Categories
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.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

358 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
LBT
LBT
6 years ago

I’ve been having a lot of shared dreams with hubby lately. (Including one where he was dressed up as a superhero! That was fun.) The perks of being a loony!

Also, even if it IS safe, I would not want to be in anything called a Space Needle during an earthquake. It sounds nauseating!

emilygoddess
emilygoddess
6 years ago

It may withstand the earthquake, but won’t it be a wee bit wobbly while it’s happening?

hellkell
hellkell
6 years ago

It’s supposed to be a little wobbly. If the building has no give, that’s when bad things happen.

emilygoddess
emilygoddess
6 years ago

I know, hellkell, but I still wouldn’t want to be up there.

kittehserf
6 years ago

I don’t even like the idea of being in tall buildings that wobble a bit in high winds. Ground floor will do me nicely.

Shared dreams, cool! I don’t think Mr K dreams, or if he does he doesn’t remember it.

I should ask next time he’s snoozing on my lap of an evening.

hellkell
hellkell
6 years ago

Sorry, emily. Not everyone does know that.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
6 years ago

I’m far more scared of being on a low level in a building when liquification happens.

hellkell
hellkell
6 years ago

I’m waaaay more concerned about a big quake and that tunnel they’re building to replace the viaduct in Seattle. That’s my liquifaction zone nightmare.

LBT
LBT
6 years ago

RE: Kittehs

Shared dreams, cool! I don’t think Mr K dreams, or if he does he doesn’t remember it.

It’s not something that happens all that often, and isn’t under conscious control, but I’ve had like three or four in the past week, which is like unprecedented here. I won’t complain; it’s a nice break from the nightmarathon I was having last year!

kittehserf
6 years ago

LBT – It certainly would be! (A nice break, that is.)

Say, that visualisation you told me about? Haven’t done it much lately, what with stupid rotten distractions, but it’s certainly helped catch moments when other stuff’s happening. Like last night, I knew Mr K was lying on the couch with his head on my lap, and for a moment I realised I was out-of-body playing with his hair. An out-of-arm experience, you might say.

I was thinking the other day the morning spiritual exercises could be called going for a snog in the park. 😉

jennydevildoll
6 years ago
Reply to  kittehserf

Well, jennydevildoll, you haven’t exactly shown familiarity with anyone else here despite having read for quite a while, so why would you expect us to remember you’ve mentioned previously that you have mental issues? For that matter, surely you know this place well enough to know that ableism doesn’t fly here.

“Living on disability” doesn’t automatically imply mental issues.

True, disability has many forms, physical or chronic illness as well.

It’s only been recently that I’ve began to set my email to reply on threads, though I’d comment on a post David made here or there. I’m not super familiar with everyone here. I’d say this blog gets more comments on it’s posts than any other one I read, so I haven’t always looked through them all. I’m starting to.

LBT
LBT
6 years ago

I’m glad they were handy! We honestly started doing them on a daily basis maybe around the age of eleven (having absolutely no idea that’s what they were) before bed, that dull time you’re lying there waiting to fall asleep. WHO KNEW WHAT WE HAD STARTED.

Back then we called it Brain TV. At the time, we thought it was pretty clever–“Guys, guys… did you know you can tell yourself any story you want, with pretty pictures and cool sound effects… IN YOUR HEAD???? HOLY FUCKBALLS”

And then we were never bored ever again.

kittehserf
6 years ago

LOL and Brain TV wins – no commercials, no fees, no horrible reruns, no Fox.

kittehserf
6 years ago

Oh, and the funny thing? I thought getting an idea of the table would be really difficult, but the thing just came into my head and fixed itself straight away.

Fairly impractical table, I might add. Its proportions are weird.

LBT
LBT
6 years ago

Yup. Little did I know that multi aside, we were pretty much training our imagination, which came in really handy when we started writing and drawing more. So really, what started as a form of prepubescent self-entertainment actually became my livelihood! (Well, sorta.)

One girl I knew had her table stuck at a bizarre angle that she couldn’t rearrange. Apparently that just happens sometimes.

kittehserf
6 years ago

Sentient tables! RUN WHILE YOU CAN!

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.

Kim
Kim
6 years ago

@kim – ok. Then why is hard to accept that I know people who are using “diva” respectfully, when I’ve said they are in music or performing circles, where the word originated?

That is the exact opposite of what I just said.
*I* said there are 2 meanings, one of which is the correct dictionary meaning, and the other is slang. And they both get used. *YOU* were the one that claimed there was only one usage, which was positive.

Kim
Kim
6 years ago

I’d like Brain TV if my writers were better.

jennydevildoll
6 years ago

@Kim – Well no, what I said was that just because some other people, who I guessed were not in the fields I was referring to, try to use it as a put down that I saw no reason that I or any other performer should not continue to use it as a term of admiration for one who is a charismatic or commanding performer. Yes, some people use it interchangeably with “drama queen” (if you want to talk gendered slurs, why does no one speak of drama kings?) but I don’t. I also don’t use it for people who aren’t singing or doing performance in any way, come to think of it….

katz
6 years ago

@Kim – Well no, what I said was that just because some other people, who I guessed were not in the fields I was referring to, try to use it as a put down that I saw no reason that I or any other performer should not continue to use it as a term of admiration for one who is a charismatic or commanding performer.

Welp, you sure have been wasting your time, since Kim already said that 30 hours ago.

titianblue
titianblue
6 years ago

@jennydevildoll I am sorry that you have a condition that people use to dismiss your arguments, your opinions and your experience. I can imagine how frustrating and hurtful that is. I am sorry that you had that experience repeated here and were frustrated and hurt by my choice of words. Please believe that I did not and would never do that intentionally.

Why a number of us are refuting you when you say

@Kim – Well no, what I said was that just because some other people, who I guessed were not in the fields I was referring to, try to use it as a put down that I saw no reason that I or any other performer should not continue to use it as a term of admiration for one who is a charismatic or commanding performer.

is because what you actually said was:

“diva”-that’s a put down?. Maybe it’s because I know a lot of musicians, but again that seemed to be a word embraced in fun by women or trans-people as someone talented, a very charismatic frontperson, fabulous. Though yes, it gets a little silly when everyone fronting a local bar-band is suddenly a “diva”, but like I said, it was in fun. I’ve jokingly referred to myself as a “diva of dive bars” in terms of gigging out. But that’s nothing compared to some of the self-identified divas at Wigstock!

which, I hope you’ll agree, can be taken to imply your disbelief that “diva” is ever a put down. And that is exactly the implication that Kim (and I and a number of other commenters) took from it. and why the immediate response from a commenter was to quote the urban dictionary to show the common slang use.

Where-as I gather that you were actually saying that using “diva” as a put-down is pretty pathetic because it is correctly used as a term of admiration by performers.

marinerachel
marinerachel
6 years ago

Equilibrium!

I love equilibrium equations.

jennydevildoll
6 years ago
Reply to  titianblue

@titianblue – Thank you. I can see where my first reaction could imply I was unaware that it was used as a put-down, I tried to clarify that in comments after. 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.

BTW, I did read the Mary Beard transcript last night before bed. I liked it, one thing that stuck out to me was her talking of “androgyne” used in the past to describe a woman who was perceived as having qualities thought of as being masculine, such as being an effective public speaker. But now people are starting to acknowledge things like pangender and genderfluid which don’t adhere to defining particular qualities as masculine or feminine. Or in the First Nations cultures of the Americas, the idea of two-spirit individuals.

Falconer
6 years ago

@auggz:

*Apparently there’s some giant fault line under Tennessee that had an earthquake back in the 1800′s. It made the Mississippi flow backwards and formed a bunch of lakes. Also fissures opened up O.o

That same earthquake is the reason there’s a bit of Kentucky that isn’t contiguous with the rest of Kentucky. The Mississip’ threw a big loop south and then north again and suddenly a bunch of Bluegrassers became Show-Mes. Not that Missouri was a state at the time.

@trans_commie: Yay for good therapy! Double yay for reduced fees!

You get a bit blase about earthquakes in California, but the idea of being in the BART tunnel under the bay when one hits? That’s a bit scary.

The summer after the World Trade Center attack, I was walking through a parking garage at a hospital and couldn’t help imagining all those tons of concrete, rebar and vehicles coming down on top of me.

Incidentally, there’s an episode of House where a parking garage collapses and one of the survivors is trapped by the leg. Yeah, that was a rough one…

Those tunnels are full of rats. Rats that will be scared and confused, while you’re trying to step over/through them in the dark without stepping on them as you attempt to walk out of the tunnel alongside lots of other confused, scared, clumsy people.

Okay. Kind of puts my parking garage fantasy into perspective.

And oh gods, those tunnels are under water, aren’t they? The closest thing to me like that right now is the road that goes out from mainland North Carolina to the Outer Banks. Sometimes it goes waaaaay up to let ships go under it, and sometimes it lets ships go over it.

@kim:

I’d like Brain TV if my writers were better.

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

hellkell
hellkell
6 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
6 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
6 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
6 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
6 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
6 years ago

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

kittehserf
6 years ago

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

jennydevildoll
6 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
6 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
6 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
6 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
6 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
6 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
6 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
6 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
6 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
6 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
6 years ago

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

kittehserf
6 years ago

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

sparky
sparky
6 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
6 years ago

Reading comprehension is apparently not dunbe’s strength.

trans_commie
6 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
6 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
6 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
6 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.