I know what you’re thinking: “OMG really?” And also, “who?” The answers are: “Yes, really!” and “Kurt Metzger! He’s the voice of the zombie on that cartoon! You know, the one that is maybe on Comedy Central but I don’t know for sure because I saw it on Hulu? YES THAT GUY!” He totally put me in my place concerning that time like five months ago that I made a YouTube video in which I asked skeptics and atheists to please not proposition me minutes after I finish 12 straight hours of saying I’d rather not get propositioned. Remember when I did that? And Dawkins wrote something dumb and then everyone freaked out and I wrote a post about it and then pretty much dropped it? Remember? WELL!
This is my favorite part of that weird rambling tirade:
Well actually I just watched her video and all she said was “don’t do that” referring to trying to pick her up in an elevator. I’m more attacking shitty college feminism. Also I just read the article now which it turns out was from July, so definitely I’m not cool.
He’s a cutting edge comedian, you guys! He’s not really attacking me. I mean, he was prior to that and he continued immediately after, but for that specific 5-second period he was “more attacking shitty college feminism.” You know that kind of feminism! The kind they have at colleges? Where they’re all like “Bla bla bla marginalization and yadda yadda yadda bigotry?” Take that, dumb bitches!
I’ve kept fairly quiet about the whole “being obsessively harassed by misogynists” thing for the past few months, in part because I didn’t want to beat a dead horse. Like, “happy Wednesday! Here’s yet another email calling me a man-hating cunt.” I Tweeted a few of the ones I found funniest and left it at that, so the conversation about sexism online could continue beyond my story.
For the past few weeks, I’ve been watching a growing number of female writers speaking out about the sex-based harassment they’ve withstood for years. Articles like this one from Laurie Penny in the Independent, this one from Helen Lewis-Hasteley in the New Statesmen, and all of these listed by Cath Elliott may have depressed some who didn’t realize this was a problem, but they made me very happy. They show a multitude of people stepping up, joining together, and publicizing something that was previously something private that threatened to silence them.
The Twitter hashtag #mencallmethings really took off this week and is a part of that zeigeist. This all really serves two purposes, as I see it: one, to increase awareness that violent threats, harassment, sexual epithets, and objectification of women is common and damaging; and two, to give women a place to release the burden of dealing quietly with those things for years. Many women don’t say anything for fear they’ll be seen as prudish, overreacting, or ill-humored, or because they’re told that if they say anything they’ll be “feeding the trolls”.
Allow me to take a moment to explain this for the people who say that. Like Mike and Andrew, here:
“Don’t Feed the Trolls!”
What you think it means: Just don’t reply to people or publicize their insults and they’ll go away! All they want is attention.
What it actually means: Suffer in silence. Read those emails about what a fucking cunt you are and then quietly delete them. Go lay in bed and cry until you don’t necessarily feel better but can at least pretend like you feel better so that we can all continue our lives blissfully ignorant of anything bad ever happening. The abuse will continue to come, because they don’t want attention – they are bullies. They want power over you. They want your silence, and they got it.
So anyway, yes, I am totally in favor of more of this. More women speaking out. More people banding together. More assholes realizing they can’t bully us into silence.
When I didn’t stay silent, Kurt Metzger posted this follow-up, my favorite of his comments thus far:
That one “like,” BTW, is from me. I couldn’t help it. It made me laugh.
I don’t mean to get all Godwin-y up in here but Kurt Metzger is literally agreeing with the Taliban that the only way a woman can be free from sexual harassment is by covering herself from head to toe. His point is very clear: the speech I gave on stage at that conference and the many hours of social conversation that followed – during which I was explicitly clear that I am tired of awkward sexual come-ons, being touched without permission, having my space invaded at conferences, being threatened with rape, etc – was not enough to reasonably expect someone to respect my vocalized wish to go to bed alone that night. The only thing that could have saved me? A burka.
Which is weird, because he already called me an asexual bore . . . I mean, most of the shaming I’ve received since my video has revolved around what a slut I am, what with once posing for my own pin-up calendar, occasionally having sex with people (sometimes at conferences!), and wearing (gasp!) low-cut dresses. Kurt, however, thought I was asexual. But now I’m too sexual, because I don’t wear a burka. Prude? Slut? I am, apparently, both. Whichever makes for a lazier put-down.
To illustrate how lazy Kurt Metzger’s put-downs are, I’d like to conclude with the following examples of the off-the-cuff responses to him that were way funnier than what he posted:
He’s brave enough to fly in the face of convention – and boy are his arms tired!
– Roger Bauman
I’ve got the asexual thing and the autism down perfectly. I…I will start plotting my valid political position blog immediately.
Who are they to say vagina dentata isn’t a valid political position?
Andrew Dolberg: What do you call a fish with no eyes? …A Fsh!
Me: Andrew be careful! The comedian might see that and steal it.
Andrew Dolberg: The Fsh won’t
I always wanted vagina dentata, but my sex reassignment surgeon didn’t offer it as an option :-(
And I thought stand-ups with guitars were bad.