Looking for an ex-husband August 18, 2004 11:07 AM   Subscribe

Misogyny-zone!
posted by dame to Bugs at 11:07 AM (252 comments total)

Nope.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 11:14 AM on August 18, 2004


Look, I don't think everyone needs to walk the feminist line, but the "women as objects to mock & satisfy me" tone in this thread is really fucking grody. Please stop. Thanks.

EB: I don't care what you think. Next.
posted by dame at 11:14 AM on August 18, 2004


i'd hit it.
posted by eastlakestandard at 11:16 AM on August 18, 2004


The woman is kind of a freak, and we've linked to men that were freaks as well. But I agree some folks went a bit overboard mocking her. It's not very mature.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 11:22 AM on August 18, 2004


(Nitpick) - This doesn't belong in the "bugs" category, does it?

I think that we can all agree, that women are not objects to be mocked, and do not exist only as tools for male satisfaction. But this one particular woman? She is ripe for the mocking. Her entire website is misandry squared, where is the outrage???
posted by Jart at 11:26 AM on August 18, 2004


Look, I don't think everyone needs to walk the feminist line, but the "women as objects to mock & satisfy me" tone in this thread is really fucking grody.

Sorry, I can't help but laugh at that sentence. It starts with serious feminist orartory and then ends with a total girl-word like "grody."

Smash the patriarchy because it's like totally nasty, beb.

And Matt's right, making fun of stupidity is a MeFi tradition, I'm not gonna show any mercy just because she's female.
posted by jonmc at 11:28 AM on August 18, 2004


I think the misogyny call-out is too strong. Matt is right, we've piled on pretty hard when we see guys doing this, and some mock more stringently than others.
posted by Salmonberry at 11:28 AM on August 18, 2004


I don't care what you think, either, dame, except when you blast it across MeTa as an inflammatory accusation. Then your overreaction both annoys and makes a mockery of any legitimate anti-sexist concerns.

The woman is advertising for a mate. People, quite naturally, responded with their own sense of whether they find this person mateworthy. There is absolutely nothing—nothing—inherently misogynist about that. A man would have been at least as mercilessly ridiculed. But that's not the point. The point is that you're making a specific accusation of misogyny on the basis that a generalization was made that "women as objects to mock & satisfy". No such generalization was made. Oh, it was a "tone". No, the tone was "mocking this person who is so lame to advertise for a mate". There's no gender-specific dehumanization going on there. It's dehumanization, true, but that's not misogyny.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 11:33 AM on August 18, 2004


I think that we can all agree, that women are not objects to be mocked, and do not exist only as tools for male satisfaction.

That's right everyone, listen to what it says.
posted by SweetJesus at 11:33 AM on August 18, 2004


Misogyny-zone!

I didn't realize that we had a designated space for that! Awesome! I'm off to practice my tourette's.
posted by Mayor Curley at 11:45 AM on August 18, 2004


1. The bugs category was intentional.

2. I picked grody on purpose, too. Because it isn't the mocking in and of itself, and while I take my feminism seriously, I'm not without humor.

3. Jon, it itsn't the mocking. There were particular ways of mocking that evidenced object-oriented objection, and that was what I found gross. It's basically the terms of mocking, and you didn't do it because you don't tend to objectify people.

I really thought about not posting this based on what normally happens when these objections are made. But the things that went over the line really got at me. And no one called them out in the thread itself, and I didn't want to get into it there.

On preview: EB, try reading it again & not just disagreeing with me because you don't like me. There are definitely cases where people are mocking her on terms only applied to women.
posted by dame at 11:46 AM on August 18, 2004


My apologies if my comments offended anyone. She seemed to be so far gone from reality that cutting loose a bit wouldn't harm anyone. Is it possible to make fun of someone who embodies a stereotype of women without actually making fun of Women en toto? I hope so, otherwise most of the Arnold Schwarzenegger mockery we experienced last year was actually sexist misanthropy.
posted by scarabic at 11:47 AM on August 18, 2004


Hypochondria-zone
posted by dhoyt at 11:49 AM on August 18, 2004


1. The bugs category was intentional.

Oh, come now. "Bugs" is the default, and you forgot to set the pull-down. This clearly should have been "ettitquette."
posted by scarabic at 11:50 AM on August 18, 2004


object-oriented objection

That phrase makes my head hurt.
posted by jonmc at 11:53 AM on August 18, 2004


...object-oriented objection...

"Ooh baby, your encapsulation makes me hot."

Dame: okay, I will. But I read it looking for and expecting misogyny, and I didn't see it. But I'll read the thread again. Scarabic's comment wasn't misogynist, I don't think.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 12:00 PM on August 18, 2004


object-oriented objection. That sounds like a new Smalltalk feature to me.
posted by chunking express at 12:02 PM on August 18, 2004


object-oriented objection

$thread = new metafilterThread();

$object = new person();

$object->description = "I wanna get married";
$object->sex=female;
$object->attractiveness_scale=4.3;
$object->set_mockery_level=8.3;
$object->piss_people_off=1;

$thread->generateobjection($object);

echo $thread->myobjection;
posted by Stynxno at 12:04 PM on August 18, 2004


I agree that some of the overtly sexual comments rubbed me the wrong way. However, when I posted something along the same vein about a guy two weeks ago (devirginizemarc.com), a few comments went over the top there, too. All in all, though, the posts were comparable -- a few women signed on to say they wouldn't do Marc, many questioned the wiseness of the whole endeavor, a few guys speculated on whether he'd do anal, etc.

Maybe when equally crass comments come from guys in both threads, it offends women more to read it in the one about Blaire? (Along the lines of, I can insult my own whenever I want, but I'll beat you up if you do it.) I think, fair or not, that this is true for me.

And I wish people would stop making dame out to be some overreactionary for asking us to think about this.
posted by onlyconnect at 12:06 PM on August 18, 2004


I thought the phrase was fun. Sorry to hurt brains.

And Scarabic, I really did decide to leave it in bugs. Because that's kind of the way I think about it, especially in cases like this. I don't think people are doing it on purpose. I think they got written that way and not really see it till it fuck something up. Of course, I know next to nothing about programming, so that could be a bad analogy.
posted by dame at 12:07 PM on August 18, 2004


and don't really see it till it fucks something up
posted by dame at 12:11 PM on August 18, 2004


There are definitely cases where people are mocking her on terms only applied to women.

Well... she is a woman. People certainly aren't going to mock her penis size.
posted by papercake at 12:13 PM on August 18, 2004


Feminists know that all us men are secret misogynists anyway. Not to mention rapists.
posted by reklaw at 12:30 PM on August 18, 2004

Look, I don't think everyone needs to walk the feminist line, but the "women as objects to mock & satisfy me" tone in this thread is really fucking grody. Please stop. Thanks.
posted by dame at 11:14 AM PST on August 18
emphasis mine
Look, I think you're oversensitive and in response I'm going to have to ask you to apologize for using my nick as a derogatory term.
posted by Grod at 12:39 PM on August 18, 2004 [1 favorite]


Good thing she's not Blaire Hornstine. MeFi could all get sued for -- gasp! -- being snarky! And then not stopping!

(Disclaimer: yes, I'm a woman. And a feminist. And while there are some people [*raises eyebrows in a withering fashion in their general direction, not that they're paying attention*] who are being, like, totally immature and grody [on preview: sorry, grod!] in the thread, I think that calling it out as misogyny, like, totally minimizes real misogyny. Seriously -- from one, er, dame to another: if you go around labeling everything of this high-schoolish caliber as full-on hatred of women in general, what the hell word are you holding in reserve for, oh I don't know, the forced genital mutilation of girls? Honestly, it's like labeling Republicans as Nazis -- it robs the term of substantive meaning, and it doesn't actually advance any legitmate points of argument. In short: with all due sisterly respect, this is, like, a fairly lame call-out. Some restrictions may apply. Actual cash value of coupon is 1/10 of one cent.]
posted by scody at 12:44 PM on August 18, 2004


Come over to my old man's place some time, and you'll learn a thing or two about misogyny.
posted by rocketman at 12:56 PM on August 18, 2004


It seems that onlyconnect really hit it (yes, yes). I didn't see the other thread, but for me there is a palpable difference between people with equal or less power picking on those towards the top of the heap, and people with more power picking on those with less. The latter is unseemly, to say the least, especially coupled with standard terms of derogation.

And onlyconnect, I'm not so worried about people thinking I'm overreacting. It's a pretty standard way to deligitimize objections to the status quo. But thanks for sticking up for me.

Overall, I saw a big enough devation from what I find ignorable coupled with no objection. Staying silent would have been complicity to me. If that makes me sensitive and dumb (those damn girls are always too sensitive, you know), it makes you insensitive (just like boys always are) and dumb, so let's go on about our ways until your bug needs squashing again.

Grod, that's like black folks demanding apologies for the use of the word "niggardly." Different etymology, my friend (and probably different entymology for us too).
posted by dame at 12:58 PM on August 18, 2004 [1 favorite]


I'm a woman and I found her idiotic and worthy of ridicule.

Now, I'm not sure that my attitude that other people are there for me to mock, and to satisfy me (if, indeed, that was what you meant, dame--because what you wrote indicated that the hypothetical "women" would be doing both the satisfying AND the mocking) is one of my most attractive qualities.

Dame, you suggest that when other people say you're overreacting "it's a pretty standard way to deligitimize objections to the status quo." However, sometimes people ARE overreacting. You are overreacting in this case--the status quo is irrelevant.

This woman is an idiot. She is, herself, profoundly sexist. She states her "case" in sexist terms (the idea that a woman has somehow passed her marriage "sell-by" date by age 27 is just the beginning).

Your taking exception to the critique of a sexist idiot being, itself, sexist, exemplifies (to me) mushy thinking. "Blaire" herself was the one who framed the discussion in inherently sexist terms.

Now, this is not to say that I thought that every post in the Blue was elegant, civil, or mature. I didn't. But if I went whining in the Gray every time everyone offended my personal standards of taste and decency...

...well, all I can say is that novels don't write themselves, you know.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:21 PM on August 18, 2004


Everyone in New Jersey looks like Bon Jovi to me.
posted by the fire you left me at 1:21 PM on August 18, 2004


This might belong in the thread itself, but --

it occurs to me that this Blair broad is presenting herself in this light on purpose. She's actually requesting judgment on her looks and attributes from strangers. She must know that there will be some people who might think her approach and the public part of her personality is a bit much, and she obviously thinks it's worth the ridicule she'll deal with to find this husband if he's out there.

Besides, you can tell from the way she sits in that one pic that she's got a huge cock. Huge.
posted by chicobangs at 1:22 PM on August 18, 2004 [1 favorite]


I agree that some of the overtly sexual comments rubbed me the wrong way.

*titters*
posted by quonsar at 1:40 PM on August 18, 2004


I'm not so worried about people thinking I'm overreacting. It's a pretty standard way to deligitimize objections to the status quo.

As Sidhedevil points out, it's also a pretty standard way to point out, um, overreaction.

More to the point, passing off any criticisms of your position simply as some attempt to quash your presumed truth-telling is a pretty standard way to dodge the substantive argument -- which is this case I would characterize as the legitimate question as to whether or not a few dozen sexist comments (and yes, they are sexist; no argument there) in a MeFi thread constitute active, systemic hatred of all women.

In other words, it is quite possible to criticize your position without automatically being in cahoots with some reified status quo that is just trying to shut! you! up! from exposing the reality of women's oppression. When people disagree with what you say, it doesn't necessrily mean they're oppressing you. It may in fact mean that you need to make a more refined, persuasive argument.
posted by scody at 1:45 PM on August 18, 2004


Scody, I guess I think it is letting the little things go that make the big things possible.

And I don't really care what Blaire thinks or what she expected or indended. It makes me feel unwelcome for having a cunt (as opposed to my opinions, my being a shit, etc.).

Anyway: "Girl notes misogyny. Some, including other women, say she overreacts. Film at 11."
posted by dame at 1:47 PM on August 18, 2004


You're overreacting.
posted by Witty at 1:52 PM on August 18, 2004


It makes you feel unwelcome for having a cunt (as opposed to my opinions, my being a shit, etc.)?

Yea, you're overreacting.
posted by Witty at 1:53 PM on August 18, 2004


I didn't see the other thread, but for me there is a palpable difference between people with equal or less power picking on those towards the top of the heap, and people with more power picking on those with less.

That's only part of the dynamic at work. And genral inequalities of power don't mean I abdicate my right give anybody what for if they act stupid/evil/ridiculous. Because women in general have less power than men, does that make it unseemly for me to poke fun at Paris Hilton? Because blacks have less general power than whites does that mean I abdicate my right to mock Al Sharpton or Puff Daddy?

You could make the argument that by treating these less powerful groups with kid gloves is to infantilize them. Part of equality is taking your fucking lumps like everyone else.

Anyway: "Girl notes misogyny. Some, including other women, say she overreacts. Film at 11."

This is Dame Brockman signing off.

couldn't resist
posted by jonmc at 1:54 PM on August 18, 2004


Oh, fuck, look what happens when you don't preview: you miss things, such as new posts.

I suppose that did come off more martyrish than is warranted, Scody. But it reached what I considered a point too far, so I asked people to stop. I didn't poo in the thread; I didn't call people names. I would rather that some other people (especially those men who so often pop up to say "I'm a good man. I don't do those naughty things and think they're wrong.") stepped up. But they didn't, and like I said, in this case I felt like being silent was being complicit. You disagree. As this is based on feeling on both parts, I can't make much more of an argument than that. We're both right for our perspective.
posted by dame at 1:57 PM on August 18, 2004


"Woman notes what she thinks is misogyny. Other people, including women, don't think it's misogyny. Film at eleven."

To me, random individual comments != the tone of a thread. If I had analyzed every comment in the thread, would I have found some of them misogynist? Probably.

But I don't find the thread as a whole misogynist, and that was what dame seemed to be complaining about.

Dame, if you found an individual comment in the thread misogynist, the appropriate thing to do (in my opinion) was to remark, in the thread, on the particular misogynist comment.

To post to the Gray suggests that you found the whole thread (or the preponderance of the thread) misogynist. I just don't see it.

Note: I have done graduate work in women's studies and have taught it at the college level. I am almost 40 and am old enough to remember when there were (legally) different pay scales for men and women doing the same jobs at the same level. I am old enough to remember "help wanted--male" and "help wanted--female" ads in the newspapers.

I know misogyny when I see it. This wasn't it.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:04 PM on August 18, 2004


Oh, so because something isn't as bad as it used to be I should shut the fuck up? What a wonderful argument.

And I did it here because this same argument would have occured in the thread and I thought segregating it would be better.

Jon, you can make fun of me as much as you want. Offer non-transferable.
posted by dame at 2:10 PM on August 18, 2004


It makes me feel unwelcome for having a cunt...

It's possible that what you're describing results from an inference, not an implication. Your feeling aggrieved is incontrovertable (except by you, of course). It's real. But what has caused you to feel aggrieved and who, if anyone, it at fault for this is another matter entirely. All those angry white males feel very aggrieved by feminists, too. They know something offended them. But the shit that they're full of is their own...mostly.

I'm a little baffled by the assumption by many here that "27 is about the time to get married before it's too late" is somehow inherently sexist.

I don't deny that a great many things—like the pornographic depiction of women—are as a practical matter because of the social context and history deeply sexist and often misogynist. But just because something is something in pratice doesn't mean that one should assume that every example of that thing and everything else like are are that "something" in principle.

Women and men (recent studies show that male fertility declines and birth defects increase dramatically after the age of about 35) have a "biological clock" that, assuming that most people are heterosexual and conventional and our social convention marriage, if they want to procreate, they can't wait too long to do so. But, even aside from that, our lives our limited and if, for whatever reason, someone accepts the idea of having a committed partnership for the majority of one's life, then one can't wait too long to find that partner. I was married from about 25 to 30. I don't think, really, that 27 is too late to marry, or, in fact, that it's ever too late to marry. But for the purposes of having children, and I don't have children, I can tell you as a nearly 40-something that I am deeply aware of that biological clock. 27 may not be too early, but 37 is really pushing it. Nothing about that is inherently sexist or misogynist—it applies to me, a male. This woman has just decided that "27" was when she wanted to reach that milestone in her life plan. She might as well be talking about getting college degree or publishing her novel or, perhaps, having a child. Why does this strike people as offensive or wrong in some inherent sense? Yeah, I understand that the historical context (and much of the present world's context) is that women are only valuable as baby machines and male lust satisfiers and therefore there has been a premium on marriage at a young age. So, wanting to be married before one is "too old" will naturally strike that sexist chord with many people. That doesn't make it sexist.

Just so with many of the reactions against Blaire. The context could have been sexism and misogyny; and in another time or place, it probably would have, and it would have taken much the same form as the non-sexist and non-misogynist comments here did. But one should be very careful about this type of thinking about other people because it's very heavily tilted toward psychoanalyzing them—and usually without a license to do so. If I start judging you and your actions primarily on what I assume is going on in your head, then I've stacked the deck against you.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 2:20 PM on August 18, 2004


No. I am saying that there is a difference between "misogyny" and "random sexist comments".

Did individuals on the thread make sexist comments? Absolutely.

Were some of those comments misogynist? Perhaps.

However, by issuing a blanket condemnation of the whole thread, you were overreacting.

To parse my comments as "because something isn't as bad as it used to be I should shut the fuck up" is yet another indication of the mushy thinking that has led to a) your garbled syntax ("women as objects to mock & satisfy me"), b) your sloppy logic (expecting people to buy the "paper tiger" fallacy that "people use 'overreacting' to describe challenges to the status quo"--even though that is true, they also use it to describe actual overreacting, and c) your irresponsible flinging around of accusations without specifics to back them up.

Way to advance your political agenda, dame. The sad thing is that this just confirms any actual misogynists reading this in their opinion of feminists as hypersensitive people who toss around unfounded accusations. Nice.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:22 PM on August 18, 2004


I really have a crush on scody.
posted by the fire you left me at 2:23 PM on August 18, 2004


dame, a very unnecessary call-out. I am a woman in the same exact age-range, situation, and region as Blair, and found nothing overtly offensive. I was actually musing about how tame and silly the comments appeared until you shouted into the gray. Blair begs to be ridiculed, as she is using her public website as a venue for shilling a marriage proposal. How common. (If anything, the comments parading various incitements over her “jappiness” are really irrelevant, and I’m more worried at these derisions rather than any paranoid misogynistic ruminations.)

I hear your argument very clearly, sista' dame, but you’re ‘preaching to the choir’. The majority of the male mefi contingent is very aware, tolerant, and respectful of womens' rights, so it’s really a disservice to shout ‘misogyny’ here.
posted by naxosaxur at 2:24 PM on August 18, 2004


As this is based on feeling on both parts, I can't make much more of an argument than that. We're both right for our perspective.

With all due respect, my position is not based on "feeling" at all; it's based on a political and rhetorical understanding of what, in fact, constitutes misogyny. Do some sexist comments in a MeFi thread EQUAL the systemic oppression and hatred of women as women? It's not that I simply "feel" it doesn't; it's that I believe there are substantial theoretical and practical reasons both why the two things are not the same, and why the distinction matters.

I don't advocate being silent/complicit/etc. in the slightest (trust me, I'm not the silent type -- I've defended abortion clinics, helped stop the execution of demonstrably innocent prisoners on death row, and shouted down white supremacists at KKK rallies -- hell, back in my 20s, I could do all that in a weekend and still have time to go out drinking ). I do, however, advocate not throwing around meaningful terms like misogyny and then boiling down any disagreements as simply differences in feelings. The women's movement needs a far more rigorous, thoughtful basis of theory and action if we're going to win the fights we've got on our hands.

On preview: Oh, so because something isn't as bad as it used to be I should shut the fuck up? What a wonderful argument.

Damn, dame, that's entirely fucking uncalled for and does nothing to make your case. You are willfully mischaracterizing the thoughtful, respectful points that some of us are trying to make here in a genuine spirit of being on the same side. You don't like people taking apart your weak argument? Fine. Then don't make weak arguments. Resorting to bratty petulance ain't gonna carry the day for you, and it sure as hell ain't gonna liberate women, either.

On second preview: um, yeah, what Sidhedevil said.

And I like you too, TFYLM.
posted by scody at 2:27 PM on August 18, 2004


Ethereal Bligh, Blaire's personal goal might have been to get married before she was 27. Nobody was objecting to her personal goals--I, at least, was objecting to the hackneyed, sexist terms in which she expressed those goals.

And, as the granddaughter of two women who had their first children at age 40, it pisses me off tremendously when people say that "37 is really pushing it" to have children. Yes, the risk of infertility and birth defects increases after 35, and everyone is aware of that. But people have children--biologically or otherwise--when they have children.

To suggest that somehow women over 35 who don't have children have made some terrible mistake in arranging their lives is offensive. Yes, if a woman wants children, she is better advised to find a partner or the financial resources to raise children on her own before she is 35. But if she hasn't, it doesn't mean that she's somehow screwed something up--it just means that her particular life circumstances present her with an additional challenge.

My paternal grandmother, for example, didn't have children until she was 40 because of her mother's prejudice against people of my grandfather's ethnic and religious background. My grandmother and grandfather fell in love in their early twenties but didn't marry until after my great-grandmother's death.

My maternal grandmother didn't have children until she was 40 because she was too busy working to support her younger siblings and her hospitalized mother. One of my great-aunts didn't have children until her late thirties because she was married to a man who had been seriously injured in World War I; she cared for him until his death, then remarried and had children with her second husband.

There are lots of reasons people don't get married when it's "time" by their society's standards. To suggest that women in North America and Europe today are, somehow, uniquely "failing" in their Special Fertility Mission in a hitherto unseen way is just ill-informed.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:31 PM on August 18, 2004


Also, I vote scody as MeFite With Whom I Would Most Like to Protest a KKK Rally and Then Go Drinking.

A lot.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:34 PM on August 18, 2004


Is Metafilter a boyzone? Yep.

It's a crummy front page post. The comments are actually grody, and it deserved the call-out. There is no shortage of boyzones on the Web. Can Metafilter please not be one?
posted by theora55 at 2:36 PM on August 18, 2004


Sidhedevil: well, I know a great bar we can go to afterwards... anyone know where a Klan rally is so we can get this party started?
posted by scody at 2:39 PM on August 18, 2004 [1 favorite]


The only word grodier than "grody" is "boyzone".
posted by dhoyt at 2:43 PM on August 18, 2004 [1 favorite]


I guess what we all meant to say was, "dame you're right... we ALL agree with you exactly to the degree with which you hoped. Men are pigs. Feminists rule! There's no chance that you could be overreacting. We applaud you for pointing out this troubling misogyny trend here at MetaFilter and apologize for even thinking of disagreeing with you. Our bad."

Now, can you post of picture of yourself already, so we boyz can vote on you and rate your "hotness"? Thanks!
posted by Witty at 2:48 PM on August 18, 2004


Much ado about nothing.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:56 PM on August 18, 2004


It's a pretty standard way to deligitimize objections to the status quo.

...just as casting all disagreement as oppression is a pretty standard way to actually avoid rhetorical rigor and the burden of substantial argument.
posted by scarabic at 2:57 PM on August 18, 2004


And general inequalities of power don't mean I abdicate my right give anybody what for if they act stupid/evil/ridiculous. Because women in general have less power than men, does that make it unseemly for me to poke fun at Paris Hilton? Because blacks have less general power than whites does that mean I abdicate my right to mock Al Sharpton or Puff Daddy?

Yes, yes, you're right! But doesn't degree figure in here? I think female comedians can make certain jokes that portray women in a negative light, yet if a male comedian tried the same joke, he would just look bad and bitter. Same with comedians of minority races, etc. To some extent, I think that's why some of the jokes from guys in the Blaire thread annoyed me, and why I was similarly annoyed in the Washingtonienne thread when a bunch of guys piled on to gleefully ID Ritter as a bitch or a ho without also IDing the guys she slept with as johns.

I do think misogyny is a strong word here, and I'm not ready to sign on to that. Now, SpaceCadet . . . Anyway, except for the use of the nuclear bomb m-word, though, I think this was a fruitful MeTa. I do think guys at MeFi generally submit amazingly enlightened and progressive internet commentary. Just every once in a while it's like we're in a locker room and a few guys forget it's coed.
posted by onlyconnect at 2:57 PM on August 18, 2004


Sidhedevil: I'm not a spokesperson for your movement. If other people want to act like I am, well, I can't help you there. And you consistenly misunderstand my motivations. I didn't post it in the thread so as not to derail. I didn't pick on specific people because I didn't want it to be about specific people. I think comments like that always being let go makes for bad atmosphere. Today I had the time and masochistic inclination to object to that. That is not your method. Fine. You think I did it poorly. When I get a sec, I'll look over it and do it better in the future. But:

To parse my comments as "because something isn't as bad as it used to be I should shut the fuck up" is yet another indication of the mushy thinking

No, it's giving your comments the same amount of consideration & faith as you give mine. And it is an admittedly poor reaction.


that has led to a) your garbled syntax ("women as objects to mock & satisfy me"),

Nope that's just laziness. Thanks for playing.

b) your sloppy logic (expecting people to buy the "paper tiger" fallacy that "people use 'overreacting' to describe challenges to the status quo"--even though that is true, they also use it to describe actual overreacting,

Again, you use something I recanted to pick on something that is actually a question of fundamental disagreement. You think picking on small things when there are bigger ones is overreacting. I think it is worthwhile to attack the atmomsphere in small ways.

and c) your irresponsible flinging around of accusations without specifics to back them up.

I did it, as I said above, to try to avoid making it a grudge match. It still didn't work. Live and learn. But stop impugning my motivations when you don't know what you are talking about.

Scody: You came acoss as wanting to work together, and I feel like I responded in the same spirit. Sidhedevil didn't and I didn't feel bound to that. Sorry.

On preview: Witty, I'm fat and bossy and have a big mouth. You certainly aren't interested.

And I wanted people to think and discuss. That kind of worked, though with excellent bonus of me making myself look like a fuck. That was the best New Year's resolution ever, and the only one I've managed to keep: look like a fuck every day.
posted by dame at 3:05 PM on August 18, 2004


I don't believe we invited women to COMMENT on this thread. Please stop at once, and go back to your knitting.
posted by seanyboy at 3:05 PM on August 18, 2004


look like a fuck every day

now we've done it ... she's internalizing the misogyny she was complaining about
posted by pyramid termite at 3:20 PM on August 18, 2004


Some days all women look like fucks. All days some women look like fucks.
posted by dhoyt at 3:32 PM on August 18, 2004


And it's amazing just how fast a man can make that call... speed'a light I believe.

{man walking down a crowded city street}
5
8.5
gawd damn
4
4
4.5
yikes
9
looks like so n' so
6.5
5
YOWZA!
2
5.5
... and so forth. It's maddening really.
posted by Witty at 3:42 PM on August 18, 2004


*exposes junk*
posted by quonsar at 3:47 PM on August 18, 2004


Y'know, I'd ask "Where's freebird," but it looks like s/he'd be hard-pressed to out meta these arguments.
posted by yerfatma at 3:47 PM on August 18, 2004


It would help, dame, if you cited the specific comments to which you were objecting, rather than issuing a blanket damnation of an entire thread. Then people could more reasonably decide whether they agreed or disagreed with you.

"Metafilter is, like, SO Xist!" See how unhelpful that is?
posted by rushmc at 3:48 PM on August 18, 2004


I don't get it, Witty. In a thread about sexist/misogynestic behavior on MetaFilter, was you comment suggesting that you immediately rank every random woman you see according to her fuckability factor supposed to be funny, or just sad? Color me unimpressed.
posted by onlyconnect at 4:07 PM on August 18, 2004


You realize, of course, dame, that relying on this position of lesser power to validate your argument deliberately perpetuates that position of lesser power. If you think your position of lesser power is such a tragedy, then stop acting from that place, relying on it, in fact, for legitimation. That's called vicitmizing yourself for the sake of making a point, and I think many feminists would resent it.

I don't have a cunt, but I've studied feminism formally and informally and I don't think it's all about respecting women's handicaps as downtrodden beings. It's about recognizing and celebrating their equality. They stand equal to earn, own, vote, etc, and also equal to serve time, be scrutinized and made fun of. Are you sure your complaint is really clearly outside the margin of error one must allow for humor?

I guess I'd like to know which specific comments, as well.
posted by scarabic at 4:12 PM on August 18, 2004


that's not junk, quonsar, it's a shaving
posted by pyramid termite at 4:13 PM on August 18, 2004


scarabic, i'm sure that my comment about the microphone was one of those she objected to ... i was being crude, sue me ... i think there's something disingenuous about blair commodifying herself ... and the men she's contacting ... and then pretending as if sex isn't part of the package she's marketing ... as if dame never looked at a man with lust in her heart ... or a woman, if she's inclined ...

i think there's something basically false about the consciousness that denies our internal wiring to the point where we can't express or joke about it ... sure, that's not all there is to relationships ... and it's wrong to see women or men as hotties only ... but the kind of shallow view blair's taking of this annoys me to no end ... she's willing to demean these men by defining them as potential husbands only, according to her rather narrow view ... but god, let me make a suggestive remark towards a woman who would see me as a fat 47 year old factory rat loser and i'm an evil misynogist

who's the one who insists that they "work out"? ... tell me, isn't that seeing a man as a piece of meat? ... is there anything in that page that suggests she's actually interested in the men she's dating as real people aside from their worth as potential husbands?

but let me make a smart remark about what she might be willing to perform for the man who meets her stringent consumerist standards and i'm sexist ... uh huh ... i guess the message i can take from that is that not only am i not a real human being to her but i'd better not be expecting anything in return for the overwhelming privilege of being her mate

phooey on that ... and phooey on people who blame the offended rather than the offensive
posted by pyramid termite at 4:35 PM on August 18, 2004


is there anything in that page that suggests she's actually interested in the men she's dating as real people aside from their worth as potential husbands?

No...no...looks like she's pretty much looking for an income and perhaps a sperm donor, from what I can see...
posted by rushmc at 4:47 PM on August 18, 2004


Scarabic's comment in MeFi thread: Wow, she's actually not fat. From the tight face shot on the first page, I woulda guessed mudflaps for sure: "Here's my picture! Isn't the area between my upper lip and eyebrows attractive?" Uh. Yeah. Red flag. / But she's actually not made out of cottage cheese... So then... what? / Oh. Psycho. Gotcha.

Scarabic's 12th comment in MeTa thread: My apologies if my comments offended anyone. She seemed to be so far gone from reality that cutting loose a bit wouldn't harm anyone.

Scarabic's much later comment: I guess I'd like to know which specific comments offended you, as well.

So early on when you thought you might get piled on for being labeled a misogynist, you quickly apologized, but now that it's clear that the pile on has gone in the other direction against dame, you can't begin to see how your comment might offend?

For the record, I don't think your comment in the thread was misogynistic. I do think it objectifies women, is sexist in its assumptions about what age a woman should be married by, and was in bad taste. (Specifically, it seems to assume that any single 27 year old woman is either fat or psycho. Thanks. Also, see Sidhedevil's comment on such assumptions.)

It's about recognizing and celebrating their equality.

This is difficult to absorb from a guy who has just in effect written me and many others (over 27 and single) off as either fat or psycho. Perhaps your standard for "equality" is satisfied as long as you harbor similar suspicions about bachelors who are over 27?
posted by onlyconnect at 5:17 PM on August 18, 2004


Dame, I'm not making it "a grudge match". I had no opinion about you until you started posting this stupid crap in the Gray.

Your attribution of your hopelessly garbled syntax to "laziness" in no way invalidates my diagnosis of you as a "mushy thinker", now does it?

I wasn't flaming you for your hideous spelling, after all (though you provided plenty of opportunities for same)--I was pointing out that what you wrote meant exactly the opposite of what you intended to say. To dismiss that as nit-picking sends my "mushy thinker" detector needle way into the red.

Making a post that it bugged you that there were sexist comments on that thread would have been quite reasonable. Trying to paint the whole thread--and, by implication, MetaFilter--as "misogynist" was overreacting.

Then, attempting to justify your hypersensitivity and explain away everyone's reaction to you as their attempts to oppress you made you seem even more ridiculous.

Dame, you are overreacting all over the place. To talk about a discussion in terms of political or legal martyrdom ("I recanted") demonstrates your inability to participate in a logical debate.

Pyramid Termite makes the same point I was trying to make, above--Blaire is incredibly sexist in her world-view. The criteria she describes for her desired husband partake wholly of an outdated relationship paradigm of men-as-providers-women-as-sex-objects-and-helpmates. There is nothing in her criteria about individuality or unique personality traits--rather, she seems to want to play "Mystery Date" on the Internet. For keeps.

And, yes, she is an object for us to mock. Because she put this website out there, just as the "DeVirginize Marc" guy did, just as the "Peter Pan" guy did, just as Alan Keyes did, and just as "MaryRomantic" did.

It isn't racist to mock Alan Keyes's website; it isn't anti-man to mock "DeVirginize Marc"; and it isn't misogynist to mock Blaire.

(Which doesn't mitigate the grudge I bear against everyone who made stupid, sexist comments on that thread. Grrrrr! is what I say to you. Bad manners, and you've all got a hell of a nerve!)
posted by Sidhedevil at 5:18 PM on August 18, 2004


Also, I agree with onlyconnect in that I, too, thought scarabic's comment about how surprised he was that Blaire "wasn't fat" was particularly a) sexist, b) childish, and c) ridiculous, because I somehow doubt that scarabic looks exactly like Ashton Kutcher himself.

As a woman scarabic would probably describe as "fat" (my lovely husband, whom I married at age 35, describes my physique as "Betty Boop, Warrior Princess"), I say "screw you, pal" on behalf of all unmarried women ages 27 and up, especially the "fat" ones.

My own plan (spending my time worrying about more important things than scarabic and his ilk's opinion of my body size) led me to an incredibly happy marriage with a wonderful man. (And, yes, he's handsome and financially secure as well, which was just gravy on his delightful plate of smart/funny/caring to me!)

In any case, I found that comment, and a few others, childish, stupid, and sexist. Some people disappointed me.

However, there's as much of a difference between that and "misogyny" as there is between rudeness and oppression.
posted by Sidhedevil at 5:25 PM on August 18, 2004


It seems that onlyconnect really hit it (yes, yes). I didn't see the other thread, but for me there is a palpable difference between people with equal or less power picking on those towards the top of the heap, and people with more power picking on those with less. The latter is unseemly, to say the least, especially coupled with standard terms of derogation.

Well, but who's really in power here? I'm mean, I've got a y chromosome so I'm obviously the oppressor — but reading her site it looks like she makes quite a bit more money than me, so clearly she, as an evil capitalist running dog, holds the power — and she's better-educated than I, which I suppose puts me in a lower class — but I'm not stupid enough to believe in astrology, which has got to count for something — well, fuck, it gets so complicated trying to keep track of this hierarchy of empowerment and oppression here. Who gets to mock whom? Maybe we could just ban all negative thoughts lest someone be inadvertantly mock an unauthorized mockee. But if they're immune from mockery doesn't that put them in a position of greater power than the would-be mocker? Damn, you need RDF to keep track of this shit.

Dame, I like you and generally when you post on issues of feminism and the like I find that if I suppress my knee-jerk anti-political-correctness tendencies for a moment you're generally spot-on and well-reasoned and tend not to overreact. But this was just a stupid callout.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 5:27 PM on August 18, 2004



For the record, I don't think your comment in the thread was misogynistic.


Neither do I, nor do I think it's mututally exclusive to maintain that and still apologize if, in fact, I offended anyone. That's called having some tolerance for different points of view. Perhaps someone would consture my comment as misogynist. If they do so, I'd like to reassure them of my intentions.

As dame has continued her rant here I've disagreed with the things she's said along the way. I don't mind offering an apology to anyone I may have offended, but yeah, actually, I'd like to know if what I said is what she's talking about. As for the turn of the mob, I don't wait for the weathervane, if that's what you're saying (thanks for the implication of spinelessness, btw). I followed my apology, immediately, with a counterpoint, as your carefully clipped quotations do not show. Nice hack job but survey says XXX.

a guy who has just in effect written me and many others (over 27 and single) off as either fat or psycho

You know what, take a leap. You're exaggerating what I said, and working yourself into a froth. Look, people, I haven't said anything nasty about fat people. I'm thrilled for anyone who's ever found happiness with another person, whether fat, skinny, ugly, funny, dopey, sleepy, or whatever. Good on you, and Amen!

I just made a joke about the fact that they like to be portrayed, photographically, in tight face shots. I've seen this once or twice and find it a little vain, perhaps a little deceptive. I thought I was seeing it with Blair, but wasn't. With the case closed on that I continued reading and noticed: whoop! willya look at that. She's a psycho!

How this implies anything negative about Sidhedevil or her husband, I don't know. Where, in any of this, have I implied ALL WOMEN are either fat or psycho? I'm sitting here, defending my sexual morals against these defensive exaggerations, all based on a jokey comment dropped about some idiot's internet personal ad... I must be and idiot or a psycho to have let you bait me like this. But have at me, what the hell. It's a feeding frenzy now, and you can officially eat me.
posted by scarabic at 5:42 PM on August 18, 2004


My comment in the thread was misogynistic and oppressive. But I couldn't help myself, she spells "Blair" with an e.

> *titters*

That your new nick, q?
posted by jfuller at 5:43 PM on August 18, 2004


It's a feeding frenzy now, and you can officially eat me.

Hookay, that made me laugh. See, angry feminist not totally without sense of humor here.

I thought you were assuming she was composed of mudflaps and cottage cheese not just because of her tightly cropped picture, but also because of the very existence of her website (i.e., a 27 year old woman looking for a husband). If I was wrong I apologize to you, but I read that into your statement as a given.

Coincidentally, am now heading out to pick up dinner. :P
posted by onlyconnect at 5:58 PM on August 18, 2004


Wow. Bligh hit it out of the park.

But then, you probably don't care what I think either.

Nice kneejerk. What a waste of a callout.
posted by trharlan at 6:07 PM on August 18, 2004


This thread makes me sad.

Yes, dame (who is normally sensible and thoughtful) went a little over the top with the callout; probably if she'd taken a couple of minutes to stand back and think about it she'd have either phrased it differently or said "Oh, the hell with it" and let it go. But if we all took a couple of minutes to stand back and think about it, MeFi would be a very different place; it's not fair to hold her to standards that, frankly, almost no one here consistently meets. And the important thing is that this is not "just a stupid callout"; it's an overstated presentation of a real problem. I don't care how many people refuse to see it, MetaFilter (like just about every site that's not explicitly feminist) is full of unthinking sexism. It's simply not the case that because both men and women are made fun of here, there's no difference in treatment. The "fun" made of women almost always keeps coming back to their perceived sexual attractiveness and lack thereof; this is very different from "what a dork!"

And you know what? I don't think Blaire is so awful. I know a woman very much like her -- Jewish, "event planner," increasingly nervous about finding a husband before it's Too Late. She's smart, neurotic, alternately fun and annoying to be around, and frequently self-defeating. She's not as pretty as Blaire, or as successful, but the human material is similar, and I'll bet if she knows about this site she thinks it's a great idea. Does that make her dumb, or evil, or worthy of our contempt? I don't think so. But I guarantee that if she had a website and it got linked to here, incredibly nasty things would be said about her (with the eternal justification that because she's put something out there in public she's asking to be mocked), and those things would be specifically geared to her womanhood (as defined by desirability). I don't bring this stuff up much because I realize it's a lost cause, but I thought about it as I read the thread dame is complaining about, and I'm damned if I'll let her get steamrollered without standing up for her. She's making a good point, and deserves discussion rather than a pile-on (and scody gets a gold medal for single-handedly trying to make that happen).
posted by languagehat at 6:23 PM on August 18, 2004


That's called having some tolerance for different points of view. Perhaps someone would consture my comment as misogynist. If they do so, I'd like to reassure them of my intentions.

You refer to mudflaps and cottage cheese, exclaim your "shock" that she's not fat, call her a psycho, and then have the audacity to call yourself tolerant?

Wow. Not to dwell on the obvious for too long, but your comment was rude. The terms you used were stereotypical and, quite frankly, immature. And I wouldn't care if you simply left the thread without comment. But instead you defend yourself, as if your juvenile behavior was useful and necessary because candid opinions like yours are rare around here.
posted by BlueTrain at 6:41 PM on August 18, 2004


http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=dork

1. Slang. A stupid, inept, or foolish person: “the stupid antics of America's favorite teen-age cartoon dorks” (Joshua Mooney).

2. Vulgar Slang. The penis.

um ... i thought it was "very different", languagehat ... i guess not

i just feel that the attitude some are expressing here is that certain aspects of women are verboten to poke fun at while just about anything goes with men ... and i don't buy the "unequal power" argument someone else made because we have no real power here
posted by pyramid termite at 6:44 PM on August 18, 2004


and i don't buy the "unequal power" argument someone else made

Oh, do you mean mathowie?
posted by trharlan at 6:50 PM on August 18, 2004


I'll add my support to what languagehat said. You may now resume taking snipes at each other.
posted by vacapinta at 7:04 PM on August 18, 2004


Some of you are misinterpretting scarabic's in-thread comment. The point of the comment is not "because she's that age and unmarried she must either be fat or psycho," but rather "Only fat or psycho women use that photo pose."
Wow, she's actually not fat. From the tight face shot on the first page, I woulda guessed mudflaps for sure: "Here's my picture! Isn't the area between my upper lip and eyebrows attractive?" Uh. Yeah. Red flag.

But she's actually not made out of cottage cheese... So then... what?

Oh. Psycho. Gotcha.
On preview, hmm, too slow to contribute.
posted by NortonDC at 7:04 PM on August 18, 2004


trharlan ... we have no power here ... none at all ... period ... don't distort my argument like that ... and don't be so sure that calling someone a dick in real life isn't an expression of power over someone
posted by pyramid termite at 7:05 PM on August 18, 2004


Dame says I can make fun of her as much as I want!

*sings*

dame, dame
She's so lame
her mother should
be ashamed



Hmm. The magic is gone.

*sniff*
posted by jonmc at 7:08 PM on August 18, 2004


pyramid_termite: I was agreeing with you.
posted by trharlan at 7:13 PM on August 18, 2004


Languagehat, dame didn't pose a question, ask for opinions, seek others input, or provide any reasoning or justification.

What she did was to mis-label an entire thread as misogyny and tell people to stop, and then get really pissy when anybody had the audacity to question that directive. Guess how far that got her?
posted by NortonDC at 7:17 PM on August 18, 2004


oh ... sorry
posted by pyramid termite at 7:25 PM on August 18, 2004


now, now. there's only one way to decide this.

jello wrestling.

first person to rip off the opponent's bikini top* wins!

* both sexes must wear a bikini so guys, go get a bikini wax. you've gotta look your best!
posted by Stynxno at 7:43 PM on August 18, 2004


But because scarabic lead with "Wow, she's actually not fat," rather than with the photo reference, I read the subtext of his first sentence to be, "Wow, spinster 27 year old is actually not fat. Shocking!"

I also read his follow up statement "So then . . . what?" to mean, "so then why is this woman not married yet, if she's not made of cottage cheese?" Thus I understood the whole thing together to mean that unless she was fat or psycho, she'd be married.

Otherwise, I'm still not sure what the "so then . . . what?" really meant. Random connective tissue between "she's not fat" and "she's psycho"? Okay, maybe, but my initial interpretation made sense, too.

Also, I don't really think it's fair to say dame didn't post a question. Isn't a question and request for discussion accomplished simply by posting to MetaTalk? We post to MeTa to take the temperature of the community; dame surely expected feedback to her post, which is why she posted it. (And then she stuck around to defend herself after the pile on began, which, agree with her or not, takes brass.)
posted by onlyconnect at 7:43 PM on August 18, 2004


If I didn't think her entire site was a joke, I would suggest that she marry the Peter Pan guy. Let them mate and see if their kid becomes the next Jim Carrey or the next Zodiac Killer. Either way, great entertainment (well, the latter at least). Assuming she was willing to dress up like Tinkerbell so Petey could rise to the occasion. Or Captain Hook. Whatever it takes.
posted by bargle at 7:46 PM on August 18, 2004


And now a word from a vegan zombie:

Graaaaaains!
posted by bargle at 7:52 PM on August 18, 2004


*snort*
posted by onlyconnect at 7:54 PM on August 18, 2004


Tiger Lily, you fool!
posted by DrJohnEvans at 7:56 PM on August 18, 2004


Isn't a question and request for discussion accomplished simply by posting to MetaTalk?

It can be, but that's not what she did.

She posted one (mangled, accusatory, unsupported) word as the complete content of her post. Her first comment, apparently intended to be the [More Inside] expansion of that post, contains no questions, just complaints and (oddly enough) patronizing directions delivered from on high.

Oh, yeah, and a tossed in dismissal of whatever EB (one of the most prolific feminist commenters MeFi has) might contribute, just for merely daring to disagree. Way to go.

And it just might make one of my eyebrows arch up to think that the woman who volunteered devirginizemarc.com for MeFi's merciless scrutiny is suddenly worried about how this parallel but feminine thread played out.

I've got my eye on you, onlyconnect... Yes, indeed...
posted by NortonDC at 8:18 PM on August 18, 2004


"{man walking down a crowded city street} 5, 8.5, ..."

{man in mid-40s walking down a street}
too young
28
35
42 but doable
too young
30
worth a misdemeanor conviction
...

;-P
posted by mischief at 8:53 PM on August 18, 2004


Dame's fat. Is this actually a fat thrash in disguise?
posted by bonaldi at 8:56 PM on August 18, 2004


The "fun" made of women almost always keeps coming back to their perceived sexual attractiveness and lack thereof; this is very different from "what a dork!"

Sorry, but you're totally wrong.
posted by majcher at 8:57 PM on August 18, 2004


And it just might make one of my eyebrows arch up to think that the woman who volunteered devirginizemarc.com for MeFi's merciless scrutiny is suddenly worried about how this parallel but feminine thread played out.

For the record, I posted the Marry Blaire thread to MonkeyFilter the same day I posted devirginizemarc.com here. I'd already posted here once, so I posted it at MoFi, as well as internally in the devirginize thread. I am an equal opportunity mocker! Bring me your male virgins and your women obsessed with marriage, and I will post them all!

Also, I've said from the beginning that I thought some of the comments in the devirginize thread were about as objectionable as those in the Blaire thread, even while admitting that (1) my hackles go up faster for demeaning male-on-female remarks than they usually do for demeaning male-on-male remarks, and that (2) I wasn't sure if that was fair.

Finally, I also think it's possible to post a statement to MetaTalk intending to solicit discussion, even if one's immediate [more inside] post doesn't explain that. Voila . Et ici. I think the point of languagehat's post was to say that dame raised valid points, and those points shouldn't be ignored simply due to "an overstated presentation of a real problem."

(I've got my eye on you too, NortonDC, but mostly for entirely inappropriate salacious reasons . . . which I guess proves you're right that I'm employing a double standard, but I can't seem to help myself!)
posted by onlyconnect at 9:13 PM on August 18, 2004


Seriously.

She must have a huuuuge cock. Hung like a horse. A baby's arm holding an apple, a snake in a sweater, a schwanstucker for the ages.
If she keeps flashing that package, she'll have a husband long before her next birthday.
posted by chicobangs at 9:31 PM on August 18, 2004


bargle wins.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:31 PM on August 18, 2004


Yes, dame (who is normally sensible and thoughtful) went a little over the top with the callout; probably if she'd taken a couple of minutes to stand back and think about it she'd have either phrased it differently or said "Oh, the hell with it" and let it go. But if we all took a couple of minutes to stand back and think about it, MeFi would be a very different place; it's not fair to hold her to standards that, frankly, almost no one here consistently meets.

Ehh? Most posters don't make inflammatory callouts. What are you saying here? I think it's entirely fair to hold a whole freakin' MeTa post smearing an entire thread as misogynist or homophobic or racist or classist or what-have-you to a higher standard than the usual "Bush sacrifices virgins!/Kerry is in the pocket of Al-Qaeda!" asinine comments.

MetaFilter (like just about every site that's not explicitly feminist) is full of unthinking sexism.

Really? What about the Google? noaa.gov? eBay? Hyperbole doesn't become you.

The "fun" made of women almost always keeps coming back to their perceived sexual attractiveness and lack thereof; this is very different from "what a dork!"

My fucking ass. You think "what a dork!" is any less vicious? You think it's got nothing to do with sexual attractiveness? Bullshit. Disingenuous failure to acknowledge reality doesn't become you, either.

And you know what? I don't think Blaire is so awful. I know a woman very much like her ... Does that make her dumb, or evil, or worthy of our contempt? I don't think so.

Lots of us are miserable and lonely and terminally single. Most of us maintain a few shreds of self-respect which prevent us from snidely trolling for boobie-prize-S.O.s on the fucking Internet. I don't see any problem judging her for that; she's not pathetic because she's lonely, she's pathetic because she's desperate.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 11:00 PM on August 18, 2004


Okay, BlueTrain. Point taken. I am open to other readings of Blaire, but for myself, I am pretty much ready to write her web page and "quest" off as a loss. Not to belabor the point, but while I might mock her web page here, I would not mock her body, needs, or femininity to her face, among her co-workers, or among mutual friends (if such a thing ever came up). Call me a cruel, childish citizen of the internet. I'm guilty.

because scarabic lead with "Wow, she's actually not fat," rather than with the photo reference, I read the subtext of his first sentence to be, "Wow, spinster 27 year old is actually not fat. Shocking!"

I can see that, I guess, and I thank you for giving me a second reading. Actually, my thoughts about fat people liking tight face shots come primarily from an occasion when I had to film Jaron Lanier being interviewed. He insisted I keep the camera in close on his face the whole time, even as he shifted around in his chair and turned his head around this way and that. This is a *man* we're talking about, I'd like to emphasize. I could care less what he looked like, honestly. Most of the people I filmed or recorded for that job were totally nondescript and I honestly didn't give a shit. But this tight shot nonsese was three hours of professional pain that I felt stemmed from his own personal desire to present himself as not fat. And, given my significant experience with online dating, I've seen this phenomenon once or twice besides his case. If you want to skewer me for observing, with humor, this occasional behavior in some fat people, okay. But it's not necessarily anything to do with women.

If I thought all women looking for love online were fat or undesireable, I'd not only be a pig, I'd be in big trouble with my gf, who found my horrible self on the intarweb. Spinster at 27? I never said anything to that effect at all.
posted by scarabic at 11:19 PM on August 18, 2004


I find it interesting that a woman who judges men on their marriagability after a date or two (especially after espousing that you should take time to determine whether or not a guy is husband material on her Love Guru site), and has polls on her site where the men are judged on nothing more than a photo and a few "vital stats" gets insulted on Metafilter, and it's called misogyny. Were some of the comments mean and/or crass? Yes. Were they misogynistic? I don't think so.

Not to mention, in my opinion, any woman who says something like this ...

Being a lady, you are the prize. You are the princess and he’s trying out for the part of being your prince. For whatever reason, our society tends to teach us the opposite. We are strong, we are beautiful, we are caring, and sensitive and amazing – we have all the power in the world and men want and need us in their lives. We are the prize. We are the goal to be reached. Believe it, it’s true.

... is, I think, being a little sexist herself. In fact, after reading all her updates posts, I saw her as desperate, sexist, shallow, and not someone I would go to for advice on my love-life.
posted by Orb at 11:35 PM on August 18, 2004


The "fun" made of women almost always keeps coming back to their perceived sexual attractiveness and lack thereof; this is very different from "what a dork!"

Bad example. "Dork" (originally "whale penis") refers specifically to someone's nerdiness, i.e., their lack of sexual desirability.
posted by rushmc at 11:37 PM on August 18, 2004


I also read his follow up statement "So then . . . what?" to mean, "so then why is this woman not married yet, if she's not made of cottage cheese?" Thus I understood the whole thing together to mean that unless she was fat or psycho, she'd be married.

You're leaving out the fact that she made a web page soliciting husbands. So then teh question is now "what is wrong with a 27 year old woman who isn't married?" it's "what is wrong with someone who would make an idiotic web page like this?"
posted by Space Coyote at 11:59 PM on August 18, 2004


s/teh/the/
s/now/not/
posted by Space Coyote at 12:01 AM on August 19, 2004


Congratulations, dame! Your call-out thread currently has twice as many comments as the parent thread! You win a toaster!

bargle owes me a keyboard and a new sinus cavity. Oh, and a drink, but I'll reverse that and buy him one at first opportunity.

*punches quonsar^H^H^H^H^H^H^Htitters in the grody junk*
posted by loquacious at 12:06 AM on August 19, 2004


I have strong feelings about these issues and this thread and I've spent a good portion of the last 22 years of my life thinking about these things. To avoid an example of my patented too-lengthy posts, I'll just list some thoughts in no particular order.

• Languagehat is right in that the general problem exists and that we should be tolerant that someone would be quick to react and to overreact on this matter. • We're (well most people, I think) most viciously critical of people we perceive as "on our side" than the enemy. Because some of us feel very strongly about sexism and misogyny, it's hard not to be very critical of a fellow traveler whom we think is harming the cause. • I long age decided that although I agree that women are objectified and dehumanized via an emphasis on physical appearance to the exclusion of all else, I don't think that all viewpoints which regard the physical appearance of women as important are inherently sexist. I don't think that concern for physical appearance in regards to both sexes is necessarily, inherently, a bad thing. • Similarly, while I agree that women-as-baby-machines is the core sexist idea and that this is expressed through social conventions like marriage (and "Mrs"), I don't think considering procreation important is inherently sexist. • I understand that "late" childbearing is a hot-button issue for women and feminists, and I understand why it (rightly) is, but, damn it, the "biological clock" matters and applies to me, and I'm male. If you want to have kids, it's perfectly rational to be concerned about being situated to do so before it becomes extremely difficult and risky for the child. • I think people misread scarabic's comment. • Whether Blaire herself was sexist does not justify a sexist response. But a critical response on the same issues that she presents as important is not necessarily sexist, either. • Some of her language bothers me for sexist reasons, but, in general, like Languagehat, I don't find Blaire's site and intent that objectionable. She's trying to find a mate in an unconventional way. Being unconventional in this respect is extremely poorly tolerated by most people...but I don't think this reaction is justified. It's instinctual, maybe, not rational. • I long ago decided argument about "reverse -ism" is unrealistic. In reality, the direction of the bigotry and the social context is crucial and there most certainly is not symmetry. But also, if you've abstracted out a class of behavior as bigotry in regards to "x", then symmetry is implicit. And this view of x-ism is still useful because we recognize that in principle bigotry is bigotry. So, in reality, both views are correct. They are, in a sense, concerned with distinct things. • MeFi is way less sexist than most other places, but that doesn't mean there's not room for improvement. • Bottom line for me, though, is that I refuse to accept the contention that any comment or concern or criticism about a woman's appearance or appeal as a mate is inherently sexist and misogyinst. It could be, it often is, but it isn't necessarily.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 3:05 AM on August 19, 2004


I <heart> paragraphs.

I also long for the day when "misogynist or not" will be self-evident enough that discussions about the label will be deemed hopelessly quaint. Maybe in another century or five, since we as a society are obviously nowhere close to being there yet. Just the name itself is enough to raise hackles on all sides these days.

The prospect of becoming a vegan zombie after I die is almost enough to make me give up animal products. Almost.
posted by DaShiv at 3:29 AM on August 19, 2004


Dork != whale penis
posted by yerfatma at 4:13 AM on August 19, 2004


I was hoping that would be shorter than it turned out to be. I deliberately avoiding paragraph breaks hoping to make it not seem too long. I just want a string of thoughts. By the way, you can get a ‘♥’ with the html entity ‘&hearts;’, if you didn't know, which you probably did.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 5:01 AM on August 19, 2004


By the way, dame, we've argued in the past and we've both offended each other, but I'd like to be friends. I think you've been wrongheaded about a couple of things, but your heart is clearly in the right place about pretty much everything. I regret being rude to you.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 5:03 AM on August 19, 2004


" MetaFilter (like just about every site that's not explicitly feminist) is full of unthinking sexism."

Feminism is not about equality. Its about fighting for better rights for women, regardless of whether that creates parity between males and females or better rights for women than men.

It is inherently partisan, and as sexist as any movement that struggled for better rights for men.

That's not to say it's illegitimate; its just not about achieving equality between the sexes.
posted by Blue Stone at 5:06 AM on August 19, 2004


um.. wtf? 110 comments?

I looked at the original thread, clicked the link, viewed the site for 5 minutes, concluded it was a publicity stunt and moved on.

I don't think this woman is crazy, or ugly, or even particularly lonely. I think she's using her very-superficial "quest for a husband" to generate page-views and therefore business. I think she deserves credit for getting free advertising on mefi, but ridicule definitely comes as part of that parcel.
posted by cell at 5:09 AM on August 19, 2004

It is inherently partisan, and as sexist as any movement that struggled for better rights for men.

That's not to say it's illegitimate; its just not about achieving equality between the sexes.
I agree with that to a certain extent. I mean, literally, "feminism" is what you say it is. However, I'm a descriptivist, so I prefer that generally understood usage be definitive. General usage is that "feminism" is a movement to better the plight of women in the context in which they are discriminated against and, largely, the goal is parity (or "equality"). In practice, it's often partisan and what you say, therefore the line is quite blurred. There are "feminists" who are partisans advancing the cause of women, regarldess of whether that creates new injustices against other groups; there are "feminists" who are partisans advancing the cause of women while attempting overall social justice; there are "feminists" who are not partisans but rather trying to correct a social injustice against a particular group; and there are other varieties.

Anyway, the sense in which I agree with you is that I, myself, especially in that I'm not a woman, am not a partisan interested in advancing the cause of women to the exclusion of all else. This is why I now self-describe as "anti-sexist" although, in practice, my "anti-sexism" is largely all about advancing the cause of women. Not entirely, however, as I believe that there are some, limited, injustices against men on the basis of their sex, and, anyway, I have also come to believe that the cause of women (in this social context, that being the US and Europe) is best served by a restructuring of gender roles including male roles and that, thus, an emphasis on broad "anti-sexism" is now (but certainly only recently, and even this is definitly arguable) called for. I don't avoid the label "feminist" these days because I have anything against feminists or, especially, that I'm buying into the backlash against women's right in any sense. Just that these things matter enough to me to use what I think is the most clear and descriptive language.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 5:35 AM on August 19, 2004


Dork != whale penis

Hmm...perhaps. But it seems to me the jury's still out on that. Anyone have an OED handy?
posted by rushmc at 6:13 AM on August 19, 2004


The OED gives surprisinly little help. "Of uncertain origin." The earliest citation is from 1964.

But how often does the world's most respected academic work greet the reader with lines like "The glorious acrobatics she can perform while dangling from the end of my dork."
posted by NortonDC at 6:24 AM on August 19, 2004


...there is a palpable difference between people with equal or less power picking on those towards the top of the heap, and people with more power picking on those with less. The latter is unseemly, to say the least, especially coupled with standard terms of derogation.

I've heard this logic all my life, and it's always upset me. It assumes that each of us is a member of one of two teams, the MALE team or the FEMALE team. It's not fair for the more powerful MALEs to pick on the FEMALEs, but it's okay (or at least less-wrong) for the FEMALEs to pick on the MALEs.

My problem is that, though I am male, I am NOT a member of the MALE team. I'm not a member of any team. I know that many people really DO join these teams. There are many women who consider themselves part of a community of women, and there are many men who consider themselves part of a community of men. I don't. I'm just part of a community of My Friends, some of whom happen to be men and some of whom happen to be women.

So if someone says, "all men are assholes," that includes me, because I'm male. If I get upset about the insult and am then told that it's okay, because a woman said it to me and men have been calling women "bitches" for years... well, I think, "yeah but I haven't been calling women 'bitches' for years. I have no connection or responsibility to those men who do. I'm not part of their team." Implying that I'm an asshole is just a personal insult -- it's not "helping women gain equality."

Sexist behavior -- like all hurtful behavior -- is simply cruel and wrong. There's no excuse for it. Including Feminism.
posted by grumblebee at 7:03 AM on August 19, 2004


EB, the problem with your approach to the word "feminism" is that it ignores that if you live feminism in its prescriptive meaning, then that also becomes it's descriptive meaning. Personally, I'm not willing to abandon "feminism" to sexists.
posted by NortonDC at 7:11 AM on August 19, 2004


But I thought the beginning of my comment said that I don't think that I'm leaving "feminist" to the sexists. It ("feminism") can mean that, it occasionally means that, I honestly don't think it usually means that—but, even so, my own personal social focus is on the general cause of "antisexism" with the full awareness that this mostly, but not exclusively, means women's rights and advancing women's interests. But there's still that part that is explicitly antisexist and anti sexism against men. That's not included in feminism, certainly not literally, but also generally not in practice or even (most) theory.

Frankly, I'm sort of stuck in a difficult place. I'm no longer comfortable with self-identifying as a "feminist" for those reasons, but I'm very uncomfortable with the fact that my avoidance of the term "feminism" implies a rejection of women's advocacy, which isn't the case.

Anyway, in general, I'm a case-by-case sort of person with regards to language usage in the context of politics and social change. I do think that language has been overemphasized in the last twenty years to the detriment of more urgent, practical concerns; but, even so, I do believe that language matters. But I'm not obessed with PC language. I think it's most useful when a certain usage (or a mild but obvious refusal to use objectionable language) results in dialog, like this, about the actual issues involved. Put another way, I'm pretty careful and aware of mine (and others') language useage in the PC sense, but, unlike many other people, I don't get all worked up about other people's usage I find objectionable (unless it's particularly egregious, or someone is being willfully insulting).
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 7:32 AM on August 19, 2004


Feminism is not about equality. Its about fighting for better rights for women, regardless of whether that creates parity between males and females or better rights for women than men.

It is inherently partisan, and as sexist as any movement that struggled for better rights for men.

That's not to say it's illegitimate; its just not about achieving equality between the sexes.
posted by Blue Stone at 5:06 AM PST on August 19


This is complete crap. Do you actually know any feminists, or is this just standard-issue male paranoia (feminist = man-hater = castrating bitch = run away!)?

Here is a nice succinct statement of the facts:
Feminism is not just a movement for the liberation of women, but a broad social movement striving for the equality of each individual. Feminism emphasizes the importance of such values as co-operation, tolerance, nurturance, and the freedom for each person to achieve her or his potential. Feminists are not against men as individuals. What they are against is the oppressive and outdated social structure which forces both men and women into positions which are false and antagonistic. Thus, everyone has an important role to play in the feminist movement. It is ironic that feminism has been characterized as anti-male, when in fact it seeks to liberate men from macho stereotypic roles such as the need to suppress feelings, act aggressively , and be deprived of contact with children.
I'm a feminist partly for selfish motives -- I hate the rigid gender roles I grew up with. Can't we all just be people?

On preview: EB, you sure do work yourself up into knots.
posted by languagehat at 7:35 AM on August 19, 2004


Go, languagehat!

It's not fair for the more powerful MALEs to pick on the FEMALEs, but it's okay (or at least less-wrong) for the FEMALEs to pick on the MALEs. [But] my problem is that, though I am male, I am NOT a member of the MALE team.

Okay, but you self-identify as a guy, and people perceive you as being a guy. You are a guy.

Here's my take: there's a greater likelihood for misunderstanding when people commonly perceived as being on the traditionally more powerful team talk in demeaning terms about people perceived as being on the traditionally less powerful team. Even when they're joking.

I think this is (at least partly) why white commedians don't generally go around using the n word, but black comedians can, etc.

Of course you've got a right to mock, objectify, or demean whoever you want to. But it shouldn't be so surprising, given the history of an imbalance of power between "teams," if a pile-on from one team gets perceived as an attack against the other team, potentially motivated by animus, rather than just good natured ribbing.

Consider, too, that this problem of perception should only matter when you're objectifying or demeaning people. That's a pretty small part of your life! You can totally deal!

(PS: I think it's also wrong for females to pick on males. I'll just say, again, that in the devirginize marc thread I thought the most crass comments came from men, and I'm less likely to get offended when men demean other men than when men demean women, because the same history of animus isn't present. For now, that's how I triage my battles.)
posted by onlyconnect at 9:18 AM on August 19, 2004


See, this is interesting now - much better than that original thread.

I'm male - I used to call myself a feminist based on the definition that languagehat quoted above.

But nearly all the self-proclaimed feminists I encountered in real life told me that I was an idiot; that it was impossible for a man to be a feminist.

(So now I have a similar, if much less carefully-considered, position to EB on this.)
posted by cell at 9:49 AM on August 19, 2004


Okay, but you self-identify as a guy, and people perceive you as being a guy. You are a guy.

Just for the record, until grumblebee's above post, I thought he was a woman. Maybe I just wasn't paying attention.
posted by majcher at 10:06 AM on August 19, 2004


I self-identify as a guy?

Well, you're right, I AM male. When I think about who I am, though, "guy" is one of the last things that pops into my head. And I don't feel any more (or less) connected to other guys as I do to other girls.

Once, I went through a period where all of my friends happened to be girls. Sometimes, they would have a Girl's Night Out, which meant I wasn't allowed to come.

When I protested, I was met with blank stares and a suggestion that I go find some guys to hang out with. But why would I want to hang out with guys -- unless they happened to be my friend.

Okay, I'm older now and I've learned to live with Girls Night Out. I've also learned to live the guys who try to get me to join the Boy Team (that team where you talk about women and sports). I realize that MANY people divide the world up that way. Fine. But not EVERYONE does.

Discussions about prejudice always turn into claims that GROUP A is being mean to GROUP B. These discussions don't solve problems, because they are -- by NATURE -- divisive -- they start with an assumption of groups.

If I call a black man a nigger, the problem is not that my WHITE TEAM has dealt a blow to the BLACK TEAM. The problem is that I -- PERSONALLY -- have been cruel to another human being.

On a personal level, there's no difference between a woman being cruel to a man, a man being cruel to a woman, or a black man being cruel to a white man. In each case, one human is hurting and another is being hurt.

It's also possible for 100 people -- who happen to be male -- to have a negative opinion about one person -- who happens to be female -- without those men being sexist.

Yes, it's true that our current social rules allow black comedians to use the n word but not white comedians. That is a PROBLEM. If we have words that some people can use but not others, we ADD to the divisiveness of the world.
posted by grumblebee at 10:10 AM on August 19, 2004


But nearly all the self-proclaimed feminists I encountered in real life told me that I was an idiot; that it was impossible for a man to be a feminist.—cell

I never encountered much trouble being a self-identified "feminist" male. But that is also why I'm more comfortable with "antisexist"—it avoids that problem.

I did get that occasionally, though. It can be difficult being a male feminist but, well, whatever difficulty that is pales in comparison to the difficulty of being a female. :) I always tried to keep that in mind. Nevertheless, having one's legitimacy questioned, or being scorned or spurned on that basis is a bit hurtful. But, again, it's a taste of the discrimination that these oppressed groups face all the time.

When it comes from a man, though, I get more touchy about it. My (then) wife and I were talking with some friends of hers and telling about our recent participation in a "Take Back the Night" march. The male friend asked, incredulously, "they let men march in that down there?" That annoyed the hell out of me. I also worked as a rape crisis hospital advocate and would work with female rape suriviors. I'd get their specific permission after an acknowledgement that it's perfectly reasonable for them to want someone else since I'm a man—but no one ever did, actually. Anyway, I think some onlookers and other people within the rape crisis movement have a problem with male volunteers working with female rape survivors. But, the reasoning of that center (one of the largest in the US) is that a positive experience with a male advocate, providing the survivor is comfortable with it, can be very helpful to them in dealing with it and the difficulties with follow. In a similar vein, a man being as a feminist cannot understand the issues as a woman does, nor can he act in exactly the same capacity in the movement as a woman can. On the other hand, he can do something that a woman can't do—be a counter-example of male attitudes and beliefs and social priorities. That's a good thing, I think.

Finally, a more general way I've come to deal with this sort of issue is to assert my own "right" to condemn or try to change what I think is objectively something very bad. That is, it's not about coming to the rescue of some poor victim, it's merely speaking out against wrongness—which we all have a right to do. You'll see me say something to that effect here whenever someone pulls the "hey, we don't need you to come along and protect us". Well, that's not what I was doing. I'm actually especially sensitive to this accusation because I have strong feelings about how many attempts to help people only further their victimization, usually because the helper is condescending and, really, acting more out of a desire for self-aggrandizement. There were some other rape crisis volunteers who had that attitude about things—you'll find a good number of those sorts of people at any volunteer agency of this type. Those people piss me off.

A lot of all this is about (understandable) knee-jerk reactions people have to certain words, ideas, or behavior on the basis that usually they indicate what the persons are objecting to. And I think, as is true in the case of Dame's callout, that we have to be somewhat sensitive to the reality that usually if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's a duck. But, you know, sometimes it's not. In this case, I don't think it is.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 10:12 AM on August 19, 2004


majcher, I didn't really want to get into it with onlyconnect, but I don't see anything on my profile (which she linked to) that says I SELF-IDENTIFY as male. The form asked me for my gender, so I gave it.

People ususally assume from my writing style (and my hatered of angry conflict) that I'm female, which is wrong.

People usually assume from my interests (sports:no, theatre: yes) that I'm gay, which is wrong.

People usually assume from my real name (Marcus) that I'm black, which is wrong.

By the way, did you assume I was a good-looking female ;-)
posted by grumblebee at 10:18 AM on August 19, 2004


The thing is, grumblebee, is that you're not a woman. You're not the same as your friends who go on "girls night out". They're women.

Again, this whole argument frustrates me. Of course what most of us hope and are working for is a world like the one you describe—where these distinctions don't really exist, or you can decide they don't exist in your own life. But in this reality, these distinctions exist because our culture (and every other one) is absolutely saturated with ways in which men and women are distinguished from one another. You can't wish that away. You and your friends could all make the most intense and earnest effort to relate to each other in ways that are gender-neutral, but you'll ultimately fail. They want a "girl's night out" because there are things they aren't comfortable sharing with you because you're a man. Should it be that way? Well, I'd like it not to be. But that's the way our culture is. We can work to change it, but you can't wish that away.

This is the whole point of why a "reverse-ism" isn't the same thing as its corresponding "ism". It's just not because the cultural context is drastically different.

My feminism is an old-fashioned equality feminism, certainly not a late-eighties/nineties so-called "difference" feminism. I want and am working toward the same world you are. But we live in this world and have to be aware of its hard realities. One of the most basic of those is that as a practical matter, men and women live in very, very different contexts. Denying that this isn't so doesn't help. Acting to combat this does help, though.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 10:28 AM on August 19, 2004


Great post, EB.

I realize that people use language emotively, so that when someone says "men can't be Feminists," they may simply be saying (on a meta-level), "I'm really angry at men and how hypocritcal they can be."

But the highly literal/geeky part of me rebels against "men can't be Feminists." Similarly, I get slackjawed when African-americans say, "Black people can't be racist."

The "ist" on the end of "Feminist" or "racist" implies that the word points to a philosophy or a set-of-ideas. Since all humans have the same basic brain structure -- capable of holding any idea -- anyone (regardless of race or gender) can hold any philosophy.

When someone tells me "men can not be Feminists," I have to bite my tongue to resist quizing them about what "Feminist" means.
posted by grumblebee at 10:29 AM on August 19, 2004


My "Great post, EB" was in reference to an earlier post. Not the one right before mine. But I agree with most of what you say in this latest post too, EB.

My anti-Girl's Night Out story was of a much younger me (almost 20 years ago!). I don't begrudge women togetherness-time now. (Though I STILL don't need/want Boys Night Out.)

My point was that if we start by seeing divisions between people (which, I agree, our culture has trained us to do), then even if we HATE prejudice, we'll tend to fight it through the lens of divisiveness, which will often create greater divisions.

David Mamet has a great quote somewhere, which I'll paraphrase, in which he says that plays and films that claim "Homosexuals are People Two" or "Women have Equal Rights" simply split the audience into two camps, those that agree with with the message already and those that don't.

I spent a large part of my youth listening to women get upset about their unequal treatment. When I tried to relate to them on an equal level, I got the message "go away, you're a BOY!"

Again, I'm not complaining. I understand why I was treated that way.

My point is that we people who HATE prejudice and injustice need to fight back by rising ABOVE the batter. Giving back what we get doesn't help. It just makes matters worse.
posted by grumblebee at 10:39 AM on August 19, 2004


or maybe even "rising above the BATTLE."
posted by grumblebee at 10:41 AM on August 19, 2004


genderposter.jpg




http://www.crimethinc.com/a/gender/
posted by loquacious at 10:46 AM on August 19, 2004


I'm a feminist partly for selfish motives -- I hate the rigid gender roles I grew up with. Can't we all just be people?

Sure. And people tend to do a lotta stupid shit. And when they do, we ridicule them mercilessly, and without bias. or at least I do.
posted by jonmc at 10:53 AM on August 19, 2004


Huh. Neat, loquacious.
posted by scarabic at 10:54 AM on August 19, 2004


"I spent a large part of my youth listening to women get upset about their unequal treatment. When I tried to relate to them on an equal level, I got the message 'go away, you're a BOY!'

Well, like I said, I've experienced that, too, and it's unpleasant and can be quite hurtful. But, first, we can't relate to them on an equal level in this regard because our life experiences are fundamentally dissimilar. They have a point in their objection. I've learned to present my antiracist and antisexist activism in terms of how I'm acting upon my values and take pains to be clear that I'm not in any way attempting to appropriate, so to speak, the status and distinct position that someone who is acting on these things on the basis of their own personal experience of being systemically discriminated against. I think that as a practical matter it's helpful to be cognizant of this distinction and these sensitivities, and, furthermore, I think it's intellectually important to continually remind oneself that there are things one simply cannot understand because one is a male, or white, or whatever, as a product of any contemporary societies. Furthermore, as much as I'm uncomfortable with it, there's a great deal of science in the last two decades that show that male and female brains differ in important ways. There are possibly things we (as we currently biologically are) can never understand about each other.

There is a sense in which I deeply, deeply agree with you. You are, in a way, being critical of the tendency toward so-called "identity politics"—that everything is power politics (but most things may be), that we each have a few primary social identities, and thus, in combination, it's always about power conflicts between different groups. In that view, you can't be neutral, nor is there any sense in the idea of fighting for another identity-group's interests. There a bunch of bad things I think result from this way of thinking about the world. On the other hand, part of my point is that saying that it's not always that way or doesn't always have to be that way is not the same thing as denying that it's sometimes, or often, that way. Because it is.

The subject of this thread is a very good example. A lot of the conflict about the response to this thread, and to Blaire's website, has to do with the spaghetti of mixed "oughts" and "is" (lh, how do you pluralize that word?) and our confused reactions. I want a world in which a person wanting to find a mate and procreate, and being concerned about, say, physical attractiveness, is sex neutral. And as I took pains to say above, it's important to recognize that many ideas, words, and behaviors relating to those things are not necessarily, inherently sexist. However, they often are. In most other contexts, I think dame would have been on target with her criticism. I think she wasn't in this case. But how do we deal with that? It's not fair to her to deny that she very likely could have been right. On the other hand, it's not fair of her to deny the contention that it's not necessarily and obviously right.

On Preview: yeah, that's a great poster, loquacious, and it exemplifies exactly why I preferentially identify as an "antisexist".
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 11:03 AM on August 19, 2004


...people tend to do a lotta stupid shit. And when they do, we ridicule them mercilessly, and without bias.

Except a bias against stupid people.

I'm as "guilty" of mocking stupidy as many other people here, and I sort of feel like many of us just need someone to mock. But I do wonder sometimes, while I'm busy being Mr. Nice Liberal Who Doesn't Mock Races, Genders or Sexual Preferences, why I've decided that it's okay to mock less-intelligent people.

Sure, I can say Stupidy Is Colorblind (or Genderblind), but that's just because I've been taught to group people by sex organs and skin color. One could also group people by how smart they are.

Do you all think stupidy is a choice? Surely, some people can't help doing dumb things (that don't seem dumb to them, because they didn't have the goog luck to be born with a high IQ).
posted by grumblebee at 11:05 AM on August 19, 2004


I'm with grumblebee.

The thing is, grumblebee, is that you're not a woman. You're not the same as your friends who go on "girls night out". They're women.

Big whoop. This obviously matters to YOU (and to others), but to some of us, not so much.
posted by rushmc at 11:05 AM on August 19, 2004


Do you all think stupidy is a choice? Surely, some people can't help doing dumb things (that don't seem dumb to them, because they didn't have the goog luck to be born with a high IQ).

Actually, my definition of "stupid" does posit it as a choice and separates it from disabled or simply mentally slow people.

I blogged about it 2 years ago:

I've been known to grouse on occasion about "stupid people." Now, since I hate snobbery worse than hernia checks, I'd like to clarify and make one of my usual 10¢ observations.

When I say "stupid" I certainly don't mean disabled people, or even slow-minded or uneducated people. Such people may take longer to grasp certain things but they usually are making an effort to understand and will if you show a little patience and kindness.

No, true stupidity to me is always to some degree willful. Some people can't be bothered to think, because it disturbs their laziness or preconcieved notions of the world. Their "I don't get it" often morphs into "Therefore it sucks and must be destroyed," which is the source of much strife in this world.

Probably one of the crappiest things about modern life is that those in power often pander to the latter kind of people, so we don't get much of a chance to show any kindness to the former type. Or at least it seems that way to me a lot. I dunno. Just feeling philosophical, I guess.


Also, you can ridicule stupid actions, I assume? Otherwise, how else do people learn that their stupid?
posted by jonmc at 11:14 AM on August 19, 2004


The "feminist" label lost its cachet with me when, after having been thoroughly indoctrinated in the "everyone is equal, let us free men and women alike from gender roles, we should act with awareness of past and present inequalities, etc" set of feminist ideals via classes, I emerged starry-eyed to be faced with the ugly, ugly things self-professed "feminists" were doing under that banner: lobbing rhetorical Molotovs at a straw-man Patriarchy wildly exaggerated beyond any semblance to reality, espousing downright vengeful and mean-spirited views on issues such as child custody and alimony, and acting incredulous toward any attempt toward open dialogue, as if their words and actions were beyond reproach because, wouldn't you know it, women have been oppressed for millennia untold and any criticism was tantamount to an attempt to force them to return to the burka. I gave up on labeling myself a "feminist" for the same reasons I gave up labeling myself a "Christian"--the words and actions of their adherents all-too-seldom follow their theoretical tenets, rendering the label worthless to me.

Or maybe I've just encountering a particularly virulent strain of feminism here at placid ol' Berkeley? I don't presume to have the proper experience and perspective to judge that.

I can support notions of gender equality and liberation under EB's "antisexist" label, but feminist? No thanks. I gave the movement its chance. They need to reign in their whackjobs and focus on progressive activism rather than divisive and, dare I use the sexist term, hysterical rhetoric.

Interestingly enough, I showed the devirginizemarc link to a female friend of mine when it came up, who immediately remarked that he was ugly, a loser, and either impotent or gay. I hadn't even considered her comments misandrist until now--but after taking a sober look at it, until feminists protest this sort of sentiment (especially from within their own ranks) as loudly and persistently as they do when the gender roles are reversed, the feminist label doesn't hold any moral or ideological clout with me.

On preview: I've actually seen that poster hanging in a hallway at the community college where I took my first women's studies class. Seeing it again is a source of sadness for me, for a promise unfulfilled.
posted by DaShiv at 11:14 AM on August 19, 2004


onlyconnect - I see that you're from the D.C. area as well. Would you like to meet me for lunch?

mischief - Pretty funny ...and thanks!
posted by Witty at 11:15 AM on August 19, 2004


EB, it's always good to remind oneself that one isn't in ANY other person's shoes. What goes on in the heart of another white male is as much as mystery to me as what goes on in a woman's heart. Again, why does it have to be about any division othen than one person's division from all other people?

And I DO think I can understand a lot of how women feel. I can't literally understand how it feels to be a persecuted WOMAN, because I'm not a woman, but I can understand how it feels to be persecuted -- even systematically persecuted. Because those things have happened to me. When I've been able to have real discussions with women about how these things feel, our notes have matched pretty well.

ALL cruelty is horrible, but it always amazes me that people make such a big deal -- on a personal level -- about the fact that "so-and-so was mean to be, because I'm black and he hates black people!"

If I found out that someone hated me because I was white, I would be upset, but I would think, "well, at least it's nothing PERSONAL." On the other hand, if someone hated me because of the way I talked, the things I did, etc. -- THAT would really hurt.

But for so many people, group identification seems to trump personal identification. As much as I agree with most of your posts, EB, you comments about how men can't truly understand women, etc. seem to be a part of this. MEN maybe can't understand WOMEN. But there's a good chance that any two PEOPLE have experienced very similars joys and sadnesses.
posted by grumblebee at 11:17 AM on August 19, 2004


i feel pretty.
posted by quonsar at 11:18 AM on August 19, 2004


Also, you can ridicule stupid actions, I assume? Otherwise, how else do people learn that their stupid?

As a professional teacher, I balk at the idea that people learn by being ridiculed.

I agree that stupidy CAN be willful. I think the danger lies in the fact that it's not alway obvious whether any given stupid act was willed or not. You have to know a lot about the "stupid" person to make that call.
posted by grumblebee at 11:21 AM on August 19, 2004


Or maybe I've just encountering a particularly virulent strain of feminism here at placid ol' Berkeley?

Oh yeah. From what I can gather from reading (having never been to California) Berkeley broke free from the US and possibly the earth decades ago.

I can assure you that self-described feminists in the rest of the country are much saner.

i feel pretty.

pretty what?
posted by jonmc at 11:22 AM on August 19, 2004


pretty and witty and gay
and I pity
any girl who isn't me today...
posted by grumblebee at 11:26 AM on August 19, 2004


*slow dances with quonsar in attempt to feel up his pretty*
posted by loquacious at 11:32 AM on August 19, 2004


It's also possible for 100 people -- who happen to be male -- to have a negative opinion about one person -- who happens to be female -- without those men being sexist.

Yes. But I think it is somewhat naive to see a collection of objectifying and demeaning comments made by Group A against Group B as nothing more than a collection of individual comments, with no potential for misunderstanding as part of some larger force at work. It ignores history and the laws of group dynamics. (I'm not talking about the ones that mock intelligence, etc., but the ones that talk about body parts or sex acts or use terms like ho, etc.)

You say, "If I call a black man a nigger, the problem is not that my WHITE TEAM has dealt a blow to the BLACK TEAM. The problem is that I -- PERSONALLY -- have been cruel to another human being." Maybe in another 50 years people will see it this way. But don't get all shocked when White Boy X gets called a racist for using that word and people's minds connect him with a history of white racism against blacks, instead of establishing an individual definition for his particular brand of racism.

I think you're talking about objective right and wrong, and I'm talking more about perception.

In some ways this is starting to remind me of the AskMe thread about a woman alone driving across country. You may not mean me any particular harm, but don't be surprised if I misinterpret your intentions when you act in a way that other people who have meant me harm have acted.

Witty: sure, if you promise not to tell me what number I rank. Better yet, come to a meet up!
posted by onlyconnect at 11:35 AM on August 19, 2004


You say, "If I call a black man a nigger, the problem is not that my WHITE TEAM has dealt a blow to the BLACK TEAM. The problem is that I -- PERSONALLY -- have been cruel to another human being." Maybe in another 50 years people will see it this way. But don't get all shocked when White Boy X gets called a racist for using that word and people's minds connect him with a history of white racism against blacks, instead of establishing an individual definition for his particular brand of racism.

You're sort of deviating from teh argument in the first paragraph (that it's possible to disagree/crticise/ridicule the actions of a member of "minority" group without being prejudiced against that group. Then you drop the n-bomb, which makes it an explicitly racial scenario.

A more honest portrayal would be be "If I call a black man an asshole (presuming he is being an asshole) am I racist?"

My guess is usually not.

My way of saying that I reserve my right to call an asshole an asshole, regardless of his race, creed, color or whatever, mainly since that's how I expect to be treated.
posted by jonmc at 11:46 AM on August 19, 2004


Grumblebee: again, I share your values and appreciate your intent and your heartfelt words. (That may come out condescendingly, but that's not at all how I'm thinking about it, and so it's not.) But a very significant part of my education as a feminist/antisexist is the time when I really began to open my eyes and see how different a world women live in than men. I vividly recall that first moment of awakening: I was working as a lab assistant at a large state university where a stranger rapist had been attacking women. As a result, there were police escorts available to women for walking around the campus after dark (this is also a very large campus). I called the campus police to arrange for some of the women in the lab. And I suddenly realized how enormously strange it is that they live in a world where the idea of being a target, being vulnerable, needing police protection merely for walking across campus is normal. You can say that you or I have been in neighborhoods or situations where we've been targets and endangered. But this is not the norm for us. For women, going to the grocery store at night, going home with a man on the first date, being alone in an office with a coworker, whatever, is a potentially dangerous situation of which they are regularly aware. And that's just the context of sexual violence. Once my eyes were opened, I started watching how, for example, professors treated female students in class relative to male students. How men treated women in conversation with them. Women live in a different world than we do—we cannot possibly comprehend what it means because this is woven deeply into the everyday fabric of our lives. It shouldn't be this way, I don't want it to be this way, and I endeavor to behave such that it's not this way, but it is this way. Men and women both will often claim that the difference isn't so great—but that's because it's like the whole "fish noticing water" thing. They don't know anything else. It's normal. When I started looking at the world with my eyes open in this regard, really looking, I was shocked and dismayed to my core. It was a very painful time for me. Now, twenty years later, I don't brood over it much, but I'm well aware of the essential truth. Look: we live in a world where apartheid in S. Africa was a major international issue and the cause celebre of US and European college students everywhere. But today, in the 21st century, probably at least a third of the world's population lives in nations and cultures where women are either in fact or in practice slaves. Where's the protests? Where's the outrage? The difference in status and experience of men and women in today's world is profound, even in the supposedly liberalized cultures.

DaShiv: there's whole segments of the left that I similarly abhor and am disenchanted with. That doesn't mean that their causes are worthless. People are people. Mostly, they don't believe what they claim to believe—their beliefs are, really, just a sort of social badge they wear in order to know what tribe they belong to and what tribes are the enemies. In consequence, they behave badly. I dislike and disagree with the "difference feminist" movement, and the academics that led it, and the sorts of people you're complaining about—but you're right: Berkeley feminists aren't represenative of all feminists. Probably the feminists you're objecting to aren't even representative of Berkeley feminists, either. Object to bad ideas and bad behavior, but don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 11:51 AM on August 19, 2004


Better yet, come to a meet up!

I love the gracious way women say no.
posted by dydecker at 11:56 AM on August 19, 2004


Onlyconnect, I'm not shocked when I'm called a racist/sexist, even though I know that I'm not. I'm not naive about it. I understand that perceptions are different from internal reality/morals. I'd even go as far as to say that one SHOULD suspect a possibly-racist motive if a black man calls a white man an asshole. To not do so would be, as you say, to ignore history.

My point is that To Suspect should not lead to To Assume.

And my bigger point is that ALL divisiveness leads to trouble. Those of us who have been persecuted (and I was horribly persecuted by several hundred people, both men and women, for the about four years of my life) don't ever want to admit that we're part of the problem. But we MUST do so if we're going to help solve the problem.

Women need to try to understand men -- and not assume misogynistic intent (give benefit of the doubt) -- if they want to help banish sexism.

How about ASKING (why did you say that?) instead of assuming, especially in a context like MeTa where no one's life or job is in danger?
posted by grumblebee at 12:00 PM on August 19, 2004


EB, I take your point and I know you take mine. It is interesting though that you had this Earth-shattering event that lead you to put men and women into radically different camps. I know you respect both camps, but they ARE different camps for you.

When you give your example of women's fear, sure, I can't relate to fear on THAT level, but I CAN relate to it. I can relate to the fear of being raped, killed and injured. I can relate to the fear of being followed. I'm a small, meek-looking guy, and I've lived in tough neighborhoods and have had to walk home at night. I KNOW that there's no way I could defend myself in a fight. I wouldn't even try. That may be far from what many women feel, but at least I can relate on some level.

Now, I'm an EXTREME introvert. I'm very shy. To me, I can relate to a shy woman much better than to an extroverted male. I can't understand extroverted people at ALL. They are like space aliens to me.

And, never having had any sort of spiritual experience, I can't understand religious people either.

So if we divide up the world by people we can most relate to, not everyone would do so by putting women in one camp and men in another camp.
posted by grumblebee at 12:15 PM on August 19, 2004


I can't understand extroverted people at ALL. They are like space aliens to me.

I can't speak for anyone else, but from my own experience, both shyness and excessive gregariousness come from the same source: nervousness. The only diffrence being your nerves make you clam up, mine make me run off at the mouth, but we're both feeling self concious about how we're being percieved.
posted by jonmc at 12:20 PM on August 19, 2004


I will write more when I get a sec, but one quick note to grumblebee: I am actually way more disturbed when someone puts me down for something so impersonal as what group I belong to. If you want to think I'm an asshole for what I have a relative amount of control over (my behavior, etc.), that's fine. But to insult me for being part of some large group that I had no control over belonging to—that's refusing to see me as an individual, erasing me almost, and that's fucked up.
posted by dame at 12:22 PM on August 19, 2004


I will write more when I get a sec, but one quick note to grumblebee: I am actually way more disturbed when someone puts me down for something so impersonal as what group I belong to. If you want to think I'm an asshole for characteristics I have a relative amount of control over (my behavior, etc.), that's fine. But to insult me for being part of some large group that I had no control over belonging to—that's refusing to see me as an individual, erasing me almost, and that's fucked up.
posted by dame at 12:23 PM on August 19, 2004


jonmc, are you trying to claim you're from the same planet as me?
posted by grumblebee at 12:24 PM on August 19, 2004


Dame, that's one way of looking at it, and I guess it makes sense.

Maybe because I don't identify myself as MALE or WHITE, when someone makes a comment about my maleness or whiteness, it doesn't really hit home. It seems more a comment about the person saying it than about me.

On the other hand, when someone talks about my specific nose, or my specific bad dancing or my specific writing or whatever, THAT seems very personal.

And when they DO make one of those comments, it doesn't feel like they are putting down MY group, because I don't feel part of the group. Sorry guys, when I'm told by God that I'm only allowed to save five people from the next flood, I won't choose all white males. I might not choose any white males. I will choose the five people I like best. THAT'S my group.
posted by grumblebee at 12:29 PM on August 19, 2004


jonmc, are you trying to claim you're from the same planet as me?

Dude, I'm from the same planet as everyone. Dig yuhself.
posted by jonmc at 12:38 PM on August 19, 2004


Nah, you can't be. Nobody from my planet says "dude."
posted by grumblebee at 12:41 PM on August 19, 2004


Hah. I thought all divisiveness was bad, dude. Trust me, you will like our planet. The women are shapely and the beer is cold. Or vice versa.
posted by jonmc at 12:46 PM on August 19, 2004


Well grumblebee, it isn't a "putting down my group thing" for me either. I'm really a very ungroup person. Instead, it is a putting me down for a group I belong to not by choice but by circumstance.
posted by dame at 12:48 PM on August 19, 2004


I think I've seen your planet on some TV commercials. Does all of your chocolate have a chewy center?

Dame, I just don't get how you can belong to a group that you don't FEEL that you belong to. Someone can put me down for belonging to the Muppet group if they want to. I'm not a Muppet, but they can still claim that I am.

I feel about as MALE as I do MUPPET. I know that technically I AM male, but I don't feel that. Similarly, I'm technically part of the brown-hair group, but I never think about my hair color.

I'm not saying your wrong or crazy or illogical. If anything, I'm eccentric this way.
posted by grumblebee at 12:58 PM on August 19, 2004


Dame, I just don't get how you can belong to a group that you don't FEEL that you belong to.

grumblebee, I'll take the liberty of guessing that you're a white guy.

You had zero choice in being a white guy, I realize, and it may not mean much to you, most of the time. But walk through the South Bronx, and you'll realize just how white you are. Or walk into the ladies room and realize just how male you are. If you're het, hang out at a gay bar on a friday night.

I'm not saying you can't sympathize with, share troubles with, or love dearly anyone from any of these groups (god knows I have and do) but unless you grow a vagina, your skin darkens, or you start fucking men, you can't be them. Feelings are not facts.
posted by jonmc at 1:05 PM on August 19, 2004


I will write more when I get a sec, but one quick note to grumblebee: I am actually way more disturbed when someone puts me down for something so impersonal as what group I belong to. If you want to think I'm an asshole for characteristics I have a relative amount of control over (my behavior, etc.), that's fine.

I'd never presume to speak for dame, but here's how I see this.

If I, hypothetically, say "dame, you're being an idiot," she can hypothethically ask herself "Am I being an idiot?" since seeing as she's human, it's within the realm of possibility. If throw a racial or gender epithet at her, it's reducing her from a human to a collection of stereotypes attached to that word which will get peoples dander up.

And this is not something reserved to any specific group. We all can feel this. Call me stupid, hey, who knows maybe I am. Call me a white devil or a guinea bastard, and it's on.
posted by jonmc at 1:15 PM on August 19, 2004


Maybe in another 50 years people will see it this way.

It strikes me as a bit arrogant to dismiss all the people who see it this way now. Perhaps it is those who don't who constitute the social laggards—and the problem.
posted by rushmc at 1:18 PM on August 19, 2004


Anyone is welcome to call me a "white devil" at any time.

After I change their rating in my mind to "idiot," I will move on about my business, unaffected. Now, of course it's not usually that simple because it's the actions that they take against me based upon their concept of me as a "white devil" (i.e., as "other") that will harm me, but that's a separate issue.
posted by rushmc at 1:23 PM on August 19, 2004


Well grumblebee, if someone discounts me because I am a woman or brown or anything else, my feeling like I'm not part of that group—like my knowledge that there's so much diversity within said group to make such grouping fairly useless for judgement puposes—isn't going to make them not discount me. What I know doesn't change their mind, and I never even got a shot. If someone listens and still disagrees or thinks I'm an asshole, well that's fair.

But our views on conflict are about as far apart as possible, so disagreeing on this is not shocking.
posted by dame at 1:29 PM on August 19, 2004


...people tend to do a lotta stupid shit. And when they do, we ridicule them mercilessly, and without bias.

Except a bias against stupid people.
...
Do you all think stupidy is a choice? Surely, some people can't help doing dumb things (that don't seem dumb to them, because they didn't have the goog luck to be born with a high IQ).


There is a difference between mocking people because of their low IQ (which is just mean) and mocking people for doing stupid things, as long as it is the stupid behaviour you are mocking, not the actual person. We all do stupid things at times, regardless of IQ and should not have a problem being pointed and laughed at when we do.

Like jonmc, I reserve the right to call an arsehole an arsehole, regardless of race. colour, sex or any other artificial grouping you care to name. Unfortunately, if you do that to anyone from identified "oppressed" groups, you run the risk of being called racist or sexist, which is a problem because arseholes come in all flavours.
posted by dg at 2:53 PM on August 19, 2004


I reserve my right to call an asshole an asshole, regardless of his race, creed, color or whatever, mainly since that's how I expect to be treated.

jonmc, I don't think I'd mind overmuch if you called me an asshole, but I will take exception when a bunch of guys pile on and start calling a woman a ho or some other term loaded with meaning for the gender, or language that objectifies them overtly.

My point is that To Suspect should not lead to To Assume. . . . Women need to try to understand men -- and not assume misogynistic intent (give benefit of the doubt) -- if they want to help banish sexism.

See, somehow I'm coming out of this thread with the directive to check and doublecheck all my assumptions about what a particular statement might mean (after it's been said), but you guys don't have to check or doublecheck how something might sound before you say it, because to do so would be coddling. I understand what you're saying and I agree that I have to share the burden in our march toward equality. But if I've got to be extra special careful not to leap to conclusions, it seems like the least you guys could do would be to be a little less chatty about a girl's willingness to do anal or oral.

It strikes me as a bit arrogant to dismiss all the people who see it this way now. Perhaps it is those who don't who constitute the social laggards—and the problem.

Yes, you've pegged me: arrogant social laggard. Now I know what to put under my MeFi occupation blank.
posted by onlyconnect at 2:55 PM on August 19, 2004


It's ridiculous that people with a view of feminism that they obviously gleaned from a bumper sticker or something see fit to dismiss what feminists have taken years to talk about, discuss and decide. Considering how clever you guys all seem to be, don't you find it a tad strange that instead of asking primary questions like "why can't men be feminists?", you're all wandering around, beating your obviously hairy chests and shouting "Me Man. Me Feminist too!"

Somewhere, in some lesbian feminista retreat, Andrea Dworkin has gathered her sisters around her, and they're reading your badly researched ravings with nothing but contempt.
posted by seanyboy at 2:56 PM on August 19, 2004


As a professional teacher, I balk at the idea that people learn by being ridiculed.

You're saying people don't? Of course they do. Especially among children, social norms are transmitted and enforced by ridiculing those who aren't exhibiting the proper behavior. This is how kids learn not to be too different from their peers. Whether this is good or not is a separate question, but to deny it happens is silly.

And also: arseholes come in all flavours

Ewwwwwwwwwwww. Just fuckin' ewwww.
posted by kindall at 2:59 PM on August 19, 2004


Wow, seanyboy, I don't know how you could have managed to be both more wrong and offensive at the same time. From what grumblebee's written, it's apparent that he's had considerable formal education on feminism. I have less—but some—and, anyway, have in fact read a considerable amount of feminists scholarship and general writings. It's not from a fucking bumper sticker, you twit.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 3:10 PM on August 19, 2004


(I like it when men call themselves feminists. I think it takes courage in today's atmosphere when so many people think feminism is a bad word. It makes me feel like we're all in it together.)

On preview: Yeah, I can understand why EB is offended.
posted by onlyconnect at 3:13 PM on August 19, 2004


I ... have in fact read a considerable amount of feminists scholarship and general writings
Bully for you mate. You keep doing the research and telling me what I should be thinking, and I'll sit back and agree with you.

Plus, you were offended. Good. I make that "self righteous pricks - 0; Me - 1"
posted by seanyboy at 3:39 PM on August 19, 2004


nothing EtherealBlahblah has to say would FIT on a bumper sticker.
posted by quonsar at 3:48 PM on August 19, 2004


Fuck off, Q.

How's that?
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 4:22 PM on August 19, 2004


And his first comment in this thread was simply "Nope". That'd have to be printed in some pretty large letters to be too big for a sticker.
posted by ZippityBuddha at 4:40 PM on August 19, 2004


grumblebee, I'll take the liberty of guessing that you're a white guy.

Correct.

You had zero choice in being a white guy, I realize, and it may not mean much to you, most of the time. But walk through the South Bronx, and you'll realize just how white you are. Or walk into the ladies room and realize just how male you are. If you're het, hang out at a gay bar on a friday night.

I live in an almost entirely black neighborhood in Brooklyn, johnmc. Does that count? And though I'm straight, my best friend is a gay man, so I've spent a certain amount of time in gay bars -- I'm sure some of those times have been on Friday nights.

I don't feel much different living in a black neighborhood than any other neighborhood I've lived in. I don't feel WHITE. I feel like a want to get home and not bump into anyone. But I felt that way when I lived in an upper-middle class white neighborhood too. As I said earlier, I don't feel part of the WHITE team -- just part of the shy team. In the gay bars, i just wanted to leave. I feel the same way in straight bars. I hate bars.
posted by grumblebee at 6:45 PM on August 19, 2004


I wanted to write a longer sum up, but I'm going on vacation tomorrow, and I'm tired.

In general, I'm sorry I lost my temper in defending my points, but I'm not sorry for the points or callout itself. Some people thought it was lame, and that's okay. I think lots of things are lame too. Oh well. At least there's some worthwhile discussion down here, and I objected to something I thought was wrong. Next time I'll see if I can keep my temper too.

So thanks for at least considering my point and caring enough to post even if you disagree. Or thanks to everyone who's left down here.

***

Grumblebee: That's the thing about being white and being a guy. You can not feel "on a team" because generally the group in which you fall is a group that is not denigrated. You don't spend every day listening to people talk about how shitty white guys are. You don't spend every morning at the deli listening to guys yell about how the only grumblebee worth his salt is the one who shuts up, stays home, cleans his house, and cooks for him. You don't feel discounted before you even open your mouth.

I'm sure you are an empathetic guy. I'm sure you don't discount women. I'm sure sometimes you hear women saying shitty things about men. But not nearly on the volume that goes the other way. And I don't say this to be a victim, to get a "poor me," but to try to make clear how it is different.

Your call for "no divisiveness" betrays this same sort of unknowing privilege. Sometimes you have to fight, because people don't give away their edge so easy. Closing your eyes and hoping everyone else will be nice doesn't effect systemic change.

I hope at least s tenth of this makes sense because I'm exhausted & have to stop typing now.
posted by dame at 7:48 PM on August 19, 2004 [1 favorite]


what's the deal with EB haters? it's weird.

thanks to the thoughtful posts here. i learned a thing or two.
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 7:59 PM on August 19, 2004


You can not feel "on a team" because generally the group in which you fall is a group that is not denigrated.

Not only is dame's point correct, but she has correctly written "can not" as two words, a very rare feat (it can only be done when it means 'is capable of not,' which doesn't come up very often). I [heart] dame.

Yes, yes, I know there's HTML to get an actual heart symbol, but I'm too lazy to look it up.

what's the deal with EB haters? it's weird.

If you go back and check his early contributions to this site, MetaTalk in particular, you may get an inkling. I agree he gets more shit than he deserves, but he makes it very hard to resist taking potshots at him. I have to restrain myself at least once per thread. It's not just the verbosity, it's not just the overelaboration of thought processes that were overelaborate to begin with, it's not just the defensiveness... to tell you the truth, I don't know what it is exactly that's so offputting, but there it is. And yet he seems to be basically a good guy beneath it all. Eh, I dunno. It'll all come out in the wash or something. Meanwhile, quonsar feels pretty. I say it's high time for the orgy.
posted by languagehat at 8:49 PM on August 19, 2004


I'm sure sometimes you hear women saying shitty things about men. But not nearly on the volume that goes the other way.

I would dispute the accuracy of that as a general statement. I think it depends entirely upon the population sample you look at.

I don't know what it is exactly that's so offputting

Well, for me it's the telling someone to "fuck off" in just about every thread he's been participating in lately. Before that, I had no problem with him.
posted by rushmc at 9:10 PM on August 19, 2004


I would dispute the accuracy of that as a general statement. I think it depends entirely upon the population sample you look at.

No, rushmc, that's the point. In a totally random, general sample, that's what happens. You know, on average.
posted by dame at 9:29 PM on August 19, 2004


what's the deal with EB haters? it's weird.

If you go back and check his early contributions to this site, MetaTalk in particular, you may get an inkling. I agree he gets more shit than he deserves, but he makes it very hard to resist taking potshots at him.

Totally good guy. Often long-winded. So what? I skim his comments sometimes, but I do that with everyone. I am really perplexed as to how he's jumped the shark and gathered this entourage of people who pipe up in every other thread he posts in to say "you again? geez you fucking windbag..." And we're talking otherwise ordinary good salt-of-the-earth MeFites acting up to derail an otherwise perfectly ordinary conversation, not just career hecklers like Quonsar getting their rocks off.

I think it fucking sucks, and if he were a pissy bastard like myself who took every hater to the mat, I highly doubt so many people who hen-peck him constantly. The truth is he's really good at turning the other cheek to it, and continuing to do the whole"conversation" thing. His talent for ignoring the haters is the entire reason I haven't dragged the whole sordid phenomenon into MeTa. He's clearly above it by now, and I'm not going to fuck with that.

But I still think it's incredibly undignified and annoying.
posted by scarabic at 11:20 PM on August 19, 2004


dame/rushmc: are you guys just generalizing wildly or is there a link to a study in our future? Maybe it's just one of the charms of living in kooky Berkeley, but it's well beyond kosher (practically even cool) to paste the patriarchy out here, and well-nigh unthinkable to dis one's sistas.
posted by scarabic at 11:26 PM on August 19, 2004


Grumblebee: That's the thing about being white and being a guy. You can not feel "on a team" because generally the group in which you fall is a group that is not denigrated.

I totally agree with you about grumblebee's attitude here, dame. His group is not only not denigrated, it's often not even named. I brought up the idea of the "unmarked category" just the other day, when Miguel complained about how Americans on MetaFiler just say "this country" or "here," assuming that America is the default, instead of actually specifying where they live, who they are talking about, etc.

This is the same subconscious, privileged laziness that men enjoy as regards gender. White, affluent, straight men are at the top of the American class pyramind, and they may be so unfamiliar with the concept of what it means to be denigrated based on *what* they are that they simply can't bring themselves to believe that class-based denigration even exists. Read on:
The idea of unmarked categories was put forward by feminists. The theory analyses the culture of the powerful. The powerful are those people in society with easy access to resources, those who are able to exercise power without considering what they are doing. For the powerful, their culture is obvious; for the powerless, on the other hand, it is out of reach, élite and expensive.

The identifying mark of the powerful is the unmarked category. The unmarked category is the standard against which everything else is measured. The international address structure of the internet is a good example: US addresses (.edu; .gov) are unmarked.

Unmarked categories are often overlooked. Whiteness is an unmarked category that is commonly not visible to the powerful, as they themselves are within this category. The unmarked category is seen as the norm with the other categories being the deviant ones. This view on power can be applied on race, gender and disability without modification: the able body is the neutral body; the man is the normal status.
In other words, as long as you belong to the gender and race in power, it's super easy to forget that race or gender is an issue for anyone, anywhere. Only the dominant groups get to pretend that they enjoy all the priveleges of life because they're good, smart people. The members of the dominant group, even the good-hearted ones, have never been knocked down and kicked in the ribs for what they are, and they often choose to be optimistic about the world, believeng that their lives are safe and prosperous because they deserve it, or because God is loving, or because America is a fair society. They almost never appreciate the benefits they enjoy simply by virtue of belonging to the dominant group in their society. Vanity? Ignorance? Optimism?

Grumblebee seems to think he's outside the gender dynamic by virtue of his personal enlightened perspective that all people are equal. He doesn't understand why it's not a simple matter for others to just will themselves outside of it as well. Answer of course: he's not outside it, he's just on top of it. As generous as his attitude is, he cannot simply abdicate his position of power on behalf of all men and expect everyone else to instantly join him in a genderless tomorrow. He thinks his identity is genderless right now. but it isn't. His is a gendered reality like all of ours; his gender is simply unmarked.

Grumblebee: I sincerely apologize if I'm reading you wrong. I confess I am using you as the lynchpin for discussing a well-documented sociological concept. I don't mean to attack you personally as much as I'm just capitalizing on one or two of your comments to make a point. If it doesn't apply to you, I hope, at least, it's interesting to you.
posted by scarabic at 12:28 AM on August 20, 2004 [1 favorite]


crap - sorry, the emhpasis is mine in the blockquote.
posted by scarabic at 12:30 AM on August 20, 2004


And I'm sorry for posting in serial, at length. Over and out.
posted by scarabic at 12:34 AM on August 20, 2004


Well said, everyone.

There's a perverse difficulty in trying to be an "enlightened" member of the oppressing class. You're in a Catch-22 situation, damned whatever do you. Grumblebee is seeing some of that. In the grand scheme of things, particularly in comparison to actually being oppressed, it's pretty minor. Even so, as my mother likes to say (paraphrased), personal pain is relative, not absolute. As (rightly) annoying as it might be to those oppressed, taking seriously the difficulties of these people makes good practical sense. You want them on your side.

Grumblebee has formal feminist training, but it seems as if he is missing some essential important awareness. I could so be him, and I was, until I had that epiphany-like set of experiences I described earlier. It takes a real effort of will for one of us who lives in the privileged world to realize that there are people among us who live in a very, very different world. I described that realization as enormously painful for me, because women are half of us, I'm related to, love and have loved, and have been close friends with them. It's hard to imagine that it even makes any sense at all to say that they live in a different world than I do. When I started seeing that, I wanted to "unsee" it. I really didn't like this fucked-up world I was seeing. I had, for example, always encouraged my parents to raise my sister in a gender-neutral fashion, and that's how I treated her, but it began to occur to me, with horror, how greatly different her opportunities in this world were compared to mine.

I hate living in a world where slavery still exists and is widespread—except that it's sex-based—and where my saying that this is so strikes most people as false or at least hyperbole. I hate it. It's an awful world, worse for the fact that most people think it's normal.

All this is to say that there's a variety of reasons why it's so hard for a member of the privileged class to really come to understand the way things actually are. It's hard to do because, as is said above, their position makes it difficult and unlikely. But it's always hard because it's deeply disturbing—it's moving from a relatively comfortable world to a much, much more uncomfortable world. Who wants that?

I almost never talk about this for all the reasons discussed here. That is, it's just not appropriate to put a lot of emphasis on whatever difficulties there may be in being a male feminist. But I am talking about it here because I'd like to reach out, so to speak, to my fellow male feminists. It sucks to be in a no-win situation and no one really understands that, or cares. Well, the few of us in that situation do understand it, for what it's worth. Again, though, in the grand scheme of things, would that everyone had problems as minor as ours. And, as I said, those minor problems themselves are opportunities for learning. Personally, I am perversely grateful for the oppurtunity to learn something when I find myself in the ususual situation of being the object of bigotry. The naysayers and ridiculers would say it's masochism or an ostentatious false virtue or something...nope, it's just an attempt to turn lemons into lemonade and, mostly, to learn things I don't know and which are difficult to learn. Of course, that doesn't mean the bigotry doesn't sting.

Anyway, I'm not comfortable at all with the sense that we've piled-on grumblebee. I hope he recognizes that everyone, even the most critical, has recognized that clearly he's a non-sexist, that he cares and is knowledgable about these issues and his personal behavior is exemplary. Whatever it is that is being criticized is, without a doubt, one of the least of all possible things one could criticize.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 2:01 AM on August 20, 2004


All this is to say that there's a variety of reasons why it's so hard for a member of the privileged class to really come to understand the way things actually are.

Oh I hear you. I was raised a good white boy for the most part, but at a certain point I started to deviate from my "straight" jacket, and then I began to connect with my Arabic roots, and all hell really broke loose. It's only because of those experiences that I'm not an utterly complacent white man. I have a brother who had his own experience with all that, and I wonder about him. Both of us can still "pass" on either count, but I see that as closeting myself. White/staight, for him, *is* himself. Needless to say, we look at the world differently,m and it's been quite instructive for me.

I don't mean to pile-on grumblebee. He seemed to engage the conversation willingly. I could have merely insulted him with many fewer words.
posted by scarabic at 2:26 AM on August 20, 2004


Languagehat's defense of me, though tepid, was gratifying; and scarabic's was tremendouly gratifying and touching. It's interesting that some people like scarabic think I've gotten thick-skinned and am mostly turning the other cheek, and others, like LH, think that I'm thin-skinned. It's interesting because they're both right. I ignore a lot even though it still bothers me but, at the same time, when I think something's egregious, that it's crossed a threshold, I react strongly. I overreact, I guess. Anyway, LH's explanation was pretty accurate—how I'm perceived, anyway. I've always inspired strong reactions in people; and, with some notable exceptions, it's for vague, uncertain, reasons. That makes it hard for me to correct, if it deserves correction, because the implication is that it's a gestalt offense, a product of my personality as a whole. And, frankly, I'm not going to restructure my personality as a whole because I think that would involve throwing out the baby with the bathwater. I mostly like who I am. So I try to correct the specific things and try to learn to live with the fact that I'm always going to rub some people the wrong way. I suppose this is sort of an apology, and sort of not. This very comment will rub many people the wrong way. It's self-absorbed, elaborate, lengthy. But, hey, I'm being discussed here by others in a deeply personal sense—personal sense to me, anyway, as it involves people making judgments like "underneath it all, he's a good guy". Some things I do that really annoy people I quite well aware of and continue to do because I have, after much thought, decided that they are virtues. Being "elaborate", complex, for example. Grounding abstract argument in personal experience, "sharing" as it were. It's not emotional diarrhea that causes me to share personal things in the context of the abtracted discussions that are common here and elsewhere. It's because I very, very strongly believe that all this argumentation, philosophizing, whatever is only important in how it is actually real and personal. At the seminar-style school I attended, I excelled, as you might expect, in abstract thought and discussion but, to people's surprise there as here, I would always ground it in the real. Most people don't do this. In the context of this particular discussion, in fact, there's the idea (which I'm not entirely comfortable with) that women are personal and anecdotal oriented and men are abstract and systematic. An interesting thing is that the first time I ever took the MMPI (and I might have mentioned this) an interesting result among many was that I was, supposedly, more "masculine" than the average male and more "feminine" than the average female. I'm deeply abstract but also deeply personal. That is weird to most people. And the friction between the two modes of thought, especially within one person, I am guessing, tends to rub many people the wrong way. Maybe it's because the personal and anecdotal is limited and, in a sense, humble. The abstract and systematic is universal and arrogant—but not (necessarily) self-centered. Both, however, probably strikes people as the worst of all worlds, a solipsism. But, as reasonable as that assumption about my psychology is (and it is), it's wrong. What this combination really is, is nothing more than the Golden Rule. I don't think that maxim has any value unless it's simultaneously personal and abstract. Anyway, maybe it's not for the best that I respond to this in such a lengthy fashion. But it's a judgment call, and it's also something that I plan not to do for a very long while, so I'm just getting it taken care of here. Please pardon the selfishness of it in the context of this thread and think of it more as an opporunity to respond to this issue in a more general, site-wide fashion. That's also why this text is small. :)
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 2:26 AM on August 20, 2004


I guess I have seen you bite back, as well. My advice is: don't take it. Obviously, you have yet to embrace the gospel in all its brevity. But I hardly consider that any reason to cast stones.
posted by scarabic at 2:49 AM on August 20, 2004


Scarabic, the only comparable experience I've had has been coming "out" as an atheist. Living where you live, this probably seems absurd, but the part of the US where I live, it without a doubt put me in a despised class of people. My dad, though I'm sure he would be ashamed of it now, reacted very strongly. "Every atheist I've ever known was an asshole." (Both my parents are, um, wishy-washy agnostic types.) I've been the only atheist a person has ever met so many times I lost count. I'm like some sort of alien. And people can be very hostile. Anyway, that's the one way in which I suddenly found myself very much being treated with bigotry. My atheism means that I could never expect to run for major public office and win, for example. George Bush (41) famously said that he didn't think atheists were "real Americans". And so on.

As I've said before, I'm a very straight person, but I only became convinced of this after experimentation. And I'm a big supporter of gay rights and such, and so as everyone knows, I'm not the least shy about talking about my homosexual experiences. Interestingly, I've never encountered much flak for this, although I've kinda hoped to, to be honest. Q's and seanyboy's attempts to insult me in the thread in the blue are about the only way I'm ever attacked on it, and those sorts of things are, er, flaccid. It doesn't sting in the least.

Being a native northern New Mexico anglo, I have lived in Hispanic dominant communities (including one or two very small communities a la "The Milagro Beanfield War"), and I've never experienced bigotry against me as an anglo. There's many white people in the same situations, though, who have. I've known people who lived in the barrio in Santa Fe who claimed to be harrassed because they were white. This has never happened to me, ever, excluding while in high school with the various cliques and stuff. So I can't say that I've experienced being on the bad end of the stick in that regard, either.

So, all in all, I've lived a very privileged life. Only if I had been born in a wealthy family (and I kinda sorta almost was, but the wealth didn't ever accrue to me and I didn't ever experience any signifiant privilege from it—I probably would have had I lived in the same city as my grandfather), been better looking and taller (and not bald) could I have been any higher in the global pyramid of social privilege. I can't really know in the personal sense, but I can guess and know rationally that this means that I necessarily live in a very rarified world, a world very unlike that of most people. I always try to remain aware of this.

And yet, the world's better than it was. Because I'm not a member of the aristrocracy...and yet I'm privileged and wealthy enough to be having this sort of a conversation here, to have had the education I've had. Historically speaking, that's pretty amazing. The world's so much better than it used to be. But, still, while I've written this, hundreds of extremely able, honest, good, intelligent people have died in extreme poverty and sickness and oppression and almost no one—or no one at all—cares. We've a long way to go.

Sorry, I'm in one of those moods, I guess. Just more fodder to irritate people, I guess.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 2:51 AM on August 20, 2004


I guess I have seen you bite back, as well. My advice is: don't take it.—scarabic

I'll answer this because it's of general interest, applicable to many MeFites.

I'm sure there must be an effective way of striking back that is not counter-productive in the larger scheme of things. I've yet to find it. Possibly, the best repsonse is in a sense exactly the opposite of what I'm inclined to do. My inclination when attacked is to respond with not commensurate force, but overwhelming force. This relates to some psychological issues from my childhood. I really, really don't like being hit. And it just always seems, per your advice, that people who are inclined to poke people in the eye at the drop of a hat do so because they pretty much get away with it. However, the opposite of my inclination would probably to be to respond mildly but non-ambiguously, not escalating but not being quiet, either. I'd have to look for examples of people here (and elsewhere) that do that. My intuition is that it might be the best response.

As it happens, though, as this is my primary means of socializing, this is a more high-stakes "game" for me than for most of the people here. That period in June (?) on MeTa was deeply painful to me—I really want to stay on MeFi, and not be angry and bitter, and so I resolved to find a method of dealing with it that works for me. Sometimes I start to mentally compose a response, or actually type one out, and then stop and think, "it's not that big of a deal". Other times I tell myself that the other person is more likely than not making themselves look bad and I only have the same to lose if I respond. And so, these days, I mostly ignore it and don't let it bother me. I worry a bit that learning to ignore it might enable me to avoid correcting any bad behavior of mine that deserves correction—but then, the existence of that worry probably means it's not a problem.

It's much discussed, but there is something pretty peculiar and, um, unnatural about Internet discourse. It's way, way, way too easy to say things here that one wouldn't say in Real Life. But this is, sadly, not matched with a universal equivalent casualness and triviality on the receiving side. In truth, how people respond to what other people say runs the gamut from "it's the net, it doesn't matter, it's trivial" to "I'm very, very, very hurt". That mismatch creates many opportunities for conflict. I'm not sure how we should learn to deal with this. Very possibly, a good start would be to recognize that Internet social discourse is in many ways, as real as any other discourse and with many of the same things at stake. Yes, it's different, there's no question of that. It can be, and often is, far more trivial and impersonal than Real Life discourse. But not always. In the same spirit as TWIAVBP, maybe we should learn to be aware that there is a great variety of communicative styles, emotional vulnerability, seriousness and frivolity in 'net discourse and that our own particular perception of what this is all about may be quite parochial and insensitive to other people.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 3:15 AM on August 20, 2004


Living where you live, this probably seems absurd, but the part of the US where I live, it without a doubt put me in a despised class of people.

I can imagine. And it sounds like dame lives somewhere absolutely terrible for women. If her every day life is as icky as she describes, then I'm not that surprised she doesn't have a terribly flexible attitude about sexist humor on MetaFilter.

I'm not that surprised that you never get flak for having experimented, sexually. More guys than you'd imagine have done exactly that, and it's all good as long as you eventually arrive at "very straight person" status. That isn't what happened to me, exaclty, which is one of the reasons I'm glad to live where I live.

Actually, it's nice to live in a town with lots of gays, because it contributes to an overall sense of freedom from gender stereotypes, even for straight folk. I'm pretty straight, but I've never had any interest in inheriting the baggage that comes with that. Here, I can just be myself and still manage to blend in. This, combined with the geography and weather, is why I pay these gawd-awful rents.

I guess I pretty much made an ass of myself in the Blaire thread, but in real life, the person with whom I'm most free to be politically incorrect isn't my best guy-buddy, it's my girlfriend. While we both lead very left-leaning, socially-responsible lives, when we're together in conversation, nothing is sacred. I guess I get a little too comfortable in that. What can I say? I'm spoiled out here.
posted by scarabic at 3:18 AM on August 20, 2004


I think that perhaps the initial callout was not necessary (although I do agree that some of the comments in the highlighted thread were unnecessarily rude). However the ensuing discussion has been extremely enlightening and thoroughly civil, a big well done to all participants, it is threads such as this that I was initially drew me to metafilter.
posted by johnnyboy at 3:26 AM on August 20, 2004


EB, I'm sad you don't live closer, otherwise we might socialize off-line as well as here. But, having written as a journalist, academic, artist, and technical writer, I've been beaten over the head with the "concision" stick repeatedly in my life. I've been smacked with it here, too, as have you. What are your thoughts on paring down to meet your peers?
posted by scarabic at 3:38 AM on August 20, 2004

I'm not that surprised that you never get flak for having experimented, sexually. More guys than you'd imagine have done exactly that, and it's all good as long as you eventually arrive at "very straight person" status.—scarabic
Yeah, and I'm always a little afraid that some people will think that my self-identification as a "very straight person" is defensive. I occasionally question myself about this, too. But, the best answer I can come up with is that it's not. Mentioning this, especially here, in this thread, is likely to stir things up, but I've also found that I can't overcome a bias against heavier women in terms of sexual attraction. As the weight goes up, my libido diminishes. As mentioned previously, this became the major problem in my last serious relationship, although, certainly, my love for her didn't wane in the least. But something just stopped "clicking" in terms of sexual excitement and interest. Well, from experience that compares quite closely to my homosexual experiences. I'm not repulsed, and in theory some things are exciting, but in practice, it's sort of very neutral, not exciting really, at all. In both case, and here's the point, I wish it were. True, I'm far more inclined to want to change the body-type bias, but elminating the sex bias is something I'd change, if I could.

Anyway, I always talk about this too much, I guess. But it, too, is one of those catch-22's. Both straights and gays think that my self-description reveals both homosexuality and homophobia. And, really, I think the opposite is true in both cases. If I conformed to a more conventional self-description, either as a conventional straight or as bisexual, then both sides wouldn't think I was a hypocrite or something. Ironically, though, if I did, to me I would be exhibiting both hypocrisy and homophobia (in the case of just saying that I was straight without talking about homosexual experience) or dishonesty, if I claimed I was bisexual.

I'd like to be bi or gay if for no reason than I'd get laid as often as I like. That appears to not be a stereotype (although it is no doubt untrue in many individual cases). My closest friend, who's gay, had a profoundly different experience with pursuing and getting sexual activity and relationships than myself or any straight person I've known. I'm deeply envious. It's all so much less complicated. And available. :)

Languaghat complains that I "tie myself in knots". But, to me, the world is very complex and it's both deeply dishonest and deeply counterproductive to believe or pretend that it is simple.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 3:50 AM on August 20, 2004

"What are your thoughts on paring down to meet your peers?"—scarabic
That it's usually appropriate and for the best. I've always been a big believer in engaging with other people in the way that's most effective and familiar to them.

But my life history is sort of a reverse progression relative to most people in similar situations. I'm different than other people in many, many ways, and as a child I decided to wholeheartedly embrace the above philosophy. But, over a long period of time, I began to tire and be resentful of being forced to conform to degrees to which I felt were not jusitified or rational. The end result is that, these days, I may be more cavalier in dismissing these sorts of complaints than I ought, as I'm overcorrecting.

The assumption is that being wordy and prolific indicates self-obsession and a need for attention, along with arrogance, etc. While not denying that I may in fact possess some of those qualities, I don't think that my wordiness and prolificacy indicates them. At some point, it started to seem absurd to me to alter my behavior to avoid an accusation that wasn't true. People say, "well, if you want more people to actually read what you write, you need to be more concise". That's quite true. The problem is that there's the hidden assumption in there that I want the greatest number of people to read what I write—it's accepting that this is all about attention! Which it's not. Although somewhat interested, I'm much less interested in engaging with people that need/want things condensed to four simple sentences than I am with people who can deal with complexity and completeness, and have the time to. In some cases, I suppose I do think less of the former category of folks. But, mostly I don't. I'm not sure why it's assumed that we all should be a certain way, why there isn't room for pithiness, concision but also wordiness and elaboration. Different strokes. But, also, there are times when I think the latter is absolutely essential.

And see? I don't know if I answered your question, or took the hint you were offering. :)

I think what most annoys most of us about those with whom we are annoyed, is a variety of assumptions we make about the motivations of a behavior—moreso than the actual behavior itself annoys. This is evident in the subject of this thread, in the PP callout, and the argument about Milovoo's AskMe post. We're always trying to get inside other people's heads, and we're very often not liking what we believe we've found there. It's easy to say that we shouldn't do this, but we do and are going to continue to do so. I don't know that it's not necessary in some sense. But maybe we should continually remind ourselves that our guesses about other people's intentions are, in the end, just guesses.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 4:09 AM on August 20, 2004


(Hey scarabic, I was initially put off by the cottage cheese and mudflap comments, as I said above, but you've more than made up for it [if there was anything to make up for] by your contributions here. Clearly you are not a sexist! And now when I see your name by a comment I will be able to place it in context. Carry on!)

I'm not sure grumblebee is ripe for being picked on, exactly. He sounds too sad and almost too uncomfortable in his own skin to come off as a member of an oppressing class (I'm sorry if I'm just making things worse, gb), and remember that earlier he said that "I was horribly persecuted by several hundred people, both men and women, for about four years of my life." Perhaps he really is very much outside of things.

And it just always seems, per your advice, that people who are inclined to poke people in the eye at the drop of a hat do so because they pretty much get away with it.

Well, in the context of this particular discussion, that's kind of an interesting statement.
posted by onlyconnect at 4:10 AM on August 20, 2004


I didn't take your identification as defensive at all.

As for a personal preference against lots of weight, I share your opinion, as much as it can be a curse. As you point out, women are usually too busy feeling persecuted by this preference to understand what a curse it can be for us as well. Perhaps we're programmed by our media. Perhaps not. But, living in the fattest nation in the world (one paradoxically obsessed with being thin) we're inviting disappointment and relationship issues. If the media does play a part (and they likely do) then the "ideal" we're talking about is not only not-fat, but probably abnormally thin.

I think at least some of my preference for small women comes from being a small guy myself. Perhaps my flaw is that I think the man ought to be bigger than the woman: strong enough to carry her, tall enough to cradle her, etc. And so perhaps my distaste for large women equates with a feeling of inadequacy in myself for being only 5'9" / 150lbs. Perhaps in mocking a fat woman I'm only deflecting shame from myself. But, whatever the case, whoever accused me of hypocrisy because I'm probably fat myself was off-base.

Anyway, I've already over-explained myself as regards Blaire. I don't think it's cool to make fun of fat people. I was having a laugh at someone's silly web page. I stooped.
posted by scarabic at 4:10 AM on August 20, 2004


thanks onlyconnect - I appreciate your patience. I didn't mean to pick on grumblebee so much as much as to describe a pattern many of us all into sometimes. I hope he spots my disclaimer.
posted by scarabic at 4:13 AM on August 20, 2004


Well, I don't have a general problem with heavy people and I don't mock them, nor am I inclined to. Mostly, with some exceptions, I'm on their side in the damn MeFi fat-thread wars.

But that doesn't mean my sexual wiring, as it were, does not discriminate against them. I really, really, really wish it didn't. I can't even begin to discuss how much personal, relationship conflict and pain this has caused. And, in my view, there is no doubt at all that if it's anyone's problem, it's mine, not the heavy person's. But there's the way things ought to be, and the way things are, and one somehow must toward the latter while accepting the reality of the former—something very apropros of this thread.

Well, in the context of this particular discussion, that's kind of an interesting statement.

Could you elaborate? I'm thinking you mean in terms of mocking Blaire. And I agree. I'm not really interested in defending the mocking of Blaire for this reason—I don't think she or her site is (that) deserving of mockery (again, some of her language gives me pause). I just don't think the mockery was inherently misogynist, which was the contention.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 4:20 AM on August 20, 2004


For a break from Blaire, here's a 2001 blog posting of mine where I list quotes from womens' personals ads on Craigslist. Each line item is from a different ad, all posted in one day. They still surprise me, and overall, it was a pretty frightening exercise. Scroll past my blabbity-blab to see the list.
posted by scarabic at 4:32 AM on August 20, 2004

He sounds too sad and almost too uncomfortable in his own skin to come off as a member of an oppressing class (I'm sorry if I'm just making things worse, gb), and remember that earlier he said that "I was horribly persecuted by several hundred people, both men and women, for about four years of my life." Perhaps he really is very much outside of things.—onlyconnect
Going out on a limb, I can't help but think that if grumblebee is very uncomfortable in his skin, it's a result of the very reality he's trying to minimize. Maybe that's exactly why it's important to him to minimize it.

I can relate in many ways. I'm not at all comfortable with my own sex—and that's probably the way in which I'm most uncomfortable in my "own skin"; but my discomfort doesn't involve or arise from a sense of what the alternative should be. I do have a sense that I'd prefer to be female, and I do like women more than I like men. I trust women much more than men, but that's very likely a childhood thing. But I don't feel alienated from my own body. I don't look at my male body in the mirror and go, hey, that's not me. It is me. Like grumblebee, though, I am deeply uncomfortable with most of the common male gender roles, especially when it involves women. There's something in there that I'm deeply repulsed by and find incredibly alien. And in that sense, since I'm undeniably male, I feel like an alien. I think this is the chord that grumblebee was striking.

In so many ways I have typical male characteristics that are, on close examination, not typically male at all. I like porn, for example. Like most men, I'm very visually oriented (and this is undoubtedly why the weight thing matters to me). For the longest time, I mean until very recently, I thought that other men responded to porn the same way that I did. Yeah, I accepted the idea that porn objectified and dehumanized women, but I accepted that idea as something functional, something insidious, not overt. I thought that most men at least thought they were responding to porn depictions as if they were people and the dehumanization was a subtle poison. However, I now don't think this is true. In a conversation last year with a friend, I had told her how, for example, although the typical gross physical anatomy (breasts, pudenda) is important, even crucial to me in porn, it's also necessary that a) I see the person's face; b) she seems as if she's happy; and c) in general, there always an implicit scenario, latent or "realized", in my head about actually being with this person, sexually, as a person, someone I would actually know. Her response was that she thinks that unusual and perhaps exactly the opposite of why most men, in her opinion, like porn: they like porn specifically because it allows them to have the stimulation without any sense of a relationship or another person at all.

That was sort of a real eye-opener to me. And it began to explain many things that had up until then been inexplicable. I can, and sometimes do, ogle women like other men do. I like porn, I've been to strip clubs. And part of the experience seems like I'm responding the same way the other men are—it's sexually exciting, whatever. But another part really, really freaks me out. That part is the moment when I see something in the other mens' eyes, or they say something, when suddenly they look like aliens to me, people I can't understand at all, something deeply repulsive to me. And it has everything to do with dehumanizing the women they're ogling. Sometimes, when you look closely, you can really and truly see that for them, that's not a person. It's a boob or a cunt and nothing more—in fact, for them, that's the way the world really is to them, in a very deep sense.

Those people freak my shit out and in that context I can't imagine how I'm like them in any sense whatsoever, that I'm "male" as they are.

But I'm sure as hell not female. So what do ya' do?

There's a certain deep alienation that comes from simply not thinking the same way that most people do. This transcends race and sex and other things. Some of us have our brains, literally or metaphorically, wired differently than most people. For us, it's like being autistic. There's a dimension, an experience of being other people, that we really, deeply don't understand.

Hmm. I don't know if I meant to accomplish with this comment what I intended. Apologies if I didn't and I wasted anyone's/everyone's time.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 4:51 AM on August 20, 2004


From scarabic's link:

"I have a great sense of humor and am a bit wacky. Lately I have found myself referring to Pop Culture and making myself laugh."

I find that quite endearing. For someone to be just slightly ironic and find it humorous but not to double-down and be very cynical and hipper-than-thou (or to even realize that that's how the game is played) is, to me, charming.

I'm just sayin'.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 5:00 AM on August 20, 2004


Grumblebee: I sincerely apologize if I'm reading you wrong. I confess I am using you as the lynchpin for discussing a well-documented sociological concept.

Thanks. I don't feel picked on. I DO feel that many people here -- without really knowing me -- are making false claims about me in order to prove a general point. AND THAT'S FINE. I think some of the general points are true.

For the record, I DO understand why many women feel like they're part of a marginalized group. Of COURSE they feel that way. Many men (and some women) have worked hard to make them feel that way.

I'm talking about how one responds to that feeling.

As onlyconnect recalls, I was an outsider for many years. When I was in Jr. High and the beginning of High School, I was picked on by pretty much the entire school. Kids who DIDN'T pick on me (girls or boys) were given such shit that if they wanted to have any friends at all, they HAD to pick on me.

This made me really bitter for a long time. I had a me vs. the world attitude. It didn't help. In fact, it made things WORSE. It was only when I was able to stop thinking in a divisive way, that things got better. And yes, it felt awfully unfair that I was the one who had to be all grown up about things, but that is what WORKED.

By the way, I may be a white male, but I'm also Jewish. I grew up in a town with almost no Jews, and I was subject to anti-Semitism.

Still, I do NOT feel part of the Jewish group. When I hear about Jews being attacked (I'm upset, of course, as I am when I hear about anyone being attacked), I don't feel like I'M being attacked. I only feel attacked when people attack ME.

I'm aware that this isn't the norm. I'm aware that most people DO feel personally attacked when their group is attacked. I'm just concerned about the response.
posted by grumblebee at 5:23 AM on August 20, 2004


Sorry for the garbled post above, too early in the morning, too little coffee. What I meant to say was thanks.
posted by johnnyboy at 5:29 AM on August 20, 2004


EB: Do you realise you're doing over 1000 words an hour to this thread? I'm slightly envious I can't turn out that volume. If you have any ability to devise crappy junk novels (or quality ones for preference) you could churn them out by the week.
posted by biffa at 5:52 AM on August 20, 2004


That wouldn't work, because those novels wouldn't be about him. :)

Nothing personal EB--and it doesn't change the previous agreement we've reached on this topic--but when taken in large quanitites at one sitting, your "meandering confessional" writing style makes me break out in hives. I wouldn't have brought this up if I thought I was the only one with this particular allergic reaction. :)
posted by DaShiv at 6:31 AM on August 20, 2004


Yes, but it's always in service of making a point or explaining a general idea. I'm genuinely confused about the "it's about him" accusation because it's hard for me to see how anyone's ideas and opinions about pretty much anything, but particularly something like this subject, could not be, ultimately, be grounded in one's own experiences. I could just make the abstracted arguments, or bare assertions, and that would seem impersonal, but would it be, really? In spirit? When I talk about anything like this, I'm sorta trying to paint a picture, a diagram, to go along with my argument. I'm making a case for something, but presenting how it organically grew from my experience. I think this serves two purposes. The first is that it provides a context for evaluating my argument. Put differently, I always try to do things in the other direction. I find that putting myself in someone else's shoes is extremely helpful for me to be able to figure out what they're trying to say. Then I've got something to work with. Second, it provides a context for someone to possibly understand my argument who otherwise wouldn't. In general, communication for me is a sharing of contexts. As much or more of the information is contained in the context as in the bare ideas or words. Anyway, I'm just saying that I do this for a purpose. And this isn't an ex post facto rationale, either. A little bit, maybe, but mostly not.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 7:35 AM on August 20, 2004


Yeh but no but no but ...

posted by seanyboy at 8:11 AM on August 20, 2004


EB: OK, here's the deal. I was actually feeling a little bad about my "tepid defense"; I thought "You know, he really is a good guy, and he really has been taking a lot of shit; why couldn't I have been more positive?" Then I read further down this unending thread, and followed your interchange with scarabic with fascination. I found myself liking you both better as a result. I think this comment of yours (no longer than it had to be, clear progression of thought, about a subject of interest to many of us) was the high point of my warm feeling; I was about ready to type out a real encomium. But then you went on, and on, and on, with comment after comment, sometimes responding to scarabic, sometimes reflecting on things you or others had said earlier... and I felt the sense of irritation creeping back, the desire to toss a vegetable or two in your direction. See, however reasonable and sincere and even valuable any one of your comments may be in isolation, when you put dozens of them together in one thread the "get your own blog" injunction becomes almost irresistible. Really, can't you see that the details of your sexual experimentation and the complexity of your thoughts about them (and your responses to other people's resoponses to them and the responses other people might have had but didn't) are Too Much? It's classic blog material; if I read it on your blog I might (if I were in the mood) think "That's really interesting" and come back for more, but on MeFi it invites savage attack, not for being "too gay" or too thoughtful but for simply being Too Much. You're turning this thread into All EB All the Time, just what it once seemed you were going to do to MetaFilter. You badly need an editor, and things being as they are, you're going to have to learn to perform that function for yourself. I agree with you that "the world is very complex and it's both deeply dishonest and deeply counterproductive to believe or pretend that it is simple," and if I gave vent to all my inner doubts, reservations, and playing both sides against the middle, I could easily match you for verbosity and knot-tying. But I don't, because it's not good communication. Once you perceive that and act on it, you will shed your pariah status and may even become a well-loved figure, as I think you deserve.

Seriously, I'd like to be an EB fan, and I join scarabic in wishing we could socialize off-line. But you've got to rein it in or suffer the consequences. That's a simple statement of fact.
posted by languagehat at 9:15 AM on August 20, 2004


This very comment will rub many people the wrong way. It's self-absorbed, elaborate, lengthy.

Bingo.

For every snarky anti-EB poster there are a bunch of us who don't want to pile on but just quit reading threads that he's taken over. And that engenders resentment.
posted by CunningLinguist at 9:22 AM on August 20, 2004


Damn, seanyboy just made me spew cherry jello through my nose.
posted by SteveInMaine at 9:28 AM on August 20, 2004


In a totally random, general sample, that's what happens

In a "totally random, general sample" of WHAT? Humans, from all societies and cultures? Americans? Men? Sexists?

We are never going to agree on this point, I fear.
posted by rushmc at 9:32 AM on August 20, 2004


TL;DR
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:43 AM on August 20, 2004


"This is complete crap. Do you actually know any feminists, or is this just standard-issue male paranoia (feminist = man-hater = castrating bitch = run away!)?

Here is a nice succinct statement of the facts:
Feminism is not just a movement for the liberation of women, but a broad social movement striving for the equality of each individual. Feminism emphasizes the importance of such values as co-operation, tolerance, nurturance, and the freedom for each person to achieve her or his potential. Feminists are not against men as individuals. What they are against is the oppressive and outdated social structure which forces both men and women into positions which are false and antagonistic. Thus, everyone has an important role to play in the feminist movement. It is ironic that feminism has been characterized as anti-male, when in fact it seeks to liberate men from macho stereotypic roles such as the need to suppress feelings, act aggressively, and be deprived of contact with children.
" Calling your quoted text fact is what's crap, languagehat.

Ironic that you suggest my view is based on a lack of real knowledge of feminism, and then quote an idealistic, rather than realistic description of feminism (with a wonderfully arrogant macho preamble too!).

Oh well, if you can't disagree, or take issue, in a civilised manner, I'll not waste my breath.

Re: EB.

EB, I don't have a problem with your lengthy meandering posts. I skip 'em.

I'll start reading the first few of your posts in a thread, get the the point where I'm not even sure what we're supposed to be discussing anymore, and then skip past every large chunk of text with your name at the bottom of it (maybe scanning the first few lines as they whizz past).

Much like adverts before I had Adblock. So as far as I'm concerned, EB, carry on, you're not causing me any problems - just another thing on the internet to tune out most of the time.

(That's really not a condemnation, EB, just a description of my experience.)
posted by Blue Stone at 10:16 AM on August 20, 2004


I heard a wise thng from one of my fiction workshop leaders once upon a time:

"It isn't a story until someone actually reads it. If no one ever reads your manuscript, you know what it is? It isn't a story. It's black marks on paper."

I don't think the brevity issue is about conforming to norms, or about pandering to the reader's needs. Like languagehat said, it's just good communication, which, to me, is what this palce is for. When I see my comment spanning past a certain length, I realize I'm going to start losing people, and I try to tighten it up. This comes from the desire to communication *what* I have to say. With that as a priority, I can't afford to be married to my style, or I run the risk of making a lot of black marks on paper. Or white marks on grey, or whatever :)
posted by scarabic at 10:42 AM on August 20, 2004


I'd like to see this thread in sixty seconds, reenacted with bunnies.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 10:43 AM on August 20, 2004


the desire to communication what I have to say

Oh that's good. I'm here all week, folks.
posted by scarabic at 10:46 AM on August 20, 2004


...try the seal.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 10:49 AM on August 20, 2004


I'd like to see this thread in sixty seconds, reenacted with bunnies.

Yeah, and whose fault is it they can't do it in 30, like they can with the Exorcist?
posted by biffa at 10:52 AM on August 20, 2004


God's? I blame da jesus.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 10:58 AM on August 20, 2004


Languagehat, you are one persuasive, pithy son of a gun--and I believe one of the finest writers (of posts & comments, anyway) on this site. But it seems your finely tuned editorial sensibilities are overstimulated by EB's loose style; it's not that bad. Sure, Bligh could be more concisce. But I would be very pleased indeed if everyone erred on the side of over-explanation and over-examination of the subject at hand rather than the opposite, which is more often the case.

I think the most generous reading of EB's verbosity is that it's a function of his earnestness. Now, "earnestness" may not be a particularly critical trait for most modes of writing, but here in the blue or gray, I've come to appreciate it more and more. And so what if it comes in huge cascades? Let other's respond in kind; that's how interesting conversations happen. I only wish I had more time to be more thoughtful, and that I resisted the temptation to post quick n' dirty instead of waiting until I had more time to compose a thought. I'll probably regret this defense, but I thought I should lob it out there.

Chin up, EB.
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 11:26 AM on August 20, 2004


eb ... i just don't think metafilter or metatalk is the right place for this kind of confessional writing, at least to the extent that you're doing it in this thread ... there's a point where it stops being about the subject at hand and starts being about you and i'm afraid you've passed that point ... i don't think one or two posts like the above are inappropriate ... in fact, i've done the same here, when moved to ... and in other more appropriate places, i've done it at lengths up to 10,000 words ... yep, folks, i could show you what a real "windbag" could be like ...

but not here ... a certain economy of expression is important ... and a certain sense that what i have to say is passionately relevant to the thread and relevant to other people is necessary before i'd go on like this ... and i'm not sensing that about your posts ... you may think that some kind of anguished self-examination over your role in society and how privileged it is important ... and i don't doubt it is for you ... but not all of us are that interested ... not just in your ultimate identity in this question ... but in the question itself

i regard myself as being a minority of one ... i could justify this and defend it thoroughly ... but not here ... y'all really don't want me to, do you? ... carpal tunnel from scrolling sucks ...
posted by pyramid termite at 11:32 AM on August 20, 2004


EB, I quite like you, and I resent the mocking comments in the Date to Save from Hell post. But about 20 or 30 comments ago this thread got derailed, and now we're all just standing around discussing your personality and writing style. YOU'VE CO-OPTED OUR THREAD ABOUT FEMINISM AND MADE IT ALL ABOUT YOU!!!

Patriarch! Prepare to meet your doom. :P
posted by onlyconnect at 12:11 PM on August 20, 2004


[Off-topic: pyramid, what's with the "..."?]
posted by grumblebee at 12:13 PM on August 20, 2004


But about 20 or 30 comments ago this thread got derailed, and now we're all just standing around discussing your personality and writing style.

. . . true, but how boring would it be if every conversation ended where it started? Also, I would suggest that no one "owns" a thread.

And with that, I shall officially stop defending the Blighmeister.
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 12:29 PM on August 20, 2004


It's an homage to Celine ... Journey to the End of the Night ... Death on the Installment Plan ... you know. ISTR reading an unpublished preface by Kurt Vonnegut to one of Celine's books in which he quoted Celine as saying something like "my and my three dots ... my [something something] literary style!" and then later, about the Nobel, "every vaseline-ass in Europe has one—where's mine?"

As long as this thread's now about EB, I would like to take this opportunity to say that he's all right by me.
posted by kenko at 12:31 PM on August 20, 2004


i just don't think metafilter or metatalk is the right place for this kind of confessional writing, at least to the extent that you're doing it in this thread ... there's a point where it stops being about the subject at hand and starts being about you and i'm afraid you've passed that point ...

As the co-conspirator in last night's "derail," I'd like to object. Yes, Bligh and I wandered through a bunch of personal material, but it was on-subject: masculinity/femininity, body issues, latent sexism, dealing with it...

Sorry, but after 200 comments it's pretty much okay for a small set of people to wander through a few related tangents. That's *hardly* a "derail." This thread reached fruition and went past it a long time ago.
posted by scarabic at 1:10 PM on August 20, 2004


actually i wrote with (...) before i even read celine ... when i was 19 ... long time ago ... he's great if you can ignore his politics ... nord is wonderful, too ... it just feels looser than proper grammar and more accomodating to my consciousness and mediocre typing skills ... no caps ... no sweat ... i've changed a lot in the last few months in writing and life ... but let's not go there

it's more like talking than writing and i like talking

and scarabic ... first time through i skipped all but eb's first couple of posts ... and i made myself read them all before i commented on him ... but i made myself, see? ... there's a problem there ...
posted by pyramid termite at 1:32 PM on August 20, 2004


Actually, I think exactly 4 seconds of a male and a female rabbit beating one another over the head with their respective genitals would sum it up just fine.
posted by scarabic at 1:34 PM on August 20, 2004


As long as we're derailling, I don't get the ... thing, pyramid. I always thought those were either to show that a quotation had been edited or for unfinished thoughts, unfinished sentences, unfinished ideas, unfinished ...

How am I supposed to read your posts? In other words, what's the difference between "before I even read celine, when I was 19" and "before I even read celine ... when I was 19"?

Should I read it as "before I ever read celine (pause) when I was 19"?

Sorry, I'm not trying to grill you. I've seen a couple of people write like this, and I'm not sure what's supposed to be going on in my head when I read.
posted by grumblebee at 1:56 PM on August 20, 2004


scarabic ... lol

grumblebee ... the 3 dots have nothing to do with my lack of clarity there ... the 3 hours of sleep i had after working all last night do have something to do with it ... i was sloppy there ... i wrote like that when i was 19, read celine much later

it's talking as writing ... hear it as conversation ... and i do talk like this ... except for the "ums" and "you knows"

well, that's enough of that
posted by pyramid termite at 2:05 PM on August 20, 2004


Imagine you're talking to someone who's relating to you his dim recollections of his youth while gazing with rheumy eyes off into the distance.

A long time ago ... before I had read Celine ... I was 19 then ... there was an onion on my belt ... it was the style at the time ... then I joined the army ... what a fool! Blah blah ....           blah.


(On preview: I guess you could listen to pyramid termite too, since he's the one who's actually posting that way.)
posted by kenko at 2:11 PM on August 20, 2004


Yeah, I hear ya, pyramid termite. I was trying to keep it on-topic anyway. Sorry for running away with it.
posted by scarabic at 2:18 PM on August 20, 2004


Just a couple of things...

"YOU'VE CO-OPTED OUR THREAD ABOUT FEMINISM AND MADE IT ALL ABOUT YOU!!!"

I'm too lazy at the moment to survey the last x messages, but I can at least report that I found the thread turning in that direction inappropriate and I tried my best not to encourage. There's several comments I wanted to make, but didn't. And my first, as I said, was in small type to underscore that I didn't want to go in this direction. I thought about advising that this should be its own MeTa post or something, but that idea scared the living shit out of me. :) Anyway, I think I only posted one or two comments on it after it came up. So, um, I don't know if I should shoulder all the blame.

Also, my reasoning was the same as scarabic's. The thread was very long, and it was early this morning and it seemed sorta like scarabic and I were having a conversation. He and I have done that before and I'm starting to realize that a late night context where it seems like it's just the two of us (or a few people) can look much different when people come along later and read the thread. But that was sorta the spirit in which I was posting. I figured the only people still reading were those who were interested. Maybe I need to adjust my thinking about that.

As usual, I'll think on everything everyone has said. Give me some time to process it.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 2:39 PM on August 20, 2004


_sirmissalot_ : Thanks very much for the kind words.

I would be very pleased indeed if everyone erred on the side of over-explanation and over-examination of the subject at hand rather than the opposite, which is more often the case... Now, "earnestness" may not be a particularly critical trait for most modes of writing, but here in the blue or gray, I've come to appreciate it more and more... I only wish I had more time to be more thoughtful, and that I resisted the temptation to post quick n' dirty instead of waiting until I had more time to compose a thought.

I agree to a large extent with this, and sometimes think (with regret) that MetaFilter has encouraged in me a tendency to quick flippancy and offhand remarks rather than well-reasoned analysis. I actually do appreciate EB's earnestness, and if everyone else applauded his comments I'd keep my irritation at their length and ubiquity to myself. But since pretty much everyone else is beating him about the head and shoulders with pig bladders, I realize that my irritation is actually on the low end of the scale and that it is a kindness to both him and the community at large to encourage concision on his part. Note to EB: Let compendious be your watchword.

Oh, and I have nothing against people carrying on private conversations in the grey. It can be quite enjoyable, whether carried on at the highest level (as here) or in the gutter (as so often).
posted by languagehat at 3:02 PM on August 20, 2004


There's several comments I wanted to make, but didn't.

The horror! The horror!
posted by NortonDC at 4:19 PM on August 20, 2004


The ellipses are confusing for those of us who interpret them as standing in for something that's missing (their normative function, I thought):

If only I had a million dollars...
She raised an eyebrow and wondered whether...
We the people... hold these truths to be self-evident.

People improvise all manner of ways of inserting pauses into their writing. I think they're generally trying to represent their thought process or the way they'd imagine their thoughts performed as a stage monologue. I usually don't find such pauses to add very much to understanding or style, though. The wholesale substitution of ellipses for all punctuation is even more questionable.
posted by scarabic at 5:16 PM on August 20, 2004


"YOU'VE CO-OPTED OUR THREAD ABOUT FEMINISM AND MADE IT ALL ABOUT YOU!!!"

I was really wondering when someone was going to say that, and when there would be a woman or two commenting in this freakshow of a thread. Dame, if you're still reading this far, feel free to bring lips over and we can hoist a few beers on the back porch and grumble together, because my back porch might be a better place for it than here.

I found the thread turning in that direction inappropriate and I tried my best not to encourage. There's several comments I wanted to make, but didn't. And my first, as I said, was in small type to underscore that I didn't want to go in this direction.

You don't write 660 words and then say you put it in small text in order to someone downplay your 660 words, you just don't. Maybe there is another explanation? I respect that you have things to say that you feel strongly about, and that MeFi is a big social outlet for you, but there's that old adage about litter that says if everyone did it, things would get messed up really quickly. As a chick though, I can probably give you a lesson on meaning NO and saying NO effectively if you want to learn how to put a stop to things you realize are going wrong.
posted by jessamyn at 5:21 PM on August 20, 2004


can't we just let ellipsing dots lie?
posted by pyramid termite at 5:42 PM on August 20, 2004


my back porch might be a better place for it than here

Yes, we've established that this thread is no place for 2 friends to converse.
posted by scarabic at 9:23 PM on August 20, 2004


Heh. I've been smiling a little bit about the idea that the feminism/misogyny thread has culminated in a couple of guys having an extended, intimate conversation with each other.

But you both know that MeTa is not meant to be used this way, and long-thread/late-night is not an excuse. Your late-night is my mid-morning, for one thing, and the other is that if long threads devolve this way, Matt will probably be forced to hardcode some preventative measures, which would be a pity. You have dominated this discussion in a heavyhanded, and - yes - narcissistic and exhibitionistic style. If you really wanted to have a discussion with each other, you could have done it via email or chat, but the point seems to be that you wanted to have it "in front of" the rest of us. Ooky.
posted by taz at 9:25 PM on August 20, 2004


Fine. I'm out of here.
posted by scarabic at 9:29 PM on August 20, 2004


:::agrees with taz:::

Mathowie has complained about chattiness in MetaTalk before. Many of us have slipped into it now and again (I'm certainly guilty of it myself), but it's clearly not what Meta is for. Trying to argue that it is is merely self-indulgence.
posted by rushmc at 9:31 PM on August 20, 2004


You don't write 660 words and then say you put it in small text in order to someone downplay your 660 words, you just don't. Maybe there is another explanation?

No, there's not another explanation. That's exactly why I did what I did. I wrote 660 words because I was taking the opportunity to say something about it and was hoping that would be the end of it. I put it in small text to make it an aside and make that clear.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 2:44 AM on August 21, 2004


Heh. I've been smiling a little bit about the idea that the feminism/misogyny thread has culminated in a couple of guys having an extended, intimate conversation with each other.

Not true. It's a thread that accused certain men of taking a misogynistic tone in the Blue; a thread that, having petered out due to its participants choosing to emphasize perception, reception, and social context of said thread (rather than levying specific charges against specific examples) and being mired in ideological tangents, left these men left alone to talk about the background behind their earlier contribution to the thread.

Oh, and it also left the pedants, too. There are always pedants.

(I would share your reaction if the thread were really about feminism/misogyny, but I see it as having been just one derail after after another in yet another callout thread, and I don't see why one derail should have eponymic priority over another. This thread could be just as conceivably, and probably more accurately, be labeled "another EB" thread instead of the feminism/misogyny thread. :) Miguel's MeTa threads at least are more explicit in their topicality.)

Cliff's Notes for this thread are available in the bookstore. Remember your character analysis essay on EB is due next week, and at the next class meeting we will be discussing how the plot failings of this thread represent indictments against the society from which it was written. Dismissed.
posted by DaShiv at 9:49 AM on August 21, 2004


There are always pedants.

Can you provide evidence that this is always true?
posted by biffa at 3:55 AM on August 23, 2004


There are always pedants.

Can you provide evidence that this is always true?




- Yeh but no but no but ...
posted by johnnyboy at 3:29 AM on August 24, 2004


"- Yeh but no but no but ..."

Maybe you should look up the word "pedant".

There. I win.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 7:54 AM on August 24, 2004


the irony EB
posted by johnnyboy at 8:01 AM on August 24, 2004


Oh, I know. That's why I posted it. I thought it'd be funny.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 9:08 AM on August 24, 2004


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