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Can We Stop Pretending That Rape Culture Is OPP?

March 23, 2013

Or new, or in any way rare? Please? Can we please do that so I am not forced to school people up daily on what it is like to be female in fucking life? Pretty please?

I’d like to pause here and point out that if you got the reference in the title then you are old like me.

It’s been a bad week for basic human functions in terms of women and equality.

First the Steubenville rape case continued, which just left the residue of horribleness and hate all over. Eventually they were found guilty so yay, but as a result stuff like this happened.

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Also this.

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There are a bunch more along those lines.

And then some people started threatening the victim. Fortunately, the were exceptionally stupid people and they got really, extra caught right away. And arrested. Because they deserved it.

How many ways do you need it explained people? Nothing on the internet is private.

Case in point, this week we learned of another case, this time in Connecticut. The victims (yes, plural.) are 13. Keep that information in the front of your mind. They’re 13. Both of the accused are 18-years-old.

Two 18-year-olds are accused of raping multiple 13-year-olds and the response from the school and certain members of the community is what?

According to the Register Citizen, whose reporter Jessica Glenza collected social network posts related to he case, dozens of athletes and Torrington High School students have taunted one of the victims on social media sites. She was called a “whore,” criticized for “snitching” and accused of “ruining the lives” of the players.

Oh yeah, that happened.

As I’ve outlined in the past, in America, the physical integrity of children is generally considered less important than maintaining a winning football program. And, you know, the males. They’re important. Not the victims, who are generally female.

And today I read about this. The basics of the story are as follows:

A woman named Adria Richards went to a conference where she heard a number of sexist jokes. This conference specifically bills itself under the motto

Change the future – education, outreach, politeness, respect, tenacity and vision

Keep that in mind.

Her final straw was hearing two men make yet more sexist innuendo during the closing speech. Specifically, they were making sexist jokes during the portion of the closing speech which was lauding the con’s efforts towards outreach to women and girls, specifically their con rules on harassment. In the words of Ms. Richards;

I was going to let it go. It had been a long week. A long month. I’d been on the road since mid February attending and speaking at conferences.  PyCon was my 5th and final conference before heading home.

I know it’s important to pick my battles.

I know I don’t have to be a hero in every situation.

Sometimes I just want to go to a conference and be a geek.

But…

Jesse was on the main stage with thousands of people sitting in the audience. He was talking about helping the next generation learn to program and how happy PyCon was with the Young Coders workshop (which I volunteered at). He was mentioning that the PyLadies auction had raised $10,000 in a single night and the funds would be used the funds for their initiatives.

I saw a photo on main stage of a little girl who had been in the Young Coders workshop.

I realized I had to do something or she would never have the chance to learn and love programming because the ass clowns behind me would make it impossible for her to do so.

I calculated my next steps.  I knew there wasn’t a lot of time and the closing session would be wrapping up.  I considered:

  • The type of event

  • The size of the audience

  • How the conference had emphasized their Code of Conduct

  • What I knew about the community and their diversity initiatives

  • How to address this issue effectively and not disrupt the main stage

So, you know, that makes sense.

Ms. Richards tweeted the photo and specifically tweeted the con organizers to let them know what was happening. The men in question were pulled aside and spoken to. According to some reports, the men and Ms. Richards talked later and things were largely resolved.

Later, as a direct result of his actions, one of the men who made the sexist comments was fired.

Naturally, there’s been a buttload of backlash. Twitter went insane, there were denial of service attacks against Ms. Richards’ personal blog and her employer and as a result she was also fired. Oh yes, that happened.

There are some really good examinations of the situation and the way it played out so I’m not going to go over all of it. Read them. They’re worth it.

I do want to examine the continuing aftermath, however. This is the latest and it neatly sums up the entire hate that is being thrown toward Richards. Just for the record, that hate included death threats and racial epithets. So that was exciting and totally expected.

Check it. This is an attempt to raise money run by an admitted rapist.

Feminism has caused some serious changes to our culture, to our society, and to our lives.

Yes, yes it has and you know what? THOSE CHANGES ARE FUCKING GREAT! Yay changes! You know, from any sane perspective. However, the “men’s rights movement,” is not a sane perspective. I say again, admitted rapist.

Here’s the two questions that I’ve seen asked most often in the conversation about this incident and the aftermath. “Why didn’t she just say something to them?” and “Why should men have to walk on eggshells with everything they say?”

OK, well first of all, perhaps she was concerned about becoming a bigger target. That’s one of the super fun time catch-22s of sexism. Speaking up OFTEN not only makes things worse but takes them to the next level. Please understand, by next level I mean the level of overt threats and physical violence and frankly, women shouldn’t have to risk themselves in order to let someone know that the sex joke they just made was offensive.

The default position should not be “women need to speak up and possibly put themselves at risk.” Instead, the default position should be “people don’t say stupid ass things.”

As to the second question, why should men have to walk on eggshells? I don’t know, equality? Because women live on fucking eggshells. Most women exist in a constant state of “what if I say the wrong thing?” Trust me, it isn’t fun. Why, again, I will point out that sometimes the consequences of being a female and doing anything at all are violence and threats.

Now no one wants the results of  men’s stupid comment to be violence and threats. However, the result of their stupid, offensive comments should be some sort of tangible consequences. And that’s exactly what happened in this case. Further, people really need to get with the concept of consequences. The guys said something stupid. As a result they were disciplined. Welcome to adulthood.  But this is the thing that the people decrying Ms. Richards keep harping on. These men did something dumb and they caught the consequences. And somehow that is a problem. Because, feminism has made changes to our society.

It’s utter bullshit. And we need to keep calling it out as such or it’s never gonna change.

27 Comments leave one →
  1. March 23, 2013 10:33 AM

    Hate directed at women. It currently consumes my thoughts. I’m old, too. Probably older than you. It was better in the 70s. At least people pretended that they thought women could be equal (of course, that was before we PROVED we were and scared the bejeebers out of them). Thus, the hatred now directed toward us.

  2. March 23, 2013 6:36 PM

    Ms. Richards overreacted. Instead of turning around and letting the men know that she could hear their conversation and that it was offending her, she used her platform and her audience as weapons against them. Absolutely no excuse for elevating it to that level, regardless of how much she wanted to avoid confrontation. And then the internet shat itself after the gentleman was fired. There’s going to be conflict, no way around it. The best we can do is learn to avoid initiating conflict and defusing it as quickly as possible. Don’t see why we can’t do that.

    People are going to say offensive things; this is an inevitability. Should they? No. Should we, as people, be more sensitive and empathetic to the human beings around us? Abso-fucking-lutely, yes. But now one man is out of work in an industry that is incredibly competitive, the internet is caught up in another asinine discussion whose topic is not “how do we evolve and actually start acting civil to one another” and reactionaries on both sides are using this clusterfuck to justify their respective positions.

    Should Ms. Richards have been fired as well? I really don’t know; for all I know she was a problem employee and her taking pictures of people without their permission and posting it on her own website was the final straw. Similar conditions could have been present for the man who was fired. There really are no winners here; everyone, EVERYONE, the internet collective included, was wrong. And instead of examining the whole event as a “how the fuck do we avoid every element of this again”, instead finger pointing, as ever, is the order of the day.

    • March 23, 2013 10:22 PM

      Did you read what I wrote? I mean really read it. Read it again.

      Ms. Richards reacted fine. She was acting within the rules at the time and, as I pointed out, turning around and saying something isn’t always a safe option. Further, she didn’t want to disrupt the conference by possibly engaging in confrontation that had the potential to turn loud or violent. Keep in mind that just last year women were harassed and assaulted at a tech con by guests and security. So she tweeted which was bith within the rules and smart from the point of view of protecting her safety. The comments that the men behind her were making were against the rules and they bloody well knew that.

      Given these facts, you need to know what you’re saying. You’re saying that Ms. Richards and women in general should risk their personal safety and to do otherwise is to “overreact.”

      How about no?

      “But now one man is out of work in an industry that is incredibly competitive, the internet is caught up in another asinine discussion whose topic is not “how do we evolve and actually start acting civil to one another” and reactionaries on both sides are using this clusterfuck to justify their respective positions.”

      Actually, one man and one woman are out of work. The man knowingly broke the rules. The woman didn’t.

      There really are no winners here; everyone, EVERYONE, the internet collective included, was wrong.

      Incorrect. The men in this situation were wrong. Moreover, having read the rules of the con, which they should have done before attending, they knew they were breaking the rules. The woman was acting both within the rules and within the stated desires of the con organizers.

      Also, why the hell are we so worried about the delicate sensibilities of the men in question? They were both breaking the rules of the con and being, you know, sexist. And because we live in this world, she’s being painted as the person in the wrong. Which is not at all surprising given that’s how sexism works. When women speak up we are blamed for harming men, not speaking up in appropriately on-threatening and respectful ways and just generally told to STFU about being offended or harmed.

      That demand? That insidious assertion that women have to object a certain way in order for their objection to be valid? It’s bullshit.

  3. March 23, 2013 10:42 PM

    So women get to react however they want and damn the consequences?

    Cool. Good to see you’re just a reactionary masquerading as someone who operates under logic.

    News flash: attempting to turn the tables by any means necessary isn’t going to win you the day, and it isn’t going to get you any sympathy from the people you need to win over. I acknowledged that Ms. Richards was also fired. I also said that I didn’t think it was justified. I didn’t say thing one about offending the men’s’ sensibilities; my point was when someone says something that offends you, an initial response should not be outing that person to your significant internet following, all of whom hold the same views as you and may take action of their own. That’s irresponsible and unprofessional. She didn’t tweet the picture only to the organizers of the convention; we know this because the tweet was public, not a PM. She wanted everyone to know who these men were and what they were doing. That isn’t the behavior of a professional. Don’t want to act like a professional, cool. But be ready to accept the consequences for not doing so, be they justified or not. The world’s a sucky place. Some people say offensive things, other people may misinterpret a response to something offensive as an overreaction. Be prepared, act accordingly, no matter your gender.

    I am absolutely not of the opinion that men who say offensive things should not be held accountable. But when the response could bring about mob justice, well, that action has consequences of its own. No problem at all that Ms. Richards was offended, other than the fact that it happened in the first place.

    • March 24, 2013 1:23 AM

      Cool. Good to see you’re just a reactionary masquerading as someone who operates under logic.

      At the point wherein you start attacking the person, rather than deconstructing the argument, you admit that your position has no basis. Which I kind of knew already given that your argument is functionally “Ms. Richards overreacted.” The danger that women face in confrontational situations

      Step back, tack a breath, engage the executive functions and try again.

      my point was when someone says something that offends you, an initial response should not be outing that person to your significant internet following, all of whom hold the same views as you and may take action of their own.

      You mean like death threats, rape threats, and general slander? The things that any woman who steps forward in any situation risks. Hey, you should go back and read the first paragraph of this post because here I am schooling you up on what it is like to be female in fucking life. As I said in the post, most women exist in a constant state of “what if I say the wrong thing?” Trust me, it isn’t fun. Why, again, I will point out that sometimes the consequences of being a female and doing or saying anything at all are violence and threats.

      And hey look, that’s what’s happening to Ms. Richards, so you know, everything we do is wrong and being wrong is dangerous.

      In any situation wherein a person knows they could be in danger, which was clearly the case because Ms. Richards is female and the people doing wrong were male, the smartest thing to do is to make sure a hell of a lot of people know exactly what is happening and what you are doing about it. Anything less is just foolish.

      • March 24, 2013 1:36 AM

        Except the people she chose to let know about it were, overwhemingly, her followers who, in predictable internet-dweller fashion, began alerting the gentlemens’ employer. It was not her place to do this, given her status as a professional and the setting. I say that you are arguing as a reactionary because you are ignoring some of the facts and emphasizing others to suggest your view is the correct one. That is Reactionary Rule One.

        You are presuming that any woman, in any circumstance, speaking out against any man who has said something that has offended her, is placing herself in clear and present danger. This is One Hell of a Presumption to Make, and because of that and I know, from experience, observation, and laws of probability, that it is also patently false. So I feel pretty confident in rejecting your premise. That done, the rest of your argument doesn’t hold up. at all. Again, I’ll point out that the action she took in no way prevented her from receiving backlash anyway.

        So yeah, not really feeling “schooled” here. Not that I honestly care about losing an internet argument with someone I’ve never met given that the larger issues we’re arguing about will persist long after we’re done.

        • March 24, 2013 2:25 AM

          You are presuming that any woman, in any circumstance, speaking out against any man who has said something that has offended her, is placing herself in clear and present danger.

          False. As a female who, you know, lives in the world and has to deal with the consequences of being the speaking out type, I’m explicitly stating that any woman in any circumstance who speaks out against any man who has said something that offended her puts herself in clear and present danger. We can’t afford to assume that the man to whom we are speaking is reasonable. Making that assumption is is just too dangerous. As such, we have to assume the opposite, that any man we confront is the kind who will at best escalate their harassment, specifically target us, and one who has the potential take that harassment to the level of physical and sexual violence.

          Welcome to the patriarchy. it hurts men too.

          So yeah, not really feeling “schooled” here.

          Actually being schooled, just refusing to hear the lesson because, you know, when women talk about how it is for women and the dangers we face, we must be “reactionary.”

          Not that I honestly care about losing an internet argument with someone I’ve never met given that the larger issues we’re arguing about will persist long after we’re done.

          And now we’ve reached the “I don’t care,” portion of I-Can’t-Support-My-Position-101 wherein the person who came to my blog and continues to spend time typing in my blog tries to pretend that their presence here is something other than a indication of them caring.

          Logic check. Make it happen.

  4. March 23, 2013 10:53 PM

    Also, I love how your justification for her response was that had she simply spoken to them or the con organizers, she would have put herself at risk to receive insults, overt threats and/or violence.

    Well, given certain vocal sections of the Internet’s response, I wouldn’t say her decided course of action really protected her from that. Did she deserve it? Hell no. Could she have likely avoided at least the scale of negative response? Yes, and very easily.

  5. March 24, 2013 2:43 AM

    So because any man can potentially hurt you (a woman), you must always act under the assumption that he will?

    Hahahahahaha ooooooookay, best of luck going through your entire life with an adversarial outlook coloring every single interaction you have with men. ‘Cuz you know, that couldn’t possibly make you more receptive to certain facts than others. Oh and by the way, by constantly living under that assumption, you’re willingly victimizing yourself. Better that than working toward real equality through respectful dialogue, right? What were you saying about an logic check, again?

    Anyway, never any much point arguing with a zealot. Bye~

    • March 24, 2013 3:37 AM

      So because any man can potentially hurt you (a woman), you must always act under the assumption that he will?

      Actually, because of the overwhelming number of times that men have hurt women specifically because those men decided that the woman had “stepped out of line,” in some way, a woman in any confrontation with a man has to factor in the very real possibility of danger. It’s how we stay alive.

      Hell, it doesn’t even take anything that any human person would consider “stepping out of line,” sometimes it just takes being female to invite harassment and sometimes assault. But it happens all the time and when women, especially women in the tech community speak out, the consequences are pretty predictable. They are summarily run out of the community via threats, doxing, DOS attacks and the like. Here’s a partial list of events of the past years.

      And while I think that taking pictures of every damn thing in your life is stupid, it’s a part of the world. It also offered Ms. Richards the opportunity to preemptively shoot down the other most common attempt to side-step responsibility for sexist behavior “It wasn’t me.” I also find it remarkably amusing that the same people who are raising money specifically and exclusively for the male in this situation (and one of those people is an admitted rapist, recall) are some of the same people who defended the right to take up-skirt shots and creeper shots of underage girls.

      The men’s rights movement is peopled with hypocritical whiners. Just, you know, as an aside.

      Hahahahahaha ooooooookay, best of luck going through your entire life with an adversarial outlook coloring every single interaction you have with men. ‘Cuz you know, that couldn’t possibly make you more receptive to certain facts than others.

      It’s cute that you consider a woman acting to keep herself safe an “adversarial attitude,” as opposed to the unfortunate result of living in the world. Oh wait, not it isn’t. It’s sad. And all too common.

      Oh and by the way, by constantly living under that assumption, you’re willingly victimizing yourself. Better that than working toward real equality through respectful dialogue, right?

      Oh please tell me more about how women are really the problem and how it’s our responsibility to do the work of equality and thanks for the reminder that the dialogue needs to be respectful. And the pretense that it’s our responsibility to make it so. As women, it’s so important that we never forget that, because otherwise we could die.

      What were you saying about an logic check, again?

      That you really, really need to make one happen.

      Anyway, never any much point arguing with a zealot. Bye~

      And again, when you’re attacking the person, rather than deconstructing their argument, you’re just proving that your own position is unsupportable.

      Thanks so very much for proving my points over and over again.

      • March 24, 2013 4:05 AM

        Your response is so laughably full of assumptions, binary thinking and stuffing of words into others’ mouths that I don’t know where to begin.

        1. The MRA movement has nothing to do with this conversation. No reason to bring them up; they’re idiots parading for misogyny under the guise of equality. That’s not even remotely what we’re talking about here.

        2. You are still attempting to argue that a woman always places herself in danger when she calls a man out on saying or doing something offensive. You really shouldn’t, because it’s an indefensible position, and I continue to reject it. Binary statements like that are really things you ought to avoid in arguments, because you simply cannot substantiate them.

        3. The world doesn’t say to you, “as a woman if you do not assume every confrontation with a man runs the risk that they will a harm you in some way”. Your own bias does that, and you have admitted to engaging in that thinking willingly. Continuing to do so is your right, but anyone can call you on it.

        4. I never came remotely close to saying that it is a woman’s responsibility to do the work toward equality, but it’s a two way street whether you like it or not and if you choose not to take part in the dialogue you don’t get to jump in if things aren’t going your way. Sorry, Charlie. Also, this is not Iran; we (men) are not going to collectively attack you if you tell us that you would like things to be equitable. Again, that’s binary thinking which belies that what you’re really spoiling for isn’t equality but just a shouting match.

        5. Zealot, n.: an immoderate, fanatical, or extremely zealous adherent to a cause.

        Seems pretty apt for a person essentially declaring an entire gender to be a half-step away from harming them in some significant way.

        We’re not going to make you fight tooth and nail for every inch. You don’t need to prep for a knock-down-drag-out every time you want to call us on our shit.

    • March 24, 2013 7:40 AM

      Stuff on Demand,

      I was actually following some of your arguments and thought you were making “some” valid points regarding other things she might have done before posting this on twitter. However, you lost me at this:

      “So because any man can potentially hurt you (a woman), you must always act under the assumption that he will?”

      Why, yes. In fact, as women we must be constantly aware of our surroundings and how what we do or say may put us in danger physically, socially or mentally. How nice that you then label that “self-victimization”. How lovely that you, a man (and you have to be a man or a troll because only a man or someone playing devil’s advocate could work from this presumption of arrogance and cavalierness) can laugh at a woman for her fear even if you do not believe that it is justified.

      And then you had this gem:

      “Better that than working toward real equality through respectful dialogue.”

      What was it in what the woman was overhearing that would have led her to believe that these men would have been willing to participate in a “respectful dialogue”?

      Personally, I would have turned around and told them they were offending me and to please stifle it. But that is me. I have been known to chase down people who have been rude in the parking lot of the grocery store. Is that smart? Probably not. I do, however, even when I make these decisions, weigh my options for retreat if necessary or even “can I take them on?” if they decide to get physical.

      The way I see it, given that the man was fired, there must have been something to what he was saying and/or doing that was quite wrong. Why do I say this? Because in our society, it is hard to make men take responsibility for their poor behavior even when it is criminal.

      • March 24, 2013 12:51 PM

        Hi Cindy,

        “In fact, as women we must be constantly aware of our surroundings and how what we do or say may put us in danger physically, socially or mentally.”

        Why?

        I mean, even without your reasoning I can say that statement is false, because in my professional and personal lives I have had the opportunity to speak with women on precisely this issue and few of them have made the above statement. In point of fact, most of them state that in at least some aspect of their lives if not many they feel very safe. So throwing the blanket statement out that all women are at risk whenever there is a conflict with a man (regardless of the nature or intensity of said conflict) is trying to get by on the unlikeliest of technicalities. I do not avoid driving on the freeway every day to get to my job because there is a statistically greater chance, technically speaking, that I will get in a fatal accident. This is because I live a great enough distance away from my work that from a practical standpoint I must use the freeway. I am in no way equating my morning routine with womens’ struggle against male privilege; that is simply a statistical analogy. The greater point is that not every man is going to take personal offense at a conflict with a woman, and not every man is going to take the opportunity to harm a woman with whom he is having a conflict. How do I know this?

        Apart from the fact that there are several billion of us on the planet with out own minds and thoughts, I work in an area in which ensuring that women have a safe place to communicate freely is paramount. It’s mandated by our organization, and it’s for the benefit of each and every person with whom we work. Was I wrong to laugh at Ms. Brujah’s view? Yes, and I hope that she will accept my apology for my abrasiveness.

        That said, I still do not agree with her. I think that willingly living one’s life as though half the population of earth is one petty argument away from attacking you in some way is illogical and combative, two things that by their very nature are anathema to dialogue, cooperation and progress. Two people can’t have any kind of meaningful discussion if one or both sides are prepared for a fight. Being defensive, constantly prepared to be attacked? That’s still placing the emphasis on the conflict, not the resolution, and it doesn’t help anything. That’s where I disagree on Ms. Brujah’s rationale for Ms. Richards’ actions.

        “What was it in what the woman was overhearing that would have led her to believe that these men would have been willing to participate in a “respectful dialogue”?”

        From the accounts that exist, nothing, but the issue I took which started this discussion isn’t that Ms. Richards didn’t confront the men directly. It is that she took their picture without their consent and posted it not directly to the con organizers, but on a public tweet. She also posted about it on her blog.

        Ms. Richards brought the entire internet into this matter, specifically (and more directly) those who follow her on Twitter. I think it’s a safe assumption that most of that group share her own views. Given that Ms. Richards is involved in the tech industry I don’t think it’s a great leap of logic to assume that she would know that the internet, collectively, has a bad habit of overreacting, which is precisely what happened. The gentlemens’ company, Play Haven, was inundated with emails from people who were not at all involved with the situation. Whether Ms. Richards intended to or not, she called for internet justice, and that is precisely what happened. This is not to say that had she approached it in a different way that the individual from Play Haven who was fired would not have been anyway.

        She took it to the internet. Taking it to the internet is not what professionals do to resolve conflicts between fellow professionals. It’s tattling in the tabloid sense. It’s public shaming. And it’s not the behavior of a professional, man or woman. And what’s more, using the rationale of “she wanted to protect herself” doesn’t work on another level: what she did didn’t protect herself. It didn’t protect her from internet backlash and it didn’t protect her professionally, as she was also fired (again, no judgment as to whether or not this was justified; these are simply the facts). It didn’t work, so I think the question as to whether or not she could have handled it differently with less severe repercussions toward her answers itself.

        Pulling back one level of intensity on the microscope, the easiest way of all that this could have been avoided is if the men had simply kept the nonsense to themselves until they were in a situation in which they could not have been overheard but you (as in the royal You, as in anyone) can’t count on other people to do that. We can only all be responsible for ourselves in terms of what we say and do and how we react to others. I don’t think Ms. Richards was entirely about resolving the issue and I don’t think she was entirely about protecting herself while doing so. I think everything that came afterward bears that out. This is what I was getting at in my very first comment when I said that everyone involved was wrong. I absolutely agree that the mens’ conversation was inappropriate. I think that Ms. Richards’ reaction was unprofessional and to a certain degree vindictive and I think the internet once again took the opportunity to crap itself over the wrong issue while missing the greater point entirely: if you say offensive things in public, as time approaches infinity the likelihood that you will offend someone approaches 100%. Best solution: stop saying offensive things. The only reason this post doesn’t say that over and over in more flowery language is because I understand that point and I agree with it completely.

      • March 24, 2013 2:07 PM

        SOD,

        I did not mean to imply that women are always ready for a fight. If I know you and trust you, of course I will not be in “fight or flight” mode; and even that is too dramatic. But women do have to be more careful in situations with men who they don’t know.

        I do not know what you do professionally. I am a commercial real estate appraiser and I often inspect buildings and comparable properties in places that could be unsafe. I just recently had a situation where I was in a unit when a man (the contractor working on an industrial unit) came into a vacant space and locked the door behind him. I had never met the man (he wasn’t there when I walked in and the door was unlocked) and I immediately strode toward him and past him and unlocked the door and was out of there. Should I have waited around to see whether he had any nefarious intentions? My instincts told me otherwise. But even if he did not have any kind of ill intentions, he acted in a way that totally disregarded any fears I might have had. Which is just the point with many men. If YOU (the flowery you, you described) do not have ill intentions toward women then no man does.

        So, I’m not going to argue with you that the women you work with or for do or do not, in fact, feel comfortable in most (all) situations where they do not know a man, but that is NOT my experience or the experience of most of the women I know. Further, it is not what most parents teach their daughters.

        Also, I don’t think being defensive (as in a combative attitude) is synonymous with being on the defensive (as in being aware of your surroundings and taking precautions) when you are in an unfamiliar situation or being with men (or women) that you are unfamiliar with. Statistically speaking, I am more likely as a woman to be attacked in the parking lot (at night) of the grocery store than you are as a man.

        As for Ms. Richards, I think she probably did what she did, not out of fear for her safety, but because she wanted to teach the man a lesson and she didn’t want him to influence future women entering the industry who would be subjected to his being a a total jerk (she admitted as much in her own words). My reflections on some of what you said were outside of Ms. Richards, per se. As I said, I was actually agreeing with much of what you were saying until I got to the points indicated.

      • March 24, 2013 9:57 PM

        The easiest way to reveal a troll is to let them keep talking, or in this case, typing, which is why I let this comment thread continue. Not because it was extra fun to interact with someone like Stuff on demand, but because the easiest way to show that a person is coming from a disingenuous place is to let them make that clear for you.

        Which is what happened.

        I too would probably have personally confronted the men in question, but then I’m that kind of person. Also, I know how to physically protect myself in the event that my choice to confront turned violent.

        But here’s the thing, the fact that Ms. Richards didn’t confront the men behind her and instead decided to tweet a picture of them isn’t really the issue to those who continue to vilify her. They say it is, but the are lying. Let them go on long enough and it becomes clear that their issue is actually the fact that a woman’s experiences and concerns were validated and the fact that men were forced to take responsibility for their sexist behavior. Invalidating those concerns and experiences and attempting to abrogate responsibility is literally the entirety of their position.

        If, as a female, you understand that any confrontation could lead to danger you are “victimizing yourself.”

        If, as a female, you understand the risks of confrontation you are wrong and your own bias is at fault.

        If, as a female, you do anything and that thing results in any negative consequences it was your fault. If you go to a party and you are raped then you shouldn’t have gone to the party. If you go to a party and drink and are assaulted repeatedly over the course of hours, pictures are taken and shared of you being dragged around and violated by multiple people and no one steps in to help you, you are a whore who asked for it and you will receive death threats and threats of further rape and your family will be threaten. If you are a 13-year-old girl who was coerced or physically forced into sex with an 18-year-old-man then you are a whore who will receive death threats and threats of further rape and your family will be threaten. If you are a woman who hears a sexist joke and calls it out, you should lighten up. If you are a woman who is just god awful tired of always having to be on the front lines of the fight every day, all day long and you want a con that prides itself and brags about its inclusive nature to step up and do what they said they would do, you are wrong and you will also receive death threats and threats of further rape and your family will be threaten.

        And all of that is your fault because if you’d just done one small thing in a different way then you would have been able to have a respectful dialogue.

        And heavens forfend that anything you do has a negative consequence toward a male. Because if he’s a rapist and there are pictures you were wrong for the reasons above and you ruined his life. And if some guy makes a bunch of sexist jokes which lead directly to him losing his job then you were wrong for the reasons listed above and you ruined his life. Also, MRA groups, headed by an admitted rapist will raise money for you. Because you matter and the female doesn’t.

        And that’s really it. It’s all about value. The great horror of all of the people objecting to the Steubenville case, the Connecticut case, Ms. Richards’ incident and pretty much everything else that involves a female in conflict with a male, is that women’s are being valued, even a little bit, as equals.

        But none of that is indicative of

  6. March 24, 2013 8:06 AM

    And I also would add this. Why should this woman have HAD to stand up and tell the men sitting behind her to shut up? Why didn’t the other men around her say something?

    And I also have this question? Why is it that the only comments in response to this article focus on the one where a man lost his job? Why are there no thoughts on these girls being raped who are then persecuted by their peers and society at large because they had the audacity to come forward?

    • March 24, 2013 1:01 PM

      “Why should this woman have HAD to stand up and tell the men sitting behind her to shut up? Why didn’t the other men around her say something?”

      Assuming anyone else around them actually heard it (a talk was going on, after all), she shouldn’t have. No equivocation about it; if anyone else heard it they had as much responsibility to shut it down as Ms. Richards.

      “Why is it that the only comments in response to this article focus on the one where a man lost his job? Why are there no thoughts on these girls being raped who are then persecuted by their peers and society at large because they had the audacity to come forward?”

      It isn’t about that the man was fired for me; I think I’ve made that clear. As for why Stubenville and the Connecticut rapes are not being discussed, I assume that most if not all of the people who read Ms. Brujah’s blog are in complete agreement with her, myself included. What is happening in those places is representative of an endemic, fundamental problem with the way we as a culture view the act of rape, it’s victims and it’s perpetrators, in addition to how we are using the internet to cognate and discuss it.

  7. March 24, 2013 10:22 PM

    “The easiest way to reveal a troll is to let them keep talking, or in this case, typing, which is why I let this comment thread continue.”

    Yeah…not a troll. I’ll ignore the whole “when you’re attacking the person, rather than deconstructing their argument, you’re just proving that your own position is unsupportable” thing that you tried to use on my own argument despite that at this point you’re just trying to handwave me away. I’ll keep the fight going and I’ll thank you to give me the opportunity to let you know when I’m done.😀

    Here’s the thing: if someone expresses a dissenting opinion on the internet, even if the space in question is your own, that doesn’t make them a troll. That makes them someone with a dissenting opinion. I didn’t just run by, drop an offensive comment, and leave laughing, did I? And I apologized for being abrasive; when’s the last time you heard a troll do that? You know what it sounds like? You don’t like people commenting on your posts who disagree with you, which is funny considering that on your rules section you state verbatim:

    “I have no blog rule that prohibits those who disagree with me. I will never have that rule. Speak your mind. But be aware of some things when you do.”

    Really? Then why were you tempted to close this thread? I don’t think that I’ve been abusive to you, Cindy or anyone else, and if I was it’s your responsibility as the author/moderator to do something about it. If you don’t want to have discussions with people who have different views on things than you, perhaps a blog is not the right fit for you.

    “But here’s the thing, the fact that Ms. Richards didn’t confront the men behind her and instead decided to tweet a picture of them isn’t really the issue to those who continue to vilify her. They say it is, but the are lying.”

    Nope, I’m not. Not lying at all. I’ve made it repeatedly clear that my issue is that she turned to the internet for justice rather than handling it professionally. That’s the beginning and the end of it, and the fact that you are trying to make it about anything apart from that shows that Ms. Richards’ actions are hardly unassailable. I’ve stated repeatedly that I have no problem at all that two men who were saying offensive things were called out on it. It was the method in which they were called out.

    I really can’t dumb it down any further than that because honestly I’m afraid of heights.

    I never defended rapists, rape apologists, the MRA movement, the gentlemen having the offensive discussion, the brutal reaction Ms. Richards received over the internet or her subsequent firing. Never. Not once. You wanted to make it about those things. My initial comment was nothing about any of those things. I claimed she acted unprofessionally and you’ve done little more than grasp at anything you can even remotely tangentially related to the whole matter to try and discredit me.

    You still haven’t managed it. Cindy’s made much clearer points. All you’ve done is made it clear how very, very angry you are at the world overall.

    Bravo. The world sucks for everyone.

    Go on, delete the thread then, if you want. You run the site neither side is making any headway whatsoever. If you want to make it about attrition, or whatever, well, that’s okay too.

    • March 25, 2013 3:37 AM

      Yeah…not a troll.

      Dude, at the point where you’ve dropped any variation of “I’m leaving this conversation now,” and then come back specifically to educate women on how the dangers of confronting men are not true, or our responsibility, you really, really are.

      Also, my blog. My decision.

      I’ll ignore the whole “when you’re attacking the person, rather than deconstructing their argument, you’re just proving that your own position is unsupportable” thing that you tried to use on my own argument despite that at this point you’re just trying to handwave me away.

      You’re assuming troll is an insult. It’ isn’t. It’s just a statement of fact. Like pointing out that I am no nice would be a statement of fact. You’re also assuming that trolls are a problem on this blog. You’re not. I love me some trolls. Aside from the entertainment value, you offer the chance to educate others.

      Come children, and hopefully not children given the amount of cursing I do on this blog, not to mention some of the things I talk about, observe what happens when women speak out, point out the inherent dangers of being female in the world and generally don’t take shit.

      It doesn’t matter how explicitly or specifically you explain that “any woman in any circumstance who speaks out against any man who has said something that offended her puts herself in clear and present danger. We can’t afford to assume that the man to whom we are speaking is reasonable. Making that assumption is is just too dangerous. As such, we have to assume the opposite, that any man we confront is the kind who will at best escalate their harassment, specifically target us, and one who has the potential take that harassment to the level of physical and sexual violence,” you’re spoiling for a fight.

      Don’t fall for that Cindy. Facts are facts and as females have to be aware of the fact that in any situation, from accepting a ride to entering an elevator to being asked for a date to walking down the street if we interact with a male in a way they think is out of line, we could be in danger.

      The bottom line, children and not children who have gathered ’round, what you’re seeing in this thread is yet another man insistently devaluing and dismissing the experiences of women.

      All too common. Total bullshit.

      • March 25, 2013 6:46 AM

        1. I never said that I was leaving the conversation. Please show me where in said that.

        Oh, you can’t. Because I didn’t say it. What I said was that I didn’t care if I lost an internet argument. Is everything tinged by a person’s agenda, whether real or imagined, with you? Are you completely incapable of taking a simple statement at face value? Are your reading comprehension skills, or otherwise your memory, simply poor? Please. Help.

        2. Calling me a troll is a cheap, transparent attempt to discredit me entirely without continuing to dismantle my argument. It is the only reason in the Universe for calling a person a troll on the internet. You’re fooling absolutely no one. If you no longer wish to have this conversation, it’s simpler and more honest to simply say so.

        3. I’m still waiting, lines and lines of text later, for you to begin to address points that I have made in some fashion other than the sweeping statement that all women are at all times at risk when in conflict with men. That. Is. Simply. Not. True. And saying that I’m somehow denying that women are at a disadvantage in many, MANY situations (which I never did) doesn’t refute any of the other aspects of my argument. You want to discredit me by saying that I’m just another man devaluing women. You can’t. Doesn’t work. Because I’m not. Again, that’s your own bias, your own fear, which by your own admission you willingly embrace. That may be the doing of other men you’ve known in the past or the stories you’ve heard, or the experiences you’ve shared with others, but it isn’t the doing of this man, or all men. For all your supposed progressiveness, you’re still painting half the population of the planet with the same brush. That’s your right, but it’s clear as crystal, and you can’t expect people not to call you on it.

        Anyway, it’s also clear that what you’re interested in having isn’t an actual discussion. I’m not really sure what it is you want from this blog, although validation seems to be near the top of the list. That’s fine, everyone wants that. I’m just not the person who can provide that in this case, because we fundamentally disagree on more than one point.

        I’ll go. I’m done. Respond as you will.

  8. DataGoddess permalink
    March 25, 2013 9:51 AM

    I guess we’ve been Mansplained to. I love how he tells women how they should act and feel based on his own experience, which is totally not applicable here.

  9. March 25, 2013 10:10 AM

    Iso and SOD,

    I am the first one (I think) to use the word troll, and I most certainly did not mean it as an insult. I do not like the term, personally, but it has come to mean someone that posts on a thread just to be contrary to whatever position has been put forth. I had assumed that SOD was a man or that he/she was a troll because only a man could be so cavalier about women’s fears. I still believe that.

    Not everyone is cut out for empathy. Men are at the top of the foodchain. It stands to reason that a LOT of them can not/will not understand what it is like to fear for your safety be it physical, social or emotional. It seems common sense (to women) that the Lion would know better than to say to the mouse that she has nothing to fear from him, but the Lion, apparently, cannot understand this and will ridicule the mouse for taking precautions. And I am not comparing women’s abilities, intelligence, or self-worth to a mouse, I am comparing relative power (which also is not just about physical strength).

    Iso has made perfectly valid and supportable points and I agree with most everything she has said.

    SOD, if Iso has, in fact, shown hostility in her presentation, you certainly have parried thusly. Not only that, you write in a manner that is meant to intimidate and condescend (i.e., “I really can’t dumb it down any further than that because honestly I’m afraid of heights.”). That’s fine, but when you do that, you don’t get to point fingers at the other side for having a bias, or a hidden agenda, or an attiitude. {Aside here: I have assumed that Iso is young; at least younger than me. I will tell you that if I was a young woman today, I might be as ticked off as she is and it might just show in everything I said. For all that we have accomplished, it is a sad and scary time to be a young woman today. If you want to know why I think that, then go read some things I’ve written on my blog. You are welcome to call me out on my errors.}

    I also thought you were leaving the discussion when you said, “Bye.” So, I don’t think Iso was putting words in your mouth. If she misinterpreted them, I, too, am guilty of that. So, I guess I am lacking in the smarts department as well (SOD: Are your reading comprehension skills, or otherwise your memory, simply poor? Please. Help). I hope they don’t make me return my diploma.

    SOD, if you are looking for someone to answer a question, I don’t see one. If you are looking for someone to agree with you, I certainly did agree that Ms. Richards could have handled it differently; perhaps SHOULD have handled it differently. I also agreed that I did not believe she handled it the way she did because she feared the men and I think I supported this not just with a “feeling” but by her own words as reported in the blog post. However, catch me on the right day, and I might have done exactly the same thing as she did. I. just. don’t. know.

    Iso, I’m not sure what you meant when you advised me not to “fall for that”. I don’t know SOD personally. At this point, I can’t assume that he doesn’t believe what HE is saying even if I don’t agree with it.

    Finally, I apologize to SOD if I offended him with the troll comment. I will endeavor to use that term no longer even if it is accepted as a legitimate definition.

    I, for one, have still enjoyed the conversation.

  10. March 25, 2013 10:36 AM

    well, i was gonna ignore the hoopla over the dude getting fired and exclaim over the fact that i grew up right by torrington and i know jessica glenza and i am glad to see that she is doing some substantive reporting at that cruddy paper! she is awesome.

    but stuff on demand, you did so say you were leaving.

    “Anyway, never any much point arguing with a zealot. Bye~” – you, yesterday.

  11. MinivanNinja permalink
    March 25, 2013 11:50 AM

    Most women don’t feel that they are in danger all the time. However, when a man makes sexist comments, rape jokes, or otherwise talks about women as objects or body parts, it does not make us confident that any comment made will be received in a rational manner. This is why speaking out makes us feel as though it puts us in danger. Because speaking out to a man that is joking/speaking in a sexist and/or objectifying way feels like stepping in front of a bus. Either the brakes will be put on or they will speed up and hit us. The risk of them actually acting aggressively by being called out by a woman far outweighs the possibility of them backing down. If they are already not being respectful of women, we don’t feel like they will be respectful when called out on it. How many strangers act rationally when they are told they are wrong or offensive. In my experience, not many.

    This is why women are always on alert. Not always actively, but nearly always.assessing the situation.

  12. March 25, 2013 12:06 PM

    StuffOnDemand,

    That women say they feel threatened should be enough. That they ARE threatened repeatedly, regularly and often, is proof positive that they are justified in saying they feel threatened.

    We can debate back and forth ad nauseum about whether or not she should have tweeted their photo, and what a better course of action *might* have been, but I think we’re then losing out on the bigger picture here, which is: in an environment that promotes itself as “education, outreach, politeness, respect, tenacity and vision”, women shouldn’t have to overhear sexual and/or sexist remarks from anyone. And moreso, if this is happening at such a venue, imagine how much more women encounter this everywhere else.

    You stated a number one rule of somethingorother in one of your comments. That’s nice. Let me state my number one rule: don’t be a dick.

    If all men followed MY number one rule, women wouldn’t have to feel threatened, these men never would have said what they said, Richards wouldn’t have felt compelled to take their picture and tweet it, and no one would have lost their job.

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