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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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EJ (The Other One)
EJ (The Other One)
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”.

I’ve experienced it being directed against:

– Atheist activism
– Environmental activism
– Left-wing economic activism
– Pro-Palestinian activism
– Pacifist activism

There are probably other fields it gets used against too, but I haven’t had first hand experience there.

EJ (The Other One)
EJ (The Other One)
5 years ago

On topic:

What follows is my opinion only.

If you see feminism as being uniquely a matter of dealing with issues that women face, then men should identify as allies.

If you see feminism as being about struggling against patriarchy, in which women’s rights, men’s rights and LGBTQA rights are merely facets of the same larger issue, then men should identify as feminists.

I believe the latter, and therefore identify as a feminist. This is not to say that I believe I should be in charge or have a speaking role when we are discussing issues that affect women, of course; but I have suffered personally at the hands of patriarchy and so when we are discussing issues where patriarchy affects men, I will not be told that I am an ally when I should be a participant.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
5 years ago

I’ve noted the opinion that being a feminist also involves a concern about other social justice issues, and that feminism should address these issues too.

I’m not so sure about that.

I can understand that someone who cares about oppression of women may also care about other forms of oppression too. I’m sure there are many feminists whose activism also encompasses anti-fascism, equal rights for gay people etc. I see that however as something separate from their feminism.

To say feminism but take on *all* forms of oppression smacks too much to me of the “So really a better word is Egalitarian” argument.

I don’t see anything wrong with women having a particular focus on addressing the oppression of women in order to make things better for women.

Men may get a collateral benefit from feminism, but feminism is under no obligation to fight on behalf of men.

Just my $0.02 of course; other opinions are available.

dhag85
5 years ago

If you see feminism as being about struggling against patriarchy, in which women’s rights, men’s rights and LGBTQA rights are merely facets of the same larger issue, then men should identify as feminists.

^This has been exactly my reasoning as well.

LG.
LG.
5 years ago

I’ve encountered plenty of asshatery from self-identified “pro-feminist” men. Choice of label is meh. Posers find it no challenge to stay on top of those particular trends.

shinykari (@meinterrupted)

Apparently he gave an “interview” to Chuck Johnson about it, and tells a story about how he peed on two girls back in the HP podcast days: http://www.themarysue.com/ben-schoen-grace-spelman/#comment-2201587102

dslucia1
dslucia1
5 years ago

Personally, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t give myself any sort of label in the first place. I’m not any good at doing any actual activisting and I don’t have the patience to smack down nonsense on the internet. Feminism stands for a lot of incredibly important things that I support, but I can’t really in good conscience say that I’m an “ally” when the most I’ll do is mock and laugh at misogynist creeps and try and fail to get websites I frequent to ban them.

dslucia1
dslucia1
5 years ago

Er, sorry if there were any untoward implications with the “actual activisting” part of that last comment in conjunction with everything else. It’s important to shine lights on and push back against the creeps on the internet, too, and this is all another reason why I’m really bad at this kind of stuff and leave it to the people who actually know what they’re doing and talking about.

Nop
Nop
5 years ago

Believe it or not, Schoen’s meltdown is still going:
https://twitter.com/benschoen

Julie Salvatore
5 years ago

We need male Feminist/Feminist allies….but guys like this Schoen weirdo are only making that harder. We should accept allies but we should nonetheless be aware of fakers, fanatics & interlopers. Same with any other Social Justice activism. There should be some sort of test or warning signs or something. This is nuts!

Also, we should start using “trilby” instead of “fedora” to describe the “Omega Guys” (I refuse to dignify them with the term ‘Men’s Right’s Activist’) fave hat style. The hat in question is always a trilby and I hate to see the stylish awesomeness of Indiana Jones’/Film Noir Detectives chapeaus be dragged into this.

Mark
Mark
5 years ago

Is this story in any way significant?

Dodom
Dodom
5 years ago

I knew a self-proclaimed “male feminist” that… wasn’t purposedly evil, but was so oblivious the result was all the same. He had the same tendency in his support for unions and socialism, he had a mental theoretical edifice that had no doors for reality. In the end he was a quite terrible socialist and unionist as well, but his weird notions about feminism affected how he treated women, and being interacted with based on a theoretical model instead of as an individual goes from awkward to dangerous.
He once nearly killed a woman by failure to assist because he thought offering a ride to a woman would be patriarchal paternalism. She had found herself stranded out of town in -20 weather, and he was the first person with a car she found. He thought helping her out, even if she was begging and pleading she might die of exposure, would be doing her harm in the long run. He told his female friends later (that’s how I heard of it) sincerely expecting approval.
(the news didn’t talk about anybody dying in that area the next days, so I assume she found other help or a place to get warm)

skiriki
5 years ago

He once nearly killed a woman by failure to assist because he thought offering a ride to a woman would be patriarchal paternalism. She had found herself stranded out of town in -20 weather, and he was the first person with a car she found. He thought helping her out, even if she was begging and pleading she might die of exposure, would be doing her harm in the long run. He told his female friends later (that’s how I heard of it) sincerely expecting approval. (the news didn’t talk about anybody dying in that area the next days, so I assume she found other help or a place to get warm)

[insert that gross Scanners .gif here]

WHAAAAAAAAAAA.

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
5 years ago

O_____________O

It’s like how a male feminist would act in an MRA fantasy, where the feminist gets her comeuppance for wanting to have autonomy and financial independence.

I’m assuming he didn’t have female friends after that stunt…

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

@Dodom

I…you’re kidding, right? No one is…that’s just cartoonish. That is literal cartoon character logic. What. What. What.

Zeb Berryman
Zeb Berryman
5 years ago

@Dodom: Oh god. He sounds absolutely horrible. This is why I don’t like it when people develop absolutist moral codes and don’t allow reality to effect them.

potterchik
potterchik
5 years ago

“I was about to offer you a job.” Yeah, because she would really want a job working for the ANGRY STALKER JERK who’s been harassing her. Also, cool lie, bro.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
5 years ago

@ Potterchik

One of my friends has just had an almost identical experience. A refusal to follow up on a date has lead to public announcements of career ruin from someone with “powerful friends in the fashion industry”.

[We’re assuming he means Stella McCartney. Not many people know but she can bench press 500kgs]

weirwoodtreehugger
5 years ago

How did Mark end up being able to post again? Wasn’t he banned after the thread in which he went on and on about how women should dress in ways that he disapproves of?

weirwoodtreehugger
5 years ago

Because apparently showing cleavage is mean but harassing a woman is a-ok.

Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
5 years ago

Oh, it’s the same Mark? I can never tell, it seems like every second MRA is named Mark…

weirwoodtreehugger
5 years ago

I remembered that he had that particular geometric avatar thing for some reason. Cripes. If you’re going to sock, at least use a different name.

Erik Dahl
5 years ago

On #5, if he had just sent the 3rd, 4th, 7th and 8th paragraphs, it would have been a really good, sincere apology. Then he ruined it.

Shaenon
5 years ago

Holy crud, it’s been two days and the meltdown is still going on. He’s ranting about journalists who reported on the kerfluffle (but only female ones), continuing to attack the poor woman he’s fixated on, and declaring victory every couple of hours. Hugo is trying to talk him down. It’s stunning.

leftwingfox
5 years ago

Thank god asshole meltdowns only produce vast quantities of bullshit rather than lethal radiation.

I wouldn’t turn down the concrete sarcophagus and a 100 km exclusion area though.

leftwingfox
5 years ago

Oh hai mark.

Paradoxical Intention
5 years ago

He emailed the Mary Sue (twice) about it, and they wrote an article about it.

My favorite part is the second email.

Your article is printing a flat out lie. I never threatened her career. She started posting private emails and I said I would let her bosses know as that is against the policy of many media companies.

“You’re lying! I didn’t threaten her career! She was posting things I didn’t want anyone else to see because they’d make me look bad, so I said I was going to tell her bosses that she’s breaking the rules and that would surely get her fired!”

andiexist
andiexist
5 years ago

@WWTH

Stars above, I really wish that my sensory problems didn’t basically bar me from getting tattoos.

I *am* going to put green streaks in my hair, though, so that’s at least *some* of the Misandry Quota taken care of. 😉

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

@WWTH

YAAAAAAAAS!

Paradoxical Intention
5 years ago

Ooooh, careful! We might be sexually objectifying them! (I know that’s a separate troll, but that one was silly as fuck.)

Woah
Woah
5 years ago

Lol not even /r9k/ is this cringey.

eugenicides
5 years ago

Holy crap. I almost feel like my point has been proven by these responses to my innocent comment. I am a 23 year old, female college student. My screen name is a mix of the author and book title (Virgin Suicides). I didn’t know I wasn’t allowed to criticize this site whatsoever. I am a reader but I feel that nothing is above criticism and we should be mindful of the sites we read when it comes to issues like misogyny. But I guess not. Holy hell.

eugenicides
5 years ago

“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.”

YOU ARE LITERALLY AN MRA DO NOT COME AT ME.

eugenicides
5 years ago

And I still think Cats Against Feminism was offensive sorry for having my own opinion on this site. Jesus Christ.

isidore13
isidore13
5 years ago

I don’t understand how Cats Against Feminism is offensive.

Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
5 years ago

It was a parody taking the piss out of a stupid anti-feminist hashtag using kittens. That’s the opposite of offensive.

Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
5 years ago

My screen name is a mix of the author and book title (Virgin Suicides).

Well that’s a bold-faced lie. “Eugenicide” is a word that means “Committing genocide via or in the name of eugenics.”

eugenicides
5 years ago

I don’t know how to respond to a comment because this is my first time commenting in this cesspool.

Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
5 years ago

*Genocide committed via, I should say. COFFEE.

eugenicides
5 years ago

It’s not a lie. I literally combined the two. The book is by Jeffrey Eugenides.

eugenicides
5 years ago

I am so sorry I stated my opinion. I didn’t know this site was full of nutcases.

isidore13
isidore13
5 years ago

Seriously though, how is Cats Against Feminism offensive? I really don’t understand.

weirwoodtreehugger
5 years ago

Eugenicides,
First of all, you’ve given no reason for finding Cats Against Feminism – an obvious satire – offensive. So it just seems like a ridiculous troll comment.

Secondly, we get a lot of sea lion trolls here. So when you introduce yourself that way, we’re going to be suspicious. Why did you think you would be well received when your only comment was a criticism? Why is that so hard for you to understand? Is that how you introduce yourself to people in meat space? Neither this blog or David or the commenters are above criticism, but if criticizing is your purpose for posting, that’s trolling.

weirwoodtreehugger
5 years ago

Eugenicides,
If I walked up to you and said “hi, I think your haircut is ugly” would you want to be my friend? Probably not. If you justifiably reacted poorly, would it be appropriate for me to conclude that you think you’re above criticism? No!

andiexist
andiexist
5 years ago
Reply to  eugenicides

@eugenicides

MRAs call non-satire things satire, but that doesn’t make obvious satire non-satirical, or make everyone who talks about satire a MRA. They’re confused cats. They’re anti-feminist cats because they don’t understand feminism. That’s the point.

Also, “nutcases” is an ableist insult, so we’d rather you didn’t use it. Please read the comments policy.

Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
5 years ago

So, let’s see.

– “David is a man therefore bad.”
– “You disagree with me therefore MRA.”
– Offensive 2edgy4u username.
– Claiming that a silly kitty parody is offensive but refusing to say why.
– Tone policing.
– Ableism.

MRA idiot trying their usual tactic of throwing around SJ words without knowing what those words actually mean, or just a regular idiot?

katz
katz
5 years ago

“That site is offensive.”
“Why?”
“JESUS CHRIST SORRY FOR HAVING AN OPINION.”

eugenicides
5 years ago

I’m sorry, I really do not give a crap what anyone says. When you jump to attack someone for merely criticizing the white male feminism GOD’s website you can’t seriously give a crap about women. All I did was leave a single comment which I do not feel was mean, aggressive or trolling in any way. I had not read the comments on this site before, though I have read many posts (probably 30 or so), so maybe I was unaware of certain things that had been addressed in posts or comments I did not see. Attacks are still unwarranted. I had never seen anyone address his male privilege including himself so I brought it up. And the way I brought it up was not offensive.

I have the right to be offended by Cats Against Feminism and had anyone asked why instead of attacking me and arguing against stupid assumptions they made up in their own minds, I would have been happy to explain the nuances of why it does. But apparently all we care about on this site is defending the white male god of feminism against all who dare to approach him with even moderate criticism.

Lastly I don’t give a crap if you believe me or not but you all genuinely attacked a woman of color to defend this white guy in the name of feminism. You may not have known that because I am anonymous, but you still did. You accused me of being male, an MRA and a troll for leaving what I would call a moderate critique. I never expected this site to be like this and I thought this was a relatively safe place to leave a comment. That is apparently not true and you are all actually trash. I am shocked my comment was approved to be published if it was really going to cause this much of a row, and now I have to suspect that he published it for the purpose of getting commenters to attack me. I would have preferred it not be published if I was just going to be attacked.

Of all people, women should be allowed to comment anonymously on the web. The idea that I would be assumed to be a man unless I prove otherwise is already an issue and sexist in and of itself. It’s often not safe for women to leave comments online with her real name or pic. It’s honestly screwed up to assume I am a man because I made that comment. I’m not acting like an MRA or a troll so what the hell is wrong with you people? And the attacks on my screenname, which I made up because I needed a throwaway WP account to work on a project, are baffling. It’s a screenname. Get the hell over it.