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How Not To Be a Male Feminist Creep: 8 Lessons From the Ben Schoen Meltdown

So @benschoen, the putatively feminist co-founder of feminspire and the former co-host of a popular Harry Potter podcast, is having a bit of a meltdown on Twitter at the moment.

Well, more than a bit of a meltdown. He’s flying apart like the washing machine in the video above, announcing and quickly canceling online “press conferences,” lashing out at critics with bizarre “jokes” and weird threats, and generally acting like a giant ass.

For example:

https://twitter.com/benschoen/status/633325425272451072

https://twitter.com/benschoen/status/633712589265088512

https://twitter.com/benschoen/status/633715930883846144

https://twitter.com/benschoen/status/633468512250535940

https://twitter.com/benschoen/status/633461383309475840

https://twitter.com/benschoen/status/633422642805084162

https://twitter.com/benschoen/status/633398579042865154

https://twitter.com/benschoen/status/633322695397142528

https://twitter.com/benschoen/status/633715165054267393

https://twitter.com/benschoen/status/633382676746121216

In addition to joking about menstruation and comparing himself to woman-beating pro football player Ray Rice, he’s also made some super-funny jokes about committing suicide:

https://twitter.com/benschoen/status/633322086551953408

https://twitter.com/benschoen/status/633342393815842820

https://twitter.com/benschoen/status/633382587113820160

Oh, and for some reason he keeps mentioning Hitler.

https://twitter.com/benschoen/status/633716053026205696

https://twitter.com/benschoen/status/633397429820354560

https://twitter.com/benschoen/status/633390461143654400

The whole thing started yesterday when Buzzfeed writer Grace Spelman posted screenshots of some Tweets and messages Schoen had sent her — first hitting on her in an exceedingly creepy manner and then reacting with fury and additional creepiness when she politely told him she had a boyfriend.

After Spelman posted her screenshots, other women came forward who said they’d had their own weird experiences with Schoen, including the co-founder of feminspire and a former writer for the site, both of whom evidently left the site because they couldn’t deal with Schoen’s creepy ass any more.

You can read more of the details over on NYmag.com, or on Jezebel, or on Spelman’s Twitter timeline. Or watch the continuing horrorshow live on Twitter.

Are there any lessons to be learned from all this? Why, yes, there are. Here are 8 Ways to Not Be a Male Feminist Creep, inspired by Schoen’s meltdown.

1) If you’ve never spoken to a woman before and the only reason she knows who you are is because she was a fan of a podcast you were on eight years ago, don’t be surprised if she doesn’t respond to a completely out-of-the-blue tweet to her.

2) And for god’s sake don’t try to force her to respond by going all stalkery on her.

CMnrMrmUYAEz48D CMnrMxnUAAEBEKc3) And if she doesn’t respond to your stalkerish Tweets, don’t write her an even creepier Facebook message, I mean what the fuck were you even hoping to accomplish with this, dude?

CMnrvCSUAAQvTWj

4) And if she actually responds politely to all this creepiness and gently suggests you move on (see above), don’t send her a series of angry, insulting Tweets.

CMnsVWMVEAAP7X5

 5) And then don’t write her a furious 1500 word diatribe that you don’t send, then write an, er, “apology” that you do send that starts off by mentioning the furious 1500 word diatribe you didn’t send.

CMnsxrWUsAE51Um

6) When the woman you’ve thoroughly creeped out with all of this shit posts screenshots to Twitter, don’t dig your hole deeper with an endless stream of awful Tweets (see above).

7) And when your meltdown becomes so spectacular that it actually attracts press coverage, don’t send a message to one press outlet declaring that

I have done more for the cause of advancing women’s rights than any of the people who are criticizing me.

Because, dude, you haven’t.

And even if you had, it still wouldn’t justify any of this.

But, you know what, you don’t need to remember all of these rules if you can just remember the following:

8) If you send a message to a woman you’ve never spoken to before in your life and she doesn’t respond, just move the fuck on.

How hard is that?

 

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Ibis
5 years ago

Generally, I’m pretty supportive of men who are feminists (i.e. who both talk the talk and walk the walk) using the label. It helps to destigmatize both the label and the ideology. In my experience, usually men who go so far as to adopt the label are actually supportive of women’s rights. Only occasionally have I seen major flame outs like this of men who are self-proclaimed feminists (one that immediately comes to mind is Jian Ghomeshi who campaigned for years in support of Henry Morgentaler and abortion rights and then turned out to be a sexual predator and asshole).

alaisvex
alaisvex
5 years ago

@Ibis,

I think that there’s a difference between guys who will own the label (whether it’s “feminist” or “feminist ally”) to de-stigmatize it and defend it and guys who use it to make themselves seem more special.

steampunked (@steampunked)

This guy reminds me precisely of this hilarious moment I had at a nightclub once. Which went, much to my astonishment, exactly like this:

Me: *dancing at goth club*
Dude: *grabs me, puts his hand on my ass while grabbing me*
Me: *pulls away* Uh, I’m just here to dance, I’m not interested, sorry.
Dude: FRIGID BITCH! YOU’RE UGLY!

The reaction he had was just like that – I can remember it clearly because it was just so over the top. It went from zero to screaming rage in seconds.

Because I was in a goth club, my gut reaction was to laugh hysterically rather than anything else.

But ‘ghosted’. Man. I didn’t even know that was a thing. How self-centered do you have to be to assume everything is about you? How self-centered do you have to be to get gently let down and respond with anger instantly? It’s just amazing.

How do these people function day to day? Their reliance on hierarchy is bizarre.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
5 years ago

Let’s see if this works

https://youtu.be/xN1WN0YMWZU

Ok, if you can see the video (doing this on my phone so not sure if I’ve made it work) this sort of encapsulates why I don’t use ‘feminist’ myself and not even ‘ally’. It just doesn’t seem right to me, it’s like co-opting someone else’s struggle and achievements.

My position is that I can support the team but I’m not on the team, if that makes sense.

steampunked (@steampunked)

I think I found the winning response in this stoush though:

NEIL cicierega ‏@neilyourself 3h3 hours ago
@benschoen You’re in a desert, walking along in the sand, when all of a sudden you look down and see a tortoise.

Pandapool -- The Species that Endangers YOU (aka Banana Jackie Cake, for those who still want to call me "Banana", "Jackie" or whatever)
Pandapool -- The Species that Endangers YOU (aka Banana Jackie Cake, for those who still want to call me "Banana", "Jackie" or whatever)
5 years ago

@Pandapool: I agree, you’ve got to see if he’s more attached to the label than the cause.

I would have called myself a feminist but after this thread I’ll reconsider what term I use (never really thought about how it could be a problem).

You pass the test.

http://33.media.tumblr.com/7b364646d555c5ffdec859c92d29edd4/tumblr_nqn7bmMcAP1qghu71o2_500.gif

Congrats. You are 100% Feminist Approved.

Pandapool -- The Species that Endangers YOU (aka Banana Jackie Cake, for those who still want to call me "Banana", "Jackie" or whatever)
Pandapool -- The Species that Endangers YOU (aka Banana Jackie Cake, for those who still want to call me "Banana", "Jackie" or whatever)
5 years ago

(I meant to use my Sera gif. Oh well.)

steampunked (@steampunked)

No, wait, this is impossible. There are too many good responses:

Emily Langston ‏@emilyglangston 6h6 hours ago Hollywood, Los Angeles
Keep @benschoen in your prayers. He is the only person who has ever experienced tragedy.

NEIL cicierega ‏@neilyourself 7h7 hours ago
@benschoen I was on Mugglecast when you were a host. During my segment, you said nothing. How did you lose this valuable skill?

Global Beet ‏@globalbeet 2h2 hours ago
@benschoen If anyone wants to know how Snape would pursue Lilly if twitter was around back then, look no further than @benschoen

benschoen ‏@benschoen 7h7 hours ago
The Internet cannot survive without a pariah. Social justice warriors are doing so much for society by threatening my life.

Oh, wait, the last one was his.

…carry on, anyway!

Matt Binder ‏@MattBinder Aug 18
.@benschoen i think everyone is going at you the wrong way and need to put it in words you can understand: you’re being a real voldemort

lightcastle
lightcastle
5 years ago

So if we come up with a better word for a man who supports feminism, the creeps and cookie-seekers will probably just switch to using that one.

Yup. And to this day I have people insist that the only reason I support women is to get laid, it’s all a trick. I just calmly say, “no, that’s not it” but I can’t really blame them because it has been shown time and time again that there are lots of people who are doing just that.

weirwoodtreehugger
5 years ago

Alais,
I made almost the exact same comment in my Gawker thread before refreshing here. Great minds!

Another favorite was the guy who called me a fembitch (whatever that is) for daring to point out that we live in a culture that is harmful to girls and then he said he’d be horrified if anyone ever sexualizes his daughter. Because it’s okay to be a misogynist to other women, but it’s not okay to be a misogynist to your woman! I told him that by dismissing women’s experiences with misogyny, he was enabling some other guy to treat his daughter like a sex object later on. I hope it sinks in.

alaisvex
alaisvex
5 years ago

@WWTH,

I hope that that sinks in too, but it probably won’t, either because his daughter is special and unique or because he’ll teach her to dress so that guys can’t treat her like a sex object.

cupisnique
5 years ago

Who is Hugo Schwyzer?

alaisvex
alaisvex
5 years ago

Warnings: Some of it’s triggering. Includes sexualized descriptions of rape.

http://hellnohugo.tumblr.com

leftwingfox
5 years ago

cupinesque: Wikipedia’s entry on him is pretty complete, please note the Controversies section, with appropriate trigger warnings for violence against women and abuse of power.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hugo_Schwyzer#Controversies

booburry
5 years ago

You know whats kind of funny? There were a bunch of white people telling various black activists that Bernie Sanders has done more for blacks than they ever will!!!!one@#!@# Like..word for word the same as this guy’s meltdown. Amazing.

What is it with privileged “allies” thinking they are so fucking major in every movement? When shit hits the fan, or actually when they are inconvenienced even a little, they do a great job showing that they don’t give a shit at all.

booburry
5 years ago

Also, you think this guy is auditioning for a spot in the men’s right bowel movement? He could use the whole “I was one of them, so listen to this crap I just made up about their secret cabal meetings” type thing. MRAs would eat that shit up.

Judas Peckerwood
Judas Peckerwood
5 years ago

I’ve always adhered to a fairly simple formula to determine whether or not one is a feminist.

You are a feminist if:

1) You recognize that discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, race, physical ability/disability, socioeconomic background, etc. (all intersectional oppression) exists;

2) You believe that that discrimination is wrong; and

3) You believe that YOU personally have a responsibility to combat and eradicate that discrimination AND you actually act on that belief in a sincere and consistent manner.

As someone who has been deeply involved in grassroots feminist/reproductive justice/queer rights/anti-racism/anti-poverty/social justice organizing for the past three decades, I’ve come across A LOT of insincere, opportunistic douches claiming to be feminists (and other varieties social justice advocates). And they’re not all straight dudes.

cupisnique
5 years ago

Thanks guys!

He is quite the piece of shit, isn’t he?….

Nop
Nop
5 years ago

@Paradoxical Intention
I couldn’t remember his name at the time I commented, but it was Hugo Schwyzer I was thinking of, & I obviously wasn’t the only one here thinking the same thing. 🙂

Mewens
Mewens
5 years ago

So, I knew who Schwyzer was and, generally, what he did. I still read through some of those links on him, and was dumbfounded that his college let him write the policy on sleeping with students – apparently as some kind of full circle thing, or something?

Like, in some cases, being the expert disqualifies you, guys.

ShakeB
ShakeB
5 years ago

When I read the title I had no idea of what the context was and figured someone had drank and posted online, gotten into an argument about something dumb they said and gone totally “on tilt”.

Then I read the post. This is not that. This is the mask not just slipping but falling off and shattering into a million pieces.

scalyllama
5 years ago
Reply to  eugenicides

Your contribution is duly noted.

Personally, I don’t feel Dave is trying to take up space and crowd us out with his manly whiteness. He’s providing a valuable service to those of us who want to keep abreast of doings in the misogynosphere but who haven’t the time/stomach to trawl through it ourselves. (I don’t recall him ever referring to himself as a “male feminist” either, but I could be wrong.)

So, yeah, noted.

alaisvex
alaisvex
5 years ago

@scalyllama,

I’m a bit confused at to whom you’re replying to. Is there a troll in the comments that I’m missing?

mildlymagnificent
mildlymagnificent
5 years ago

Yep. A presumably dude troll on the previous page. eugenicides I was surprised no one else responded – but it was pretty feeble.

RE: all comments about how ‘male feminists’ can’t be trusted –
Is anyone going to note that that author of this site himself has engaged in problematic behavior (Cats Against Feminism) and benefits from his white male privilege in writing and getting as much attention/praise for this site as he does? I like this site but this has to be brought up.

I half thought that raising Cats Against Feminism as a problematic issue was a misguided attempt at a joke. But the rest of it is simply incoherent.

Mewens
Mewens
5 years ago

“eugenicides”? Eeesh. Some names should just stay caught in moderation.

Nop
Nop
5 years ago

@eugenicides
[i]RE: all comments about how ‘male feminists’ can’t be trusted –
Is anyone going to note that that author of this site himself has engaged in problematic behavior (Cats Against Feminism) and benefits from his white male privilege in writing and getting as much attention/praise for this site as he does? I like this site but this has to be brought up.[/i]
Nice job of concern-trolling, asshole.

Nop
Nop
5 years ago

@cupisnique “He is quite the piece of shit, isn’t he?….”
He really is.

katz
katz
5 years ago

@eugenicides: Did you feel that…had to be said?

Paradoxical Intention
5 years ago

Eh, I might have been laughing too hard to notice that this one slipped through the filters.

eugenicides | August 18, 2015 at 6:06 pm
RE: all comments about how ‘male feminists’ can’t be trusted –
Is anyone going to note that that author of this site himself has engaged in problematic behavior (Cats Against Feminism)

If you want to elaborate on how “Cats Against Feminism” is/was problematic, I’d love to hear it.

(Though, I would like to remind you that that’s satire, and not actually David saying that feminism is somehow bad.)

and benefits from his white male privilege

White male privilege doesn’t automagically equal “bad person”. David is well-aware of his privilege and will respond accordingly when called out for fudging something up, as all humans (or a business of ferrets in a human suit) are wont to do.

Nobody’s perfect, but David does his best to not let his privilege get in the way of his feminism, and he does a pretty good job of that.

in writing and getting as much attention/praise for this site as he does?

The reason David gets so much “attention/praise” for doing what he does is that he keeps us informed of what’s going on in the manuresphere by crawling through it himself so we don’t have to.

He also gets a LOT of shit for running this blog from manuresphere types as well, so I think it balances it out.

I like this site but this has to be brought up.

This sounds like a really lame “gotcha”, and it’s not the first time it’s been “brought up”.

So many trolls have marched in here with the notion that feminists all hate men and would never defer to one in any subject, and yet, here we all are, feminists one and all, factually disproving that every single day.

Bina
Bina
5 years ago

RE: all comments about how ‘male feminists’ can’t be trusted –
Is anyone going to note that that author of this site himself has engaged in problematic behavior (Cats Against Feminism) and benefits from his white male privilege in writing and getting as much attention/praise for this site as he does? I like this site but this has to be brought up.

And you are…?

Oh, let me guess: A humorless git who doesn’t understand satire, and doesn’t think a white man has the right to criticize/satirize/mock other mostly-white dudes who are complete fucking jackasses, infinitely worthy of mockery, and sorely in need of a good soccer-dribbling of their asses around the field.

In other words, not really a fan of this site.

Nop
Nop
5 years ago

“Schwyzer is also a religious Christian (he has written of “a return to Christ following my near-death experience in 1998″) and leads a Christian youth group, so the language of redemption comes easily.”
Ah. That explains everything.
Source: http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2012/02/exile-in-gal-ville-how-a-male-feminist-alienated-his-supporters/252915/

Pandapool -- The Species that Endangers YOU (aka Banana Jackie Cake, for those who still want to call me "Banana", "Jackie" or whatever)
Pandapool -- The Species that Endangers YOU (aka Banana Jackie Cake, for those who still want to call me "Banana", "Jackie" or whatever)
5 years ago

RE: all comments about how ‘male feminists’ can’t be trusted –
Is anyone going to note that that author of this site himself has engaged in problematic behavior (Cats Against Feminism) and benefits from his white male privilege in writing and getting as much attention/praise for this site as he does? I like this site but this has to be brought up.

http://31.media.tumblr.com/e3dbb8bca3d0190e95389e34f5a74043/tumblr_nki7bqxzfo1qcxzu2o2_500.gif

weirwoodtreehugger
5 years ago

I’ll address it. My troll fighting muscles are all warmed up from Gawker.

RE: all comments about how ‘male feminists’ can’t be trusted –

We didn’t say male feminists can’t be trusted. We said some people prefer men not identify as feminists because some men abuse the term.

Is anyone going to note that that author of this site himself has engaged in problematic behavior (Cats Against Feminism)

Either this is a silly gotcha troll attempt. Or you don’t understand the concept of a joke.

and benefits from his white male privilege in writing and getting as much attention/praise for this site as he does? I like this site but this has to be brought up.

This has actually been brought up plenty. Both by David and by us. He’s also privileged to be able to stomach manosphere garbage because he’s not the target of the hatred. Something else he has acknowledged.

Next?

weirwoodtreehugger
5 years ago

Ninja’d many times because I’m slow!

Cerberus
Cerberus
5 years ago

And these chucklefucks wonder why we’re often so skeptical and slow to warm with self-professed allies.

Almost like we’ve been burned a thousand times before by fake allies who will claim support up and until the point where they are actually called on to DO something.

ryohji
ryohji
5 years ago

The cringe… oh dear god! The cringe!

Paradoxical Intention
5 years ago

Cerberus | August 18, 2015 at 11:51 pm
And these chucklefucks wonder why we’re often so skeptical and slow to warm with self-professed allies.

Almost like we’ve been burned a thousand times before by fake allies who will claim support up and until the point where they are actually called on to DO something.

Or they claim support until they somehow feel like they aren’t getting enough of the “Special Ally Snowflake” treatment, which apparently includes “sexual access” to any woman they want in this case, regardless of if they’re dating someone else or not.

Merus
Merus
5 years ago

To be honest, the terribleness of male feminists is one of the big reasons why I don’t refer to myself as a feminist any more. It’s not quite self-labelling-as-an-egalitarian-instead bad, but it’s certainly not a good sign. (This isn’t the only reason, but going into it would be a particularly shitty derail.)

Moocow
Moocow
5 years ago

I’ll call myself feminist ally rather than feminist as I have prior. Definitely learned a thing or two from this post and subsequent discussion

scalesandfins
5 years ago

Yikes. Serious question, do we think this jackass is on a drug rampage and/or having a manic episode? Even before Hugo’s creepy involvement, his tweets were starting to sound pretty unhinged.

Moggie
Moggie
5 years ago

katz:

@eugenicides: Did you feel that…had to be said?

Ah good, you spotted that too. Yeah, there’s suddenly a whiff of sock around here.

Nashradnek
Nashradnek
5 years ago

Looks like he has read Roosh´s dating advices.

http://i.imgur.com/RjnxVrQ.jpg

spacelawn
5 years ago

@Nashradnek

Not to be an ass (although im being an ass) but this guy struck me as the fedora wearing type. Is there anything in the site rules about that? Baseless fedora accusations?

Lanariel
Lanariel
5 years ago

@wwth

just read the comment section you linked. Just wanted to share my admiration for how you manage to handle the situation.

Since I started to read the WHTM I’ve gone from being “egalitarian” to being a feminist, to labeling mys self as Feminist supporter.

The main reason I usually dont comment is that I fell that my job for the cause right now is to shut the fuck up and just listen. I have to many non feminist Ideas I need to deal with first.

@everyone
Thanks alot for the insightful comments and interesting discussions.

@David
Thanks for all the hard work and interesting articles

msexceptiontotherule
msexceptiontotherule
5 years ago

It is profoundly distressing to me that WOC/POC/TG do not feel their experiences are considered important and that in the greater scheme of things, white feminists have failed to truly include them. The problem is (as a white woman who feels that equality is something all humans deserve, not patriarchy or matriarchy, just egalitarian.) what can I personally do differently, I’m not even sure who to ask, or if my questions regarding what will demonstrate their experiences are important and feelings valid will even be taken seriously. Every movement starts with an individual joining forces with other individuals.

Though the above is only slightly relevant to the post, it’s been bothering me for a while and this place seemed like the best one out of any to bring it up.

Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
5 years ago

I think that there’s a difference between guys who will own the label (whether it’s “feminist” or “feminist ally”) to de-stigmatize it and defend it and guys who use it to make themselves seem more special.

Yeah, the way I usually word it is “There are feminists who happen to be male, and then there are male feminists.”

makingfitzcarraldo
makingfitzcarraldo
5 years ago

Is there any other activism group that is criticized for not taking on the causes of all groups? I can’t help but read it as “women aren’t important enough so it should be about this instead”.

Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
5 years ago

@makingfitzcarraldo

Oh, all activist groups are, not just feminism. I’ve seen the NAACP be critisised for not taking on the cause of white people and the LGBT+ rights movement be critisised for not taking on the cause of cishet people, and that’s just in the half hour I’ve been awake. =P