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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.



(Deleted comment)
Apr. 7th, 2012 08:40 pm (UTC)
Actually no, that's not what I'm saying.

I strongly suggest you not finish that last statement.
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 7th, 2012 09:04 pm (UTC)
I laid it out as clearly as I could in the blog post, which most people seem to have understood. Maybe I failed as a writer, and could have made it clearer, but at this point I'm not sure how to help you understand.
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 7th, 2012 11:45 pm (UTC)
"And it's the actions of one or two jerks of that phenotype way up at the top of the financial and political food chain who have brought it on the rest of us."

I think this is the crux of our disagreement.
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 7th, 2012 08:45 pm (UTC)
No, seriously, that's not what he's saying.

"You're just going to pillory me because I'm a white man and therefore evil" attributes motivation to someone else ... who didn't say anything that implied white man automatically = evil.

It's not even logical. It's setting up a straw-(wo)man. It's disingenuous.
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 7th, 2012 09:11 pm (UTC)
If they're upset that someone is pointing out that men are treated differently on the internet than women, which is a fact, not an opinion--ask any female (especially liberal) blogger how many rape threats they get in their inboxes every day*--then the problem is with them, not with the writer.

*Here is a link to Feministe's Next Top Troll (season 8... yes, this happens enough to be an annual event for EIGHT YEARS). The second comment in that post does exactly what Jim points out in this post.
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 8th, 2012 05:35 pm (UTC)
Yes, please, point to more than three instances of women shouting down men simply because they're male (*cough* not all men have penises), not because they're making an ass of their privileged selves and explaining to the poor little miss something she clearly can't understand, or telling her she couldn't really have experienced what she experienced or that even if she did, she shouldn't have reacted that way.

(I've given you six reference links, at least one for each specific behavior I mentioned. Try for parity.)

When women (or minorities or other oppressed groups) respond to someone displaying their privilege for all the world to see, as if it were some elaborate plumage used in a mating ritual, they're not responding negatively simply because they're male (or white or straight or able-bodied or or or). They're responding negatively because the person is displaying the same behavior that hundreds or thousands of privileged jerks have displayed before him.

After all, if it were a matter of simply being male, I'd be sitting here raging at Jim for being a privileged jerk. But Jim displays behavior that makes him a decent human being who realizes that he has privilege and that he can use that for both good and for ill, and he tries to use it for good.

(Definition: privilege: a set of unearned advantages conferred on someone by society as a whole because of an accident of their birth, ie white race, male gender, straight orientation, high socioeconomic class, among others.)
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 8th, 2012 11:08 pm (UTC)
I think your comment got dropped into spam because of all the links. This might, too.
I'm rather passionate about trans* rights, yes. Two of my closest friends are trans* (one trans, the other genderqueer).

So, the first one you link I actually agree with. Men as a whole don't get a say in what women do with their bodies. Individual men, the one the pregnant woman is sleeping with, get to have an opinion about the specific instance, but not the final say. (This is called personal autonomy. If one believes that women are people, women must be conferred all the rights of people, including personal autonomy.) The issue is that people who don't know a blessed thing about an individual circumstance and who can't even get pregnant (like, say, a group of CELIBATE MEN) are bloviating about what every woman every where should do with her body. That, as they say, is just not on. So no, Mr Random Stranger On The Internet, or Mr Congressman Who's Not Even From My State, or Mr Rush Limbaugh, you DON'T get a say in what I do with my body, or what Cat Valente does with HER body.

The idea that a gay man can't arbitrate beauty is pretty ridiculous. They've been bombarded with the same ridiculous societal nonsense as the rest of us. But there's a known thread of misogyny in the gay male community, and it wouldn't surprise me if the original comment that the nth reply was to involved "That girl is a hot mess, what an ugly dog." Sorry if I don't feel like going back through a random forum. (Also? Forums are well known as the armpit of the internet. Video game forums are horrid.)

That Skepchick thread is telling a man who is defending some serious misogyny (rape "jokes") to ... stop making comments defending misogyny. There's not a whole lot wrong with that.

No. (cis) Men will really truly never understand what it's like to be smaller and less able to defend themselves against an attacker bent on raping them. Men will really truly never understand what it's like to be bombarded with messages that if she had just not worn that dress/not worn those jeans/not walked across the quad by herself after dark/not had anything to drink at that party/not been alone in the room with him she would have been safe because that dirty slag brought that rape on herself. Men will never experience what it's like to be a woman in the context you quoted.

Were you raised in the culture of fear that women were? Were you taught as a teenager to always carry your keys in your hand with the metal sticking out in case someone jumped out at you? Were you taught to always park under a streetlight? Were you taught to always be aware of all your surroundings just in case? Or any other of the 189 things women do every day to prevent rape? Likely not.

THAT'S the point Cat was making, you see. There are things, emotional, gut-level things, lizard-brain things, that women experience that (cis) men can't. There are gut-level things that black people experience that white people can't.

Are you familiar with CJ Cherryh's Foreigner universe? The aliens, the atevi, aren't wired for friendship or love; they have man'chi, which is a sort of respect or loyalty owed to someone higher. Humans can't feel man'chi at the gut level. Atevi can't feel friendship at the gut level.

This is the same thing.

(edited to fix html)

Edited at 2012-04-08 11:10 pm (UTC)


Jim C. Hines

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