109 users responded in this post

Subscribe to this post comment rss or trackback url
Christian Williams said on May 7th, 2014 at 11:15 am

@wat It’s going to take me a few different responses to reply to your fascinating missive.

Let’s start here:

While i’m on the topic of the total void of self-awareness that surrounds these topics:

Noone is saying you can’t be attracted to the drop-dead gorgeous red-head in the perfect Dark Phoenix costume. Noone is saying you can’t take a second look, or even tell her that her costume is great.

Actually, a lot of people say that, and have said that, and the best part is that a lot of the people who say that are people who say things like

What we’re saying is you can’t walk up to a total stranger and say ‘Hey baby, you make me feel like Wolverine cause I want to pop my claws right now.’

and then turn around and treat any instance of those first things as if they were that second thing.

Fun fact: For that to be an example of ‘the total void of self-awareness’, then I would have to be one of the people either saying ‘You can’t look at women’, or conflating a compliment with harassment… and I’m not.

Now, if I give you the benefit of the doubt and you’re just using my statement as some example of a misguided advocate who isn’t aware of how mean / evil the people they’re standing up for are. Then you’re still being incredibly disingenuous and raising the same banner the MRA people raise when they say ‘See if you listen to , tomorrow they’re going to make us wear dresses into work and have to ask permission to masturbate!’

I will grant you that there is a minority of female fans (a very vocal, but extremely small minority), that take things to extremes. But that viewpoint doesn’t negate the need for respect in fan spaces for women.

The argument that because some people go over the top in wanting respect for women, you shouldn’t have to pay attention to anyone speaking up for respect for women in the space is the basest form of intellectual sophistry.

Christian Williams said on May 7th, 2014 at 11:23 am

And this is me speaking as someone who’s been involved in feminist-leaning nerdspaces, and who did a lot over the years to make the ones I was involved in more feminist, because I was foolish enough to listen to pepole like you. And found that the reward for that was to have the standard of what counted as an outrage ramped up higher and higher and to be judged more and more harshly until things finally came to a head and I was the one being harassed and attacked by people I’d been naive enough to believe were my friends in ways that have permanently damaged me and my life.

You can go ahead and feel free to rewrite the two sentences just before this one any way that you want, and make any and every bad-faith assumption about what really happened, and go ahead and outright call me a liar if options one and two fail to satisfy. And you will, because everything about your worldview demands that you do.

My favorite part of your reply, honestly, is this one. Where you make a vague reference to building safe spaces and getting run out of them by those crazy feminists and then pre-argue that any doubt, interpretation, or other question is clearing just some form of knee-jerk feminist response.

It was artful really.

I’m not going to call you a liar, I’m not going to make any bad-faith assumptions, and I’m not going to ‘change your sentences’.

But I’m sorry, I’m also not going to decide that I don’t care about the respect of women and minorities in fan spaces, because something bad happened to you that one time.

Because even if I give your statement full faith and confidence, there is much worse happening, to far more people in these spaces… and far greater damage is being done.

So, I’m sorry that bad things happened to you, and those people were assholes apparently. Maybe you would have benefited from a less toxic fan-culture or having some form of policy for dealing with harassment and other issues…

Christian Williams said on May 7th, 2014 at 11:48 am

And that’s why people like you are as toxic as anyone you decry, because sorry, adopting feminism as a banner and attacking other people in its name doesn’t actually make you any less flawed than you were before you did that. It just gives you a catchall rationalization for your own behavior towards anyone on your list of acceptable targets.

I might have lied before, this might be my favorite part.

First of all, I’m not a feminist. What I am is someone who was raised by a single mother, and has been lucky enough to have known a large number of awesome women in my areas of geek interest.

I am someone who honestly doesn’t understand why this issue is so hard for you, or anyone to understand.

It’s better for us, for all of us, if we have as many bright and divergent voices in this community because it leads to collaborations that go off in new and interesting directions. More creative minds = more awesome movies, comics, books, and games.

That simply won’t happen if nerd culture continues to be such an unwelcoming place for women and minorities.

As nerds, we can’t accept an environment where the go to argument for someone like Anita Sarkeesian’s work on sexism in games is ‘she just needs to be f***ed’ or ‘stupid b*tch, she deserves to be raped and die’.

Janelle Assellin pointed out that the new Teen Titan’s cover was 1) shitty, 2) kinda sexist, and 3) BAD FOR BUSINESS. She has been harassed, threatened with violence, and her financial accounts have been attacked.

What did either of them do to deserve that? Nothing.

At it’s core, all the arguments on the other side are bullshit.

‘But girls were mean to me once too!’
‘But they say bad things about what I like and so they’re attacking me!’
‘But if we can’t touch them, then we can’t even look at them!’

All of that? Is bullshit.

Are there honest cases where well-meaning guys have fallen down the rabbit hole, out of complete innocence an social awkwardness and been painted with an unfair paintbrush? Sure.

But I would bet my life, that for every one of those there have been 50 guys who’ve made someone feel unsafe in fandom, and that’s not okay.

Lastly, you make this fascinating claim, which is pretty frequent on your side of the fence, that people are ‘attacking’ under the banner of feminism. It’s not attacking you, for people to say that fan spaces should be safe, it’s not attacking you to say that personal space should be respected.

Saying that we need to have an inclusive and respectful community does not equal attacking people.

What it does equal is us drawing a line in the sand that says ‘This is where acceptable behavior stops, and shitty behavior begins, why don’t we all make sure we’re on the right side of the line’.

So maybe, you can give me an explanation as to why that’s a problem for you?


“What it does equal is us drawing a line in the sand that says ‘This is where acceptable behavior stops, and shitty behavior begins, why don’t we all make sure we’re on the right side of the line’.

So maybe, you can give me an explanation as to why that’s a problem for you?”

I’m interested.

garfan said on May 7th, 2014 at 1:39 pm

Kai- “Are you actually suggesting that people are more likely to be, on the whole, too introspective and harshly self-judgmental rather than not introspective enough?

I mean hell, that’s not even something I can take offense at so much as something that’s just, like, I think the entirety of human history pretty thoroughly proves you to be an incorrigible optimist of the highest caliber in that particular case.”

it’s said history is written by the winners. It’s also written by people who think they’re winners.

Everything from self-help books to psychiatry for people without a definable mental illness to people falling prey to cults shows people have a lack of faith in themselves. The idea that “I don’t know what to do, my instincts can’t be trusted, I’ll just fuck things up if I try,” is the root of a billion dollar industry


And, of course, there are socially awkward women out there, too. All these people who fight for the right of the socially awkward to be awkward in peace never seem to think of the women for whom it may be _difficult_ to tell that guy creeping on them to back off. Funny, that.

This is a huge problem for shy and awkward women, and a reason why many women on the autistic spectrum are often abused or taken advantage of.

DensityDuck said on May 14th, 2014 at 1:14 am

“That simply won’t happen if nerd culture continues to be such an unwelcoming place for women and minorities.”

Nobody gives a fuck if you say “fuck” these days.

But everyone loses their shit if you say “bitch” near a woman, or “nigger” just about anywhere.

Do you really think that teenagers don’t pick up on this?

Candlejack said on May 15th, 2014 at 3:08 am

Yes, it’s awful that teenagers might get the impression that directly insulting a person or group of people is worse than swearing that doesn’t hurt anybody. Truly, a crisis of our times. How terrible might it be if they–gasp!–decide that insulting people based on gender or race is not okay?! Won’t somebody think of the children? 🙂

Candlejack said on May 22nd, 2014 at 12:56 pm

So, my brother says I’m reading Duck’s post wrong. My brother believes DensityDuck is saying that teens are using misogynistic and racist slurs simply because that language is taboo, not because they actually hate women and minorities. In which case, the point might be that they want a reaction, and they’re getting one, so to make them stop, people should just shut up about it? I’m hoping that’s not the point, because man, that would be kind of victim-blamey, wouldn’t it?

(Also, I would argue that, to the person on the receiving end of those slurs, it matters very little why the person delivering the insult is using that language. Much as it wouldn’t much matter to you whether I keyed your car because I didn’t like you or if I wanted the transgressive thrill of keying a car and yours just happened to be there.)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please Note: Comment moderation may be active so there is no need to resubmit your comments