Did this need to be deleted? November 11, 2015 6:48 PM   Subscribe

Not too sure about the deletion of this post 'Gay men who hate women'.

The article is provocative and not as nuanced as it could be but raised some good points, the thread itself wasn't turning into mudslinging and I thought the discussion was good. Dunno, just seemed like a premature cut-off.
posted by litleozy to Etiquette/Policy at 6:48 PM (260 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

I clicked into it, read the article, and sat on the page on the blue for a few minutes before deciding I was best served hitting the back button and moving onto something else.

The article was not a nuanced evaluation of this topic - I was disappointed it was posted in the first place and relieved when it was taken down.
posted by arnicae at 6:52 PM on November 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm sure.

It was a trainwreck.

the thread itself wasn't turning into mudslinging

What? It started out with mudslinging.
posted by Sys Rq at 6:53 PM on November 11, 2015 [7 favorites]


I don't think the topic itself should be off-limits, but I think I would set a higher bar for an article or post about that topic. It's a can of worms, and if you're going to open that can of worms, you should have something pretty insightful to say about it.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:57 PM on November 11, 2015 [8 favorites]


FWIW, it was just a rehash of a discussion we've had before.
posted by Sys Rq at 6:58 PM on November 11, 2015


Yeah, I gave it a bit because I think there is an actual conversation to be had there, and I'm not categorically opposed to venting threads, but I just couldn't see a pattern that didn't end up with the community failing to thread the intersectionality needle and ending up really hostile in a couple directions at once. It's tough, because I am all for poking hard at sexism in all its glorious failures, but I think that thread would have to stay really focused and really nuanced to avoid being an unacceptably-high percentage of just griping about gay men and gay culture. I'm honestly not sure how to make that happen.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 6:59 PM on November 11, 2015 [28 favorites]


I felt like the article was really great, actually? It covered a lot of nuance and ground, even if the title was a bit click-baity. And from what I saw, I felt like it was becoming a great thread with women sharing their experiences of misogyny. I actually memailed the mods right away after it went down to ask if I could repost it with better framing, because I was really sad that space was taken away - I felt like if the conversation was allowed to develop (abet with very stringent mod attention), it would have been an amazingly space for women to talk about gay misogyny.
posted by Conspire at 6:59 PM on November 11, 2015 [38 favorites]


I am genuinely unsure. I think I'd probably be happy to see the article posted again as part of a broader post, with considerable developing/balancing material. I have things I'd like to understand better about this issue (particularly in relation to my own experience of male privilege in non-straight spaces, having experienced this quite a lot), and consequently things I'd like to discuss, but I can also understand why the article did not appear likely to be conducive to that. I don't think it was an awful article in itself, but I think it was a very problematic starting point for a discussion about this issue.
posted by howfar at 7:00 PM on November 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


I didn't see it up, but looking now I see a bunch of "gay man was awful" anecdotes with no particular larger themes, and presumably eventually someone would have come in all "#notallgaymen", and I have enough of the former of my own and no need for the latter.
posted by PMdixon at 7:00 PM on November 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


ah that's fair enough, and can see your point restless_nomad

the thread itself wasn't turning into mudslinging

wasn't being clear - meant just between users
posted by litleozy at 7:01 PM on November 11, 2015


The article draws on a number of people's lived experience and lends broad historical context. If "this isn't something Metafilter should discuss" is a thing in this case, so be it, but I'm extremely skeptical of all the aspersions being cast, in the deletion comment and by others, on the piece itself.
posted by threeants at 7:01 PM on November 11, 2015 [6 favorites]


I noped out of that comment thread so hard I didn't even bother to read the article. If the article was worth my time then Metafilter certainly didn't seem to do it justice.
posted by muddgirl at 7:03 PM on November 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


The article was a jumpy mess that kept coming this close to saying something interesting and then missing.
posted by PMdixon at 7:05 PM on November 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


presumably eventually someone would have come in all "#notallgaymen"

Yes, heaven forfend that the minority group you're whipping up hatred towards might get a bit uppity.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:05 PM on November 11, 2015 [18 favorites]


Like it is truly bizarre to me to see women in that thread recounting microaggressions that have actually happened to them, and MeFi being like #notallmen, delete.
posted by threeants at 7:05 PM on November 11, 2015 [42 favorites]


Like I thought it made a connection between gay men's misogyny and "straight acting" with the misogyny being the easiest least costly mode of being "straight acting" but apparently that's from the article I made up in my head.
posted by PMdixon at 7:07 PM on November 11, 2015 [9 favorites]


My own let’s-never-be-controversial-ness might be coming into this, but when I read a post with a title like “The Gay Men Who Hate Women” I sort of assume the poster is wanting to start something, and wanting to start something is not a good attitude with which to begin a post.
posted by Going To Maine at 7:24 PM on November 11, 2015 [10 favorites]


Gay men "vs" gay and straight women is one of the weirdest things for my brain. I cannot wrap my mind around it, to be honest. Yes, I have known so many misogynist gay men who have come right out with their misogyny (and often horrible homophobic/anti-lesbian misogyny) right to my face. On the other hand, I know a lot of gay men who put up with (particularly) straight women saying offensive, trivializing and belittling things right back to them. Like, there's a lot going on and both groups face such violent repression and marginalization that I... actually... just... can't... even. /straight girl

There was a thread on the blue awhile back about how straight women grope gay men in really inappropriate and nonconsensual ways, and the first thing I thought of was an article I'd read previously about gay men groping straight women in really inappropriate and nonconsensual ways. I... I dunno. Both groups are primed for a kind of one-sided resentment of the other along various vectors and it's hard to suss it all out. So I would love it if someone made a repost of these kinds of materials that went somewhere besides "women and gay men: let's just rag on each other."
posted by easter queen at 7:29 PM on November 11, 2015 [36 favorites]


I thought it made a connection between gay men's misogyny and "straight acting" with the misogyny being the easiest least costly mode of being "straight acting"

I got that from the article too. I think someone is quoted saying that. I just think there was too much inflammatory framing with the title, etc.
posted by easter queen at 7:31 PM on November 11, 2015


I don't understand what nuance is missing. When there's a post about racial slurs on campus, or rape accusations, or police shooting black people, there are no calls for extra nuance, because there doesn't need to be any—those things are unobjectionably bad. It's not seen as trying to "start something" with the accused rapist or police officers or whoever.

So why delete this post? Everyone who's still here has the Correct opinions on gay rights by now, so we should be able to discuss problems in the gay community without it being seen as an attack on all gay people. There's no need to see this as a conflict between being "anti-misogyny" and "pro-gay," because you don't need to reduce it to "these people are Good" or "these people are Bad."

Besides, it's an article critical of gay men, shouldn't that be popular? /s
posted by Rangi at 7:31 PM on November 11, 2015 [8 favorites]


I'm honestly not sure how to make that happen.

Close to comments.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:31 PM on November 11, 2015


It also seems kind of weird that the concern was apparently the community "failing to thread the intersectionality needle" because imo the whole intersectionality takeaway from this topic is that gay men are also gay men and have problems with misogyny that mirror that of the gender at large. It's really more like the intersectionality needle was put back in the intersectional sewing kit before it ever had the chance to be threaded with intersectionality thread.
posted by threeants at 7:33 PM on November 11, 2015 [42 favorites]


What, Rangi? I can't tell if your comment is supposed to be satirical.
posted by easter queen at 7:33 PM on November 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


Besides, it's an article critical of gay men, shouldn't that be popular? /s

Yeah, that's the sort of thing we don't need, tongue in or out of cheek.

A good discussion can be had about this topic. That discussion wasn't heading toward that good place.
posted by Etrigan at 7:34 PM on November 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


I will say though that as a straight women I felt pretty uncomfortable reading that thread (despite my anger about misogyny I have experienced from gay men). I mean... there are many ways in which straight and gay women put up with microaggressions (and aggressions) from other marginalized groups who are themselves struggling to assert power in a patriarchal system. I am catcalled primarily by working class dudes on a day to day basis. I don't want a thread where middle class women can band together to rag on working class men qua working class men. And one of the reasons for that despite my frustrations is because it's dangerously easy to slip into a bad place.

And I think the thread in question was veering close to a weird pile-on situation, where it was like "ugh gay men are the worst," and while there are some gay men I would truly like to say some choice words to in this life, it feels weird to... not be particularly sensitive about it? It breaks my brain, I don't know what to say. If a bunch of straight women want to uncritically complain about behavior from gay men, there is a good chance that 1) they will be right about the misogyny and 2) there will be a decent amount of unconscious homophobia within the conversation.

The reason that #notallmen is annoying is because men, as a class, have oppressed women, as a class, for so long (and so profoundly). The same is not true of gay men and straight and gay women. As a woman, misogyny from any source hurts a lot, but the reason it hurts a lot is not, historically, gay men.
posted by easter queen at 7:45 PM on November 11, 2015 [53 favorites]


There was recently a thread where men were talking about the pressures of masculinity in our patriarchal culture and I felt similarly. The conversation veered dangerously close to "women are the worst, right?" I don't like only women/feminists being held to the standards of solid social justice and intersectionality. But they should be.
posted by easter queen at 7:47 PM on November 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


>"I just couldn't see a pattern that didn't end up with the community failing to thread the intersectionality needle and ending up really hostile in a couple directions at..."

It was up for like an hour.
dunno, seemed like a nope the fuck out kinda article.
Awesome deletion.
posted by clavdivs at 7:47 PM on November 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


It also seems strange and condescending to assume that the thread would automatically turn into some sort of women vs. gay men Hunger Games, instead of a conversation with women recounting their lived experiences, feminist gay men lending voices and context from their own lives, and the #notallmen crew-- whether straight or otherwise-- kicked to the curb as they should be.
posted by threeants at 7:48 PM on November 11, 2015 [11 favorites]


I don't understand what nuance is missing. When there's a post about racial slurs on campus, or rape accusations, or police shooting black people, there are no calls for extra nuance, because there doesn't need to be any—those things are unobjectionably bad. It's not seen as trying to "start something" with the accused rapist or police officers or whoever.

When it isn't clear if the punching is up or the punching is down, Metafilter doesn't really know what to do with itself at times. Straight people complaining about gay people? Punching down. Women complaining about men? Punching up. But then there is a degree of both here, that's where more nuance is called for. You need to be more careful in how you criticize a group that has been historically oppressed then you do police officers, even if the criticism absolutely does have to be stated. That's the nuance as I see it.

This thread is an example of a gay men/women issue when both sides are unable to put it together and it goes a bit ugly and possibly the type of thing the mods were afraid of.
posted by Drinky Die at 7:48 PM on November 11, 2015 [25 favorites]


threeants: the whole intersectionality takeaway from this topic is that gay men are also gay men and have problems with misogyny that mirror that of the gender at large

Yeah, but it's the gay part that poses the problem for the discussion, isn't it? We can talk all day about misogyny, but the moment we cross the line into talking about minority-group misogyny, we have to be super-extra-careful, and then it's much tougher to have a thread that is anecdotal, because it slides so easily into something nastier.

The whole history of modern culture's definition of gayness is about being allowed to scrutinize, psychologize, and pathologize gay men, and we have to be really careful with just how easy it is to be critical of gay misogyny. I mean, you know, it's really easy! The thread was up for five minutes and like ten people came up with examples in no time at all, and if the thread had gone on, surely a hundred more examples could've popped up. We are primed to criticize gay men...much as we are primed to criticize women. I feel like we need to be extra careful, when we know this priming exists.

That's not to say we should excuse misogyny by silencing criticism of it, nor should we leave the various ways it plays out unexamined. But is this place, the place that is able to have that examination? Is this article, the one we should base that discussion on?
posted by mittens at 7:49 PM on November 11, 2015 [21 favorites]


I thought of the slash thread too. Because I both believe that a) women's sexuality is so policed and so repressed that thank god slash exists, and also that b) slash is wildly inaccurate and trivializing of gay men's experiences. However, c) straight porn is incredibly dismissive of and even violent toward women, so it's very difficult for me to hold them to a higher standard than straight men, as if they're the more virtuous sex. But, d), there is not really a good defense for indulging in something so uncritically, except the usual "but it turns me on!" And e) what about straight men making a cottage industry out of exploiting sexualizations of gay women?

And then I scream into my pillow and need to go do algebraic geometry or something else which is easier to comprehend.

Priming is a great word to explain this phenomenon. It reminds me of a lot of conversations I've had recently about anti-Hillary sentiment. It's just so easy for people to immediately go to a sexist place, even when their convictions aren't necessarily sexist. Same with homophobia and other ingrained prejudices.
posted by easter queen at 7:54 PM on November 11, 2015 [26 favorites]


I'm so into the fact that easter queen and I both do algebraic geometry when these threads get too stressful!
posted by escabeche at 7:55 PM on November 11, 2015 [13 favorites]


I think Metafilter can be flat-out terrible on complex questions of intersectionality. There was a thread a while back (that I did not participate in, only read) that was about butch women being sexist, and just reading it made me feel shitty and step away from the site from a while. As far as I could tell, most, if not all, of the people commenting didn't identify as butch and were just telling stories about women they didn't like who did shitty things. It did not make me want to discuss gender identification and nonconformity here, even though I know there are many, many queer people on the site. And this thread looked the same way to me. I think people should be careful with stuff like this, because you might think you're approaching the subject in a nuanced way, but to someone else it's just the same homophobic stereotypes they contend with all day, every day.
posted by thetortoise at 7:56 PM on November 11, 2015 [33 favorites]


*hi-5's escabeche*
posted by easter queen at 7:56 PM on November 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


I totally get your concerns, easter queen, but I want to point out that discussing misogyny in gay communities is really important because shining a light on it is something that not only benefits women, since misogyny exerts such a toxic influence upon our own communities. Like, the author of the FPP touches upon this by talking about their own experiences with femmephobia within the gay community, and then extending that to transfeminine people, non-binary people, and femme men. And then on a wider level, these patriarchal issues intersect with so many different identities as well - race, body image, etc.

So from my own experiences, I'm very frustrated with the instant jump to "but this is homophobic" to shut down the conversation when women try to bring up misogyny from gay communities. Because these are vital issues for us to discuss not just for women - the lives of a lot of men with marginalized-within-marginalized identities within our own communities depend upon these conversations, including myself. It frustrates me that white able-bodied gay men can always be depended upon to make a lot of noise when women try to bring up these conversations, because I need these conversations to happen. Can they have a white non-intersectional feminist dynamic? Absolutely. But that's not what I was personally seeing here - I was seeing a lot of queer women, who I personally really trust, prompt the conversation with their own experiences. Again, I felt like if it were given space to develop, it might have yielded fruit.
posted by Conspire at 8:01 PM on November 11, 2015 [49 favorites]


Last thought and then I'm out: I can see straight men watching this conversation and laffing at the dumb SJW libruls who are getting twisted in pretzels trying not to offend each other while they wage their war against the white man. But the difference here is that straight, white men are far more untouchable. Like the Louis CK joke. There's very little you can say to really cut them down. It's much easier to actually, accidentally wound groups who are worn down every day by stereotypes used as cudgels to keep them out of the way and uncompetitive with straight/white/men, or who suffer the danger of real violence and actual, statistical negative consequences as a result of bigotry and harmful stereotypes about them. That's why you have to be more careful. Not because we have to be ideologically consistent and rationalize why straight guys are the only guys worth hating. It's because there are tangible consequences of not being careful with our language and thinking that just don't exist when there's an obvious person you can point to who's laughing all the way to the bank.
posted by easter queen at 8:02 PM on November 11, 2015 [20 favorites]


Last time we had that discussion, it became pretty 'yeah, aren't gay men the worst?' and any attempt to point out the flaws of the article in question was constantly referred to as trying to say gay men were never misogynistic, which a number of commenters were at pains to say wasn't what they were saying, but it was always ignored.

This post had no reasonable expectation to be any different.

In threads that get called sharing/venting threads, you're never told that's what it is until someone tries to discuss the links or say something different, and then they get called out for derailing or marginalising or otherwise not participating in good faith. It's not a good dynamic and makes many topics much more difficult to discuss than they should be, because once a couple of users decide they don't want to discuss anything, they just want to vent, then anything other than that is considered an intrusion.

I would very much like the article to not be posted again, even with better framing, especially if the only point is for a sharing thread, unless it was explicitly labeled as only for sharing and not for discussion. Because that is the effect, even if not explicitly stated, and it would help prevent other users from coming in with anything approaching a different opinion.

And I have many, many thoughts about the slash fiction thread, which is another previous example of how badly these things can go, but all I'll say is that it was very revealing as to how firmly some people do not hold themselves to the same standards they loudly demand in others.
posted by gadge emeritus at 8:02 PM on November 11, 2015 [14 favorites]


Conspire, I totally agree that it is an important conversation that is worth having, just to be clear. I personally don't know most of the people in that thread in terms of who is queer and who is not, and who can be generally trusted not to step in it, etc., so you may be right. I may have read the room wrong and felt more uncomfortable for that reason. I do hope that we could actually have that conversation here? It would just be potentially vulnerable to bad vibes.

And I totally admit that my own at-a-loss-ness shouldn't be, like, the limiting factor on any and all conversations about this topic. I believe there are people who can better handle it than me, and I would love to read that thread.
posted by easter queen at 8:03 PM on November 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


Conspire: because I need these conversations to happen

Why? Why do you need these conversations to happen? And why should what you need be what is good for the website?
posted by gadge emeritus at 8:05 PM on November 11, 2015 [8 favorites]


Well, again, re: intersectionality. Talking about things which poison our communities would hopefully be fruitful. Misogyny in gay and queer circles can also translate to serious consequences for gay women and to transmisogyny. I think that conversation is obviously important and needed.
posted by easter queen at 8:07 PM on November 11, 2015 [17 favorites]


Which is also literally what Conspire just said in that exact comment:

Because these are vital issues for us to discuss not just for women - the lives of a lot of men with marginalized-within-marginalized identities within our own communities depend upon these conversations, including myself. It frustrates me that white able-bodied gay men can always be depended upon to make a lot of noise when women try to bring up these conversations, because I need these conversations to happen. Can they have a white non-intersectional feminist dynamic? Absolutely. But that's not what I was personally seeing here - I was seeing a lot of queer women, who I personally really trust, prompt the conversation with their own experiences. Again, I felt like if it were given space to develop, it might have yielded fruit.
posted by en forme de poire at 8:09 PM on November 11, 2015 [16 favorites]


Yes, Conspire said it much better the first time.
posted by easter queen at 8:10 PM on November 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


A good discussion can be had about this topic

It isn't perfectly obvious to me that a good discussion can be had about any topic that's described as "Why X hates Y," but the values of "good" and "discussion" may vary, I understand.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:10 PM on November 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


Why? Why do you need these conversations to happen? And why should what you need be what is good for the website?

Because the misogyny exhibited in gay communities props up the racism and ableism I personally experience from these communities. But I'm not going to lay this all out for you because I just came out of being the center of two exhausting Metatalks on race, having to defend my identity and the racism I've had to suffer from every single angle, and I'm not inclined to explain everything all over again in a third Metatalk to someone who seems intent on dragging my identity out with even more hostility right now, so maybe you should google this really common thing.
posted by Conspire at 8:10 PM on November 11, 2015 [48 favorites]


imo the whole intersectionality takeaway from this topic is that gay men are also gay men and have problems with misogyny that mirror that of the gender at large

And the problem with the thread was that straight women are also straight women and maybe might sort of have some unexamined problems with homophobia that come out to shine. And, boy oh boy, shine they did.

The first comment was especially offensive IMO. I don't doubt its veracity for a second--this is definitely, without a doubt, a thing that occurs--but it's just completely free of any sense of perspective. Someone said vaginas are disgusting? Queer men are reminded in no uncertain terms from all angles on a daily basis that our entire existence is disgusting. In many places, we can be fired from our jobs if our employers find out we're disgusting. Many places, we can be executed for being disgusting. Heck, just look how the article lays the whole "female genitals are yucky" issue to rest, and what do you know: "After all, calling vaginas gross is pretty rich coming from people who have anal sex." The slowest of slow claps.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:16 PM on November 11, 2015 [25 favorites]


I know all about what you're talking about, I know it exists, I know its forms. I don't need to google anything, not even the word 'patronising'. But I don't trust the userbase to have this conversation in a fruitful way, I don't believe that just because you think it's possible, necessary and needed means that I, or anyone else, should feel the same way about it, and this had absolutely nothing to do with your identity as anything other than Conspire.

If you're too emotionally exhausted to be disagreed with in MeTa, perhaps reposting a contentious topic that is unlikely to go smoothly is not for you.
posted by gadge emeritus at 8:18 PM on November 11, 2015 [5 favorites]


The author of the FPP is a bisexual genderqueer AMAB person, and sciatrix has been really, really direct about her queer identity here on Metafilter.
posted by Conspire at 8:18 PM on November 11, 2015 [20 favorites]


I personally don't know most of the people in that thread in terms of who is queer and who is not, and who can be generally trusted not to step in it, etc., so you may be right. I may have read the room wrong and felt more uncomfortable for that reason. I do hope that we could actually have that conversation here? It would just be potentially vulnerable to bad vibes.

I totally agree with what easter queen is saying here. I recognize some usernames in that thread as people who are queer and active supporters of all queer people, and I read their comments differently, knowing the level of discernment they bring to conversations here. But the thread as a whole makes me feel uncomfortable and on the internet it can be hard to distinguish between intersectional venting and homophobic venting when they can look to an outside observer as the same. We are told time and again that MeFi is not a safe space, and I certainly don't experience it as one, so I think the moderators are right to have a higher bar for topics like this that tend toward the inflammatory. The gay men in my life are not secure and safe from homophobia, not by a long shot.
posted by thetortoise at 8:19 PM on November 11, 2015 [12 favorites]


Every time we have this fight, which we seem to have fairly often, I'm gob smacked at how many gay men seem to default to assuming that any given woman is straight. What's up with that?
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 8:25 PM on November 11, 2015 [16 favorites]


Well, when they're high-fiving about their shared hatred of gays, I generally assume they at least have that excuse.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:28 PM on November 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


"A pattern of misogyny exists and is expressed among many gay men in these ways" is not the same sentiment as "We hate gays," and it's not ok to conflate the two. Comments in the deleted thread may have not all been on one side of that line, but that line does exist.
posted by jaguar at 8:33 PM on November 11, 2015 [16 favorites]


I did not see anyone high-fiving over hatred of gays. I mean, what? Talking about how misogyny plays out in certain communities, and how people experience that? Yes.
posted by rtha at 8:34 PM on November 11, 2015 [43 favorites]


but all I'll say is that it was very revealing as to how firmly some people do not hold themselves to the same standards they loudly demand in others. - gadge emeritus

You, specifically and personally, are one of the most prominent users who do this. For you to then criticize others for this behavior is yet another example ofthe same.

Well, when they're high-fiving about their shared hatred of gays, I generally assume they at least have that excuse. - Sys Rq

Links or GTFO.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:34 PM on November 11, 2015 [21 favorites]


If you're too emotionally exhausted to be disagreed with in MeTa, perhaps reposting a contentious topic that is unlikely to go smoothly is not for you.

Thanks, but I can draw boundaries for myself.

One thing that constantly boggles my mind is that whenever women talk about the misogyny they face in gay spaces, the refrain from gay men is "but we're minorities too", and then when disabled gay men and gay men of color go "but this is an issue that, by extension and intersectionality, impacts me too", the response is always "sit down, your concerns come secondary to ours"? Like, I mean, if you're going to insist upon caring about marginalization, at least apply it consistently. This is the definition of being tossed under a bus.
posted by Conspire at 8:35 PM on November 11, 2015 [34 favorites]


On preview, what the man of twist and turns said.
posted by Conspire at 8:35 PM on November 11, 2015


Saying that a thread on this topic would not go well is not at all the same thing as throwing other minorities under the bus, no-one is denying that this happens. The discussion here is unlikely to go well. For one thing, it would require all users to read carefully and not do what always happens in heated threads, which includes but is not limited to misconstruing what other users are saying and making bad-faith assumptions about what they secretly really mean. No-one is immune from these behaviours.

And I suppose if I'm going to be remembered as a user, if it's for rank hypocrisy then I'm in plentiful company.
posted by gadge emeritus at 8:45 PM on November 11, 2015 [8 favorites]


This topic comes up fairly frequently, in the world outside of Metafilter. e.g.

Gay Men and Misogyny: Rose McGowan’s Half-Right

Azealia Banks calls out the misogyny of gay men

Does Gay Male Culture Have a Misogyny Problem?

Have we done any previous threads on the blue on this issue?
posted by andoatnp at 8:46 PM on November 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yeah, we have.
posted by en forme de poire at 8:51 PM on November 11, 2015 [5 favorites]


I think one of the problems with a conversation like that is that it's so easy to pile up anecdotes. I've been a lesbian/queer woman around gay men for almost 30 years, and I can remember a couple of "ewww gross female genitals" comments from way back in the late 80s, so this is something I've definitely experienced. On the other hand, that's a couple of encounters among hundreds, if not thousands, over the years. I know that one way we make sense of experiences like those that women have with being harassed on the street or people of color have when encountering police is to listen to individual stories, but there is always a chance that our collection of anecdotes will overstate a problem.

In the present instance, there really isn't an institutional power imbalance to address in the same way there is with street harassment or police violence. So there's not much of anywhere for a conversation like this to go except "ugh, gay men suck," and there's not necessarily a solution to be worked out other than, "like other men, gay men who are misogynistic need to get the fuck over it," and "all men need to learn that women and their lives matter." I'm having a hard time seeing "some gay men say shitty things to lesbians in bars" as something we need to consciousness-raise around as a specific and unique issue.

I could be wrong. But that's why that post felt, to me, like it couldn't go anywhere but bad.
posted by not that girl at 8:53 PM on November 11, 2015 [31 favorites]


(Not, of course, that we shouldn't have more than one; I agree with Conspire that I think an interesting and worthwhile thread could come out an FPP linking to that article.)
posted by en forme de poire at 8:53 PM on November 11, 2015


If the hateful idea that gay men are just sexually immature men afraid of vaginas and dominated by their mothers wasn't used against them over and over again through much of the past century, maybe we could have this conversation and it would only be about misogyny, with no overtones of homophobia? But we don't live in that world.
posted by thetortoise at 9:03 PM on November 11, 2015 [11 favorites]


I can see straight men watching this conversation and laffing at the dumb SJW libruls

I don't think it helps the discussion to characterize your fellow community members in this uncharitable manner.
posted by Meatbomb at 9:07 PM on November 11, 2015 [12 favorites]


So, instead of having the ugly hurtful thread on the blue, we're going to have it on the grey?
posted by andoatnp at 9:12 PM on November 11, 2015 [27 favorites]


I know that one way we make sense of experiences like those that women have with being harassed on the street or people of color have when encountering police is to listen to individual stories, but there is always a chance that our collection of anecdotes will overstate a problem.

Well it's hard because, yes, the plural of anecdote is not data, but the actual problem people are raising inherently has to do with their perceptions. To be clear, I very much don't mean that in the sense that the problem is simply made up, but rather that it exists as long as enough women say that it does. The extent to which actual people are hurt by this kind of behavior is a result of the sum of the aggressions, macro and micro, they experience, as filtered through their own personalities and experiences. We can't quantify that and conclude that it's a big enough problem that it's worthy of our concern or one too small to care about.

Certainly, some people, including members of this community, are telling us that it's a problem for them.
posted by zachlipton at 9:13 PM on November 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


> but there is always a chance that our collection of anecdotes will overstate a problem.

Maybe? I've seen people right here on this site express astonishment that there is sexism in gay communities, or that lesbians might not be welcome in gay bars (because aren't gay bars for gay people and lesbians are gay people). Likewise, there is racism in gay communities. If we can't talk about these things because of homophobia, or because it's somehow airing dirty laundry, then I don't know where we're supposed to go with this.
posted by rtha at 9:18 PM on November 11, 2015 [36 favorites]


I don't think it helps the discussion to characterize your fellow community members in this uncharitable manner.

If this is a joke, it was unnecessary and lame. Please go shit elsewhere?

If it wasn't a joke, I'm not necessarily talking about straight men in the Metafilter community (though yes some straight men here would use this conversation as ammo). I'm talking about the internet at large, since many people end up here who are not users, and Metafilter is occasionally quoted around the internet in venues big and small.
posted by easter queen at 9:19 PM on November 11, 2015 [7 favorites]


If it wasn't a joke, I'm not necessarily talking about straight men in the Metafilter community (though yes some straight men here would use this conversation as ammo). I'm talking about the internet at large, since many people end up here who are not users, and Metafilter is occasionally quoted around the internet in venues big and small.

Your argument basically boils down to "we can't ever talk about intersectionality because *-ISTs will point and laugh." You can't arbitrarily decide that something as big as homophobia must be 100% solved worldwide before anybody is allowed to talk about this.
posted by zachlipton at 9:28 PM on November 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


Sure, gay men have hurt my feelings before, but I don't think this essay is a good topic for metafilter or anyplace else. 1. the idea that gay men have some kind of animosity/envy toward women shows up in many homophobic/conservative sources - this talking point is a classic, it bums me out to see progressive people yearning for this garbage 2. if I think about it at all, I realize that I have way more useless anecdotes about other women being mean to me and hurting my feelings than anecdotes about gay men - which you'd expect, right? women are half of the population - gay men are - what - less than five percent? 3. gay men are MEN - if you're mad at any one of them, it's the same patriarchy all over again - aiming your ire at the fact that he's gay is playing into the wrong hands.
posted by moxiedoll at 9:29 PM on November 11, 2015 [10 favorites]


Whenever I see an article like this, particularly in places like Slate or Huffington Post or Buzzfeed, I always have to wonder, who benefits the most by turning the frustration of the oppressed towards one another? Why does a article about whether rap is homophobic or gays are sexist or Lena Dunham is racist or some other generalization designed to start an argument get posted every 5 minutes somewhere and get 50 million comments and think pieces and responses, while there is still no equal rights amendment, police brutality runs rampant over our cities, corporations can buy elections, and trans people get murdered over what bathroom they are supposed to use?

Everything's important to everyone that it's important to, not saying it ain't but let's not forget who benefits from these delicious controversies the most. And not just because the clicks on Vice.com go directly to the frog king who owns Fox News too--it's definitely easier to focus on those folks who are near you who are stepping on your toes, but eventually, if you want those assholes in the balcony to stop throwing garbage down onto the mezzanine we're going to have to stack up like cheerleaders, send the strongest among us up and kick their asses til they cut it out.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:29 PM on November 11, 2015 [9 favorites]


1. the idea that gay men have some kind of animosity/envy toward women shows up in many homophobic/conservative sources - this talking point is a classic, it bums me out to see progressive people yearning for this garbage

One of the articles linked in the previous discussions had this to say.

The entire piece has a subtle flavor of the sort of homophobia once preached by some, supposedly radical, feminists: That gay men are gay because we hate women. This growing suspicion of mine was borne out when he actually (approvingly) quoted an article titled, "Are All Gay Men Secret Misogynists?" in the context of returning, yet again, to his complaint about how poor, straight omen are marginalized in gay spaces.

If such talking points have been coming from feminists in the past too (i have no idea if that is correct, the article seems questionable to me in several places) it may be contributing to how this discussion is received.
posted by Drinky Die at 9:35 PM on November 11, 2015


Whenever I see an article like this, particularly in places like Slate or Huffington Post or Buzzfeed, I always have to wonder, who benefits the most by turning the frustration of the oppressed towards one another?

I mean, people love mocking the "circular firing squad" and I'm sure it's not totally unheard of that there is concern trolling or click baiting at the root of these discussions in some cases...but the overwhelming majority of the time the issue is simply that oppression doesn't only come from straight rich white men and it still has to be fought when it doesn't. You don't get a pass for being an oppressor just because you are also oppressed. The people who benefit the most are the people who improve the quality of their communities through hashing out this discussion with people who are open to criticism. The online SJ crowd is not nearly as good at that as they they think they are, but they do usually make much more of an effort than anybody else will.
posted by Drinky Die at 9:42 PM on November 11, 2015 [11 favorites]


One interesting parallel about that Huffington Post article is that the article the author references, entitled "Are All Gay Men Secret Misogynists?", not only does not remotely argue that they actually are (that article is itself responding to one written by the Good Men Project about sexism among gay men), but is also written by a queer woman, not a straight woman.
posted by en forme de poire at 9:49 PM on November 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


As a queer man, I thought the article was perfectly fine. I am disgusted by the misogyny in the gay community and would love to see it called out more and discussed more. It's something we need to answer for. If we don't ask feminists to do the emotional labor of coddling the feelings of straight men, why are we asking that of gay men? If it were just called "The Men Who Hate Women," would there be pushback?
posted by zeusianfog at 9:49 PM on November 11, 2015 [23 favorites]


Why does a article about whether rap is homophobic or gays are sexist or Lena Dunham is racist or some other generalization designed to start an argument get posted every 5 minutes somewhere and get 50 million comments and think pieces and responses, while there is still no equal rights amendment, police brutality runs rampant over our cities, corporations can buy elections, and trans people get murdered over what bathroom they are supposed to use?

In practice, people have much stronger opinions about the pop culture they consume than they do about abstract and seemingly-impossible-to-achieve tasks like passing an ERA (which includes convincing a segment of the population that the ERA is necessary) or reforming the justice system (which requires getting some degree of consensus about what needs reform). On the other hand, sometimes commentary on smaller parts of culture provides an enlightening reminder of why these bigger tasks are just so difficult to accomplish.
posted by Going To Maine at 10:00 PM on November 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


My own let’s-never-be-controversial-ness might be coming into this, but when I read a post with a title like “The Gay Men Who Hate Women” I sort of assume the poster is wanting to start something

It's the name of the thread because it's the name of the article, nothing more.

I thought the article was interesting and I didn't think the comments in the thread were anything more than women discussing their own experiences with the phenomena.

It's been a while since I've posted to the front page and thought this post might make interesting reading and an interesting discussion. I'm sorry that it wasn't framed better or that the perception is that I wanted to start something. I certainly didn't want things to get fighty; I'm a bit disappointed it was deleted just in case things got fighty or under the assumption that anyone would start #NotAllGayMen
posted by crossoverman at 10:15 PM on November 11, 2015 [9 favorites]


3. gay men are MEN - if you're mad at any one of them, it's the same patriarchy all over again - aiming your ire at the fact that he's gay is playing into the wrong hands.

Unless the suggestion is that there might be something unique going on. By which could be meant either that quasi-Freudian stuff (or something akin to it, e.g. some Dan Savage quote or other I've seen [maybe here?]), or, per my read of some arguments in links posted above, patriarchy potentiated (or filtered or refracted, choose your metaphor) through defensive positioning (against a variety of internal & external offenses, with "femininity/weakness" as the core insult).
posted by cotton dress sock at 10:22 PM on November 11, 2015


Links or GTFO.

Try the main one.

Look, if you really can't see how a long list of anecdotes about gay men who are assholes which obviously must be because they are gay is completely and inexcusably homophobic, I really don't know what to tell you other than "consult an optician."

Now, to be clear, I don't think it was anyone's intention in that thread to be completely and inexcusably homophobic, but it is what it is.

There has always been talk about misogyny among [random minority group] men. While I fully appreciate that each group may have its own particular brand of misogyny, the unfortunate fact of the matter is that those kinds of surgical discussions are all massively problematic in that they always add fuel to people's prejudices about that group. Always. And not just the male half.

ILLUSTRATION ONLY - DO NOT ACTUALLY DO THIS: This Thanksgiving, ask your asshole uncle (you know the one) about the treatment of women by [random minority group]. I promise he will have strong opinions on the matter, even if he hates all [random minority group] and all women. He doesn't have to have the slightest concern in his heart for the women involved; for him, it's just one more hate arrow in the hate quiver.

When you list a few anecdotes, no matter how true, and others add a few more, and a few more, then in pretty short order, it really, really, really starts to look like hatemongering. Because the effect is that you are mongering hate, whether you mean to or not. Someone will read that list -- maybe an asshole like your hypothetical uncle, maybe a kid who just doesn't know any better, maybe a woman who identifies with the misogyny but has never knowingly met a gay person -- and they'll see all those anecdotes piling up without any counterexamples and just take that one extra little step of extrapolating it all to GAY PEOPLE ARE ALL TERRIBLE AND SHOULD HAVE NO RIGHTS. And it is very possible that those people don't even need to take that step, because for huge swathes of our species, that is the default setting.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:26 PM on November 11, 2015 [16 favorites]


Yeah, I don't dispute that misogyny expressed by gay men can be shaped by their common identity and experiences, but there's a very fine line between "gay misogynist men are like this" and "gay men are misogynist like this". Given that the article itself couldn't help veering into anecdote territory, there's no way that the discussion here could have avoided it. So it would basically have been a pile-on directed against a marginalised group.
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:29 PM on November 11, 2015 [6 favorites]


I overreacted in the thread and I apologize for doing so. However, I still believe that some of the comments seemed committed to peddling over-the-top, discredited, and stereotypical generalizations about gay men in order to make the absolutely valid point that some gay men, or many gay men, have a tendency to act in shitty and fucked-up ways toward women, while more often than not insisting that they are doing no such thing.

Even the article, which was an otherwise nuanced piece with good historical context, goes for the ludicrous sarcasm/snark line that "it's rich" that gay men find vaginas "gross" when they themselves engage in (yuck!) anal sex. I mean, come on.
posted by blucevalo at 10:29 PM on November 11, 2015 [7 favorites]


I'm really torn on the topic. On the one hand, I think that those of us in minority groups absolutely have a right to hold ourselves and each other to a higher standard. Being on the receiving end of crapola from the privileged means ​we ought to know better​, and that when we are called out on it we ought to try to improve and learn rather than dig in and get defensive. But on the other hand, I also think that as long as we are distracted from the major problem - the stigmatisation of all kinds of groups of people by a relative, privileged few - by arguing with each other, the major problem will not improve.

The reality is that misogyny is a huge problem. It is a problem for straight cismen, for gay cismen, for gay and straight transmen. For white people, for people of colour. For all women: straight, lesbian, bi, curious; cis and trans. It is a problem for everyone. It shapes and infects our cultures and ways of life and very modes of thought in ways we are probably not even aware of because we ourselves are part of the problem. I am misogynist sometimes, even (especially) towards myself. Misogyny is not ​the only​ problem. But saying that homophobia is more important than misogyny to me ignores the way misogyny underpins and supports homophobia. Thus intersectionality, which apparently yes, is too nuanced a discussion to be having on MetaFilter. Which disappoints me.
posted by Athanassiel at 10:31 PM on November 11, 2015 [34 favorites]


> Look, if you really can't see how a long list of anecdotes about gay men who are assholes which obviously must be because they are gay is completely and inexcusably homophobic, I really don't know what to tell you other than "consult an optician."

We read totally different threads.

I suppose that over the years here, all the threads we've had about e.g. street harassment where women offer anecdote upon story upon experience are also just straight-up hatemongering, then. People of color talking about being on the receiving end of racism, likewise. I, a dyke, can't talk about misogyny I've gotten from gay men - my supposed allies! - because that telling can only be an expression of homophobia.
posted by rtha at 10:31 PM on November 11, 2015 [54 favorites]


(I have no ire, myself, btw. The argument I probably got wrong is mostly theoretical to me - I've seen very little fuckedupness firsthand, and far more mutual respect and support.)
posted by cotton dress sock at 10:32 PM on November 11, 2015


There seems to be a divide in here, those arguing for and against the idea that metafilter can ever have a discussion on this topic, and those arguing for and against the discussion happening in that particular thread.

I wasn't mad about the thread, I think metafilter could handle the discussion with some better framing and management.
posted by smoke at 10:38 PM on November 11, 2015 [7 favorites]


I suppose that over the years here, all the threads we've had about e.g. street harassment where women offer anecdote upon story upon experience are also just straight-up hatemongering, then. People of color talking about being on the receiving end of racism, likewise.

I guess, if power dynamics are suddenly not a thing anymore.

I, a dyke, can't talk about misogyny I've gotten from gay men - my supposed allies! - because that telling can only be an expression of homophobia.

It's a quandary, I'll admit. With a queer audience, it's completely fine as far as I'm concerned. A message for us by us about us, no problem whatsoever. But for a general audience, maybe precision just has to go out the window. Worst case scenario, you miss your target and curb a straight guy's misogyny.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:41 PM on November 11, 2015


this thread is great at the beginning. on the blue, i thought "ew gross, these anecdotes are terrible, so sorry for you." i thought about the couple times it happened to me.

then here i got to easter queen's first comment about the other groping vectors. SHIT. I'VE GROPED TOO BUT I FORGOOTTT. at first it was that one gay man at the club when we were dancing. and then i remembered the month my housemates and i were surprise slapping each other's butts like a game of sexual harassment tag. there were innocent civilians caught in the crossfire. friends, so more eyerolls than anything else. but i know better now there's a good chance the eyerolling was a defense mechanism.

i wasn't thinking it was all gay men but i certainly didn't remember being a perpetrator until reminded. so, now i'm thinking about all the perfectly normal gay men that never did shit to me, turns out there's more in that column.

good job top of the thread, lesson temporarily learned!

not to shit on women discussing this though, because that is necessary. i think the thing about the gayness is at least in part because of the "it doesn't count but it's also hilarious cuz i'm gay! i don't even enjoy this!" reaction. it's all patriarchy but the dynamic with straight men is a different flavor of entitlement/sexism. possibly also the shared queer spaces/social circles is a factor, at least with queer women. you mistakenly think you're safe.

still. i benefited more from the back and forth here. thanks especially easter queen. you and others managed to get the point across that i needed to hear without ramping up the grar. mittens, thetortoise. we might could actually do this if not for the needling "hypocrisy" stuff.

So I would love it if someone made a repost of these kinds of materials that went somewhere besides "women and gay men: let's just rag on each other."

actual lol.
posted by twist my arm at 10:41 PM on November 11, 2015 [13 favorites]


the unfortunate fact of the matter is that those kinds of surgical discussions are all massively problematic in that they always add fuel to people's prejudices about that group

I mean, but given a choice between never calling out misogyny in our own community because some bigot who already doesn't like us might take snippets out of context to get a good hate-on going, or having an uncomfortable discussion so that we can ultimately make our own community more welcoming, I'd prefer Door #2.
posted by en forme de poire at 10:43 PM on November 11, 2015 [18 favorites]


some bigot who already doesn't like us

No. Some person converted to bigotry.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:46 PM on November 11, 2015


Nice last minute edit there, pal -- don't think I missed the original.
posted by en forme de poire at 10:51 PM on November 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


I also don't buy that we can't possibly have a discussion about misogyny among gay men without also keeping in mind how problematic it can be to simply reduce everything to gender without taking into account how criticism of gay men can be inflected by homophobic tropes. That's literally half of the conversation that's going on in this thread.
posted by en forme de poire at 10:51 PM on November 11, 2015 [9 favorites]


not to shit on women discussing this though, because that is necessary. i think the thing about the gayness is at least in part because of the "it doesn't count but it's also hilarious cuz i'm gay! i don't even enjoy this!" reaction. it's all patriarchy but the dynamic with straight men is a different flavor of entitlement/sexism. possibly also the shared queer spaces/social circles is a factor, at least with queer women. you mistakenly think you're safe.

I edited a comment of mine in that thread, where I started to talk about my experience of that. (I'm a straight woman, close with many cis gay men [and a few who aren't cis, but the interaction I'm thinking of is cis gay man / cis het woman]). My personal experience of (light, consensual) groping and whatnot in that dynamic has been that it has felt largely safe. And fun, playful. Maybe a way of thrilling in performing gender in ways that both affirm and challenge the whole shebang, with the wolf out of the room. The queer spaces I've been in have largely been welcoming, or that's how I experienced things.

(I edited my original comment because I was embarrassed about admitting to being too drunk to be allowed into a bar.)
posted by cotton dress sock at 10:51 PM on November 11, 2015


Not to play a mod, but that's not what you're supposed to use the edit window for.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:56 PM on November 11, 2015


I know. It was crap of me.
posted by cotton dress sock at 10:57 PM on November 11, 2015


I suppose that over the years here, all the threads we've had about e.g. street harassment where women offer anecdote upon story upon experience are also just straight-up hatemongering, then. People of color talking about being on the receiving end of racism, likewise. I, a dyke, can't talk about misogyny I've gotten from gay men - my supposed allies! - because that telling can only be an expression of homophobia.

I think threads where people recount a particular form of harassment or oppression they experience tend to be great (at least the ones of the last few years on Metafilter). When that subject shifts to "harassment by [minority group]," though, it can get dicey and turn quickly into an intersectionality fail. Take easter queen's example of middle-class white women talking about catcalling by working-class men; it's a conversation that can be done well, but I feel a lot better about it when the people discussing it are working-class women of color who aren't going to use the conversation to prop up racism and classism, and when it's more than just "working-class dudes? I have a story about them! Yuck, construction workers."

I mean, I know there are gay men doing misogynist things; I know there's something real here. But mittens' point here is a good one:

We are primed to criticize gay men...much as we are primed to criticize women. I feel like we need to be extra careful, when we know this priming exists.

I'm sure everyone's mileage varies on this, but I didn't see enough of that kind of care in the thread.
posted by thetortoise at 10:57 PM on November 11, 2015 [15 favorites]


Probably the last place we need yet more click-baity homophobia is the front page of Metafilter. There are lots of places online to shout hate at gay people, like Free Republic or Newsmax or FOX News or Stormfront or whatever. Metafilter doesn't need to be another outlet for that stuff.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 11:06 PM on November 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think it's quixotic to think these kind of threads can ever go well. If you're brimming with ressentiment then conciliation just won't scratch that itch. Everyone needs to read On the Genealogy of Morality and then eat a couple tabs of acid, my goodness.
posted by nicolas léonard sadi carnot at 11:22 PM on November 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


I, a dyke, can't talk about misogyny I've gotten from gay men - my supposed allies!

If you mean that you are particularly angry about misogyny from gay men, then no, that's probably not a good conversation to have here. It's like being particularly angry about non-compassionate Jews, or racist Blacks: it's imposing a higher standard on a subordinated group.
posted by Joe in Australia at 11:22 PM on November 11, 2015 [5 favorites]


So from my own experiences, I'm very frustrated with the instant jump to "but this is homophobic" to shut down the conversation when women try to bring up misogyny from gay communities. Because these are vital issues for us to discuss not just for women - the lives of a lot of men with marginalized-within-marginalized identities within our own communities depend upon these conversations, including myself. It frustrates me that white able-bodied gay men can always be depended upon to make a lot of noise when women try to bring up these conversations, because I need these conversations to happen. Can they have a white non-intersectional feminist dynamic? Absolutely. But that's not what I was personally seeing here - I was seeing a lot of queer women, who I personally really trust, prompt the conversation with their own experiences. Again, I felt like if it were given space to develop, it might have yielded fruit.

On this subject of marginalized-within-marginalized identities, I thought this article and your (painful, personal) comment on it, Conspire, were excellent, and certainly didn't push the homophobic buttons I was getting here at all. You may well be right, that this thread would have developed in a productive direction, but I've definitely seen plenty that didn't. I don't know, maybe MeFi could do it well after all. If the subject comes up again, I hope people keep in mind how the woman-hating stereotype has been used against gay men. I just found that thread very painful and was kind of relieved that it was closed. Don't want to post too much here so I'll try to go back to listening for a bit.
posted by thetortoise at 11:45 PM on November 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


I don't know, maybe MeFi could do it well after all.

Is there an example of a place that does intersectionality really well? I don't know, I'd be interested to see (not a challenge, just would be).

In this case, there were multiple axes, in one thread (which I think did lean towards anecdote, biasing the worst experiences [that title]).
posted by cotton dress sock at 12:23 AM on November 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


ps that event I mentioned happened ~20 yrs ago
posted by cotton dress sock at 12:23 AM on November 12, 2015


? People can discuss their personal issues with others of a group, and at the same time respect that the group as a whole is discriminated against.

I think most people on MetaFilter are okay with having critical discussion that can be abused by outside parties to shut down conversation. There's always people with those zingers, but I've learned a lot from the racism MeTas. I've developed some trust that people can identify patterns of behavior, and that they can differentiate between constructive criticism and flippant dismissal.

Framing discussion and having comments in a way that discourages unconscious bias is the complicated issue here.
posted by halifix at 12:24 AM on November 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


? People can discuss their personal issues with others of a group, and at the same time respect that the group as a whole is discriminated against.

I think things are much more even-handed when those issues are talked about in a larger discussion about structures. When it's a series of anecdotes (of egregious occurrences) after a piece with a title like "the gay men who hate women", the context might be a bit lost.
posted by cotton dress sock at 12:31 AM on November 12, 2015 [8 favorites]


It's like being particularly angry about non-compassionate Jews, or racist Blacks: it's imposing a higher standard on a subordinated group.

I mean, that's true, but I'm honestly having a hard time understanding how that's necessarily relevant to what rtha was talking about there. I just don't quite understand what your comment means in that context - was it because of the expressed frustration that gay men are supposed to be allies to dykes?
posted by teponaztli at 1:01 AM on November 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


I mean, maybe I missed a nuance somewhere, but I didn't get a sense of there being anything particularly angry about gay men in that comment, and so I just don't understand where that response came from.
posted by teponaztli at 1:21 AM on November 12, 2015


Yes, it was in response to Rtha's comment.

I think the frustration is understandable, and I imagine that gay men's misogyny might be even more hurtful. But it's like other forms of intersectional oppression: Jews might wish Blacks would be generally less anti-Semitic, or Blacks wish Jews would be generally less racist, but it wouldn't be cool to make a list of their failures in either case. That wouldn't be helpful or insightful; it would be just a racist collection of anecdotes.
posted by Joe in Australia at 1:39 AM on November 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm not working today, so I'm just commenting here as a member, but this is my thought: nuance can be hard in the best of circumstances, and anecdata can be be powerful in ways that other sorts of commentary is not – for better or worse – so a thread filled with anecdotes about [X minority] being awful about [X human rights or equality issue] runs the risk of bringing an outsized impact upon the whole group.

When I say this, I'm thinking especially about people who don't have many, or any, relationships to members of the minority group in question, and see story after story about how some of them have acted badly. Many will feel like they will want to mostly avoid that group, because they don't want to be treated that way, or they will be wary or suspicious when interacting with one of that group. They might feel they don't want their children exposed to this harmful sort of behavior, or that they don't want to hire one of this minority group because it may cause problems for their clients or employees. They certainly wouldn't want to have one teaching their kids, and wouldn't feel comfortable voting for that kind of person. They may not break it down like this, or identify, or even remember that thing they read online as part of the reason, but it's there in the mix.

So the question is, does that mean it cannot be discussed? This seems like an unacceptable outcome. Is there a way to discuss it without a moderator setting terms for discussion and micromanaging every single comment, or comments being vetted and only some being allowed to be posted? Maybe there are places that could handle it in the latter way, or closed communities where the discussion can happen among a self-selected group, but it becomes more fraught in an open forum. Could it happen in a respectful and nuanced way here, given the limitations of the venue (many non-stakeholders participating, a lot of sort of casual commenting, limited moderation)? Maaaaaaaybe.

Maybe someone could put together the sort of post that strongly encouraged much more thoughtful discussion that wouldn't be unintentionally harmful, in which people would weigh their comments very carefully, where people wouldn't become defensive, hurt, angry, sarcastic, or generally combative. It's not impossible, but it's hard. People here have managed to make some amazing posts that led to extremely good threads on very sensitive minefield topics, but it's definitely an art, and I don't think a single link post with a sort of inflammatory article title is the post that would lead to that outcome.

Members have sometimes talked about workshopping posts together to handle complex and/or difficult topics, and that might even be something that could be considered if people are interested. But again, it's a lot of effort.

Finally, I just want to touch on one thing. I often resent that so many sites go for clickbait "let's-stir-the-pot" outragey articles, and then sit back and reap the eyeballs and ad revenue, leaving other spaces to absorb the fallout, either because they don't allow comments or they don't care what shit gets posted in their comments. So Twitter, Facebook, and general discussion sites bear the brunt of the kneejerkism and bigotry and anger and misunderstanding and showboating, and get to suffer the condemnation of how awful those places are to have a discussion, while the originating site smacks their lips over all the clicks coming in and start planning their next OMG WTF THIS IS AN OUTRAGE article . Every site knows that social justice issues can be honeypots as viral content, especially if they can manage to stir up people in a novel way (and pitting oppressed groups against each other is certainly one way to do that). The fact that so many sites publish using this sort of paradigm means that as internet readers we are literally swamped with articles hoping to make people enraged and engaged enough to link to their content , and many of those articles do get posted here where we expect people to be much more sensitive, thoughtful, and sophisticated about difficult issues, even while succumbing to the outrage factor, and that can be tough for everyone to manage.

I feel that often the best way to negotiate this sort of minefield, where the topic is actually worthy of considered discussion, but the presentation and limited source material can kick off a more hurtful or harmful exchange, it can be very useful to wait and find one or more really good, thoughtful reaction pieces that bring a fuller and more nuanced view of to the table, so that people have more to discuss than what is often a sort of sensationalistic headline premise designed to snag attention.
posted by taz (staff) at 1:49 AM on November 12, 2015 [32 favorites]


Jews might wish Blacks would be generally less anti-Semitic, or Blacks wish Jews would be generally less racist, but it wouldn't be cool to make a list of their failures in either case. That wouldn't be helpful or insightful; it would be just a racist collection of anecdotes.

Yeah, I see what you mean, but is there also the issue of having one's voice heard at all? That seemed to be what rtha was talking about there - the sense that this can't be discussed at all because it will only be part of a homophobic narrative into which gay misogyny fits nicely. How can dykes call attention to misogyny they've experienced in a way that won't engage with homophobic narratives, or will do more than contribute to, in this case, a homophobic collection of anecdotes? Because clearly there has to be some way to call attention to hurtful behavior - and it may not be on this site, even, but I think it's a little unclear where and in what form that could happen. Is this an issue that doesn't deserve as much attention as it's getting because that plays into homophobia? Or do women's experiences speak to a need for greater visibility?

I don't want to do the white guy thing of litigating other peoples' problems, but I do have my own little intersectionality questions, and so for me it's about: as an openly confused/bisexual man, I have been very frustrated by the way I've been treated in supposedly queer-safe spaces by gay men ("two beer queer," Jesus). I don't want to broadly generalize to all gay men, but this is also something I've experienced in more than one place. And I mean, is this something I should suck up and not feel entitled to complain about? I could see an argument for that, but I have been hurt; but I don't want to feel like a jerk for feeling marginalized when I shouldn't.

And I think that's a lot of what this is, right? How can I express this harm that came to me without also bringing harm to other people. Or in my case is this even fair to identify as harm that was done to me, given the questions of intersectionality? It's really tough, and it's really delicate. I feel like I've said more than I'm due on this topic, but it's just... really tough, and I'd like to see people come out of this feeling maybe a little less harmed overall, if that's possible.
posted by teponaztli at 2:07 AM on November 12, 2015 [19 favorites]


I also thought the article wasn't well written. It was short and too light-weight for an advanced/complex topic. There are typos. There are too many paragraphs with fewer than 5 sentences, which is often problematic for developing clear ideas. It read like the author was writing down related stories or points as he remembered them, without taking care to research, analyze, or discuss more deeply. There's no weighting made between the author's personal anecdotes, those of others, the historical bites, the assertions made by bar owners. Nor could I see enough organizational structure or development. Nor - perhaps most importantly - contextualization of the problem.

So that's too bad, cause I for one would really like to see a post on this.
posted by polymodus at 2:12 AM on November 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


How can dykes call attention to misogyny they've experienced in a way that won't engage with homophobic narratives, or will do more than contribute to, in this case, a homophobic collection of anecdotes?

I think "collection of anecdotes" here, is what's problematic (also, I don't think we need to restrict it to lesbians, surely women of all sexualities have a stake in this?). There are ways to call out specific events, actions, people. In charged situations where anecdotes, whether true or not, can perpetuate long standing prejudice, we should be extra careful about contributing to that prejudice. I feel like one way to do this is to ground these statements in something beyond anecdote. It could be a portrayal in the media, a public incident, some research - I don't think it really matters what it is, precisely, but I do think it needs to be bigger than anecdote.

And yeah, the outcome may mean that a person doesn't get to vent, or share the same way they would in a less problematic example (Which is why I think comparisons to street harrassment are not totally relevant here). I think that's a price we pay for being more sensitive to the issues, and to others, and I think it's a fair price when dealing with a group of people routinely victimised and persecuted.

And that's why I think mefi could handle this discussion, but I think the links would need to lead by example, the mods might need to get in early with some modly framing-assistance. I don't think we should marginalise the oppression of one group of people to another - nobody wins in that kind of competition and it's necessary, imho.
posted by smoke at 2:34 AM on November 12, 2015 [6 favorites]


Unnecessary, doh.
posted by smoke at 3:22 AM on November 12, 2015


From the pull-quotes other members have provided, and from the fact that Vice is a publication known for finding many bottoms in many barrels, I went into the article expecting something far more provocative, unreasoned, and worthless than the piece as it stands.

The thread which ensued felt like it was going in not-the-best direction. I have qualms about saying that, though, because many anecdote-heavy threads evolve into something much, much deeper than we'd usually get without having a great deal of people going "oh my goodness yes this is absolutely something that I've experienced". I definitely agree with people here who are saying that actually titling the thread "The Gay Men Who Hate Women" feels problematically broad. (I don't blame the article itself for that; I suspect it's the kind of eyegrabbing title that got people to read something a bit more heady than they'd normally be up for reading. It has bigger problems in a community setting than it does as part of a publication.)

Mods, is there any chance that you'd let Conspire repost the thread with the framing somewhat modified, as he suggested earlier? I think this is an article worth sharing, and a discussion worth having, if it can maybe be done in a way that heads off some of the potential homophobia that might arise in a discussion that deals with the problematic behaviors of a minority group.
posted by rorgy at 3:22 AM on November 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


It's definitely not appropriate to have this conversation in a context that includes straight women and their homophobic remarks, and the quote from Rose McGowan should probably have disqualified it off the bat.

But for one, I really didn't think it as hate-stirring. I read it as, "This kind of misogyny comes from gay men, and everyone seems to think it's okay." Even the inflammatory title, "The Gay Men who Hate Women", has an implied "not all gay men" in it.

And two, the article didn't have any anecdotes from straight people. :| It was not about misogyny hurting straight women; it was about the gay male community punching down at queer women and trans men, among others. I'm really not thrilled with the idea that we can't talk about that because it's "stirring up hate" or giving bigots ammunition. Why the fuck shouldn't we point out when the call is coming from inside the house??
....
Re: the "circular firing squad" - The reason people talk about Lena Dunham being racist is that it's part of a larger pattern: mainstream feminism does not support black women, white women are not allies to black women, and their feminism does not include the needs of black women. And that deserves to be talked about - it has to be talked about - because otherwise, their needs go unheard. And black women deserve allies. (And that goes broadly for people of color. I just feel really strongly about black women. nota bene, i'm white.)

....

In the spirit of sharing, here's an essay exploring the issue from the flipside - it's written by a gay man. Here's a comic about misogyny hurting gay trans men. And all the lesbian bars are closing, but that might not be a bad thing.

And kind of off topic, but I was curious about this - "In certain corporate spheres, gay men are advancing further and faster than their female colleagues. It's perhaps unsurprising if they prefer to present less challenges to the gendered status quo; they may even reinforce male-centred ways of working that don't consider ongoing barriers affecting women, such as childcare or maternity leave" - If that were true, it would imply a power dynamic worth interrogating.

My search for a citation is mixed, because few of these sources separate out gay men from other subgroups. This op-ed kinda made me want to puke.
This study by Prudential supports the claim, but also says that LGBT people are more educated and better off than the general population, and it generally smells like bullshit.
Another source here says the opposite, citing this think tank.
The US Census Bureau only counts same-sex couple households, which I think is unacceptably limited.
This report seems comprehensive, and confirms the pay gaps between straight men, queer men, queer women, and straight women (in that order).
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 4:08 AM on November 12, 2015 [21 favorites]


it's imposing a higher standard on a subordinated group.
Yup, absolutely. Because you know what should give you some insight into what it is like to be unfairly discriminated against? Being unfairly discriminated against. So sorry, but I do have higher standards for my fellow queers, whether they are gay or lesbian or bisexual or whatever identity they claim for themselves that is not straight. I do expect lesbians not to discriminate against bisexual people. I do expect gay men not to be transphobic. I do expect people of colour not to discriminate against those with physical disabilities. I do expect people with experience of mental illness not to discriminate against ex-prison inmates.

Am I continually disappointed in my fellow human beings for showing themselves to be consistently guilty of parochialism, an inability to extrapolate beyond their own personal experience and just a general inability to behave with basic common decency to their fellow human beings? You bet. And yet I keep hoping that people will someday feel a little ashamed of themselves, someday get a glimmer of insight into their own hypocrisy and try a little harder. I know I try to - I may not always succeed, but at least I try rather than try to play the "my victimhood is more victimy than your victimhood" card. It's not a competition about who suffers most here. It's about trying to be a decent human being. Regardless of what we have experienced, I think we all have that obligation, and no one gets a get-out-of-jail-free card on behaving like an arsehole.
posted by Athanassiel at 4:27 AM on November 12, 2015 [36 favorites]


Eventually you realize the arsenal you use to create and defend your world is from the very factory supplying another group creating and defending a world of their own.

Driven by purity of purpose or passion for the fight, you know their attacks have to stop.

So you buy more and more weapons from the same supplier as your enemy and taking aim launch them relentlessly.

When really you could just bomb the factory.
posted by four panels at 5:00 AM on November 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


I feel that often the best way to negotiate this sort of minefield, where the topic is actually worthy of considered discussion, but the presentation and limited source material can kick off a more hurtful or harmful exchange, it can be very useful to wait and find one or more really good, thoughtful reaction pieces that bring a fuller and more nuanced view of to the table, so that people have more to discuss than what is often a sort of sensationalistic headline premise designed to snag attention.

I really agree. This is similar to why I think a lot of insta-news-filter posts are crappy and would be much better left a week or two until there is more to go on than "XYZ just happened!!!!!", because starting with thin and inadequate source material for an FPP doesn't make for a great discussion. Taz is correct; there is a very particular clickbait article genre that depends on sparking outrage and heated response (and is practiced by mainstream outlets like the Atlantic as well as by online-only sites), while better discussions are going to come from better source materials. Sure, not everyone is going to read the article, but even just having a good article to point to and redirect the conversation towards helps.

(And in light of the recent emotional labor conversations, making sure that the source article for an FPP on a difficult topic has done some of that emotional labor, instead of being designed for maximum pain and outrage, seems like a good minimal bar to set in terms of community health and care.)

That said, I also agree with the people far above who noted that Metafilter often doesn't do intersectionality well. Maybe it is a side-effect of the short format comment style here (where you don't have the time or length for nuance and consideration), or maybe it is a limitation of us as users, I don't know. I'm a straight white guy so I'm not trying to throw rocks through my glass house or make more of this than it deserves, but I've been noticing this a lot over the past year or so. Intersectionality is hard and can require accepting two things as both true, rather than the simple right/wrong framework that outrage articles are written around, but doing so also speaks much truer to how we actually live our lives and experience the world.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:07 AM on November 12, 2015 [6 favorites]


When really you could just bomb the factory.

Cute phrase! What does that actually mean? What does "bomb the factory" look like? I may be a tad off here, but I often have a hunch it means "just shut up and stop distracting us with your discomforting discussions about fairness and respect and privilege."
posted by Miko at 5:36 AM on November 12, 2015 [14 favorites]


Because you know what should give you some insight into what it is like to be unfairly discriminated against? Being unfairly discriminated against.

I probably shouldn't say this, because I'll say it wrong and not take the extra care I think the subject deserves, but let me try: Part of the problem with the discussion is that it is one-sided. All the criticism about discrimination goes in one direction: Here are the bad things gay men are doing to women. And often when we talk about misogyny that's exactly what is needed; after all, the reason #notallmen is so effective as an ironic/satirical label is that, yeah, it really is all men being implicated in misogyny. But here, it really is a little different. There's a different dynamic, when straight women have traditionally used gay men as pets, as entertaining eunuchs, even (here's where I'll get in trouble) using gay men to help voice their own internalized misogyny. And the fact that often gay men and straight women are willing partners in that dynamic, doesn't make it less problematic, but it does complicate the directionality of the needed criticism. We cannot extricate gay misogyny from female homophobia.

I wanted this article to be so good. It had promise. If it had been ten times longer, there was a chance it could have been excellent. Because to have this discussion, you absolutely have to be able to talk about the need for queer-men-only spaces, about white gay male appropriation of black female culture, about "no fats no femmes" (LET ME TELL YOU A STORY), about the ugliness of the term "hag" and yet how eagerly some women embraced it, about how queer women's experience of gay misogyny differs from straight women's (and how it really seems even more unfair in that case)...I mean it is a massive topic, and it just wasn't well-served by the article.

Again, as I mentioned before, I don't believe we could have that conversation here, but I'd certainly love to be proved wrong, because the flip-side of all my caution is that we should always be wary of silencing women who are trying to tell these stories, or forcing the telling into a male-decided context. So if someone wanted to try a reframing--hopefully with better articles, or at least more supporting pieces--I would probably do a lot of cringing, but would actually want to see what people said.
posted by mittens at 5:38 AM on November 12, 2015 [28 favorites]


Intersectionality is hard

Heh, in 1991 I wrote my undergraduate thesis about the women's suffrage movement in the U.S., and how their leaders and others couldn't really deal with the black women in their midst.

As someone who was like "hell, yes!" and was all ready to jump in for a venting session, but also disappointed in the lack of quality of the article, I would love to see this topic reposted with more thoughtful articles (more than one is always good). Metafilter is best of the web, no?
posted by Melismata at 5:42 AM on November 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


I have not read through all these comments here yet, but, I was one of the first posters in that thread. I can see how my comment might have been seen as mudslinging. But I was responding to part of the article itself, which addressed how femme women are often treated like they're not "club members" when they go to gay spaces. Ergo me being accosted by a stranger who demanded that I prove I was attracted to women.
posted by nakedmolerats at 5:56 AM on November 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


dunno, seemed like a nope the fuck out kinda article.
Awesome deletion.


I totally agree. I don't even think I bothered to flagged it, I felt so certain it was going to go ASAP.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:03 AM on November 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


Everyone needs to read On the Genealogy of Morality and then eat a couple tabs of acid, my goodness.

That's never bad advice, tho I might recommend The Gay Science in this instance.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:05 AM on November 12, 2015


I'm on the "good deletion" side (if we need sides). It was a single link FPP to an interesting-but-not-great article, and the discussion was weaving all over the place. It reads like one long derail. I think it's conversation we could have (and it's a conversation that needs to happen -- if not here then elsewhere), but we need a way better structured FPP to get there.
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:12 AM on November 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


OK, have read comments now.

I think it's really disappointing that the (all of 8??) responses were categorized as "mudslinging" instead of life experiences that do indeed reflect male privilege in the gay community, and how it often comes out as either "women are gross" or "women are bodies to be used as props".

I wish in hindsight that my comment had said more about why/how my anecdote fit into the larger cultural context. But I am disappointed to feel like my voice, a gay woman, is categorized as "griping". I don't think the burden should necessarily be on us to justify every microaggression story we want to share with "this is why this is IMPORTANT, not just a story, notallgaymen". So many other posts have random derail story-time type conversations that don't get shushed because "you're not contextualizing back to the article".

Maybe a different article would have been better. But I also think there is a whole lot of weird gendered assumptions about cattiness and "complaining" on this deletion, too.

(Also not getting the whole "the discussion wasn't focused / out of control" when there were ONLY 18 COMMENTS)
posted by nakedmolerats at 6:13 AM on November 12, 2015 [21 favorites]


I see a lot of people saying "hey, the article wasn't that bad", but the sad reality is that the people who post first in any given thread on Mefi have generally not read the article and are responding to the premise. Which is where I think you see the problem with the title.
posted by selfnoise at 6:15 AM on November 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


Agreed that the FPP could have had more fleshed out content. I suppose I can agree with the FPP perhaps needing "more" while still finding the result weird.
posted by nakedmolerats at 6:15 AM on November 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


I would certainly like to see this kind of post up for discussion, but I'd like it to be more substantial and framed more as "here is a community failing that gay men need to address" and less as "gay men hate women". I feel like it might pair well with some of the ways that trans men can be misogynist - many of the things in the article were basically things that some trans men do. The framing could be "how can men who are marginalized on the axes of gender identity and/or sexuality [there are gay trans men, a thing people forget] address misogyny"?

There's a lot of history, too, of queer and/or gay men identifying as feminists and pushing back against misogyny in their own communities - there's been plenty of political work done over the years by gay and/or queer men that is specifically, intentionally feminist and specifically, intentionally intended to call out misogyny in gay/queer spaces. A post that situated this problem more (I know the article did, a bit, but some links in the OP could too) would probably encourage a more nuanced discussion.

For me, while I've been treated in misogynist ways by gay men, I've also found myself realizing that I have internalized homophobic stereotypes about gay men. I would not feel good, personally, about participating in a thread that was a discussion of "gay men" as an undifferentiated group being misogynist - and that is precisely because I know that I have learned homophobic stuff about gay men, and I think there's a substantial risk that my own biases are going to inform what I say.
posted by Frowner at 6:49 AM on November 12, 2015 [23 favorites]


I am sympathetic to both sides. I see the value in trying to make sure there is sufficient nuance that the discussion doesn't devolve into "gay men are like this." I also share the frustration at seeing a discussion shut down that I agree is meaningful and based in a real problem. Maybe we don't have a great approach to punching... sideways? And it ends up feeling both like the site is standing up for something good and like the site is engaging in something like tone policing, all at the same time.
posted by prefpara at 7:00 AM on November 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


As someone who is always living on this line of "am I a queer trans man? am I a queer gender-non-conforming AFAB person?", it's really weird to sometimes get queer male privilege, sometimes get treated in gross ways by straight women, sometimes get misogyny and sometimes get a lot of gender validation when I'm read as a cis woman*. I feel like the structural relationship between gay and/or queer men and straight and queer women is weirder and more situational than the relationship between straight men and straight and queer women.

*SO much depends on how you do your hair, I have to tell you. Bangs? I never pass. Barbershop cut? I get "bro'd", usually in anger, by other men. Glasses are also important.
posted by Frowner at 7:04 AM on November 12, 2015 [16 favorites]


There's a different dynamic, when straight women have traditionally used gay men as pets, as entertaining eunuchs, even (here's where I'll get in trouble) using gay men to help voice their own internalized misogyny. And the fact that often gay men and straight women are willing partners in that dynamic, doesn't make it less problematic, but it does complicate the directionality of the needed criticism. We cannot extricate gay misogyny from female homophobia.

This surely happens and has happened, and it's been the subject of at least one terrible sitcom, but there have also been actual, genuine, lifelong friendships based on intellectual exchange, deep caring, and mutual respect between people who are gay men and people who are straight women and I'm not sure they're in the minority.

how queer women's experience of gay misogyny differs from straight women's (and how it really seems even more unfair in that case)...

Definitely - I'm not sure those two conversations should happen in the same space.
posted by cotton dress sock at 7:15 AM on November 12, 2015 [5 favorites]


On the other hand, I have seen lesbians in gay pubs dissing gay men, particularly effeminate gay men. Sorry, but they have. It is all so fucked up, everyone seems to hate on everyone. Maybe we could have a post that deals with all the sides of these problems, and then discuss it that way, without a ton of anecdata?

As someone who is bisexual, the idea of being gay and hating women is surreal to me. I have actually stood with someone in a gay pub (I was only young, the guy was older) and when a gay man made a "eww, vaginas" sorta comment, he said straight out, "your mother has one, it's how you came into the world." I felt so proud of the guy! - yeah, we were planning on having sex anyway, but if I hadn't been, this would have changed my mind!
posted by marienbad at 7:15 AM on November 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


In the spirit of sharing, here's an essay exploring the issue from the flipside - it's written by a gay man

As someone noted above, that made it to the front page at the time, but it's not exactly "from the flipside" since the current link under discussion is also written by a queer man, and hits many of the same bases (e.g., the misogynistic "no femmes" stuff in many gay personal ads). Aside from the unfortunately self-loathing crack about anal sex, I'm not sure what was so different about this link from the previous one that stayed up. Even if the queer men writing about it at major websites tend to have predictable takes, it's a discussion worth having.

That said, as someone who's been calling out sexist "fish" garbage since I came out under Reagan (o what a night) and who recently watched a drag queen stop a show to remind an audience member "we don't use the word bitch in this club," I do wonder about this suggestion above:

instead of a conversation with women recounting their lived experiences, feminist gay men lending voices and context from their own lives, and the #notallmen crew-- whether straight or otherwise-- kicked to the curb as they should be.

Specifically, I wonder if a feminist gay man lending voice and context about his own life, in a thread filled with angry comments about awful misogyny from gay men, would indeed be dismissively accused of being part of the #notallmen crew. Seems likely to me.
posted by mediareport at 7:33 AM on November 12, 2015 [12 favorites]


I mean yes these ideas are there, and there are moments we're more than less vulnerable to ist ideas working through us even in friendship, but if the suggestion is that some of the most important friendships of my life are an artifact of false consciousness, and that we're fundamentally and unbridgeably politically opposed, I think I have to take issue with that. (That may not be what was said, of course.) (I'm not saying that to defend the odd silly grope in a club, a *rare* occurrence that happened less than a handful of times over decades, in the earliest moment of those decades, at a particular historical time.)
posted by cotton dress sock at 7:34 AM on November 12, 2015


Well, it was interesting to wake up to being characterized as a straight woman with homophobia issues. That was pretty choice, since the actual perspective I'm coming from is (as Conspire pointed out) that of a queer woman--and actually, all of these incidents took place either in specifically queer spaces or when the gentleman in question seemed to be trying to bond with me on the basis of shared queerness. (Which points to this particular flavor of misogyny as being something specific to queer subcultures that is, as the article pointed out, something that hurts femme men, genderqueer people, and queer cis women within broader queer spaces, coming directly from some gay men.)

These incidents weren't 20 years ago, either, probably because I'm 25 and so my experiences are quite a bit more recent--instead, this is stuff I've encountered in the last five years among young gay men. So they're hurts which are much more fresh on my mind. So I saw the OP, was reminded of my anger about these comments--they're common enough to be a pet peeve of mine, and I always struggle with the desire to say snarky things about dicks right back--and expressed that anger as a way of affirming that the problems discussed in the linked post are a definite problem.

It's frustrating to me that I reacted by sharing my experiences, in a context where the linked post framed the discussion as a problem within queer/lgbtq spaces, and then got that post read as a straight person commenting from without group. Maybe I could have hedged around that I'm not straight in that context, and certainly it's something I would have pointed out later in the conversation, but it's frankly kind of annoying to be presumed straight unless otherwise called out when I've been really vocal about that not being the case. For god's sake, there's a direct link to a broader discussion of my sexual orientation in my profile.

That said, sure, I also felt that the discussion wasn't going in a productive place at the time it was deleted. Actually, shortly before it was deleted it I was waffling about/leaning towards making a comment to the effect of "gay/bi men, what do you think? Do you see this, and how do you respond when it comes up?" I also liked very much yueliang's comment pointing out that this isn't a thing that all gay men do, because it's true: I know plenty of gay men who would never consider making those microaggressions, gay men who really and truly try to pay attention to women as people and think about gendered discrimination.

But I do think that in cis gay male culture there's definitely a problem with bonding over misogyny, and it makes theoretically queer-friendly spaces really unfriendly to a significant subset of lgbtq-identified people. And I think that's a discussion worth having. I'd like to know what's going on in the minds of gay and bi men who have heard those comments, maybe hear about why they make them, and maybe see if we can have a conversation about ways to make queer spaces more femme- and female-inclusive. I was sad when I saw the thread was deleted before it had a chance to develop into something better.
posted by sciatrix at 7:36 AM on November 12, 2015 [52 favorites]


I read the article with interest, and was frankly impressed with how it was put together, and its conclusion made an excellent point about the need for a discussion. What disappointed me, though, was that the thread pretty much nosedived into a series of anecdotes about Gay Men Being Horrible. That worried me, and thought it was only going to get worse before it got better.

That said, I was still surprised by the deletion, as I thought a mod note along the lines of "hey, can we discuss the article's broader points instead of rattling off anecdotes, which is likely to just lead to us fighting each other rather than talking about the issues the article raises?" would have been perfectly sufficient that early on in the thread. Had it continued to sour, even after this RTFA imploring, then I think shutting it down as a discussion we can't do right now would have been fine. But shutting the door that early on, while totally understandable from the perspective of wanting to stave off potential headaches, seemed a little premature to me.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 7:59 AM on November 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


Specifically, I wonder if a feminist gay man lending voice and context about his own life, in a thread filled with angry comments about awful misogyny from gay men, would indeed be dismissively accused of being part of the #notallmen crew. Seems likely to me.

Personally, I would have been OK with this. Of course I understand that oppression is intersectional and, in being one of the people that posted an "angry" comment, I would have appreciated commentary from gay men that acknowledged misogyny in the gay community and also had other things to say. This is why I wish the thread had been given more room to expand.
posted by nakedmolerats at 8:06 AM on November 12, 2015


[One comment deleted. Let's not have this thread explode into a horrible shouting match where we say awful things to each other, when people in here are trying to approach this in a workable way.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 8:07 AM on November 12, 2015 [14 favorites]


Does it make it better to think of the anecdotes in that thread as pointing out gay men being PROBLEMATIC?? I mean.. I am having trouble here with the accusations that the thread was full of mean women saying that Gay Men Are Horrible. I told one story about one guy that made me feel unwelcome at a club. I did not see any of those comments as homophobic or (gay) man-hating. This is why I felt a strong undercurrent of "these women, so bitchy" going on. I was trying to comment on problematic behavior. Yes it did and does make me angry. I wasn't saying that guy, or AllGayMen, are horrible.
posted by nakedmolerats at 8:17 AM on November 12, 2015 [8 favorites]


Well, it was interesting to wake up to being characterized as a straight woman with homophobia issues. That was pretty choice, since the actual perspective I'm coming from is (as Conspire pointed out) that of a queer woman

When you sideline your minority status to gang up with the majority you belong to to slag off another minority, you are committing the exact same sin the article objects to re: privilege. Sorry for assuming you were straight; I just figured a lesbian would have a better handle on it, since hatred of gay men has a way of spilling over.

Your experiences are not sacred. Sharing your cherry-picked worst interactions with a minority group negatively impacts innocent people. Take some responsibility.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:18 AM on November 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


Hey - other gay dudes, one thing I would really appreciate that you all be mindful of when talking about this topic is not to leverage male privilege, and specifically, the way our culture justifies expression of rage, anger, and violence, when it comes from men, when queer women and other minorities try to talk about their experiences on this. Like, this is extremely relevant to the topic, because misogyny isn't just groping. It's also violence towards women. And just because you think you're on the side of justice because you're flattening the very nuanced things that these queer women are saying about their experiences to a perception of homophobia - even when they go out of their way to state #notallgaymen - still does not justify misogyny.
posted by Conspire at 8:20 AM on November 12, 2015 [51 favorites]


Does it make it better to think of the anecdotes in that thread as pointing out gay men being PROBLEMATIC?? I mean.. I am having trouble here with the accusations that the thread was full of mean women saying that Gay Men Are Horrible. I told one story about one guy that made me feel unwelcome at a club. I did not see any of those comments as homophobic or (gay) man-hating. This is why I felt a strong undercurrent of "these women, so bitchy" going on. I was trying to comment on problematic behavior. Yes it did and does make me angry. I wasn't saying that guy, or AllGayMen, are horrible.

Just to clarify where I'm coming from here, I do not think there should have been no anecdotes whatsoever or anything. Personal experience of oppression is a key part of discussing it. That is why my larger complaint is more about why a mod note wasn't posted asking people to discuss the article - as I've seen done in many, many other threads before - as opposed to just closing it up altogether.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 8:25 AM on November 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


Are you asking us to not share our negative experiences because it will hurt other people?
posted by nakedmolerats at 8:37 AM on November 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


Conspire, with all due respect, I don't need your permission to be angry.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:38 AM on November 12, 2015 [6 favorites]


And no queer women here need your permission to talk about misogyny in queer spaces.
posted by rtha at 8:39 AM on November 12, 2015 [52 favorites]


When you sideline your minority status to gang up with the majority you belong to to slag off another minority, you are committing the exact same sin the article objects to re: privilege.

Unfortunately, some of the problems with gay men and misogyny come precisely when they sideline their minority status to gang up with the majority to hold down a minority.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:40 AM on November 12, 2015 [29 favorites]


Conspire, with all due respect, I don't need your permission to be angry.

Dude, I'm just saying it sounds really hypocritical and lacking in self-awareness to say "women who say gay men are misogynistic are all homophobes" in a misogynistic way.
posted by Conspire at 8:42 AM on November 12, 2015 [23 favorites]


Coming to the article as a queer woman who's been pushed out of queer spaces by misogyny, I saw a lot of my own experience in it. Where the contention is "We can't have this fight in public or the straight folks will get the wrong idea," or "We're tearing ourselves apart, people," I dunno, I guess I just don't care about that stuff. Where it's more foundational, like maybe women in queer spaces ought to be mindful of homophobia, that's certainly true – though its weird that you think we're entering queer spaces categorically out of morbid curiosity or something – but the actual conversation is about a real thing that actually happens and is a problem for women and GNC people in the queer community. I have have lost all interest in the stress and the oppression olympics when there are other spaces will welcome me just fine, but isn't that kind of a shame? So yeah, those lines of argumentation I'm just flushing down the toilet right now.

The one notion that I am sympathetic to is that MetaFilter is not a queer space, so the discussion that happens here could go in a different, less productive direction. I'm don't know that I particularly agree, but I'm sympathetic to it.
posted by WCWedin at 8:44 AM on November 12, 2015 [12 favorites]


For what it's worth, the word "homophobic" was not what pissed me off about Sys Rq's first iteration of that comment. Bro, it does not make me homophobic to be a queer woman openly talking about the misogyny I have experienced in queer spaces. I'm frankly kind of appalled that that's your response.
posted by sciatrix at 8:45 AM on November 12, 2015 [42 favorites]


Conspire,
A, who said that?
B, who said that in a misogynistic way?

Lyn Never, yes, that was my point. It doesn't suddenly become okay when it's gay women doing it to gay men.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:45 AM on November 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


"When you sideline your minority status to gang up with the majority you belong to to slag off another minority..."

She's queer and she's a woman. I'm not seeing the majority she belongs to; I'm not seeing an axis on which she's relatively privileged in this interaction. On the other hand, you're a gay man. You belong to the majority and have privilege specifically on the axis on which you're engaging her. I'm not seeing justifiable anger in this case, I'm seeing a defense of privilege.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 8:46 AM on November 12, 2015 [42 favorites]


Does it make it better to think of the anecdotes in that thread as pointing out gay men being PROBLEMATIC?

Problematic is probably a more workable big picture frame for the behavior than hatred for a Metafilter discussion on this issue. Not because there is no such thing as a gay man who acts out of hatred towards women, but because gay men hating women does have history as a negative stereotype as mentioned above.
posted by Drinky Die at 8:47 AM on November 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


Also worth noting: not a lesbian. But thanks for playing.
posted by sciatrix at 8:47 AM on November 12, 2015 [9 favorites]


Conspire,
A, who said that?
B, who said that in a misogynistic way?


I don't know, are you just scanning people's comments for things to react towards? Because in the comment you original reacted against, I explain exactly why expression of unrestrained anger is a privilege held almost exclusively by men, frequently used to abuse and silence women. I don't know what else to say but to repeat that. Your comment got deleted twice (by my count) for that reason.

If there was one thing I would really want to change about the way men participate in any movement around identity or social justice, it would be to disabuse them of the notion that just because they think they're right or on the side of justice, doesn't mean that they get to be as violent as they want.
posted by Conspire at 8:49 AM on November 12, 2015 [17 favorites]


There's a different dynamic, when straight women have traditionally used gay men as pets, as entertaining eunuchs

Sure, and that's a major problem and I'm sick of it. And it doesn't excuse us (us = gay men) for the rampant and disgusting misogyny and transphobia and transmisogyny (which seems to me to have a slightly different set of behaviours and language than the other two--that is NOT saying it's not just as pernicious and awful) we display en masse.

"When you sideline your minority status to gang up with the majority you belong to to slag off another minority..."

Like when gay men act misogynist? How women--or straight men--treat us is no excuse for how we treat women.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:50 AM on November 12, 2015 [42 favorites]


If you mean that you are particularly angry about misogyny from gay men, then no, that's probably not a good conversation to have here. It's like being particularly angry about non-compassionate Jews, or racist Blacks: it's imposing a higher standard on a subordinated group.

I think this is going way too far. Intersectionality doesn't mean everybody gets off scot free as long as they're oppressed in at least one of the following ways. It just means being critical about how we respond.
posted by easter queen at 9:04 AM on November 12, 2015 [8 favorites]


Can we please cut it out with the Black and Jewish stereotypes? It's a stupid and historically inaccurate comparison.
posted by zarq at 9:06 AM on November 12, 2015 [13 favorites]


The comment you're responding to said "particularly angry". It's not about anyone getting off scot free.
posted by andoatnp at 9:06 AM on November 12, 2015


Conspire, with all due respect, I don't need your permission to be angry.

And no queer women here need your permission to talk about misogyny in queer spaces.


It's remarkable how often the internet resembles a giant void built to shout YOU'RE NOT THE BOSS OF ME!! off the edge.
posted by octobersurprise at 9:07 AM on November 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


There's a big difference between saying "I am especially angry about gay men's misogyny" and saying "misogyny from gay men is enacted and enabled in these specific ways that are different from how straight men enact and enable misogyny". It's also perfectly acceptable to say "I am especially emotionally troubled by gay male misogyny because as a queer person I have a feeling like we should support each other because we have similar experiences, so it this hits me emotionally in ways that straight male misogyny doesn't".

You're naturally going to be more disappointed in misogyny from someone you've got bonds with and share social experience with than you are in misogyny from a total stranger. You can just write off random straight dudes as being utter shits; it's a lot harder when it's the men you've been at protests with, go dancing with, invite to your house, go to queer community events with, etc. That doesn't mean it's morally worse for a gay dude to be misogynist than for a straight dude; it just means that sometimes people quite reasonably want to process the extreme pain of this type of social violence.
posted by Frowner at 9:09 AM on November 12, 2015 [54 favorites]


If you mean that you are particularly angry about misogyny from gay men, then no, that's probably not a good conversation to have here. It's like being particularly angry about non-compassionate Jews, or racist Blacks: it's imposing a higher standard on a subordinated group.

The simple fact is that misogyny from gay men takes slightly different forms than it does when it comes from straight men. And while sure, dealing with misogyny in general will help deal with it, because it's a different form it needs to be called out specifically on its own.

As a member of that subordinated group, which if memory serves you are decidedly not, you don't get to speak for us. Misogyny amongst gay men is everywhere and it is vile and calling it out is needed. If you're a woman, you get to call it out, period.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:09 AM on November 12, 2015 [9 favorites]


Ivan: I think you'll find that women outnumber gay men by a considerable margin.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:15 AM on November 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


You're naturally going to be more disappointed in misogyny from someone you've got bonds with and share social experience with than you are in misogyny from a total stranger. You can just write off random straight dudes as being utter shits; it's a lot harder when it's the men you've been at protests with, go dancing with, invite to your house, go to queer community events with, etc. That doesn't mean it's morally worse for a gay dude to be misogynist than for a straight dude; it just means that sometimes people quite reasonably want to process the extreme pain of this type of social violence.

Thank you so much for putting my own thoughts on this into concise words. I've struggled with this myself, seeing ostensible allies of mine in Area X being shockingly tonedeaf when it comes to Area Y. If we are ever really going to destroy the patriarchy, then it is so, so important that we have this discussion. While I think the danger of "divide and conquer" infighting is always going to be real, that's something we're always going to have to contend with anyway, while ignoring where we fail our allies is going to guarantee failure for us all.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 9:18 AM on November 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


I don't know, speaking as a queer woman or nonbinary person or whatever-the-fuck-I-am, I thought the direction the thread was going in was toxic and harmful, but then obviously women need a space to recount these experiences, so the only conclusion I come to is that I should just nope out if it bothers me, which is what I decided before the post was deleted. What I'd love to see is Frowner's framing upthread: "how can men who are marginalized on the axes of gender identity and/or sexuality address misogyny?" because that involves queer men and women working together rather than pitted against each other, even as we talk about the same experiences of misogyny in the original thread. What I want is a feminism that can see all these issues clearly at once rather than attempting to place them in a hierarchy, one without a constant binarism that gives me a headache. (And a pony, too. Well, not really, I'm allergic to ponies.)
posted by thetortoise at 9:19 AM on November 12, 2015 [9 favorites]


Pretty sure the majority Ivan was referring to was men in general. (Majority in terms of power held, I mean.)
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:19 AM on November 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


Annnnd we come to the Oppression 101 argument: how can women be oppressed when there are so many of them?
posted by nakedmolerats at 9:22 AM on November 12, 2015 [32 favorites]


Ivan: I think you'll find that women outnumber gay men by a considerable margin.

Ivan literally just went over this. Stop discarding sciatrix's queer identity. Look, I get that it's rhetorically convenient for you to simplify everyone who opposes on you this issue you to a straight woman, because now you can claim that it's just outsiders saying bad things about the queer community. But your remarks take on a completely different tone when you're aiming them at actual queer people who are going "this is an issue for us too." And it's a really, really offensive trick to drop the "queer" in "queer women" so you can claim that they actually have a power imbalance over you, when in reality, they don't really, at all, with the way hierarchies are perpetuated within the queer community.
posted by Conspire at 9:22 AM on November 12, 2015 [41 favorites]


I mean, this is I mean when I say when I say just because you're on the side of justice, that doesn't give you the right to be as violent as you want. Repeatedly implying a queer woman to be straight, after she's said she's not and that you need to stop, and after a bunch of people have also done so, is a form of violence. You are forcibly erasing her identity and marginalization, and that's not appropriate no matter how right or angry you are at all.
posted by Conspire at 9:28 AM on November 12, 2015 [10 favorites]


I'm getting really, really, annoyed at the gotchas that are coming out. And I'm neither queer or a woman. It's super hurtful especially to those with more involvement, and we just had MeTas which go over why to not do that, so please stop.
posted by halifix at 9:37 AM on November 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


And thanks again to those (Conspire, sciatrix, many more) that still explain stuff thoroughly and expend emotional labor when we're constantly retorting with uncooked, poisonous comebacks.
posted by halifix at 9:42 AM on November 12, 2015 [5 favorites]


I understand the reflexive anger against the "#notallmen" thing, because it's a logical fallacy that commonly gets touted out by people who are arguing in bad faith.

But.... reading that thread took an awful lot of emotional labor.

It's exhausting to come to MetaFilter and start reading about how I'm apparently an awful person because of my race / gender / orientation. Generally, I try to keep quiet when it comes to the former two, as they place me as part of a privileged majority, even though I do find those threads to be upsetting and disheartening, given the amount of effort I put into being aware of my own privilege and being empathetic toward others -- it feels like a lot of the angry rhetoric is starting to get weirdly personal.

We've somehow contorted the fact that many "self-described" nice guys are actually assholes into the assumption that everybody outside of a particular minority group is acting in bad faith and incapable of empathy. In my opinion (and specifically about the recent apology thread trainwreck), this is burning bridges rather than building them.

In the case of this particular thread.... well, it's a legitimate issue. I'll be the first one to say that my community has a lot of things that it needs to work on. But there are also politicians endorsing the idea of the literal extermination of people like me. They're going to take this, and use it to pretend to give a shit about women, while advocating to march me into a gas chamber. The framing of these issues is extremely important, and neither article nor post nor discussion were framed well in this case.

Can't we just.... be nicer to each other and cut it out with the stereotypes? MetaFilter used to be a welcoming community, and I think that the creeping toxicity of other internet communities is causing a lot of us to put up our guards to the point where we're reflexively calling others out, without much justification or consideration.

Let's try to be better than that. We are one of the only examples of a reasonably diverse community that has a reputation for high levels of discourse and respect. We have to be better than this, because I'm not sure where we'll go otherwise.
posted by schmod at 9:49 AM on November 12, 2015 [14 favorites]


Look, if you really can't see how a long list of anecdotes about gay men who are assholes which obviously must be because they are gay is completely and inexcusably homophobic, I really don't know what to tell you other than "consult an optician."

You know, I actually want to take a crack at this. I posted an anecdote. I did not think that guy was an asshole because he was gay. I am gay. I thought his behavior was problematic as a gay man. The two are indivisible. The power structures in the gay community still reflect male privilege. It was male privilege that made him feel entitled to question my gayness at a gay bar.

OK, you might say, then if it's male privilege it's because he was a man, not because he was gay.

But again, the two are indivisible. The way male privilege operates for gay men does not have the same dynamics as straight men. This is the heart of intersectionality. A straight man being an asshole at a gay bar might have asked me if he could watch. Or could have groped me, just like a gay man could. The groping would have different facets of power from a gay or straight man, though. A straight man's privilege might have consisted of reminding me that I'm still a woman available for sexing, if he wants it , but nevermind you ugly anyway... etc. A gay man's privilege consisted of reminding me that I didn't "read" as gay enough to be welcomed into the club, and that he had the right to "check" me on it.

And I think it's a similar story for straight women. Straight women, the ones in the original FPP article, were not saying "these gay men groping me are assholes, because they're gay".... they're assholes because they're gay men, indivisibly, using a facet of male privilege that gay men have access to to oppress women.
posted by nakedmolerats at 9:59 AM on November 12, 2015 [25 favorites]


nakedmolerats: "Personally, I would have been OK with this. "

And personally, reading some of the comments on this thread made me want to cry.

If you've invested the emotional labor into being empahtetic toward another oppressed minority, these comments sting hard, because they take on a personal tone, and make me apprehensive to speak up in support of feminist causes, because it only attracts venom from both sides.

Oh, and gay people can totally be homophobes. We have a long and prolific history of being our own worst enemies. Apart from the closeted homophobes, many folks that feels the need to say "I'm gay/lesbian/queer, and that makes me supper supportive of other gays/lesbians/queers" often aren't.
posted by schmod at 10:02 AM on November 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


What gets me is... Look, if gay men are worried about the potential consequences of powerful straight people characterizing gay men as woman hating, maybe they could start by listening to queer women when they talk about experiencing misogyny in the queer community! Are appearances more important or is community?
posted by sciatrix at 10:05 AM on November 12, 2015 [33 favorites]


And also, if this isn't something you are doing as a gay man, awesome! Can you chime in with ways you've tried to head this off or insight into why it happens? That would be a seriously valuable contribution to that thread.
posted by sciatrix at 10:08 AM on November 12, 2015 [12 favorites]


nakedmolerats: "A gay man's privilege consisted of reminding me that I didn't "read" as gay enough to be welcomed into the club, and that he had the right to "check" me on it. "

You're right that there's that angle to it.

There's also the aspect of gay culture where many straight women go to gay bars, and actually like this sort of physical-albeit-nonsexual sort of interaction. [NOTE THAT THIS DOES NOT MAKE IT OKAY. UNWANTED PHYSICAL CONTACT IS NEVER OKAY, AND PEOPLE WHO DO IT ARE ASSHOLES]

In my mind, the lack of consent or communication is the most glaring aspect of this, and the most categorically "male" part of the underlying issue, because there are a subset of gay men who simply assume that the women in their presence are going to welcome this kind of contact.
posted by schmod at 10:08 AM on November 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


As various people have been pointed out, there are a lot of complicated dynamics that contribute to the problematic interactions between gay men and women that the original post was referencing. What I don't think is reasonable is to treat this difficult problem as one that has a right approach or right answer to it, and the only way for us to discuss it is to identify that right approach or answer, present it as the post content, and then have everyone paraphrase it in various ways in the thread. The subject is messy and emotional, and I don't think it's possible to discuss it in a clean and neutral way. But the subject is also important and very much worth exploring. There are clearly reasons why some people feel this may not be the right forum for that conversation, or that it can't happen in the way that it began to, but I just want to suggest that setting too high a bar can become silencing, for this issue.

That was why I referenced tone policing earlier. Difficult subjects bring out anger, sadness, imprecise and passionate statements. It's really worth considering whether privileging one kind of hurt feelings over another is good math.

Apologies if I have expressed myself in a way that is either hurtful or confusing. I am trying not to be a jerk, and trying to express that I have some concerns about this deletion and some of the thinking that has been expressed in this thread to justify it. I am not trying to say that the people I am responding to are either bad or clearly wrong.
posted by prefpara at 10:16 AM on November 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


There's also the aspect of gay culture where many straight women go to gay bars, and actually like this sort of physical-albeit-nonsexual sort of interaction.

I really don't know what you mean by this. Groping is not non-sexual.
posted by nakedmolerats at 10:16 AM on November 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


Please use caution before stating that women in any situation like unwanted physical contact. The belief that women welcome that is part of the problem, not part of the solution. What were you saying about stereotypes and treating people more nicely?
posted by gingerbeer at 10:18 AM on November 12, 2015 [15 favorites]


In my mind, the lack of consent or communication is the most glaring aspect of this

Communication is happening here. Women, both straight and gay, are saying that they do not welcome this kind of contact (or the kind of verbal power-flexing that nakedmolerats described). It seems important to listen to that.
posted by DingoMutt at 10:19 AM on November 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


Your argument basically boils down to "we can't ever talk about intersectionality because *-ISTs will point and laugh." You can't arbitrarily decide that something as big as homophobia must be 100% solved worldwide before anybody is allowed to talk about this.

Wow, this was absolutely not my argument. My argument was that *-ists will point and laugh but there is actually no logical contradiction-- I was trying to head off this bs at the pass. In other words, I was just spitballing about why these conversations are difficult, and saying hey, it's not because we're tying ourselves in knots, it's because they're actually difficult.
posted by easter queen at 10:20 AM on November 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


I have little patience for white people or men who get all defensive about criticisms of white people or men because they are finding themselves in the marked group and they dislike not being treated (they believe) as an individual. Our privilege is to live our lives by default as individuals within the unmarked group, where we aren't stereotyped and judged according to our group membership. Experiencing the opposite in rare situations is about one-millionth the inconvenience and discomfort of those who live their entire lives being so judged and it weighs nothing against all the privileges we enjoy every day for being white or men or both.

However, it's not the same thing in an intersectionality situation where someone is criticizing "gay men" or, for that matter, women. When these are marked groups and individuals within these groups experience on a daily basis being treated as if they were representative and undifferentiated and accountable for the whole, then it's very understandable that someone would immediately interpret such criticism as another example of this and I think we ought to be more empathic about this, whether or not we agree with the arguments that are being made within that context.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 10:27 AM on November 12, 2015 [10 favorites]


gingerbeer: "Please use caution before stating that women in any situation like unwanted physical contact. "

Were the caps not enough?

I never said that any woman wanted unwanted physical contact. [This is exactly the sort of callout that makes it really difficult to participate in these discussions, and doesn't even make sense! Of course, nobody wants contact that they do not want.]

nakedmolerats: "I really don't know what you mean by this. Groping is not non-sexual."

I mean that there are women who have gay friends who they are comfortable having phsical contact with, through a process of mutual consent. In the context of a night club, this contact often has extremely sexual connotations, but (again, through mutual consent) will not lead to sex.

This is not a straw man. This happens all the time. It's also unfortunately probably gives many men the wrong idea, because they did not see this exchange of consent take place.

[Then there's also the issue where many gay men have their own problems about consent and unwanted physical contact among themselves, which is probably also a contributing factor here.]
posted by schmod at 10:27 AM on November 12, 2015 [6 favorites]


Okay. Some women accept physical contact from their gay male friends, and that can include consensual groping in some settings.

This feels like a derail when (I think) the point is that misogyny perpetrated by gay males is problematic.
posted by DingoMutt at 10:41 AM on November 12, 2015


I'm not sure if you are saying that gay men groping (unwilling) women happens because they just saw other gay guys do it with female friends and didn't realize that there had been mutual consent beforehand.


What I am trying to say is that it doesn't just happen because "I saw some other guy do it and I thought it was OK". It happens in a culture where gay and straight men are taught that women's bodies are publicly available, with the extra gloss for gay men that because one is not attracted to women's bodies, the act is no longer problematic.
posted by nakedmolerats at 10:44 AM on November 12, 2015 [8 favorites]


and we're now back to the original thread.

maybe time to put this MeTa to bed?
posted by schmod at 10:45 AM on November 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


This is a good discussion, but I will suggest we steer it back toward the "what would it take to have a good thread on the blue about this, or should we not have one given the reservations and difficulties we've just canvassed" site-issue side of things.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 10:53 AM on November 12, 2015 [5 favorites]


And a comment deleted; in terms of actually having a useful MeTa, probably better to skip starting a separate fight over individual people in the thread.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 10:55 AM on November 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


Fundamentally, I disagree that the existing thread consisted of "just griping about gay men," so I think to answer the question LobsterMitten just posed it would be helpful to understand better what the mod perspective is on what a permissible thread needs to look like.
posted by prefpara at 10:56 AM on November 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


Yes. I will start. It seems one of the big issues in this thread is conflating straight and gay women's experiences and issues. It is complex when gay women are part of the "gay community" and yet we experience misogyny, probably even in different ways than straight women do. So I think it could be a very good idea to have separate posts, in future, about the ways male privilege affects straight women via gay men, and/or the ways that male privilege affects the gay community.
posted by nakedmolerats at 11:02 AM on November 12, 2015 [6 favorites]


*I should immediately edit that to straight vs. LGBTQ women. With apologies for over simplifying.
posted by nakedmolerats at 11:04 AM on November 12, 2015 [5 favorites]


This is what r_n said about it in her deletion reason:
I think this is a subject with room to discuss nuances, but it does not look like this article with this presentation is going to create that conversation.

For one, the title starts it off on a kind of sensationalistic "one group against the other" direction, which generally doesn't make for a great thread. I don't know -- among people who felt the thread was going badly, or people who have seen this discussion go well in an open forum elsewhere, is there a framing that would have made space for the more nuanced kind of discussion?
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 11:08 AM on November 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


for the benefit of folks trying to make posts on touchy subjects, I strongly suspect (from a straight up psychology point of view) that including the words "gay", "hate" and "women" together in the title of a post can serve to prime commenters to feel more angry than they otherwise would - even if it's clear that it's not a reflection of the content of the material.

hypothesis: removing any particularly fighty words (regardless of context) from a potentially contentious post may reduce the rate of inflammatory comments.

and no I'm not suggesting it's fine to make an offensive post so long as it's "polite", nope nope nope. Nor am I suggesting that this trick would be sufficient to make a post somehow magically go well.
posted by emilyw at 11:26 AM on November 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


Here are two articles (full disclosure - one is by a friend) that I think frame the discussion in a more nuanced way.

Gay Men's Sexism and Women's Bodies and a roundtable response from Autostraddle. The caveat is that they are both written for a queer audience, primarily by queer people of color.

I feel like the strongest pushback on this conversation here was from gay men, who were afraid having this conversation in public would validate homophobic attitudes, I guess. If people are willing to brook no critique, even justified, nuanced, personal, in-group critique, then no, we probably can't have this conversation here.
posted by gingerbeer at 11:31 AM on November 12, 2015 [12 favorites]


I've been thinking on this, wondering how to thread this needle, and the following from nakedmolerats jumped out at me:

the ways that male privilege affects the gay community

Would this make for a more nuanced subject that could make room for personal stories without directly pitting potential allies against each other right out of the gate? It seems to me that a thread that was structured around male privilege first, and the damage that it does in all of its forms throughout the gay community would be harder for outsiders to coopt for their personal agendas (meaning outside of the context of the thread or MetaFilter itself). It could provide a conversational space that would be appropriate for all of the personal stories that had been shared in the deleted thread, but would not be as restricted to one dynamic, which might open the conversation up enough to avoid some of the issues we've seen here. I think it would require additional links to thoughtful content, but should include the original link for full context.

Just a thought on the conversation itself. My only stake in this is that I love you all and want you to have a place to be.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:32 AM on November 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


It would take a lot better written article. For me, it's a necessary prerequisite.

Someone talked upthread about holding higher behavioral standards for their fellow minorities. And I agree, both with the given reasons and because I partly view the topic as related to internalized homophobia.

But I also want to hold higher standards for the articles, their ideas and their information that come to this website, especially when it is about these topics. It's not good enough that "the article wasn't bad", and it's definitely not good enough that "the writing was provocative" (e.g. restless_nomad's point about websites that exploit internet outrage). Important topics deserve intellectual substance, writing with depth and accessibility to a broad enough audience relative to its subject matter (all gay men and women?). And I didn't see these characteristics.

So one thing for the community is, even if the subject is important, can we try to be more discriminating in the quality of writing that we choose to represent it?
posted by polymodus at 11:33 AM on November 12, 2015 [5 favorites]


Oddly enough, I think that this has turned into a fairly interesting (albeit occasionally heated) discussion, in the exact way that the original thread hadn't.

I'd be curious to know if others feel the same way, because I'd be interested in exploring the causes of that...
posted by schmod at 11:38 AM on November 12, 2015 [5 favorites]


This is a good discussion, but I will suggest we steer it back toward the "what would it take to have a good thread on the blue about this, or should we not have one given the reservations and difficulties we've just canvassed" site-issue side of things.

Allowing conversation to continue beyond the point at which it was cut off by Team Mod. Trusting that the userbase is capable of having an adult conversation about a difficult topic. Because we are: this has been a productive discussion, since people were given some rein to hash their issues out. Here, comments claiming that personal anecdotes were somehow attacking all gay men were addressed and discarded as erroneous. Etc.
posted by zarq at 11:48 AM on November 12, 2015 [8 favorites]


Oddly enough, I think that this has turned into a fairly interesting (albeit occasionally heated) discussion, in the exact way that the original thread hadn't.

I'd be curious to know if others feel the same way...


Not at all. I think this thread is as much of a shitshow as the FPP was looking to become. I'm amazed that it doesn't appear that anyone has buttoned yet.
posted by Etrigan at 12:21 PM on November 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


I really hope somebody writes a good article about this soon and gives it a title that isn't bait because there is definitely some bullshit afoot, and I would love to talk about it and try to figure it out. It's not just gay men in my experience, it's... how to define this group... certain of the consciously sex-positive people whom I'm friends/casual acquaintances with? This comment rang so many creepy bells for me. Everybody's saying we need to hold other members of unprivileged groups to a higher standard? Naw. How about holding them to the same standard? Or any standard? Because what I've chiefly observed is that nobody's making any effort to think there should even BE a damn standard. Here is a raft of anecdotes that show the bar, if it even exists, is lower, not higher, for outgroups:

I sometimes have parties and sometimes invite to them a group of instructors from the local college who in general conduct themselves all the time they're awake like they're in Eating Raoul. One of the women once groped me or tried to kiss me or something while everybody was dancing. Because I wasn't expecting it, because she hadn't sent out any preparatory signals, and mostly because I can't fucking stand her for unrelated reasons namely that she is constantly yodeling at the top of her lungs about her KIDS ALL THE GODDAMN TIME, I reacted naturally by fending her off and backing up. She's straight; she was doing that stupid performative crap people do, like, I'm ambixestrous, let's see if you are too because whee we're in public and maybe somebody will be shocked or titillated yay isn't this "fun." She got all umbraged-out (also fucking performative, and I pretty much wanted with every fiber of my being to sock her in the side of the head for it) because I didn't play along. The thing is, had I known it was coming I'd've probably reacted with a studied, in-kind social response instead of an autonomic fend-off. Because she's not really dangerous and we will look "cool/hilarious/edgy/fun?" Or some goddamn thing?

There were two, I'll call them Blakes, back in the day of the AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power. Good Blake and Bad Blake. Both were cis gay men who went to every ACT-UP thing and every NOW thing and every anti-apartheid thing: every thing. We were all happy chanters and sign wavers and vegetarian potluck attendees together and all friends who supported each other in every endeavor. Both Blakes were my friends, and Good Blake still is my friend. Bad Blake never said or did anything misogynist, but Good Blake... O boy. When she got married, Good Blake told our mutual friend she no longer qualified to be his fag hag because he couldn't have a breeder in the position. That was the halcyon day I learned I was going to be Good Blake's new fag hag! I celebrated gleefully to myself and felt a tiny little spark of joy because our mutual friend was really hurt. She expressed her anguish--I mean they'd been best friends for years--and I thought, "what? it's true. breeders cannot be fag hags. hush." Why did I think it was okay for him to say something that mean? Why did they stay friends? But they did. Neither of them really noticed that what he'd said was really mean. Later Good Blake threw her bridal shower and officiated at her wedding.

Once maybe ten or twelve years ago we were in the car on the way to the pizza buffet. Good Blake lightly and in passing called his former fag hag a cooze. She reacted immediately. She said "Don't call me a cooze!" He said nothing. I said nothing. Her husband, who was driving, said nothing. The conversation turned to other topics. Why didn't I say, "Yeah, that's weird, Good Blake. Why would you call her that? Why would you call any woman that? Why would you use that word in front of any woman? Why especially would you use that word to a woman friend in front of another woman friend?" Nobody, somehow, noticed what he'd said. If we had, I assume we would have reacted by, I don't know, stopping the car, getting out, walking away in four separate directions, and never speaking to each other again. If a straight man had done this, that would be the end of that straight man in that circle of friends forever. If a straight man grabbed me at a party, that straight man would be evicted from the party and never would come back to another party. But a straight woman grabbing another straight woman at a party? Ha ha haaa, hilaaaarious, for some reason.

I just have one more anecdote. It takes place in the local hipster bar a few years ago:
Bartendee to bartender: Hey, W., did you see Jimmy K.?
Bartender: Yeah, he came in about an hour ago.
Bartendee: Well, is he still around?
Bartender: Hell no, he ran into Sheila and he followed that snail trail out of here.
Me, silently, of course, in the hidden recesses of my stunned and anguished brain: I'm standing right here. You know I can hear you. I don't... actually... leave a trail of silvery slime wherever I go.

Straight guy bartender? Not going to say women leave snail trails in front of a woman customer and expect to continue bartending in the hipster bar. Woman bartender? Could probably say that and still bartend at the hipster bar. Gay guy bartender? Said that and remains to this day the most popular bartender at the hipster bar.

It feels to me like "Wheeee, here's an as-yet-unexamined realm of social interaction in which I can behave like an asshole with impunity!" On a totally subconscious level, please let me stress. Most people, and I count myself among them because of crap I've pulled here and crap I pulled in a thread on a trans friend's facebook page once and that crap where I didn't stand up for my friend when Good Blake was mean and one little piece of crap I pulled on someone I loved that I am too ashamed of to even type about even obliquely, have a little secret meanstreak they mostly aren't aware of that will let them behave this way. A very few people, like Bad Blake (he was "the bad one" because he took huge offense to EVERYTHING ANYBODY did, was the general consensus, and was a pain in the ass about it, was always Officially Not Talking to somebody, or usually somebodies, or frequently everybody, and always getting in a pet or roaring off in a huff; and he was the bad one because he was an unapologetic horndog who took multiple sex partners a day, who cruised guys at the bookstore, which nobody else that any of us knew had the guts--or let's be honest, Bad Blake was beautiful, the looks--to try doing), a very few people don't have that little streak of mean. Bad Blake did a looooot of things but he never called anybody a cooze or said he wouldn't be their friend anymore after they were married or played that funfun dancefloor sexual harassment game or said that women leave "snail trails." I want to be more like Bad Blake. I want to spend all day in threads like this learning to see my mean streak so I can shrink it.
posted by Don Pepino at 12:59 PM on November 12, 2015 [46 favorites]


(I agree with schmod that this discussion has been absolutely fascinating to read, I've learned alot, been swayed back and forth alot, and have come away with a greater appreciation of how complex it is to post such a piece on the blue, the difficulty of modding it, whether we actually want to have these kinds of discussions, and how we can possibly move forward. I do not find this a shitstorm thread, not at all - but I am someone on the outside looking in - straight white woman here. I think this is a beneficial place to discuss this and am thanksful to litleozy for making this Meta.)
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 3:04 PM on November 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


yeah I said 'thanksful'
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 3:06 PM on November 12, 2015


Yeesh.
posted by Sebmojo at 4:24 PM on November 12, 2015


I'm glad this thread happened. I don't understand why we're capable of talking about how white feminist women are often bad allies to WOC in the movement, but not this? The article touched on how misogyny affects not only women, but trans people and feminine gay men. The post could have been fleshed out more, but so could many posts (SLanything). But I appreciate the conversation that has happened it. It reinforces my thought that we can have this conversation.
posted by Ruki at 4:39 PM on November 12, 2015 [8 favorites]


It seems to me, and I'm saying this absolutely with empathy, that if a frank discussion of misogyny among men who are gay makes someone feel that he is being stigmatized or demonized for being gay, those feelings are valid but the culprit is stigma and homophobia, not women. Not to be too on trend here, but I can't help but notice that men subsuming women's recounted personal experience with their own justified but wholly misdirected anguish is literally foisting a burden of emotional labor on those women in asking them to carefully craft and couch their experience in order for it to be palatable.
posted by threeants at 4:43 PM on November 12, 2015 [15 favorites]



It seems to me, and I'm saying this absolutely with empathy, that if a frank discussion of misogyny among men who are gay makes someone feel that he is being stigmatized or demonized for being gay, those feelings are valid but the culprit is stigma and homophobia, not women


This easily reads as though women have had no part in, and cannot now, engage in stigmatizing and homophobic behaviors. I get where you're trying to go with this (it's a system of hierarchical oppression etc) but it's really quite possible for individual women to be homophobic, and a FPP like the one that occasioned this MeTa is an excellent opportunity for that to happen.

I think there could be a discussion on misogyny within queer spaces as a thing that happens and what that looks like. I think there's a discussion to be had about misogyny from gays into straight spaces, but I don't think it's a discussion that would go well here because it immediately gets to Anita Bryant and bachelorette parties. I think there could be a discussion on how gay men's misogyny is often performative and what promotes that being a performance that gets validated, probably including why IME some of the most vicious nastiness comes from femme guys. I think there's a discussion about the tension between a desire for inclusion and a desire for X-only spaces. Etc etc. The point is there's a need for a reason that the gay bit be focused upon, otherwise it's just a pile of "a gay man was a shitty person," and I can just go out to Boystown any night of the week for as much of that as I want.

That article and that thread did not particularly seem to have such a reason, as I saw it.
posted by PMdixon at 5:11 PM on November 12, 2015 [8 favorites]


WTF does Anita Bryant have to do with misogyny from gay men? Homophobic straight women, yes, but I'm not getting why she's a reason we can't talk about this.

I'm also feeling the need to state again that many of the women commenting in both the original thread and here are not straight.
posted by gingerbeer at 5:49 PM on November 12, 2015 [13 favorites]


I'm not being fighty, I honestly don't get it. I've read this thread, and the deleted one. Do we stop having threads about Women's issues because it's an excellent opportunity for sexism? No one is denying, and in fact, people are admitting right here in this thread that women can absolutely be homophobic. I don't think that "because Y" is a good reason to not discuss X. If that were actually the case, there would be A LOT more threads getting deleted. By that logic, any thread about any minority issue would get nuked because of the potential for oppressive -ist comments.

For the record, I'm a woman married to a man, and although I don't self identify as queer, I'm not heterosexual, either.
posted by Ruki at 6:02 PM on November 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


I actually think that the anecdotes in the thread are fine, but the generalizations bothered me, regardless of the sexuality of the commenter. For example, the comment about gay men being too self-centered to help out with abortion rights, etc. Also, the comment about all of the supportive gay men the commenter knows referring to themselves as "queer" rather than gay, which seemed weirdly #notallqueermen yet #yesallgaymen. Of course, any discussion of this topic is going to involve a discussion of how the misogyny of gay men often manifests itself differently than that of straight men, but I think that the generalizations like I mentioned in a FEW of the comments really effected the tone of the thread and made the rest of the comments come off worse than they should have to some people.
posted by Dismantled King at 6:07 PM on November 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'd really like this to be revisited,but perhaps with a less on-the-edge article (as the quality of the article seems debatable) and better framing (NOT to blame the op, they were using the original title of the piece).

So... who's up for it? There's tons of talented posters here I can name ten off the top of my head that would do a stellar job of it.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 6:08 PM on November 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


You could even take a radically different approach in your fpp, which may be for the best, removing it from present-day context; Virginia Woolf, for example - ISTR she wrote a bit on this. I'm googling but my googlefu is failing.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 6:19 PM on November 12, 2015


Lytton Strachey was all, "More like Bitchbury Group, amirite?" and Woolf gave him this icy stare.
posted by mittens at 6:27 PM on November 12, 2015 [9 favorites]


I can't be the only cis-het white guy who has learned a hell of a lot from this and other recent discussions (to the point that I wasn't entirely certain I should post at all - but decided to in order to thank the commenters and mods for their labour), so thank you.
posted by birdsquared at 10:44 PM on November 12, 2015 [5 favorites]


(Which points to this particular flavor of misogyny as being something specific to queer subcultures that is, as the article pointed out, something that hurts femme men, genderqueer people, and queer cis women within broader queer spaces, coming directly from some gay men.)

Trans women are also hurt by misogyny, what with the actually being women and everything.
posted by Dysk at 12:09 AM on November 13, 2015 [16 favorites]


That thread may have been going a weird direction, but this thread is awesome. Like, damn. There's a stack of comments that are worth an entire thread in here in and of themselves. I especially feel what Don Pepino is talking about super hard in my circle of friends.

This is a bonus expert mode level discussion though. Like, when you finish the game the first time through and you unlock super hard mode. I've seen the train derail and burst into flames offline more than once with this one.

And i think it's interesting to say, that in a discussion about whether we could have the conversation on here... We ended up having the most level headed discussion i've ever read or heard about it.
posted by emptythought at 4:46 AM on November 13, 2015 [6 favorites]


Yeesh! I meant to include trans women in that and it must have slipped my mind. (I was basically thinking "transfeminine people" when I made that list but clearly did not actually make that thought process explicit.) Thanks for calling me on it, Dysk.
posted by sciatrix at 5:19 AM on November 13, 2015 [5 favorites]


It might be important to note that at the time of the "ur not my hag/cooze" utterances, good Blake was alone and sad about it, and had been for years. All around him for all the years he was unhappy, straight friends were scampering hand-in-hand into the happy matrimonial meadow. He couldn't go in there except through the turnstile to officiate or put up garlands. Decades passed, he met somebody, and they went to Vermont a couple of years ago and got married. I don't think he'd say that stuff today, not just because he's married, now, but because he thinks about this stuff and because he isn't misnamed, he really is good--he's the type who chips away at his meanstreak.
posted by Don Pepino at 5:55 AM on November 13, 2015 [2 favorites]

"And also, if this isn't something you are doing as a gay man, awesome! Can you chime in with ways you've tried to head this off or insight into why it happens? That would be a seriously valuable contribution to that thread."
For a metafilter specific example,

About two years ago, Jesus it was really that long ago, I and a number of other queer men with dating woes found oddly abundant solace on Chat in sharing our mutual phallic enthusiasm with each other to the amusement of many. It ...escalated to what was eventually referred to as dicks spam that a number of women and a couple of straight men then told us made them uncomfortable. We were horrified, talked it out on Chat, and we ended it - full stop. We realized just how off-putting the dicks we idolized were to people who had just as much right to be in that space and found other outlets. I guess it would have been easy for us to dig in like Sys Rq has here and declare that anyone not sharing our enthusiasm for something that is so often such a brutal tool of oppression was just exhibiting homophobia but, in the end, if anything we benefited from being able to listen to the experience of others and allow that to inform our choices.

I didn't need to be coddled in privilege with pained silence then, and I don't need to be coddled now with the deletion of the FPP that spawned this post. As a queer man I only benefit from my own internalized misogyny being called out when I get those precious opportunities to see and address it, and I benefit from hearing the stories of women who have had bad experiences in gay spaces because I can use those stories to inform how I contribute to shaping the gay spaces I inhabit. Anecdotes are powerful, and this is what they're good for. The idea that homophobes will get more homophobic by listening to women share their stories is ridiculous, I mean, such a scenario would necessarily involve them actually listening to women! I don't care if the standard I'm being held to in queer spaces is sometimes higher than the one straight men are held to because, FINALLY, I'll be held to any fucking standard at all. Misogyny in gay spaces is an unambiguous, ubiquitous, and vicious problem that we need to be actively fixing, and thats never going to happen if it needs to be some kind of deep dark secret straight people need to never hear of. As a community we have a painfully desperate shortage of women's stories being listened to, and look what we've done with an opportunity to address it.

Besides, as someone who often presents as femme, I also benefit when the misogynistic bullshit so many gay men harbor gets addressed before it gets dumped on me.
posted by Blasdelb at 7:24 AM on November 13, 2015 [40 favorites]


We were horrified, talked it out on Chat, and we ended it - full stop.

it was a lot messier than this, but i really dislike airing any chat stuff out on metafilter because everyone has a different recollection and there's no permanence like on the rest of the site. and also the only things said about chat on metatalk are negative and people tend to weigh in who have limited experience so the takeaway is usually "wow, chat must be gross."

certainly it wasn't that nobody dug in or that it was excised as soon as it was brought up the first time. gay men weren't the only ones taking part. eventually it spilled onto metatalk accidentally and i think the blowback here was what actually gave us that come to jesus moment.
posted by twist my arm at 7:50 AM on November 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Maybe so, but when was the last time a messy accurate account earned anyone a cookie?
posted by thetortoise at 8:10 AM on November 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


since Don Pepino's great comment. the trick is to turn it into a teaching moment.
posted by twist my arm at 8:17 AM on November 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


I do think this thread was going somewhere interesting for a while, I really do. But like a lot of intersectional stuff on the internet, it winds up with a negotiation of where privilege weighs the heaviest and how that determines who gets to speak, a reprise of familiar feminist talking points, and a lot of agreeing to agree. There is a conversation I want to have someday on misogyny and homophobia where everyone is taking responsibility and it's more than men vs. women, even rhetorically, where it's all discomfort and honesty and no applause. I don't think we're going to get there today. But I'm having a bad week and I'm crabby, so maybe this was a successful MeTa and would have been a great thread on the Blue and I just can't see it right now.
posted by thetortoise at 8:29 AM on November 13, 2015 [9 favorites]


The idea that homophobes will get more homophobic by listening to women share their stories is ridiculous

But isn't there more to it than that? See, this is where I get fretful, and why I went on and on earlier about being careful, not because I want everybody to have a free pass not to get called on misogyny, and certainly not because I think some budding young phobe out there might hear the stories and think, "Goodness me, I never realized gays were so ill-behaved, let's crack down!" but because it's never going to be just women sharing stories about gay guys saying or doing gross misogynist shit. We have a whole cultural apparatus that is constantly dissecting the male/male relationship and fantasy in seriously harmful ways. I don't want to have this conversation about misogyny and then suddenly we have to defend, say, gay erotica from charges that it too is misogynist ("Look, the big guy and the little willowy guy are re-enacting misogynist power dynamics!"), or defend femme guys against charges that they're doing girl-appropriation, or...well, I mean, we all know those examples, right? Haven't we all heard those arguments? And haven't we heard those arguments wrapped up in a seemingly feminist guise? It's not about being held to a higher standard, it's about being held to an impossible standard, because it will not just be about actual misogyny, but about interrogating the very presence of the feminine in gay life.

Which is weird to say, because I seem to be in diametric opposition to the other people who have identified as femme in this thread. I may have to turn in my eyeliner and piggy paint to the home office after this. But I just don't trust anyone to understand that constant eroding force that wants to call the presence of male femininity misogynist, and I don't trust that the comments in aggregate would be able to separate that erosion from the actual misogyny we are guilty of.
posted by mittens at 8:32 AM on November 13, 2015 [9 favorites]


I think it depends, largely, on how that femininity is performed--I'm getting increasingly uncomfortable with drag, for example. I mean yeah, drag queens have been at the forefront of our liberation, no doubt. There's something kind of hateful about the caricature of womanhood present in drag that's grotesque, and I think is part of the special flavour of misogyny that gay men display.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:37 AM on November 13, 2015 [4 favorites]


Thank you fffm, for showing me what mittens meant, I didn't get it until you took it as an invitation.
posted by Blasdelb at 8:46 AM on November 13, 2015


What? I don't think that male femininity per se is misogynist. I think that some aspects of drag are.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:48 AM on November 13, 2015


Huh, I wasn't thinking in terms of the "femme men/trans women* are appropriating womanhood!" contingent at all in this discussion. (Honestly, I think that argument is silly. If dudes want to wear sparkly things or makeup or piggy paint--which, that is sincerely the most adorable term for nail polish I've ever seen, props to you and I'm stealing it--more power to 'em.)

I think the point at which I get pissed off about the way gay culture reacts to femininity is specifically the point at which it gets derisive of that femininity (or femaleness). Like, a gay or femme dude being himself and reveling in a femme-labeled thing he enjoys, that shit is awesome. I actually don't have a problem with drag, but then I've had good experiences with drag offering a space for people of a variety of birth sex assignments to play with gender expression in public, and I think drag qua drag can be its own thing in a way I'm not really bothered by. (It probably helps that my experiences with drag are exclusively college drag scenes and also allgo's most recent benefit drag/burlesque show; I have no doubt that it can also be exploitative in other contexts, too.) Drag doesn't have to be derisive to other traditions of femininity to exist as its own thing.

But stuff like the denigrating of vaginas, or the snail-trail comment mentioned earlier, or the way that some gay men police women's femininity--that shit isn't okay. And I think there's actually a lot to interrogate there about how femme men actually come under fire for seriously taking on femme elements to their gender presentation. Like, it's okay to be a femme guy as long as you cloak it under a heavy dose of irony and sarcasm, because if people think you sincerely enjoy the sparkly and the face paints and the pretty stuff, well, that means you're weak or something. I'd like to see more sincerity about the way that gay and femme men approach women and feminine gender traditions, and I think that's the thing that rubs women wrong a lot of the time. Here, I very specifically want to include both cis and trans women, because I think that's a big part of tension between, say, trans women and drag scenes--that perceived element of sincerity.

*Because we all know that crap gets applied to trans women as well as to femme men and gay men more generally, even though they're actually women and so the dynamics are different.
posted by sciatrix at 8:48 AM on November 13, 2015 [11 favorites]


I think the point at which I get pissed off about the way gay culture reacts to femininity is specifically the point at which it gets derisive of that femininity (or femaleness).

Yes, this. This is what I was saying. Some drag is derisive. Not a guy who likes to wear glitter, not trans women, not people who mess about with gender presentation. The sincerity and honesty is what matters.

(The interesting thing is that I see zero problems with drag kings, perhaps because there tends to be less of a caricature? In my experience drag kings tend to go for realism, while drag queens have a cartoonish quality. And I say that as someone who did drag when he was much younger.)
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:53 AM on November 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


I think that is because drag kings (at least in my limited knowledge) tend to stay away from performance that has historically been used in a harmful way against men with certain identities. A drag king who was mocking femme men or performing some sort of ethnic caricature would probably be pretty badly received (I would guess) but motorcycle dudes and business dudes are pretty safe and don't give that "punching down" vibe. And there's a whole 'nother subject here of the long history of male performance of femininity onstage and how female performance of masculinity isn't equivalent... actually, this is a huge topic...
posted by thetortoise at 9:02 AM on November 13, 2015 [5 favorites]


I think that depends on the drag queens you're talking to? I've seen quite a few realistic-aiming queens, myself, as well as kings who are definitely aiming for a super-super-macho presentation. I think the difference is in part because kings are just newer and haven't had a chance to develop the kinds of codified presentations and history as queens have. Plus, masculinity is so often codified as default that it's just straight up more difficult to make cartoonish masculinity a thing without defaulting to realism.

I mean, I have definitely seen the kinds of cartoonish, caricaturing queens you're talking about... I just think there's a baby there which isn't worth throwing out with the bathwater. You know?

So one thing I'm wondering about is... given the kind of policing men get for engaging in feminine activities and behavior, is so much of that derisive irony about shielding oneself from policing? And if so, how do we channel that shielding behavior in better ways? Someone who comes from that perspective please chime in, I'm theorizing from pretty minimal experiential data here.
posted by sciatrix at 9:02 AM on November 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


Oh yeah, I'm not advocating for drag to disappear at all. I just think performers need to be a bit more self-aware.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:04 AM on November 13, 2015


(Blasdelb, I'm already regretting my snarky remark to you; on rereading your comment, I can see you're sincere. I could ask the mods to delete but I think I'll leave it out there as a record of my cranky thought process in this thread or whatever. But I am sorry.)
posted by thetortoise at 9:05 AM on November 13, 2015 [5 favorites]


fffm, you're only doubling down on that thing mittens said would happen. Where, in attempting interrogate the presence of the feminine in gay life from the outside, all you end up doing is policing who many of us are as feminine gay men with what ends up just being some super hateful shit that maybe you should think about some more. I am not going to have this conversation with you for all the same reasons why mittens was afraid it would happen to begin with, and I sure as hell am not going to have it in this thread, which is all about how women telling common stories of harassment by gay men isn't working on metafilter.
posted by Blasdelb at 9:06 AM on November 13, 2015


From the outside? I'm gay. And I am not policing feminine gay men. I am saying, only, that when it comes to drag--just drag; see above where I said that I wasn't talking about trans women or guys who wear glitter or whatever--there is an oft-hateful caricature of womanhood present. That is all. In no way at all am I telling feminine gay men (ps, I'm not exactly masculine and macho myself) that they can't do what they do. I would really appreciate it if people would read the actual words that I actually write instead of responding to the conversation they're having in their head.

There is nothing hateful about saying that some drag performance is misogynist. I am not saying that a gay man who wears nail polish or [insert other traditionally feminine signifiers here] is being misogynist, or needs to stop, or anything like that. I am saying that when it comes to drag, some of it is grotesque and hateful, and that needs to change.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:11 AM on November 13, 2015 [4 favorites]


Is the next evolution of this derail the part where we talk about femme men appropriating the culture of feminine-presenting women and trans women, and vice versa for drag kings, and then the whole butch/femme tropes in lesbian culture and how that's appropriative too?

Maybe we could get back on topic? I've been really fascinated by the conversation generated by the OP and hope we can return to it soonish, thanks.
posted by disclaimer at 9:20 AM on November 13, 2015


Okay, but I got to say that cartoonish drag is a precious baby IMO and I would never want to see it thrown away with the nasty ol' spoogey slimy misogyny bathwater. I adore purple-contact-lense-, two-inch-long-foil-eyelashes- and 7-inch-heel-wearing, six-and-a-half-feet-tall-in-sock-feet, ripped-out-of-their-minds, glittering, gleaming drag queens and all who emulate them. They bring crazy outerspace beauty to my bleak little world. So does Cher. These people don't seem to me to be trying to be women so much as... I don't know, girlThor or something. It is awesome and I'm a drooling fan. If drag queens and Cher are assholes about mortals who lack their ability or the considerable time and talent it takes to look like uberfraus from another better realm, they should cut that shit out, but other than that, I'm in undying favor.
posted by Don Pepino at 9:26 AM on November 13, 2015 [9 favorites]


I don't think drag is a derail, exactly, since there's definitely something to be discussed there about gay male spaces and misogyny, but I do think it might be too big a subject for this thread. I wonder if somebody shouldn't just attempt a better reframing of the deleted thread, as was suggested several times, since at this point I can't tell the difference between the blue and the gray.
posted by thetortoise at 9:30 AM on November 13, 2015


Women sharing their negative experiences with the misogyny baked into male gay culture is not homophobia, at least in isolation, its basically the opposite. Thus, women sharing sharing those stories through lenses distorted by the homophobia that is baked into wider culture is an invitation to share our experiences with that homophobia and how not ok it is, not an excuse to silence those experiences so that we don't need to examine them.

I valued the stories in that thread, even if I've already heard so many like them, because they are stories that need to be told.
posted by Blasdelb at 9:33 AM on November 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


I think in general we shouldn't have conversations about a minority group where contributions by that minority group are treated as unwelcome and/or suspect. This specific example proves to be a difficult case for applying that rule, because depending on the lens you view it from, both women and gay men could be seen as the minority in question.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 1:02 PM on November 13, 2015 [5 favorites]


I am an outsider, so my read could be inaccurate, but I think fffm is focused on the emotional content of the drag, not the physical representation.

Sparkles, and cosmetics, and piggy paint (omg LOVE), and everything else are awesome but culturally they are degraded and this plays into both how they are used by women as we navigate our relationship with femininity, and by men as they do the same. In the US this has racial components, too. For example, East Asian people are associated overall with femininity, so stereotypes of East Asian men include them as effeminate and sexless while stereotypes of East Asian women include them being demure and passive. Black people are associated overall with masculinity, so stereotypes of black men include them as violent and dangerous, and stereotypes of black women include them as hyper-sexualized and coarse. All of this is inaccurate, but it is affected both by the gender traits associated with a "race" as a whole, and by the presumed gender of the person being stereotyped (also, this is only one lens through which racism can be viewed).

The sense I get is that there is an ironic distancing which is used as a way to perform femininity while defending oneself against being dismissed for being feminine. I actually think this is something also found within communities of women as well - the "I hate pink" brigade, and a lot of the wrangling over attractiveness in relationship to power for women, other fraught discussions about loving sparkles and rainbows and lightness and cosmetics and the catch-22 of "women should always be attractive" versus "attractive women are stupid", not to mention our complicated relationships with Princesses.

Among women, this ironic distancing can be harmful because it reinforces internalized sexism. Among men, it can be used as a weapon to maintain a space as male dominated even while they present in a feminine manner - which gets into the realm of "appropriation" (Appropriation being understood as use of cultural markers which are discouraged among the marginalized population they originated within as a means of gaining higher status as a member of the central population while denying that marginalized population access, respect, recognition, and wealth).

I wouldn't want this to come off as a request of any men to avoid feminine things. It's more like a hope that they will love feminine things as much and as earnestly as I do, so we can raise the value and importance of feminine things, from having pretty nails to checking in with people and making sure they know they're cared about.
posted by Deoridhe at 1:52 PM on November 13, 2015 [12 favorites]


You know, a long time ago, I thought the Dan Savage description of women's genitalia was funny. I mean, it didn't make much sense to me, and so the absurdity of it conjured up a ridiculous image. It wasn't until a few years later when I realized that yeah, actually, that's kind of a cruel thing to say, and there's not much that can be said to defend it, either. Women often get shamed for their parts, in strange and diabolical ways (there's surgery now to make it look... younger(?) ) so it seems to me to be especially insulting when it's coming from someone who ostensibly has no interest in it.

It was also around that time when I first read Stephen Fry's comment about when he realized he was gay, which amount to being born, seeing the vagina, and then deciding he never wanted to be in one again. At the time, I thought it was pithy and quite funny. These days? Again, it seems kinda mean, because it was said with such disdain.

I mean, I got nothing to excuse that stuff. I was younger and dumber. I like to think I sorta wised up somewhat. I still probably miss a bunch of things, but once you see it, you do end up starting to see misogyny everywhere, and we gay men are part of it like all other men. There's no denying that. It needs to be dealt with.

I sorta think, though, that part of the problem, particularly with one large, vocal segment of the GLBT community, is that in almost all other aspects, they do have privilege, and the fact that they aren't always--and have, no doubt, suffered not inconsequential amounts of discrimination--often feel like because of that discrimination, they have a badge that lets them get away with being enormously shitty, and pointing out it it doesn't work that way, well... they--we--don't deal with it very well.

I don't know if I have a solution, tbh. Intersectionality is difficult, and most people suck at it because more variables is more harder.
posted by qcubed at 2:41 PM on November 13, 2015 [15 favorites]


in almost all other aspects, they do have privilege, and the fact that they aren't always--and have, no doubt, suffered not inconsequential amounts of discrimination--often feel like because of that discrimination, they have a badge that lets them get away with being enormously shitty, and pointing out it it doesn't work that way, well... they--we--don't deal with it very well.

Yeah, that's a problem with a small group of people across social justice issues. It's difficult to handle because the anger is coming from an entirely justified place but the nastiness can end up with all kinds of unintended collateral damage.
posted by Drinky Die at 4:20 PM on November 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


I took a couple of days away from the thread because I didn't want to get fighty. I see the thread has gone in some very very intersectional ways.

The main reason I was happy for the deletion is because I don't trust the userbase to do the topic well, especially with a fighty title and an article of that nature. Is that discussion possible? Sure. Here? Not really. I don't agree the conversation went in productive ways, just into how various levels of oppression and privilege are being leveraged in the discussion. And it includes a fair amount of turning people's responses into academic perspective, which is usually decried. Of course, if this was a queer space or even a trusted space where one could expect that perspective to not be dismissive or a dodge - but past experience means that, for me, it's not.

This MeTa was basically a chance to rehash the article, which (like the several egregious comment edits) shouldn't be what it's for. The line between what should be discussed and merely discussing the article again is blurry, of course, but I think it's been crossed repeatedly because it is firmly believed that the conversation has to happen here. I simply don't agree, because past experience doesn't suggest that, and this thread doesn't make me more confident that the lines between sharing and ganging up, or anecdotes and barely-masked contempt, will be followed.

And it's not just men who think that being correct gives them the right to be violent. Especially once you include words.
posted by gadge emeritus at 5:23 PM on November 13, 2015 [6 favorites]


Deoridhe, I agree with what you're saying about aesthetics and femme presentation being culturally devalued, and I think the point you're making about ironic distancing is really interesting -- but I think it's also true that feminine-coded activities and aesthetic presentation are especially harshly devalued when they are performed by men, opening them up to ridicule and the threat of violence over and above what a woman would be likely to receive for acting in a similar way. None of this has anything to do with letting drag performers off the hook for misogyny, of course, but I do think that even in very mainstream drag, something a lot more complicated and ambivalent is going on than just simple appropriation.
posted by en forme de poire at 5:43 PM on November 13, 2015 [7 favorites]


(Sorry, I should of course have said "over and above what a cis woman would be likely to receive.")
posted by en forme de poire at 5:51 PM on November 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


And it's not just men who think that being correct gives them the right to be violent. Especially once you include words.

Yeah, okay. And the reality is that it is overwhelmingly men (I am AMAB and cis) who think that way so maybe this is not really a great comparison to be drawing?

Deoridhe... yes. Yes so much to everything you've said. (And as a side note, I've never referred to drag as appropriation so I'm really confused by people who are responding as though I did.)
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:48 AM on November 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Hi all - I posted in the thread shortly before it was deleted, talking about my queer men friends who did great ally work and I care a lot about them. I have also faced some extremely misogynistic prejudice from gay men in my life, which I won't rehash here. But something about the deletion of the post is making me think about that I'd like to see a discussion as a community about what makes a good FPP post or praising some really particularly good examples, in the light of the many articles and threads within the past few months.

I've been noticing a lot of single link posts recently, especially about social justice issues. As someone who originally joined MeFi for the multi-linked FPP posts, it makes me very happy to read those. However, many of the single-link posts are the same as ones that I see on FB, and it continually confuses me when I see some posts that are single linked get posted, while there are other topics that I have wanted to create thoroughly sourced ones, but haven't had yet the time or energy to.

Therefore, it makes me scratch my head - I want to participate on MeFi, but everything I am passionate about requires tons of sources in order to not have a meltdown of a thread. However, if I don't post these posts, then I also won't have a chance to help make MeFi a more inclusive place where those topics get discussed in nuanced ways. But I don't want to limit my contribution to fighting in threads again, like what happened in POC Yoga and the demisexual thread (which were also single-link posts.)

But then I see other users who post single link posts regularly, and then I feel weird and not sure how to feel. I want to participate, but my contributions aren't good enough? And I don't want my contributions to be single-links? Not to mention, I'm a queer person of color who holds very specific politics and critiques of society and media, which won't get represented on the blue unless there are other people who are also posting. But then I don't always agree with the choice of articles that those posts have...augh. The workshopping idea amongst users sounds good, maybe a stickied thread in MetaTalk would be helpful for that?

Apologies if this is not related enough, but I am feeling complex and not sure where else to put this. I just want to be a good MeFite, but in my terms too.
posted by yueliang at 2:45 PM on November 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


For what it's worth, I do single-link posts pretty frequently if a good piece catches my eye, including at least one on a fairly sensitive topic that I was really uncertain about. The link matters, but my opinion is that the framing--the text people see when they click the link--is at least as important.

My experience is that when I do multi-link posts, I can't necessarily expect everyone to read all of them before posting. And indeed, people often don't. I find multi-link posts better for when I want to have a conversation about a topic I think is cool and I want to point people to a variety of different places to read about it. (It also makes me feel better about the paragraphs I actually write introducing the topic--if I'm linking one piece, I usually just quote a representative excerpt.)

But I don't necessarily think that you create better discussions with multi-link posts than you do with single-link ones. Instead, I think what makes a good springboard for discussion is the title and the body of the post that people see, before they ever click the link or a comment. That framing primes how people are going to respond to the clicked link, and it influences the frame of mind they're in when they go over the links.
posted by sciatrix at 3:10 PM on November 14, 2015 [7 favorites]


I don't want to rehash my problems with the article/presentation here, but in terms of really good single-link posts that lead to more nuanced discussions with the community (good question!), I'd single out sciatrix's posts in particular. I think she puts a lot of thought into selecting articles that center a person's (or people's) experience or that approach a subject from multiple careful angles.

(on preview: lol, I should let her explain how to do it!)
posted by thetortoise at 3:13 PM on November 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


Same here. Some of my favorie FPPs, with some of my favorite discussions therefrom, have been single-link. In fact, when I see a whole paragraph on the front page where every other word is a link I'm like, damn, do I have enough coffee in my blood for this?
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 3:20 PM on November 14, 2015 [5 favorites]


....on the other hand, I mostly pick articles that I literally pick off Facebook or off Dreamwidth linkspams or twitter. FWIW. I can't think of a single one of my single-link posts that I put a ton of effort into sourcing an article for ahead of time. Instead, I'd trip over something that seemed kind of cool and pull out an excerpt. If you're worrying that your single-link posts seem kind of half-baked because you didn't put massive amounts of effort into finding the link, yueliang, it's entirely possible that you're holding yourself to a much higher standard than anyone else is. That make sense?
posted by sciatrix at 3:25 PM on November 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


Okay that's good to know, and appreciate the comments y'all! Love the examples chosen. I think I got the impression from past MetaTalks and random sentiments that single-link posts are not okay, and are not worthy of posting, and then got confused about why so many single-link posts were being let through. I still am rather anxious about posting single-link posts though, do y'all have anymore suggestions about good criteria about what they look for when choosing a particular single-link to use?

I think I'm also so overloaded on content from everything I'm on, that I freeze up and don't know what to choose...Trying to change from being a content consumer to more of a creator/sharer is tough, and I would appreciate some help on that if that is possible.
posted by yueliang at 3:25 PM on November 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


I dunno. I think that single link posts are great for entertainment, but for weightier subjects, especially things that people are likely to get emotional about, you either need a very solid single link, or you need to do some digging to bulk out the post a little. Obviously, no one need sto do these things, but I think it's more of a risk to put out a single link on a complicated contentious topic.
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:36 PM on November 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


(I also think there are topics that MeFi just plain doesn't do well for whatever reason with the community as it stands now, even when it comes to queer and social justice stuff. There are a few topics I've decided to not post on here because of how past threads I've read went, while threads on other kinds of queer stuff tend to go well. It's not an ideal solution but it's better for my mental health than reading a whole thread of problematic shit.)
posted by thetortoise at 3:40 PM on November 14, 2015


And FWIW? I totally might have linked the article that set off this post. I think it was absolutely fine. I might have framed it a little differently, but I thought the piece itself was a good one. I probably would have tried to emphasize the identity of the author early on to forestall defensiveness and make it clear we're centering intra-queer-community sexism in this conversation, but I really wouldn't change that much. Actually, just as an exercise, here's how I'd theoretically frame it....

A fragile liberation, bought at the expense of others

The topic of misogyny among gay men is a difficult one to broach. In my experience, men either simply refuse to believe the phenomenon exists, or the conversation is quickly derailed ("yeah, but what about homophobic women?"). I have a male body, I'm bisexual, and I'm also genderqueer. But I've also experienced misogyny from both straight and gay men on the basis of my apparent femininity. Misogyny is a huge problem in the queer community, and it hurts all of us.

The different pull quote does a couple of different things. One, it gives gay men a cue that this criticism is coming from within community, so they aren't as likely to feel they're under fire from someone outside their community. Two, it's a more thoughtful chunk of the post than just sharing shitty examples of gay male behavior, which primes people to come in a little slower and be thinking a little more about structural issues. Three, it foregrounds the fact that here we are primarily concerned about sexism and misogyny within the queer community. It sets the tone the people we are going to center this discussion around aren't necessarily straight women (who can sometimes be assumed to be "default," incorrectly, when sexism comes up) but actually include trans women, genderqueer people, and a variety of other non-butch-cis-guy people who interact with queer culture.

Those are the kinds of things I have in mind when I design a single link post on a SJ-inclusive topic--how can I forestall defensiveness, how can I make it clear what experiences I want to center in discussion, and how can I set the tone for the conversation I'd like to have? And obviously I don't always succeed or even come close, but I think framing can have a really outsized effect on these conversations.
posted by sciatrix at 3:45 PM on November 14, 2015 [28 favorites]


Yeah, all that is right on. The number one thing to remember about a single link post is that most of the audience is not going to read the link. You have to try and construct it in such a way as the conversation you want to have is still more likely to happen.
posted by Drinky Die at 4:25 PM on November 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


The number one thing to remember about a single link post is that most of the audience is not going to read the link.

That's also the number one thing to remember about multilink posts.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 4:32 PM on November 14, 2015 [9 favorites]


Wow, that shift in framing is subtle but brilliant and should be featured in a MeFi how-to, or something. Not only does it seem likely to lead to a better conversation, it brings out the good stuff in the article (queer women and other transfeminine folk sharing painful experiences) without any of the bad (treating misogyny as intrinsic to "gay" identity, mean line about anal sex).
posted by thetortoise at 4:48 PM on November 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


> I think I got the impression from past MetaTalks and random sentiments that single-link posts are not okay, and are not worthy of posting

You got that impression because some people say that often and loudly, but those people are wrong and do not represent the community (much less the mods). MetaFilter was founded on "single-link posts" (otherwise known as "here's a link to something interesting!"), and while I have nothing against supporting links if they're truly helpful, I strongly object to the trend of padding out posts with as many links as possible, apparently just to make the result look more impressive. Myself, I tend to click on only one or two links unless I'm really, really into the topic, and I would urge anyone constructing a megapost to at least put the most basic link first (and I don't mean a damn Wikipedia link).

> Actually, just as an exercise, here's how I'd theoretically frame it.

That is absolutely brilliant and should go on the FAQ page.
posted by languagehat at 5:21 PM on November 14, 2015 [18 favorites]


"I think I got the impression from past MetaTalks and random sentiments that single-link posts are not okay, and are not worthy of posting, and then got confused about why so many single-link posts were being let through."

I can understand why you've gotten that impression, but that absolutely isn't true. Single-link posts are fine. In fact, I think a pretty strong argument can be made that it's the multi-link posts which are suspect.

First and foremost, a post is about what it links to. This isn't actually a group blog in the sense that posts are whatever a poster wants to write about -- posts are about the specific things they link to. That's why they require at least one link. They're not merely opportunities for someone to write about what's on their mind.

And while I personally think that while there's been quite a few multi-link tour de force posts that have been brilliant and invaluable, the trend in that direction has encouraged the idea that in some sense posts are original creative works in themselves. Which they sometimes can be, as a means to an end, but being creative works is not the end itself. Posts are about what they link to -- they are not primarily about themselves. The linked content needs to be worth people here seeing on its own terms.

Also, another bad thing that happens that the multi-link trend has encouraged is that people dress up very weak posts with some additional links to disguise that the post is really just being used as an excuse for a discussion about a topic.

On preview, I see that LH said much the same. I don't think that multi-link posts are inherently bad, but I do think that they facilitate bad posts for the reasons discussed. Single-link posts don't make anything worse and they actually make it harder to pretend that a bad post is anything other than a bad post.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 5:32 PM on November 14, 2015 [8 favorites]


I think I'm also so overloaded on content from everything I'm on, that I freeze up and don't know what to choose...Trying to change from being a content consumer to more of a creator/sharer is tough, and I would appreciate some help on that if that is possible.

In my experience as a frequent commenter on social-justice posts, I think the more thoughtful and nuanced the linked article, the better the discussion goes. People are still going to comment without reading the article, and people are still likely to post knee-jerk defensive reactions, but the conversations seem to go so much better when there aren't glaring holes, unsupportable hyperbole, or over-the-top inflammatory language in the article itself.

I think that sometimes articles that are written as a very preaching-to-the-choir piece lose that context when posted to a general-interest site like MetaFilter, and then people get stuck in 101-level "prove this is a problem" discussions in the thread, which gets worse the more sarcastic/sweary/inflammatory the linked piece is. (Or, as sciatrix points out, the more sarcastic/sweary/inflammatory the pull-quote is.)
posted by jaguar at 6:59 PM on November 14, 2015 [7 favorites]


(And I say that as someone who likes sarcastic/sweary/inflammatory pieces in general, which is why I don't do a lot of Front Page Posts on MetaFilter.)
posted by jaguar at 7:21 PM on November 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


sciatrix, that is spectacular.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:41 AM on November 15, 2015


en forme de poire: I think it's also true that feminine-coded activities and aesthetic presentation are especially harshly devalued when they are performed by men, opening them up to ridicule and the threat of violence over and above what a [cis] woman would be likely to receive for acting in a similar way.

I think that's a really good point I hadn't included, so thank you.

I also think it can be difficult differentiating between when a man himself is ridiculing femininity and when it's presumed he must be due to something outside of his control or when it overlaps with another axes of discrimination, like appearance. Being laughed at for being to feminine is one of those deeply painful experiences that usually we don't want to talk about.

en forme de poire: I do think that even in very mainstream drag, something a lot more complicated and ambivalent is going on than just simple appropriation.

fffm: And as a side note, I've never referred to drag as appropriation so I'm really confused by people who are responding as though I did.

I do think there's a lot very complicated and ambivalent going on. I brought in the idea of appropriation because I think it speaks to the varying kinds of pressure put on people to conform or not versus the value of "exotic" outside things to spice up a mainstream person's life which can be lifted without regard to the people they're being lifted from. Within drag culture I was thinking of it's relationship with black culture, where there is often significant overlap, but I just don't know enough to speak to that wisely, and I shouldn't have tried. I was also ignoring the intra-personal violence and risk that men and male-coded people take doing so - and for that I apologize as well.
posted by Deoridhe at 1:54 PM on November 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


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