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Men's Rights Activists: Video gaming should be a "safe space" for male nerds.

No girls allowed!
Safe space! No girls allowed!

Though Men’s Rights activists devote an enormous amount of their time denouncing feminism – or at least the imaginary version of feminism that exists only in their own heads – they’re happy to appropriate feminist concepts when it suits them. One that many MRAs seem especially eager to claim for themselves is the idea of the “safe space.”

Of course, their version of the “safe space” bears only a slight resemblance to the feminist original. Feminists seek to create spaces for discussion in which say, rape survivors can discuss their experiences without being triggered by insensitive arguers and trolls and mansplainers in general.

When MRAs talk about “safe spaces,” by contrast, their goal is often to exclude women not just from discussion spaces but from full participation in society, essentially declaring giant arenas of work and play, from STEM fields to video games, to be places where feminists, and women in general, should fear to tread.

And so it’s hardly surprising that more than a few MRAs are arguing that the Zoe Quinn “scandal” proves that women and gaming don’t mix – or, at least, that they shouldn’t.

Consider the little manifesto recently “pinned” as the top post on the Men’s Rights subreddit, in which a fellow calling himself mradiscus lamented what he called “a pattern of female feminists migrating to formerly male spaces, demanding to be accommodated and eventually causing conflict and alienation.”

The “male spaces” he has in mind – the “hacking scene,” atheism, and the video game industry – won’t come as a shock to anyone familiar with the current state of nerdboy rage, but might trouble anyone who thinks that women are, you know, equal to men and have the same rights to choose their own careers and have their own interests and beliefs.

Not only that, but there is just a teensy bit of irony in that the way that MRAs and others are trying to drive off the feminist, er, invaders is by harassing them. That is, MRAs are appropriating the concept of “safe spaces” — designed to protect those in them from harassment and abuse — and using it as an excuse for … harassment and abuse.

But let’s step back a bit, because we still don’t have an answer as to why any of these “spaces” should be defined as male in the first place. How is atheism – the lack of a belief in god or gods – only a dude thing? When did guys get the right to call dibs on the gaming business?

Well, as mradiscus sees it, these “spaces” have traditionally been essentially nerdboy preserves, and should be protected from the pernicious influence of “female feminists” who, presumably, have no real interest in hacking or gaming or skepticism and whose real goal is just to make life hard for already beleaguered nerd dudes:

A scene predominantly populated by rather introverted young males becomes popular and attracts, among others, young women with a feminist mindset. Some of these women then go on and demand to be accommodated. Their demands are mostly met, and so we see the emergence of “gender awareness teams” at hacking conferences, no-means-no campaigns at anime conventions and a whole lot of conference panel slots devoted to “feminist this” and “gender that”.

Mradiscus then offers what I can only call a “revisionist” history of the harassment of feminist women from Rebecca Watson to Zoe Quinn:

What we also see is a whole lot of scandals. What seems to spark them most of the time is a overreaction to a minor offense, blown way out of proportion by a semi-popular feminist and her fan base who then proceed to launch an attack on the whole “misogynistic” scene. The young men feel cornered and unfairly attacked and retaliate with inappropriate and infelicitous measures which only leads to the feminists seeing their prejudices confirmed. Rape threat allegations are launched, there’s doxxing and name-calling all-around and new-found fame for a brave and courageous young feminist who may or may not proceed to make a career out of her struggle.

I should point out that none of the women who have allegedly “made … career[s] out of [their] struggles” actually asked to be harassed and demonized. If the harassers are angry that their harassment allowed Anita Sarkeesian to raise a lot more money than she asked for, they really have only themselves to blame.

Mradiscus ends with an ominous prediction-slash-threat that young men aren’t going to remain “patient” for much longer – and that things could get much worse for feminists venturing into these “male spaces.”

I wouldn’t be surprised, however, if the patience of these young nerdy men turns out to be a shallow well that’s drawing to a close. I sense quite a bit of alienation in the hacking and gaming sub-cultures when it comes to feminist topics. What do you think?

I think that you have a very strange notion of “patience.”

Naturally, MRAs being MRAs, mradiscus’ little manifesto – dripping with unexamined misogynistic assumptions and a quiet, curiously passive-aggressive rage – won praise and more than one hundred upvotes from the subreddit regulars.

The most extraordinary response to mradiscus’ rant was also the top-ranked comment, a long screed from a fellow calling himself a0i that argued, with complete seriousness (and occasional very confused references to the theories of Italian Marxist theorist Antonio Gramsci), that

The logic of how feminists target predominantly male spaces is very similar to the pattern of locust swarms.

Yep. Feminists are LOCUSTS.

Wherever there are men, there are targets for false accusations, male scapegoats, and fake victims. False accusations can’t happen without men, and neither can feminism. When there are too many women somewhere, you can’t claim that the environment is dominated by men, and feminists have nothing left to justify their presence. Feminists can’t thrive because they lack a scapegoat. They seek out a place where men are, and fabricate outrage at finding too many men in once place, at one time.

They have to find fresh environments with concentrations of male majorities, for “structures of misogyny” to pretend-struggle against. Thus, nerd culture being targeted, video games being targeted, Anita Sarkeesian making up being attacked, etc.

Yep, apparently all those hundreds of thousands of comments you might have seen attacking Sarkeesian all over the internet are nothing but a mirage.  That Flash game in which you could cover her face in bruises? You must have dreamed it.

It’s telling that a major feminist concern is for “women’s exclusive space”, while another feminist concern is for “women’s inclusion in male-dominated spaces”. They fight to get in, just to kick the men out.

Feminists demand unlimited access for women, as proof of men’s commitment to equality, but demand limited access for men, to prove men’s concern for safety.

Wat? I’m pretty sure no feminists are talking about excluding men from video gaming.

This works, despite the irony that — if you believed in their equality, you wouldn’t make special accommodations for their safety.

Uh, no, because if one group faces systematic oppression because of prejudice, the only way to ensure an egalitarian society is by making “special accommodations for their safety.” That’s why we have hate crime laws.

In the case of gaming, and atheism and tech in general, the only “special accommodations” feminists have asked for have been, you know, protection from sexual harassment and assault. Protections that also apply to men.

If there is one principle to understand about the tactics used to engineer women’s privilege over men in society, it is this:

  • what you intend to do to an opponent, you must accuse them of doing to you”

Frame your victim as your victimizer, put them in a position to want to prove themselves innocent. Frame your attacks as self-defense, frame your transgressions as righteous. Frame the enemy as using propaganda, make this part of your propaganda. Frame the enemy as a threat, before you launch your attack. Pretend to be a victim, while attacking the accused.

Apparently MRAs are utterly oblivious to irony.

 

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kittehserf
6 years ago

I think rules against slurs are a great idea, but when they stop being used as an insulative way to make a space slightly safer and start being used as a bludgeon, that doesn’t sit well with me. I know pretty much all the regulars here have good intentions and no intentions of kicking down on the oppressed. To see the opposite being suggested bewilders and saddens me.

Nailed it, strivingally. Though I’m not bewildered and saddened, I’m fucking pissed off, not least when seldom-commenting or lurking members pop in to start schooling regular contributors.

I’m sorry, but seriously? Stupid is a hill that people are willing to die on?

That’s exactly what I was thinking you were doing.

That kinda seems a bit of an entitled reaction to me.

Again, just what I thought was coming from you, rattling off lists like that at pallygirl. How about reading the thread like I suggested before digging yourself in deeper?

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
6 years ago

For bonus “really?” points, the proposed list contained the word “irrational”, which is a highly gendered word often deployed as a means of shutting women up or implying that we’re inherently incapable of reason. Which kind of demonstrates why “well, if one person thinks that word a. is offensive but words b. and c. are better then let’s go with what they said rather than actually talking about this and coming to a consensus” is really not a good way to approach this issue.

Kim
Kim
6 years ago

Look, if somebody tells me that a word I’m using hurts them, if that word’s not vital to communicating and they’re not just making shit up to screw with me, then I’m going to drop it.

The problem with this is that stupid is useful to conversation in ways that words like “bitch” aren’t. No one has yet given me any other word that expresses “person who expresses nonsensical, ill-thought out and selfish ideas which I dislike” succintly. If you can give me one I’ll happily use it instead, but until then, I’m going to make do with what I’ve got because people understand stupid to mean all that stuff, not just the literal meaning.

kittehserf
6 years ago

No one has yet given me any other word that expresses “person who expresses nonsensical, ill-thought out and selfish ideas which I dislike” succintly.

Emaray? 😉

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
6 years ago

@ Athywren

I apologize for telling you to shut up, though. As frustrated as I am with this conversation, and that was uncalled for.

lordpabu
lordpabu
6 years ago

I can’t believe Pallygirl is gone. Another amazing contributor gone over these word arguments. I’m really going to miss her.

Am I the only person wondering if the word ‘stupid’ has actually directly hurt anyone’s feelings? I thought it was a vague insult straight out of childhood, nearly on the level of ‘dummy’ and ‘poophead’ when it comes to soft insults. That word has never had much charge for me, and I thought I was as touchy about ableism as the next person.

The word ditzy used to drive me crazy because it was used against me a lot as an Add-riddled master of spacing out to the point I often lose track of time. Not that it’s use would bother me now. And I’m not even sure where I’m going with this anymore. I need to sleep.

Thebarton Gamer
6 years ago

Just delurking (finally) to thank @Incognita Secunda for finding me a new shirt and to thank @Kim for reminding me of both C64 gaming with a tape drive and the wonderful SSI D&D games. Good times. 🙂

Kim
Kim
6 years ago

Well, there was this guy I used to be friends with. I thought he was pretty amazing, and liked him a lot. We were having a conversation one time and I was saying stuff like how I had no patience for stupid people or similar, and he got really upset. I would never have put him in the stupid people group, but he had been told a lot growing up that he was stupid, so he felt attacked. I was mortified that what I had said was so unthinkingly cruel and I apologised.

While I still get frustrated by people who just don’t get things, I try to keep in mind that smarter isn’t the same as better. And I will continue to use stupid to refer to people who hold stupid ideas especially when they are intelligent enough to know better.

Incognita Secunda
6 years ago

All right, look. I’m gone, too, FWIW. I have been following the blog and conversations for months, have made occasional comments that seemed to go over well, got very involved in a thread that is close to my heart, brought up some discomfort about the way a word was being deployed in the course of that conversation and explained why–and all hell broke loose. I wasn’t “policing” or “schooling” anybody or accusing anyone of ableism or any other such thing, I was just bringing up a point of discomfort for discussion. Since it has, however, been made abundantly clear that people who aren’t deemed “regulars” are expected to know their place and shut up, okay then. Will do.

Athywren
Athywren
6 years ago

@Cassandrakitty
Don’t worry about it. I come back, and within a day I’m stirring up freshly buried trouble… I get that that’s annoying. Probably even infuriating. I’m sorry.

I see what you mean about “irrational,” too, and I’ll have to think about how and when I use it, though I think there’s an argument for its use in general that stupid just doesn’t have. I won’t go into it unless pressed, though, because I don’t want to keep stirring. This discussion isn’t my idea of fun, and it’s clearly not yours either.
In my defence, though, the list I “rattled off” wasn’t aimed at Pallygirl or anything she said, but Alex’s, “but ‘stupid’ is still a pretty good descriptor for a poorly thought out comment, right?” and was merely a list of other “pretty good descriptors” that happen to not carry the same connotations as “stupid.”

@Kitteh
I’m on page 5 of the war machine thread so far.

@Kim

No one has yet given me any other word that expresses “person who expresses nonsensical, ill-thought out and selfish ideas which I dislike” succintly.

Dawkins.
…not necessarily completely sure about the selfish bit, but he’s certainly fitting the rest recently.

mildlymagnificent
6 years ago

… he got really upset. I would never have put him in the stupid people group, but he had been told a lot growing up that he was stupid, so he felt attacked. I was mortified that what I had said was so unthinkingly cruel and I apologised.

That is the only problem with the word, but it can be a significant one. I used to have a very busy time getting our tuition students to stop calling themselves stupid.

People who had a miserable time as kids can have a strong reaction. But if you want to be technical, it isn’t ableist, people with intellectual disabilities have other problems. In fact, they’re about as likely to be called stupid as people with less obvious learning problems and people who have no difficulties at all. And I wouldn’t put it in the PTSD group either, even though it’s bringing up reminders of bullying by kids as well as bad teaching and bad parenting.

I avoid using it for that reason, but I wouldn’t put it into the do-not-touch territory like r*t*rd and gendered slurs. I find it easy to avoid because I think saying that someone is (being) silly conveys my meaning even better. It combines perceptions of witlessness, immaturity and triviality effortlessly and all at once.

Alex
6 years ago

But then you listed “irrational”, which has other connotations, gendered ones at that. I’m not sure there’s any word that doesn’t bother somebody in some way, but I don’t really want this space to become Shakesville and “stupid” and “idiot” are pretty generic and inoffensive for most. I mean I’m happy to drop either if that’s the consensus here; I just wonder what other words that aren’t actually slurs that people would expect us to drop down the road.

Kim
Kim
6 years ago

Silly doesn’t sound like an insult to me. In fact, I only ever use it as a compliment as the opposite of serious. Even if in context it does sound like it means what you say it does – it is far too soft to be used as a real insult. Witless is stronger, but it has the same problems as stupid.

emilygoddess - MOD
emilygoddess - MOD
6 years ago

Incognita, I’ll be sorry to see you go. I understand what you were saying about “stupid” and I don’t agree, but I also don’t think the discussion would have been quite as contentious if it had happened at another time. Knowing that this is coming on the heels of a big group blow-up may not make it any better, but I hope you’ll consider coming back when everyone has had time to heal a bit. I’d certainly welcome your continued contributions here.

… he got really upset. I would never have put him in the stupid people group, but he had been told a lot growing up that he was stupid, so he felt attacked. I was mortified that what I had said was so unthinkingly cruel and I apologised.

Honestly, most of the criticism I’ve seen of “stupid” from people with disabilities has not been that the word itself is ableist, but that they were often called stupid when their disabilities kept them from understanding or reacting “normally” to something. It’s not ableist per se, but it’s part of the experience of having a learning or developmental disability. Which I think makes things a little more complicated.

cloudiah
6 years ago

I don’t know if I’m one of the people now being accused of being the language police. A brand new commenter one-time commenter made two statements that I thought, especially in combination, were over the line, so I said so. And then later I expressed a personal opinion about words like stupid, without calling them slurs or calling anyone out for using them. (I have several friends with kids who have cognitive disabilities, so I freely admit I am a bit sensitized to hurtful language in this area.)

For the record, all my exchanges with pallygirl have been perfectly friendly and pleasant, and if she has left I certainly hope she reconsiders because I think she’s a good egg and I’ll miss her.

Clearly there’s no consensus around those words here, Alex.

lordpabu
lordpabu
6 years ago

This next level of conversation around the word stupid is making a lot of sense. I still don’t think it’s a slur level insult, but I can see how it could be upsetting to someone who was treated poorly through use of the word. I don’t think I’ve used the word in the few comments that I’ve made here, but I think I’ve come up with an alternative. There is always the option of using the word ‘fool’, which has fallen out of common usage. As in, we all know what it means but most people don’t actually use it anymore unless they happen to be a villain yelling at an incompetent henchman.

As an added bonus, it was originally associated with jesters. Then again, jesters were paid to act foolish and the members of the manosphere do so for free. It’s almost generous of them. Almost.

Alex
6 years ago

I happen to use fool all the time, but I don’t know if it’s caught on to anyone. But I find it’s very satisfying to say “You fool” to someone who’s being one.

Alex
6 years ago

Also, my siblings and I were treated to the word “stupid” pretty often, too, but I think it was more the way and the frequency with which the word was applied to us rather than the word itself. It would have been the same for any other word had it been used that way. Can we agree that parents and teachers shouldn’t insult children, regardless of the word?

If people want to drop this subject, by the way, this will be the last I say on it.

cloudiah
6 years ago

I think the last person I saw use “fool” around here was Steele, who many of you won’t remember. (And who was actually a sockpuppet for someone who shall not be named.)

Here’s how he used it:

Stop putting words in my mouth; you only make yourself the jester’s fool.

Which then inspired Sir Bodsworth Rugglesby III to write this:

The Jester’s fool he larks about
His jokes he will not share
While misandrists do softly steal
The padding from the chair
The feminists
They dig for gold
From which to forge a ring;
To summon the hypergamists
To the court of the crimson king.

XD

Alex
6 years ago

Ahaha! And thanks for reminding me why I love this site. 🙂

weirwoodtreehugger
6 years ago

I’m not sure there’s any word that doesn’t bother somebody in some way, but I don’t really want this space to become Shakesville and “stupid” and “idiot” are pretty generic and inoffensive for most. I mean I’m happy to drop either if that’s the consensus here; I just wonder what other words that aren’t actually slurs that people would expect us to drop down the road.

This exactly. Every single insult out there is bound to be offensive to somebody. But this is a mockery blog and we have to have some insults available to us. As I said on the War Machine thread I don’t have any desire to comment on Shakesville because it’s too “safe” and the comments sections are never dynamic, interesting and fun like they usually are here.

It says right at the top of the page that this isn’t a safe space. The trolls often don’t grasp that this is a mockery blog but I didn’t think I’d start seeing that from the regulars. If you’re really sensitive to the most trivial and generic of insults, I understand, but this is not the place for you.

ikanreed
ikanreed
6 years ago

I’m going to be terrible and double down on defending calling someone stupid as not being ableist.

Mutli-paragraph essay inbound.

My thesis is that genuine recurring stupidity is a negative character trait. And the apparent inability to be thoughtful and introspective is something that does not deserve the slightest hint of deference due to imagined biodeterminism. People being stupid is something they can help.

Being functionally mentally disabled is to lack FULL personhood under law. And with good reason, because there is a necessary level of understanding needed to actually engage with real world matters, such as contracts, voting, and medical decisions. We actively make distinctions because we must.

But even a person who is fully disabled deserves the protections of their fundamental rights of life and self determination. And we don’t just deny them that because they are still people.

Now, what on earth do genuinely disabled people have to do with “stupid” people and bad opinions? Self-determination.

There’s the implication, when defending against a statement as being ableist, that the underlying character flaws are congenital or otherwise inherent. This is simply untrue. Even for something considered as scientifically “innate” as IQ, your own choices can influence it rather substantially. Everyone we recognize as capable of being condemned for their opinions and beliefs is a person who we recognize as being able to change themselves.

They can learn more. They can think more. They can reflect more. But in light of failing to do so, they appear, for lack of a more complex neurological explanation, stupid. And to summarize that condition in simplistic terms isn’t to assert that they are flawed in some way that justifies bias, but rather to assert that they have a substantial moral failing in how they engage of the keeping of their own mind. All self-determinate creatures are responsible not just for what they think, but how they think.

And the anti-ableist defense covers their recurring personal failure as a underlying condition that needs social protection.

Finally, an acknowledgement of how you’re right, because it’s never simple:
I appreciate the reminder that people who are stupid are still people, and no amount of character flaws can ever justify broad-based dismissals of the opinions others based on simplistic classifications.
But that’s not what’s going on here. The original poster was trying to make, however clumsily a charge for self-improvement.

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
6 years ago

ikanreed — that DEFINITELY didn’t help your case any.

Before I go all tear deer, I want to say I have no strong feelings one way or another on “stupid”, I tend to use it to refer to acts, not people, anyways (well, expect my brother, but I reserve older sibling insult rights on that one!)

That said, hi Athywren! Stop comparing a word that’s maybe questionably a slur to one that obviously is. After the war machine thread, it won’t go well, and really, the word you picked? That comparison would never go over well. Please, just don’t do it.

As for — “Now it feels a little like the assumption of good faith (between regulars, I mean, not obvious trolls) has gone out the window.” Can we knock it off with that too please? Seriously, assuming good faith with people who haven’t proven they don’t deserve it is one of the things I love about this place. To the point I keep telling R to drop by, mention he’s the R I speak of, and he should be given good faith if he steps on toes, as he’s worried about doing. (He can be prone to asking lots of questions and it can come off as JAQing off). I don’t want this place to go from “I know you aren’t an asshole, so why are you acting like one today?” to “you’re an asshole”, not for his sake, but because we ALL step in it occasionally. To quote one of my pins “to err is human, to arr is pirate”.

Seconding Kim that “silly” doesn’t register as anything remotely bad to me. My fish are silly, Puff’s a big goof, sillypuss is a great cat nickname…in short, silly doesn’t have the same connotations stupid does. In my head, stupid registers more as “well, you didn’t think that through now did you?” Which, of course, does make it a questionable term to apply to MRAs, since they did think it through, and are still assholes.

Actually, I think with stupid, moron, and idiot I’m absolutely fine applying them to ideas or acts, but applying them to people makes me a bit…idk. It implies MRAs aren’t evil, just ignorant. I’d say they’re assholes with some stupid ideas, I guess.

As for any word being offensive, I got suspend once, and I damned proud of it. This one kid would not stop calling me “rover”, so I kicked him. Point here is not that about my kicking ability, but about the word. Cuz obviously, rover has plenty of non-insulting uses, like, you know, being a name for a dog. Or “Michael Jackson”, that kid got chased home, frequently, until he threatened to tell his mother I was chasing him I told him to go ahead, just make sure to tell her why. Should I consider all references to Jackson to be insults? Course not.

Is stupid a more common insult? Yeah. But using “genius” sarcastically has the same problem. As does doofus. I guess my point here is that ANYTHING can have been used to hurt someone, and I thought the point of avoiding ableist language was, to use an example, not conflating us crazies with those assholes, and also that there’s no moral failing (or such) in being crazy. Are stupid, idiot, etc used as terms for people who’re doing nothing besides not being “normal”, enough that using them to imply moral failing has splash damage? Idk, but I think that’s the question that needs to be answered to stop having these dust ups. Not just about those words, but in general — does insult X have splash damage that should be avoided?

If not, insult away! If so, maybe don’t.

/tired ramble

ikanreed
ikanreed
6 years ago

“ikanreed — that DEFINITELY didn’t help your case any.”

Hmm. Okay. I was trying to clarify an ethical construction in which criticizing someone for “being stupid” is both valid and justified.

I don’t know if “helping my case” is the goal, since I didn’t actually engage in the “ableism” being identified.

Puddleglum
6 years ago

I thought the reason we avoided using certain words was because they are used to marginalize, demonize and/or dehumanize various oppressed groups, not because they were triggering or hurtful. ‘Crazy’, as Argenti pointed out, is this kind of slur because it is frequently used in the mainstream to demonize mental illness and to dismiss violent behaviour.

I find ‘stupid’ can be personally triggering, it was used on me by bullies as a kid, but I’m iffy on it being a word I’d consider ableist, though I’m not sure I can really explain why. I’m also in the camp of being okay with using it on acts rather than on people, but I think that has a lot to do with my personal history and that only covers how *I* feel comfortable using the word; it’s not a statement of how I think others should.

I guess what I’m circling around to saying is that unless it can be clearly cited as meeting the kind of criteria I mentioned (and I really do mean clearly!), well, this isn’t a safe space, we’ve all been warned we could find things that are triggering on this site, and it’s our own responsibility to do self care and leave the comment thread, if that’s what we need to do.

And I love the word ‘fool’. I think it’s perfect, even if a troll did use it all the time. It reminds me of Mr. T.

pallygirl
pallygirl
6 years ago

Okay, I’m still raw over this so I am watching myself extremely carefully as I type this as I don’t want to (a) restart a conversation that appears to be upsetting more than just me and (b) there is a more general issue at stake rather than the use of one word – the issues in this thread are a symptom and not a cause, and as was done earlier, the suggestion to people new to this to read this other thread (https://wehuntedthemammoth.com/2014/08/21/is-war-machine-the-mixed-martial-arts-fighter-accused-of-brutally-beating-his-ex-a-mens-rights-activist/#comments) to understand is a good one.

The reason I shut up and just disappeared was because of the personal attacks in this thread on me. To add insult to injury – especially as the regulars here know I come from some history of psychological and physical abuse, although I am safe now and have been so for a number of years – it has taken me a while to realise why I was treating certain comments as attacks on me because they weren’t clearly stated as attacks but were in the passive aggressive category. As any abuse survivor knows, it is really easy to blame oneself for abuse and then accuse oneself of overreacting. It has taken me a while to parse through that situation. I’m not saying that what I write is always correct – the regulars know threads where I have been wrong, have been called out for it (sometimes I have asked questions because I don’t understand why I was wrong, and I need to work out how that happened so I don’t do it again), a couple of times I have slipped and been called out – and that’s all fine and it didn’t stop me commenting here either later in threads where I was called out, or in other subsequent threads.

But those other call-outs were strictly on what I said and never attacked me as a person. In this thread, I’ve been personally attacked. I consider myself (and I hope others do) to be a good-faith commenter but I got such negative responses from two people in this thread that I just couldn’t be here. This appears to have stopped.

So, to explain why I felt under attack:
– Incognita Secunda has personalised my disagreement over the word “stupid” being a slur. If you’re still reading this, your comments have been in the same vein as your last comment:

I […] brought up some discomfort about the way a word was being deployed in the course of that conversation and explained why–and all hell broke loose. I wasn’t “policing” or “schooling” anybody or accusing anyone of ableism or any other such thing, I was just bringing up a point of discomfort for discussion. Since it has, however, been made abundantly clear that people who aren’t deemed “regulars” are expected to know their place and shut up, okay then. Will do.

This is what I mean by passive aggressive attack on me, and now others. All hell didn’t break lose at all, in the comments where people are talking about why they think the word is okay to use/ is not okay to use. People disagreeing with your viewpoint on the acceptabilty of a word, especially regulars who have used the word in the past and do not agree with your definition of what the word means, is not all hell breaking loose. When you got some pushback and then repeatedly came back with you didn’t like the word being used (and therefore you wanted the word not to be used), hell yes that is policing and schooling.

When you kept equating stupid == low IQ, which is not the definition of stupid, and is never how stupid is used – at least by regulars on this board (e.g. because a number of us laugh at the idea of IQ meaning intelligence) you were asserting that the word was being used in an ableist sense. There is no other logical way to read your objection.

Which makes your last two sentences even more emotionally laden. Not only do you not want people to disagree with you, but you also equate disagreeing with you as you needing to “know your place”. WTF? You were “bringing up a point of discomfort for discussion”, but people disagreeing with you means you “are expected to know [your] place and shut up”. I’m not bringing in quotes from earlier in the thread (page 4 onwards if anyone wants to go back), but I and others here engaged you in discussion. But when a commenter engages in behaviour like this comment

@pallygirl–I’m not declaring what is or isn’t acceptable on this blog, as I have absolutely no authority with which to do so, even if I were so inclined. Just noting that I’m not, personally, very comfortable with such terminology and explaining why.

In this comment (https://wehuntedthemammoth.com/2014/08/26/mens-rights-activists-video-gaming-should-be-a-safe-space-for-male-nerds/comment-page-4/#comment-567494) you said my comments towards you were dismissive and later, by implication, that I among others were being passive aggressive and talking “over your head as if [you] weren’t there about [your] concern being a non-concern”. FFS, this is an open thread. I asked a question about the acceptability of the word because I thought I could be misremembering a discussion on this exact same bloody topic that occurred a few months ago, and I wanted to be sure I was correct in my memory. This was done openly, in this thread. So not only me disagreeing with you is being “dismissive” but also me asking for clarity is me being “passive aggressive”.

You’ve been insulting in your comments “I see I failed the test of agreeing with every single thing every single mammotheer says, ever, however much general support and agreement I offered elsewhere. I guess it’s that kind of club. Gotcha.” and “Enjoy the echo chamber.” among others. Not once have I insulted you.

So that was the situation when Athywren started commenting on this topic in this thread.
Me disagreeing with another commenter was a hill I was going to die on, apparently (https://wehuntedthemammoth.com/2014/08/26/mens-rights-activists-video-gaming-should-be-a-safe-space-for-male-nerds/comment-page-4/#comment-567817). This comment was made hours after my last one in this vein, and the conversation had moved on. I don’t appreciate having this phrase being used against me here. How else was I supposed to interpret this other than as an insult? That phrase is used specifically in a pejorative sense to tell another than (a) their argument/belief is shite/pointless and (b) therefore that they should just back down/shut up. For someone who is so concerned about the feels of others, it’s a really weird way to come into a discussion – by using an in-your-face phrase.

Later Athywren said:

I’m sorry to have caused trouble but running away because people are talking about how stupid isn’t a great word, or in Incognita’s case that it’s simply inaccurate and opens us up to criticism? That kinda seems a bit of an entitled reaction to me.

I’m supposed to be the entitled one? I’m raw from a language battle on another thread, completely backed away from this one because there was the same word policing and general attacks on disagreeing people. If I fucking back away because I’m upset, I’m doing it to protect my mental health. No one fucking gets to use the word “entitled” against a person who is having emotional issues and has backed off to protect themselves. If you want an example of “entitled” then posting – unasked, with no consensus – one’s own list of “acceptable words” in an environment where words have been used as WMDs and without assuming that others may having differing views is fucking entitlement. And you’re a man. On an anti-misogyny blog. I think that is an example of irony.

So I don’t treat comments like this from Athywren in good faith:

Look, if somebody tells me that a word I’m using hurts them, if that word’s not vital to communicating and they’re not just making shit up to screw with me, then I’m going to drop it. I don’t understand what’s so important about the word that it’s something people are going to run away over criticisms of it. What possible reasoning is there to justify hurting people with our laziness? I don’t care if the OED, SPLC, or just this group defines it as not a slur, I don’t see the value in hurting people because I couldn’t just think of a different word.

FFS dude, if you’re so concerned about not hurting people, maybe not insulting them would be a good start. Using indirect insults instead of directly calling people slurs is still fucking hurting people.

I don’t know how well I’ve expressed where I’m coming from. This has taken about an hour to type and I need to go out.

Fibinachi
6 years ago

I agree with the paladin.

hellkell
hellkell
6 years ago
ryeash
6 years ago

@kirbywarp @Janora Feuer (pardon the late reply)
I assumed it had to do with marketing, but it’s still incredibly annoying. Video games were how my brother and I bonded when we were siblings. Video games brought my best friend of almost 20 years and I together. Video games were one way my boyfriend and I connected. Although, yes, the rampant misogyny is off-putting, they’ve been such a huge part of my life and brought about a lot of good for me. If you ask me, the boys are in MY space. But not really, because my mommy taught me to share.

Then again, as was pointed out earlier, they’re trying to claim atheism for themselves as well which makes sense only in the La La Batshit land they live in.

@Johanna Roberts
Fuckin’ A, right!

gilshalos
6 years ago

test

gilshalos
6 years ago

(I’m never gonna get the hang of when first posts go through and when not now)

Anyhow I just popped up to say Yes, AC IV Black Flag player here! 🙂

Kinda towards the end of my first playthrough. I only bought it a few weeks back when it was really cheap. I’d hated the ‘boat’ bits on earlier games in the series..in fact not wanting to get the ship read on III is prob why I’ve never finished it. I’m going to go back and try again after finishing IV. But I really loved the sailing in this one.

(What language debate. I see no language debate)

Hope this is coherant, just back from a very good meal out celebrating my parents’ wedding anniversary where I ate far, far too much.
Plus, *squee moment* I’m fairly certain Andy Hamilton was at the next table!
(from The News Quiz, Have I Got News For You, Old Harry’s Game and Chelmsford 123. Bonus points if anyone else knows or remembers Chelmsford 123)

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
6 years ago

Pallygirl, fwiw, I get where you’re coming from and don’t want to see you go. I meant to comment on that shit about calling you entitled, but forget it in my reply, and I apologize to you for that oversight. Stepping out of a conversation can only be called entitled when it’s something like, idk, white people deciding that they don’t have to worry about police brutality, so they won’t. Taking a break, or leaving, or whatever, to protect your mental health, nope, not entitled.

Everyone, afaik Athywren joined me in the non-binary ze using corner. I know ze said some really fucked up shit, but can we refrains from misgendering people? Not saying ze doesn’t have a background of male privilege, or whatnot, but that AMAB =/= he and male now. Thanks guys! (I’m assuming this just wasn’t common knowledge, not that anyone was intentionally mis-gendering Athywren)

Puddleglum
6 years ago

@Argenti, I think I missed that thread, good to know – the downside of lurking. 🙁

@pallygirl, I hope I didn’t come across as being another voice against you, that wasn’t my intent.

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
6 years ago

If you want to read it, it’s the first link the pallygirl’s comment. Please manage to fumble through it all before commenting though, lots of heated emotions made thinks go all over the place so you should prolly finish it and see what happened before commenting on it all.

BlackBloc
6 years ago

>>A couple of weeks ago, this blog was full of people who took one another’s good intentions as a given

Hah!

hellkell
hellkell
6 years ago

Piss off, BlacBloc.

So much for you sticking your oh-so-indignant flounce.

cloudiah
6 years ago

That’s a real helpful contribution, BlackBloc.

Incognita Secunda
6 years ago

Okay: I promised myself that I wouldn’t do this, but I saw the response before I managed to delete the thread, and I’d like to soothe over whatever I can before I really do just disconnect entirely. I am sorry you felt insulted, pallygirl, and I can see why. I was feeling very defensive, primarily because I was accused of policing people, when that was never my intent–and never, in fact, part of what I said. What I said about feeling that I was being punished for not agreeing with every iota of what everyone here said sprang from my perception of a pile-on–and yes, it did very much feel like a pile-on–in response to my bringing up some discomfort with the way a particular word was being used.

This was all the more bewildering to me because I did not, at any point, tell other people they could not use that word because it made me uncomfortable, and it did very much feel as though all hell broke loose–and I was not referring exclusively, or even primarily, to you when I made that statement. I was referring to the entire thread suddenly exploding over a comment that I felt was fairly inoccuous and which I explicitly said was not something I wanted to pick a fight about–just something I wanted to register as a concern on my part. I also was not referring only to you (or consciously to you, personally, at all) when I brought up the use of the word, but to a general tendency in the discussion. You were not the only person who used the word.

Your asking whether the word was permissable and getting responses that it was did seem passive-aggressive to me, because I didn’t have the context that would have helped me understand the request. People were suddenly not even talking to me about what I’d said, but talking over my head about it to see whether it was permissible to say something that I’d never said wasn’t permissible (as if I’d have tried to claim the authority to do so, anyway). That was how it looked from my vantage point.

Your assertion that I brought ableism into the conversation is, I suppose, inferentially correct, but that was *not* my intention. It truly wasn’t. I was thinking broadly in terms of intelligence and how the word stupid is used to designate people whose intelligence, however you wanted to measure it, was being designated as relatively low. I was using the term IQ colloquially, rather than clinically, and probably sloppily. Discussions of ableism came into play after my original comment–I did not make claims along those lines at any point.

I never, at any point, said that the word couldn’t be used. Not a single time. I said the way it was being used in that particular context made me uncomfortable, and I tried to explained why as clearly as I could, because it was obvious that my intentions were being misunderstood, and I was trying to avoid the misunderstanding. I did not demand that everyone agree with me, nor did I expect it. I’m still genuinely bewildered that what I did say is being interpreted in that way. Attempting to clarify a position is not policing, nor is it a demand that everyone else agree.

I also was not referring to you when I said what I did about its having been made clear that those of us who were relatively new or infrequent commenters were expected to know our place. That was said in response to another commenter declaring that she was angry that we would try to step in and “school” the more regular commenters–which, I’ll repeat, was never, ever my intention. I simply wished to state a point of discomfort and let others take it up or not as they chose, agree or not as they chose.

Honestly, pallygirl, relatively little of what I was saying was directed at you. Certainly, my first comment about this issue was referring to a broad tendency in the conversation, not to what you had personally said. Your reacting as though I was directly attacking you led me to become defensive, and I’ll admit that I should have handled that better. I am sorry I did not. I did object to your repeated assertions that I was policing when I was not, that I was bringing ableism into the conversation when I certainly did not do that on purpose, and your characterizations of me as launching passive-aggressive attacks on you, when I truly was, in most cases, talking about the content of the conversation in general.

So, okay. I’ve done that. I hope it’s helpful in some way.

Good luck to you all–this blog is doing good work, and I wish you well in it.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
6 years ago

I’m not the only one who finds it funny that BlackBloc has apparently been lurking waiting for an opportunity to post a smug little bon mot like that, right? As the song says, dude, let it go.

Shiraz
Shiraz
6 years ago

Is BlackBloc a grown-up?

Puddleglum
6 years ago

I’ve already commented all I wanted to in that thread, lol. Though I will go read through it again, since I’m clearly missing things non-controversial things like gender announcements (too focused on the big boom, I guess).

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
6 years ago

Puddleglum, my apologies for assuming you hadn’t! As for Athywren’s gender, that was months back and just kinda tucked in a thread, I’m not surprised it was missed.

Oh hi BlackBloc, still bitter that we doesn’t think there’s a good faith way to read “I agree with defacing art?” -15/10 on the flounce.

emilygoddess - MOD
emilygoddess - MOD
6 years ago

Yeah, BlackBloc surfacing after months just to complain is kinda sad. OTOH, I don’t remember what finally drove him out – was it really the art thing?

kittehserf
6 years ago

This exactly. Every single insult out there is bound to be offensive to somebody. But this is a mockery blog and we have to have some insults available to us. As I said on the War Machine thread I don’t have any desire to comment on Shakesville because it’s too “safe” and the comments sections are never dynamic, interesting and fun like they usually are here.

It says right at the top of the page that this isn’t a safe space. The trolls often don’t grasp that this is a mockery blog but I didn’t think I’d start seeing that from the regulars. If you’re really sensitive to the most trivial and generic of insults, I understand, but this is not the place for you.

QFT!

Stick the fucking flounce, BlackBloc.

pallygirl, standing ovation, and I’m with you up on that there hill. I thought the “entitlement” rubbish was aimed at me, but it didn’t sting because I’m not coming from a place of abuse, and I just felt scorn for it – as in, yeah, I’m a regular member of the teal deer herd here, I do side-eye strangers or people who hardly comment language policing, Boo Fucking Hoo.

I’m not the only one who finds it funny that BlackBloc has apparently been lurking waiting for an opportunity to post a smug little bon mot like that, right? As the song says, dude, let it go.

LOL it’s classic trollish behaviour, isn’t it?

emilygoddess, it was that thread, but iirc it also went back to people being terrible and evil during the Great Divorce, or something like that.

Puddleglum
6 years ago

I was trying to express my support of pallygirl and I feel like I did it really badly. Argh. Words! Why must they be so difficult some days? I’ve been worried that I sounded… arglebargle, I don’t know, too clinical when I made my own very tiny teal deer. I really, really need to not post while at work (at least nothing bigger than a sentence).

*Sigh* I have a problem with the idea that slurs should be avoided because of the possibility of hurt feelings. Because that is one of the reasons we just had a big boom in the War Machine. So seconding the QFT! kittehserf posted above. I try to do my best to avoid intentionally hurting other commenters’ feelings. But I want to avoid the trap of being too afraid to say anything because it *might* hurt someone’s feelings. Let’s not do that again? Please? It ends up silencing too many people.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
6 years ago

Also if we’re being honest I feel like the idea that words should be avoided because potential hurt feelings in an individual sense rather than because slurs could only be proposed by people who’ve never actually been targeted by slurs. If/when you have the difference between the two and why one is more of a problem than the other is pretty damn obvious.

kittehserf
6 years ago

Yes, there’s a pretty big difference between slurs, words that are specifically attacking a whole group of (usually marginalised) people, words intended to do just that, and that can be fairly assumed to have that effect on that group; and words that are general insults, snark or mockery *not* aimed at at specific, let alone marginalised, groups, but which *might* be uncomfortable/needling/bring up rotten memories for hypothetical individuals.

emilygoddess - MOD
emilygoddess - MOD
6 years ago

And it’s not like this community is averse to making adjustments for people’s comfort. I remember once when someone posted a spider video, and a few of us mentioned having arachnophobia, so the people who wanted to continue discussing spiders posted content notes before their videos/links. Nobody demanded it – I, for one, wouldn’t think I had the right – but people were nevertheless happy to make that adjustment in order to make others feel comfortable.

I told you that story to tell you this story: WHTM commenters who object to language policing probably aren’t doing so because they don’t care about other people or are blase about offensive language. They probably have good reasons for objecting.

kittehserf
6 years ago

I told you that story to tell you this story: WHTM commenters who object to language policing probably aren’t doing so because they don’t care about other people or are blase about offensive language. They probably have good reasons for objecting.

This.

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
6 years ago

*shudders at the thought of that video* yeah, I’m glad we won’t be having that happen again. But I’m all “kill it with fire!” about spiders.

In cuter things, TOMORROW IS AXOLOTL DAY!! Prepare for unbearably cute pictures!