from this article, and that is why I remember them. Also for the record, the issue was anti-guns and violence, and not pro.

It seems kind of ridiculous to have to actually state these things, but the way this meta thread was going, I figured it might be wise. Thanks to dead for dropping some science on misandric MCs.
posted by stinkycheese at 3:16 PM on January 25, 2007


So, where do we stand on dead baby jokes?
posted by Bookhouse at 3:18 PM on January 25, 2007


There are lots of people who may not appear to be "misogynistic assholes" but nevertheless have misogynistic attitudes.

Undoubtedly true—but what good does knowing that do us? How are we to react, in the absense of any appearance of misogyny? By loudly and explicitly disclaimering any discussion that touches on misogynist speech?

Had every comment in that thread been preceded by "I detest the message contained herein, but here's some applicable lyrics", would that change the balance of that thread's worthiness?

I'm not arguing that below-the-radar misogyny (and racism, and homophobia, and classism, and and and) don't exist or aren't a problem, but I find the condemnation in the absence of negative evidence problematic. Intelligent people should not be required to spend a chunk of every conversation they have about a difficult topic droning on about how terrible the topic is, and should certainly not be presumed to be unwilling to speak up in more contentious contexts.
posted by cortex at 3:21 PM on January 25, 2007


I'm strongly in favor of feminist principles, but I have to say that the suggestion to "read some feminist scholarship" tends to be otherwise known as advocating a "humorectomy."
posted by troybob at 3:22 PM on January 25, 2007


troybob: Yeah, I like the idea of feminism, the problem is all those feminists!

It needs to be said: it ain't the same when women do it. Violent fantasies of women attacking men can't carry nearly the cultural weight that men's fantasies do. Plus: Peaches loves dicks! She wants you to shake 'em, not mutilate 'em!

I say the problem with the AskMe thread is intent and tone in the original text. Same with the "fatso" thread. Ugh. Worth deleting for that reason.
posted by wemayfreeze at 3:39 PM on January 25, 2007


So, where do we stand on dead baby jokes?

Upwind.
posted by Divine_Wino at 3:51 PM on January 25, 2007


Dead-Baby-Joke.com.
posted by ericb at 4:47 PM on January 25, 2007


Depends on which flavor the babies are. If they're strawberry, we're outraged. Otherwise, it's just another day at the dead baby factory.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:58 PM on January 25, 2007


clockzero : "If you can't see the difference, maybe you should read some feminist scholarship."

If you can't see the similarity, maybe you've read too much.
posted by Bugbread at 5:09 PM on January 25, 2007


cortex:

Undoubtedly true—but what good does knowing that do us? How are we to react, in the absense of any appearance of misogyny? By loudly and explicitly disclaimering any discussion that touches on misogynist speech?

Knowing that does us a lot of good, because it helps us to make sense of the fact that most violence against women is committed by men who may not even seem or be abnormal in many areas of their lives; rape, domestic abuse, and other sorts of sociopathic behavior targeted at women and girls are not the acts of disconnected, psychotic criminals, although they may engage in them also, but a rather more common and socially-rooted phenomenon. We don't need to know how to solve a problem just to acknowledge its existence, and without acknowledging it nothing will ever get accomplished.

Had every comment in that thread been preceded by "I detest the message contained herein, but here's some applicable lyrics", would that change the balance of that thread's worthiness?

I think it would have been encouraging to see some more condemnation of the spirit of those songs in the original thread, yes.

I'm not arguing that below-the-radar misogyny (and racism, and homophobia, and classism, and and and) don't exist or aren't a problem, but I find the condemnation in the absence of negative evidence problematic.

I'm not sure what you mean by the absence of negative evidence.

Intelligent people should not be required to spend a chunk of every conversation they have about a difficult topic droning on about how terrible the topic is, and should certainly not be presumed to be unwilling to speak up in more contentious contexts.

Well, I think it's both wrong and self-serving to imply that intelligent people either cannot be misogynistic or are somehow deserving of a dispensation when it comes to important social issues. In addition, I wasn't saying, and I don't think anyone else was saying, that you or any other intelligent people are unwilling to speak up. But I think we both know that most people, and more importantly most men, regardless of their cognitive sophistication, usually don't.
posted by clockzero at 5:14 PM on January 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


bugbread, honestly, the two situations are just not analogous.
posted by clockzero at 5:16 PM on January 25, 2007


clockzero: you didn't answer my question.

"Under My Thumb", "Like A Rolling Stone", "Stay With Me". All songs that could be (and have been) described as sexist or misogynist. Also, all rock and roll classics and brilliant works of art. Must we 'stand up' to them, too?
posted by jonmc at 5:20 PM on January 25, 2007


I don't find the question disturbing. What I find disturbing is that there are people making millions from these songs. Because that means people are buying them and enjoy this type of thing. But then again I listen to the misfits on occasion. Damn, I'm such a hypocrite.
posted by IronLizard at 5:36 PM on January 25, 2007


We don't need to know how to solve a problem just to acknowledge its existence, and without acknowledging it nothing will ever get accomplished.

But unless there is some flexibility—some willingness to extend the benefit of the doubt to folks with a clean record for the sake of normal conversation—this suggests the sort of compulsory disclaimerism I mentioned earlier.

I'm not sure what you mean by the absence of negative evidence.

I'm talking, and have been talking, largely about the real case of this site. The one we're on. In scanning through the thread in question, I didn't see any statements of support for the misogynistic content of the lyrics. I didn't see anyone saying, "yeah, you know, women are bitches, man!"

I hear the argument that simply contributing citations to misogynistic lyrics could be taken as some sort of tacit approval of the messages therein, but I think that such a presumption is out of line in that context. Someone who started dropping Necro lyrics into random threads without explanation, sure. But quoting misogynistic lyrics in a thread documenting misogynistic lyrics is not an aggressive act. That'd be like banning the word "nigger" from a discussion of American black history: a discussion where everyone had to say "the n-word (and I abhor that word!)" every time it came up would be a discussion worth avoiding, frankly.

Well, I think it's both wrong and self-serving to imply that intelligent people either cannot be misogynistic or are somehow deserving of a dispensation when it comes to important social issues.

Agreed. It's just that it's equally wrong and self-serving to assume that people must be willfully condoning, approving, or harboring misogynistic feelings just because they don't, to a one, go tediously out of their way to declare that they aren't a misogynist in a discussion of misogynist pop-literature.
posted by cortex at 5:36 PM on January 25, 2007


jonmc:

I don't think I said we should "stand up" to songs, per se, because that doesn't make any sense. I do think that there's a big, essential qualitative difference between all of the songs you mentioned and the kind of vileness in the rap songs that were lyrically reproduced in that AskMe thread.

As for the songs you mention. I think "Under My Thumb" could be reasonably described as misogynistic if you discount the possibility of an implied narrator, so to speak, in which case it becomes more like a description of a complicated relationship, but I think it's too subtle and psychologically aware to be so simply condemned. Still, I can see why someone would say that. "Stay With Me" is sort of ambiguous; he's obviously talking about a prostitute, but I think we're supposed to hear him being embittered, desperate and alone as well. And the Dylan song, well, I think it's fatuous to say something like that about it.

So I don't think they're really comparable. Does that answer your question?
posted by clockzero at 5:52 PM on January 25, 2007


Yes, but not very well.

"Like A Rolling Stone" has been described by a feminist critic who's name escapes me as basically a six-minute harangue of a steretypical 'rich bitch.' The Faces song, I've always understood to be about groupies and a portrait of either boys-night-out licentiousness or on-the-road dissolution, and "Under My Thumb?" C'mon, it's Mick Jagger.

(as far as the over-the-top rap lyrics go, they come from the same culture that spawns Howard Stern, South Park, Insane Clown Posse and splatter movies. Namely, it's a bunch of people sitting around saying 'how fucking offensive can we be?' basically because it's kind of fun to see people get all prissy and shocked. it's kind of like playing Slayer records in church.)

My central point is this: music like any other art is about self-expression and sometimes that means expressing problematic, difficult or ugly thoughts and emotions. I wouldn't want to live in a world where it wasn't so.
posted by jonmc at 6:02 PM on January 25, 2007


Have you ever seen peaches
Grow on a sweet potato vine?

Move over, mama
Get your big leg off of mine.
posted by breezeway at 6:07 PM on January 25, 2007


cortex:

But unless there is some flexibility—some willingness to extend the benefit of the doubt to folks with a clean record for the sake of normal conversation—this suggests the sort of compulsory disclaimerism I mentioned earlier.

I'm not sure what you mean by this; unless there is some flexibility, this [lack of "flexibility] suggests disclaimerism? What?

I'm talking, and have been talking, largely about the real case of this site. The one we're on. In scanning through the thread in question, I didn't see any statements of support for the misogynistic content of the lyrics. I didn't see anyone saying, "yeah, you know, women are bitches, man!"

That is true, I don't think anyone said that.

I hear the argument that simply contributing citations to misogynistic lyrics could be taken as some sort of tacit approval of the messages therein, but I think that such a presumption is out of line in that context.

I think it's important to make a big deal about misogyny. I don't care where it's supposed to be coming from or what the putative relationship of the propagators to the actual material is. There's no way for us to really know what they think, and it's completely beside the point.

Someone who started dropping Necro lyrics into random threads without explanation, sure. But quoting misogynistic lyrics in a thread documenting misogynistic lyrics is not an aggressive act.


I think both the initial question and the subsequent responses are problematic.

That'd be like banning the word "nigger" from a discussion of American black history: a discussion where everyone had to say "the n-word (and I abhor that word!)" every time it came up would be a discussion worth avoiding, frankly.

Why does it stress you out so much to acknowledge injustice? Why do you make it sound like you're being so dreadfully, unacceptably inconvenienced?

Agreed. It's just that it's equally wrong and self-serving to assume that people must be willfully condoning, approving, or harboring misogynistic feelings just because they don't, to a one, go tediously out of their way to declare that they aren't a misogynist in a discussion of misogynist pop-literature.

Strawman. Come on. And, again, why do you find it such a vexing inconvenience to even mention that misogyny might be a bad thing? If you're so hellbent on avoiding the whole issue, stop talking about it already.
posted by clockzero at 6:30 PM on January 25, 2007


jonmc:

So I don't think they're really comparable. Does that answer your question?

Yes, but not very well.

I guess you'll just have to find a way to live with that.

My central point is this: music like any other art is about self-expression and sometimes that means expressing problematic, difficult or ugly thoughts and emotions. I wouldn't want to live in a world where it wasn't so.

I don't think the fact that misogyny exists is much of a defense for it.
posted by clockzero at 6:35 PM on January 25, 2007


I'm not sure what you mean by this; unless there is some flexibility, this [lack of "flexibility] suggests disclaimerism? What?

If you aren't willing to extend people the benefit of the doubt in a discussion of misogyny where they haven't actually advocated any misogynist beliefs, they are left with two choices:

1. Explicitly disclaim their non-misogynist feelings.
2. Be presumed to be a misogynist.

That's what I'm talking about. You acknowledge you'd be more comfortable with the thread if folks had in more instances explicitly stated their misgivings about the lyrics they were quoting. You also acknowledge that no one in the thread was advocating misogynist positions. How does it not follow that you're failing to provide the benefit of the doubt there, that you're essentially requiring a disclaimer from anyone who does not want to be seen as condoning and supporting misogynism.

I think both the initial question and the subsequent responses are problematic.

I think I understand where you coming from there, and I don't disagree with your motivation, but I disagree specifically with regards to the comments. I've said already that the question (specifically the presentation of the More Inside, which many people have noted they didn't really see before answering) is pretty juvenile.

I think it's important to make a big deal about misogyny. I don't care where it's supposed to be coming from or what the putative relationship of the propagators to the actual material is. There's no way for us to really know what they think, and it's completely beside the point.

Because there is no way to know what they think, and also no indication that they think misogynistically, I think it's rude to presume misogyny. If you don't care what the source or the context is, what then? Simply pretend such speech does not exist? Presume misogyny of anyone who discusses any cultural artifact of misogyny except to monomaniacally decry it?

> That'd be like banning the word "nigger" from a discussion of American black history: a discussion where everyone had to say "the n-word (and I abhor that word!)" every time it came up would be a discussion worth avoiding, frankly.

Why does it stress you out so much to acknowledge injustice? Why do you make it sound like you're being so dreadfully, unacceptably inconvenienced?


What? Injustice exists, and in spades, and it's disgusting. I have a damned hard time being around bigots, grew up around some (blood and acquaintance), run into them on a regular basis. How does not wanting to clutter up actual substantive discussion with reflexive apologies and disclaimers make me dreadfully, unacceptably inconvenienced? I would say it make me easily annoyed, perhaps, or optimistic that I'm not sharing conversation with a bunch of crypto-womanhaters.

> greed. It's just that it's equally wrong and self-serving to assume that people must be willfully condoning, approving, or harboring misogynistic feelings just because they don't, to a one, go tediously out of their way to declare that they aren't a misogynist in a discussion of misogynist pop-literature.

Strawman. Come on. And, again, why do you find it such a vexing inconvenience to even mention that misogyny might be a bad thing? If you're so hellbent on avoiding the whole issue, stop talking about it already.


Why is it a strawman? The thing I'm suggesting is the thing you seem to be objecting to the lack of in the thread: explicit statements of non-complicity when discussing an ugly subject.

Misogyny is bad. I'd never argue otherwise. So is racism, and homophobia, and a number of other forms of bigotry. And I'll say as much when it makes sense, but god help me if I'm going to feel compelled to prefix every discussion of any of those topics with a prefix that they're bad just so I'm not presumed otherwise to be a bigot. It's guilt by association, guilty until proven innocent. It's uncharitable behavior.
posted by cortex at 7:07 PM on January 25, 2007


Every time I read an argument like this one (sorry, discussion) I want to say:

I'm a strawman

Do do do do do do do do

I'm a strawman

Yeah, yeah, yeah

I was educated

On MeFi...

posted by fixedgear at 7:23 PM on January 25, 2007


clockzero-

I appreciate the way you've presented your opinions in this discussion. I'm curious why you're willing to ascribe a narrator to "Under my Thumb" but not to the rap songs under discussion? The rap lyrics are. without a doubt, misogynistic in a way orders of magnitude more vituperative than any of the songs jonmc listed, but I wonder what makes you say that the one (and by implication in the discussion, not the other) is narrated.
posted by OmieWise at 7:26 PM on January 25, 2007


I reckon the specificity of the target of, say, "Under My Thumb" mitigates (or even washes away) what might be considered misogyny. Jagger isn't singing about all women, he's singing about a specific one, and it's pretty clear he hates her. Is it misogynistic to hate a woman? I don't get the sense he's singing about women.

Necro, on the other hand, is clearly misogynistic. Those raps are explicitly about women, not a woman. [On preview, I want to make it clear here that I think this regardless of whether the voice is that of the songwriter or some fiction, in the case of Necro -- everything's case-by-case].

The Stones' song is accessible to the audience; I can relate because Mick's telling a story (ostensibly) about himself. I might love or hate what he says because I've been on the giving or receiving end of that kind of emotion, and I may even feel like, whoah, Mick, you're going a little far, aren't you, chum?

The Necro raps are full of feelings I've never had. It would be as ridiculous for me to say I hate all women as it would be for me to say I love all women. It's an alien way of thinking, and sometimes things that are bizarre or jarring like that elicit a laugh from the inexperienced.

This feeling is taken advantage of in film all the time, from the opening scene of Todd Browning's Freaks to the splatter flicks mentioned upthread. Many people laugh because a gaggle of '20's circus freaks or an undeveloped character being reduced to a welter of gore is so alien to their experience that it overwhelms their senses, including their sense of propriety, and they giggle. There are also those who truly hate women when they hear Necro, or truly think Browning's "freaks" are funny, or truly want to cut apart as many strangers as possible. Thankfully their number is small.

When a film character is well-developed and becomes a person to us, it becomes excruciating to watch their torture because they are acting as specific people in a specific situation. There's a difference here from the feeling a song like "Under My Thumb" engenders. It's as if I can see in my mind's eye the woman Mick hates (loves?) so much, and I wonder, "what could make him hate that woman so much?". Hating that woman isn't misogyny; hating women is.

Listen to Jean Stanback sometime to get the same feeling of conquering love/hate that Jagger evokes (I'm sure he did). It's so specific that it defies any -ism tag. That's what great songs are all about.

Though ugly, these are aspects of humanity that song has always flirted with, and the more specific, the more human they are, the less they can be easily categorized as bad or good.

Or so I think. I should also point out that, when "Under My Thumb" comes on the jukebox, I'm too busy grooving to the rhythm section (that is to say, the whole band) to pay the slightest attention to whatever Mick's on about.
posted by breezeway at 7:50 PM on January 25, 2007


Man, I feel bad, I don't mean to monopolize this thread.

yet again, cortex:

If you aren't willing to extend people the benefit of the doubt in a discussion of misogyny where they haven't actually advocated any misogynist beliefs, they are left with two choices:

1. Explicitly disclaim their non-misogynist feelings.
2. Be presumed to be a misogynist.


Look, I'm not interested in sparing the feelings of sensitive men who can't bear to think that someone, somewhere, might consider them misogynistic, and neither have I levelled any accusations at any individual, so I think you should give this whole line of attack a rest.

That's what I'm talking about. You acknowledge you'd be more comfortable with the thread if folks had in more instances explicitly stated their misgivings about the lyrics they were quoting. You also acknowledge that no one in the thread was advocating misogynist positions. How does it not follow that you're failing to provide the benefit of the doubt there, that you're essentially requiring a disclaimer from anyone who does not want to be seen as condoning and supporting misogynism.

First of all, it's not a comfort issue. Second, like I said before, I really don't think it's important to excuse anyone of anything. You're really hung up on the idea that these innocent men are being unjustly accused, and I think it's both false and irrelevant.

Because there is no way to know what they think, and also no indication that they think misogynistically, I think it's rude to presume misogyny.

I'm not sure what you're trying to refute here. Do you think the lyrics weren't misogynistic?

If you don't care what the source or the context is, what then? Simply pretend such speech does not exist? Presume misogyny of anyone who discusses any cultural artifact of misogyny except to monomaniacally decry it?

How about speaking out against it when you see it? Why is this concept so difficult for you?

What? Injustice exists, and in spades, and it's disgusting. I have a damned hard time being around bigots, grew up around some (blood and acquaintance), run into them on a regular basis. How does not wanting to clutter up actual substantive discussion with reflexive apologies and disclaimers make me dreadfully, unacceptably inconvenienced?

I think you're mischaracterizing my position. I said that because of remarks like this:

"...Intelligent people should not be required to spend a chunk of every conversation they have about a difficult topic droning on about how terrible the topic is..."
"...a discussion where everyone had to say "the n-word (and I abhor that word!)" every time it came up would be a discussion worth avoiding, frankly."
"...go tediously out of their way to declare that they aren't a misogynist in a discussion of misogynist pop-literature."

You really make it sound as though confronting bigotry is just a terrible chore that no decent person should be bothered with, which I think is deplorable.

Why is it a strawman?

Because I wasn't suggesting that they ought to have done that.

The thing I'm suggesting is the thing you seem to be objecting to the lack of in the thread: explicit statements of non-complicity when discussing an ugly subject.

I think you completely misunderstood my point. I'm not trying to condemn or label anyone, as I've said already. I don't understand why you're so fixated on that idea, but you can let it go now.

Misogyny is bad. I'd never argue otherwise. So is racism, and homophobia, and a number of other forms of bigotry. And I'll say as much when it makes sense, but god help me if I'm going to feel compelled to prefix every discussion of any of those topics with a prefix that they're bad just so I'm not presumed otherwise to be a bigot.

You know, this is a great example of something that excessively defensive men do when the subject of misogyny comes up: trying to turn a discussion about attitudes towards women into a public referendum on their spotless virtue, and also why it's OUTRAGEOUS for anyone to bother them with this sort of thing, because they're obviously such enlightened people. Nobody is trying to make you do anything. In fact, this discussion isn't really about you at all.

It's guilt by association, guilty until proven innocent. It's uncharitable behavior.

This isn't a court, first of all, and second, I think the lack of charity is in the passivity towards what we agree is truly monstrous, not in the failure to comfort the fragile egos of guys like you.
posted by clockzero at 8:39 PM on January 25, 2007 [2 favorites]


omie:

I appreciate the way you've presented your opinions in this discussion. I'm curious why you're willing to ascribe a narrator to "Under my Thumb" but not to the rap songs under discussion? The rap lyrics are. without a doubt, misogynistic in a way orders of magnitude more vituperative than any of the songs jonmc listed, but I wonder what makes you say that the one (and by implication in the discussion, not the other) is narrated.

Thanks, that's nice of you to say. That's a good point, and it did occur to me. I think it's possible to make the argument that the lyrics in the rap music are coming from characters or narrators or personae, but it's such viciously hateful trash that I think any question about where it's coming from is moot. It's not important to me to know if the rapper himself is a misogynist in some intangible, essential way.
posted by clockzero at 8:49 PM on January 25, 2007


clockzero, this is from your first comment in this thread:

Also, I have to say, that thread is complete bullshit. I don't see any legitimacy in the "we didn't write it" or "they don't really mean it" nonsense that some people are bringing up here, it's just a way to avoid dealing with the ugly reality of misogyny. It's attitudes like those that enable misogyny and are complicit with misogyny by assuming the disingenuous role of the innocent bystander.

And then, now, you are saying this:

I think you completely misunderstood my point. I'm not trying to condemn or label anyone, as I've said already. I don't understand why you're so fixated on that idea, but you can let it go now.

Can you close the gap for me between those two statements? Because you opened up with a declaration of the bullshit complicity in the thread and labelling participants as, at least, passive purpetuators of misogyny.

You're really hung up on the idea that these innocent men are being unjustly accused, and I think it's both false and irrelevant.

I never said men, for one thing, and not all the contributions to that thread are from men. Why are you hung up on the notion that I'm swinging for that team in particular?

And, yeah, I do think the question of leveling accusations at your fellow community members is relevant. That's what kicked this whole thread off—questions about community ethics.

I'm not sure what you're trying to refute here. Do you think the lyrics weren't misogynistic?

Of course the lyrics were misogynistic. I'm saying that there is a great big goddam mile between discussing and quoting misogynistic material and abetting misogyny.

This isn't a court, first of all, and second, I think the lack of charity is in the passivity towards what we agree is truly monstrous, not in the failure to comfort the fragile egos of guys like you.

You know, I haven't once reduced you to any sweeping stereotypes or tried to dismiss your arguments based on presumptive characterizations.

We have gone around in circles a bit. How about we re-ground this: you summarize, in a paragraph, your concerns about the AskMe thread in question, what you find objectionable and what you think the correct behavior by respondents would be. I'll respond in equally concise format my objections, if any, to that position. Game?
posted by cortex at 9:29 PM on January 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


cortex:

Can you close the gap for me between those two statements? Because you opened up with a declaration of the bullshit complicity in the thread and labelling participants as, at least, passive purpetuators of misogyny.

My interest is not in labelling anyone; in other words, I don't care about that. I'm not making any accusations about the essential qualities of the people in that thread, what they are or are not. I'm just observing and commenting.

I never said men, for one thing, and not all the contributions to that thread are from men. Why are you hung up on the notion that I'm swinging for that team in particular?

You seemed preoccupied with the idea that people were being unjustly accused, most of the commenters in that thread probably were male, and there you have it.

Of course the lyrics were misogynistic. I'm saying that there is a great big goddam mile between discussing and quoting misogynistic material and abetting misogyny.

Okay, I understand that. Your understanding of the nature of the situation differs from mine.

We have gone around in circles a bit. How about we re-ground this: you summarize, in a paragraph, your concerns about the AskMe thread in question, what you find objectionable and what you think the correct behavior by respondents would be. I'll respond in equally concise format my objections, if any, to that position. Game?

No, thanks. I've already voiced my opinion on the matter.
posted by clockzero at 10:45 PM on January 25, 2007


clockzero : "My interest is not in labelling anyone; in other words, I don't care about that. I'm not making any accusations about the essential qualities of the people in that thread, what they are or are not."

No, but your interest is in accusing people of perpetuating misogyny, whether that action is an "essential quality" or not. And, hence, the discussion of whether or not you're accusing people of something they may or may not be doing is not only relevant, it's the core of your argument.
posted by Bugbread at 1:10 AM on January 26, 2007


I think reasons matter and the fact that it is for some childish joke is beyond grody. I wish it would be deleted, but I'm not surprised it isn't.

I'm with dame. The reasons matter, the tone matters, the phrasing matters. By all means lets have questions that deal with offensive material, but they need to be more intelligent than this.
posted by teleskiving at 5:26 AM on January 26, 2007


Christ. What bugbread said. How do your objections apply to the thread in question, and what in an ideal situation would have happened, in your view? This is actually an important and useful question, the answer to which will help me understand better what your actual practical postition is on the subject. Which is something I actually care about, hence the great big mucking around back and forth we did yesterday.

You seemed preoccupied with the idea that people were being unjustly accused, most of the commenters in that thread probably were male, and there you have it.

Hint: all of the commenters in that thread were definitely mefites.

No, thanks. I've already voiced my opinion on the matter.

And dismissied mine as the work of a caricature of your choosing, and framed any suggestion of the extension of the benefit of the doubt to your fellow community members as masked (but not to your keen eyes) intelorance and the condemnable perpetuation of misogyny. And at the same time claimed you aren't saying anything about anybody, despite vocally objecting to the thread and the behavior therein as blindered, passive bullshit.
posted by cortex at 6:22 AM on January 26, 2007


Intelligent people should not be required to spend a chunk of every conversation they have about a difficult topic droning on about how terrible the topic is, and should certainly not be presumed to be unwilling to speak up in more contentious contexts.

Hear, hear.

Sorry, clockzero, but the only thing you've convinced me of is that you're a humorless obsessive who doesn't care about the people he's conversing with, in fact doesn't even think of them as people but as Opposing Entities or of the conversation as a conversation but as a Lecture Opportunity, and who is so wrapped up in his own righteousness he can listen to himself talk for hours without worrying in the slightest whether he's having a positive effect on his listeners because he's standing up to misogyny! Keep fighting the good fight off there on your soapbox, dude.
posted by languagehat at 6:29 AM on January 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


Intelligent people should not be required to spend a chunk of every conversation they have about a difficult topic droning on about how terrible the topic is, and should certainly not be presumed to be unwilling to speak up in more contentious contexts.

I'm pretty sure that "help me win this childish bet" precludes the kind of discussion you're talking about. Honestly, languagehat and cortex, I generally respect you both, but I don't think this particular incident needs to be defended in order to defend reasoned discussions of unfortunate issues, and I find it odd you both are so interested in doing go. (And not "OMG your a misogynist" odd, but just in a way I don't get.)
posted by dame at 7:02 AM on January 26, 2007


dame, some things:
- I haven't been defending the query itself; I have said several times that the question as stated is juvenile, especially the More Inside explication.
- A number of commenters in the thread expressed reservations therein about (and even provided links to analyses of) the misogynist nature of the citations they provided. Just, apparently, not enough of them.
- Folks have expressed regret about participating in the thread after, post-comment, discovering the More Inside portion of the question. People not reading the More Inside is a known serial problem on AskMe, whatever the cause may be (sloppy reading, hurriedness to provide an answer, interface inefficiency [probably all of the above]).

So equating the answers with the query seems too simplistic; drawing conclusions about the commenters' misogynism and passivity based on the their answers to a half-read query, especially despite retrospective regrets and proactive (but not consistent enough!) dissenting opinions expressed in the comments themselves is favoring agenda over community.

I agree, for the nth time, that the AskMe in question is juvenile fratboyism and nothing worth defending the postworthiness. That doesn't make me comfortable shitting on random mefites for knowing rap lyrics, though. Should it?
posted by cortex at 7:45 AM on January 26, 2007


I don't care one way or the other about the thread, which I have not visited; I'm simply reacting to clockzero's over-the-top I'm-better-than-all-of-you rants. People like him bring out the jonmc in me.
posted by languagehat at 7:47 AM on January 26, 2007


People like him bring out the jonmc in me.

Heh. And in jonmc, for that matter.
posted by cortex at 7:52 AM on January 26, 2007


Fair enough. But I am better than both of you. Just remember.
posted by dame at 7:52 AM on January 26, 2007


Well, you are in NYC, natch.
posted by cortex at 7:57 AM on January 26, 2007


I guess I just extend the benefit of the doubt to posters, assuming that they aren't posting the lyrics because they agree, but because they answer the question. [NOT RACIST].
posted by Bugbread at 8:13 AM on January 26, 2007


But bugbread, do you think you should answer questions for crappy purposes? I mean, do you know the best way to beat your wife without leaving a mark? Will you share? [DEFINITELY HYPERBOLIC]
posted by dame at 8:22 AM on January 26, 2007


Shouldn't it be msogynist?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:08 AM on January 26, 2007


"Do you know the best way to beat your wife without leaving a mark?"

Stratego. She wouldn't stand a chance.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:10 AM on January 26, 2007


But why are you betting with marks? It's all Euros, now.
posted by cortex at 9:13 AM on January 26, 2007


I have no problem with discussing how to dispose of a body.

"Should" is a tough word to work with. For example, think about picking up litter: would you say that people should volunteer an hour out of every day to clean up litter? No, probably not. But if you say that: "People should not volunteer an hour out of every day to clean up litter", it sounds like you're saying that doing so is a bad thing, and best avoided, when what you really mean is "no, there is no imperative to do that, but there's no imperative to avoid it either". So it's hard to answer a "should" question in the negative without accidentally saying something that is contrary to what you're trying to say.

By not answering crappy questions, we can dissuade them, so I think it would be better if people didn't answer, but that doesn't mean that we shouldn't answer crappy questions, just that it would be nicer if we didn't than if we did. [NOT RACIST IN 48 STATES. OFFER NOT VALID IN HAWAII OR ALASKA]
posted by Bugbread at 9:13 AM on January 26, 2007


I have no problem with discussing how to dispose of a body.

Nor I. But I think that is because it is more far-fetched.

By not answering crappy questions, we can dissuade them, so I think it would be better if people didn't answer, but that doesn't mean that we shouldn't answer crappy questions, just that it would be nicer if we didn't than if we did.

But we can enforce that by deleting the question. And thinking a little bit less of someone who does choose to answer it. (Not that I know who answered it because, honestly, I can't read shit like that without putting myself in the place of the insulted, and I don't need to hurt my own feelings like that.) After all, AskMe is moderated in favor of "nice" all the time. Hell, a hard two-week limit was added for a problem that mostly existed in people's minds, with the idea expressed that even if numbers didn't bear feeling out, feelings mattered.
posted by dame at 9:34 AM on January 26, 2007


dame : "Nor I. But I think that is because it is more far-fetched."

Ok, that makes sense.

dame : "But we can enforce that by deleting the question."

No argument there.

dame : "And thinking a little bit less of someone who does choose to answer it."

On that, I disagree. Why would you think less of someone who chooses to answer it?
posted by Bugbread at 10:37 AM on January 26, 2007


Dame: Honestly not being a jerk, but isn't your position incompatible with your whole anti-tyranny of nice shtick?

AGAIN: HONESTLY NOT BEING A JERK
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:28 AM on January 26, 2007


Yes. But if we're gonna do it, I'd like it to apply to shit I hate too.

Why would you think less of someone who chooses to answer it?

Because they are contributing to people being juvenile asses about something genuinely hurtful. And not something that is hurtful in addition to being something else, but something that is totally gratuitously hurtful, including contributing to an atmosphere where the hurt is more than just feelings.


I like it when everyone else is done and I can talk to you guys. It's all quiet and fun.
posted by dame at 11:33 AM on January 26, 2007


dame : "Because they are contributing to people being juvenile asses about something genuinely hurtful."

How so?

(If anything, my experience is that, with issues like this, there is a lot more juvenile assery in the MetaTalk thread than in the original thread)
posted by Bugbread at 11:54 AM on January 26, 2007


The whole premise of the question is juvenile assery, so by answering, you are encouraging the shallow tools who thought this would be a fun contest to yuk it up about.
posted by dame at 12:10 PM on January 26, 2007


But if you answered because you didn't pick up on the degree of assery when you first read (a portion of) the question, should you be thought less of because of an instance of poor reading comprehension?
posted by cortex at 12:12 PM on January 26, 2007


Yes. If you are going to be playing with something all hot and explodey and shit, you should probably read the directions really carefully. Now is that less badly thought of than willfully contributing? I dunno, because both pretty much rise to the level of "look askance at": if i generally think well of you, I'd probably think, "Huh, that's odd, X doesn't strike me as an asshat"; if I didn't know you at all, I'd probably need to be convinced over time that you didn't suck.
posted by dame at 12:21 PM on January 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


cortex writes "should you be thought less of because of an instance of poor reading comprehension?"

The answer is always yes, reading comprehension is really the only thing upon which to legitimately base the assessment of worthiness.
posted by OmieWise at 12:21 PM on January 26, 2007


I suppose that makes sense, dame. I just tend to ignore the "why" of a question, so while I don't skip the more insides, if they don't directly affect the question itself, I tend to subconsciously and immediately forget/disregard them. Useful, most of the time, but in cases like this not so good a habit to have.
posted by Bugbread at 12:47 PM on January 26, 2007


*embarks on activist campaign of looking down on people inclined to look down on people with little provocation*
posted by cortex at 12:55 PM on January 26, 2007


Little? Baby, I don't need any. Wanna start?
posted by dame at 1:07 PM on January 26, 2007


This is so hot.
posted by cortex at 1:11 PM on January 26, 2007


I'm not wearing anything but an old hoodie right now.
posted by dame at 1:21 PM on January 26, 2007


My blender has no pitcher.
posted by cortex at 1:28 PM on January 26, 2007


Jesus!
posted by OmieWise at 1:29 PM on January 26, 2007


How is your reading comprehension, Omie? Do you have a twenty and a blender?
posted by dame at 1:37 PM on January 26, 2007


We'd also accept a near-mint copy of Smell the Glove.
posted by cortex at 1:42 PM on January 26, 2007


Um...my reading comprehension is good...my blender is broken but I swear to god I'll go buy one right now.
posted by OmieWise at 1:46 PM on January 26, 2007


You have seven minutes.
posted by dame at 1:53 PM on January 26, 2007


*grabs popcorn, tissues*
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 2:03 PM on January 26, 2007


Erectile tissues? Because the circumcision thread is down the hall, buddy.
posted by cortex at 2:05 PM on January 26, 2007


Don't foget to pick up Robbie. I love his outfits.
posted by dame at 2:08 PM on January 26, 2007


Huh? Nah, the tissues are for the tears.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 2:16 PM on January 26, 2007


Well, I wasn't on Mefi between the hours of 12:00 and 4:30pm today, so I missed out on a chance to express my opinion on this, which I think is valuable because I was the first poster to express my objections in the thread.

cortex: "But if you answered because you didn't pick up on the degree of assery when you first read (a portion of) the question, should you be thought less of because of an instance of poor reading comprehension?"

This is what happened to me, and I've learned a valuable lesson from it: I need to stop speed-reading.

My first post in the thread was made in the context of an intelligent discussion of insidious misogynism in rap lyrics, which is a subject that interests me. Once my post came up and I clued in to the tone and intent of the thread, I had to in some way withdraw my response, because I made the gross realisation that not only was my post made in haste and off-topic, but it was actually not misogynist and offensive enough for the thread.

I went back one time, a few hours later, to see if anyone had commented on my sentiments, and what I saw being posted there was so revolting that I decided not to visit the thread again.

I think there is a huge line between discussing misogynism in rap lyrics and one-upping eaach other to quote the most violent, hateful rhymes. I also think there is a line between benignly answering a question and joining in a pissing contest.

Generally speaking I trust the Metafilter community to navigate these issues intelligently and respectfully. But that thread became very hostile to women. I'm not placing blame on anyone in particular, but it was thoughtless.

And I don't think it's helpful to note that the posters didn't write the lyrics. Repeating them separate from the context of intelligent discussion does make your message seem supportive of their content. No I don't think every publication of offensive things requires a disclaimer, but mindless propagation only contributes to the hostility.

I think it's okay to initially approve of a thread but later decide that it's unacceptable and/or harmful. I would be happy if the thread was deleted.

Incidentally, I considered starting a MeTa thread to discuss whether or not the thread in question was acceptable, but I envisioned a hundred "flag it and move on" and "whiny baby"-type responses, so I kept it to myself. Thanks, Sijeka, for posting.
posted by loiseau at 3:49 PM on January 26, 2007


cortex:

Christ. What bugbread said. How do your objections apply to the thread in question, and what in an ideal situation would have happened, in your view?

I saw a disturbing question, a whole lot of responses that involved the reproduction of violent, hateful speech, and nobody in the thread really said anything about it. I thought that was outrageous. That's just my opinion. I also happen to think that repeating those things, or acting like they're just harmless words that have no bearing on real life, is a myopic way to think about how social attitudes are perpetuated and normativized, but again, that's just my opinion. I'm not sure what the idea is with your second question.

This is actually an important and useful question, the answer to which will help me understand better what your actual practical postition is on the subject. Which is something I actually care about, hence the great big mucking around back and forth we did yesterday.

Have I explained it comprehensibly this time? By the way, I'm sorry if I was out of line when I said you had a fragile ego. I don't know you, but I think you're probably a thoroughly decent person.

And dismissied mine as the work of a caricature of your choosing, and framed any suggestion of the extension of the benefit of the doubt to your fellow community members as masked (but not to your keen eyes) intelorance and the condemnable perpetuation of misogyny. And at the same time claimed you aren't saying anything about anybody, despite vocally objecting to the thread and the behavior therein as blindered, passive bullshit.

I think that the people in that thread may have been acting in such a way as to allow a particularly virulent sort of misogyny to be reproduced and discussed as though it were not a problem. So I don't see where the benefit of the doubt comes into it. I don't think they were behaving well, but neither would I say that any of them in particular are misogynists, per se. Also see my remark to bugbread below.

bugbread:

No, but your interest is in accusing people of perpetuating misogyny, whether that action is an "essential quality" or not. And, hence, the discussion of whether or not you're accusing people of something they may or may not be doing is not only relevant, it's the core of your argument.

I think it's an important distinction, honestly. Someone can say or do misogynistic things, and simply noticing that is not equivalent to accusing that person of being a misogynist. It's a subtlem, semantic difference, clearly, but I think it matters. I was trying to do the former and not the latter.

languagehat:

I don't care one way or the other about the thread, which I have not visited; I'm simply reacting to clockzero's over-the-top I'm-better-than-all-of-you rants. People like him bring out the jonmc in me.

So, you don't even care about the subject at hand, you just want to criticize me for having an opinion on it? That's pretty lame.
posted by clockzero at 4:07 PM on January 26, 2007


loiseau : "Repeating them separate from the context of intelligent discussion does make your message seem supportive of their content."

Only if you assume the worst in people. Repeating them out of the blue in some other thread? Yes, it does seem supportive of their content. Repeating them in a thread specifically asking for them? It seems like answering the question.

clockzero : "I think it's an important distinction, honestly."

That, I got, and I'm glad you make that distinction. I was just saying, basically, "accusing people of misogyny is quite an accusation. Accusing them of propagating misogyny, though not necessarily being misogynistic, is a much lesser accusation, but an accusation nonetheless."

clockzero : "So, you don't even care about the subject at hand, you just want to criticize me for having an opinion on it? That's pretty lame."

No, I think it's "I don't have an opinion on the subject, but I want to criticize you for how you express your opinion." Which seems like a fair thing, whether or not it was warranted in this case. If I'm in a class on Basket Weaving, which I don't care about, but someone comes in and starts insulting people in class left and right because of their opinions on basket weaving, I might get on their case for their way of expressing themselves. It's not because they have an opinion, but how it's expressed. I'm not saying that you've done the equivalent of the basket-weaving situation, I'm just using it an example of how it's not automatically unfair for a person without an opinion on a subject to take someone else to task for how they express their opinion.
posted by Bugbread at 4:22 PM on January 26, 2007


Thanks for the response, clockzero. I guess we're going to keep disagreeing about the details of how and why that thread went down the way it did, but yes, that does give me a more comprehensible picture of your objections, and for all the contention here I think we're pretty much in agreement from a big picture perspective.

I continue to agree with bugbread, regarding your response, on the principle that the idea of an allegedly value-neutral observation of misogynistic behavior is a tricky one to bear out, because by implication 'misogynistic behavior' is the behavior of a misogynist—intent matters, and matters in particular to the folks falling under the accusation. But, again, we've hashed those details, and we disagree on some of them.

Thanks for acknowledging the "fragile ego" jibe. I've had worse from worse, so no worries.
posted by cortex at 4:27 PM on January 26, 2007


Repeating them separate from the context of intelligent discussion does make your message seem supportive of their content.

loiseau, do you consider AskMe to be a generally hostile, incivil, unintelligent place? Have you historically held that opinion of the users who posted in that particular thread? If no and no, why would presume their motivations weren't in character with the general AskMe experience—that is, regardless of a (poorly parsed) lousy query, that they'd be participating in the spirit of and hopes for an intelligent discussion?

There are, in fact, indications of a desire for a genuine discussion in the thread, sandwiched between the (hardly contextless!) lyrics.
posted by cortex at 4:32 PM on January 26, 2007


No, I think it's "I don't have an opinion on the subject, but I want to criticize you for how you express your opinion."

No, it's "I have an opinion on the subject, but that's not what I want to talk about at the moment, I want to talk about your acting like a dick."

Everybody has opinions, and as I said somewhere before, I get bored even with my own (let's see, am I for or against the Burning Topic of the Day? oh yeah, I hate it with a passion... no wait, that was the other Burning Topic). But I know how I feel about clockzero's self-presentation: I'm agin it. Start approaching us like human beings instead of servants of the patriarchy, and maybe I'll discuss my opinions with you.
posted by languagehat at 5:04 PM on January 26, 2007


For anyone who skipped this part of my post, I'll repeat:

loiseau: "Generally speaking I trust the Metafilter community to navigate these issues intelligently and respectfully. But that thread became very hostile to women."

X number of posts in the same vein create the tone of the thread. In my opinion and from my perspective as a woman the tone of the thread, starting from the initial post, was hostile and I would like to see it closed. Nowhere have I indicted anyone who posted in the thread or their posts; certainly I have not judged anyone's character.

(Quite truthfully I rarely take notice of the identity individual posters in a thread. I can not name anyone who posted in the thread except myself and Sijeka. I just know as a whole the thread makes me uncomfortable.)

If we disagree we disagree, but please don't accuse me of judging anyone. (?!) I really think that is a baseless accusation.

That's all I have to say on the subject.
posted by loiseau at 5:04 PM on January 26, 2007


It seems to me when we have these discussions over things that may or may not be misogynist there tends to be a fundamental divide between perceptions of motive and effect. Further, because Metafilter is a community in which all interactions are publicly archived and indexed, effect has a double connotation of within and without.

Metafilter is not a pro-misogyny community. Yet, there do exist threads on this site that would allow an outsider to assume that metafilter is either pro-misogyny or tolerant of misogyny. The thread objected to here falls into that category, and as such it has the potential to create negative effects inside and outside the community that are independent of any poster's intentions or personal feelings about women. This is, to me, the fundamental reason the thread should be deleted.

That is *not* to say that issues of misogyny cannot be discussed. Clearly, as dame points out, the context matters. Interests in misogynist cultural productions can be phrased in such a way that it is clear that the metafilter community is one in which misogyny is not tolerated, but where it is intelligently explored and discussed.
posted by carmen at 6:25 PM on January 26, 2007


Everybody has opinions, and as I said somewhere before, I get bored even with my own (let's see, am I for or against the Burning Topic of the Day? oh yeah, I hate it with a passion... no wait, that was the other Burning Topic). But I know how I feel about clockzero's self-presentation: I'm agin it. Start approaching us like human beings instead of servants of the patriarchy, and maybe I'll discuss my opinions with you.

First of all, I really think you're focused on trifles for some reason. I'm a member here, too. It's not a me-against-Metafilter kind of situation and I did not try to cast it as one. I was being critical of the thread, and, yes, the people who commented in it, but I made no criticism of anyone who wasn't involved in that, and I was not abusive or profance to anyone (I did make an obnoxious remark to cortex, but I apologized, and he graciously accepted). And, whether you like it or not, we do live in a society which has destructive patriarchal elements, and these are not intangible specters that flit about the atmosphere and randomly derange the innocent: it's an aggregate effect of the opinions, actions, and words of everyone. So, in my view, by ignoring misogyny while passing it around, or treating misogynistic hate-speech like any other grouping of words, some people effectively are servants of the patriarchy. Does that bother you? Why don't you do something useful or contribute to the substantive discussion instead of bitching at me for bringing it up?
posted by clockzero at 7:10 PM on January 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


cortex : "the principle that the idea of an allegedly value-neutral observation of misogynistic behavior is a tricky one to bear out, because by implication 'misogynistic behavior' is the behavior of a misogynist"

Actually, I think you're misparsing him, if that's what you see him as saying. "Misogynistic behaviour" would be behaviour which is hateful of women. I think clockzero is seeing behaviour which is not hateful of women, per se, but contributes to the hating of women. That may seem like splitting hairs, but I don't think it is, because in one, the person who makes a statement is being accused of hating women, and in the other, he isn't.

Anyway, for the record, I can't really remember what or how clockzero made his initial statement, but any abrasiveness/assholishness/whathaveyou that I may have felt would appear to have been a mistake on my part, because clockzero is being quite the reasoned, fair discusser.
posted by Bugbread at 7:19 PM on January 26, 2007


And, of course, a billion apologies if clockzero is female, as I note I have consistently referred to him/her as a him.
posted by Bugbread at 7:19 PM on January 26, 2007


Actually, I think you're misparsing him, if that's what you see him as saying. "Misogynistic behaviour" would be behaviour which is hateful of women. I think clockzero is seeing behaviour which is not hateful of women, per se, but contributes to the hating of women. That may seem like splitting hairs, but I don't think it is, because in one, the person who makes a statement is being accused of hating women, and in the other, he isn't.

That's a pretty good way of framing it, bb. For me, the larger issue which informs that distinction is this, if I may rant a bit: men need to be involved in the process of transforming repressive and pathological gender roles, and it does no-one any good to alienate the potential allies of that endeavor by making accusations about their character. However, I do think it's necessary to call attention to that kind of hatred and ugliness when you see it in order to help effect that sort of change.

Anyway, for the record, I can't really remember what or how clockzero made his initial statement, but any abrasiveness/assholishness/whathaveyou that I may have felt would appear to have been a mistake on my part, because clockzero is being quite the reasoned, fair discusser.

Cheers, man. Likewise.

And, of course, a billion apologies if clockzero is female, as I note I have consistently referred to him/her as a him.

I'm a dude, it's true.
posted by clockzero at 10:55 PM on January 26, 2007


« Older AskMe Proxies?   |   Adding Favorites Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments