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antifeminism antifeminist women mansplaining rape culture twitter

Christina Hoff Sommers: “If ‘bossy’ has to go because it is sexist, then shouldn’t we stop using male-vilifying terms like ‘mansplaining’ & ‘rape culture’?”

I follow a lot of truly terrible people on Twitter — Manosphere bloggers, white supremacists, Fidelbogen — so it took me a moment to realize that this dopey, backwards tweet didn’t come from some obscure reactionary bigot but from none other than antifeminist celebrity academic Christina Hoff Sommers, inventor of “equity feminism” and the author of the bestselling The War Against Boys.

Oy.

Also, I think she meant to end that with #BanBossy, not @BanBossy.

Interesting that she doesn’t seem to understand hashtags any more than she understands rape culture.

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hellkell
hellkell
8 years ago

I should just let this go, but:

it was a word that started out being positive, that misogynists have somehow managed to use as a way that comes out as a negative.

Since when have “bitch” and “slut” ever been positive words? I mean shit.

LBT
LBT
8 years ago

RE: Kittehs

I’m always amazed at your imagination and writing and drawing skills. No, amazed is the wrong word, it implies surprise. Stunned by the awesomeness would say it better.

I have a little document on my computer called Good Stuff, where I keep some of the nicest things people online have ever said to me, for those days when I feel I have acheived nothing and am a parasite upon the bum of humanity. This comment is going into my Good Stuff.

RE: David

Could someone explain to me why tall buildings don’t just blow over when hit by strong winds again?

I wouldn’t swear to it in court, but there are a couple factors. One is how narrow the building is–remember those houses on stilts you see on the Gulf Coast? It’s because the little stilts have to deal with less force from the water than a whole platform would be. (I think.) Also, the bendy buildings don’t blow over specifically because they’ve been made with slack. Something completely unyielding would fall over; more flexible things bend with the force, and then return to position.

RE: Falconer

Sometimes I think my Brain TV writers are channeling the Lost writers. They’re good on spectacle, crap on backstory.

Hey, I never said my Brain TV started out good. IIRC, originally they were Mary Sue’s Adventures in Xanth. Then we got better.

kittehserf
8 years ago

Could someone explain to me why tall buildings don’t just blow over when hit by strong winds again?

>>
<<

They're just waiting for you to relax, and then …

I have a little document on my computer called Good Stuff, where I keep some of the nicest things people online have ever said to me, for those days when I feel I have acheived nothing and am a parasite upon the bum of humanity. This comment is going into my Good Stuff.

Yay! 🙂 I haz contributed!

Alex
8 years ago

I have to say I find the feminist trolls more annoying than the MRA trolls only because I expect douchery from the latter whereas the former is supposed to be on our side. Jennydevildoll, you were being willfully obtuse and reading your arguments was like slowly and repeatedly knocking my head against a wall.
About reclamation, I reclaim b*tch for myself and only for myself. I do not call anyone else a b*tch because it would be taken in an insulting way no matter how I meant it. Nor do I even identify myself as a b*tch. I reclaim it only in the sense that if someone uses it against me, I cope with it by giving it a positive meaning. For example: he’s calling me a b*tch; that means I’m successfully denying him something he wants of me that isn’t on my terms. I’m therefore doing something right. Bitch and proud!
I do not think a man can reclaim b*tch, and unless talking solely about the word or referring to a female dog he shouldn’t use it at all. Oh noes! I’m attacking Freeze Peach!
As for “bossy”, I was never aware of it being a gendered term (also hadn’t heard it since reading Fifty Shades of Shit, and before that, grade school) until this recent campaign. However, now that I’ve learned it is, guess what I won’t be doing? Calling a woman bossy. Ever. For any reason. And for the record, the way jennydevildoll used it was not in any reclaiming it. She used it in exactly the same way women are calling problematic. Congrats! You’re part of the problem.

Anyway, Ally, I don’t know you as well as some other regulars here, but I have reads previous comments when lurking during times I can’t think what to add to the conversation. So glad you found a good therapist!

This earthquake talk is cool. I have a weird fascination with natural phenomena/disasters. lad everyone’s safe, though! Also, I didn’t know that about buildings swaying. Makes total sense; I’d just never thought of it.

Oh, and finally, whoever said that thing about how if you’ve never had anyone tell you about their sexual assault, it’s because no one trusts you enough to do so? YES. THAT. I think it was hellkell or Cassandra.

Kim
Kim
8 years ago

But yes, it would be right to say I find using “diva” as a put-down pathetic,

You really don’t get it do you? That you find it pathetic is irrelevant. It doesn’t change the fact that every time it is used to mean someone overly demanding, overly dramatic, hard to work with or with delusional ideas of their own talents, it associates all those ideas with being female.

For you to say, repeatedly, that it’s not a big deal because it doesn’t bother you implies the only person you care about is yourself. In fact, that is the absolute essence of unexamined privilege – “It doesn’t hurt me so it’s not a problem”.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
8 years ago

This thread has been a perfect example of how not to engage with people on the internet.

kittehserf
8 years ago

It certainly has, with a side order of “lurk more”.

jennydevildoll
8 years ago
Reply to  hellkell

@hellkell – When you read the whole statement, instead of just your cut & paste, I was responding to titianblue asking if I just meant using “diva” as a put down was pathetic, the rest of it said:

But yes, it would be right to say I find using “diva” as a put-down pathetic, especially given that I see it as a performer who is not only talented, but has put in the work and passion to really master what they do. It has a sense of active initiative taken that way. It’s also interesting to note that unlike other put-downs we’ve discussed, like “bossy”, “bitch” or “slut”, it didn’t start out as something generally perceived as negative that people have tried to confront with reclaiming, or making taboo, or other tactics — it was a word that started out being positive, that misogynists have somehow managed to use as a way that comes out as a negative.

I was saying that “bitch and slut” had originated as insults, UNLIKE “diva” which started out as a term of respect for a talented performer,and then somehow got twisted outside of performance spheres into a put-down directed at women.

jennydevildoll
8 years ago

@Alex – you wrote:
About reclamation, I reclaim b*tch for myself and only for myself. I do not call anyone else a b*tch because it would be taken in an insulting way no matter how I meant it. Nor do I even identify myself as a b*tch. I reclaim it only in the sense that if someone uses it against me, I cope with it by giving it a positive meaning. For example: he’s calling me a b*tch; that means I’m successfully denying him something he wants of me that isn’t on my terms. I’m therefore doing something right. Bitch and proud!

This is sort of my feeling-that people who use it in the negative are people who’s validation it’s not worth seeking.That it means I’m holding my ground and they don’t like it. But then I’ve also seen those types of men use it against a women if she agrees or gets along with them, they say “she’s totally my bitch, she goes along with whatever I say”.So that’s where I figured, some men are just determined to think of women this way no matter what they say or do. It’s about the man’s attitude, not the woman’s behavior. That’s the point where for me, “bitch” lost it’s power. I’ve just pointed out that others have taken it that way also..No, I’m not putting it towards anyone as an insult, and I wouldn’t call women bitches who were uncomfortable with the term.

I do not think a man can reclaim b*tch, and unless talking solely about the word or referring to a female dog he shouldn’t use it at all. Oh noes! I’m attacking Freeze Peach!

Ok. I was just saying I’ve heard gay men use it, and when trans_commie said she also found that “problematic” I asked why. To know more about it, not because I disagreed with her.

As for “bossy”, I was never aware of it being a gendered term (also hadn’t heard it since reading Fifty Shades of Shit, and before that, grade school) until this recent campaign. However, now that I’ve learned it is, guess what I won’t be doing? Calling a woman bossy. Ever. For any reason. And for the record, the way jennydevildoll used it was not in any reclaiming it. She used it in exactly the same way women are calling problematic. Congrats! You’re part of the problem.

I didn’t say my use was reclaiming it. I linked to a conversation on Feministing where some womens’ approach to the problem was to reclaim it, do a kind of “bossy and proud” thing. I don’t think bossy is powerlessod thing to be, but like as a word or a good thing to be. Like you , I never thought of it as a gendered term until this campaign. Sparky pointed out that her childhood experience with the word was that it was solely used towards girls, while acknowledging that my childhood experience had been it had been used for both boys or girls who were trying to order others around. I don’t think it’s being used fairly against girls.I also think boys are sometimes given more of a pass in boundary crossing behavior, because of the whole “boys will be boys” mentality. I haven’t read 50 Shades of Vanilla and I have no plans to, so I can’t comment on it’s usage in there.

Oh, and finally, whoever said that thing about how if you’ve never had anyone tell you about their sexual assault, it’s because no one trusts you enough to do so? YES. THAT. I think it was hellkell or Cassandra.

I can’t remember where this came into the conversation, but I’ve had conversations with a number of friends, and not just women, about these experiences. I’ve also had two short pieces published in anthologies talking about my own rape and how it played into other aspects of my life and growing up. I can completely understand where some survivors may choose not to report it given the way people can react. I’ve personally chosen that by speaking up about it, it’s a small way of putting a human face to it, and I respect women like Daisy Coleman or Dylan Farrow who have recently written op-ed pieces telling their stories, knowing the amount of public opinion on the sides of their respective attackers, but speaking their truths anyway.

jennydevildoll
8 years ago

You really don’t get it do you? That you find it pathetic is irrelevant. It doesn’t change the fact that every time it is used to mean someone overly demanding, overly dramatic, hard to work with or with delusional ideas of their own talents, it associates all those ideas with being female.

For you to say, repeatedly, that it’s not a big deal because it doesn’t bother you implies the only person you care about is yourself. In fact, that is the absolute essence of unexamined privilege – “It doesn’t hurt me so it’s not a problem”.

@Kim – No, I’m saying “diva” SHOULD NOT be used as an insult, that it wasn’t intended as an insult originally, but a term of respect, and that those who turn it into a gendered insult are in the wrong, and probably don’t even know the actual meaning of the word.

However, I’m also saying that there are people out there using it in the correct way, the positive way, and that they shouldn’t have to abandon a word that was theirs to begin with(meaning people in aspects of performing arts.) because some other people out there are using it incorrectly.

grumpycatisagirl
8 years ago

I love the idea of a “Good Stuff” folder. I should probably start one. Thanks for giving me the idea, LBT, and now you can put in your Good Stuff folder that you’ve given me a good idea.

katz
8 years ago

I’ve just pointed out that others have taken it that way also..No, I’m not putting it towards anyone as an insult, and I wouldn’t call women bitches who were uncomfortable with the term.

You still haven’t said that Bob shouldn’t call Alice “bitchy.”

I don’t think it’s [bossy] being used fairly against girls.

Unless you’re using it against a girl, in which case it’s totally fair.

kittehserf
8 years ago

OFFS.

Music industry, or at least opera: yes, likely to use diva properly.

Lots and lots of people outside music industry: using it as an insult.

Yes, it’s pathetic, yes, it shouldn’t be used that way. The “pathetic” part applies to gendered insults generally; misogyny is pathetic, if you’re using that in the sense of contemptible (which, gosh, isn’t its original meaning).

None of that changes the facts that gendered slurs ARE used regardless of any word’s origins or dictionary meaning, that they do cause harm, and that “It isn’t used that way in my group” or “but I don’t use it that way” aren’t actually arguments for using them.

It’d be like me coming to the US and telling a MoC it’s not an insult if I call him a boy, ‘cos it doesn’t have racist baggage where I live. It’s not about the person using the slur but the person affected by it.

LBT
LBT
8 years ago

RE: grumpycatisagirl

I love the idea of a “Good Stuff” folder. I should probably start one. Thanks for giving me the idea, LBT, and now you can put in your Good Stuff folder that you’ve given me a good idea.

Yes! Since my entire environment these days is rigged to protect the sacred mental health, I have a lot of things like this. Good Stuff folder on my computer, I hang tons of my art on my walls to remind myself that I’ve made pretty things, and when I get fanart, I keep that on my comp or on my wall to remind myself that I’ve inspired other people to make pretty things. It doesn’t cure the self-loathing, of course, but it helps take a big bite out of it and remind me that it’s talking nonsense.

Alex
8 years ago

@Jennydevildoll,

This thing that I said: “Oh, and finally, whoever said that thing about how if you’ve never had anyone tell you about their sexual assault, it’s because no one trusts you enough to do so? YES. THAT. I think it was hellkell or Cassandra” had nothing to do with you, actually. It was referencing a comment that was made before you came into the conversation.

Kim
Kim
8 years ago

@Kim – No, I’m saying “diva” SHOULD NOT be used as an insult, that it wasn’t intended as an insult originally, but a term of respect, and that those who turn it into a gendered insult are in the wrong, and probably don’t even know the actual meaning of the word.

However, I’m also saying that there are people out there using it in the correct way, the positive way, and that they shouldn’t have to abandon a word that was theirs to begin with(meaning people in aspects of performing arts.) because some other people out there are using it incorrectly.

Well, good. We agree on that bit at least.

dunbe
dunbe
8 years ago

So your only criticism of her suggestion is a typo?
Can I take it then that you agree that “mansplaining”, for example should be banned if “bossy” should be banned?

sparky
sparky
8 years ago

You didn’t actually read the post, did you, dunbe?

kittehserf
8 years ago

Speaking of typos, looks like the latest troll hit b when it should have been c in their nym.

sparky
sparky
8 years ago

When one describes a statement as “dopey” and “backwards,” as David did in the OP, that fairly clearly indicates that one does not agree with any part of that statement, and that one’s criticism of that statement goes far beyond a typo.

I mean, he didn’t just come out an say, “I do not agree with this statement and am critical of it.” But that was pretty strongly implied.

cloudiah
8 years ago

Reading comprehension is apparently not dunbe’s strength.

trans_commie
8 years ago

@dumbe

His observation about Sommers’ typo was a side comment. If you had paid any attention to this post, you would see that his main problem with Sommers’ ridiculous tweets is her suggestion that “mansplain” and “rape culture” are bigoted against men.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
8 years ago

Jenny, could you maybe stop assuming that everything that anyone says in this thread is directed at you? That would help in avoiding things like what just happened with Alex’s comment.

@ LBT

A Good Things folder is a great idea. And you can now add “helping to distract people from long, frustrating, utterly pointless argument” to it.

LBT
LBT
8 years ago

RE: Cassandrakitty

A Good Things folder is a great idea. And you can now add “helping to distract people from long, frustrating, utterly pointless argument” to it.

I’m really glad people like this idea. I know it helps me… you know, when I remember to actually LOOK at it. <.< But it's still a relatively recent addition to my arsenal of sunshine and rainbows.

titianblue
titianblue
8 years ago

Well, apparently, the linguists agree that “bossy” is used in a gendered way.

http://www.newstatesman.com/2014/03/data-proves-sheryl-sandberg-right-bossy-disproportionately-applied-women

Makes you wonder what other words which appear on the surface to be gender-neutral have become gendered through use and should be avoided or, at the very least, used with care.

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