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Dear Internets,

Please do me a favor. If you ever find yourself speaking or typing words like the ones above? Shut up and walk away.

Cat Valente wrote a powerful post about Gender and the Fallout Over Christopher Priest, comparing the responses Priest received with the much more vicious, hateful threats and attacks women receive for similar posts.

Naturally, one of the commenters jumped in with, “I’ll probably get vilified for saying this, but I’m a guy…” Just in case you missed the point, he added, “Unfortunately, I’m a guy, and so far as I can tell, therefore I’m evil.”

I’ve seen this preemptive crap a lot lately. Look dude - it’s not that you’re a guy. It’s not that you’re white or straight or whatever. It’s that you’re being an dumbass and a coward.

A dumbass because nobody is saying anything about guys all being evil! Go read Valente’s post and show me where she says men are evil. Show me where anyone in the comments says it. Take your time, I’ve got all day. Nobody said it, nobody suggested it, and if you really believe that’s what’s going on, then I have very little hope for you, but I’d be happy to recommend some remedial reading courses.

A coward because in most cases, I suspect you know perfectly well that nobody’s saying that. You don’t actually believe Valente is suggesting all men are evil. You’re saying it to protect your ego. Because by preemptively writing crap like, “I know you’re all going to dogpile me for being male,” you’ve given yourself an excuse. Everyone who points out that your argument is full of crap isn’t doing it because you’re an ignorant, misinformed, condescending jackass. They’re just doing it because you’re a guy.


Let me break it down as simply as possible.

1) Blogger writes a post pointing out the inequality in how men and women are treated online. She gives multiple examples of women who receive threats of rape and death, where men receive far less viciousness.

2) Random dude reads this post and immediately feels defensive and attacked as a man.

Why is that, I wonder? Is it because harassing and abusing women is, in your opinion, part of being a man? Is it because you’ve personally done things like this and you dislike being called on it? What is it that makes you read this as a personal attack on your gender?

Because you know what? If you haven’t done these things, then it’s not about you! And if you have, then it’s not about you being a guy; it’s about you being an asshole.

Like I said, it’s not just one commenter. It’s one person after another pulling out this same rhetorical garbage, and it’s tiresome.

Enough from me. Go read Valente’s post, if you haven’t already. I’d also recommend Seanan McGuire’s follow-up thoughts about gender and literature.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.



( 84 comments — Leave a comment )
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Apr. 6th, 2012 06:35 pm (UTC)
Really, if you start off with "I know I'm probably going to get flamed..." or "I know you're not going to listen..." you have already lost.

Because someone, somewhere in your audience, has grown up with Catholic relatives, and thus learned the proper response to that sort of thing: "Get off the cross; we need the wood."
Apr. 6th, 2012 06:37 pm (UTC)
"Get off the cross; we need the wood."

I've never heard that one before, but I like it.
(no subject) - funwithrage - Apr. 6th, 2012 06:42 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - angela_n_hunt - Apr. 6th, 2012 06:39 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - funwithrage - Apr. 6th, 2012 06:42 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - suricattus - Apr. 6th, 2012 06:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - custardfairy - Apr. 6th, 2012 08:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - evilrooster - Apr. 6th, 2012 08:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - snapes_angel - Apr. 9th, 2012 12:40 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 6th, 2012 06:38 pm (UTC)
You'll probably ignore me because I prefer to write with purple pens and so far as I can tell that means that I like bunnies, but I think a lot of people expect other people to respond the same way they would respond.

I often expect people to respond with a well thought out and logical response, I'm often wrong.
Apr. 6th, 2012 06:40 pm (UTC)
I love purple pens! I used to snatch up the purple ones all the time at work, until they stopped buying them :-(
(no subject) - celtic_catgirl - Apr. 6th, 2012 06:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - barbarienne - Apr. 6th, 2012 07:38 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - cereta - Apr. 7th, 2012 04:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jimhines - Apr. 7th, 2012 05:32 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 6th, 2012 06:38 pm (UTC)
I see this tactic used all the time with regards with Race. "I know I'm white, but it seems to me that Trayvon was a thug...." As if dogwhistling to the others who are simpatico....

Apr. 6th, 2012 06:43 pm (UTC)
Because when black people say, "Stop shooting our children!" or simply point out the horrible racial inequities in this country and demand change, what they *really* mean is "We hate all white people!"
Apr. 6th, 2012 06:40 pm (UTC)
I want to hug you, if that's not too forward. Thank you for writing this.
Apr. 6th, 2012 06:44 pm (UTC)
Hugs are cool :-) Thanks.
(no subject) - angela_n_hunt - Apr. 6th, 2012 07:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 6th, 2012 06:43 pm (UTC)
Apr. 6th, 2012 06:53 pm (UTC)
Jim, you can live on the planet of excellent men anytime.

Honestly. It *is* still a regrettable given that women are treated shabbily. One only has to look at recent conservative politics about birth control to see the reality. And yet, you poor persecuted white men, no one understands you.

Keep doing the good work you do here on the journal. And I'm happy to send a hug your way as well.

Apr. 6th, 2012 07:07 pm (UTC)
I keep trying to write a humorous-but-sarcastic follow-up to the "Poor, persecuted white men" thing, and they keep turning out way too bitter. Maybe I'll try later when I'm less cranky.
Apr. 6th, 2012 06:54 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I have been staying out of this because, bluntly, right now I am ALL out of fucking spoons when it comes to asshattery and willful ignorance, of any gender, color, species or faith (or lack thereof). So I appreciate the energy it takes, and appreciate you for doing it.

[yeah, when I'm defending the devout against intolerant atheists, as I've been doing, the world is askew and everyone needs to take a goddamn nap with their goddamn blankie and ruminate on their own goddamned culpability.]

Edited at 2012-04-06 06:55 pm (UTC)
Apr. 6th, 2012 07:04 pm (UTC)
I fully support the Nap and Blankie initiative!

The thing is, while it does take energy, I also think it's easier for me to write this kind of post. Specifically because, as Cat points out, I'm less likely to get the kind of vicious backlash that she will.

I get plenty of crap online. I'm still reeling a bit from something that went down a few weeks ago. But I know a lot of other people, including a lot of my friends, get it far worse.
(no subject) - deire - Apr. 6th, 2012 07:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - suricattus - Apr. 6th, 2012 07:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - deire - Apr. 6th, 2012 07:26 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 6th, 2012 06:57 pm (UTC)
I saw your comment and I loved it. Thank you!

I am also pretty tired of the 'guilty puppy' strategy people use (NOT just men, it's not gender-related in the LEAST) to come into an argument with their shields up ready to defend themselves for... choosing to entering an argument. It's manipulative, it's -transparently- manipulative, and it signals, to me, that you aren't here to take this discussion seriously, but instead to slip your opinion in, dissenting or not, and then run away before you have to face any repercussions to stating your opinion.
Apr. 6th, 2012 07:02 pm (UTC)
It's definitely not men, nor is it just restricted to gender. Where I've seen it most often though ... well, from an utterly unscientific gut sense, it feels like the use of this particular tactic gets more likely the more privileged one is, regardless of the axis of privilege(s), if that makes sense?
(no subject) - shadrad - Apr. 6th, 2012 07:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - barbarienne - Apr. 6th, 2012 07:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 6th, 2012 06:58 pm (UTC)
Oh, I'm so glad that you linked to this as well. I was just over there facepalming at some of the responses.
Apr. 6th, 2012 07:00 pm (UTC)
You were commenting too, weren't you? Or am I mixing up LJ names and icons?

Yeah, I could get a month's worth of blog rants out of some of those comments.

I jumped in on the post to respond to this particular guy, but I've been hesitant to do much more. Reading through the comments, I started to get this weird dynamic of guys rushing to Cat's rescue, which felt uncomfortable.

I need to think about this more...
(no subject) - deire - Apr. 6th, 2012 07:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - effervescent - Apr. 6th, 2012 07:12 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jimhines - Apr. 6th, 2012 07:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - deire - Apr. 6th, 2012 07:26 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - idancewithlife - Apr. 7th, 2012 12:34 am (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - effervescent - Apr. 6th, 2012 07:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jimhines - Apr. 6th, 2012 07:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - effervescent - Apr. 6th, 2012 07:26 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - barbarienne - Apr. 6th, 2012 07:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sylvanstargazer - Apr. 7th, 2012 02:09 am (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 6th, 2012 07:03 pm (UTC)
Although... I have had people tell me that my opinion isn't valid because (they assume) I don't belong to the identity group being discussed.

As a really silly example, I once had somebody tell me that I couldn't possibly understand how hurtful blonde jokes are what with not being blonde and all. Er- I got green hair from swimming pools just like all the other blonde kids. Honest.

So I wonder how much of this is a sort of preemptive response to identity politics based on previous online encounters. "Yes, you're right, I don't belong to that group but I still have a perfectly inane opinion that I can't resist sharing here. Ummm... I mean I'm playing the devil's advocate. Really."
Apr. 6th, 2012 07:36 pm (UTC)
"I know I'm going to get flamed because I'm a guy..." is just a rephrasing of "I'm not a sexist but..."

Same rule applies. If you say "I'm not an X, but" you are by definition an X.

"I'm going to get flamed because I'm an X" means you're about to say something stupid.
Apr. 6th, 2012 07:41 pm (UTC)
"I'm not a bestselling author, but--"

::Fingers crossed that this works!::
(no subject) - barbarienne - Apr. 6th, 2012 07:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 6th, 2012 07:48 pm (UTC)
Sometimes I think humans are a venomous species.
Apr. 6th, 2012 08:16 pm (UTC)
I call those times, weekdays. Also weekends.
Apr. 6th, 2012 08:11 pm (UTC)
Take a bow sir!!!!!
Apr. 6th, 2012 08:42 pm (UTC)
I got nothin'. I'm a straight white cis male from America, and I'm working very hard to not be part of the problem. But you, Jim, rock, because you work even harder to -address- the problems.
Apr. 6th, 2012 10:07 pm (UTC)
Oh my lord--may I share this on FB?
Apr. 6th, 2012 10:11 pm (UTC)
Absolutely! Anything I post here is free for anyone to link to. But thanks for checking :-)
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Jim C. Hines


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