Quickies

Skepchick Quickies 2.14

Amanda

Amanda is a science grad student in Boston whose favorite pastimes are having friendly debates and running amok.

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  1. “As of today, we have banned all subreddits that focus on sexualization of children.”

    A comment lists about 30 subreddits banned under this policy.

    Seriously? How did reddit ever allow these in this first place? I get it’s an open platform, but sexualization of minors is a pretty damn easy line to draw.

    1. Here’s the deal with that one: Reddit never allowed child porn, they’ve always had a policy based around US law. Of course wherever there is a rule, there’s someone who’s pushing as far as they can get with that rule. “Jailbait” pictures, as creepy as they are, were not considered to be in violation of this policy so they were allowed to stay.

      Some people on SA decided they would push the position that it was in fact child porn as a pressure tactic to get Reddit to pull these sections since obviously no one wants to be associated with that shit.

      I don’t know exactly what was posted in these reddits and don’t want to know, but I have no reason to doubt the admins in their statement that while borderline it was on the legal side of things.

      Basically the headline SA’s been pushing “Reddit finally bans child porn” is completely wrong and does nothing but harm the image of those of us who use Reddit for all the thousands of other sections that aren’t creepy as hell. /r/autos, /r/gaming, and /r/trees for me.

      I know Rebecca has a bit of a vendetta against Reddit due to /r/mensrights and some creeps commenting on some photos there, but what do you expect when you have an open site that allows anonymous discussion of anything and everything? The internet is full of idiots, get enough internet users together anywhere and you’ll find groups of them. Just please be objective with the headlines.

      1. So, let me get this straight: While “borderline legal”, these subreddits still sexualize children, to varying degrees. It is still sexualizing children. And people are upset that they are not allowed to sexualize children. Because some if it is probably legal. But it still sexualizes children. And people — including you — are trying to defend the practice of sexualizing children.

        Even though you don’t have to and people could just say, “Y’all are right. This is wrong and should not be allowed.”

        But instead, people defend it. Because we all know we must allow people to sexualize children, just because it’s technically legal!

        Seriously? This “BUT IT IS FREE SPEECH!” crap is just an excuse to allow sexualizing of children.

        Aaaand this is why I refuse to visit Reddit.

        1. We’re dealing yet again with people who cannot grasp that “likely legal” does not mean “therefore perfectly moral”. I like to think of them as the ethical equivalents of those “do not use while bathing” stickers on hair dryers.

        2. I think the whole free speech thing is a red herring (by them, not by you), so that they don’t have to defend their reprehensible behaviour on its own terms. Unfortunately, it works most of the time. It’s good news that it isn’t going to work on reddit any more, but I still won’t go there. There is no shortage of places to talk about things where the admins have some sense.

      2. I was a part of the SA effort to shut down those subreddits and that “jailbait” pictures do count as child porn under US law. Never mind the fact that there was nude pictures of children posted in r/preteen_girls and that there was child porn being traded among the regulars in those subreddits.

        The administrator of those subreddits has admitted that he had sexual relations with his 19 year old step daughter. He is also very close with the highest ranking admins of Reddit. So close in fact that they warned him they were shutting down his subreddits before doing so.

        The jailbait subreddits are just the start of the creepy, horrible things on reddit. There are entire subreddits dedicated to beating women and pictures of dead children. Never mind the misogyny and racism that permeates the site. Every thread about a woman being raped always has many comments about how the bitch had it coming for going out to a bar, being drunk, what she was wearing. Reddit needs moderators to stop this from happening or we will continue to bring attention to it in the media.

        1. “I was a part of the SA effort to shut down those subreddits”

          I’m going to say this ONE TIME: reddit.com/r/shitredditsays led the charge on this one. We appreciate the assist from you goons, but the redditbomb started ON REDDIT. Glory to the Fempire!

          Seriously though, who cares about credit? What really matters is the child pornography has been taken down. And also streams of beardhurt redditor tears. So TASTY!

        2. “I was a part of the SA effort to shut down those subreddits”

          I’m going to say this ONE TIME: reddit.com/r/shitredditsays led the charge on this one. We appreciate the assist from you goons, but the redditbomb started ON REDDIT. Glory to the Fempire!

          Seriously though, who cares about credit? What really matters is the child pornography has been taken down. And also streams of beardhurt predditor tears. So TASTY!

      3. Hopefully when all the child-sexualization reddits are ~regrettably~ gone, reddit will be a better place. If Reddit could handle the blatant sexism and racism that comes from the MRAs and permeates the site (no matter which reddit you’re in), /r/autos, /r/gaming, and /r/trees will be a better place to post.

        Not that they’ll ever purge that stuff, hell look at the documented resistance the admins had to removing the kiddie-diddlers’ playhouse.

          1. Hmm, yes, I see this is a first amendment issue, which prevents the government from establishing any laws prohibiting free speech. Let me just consult my pocket constitution here for a sec *pulls out a soiled napkin* Hmm, nope, it doesn’t seem to mention pedophile rights on privately owned internet forums! You may have a case!

        1. Deja vu indeed – I’m with you and Marilove.

          “I’m not a racist…but..”
          “I’m not advocating rape jokes….but..”
          “I’m not defending sick pedos…but..”

          Well one response is
          “I’m not advocating censorship…but..”
          and as somebody said
          “I’m not suggesting castration…but…”

    1. True. Although the professor’s role in feminism has a long history of discussion within the community.

      I am conflicted to about this situation. Part of the message of modern feminism is to let go of the idea of being perfect as harmful. Much of the commentary around him seems to criticize or lash out against him as being an imperfect feminist. Its like two different memes within the community are fighting one another. Men can be feminists and you don’t have to be a perfect feminist. But there is an expectation that the men should be more perfect than the women given the place they hold within society.

      It seems that his experiences acted to make him aware of his privilege in many aspects of his life and he tries to use those stories to make men better understand privilege within their own lives. How he writes about them and responds to issues remains problematic certainly. And I hope this will make him aware of how his writing effects his audience and how he may be able to draw connections between the experiences that brought him to where he is today and the problematic way in which he frames them.

      But I think it’s also an opportunity for the feminist community to look at their own closely held beliefs and rhetoric and open a discussion about how to deal with male supporters and our own lines of reasoning when applied to self-identifying members regardless of gender.

      1. I don’t know. I understand where you’re coming from, but this is an extreme case. He tried to kill one woman, and was repeatedly abusive toward others. And wrote about the experience in (what seemed to many) a very self-serving way. It’s really hard to argue for his inclusion amongst feminist thinkers and writers.

        Hopefully you’re right, and it will open a door to thoughtful conversations about men and their role in feminism. He’s just a really poor argument for handing them the microphone. His work is deeply problematic.

      2. There’s a world of difference between “not perfect” and “repeated, violent sexual predator”. And no, I really cannot begin to see any value in giving a rapist and attempted murderer a major voice in feminism just to mollify cowardly assholes who are afraid of being called man-haters for not putting the poor menfolk front and centre in feminism.

        1. I am going to take your comment impersonally in order to frame my response since butt hurt, and name calling, rarely result in productive dialogue.

          I was commenting solely upon that article linked. I’ve read almost nothing by or about this guy short of a comment about his condemning GMP and maybe the article about sleeping with his students. So I’ll admit that I was operating off of partial knowledge about him and his writings.

          With the additional things others have addressed, yea he seems like a bastard and not someone who should be identified as a key figure in the movement and his platform should be moved out of the spotlight.

          However, I don’t take back anything I said about the threads and issues that I think should be discussed within the community. There ARE competing views about the role of men within feminism that I feel need to be addressed. And while we need to have a zero tolerance stance on abuse painted over with placating rhetoric, I don’t think that examining these ideas would be a bad thing.

          That doesn’t mean that he should be given leeway but thinking about this stuff may help in more murky circumstances where less dubious allies could be gained.

          1. Why the hell would you take my condemnation of HIM personally? you shouldn’t be butthurt about being called on what you said, you should be ashamed for saying it in the first damn place.

            I love that you decided to use this attempted murderer and rapist as an example in your quest to make feminism stop being so feminist. It shows how much you know about everything involved. And you stand by him, knowing what he did (now)? I see.

            Also, cut it the fuck out with this “I’m not saying we should let him off, but we should totally let dudes off” bullshit. It is bullshit, and it’s fooling nobody.

          2. In many ways, that article on Schwyzer was more of an apologetic than an accurate representation-so I can see why someone might feel bemused regarding some of the responses. It somewhat misrepresents the facts and presents him as “an organizer of Slutwalk” when he, in all practical ways, was disorganizing it (didn’t get a permit he was meant to, then tweeted during the walk about “herding sluts”). It also doesn’t really do justice to the blog about trying to kill his ex-girlfriend, which essentially has Schwyzer presenting himself as the victim (and using drugs as an excuse, he has simply moved from drugs to using religion). This is classic behaviour for abusers. I suspect that some of us older women who have been involved in the more practical aspects of feminism were astonished that this wasn’t common knowledge at a feminist blog, and additionally being faced with a “feminist” blogger parroting his Born Again Christian forgiveness rhetoric and saying anyone trying to point out that he is a dangerous man (who has a pretty self evident narcissistic personality disorder) was a meany and, then, censoring comments from women about the matter. There was also a total misunderstanding of what restorative justice actually is being promoted, it’s not some Christian thing but a hardcore activity of people facing up to each other and taking responsibility for their actions. You don’t get to say, “but I’m a born again Christian now so trying to murder my ex-girlfriend doesn’t matter.”

            All of this, makes this more than just a discussion of “mens place in feminism” or whether men can be feminists. It really should make it a discussion about predatory behaviour, abuse dynamics and acting with integrity. Also, when did just having a copy of Ms on the living room table actually make someone a feminist? But, really, as someone who pretty clearly has a narcissistic personality disorder, Schwyzers would see EVERYONE as being objects to be used by him. Men with NPDs often prefer the company of women, because they can play on our sympathy and because men often see through them more quickly (plus other men are seen as competition, the reverse is true of women with NPDs). It’s good to see that the outcry has at least resulted in some more sites aimed at women being aware of his background and choosing not to legitimize him by providing a platform and implicit “approval” of him as a “feminist”.

          3. Slight clarification to fifilamour’s point — HS’s Narcissistic Personality Disorder isn’t just “obvious” it is literally diagnosed, so this isn’t hyperbole.

    2. I don’t think Schwyzer is an example in any way of a “professor’s role in feminism”. The problem is that he is a professor who slept with his students, but writes about how you shouldn’t do that, it wasn’t totally hot and awesome, with their young, nubile bodies… uh… don’t do it, it’s bad. He’s the Neil Strauss of inappropriate sexual relationships – he writes pages and pages and pages about how hot his “bad boy” sex life was, and how much he got laid by mistreating women…but don’t do that, k? ‘Cause I know I make it sound fun with the gratuitous descriptions, but even though it was fun, it was wrong. But no really, I got laid like A LOT. And they were PANTING for it, I tell you. But it was wrong.

      or ‘a guy who frames attempting to kill a woman in the same language as that he uses about a man who feels guilty for almost killing a dog, and that AFTER he claims to have developed respect for women’. His writings have long made me want to vomit and scrub my skin raw after reading them, simply because they range between “women are angels, and our job is to protect them” to “women are children, and our job is to protect them” to “men are monsters, and it is my job to protect women from them, because they’ll never realise some men are dangerous until I, a former monster, tell them”. Even when what he is saying is 95% right, there is that scummy aftertaste of paternalism that sours the batch – though he really jumped the shark with that Jezebel article. Ho-lee shit, was that bad.

      Raising doubts about the Christian (Catholic) concept of forgiveness in feminism I could get behind though… because that is his thing – he and his supporters claim he deserves forgiveness for everything, because he has done the requisite amount of public self-flagellation in between the self-congratulation. And that forgiveness consists of shutting up and letting him tell us what’s what about things he says that are creepy, frightening or angering to us (weirdly – just like the church!). And a lot of people, the feminists who critique him, for example, think there are some things that some people never need to forgive you for. Attempted murder is one. His victim and her family have not forgiven him, and it is absolutely not necessary that they do. If she wanted to, for whatever reason, she could. But no one has the obligation to forgive people who use them as their vehicle to personal redemption, especially when that redemption apparently consists of making money and getting lots of attention and accolades for doing something other feminists have been doing for decades while getting called cunts and man-hating bitches and being ostracized in their academic departments. (But they don’t know how hhhaaaard it’s been for hiiiiim personally, to be a man who no publicly no longer hates women).

        1. Right. This is someone who has built his career on the fact that he repeatedly and severely abused his authority over younger women, because he says he reformed. Whether he has is debatable — he continues to show a lot of classic grooming / abuse red flags — but is almost beside the point to whether he should be giving sex advice to underage girls in an official capacity, or working in a role that allows him to work primarily with much younger women who he has institutional power over. This is NOT about whether “men” can be “feminists.”

          People keep dragging out the “are you saying redemption is impossible?!” line and act like there’s no middle ground between “he said he’s sorry, pretend nothing bad ever happened” and “HE IS EVIL EXECUTE HIM.” Ironically, Hugo himself wrote a long letter to another “reformed” abuser saying that with work he might eventually redeem himself but he would probably never be welcome in the feminist community. (http://www.hugoschwyzer.net/2009/03/19/an-open-letter-to-kyle-payne/) Then he freaks out and attacks the people who question him for the same reasons. Hypocrisy much? “Redemption” from attempted murder doesn’t mean we have to give you a prestigious career talking about it.

          Full disclosure: I know some of the people interviewed for that article, and they consider their central concerns about Hugo to have been cut or ignored by the writer. Also, the link above only uses the subtitle of the article, and when you include the main headline — “Exile in Gal-Ville” — the connotations don’t sound quite so neutral. (Feminist writing = “Gal-Ville?” Really?)

          1. Yes. The fact that the specific wording is a reference to something else doesn’t mean it isn’t a sexist and disingenuous framing of the article.

        2. yes, exactly. Like, if we pretend for a moment the redemption schtick was entirely sincere (and not manipulation, and Beadysea’s posts suggest is more likely the case), then sure, doing good works would go a long way to letting him back in the human club. But the gravity of the actions mean he would be permanently disbarred from doing some things – like mentoring teen girls. The fact that he doesn’t seem to believe he should have any limits is what most suggests to me that he is faking it. There is a lack of humility there that staggers me. No matter how much of an ally I would be to trans people, gay people, First Nations people – I would never think I had the right to lead them in their movements. I can speak with, never for.

          Also if the defenders of Hugo waving the “we have to forgive all men for all things otherwise none of them will be feminists!” are right, then weep, weep for humanity. If there are men out there who demand all women everywhere “forgive” them for terrible acts, or they won’t agree that we’re human, then I’m pretty sure those guys don’t deserve forgiveness, and I’m pretty sure they were never really going to think women were people, anyway, no matter what label they decided to adopt.

  2. I don’t think Hugo so much “alienated” feminists, as he used feminism to cover his repeated sexually predatory behaviours, he got away with attempted murder, and admits to raping a partner (don’t worry, it was her fault for not saying no loudly enough), all while making heaps of money off of it. He has never shown the slightest signs of remorse and still makes himself out to be a victim for those things.

    1. Oh yeah, forgot that one. The way Hugo paints himself as the literal “victim” of that rape, because his partner “made him” into a rapist by not making him stop… UGH. Why oh why are these mean ol’ feminists turning on him, I wonder…

  3. Beadysea – thanks for that additional info about the author of the article leaving out key concerns of the people being interviewed. The article read as a manipulation to me so I’m glad that my instincts were good.

  4. Beadysea. Thanks for the reminder, I forgot that he’d written that “I’ve been diagnosed with a NPD, maybe I have a narcissistic disorder but not really and this is why not” blog. His blog post about trying to kill his ex was such a clear illustration of how people with NPDs operate that I’d forgotten about his weirdly sidestepping blog about it. In the post about his ex, not only does he talk about his attempt to murder her and try to make out he was a victim, the way he talked about the real victim and her family was so obviously full of resentment that they won’t buy into the image he’s trying to promote of himself.

  5. Skepchick’s border-less comments make me unable to follow the flow of the tree-view o so I will just create a new reply at the bottom.

    “I don’t think Schwyzer is an example in any way of a “professor’s role in feminism”. The problem is that he is a professor who slept with his students, but writes about how you shouldn’t do that, it wasn’t totally hot and awesome, with their young, nubile bodies… uh… don’t do it, it’s bad.”

    Well, that’s the point. He is not a good example of a professor, or a Christian or a male. Thus all comparisons are equally bad. This is an extreme and rather shocking example.

    Honestly, I think it is better to leave the lead in feminism activism to women as they are perfectly capable. I just don’t think this extreme example is the reason for that. Of course, that doesn’t mean we men can’t have a minor role in it every once in a while like PZ is awesome at.

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