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Why Are You In Such A Bad Mood? #MenCallMeThings Responds!

In 2009, I was a far more cheerful person.

It’s true! You can see it, in the posts and such! I was exclamation-point-y, and elaborate-DFW-sentence-ripoff-y, and oh, oh so very droll about all this wacky sexism. I got mad, a few times. Who doesn’t? But for the most part, I was just darn chirpy. “Hey, bros! Maybe you don’t want to oppress women any more, amiright? Ha ha, you sure don’t. L8RZ!” Is my general summary, of Tiger Beatdown Tone, circa 2009.

If you haven’t guessed yet, I find Former Me very, very annoying.

And yet, a sadness comes upon me. Now that I have regenerated, Whovianly, into my current form — all serious-faced and irritable and SAD TIMES ABOUT SEXISM — I find myself missing her carefree ways. Moreover, I find myself wondering how she pulled it off. How the Hell did she stay in such a good mood all the time? And I think I’ve found my answer: In 2009, I genuinely believed people were going to change their minds about being sexist, because they read my blog. 

I know, right? If only someone had come up with this plan before! All I had to do was register a WordPress domain, compose some charmingly ironic yet pointed analyses of Ye Aulde Patriarchy, cite some academics so they knew I wasn’t stupid, throw a lot of jokes and references to oral sex in there to prove feminists weren’t “humorless” or “frigid,” and the sexists, they would be delighted. So delighted they decided to stop being sexists! “Hmmmm,” they’d say. “Sady sure doesn’t appreciate it when I do the sexism. Since she’s my new Internet Best Friend, I had better cut that shit out pronto! Then we can all join a bowling league!” BLAM. REVOLUTION ACCOMPLISHED. No more problems, for anyone, ever, because I blogged.

I hate to tell you this, friends. But I think my plan, it had a minor flaw. Which is: Misogynists don’t like women. It doesn’t matter how uniquely charming and witty and acquainted with various fine bourbons you are. Are you a woman? Then they don’t like you. And they especially don’t like you telling them what to do. By, for example, asking them to cut it out with the misogyny.

What I got, friends, were comments. Comments about myself. And blogs about myself. And message-board discussions, also about myself. And e-mails. What I got was what every woman (feminist or not) and openly anti-sexist person (woman or not) on this our Internet gets: I got targeted. With threats, with insults, with smear campaigns, with attempts to threaten my employment or credibility or just general ability to get through the day with a healthy attitude and a minimal amount of insult.

This is a recurring problem! Not a Special Sady Problem, but an Everyone Problem. And, increasingly, folks are identifying it as such. In articles, in blog posts, in day-to-day life. (Here is the part where I point out that S.E. Smith, ouself neither a lady nor a feminist, wrote one of the best pieces on the subject, FOR TIGER BEATDOWN, ahem ahem.) You would think there would not be much of a backlash to this! We tend to agree, as a society, that getting threatened, subjected to blacklisting, and/or having hateful slurs screamed at you is unpleasant, and that people who do those things should be discouraged. You would think, friends, that saying such a thing, and adding “plus it’s often motivated by sexism, which I don’t like” would not get you blowback.

Ah, but no! Veteran point-misser Brendan O’Neill is here to tell you that the only reason you could POSSIBLY object to harassment is that you are an ALL-POWERFUL TOTALITARIAN OF THE SORT DESCRIBED BY GEORGE ORWELL: 

[The] most striking thing about these fragile feminists’ campaign is the way it elides very different forms of speech. So the Guardian report lumps together “threats of rape”, which are of course serious, with “crude insults” and “unstinting ridicule”, which are not that serious. If I had a penny for every time I was crudely insulted on the internet, labelled a prick, a toad, a shit, a moron, a wide-eyed member of a crazy communist cult, I’d be relatively well-off. For better or worse, crudeness is part of the internet experience, and if you don’t like it you can always read The Lady instead.

The crashing together of threats of violence with ridicule is striking, because it exposes a fairly Orwellian streak to modern feminist campaigns to “stamp out” bad things.

Ladies! A man has come, to tell you what you can take seriously! Aren’t you relieved?

Anyway. Aside from the blatant self-contradiction — feminists are fragile and delicate and weak, so weak they are going to TAKE OVER THE WORLD and RULE IT WITH AN IRON FIST — this is actually just, um, stupid. The threats and the name-calling aren’t all that terrifically different. Sure, one kind of speech is actionable, and the other isn’t. One kind of speech can require action — if it’s credible — and the other just requires a use of the “delete” or “block” button. But it’s all meant to accomplish the same thing: Making you shut up.

Sometimes, there isn’t actually that much difference between someone saying “I want to rape you with a chainsaw” and someone saying “I hope you get raped with a chainsaw.” If the first comment contains information that leads you to believe the person can find you, you report it. But often, it doesn’t. It’s just someone sending you some words, in the hopes that the next time you sit down to write, you’ll remember that yikesy chainsaw-rape thing and think, “you know? Maybe this isn’t such a great idea. Maybe I don’t need to say this. Maybe I’ll piss someone off, and maybe it will be more than I can handle, and you know, maybe my thoughts on this topic just ARE NOT IMPORTANT ENOUGH for me to risk the headache/fear/irritation/distress/panic attack I know I will get.”

And then, when you say that aloud, they call you a whiny little girl who can’t handle the Internet. Because, of COURSE multiple chainsaw-rape comments aren’t a big deal! They’re just words! Sticks and stones! Suck it up, you big Orwellian diaper baby!

To you, my friends, I say: Fuck that noise. All of this matters. A hostile work environment matters. Being afraid of your own in-box matters. Deleting your blog because that’s the only way for you to have a normal, non-hate-filled life matters. “Accepting” that continual, virulent, hateful misogynist abuse is a pre-condition for being a lady who talks about thing, or for challenging sexism in any way, no matter who you are: That matters. And if you think we’re fragile, well. LET US COUNT THE WAYS we have hacked it, under conditions your pampered manly self just cannot imagine. LET US DEMONSTRATE FOR YOU the shit we wade through, every day, in order to talk about whether or not we liked that one “Community” episode or Lady GaGa album. LET US JUST TELL YOU what we put up with, what we’ve been strong enough to endure, and even knowingly court; the given consequences we face for being anti-sexist and/or ladies on the Internet, which we’ve all put up with, without crumbling. And then you can decide whether we’re wimps or not.

Hence, #MenCallMeThings. (Cf. “Men Explain Things To Me,” a Top Ten Lady Essay of All Time.) A Twitter hashtag, because you know I love the hashtags, dedicated to listing the names we’ve all been called. Featuring such Top 10 Hits as!

  • YOU HAVE CAUGHT THE HYSTERIA, MY GOODNESS! “Shrill,” “shrieky,” “screechy,” “oversensitive,” “hypersensitive,” “hysterical,” and much, much more! Since you are just a lady shrieking about feelingsy bullshit — you know, how the ladies do, on account of their colder temperaments and delicate wits and so forth and so on — you cannot possibly be identifying a legitimate problem. Therefore, shut up.
  • YOU’RE A MONSTER! A MONSTERRRRRR! “Vindictive,” “on a rampage,” “castrating,” “man-hating,” “misandrist,” “cunt” and “bitch!” Since you are a big meanie who just wants to hurt people and ruin men’s lives and oppress men forever and ever in a dystopian Hell-world of no rape jokes, you cannot possibly have any motivation for your statement other than sheer cruelty, and we cannot trust you. Therefore, shut up.
  • HAVE I MENTIONED THAT I WANT TO FUCK YOU YET? “She’d be cute if,” “if she smiled I might get a boner but,” ”a cock in her mouth would shut her up,” “anal sex would wipe that smirk off her face,” “oh hey I wrote a blog post about what sort of lay you’d be,” and so forth, and so on! I’m sorry, were you talking? We were all thinking about your boobs! Which are your only real value, by the way. Therefore, shut up.
  • COINCIDENTALLY, HAVE I MENTIONED THAT I DON’T WANT TO FUCK YOU? “Ugly,” “fat,” “hambeast,” “lardass,” “prude,” “skank,” “slut,” “whore,” and “hag!” I’m sorry, were you talking? I don’t presently want to fuck you, which means you have quite literally ceased to exist. I mean, you can talk all you want. But, since you won’t be given the eternal pleasure of making sweet, sweet, sensual love with ME, “EntourageRocks94332,” your blithering woman-speech will accomplish nothing. Therefore, shut up.
  • I WOULD LIKE IT IF YOU WERE DEAD RIGHT NOW. Or beaten, or raped, or whatever! Any incredibly violent act aimed at your person is fine by me! Seriously, you should be dead, though. Because you know what’s great about dead people? They can’t disagree with me on the Internet. Therefore, shut up.
All this, and more, on the #MenCallMeThings hashtag. Come! Contribute! Enjoy! Learn about the crap endured by all your anti-sexist and lady friends. Learn not to tell them to stop taking it seriously! Because, also, on #MenCallMeThings, you will learn about the popular name-calling tactic known as
  • STOP TAKING IT SO SERIOUSLY. “Extremist,” “humorless,” “PC,” “whining,” “bitching,” “complaining,” “divisive,” “single-issue,” “feminazi,” &co. You have simply GOT TO STOP IDENTIFYING PROBLEMS! Men can do all that for you! Also, should you accidentally identify a problem, stop acting as if that problem bothers you, or is bad! If you get all riled up about this, you might end up, like, solving something. And we don’t want that, now do we? Therefore, I beg of you, ALL of you: Shut up.
Hmmm. How about we don’t?

65 Comments

  1. Wonky Factory wrote:

    Ms. Doyle, I target you…WITH LOVE!! Heartheartheart!

    Also, I miss non-cynical-everybody-would-stop-being-a-rapist-prick-if-they-could-just-SEE-HOW-BAD-IT-IS me too. Maybe they are chilling together in some alternate universe where people don’t suck so much.

    Monday, November 7, 2011 at 6:52 pm | Permalink
  2. Tim Pieraccini wrote:

    Hmmm. I think looking into the past brought back a touch of the old Sady. By all means – please – don’t shut up.

    Monday, November 7, 2011 at 6:53 pm | Permalink
  3. orlando wrote:

    I am currently writing about the character Isabella in Shakespeare’s play “Measure for Measure”. Isabella tells the truth and won’t shut up about it even when it is uncomfortable for people to hear. Serious, venerable critics published in illustrious books and scholarly journals for the last several hundred years have been calling her “hysterical”, “a fiend”, “an icy prude”, “an affected prude”, “a vicious sex hysteric”, “inhuman” and speaking of her “hysterical fear of sex”, her “sexual repression”, her “horrible sex inhibitions” (she fights off a rapist, then publicly accuses him).

    I would like to put forward Isabella as the patron saint of female bloggers.

    Monday, November 7, 2011 at 7:00 pm | Permalink
  4. erika wrote:

    Countdown to MRAs creating a #WomenCallMeThings hashtag –3..2..

    Monday, November 7, 2011 at 7:02 pm | Permalink
  5. Caitiecat wrote:

    Sady Doyle, your perfectly cromulent post is PERFECTLY CROMULENT!

    The good news is, some of us are able to fight past the crapflood, and keep writing, like, say, You, Sady Doyle! You’re so much a HERO you should be shouting YATTA! every time you accomplish something.

    Monday, November 7, 2011 at 7:04 pm | Permalink
  6. Noticed wrote:

    Such a great summary. I love the overlying themes with concrete examples. Sad that there are so many that they create entire ‘categories,’ but all the more reason why the hash tag is needed.

    Thanks for sharing. If we can even raise one person’s awareness about the vitriol we face, it will be a start.

    Monday, November 7, 2011 at 7:07 pm | Permalink
  7. JeninCanada wrote:

    Brava! Thank you a million times for your writing, and for your hashtags.

    Monday, November 7, 2011 at 7:44 pm | Permalink
  8. Alli H wrote:

    This post is miraculous, sublime, inspired, empowering! #Sadyistheshit

    Monday, November 7, 2011 at 7:47 pm | Permalink
  9. Ray wrote:

    So happy this discussion is finally happening. Keep blogging.

    Monday, November 7, 2011 at 7:49 pm | Permalink
  10. Kiri wrote:

    Yeah, everyone who can face this shit and keep going is amazing. This has been a fun hashtag and a nice little bit of collective catharsis. I know I’ve complained a lot about various aspects of the feminetosphere, but things like this remind me why I stay connected to it. :)

    Thanks for being you, Sady.

    Monday, November 7, 2011 at 8:01 pm | Permalink
  11. Cassie wrote:

    If we participate with the hashtag on twitter, and people respond with man-splaining, what would be the best way to respond? Ignore? Call them out?

    Monday, November 7, 2011 at 8:36 pm | Permalink
  12. Sady wrote:

    @Cassie: Depends on what you want to do with your time, really? Often I just don’t bother.

    Monday, November 7, 2011 at 8:39 pm | Permalink
  13. Sadly I’ve gotten a lot of this from women too (as a woman myself) – that being ugly/fat/short/etc devalues my opinion on anything. Hell I get a *lot* more of it from women, mostly because of the scenes I was in (which are women-heavy) – and being a minority in many other ways doesn’t help. Misogyny is pervasive and it’s especially shocking when it comes from people who should be your ally.

    Monday, November 7, 2011 at 8:41 pm | Permalink
  14. littlem wrote:

    #sadyistheshit

    Monday, November 7, 2011 at 9:03 pm | Permalink
  15. latinist wrote:

    “In 2009, I genuinely believed people were going to change their minds about being sexist, because they read my blog. ”

    For what it’s worth, I used to be a lot more of a sexist twit before I started reading feminist blogs. (I think I discovered this one after I was pretty much out of my cocoon and flapping my beautiful wings, but Feministing and Feministe, definitely.) So I hope you don’t feel like you have no effect at all. But of course, I was never at the sending-rape-threats-to-strangers level, or even, really, the women-belong-in-the-kitchen level, and you’re probably right not to hold out much hope for those guys (at least, short of personalized psychiatric help).

    Monday, November 7, 2011 at 9:12 pm | Permalink
  16. latinist wrote:

    Whoa. I just realized that “I was never at the sending-rape-threats-to-strangers level” in my previous post could be misunderstood, so to be clear: I never sent or otherwise communicated rape threats to ANYONE.

    Monday, November 7, 2011 at 9:15 pm | Permalink
  17. Maria wrote:

    I think I landed on this page at a divine time.

    Today, one hour ago, after another round of “let me repeat exactly what you just said but through male lips so everyone will agree with me” mansplaining, I was seriously thinking about never participating on the internet as an obvious female. Ever. Again. Like just using Bob. Or CaptnJack123. Or Ballz.

    Maybe twitching in a corner and taking up embroidery. Not to dis embroidery. My grandmother could gut you with her needles.

    “It would be so much easier!” my brain pleaded. “Just shut up. Pretend to be a guy! It’s ok.”

    And then this post happened to flow before my eyes like some soul quenching river of seething lager. Blueberry.

    Then, refreshed, I thought, “oh fuck that shit” while picking up the needles once again.

    (How have I NOT read your blog till now??)

    Monday, November 7, 2011 at 9:37 pm | Permalink
  18. Cassie wrote:

    Thanks for the response, Sady. I decided to take a few minutes to let the anxiety pass (I hadn’t talked publicly about my death threats before), then respond asking under what circumstances would make the death threats OK. (Dude had mansplained that the threats were for being pro-choice, not for being a lady.)

    Monday, November 7, 2011 at 9:38 pm | Permalink
  19. Gabrielle wrote:

    Keep on fightin’ the good fight Sady.

    And like Liss at Shakesville sometimes says, they (well most of them) wouldn’t be taking the time to fill your inbox full of hateful shit if what you were doing didn’t matter. Take comfort in the fact that you make a bunch of misogynists very very angry – you must be doing something right!

    Monday, November 7, 2011 at 9:54 pm | Permalink
  20. Dom wrote:

    Oh, that hits home… almost 20 years ago, I faced harassment and genuinely believed that my harassers just didn’t understand how they were hurting me. I was violently disabused of my naiveté… which, of course, was used against me in the ensuing conflict. If I could go back in time, I would show no mercy (and probably use blackmail, which is a lot more effective than the court system, btw).

    Monday, November 7, 2011 at 9:57 pm | Permalink
  21. Joyce wrote:

    I’ve gotten all of these, plus the nickname “Miss Rape Fantasy” throughout a 3+ year campaign of harassment, intimidation, and defamation intended to make me undatable and unemployable. So far they’ve failed on both counts, but it’s still intensely disturbing that anyone(s) would be so intent on hurting a complete stranger.

    Monday, November 7, 2011 at 10:03 pm | Permalink
  22. Caitlin wrote:

    Even though this is sad and disturbing… and I could barely read it all… This makes me feel so much better. As a writer for a men’s site, I get the most horrible comments often. And this makes me feel less alone. So thank you.

    Monday, November 7, 2011 at 10:09 pm | Permalink
  23. Sady wrote:

    @latinist: And, well, let’s not perpetuate the fallacy that these guys do it because they’re “crazy” or mentally ill. Sexism is more acceptable than its opposite, after all. And the whole “crazy,” “you need help” label is often used to delegitimize anything women and/or anti-sexist people say. The stigma of mental illness — the fact that people reach for “mentally ill” to mean “I don’t like you or think your beliefs are good,” and also to mean “I don’t have to listen to you” — is not really something that moves us forward. In fact, it perpetrates abuse of mentally ill folks. Just letting you know that, there.

    Monday, November 7, 2011 at 10:25 pm | Permalink
  24. Ell Zee wrote:

    Well done as usual, Sady. As was S.E.’s piece, which I somehow missed when it was published. This subject is definitely one I think a lot about; I think about it more than I’d like to.

    It’s a little sad to me, the extent to which a mere teeny tiny fraction of what you folks have dealt with … it kind of crawled into my mind and made me really cautious of what I said in anything approaching a public forum.

    I plan to follow the hashtag with interest. It should be edifying (in an “oh wow, my skin is crawling” sort of way).

    Thanks for your perseverance.

    Monday, November 7, 2011 at 10:38 pm | Permalink
  25. Ell Zee wrote:

    As an addendum: This is mostly apropos of your discussion of your 2009 self, and I mean it as a compliment, and not to start a derail. But.

    I remember, quite clearly, something that you wrote shortly after the death John Hughes, when people were glossing over the very problematic parts of his legacy. You talked about some of those problematic aspects and pointed out that Melissa McEwan at Shakesville had also addressed them, and was quite near alone in doing so, because she was “unflinching.”

    And I can totally understand being nostalgic for the lack of cynicism of your 2009 self. I certainly miss my own. But you have become, since then, someone who I would readily describe as unflinching. And it’s a word I have since adopted to use as a very high compliment.

    So, even when you miss that younger self, and even in the moments when you’re feeling very, very tired out by all of this, I hope you are at least a little proud of what you’ve accomplished during this trial by fire.

    I’m a fan of your work, is all I’m saying.

    Monday, November 7, 2011 at 10:49 pm | Permalink
  26. #sadyistheshit

    Brilliant post. Articulates perfectly my fear that people might ever actually start reading my blog, that I might have to employ a comments policy and moderate things etc etc… I am always worried that my skin isn’t thick enough to do this.

    And yet I still want to, somehow, though I do so very tentatively.

    Monday, November 7, 2011 at 11:38 pm | Permalink
  27. p mac wrote:

    O U R just such an unfair meanie and you totally hurt my feelings with your hatred of men! Therefore, shut up…

    Tuesday, November 8, 2011 at 12:01 am | Permalink
  28. Brett K wrote:

    Seconding everyone who said that the assholes hate you so much because they know that what you do matters. It matters a hell of a lot to me. Thank you for fighting back. Please don’t ever shut up. #sadyistheshit

    Tuesday, November 8, 2011 at 3:05 am | Permalink
  29. francis wrote:

    I’m a feminist, anti-racist, pro-enthusiastic-consentist(?), straight, cis, able bodied, pro equality, married, middle class (thanks to my wife!) white dad of two small white boys, and I know my privilege puts those not like me at a disadvantage. I value Tiger Beatdown (and Bitch, Feministing, Racialicious, and the sites they link to) not because I’m amazeballs with feminism, but because every once in a while I stumble over my privilege and TB (and the rest) help me to be a better feminist (and anti-racist, etc.)

    Thank you for braving the internet so that I can be a better, stronger role model for my boys who are too young to engage in srs convos when I bring up how positive gender and sexuality are occasionally portrayed on Abby’s Flying Fairy School while at the same time being racially problematic. Some day I’ll have this type of conversation with them and they will engage, and by Zuul, they’ll get it and act on it. And when they do, it will be because of you Sady (and Andi, Jessica, Latoya, … )

    Thank you (all) for your nouns and verbs.

    Tuesday, November 8, 2011 at 3:12 am | Permalink
  30. Snobographer wrote:

    The criticism (if you can call it that) against the tag is confusing, as is criticism of feminism itself anymore. It’s becoming harder to discern whether we’re being caricatured as butch hard-asses who’ll rip a guy’s arm off for offering to help us on with our coats or hyperfeminine delicate flowers flush with the vapors crying “think of the children!”

    Tuesday, November 8, 2011 at 6:15 am | Permalink
  31. James M wrote:

    I admit that I tend to flinch a bit at encountering the word ‘privilege’. It’s not the concept I take issue with, rather I worry about its reflexive and overbroad application, its use as a tool to dismiss and shut down perspectives which one does not share.

    And so it was with some scepticism that I approach Brendan O’Neill’s article. But Jesus Christ on a pogo stick, that man isn’t oozing merely privilege, but *smug*, condescending privilege. It’s enough to make you want to wring his neck.

    I’m an ardent supporter of free speech. In my more energetic moments I’ve even entertained the idea of setting up an unmoderated discussion board. Call it an anarchic whimsy.

    And yet I can still *appreciate* the issues that potentially arise there, how certain populations intimidate others into silence with hateful language, the importance of ‘safe spaces’ and so on. I don’t have the answers, but I can at least appreciate some of the problems. Brendan O’Neill doesn’t, and doesn’t want to hear about them. And he’s fucking grinning about it.

    Argh.

    Tuesday, November 8, 2011 at 10:08 am | Permalink
  32. PatrickG wrote:

    Not often I come away from a post on such a nasty topic with hope in my heart and a smile on my face.

    You rock. :)

    Tuesday, November 8, 2011 at 10:44 am | Permalink
  33. Alexander wrote:

    Brilliant post. Thank you very much.

    Tuesday, November 8, 2011 at 10:52 am | Permalink
  34. dude_bloke wrote:

    Excellent post. Very true. Good on you for calling it out. I have come across other guys on the #mencallmethings saying “no big deal, everyone on the internet is mean to everyone, shut up”. What bullshit. Go back a generation or two and there were public places where women were hugely harassed where that is much less acceptable now. That didn’t happen by people shrugging their shoulders and accepting it. The internet is a public place and 50% of its participating public shouldn’t have to just accept abuse as a cost of showing up. And dudes have a huge responsibility through both self-awareness and peer pressure on any wanker mates (rather than apathy or implicit support) to change it.

    Tuesday, November 8, 2011 at 11:00 am | Permalink
  35. Faith wrote:

    Also, Sady, for what it’s worth, though I don’t agree with 100% all of your views all the time, I love this blog and it has opened my eyes to a lot of stuff I didn’t notice before. You got me writing about the stuff that matters, only I do it strictly through news outlets. And you got me speaking up about things I wouldn’t have noticed or spoke up about before. That’s a beautiful thing you’ve done there.

    Tuesday, November 8, 2011 at 11:22 am | Permalink
  36. A Dude wrote:

    On one hand, a dismissive attitude towards feminism in general as frail or fragile is ridiculous and unnecessary. On the other hand, he’s not wrong — the Internet is basically a giant hate machine meant to threaten and annihilate us all. Anonymity + Mob = Hate.

    I do think it’s a worthwhile goal to attempt to be more respectful and if we are going to gently rib each other, to do is in a very non-threatening way, but given the current world’s problems and the way humans interact with each other, I suspect we’ll have to settle for just being angry about it.

    Well stated, though.

    Tuesday, November 8, 2011 at 12:35 pm | Permalink
  37. Mazarine wrote:

    Oh Hai Don’t forget
    “YOU SURE ARE OPINIONATED!”

    GOD I LOVE THAT ONE.

    Thank you for writing this post Sady. Nothing ever changed by staying silent.

    Thanks for being honest about what we’re up against. Frankly the more I write about the shit we go through on my blog, the more I want to do something. And if I pretend like it doesn’t matter, it’s like going dead inside. Let’s face it, #OccupyWallSt would not exist if people all across the world were not sick and tired of this shit. So maybe something will come of this! And maybe we can do more about internet trolls/emails/in person comments as well.

    Mazarine

    PS. You rock.

    Tuesday, November 8, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Permalink
  38. That Brendan O’Neill piece is contemptible.

    Tuesday, November 8, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Permalink
  39. smhll wrote:

    (Derailing slightly)

    ” its use as a tool to dismiss and shut down perspectives which one does not share”

    The point about using the word privilege is to emphasize that yes people with different levels of privilege can have very different experiences. When a privileged person who hasn’t had a negative experience that other people do experience, it is important to flag that the reality they inhabit (e.g. boss doesn’t hit on you) is not everybody’s reality. Sometimes it takes a big cluestick to get the attention of people who have always been white males and aren’t inclined to believe reportage about anything they haven’t experienced.

    Tuesday, November 8, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Permalink
  40. nick wrote:

    brilliant work; timely, funny, important.

    Tuesday, November 8, 2011 at 4:56 pm | Permalink
  41. latinist wrote:

    @sady: Fair enough: “psychiatric help” was the wrong term, and obnoxiously so. (See? I’m still learning!) More like, “direct, personalized interaction.” My point is, in case it’s not clear, something that cannot be delivered by a stranger via the internet.

    Tuesday, November 8, 2011 at 6:40 pm | Permalink
  42. SKM wrote:

    given the current world’s problems and the way humans interact with each other, I suspect we’ll have to settle for just being angry about it.

    I find that unacceptable. Constructive anger plus action can and will create change.

    Tuesday, November 8, 2011 at 6:43 pm | Permalink
  43. James M wrote:

    @ A Dude

    “On the other hand, he’s not wrong — the Internet is basically a giant hate machine meant to threaten and annihilate us all. Anonymity + Mob = Hate.”

    Sure, but that hate isn’t directed at all groups equally. I’ve been insulted online (and, yes, hurled my own insults) but I’ve never been threatened with rape, or been on the receiving end of an ongoing campaign of personally directed hate.

    Even if that hate were to be shared around equally it wouldn’t affect people equally. Some folks shrug off hateful remarks, some even seem to actively thrive on conflict. Others don’t and will be intimidated into silence. Are their voices not also worthy of being heard?

    Tuesday, November 8, 2011 at 7:10 pm | Permalink
  44. Amory wrote:

    Dear Sady,

    I stopped being sexist, because I read your blog.

    To you, my friend, I say: Fuck the noise. All of this matters.

    Tuesday, November 8, 2011 at 7:16 pm | Permalink
  45. N wrote:

    Awesome post.

    Here’s a recent and related article in The Independent that is also about the particular online abuse and vitriol that women suffer:
    http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/laurie-penny-a-womans-opinion-is-the-miniskirt-of-the-internet-6256946.html

    Tuesday, November 8, 2011 at 8:09 pm | Permalink
  46. Briannerz wrote:

    This post is incredibly inspiring. I have been teetering on the edge of starting my own feminist blog but never quite get over whatever mental hump I have. I used to use college as an excuse (“but I’m a student and I have to write all the papers and read all the things!”). Now that I graduated my excuses are stinking like the shit they are. It’s about damn time I put my Feminist Studies degree to use and take a leaf out of your Book of Radical Lady Power.

    I am intimidated by the world of the Internet. Everything you explained makes me weary of starting anything remotely opinionated (cuz i’d be DAT GURL right?).

    As you said, fuck that noise. Your writing makes me feel purposeful. And powerful. And I hella don’t feel like shutting up now.

    Wednesday, November 9, 2011 at 12:05 am | Permalink
  47. Chris Miller wrote:

    It’s something that’s often made very, very clear for me, because I’m neutrois and use a gender-neutral name that’s often read as male. And when people assume I’m male, I get a lot more respect than when they assume I’m female (eg if I’ve mentioned something that alludes to the fact I’m female-bodied). I’ve had the chance to see the internet from both? sides and it’s much, much more vicious on one.

    I just want to remind people of Occam’s Razor. Which is most likely:

    - there is a large group of women who pretend to be men to abuse other women, and I’m not sure what step three is but step four is profit
    - all feminists (and other women!) make up the abuse they get as part of some wide-spread campaign to defame men
    - men sometimes say really hateful things to women

    Coz, you know, I’m pretty sure it’s the third one.

    Wednesday, November 9, 2011 at 1:06 am | Permalink
  48. Kathy wrote:

    @Chris Miller
    Until recently I always had ungendered user names, and was always perceived to be male unless I said otherwise. This is, I think, the only reason I’ve been sheltered from the worst forms of abuse. I’m not saying it’s a solution, and I use my given name now, but I don’t have a lot of agency in the blogosphere, and sometimes I just want to comment on a site without my gender being an issue.

    Wednesday, November 9, 2011 at 10:19 am | Permalink
  49. YEEAAAAAHHHHHGGGHHH!!!! That’s my primal Scream of Appreciation for this post- and for YOU, Sady. Yoooooou!!! I have a huge crush on you. The nice kind where I wish good things upon you. I will be sharing this with the two men in my life that I think might be salvageable. I might even be salvageable myself. THANKS AGAIN.

    Wednesday, November 9, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Permalink
  50. Kavla wrote:

    Love this post. And most of your posts, actually.

    Don’t lose hope, though. Like some other commenters have said, I used to be horribly misogynist. I was that “girl who sticks up for the boys,” I straight up said I “hated women”, and made kitchen jokes constantly. Then I pulled my head out of my ass – and a huge part of that was starting to read feminist blogs, and realizing that the things I was trying to defend in myself (“I know you hate women, but I AM NOT LIKE THAT AND I HATE IT TOO”) were problems for all women, and that no, I wasn’t the one, magical exception.

    So, okay, sexist douchebags are still going to be sexist douchebags. They’re not interested in learning, they just want something to yell at. I know, firsthand! But if someone finds a post like this at the right time in their life, it can make a big difference. And now that I am my feminist self, I know I’ve changed a few minds. (Although admittedly I am not always up for the hour-long essay that I have to write to do it.)

    Keep fighting. It does have an impact.

    Wednesday, November 9, 2011 at 3:00 pm | Permalink
  51. Liz wrote:

    Great – I was beginning to think all that effort we made in the 70s & 80s had been for nothing, and it seems sometimes it was (for nothing). I am so pleased to find that others are also getting truely pissed off will all this male dominance and down grading of women though sex. Keep up the pressure on sexisim.

    Wednesday, November 9, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Permalink
  52. orlando wrote:

    “I just want to comment on a site without my gender being an issue.”

    And how much does it say about our world that in order for your gender not to be an issue, you have to be perceived as a man?

    Wednesday, November 9, 2011 at 5:16 pm | Permalink
  53. Jen wrote:

    This was really powerful. The few times my blog posts have been picked up by Salon.com I received some terribly hateful comments. I was shocked. The interesting thing was that the one post in which I discussed the issue of oversharing on the internet as it applied to a “mommy blogger” I received the most chilling responses from women. This idea that anyone can get away with being cruel and threatening just because it’s the internet still leaves me feeling sick.

    Thursday, November 10, 2011 at 8:59 am | Permalink
  54. scyllacat wrote:

    You’re stronger than I am. Have I mentioned that I’ve mentioned sexism to my guy friends a couple of times? So far, “no you’re the one who’s…” and “no it’s not really” but enough to make me wary about arguing with someone who could talk bad about me to my other friends and damage me socially. And you do it against death threats and chainsaw threats. I’m a wuss, but you are encouraging me to grow.

    Thursday, November 10, 2011 at 3:50 pm | Permalink
  55. Copperhead wrote:

    I’ve seen another type of mansplaining about these threats. The it’s not that bad/no big deal/they don’t really mean it excuse. That’s also part of the “bitches be hysterical” argument. Because women must be exaggerating about these threats.

    I know it’s not up to the targets of these threats to convince others that it’s happening, but I wonder if creating a tumblr page where women bloggers could post these threats along with the identity of who sent them could shine more light on this ugliness. I know these guys work hard to hide behind anonymity but I think it would be interesting to see if some of them were outed. Plus I’d like to see them try to deny and/or justify it. I’m not sure it’s a good idea but it sounds emotionally satisfying.

    Thursday, November 10, 2011 at 4:17 pm | Permalink
  56. M wrote:

    It’s so embarrassing to say, but I was one of those girls every feminist pulls their hair out about that makes rape and woman-in-kitchen jokes and tells people “I’m not a feminist because I like wearing bras and don’t hate men!11!11!!1″ and “It’s just a joke – don’t take everything so seriously, get a sense of humor11!1!” (note the ones for extra emphasis on the dumb)

    THankfully I took a class about feminist theory and started reading feminist blogs, and I am no longer that girl – it took a while though (until sophomore year of college!)

    I would like to go back to my younger self and smack her upside the head and go “STOP trying to ally yourself with power by dumping all over feminism and making sexist jokes!! They’re not funny and they make you sound like an uneducated idiot!”

    But yeah. I’m jumping on the bandwagon that is telling you that feminist blogs do 100% make a difference! For alllll the misogynist threats we receive, there are hopefully a few minds that read it at the right time that are being changed for the better.

    Also, you’re much stronger than I. Hopefully I will find the courage and conviction in myself soon to try to explain to my roommate why it’s not okay to call his male friends “Bitch” “pussy” and “fag” when he’s mad at them. Or that it’s not a girl’s fault that a guy cheated on her because she “didn’t put out fast enough.” Someday.

    But yeah. Thank you for blogging, because sometimes these things are the only things that keep my faith alive.

    Friday, November 11, 2011 at 12:35 am | Permalink
  57. M wrote:

    whoops – just realized my computer changed it to my mlittle email when I tried to put in just “M.” Thanks autofill. Is there any way for a mod to change that?

    -M.

    Friday, November 11, 2011 at 12:38 am | Permalink
  58. Faycin A Croud wrote:

    Just this–let’s don’t shut up. There are still too many of “them” out there. We can never shut up or the hateful bastards win.

    Friday, November 11, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Permalink
  59. john wrote:

    Sady,you’re 2009 writing style did change some people. I had a lot of sexist views when I was younger. A friend of mine on facebook regularly posted links to your blog though. I became a regular reader and you really changed the way I think on a ton of issues.

    Saturday, November 12, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Permalink
  60. Georgia wrote:

    Hey! Um, remember that thing you said up there about how you thought your blog would change people’s minds about sexism and things like that? And then how you were like “SADLY I WAS WRONG.” You were not! Wrong, that is. Your blog, Tiger Beatdown, your posts and the posts of others on this have helped me immensely in articulating and resisting violence. They have changed my mind about lots of things – from being young teenager who would not ID as a feminist to now literally changing the minds of my friends and people who are not my friends that I talk to about sexism. Some of which are men! Who are sexist – but also often don’t want to be. And the point is you do good things, and 2009 Sady did write good things, that are important to a lot of people, as a lot of these comments can attest to.

    Saturday, November 12, 2011 at 2:59 pm | Permalink
  61. hallie wrote:

    I heart you with a thousand hearts. Thanks for posting this, it is just what I needed to read on this (cranky, rainy) day when my blood was boiling anyway.

    Somehow, the camaraderie makes it possible to tolerate. #menwhocallmethings

    Saturday, November 12, 2011 at 9:19 pm | Permalink
  62. Yvette Madelaine wrote:

    I love you Sady. I am so happy I found your blog xxxxxx

    Sunday, November 13, 2011 at 2:51 am | Permalink
  63. O wrote:

    My boyfriend didn’t believe me until he read your blog. You, along with other feminist blogs, validated my life experiences to him and made him a feminist. Don’t ever stop or shut up! You ARE changing the world!

    Sunday, November 13, 2011 at 2:42 pm | Permalink
  64. You are a fucking GENIUS. Dystopian Hell world of no rape jokes? SERIOUSLY.

    Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at 2:57 am | Permalink
  65. Casey wrote:

    Just to echo the other comments but 2009!Sady helped me become feminist too. :D

    Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at 3:36 am | Permalink