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Author Topic: Against that slur 'feminazi'.  (Read 1690 times)

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Offline kylieTopic starter

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Against that slur 'feminazi'.
« on: September 16, 2015, 01:43:45 PM »
  Zoe  Williams discusses the background and workings of the term in a critical column here.

Quote
It originated in the 90s, with the shock-jock Rush Limbaugh (though he claimed it came from an academic, Thomas Hazlett) using it to describe, in his improbable phrasing, “a feminist to whom the most important thing in life is ensuring that as many abortions as possible occur”. It didn’t really catch on in the noughties, this being an unobservable category. More broadly, the word was meant to indicate women who shut down their opponents with authoritarian orthodoxies, against which ramparts an ordinary interlocutor had no hope. And, more recently, this is how it has surfaced, a word around which people – Men’s Rights Activists (or MRAs) – can mobilise when they feel that a feminist has gone too far. Typically, this mobilisation would happen on social media, but that it is gaining traction in the mainstream media is illustrated this week by the case of our designated lady-neo-fascist, Charlotte Proudman.

The barrister objected to the fact that a senior lawyer had sent her a sexist message on LinkedIn...

      The term has come up several times in discussions on E, and I think this is a good critical rejoinder to it.  It's a wtf, let's call this what it seems to be for what it does approach...  So not a completely clinical take in the 'distanced' or 'politer than thou has been' sense of decorum which some people love to demand.  But hey, the slur itself is hardly smooth, so unpacking with any promptness and bite as such is likely to wind up hitting those notes one way or another.

Quote
Some felt that Proudman acted too strongly, not in objecting in the first place, but in publicly shaming Carter-Silk, disseminating a screenshot giving his full name. The Daily Mail went in for the kill, calling her a “‘feminazi’ barrister”. “It would be funny if it wasn’t so aggressive,” says Laura Bates, of Everyday Sexism. “The press have dug out her late father’s estate. They’ve dug up stuff about her dead grandmother. They’ve dug up a conversation she had with a friend on Facebook. It’s actually breathtaking, that they do all that while maintaining that the really disgraceful thing is public shaming, which these high-achieving men have suffered, that it’s disproportionate and unfair.

     While this column proceeds from the current Proudman case back a touch, there are also general thoughts gathered from a few cases over the last few years (including ahem the sometimes local 'favorite" for some threads at least, Zoe Quinn)... But kindly do note the parentheses and do not wander over long though less relevant details that have been tossed about aplenty elsewhere.  In this sort of topic, it seems it's always tempting for some snide oppositon to look for some buried 'gotcha' to manufacture from odd details. But that is exactly what Williams spells out is a cheap shot in her broader model of how attacks on women (particularly women who lodge any complaints of an abusive structure) are generally excused.

     Another sample I enjoyed for a touch of intersection with broader ideological camp talk, and for the raw discussion of the sociolinguistic process. I feel the overall piece is pretty apt, too.

Quote
Intellectually, it has a lot in common with arguments against leftwingers – that the holders of any privilege at all, even if it’s historical, would not have benefited from the pure equality that they preach, and therefore shouldn’t be preaching it. It’s a position in which, basically, unless you are Jesus, you should just admit you are fundamentally self-interested and shut up. This has to be said opaquely, because otherwise it would sound shonky, so it is often conveyed by a shorthand or a pejorative made-up word.

But at some level beneath open debate, it does work, and feminists can be tainted by the inference that their love of equality is just a power-grab.

Helen Lewis notes: “Even among relatively progressive men, there’s a denial that sexism actually exists. They don’t think people who are like them, but female, experience any discrimination at all. They will concede that working-class women might, or that black women might. And, partly, there is a point there – the most privileged group after straight, white middle-class men are straight, white middle-class women.” And yet, of course, if the price of your privilege is that you are not allowed to say anything when someone undermines your professionalism by banging on about your tits, one might question how meaningful that privilege actually is.

Offline Silk

Re: Against that slur 'feminazi'.
« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2015, 06:13:43 PM »
Eh, I see it mostly as a retort to the like minded slur of "neckbeard" as just a means of demeaning the opposite party by appealing that they are part of a less than desireable demographic. It's just an ad hominem really and can be disregarded in much the same way, but it's hardly something that only anti/non- feminists are guilty of doing.

Online Vergil Tanner

Re: Against that slur 'feminazi'.
« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2015, 05:08:07 AM »
I wish I could grow a neckbeard. Well, not a neckbeard specifically, I just wish I could grow a beard full stop. All I get is that wispy stubble, and then it stops growing. I wouldn't grow it out, of course, but I'd at least like the option.


Anyway, on topic:

Whilst there is a trend in using the term as an ad hominem attack, I personally only use it "when it applies," as it were. That is, when talking to self-proclaimed feminists who believe in establishing a Matriarchy. If you believe in creating a Matriarchy and - in some extreme cases - think that men should be put into breeding camps or just kept at home "where they won't hurt themselves and others" or other extremely militant ideas, I'm gonna call you a Feminazi because...well...if the shoe fits, y'know? Those kinds of "Feminists" are blessedly rare, but they do exist. Although, I do agree that using it as a catch-all dismissal of all feminist rhetoric is stupid. I personally don't identify as a feminist - I prefer the term "Egalitarian" for a variety of reasons, and if you want to know my "full" label, it's "Atheistic Egalitarian Secular Humanist" - but I will quite often find myself aligned with moderate, liberal and sex-positive feminists. If you're gonna argue with a feminist - or anybody - at least engage with the arguments being presented instead of just dismissing them with a nonsense ad hominem. Alas, it's something that every "side" in every debate ever is guilty of. Aggressive or dismissive Anti/non feminists/MRA's will use the term "Feminazi," some Feminists will use the term "Neckbeard" or "Misogynist" against anti/non Feminists or MRA's, Atheists will use a variety of colourful terms against religious people, religious people will use quite a lot of anti-atheistic rhetoric and insults against atheists, etc etc. The big thing to do is just ignore the people trying to dismiss your argument with such an insult and just engage with the people who want an honest discussion.

I mean, I think "Feminazi" has its place as a term, since there are people who fit that description (again, see militant right-wing pro-matriarchy feminists which, whilst a small group, are extremely loud and still a problem for everybody else), but I agree that it shouldn't be used to describe ALL feminists, since it just cuts down on honest, constructive discussion.

Just my two cents. :P

Offline kylieTopic starter

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Re: Against that slur 'feminazi'.
« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2015, 09:25:59 AM »
Quote from: Silk
Eh, I see it mostly as a retort to the like minded slur of "neckbeard" as just a means of demeaning the opposite party by appealing that they are part of a less than desireable demographic. It's just an ad hominem really and can be disregarded in much the same way, but it's hardly something that only anti/non- feminists are guilty of doing.


     I don't know if she is actually saying that only anti-feminists use it?  I sort of had the impression it was more that for her or maybe among her circle anyway, it's particularly infamous for how more 'antis' have made it a going thing, and they're sensitive to that history (which isn't over yet, either), and so she would much rather toss it.  Like, I wouldn't say "never talk about anything Nazi," but it is the sort of word that often comes without a lot of explanation about where one is coming from while it's also potentially extremely charged, imo. 

     I think that's pretty clear from how she writes about how it's often used in her experience, which is more the point?  And I think she's right, where I've seen it here, it's often not simply any "Oh I don't care" sort of dismissive but often quite a banal dig too, with an air of "Your opinion is so wrong" and "Who are you to have an opinion that demands anything of anyone else in the name of civility or equality anyway" [unless of course, the idea continues, you're Jesus and Buddha all wrapped into one without fail every day]...  The claim is often more that feminism is somehow 'abusing' people by pointing out problems and asking for change.  So it's likely to be read in a suspicious light.

Quote from: Vergil Tanner

Whilst there is a trend in using the term as an ad hominem attack, I personally only use it "when it applies," as it were. That is, when talking to self-proclaimed feminists who believe in establishing a Matriarchy. If you believe in creating a Matriarchy and - in some extreme cases - think that men should be put into breeding camps or just kept at home "where they won't hurt themselves and others" or other extremely militant ideas, I'm gonna call you a Feminazi because...well...if the shoe fits, y'know?

      I suppose, but...  How many Americans feel a bit of bitterness that North Korean Chinese (Edits: I think it was Chinese Army exhibits on the Korean War actually) and Vietnamese museums still label all sorts of photographs with captions making the Americans involved always "American imperialists"?  Technically one could say oh, you know, they really only meant America at that particular time or Americans involved in that particular war.  But I think quite a lot of people feel a sour taste in their mouth seeing those words joined as if to hint that there must be some ongoing relationship -- something still worthy of suspicion, such that we have to keep repeating this, no? -- between being American and 'being imperialist' even now (myself included, and I would even basically  agree we were being rather pigheaded if not imperialistic in those days!). 

     And much the same can be said about combining 'feminist' and 'Nazi'.  The two are otherwise of such different categories for the most part, it really seems to serve some kind of grinding agenda to toss them so closely together.  Is it really that much work for people to speak precisely and learn a word like 'radical' or 'separatist'?   No -- but those don't have the same ugly 'bite' to them, do they?  They don't keep people jumpy wondering: "Oh no, a feminist -- might be a Nazi."  It's just not the same aura of disgust and paranoia that can be put on sale there.  Granted maybe not everyone means the word that way, but there are enough around that do and they'll be happy to have others hear it so that when they spit it out...

Quote
Aggressive or dismissive Anti/non feminists/MRA's will use the term "Feminazi," some Feminists will use the term "Neckbeard" or "Misogynist" against anti/non Feminists or MRA's...
     I'm mixed about the term misogynist.  On one hand, there's some pretty well considered theory and ethnography about how in fact, certain sociolinguistic patterns and power institutions have encouraged a devaluing of women and even generalized disdain for them (which isn't super far from thinking "hate" when we start talking about the practical effects of such structures, repeated and spread through the years).  That's an analytical approach with some merit.  On the other hand, when it's an off the cuff presumption of structures or motives without much examination of who or what's actually going on, that's more wild shooting from the hip at the first whiff of anything untoward (when it might be just cheap cigarettes, and not a bonfire of hate troops). 

      But feminazi?  How analytical is that?  I don't think it really has a great deal of literature or research behind it to stand on.  Do you?  And it just doesn't sound like a word that has much standing in social science to me to begin with -- though to be fair, I suppose it could possibly be argued there might have been a more dignified word than misogynist maybe.  I don't know really.  There are some things, like ethnic cleansing, that aren't nice to begin with and you need a word to describe it. 

      Still, I kinda find misogynist rolls off the tongue better than feminazi.  The latter mostly sounds like malice to me (or yes at best, dismissal but I'd say rather venomous dismissal at that).  Maybe better if you say only for casual discussion...  But then, we get into this mess where things said "just jokingly" on "casual forums" are also the meat and potatoes of wishing-to-pass-as-plausible denial in particularly, Republican far right circles that talk about abortion, rape, menstrual cycles and the like.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2015, 01:09:35 PM by kylie »

Online Vergil Tanner

Re: Against that slur 'feminazi'.
« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2015, 09:57:47 AM »
And much the same can be said about combining 'feminist' and 'Nazi'.  The two are otherwise of such different categories for the most part, it really seems to serve some kind of grinding agenda to toss them so closely together.

Well....that's getting a little too into the "What's a true feminist" argument. The "moderates" would say that the radicals "aren't true feminists," and the Radicals would say the same about the Moderates. Most ordinary day-to-day feminists are moderate, true, but there are definitely feminists whose ideas and beliefs do have significant parallels to Nazism. How can you categorise a movement as "one thing" when it has so many vastly different strains? I agree that likening a moderate feminist to a Nazi is an oxymoron, but when talking about extremely militant radicals...well, that comparison is a lot easier to swallow.

Is it really that much work for people to speak precisely and learn a word like 'radical' or 'separatist'? No -- but those don't have the same ugly 'bite' to them, do they?  They don't keep people jumpy wondering: "Oh no, a feminist -- might be a Nazi."  It's just not the same aura of disgust and paranoia that can be put on sale there.

And that's not necessarily a bad thing; certain ideas and beliefs deserve to be harshly dismissed out of hand, and certain ideologies deserve to have scorn poured upon them. Nobody today that I know of honestly argues in favour of apartheid, for example, and if you entered a discussion defending it, you would be insulted and dismissed instantly, and rightly so. What's the saying? "You have to respect peoples right to hold an opinion, but you don't have to respect the opinion itself." Or something like that, anyway. Insults like "Feminazi" have their place, and I personally see its place as being a useful term to dismiss and insult a particularly poisonous chain of thought. Granted, that isn't how everybody uses it, but it has those connotations whether we like it or not, so why not use the term when those connotations are accurate and justified?


I'm mixed about the term misogynist.  On one hand, there's some pretty well considered theory and ethnography about how in fact, certain sociolinguistic patterns and power institutions have encouraged a devaluing of women and even generalized disdain for them (which isn't super far from thinking "hate" when we start talking about the practical effects of such structures, repeated and spread through the years).  That's an analytical approach with some merit.

When used in a certain context, yes...just like the term "Misandrist" is also useful. However, how analytically useful is it in the way it is most often used in common parlance, where it's used as an insult to attempt to get somebody with an opposing view to shut up out of shame? I hear "misogynist" and "misogynistic" far more often as an attempt to shame people into being quiet even though their opinions aren't actually misogynistic at all than used in an analytical way. When does a term lose its analytical merits when being used as a silencing tactic against dissenting opinions? This is the thing; we're talking about two entirely different contexts here. You're talking about from a purely analytical standpoint, but these words are used far more often in the "casual" arena than the academic one, and in the casual circle, "Misogynist" has the same kind of connotations as "Feminazi" and both are seen as either dismissive or aggressive.

But feminazi?  How analytical is that?  I don't think it really has a great deal of literature or research behind it to stand on.  Do you?

No, I don't....and why does it matter? Does every word have to have analytical value and a history of research backing it up to be useful? Do the terms - for example - "Bollocks!" or "Fucking hell!" have to have rigorous academic background for them to be useful? Of course not. Usefulness, when it comes to words, comes from a common understanding of what the words actually mean. That's the whole point behind language; an attempt at effective communication. Words have different uses for different areas, and whilst "Feminazi" tends to useless in academic circles, when we're talking about "casual" circles, "misogynist" has the same level of usefulness due to negative/inaccurate connotations.

And it just doesn't sound like a word that has much standing in social science to me to begin with -- though to be fair, I suppose it could possibly be argued there might have been a more dignified word than misogynist maybe.  I don't know really.  There are some things, like ethnic cleansing, that aren't nice to begin with and you need a word to describe it.

No, but again, it doesn't have to have standing in social science to have a use in the wider world. Words have meanings, and its how the majority of people understand those meanings that makes a word useful or not. Hell, definitions can and do change depending on how the majority of people use and interpret it. That right there should show just how fluid language can be; there are words that had huge levels of meaning and weight behind them that became useless when the meanings either changed, or the region altered. Take, for example, the word "Fag." In America, as I understand it, it's a derogatory term for a homosexual. In England, at least where I live, it's more common to hear the word being used as a slang term for a cigarette. My point is simply that a word doesn't need social science standing, for example, to be useful simply because words and meanings change and alter, and their usefulness relies on common knowledge and understanding and not how much academic weight it has.

Still, I kinda find misogynist rolls off the tongue better than feminazi.  The latter mostly sounds like malice to me (or yes at best, dismissal but I'd say rather venomous dismissal at that).

You're right, and I use it as venomous dismissal when I do use it, since some ideas deserve that treatment. But if you think "misogynist" doesn't have those connotations as well...well, in casual circles, it most certainly does. Go onto any online argument about feminism and gender equality, and I guarantee you that there will be at least ONE person hurling the word around whenever anybody disagrees with them with the same venom that some people use the word "Feminazi".

Offline Soveliss

Re: Against that slur 'feminazi'.
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2015, 10:50:54 AM »
Okay, I didn't really want to get in that debade cause I figured it would end badly for me, but screw it.

Being part of a group known for pulling fire alarms to disrupt people they disagree with might earn you a few comparisons with the Nazis. Just saying.


Online Vergil Tanner

Re: Against that slur 'feminazi'.
« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2015, 11:05:50 AM »
I heard about that, and other behaviour like it, and though I find such actions reprehensible, I still hesitate to call them "feminazi's." I mean, comparing somebody pulling a fire alarm to the constant media censorship and manipulation and the herding up and execution of "undesirables" of the Nazi regime seems a bit...heavy handed. Disproportionate, I would say. Whilst disgusting and immature, it's not quite on the level of Nazism. It's why I reserve the word for actual "Feminist" Nazi's who just replace the Jews with Men (for example).

Although, I think everybody would prefer it if this thread didn't descend into "Feminist Bashing." :P I'm going to just say it here for the record:

Wherever this thread goes, let's keep it civil, guys. :P

Offline Soveliss

Re: Against that slur 'feminazi'.
« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2015, 11:21:30 AM »
Everything gotta start somewhere. The Nazis didn't start with power of constant media censorship and executions of "undesirables", they had to work to get there. I like the boiling frog analogy. To boil a frog, you don't throw it into the boiling water. The frog will jump out. You put it in the water, then gradually turn up the heat.

Silencing dissenting voices, is only the start. The Nazis viewed the Jews as the problem. Indian and Israeli feminists are opposing laws that would define rape in a gender neutral way because supposedly, rape is something men do to women ( https://toysoldier.wordpress.com/2013/02/17/youre-not-helping-v-13/ https://toysoldier.wordpress.com/2013/03/06/a-sad-day-for-male-rape-victims-in-india/ ). How is that not seeing men as the problem?

Online Vergil Tanner

Re: Against that slur 'feminazi'.
« Reply #8 on: September 20, 2015, 11:41:33 AM »
Ugh, you're putting me in the position of having to defend these Radical Feminists, which I hate doing, but here we go.

That's the "slippery slope" fallacy; "X has happened before, therefore Y will inevitably happen again." No. It won't, necessarily. Thinking that a certain group is the problem does not necessarily lead to wanting to remove that group entirely; there are a lot of groups that view other groups as the "problem," and instead seek to "re-educate" them rather than get rid of them altogether.

There are three major issues with what you're saying:

1) The feminist movement, unlike the Nazi Party, is not a unified movement. There are thousands - probably more - of splinter groups and separate societies, most of whom oppose most of the others on at least one issue. Further, most feminists appear to agree that stories such as the one you've just linked to is nonsense and should be fought by everybody who wants equality....saying that feminists should accept the comparisons to Nazism because the right wing militants share those ideas is like saying the MRA's should accept the label of misogynists because the right wing militants have misogynistic ideas. You seem to think that all feminists are responsible for the right wing militants actions, and whilst I agree that it's up to the moderates to stand up and say "These assholes don't represent us," it also isn't fair to say that feminists "deserve" the comparisons to Nazism because of the actions of a few select individuals. I believe that's the "Guilt By Association" fallacy.

2) If you honestly think that it will ever get to the point where the right wing militant feminists actively control media and politics in such a way that makes them in any way like the Nazi's, you're....well, you're wrong. Society has changed a lot since the 30's and 40's, and especially with the advent of the internet, complete censorship and manipulation of the media is nigh on impossible. A few states have managed to do it, but it's getting more and more difficult every year and especially in the West where laws have to go through years of hoop-jumping to get passed, such measures are unlikely to ever get through again.

3) As I mentioned above: The Slippery Slope fallacy. Yes, a group that saw a specific other group as the problem has, in the past, sought to eradicate that group. So what? Asserting that the same will happen with the feminist movement isn't an argument, it's just an assertion. Where's your evidence that that is where it's heading?

See, feminism is a movement, yes, but it doesn't have the ultimate authority that the Nazi Party had, and probably never will due to the technological age that we live in. The simple fact that that specific group got caught doing that nonsense and got raked over the coals for it should give you an indication that people are not about to let that sorta thing happen again. Furthermore, don't you think it's unfair to accuse people of wanting to do something BEFORE they've even said that they're gonna do it? You seem to be suggesting that because they tried to censor this groups ideas, that means they're going to attempt to impose their ideas on everybody and try and "get rid of" a group they see as the problem. That's a HUGE leap of logic to make, such that I don't even think it's logical to go there.

This goes back to my initial point:

You seem to be happy to paint all feminists with the same brush, saying that they "deserve" the label of "feminazi." That's nonsense, simply because those militant Feminists ARE in the minority, and will likely never have that much political power, especially as "womens issues" become less and less prominent.
I guess my point is, call feminists who actually DO express tyrannical, fascist ideas Feminazi's, but don't pull it out against ALL feminists, because then YOU look like the ignorant, hateful moron. And I'm not saying you ARE an ignorant, hateful moron, I'm just saying that labelling all feminists as deserving of a hateful label regardless of whether they hold those specific ideas or not makes you LOOK that way.

I'm not a big fan of Third Wave Feminism. I actively oppose it in many ways, such as the stories you linked above.

I do, however, believe in being fair to all parties of a debate/argument, and ONE member of a small society that is itself only a very small splinter group of a larger, largely disorganised, un-unified movement pulling a fire alarm to break up a meeting is HARDLY on the level of book burnings and rounding people up and shipping them off to less-than-ideal summer camps.

Don't get me wrong, there are definitely Feminist groups deserving of the label of "Feminazi," I just object to you apparently suggesting that all feminists "deserve" the label, regardless of whether or not they agree with those militants.
My overall point is: Use that term to refer to SPECIFIC feminists and feminist groups, NOT the movement as a whole, because then you just look like a jackass. AGAIN: I am NOT calling you a Jackass. I'm just saying that that is how a lot of people will see you if you use that broad a brush on a large, amorphous entity as varied as modern feminism has become.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2015, 11:43:47 AM by Vergil Tanner »

Offline Blythe

Re: Against that slur 'feminazi'.
« Reply #9 on: September 20, 2015, 12:22:57 PM »
My two cents: Personally, I don't use the term 'feminazi.' Sounds silly to me. Radical feminists (especially those of the trans* exclusionary variety) roughly qualify as cisfemale supremacists, and that's the term I'd use, as I'd view it as more accurate. Trying to tie that group in terms of connotation to nazis is just weird to me. Not every bad group = nazis. I find it incredibly dismissive of the actual plight the Jewish people faced to simply try to blanket-term an extreme fringe pseudo-political group as 'nazis' of another stripe. Plus, the term was popularized by Rush Limbaugh; I don't want to use terms he deems accurate, as I hate that guy and find his viewpoints to be intensely skewed or warped on a great many topics. I try rather hard not to use pop-terms Limbaugh likes.

The grand majority of feminists I've met are not this way, and the term 'feminazi' is used to shame them, tar-and-feather them, and silence active discussion about issues important to them and important to women in general. The grand majority of feminists are good people who want to talk about important women's issues.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2015, 12:30:38 PM by Sherlock »

Online Vergil Tanner

Re: Against that slur 'feminazi'.
« Reply #10 on: September 20, 2015, 12:31:48 PM »
Which is pretty much exactly why I only use it to describe radical feminist strains that actually do have ideas and beliefs that are comparable to Nazi's (again, see my example of certain groups wanting to put males into breeding and work camps; they're rare, but they do exist). I agree that "cisfemale supremacist" is technically more accurate, but it doesn't have the same bite of venomous scorn that "Feminazi" does...and honestly, if a group or individual holds opinions that I feel make them comparable to neonazi's, I feel they deserve the scorn. XD
As for the origin, I don't much care where the word came from; the inventor of the word doesn't really have much of an impact on the actual word itself. The inventor of the GIF asserts that it's supposed to be pronounced "JIF," but....well, nobody I know pronounces it that way. Similarly, Richard Dawkins coined the term "Meme," and I don't think there are many Christians who refuse to use the word solely because Dawkins coined it. XD But that's your prerogative; I just don't personally really care where the word came from. If it's a useful word for something, I'll use it. XD

Offline Blythe

Re: Against that slur 'feminazi'.
« Reply #11 on: September 20, 2015, 12:47:24 PM »
Normally, the origin of a term isn't too important to me, but Limbaugh is a public figure who has shaped, continued to shape, and charged the word with his continued use to conservative audiences.

That being said TERFs (trans* exclusionary radical feminists) do deserve some scorn for their ill-treatment of cismen, transwomen and transmen, and frankly ciswomen who happen to disagree with them.

I prefer cisfemale supremacist or TERF for accuracy mostly, and because those terms are less likely to poison the well against average feminists who are just trying to have their voices heard. And plus those terms are less likely to be used as ad-hominem attacks.

Personally, I see myself as a feminist, someone to whom women's issues and gender equality are important, not someone touting superiority of any one group.

Overall, though, Vergil, I don't necessarily think we disagree in outlook if you mostly agreed with my post, perhaps just a disagreement in application, and that's okay by me. Thanks for the reply!  :-)
« Last Edit: September 20, 2015, 12:52:30 PM by Sherlock »

Offline kylieTopic starter

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Re: Against that slur 'feminazi'.
« Reply #12 on: September 20, 2015, 12:47:39 PM »
Quote from: Vergil Tanner
Well....that's getting a little too into the "What's a true feminist" argument. The "moderates" would say that the radicals "aren't true feminists," and the Radicals would say the same about the Moderates. Most ordinary day-to-day feminists are moderate, true, but there are definitely feminists whose ideas and beliefs do have significant parallels to Nazism.
      That may be so, but we don't all agree that the best way to deal with other factions is to trot out  a term that's also been used quite brazenly and widely by anti-feminists against the moderates (among others).  And I believe you did say you found the moderates to be the majority.  It would be giving currency to a word that's most widely known for unsupported and rather unjustified attacks. 

      Perhaps there's some debate there about reclaiming versus discarding an ugly word, but I'm not sure it's really worth 'reclaiming' something that one never found much common ground with.  It's one thing to reclaim 'bitch' or 'slut' if these are words tossed at all women as a group to some effect and they're pretty silly words by now for sheer daily frequency --- it's another thing to speak of 'repurposing' a word that has been primarily or mostly used in anger, and by a rather small but vocal faction of opposition in very many if not (or is it?!) most cases, and against moderates or even as a form of verbal intimidation against bystanders getting involved.

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How can you categorise a movement as "one thing" when it has so many vastly different strains? I agree that likening a moderate feminist to a Nazi is an oxymoron, but when talking about extremely militant radicals...well, that comparison is a lot easier to swallow.  And that's not necessarily a bad thing; certain ideas and beliefs deserve to be harshly dismissed out of hand, and certain ideologies deserve to have scorn poured upon them.
     I dunno.  Makes more sense to me to call piggish just that.  You don't need to confuse things, and also risk appearing part of the very real throng of piggish naysayers also using that same word, by picking up the one that sounds more like "piggish because feminist" or "imperialist because American" or the like.

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Nobody today that I know of honestly argues in favour of apartheid, for example, and if you entered a discussion defending it, you would be insulted and dismissed instantly, and rightly so.
       Nobody?  I wonder, if you look closely at some of the Republican speeches or certain politicians who have been gaining a touch of ground in Central Europe the last few years?  It also depends if you mean argues explicitly, or for policies that if actually passable would amount to more or less effectively the same thing.  But anyhow...

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What's the saying? "You have to respect peoples right to hold an opinion, but you don't have to respect the opinion itself." Or something like that, anyway. Insults like "Feminazi" have their place, and I personally see its place as being a useful term to dismiss and insult a particularly poisonous chain of thought. Granted, that isn't how everybody uses it, but it has those connotations whether we like it or not, so why not use the term when those connotations are accurate and justified?
       Mainly because once you have admitted most feminists aren't deserving of the attack simply for being feminists (i.e. it is by and large a useful school of thought with much more to offer, even if a few jump off to some ridiculous corners with their applications and conclusions)...  Then you're inviting a great deal of confusion, because so many times as the article relates, the term is used to attack people who don't deserve it.  If you have to turn around to half the crowd who starts attacking you now on the assumption you're really piggish and explain you really mean to emphasize only something (and then perhaps, something not always so obvious for the situation from the word itself?) in the second half of the word but you didn't mean to claim that it was necessarily involved with the first half, well that's more than a bit messy.

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When used in a certain context, yes...just like the term "Misandrist" is also useful. However, how analytically useful is it in the way it is most often used in common parlance, where it's used as an insult to attempt to get somebody with an opposing view to shut up out of shame? I hear "misogynist" and "misogynistic" far more often as an attempt to shame people into being quiet even though their opinions aren't actually misogynistic at all than used in an analytical way.
      Maybe we're just hanging out in different places, or listening for different things.  I do think quite a few feminists in casual discussion have taken to using 'misogynist' too much by reflex when asssuming there 'must be something awful behind what's going on there,' rather than bothering to lay out the process they're vaguely imagining.  And sure, there's a touch of attempted shame factor in there someplace...  But if you don't like those cases, shouldn't you at least be more concerned about "feminazi" being overused for rather directly nasty purposes, as well? 

      There are also quite a few cases where things like 'feminazi' are followed by rape and death threats and so on -- I'm doubtful whether there's really an equal level of explicit and individually targeted threat generally chasing after the 'misogyny' talk.  There is probably some degree of runaway institutionalization, where things like jobs get investigated or sometimes abruptly bumped off, but that's at least (formally speaking) initially premised on some honestly assumed pursuit of equality.   

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When does a term lose its analytical merits when being used as a silencing tactic against dissenting opinions? This is the thing; we're talking about two entirely different contexts here. You're talking about from a purely analytical standpoint, but these words are used far more often in the "casual" arena than the academic one, and in the casual circle, "Misogynist" has the same kind of connotations as "Feminazi" and both are seen as either dismissive or aggressive.
      Well, I've spent a lot of my life in academics so what can I say.  You could better explore that with someone who's done closer to half their years in each?  I've rarely if ever heard feminazi used seriously in academia, though who knows by now.  Whereas misogyny is taken rather more seriously and is in a lot of writing, both solid and otherwise.  Personally, most of the times I've heard feminazi have been more recently, and pretty often by people who I thought were trying to brush away rather substantial concerns with little good support of their own. 

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No, I don't....and why does it matter? Does every word have to have analytical value and a history of research backing it up to be useful? Do the terms - for example - "Bollocks!" or "Fucking hell!" have to have rigorous academic background for them to be useful? Of course not. Usefulness, when it comes to words, comes from a common understanding of what the words actually mean.
      And the common understanding among many feminists if not indeed most, is 'feminazi' marks a distaste for feminism more generally and a desire to attack their school rather than the substance of what they said.  If you haven't actually noticed  so many cases of it yourself, you could take the examples in the article for starters.

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That's the whole point behind language; an attempt at effective communication. Words have different uses for different areas, and whilst "Feminazi" tends to useless in academic circles, when we're talking about "casual" circles, "misogynist" has the same level of usefulness due to negative/inaccurate connotations.
       Sounds kind of (?) like you're at least agreeing that  'feminazi' is at least rather pointless in a reasoned debate situation (at least, until you want to say 'forget all that' quite vehemently).

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No, but again, it doesn't have to have standing in social science to have a use in the wider world. Words have meanings, and its how the majority of people understand those meanings that makes a word useful or not. Hell, definitions can and do change depending on how the majority of people use and interpret it. That right there should show just how fluid language can be; there are words that had huge levels of meaning and weight behind them that became useless when the meanings either changed, or the region altered.
      I'm not trying to make "rules" for individual words.  I'm saying I think this is a good case for questioning, even ridiculing, how people have often been using this particular word in debate -- here, now, lately.  Whether tossing it around "just casually" left and right while that is so often happening in an environment where some parties are working very hard to deny women equal rights is going to help change the word in some really "useful way"....  Umm, I'm pretty skeptical.  But I am foremost talking about these forums and how I sense it being used a lot when I've noticed it more.  I could just be hypersensitive to those usages, and if so fine.  Against those usages.   

      But now that you've raised the question this way, there really is quite some danger of puffing up the word so much by frequent "casual" use that the nasty uses become a more common shared belief about how the world works.  That is the sort of thing that the Republican candidates appear to be aiming for when they talk about women "enjoying" rape or being "able to control" who they are pregnant with and the like, and then insist it was all some sort of informal joke and "regret that their intentions were misinterpreted" after the fact.  Now sure 'feminazi' isn't quite that necessarily nasty and people may somewhat more often misinterpret how it's intended, but it's starting to get up there on my ladder of shared and overlapping likely interpretations.  At least, the way I understand the society to be pushing the word around today.  Your corner might be giving you different information.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2015, 12:52:30 PM by kylie »

Online Vergil Tanner

Re: Against that slur 'feminazi'.
« Reply #13 on: September 20, 2015, 02:01:12 PM »
Sherlock:

Normally, the origin of a term isn't too important to me, but Limbaugh is a public figure who has shaped, continued to shape, and charged the word with his continued use to conservative audiences.

Eh, Limbaugh isn't of particular interest to me. It might just be that I live in the south of England, but I only vaguely know who he is in the first place. XD

I prefer cisfemale supremacist or TERF for accuracy mostly, and because those terms are less likely to poison the well against average feminists who are just trying to have their voices heard. And plus those terms are less likely to be used as ad-hominem attacks.

Eh, I don't necessarily use Feminazi as a ad-hominem attack; saying "This is how I define Feminazi, and you fit the description" isn't the same as saying "You're a bad word so you're wrong." But that's just semantics, haha.

Personally, I see myself as a feminist, someone to whom women's issues and gender equality are important, not someone touting superiority of any one group.

Then I think I would agree with you on a large majority of things, I just don't personally identify as a feminist for a variety of reasons. But in the end, labels are only so important...what's more important is getting everybody who wants to have a discussion around a table to have that civil discussion...leave the militants and the radicals outside screaming at each other, and invite the moderate Feminists, the moderate MRA's and the moderate Egalitarians/Humanists together to start making a list of "shit that needs to change." I mean, all genders and sexes have issues, and it's only when we stop screaming about "MY ISSUES ARE WORSE!" and actually start going "ok, so, how do we fix these issues?" that we're actually going to start making any headway. And for fucks sake, can we as a species stop getting overly offended by bullshit that doesn't actually matter for just one week? Please? XD


Kylie:

 
That may be so, but we don't all agree that the best way to deal with other factions is to trot out  a term that's also been used quite brazenly and widely by anti-feminists against the moderates (among others).  And I believe you did say you found the moderates to be the majority.  It would be giving currency to a word that's most widely known for unsupported and rather unjustified attacks.

I agree completely, which is why I always make certain to qualify what I mean when I say it. There is use in that word, I just think we need to fight to get it :P
Of course, moderates might be the rule rather than the exception, but there is still a depressing level of idiotic ideas even within the moderate circle....or, at the very least, moderates tend to elect more radical individuals. The president of the feminist society at my old university, for example, once told me to my face that women couldn't be sexist against men, and men were physically incapable of being raped by a female. I was like.... "that's....so stupid I think you gave me cancer." So even though moderates are more common...there are still poisonous ideas floating around even in moderate circles that need to be stamped down on hard.

 
Perhaps there's some debate there about reclaiming versus discarding an ugly word, but I'm not sure it's really worth 'reclaiming' something that one never found much common ground with.  It's one thing to reclaim 'bitch' or 'slut' if these are words tossed at all women as a group to some effect and they're pretty silly words by now for sheer daily frequency --- it's another thing to speak of 'repurposing' a word that has been primarily or mostly used in anger, and by a rather small but vocal faction of opposition in very many if not (or is it?!) most cases, and against moderates or even as a form of verbal intimidation against bystanders getting involved.

But the only difference with that is the age of the word; back when they were first coined against women, do you think they were compliments? Hell no. They were pretty much the equivalent of "Feminazi" back when they were coined, but every day use rendered them largely harmless in the grand scheme of things. Hell, I know people who are proud to be sluts...and to be fair, what is a slut or a manwhore but somebody who is just very popular with their preferred "type" of sexual partners? XD I'd love to be popular enough to be a slut. It would mean I had a LOT more fun with my "equipment" than I'm currently having. XD XD

 
I dunno.  Makes more sense to me to call piggish just that.  You don't need to confuse things, and also risk appearing part of the very real throng of piggish naysayers also using that same word, by picking up the one that sounds more like "piggish because feminist" or "imperialist because American" or the like.

Well, again, I take pains to make certain people understand what I mean. I mean, if I set up my terms ahead of time, well...I can just point at it and say "you obviously didn't read all of what I said." And if people are gonna quotemine me to make me look bad, they were gonna do that anyway, and at least then they're going for the target that I can easily refute just by pointing at the previous paragraph rather than have to explain in depth what I actually meant. People are gonna quote mine regardless of what you actually say, so there's no point worrying about it.


Nobody?  I wonder, if you look closely at some of the Republican speeches or certain politicians who have been gaining a touch of ground in Central Europe the last few years?  It also depends if you mean argues explicitly, or for policies that if actually passable would amount to more or less effectively the same thing.  But anyhow...

I said that nobody could do it and be taken seriously, and though I'm sure there are Republicans who try - remember, English Liberal here, so I don't really give enough of a shit to follow most Republicans XD - they're only taken seriously by their specific demographic and will likely NEVER get elected into a position like president of the USA, and are largely seen as laughing stocks by the rest of the Western World. Nobody outside of the USA really takes Donald Trump seriously as a candidate for the US Presidency, for example. XD

 
Mainly because once you have admitted most feminists aren't deserving of the attack simply for being feminists (i.e. it is by and large a useful school of thought with much more to offer, even if a few jump off to some ridiculous corners with their applications and conclusions)...  Then you're inviting a great deal of confusion, because so many times as the article relates, the term is used to attack people who don't deserve it.  If you have to turn around to half the crowd who starts attacking you now on the assumption you're really piggish and explain you really mean to emphasize only something (and then perhaps, something not always so obvious for the situation from the word itself?) in the second half of the word but you didn't mean to claim that it was necessarily involved with the first half, well that's more than a bit messy.

Again, I just define my terms ahead of time and if this crowd behind me is too pigheaded to accept my explanation and definition, then they're not the kinds of people I want standing behind me anyway. *shrug*


 
Maybe we're just hanging out in different places, or listening for different things.  I do think quite a few feminists in casual discussion have taken to using 'misogynist' too much by reflex when asssuming there 'must be something awful behind what's going on there,' rather than bothering to lay out the process they're vaguely imagining.  And sure, there's a touch of attempted shame factor in there someplace...  But if you don't like those cases, shouldn't you at least be more concerned about "feminazi" being overused for rather directly nasty purposes, as well? 

It's about the same, for me. People who seriously use Feminazi to put down all Feminists, regardless of their moderate status or not, are rarely worth listening to anyway, in much the same way that feminists who try to shame people using "Misogynist!" are not worth listening to. There's definitely a risk of "Feminazi" being overused and whatnot, but if I define what I mean ahead of time...well, it's a short, sharp, punchy label that has a certain type of useful negative connotations. I'll rarely use it myself, but I don't think the word should be discarded...just better utilised against people who actually deserve the label.


 
There are also quite a few cases where things like 'feminazi' are followed by rape and death threats and so on -- I'm doubtful whether there's really an equal level of explicit and individually targeted threat generally chasing after the 'misogyny' talk.  There is probably some degree of runaway institutionalization, where things like jobs get investigated or sometimes abruptly bumped off, but that's at least (formally speaking) initially premised on some honestly assumed pursuit of equality.

Ok, let's nip this in the bud.
We ALL should hopefully know by now that something like 95% of death and rape threats are utter bullshit. I can't find the statistics now, but I recall an FBI assessment that only a vast minority of such threats were actually deemed credible. Barack Obama has something like 30 death threats a DAY, and how many people have tried to assassinate him (that we know of)? None. Let's be honest, here; most of it is people sending empty intimidation attempts, overreacting to a piece of news, venting their anger or just trolling. If you want to kill somebody, DON'T WARN THEM. How many murderers actually warn their victim ahead of time? Not many, I'd wager.
Here's the thing; SO MANY online personalities of all stripes use death threats to wave in front of the media for headlines and clicks, but only a tiny fraction of them are actually genuine threats. How many people who have been threatened with death have actually been attacked by the person who sent that threat? yeah, that's what I thought.
You can say all you want about threats, but accusations of misogyny and sexism - regardless of whether it's there or not - actually do more often than not lead to at least the persons job and social life being put at risk, if not outright ruined. For me, actually ruining somebodies work or home life is far worse than an anonymous person on the internet tweeting "go die" at you. And let's be brutally honest; most online threats stop there.


 
Well, I've spent a lot of my life in academics so what can I say.  You could better explore that with someone who's done closer to half their years in each?  I've rarely if ever heard feminazi used seriously in academia, though who knows by now.  Whereas misogyny is taken rather more seriously and is in a lot of writing, both solid and otherwise.  Personally, most of the times I've heard feminazi have been more recently, and pretty often by people who I thought were trying to brush away rather substantial concerns with little good support of their own.

So have I. I'm just saying that comparing a word that is commonly only used in casual conversation to a words usage in academia is....well, it's a bad comparison, simply because one is meant to be used in academia and is also used in casual conversation, and the other is ONLY meant to be used in specific "casual" circumstances.

 
And the common understanding among many feminists if not indeed most, is 'feminazi' marks a distaste for feminism more generally and a desire to attack their school rather than the substance of what they said.  If you haven't actually noticed  so many cases of it yourself, you could take the examples in the article for starters.

Which is why I only ever really use it to insult a particular type of Feminist who I know is unlikely to ever really listen to what I'm saying. It's a way to, as you say, say "Fuck this, I give up, have fun being a fruitcake."


 
Sounds kind of (?) like you're at least agreeing that  'feminazi' is at least rather pointless in a reasoned debate situation (at least, until you want to say 'forget all that' quite vehemently).

Most of the time, though it depends on the context, company and nature of the debate; if you define it before you start, "Feminazi" can be used in the debate dialogue, though probably only as a descriptor rather than an attack. Say, for example, you define Feminazi as "An individual who holds militantly radical female supremacist ideals at the express expense of males." Then you could use it in that debate as a descriptor since you've pre-defined it. But most of the time, if you're just using it as an "attack," then it has about as much place in a debate as a screaming infant.
 

 
I'm not trying to make "rules" for individual words.  I'm saying I think this is a good case for questioning, even ridiculing, how people have often been using this particular word in debate -- here, now, lately.  Whether tossing it around "just casually" left and right while that is so often happening in an environment where some parties are working very hard to deny women equal rights is going to help change the word in some really "useful way"....  Umm, I'm pretty skeptical.  But I am foremost talking about these forums and how I sense it being used a lot when I've noticed it more.  I could just be hypersensitive to those usages, and if so fine.  Against those usages.

Eh, I tend to try and ignore words that I dislike and focus on the heart of what they're saying. If they say something stupid, I'll call them out on it, and I'll TRY to avoid attacking them...but as I said, I will use Feminazi if I think it's an accurate descriptor, and make certain to specify what I mean by the term somewhere in my footnotes. XD   


 
But now that you've raised the question this way, there really is quite some danger of puffing up the word so much by frequent "casual" use that the nasty uses become a more common shared belief about how the world works.  That is the sort of thing that the Republican candidates appear to be aiming for when they talk about women "enjoying" rape or being "able to control" who they are pregnant with and the like, and then insist it was all some sort of informal joke and "regret that their intentions were misinterpreted" after the fact.  Now sure 'feminazi' isn't quite that necessarily nasty and people may somewhat more often misinterpret how it's intended, but it's starting to get up there on my ladder of shared and overlapping likely interpretations.  At least, the way I understand the society to be pushing the word around today.  Your corner might be giving you different information.

There's a cure for that; specify what you mean as much as possible, if you're worried about being misconstrued, and if they misunderstand you, just specify what you meant. If they don't "let" you, they aren't worth talking to anyway. XD

Offline Blythe

Re: Against that slur 'feminazi'.
« Reply #14 on: September 20, 2015, 02:05:06 PM »
We ALL should hopefully know by now that something like 95% of death and rape threats are utter bullshit. I can't find the statistics now, but I recall an FBI assessment that only a vast minority of such threats were actually deemed credible.

Would really rather see a source on this rather than take it at face value. When was that statistic published and how was it assessed? >_>

Online Vergil Tanner

Re: Against that slur 'feminazi'.
« Reply #15 on: September 20, 2015, 02:08:29 PM »
Well, the 95% was pulled out of thin air. I'm trying to find the statistics now, but I do know that the vast majority of online death threats are deemed "non credible" by the authorities. Just need to find that damn statistic now, though. >.>

However, I do think it should be obvious that the majority of death threats are empty, simply from the amount of threats get issued over online mediums EVERY DAY....if every single one of them was viable, there would be no people left on Earth left alive and out of prison. XD


EDIT:

I can't find the damn thing, unfortunately. However, I stand by my point; the vast majority of death threats are empty. There are serious ones, of course, but most of them - especially those made online - are bullshit. We should all have been on the internet long enough to know that most online threats are just empty bluster or poor attempts at trolling. *shrug*
« Last Edit: September 20, 2015, 02:18:44 PM by Vergil Tanner »

Offline Blythe

Re: Against that slur 'feminazi'.
« Reply #16 on: September 20, 2015, 02:17:53 PM »
Well, the 95% was pulled out of thin air. I'm trying to find the statistics now, but I do know that the vast majority of online death threats are deemed "non credible" by the authorities. Just need to find that damn statistic now, though. >.>

The reason I'd like to see the source is because I'm hoping that it'll quantify how they were deemed 'non-credible' and when they discovered that statistic; it's possible that statistic is not accurate or that there may be disagreement on the criteria they used for that specific statistic, particularly if any criteria have changed over time.

Just not entirely cozy with numbers being pulled out of the air for something quite that serious, particularly when that number is so high. But it's also a bit of a tangent and slight derail from specifically discussing the word 'feminazi', so if you ever find the source, you can just PM it to me?

Online Vergil Tanner

Re: Against that slur 'feminazi'.
« Reply #17 on: September 20, 2015, 02:20:38 PM »
I'll try and find it, and if I do I'll PM it to you, but the 95% was just a bit of hyperbole to illustrate how rare it actually is for these things to be followed up on. You don't even need the statistics on "credible" threats; how many attempted murders have been traced back to a specific death threat? Not many. Most competent murderers don't warn their victims. :P

The point I was trying to make was just that the majority of death threats aren't worth worrying about because it's EXTREMELY unlikely that anything will actually ever come out of it.

Offline kylieTopic starter

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Re: Against that slur 'feminazi'.
« Reply #18 on: September 21, 2015, 07:30:06 AM »
      Threats are still harassment, particularly if they're specific in showing how much they know about a person and appearing to demonstrate at least some abstract capability -- notice the article (which you don't ever talk about very much) mentions "very specific" threats.  Part of the point of threats is to make women feel their options are limited, and when you're physically limited already and often pretty financially limited (take Zoe Quinn) but you have a complaint to air, that is a serious problem for civil discourse and personal well-being. 

      You can say everyone "could" better be Rambo and ignore it, but that's sort of demanding that everyone fight as banally as (more typically) the worst anti-feminists, which would be a sort of handicap of its own to equality and approaching real gender options.  If indeed threats don't lead to any physical action.  It also doesn't take actual death or rape.  A little stalking and vandalism over enough iterations, for instance, could go a long way to upset someone...  And here you're apparently okay with people just stirring the pot with however many expressions of interest in someone's graphic loss, that I have to wonder if lesser psychological or maybe physical trolls aren't just swarming around feeding on the notion that the environment is ripe for those and they can always say, nah just kidding of course this never does any real harm.  ::) 
« Last Edit: September 21, 2015, 07:32:20 AM by kylie »

Online Vergil Tanner

Re: Against that slur 'feminazi'.
« Reply #19 on: September 21, 2015, 08:03:34 AM »
I have no idea where you got the idea that I don't think threats are bad...and I'm sorry if that's not what you meant, but it's what I took away from that.

Let me be clear, here.

Threats = bad. Doesn't matter if they're empty or not, they're still bad. I categorically condemn harassment, even if I dislike the people being harassed. As much as I despise people like Zoe Quinn and Anita Sarkeesian, I despise the people who threaten and harass them even more.

My point, however, was that since online threats and whatnot rarely ever escalate to actual physical harm (let's be honest, if even HALF the threats that Sarkeesian got were genuine, the people wanting to try and kill her would probably need to organise some kind of queue.), I see "real world face to face" threats of all kinds as "worse," since they more often escalate. I mean, there are people who lose their jobs or at least get disciplined because they did something that militant feminists dislike and they got a shitstorm of hate directed at them. Death and rape threats don't hold that level of "real world" power. They're just as upsetting and just as reprehensible, of course, but nobody that I know of has ever lost their job or been disciplined at their job because people called in threatening to kill them.

And I'm not saying "ignore the threats." I'm saying "Ignore the militant assholes and focus on the people who actually want a discussion." But you know what? I'm gonna make myself kind of unpopular here. Should people largely ignore online threats?

YES.

They're ONLINE THREATS. Anybody with a keyboard and your email address or your Twitter handle can send a threat, ok? If it's just "Bitch, somebody should rape you and I hope it's me!" ignore the asshole. Block them, report them and then move on. If they send pictures of your house or your address or call your actual home or mobile number, then of COURSE take it seriously and alert the police and take necessary steps. But getting into a tizzy because somebody on Twitter said a mean thing to you? Come on. I know threats and insults aren't nice and will always hurt a little, but grow a bit of a thicker skin. We've all been through education, and I can guarantee that we've all been insulted and picked on by somebody at some time.


"And here you're apparently okay with people just stirring the pot with however many expressions of interest in someone's graphic loss,"


I have absolutely NO idea what you mean by this.


So let me put it this way:

Threats are bad (Mmkay). Harassment is bad. I never said that they never do harm, just that online threats rarely escalate into real-world violence. Personally speaking, if I genuinely want to kill or harm somebody, the last thing I'm gonna do is send them ample warning...but that's just me. :P
Anyway, I condemn both viciously. However, I also advocate being an adult and knowing when not to take things too seriously. If a group of people on Twitter start tweeting "I'm gonna come kill you" I'll go "huh. That's not very nice." And then move on, because it's Twitter. I don't give a shit what 99% of the people on Twitter think or say, and I certainly don't put any stock in what they say.

Long story short is this: I condemn harassment and I think it's an issue that NEEDS to be addressed. However, acting like EVERY or even MOST online threats are credible, serious threats is ridiculous, and acting like it ONLY happens to a specific type of person is stupid. Get ANY level of fame WHATSOEVER, and there will be people willing and able to send you threats or nasty messages.

Every celebrity, politician and public figure gets hatemail. Acting like it's unique to a certain demographic is just silly. *shrug* Online threats are bad, but the vast majority of them are just empty bluster from people hiding being anonymity.

It isn't JUST women, Kylie. Everybody who is even vaguely famous or does something controversial gets these messages. I get that the focus of this thread is primarily feminism, but come on. I really dislike this rhetoric that tries to make out like women are specifically targeted above all others. In some areas, yes, of course. But it isn't like ONLY women get these messages. I mean, come on. You can't honestly think that hatemail is unique to women, can you?
« Last Edit: September 21, 2015, 08:05:45 AM by Vergil Tanner »

Offline kylieTopic starter

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Re: Against that slur 'feminazi'.
« Reply #20 on: September 21, 2015, 10:25:26 PM »
      I don't believe when the article says people are receiving "detailed" threats, it's as simple as only people saying "I'm gonna come kill you."

      I don't think hatemail is only ever directed at men, no.  But I do suspect it's proportionately more often directed at women, and often for bringing up legitimate grievances.

Offline Sethala

Re: Against that slur 'feminazi'.
« Reply #21 on: September 21, 2015, 10:39:34 PM »
      I don't think hatemail is only ever directed at men, no.  But I do suspect it's proportionately more often directed at women, and often for bringing up legitimate grievances.

Eh, anecdotal evidence from a handful of youtubers make me doubt that it's proportionately more directed at women.  Would definitely love to see some studies of that.

Offline Aethereal

Re: Against that slur 'feminazi'.
« Reply #22 on: September 21, 2015, 11:08:51 PM »
Quote
Eh, anecdotal evidence from a handful of youtubers make me doubt that it's proportionately more directed at women.  Would definitely love to see some studies of that.
        Same.

Offline kylieTopic starter

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Re: Against that slur 'feminazi'.
« Reply #23 on: September 21, 2015, 11:45:44 PM »
      Probably not posting much in the way of studies without 1) some new internet settings allowing more sites, which are taking ridiculously long to get here in China this time around and 2) possibly some paid access to serious university databases which I don't have (do you? then you could try them).

      More broadly speaking though, I'm not very comfortable with this business of racing to the bottom.  I don't want to ban words wholesale, but I also don't believe that it always makes sense to be tossing up arbitrary definitions of one's own left and right and expecting people who are engaged in a much wider conversation to understand it when you're taking up words that many people have already been dragging through the mud for volumes an volumes in a particular direction.  Sure there's some grey space there, but I don't see it being worthwhile here and now with this one. 

     I'm also thinking that the way the article describes 'feminazi' being used is very much in tune with how I often read it being used, sometimes here and sometimes in other comments boards.  People start off purporting to have a serious discussion about a serious problem (it may not be in a university, but it is not a merely 'casual for the heck of it' conversation between familiar people either) and once some people with rather little to say about women's issues want to brush them away, they also shout 'feminazi' whenever they feel those who are concerned that anything's wrong with the status quo, are coming on too strong. 

      As far as the proportion of mail, it may depend what mail you're talking about exactly and where, but my general understanding is that medically designated men spend much more time online on average to begin with, and that they tend to be more invested in the idea of umm, "Just man up and take it and if you don't like it ignore it," and they also tend much more often to toss around more violent language and worry about proving who's tougher.  In the face of all that, it's hard to imagine that women are sending more hate mail or at least, sending more (or even, similar volumes of) violent invective online.  However one would accurately measure all of that.

      And Vergil you're going off on a lot of generalizations that don't really necessarily involve the article, but only the idea that someone might dislike the term very generally.  You seem to be implying more in effect, if women ever speak too roughly or imprecisely, then they can't complain -- again in effect, everyone should either "man up" or ignore it whenever others don't listen and agree enough.   I dunno maybe according to that logic, perhaps everyone should just put up "context" fences around every post (we started out talking about abuse and harassment, but this is just an informal post of mine don't argue if I say someone should be raped for being a feminazi --- what???).  Perhaps that would mean that practically, people would have reasons to go on and do it all the time just in equal nastiness.  Or else be forced to read each other's definition footnotes wherever someone tries to co-opt a word when generally the "good ol' boy" and "homeboy/bro" and to an extent "men's rights" movements have already butchered it. 

     You have a certain logic about staking out individual positions to nuance it, but I can't buy it much as prescriptions or as a serious answer to the situations that I feel are really affecting people, which the article spells out -- but you don't seem to be very concerned with addressing that linguistic process in any detail, as it's been discussed there.  Instead, you're trying to fence it off as some isolated "context" that only affects a few somehow unduly vulnerable people.  But it's not that rare in my experience...  Unless maybe, you don't care as much about the sort of issues where it tends to come up to begin with.  Finally, the whole claim that 'women are doing something equally bad' and you've had to compare harassment to employer procedings to get that far, now even if true -- which I somewhat doubt makes sense across the population given the institutions the West has (just one example: millions of women get paid less every day -- how often does a guy get unreasonably fired for sexism alone?)...  Even if I did buy it, that wouldn't really make it much better in my eyes.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2015, 11:57:16 PM by kylie »

Online Vergil Tanner

Re: Against that slur 'feminazi'.
« Reply #24 on: September 22, 2015, 05:12:36 AM »
More broadly speaking though, I'm not very comfortable with this business of racing to the bottom.  I don't want to ban words wholesale, but I also don't believe that it always makes sense to be tossing up arbitrary definitions of one's own left and right and expecting people who are engaged in a much wider conversation to understand it when you're taking up words that many people have already been dragging through the mud for volumes an volumes in a particular direction.  Sure there's some grey space there, but I don't see it being worthwhile here and now with this one.

Which is why I rarely use it, and when I do, I make certain to clarify what I mean by it. It tends to preemptively stop most misunderstandings. :P


As far as the proportion of mail, it may depend what mail you're talking about exactly and where, but my general understanding is that medically designated men spend much more time online on average to begin with, and that they tend to be more invested in the idea of umm, "Just man up and take it and if you don't like it ignore it," and they also tend much more often to toss around more violent language and worry about proving who's tougher.

Citation please. :P :P

In the face of all that, it's hard to imagine that women are sending more hate mail or at least, sending more (or even, similar volumes of) violent invective online.  However one would accurately measure all of that.

So you're suggesting that not only do women receive more hatemail, but more of it is sent by men? Again, citation needed. It depends on where you're looking, for one; I seem to recall that the majority of the hatemail that Matt Taylor got for his shirt was sent by females. Also, I would argue that the people who get the most consistent levels of hatemail are prominent politicians...and at the moment, most of them are male. So it depends where you look and who you look at. I don't have any studies to hand, but I would imagine that when looking over the entirety of hatemail and hatemail "victims," it would be relatively even.

ALSO, I'm gonna call poppycock on that whole "Men are more prone to violent language!" I'm gonna need to see some statistics before I swallow that stereotype.

And Vergil you're going off on a lot of generalizations that don't really necessarily involve the article, but only the idea that someone might dislike the term very generally.

Yeah, because I don't overly care about the article. I only popped in originally to chime in about how I use the term.

You seem to be implying more in effect, if women ever speak too roughly or imprecisely, then they can't complain -- again in effect, everyone should either "man up" or ignore it whenever others don't listen and agree enough.

Again with the gender specifics! I don't recall EVER actually stating that what I was saying only applied to women. Can you stop doing that, please? I'm not speaking specifically in regards to women, but EVERYBODY. Plus, I don't know where you got that inference that I think women "deserve it" when they get threatened. That is - and I apologise for my language - a bullshit strawman. Can you stop misconstruing what I'm saying, please?
If somebody sends you a angry tweet that says "Go die," then yes. As much as I dislike the term, "Man up" and be an adult. If one six-character tweet is enough to reduce you to tears, you shouldn't be on Twitter. No matter what you say, SOMEBODY is going to take issue with it. I will clarify again: If you are sent a credible, detailed threat or picture of your house or calls to your phone, then YES, take it seriously. But if you just get hatemail that say "you're a moron and I hope you get hit by a car," just ignore it. Put it in your spam folder and move on with you life, because they're just WORDS, and most likely just an empty threat.
On the subject of "they deserve it," no. I don't think anybody deserves to get death threats and get harassed over something they said (except maybe Stalin). However, ALSO don't take legitimate criticism or people calling you stupid to be harassment; if one particular person sends you ONE tweet saying "God, you're a prick," and then never bothers you again, that isn't harassment. That's somebody exercising their freedom of speech to express distaste over something you said with your right to freedom of speech.
I guess what I'm saying here is: React Appropriately. If you get a bunch of angry tweets, ignore them. They're just tweets from anonymous people and likely won't ever amount to anything serious. If you get detailed threats, take steps to protect yourself. If you get people reacting angrily to something you said, don't instantly jump to "OH I'M BEING HARASSED!" since overuse of the H-word is only going to devalue it. Make certain that you actually ARE being harassed before you cry it, because crying harassment and discrimination when it's just the internet reacting to a stupid thing you said by calling you an idiot will just make things worse.
That's all I'm saying; react sensibly and appropriately, and try not to fall to pieces as soon as somebody is a little bit mean to you.

I dunno maybe according to that logic, perhaps everyone should just put up "context" fences around every post

That would certainly help with cutting down on misunderstandings, if everybody clarified what they meant.

(we started out talking about abuse and harassment, but this is just an informal post of mine don't argue if I say someone should be raped for being a feminazi --- what???).

What the actual fuck?

Perhaps that would mean that practically, people would have reasons to go on and do it all the time just in equal nastiness.

People are dicks, especially on the internet. They're gonna find a reason to be nasty no matter what you do. I just try to tune them out and have chats with people who genuinely want a discussion. It's worked well for me so far.

Or else be forced to read each other's definition footnotes wherever someone tries to co-opt a word when generally the "good ol' boy" and "homeboy/bro" and to an extent "men's rights" movements have already butchered it.

I'm not even gonna touch the apparent scorn in that part of the post you seem to have for the MRM's. Most of the MRM's are just like the feminists; moderate, sensible people who get a bad name because of the militant assholes. Of course, a depressing amount of feminist groups don't seem to want to acknowledge that and use "MRA" as an accusation or a "dirty word." It's depressing, really, that a group that constantly complains about how they don't agree with the militants and don't want to be associated with them do the exact same thing to any group that even appears like it's disagreeing with them. Kinda hypocritical, in my eyes.
Anyway, if somebody puts a footnote or a definition in there, yeah, read it. It won't take you overly long, and it will help you understand what people are talking about.  a big part of any debate or conversation should be "defining the terms" so everybody is on the same page.

You have a certain logic about staking out individual positions to nuance it, but I can't buy it much as prescriptions or as a serious answer to the situations that I feel are really affecting people, which the article spells out -- but you don't seem to be very concerned with addressing that linguistic process in any detail, as it's been discussed there.

As I said; I only chimed in to say when I use that specific phrase. What, are you looking for a solution? There isn't one. People are gonna use that word until they find a better or more insulting one. That's just the way it is. Although, if somebody calls me - for example - a Feminazi, I just turn around and am like "Well, it's obviously not worth talking to YOU anymore" and exit the conversation. As I said; I only use it on people I wouldn't want to have a discussion with anyway.

Instead, you're trying to fence it off as some isolated "context" that only affects a few somehow unduly vulnerable people.

No, I'm not, and I would appreciate it if you would stop strawmanning me. What I SAID was that I personally only use it on people with a specific ideology and set of beliefs. I agree that it's overused as a way to dismiss and sabotage legitimate discussion, but I still think it has its place in a few key contexts.

Unless maybe, you don't care as much about the sort of issues where it tends to come up to begin with.

Can we please stop with the passive aggressive attacks? Please and thank you.

Finally, the whole claim that 'women are doing something equally bad' and you've had to compare harassment to employer procedings to get that far,

First off: can you STOP misconstruing what I'm saying.
Second: STOP DOING THAT. As far as I can remember, I am NOT gender specifying. I'm not saying "Women are doing equally bad things!" I never said that. I said that Real World Threats and real world aggression is worse than online aggression and threats, because they escalate into actual action more often than online ones.
Let me make this absolutely clear, Kylie.
Real World Harassment and Threats are generally more serious than their online counterparts because they tend to escalate more often, AND to harass people in the real world rather than over Twitter, you need to ALREADY have personal details about them. Obviously somebody who uses BOTH is more serious than either of them, but that's another subject. I NEVER specified that "women are doing X." I just said "X is more serious than Y." Can you stop twisting my words to fit your narrative please? Thank you.


now even if true -- which I somewhat doubt makes sense across the population given the institutions the West has

Sigh You're talking about The Patriarchy, aren't you?

(just one example: millions of women get paid less every day

Not entirely true. As far as I'm aware, at least in the UK and USA (not sure about the rest of Europe, but I would imagine that it's the same), the "Wage Gap" has largely been debunked by various economics and law professors in Cambridge and Harvard and the like. There are areas where women get paid less, of course, but the gap is NOTHING like the "75 cents" nonsense that is bandied around. I think the lowest amount is something like 90%, and in some areas/professions, then get paid as much as 120% of what men get paid. There are huge problems with the way that statistic is worked out, but I would largely like to avoid getting into THAT debate.

-- how often does a guy get unreasonably fired for sexism alone?)...


More often than you'd think.

But I want to clarify: One, you're the one making this gender-specific, not me.
Two, I never said it was more common, just that instances like that are more serious than getting a handful of nasty Tweets. Please stop misrepresenting what I'm saying.

Even if I did buy it, that wouldn't really make it much better in my eyes.

Of course not. Harassment is bad, in any way shape or form. My point was simply that there are degrees, and that people should react appropriately rather than instantly jumping to using nuclear weapons when somebody pulls a funny face at them.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2015, 05:20:12 AM by Vergil Tanner »