Quickies

Skepchick Quickies 3.22

Amanda

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

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54 Comments

  1. Amanda,

    I just sent skepchick an email the other day about that tweet by Rep. Stockman. Talk about not appreciating what you have. The guys basically like a parody of a greedy dumb Republican. Too bad the he’s actually in office. It would be much funnier if he didn’t actually have any power.

  2. I’m somewhat confused by how I’m supposed to react to the first article. The details of the incidents appear… fluid. Frankly it’s pretty appalling from beginning to end.

    I don’t condone the telling of sexually explicit jokes in professional settings. Presumably the two men in question got carried away and forgot where they were. Or maybe they’re just jerks.

    The idea of taking a picture of people for the purposes of shaming them on the interwebs makes me uncomfortable. They were in a public space, yes, They were being offensive, rude, and self-centered. Telling them to stop seems like a preferable option. I also appreciate that Adria RIchards might not have felt comfortable confronting them, and suppose that posting their picture is a better step than simply letting it slide. I doubt she foresaw where it would or might lead. I’ll probably have to remain conflicted about this.

    My knee-jerk reaction to the two men getting fired is that it’s a consequence completely out of proportion with their actions. Was there no lower-level disciplinary option? A reprimand? Not being allowed to go to conferences anymore? Sensitivity classes? Then again, this might have been the final straw for the two of them.

    My more considered response to the cyberattacks, Adria Richards being fired, and the racially-tinged death threats is A.) this is typical of the sort of people you find on the internet and B.) this is depressingly typical of the sort of people you find on the internet.

    I suppose the moral is, don’t act like an idiot in public, you never know where it will lead. It’s a moral I doubt anyone can heed.

  3. I’m somewhat confused about how to react to the first article as well. I was hoping it would get posted here because I’m really interested in some of the takes people here have on it. So far, as I’ve seen things:

    I wouldn’t call the jokes ‘sexually explicit’. They seem to have been some sort of variation on ‘you’ll need a big dongle to fork that’ or some such. Innuendo, sure, but PG at worst. I don’t think it’s particularly clear that such a joke would have violated the conference’s code of conduct though, and a quiet word that they had made someone uncomfortable and should be more careful likely would have been sufficient. Still, I suppose you could argue they violated the conference’s policy and deserved to be removed. That’s between the conference staff and the guys.

    As for Adria, she had an absolute right to feel the way she felt. And she had an absolute right to express her feelings on her blog. She is not in any way responsible for guys losing their jobs, as far as I’m concerned. The responsibility for that falls upon the companies which fired them. Tweeting their photo was an extremely clear violation of the conference’s code of conduct, however, and she really should have been warned or even removed from the conference. Other than that, while I would consider it rude and be extremely uncomfortable with someone taking my picture and posting it online without my consent, it’s something the internet generally celebrates so long as the target is someone they feel ‘deserves it’ so it’s hard to take all the anger over it too seriously.

    I don’t think it’s for me to judge whether her postings were ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. She was uncomfortable, and she expressed that. Decent human beings see another discomfort and take reasonable steps to avoid causing it, especially in a professional setting. I find the hate filled shit storm of a response she’s gotten from a community that should embrace her to be extremely disappointing; not a word I use lightly in regards to the internet community. The sexism and misogyny are far more distressing. Still, I can’t fault her company for firing her. She’s a community manager who managed to land her company at the center of an enormous shit storm. While I wouldn’t say she caused it, she’s didn’t – or at least can not now do – the job she was hired to do.

  4. Regarding the first article – as two others have posted, there’s a question of whether Adria Richards’ choice to photograph and publicly post the photo was an appropriate response. Many people (on other sites) have said that she really should have simply leaned over and asked the guys to stop. Others have pointed out potential problems with this approach (they might not have, they might have become extremely abusive, etc.). Only a very few people have noted there was an intermediate step – taking the photo and then contacting the Con organizers privately. By posting the photo publicly the two men will never get a chance to tell their (untainted) side of the story. Did they have one? Dunno. And now no-one else will.

    I thought this article was quite good: http://amandablumwords.wordpress.com/2013/03/21/3/

    1. It may just be me, but comparing Adria Richards to a woman being “justifiably” raped for the way she’s dressed seems hyperbolic at best.

      Encouraging women to be assertive in such situations does not seem unreasonable. Does suggesting that there was a way in which she could have avoided the storm of controversy that now surrounds her condone the abuse she has received, or does it acknowledge one of the unpleasant truths of living in the digital age [that once you put something on-line you no longer control what happens to it]?

      It’s possible that I’m reacting to what I perceive as her passive-aggressive and unprofessional way of dealing with the situation. I would like to think that if she had been a white man and done the same thing I would be just as negatively impressed. Of course, the internet would probably not have exploded then. In case it needs to be added, I’m not overly fond of the two men’s unprofessional and childish behavior, either, I don’t think anyone deserves the repercussions they have received.

    2. “What could Adria have done differently to not bring the firestorm down onto her?”

      I think that sentence contains the main problem I have with that article. Most of the (thoughtful) responses I’ve read have explicitly said the abuse was out of line, but also that she was wrong to post the picture. I agree. I feel kind of the same way that I do about the preacher who was burning Quran for publicity. Doesn’t deserve the backlash – in fact deserves solidarity against the backlash – but probably in the wrong.

      At the same time I in no way presume to say that she should have had the (insert necessary quality) to talk to the men herself. Just like the previous article about calling people out. You don’t always have what it takes, and there’s really no shame in that. Especially as a black woman, it would be easy to feel alone, worn down, and fed up.

  5. “Other Conservative MPs opposed the bill on other grounds, such as the argument that pedophiles would be protected when they lurked in public bathrooms.”

    When I read that in the article, I just stared at the computer for a while. I just…I don’t even..

    1. The Canadian Conservative party is an international embarrassment. In order to become Prime Minister, the party’s leader successfully muzzled Conservative MPs for years, hoping Canadians would forget such comments by the MP who said that it was fine for businesses to refuse to hire black people if they thought it might be bad for business, or another MP, a physician, who commented that anal sex leads to greater spread of disease than vaginal, and when folks reacted with outrage, he was all like, I’m a doctor; I’m just relaying medical information for the good of, you know, public health. And there’s all the “young earth” creationists, including a guy who didn’t offer condolences to the Palestinians upon Arafat’s death because of rumours he’d died of AIDS.

      And there’s the muzzling of government scientists, who aren’t allowed to speak unless they have permission from the party in power. Only in totalitarian nations do you see this. Recently they cut off funding to a lake study centre that researches the effects of pollution on lake waters, and due to the large number of lakes we have, was unique in the world. It was the place that discovered the deleterious effect of acid rain on lakes. Connect the dots.

      Anyway, I could rant on and on. But today I’m proud of my country. And hopefully we’ll throw these bums out of power before we squander whatever goodwill we have left in the world.

      1. For years now I have been saying that we need Uncle Phil from Fresh Prince to come toss Harper out on his stupid ass like he did Jazzy Jeff. That man makes me embarrassed to be Canadian. I pity anyone who has to run the country after these asswipes.

  6. Nope. Sorry, Gents. It is entirely appropriate that those guys’ picture got tweeted. If you act like an ass in public, expect to be called out in public. Women do not owe you the opportunity to “keep things private.” From now on, to keep stellar public reputations you have to act like decent people, especially when out in public. Mistreating others, and creating a hostile climate for women, is a matter of public concern, and as such it is both necessary and good that such people be addressed publicly. PyCon does not own the reactions of those subjected to a chilly climate, nor is it entitled to deny people who feel mistreated the opportunity to state openly what was done any by whom. The issue of inappropriate/unprofessional behavior at conferences goes way beyond just an isolated incident with these two guys, and it does not go away if these two guys are quietly told to knock it off. It is something that we as a society need to acknowledge is common, and we need to–quite literally–put a face to it to show that such behavior is not just harmless teenage trolls. This will mean that, occasionally, someone who has had traditionally less status than you will be able to point out to large numbers of people that you are not perfect, and that you will occasionally need to apologize and make amends. I will find my nanostrativarius for you.

    1. I do not believe this is the argument that was being made. They have no reasonable expectation of privacy. It would, however, have been much more civil and productive to have interacted with them either directly, or through the convention staff. The argument that they need to be pilloried completely negates the possibility that they are reasonable, caring human beings who made an honest mistake, did not realize that they were creating a hostile environment, and would respond well to correction. I’m not saying it’s a given, but that approach was not even tried.

      Saying that they needed to be addressed publicly misses the fact that the chances of the two men ever seeing Adria Richards’ twitter feed were remote at best. By posting their picture there, she may have been trying to address the problem on a larger scale, but I expect it was at least partly a need for solidarity and support from her twitter followers. To say that she intended to damage their reputations does not seem plausible.

      1. Guess what, Jack? Having your picture tweeted with the caption “Not cool” is not being “pilloried.” It’s being very mildly criticized. Get over yourself and get some ice for that bruise on your privilege.

        I find it absolutely hilarious that your definition of “civil” and “productive” is to pressure the person who felt uncomfortable to only deal with the situation in the way least likely to rock the boat. Sorry, but you don’t get to set that norm.

        Furthermore, by your username I’m going to guess that you are male and thus haven’t had to deal with the epic shitstorm that can happen if you try to gently correct someone on their gender privilege, nor how much gaslighting or outright hostility you can get if you try to tell people directly that you feel uncomfortable by their sexual innuendo. Golly, that must be so nice for you! Women do not owe you the opportunity for trying the approach of going to you first to see if you’re a nice guy, especially as lots of us have had nasty experiences with guys making it very, very clear to us that they are not. We do not have to put ourselves at risk of harassment to find out if you’re nice. We do not have to say pretty-pretty-please be respectful and hope you’ll comply. We do not have to give you another chance. We can say your behavior is unacceptable, and if you were actually sorry you’d make amends, rather than trying to hush women up.

        Getting solidarity and support from her twitter followers is A VERY GOOD THING, and one that women deserve. Men generally get solidarity from the rest of their coworkers and society in general as a matter of course (see Stubenville, Ohio…). There’s a word for this–it starts with p and ends with “rivilege”… I never said she intended to damage their reputations. I said that one cannot expect one’s reputation to be free from public criticism (excuse me, being “pilloried” by such unbearable invective as “Not cool”) by insisting that no one can publicly criticize a man who behaves like an ass. It is not about these two men’s reputations, or who sees this particular tweet. It is that the men being outraged about her tweeting are clearly showing that they are terrified of women feeling empowered to speak up and hold them publicly accountable for bad behavior.

        1. The vitriol is nice, but how about some constructive conversation?

          I am here out of a sincere interest in the issues of feminism and skepticism. I happen to think that being civil and productive is not over-rated. I am on your side. If you’re not interested in my opinion or participation, that’s fine. I’ll bow out as gracefully as I can, but I do not need to have my interest thrown back in my face with accusations of my being privileged. Maybe I am. I honestly don’t know. You’re making me question whether or not it’s worth finding out.

          And just to be clear, I do not think that Adria Richards should have been polite to the two men because she is female and they are male. I think she should have TRIED being polite to them because that is how decent human beings behave towards one another. And saying polite behavior would be nice is not the same as saying it is owed to me. You are free to be as rude as you like to me. I won’t try to “hush you up.” Just don’t expect me to stick around to read it.

          1. The vitriol is nice, but how about some constructive conversation?

            Oh, seriously, drop the tone trolling. You do not get to dictate the tone on this discussion. Women have to deal with this crap day in and day out and, no, we don’t have to be nice about it when we discuss it.

            And this isn’t just a “conversation” for us. Again, we have to deal with this crap — in our daily, real life, actual lives — every fucking day. So, nope, we don’t need to be nice.

            Here, just to nip this shit in the bud:

            http://finallyfeminism101.wordpress.com/resources/mirror-derailing-for-dummies/#overemotional

            http://finallyfeminism101.wordpress.com/resources/mirror-derailing-for-dummies/#sensitive

            Can you focus on her ARGUMENTS rather than her tone? We women get the “you’re being overly emotional” or “stop being angry” thing a lot. It’s quite close to calling us hysterical.

            Ahhh, concern trolling and tone trolling! You’ve hit so many bingos tonight!

          2. You and your tone policing can go fuck yourself. You may not have noticed because you were too fucking busy having the vapors, but I DID offer you some constructive conversation, and I showed you why your arrogance and privilege-blindness was absurd and frankly, every bit as rude as all the fuck-yous you’re going to get throughout the rest of this post. To recap:

            1) “Not Cool” is not the same as being “pilloried.” Do you want to acknowledge that? Do you have an argument for that? Do you admit that you engaged in blatant and dishonest hyperbole to protect your privilege and cast someone from a marginalized group speaking up for herself as being unreasonable?

            2) This was not an issue of WHETHER or not to be “civil” and “productive”–it’s that you don’t get to set the terms of the debate to decide what “civil” and “productive” MEAN, and you certainly don’t get to do it in favor of the status quo and keeping a marginalized group quiet. This should be obvious to anyone with a shred of reading comprehension which, apparently, isn’t you…but to spell out your apparent inability to conceive of definitions that are inconvenient for you: there is nothing uncivil about saying “Not cool.” There is nothing uncivil about publicly calling out a chilly climate. Bringing these issues to light is VASTLY more productive at raising awareness and empowering other people to speak up and take these issues seriously than handling these things one-on-one. And, since you insist on acting like perfectly civil behavior is in fact uncivil, I am going to conclude that you don’t give a rat’s anus about civility and instead just want silence, so I’m just going to say fuck you.

            3) Telling someone to their face that you want them to stop being inappropriate can get you a lot of increased harassment. YOU COMPLETELY FUCKING FAILED TO ADDRESS THIS IN YOUR REPLY, and instead reasserted that you think she should have tried to approach them. This is fucking asshole behavior on your part. YOU DIDN’T EVEN FUCKING ACKNOWLEDGE that you were told that women face hostility for this when you repeated your demand that she approach them first. You fucking ignored it, like a pompous, callous privileged-blind arse. This is totally unacceptable.

            4) I corrected you on an absurd misunderstanding of “damaging their reputations.” But I guess you didn’t notice through all the “vitriol.”

            And now on to your current godawfully dense comment:

            Your “sincere interest” does not get you a cookie. Don’t tell me you’re on my side and then ignore the arguments I make and then whine about vitriol. And FOR FUCK’S SAKE, don’t ignore it when I say that women are at risk of increased hostility when they do something and then just go ahead and say again that they should do it. This is not the behavior of someone “on my side” and no, I’m not going to scrounge around for tone-policing, self-absorbed “allies” like you!

            Your privilege is not an accusation. It is a fact. You are simply unaware of how hostile these situations can turn for women, because you haven’t had this situation and had all social expectations against you, because you have been raised with the privilege of having your voice more likely to be heard and your complaints more likely to be taken seriously (and at worst, brushed off, not met with retaliatory rape and death threats). Your ignorance is a direct result of your privilege, and if you weren’t so defensive you could learn a thing or two about it. Moreover, saying that a tweet of “Not cool” is being “pilloried” is blatantly dishonest and hyperbolic behavior. It is your privilege that causes you to so overvalue these men’s feelings at the expense of the woman involved that you would even think that such a mild rebuke is being “pilloried.” It seems so outlandish to you simply because you have gotten way too used to the social norm of women being less likely to criticize men. I suggest you get used to it.

            Ignoring the PLAINLY STATED risk of hostility and expecting certain behavior as “how decent human beings behave” is to imply that a marginalized person employing a defense mechanism is not a decent human being. GO FUCK YOURSELF FOR THAT. Seriously–what the fuck is wrong with you?!?! Do you have ANY FUCKING IDEA how condescending you sound?! But, to spell this out for you down to its most elementary level: assuming people should act as though everyone in a situation is equal and that the situation is low-risk and low-stakes for everyone involved when it is plainly NOT, and to prioritize “politeness” over people’s risk of being harassed and gaslit is mind-fuckingly oblivious to the fact that some people have very different social situations than you do.

            Oh, and another thing: when you say she “should” have been polite, that is indicating you think such behavior is owed to you. When you capitalize “TRIED” like it seems to outrageous that she didn’t try (even though you were previously told why there would be significant risk for her if she did, and you ignored it), it indicates that you think such behavior is owed to you.

          3. Marilove doesn’t have a reply button next to her, so I’ll just put this here.

            Since you have asked for my response to LSP’s arguments [beyond implying that my opinions are wrong, unvalued, or plainly stupid because I’m privliged], I will oblige.

            1.) My use of the word pillory seems to have struck a nerve for some reason. I meant it to mean “to publicly shame.” This seems to be what the discussion is about. I was not making a comment about the severity of the two beardy guys’ treatment.

            2.) I do not think that Adria Richards is wrong for feeling uncomfortable. I do not think that she should be limited to “not rocking the boat.” I do think that the first step should be “civil”, however. If they had reacted in the horrible ways that LSP seems to expect, by all means post their picture.

            3.) Yes, I am male. I’m even white and straight. I’m a triple threat. Would you have made fewer assumptions about my views if I had put down a screen name instead? I have no idea what gaslighting is, but I do know what it’s like to be uncomfortable about confrontation, especially with strangers. No, I do not know how it would be to be female in that or any other situation. I would still find it more uncomfortable to post their picture rather than tell them to knock it off.

            4.) If you think I’m trying to “hush women up”, then I do apologize. I’m not sure how that impression was reached. I am not posting on a feminist website because I want to put women in their place.

            5.) You’re right. Solidarity and support are good things. I was not being sarcastic when I wrote about that, I was merely making the point that calling these two guys out was probably not her main intent. Incidentally, if you think that I feel some sort of significant bond with men in general, I do not. Perhaps some men do, but I’m an introvert.

            6.) The behavior of people who have vilified and tormented Adria RIchards is unconscionable.

            7.) No, Marilove, you do not have to be nice when you discuss this. You do not HAVE to be anything. This is a public forum and you are free to make your own decisions [as if you needed me to tell you that]. Similarly, if I do not feel that I am contributing, I do not have to stay. To be perfectly honest, I generally do not engage with posts you make for this very reason. I did not say LSP was being overly emotional, nor did I tell her to stop being angry. I would prefer that she was not angry with me, but I can see how this story is emotional. I did say that she was being rude and dismissive. I stand by that.

            I will read the website you linked to. Thank you.

          4. The previous post being a response to Marilove, I’ll quickly tend to LSP’s.

            1.) From Merriam-Webster: pillory, v. to expose to public contempt, ridicule, or scorn. I meant it as a neutral, concise term. I did not mean to cause offense through my word choice. It was neither “blatant” nor “dishonest.” It may have been poorly chosen. No, I do not think the phrase “Not Cool” is harsh.

            2.) I realize you’re just trying to be insulting, but I took the GRE last week. My verbal comprehension score was in the 99th percentile. Clarity might not be an issue which resides solely with me. That being said, no, again, there IS nothing civil about saying “Not Cool.” I am saying, as a first resort, posting a stranger’s picture on your website, regardless of the message you attach to it, strikes me as uncomfortable in a way which I am still attempting to sort out. It feels like a violation somehow. Yes, I appreciate that they were in public and they were wrong. Still. I do not, in fact, want silence. You conclusion is incorrect. Your “fuck you” is unwarranted.

            3.) I am offering opinions, not demands. No one, not you, not Adria Richards is under any sort of obligation to me. Expecting a hostile reaction to an assertive woman as a given seems hyperbolic. I can’t speculate on how likely or not any reaction would be in this situation, but I can tell you that I would likely be cowed and chagrined, were I stupid enough to say that kind of joke in public.

            4.) From your first comment: “If you act like an ass in public, expect to be called out in public. Women do not owe you the opportunity to “keep things private.” From now on, to keep stellar public reputations you have to act like decent people, especially when out in public.” I took this to mean that you were positing this as Ms Richards’ motive. Clearly I was mistaken.

            5.) As to the rest of your post, you’re right. I can be arrogant. Usually it’s only when I’m trying, but sometimes I surprise myself. I do not want a cookie. I am not entitled to your attention. I was sincerely offering to extricate myself from your existence if you were not interested.

            6.) I do not want to come off as defending the actions of these two men. I do not. Any right they have to tell jokes certainly does not trump the right of the people around them to experience a safe environment. I would say that if one of them was fired after Ms Richards posted his picture, that strikes me as excessive. Ms Richards being faced with death threats is certainly beyond the Pale.

            7.) About the “decent human beings,” I cannot defend what I said. My intention was to express my preference for people to be polite to one another. I can see how it comes across as saying that she is not a decent human being. I apologize. That “fuck you” is warranted.

            8.) I do believe that polite behavior is owed to me, not because I am a man, but because I believe that polite behavior is owed to everyone, at least until they have done something to deserve otherwise.

            Hopefully that covers everything. I apologize for emphasizing your tone over the substance of your post. I have a feeling that this thread has gotten out of hand, and I would like to prevent it from becoming moreso.

          5. beyond implying that my opinions are wrong, unvalued, or plainly stupid because I’m privliged

            No, I showed why your opinions were wrong–where you were blatantly ignorant, where your behavior was inappropriate, and I showed how this was related to your privilege. This is not saying that privilege automatically makes you wrong, it’s just that you are wrong in the most common ways a privileged person is likely to be.

            1.) My use of the word pillory seems to have struck a nerve for some reason. I meant it to mean “to publicly shame.” This seems to be what the discussion is about. I was not making a comment about the severity of the two beardy guys’ treatment.

            I just LOVE dictionary defenses, don’t you?! “Pillory” is almost exclusively used to refer to excessive public shame. Words have connotations, and you don’t get to avoid them when people call you on your implication that they are being dealt with overly harshly. Moreover, “not cool” is barely even criticism, let alone shaming (excessive or not).

            I do not think that she should be limited to “not rocking the boat.”

            But when she does, you seem to insist on finding something wrong with it…hmmmmm……..

            I do think that the first step should be “civil”, however.

            Did you miss the part where I told you that you don’t get to be the sole arbiter of what civility means?!

            If they had reacted in the horrible ways that LSP seems to expect, by all means post their picture.

            You are therefore saying she has to expose herself to the risk of that maltreatment first. THIS IS NOT OKAY. Women do not owe you the chance to mistreat us. We are allowed to take action in the way that is the most safe for us. We do not have to put ourselves at risk to your satisfaction before we can use our full range of self-expression.

            3.) Yes, I am male. I’m even white and straight. I’m a triple threat. Would you have made fewer assumptions about my views if I had put down a screen name instead?

            The arrogance and cluelessness with which you articulate your views and assume your experience is the default for everyone would have led us to place the probability of your being a white straight male at around 95%.

            I have no idea what gaslighting is,

            So why don’t you just fucking google it before you waste our time, jackass?!

            If you say “People should do X” and someone says “If I do X, Y is likely to happen to me,” don’t you feel at least SLIGHTLY responsible for understanding what Y even is before you blithely tell them again that they should do X?! Do you even care what is going on in the experiences of people you are talking to?!

            but I do know what it’s like to be uncomfortable about confrontation, especially with strangers.

            No, dude, you seriously don’t. Really. You have no fucking idea what you’re talking about and it shows. This is not about just saying the wrong thing or being shy. This is about other people using the very fact of your identity to belittle you. You have no idea what this is like, and you apparently can’t even conceive of this being possible. The fact that you can so cavalierly just keep saying that she should approach someone and remain impervious to us telling you how badly that goes for marginalized people is evidence of your privilege, and total cluelessness.

            I would still find it more uncomfortable to post their picture rather than tell them to knock it off.

            The issue is not what you feel comfortable doing. The issue is what actions OF OTHERS deserve your respect. Just because you would do something differently does not mean a different person with different experiences and different risks is obligated to do things the way you would, or indeed that your way is any more right than theirs.

            4.) If you think I’m trying to “hush women up”, then I do apologize. I’m not sure how that impression was reached.

            I think I already described at some length in my last post why your behavior is so dismissive and inappropriate. And again: tone-policing is ALWAYS a hush-up. Just plain never do it. And I mean never. Not only is it incredibly rude, it’s also completely invalid argumentation and unbecoming of a skeptic.

            I was merely making the point that calling these two guys out was probably not her main intent.

            This assertion makes absolutely no sense in light of all your crowing about how inappropriate tweeting about these guys was, and how they were being “pilloried.” Re-reading your post, it’s really only coherent if you used that line about solidarity to minimize the value of what Richards was doing: “Saying that they needed to be addressed publicly misses the fact that…” and “she may have been trying to address the problem on a larger scale, but I expect…” (emphasis mine). These are very minimizing statements, and the presence of “but” by definition means that you think the first clause is undercut by the following one about solidarity.

            Incidentally, if you think that I feel some sort of significant bond with men in general, I do not.

            Yes you do. You are demonstrating it right now in how you center their concerns and assume the male experience is the default. You aren’t aware of how many ways men come to each others’ aid and maintain each others’ social support because you take it for granted…which you can do because of your unquestioned privilege.

            6.) The behavior of people who have vilified and tormented Adria RIchards is unconscionable.

            Here’s your cookie.

            But really, focusing all your attention on what she did wrong is pretty not-cool. Also, aggression against women exists on a spectrum. The views that people in positions of lower social status (in this case women) should not publicly call out others is merely a paler reflection of the view that lower-status persons are not as socially valuable, which then becomes justification for all sorts of harassing behavior. I’m not saying you consciously condone any of that, but you are expressing many of the same toxic underlying attitudes, just to a lesser degree. Moreover, the view that mistreatment is a private matter that ought to be dealt with privately preferentially helps those who already have more social standing while keeping those with less public support more vulnerable.

            I did not say LSP was being overly emotional, nor did I tell her to stop being angry. I would prefer that she was not angry with me, but I can see how this story is emotional.

            Is it just me, or do these two sentences come very, very close to contradicting each other?! Here’s a hint, dude: just don’t bring up tone at all, and ESPECIALLY don’t bring up tone and then subsequently ignore some or all of a person’s points. We don’t take kindly to that ’round here.

            I did say that she was being rude and dismissive. I stand by that.

            And it is not your place to say that, so fuck off.

          6. If you’re really interested in Feminism, a good place to start is “The Distress of the Privileged”. That explains with a nice, gentle tone a lot of the things that people in positions of privelege find themselves experiencing when they try to make a good faith effort to start engaging with social issues. You’re going to have to read a bunch of stuff to get up to speed. That whole derailing for dummies thing that marilove posted about is an excellent read as well.

            You will eventually learn that yes, being civil is overrated. We tried that, and it turned out to be the worst idea in Feminism since political lesbianism. The only thing you catch with honey is flies, and nobody wants flies.

          7. I have no idea what gaslighting is, but I do know what it’s like to be uncomfortable about confrontation, especially with strangers.

            We’re not talking about you! This has nothing to do with you! Your experiences are not comparable to this experience, or the many experiences of women in similar situations.

            If you think I’m trying to “hush women up”, then I do apologize. I’m not sure how that impression was reached. I am not posting on a feminist website because I want to put women in their place.

            OH YES, the non-apology. “I do apologize if I offended you!” Why even fucking bother? And, no, you are not owed forgiveness for your half-assed apology.

            I’m not sure how that impression was reached.

            Stop concern and tone trolling. Oh, and stop trying to compare your experiences to the experiences of women. It’s not relevant.

            To be perfectly honest, I generally do not engage with posts you make for this very reason. I did not say LSP was being overly emotional, nor did I tell her to stop being angry.

            WE CAN READ WHAT YOU WROTE, ASSHAT.

            Here, let me repeat it for you:

            The vitriol is nice, but how about some constructive conversation?

            Yeah, sure, you didn’t accuse her of being overly emotional OR try to police her tone. No, not at all.

            YES YOU DID, you lying fucking asshat!

            Yeah, no wonder you don’t engage with me. Perhaps it’s because I don’t have patience for out-right, blatant lying?!

            Fuck off.

          8. I do believe that polite behavior is owed to me, not because I am a man, but because I believe that polite behavior is owed to everyone, at least until they have done something to deserve otherwise.

            I don’t respect sexist behavior, no matter how “mild” you may find it, and fuck being polite in response to that. She had no reason to be polite to them. None.

          9. 1.) was dealt with in my previous post.

            2.) I realize you’re just trying to be insulting, but I took the GRE last week. My verbal comprehension score was in the 99th percentile.

            Holy fuck, you’re being a pompous ass! Look, I said you don’t get to DEFINE civility. You interpreted this to mean that I was not VALUING civility. This is a reading comprehension fail on your part. The fact that you can generally comprehend things better when you don’t have a stake in them is not a helpful rebuttal. “That which his salary depends on him not understanding” and all that.

            That being said, no, again, there IS nothing civil about saying “Not Cool.”

            Dude, it is literally the mildest way to express displeasure about something. If this is too uncivil for you, EVERYTHING IS, which is why I’m choosing to go with “fuck off.”

            I am saying, as a first resort, posting a stranger’s picture on your website, regardless of the message you attach to it, strikes me as uncomfortable in a way which I am still attempting to sort out. It feels like a violation somehow.

            The reason it feels like a violation to you is that it is simply unthinkable to you that people like you would get held accountable from people like Adria Rogers, as I already described in my first post. This is something you need to get used to, not something that you can continue to silence us about. This is what having your privilege challenged feels like.

            I do not, in fact, want silence. You conclusion is incorrect.

            Actions speak louder than words, I’m afraid. And your actions–what you have chosen to speak about, what you have chosen to focus on, what you have chosen to value, what risks you are willing to ignore in others, are all consistent with you wanting silence. Sorry, but we can see that.

            Your “fuck you” is unwarranted.

            Fuck you. Seriously, fuck you.

            Expecting a hostile reaction to an assertive woman as a given seems hyperbolic.

            It seems hyperbolic TO YOU, because your privilege has insulated you from being on the receiving end of it. From those of us who have been physically threatened for speaking up, myself included, all I can say is yet another FUCK YOU.

            I can’t speculate on how likely or not any reaction would be in this situation,

            SO WHY DON’T YOU SHUT THE FUCK UP AND LISTEN?!

            but I can tell you that I would likely be cowed and chagrined,

            No woman can possibly know this when she’s deciding whether or not to engage with a total stranger. Again, we don’t owe it to you to RISK our comfort or safety, even if there is a small chance that we will get violent pushback or hateful slurs.

            4.) motives can be explicit and/or implicit, short-term and/or long-term. But, it was more directed at the dudebros’ motives for being so opposed to her taking things public, rather than her motives for making this particular issue public.

            5.) I can’t find anything of substance to address with this.

            Any right they have to tell jokes certainly does not trump the right of the people around them to experience a safe environment.

            But understand that people need to have a reasonable avenue to actually assert their right to a safe environment. Your posts thus far have been discouraging THE most effective way (in my experience) to get that safe environment, not just for this conference, but for conferences in general. That said, neither I nor anyone I’ve heard from thinks the guy should have been fired.

            7.) I appreciate your acknowledgement.

            8.) I do believe that polite behavior is owed to me, not because I am a man, but because I believe that polite behavior is owed to everyone,

            This is the thing about privilege–you have become too used to deference, so your meter of what behavior is polite and what reactions are proportionate is badly mis-calibrated. You are vastly more likely to overlook impolite behavior from yourself or your own group (like your tone policing here–OH HOLY SHIT that was impolite! And much, much worse than the superficial impoliteness of using profanity), and you are vastly more likely to perceive polite but firm criticism coming from those not like you as being impolite.

            at least until they have done something to deserve otherwise.

            Like obnoxiously making dick jokes in a professional setting?!

          10. Rather than carry on in this fashion, especially since I seem to be falling behind in my post, I think it would be easier to just make a mea culpa.

            I apologize for any point this evening where I was offensive, insensitive, overbearing, or otherwise unpleasant. That was not my intent, but what I intend and what happens aren’t always similar, and it is the results that matter.

            For the record I will state that my lack of comfort notwithstanding, I agree that Ms Richards was not obligated to behave in anyway other than how she chose to.

            You don’t have to like me or agree with me, but please accept that I am trying. LeftSidePositive, I am sorry. Hopefully we can let bygones be bygones.

          11. Your mea culpa is not accepted. Not after your out-right lie and certainly not after your stupid IQ bragging. What the fuck is wrong with you, dude? Serously. Fuck off. I honestly don’t care about your opinion even a tiny little bit.

          12. Jack, I do appreciate that you’re not digging your heels in anymore, but I think you will find it much more helpful in the long run if you take some time to sleep on what we’ve said, come back tomorrow and re-read what we wrote and try to understand in more depth exactly why we’re upset with you. Read some of the resources that have been mentioned, as well as all of Shakesville’s Helpful Hints for Dudes posts and Feminism 101 index. Categorically apologizing doesn’t make clear that you’ve actually learned anything, just that you’ve been tired out.

          13. Well, Marilove, a sincere apology is all I have to give. You don’t have to accept it, but it is freely given and not meant to be condescending.

            I realize that I’ve been making a fool of myself. I can have trouble letting go of an argument, and I’ve been responding taking too long to respond to your and LSP’s posts, which is just making me look more ridiculous as you two move ahead of me in the conversation.

          14. Thank you, LSP.

            I am not claiming to understand everything that has happened, just that I regret causing things to spiral out of control. I do think I got the biggest point, though..Specific apologies may be forthcoming.

            I am definitely tired out, though. And somewhat mortified. I realized mentioning the GRE was a mistake as soon as I posted. Playing the victim was self-indulgent. Etc.

            Anyway, good night.

          15. Ok, Jack, I appreciate that, so I am going to try and be nice for a brief moment. A BRIEF MOMENT! Don’t fuck this up.

            SERIOUSLY, Jack. Using words like vitriol and statements asking for a “constructive conversation” … and then later claiming that you weren’t doing exactly what you were doing, right after you even thanked me for linking the derailing 101 link?

            Jack?

            Making a fool of yourself is putting it lightly (and to be honest, I don’t really care if you feel like a fool). You’re mansplaining and you’re denying your obvious and obnoxious words. Please don’t do that.

            And can I be completely honest? I’m not sure I really how much I care about these guys and what happened to them. They acted like douchebags in public and I wouldn’t want to have them working for my company (NOT that I owned one, but if I did). And maybe they weren’t stellar employers anyway, especially since it appears one guy kept his job.

            I mean like, in the grand scheme of things, these guys getting fired for being sexist asshats in a public and professional environment is just SO NOT something I care much about.

          16. Jack, as you stated below, there’s really no point in engaging them in conversation, especially if you want to have a polite conversation or learn something. I’ve been slowly coming to the realization that they engage in their own form of gaslighting. Once they realize you’re “the type”, they will punish and villify you no matter what you say (because they know you’ll let them). You’re wrong when you’re polite, you’re wrong when your feelings are hurt, and you’re certainly wrong if you, well, you were wrong to post in the first place. You have feelings and want to be respected? Ridiculous! You have privilege and you’ll let them vent on you. You must suffer! Seriously, honestly, this isn’t the space for you. Just read the articles and ignore the comments. You might learn something, but you’re going to have it shoved down your throat, uncomfortably, even if you would have taken it willingly. Personally I shake for half an hour after reading the posts, they trigger my fight so bad. I won’t give in to the fight, and resisting it is very unpleasant, so I disengage.

            It’s understandable, of course, that they respond like this… see look at that, I’m doing it again. They LOOOVE when you put disclaimers. Disclaimers mean that you are self-aware and try to police yourself and try to speak carefully. Disclaimers mean that you’re one of those fools that will take their abuse and try to self-examine – you might even try to explain yourself – and, as you’ve seen, they love it even more when you try to explain yourself. So don’t bother.

            Although I know you will anyway Marilove, don’t bother, I won’t read it. I don’t care to subject myself to you. You hurt my feelings, and I don’t care to have them hurt. Sure, you have every right to be angry. Be angry – but understand your results. You’re pushing away allies. And at least in my case, you’re doing your damndest to turn those sensitive, introspective, self-aware men who come here willing to learn into sensitive, introspective, self-aware men who loathe feminists and have emotional scar tissue around feminist issues because feminists have attacked them when they let the guard down and earnestly tried to learn. Heck, I didn’t even realize it until I read that last sentence, but you’re making MRA’s. You’re a damn MRA factory.

          17. No. I am not going to presume that anyone is here in bad faith. I don’t see how that could possibly end well.

            I did get emotionally involved. So did they. For that, I am mad at myself, not at them. Actually, I place a large amount of the blame on the fact that it is very easy to write in a way which at once fails to accurately convey one’s full meaning and seriously piss someone else off. Both sides said things which, in hindsight, are regrettable. Dwelling on those things is not helpful.

            Still, the fact is that I was making an assumption about Adria Richards’ situation. I took it as self-evident that she was in a low-risk environment where everyone was equal. Ideally, she should have been. But my perception is not everyone’s. It was wrong of me to judge her for taking a less confrontational action, and I should be happy that she took any action at all.

            I’ve known too many feminists to loathe them all, even if I get in disagreements with a few.

  7. Maybe I’m missing something, but I don’t understand why Ms. Richards felt so uncomfortable. Two guys within earshot were sharing jokes of questionable appropriateness. Unless there’s more detail somewhere, the jokes had nothing to do with Richards, women in general, or any sort of sexist/misogynist/etceteraist attitude. It’d be one thing to turn around and remind them of the professional setting, or tweet her disapproval, but publicly calling them out and getting one of them fired seems a little extreme.

    Is there some context to these jokes I’m missing, or are they akin to the innumerable jokes that come up in my line of work (electrician) regarding wire lube, a large rod, or a well-built rack? Genitalia jokes != sexist jokes, if that’s what’s going on here.

  8. The joke was a microagression contributing to the chilly climate for women in STEM fields.
    A group of men making sex jokes while outnumbering the single woman – a stranger, at that – is a microagression. It makes many women deeply uncomfortable. Chilly climate.
    I mean, do you make those lube and rack jokes around customers? When the customer is a lone woman and the crew is a group of guys?

    1. – No, I don’t, because I was raised to understand what’s appropriate in different social situations. However, if I did, I certainly wouldn’t be fired for it.

      – These were two guys in a crowd that she overheard, not people she was directly involved with. She may have had a bad day with respect to sexism, which I can completely understand at a tech conference, but to my eyes it’s still an overreaction that they didn’t deserve.

  9. HERE! A perfect example of gaslighting. If it wasn’t so fucking pathetic, it’d be comical.

    Jack Leonard

    In response to LeftSidePositive‘s passionate but rational and well-thought-out reply, Jack Leonard said:
    The vitriol is nice, but how about some constructive conversation?

    LeftSidePositive and I both replied again, telling him to knock it off with the tone trolling. Gaslighting is mentioned.

    Then, Jack Leanord replies again, this time moving the goal post a bit (sarcastic paraphrasing to follow) — oh, he’s not trying to tell us what to do! Just that he prefers people to be polite. Oh, sorry dears if I offended you, although I’m not really going to admit to being wrong. I’m on your side! I just think people should be polite. I’m not telling you you HAVE to do anything! Just what I think you SHOULD do!

    And then! To top it all of, he says, AND I QUOTE:

    To be perfectly honest, I generally do not engage with posts you make for this very reason. I did not say LSP was being overly emotional, nor did I tell her to stop being angry.

    OH FOR FUCK’S SAKE ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!

  10. @pharmavixen thank you for your vent. I’m so repeatedly sickened by the “Harper” government I can’t even deal with it.

    Thank goodness a few conservative actually understand what rights actually are about and did the right thing.

    I don’t want to wade into the Richards issue, other than I think PunchDrunk summed up the issue well.

    I hope everyone is having a good weekend!

    1. Thanks, Knitty! I would like to add another instance of Conservative opposition to science-based policy-making using an example from my field, addiction treatment. Former Health Minister Tony Clement said, “There are no ethical grounds for health care professionals to support sites where drug addicts can shoot up under medical supervision,” in criticism of Insite, Vancouver’s safe injection site, where heroin addicts can go and inject under medical supervision with clean needles in a non-judgemental atmosphere. At the time he said that (2008), there were numerous papers showing how Insite was preventing overdose deaths and acting as a gateway to methadone and other treatment programs.

      But Minister Clement went on to say that Insite “undercuts the ethic of medical practice and sets a debilitating example for all physicians and nurses, both present and future in Canada.” Even though Insite, and harm reduction programs in general, have been unequivocally proven to save the lives of vulnerable people. Utterly repugnant.

      1. I too worked in the field of harm reduction. I also worked in corrections. The crime and punishment approach that gives jail time for people who have committed minor nonviolent (such minor drug possession, downloading copyrighted material) and even those that have committed minor violent crimes (like minor assault). They are over incarcerating people, especially Aboriginal Canadians, and is not supported by research.

        1. In a top-down power structure like the Patriarchy, the only utility of underlings (everyone below you in the social power hierarchy) or anything really, is to serve those higher up. Anything that the top-down power structure cannot control and use to ensure its own power, must be destroyed.

          If someone won’t cooperate and be useful to the top-down power structure, then they can be destroyed and serve as an example to others.

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