Can we stop with the vagina comments? December 5, 2003 8:16 AM   Subscribe

Can we stop with the vagina comments?
posted by monju_bosatsu to Bugs at 8:16 AM (184 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

Using "vagina" as an insult for those perceived as overly sensitive is offensive and misogynistic. I appreciate that birddog took the insult back in a later comment, but he immediately turned around and used it again. Whether meant in jest, or as a true insult, it's not appropriate.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 8:16 AM on December 5, 2003


I agree!
posted by Quartermass at 8:27 AM on December 5, 2003


Personally I'm not offended by the V-word as insult, but it's the lack of originality that really chokes my chain. The pudgy arm of Eric Cartman's influence is discernible here; South Park last night was full of sandy v's.
posted by DenOfSizer at 8:27 AM on December 5, 2003


WHAT.
THE.
FUCK.
BirdDOg?

Uncool. Grow up.
posted by widdershins at 8:30 AM on December 5, 2003


Monju: What about juice boner?

Quartermass: Finally, for once.

Denofsizer: Just say it. Come on. Say it. Vag...

I don't wanna grow up
I'm a Toys R Us kid
There's a million toys at Toys R Us
That I can play with
From bikes to Trains to video games
It's the biggest toy store there is
I don't wanna grow up
Cuz, widdershins, if I did
I wouldn't be a Toys R Us kid.

BEST.
JINGLE.
EVER.

/troll (though I retain my right to use the v-word in the future)
posted by BirdD0g at 8:39 AM on December 5, 2003


Sometimes it's best just to ignore the naughty children.
posted by cbrody at 8:58 AM on December 5, 2003


i never lick and tell.
posted by quonsar at 9:02 AM on December 5, 2003


Sometimes it's best just to ignore the naughty children.

That's it, BirdDOg. No lump of vagina in your stocking this Christmas.
posted by trondant at 9:07 AM on December 5, 2003


That is incredibly lame. It comes off as agressive, demeaning, and sexist. BirdDOg, chill out on your insults or you'll be shown the door.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:08 AM on December 5, 2003


Hear, hear! The use of gender-specific body parts is outrageous, and inappropriate in any circumstance. I feel your pain, sister, every time the male counterpart is used here. I am deeply stung each time a colloquial name for the male member is used as a slur, and I think it's time for this abhorrent practice to come to a screeching halt, right here, right now. It's not cute, and it's not funny, so cut it out.

I'll leave it to someone else to rise to the defense of a cherished body part that we all share, man and woman alike.
posted by majcher at 9:15 AM on December 5, 2003


/troll (though I retain my right to use the v-word in the future)
posted by BirdD0g at 8:39 AM PST on December 5


What, has LGF or Fark barred all the rednecks today?
posted by the fire you left me at 9:19 AM on December 5, 2003


asians have vaginas?
posted by quonsar at 9:21 AM on December 5, 2003


So that's what that is!
posted by Stan Chin at 9:31 AM on December 5, 2003


For the record, my vagina is not "overly pathetic" - underutilized and slightly aged, yes. Pathetic, no.

Just wanted to clear that up.
posted by pomegranate at 9:36 AM on December 5, 2003


MetaFilter: underutilized and slightly aged
posted by kindall at 9:39 AM on December 5, 2003


What's a vagina?
posted by angry modem at 10:04 AM on December 5, 2003


ask your mom, angry.
posted by quonsar at 11:11 AM on December 5, 2003


Majcher, I'd refrained from commenting in this thread in a self-righeously because I couldn't be absolutely sure I'd refrained from using any gender-specific insults, and now I'm glad I showed such unusually good judgement:-)

Nothing like a long posting history to keep one humble.
posted by orange swan at 11:16 AM on December 5, 2003


quonsar is a penis.
posted by angry modem at 11:18 AM on December 5, 2003


pussy!
posted by whatnot at 11:25 AM on December 5, 2003


Poor, poor Stan. All that time, he must've thought he was a marsupial.
posted by trondant at 11:35 AM on December 5, 2003


I don't mean to derail this thread, but it's interesting for a non-native English speaker like me how Americans use "pussy" as a derogatory term -- for example, "Don't be a pussy, man" -- and in Italian the same term is considered a much less inflammatory insult (ie, "non fare la fighetta" -- almost literally "don't be a pussy", but the nuance is much less aggressive)

the Brits, on the other hand, have this thing for insulting people with various "cunt" slurs which I find pretty appalling

and of course BirdDog's original comment was horrifyingly sexist and vulgar.

posted by matteo at 12:24 PM on December 5, 2003


I echo majcher, though I'm not sure s/he really gives a damn.

If we're going to threaten expulsion for vagina/ cunt/ pussy, then we ought to threaten expulsion for cock/ dick/ prick/ knob/ pecker/ wang/ throbbing-thrillhammer/ wand/ member/ schlong
posted by trharlan at 12:51 PM on December 5, 2003


matteo: you're not alone. We English speakers in Italy are still trying to figure out the everyday preoccupation with cock and exactly how fennel became roughly equivalent to "swishy pansy boy". ;-)
posted by romakimmy at 1:02 PM on December 5, 2003


I have a friend who uses "vaginal" as a negative connotation (e.g. "The bus is late. That's pretty vaginal.")

He's from Vermont. Is this a regional thing?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 1:18 PM on December 5, 2003


If we start tossing members for saying "member", pretty soon there'll be no more members to toss.

Ah, shit!

*heads for the door*

As I preview this comment, I realize Tossing Members would be an excellent name for a rock band.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 1:19 PM on December 5, 2003


hmmm. it's not just english (cunt being more forecful than, say, prick). anda a la concha de tu madre is pretty strong stuff in spanish (at least in chile). or maybe it's the reference to their mother that annoys them? and, in contrast, huevon is used here, much like "fuck" in english these days (although with a different meaning - "mate" maybe) as mere punctuation (the word refers, apparently, to the balls (scrotum, if "balls" is an englishism lost on americans)) (amongst the proles, at least, in both countries).

i think it (the english use) is related to taboos. things shift in search of shock value. when i was young i don't think anyone used cunt much - fuck used to have some power then (how old does that make me?!). wonder what's next? maybe explicitly violent imagery?
posted by andrew cooke at 1:22 PM on December 5, 2003


hmmm^2. on the other hand people say "chuta" much like "gosh". and thats a very thin veil for "chucha" (cunt). so what do i know?
posted by andrew cooke at 1:24 PM on December 5, 2003


...horrifyingly sexist and vulgar.

I feel sorry for some of you.

Using "vagina" as an insult for those perceived as overly sensitive is offensive and misogynistic.

And racist, to boot.

You seem to have label for everything. Whuddya got for me?
posted by Witty at 1:46 PM on December 5, 2003



romakimmy,
it's a Tuscan thing. during the Renaissance, fennel seeds were considered very common and cheap (compared of course to all the precious spices being traded in the city)
so "finocchio" was used as a derogatory term for something/somebody of little value (even now Tuscans say stuff like "nel salame saresti il seme di finocchio", and it's got nothing to do with homosexuality in this case, it's just "you're useless")
then it kinda stuck on gays as a derogatory term - "finocchio".


posted by matteo at 1:46 PM on December 5, 2003 [1 favorite]


What, has LGF or Fark barred all the rednecks today?

No, just the people who enjoy using the word vagina as an insult. In the south we use words such as 'coonass'. That is when we're not eating grits, listening to hank williams jr. and marching for the rebel flag.

Come one, get your stereotypes straight.
posted by justgary at 1:51 PM on December 5, 2003


He's from Vermont. Is this a regional thing?

If it is, it's VERY regional. In most of New England, "vagina" is a word that's used with utmost reverence. I'm in awe just thinking about it.
posted by Mayor Curley at 2:06 PM on December 5, 2003


Go buy some ointment for your overly sensitive throbbing-thrillhammer
posted by nthdegx at 2:06 PM on December 5, 2003


I once made the mistake of saying "coño", taught to me by Puerto Rican friends as a mild oath on the same level of offensiveness as "damn" in English, in a Dominican bodega. Apparently it's somewhat more offensive in the Dominican.
posted by TimeFactor at 2:21 PM on December 5, 2003


You're all twats.
posted by Orange Goblin at 2:37 PM on December 5, 2003


if we're going to threaten expulsion for vagina/ cunt/ pussy, then we ought to threaten expulsion for cock/ dick/ prick/ knob/ pecker/ wang/ throbbing-thrillhammer/ wand/ member/ schlong

Yay, we've fallen to the level of semantics.

I'm not going to explain why there is a difference between "don't be a dick, man" and "get something for your sore cunt/pussy/vagina" but it's vast and it touches on disproportionate power in relationships and the dismissive forcefulness that the fairer sex are treated with everyday. Trust me, the difference is clear.

Of course BirdDOg could have countered the mention of the stupid pointless stereotype in the movie with an equally over the top joke so appalling it comes back around to funny again when told ironically, which is how I do it.

Just say "Me so solly!" to claims of anti-asian content.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 2:43 PM on December 5, 2003 [1 favorite]


How would you know, Orangle Goblin, since you're such a weiner?
posted by billsaysthis at 2:44 PM on December 5, 2003


Hmm, the "Kyle has sand in his vagina" episode of South Park was on last night...

...just saying.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 3:07 PM on December 5, 2003


Of course BirdDOg could have countered the mention of the stupid pointless stereotype in the movie with an equally over the top joke so appalling it comes back around to funny again when told ironically, which is how I do it.

So the cops he says "got anything in the trunk I should know about, hippie" and I says "yeah, your daughter." We shared a laugh.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 3:09 PM on December 5, 2003


I don't think using "dick" or "dickhead" really is all that different than calling someone a "pussy" or a "twat," but it depends on the usage. In this case, it wasn't name-calling, but a direct reference to the organ itself:

"go get some ointment for your vagina."

As a counter-example, if someone thought I was being overbearing or too aggressive, and their method of telling me this was:

"Go find a sedative for your massive, throbbing penis,"

I would be offended.

It would imply that I was doing all my thinking with my organ, as birddog's original comment implied that the vagina is the source of hypersensitivity and/or P.C. tyranny. This is explicitly sexist.

There's no reason to draw an explicit link between someone's genitals and their opinions. On the other hand, using epithets derived from sex organs is not such a big deal IMHO:

"You twat." "Dickhead." etc. These only assign a generalized pejorative to the recipient. There's no explicit link drawn between the masculine/feminine and any pejorative assignment.

Of course, if we want to preserve organ-derived epithets, but pay more than lip-service to sexual equality, may I recommend we stick to the gender neutral A-S-S-H-O-L-E, which is usable both ways:

"He's an asshole"

"Go get some bandages for your festering, blistered asshole."
posted by scarabic at 3:19 PM on December 5, 2003


That reminds me scarabic, we used to throw around "unclench dude!" in place of that last asshole comment until people got tired of it.

The older I get the more I'm learing the real golden rule isn't "Treat others the way in which you would like to be treated" but is in reality "Don't be an asshole."
posted by mathowie (staff) at 3:24 PM on December 5, 2003


Amen.
posted by languagehat at 3:36 PM on December 5, 2003


I'd just like to point out that Matt has been more active in commenting lately, and it's a good thing. He's a funny guy when he wants to be.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 3:36 PM on December 5, 2003


I still hate all you vaginas.
posted by eyeballkid at 3:44 PM on December 5, 2003


I wrote something out remarkably similar to that, scarabic, but was too busy to complete it (I'm too busy to be reading this right now, actually). I am in complete agreement.
posted by The God Complex at 4:10 PM on December 5, 2003


I'm not going to explain why there is a difference between "don't be a dick, man" and "get something for your sore cunt/pussy/vagina" but it's vast and it touches on disproportionate power in relationships and the dismissive forcefulness that the fairer sex are treated with everyday.

Puh-LEASE!! That's the silliest thing I've read all day. You're imposing your comfort zone on others.

It would imply that I was doing all my thinking with my organ

Yeah, no one ever does that in our society....
posted by rushmc at 4:16 PM on December 5, 2003


You're imposing your comfort zone on others.

You're right, I don't have a high tolerance for aggression towards women, based on the history of their mistreatment and usual powerlessness in male-dominated society.

Much like how I wouldn't go for a joke like "oh shut up and hang out in a gas chamber more often" said to a jew or "jeez, relax and do a dance or shine my shoes or something" said to an African American. The jokes touch on a sore spot (worst unintentional pun EVER!) that calling a guy a prick doesn't.

(Do I sound like a college student at a cushy liberal arts school yet? I feel like one.)
posted by mathowie (staff) at 4:23 PM on December 5, 2003 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: "Mom, sometimes I get that not-so-fresh feeling"
posted by amberglow at 4:27 PM on December 5, 2003


PC tyranny aside, there are obviously complex shades and contexts to epithets. BirdDog crossed a line, that I think in some sense deserves to be there. I think Matt's response was over-reacting and overly threatening though. Disproportionate to the crime and all.
posted by dgaicun at 5:28 PM on December 5, 2003


Complicating the issue, the comment was also socially awkward, which tends to kill edgy comments that would have been embraced in the hands of a more charismatic fellow (cf. the shifting standards of sexual harassment depending on who the "complement" is coming from). Birddog seemed to be attacking rather than engaging in crass, aggressive verbal chummery of the sort we all engage with our friends (especially males). But that's the price you pay for your social experiments. Win big, lose big.
posted by dgaicun at 5:37 PM on December 5, 2003


We've been here before. If the discussion is too cautious of the feelings of women and minorities, then it may be stilted and boring. We're not in much danger of that problem. If the discussion is disrespectful, then it easily becomes age, sex, race -ist.

BirdDOg was well over the line. Thanks for initiating the discussion, monju_bosatsu.
posted by theora55 at 5:42 PM on December 5, 2003


And racist, to boot.

How are insults about vaginas "racist"? Toward which races?
posted by 4easypayments at 5:45 PM on December 5, 2003


I don't wanna grow up
I'm a Toys R Us kid...

BadD0g! BadD0g!
Not only have you planted a virulent earworm and committed a Pepsi Blue marketing offense, but puh-leeze stop fellating that computer-animated giraffe...

So that's what that is!
Can I make an anatomical joke about Stan's Chin? (Like I haven't 47 times before)

...underutilized and slightly aged...
Which not only describes several of my bodily parts, but also my car and certain kitchen appliances.

ask your mom, angry.
Rats, I was about to post an "Ask Quonsar" thread on MeTa.

If we start tossing members for saying "member", pretty soon there'll be no more members to toss.
17,173 members, some of whom are real members! (Something new for the Monkeyfilter primates to call us...)

Yay, we've fallen to the level of semantics.
Matt, I never suspected you were anti-semantic.

The real golden rule isn't "Treat others the way in which you would like to be treated" but is in reality "Don't be an asshole."
That quote deserves to be inserted into the MeFi logo (but I know it would be as hard as inserting a pony into a goatse...)

(Do I sound like a college student at a cushy liberal arts school yet? I feel like one.)
You feel like a college student at a cushy liberal arts school? Don't tell your wife... :::RIMSHOT!:::

"Mom, sometimes I get that not-so-fresh feeling"
I've never known amberglow to be anything less than totally fresh...

How are insults about vaginas "racist"? Toward which races?
With that 'a' at the end of the word, it must be a Latino/Hispanic thing, 'cause us white folk only have organs with names tat end in consonants. (I'm sorry, I fell asleep last night with the TV on an Archie Bunker rerun...)
posted by wendell at 5:59 PM on December 5, 2003


I don't have a high tolerance for aggression towards women, based on the history of their mistreatment and usual powerlessness in male-dominated society.

What is this, the liberal arts college Metatalkwhack?
posted by hama7 at 6:31 PM on December 5, 2003


How are insults about vaginas "racist"? Toward which races?

That was in reference to the original flash movie which was complete with the me-no-speakie-da-engrish slanty-eyed character in it.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 7:38 PM on December 5, 2003


but wendell, minty fresh or springtime fresh?
posted by amberglow at 7:40 PM on December 5, 2003


"Privileged feminists have largely been unable to speak to, with, and for diverse groups of women because they either do not understand fully the inter-relatedness of sex, race, and class oppression or refuse to take this inter-relatedness seriously. Feminist analyses of woman's lot tend to focus exclusively on gender and do not provide a solid foundation on which to construct feminist theory. They reflect the dominant tendency in Western patriarchal minds to mystify woman's reality by insisting that gender is the sole determinant of woman's fate. Certainly it has been easier for women who do not experience race or class oppression to focus exclusively on gender. Although socialist feminists focus on class and gender, they tend to dismiss race or they make a point of acknowledging that race is important and then proceed to offer an analysis in which race is not considered.

"As a group, black women are in an unusual position in this society, for not only are we collectively at the bottom of the occupational ladder, but our overall social status is lower than that of any other group. Occupying such a position, we bear the brunt of sexist, racist, and classist oppression. At the same time, we are the group that has not been socialized to assume the role of exploiter/oppressor in that we are allowed no institutionalized "other" that we can exploit or oppress. (Children do not represent an institutionalized other even though they may be oppressed by parents.) White women and black men have it both ways. They can act as oppressor or be oppressed. Black men may be victimized by racism, but sexism allows them to act as exploiters and oppressors of women. White women may be victimized by sexism, but racism enables them to act as exploiters and oppressors of black people. Both groups have led liberation movements that favor their interests and support the continued oppression of other groups. Black male sexism has undermined struggles to eradicate racism just as white female racism undermines feminist struggle. As long as these two groups or any group defines liberation as gaining social equality with ruling class white men, they have a vested interest in the continued exploitation and oppression of others."

-bell hooks, "Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center"
posted by kaibutsu at 7:46 PM on December 5, 2003


Sorry for the tangent but I just read this extract in this week's Spectator and wanted to share:

"Harper’s Magazine reports that the students of the University of Colorado have named their student union dining room the Alfred E. Packer grill — after the only American ever convicted of cannibalism. Packer, a gold prospector, killed and ate his five companions when snowbound throughout the winter in the Colorado mountains. Sentencing him to death, the judge, a Democrat, is supposed to have said: ‘There were only seven Democrats in Hinsdale County, and you, Alfred E. Packer, you greedy son of a bitch, have eaten five of them'.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 8:14 PM on December 5, 2003


"Harper’s Magazine reports that the students of the University of Colorado have named their student union dining room the Alfred E. Packer grill — after the only American ever convicted of cannibalism. Packer, a gold prospector, killed and ate his five companions when snowbound throughout the winter in the Colorado mountains. Sentencing him to death, the judge, a Democrat, is supposed to have said: ‘There were only seven Democrats in Hinsdale County, and you, Alfred E. Packer, you greedy son of a bitch, have eaten five of them'.

Hahahahaha. I'm so picking that magazine up.
posted by The God Complex at 8:19 PM on December 5, 2003


Is "eating democrat" Miguel's idea of a euphenism?
posted by The God Complex at 8:21 PM on December 5, 2003


Yay, we've fallen to the level of semantics.

I'm anti-semantic, myself.
posted by Vidiot at 8:22 PM on December 5, 2003


Is 'bitch slap" still okay? Because I think Vidiot is asking for one.
posted by yhbc at 8:38 PM on December 5, 2003


TGF: it's a cutting from an old magazine or newspaper. Here's the full column which I quoted from.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 8:56 PM on December 5, 2003


I read the comment (sorry, late as usual), and thought it was a poorly-worded version of a phrase my ex-g/f used to use. Now, she's pretty damn liberated, but whenever someone of either (any?) sex would start whining, she'd respond (in a whining tone), "waaah, my pussy hurts."

What it comes down to, I think is that "vagina", like "penis" is hard to conceptualize as a metaphor. If I use one of those terms, I'm likely referring to someone's actual private parts. Same with, on the digestive-tract side, "anus". However, if someone uses "pussy", "prick", or "asshole", the metaphorical meaning (weakling, aggressive jerk, mean spirited person) is usually the first to spring to mind.

Me, I just wanna find out people's reactions to "asshole" vs. "butthole". On the rare occasions I hear someone called a butthole, I can't help but crack up.
posted by notsnot at 8:57 PM on December 5, 2003


Guys do generally still use the "you're a woman" style argument to insult each other. I was at a hockey game a short while ago and one insult hurled at a player was "You skate like my sister!" I know we've all heard similar statements made many times.

The fact that he got called out for it so quickly by the community says a lot of good things about this place.
posted by Salmonberry at 9:06 PM on December 5, 2003


What happened to the good, old-fashion, family friendly, your grandma uses it, phrase: ass-hat

or, for you go getters out there, ass-clown.

stick with the classics people!
posted by Stynxno at 9:13 PM on December 5, 2003


may I recommend we stick to the gender neutral A-S-S-H-O-L-E

Is it really gender-neutral? I don't think I've ever heard a woman described as an "asshole."
posted by NortonDC at 9:56 PM on December 5, 2003


'I don't think I've ever heard a woman described as an "asshole."'

You've never driven on the freeways in Utah, my friend.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:16 PM on December 5, 2003


i just have to sat, mathowie, thank you. i want to give you tangerines for your response to all of this.
posted by ifjuly at 10:45 PM on December 5, 2003


First they took the trolls, and no one paid mind.
Then they took the insensitive, and no one paid mind.
Then they took the people who say "vagina", and no one paid mind.

Then they went for me. But there was no one left to notice.
posted by Keyser Soze at 10:52 PM on December 5, 2003


Except the assholes.
posted by Keyser Soze at 10:54 PM on December 5, 2003


I was expecting that to go the direction of:
"Then they took the vaginas..."
posted by kaibutsu at 11:46 PM on December 5, 2003


The older I get the more I'm learing the real golden rule isn't "Treat others the way in which you would like to be treated" but is in reality "Don't be an asshole."
Words to live by. Except for the wrong spelling of arsehole, of course;-)
posted by dg at 12:26 AM on December 6, 2003


The last time we had this discussion, more or less.

My take is, as always, that creative insults, profanity, curses and imprecations are a lot more fun and effective than thuddingly stupid rote references to genitalia, male or female. Gender power inequalities notwithstanding.

(Case in point being clavdivs' recent inspired skull-fucking of my verbs, and subsequent auctioning off of my nouns to the yangban.)
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:44 AM on December 6, 2003


just have forced anal sex with me now.
posted by Keyser Soze at 1:12 AM on December 6, 2003


*wipes drool off Keyser's chin, adjusts his diaper for him*
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:27 AM on December 6, 2003


On the rare occasions I hear someone called a butthole, I can't help but crack up.

teehee!
posted by chemgirl at 2:35 AM on December 6, 2003


Hey stavros, my diaper needs a change. And its a baaad one this time.
posted by Keyser Soze at 4:03 AM on December 6, 2003




This is ridiculous.

Surely we can we stop the "s/he said a rude word to me" whiney crap, at about the time we hit puberty?

Those with overly-sensitive skins (genital or otherwise) would probably do best to stay away from the internet, chatrooms, and public message forums.

monju_bosatsu's complaint is not just trivial, but deliberate passive-agressive victim posturing, and it seems quite pathetic. Next time, monju_bosatsu, just tell them to "fuck off," instead of being such a tell-tale.

Good grief.
posted by Blue Stone at 6:44 AM on December 6, 2003


Blue Stone, belittling people who are offended by something (whiney, trivial, passive-agressive victim posturing, pathetic, tell-tale), and your call for an insult as the proper response will only lead to continual derails and personal attacks in threads. MeTa is here so that those things don't happen there. And, following your instructions, fuck off.
posted by amberglow at 7:12 AM on December 6, 2003


Can we stop with the vagina comments?

I just want to congratulate MetaFilter because no one chimed in and said, "VAGINA, VAGINA, VAGINA, VAGINA, VAGINA!" in this thread. I've been expecting it for 81 comments now. Heh. AND PLEASE DON'T DO IT NOW!!
posted by Shane at 7:33 AM on December 6, 2003


The fact that he got called out for it so quickly by the community says a lot of good things about this place.

No, it says this place is full of oversensitive pussies cry babies who need to run and tell Dad whenever the other kids aren't playing fair.

Sticks and stones people. Sticks and Fucken' Stones!
posted by Mick at 7:43 AM on December 6, 2003


The jokes touch on a sore spot (worst unintentional pun EVER!) that calling a guy a prick doesn't.

YOUR sore spot, it bears repeating. Insults are wrong because they are intended to harm an individual, not because they tap into some historical usage pattern. The fact that you are willing to differentiate between aggression (verbal or otherwise) between men and that between men and women suggests that your objection is based more upon an idea of women as weak and vulnerable than upon a humanist notion of basic respect toward other people.

Do I sound like a college student at a cushy liberal arts school yet?

To me you do, yeah. Sorry.
posted by rushmc at 8:29 AM on December 6, 2003


Blue Stone, Mick: Perhaps you could form your own community and enjoy telling each other to fuck off all day long without any whining from us overly sensitive pussies types.
posted by languagehat at 8:30 AM on December 6, 2003


Surely we can we stop the "s/he said a rude word to me" whiney crap, at about the time we hit puberty?

One might equally wish that people matured beyond the "saying a rude word to garner attention" phase at about the same time.
posted by rushmc at 8:35 AM on December 6, 2003


YOUR sore spot, it bears repeating. Insults are wrong because they are intended to harm an individual, not because they tap into some historical usage pattern. The fact that you are willing to differentiate between aggression (verbal or otherwise) between men and that between men and women suggests that your objection is based more upon an idea of women as weak and vulnerable than upon a humanist notion of basic respect toward other people.

OK, this is bollocks, frankly.

First, none of us is telepathic. Nor does any of us have access to an oracle of absolute moral judgements. So "YOUR sore spot" is pointless. Sure, it's Matt's opinion - but then so is YOUR post. It plays both ways.

Second, none of us lives in isolation. We live in a historical context. If that makes me sound like a Marxist then damn right. You think you invented everything you relate to when you got up this morning? 'Course not. It's context all the way down. You think nigger offends a bunch of black people because they got out of bed and jotted it down on their list of words to be upset by?

Yes, Matt sounds like an arts school liberal. When I read his post that was the first thing I thought. The second was that he was right. And the third was that it's a crying shame that I'm so used to this tired, seflish American cycnicism that divorces people from historical context so that can be sucked in screwed over and spat out by the big fat capitalist machine that people like you trot out again and time again that it takes someone like Matt, posting the glaring fucking obvious to wake me up from it.
posted by andrew cooke at 8:52 AM on December 6, 2003


amberglow, then the sensible thing to do is think "asshole" in response and get over it.... like a frikkin' adult.

This thread is all about being a whiny tell-tale. If a person can't handle something as innocuous as some silly mini-trollish (trolley?) comment like saying you've got a sensitive vagina, or sand in your vagina, or... ant's in your knickers, or your panties in a knot... then... well I'm surprised such a person can last five minutes - anywhere.

Trying to make out that calling someone a vagina is a sign of mysogyny, is nothing but bunk, and says more about the legitimacy of the complaint than I ever could in this post.

As people have said in this thread, we use the words "twat" "cunt" and "pussy" routinely. Consistency demands that these are now re-classified as mysogynyst acts.

As has been said, calling someone a penis is hardly misandry.
posted by Blue Stone at 8:54 AM on December 6, 2003


"One might equally wish that people matured beyond the "saying a rude word to garner attention" phase at about the same time."

I agree rushmc. The initial comment was childish. You would think anyone with half-a-mind could see it for what it was, and not be offended.
posted by Blue Stone at 8:56 AM on December 6, 2003


languagehat... nice overreaction. All I'm saying is that if you feel the need to respond, something of the kind is all that's required.

A "get lost" would suffice, if a "fuck off" is too confrontational for you.

In either case, better than bleedin' whining about it and making a mountain out of a molehill, which would make a good title for this thread.

...to which I'm contributing, yes...but only in trying to knock it down a little. OK?
posted by Blue Stone at 9:00 AM on December 6, 2003


I can't see how whining "Waaaaaah, they're taking away my right to use vulgar language befitting a nine-year old" is any better than complaining about vulgar language befitting a nine-year old. People used to say, "Don't dish it out if you can't take it," but around here, I think many people subscribe to the idea that the more you dish out, the less you have to take.
posted by anapestic at 9:05 AM on December 6, 2003


BlueStone, Mick, and Mathowie, I can see all of your points. I thought the original comment by Birddog truly was pathetic, in the sense that it was bullying, clueless, immature, and without effect - it was impotent and only served to call attention to his trollishness. I would not have brought it to Metatalk, because the issue had been discussed before, and because I would not have wanted to give Birddog more attention than he deserves. I appreciated the seriousness of Matt's tone in his first post here, but it came off a bit like chivalry, and attempts to protect us from the sexist, sad power-plays of certain bullie-boys may be construed as leaving us without our own voices. We can take care of ourselves. (Or at least I generally prefer to take care of myself, don't know what the other women think.) Gender relations can be a complete mind-fuck, but one of the reasons I love Metafilter is that most people here are are at least trying to figure it out.
posted by pomegranate at 9:14 AM on December 6, 2003


I'm just tired of the boyzone BS that fuels aggressive behavior like this and drives otherwise intelligent, articulate female members away from this place. You think women need to get thicker skins or some guys around here need to tone down their arguments and try to be a bit more respectful in their disagreements?

You guys don't see the emails I get every now and then from women that used to contribute a great deal but eventually feel surrounded by the "sausage fest" that gangs up on them and shuts them out.

If I sound like I'm overreacting, that's why. There's a high attrition rate for female members and we all lose in the end when they're not heard. Why do women leave this site?

"Go buy some ointment for your overly sensitive vagina." is something very mean that you'd say to a woman you never wanted to hear from again. The message in that statement is the same as "shut up, bitch" and embodies the worst possible male-female relations on this site, which is why I find it so distasteful.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:42 AM on December 6, 2003 [1 favorite]


Did birdD0G know that monju_bosatsu was female when he wrote the offending comment?

I only realised through inference, when monju complained that "Using 'vagina' as an insult" is "misogynistic." Before then, I had absolutely no idea. Infact there are any number of MeFi users, whose gender I neither know, nor care about.

If someone said that I, a male, should buy ointment for my over-sensitive vagina, well... frankly, the first time I heard the insult on South Park, I found it very funny. If some kid, or messageboard mischief-maker said it to me, I'd laugh. Or I'd fight my corner, if I thought it was appropriate. I'm not certain the comment had the poison you attribute to it, are you?

The implications of what you're saying, Matt, seems to be that we need to adopt a different way of talking to females on MeFi, than happens now: us guys, can rip into each other( I could easily handle the vagina comment directed at me) but we mustn't treat any of the galls as one of the guys?

Otherwise, what's a guy supposed to do? Stop the occasional bit of ridicule?

I am unaware of a harassment campaign endured by monju_bosatsu at the hands of birdD0g. If there was, I'd take a different stance, obviously, but one comment?

The further implications of what you say Matt, are disturbing. Because you're saying that in society, females should be treated differently to males. Females should be given special treatment, that we don't give (or expect) ourselves, as males. I honestly hadn't considered this.
Is that really where we're going? If it is, we need to renoegotiate all of the gains made by feminism and discount the demand to be treated as equals, surely? Give up the idea of equality between the sexes as a fallacy.

I'm not in a position to judge the information you have at hand, but you seem to be saying that it supports the argument that females should exist as a "protected species." Not sensitive males, who might be unable to take such ridicule, of course; just lasses.

Easliy done, if you make female users choose stereotypically female usernames or make female usernames pink, just so the guys know to take it easy.

Are we really going to start judging females by different standards? I thought we were moving away from that kind of thinking. I was unaware the battle for equality had been lost. That is what you're saying?
posted by Blue Stone at 11:53 AM on December 6, 2003


"Go buy some ointment for your overly sensitive vagina." is something very mean that you'd say to a woman you never wanted to hear from again.

And yet, in this case it was said to a male, no? (I'm assuming monju is male—that may be unwarranted. In any case, monju did not immediately choose to take offense at the wording of the comment, only at it's vacuous stupidity and irrelevance.)

Anyway, I don't disagree with your judgement that this was unnecessary and uncalled for and contrary to the values of the site. I'll repeat for clarity: I agree! What I do object to is the idea that women should get special protection while similar slurs against men (or, more accurately, maleness-based slurs) should be shrugged off as insignificant and not worth condemning equally. Even if the motivation is to encourage more participation on the site by women (a goal I'm all in favor of!), I don't think it should be done at the expense of (or according to different standards afforded to) members who happen to, uh, have members.
posted by rushmc at 12:01 PM on December 6, 2003


I have to mention Deborah Tannen again for those who are interested in thinking about gender and power in communications, both in person and online. Yes, she's an academic, but not terribly dry or into trendy post-deconstructionist made-up words.
posted by pomegranate at 12:04 PM on December 6, 2003


well really if youre going to try and avoid specific groups being targeted on metafilter then you really have to do it for all groups, which is something you singulary fail to do and in fact , even encourage.
posted by sgt.serenity at 12:04 PM on December 6, 2003


Yeah, I've always assumed monju was a woman, but I don't know why.

avoid specific groups being targeted on metafilter then you really have to do it for all groups

Women leave the site in droves, and I see what I perceive to be aggressive language directed at a woman (yeah that could have been a throwaway southpark comment, but without obvious sarcasm in text it looks bad) and I'm reacting to it. sgt., if you can locate similar groups being targetted with aggressive speech, feel free to point it out.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 12:11 PM on December 6, 2003


Blue Train, I think you're overreacting now. No one (including the women) is asking for BirdD0g to get banned, or even suspended. It was a request to keep it respectful. And we've had plenty of MeTa call outs from the guys on that as well.
posted by Salmonberry at 12:25 PM on December 6, 2003


Fuck the pope, bareback. Worthless piece of shit. Please, someone explain to me, what is the major malfunction of your brain that still lets you believe anything that comes out of the Vatican?

If all the Catholics stopped fucking each other, they would disappear within a generation


The truth about human sexuality is that priests have a tendency to molest little boys, and the Catholic church thinks this is okay.


your pope supports disease and misery, he supports pedophilia and pederasty, he supports dictators and despots

your master is the embodiment of evil

your post i believe. at least they(for it was many posters with their sausages waving) didnt say vagina though , i was quite relieved about that , good catholic that i am , i dont even know what that is.
posted by sgt.serenity at 12:27 PM on December 6, 2003


And also?

avoid specific groups being targeted on metafilter then you really have to do it for all groups

No he doesn't. It's still not a publicly held site. (Previously dead-horsed every single time Matt steps in, see about 50% of all metatalk posts for more info.)

Matt I appreciate that you're really trying to figure out how to balance things. Your sincerity says a lot about you.
posted by pomegranate at 12:32 PM on December 6, 2003


theres a strain of anti catholicism on this site that would put ian paisley to shame and you dont see how that relates ?
posted by sgt.serenity at 12:42 PM on December 6, 2003


ok i get it , we'll achieve a balance by only allowing certain groups to be targeted , that makes a lot of sense , i sure all the sausage wavers will exercise their discretion.
posted by sgt.serenity at 12:50 PM on December 6, 2003


I think it's more anti-Pope, anti-Priests, and anti-Church as an organization, than anti-Catholic people. There's lots of stuff that's anti-other organized religions too, and anti-every kind of organization.
posted by amberglow at 12:52 PM on December 6, 2003


theres some people in this part of the world that are very anti-catholic people , they might even take a glass and cut you from your adams apple to the top of your spine, for instance.
posted by sgt.serenity at 12:58 PM on December 6, 2003


theres a strain of anti catholicism on this site

I agree with you completely. Though I posted the vatican thing on world aids day, I did it because the message seemed appalling, especially to issue the statement on that day, regardless of the church behind it. Some of the comments it garnered were over the top and very offensive.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 1:00 PM on December 6, 2003


i know, sgt...but i don't think that's us. There are a bunch of anti-all religion people here and they're very vocal, so when catholic stuff comes up, they comment...the rest of us are just saddened or disgusted with some of the incidents and actions of the Church hierarchy--with the abuse scandals/coverups here in the us and about Aids/condoms, etc. Catholicism is different from other religions bec. it has a clear hierarchy and people in power who make decisions in public regarding all sorts of things in the world that affect millions and millions of non-catholics too.
posted by amberglow at 1:06 PM on December 6, 2003


and I could say (and have) about anti-gay comments here..there's certainly a strain of anti-gay people here.
posted by amberglow at 1:07 PM on December 6, 2003


Well. As a Catholic, I'm lapsed. But I'll speak as a woman on Metafilter: I keep my involvement here pretty strictly limited; I almost never get drawn into the controversial-subject posts, because, yes, they really are sausage-waving contests, and when I see them I do think ... "here comes the pain". I come here for the fun and quirky posts, the unearthed gems and the eye candy. If I wanted to discuss current events, I would go somewhere else, because it's pretty much armchair Fight Club around here.

To be honest, though, these days it's getting harder and harder to avoid the nasty threads, because this kind of gladitorial posting is becoming more and more the norm. (Hint: here's the part where everybody tells me to get lost, and not to let the door hit my vagina on way out, yadda, yadda.)
posted by taz at 1:09 PM on December 6, 2003


Perhaps the solution would be for the community to hold those who say such distasteful things in lower regard than those who post intelligently. That's happening in bits and pieces to some of the less mature people on this site, who will go unnamed.

The problem to me is less being offensive to specific people as it is dumbing down the debate. I could say "fuck Halliburton bareback" or "fuck Tom Delay bareback." But what's the point, ya know? It doesn't do anything useful.

If I was king of the world, I'd put a link to GeneFilter at the end of everyone's user name. But that's just me.

on preview: taz, few dispute the sausage waving allegations. But I think it's wrong to consider it useless to participate. Smart people's input is always welcomed, and their absence creates a void filled by the vagina comments.
posted by PrinceValium at 1:20 PM on December 6, 2003


minty fresh or springtime fresh?
I'm thinking expensive sushi fresh...

the Alfred E. Packer grill
Wow! Political Incorrectness from the University of Colorado! Expect the administration to forcibly change the name as soon as they sell off the dining room to a Subway franchise ("The Jared Room").

BTW, I admit it. I do skate like salmonberry's sister.

This thread is all about being a whiny tell-tale.
In my dictionary, "whiny tell-tale" is synonymous with "whistle blower", the kind of people we need more of to turn this ocean liner of a society out of its drift into a Mafia-style Fascist culture. Yes, I've been hurt by a "whiny tell-tale" once or twice, but that was only because I'd done something truly asshole-worthy. Right now, I am being a "whiny tell-tale" on some Porn Spammer who spoofed my yahoo e-mail address to promote his copy of the Paris Hilton sex tape.

Let's see what we can do to promote civilized behavior around here. "The line crossed" is a grey area the width of three lanes of traffic - if you can't tell when you've crossed it, you're not just obnoxious, you're an idiot. I've screwed up, I've been called out and I've learned. If you need to, mark the spot where you've been bad (no not that way), so you an avoid it in the future. Frankly, it wouldn't hurt my experience on MeFi if I never see the usernames BirdD0g OR Blue Train ever again. They're the kind of people I'd like to see "leaving the site in droves" and if it'll help discourage them, I'll be more than delighted to be a "whiny tell-tale" to the recreational assholes. "Women Haters", "Catholic Haters", "Bush Haters", whatever. All our "Hates", petty or significant, seem to make it through the 'Filter, and it's the ones who get called out who too often end up exposing themselves as the real whiny crybabies. Do what you gotta do, Matt. If it's worth anything, I'm behind you for whatever you choose to do to clean up this one-horse town (what's the old joke about the stable: "If there's this much horseshit, there's gotta be a pony somewhere"). As for taz, sgt.s, pom and other vaginal MeFites, please don't give up on us - some of us are trying to be good boys.

Excuse me, did I forget to use the tag?

on preview: what PrinceVal said.

posted by wendell at 1:23 PM on December 6, 2003


oops, that should've been "...the [rant] tag".
posted by wendell at 1:26 PM on December 6, 2003


Salmonberry, I don't remember commenting in this thread, until now...are you referring to someone else?
posted by BlueTrain at 1:38 PM on December 6, 2003


Instead of picking apart Matt's point perhaps stand back and read it for what it is. The owner of the site doesn't like it. Knock it the fuck off. Otherwise don't complain later when this is part of the straw bale on the camel's back.
posted by FunkyHelix at 1:50 PM on December 6, 2003


oh, crap. Apologies to BlueTrain. Shoulda been Blue Stone.
Can't speak for the salmon, but I am unconditionally sorry.
all you Blue Man Group members look alike to me...
posted by wendell at 1:57 PM on December 6, 2003


Bah! I...uh...I...no! I'm right! It was you BlueTrain! You...uh...were thinking it! Right?!? Right?

Sorry. Meant Blue Stone. I had another window open with a thread you had commented in. My vagina and I both apologise deeply for the mix up.
posted by Salmonberry at 2:13 PM on December 6, 2003


To make it perfectly clear, no, we (as in females) don't seek special treatment. Despite rushmc's constant pleas to the contrary, we would appreciate civility applied to everyone. Why men think it's fun or funny to insult one another is something that has always mystified me and it is wearying to see it here so much. It's even worse though, when a man insults another man by implying that he has some womanly characteristic, i.e.; "throws like a girl, skates like a girl, etc." BirdD0g made the ultimate in crude remarks by using the v word in a throwaway line as if that were the most reprehensible insult possible.
posted by Lynsey at 2:21 PM on December 6, 2003


Despite rushmc's constant pleas to the contrary, we would appreciate civility applied to everyone.

EXCUSE me?? On the contrary, it seems to me we want the same thing. (And the only person I've noted whose comments seemed to imply a different standard was mathowie...I'm certainly not generalizing to the entire female population! Where are you getting that?)

I do dispute the idea that it's worse "when a man insults another man by implying that he has some womanly characteristic." Stupid, clueless, self-revealing, possibly misogynistic, yes...but not worse (or better) than other sorts of insults. Unless you buy into the idea that being associated with "womanish traits" (whatever those may be) actually diminishes you in some way, then such attacks are meaningless in content, though as with all insults they reveal the ill-will that motivates them and lack of self control that produces them.
posted by rushmc at 2:43 PM on December 6, 2003


I'm interested in this news that women are leaving the site because they feel the place is too aggressively male. I'm sure those women have reasons for feeling the way they do, but for the record I'm a woman, and I've never thought that. Too aggressive, maybe, but then (especially since I've done my share of shit disturbing) it never even occurred to me that this was due to the disproportionate number of male members around here.

That said, maybe we'd be better off for an examination of why women get driven away. I understand the concerns over the possible "special treatment" for women, but still think that if we found we were, say, disproportionately white and people of other skin tones were being driven away, we wouldn't just dismiss those exiting as "too sensitive".
posted by orange swan at 4:48 PM on December 6, 2003


orange swan: I think males, at least where I'm from, are conditioned to be more aggressive. Meanwhile, females are told they should be 'passive.' If the passive woman meets the aggressive man, then, yeah, he's going to be judged as too aggressive. Needless to say, I'm not a big fan of social roles. Throw the mystique out the window, and get rid of the macho while you're at it.

My hat's off to you for sticking around, and for that insightful comment.
posted by kaibutsu at 5:05 PM on December 6, 2003


To clear up some of the clueless reaction of a few here, the dismissiveness by means of bringing up what makes someone a member of a historically repressed or otherwise disadvantaged group, it's similar to someone saying "let me guess, you're white" as a way to imply sheltered cluelessness.
posted by Space Coyote at 6:08 PM on December 6, 2003


which is something you singulary fail to do and in fact , even encourage.

On more occasions than just one.

I thought Metafilter was not a discussion board, but a place where people post interesting things they've found on the web.

Obviously, it is when it's convenient to their sympathies, and not when it's not.
posted by hama7 at 7:01 PM on December 6, 2003


Listen to wendell, people. He's been there and back, he knows. It makes me sad to see members with members cluelessly saying "Ya mean we gotta treat wimminz special or something?" Like kaibutsu, I take my hat off to the gals who stick around despite the macho bullshit, and I hope Matt's determination to improve things brings some of the refugees back.

Like the man said, "Don't be an asshole."
posted by languagehat at 7:05 PM on December 6, 2003


I thought Metafilter was not a discussion board, but a place where people post interesting things they've found on the web.

I believe the phrase is "weblog as conversation".
posted by eddydamascene at 7:19 PM on December 6, 2003


Metafilter just needs more posts about bust enlargement exercises and hair-care products. We gals just love that sort of thing.
posted by iconomy at 7:27 PM on December 6, 2003



posted by quonsar at 7:36 PM on December 6, 2003


I think girls have just as much a right to be here as us guys do, the same as Metafilter should stay blind to sexuality. This is such a great and intelligent beacon of a website that we should all give ourselves 30 seconds to "chill" down our perceptions.


I love metafilter. I love people. Let's enjoy ourselves and each other.
posted by Keyser Soze at 7:44 PM on December 6, 2003


I gotta get me some of that sodium amytal.
posted by Keyser Soze at 7:47 PM on December 6, 2003


I believe that the root of this problem is not so much what was said as that the poster assumed everyone would recognize its source as a quote from some quasi-popular television condiment.
posted by mischief at 8:12 PM on December 6, 2003


Mmmm, condiments.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:39 PM on December 6, 2003


This here web thingy goes all round the world, quasi-popular television condiments tend not to [whatever they are].
posted by meech at 10:31 PM on December 6, 2003


I have to agree with orange swan, I don't find this place aggressively male in any way which makes me uncomfortable being here. There are certainly some users here who seem misogynistic, but then there are also those come across as intolerant of all kinds of other things, that's how people are - at least here the vast majority of people seem to be relatively enlightened and evolved, and I suspect that in many cases that fact makes Metafilter a force for good - I know that my opinions about some things have changed directly because of the way people here expressed and backed up their side of an argument. I tend to roll my eyes and do my best to ignore it when people say offensive, juvenile things - after all, I avoid people like that in real life, but it certainly wouldn't cause me to leave the site, I tend to see it as relatively harmless in a big-picture sense (equally, I don't think it's inappropriate to call someone on it, even if, as it seems in this case, it was just a TV quote).

That said, I also agree with orange swan that perhaps we do need to consider why women are leaving in disproportionate numbers. But I think we also need to keep in mind that this place, like any other community, has its own mores and habits, and that these aren't going to suit everyone.
posted by biscotti at 11:14 PM on December 6, 2003


Gah, you're all acting like wet cockdocks.
posted by wackybrit at 2:55 AM on December 7, 2003


The lesson is.. don't use old rude terms to insult people, mm'kay? Invent new ones! :-)
posted by wackybrit at 2:59 AM on December 7, 2003


Well if Matt says that people are actually leaving because of such comments I'll gladly smarten up and make sure I don't say things like that in the future, and I hope all the other non-assholes on here see it as a matter of politeness, and not as the man trying to take away their freedom of expression or whatever. It's called functioning in a society, worth a try I think.
posted by Space Coyote at 4:08 AM on December 7, 2003


"functioning in a society, worth a try" : Sure, tempt everyone's inner rebel. That always works. ;-P
posted by mischief at 4:35 AM on December 7, 2003


these wet cockdocks, they quiver?
posted by quonsar at 4:41 AM on December 7, 2003


It's interesting that when even very popular male members choose to leave the site because they find it too unpoliced in matters of personal attacks, trolling, and general bad manners and behavior, the site speaks with almost a single voice: "Too bad, but don't let the door hit you on the ass on the way out. We will not change one whit for you." Yet now, all of a sudden, a significant subset of members are taking exactly the opposite view at the hypothetical idea that women may be having a negative reaction to things that occur here and leaving as a result!

Methinks hormones cloud rationality. If women and their perspectives and attitudes are an endangered minority around here requiring special rights and protection, then what of thoughtful, civil posters (of either gender) who spend an inordinate amount of time trying to contribute usefully to the community? If being thrown into the blood-and-claw survival-of-the-fittest arena with no defense but their own wits is good enough for them, then what does it say about one who implies that someone cannot or should not be allowed to compete at the same level within the same environment simply because she happens to be female?

I'm on record countless times arguing for greater politeness and civility amongst ourselves, and hopefully have (mostly) tried to lead by example. But this notion that women are shrinking violets who must be especially coddled is alien (and repugnant) to me. I mean, how insulting is that? If people are leaving the site because of bad behavior here, of any kind, than certainly that should be examined, but having already divided ourselves into fairly bitter exclusionary camps of "liberal" and "conservative," let's not make matters worse by raising gender differences into another divisive separator of the population. I'm hearing women say that there is no special problem here requiring a special solution...that works for me.
posted by rushmc at 5:31 AM on December 7, 2003


[..] I hope all the other non-assholes on here see it as a matter of politeness, and not as the man trying to take away their freedom of expression or whatever.

So you don't mind the non-non-assholes remaining assholes then?
posted by wackybrit at 6:15 AM on December 7, 2003


whiny tell-tale

"Tell-tale"?! Where I come from, it's "tattle-tale".

I'm hearing women say that there is no special problem here requiring a special solution...that works for me.

The ones who have left aren't posting. Duh.
posted by beth at 8:43 AM on December 7, 2003


I think maybe I should complain here about character assasination!
Likened to a paedophile by a female MeFite some time ago, likened to a mysogynist here, by another female!

Call someone a vagina, and it's an abomination against the holy temple of the velvet pocket. But assasinate someone's character, with insinuations because of the position they take on a single issue, and that's peachy.

Paedophile is a label that will readily get you murdered in your home, in the country I live in, and plenty others. Mysogynist is a cheap and nasty posion to throw at someone, when they're not supplicant enough to your views, it seems.

All a lot worse than a childish pussy insult. Or maybe, because I'm a bloke, that changes things.

I'll skip over the research that shows that female bullies are more devastating to their victims that male bullies, with them using psychological and emotional bullying to greater effect than the males' comparatively unimaginative blunt-tools, though my experience seems to bear testimony to that somewhat, here.

Really, most of the objections I've raised here were more as a result of the tidal-wave of chauvanism, "protect-the-little-woman" attitude, than monju's complaint (and there is a clear distinction between tattling the first time someone says a rude thing to you and whistle-blowing to unseat corruption and the like.)

Call me crazy, but when arguing that females are eminently capable of rising above petty insults, and functioning in the world without a strong man to protect them (and should strive to do so!) gets you bundled in with the woman-haters... well, it's not me that's crazy around here.

There's a Buddhist saying, about life being like a gravel path, full of sharp stones and rocks; that rather than wanting (or expecting) the world to be covered in leather - wear a pair of shoes.

I heartily advise monju, Matt, all the female MeFites, all the male MeFites, the trangendered, the young and the old, and anyone I've missed (qonsar), to take it.

Ok, I have to go. I've got to go do my MeFite lines...

I must not transgress the sanctity of the holy vulva.
I must not transgress the sanctity of the holy vulva.
I must not transgress the sanctity of the holy vulva...

posted by Blue Stone at 8:51 AM on December 7, 2003


So you don't mind the non-non-assholes remaining assholes then?

Sometihng are just too much to ask.

Rushmc: I think hormones get in the way, yes, but in both ways, in that the testosterone-fuelled need to compete and be the strongest biggest monkey in the bunch is just as much a product of hormones as the idea that owmen should be treated with defference
posted by Space Coyote at 8:52 AM on December 7, 2003


Speaking of monkeys, I'd like to point out that monkeyfilter has (so far, knock on wood) virtually none of the chest-beating and asshat-calling of this site; members are quite pleasant to one another, though there are plenty of jokey pokes-in-the-ribs. Somehow they seem able to distinguish between genuine jokes and asshole comments that can later be backed up with a combination of "I was only joking, can't you take a joke?" and "Suck it up." And what do you know, there seems to be a significantly higher proportion of women over there. I have no idea what to make of all this, I just thought I'd toss it into the discussion. It's probably irrelevant.
posted by languagehat at 9:00 AM on December 7, 2003


It's not irrelevant. It's The Honeymoon Phase, and it applies to online communities as well. Metafilter went through one. When the monkeys become more comfortable with each other, they too will be engaging in ad hominem attacks, invoking Godwin, and calling each other asshats, dickheads, and overly-pathetic vaginas. Unless they become members here, and then we'll do it for them. Metafilter is just like The Olive Garden - "when you're here, you're family". Whether we like it or not.

Me, I like it.
posted by iconomy at 9:40 AM on December 7, 2003


Do we get free salad and breadsticks?
posted by PrinceValium at 10:27 AM on December 7, 2003


It's interesting that when even very popular male members choose to leave the site because they find it too unpoliced in matters of personal attacks, trolling, and general bad manners and behavior, the site speaks with almost a single voice: "Too bad, but don't let the door hit you on the ass on the way out. We will not change one whit for you." Yet now, all of a sudden, a significant subset of members are taking exactly the opposite view at the hypothetical idea that women may be having a negative reaction to things that occur here and leaving as a result!

If individuals (who are randomly male, female, white, black, straight, gay, whatever) leave the site because they find it alienating, this is not a systemic problem. If we have a specific group of good members leaving in droves, then we have a problem. And since Matt has said that there is an attrition problem with female members and that he gets lots of emails from women complaining about the aggressively macho nature of the site, this problem IS more than hypothetical. I have said that I don't find the site as a whole aggressively macho or misogynist, but that is only my opinion - maybe I'm an exception (i.e., I grew up with three much older and larger brothers and am well used to scrapping and getting the worst of it).

This really isn't about women claiming special treatment. This is about making sure that the atmosphere of this place doesn't alienate specific groups of good members. If we for instance find that good gay, female or black members are leaving in droves and that as a community we are becoming disproportionately straight, male and white, then we need to at least look at possible causes thereof. Dismissing the concerns of others with an automatic "you're too touchy, get over it" is way too cavalier and is right up there with "you're just jealous" in terms of mature and productive interaction.

I wish we could see some of these emails Matt talks about (though I recognize that's probably impossible due to privacy concerns). If these women provide specific examples of what is alienating them, then we would have a starting place for a discussion on this issue. We might after looking at a number of such emails come a consensus that these are individuals who are indeed being oversensitive, but I don't feel we should just assume that this is the problem.
posted by orange swan at 11:16 AM on December 7, 2003


I believe the phrase is "weblog as conversation".
...as opposed to "weblog as FightClub".

The lesson is.. don't use old rude terms to insult people, mm'kay? Invent new ones! :-)
We're working on it: Don't be such an Azatothole, quonsar.
posted by wendell at 12:05 PM on December 7, 2003


metafilter is bizzaro - you go away for awhile and when you come back.. the *same people* are bitching over the *same things* they were bitching about 6 months ago. that's lame!
posted by carfilhiot at 12:23 PM on December 7, 2003


You can find lots of good candidates for new rude terms on MeFi's front page:
Octothorpe
Transdneister
MetaFilter can be a self-healing system, if you let it...
posted by wendell at 12:46 PM on December 7, 2003


I just went through the MeTa archives to see what other call-outs occurred. We have MeTa threads started over race, religious beliefs and other general insults aimed at each other in MeFi threads. We've also had the "is this a boyzone" threads come up here before.

As I said before, monju just made a request, not a call-out for any disciplinarian action. I'm not sure how that turned into us looking for special treatment. There have been other MeTa threads with people asking not to have insults hurled at each other.

In all honesty, had the "overly sensitive vagina" comment been sent my way, I would have shrugged it off. I think most of the women that stay on MeFi would have. I think jessamyn has the right approach.
posted by Salmonberry at 1:35 PM on December 7, 2003


The members of a group have a right to choose how they will be treated. If you do not belong to that group you cannot tell them how they ought to be treated - that is both patriarchal and patronising.

If a blind person wants to be called 'seeing-impaired' a non-blind person cannot say "You're blind" without causing offense. Therefore if your objective is to be offensive keep up the good work....
posted by meech at 2:09 PM on December 7, 2003


If a blind person wants to be called 'seeing-impaired' a non-blind person cannot say "You're blind" without causing offense.

so meech, is there a bulletin board where they post all these rules somewhere on a daily basis? cuz ya know, i'd hate to offend an optical washout or visual loser out of ignorance. the sightless freaks can be vicious.
posted by quonsar at 2:23 PM on December 7, 2003


You can always try and be polite but if you get it wrong and someone says "I dont want to be called that" then you have two options: You can say "Mea culpa - wont do it again" or "What would you know ya freakin moron? You're impinging on my free speech and anway you're being over-sensitive...probably because you're a sightless-freak".
posted by meech at 2:42 PM on December 7, 2003


If individuals (who are randomly male, female, white, black, straight, gay, whatever) leave the site because they find it alienating, this is not a systemic problem. If we have a specific group of good members leaving in droves, then we have a problem.

Three individuals leaving the site can comprise a "group," if one chooses to designate them as such. I don't really care if people leave linked arm in arm or separately...what matters is who leaves, how many leave, and why.

I'm not sure how that turned into us looking for special treatment.

As I've stated above, I haven't claimed that any woman has asked for special treatment, only that mathowie seemed to suggest that it would be appropriate to give it to them. My remarks are directed to that idea.

The members of a group have a right to choose how they will be treated.

No, they don't. Metafiltarians could proclaim their demand to be treated as royalty from one end of the globe to the other, and it neither will happen nor should. How any particular group interfaces with society is an ongoing two-way negotiation.
posted by rushmc at 3:29 PM on December 7, 2003


guys , maybe we should appoint a spokesperson for our gender too , it would save us a lot of typing.
posted by sgt.serenity at 3:32 PM on December 7, 2003


So you don't mind the non-non-assholes remaining assholes then?

What about morally-bankrupt assholes?
posted by homunculus at 3:33 PM on December 7, 2003


From now on I will be addressed as Abe Frohmann, the Sausage King of Chicago. If you do not I will assume you are being snooty snotty.
posted by Mick at 5:28 PM on December 7, 2003


Can I just call you "hautdog"?

actually, I stole that from Jody Maroni
posted by taz at 11:20 PM on December 7, 2003


Blue Stone - I thought the English knew about manners?

I think you need to go out and spend some time with a poor, gay, black, jewish woman. Granted, being a white male, your simple intuition is 99% of what you need to dictate policy for inter-gender dialogue. I especially like your "that's just bollocks" thesis. Fine development. But it might do you good to hear the other side, too. Take her out to coffee and cookies (or is that "tea and crumpets?")and listen to her story. This is all on your dime of course (or is that "shilling?"), since as a white male you'd better be employed enough to afford it, and a gentleman. Unless you're some kind of alcoholic with no money, or just a plain loser who lives off his wife.

Short of this sensitivity fieldtrip, you might search out a cement truck full of hydrocortisone, and a sand-blasting apparatus to inject it into your searingly over-engorged penis. If the overspray blisters your arsehole (doncha love how the Limey's have arseholes, not assholes?) I suggest bandages.

Mind you, if you react to this post indignantly, you'll simply be proving you have a thin skin about your gender, your race, and your country of origin. Clearly this is all in good fun, and there's no need to get your "knickers" in a knot. Get over it. You glistening prick. You are either laughing your "arse" off right now, or a complete hypocrite. Either my hat is off to you, or... not.
posted by scarabic at 10:22 AM on December 8, 2003


What am I then, chopped liver?
posted by dash_slot- at 2:08 PM on December 8, 2003


How any particular group interfaces with society is an ongoing two-way negotiation

I agree with that rushmc - I was being a touch simplistic. But when it comes to what a group wants to be called or not called then that is a priori the name they should or should not be called.
posted by meech at 6:08 PM on December 8, 2003


And how do you determine just who gets to speak for the group? And what of those members of the group who wish to opt out of this presumed majority decision? I just don't think it's that simple.
posted by rushmc at 7:23 PM on December 8, 2003


It's probably best if we switch back to specifics as every case will be slightly different. Monju_bosatsu complained [if she is not female then I think it would be fair to disregard the complaint] about an abusive phrase that contained the word vagina. For the moment then she is the representative of 'women' on Metafilter, males should respect her call and to be polite, should stop from using it or risk potentially insulting all women on Metafilter.

Perhaps if they wanted all the females could scrap it out over whether monju_bosatsu was being over-sensitive or not. I just find it 100% morally wrong for males to tell females how they should react to abusive female orientated phrases.

And as far as opting out I think females who want to be told to get some "ointment for their overly sensitive vagina" can leave a comment underneath to let other members [ahem] know. I'm expecting a low turn-out [and not just because this is comment 163].
posted by meech at 8:07 PM on December 8, 2003


While I won't tell them they shouldn't get their panties in a wad over some phrase, at the same time, when they come to a boy's club, they should expect to hear boy talk.
posted by mischief at 8:14 PM on December 8, 2003


but, boy talk is what happens at slumber parties. i'm so fucking confused.
posted by quonsar at 1:23 AM on December 9, 2003


boy club?
posted by meech at 2:21 AM on December 9, 2003


We're all lip-syncing anyway.
posted by Dagobert at 3:42 AM on December 9, 2003


no, that's boy bands.
posted by quonsar at 3:55 AM on December 9, 2003


I find it interesting that quite a few of the people defending monju's position in complaining about the abuse from BirdD0g, are falling over themselves in their eagerness to judge, denounce and condemn me, assasinate my character, tell me to "fuck off", and be directly abusive to me.

All because I disagree with the attitude that females should be treated as if they were fragile delicate things, unable to stand up for themselves and laugh off lame insults.

You all seem to hate in BirdD0g what you are more than ready to practice yourselves.

</forwards post to Alanismorissette.com for educational purposes>
posted by Blue Stone at 4:36 AM on December 9, 2003


Monju_bosatsu has a wife. Draw your own conclusions.
posted by iconomy at 4:44 AM on December 9, 2003


if she is not female then I think it would be fair to disregard the complaint

For the moment then she is the representative of 'women' on Metafilter

I just find it 100% morally wrong for males to tell females how they should react to abusive female orientated phrases.

I couldn't disagree more with the above three statements. Moral practice does not require either a penis or the lack of one, only a brain.
posted by rushmc at 6:22 AM on December 9, 2003


when they come to a boy's club, they should expect to hear boy talk

Interesting attitude, mischief. Tell me, would you in response to a complaint over a slightly different insult have responded with:

when they come to a white's club, they should expect to hear white talk

If not, please explain wherein the difference lies.
posted by orange swan at 6:49 AM on December 9, 2003


Actually, truth be told, if one does go to a white club, one should expect white talk. After all, when one goes to a black club, all one will hear is black talk.
posted by mischief at 11:41 AM on December 9, 2003


Oh, and just to be fair, what would we hear if we went to a girl's club?
posted by mischief at 11:47 AM on December 9, 2003


Since when was Metafilter declared a boy's club?
posted by theora55 at 11:56 AM on December 9, 2003


It's Matt's treehouse, so I expect that this is in the strictest, most literal sense a boy's club. However, I took mischief's meaning to be that it was "boys' club" (note transposition of apostrophe and letter s). Yes, the members are more than 50% male, but I did not think that meant that the club belonged to them and that they claimed the right to dictate the nature of the club and ignore or contemptuously dismiss the complaints of women who felt alienated.

I hope you didn't mean that, mischief.
posted by orange swan at 12:15 PM on December 9, 2003


Blue Train, I don't hear you laughing off the cheap insults. In fact, your complaints of character assassination have only intensified. Why not take your own advice?
posted by scarabic at 2:03 PM on December 9, 2003


Monju_bosatsu has a wife. Draw your own conclusions.
But the PC Laws say we should not draw any conclusions from this, as the partner of a lesbian female could be described as a wife also. However, being anti-PC, I have no problem with drawing the conclusion that Monju_bosatsu is in fact male. To say that males have no right to complain about the treatment of females here or anywhere else is ludicrous - at the end of the day we are all human beings (well, most of us anyway) and we all have equal rights to defend any sub-species who we see being insulted or downtrodden. Just because the insult in question contained an exclusively female part of the anatomy doesn't mean that a male is not allowed to be offended by it.
posted by dg at 2:05 PM on December 9, 2003


You are correct, sir.
posted by iconomy at 3:48 PM on December 9, 2003


Monju_bosatsu has a wife. Draw your own conclusions.

That Monju's wife uses his login?
posted by inpHilltr8r at 4:15 PM on December 9, 2003


doesn't mean that a male is not allowed to be offended by it.

But white middle class males make enough noise as it is. Shhh! Oh wait that's me...
posted by meech at 6:15 PM on December 9, 2003


Damn apostrophe fault! No, I implied no dictates, only that when some group is in the majority, that group's way of speaking will predominate and that any protest to the status quo will be met by resentment.

To be honest, I just wanted to use "panties in a wad". ;-P
posted by mischief at 6:32 PM on December 9, 2003


Well, if BirdD0g's comment were directed at me I'd be offended. It bugs me when men refer to women and women's anatomy to call someone a physical and emotionally weak crybaby. After all, me and my vagina are capable of of passing something the size of a football through an opening that is normally the size of a quarter - try that with a penis.

However, where I grew up it didn't matter if you were a boy or a girl - you'd be roundly mocked for running away and crying (much to my disadvantage. I'm more likely to cry when I'm harboring almost uncontrollable homicidal urges than I am when my feelings are merely wounded, but I digress). You were expected to fight even if it meant a few scrapes and bruises.

My first instinct when I'm insulted in these metasqabbles is to flee because I feel emotionally overwhelmed and vulnerable. I feel at an enormous disadvantage - how can I give an adequate reply when I simultaneously want to curl up in the fetal position with a blanket over your head and hunt down the SOB who insulted me and evicerate him? Thankfully, my second instinct is to dig in my heels and put up one hell of a fight, perhaps even refer to him as "a crusty, oozing, syphilic pox on the dickhead of humanity" - or at least think it to myself as I try to compose a rational rebuttal to his remark.

I'd like to encourage the other metachicks to stand your ground and give as good as you get. The great thing about these squabbles is that, unlike the physical world, you can slink away momentarily to lick your wounds, clear your head, come up with a couple of snappy comebacks, jump back in, and start swinging.
posted by echolalia67 at 5:04 PM on December 10, 2003


good advice, echolalia67.
posted by taz at 8:21 AM on December 14, 2003


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