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But How Do You Know It’s Sexist? The #MenCallMeThings Round-Up

[NOTE: This article is about -- and hence contains copious examples of -- violent, highly triggering, and bigoted language. When the slur isn't something connected to my own identity, I have tried to bleep it with asterisks.]

[EDITED TO ADD: Since its publication, this article has been cited by many reporters and bloggers. Thanks, everybody! I appreciate it! Huge compliment, love you, etc. However, there is one major clarification I'd like to make. Several outlets are reporting that all of the slurs quoted in this post were aimed at me, personally. This is not the case. The insults I've listed with bullet points and introduced with "see, from my own life" were directed at me. The insults I've alphabetized, and introduced with "see, cited in the hashtag" were cited by other people participating in the hashtag. I have not named or linked to their targets, simply to stress the overwhelmingly impersonal, repetitive, stereotyped quality of the abuse. In my view, it doesn't matter so much who said what to which person, but that all of us are being called the same things, in the same tone; I've removed names, not because I don't want to give those people credit, but because I think reading this as "oh, somebody said that to Jill Filipovic," or "oh, somebody said that to Kate Harding," or even "oh, somebody said that to Sady Doyle" is fundamentally misleading -- the real point is, "oh, somebody said that to women and anti-sexist people."] 

Right as I sat down to write this post, my phone beeped.

It does this! For some reason, it is broken so that its “ring” settings are reduced to either “silent” or “beep every time you get any sort of message whatsoever including Twitter @s.” It’s been beeping a lot these past few days. But since all of these, including the Twitter @s, are often work-related, I check it every time. This one was from Twitter.

“I will fuck your ass to death you filthy fucking whore, ” it read. “Your only worth on this planet is as a warm hole to stick my cock in.”

Ahhhh. I love the smell of a good hashtag.

#MenCallMeThings has taken off, in these past few days. I didn’t expect it — if I had, I would have put more work into it than a simple Rebecca Solnit rip-off and a few top-of-my-head quotes — but then, I shouldn’t have been surprised. And, since it’s taken off, there’s been lots of coverage: requests for interviews (which I’ve turned down, as I’m on too many of my own deadlines at the moment, and also don’t want to be Face-Of-The-Movementing again any time soon or, you know, ever), op-ed pieces, meditations on Men Call Me Things As Phenomenon. And, of course, plenty of those op-eds have been about precisely what we set out to protest: The idea that the Internet is “equally mean to everyone,” that putting up with name-calling was something “everyone” had to do in the same way and at the same intensity and volume, the idea that “Internet cruelty” (whatever that means) isn’t gendered.

How do you know it’s gendered? These op-eds tend to ask. How do you know you’re getting it just because you’re a girl, or just because you’re feminine, or just because you oppose sexism? It’s not like there are any recurring themes, or anything. It’s not this stuff is intrinsically tied to stereotypes, to structures, to your oppression. It’s not like “everyone” doesn’t get this, or like ladies can’t be mean to men sometimes. Maybe you’re just overreacting! Maybe you just need to calm down! In other words, maybe you are just

THEME #1: THE WEAKER SEX

Lists of feminine stereotypes often include descriptors such as “sensitive” and “emotional.” Lists of masculine stereotypes often include descriptors like “stoic” and “rational.” Those feminine-stereotype lists, not coincidentally, also include the term “weak.” Women are emotional, hence not rational, hence not like men, hence bad. See “hysterical,” which currently means “exaggerated or uncontrollable emotion or excitement,” and which used to mean a disease exclusively diagnosed amongst women or those mistaken for them, thought to be caused by a dysfunctional or “wandering” uterus. See also “shrill” and “shriek,” two words for “overemotional” and irrational speech which also mean “high-pitched,” which women’s voices are more likely to be. To discredit a woman — or anyone perceived to be woman-like, such as genderqueer people, “effeminate” men, and male allies — you must determine that they’re acting from feminine emotion, which is always wrongheaded and bad. See, from my own life:

  • More Assange-related feminist meltdown
  • Sady Doyle is a stupid fucking whiny bitch
  • Sady Doyle always takes the rape bait
  • Allow me to recommend a treatment for her hysteria
  • Sady Doyle, that living, breathing argument for the restoration of “hysteria” as a legitimate medical diagnosis
  • Shrieky hysterical moron
  • All this “we need to be screechy in order to have more influence” thing

See, cited in the hashtag: “Agreeing ‘just to calm me down’,” crybaby, cry more, do you need to file a hurt feelings report? Hysterical, hypersensitive, oversensitive, oversensitive, too sensitive, “upset at my pathetic life,” whiny.

And after all, what do women have to get upset about? Everyone gets made fun of sometimes. If this were gendered, then the overwhelmingly most common variety of insult cited wouldn’t be

THEME #2: UNFUCKABLE WHORES

The most obvious and pernicious form of sexism is reducing women to sexualized objects. This divorces them from other forms of human worth, such as work, intelligence, or general character — it effectively makes them inhuman. Under this framework, the worst thing you can say about a woman is that she is not worth fucking. This invalidates the entire reason for her existence (in the eyes of a sexist commentator) and thus renders her worthless. Again, this form of insult often extends to people mistaken for female, or perceived to be feminine, including genderqueer people and trans men. And since a woman’s sole value is sexual, her virtue is entirely sexual too: Thus, if a woman is not unfuckable, she fucks too often, and is a slut. See, from my own experience:

  • Prematurely haggish
  • You’re an ugly fucking cunt
  • This bespectacled smirking cunt is most certainly NOT cute
  • That sort of smirk is why God invented anal sex.
  • AIDS-positive
  • Bitch glasses.
  • fatassskank Sady Doyle
  • Sex with Sady Doyle would be the most perfunctory, acceptable sex imaginable
  • no woman, you do not get to define how a man views your sexuality, that’s the entire purpose of your sexuality is to attract a man
See, cited in the hashtag: “A repressed and unfeminine lump, vulgar and shallow to the core (if I may speak in paradox).” ”An unbelievably unattractive woman!” Behemoth, “‘disgusting’ followed by 3 grafs of imagining what it would be like to fuck my gelatinous ass + more sympathy for husband, ”flat-boobed-Casserly.” Fat, fat, fat, fat, fat, fat bitch, “listen up fat bitch, its actually a class that can you help get over your eating disorder,” “fat slag. You only fuck around coz you have low self esteem,” “full of shit, no one would fuck you, you’re so ugly you look like you have downs syndrome, you’d be thankful to be raped.” Hambeast, hoe, “hope you catch a sexually transmitted disease or vagina cancer, cuntwit,” ”insecure about being fat and ugly [so] you call everything that has smoking hot babes on it sexist,” ”looking for boytoys,” sexless. Slut, slut, slut, slut, slut, slut, “Slut!” ”Stick a dildo up your dry vagina,” “the only time your mouth should be open is when i’m putting my d–k in it,” ugly, ugly, ugly, ugly, ugly, unrapeable. Whore, whore, whore, whore, whore,  whore, Whore of Babylon, ungodly whore, will never get laid. “You don’t have to worry about being sexually harassed because you are hideous.”

THEME #2(a): Queer

If a woman’s only worth consists of being fucked by men, one way to damn her is to assert that she doesn’t want to: That she is a lesbian. This is often paired with accusations of “man-hating,” because not to fuck men is to hate them, and vice versa. Similarly, if a man is perceived as being too much “like” women — if he identifies as feminist, or speaks out against sexism — he is said to fuck men, because that is a woman’s only function. This is a popular “accusation” to aim at allies, and people who are presumed to have some kind of stake in being seen as straight, as well as at people who are, you know, gay, lesbian or bisexual. See, from my own life:

  • What misandrist rock did you crawl out from under? This sort of bigoted drivel may find comfort in some remote outposts of radical feminism, but most women do not see another woman in their future — they still see a man
  • Yawn. More anti-male clap-trap from a radical lesbian writer.
  • We don’t have to consider her a primary stakeholder in heterosexual values.

See, cited in hashtag: Boring d*ke, cumm guzzling closet lesbian, “dude, you’re a feminist? Well, then you must be a (another word for homosexual),” f*ggot, lesbian, lesbian, lezbo, you sure you’re straight? Your just a gay cunt who deserves to be punished.

THEME #2(b): If You Won’t Fuck Me, I’ll Make You

Rape is a highly gendered crime — primarily done to women, and primarily done by men, according to all of the statistics we currently have. So is domestic violence. Murder, of course, is less gendered. But when a woman is talking, and calling her hysterical, unfuckable, a whore, or a non-primary stakeholder in heterosexual values hasn’t worked, there is one threat that is guaranteed to work: Violence. And that violence is typically, and unsurprisingly, gendered. See, from my own life:

  • got a deserved assraping by progressive Mike Moore ROFL
  • When this is all over, I think Julian Assange and Keith Olbermann will have earned every right to publicly rape Sady Doyle
  • A firm backhand to her whore face would provide her with a much needed attitude adjustment
  • I’ll give YOU a beatdown, cunt
  • I will fuck your ass to death you filthy fucking whore. Your only worth on this planet is as a warm hole to stick my cock in.

See, cited in the hashtag: Asking for it, get raped to death, get beaten by your keeper, “Fuck you bitch….ya need to get beat like ur pops use to do to u,” “I hope you never have children, your daughters would be such sluts and end up murdered in a gutter by someone like me,” “if you stopped being such a stupid bitch & accepted the raping, you wouldn’t have gotten beaten,” not worth the effort to murder,  “only tragedy is that a bullet didn’t rip through ur brainstem after u were used 4 ur 1 & only purpose in this world,” “what a long winded bitch. You certainly do need to be gagged,” “whenever I see a woman openly identify herself as feminist, I reach for my proverbial gun,” “You’re an annoying bitch with no friends.I’d love to run you over with my truck,” ‘you stupid bitch, I should fuck the crazy right out of you.’

Bonus Round: “My boss said in front of me ‘if women didn’t have a cunt you’d shoot ‘em’. Doesn’t bother with online anonymity.”

Of course, with all these rape threats and “whores” flying around, it’s starting to look like this is pretty gendered. And pretty serious. It’s hard to conclude that women are just being hypersensitive, hysterical, shrill whiners about this when you know that some of them are responding to the fact that they’re getting threats to rape them to death, or hearing about how some men have the “right to publicly rape” them for speaking. So it’s time to question their motives. Their abilities. Their reasons for speaking up, and the credibility of their voices. For example, by telling them that

THEME #3: YOU’RE CRAZY

The stigma of mental illness is profound. It has also, historically, been used to delegitimize the voices we least want to have legitimacy: “Hysteria” for women, trans* and queer identities being included in the DSM, or drapetomania, the “disease” that supposedly caused black slaves to run away from their masters. One way to delegitimize a woman, or a voice perceived to be “feminine,” is to call her mentally ill — to assert that none of what she says can be trusted, since she is not reacting “normally,” or may be making it all up. This can include formal medical pseudo-diagnoses, allegations that the person in question is prone to fabrication, and diagnoses for mental disabilities (like autism, or developmental disabilities) other than mental illness per se. See, from my own life (which is the life of a blogger who’s admitted to having depression and social anxiety, which affects the extent to which I get this):

  • We used to confine people to sanitariums for these kinds of outbursts.
  • She’s off her meds.
  • Sounds like an escaped mental patient
  • Wild ravings
  • Unhinged bitch
  • Narcissist delusions
  • Delusions of grandeur
  • Delusional Naricissist Sady

See, cited in hashtag: ”All in my head,” autistic bitch child, crazy, crazy, crazy, delusional, liar, “a liar, by my ex and his friends, after saying that he raped me,” obsessive, neurotic, r*tard, “you most obviously have a partial mental defect.”

THEME #4: YOU HAVE BAD POLITICS. ALL OF THE BAD POLITICS. 

Another step to delegitimizing a voice is to assert that someone is acting out of a shady agenda, or is allied with (or simply using tactics which resemble) a recognizably harmful political group. Since feminism is not recognized to be an essentially political movement — since it is still seen to be a “personal” concern — feminists get this from both sides, being called right-wingers by liberal men who want to maintain male privilege, and being called far-left extremists by right-wing men who see feminism as progressive (even when liberal men do not). For example, during the #MooreandMe hashtag, a left-leaning blogger wrote about how I was probably an upper-middle-class elitist who had only ever attended private schools (which is factually untrue), whereas a right-wing blogger wrote about how I was probably uneducated, and hence deprived of the implicitly middle-class benefits of higher education. Which was also factually untrue. In this step, a woman is delegitimized by being placed in a political category she doesn’t belong to, because that political category is believed to be illegitimate in and of itself. Sometimes “feminist” is the political category objected to, or compared to (say) Nazism. See, from my own life:

  • Dworkinite extremist
  • #MooreandMe is a totalitarian movement
  • #MooreandMe ayatollah
  • Will you be wearing a swastika armband?
  • Sady’s (your? not sure how we’re addressing each other now) small-tent position is note-for-note exactly the same as the song the Tea Party’s singing right now
  • It has been my experience that men-haters like Sady Doyle usually work for the US government. For some reason, it doesn’t occur to people that the FBI infiltrated the feminist movement

See, cited in hashtag:  ”‘Communist’ for writing a newspaper column about how I planned to keep using my maiden name,” ”feminism is no longer political,” feminazi, feminazism, “humorless, Stalinist hag,” ”i surely hope that one day you get raped by one of these people that you have gentrified,” “tree hugging f*ggot embracing douche fag.”

THEME#5: YOU’RE A STUPID LITTLE GIRL

Due to centuries of male privilege, and corresponding male achievement, men are presumed to be smarter, harder-working, and more suited to accomplishment than women. Women are perceived as non-intellectual, unsuited for work in “men’s” intellectual fields, and also ditzy, shallow, and childish; because they are considered less intellectual, they can be spoken down to, or spoken of as literal children. This is a difficult theme to call out; anyone can be called stupid on the Internet, and many people on the Internet are actually stupid. But in this context, women are called intellectually unfit specifically for being feminist, and are usually infantilized (or called another gendered name, such as bimbo, ditz, hysteric or airhead) on top of that. See, in my own life:

  • Intellectual lightweight (from the “give you a beat down, cunt” man, who was also sending a friend rape threats)
  • Sady Doyle is still a stupid little girl
  • Shrieky hysterical moron with limited writing ability (repeat, on account of double-qualification)
  • Women like Sady, are little girls in the bodies of adult women

See, cited in hashtag: Airhead, blogger poodle, “can’t be a female scientist, that phrase is an oxymoron,” childish, “dumb bimbos like you? im sorry you exist,that sucks,” fanatically childish, flighty, ”Incoherent Silly Ranting Nonsense-spouting Pseudo-intellectual Insane Oversensitive Humourless Female supremacist,” naive, “not grown up (as in: ‘when you…’ I’m 42, btw),” spoiled little princess, “step into your big girl panties,” stupid bitch, stupid fucking cunt, stupid feminazi cunt, “your IQ has got to be below average. I’m dismissing you because you are irrational to the point of incompetence…  it’s painfully obvious you’re a woman, get off the internet.”

THEME #6: YOU’RE NOT A WOMAN

Of course, the best way to invalidate a woman’s voice, especially on sexism, is to deny that she’s a woman at all. This is particularly pernicious and harmful for trans women, who are called “tr*nny whore, bitch, slut, it, shemale, thing, deluded, loud, a liar” (note similarities to other themes) as per the Questioning Transphobia Twitter, but are also subject to vicious sexualising, shaming, and de-gendering attacks by transphobic women. @Kiri_public notes that she’s called “divisive. Shrill. Someone who looks for (trans)misogyny where it doesn’t exist.” Women of color, too, are both characterized as hypersexual and sexually available and degendered; @Racialicious notes that most of their attacks are racial, not gendered. And women and feminists level racial attacks and racism too, thus rendering them unsafe on both fronts.

So, thus far, it seems like all of this is gendered! Women are hysterical, emotional, soft and weak: That’s a pretty standard exercise of sexism, right there. Women are targets of unwanted sexual attention and sexualized violence: Also gendered. Women’s concerns are apolitical or badly political, women are incompetent and childish, queer women are called monstrous (and men who are like women are queer), trans women are called men or “it,” genderqueer people and trans men are misgendered and subjected to misogyny, women of color are degendered in racist attacks: All of this is fairly effing political, and much in line with what we know about how sexism operates, it would seem. It also seems fairly sexist! But watch out before you say that, because here comes

THEME #7: YOU’RE JUST NO FUN AT ALL, YOU BIG SCARY BITCH

As we noted up top, feminine stereotypes list “emotional,” “sensitive,” and “weak.” They also list things like “caring” and “self-critical.” All of this can be used against women — to call them weak, hysterical, shrill, childish, etc. But what happens when a woman doesn’t fit the stereotype? When she’s “strong,” or “stoic,” or “competitive,” or “assertive,” or any of those things that we list on the “masculine” side of column? Well, watch out. Because if you step onto time-honored Man Ground, you’re not “strong;” you’re aggressive, even violent. You’re not “competitive;” you’re threatening and mean. You’re not “assertive” about your boundaries; you’re a no-fun, humorless, bitter, out-to-get-men kind of bitch. See, from my own life:

  • Bitter hag of a young woman.
  • Sady is simply an ugly, bitter, little woman
  • Maybe with a smile on that face I might get a boner.
  • Sady was being a confrontational bitch
  • Was it in Dealey Plaza or outside the Dakota buildings that you sealed your name in lights and infamy forever pet?
  • Sady Doyle is forcing herself on Olbermann, raping him repeatedly with her words and accusations.
  • Feminist blogger Sady Doyle went nuclear after Moore’s appearance on the Olbermann show, and created a Twitter hashtag, #MooreandMe, to batter him

See, cited in the hashtag: Aggressive, angry, angry, angry, anti-fun, ballbuster, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitchy, bitter, beast, Beast from hell, “cold, calculating bitch,” cranky, cunt, humorless, humorless, heartless whore, joyless, joyless, killjoy, Lady Bathory, man hater, manipulative, misandrist, negative, rude, “ruins the great social atmosphere,” vicious, vindictive, uncollegial.

This, to me, is the crux of the whole problem. The underlying theme that makes all the rest of the #MenCallMeThings harassment happen. It’s why we get it from so many corners, and why we’re not supposed to name our harassers or speak out against them; it’s the underlying assumption, why we’re getting harassed in the first place for writing online or speaking about sexism in our day-to-day lives.

To find #Things for #MenCallMeThings, I had to look back through anonymous hate mail, hate blogs about me, conservative-blog and MRA-blog posts about me, random Twitter trolls, and at comment threads that were particularly nasty, sure. But in with the rest of this, I’ve also quoted a popular male liberal blogger, a pop-music writer who publishes at some of the same places I have, a friend-of-a-friend whose “urban biking club” my boyfriend was once thinking of joining, and a published YA fantasy novelist with lefty politics. What matters is not which guys said it: What matters is that, when you put their statements side-by-side, they all sound like the exact same guy.  And when you look at what they’re saying, how similar these slurs and insults and threats we get actually are, they always sound like they’re speaking to the exact same woman. When men are using the same insults and sentiments to shut down women and “feminine” people, across the board, then we know what’s going on. And we know that it’s not about us; it’s about gender.

And they’re not doing it because we’re “weak” or “hypersensitive.” They hope to Christ that we’re weak and sensitive, because then harassment would shut us up, but they know that we’re really not. They go so incredibly hard against us — send the death threats, the rape threats, the over-the-top “you’re just a cum receptacle” — in the hopes that something, anything, will be enough to stop us. They know they have to push that hard. Because they know that we’re strong. They know that we’ve got thick skins. And they know that we won’t put up with bullshit. Which makes us scary, which makes us threatening, which makes us “aggressive” and “vicious” and “vindictive” bitches who might shut them down.

They don’t do this because women, and people who speak out against sexism online, are delicate, fragile flowers. They do this because we’re tougher than they can imagine, tougher than they’ll ever have to be, and tougher than they can personally handle. They need to shut us down, to scare us, because if we keep going we just might win. We just might end sexism. They’ll do anything to stop us from getting that done.

And that’s how I know it’s sexist when #MenCallMeThings. Just in case you wondered.

66 Comments

  1. Naomi Most wrote:

    You. Are. Awesome.

    Just in case you didn’t know it.

    Thank you for all your hard work and amazing words on this issue.

    Thursday, November 10, 2011 at 7:04 pm | Permalink
  2. Seth Eag wrote:

    I followed the hashtag for a while and, I must say, I was rather shocked—and I’m sure this sounds ignorant and naive—by the level of the hate spewed towards people online. And I don’t mean just the women who were relating stories, but more so the people who were inserting themselves into the hashtag with insults and such. Some of it was beyond the pale and it’s hard for me to even imagine a person on the other end—I mean, are they like this in real life too? I even clicked on a link, unfortunately, from some faceless poster which led to a misogynist website that had things written on it that were jaw-dropping to me. Again, being honest, I had no idea people said and thought things like that in such large numbers.

    Anyway, epic post.

    Thursday, November 10, 2011 at 7:10 pm | Permalink
  3. Rick wrote:

    Hi,
    Don’t really know what to say other than I’m really sorry you cop this kind of abuse from men. Hope you have supportive people around you and that you can get a break every now and again.

    Rick

    Thursday, November 10, 2011 at 7:18 pm | Permalink
  4. agky wrote:

    Thank you. Excellent summary – in a sad yet validating sort of way.

    Thursday, November 10, 2011 at 7:27 pm | Permalink
  5. Hayley B wrote:

    WOW, some of these are so hard to read. I can’t believe how incredibly strong you are (and everyone participating in the hashtag is) to put up with this shit.

    KEEP BEING TOUGHER THAN THEY CAN HANDLE. us weaklings need it.

    Thursday, November 10, 2011 at 8:02 pm | Permalink
  6. Clare wrote:

    Keeping quiet in order to avoid constant rape and death threats isn’t ‘weak and sensitive’. At all.
    Which makes the women who DO put up with this shit even more impressive.

    Thursday, November 10, 2011 at 8:25 pm | Permalink
  7. You are the best. Wonderful post. I agree with Agky: “sad yet validating.” This feels like a hug in the midst of all the Penn State news.

    The only type of abuse I don’t think is fully covered here is, “Don’t you realize men [or white people, thin people, straight people, the rapists, the child pornographers, the domestic abusers] are the REAL VICTIMS?” and its profane offspring. I guess this is usually accompanied by any of the above, but I think “You’re a victimizer, ‘CAUSE YOU DISAGREE WITH ME” could be its own category.

    Thursday, November 10, 2011 at 9:56 pm | Permalink
  8. Incredible as always. This is powerful, powerful stuff.

    If you ever have too much for your blog to handle, send it to me. I don’t have your gift with words, but I do have a space and I plan to keep it.

    Thursday, November 10, 2011 at 11:15 pm | Permalink
  9. KittyWrangler wrote:

    Thanks for this epic post!

    These things should be hard to read but honestly, after having read feminist blogs for a while, their sharp edges have been blunted by familiarity (not implying that they would or should be ho-hum to you or anyone else!). None of these were really that original, as you pointed out; I guess these guys have to say the same phrases over and over in order to get off.

    When the professional writers who inspired this post or people in general display this level of cluelessness about massive issues I cannot even meet them halfway. Watching their mental process is like observing some far-flung Nature documentary. I mean, how are we living on the same planet, I sometimes wonder.

    If I were to add a category of gender-specific harassment it would be wild demands of one’s time from complete strangers as if you owe them. Sure, men get this sometimes, but it is certainly a gendered thing (and racialized, generally “other-ed” thing). Demands for conversation, debate, flirting, lengthy watertight well-reasoned rejections, “explanations,” teaching, appeasing.

    Thursday, November 10, 2011 at 11:41 pm | Permalink
  10. Agnes wrote:

    I sincerely hope that naming and publicizing this- taking it out of the shadows where it seems individual, not systemic- helps us win that much faster. I’ve been reading this blog for years but don’t comment too often, though you’re one of my daily reads.

    Thursday, November 10, 2011 at 11:42 pm | Permalink
  11. rrp wrote:

    I thought I couldn’t be shocked, but whew.

    Another awesome post.

    Friday, November 11, 2011 at 2:44 am | Permalink
  12. Michael wrote:

    Holy shit. If I received that level of hate mail with that vehemence, I am sure that I would stop doing (or at least think about stopping doing) whatever it is that leads to this. Thank you for publishing this, it is an eye opener.
    All I can say is, you are strong. Keep up the good work.

    Friday, November 11, 2011 at 2:54 am | Permalink
  13. blogromp wrote:

    The alphabetization of the insults is utterly brilliant.

    Thank you for everything that went into this post, and that goes into creating and maintaining this feminist presence online.

    Friday, November 11, 2011 at 3:12 am | Permalink
  14. E-S wrote:

    *Stands and applauds*

    I’ve been following the hashtag of and on since it started and have been shocked by what I’ve read. The sheer volume of the insults and the willful missing of the point by so many people…”Well it’s never happened to ME”, “Women are mean too!”, “Not all men are like that”…this virulent stream of hatred has been exposed and I really admire everyone who has made it happen.

    Friday, November 11, 2011 at 3:26 am | Permalink
  15. Tama wrote:

    I was trying to explain to my Dad how I knew that when my teacher said stuff like: “You silly girls need to stop nattering and try to pay attention” and “Well, if you could just stop being so childlish” he was being sexist. And that he wasn’t just being a stern teacher, he was targetting attributes that feminine persons have and mocking them. Cruelly.

    I kept saying to him (my Dad) that the way he talked to me (one of 3 women in a seminar for political science), the adjetives he was useing to describe both me and the question were aimed at the fact that yes, I am a woman. Still, my Dad just kept on saying I was being overly sensitive.

    Which, I you ask me now after reading this, is fucking ironic. I have this feeling now that I have better tools to fight against both my teacher and my Dad, and I just wanted to say thanks for that, Sady.

    Just, thank you.

    Also, could you stop being awesome and writing things I need to read when I’m on a deadline on that same seminar and I have to finish my work? You have proven to be a really good and worth while distraction. So thanks for that as well.

    Friday, November 11, 2011 at 8:38 am | Permalink
  16. Lynne wrote:

    Sady, it is important to shine a light on this online hatred, this concerted effort to shut women up. Thank you.

    Sometimes your posts remind me of Robin Morgan (do you know her essay “Good-bye to All That?” You reminded me of her when you brought this essay home. I considered naming my son after Robin Morgan, so you know I mean this as a high compliment.

    As an aside, you might have a little typo to fix. “If this were gendered, then the overwhelmingly most common variety of insult cited wouldn’t be:—should be “if this WEREN’T gendered” ?

    Thank you for doing this important work. It is hugely important to expose this hatred for what it is.

    Friday, November 11, 2011 at 9:09 am | Permalink
  17. Sady wrote:

    @Lynne: Egh. Honestly, I think it’s just a crappy sentence. “This isn’t sexist, because people are calling you an unfuckable whore more than anything else, SARCASM,” is what it means. But it’s so convoluted the sense doesn’t come through. Sometimes I wish I could make my many talented magazine editors come over here and tell me to hammer that shit out, you know?

    Friday, November 11, 2011 at 9:13 am | Permalink
  18. James M wrote:

    Reading those insults made me realise that there’s a distinction between ‘numbing’ and ‘deadening’. The latter better describes their cumulative effect: their impact is felt, but muffled beneath the weight of emotion generated.

    In my case that emotion was depression. In other circumstances I could imagine it being fear, anxiety, anger or even hatred. And that brings to mind a passage from Ursula Le Guin’s ‘The Left Hand of Darkness’:

    “He never spoke with any bitterness at all, no matter how awful the things he said. Are there really people without resentment, without hate, she wondered. People who never go cross-grained to the universe? Who recognize evil, and resist evil, and yet are utterly unaffected by it?”

    To continue to speak out in the face of such relentless hatred demonstrates admirable resilience and determination, and yet to resist their attacks is not to say that one is unharmed. Those who are exposed to such hatred must, I fear, be especially vigilant against their own corruption.

    I venture the above with all humility.

    Friday, November 11, 2011 at 10:50 am | Permalink
  19. Matthew Morse wrote:

    The strings of insults are hard to read, but the analysis is great. And when I got to,

    bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch,

    I cracked up. There’s at least one thing about reading all these insults collected in one place. It shows that it’s all they’ve got. If they could out-argue you, they would. Instead, they try to abuse you into submission.

    Friday, November 11, 2011 at 11:40 am | Permalink
  20. In my own little corner of the blogosphere I get these all the time – for not liking a comic book or a cartoon as much as I should. Whore, cunt, rape, rape, rape, rape….it’s so sad.

    But, like Matther Morse, wvery once in a while it gets so extreme it’s funny. I got a comment once that simply said, “Ugly dyke is ugly.” I almost went and had it made into a t-shirt, because it made me laugh. But then I thought bout the life of the person who sent it, how there was a good chance that he got a boner from saying that and how, one day, he will procreate and pass on those genes, but I never will. It’s unfair that we’re not allowed to track these people down and kick them in the balls for every time they use the word “rape” in a comment. Oh, but wait, that’s just me being hysterical, threats of bodily violence aren’t something to really worry about, you know, until they happen, and then it was my fault anyway.

    Friday, November 11, 2011 at 12:40 pm | Permalink
  21. benvolio wrote:

    I really love ‘they’re the exact same guy insulting the exact same woman’ framing.

    Not only does it exactly demonstrate the paucity of the attack, but it turned on a little light of awareness in my head for the next time (or million times) I encounter such a thing. And light is strength.

    Friday, November 11, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Permalink
  22. soveryunhip wrote:

    You’re so strong. This post is amazing. Keep fighting.

    Friday, November 11, 2011 at 6:28 pm | Permalink
  23. Jesse the K wrote:

    Great work. Thank you for being willing to expose yourself to this slime.

    Friday, November 11, 2011 at 8:08 pm | Permalink
  24. Rachel wrote:

    Reading these various insults made me so angry I could hardly stand it. I realize that there are many men out there who respect women far more than these idiots, but this is just ridiculous.

    Saturday, November 12, 2011 at 12:58 am | Permalink
  25. Kristen wrote:

    YOU ARE AWESOME!

    Saturday, November 12, 2011 at 3:12 am | Permalink
  26. Carolyn wrote:

    I’m so glad you wrote this. I was following #mencallmethings for a while, and it all started to sound like the same insult: “You’re a masculine/feminine, un/attractive woman whom I would/would not fuck!” Which really took a lot of (or at least some of) the horror out of it for me. And I was thinking about doing a post about it, but it would have been merely a shadow of your wonderful post. Stay tough.

    Saturday, November 12, 2011 at 3:33 am | Permalink
  27. divya wrote:

    Amazing. It’s nice to see it all here, rationally displayed, so doubters can see what it’s like.

    Thanks for this.

    Saturday, November 12, 2011 at 3:37 am | Permalink
  28. Joy wrote:

    Thank you. Again.

    Reducing it all down to one insult, directed to the same person, is completely perfect. Others have said it, but I’ll add to the chorus. Totally brilliant. Bonus of being directly emotionally useful and hopefully verbally useful in the next moment of being-insulted. Because it is never If but When.

    Saturday, November 12, 2011 at 10:22 am | Permalink
  29. Sarah wrote:

    I usually steer clear of the comments section on webpages because I can definitely think of better things to do than giving audience to the bile that one generally finds there. But on feminist blogs I often do read the comments, looking for reflections and messages of solidarity. Now I know how much you brave bloggers have to wade through just to create a safe space. I couldn’t admire you more.

    I don’t usually post comments either, when I feel like I have nothing more to add than “you’re spot on with this!” or “thanks, you really opened my eyes”. I always thought – the bloggers don’t know me, what does it matter what I think? Is it any more meaningful that someone out there says “you rock” than when someone says “you stink”. Who am I to comment on whether something was good or bad, unless I have something to back it up with. Just because there’s a comment section, doesn’t mean I have to give my judgement.

    But now, knowing the hateful extent of the silencing you have to read through, I’d like to say: I, someone you will probably never know nor meet, think Tiger Beatdown is one of the best blogs out there. Without it, and other feminist blogs, I would be less informed and critically aware of many issues and perspectives. Thank you, Sady and the Tiger Beatdown gang! This may just be another in a longline of “I love your blog” comments, but you’ve made me realise now that maybe you could use every one of them.

    Saturday, November 12, 2011 at 11:56 am | Permalink
  30. prodigal wrote:

    The “the internet is equally mean” rhetoric always cracks me up as a trans woman, because I can actually trace how things have changed for me in online communities (especially gaming).

    Before transitioning, whenever I was harassed or insulted it was always against me as an individual person. Now, it’s not against me so much as it’s against the “woman” demographic I belong to. Instead of being evaluated based on how I personally am, I’m dismissed outright from the get-go for having an evil ladybrain or any of the other things mentioned in this excellent post.

    Saturday, November 12, 2011 at 12:02 pm | Permalink
  31. Dom wrote:

    Wow. What is wrong with these men that they feel so threatened they have to shit all over women all day? There’s something deeply wrong with our society when so many guys have nothing better to do. They need hobbies. They need to stop their exposure to misogynistic cultural influences – or someone has to stop it for them. I got some negative comments on my blog (which I moderate strictly) but nothing that bad. I guess I should thank my comparatively low traffic.

    Saturday, November 12, 2011 at 1:58 pm | Permalink
  32. Atheist Girl wrote:

    That was a fantastic article. Sums up all the types of misogynistic attacks perfectly.

    Saturday, November 12, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Permalink
  33. Finisterre wrote:

    You’re amazing.

    Great analysis, btw. There has been a rash of articles (about bloody time) on gendered abuse here in the UK as well and the amount of tone-trolling ‘Don’t *turn this into* a man-vs-woman issue* variations on the ‘everyone gets abuse’ theme has been almost funny.

    No sexism here, folks! Someone called me a dick once, so it’s not a woman thing. Righty-o then.

    Saturday, November 12, 2011 at 6:05 pm | Permalink
  34. Larkin wrote:

    I participated in the #mencallmethings discussion and it was both exhausting and cathartic in that the inanity of the way we are attacked, when presented at once, is almost so absurd it’s funny.
    And then I write another post and my heart skips a beat when I get an email about another sexist, degrading, and/or misogynistic comment that has been left for me, and it isn’t really that funny.
    Keep fighting the good fight. You wouldn’t believe the comment I got about my last Paterno post. Unreal.

    Saturday, November 12, 2011 at 6:07 pm | Permalink
  35. Yup. Same here. Generic insults for having the gall to be a woman and also say stuff.

    Saturday, November 12, 2011 at 6:28 pm | Permalink
  36. Nina wrote:

    I have no idea how you do all you do but you are beyond amazing. THANK YOU so much. I admire and love you, always.

    Saturday, November 12, 2011 at 6:44 pm | Permalink
  37. Linden Smithe wrote:

    Bravo, a smashing piece. It resonates because everything you say is so true, and refreshingly unvarnished.

    Your intelligence makes you hot. I’d try to get your attention if we ever met. :)

    Saturday, November 12, 2011 at 8:54 pm | Permalink
  38. Monique wrote:

    Wonderful post Sady. One of the things I love most about this blog is how I can come here and read about the things that just infuriate me, that hurt me, that anger me beyond words and look! You have the words! That’s just awesome and you’re amazing.

    Saturday, November 12, 2011 at 10:27 pm | Permalink
  39. strato wrote:

    You ending this particularly horrifying post with a “we just might win” reflection… I loved that!

    Sunday, November 13, 2011 at 11:57 am | Permalink
  40. Joanna wrote:

    “Which makes us scary, which makes us threatening, which makes us “aggressive” and “vicious” and “vindictive” bitches who might shut them down.”

    And so the weaker sex is revealed: men who hide behind foul language and death threats in hope to “win” whatever it is they’re fighting for. It’s all very silly, guys.

    Sunday, November 13, 2011 at 12:31 pm | Permalink
  41. Max wrote:

    Somehow I suspect that all of this dirt is coming from a group of trolling porn-addicted, hormonally-imbalanced 10-15yo boys which make up a large part of the internet. There’s a stage in young man’s life where they don’t get what’s wrong with this, I’m guessing somewhere between “girls are yucky” and “I love my girlfriend”. On the other hand, some never grow out of it.

    Sunday, November 13, 2011 at 3:16 pm | Permalink
  42. mythago wrote:

    What matters is not which guys said it

    It doesn’t, in the sense that it’s the same thing from so many; but it does, in the sense that if these are guys with a public presence, it’s a good thing to kick over their rocks. I’d sure want to know if someone I was going to hang out with, or got the impression was an OK dude, thought it was perfectly acceptable to scream “SHUT UP CUNT” at a woman with whom he disagrees.

    Sunday, November 13, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Permalink
  43. samanthab wrote:

    Uh Max: no. If you don’t know anything about the experiences of adult women dealing with adult men, maybe it’s best not to make assumptions. Since it’s the internet, it could be a New Yorker loving border collie on the keyboard, right? Except that you’re negating the experiences of women here- experiences on the internet and in the 3D world- by presuming that misogyny only exists among 10-15 year olds. If you read a little more carefully, you might notice that some of these attacks have come from popular adult male writers.

    Those poor little hormone addled boys grow up to be assholish misogynists. I have no idea why you’d assume that misogyny would be a phase that’s grown out of. Either you support misogynist messages or you don’t. Given that there are plenty of 10-15 boys that never talk about women this way, it starts to look like hormones don’t in of themselves make one a misogynist.

    Monday, November 14, 2011 at 5:54 am | Permalink
  44. Sophie R wrote:

    you are just brilliant.

    Monday, November 14, 2011 at 7:18 am | Permalink
  45. Autumn wrote:

    My husband and I recently watched MissRepresented and it sparked a lot of discussion as we have 2 boys we’re trying to raise to appreciaite women in their fullness and not hobbled by the roles gifted to them by society. Fresh off these discussions we saw the new Dr Pepper 10 commercial advertising a “strong” “manly” diet drink with the tagline “Not for Women”. Their statement when asked if they thought women would be offended was that women should “get the joke”. I find it hard to believe that anyone can say that feminism has reached its shelf life when multi-million dollar corporation still do things this blatant.
    http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2011/oct/12/dr-pepper-ten-not-for-women-company-says-in/

    Monday, November 14, 2011 at 11:40 am | Permalink
  46. Michelle wrote:

    Thank you so much for writing this.

    Monday, November 14, 2011 at 12:33 pm | Permalink
  47. Josh wrote:

    It’s horrific that women are allowed to be treated like this on the web – and of course, if you or anyone else defends you, they get the exact same treatment. Honestly, I can’t imagine what it would be like. I love the internet, and use it often, but as a man, I am not subject to rape threats on far too many parts of it. People like you are heroic, standing up to the volley of intimidation and belittlement. I commend you.

    Monday, November 14, 2011 at 7:31 pm | Permalink
  48. Beatrice wrote:

    Thanks for this. It is . . . both depressing and validating to see how common this stuff is. Depressing, for obvious reasons, but validating because when all this crap adds up it’s impossible to deny that this is a gendered and incredibly common thing, and I am not just imagining that there is hate and vitriol directed at opinionated women in general. The same people who spew all this hateful shit do their best to convince their target that it’s just them, and they wouldn’t get all these insults and threats if they’d just stop being such a bitch.

    Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at 11:04 am | Permalink
  49. slutego wrote:

    Firstly, I have nothing but admiration for your ability to slog through so much hate all day, every day, only to return and do it again.
    That takes some hardcore strength. I salute you.

    Secondly, for those of us, like me, who can’t ever seem to get the right words out, and who spend days reeling from gendered attacks, not having the ability to transmute our flesh to kevlar, thank you for being a tireless voice in the face of this.

    Also I would appreciate your releasing the name of this delightful YA author, as I’d rather not support shit like that.

    Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Permalink
  50. Allan Swann wrote:

    I am male, and I think you are an absolute legend. Keep it up!

    As a journalist who has received phone based and text based death threats (although obviously not gender based) I know the enormous strain it puts you under even when you think it doesn’t.

    Just remember, anyone that is such a coward they hide behind online anonymity isn’t really a man at all.

    Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at 5:00 pm | Permalink
  51. SKM wrote:

    anyone that is such a coward they hide behind online anonymity isn’t really a man at all.

    That is not the case–real, actual men are doing this every day. Declaring them not-real-men is a form of denialism.

    Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at 7:20 pm | Permalink
  52. Chris Miller wrote:

    I’m tired of No True Scotsman “abusers aren’t men” “rapists aren’t people they’re monsters” lines. They are men. They are people. That’s the problem. You don’t get to separate them out into their own little group like they don’t have anything to do with the “good” ones, that’s a complete cop out.

    And they don’t always hide behind online anonymity, anyway. Some of them are well known, many use their real names, and plenty of people do this shit in real life too.

    Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at 7:55 pm | Permalink
  53. Albert wrote:

    Thanks for articulating a lot of these themes so well. I’ll bookmark this page so I can come back to it the next time I get into these arguments.

    Wednesday, November 16, 2011 at 7:41 pm | Permalink
  54. Dikke Stef wrote:

    Are you correcting the pathetic haters spelling for them or are you the only person on the internet who has trolls that know the difference between “your” and “you’re”?

    I tend to get stuff like ‘your (sic) a stupid Jew, your (sic) mom should of (sic) aborted you, etc, etc’

    Thursday, November 17, 2011 at 11:03 am | Permalink
  55. Thank you for starting #mencallmethings, for writing this post, and for your inspiring bravery.

    Thursday, November 17, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Permalink
  56. coco wrote:

    another thank you for starting #mencallmethings. and also, thanks for your bravery and tenacity.

    Monday, November 21, 2011 at 1:27 pm | Permalink
  57. Sahan wrote:

    Colored duded here -> This is a great post. There is always someone second guessing your motives when you point of sexist/racist/homophobic/other-dumb shit.

    BUT, honestly, I never realized the extensive flood of hate women have to deal with.

    And as you say, how predictable it is.

    Tuesday, November 22, 2011 at 4:50 pm | Permalink
  58. aumentou wrote:

    “How do you know it’s gendered? ”

    Because I’m trans. It didn’t happen when I was a man.

    Tuesday, November 22, 2011 at 9:35 pm | Permalink
  59. Maeve wrote:

    Astonishing. Thank you for this. I couldn’t read all of the sexual violence stuff, so I can’t even imagine being at the receiving end of such abuse.

    Thursday, November 24, 2011 at 10:24 am | Permalink
  60. Fede wrote:

    Reading this post is something akin to a religious experience. Your courage in the face of such unmitigated hate speech is (awe-)inspiring.
    Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    Tuesday, November 29, 2011 at 9:51 am | Permalink
  61. Fantastic post. One thing I’ve noticed also is the criticism that gets directed at men who consider themselves feminists or allies is that we are simply “doing it to get laid.” Which is doubly insulting because it assumes that both the person saying that and the person that is being said to find the only logical goal for interacting with a woman is sex, and a man can never just see the intrinsic value of a woman for anything else.

    This can be additionally frustrating for the male ally as he will get that suspicion not just from his male friends, but also from the female friends he tries to support. Just shows how poisonous that attitude can be.

    Wednesday, November 30, 2011 at 8:31 pm | Permalink
  62. Catherine wrote:

    “Because if you step onto time-honored Man Ground, you’re not “strong;” you’re aggressive, even violent.”

    Thank you for that. In the circles I have traveled I don’t get the rest of it much, but that one I smack into in all kinds of ways on all kinds of days and frankly it makes me tired.

    Monday, December 5, 2011 at 9:43 am | Permalink
  63. Anissa wrote:

    Your elaboration on all of the issues women have faced and continue to face against gender bias is so profound and your sarcasm is awesome ! I’m taking a course in Feminist Rhetorics and in this piece you have just validated the entire premise of the course. What your doing to keep us as bloggers educated and aware is amazing. All of this adversity still needs to be addressed and defined so that by showcasing all of these stereotypes, biases, and misconceptions against women we can expose the ignorance that still lingers in the air despite all the accomplishments women have made.

    Thursday, December 8, 2011 at 9:49 am | Permalink
  64. Max wrote:

    Found my way here accidentally via In These Times. Anyway…

    Does anyone know who came up with the notion that the internet was equally mean to everyone? How can such a statement be factual, much less proven? Just using my very subjective admittedly-male intuition and sense of experience with on-line comments, it seems that the bravado borne of anonymity is only compounded by the (fill in all the blanks here) of dimwitted men who operate on little more than fear and power. Oh they’re smart, liberal, creative, alluring, accomplished, well-mannered compartmentalizers and many other such things, but when you pare ‘em down they still harbor some sense of ownership of control towards others and things, they still dance to a tune of ever increasing dominion, they still define themselves by accomplishments in exclusion before collusion by this urge for mastery; the source of their power and fear, and ignorance too if they only knew it, but that would require an introspection sorely lacking; the prime unknown unknown; more so then gendered or sexist, in my humble opinion. But the source of the matter is not really the issue, women well know, too painfully; the question is how can we get to a better being? Can we neuter this urge to create and accomplish, which goes hand-in-hand with mastery, dominion and power, without also killing a lot of what is good? I doubt it. We’re left then, it seems, only to overcome the ignorance of ignorance, though I’d bet, there are many that would willingly blow almost half of humanity away just as a matter of expediency. I empathize with that feeling but, being male, in addition to seeing that no war has ever accomplished a net positive, I just can’t embrace it. I think the sad fact is that changing gendered and sexist cultures is a function of changing the more fundamental politics of liberty and equality; something humanity has yet to even face seriously, much less accomplish. And either women are going to band together, stop the bus and change direction, all at once, or they’re going to stretch out their arms and change the ones that they can touch right now right here; and from that, build greater coalitions to critical mass. Isn’t that the better direction; isn’t that the only real way? There’s no change the deniers, but neither can they change your truth, the truth; now it’s just a matter of making them the minority, until they just fade away like another creature we once called the dodo.

    thanks

    Thursday, December 8, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Permalink
  65. Fantastic – and absolutely disgusting. I can’t believe the amount of crap women have to put up with, both online and IRL. I became a full-time feminist rather recently (about two years ago) when I started to read atheist blogs and feminist blogs, and even though women are more than able to fight this idiocy themselves I will do what I can to help.

    Saturday, December 10, 2011 at 6:26 am | Permalink
  66. Sarah wrote:

    I’ve been told so often that strength is not objecting to being insulted. I’m not sure I believe that any more. An insult is an insult, and I think that calling out verbal bullies can also be valuable.

    Saturday, December 10, 2011 at 10:03 am | Permalink