I don’t feel like Internetting today.

This is a problem, because I’ve been trying to record one YouTube video a week and it’s getting late so I planned to do one today. But then I made the mistake of reading the YouTube comments I got today.

I get this shit all the time.

This comment was a response to my video on female genital mutilation (FGM), in which I explain that FGM is an incredibly damaging practice that is often much more invasive than male circumcision. I explain that I oppose all forms of male or female genital mutilation, but I recently saw a video that downplayed the damage FGM does in order to make a better case for ending male circumcision. Misinformation doesn’t help anyone’s cause and so I wanted to help set the record straight.

I actually got one point wrong in that video and have wanted to do an update for some time, but every time I try I get another round of comments like the above and I decide it’s not worth my emotional well-being.

I’ve taken to simply ignoring YouTube comments, but for some reason today I responded. I checked out this guy’s profile (warning, autoplay video) and he subscribes to a lot of science stuff, including good friends of mine like Captain Disillusion. I wanted to know what was happening in this guy’s head. Specifically, I wanted to know why someone would call me a bitch and then write something that I basically said in the video (but a bit more eloquently I hope): genital mutilation is wrong, whether on boys or girls.

Here’s the rest of the conversation (my comments are highlighted):

Did you catch that last bit? He says he only resorted to psychological abuse because I made him upset; therefore, it is my fault that he called me a bitch and an asshole. When I made the parallel to physical abuse and asked if he would support the same thinking, his response is, “. . . every action has an equal and opposite reaction.”

This is not a one-off example. I get these responses from men all the time. If you look at the comments on that video in particular, the top-rated comment calls me a “cunt.” That commenter, “eident9“, commented dozens of other times on my videos to alert viewers that I’m a “sexist twit” who only says “offensive” things so I can get more views and make more money.

Because that’s the new meaning of the word “offensive”: a woman who calmly delivers the facts about topics that affect women like female genital mutilation, even when she states clearly that she opposes the practice of cutting boys’ foreskins for non-medical reasons. That’s what it means to be a woman on the Internet who dares to discuss the issues facing women.

Click to Enlarge

So if you’re wondering why women get a little annoyed when the topic of female genital mutilation is diverted to discussing male genital mutilation, remember that this is the response we get. The men who are most loudly arguing against male circumcision are the same men who are telling us we don’t matter, that women’s rights aren’t important, that poor and immigrant women deserve their fate, that the lives of women in developing countries are literally worth less than the lives of men (see above), and that a woman deserves physical and psychological abuse if she does something to upset a man.

And that’s why I don’t feel like Internetting today.

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org and appears on the weekly Skeptics' Guide to the Universe podcast. She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter or on Google+.

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104 Comments

  1. Avatar of QuestionAuthority
    March 24, 2011 at 2:18 pm —

    Sounds like your…opponent…has a very black/white, on/off form of logic going on.

    Either that or your opponent needs medication.

  2. Avatar of benjaminsa
    March 24, 2011 at 2:26 pm —

    @QuestionAuthority: Agree, when someone gets this upset, over something as trivial as which is worse, when you make it clear that you oppose both, I tend to think: other issues.

  3. Avatar of dandylion
    March 24, 2011 at 2:27 pm —

    Yeah, this is actually causing me to unlurk to comment. I really hate how people on youtube basically assume that because they are on the internet, they are anonymous and can say whatever they want, without using logic or common decency. I understand your lack of wanting to internet today. I’ve always wondered what, if any, psychological thingy makes people assume they can be jerks on the internet.

  4. Avatar of MikeyGesus
    March 24, 2011 at 2:30 pm —

    Holy shit. You know, this person is honestly sick. And I mean in the disgusting way.

    FGM is a far more barbarous practice than MGM. MGG is wrong as well, and I find it to be a horrible act in either case, but saying that because it happens with more frequency to men than to women doesn’t mean the details are somehow altered. There isn’t use or value in saying which is worse, sure, when both acts are horrible. So that is an aside.

    “I hate apples and oranges.”
    “How can’t you hate apples MORE than oranges?! Apples are WORSE! Go to hell!”

    Wtf.

    And anyone who calls someone a “cunt” or “bitch” over such a minor detail as which horrible act is worse… they need a tire iron to the skull. I also present that once someone steps to the line of ad hominem attacks over those details, they fucking LOSE.

  5. Avatar of JoJodancingbear
    March 24, 2011 at 2:30 pm —

    Sounds like maybe his dad should have had a MGM and had the knife slip to take the twins out prior to this assholes birth. Oh the lack of time travel…damn you cruel world!

  6. Avatar of Rebecca Watson
    March 24, 2011 at 2:30 pm —

    @dandylion: Yeah, it’s something to do with the anonymity, not just of the person doing the insulting, but of the person they’re insulting. I think it makes it easier to dehumanize them.

    That ends up exposing a lot of people’s worst traits and sexism/racism/xenophobia/etc that may go unnoticed IRL.

  7. Avatar of scribe999
    March 24, 2011 at 2:30 pm —

    And that’s why I don’t feel like Internetting today.

    I can’t blame ya. Some forms of internet douchebaggery are worse than other forms of internet douchebaggery. Also, rebelq1 is the worst form of internet douchebaggery. END.

  8. Avatar of thethyme
    March 24, 2011 at 2:35 pm —

    Brave heart… don’t be discouraged by the actions of the commenters… look you have taken these lemons and made some good lemonade (internetting)

  9. Avatar of kissogram
    March 24, 2011 at 2:37 pm —

    I just wish that more people were capable of discussing or even arguing for the end of reaching truth, rather than affirming themselves or putting someone else down. Thanks for being so rational in the face of close-minded assholes, Rebecca–it is very encouraging :-)

  10. Avatar of Elyse
    March 24, 2011 at 2:39 pm —

    Today we’re using the internet to save Somali immigrants in Minnesota. And the internet has risen to the occasion to help. Because this guy is the exception.

    <3

  11. Avatar of bullerspoke
    March 24, 2011 at 2:39 pm —

    It should be noted that male circumcision can be reversed. The female one, not.

    And yes, of course, female circumcision only happen to impoverished, ignorant africans so who cares? The american male genitalia is worthy of more care, resources and room on the internet. The dick is what matters. Yeesh.

  12. Avatar of Matthew Francis
    March 24, 2011 at 2:41 pm —

    How brave of this commenter to use such bold, misogynistic language in criticizing a woman! How courageous to stand up against injustice by belittling everyone who won’t feel his pain! Sigh.

    We have your back, Ms. Watson. We are on your side. Whether you internet or not today, we are fully supportive of you.

  13. Avatar of mrmisconception
    March 24, 2011 at 2:42 pm —

    Because that’s the new meaning of the word “offensive”

    The new meaning of the word offensive is: Someone who deigns to have an opinion that does not align perfectly with mine; especially if I fear they may have a point.

    It works for religion, it works for woo, why not for sexism too?

    Welcome to the age of freedom from being offended. It sucks.

  14. Avatar of mkpheartsnyc
    March 24, 2011 at 2:42 pm —

    I am so sorry that this happens to you at all, let alone on a regular basis. The cowardice and general horribleness of anonymous male commenters is so disgusting – who would EVER tell someone they deserved to be raped and murdered in person?! And for the transgression of uh, stating an (ethical, well-informed) opinion?!?!

    I am so sorry.

  15. Avatar of iamjames
    March 24, 2011 at 2:42 pm —

    I try to remember the majority of people are decent, but it’s hard some days. Don’t let the jerks get you down. :)

  16. Avatar of Cabbageman
    March 24, 2011 at 2:42 pm —

    Wow. I am… flabbergasted? Amazed? Disappointed? I have no idea. What I do know is that it sucks that people can suck quite that much. As George Takei once said of William Shatner, “if my lover sucked that hard, I’d never leave my chateaus.”

    Take a little break form interneting. Just like it’s hard for me to witness my father’s poorly veiled homophobia or how religious my (comparatively liberal) neighborhood is, it can be taxing to bear the full brunt of YouTube’s douchebaggery. So take the time you need to recover and we’ll see you back on the webbernets!

    As Randy Newman sang, “don’t let the bastards get you down!”

  17. Avatar of lenny
    March 24, 2011 at 2:45 pm —

    Hi Rebecca, I signed up just to say this: please don’t feel like not internetting. You’re a superhero cleaning up internet city, and we need you.

    Lenny

  18. Avatar of DataJack
    March 24, 2011 at 2:45 pm —

    Rebecca, that is terrible; I am so sorry you have to put up with idiots like that. Please don’t let it get you down. What you do, both here and on Youtube, is informative, entertaining, and important.

  19. Avatar of deviladv
    March 24, 2011 at 2:50 pm —

    These are great examples of the guy lining up some facts and stating simply stating because of the degree of statistics. Also a good example of painting things as black and white.

    This is like saying that the killing of a mosquito is just as bad as murdering 1000 people, because it means taking life.

    Rebecca you are as brave and strong as you are beautiful ;)

  20. Avatar of level20monkey
    March 24, 2011 at 2:52 pm —

    Ugh, this is why I often have to leave the internet for a while. The worst part is that he probably believes he “won” the exchange. That is just equally bad.

  21. Avatar of RthrTylr
    March 24, 2011 at 2:55 pm —

    Is YouTube Comment Snob still available as a Firefox plugin? I saved myself a lot of ignorance and irritation with that, I must see if there’s a version for Chrome. YouTube is…well it’s why I use Vimeo.

  22. Avatar of mrwilson41
    March 24, 2011 at 2:56 pm —

    Do you think rebelq1 and zrancis believe what they are saying or just being a trolls?

    Keep up the good work, Rebecca. YOU ROCK! I will happily await your return from non-internetting.

  23. Avatar of runningknows
    March 24, 2011 at 2:56 pm —

    It actually reminds me of one of the signs carried at the Stewart/Colbert rally… “I’m pretty sure I’d like you if I met you” or some such thing. Modern communication is becoming as impersonal as modern warfare with much the same effect. I can’t quite grasp why people feel free to use words on off-the-cuff comments online they’d never say to a flesh-and-blood person. It would be really nice if we all remembered that the person reading our comment is just that!

  24. Avatar of monoclelad
    March 24, 2011 at 2:56 pm —

    No come on everyone that commenter had a clear and unbroken chain of logic that is completely solid.

    Rebecca is against Fgm which means LOGICALLY she is pro Mgm and must go out and personally perform the procedure on infants. which means … its ok… for her to be… wait what?

    No I can’t even make that joke its awful. that person is awful. Why must people say that things that make me sad inside?

  25. Avatar of silvia
    March 24, 2011 at 2:58 pm —

    Dear Rebecca,

    I am a fan and a fellow blogger. I wrote an article not long ago, tackling a pro-life activist in my country who claimed that contraceptives are just a pro-choice plot to have more abortions, because they are designed to fail. You can imagine all the nastyness I have recieved, especially since my blog allowed anonymous coments… But I didn’t want to complain, I just wanted to point out a simple fact that I have written on other controversial topics before, but made a little effort to appear gender neutral, which is sometimes tricky in my language. The reactions were relatively mild untill I have come out as a woman. This speaks to the point about hidden sexism surfacing, because you dare as a woman to write something radically different etc. Also it seems to me, that sexistic remarks are used precisely to debase us to the lowest denominator and humiliate us on that level. Dunno. Anyway, please know, that you are awesome, you are an inspiration and I am thankfull for everything you post online. Please never stop! :)

  26. Avatar of rubbsdecvik
    March 24, 2011 at 2:59 pm —

    Ugg.

    This kind of crap is what makes me really reluctant to even talk about how circumcision isn’t a good thing. The conversation always gets hijacked by assholes like this. No circumcision isn’t good for males, but for females it *is* worse. There is no question.

    Just because both are bad doesn’t mean they should receive equal condemnation.

    The thing that really sickens me is the whole classist “who cares about third world countries” crap. These are people too. This shit is real. Get over yourselves.

    ~Rubbs (A person who is almost ashamed to have a penis)

  27. Avatar of ferulebezel
    March 24, 2011 at 3:00 pm —

    There was a thread on PX Meyers’ blog about a bill legalizing a ritual pin prick that does no permanent damage in the hopes that it would prevent people from opting for the whole clitoridectomy type (which is rare in the west) in secret.

    This had people up in arms. This was designed to substitute a bad thing for a worse thing yet people still opposed it vociferously.

    When it was pointed out that this pin prick is trivial compared to circumcision the people who did so were attacked as if they were comparing full scale FGM to circumcision.

    Worse, the people who oppose this ritual psuedo-FGM ignore or trivialize the wrong of circumcision, usually with a “by the way circumcision is bad too” type statement.

    This is why I find it difficult to take them seriously.

  28. Avatar of Andrew Nixon
    March 24, 2011 at 3:10 pm —

    The comedian Jason Manford recently said that one should “never read the bottom half of the internet”. Pricks like this always remind me of that.

    Fortunately, the people who post comments here are the exception that proves the rule.

  29. Avatar of slightlymadscience
    March 24, 2011 at 3:11 pm —

    Present thing A as a bad thing to generate attention and advocate/discuss a resolution.

    Commenters claim that because you didn’t give as much attention (or more) to related bad thing B that you are not only okay with B happening, but an enabler, and a [relevant expletive].

    Conversation descends into those trying to refute the accusation, name calling, and a small few trying to get back on track.

    If there isn’t a nice catchy phrase for that tactic, there should be.

  30. Avatar of Brian G
    March 24, 2011 at 3:17 pm —

    I feel sick. Especially after reading that last comment.
    And just knowing that you get this shit all the time makes it worse.
    Well, you know that we all have your back Rebecca. You have created wonderful things and we know that you will continue to create to counter garbage like that.
    And we’ll be there, with you.

  31. Avatar of davery
    March 24, 2011 at 3:18 pm —

    I’m going to use some of my interneting time today to do this:

    http://www.forwarduk.org.uk/donate

    Now I wish I believed in karma so I could feel smug. Oh, hey, karma belief not necessary.

  32. Avatar of Satans Parakeet
    March 24, 2011 at 3:18 pm —

    “MGM destroys the ability to have natural sex.”

    My circumcision never stopped my junk from working, but I also might be mad if the little guy shut down. Perhaps what he really means is “I’m sexually dysfunctional and my circumcision is a convenient scapegoat.”

  33. Avatar of mrmisconception
    March 24, 2011 at 3:19 pm —

    @slightlymadscientist

    I believe the term troll works, though I wouldn’t oppose using troglodyte.

  34. Avatar of copernicus
    March 24, 2011 at 3:19 pm —

    Any comment that starts with “Bitch, fuck you” was obviously posted by someone who is at the very least emotionally immature and dose not even merit reading further, much less answering because civil discourse was ruled out from the start.

    I’m a fifty year old circumcision so called “victim” and I genuinely disagree with the characterization that MGM amounts to a crime against humanity.

    Really? Shouldn’t a charge like that imply some sort of irrefutable proof of obvious irreversible damage to one’s ability to function in society?

    Things like Murder; extermination; torture; rape; political, racial, or religious persecution come to my mind, and having a bit of skin cut from the end of my joystick doesn’t seem to measure up here.

    For obvious reasons I can’t speak for FGM’s but I can honestly say that having a missing foreskin has had ZERO effect on my ability to lead a productive and fulfilling life.

    A quick search on the inter-webs will reveal a whole community of fine, upstanding, law abiding, tax-paying citizens who voluntarily choose to have there own genitals mutilated in a variety of ways that to me, defy explanation.

    I don’t recall anyone ever volunteering to be murdered, exterminated, tortured, raped, etc.

  35. Avatar of OnlyThis
    March 24, 2011 at 3:21 pm —

    I’m sorry you’ve had to deal with that. Congrats on staying level headed in the face of such ferocious, unwarranted attacks.

    Internet trolls are there to remind us that we, as a collective web society, need to try harder to balance out the crazy.

    So, I think your points are all 100% valid, and that guy obviously has an unhealthy relationship with his junk. It clouds his judgement and makes it impossible for him to act like a decent human being.

  36. Avatar of mrmisconception
    March 24, 2011 at 3:22 pm —

    @Satans Parakeet
    Perhaps what he really means is “I’m sexually dysfunctional and my circumcision is a convenient scapegoat.”

    That or I’m ugly and can’t get any so I’m pissed.

  37. Avatar of Loki
    March 24, 2011 at 3:24 pm —

    Pretty sure the clitoris has a lot more nerve endings than even an uncircumcised penis. Circumcision doesn’t prevent male orgasm, FGM prevents clitoral orgasm (the best kind for most people I hear) and depending on how other female climaxes work possibly others too since as I understand it the clitoral nerve bundle also ennervates a lot of the anterior wall of the vagina, so there could even be an effect there.

    Welp, LOL@people with emotions their little prefrontal cortex’s can’t modulate well enough to have a coherent thought let alone a productive dialog.

  38. Avatar of runningknows
    March 24, 2011 at 3:25 pm —

    wow, silvia… “until I have come out as a woman”… if that’s not the best single-line indictment of comment sexism I don’t know what is… as a guy it’s not something I think about… thanks for opening my eyes (and no, I’m not being sarcastic)

  39. Avatar of mrmisconception
    March 24, 2011 at 3:28 pm —

    @Loki

    Welp, LOL@people with emotions their little prefrontal cortex’s can’t modulate well enough to have a coherent thought let alone a productive dialog.

    This guy was not thinking with his prefrontal cortex, in fact that may explain why he was so angry, he came close to being given a lobotomy shortly after he was born.

  40. Avatar of weatherwax
    March 24, 2011 at 3:29 pm —

    I can’t figure out if this guy is a misogynist or a narcicist. Is he mad because Rebecca suggested that women are as important as men? Worse, that poor arabic/ black women are as important as men. Or because she suggested that somebody somewhere is as important as he is?

    In either case he needs to be taken behind the woodshed.

  41. Avatar of slightlymadscience
    March 24, 2011 at 3:31 pm —

    @mrmisconception: Yes but Troll is too general a term. Just like Asshole. Both of those can be applied to the commenter above, but don’t describe the specific tactic.

    I think this is a commonly used tactic that it should have it’s own catchy phrase like Straw Man, or Sock Puppet.

    I’m too tired and annoyed about other things to do that myself. I keep having ideas and deleting them.

  42. Avatar of greenstone123
    March 24, 2011 at 3:32 pm —

    I think this is such an important woman’s right issue; one that after watching the youtube video, I had learned more about. Taking the ‘man’s issue’ out of this horror is completely appropriate. Silencing/bullying/threatening women isn’t going to stop the push of woman’s rights. Go Rebecca!

  43. Avatar of Loki
    March 24, 2011 at 3:32 pm —

    Question: While recognizing that cutting off a clitoris (its like blowing up the keg at a kegger party what the fuck) is indeed far more harmful to future sexual expression and satisfaction cutting off foreskin (just having a keg of natty lite), is it a rational position to be vociferously yet equally opposed to both?

  44. Avatar of Loki
    March 24, 2011 at 3:33 pm —

    Also, I believe to be a troll you have to be intentionally trying to rile someone else up while maintaining your calm yourself. Otherwise you’re just being loud and obnoxious, possibly also stupid.

    I’ll be quite honest, I troll Christian websites pretty often and its very satisfying.

  45. Avatar of Rob
    March 24, 2011 at 3:34 pm —

    Rebecca, thank you for doing the work to provide your insights on the world to us. Thank you for being willing to put up with all of the shit that comes with it. While I am sure (I hope) that there is some personal satisfaction in making your videos and blog posts I don’t beleive that you do it for your own satisfaction only. For every fuckhead that calls you names and abuses you I would guess that there are hundreds of us that follow your work and really do appreciate it. Us Rebecca Watson appreciators may not be the most vocal of commenters but we are sincerely grateful for you and your efforts.

  46. Avatar of weatherwax
    March 24, 2011 at 3:35 pm —

    I also notice he insists on calling MGM mutilation, but FGM circumcision.

  47. Avatar of James Fox
    March 24, 2011 at 3:41 pm —

    I don’t know about anyone else but there are days when I get a case of gender embarrassment.

  48. Avatar of Luthien
    March 24, 2011 at 3:41 pm —

    Aww, Rebecca! I’m so sorry you have to put up with those douchebags all the time, I’m sure it gets old reallly fast. Oh, and of course, you were absolutely correct, those people are dumbasses.

    But if it’s any consolation, you’ve managed to create the one place on the internet where the idiots *don’t* show up in droves in the comments section. Seriously, props to creating one of the safest spaces on the internet here at Skepchick. Whenever bullshit like that gets me down, I come here and feel so much better. Thanks skepchicks and commenters! :)

  49. Avatar of scribe999
    March 24, 2011 at 3:46 pm —

    @Jacob V: Almost every time I’m on Xbox Live with strangers.

  50. Avatar of Rebecca Watson
    March 24, 2011 at 3:51 pm —

    Everyone, your supportive comments have been awesome to read. Thanks for cheering up my day considerably!

  51. Avatar of jtradke
    March 24, 2011 at 3:52 pm —

    @Jacob V:

    All the time, man.

    Rebecca: there’s a lot of vile humans out there, and this kind of bullshit is hard to stomach (even third-person). But the work you’ve done, especially here with Skepchick, is very much appreciated.

  52. Avatar of Laika
    March 24, 2011 at 3:54 pm —

    I am spoiled because I only read and comment on Skepchick. Maybe it has happened, but I have never seen vile and ignorant posts on Skepchick.

    When I was a child and the object of an act of cruelty, my mom would tell me that the bully must be a very unhappy person. That still works for me. I can’t believe the person/people that write that kind of thing are functional members of society.

    Skepchick is a positive, fun part of my day, as it is for many, I’m sure.

    Rebecca, thank you! Keep on internetin’!!

  53. Avatar of mrmisconception
    March 24, 2011 at 4:07 pm —

    @slightlymadscientist

    I thought you were looking to name him not his argument.

    I believe what you have put forward is a deductive version of a false dilemma argument. Can anyone back me up on that?

  54. Avatar of mrmisconception
    March 24, 2011 at 4:22 pm —

    1-A and B are equally bad. (false equivalency)
    2-You think A is worse than B. (false dilemma)
    3-Therefore you must think that B is ok. (incorrect conclusion brought about by false dilemma)
    There is also an element of Straw Man there too since she did not say she way for MGM, but I don’t think there is a specific name for that line of poor reasoning.

  55. Avatar of Bjornar
    March 24, 2011 at 4:25 pm —

    And this conversation is starting to become a waste of time

    Dude, you know why it was a waste of time? It didn’t make you aware of how stupid your every statement in it was. You owe Rebecca 30 minutes of your life.

  56. Avatar of "Other" Amanda
    March 24, 2011 at 4:32 pm —

    @MikeyGesus: “And anyone who calls someone a “cunt” or “bitch” over such a minor detail as which horrible act is worse… they need a tire iron to the skull.”

    Um… you do realize that you are saying the exact same thing that you called this person sick for saying? “What a sicko for calling you horrible things because you disagree with him on something so small, he should be bludgeoned.”

    To address the questions somebody asked about psychological reasons people act like assholes on the internet: I think it has to do with being in an emotionally charged discussion and not having the normal social cues you would have in a face-to-face discussion. There’s also the fact that you typically don’t know these people aside from knowing that they disagree with you and are upset. This puts us on the defensive, and gives us the impression that there is no common ground between us. We don’t really have any tangible reason to hold back and remain civil. I’m guessing. Somebody more qualified than I am should probably tackle this.

  57. Avatar of Ssteppe
    March 24, 2011 at 4:32 pm —

    As a circumcised male (TMI?), I feel I have the right to input my 2 cents.
    Besides the Jewish tradition (I’m not Jewish), there actually is a hygiene reason for male circumcision. Mine was done as an infant, so I have no recollection of it and am not traumatized by it. It has not hindered sexual pleasure for me at all, and I’m glad it was done – makes it easier to keep clean.
    There is NO reason for female circumcision; it’s often done in later years, so the girl/woman will remember it all her life; it negatively affects sexual pleasure and can affect reproductive health.
    To say that male circumcision is worse or even equal to FGM is ludicrous.
    Rebecca, you have nothing to apologize for.

  58. Avatar of jpeg
    March 24, 2011 at 4:40 pm —

    Rebecca,

    I know this is obvious and stupid even as I’m typing this, but I think it still needs to be said. Try not to let people like the men you quote get to you. These guys are damaged in some fundamental way that they either refuse to see or are powerless to change.

    Nobody likes feeling powerless so they do things that makes themselves feel powerful. The anonymity of the internet makes it easy to give oneself a false sense of powerfulness. Unfortunately, in this case it means attempting to make someone else feel powerless.

    Now, this is not to excuse these men’s behavior (or is that behaviour?). I’ve always found, though, that understanding bad behavio(u)r can sometimes limit the pain when subjected to said bahavio(u)r.

    And, since affirmation of good behavio(u)r also helps: You provide a service that very few people have the time/energy/knowledge to provide. You speak with a strong voice and a stronger will and the skeptical community is damn lucky to have you.

    Also, if you’re not pissing someone off, you’re probably doing something wrong.

  59. Avatar of daedalus2u
    March 24, 2011 at 4:41 pm —

    @mrmisconception: Bingo! sexually dysfunctional and blames being circumcised and all women who won’t have sex with him and then threatens violence against the same women he would like to have sex with. Like that is going to work.

  60. Avatar of rlquinn1980
    March 24, 2011 at 5:10 pm —

    This post reminds me very much of my Facebook status last week:

    “Why do I get sucked into exchanges with extremely stupid and immature people on the internet when I damn well know better? Why??”

    The fact of the matter is, there will be no end to trolls, no end to people who lack all forms of reading comprehension, and who will always see the worst in other people. (In the psychological literature, internet exchanges are HEAVILY receiver based, so there’s a lot of projection and unfounded assumption going on.)

    If I can provide additional support, your video made me—No, wait. I’m going to go say this next thing on your YouTube comments.

  61. Avatar of Bubba
    March 24, 2011 at 5:17 pm —

    Rebecca, his reasoning (?) is simple. You didn’t make his priority your priority therefore you’re an offensive bitch in his world. Typical sexist, irrational foolishness. Ignore the babboon. (Should have phrased that better so as not to insult babboons)

  62. Avatar of Buzz Parsec
    March 24, 2011 at 5:19 pm —

    @MikeyGesus: I think @“Other” Amanda is right that in that this idiot has brought you to his level, as emotionally satisfying as a good bludgeoning would be.

    I’m more inclined to wish there was a magical Samuel L. Jackson in the sky who would revoke his Internet privileges for life.

    But short of that, videos and posts get ratings, why not commenters? Something like “1976365 people have voted this commenter to to be an asshole, so you’d best ignore him.”

  63. Avatar of Erlend Aakre
    March 24, 2011 at 5:30 pm —

    I see what you did wrong: “I’ve taken to simply ignoring YouTube comments, but for some reason today I responded”..

    It’s remarkably hard not falling to temptation and answering these trolling morons, I way to often do this myself :(

  64. Avatar of waltdakind
    March 24, 2011 at 5:33 pm —

    It can be so disheartening when this side of humanity manages to share their “thoughts” on the internet. Thank you, Rebecca, for putting up with their shit. They suck and you rock.

  65. Avatar of SkeptimusPrime
    March 24, 2011 at 6:08 pm —

    Wow, every time I read posts like the ones you referenced I remember how many stupid people there are in the world

    *sigh*

  66. Avatar of Kai
    March 24, 2011 at 6:14 pm —

    Oh whow, Rebecca –

    I admire your courage. Not only in confronting this commenter, but also in the clear stances you take in your videos. Keep up the latter, but only do the former if you feel good about internetting.

    I don’t try to guess this guy’s mental state or motives, yet it is clear that he is too angry to accept moderating thought. You handled that encounter beautifully, and I would say that his lame retreat was maximum score under these circumstances. I personally know people who shut down intellectually for a couple of minutes when angered like that; believe me: you did very well!

  67. Avatar of weatherwax
    March 24, 2011 at 6:21 pm —

    I can understand the desire to not respond to this moron. However, in doing so Rebecca ably demonstraited what a moron he is to the majority of the audience who are non-partisan. Even though it feels like a waste of time, it is in fact, not. And we should be grateful that people like Rebecca are willing to get dirty from time to time.

  68. Avatar of weatherwax
    March 24, 2011 at 6:33 pm —

    @Buzz Parsec: I understand the point, but since there is no Magic Jackson in the sky, some people just can’t be respectful of others rights unless they face consequences. And sometimes they don’t learn without being taken out back and worked over a bit.

    But I would settle for taking away their anonymity and publicising who they are and what they’ve posted for the world to see.

  69. Avatar of Timothy
    March 24, 2011 at 7:02 pm —

    @Rebecca Watson: That’s why I love anonymity on the internet. It lets us know these ignorant attitudes exist, so we can fight back against them.

    Otherwise this bigotry and idiocy would just fester away, invisibly affecting society, unchallenged.

  70. Avatar of Timothy
    March 24, 2011 at 7:47 pm —

    @Ssteppe: The hygienic effects of male circumcision are over-hyped. It’s nothing that can’t be achieved with soapy water and condoms. The only significant medical reason for circumcision that I’m aware of is an extreme case of phimosis.

    That said, as a fellow circumcised male (TMI all around!) I agree that it’s ridiculous to equate female genital mutilation with circumcision. While circumcision is an unnecessary medical procedure that may or may not slightly reduce sexual sensation, it is nowhere near to the extent that victims of FGM endure. It’s usually done under far more hygienic circumstances, too.

    Both are bad, but one is undoubtedly worse.

  71. Avatar of mrmisconception
    March 24, 2011 at 8:00 pm —

    @Timothy: Well said Gonzo.

    Come Beaker, we have work to do.
    me me meme

  72. Avatar of tiko
    March 24, 2011 at 8:59 pm —

    I have nothing to add to whats already been said.Ijust wanted to register my support for you.

  73. Avatar of sillyllama
    March 24, 2011 at 9:17 pm —

    If you read the comments on YouTube I hope you read the comments here too. You do awesome work Rebecca and I admire you. If I have daughters I hope they can meet you, you’d make a good role model for any young woman. Hell, if I have sons I hope they can meet you too, no reason why they couldn’t learn from you too.

  74. Avatar of Jack99
    March 24, 2011 at 9:34 pm —

    Rebecca,

    I am certain that rebelq1 never had an asteroid named after him and never will!

    Don’t let a worthless troll get you down

    I love this blog and your brave fight for logic and reason. FGM is a horrifying crime against humanity. Keep up the good work!

  75. Avatar of Buzz Parsec
    March 24, 2011 at 10:34 pm —

    I invented the word privwhinge to describe the situation where a member of a privileged class attempts to hijack a conversation about some serious social ill by talking about their own problems. The word whinge seems much too mild to describe the trollish behavior of these guys, but maybe trivializing their stance is a good thing. Rebecca, you tried the whole logic and reason thing, which seemed to have no effect on these guys, so it’s time to roll out the heavy guns of ridicule and contempt.

    Here’s my go: Calling these guys trolls is an insult to all the trolls everywhere.

    …..

    I watched your video again (I saw it the first time when the original story about the “alternate” FGM procedure broke last year), and it was just as horrifying the 2nd time. It was good, though, to be reminded of what we are fighting against. If any good is to come from this attack. it is from once again drawing attention to FGM. I urge everyone to watch the video again and listen to what Rebecca says and pay no attention to the trolls.

  76. Avatar of Buzz Parsec
    March 24, 2011 at 10:51 pm —

    @Elyse: Thank you.

  77. Avatar of MissMaita
    March 24, 2011 at 11:25 pm —

    Sigh… I sigh because otherwise there would be so much rage trying to spill out onto the page right now. I don’t know. It doesn’t really matter what your opinion on male circumcision is – the fact it, it’s a procedure done in a doctors office under sterile conditions with follow-up care. FGM is typically done with rusty improvised “tools” that have been used on multiple people before. FGM is a tool used to control a woman sexuality, male circumcision is typically done for hygiene reasons. And the trauma factor? The moderate to more radical procedures require that a woman be cut open and sown shut again if there is sex, if a child is being born, and in some cases, just so she can have her period.
    And the “you’re a bitch” argument…. This is the same line of reasoning that comes from people that want to have Viagra as a medication covered by insurance, but deem contraception a bridge to far. Or better yet, I see this as the same line of “reasoning” as those who want to de-fund Planned Parenthood and criminalize abortion, yet they refuse to see how this affects women, families, and the children. It is the thinking of self-centered unaware people who seem to think that they know better than everyone else. *Sigh* ok, I realize I’m starting to rant, so I’m going to slowly put down the computer and go snuggle with my kittens for a while.

  78. Avatar of jes3ica
    March 25, 2011 at 1:25 am —

    Rebecca, I really wish I could give you a hug right now.

  79. Avatar of Billy Clyde Tuggle
    March 25, 2011 at 2:18 am —

    Rebecca W,

    Even I, a ruthless soap-opera pimp from the late 70′s, am solidly in your corner on this issue.

    Keep up the good work.

    /BCT

  80. Avatar of dewi
    March 25, 2011 at 3:58 am —

    I remember the video in question because it taught me some things I didn’t know, and it might have been the one that turned me into a regular reader here.

    It’s very easy for us males to see gender politics in a shallow monochromatic way. You can see how rebelq1 is convinced that he “doesn’t hate women” and with that issue solved, nearby incongruities must be the result of something else. He doesn’t realize how much happens invisibly to males; how much rests not on a single data point but the aggregate of societal norms. And he gets defensive. Textbook.

    But what’s really interesting is how this subtle privilege denial can suddenly escalate: once FGM and MGM are “equal”, the harm tolerated in the western mainstream is more insidious (even though it isn’t). And if a female touches a sensitive spot with a viewpoint, an “equal” reprisal can follow, (despite morality not normally working this way, and despite the full-blown-sexist associations of the obscenities used). Not so subtle & harmless anymore!

    Anyway, I believe progress is being made, and Rebecca with videos like that one is right at the forefront. Here on the ugly old internet.

  81. Avatar of davehodg
    March 25, 2011 at 4:50 am —

    Could this be why women get put off the skeptic movement?

    I thought rule 1 was “don’t be an asshole”?

  82. Avatar of phillefty
    March 25, 2011 at 4:50 am —

    Hi Rebecca,
    I need to make an apology, and the reason I need to make an apology is because I love what you do. In fact I love all the skepchicks, you are here fighting the good fight for science, logic and reason, and I have never thanked you for that. I am quite sure that if the silent majority that read your posts and watch your videos made just an occasional whisper of positive feedback, it would drown out the abusive, shouting, illiterate minority and you wouldn’t ever have to give them a second thought.
    Keep up the good work.

  83. Avatar of Dale Husband
    March 25, 2011 at 5:07 am —

    Rebecca, you can always delete stupid comments from trolls. I even learned how to “disemvowel” especially bad comments from P Z Myers, and have used that tactic to bust my opposition.

  84. Avatar of JeffGrigg
    March 25, 2011 at 7:06 am —

    I had thought that “common sense” was something that was not so common.

    Reading the spiteful drivel they throw at you, I see that sanity and rationality are in short supply too!

    :-[

  85. Avatar of QuestionAuthority
    March 25, 2011 at 8:33 am —

    I call for a ‘group web hug’ for Rebecca. Sounds like she needs it. :-D Jpeg said it better than I can above.

    Rebecca, you’re an awesome lady. Ignore the troll(s) and get on with your life and accomplishments. You are doing a lot of good, as are the rest of the Skepchicks. If you weren’t as effective as you are, the trolls wouldn’t take notice of you.

  86. Avatar of rlquinn1980
    March 25, 2011 at 9:04 am —

    Group hug!

  87. Avatar of Skepotter
    March 25, 2011 at 9:16 am —

    Group hug with alcoholic refreshments!

  88. Avatar of tmac57
    March 25, 2011 at 9:43 am —

    Just to put internet ‘thought’ into context,I ran across this comment in response to the disaster in Japan:

    i am only 12, but i see the hardships that these people are going through. i wish everyone and anyone from Japan good luck, and best of hopes to you.

    A thoughtful comment from a young person right? Then I looked at the ‘UP/DOWN’ votes:
    9263 votes for UP (okay), but 431 people voted it DOWN…WTF?! What does this reveal about the ‘world’ inside some people’s brains?

  89. Avatar of mrmisconception
    March 25, 2011 at 11:37 am —

    @tmac57

    I once went on a Christian website with the screen name “CuriousOutsider” and wrote “Peace and love to you all.”

    I was heckled and booed before being banned, without any further posts from me.

    Not surprised really, just sickened.

    I ocasionally go to freerepublic.com just to see the worst of the worst, it will give you a true sense of just how special Skepchick is. Just thinking of that place makes me want to shower. Ugggh.

  90. Avatar of NoAstronomer
    March 25, 2011 at 2:34 pm —

    rebelq1:

    “Some forms are worse but all forms of genital mutilation is [sic] equally bad!”

    I don’t get involved in these types of arguments but if I had then that line would have ended the dialogue immediately. If the person you’re conversing with can’t even put a logical thought together then there’s simply no point continuing.

  91. Avatar of porlob
    March 25, 2011 at 3:11 pm —

    The past few weeks, mostly thanks to the fact that it’s come up on Amanda Marcotte’s posts at Pandagon a lot lately, I’ve started to delve into the horrible hive of scum and villainy that is the supposed “Men’s Rights Movement,” of which Douchey McGee above is a prime example.

    They’re so bent on being “anti-feminist” that they attack those who are striving for the same things they say they want, just because they’re doing it under the banner of “feminsim” (this comment and the subsequent thread, for example).

    Honestly, this Men’s Rights Movement is so full of misdirected bile and hateful, misogynistic rhetoric than I have a hard time wrapping my head around it. And arguing with one is more tiring and fruitless than arguing with any climate change denier or creationist I’ve ever met. Awful, awful, awful.

  92. Avatar of weatherwax
    March 25, 2011 at 3:42 pm —

    @Dale Husband: I believe rebecca has said in the past that she doesn’t delete stupid comments as a way of keeping things honest, compared to “woo woo” sights that tend to delete comments that don’t toe the party line.

    It’a also a great way of showing what the people on the other side of the isle are like.

  93. Avatar of cruithne
    March 25, 2011 at 5:48 pm —

    I know those comments had nothing to do with me but as a man I can’t help feeling a little ashamed. If I’ve learned anything from listening to feminists, it’s that only by advancing the aims of feminism can women, and men, be truly free from oppressive gender roles.

    Peace out people.

  94. Avatar of daedalus2u
    March 25, 2011 at 6:17 pm —

    I once got into a discussion with some MRA’s, and it was complete BS horseshit (no offense to horses and bulls). They were whining about having children they didn’t want to support as if that was some how only the “fault” of the child’s mother. They wanted to be able to force a woman to have an abortion, because no form of birth control is 100% effective, or force her to not receive child support if she doesn’t get an abortion because no form of birth control is 100% effective.

    I asked “did they wear a condom”? And of course, they didn’t. But no form of birth control is 100% effective. I asked “did you discuss abortion with the woman before you had sex with her”? Of course they didn’t and so didn’t know what her position on abortion was. But no form of birth control is 100% effective.

    I feel sad for the child to have such a loser as a father. Feel sorry for the women too, but they picked him to sleep with.

  95. Avatar of Bemmie
    March 25, 2011 at 10:09 pm —

    If you regard any of the previous comments to be TMI, then it’s probably best to skip this one altogether.

    I get REALLY pissed off with men (and it’s pretty much exclusively men) inventing figures like the number of nerve endings in the foreskin – as if uncircumcised men are having orgasms in their foreskins or something. The fact is that the little piece of skin around the head is pretty much as sensitive as any other area skin on the body.

    Having said that, I’m no fan of male circumcision – it seems pointless and invasive and as for hygiene, just have a shower every so often and pay a little more attention to that area than your cut brothers. Easy!

    The reason why I think I’m in a pretty unique position to comment here is that I’m uncircumcised but my boyfriend is circumcised. The idea, the mere insinuation that I am experiencing more intensity or a more “genuine” climax than him is so absurd that it actually makes me grind my teeth with anger. I can assure you that it’s as good for him as it for me. And comparing his rather unfair operation to female genital mutilation is absolutely shocking – this is a process that robs young girls the hope of ever enjoying sex, and is never, ever comparable to male circumcision.

    Sorry for being a little graphic but this topic has been banging angrily around my head for a day or so now and I’ve only just now been able to put it into some semblance of a posting.

  96. Avatar of jessicaeb
    March 26, 2011 at 4:52 am —

    Hi-
    I’m so sorry to hear what that person said to you! How awful =/ horrible. That thing he said about rape … I’m flabbergasted and horrified. Sorry you had to deal with that vicious attack. He sucks. You rock.
    -Jessica

  97. Avatar of daedalus2u
    March 26, 2011 at 9:21 pm —

    An addendum to my above post ( @daedalus2u: ) That is what women get for sleeping with a guy they don’t know very well, or for using non-skeptical methods for evaluating guys. They might end up sleeping with an MRA.

  98. Avatar of Buzz Parsec
    March 26, 2011 at 11:06 pm —

    @daedalus2u: I’m sure you didn’t mean to make that sound like you’re blaming the victim here. Something like “That can be very unfortunate consequence of sleeping…” (unless you are again speaking in the voice of an MRA, and my sarcasm detector needs a new battery.)

  99. Avatar of bcoh1478
    March 27, 2011 at 11:43 am —

    These whiny, privileged idiots make me want to scream. My wife and I have already discussed not circumcising if we have a son. It seems pointless and cruel. The idea that it is on par with the type of female circumcision seen in many parts of the world is ridiculous. Some females (such as a professor I had from Kenya) choose to have a partial circumcision done in a hospital when they reach the age of consent. I don’t understand why someone would choose that, but it is a far cry from young girls being mutilated without informed consent and is most definitely not the norm. In fact, that case is closer to male circumcision than the most common female circumcision. To conflate the two is irritating enough, but the truly appalling thing is what these people think it’s appropriate for them to say. zfrancis needs to be locked away from society as quickly as possible.
    Ms. Watson, I am truly sorry that you were subjected to this. It’s somewhere so far beyond appalling and nauseating that I’m not certain what word to use.

  100. Avatar of Cobey
    March 28, 2011 at 9:15 pm —

    “I don’t feel like Internetting today.”

    Proceeds to write blog entry and then respond to comments.

    Ego recharged

  101. Avatar of mrmisconception
    March 29, 2011 at 1:45 am —

    @Cobey: Wow, way to miss a point.

  102. Avatar of rlquinn1980
    March 29, 2011 at 10:42 am —

    /facepalm @Cobey

    I guess if I tell my all-night clubbing friends that I don’t feel like socializing, but I invite my closest friend over for a talk, I’m a complete hypocrite, too. Or better yet, if I decline an invitation to an all-out smorgasbord because I don’t feel like pigging out, but I do eat some dinner . . . oh yeah, I’m a fucking glutton.

  103. Avatar of primowalker
    April 6, 2011 at 9:59 am —

    *triple facepalm*!

    Jebus! How I hate having to apologize for my sex all the freaking time. There are so many male privlones** running throughout the male population, it is all I can do to catch my breath before I have to try to explain to my (ick) brethren, again, that women are people, just like us, sans the penises. Ugh!

    **Male privlones, a word of my own creation, are all those instances of perceived male privileged coursing through the brains of far too many men.

  104. Avatar of guysmy
    July 16, 2011 at 3:01 am —

    While I agree that FGM is generally more sexually debilitating, there are more points to consider.

    A minority of unlucky men are living with a botched circumcision that makes it painful to get an erection. Since the practice of male circumcision is so common in certain countries, the volume of these botch cases add up. It’s a big social problem that is largely ignored. That is why these super angry dudes come out of the woodwork and wreak havoc.

    FGM and male circumcision are both violations of human rights. I wish men and women could band together and oppose genital mutilation altogether. Instead of looking for common ground, we look for differences.

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