Intersectionality or not? January 27, 2014 8:11 PM   Subscribe

Lately, the site consensus on social justice threads has seemed to be that if one group is discussing its experiences of mistreatment by another group, it is inappropriate for that second group to make the thread about them by talking about their own experiences of mistreatment, disagreement, etc. This thread seemed to take things back the opposite way. Should we be more consistent about this?

In both the linked article of the FPP, and the discussion, both men and women describe the sexism and misogynistic acts that they have experienced and witnessed within a certain subculture of gay guys - acts that are often encouraged by the subculture and carried out without hesitation by some of its members.

The acts under discussion include sexual assault, sexual harassment, rampant and aggressive use of gendered slurs, unwanted discussion about/critique of women's anatomies, and so on.

Thus far in this thread, we have seen the following:

-Mentioning times when women have been "rude" and had "unrealistic expectations" as an explanation for why they are sometimes treated harshly.

-A massive several-dozen-comment-long derail (or branch of the conversation, depending on your perspective) about why women should or shouldn't be excluded from bars mostly peopled by gay guys, and why women do or don't deserve the treatment they get when they go in there, based on how they act. And circumstances under which sexist treatment would "make sense."

-Mentioning on how women use gendered slurs on other women. One person mentioned how they have only ever heard a certain slur used by women, never by the subgroup whose sexist acts are under discussion.

-Bringing up many times the ways in which women treat this subgroup badly.

-Asserting that if you criticize a trend within a subgroup of gay guys, or the actions of some of its members, then you are criticizing ALL gay men and saying they ALL engage in this behavior. Being offended based on this.

-Telling women that when they object to sexual harassment by some gay men they are unfairly abusing the history of homophobic portrayal of gay men as sexual predators.

-Telling women why straight bars are just as bad.

-Bringing up how members of this subculture are also treated badly in many of the same ways, in order to contradict what others are saying.

-Starting an argument about why gay guys don't have more privilege or as much privilege as women in general.

-Scolding women for not sufficiently "empathizing with the predicament" of people who engage in these acts.

-How "women" are, as a group, "complicit" in creating this dynamic.

---

An incredibly huge percentage of this thread has been comments like the above. Perhaps more than half.

I am not really for restricting what people can say, however, I have been informed lately that the site consensus is now moving towards restricting what people can say in social justice threads. Particularly, that if one group is discussing its experiences of mistreatment by another group, it is inappropriate for that second group to make the thread about them by talking about their own experiences of mistreatment. The second group should keep their disagreement with the first group to a minimum. And the second group should not talk about ways that they object or are unhappy, in situations that involve both groups.

Should we be more consistent about this?

There was also an idea floated about asking people to leave threads after one instance of derailing a thread away from the experiences of the group who is talking. Jessamyn has expressed support for that idea. What is the thinking on that as it relates to this thread?
posted by cairdeas to Etiquette/Policy at 8:11 PM (253 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

I have been informed lately that the site consensus is now moving towards restricting what people can say in social justice threads.

Who told you that? Did a moderator tell you that? It's news to me. There are a wide range of things that can be inappropriate or uncool things to say in a thread according to some people and yet not reach the "moderators are going to do something about this" level.

Jessamyn has expressed support for that idea.

No I haven't.

I hear you that there are issues with how different people in threads on different difficult topics perceive the usefulness of topic creep. And there are definitely some repeated issues with, for example, people making threads on women's issues into referendums about men. That said, we're not really shifting any of our existing moderator stances. Things that haven't been okay in the past are still not okay. We don't have any new outline of things that are not okay.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:19 PM on January 27, 2014


There are a wide range of things that can be inappropriate or uncool things to say in a thread according to some people and yet not reach the "moderators are going to do something about this" level.

Alright... then in your opinion, are the posts I described inappropriate or uncool within a social justice thread, even if they don't reach the "moderators will do something about this" level?
posted by cairdeas at 8:24 PM on January 27, 2014


I didn't even read it except to skim it. Someone else who spent more time in it is welcome to chime in.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:26 PM on January 27, 2014


Sure, I think it would be very clarifying to hear the opinion of the mod who spent more time in it, no matter what that opinion is. Thanks.
posted by cairdeas at 8:31 PM on January 27, 2014


I'm not a moderator, but I'd say that that the linked thread is fairly typical, with people who are correct but uncool and others who are wrong but wrong in a productive way. And of course the majority are just fine, neither wrong nor uncool.

I think the simplistic parts of the article ("Gay culture is like this") bled over into the discussion, and despite it really being an article about intersectionality, a lot of the discussion was anything but intersectional, just like the description in this meta is anything but intersectional.
posted by Dip Flash at 8:31 PM on January 27, 2014 [2 favorites]


Isn't it an essay by a gay man, talking about attitudes within various gay male subcommunities toward women? I saw a lot of people in that thread talking about their perspective, as gay men, on the matter. I thought much of the thread was pretty thoughtful, although I've only read parts of it.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 8:35 PM on January 27, 2014 [2 favorites]


Thus far in this thread, we have seen the following:

Could you link to the comments about which you are specifically speaking? I personally would find this very helpful.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:35 PM on January 27, 2014 [2 favorites]


Isn't it an essay by a gay man, talking about attitudes within various gay male subcommunities toward women? I saw a lot of people in that thread talking about their perspective, as gay men, on the matter.

Yup, I did too. I was under the impression that if an aspect of your community or subcommunity is being critiqued here, you were not supposed to talk about your own perspective as a member of that community, particularly to disagree.

If my impression was wrong, then no argument from me. That was not an idea that I particularly liked. (Though I think if Metafilter ever gets to that, it should be consistent.)

I am in favor of people giving their perspectives and an intersectional approach to things.
posted by cairdeas at 8:41 PM on January 27, 2014 [1 favorite]



I have been informed lately that the site consensus is now moving towards restricting what people can say in social justice threads.

Who told you that? Did a moderator tell you that? It's news to me.


my communication with moderators has been to that effect.
posted by cupcake1337 at 8:53 PM on January 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


cairdeas, you should probably throw a link to this meta in the thread.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 8:55 PM on January 27, 2014


my communication with moderators has been to that effect.

That may not be a general rule.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:55 PM on January 27, 2014 [9 favorites]


my communication with moderators has been to that effect.

Our communication with you has been pretty specific to how you behave on this site and should not be taken to apply to how users in general should approach things.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:55 PM on January 27, 2014 [15 favorites]


cupcake1337 don't hijack this meta just because yours was closed.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 8:56 PM on January 27, 2014 [47 favorites]


it seems to me that you got into a conversation about specific topics in trans threads with regards to intersectionality at the bottom of a really tough metatalk thread and some of those topics were pretty narrowly suggested as being mostly out of bounds. is that what you're basing this wide extrapolation on? if so, it seems pretty unfair to that conversation and to this one.
posted by nadawi at 9:06 PM on January 27, 2014 [11 favorites]


One comment deleted. Not okay to call someone an asshole.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 9:25 PM on January 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think the problems with the discussion stem from problems with the article - the article is rambly, unfocused and veers wildly from its intention. This is part of the reason I didn't post the article myself, because while I think it brings up important points, it doesn't support them very well.

I mean, there's no surprise there was a "derail" about women in gay (male) bars, when the article used that to problematically set the stage for his discussion on misogyny in the gay (male) community.

I think the defensiveness stems from the broad generalisations made in what is, essentially, someone's blog post about an issue that obviously stirs them. Unfortunately, as you say, there's a troubling lack of (discussion of) intersectionality in the thread, but that's because the article under discussion also lacks same.
posted by crossoverman at 9:40 PM on January 27, 2014 [8 favorites]


I'd like to give a big old shout-out to Conspire for being particularly good in that thread.

I'll also add that this was an article written by a gay man describing behaviours he's witnessed as being endemic to the 'gay male scene'. My understanding of the article is that it's never more than anecdotal, and if the article's perspective is to be listened to then surely other gay men's anecdotal perspectives are very much in line with the thread as a whole, even when they disagree.

Much as has been repeatedly pointed out that no-one is saying that all gay men indulge in these behaviours, it's also been repeatedly stated that no-one is saying that these behaviours don't exist - it's essentially a matter of quantity and inherentness that's being disagreed upon.

And finally, you may not like the 'straight women in gay bars' part of the conversation, but it is entirely based on the opening paragraph of the link in the post. It might not be the part of the article you agree with (generic you not specific you), but it will still part of what made up that post and is therefore germane. So calling it a derail is inaccurate.
posted by gadge emeritus at 9:51 PM on January 27, 2014 [6 favorites]


"An incredibly huge percentage of this thread has been comments like the above. Perhaps more than half."

Almost all of those comments are from one particular user.

But, yeah, it's upsetting to see a thread linking to a piece about how women are badly treated by men go the way that so many such threads go, except in this case because it's gay men, it's somehow more acceptable for the thread to be all about the men's defensiveness.

Nevertheless, it's hard to read this post as being totally in good-faith and not one of those "it's my understanding that ... but ..." grudge posts where someone has disagreed with a mod decision, and feels aggrieved about it, and then soon after protests what they think is an inconsistency.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 9:53 PM on January 27, 2014 [8 favorites]


The author of that piece never actually specified that his female friends who went to bars with him were straight.
posted by Asparagus at 9:56 PM on January 27, 2014 [4 favorites]


Ugh. This is stupid.

Instead of arguing who'd win a fight between homophobia and misogyny, why not just delete the FPP?
posted by Sys Rq at 10:00 PM on January 27, 2014 [3 favorites]


Instead of arguing who'd win a fight between homophobia and misogyny, why not just delete the FPP?

Yes, the answer to a difficult discussion is just to nuke it from orbit. Thanks.
posted by crossoverman at 10:05 PM on January 27, 2014 [3 favorites]


What do you want out of this thread, cairdeas?
posted by gingerbeer at 10:07 PM on January 27, 2014 [6 favorites]


I was under the impression that if an aspect of your community or subcommunity is being critiqued here, you were not supposed to talk about your own perspective as a member of that community, particularly to disagree.

As can often be the case with MetaFilter and folks trying to apply hard and fast rules to user behavior, that's a simple take on a nuanced subject.

Some users have in the past been kind of combative when it comes to defending their subcommunity (to be clear: I'm thinking of a pretty wide range of people here, some of whom are no longer even active members) so some users need to/have been asked to not engage in every post where their subcommunity might be attacked and they might feel the need to defend it against all comers.

Those folks who can engage in discussion civilly even when the 'other side' is a little less so, who know to not monopolize the conversation to an unhealthy degree, and who enlighten the community on an area we might not have known as much about? Those folks are often welcomed in a post where their perspective as a subcommunity member may be at odds with the prevailing tone in the thread.

So yeah, it's just not that simple as to say 'never comment in a post where your Thing is under attack.'
posted by librarylis at 10:08 PM on January 27, 2014 [10 favorites]


-Asserting that if you criticize a trend within a subgroup of gay guys, or the actions of some of its members, then you are criticizing ALL gay men and saying they ALL engage in this behavior

When stating that this "trend" is "dominant" in gay male culture, that's basically saying that most, if not effectively all gay men participate in that behavior. Even calling it a "trend" is fairly accusatory. There seemed to be a slight undercurrent of (accidental, hopefully) homophobia in that thread, coming from people who seemed to know little about the culture and were, as a result, dismissive about why gay bars have played such a strong historical role in it.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:16 PM on January 27, 2014 [8 favorites]


What librarylis said.
posted by soundguy99 at 10:24 PM on January 27, 2014


I think the answer to the question "Should we be more consistent about this?" is almost always no. It's kind of ironic, in fact, because if the most common derail you usually discover in garbage-y threads is: "I am a man, and I never do X, so therefore this article in which you discuss the way some men do X is personally offensive to ME," the second most common is "In this other totally different situation a minority was allowed to do X and now I want to do X and if you don't let me do X and that's logically unfair, you have to BE CONSISTENT!" In other words, God save us all from having the mods attempt to impose any kind of intellectual consistency on this place.

That said, if you phrase it slightly differently and ask "Was that thread in some way different from the usual 'All men aren't X' derails?" I'll admit I was wondering the same thing. I thought it was just the usual crap at first, and I was vaguely annoyed by it, but by the end I wasn't sure. And that's mostly because of Conspire's contributions - it's interesting that gadge emeritus gave him a shout out here, because I was really torn...part of me thought he had something to say that was so complex it was going over my head, and part of me was pretty sure he was just wrapping up the same old missing-the-point in particularly prolix and difficult-to-parse social justice speak. I honestly don't know which is the truth. Maybe tomorrow, when I'v gotten some sleep, I'll be able to figure it out.

Anyway, I guess the point is, instead of asking "should we be consistent?" maybe you should ask "Am I missing something?" You might not be, but it's better to leave the possibility open than to run the risk of missing an opportunity for learning.
posted by pretentious illiterate at 10:24 PM on January 27, 2014 [13 favorites]


Yeah, this all seems the misbegotten spawn of THERE WILL BE RULES! thinking.
posted by klangklangston at 10:39 PM on January 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


Argh, yes, thanks, crossoverman. I think the article touches on some really important points but also goes into very strange territory in a couple of places. There's one part in particular that bugged me that seemed to be saying something to the effect of "things have changed so much in the last two years that a lot of gay men are no longer really all that oppressed, compared to women." I don't think it's surprising that people would want to unpack things like that in the thread, especially since the author more or less just asserted this without defending or explaining it. I also don't think that disagreeing with that type of framing is derailing the thread or invalidating any of the (valuable) experiences he shares.

I mean, I found it particularly frustrating that he even went there because it was both inflammatory and totally unnecessary for the points that he made. You can totally call out mainstream gay culture for how it relates to women's bodies without needing to minimize the very real problems that gay men of various stripes continue to face in the USA.
posted by en forme de poire at 10:54 PM on January 27, 2014 [4 favorites]


Sorry for my delay in replying to some people. I can reply more tomorrow if anyone wants.

nadawi: you got into a conversation about specific topics in trans threads with regards to intersectionality at the bottom of a really tough metatalk thread and some of those topics were pretty narrowly suggested as being mostly out of bounds. is that what you're basing this wide extrapolation on? if so, it seems pretty unfair to that conversation and to this one.

Actually, I have actually mostly seen the "restriction of what can be said" suggestion in the threads Jessamyn alluded to, where men start giving their perspective in feminist theads. However, I have noticed it more and more around the site in all kinds of social justice topics and seen all kinds of people told to stop making the thread about their perspectives, for stating their perspectives and struggles, in a thread about the perspectives and struggles of another group, when it's a topic that affects both -- which, in my opinion, all of these topics are. Anyway, whichever way the site goes, to restriction or no restriction, I think it should apply to this thread too.

Sys Rq: Instead of arguing who'd win a fight between homophobia and misogyny, why not just delete the FPP?

Well, I suppose that's one way to deal with homophobia and misogyny and how they may intersect... just avoid talking about them altogether. But, that doesn't make them go away or stop affecting people.

gingerbeer: What do you want out of this thread, cairdeas?

Essentially the discussion that is being had, so I appreciate everyone who has taken the time to consider it.

pretentious illiterate: Anyway, I guess the point is, instead of asking "should we be consistent?" maybe you should ask "Am I missing something?" You might not be, but it's better to leave the possibility open than to run the risk of missing an opportunity for learning.

Well, I have to be honest, pretentious illiterate. This was an FPP about misogynistic acts directed at women, that, in my opinion, was derailed in many different directions to talk about anything but, for most of it. And to talk about the perspectives of men instead. I have made a MeTa about that. When I am objecting to something like that, it is not a time when I am at my most open to have a man tell me that instead of objecting, I should ask if I'm missing something, and should ask myself if I'm "missing an opportunity for learning." Maybe another time...

klang: Yeah, this all seems the misbegotten spawn of THERE WILL BE RULES! thinking.

Nah, I'm all for the "not rules, but guidelines" way that things operate around here. However, if we pick and choose which minority will have its perspective listened to and which won't, I do not think that will go to a good place. I have even been scolded before for putting my opinion about misogyny in threads that are about the perspectives of straight white men. If I'm not supposed to do that, then I would like there to be some parity. That's not about rules, just basic even treatment.
posted by cairdeas at 11:22 PM on January 27, 2014 [3 favorites]


IMO, if you're writing a comment to
respond to five different people and you're the creator of the thread, you might be too involved in the topic. Sleep on it?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:50 PM on January 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


Hah! I thought if you make a Meta then you are supposed to respond in a timely way to people who address things to you. So I felt I was being rude by my delay in replying. If it is the opposite I will gladly take a break.
posted by cairdeas at 11:52 PM on January 27, 2014 [7 favorites]


it is always interesting when the oppressed becomes the oppressor. You can (and many do!) argue all night long about how and why oppressed people might oppress others as they seek refuge from being oppressed. It's a rich, loamy topic ripe for discussion. Even with the need for an occasional meta, even with a thread here and there that goes off the rails, I'm glad this is the kind of thing we talk about here.

Plus if you offend somebody inadvertently here, you don't get punched.

I assume

I have never been to a meetup and perhaps punches are saved for those occasions
posted by davejay at 11:55 PM on January 27, 2014 [7 favorites]


"I have even been scolded before for putting my opinion about misogyny in threads that are about the perspectives of straight white men."

Hmm, I'm gonna wager that the problem was more likely in what your opinion was and how you phrased it, rather than the idea that it was a thread about the perspectives of straight white men, at least if it was a mod scolding you.

"If I'm not supposed to do that, then I would like there to be some parity. That's not about rules, just basic even treatment."

See, the road that this goes down is the same one that Cupcake wants to pursue in his MeTas. Not all expressions get equal treatment, so looking at treatment first before considering what the expressions were is going to be favoring rules over guidelines.

"Hah! I thought if you make a Meta then you are supposed to respond in a timely way to people who address things to you. So I felt I was being rude by my delay in replying. If it is the opposite I will gladly take a break."

It's better now, but I try to hold myself to as few comments as possible in MeTas to which I am a party as a general sanity device.
posted by klangklangston at 12:13 AM on January 28, 2014 [3 favorites]


Nah, it wasn't by a mod, here is the scolding (about a piece written by a straight white man about his perspectives), I leave you to judge for yourself, nighty night.
posted by cairdeas at 12:20 AM on January 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


www.sighanothergenderbasedclusterfuck.com
posted by telstar at 12:38 AM on January 28, 2014 [3 favorites]


Man, there was no way in hell I would ever comment in a thread like that.
posted by KokuRyu at 3:42 AM on January 28, 2014 [2 favorites]


-Telling women that when they object to sexual harassment by some gay men they are unfairly abusing the history of homophobic portrayal of gay men as sexual predators.

Oh please. Bringing attention to the idea that gay may have been stereotyped as rapists and pedophiles in response to a comment stereotyping them as likely assaulters (a comment that seems to have been deleted, or is my search broke?) is not the same as saying it is unfair to object to sexual harassment from them. You can do that without the generalization.

Talking about gay men is not like talking about men in general. They are a 5% of the population, not 50%. They have not experienced an almost total cultural and social hegemony, they have faced extreme discrimination that continues to this day (in part because they are viewed as likely assaulters). I don't think it's out of line to ask for more care towards their viewpoint and sensitivities then you would towards average men in a less intersectional conversation.

>Of course gay men are a group likely to engage in sexual assaults. They're men, aren't they?

-They are a group of men who have been stereotyped as pedophiles and uncontrollable perverts. Maybe to you dealing with that might be crying and dodging the "actual issue", but it's an actual issue in the literal sense to some people.

So, don't automatically frame resistance to memes pegging them as assaulters as "standard X Y" because there is something else going on here. That doesn't mean you don't address the issue of assaults, but it does mean that you need to learn a little bit about the issue so you can approach the circumstances that make it unique when you try to fix it.
posted by Drinky Die at 12:04 AM on January 27 [2 favorites +] [!]


I feel like you might be pointing to other of my comments above but I can't be clear on that since you don't link, but in general I feel they are similarly poor readings of what I was attempting to communicate.
posted by Drinky Die at 4:45 AM on January 28, 2014 [3 favorites]


I thought that discussion was doomed by the fact that the linked article was kind of a mess. He wanted, I think, to make claims that were bigger than his anecdotes and evidence from the media supported. He would have been fine if he'd said "I was part of this particular gay male subculture, and it had problems with misogyny, so I found a different gay-male-inclusive subculture that was more amenable to my feminism." But that's not going to sell papers, so he had to frame it as being about something as grand and overarching as "gay culture" vs. "queer culture," which is kind of inflammatory and also just not anything he can speak to with the evidence, such as it was, that he had at his disposal.

But I also thought there was a lot of weirdness about the discussion here, such as the fact that people arguing against the article seemed constantly to assume that all women are straight, even as women participating in the thread pointed out that they were not, and that nobody seemed to notice that the author of the linked article is himself a POC.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 4:58 AM on January 28, 2014 [10 favorites]


However, if we pick and choose which minority will have its perspective listened to and which won't, I do not think that will go to a good place. I have even been scolded before for putting my opinion about misogyny in threads that are about the perspectives of straight white men. If I'm not supposed to do that, then I would like there to be some parity. That's not about rules, just basic even treatment.

This is confusing me because it reads to me like you're saying that it's mods doing the picking and choosing, and mods doing the scolding. But then you say it's not mods, it's other mefites.

So I guess...are you asking for their to be actual, hashed-out guidelines about exactly what constitutes a "derail"?
posted by rtha at 5:29 AM on January 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


Since you asked what I think, I think you (cairdeas) seem to have an axe to grind on this particular topic and wish you'd knock it off already. If that's me trying to "restrict" your speech, so be it.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:36 AM on January 28, 2014 [10 favorites]


Oh, and I forgot to say: Lately, the site consensus on social justice threads has seemed to be that if one group is discussing its experiences of mistreatment by another group, it is inappropriate for that second group to make the thread about them by talking about their own experiences of mistreatment, disagreement, etc.

I haven't been in the referenced FPP since a little bit after it went up, so I don't know what's been happening there. I do think that in general, it can be tricky to discuss treatment of marginalized group A by marginalized group B without getting into more-oppressed-than-thou territory, among other terrible places.
posted by rtha at 5:36 AM on January 28, 2014


rtha: "I haven't been in the referenced FPP since a little bit after it went up, so I don't know what's been happening there. "

It's worth reading for Conspire's comments alone.
posted by zarq at 6:35 AM on January 28, 2014 [2 favorites]


As a gay man, the article and ensuing discussion interested me. But I started reading the discussion before the article and just threw my hands up in the air and closed the tab.

The problem with the situation in general: misogyny does exist in the gay male community. There is no argument about this; it ranges from outright vile hatred ("God who let the fish in here?") to casual ("Oh honey, what are you wearing?"). (There's also hideous transphobia as well but that's not entirely relevant to this specific discussion).

And there are some of us who have realized those attitudes, have realized how much we have internalized those attitudes, and who fight against them--and who are made intensely and painfully uncomfortable and ashamed by remembering how often they participated in such bullshit. For a while in my early twenties my circle of gay male friends was such that I was the only one there who had in fact ever had sex with a woman. When I was a Baby Gay this seemed normal, but after not very long, every time comments about fish came up, I'd smack them down in no uncertain terms, and point out how disgustingly sexist such comments were.

There's a reason why my circle of gay friends is made up of very different people now. I got sick and tired of it all.

The problem with this article in particular, and the ensuing discussion: what do you do when safe spaces created by and for a certain oppressed group get borrowed/co-opted/used/expanded to include (an)other oppressed group(s)? In one very broad sense, this is kind of a similar issue to the radfem exclusion of trans women from events and spaces created for cis women. On the one hand, you can kind of understand where one group (in this case, gay men) is coming from; this is our space, dammit, and maybe you could respect that?

On the other hand, straight women do need a space where they can go party and have fun and not be batting off the unrelenting straight male gaze (NB: the unrelenting gay male gaze can be even more toxic to women; in fact I would go so far as to say that much of the conception of female beauty for much of the last century has been shaped mostly or entirely by queer men, which is ever so slightly problematic).

On the gripping hand, there is a problem in gay male bars and clubs: straight women who come in as tourists. Straight women who come in and treat the vision of two men making out the same way a straight man would treat two women making out in a lesbian bar. Straight women who think that just because they've made a new gay friend then OBVIOUSLY he wants to go shopping and do your hair and natter about makeup all the time. This is all born from the same poisonous well of stereotyping and homophobia that makes it really hard to just be a gay dude who likes other dudes and doesn't really fit into any of those pigeonholes.

Obviously the women who are our friends and are just down for a good fun time? Not a single problem with them, and I'd say they make the majority of straight women in gay clubs. It's the bachelorette parties and the "Let's make out!" and the fondling and the groping and the general tone-deafness that's the problem. And while those odious women are the minority, they're not a minority that's so small as to be not worth considering.

What to do? I don't know. Yes, obviously, gay men need to grow the fuck up and realize how horrendously many of us treat women. There are very interesting parallels to bro culture here, and the onus is on us to change our attitudes and the attitudes of those around us. Personally if I ever saw a woman being forced to wait at a gaybar for a drink while men are served before her (something I have never personally witnessed so take from that what you will), I would wave her in front of me if I were in line, and the bartender in question would get no tip from me. I'd also not go back there. Discrimination isn't okay, even if you're usually discriminated against--but to be clear, building safe spaces isn't, or isn't always, the same as discrimination. (cf, women-only safe spaces, good thing. Cis women-only spaces that deny trans women, bad thing, seems to me.)

So while I'm not saying at all that women should be banned from gaybars, it would probably be really helpful if (a subset of) straight women could maybe stop treating us as pets and entertainment, and see us as people first, and maybe respect that sometimes there are places that are for just us, the same way there are places for just you (for whatever values of 'us' and 'you' you care to employ) and that we shouldn't go to those places. That obviously gets into really sticky and tricky areas of oppressor/oppressed and what a safe space is and a whole thicket of other issues that are way too much to unpack at quarter to nine in the morning.

I guess maybe the best way to illustrate what I am trying to say, and saying badly, is a recent anecdote from a couple weeks ago:

I was going out with my boyfriend and three (female) friends of his to a (straight-but-apparently-not-narrow bar because literally no fucks were given about he and I holding hands and dancing together). It's worth noting that he and I have something of a May-December romance, and his friends are around his age, a decade+ younger than me, so believe it or not I did give the girl I'm about to mention some credit for this fact.

We met at one friend's apartment.

One of the other friends, we'll call her Dorothy, didn't know my bf was gay. As we were leaving, he suddenly goes "Dorothy I have to tell you something. I'm gay, and this feckless mongerer of fecal fear is my boyfriend."

Her response: "Oh you're gay? That's so cool! I'm totally okay with gays! My brother is gay and he just..." (insert a bunch of bullshit about her brother's love life, and her apparent view that gay male relationships are based entirely around attractiveness, because apparently he shouldn't have broken up with his previous boyfriend because the previous boyfriend was "So much hotter than the new one.")

Wrong. No. It's not cool. It just is. I'm gay. I also have brown hair. And did you know my eyes change colour? That's kinda cool. I was getting a little grumpy with her, and eventually just shut her down after the fifth or sixth iteration of this by saying "I started coming out when you were about two years old. I don't need to be told it's cool to be gay. I know it's fine to be gay, and I really don't need you telling me it's cool or okay or whatever. Can we go drink now please?"

That, at its root, is the problem of (many) (younger) straight women at gaybars: it's this really superficial understanding of gay life. We are being seen as our stereotypes and not as who we are, and I think that underscores a lot of the reactions.

That doesn't excuse the misogyny in the gay world, at all, and it very much doesn't mean that as gay men we don't have a lot of self-reflection about how we treat women. I want to be crystal clear about that.

So, circling back around to the original point here: what do we do about this?

Well, on Metafilter, there's a long and venerated history of looking at issues from all angles (some angles being rather more popular than others, of course), and if we are going to discuss the experience of women at gaybars, it seems to me that there really are two sides to those stories and both sides should be aired. But! There is a big difference between exploring an issue from multiple sides, and playing the 'more oppressed than thou' game as pointed out by rtha.

It's also worth noting that this is an article about women in gaybars penned by a gay man, and is therefore about his experience. One could argue that the subject here is easily as much about how gay men experience women in our spaces as it is about how women experience gay male spaces. So it's kind of hard to see comments on either side of that discussion as derails.

(I'm not even going to get into the 'straight-acting' bullshit. The Whelk wrote a devastating takedown of that nonsense around here at some point in the past few years, I think, I can't remember where or when.)

I think what it boils down to is this: when there's something being discussed On MetaFilter about a marginalized group, and especially when it also touches on another marginalized group, as a community we need to realize that sometimes the thing that we want to say about "Oh yeah well you may be saying X about Y but what about Z, huh? WHAT ABOUT Z?" will often come across as crass and tone-deaf at best, and discounting lived experiences. So, I dunno, maybe more thinking required before hitting post. (Myself included.)

And to reply to the actual points listed (without attribution) by the OP:

-Mentioning times when women have been "rude" and had "unrealistic expectations" as an explanation for why they are sometimes treated harshly.

I have personally witnessed, and been subject to, "Oh come on, you're so cute, you should totally fuck me tonight just so you know what it's like" from women, in gaybars. There's a really ugly number of assumptions implicit in such a statement, but when that shit happens? They are unrealistic expectations, it is the height of rudeness, and harsh treatment is absolutely warranted. How would these women react if a straight man said "You've never fucked me, so you should totally fuck me tonight" when she is uninterested in him? (Yes, I am aware that happens to women all the time, which is exactly the point here.)

-A massive several-dozen-comment-long derail (or branch of the conversation, depending on your perspective) about why women should or shouldn't be excluded from bars mostly peopled by gay guys, and why women do or don't deserve the treatment they get when they go in there, based on how they act. And circumstances under which sexist treatment would "make sense."

This sounds like a discussion about the issues the article raised to me. And there definitely are circumstances right now in the world where 'sexist' treatment makes sense: women-only gyms come to mind.

-Mentioning on how women use gendered slurs on other women. One person mentioned how they have only ever heard a certain slur used by women, never by the subgroup whose sexist acts are under discussion.

(Emphasis mine). You're not helping your case with this inflammatory editorializing.

-Bringing up many times the ways in which women treat this subgroup badly.

Again, that is in fact relevant to the article under discussion.

-Asserting that if you criticize a trend within a subgroup of gay guys, or the actions of some of its members, then you are criticizing ALL gay men and saying they ALL engage in this behavior. Being offended based on this.

If that is actually occurring in the thread, surely you have links to actual comments.

-Telling women that when they object to sexual harassment by some gay men they are unfairly abusing the history of homophobic portrayal of gay men as sexual predators.

See above.

-Telling women why straight bars are just as bad.

In some ways, they are. In some ways, they're better. In some totally different ways they are much worse.

-Bringing up how members of this subculture are also treated badly in many of the same ways, in order to contradict what others are saying.

-Starting an argument about why gay guys don't have more privilege or as much privilege as women in general.

The whole article hinges on the idea of privilege so again this seems pretty relevant.

-Scolding women for not sufficiently "empathizing with the predicament" of people who engage in these acts.

Yeah, again, link.

-How "women" are, as a group, "complicit" in creating this dynamic.

Women and gay men are absolutely complicit in creating the often-odd, sometimes-unpleasant dynamic of women in gaybars. Even more complicit in the often-weird relationship dynamics between women and gay men. And again, talking about how this dynamic is created and sustained seems pretty relevant to the issues raised in the article.

Particularly, that if one group is discussing its experiences of mistreatment by another group, it is inappropriate for that second group to make the thread about them by talking about their own experiences of mistreatment

Like gingerbeer, I'm really trying to understand what it is you're aiming for here as a resolution, because it really kinds of reads like "this thread hasn't been discussed in the exact way that I idiosyncratically demand, so MeTa."

The mistreatment of gay men is exactly why gaybars have developed as safe spaces for gay men. So it is entirely relevant to the discussion of why and how certain attitudes towards women have developed and continue to exists in gaybars.

There was also an idea floated about asking people to leave threads after one instance of derailing a thread away from the experiences of the group who is talking. Jessamyn has expressed support for that idea.

Given that jessamyn herself said in the very first comment here that she has said nothing of the sort, I am beset with difficulty in believing that you have correctly interpreted anything said in the thread you are complaining about.

What is the thinking on that as it relates to this thread?

My thinking is that the mods do a hell of a thankless job in underailing threads, they exercise their judgement, and it's pretty rare that said judgement is wrong. So maybe it would be a good idea to continue letting them do what they do, and not complain about... whatever it is you're complaining about because I really don't understand what the point of this MeTa is.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 6:37 AM on January 28, 2014 [66 favorites]


the man of twists and turns: " Could you link to the comments about which you are specifically speaking? I personally would find this very helpful."

Seconding this.

We've had multiple instances in Metatalk where one person's take on a given thread's comments may not be held by others.

Please allow us to determine for ourselves whether we agree with your interpretation of what is happening by linking to comments when using them as examples of problematic behavior.

They've been up for a day or more, so they're obviously not going to be deleted by the mods.

This isn't to say your characterization of the thread is wrong, cairdeas. But we're all better off drawing our own conclusions.
posted by zarq at 6:58 AM on January 28, 2014 [6 favorites]


As we were leaving, he suddenly goes "Dorothy I have to tell you something. I'm gay, and this feckless mongerer of fecal fear is my boyfriend."

I know you're anonymizing, but god, I wish this conversation really took place exactly like that. That would possibly be one of the most awesome statements released in the English language.

In seriousness, though, cairdeas has a point, and just because it's not immediately obvious doesn't mean it's not valid. I haven't always agreed with her on every topic, but she's been pretty consistent as a strong voice for feminism and against sexism - which means she can sometimes see sexism where someone else might not, but that doesn't mean it's not there.

The problem of how marginalized groups are treated by other marginalized groups, even struggling marginalized groups, even marginalized groups that are 5% of the population, even radical marginalized groups, is a very real one. (There's some great books, in particular, about the misogynist nature of activist and leftist spaces over the last thirty-forty years, where the misogyny was allowed to flourish because to do anything about it might be 'hurting the cause.' A Taste Of Power is one I'm thinking of, but there are a lot more.

And there's a certain extent where marginalized groups do not want to accept even justified criticism, because they're arguing that they are oppressed, and not the oppressor. To be the oppressor, to take on the mantle of the oppressor, is to relinquish the talking stick, to be, in social justice spaces, the one with less power. And people seem very unwilling to do that. In that thread, I saw multiple comments saying that women needed to "take shared responsibility" before any apology or introspection should be forthcoming, for example.

And that's a problem. It's a problem if we allow oppressed groups to replicate their oppression for others, while being untouchable on the basis of their marginalized status.
posted by corb at 7:14 AM on January 28, 2014 [5 favorites]


It's a problem if we allow oppressed groups to replicate their oppression for others, while being untouchable on the basis of their marginalized status.

Please provide links to anyone in the thread under discussion claiming that gay men are untouchable.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:18 AM on January 28, 2014 [8 favorites]


Zarq, here are some quotes from the thread.

Poisoning the well early on:
The fact that (straight?) women go into a gay men's pickup bar expecting a "prime cut of meat" but being dissapointed that they can't "eat", that they get the "stink eye" and have to "wait longer" for "watered down drinks" has a lot more to do with their own rudeness and unrealistic expectations than it does the very real problem of gay male misogyny.
Some people talk about why gay bars should exclude women, including the charming "This isn't privilege, this is "you are not wanted here, you are not supposed to be here, fuck off" and including a statement that if [women]"actively and deliberately disrupt[s] any kind of safe space and its purpose, they should not be surprised if their rude behavior makes them feel unwelcome."
posted by corb at 7:26 AM on January 28, 2014 [2 favorites]


The fact that (straight?) women go into a gay men's pickup bar expecting a "prime cut of meat" but being dissapointed that they can't "eat", that they get the "stink eye" and have to "wait longer" for "watered down drinks" has a lot more to do with their own rudeness and unrealistic expectations than it does the very real problem of gay male misogyny.

I have personally seen and experienced all of those things happen, except for the waiting longer for watered-down drinks. (Well, there was this one bar, but everyone got watered-down drinks so it was equal opportunity assholism).

There are, in fact, many straight women who go to gaybars and then spend the entire time complaining that all these hot men aren't interested. Trust me, it gets pretty fucking tiresome.

"This isn't privilege, this is "you are not wanted here, you are not supposed to be here, fuck off"

A man walks into a womens-only gym and demands a membership. What happens next?

if [women]"actively and deliberately disrupt[s] any kind of safe space and its purpose, they should not be surprised if their rude behavior makes them feel unwelcome."

I should think that if anyone actively and deliberately disrupts a safe space and its purpose they should not be surprised if their rude behaviour makes them feel unwelcome. Or are we supposed to be nice to people who actively and deliberately disrupt safe spaces?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:30 AM on January 28, 2014 [3 favorites]


The fact that (straight?) women go into a gay men's pickup bar expecting a "prime cut of meat" but being dissapointed that they can't "eat", that they get the "stink eye" and have to "wait longer" for "watered down drinks"

Yeah, I really think that was an unfortunate and offensive derail especially because IF YOU READ THE ARTICLE, it's about a gay man hanging out with his female friends at a bar. Note: he didn't say STRAIGHT female friends, just female.

And, in fact, the crass analogy of a "vegetarian in a butcher shop" would actually seem to me to imply that they were lesbians.
posted by Asparagus at 7:34 AM on January 28, 2014 [6 favorites]


I should think that if anyone actively and deliberately disrupts a safe space and its purpose they should not be surprised if their rude behaviour makes them feel unwelcome. Or are we supposed to be nice to people who actively and deliberately disrupt safe spaces?

The problem is the type of unwelcome discussed in the article includes things like sexual harassment and touching people without their consent, so some of those comments were interpreted as justifying that. I don't think any of them were trying to justify it, but you can see where that interpretation comes from.
posted by Drinky Die at 7:34 AM on January 28, 2014 [2 favorites]


The treatment of women in gay bars - and yes, I'll add that it seems to be given to women, regardless of their sexuality - is relevant to the issues of sexism and misogyny. It was mentioned as the tip of the iceberg - the "Gateway drug" of misogyny, as it were. And without getting into the meat of the substance of the article, I'll note that yes, when men - and it seemed to be nearly all men - start justifying why those icky women just don't belong there at all - it does seem kind of counter to how Metafilter on the whole tries to have social justice conversations. It seems as though a hierarchy of privilege and oppression is being set up.
posted by corb at 7:38 AM on January 28, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'll ask you again, corb:

A man walks into a women's-only gym and demands a membership. What happens next?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:41 AM on January 28, 2014


Oh and still waiting for links to comments saying that gay men are untouchable.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:43 AM on January 28, 2014


A man walks into a womens-only gym and demands a membership. What happens next?

And this is all really tricky, since there are a lot of possible overlapping axes of privilege that mess up any attempt to generalize from a given instance. A womens-only gym might very well have facilities that can't accommodate men (a single locker room, for example), even if they were willing to bend idiologically. Similarly, there is a huge difference between the "annoying bachlorette party" and "female friends of whatever orientation who just want to drink." This is an area where anecdotes are pretty useless, because there are so many competing anecdotes.
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:43 AM on January 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


A man walks into a womens-only gym and demands a membership. What happens next?

Ah, something I have experience with!

When I moved to NYC in 1998 I wandered around the city looking for a gym to join. The nearest gym to my shared apartment was a woman's only gym without explicit advertising. I went in, told them I was checking out gyms in the area, and asked for a tour and if they had free short term passes.

They responded with a lot of awkward hemming and hawing as they tried to figure out a nice way to say that this wasn't a place for me.

For those keeping track I ended up getting a membership at "The Big Workout at Johnny Lats Gym", which to this day has the best name of any gym I've been at.

The BIG workout at Johnny LATS GMY! I can't say it without smiling.
posted by bswinburn at 7:44 AM on January 28, 2014 [5 favorites]


I'm not asking for anecdotes, GenjiandProust, I'm asking corb what she thinks should happen next.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:46 AM on January 28, 2014


It seems as though a hierarchy of privilege and oppression is being set up.

I see it a lot more like reading the room to understand when sideways discussions about the dynamics not being talked about in the article/discussion are actually appropriate in the thread at the time. Most people are very good at this, some people are noticeably terrible and it has a bad effect on threads.

I'm asking corb what she thinks should happen next.

Maybe take it to MeMail? The sort of "interrogate one user about their beliefs" thing rarely leads to better discussions and is getting far afield of how we have these conversations on MetaFilter.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:49 AM on January 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


For what it's worth, I think if a bar owner wanted to enact a policy of "Only men are allowed here" they should totally have the right to do so. (But I imagine it probably wouldn't be a good business decision, because bars, unlike gyms, are places that people go to to socialize in groups).
posted by Asparagus at 7:50 AM on January 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


klangklangston: "Yeah, this all seems the misbegotten spawn of THERE WILL BE RULES! thinking."

This is exactly what's wrong with later versions of D&D.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:52 AM on January 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


crossoverman: Yes, the answer to a difficult discussion is just to nuke it from orbit. Thanks.

There are plenty of other topics that get nuked all the time -- not from orbit, though, just MetaFilter. There are plenty websites where it's perfectly acceptable to post comments stereotyping and slandering all women and/or all gay men based on a tiny minority of each; MetaFilter needn't be one of them.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:00 AM on January 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


FYI, Drinky Die, I think you were referring to my comment here:

I think that the fact that this thread seems to be treating the crux of the article as 'some women went to a gay bar and were sad about the reception they had', instead of 'men treating women as objects and sexually assaulting them, then getting visibly angry when women dared to push back' is at least minimizing the issue.

Which you responded to like so:

I think one should consider why gay men might react negatively to suggestions that they are a group likely to engage in sexual assaults. Even if you say it's just SOME of them.

That does sound an awful lot like trying to shut down discussion on sexual assault.

I'm staying the fuck out of this thread from now on, because yesterday I realized that maybe a shittily framed Jezebel article was not the hill I wanted to die on, but you know -FYI. Links and all that.
posted by dinty_moore at 8:01 AM on January 28, 2014


Maybe take it to MeMail?

I'm not interrogating corb about her beliefs; corb quoted someone saying "fuck off, you're not welcome here," presenting it as an 'obviously' bad thing to say. If a man were to walk into a women's only gym and demand a membership, "fuck off, you're not welcome here" is a not-unreasonable reading of the response, no matter how delicately it's phrased. I would like to understand, and I would like corb to clarify publicly because she is the one who brought it up, why one is wrong and why one--presumably--is not, given the strawmen she's already raised here.

I was under the impression that explaining what we are on about is pretty central to how these conversations go, instead of just dropping quotes without context or explanation.

(But I imagine it probably wouldn't be a good business decision, because bars, unlike gyms, are places that people go to to socialize in groups).

Most gaybars I've been to would lose fractional percentage points of their business, if anything was lost at all, if they instituted such a policy. I can think of at least one gaybar in Toronto (the Black Eagle, for those who are familiar) where it would be outright astonishing to ever see a woman walk through the door. Then again, back when Slack's was still open (RIP :( ) the times I'd go I'd be one of maybe two or three men there at all. But, I hasten to point out, the lesbians were en masse significantly more welcoming of a guy (especially, I think, the times I was there with a bf as well as my lesbian posse) than gay men tend to be of straight women at gaybars. Lesbians at gaybars tend, in my experience and YMMV, to be treated more like one of the guys; our sexualities are totally irrelevant to each other so fuck it, let's get hammered.

I think one should consider why gay men might react negatively to suggestions that they are a group likely to engage in sexual assaults. Even if you say it's just SOME of them.

That does sound an awful lot like trying to shut down discussion on sexual assault.


That sounds to me an awful lot like not wanting to be called a (potential?) rapist just because I'm gay.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:02 AM on January 28, 2014 [2 favorites]


If a man were to walk into a women's only gym and demand a membership, "fuck off, you're not welcome here" is a not-unreasonable reading of the response, no matter how delicately it's phrased. I would like corb to clarify publicly because she is the one who brought it up, why one is wrong and why one--presumably--is not, given the strawmen she's already raised here.

I would also like a pony. I recognize that you've never said it is right for me to have a pony, but I'm pretty sure it's a not unreasonable reading of your pony-less statement that I should have a pony. Since I'm sure you're going to get me said pony, I will note that its mane should be long and lustrous, with eyes that can see into my soul and a coat that can repel water. If you, after your statement which clearly reads as one of pony procurement, deny me this completely reasonable request, I would like you to publicly justify your hatred for ponies and clear hypocrisy.
posted by corb at 8:15 AM on January 28, 2014 [4 favorites]


I think one should consider why gay men might react negatively to suggestions that they are a group likely to engage in sexual assaults. Even if you say it's just SOME of them.

That does sound an awful lot like trying to shut down discussion on sexual assault.


Well, I can see where you are coming from. Let me do one more attempt at clarifying what I was trying to say there.

Here's where I think our issue is:

I'm part of a privileged group that is known for some pretty shitty behavior, too. A couple of them. If someone wants to help call the groups I'm part of out on their shitty behavious, more power to them. You know, instead of claiming not all educated, not all white, not all Americans, not all cis people are like that. WE KNOW. Crying about that instead of looking at the actual issue isn't helpful.

So, I get that generalizations are just generalizations and they aren't meant to apply to everyone. In general, that's fine. In some cases though it can be problematic. One case where it can be is if the generalization you are making is also a well known negative stereotype about a group that is not a culturally dominant group. In that context, you have to ride a fine line with being honest about the problems you see but also trying not to feed into the negative stereotype. I don't think that precludes talking honestly about the issues, I just think you need to do it with a little more sensitivity and care than was being displayed at some points in the thread.

Anyway, I understand I was not at all communicating or reading well at the time which is why I eventually stopped posting so it's my own fault if I sent a different message than I intended or saw insensitivity that was not actually present.
posted by Drinky Die at 8:18 AM on January 28, 2014


corb, I asked you a simple question. We both know why you won't answer it.

~ fin ~
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:19 AM on January 28, 2014 [2 favorites]


Corb, just this once, I'm begging you to let it go.

And that goes double for everyone else.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:20 AM on January 28, 2014 [5 favorites]


I think that there are a fair number of businesses that cater to the single sex crowd, de facto if not de jure, breastaurants apparently claim to have a 1/4 of their business is female, but the last time I went to one I saw several hundred male customers and two female ones.

Similarly there is a British tea room I go to every couple of years (coronation chicken ftw) which I've never seen another man at. It's not a bar, sure, but women who want to go out without men around certainly have an option there.

I am really torn on the issue if having single sex only places still need to be upheld. At one point in history it's undeniable that single sex establishments were causing women harm in their careers and businesses. But there are some signs that the share of the women owned business community has grown to the point that women aren't at a disadvantage any longer.

As such I'm not sure if there's an over riding interest in the government denying people the right to assemble as they choose on private property any longer.

On the other hand, I can see how a system that excludes people, or at least the appearance of one, could be reborn pretty easily. The benefit of breastaurants and tea rooms is that people of the less numerous sex can walk in and see pretty quickly there's not grand conspiracy going on.
posted by bswinburn at 8:26 AM on January 28, 2014


It's also worth noting that this is an article about women in gaybars penned by a gay man

It was not an article about women in gay bars. It was an article about sexism and male privilege in some gay male subcultures.

The article in the OP is really, really long and provides plenty of anecdotes other than the opening one, and so I am, and remain, perplexed why the discussion in the original post and here continues to focus only on the opening anecdote.
posted by Squeak Attack at 8:26 AM on January 28, 2014 [4 favorites]


corb: " Poisoning the well early on: "

Let's start by quoting his full comment:
Yeah, I thought that was a real misstep as the opening for an article that otherwise raised some good and timely points. The fact that (straight?) women go into a gay men's pickup bar expecting a "prime cut of meat" but being dissapointed that they can't "eat", that they get the "stink eye" and have to "wait longer" for "watered down drinks" has a lot more to do with their own rudeness and unrealistic expectations than it does the very real problem of gay male misogyny.

I've heard some truly vile and visceral female-body-hate from some of my fellow gays and in some situations they've been in a position to express that through various types of privelege, exclusion, hateful speech and so forth. I'm not aware of more direct instances of abuse, unwanted contact, etc, but then, my milieu is mostly male, which is in some ways problematic by itself. Anyway, an interesting article, so thanks.
The "prime cut of meat", "stink eye" and "wait longer" for "watered down drinks" references are all paraphrased from the first graph of the article. They're not Drexen's words. He's describing them as a "misstep" and mentioning that gay male misogyny is a "very real problem" and that he's "heard some truly vile and visceral female-body-hate from some of my fellow gays and in some situations they've been in a position to express that through various types of privelege, exclusion, hateful speech and so forth."

So I guess my question is, what do you feel is problematic here? Is it what he's quoting from the article? Or with him saying that some (not all, that does not appear to be implied) possibly straight women have problems with unrealistic expectations in gay bars? Or his acknowledgment that some gay people are misogynists and may engage in female-body-hate? Or is it his assertion that women can act in a disruptive way at gay bars? If the latter, is he wrong?

What's sort of interesting about this comment to me is that it doesn't seem to have "poisoned the well" as you put it. Drexen made no other comments in the thread. Over 100 comments later, only one person seems to have engaged that comment directly, (although I freely admit I might have missed one or more comments that did.) That one response comment by roomthreeseventeen pretty concisely shot down the idea that straight women using a gay bar as a dating pool is equally as disruptive as making complaints about watered down drinks or long waits.

The subjects being discussed (disruptive behavior of some straight women in gay bars) were from the article. The wording was from the article. It's unfair to imply Drexen raised them out of the blue.

Some people talk about why gay bars should exclude women, including the charming "This isn't privilege, this is "you are not wanted here, you are not supposed to be here, fuck off" and including a statement that if [women]"actively and deliberately disrupt[s] any kind of safe space and its purpose, they should not be surprised if their rude behavior makes them feel unwelcome."

I agree with you about Veritron's comment.

Blazecock's comment on the other hand seemed particularly well expressed: "Most gay male bars are meant to be safe spaces for gay males looking to hang out with and meet other gay males, without having to look over their shoulder.

This idea was expanded upon and discussed at length later in the thread. Gay men who show affection for one another in public in most areas of the US literally have to worry about being physically attacked by homophobes. Gay bars are places where they can be themselves without having to worry about persecution.

More from BP: If someone actively and deliberately disrupts any kind of safe space and its purpose, they should not be surprised if their rude behavior makes them feel unwelcome.

Again, referring to a subset of people (not just women) who come to a gay bar and are disruptive.

The last bit of Blazecock's comment: There are also many more opportunities for safe spaces for 51% of the population which enjoys legal and societal protections that half of 10% do not. That isn't to say that straight women looking to have a night out with the girls should be automatically barred from safe spaces made by and for gay men, but some thoughtful consideration for circumstance and purpose for why these places exist is almost always useful."

This concept of gay bars as safe spaces has been discussed at length in the thread. I don't see anything wrong with someone saying (as Blazecock does here) that gay men may consider their bars to be safe spaces and consideration of and respect for that would be useful.
posted by zarq at 8:27 AM on January 28, 2014 [16 favorites]


EmpressCallipygos: " And that goes double for everyone else."

We're all adults here. There's no reason why we can't have a conversation about this topic.
posted by zarq at 8:28 AM on January 28, 2014 [7 favorites]

The subjects being discussed (disruptive behavior of some straight women in gay bars) were from the article.
I really don't understand how they are, unless you assume that the author's female friends were straight and disruptive. Since he didn't say that they were either, where are you getting that?
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 8:30 AM on January 28, 2014 [7 favorites]


I don't see anything wrong with someone saying (as Blazecock does here) that gay men may consider their bars to be safe spaces and consideration of and respect for that would be useful.

Bingo. I live in a pretty enlightened city in a pretty enlightened country, and still? A gaybar anywhere is a space I know I can go to and be safe. A space where I can be (somewhat, as a short pudgy man but maybe let's not get into gay male body fascism) welcomed.

You know how sometimes women just want a space that's just for women?

Sometimes gay men want a space that's just for gay men that isn't a bathhouse. Some respect for that would be really nice.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:33 AM on January 28, 2014 [3 favorites]


That, at its root, is the problem of (many) (younger) straight women at gaybars: it's this really superficial understanding of gay life. We are being seen as our stereotypes and not as who we are, and I think that underscores a lot of the reactions.

To me, part of the point of the article is that "being seen as stereotypes and not who we are" is something that happens in the other direction too, from gay men toward women.

Since the overall point of the article, at least in my reading, was that women's points of view in interactions between women and gay men should also be considered (by gay men), it *does* seem strange to me that there would be long discussions in the thread about how obnoxious women are or how they should just get out already. I do think that's a derail.

Also, accusations of perversion and sexual violence have a history of getting lobbed at gay men because of homophobia, and I get that a lot of gay men have a really complicated relationship with being perceived as effeminate -- so it makes sense that those would be sensitive topics. If everybody wants to have a discussion about that in the FPP thread, that's all good as far as I'm concerned.* However, I still think we don't need to have the same exact tone argument as ever with the "you mean some! not all!" Yes, we always mean some, not all (unless we say all, which nobody ever does).

*Honestly, I'd specifically love a discussion about people's wardrobe choices in gay bars v. lesbian bars v. "other" bars (sports bars?) (and both of people going "to score" and people who aren't). I find that there are huge differences in how femininity is perceived in those places and who is "allowed" to be feminine and how, and I think that actually relates to and builds on what the article is talking about. But then, I'm someone who "natters" about shopping/hair/makeup all the time. Which I also specifically bring up because -- something that was touched on in the article and which pretentious illiterate had a really insightful comment about -- was the way in which women's bodies/autonomy get policed by (some!) gay men and what that feels like as a woman. PI's comment got a lot of favorites but didn't seem to have many direct replies, which makes me think that a lot of people (including me) who were keeping up with the thread didn't feel comfortable engaging with the discussion (in my case, because it seemed to me to be surprisingly "In the end, there can be only one — the last one will receive all the power of all the [privileged] who ever lived!").
posted by rue72 at 8:33 AM on January 28, 2014 [2 favorites]


I would also like a pony.

Meetup at Aliena? Bring the kids.


We're all adults here.

Yes, but not at the same time.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:34 AM on January 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


There's no reason why we can't have a conversation about this topic.

The topic itself isn't what I was hoping people would let go.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:34 AM on January 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


"I really don't understand how they are, unless you assume that the author's female friends were straight and disruptive. Since he didn't say that they were either, where are you getting that?"

There's other stuff in the article about the mutual objectification and bad behavior based on stereotypes.
posted by klangklangston at 8:35 AM on January 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


And there's a certain extent where marginalized groups do not want to accept even justified criticism, because they're arguing that they are oppressed, and not the oppressor. To be the oppressor, to take on the mantle of the oppressor, is to relinquish the talking stick, to be, in social justice spaces, the one with less power. And people seem very unwilling to do that. In that thread, I saw multiple comments saying that women needed to "take shared responsibility" before any apology or introspection should be forthcoming, for example.

And that's a problem. It's a problem if we allow oppressed groups to replicate their oppression for others, while being untouchable on the basis of their marginalized status.


Do you believe women should be exempt from the rules you're imposing on other oppressed groups, corb? 'Cause that's what that bit in bold would appear to suggest.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:37 AM on January 28, 2014 [3 favorites]


Since the overall point of the article, at least in my reading, was that women's points of view in interactions between women and gay men should also be considered (by gay men), it *does* seem strange to me that there would be long discussions in the thread about how obnoxious women are or how they should just get out already. I do think that's a derail.

I don't think that "considering women's points of view" and "calling out obnoxious behaviour by women" are mutually exclusive here.

I mean... when you're a visitor in another culture, it behooves you to behave in a way appropriate for that culture. It is not that culture's business to change itself for you, the visitor.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:38 AM on January 28, 2014 [2 favorites]


feckless fecal fear mongering: "I mean... when you're a visitor in another culture, it behooves you to behave in a way appropriate for that culture. It is not that culture's business to change itself for you, the visitor."

But wasn't the very issue under discussion that said culture has a misogyny problem?
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 8:45 AM on January 28, 2014 [7 favorites]


I mean... when you're a visitor in another culture, it behooves you to behave in a way appropriate for that culture. It is not that culture's business to change itself for you, the visitor.

What if you're a paying customer and have brought your kid with you?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:45 AM on January 28, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'm boggled that so much of that discussion turned out to be about straight women in gay bars. That was a minor point in the article but it took up most of the air in the discussion. You can characterize that as defensiveness or being righteously pissed off about people behaving badly in their community, but it was focusing on what seemed to me to be a minor point in the article.

(Also nthing that gay bar tourism by straight women wasn't even what the article was talking about; it was a gay man talking about his women friends going to his favorite bar with him, and their orientation wasn't even mentioned.)
posted by immlass at 8:47 AM on January 28, 2014 [15 favorites]


But wasn't the very issue under discussion that said culture has a misogyny problem?

Yes. And that misogyny problem needs to be addressed. Which isn't the same thing at all as needing to behave appropriately when you are a visitor somewhere else.

I mean, I'd love to visit Dubai sometime. Looks like a neat place. I will also behave appropriately while I am there, because it is not for me to demand that they change their regressive and homophobic laws for me. They need to change them, yes, but that doesn't change the fact that when in Rome etc.

What if you're a paying customer and have brought your kid with you?

You know full well my answer to that question, so your motives in bringing it up are suspect at best. Do better.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:49 AM on January 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


ArbitraryAndCapricious: " I really don't understand how they are, unless you assume that the author's female friends were straight and disruptive. Since he didn't say that they were either, where are you getting that?"

I missed a "(?)" sorry. It was part of Drexen's and other comments. Whether they are straight or not was questioned in the thread several times.

EmpressCallipygos: " The topic itself isn't what I was hoping people would let go."

The effect is the same. Corb will be asked to pipe down, because the mods will feel she's monopolizing the thread. Just once, I would like to be able to have a calm, reasonable, on-topic conversation with corb in MetaTalk without having it shut down because people are afraid of what will happen or that she's making the thread about her.
posted by zarq at 8:56 AM on January 28, 2014 [8 favorites]

"Nah, it wasn't by a mod, here is the scolding..."
I guess I should be flattered that I'm being represented as the normative metafilter opinion, but so long as I'm being dragged into this during my work day, navigating intersectionality isn't meant to be an exercise in competitive silencing where the most oppressed wins. It is about being careful to listen to perspectives that speak to one's sets of privilege, where privilege represents those un-asked for benefits of structural oppression along with the easy human failure to either see how that oppression hurts others to begin with, or the failure to see that hurt as a problem, or the failure to see causing that hurt as one's own problem. While women are certainly less privileged than men, that does not make a cudgel for silencing male survivors of sexualized violence dressed up as feminism ok to use as in the thread you referenced, nor does it make dressing up shitty homophobic assumptions about gay bars in the same way at the top of this thread ok, and it certainly doesn't fucking make equating gayness with rape-iness ok; among other things it aggressively misses the point.

While I actually share the perspective that male privilege was directly getting in the way of addressing the deep concerns that the article was trying to explain, and did my best to try re-railing the thread early on, I very much don't think anything actually went wrong on a meta level in that thread. This Meta's coy attempt at trying to silence the gay men in that thread from interrogating the first paragraph in the article for homophobic assumptions, or from combating the virulently bigoted homophobic shit Drinky Die just quoted, is really not ok. Both conversations are important and both should really be ok to discuss, besides, with how intertwined the two are how could they could be reasonably discussed independently anyway?

You seem to have a shtick in threads where you consistently either don't see the sexualized or gendered oppression of Sexual-and-Gender-Minorities who are not cis-gendered women, or don't see it as a problem, or don't see it as your problem, and if that is the case then that is privilege worth addressing regardless of the privilege of anyone else.
"(about a piece written by a straight white man about his perspectives)"
I should also note that you're wrong on two out of three counts, this certainly isn't the first time erasing the gender and orientation identities of others has been an issue for you, and thats really not ok.
posted by Blasdelb at 9:00 AM on January 28, 2014 [17 favorites]


I mean, I get that your request is coming from a good place, Empress. I do. None of us want to see this thread devolve into a massive argument, a hatefest or one person being attacked.

It's just frustrating to me that it seems every time someone starts having a productive discussion with corb in Meta it gets shut down.
posted by zarq at 9:01 AM on January 28, 2014


zarq, i agree with you in theory, but corb should probably not make fantastical comments about ponies if what she's looking for is a calm, reasonable, on topic conversation.
posted by nadawi at 9:02 AM on January 28, 2014 [8 favorites]


Nadawi, yeah I think her comment could have been phrased better and been more direct. With less metaphor and more "you're trying to paint me as a hypocrite, you're right/wrong and here's why."
posted by zarq at 9:05 AM on January 28, 2014


zarq, going to memail because now you and I are turning into a derail.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:05 AM on January 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


But wasn't the very issue under discussion that said culture has a misogyny problem?

Yes, exactly.

The issue under discussion wasn't whether women and gay men should interact or where they should interact; it was about objectification/stereotyping/misogyny that sometimes occurs -- in this article specifically from the men toward the women, though in life it could and does go both ways -- when they do interact.

The article seemed to me to be about the societal *relationship* between gay men and women, and so there isn't actually an "insider" group or a "visitor" group (even if there could be/are insider/visitor groups *within a gay bar specifically*).
posted by rue72 at 9:16 AM on January 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


None of us want to see this thread devolve into a massive argument

wait then why are we in MetaTalk I thought that's what we did here
posted by Hoopo at 9:18 AM on January 28, 2014 [5 favorites]


(even if there could be/are insider/visitor groups *within a gay bar specifically*).

Um? In a gaybar there is definitely an insider group: gay men. Everyone else is a visitor.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:20 AM on January 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


Um, what? Lesbians are visitors at a gay bar?
posted by Asparagus at 9:22 AM on January 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


Since we are speaking specifically about bars catering to gay men, yes.

In exactly the same way that I, a gay man, am a visitor when I go to bars catering to lesbians.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:24 AM on January 28, 2014


Since we are speaking specifically about bars catering to gay men

Except that we're not. We've been talking about bars that "cater" to gays, period.
posted by Asparagus at 9:29 AM on January 28, 2014


That is not what I have been talking about, nor is it my understanding of what everyone else is talking about. If I were, I would have been clear about saying queer bars, and would have been clear about who was going where.

But since I have clarified exactly what I meant, we're done now, yes?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:32 AM on January 28, 2014 [2 favorites]


Since several people asked for it, I have gone back to find the links for the comments I described.

As I said at the top, these comments are my examples of derailing the discussion from the sexism of this subculture and the perspectives of the men and women who are complaining about it. They are not my examples of things that are necessarily false in their own right, perspectives that are irrelevant to the overall topic, etc. They just move the focus of the discussion away from the perspectives of the people who are trying to talk about sexism. Also, some of these comments contain other points which are not derailing.

---

I will have more time to reply later so if anyone wants to address anything to me, I am not ignoring you, just leave my name somewhere in your comment or MeMail me and I can come back to it.

---

-Mentioning times when women have been "rude" and had "unrealistic expectations" as an explanation for why they are sometimes treated harshly.

-A massive several-dozen-comment-long derail (or branch of the conversation, depending on your perspective) about why women should or shouldn't be excluded from bars mostly peopled by gay guys, and why women do or don't deserve the treatment they get when they go in there, based on how they act. And circumstances under which sexist treatment would "make sense."

-Mentioning on how women use gendered slurs on other women. One person mentioned how they have only ever heard a certain slur used by women, never by the subgroup whose sexist acts are under discussion. [Sorry, he said it was "mostly" women doing this, as well as "drag queens." Apologies.]

-Bringing up many times the ways in which women treat this subgroup badly.

-Asserting that if you criticize a trend within a subgroup of gay guys, or the actions of some of its members, then you are criticizing ALL gay men and saying they ALL engage in this behavior. Being offended based on this.

-Telling women that when they object to sexual harassment by some gay men they are unfairly abusing the history of homophobic portrayal of gay men as sexual predators. [I think this is not actually the comment I was looking for, but the sentiment in it is similar.]

-Bringing up how members of this subculture are also treated badly in many of the same ways, in order to contradict what others are saying. ["A gay bar is a place where you can reasonably expect to be groped a lot if you're a guy. It can be incredibly disgusting and rough." This comment was otherwise fairly non-derailing.]

-Starting an argument about why gay guys don't have more privilege or as much privilege as women in general. [Appeared several more times than just here by a variety of users, I can find more later if anyone wants.]

-Scolding women for not sufficiently "empathizing with the predicament" of people who engage in these acts. ["Now, because gay men can fall into those behaviours either through truth or having the role thrust upon them are they also suffering from the dominant cultural patriarchy, or is it all of a sudden that they get immediately shunted into being oppressors without empathising with their predicament the same as you would with women with internalised misogyny?"][Uh, like Coulter/Bachmann/Palin/Malkin? I "empathize" tons with them...]
posted by cairdeas at 9:33 AM on January 28, 2014 [4 favorites]


I guess I should be flattered that I'm being represented as the normative metafilter opinion, but so long as I'm being dragged into this during my work day,

Well, Blasdelb, I didn't mean to drag you into this thread, so if it is your opinion that I did so, I apologize. I offered at the time to talk to you about the issue you brought up about how, in that thread, I was silencing male survivors of sexualized violence dressed up as feminism. You never replied at all, which is fine. If you do want to talk about that I am still willing to, but I would appreciate it if we not do it in this particular thread.

Also, if Michael Ian Black is not a straight white man, then I sincerely apologize for assuming he was. I was under the impression that he was based on the fact that he is married to a woman and I have never heard him to discuss being bi. But I was not trying to erase his identity or sexuality.
posted by cairdeas at 9:41 AM on January 28, 2014


Cairdeas, if you link to my comments, do not put in quotes words I did not say or imply.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:48 AM on January 28, 2014 [6 favorites]


Did I? Where?
posted by cairdeas at 9:51 AM on January 28, 2014


Oh, I see where I linked your comment. Those are my examples of posts that contributed to the gay bar derail. The "make sense" line appeared in this comment which was not by you.
posted by cairdeas at 9:53 AM on January 28, 2014


And now I am out for a while but can reply later if anyone wants.
posted by cairdeas at 9:55 AM on January 28, 2014


As usual, I come very late to this party, but I wanted to address the point of intersectionality.

My understanding of the technical analysis side of the discipline of using intersectionality to try to suss out just what the fuck is going on in a situation where multiple parties have mixed privileges is that it's an attempt to systematize a principle which is much more dear to a lot of our hearts: "Don't be a dick."

cairdeas, I like you. I think you're thorough and smart and very articulate about shades of meaning and nuance and I like where you come from and I often agree with you.

What I am getting stuck on here is that to me, the act of trying to get us all to agree in some sort of Metatalk referendum with some guideline that's informed by intersectionality but basically says who should shut up and in what context is kind of cool in abstract but I think in this Metatalk thread (and indeed in almost all threads where this sort of thing's come up from my point of view on and off Metafilter) what's really going on here is that we're all very much at risk of being dicks to each other about who's allowed to speak and generally making the situation, the dialog worse.

I say this being a huge fan of social justice, a huge social justice activist with lots of years under my belt: I don't think this kind of referendum is viable even in a community as cool as this one. I think that these kinds of changes happen slowly as the community at large sort of thinks about it, talks about it, internalizes it and moves on with a new sort of collectively individual, personal rule set. And this kind of change, I think, is based on lots of little microtransactions where people extend and rely on trust throughout the community.

I do think the Metafilter reading/commenting/posting community keeps showing major improvement. But I also just haven't seen a lot of Metatalk posts about these kinds of standards turn into anything but a shit show.
posted by kalessin at 10:01 AM on January 28, 2014 [9 favorites]


The article in the OP is really, really long and provides plenty of anecdotes other than the opening one, and so I am, and remain, perplexed why the discussion in the original post and here continues to focus only on the opening anecdote.

Sadly, I think there was a lot of not RTFA or Reading a Bit of TFA and jumping in early and so on. So the first block of a long and rather confusing article becomes the whole of the article. This is not uncommon on MetaFilter -- when things are ambiguous or sloppily-phrased, whether in an FPP or the linked article(s) or a question on AskMe, it becomes less whatever the original writer intended and more a mirror held up the the varied faces of the MeFites. That's my take, anyway.
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:08 AM on January 28, 2014 [6 favorites]


cairdeas, thanks for taking the time to provide links that you think support your point.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:11 AM on January 28, 2014 [4 favorites]


-Asserting that if you criticize a trend within a subgroup of gay guys, or the actions of some of its members, then you are criticizing ALL gay men and saying they ALL engage in this behavior. Being offended based on this.

Yeesh. cairdeas, I'm a little surprised why you don't see that this is a problematic kind of argument. It seems rather superficially like the tiresome "all men aren't like that!" derails we get in many threads about women's experiences, but it's not really the same. Gay men have been stigmatized, marginalized, criminalized, and even murdered based on the stereotype that they are sexual predators. That kind of accusation is going to get a lot of pushback, because it has such an ugly history. Yeah, there are clearly gay men who are sexual predators because there are predators in any population, but any universalizing statements get onto shaky ground really quickly. Not that this wasn't said in some of the comments you linked to, as well as that thread in general.
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:22 AM on January 28, 2014 [3 favorites]


Um, what? Lesbians are visitors at a gay bar?

Oftentimes, yes. Not at every gay bar everywhere, but at a lot of them, most definitely yes. This is one of the problems with "gay" being interpreted in a gender-neutral way. There are good things about that, too, but it's not without its problems.
posted by rtha at 10:40 AM on January 28, 2014 [15 favorites]


-Telling women that when they object to sexual harassment by some gay men they are unfairly abusing the history of homophobic portrayal of gay men as sexual predators. [I think this is not actually the comment I was looking for, but the sentiment in it is similar.]

I think this is an extremely unfair and inaccurate paraphrase of what Conspire was saying.
posted by rtha at 10:46 AM on January 28, 2014 [14 favorites]


Starting an argument about why gay guys don't have more privilege or as much privilege as women in general.

cairdeas, I think this is unfairly representing my comment, the point of which was that the author of the piece appeared to be arguing this. I in fact completely agree that an argument about who has more privilege is not productive.

What I am objecting to is what I stated above: the idea that, in order to call attention to misogynistic treatment of women by gay men, you need to minimize the marginalization of gay men (e.g., "American subcultures that are unwelcoming of gay culture are now the exception, not the rule. With this shift, however, gay men especially are losing the single differentiator that hitherto marginalized us from our straight brethren") and suggest that they are higher up on the ladder ("we are in many ways beginning to leapfrog over the very women who tend to be our earliest adopters after we come out of the closet"). I think the author also cherry-picks from some of the linked citations to support his points here, which I talked about in the other thread, but the bigger problem IMO is framing it this way in general.

I do wish we had spent a hell of a lot less time discussing bars. I made one comment that I now realize sounds like I might be implying that I was searching for reasons to exclude women from gay bars, and I regret that because that's not what I believe. To be clear, I don't think there should be a gender filter in bars; any person of any sexuality should be welcome as long as they aren't homophobic. I also agree that some of the comments you pulled out were really disrespectful (e.g. the "fuck off" comment).

However, I do think I should point out that talking about the ways that the dynamic between gay men and straight women is mutually dehumanizing is not a derail - it is in fact also part of the original article (emphasis mine):
This idea that there is a 1:1 ratio of newly-out gay men and their best female friend is objectification of the highest order; it serves neither party. It paints a picture of gay male sexuality that necessitates the role of a women [sic]–but furthermore, it paints the picture of women serving men, propping them up. Women end up objectifying gay men as surrogates for girlfriends or pretty plus ones at parties; gay men end up objectifying women as de facto therapists and punching bags, who are expected to make them feel better about themselves, all while weathering a casual deluge of slurs like “slut”, “ho”, and “bitch.” When gay men and women can rise above the gendered nature of their relationship, these destructive tendencies melt away, but it’s more likely that these relationships implode.
I think something that is explicitly discussed in the FPP needs to be fair game for discussion in the thread, as long as it's done in a respectful way.
posted by en forme de poire at 10:49 AM on January 28, 2014 [4 favorites]


Yeah, figured I'd get a few mentions in there.

I don't have much to say to cairdeas on this regard, but I will point out that when she uses my post as an example of being offended, I was specifically referring to a comment by what's her name paraphrasing an unnamed feminist as saying straight men and gay men - well, as she put it:

as what both groups have in common is an obsession with their penises. Can you imagine what kind of world this would be for women if straight and gay men aligned?

I'll happily maintain that this is a lazy and dismissive generalisation that is offensive for being a hacky comedian's source of terrible material, if nothing else.

Also, when cairdeas says: One person mentioned how they have only ever heard a certain slur used by women, I'm glad to see that's now been amended to closer to what I actually said, which in the comment itself was very much stated as my experience, not universally applied. Unlike the article in the post.

When things are in my experience, I try to say that. It does seem to be the first part of any sentence that gets ignored when anyone wishes to challenge something online, however. Just like how it was repeatedly stated that posters were denying this form of misogyny happened, no matter how often it was pointed out no-one said that - but then when differing examples were given by gay men telling of their own personal experience, this was taken to mean all women in all queer venues even though it wasn't framed that way. We're also told that when talking about (gay) men we should have read the 'many or some' in there, by people who seemed unable to do the same when the word 'women' was used, especially when there were always qualifiers on which women were being referred to.

Finally, no, I did not read the whole article. I stated how far I made it upfront in my first comment, along with why I stopped reading it. There is much in this topic I could happily discuss; I'd prefer to do it with a better, smarter base to jump from.

Honestly, the effect of the need for pageviews on articles has a lot to answer for.
posted by gadge emeritus at 10:51 AM on January 28, 2014 [2 favorites]


feckless fecal fear mongering, re: behaving "appropriately" in bars and/or Dubai - I think you might be missing AoK's larger point.
posted by Corinth at 11:27 AM on January 28, 2014 [2 favorites]


GenjiandProust: "This is not uncommon on MetaFilter -- when things are ambiguous or sloppily-phrased, whether in an FPP or the linked article(s) or a question on AskMe, it becomes less whatever the original writer intended and more a mirror held up the the varied faces of the MeFites."

I think this is less a feature of Metafilter than an aspect of human nature in general.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:34 AM on January 28, 2014 [2 favorites]


what both groups have in common is an obsession with their penises

I also thought this was gross and am glad someone called it out as relying on gender stereotypes that are themselves essentially patriarchal in nature.
posted by en forme de poire at 11:49 AM on January 28, 2014 [6 favorites]


cairdeas: "Since several people asked for it, I have gone back to find the links for the comments I described. "

Thank you for this. Sincerely. It's a lot more work to do and I appreciate your taking the time.

cairdeas: " -Telling women that when they object to sexual harassment by some gay men they are unfairly abusing the history of homophobic portrayal of gay men as sexual predators. [I think this is not actually the comment I was looking for, but the sentiment in it is similar.]"

I believe the comment you're looking for is not Conspire's but Drinky Die's, which was:
"They are a group of men who have been stereotyped as pedophiles and uncontrollable perverts. Maybe to you dealing with that might be crying and dodging the "actual issue", but it's an actual issue in the literal sense to some people.

So, don't automatically frame resistance to memes pegging them as assaulters as "standard X Y" because there is something else going on here. That doesn't mean you don't address the issue of assaults, but it does mean that you need to learn a little bit about the issue so you can approach the circumstances that make it unique when you try to fix it."
The original comment DD was responding to has apparently been deleted, and we can see (from the bit that was quoted: "Of course gay men are a group likely to engage in sexual assaults. They're men, aren't they?") why. It was obviously hyperbolic and unhelpful to the smooth flow of the thread. Of course, we can't see if there was additional context in the deleted comment that might have tempered that sentence. Did it also mention that gay, bi and lesbian folks are more likely to be victims of sexual assault than heterosexuals? Can't tell.

Given this, the point DD was making seems a valid one. Gay men are not straight men. They are not in the majority. As a group, they have a history of being accused of pedophilia (the Catholic Church in particular is still vilifying gays as pedophiles,) among other perversions. There is a more nuanced dynamic here that should not be ignored. Note also that DD said "That doesn't mean you don't address the issue of assaults, but it does mean that you need to learn a little bit about the issue so you can approach the circumstances that make it unique when you try to fix it." There is a clear acknowledgement that assaults happen and it's equally clear that he is not asking for that to be ignored or excused.
posted by zarq at 12:10 PM on January 28, 2014 [5 favorites]


The original comment DD was responding to has apparently been deleted, and we can see (from the bit that was quoted: "Of course gay men are a group likely to engage in sexual assaults. They're men, aren't they?") why.

I unfortunately conflated a few comments together there and replied as if everyone was speaking as one, which is a big time mistake and one reason I've been saying I was communicating poorly. There was a deleted comment there but I was responding more directly to others.

I also made other mistakes like writing it as, "you need to learn a little bit about the issue" which implies I am saying they are clueless about it, and not that I am trying to talk to an educated person about a nuance I think they may not be fully noticing. Should have walked away earlier cause I was getting worked up.
posted by Drinky Die at 12:21 PM on January 28, 2014 [3 favorites]


except in this case because it's gay men, it's somehow more acceptable for the thread to be all about the men's defensiveness.

I don't approve of, endorse, identify with, or want to be defensive on behalf of men who can't treat women like peers and human beings, whether they are gay or straight. My only real objection to that thread was the way a very narrow version of some gay men's experience got turned into "gay culture." And despite insistences along the line of "Oh, but we don't mean you," the whole discussion was premised on the notion that the life of a certain kind of (mostly) young, (mostly) urban, (mostly) white gay man and his mediated representions is constituitive of "the dominant hegemonic American" gay culture.

I swear to God, if someone came in and suggested that hip hop gangstas were representative of the dominant hegemonic American black culture in the same way our eyes would roll so hard.
posted by octobersurprise at 12:23 PM on January 28, 2014 [12 favorites]


Zarq, I had the chance to find the comment I was trying to remember. It turned out to be part of another comment that Conspire made the next day. Here is the part I was referring to.

Claims made by women labeling gay men as sexual predators unfairly abuse the history of accusations of sexual deviancy used to marginalize gay men; but comments about how disgusting female anatomy is abusive of the history of delegitimization of female sexuality. Link.

I completely agree with you that DD was making a valid point, that gay men are not in the majority, and there is a nuanced dynamic here. My question was whether or not the appropriate time to talk about that is in a thread about the perspectives and experiences of another group about ways that the group you identify with is harming them. If the community says that it is, that's fine.

However, this comment from Conspire is really going beyond that, in my opinion, in a way that is not great.
posted by cairdeas at 12:29 PM on January 28, 2014


"Of course gay men are a group likely to engage in sexual assaults. They're men, aren't they?"

I unfortunately conflated a few comments together there and replied as if everyone was speaking as one...


I'm very curious (and hope I can ask without diverting from the main conversation upon which I am specifically not making any comment) ... were the quoted sentences actually posted here (and subsequently deleted) or are they a paraphrase?
posted by 0 at 12:48 PM on January 28, 2014


"Of course gay men are a group likely to engage in sexual assaults. They're men, aren't they?"

Yeah that sentence was posted.
posted by Drinky Die at 12:50 PM on January 28, 2014 [5 favorites]


in a thread about the perspectives and experiences of another group about ways that the group you identify with is harming them

One point I'd make, though, is that this is sort of a simplification of the FPP and the resulting thread. The original FPP was not only and exclusively about the harmful ways that gay men treat women, as I mentioned above.
posted by en forme de poire at 12:51 PM on January 28, 2014 [4 favorites]


"Of course gay men are a group likely to engage in sexual assaults. They're men, aren't they?"

So sometimes the unwary, the tired, the stupid (either irredeemably so or just sort of stupid because of education/indoctrination or environmental factors, the ill-informed, or just some person off the street who meets the material without thought or preparedness will say something dumb-ass like that. Certainly when I was younger I said stuff that I later regretted (even if I successfully said it totally privately). Certainly I see this happen daily - at work or at home or out in public. We talk, we stick our necks out, we test boundaries. We dish. We say shit we wouldn't want our mothers to know we said. And we say it anger or carelessness or sadness or dejection or in unity with our allies or to hurt or to shame or to make a joke or whatever mood we were in when we said it.

Usually in a context they take or mistake for an insider situation, people dish. It's almost like we were built to. I know people from all walks of life who dish like that. They say really cutting nasty, awful, crazed, ill-advised stuff in close company that they'd never want to be caught dead saying in public and something unintended happens. A person they thought wasn't there turns out to have been sitting behind them. The microphone that was supposed to be off was in fact on. A photographer or videographer caught them out. Or they type it out and forget to delete it or they type it out and don't edit it. So many possibilities. Whatever.

And I think in more ephemeral discourse like just talking, when something like this transgresses dishing and intended privacy and gets out and truly hurts folks it's a shame and it was avoidable and it shouldn't have been said. And the folks who heard it or heard about it either eventually forgive and move on or some folks just get stuck on it and can never forget. All reactions are equally valid and understandable, but only a few reactions actually continue to move us forward through the conversation.

In this case, I think that the nobler approach, despite the hurt that it impacts me directly with, because I have a penis that is part of my total biology and physiology, because I'm queer (trans/intersex and bisexual, if you must know), is to roll with it and ignore it.

It's obviously flamebait, whether it was intentionally hurtful or not. It's also obviously coming from a viewpoint so far out of my experience that engaging with it is just going to go badly for me (at least) if not for the rest of the audience.

So. It sucks. And someone shouldn't have said it. But they did and it got deleted and now we can choose to move on, knowing that it sucks. That's what I recommend.
posted by kalessin at 1:07 PM on January 28, 2014 [10 favorites]


Drinky Die: " Yeah that sentence was posted."

Ugh.

kalessin: "But they did and it got deleted and now we can choose to move on, knowing that it sucks. That's what I recommend."

The thing is... it matters because it was mentioned in the thread and is still present there, and I'm glad it was at least be refuted once by somebody if nothing else. Totally agree with you that's not worth a lot of effort and that we shouldn't make a huge thing out of it. Am happy to let it go now. But still, I feel very strongly that sometimes stupid shit needs to be countered with facts. In this case, so no assumption is being made that the pernicious, offensive idea that gay men are somehow dangerous simply because they are gay men isn't being tacitly accepted.

cairdeas: "Zarq, I had the chance to find the comment I was trying to remember. It turned out to be part of another comment that Conspire made the next day.

Ah! Okay.

My question was whether or not the appropriate time to talk about that is in a thread about the perspectives and experiences of another group about ways that the group you identify with is harming them.

I think it's going to be pretty hard to divide the two subjects given the article's content. I agree with en forme de poire that the thread covered a lot of ground and generally that should be acceptable. But I guess it depends on the situation. One person derailing a thread to make it all about grinding their pet axe is one thing. But a bunch of people discussing it should be okay, I think? I dunno. I'm against formal guidelines for this stuff and like the "case-by-case" flexible approach the mods take.

As for Conspire's comment... I thought he was trying to make a larger point with that comment but was generalizing to an unfortunate degree. But at the same time, I have the benefit of seeing the thread in hindsight and that comment wasn't the only one he made in the thread. Some of his follow-up comments built upon what he was trying to say and gave it more depth and nuance. Looking back, it has less bite to me than it would have in the moment because he clarified pretty eloquently later on.

For whatever it's worth, I'm very aware that I'm a white cis male and may have assumed biases or unconscious privilege, so I might not be seeing that comment the way someone else might.
posted by zarq at 2:59 PM on January 28, 2014


However, this comment from Conspire is really going beyond that, in my opinion, in a way that is not great.

How so?
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 3:00 PM on January 28, 2014


" Yeah that sentence was posted."

And just to be crystal clear to some of the concerns zarq was raising above, that was the sum total of that particular comment.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:39 PM on January 28, 2014 [2 favorites]


cairdeas: " However, this comment from Conspire is really going beyond that, in my opinion, in a way that is not great."

I'm a bit confused. I'm coming to this after the fact, but I'm reading that comment as "Knock off the oppression olympics, it's not productive." Is there something I'm missing?
posted by hoyland at 3:55 PM on January 28, 2014


I wish everyone was bisexual and we all just went to bars.

(Or stayed at home, as is your right.)
posted by crossoverman at 3:58 PM on January 28, 2014 [4 favorites]


As I understand it, many of us are and do.
posted by kalessin at 4:10 PM on January 28, 2014 [5 favorites]


> My question was whether or not the appropriate time to talk about that is in a thread about the perspectives and experiences of another group about ways that the group you identify with is harming them. If the community says that it is, that's fine. However, this comment from Conspire is really going beyond that, in my opinion, in a way that is not great.

I am afraid I don't get your point here. Are you asking if it's okay for women to be participating in a thread about gay men's experiences?
posted by gingerbeer at 4:13 PM on January 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


zarq, I think you and I do not disagree except with respect to where to stop talking about it, and even then only in a very minor way.

I used to get in disagreements with cortex and jessamyn about whether there was a time to step in and mod or whether social justice activism was really a priority in Metafilter as a whole or where the lines where when folks said things I thought hateful but mods didn't necc'ly agree. My point was and has always been that at a certain point with systemic and apparently institutionalized abusive language, insults, jokes, whatever, silence about the offense isn't an option.

Because I come from the AIDS/HIV generation where Silence == Death. And the roots of my activism are often informed by that background, even if I'm not a member of ACT UP! or really any activist community these days.

But I get that not everyone agrees or feels this way and there's very rarely an absolute moral compass in Metafilter, so I try to back off and have fun when I can. Or at least just back off if I'm in danger of overinvesting.
posted by kalessin at 4:16 PM on January 28, 2014 [3 favorites]


Honestly... I didn't even find the deleted comment that offensive per se, I just think it wasn't well-supported. Gay men are indeed a subset of men, but that doesn't mean that all male experiences and behaviors are equally distributed across gay and straight men. For example, men in general aren't very likely to experience heckling from strangers, relative to women -- except for gay and bisexual men. Men in general much less likely to be the victims of domestic violence as women -- again, except for gay and bisexual men. And so forth.

It also can be hard to argue in either direction here with actual data, because 1. gay people are not as well-studied as straight people in general and 2. what studies there are typically have serious limitations and may be biased themselves. For example, the only study I could find suggests that gay and straight men commit sexual assault at similar rates, but this study is really problematic because the authors use the percentage of male victims as a proxy for the sexual orientation of the attacker. However, other sources suggest that the majority of men who sexually assault other men actually identify as straight. Entrenched ideas that creep into formal study designs are kind of insidious and make it even harder to make accurate statements about minority groups, even using data (see also "scientific" racism).

Anyway, my point is that I get where this user was coming from (not sure if we named them which is why I'm being awkward here) and I don't think what was said is a subject that should be out of bounds or anything. I do think statements like that need to be more rigorously supported, though, because they are so incendiary.
posted by en forme de poire at 4:56 PM on January 28, 2014 [2 favorites]


It's a really problematic way to make a point, mostly. It's one thing to try and argue stats as a "this is how I'm sizing up cohort-related risk in this abstract statistical sense" in a dry context where the discussion is stats or whatever, but this wasn't that and so it's a real short boatride to a big fight over timing and framing.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:06 PM on January 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yup, I think that's fair, I just wanted to elaborate on the distinction between framing and content for that comment.
posted by en forme de poire at 5:12 PM on January 28, 2014


I've read nearly all of that thread, and a bunch of this MeTa... and honestly i think that article was a weak anchor for an FPP for a "WE REPORT U DECIDE" type of jumping off point to start a fight someone wanted to have, or just "~controversy~, discuss!".

I realize i myself have just recently made an FPP that was essentially this, and my reaction right after posting it was "oh god, what have i done, why did i post that".

I realize i'm not like, meshing my gear into the gears of the current conversation here, but it took me a while to read through both and get up to speed.

Seriously, shaky article with a premise that's supported mostly by opinions and anecdata. It's about issues that are real and worth discussing, but it's a crappy basis of an FPP for something people really want to joust over.
posted by emptythought at 5:20 PM on January 28, 2014 [3 favorites]


hoyland: I'm a bit confused. I'm coming to this after the fact, but I'm reading that comment as "Knock off the oppression olympics, it's not productive." Is there something I'm missing?

Well, I don't want to presume to tell you that you are missing something if your interpretation doesn't match mine. But, I can elaborate on what I thought was not great about that comment, if you want.

I saw Conspire's statement as the exact opposite of "knock off the oppression olympics." If you want to use the "oppression olympics" framing, then to me the comment is closer to: "We must only discuss this through the lens of oppression olympics and I have already decided who won and who lost in the oppression olympics, it's a tie."

If one marginalized group complains about terrible mistreatment by another marginalized group, that is not, in and of itself, "oppression olympics." And on the other hand, discussion of relative advantages and disadvantages of different groups is also not, in and of itself, "oppression olympics." If it were, most of the derailing posts in that entire thread are playing oppression olympics. Conspire's post that we are discussing would be, itself, playing oppression olympics. It's bizarre to me that someone who is opposed to others bringing up some of the relative advantages their own group, would derail so much of a thread to do the exact same thing.


That phrase is not my favorite one because I think it is often used to make discussion about certain issues inherently messed up and selfish and wrong, when, in my opinion, they are often very important things to talk about. (It also didn't appear in Conspire's comment but I am using it as shorthand because I agree that was close to the gist.) I won't argue with whichever way the community chooses to go on "oppression olympics" but it is very frustrating to see people who write screeds against it for others, happily use it themselves.

I have now gone on a tangent because that was not my original objection to the comment.

1. In my opinion, Conspire seems to be saying: "Members of Group X should not bring up shitty and oppressive things that Group Y does to them without first acknowledging all the ways that Group X is shitty and oppressive. If they do not do this then it's "hard" for Group Y to stop doing shitty and oppressive things."

Again, if that's the site opinion, the way things should go here when people want to bring up shitty and oppressive things that happen, although "both parties fill both the roles of oppressors and oppressed simultaneously", then that's fine.

2. In my opinion, Conspire takes it further to a not good place by saying, "it would be nice if one or both groups could just suddenly drop being oppressive and listen, but that's admittedly hard to do when the other keeps refusing to acknowledge their own respective privileges."

Again, that you shouldn't expect another group to stop being oppressive towards you unless you "acknowledge your own respective privileges" and you should be admit that it's hard for them under those circumstances.

And again, if that's site opinion, that's fine, but then people who are in favor of that when the actions of their own group are being discussed should, in my opinion, be a bit consistent when the shoe is on the other foot.
posted by cairdeas at 6:36 PM on January 28, 2014 [3 favorites]


Maybe don't extrapolate site-wide opinions, let alone any consensus that is effectively impossible, from one thread, especially one person's comments in the thread?
posted by gadge emeritus at 7:17 PM on January 28, 2014


gadge emeritus, the whole point of this meta, as I wrote in the beginning and then several more times throughout this thread as people kept asking about it, was to get more of a feel for what the site-wide opinion was on this issue. Everything else is pretty much a derail, though I have not been complaining about it.
posted by cairdeas at 7:19 PM on January 28, 2014


Sure. But has also been said several times throughout the responses, you seem to have encountered a thread that went in a way you didn't like and are rather disingenuously asking whether we should now take one thread as emblematic of how MetaFilter behaves as a whole. Ostentatiously repeating that while you don't have a problem with it, you just want to know if this behaviour is condoned/now accepted, as if to suggest that if such method of commenting is on the table you'll look forward to being able to engage in it, doesn't help make the query seem more genuine.

Also, a continuing pattern of often inaccurate and caustic reviews of the comments you don't agree with doesn't particularly help.
posted by gadge emeritus at 7:31 PM on January 28, 2014 [3 favorites]


Everything else is pretty much a derail, though I have not been complaining about it.

Your restraint is exemplary, but perhaps it would help to recognize that at least some of what you consider "everything else" is, rather than a derail worth complaining about, data that might help you get a better feel for what the site-wide opinion is on this issue.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 7:31 PM on January 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


You seem to have encountered a thread that went in a way you didn't like and are rather disingenuously asking whether we should now take one thread as emblematic of how MetaFilter behaves as a whole.

What is different about this thread, gadge emeritus? Why shouldn't the behavior in this thread be taken as "emblematic of how Metafilter behaves as a whole"?

I'm sorry you find it "disingenuous" to ask about these things. I find it disingenuous to start a discussion about derailing behavior and to be continually personally insulted, derailed again, and then insulted again for pointing out that it is again off the rails.
posted by cairdeas at 7:39 PM on January 28, 2014


What is different about this thread

The header says "MetaTalk."
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:42 PM on January 28, 2014


"This thread" = the one on the blue.
posted by cairdeas at 7:43 PM on January 28, 2014


I have really done my best to be very polite, non-confrontational, and non-assertive in this thread on a topic that is the closest to my heart - sexual assault, sexual harassment, and gender discrimination - which I have sacrificed my physical and mental health for since I was a young child, to permanent damage. I have shed my own actual blood, on more than one occasion, over this topic before I reached adulthood.

I have done my best to respond to everyone in this thread with politeness and respect even in response to outright hostility, and even when discussing comments that are, to me, deeply offensive.

So I would really appreciate if I could get a break on the repeated personal insults.
posted by cairdeas at 7:46 PM on January 28, 2014 [2 favorites]


Ostentatiously repeating that while you don't have a problem with it, you just want to know if this behaviour is condoned/now accepted, as if to suggest that if such method of commenting is on the table you'll look forward to being able to engage in it

If I were looking forward to anything related to this thread, I look forward to people reaching the point where they realize that if they consider a manner of behaving to be not okay, then it's still not okay if they do it, or if someone they sympathize with more does it.

Sorry, but I need to take a break now.
posted by cairdeas at 7:59 PM on January 28, 2014 [2 favorites]


hen to me the comment is closer to: "We must only discuss this through the lens of oppression olympics and I have already decided who won and who lost in the oppression olympics, it's a tie."

I guess I'm not seeing what's objectionable about that statement. That's like the whole point of intersectionality. In most situations, there isn't a group who does all the oppressing and a group that does none, being only oppressed. It's futile and counter-productive to try and sort that out, but I kind of feel like you have a clear idea how you envision oppression in virtually any situation and don't want to deviate from that model.
posted by hoyland at 8:29 PM on January 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


cairdeas: "
I have done my best to respond to everyone in this thread with politeness and respect even in response to outright hostility, and even when discussing comments that are, to me, deeply offensive.

So I would really appreciate if I could get a break on the repeated personal insults.
"

I rather suspect that what you are taking as "repeated personal insults" are in fact responses being written with "politeness and respect." At least, from my reading of responses it seems like people are writing with patience, even if you're not perceiving it.
posted by barnacles at 8:41 PM on January 28, 2014 [4 favorites]


What barnacles said. I tried (and feel, naturally, that I succeeded) in sticking to what cairdeas said and how she said it, rather than who she is. Criticising the behaviour, not the person.

Directly to cairdeas, I would also say that you are not the only person who cares about this topic, even on a deep and personal level.
posted by gadge emeritus at 9:12 PM on January 28, 2014


Wait, gadge emeritus - if you didn't read the whole article, why did you think it was a good idea to make a point by telling me what it was really about?
posted by dinty_moore at 9:39 PM on January 28, 2014


However, if we pick and choose which minority will have its perspective listened to and which won't[...]

For the record, women are not a minority in far and away most places on earth. An oppressed group, sure, but we're not a minority.
posted by Dysk at 9:40 PM on January 28, 2014


dinty_moore, if you go back and read the comment you apparently missed you might discover more. I took other people's interpretations onboard, even at one point asked to be corrected if the article was anything but anecdotal. I said upfront how much I'd read, so if you wanted to dismiss me on that basis you should have done so already.

I wasn't so much proclaiming what it was really about, instead disagreeing with some of the stated beliefs - and the assumptions that came with them in the thread. But if you want to continue on that, well, the thread's still open, and this conversation (somewhat-)related to the article is better had there.
posted by gadge emeritus at 9:52 PM on January 28, 2014


I rather suspect that what you are taking as "repeated personal insults" are in fact responses being written with "politeness and respect."

I don't know. I think there has been a certain amount of excess sharpness toward cairdeas in this thread. That may be due to her history, the tone of this MeTa, and/or the mildly contentious thread springing from an unfortunately poorly constructed article (especially given the heavy lifting it was trying to do), but I don't think cairdeas is imagining things.

It's frustrating, because this could have been a really great conversation, and I wish the source material for the FPP had been better because that thread was pretty much set up to fail with an over-ambitious and under-thought construction that tried to cram too much into its author's weak prose. The issues of gay male misogyny, the toxicity of of the "fag hag/sassy gay friend," "why are faggots afraid of faggots," and how the creation of spaces for gay men echo the ugly history of male-only spaces in general are all important issues, but cramming them willy-nilly into a loose collection of anecdotes doesn't get us very far and, indeed, generated more heat than light, even leaving out opening with the bar issue, which requires a lot of complicated thought and good-faith a discussion to tease apart.

Sigh. I think we can do better than this.
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:34 AM on January 29, 2014 [13 favorites]


Theater of caring.
posted by spitbull at 4:46 AM on January 29, 2014


And yes it was a crap FPP. It seems most of our big Social Justice/shield of righteousness conflicts derive from bad FPPs and mod-overlooked outrage filter.
posted by spitbull at 4:49 AM on January 29, 2014


Theater of caring.

What does this mean?
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:35 AM on January 29, 2014


Alluding to the theater of cruelty, perhaps?
posted by Chrysostom at 6:09 AM on January 29, 2014


mod-overlooked outrage filter.

We're kind of damned either way with this. Some posts stay and people will say they were outragefilter, others get deleted and you'll hear that it was a post on an important topic that they spent a lot of time on. I honestly think both are reasonable viewpoints and we'll have to somehow strike a balance between the two, taking into account site traditions and community sentiment. I know I'm always banging on about "Neat things on the web" as a sort of posting Prime Directive, but not every instance is cut-and-dried and Lord knows not all posts exclusively link to completely accurate articles with nothing but agreeable viewpoints.

Sure, often enough either it'll be immediately obvious whether a given link is a good fit for the front page or no, or a scan of the material will prove sufficient to make a call. But beyond that we pretty much rely on the community for background and nuance. So this is a long-winded way of repeating the mantra that flagging always helps, and you can always contact us to explain a flag if you think there's some context-specific nuance we might not pick up on. I'm absolutely not saying we never overlook things ever, and I assume no bad faith on your part here. But I do feel compelled to note that it's often a bit more complicated than mere oversight.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane (staff) at 6:23 AM on January 29, 2014 [4 favorites]


Have to say, though, leaving aside questions about the focus or quality of the article, deleting it would set the bar for outrage filter very low. The bigger issues - misogyny, safe spaces etc - are indeed big, but at ground level it's about people being rude to people in bars...
posted by running order squabble fest at 6:51 AM on January 29, 2014


but at ground level it's about people being rude to people in bars

Yeah, just like Jim Crow was about who could sit where.

Come on. Don't be silly. Do better.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 6:54 AM on January 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


If you want to use the "oppression olympics" framing, then to me the comment is closer to: "We must only discuss this through the lens of oppression olympics and I have already decided who won and who lost in the oppression olympics, it's a tie."

I think cairdeas is correct here - that's certainly how I took that interpretation. And I think it's a shame she seems to be receiving a lot of flak for focusing on this one thread - there are definitely sitewide issues over this sort of thing that have appeared in multiple threads. The question of "How do we handle discussion/how is moderation handled when an oppressed group is talking to or about another oppressed group" is a very real one, and it is likely to recur - because as noted, oppression does not have just one axis.

For me, looking at the thread, it struck as a great example of it - not necessarily because of what individual comments said, but because of how the thread, on the whole, felt. Now I would not speak for anyone else, and I know some of you have favorites turned off and it has worked well for you, but I think sometimes part of that feeling of something being more broad to the site comes from seeing that the comments which seem the most upsetting are highly favorited.

The comment about women having unrealistic expectations: 26 favorites. When you start reading, that's definitely setting the thread off poorly, and I think it should absolutely have been deleted - not necessarily on social justice grounds, but on early threadshitting grounds. The others have lesser totals, but still seem to be endorsed by multiple users - The 'fuck off' one: 7. 6 for women being excluded from bars. 5 for "women call each other cunts".

I'm sure a chorus of voices will come in that favorites are not endorsement, but at the same time, they are often used that way - to convey approval and sympathy. And when there seems to be a lot of sympathy for misogyny, it definitely feels shitty.
posted by corb at 7:14 AM on January 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


>but at ground level it's about people being rude to people in bars

Yeah, just like Jim Crow was about who could sit where.


See, this is exactly what I am talking about -- we have a sort of off-handed dismissal of a complicated problem followed by an overheated retort. Even if the whole discussion was nothing but "women in gay bars," which it shouldn't be, given the breadth of the article, neither of these statements does anything to further the discussion. Both of you guys are much better on these topics than either of these comments would suggest to a first time reader.
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:38 AM on January 29, 2014 [6 favorites]


You may have a point, GaP; I was deliberately pointing out how ridiculous the statement was.

I think gay men have a lot to learn from lesbians. There's a lot less misandry in the lesbian world (AFAIK) than there is misogyny at all levels of the gay male world. And I think that's because for most lesbians, men are just irrelevant to much of their lives (aside from the sexism that permeates society).

Gay men and straight women, however, have a long and codependently toxic relationship.

I don't even know where to start to end it.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:48 AM on January 29, 2014


That's a fair point, G&J, although I think I expressed myself poorly rather than thought badly. My point was that "outrage filter" is a term used to describe the deletion of posts to Metafilter that are posted because the poster is outraged about the content (usually in a single link) and feels that you should be outraged by it, too.

This does not seem to apply to this post, however, and I think my point stands: if the mods started preemptively deleting posts like the post we are discussing here on the grounds that the discussion _might_ go south, they would have to delete a _lot_ of posts - anything involving feminism, anything involving queer or trans* issues, anything involving Israel, anything involving mobile operating systems und so weiter. So, I don't think that in this case the overlooking of outragefilter posts is a relevant issue.

Whereas there probably should be a filter, if only an internal one, relating to comparisons of anything except laws enshrining segregation to the detriment of minorities to Jim Crow.
posted by running order squabble fest at 7:50 AM on January 29, 2014


You mean the same way there should be an internal filter preventing facile reductios ad absurdum to casually dismiss highly complex issues?

Tell you what, I'll use your filter if you use mine.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:54 AM on January 29, 2014


(Spitbull's other mooted cause - "bad FPPs" - seems more nebulous. Is this a bad FPP because it fails to provide further context on what may be a contentious issue? Possibly - but then you get into the question of how much context is enough context, and you're looking at a different kind of question, and ultimately to the "how much context is too much context" question being discussed here.)

On preview: honestly, FFFM, if you don't see a problem with the invocation of Jim Crow as a direct comparison with the troubles of people not being systematically and legally oppressed by state agents and private companies due to the color of their skin, that's just a thing you're going to do. That's just how privilege works. I doubt we're going to agree on this, though, and I suggest we move on and not derail the thread. Memail if you think it would be useful.

(Although the third declension plural is reductiones. Which does not signify, but was bugging me.)
posted by running order squabble fest at 8:05 AM on January 29, 2014


people not being systematically and legally oppressed by state agents and private companies due to the color of their skin

You're right, we're talking about two groups of people who are systematically and legally oppressed by state agents and private companies due to what's between their legs and/or who they share what's between their legs with.

You're right it's totally different and this was only about people being rude in bars wtf
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:09 AM on January 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


Comparing things to Jim Crow is a bad rhetorical strategy, not only because it's a weird comparison but also because it derails the entire conversation to being about the analogy. You basically stop discussing the issue at hand and start discussing whether it's like Jim Crow. And we've got enough substantive stuff to fight over without endlessly hashing that out.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 8:13 AM on January 29, 2014 [9 favorites]


Which, as I said, is why I chose the analogy: it was deliberately ridiculous to point out the utter ridiculousness of reducing this very complex issue to 'people being rude in bars.'

Can we move on now? Thanks.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:14 AM on January 29, 2014


Moving on works best if you just proceed to the moving-on part directly instead of volleying again.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:17 AM on January 29, 2014 [18 favorites]


I'm ignoring the Jim Crowe derail, which serves no purpose.

running order squabble fest: "Have to say, though, leaving aside questions about the focus or quality of the article, deleting it would set the bar for outrage filter very low. The bigger issues - misogyny, safe spaces etc - are indeed big, but at ground level it's about people being rude to people in bars..."

This is reductio ad absurdum. While I agree with you that the post should not have been deleted as outragefilter, the article and ensuing discussion (and this meta) were obviously far deeper than "people being rude to people in bars."
posted by zarq at 8:18 AM on January 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


Honestly, if we are going to discuss the bar issue (rather than, say, specific toxic relationships between gay men and women (which are, interestingly, massively promoted by the media), a better way to look at it is the way that different disadvantaged groups are put into conflict by the Patriarchy. Much the way that Jews and African-Americans were put at odds by banks (at least in parts of the Eastern US) during the 60s and 70s to the detriment of both, gay men and women, both seeking safe spaces, have collided due to the dynamics of the Patriarchy. Blaming gay men or women for the situation is treating a symptom, not the root causes.

I would have been happier with the FPP if it had tried to build the thesis that the one article could not. Something that really bothers me about the Marriage Equality movement is that it risks a couple of things -- first, skimming off the affluent gay and lesbian population that would like to assimilate (leaving behind a significantly more vulnerable population that can't), second, defining gay desire mostly in terms of consumer behavior, and third, pretending that marriage is the only reasonable goal (a better metric of equality would be a significant drop in suicide and homelessness levels among gay teens). Now, this is another thorny issue -- I really don't want to piss on the aspirations of people who want to be able to show their love and commitment to the partner of their choice -- so I support Marriage Equality, but I am troubled by the rhetoric and the lack of evidence of a growing political force for full equality and acceptance, not just acceptance of nice, white, affluent, attractive people. Stonewall was not fought so that conventionally photogenic people can have nice lives while other suffer.

And that kind of ambiguity lies in a lot of these discussions, and we never seem to get to it, because we would have to accept "well, on the one hand yes, on the other hand no" for long enough to get down to some of those root problems. Instead, the one-liners with varying degrees of anger attached.
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:30 AM on January 29, 2014 [10 favorites]


rue72 - PI's comment got a lot of favorites but didn't seem to have many direct replies, which makes me think that a lot of people (including me) who were keeping up with the thread didn't feel comfortable engaging with the discussion

I suggest ignoring favourites or getting the script which hides them. I am not sure what they add to the discussion.
posted by asok at 8:41 AM on January 29, 2014


Blaming gay men or women for the situation is treating a symptom, not the root causes.

Assuming, of course, if we are talking in the abstract. There are plenty of women who behave badly in gay bars and plenty of bar owners and staff who treat women badly as a first impulse, but that kind of leads inexorably towards a conflict of personal anecdotes rather than any reasonable discussion. Just because a gay bookstore I used to frequent (and tried hard not to compete with) was, apparently, terrible toward women does not mean that the historic shop I was in over the weekend did not seem to be doing its best to be welcoming to everyone. If we're going to discuss this productively, I think we need to go way towards the abstract instead of focusing closely on the bad ways we and/or our friends have been treated in specific establishments. Because the later leads, I think, towards venting and grievance contests and ignores the wider societal issues.
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:45 AM on January 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think the wider societal issue is that in some ways, gay men use women as a proxy for a societally acceptable role. Over time, that's morphed into the toxic gay man/fruit fly dynamic, which is bad for everyone for many reasons.

Not least: make friends with me because I'm me, not because I'm gay.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:49 AM on January 29, 2014


I suggest ignoring favourites or getting the script which hides them.

you can also turn off seeing the number of favorites in settings.
posted by nadawi at 8:54 AM on January 29, 2014


zarq - Yeah, that's entirely fair. I overextended rhetorically, albeit in a way that was immediately dwarfed by a masterclass in rhetorical overextension.

That was an error, which I'm happy to acknowledge. My point, which I should have made better, is that an article like this would not be a candidate for outragefilter deletion, so its presence on MetaFilter probably shouldn't be seen as moderator error. It's a post on a contentious topic, but one within the bounds of acceptable posting.

I think GenjiandProust's right that there is absolutely a valid criticism of the article, beyond the bar-related part, in that it doesn't really go into satisfactory depth on the cui bono aspect. If Isaac Mizrahi can grab Scarlett Johansson's breasts and insist that it's OK, who benefits from that? The network on which SJ is manhandled? Straight men who benefit from the abrasion of firm boundaries around women's right not to be touched without consent? There's another level there, I think. Would it have been appropriate to have brought that up in the OP? It feels like it might have been good, but OTOH that also might shade into editorializing...
posted by running order squabble fest at 8:54 AM on January 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


I overextended rhetorically, albeit in a way that was immediately dwarfed by a masterclass in rhetorical overextension.

Still not getting the point eh
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:58 AM on January 29, 2014


Dude. Not even here. But here.
posted by running order squabble fest at 9:02 AM on January 29, 2014


ROSF, FFFM, I like you guys both and you make really valid and interesting comments most of the time. If you want to snipe back and forth at each other on this particular issue, could you maybe do that in MeMail and discuss more appropriate points here? Cause it's really hard to hear what you are really trying to say over the digs.
posted by GenjiandProust at 9:03 AM on January 29, 2014 [7 favorites]


rosf, seriously, are you done? You're being a jerk here and I'm trying not to be but you're making it very hard.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:08 AM on January 29, 2014


FFFM, we got a puppy a couple months ago and we are in the process of potty training him. We have learned that when he starts sniffing the floor that he's about to poo and needs to be taken outside. The person you're conversing with is also sniffing around. Just ignore it and let him do his business outside. This issue is bigger than that person leaving conversational stinkers on the floor.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:14 AM on January 29, 2014


Used filters are sexy.
posted by 0 at 9:15 AM on January 29, 2014


Not least: make friends with me because I'm me, not because I'm gay.

I think there's a lot of misinterpretation of this - that women want to make friends with gay men because they're some special category of unique and weird things. But I think that is less the case than it is that women don't always feel comfortable making close friends with straight men, and gay men just have less of the toxic behaviors that straight men often embody.

I have friendships with men, because I like them. But at the same time, there's always a consciousness with straight men that I really have to guard my boundaries. I can't change clothes in front of most of my straight male friends the same way I can my other friends - and that includes gay men, lesbians, and straight women all in the same boat. It's a consciousness of the straight male gaze that I don't want to deal with.

I want to go shopping with all of my friends. I want to go singing and dancing and drinking and romping and whispering and talking about my love life and having sleepovers with every single one of my friends. But I'm not going to bring my straight male friends to a dressing room, because in the past, when I've done so, it's been met with "I'd totally fuck you in that!" And I'm not going to go out and get silly drunk around straight men, because it's been my experience that that's usually a one-way ticket to sexual harassment or assault.

It is such a relief when I am with people that I don't have to guard myself around. But it doesn't mean they have only a few limited roles. This perception that women just want gay male friends for a weird stereotyped role - I wonder how much of it has to do with male lack of understanding of how friendships with women function. They're much, much different, in my experience, than friendships between men, but that doesn't mean they're necessarily tokenizing.
posted by corb at 9:22 AM on January 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


To bring this back to cairdeas's question, I guess I just fundamentally disagree that this thread was exclusively "about" how gay men treat women. The article explicitly talks about the mutually dehumanizing dynamic between these two groups. And of course, there is plenty to critique in this article that does not involve minimizing misogynist actions within the gay community, like the contentions that gay men don't have to worry about sexual assault (especially if they don't act too flamboyant).

But anyway, I've already talked at length about my read on this article and at this point I think I'm repeating myself.
posted by en forme de poire at 9:24 AM on January 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


the toxic behaviors that straight men often embody.

Finally something we can all agree on!
posted by 0 at 9:29 AM on January 29, 2014


This perception that women just want gay male friends for a weird stereotyped role - I wonder how much of it has to do with male lack of understanding of how friendships with women function.

corb, I have plenty of friendships with women that I feel are founded on mutual respect and understanding, and I know the difference between this and being used as a prop. Please believe me when I tell you this is a real and pervasive thing and not due to my misunderstanding of friendships with women.

(I don't mean that to be harsh, by the way, just unambiguous. Tone is hard in text.)
posted by en forme de poire at 9:29 AM on January 29, 2014 [6 favorites]


This perception that women just want gay male friends for a weird stereotyped role

Actually exists, I have both seen it happen and had it happen to me, and every friend of mine I can think of. As in, actual things which have been said to me or friends by straight women:

"Oh good! I don't have a gay friend, you can be my new gay friend"
"Finally someone I can go shoe shopping with"
"We'll be just like Jack and Karen!"

Etc.

Please note, I didn't say that was the only reason that women and gay men become friends.

But it does happen, it is incredibly common, and it is very much tokenizing.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:29 AM on January 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


corb: 5 for "women call each other cunts"

Only in my experience and friends group it's mostly the women, yes. corb, I'll ask you not to ever paraphrase me, because it's been evident for a while you're really, really bad at doing it accurately.

I wonder how much of it has to do with male lack of understanding of how friendships with women function.

Yes. The number of men relaying times that they've been reduced to their sexuality by women - explicitly, based on things that have been said to them - isn't anything the women are at all responsible for, it's just men don't understand.

I think I will go write in a comment box then delete it a few times.
posted by gadge emeritus at 9:34 AM on January 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


Hell, my own mother did the Manic Pixie Gay Friend thing to me.

Literally a week after coming out to her, she's suddenly--as in had never ever asked a single thing in the previous 17 years of my life--asking me about makeup and clothes and interior decoration.

It happens, corb, it happens all the damn time, and it has absolutely zero to do with gay men 'not understanding' women.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:38 AM on January 29, 2014 [4 favorites]


I mean seriously, unless you've been introduced as "This is my gay friend fffm," I don't think you can understand how incredibly dehumanizing that is.

And that is at the root of why so many interactions between gay men and straight women are so toxic. That endless flow of (sometimes meant to be endearing) insults? Come, I think from playing up the stereoptype. You want me to be Jack to your Karen? Fine, then I'm going to be Uber-Jack. And then it's just a horrible cycle of each of you pushing each other into tighter and tighter stereotypical straitjackets.

Like en forme de poire above, I have many friendships with women which are predicated on mutual trust and affection and having things in common. In many ways that comes both as a function of age, and of removing myself from the highly toxic dominant gay male culture, and being free of those stereotypes--because gay male stereotyping and pigeonholing doesn't just come from outside, believe you me.

What marks those friendships as being different from the ones I mentioned above is that any of the genders or sexual orientations involved could be switched and we'd still be friends.

This has nothing at all to do with not understanding how women relate to people. This has everything to do with knowing when you are being othered and tokenized, and when you are not. And being othered and tokenized happens way, way more than you think it does.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:48 AM on January 29, 2014 [5 favorites]


We start to end it by talking about it with as little ire, ferocious small-dog back-biting and yip yip yipping of crazed old pathways toward aimless anger and mutual hatred.

On the one hand I like your handle of "feckless fecal fear mongering" (whimsical, self-deprecating and linked to actual quotes from stuff we talk about day to day) and on the other I don't, because I think it sort of makes it worse by sort of repeatedly treading on what might be a sore point every time you post a comment.

But yeah, if we can start to end all this sort of unproductive shitting on each other between groups who I think should otherwise be deeply politically aligned and might in fact form a more effective coalition that'd be fine with me.

But the unproductive shitting has been going on for a long time (if I were more of a tinfoil hat wearer I'd blame The Man for inciting it among us so we'd fail to make a better way, collectively, forward). I totally understand feeling helpless in the face of it.
posted by kalessin at 9:53 AM on January 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


The unproductive shitting is a feature of the left. It's what we do.

I'll thank you not to criticize my username in the midst of saying how we have to be nicer to each other.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:56 AM on January 29, 2014


So basically you're saying it's (most/many) women's fault that (most? many?) gay men treat women so badly? Is that what you are saying, or did I misunderstand?

Is it possible that maybe some gay men treat women shittily because they're just being shitty, and in those cases, can we please just blame those gay men themselves?

It seems that everything must always the woman's fault. But surely that can't be what you mean.
posted by Too-Ticky at 9:56 AM on January 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


So basically you're saying it's (most/many) women's fault that (most? many?) gay men treat women so badly? Is that what you are saying, or did I misunderstand?

You misunderstood. You missed, also, way way above somewhere when I said that straight women and gay men are complicit in the often toxic nature of our relationships. The blame goes both ways.

Is it possible that maybe some gay men treat women shittily because they're just being shitty, and in those cases, can we please just blame those gay men themselves?

Yes, but we are talking about patterns across groups, not individual shittiness.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:58 AM on January 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


fffm, please. I am not looking for, nor did I start a fight. If you want one, please go somewhere else.
posted by kalessin at 9:59 AM on January 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


I don't want one. I just don't really like being finger-wagged into being nicer to people, while you yourself simultaneously criticize my choice of username. There's some gross hypocrisy there, and I'd have bothered paying attention to your comment if it hadn't been there.

Like, seriously. You actually just said "Be nicer. Also I kind of don't like your username."
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:02 AM on January 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


The unproductive shitting is a feature of the left. It's what we do.

We could try doing not doing that. Imagine what could be done if the Left didn't waste so much energy in letting the perfect be the enemy of the good, taking offense, taking things the worst possible way, and reaching for the most inflammatory comparisons we can find. Let's try to treat each other more gently; if we don't hang together then we will all hang separately, as the guy said.

Could we all agree, to set our grudges down on the table and step away towards a more constructive conversation? Or is there no constructive conversation to be had anymore?
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:02 AM on January 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


Yeah, and I'm all for not doing that.

But to be told not to do that while also being attacked? yeah um no.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:04 AM on January 29, 2014


fffm, I'm not going to engage further on that topic with you. I'm letting it go. I hope you will too.
posted by kalessin at 10:04 AM on January 29, 2014


It's so very easy to say that when you haven't been the person wronged.

But fine. Have it your way.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:06 AM on January 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


in my early high school years when i was just coming out as queer (bi was my label at the time) in small town arkansas, i had a guy friend who is gay. we stuck to each other like glue - out of genuine affection and friendship, and somewhat protection - but even with this foundation of friendship and respect, being 15 or so and having a very limited idea of what being queer could mean, we acted out the roles of gay best friend (except, since we were both queered, sometimes instead of me being his hag, he was my tyke) but we still played it very much like gay best friend/straight girl with all the show tunes (i mean, we did meet in show choir) and shopping and talking about boys and casual misogyny from him and casual homophobia from both of us.

it was a a very real friendship, but i'm sad sometimes as i look back on it, thinking of what it could have been if we weren't so locked into that type of banter. as it was, we drifted apart as i moved and he graduated. we grew out of that sort of playacting and since it was such a huge part of what our friendship had become, it was easier to grow away from each other. tokens are easy to replace and easy to let go. and it sucks.

toxic is the very best word for it, i think.
posted by nadawi at 10:06 AM on January 29, 2014 [8 favorites]


I've had those friendships too, nadawi. And have much the same ambivalent feelings about them.

But I've also had those friendships just amongst gays; the queer community is really weird about how we insist on so much pigeonholing and rigid adherence to a given subcultural role.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:08 AM on January 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


which is to say, as i forgot my point somewhere in there - in my experiences as a woman, i don't think it's a misunderstanding from gay guys about friendships the times i've been involved in it and seen it from the outside.
posted by nadawi at 10:08 AM on January 29, 2014


feckless fecal fear mongering - oh yeah, totally had those friendships where it's all in group too. any time people are being treated as a label instead of a person, and that takes up a significant amount of space in the friendship, things are going to be problematic.
posted by nadawi at 10:12 AM on January 29, 2014


kalessin: "zarq, I think you and I do not disagree except with respect to where to stop talking about it, and even then only in a very minor way.

You and I are usually of like minds on these issues. :)
posted by zarq at 10:32 AM on January 29, 2014


I suggest ignoring favourites or getting the script which hides them. I am not sure what they add to the discussion.

Wait, why? I favorite things I support or agree with or that say things in a way I wish I could have said. Maybe everybody doesn't do the same, but I think that's a pretty reasonable way to use favorites, so I think that they serve as an imperfect but not terrible way to estimate general site support for a comment or sentiment. By and large, I don't think it's a good idea to ignore data, even imperfect or disagreeable data, which is why I choose to have my favorites on in my settings in the first place. If you don't agree, that's OK (and I would be interested in the reasons why), but does that mean should *all* pretend (to each other or to ourselves) they don't exist?
posted by rue72 at 10:32 AM on January 29, 2014


i keep favorites on usually, but there are times when i hide them in settings, like when i've started getting mad at how many favorites something had, which in turn influenced me to respond to it or stronger than i would have if it didn't have those favorites. i don't see it as ignoring data as much as understanding my reactions that aren't helpful to conversation and moderating them.
posted by nadawi at 10:38 AM on January 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


I personally found that turning off favorites displays but checking my comments favorited by others gives me the right amount of feedback at the right time and keeps me from the temptation of writing specifically for the intention of gathering more comments as well as prevents me from caving to the temptation of favorites dick-sizing and further unintended bad feelings woolgathering if my conversational opponent gets more favorites than I do. I find that sort of thing just enrages me so that's why I don't see favorites on each thread.
posted by kalessin at 10:40 AM on January 29, 2014




This rebuttal would appear to my reading as a cry for help to develop an understanding of a concept that overlaps significantly with the concepts of intersectionality as well as contextual privilege (wherein privileges within subcultures and sub-communities do not follow the same rules that you would expect - e.g. how women born women are at the height of privilege in the Michigan Women's Music Festival both as attendees and as organizers even though the same cannot be said for the same individuals when operating within the context of the larger society - Michigan as a whole, the United States or the global theater - that the MWMF operates within).

I wonder if the author is aware of these concepts and the work already done to develop, utilize and promote them.
posted by kalessin at 11:45 AM on January 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


If you don't agree, that's OK (and I would be interested in the reasons why), but does that mean should *all* pretend (to each other or to ourselves) they don't exist?

Intellectually, I agree that favorites are data that say something about the site. However, any conclusions about what they say exactly are ultimately so full of exceptions and idiosyncrasies that they become rather worthless as indicators of anything concrete. I think that's why, on a community level, they are frowned upon as support for an argument.

On a personal, emotional level, yeah, what nadawi says... if you're somebody who often finds comments here offensive or annoying, then turning off favorites can really help attenuate the grar that accompanies seeing something you find dreadful rewarded by the community. Which is good because the grar conclusions-from-favorites are not just full of logic holes, they can actively lower the level of discourse when given voice.

If you're not somebody who has that problem, the favorites count may be useful. Next time, though, something here aggravates you (assuming a next time), perhaps try tweaking the favorites visibility settings and see if your perception of the conversation changes. It definitely changed for the better for me when I set them to "has favorites".
posted by 0 at 12:08 PM on January 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


If you are interested in killing a few hours with a little piece of Metafilter history, this thread has comprehensive discussions of how people use favorites and what they like/dislike about them.
posted by lalex at 12:17 PM on January 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


> for most lesbians, men are just irrelevant to much of their lives

what
posted by languagehat at 1:00 PM on January 29, 2014 [9 favorites]


Isolationist lesbians more properly, but even they have to have normal social discourse with outsiders. Also isolationist lesbians are really a minority among the lesbian community.
posted by kalessin at 1:11 PM on January 29, 2014


No I don't mean isolationist lesbians.

I mean that for manu lesbians, men have far less relevance in their day to day lives than straight women have for most gay men.

Don't correct me, kalessin.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:34 PM on January 29, 2014


Don't be a bully, feckless fecal fear mongering.
posted by Squeak Attack at 1:35 PM on January 29, 2014


> for manu lesbians, men have far less relevance in their day to day lives than straight women have for most gay men

Oh, manu lesbians! Well, they must be a pretty small minority; I don't think I've ever met one. But I've known a lot of lesbians, and I always got the impression that people were important to them because they were good or interesting people rather than because they were a particular gender.
posted by languagehat at 1:38 PM on January 29, 2014 [6 favorites]


I mean that for manu lesbians, men have far less relevance in their day to day lives than straight women have for most gay men.

I feel like this is par for this whole thread, given that I am not understanding pretty much any of it for some reason, but....what? I don't understand what you're saying here.
posted by rtha at 1:38 PM on January 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'm not being a bully. kalessin attempted to correct me, and was wrong. Given kalessin's already been kind of jerky to me, attempting to wrongly correct something that I said is kind of offside.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:38 PM on January 29, 2014


I give up. Bye.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:41 PM on January 29, 2014


> I mean that for manu lesbians, men have far less relevance in their day to day lives than straight women have for most gay men.

That's definitely not been my experience.
posted by gingerbeer at 1:41 PM on January 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


Was that "many" lesbians? Or does "manu" lesbians mean something? I'm honestly asking. And I'm not a lesbian, but I find the statement about their relation to men to be pretty odd.
posted by agregoli at 1:45 PM on January 29, 2014


Until I'm informed otherwise, I'm going to treat Metatalk threads as ongoing conversations where we generally don't respond to individuals unless specifically relevant.

I believe "manu" was a typo for "many" given the context, but I won't be 100% positive given that fffm seems to think I'm not qualified to join the conversation where whatever he said is concerned.
posted by kalessin at 1:50 PM on January 29, 2014


agregoli: "Or does "manu" lesbians mean something?"

I'm guessing it was supposed to be "many."
posted by zarq at 1:51 PM on January 29, 2014


I understood it as a typo for many.
posted by gingerbeer at 1:51 PM on January 29, 2014


Anyhow, I have personal experience to the contrary. I am a (trans/intersex)man who has been and remained directly relevant to various lesbians' lives throughout my own.

I think that generalizations, especially in these kinds of conversations, are particularly troublesome in that especially when one professes to know a thing about another group, one is at risk of being corrected. Generalizations really don't hold up well against anecdotal experience.
posted by kalessin at 1:55 PM on January 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


Oh, manu lesbians! Well, they must be a pretty small minority; I don't think I've ever met one.

You're not helping.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:10 PM on January 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


i feel like the original point that was being made is that there's not a straight guy/lesbian thing like there is a straight woman/gay guy thing. not that lesbians hate men and try not to be around them - just that there isn't that focus in the way there is for straight women and gay men. maybe i was reading something into it that wasn't there? but that's what i got from it...
posted by nadawi at 2:18 PM on January 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


I think that's a valid point... though to be honest, I think it's more a public/private dichotomy with respect to whether there's any verbal violence going on in lesbian contexts against straight men.

This is just from my personal observation, mind you, but it seems from that perspective like lesbians are not as vocal in sort of traditional 2nd waver feminist ranty ways against straight cis men as I have seen gay men be against straight cis women.

That said, lesbians I know do dish sometimes in private about straight cis men and in my experience some of that dishing is downright offensive. It goes along 2nd waver feminist party lines, and it seems to me that it's more often said in private. In contrast I have seen many gay men celebrities of all degrees of famous get away with and be celebrated for holding and expressing some pretty extreme misogynistic views.

It's so hard to be authoritatively, statistically correct about these sorts of things. Self-reporting accuracy levels can be terrible when you seek data on cultural acceptance and expression of things seen in some contexts as shameful or disgusting and if you go to the public sphere to try to be more objective it's very difficult not to get inundated in the media's idea of what the situation should look like, down to the reporting frequencies of different kinds of stories and concepts on up to the glamorization and fetishization of the kyriarchy.
posted by kalessin at 2:32 PM on January 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


i think the difference though is that there's not this stereotype of lesbians and straight cis men being best friends who drink whisky and smoke cigars and play golf together (allowing for the fact that of course there are individual friendships that could be termed that way - just that it's not a cultural meme). there's definitely some anger that boils over into inappropriate in the ways you talk about, but it's a different sort of thing without the media reinforced stereotypes about their friendships.
posted by nadawi at 2:38 PM on January 29, 2014 [4 favorites]


True enough. I think the only stereotype of lesbians and straight cis men hanging out happens when the lesbians are sort of crypto-lesbian characters, like Captain Janeway. :)
posted by kalessin at 2:42 PM on January 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


I should probably elaborate that vis Captain Janeway I know the character herself is written to be heterosexual with long lost far away loves in the picture but that the character's various other attributes lead many fans to think she is perhaps a little lesbian as well, if not sexual-behaviorally then perhaps somehow culturally or what have you.
posted by kalessin at 2:52 PM on January 29, 2014


That said, lesbians I know do dish sometimes in private about straight cis men and in my experience some of that dishing is downright offensive. It goes along 2nd waver feminist party lines, and it seems to me that it's more often said in private. In contrast I have seen many gay men celebrities of all degrees of famous get away with and be celebrated for holding and expressing some pretty extreme misogynistic views.

Doing something behind closed doors and doing something as part of a public (cultural) performance, even if it's the same person doing the same thing, seems fundamentally different to me in terms of what kinds of cultural capital that person is building and what kinds of cultural capital that person is building *on.* Does that make sense? I feel like I haven't been very articulate in this thread. Anyway, that's not to say that one circumstance of trash talk is "better" than the other, or even more pervasive than the other, just that I think the comparison is sort of apples-to-oranges.

Also, if we're talking about misogyny in particular, then I think how misogyny plays out in dynamics between queer and straight women is its own interesting, but at least partially separate, topic. I do think it generally is expressed in much more private circumstances and unspoken ways than misogyny between men and women, but I think it also informs those (all-female, queer/straight) dynamics.

i think the difference though is that there's not this stereotype of lesbians and straight cis men being best friends who drink whisky and smoke cigars and play golf together (allowing for the fact that of course there are individual friendships that could be termed that way - just that it's not a cultural meme).

I think that there is a stereotype of the "type" of women who have friendships and engage in activities like that (the associations people make of a woman who is/acts like/wants to be "one of the boys"), I just don't think that the stereotype is specifically about lesbian women (I think that's because the focus is much more on whether the men in the picture find her attractive rather than on who she finds attractive). To be honest, even though I think that relates to the dynamic between gay men and women, I'm not sure how? (Asking what you guys think, not saying it's an irrelevant question).
posted by rue72 at 3:00 PM on January 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yeah it totally makes sense. I was trying to express that public/private dichotomy thingamy and it leapt out of my grasp and so I'm glad you did it better.
posted by kalessin at 3:02 PM on January 29, 2014


i think the difference though is that there's not this stereotype of lesbians and straight cis men being best friends who drink whisky and smoke cigars and play golf together (allowing for the fact that of course there are individual friendships that could be termed that way - just that it's not a cultural meme).

It's interesting to me that it's completely and totally not a cultural meme or stereotype, to the point where I can't think of any examples in movies or books at all, because in my life I've played the role of the straight guy friend for pickup trucks and beer drinking and other kinds of desexualized testosteroned fun a few times. I'd say it's definitely a thing in real life, though far rarer than the "best gay boyfriend" trope. I wonder it it avoids the stereotype/meme thing because of its comparative rarity, or because of how it doesn't fit neatly into some of the (problematic) ways that gender and sexuality are constructed socially?
posted by Dip Flash at 3:13 PM on January 29, 2014


"i think the difference though is that there's not this stereotype of lesbians and straight cis men being best friends who drink whisky and smoke cigars and play golf together (allowing for the fact that of course there are individual friendships that could be termed that way - just that it's not a cultural meme)."

…but …but i wanna go drink whiskey with rtha
posted by klangklangston at 4:31 PM on January 29, 2014 [9 favorites]


And you can! But not as a cultural meme!
posted by kalessin at 4:51 PM on January 29, 2014 [5 favorites]


Maybe if they wore matching suits or something.
posted by planetesimal at 5:04 PM on January 29, 2014


"And you can! But not as a cultural meme!"

Even if we share it on FB?
posted by klangklangston at 5:05 PM on January 29, 2014


"And you can! But not as a cultural meme!"

so whiskey

such accompaniment

very drink

wow
posted by running order squabble fest at 5:07 PM on January 29, 2014 [10 favorites]


I am not a memesmith and cannot answer any questions related to memesmithy on the wilds of the Internet.
posted by kalessin at 5:24 PM on January 29, 2014


Pretty sure we could meme it up.
posted by rtha at 7:15 PM on January 29, 2014


There will be hats involved, right? Whiskey and cigars and hats? I would like hats.
posted by jaguar at 7:22 PM on January 29, 2014


Fedoras, no doubt.
posted by gingerbeer at 7:56 PM on January 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


It's interesting to me that it's completely and totally not a cultural meme or stereotype, to the point where I can't think of any examples in movies or books at all, because in my life I've played the role of the straight guy friend for pickup trucks and beer drinking and other kinds of desexualized testosteroned fun a few times. I'd say it's definitely a thing in real life, though far rarer than the "best gay boyfriend" trope. I wonder it it avoids the stereotype/meme thing because of its comparative rarity, or because of how it doesn't fit neatly into some of the (problematic) ways that gender and sexuality are constructed socially?

I think that the "one of the guys" meme goes two ways in terms of pop culture, depending on whether the woman is considered attractive (by the men involved). If the woman is considered attractive, she's probably on the continuum of Strong Female Character to "the cool girl"; she's really hot, and being good at/interested in "masculine" things makes her even hotter (though in a way that also makes her less human, natch). If the woman isn't considered attractive, she's probably not going to get much pop cultural play because women who aren't considered attractive usually don't, but she might show up as a loser/sadsack/lovesick buddy, like the Jodi character in Knocked Up, whose sole quoted line on IMDb is [to Allison] You wanna trade boyfriends? Ha. Just kidding. Kind of. If she could be considered attractive but is imperfect, the woman having male friends might be joked about as a red flag.

In real life, I think a lot of people of any gender like stereotypically "masculine" things without being especially self-conscious or having much of an internal dilemma about it, and people who like the same things often like doing those things together and become friends over it. So in real life, I think that the relationships that form over mutual interests in "masculine" things are actually even less fraught than they are in pop culture.

I think the complications actually come in when people (of any gender) like stereotypically "feminine" things. Those things are often in the "just for girls" social ghetto, so lots of men *and* women feel self-conscious and have internal dilemmas over liking them or even knowing about them, and relationships that form over mutual interests in "feminine" things might be pretty fraught in real life, maybe even more so than they are in pop culture (seems to me that the pop culture meme is usually that those relationships are competitive and catty, regardless of the genders of the people involved).

There's something on the tip of my tongue about those "mutual interest in stereotypically feminine things" relationships being fraught because of our (hegemonic) culture teaching us to have a love/hate relationship with femininity, and camp being a way of mediating one's own relationship with femininity, and the "gay bff" stereotype as camp performance (or an expectation of camp performance)....but ugh, I can't, I've devolved into gibberish. If someone can put those things together in a coherent way, please do! If not...well, I tried.
posted by rue72 at 8:24 PM on January 29, 2014 [7 favorites]


"Fedoras, no doubt."

MOM, THEY'RE NEGGING ME!
posted by klangklangston at 8:53 PM on January 29, 2014


No way, dude. Fedoras.
posted by rtha at 8:55 PM on January 29, 2014 [4 favorites]


"No way, dude. Fedoras."

Due to some neurological hiccup, I just read that as Fedoras, nephew of Legolas.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 10:00 PM on January 29, 2014 [8 favorites]


Fedoras. Fedorat. Fedoram.
posted by h00py at 11:53 PM on January 29, 2014 [6 favorites]


i think the difference though is that there's not this stereotype of lesbians and straight cis men being best friends who drink whisky and smoke cigars and play golf together (allowing for the fact that of course there are individual friendships that could be termed that way - just that it's not a cultural meme).

Au contraire, mon frère! There is absolutely a stereotype of women being whiskey-drinking best friends with straight cis men being some sort of Other - a non-womanly character, that is often described as a lesbian, because otherwise there'd be torrid sex or something. It comes along with "It's like you're not really a woman" and a whole host of other nonsense, and does suck, but that is totally a cultural Thing.
posted by corb at 8:12 AM on January 30, 2014


But there the stereotype is "If a woman is a whiskey-drinking friend with a lot of men, then she is a lesbian", where as the straight woman/gay man stereotype is more "if you are a gay man, you should be the Best Gay Friend to some straight woman". The direction of the implication is reversed. As has been reported here and upthread, (some) straight women try to press (some) gay men into service as the GBF, enough that it is a cliché, whereas straight men do not (usually) press lesbians into service as their lesbian friend. If anything, the stereotypical straight man/gay woman dynamic is adversarial/exploitative, rather than ostensibly friendly.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 8:19 AM on January 30, 2014 [2 favorites]


but that is totally a cultural Thing.

that's a very different thing than i've described.
posted by nadawi at 9:43 AM on January 30, 2014 [2 favorites]


That's true. I think grasping for ANY meme we've ended up comparing apples and oranges.
posted by kalessin at 10:55 AM on January 30, 2014


from experience, the slightly "friendlier" version of straight man/gay woman dynamic is *dawning realization* ZOMG WE CAN TALK ABOUT/CHECK OUT WOMEN TOGETHER!!!!!!!!

it did not, in those few instances, personally offend me. more of an eyeroll. i never delved into it but i do remember having the thought "wow, they almost seemed kind of excited/relieved. like this is something they have to hold back from straight women." like a fart or something.

and i realize that is possibly exploitative but my sense was less that they wanted to be gross AT me and more that they wanted to dish with me and assumed i would like to objectify women or otherwise engage in locker room talk with them.

just a data point. hasn't happened in awhile but i will have this conversation rolling around in my head next time should it happen again.
posted by twist my arm at 10:55 AM on January 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


so true. i told my dad as a teenager that i was dating men and women and he responded by taking me to hooters. i was like, uh, yeah, this isn't really my scene - can you drop me off at the library?
posted by nadawi at 11:17 AM on January 30, 2014 [4 favorites]


"from experience, the slightly "friendlier" version of straight man/gay woman dynamic is *dawning realization* ZOMG WE CAN TALK ABOUT/CHECK OUT WOMEN TOGETHER!!!!!!!!

it did not, in those few instances, personally offend me. more of an eyeroll. i never delved into it but i do remember having the thought "wow, they almost seemed kind of excited/relieved. like this is something they have to hold back from straight women." like a fart or something.
"

Heh. When I was doing public education on some of our bills, I used to have to stand out in public with my coworkers (usually early 20s, queer) and talk to people for eight hours a day. I think I've checked out women with every single one of my queer female-identified coworkers (and been along for the ride with my queer male-identified coworkers on checking out dudes). It's easy small talk, and honestly, doing public education around LGBT equality is one of the best ways to get hit on from every possible orientation and identity (me and a gay former coworker looked enough alike that when dudes would hit on me, we'd just swap out — "Oh, have you met Ryan? If you like me, you'll love him").

It was also likely a function of managing a bunch of horny pansexual 20-year-olds, honestly. I can't imagine any other job where I'd have to have a serious talk with an employee on why it was inappropriate to show me pictures of her genital piercings, which she thought would be fine because she's a lesbian. o_0
posted by klangklangston at 11:59 AM on January 30, 2014 [8 favorites]


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