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This comic was inspired by a number of conversations I’ve had online.

Look, it’s not that men don’t get harassed or threatened. But for guys to go around stating that they’ve had people talk crap about them online too, and using that as the basis to declare that women are too thin-skinned and are overreacting to harassment and threats, is just overflowing with wrongness. Not to mention an utter lack of sympathy, and a profound ignorance of the very real epidemic of violence against women.

Trigger warning: the comic’s final panel includes graphic threats of rape and violence.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.


( 39 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 9th, 2014 07:39 pm (UTC)
This is brilliant, and I'm bookmarking it.

I think the saddest commentary was that the only thing that shocked me was seeing the footnotes... and realizing how easy it was to put together a horrifying list of very specific, very terrible comments.
Jan. 9th, 2014 07:42 pm (UTC)
And it could have been a much longer list without much difficulty.

The worst I've ever gotten was an anonymous comment saying "I'll rape you." Which is not okay. But it's also not part of an ongoing bombardment of gender-specific threats and attacks like you see toward women.
Jan. 9th, 2014 07:49 pm (UTC)
No, it's not the same. But it is both appalling and oddly *identical* to one of the most popular threats made against [people perceived as] women on the internet, which is another thing I believe you've noted : that when you and Scalzi and certain other men become regarded as "feminist sympathizers," you will be treated as women by proxy when it comes to these sorts of 'net misogynists.

(And of course, while it's not the same level or intensity of threat, you citing threats made to you *because of* things you have done to draw attention to women's issues is not the same as the usual what about the menz whining either. The fact that you're willing to step up and leverage your privilege - and your literal voice - by making yourself a target on behalf of a fight you aren't personally involved in is worthy of respect.)
Jan. 9th, 2014 07:57 pm (UTC)
Yep. It's interesting to see how people attack Scalzi or myself, or pretty much any guy speaking out about this stuff, by trying to portray us as feminine. Which is apparently a bad thing, by definition.

Kind of supports many of the points we're trying to make...
Jan. 9th, 2014 08:52 pm (UTC)
Which is why your cover-pose posts, or Scalzi in Mary Robinette Kowal's Regency dress, are so fabulous. Because you don't defend yourself against that by asserting your masculinity; you defend by shrugging and saying, I'm not threatened by the possibility of being feminized.
Jan. 9th, 2014 09:03 pm (UTC)
I have an.... acquaintence, I guess, since we're not close enough for me to consider him to be a friend.... who will always, always speak up whenever I deride MRAs and discuss the ways in which male victims of violence and such are a thing. I don't think it's an intentional derailment, I think he's just tired of being tarred with that brush because he wants things to be fair and equal for everyone (as do I)... but it's an argument he's losing because the term MRA is, rightly, toxic, in that it encompasses those who are defending male privilege, not male equality.

And, really, I don't mind taking flak for it. I can hold my own, or at least tank the aggro while more deft tacticians cut them to ribbons, especially if those tacticians are women who don't need some dude like me fighting for them in the first place. :-)
Jan. 10th, 2014 10:00 pm (UTC)
The really sad thing about MRAs is that the "men's problems" they bring up are real problems for a large number of real men. Only, the MRAs only bring them up as fuel for their argument that feminists and feminist allies (and, let's be honest, women in general) need to STFU. They don't offer any ideas or efforts that would actually HELP with those real problems, and they certainly don't offer any analysis of the actual causes of those problems. Their answer for every problem in any man's life is "Feminists are the cause of your pain."
Jan. 10th, 2014 11:06 pm (UTC)
After a few back-and-forths yesterday, that was the crux of his argument to me - that whenever he aligns himself with assisting some marginalized group, he's welcomed, except when it's feminists.

"The only reason I don't associate with feminists is because they're the only group that seems to hate me when I support another group."

I... what... just, dude, if you're going to knee-jerk negate the concept, how the fuck is open-armed acceptance supposed to fucking happen?
Jan. 11th, 2014 10:55 am (UTC)
I apologise for seeming a dim Brit, but I have multiple sclerosis (MS) and abbreviation-blindness is one of my symptoms. I have never seen "MRA" as an abbreviation before and I can only hope that me search engine's results for "MRA" are not the "MRA" that you intended:
Jan. 11th, 2014 11:12 am (UTC)
"Men's Rights Activist." A group of men who sincerely believe that women have too many rights and men don't have enough. Mostly, they think that it's a man's right to do whatever the fuck he wants, and women should shut up and take it. They flood feminist spaces to object to anything feminists advocate, insist that it's much more important to talk about the rape and abuse that men suffer, say that women shouldn't be able to get abortions without the permission of the men who impregnated them but also that if they have babies without the approval of the men who impregnated them then the men shouldn't have to pay child support, that men should never have to pay child support at all, that men should always get custody of their kids in a divorce if they want them (which they usually do anyway; women get custody more often because women WANT custody more often), and basically that men JUST HAVE IT SO MUCH HARDER THAN WOMEN DO. They tend to whine about opening doors and paying for meals on dates, too. They're entitled misogynist assholes.
Jan. 11th, 2014 06:10 pm (UTC)
The initial reply covered this entirely well. :-)
Jan. 9th, 2014 08:36 pm (UTC)
yeah, you would think that women were born without a sense of humor the way some men talk. A male sense of humor that is..
Jan. 9th, 2014 09:52 pm (UTC)
I'd also point out that men often ignore severity, context and degree when they resort to the "it happens to everyone" argument.

Their examples often involve: "I made a comment on this online forum and everyone told me to fuck off and die" or "I was playing a game online and the other players hurled vile insults." or "I read the comments on Youtube."

It's "some random dude I never engaged decided something I posted online merited retaliation which continued and escalated over a disturbing amount of time." or "when other players realized I was a girl they ceaselessly insulted me and when I shut off the sound tried every method they could to get to me and ganged up to force me out of the game" or "an organized group of dudes tried to shut down my youtube account by flagging me as hate speech", or "a guy tracked down my number and made obscene phone calls because I was dismissive of pickup artists". or "A group of dudes tried to get me fired because I question the status quo." or "someone randomly chose my Facebook profile, created fake nudes from my pictures and posted them on a revenge porn site along with all my personal information".

When a guy has all of his personal information dumped online and is then subjected to offline harassment, it an a unusual and extreme event. For women, dealing with some random trolls who keep escalating no matter what is disturbingly frequent, and largely goes unremarked.

Everyone fears being randomly targeted by trolls who keep escalating no matter how one reacts, but it's a reality for far more women than men.

HWomen who have never taken a nude photo are still randomly targeted with fakes on revenge porn sites.

Guys may fear being randomly targeted by a troll who keeps escalating no matter what you do
Jan. 10th, 2014 12:36 am (UTC)
I'd also point out that men often ignore severity, context and degree when they resort to the "it happens to everyone" argument.

Jan. 10th, 2014 01:16 am (UTC)
My apologies, I left fragment of a first draft when I posted this comment.
Jan. 9th, 2014 09:59 pm (UTC)
Absolutely spot-on. We need more men like you speaking out against this.
Jan. 9th, 2014 10:28 pm (UTC)
Thanks for this!
Jan. 10th, 2014 12:29 am (UTC)
I'm a woman and...
I dunno, is it kind of weird that the second panel kind of turned me on a little bit?
Jan. 10th, 2014 12:35 am (UTC)
Re: I'm a woman and...
Well, I'm not about to judge people's preferences or kinks (as long as it's all consensual) but I'll admit that wasn't a reaction I was expecting...
Jan. 10th, 2014 12:48 am (UTC)
Re: I'm a woman and...
Sometimes I prefer my sex non-consensual
I like when a big strong man takes me against my will and makes me his fun time play toy :3
Jan. 10th, 2014 01:08 am (UTC)
Re: I'm a woman and...
There's an important distinction between rape fantasy and the reality.

And while you might enjoy reading rape threats and death threats, talking about your rape fantasies here, in response to this post, seems inappropriate and uncomfortable, so I'm going to go ahead and freeze this thread.
Jan. 10th, 2014 02:14 am (UTC)
As a female that often plays online games, I can honestly say that I'm sick and tired of hearing the "it happens to everyone" argument from male gamers. I often won't even disclose my gender to friends that I make online.

I also have had IRL friends whose ex-boyfriends (both played the same games) leaked nude pictures of my friends to players of the games, encouraging them to alienate and verbally/emotionally harass them until they quit.

In all the years that I have been gaming, in specific playing MMORPGs, I have never seen men treated anywhere near as bad as I've seen females get treated. The hostility and vulgarity that I have witnessed in online threads and in-game behavior has shocked me, and I'm glad there is someone speaking out about this. Far too often it gets swept under the rug, especially when it's online and can be brushed aside with the tagline of "just turn off your computer"
Jan. 10th, 2014 07:28 am (UTC)
Unfortunately, the issue appears to be horribly prevalent within the online gaming community, as the males within it tend to view gaming as a bastion of masculinity and competitiveness.

Spurred by the relative anonymity of the forum itself, and the implied insult of a woman performing well in a typically male-dominated environment, it's become acceptable to shame females, or those viewed as overly feminized, into submission, and in many cases, outright fear.

We live in a culture in which it's acceptable to threaten an individual with rape, and to consistently emphasize that a woman's purpose is to be valuable to a man. It's acceptable to debase an individual on the basis of femininity or non-heterosexuality. (Because isn't non-heterosexuality the same as being feminine?)

As a culture, we have failed at educating our population in the inherent value of each person, value that they have because of the things that make them an individual. We have made it acceptable to devalue and debase people. Until there are dramatic changes made in how we educate and how our legislators speak on certain issues (legitimate rape, anyone?), the devaluing and debasement will continue.

I'm encouraged when a gaming-centric company speaks out against the rampant misogyny, but unfortunately it's really not enough to encourage me to participate in online gaming again. While I will happily call myself a gamer, I'd much rather limit myself to single player experiences than listen to males (ranging as young as 10 to as old as 50) debase and devalue me because I happen to be in possession of a vagina. For that matter, I'd prefer to not listen to them debase and devalue my husband, because he is bisexual.
Jan. 10th, 2014 09:31 am (UTC)
I'm bookmarking this. Thanks so much for posting this, Jim.

Online misogynists implying a guy is feminine for backing up women? How sad and predictable.

I've met plenty of nice people when I used to play online games. But I've also met major douches too. If I had a dime for every time someone online insulted femininity and non heterosexuality I'd be ridiculously rich... *sighs and shakes head* It *definitely* does not "happen to everyone".

I'm really glad you're posting things like this. Keep fighting the good fight. :)

Edited at 2014-01-10 09:33 am (UTC)
Jan. 10th, 2014 03:12 pm (UTC)
S[pot on. Thank you. Jim.
A troll recently called for a female friend of mine to be bombed, for the crime of being female in public. Not minor; not at all.
Jan. 10th, 2014 03:18 pm (UTC)
Bombs can't hurt you if your skin is thick enough!!!

Jan. 10th, 2014 03:25 pm (UTC)
Oversensitivity on the net
To start with, and I don't care who feelings are hurt by what I have to say , however, I've come to realize that the internet is a place for many, not all, people that are very disturbed and dysfunctional to come and take all their perceived hurt, anger and resentment from their lives out on unsuspecting people that may be here for just entertainment. It has also become the toilet version of "Match.com". Here they can hide behind the relatively safe anonymity of an electronic connection and lie, hurt, cheat and steal (emotionally and financially) with impunity. I don't understand why people don't realize that the internet is no safer than talking to a salesman on the phone. The only difference is here they can show you fake pictures. Open your eyes people and stop being "victims" cause the predators are always out and always vigilant. And unfortunately, there's no such thing as "thought police", for good or bad.
Now if the truth hurts your feelings, congratulations, you're human. Get over it and remember "vos autem non estis defete" Don"t let the bastar-s defeat you!
Jan. 10th, 2014 03:34 pm (UTC)
Re: Oversensitivity on the net
I'm honestly not sure who you're addressing, or what you're trying to say here...

Edited at 2014-01-10 03:35 pm (UTC)
Jan. 10th, 2014 05:27 pm (UTC)
Re: Oversensitivity on the net
Yeah, well I'm sure other people will catch my drift even if you aren't able to.
Jan. 10th, 2014 05:43 pm (UTC)
Re: Oversensitivity on the net
That seems insulting, in addition to your patronising attitude in your original comment. You don't care about hurting people's feelings? Your response is basically "Stop being a victim"? Seriously?
Jan. 10th, 2014 05:59 pm (UTC)
Re: Oversensitivity on the net
It is insulting, which is one of several reasons silklnightshade has now been banned for trolling.
Jan. 15th, 2014 02:31 am (UTC)
Re: Oversensitivity on the net
Oops, my apologies. I responded to the semi-troll before scrolling all the way down. Will delete my comment.
Jan. 10th, 2014 05:51 pm (UTC)
Re: Oversensitivity on the net
I do. The rather muddled premise is that "complaining" about trolls or conciousness raising is worthless and we just need to accept it.

This premise is negated by the many civil and women's rights groups which have sucessfully changed our culture for the better with their actions. Enough complainers can change the world.

Jan. 12th, 2014 05:49 am (UTC)
It's also negated by the many places on the net where a modicum of moderation has in fact kept toxicity minimal to nil. Such as, for example, Jim HInes banning blatant trollery on his livejournal. This one act reduced the toxicity in the vicinity by a degree obvious to everyone else present.

There are ways to prevent the bastards from winning other than giving up and going away or "growing a thicker skin".
Jan. 10th, 2014 03:28 pm (UTC)
Jan. 10th, 2014 05:28 pm (UTC)
Jan. 10th, 2014 05:46 pm (UTC)

I was applauding Jim's post.
Jan. 10th, 2014 05:57 pm (UTC)
silknightshade is a troll and/or seems to suffer from an unusual degree of cluelessness. Either way, they have now been banned.
Jan. 10th, 2014 07:19 pm (UTC)
Ah. I thought the troll got his indentations wrong.

He is right in that the internet has its share of asshats, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't aspire to more and better things.

Besides, changing the argument is one of the oldest tricks in the book. Ain't gonna happen this time.
( 39 comments — Leave a comment )


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