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How Not To Be An Asshole: A Guide For Men

I wrote an incendiary piece on sexism for Pandagon a few years back that is no longer available at that site. It’s been reprinted a couple of different places, but every once in a while I get a request for it.

I’m thinking about it today because of the situation venture capitalista Tammy Camp talked about on her website. Short version: Camp says she was told she’d be barred from her favorite tech conference unless she fucked the conference organizer. She didn’t name names either of the man involved or the conference she wanted to go to, but a rough consensus in the comments has settled on one possible not-yet-alleged source of the harassment.

Whether the commenters have it right is unknown. What is known is that as in the cases of Kathy Sierra, and Noirin Shirley, the accusers of Julian Assange and Dominique Strauss-Kahn, and hundreds of thousands of other cases of alleged sexual assault, there has been no shortage of people lining up to criticize Camp for having made the allegations — either at all, or in the specific manner in which she made them. Camp has been blamed for bringing the harassment on herself, accused of fabricating the allegations, and told that by not naming names she’s not being feminist enough.

There is one sense in which the identity of the harasser is less important than the response by men at large (though men have no monopoly on said abusive responses.)  The harasser’s conduct is odious, but he affects one person at a time. Making public comments deriding women who’ve made the difficult choice to say something public — to whatever degree — not only lend cover to that harasser but to all others, and contribute to a mass loss of freedom for any person who has had to deal with harassment. A small minority of men commit sexual harassment. The rest of us merely make it possible for them to get away with it.

So here it is again, sadly not in need of much updating other than a couple links for specific context. (The link on Sierra’s name will take you to the geekfeminism wiki, a brilliant resource on sexism in IT. Bookmark it.) Let’s stop giving cover to the harassers.

How Not To Be An Asshole: A Guide For Men

In the recent discussion about Kathy Sierra and Markos’ febrile and clueless response to her, I see there are some kind, helpful men who are taking pains to make sure emotion doesn’t run rampant in the discussion, that unfair accusations of misogyny or characterizations of harassment statistics get spread in an understandable emotional response to a few very upsetting instances of harassment by piglike men who fall far outside the norm. Surely, these men reason, we mustn’t let these nasty experiences color our judgment of the actual events involved. Surely it helps no one to make wild and baseless charges without looking, in uber-dispassionate detachment, at the actual statistics and methodology and margin of error of the studies that show women get harassed more than men. Come, let us reason together calmly, they say. References to Salem and the McMartin pre-school and such come unbidden to their lips.

I’m a big fan of dispassionate, rational, fact-based discussion of the issues myself, and it is in that spirit that I offer, to my brethren who’ve taken it upon themselves to be a shining light of dispassion on this topic, these fraternal words of guidance:

Shut the fuck up.

Here are a few of the actual facts that prompt the above sage counsel:

— You are not saying anything the women you’re talking to haven’t heard a thousand times before. You are not saying anything the women you’re talking to haven’t told themselves a thousand times before. If you would actually stop your reflexive know-it-all yammering and pay attention to what women actually SAY about the offenses they suffer on the sexual harassment -rape continuum, you will note that almost to a woman they second-guess their own gut feelings about the putative offender far beyond the point where almost any man would.

— You are wrong. If you doubt that the nature of abuse and harassment women suffer, online or off, differs from that men experience, then you don’t know what you’re talking about. Oddly, the Internets offer a way for you to verify this fact for yourself. About a dozen years ago, at the urging of a feminist online acquaintance, I logged on to AOL using an obviously female but non-provocative handle. (”AliciaMN.”) Within five minutes of logging on I had sexually abusive IMs popping up from men I didn’t know. Didn’t matter which room I was in: general chat, politics, classical music. I kept up the experiment for I think four days, a couple hours a day, sometimes chatting with people about non-sexual topics, sometimes just lurking. Two of the men who IMed AliciaMN with blatantly and obnoxiously sexual messages — “Hey, I’m up in Alaska! How ’bout you thaw my dick out with your throat?” being an example I recall — responded to my NON-response by telling “Alicia” she deserved to get raped.

This is neither new nor surprising information to any woman here. I mention it because 1) maybe if a man says it it’ll be taken seriously and 2) it implies a suggestion that disbelievers find a venue equivalent to AOL in its heyday and repeat my experiment, in the spirit of dispassionate empiricism.

— If no woman in your life has ever talked to you about how she lives her life with an undercurrent of fear of men, consider the possibility that it may be because she sees you as one of those men she cannot really trust.

— Finally, let’s assume just for the sake of argument that you’re right. You aren’t. But just as a gedankenexperiment, let’s pretend you are, and that the women who are talking about the massive deadweight silence from men about the harassment they experience, and who are getting all upset and speaking in terms of “war zones” and “hate crimes” and such are just being emotional, hysterical even, and — like the people who forward that bogus email about the guy with the ropes and duct tape in hs trunk in the mall parking lot — just need to be set straight with a calm, measured dose of logic and fact-checking.

In most situations, that’s a fine impulse. There really is no reason to get upset about LSD in blue star tattoos, and Bill Gates really isn’t paying people who forward a chain email.

But this situation is qualitatively different. When the topic at hand is men not taking an issue seriously, suggesting that the issue might not really be all that serious is not being dispassionate. It is, in fact, taking a side. And the people on the side you’re taking, incidentally, include the gropers, the rapists, the sexual-favor-demanding bosses.

In short, if you’re interested in quibbling with the data or suggesting alternate interpretations of what Kos really meant when he called Kathy Sierra a lying “crying blogger,” and your goal is not to be a flaming asshole, shut the fuck up.

And when you shut the fuck up, two magical things happen:

1) You’re no longer actively contributing to the very problem you’re discussing;
2) It’s easier to listen to what the women are actually saying.

64 thoughts on “How Not To Be An Asshole: A Guide For Men

  1. kathy a

    i haven’t been following the latest things you mention, but fully endorse the guide for men.

    kinda sucks that a man saying it counts more than a woman saying it.  you did do some field research.  for a younger woman, the “field research” is having a job, going places and doing things.  i’m in my 50’s, which is a personal blessing in that it has considerable cut the frequency of this stuff, but it is one of the great disappointments of my middle years that things have not progressed as i expected in my 20’s.

  2. J

    A small percentage of women are harassed in such ways, and you know it. You’re just trying to get some cred since a geek like yourself couldn’t get a woman any way else. How bout you shut the fuck up.

  3. Chris Clarke

    This article’s had about 1200 reads since I posted it yesterday, and only one flaming douchebag has summoned up the temporary cojones to act as Offishul Anonymous Pro-Sexual Harassment Dude. I count that as progress.

  4. Space Kitty

    Oh, it’s twue. It’s twue. It’s twue, it’s twue!

    Chris did seduce me with his writing.

  5. J

    Way to be completely irrational, Chris. Because I claim that a small percentage of women are being harassed, you think I’m pro-sexual harassment? I’m just being realistic and pointing out your gross exaggerations. People like you want the world to believe that all men are evil and should be punished for the actions of a few despicable individuals, and that is wrong. In this day and age, someone can be called a misogynist simply for disagreeing with a woman, yet it’s completely acceptable for a woman to make sexist remarks about a male.

  6. Helen

    Well, you can’t say there’s no balance in this disussion, since all that input from the “How To Be An Asshole” camp.

  7. Tesria

    J -I do not know a single woman who has not been harassed, attacked, raped or otherwise the victim of gendered violence *more than once*. And I’m a social creature. I’m talking friends, old school friends, family, co-workers. Official figures suggest 1 in 4 women have been raped, abused or sexually assaulted (note this figure doesn’t include harrassment), but many think it’s at least twice that.

    If you think only a small % of women have been the victims of this kind of behaviour, I suggest maybe you’re one of those men women don’t trust enough to talk about it with.

    All men are not evil, but a disturbing number of men run to the defence of those who perpetrate this stuff. You might not be evil, but you don’t exactly make me feel safe.

    -Tesria

  8. J

    Teresa, I’ll take your word on the statistic for rape, but what exactly would one classify as harassment? (I’m asking this for clarity.) I’ve engaged in online friendships and dating before (mostly because I have social anxiety disorder and am quiet), and there are women who’ve grabbed my **** and literally attempt to force me to have sex when I had no such plans and specifically told them before meeting that I didn’t want sex. As embarrassing as those three incidents were, I’m not going to claim that all women are psychos who want nothing more than to gratify themselves and physically harm me. I realize that it’s far more common for men to do such things, but I just don’t think all men should be blamed for it. I just get annoyed when I’m placed in the same camp as assholes who commit violent crimes against women (or anyone for that matter), when I’ve never even thought about it.

  9. Tesria

    J -Harrassment includes groping, name calling, unwanted propositions, and even something like whistling in the street can make a lot of women feel uncomfortable. The 1 in 4 statistic is often quoted, but I forget who originally published the study.

    Men can be victims too, and I’m truly sorry for what happened to you. It’s horrible no matter who you are. There is a general culture that this kind of behaviour is somehow not harrassment or assault -we see it so often we figure it’s inevitable. Which is rubbish. There are literally no educational schemes to teach people about personal autonomy and respect, we just tell women not to dress like sluts, ignoring that most assaults and rapes are committed by people we know.

    No one is claiming all men do it, the problem this article addresses is the number of people (often but not always men) who jump to say “she’s lying” or dismiss the figures on sexual crime and gendered violence. We KNOW it happens to men too, but it happens extremely disproportionally to women, so when men jump up and say women’s experiences are wrong, they sound a lot like they’re defending the men who are the problem (which is why people up thread were not receptive to your comments). That may not be -probably was not -your intent, but do you see how trying to “silence” or discredit women’s experiences and the type of advice here is actually precisely what the article was talking about?

    Context needs to be taken into consideration when replying to things in this sphere online. So

  10. Tesria

    Sorry, I’m using a smartphone and sent too soon.

    Anyway, I was just going to say, the best way to help show that “all men” are not responsible is to be mindful, educate yourself on figures (many women’s charities and female blogs have this information, along with original source), and not be one of those people who gets defensive. Rapes are disproportionally committed by men against women, fact, so why complain when people are trying to raise awareness of the scope of the problem and suggest ways of rectifying it (eg more education to boys about what “counts” as rape -you’d be amazed how many high school/college aged boys think deliberately getting a girl drunk so she can’t say no dosen’t “count”).

    I really hope all that tracked ok, I’m disabled and getting tired, my concentration is lapsing.

  11. Malcolm Gin

    J -You have failed to take the advice. So in the interests of doing my part as a pro-woman, pro-feminist guy, please do us a favor and shut the fuck up. The Internet thanks you.

    M

  12. Chris Clarke

    Howdy Malcolm! Your intent is much appreciated.

    However, despite my initial suspicions and his unfortunate debut in the Coyote Crossing comments section, it would seem J is actually asking questions in something approximating good faith, so for the nonce he’s welcome not to STFU.

    J, you seem to have read things into the piece that weren’t there. NB this section:

    A small minority of men commit sexual harassment. The rest of us merely make it possible for them to get away with it.

    The state of your soul doesn’t matter here. whether or not you’re a good person doesn’t matter. What matters is what you do. When a person says, in response either to this piece or its “primary sources” of women talking about the prevalence of harassment, something along the lines of:

    A small percentage of women are harassed in such ways, and you know it. You’re just trying to get some cred since a geek like yourself couldn’t get a woman any way else. How bout you shut the fuck up.

    … that person is not being neutral. That person is ‚Äî objectively ‚Äî lending support to harassers. It doesn’t matter whether that’s the intent: that’s the effect. You could be Feminist Jesus in your heart of hearts and it wouldn’t matter: you’re aiding and abetting the gropers.

    The bright side: since this piece is not concerned with the person’s intent, it is not a criticism of your character; just some regrettably common actions. Really, is having an internet stranger telling the mass of a group to which you happen to belong to be quiet and listen ‚Äî even if it’s phrased provocatively ‚Äî that big an injury? I’m honestly sorry if I hurt your feelings, but this is a solvable problem, and yet it’s one that the vast majority of men ‚Äî most of them good people ‚Äî seem intent on denying. And that pisses me right the fuck off. It should piss you off too.

    I’m sorry that you had the experiences you recount. Try to remember that this isn’t a zero-sum game. Accepting the possibility that women suffer sexual harassment at rates significantly greater than you’d suspected doesn’t mean your own experiences are less meaningful. It means that we’re all in this together.

  13. Malcolm Gin

    Chris,

    Of course it’s your blog so you always have the option of setting the rules. Sorry to have interfered with your priorities.

    While I appreciate the approximation of good faith J is putting out, it doesn’t seem like enough to me to overcome the overwhelming request to be silent about our (men’s suffering) and allow the dialog to continue without us.

    I mean, wouldn’t it be miraculous if maybe just one time we could draw that line in the sand (men be quiet about our own discomfort just once) and not have someone cross it?

    M

  14. Chris Clarke

    Don’t get me wrong, Malcolm: your impulse is one of which I am in favor. Glad to have you here.. And:

    wouldn’t it be miraculous if maybe just one time we could draw that line in the sand (men be quiet about our own discomfort just once) and not have someone cross it?

    Oh, yes. Yes indeed.

  15. Mike DeMarco

    Chris, I support your comments 100%. Sexual harassment of women is widespread and unacceptable.

  16. Mary Ellen

    I recently saw “The King’s Speech” and was struck by a statement made by the character Lionel Logue, the pioneering speech therapist who helped King George VII with his debilitating stammer.

    He explains that he began his career, at a time when there was no such thing as speech therapy, treating WW I veterans who couldn’t speak (mutism, terrible stuttering). He says that they had been thru terrible things in the trenches, had cried out for help, and no one had heard. The most important thing I did, he says, was show them that there was friend who would listen.

    If a person’s experience shows them that their words will not be attended to or will produce negative results, they are, over time, less likely to speak. Simply ignoring people extinguishes them most effectively, but telling them that they’re (a)deluded, (b) being socially unacceptable or unattractive, (d) lying, (e) etcetcetc, all have well established efficacy

  17. J

    Sorry Chris, I was being an ass and shouldn’t have resorted to immature name-calling regardless of whether or not I agreed with what you wrote. I still feel sometimes that men as a whole are judged for the actions of a few, but I do agree that any hate/sex crime towards women should be taken seriously and not pushed under the rug. And after thinking about it, I guess I agree that complete silence or denial is also pretty bad.

    Tesria, thanks for clearing that up, and I agree that men shouldn’t assume that a woman who claimed to be raped is lying. I believe in innocent until proven guilty, but any crime should be thoroughly investigated, and no one should be accused of lying about something so serious unless it’s actually discovered to be the case after a complete investigation.

  18. Chris Clarke

    J. despite the rough start we got off to here, I really appreciate you taking the time to listen to opposing viewpoints. Glad we got to where we did, and I look forward to your future comments around here should you decide to make some.

  19. LHunter

    It was interesting to read about your AOL experiment. I do not doubt the veracity of what you say, but must say that my experience on Twitter has been quite different. Since joining Twitter about three years ago I have had to delete, on a daily basis, at least 10 spammers a day. Though I am obviously female and tweet under my real name, these spammers typically feature an avatar with a woman showing a lot of cleavage and a female name, and the tweets contain either overtly sexual invites or nonsense texts with links leading to porn sites. Of course I realise that many of these spammers are probably male and just use random pictures of women they find on the internet. But I have never had an abusive, overtly male spammer, or an online conversation which was harassing in any way.

    The few times I have had unpleasant conversations on Twitter have been with occasional female users who have displayed dismaying small-mindedness, religious intolerance (ie, they were religious and I am not), or have tried to lure me into ganging up on third parties.

  20. Chris Clarke

    LHunter, that’s interesting. I’m glad your Twitter experience has been freer of abuse from men, and I wonder whether the essentially public, peer-to-peer nature of Twitter might be a reason. After all, the abusers are essentially cowards, and the glare of public scrutiny and accountability for their actions is a pretty good deterrent.

    Dave: I know, right?

  21. Karen

    Hmmm, a comment thread where people seem to listen to each other!  Amazing and wonderful.  More of these, please!

    Chris, thank you for the post.  You’re spot-on.

  22. george.w

    The first time I heard that “One in four” statistic, my immediate reaction was; “Impossible!  One in four?  Really?  How are they defining rape?blah blah blah…”

    See, I don’t want  that statistic to be true and my mind immediately set about finding reasons why is couldn’t be.  It just couldn’t!

    But I’ve been wrong about enough things in life that some part of my brain now asks; “But what if it is true?  And even if there is room for disagreement over definitions, what drives the definitions you disagree with?  If you, on reflection, do in fact disagree.”  That’s an internal signal to shut up and listen, and keep listening for a good long time, and be prepared to think differently later.

    Why would any of the women I know confide in me?  What do I really know about what it’s like to be a woman?  So easy to think my perspective is the whole universe.  So yeah, shutting the fuck up is pretty good strategy.

  23. Scarlett

    @LHunter -Twitter spam isn’t really the same thing, in my opinion. I mean, everyone gets that stupid sex spam, male or female. A better indication of the kind of harassment that women experience online is something like World of Warcraft, or Call of Duty, or Halo.

    Video games are BRUTAL as a woman, to the point where I have had to make my screenname deliberately neutral-bordering-on-masculine, and only play male characters. I used to use my standard girly (but not sexy) screenname, and play a female character, because, hey, I like playing a woman with a sword/gun/blaster. But it got too scary, so I took steps to hide my gender. Although even that doesn’t protect me when it’s something where there’s a vocal component -I have the voice of a Disney Princess, and as soon as I open my mouth, I am bombarded with obscene and abusive messages from players. And not the “trash talk” that male gamers are going to say it is -it’s not about how I suck for killing their player (although I do often kill their players, which is the impetus for the attacks), it’s about how I ought to be raped for beating them in a game. How I have no right to play, because women are only good for sucking their cocks. How I must be a slut, and they’re going to come and find me and hurt me. Because I hit their dude with my grenade. It’s terrifying out there.

    And, dude gamers: I know that most of you don’t do that. Most of you, I am sure, are nice guys who just want to shoot some aliens, the same as I’m a nice chick who ALSO wants to shoot some aliens. But there are a LOT of douchebags out there, and I can guarantee that every girl who has EVER played your game has experienced the things that I’ve experienced. Every single one, unless she has been CRAZY careful about not divulging her gender. Because…most of you may be nice, but think how many women a SINGLE abusive douche can threaten at once. It’s not as though it’s a one-on-one situation with them. One dude can be threatening dozens of women simultaneously, and they often do. So, even if you don’t know anyone who would act like that (Although, statistically? You do know someone like that. You just don’t know that they act that way.), you have to trust us that they’re out there.  And if you don’t believe me, do what Chris did -make a female screenname, and make yourself a female character. You’ll be appalled.

  24. Maija

    I’m a young woman and I, for one, live my life with a constant undercurrent of fear of men. I’ve been harassed around ten times in the past few years ranging from very unpleasant groping in bars to an old man who tried to take me to his home from a shopping center in the middle of a day. And that’s only the stuff that has happened in my homeland: the frequency jumps around tenfold when I get outside North Europe. It considerably reduces my freedom to move and do things.

    And that’s completely normal.

  25. Tuesday

    Thanks for writing this article Chris. I really appreciate it, as I’m sure many women do.

  26. Dubh

    First, yes.  By all means, sexual harassment is vile, and deserves to be taken seriously.
    Yes, it can happen to men, and I’ve been on the receiving end of it from both men and women.  That doesn’t change the fact that—even with under-reporting—women are subject to sexual harassment more frequently than are men.  Nor does it change the fact that our society encourages it in the whole “Don’t make waves” corporate culture and the whole “There are laws against it, so it doesn’t happen anymore.” mindset that seems to be common in the geek population.  Not to EVEN mention the notion that, if a woman doesn’t file charges, or if they’re dismissed, it never happened in the first place.  Proving harassment—and getting management / the law / one’s peers to believe it happened isn’t nearly as easy as some people obviously think it is.  And, of course, when the harasser is respected or well thought of….

    Second, the one-in-four statistic really hit home with me when, shortly before I died, my grandmother revealed to me she was raped as a little girl, back in the 1920s.  By a farm hand who lived on their farm, as it happened.  She had never, ever told anyone about it, since she was six.  She died in her seventies.  Why didn’t she tell anyone?  Simple.  People didn’t talk about such things, back then, and she was afraid nobody would believe her and she would be punished for doing so.  Just because you don’t hear about it, and because it isn’t obvious, doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.

    I’m male.  I’ve been sexually harassed by both genders, and I’ve been raped.  I don’t know of a single woman I’ve ever been friends with who hasn’t been sexually harassed at the very least, and several of them have been raped.

    As with many things, it isn’t merely an intellectual concept, when you’ve been on the receiving end of it.  Nor should the emotion be separated out of the discussion and discarded as something inferior and/or undesirable.  Is every claim of rape or sexual harassment true?  No.  People are never that simple, and people can and do lie.  That does NOT mean that any claim of rape or sexual harassment should be dismissed because of who the people involved are, how well they’re thought of, or not thought of, or because they’re being emotional about it.  It’s real, it happens, and it needs to be investigated and taken very, VERY seriously.  ‘Nuff said.

  27. Brian Ertz

    I grew up with a chicana activist step-mother, Ginny, who worked as a guard in a male prison.  Lots of stories that fit quite nicely into this narrative there.  We, as a family, would frequently extend whatever we had to women in abusive situations as she often volunteered at a group home for victims of domestic violence and that work and compassion often spilled over into our home.  Later, my step-sister, Ginny’s daughter, was stuck in a brutally abusive, violent relationship -and that fear would occasionally visit us all -myself still a child.

    I’ve done a bit of study into various iterations of feminism, and most certainly have always considered myself a feminist.  I’ve extended my time, best effort and compassion to women and children -including family and even myself -at various points in my life who were subject to the tyranny and abuse you describe.

    I’ve also been surprised.

    Last year, my then wife left me for a facebook friend.  What might have been a speed-bump turned into a nightmare quite quickly, as I understand the spiral of divorce to all-too-often entail, when my then wife announced while packing her bags that she intended to take my three children to live with this facebook friend 1,500 miles away.

    The lawyer told me to file -and that if I didn’t the adjudication determining the extent of my relationship with my children may take place in a state less sympathetic with respect to the acknowledgement of the importance of a father’s role in my kids’ lives.  I served my wife -who in a matter of weeks had moved in the man (who was introduced to my children for the first time in bed) she had not physically seen for 10 years -the paperwork, which included a petition for visitation with my oldest son -whose biological father died before he was a year-old but who understood me to be “dad” for over 8 years following and was then 9 years old.

    A few weeks later my workplace called announcing to me that the police had stopped by looking for me.  Odd.  I called the police station and asked for the officer who stopped by, who was then unavailable, but was reassured by another officer that if it was serious I would be contacted soon.  Later that week my then wife explained to me that she had filed a police report against me for domestic battery but that she did not have to testify and that if her and the children were out-of-state it would be unlikely that she would go out of her way to testify against me.  No such abuse has ever occurred.

    Mediation.  Court ordered mediation broke down when I refused a settlement offer that included my ex’s willingness not to testify against me in what she promised would be a criminal proceeding: domestic battery -in exchange that I agree that out-of-state visitation a couple of weeks in the summer and every other holiday with dad was in the kids’ best interest.  She maintained that she had the support of “The Advocates”, a victim’s advocacy group which holds significant political clout in our progressive community -particularly with the police, prosecutors and judges.   

    Two months later, on the exact day of a hearing which would determine pretrial visitation with the kids, the police showed up at my door asking about an argument that had occurred several months prior.  I remembered the night -it was the night I confronted my wife about alcohol.  My wife had filed a report but had asked the police to wait until she was sure she wanted to testify that I had abused her on that evening. 

    The same judge who was then handling my ongoing civil divorce and custody proceeding was now confronted with an affidavit for my arrest by the county prosecutor for domestic battery, just prior that same day to issuing a decision on preliminary visitation of the kids, an important decision which would establish the status-quo/baseline circumstance with which the judge would lawfully apply deference in determining my children’s best interest. 

    Despite my best efforts, and my commission of a specialist in non-biological custody litigation, I have not seen my oldest son Jaden since that day -March 2, 2010 -though he attends school across the street from my home and lives among my small-town community.  His brother and sister describe his continued emotional conflict in response to this alienation.

    The decision on divorce came down prior to the criminal matter after 3 full days of the court’s time.  The judge denied her motion to move but cited the fact that I was awaiting trial for domestic battery as evidence enough to fulfill the civil standard to warrant caution against joint custody of the kids -and denial of my standing to seek a best-interest determination for Jaden.  He wouldn’t even make a best interest determination -blood trumps soul.  Despite this, he fashioned the order to provide me about half-time with my younger kids.

    In the meantime I rejected all plea-bargain offers from the prosecutor -which included a withheld judgment offer on a disturbance charge and a $500 fine.  Instead, I paid a lawyer $10,000 to represent the truth.  About a month later my ex testified dropped into the courthouse briefly to testify against me in the criminal proceeding and left.  I put up my witnesses -and for the first time testified myself without a lawyer’s micro-managed gag-order as to the nature of the domestic argument referenced by the charge.  My attorney’s questioning of me ended the day at which point I went home and prayed to a god I’m not entirely sure exists that whatever happens, carry my kids through such that they’d be better off. 

    The next morning the judge invited the prosecutor to cross-examine me.  He flipped his pen in his hand for several moments and said, “No questions your honor.”

    Asked for objections to the instructions of the jury, the prosecutor requested the “not guilty” verdict be re-ordered, from the last verdict the jury was presented with -to the first option that they would hear when instructed.  My attorney agreed and the judge ordered the amendment.   

    In less than 15 minutes of deliberation -about as much time as it took to fill the paperwork out -a jury of my peers unanimously acquitted me of all charges (including the lesser charges with which they were presented).   
    ………..

    “Shut the fuck up”

    I can most certainly empathize with the very real culture of abuse that permeates every aspect, both public and private, of life.  It’s real.  By no stretch of the imagination do I hope to diminish that very prevalent reality nor suggest my anecdote as the “rule” rather than the exception.  I have no honest understanding of where to even begin to speculate as to the ‘actual’ proportionality of such circumstance either way.  But from what I’m reading of your analysis -there exists a proportionality, and that this proportionality ought influence/solicit a social -perhaps even institutional -response.

    I do believe myself to understand that there are somewhat conflicting social mores depending on the collective experiences and perhaps political struggles given wherever we may be in this particular dialectic.  There are also implications.   

    Perhaps it is time that institutions employ the precautionary principle in such a way that favors the historical victims of these patriarchic mores you seem so hellbent on deconstructing, representing in general terms, even as you cover your ass with that cursory mention of a qualified token exception.

    I don’t know the answer -maybe on the whole, that is right -and in general terms, my -our -collective compassion in the way you prescribe leaves less pain, less alienation than there would otherwise be.  I hope so.

    All I know, and care to share, of my experience as a child subject to abuse, a long-time advocate, and witness to a wholesale bastardization of its social/institutional reparation -is that a bunch of well-intentioned men in positions of power put my kids into the primary custody of an out of control alcoholic -my son has lost a father -and I can not help but believe that this transitional-justice which would recognize the importance of proportionality as your article alludes to in no small part contributed to -at least the opportunity for -the curtailment of objective justice.

  28. Valjean

    I’m in two minds about the article and split right down the middle -It offers some good advice, but some that is at best misguided and at worse frankly odious.

    Women that have endured threats and abuse deserve nothing but support, and indeed, the same goes for men that endure it also. That is beyond question, and I think everyone is agreed there.

    But as for the suggestion that any polite dissent is akin to taking a side is wrong. If someone posts something online, there is an element of polite skepticism that must be accompany it, solely because the internet is an anonymous medium. It would be entirely different if a woman (or man) went to their private counseller or police officer and said it, in which case the professionals there have the relevant training to deal with it correctly.

    This does not for one second imply people are wrong to talk about their experiences online, but only to point out you cannot fault people for being skeptical about this particular medium.

    Your article also makes no mention of the fact that men can equally suffer sick sexual abuse. My two closest childhood friends (one male, one female) endured years of abuse at the hands of male and female abusers. While that is tangential to the discussion, it’s important to bear in mind that men and women are equally capable of being manipulative, evil people. Sociopathy doesn’t discriminate on gender.

    Remember the medium in which you’re writing -the internet is not like a private discussion with a friend, or a therapist -it is a collective of different people with different motivations and levels of veracity and questioning what one reads is probably healthy.

    But part of me feels whether the author meant to or not, he insulted a lot of people for being insensitive jerks when in reality, they may have been nothing of the sort. For example, the blogger who claimed she had been asked for sexual favours to attend a conference is outrageous -if that occured, it is a criminal act and she has every right to press charges. But once you put it up on the internet, people are entitled to question it as they are with any publically available post -there are details that are disconcerting but people will naturally wish to know if it’s true or not. If it is true, they would obviously prefer not to have dealings with such conferences, but even if the blogger doesn’t say, insinuation itself and whisperings will finger someone, who may be totally guilty or utterly innocent. But if it is in a public forum, surely they have the right to presumption of innocence just as much as the accuser has the right to be taken seriously ? These must run either way.

    The whole reason professionals deal with rape and sexual harrassment allegations so privately is because presumption and assumption can prejudice them, and posting something on the internet about it before any facts are in unfortuneatly leaves the field wide open for just that.

  29. Chris Clarke

    So in effect, Valjean, you say that I was wrong to tell men to STFU, and then you say that because of the serious nature of the allegations women should STFU, or else they’ve brought the resulting abuse on themselves. Nice.

    Brian;

    First and most importantly, I am truly saddened that you’ve had to go through all of this. I hope desperately that you and your son can win the right to spend time together, and soon. It really sucks that you were taken advantage of in this way, and while I’m glad the system worked part-way for you,

    I think it’s important to distinguish between the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty by a jury of one’s peers ‚Äî which I support without reservation in all criminal matters, emphatically including allegations of gender violence ‚Äî and public discussion of individual women who discuss their experiences. This is one of those Citrus/Malus things.

    There is no right to a presumption of innocence in a blog discussion of an unnamed assailant, or of a statistical tendency of men to assault, or a greater statistical tendency of men to enable assault by their defense of the assailants. Despite the tendency of many people of whatever gender to decide they are blogular judge and jury and prosecutor, presumption of innocence absolutely does not apply.

    And if it did, it would not equate to presumption of guilt, or presumption of contributory negligience, or presumption of perjury, on the part of the accuser(s), but that’s the way these discussions always seem to go.

    In writing this piece, I was acutely aware that there are many men who abhor violence or harassment of any kind, including/especially gendered violence. It makes sense: I’m one of those men. It’s a deliberately inflammatory piece, of course. I could have made it far less combative. Perhaps I should have. It’s interesting to me that ‚Äî even granted the deliberately inflammatory presentation ‚Äî a man telling men in general to be quiet and listen is so much more notable and worthy of criticism from some quarters than a man telling a woman that she brought harassment on herself by looking the way she does. (Speaking generally, I mean: no one here is saying that, or at least no one whose comment made it past the troll dungeon.)

  30. Chris Clarke

    Oh, and for the record Valjean, I am a male victim of sexual violence ‚Äî rape at gunpoint about 30 years ago. No, I don’t mention men being victims of sexual violence in this piece. I also don’t mention slavery, elder abuse, clearcut logging, child labor, shark finning, narcotraficante violence, legal corporate personhood or Sarah Palin. All of those issues are of significant importance to me, and I didn’t mention any of them. Is that because I’m a careless or dishonest writer, or is it because they’re not what the piece is about? It is to ponder.

  31. Valjean

    What you have in essence done is construct a strawman argument of what I have actually said. I have noted abuse is terrible, regardless of gender, and deserves the most solemn of counsel. I have merely pointed out that public forums on the internet are far from ideal for this purpose. There are of course victim support websites and that is a different matter, but I’ve tried to point out the reason rape allegations are handled privately is because foreknowledge can bias proceedings, for the victim as well as the alleged perpetrator.

    There is also the tiny minority who can abuse good will and make false claims -A case in point, I was assisting in a summer school to teach kids sailing a few years back. One of the girls was being dangerous in the water and the female instructor gave her a few gentle words on the side about it to which the girl replied “All I have to do tell people you touched me and you’ll never work again”. We immediately called her parents and refused to teach anymore. It was chilling and such an insult to people who had suffered abuse, but by your logic it seems to me that if that particular girl had made or heavily insinuated something remiss occurred in a public forum (and that is what Im heavily emphasising) that the school would be at fault to contradict it.

    And maybe I’m just lucky, but the vast majority of my female friends are more than capable of not being patronised and never let the fact that some men (and women) are creeps sideline them. One friend suffered severe harassment at the college she worked at. What did she do ? She filed complaint and had the bastard fired -that is the correct way to deal with such berks, not a blog about it online, which would have weakened the case upon investigation as anything in the public forum is a potential clause for case dismissal. One method of dealing with it is effective, one is opening you up to case biasing.

    If you think I’m an asshole for that, then fine. But I’d never ask them to STFU -just know which direction is effective and which detrimental.

  32. george.w

    I had understood this topic to be about men who are gainsaying any woman’s discussion of harassment.  Women learn not to even discuss it around men because some guy will immediately start talking about bitchy feminists or saying that sure, discrimination used to exist in the bad old days but now the womenfolk have the vote and there’s even a woman senator or two, and sexual harassment? Fuggeddaboudit!  it doesn’t even seem like a real thing to them.  The message is don’t be that guy.

  33. Chris Clarke

    At this point, Valjean, I can only conclude that you are deliberately missing the point of the article, and I won’t waste my time trying to explain further.

  34. G.F.

    Valjean-

    “And maybe I‚Äôm just lucky, but the vast majority of my female friends are more than capable of not being patronised…”

    To say that your female friends are capable of not *being* patronised puts the hypothetical scenario in passive, which in turn places the blame on (not-your-friends) women who feel as though a patronising comment was patronising (this can be categorized with the plethora of “don’t let it bother you” arguments that seem to circulate the feminist blogosphere). Whether or not they “are patronised” has nothing to do with the actual action -if someone says something patronising, then the action is patronising, regardless of whether or not the person who is the focus of a remark feels that they have been patronised.

    Victim-blaming mentality is expressed through language, regardless of whether or not that was the intent.

    And also, I think what george.w said needs repeating: “Women learn not to even discuss it around men because some guy will immediately start talking about bitchy feminists… The message is don‚Äôt be that guy.”

  35. Valjean

    If I am missing the point of this article, so too are the handful of female friends whom I asked to read this article. In fact, one of them pointed out that the very act of you trying to tell other men how to have dealings with women and presuming to know their feelings on private matters is unintentionally quite condescending. Another described the article as “unclear” and another “needlessly preachy”. The points you’re trying to make may be commendable, but at least to this audience were far from clear.

    You seem like a sensitive guy with good intentions -but could I suggest maybe your tact is wrong ?  I tried to get some clarification and heaven forbid suggest that maybe that advice isn’t applicable in all situations and you either misunderstood my point or intentionally insulted me, which is why I asked some females to read it. Anyway, take care.

  36. Valjean

    If I am missing the point of this article, so too are the handful of female friends whom I asked to read this article. In fact, one of them pointed out that the very act of you trying to tell other men how to have dealings with women and presuming to know their feelings on private matters is unintentionally quite condescending. Another described the article as “unclear” and another “needlessly preachy”. The points you’re trying to make may be commendable, but at least to this audience were far from clear.

    You seem like a sensitive guy with good intentions -but could I suggest maybe your tact is wrong ?  I tried to get some clarification and heaven forbid suggest that maybe that advice isn’t applicable in all situations and you either misunderstood my point or intentionally insulted me, which is why I asked some females to read it. Anyway, take care.

  37. Chris Clarke

    Well I asked MY rhetorical imaginary “female” friends, too, and they all suggested ‚Äî all 144,003 of them ‚Äî that I remind everyone of this ancient USENET folksong by Jo Walton.

    To the tune of “My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean”:

      The Lurkers support me in e-mail
      They all think I’m great don’t you know.
      You posters just don’t understand me
      But soon you will reap what you sow.
      Lurkers, lurkers, lurkers support me, you’ll see, you’ll see
      Off in e-mail the lurkers support me, you’ll see.

      The lurkers support me in e-mail
      “So why don’t they post?” you all cry
      They’re scared of your hostile intentions
      They just can’t be as brave as I.

      Lurkers, lurkers, lurkers support me, you’ll see, you’ll see
      Off in e-mail the lurkers support me, you’ll see.

      One day I’ll round up all my lurkers
      We’ll have a newsgroup of our own
      Without all this flak from you morons
      My lurkers will post round my throne.

      Lurkers, lurkers, lurkers support me, you’ll see, you’ll see
      Off in e-mail the lurkers support me, you’ll see.

  38. Kathy Sierra

    While I wish things were different, I no longer believe speaking publicly about harassment is a good option for most women regardless of circumstances. No matter what trouble you have endured, the retribution from speaking publicly can be far, far worse. And from a completely different group of people whose sole and publicly-stated goal is to punish those who do. Just on principle. Anyone who has ever been the victim of “dropping docs” knows that it can take a lifetime to recover, and your family may be destroyed in the process, given that their names, social security numbers, birthdates, employers, and addresses may be published as part of the retribution.

    Local law enforcement is well-intentioned and completely useless for these scenarios. People publish things sometimes, as I did, because there are no other available options (or at least none we recognize at the time). I completely get that the “court of Twitter” or mob online justice can be brutal, but the backlash for speaking out is unimaginably damaging. So, as I said, I would now tell my daughters to say nothing publicly. It is simply not worth it, even if it does smoke out those doing the harassment, or serves as a warning to others.

    I will say that I found Twitter (though I quit/deleted my account a year ago) a far friendlier environment than the blogosphere of 2007. And though I have never returned to blogging (something that has made a lot of women quite angry with me for “letting them win”), it does seem like the world has changed for the better in the sense that comment moderation is no longer seen as the Worst Thing Ever. In fact, a big part of what apparently triggered what happened to me stemmed from a post I made supporting another blogger who wanted to delete hateful comments. These days, some form of moderation is not only tolerated but virtually the norm, not to mention all the blogs/sites that have deleted comments completely or use FB to reduce/manage the problem of trolls and griefers.

  39. Chris Clarke

    Very pleased you stopped by, Kathy.

    Yeah, comment moderation attitudes have changed a lot in the last few years, and it’s long been a hot-button issue around here.

    Re: law enforcement, a commenter here made a threat against my late dog a few years ago and ‚Äî while it wouldn’t even come close to comparing the kind of crap you went through a year later, especially with regard to public response ‚Äî I did get a few people asking why I didn’t follow up with the Law. I agree with you: they are completely unequipped to handle anything short of actual offline stalking, and even that they don’t do as well on as we (and probably they) would like.

  40. J. Doe

    Chris, I really appreciate you posting this. Kathy’s experience was one of the first things I found when I went searching for information on how to deal with internet harassment. I was looking for that information because I had just discovered that someone -I still don’t know who even three years later -was writing defamatory comments about me on various websites. At the time I didn’t blog; all I had done to garner the attention of this person (who I am still very sure is a complete stranger) was defend a female blogger who had been very unflatteringly written up on a third party website. I had commented anonymously, and this person either hacked the site or used the clues I’d given in my posts to figure out my full name. He then used that to create postings on multiple message boards, as well as a number of accounts on Blogger.com calling me a “fat, ugly, stupid slut,” accusing me of having STIs, and claiming that he and I had been on a date and that I’d “asked [him] to rape [me].”

    I’ve received emails from anonymous remailers containing nothing but my parents’ address (mine is unlisted) and my aunt, who shares my unusual last name, has had her personal contact information posted on blogs along with all the above defamatory comments.

    I was about to start graduate school when this happened and have since graduated. Every time I apply for jobs I have to include a paragraph about the harassment because anyone doing a Google search for my name would immediately see the postings. It also takes an emotional toll and though I’ve dealt well, it’s devastating knowing that someone out there thinks that trying to destroy my reputation is just some little game.

    One of the responses I’ve gotten over and over is something along the lines of “if I didn’t know you, I wouldn’t believe this was really happening.” I’ve gotten that response from both women and men, though I find that men, particularly those who are not related to me, tend to want to think of this as something isolated, rather than it being part of a larger problem. I was once told (by a man) that I should stop talking about it because people would just think I was being dramatic.

    This got longer than I intended, but again, thank you for reposting.

  41. Lash

    1) I have no idea what the experience of a factory worker, a Bolivian, a South African, a Palestinian et. Are but I can still write and make arguments about them. To say that one’s identity position gives a privileged access to Truth is nonsensical

    2) Furthermore, your statement that all women experience a ‚Äúfear‚Äù of men is to deny women any agency and subjectivity. They are all victims and only victims as such. They enter the world as victims and leave it as victims. The strategic conclusion from this is inevitably (and has been proven by the weakness of the womanist movement of the past thirty years) a defensive position of defending against violence. The equality of victims is a degraded equality. Remember the women who threatened to bomb the English Parliament if they didn’t get the right to vote. They got NO FEAR. Rosa Luxemburg? Did she find herself in the anomie of constantly placing rape and fear at the center of her existence. A quote: ‚Äú‘Order reigns in Berlin!’ You stupid henchmen! Your ‘order’ is built on sand. Tomorrow the revolution will already ‘raise itself with a rattle’ and announce with fanfare, to your terror: I was, I am, I shall be!”‚Äù

  42. Lash

    Sorry, breaking this up into two:

    3) Your claim that rape and sexual violence is the locus point of patriarchy, unequal gender rights, etc. is untrue. It is its most devastating and traumatic (although even here let us not forget that recovery from rape is precisely to overcome said trauma and not have it as a defining experience) aspect, but not its central core. It is a function of modern capitalism and power relations which exploits women in wage labor and which disproportionately effects women (although those rape lovin’ proletarian men are also exploited let’s not forget). Placing a sexual/desire at the heart of the experience is not only to further disempower women for the reason stated above, but also leads to an impasse since it is impossible to directly legislate a desire. Politics is not a group therapy session where we get to talk about all our bad bad stereotypes. It is no mistake that the gains made by women in terms of sexual harassment etc. have been a result of gaining political and social rights (of course, this is comparative. Sexual harassment is really bad now, it’s still not the same as it was in the 19th and early 20th century). In a similar way, civil rights movement some leaders told MLK not to push ahead because America was too racist, MLK recognized it was only by speaking about justice, inequality, that those cultural attitudes would change.

    4) Your claim that this is somehow sexual harassment is “taken seriously if said by a man” or that “And the people on the side you’re taking, incidentally, include the gropers, the rapists, the sexual-favor-demanding bosses” is to ignore that the form of liberal multicultural, tolerant, we believe in the equality (of the market of course) is profoundly hypocritical. The Official Slogan is precisely all these things are evil, but they exist as its bad faith. I have no answer here, but any movement has to work through the constraints placed by institutions which officially “support” them.

    5) Let us be serious: a groper is not the same as a guy. A dick is not the Mark of Canaan.

    6) Final, this bullshit argument about how the very expression of disagreement only comes from the fact it ‚Äúthreatens my masculinity‚Äù or whatever the hell is a Kafkaesque position where your very plea of not guilty is a sign you’re guilty. Last time I checked disagreement was a sign of equality, not slavish acceptance pushed through by ill-argued venom.

    But I once kissed a girl and I liked it, I must be in solidarity with rapists so I should shut the fuck up…

  43. Chris Clarke

    Lash, I would check to see whether the Berkeley cafe you frequent is slipping meth into your espresso. I mean, it’s a very fine spittle-flecked pseudointellectual rant you’ve got going there, but it touches on the actual content of the post to which it is an ostensible response only briefly, and even then in a spectacularly self-absorbed, point-missing, flawed-sentence-structure way.

    Sure, you can write about Bolivian factory workers from your POV as a Bay Area hipster. Nothing wrong with that. But when you start writing as though you know more about what it’s like to be them than THEY do, that’s a problem.

    And isn’t it interesting that a guy like Lash can come into a discussion of criminal harassment and assault against women and how those women aren’t believed regardless of how they approach the situation, and what strikes him as the horrible Kafkaesque part is the suggestion that he listen for once instead of mansplaining. Or radicalism dickwaving, for that matter. (Though that aspect did make me chuckle a bit, the way a tiny puppy makes me chuckle when it sees a big dog and growls all furious and intimidating.)

    In sum: you have failed to comprehend the post, Lash, and you clearly either misunderstood or did not read the subsequent discussion, and yet you went on to blather about how you saw things and the OP was stupid (and subsequent commenters did not register on your consciousness). So thank you for providing an object example of what the post addressed, which was very thoughtful. We’ll just put it up here on the display shelf with the fifty million other examples of same.

  44. Megaera

    Not to worry, Chris. All that excessive verbiage doesn’t hide the fact the “Lash” is way off base. Perhaps that’s why it’s there….

  45. Lori

    Lash reminds me of a lot of adolescent lefties I’ve known over the course of the last thirty years. Anyone remember the calls for “chicks up front!” at “militant” demonstrations? Usually the Trots did that. They also usually waved Rosa Luxemburg citations as a token radical woman banner to try to get feminists to stop talking.

    So Lash “kissed a girl and liked it,” huh? I have to wonder whether she did. I suspect she was looking at her watch.

  46. Sheelzebub

    Chris, WHAT ABOUT THE MENZ?? HUH?? HUH??

    I love the sound of mansplaining on a Sunday morning.  And by love, I mean hate with the fire of a thousand suns.

  47. Melissa

    Oh my gosh, /thank you./  It’s such a relief to read posts like this. Nice to know there are some men out there willing to listen. Wading into this issue sometimes makes me feel like I’m being beaten up, and posts like this are like a wipe on the brow before you have to go back into the boxing ring. It’s much appreciated and renews my hope that we won’t get knocked out any time soon.

  48. Tasha

    First, are there men who accept your predisposed disdain for half the population as reasonable?  I don’t want to know them.  And second, when is the sequel guide for asshole women going to press?  I want to shop early for the holidays.

  49. Chris Clarke

    Actually, I wrote this because I love men, and know in my heart that that vast majority of them really want women’s lives to be free of harassment. And for the most part responses to this post have reaffirmed my hunch. Most of us can handle being told to shut up and listen.

  50. Orsh

    This should be titled: “How not to be an asshole: a guide for assholes.”

    I know there are a lot of assholes out there. I hate them. I have been fighting against them with every fiber of my being since I was old enough to recognize them. It’s really fucking tiring that I’m painted with the same brush because I happen to have been born with testicles.

  51. chickwithmonkey

    Wayyyy up at the top there somebody said, “You‚Äôre just trying to get some cred since a geek like yourself couldn‚Äôt get a woman any way else” which made me lol for real because… so? By respecting the humanity of all people and recognizing the burden sexism puts on our entire culture, the fine “geek” who runs this blog (hello, by the way) is most likely going to find himself a wonderful partner who also respects him. Why would that be something to insult him about?

    Unless of course you, the commenter, presume that all interaction between persons of different genders must by definition be adversarial and you, the commenter, can’t conceive of a healthy, balanced relationship between yourself and a person of another gender. Which I hope is not at all true, because that would be sad.

    My husband is a feminist, and it’s hilarious to us both how often dudes on comic book forums accuse him of being gay or forever alone when he speaks up about the poor representation of women in many mainstream comics. It’s also hilarious how often his comments are addressed when my own similar sentiments are ignored. By which I mean sad. Hilariousad.

  52. Chris Clarke

    Hello, chickwithmonkey. You have a sloth in your gravatar and I like you.

    I have indeed had a couple or three romantic partners in my adult life (at >50, I am very old by Internet Standards) and each of them has been an amazing person with whom I had a relationship based, to the best of our ability, on trust, communication and respect.

    My current and I would like to think permanent girlfriend, she of the My Little Pony reboot image upthread, is exemplary in this respect. We’re a team, and that team is made up of two partners, not a boss and a sidekick.

    It’s one of those chicken-egg things. I have been able to spend time with the remarkable people I’ve loved during the course of my life so far because I actually respect them, and I have learned how better to respect them because they have spent time with me.

  53. CBL

    I love this. I’ve unfortunately had occasion to send copies of this to many people in the years since you wrote it. I’m incredibly delighted to now have an official link to send. It hits all the right notes. Just wonderful.

  54. Jessica Sides

    personally my favorite part is how the guy tells you that acknowledging that all women have an undercurrent of fear with men and are in fact -taught-and repeatedly confirmed to have a fear in men lack agency.

    YOU THINK!?
    REALLY!?!?

    wow…way to miss the point dude. If anyone here needs to read the part where they stfu and don’t try to talk about shit they don’t know….well there you go.

    I still can’t believe that.

    You mean I lack agency?? really!? What tipped you off? that part where I am supposed to guard my vagina constantly because unless I’m expressing no viciously and voraciously I have some how implied consent by breathing? Because my experiences are invalidated, my activism against the causes that affect my life are judged by those who innately live in a privileged position against those activists they find palatable? how about it’s the inane and unspoken rules I must govern my entire life with reinforced on a daily if not hourly basis…be nurturing, be sexy, not too sexy or you’re asking for rape. Don’t fuck him, but you have to please your man, etcetc…

    Seriously dude..you have every right to write about Bolivia or hell even feminists, but when you start to mansplain in public about how my fear..my reaffirmed, reinforced, constantly reminded fear of ‘Men’ in the most vaguest and sometimes unfortunately most personal of terms is make believe, and other nonsense about my life that you have no -concept-of then really? it’s time to read what the man wrote.

    Lash, I suspect, the reason that the women in your life don’t talk about where they park their car with you, or how they walk with the key’s in their hand, or that creepy guy on the subway is because you make them afraid too. Cos you sure as heck make me nervous and I haven’t met you.

  55. Rob G

    It’s really fucking tiring that I’m painted with the same brush because I happen to have been born with testicles.

    Stop painting my testicles! It’s really annoying. And makes me walk funny.

  56. Siara Delyn

    The other day I was in a chat room chatting about politics.  Someone made the comment, “Texas has the best economy of any state in America”.  I responded, “I thought it came out recently that Texan economy was very shaky”.  The instant response was, “Oh shut up you liberal bitch.  I bet you’re so ugly no man would touch you.  If you’re married I feel sorry for your husband.  He’s probably been castrated.” 

    I get SO sick of this sort of thing and I am also sick of hearing, “that stuff doesn’t go on any more”.  Every day in this country thousands of women lose their rights.  Just yesterday 12,000 women lost their health care in Wisconsin because they defunded Planned Parenthood.  The conversation gets more vile every day too.

    If women don’t speak up and protest we’re going to end up back in the 1950’s.

  57. Siara Delyn

    Another lovely news item:
    Wisconsin judge Ann Bradley told fellow judge David Prosser to leave her office, came around the desk to usher (maybe push) him out and he responded by grabbing her by the neck in a choke hold. Earlier this year he called another judge, Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson, a “bitch” and threatening to “destroy” her.

    This is conservative politics in 2011.  We need to do something about it.